gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
Fair warning, this will contain so minor spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming. No major plot points, but some notes about characters and setting.

So, Spider-Man has finally come home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe where he belongs. Thank Odin! Because this is the movie that makes everyone's favorite wall-crawler the awkward kid he was for so so long in the comics. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a brilliant kid living with his hot Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) in Queens, NY. He attends a magnet school for science and technology, and, oh, is secretly the Spectacular Spider-Man.

The movie opens with Peter recording a video blog of his trip to Germany to take part in the airport battle scene from Captain America: Civil War. Despite being told repeatedly that he can't show anyone the footage, he keeps shooting. Because he's a kid. And that's what he is through most of the movie. He's what every 15-year-old boy is: eager to prove that he's an adult, and able to take on the world while not being ready. Having picked up a mentor/father figure in Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr., who has played this character enough times to have bought Rhode Island on the residuals alone) Parker keeps waiting for the Avengers to call him for his next assignment. His only confidant is his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) a fellow geek outsider who thinks Spider-Man nearly getting vaporized is just the coolest thing ever.

What really makes the film work is you believe that these are all high school kids attending a science immersion school. Long-time nemesis Flash Thompson has gone from alpha male jock to arrogant academic jerk, for example. Which works. The writing is painfully accurate on just how awkward this age can be. Seeing Peter stumble with the girl he likes, trying to focus in class, it all works! Which makes the more fantastic elements work as well. Everyone is well directed and written, even a minor hood that Spider-Man tries to interrogate, but ends up getting helpful advice from.

But no superhero film can work without a great villain, and Spider-Man does not let us down. In the comics, The Vulture was a ridiculous figure, a senior-citizen with a flying suit. Here, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a wronged everyman who takes his revenge on the system by selling weapons based on alien technology to criminals. He is a deep character with a clear motivation and his own set of moral codes. He also has the badass flying suit. In Keaton's hands, the Vulture nearly steals the movie. You believe in him, and oddly, sympathize with him.

The producers managed to stick in enough Easter eggs to supply the White House egg roll. From the classic comic book theme to the Spider-Signal, old fans of the character will have plenty of moments that make them grin. Captain America makes several appearances narrating videos shown to the students, which tie into one of the two post-credits scenes.

The action set pieces, big and small, work, although some are a little too busy. We saw it in 2-D, which I suspect has something to do with that problem. But there were a few moments where the screen was just a mess of flying objects. Spider-Man's advanced, Stark designed, Spider-suit is a character in its own right.

Problems? There were a few. Some of the jokes fell flat, Aunt May was critically underused, and Flash Thompson was never given the moment of humanity needed to make him more than an aggressor, though that they may be saving for the next movie.

As I said above, there are two post credit scenes. The first, coming in the middle of the credits, gives us a view of Adrian Toomes that raises a lot of questions. The second does nothing to tease the next Marvel movie or tie-in Spider-Man to the larger Cinematic Universe, but at our showing it drew one of the biggest laughs of the show.

One of my metrics for how much I enjoyed a movie is how well do I remember the trailers. Since trailers are designed to catch your interest and lodge the film in your head, how well you can recall those trailers shows how deeply you were involved in the feature presentation. In this case, I couldn't tell you what trailers we saw. Spider-Man: Homecoming was just that fun. I give it 4.5 Penguins out of a possible five. Go see it.

The only bad thing about the day was as we were leaving my right ankle decided to remind me that I have hypokalemic periodic paralysis. That was no fun, even though it loosened up pretty quickly.
gridlore: Photo: penguin chick with its wings outstretched, captioned "Yay!" (Penguin - Yay!)
Ah, the Fantastic Four. Along with Spider-Man, Marvel's iconic characters. For over fifty years, they've fought cosmic threats to our world, confronted Dr. Doom over and over, bickered endlessly, broken up and reformed . . . and made terrible movies.

I'm serious. There has never been a good FF movie. Which is a shame, because they deserve it. Because great movies are about great characters, and the Fantastic Four are filled with them. To that end, allow me to present my concept for a great Fantastic Four film.

