Not Very Neighborly & Poor Hospitality Expected

Last night we watched Neighbors, a relatively new (give me a break, I’m behind the times!) DVD release featuring Seth Rogen & Zach Efron (and Rose Byrne in a role that surprised me, she always struck me as more “refined” lol, but I digress) in a raunchy comedy, co-produced by Rogen. I like those actors, and the movie was ultimately pretty funny, but overall I’d have to give it a thumbs down. If you haven’t seen it don’t bother. There are funnier, better written flicks out there. Just saying.

We watch a lot of movies (or try to) on nights the Blues aren’t playing, which is fun and I sometimes just grab titles that I’ve heard are good and occasionally we get a dud. It happens. The Blues *are* on tonight and it’s their 2nd and final regular season meeting with the New York Islanders.

I’m a fan of the Isles, they’re my team in the East, but when the Blues visited Long Island last week they were treated pretty poorly by their host. Smacked around and down 3-0 after only one period, the Blues eventually fought back (figuratively) and won the game 6-4, but at great cost.

About halfway through the 2nd period, with the score 3-2 NY, Islanders forward Anders Lee hit Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson right in the face with a flying elbow, possibly knocking him briefly unconscious (watch the way Gunny falls to the ice) and putting him out of not only that game, but giving him a concussion which has him currently unable to play, missing the next game and likely any hockey skating or otherwise for the near future.

Lee wasn’t called for a penalty on the play, despite direct hits to the head being deemed illegal by the NHL. He did end up having a hearing with NHL Player Safety though only after the league learned of Gunny’s concussion. Lee wasn’t suspended (as many felt he should be) and received only a $2,286.29 fine. Half a day’s pay and the most allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement.

Concussions in sports have a glaring spotlight on them these days and while the NHL claims to be interested in eliminating dangerous plays (i.e. blows to the head) I don’t think the punishment fits the crime here. It shouldn’t matter if the hit was unintentional. It also shouldn’t have made a difference how severe the injury was. It was a direct blow to the head which was the initial point of contact. By the NHL’s own definition a dangerous play. Concussions end careers, and who know how Gunnarsson will recover from the hit. If you put a guy out by hitting him in the head you shouldn’t play until he does.

The main reason I drudge up this story is that tonight the Islanders are visiting Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Anders Lee already showed he wasn’t man enough to stand up for himself last week when, later in the game, Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves challenged him to a fight. I’m extremely curious to see what, if any, retaliatory action is taken by the Blues on the ice against Lee. I’m torn between never wanting to see a guy get hurt and hoping to see Lee bleeding on the ice. Yeah, I went there.

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3 Years Already?

Apparently, I registered and started blogging with WordPress 3 years ago today. Feels like it’s been longer. 

I had every intention of writing more this year, and that could still happen, but so far, not so much. I write often for BleedinBlue.com, a St. Louis Blues Hockey site sponsored by Fansided.com, but that’s only Blues stuff. It’s definitely a passion of mine, but personal writing has taken a backseat to the NHL and Real Life for now.

I’ve read great books I could rave aboutImage. The Martian, by Alan Weir, his 1st novel, was one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever read.

I’ve seen movies I could share opinions on. Gravity, for example, was visually stunning and very intense, but I didn’t really care for the story, thought it was too cheesy in places, and really hated the ending. I’m glad Bullock didn’t win Best Actress, it was far from Oscar worthy.

I’ve listened to a LOT of new music, one of the best albums being Broken Bells – After the Disco Image

I’ve been to restaurants I could rave about, places like J. Greene’s Pub and Sushi Bistro in Kirkwood. Get the fish sandwich and a Civil Life Brown at the Pub and try the Fuji Roll at the Bistro.

Those are the kinds of things I like to write about because I enjoy sharing my opinion, but I still have fiction to write, it’s in my head, I just haven’t made time to write any lately. Thanks to all who follow along and especially to those who engage with or share what I have to say here. Here’s to (at least) 3 more years!

