Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer is for kids and kids-at-heart.

The ever excellent Fumadiddle has published the following advice: 20 things to do this summer to be a kid again. I support it whole-heartedly but I must add some clarifications:

1. Catch lightning bugs.
Is that the same thing as fireflies?

2. Play hopscotch.
Sounds like a recipe for broken ankles. Can I just draw chalk pictures in public places instead?

3. Chase down the ice cream truck.
Did that once. Turned out to be a knife-sharpener guy instead. Luckily I had a knife on me. I hadn't been planning to pay for the ice cream, you see.

4. Blow soap bubbles.
Saw him the other day. He says Hi.

5. Hula hoop.
Not a chance in hell.

6. Swing.
I've heard about those parties. No thanks.

7. Have friends over to play hide and go seek.
We thought Ollie was a welfare case. Turns out that "Ollie-Ollie income-free" was supposed to be "All ye, all ye in, come free."

8. Cloud watch.
Ah, yes. And try it at night too. Especially if there's snow on the ground and a fullish moon.

9. Camp out in the back yard.
Best done a couple yards away from another batch of campers. Launch crab apples at them all night. Great fun.

10. Jump off a rope swing over a river.
We call that water skiing now.

11. Play in the sprinkler.
That's what Mom always said when declining a request to go swimming, which always infuriated me but in hindsight, it was better than "Go play in traffic" I suppose.

12. Have a mud fight.
Might eating a Mile-High Mud Pie dessert count?

13. Build an indoor fort with chairs and sheets.
Add a couple card tables for a fort-mansion.

14. Eat watermelon on the back porch and spit the seeds.
The goal is to land them in your friend’s hair, of course.

15. Have a water balloon or squirt gun war.
Have you seen the weapons of watery mass destruction they manufacture these days?

16. Climb a tree.
My childhood climbing-tree finally got cut down in the last year. There can never be another.

17. Skip stones.
And hold hands. And get an old gold Chevy and a place of your own.

18. Go wading in a creek.
Does the hot tub count?

19. Create a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk.
I see the end of the list is coming and you haven’t yet said, clip a hockey card to your spokes to make your bike a motorbike. I guess that was strictly a boy thing.

20. Laugh until your sides hurt.
That's why I visit your blog, Flumadiddle.

Star Drek

I'm watching Star Trek, the original motion picture. It's hard to believe I've actually avoided this for a full thirty years.

So far, every male in this movie is wearing a toupee.

And everyone in Star Fleet wears a miniature money belt around their abdomens. The lengths they went to just to disguise Shatner's girdle...

Every external shot has an immobile space-suited guy floating around.

Everyone's over-acting a little bit. It's like every element of wardrobe and direction is designed to mask Shatner's idiosyncrasies.

Kirk: "I need you! Dammit Bones! I need you! Badly!"

Wow! Love the engineering crew uniforms. They're Imperial Storm Trooper suits with giant Reese's peanut butter cup wrappers for collars.

Spock in black cape is looking more Dracula-ish than ever.

McCoy has yet to report to sick bay. He's apparently been promoted to Kirk's personal therapist and follows him everywhere he goes, telling him off.

Spock: "I suspect there is an object at the centre of that cloud." Well, I'm no Vulcan brainiac but I concur, Sherlock. We wouldn't have a movie,otherwise.

Checkov burns his hand and falls down wailing as if his genitals have been cut off. Oddly, McCoy is finally absent.

Well, lo and behold. An object at the centre of the giant cloud.

Uh oh. Intruder on board. A plasma-energy combination according to Spock.

The security guy in helmet and cockpiece does nothing to protect the officers while the plasma guy goes around zapping them. That's right. I said cockpiece.

Spock: "I believe the closed orifice leads to another chamber."

Return of the bald girl; starkers, apparently. Does the carpet match the drapes?

"Within you," says the usurped commander, Decker to bald girl, "Are the memory patterns of a certain carbon unit. I can help you to revive those patterns! Then you could understand our functions better!" Boom chickka wow-wow. Best pick-up line ever.

Okay they've taken the old Spock Dilemma - that absurd simple-minded notion that logic and emotion are somehow two ends of a single scale - and extended it to this omnipotent space-predator VGER and his hunt for the creator. He's Pinocchio and Zardoz rolled into one.

VGER, Decker and bald girl have a space orgy and VGER has his first space-orgasm (talk about shooting stars) which leaves him fulfilled and no longer interested in purging Earth of its carbon units. Mankind lives another day. Hoo Haw.

I have now seen two of the eleven Star Trek movies; the first and last. They're pretty silly but I'm game to continue. Perhaps you'll join me next time for Wrath of Khan.

