Monday, August 18, 2008
Long-time readers will remember that I hate the Olympics, which I regard as the biggest, phoniest waste of time and money on the planet. And this Olympics is certainly no different.
I'm not even going to get into the whole insanity China being chosen as the host and then consistently breaking every promise they made to win the bid. If they caught an athlete behaving like that, he'd be banned from all future competition.
No, my big beef this time around is the constant bitching and moaning that people in small countries like Canada go through about not winning enough medals. Former Canadian medalist Silken Laumann leveled a stinging rebuke at the whole country for not really having a sports culture. The open line shows have been full of people mulling over "superior" systems in other countries that stream elite athletes into special schools that accommodate their training schedules and such.
Man, what a bunch of bullshit. You know, my kid is a talented dancer, yet neither the government nor private sponsors pay for his dance lessons and there are no special elite dance schools that accommodate his rehearsals.
Maybe that's why Canada has done so poorly on So You Think You Can Dance. No Canadian has even finished in the top ten of So You Think You Can Dance. Good heavens, how shall we ever deal with such humiliation? It's a national disgrace, I tell ya.
Sure, the Canadian government puts a few dollars into ballet, but where is the funding for hip-hop, funk and tap? Until this country gets serious about developing a dance culture, we can't expect to do any better on So You Think You Can Dance.
Yeah, I'm kidding of course. If anything, we need to rejig our education system to produce more engineers, not more jocks.
And, really, at the end of the day is the Olympics anything more than another sort of reality show? Try sticking "So You Think You Can..." in front of those events ("So You Think You Can Kayak" for example). Without the Olympic brand, the vast majority of those events are either very silly or crushingly dull.
posted by Mentok @ 12:00 PM, ,
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I had my computer at work crash on me. I thought it was going to be a simple procedure because the hard drive is fine, just the motherboard was fried. I thought I could just go out and pick up a new unit on the boss's dime, swap out the drive and be back in business.
Ha! Forty-eight hours later, I'm still recovering thanks to the evil twisted genius of Bill Gates.
First of all, my old XP operating system apparently only works on the computer it came with. Because poor old Microsoft might go broke otherwise, you know.
So I was forced to upgrade to the copy of Vista that came with my new system.
Now, you tell me: if you're a maker of computer operating systems and you are putting out a supposedly new and improved version of your old system, what is the number one most essential thing you would want to cover off?
You'd want to make sure your new OS was easily compatible with your users' old OS right? You'd want the upgrade process to be as painless as possible for them, right?
Well, Microsoft is much smarter than that. They figured out that computer users are much, much, much more concerned with online security than with ease of use, so they created a zillion devious systems to prevent "unauthorized" copying from other computers. Even your own.
The long and short is that Vista persistently refused to let me copy files from my old hard drive to my new one. It took me 24 hours, literally pausing only to sleep and eat, to dope out a solution, no thanks, of course, to Microsoft online support which was, as always, perfectly useless.
My advice: don't bother upgrading to Vista for at least another year. Give those morons at Microsoft time to work out those bugs that should have been handled in beta testing.
posted by Mentok @ 4:02 PM, ,
Ignore the short-skirted bridesmaids. For that matter, ignore the short-skirted groomsman.
Notice the looks of sheer astonishment on everyone's faces as my little dancing machine does his patented wedding-dance break-dance routine.
posted by Mentok @ 2:14 PM, ,
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
That's how many guys there were in a sold-out theatre for a screening of Mama Mia. I know; I counted them as they came in. To a few who passed by me, I quipped "Bet you'd rather be at Batman, eh?" But they just shuffled by, silent, ashen-faced and fearful, dragged along by their dates like spirits being hauled off to some Hellenic Hades.
The estrogen level in the room was as thick as Beijing smog. I thought I was going to start menstruating by osmosis at any moment.
So please excuse my crude language, but for the sake of catharsis I must say that Amanda Seyfried has fabulous titties and that my favourite scene was the one where two middle-aged guys are molested by a pack of drunken twenty-something chicks at a bachelorette party.
Of course, I was there with Library Mama on a date night, but I probably would have seen the movie eventually (maybe on video.) Okay, brace yourself, sports fans: I have a little bit of a secret, kitschy affection for some ABBA tunes. I consider it a vice. Don't judge me, damn you!
I had been to the Mama Mia stage show with Library Mama and had entirely enjoyed it as fluffy entertainment. True, it had a wafer-thin plot that would have been at home in a small-time dinner theatre and the dialogue was corny, but that didn't matter because the plot of the stage show was meant simply as a series of premises to deliver the songs. To that end, the stage show hired singers and dancers, not actors. Besides, in stage productions you expect a certain level of theatricality. It was a tribute show with production values, and that's all it ever tried to be.
The reasons that the stage version succeeded are the same reasons the movie version of Mama Mia largely fails, even as fluffy entertainment. The verisimilitude of cinema forces us to focus on the plot which in this case doesn't stand up to close inspection. Plus, unlike Hairspray, the dance numbers are completely boring because most of the lead cast can't dance a lick.
Worst of all, for some insane reason director Phyllida Lloyd insisted on an all-star cast and insisted on making them all sing their own parts. I might be inclined to watch Meryl Streep do karaoke on YouTube, but I'm not especially happy about paying $8 to do so.
This was especially painful in one scene where Pierce Brosnan serenades Streep with SOS. The effect was thoroughly emasculating. I couldn't help but think "Jezuz, buddy, you used to be James Bond!"
At some points, the movie managed to push those painful moments into the zone of campy self-parody. Unfortunately, those moments were too few for my liking.
Some people - especially Library Mama - will get their backs up that I'm being too harsh on this film for 'guy' reasons. Not true. I like musicals. I like some ABBA music. My favourite TV show used to Gilmore Girls, so obviously I have a high tolerance for chick shows.
I didn't like this movie because it stunk. It wasn't a failure as an action movie. It wasn't a failure as a thoughtful Oscar contender. It wasn't a failure as a Western or science fiction movie. It was a failure in its own category - as a fluffy musical. I'm not judging it by any other standard than its own.
posted by Mentok @ 12:30 PM, ,