Saturday, August 30, 2008



Just because your macho bullshit takes place in three different languages, that doesn't make it art.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Where I'm Calling From, Part III: Nordebert's Revenge

THAT's right. You are looking at a picture of a frozen dinner. Er, well, I guess technically it's now an UN-frozen dinner. This is the Mexican Fiesta Meal contingent of the Hungry Man XXL line, the one the internet critics, from their roach-infested, dog-crap-festooned hovels, declared is no good at all.
Futz, people. Futz, futz, futz. In this case, I have to get rid of the cockememe custard desert, add a dollop of actual refritos to the side dish, and cover the entire thing in extra red sauce and cheese. (And you have to have a red sauce you can trust, in my case a brand called Casa Fiesta, hailing from New Iberia, Louisiana.) (Because, let's face it, when it comes to all things Mexican, if it's not a fiesta, it just not worth it.) Also, like working with adamantium, you gotta keep it hot. Once it cools off, it starts to revert to it's pre-un-frozen state.
But the real revelation here is the combination of beers. I have had at least four meals I can think of wherin I have followed a more or less regular beer with an IPA. This time, just for the hell of it, I followed the Longammer IPA with the Kona Longboard lager. With the result that . . . Well, it was just kinda odd. The memory of the Longhammer didn't get up and tromp all over the Longboard like I thought it would, but it did have the effect of making the Longboard come on a little weaker.
Of course, the real REAL revelation is that I feel like I have some splainin to do. I haven't been blogging recently because a) it was the end of the summer and I was off doing stuff with neice Cayla, 2. My sister's kids were down from Connecticut, and III. We have been watching Season 3 of House on DVD, with the result that there has not been a lunchtime movie to speak of in a while. Up next, though, probably: Sorcerer, a movie I heard about when I was a kid, about a group of guys whose lives are terminally screwed up who volunteer to take a truck full of nitro glycerin through South America to a mining camp, apparently a virtual suicide mission for all involved. I have been meaning to see it for years, but only got around to adding it to our queue at Blockbuster Online one day while reading an interview with Brendan Fraser about the various roles he has taken on over the years, and thinking "Fraser could totally take on the Roy Scheider role in Sorcerer!" So now I hafta see the orignal movie to figure out whether I have finally, inevitably, gone insane.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things That I Used To Do, Redux

SO WE recently saw the trailer for the film they have made from this book. SPOILER ALERT: there will be no spoiler coming. Lighten up, Francis. Anyways, after we saw the trailer the Wifey decied to check out the book. So, being that it is one of my husbandly duties to retrieve the books from the library when they come in-- she goes though something like five to eight books a week, seriously-- I got a sneak peak at the thing. I read the blurb on the back and the first six lines of the intro, and I thought I pretty much had it. I tried reading the first chapter, but found myself skimming, so then I put it aside. I gave it one more try before I decided to go ahead and look the thing up on Wikipedia and read the summary.

And I had it. I guessed the entire plot, up to and including the mid-narrative plot twist wherein our heroes are betrayed! (You can hardly call THAT a spoiler.) There was one smaller twist I didn't predict, but it didn't suprise me much.

I usually put this down to "being a writer," but I seem to think that it would be crass to make such a claim in the blogoshpere. So I am going to put it down to . . . The dog. That's right: my dog is telepathic, she intuits plotlines, and then she feeds them into my head to prevent me from enjoying simple pleasures and sci-fi novels.

I don't completely under-stand it, but she assures me it's for the best, and that humankind will benefit in the long run. Besides, who doesn't love a good blame-the-dog joke?

(Of course, I think it's funny, but then again I think "Things That I Used to Do, Redux" is funny. On top of that, I debated myself for a solid three minutes whether "revisited" would be funnier than "redux"-- three minutes, the length of time it takes to make Ramen noodles. So I guess we could put this plot-sniffing phenomenon down to my being a freak, a big, bald freak.)

PSPS: The Wifey read the Ember book, which she found to be quite sloppily written, and started reading its sequel, which she finds isn't any better.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Delicious Contradictions

SO TODAY's lunch was Chinese take-out from Hop Feng II. Even if you're from Charlotte, I doubt you would be able to find Hop Feng II with a map and a compass. (Hop Feng I, I am fairly certain, no longer exists.) But it's the best Chinese take-out in this little metropolis. Here I have house lo-mein, fried dumplings, and yet again more Kona Longboard Lager, about which more in a moment.

Today's film was Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters, which is something I decided I needed to see fairly recently. I got it in the mail a coupla days ago, and kind of put off watching until I had the proper ingredients assembled. At first I was a bit unsure as to the politics of eating Chinese take-out while watching a movie about perhaps Japan's most prolific and--arguably-- best writer, but it actually made a fair amount of sense. Especially including the Kona beer, which I have convinced myself is the invention of still more pasty-faced Round Eyes money-grubbers, regardless of whether that's the case or not. I dunno. It just makes me feel better about myself. The Onion AV Club review (which, of course, is what prompted me to see this) describes it as director Paul Schrader's magnum opus, and praises the score by Phillip Glass for being at once remarkable and at the same time immersed in the film and its subject matter. But then the first title card informed me that this film was made possible by the efforts of George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.
Who are both individuals of great accomplishments, but also incredibly egotistical people capable of being enormously silly and self-important. But on the third hand, if they were actually intrumental in making it possible for me to see this, I must offer my thanks. For it was lovely. Gorgeous. Terrible to watch in parts, yet impossible to turn away from. Mishima was a man of incredible contradictions, fascinated by both life and death, a militarist who evaded military service, and a dedicated family man and deeply closeted homosexual. (Hell. Mishima wasn't closted; he was garaged.) And the film was astoundingly kind to him, attempting to invite as complete as possible an understanding of this incredibly complex man.
Of course, I fancied that I had a pretty good understanding going in, having read quite a bit of his work and having read as much as I have been able to find about him. Of course, the film opens with a biographic text informing us that Mishima wrote, over the course of his adult life, 35 novels, 25 plays, and over 200 short stories.
Gagph. I've barely scratched the surface.
Anyways. The film uses the events surrounding Mishima's death as a framing device, and then uses a precis of four of his major works as supports for weaving the tapestry of his life. Some of the techniques Schrader used as cues for separating the sections-- the end story is all shot in color, the biography bits are in black & white, and the story segments take place on abstract sets that look like a cross between cabaret and kabuki-- could have come off jarringly, but instead meld almost seamlessly together. It is long though-- two hours, which turned into 2:20 because I had to rewind to catch a couple of subtitled sections I missed because I was busy wrestling with dumplings and noodles and chopsticks, and yeah, it definitely felt like two hours-- but it was time well spent. Especially since I ate all eight dumplings, the entire carton of noodles (which the lads at Hop Feng pack in like a parachute), and uncustomarily cracked into a third beer before the whole thing was said and done.
So do I recommend it? Have a dumpling.

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