First off, no origin story. I'm not wasting twenty minutes retelling the same story over. It doesn't matter how they got their powers, they have them. Secondly, we see them as an established team already. Forget the fumbling starts and transformative moments. They've been around probably as long as the Avengers. Which brings me to my third change: I'm moving them out of New York. NYC is filled with heroes already.

My first choice is Boston since it is close to both Harvard and MIT, both of which would appeal to Reed Richards. But let's go farther afield and send them to Los Angeles. CalTech and Harvey Mudd would be happy to have Reed around as an occasional guest lecturer, and God knows Angelinos love seeing LA destroyed in the movies.

Now, out characters. Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic. A brilliant scientist and engineer, with a body that is elastic and extremely durable. He can stretch his body out like rubber, and take blows that would kill a normal man dead. He's also autistic. It's so bloody clear to me. Reed is somewhere on the spectrum. He has trouble with interpersonal relationships, is more comfortable with his theories than practical life, and doesn't get most normal references. It's why he decided to fly an unauthorized flight in an experimental spaceship with his friends! I see Reed as being in his late thirties. Reed is married to . . .

Susan Storm-Richards, the Invisible Woman. Strong, independent, and deeply in love with Reed but growing frustrated with his habits. She sees herself as the designated adult of the group. Along with turning herself invisible, Sue can protect invisible force fields in almost any shape. She can use these to protect people, hold things up or down, or restrain a combatant. Sue is younger than Reed by about eight years in my vision. Sue's brother is . . .

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. Still in his mid-twenties, Johnny has been a thrill seeker all his life. Before becoming the Torch, he raced dirt bikes, surfed, and had gotten into BASE jumping. As the Human Torch, he can transform into a humanoid creature made of fire. In this form, he can fly, project blasts of concentrated flame from his hands, and is highly resistant to injury. As a last resort, Johnny can "nova burst", creating a massive high-temperature explosion centered on himself. He is usually shocked back to human form and left drained by this act. Johnny is the one member of the team who revels in what he's become; accepting endorsement deals and dating starlets.

Lastly, Benjamin Grimm, the Thing. Left feeling deeply isolated by his transformation into a rock-skinned monster, Ben is often angry and sarcastic, lashing out at both friends and foes. He still blames Reed for the trip that led to this state for him. One thing I'd like to show in the film is Ben's faith, as he is supposedly an observant Jew. As the Thing, Ben is immensely strong, able to life items weigh many tons easily. His rocky skin makes him nigh impossible to hurt, although he can still feel things the way most people do.

There's the main cast. We start the movie by zooming into the Baxter Building (wherever it ends up) and coming into a room where the team has for. . . a merchandising meeting. PowerPoint, bullet charts, the whole deal. One by one the team makes excuses to leave. Reed left an experiment running, Johnny has to make a date for a movie premier (just for fun, I want him to say he's meeting Alison Blaire for the film. Just a nod to the Dazzler fans.) Ben just announces he's bored and leaves. Sue looks at the executives and says that once again, she's left to make the decisions.

So we've set the dynamic. What follows is a set of attacks on each of the characters when they are away from each other. Reed gets attacked at Harvey Mudd (Cathy can tell me what building she wants to be trashed), Johnny gets ambushed at an after party, Ben while walking through a park. All these attacks are tough, but each member is able to fight them off. Except for Sue. She gets jumped and captured.

At which point the remaining team members receive a message. From Victor von Doom.

Doctor Doom is the classic megavillain. Arrogant, overwhelmingly powerful, yet honorable in his own way, he's been the FF's main antagonist for years. Always clad in his trademark armor, face always masked to hide his scars, he speaks of himself in the third person and is playing four-dimensional chess at all times. Doom has two goals. Bring the world to order under his rule, and the utter destruction of Reed Richards, who he blames for his injuries in their college days.

Again, I'm amused by the idea of Dr. Doom being a Mudder. West is Best, Crush the Others Like Vermin!

