Tuesday, July 26, 2011

OC FAIR 2011

Views from the Ferris Wheel
          Before we skibbled off to Comic-Con, we had already planned to take in the OC Fair the Sunday after with our friend Matt. I wasn't sure if I was really up to it, since I was wiped out and crabby from the con, but the fair sounded fun and distracting.

This was the first ride we went on, that pins you against the wall with centrifugal force
          My stomach was giving me some... "problems," but I was so excited by all the pretty lights and frantic noise and motion that I just toughed it out and went on rides and ate chocolate-covered bacon, a BBQ pork sundae, and a deep-fried Twinkie anyway. This may not have been the best idea I've had recently.

Anthony & Matt on "Cyclone"

          The thing was, once we started going on rides and stuff, I felt great! I couldn't believe I'd regained my energy so quickly. I was like, "I may have just turned 40, but I know how to have a good time!"

Matt & me on "Cyclone"
"The Cyclone." I love this ride. It's simple and fun and looks cool. And maybe you'll get to go to Oz.

          We even perused the arts & crafts exhibit and discovered this really amazing woodworker named Fred Rose, who had done all these really unusual half-organic sculptures. There was a creepy "cabinet of curiosities" element to his work that all three of us really dug.

This is just a mere sampling of some of his smaller pieces, but it had his name so I snapped this pic so I wouldn't forget.
          Here's the Fred Rose website: http://fredrosestudio.com/

          We had a great time, but later that night, maybe around 2 in the morning, I woke up and thought I was DYING. My stomach was cramping like a mutha, and felt like a burning pit of nausea. My head was throbbing, my skin felt like it was being pricked by fiery needles, and I could hardly walk. I was really light-headed and almost afraid I was gonna pass out on the bathroom floor. I was only half-conscious of sinking to the floor and just laying there for I don't know how long, in misery. Oh, and did I mention I was sweating profusely? That was a nice extra touch.
          I somehow managed not to throw up by sheer force of will. I kept thinking of what I'd eaten at the fair and just REFUSED to revisit that. Around 3:30 in the morning I took a bath, thinking it might sooth my furious stomach. Then I ended up lying on the bathroom floor for another unspecified amount of time. I eventually made it out to the couch, and stayed there in a fetal twist of delirium through the entire next day.
          When Anthony woke up and discovered my sorry state, he went and got me Pepto, Tums, and ginger ale. Which helped a lot. But I kept starting to remember what I'd eaten at the fair, and then my stomach would start to go into this horrible massive churn, and I'd have to will myself to forget, to pretend it NEVER HAPPENED.
          It took a little over 24 hours for me to feel normal again, and I still feel weak and emptied out, like one of those whole vanilla beans that Martha Stewart likes to pry open and scrape out brutally with a sharp knife.

Monday, July 11, 2011

ERNEST GOES TO WONDERLAND : Tim Burton's painful "Alice"

