Saturday, March 31, 2007

Movies, magic and mayhem...

I went to the movies this week. Tuesday afternoon to be precise, I have a litany of excused why it has taken me so long to get this up and I will save you all of them.

Here are some thoughts I have about what I witnessed or was party to:

First things first, the woman who sold me my matinee ticket (I am a responsible movie watcher and will almost refuse to see a full price movie these days. I just can't stomach the $9.50 charge) seemed to think that the movie I was going to see, 300, was a history. It is not. It is a comic book movie. The event that the comic book is based on is largely accepted to be a factual event but the history on the actual battle of Thermopylae is something that, as near as I can tell, is a pretty contested event. How many people Leonidas actually brought, how many Persians were there and how many other people showed up--Arcadians, Thebans, etc.,--is up to debate. But that wasn't the best part. The best part was that the ticket girls said that she wishes the Spartan boys were alive today because (and this is a quote), "...they would show these little gang-banger-wannabe punks what being tough is all about." Wow. We are doomed.


Second. I past a poster that filled me equal parts dread and excitement: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. This is the part of my blog where I expose something that I am often ashamed of: I like comic books. When I was a kid (umm... high school) I was a fanatical comic book reader. But I didn't typically tend towards the mainstream stuff. I really liked the Marvel macabre books; things like Morbius, Ghost Rider, Sons of Midnight, Blade. I also really liked the more esoteric comics in DC's Vertigo line. At any rate, I am really nervous about the movie because I have always felt that Silver Surfer was a great character and one to which I could relate. But Hollywood has a way of completely destroying comic book movies. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comes to mind right away. As does every movie that bears a Marvel character except for Spiderman and X-men. DC for some reason has been fairly immune to the problems of their universe of characters being wrecked by Hollywood. I guess executives are more respectful of Superman and Batman then they are of Punisher, Capt. America and Hulk. I think I might be able to dedicate and entire post to this topic in the future so I will spare everyone the diatribe... for now.


There is an advertisement that is out for Pepsi, I think, that features a guy cracking open a can of soda and being taken for a pinball ride through a city. As all of this happens there is a song playing by a band called Plastic Bertrand called Ca Plane Por Moi. A great song, really fast, really loud, really... French. Anyway, about every 10 years there seems to be a shift in the music that we hear in advertisements and I imagine (this isn't much of a leap) that it is either to target a specific audience or because the people in the firms that make the decisions on what songs go into which ads is getting more into more age group and as such I am finding a lot more ads that have music with which I have a personal connection.


Spiderman 3, which looks like it is going to kick ass, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3, also ass-kicking good time, both come out in May, which means I am going to be broke as a joke and I have two months to plan for it. Seriously, as we get closer to the release dates for these shows, I will have whole posts dedicated to them.


There is an ad at the beginning of the movies that shows a bunch of people opening presents and being disappointed. Which is stupid. If you are disappointed by a gift you are a dickhead. I have gotten plenty of gifts where my first reaction is WTF but I think I have been pretty good at distinguishing the dickheadish behavior early and squashed it. But I am digressing, the point of the ad is that, Everybody like movies and if you don't know what you should get somebody you should just get them passes to our movie theater. And having said that if you are disappointed by a gift you are a dickhead, I am going to revise that. If you are disappointed by a gift that is not a gift certificate you are a dickhead. Gift certificates are the worst kind of gift and I would almost prefer to have a well-written card than some shitty gift card to a store.

My mother is the only person who makes gift cards work out well, what she does is goes out and buys you something from a store (I am going to use a bookstore as an example). So she buys a book that she wants someone to read, then she gets a gift certificate to go along with it; figuring I am going to spend $50 on your present, I know you should read this book, if you haven't already, and then here is $50 to get some stuff that you will want to read later. So you know she is thinking about it, you know that she has had that inner turmoil that mothers and brothers and sisters get when they shopping for family and used the gift card to supplement the gift she is getting. Kudos to you, mom.


I am always a sucker for a movie that has to do with the apocalypse (biblically speaking) and there is a movie with Hillary Swank coming out called The Reaping. One of the costars is Stephen.. err either Fry or Rea... Not Oscar Wilde the other one, from Crying Game.

And that conversation right there has been beating me up for a long time, how in the heck am I, a stupid American, expected to keep Stephen Fry and Stephen Rea separate in my head?

Here is what I came up with. I don't know that it will help necessarily anybody but me but if you know me you will see how my mind works. Stephen Rea is Irish. He is a republican. So Stephen Resents English Authority. See, I made an anagram of his name. That is really crafty of me. I am quite pleased.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hoofin it through the snow.

Last night was weird. First of all, it was the most gorgeous day of the year in Providence. By that I mean; it was the prom queen of days, and not the prom queen that wins because she is the prettiest but then has the blackest soul and kicks puppies and thinks kittens are obnoxious: it was the prom queen that was really nice to everyone, who volunteered at the local Boys & Girls Club, kicked ass on the debate team, but was still a total knock out. You get the idea.

