Godzilla as it was meant to be: rubbery

Went to a movie tonight. Since I was already planning on heading to the theater I decided to make a night of it and treat myself. Eau Claire has a somewhat limited food court, but it does include a Taco Time. Every once in a while I get a craving for a good meat and bean burrito and Taco Time can satisfy. Besides, their Tater Tots are crack with hot sauce.

Sadly, even though I got there before six, Taco Time was already closed. I wound up settling for, and being immensely disappointed by, some Chinese food. It was barely sauced jerky with rice so old and dry it had returned to it’s original crunchy form. As I gagged my way through my meal I noted some others in the food court area.

It wasn’t hard to pick out the Godzilla crowd. Most of us don’t come out into the open air much. Luckily the film was timed such that the sun was already down. As I moved on to the theater the density of the geek intensified. It’s been a long time since I’d immersed myself that deep in the geek.

I got my ticket and popcorn and picked a seat somewhere near the middle towards the back. As I waited for others to arrive a couple of fellows sat down behind me, evidently winded from the long climb up the inactive escalator. Honestly, why have an escalator in a mall if you’re just going to shut it off?

It quickly became apparent as the fellows wheezed and bellowed behind me that at least one of them had some seriously horrible breath. I don’t know what he’s suffering from, whether it be half a mouthful of rotting teeth or a literal Hellmouth opening in his esophagus, but it put me off my popcorn for most of the evening.

Luckily for me when James arrived he picked his own seat and texted his location. I used that as a convenient excuse to retreat from the noxious green cloud.

The movie… the movie was, as James pointed out, about 90% bureaucracy and 10% rubber suit guy kicking chunks of a fairly decently modeled Tokyo around. Some of the light effects were impressive, but not much different from special effects of the seventies.

The movie was bad in a way that made me wish we were watching it in someone’s living room where sarcastic comments would have been welcome.

The particular quirk of this Godzilla movie was the discovery that it evolved and mutated on the spot. It went through four different iterations before settling on it’s final form.

It's first form doesn't have forelegs and it just shoves it's way around the floor.

It’s first form doesn’t have forelegs and it just shoves it’s way around the floor.

The first form reminded me of a cat caught in a sandal, but scales and an expressionless fish head.

Other noteworthy rules of the movie:
1) In Japan it’s important to weigh your future political aspirations while making decisions about a giant monster laying waste to your city. You don’t want to close off future avenues of advancement.
2) American daughters, particularly those born in Japan and raised in the US, have almost incomprehensible accents, bad enough that I was thankful for the subtitles during the English speaking parts as well.
3) If you REALLY want to blow something up, call an American. Then complain bitterly when those same Americans insist that the next stage from aerial bombardment is, clearly, the largest nuclear weapon they can get ready in 24 hours.

Leaving the theater I realized I had downed all my drink but ate less than a third of my popcorn. It’s official. I’m old. There was a time, not long ago, where I ran the risk of finishing my popcorn off before the opening credits were done.

Disappointing Superhero Movie

Just watched X-men: Apocalypse.

Very disappointing.

I know others have enjoyed this film, and I can see why. It’s pretty, it’s flashy, and it has some sexy women in it. Also some dramatic poses and primal screams.

Not much else, though.

Could have finished the movie in five minutes.

Could have finished the movie in five minutes.

There were so very many times I wound up looking away from the screen thinking to myself: “Why the hell don’t they just…” and getting increasingly frustrated as none of them do what is glaringly obvious.

The helicopter: While the field clearly prevented Jean and Nightcrawler from using their powers to affect things outside of it, there was absolutely no indication that the field would dampen power effects within itself. To wit: why didn’t Scott even try blasting out the side of the helicopter, thus freeing them from both the “field” and the helicopter at the same time. True, he might not have trusted his power to be contained enough to not injure and/or kill his partners, but they didn’t even consider it as an option.

And, man, I understand he’s supposed to be young, but is it written somewhere in the Marvel bible of Scott/Cyclops that he must always be whiny wimp despite wielding earth shattering power? There were SO. MANY. TIMES. He could have just opened his eyes and wiped the floor with everyone.

On the other end of the spectrum we have Apocalypse himself. To be fair this is the problem with any and all over-powered characters: There were so many times the fight should have been over before it even started. The other problem with him is that he doesn’t have a well defined set of powers. This leads to lazy writers giving up on any kind of rational progression and writing “Super over power dude just waves his hand and X happens.”

