Monday, May 28, 2012

Reviews - Kung Fu Panda 2, Dazed and Confused

Okay, I'm not even going to apologize for loving Kung Fu Panda and the sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2.  Sure, I'm an adult male, and traditionally, adult males are supposed to like action, car chases, and boobfests.  I must admit to liking the boobfests.  And action.  And car chases, come to think of it.  But that's not my point!  My point is, I'm entitled to enjoy watching whatever I like, and far from making me "uncool," because I like the occasional cartoon, it makes me the coolest person ever, because I don't let other people decide things for me.  I'm a chubby, hairy, 270 pound gorilla of a man, and I like cartoons!  If you got a problem with that, well... take it up with my mom.  She'll kick your ass.

I loved the first Kung Fu Panda.  I totally identified with Po, the main character, voiced by Jack Black.  Who, as we all know, is pretty cool.  Why did I identify with Po?  Because he's fat, always hungry, and people made fun of him all the time, too!  Erm, also, I wanted to learn Kung Fu when I was a kid.  It's true.  I never actually did learn kung fu, but honestly, just like Tigress says to Po in the second movie, when Po expressed an interest in learning a harder style of kung fu: "I don't think it's...  your thing."  Kung Fu is probably not my thing.

Kung Fu Panda 2, however, is a really nice movie.  Just like the first one, it's very streamlined.  The movie never drags.  It's excitement and action and laughs from beginning to end.  Completely unlike Po, there is no fat on this movie.  There's a solid message, I've seen it twice already, and laughed uproariously the whole time.

Just to illustrate one part (and hopefully this doesn't ruin the movie for you), Po faces down his arch-nemesis from the top of a building, shouting down at him while the villain holds Po's friends captive.  Unfortunately, Po is so far away from the villain that nothing of Po's rousing speech can be made out at all, so the villain keeps asking "What?" until finally, Po takes off his straw hat, and hurls it with all his force at the chains holding his friends captive!  Unfortunately, the straw hat flies about 30 feet, then veers off its course and flutters about in the wind, falling to the ground ineffectually.  At which point, Po hides his face, as if no one saw that complete and utter failure on his part.  I giggled like a school girl on crack.  It reminded me of me so much, it was like watching home movies.

I am pretty sure they are going to make a kung fu panda 3.  I don't really see why they wouldn't.  I'm not sure how well the second one did at the box office, but if the first one did so well they made a second, and the second one was just as good (which it seemed to be), then I am all for making a third.  To be completely honest, I have seen the first Kung Fu Panda about 30 or 40 times now.  Much like a small child whose parents put the same video on for them to watch a hundred times, I still enjoy watching Kung Fu Panda.  I was almost going to watch it again tonight, after having seen the second movie for the second time, but I ran across Bridge on the River Kwai, which I hadn't actually seen before, so decided to watch that instead.

I also saw another movie earlier, Dazed and Confused.  It's a 1993 movie about a bunch of high-schoolers graduating in 1976.  There's a lot of stars in this movie, making either their first appearances or rounding out the cast, like Milla Jovovish and Mathew Mconaghey or however you spell his name.  I found this movie quite odd.  It starts out on the last day of school, which first attracted me to watching it.  There's nothing like the feeling of the last day of school, I often dream about it.  All through spring you want to leave school and just go out and have fun, and finally the school year is over and you are released!  For at least three months, in most cases, but anyway, I am sure you know what I mean.  I suspect it's like a prisoner being released from a long confinement, when the steel doors finally open up and you're free to go.  At least, that's what it always felt like to me.

In any case, this movie didn't seem to be about that at all.  For almost the entirety of the movie, the high-schoolers seemed to be chasing down the younger boys at the junior high school nearby in order to give them paddlings.  I'm not really sure where the writer of this movie grew up or what the rules there were, but I can't say as I ever recall a bunch of older high school boys chasing me down all over town to give me a paddling, and I only graduated 12 years later.  Now I don't see anything wrong with being gay, but if chasing down young boys in order to paddle them doesn't scream of unwanted homosexual pedophilia to me, I'm not sure what does.  But hey!  I've seen reviews of this movie on netflix, and people who say they graduated in 1976 rave about how realistic this movie is, sooo...  I guess I'm glad that by the time I was headed for graduation, those roving bands of spankers had become a thing of the past.  Yea.

The rest of the movie is pretty much a bunch of 14 to 18 year olds driving around, playing pool, drinking beer and smoking pot.  There's some sort of message there about not bowing down to the man, drinking and smoking pot as much as you please, because that's all that seems to happen in this movie.  There's no sex, no nudity, no real violence and nothing really heartwarming or moving seems to happen at all.  I was watching this sort of commercial on Turner Classic Movies between war movies earlier today and some famed director said that there should always be a point to a movie, otherwise, why make it?  But this movie seems to be the exception to that rule.  I don't see a point to having made it, but perhaps watching it while smoking, drinking and perhaps being paddled would make me enjoy it more.  Hmmmm.  No.  I don't think that's ever going to happen.

I also don't think I'd ever watch it again, other than if I was hopelessly in love with Milla Jovovich and absolutely had to see every movie she's ever made.  While she is quite scrumptious, I don't think her rare appearances in this movie make it watchable.  Ben Affleck running around as the main, ah, "paddler" is not only not surprising, but in retrospect, totally understandable.  Matthew mconaghey (never could spell his name right) appears here as a drunken older stoner looking to hook up with freshmen girls...  Which, probably is so much like his real life persona that this wasn't even acting for him.  Seriously, have you ever heard him try and speak coherently when he didn't have a script?  But then i don't guess women care much if he speaks or not.  (shrug)

Well, I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day!  With temps near 90 here already, I'm hoping the rest of summer is just as nice and toasty!  :-)

Game of Thrones

So I'm watching Game of Thrones on HBO.

And it's a decent show.  I read the books, so I know what's going on, and I know the writer's working on the show as well, so it's pretty close to the books.  I am watching the second to last episode of this season, and I find that The Onion Knight seems to be the most honorable person in the entire series.

Let's review the story so far.  Fair King Robert Baratheon is dead, causing a power struggle amongst the various lords of the 7 kingdoms.  There's a king in the north, Rob Stark, son of the slain Hand of the King, who was Robert's good friend, Ned Stark.  Ned WAS the most honorable man in the kingdom, but honor didn't help him much.  He was honor bound to report Robert's queen's betrayal of Robert, but before he could report it, Robert was killed and Ned met his end at the headsman's blade.  This caused a power struggle amongst the remaining 7 kingdoms.

Rob Stark wants vengeance for his father's death, but his claim to be King of the North is not honorable.  He knows Stannis Baratheon, Robert's brother, has the most valid claim on the throne, but nobody likes Stannis, so Rob's gathered an army and is trying to free the North and take the throne in vengeance.  He's good-hearted, but not entirely honorable.

Stannis Baratheon, while he has the most valid claim on the throne, has allied himself with an evil force known as the Red Witch.  He had no compunctions about using that power to cut down his younger brother, who challenged his claim to the throne with a superior force of knights.  So while his claim may be honorable, the man himself is not.

Now the Onion Knight, formerly a smuggler, is now Stannis's right-hand man.  The Onion Knight supports Stannis because Stannis has the most valid claim to the throne, so that's honorable.  He's formerly a smuggler, but he forsook his smuggler's ways to help Stannis in time of need, and Stannis pardoned him.  So despite being a former smuggler, he's still served Stannis honorably since the time of his pardon.  Also, though he serves a dishonorable man, the Onion Knight (so called because he brought onions to a starving populace and staved off their deaths) has not joined in worship of the Red god, and suspects (rightly) the red witch of the darkest deeds.  So despite supporting a man who he knows is not honorable, the Onion Knight is doing his best to honor both his liege's rightful claim to the throne, and his friendship with Stannis.

But, I think the Onion Knight just died in the siege against the capital city.  So who does that leave?

No idea.  I like Tyrion best, though.  He's not honorable, but he's good-hearted and is doing his best to survive both his birth amongst the greedy and evil-hearted Lannisters, and the fact that not only his own clan dislikes him, but just about every other king or clan in the 7 kingdoms hates him.  He's also a dwarf, but a smart one, and trying to survive a war for the crown.  I hope he makes it!

