Sunday, November 29, 2009

So Full of Turkey I Could Puke

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. For those who don't celebrate the holiday, I hope you had a wonderful Thursday. I think we should have the world celebrate Thanksgiving and call it something like "Excuse to eat a lot of Turkey" Day or "So glad those lousy Pilgrims left" Day.

Much of today has been spent taunting the pets with this. I am probably the worst pilot ever. If you get into an aircraft and you see me at the controls, just walk away. Seriously, it's for the best. It's fun as hell, though. I've wrecked it into just about everything and it hasn't broken yet. There have been a few close calls with the daughters' heads, however.

Many things get better with age--cheese, wine, and really bad Syfy movies. I'm not sure that the same holds true for artificial Christmas trees, however. We have had such lousy luck with Christmas trees the past couple of years. We used to cut them down from a tree farm but all three farms around here are closed. The trees we get elsewhere usually die after a week and a half. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a brown, skeletal fire hazard!

So the in-laws gave us K's grandparents' old tree. I was told it is a pretty large tree, and that only the top portion was ever used. After I unpacked the box and got rid of the two nonfunctional wasp nests, I assembled the bugger. I'm not sure what building the great pyramids was like, but I reckon that putting together this tree competes in that arena. The beast is at least eight feet tall. I had to fluff out all of the branches because the tree had probably not been used in decades. I was really discouraged and dubious at first but, as it turns out, it's a pretty badass artificial tree. I can't imagine how much it cost back when it was bought.

And since we usually go for really odd-looking, screwball Christmas trees (when we have bought live ones), I mixed up some of the branch sizes so that it looks a bit awkward. No reason we can't still have a screwball tree, right?

I'd talk about the Syfy movie this week but, well, you know. It was "Robin Hood: Beyond Sherwood" and starred a dude from "Sanctuary". I didn't catch the whole thing so, as far as I can tell, it dealt with the Sheriff trying to piss everyone off by using a chick that turns into a dragon. Seriously. I crap you negative.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Run for the Hills!!

Thoughts are swarming around in my brain and I am trying to determine which ones are the most interesting. I would hate to bore you...or myself, for that matter.

I am an avid videogame player. I love them. I have loved them since I started up my first Atari 2600 for the very first time and played...well, I don't know what the first game I played was. But I'm sure it looked almost exactly like all the other Atari 2600 games--like a brick vomited on my tv screen. Videogames are much better now than they used to be but, unfortunately, I have grown up. So I traded much better games for a lot less awe and wonderment. I suspect it was worth it but there is still that part of me that longs to recapture that feeling--much akin to Christmas morning as a child.

So where is this all leading? I guess, while awe and wonderment are mostly gone, there are still moments in videogames that I will remember forever, be they scary, intense, or funny. I finished up playing F.E.A.R. on Halloween morning and it was suitably creepy. There was, however, one part of the game that I will always remember, but probably not for the reason the developers intended. I had acquired a weapon that basically turned targets into piles of smoking dust. Quite unfortunate for them, I must say, but a fine weapon. So I blast some nameless dude from across the hallway and approach slowly. One of his fellow soldiers runs up, stands over him ("him" now being smoking ash) and says "Check in! Are you alright?" while looking down at his friend who is now Kool-Aid powder. I had to pause the game to laugh...a lot.

That's just one thought of many swirling around in my head. Here's another...

Syfy Pictures Presents: Ice Twisters!

What's worse than a pissed-off storm cloud throwing numerous tornadoes at you as you try to drive down a country road? How about tornadoes that can freeze you and disappear in a heartbeat!? Scared yet??? neither. In fact, I can imagine the Syfy writer monkeys locked in a room, smoking heavily, and trying desperately to come up with an idea that hasn't been done (by them) yet.

Guy #1: "Dude, how about a crocodile dinosaur? We'll call it...CROCKASAUR!"
Guy #2: "Been done...but maybe if he had bionics and shot lasers..."
Guy #3: "I've got it!! Pissed off storms that can freeze you solid!"
Guy in charge: "Go with that! It'll premier next week!"
Cash Register: "Cha-ching!"

This fine piece of cinema stars Mark Moses who, surprisingly, has been in a metric shit-ton of stuff. It also stars Camille Sullivan who, surprisingly, has also been in a lot of stuff...unsurprisingly, about half of it is on Syfy and USA...but a lot of stuff nonetheless. Moses plays a physics guru turned sci-fi writer ("Charlie") and Sullivan plays his ex-colleague/love interest ("Joanne"). The tornadoes were uncredited.

So Joanne and her cronies have been working on a government project using little flying machines ("seraphs") that create moisture from the air, then seed the clouds they created to make it rain. And it works! But it doesn't stop working...then things get worse. And the government refuses to shut it down because, duh, it's a weapon!!! And some people freeze and die in different ways. Of course the government's answer to finally shut it down is to...shoot explosives at the machines! Have we seen this before? Yes. Does it work? Never. Though the actual solution is about 500 times more implausible. Also, so was the CGI.

Oh, also, there are these two journalism students running around, trying to follow Charlie to document a day in his life. The chick always has to pee and the guy always whines. They get into lots of trouble, pee and whine some more, then repeat.

How I would summarize this movie: I looked at my watch numerous times and said "Jeez, there's still left to go in this movie??"

Here are you Drive-In Totals:
--Menacing, ice-laden killer tornadoes (with nefarious goatee): A dozen or so...maybe more. They all looked the same.
--Pissy computer nerds: 2
--Book agents we couldn't care less about: 1
--Dead book agents we couldn't care less about: 1
--Authors who are way too smart: 1
--Flying cows: 0 (watch "Twister" if you want to see this)

2 stars

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?

Because he was dead. Duh.

I only relate that silly joke because a) for some reason, I still find it amusing and b) My body is sore...from climbing trees. Yes, you heard me. We attended a family reunion this weekend and I noticed there were kids trying to climb trees. It looked like large amounts of fun.

See, as an adult, there is no real reason to climb a tree. If I saw a grown adult in their front yard, climbing a tree, I'd probably think it was really odd...or they were trying to climb up to a high window to break into the house. It just doesn't seem right...yet, why shouldn't adults be able to do things like that?

So I did. I figured, if the kids were doing it, I could too. I should climb trees more often. I would make a promise to do so, but none of the trees in our yard are worthy of climbing. I could probably scale them to a certain degree, but there would be no branches on which to sit. The previous house in which I lived had a pretty decent tree out front that I would climb from time to time. I probably got really funny looks from the neighbors.

Not much else to say right now, so I'll leave you with my current favorite picture. It's from