Misunderstood Movies discusses movies that I assume one has seen. Thus, there are spoilers.

Reading reviews of The Forgotten, a 2004 film starring Julianne Moore, reveals that not many people like it – they found the premise and ending laughably bad. I found it to be a fresh take on an old science fiction trope, though, and while I didn’t think it was a great movie, I didn’t think it was all that bad either. The director, Joseph Ruben, had another interesting science fiction movie to his credit, Dreamscape, 20 years earlier.

The main character (I’m just going to straight up call her Julianne Moore), Moore, wakes up one morning to not have a nine year old son, even though she is sure she has one. The film sees her psychiatrist tell her she had a miscarriage and that she is suffering some form of psychosis as a result of the miscarriage years ago. Her husband, trying to be supportive, says basically the same.

Moore, intent on investigating, finds that not all is what it seems. She tracks down a man she remembers had a daughter and eventually he remembers his daughter. Together they go on the run while agents pursue them. Several scenes telegraph that it is aliens who are doing this to them. By the end of the film, it is revealed that it is indeed aliens doing it to them. The film ends.

Yep, that’s pretty much it. But the film is more a psychological thriller and it’s more the journey to the conclusion that makes it a fairly likable film to me. Reading reviews and people’s thoughts on the film reveal that nobody understood the fact that the film is portraying humans as laboratory rats even though everyone understood it was aliens who were the experimenters. The humans are literally laboratory rats, as seen in the scenes where they are suddenly pulled into the sky. It’s as if there’s an unseen tail on the human that suddenly gets yanked and the rat gets pulled away out of the experiment.

It’s even said by the psychiatrist (played by Gary Sinise) towards the end:

“They’ve been doing it for years. Maybe forever…We just try to minimize the damage…You’ve held on and they don’t know why. You’re just a lab rat to them.”

Also, when the alien presents itself, she’s in an airplane hangar. But look closer and it’s really just a rat in a maze and the alien experimenter is continuing to try to guide her. Seeing reviews and comments on the film, I don’t think many people got this. For example, Roger Ebert casually mentions it as if the hangar scene is simply a cliché:

I could easily be wrong, though, with most people having gotten the rat thing and laughing at the premise anyway. I also enjoyed the hangar scene because the actor portrayed the alien rather creepily throughout the film and I liked his “You…need…to…FORGET!” and his wipe of her memory of her child being born.

Also, the scene where the agents come out of nowhere and ram her car was very effective and is something that was copied immediately after the film came out and continues to be copied to this day. I specifically remember a set of Volkswagen commercials trying to copy this, but they weren’t nearly as effective.

It also doesn’t hurt that Moore is easy on the eyes. That’s all I’ve got for The Forgotten.

A line of severe thunderstorms came through today. I was getting my car worked on and was at the shop picking it up when the thunderstorm was occurring. Suddenly, there was an outright roar outside. I was just on the inside and turned around and hail between the size of a large marble (not regular sized marble) and a golf ball was falling. It lasted all of a minute, but it was spectacular while it lasted. A few minutes later when I paid for the work on my car, I learned that people further on the inside thought a tornado was occurring. That didn’t’ surprise me a bit.

Damage reports from across the area are still coming in including similar hail and a tornado in Charles County, my old stomping grounds.

The rain hung over our house slightly longer than the rest of the line and as it was departing, it produced this rainbow:

Having been on the internet since before the world wide web existed, I’m familiar with the woes of email in the cloud. In the early days of the web, I had two email accounts: fcmail (fortune city mail) and juno. Fcmail was my primary and juno was my secondary and junk mail account. At some point in the dot-bomb area (I think it was later 2000), fcmail suddenly disappeared, never to be seen again.

I had lost all my email, contacts, etc. In the days of slow computers and slow internet connections, it took time to have multiple backups and I didn’t have one. I was well aware of the risk, but I was still pissed. Then not too long after that, my juno account mysteriously didn’t work at all, although it seemed like it should have. Again, I was pretty annoyed. At some point I believe in early 2001, I registered for a Hotmail account to become my primary and began using that exclusively. My logic was that since it was owned by Microsoft, it was less likely to disappear literally overnight. I kept trying my juno account every few months and sometime years later, it mysteriously started working again, but all my prior email was gone. It still works now. Later in the 2000s my gmail account became my primary.

My Hotmail account then fell mostly to the wayside, but was still used from time to time for family email. Now, Microsoft has come out with an outlook.com premium where for 20 bucks, I can use my own domain (which I have multiple of), have five email addresses on the domain, an ad-free webmail, and a number of other family sharing features. That price raises after March 31 to 50 bucks I believe and is a yearly subscription. I signed up for it with my own domain and after testing it for a day, I was sold on the fact that the new email would become my go-to address. In fact, the gradual transition away from my gmail account as my primary will almost certainly occur this year.

My Hotmail account isn’t actually gone, though, it still works too and is integrated right into my address in use on outlook.com premium. That is part of what sold me on it in such a short time – everything simply worked as advertised when setting it up and my Microsoft hardware at home (Surface Book and Xbox One) immediately took the new domain login without any issues whatsoever, as did Outlook on my Android phone. That’s quite a coup for Microsoft, as it is as seamless as google, without quite as much invasion of privacy as google (though there’s still far more than I would like). This comes after I’ve been using Microsoft’s OneDrive on a regular basis and the Office 365 application ecosystem appears mature enough to actually be quite useful. And dare I say it…Edge isn’t nearly as bad as Internet Explorer used to be. Bing still sucks though, but I bet as google keeps censoring more and more stuff via their algorithms and Bing improves their algorithms, Bing will become a player at some point.