Anyway, the team comes together, tracks down where Doom is holding Sue, release her, and have the big battle against Doom. Just Doom. No waves of troops, no big hole in the sky, Just Dr, Doom in all his glory. The fight will be epic. But in the end, the heroes prevail. Doom falls, and the team pulls off his mask to reveal. . . a robot. It speaks.

"Were you so foolish as to think that Doom would bother with you personally so early in the game. This has been a test, and you all performed as I expected. Fear not, Richards, for the seeds of your destruction have been planted, and soon Doom will reap his just rewards."

Then the robot blows up. Credits

The after credits scene is six weeks later at an OB/GYN office where Sue is being told she's pregnant. The doctor says that everything looks normal, but because of the parents, they want to monitor it closely. Reed and Sue walk out, obviously back in love again. The receptionist watches them go as lines of green text scroll down her eyes.

This sets up the next film and the birth of Franklin Richards. The third movie can be the coming of Galactus, not just to eat the Earth, but to destroy the threat of Franklin Richards to the Universe itself!


5 Mar 2017 18:35
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
Just home from seeing "Kedi", a film we've been waiting to see for over a year, a time usually reserved for the next Star Wars or Marvel movie. But this was special. We discovered the existence of the movie while researching our trip to Istanbul in late 2015. That was when we discovered the unique cat culture of the city.

Istanbul, you see, is overrun with cats. Not feral, not house cats, but owned by no one and loved by almost all. The cats come and go as they please, and locals chip in to feed and care for them. The film examines the lives of several cats and the people whose lives have been changed by their interactions with the cats. Kedi is Turkish for cat.

But seeing the film made Kirsten and I only more determined to return to the ancient city we fell in love with about a year ago. We spent a week in the Queen of Cities last April, and were just getting good at it when it was time to leave. We had figured out the food, the taksis (taxis), the local public transit, and of course, the cats. We needed a few more days! Mainly because we discovered that it was insane to think you can do Topkapi Palace and the Archaeological Museum complex in one day. You need three. It's that big.

It's not that we missed a lot, it's that we never got into anything in great depth. We skimmed our way through places that deserved loving attention. Our mistake. But we did see a lot, and more importantly, we experienced the city. It's more than seeing the sites and listening to guides explain which Sultan built which mosque, it's more.

Istanbul, which was Constantinople up until the turn of the 20th century and Byzantium during the early Roman Empire, is an ancient place. The Old City, still mostly protected by the wall of Theodosius and the sea walls built by Constantine has been a city since the 7th century BCE. It was captured by Alexander the Great, absorbed by the Roman Empire and became its capital in 330 CE, before becoming the seat of the newly-forged Ottoman Empire in 1453. Our hotel stood on the street that had been the Silver Road, a Roman road that lead out of the city and headed north into Dalmatia.

Just walking down the street you were immersed in just how immortal this place is. It's a feeling. Almost as if the restless spirits of the city want to share their stories, and show you that the currency exchange with the flashing signs and digital display of exchange rates was doing the exact same job when it was sailors off the galleys and dhows that needed good Roman coin to spend at the wine shops and baths (both of which also still exist.)

The one place that really cemented the feeling of age for me was the Kariye Müzesi, also known as the Chora Church. This is a hilltop church built in the 4th century CE, filled with some spectacular frescoes and mosaics dating from 10th-11th centuries. It's spectacular. Now, when you think of hot tourist spots, you probably think of car parks, and spaces for the buses to offload hordes of camera-packing tourists. Not here! To get to the Chora your taksi driver takes you up a series of increasingly narrow roads, paced in cobblestones, finally stopping at the junction of four alleyways. He them points down one say "Kariye" before driving off. Because this isn't some thing that was built with greatness and access in mind. It's a local church that served the nearby residents . . . 1,700 years ago. Let that sink in.

One funny thing about that place. "Chora" means "in the fields", which made sense because when it was built it was outside the walls erected by Constantine. Barely a century after the church opened, the great walls built under Theodosius II were built, and the church was no firmly inside the walls. But everyone still called it the Chora. People never change, do they?

