Saturday, March 10, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Moonstruck (1987)

During the conversation that led to me seeing When Harry Met Sally, another movie that was pitched my direction was Moonstruck (1987).

When the movie was released, I would have been about 12, so you'll pardon the fact that a smallish movie about Italian-American stereotypes co-habitating with Cher and exploring love and life didn't exactly get me to the cinema.  In the intervening years, I figured I'd seen enough wacky-family comedies of this type, and just never bothered.  The "snap out of it" clip that got dredged up to show Cher's acting chops was always shown out of context and wasn't particularly...  good.

When you get stuck between The Moon and Cher and you're New York City...

Since Co-Worker Eva pitched me the movie, I'd noticed how many "good movie" lists it had come up on, and I saw that Cher had won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Loretta Castorini in 1988.  

The plot of the movie is paper thin, intended to be a cute character study of urban Italian Americans portraying the kind of family that drives each other crazy, but in a way that doesn't make the audience want to draw blood (see:  Welcome to the Dollhouse).  You have to want to pull for every character on the screen.  Here's the thing:  I am totally okay with that.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Soon, I will own a tiny Michael Caine (or two)

I am now only really collecting Superman toys and collectibles (unless someone wants to buy me a bigger house and increase my salary), but this item...  this item I will buy two of.

It seems that with the release of the upcoming blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, we will be able to buy an Alfred Pennyworth action figure.  Alfred is played by, as you will recall, screen legend Michael Caine.

"So, League," you say, "That's fantastic.  But why TWO Michael Caines?"

Because I can annoy Jamie EVERY SINGLE DAY by re-enacting this scene from The Trip.

Reader Participation: The Loco Taco Taste Test Supreme

I do not eat fast food as often as I once did (which was, like, a lot).  At some point my GI tract rebelled and said "no more", and so its a true rarity that I swing through a McDonalds, Wendy's, BK or other joint.  I don't care for Panda Express (like, seriously, guys, no.  Gross.), and Chik-Fil-A apparently hates Teh Gays, so I have an excuse not to eat there, which isn't really a problem since I burned out on them circa 2004.

But Taco Bell (and our regional Tex-Mex favorite, Taco Cabana) are still in light rotation.  Especially since Taco Bell quit insisting that I have to order a "Chicken Ranch Taco without Ranch sauce" in order to get a chicken soft taco.

People, I love tacos.  I have been known to eat tacos for multiple meals in a row.  I have been lured out of doing work with the promise of tacos.  I eat voluntarily in a college cafeteria because of tacos.

Yes, the price at Taco Bell today is far, far more than the $0.59 I used to pay per taco back in college, but I am okay with paying $1.30 per taco if it means the workers are less likely to add spittle to my food.

Now, I am aware that what we call "Mexican Food" in the US varies regionally.  I was stunned by the differences when we moved to Arizona, and, of course, what they serve at the local places in AZ differs from what you're getting in Mexico City vs. elsewhere in Old Mexico.  But nowhere in Mexico did food ever look exactly like Taco Bell.  In fact, I'm not really sure where Taco Bell originated.  In fact, I recall laughing and laughing and laughing at a colleague from Chicago when she suggested she did not want Mexican food for lunch because she'd had Taco Bell for dinner the night before, which was an equation I don't think I would have made in a hundred years.

Similarly, I was well into college before I figured out that Doritos were supposed to suggest something about an origin in Mexican cuisine.  Sure, I saw that it said "nacho flavor" on the packaging, but still...  I'd always believed the consistency of the chips was necessary for heavy layer of the cheese dust from Mac'n'Cheese packages they used for "flavor".  Don't get me wrong, I love me a Dorito, but somewhere in the 1960's-era processed food blitz that generated them, somehow they created something entirely new en route to imitating Chips'n'Queso, which I assume was the inspiration.

But now, Taco Bell and Doritos, two bastard sons of the American cheap/ processed food wasteland have found one another in a nigh post-apocalyptic dining scenario.

