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Harry Potter And The Reluctant Yank, Part A

(I’m already doing a numbered series, as not to confuse, maybe.)

Cinema’s blog, movie date 130428:14

From news articles I’ve read that after August we may not even have a post office, that’s supposed to be when all the “debt” comes to a head. You see, thru a certain political party, the USPS now has to accrue savings 75, that’s SEVENTY-FIVE years before an employee retires. That is 10 years before any employee is even BORN, add 16 more before they’re able to work. And then prices will skyrocket to mail anything. So we may finally be rid of junk mail, but also the ability to send hand written holiday cars & letters.

Anyway, and that was quite a tangent, I decided to go for quality on my netflix cue and hacked away all the 2 star films and ones that I had less than 10 of. 3 is a lame rating out of 5. It’s wishy washy okay. I always like a review system with an even number of options. 50% or 51%, shit or good. The only 3’s I have left are part of series.

I couldn’t deny it was time to rent the harry potter films, mostly because I was impressed that such a large cast made 8 films. The closest I can think of was Roger Moore as bond for 7, but that’s mostly him. Was Q, M & Money Penny consistent within that?

The first film I just let “wash over me,” I didn’t try to figure anything out, which is tough. My mind wants to plot crunch. And the first 3 movies were tough because the magic was too random for me. A mythology has to develop rules within itself. You have to know a vampires rules or Jason if you have to kill them. There has to be a limit what you can make disappear or specifics on what you can pull out of nowhere? This movie was all over. But there is a puzzle to figure out. Tons of characters are introduced and I think you can have too many characters. That’s what sells the action figures, unfortunately.

I learned from the tons of Star Wars figures I still have and am reluctant to sell. For a long time I thought about calling my eBay handle “should_I_sell_blue_snaggletooth?” I now am selling 3/4 of my collection quite easily, a lesson in collecting and what their real long-term value is when the series takes a turn from the creator(s).

Who the hell sends their kids here to such a dangerous school?! And a 7 year school when you’re 11? They haven’t even learned the “basics” of high school? Are you really going to teach sorcery to a bunch of kids that want to get laid, play video games and eat junk food?

I did think the sorting hat was interesting. High school is like that: you’re wither a jock, a geek (without perfect grades), a stoner or in the academic decathlon. There are many factions… familiar to me within the geeks.

In the second movie, I did figure out the puzzle, or big bad and I just considered it a kid’s movie that spelled it out. I knew there were bigger things for Snape and like most movies there would be something important he was hiding for him to act odd but not all outright evil.

I of course loved Moaning Myrtle. Can’t wait to see the porn parody.

The films went on long and it was tough for me to get thru. I was bored and restless. It was literally watching a british tv season of 6 episodes in a sitting.

The third movie was trickier for me to figure out and I’m not sure I did. Everything just happens quickly whether or not and of course people leave the movie saying they figured things out. I bet if the theater paused the movie before it’s secrets unraveled and handed out a written, I’d bet 3% really got it.

There are so many red herring characters, but I did pay attention to what I call card counting people. Like blackjack there are high cards and low cards. A character will come in and do good (high card) or do something bad (low card). There are ancillary characters that kinda say “hi” (middle) that you take for granted. CSI taught me not to mentally “blow off” those people.

If you have a time traveling device, THAT should be the big deal here! I understood later where the plot and mythology needed to go, but at least dispatch the device if you’re not going to use it!

Wow, that was a lot and quick. I’ll have to go to part 2…

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2013/04/28 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing In Your Magical, Happy World Part 4 of 10

Backlog blog, catch up date 130423:22

Wow, I have a lot to catch up on! Sorry.

So, we have character(s) that have to act to get something they want, called to respond by someone else or may even act to avoid something.

What’ll happen is they have to go somewhere out of their comfort zone/ status quo land, which is plot stage #3. This is what movie makers show in the poster! You go on vacation to a wonderful land, not like back home at all. Or you go into a magical world where animals can talk, or magic spells can happen. Werewolves, vampires and other monsters exist. Time travel is possible!

