Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Flip Flop Flap

I assume you've all seen this.

Now, although its never something I've made a big deal about, I hate flip-flops.  I don't just mean that I don't like to wear them (which I don't).  I really don't think they're terribly appropriate to wear out in public.  The beach or the pool, that's it.  So I can't help but chuckle over the whole brouhaha.

But there's another side of me that says, oh come on . . . what's the big deal?  I mean, I may not like flip-flops, but for whatever reason they've become very fashionable, and really, what the hell do I know about fashion? Plus I'm a weirdo who never wears any shoes that I can't wear socks with . . .(I even wear my socks to bed).  I mean, it's not like these girls were wearing beach bum flip-flops with their Joe's Crab Shack T-shirts and gym shorts.  These were high fashion flip flops that they probably payed (a quite ridiculous) fifty bucks for, and were otherwise quite well dressed.

Of all the things that the major media should be making a big deal about (Iraq, the London bombings, the Carl Rove scandal, etc), complaining about flip-flops should be left to chumps like me.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Worth seeing for the Oompa Loompas, if nothing else.

Although it's probably not going to seem like it from the rest of this review, I really liked the movie.  The Oompa Loompa songs were great, the production design was incredible, the kids were all quite good (rare for me to ever say that), and I really liked the stuff with Charlie's family.

However, I did have one really big problem with the movie.  I didn't like Willy Wonka.  Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors, but I think he completely missed the mark here.  I don't think it was his fault though.  I blame Tim Burton.  For everything that he did right in the movie, he was wrong to try and stick Willy into his standard "Weird and Misunderstood Misfit from Society" starring role.  Edward Scissorhands, Pee-wee Herman, Batman, Ed Wood, etc . . .

In the book and the first movie, Wonka chose to isolate himself from society because he didn't like how greedy and nasty people were.  In this movie, Wonka chose to isolate himself from society because he didn't understand why people were so greedy and nasty.  I know, that's a pretty fine line, but it's there and it bothers me.

I guess I should fess up and say that I am a huge Gene Wilder fan (the first Willy Wonka).  In fact, I was never actually a huge fan of the first movie, except for Wilder's performance.  His acerbic wit really defined the character for me.  So, when I compare the scenes where Veruca Salt gets her goose/squirrel, Wilder's completely limp protests for her to stop seems far superior to Depp's silly fumbling for keys to go rescue her.  The first indicates a hidden malevolence, the second only indifference.  At least that's how I see it.

Which brings me to what I really like about the movie (and the first one, and the book for that matter).  I was always afraid that this movie would succumb to our PC times, but like it's predecessors, it absolutely relished in the fact that some kids are just plain rotten, and deserve to be juiced, stretched, and thrown out with the trash.  Even though this movie takes the time at the end to show that the other kids did actually survive the factory, it is made clear that they didn't learn anything from their encounter and are just as rotton as ever.

One last note.  Tim Burton must have more daddy issues than anyone else on the planet.  Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Big Fish, etc . . . In this movie I didn't really need all of the exposition/resolution surrounding Willy's father, but I didn't feel that it especially hurt the movie either.

Anyway, the Oompa Loompas, the kids, and the Chocolate Factory itself are more than enough reason to go see this movie, and despite all my griping, I actually did enjoy it as a whole.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Interesting Connections

In the past I have remarked about how good Netflix's recommendation algorithms are.

I may have to rethink that.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Eli's Coming . . .

After 10 days away on vacation, it's good to be home.

I spent the weekend of the Fourth at my parent's house in Andalusia.  I ate a lot of ribs, shot off a lot of fireworks, and got beat half to death on an inner tube tied to the back of my dad's boat.  Good times.  I stuck around there for the first half of the week and basically laid around the house reading and playing video games.  Quite relaxing.  Then I made my way up to Auburn, where I had quite an adventure, which is my main reason for posting tonight.

An old friend of mine, Terry, happened to be in town staying with a guy named Carl (The two of them had been roommates years ago while they were both doing construction work in Louisiana.  Carl had recently gotten out of jail [I didn't ask] and was living with his brother who actually goes to Auburn.).  So Terry calls me up about noon on Friday and asks if I want to come over around 2 and grill some hamburgers with them.  He calls me back about 1:30 and asks if I'll stop by the liquor store on my way.

