Saturday, February 26

I've hunted, now I'm gonna gather.

Watching the Oscars I realized it's been months since I went to a movie theatre and saw something new. This is not usual. I see a lot of films every year, but money's been tight, and it's been my priority to watch stuff on DVD that I've already paid for instead of going out of my way to see new stuff. And let's face it, the last time I went out there on a bender to get some serious movie watching in, out of five flicks, one was really great. Alright, better than great, monumental even, but still. Four disappointments is a harsh blow. At this time last year, I officially got excited about what was around the corner, and so I'm trying to do it again this year:

1) Hitchhiker's Guide - the more I see, the less worried and the more excited I get. The trailers (especially this one) make me not just smile, but actually remember what was so great about reading those books in the first place. They weren't just funny, they let you feel like you were a part of them. Not a reader or a viewer, but a co-conspirator in the fun. The movie just feels like it's doing the same thing, and I haven't felt that much like a part of something since The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and that was over 15 years ago. Half a life is too long to wait for that feeling.

2)Sin City - duh. I keep going back to the graphic novels and collections and issues of this that I was buying 10 years ago and showing to anybody I could get to sit still. The compositions on the page blew my mind. Sin City was and still is utterly unlike any comic book story ever, with renderings so evocative and stylish that they out noir everything on the planet. Do I think Rodriguez can pull it off on film? It sure looks like it. My big Rodriguez complaint has always been on the writing side, specifically story and structure, where I think his reach often exceeds his grasp. But Frank Miller is essentially in charge here, and although it may all play a bit flat in the end, at least what happens won't get in the way of how great it all looks and feels.

3) The Amityville Horror - SURPRISE! I am looking forward to a horror film. I am intensely unbuilt for horror films. I am the first person to scream, jump, or otherwise be completely manipulated by what is going on up there on the screen. I'd prefer to believe that it's that same quality that allows me to desperately love all other kinds of films, that inability to set myself apart from the experience. In any case I am willing to risk the sheer humiliation of it, if only because this looks like a genuine attempt to recapture the '70s supernatural horror genre, when getting scared meant empathizing with the adults, not a bunch of pretty young things being punished for their sexual encounters.

4) The Ringer - finally a movie about that universal subject, a guy who pretends to be retarded so he can rig the special olympics for profit. Dude.... that shit's wrong, dude.

5) Kung Fu Hustle is supposed to hit this spring as well, and based on everyone's raves I will be there. This was the movie I had a ticket to during the past festival, only to find out the film had been destroyed at a private screening. So technically I've been lined up for this for over 5 months.

Herein lies the problem. This list was the best I could come up with for the next 3 months. It's not exactly that great. Where are the really great movies, man?

Wednesday, February 23

a lot deeper than I originally thought

So just to get the news out of the way, I came through the wisdom teeth removal machine with hardly a scratch. 6 days later I'm nearly done with the antibiotics, and all that's left is a two minute recheck with the dentist Thursday night.

Some observations:

1) The gas, it does nothing. Even though I'm only paying about 20% of the cost after the insurance kicks in the rest, I don't think it was worth it. NOS just ain't my drug. I'm inaccessible to the chemical high at the best of times, with very little of the (admittedly limited) experimentation I have undergone ever resulting in what could charitably be called a high. In any case, N20 has zero effect. I keep forgetting to breathe through my nose anyways.

2) I am not freaked out by being in a dentists chair. Actually there's a certain enjoyment when I'm in there, similar to the lovely feeling of the barber's chair or being measured for something. Not sexual exactly, but really really close. (I reiterate - NOT SEXUAL. Different from sexual. Please don't start in with the silly comments.)

3) I love when after everything is half frozen, they basically sit on top of you, brace their knee on your chest and heave the novocaine in your mouth like they're tightening a lug nut. There's something enjoyable about seeing someone work that hard to make sure I won't feel a thing.

I recuperated by watching the Matrix box set, almost all 36 hours of it. I recommend this, it's quite a ride if you can clear your schedule. My critical perception has shifted several times over the four days, and it really does seem possible that any subsequent viewings can only get richer and more satisfying. My bold prediction: That this will, when viewed properly as one large 8 hour work (including the Animatrix shorts) be regarded as one of the best science fiction stories ever put on film. A generation from now, long after the critics of the day have faded into silence, college kids will be watching the matrix and talking about it.

I have crawled almost all the way back out of the rabbit hole now, and only the monster Lord of the Rings day still awaits me, beckoning like a silent behemoth from the shelf, taunting me with its weight and volume.

Wednesday, February 16

Dog. Food.

Thus putting to rest the idea that this sort of thing is a myth. Yup, people really do eat these things. mmm.... Schnauser-licious.

Tuesday, February 15

Hello five!!