Or of course, you go into Hef’s mansion and there are topless girls walking around everywhere! Of course there’s no drama or petty bickering or gossip or anything like that. They all are horny and are not at all just vying for playmate/ girl friend/ staying on property status.

But it’s also other earthly things. What’s that noise outside? Is someone going to be stupid enough to go out there and see what it is? And go outside the front door and close it behind them? You bet. You’re driving along and crap, it’s a flat tire. (uh, thank you fir the link, Wikipedia?) You have to get out, see what hellish road conditions are out there and see how flat your mini donut is, after unloading the most full trunk you’ve ever seen.

People are also put into other situations against their choosing. The character(s) get put into prison and madcap hilarity follows. They are likely to learn something in the joint before they get out. Or do they ever get out?

It’s also simple things. I’m in the living room. I’m hungry. So I have to go into magical kitchen land and see what’s in the fridge or cupboards. It’s usually not magical, because we all know what is and isn’t in the kitchen.

You think of protagonists, but there also bad guys are going thru the same events and their world is changing, too. “Who the hell are these insurgent kids running around hacking my troops and robots up with their light sabers?” “That bitch in the blue dress crushed my sister with her house!” “There must be something to eat around here, let’s go in this Nostromo thing and see what’s cookin!“ And of course you can’t have a film discussion without mentioning “who the hell is taking out my partners during the Nakatomi heist?”

What usually happens in films/ tv is that the status quo land is not unlike our own. We live in boring town, work a boring cubicle/ retail job. We have to wait in lines. There’s no magic here. It’s even in black and white around here! Few movies since Wizard of Oz can pull off such a change as to go from sepia to a Technicolor world. Everyone is in their commute before the earthquake happens and changes everything.

Whatever happens is a hell of a big change from what we’re used to. And sadly, most actors say “Really? Wowwwww….” What should really happen things are levitating with no support is to go on and on about it, “HOLY SHIT, THAT CAR IS REALLY FLYING!! I mean look at it, it really is! Fuck, dude, do you see this? There’s no strings or nothing. What the fuck?! Do you see this!” If we got catapulted to the future, we’d really be going on about it for hours.

Of course before you have much time to look around, new problems come cropping up, something that really escalated beyond what you thought your initial problem was…

2013/04/23 Posted by | Writing course in 10 sessions | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Battling the terror

Rambler’s Blog, walk date 130416:19

Yesterday, I wanted to get into part 4 of the writing series but my head was in a funk after the Marathon bombing. I hadn’t watched the news in a long time and I thought watching it a little wouldn’t hurt. Of course I had nightmares last night and it affected my day today.

Every week, I have a set list of goals and then a few I think up that would make the “biggest impact,” on getting me “back,” meaning several things you’re likely to guess. I applied to 2 of 5 places I had in mind. This senseless violence was bothering me. I had been in a minimum of 6 motorcycle accidents, I was hoping my mind didn’t have hair-trigger PTSD anymore.

So I did many things today to… find inspiration, to reaffirm some faith in humanity. Things were going great the past few weeks, I wasn’t about to let some random asshole 2 time zones away ruin things.

I realized most of my thoughts are set up to be status updates: nice compact sentences. Here, my writing is also compacted, to get everything I have to think about a subject within a typewritten 2 column page. My other writing, I get to draw things out to capture every sense, answer all the w’s and yet stay focused on the point of what chapter/ memory is.

One of the things I like to do is visit the adopt a pets, but it also makes me sad. It’s sad I can’t afford to adopt a pair of older cats to take care of in their later years. It’s also sad that I can’t volunteer at any shelters, they favor those with a vehicle to get around to adoption locations to watch the animals and to bring supplies around. And there’s someone already to attend the 3 closest locations to where I am.

