Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eyes of A Stranger

Sometimes it seems like many years since I lived in Los Angeles. Other times, I forget that I'm not still there.

For example, my cousin and I were in the mall yesterday, at the eatery. I was waiting for him to get his food, and a man with a long scraggly salt-and-pepper beard walked past.

I looked at him, he looked at me, and without thinking, I gave him a nod. The second after I'd done it--nay, probably whilst I was doing it--I caught myself, thinking, "Oh no, now he's going to ask me for money. WHY did I look him in the eye?????"

But he didn't come over to me, demanding a handout. He just smiled and went on his way, and I remembered that I wasn't in L.A. anymore.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Sookie Valentine

Tyranist and I have made something of a little tradition the last three weeks of getting together on a Saturday morning and going to a movie after hitting lunch. First, we saw THE UNBORN, which we both quite enjoyed. Then we saw GRAN TORINO, which we liked even more. Then, today, we went to see (or rather, I dragged my friend to see) MY BLOODY VALENTINE in 3-D.

Tyranist has always complained that he hates 3-D movies, and remakes, and movies with "Dawson's Creek" alumni in them, and . . . well, he hates a lot of stuff, probably half of everything in existence. I should know, since I hate the other half.

Well, I absolutely loved MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D, laughing and cheering and yelping and chortling and enjoying being one of only four people in the audience. To me, it was as though we had been transported to my favourite era of horror movies--the Early Eighties Slasher Era. Except for the copious amounts of nudity and computer-generated blood, this flick probably could have been made in 1982, and I appreciated the hell out of it.

Unfortunately, tyranist didn't enjoy it at all. I know he only went to see it with me because I went to the Clint Eastwood flick with him the week before, but wow, he was putting out bad vibes the whole way through.

I think he liked the nudity, though.

It's too bad that he didn't dig it, 'cause we used to go see a whole lot of horror movies together, and I had missed that. It probably didn't help that I told him I liked MBV a lot more than QUANTUM OF SOLACE*, but hey, the circumstances under which we saw that were less than ideal.

Afterward, he and I went to a bookstore, where he pointed out Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels. We went back to lunch, since he's always hungry, and talked about vampire lore and slashers and religious differences and people making him shave and how amused I am by the name Sookie Stackhouse, and then he proclaimed that we were going to start up a book club, like a group of bored housewives, or The Others on "Lost."

He drove us all the way back to the bookstore and bought two copies of "Dead Until Dark," the first Sookie Stackhouse vampire book, intending for us to both read it and discuss.

I used to read quite a bit, and while I own several books, they collect more dust than even my treadmill. But I'd like to read the book (and more books in general, if it's not too late to make a New Year's resolution), if only to have an excuse to say "Sookie Stackhouse" in conversation.

Or perhaps thrice in a bathroom mirror sometime.

Rish Stackfield Outhouse

*And hey, I stand by the statement. The last Bond film didn't satisfy me or please me in any way. Maybe that was my own fault, but I prefer to lay the blame on those gorram Jason Bourne movies.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Three Fake Presidents

So, the U.S. has a new president, and it sure appears that everybody has high hopes for him. Optimism is novel, and pretty darn cool.

I thought, in honor of Obama's inauguration, that I'd ask for people's three favorite fictional Presidents of the U.S., in movies or television. I don't have any in mind, really, but I was curious what people would list.

You know, I worked on five or six episodes of "The West Wing," but I've never seen an episode. If I had, I'd probably have put President Bartlett on my list.

As it stands, my picks would have to be:
1. Morgan Freeman in DEEP IMPACT
2. Harrison Ford in AIR FORCE ONE
3. Bill Pullman in INDEPENDENCE DAY

I nearly put Harrison Ford first, since, well, he's Harrison Ford, but for some crazy reason, DEEP IMPACT was just a better movie.

My cousin, since he does nothing all day but surf the internet, was the first to respond (I believe I waited an hour after I'd sent this to everybody else before I sent it to him, and he still got back to me first). His list (and commentary):
Does the President of the United Federation of Planets count? Cause he totally tops the list if he does. He was on Earth, wasn't it San Francisco (or was that just The Voyage Home)?

