high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bonding with family over the holidays

In a few short hours Nate and I will be heading back to Columbus after our annual visit to Austintown to give thanks for the Pilgrims landing safely and settling in Plymouth Colony, directly leading to our ability today to watch television on screens of epic proportions while wearing jeans with purposefully-placed holes in them.  Thank you Pilgrims!  We salute your efforts!  And you too, Squanto!

We probably would have stayed for an extra day up here in A-town, but as many people are aware, tomorrow is Ohio State's annual contest with the University of M*chigan (more popularly known in certain circles as scUM), and it seemed like the right thing to do to be in Columbus.  Needless to say, The Game directly leads to our ability to get totally wasted and use vulgar language of epic proportions, no doubt with Jim Tressel's smiling stamp of approval.  I consider it my personal opportunity to symbolically pummel scUM professor Dave Ulrich, as our boys in Scarlet & Gray (with an "a," always with an "a") run all over the Maize & Shit.  Thank you Jim Tressel!  Thank you college football!  And you too, Squanto!

It would be quite awesome if Jim Tressel actually had a stamp of approval.  Certainly many things come across his desk that need his authorization, so it only makes sense that he would get a stamp rather than signing everything.  A stamp is kind of like a status symbol, because when you get your own stamp you are publicly declaring that you are important, because only important people sign so many things that a stamp is warranted.  But it's a fine line, knowing when to get your own stamp rather than continuing to sign everything.  At times when you see a stamp, you think "Wow, this person is awesome!  They have their own stamp!"  But at other times when you see a stamp you think "Uh, this person has an over-inflated sense of their own importance.  They do not need their own stamp."  A Jim Tressel stamp would be in the "wow awesome" category, clearly.  And obviously his stamp should be the outline of a sweater vest.

Tonight a variety of festivities will take place.  I'm hopeful to go to both Haiku for the consumption of raw fish and Dick's Den for the consumption (via ear) of raw bluegrass.  The thought occurred to me a couple weeks ago that it would be nice to find a good jazz club in Columbus, both for this weekend and any other weekend, but thus far nothing has really stood out.  When you Google-search for jazz places in Columbus, both Haiku and Dick's Den actually make the list, with Dick's Den even being one of the most recommended choices.  However, although I do like both of these places, they aren't really what I have in mind.  I'm thinking of a place where the lights are dim, any conversation is hushed, smoke is in the air, and for the most part the focus is on the music, which includes a drum set, a stand-up bass, maybe a sax, and at least one trumpet.  You know, a jazz club, like the one Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx go to in Collateral.  A place where you don't talk too much, you just chill out and listen to the music.  Execution of the trumpet player because he ratted out Felix would be optional, and probably not recommended, because then you couldn't go back to the jazz club.

Working out at the rec center down the street has been going well.  I'm trying to focus primarily on strengthening my legs and lower back, and to a lesser extent my stomach.  Only one day is really dedicated to upper-body exercises, and I'm doing push-ups rather than bench press.  I find it interesting that whenever people want to hear about how strong you are, they'll ask how much you can bench.  And then when people want to see how strong you are, they'll say "show me your muscles," and you flex your biceps.  Logic check: Bench press does not give you big biceps.  Also, let it be noted that lower body is probably the most important section to focus on, as it gets the most practical use every day.  So what I'm saying is, if someone asks how strong you are, you should really flex your quadriceps for them.  Just warn them before you take off your pants.