In other news, the family picnic was fun, although the pine trees in the area were dropping so much pollen that my entire car was coated in yellow.  I can't imagine how much landed on my food or ended up in my lungs, but I had to clean my glasses several times just to get the tinge of yellow off of everything.  My brother, of course, did not show up, but told his wife the picnic was cancelled, which of course, wasn't true.  But then, I hardly expected him to suddenly be honest with her and say "Sorry hon, we WERE going to the picnic, but I fucked up, disowned my brother for no reason and told my whole family to go fuck themselves in a violent display of temper because I have no self control and can't stand being caught in a lie."

Ah well.  Supposedly the whole world is going to end in 6 months anyway, or was that today?  I don't really recall how that whole end of the world theory works, but I think it's a truckload of rubbish.  There's no reason whatsoever to think the world isn't going to keep on being just as fucked up as it is now, for a good long time yet.  So don't go maxing out your credit cards just yet!

Now, I have to go take some tylenol just to ease the pain enough to sleep tonight.  Too much work on a neck injury does it little good, not to mention the sudden leg injury i got yesterday.  Getting old sucks!  I don't recommend it.  One star out of ten, just for the wisdom you get as you grow older, assuming you don't lose your brains to alzheimers.  I would not get old again if I could help it.

And no, it's nothing serious.  A few days of rest and I'll be good as new.  Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Hulk's Other Life

Did you ever wonder what life would be like for Bruce Banner if he never got angry?

For those not in the know about comic book lore, Bruce Banner is the Incredible Hulk's alter ego.  His arch-nemesis, if you think about it, because Bruce is the one being that the hulk cannot ever smash, the one being that can control the hulk and make him do what he wants, and the hulk can't do shit about it because Bruce Banner IS the Hulk.  If you've ever followed the comic books at all, on the rare occasions when Bruce and the Hulk are somehow separated from each other (which has happened on occasion) or the Hulk refers to him, the Hulk hates Bruce with a passion, and will go after him above all others.

So let's say you are Bruce Banner.  You know what happens when you get angry.  Things break, people get hurt.  At the very least, there's extensive property damage.  So you try and avoid being angry.  You stay out of sight, you work in a lab by yourself, you tell people, very politely, things like "Please don't make me angry.  You wouldn't like me when I am angry."  And you mean it.

Yet, here's the problem.  People always seem to want to make you angry.  What's up with that?  if you've ever followed the comic or watched any of the various cartoons or movies, you know that Bruce Banner is somehow, some way, going to be made angry.  Usually little things don't do it.  I mean, Bruce doesn't fly into a rage and become the hulk when he breaks a nail, you know?  He's very mild-mannered.  We're talking Clark Kent, here.  So somebody really has to keep pushing bruce's buttons over and over before they rile him up enough.  And then, they pay for it.  So why do they do it?  Just for the lulz?

So what would Bruce's life be like if no one ever made him angry?  Or if they listened to him when he said things like "Please don't make me angry?"

I can picture him laying out a beach somewhere, soaking up some rays with old Betty Ross (i think that was her name) while their kids play in the surf (because I think that shit in the movies about him not being able to have sex is just BS, that it's just a pulse thing... in the comics it was only anger that triggered the hulk, not passion).  He'd live out his days in peace and quiet, and sure if something bad happened to him like a mugging or something, he'd just hand them his wallet and they'd take the money and run off.  They wouldn't beat him up just because they felt like it, and trigger one of his rages that ends with all of them looking like roadkill.

The reason I mention this is because it seems like people just like making me angry some days.  And I'm not someone who gets angry easily.  I chat on the internet, people say things to me all the time, impugn my good nature, but do i care?  Nah.  I understand they are just doing it because they are jealous of how great I am.  I get that.  I don't counter attack them.  I just nod and smile, because I know deep inside the other person, there's a scared little girl who doesn't know how to handle such an obviously superior being such as myself.  But it's okay!  They'll hang around me and eventually learn to worship me as they should, and if they don't learn that right away, that's okay too!  Some people are slower than others.  Everyone has their own pace of learning, and if they never learn to impale themselves on the altar of my love, well, that's just their loss!

So I'm helping mom get ready for the picnic tomorrow.  And she's saying things like "Can you run downstairs and check to see if we have any mustard?" and "Count all the soda cans we have and let me know how many of each so I know what I have to buy at the store." and "Check the dates on all the salad dressings we have in the fridge and let me know which ones are expired.  And while you're there, see if you can find the pickles." and "Don't let me forget to bring propane tomorrow." and "Unload the groceries, will you?  I need a drink."  Finally after doing all that, she comes to something I don't want to do.  Can't remember if it was grilling the food tomorrow (I burned the burgers last time) or driving her somewhere on monday (I'm going to be worn out the day after the picnic) and I tell her no, I'd rather not.  And she responds with...

"Why not?  It's not like you ever do anything around here."

At which point, my brain asploded.  Who needs gamma radiation when you have a mom?

Even worse, she added "If you weren't so lazy, none of this would have happened." referring to my brother's accusation that he was just trying to get me to do more around the house, and that's why he's disowning me (check my previous posts if you are lost about that one).  She wouldn't even discuss it, either, I was all like "tell me you didn't just say that." and she was already changing the subject.  So I got mad and just turned around and walked away, and THEN she's all apologetic.  Like getting me pissed off is her only goal in life.  And once I am mad, she's happy.  The minute I stop being angry and stressed, she starts pestering me again.  Wtf is up with people like that?  Are they put on this earth just to turn Bruce Banner into the Hulk?  That is their life's destiny?

I guess someone has to be the Hulk's roadkill.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Family Drama Update

Ah, there's nothing like warm family gatherings by the fire.

So I'm in my room last night, playing computer games like I always do (I'm a bit of a gaming geek), and my brother shows up.  Now, as I mentioned a few posts back, my brother told me he was disowning me one fine fall day in the middle of my kitchen because I wouldn't take his side in his 14-year feud with one of my sisters.  He basically gave me a choice, either I join his side and disown my sister, or he was disowning me.  I told him goodbye, since their argument that happened 14 years back didn't have anything to do with me, I wasn't there for it, and I've never wanted to discuss it with either of them.  But, my brother didn't give me a choice.  According to my nephew (his son), he's been ranting and raving about that argument for years, and wishing my sister dead.  I had been trying to ignore him for 14 years and apparently, he got tired of being ignored.  He did all this while my mother was in the hospital undergoing heart surgery (his mother too).  But instead of coming over to talk about mom's condition, or to see if I needed anything or just to commiserate over mom's poor health at the time (she's doing great now, by the way), he came over, ranted about my sister for about an hour (my sister was on the phone at the time and heard part of it), and then told me he wanted nothing more to do with me unless I had nothing more to do with her.

I really hate ultimatums.

So anyway, he comes to my house last night, and stands at my bedroom door.  He asks "Do you have something you want to say to me?"  And I'm wondering what the hell there could be to talk about at this point, so I say "No?"  And he says "I heard you weren't coming to the picnic unless I apologized to you."  I'd never said that to anyone.  I just didn't want to be around such a unpredictable person who'd had a history of violence against me.  As of yesterday morning, I was planning on attending the picnic and just trying to steer clear of him.  And note, that wasn't an apology.  He was just relating what he'd heard (from my mother, who somehow got that into her head, who told my sister "The tattler," who told his wife, who told him).  So I said "No?"  I was hoping that would be the end of it.  But it's never that easy with him.  He then said "So we're good?"  And of course we aren't, so at this point, I have to ruin his good mood.  I say "No." for the third time, and ask him if he's still disowning me.  He says "Yes." point blank, no qualifications.  So I said "Then there's nothing more to discuss."  So he's all "Why not?  Is it because of that thing that happened in the kitchen?  All that I said was, Mom's coming home from the hospital and you need to do more around the house, and you said no."  Which is total bullshit.  Despite Mom actually being in the hospital that one fine day last fall, he never even mentioned Mom from the time he walked through the door until the time he left, which certainly doesn't sound to me like someone who is concerned about her health.  Also, that's pointedly ridiculous.  I've been here helping Mom (and my deceased dad) out for the last 21 years by myself, through all their various illnesses and cancer, doing a hell of a lot more than he's ever done.  Certainly she was going to need more help around the house, and I wouldn't have even considered not helping her out until she was better.  The poor woman simply didn't have anyone else to keep an eye on her while she was recovering from the surgery.  And another also, if that's all he'd said, why was he disowning me, then?  That makes no sense.  So I say "I'm not getting into it with you."  Because I know he's just going to keep repeating his insane lies until someone buys them.  To which, he looks over at my mom (who I presume was standing in the kitchen, though I couldn't tell through the wall) and makes a face like SEE? like this somehow proves his point.