Live long and prosper,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fun things about being a security guard

So I'm on duty at my employer's national annual general meeting - at a hotel - just basically hanging out in the hallway between the meeting rooms and making sure to look spiffy whenever the big-shot delegates are moving between meeting rooms.

They've contracted a facilitator to organize all the details - both official and extracurricular - of the week-long event. She's busy on her lap top and phone at the long table set up in the wide hallway for herself and her brochures and name tags and lanyards and various goodies and trinket trash. I offer to grab her a snack from the buffet just down the hall. She accepts.

Later, as I'm passing by, she suddenly pushes her dirty dishes and coffee cup toward me and states, "I'm done with these."

There's a prize if you can guess what my response was:

1. Yep, you sure are.

2. Well, it's about time!

3. Good girl! Now you can have some pudding and then it's bed time for you, punkin.

4. Oh, well let me get that for you. So how DID your husband die? Oh, wait. wait. Never mind. I just figured it out.

5. Okay. Shall I summon some loser to take them away for you?

6. Very good. Shall I bring you a dessert menu?

7. So you are. But I only handle other people's dirty dishes at my own initiative or when I'm asked nicely.

8. Are you sure you're done? You couldn't have got that plump skipping seconds.

9. Excellent, and as security guard clearly falls below busboy on the evolutionary scale - it would be my privilege to take them away for you.

10. Oh goodie. May I lick them clean now?

11. That's nice.

12. Very nice. Are you ready to make poopies?

13. Holy shit, you ate it ALL! Oink oink oink oink!

14. Oh no you're not. You didn't eat the invisible pickle.

15. Yeah, I'm done with mine, too. I'll just leave them here with yours.

16. Even the fork? But you're not done sucking the chrome off it.

17. Well, fuck a duck! That's amazing!

18. You don't say?

19. Excellent. Shall I rinse them off for you before you hide them in your purse?

20. (None of the above)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Movies movies movies

The Wackness ***
(2008) Entertaining performance by Ben Kingsley in a sort-of feel-good movie perfect for the kind of ass holes who appreciate drugs being glorified and ugly-boy/hot-girl sex. If you're an ass hole you'll like it. Others may too. Just try not to fall for all the simple-mided crap that tries to sound like wisdom. It. Aint.

No Country for Old Men ***
(2007) I was so much hoping to like this movie that I've either fooled myself into thinking I liked it or else I actually liked it but just can't figure out why. I would hope that a story that engages for so long would leave some kind of mark; a point, a message; something. What did I miss? Something tells me I should have read the book first.

Gran Torino *
(2008) Sweet Jesus. Sweet sweet suffering Jesus. Clint Eastwood, what horrible trauma befell your brain? What a colossal train wreck of a movie. The experiment to see if Eastwood's mystique can carry a disfunctional movie with nothing else going for it but the most atrocious writing and acting imaginable, yielded a surprising result. Yes. The Eastwood threat-of-revenge mystique is enough to keep viewers from walking out of the theater on a film that in every way amounts to an ABC After-School Special that editors forgot to edit. Has to go on the list of all-time lemons.

Ali Zaoua ****
(2000) Another sad, touching, elbeit unlikely story about poor kids and the mean people who exploit them. I'm always a sucker for these.

Two Soldiers **
(2003) It took about 39 minutes to get through the introductory phase of the movie. At that point, as the lead characters parted ways and one began to cry, I found myself finally settling in and anticipating a good epic war film ahead. Abruptly the credits fell like a brick, as did my jaw - in disbelief. I grabbed the movie jacket. Yup. Forty minutes. It's the movie that almost was.

Star Trek Origins ***
(2009) Nice special effects for those who go out for that sort of thing. So much silliness and hokey plotlines I wasn't sure if it was a comedy or not. Clever casting though, has turned familiar faces into young people again. I'll give the next installment a chance.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine **
(2009) All action. No substance. I'm probably a fool for having hoped for more. Why is Hugh Jackman not the current James Bond? I swear he'd be the best since Connery. I swear it.

The Happening *
(2008) Perhaps M. Night Shamalamadingdong's worst ever. Had the feel of a spontanious weekend project. But Marky Mark Walberg showed up and that's all I ask of him! Hoo Haw!

Righteous Kill **
(2008) Former Heavyweights Al Pacino and The-Guy-Who's-Name-I-Can-Never-Remember are miscast as a couple of unintentional lightweight geeks in a movie written by some joker who doesn't know how to make cop movies with any more resonance than a cereal commercial. God help us all. Oh yeah. Robert DeNiro. Why can I never remember his name?

88 Minutes *
(2007) It's the longest 88 minutes ever. Al Pacino in an another embarassing cop flop, this time with inexplicable giant blue hair. Can we schedule poor Al's funeral already? His career is apparently dead. Cell phones, taxi-cabs, more cell phones and the worst Marg Simpson impression ever.