Like building his new temple with a wave of his hand. In the opening scenes of the far distant past it was clear that the pyramids had been built by mere mortal slaves. How do we know this? Because they were able to build a hideously over-complicated Rube Goldberg trap into it. Now, if he can build his temple with a wave of his hand in our time, why couldn’t he do that in the past? And before anyone argues that he was clearly aging and weak, might I remind you that building the actual temples by hand would have taken decades. He may have been old and weak when they finished, but he wouldn’t have been nearly so old when they began. He still could have done it himself.

And if his mind is so much stronger than Xavier’s, why does he need Xavier’s power? We’d already established that he was able to magnify Xavier’s power to let him reach everyone in the world. His mental giant fight with Xavier not only proved himself a stronger telepath, but one already able to amplify a telepath’s power.

And … and … and… so. Many. Things.

Beast is useless except as a handy pogo stick for those who can’t fly. Jean’s power release at the end (sorry, spoiler… no, not really, it was telegraphed in the trailer) was a vast departure from the comic book. Not just the trigger, but the level of power. Jean’s true power as the Pheonix is capable of roasting an entire planet, not just one wannabe god. If she truly let go then the middle east wouldn’t be damaged, it would be absent.

I think Apocalypse doesn't hire anyone competent out of a fear of competition.

I think Apocalypse doesn’t hire anyone competent out of a fear of competition.

Angel has always been the weakest character in the X-men line. His ability to fly is nearly redundant on the team. Half the team can fly IN ADDITION to their powers. I’ve always shaken my head at how far the writers have had to reach to make him relevant. Having him chosen as one of the horsemen just kills the whole intent of the horsemen. Literally any other mutant would have been a better choice. Hell, Jubilee jacked up to super ability would be devastating.

And, gosh, jacked up Magneto sure is impressive… for some reason that eludes me. “Go magnetize the world and make some pretty fractal patterns around the planet” doesn’t seem like much of a tactical move. It’s just a blatant excuse to use up your special effects budget.

“We’ve still got $20 Million for special effects. Should we include other characters?”
“Nah, just have Magneto throw a bunch of stuff around for no reason. That’ll use it up pretty quick and we won’t have to bother trying to write creatively.”

It all sucked. All of it. I’m sure it has a lot to do with my decades being a gamer but the “tactics” of the characters in this movie were worse than short sighted, they were deliberately blind. As you could see in the exploding building, Quicksilver was fast enough to have finished the movie in the first five minutes. Nightcrawler could have defeated the four “horsemen” within sixty seconds. And unless Apocalypse didn’t have any iron in his blood Magneto should have been able to defeat him in less time than it takes to write this sentence.

“Reach deep into the ground, find all the trace elements that you can throw around to destroy the earth… but don’t look at any of us and our blood. No, don’t do that. That would be pointless.”

I didn’t hate the movie, but by god there were a dozen or so moments where I was so embarrassed to be a fan that I was incredibly grateful I was watching it alone. I give it two very disappointed back issues out of five trade paperbacks.

Now I’m officially worth something

Well the measurements of the new place are a little daunting. Hit a sudden realization of just how small the bedroom is. I’ll have a three foot path around one side and the bottom of the bed. That’s it. No room for shelves or anything else and I’ll lose the use of the drawers on the one side. Not a tragedy, but will take some adjustment. On the plus side there’s a reasonable amount of closet space.

I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with my trunks, though. I think it’s time to retire them, along with most of the contents. When you look at a box and think hard about it for five minutes but still can’t remember what you put in there because you haven’t opened it in over a year… chances are the contents aren’t important enough to keep.

But that’s a hard decision, still. I have a lot of my mother’s old work stuffed away in my shelves and boxes and while none of it is terribly relevant to me directly (wedding / family / event photos of people I don’t know and have never met) it’s still a connection to my mother and hard to just… throw away.

But I must trim down my pile of stuff and reduce the amount of debris I currently walk around.

Today, once I finally convince myself to head back home, I’ll begin sifting through my books, packing some and recycling others.

Went to see the latest Michael Bay mechanical ‘splody flick last night. If you like expensive cars and sexy-yet-vapid women, and if you have a fetish hard-on for military hoo-rah, it’s definitely the film for you. All sorts of soldery posturing and gun-toting along with complex explosions and death defying leaps, with a single point of feminine uselessness, who’s hair is always tousled yet who’s makeup is never mussed, managing to turn the tide of battle by belittling the masculinity of one sidelined villain and manipulating him into fighting his former ally just to prove his balls haven’t rusted.

