Continuing the catch up entries, there was March. A month where work became insanely busy, which makes for boring stories, so moving onto other things:
I saw a couple of movies that month, the first of which was Rango.
People’s reactions to it seem to be mixed, but I liked it lot, for possibly the very same reasons that others didn’t: that despite being a cartoon, it was not a kids movie; that it was filled to overload with quick visual jokes and references; and, for many the worst ‘sin’ of all, that it was so intentionally ugly.
For much of the flick, the only beauty to be seen was in background scenes involving the open desert, other than that it was all dirt and brown and spikes and scales.
The other movie of the month was Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives which I guess counts as “film” rather than a regular ol' flick, at least in the way that I use the words. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something that asked me to think and was not obvious. It’s also been a while where I’ve seen something where the discussion about it afterwards wasn’t about where to eat, but rather what it all meant.
I guess that it’s a thing that people either love or get annoyed by. I fall into the convinced it is amazing camp and think the ghost at dinner scene was amazing.
There were a couple of parties this month. A friends' birthday at a Lebanese restaurant in Long Beach (that is to say, a get together with great food), and an "anti-Saint Patrick" day shindig also with great food, this time around, corned beef and cabbage.
The only other thing was a bit of weirdness on my part, where I finally consciously realized something I had noticed but not paid attention to in the way my body is changing in middle age. In the past year my hair has not only gotten thinner and has receded a bit, but in doing so has also changed texture, turning from thick and wavy, to straight and sort of thin n brittle.
The thinning I'd expected. That's what happens to men my age... But the straighter hair? No one ever warned me about that. It's just... strange.
With the introductory Six million Dollar man stories over, the actual Bionic Woman show now starts with Jaime moving back to her California hometown of Ojai. Having worn out the Steve induced migraines that threaten to drive her crazy subplot (or more likely, realizing that this would limit potential stories) some convenient surgery cures of her that and brings back most of her memory, except for her love of Steve. Oscar and company continue their asshatery by leaving it up to Steve’s parents to finally tell her that she and Steve were in love and going to marry. There's a weird detail that steve's parents were also her guardians after her parents died, which means that in essence meant that she was going to marry her sort of brother.
Um... moving on, Jaime also gets a job as a teacher, because of course have no set schedules to adhere to, a teacher is a perfect cover for her spy work (yes, sarcasm).
Knowing several teachers in real life, seeing teachers portrayed in movies and TV is always odd because it all ends up so wrong*. As one friend talking about a “young white female teacher does good in the ghetto" movie put it:
"Why is she walking into school at the same time as the students? Isn’t she at least an hour late to work?"
Why is she just finding out that her classroom is a graffiti-broken desk filled disaster
on the first day of school? Did she skip out on the first two weeks of work? Did she not bother to even put up a single bulletin board?"
On many shows when there is a female character no one can think of what to do with job wise, she ends up being a teacher, and inevitably despite having no credentials, no training and getting the worst students possible, she is always a success, because all you really need is a good heart and desire to do good. It’s no wonder in the latest round of union busting efforts, teachers are being attacked as money-grabbing lazy losers. The media has taught that it’s an easy job and anyone can get kids to do well. Since there are problems with American education, it has to be the teachers fault.
Rant aside, it was almost a bit of relief that it was explained that Jaime had studied education in college with plans to teach and they showed her not only prepping for school, but also setting up her class room before her students showed up. Granted, it took some bionics to get her trouble making class shape up, but well, the show is called the bionic woman.
The first episode of the two-parter was mainly concerned with setting up the new status quo of having Jaime settling down in Ojai and being merely friends with Steve, with a subplot of the villain from the last story staking her and finding out that Jaime is no ordinary woman.
In the second episode this becomes the main point and plods along with Jaime pretending to quit the OSI and work for the big baddie, because he outbid her government salary of $19,000 with one million dollars.
Actually, thinking about it, she acting as a double agent with no training in how to be an agent. Maybe spy work is the TV equivalent of a teacher. Anyway, Oscar does something stupid, which blows her cover, and a bunch of mildly interesting stuff happens.
Frankly, I'm far more interested in 70's details like the old black California license plates on the cars than I am in the details of the spy story. There's also that the spy story ends with you as the viewer being asked to feel sorry for a rich white guy fresh out of law school who discovers that his dad was a crook... and well, that's waaay to much to demand of me.
Next up, more Bionic Woman... when I find some free time that is.
*(I have the same issue with Chefs, for years it threw me that on Friends the character of Monica (a professional chef) was home not only each Thanksgiving, but also every single holiday. Trust me, the idea of a chef, or anyone in the food industry being home not only every single night, but
also holidays is beyond unbelievable. It's rainbow farting unicorns level of unbelievable.)
Continuing the catch up with February.
The month started off with seeing Jane Fonda in 33 Variations which was excellent. It was a strong story with strong actors and a great play dealing with issues of life, love, compulsion, and death.
A couple weeks later John and I got to go on a back stage tour of the set. We had done this before with the touring version of South Pacific, and like that show, the sets and props for 33 Variations were filled with details that the audience would never see.
Valentine’s Day was spent whale watching, or more specifically going out on a whale watching trip where we saw no whales.
