Monday, July 8, 2013

Nerdy Rantings of a Perturbed 'Magyk' Geek

So I found the Septimus Heap Series about a month and half ago and have gobbled them up. Stolen babies, hidden magical talent, sinister ghosts. I love it. Really.

And unfortunately I was slow to jump on the bandwagon because of visual prejudices. The cover looked totally boring.

Sorry a book looking like a book did not peak my interest.
And thanks to Harry Potter being the brilliant book series that it is, I figured that it was another shallow copycat. But fooled again by my bias, which is a serious handicap I have to admit, this book is an absolute must read for Harry Potter fans, but not because it is anything like Harry Potter. Wizards, witches yes, but this book has more similarities to the Prydain Chronicles. Lots of quests and adventuring, and no stressing out for those blasted O.W.L.s.

So basically I found another golden donut of the Middle Grade fantasy genre. (Hooray!) I have not been able to put these books down or read anything else. I have gone from the first book to book 5 and will not stop until the last two are read.

And being the nerd that I am, I looked up Angie Sage's bio, the works.  I read that sometime in 2008 Warner Bros. bought the rights to make a movie for the first book 'Magyk.' I just about imploded. This book series would make the best live action movie, and obviously there's an audience for it, right?! Oh joy of joys. Brilliant story and characters... something to really look forward too to help subside the awful drivel that is being released right now for kids and tweens (Man of Steel: Space Jesus couldn't get anymore boring. Desplicible Me 2 and Monsters University: Can we be anymore unoriginal?)

I was elated until 5 minutes later when I found this on Angie Sage's twitter feed:

Cookie totally crumbled. And I'm not okay with that WBs. Not at all.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Many Many Fast and Furiouses…Furioi…whatever...

Movie review? Movie review.

Edward here. I've been away from my family for a bit now and that means I'm not actively engaged in the roughly 17 billion distinct tasks lumped under the category of 'parenting.'

What am I doing with my spare time? Am I investigating the rings of Saturn with a telescope? Have I composed a new sonnet? Am I reading the latest in East Coast literary fiction, or even keeping abreast of current events?

Nope. I'm watching [The?] [Fast and] Furious 6. (Are they using articles anymore? Is it "A Fast and Furious?") I'm not sure what the ACTUAL title of the film is, but it turns out it's the SIXTH one of these. Can you even believe that?

I mean seriously, they didn't even get around to making "Casablanca 2: The Road to Berlin." Sad.
Vin Diesel, man.



Remember when people made movies with Vin Diesel in them? (I mean other than these.) Those were innocent times, man.

Before we launch into a plot synopsis, a word about spoilers. I'm going to basically assume that, if you're reading this, then you have basic brain functions, like you're not a brain-in-a-jar, or in a vegetative state or Encino Man. Did you see the trailer to FF6? Then the conclusion of the climax is basically spoilt anyway.

And in case you didn't, [SPOILER ALERT!] the good-guys are NOT in that plane!
And since you, dear reader, are a person of distinguishing tastes, or refinement and rare intellect, I know (and you do too) that you will guess every beat of the plot. This is a spoiler-proof movie.

The plot: Vin is a noble and now retired automotive based thief with a gang of wealthy peers who live in exotic and beautiful locations with apparent great wealth. The Rock shows up one day and says that the actress who was written out of the series two movies ago wanted back in so...
…apparently all roads led to this.
It's of interest to The Rock because Michelle Rodriguez (who I could never get behind on Lost) is running with a NEW gang of automotive based thieves! But we know that they're badguys because…well at first we're just told that they're bad'uns, but later we see that there's no loyalty in their gang, no sense of family.

And that's the ethos of this film. Whenever a character needs to do something, well family man.


Yeah man, family.

Well alright, if you say so.

Why would Paul Walker risk life in prison to return to Los Angeles so that he could get very non-essential information for the Plot? Why does Michelle Rodriguez not shoot Vin Diesel to death when they first meet again? Why does her amnesia (!!!) finally start to wear off? Why does The Rock's character (the epitome of law and order) risk his job and countless American lives in the face of a plot twist projected so far in advance that it was legally obligated to change its mailing address? Family.

