Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Grab Bag of Follow-ups

You’d think Monday’s post would have gotten it well and truly out of my system, but it took a great deal of willpower not to post another long screed inveighing against the Man of Steel movie on Tuesday of this week, that’s how much my cultural-custodial sensibilities were put out of joint by it. What finally brought me down off the ledge was a video that has been on YouTube for a while, which all of my friends had seen, and I had kept putting off and putting off. It’s John Landis’s son, Max, simply describing the completely insaneballs Death and Return of Superman, which was a gaudy (and, in retrospect, senseless) comics mega-event in the 90’s. And by ‘simply describing” I mean “ranting with equal parts affection and disgust, and lots of F-bombs”. Also, Max got some of his famous friends, including Mandy Moore and Elijah Wood, to re-enact some of the scenes from the storyline as he related them. It’s very funny (especially if you are familiar with the source material, which of course I am) and a good reminder that maybe I shouldn’t take things so seriously. Stupid high-profile Superman stories happen sometimes. This too shall pass.

If you’re curious, here’s the video:

Max Landis directed (EDIT: nope, co-wrote) the movie Chronicle, by the by, which has been on my to-watch list for a while, but has now been bumped up quite a bit.


I recently bought myself a couple of action figures for my Green Lantern collection, which were discovered even before they were unboxed by the little guy. He badgered me into opening them (which I was going to do anyway, since I don’t obsessively keep my toys in mint-in-box condition. Not all of them, at any rate.) and then proceeded to play with them for most of this past weekend. And he did at one point ask me when (not if) I was going to get some more “Green Lantern bad guys”. Just another minor data point on the trend line for him coming around on thinking conflict-free stories are the only ones he can get into.


Also, speaking of life with the little guy, my wife and I are unspeakably relieved that the solstice has come and gone, because we were getting a little tired of constantly being corrected every time we mentioned an aspect of the weather or something being an aspect of summer. “Guys, it’s not summer,” the little guy would pipe up, “it’s late spring.” Well, it’s summer now, boyo, so there. And truth be told, it’s the first summer we’ve ever had to deal with the little guy actually noticing that it’s still pretty darn light outside when we’re asking him to get ready for bed and turn the lights out. So we’ve got enough to manage as it is, and at least now we can say, “That’s just the way it works in the summer, now go to sleep!” and not launch an argument about seasonal start dates.


And in other start-date news, the local brewpub did in fact open as scheduled. I have to drive past the parking lot of the strip mall every evening on my way home from the train station, and this Wednesday I saw the tent out in front of the taproom and a long line of patrons stretching all the way down the sidewalk. On the one hand, I’m pleased that the grand opening was a big successful event, and on the other hand, I wound up glad that I didn’t really have my heart set on dragging the kids to said event. I could have, possibly, justified walking from our house to the strip mall, sauntering into the brewpub, introducing myself as from the neighborhood, maybe trying a sample and wishing them luck, then taking the kids to get dinner, if it had all taken a half-hour tops. But I never could have rationalized walking the kids over there to stand in line for a half-hour. So just as well I took a pass.

Plus, my wife and I are going out to lunch today as an early anniversary celebration, and we’re planning on stopping by the taproom after we eat. So I’ll at least get an opening week experience. If anything particularly noteworthy happens (beyond “good beer”, which should always be duly noted) I will report on it after the fact.


I am in the midst of a game of entertainment consumption chicken with myself at the moment. I am just about halfway through my re-read of the fourth A Song of Ice and Fire volume, which was as far as I got in acquiring the books during my first go-round with the saga. To be fair, only four books had been published back then, and although the fifth book has since been released (and the sixth one, I understand, should be out some time next year) I wanted a matched set for my shelves, which meant waiting for A Dance With Dragons to come out in airport paperback sized edition. But in the mean time HBO’s Game of Thrones started and the series saw a huge surge in popularity and I have yet to see a cheap paperback version of book five anywhere, since people are all too willing to shell out for the hardcover. So I’ve resigned myself to getting the Kindle edition of the last three books in order to stay ahead of spoilers in the cultural conversation, and then when (or if) the chunky paperbacks ever come out I’ll just suck it up and get those too to satisfy my completist OCD. So the only question now is when to download Dance With Dragons. Part of me wants to do it immediately, and part of me knows that since the electronic transaction is instantaneous there’s no reason not to wait until I actually finish the back half of book four.

Very similarly, I’m a little more than halfway through my DVD set of Smallville Season 9, which is the penultimate season. One excellent benefit of the combination of technology’s march and my aforementioned completist OCD is that because I started collecting seasons of Smallville on DVD, that is how I’m going to finish it. And DVDs are incredibly cheap now because everybody wants everything on Blu-ray. Seriously, Amazon has Smallville Season 10 for like 75% off retail list. So, again, order it immediately? Or wait until I’m actually closer to starting to watch the final season?

Part of the reason I’m staring down this big two-headed chicken, I think, is because I’ve been working on the re-read project since last year, starting with the Kingkiller Chronicles and Dark Tower books and now I’m finally within sight of being totally done with it. And I’ve been committed to Smallville for over a decade, admittedly lagging behind quite a bit, but that finish line is coming into view as well. And I’m not ambivalent about crossing those finish lines, either. I will be very happy to have accomplished what I set out to do, and happier still to have the freedom to read some new books and get into some new tv shows and whatnot. If anything, I’m reluctant to give in to the impulse to obtain that last book or last DVD set because I think it’s probably an over-eager impulse, driven not be imminent need but more by wishfully wanting to be that much closer to being able to check things off my list. So, I’m reining it in. For now. But we’ll see how long that lasts.

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