We did however see huge pods of dolphins. At times hundreds of dolphins, including a large number of calves were surrounding the boat. Even with the lack of whales, hanging out with friends and being out on the ocean was a good way to spend the day.
A day was spent day at the Disneylandias, making use of the annual pass and working on getting that cost of entry per visit down to a level low enough that the pass would seem to be the only logical way to do the Disneys.
It was an unusually crowded day for so early in the season, but not so bad that we didn't have fun.
While we don’t always manage to do so, John and I have as a sort of goal to do something new with each trip. There were two this trip.
First going over to whatever they call Tom Sawyer’s island now. Last time I had been there was in high school. A very, very long time before the Pirates of the Caribbean re-theming.
The second was riding on the Lilly Belle car of the Disneyland train. It is a neat thing to do, a glimpse into old Walt’s life and dreams, and if nothing else, an opportunity to see a hidden Mickey many never get a chance to do.
There was a Pez convention that we went to with our friend ChrisX. Very few of the Japanese Minis that I like were available, and apparently will not be, since I was told by different vendors that they aren’t being made anymore.
Though we didn’t stay too long it was fun, even with the spending of money on things I don’t need.
Later in the month was another play, “The Author.” It worked hard to be controversial and break the conventions of what a play is.
While I could appreciate the effort in attempting to be something new, it really wasn’t that different (other than staging (the actors sit with the audience)), and the controversial shocking aspects seemed less a logical conclusion of the story and more like the writer just decided to push the audience for the sake of pushing the audience. By the end I was more annoyed than disturbed.
I had a much better time at dinner afterwards, at a vegan place in downtown Culver City where trendy restaurants compete with each other. Vegan Reuben, who knew it would be so good?
Continuing to watch the show:
Having realized that killing off Jaime Sommers in the very same story that introduces her was a mistake, the folks in charge brought her character back using a very convoluted explanation about “breakthrough cryogenic techniques” that also conveniently gives her amnesia so that the Jaime-Steve relationship can continue in high melodrama mode.
In the episode Steve Austin is taken to a hospital for some repairs where he sees Jaime. A bit confusing for him since last time he saw her she was dead on an operating room table. After being told that yup she died, but got better, Oscar Goldman and Rudy Wells (Steve’s M and Q, to use Bond terms) admit to being total assholes by not telling Steve that the love of his life was alive again.
A pattern that is repeated with Jaime, since once she wakes up with her convenient amnesia, no one bothers to tell her that she was in love with Steve. Although to be fair, there was an in story reason to. Remembering Steve gives her big ol migraines and threatens to drive her crazy again.
The story ends with Steve getting to be sorrowful and noble by leaving so that Jaime can live a new (Steve-induced migraine free) life and head off to her own spin-off show.
There’s also a new spy subplot involving stopping a rich American from funding rebels in some made up country (instead of aiding him as the real world US would have done), but that’s boring as heck.
Until I started watching these shows, I had forgotten that Lee Majors was dang hot, and while considered a joke now, 70‘s men’s fashion helped show him off quite well. Aside from his constantly showing off a rather nice hairy chest since he seemed physically unable to fully button his shirts, there was also a scene where he wears boring average straight guy swim trunks. At least in the 70’s they would have considered boring average straight guy clothes. In todays world where the sight of a man wearing shorts that go above the knee is a shocking thing, the trunks Lee majors wore in the episode would now be considered racy square cut briefs that only a bold gay man would wear.
On the Jaime front, they continue their weird treatment of her character. She is both Strong/Intelligent/Amazing yet simultaneously no one bats an eye when Jaime immediately falls “in love” with her male doctor, because what else would a girl do?Very odd.
Next up, with the intro stories over, Jaime moves on and the actual Bionic Woman episodes start.
Considering it's April, it's a bit late for this, but I've decided to restart the pic n words journal-ish entires. Starting all the way back with the beginning of the year.
New years weekend was up in San Francisco, a quickie vacation with some of the Long Beach lesbian crowd.
The hotel we stayed at was across the street from a nightclub which was just one of the many, many reasons that the noise of partying crowds coming off the streets stayed loud till near 3:30 AM or so.
Time not spent lying in bed wondering if i'd ever sleep again was spent doing nico activities like eating. When we weren't eating, we did tourist things like fisherman's wharf, hiking up to Coit Tower, and walking around Chinatown (my first time there).
Another first time thing I did was go to arcade game museum place behind fisherman's wharf. It was creepy yet cool
All in all, it was a good trip.
Back home in the Los Angeles area, one night was spent seeing Take Me Out
celebration theater in Weho with some (female) friends who on hearing that the stereotype for "gay" plays was that there be plenty of male nudity, decided that they wanted to see for them selves.
I’d seen the play before, a story about a professional baseball player coming out of the closet, but at a larger space. Celebration is a small enough space with the audience seated barely a couple feet away from the stage, that the nude scenes seemed, well, "nuder."
The women enjoyed it, both for story and the view.
The other play we saw that month was Break of Noon
which while not necessarily bad, was also not exactly that good either. A problem with annoying unlikeable protagonists is that it’s harder to make anyone care about what happens to them.