I think you, gentle reader, are getting a sense of just what a dick he is.

So he tries to get into it with me again, and I refuse to take his bait.  He again repeats "his version" of what happened in the kitchen that day, to mom, right outside my door so I can hear him lying.  So I refuse to get into it with him, and he starts just shouting at me, saying things like "You want respect?  Well, I give what I get!"  I don't recall ever mentioning the word respect around him, but I assume at this point he's just totally bonkers, and then after a while of him ranting I ask him "Well, if that's how you feel, why are you still here?  Just go."  So he blows up, says fuck this, and fuck that, fuck everyone and slams my door so hard that he breaks the trim.  And then has to hammer it back on before he can stalk out of the house.  lol  He yelled at my poor mom in the kitchen for a while, telling her he was done with everyone and I can go fuck myself and all that, and then tells her he's not coming to the picnic, coming for the holidays, or ever coming over here again.  Which, at least solves the problem of him possibly blowing up at me again for not agreeing wholeheartedly to his lies.  (shrugs)

He did a crappy job on the trim, by the way.  I had to take the hammer and fix it myself after he left.

The funny thing about all this is that my mom defends him all the time.  She's all like "well, he's been working too hard" and "he's in a lot of pain" and "He doesn't want to be alone."  All i can think of is, well if he doesn't want to be alone then why is he disowning me?  Her defenses of him make absolutely no sense either.  She'll say something to try and justify his completely unjustifiable actions, and I'll ask her if that's why, then why did he do this?  And she has absolutely no idea.  lol  Finally she said to me today, "Maybe he's just having a nervous breakdown."  To which I said "Well, I just hope he doesn't take all of us down with him."

So thankfully that drama is now out of the way.  If he wants a physical confrontation (he has a past history of pushing it that far), then he's going to have to come right to my door and start it, because I am not even getting near him if I have a choice.  But as long as he has nothing more to do with me, he won't be around and I can get some peace and quiet around here, so I can work on my tan.

And yes, if he starts a fistfight with me, I am kicking his ass.  No question.  Hulk smash.  :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Host - Review

I love creature features.

There's really no other way to say it.  There's nothing like a big crazy monster stomping around eating humans and the humans fighting it.  Godzilla, Rodan, King Kong, Mothra, all those wacky movies are just things I love to watch.  It's not only an enjoyment of the imaginative movies themselves, but my training in biology and anthropology that makes me wonder, could such things exist?  What would their society be like if there was more than one of them?  How would their existence affect the ecology of the region they live in?  But that's all scientific stuff.  Most of that doesn't really apply in monster movies, but that's just why i find them so interesting.

So it's no surprise my Netflix queue is filled with them.  yesterday evening I picked one at random, The Host.  Turned out to be a very decent korean or vietnamese (forgive my ignorance about what country of origin this movie emerged from, I'm an american, so I claim american ignorance of the world around me as my excuse) flick.  Movie quality was excellent and it appeared to be a big-budget production.

Let me set this up for you.  A medical lab wants to get rid of some formaldehyde.  This is a toxic preservative.  The guy in charge of the lab (an american) orders his asian (again, forgive my ignorance of the man's origins, I mean no disrespect) employee to just dump the contents of some bottles down the water drain, which will pollute the nearby Han river.  At least, I think it was the Han river.  I suppose if I weren't such a lazy git, I could look up the Han river and find out what country it's in, but honestly, it doesn't really have much effect on the story.  It could just as easily have been the mississippi.  At first I thought it was just a few bottles, but as the camera rolls sideways, you seen an extravagantly long table just FILLED with the empty bottles that have already been dumped.  And so the story begins.  In very short progression, we see a bunch of little scenes spread out over a few years, in which the creature is first seen as a small tadpole, then a larger shadow beneath the waters, and so on, up til we get to the now of the story, when it's the size of a bus, and much more mobile.

I'm going to draw some parallels here.  Godzilla in japan was born of radiation.  This beast was born of toxic chemicals polluting a large river.  In both cases, americans were or are shown to be the root cause.  Of course in japan's case, the distinction is never mentioned like in this movie, only inferred.  The dropping of atomic weapons on japan during ww2 being the likely genesis of Godzilla is never directly referred to in the godzilla movies, but it's like the 800 pound gorilla in the room.  You know how it got there.  You don't need to be told.  Mentioning it would only make people uncomfortable.  Yet there it is.  in The Host, the very beginning of the movie makes it clear...  Us damn americans have no respect for anything.  Or at least, some of us don't, according to this movie.  Sometimes I wonder why we don't have our own monster movies here, blaming gigantic monsters that destroy cleveland on the chernobyl incident, but we don't.  Not sure why.  Might be fun to make one, but eh.  On to the review.

So the Host, in this movie, refers to the large fishy/tadpole-y critter that takes up residence in the river and begins eating people.  At least, I think it does.  Most of the movie is actually not about the fish-monster.  It's actually about this poor slob of a guy who works for his father in a food stand near the river.  He seems to have narcolepsy, and even when he's awake he's not too sharp.  He has a daughter, a sister, and a brother, although only his father and his daughter live with him in the food shack, which is owned by his father, the girl's grand-dad.  The man, named Gung-du, if I am not mistaken, is going about his usual day's work in his usual sloppy manner when the creature first makes it way out of the river.  Chaos ensues, and Gung-du's entire family is quickly pulled into the tale.

That's all I am giving away.  I'm going to say a few more things but hopefully, I can disguise my comments in such a way that you won't know anything about the plot unless you've already seen the movie.  The creature is featured often, of course.  I wouldn't give this movie a review unless the creature was quite prominent, but it's almost a sideline to the family drama that goes on.  Almost reminds me, again, of the old godzilla movies, where there's a lot of drama occurring along the sidelines caused by the beast's rampages, and often the drama among the people is more important to the end of the tale than what the monster does.

Gung-du and his family have some problems, that much is readily apparent.  They are pretty normal, and therefore pretty dysfunctional, and yet they all try and band together to survive the crisis.  Gung-du's transformation alone is worth watching the movie for.  At the moment, he seems more of a hero to me than the much more popular Harry Potter (who's movie series finale I reviewed a few posts ago).  The ending of The Host was pretty spectacular, but one thing seems to stand out in my mind, and that's... why nobody tried to do CPR?  Makes no sense, but I guess the movie had to turn out that way, and if you see it, you'll know what I mean.

Good movie.  I'd watch it again.  Wish the ending was a bit different, but still not too shabby.  Two hours long, so watch it when you have a good chunk of time to spare.  Certainly not a B-movie.  This looks like it was done in hollywood, but I know it wasn't.  Creature effects are better than most of the stuff I saw in avatar, so fuck you, James Cameron.  lol  No nudity, no martial arts, no laser guns, this is all about a creature popping up in an urban environment and what happens thereafter.  As a result, this is probably one of the most realistic monster movies that I have seen.  The monster's origins may be a bit silly to my way of thinking, but that doesn't really have an impact on how realistically the rest of the tale is told.  I guess you have to have an excuse to have a monster, and formaldehyde is as good as any.

The Host, on Netflix at the moment.

Monday, May 21, 2012

House Series Finale

I've been watching House since about 2005 or 2006 or so.

It's a show about an asshole doctor who is really good at solving medical problems.  There's some other doctors there, supposedly he works at a teaching hospital, but honestly, they shouldn't be learning from him.  You can't learn smarts.  House is a genius, so his ability to solve problems is inherent.  Other doctors may be good doctors, but it's inherently impossible for House to teach them to be geniuses because they don't already have it in them.  And if they do, then he doesn't have anything to teach them, because he's a bad teacher.  He's not trying to teach them to be better doctors, he's trying to teach them to be geniuses, to solve problems like he can, and they can't.  Simply because they are not like him.  Which characters have reminded him of throughout the entire series.  Sure, everyone has their moments, and maybe the doctors have learned to reach for solutions to problems instead of just giving up, but they should already know that.

So the show's been on 8 years.  He's basically solved just about every medical problem he's been presented with.  He's had numerous brushes with dead.  Saved his friend's lives countless times.  And besides all that, he's a basket case.  He's mentally unstable, he's an ex-convict, he's undergoing psychiatric counseling, he's a drug addict, he hallucinates.  He's an abrasive, mean, cruel asshole who thinks everyone lies and is a general misanthrope.  And you forgive him all that because he saves people's lives.

