Showing 1 - 10 of 192 posts found matching keyword: friends
Saturday 5 August 2023
58/2224. Flaxy Martin (1949)
The title character is not the protagonist but the femme fatale, the reason the protagonist runs afoul of the law in this compilation of crime noir cliches. I watch enough of these that I must like crime noir cliches.
61/2227. I, Tonya (2017)
It's weird, getting old and seeing movies made of historical events that you remember living through. This very comedic interpretation of the scandalous events of 1994 leans heavily in Tonya Harding's favor, but even when she's on her best behavior, the movie is populated entirely by some of the worst people behaving badly, so it's hard to feel too charitable.
62/2228. 1917 (2019)
Friend James told me this was a great film, and I didn't take him seriously enough. It really is amazingly well crafted and, yes, beautiful in its depictions of the horrors of the Great War. Honestly, it's a masterpiece.
63/2229. Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt) (2020)
On the other end of the movie making spectrum is this much, much smaller fantasy coming of age film with a budget so small you'd lose it in the laundry. Sucker that I am for coming-of-age films, I still enjoyed it very much. (It's kind of nice to be reminded that as fraught as teenage hormones and relationships are, they aren't a literal war.)
64/2230. Storm Warning (1950)
Ronald Reagan is a crusading prosecutor driven to rid his town of the Ku Klux Klan! The film hints at an underlying connection between the racist Klan and the manipulative forces of industry, but that's subtle enough not to get in the way of the crime thriller. Pretty darn good.
65/2231. Don Juan (1926)
Credited as being the first movie with synchronized sound, it doesn't really capitalize on the innovation. It's mostly just another swashbuckling adventure film of its era with sword sound effects reliably clanging on cue.
More to come.
Monday 24 April 2023
I know my loyal readers probably couldn't sleep at night until they got an update to my April 12th post RE: Walter's hunt for a new cap, so here it is.
I still haven't found one.
After that first Nike hat turned up too large, I ordered another in the next size down. It was, perhaps not too surprisingly, also much too large. Oh, well. If I can ever make it to the post office before 5PM, I'll be shipping that one off to Friend Ken, who agreed to take it off my hands even if he doesn't know if it'll fit him. May you have more luck with it than I had, good sir.
Figuring that no matter what size Nike hat I ordered, they were all going to be too large — Nike sells style over substance, so it figures all their hats are designed to fall off outfielders catching routine fly balls — I decided to next order from the Official University of Georgia Bookstore a '47 brand hat that looks darn close to my previous one-size-fits-all cap. The bookstore's website took my money, then their employees emailed to inform me the hat was permanently out of stock. One of these days, they'll get around to refunding me, they promise!
Undeterred, I went to the '47 website where I discovered that they don't carry the hat anymore, either. But they do carry a different red Uga hat that might be acceptable, so I ordered that one... for $15 more than I paid for the hat I didn't get from the bookstore. Fingers crossed.
By my count, I've now spent over $170 on a baseball cap I don't yet have. The difference between obsession and stupidity is a very fine line.
Saturday 15 April 2023
I woke up early (1PM!) to have lunch with my libertarian friend Matt, and the one thing we could agree on is that "compromise" is the dirtiest word in America.
(Actually we agree on two things: I am an asshole.)
Good to see you, Matt!
Saturday 18 March 2023
EPISODE FOUR: SURVIVAL, PART THREE
Quig stepped over the corpse of the boarding craft captain as he made his way to the craft's command console. The boarding craft had pierced the hull of the Chutoi's storage bay, and only its specialized atmospheric shield projectors were keeping everyone from being blown out into the vacuum of space. Quig admired its control panel; it was an impressive bit of engineering.
"They put up less of a fight than I expected," said Striker One from the storage bay as he wiped the blood from his hands with a tunic he had torn off one of the dead slavers.
"That's because they keep underestimating us," said Sahara.
"I don't know about that," said Cobryn. The pilot leaned against the bulkhead as he held an emergency medpack against the laser wound in his thigh. "They estimated where I was pretty accurately."
"You know what I mean."
Striker One said, "Just because we beat one boarding party doesn't mean we're safe yet. Or have you forgotten that our engine is dead, our life support is failing, and there are still two warships out there filled with slavers and gun runners who hate us?"