Or something.

Anyway, there was so much 'honor among theves' that there was no room in the script for physics, which is fine I suppose. I was also left wondering when Professor Charves Xavier was going to show up, because, aside from being attractive enough, this team of super-thieves are clearly mutants with extraordinary powers. They fly, flinch-off  GSWs, some to the chest, are involved in numerous high-speed roll-over automobile accidents unscathed and use cars to shoot down a plane. [See above.]

A character actually says the following: "How did you know there'd be a car there to break our fall?"
You saw the trailer, right? They are not soaring above a marshmallow factory.
She literally characterizes a car as something that will break your fall (as opposed to "your back" or "every bone in your body.") If fact, it's something you want to break your fall, what with all of its shattery glass, sharp edges and the general metal-ness of its body.

To say nothing of the runway in the climactic end scene, which the BBC has addressed "at length." (See what I did there?)

This is not to say I didn't enjoy the film on its own merits. I actually haven't seen a whole Fast / Furious before (Most of one, bits of two, almost all of three, none of four or five, for the record.) and it's silly and inert, but not odious. I enjoyed speculating whether the Vin Diesel's team paid the congestion charge while they were speeding through London's mysteriously semi-abandoned streets, (Picadilly Circus appears at one points and for some reason, the foot traffic is just absent.) and wondering why the McGuffin was conveniently being transported in a tank in the back of a semi. Wasn't the semi enough?

Oh, and Gina Carano is fun to watch, because you're being clumsily pressed to believe somehow that she wouldn't just take Michelle Rodriguez apart in a fight. I mean she's got thirty pounds of muscle on her. And she is literally a professional, and the movie's all like "No no, this is TOTALLY an even match, bro!"

Uh…sorry movie. No

Anyway, I had a quantifiable-unit's worth of fun. You might too.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

No! No! This NEEDS to be seen!

I posted this on the Facebook Machine yesterday. Didn't get a lot of feedback. And I'm not posting it IN ORDER to get feedback, but I really REALLY feel strongly about people seeing this. So I'm posting it again. Over here. On Blogger. Which I really only rarely use.

It's a weird video. I'll be the first to say that. This gal posts posts in which she doodles math, basically. And she's a 'personality.' And her singing is weird. But this post is FASCINATING. She talks about modernist composers use of 12 tonal scales (is that the right word?) and what that has to do with art, creativity, math, pattern recognition. All the interesting stuff!

So watch it. Or don't! See if I care.

Don't wanna watch that? Fine. I bet you'll watch this nonsense.

(Oh Jack Black, I can't stay mad at you.)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

This is for posterity so please be honest.

10 years of marriage, to my best friend. It would be a complete lie to say that it was all root beer and lollypops. But it would also be a complete lie if I didn’t say that most of it wasn’t.
When Edward and I met, we were both cleaning toilets at BYU’s Museum of Art. Cleanliness next to godliness. I loved it. This was the same job I’d had before my mission but my first day coming back I met a very tall, very clever, very cute guy named Edward. I will sheepishly admit that I crushed on him right away. And when I like someone I feel awkward. As in a tongue twisted, red in the face, kind of awkward. I really wanted to hang out with him. He had these interesting things to say. He read interesting books. He was funny. Fortunately for me I liked him enough to overcome my blundering self. I was, however, completely artless in the pursuit of a date with my dream boy. I essentially forced him to play card games after work everyday. This, as you might know, was not one of his favorite pastimes. In fact I occasionally commit spousal abuse these days and force him to play a game or two with me if I’m feeling really sinister. But starting off a relationship with harassment is, shall we say, risky?

Fortunately we had Vonnegut, Henry David Thoreau, Madness, and Jamiroquai to help us get through the initial relationship clumsiness. We traded books, CDs (remember when we use to use those?!), talked about movies. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Edward asked me out on a date. It was October, so instead of bringing over a flower he brought me a pumpkin. Halloween is my favorite holiday so when I saw that, I melted into a pile of wax on the floor. We saw a movie, we ate pizza for dinner… The best part was that we enjoyed talking to each other so much that we didn’t realize that it was 3 AM in the morning. The whole date was a blur.