Yeah, we need to win the lottery and go back. We still have things to see in the Imperial City, and, if money allows, in Cappadocia and the Mediterranean shore as well. We might even learn a little more Turkish for the trip, although my mastery of "thank you" got me many smiles.

So go see Kedi. Marvel at the Queen of Cities, and the cats who rule it.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Fail Black)
OK, so the Fox Network is remaking the Rocky Horror Picture Show for broadcast. Why I don't give a flying piece of toast.

First Red Doritos: Hearken back to when the RHPS was just getting rolling. No one really knew any LGBT people. The closest most came was watching Billy Crystal on "Soap." Same goes for transvestism. So a movie with a bisexual, cross-dressing alien as a lead was edgy. On screen implied sex was edgy. Hell, implied cannibalism was edgy. Today? LGBT people are out and open members of society. And the cannibalism dinner scene? You can find much worse on YouTube.

Second Red Doritos: We were much closer to the source material. The "late night, double-feature, picture show", whether at your local theater or on a local station after regular programming, instructed us in the tropes that the RHPS played with. The two kids with a flat, the mysterious house, creepy butlers, mad scientists, and created monsters. Seeing the RHPS was like a best-of reel from great B-horror flicks of the 50s through the 60s.

Third Red Doritos: It was a social event where we broke rules. When you go to see a movie, you're supposed to sit quietly and enjoy. Not at Rocky! We danced, shouted call back lines, used props, and in most places there was a shadow cast, either ad hoc or a dedicated team acting out the film in front of the screen. You went to the RHPS to have fun with other people. Running around a theater in your underwear screaming obscenities at the screen then going to Denny's and eating fries with Ranch. Watching any production at home alone loses the point. Rocky was something out of the ordinary.

Finally, it was as close to a mystery cult as we could get. There was a fraternity among Rocky fans. The jocks and stoners went to see Song Remains the Same or Wizards, the Metal Dudes lined up for Heavy Metal (once it hit the midnight circuit), and the Art Nerds went to see whatever was playing at the Los Gatos Cinema. But Rocky fans showed up week after week. We'd see each other at school and give the briefest of nods, as our membership in the cult crossed caste lines. It meant something, damnit (Janet, I love you!).

I did Rocky Horror for well over a decade, Friday and Saturday nights for long stretches. Keep this pointless remake.

Because on our world, we'll do the TIME WARP AGAIN!!!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
So, Mad Max:Fury Road. I'll admit, when I heard this was coming I moaned a little. It's been done, Beyond Thunderdome sucked, why can't they do something new? Then I read the reviews. Here's mine.

This movie is preposterous. It breaks all laws of logic. Nothing in this film would work on anything resembling a long term basis.

It is also brilliant, fun, visually stunning, exactly what it says on the tin, loud, funny at some point, poignant at others, and draws you in even as you realize that this is all crap. Especially the PoleCats. The heroes are strong-jawed, the villains are villainous, and the mooks are color-coded. We even get character development!   

Of course, the center of a Mad Max movie are the cars and the post-apocalyptic mutants who drive them. This film is set around three cities, The Citadel, which has water and food; Gastown, which provides precious fuel and lubricants; and Bullet Farm, which provides arms and ammo. There is very little back story given, but the plot is driven by a delivery of goods to Gastown gone wrong. Which leads to everyone getting in their insanely-modified vehicles for a rolling shootout.The Citadel's fleet includes this vehicle:

Not pictured: the taiko drummers in the back. 

None of the vehicles make a lick of sense, but they are awesome so we just cheer each insane car as it appears.

The plot, such as it is, it just an excuse for a series of chase and combat scenes. Charlize Theron steals the movie as Imperator Furiosa. One of my favorite things in the movie is Furiosa is missing her left arm below the elbow, and has a pretty cool prosthetic. This point is never harped on, never given an expository moment. She's just missing an arm.