Okay, I've got one. Independence Day. I really liked Bill Pullman in that, and that's why I liked him enough to sit through While You Were Sleeping long enough for me to decide it was a funny movie and I could like it despite being a chick flick.

I'm having a hard time thinking of others right now. I guess there's Dave, but I don't think I would watch that movie again if I had the chance, so it doesn't feel like I should list him. I keep thinking there should be some other alien/machine apocalypse type movie that should be incredibly obvious, but I can't think of anything right now. I'll get back to you for number three.

Next, tyranist sent me a bizarre list. It was:
John F. Kennedy
Franklin D. Roosevelt
George Washington

I have no idea what's up there.

Chemist Jeff sent his list with a quote from each one.
1) The president from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
"Those silly little black ships kept sinking anyways" (after he signed a bill ceasing all submarine use)
2) The president from Escape from New York (played by Donald Pleasance) "You're Number one!!!!" (he had been broken by the gang leader of NYC)
3) The president from Air Force One (by Harrison Ford) "Get Off My Plane!!!" As he shoves the bad guy out the hatch.

No Nickname Rhett sent:
1. Bruce Greenwood in "National Treasure: Book of Secrets", but also playing JFK in "Thirteen Days"
2. Bill Pullman in "Independence Day"
3. Michael Douglas in "The American President"

Beta Ray Charles wrote:
President Whitmore - Independence Day
President Lindbergh - The Fifth Element
President Beck - Deep Impact

Wow, he even looked up their names. Either that, or he respects the office a lot more than I do.

Prison Guard Johnny wrote:
1. Harrison Ford (Air Force One)
2. Bill Pullman (Independence day)
3. Kevin Klein (Dave)

I don't know if there's a point in tallying up the winners. I probably should have just asked people for their five favourite Presidents, and if somebody put Jack Nicholson down alongside Kennedy, so be it.

Next time: Top Eight Prime Ministers!

Rish Dubya Outfield

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ricardo Montalban

January 15, 2009

Yesterday, for some reason I was thinking of the old Howard Stern tape they'd play of a prankster calling George Takei, pretending to be Ricardo Montalban. Takei is congenial until the caller says something obvious inflammatory, then says, "You know, I don't think this is Ricardo Montalban," and hangs up. Lots of laughs.

And just this morning in the show, for some reason I was remembering the signing at Hollywood's Virgin Megastore where Tenacious D showed up and played a couple of songs. I wondered if that was the first signing I went to, or if it was the one where I met Ricardo Montalban, the world's greatest Mexican. Wistfully, I remembered my sad attempt to speak Spanish with him (and how he complimented me on my effort), and that it was the first time I got a DVD autographed.So, it was a combination of saddening and intriguing that, two minutes ago, I discovered that SeƱor Montalban passed away yesterday. Natural causes, they say. He was 88.Dude, I absolutely love Ricardo Montalban. "Fantasy Island" was one of my favourite shows as a child, and I still remember fondly one episode that gave me nightmares. Plus, Mister Rourke was one of the first impressions (along with Tattoo) that I would do, while still in elementary school.

And don't get me started on WRATH OF KHAN. Holy monkey, I love every frame of STAR TREK II (even deleted frames). And Montalban is a big part of that. His larger than life character was a combination of gentleman and monster unequalled in any of the "Trek" films, and his death scene is as great as any I can think of.*A few years ago, a man broke into my apartment and stole my DVD collection. I had so many that he had to fill up shopping bags with them, carry them out to his car or apartment, then return for more. For whatever reason, he didn't finish the job, leaving the bags and my DVDs from the S's on. It's with pride that I still have my signed WRATH OF KHAN, and scan it here.I hope Montalban knew, in the end, how cool he was.

Smiles, everyone, smiles.

Rish "Ricardo" Outfield

*Maybe not as good as Boromir's, but probably better than Darth Vader's.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Year 2008 (in a nutshell)

"Let me get my broker on the phone."

"Listen, dickweed, I hope you sold all that stock."

"My portfolio!"

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Veronica Who Redux

So, now that "Angel" is over, tyranist and I have been at something of a loss deciding what to watch on Wednesday nights. One of us suggested we start on "Veronica Mars" again (season three this time), and we did.

