Okay, the verdict is in: either movie would be a decent video rental, but I would advise you not to waste your money at the cinema. In other words, CRAP! and CRAP!. Warning: if you intend, despite my advice, to watch these movies on the big screen, read no further: movie spoilers ahead.—–Let us begin with The Fantastic Four. This is Marvel’s second attempt an a FF movie. The first was so horrible that it went straight to video and disappeared from shelves nation-wide after about a month. This particular movie is much higher-budget, but still poorly written and easily predictable. I might have forgiven them had Jessica Alba finally gotten naked on film, but alas, she continues her pretense of morality by only stripping to her underwear (Again. And again.). Also, while I am fully prepared to suspend my disbelief for a comic book movie, I can’t suspend it quite so far as the director would like. I am prepared for cosmic rays to grant superhuman powers; that’s part of the fantasy. However, I am not prepared for a machine which not only generates and contains cosmic rays (which pass through the entire planet without slowing down), but funnels them through a hose. Also, since my suspension of disbelief is based on the comic book characters, major changes to said characters ruins the movie. Doctor Doom (a FF staple villain) as metallic mutant rather than a powered-armored antagonist is not something I’m prepared to forgive. And finally, if your grasp of science is so weak that you don’t know the difference between chemistry and physics, don’t put it in your dialogue. Especially from the characters who are supposed to be super-smart. As for The War of the Worlds… How on Earth can a director of Spielberg’s caliber take an intelligent classic, remake it with a huge special effects budget, and still manage to destroy it? The tripods, in this version, are not sent to Earth in the invasion. Rather, they were buried here millenia ago (the estimate given in the movie is a milllion years, but this is apparently based solely on the fact that they were in a lower geological stratum than the sewers of New York city) and the aliens simply decide that now is the time to return to Earth and conquer. Of course, they are still destroyed by bacteria… which raises two questions: why did they allow human civilization to advance at all, rather than simply maintaining a presence on Earth, and how could such “vast intellects” not have detected bacteria over millenia of observation? The “heat rays” were well accomplished as effects, but the “black smoke” failed to appear at all, which I found dissappointing. The imperviousness of the tripods in Spielberg’s version is not based on the simple toughness of the material, but on an invisible force field which they generate (shades of Independance Day). Of course, while the entire U. S. military fails to generate a single enemy casualty with any weapon available to it, Mr. Cruise’s character handily lops a piece off of one with a hatchet. Mr. Cruise is also obliged to point out to the U. S. Army infantry platoon he’s conveniently passing by when the enemy’s “shields” go down (he can tell because birds are perching on them), because apparently these trained combatants, who have done nothing but observe and engage the enemy for days, fail to notice. My favorite line is piece of unintentional humor delivered by Tim Robbins. Now, I have neither read the book nor watched the previous movie edition lately, so this line may be a reference to previous material. I am inclined to believe, however, that it is simply Hollywood directing its usual moral support to the Palestinian movement to murder their own greatest benefactor and the strongest democratic presence in the Middle East: Israel. Be that as it may, the line is: ” Occupations always fail. History has taught us that a thousand times.” This delivered by a white man in New England. There is more, but that’s enough for this e-mail. My best to everyone!
This will be the first edition of the Qatari 2600 (I keep trying to get away from that name, but I really like it) from my gmail (that’s Google e-mail) account. My quest for financial independance continues. Kia has been added to my list of conquered obstacles; next paycheck should take care of my 401k deployment catch-up. Also, I just received a letter from A Company; apparently, my old Ops Sergeant is “no longer with the company”, and I’m ready to be processed for per diem (about $1,500 worth, by guesstimate). Coincidence? Kevin and I spent the weekend studying Modern Arnis at a seminar with Remy Presas, Jr. Guro Presas was very personable, and we had a great time–although we have both decided that Modern Arnis is not our style. It appears to specialize in stick-grappling, or utilizing the traditional Filipino baston (a rattan rod) as a lever to increase the torque* of joint manipulation techniques. I was so bruised, blistered, and exhausted by Sunday night that I had to call in sick from work–admittedly, rather than going straight to bed, I stayed up with Kevin and watched an entire season of Babylon 5. I hope to start attending different seminars regularly. I think that I’ve finally gotten my sleeping schedule straightened out, and I may be contacting GM Folkes in the near future about resuming classes with him.
My kicks suck now.
We’ve got a bunch of summer temps working overnights at MBS, and I am achieving sort of a cult status: I’m that guy who can do anything. All the lost books, all the computer questions, all the machinery they can’t drive… it all comes to me. It’s kind of funny, because Kevin (Meyers) was never trained as a troubleshooter before he became the shift manager, so he didn’t retain the position. But now that I’m back, I’m working as one, anyway.