I present to you (and I am not making this up) the Loco Taco from Taco Bell.

From the site:
A Taco Supreme® made with premium seasoned beef,crisp lettuce, diced juicy red ripe tomatoes, real cheddar cheese and topped with cool reduced-fat sour cream, in a shell made from Nacho Cheese Doritos® Chips.
That is amazing.  That is a food stunt of the highest order that I did not think Taco Bell could top when they did the food stunt equivalent of jumping 10 flaming school buses on the back of a tricycle with their burrito stuffed with chili-cheese Fritos.*

I have not engaged in a Taste Test in many, many moons...  but it may be time.

For, like, $1.30, you could also participate.  Just go to your local Bell, order one or two of these up, indulge and send me your thoughts via email.

*seriously, just looking at the burrito menu at Taco Bell reminds me that the Surgeon General pleads with you not to consume any Taco Bell burrito products.  Choose life.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Getting Better (The Superman Way!) and John Carter, maybe

First of all:  Antibiotics are amazing.  I know its hep to turn to your charm bracelets, magnets or supplements or whatever...  but give me some industrially composited FDA approved mystery pills any day.


I'm not back at 100%, but I am getting better.

This illness has taught me to respect my body as the delicate piece of machinery it is, and so I pledge to take better care of myself.  I will only treat myself as Superman would treat his own SUPER SELF, in the spirit of Truth, Justice and the American Way!

drinkin' on the back 40 with the old man while the ladies wait on the porch... CHECK

Sick Day 4 - I'm Not Dead Yet

I wish it were my robot double dealing with all this BS cold

Well, yesterday was the part of being sick where you just sit and sweat and try to understand what other people are saying to you and answer in monosyllabic grunts or head movements.  Which meant I had a crazy, sweaty night in which I dreamed I was an astronaut in the 1960's.  Or I think it was the 1960's, because we came down in a capsule.  Anyway, I had a swank, swank pad at the top of a hotel, which seems right.

Fever dreams are the absolute best dreams.

All I have to say today is:  Thank Jebus for antibiotics.

I did manage to go to the doctor yesterday since I'd been running a fever for a couple of days straight.  I am now enantiboticked, and today I feel much, much better, which is an upgrade from "you know, being dead sounds not half bad right now".

Through all this, Jamie has been an absolute hero.  She's not complained once about my hacking, sneezing or various methods for discharging the seeming endless globs that my body is making.  She's fed me.  Brought me glass after glass of water and ginger ale.  She's checked on me at night.  Nor has she complained when I watched Superman III.  She's been a trooper, and I appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Superman III

I learned long ago that watching anything new while you're sick is a pretty big mistake, and so rather than watch stuff I'll have to re-watch when I'm feeling better, I went for the comfort food of the Superman Blu-Ray set.  It had been a couple of years since I made my way through Superman III or IV, and so I busted out the Richard Pryor starring 1983 feature, one of the first movies I can recall my folks dropping me off for with Jason at the local cinema for us to watch on our lonesome.

This movie was released at an interesting time in comics and in cinema, and its hard to not see the movie as a product of its time.  The overriding sentiment of the film is irrational technophobia, some of which is still kind of funny, I guess.  By this point my family had already had a VIC-20 (a predecessor of the Commodore 64) and would be purchasing an Apple IIe within two years.  This was also the same year that saw the release of WarGames to theaters, so it would be interesting to see the cover of Time and Newsweek from 1983 to see what my folks, then in their late 30's, would have been making of all this digital malarky.  The movie is basically about being very afraid of what the computers will decide to do once we depend on them, which made way more sense before the worst thing any of us thought a computer could do was lose all the files we hadn't backed up.

I'm probably dying (Sick Day 2)

Oh, woe is me.  I have a cold.  No allergies.  Not a hoax or imaginary tale.  I'm just wrestling with a low-grade fever and too much phlegm.

