Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gimme All Your Lovin'

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Last Sunday night, we watched a big action movie from a few years ago… 1997’s “Mimic” starring Mira Sorvino, Charles Dutton, Josh Brolin & F. Murray Abraham and directed by Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy” & “Pacific Rim”). For those who haven’t seen it, the movie starts with an epidemic killing children on Manhattan Island at an alarming rate that is spread by cockroaches… so some entomologists (insect doctors) create these insects that emit these enzymes that kills them off or disinfects them or something… and stops the epidemic. Roll credits. Okay, not really… the story picks up three years later… and apparently the cockroaches that saved everybody have evolved… and now they’re out to stop the epidemic of New Yorkers. The same entomologists now have to go into the subways to stop them because… apparently nobody else will or can? Now… the movie has an incredible creepy feel to it… and that’s probably due to del Toro’s direction a lot like he did in “Pan’s Labyrinth” and movies like that… aside from that though, the movie’s only okay. The plot is… eh. I really didn’t care for the characters… but Mira Sorvino is easy on the eyeballs. The monsters are f**king terrifying… but I figure as long as I stay my ass out of the subway tunnels at 2 AM, I’m pretty safe from them… so no real danger. Okay… the characters that I didn’t care about… back on those for a minute. The main ones are good enough I guess… the married couple (Sorvino & Jeremy Northam) are passable… it was good to see Roc (Dutton) as a stereotype subway cop… but the children in this movie, could not f**king stand. There’s the dopey eyed autistic kid who… is basically a retard Pinocchio to his shoe shining Geppetto father… and then there are these two “street kids” that sell bugs to Mira Sorvino… and they’re just horrible little side characters that apparently don’t have parents…  and frankly, I’m glad they were eaten up. Oh… spoiler alert, lots of people get eaten up. I’d say check it out… it’s not horrible… but it’s not really good either.
Last week, we also watched the 1977 animated feature of “The Hobbit” which you may recall was turned from an epic novel by J.R.R. Tolkien into this 77 minute animated film by Bass-Rankin (of 80’s cartoon lore, and keep in mind that a few of those 77 minutes are just film credits) and then to three separate films totaling just under 8 hours on the non-extended versions by Peter Jackson. I’ve never read the books (shocking!) but I’ve seen the trilogy by Peter Jackson… and now I’ve seen the animated film. Oh, for those who don’t know… it’s about a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who has a wizard named Gandalf show up at his house one beautiful day… and then within a few hours, some of Gandalf’s dwarf friends show up expected to be fed like kings at a perfect stranger’s house… and then Gandalf says that Bilbo is a master thief (racist?) and volunteers him to come along with them on a whimsical journey of traveling thousands of miles to a place called the Lonely Mountain… and then when they arrive, evict the local dragon who has taken residence there & help his new dwarf friends to take back their castle filled with massive amounts of gold & jewels. Bilbo says yes for some reason (starved for human/other being affection?) and the journey goes from there. Now… again, I’ve never read the books… so if there’s more to the premise than that that’s important, I’m unaware of it. Basically it sounds like a bunch of homeless people show up uninvited and they go on a magnificent hobo adventure to me… but I’ll allow my belief to be separated when dragons are involved. Anyway, there are obviously MAJOR differences between this film and the 6x as long trilogy… mainly, in this version, the only time there’s really any conflict in the journey is when they have a VERY brief encounter with three trolls, some typical mountain travel weather, they run into a few frog-like orcs when they get to the mountain & then Bilbo shares a few riddles with Golum. In the trilogy, there’s everything from giant f**king spiders to Orc hordes riding direwolves to being thrown into prison by Elves and all kinds of mess… THEN there’s the dragon Smaug… but yeah I’m getting way ahead of myself. I realize this movie was made almost 40 years ago… but ultimately it was kind of boring… and at least it was only a little over an hour. The animation was pretty basic… I can see how it’d be interesting as a child in the early 80’s or something… but it didn’t really appeal to me. Dare I say it… not unlike the MUCH longer movies. Yeah, I saw them all… but I kinda felt like they were REALLY drawn out… and though character motivations were explained in the movies better with the extra time, but they simply didn’t do any of that in this movie. Basically Gandalf comes off as even MORE of a dick in the animated version. “Sh*t’s happening, I must go!” Poof of smoke & a crack of thunder and he’s gone. Anyway, if you really liked the Lord of the Rings trilogies, check it out… but it’s nothing that you really need to see.
Last week, we also watched a movie recommended by Film Vault called “Frank” starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Downhall Gleeson. This is the story of a young keyboard player (Gleeson) whose struggling to write songs… when all of a sudden he almost serendipitously is on the beach… and the keyboard player for a band that has a gig in town has a nervous breakdown… and so he gets the gig. Well, the band’s front man is Frank (Fassbender), whose apparently a sensitive genius type… and wears a giant paper mache head his entire life. Odd. Well, despite their first concert going… absolutely wrong… the band invites him to come along with them to cut an album at their place in the woods. Oh my gosh! This is the break that he’s been waiting for! Of course he quits his job & uses his nest egg to travel with the band… and then he finds out that they’re all ass crackers insane… and after about a year he becomes suspicious that nothing is getting done. The story continues from there… but despite my poor explanation of the plot, it’s a decent movie about… well, that apparently all artists are insane? But as long as they’re insane together it might work out? Is that the message? Because if so… I have a few counterpoints to that belief based on events in the film that I will not disclose… but yeah, it’s an interesting look at possible mental health issues & just the weird intricacies that make up the characters.
Side note: I almost feel bad that Michael Fassbender was publicized as Frank before the release of the film… because honestly, wouldn’t it be great to have watched this movie in which you don’t see the titular character’s face the entire time… and perhaps you’re wondering “Who is playing this person? It kinda sounds like… ugh, I can’t tell through the paper mache echo” and then in the last few scenes, it’s revealed to be “That guy from Inglorious Basterds!” Think about it… it could also have been billed as Michael Fassbender… but he was just he voice… and the actor revealed at the end is his long lost brother Jon Hamm! By the way, I Facebooked it a while back… but how the hell have those two NOT played together in a movie as brothers??? Get on that sh*t, Hollywood!
Tuesday night, we also started a quick batch of Strawberry Hefeweizen for NCHF ten days later… so we’re doing a little different process where we’ll start with the Hefeweizen yeast, then on Sunday (4 days later) when we add the strawberry puree we’ll also add some Super High Gravity yeast (like with imperial stouts, barleywines, etc) that should help it to convert in the days after so that it’s ready for NCHF. It’s an experiment… but worst-case, if it sucks before NCHF, we’ll just have to give it time to mature… and we’ll still have our Kentucky Common & Maple Porter to share… along with several HUNDRED kegs from the other festival goers… so yeah, it’s worth a shot on short notice. No real pictures of the brew from Tuesday… but you’ve seen a few before… very similar… and here are a few of our transfer to secondary on Sunday...

