The Friday Hot Sheet

It's been a weird week. Somewhere between all the money troubles and odd mixture of emotions that have arisen with recent news about my grandmother's failing health -- which, despite our bad personal history has hung over the past few days like a cloud on a sunny day have put me in a place where the days have run by faster than expected, even though they've been filled with little more than just going through the motions at work and staying home most nights in an effort to save money.

I don't mean to sound like a downer -- because there have been bright spots this week as well, but have you ever gotten into a mood where it seems like the things in your life, while certainly not perfect -- are in some sense steady (which should be a good thing) -- making you pine for the chaos and action that comes from needing to have a problem to solve or an endorphin rush to chase?

All week long, for whatever reason I feel like I've been pushing the elevator button for the floor I wanted to get to over and over, but the doors to the thing for some reason wouldn't close, and the resulting impatience for the next thing to happen has created this sense of frustration that's sorta spilled onto everything else and left me in a weird sort of personal limbo where stories get stuck in the middle, the workday seems interminably long, and I keep checking the fridge every 10 minutes or so in search of something to eat, but after looking through the things I have on the shelves cannot seem to find anything that I really want to have.
I'm hoping that the upcoming weekend with my son helps punch me out of this mood.
So before we head out to catch Madagascar 2 -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here.
Quantum of SolaceI'm really torn about this new Bond film. On the one hand, I'm a huge Ian Fleming fan who read the original novels several times over and always enjoyed the action, spirit, and naughty attitude that made up so much of the original films. I liked Casino Royale (I actually watched it again the other night), and really appreciated the way the script and especially Daniel Craig's performance worked to take the aging franchise in a much-needed new direction -- but all the way through that movie I couldn't help but feel like something was missing. The gadgets were largely gone -- which I was kinda happy about because of the way the whole "Q" sequence had become a cliché, and I love the way Judi Densch has finally embraced the role of "M" and really made it into a living, breathing character -- but now that we have a brutal, vengeful Bond who's been given in some ways a purpose to his violence -- it's sort of shined a harsh light on villains who seem just as paper thin as always. Casino Royale's bad guy was by far the most boring character in the film. Sure his storyline drove some of the action along the way -- but why were we supposed to hate him, again? I've been reading some of the preview stuff for this new Bond film and it seems like is that the villain is sort of unimportant to the story itself -- which from what I can tell picks up right where the last movie left off, focusing more on Bond's quest for personal revenge than any need to win the day. If that's the case, then why have a bad guy at all? What I'm saying is that the plot in this new film feels tacked on as an excuse to let Craig continue to redefine the character. I like the new version of Bond, but if the whole point of this thing is him learning to take mother M's advice while she learns to trust in his dedication to his job -- then I'm not sure I'm gonna be quite as interested as I was when there was a GIANT ROCKET THAT ATE SPACE SHUTTLES flying around.
I really don't know why Anniston irks me so much. I'm not even really sure why I care about her over-publicized personal troubles at all. But there's just something about her whole deal that bugs me. Maybe it’s because a big part of her fame is based off a haircut. Maybe it’s because as annoying as the whole Brangelina media personality can get -- their whole deal is about what they do now, and not still blabbering on about the past. Seriously, how long ago did all of that mess happen? And you’re still going on about it? Maybe it sounds mean, but if I was Angelina Jolie -- I'd be doing whatever I could to bed John Mayer by the end of the week.
Arm CirclesRemember back in school when you’d be in PE class and you’d kind of sleepwalk your way through the calisthenics because they never really felt like work? Part of this P90X workout I’ve been doing lately is a warmup to get your heart rate up before you dig in to the exercises. Ok, no big deal – couple of jumping jacks, some stretching – I can handle this. Oh and what’s this? Arm circles? Oh come on, are you kidding me? What is this, kids stuff? All right, I’ll play along – hold your hands up like you’re washing windows and spin for 20 seconds -- doo dee doo, these are easy. Oh what’s that? Reverse directions? Oooooh, scary stuff. Ok now what? Turn your palms downward and do two more sets? Piece of cak.. HOLY SHIT MY ARMS ARE ON FIRE!! The trainer says they’re supposed to burn, and you can see the people in the video straining – but there’s still something sorta embarrassing about struggling through what seems like such a simple warmup exercise.
Nationwide Outrage
over Prop 8
One of the reasons I was worried about Obama’s election chances all the way up to election day (even with all of the polls saying he had a commanding lead) was this idea that everything I see isn’t necessarily everything that's visible. It happens to everyone in this media age, where the sources you get your information from can’t help but be a little biased in their reporting. In other words, if you tend to watch more Daily Show than you do Fox News Channel (ideally you should watch both, but you know how it is), you sort of can’t help but see the glass as half-full. It’s sort of like taking a college class in a volatile subject, like ethics or genetics where the actual facts are still in flux, but the professor sees things (and presents them) a certain way –- which not only skews the way you get the information, but means you have to buy into their viewpoints and opinions a bit to pass the tests, because their opinion sorta becomes part of the curriculum? I think I was like a lot of people out there – not only in thinking that it would be ridiculous for Prop 8 to pass, but more specifically that Californians of all people would never be the ones to take such a hard stance against gay marriage. A similar ban was on the ballot here in Florida –- and it passed easily, but having lived here most of my life it wasn’t such a surprise, because despite our flourishing gay population, it’s still for the most part a socially conservative, religious-minded place. So after prop 8 passed in California, it made me start to wonder if I had only been seeing the struggle for homosexual civil rights (which I had thought was making strides) through a narrow lens. All of the news sites, columnists, and radio shows that I subscribe to supported gay marriage, as did all of my friends who live in California. So how the hell did it pass? Was it a case of me seeing things the way I wanted to see them, and not as they actually were? Over the past week, as some of the anger over the vote has calmed and the Anti-Prop 8 movement has in some ways realized that they were outspent and overmatched when it came to marketing their position to voters, what I’ve been relieved to see is not only a national tide of shock and anger over the passing of the proposition, but what appears to be a renewed and more unified drive to get it repealed. Not that there isn’t still opposition to the idea of gay marriage (because there is) -- but that perhaps parts of this nation are more equipped to become trailblazers to help others see what it means, and what it doesn’t. This Saturday there will be nationwide rallies protesting Prop 8. If you feel strongly about this issue and want to help out, please take the time to be a part of one, as I intend to.
Star Wars:
The Clone
People are getting tired of Star Wars. The disappointing box office and nearly unanimous critical panning of the awful awful Clone Wars movie that came out earlier this year were fairly strong indications of that. Of course when I say people, I mean you and me – and not so much the kids who haven’t been around to see it driven into the ground over the last 20 years. Which is why my 8 year-old son not only enjoyed the movie, but was really excited for the release of the companion animated TV show as well. We’ve been watching it over the past few weeks, and although it’s still got lame points – I dare say that on the whole it’s ..not that bad (!?). First off, they took out all the things that made the movie so horrible – the fart jokes, the baby, the gay Jabba the Hutt cousin – and replaced it with storylines that (for a kids show) were surprisingly crisp, and action that was not only believable -- but slightly more violent (and as a result exciting) than I was expecting. It feels like you’re watching one of those old WWII TV shows, with the one true unique point being that most of the characters that are important to the plot do not exist in the bigger release movies at all, which means you know they’re going to die at some point in the series. It adds a little bit more suspense to the thing that I have to say kinda works in it’s favor. At the same time it’s hard not to wonder if the thing works simply because it’s marginally better than the crap that’s come before it. It’s almost like The Clone Wars is the TV equivalent to a really good McDonalds hamburger. You know the one where you bite into it and go, "Wow, for a crap meal this is actually pretty good!"
Last night while watching the latest episode of the aforementioned Clone Wars TV show with my son and thinking about how I was pleasantly surprised at how good the series had been considering my low expectations for it – they played a preview commercial for next week’s episode, featuring a storyline centered around ..Jar Jar. Why you gotta be like that, Lucas? Here I was saying all these good things about you, and here you go fucking it up all over again! You know what the problem is – you got greedy.
Get Your
War On
One of the few bright spots that came from my former subscription to long-past-it’s-prime/needs-to-be-put-down music magazine Rolling Stone was discovering the brilliance that is Get Your War On. With its sly wit and short panel length, it always managed to get a laugh without feeling too preachy. The good news is it’s turned up again in animated form as a regular feature on 23/6, just as fearless and funny as ever.

