Monday, January 26, 2015

I, Frankenstein

I got a chance to watch I, Frankenstein this Saturday, and I was only a year late!  I'd heard some bad things about it - nothing specific, just that it was lackluster, not a true horror, so on so forth.  I thought I'd take to the internets to share some thoughts, because why the fuck not?

Mostly my thoughts turned toward things I'd rather be watching.  These include:

I have my reasons.

Right off the bat, the film established itself as a "what-happens-next" story.  We're given the briefest of refreshers on the novel, and are then immediately launched into WTF territory.  The Gargoyle Order is introduced as generally shitty creatures, pretty much cementing my theory that all representatives of the Heavenly Host are just terrible.  Shame on you, God.

Which isn't to say the demons are any better.  I think my biggest beef with demons in this context is that I don't really understand why.  Why do they want to live like humans in order to destroy humans so that they can...make earth just like Hell?  Or something?  Is it a crowding issue?  Is Earth like the suburbs, and they're just looking to get away from the urban sprawl?  In any event, saving the Demon Horde from being completely stupid is BILL FREAKING NIGHY!

I have to admit to a gross bias in favor of Bill Nighy.  Frankly, he could do a reboot of Hannah Montana, playing the role of Miley, and I'd still watch that shit.  

Why would you do this to something you love?

I guess I should give the film credit for not dumping a pointless love interest in our laps, you know, until the last minute.  The effects were not terrible, and I suppose my official verdict is that I've seen worse.  It wasn't a bad idea, it was just not executed to its fullest potential.  Actually, it would have been a bitchin' idea had the weird, vague theology been left out altogether.  If you're going to have a Heaven vs. Hell engine driving your vehicle, it better be a fucking monster truck on steroids.  Not a fucking Nissan Leaf.

Do you know how shitty it is that I had to make this?  You've let me down again, Internet.

What I'm trying to say is that I'd watch it again.  On Cable.  If nothing else was on, and I wasn't in the mood to masturbate.  I'll save my Clearanced-WalMart-DVDs funds for something else.

Insert Ted Danson joke I didn't have time to think up.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Terror Of "Super Why!"

Anyone with small children, and those who are small children at heart, will be familiar with the absurdities of most television programing geared toward kids.  There are often inconsistencies, or rules in a given universe, that defy logic or sometimes decency.  MLM(IL) and The Fixer are fond of complaining about the "stupidity" of these shows, and I'm just as fond of reminding them that they're not meant for middle-aged curmudgeons; they're intended for the enjoyment of small human beings who haven't lost the ability to find humor in absurd situations or magic in the mundane. 

Pictured:  Future shitty adults.
When I first came across Super Why!, my first reaction was to be kind of excited about it.  It had a fun premise:  storybook characters, or their children, solved spelling and grammar problems using other storybooks.  I thought it was cute that the main character shared a name with my son (different spelling, obviously). I liked that there was an even ratio of boy and girl characters.  The songs are memorable, and my son loves it when I sing them to him out of context.  The jury is out on whether that's a good thing.

Everything seemed great.  Annoying, but great.  And then I made a mistake I make frequently; I thought about it.  At the beginning of every episode, the title character introduces himself to the viewing audience ("Hi! It's me, Whyatt!") and reveals the entrance to Storybook Village.  Then his, I dunno, pager(?) goes off to alert him that one of his friends is having an issue.  Maybe he got a text?  It's easy to brush it off, that maybe Princess Pea or whoever texted him to kvetch about whatever pissy issue she's having.  But then there are episodes where people who aren't directly related to the show are having problems that have nothing to do with Whyatt.  Or, he'll receive a message that a family member is having an issue that NO ONE EVER would text a little boy about.  Big brother Jack (of Jack And The Beanstalk) is pissed about something.  Whyatt is instantly notified.  Mom and Dad are a-sneaking around (planning a surprise party for Whyatt), and he knows.  

At some point it hits you:  Whyatt knows everything that is going on in Storybook Village.  Every move everyone makes, he'll be watching you.