We also transferred our Barleywine to secondary fermentation... where it'll be for a few months...

Thursday, I fell for the trap of telling work that I’d go in and work most of the day to help out (since we’re so grossly understaffed it’s pretty ridiculous) but I wanted to be out to beat traffic for the evening’s activities… but of course it wasn’t approved (or denied) until about 30 minutes before I was planning on leaving… and spoiler alert, I was there until a few minutes before my shift ended. Basically, I should’ve just called in sick… leaving everybody at work to stagger & attempt to cover the MANY jobs that I do at a fraction of the pay… and basically they can just suck it. However, I’m a decent human being… and I like most of my coworkers, but tolerate all. Well, now I know… and lessons can help down the road… especially when it means being in traffic for four hours on the way to escape the Bay Area on a random Thursday night… during an obscene heat wave loaded with dicks navigating vehicles on the public roads… but yeah, lesson learned.
So Izzy & I drove up to Lincoln after work to mark something off the Bucket List… by which is basically take advantage of viewing a favorite while THEY’RE still alive as opposed to US being alive… but we went to Thunder Valley Amphitheatre to see the great Texas rock band ZZ TOP along with opener Blueberry Smoke. Due to traffic, we missed the opener… but I’m sure they rocked… and we got there just in time for the main attraction… and they F**KING STILL ROCK!!! We fully enjoyed ourselves… even in the 95 degrees after the sun went down that haunts the Central Valley this time of year… but the venue was pretty good & it was a perfect 90 minute concert for us to enjoy… with four hours driving there & then about 80 minutes on the drive back (don’t do the math, Gretchen likes to gallop when she’s not surrounded by parked Priuses). Great evening!

Anyway, so it’s been a busy week or so… and it’s not slowing down any time soon… and frankly, that’s pretty awesome! I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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