We were essentially besties right away. Our transition from co-workers to friends, to boyfriend/girlfriend, to fiancées, to husband and wife… it all felt pretty seamless to me. We were perfect for each other, but again, it’s not that everything was perfect. Edward stinks up the bathroom and sometimes I overly nag him. But we love each other. We even like each other. We are on the same page. We are dreamers. We work hard. Life is so very good I feel like I could implode.

In summary, Happy Anniversary to the stinkiest brain ever!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

I found this email Edward and I sent to an infant niece awhile back that was a response to a lame chain-mail. It made me miss my better, stinkier, half.


Both of Us

1. What time did you get up this morning?  7:309:17
 2. Diamonds or pearls? Black Pearls. Neither... both represent a violent and cruel theft by the strong against the one case, clams and in the other, poor African nations.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Coraline 
4. What is your favorite TV show? Right now Lost, ever Arrested Developement
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Bagel and Cream Cheese or Cereal. PB&J and/or Pretzels.
6. What is your middle name?   McKean, my maiden name cuz I didn't grow up with a middle  name. Russell. 
7. What food do you dislike? Wet eggs, fish, Liver, and Hawaiian food. None, I like everything.
8. What is your favorite CD at momentThe Fleet Foxes (self titled album). Elliot Smith's Roman Candle. 
9. What kind of car do you drive? Subaru Legacy Outback 

10. Favorite sandwich?  Anything with salomi. Great question. Even a bad Rueben is good. 

11. What characteristic do you despise? Hypocrisy.  Evilness. Or people who are uptight.
12. Favorite item of clothing? My cute Jackie O. Jacket. Old 70's undercover coat with fur on it.  
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Morocco. Timbuktu, Mali. Tokyo. Vienna. Prague, Czech Republic. Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Vilnas, Lithuania. Argentina.
14. Favorite brand of clothing? AnthropologieLacoste.   
15. Where would you retire to? EnglandThe Yukon.  
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday?  16. 23rd when Meridth gave me a mystery to solve. (I had to wear a disguise.)
17. Favorite sport to watch? OlympicsSuperbowl, occasionally. 
18. Furthest place you are sending this? Approximately 2,557 miles.
19. Person you expect to send it back first?   None  
20. When is your birthday? May 16June 16 
21. Are you a morning person or a night person?  Night person, I'm just a Person-person

 22. What is your shoe size? 10, 49 European
23. Pets?  Radar our Corgi

25. What did you want to be when you were little? Truck Driver, Professional Football Player, or a Marine Biologist. Paleontologist.
26. How are you today?  TiredSunburned.
27. What is your favorite candy? Gummy Colas. Wine Gums
28. What is your favorite flower? Protea. Bells of Ireland.   
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? September 5th (our baby's due date). September 4th (my graduation date). 

30. What are you listening to right now? Plateau, Nirvana (from Unplugged in New York).
31. What was the last thing you ate?  S'mores 
32. Do you wish on stars? Not lately.
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?  Crayons are dumb. I would be a bunch of different colors melted on the dashboard of your car. 
35. How is the weather right now?  Beautiful. Windy, Chilly, and bright.
36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today?  Nat (my little brother)Nobody.
37. Favorite soft drink?  Diet Coke. Red Bull All Natural Cola.
38. Favorite restaurant?  The Ultimate Greek Grill (in Provo).  Rauchkeller in Sankt Johann im Pongau, Austria
39. Real hair color?  Brown. Graying brown, auburn beard, blond 'soul patch' region
40. What was your favorite toy as a child? Dollhouse with miniature mice. Legos.
41. Summer or winter? I like seasons. I like seasonings.

