Tuesday 20 November 2012
At least two houses on my street put up their Christmas decorations last weekend, a full six weeks before Christmas. What's the damn hurry to get to Christmas?
I talked about this with the dental technician at my appointment for fillings yesterday. (Yes, another appointment for fillings. In fact, part of yesterday's appointment was to fix some old fillings that were showing stains. Now even my fillings need fillings!)
The technician said she shared my opinion, and that in her opinion time passed fast enough without our hurrying it. She then proceeded to to explain that she also hated artificial Christmas trees with "built-in" lights and visiting family that overstays its welcome. It was quite a lively conversation, if a bit one-sided.
At least some other people are perturbed that Christmas seems to be coming earlier each year, I thought to myself. But no sooner had the dentist injected the lidocaine into my jaw before I overheard the following conversation in the hallway outside:
Hygenist: "Do you think that Pike Nurseries on LaVista road is a nice place?"
Voice 2: "Yes. Why do you ask?"
Hygenist: "I think it's time for a Christmas tree."
So now I've decided that decorating for Christmas is a social disease, passed from one person to another, infecting everyone along the way. Obviously, as I'm strictly opposed to the concept of seasonal decoration, I must only be a carrier for the disease, spreading it without showing any symptoms myself.
I guess that means that if you are reading this post, you should probably take the preemptive measure of squirting some Purell into your eyes, just in case. Better safe than snowy, I always say.
Sunday 18 November 2012
Since we're over halfway through the month, I might as well post the films I watched in the first half of November so that I don't get backed up posting them all at the beginning of December (as happened for October/November).
262. Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006)
Film in a nutshell: a giant squid protects an ancient artifact. Seriously, the whole thing was created as an excuse to fill some empty time slot on SyFy's schedule.
263. Dance Flick (2009)
The Wayans never really stopped making In Living Color. The family just took their parody spoofs into movie theaters and weaved a loose narrative around them.
264. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004)
I remember wanting to see this when it came out. Sure, it was sappy and predictable, but I was still entertained.
265. M (1931)
Now this film is art! The cinematography is amazing, especially given the film's age.
266. Super Shark (2011)
Poor John Schneider. Last time I saw him, he was playing a man crusading against evil corporations releasing super killer sharks. Here he plays the head of an evil corporation that releases super killer sharks. At least he's not typecast.
I don't want to oversell it, but the highlight of the film takes place shortly before a very, very slow walking tank was employed to attack a very, very slow crawling shark on a beach. A scientist, a colonel, and a boat captain watch a giant shark jump out of the ocean and eat a jet plane:
Scientist: "It flies!"
Colonel: "That's bad!"
Captain: "I need a drink!"
267. Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)
Greg Evigan steals scenes from The Core while a bunch of actresses I've never seen before reenact scenes from Jurassic Park with a touch of chest-bursting Alien thrown in for good measure. You know, just like the Jules Verne novel.
268. Princess of Mars (2009)
In another knockoff of a big budget film, Traci Lords plays the titular character. (Giggle.)
269. Goon (2011)
This film was released to Video on Demand before it hit theaters in the US, usually a sign of a terrible film. But damn, this was genuinely entertaining and funny. It tries really hard to be a 21st-century Slap Shot and doesn't fall too short.
270. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
I loved this truly great character piece. There is not typically a lot of suspense in John Huston films because justice is always ultimately served. However, the way this film briefly toys with defining the protagonist as a nice twist.
271. Dear John (2010)
The "happy" ending seemed completely out of place, something that a quick internet search confirmed as a last minute studio response to negative preview audience reactions. Where do they find these preview audiences? This movie went on to make a bunch of money, so what do I know.
272. Poseidon (2006)
Everything about remake of The Poseidon Adventure is absurd, but I was always more partial to its sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, anyway.
273. The Last Man on Earth (1964)
The "vampires" in this movie sure act suspiciously like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. I'm sure that's no coincidence. (I should also point out that this film has our hero kill his newly befriended miniature poodle just to demonstrate how difficult and lonely it is to be the Last Man on Earth. This is the second movie I've seen this year that "Kicks the Dog" by killing a miniature poodle. To be fair, at least this time it was a vampire miniature poodle.)
274. Tower Heist (2011)
Eddie Murphy is always at his best playing a supporting character, but how did Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, and Judd Hirsch also all end up in this silly caper flick?
Friday 16 November 2012
The 2012 New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is "gif." That's right, "gif," as in the acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a digital image format introduced to the world by CompuServe in 1987 and largely replaced in the 21st century by the patent-free Portable Network Graphics ("png") format. "Gif," pronounced either as "gift" without the "g" or as the peanut butter brand Jif, depending largely on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you're on, has finally climbed to the top of the logophile heap, and all it took was changing into a verb.
