Monday, August 31, 2009

Did Not See This Coming...

I have no idea what to make of this: Disney agrees to aquire Marvel.
The mind reels, and I suppose this will be driven by what Disney intends to do with Marvel. From a theme-park perspective there are some interesting issues. Off the top of my head, this makes me wonder about the ever-so-awesome Spiderman ride at Universal Studios, Florida.
Weird. Just weird.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Humans Allowed

JediBoy and I went to see District 9 a few nights ago. We think you should, too.

Yup, it's definitely sci-fi. It has a fair helping of weaponry a-blazin' and a big spaceship and lots of running around. The special effects are simply not very noticeable - they're just that good. On a technical level, I don't know that I've ever seen anything like it. I mean that in a good way.

There are some negatives, I suppose: a few plot holes that are pretty minor to all but the most prickly critics.

If action and effects floats your boat, then it's a pretty good bet for your movie dollars. But the reasons JediBoy and I walked out of the darkness loving this movie are the reasons that any movie is deemed 'great': story and characters.

I'll not give much away, except to say that the story-line does not rely on explosions or loud noises (although it does make liberal use of the F-word). Instead, it plays with your emotions, ties them into knots, and takes you to a conclusion that makes sense. The characters - especially Sharlto Copely in the lead - are fully-formed, economical, and mostly mesmerizing from the moment you first meet them. Altogether, this movie explores what it is to be human and humane.

We loved this movie. And we bet you will, too.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Kottage Kavalcade

Because you want to know, I've distilled my cottage journal into it's pure essence: 7 days of fighting against Man and Nature for my very survival.

Day 1 - Get There Alive
  • I fine-tune my unpatented 30:1 Fun Uncertainty Ratio (FUR). That's 30 minutes of packing activity for every 1 day of cottage time. This covers clothing, books, DVDs, games, iTunes downloads, etc. for all possible weather and roommate conditions. FUR also applies to camping trips - albeit with an overall 60-minute penalty for non-electrical campsites.
  • cap off a typical Travel Day by watching Harrison Ford play Action-Hero President in 'Air Force One'. My jestful critique a la Mystery Science Theater 3000 only serves to offend my sister-in-law and elicit several "So what would be a good movie to you?". I have no energy to respond.
Day 2 - The Tribe Has Spoken
  • Brother-In-Law, Sister-In-Law and their sentient drool-machine, Shadow, head back to London by Noon, leaving Dee, the kids, and I to fight off bears and Hummingbirds by ourselves.
  • Spend the afternoon Spring-cleaning the cottage to force Dee's allergies into abatement (see: Shadow). As the last window is cleaned and the vacuum motor spins down into silence, the rains sweep in from Georgian Bay. Remainder of day is spent finishing 'World War Z' and losing my pocket-change to a crooked 13 year-old card shark.
Day 3 - Conlflicted
  • The Sun peeks out enough to convince us that the beach was viable. While Dee and the kids heed the frigid water's clarion call, I feel the need to do something useful to justify some later goofing-off time. I spend a few hours power-washing old stain from the deck while others frolic in the surf. I become Les Nessman and the power-washer - my violin.
  • My In-laws (Dee's folks) arrive later in the day, which means that I am duty-bound to sit in a lawn chair with a beer and watch my father-In-Law cook something on the barbeque. This is a non-negotiable tradition and the only allowable forum for politics and local gossip.
Day 4 - 20 Year-Old Routines
  • The typical cottage groove: breakfast, cleanup, lunch, cleanup, dinner, cleanup. Somewhere in there is a glass of wine or a beer (or two). Some fish are hunted from a metal boat, and they prove elusive. Rummoli is used to pass the evening hours.
  • I spend some time applying water-seal to the deck and am rewarded with beer and conversation near a barbeque device.
Day 5 - It Had To Be Snakes
  • Awake and staring into the horrific fractal-orange 'bedroom' carpet. I think too hard about the thousands of life-choices that led me to be staring into this carpet. Also wondering about the thousands of choices that led someone to green-light the production of this carpet.
  • Spend time underneath the cottage repairing some leaky waterpipes. Also spend some time trying not to think about the possibility of snakes hiding in the piles of leaves under the cottage. These thoughts are pushed from my head later on courtesy of the fumes emanting from the stain we apply to one of the cottage's sleeping cabins.
  • In the afternoon I nearly step on a fucking rattlesnake. I catch the fucking rattllesnake with a rake and a pail to dispose of him in the woods. I then lose the very pissed fucking rattlesnake out of the pail and catch him once more. He's more pissed at this point as I run into the woods in a determined effort to avoid pissing him off even more. The lessons: rattlesnakes fucking jump, rattlesnakes are fucking fast, I do not fucking like rattlesnakes.
Day 6 - And Now A Word From The Bear
  • Awake to find a bear in the backyard helping himself to the compost-pit buffet. I secretly wonder if bears are afraid of snakes, and I decide it doesn't matter. I'm not a big fan of either life-form, anyways. I make note that the bear enters and exits the yard near our outhouse. Joy.
  • Spend the whole day reading Anathem, taking a boat-tour to the dump, and swimming a little bit with the kids. I secretly feel guilty about not staining the deck today. We boat to a nearby lodge for a restaurant dinner.
Day 7 - End Game
  • It's the last day at the cottage, and the day is uncomfortably cold. I work on some mathematics to predict why the presence of an outhouse seems to propel the bladder into overdrive - especially at 4am. I am not successful in developing the appropriate model. I cannot imagine how the bear fits in.
  • We pack our belongings and make note of all the items that were not used (I'm looking at you Breakfast Club DVD!). We make our way home and, by mid-evening, I am thanking my toilets for just being there. You know?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Help Me Obi-Wan

Noon tomorrow we hit the road for our annual trek to Dee's family cottage. This will mark twenty-something annual pilgrimages I've made to the modest little spot on Georgian Bay near Parry Sound. But I've come to be pretty ambivalent about the experience.

It's an idyllic enough place - quiet, isloated, lovely little beachfront, accessible only to those with a boat and a map. But, for me, there's only so much fishing, swimming, sitting in the outhouse, or reading by the dock that I can seriously take. But when you're there, you're there. Weather permitting, it's a good hour into town: boat to marina, marina to car, car to town. Heading out to a movie theater or restaurant - doing anything remotely spontaneous and urban - is not really in the cards.

So I always make the best of it. Since the place is 40+ years old there are always repairs that need attention. Lots of repairs. And I read a lot. And I swim with the kids. And then I read some more. And then I fix something else.

There's no Internet service there, of course. And I'm told that the satellite TV service may not yet be turned on. So I have a lot of books and DVDs ready to go. I've loaded the iPod with more hours of podcasts than I could possibly consume. A few bottles of Red are sitting in the loading area. And I have my eye on someone's DS.

The weather is looking reasonable for sitting outside. This is good because, you know, I'm going to be reading a lot and trying to recall what indoor plumbing and The Internet are all about.