42. Hugs or kisses? Depends on the person. Mmmmm...I like kisses.
43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Both. Wait, it depends on what it is. Chocolate candies, vanilla ice cream, ice cream sandwiches have both. Why choose? Chocolate if it is of a REALLY high quality. I mean I had a chocolate ice cream in Austria that had a red pepper taste added. Divine. Vanilla ice cream however is a fantastic vector for other flavors and that's why it's used in sundaes and ice cream bars and chunky shakes and stuff like that.
44. Coffee or tea? Herbal teas! There's a great one from Yogi Tea that has a black pepper kick. It's super.
45. Do you want your friends to email you back?  We're only sending this to the friend who sent it to us, so we don't anticipate any reply regarding this message as such.
46. When was the last time you cried? I usually don't cry. I choked up at the end of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and I'm not at all embarrassed about it.
47. What is under your bed?  Ummm...we sleep on a mattress on the floor so...just the floor.
48. What did you do last night?  Talked with our friends around a campfire just north of Big Sur California.
49. What are you afraid of?  Sharks, but I secretly love how cool they are. The inevitable zombie uprising.
50. Salty or sweet? Both. Both together.
51. How many keys on your key ring? 3. Boring question. I refuse to answer. 
52. How many years at your current job? Just over a year. Just over a year.
53. Favorite day of the week? Doesn't matter. Today.
54. How many towns have you lived in? 12. 11. 
55. Do you make friends easily?  Yeah, kind of. Sure.
56. How many people will you send this to? Just two. The best two, actually.
57. How many will respond?  Zero probably.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

This year I went as a geisha.

Love you guys, wish I were there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One for the Plus Column

Where to begin?

We recently sped off for a jaunty little overnighter at the Great Smokey Mountain National Park...

Photographic Evidence.

...No no no. Can't start there...

We'll try again. >Ahem< Meridth and I have been to a National Park or two...

Photographic Evidence's not out first rodeo, y'know? And the thing that I have quite recently discovered to be idiosyncratic about National Parks is this: the area around the park is entirely dependent on the regional character of the surrounding area.

Too wordy? Check this: the town right outside of Zion National Park in Utah is called Springdale. It has a population of 457 people. You can buy a sandwich there. Maybe a bowl of soup. If I recall, there might be postcards. Outside of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park there is a two-headed hydra of an eyesore called Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. I've been scouring the interwebs all week looking for photographic evidence of this abominable temple to the excesses of our baser impulses but, by gum, the local Chamber of Commerce must have a PR firm on retainer. I wish I'd stopped and drunk it all in (Metaphorically. With my camera.) so that I could Make. You. Understand. It.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Why is Pigeon Forge, TN home of the "largest permanent Titanic museum in the world?" (Secondary question: why are there impermanent or traveling Titanic museums that are larger?) It's so very far from anything relevant to the great sea disaster of 1912. The museum lurches into view like the bloated corpse of a beached whale, the last thing you'd expect to see amongst the verdant Appalachians.

Reminds me of nothing so much as Toon Town from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

This was one of literally dozens of establishments providing the weary traveller a taste of that hill-folk charm. (Is that the PC term? Is it "Sons of the Soil," maybe?) But honestly, no one comes out of this looking good.

Quite literally, I'm afraid.

I'm a bit insulted that someone thought I'd like to witness this gastric train-wreck, that is, until I remember that this is the face that these people want to present to the world. Really, I feel bad that they'd sell their identities for the rupees of monied Indian tourists so...cheaply.

To whom these shows are catering is a mystery to me. Anyone with a shed of dignity (or anyone from the States and not looking for an 'ironic' evening) would sooner eat at...even a Shoney's. Those who might take a shine to this brand of humor, however, are probably on vacation from (or more probably with) relatives not at all unlike the colorful characters portrayed on stage, in which case they'd just as likely choose the Shoney's too because...let's face it, the dinner show comes with them.

There goes the neighborhood.