Yeah, a very North American film.

Although the use of Leonard Nemoy as the turncoat villain, and his utterance of his once heroic idealist Star Trek line (“The needs of the many…”) to justify his now villainous reign is a funny and ironic little jab. Textbook example of how any idealistic view can be twisted to justify pretty much anything.

Got my bike back from Universal Cycle today. I had finally taken her in for her annual tune/check-up, something I really should have done a couple of months ago. Now she seems to rev higher with less effort and yet sounds even more bad ass and obnoxious. I just know I’m going to have to change her pipes out at some point or risk the wrath of the upcoming noise level bylaw. For now, though, I’ll use her throaty roar to intimidate willfully ignorant drivers who change lanes without looking. Making them wet their drawers is little retribution for them nearly swiping me off the road, but it still feels good.

I’ve been making holiday plans lately. I had tentative plans to ride down into the southern states with the badger and his friend, but in the absence of any detailed feedback on said trip, and given that I had to set my vacation days down on the calendar well in advance, I’ve accepted a better offer.

But since plans aren’t firmly nailed down yet I’ll hold off on actually saying what they are for now. The only thing that’s certain is that I’ll be out of town for the last week of August and the first week of September and I’ll need to find someone to take care of Carmen while I’m gone.

I signed the papers for my Condo on Wednesday. Honestly, I wish I had recognized the lawyer’s name when my mortgage brokers recommended him. Turns out he’s the same guy handling our divorce. Not that there’s any conflict between him handling our divorce and him handling my Condo purchase, it’s just that I don’t have a lot of faith in him getting things done on time. For one thing… he’s still handling our divorce. We had the paperwork finished and handed over to him last year. Last. Year.

When I was in his office on Wednesday he still had our paperwork off to one side of his desk. On the floor. I know because he went and checked through it. He told me the rules for divorce filing had changed (last year) and that he needed a photo of me.

“While you’re here,” he said, “I can get a photo of you and we can finish off your paperwork.”

Pathetic excuse. Why? Because he had used that excuse back in April when Ronya had called him up to ask why our paperwork wasn’t processed yet. He claimed it was because he needed a photo of me to finalize the paperwork and that I was proving difficult to get ahold of.

“Oh really? Do you have his number?”

“Only his home phone,” he complained, “and he’s never home.”

“What’s the number you have?” Ronya asked.

He rattled my number off to her.

“Yeah, that’s his cell phone. He keeps that with him 24/7 and it has a message service. Even if you somehow missed him you still could have left a message and I’m pretty sure he would get back to you. In fact, I bet if you called him RIGHT NOW he’d answer.”

Which he did, and I did, and I laughed when I heard him. There’s a particular sheepish tone to man’s voice when he’s been utterly imasculated by Ronya, and it’s pretty universal. The moment he introduced himself as the lawyer handling our divorce I actually laughed out loud. His voice echoed the hollow, withered, and defeated tone of a man who’s balls are firmly in Ronya’s grasp several miles away from where he’s currently sitting.

So I sent him my photo, back in April, and here we are in mid-July with our paperwork still stacked on the floor next to his desk. When I assured him that I had already sent my photo to him he looked doubtful.

“Are you sure?” he said, as he shifted over to the teetering pile and began flipping through it. I suppose I should be thankful we’re at least on top of the pile. My photo was only a few pages down, clearly printed on a letter sized peice of paper. Not only had he received my photo, he had printed off a copy and included it in the file.

He then went on some lengthy excuse about some rules changing down at the courthouse and how he couldn’t approach his usual judge to get it processed and would have to go through longer channels, yadda yadda yadda.

I didn’t care. I wasn’t there to argue about whether or not he was handling our divorce properly, I was there to get the papers signed for my Condo before the possession date, which was in less than two days. I was entirely unconvinced that I would actually be in possession of my Condo before the year was out. I started to wonder if it was too late to tell my apartment managers I wouldn’t be moving out just yet.

Then it turned out I would need two pieces of ID to finalize the whole thing, and I didn’t have anything more than my driver’s license. This annoyed me a great deal. If he had told me in advance I would need two pieces of ID I would have made sure I had my passport with me. As it was he told me to go home and scan in my passport and e-mail it to him.

I had visions of my mortgage documents being piled beside his desk, complete with a printout of my scanned passport, being gradually buried in his pervasive apathy.