Bye bye four....

shut up and clean

I fulfilled on a resolution last week, going back into the arms of qualified dental professionals for the first time in over 2.5 years. I officially quit on regular check-ups a while back, due to my utter frustration with the whole process.

Imagine taking your car in for service, and instead of just reading newspapers from a week ago and drinking coffee flavoured transmission fluid, you have to wait in the car while it's put up on the hoist, and you can't talk because of the thoughtful gag placed in your mouth. But the mechanic can talk, alright. And while you wait, instead of just going ahead and tuning up the car, he or she decides that they're going to give you a really pretty complete lecture about how bad a driver you are, how you're ruining the car, how if you keep this up, they just might have to yank the car away from you altogether.

You get the idea. I gave up on paying for the privelege for a while. You want to know something, dentistry? I actually know I could brush more. I'm aware of it, in much the same way that a smoker is aware the smoking is bad for you. So stop telling me how to brush. I know how. How is not the issue. Stop dropping hints about good times to floss. I'm flossing when I feel like it. Just shut your well paid trap and clean my fucking mouth, goober.

The good news about all this is that when I finally did go back I wasn't in that bad a shape. There was a fair amount of cleaning needed, but my overall health is quite good, no cavities, bone loss or other nastiness to speak of. Even my gums got a pass, unheard of in my lifetime. I think being conscious of not going to the dentist kept me a little more diligent than if I was going all the time.

The bad news is that my wisdom teeth, which were always considered marginal, should really be coming out. If I wait much longer and there is a problem I'll have a hell of a time getting rid of them due to my rapidly advancing age. So thursday night I'm taking the gas pipe and having bones ripped right out of my head. Then I'm loading up on codeine, waking up friday morning and watching the entire matrix trilogy while holding bags of frozen peas to my head.

Care to join me?

Monday, February 14


On practically the very eve of Max's 5th birthday we were on our way home from dinner, just the two of us. In the car, looking around for something to use for conversation, I spied the Royal York hotel sign out the window of the car.

Hey Max, see that?


Over there. It's the Royal York Hotel, see it? That used to be the tallest building in Canada.

Did they shrink it?

Wednesday, February 9

Did you get yours yet?

Not the movies, I know you've got those. Duh. But did you bother to read the little advert inside ROTK:EE? I did, and sent away and got this back in the mail, free!

dry runs

In case you're wondering, I haven't felt the need to blog recently. Sometimes, even though the exact same amount of stuff is happening, it just doesn't translate into bloggable thoughts.

Friday, February 4

don't forget to take your pills, old man.

Seasonal Affective Disdorder seems to have moved right on in, with friends putting blogs on hiatus and other portentous signs of the apocalypse. I watched the entire week's worth of Daily Shows last night, and you know what? Meh, that's what. You know you're getting depressed when Jon Stewart isn't making you laugh, when Letterman's Carson tribute show comes off as just okay under the circumstances.

Stewart did good solid material on the Iraqi elections, and several times I saw the jokes coming from miles away. The Baghdad Bobblehead theatre company was a nice touch, though. The remote pieces, while once great, have become stale for me recently, like a holdover from another type of show. The interviews are still the best on television, and Stewart remains the gold standard for mixing the light and the dark, allowing visitors to impart real information while still entertaining the crowd.

Dave spent some time with Peter Lasally, third in command at Johnny's Tonight Show (after Carson & Freddy De Cordova), and he provided some good insights into the man. The power he wielded was near absolute, and nobody's coming along that's even close. But the monologue, comprised entirely of jokes Carson had sent in to the staff, felt stale and obligatory, and because it only used Carson's smattering of one off material there was no rhythm to it at all. The one insight I thought fresh was Dave commenting that after Johnny, all late night entertainment has in some way aped his concepts. The desk, guest chairs, onstage band and proscenium mainstage are all still in evidence, and only the Daily show has innovated even slightly by foregoing the band. "We all just want to be Johnny, whether we know it or not."

This week's House was the best one yet, although I didn't cry like I did a few weeks ago. In any case, to paraphrase Twain, reports of the death of the procedural seem to be greatly exaggerated. All of my new favorite shows, House, Medium and Numbers are all procedurals. All, not by coincidence, break through the morass of E/RCSIL&O:SVU crap by giving us something a little more compelling than just forensic evidence to sift through. Wounded, human character at the center of each one, coupled with stylistic progress that delights in telling us their stories in unexpected ways. It may be junk science, for instance (and I'm certainly too dumb to tell you for sure) but Numbers use of onscreen graphics and frame division as formal story devices seems nothing short of brilliant. Medium's conceit that no two psychic events present in the same way forces the writers to get out of traps before those traps are even built. And House's formulaic structure is still great because it may be a formula, but goddamn is it the right one. Also if House and Scrubs both exist in the same universe, Dr. Cox might want to cross over for a consult with the folks at Princeton Medical. Just a thought.
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