Friday, March 26, 2004

The Lord of the Rings vs. The Lord of the Universe

"The Passion of the Christ" got me thinking. Not about the nature of sin and redemption, but of the nature of moviegoing. Over the past year or two I've done a lot of complaining about movies, specifically The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogies. My basic problem is that I don't understand them.

I don't care what anyone says, The Matrix 2 & 3 are complete messes. I've heard that in order to fully understand them, you need to play the videogame and watch "The Animatrix" shorts, which help fill in the backstories. My argument was that if you have to purchase other material in order to understand a movie, then it's not a good film. Movies should be "self-contained"; everything you need to know should be somewhere on the screen.

I am willing to give The Lord of the Rings (LotR) The Benefit of the Doubt (BotD) and say that the movie ARE self-contained. That doesn't mean I understand them. Friends who have read the books think I'm insane because I can't follow the plot. There's just too much going on for me. I think it really helps to already know the story beforehand, and I felt it was paradoxical to have to know the story before you saw the story.

Now, with Passion I feel like I'm finally on the other side of the fence. I'd like to think I have an above-average understanding of the Gospels and I realize that if you don't already have a basic understanding of who the characters are, it might be a difficult movie to understand. And that was OK with me. Supopse I tried watching a Christmas movie but didn't know who Santa Claus was. Are the film-makers obligated to explain Santa to me? I don't think so.

Maybe I've been too hard on The Lord of the Rings; the problem is with me, not the movies. But The Matrix still sucks.


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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Feeling Pretty. (pretty nauseous)

One of the biggest arguments I hear in support of gay marriage goes a little something like this: "If two people love eachother, why shouldn't they be allowed to get married? They're not hurting anyone." WRONG! I have the proof.

My friend "Jack" is getting married soon (to a woman, but the logic still works.) This weekend, his step-daughter-to-be is having a birthday party and Jack wants me to come. But it's not just a birthday party. Oh no. It's a... Pretty... Princess... Party...

Yes, a dozen 6-year-olds running around in little fairy costumes putting on make-up and doing eachother's hair. I don't blame Jack for wanting me to be there, and part of me wants to just say "too bad, you got yourself into this mess, you deal with it." But I can't stand the thought of him huddled in the corner, terrified and alone, while the My Pretty Pony soundtrack pounds through his temples. So I HAVE to go, or what kind of friend am I?

If Jack wasn't getting married, I wouldn't have to go to a Pretty Princess Party. But he is, and I do. When people selfishly choose to get married, it can and DOES hurt other people. Maybe all marriages should be outlawed; but at the very least, the "they aren't hurting anybody" argument is hereby nullified. Pretty Princesses indeed.


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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Here is a great twist in the gay-marriage debate: A county in Oregon has banned ALL marriages. That's right, whether you are gay or straight, you can't get a marriage license in Benton County. They will not give out any licenses until the state settles once and for all who can and can't get married. Classic.


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Monday, March 22, 2004

This is why I love reality TV.

On scripted shows, the characters often learn a valuable lesson and experience some form of personal growth. That's not the case with reality TV. Case in point: Average Joe is a dating show where a beautiful woman must select from a group of guys who are, shall we say, "not attractive in the traditional sense." This season, they brought back the original runner up (i.e. the First Loser) and are letting him choose from a group of women. In a twist, some of the women appearing on the show are being selected by the rejects from the first season.

They showed some footage of the casting, and it had this discussion between two of the guys who were rejected on the first show:

Reject One: "We're looking for girls that are hot."

Reject Two: "We all got cut, and you know how we felt, and I just feel bad looking these girls up and down saying 'you know what honey? you're not pretty enough to come on TV'."

Reject One: "Yeah, well... Life sucks."

This guy learned NOTHING from his experience. He was embarrassed and humiliated on TV, and now he's going to turn around and do the same thing to someone else. Is it nice? No. But it's great TV.

This is Mister P.'s Clip of the Week. (261k QuickTime)


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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Long Live the Queen

I was awakened this morning at 6:30 by the sound of rattling from the front door; someone was trying to get into my condo. I live on the 16th floor of a fairly safe building, so it was unlikely someone was trying to break in. Security might need to come in for some reason, but they would always call first or certainly knock, even in an emergency.

I got out of bed, opened the door, and there stood a woman who looked to be about 140 years old. My first thought was that she was having a heart attack and needed someone to call 911. My second thought was "Oh please, please, PLEASE don't die in my condo!" As it turns out, she wasn't sick, merely "confused".

She swaggered into my condo and I helped her sit down on the couch. She mumbled incoherently quite a bit, but I did hear her say "where am I?" This actually seemed like a reasonable question to me; many of the units in my building have identical floorplans, so it could be disorienting to see an identical condo with different furnishings. I told her "I think you got lost and came to the wrong door. Do you know where you live?" I realized she was more lost than I thought when she then asked me "Is this London?"

She was non-responsive when I tried to find out her name or where she lived, and eventually she just told me "you go back to sleep." Right. I'm going to go to bed while Betsy Ross wanders around my home. I don't think so. My hope was that if she wandered out of one the other units on my floor (there are only 5) maybe the door would still be open. I took her back into the hallway, and first asked if she rode the elevator. She said no, but I had no idea whether or not she understood the question. We then walked down the hall, trying to find an unlocked door than might be where she came from. She even tried to open the door to the electrical closet.

All of the doors were locked, but our attempt at one of them got a dog barking inside. I then heard voices so I figured it was safe to knock. (It was still before 7:00 am and I didn't want to wake up people if I didn't have to.) A much younger woman, around 80, answered the door. Apparently this woman (the 140-year-old) was visiting from England and had wandered off.

As I returned to my home, I could hear the younger woman yelling at her guest "This door should stay locked! Do you hear me?! You can't go outside by yourself!" Growing old is no fun. But I guess it's better than the alternative.


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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Last year, I burned down a kitty-litter box. Hey, these things happen. My mother came out visiting last month, saw the burnt carpet, and called the insurance company. I wasn't sure this was a good idea, because any claim you file can affect your rates. An insurance appraiser came out, determined all of the carpet in the bathroom and bedroom would have to be replaced, and quoted an estimate of $1561.58. I have a $500 deductible, and today I received a check for $1,061.58. I don't know what long-term effect this will have on my rates, but a thousand bucks for being stupid is a pretty good deal if you ask me.


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Monday, March 08, 2004

I was skiing in Park City Utah for the past 10 days.

You may recall I gave myself the Snowboarder name "Sumac". Well, I was given a new Skiier nickname this week: George. As in "of the Jungle." As in "Watch out for that tree." We're all familiar of the scenes of George or Wyle E. Coyote or countless other cartoon characters smashing into trees to great comedic effect. I am here to tell you those scenes do get played out in real life.

I was following a "friend", a super-expert skiier, down the mountain who said "follow me!" He took me into a section of the woods where his 6 and 8 year-old-sons like to ski. In order to successfully ski into a forest, one of the following must be true:

1) You have a great deal of experience making quick, confident turns on your skis
2) You are under 40" tall

Unfortunately, I don't meet either of the requirements. The trail zigged, I zagged, and WHAM! It really was like a cartoon. Both my feet went in the air (on either side of the tree), my arms wrapped around it and my face slammed right into the trunk. I then slid down the tree onto my butt. Had I not been wearing my goggles, I'm sure I would have broken my nose, or worse. My goggles cracked from the impact.

That being said, I am still quite proud to report that I skiied my first Double Diamond trails this week. I'm not saying I looked great doing them, but I still skiied down. I think that makes me a little hardcore. Maybe there's still a little bit of Sumac left in me after all.


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