Saturday, November 10, 2012

Embarrassed for my demographic group

With hopes that the folks at BuzzFeed won't be mad at me for incorporating their graphic, here's their take on how this week's election would have gone if only Caucasian males had voted.

Click on the image to see a larger version.  For the full analysis and BuzzFeed story, go here.

Considering that I voted for and donated to and am a staunch supporter of President Obama, I definitely do not belong in my demographic group.

Further, given the sheer number of stupid, offensive, homophobic, and anti-woman positions that are key parts of the Republican platform, I'm legitimately embarrassed for my demographic group.

Having said all that, my more considerate self, the one that has always stopped me from being a truly successful columnist, the one that knows the world is not black and white but rather far more complex, insists I note that I know many good Caucasian men who voted for Romney after considering a wide range of issues.  I don't agree with their choice, but I know them to be good people.  I find their decision as puzzling as they, no doubt, find mine.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Skyfall: a great Bond movie...
and more than it appears

Regular readers know that I'm a huge fan of Bond movies.  I've enjoyed even the worst of them--which are, of course, the silliest of the Roger Moore entries--and I've loved many of them. Until Daniel Craig took on the role, I was a staunch defender of Sean Connery as the best Bond; now, I think Craig may well own that title.  So, I entered the theater this afternoon expecting to like Skyfall

I didn't like it.  I loved it.  I loved pretty much everything about it, from the amazing action scenes, to the cinematography--both in them and in the quieter moments, to the characterization (yes, there is quite a bit), to the way the movie handles the Bond tradition.  I'm not going to tell you about its plot, nor do I recommend you read any reviews that do.  Just go see it.

What I do want to comment on is how much more this movie is than simply another Bond flick.  Skyfall is also a meditation and a conversation with all of the franchise's history, with the very real question of whether this type of movie and this type of character has any relevance today, and with all the Bond films that have come before it. 

Oddly, Skyfall is the most meta-fictional film of the year.  Directly and indirectly, in structure and in camera shots, in plot and in characterization, this movie digs up the roots of the franchise and of its characters, asks if anything good can still grow from them--and then convinces us that the answer is, yes, oh very much yes.  

I'm stunned that a movie with three writers, usually a sign of trouble, could be so cohesive and so complex.  Maybe Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan worked that tightly and with that coherent a vision.  My guess, though, is that the credit belongs most with director Sam Mendes, who from what I've read appears to have been in tight control of the movie.

I've only seen Skyfall once, so I'm not willing quite yet to declare it the best Bond film of all time, but I think it very well may be. 

Do not miss this one. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Not a normal movie ticket purchase

Tonight, around ten o'clock, after stopping on my way home from the office at our local cinema.

16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (nodding his head) Dude.

Me: I'd like 41 tickets to the 1:00 show tomorrow of Skyfall. 

16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (stopping the nodding and staring at me) Dude?
Me:  I'd like forty-one tickets to the one o'clock show tomorrow of Skyfall.
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter: Seriously?

Me:  (nodding my head) Yes.
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  Dude.

Me:  (sighing)  I'd like forty-one tickets to the one o'clock show tomorrow of Skyfall.
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  Wow.

Me:  I'd also like to get home and eat dinner.
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  There's no show right now.

Me:  (sighing) I know. I meant that I'd like to buy my tickets so I can go home.
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (nodding his head)  Right.  How many?

Me: Forty-one.  I'd like to buy forty-one tickets to the one o'clock show tomorrow, Friday, of Skyfall
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  I've never sold that many tickets.

Me:  That's okay.  I've never bought that many tickets, either.  I'm sure we can handle it. 

16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (smiling and nodding) Yeah.

Me:  (handing over my credit card and cinema club card) Forty-one tickets.  One o'clock show tomorrow. 

16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (interrupting me and nodding) Skyfall.  Right. (punching in numbers, swiping my cards) You must really want to see that movie. 

Me:  I do.  So do the other forty people.
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (nodding his head)  Right. (tickets start to print and then stop) Dude.  Even the printer can't handle it.

Me:  It probably jammed or needs more paper. 