          I know it came out quite a while ago, but it was on cable this morning, and I ended up watching the last half of it, with the same nauseating mixture of bafflement and disappointment I felt when we first saw it in the theater in 3D.
          And by the way, the ONLY thing in the film worthy of 3D was the Cheshire Cat's all-too-brief appearances. There was no other point to the inflated ticket price and stupid glasses.
          I don't know whether to blame Burton, or Disney, or both, for the many horrendous flaws and massive errors in judgment. The only ones involved in the film I DON'T heap loathing upon are the artists directly responsible for the many stunning visuals. I admit it all LOOKS great.
          To begin with, the idea of Alice returning to Wonderland as an adult and having only a hazy memory of her past visit is certainly nothing new. It's been done many times over, pornfully and otherwise. And I don't like it.
          I read part of an interview with Burton before the film came out in which he states that he doesn't really like the original story, or even the original animated Disney movie. It came across sounding like this was Burton's way of "fixing" all the things he felt were wrong with the original story. The end result is a Wonderland stripped of its unique and delightful nonsense. One of the qualities that makes Carroll's work memorable is the wandering & dreamlike anecdotal structure. (or non-structure, as the case may be) Things end abruptly, happen for no apparent reason, and transition in strange nonsensical ways.
          Wonderland should not be linear or plot-driven! Forcing it to be so just makes it feel like Burton &/or Disney don't understand the original property. Who wants a non-dreamlike Wonderland?!
          Johnny Depp used to be cool. Now he has done about 2 "Pirates" movies too many. Some of us are pretty tired of his "Jack Sparrow" shtick. Some of us don't want to see Jack Sparrow aping about and mugging for the kids as the Mad Hatter. Some of us think the Mad Hatter makes a very creepy love interest for Alice, since he first met her when she was 7 and he was already clearly much older. Maybe Disney & Burton think the Hatter/Alice crush element was subtle, but it was not.
          I didn't like the special effects used to make the Queen of Hearts' head look huge. It was distracting. Likewise the awkward elongating of the Knave of Hearts. And the thing about her court wearing fake enlarged prosthetics was totally stupid and not Wonderland-y. Why would they have to use prosthetics when it would be more in keeping with the fantasy to have them just rub a bit of that enlarging cake on whatever they want bigger, or drop a bit of the shrinking stuff on anything to make it smaller? Know what I mean? Rather than swallowing the size-changing stuff, which obviously affects the entire body, just use it topically on certain parts. That's nonsense logic.
          Didn't like the Burton/Disney Dormouse, either. Didn't like her having the voice of an old lady, or being all vicious and wanting to stab things with her sword. That is so unlike the book they should have just used another character entirely. The Dormouse is supposed to be little and cute, dozing drunkenly in a teapot and mumbling bits of stories and songs.
          Epic battles between organized armies do not belong in Wonderland. Neither do prophecies. The residents of Wonderland have short attention spans and very poor organizational skills, and that's part of why I love them. Dum & Dee can occasionally fight it out with pots and pans until they both get winded and fall down, but that's it. If you want epic battles and crap like that, look to Narnia, Middle Earth, or Prydain.
          Also, the POEM is called "Jabberwocky," the creature itself is "the Jabberwock." Yet in the Burton/Disney version, they all refer to the creature as "the Jabberwocky." This is unforgivable. It's like not knowing the difference between Frankenstein the mad scientist, and Frankenstein's MONSTER.
          The worst moment of the entire film, the "bottom of the barrel" moment, is the Mad Hatter's shockingly lame dance of victory after the "Jabberwocky" is slain. It has some stupid name like "the fluffernutter" or whatever, and has no basis from the original books. It's so lame, with anachronistic almost hip-hop music, it makes you feel like you're watching "Ernest Goes To Wonderland." And I do not want to feel like that. I don't need to see Johnny Depp staining Carroll's creative property with a puerile Michael Jackson imitation. But I've already seen it and it cannot be unseen.  :(
          Avril Lavigne over the end credits. Seriously? Who thought Lewis Carroll's classic story would be best honored by Avril fucking Lavigne?! There are not enough words in the English language to describe the injustice. Robert Smith did a much more appropriate song for the soundtrack, called "Very Good Advice," based on the Caterpillar's dialogue from the book. Why didn't they use that instead? Did they just want to make absolutely sure that only 13 year-old Hot Topic shoppers would leave the film happy?
          Did I like ANYTHING about the film? Well, I enjoyed Anne Hathaway, because I like her and thought she was kind of funny. It was weird having the Queen of Hearts from a game of cards, and then the White Queen presumably from a game of Chess, especially since they were supposed to be sisters. But I still liked Hathaway's performance for some reason.
          The Jabberwock looked totally awesome, despite everyone calling it the wrong thing.
          I loved the Cheshire Cat, and thought that one character probably hit the only really appropriate note in the entire film. The way he lazily rolled about in mid-air and appeared and vanished like smoke was great. The big glowing eyes were cool, too.
          Okay, and Alan Rickman voicing the Caterpillar was cool. Visually the Caterpillar was cute and looked right.
          But I would never want to own this movie because it ultimately just pisses me off, as you can tell.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Taken in our condo complex today:

"Wait at least one hour after eating before shitting in the pool."