The other night I came into the middle of a conversation between my friend, Jay (the night security guard at MBS) and another employee, in which the other employee was stating that he could understand rifles for hunting and home defense, but that he didn’t think that handguns should be legal. This is how the conversation went:
Me: Well, what about carjackings? You’ll never be able to bring a rifle to bear inside an automobile.
Him: Well, if he’s not trying to kill me, I don’t need to stop him. He can take whatever property he wants.
Me: How can you assume that a person who would steal your car with you in it isn’t going to try to kill you?
Him: I’m prepared to die.
Me: That’s all well and good, but if he kills you in the commission of another felony, odds are good he’ll kill someone else. If you have the chance to stop him and don’t attempt to, then you are an accessory to his future killings.
Him: It’s not my place to stop murderers.
Me: It’s not your place to track down murderers. But if you wouldn’t prevent a murder when you have the opportunity, then you condone murder. And if you condone murder, then you are evil, and have no business judging other people’s legal and ethical decisions. Like gun ownership.
(sigh). I never make any friends.
I’ll be catching War of the Worlds and The Fantastic Four this weekend, so be prepared for a diatribe if they’re crap. Oh, and apparently Mike has something in the works for the Band of the Rattan. Business dealings; it’s all very mysterious and exciting. I can’t wait to get the skinny on Sunday.
Until next time!
*or, “tork” if you are the mechanic who destroyed my oilpan in Louisiana.
I told my supervisor that I had decided to leave MBS permanently. When he asked where I’d be going, I told him that I had finally decided to follow through with a dream that I’d had since not long after my divorce: I was going to take classes in massage therapy and become a licensed massaginist (if you don’t get it, say it out loud). He asked if I couldn’t do both, so I agreed that with his permission, I would work at MBS *and* be a massaginist. Okay, I’m not really leaving MBS. I have, however, put in an application for a daytime position. It will mean giving up my shift differential, but I can afford it more easily now that Nextcard has been paid off. Besides, I’ll make some of it back on my next wage review in four months. If I get the job. So, the hip hop station was playing last night, and several times I was treated to Beyonce singing *Soldier*, one of the main (and few) lyrics of which is “If ya status ain’t hood/I ain’t lookin’ at ya.” Out of intellectual curiosity, I have decided to establish by exactly what formula or criteria one’s status may described as “hood” or not.
Well, as you may remember, I re-financed my car through Mizzou Credit Union a couple of weeks ago, which is how I paid off Nextcard. Apparently (and I know because I have a copy of the check), Kia processed Mizzou’s payment, withdrew the funds, and then *forgot* that they had done so. Wednesday I got an account overdue notice from them. I took it straight to the credit union, and Kia is “researching” it. Go them. Looks like this weekend I’ll be watching “Nation ofthe Dead” (or whatever it’s called). Apparently, it’s been getting good reviews. Mostly, I’m gearing up for next weekend studying kali with Kevin in Topeka.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
Well, the big news is… I’m not moving to Kansas City any time soon. Nothing bad happened, I’ve just been sort of evaluating after a year at home, and I’ve decided that: A) I really don’t want to move to different city this year, no matter how cool a city it is; B) I don’t want to be a rookie cop all over again at 33; C) I’ve already got 4 years toward retirement invested in MBS (and I’m sure they have a KC branch I can move to eventually); D) The reason that I kept this job so long is that, once I get my bills paid off–which will be SOON–it’s perfect for taking college classes. Plus, free textbooks; E) I kinda like Columbia, anyway (I’m still getting my own house.)—–
Compared to that, everything else is pretty minor. I got a *glowing* wage review and a dollar-an-hour raise at MBS (that’s big for them); I missed kali class on Sunday ‘cuz I couldn’t FIND the damned thing; I’ve started back to the gym and have whittled myself down to a svelt 203 lbs. I’m taking an OSHA course (on my own initiative, which should get me another good pay raise in six months) for forklift safety, and I’m watching a bunch of videos for Kevin’s and my project. Now that I don’t have quite so many things happening at once, it should be pretty cool. I know several of you are disappointed that I’m not moving to KC. So am I, really. It’s just too much, too soon. I should be transferring all of these addresses to my new e-mail account soon; these updates will be coming from xxxx.
All my best,Jason C. Diederich
The Qatari 2600 started as a group e-mail to family and friends while I was doing “civilian contractor” work overseas in 2002. Blogging didn’t exist at the time; now that it does, I intend to make full use of it.