Monday, October 27, 2008

Back from the Lou!

So Alison and I got back from St. Louis last night. We left Friday around 9pm and got a first class upgrade on the way there, which was pretty rad. I do enjoy free beers. We went straight to the hotel courtesy of this odd Polish cab driver who claimed that he was good personal friends of former NYC mayor, Ed Koch. This guy also claimed to have played hockey at the University of St. Petersberg in Russia at one point. I'm not sure how truthful his stories were, but they passed the time on the way to the hotel.

We crashed pretty hard upon arrival. We stayed at the Wyndam Mayfair, a neat old hotel built in 1925. It was a bit old fashioned but nice. Saturday our friend Jeremy came to pick us up after we played around at the newly constructed Lumiere Casino in downtown St. Louis. From there we had lunch at a place called Show-Me's, which was basically a low-rent version of Hooters. Surprsingly, they had Widmer beers on tap.

From there, it was off to the set. Once everyone was there I had some make up effects applied to my head. Then I stood around for a few hours. Once everyone else was ready, we did three takes of the opening scene of the movie. I play a corpse, but I do it well apparantly. It was interesting to see it all happen - the effects work (no CGI, all old school), the acting, the camerawork and all that stuff. It was also cold. And a long night. Alison was a good sport about it all and everyone was really friendly though and that made all the difference in the world.

Sunday was play day. Jeremy came and picked us up again and after lunch and beers at a great pub called Growler's, which much to my delight carried Bridgeport IPA, we went rollerskating at Rock Roll O Rena which doens't look like it's been touched since 1973. I'm terrible at rollerskating but I only fell one and I didn't hurt myself. It probably looked odd though as it was almost all kids there and they skated circles around me.

From there, back to the airport is where we went only to find out that our flight was delayed and that we might not make our connection in Chicago. Thankfully, our travel mojo was working well and we wound up on a direct to LGA which got us in a half an hour before we were supposed to have been there in the first place. All's well that ends well, right?

It was a great trip overall, if a bit exhausting. St. Louis is an alright town despite the fact that it is second only to Detroit in terms of crime rate. There's more culture there than you'd expect and some neat areas of town to bum around in that compensate nicely for the north and eastern parts of the city that look like they were bombed and left for dead. I was amazed to hear how cheap real estate there is and with how blue the skies were. After six years in Oregon and now living in NYC, I'm not so used to the blue open skies that they have in that area.
At any rate, good times. It was over too quickly, but we'll be back.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Escapism Rules.

Ok, so last weekend my mother was here. Overall, it was a great visit, really. We all had a blast and it was simply awesome to see her again and know she's doing well, and I know for a fact she felt the same way - she was a little worried about her first born living in NYC, etc., etc. and she I think it did her some good to see how and where I live first hand to realize that I honestly do have my feet grounded. Alison, ever the good sport, and I took her from Battery Park all the way up to Central Park with plenty of stops along the way and then surprised her with an early birthday present (1oth row orchestra seats for The 39 Steps which was fantastic and amazingly funny in the best Python-esque sort of way imaginable) her first day here. I think she was overwhelmed but had a great time. Day two was a trip to Staten Island before a 'meeting of the moms' where Ali's mom came over and the four of us all had dinner. Her third and final day saw an off season trip to Coney because she wanted to see it before it is torn down (any day now.... The Warriors would be pissed and rightly so!).

As such, I'm still tired. It was three days of non-stop 'stuff' and while I was happy to do it and look forward to doing it again, it reminded me that I'm getting old. Couple that with more work related bullshit than I care for and it's been a long week. Add to that the completely unexpected death of a former co-worker from my last job and you can understand how I'm tired, and so I've opted to find solace in the finer things in life.

This week, what has occupied me?

-Shaw Brothers Kung Fu - definitely see Kiss Of Death if you dig Kill Bill style revenge films done right and House of Traps is fun if you like guys in bad outfits running around in houses filled with... traps.

-Deception - Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor star in this very mediocre and predictable film that features more naked ladies than you'd expect. That said, naked ladies can help but not save a film that lays all its cards on the table from the on set. If you have half a brain, you'll see the twist coming.

-Pieces - Juan Piquer's trash classic got a 2-disc release from Grindhouse Releasing. Just get it. It's awesome. And bloody. And it has a rad Bruce Lee dude in it.

The Jesus And Mary Chain: The Power of Negative Thinking - four discs of JAMC's demos, outtakes, covers and b-sides. I'm of the belief that feedback actually helps purge the bad stuff from your head when life beats up on you and this set definitely does the trick. It's worth getting just to hear their fuzzed out and dirty sounding wall of sound cover of Prince's Alphabet Street. Awesome stuff.

These things, coupled with a nice bottle of mid-priced Aussie merlot, are a good combination. That said, the next couple of months have a lot to look forward to. St. Louis/movie work is the weekend after this one and Alison is taking me on a secret vacation to an undisclosed location the second weeke in November. I've got the seed for a screenplay or story of some sort brewing in my brain and in December I'm hoping to take off to the great white north for a few days to see the whole fam damily. Life is good over all, really. I've little to complain about, but the little there is, I'll take full advantage of.

Without further ado, some odd pictures Alison took of me at the Coney Island aquarium earlier this week...

Monday, October 6, 2008

More politics...

I don't normally want to tell people how to vote, but watch the video here....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Want A Bail Out...

So if the government bails out Wall Street, are they going to bail us out? Us Joe Six Packs (or, in my case, Joe Twelve Pack, because I am that much more manlier than most everyone else - or I drink too much beer - you decide) screw up financially all the time - where's our golden parachute?

It infuriates me that the government would bail out an economy that has been brutally sodomized by greedy bankers and brokers at the expense of the American (or legally naturalized) tax payer.

What about health care? $700 billion dollars would help a lot of sick people get better. Let the greedy pricks on Wall Street tread water for a couple of years. Let the housing market tank. Let the economy recover naturally even if it takes some time. By voting in the bail out the government is essentially 'faking it' (interpret that comparison as you will) while the Democrats fling crap at the Republicans and the Republicans fling crap at the Democrats and the blame game goes on and on and on.

Bush urges the House and the Senate to pass the bill - but does he care or is he simply using a bucket to bail out the sinking ship that will likely be his political legacy so late in his undeniably assinine Presidential career?

It pisses me off that big business wins again while unemployment rates skyrocket (the highest in seven years as of today), small businesses fail, and hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in this country can't afford to see a doctor. The two party system in this country continues to fail and I sincerely believe that the founding fathers would be horribly, horribly embarassed by all of this, as everyone who has played a part in the economic downfall of the former superpower that was the United States of America should be.

It might sound ungrateful for an immigrant such as myself to bitch about things like this, but if I didn't truly care about the direction the country is taking I wouldn't be here in the first place. At least in Canada I could go to the hospital without having to sell an organ on the blackmarket to fund it. America is awesome in so many ways and it is such a truly great country on so many levels that it just adds insult to injury to see this happen....