Connecting to my outlook.com premium account through my Outlook 2016 was relatively easy too (but I had to use POP3 for some reason), although I did that only as an easier way of going through my 16 years of messages, deleting the junk, and archiving off others. Now my inbox is clean. That can’t be said for my gmail account, however, and some major work will need to be done on that as well.

Looking through my Hotmail, the earliest surviving email (I had cleaned up the account a little bit a couple years after I got it) is a humor chain email from 5/11/01 that is still very relevant today:

RULES FOR WORK

1. Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 4:00 and then
bring it to me. The challenge of a deadline is refreshing.

2. If it’s really a rush job, run in and interrupt me every
10 minutes to inquire how it’s going. That helps. Even
better, hover behind me, and advise me at every keystroke.

3. Always leave without telling anyone where you’re going. It gives
me a chance to be creative when someone asks where you are.

4. If my arms are full of papers, boxes, books, or supplies, don’t
open the door for me. I need to learn how to function as a paraplegic
and opening doors with no arms is good training in case I should ever
be injured and lose all use of my limbs.

5. If you give me more than one job to do, don’t tell me
which is priority. I am psychic.

6. Do your best to keep me late. I adore this office and
really have nowhere to go or anything to do. I have no life beyond
work.

7. If a job I do pleases you, keep it a secret. If that gets
out, it could mean a promotion.

8. If you don’t like my work, tell everyone. I like my name to be
popular in conversations. I was born to be whipped.

9. If you have special instructions for a job, don’t write
them down. In fact, save them until the job is almost done. No use
confusing me with useful information.

10. Never introduce me to the people you’re with. I have no right to
know anything. In the corporate food chain, I am plankton. When you
refer to them later, my shrewd deductions will identify them.

11. Be nice to me only when the job I’m doing for you could really
change your life and send you straight to manager’s hell.

12. Tell me all your little problems. No one else has any
and it’s nice to know someone is less fortunate. I especially like the
story about having to pay so many taxes on the bonus check you
received for being such a good manager.

13. Wait until my yearly review and THEN tell me what my goals SHOULD
have been. Give me a mediocre performance rating with a cost of living
increase. I’m not here for the money anyway.

My earliest surviving “real” email from my friends folder is somewhat interesting from a historical perspective. That email came from a friend on 09/12/2001, a day after the 9/11 attacks. We had been set to fly that weekend to Michigan for a wedding. After giving directions to his house, he wrote:

I’m still waiting to find out if the flights will be grounded. Don’t know just yet. If they are grounded, how do you guys feel about driving?

We ultimately were forced to do the 14 hour one-way drive then the ferry to Mackinac Island, then turned around for the drive back a day later.

Hereford Zone: 2-4 inches
Immediate Baltimore metro area: 1-2 inches
DC, Northern VA, Annapolis: coating
Southern MD: nothing

Discussion:
All models are on board for rain changing to snow for Baltimore as a low passes by to our south then strengthens. The timing of rain changing to snow should be a couple hours before dawn Thursday morning. Snow should be over by mid-day (except see below). A number of model runs have placed 4-6 inches in the downtown Baltimore area. I seriously doubt this will be the case and antecedent warm conditions will largely prevent the roads from becoming too bad (pavement temperatures are currently in the 50s) and snow will likely only accumulate on grassy areas and cars. In fact, the farthest south the actual freezing line gets in any model run has been Baltimore. The Hereford Zone and other areas of Maryland near the Mason Dixon line may receive 6 inches if the air gets cold enough fast enough. As for schools, snow should be falling at dawn with a forecast of snow through the morning, so come to your own conclusions based on that information.

A big boom scenario would put 6 inches in downtown Baltimore and 3 in the DC area, but I find that very unlikely to occur and would be dependent on the low pressure hanging on the coast for a bit before ejecting east-northeast. The bust scenario is the more likely one to occur between boom/bust and that would be an all rain event, even for Baltimore, with perhaps a coating of snow at the end.

An upper level trough will swing through behind the low pressure system later Thursday around the evening rush hour. This could result in snow squalls that could produce a half inch of snow in any given location and this applies to the whole area including DC and southern Maryland.

Regarding the snow chances later Wednesday night or Thursday, models are saying a small area of low pressure is going to form towards southwest VA or western North Carolina and track east-northeast from there. This is after the cold front has passed by, which would indicate a rain changing to snow scenario. There are several reasons to believe there won’t be that much snow or if snow falls, it won’t have much impact:

1. It will be very warm tomorrow and Wednesday.
2. Snow chances are entirely dependent on low track.
3. This low would be weak sauce.
4. Models have only brought the snow line down to Baltimore in their runs that have snow, while many runs have had it stay north of the Mason-Dixon line.

However, the euro has been tracking the low just right so it will be curious to see what happens. The GFS has also developed a second small band of snow Thursday afternoon or evening. I wouldn’t be surprised if enough snow falls to mess up the Hereford Zone at some point. As for the rest of Baltimore County, I have my doubts that there will be anything of significance to cause a delay or closure. DC, northern VA and southern MD look shut out from any real snow possibilities from this one.

The 18z GFS produces 3.5 inches for Baltimore City through Thursday evening assuming a 10:1 ratio. It’s highly unlikely that all of this would stick, even if 3.5 inches worth of snow were to fall.

 

The Kuchera method of measuring snowfall from the model produces 1.5 inches and this is a more realistic result for this run.