"I haven't forgotten."
"Then what's our next move?"
Sahara shrugged. "I'm open to suggestions."
"I have one," Quig called back to his comrades. "Piercing our hull didn't damage this boarding craft at all. It looks like we could use it to return to its mother ship."
Cobryn didn't look pleased. "Are you crazy? The Fenris is full of slavers!"
"Exactly. They're slavers. They're expecting their craft back with slaves in it," said Quig. "Only, if we're not slaves, we'd have the element of surprise in an ambush."
"I like it," said Sahara. "Let's take the fight to them."
Striker One asked, "What about Bronson? He's still on the Fenris. Do we think we can overpower him?"
Quig smiled. "I have a plan for that. You see, according to the craft's log, this is just one type of boarding craft the Fenris carries."
He turned on the boarding craft's tight-beam communication array. "Boarding craft Hound's Tooth calling Fenris. We could use some help here. Can you send Bronson over?"
"I don't think that is wise," said Striker One.
The radio crackled to life. "I was hoping you'd ask. I'm on my way, Hound's Tooth."
"You are crazy," said Cobryn.
Quig snapped the radio off. "The Fenris's other boarding pods are one-way trips. Bronson will be expecting to fly back in this." He hopped off the pilot's seat. "If you can manage to fly this thing with one leg, Cobryn, I suggest you get ready. We're not going to have a lot of time after I start the overload on the Chutoi's power core."
"I think Quig is my kind of crazy," said Sahara as she and Striker One began helping Cobryn into the boarding craft.
It was almost a shame to blow up such a nice ship, Quig considered as he hustled down the corridor to the Chutoi engine room. But all things came to an end. So long as it wasn't his end, Quig could live with that.
Sunday 26 February 2023
EPISODE FOUR: SURVIVAL, PART TWO
Cobryn knew he was a great pilot. All pilots thought that of themselves, of course, but Cobryn knew that he really was. He could have flown for one of the galaxy-wide conglomerates if not for all the red tape that came with those types of jobs. Filing debriefs and sitting through human resources cross-species dating seminars didn't have anything to do with flying. Sure, those jobs came with great health benefits, but they were boring. Cobryn just wanted to fly.
Although, right now, the prospect of health insurance seemed pretty enticing.
"Dammit, I need more speed," Cobryn urged.
Quig barked a laugh as his tiny clawed fingers danced over the bridge's engineering console. "The power core has taken so much damage it's a miracle I've still got life support working. This is as fast as you're going to get."
It wasn't fast enough. The Chutoi shuddered as another another energy blast slammed into her hull.
Cobryn looked at the many, many warning lights blinking across the pilot console. It was almost hypnotizing. Minimal thrust, pitch and yaw control… he might as well be flying a rock.
"There go the last of our shields," Sahara complained. "I'm open to ideas here. Anyone got anything?"
"We've done considerable damage to the Garbools' flagship," said Striker. "More than I would have anticipated, honestly. However, the three Wolf Pack vessels have us surrounded and are closing the net. If we cannot outfly them—"
"I'm doing my best," Cobryn snapped. What he didn't say, what he knew everyone else already knew, was that his best wasn't going to be good enough.
The radio crackled to life. "Crew of the Chutoi, this is the Wolf Pack Fenris, Bronson speaking."
"I really hate that guy," mumbled Striker.
Bronson continued, "Don't worry; we're not going to shoot you out of the sky. I want you alive. I intend to make you my personal slaves."
"Death first!" shouted Sahara.
"He can't hear you," said Quig. "The microphones lost power minutes ago."
"Is slavery really the worst option right now?" Cobryn asked. "Death seems so… final."
Again, the Chutoi shuddered as the Fenris's gravity beam seized her. This proved to be the last straw for the power core. Its insulators shorted out, and the core's remaining energy was discharged as electrical feedback through the ship's systems delivering a nasty, numbing shock to Cobryn's hands.
"I suggest we prepare to be boarded," said Striker.
Cobryn rubbed his pained hands. Yes, he sure could go for some of that corporate health care.
Monday 6 February 2023
EPISODE FOUR: SURVIVAL, PART ONE
Sahara leaned back on the bench and allowed herself a moment of self-satisfaction. Haze was pleased with their successful raid against the Wolf Pack slavers, and despite herself, she was pleased he was pleased.