And then, and THEN, everyone drops everything so that he can have an adventure to solve mundane issues.  His family literally sits at a dinner table, waiting for him to decide what he wants to eat, for 20 minutes while he summons his friends - presumably from their own dinners - to solve his "problem".  And that's 20 minutes in t.v. time.  In real life, these adventures probably take about 3-4 hours. 

In Three Billy Goats Gruff, Red Riding Hood wants a piece of cake, but her grandmother won't let her in the kitchen.  Rather than explaining why she can't come in, Grandma just keeps yelling at her to get back outside.  Ok, sometimes adults seem irrational to kids, but name one fucking kid who doesn't question every goddamn thing that an adult wants you to do, or not do.  Red never does.  The solution to her "problem" isn't asking Grandma "why?" or "may I have some cake?".  It's to wait patiently for Whyatt to show up, as he inevitably always does, have an adventure, and "solve" the problem.

What the fuck is going on?  In Bedtime For Bear, Whyatt's mother needs him to come home to put his baby sister Joy down for a nap.  Or does she?  She never asks him, he just knows, via his "Super Duper Computer", and shows up.  And she waits for him to do so.  So she knows too.  She knows that her son has some sort of preternatural knowledge of everything that is happening at any given moment.  She knows his "secret identity" as Super Why.  Everyone knows, because it's not a secret.  Everyone lives their lives, knowing that Whyatt will not only know their problems, but solve them.  But no one has any real problems, so they make a polite fuss over minor inconveniences, and then wait patiently for him to appear.

I've come to two possible conclusions.  The first works in two scenarios, that it's all a fantasy in Whyatt's mind.  Either his real life is so stressful and god-awful that he exists, in his imagination, in a fairytale land where he has the power to solve every problem ever.  Everyone loves him, everyone is patient with him while he's out adventuring, and he has total control over this world.  Basically what I'm saying is Whyatt isn't just "Super Why," he's super abused too.  That's horrific.  The second scenario for this all being a fantasy is that Whyatt is in a coma or is dreaming.  If this is the case, all I want to know is if the final episode will end with Whyatt waking up at the Great Northern Hotel, laughing maniacally while staring at a snow globe.

Holy shit.

The second possibility is probably just as disturbing.  In this setup, Super Why! takes place in the real world, but in some sort of pocket of supernatural phenomena controlled by Whyatt.  Everyone is trapped in this endless story being made up by a little boy.  Hell, his family might not even be his family - just some shmucks that wandered into the wrong town.  He constructs and destroys at will, creating his ideal life with perfect friends and a perfect family.  In doing so, he keeps everyone in a never ending nightmare.

What the fuck, PBS?

Monday, January 12, 2015


First off, just so you know, this is in no way sponsored by Nutrisystem.  Frankly, I don't have the readership for major companies to give a flying fuck what I think of their products.  That, of course, has never stopped me from telling people what I think of things.

As I was thumbing through the weekly Walmart ad, I noticed that Nutrisystem offered a product called Jump Start.  I'd considered using meal delivery programs before, but I'm broke all the time.  The system offered at Walmart ran about $45, and I figured that's what I buy in groceries, per person, per week.  I mentioned it to MLM(IL) and The Fixer, who both agreed to try it out with me.  MLM(IL) went with the Nutrisystem D version.  I was pretty excited because, if nothing else, I was off the hook for cooking for a while.

First thing:  you still have to buy groceries.  You're expected to buy yogurt and vegetables, string cheese, fruit, and nuts.  This is on top of the fact that weekends are free-days, so you still have to grocery shop for those days.  So right out the gate, one could easily double their grocery bill by using this plan.  So far this is going awesome.

Next is the portion sizes.  This neither surprised or bothered me.  No fucking duh, your meals are going to be dramatically scaled down.  If you're like me, and you're guilty of eating pasta as if you've been impregnated by a particularly virile and hairy Italian, then what passes for a serving of lasagna are small enough to make a weaker woman weep.  MLM(IL), on the other hand, is ready to gnaw her own leg off.  And this is with her (I suspect) cheating while she's out of the house.  She's very popular at work, and her patients show their love and appreciation with donuts.  The Fixer is also hungrier than he'd like, but he's doing surprisingly well.  I have, however, had to promise to make a big batch of cheese mashed potatoes this weekend.