What's really cool is that writer/director George Miller, who also did the original Mad Max movies, went old school on this. This is the first SF/F film I've seen in years that had more credits for stunt men and women than CGI artists. When's the last time you saw a film fade to black for a scene change? There are many such cuts here, and they work. And his use of color! During one sequence in a sandstorm, we go from blue saturated to a flash of yellow to black and white back normal color all in the midst of dizzying action. Far from being jarring, it makes things more intense.

And just to show what a deft touch he has as a director, my favorite bit in the film. . . SPOILER WARNING

Seriously, a minor spoiler lurks below the cut tag. )

This movie deserve the big screen and a large popcorn. Turn off your logical brain and enjoy the spectacle. Five exploding punk Penguins of out of five.

Sadly, after the movie we got lunch. [personal profile] kshandra had wanted Sizzler last night, but I suggested Chili's. We went to the location on El Camino Real at Lawrence Expressway, despite having had a poor experience there last time. We will never walk into that location again. Chili's is far and away our favorite restaurant, but that one? No.

We, as usual, order the 2 for $20 special. Kiri got a steak and I got my usual chicken fajitas. The chips, salsa, and queso were fine, as was Kiri's steak. But my fajitas? The plate was smoking. Not steam from nice juicy chicken, but actual fucking smoke. Lots of it. Out of curiosity, I pried up one of the chicken slices that was actually touching the plate. Burned black to about 2mm depth. The rest of the chicken had been rendered utterly dry and tasteless.

How does a line cook miss this, and what kind of moron looks at a platter that is literally pouring off smoke and serves it? My appetite was ruined, and I just asked that the fajitas be taken off the check, and told the manager that we would never again visit that location. No excuse.

After that, we did shopping which was boring except for how our local Smart & Final has been remodeled.

We should've gone to Sizzler.
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
A night of revelry!

This got long )
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Exploding)
They're making yet another Terminator movie.

Folks, the original, low budget classic was perfect. It was a brilliant closed loop time travel story that tied everything up. At the end we understand everything, the picture, who John Connor is, and the end of the war.

Yes, the end of the war. From the script, while Reese is being interrogated:

Dr. Silberman: Why this elaborate scheme with the Terminator?

Kyle Reese: It had no choice. Their defense grid was smashed. We'd won. Taking out Connor then would make no difference. Skynet had to wipe out his entire existence!

Reese goes on to point out that the machines sent one Terminator through. The Resistance sent Kyle through and then blew the time machine up. See? One man, one machine, nobody else.

So why the hell were there sequels? (Yes, I know, money, but seriously... the story ended!)
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Carpe)
Because sports suck today, I've been watching other things. Interestingly, I'm watching the second of two films. Both are science fiction, and both feature scenes where an academic type embedded with soldiers uses a candy bar to establish friendly contact with someone with whom he shares no common language.

Can y'all name the films?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Welcome to the latest edition of It's The Arts (journal edition.)

Been a busy weekend for watching things. Friday night, [personal profile] kshandra and I attended Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna. This was her company's annual "we survived the holidays" event. I really enjoyed it, although I can now say with certainty that dance does not work for me as a narrative medium. Amaluna is loosely based on The Tempest, one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Even with that head start I can no clue what was going on. So I just enjoyed the amazing acrobatic performances.

Saturday I watched Metallica's concert film Through The Never. We had really wanted to see this in the theater, but the realities of my post-stroke rehabilitation meant that never happened. Really regret that now. The concert footage is amazing. The story of the roadie Trip being sent out to recovery a bag from a truck is wonderfully surreal. I really need to costume The Rider for cons.Just need to find out what model gas mask that is.

As for the meaning of the side-story, I have my own theory. Spoilers )

After that, we watched the epically bad 2012. Oh, dear Ghods. Never mind the terrible script and acting, the film has it's best disaster sequence in the first half hour. The destruction of Los Angeles was pretty epic. But it came early. After that it was just more narrow escapes and increasingly improbable escapes. With added scientific howlers, like how they handled the detonation of the Yellowstone Caldera. ProTip: you will no survive is you are in line of sight of the explosion. You will not outrace it in a Winnebago. And your Cessna will not survive when the shock wave hits. The entire last act with the stuck loading ramp was pointless.