Haze's computer-modulated voice continued from the speaker. "The remaining members of the Wolf Pack assumed the attack came from the Garbools and destroyed their primary weapons factory in revenge. And just like that, the once unassailable Three Families have been brought to their knees. There is only one more thing to be done...."
Sahara frowned at the sudden silence. "Did we lose the connection?"
"Not on our end," Quig answered from his seat beside the communicator. "The line is still open. Haze just stopped talking."
"Mid-sentence? That's not like him at all," said Striker. "His communiques always sound almost as though he is reading from a script."
"I've got a bad feeling about this," said Cobryn.
So did Sahara.
Haze returned. "I'm detecting ships tracking to your location. They appear to be…. Yes. It's the Families: Wolf Pack and Garbool ships. They must have tracked you somehow. They'll be at your headquarters within minutes. You must get out of there. Now!"
"This is very, very bad!" said Cobryn. "The Chutoi is no match for Three Families fighters."
In his irritatingly calm manner, Striker asked. "Should we stay here? The bunker is protected from direct bombardment."
Sahara started gathering her gear. "The bunker might be, but the Chutoi isn't. Haze is right. If we don't get out of here quickly, we're sitting ducks waiting for the Families to overrun us."
"Where are we going to go?" asked Quig, as he packed his drone.
"We'll worry about that when we're airborne."
The truth of the matter was that Cobryn was right: the Chutoi was a transport, not a fighter. It was slow and weak. If they were forced into a direct confrontation, they might as well be flying a coffin.
But as Sahara and the others hustled to the landing pad, she couldn't shake the feeling that Haze knew more than he had said. If everything had gone so well and the Families were really on their heels, why were the Wolf Pack and Garbools working together again? How had they found the bunker safehouse? And what was Haze's last task?
If by some miracle she survived this, she'd be sure to ask him face to face.
Thursday 12 January 2023
Not so long ago, my anonymous friend — let's call him "Randy" — asked, "Can you name one thing that is better now than it was a few years ago?" It's a pretty good question.
Certainly, there has been a parade of bad news over the past half decade or so: COVID, Trump, Ukraine, drugs, inflation, immigration.... I'm sure you can think of a few more. Certainly, a lot of things don't seem as fun as they once did: watching the television shows you want to see costs a small fortune for a dozen streaming services, most of the content in video games can only be unlocked with micro transactions, corporations bought the fun out of the Internet, comic books cost $6.... I'm sure you can think of a few more of these, too.
From an objective point-of-view, things for most of us are actually still pretty good, as evidenced by the fact that we all have so much time to bitch about what sucks. Could things be better? Yeah. Yeah, they could. But were things better than this just a few years ago? Has American society peaked? I have doubts.
Judging whether the future we got is "better" than the present we had is a matter of comparing what we hoped we would get to the reality of what we got. That's never a particularly fair comparison. Hope might spring eternal, but reality, to borrow a phrase, always bites.
But in answer to Randy's question, yes, I can name one thing: Georgia Football. Georgia Football is better than it was a few years ago. Way better. Go Dawgs!
Monday 2 January 2023
Reading a bunch of critic's best-movies-of-2022 lists made me curious, so I went back and counted. I watched 16 movies released in 2022 in 2022.
Six were documentary/biopics. Four were mysteries. Three were cartoon/superheroes. One was Downton Abbey. And these two were on most of the aforementioned "best" lists:
153/2162. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
Friend Ken was a big fan of this nearly indescribable sci-fi action film, and he has been encouraging me to see it since it was still in limited release. The last movie Ken promoted this much was Into the Spider-Verse, and I'm happy to report that both lived up to Ken's hype. This is bonkers in all the right ways. I'm sure it's destined to become a beloved cult film in the Buckaroo Bonsai tradition.
157/2166. The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)
After a great deal of thought, I think I've decided this might be my favorite film released in 2022 that I watched in 2022. Re-teaming the actors and writer/director of the fantastic In Bruges in a character piece, it's much, much smaller in scope than Everything Everywhere but every bit as enthralling in its own much, much more focused way. (I cannot believe that the Colin Farrell in this and the Colin Farrell in The Batman [or Miami Vice or Daredevil] are the same actor. Give this man all the Oscars!)