I'm not one to doubt the wisdom of the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary, but I can't say that I've heard the word "gif" used as a verb yet. The archaic gif, unloved and abandoned by digital imagery professionals, now survives thanks to amateurs who have found that it makes a handy universal format for animating and sharing brief clips of children being attacked by animals and adults earning Darwin Awards. If anything, it's not "gif" that should be awarded, but "ISP," for finally building the Internet's tubes large enough to support the ridiculously bloated size of animated gifs.
Ultimately, I have to guess that if a 25-year old word is the Word of the Year, it must have been a slow year for words. Seeing the hoopla that "gif" got, I thought I'd take a look back at past words honored by the New Oxford American Dictionary:
- squeezed middle
It's almost like looking into a time capsule! All of those are zeitgeist words. Who refudiates anymore? I guess that means that in a few years, we won't even remember that in 2012 we giffed.
Yep, just like it all never happened....
Wednesday 14 November 2012
I had a dream last night that I was working with Dick Schwartz and Jim Groff in the Comic Company again. The personalities were spot on: Dick seems affable but is really so deaf he has no idea what you're saying, and Jim is polite and professional but completely disinterested in comics. How did I end up enjoying a job so much where no one ever listened to me?
This dream isn't too uncommon for me. I dream quite frequently about old jobs. My co-workers are usually as I remember them. Or, more accurately, how I remember their personalities. (Although I have a mind for trivia, I was never good at remembering faces or names.) What always changes are the locations. Maybe it's my mind's way of preventing me from guessing what's coming next, just like how The Magnificent Seven is really the Seven Samurai but hopes you won't notice for all the sand.
While I dream occasionally about working at the comic book store, I more often dream about being a waiter again. That dream is always the same. I'll be enjoying palling around with my nameless co-workers for awhile before the dinner rush starts. For a time, I'll be on top of the game. But inevitably, too many people ask me to do too many things at once, and I become a stressed-out basket case. I got fired from every job I ever had as a waiter. If my dreams are any indication, I wasn't very good at it.
But my dreams of working at the comic book store are never negative. That should probably be expected. I loved that job. I never would have commuted 120 miles round-trip to work at a restaurant as I did when working at the Comic Company. Heck, these days you have to pay me $100 just to take the trash out to the curb.
Thanks for the opportunity at my dream job, Dick and Jim.
Comments (3)| Leave a Comment | Tags: comic company dreams walter
Monday 12 November 2012
Saturday 10 November 2012
Mom and I traveled to Auburn to watch the Bulldogs and Tigers play. I'd never seen a game in Auburn, and Mom hadn't been to Jordan-Hare stadium since her father, an Auburn alumnus, took her in about in 1957. We figure this means that she goes to an Auburn game once every time Auburn wins a national title. If Auburn's play today is any indicator, she won't be going back for another 50 years.
Auburn and Georgia didn't belong on the same field together. The Tigers were as bad as any team we've played all season, and they totally deserved the zero points they scored. Georgia effortlessly 28 on their first 4 possessions and easily steamrolled their way to an eventual 38-0 victory.
The Auburn fans in the stands had long since resigned themselves to how terrible their football team is in 2012, and were resorting to self-deprecating gallows humor to ease the pain. By the third quarter, most Auburn fans had even gone home, abandoning their home stadium to us Dawgs fans celebrating clinching SEC East. It was a pretty good time.
Friday 9 November 2012
With the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, hitting theaters today, it seems that I'm being blasted from all sides by advertising for the film. Just last night, in addition to the expected television commercials, I saw new Bond Girl Naomie Harris on The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, a "James Bond" category on Jeopardy! in which some poor sap lost cash for calling the only George Lazenby Bond movie "In Her Majesty's Secret Service," and a discussion on Headline News about the "hottest" Bond Girl, Pussy Galore. I think that the anchors were enjoying their job way too much, as they seemed to be trying to see how many times they could say "pussy galore" on television and get away with it.
Boy, I sure will be glad when next week arrives, and we can replace all this Bond hype with Twilight hype. Sadly, I am only half kidding.
Wednesday 7 November 2012
Mother and I watched, like, 7 hours of election returns coverage last night. These things are always lots of fun. This year was no different, especially after all the networks called Ohio and therefore the election.
Diane Sawyer looked drunk on ABC. Karl Rove stubbornly refused to accept the announcement despite pressure from his Fox News Channel co-commentators. Shepard Smith, anchor of the coverage on Fox, grew increasingly irritated over Romney's delay in presenting his concession speech. John King spent hours defending CNN's "PROJECTION" of Ohio for Obama. And Brian Williams on NBC, which lacked CNN's Magic Wall technology, tracked the final vote tallies by decorating the ice rink outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Thanks, 2012. Here's to 2016!
