Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected DVD

Quick & Dirty Movie Reviews

My long-overdue DVD copy of 'The Hobbit' finally arrived, a week overdue.  Amazon appears to have mailed it out quickly, but it languished in a FedEx bin for a week and a day...

I somehow missed the film in last year's theatrical run.  I'd read the Tolkien book when I was a wee sprog, and have seen the Bakshi animated version several times.  I did enjoy the Peter Jackson version of 'Lord of the Rings', so I expected to enjoy this version as well.

And I did.  For the most part...  There are problems in Middle Earth.

What's Good:

The immense depth of the world-building.  Just like in LOTR, there's an obsessive level of detail in the set dressing, costuming, and overall look to the film.  You get the feeling that if you turned over one of Bilbo's teaspoons, you'd see a silversmith's hallmark from some hobbit smith in Bywater and not one from wherever EnZedds buy their flatware.

It's a pretty film.  The New Zealand landscape is front & center again subbing for Middle Earth, and it's remarkable.  The CGI-generated Dwarven and Goblin cities are a bit frenetic and overwrought, but you can still soak into your Suspension of Disbelief Brain Hammock and enjoy the flick.

The music is a retread from LOTR, but that's not a strike against it.

The 2 hours and 40 minutes passed quickly, for the most part.  I did get a trifle bored with a couple of bits, but I'll talk about that below.

What's Not So Good:

It's 2 hours and 40 frikkin' minutes long.  I finally had to shut it off during Bilbo & Gollum's riddle game to go outside and take a cigar break.  You can just about finish the novel in under three hours...

Similar to LOTR, it's a film about people walking.  And more walking.  And still more walking.

On that note, it's blindingly obvious that 'The Hobbit' is mostly a huge moneymaking operation from beginning  to end.  They made crazy coin from the LOTR trilogy, so let's repeat the process for another trio of films.  Just ignore the fact that Bakshi told the ENTIRE tale to good effect in 78 minutes...

The toy & video game tie-ins are blatantly obvious.  From the "Boss " villains to the convoluted chase scenes, you're getting a preview of the Xbox gameplay just watching the flick.

Inclusion of the Radagast subplot is overlong and unnecessary, except to sell toys.  Can't wait to see what a birdshit-bespattered wizard sells for...

The Wilhelm Scream.  Christ on a crutch, ENOUGH with the got-damned Wilhelm Scream.  It's not funny anymore, Hollywood.  It jumped the shark back before Fonzie did.  Remember that bit about suspension of disbelief above?  It vanishes and sucks me back to reality when I hear that overused SFX cliche.  QUIT USING IT!!

OK, enough reviewing.  I liked it well enough.  You probably will too!  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday: The New Monday

Every Time You Go A Week Without A Blogpost, An Angel Gets Its Wings!

Well, nothing like getting up at the crack of dawn to deliver some learnin' to those that neither want it, nor have the wherewithal to deliver a sufficient bribe to have me go elsewhere.

Not that I'd accept it.  Well, not less than 6 figures anyway.  You can probably convince me to be a whore but by God I'm not gonna be a cut-rate one...

This similarity  occurred to me as I stared at the toys in my neighbor's yard:

I'm sure I could work up the correlation between the desire to drive a tiny hamster-powered car and the need to stay in a cozy childlike state long into adulthood, but I'm just not going there.  Too depressing...

The heart doc put me back on an anticoagulant, more as a just-in-case as opposed to a pressing need for one.  If I can get my blood sugar and/or pressure back in line, then I can go off of it.  It's causing some issues.  For one, I'm not supposed to take NSAIDS or Ibuprofen while on it, nor aspirin either.

My regular doc didn't want me on acetaminophen, at least not too often.  Livers are apparently quite easy to eff up in a critical manner, so I'd been alternating painkillers as needed, using Tylenol one time on 4, the rest either naproxen sodium or ibuprofen.

Now, I'm kinda screwed, unless I want to go begging for some kind of narcotic-based painkiller, which I don't want to do.  You don't stay as big as I am without torn-up knees and ankles, so I'm not sure how long I'm just supposed to grit my teeth and deal.  There's always that case of Maker's Mark...

Wonder where I can get some Plutonian Nyborg??

