Saturday, February 15, 2014

Let's stop the flood of disaster movies before it starts

Pompeii is coming.  Noah is due not long after it.  Does anyone really want to see disaster movies of real (or believed by many to be real, in the case of Noah) events that the filmmakers fill with made-up and almost certainly silly sub-plots?

I know I don't.  I worry, in fact, that supporting these movies may lead to a run of disaster films, because if there's anything Hollywood loves to do, it's jump on a bandwagon. 

If we absolutely must have more disaster films, I'd like them to at least be creative and, ideally, involve technological menaces.  Why can't we have


in which toasters all over America rise up as one and begin snapping their metal jaws (yeah, I know, but work with me) at their owners?  Or


in which the world's washing machines go rogue and with supercharged spin cycles and sharpened agitators (yeah, I know, but I'm on a roll) suck people into their circular maws and spit out chunks of bloody flesh?

Yeah, I'd go to those movies. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

On the road again: Portland, day 4 (and Zombeavers)

I'm home safely.  For a while, the weather cast doubt on whether I would be able to reach home today, but Raleigh warmed up enough that American was flying on time, and driving between my house and the airport was not a problem.  I'm grateful for that.

As I've written in various forms many times before, I'm never going to love a travel day that begins with me getting up in the early fives, as today did.  Still, aside from being flagged for random extra scanning at PDX, today's flights went as smoothly as one could reasonably hope. 

While in Portland, I, along with about a million and a half other folks, ran across this trailer for the subtly named movie, Zombeavers.

Not very long ago, I would have figured this for a film-school prank.  For all I know, that's how it started.  With this many YouTube hits, however, if it wasn't real before the trailer, you can bet somebody stepped up to finance it after the trailer.  After all, this trailer has inspired many people online to wonder, "Is this the next Sharknado?" 

The mere existence of that question speaks volumes about our culture.

And yet, as a man who's seen an unhealthy number of zombie movies, I had to ask myself the embarrassing question, "Would I watch this?"

Yeah, sadly, I probably would.

It may be time for me to put a zombie book in my queue and show people how to do zombies right.  Maybe I'd get a zombie movie all my own. 

But not one with beavers.  Beavers are already taken.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

On the road again: Portland, day 3

Wow, did work eat today.  I exercised in the park behind the hotel in the early morning, and I had a lovely dinner at Le Pigeon, one of my all-time favorite restaurants, in the early evening.  The rest of the time, I worked.  The work was good, the client meetings excellent, but it did consume the day.

I'm cutting this short because I have to get up at 5:20 a.m. for a long day of travel.  With luck, I'll reach Raleigh, and with more luck, I'll be able to make it to my house once I've landed.  Here's hoping for warm weather back home tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

On the road again: Portland, day 2

I feel bad for my family and friends back in snowbound Raleigh, where the lucky ones spent the day at home and the unlucky ones invested big chunks of their days in making their way home.  At the same time, I'm glad I flew out here ahead of the bad weather, because I have no clue if I would have been able to leave town had I wanted for my morning flight today.

I don't normally think of Portland as a place to come to get warm, but that's what it's been so far here, with highs in the low 50s.  Sure, the sky is the usual gray, and yes, it's rained off and on all day, but it's a whole lot nicer than back home.

For lunch today I headed to Brunch Box, a place Sarah had recommended.  I opted for breakfast for lunch, and it was quite tasty.

In a break from my attempt to change my eating habits for the better, I headed to Salt & Straw in the late afternoon.  I had been ready to resist this ice cream palace's charms--until I learned that it was currently featuring five different new flavors highlighting local chocolatiers.  So, two of us shared a flight of them.  I enjoyed them all, but none was, to my taste, better than Salt & Straw's regular freckled Woodblock chocolate.

Dinner tonight was at one of my local favorites, Gabe Rucker's second restaurant, Little Bird.  Everything I tasted was very good, but the highlight, to my great surprise, was a roasted garlic and sweet potato soup that two of us split.  I am in no way a sweet potato fan, but I absolutely loved this dish.

Tomorrow, I hope for sunny skies for outdoor exercising before meetings. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On the road again: Portland, day 1

Today has been a very long day.  I had to get up early to drive to the doctor's office for my completely useless appointment to pick up my allergy serum.  Fortunately, my former nemesis and I have reached a peace accord, so the transaction was quick, efficient, and cordial.

Next up was exercise, which left me rather tired.

Some work, including a fun lunch meeting with Bill, consumed the time until I had to rush to the airport.

The good news about today's flights is that I enjoyed first-class upgrades on both, so I flew across the country in comfort.  The bad news is that the elapsed time from when I left work for the airport to when I was in my hotel room was over 14 hours.

I spent a lot of that time in DFW, first enjoying a Salt Lick dinner and then working in the Admirals Club.

Despite its length, however, I can't complain about a travel day that left me at my destination more or less on time and that included first-class upgrades.

I do look forward to some sleep.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Two days ago, my week seemed reasonable:  normal Monday, normal Tuesday, fly to Portland Wednesday, meetings Thursday, fly home Friday.  I wasn't in love with the two days of flying for one day of meetings, but the meetings merited the travel. 

Yesterday, my day looked far worse, thanks to the snow that's on tap to clobber the Triangle Wednesday morning--when I was due to fly.

Now, the snow appears all but definite, and I'm flying Tuesday afternoon to Portland.  This trip in turn compresses the rest of the day, so the morning is insane.

I'm quite done with this weather. 

It, alas, is not done with me.

I know, I know:  Compared to people in the Northeast, we've had it easy here in North Carolina.  Nonetheless, I am ready for a more standard February, with highs in the fifties and lots of clear skies.

Enough whining.  Time to pack.

My next post will be from lovely--as in, cold and damp--Portland, where the weather will be only marginally better than it is here, but I will be sure to make my Thursday commitments.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Monuments Men

is an old-fashioned, overblown, highly theatrical, sappy film that contains way too many speeches and that over-simplifies complex issues and events in the name of making a small band of men appear to be heroes.

I loved it.

I've already covered the film's major flaws.  If you want a politically correct movie, or an historically accurate one, Monuments Men is not for you.  If you hate a film the moment it indulges in schmaltz or tries overtly to tug at your heartstrings, give this one a wide pass.  There's actually quite a lot about this film that should have bugged the hell out of me. 

It just didn't.  Maybe I was in the right mood for it.  Maybe I responded to its look and feel, which helped with the sense that this movie could have been a 1949 piece with better cameras.  I'm not sure I can explain why, but director/writer/star Clooney managed to hit the right notes for me.  I never checked my watch, I responded to every pull on my heart, and at the end I was proud of those men and what they accomplished.

I have to recommend it, even though I expect a lot of folks who heed my recommendation may come away saying, "What were you smoking when you wrote that review?"  Nothing, of course, is my answer; I just loved it. 


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