Monday 5 November 2012
The final 11 movies from October:
251. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
The story in this Sam Raimi thriller is just an excuse to get from one gory scene to another. It's like watching a slasher horror film from the 80s. You know, like the kind directed by Sam Raimi.
252. It's a Dog's Life (1955)
This weird little melodrama tells the story of the life of a surprisingly well-educated dog from the streets of New York City. There's a surprising amount of violence and misogyny early in the movie. The script probably could have used a few more rewrites; it took awhile for me to realize that the movie was simply trying to describe the dog's hardships, not suggest that violence was the way out of poverty.
253. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)
Supposedly the oldest surviving animated feature film, this German silent is quite well done. Rather than saying "they don't make them like this anymore," I think the appropriate description would be "they only made them like this once." Impressive.
254. Final Destination 3 (2006)
In late October, it became harder to find movies on television that weren't horrors. This was the first Final Destination movie I had seen, and I hope it will be the last. I have better things to do than sit around and watch stupid people die in impossibly contrived Rube Goldberg devices. Very boring.
255. Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941)
Okay, "they don't make them like this anymore" really is the best way to describe this Fleischer Studios feature-length animated film. The story hasn't aged well -- you can probably tell from the title that it was based on the Frank Capra stock template (yuck) -- and I suspect that even in 1941, the climax was very anticlimactic.
256. 21 Jump Street (2012)
Funnier than it had any right to be. This film attacked the fact that it was a comedy remake of a television show head-on in the first 10 minutes. I think this is the right tactic. The audience is aware of the fact, so go ahead and address it and get it out of the way. A well written surprise with very satisfying cameos from original cast members.
257. On Borrowed Time (1939)
There's something unique and charming about this film, even when an anthropomorphic Death (cutely called "Mr. Brink") tries to trick a little boy into suicide. Seriously, I liked it very much. (Are there bad movies with anthropomorphized Death? Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, Seventh Seal, Color of Magic, all good. I probably need to track down Death Takes a Holiday/Meet Joe Black.)
258. 50/50 (2011)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems to be in everything these days. I've certainly enjoyed his work since 3rd Rock from the Sun. I don't think he ever disappoints. Add Anna Kendrick and this movie sparkles in spite of its deeply uncomfortable subject. Don't get me wrong, this movie knows it's a comedy all the way, but it doesn't flinch from reminding us of the ultimate loneliness of our own mortality. I much enjoyed it.
259. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
I've heard nothing but terrible things about this franchise. So far as "zombie apocalypse" action films go, this isn't the worst I've seen. (You know how I feel about zombie films. As I said, thanks to impending Halloween, this was the only movie on tv when I wanted to watch something. So I watched it. Even given the circumstances, it could have been worse.)
260. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
Everyone I know will think that I must be cheating to put this on the list, but I had seriously never seen this movie before. Now I have.
261. The Uninvited (1944)
Another recommendation by Grimmy. It's hard to believe that this suspenseful ghost story/murder mystery, reminiscent of Rebecca, wasn't directed by Hitchcock himself. The cinematography is especially impressive. Best recommendation yet, Grimmy!
That's 31 movies for the month, 1 per day! I need only to see 39 more movies in the next two months to reach 300 on the year. Get ready, eyeballs, we've got some watching to do!
Saturday 3 November 2012
For the second time in two home games, the scoring didn't start until after I went to the concession stand. Ole Miss was up 3 to nothing when I went to buy a Coke and popcorn. By the time I returned to my seat, it was 10-7. I probably would have been back in my seat sooner, but the dude running the concession stand had to use a calculator to add $3.50 to $3.50, and he still gave me the wrong change for a $20. He must have been a Georgia graduate.
It was a strange afternoon. During an absolutely wild second quarter that saw 4 turnovers over the course of 5 consecutive plays, two separate groups of people were thrown out of our section for intoxication. No one ever gets thrown out of our section! That led to this overheard exchange:
Guy 1: "Did you tell on them?"
Guy 2: "Hell, no. I'm just glad they didn't see my shit."
Once Georgia was finally on the way to their eventual 37-10 victory, the crowd collectively exhaled and spent the final two quarters joking about how clueless the radio announcers are about the names of the players and how bad Mike Bobo's offensive play calls are.
Guy 3: "I've been watching Bobo call plays for years, and he sucks at it."
Guy 4: "I remember watching Bobo play, and let me tell you, he sucked at that, too."
I think in the end, a good time was had by all, probably even the people who got kicked out in the first half.