But for me, the biggest howler was political. The big drive of the plot was the existence of a project to build arks in the Chinese Himalayas. The idea was to preserve as much life and culture as possible to reestablish things after the Earth settles down. Problem is, the President decides not to go, the Vice-President has been killed, and no one can find the Speaker of the House. So the Chief of Staff declares himself acting President.

This is where my suspension of disbelief snapped. First of all, the Secret Service would drag the President kicking and screaming onto that plane. Secondly, the chain of succession exists for a reason. It's not like you couldn't find a reason to send the Secretary of State to China, where s/he could be pre-positioned on the ark.I'd have one of the people in the chain up on one of the USAF's command planes for a reason, and make sure that everyone in the chain was someplace where they could be found at a minutes notice. If that means camping at Andrews AFB, so be it!

Really, really bad movie.

Finally, the Super Bowl. That was ugly. Turned it off early.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
My therapists have suggested that I make an effort to get out more. So [personal profile] kshandra and I have decided to make at least token outings as often as possible so I can practice walking in places where I will be challenged by crowds and over-stimulation.

Friday night we watched Thor as Kiri hadn't seen it, and we had tickets for Thor: The Dark World on Saturday morning. We had to see the movie because next week's Agents of Shield ties into the film. Marvel: we do continuity right!

Really enjoyed the film except for one minor nit. They tried too hard for laughs. The "B" story involving Jane Foster and the other humans Thor grew to know in the first film was filled with forced jokes. The intern has an intern. Dr. Selvig is crazy. Just badly written attempts to force laughs in what should have been scenes showing the growing menace on Earth. It detracted from the actual funny moments. But still, a fun addition to the Marvel movie canon.

After that, we had lunch at Sizzler. Good food, although I need to give up on their hot appetizer bar. Or try something different next time. The next stop was new shoes. I found a nice pair of black slip-on loafers and awesome walking shoes:

Awesome shoes

Forging on, we took a swing through CostPlus. Don't know if it was just this location, but I was shocked by how different it was from the one I worked at a decade ago. CP used to be all about cool imports, now over half the stuff on the self is house brand. Also, I wanted to look at frames for all the unframed art we have. That section appears to no long exist. Instead there's plenty of Art By The Yard in stock. Kind of weird. We did find a tool to manipulate hot oven racks and small iron skillet for making pan chocolate chip cookies. Finally, we hit Barnes & Noble. I finally got the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series (hey, I've sat on the Iron Throne, I should read the books!), a couple of Bathroom Readers, and Kiri bought a Kushiel book.

Today was much more mellow. Just shopping at RiteAid and Save Mart. Thanksgiving wine has been acquired. Still need to make my Outreach reservation for Tuesday, and tomorrow I need to set up my various doctor's appointments.

Great weekend.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Atheism - God)
While resting up after Physical Therapy and my first experience using Outreach to get around, I was channel surfing. Caught a movie I've never heard of on TCM called The Next Voice You Hear.... The plot is that at on an average evening, all over the world, people hear a voice on their radio that identifies itself as God, promising more messages in the next few days. The story follows the Smith family, blue-collar dad Joe, pregnant Mom Mary, little Johnny and Aunt Ethyl as they react to the phenomenon.

The messages (which are never actually heard in the film) are simple appeals to humanity to be humane. The movie climaxes on a Sunday after six days of messages, people the world over crowd places of worship to hear the next message, and nothing comes. God is resting. It ends on a hopeful note as Mary gives birth to a daughter.

Remake it using social media. Everyone in the world with any kind of cell phone, online account, or email gets an identical message from God at the same time. The message has no traceable route. It just appeared. Follow several stories as the messages appear over the next six days. Spread it across the world. Might work better as a miniseries.

