Saturday, July 4, 2009

If you hear about a minivan blowing up,

it's probably Kyle and me (in which case I wouldn't expect any more blog posts).

All the fireworks in the previous entry, roughly a thousand pounds of them, are now packed in our minivan. (I can't see out the rear window, and the vehicle is riding low on its shocks, but the 'works are all inside.) In addition, in the same van are three plastic bins of related supplies, such as safety glasses, flashlights, and, yes, lighters and matches. Oh, yeah: We're also carrying two bags of sparklers and small fountains.

Kyle and I will be driving said deathmobile to Dave and Jo's tomorrow (Saturday) for the fireworks show. I expect to make it safely; we've done so for many years.

If we do explode, however, it will have to go down as one of the more colorful auto accidents of all time.

Kinda makes the drive more exciting, doesn't it?

Wish us well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ever wondered

what two grand of highly explosive fireworks would look like, should it come squatting on your walkway?

Wonder no more. It would look about like this:

Jesse and Jennie are, in my admittedly rather out-of-focus photo, standing both to provide a sense of scale and because they wanted a last photo in case in the course of transporting the 'works into Jennie's house we all went up in a huge and colorful smoke cloud.

Fortunately, we did not.

The pallet is deeper than it is wide, by the way.

Speaking of moving the fireworks, here's what they look like resting in Jennie's library--the very things everyone wants near their books!

The intrepid Maggie, aka Doodle, provides a different sort of scale as she rests atop Mt. Spazzatron (yes, that is the real name of one of the fireworks) after an arduous hike through the carboard mountains. Respect and fear the Doodle, for she is heavily armed and unafraid.

In just two short days, we will in the space of one hour turn the contents of all of these boxes into beautiful screaming shapes in the night--and then into one very large pile of trash for Dave to burn.

I am, as I've said, quite looking forward to it.

Yo, Internets! I'm wearing my reading glasses

and I'm watching you.

Don't think I'm not.

Now, go about your business, but be nice to one another--and keep an eagle eye out for zombies.

Fireworks, by the way, make nifty zombie decapitation devices. That is, they are good for zombie destruction provided, of course, that you can get close enough to a zombie to firmly attach a large aerial repeater to the zombie's chest, tie its head forward so it's looking down into the repeater, and then light the fuse--and run away, of course. You wouldn't want flying zombie head bits all over your clothes.

I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

If you live in the RTP area and you like fireworks

send me an email, because we're having a great fireworks party out at Dave's on the Fourth. There's food, of course: I'll be providing and cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers (don't blame me; some people want them!) for all those in attendance (usually 70 to 100 folks), and most folks bring a dish to share. When it gets dark, however, the real fun begins: we set off a lot of fireworks!

We do this show the old-fashioned way: we manually light the fireworks. A small crew of insane suicidal fun-loving folks places the individual works on launch pads, lights their fuses, and runs like hell carefully retreats to a not really maybe barely safer location and watches the fireworks from the best seat in the house: underneath them.

I'm looking forward to it--and assuming I survive I will, of course, post a report here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Saffron: perhaps best for take-out

Our local food critic gave Saffron such a positive review that it's been on my to-try list for some time. The dinner menu looked good and interesting. The Executive Chef's pedigree was beyond reproach. So it was with some hope and anticipation on Saturday night that we ventured to the Morrisville strip mall that houses the restaurant.

The reservation process should have warned me what to expect.

Reservation man: Saffron.
Me: I'd like to make a reservation for four for Saturday night.
Reservation man: Name?
Me: Mark Van Name
Reservation man: You spell.
Me: V-A-N
Reservation man: No. You spell first name.
Me: M-A-R-K
Reservation man: Okay. Phone.
Me: [my mobile number]
Reservation man: Okay. You done.
Me: I didn't tell you the time.
Reservation man: You come seven o'clock. [click]
Fortunately, seven was a fine time for us, so we showed up then.

The place was loud and, with tile floors and no sound baffling, only going to get louder, but we could live with that, though conversation was difficult in the beginning and became nearly impossible as the restaurant reached about sixty percent of its capacity.

The menu was indeed promising, and the appetizers we chose were quite good. We became hopeful. Service was spotty but tolerable, and we thought it might improve.

Then the main courses dribbled out, the servers forgot one whole dish, beverage service was hit-or-miss, and one item, which the menu described as being crispy and involving tomatoes, was not crispy and had never even passed near a tomato.

Overall, the food was good enough that we'd eat it again, but only for take-out. The staff was polite greeting us and showing us out, but for most of the meal the service varied between oblivious and mediocre. With so many good restaurants now in our area, that's just not good enough.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - WTF?

Yes, a small but hardy group of us went last night to see this summer blockbuster--and, if our nearly sold-out audience was any indication, blockbuster it will indeed be.

Yes, it was as brainless and stupid and loud and action-packed as one might expect from a Michael Bay sequel. After all, he had the first movie to help him leech any lingering tiny shards of plot or logic from the Transformers concept so that in this second one he could focus entirely on spectacle.

Despite its dumbness, however, the movie did not arouse in me boredom or annoyance or any other reaction so much as a single question: What the fuck?

As in

WTF with the leg-humping Decepticon? Since when did even the bad robots turn cute?

WTF with the geography? Did any of these people even consider looking at a map of northern Afria?

WTF with Megan Fox's lips? She can run two miles through the desert, dodging explosions and bursts of sand at every turn, and her insanely pouting lips--were they real or CGI?--still exhibit exactly the same impossible amount of gloss?

WTF with the shared Transformers/human semi-afterlife? What is the source of the power of dead Transformers to grant life to other dead beings, provided, of course, that they're human? Dead Transformers appear to be SOL.

WTF with Megan Fox's complete lack of animation in any scene that wasn't a close-up? Don't take my word for it; if you go to the movie, watch her carefully. If the camera is on her, her lips leap to pouty glossed attention. When she's in the background, she goes as slack as a Terminator with his power source pulled. Maybe she's been studying with Awnald.
Yet at the end of the film, a good quarter of our audience applauded.

We just kept asking each other, "WTF?"

I must add here that I had the same "WTF?" reaction to Crank 2, but that film through attitude and style transcended its nonsensical nature and leapt the enormous canyon from truly terrible to amazingly terrific, an Evel Knievel stunt of film transformation if ever I've seen one. So, I'm willing to go along with movies that make no sense, as long as they do it in a fun and at least tonally consistent way.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen did not, however, make the leap. Instead, it crashed into the canyon floor in a booming burst of sound and color.

If you feel in the mood to watch the most heavily glossed lips so far this century and possibly the most and loudest explosions to boot, don't miss this film spectacle.

Just leave your reasoning at home.


Blog Archive