Friday, March 22, 2013

Slamming The Brakes On Fun!

Spending All My Money!

Bit of a downer this week...  Things were going OK until Wednesday when I was heading back to The Man's Orifice after an off-site meeting, and my truck, for lack of a better term, "failed to proceed".

Naturally, I assumed it was yet another of those got-damned coil-on-plug abominations that have caused me so much grief, but that was not the case this time.  This was some sort of complicated gizmo that feeds into the manifold from the fuel/exhaust system and maintains pressure inside the crankcase.  Seems rather minor, but still cost over 3 bills to fix.

Knowing I was getting paid today, I went ahead with a long-overdue brake job on the front disc brakes, only to learn that the rear drums had been suffering as well.  Not a cheap fix, but it's nice to know a 5400 lb vehicle will stop when you need it to!

So, total cost to El Cap - $1422.26   Ay Cheewawa!!

It's still cheaper than making payments...

In other news, I've already gotten my tax refund, so instead of waiting for the official Buy A Gun Day on April 15th, I've acquired a new bangy thing.  I'll get some pics this weekend and post something next week.  This one's a cutie!

If my DVD copy of 'The Hobbit' isn't waiting on the doorstep when I get home, I may need to go on the warpath with Amazon.  The silly thing was supposed to be here Tuesday...  YEsssss, precious!  We wants our hobbitses!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Funday Monday

Just Some Random Giggles

So, I see this old geezer walking into the convenience store this AM while I'm there getting my coffee.  He's got to be on the far side of 80 years old, and he's got this old-timey rayon Hi-waiiyan floweredy shirt, shorts, and those leather huarache sandals.  In one of his gigantimous pendulous old-man earlobes, Grandpa's sportin' about 2.5 carats of South Africa's finest 100% carbon pebbles.

Goin' out with style.  You're doing it right!!

Some random funny pix:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Message To An Angry Veteran

A DD-214 Form Is Not A Plenary Indulgence!

Are you a veteran?  Did you serve in the armed forces?

If so, you have my thanks.  It's got to be a tough gig, and you deserve the thanks of a grateful nation for your service.


The fact that you're a veteran entitles you to a lot.  The GI Bill, VA benefits, free drinks at the American Legion Hall, etc.

It does NOT entitle you to whatever free shit you think the guvmint owes you!

Also, your rights are not necessarily being violated if you're terminated for cause!

The fact that you've served your country has not canonized you, nor has it granted you omnipotence and infallibility.

I've known more than a few whackadoodles that decided to go into the Army/Navy/AF/Marines/CG.  When they came out, they were still whackadoodles.  Well-organized and motivated whackadoodles, to be sure, but very much a few bricks shy of a full load.

And that's my rant for this afternoon...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Scrape Your Face Like A Man, Dammit!!

Shave Every Day And You'll Always Look Keen!

Now, as a rule, I'm not one to bust other people's balls over matters of taste.  De gustibus non disputandum, and all that.

Still, when one of your blogbuddies begins to show signs of not only edging toward, but flouncing merrily off the Metrosexual cliff, honor dictates that you take a stand, and try to pull him back before he really Nellies out.

Now, Elisson is not what most folks would consider a namby-pamby sort.  He climbs snow-covered mountains apparently for the sheer fun of it, and can grow a mustache the likes of which haven't been seen for 30 years or more.

He does seem to prefer the frou-frou cocktails to brown liquor over ice, but that might be the last remnants of his Lawn Guyland upbringing.

His latest epistle on shaving cream, though...  Elisson waxes prolix on the joys of rubbing various scented emollients onto his phiz, then recommends various brands of creams, most of which probably smell like a French cathouse during Fleet Week.

You can't get these pricy unguents at the local drug store, either!

I mean, fergoshsakes, buying your shaving gear at Bed Bath & Beyond is like buying your jock strap at Victoria's Secret.  It just isn't done, Old Boy!!

The secret to a clean, close shave?  Here's the El Capitan method.

Take a hot shower.
Exit the shower, turn on the hot water at the sink.
Dry your body & hair while the tap warms up.
Do NOT apply any sort of lotion or cream.
Get whatever razor you prefer, and drag it over your still-moist beard.
Take your time, go slow over the fiddly bits, and sluice your face down afterwards.