I suppose in a way, House is every doctor.  They are elitist pricks who try to shove pills down your throat and ignore your opinions about your own body because they think they know better.  And you tolerate them because supposedly, they save people's lives.  Honestly, it makes me wonder what the numbers are.  Do they save more people that they kill?  Did House?  You just never know.

I wasn't liking the series finale.  I honestly thought they should fast forward 5 months to house getting out of jail, show wilson dying, and having house be there at the end.  I think they even alluded to that in last week's episode.  Wilson is house's best friend, by the way, played by robert sean leonard, I think his name is.  We learned several episodes ago that wilson has inoperable cancer and will die in about 5 or 6 months.  I only know who he is because he was in "My best friend is a vampire." which was an excellent movie that came out many years back.  okay, maybe it wasn't an excellent movie, but having seen thousands of monster movies and disliking vampires as much as I do, I liked that vampire movie, so that says a lot.  Anyway, I wasn't liking the series finale because they were spending way too much time doing flashbacks to what supposedly happened before the series start.  I really don't like flashbacks.  And then House was hallucinating through half the episode, which I don't like either.  I know technically they are only supposed to be his own thoughts talking back to him, but anyone's who's watched the show knows his own mind plays tricks on him sometimes so you just never know whether what you are watching is real or not, and I hate that about movies and TV shows.  There's nothing more annoying than getting to the end of a long movie or a long series and having them go "and it was all just in his head, none of that actually ever happened."  Totally blows.  plus, with all the flashbacks, it was hard to tell what was happening in the now, and then what happened back then, and what was the future, it was just all over the place.

Of course, they did pull a fast one on me there.  The show's going along and I figure out the ending.  Then they show something and I think "oh, ok, maybe I was wrong."  I have been wrong before, it happens.  I am not afraid to admit it.  Only this time, I wasn't.  Spoilers...

House dies at the end.  In a fire in a collapsing building.  When it was collapsing, I knew he wasn't going to be dead.  I knew that wasn't how they would end it.  And when they pulled a covered body out a building without showing house's face, i was pretty sure.  And then the medical examiner confirmed it was his body, which threw me off.  So then everyone is at House's funeral and Wilson gets a text from house telling him to shut up.  Turns out house made it out of the back of the burning building and now has plenty of free time to hang out with wilson during his last 5 months of life.  In case you don't know, house was going back to jail for public vandalism or something because he was on parole and violated his parole and had to finish out his sentence, which meant he'd miss wilson's last 5 months of life.  They'd been friends for 20 years, so that would have just sucked.

So House fakes his own death, and he and wilson take off on a motorcycle tour of the country.  And house, during all the hallucinating he was going through in the burning building (probably while high on heroin, I'm guessing) decides to change and become a better person.  So pretty much in the last few minutes of the series, they save House's life (wilson's pretty much a goner, so there's no hope for him) but he gets to start over completely.  I don't know if he'd go back to his old life after wilson's death or just pick up as a doctor somewhere else, and they never show that, so we have no way of knowing, but House's decision to be a better person is supposedly all he really needed.  I assume from the little bits and pieces that they show that he'll eventually return to his old life after wilson goes.

End spoilers.  This show was a departure for me.  I don't typically like medical dramas.  Not since Quincy, ME, back in the 70's, anyway.  It's funny, my mom was watching this old game show on the game show network last week, they had Jack Klugman as one of the celebrities and the solution the normal folks were trying to solve for big cash prizes was "Quincy ME."  Jack klugman, in case you don't know, starred in Quincy ME, and none of the normal folk could guess the solution, despite Jack Klugman knowing it, which was hilarious.  At the end of the puzzle he had to correctly guess his own show's name just to win the money for the contestant.  I laughed.  HE turned to the show's host and said "And you wonder why i say I'll be in the unemployment line."  Funny jack!  So true if they couldn't even remember the name of his show while he was the celebrity guest.  Too funny.  But anyway, I only started watching House because one of my ex-bosses suggested it.

The show started in 2004, when I started work at my last job, and I have been out of work just over a year now, and the show is over.  I guess the ends of all these series and their finales, like the House finale, is a suggestion that maybe I am on the cusp of a new stage in my life, like House is.  I'd certainly like to think so.  It's not so much the last stages weren't so great, because pretty much all I've ever done was have fun (and I'm going to continue to do so), but maybe I can have fun in different ways now.  Less poor ways.  lol  I once took a questionnaire to determine how in touch I was with my "inner child" as they used to call it.  Turns out, I AM my inner child.  We are one.  I may be 42, but I continue to look at every day as a new adventure, and i don't care if i live to be 142 (or more) but I'll still enjoy having as much fun in every day as possible.  Some days, that may not be a ton of fun (like when i actually have a job to go to), but there's always another day to have fun!  Until there isn't, of course.

In preparation for that possibility, I've told my nephews to put on my tombstone as my famous last words: "Relax!  I got this!"  Always leave them laughing, I think Leslie Neilsen said.  That's assuming I don't outlive my nephews.  I've done so much stupid shit in my life that I think my nephews could laugh about it for a thousand years.  And since I'm not dead yet, there's more coming!  Oh, the hilarity!

As an aside, there was a House retrospective done by Hugh Laurie (who plays House) before the series finale.  I knew he was english, but I was completely surprised by how his voice was accented when he wasn't playing House.  He didn't sound anything like him.  I'm not sure how that's possible, but I guess that's why it surprised me.  The clipped english didn't even remotely remind me of House's speech patterns, which I guess means Hugh Laurie is a hell of an actor.  Props, Hugh!  Well done on the american accent.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Doesn't Anyone Think Any More?

So I see this commercial on TV for "Air Delight."

It's a chocolate bar, apparently.  I don't know who makes it, but in the commercial, there's like hundreds of people made of chocolate dancing around on a chocolate field like it's the second coming of jesus christ and everyone is in rapture.  So then they finally show the candy bar.  It's a chocolate bar with lots of air bubbles in it.

Doesn't anyone think about this?  Instead of chocolate, you're getting AIR.  Usually, you don't have to pay for air.  But wrap some chocolate around it, and now you do.  Brilliant way to charge you for nothing, isn't it?  Think about it.  Instead of a bar made up completely of chocolate, that delicious, wondrous thing made of cocoa beans, you're eating AIR.  It's probably about half the chocolate you'd normally get, by my reckoning.  So it's lighter, sure, because there's less chocolate.  I mean, if you're watching your weight and you want to eat air, having half a chocolate bar and saving the rest for next time is probably better than buying an "air delight," and much more satisfying.  Of course, i imagine they had to do it like that, and are probably not only charging you more for the air-filled candy bar, but you really think you're getting more out of it.  Because if they just gave you half a chocolate bar for the same price instead of marketing it up as AIR, well, you might be upset.  Then again, if you're dumb enough to pay for edible air in the first place, you probably wouldn't notice.

It reminds me of those funky yogurt things.  I think they're called "whips."  They're basically just yogurt as far as I can tell.  You know what the difference is?  it says in big text on the side of the container "for best results, do not stir."  So.  it's yogurt.  That you don't stir.  No, it's a WHIP!  Which is pretty much what a yogurt is anyway.  Only you stir it.  My niece was thrilled with whips when they first came out.  I bought one and tasted it.  It was yogurt.  I've had yogurt before, i know what it tastes like.  I tried to tell her and she just didn't get it.  I'm not really sure why.  She has a job with a lawyer's office and seems like a reasonably intelligent individual.  But just can't grasp the concept that someone might be lying to her to get her to pay more money for something that's exactly the same thing.  And she works with lawyers?

So the season finale of Grimm was done much more nicely than the other season finales I watched.  Yes, there was some pretty intense action and a lot of major changes to the characters, and yes, crazy shit happened in the last few minutes.  But no major characters died, you were never left wondering what happened to them, the bad guys got it in the end, and everyone was safe.  No worries!  Bring on next season!  See, now that's decent writing.  If you come back because you like the show, that's the important part.  Even if Grimm gets cancelled now, it's okay, because I know the characters on the show will be safe.  And yes, i know they're just fictional characters, but that's not the point.  Of COURSE they're fictional characters, but if you don't care about what happens to them, then why the hell did you watch the show in the first place?  It's a writer's job to make the characters real enough for you to care about them, so me caring about the fictional characters is just normal.  Also, I don't have to remember what happened last season by the next time season 2 gets here because it can pick right up where it left off without any major explanations!

