I tried to get through the worst final exam week of all time. I had to answer questions about campus closings and bad weather and rescheduling. I took a few moments to post a photo to the Fans of Susan Dey page on Facebook. I hurried to Trader Joe’s to buy some groceries to last a couple of days. I went to the record store and bought a vinyl copy of The Beatles’ “Rarities.” I thought I already had a copy, but I can’t find it anywhere in my mess of possessions. Back at work, we watched the rain and heard news about protesters. I had the job of counting money during the last hour. I got a ride home. I was curious about the Warriors score, but I just sat down to watch “Titanic” on Blu-ray. The early scenes look very impressive in high definition. I couldn’t imagine Bill Paxton and his crew finding anything valuable in that wreckage. I thought some of the early shots of the ship were rather crappy, especially considering what a high-budget production this was. The shot showing the entire length of the Titanic, with the people moving around like ants, did not look too good. It’s amazing to me that Leonard DiCaprio became a teen idol with this movie. He looks like a scrawny jackass with too much energy, sort of a low-grade version of Gene Kelly’s character in “An American in Paris.” He deserves credit for making something substantial and long-lasting out of his career. I always thought that the scene with the spitting was one of the worst in the movie. Kathy Bates added some personality to the movie. I wished James Cameron could have gotten Maggie Smith to play one of the parts. There is a Romeo and Juliet aspect to the relationship between Jack and Rose that the young girls responded to. I got tired of Jack’s screaming, which brought thoughts in my mind of Tom Cruise. I kept staring at Kate Winslet’s lips in almost every scene she was in. I kept thinking how hard it would be to move around in that icy cold water. There were a couple of shots where it looked like there was genuine fear in her eyes. I wonder what Cameron made her do to get some of those shots. It took a good hour and forty minutes to get to the collision with the iceberg. We had to sit through way too much of Leo and Kate running away from people on the ship at that point. I didn’t know why we had to see the “real party.” The machinery of the ship with the men shoveling coal looked impressive. It was too bad that they were the first victims. You would think that they would have more people than those two jokers keeping an eye out for icebergs. They were like a comedy team up there. I don’t see why Rose posed nude. She was like a predecessor of the Playboy Playmate. I also don’t see why she jumped out of the lifeboat. The whole falling in love immediately part was what I didn’t get. Are you going to risk your life for someone who sketches nude women? I was trying to think of who Cal reminded me of. I was thinking along the lines of someone in “L.A. Law,” but the Internet directed me to Arnold Vosloo. The most spectacular sequence is the final sinking of the ship. It was like “The Poseidon Adventure.” I thought about the man who hit the propeller as he fell. I thought it looked like about 10,000 people were in the water at the end. I had questions about what happened to Leo at the end. The scene on the rescue ship reminded me of the end of “The Gold Rush.” I thought that last moment with Rose and the necklace was totally false, something that could only happen in a movie. Why not do something meaningful with the necklace instead of this foolish symbolic gesture? I also hated that last shot inside the ship, this sort of reunion with everyone watching and applauding as if this couple is the center of the world. Everyone is applauding as if this was the end of a Drew Barrymore romantic comedy. James Cameron reportedly was fanatical about recreating the Titanic, right down to the dishes that were on the tables. It seemed a shame to smash them. I prefer this movie to “Avatar,” although I would rather see “Terminator 2” again. Arnold on a motorcycle was more charismatic than anyone in this movie. During the end credits, I thought Barbra Streisand could have sung the theme song. Could they have brought back Maureen McGovern? It was rather alarming to me that seventeen years have passed since the release of this movie. It was an epic, although more of a thrill ride and a deep experience. If this movie was a variation of “The Deep,” it was a pretty good one. I wouldn’t count James Cameron as one of the greatest directors of all time, but I did enjoy watching most of his movies. I imagined what he was doing at UC Santa Barbara in preparation of the big time. I was tired after watching this three hour film, and I fell asleep while listening to the radio reports of the storm. Many public schools are closed because of fears about safety in this stormy weather. People have become very soft in their constant comfort in this area. I watched the news and saw Anne Makovic reporting from a flooded area in Novato. I didn’t leave at my normal time because of the constant rain. I listened to some of the records I’d bought in recent weeks, like The Raspberries’ “Fresh” and the “Echo Park” soundtrack album. The local CBS station didn’t show CBS This Morning in favor of news coverage about the weather. I wanted to see something different. I took a shower and prepared for a day of trying to set things straight. The building closures of Monday and Tuesday nights certainly didn’t help. Some of the people who died on December 11 include Sam Cooke (1964), Percy Kilbride (1964), Bettie Page (2008), and Susan Gordon (2011). Today is a birthday for Teri Garr (67), Brenda Lee (70), Donna Mills (74), and Rita Moreno (83). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 11, “Throw Momma From the Train” was released in 1987, “A Few Good Men” was released in 1992, and “Shakespeare in Love” was released in 1998.

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