Pandemonium in my head, Hollywood style.

This was written in response to a Weekly Writing Prompt over at the wonderful Studio30Plus. Be sure to head over there and enjoy all the wonderful writers. Yes, it’s late, I know. I was trying to find  a good picture of the Creature! Didn’t happen, enjoy it anyway.

I used to have a recurring dream that exemplifies “pandemonium” for me. I had this same dream for months, though not every night. I’m not big on dream interpretation, but perhaps one of you is and will share your insights in the comments. I’m sure it will be interesting, lol. This was easily 10 years ago, but I still remember 99% of the dream in startling, Technicolor clarity.

I don’t think this is exactly what was happening, but it should generate the appropriate pant soiling reaction,

I find myself in a typical office/cubicle farm, situated in an apparent high-rise building in a coastal city. I only think it’s coastal because a message is playing over a loudspeaker that the water is rising/building is sinking into the water, and everyone is being urged to make their way to the roof for evacuation. Maybe we’re next to a lake. Maybe the dam burst and our valley is being flooded. I don’t recall. There are probably 20-30 other people scrambling about the office, which appears to take up an entire floor, and it seems we’re on the top floor, because there are a dozen or so hole in the ceiling above us, the only visible access to the roof and safety, according to the voice from the loudspeaker. The kicker is that in order to get up through the holes to the exterior of the (now noticeably listing) building you must pair up with someone, combine your equipment which will allow you to reach the surface.

You know how dreams are, stuff just pops in randomly sometimes. Well, each person in this office has either a step-ladder, or a length of knotted rope. You can’t reach the holes in the ceiling without both, and once they’re used they disappear. I told you, pandemonium. So, people are pairing off and climbing up and out, and I’m sort of stumbling around, trying to find someone to partner with. Yeah, I know, there’s no ominous psychological explanation for THAT circumstance looming over this dream. Right.

So as the crowd thins with most of us finding their way up and out to the roof, I am, of course, the last person left in the office. I can hear the bullhorn blasted directions and the helicopters whisking everyone away to safety. Everyone but me. At this point I’m suddenly viewing the building from outside, from a fair distance, and I can see the water swallowing it up. This was no 2-3 story building, we’re talking 15-16 stories here. I literally watch the building sink completely under the surface fo the water, knowing full well that I was still stuck inside. It is horrifying yet I don’t feel panic-stricken.

In fact, the entire rest of the dream plays out like a movie with me watching as a 3rd party viewer. But I’m still in the building. Sinking and drowning, one would think. It wasn’t as if I was magically teleported out, I’m very definitely still in there. Probably dead, I think to myself, and I’m not sure words here can convey that feeling of having a thought about yourself in that manner. You’ve all had dreams and probably know the feeling, but it was WEIRD. I remember how it felt- I can replay this entire thing in my head today even though the dreams happened years ago.

This is all happening at what I’ll call real speed. There’s no slo-mo, nothing out of the ordinary except for a few cut-shots I guess, jumping great physical distances in seconds to show the scene from a wider angle. I can still see the helicopters, the flashing lights, and even a mob of people gathered at the shore/edge of whatever malevolent body of water this was. I guess it wasn’t a tidal wave or dam break, ’cause I can see a whole town laid out before me (the camera I guess?) now, and it’s night, all the lights are on, it’s raining, and traffic is chaotically speeding through the streets. On the edge of town I can see what I guess to be the National Guard or the Army moving in- tanks, troop transports, Jeeps, and I think, “I wonder why they’re here, kinda late to the party if you ask me.”