I also saw X-Men: First Class last night.  Now something occurs to me, as X-Men is now showing on another channel today.  The first scene in BOTH movies is Erik Lensher (magneto) losing his parents to the nazi slaughtering of the jews during WW2.  The year was listed as 1944, and Erik appears at least about ten years old here.  Now here's something I don't get.

Mutants are described as "children of the Atom" and are a result of radiation, right?  I mean that's pretty much the whole explanation of their existence.  So.  If radiation causes them to be born with superpowers due to a genetic mutation in their DNA from the radiation caused by atomic weapons detonations, then...  how did little Erik Lensher get to be born with mutant genes at least TEN YEARS before the invention of atomic weapons?  Even atomic weapons testing didn't begin until they'd actually almost perfected the thing, soooo...  if the first one was actually detonated in 1945 and the tests were only done in maybe 1944 or so once they'd figured out how to do it (nowhere near europe, I might add), then how did the radiation go back in time to infect the conception of little Magneto?  Oops!  That would mean someone would have had to be playing around with atomic radiation around 1934, and frankly, I don't know of anyone who could possibly have been doing that.  For most people, cars were still new back in 1934.

And if you're wondering if it's only magneto they made a mistake with...  X-Men: First class clearly shows Professor Xavier having his mutant telepathy around the same time Erik gets his.  And they also show Mystique around that same time.  Flash forward to 1962 when "First class" takes place.  There's mutants running around like mad.  Sure, you can say "well the bombs went off in 1945 so that's plenty of time to have little mutant babies everywhere."   Is it?  Do the math.  1952 would be ten years previous.  1942 would be 20.  So assuming 1944 would be the cutoff point for radiation exposure, and nothing before that would work (even if there was a tiny amount of background radiation around before then), and even if all the current crop of mutants were born in 1944, that would mean the absolute oldest mutant could be 18 years old.  And yet there's dozens of them of various ages, including emma frost, who certainly doesn't LOOK 18 when she's prancing around as a mercenary prostitute, and the bad guy she works for is apparently very old, so old that he was old when he met Magneto when magneto was only ten.

So where the hell did they all come from?  Yea,  I don't know either.  Oh well, mutants are still cool, just not enough thought given to the back story.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Season Finales

Ah, the end of the television viewing season.  The end of the nightly TV shows, the beginning of warm summer nights.  The stupidly predictable or wildly retarded season finales.

So I've watched several season finales lately.  A couple of them stick out as just damned annoying.  Let's take the Finder, first.  This is a show about a semi-nutty investigator with a crew of semi-nutty individuals helping him out.  So all season the show's been pretty laid-back.  The investigator guy figures out what he's looking for, and everyone's happy.  It's sort of a feel-good show for me.  There's short episodes of violence, either from the rather large bartender, or from the investigator himself (he's a gulf war veteran).  Both are extremely capable so you know how the violence is going to end.  I think of it rather like, NCIS, only less serious.

So I'm watching the season finale and everything is going all hunky dory, the investigator guy is reconnecting with his estranged dad (awww, how sweet) on his dad's deathbed, and in the last 4 minutes, the show goes all to hell.  One of his people takes off on her own without telling anyone, the investigator gets arrested and his FBI agent girlfriend gets her badge taken away.  Wtf is this cliffhanger ending bullshit?

I hate cliffhanger endings.  Two reasons.  One, you never know if the show is going to be renewed or not.  If the show doesn't get renewed, we never get to find out what happens to those people.  The writers just aren't planning ahead, which is rather sloppy writing, in my opinion, but what do I know.  If you want to have some crazy shit happen during the finale, don't do it in the last 4 minutes.  That's just bullshit.

Two, it's at least months, sometimes a year before the show comes back.  Nobody remembers that far back nowadays.  They're not going to remember what happened last season, they're not going to remember the events leading up to it, they're not even going to remember that it was a cliffhanger ending.  And re-showing the entire season of episodes from the previous year isn't going to help, because people are going to think "Oh, I've seen those already." and not watch them again.  So it's all just worthless effort that's going to piss off your viewers rather than bring more of them to you.  And don't assume that just because you have more viewers than the competition that I don't know what I'm talking about.  You have more viewers than the competition because there's absolute shite on TV nowadays and your shite is less shite-y than theirs is.

Missing just did the same thing with 3 minutes to go.  Now let me explain "Missing."  A mom gets her son kidnapped and searches all of europe for him.  The twist is that her mom is ex-CIA and uses those skills in her search.  The problem with these types of shows is they absolutely depend on the most unlikely course of events imaginable.  Her son goes missing, she finds him, something happens and she loses him again.  Her son escapes, you think he's safe, but he can't be, because the show is called "Missing," and if the son is safe then there's no show.  It's literally so impossible that you can predict what has to happen, just so the show can continue.  For instance, the kid escapes, gets picked up by the mom's friend.  Now, for him not to be safe and the show not to be over, the mom's friend has to be the bad guy.  I know this in advance, so by the time they reveal, oh yea, he IS the bad guy, it's too late.  There's no surprise factor.  So how did the season finale end?  Well, mom found her son!  of course, he can only be missing for so long before it just gets silly.  And then with two minutes to go, the mom goes missing.  Wtf.  So that's next season, finding mom.  And then the season after that, dad will go missing, and then the son's girlfriend, and then the grandkids.  Sigh.  And it's not just me that hates those endings, my mom, who HATES series, has been watching this from the beginning, saw the finale and said "I'm never watching that show again."  So good job, writers.  You just lost at least one viewer.  Make that two, I'm not watching next season, either.

What's wrong with just wrapping the show up nicely?  Sure, do some crazy shit in the finale.  Kill off a major character if you want to.  But wrap it up by the end of the hour, already!  Your viewers will feel better, the characters won't seem like such shams, and people might actually come back next season.  For the drama, or the good writing.  Not to find out what happened, because by then, they won't even remember.

Speaking of finales, I saw the end of the Harry Potter series recently.  Sure, the whole series is a bit lame, but my preference for movies and TV shows is fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, so I tend to check out as much variety in that genre as I can.  So having watched the first couple movies back when they were new, I figured I'd watch the whole thing.  So what did I think of the two-movie series finale?  Didn't like it.  And since this is my blog, I'm not going to leave you hanging on a cliffhanger and tell you to come back next season to find out why.  I'm going to tell you now.  lol

So let's take a couple things first.  Hagred, the big hulking, well, animal handler, is all I can think to call him,   He completely disappears for pretty much the entirety of the last two movies, despite being such a big feature in all the previous ones.  And then he turns up at the end of the movie, chained up in the forest by Valdemort.  Why the hell would they chain him up in the forest is never really explained since they've been killing people right along, but there he is, held as insurance for something.  What, i have no idea, since killing Harry potter has been valdemort's goal all along, but there he is!  he should have just greeted harry with "Hi harry!  Just making a cameo appearance.  Carry on!"  So stupid.

But that's pretty much the way the entire series went.  Characters seems to just be there to help the story along, and then either died or vanished without any explanation of the why's or hows.  Especially in the last two movies, they introduce a bunch of new people just to kill them off.  Now, I know certain things have to happen in a book to make the ending be the way you want it, but for crying out loud, have some rhyme or reason as to why, at the very least so I'm not going "oh, he's not important, as soon as he tells harry what he needs to know, I'll never see him again."  It spoils the sense of immersion, you know what I mean?

Now here's my specific problem with the end movies.  And maybe this gives away a lot, but come on.  The people reading this blog have either seen all the movies already, or never bothered watching them to start with.  Much like I did with the Twilight series.  They make this big deal about the "Deathly Hallows," which are a set of magic items, a wand, a cloak and a stone.  They name the damn movies after them, for crying out loud.  According to the storied explanation, Death is a crafty, sentient entity with great magical power, who HATES it when people try and avoid Death's final embrace.  So the story goes, long ago, these 3 wizards created a bridge over a swiftly flowing river with their magic, and Death was pissed, because he was waiting for their souls when they drowned in the river.  So he pops up and is all "hey, good job, you made a pretty bridge!  I congratulate you on your inventiveness!  You may each have a wish!"  Just like bargaining with a demon, you know this isn't going to end well.  So, Death creates these three items in response to the wishes of these 3 wizards and gets them all in the end as a result of their own desires, much like a demon in most tales will twist your wish to make it the fashion of your demise.  There's a moral to the story, of course; it's basically a cautionary children's tale, but the Deathly Hallows actually exist, and harry manages to come across two of them in his travels and Valdemort is after one of them.  Specifically, a powerful wand.  So here's my problem.  if the Deathly Hallows exist, then it follows logically that their creator must also exist.  So Death is a real, living entity, one who hates people who try to cheat him out of their ends.