One of the greatest things is when I get to take off and explore things I haven’t done before. Thankfully I got to do that later on my trip. I decided that most of the local events I didn’t attend the past year or so to save money is something I need to do again. That also relates to something all these news stories of tragedies and closures got me thinking about. I want the innocence back in my life.

There are a lot of definitions of that. Is going back to childhood too far? Revisiting core beliefs may not be so bad, as long as I don’t dwell there. People quoted Mister Rogers after the bombing and I thought about what people took comfort in. Clearly Mister Rogers was to remind us older folk lessons we were shown as kids still can apply, maybe to pass on to the next generation. Muppets? Schoolhouse rock? Clifford? Fraggle Rock? Pooh bear?

Teen years, too can be innocence. Teenage kids are resigned to be without transportation and to be “have nots,” thinking that all it takes is to bide your time until you can go to college or turn 21 to be happy. There are many coming of age movies that don’t involve getting laid or stoned.

College kids are probably the last stage of innocence before being sent to a cubicle or other job that becomes their defining career. They have winter and spring break vacations to take on the snobs at the slopes or regatta contest. This is when you turn 21 and make all your first bar mistakes.

I decided this spring and summer to go to a lot of places I haven’t been to since I was little. I remember a lot of places I was taken on field trips are still around. There are a lot of places I should check in on, changes or (preferably) not.

And hopefully, if it’s easy to get to, they may even be hiring or accepting volunteers at least.

 

2013/04/16 Posted by | random trains of thought- choo choo | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VEGAS Downtown and the Strip, the adventures continue!

TRAVELER’s Blog, bus, car and foot date 130409:11

I’ve waited a whopping 2 1/2 years to get back to Las Vegas. That’s a small number. How about 130 some odd weeks? 933 days is closer. Assuming I have a generous 8 hours of sleep a night for an insomniac, that’s 14,928-ish hours. I could get into minutes and seconds, I’ve felt each one crawl on in molasses time, but I already used my calculator more than I do on my accounting Monday mornings.

I wanted to write a pre- blog before the trip about the anticipation and all the packing anxieties, but eh. Everything turned out different than planned for the most part. There were a ton of things I packed I didn’t even use and a ton of places I researched that didn’t get done. The things I actually wound up doing instead was quite… limited until later on.

There were so many wonderful things about Vegas I’m happy to report about. I kept my trip under wraps for the most part until I actually went. People have their own usual things they post about and are usually focused more on that.

I suppose the bad news first, the recession continued to hit many businesses I loved and close them down. But like I noticed in the past few years, some of the big businesses I wish had closed locations didn’t, they still churn out garbage and cattle feeds off the image their commercials inundate on tv. Their commercials are on the superbowl every year and also make consumerist’s march madness bracket every year.

I originally moved away from the bay area because I got sick of seeing my favorite childhood places disappear due to change of new owners and management. I wanted to leave while I had memories in tact. I expected Vegas to be a place of change. I just never expected to be such a crusader of small businesses and get to know their families.

One thing that did surprise me was the new changes that I supported and there were many. I got to check out a lot of places I’d heard opened after I left. I now understand what locals see in Cosmo that reviews and pictures couldn’t capture online. I’ll attempt to capture it in my review.

There are so many new developments downtown and I appreciated the ones I went to. There were others I intentionally stayed away from. I wanted to go to places with the older East Fremont feelings I know, the one that isn’t being bought up by that shoe company playing Monopoly with businesses that have been there decades longer.

I’m the biggest fan of Downtown and Mayor Oscar’s attempts to revitalize it (even the big empty location that the landlord has been noted for screwing up). But the shoe company is gobbling up property that they don’t have plans for yet. And the huge, glaring red flag no one wants to mention is that said company had 3 retail locations that eventually failed- years before the recession hit.

Wow, this’ll have to be a 2/ multi part-er. I haven’t scratched the surface on all the places I went! I got to explore nips deep and it was magnanimous!

2013/04/09 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment