I know I don't update it daily. Shut up.

August 27, 2010

What your stride in the subway station says about your destination

I meet my wife at the train station every day after work. Usually I get there first, leaving ample time to observe the rush of commuters on their way to the trains.

Commuters come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and numbers of appendages. Just as varied are their strides, gaits and speed as they navigate the distance between the entrance gates and the platform. I’ve observed my own rate of speed depends on where I need to be once I get off the train, so I’ve extrapolated the speed vs. destination to provide an observer’s guide to traveling in the subway station.

The one-step-at-a-time approach: You either still remember the Hoover administration, or you reeeally don’t care to get where you’re going. You will, however, glare at every passer-by who nudges by you. It’s likely you’re on your way to your own execution.

At a medium pace: Normal, everyday walking signifies one thing on your mind – that you were at point A, and you will be at point B in the future. Probably locked into the daily grind, and you look forward to going home, tossing your workbag aside, making dinner, and watching TV. This was your plan the night before as well. And the night before that. And the night before that.

The hip shimmy: You’re just enough in a hurry to pass that guy in front of you, but not hurried enough that you would jog. So your body contorts in a dance of spasm-walking as you reach the escalators. This dance may be easily recognized, as nothing above your waist is moving. You’re likely just trying to catch a train or eventually a bus because if you miss it, you have to wait a half hour for the next one.

The dodge-and-weave: You likely never played sports, but if you did, you’d likely be practicing this move during football drills. Your added hustle indicates there’s a time-sensitive event you need to make. Or, it’s just Friday and you can’t spare a minute of the weekend.

Warp speed: The jangling back slung around your back was never engineered for high-performance mobility, but you don’t care: There’s a Paul McCartney concert two stops away and if you don’t beat this rush you’re stuck with the mutants in the back of the auditorium.

Ludicrous speed: You won the radio contest offering a date with your favorite actress, and you don’t care how many old ladies you need to knock out to get to that train. But by God, you will be on that train.

August 13, 2010

Overheard in Marketing

Today at work I was on a team talking about improving our already very cool software. I can't say what the conversation was about, but at one point I was able to relate our software to Kingdom of Loathing ... and was actually taken seriously.

August 12, 2010

Review: 2012 (As presented in conversation form on Facebook)

Because of the popularity of the recorded Facebook conversation I had with my wife, we have returned to provide you with our review of the movie 2012.
I should note that the Mayans had predicted this coming - we just interpreted it wrong. Modern society has believed that the Mayan calendar predicts a cataclysmic disaster ending all things in 2012, but actually they predicted the film 2012 is a cataclysmic disaster.
And they were right. Oh dear Noah how they were right.

August 11, 2010

Burn Notice proves only cockroaches, Chuck Norris and Bruce Campbell will survive the apocalypse. But the cockroaches and Chuck won't survive Bruce.

When Bruce Campbell is dead, people will visit his grave as they might for Jim Morrison, John Lennon or Elvis. It helps that Bruce has actually played Elvis in a movie - he probably knows what he's in for.
A guy like Bruce doesn't have to toss out money when he takes the stage at Comic-Con; his reputation and enormous head (am I being figurative or literal here? I don't know) precede him well before he arrives in the room. I saw this first-hand as Marcy and I waited in the loooong Burn Notice line hours before the actual panel began. Bruce Campbell is the only celebrity whose face appears on two T-shirts that I own. He is also the only celebrity I am interested in who also owns his own line of soup.
Attending a Comic-Con panel for a show/movie/comic book/artist you've never experienced or heard of is like going on a blind date, and halfway through the date the girl tells you she's famous and you feel guilty for not having known that. Then you go home and watch the TV series she's in, and it turns out she kicks ass on TV and you've decided she kicks ass in real life too so you get married and have babies. Ass-kicking, chainsaw-wielding, demon-skeleton-warrior killing, babies.
That's how I felt after completing the first season of Burn Notice, a show that has absolutely no business being at Comic-Con except to give Bruce an excuse to attend. As if he needs one.
The show centers around Michael Westin, a spy who is forced out of his chosen profession (they call it getting burned) and so he returns to his hometown of Miami to help the Golden Girls fight drug lords. Betty White's performance is great; the others are a little stiff.
One of Michael's friends is Sam, played by Bruce Almighty. Sam's schtick is to have friends in every level of government so as to provide necessary information/exposition about the bad guy of the week. I'm waiting for him to call in the Girl Scouts to help crack the case of the cookie bandit.
It's a great show, providing ample opportunity for Bruce to get his ass kicked and kick some ass. I'm ready to fire up Season Two.
Hail to the King, baby.

August 2, 2010

Catholic school girls and guns: How Kick Ass addresses stereotypes in mass media

The girls at St. Greg's didn't mess around.

There's this moment in Matthew Vaughn's Kick Ass, at the beginning of the third act, when Hit Girl fakes the little-girl-lost-in-the-big-city routine to waste three thugs guarding the doors to a crime lord's high rise. Before she guns all of them down, one of the thugs approaches the cute little 11-year-old in the plaid Catholic school dress, and just before he offers help the camera stays on her just a beat too long. Like it's giving the men in the audience another minute to consider: Am I supposed to be turned on here, or is ogling this little girl as wrong as I think it is?

It is wrong. So very, very wrong. Ew. And as I do for the downfall of American culture, the rise of Trailer Park Chic and communism, I blame Britney Spears. At least she was 16. NOT 11.

Because you were going to look it up anyway.

As the recipient of a 12-year-long Catholic school education (beginning with St. Greg's, then St. Joe's and finally, St. John Fisher), I don't remember the girls ever seductively hiking their skirts up or unbuttoning their blouses to their navel, and I really don't remember them carrying concealed weapons. I remember a girl named Katie stealing a kiss on my cheek when I was in second grade and me running away from her. I remember an awkward first kiss with another girl, years later, much in the way of Kick Ass' first kiss in the movie.

She was not armed either.

For some reason this scene with Hit Girl made me pause, and I think it's because to this point the movie had me guessing at what Vaughn would change next. The whole first act is beat-for-beat the same as the comic book (minus the Big Daddy/Hit Girl back story), but the gleeful gore splayed across every page by splatter-happy John Romita Jr. was, for the large part, missing. No, that's not right - it was there, just not as in-your-face and uncomfortable as the comic. (SPOILER: When the bullet slings through Big Daddy's skull and forces his eyeball out, I literally stared at that image for a full minute to comprehend what I was seeing).

So Vaughn swaps out this discomfort for other moments - Kick Ass' awkward first kiss (another watery change from the book), the bumbling-ness added to Red Mist, and the subdued sexuality of Hit Girl ... WHO IS 11 YEARS OLD (it's even referenced by one of the nerdy characters that are Kick Ass' friends, who pledges to save himself for her when she gets older!!! DUDE.).

It's weird to see how pop culture (and the Japanese) picked Catholic School Girl as a sex fantasy, but maybe I was desensitized at an early age. When you have to look at 50-year-old nuns wearing similar outfits, well ... there are some things you just can't unsee.

As for Kick Ass, I'd see it again. Yes, the entire second act is reworked to give it more mainstream appeal. Overall, the changes work - it sacrifices the character arc of the comic for a more palatable storyline suited to the tastes of a wider audience, one that is looking for more than violent images threaded together with an angsty storyline.

And frankly, I left all my angst back in Catholic School.