You know, like Valdemort.  Who's been cheating death through 7 movies.  And let's be frank here, nobody wants to speak Valdemort's name because apparently, he's so damn powerful, but up against Death he's pretty much a n00b.  Where the HELL has Death been through all these movies?  Hanging out in the background, waiting for harry to beat the crap out of Valdemort?  Why doesn't he make an appearance?  Why isn't he even mentioned at all except in the children's story?  Look, if you're going to introduce a character like Death and then just completely forget about him, that doesn't make any sense at all.  It's like introducing religion as a driving force in the world and then just saying it not only doesn't matter, but never mention it again.  It's not only sloppy writing, and doesn't make sense, but it's utterly ridiculous from a logical standpoint.  Death would literally have to be either dead himself at this point, or be totally insane not to want Valdemort dead as well.  And yet, not only does harry not just summon up Death with any of the deathly hallows, or make a deal with him to get valdemort, or even, you know, just mention "oh, hey death, here's valdemort for you, I know you been waiting for him."  Nope, nothing.

Next, we've got this whole thing about the wand choosing it's owner.  They even introduced a wand maker who conveniently shows up and then vanishes during the story to tell harry that "the wand chooses it's owner."  Well that's great, wands are smart.  Good to know.  Only they aren't.  Wands through this entire story have been completely interchangeable.  Harry, in fact, uses Hermione's wand even during the last movie.  Wands are interchanged through every part of every movie in the entire series, except for poor valdemort.  For some strange reason, his wand has a problem with him using it.  There's some feeble explanation for this, at least.  Apparently draco disarmed Dumbledore, and then dumbledore's wand became his...  but it never became his because it was buried with dumbledore.  Draco never touched it, and when harry disarmed Draco days later, draco was not only not wielding the wand, but he'd never even seen the damned thing.  So this ridiculous explanation that when harry disarmed Draco in a completely unrelated incident, the wand became "his," is just silly.  Wands would be changing ownership every time you got disarmed, and you wouldn't be able to use them again.  Even harry's been disarmed several times over the course of the series, he's never not been able to use a wand.  Why didn't the all powerful wand go "oh, harry's been disarmed, i'm someone else's now!"  Stupidity.

You don't even get a sense of harry finally defeating valdemort at the end, either.  There's so much other shit going on trying to destroy all the hoarcruxes that are keeping valdemort alive that by the time they are gone and harry beats valdemort, the true hero of the story is neville, who manages to destroy the last hoarcrux just because he happened to have some goblin sword they introduced to kill the hoarcruxes.  Which basically makes neville the hero, and takes away any elation harry might have for finally kicking the bad guy's ass.  Seriously, when you finally defeat the bad guy, you're supposed to go "YES!"  That's what happens.  You win, you celebrate.  It's like saying "well, you showed up, so here's a trophy."  You don't get any sense of accomplishment out of that.  You go "oh, well, neville finally killed the last of the hoarcruxes so valdemort wasn't any problem to vaporize then."  You steal all of harry's heroic qualities when you do that, because he's just a distraction at that point.  harry didn't actually accomplish a damned thing.  once the hoarcuxes were gone, anyone could have killed valdemort.  So why is harry even the hero of the series?  They should have called it neville Longbottom and the deathly hallows.

Maybe they can give neville his own spinoff series.

So what happens to the deathly hallows?  These powerful magical artifacts that got introduced just to move the story along, apparently?  Harry drops one in the forest for no reason, after Dumbledore gives it to him.  He breaks the wand and throws it away.  And I'm not sure if the cloak even exists because they mention it but don't give any details about it, so you're left with a wtf as far as that goes.  They might have at least had Death show up to collect the damn things.  But, no, that would make too much sense, apparently.  Honestly, there doesn't seem to be any logical reason to have even mentioned the deathly hallows at all.  Sloppy and stupid writing all around.

Really hoping the Grimm season finale tomorrow night is better.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review - Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

I watch a lot of horror movies.

So that old "suspension of disbelief" thing is pretty much standard fare for me.  I have no problem with men in rubber suits being the monster, because that's the best special effects we had in movies for many years.  I am used to seeing that on the screen.  What I don't like in a horror movie are things that just don't make sense and that have no explanation.

So I watched Don't be Afraid of the Dark on netflix last night.  Now, I like Guillermo del Toro (i think he was the director on this one?) but this one didn't seem to go over so well on me.  The story seemed fairly decent, I mean, you got evil fairies, stolen children, a really nice goddamn house in the middle of nowhere, all seemingly good elements for the tale.  But it all sort of falls apart when you try to mix it together.  Spoilers to follow, but I won't try to give everything away.

So here's the basics.  Little girl goes to live with her dad for no apparent reason.  Dad is in the middle of refurbishing an old mansion.  Old mansion was the site of a murder-disappearance some time in the distant past involving a famous artist.  Famous artist painted nothing his whole life but realistic nature scenes, until the months before his death, when all he painted was demonic little fairies.  Little fairies live in a big old furnace in the cellar, which is found and opened shortly after the little girl comes to live there.

Now the plot of the movie isn't hard to figure out in the first ten minutes or so, so I really haven't given anything away here.  What we do have are some glaring problems that I just can't figure out.

First thing, the story is set in modern times, as far as I can tell.  They are driving modern cars and using modern cell phones throughout the movie, so there's no flashbacks or time displacements or anything like that.  And yet, at some point in the movie, the little girl is given a polaroid camera with obvious flashbulbs in it, the kind that spit out those old timey photographs that take several minutes to develop when you leave them lying out in the light.  I would swear those things disappeared in the 90's, but maybe I am wrong?  In any case, it looks ridiculously out of place in this movie, when there are cell phones everywhere.

Second thing, nobody believes the little girl's story about the evil fairies.  Which isn't unusual in these sorts of movies, but there's so much evidence that it's NOT the little girl that's doing these things that I can't understand why the parents aren't even vaguely suspicious.  In fact, there's a foreman helping out restoring the house, who gets stabbed, mauled, and nearly killed in the basement by the fairies.  And... they call it an accident.  The man comes staggering up from the basement, bleeding profusely in a hundred places, yanking a half-scissor blade out of the BACK of his shoulder, and....  oh, he had an accident.  poor guy.  Must have slipped and ROLLED THROUGH A FIELD OF BROKEN TOOLS OR SOMETHING...  Yea, that makes sense.

Third, going back to the polaroid camera.  So the little girl uses the camera to get a picture of the fairies.  PROOF AT LAST!  So she's waiting for the picture to develop at a dinner party with a dozen people, and they steal the picture from her and rip it up so there's no proof.  Wait, what?  This makes absolutely no sense in half a dozen different ways.  The fairies hate light, yet there supposedly under the table, which could not have been got under without going through bright light.  Also, there's a dozen people having dinner at the table.. nobody noticed the fairies scampering under the table, or moved a foot and bumped one of them?  Then the little girl has the photo sitting on the table to develop,. and the adults next to her keep looking at it and she keeps pulling it away from them.  Why?  If she's trying to prove the fairies are real, isn't that what she wants?  Then the fairies take the picture, which was apparently their goal, and rip it up.  The fairies haven't been above ground in dozens if not hundreds of years...  Yet apparently they understand pictures and cameras enough to know to destroy the evidence?  Wtf?

Fourth, and continuing this polaroid thing, which is like an albatross around this movie's neck.  The little girl has an encounter with the fairies in the library.  She takes dozens of pictures of them as they attack her, and they are scattered piecemeal all over the library with the books and tipped over furniture.  There's no way the fairies found and destroyed them all in that chaos, and the little girl even manages to kill one of the fairies, which leaves it's SEVERED ARM lying on the floor.  And yet...  still.. apparently no evidence that there are any such things as fairies, still no one believes her and everyone thinks she's nuts.  Haven't the PARENTS ever heard of suspension of disbelief?  Holy crap.  If cavemen were that dense, humans would have gone extinct out of sheer stupidity before movies were ever invented.  I can just picture the maid cleaning up that mess.  "What are all these pictures of evil fairies?  What's this tiny severed arm lying on the floor?  Eh, just garbage I guess!"

Fifth, something I just don't get, there's a whole series of pictures done in the extensive garden, where there's a round thing made of antlers that just looks weird.  There's also a painting the basement of a child being caught in something that looks just like a ball of antlers.  They make a huge deal of it, since it's apparently the last picture the famous artist painted who apparently was killed by the fairies.  So... what the HELL does it have to do with anything?  As far as I can tell, it has absolutely nothing to do with any other part of the story.  It has no apparent significance.  it's not used by the fairies for anything, there's no inference that it has anything to do with them, and as far as I can tell, no fairies even go near the damn thing throughout the length of the film.  So why the FUCK does a famous artist, who is apparently living out his last months as a prisoner to the fairies, paint a picture of it for absolutely no damn reason?  Nobody knows!  I sure don't.

Sixth, something else that doesn't make any sense whatsoever, and that just occurred to me...  the artist paints dozen of pictures of these fairies, leaves sketches and paintings of them in the cellar where the fairies are, and the little girl even draws pictures of them (she's an artist, too) and yet, none of the fairies ever destroy THOSE pictures.  Which, they would certainly understand a lot better than photographs, and see a lot more often since they were, you know, IN THE CELLAR WITH THEM...  But no, the fairies left those.  Yep!  Because they are just paintings, not actual photographs, despite being infinitely more detailed than the actual blurry photographs, which apparently had to be destroyed.  lol  Total contradiction there.

Seventh.  Don't read this one, it's a pretty bad spoiler if you want to watch the film, but it bugs the shit out of me.  It's the end of the film.  The fairies are pulling the little girl into the furnace.  Not to burn her, they just kidnap children and it's the way to the fairy land, so they've got a rope around her and they are dragging her through the cellar.  She's resisting.  She's like 5 or whatever, and she's a dozen times bigger and stronger than the fairies, but there's a lot of them so maybe they are strong enough to pull her in.  The guy's girlfriend (katie holmes) puts one leg on each side of the rope and turns sideways, trapping the rope long enough to cut through it.  So the girl's free.  Now, instead of the rope just, you know, slipping through her legs, it starts pulling her.  She could just stop it two seconds ago, but now she's not strong enough, ebcause apparently it drags HER down?  And the rope pulls so damn hard it snaps her leg backwards, breaking the bone?  Wtf?  What, the fairies combined into voltron-fairy and gave the rope a good yank?  And the rope is coated with fairy-stickum so it's got her legs now?  No fucking sense.

Anyway, if the movie had made a bit more sense, it might have been pretty good.  The fairies were sufficiently scary in a old-timey-sidhe-dark-faery sort of fashion, and katie Holmes played the guy's girlfriend.  I have referred to her and her boyfriend as the girl's parents here, because the girl's mother never makes an appearance, and for all intents and purposes, katie is the girl's new mom.

Normally this would have been pretty cool, since I remember cute little katie holmes from Dawson's creek, but this woman almost doesn't even resemble her.  I'm not really sure what happened to her in the last 9 years (besides her marriage to tom cruise), but she's gone from a cute 20-year-old who looks 16 to an ANCIENT LOOKING 34 YEAR OLD.  I swear she could have passed for 45 in this flick.  I don't know if they were trying to make her look older with extensive makeup (again, for no apparent reason) or she just looks that old, but if so, she's aged incredibly in the last 9 years.

By the way, "sidhe" isn't a typo up there.  The sidhe (or "shee" as I believe it's pronounced) is the name of the race of faeries as they were referred to in gaelic, I believe.  As the stories go, they were a very dark, very badass race of beings that modern-day elves and fairies were based on.  Of course, like Grimm's fairy tales, they got changed a bit going from east to west.  If you don't understand the reference, Grimm's fairy tales were warnings to small children to get them to behave... dark, gruesome tales meant to scare children into keeping away from the woods (where actual wolves still dwelt at the time).  For instance, little red riding hood was actually killed in the original germanic version of the tale, torn apart by "grandma" wolf when red riding hood went to visit her.  There was no woodsman who saved red by killing the wolf with an axe until the tale came over to the states.  Here, we civilized it, because we are a sucker for happy endings.  Much the same with the sidhe.  They were never cute, they never flitted about on glittery wings.  They stole babies, either to feast on them or turn them into more faeries, and once they were gone, you let the kids go.  Anyone who went into a faerie-hole to go after them, never came back.  if that's not a tale to scare little kids into staying safe at home, I don't know what is.

See?  You do learn something new every day.  I didn't even have to look that up, that's just somethign I happen to know, probably from watching too many horror movies!  lol

On a sadder note, my buddy Rich has been missing in Australia for 3 months.  I'm certain one of three things has happened.  Either he was slain by a ravenous pack of giant funnel web spiders, his serial-killer wife made it LOOK like he was killed by a pack of giant funnel web spiders, or he couldn't afford his internet bill anymore and it got shut off.  Sure, I know, the third explanation is the more likely of the three, but that makes for horrible drama.  I prefer to think of rich bravely fighting off a pack of giant funnel web spiders, perhaps armed with one of those swinging bolo things from the Crocodile dundee movies, and almost overcoming them when his devious wife stabs him in the back and feeds him to them because she's their QUEEN.  It's just so much cooler!

Bye Rich!  I'll miss you, buddy!  I'd say I'll avenge your murder, but honestly...  spiders, and women for that matter, scare the shit out of me.  (shudders)  You're on your own!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Weather and Other Chitchat

I don't really understand how weathermen keep their jobs.

Let's put aside the fact that it's an obvious joke amongst everyone, probably including weathermen, how often wrong they are, and look at specific examples.

After an unusually warm winter, up til march, we had a rather seasonably cool april.  April around here is normally around the 50's and drab and dreary, so, nothing unusual there.   So this first week of may, there's supposed to be a warm-up.  Supposedly there's this big mass of subtropical air and it's shoving it's oppressive weight around into our area.  Monday was supposed to be 66, tuesday was supposed to be 70, and wednesday we were supposed to hit 81 and thursday was due to be the warmest day of this week with high's in the low 80's.

Now after the seasonably cool april, I was more than ready for this.  I may be a tech support geek, but dammit, I like fresh air.  I enjoy opening my windows and feeling the breeze waft over the fur, uh, I mean, hair on my bare skin.  Usually while standing naked in front of the open window, but it's at night so no one knows about that, and you are probably wishing you didn't, either.  Well... moving on.

So monday rolls around and I am all set to open my windows to the blisteringly hot (by comparison to the 40's we had last week) 66 degrees...  and it's about 52.  Sure, I guess that's... warmer...  not warm, by most stretches of the imagination, but still.  But hey, according to the information on my website, the quality of the forecast is EXCELLENT!  And the quality of the national weather service's forecast is GOOD!  I have no idea who rates those or what the difference is between the one or the other.  But even I can tell that's an outright bloody lie, considering they were off by 14 degrees.  But hey I am not a weatherman, so by their definitions, that's probably spot-on, as they say across the pond.  SPOT ON, MY GOOD CHAPS!  For me, it just chaps my ass.

Then tuesday rolls around, and I'm waiting for the 70's.  And holy SHIT, it made it up to 57.  That's... still not 70.  Nowhere damn near it.  And still, the forecast quality is FUCKIN AWESOME!  Well, it may not have said fuckin awesome, but when you use the word EXCELLENT in bold type, it implies fuckin awesome.  Which, it's not only NOT fuckin awesome, but it's goddamn cold, cold enough to leave my nipples hard for hours.  Or maybe that was just sexual arousal.

Now, i know weathermen are often wrong, and I know forecasting the weather is a tricky business.  I mean, for the last 5 years they've said the hurricane season would be above average in strength and number of named storms, and every year, it was the exact opposite of what they said, so, they aren't exactly batting a thousand here.  But come on guys.  Can't you even get close?  I'd settle for close!  If an extra butterfly wing flap in japan can throw your forecast off by THAT much, you're doing it wrong.

So wednesday rolls around (today) and I'm stoked.  I'm sitting out in the yard in my manly pink banana hammock, I got my rum-runner frosting my beefy mitt (because chick drinks are a MUST when wearing banana hammocks...  it's the LAW), and my extra-shiny shades on to keep the UV out of my extra-sensitive yet steely amber-brown eyes.  And I'm FREEZING MY BALLS OFF because it only made it up to 66 so far.  Okay, maybe freezing my balls off isn't exactly true, but come on.  it's not like these banana hammocks provide much insulation, right?  brando, you know what I'm talking about.