[Listening to:  Sylvian/Fripp - "Brightness Falls" ]


dorian said…
My continued crusade against prop 8...

this link shows some of the demographics regarding how prop 8 passed in Los Angeles at least.
ha! laughing at your description of those arm circle exercises.
my upper body strength is pathetic, that's the only possible way to describe it.

i was doing some simple stretching the other day and suddenly felt the Power of the Jane Fonda come over me - "i'll do some arm circles" i thought to myself.

and you're right - seems simple, but a few minutes into them i'm thinking - ooowww! feel the burn (that's JaneSpeak) and i have to have a lie down.

maybe it's one of those things where persistence pays?

first-time visit to your blog, thanks for the read and the laugh.
Werdna said…
Watched the clone wars show with the boy. It isn't bad. It maybe almost as good as the Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars shorts. Which means it is the best thing Star Wars in a long time.
Satorical said…
Thanks for the Get Your War On link; I didn't know they had started animating it.

The sad thing about the fear the GOP has about Obama won't go away. Remember Clinton: Republicans were terrified the economy was going to go into a full-blown death sprial. When he turned out to be the best fiscal manager the country's had in memory, they had to resort to attacking the one blowjob Clinton got in eight years.

When the honeymoon's over, expect the coordinated assault to start right back up.

Jon Stewart suggests addressing the fear by giving them all teddy bears.
Frank said…
Get Your War On is awesome.

And I still hate Jennifer Anniston from that shit show "Friends."
JerseySjov said…
lmao about arm circles. we do "sliding doors and curtains" in capoeira sometimes and the first couple minutes it's ok, but everyone hits a wall at the same time and from there it's all dripping sweat, gritting teeth, and grunting.

i never watched friends, and she's played the same character in every movie she's ever been in, so i have to say i am not an aniston fan. i get almost violent when people try to argue that she's prettier than angelina, bc that is simply not true
Monster said…
Ditto on The Clone Wars - the reviews of the film suggested it was the largest piece of bantha poo-doo ever, but I thought it was pretty okay - and the show isn't bad either.

See also: Batman: The Brave and the Bold - campy 60's Batman cartoon that plays fro the young crowd but is, in a word, awesome.
Hex said…
Dorian -- as long as we all stay focused, I really do think this travesty will one day be erased.

Projectivist -- It's one of those things that supposed to burn, but man, you never think it's going to until it's too late.

Wernda -- Curren's all over the clone wars thing. It's more for him than it will ever be for me, but it's suprisingly better than expected.

Satorical -- The campaigns were too long. The only good thing about the inaguration being in January is that it might give people on both sides time to cool down and get a better perspective on things.

At the same time I feel like the time-intensive process Obama's about to undertake will provide a lot of room for sniping from the other side. It won't be fixed overnight, and that provides a big target until results start showing up.

Frank -- She just bugs me. Not even really sure why I care.

Jersey -- That's my thing, totally one-note actress, who's made more out of the things she's done (or not done) on the screen than the things she's actually been in.

Monster -- Caught part of that new Batman rework this past weekend, and was pleasantly surprised by it. Very comic-booky.