Anyway, I'm going to take it easy.  You guys rest up, too, and hopefully with a bit of soup and some rest, I'll be back up and running soon.  Right now I just hope I didn't give Jamie this bug.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I am sort of sick from allergies (or so I hope)

Well, our little nature walk yesterday has meant I am now suffering from particularly nasty allergies.  I'm not even sure what I'm allergic to, but the great thing is that Austin has so many allergy-producing things in the air at any given time, you don't really need to know.

I may be having cedar issues.  Or oak.  I know I'm crazy allergic to oak (which is why I have two in my yard.  Because I am a GENIUS).

all of these symptoms for me

Anyway, I feel lowly.   I left work around 12:30 today, took some Benadryl and slept for about 4 hours. And I still feel like 5 miles of bad road.  So I'm just going to lay here for a bit if that's cool with you.

I am really afraid this isn't allergies.  I rarely fall ill, and I'm not good at just being sick.  Anyway, I'm going to just hold still and make a call in the morning.

Update:  Tuesday at 10:50 AM - Nope.  I'm just straight up sick.  Wish Jamie luck, people.

Signal Watch Watches: Giant (1956)

The first time I tried to watch Giant (1956) was in 1998.  It came on one of our local affiliates as the Sunday afternoon movie, and I sat down on what passed for a sofa in the living room of what passed for an apartment and started watching.  For some reason the audio was messed up, and was broadcasting too quietly.  I tried calling the station about a half-dozen times over the course of an hour, but nobody was answering the line at KTBC that day, and so I eventually gave up.

Later I'd rent the movie on Netflix and fail to watch it.  I once went to the Paramount Theater in Austin to see the movie, and had gotten my dates wrong and saw Black Sunday instead.  I didn't know I was in the wrong movie until the first frames rolled, and, boy howdy, was I confused.

Last year Jason's lady-friend, AmyD, loaned me the DVD, and somehow we just never watched it.  But it came on cable a few weeks back, and I finally DVR'd the movie.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lazy post for the end of the weekend

Wow.  That was one full weekend.

I won't rehash, but its left me feeling a wee on the worn-out side.

Some items:

  • Nashville people - I hope all is well.  Holy smokes.  Why do you keep living in the path of horrible weather?  That's Galveston's job.
  • I'm slowly making my way through Archer in order on Netflix.
  • I am watching Giant in chunks.  I DVR'd it off TCM in February and I'm finally watching it.  My history of trying to watch Giant and failing is as lengthy as Giant itself.  I'll most definitely be writing the movie up when I'm done.  But, boy howdy, Elizabeth Taylor.  Amirite?
  • We have entered into the period in Austin where it is just ridiculously gorgeous out.  I usually miss it thanks to work and various obligations.  But, trust me.  75 degrees.  Blue skies.  The grackles aren't even hanging out with their beaks open because its too damn hot yet.  That'll be May.  
  • Austin's 6th Street is now just kind of embarrassing.  As are most of the dudes I see down there.  And the return of the microskirt in the age of KFC Food Bowl.
  • My gym was sort of 24 hours, but only M-F.  It just went 24-7.  This changes everything for Sundays.  Sweaty, hang-over workouts, you will be happening later.
  • Last night, I was hilarious.  But, anyway, its good to catch up with friend you haven't seen in a while.  Even if it leads to sweaty, hang-over workouts.  Actually, not so much hung-over as really ashamed about what I did to that enormous piece of carrot cake intended for two around 12:00AM.
  • How awesome would it be to just go ahead and name your kid "Maud'dib Usul Kwisatz Haderach Jones" or whatever your last name is?  Man, see, this is why its best we'll never have children.

It is really nice out today

So its, like, 75 degrees out, sunny and 0% humidity. We were going to try to do the Austin Kite Festival, but, man, the traffic was insane. So, we headed down to the green belt under MoPac.

Jamie hobo's it up under the bridge

me and my pals

Happy Birthday, KareBear!

The King and I wish you a very, very happy Birthday.