And I was stuck inside. Working. You know what is awesome about work? Not a damn thing. Which is why, when the sun went down and the rain started to fall and it turned to snow and I got to hoof it the mile and a half (Literally uphill) home, I had a little time to think about things.

So the snow is falling and the girls from the business/trade school here in town (the freshman) were running around dressed like fools. Just absolute fools. It was ridiculous, absolutely no clothing at all, all halter-tops and bustiers.


Lately I have read a lot about the state of the American education system and I was thinking about how sad it is that apparently 20% of the US population is functionally illiterate. That is one in five. So if you compound that with another statistic I saw recently: if you are in a bar trying to pick people up you have one in five chance of picking up a person who is either illiterate or has an STD. To quote the old knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "You must choose, but choose wisely."


So the point of this entry today, is to do a mailbag. I get a lot of mail from my readers (lie) and they ask all kinds of crazy questions (LIE) so here is today's crazy reader mailbag (if I actually had one).

1. John D. -- Anywhere, US writes: Hey, V., how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Great one, John, and you came to the right place. A woodchuck is capable of chuck 9 cubic feet of wood per hour. so if you refine the question (or do some simple math on your own) we can come up with a better answer.

2. Jane D. -- Anyville, US writes: I don't understand March Madness. My boyfriend won't spend anytime with this month, can you explain it?
Yes, March Madness is basically the last hurrah for some of these kids, and it is, outside of the World Cup, the best sporting event on the planet. Having said all that, your boyfriend shouldn't ignore you and since I am not a basketball fan per se I would invite you to come to my house and hang out we can watch whatever you want.

3. Nicole -- Providence, RI writes: What are you thinking?
Sweetie, not much, but you should be used to it by now

4. C. Ronaldo -- Manchester, UK writes: Why is soccer a better sport than football?
Chris, thanks for writing in, here is the answer for all of the math majors. Statistically speaking soccer and football (American football that is) have exactly the same total goals scored in a game. The principal difference is that in AF they call each goal 6 points. But some fancy math will quickly show you that the average football game and the average soccer game end with a total of 5 goals per game (this stat is completely made up). Also in AF the "athletes" exert themselves for a total of 12 minutes in a 60 minute game. Surprised? Have you seen Ted Washington? Whereas in Soccer they exert themselves for a 45 minutes of a 90 minute game. Astounding isn't it?

5. V. -- Providence, RI writes: V. are you happy having completely fabricating a mailbag? Do you feel better now? Is this what you wanted?
Yes, Yes, Yes

Thanks folks this filled the 30 minutes that I needed to fill so that I could spend another gorgeous day inside. WOOT!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Two new revelations.

I don't have a car, I believe that I have mentioned that in the past. It is a fact, I have no automobile. I live in a very walkable city and I have found that the public transportation, while not perfect, is generally pretty good and gets me where I really want/need to be.

I also have a friend, who is in Japan right now, who lent me his car while he was away on the provision that I drive him to and from the airport. (I think I actually offered to take him up and then pick him up and he offered me his car.) Long story short, my wife went down to visit her parents and I went to go and hang out with a friend of mine and work on finishing up a bit of a project we are working on. Anyway, on the way, we ran over a stake that was apparently intended for some sort of asphalt vampire. I am going to lie to everybody and say that it was at least 14 feet long. But the reality is that it was just big, it wasn't a nail, it was more like a rivet from the construction site that is also called I-195. So the tire goes flat and I came to the realization that I really don't miss changing tires. Not one bit. I knew that I wasn't crazy about it before, but I really discovered tonight that I can't stand that shit.

What I also realized is that I really dislike changing tires in the middle of a gawl darn sleet storm: with ice pellets being whipped at you by the wind and with idiot plow drivers shooting snow and filthy slush at you. That is easily the one thing in the day that I could have done without. Yep... didn't really need that today.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lunch Date?

umm... so I have this new office--it is an extended cubicle more than anything else. Not very exciting to be sure, but it does have highlights; among them are the fact that I am right next to the soda machine, I am about 25 feet from the men's room and I have a gigantic set of window right behind my desk. Which is what I am writing about.

The window overlooks a gentlemen's cabaret--or stripclub if you prefer--and watching the guys come in and out of this place during their lunch breaks is priceless. I mean just priceless. The kind of thing that you have to wonder about because these guys are going to lunch, coming back from lunch covered in stripper dust and cheap perfume and telling their friends and co-workers what? I just went to subway bought my BMT and then this band of strippers tackled me on my way back and rolled around all over me.

Unbelievable, the best though was watching the guy go in, come out and take a phone call, go back in, come out again and take another phone call (same person?) and then go back into the club. Bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase "power lunch"


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I got no strings...

Well, not that anybody really cares, but I have joined a wireless community. I have purchased a new computer and as I sit and write this post, I am sitting in a tea bar in Providence. A tea bar. Weird feeling to be honest. But good.

Hopefully that means that I will be more likely to be posting more often, but who knows I seem to make a lot of empty promises about being more prolific with my posts. Empty promises.