16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (nodding his head) Good one.  (checking the printer and fixing it) Yeah, that's it.  (tickets finish printing and he stares at them) Wow, I've never seen that many tickets print at once.

Me:  Neither have I.  May I have them?

16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (nodding his head, tearing off the tickets, and handing them to me) You should probably count those, what with it stopping and all. 

Me:  I planned to.  (counting tickets) You should probably have me sign the credit card slip.
16-year-old guy at the ticket counter:  (nodding his head)  Dude.  Good one.  (handing me the slip)  You need to sign this. 

Me:  (signing the slip) Thanks.

Sometimes, I'm deeply thankful for the glass partition that separates ticket sellers from ticket buyers.

In case you're curious, I bought so many tickets because we're mostly closing our company tomorrow for a few hours to take to this newest Bond film everyone who can afford the time away from the office.  We did the same with the last two Bond movies.

I can't wait to see it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A fan boy dream coming ever closer to reality

Check out the cover of this 2013 Baen book:

Click on it to make it bigger; you don't want to miss that star burst.

Oh, yeah.  Oh, hell, yeah!

I now face the pleasant task of re-reading two Heinlein classics and writing a few thousand words about them.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Barack Obama is again our President

I, for one, am very happy with this result.  I watched the election returns tonight with considerable tension and concern, and I was thrilled when all the networks called the election for him.

I am also happy that voter turnout appears to have been good.  It certainly was at my local voting place when I showed up there this morning. 

Most of all, I love that I live in a country that allows me to vote.  That is a grand thing indeed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

On the road again: World Fantasy Con, Toronto, day 6

Ah, they joys of travel. Today's journey home started smoothly enough with a quick and on-time check-out and the car to the airport showing up on time.

The ride itself was a bit harrowing, however, because our driver gave very little of his attention to driving and instead focused on running a multi-car business from his phone. He made call after call, pausing only to read his email, all the while hurtling at 130 km/hr--on a highway with a posted limit of 100 km/hr. I have rarely been so happy to be out of a cab or other city transport.

Once at the airport, everything proceeded in the sort of slow, plodding pace you normally associate with a forced march or a funeral. Everyone was pleasant enough, but no one was in any sort of hurry. It all worked out, though, and I had time in Pearson International to grab email at the Admiral's Club and a weird sandwich (turkey, brie, and cranberry on triangular bread) for lunch. 

The flight to LaGuardia passed pleasantly, though our flight attendant, who fancied herself both a comedian and a dancer, rarely let anyone's attention light on anything except her. I finally gave up my futile attempts to read and tried to escape her performances by faking sleeping.

LaGuardia was its normal dirty, crowded, loud self.  Despite all that, from months of commuting there many years ago, I still have a fondness for it.

The flight home was fine--once we finished sitting on the tarmac for over half an hour. 

Alas, my suitcase never appeared on the luggage carousel, so I had to waste another half an hour while the American baggage agent assured me that although they had lost track of it in Toronto, the bag would eventually turn up.  I actually believe them, because that's been my experience in the past, but I won't relax fully until I see it.

It was good to go to the con, but it is good to be home.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

On the road again: World Fantasy Con, Toronto, day 5

The big con event of the day was the World Fantasy Awards banquet, which I attended. 

I discussed with others whether the food here was the worst of any WFC banquet, and our final consensus was that no, it was not:  it was equally as mediocre-verging-on-bad as all the recent rest.  I was hungry, and the conversation was pleasant, so I ate it, but I did myself no favors by doing so. 

The awards ceremony was, on the other hand, a well-executed affair.  Toastmaster Gary K. Wolfe gave a funny and sometimes pointed opening speech that I thoroughly enjoyed.  He then handed out the awards efficiently and with grace, calling on a few folks to help him along the way.  I was particularly pleased to see Tim Powers' The Bicycle Repairman and Other Stories win for Best Collection.  If you don't know his work, you should; it is consistently marvelous. 

I spent more time socializing at this con than at most, though admittedly mostly with the same relatively small group of friends.  Still, that is an improvement for me. 

Tomorrow, I head home!


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