Off The Map ****
(2003) Was this based on a true story? I think it must have been. It had that feel. Characters genuine but too stark, as if eroded with the passage from old childhood memory. A useful study of human nature. A film, you might say, rather than a movie.

Where The Day Takes You *
(1992) In an enormous cast of millionaire actors, how many are actually talented enough to believably portray wretchedly poor street people? Um. Zero. And why did the make-up people cover every actor with a thin layer of grime but give them flattering hairstyles and no scars or blemishes of any kind? 'Cause they suck at their jobs too, I assume. This is actually negative-one star, not one star. I would have given it a zero if not for the extended scene where Sean Astin is covered in his own vomit. Cheque please.

Where the Eagles Dare **
(1968) Early Bond-style WW2 Nazi castle intrigue/action flick has a young Clint Eastwood playing second-fiddle to Richard Burton in an ensemble cast. Such under-utilization earned you a star-and-a-half penalty, bozos.

Blindness ***
(2008) Was this an artful exploration of the nature of humans and their societies or just more plot-driven hollywood-style muck? I think they were trying for the former but too much of it felt more like the latter and whenever it did; just when the plot needed to move; it didn't. I think this could almost have been a great movie had it not stalled a couple times.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Diehard 2 - featuring Skeeter Willis‏

Welcome back. It’s been quite a while since we’ve met. I’m a few years older, but not necessarily wiser. Mr. FWG has sporadically reminded me that I owe him a follow-up blog to my premier several years ago – and he’s right, I do.

So, here I am, in my sophomore performance.

I’ve recently returned from a short getaway to New York City, aka Manhattan for you early Native Americans, and aka New Amsterdam for you early 1600’s settlers.

My family and I did the traditional touristy things and spent many hours on the top of the bus or in the back of a carriage-drawn bicycle. Money well spent, I suppose. I enjoyed the never-ending name dropping: Mr. Diehard lives here and another Mr. Famous was shot there, etc. Assuming, of course that this big-city trivia is remotely accurate. Who am I to doubt the historical accuracy from a bicycle-riding student from Bulgaria?

I found it odd that hundreds of people sit in lawn chairs in the heart of Times Square – all day long, 7 days a week. It’s quite a sight. The first time I saw it, I assumed that a street performance was about to begin – but no. It’s common place. Locals, tourists – they just sit there and watch the world go by, surrounded by all the never-ending lights of Times Square.
Apparently, all those companies advertising in Times Square are spending $600,000 PER MONTH to advertise there. Isn’t that sick? That’s over $7 million a year for EACH of those companies – and there’s dozens of them. Isn’t our society’s priorities warped? Just think how much further ahead our medical science could be if they re-directed even half of that wasteful spending to research.

I’ll step down from my soap box.

There seems to be quite a concerted effort by the tour guides to distinguish between ‘Old Money’ and ‘New Money’. Mr. Old Money owns these seven blocks and Mrs. New Money lives up there in the tower with her husband, Mr. Sony. All I know is that, old or new, they’ve all spent WAY TOO much money on real estate in New York. Most of them can’t descend their elevator and leave their building without seeing so much as a tree. Mostly concrete and asphalt for as far as the eye can see. Did you know that I have grass outside MY Thorold front door and several trees to look at - complete with their own singing birds. These millionaires would be jealous if they only knew how little I spent compared to them.

The new President is all the rage down there. Only time will tell if this change is the change that they were looking for. All I know is that several street vendors tried to sell me condoms with his likeness on them. Nothing says love like sharing the inner beauty of your significant other with the President’s likeness. I’ve heard of walking in another man’s shoes, but this is going too far.
New York was a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. It’s good to be back to my small town. I was born in a small town, and I can breathe in a small town, probably die in this same small town.

[Insert John Cougar copyright infringement lawsuit here]

Thanks Rich for the invite. See you again in 3 years.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Not the Steve-o

Snippets that people have said aloud in my presence. I leave the contexts to your imagination.

The popping days are over.

My parents have money. They just choose to live like trailer trash.

I don't know why seniors get discounts. They're the only ones in this society with any money.

Well, technically, she's a MILF.

They're messing with the eco-system of my head.

Has anyone seen my other end?

I haven't rented any good cheese in a while.

Is that a cigar in your pocket?

Those goddam Arabs got more money than brains.

So, you getting any action since you dumped the dry-humper?

I just can't connect with wood.

The Newfounese have not invented wine yet.

[Editor's note: FWG personally has nothing against Arabs or Newfounese (also known as Newfoundlanders) or any other illusionary tribal category.]