Probably the biggest issue we've had so far is gout.  Not flair-ups, but triggers.  I've had to do some swapping among the meals to make them Fixer-friendly.  One of the lunches is a "loaded baked potato," which in reality is instant mash.  That's fine.  I haven't actually eaten one of these, I traded them for the tuna pouch lunch that comes in the D system.  More on that in a moment.  The potatoes, I'm told, are tasty.  The Fixer didn't realize til too late that there was bacon pieces in them.  I imagine there is also something like butter, sour cream, and cheese.  MLM(IL) also enjoyed them.  I ended up with the tuna because she claimed that it sounded gross, or that it wasn't enough, or...actually, I don't know what her beef was with it.  She just didn't want it.  That worked in my favor, since it turned out to be surprisingly tasty.

I also had to swap for a trail mix bar lunch in his pack.  Cashews.  Fucking A, can this man eat nothing?  I traded him a chewy caramel chocolate thingy, which was also fine because even though I like caramel and chocolate, that just sounded gross.  I also had to take one of his dinners, a pasta dish that at first seemed safe - turkey sausage in some sort of cream sauce - until I realized it ALSO had bacon.  WTF.  Why the fuck does there need to be bacon in everything?  I mean, don't get me wrong, I super dig bacon.  Just, you know, not in every goddamn thing!  I appreciate that Nutrisystem understands that their food is kind of gross, and diets suck, and that when you're starving all you want is bacon. 

I guess I shouldn't blame Nutrisystem.  Bacon has been so damn trendy lately.

I blame him, somehow.
I don't know if it was defeating the purpose, but everything was so damn bland, and I resorted to salting the living fuck out of everything.  But there was nothing that wouldn't involve a full-scale black mass, and possibly a blood sacrifice to Satan, to save those fake Oreos.  Oh.  My.  God.  So nasty.  I'm literally dreading the day I'll have to eat those fuckers again.

Which will probably be Friday.  Because, Sweet Baby Extreme Sports Jesus, it worked.  Each plan promises varying potential losses.  I think Fast 5 is something like 5 lbs per week, or two weeks, or whatever.  Jump Start promised up to 5 pounds in 2 weeks.  I've lost 9 in one.  The Fixer lost 12.  I don't know about MLM(IL) because she somehow managed to avoid weighing herself.  Or, she did it when we weren't looking, and just didn't share.  Either way, she wanted to keep at it.  The Fixer has adapted in such a way that when we had our "cheat day," well, let's just say there was a violent reaction.

So, here we are, headed into week two.  If I feel like it, I'll blog about this topic again, but not week by week.  That's boring as fuck.  And I have more interesting things I want to ramble on about.  Sorry this post wasn't more...not about dieting.  I mean, really.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Things

I'm finally home alone, or as alone as a stay-at-home mom ever is.  Which is never, but a one year old doesn't demand a lot of conversation - or that the channel be changed to The Chew or Rachael Ray.  How I loathe daytime T.V.  I suspect that it's a manifestation of (more) mental illness that I've come to prefer the PBS kids shows.

Not you Pittsburgh PBS.

This is going to be even briefer than a drive-by-post, more like a heads up that I'm still alive for those who are actually following along. 

We survived Christmas, but barely.  We weren't able to do a terrible lot for Stinkbug, and even though he's a baby and won't remember this Christmas, I still felt like shit for it.  I still kind of do.  I reached out to the community at The Bloggess, and was floored when total strangers were willing to help not just me, but my sister as well.  My sister had hit a major bump in the road toward getting her nursing license and had been out of work for a long time.  Between one sister trying so hard - only to get nowhere most of the time - and the other treating her kids like pets that she not-so-secretly hates, I stress out a lot. 

I'll be back soon, with my thoughts on films that I'm, on average, 2 years late getting around to seeing; the horrors hidden in plain sight in the cartoons I let my son watch; possibly a Horror Block unboxing; and my love letter to Honda for making the greatest holiday commercials EVER.  And, now that MLM(IL) is not around during the day, I'll FINALLY get to watch every horror film on Netflix. 

Such an old meme.