Summer Blockbuster Syndrome

The summer movie blockbuster season is upon us again, and I have to admit I can’t get excited about it. I was put in mind of the comedian who told about his grandfather coming back from a major league baseball game. Someone asked how the game was. Grandpa grumbled, “the millionaire on the mound pitched the ball to the millionaire at the plate, he hit it to the millionaire in the outfield, who threw it to the millionaire at first base…”

Let’s face it, the “Marvel Universe” doesn’t exist. Ditto the Star Wars Universe, the Alien Universe, the X-Men Universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy Universe… It’s just going to be another season of “the CGI villain beats up on the CGI hero, they toss CGI cars and CGI people into the CGI buildings of a CGI city with CGI jets and CGI helicopters screaming overhead…” I mean seriously, why do we care about any of this?

Some things I’d rather see? How about this image of the Panama Canal, a project so huge you’d think these photos could only be done with CGI.

Or maybe this one of the propellers of the Titanic, built in 1909 through 1912.

These are both phenomenal things that were built in the days when a Ford Model T was pretty much state of the art for automobiles. And now of course the Panama Canal has been massively expanded, a project  so huge it’s almost dizzying in photos, and you would swear they were CGI if you saw them in a movie, but they’re real.

Maybe it’s just me, but I am pretty much over CGI. Hopefully these three photos will expand to fill your screen if you click on them. If not, I’ll find a way to fix that. Probably with CGI. But then also there are these photos to give a better idea of the scope of the Canal expansion.

That said, I admit that I recently watched a CGI ape battle a CGI T-Rex and swat CGI helicopters out of the CGI sky. The original Kong was forty feet tall, the Kong now is maybe 100 to 150 feet tall, but that was not enough to be overwhelming, or even enough to make it a good movie. I can’t say I was underwhelmed, because that would oversell my expectations. I guess I was just merely whelmed.

Although finding King Kong: Skull Island uninspiring, and I will almost certainly find myself watching Alien:Covenant and Blade Runner 2049 this summer. But seriously, I don’t know what the future of summer blockbusters will be, but someday I hope it’s not just this. It’s hard to write, and harder to imagine, but maybe it’s going to have to be up to Millennials to redefine, with their entertainment dollars, the whole moviescape for all of us. It might not be pretty, but they’re blooming into adulthood now and maybe it’s time for them to step up and take a leadership role. So far they’re not inspiring confidence, but who knows? The Powers That Be in Hollywood are, in my opinion, drowning in gridlock… to mix a metaphor.

But what do I know?

 

Sad End of an Era

Interesting developments deep in the U.P.: the end of a lease agreement for people who have had camps on the Ontonagon Rive in the Ottowa National Forest. Now that the 25 year lease is up they have to abandon their camps and walk away. Still hurts, even though they knew it was coming.

http://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/john-carlisle/2017/04/29/michigan-upper-peninsula-cabins/100594194/

Music and Muses

I enjoy good music on some good headphones while I write. Especially when I write in a public space, like at one of our Peninsula Writers weekend retreats. Earbuds just aren’t sufficient to dissuade interruptions by fellow writers who are more sociable than I am. One of my recent discoveries is an American band with an international flavor, Pink Martini. Smooth and delightful. I’m building up a suite of their albums. Or CDs. Or downloads, as the case may be. I was recently thrilled to find I could tune in a Pink Martini channel on my phone with Google Music– even more thrilled to find I can stream it on my 1.5mbs “high speed” wifi.

But my pick for theme music for Tales of Life in Deathe would be Joe Satriani’s The Forgotten, Parts 1 and 2: Continue reading

Ghosties in the Night

Every biennial year or so I go on a private, personal writing retreat to Wayne’s World, my cousins’ camp on Lake Arfelin roughly 10 rough, brutal miles north of Champion. The seclusion is delightful. On a good year I can spend a week without any human interaction at all, just the occasional revelers out on the lake or partying out of sight somewhere beyond the trees.

I’m not a Nervous Nellie, more of a Cautious Kelly. I guess. But the nights are very dark and very quiet, and I’m all alone at the end of the trail in a three-bedroom ranch. Despite the quiet, I prefer to wear earplugs when I sleep. Otherwise the least little noise would pop me awake—whether small animals rustling in the leaves, or bears tearing into the trash can. So far nothing and no one has bothered me.

There was one interesting late night incident, however.

Continue reading

They Call Me MISTER Boomer!

This is a reprint from a post on my more obscure web blog, from November 1, 2008, in memory of Boomer (1992 – July 5, 2009)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy cat Mr. Boomer has been with us for nearly 16 years now. He came to us in November of 1992 as a stray: starved, insecure, needy, stinking, and full of worms. We took him to our vet, Dr. P–, of the P– Veterinary Clinic, and got him checked out and patched up. He’d already been declawed and fixed. I named him and he moved in and took over us and the house, even though my wife would have gladly had him put to sleep. He was loud, annoying, always hungry, constantly under foot, and every couple of days he’d have a poop like a St. Bernard that would fill the litter box and peel the paint off the walls.

Even so, he was my Mr. Boomer, my Big Guy, my Mr. Cat, my Mr. Boom Boom Guy, a real guy’s cat, a cat who met me at the door when I came home and coaxed me to the living room floor every day to roughhouse and play-fight with me. As Calvin said of Hobbes, “It’s hard to stay mad at someone who misses you when you’re asleep.”

Continue reading

A Little Shameless Self Promotion

cardfont02-web

I’ll just post these covers while I’ll taking a break from blogging to do other things far more boring and stupid. I’ll just mention that I was presented with two electrical problems this week, and it took me most of the morning to fix the third one. Huh? Obviously, somebody can’t count. Or do I sense a conspiracy of some sort? Click on the title tabs at the top of the page to learn more about Life in Deathe.