While in Austintown for the holiday I obviously couldn't work out at the rec center, so I just used the weight set in Mom and Dad's basement.  They also have an elliptical machine, so I used that for a bit after using the weights.  To watch something while using the elliptical I flipped on the TV with the intent of finding a basketball game, but paused when I came across Goldeneye on another station.  Some movies have excellent repeat watchability, and Goldeneye is one of them.  It's always hard to pass up if you see it.  Goldeneye represented a "new" Bond era with Pierce Brosnan, and became one of the best Bond films ever, although it wasn't based on any of the original books.  Good plot, good balance of action with dialogue, and a good Bond girl in Izabella Scorupco (yow!).  In a typical pattern, the later films went downhill a bit, so it would be nice to see if the Daniel Craig era can actually produce a film that is better than his first, Casino Royale.  Although the dialogue and girl are vital, you've got to start with intriguing plot content.  Here are my suggestions for the next Bond film:

  • Have one good car chase, and maybe one section of the movie on a boat.  Don't overdo it by trying to include a car chase, a boat chase, a plane chase, and a train chase.  The car chase is best because you can have all kinds of twists and turns, while in a plane or boat you're just in wide open space.  However, having part of the movie on the water is good, because it creates interesting opportunities for get-aways while still making you feel like the characters are sort of confined to a limited space (the boat), which adds suspense.
  • Have hand-to-hand combat, and allow each character one "weapon of choice."  The idea here is to create a memorable, creative scene by having Bond and the band guy face off in a test of strength and agility, not just shooting accuracy, but still give them something to fight with rather than just punching each other.  Good weapon options would be some equivalent of a ball-and-chain for the bad guy, and a post-hole digger for Bond.
  • The bad guy should be trying to do something like start a war between two countries, or perhaps disgrace a head of state.  I realize that about five minutes into the film nobody remembers what the bad guy is actually trying to accomplish, just that there is a bad guy and that they're trying to do something bad.  But still, there is more suspense when something is at stake like honor and pride (think of how the Three Musketeers were always trying to protect Queen Anne's dignity from the machinations of the Cardinal).  Nobody really cares if the bad guy is trying to start a financial crisis.  I think people would actually like it if the financial industry collapsed in a movie.
  • Give M an "M" stamp, and have 2-3 scenes of her stamping papers.
  • Have a scene where people blend into the crowd at some event, like a masked ball.  This always works in movies, and makes things more visually interesting than just another warehouse shootout.  Think of The Fugitive, when Harrison Ford blends into the St. Patrick's Day parade.  Great scene, right?  Plus, in a masked ball you'd be adding in color, which helps make the movie better.  In Casino Royale, the poker-playing scenes were more intriguing because of the lavish color in the hotel, the chips and table, etc.  On a side note, it still bothers me that they played poker in the film rather than baccarat.
  • Bond should suffer a significant injury, thus making it necessary for the girl to save him once or rendering him unable to save the girl at some point.  The injury scene should be a memorable scene in the movie, like Bond gets some of his fingers cut off or something.  This should come into play again later in the movie in various ways, like if Bond is trying to pull something through a small opening and he's able to do it because he's missing two fingers.  Then again, maybe the injury needs to be more significant, because then Bond could have some rehabbing scenes.  Everybody likes an underdog/comeback story.  Although if he gets his fingers cut off then you could have the bad guy get his fingers cut off at the very end, too.
  • The bad guy should not be Russian, North Korean, Middle Eastern, or even South American.  He should be from somewhere like Malaysia, or maybe Canada.
  • Have two scenes where Bond needs to visit people to get information or make a deal or something.  These scenes provide opportunities to introduce other interesting characters, add plot elements, and feature other geographic locations.  One of these scenes should be in a jazz club. 
That's about all you could fit into one movie!  Spend time getting the dialogue right, add an appropriately hot and reasonably self-sufficient Bond girl (who is not a secret agent herself), and you're ready to slap a title on it.  My suggestion is something suitably vague yet arousing, like Midnight Revelation.  The title song would be performed by a slightly drunk and consequently scratchy-voiced Michael Buble.  

"So when is this Bond guy showing up?"
"I don't know.  I'm gonna go back to playing my trumpet.  I'm working on a new number called Midnight Revelation."
"Here's a revelation: I am Bond, and I'm here to kill you."
"I thought you were Ethan Hunt?"

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