That's it.

I've been shaving "dry" for close on 20 years now, and my skin, while soft to the touch, is not prone to breaking out or acne, probably because I'm not coating my pores with slimy gunk every morning.  In truth, there's probably not a zit tough enough to push up through my hide after being scraped smooth daily.

Now, it is true that the wimmens like a guy that smells nice.  A bit of Bay Rum does wonders.  You can also experiment with other manly aromas, like Eau de WD-40, or a dab of starter fluid on the wrists, earlobes and behind the knees.  The choices are endless!!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Blast A Bandit, Collect A Colt!!

Suddenly, "Wahooing" Beer Has Lost Its Appeal...

Here's an interesting bit of local history!

From the Collector's Firearms website:

Colt Goldcup National Match .45 ACP caliber pistol.

Original Shotgun Squad "bounty" gun.

This gun was one of the award guns given to officers in the 1970's by the U-Totem convenience store chain for successfully ending an armed robbery.

The stores were suffering heavy losses due to armed robberies and off duty police officers were hired to guard the stores armed with 12 gauge shotguns. They typically hid in the beer cooler, in what must have been very uncomfortable conditions, laying in wait for a robber to make his appearance.

When an officer killed a robber, the company rewarded him with a Colt pistol and $1000.00 cash. The robberies soon stopped after word got out of what was going on.

Gee, ya think??

The gun is a Series 70 Goldcup pistol, in excellent condition with the original box. The gun has been inscribed "Pluto Allison from UtoteM", and comes with a letter of authentication from Deputy Sheriff "Buster" Brown.

Brown was a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy and also worked as a bailiff in the city courts. He was an avid collector of Colt pistols and law enforcement memorabilia, and details in the letter how he acquired the pistol from Allison's heirs.

A rare and collectible piece, tied to a fascinating part of modern urban history that would never be put into practice today.

I can only imagine how the present-day "community organizers" and civic leaders would squeal if this bounty were currently being offered!!

(Click to embiggenate)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

"Darmok And Jelad At Tanagra"

The Future Is Sooner Then You Think

The title is from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called 'Darmok'.  It's a reference to a repeated line by an alien captain throughout the episode.  The aliens, called the Tamarians, speak solely in metaphor.  Each phrase condenses a brief snippet of their history, and by this shared knowledge, they can communicate.

The problem is, if you don't know their history, you're not able to comprehend the meaning behind the phrase.   It's like if I said "Carl Spackler with the ball washer!"  If you've seen the movie 'Caddyshack', you immediately think of Spackler saying "I see you, Mrs. Crane, you lean, mean little monkey woman!" as he pumps away.  If you haven't seen the flick, you're just shit outta luck...

This is the dilemma faced by Picard in the episode, and he eventually deduces enough of the meaning to break the ice with the Tamarians, so to speak.

After the episode aired, me and a couple of Trekkie buddies used to argue for hours over the logic behind the plot.  Could a language evolve to consist only of metaphorical phrases?  How did you maintain the grammar and sentence structure without the ability to freely use nouns & verbs? How much help would ST's "universal translator" be?  Are the Damarians borrowing another language's words and substituting their own meaning?

As I said previously, the arguments went on for hours.  I was dabbling in linguistics at the time, quick to wave around the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and linguistic determinism.  My buddy Boo-Boo was a polymath at Rice U., multi-lingual and ready to throw down with structuralism and epistemology.  You could also dip your wick in the mixing bowl of semiotics, existentialism and structural anthropology.

So, why bring all this up?

Because it occurred to me that we're the Tamarians.  Or, we could very easily become them  We've got a good headstart at replacing a sizeable chunk of our spoken and written language with networked memes.

F'rinstance, try these on for size:

Each one is a snippet from pop culture, or has become one thanks to the Internet.  Each one has a backstory, and a shared meaning.  Not every internet user will be familiar with all of them, (or even most), but if you spend time on message boards, chat rooms, humor sites and so on, the meanings are as clear as if I'd posted something like this:

So, I propose that instead of "Temba, his arms wide!" or "Shaka, when the walls fell!", we instead have "Shut up and take my money!" and the wisdom of Good Guy Greg.