Now i'm confused.  Because maybe if the quality of the forecast said WAY FUCKIN OFF or PRETTY GODDAMN SHITTY, then I'd forgive them for being, well, way the fuck off.  But to sound so goddamn sure of yourself when you are so dead wrong is usually the province of idiots and politicians (or idiot politicians, but maybe that's just being redundant), not trained meteorological scientists.  Who the hell pays someone fifty to a hundred grand a year to be wrong EVERY DAMN DAY?

The National Weather Service, apparently.

Can I get in on this thing, too, while the money lasts?  I mean, shit, I can throw darts at a dartboard or roll some dice or use tarot cards and probably be just as accurate (if not more so) than the supposed "meteorologists."  Or does it take some fancy piece of paper that says "trained meteorologist" to apply for those jobs?  Hell, if I'm more accurate, do I make more money?  They should pay them by how accurate they are.  That right off would separate the good ones from the bad. Nobody who wasn't at least %50 accurate would stick around because they'd all STARVE TO DEATH.

Probably out in the freezing cold rain after they'd predicted it was going to be 80 and sunny.

In other news, the month of may brings with it memorial day picnic with the fam.  And as most of you know, my "fam" are a bunch of assholes.  Not all of them, just...  well, most of them.  Now, my mom is like 10000 years old and I can forgive her most of the time because, well, she's old and crotchety and old people are like that.  Probably over-medicated.  or under.  But my brother is going to be there.

Now my brother, for those that don't know, is a dick.  He's not only a republican, but he drinks all day long, and partakes of other, smokier intoxicants (hey at least he quit smoking actual cigarettes).  none of which I would hold against him, except that the drinking all day makes him not give a shit about anything, the smoking makes him forget anything he said on any given day, and being a republican means he thinks George bush is a hero to the common man.  Seriously.  And he will not let you get away from him without arguing with you, until you give in or flee, that George Bush Jr is THE MAN.

Just as an example, he comes to my house one day and I'm browsing the web, looking at boobs, whatever, and tells me point blank that President George Bush (he was president at the time) disarmed two nuclear weapons, HIMSELF, that very day.  Yea, he heard it on Rush Limbaugh's show or something like that.  Obviously it's a huge load of tripe, but my brother wanted to give his argument weight, so he also added another 'factoid" that i could check.  he said that two OTHER nuclear weapons went off in the atlantic and pacific oceans, and I could check that because the explosions registered on the richter scales!  Why or how 4 nuclear weapons were set to go off in the US or how good ole boy george managed to disarm them personally, while not being able to disarm the two that went off in the oceans, is beyond me.

And for the secret service or FBI or whatever is checking websites for plots against the government, hey, guys, I'm just repeating what he said.  I didn't believe a word of it and my brother is an alcoholic crackpot.  I'm a born citizen of the US and I don't have any desire to hurt anybody, so, if you want to arrest somebody, I can give you his address.  lol  Yea, I know like 3 people read my blog, but it never hurts to run a disclaimer.  I'm sure people have gone to guantanamo bay for less, right?

So, being on the web at the time he told me this, I asked him point blank "So, you're telling me it registered on the richter scale?"  And he says "yes."  So I go to the usgs (US geological service) website, and sure enough, it says...  "no recent earthquake activity reported."  and then I checked another site, an oceanographic one, and there were no oceanic quakes that day, either.  So of course, my brother is all "oh, they covered it up!  You want the truth, go to the radio station's website!"

Yea, good thinking, go directly to the place that ran the bullshit story so you can verify their "facts" with their own facts.  GENIUS!  I drip with sarcasm.  Needless to say, i didn't bother going to the radio station's website.

Anyway, so my brother has been feuding with my sister for going on 14 years now.  Apparently, my brother borrowed some money from my sister and lied to his wife about it and my brother and sister had a fight and my sister told his wife about the money and the lying and this, needless to say, caused a bit of a rift with him and his wife.  So, my brother has wanted my sister dead for 14 years since the fight.  Literally, he's told me to my face that someone should brutally murder her, with his disclaimer "I don't mean me, but SOMEBODY should!"  Yea, not the sanest nor calmest of men, there.

None of that would have been any of my business, and I don't even know if I have the facts straight since I wasn't there and it didn't involve me.  But, my brother has been on me, for about the last 14 years or so, to "join his side" in his feud with my sister.  Still, despite my older brother (with all that that implies) being an asshole to me for years when i was a kid, and me liking my sister more (we get along great), still i tried not to get involved, and just sort of let his rants about how my sister was evil incarnate and needed to be expunged from the earth for her crimes, go in one ear and out the other.  Until one day, when my mother was in the hospital undergoing (admittedly minor) heart surgery and my brother decided it was time for me to join his side or he was disowning me after mom dies.  Yea, you read that right, while Mom was in the hospital for the surgery, he's pushing his agenda on cutting my sister, and whoever doesn't side with him, out of "his" portion of our family.

Which pretty much guarantees him a permanent slot in the Asshole Hall of Shame.

So now I have this dilemma.  I told my brother to pretty much go to hell, but he insists on acting like nothing is wrong between us because that's his thing.  He'll act semi-civilized around my mom because she's pretty much the only one that still loves him.  But my mom wants us (her and me) to go to this family picnic thing at the end of the month, which he will attend, and she expects me to go, because, well, she needs a ride.  Now I'm pretty much non-confrontational, mostly because it's a pain in the ass to kill someone at a family function and have to be arrested, go to jail and prove what an asshole he was so you can avoid jail time.  Which, I probably would, after i proved what an asshole he was, not that everyone doesn't already know.  But my point is, who the hell wants to hang around someone like that, knowing they are going to disown you literally at your mother's funeral, just for not joining his side in hating your own sister, whom you actually like?  Not me.  I'd be happy if I never set eyes on him again.  But mom is all about us going, and my nephew (yes, my brother's son) thinks I should go because "we always go" and "he probably forgot he even said that."  Wtf.  Who gives a fuck if HE forgot.  He's still an asshole, whether he forgets what an asshole he is or not.  it doesn't change anything.  I'd still have to mull around the picnic, pretty much doing nothing, while my brother is all like "HEY how are you?  What's up?  How's the wife and kids?" like he didn't hate my guts and want to punch me in the face.  And I know he hasn't forgotten, either, because even my nephew says I am now included in my brother's daily rants about how my sister needs to die.

So how does someone actually want to kill you and just hide it so your mutual mother does not realize what a fuckstick he is, behave normally, and try to engage you in jovial conversation?  I'd love to know where he gets the balls even to think I'd stand around and chat with him.  I'm pretty sure he's down to one anyway,  so, where he gets "the ball."  Also, why the fuck should my nephew and mother be surprised when i DON'T want to spend any time around this asshole?  I mean seriously, you can say "well he's your brother" and all, but if he's disowning me after mom dies, and only pretending to be civil to me to keep her loving him til her death, doesn't that pretty much not only make him NOT my brother, but some fucked up nutsack I should be avoiding in the first place?  And here's the kicker, how the fuck do I avoid a family function where my mom can't go unless I drive her, and not have to deal with my nephew's and mother's "you should just go and ignore him all day" bullshit?  Why should I go to a picnic where I'd normally be having fun, only this time I'm not because I am avoiding my own goddamn brother (and by avoiding i mean having at least a picnic table or two between us so he doesn't try to chitchat with me), and spend all day listening to him spout his "George bush rules" and "republicans are the SHIT!" bullcrap while I want nothing more than to rip his face off and expose him for the lying sack of monkey shit that he is?  Do they really think I could stand that all day and actually have a good time around him?

If so, they must think me more of a politician than I am, because I can't hide my disgust that easily.  I'm surprised his wife and kids are still around that level of insanity, because I know they don't share it with him.  But how his family makes it through their day isn't any of my business.  I just have to figure out how to avoid a picnic and still get my mom there.  Hmmm.  29 days to figure something out...

And then figure it out at least twice more over the summer, because we don't just have one picnic.  Sigh.  And it wouldn't be a problem if there were more people there, but it's literally JUST me, mom, my brother and his family, since no one else wants to be around him.  I may just tell her to get her own ride, because I can't put up with that level of bullshit for 6 to 8 hours.  Oh well, there's my rant for the day.