But apparently I needn’t have worried. I signed my papers, rode home, scanned my passport, and e-mailed it to him.

Half an hour later my phone was ringing. It was the Royal Bank calling me up to offer me a line of credit. Seems they got wind that I was now a homeowner again. I made an appointment down at the branch to talk it over with them towards the end of the month, after I’ve moved in.

Friday I picked up my keys. Today I finish packing and disassembling my shelves. Also a trip to the Good Will is in order.

I’d like to … smoke a bowl

Bought myself an indulgence on Saturday. I went down to Epicure and purchased a fine bag of tobacco leaf. Two bags, actually. I bought my usual Royal Coachman, a good standard, and then I took a risk on an amusing name: “Bilbo’s Leaf”. As if that wasn’t enough I was also tempted by a jar labeled “Answer 42”.

I kid you not.

But then as I didn’t want my understanding of the Universe to be completely shattered I resisted the urge to smoke the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. My head’s already far too big as it is.

As I made my purchase I was distracted by the noise of battle and the unmistakable strains of movie soundtrack. I looked around but couldn’t quite place where it was coming from.

“Am I hearing… movie sounds?” I asked.

“Yep.”

Then I thought about it. Epicure is in a basement just two or three doors down from one of Calgary’s art house theaters, and it was mid afternoon.

“Ah,” I said, expounding on my sudden insight, “your shop must be right up against the theater.”

“Nope.” The very young proprietor nodded towards a gleaming sliding door at the back of the shop. It appeared to be made out of stainless steel and had the words “Private” emblazoned just beneath the electric eye glowing red and menacing at it’s top.

I looked back at him.

“Private party.”

“Ah.” I said. The shop played host to a large private theater in which a person was alowed to smoke, not something available in public anymore.

As I finished up the purchase the strains of muffled dialog blurred through the wall along with a gentle swell of dramatic music.

“I feel like I should know the film.” I said, trying to place the oddly familiar tone and music.

“Mortal Kombat.” The clerk said, handing me my bag and my receipt.

Some small part of my admiration for the private theater died right then. If you’re going to rent a private space to watch a movie specifically so you and your friends can smoke somewhere larger and presumeably more ornate than your common living room, wouldn’t you want something a little more… classy, to watch?

Like Lord of the Rings, complete with your own pipe of Bilbo’s Leaf.

The geeks, it seems, truly are old enough to be running the show.

Snakes! On a Plane!

First off, I need to provide some links to explain some of the exclamations I was making over the weekend. In the same vein as Two Scoops I bring to you another universally applicable phrase: Snakes on a Plane. (and thank you so much for introducing this to me)

To metaquote:


In fact, during the two or three days that precedes my phone call with
the studio, I become obsessed with the concept. Not as a movie. But as
a sort of philosophy. Somnewhere in between “Cest la vie”, “Whattya
gonna do?” and “Shit happens” falls my new zen koan “Snakes on a Plane”.

WIFE: “Honey you stepped in dog poop again. ”
ME: “Snakes on a Plane…”
DOCTOR: “Your cholesterol is 290. Perhaps you want to mix in a walk
once in a while.”
ME: “Snakes on a Plane…”
WIFE: “Honey while you were on your cholesterol walk you stepped in
dog poop again.”

You get the picture.


“Snakes on a Mutha-Fuckin plane!”
100 Years of Snakes on Planes.
And, of course, the official IMDB entry.

Snakes! On a Mutha-fucking Plane!

Looknig for a good time

I’m trying to think of something to do this eveing. Being as it is my only one true day off I’m reluctant to just spend it at home playing Xbox or whatever. Right now I’m contemplating going out to see Transporter 2 because I loved the cheese of the first movie so much. I’m just a little worried the sequel cheese will be a little less appealing.

In the meantime I guess I’d better get out to the grocery store and stock up on some food. The fridge is rather empty at the moment.

Yeehaw!

Okay, I really hate to admit this, but The Dukes of Hazard might actually be a movie worth seeing. I really had no affection for the original TV show (I was old enough to fee insulted and too young to care about Daisy) but after seeing the trailer (courtesy of Scott Kurtz, the bastard) I actually want to see this. I mean, it’s Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville, two guys silly enough to work together and make it funny. It’s got Jessica Simpson doing the only thing she’s good at, which is wearing a bikini, and it has Burt Reynolds… and Lynda Carter! Man, even when I was too young to understand it Lynda Carter still did it for me.

Of course, I’ll probably wait until it comes out on DVD, but still…