I know I didn’t.
There was also a behind the scenes tour at the Los Angeles Zoo.
It was a cool getting to see how some of the animals are taken care of.
I watched the second half of the six million dollar man story introducing Jaime Sommers as the bionic woman. Jaime and Steve are still engaged, the boring spy subplot ends by having the villain killed off like a whack a mole (a stupid end to a stupid character), and the something is wrong with Jaime’s bionics goes from subplot to full on story focus with Lindsay Wagner getting to run around in the rain acting enraged, confused, in pain and then dead.
A commentary track put things in context, explaining that the folks in charge were so wrapped up with the idea of doing a bionic version of Love Story that they didn’t realize that the viewing audience might be disappointed that they created a strong independent female character only to kill her off. Granted, once they realized they had a ratings booster, she didn’t stay dead for long.
Next episode up, The Return of the Bionic Woman
I started watching the Bionic Woman, the original series, just for the heck of it, which actually means that I’ve finished the first of a two part Six Million Dollar Man story which introduces Jaime Summers, titled "The Bionic Woman" appropriately enough.
In short, Steve Austin goes home to Ojai, restarts a school romance he once had with Jaime Summers, they go sky diving, she has her accident, he does some pleading with his boss Oscar, she gets new bionic parts, and they get engaged.
There’s also boring a spy subplot about some European criminal plotting against Steve and a set up for making the Steve-Jaime romance a tragic one, that is, crashing into the ground sans parachute was just the beginning of her troubles.
A friend of mine had watched the show recently and even with her warnings, I was kinda surprised at the nonchalant 70's style misogyny. As an example, despite now being a cyborg with super strength, male doctors still call her “Honey.” When describing her profession, she’s not merely a top ranked tennis player, but rather a professional “lady tennis player.”
Despite this, the acting is better than I remembered/would have assumed, for the leads at least, as the guy playing the European criminal continually chews through his scenes.
Next up, the second half of the story. What will the European criminal do to get his revenge on Steve (yawn), and oh no! Something is up with Jaime’s bionic arm! Will either plot point ruin the wedding? Or stop Lee Majors from singing sappy love songs over Steve and Jaime falling in love montages?
I dreamt that someone was telling me a story about a local senior assisted living home. The gist of the story was that it was a hot bed of dating as frantic as high school. Except for the two gay men who lived there that is.
Everyone kept pushing for the two of them to hook up, not seeming to understand that they hated each other.
All in all, an annoying dream that seems to hint that something is brewing in the back of my mind.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
My promotion has finally gone through. Which while good, also means I have less then a week to finish projects and pack up. An issue only because I've been a "floater" helping out other offices so I'm not entirely certain when I'll have a chance to do so.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
The month started off with a drive through heavy afternoon rush hour traffic to go to long beach for a prop 8 repeal rally. The rally ended much earlier than advertised so I spent more time driving then actually at the rally, even so, despite an inclination that my time could have been better spent, it was still good and I had fun catching up with friends there.
John and I saw the musical version of Young Frankenstein
at the Palladium in Hollywood. It’s a very fun goofy show, though it probably helped that I'm a big fan of the movie.
The audience was laughing and clapping and generally enjoying it all except for the couple next to me who sat though the entire thing as still and silent as rocks. Frankly I was surprised they didn't leave during intermission, they seemed to dislike it so.
Bay day (aka beach day at Los Alamitos bay) continued, so I got to spend time with friends on the sand, specifically some drinking friends including one who is working her way through a cocktail book, meaning that I’ve been drinking a lot more then usual.
One of the days we had variations of cape cods, with splashes of limonchello or fresh squeezed lime juice depending, both good and tasty. Another week was Presbyterians. Not exactly my favorite of the drinks we’ve tried. It was sort of bland tasting which started a series of goofy jokes about how we needed a drink named after a more exciting religion.
There was a trip to the Disneylands which I mentioned here previously, so I won’t reiterate too much of that other than to say again that World of Color
is a cool show.
On the movie front, I saw The kids are all right
which was a cute funny thing.
On the play side of things, I went with my friend K to a Shakespeare in the park thing in Culver City. A “family friendly” punk /rock version of Taming of the Shrew
. While fun, it was also odd in that that particular play with its berating of Kate and affirming the role of husband as lord and master of his wife doesn’t quite say kid friendly to me, but it was played so broadly and goofy that both kids and adults were laughing away.
Since I was in Culver City I decided to visit the Museum of Jurassic Technology. I'd wanted to go there for years. It's a very odd triply place dedicated to things that are somewhat unusual or just plain off kilter. As an example, there is a room dedicated to the history of motor homes, and displays of art so small you need a microscope to see it clearly, there are rooms of folktales and stories, it’s all just odd in a really interesting and cool way.
What got my attention most (strange considering folktales are usually more my speed) was a large display of the life of a man who had come up with a frankly bizarre theory of memory. Basically that memory is an illusion, that forgetting is the norm, and that how we experience things is governed by strict rules that occasionally allow us the illusion of “recalling” events before they happen.
It was crazy stuff but for whatever reason, I found it fascinating.