 I can see the soldiers massing in the streets down near the waterfront, trying to control the crowds. They look, I kid you not, exactly like the little green army men we used to play with as kids. No bases under their feet, but totally green, totally in all the poses, just kind of moving around, all stop-action like. It’s loud, people are shouting, pointing, and I can’t figure out what in the world everyone is so exited about (beyond the whole building sinking episode, of course) when the camera (my eyes?) pan over toward the water to see the surface roiling and churning, steam or something rising from it. Imagine something on the scale of say, Godzilla, but it actually looks more like the Creature From the Black Lagoon a la the Scooby Doo cartoon…

And the creature is ME! Yes, I’m still viewing this from afar, as a movie-goer would, but even so, I know that the creature is me, back from a watery grave to TEAR SHIT UP. It’s going to get ugly and fast, I can tell. So, I proceed to stomp my way through the people along the shoreline, kicking over emergency vehicles, swatting choppers out of the night sky like gnats, and basically inflicting more collateral civilian damage than a Michael Bay scene. I mean, I’m picking people up in handfuls and devouring them, screaming and kicking. The Army opens fire with all of their artillery- tanks, missiles, guns, grenades, all of it. There are explosions left and right. I’m still the creature stomping through the town’s buildings now, knocking over walls, tons of bricks burying people, and I’m also watching this and in a sort of halfway state between horror and elation. This creature guy (me) is a badass! He’s really taking it to the humans.

The only part of the dream I don’t really recall is the end, or whatever was happening when I woke up. Maybe it was a cool fade to black or something, but I know up until that moment the place was rockin’. It was a madhouse. IT WAS PANDEMONIUM.

Comic Book Movies

Finally saw The Avengers last night. Glad I saw it before it was no longer in theaters, but I must say, the experience was lacking. Not because of the movie, but due to a pretty violent storm in our area last night the power was flickering in the theater and twice the movie stopped and had to be restarted. If it hadn’t been hurricaning (if that’s not a word, it should be) outside I would’ve demanded a refund and left. But we stuck it out, and the movie was pretty good.

**There are spoliers here if you haven’t seen this movie, just sayin**

Firstly, the only romance to speak of was between Stark & Potts, and even that was limited, and almost parodied. They kept it lighthearted and funny. The injection of stupid romance was part of why I didn’t care much for Thor when I first watched it. The weird thing between The Black Widow & Hawkeye wasn’t just , weird, so I don’t include that. It was almost creepy, actually, which I kind of like, so yeah.

The only sort of pre-cursor to The Avengers I hadn’t seen, was The Incredible Hulk (2008) which wasn’t even the same actor, so I don’t know if it qualifies in this sense. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America- those were all the same folks. As previously mentioned, I didn’t care that much for Thor, as a whole, but it did have some pretty good action. I liked the Iron Man movies, mostly because RDJ is great, and beause TOny Stark is very likeable. Captain American was kinda of meh, in my opinion. It might be because I don’t like the actor, I’m not sure.

The new characters, Hawkeye and Black Widow, were bad-ass in their own ways, I guess, but I could take them or leave them. Hawkeye’s prowess was revealed too late, IMO- up at the top of the skyscraper, picking off the aliens, he was very cool. Scarlett Johanson is always smokin hot, though her character lacked something I can’t quite put my finger on.

But anyway, I enjoyed The Avengers, in the end, mostly because of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk. He was awesome. Best part- Loki facing Hulk and saying he “will not be bullied…” and Hulk smashing him around the room like a rag doll. That, and in the end, where Iron Man is laying, motionless, and Hulk yells in his face, I was cracking up. I could defintely watch an entire movie of that.

I’ve heard The Amazing Spiderman isn’t so amazing. I’m not sure I’ve liked the previous incarnations of Spidey in theaters anyway. Batman has done fairly well, and my favorite actor behind the bat is Christain Bale. Dark Knight Rises looks to be very good, and I will go see that. Green Lantern was so-so, maybe leaning toward blah, though the character is one of my favorites from the comics. Fantastic Four, not really my cup of tea, but The Silver Surfer added much to their last film. Haven’t seen any of the relatively recent Superman movies.

What are your favorite comic book superheroes, and which movies have you enjoyed or at elast thought did justice to their heroes?