Then there is this:

Behold the spectacle

For my dial-up using readers, whose clanging, steam-driven modems are busily shuffling through the requisite punch cards to load this miraculous image, pictured above is a building which has been humorously constructed so as to appear as if it has somehow tumbled on its axis and alighted on it's surprisingly sturdy roof. Lo! It is EVEN still safe to ENTER! (for a small fee)

This one gets to the heart of the cheap chintz that is Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. Alright, it's an upside-down building. Maybe there's a wax museum inside. Maybe a maze of mirrors (we saw four on the main drag). The only people who really want to find out, who are even willing to pay for the privilege, are under ten-years old OR vacationing with children under ten AND ignorant totally of how to relate to them in any meaningful way. This is the ultimate non-vacation.

As you drive through 14 miles of this, outlet malls, museums dedicated to torture devices, shops selling "As Seen on TV" merch, two separate amusement parks, miles of go-cart tracks, shops selling racks upon racks of photorealistic airsoft guns (gotta wonder what the Indians think of that), souvenir shops the size of airplane hangers, hotels advertising creek-side rooms, fast-food restaurants, haberdashers, and a gosh darn space needle, you forget why you came here in the first place. The park...

Behold the spectacle

There's a smallness to GSMNP that you won't find in Zion or Arches, and I don't mean that as an insult. The lush forests, turning in the autumn afternoon, offered an intimacy that can be absent from the craggy vistas of the awe-inspiring Rockies. Furthermore, nestled in the park there are a number of plain wooden churches, some built in the 1880's, which speak to a time when these lands were the home of the progenitors of those now manning the booths and culturally-insensitive stage shows. So little remains from that America that I'm grateful that these human steeples can peek out humbly above the trees, a part of the landscape.

Submitted without snarky comment

Now I understand that everybody's gotta make a living and the tourist trade has clearly allowed these towns to support a population roughly 20 times the size of Springdale, UT, but at what cost? When I see the cheap goods, prices marked way high, the airsoft guns, the replica weapons from popular video games, the "hand-crafted" dolls and discount Indian jewelry, it's evidence to me that people aren't sure why they came. A family will arrive, traffic will move at a snail's pace up this Stars-and-Bars version of the Las Vegas strip (of which I am also no fan), their children will get hungry, have to pee and soon they'll find themselves abandoning their coveted spot in the line of cars, getting out to "stretch the legs" and "take a leak," Timmy will clamor for a replica Legend of Zelda shield and an airsoft Kalashnikov, dad will relent because he's tired of hearing the boy whinge, and they'll all wander about a "Ripley's Believe it or Not" Museum of Hollywood Cars pretending that they're a family.

This is a true story, I swear on my life. The traffic just cleared up right before the entrance of the park, like everyone just got caught by all the things to do right there at the doorstep of one of America's great National Parks.

Uschi + hiking

Now the park's mojo isn't perfect. First, it's free. There's a provision in the state law that says that the road that cuts through the major pass here has to remain toll free, and that sounds like a good thing, but it's not. I'm not going to say that...wait. Strike that, reverse it. I AM going to say that it keeps the riff-raff out, but I'll explain what I mean. I have no intrinsic problem with casual enjoyers of nature. But the free entrance to the park has encouraged a lot of motor-hiking in GSMNP. What I mean is there are a number of roads that just circumnavigate the park. On a busy weekend, it's like being stuck in LA traffic with a pretty back drop. I'm not saying that every National Park should be inaccessible by anything less hardcore than a pack mule, but what happened to encouraging people to get out of their cars and walk more than 20 feet to meet and greet with Ma Nature? We got babies and we found a few easier trails. There was a particularly nasty snarl of traffic, it took us the better part of 30 minutes to go the half-mile to where we could see what was holding things up. A black bear was snatching a snack from a high tree branch 150 meters away and every Mother's Son pulled over their minivans so they could get out and get a snap of a blurry black smudge in a tree. What made it all the more sad is that not ten minutes after pulling off onto what was literally a "road less travelled," we snapped these out the windows of the HHR:

The little son of a gun crossed right in front of us.

Why am I mentioning all of this? Not just the bear, but the whole thing? Where does it all meet back to connect with the issues of the day? Here it is folks, the next time you hear someone shoot their mouth off about how 'Big Government' is the bane of existence for all America-loving patriots, think about this: if there was no National Park, if the Federal Government of the United States didn't mark a line in the sand, how far up the Blue Ridge Mountains would this glut of cheap crap go?