Might be a fun project. A great chance to examine the differences and commonalities in faith.
gridlore: Photo: Rob Halford on stage from the 1982 "Screaming for Vengeance" tour (Music - Rob Halford)
This September, Metallica is releasing a concert film. 3D, Imax, the works. But it's not just a concert film. Woven into the performance is an actually plotted storyline about a young roadie sent out to recover items in a truck that ran out of gas somewhere in the city. What he encounters is a surreal night of violence and revolution. The film is called Through The Never

Here's the trailer:

Since the band, Kirk Hammett in particular, are fans of classic horror and have used images and themes from H.P. Lovecraft in the past, I'm really looking forward to this. Metallica in concert, and a strange night on the town. Who could asked for more?

OK, have more. Off 1996's Load, one of Metallica's more under-rated songs. Enjoy King Nothing!

gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
Last night, the Purple Koosh (to use Kiri's Playa Name) and I attended a pre-release screening of Spark: A Burning Man Story. An amazing documentary that manages to fit in the history, ethos, and personality of the Burn along with meeting the people who started it and continue to make it happen.

I've joked that I've been experiencing Burning Man by degrees. I help Kiri pack and unpack, I've been to the Playa, eaten at Bruno's, seen mutant vehicles up close, experienced Exodus (or at least the hundreds of dusty people in my hotel part). When Kiri is at the Burn, I watch the live feed as much as possible. But that's not getting it.

This film helped me get it a little better. Still not sure about going (mainly for health reasons, Playa dust would probably kill me dead) but I have a better grasp on the why of it now.

Film comes out in wide release this August. Take the time to see it.
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
Yesterday, [personal profile] kshandra and I headed out to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Evidently, 22 years is the "Get Your Geek On" year.

First, we went to see Iron Man 3. Good enough film, and a fun cap to the Iron Man trilogy. There was one twist that I just loved. Spoilers later.

After that, Sizzler for lunch. My medium steak was more medium rare, but still good. The only problem was the air-conditioning was set too high.

Home for a bit of a rest, then off to CalTrain! Caught what turned out to be an express, had a nice ride up. Then walked the city block to AT&T Park with the orange-clad mob. Speaking of mobs, our first stop was the Giants Dugout store. I needed an orange hoodie. Luckily for us, the featured item of the game was fleece hoodies for about $30. Then we walked around the back of the park to see the plaques installed for the two World Series wins and Matt Cain's perfect game. There was also one for Pablo Sandoval hitting three home runs in his first three at bats in Game 1 last year. Ended up walking all the way around to the Second street Gate, mainly because they have elevators there and Kirsten was really beginning to feel how much she had walked.

Have to say that I loved how the Giants handled the promo giveaway. We got a separate ticket for the hat, and the hats were being given away in a well controlled line where they checked both your hat coupon and your game ticket to see if they matched. As we were walking away from the table, a plaintive fan asked if anyone was willing to sell their hat. "Sure!" I called out, "$300 in quarters!" Heavy metal, indeed.

Found our seats in the nosebleeds. Kirsten declared she was not moving for the rest of the game. She also said the usher told her that if we left a little early or waited for the crowd to clear, we could get chair service to the gate of our choice. I agreed that the stairs were bullshit, but made an expedition to grab two beers.Never did get garlic fries, the lines were insane.

Then the game started, with Metallica doing the honors. Weird game. Kershaw carried a perfect game into the 6th, but the Dodgers could only produce one run while stranding 12 men on base. It was also a long game. When Buster Posey came up to lead off the bottom of the ninth, I think every Giants fan was thinking "just end this thing, please!"

He heard our pleas. Giants win, everyone goes home happy. Except for the Dodgers fans, but who cares about them?

One really nice part of Metallica Night was that the 7th Inning Stretch singing of Take Me Out To The Ball Game was led by the Metallikids, the children of James, Rob, and Lars.

After the game, we waited for the promised chair, but as we had to catch a train, we couldn't wait forever. Did have fun chatting with some ushers and watching the horde of seagulls descend on what for them is the best open buffet in town. At the station, we caught t a bit of luck, a tree had dropped on the tracks in Atherton. This delayed the departure of the second Giants post-game train, so we caught it. Found seats and enjoyed the moronic drunks and their various dramas.

Finally got home about 0130. Sore as hell today, but damn we had a good time!