More of both of these sorts of films in 2023, please!
Tuesday 27 December 2022
Early in the 2022 football season, Friend Randy said that if his beloved FSU made it to a postseason bowl game, we were going. Well, FSU did make it — to the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando — but Randy decided we should go to a closer game. So we went back to the Birmingham Bowl to see the East Carolina Pirates play the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Full disclosure: Randy wanted to go to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery to see Georgia Southern play Buffalo. But that game kicked-off at noon Eastern time, and I didn't want to wake up so early in the morning. So we compromised and went to Birmingham, which had a 6:45PM Eastern start. The only down side to this decision was that the entire game was played after dark. We could have used a little sunlight warmth. Actually, we could have used a lot of sunlight warmth. It was cold.
University of Alabama-Birmingham's Protective Stadium has replaced historic Legion Field for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I mean, it does have larger bathrooms and more convenient concession stands, but its seats aren't any more comfortable and the place isn't wrapped in the smell of BBQ. I mean, it's fine. I'm just old fashioned.
Sadly, the game itself wasn't as good as our last visit. The Chanticleers' starting quarterback knocked himself out of the game in the second quarter, bouncing on his head in the end zone right in front of us, and the team never recovered. (The backup's nameplate read "Guest," which Randy and I had a lot of fun with: the poor temporary replacement wasn't even given his own account!). We left at the end of the third quarter when the game was very obviously over.
Despite these minor problems, Randy and I agreed we both had a great time and will have to try to make going to some bowl game an annual tradition. Maybe we'll get to the Camellia next year... depending on kickoff time.
Monday 26 December 2022
Did everyone have a Merry Christmas? I guess I did, all things considered. I mean, so long as I ignore the fact that the Miami Dolphins collapsed in the second half and lost their 4th straight game, going 0-4 in December and demonstrating that despite some earlier success they are definitively not ready to be a playoff team for the 22nd year in a row. (Annual reminder: their last playoff win was in 2000.)
Yeah, ignoring that and the fact that I badly cut my thumb on the large carving knife while doing the dishes, the rest of the day went pretty well. It was in the wee hours of this morning that I ran into trouble. Or maybe I should say that it was Louis who ran into trouble for us all.
After watching Sunday Night Football go to overtime and spending an hour trying and failing to play online games with Friend James (the trouble seemed to be with his ISP), I noticed at about 1:30 in the morning that something smelled wrong in my room: the faint smell of burning plastic. That's never good.
I began sniffing my way around the darkened house for the cause, starting with the basement. It wasn't coming from my room. It wasn't the furnace which has been running all out for days to combat the 30-year historic cold. It wasn't in my studio where I had been painting finishing veneers earlier in the day. So I moved upstairs where the smell was indeed stronger. I thought maybe it was the Christmas tree lights, but no, they seemed fine. And It wasn't any appliance in the kitchen or anything electronic in Mom's office. I even grabbed a flashlight and checked outside to no avail. What *was* the source of that smell?
When I came back inside, I noticed that the flashlight wasn't a spotlight like it was outside but an illuminated beam, a fuzzy lightsaber. As a former Boy Scout, I quickly recognized this as a Very Bad Sign. The good news is that I could follow the flashlight beam to find the areas of thickening smoke.
The source, as it turns out, was behind the curtains separating the den from the sunroom that Mom uses for crafting. As is usual in the winter, the "sun" room was the coldest in the house, and she has been running an older model portable oil space heater day and night to keep the chill out. At this point, you've probably figured out where this is headed.
Context clues indicate that sometime while I was preoccupied with football or video games, my mischievous puppy, Louis, had taken a break from chewing up my new shoelaces and pajama bottoms to sneak behind the curtain — where he knew he wasn't allowed alone — and knocked over the heater. The sideways heater did not have an automatic shutoff, and worse, on its side it started leaking oil, oil that fortunately smoked before it flamed.
I uncovered the problem in time to prevent any further damage to life, limb, or property. (Sure, the house *smells* like burnt plastic and oil, but at least there's a house to smell.) I think from now on I'm going to have to keep Louis tied to me. And I'm going to recommend that Mom mounts her new space heater (with automatic shutoff!) to the floor!
Post-Christmas crisis averted!