I'm truly grateful for the wise conservationists and politicians who gave us the National Parks system, but I'm gonna go that next metaphorical step. We used to have a pretty good system set up in America. Managers and owners would provide jobs. Workers would fill them. Everyone knew the rules of the road and everyone stood to gain. The last thirty years of deregulation in this country has proverbially pushed that line up over those mountain peaks, and temporarily we all got richer. You can't blame the individual t-shirt shop owner, he was just trying to get his share, hustling to get ahead, keeping up with his neighbor. Nobody looked up from their cut to see that we were destroying the very thing that made the US so attractive in the first place. I don't know why the GOP debaters keep bringing up illegal immigration. It's slowed significantly since the recession started. And they keep saying that regulations kill jobs? Well a lack of regulation in our food industry is killing people. Long story short, I'm sick to death of politicians running to fill positions in a government they seem to despise. I'm sick of people's stark refusal to recognize the important role of government in facilitating business, both domestically and internationally (Whose Navy keeps the shipping lanes clear? Bank of America's?) And I'm 'bout sick up to here of people saying they love America but hate the US government. To me, it's just south of treason, and it's gotta stop.

Alright, said my peace. It was an excellent trip. It's late and I still haven't regaled you with the dandy yarn of how I almost destroyed the HHR. ("The guidebook said the road was perfectly safe for cars!") I guess it's just desserts for all the griping I did about motor-hiking.

The road in question. Looks tame now...

Felix: Just About Funned-Out



Monday, September 26, 2011

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Movie Reviews. I said movie reviews were coming, right?

Oh look, here's one now!

What can I say about 1984's "Streets of Fire?" Well, the obvious thing is where have you BEEN all my life?

The answer's going to be "Bottom of Blockbuster Bargain Bin," isn't it?

It's hard (very very hard) to explain what "Streets of Fire" is. First, there is an obvious relationship between this movie and the director's previous work. Remember the vaguely post-apocalyptic characteristics of the gangs in "The Warriors?"

Egads! Baseball mimes!

That sort of stylized ridiculousness (crucially played completely straight) is back in "Streets of Fire." Set in a relatively peaceful district of a troubled major metropolitan area (Times Square ca. 1982 remixed through The Thunderdome), the architecture, costumes, cars, music and attitudes are a mash-up of post-war Americana and the 1980's view of the post-apocalypse. Rockabilly blends with New Wave. Shoulder pads rub shoulders with pompadours.

This must be Flockabilly...of Seagulls?

If this all seems a little...high concept they keeps the plot pretty tight. Remember Double Dragon?

No. Not this one.

This one.

For those new to the Beat-em-up genre. The large gentleman in the white skinny jeans is about to gut punch the girl and hoist her over his shoulder. The garage in the background opens revealing a wicked red Camero and Billy and Jimmy Lee. They fight to save her. The End.

That's more or less the plot of "Streets of Fire." An ex-soldier fights to save his ex-girlfriend (now a well-regarded music star) from a gang. And there's more to this video game connection as well. Thinking back, beat-em-ups really had a double-dose of earnest silliness. Looking back at the plots of classics like Streets of Rage (you fight a gang that has gone to the trouble of training kangaroo enforcers), Final Fight (whole roast turkey's found in rusty oil drums restore life), and especially River City Ransom...

ESPECIALLY River City Ransom.

...which really latched on the that 1950's America aestetic, these games all share that neon, bubble-gum absurdity that I really enjoyed in the movie.

The cast has a surprising number of familiar ("Hey I KNOW that guy! What is he from?") faces. Rick Moranis plays against type (Alright, he's still a nerd. But he's a pretty commanding one.) and That-Lady-Who-Played-Kevin-Costner's-Wife plays a rough-and-tumble dame.

Who is also an ex-soldier. Army must be cutting back on reenlistment bonuses. Or basing them on some kind of reverse drabness scale.