Photos here:
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
Saturday, May 4th is the 22nd wedding anniversary for Kirsten and me. I know, we can't accept it either.

In the last several years, "May the Fourth" has become an unofficial holiday for Star Wars fans. I liked Star Wars; but neither of us ever got into the Extended Universe stuff and don't consider ourselves to be hardcore Star Wars fans.

Anyway, our getting married on 5/4/1991 had nothing to do with Star Wars or any other science-fiction reference. We got married on that date because we had gotten engaged roughly a year earlier; while driving up Highway 1after seeing the Grateful Dead at Cal State Dominguez Hills. We stopped at San Simeon State Beach and I proposed. We decided to delay the wedding for a year just to make sure that we could actually stand each other. Turns out, we could. 5/4 was chosen because it was the best date for everyone involved.

So please, if you wish to offer us congratulations on this milestone, please don't make Star Wars remarks. It actually pisses us off. Because it makes it feel like people think we set our wedding date as a fannish gimmick. That may not seem like so much to y'all, but to us, after all we've been through together, it is an insult.

As for the actual celebration, that's tomorrow. We're seeing Iron Man 3, having lunch at an undetermined location, then going up to see the Giants beat the crap out of the Dodgers. It's Metallica Night at the ballpark. Science-fiction, Metallica, and baseball. It's a day made for us! Now if we could just get Duran Duran in somehow, it'd be perfect.
gridlore: Photo: penguin chick with its wings outstretched, captioned "Yay!" (Penguin - Yay!)

gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)

She is so going to kill me. :)
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

  • Back when I worked for Lord&Sons I had several pairs of good work gloves. Today? Can't find any of them.

  • A trip to OSH is in order.

  • Or back to L&S. Be nice to see people again.

  • On the other hand, a culling of my socks is in order.

  • Have to get rid of the odd ones, worn ones, and the few that just don't fit right.

  • Still wondering what happened to one of my awesome fuzzy socks.

  • Our TV decided to die.

  • No Earth-shattering kaboom, just refused to turn on.

  • Luckily, [personal profile] kshandra was on the job and found us a new set on Craigslist.

  • Got for way cheaper than what it was going for online, and we have a proper, if small, widescreen at last.

  • Of course, this means I need to save up for another Ikea run now.

  • Needed a new set for several reasons. Mostly that playoff baseball is beginning, and the Giants and A's both won their divisions!

  • The A's did it by sweeping the Texas Rangers in the final three game series of the year. Very dramatic and a great story.

  • But over on the SFGate, when Giants fans tried to congratulate the A's and their fans, we got attacked.

  • I have never seen such an inferiority complex before in sports.

  • I blame Bud Selig.

  • The 49ers are doing well, the Sharks are locked out, and I couldn't care less about the Warriors.

  • Oh, and the Raiders SUCK! (again)

  • Going to see the restored Lawrence of Arabia tonight as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

  • I got to see this years ago in a restored 70mm print. Unbelievable.

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Glare of Sarcasm)
I'd love to see Shock Treatment get a remake.

Yeah, completely inferior to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but think about it. RHPS was a creature of its time; a camp musical that drew on the horror films of the fifties and the sexual revolution of the seventies. Shock Treatment, with it's weird town-as-TV-studio, celebrity-pop-psychology, and reality TV themes didn't hit at all with audiences in 1981.

But today? We are inundated with reality TV. court shows, tell-all day-time talk shows, Survivor, Big Brother, Ice Road Truckers, it seems that every other show involves really people have crappy days being followed around by cameras. Even the idea of a town existing inside a
TV bubble has been broached, witness The Truman Show and the recent The Week the Women Went. We even have the musical component in Glee.

I think the film would work today, because like Rocky is takes tropes we already know and blows them up to ridiculous sizes.

And I want Barry Bostwick to play Judge Oliver Wright. :)
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Just home from seeing Titanic in 3D. This was the first movie I've seen using the newer technology, and overall I was impressed. It really does do a good job of simulating depth.

Still one of my favorite movies.


gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

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