Tyranist used to always try to get me to watch "Veronica Mars," and I fought him for a long, long time. I believe I've mentioned before that I argued against it by saying that it looked exactly like the kind of glossy, teen-oriented show I hate. He argued for it by saying that the show was so great that everyone who gives it a chance will eventually have a "Veronica Mars"-inspired dream that will make them lifelong fans. I don't know if this is true of everyone, but I eventually gave the show a chance, and liked it pretty well, despite not being able to follow the mystery or get the characters' names straight.

And yes, eventually, I did have a dream about the show. In it, I was part of the crew, working on the programme, and I don't recall much more than that.

So, we started on season three, and it is quite good, and every episode makes me laugh, and every episode has a mystery I have absolutely no luck solving. And I still get the names wrong.

But I really got into this season, and demanded that tyranist stay up until two with me a couple nights so we could get in several episodes. And dang it, I had another "Veronica Mars" dream last night. It was neither sexual nor very memorable, and it inspired me to ask tyranist about his famous VM dream.

I imagined a couple different scenarios, but I NEVER could have guessed that, in my friend's dream, he WAS Veronica Mars, prowling around the school, trying to unravel some kind of crime or injustice. The thought of this, and that this was the dream that changed him forever, really horrified me.
But hey, it beats dreaming that you're an extra in a hallway scene of the show. Right?

Rish Outfield

Friday, January 02, 2009

Stupid Thing of the Week

So, for the holidays, my unemployed uncle brought his kids to stay with my mom, and I saw a great deal of them. It's fair to say that I despise one of these cousins, dislike another, and actually enjoy the company of the oldest one.

But my mother doesn't look favourably on me when I don't like or tolerate someone, and she asked me (and my sister) to spend time with my uncle's fifteen year old daughter. She's at that age (and has been for the last couple years) where everything sucks, and nobody can say anything she finds worth listening to, and prefers to be off by herself text messaging her friends and glaring at everyone. I was that age once, sure, but I seem to remember being depressed a lot and just wishing I could hang out with people and get out of my tiny one-horse town.

Well, today, my uncle asked what he'd have to pay me to go to my sister's and pick his daughter up. I didn't really want to go, but I didn't want to be bribed either (though when he offered me twenty bucks, I thought that was pretty tempting), and my mom seemed to think it would be a great gesture if I drove two towns over to get my cousin. I did, and thinking fondly back to when I was fifteen, and my Uncle John let me practice driving his VW Rabbit, I asked my cousin if she wanted to drive my car, at least part of the way home.

She didn't know how to turn on the lights or signal, and tended to go twenty in a thirty mile an hour zone, but I gave her encouragement and suggested improvements as we drove, leaning over to help her turn the wheel when she made a turn.

"Okay," I said, "Let's get on the freeway now." She had never driven on the freeway and seemed really unsure about it, but I told her the freeway was just like where she was already driving, but there was no opposing traffic or stop signs. We neared the freeway entrance, and I told her to turn onto it--no, she didn't have to stop, and it would be better if she sped up a little--and she turned right onto the ramp.

She didn't listen to me on the speed, and there were cars lining up behind us to get on the freeway also. I told her to turn off her blinker and go a little faster, and that up ahead, we'd be merging to the left. Well, she got the first two out of the way, but we were still in the far right lane, and it was rapidly becoming a freeway exit, so I told her, "Okay, you're going to need to merge into the lane now before it's too--"

She jerked the wheel.

Time seemed to slow down as she pulled into the lane--without signalling--and the car that was there swerved to avoid us. I'm not a religious man, but it is a bona fide miraculo that we did not slam into that car.

It got out of our way and my cousin continued to drive, asking which lane she was supposed to be in. I didn't have an answer for a moment, still reeling in recognition of that close call, and thinking about the damage that should have caused.

I told her to speed up, at least to fifty-five, then took a deep breath. I don't smoke, but wow, was I ever jonesing for about a pack and a half of cigarettes at that moment. Strange.

My cousin drove on. I don't think she even realised there was a car there, let alone how close she came to hitting it, and I didn't think it was worth it to start screaming, but I just asked her to take the first exit and switch me back, and seethed silently for a minute or two, before I told her we should probably try again another day.

I'm thinking Judgment Day, somewhere around then.

Rish "Babysitter of the Year" Outfield