Armed with my standard beverage of choice (Jack Daniel's old Number 7), I arrive at Carl's brother's trailer.  So we start drinking and grilling.  A couple of hours, a couple of burgers, more than a couple of beers, and a fifth of liquor later, we get hungry again.  (This was around 6).  So we walk up to the gas station on the corner that also happens to make chicken wings.  We place our order and they tell us that it'll be a few minutes.  That was a few minutes to long for us to just sit around, so we decided to wander next door.  To a bar.  (Fat Daddy's, in case you're interested).  The place is deserted except for a very cute bartender, so we just did a couple of (double) shots and went back for our wings.

Now that the preliminaries were over, we began discussing what to do for the evening.  I had noticed earlier in the day that Rolling in the Hay was playing at the War Eagle Supper Club, and suggested that we go see them play, and Terry and Carl concurred.  Now, we knew that the Supper Club never gets started until midnight or later (it was around 7 at this point), but we had a problem.  Terry's wallet had been stolen about a week ago, and he didn't have a driver's license.  But he did have his International Worker's ID, so we went ahead up to the Supper Club to see if it would work.  After some smooth talking, Terry convinced them; and we all went ahead and got our hands stamped.

We still had a couple of hours to kill, so first we went up to Bumpers to shoot some pool, but Terry couldn't talk his way in there, so we decided to go back to Fat Daddy's, which had picked up significantly since we left.  I had quit drinking after our first stop there, and decided let myself finish sobering up before we went back to the Supper Club.  Terry and Carl did not join me in this venture.  We shot a little pool, and Terry and Carl had a little bit to drink.  Make that a lot.  Anyway, some time passed and Terry and Carl were getting really drunk and kinda loud, so I decided it might be time to move on.  We decided to go ahead up to the Supper Club, even though it was still a little early (about a quarter after 11).  Well, we get there, and I buy us all a round of drinks.  Terry and I wandered off toward the stage area (where the few people who were already there were milling about), while Carl stayed to flirt with the bartender.  Now, I'm not entirely sure what was said, but I know that the girl at the bar thought that Carl was being too forceful, and I know that she was the manager's fiance.  Not the best combination.  So the manager (a guy named Eric) asked him to back off, and Carl protested, so Eric asked him to leave.  At this point, Carl (Obviously quite a volatile guy, see the prison reference above) came over to Terry to tell him that he was about to get into a fight.  Wonderful. 

Well, Terry, Carl, Eric, myself, and about 5 bouncers all step outside.  Terry goes about trying to convince Eric that Carl didn't really mean any harm, while I went about trying to convince Carl not to pull out his knife (double wonderful).  Finally, everyone calmed down enough that I was able to just say "Let's go."  Even in the car, Carl was being belligerent.  So Terry and I decide that we have to drop him off back at the trailer.  We drive off as he's walking up to the gas station on the corner to buy some beer.

Terry and I first try to go back up to the Supper Club, but Eric is still upset, and won't let us back in.  So we drive back to my apartment, drop off the car, and walk to the downtown bars.  First we try to go into Bodega which is packed, but the won't let us in (Terry's lack of ID again), so we try Bourbon Street.  Score.  The place is strangely quiet for a Friday night, but they serve alcohol which is all that really mattered at that point.  We sat there and got absolutely plastered while Terry poured his heart out to me (those who know Terry are familiar with this phenomenon).  Well, we get antsy and decide to try Bodega again.  We sneak in while another group are getting their IDs checked.  I wander outside while Terry goes to the bar.  He orders a couple of beers and says "Put it on Meagan's tab".  Now, we don't know a Meagan, but apparently the bartender did.  So, thanks Meagan, wherever you are!  We milk those beers for a while, until they close the patio, so we jumped the fence (so we could take our drinks with us) and headed home.  Although I was way to drunk to be driving, we were hungry so we decided to head to IHOP.

On our way there, Terry called Carl to check up on him.  Carl was roaring drunk by this point.  He threatened to mess up Terry's Harley, so we spun around and headed to the trailer.  I dropped Terry off outside because I didn't want any part of what was going to happen there.  I won't go into to many details, but Terry had a broken hand the next morning and owes Carl's brother a new bedroom door.

Anyway, quite an adventure, to say the least.

So I eventually made my way back to Huntsville this morning, outrunning the rain, so here I sit, watching Family Guy, waiting on Hurricane Dennis to arrive, and thinking that I need a vacation from my vacation.