But it's not the plot or the cast or even that weird setting that makes this one pop. It's actually the dialogue. No. Not at all in a Tarantino way. It's snappy and wry but ultimately goofy, And yet it works. In the same way that Tarantino's movies are steeped in the traditions of the genre films he grew up with, director Walter Hill clearly has an affection for the schlock and grind, yet even in something like "The Warriors" which is all about brawling street gangs, there's an earnestness, an honor to his heros. Tarantino can only rarely film something this blissfully unaware of itself (the bar scene in "Inglorious Basterds" comes to mind).

And it's not silly in the arch and epic and wonderful way the classics like "Flash Gordon" are. This isn't a film that is so bad it's great. In fact, for many it's going to be so bad it's bad. It's more like a film you made with your friends one summer if your friends had access to dozens of exploding motorcycles, a rain machine, the set from "The Outsiders" and the budget to hire Willem Dafoe.

Willem Dafoe moments before the film's climactic railroad hammer fight.

Did I not mention that Willem Dafoe plays the psychotic villain? That he channels Eric Von Zipper via the video for "Beat It?" That the movie ends with a mano-a-mano duel with railroad hammers? Hm. How could that have slipped my mind?

Here's the catch sports-fans: parts of the movie haven't aged well. It opens with the ex-girlfriend in concert belting out an 80's power single. It's a liability. You have to just soldier through that man. You won't regret it. Number 2: it has another medley near the end featuring beloved staple of easy-listening stations "I Can Dream About You." By that point, you'll have likely already invested in the movie and you'll just let it slide. (Protip: avoid eye contact with anyone in the room.) Third: Bill Paxton's in it.


However in the plus column we have Ed Begley Jr's cameo, a cigar chompin' sheriff, a railroad hammer fight, and hey! Bill Paxton's in it.


Walter Hill said he made the film because he wanted to cram a bunch of awesome stuff into one movie and then he rattled off a list: "...custom cars, kissing in the rain, neon, trains in the night, high-speed pursuit, rumbles, rock stars, motorcycles, jokes in tough situations, leather jackets and questions of honor." If you can read that list without snickering, this might be a movie for you. Meridth waltzed in during the last twenty minutes and found herself enjoying it, but well confused at my enthusiasm. I thought about it a minute and then explained that if I'd seen this movie when I was 10 it would have been my favorite movie ever. At 30, it's flaws are so apparent, but who doesn't want to be a little less cynical about movies these days?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cute Picture Overload!

I know many of you (most of you) (all of you but my mom) are bored to tears of pictures of my progeny. I'm sure that in this long hiatus since March you've found other outlets for wit and repartee and you never really missed pictures of my kids to begin with. I get that.

Don't worry, there will be more movie reviews. I might talk about a book or two. I might even reveal a project I've been allowing to percolate. Meridth also will reveal sundry thoughts and wholesome wisdom that she's thought up in her deranged artist's brain.

What I'm saying is that we're gonna do stuff that isn't about our kids. But today is not that day. LAUNCH BABY PICTURE MONTAGE!

Okay, this is quite simply the cutest picture imaginable. Uschi loves her grandpa.

Piggy-pig pig tails.

The Many Moods of Master Felix:

Food Happy

One-Quarter Happy

Half Happy

Full Happy

Too-Happy-For-My-Own-Face Happy

Drool Happy

Seriously, I could post pictures of this kid's open-gob smile all day. Wonder where he gets it....

Uschi has discovered quite a few creative outlets. We haven't quite decided whether we're right or left handed yet, but all the same, she loves to paint...

...draw in the bathtub, (The shape at the bottom is 'mummy.' Daddy's on the upper-right and Uschi is upper-left. Her words.) ...

...and investigate the paranormal.

(She also likes to dance to Sousa's most feisty marches, but we haven't got a photograph of that.)

Speaking of my mother...

...we shanghaied her for the midnight showing of HP7 Part B. Good times were had by all. (Review by Bat-Mer to follow.)

Cheers all. We won't let this sort of disgusting down-time occur in this publication again and as always, your patronage, comments, and cash monies are always welcome.