Friday, March 18, 2005

Stacy Review: "The Incredibles"

I really adore the cinemas. The ironic part is my parents never really let us attend movies with our friends when we were kids. My earliers film memory is going to the single screen theater behind Sherwood Mall in my hometown of Stockton. The lobby was enormous with enough room for really long lines during the summer season.

My parents rarely took us out to the theater, mainly because we were a lower middle class family and it was just too expensive. But I remember vividly my first film..."Pete's Dragon". My sister and I were both mesmerized. My parents even commented on how well behaved we were after it concluded. This is one reason why I love the experience of going to the movies; I'm making up for lost time from my youth.

More importantly, I believe I love film simply because it took my mind away from all the illness I suffered through my childhood. So whenever I take time out from my life to enjoy a film, it fills me with incredible amounts of joy. Which leads to my first ever movie review on this blog...
..."The Incredibles".

First let me say that this review will be somewhat bias since I consider the entire staff at Pixar creative geniuses. They actually take the time to punch and scratch, filter and simmer a story until it's just right before even beginning the actual computer animation process. I am in complete awe of what they do.

In fact, one of my lifelong dreams is to become a character in one of their films. The signal of our radio station reaches Emeryville so whenever one of their films is released my excitement can't help but bubble over the airwaves. I've also "volunteered" to become a Pixar character for free. It doesn't even have to be a major part. I have such an infectious laugh, just that alone could render a half million in box office.

But I digress, or regress, depending on what time it is.

Never mind.

"The Incredibles" is difficult to sum up as a film genre. It's an action film, a middle aged tragedy, a spy flick and a comedy all rolled into two hours of engaging entertainment.

Did I mention I've seen it three times now?? That's quite a lot for a struggling broadcaster on a budget.

Brad Bird is the mastermind behind this Pixar venture. He is responsible for some of the finer classic episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Iron Giant". In the extras for the DVD edition, you see where all the manic energy from the film comes from. Brad Bird is a tornado of ideas and he rarely sits still to allow his vision to come into creation.

The first 30 minutes of the film is a little slow, but that's not a complaint. The film doesn't rush the character development. By the time Bob Parr and his family of superheroes is forced out of the Superhero Relocation Program, you know exactly what each member of the family wants and desires. When they triumph as a family later in the film, you can't help but cheer for them.

Whenever I see an animated film, I rush home to check out the vocal talent because it's something I would like to try. Everyone does a fantastic job, but I loved Sarah Vowell's portrayal of the teenager daughter the most. There's just something very lyrical to the way she presents the character and it's fascinating to listen to.

The only weak part to the film (and I really had to search my memory to find one) is Samuel L. Jackson's wife's character. She sounded like she was reading her lines with no acting talent at all. I'm not sure why this sticks out, but it kind of bugged me. This is Pixar for goodness sake. Although Disney helps with the casting process, I never thought they would let one slip by. Her part is small, so this is a minor complaint.

This is vibrant film with a 60ish feel, but at the same time, timeless in it's presentation. My top ten list of films of all time (at least the one's I've seen so far) rarely changes, but "The Incredibles" has it's place.

If anyone knows Mr. Lasseter, please let me know that a frustrated radio personality would love a bit part in one of his upcoming films.

Thank you for your patronage.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The "E" I Don't Have Stands for "E"nough

Since I didn't think it could hurt, and I probably needed to leave my apartment for my own sanity, I rejoined my old health club.

And minutes after I arrived yesterday, I remembered why I quit in the first place.

Every cliche I despised about my health club were in attendance, simply fulfilling their roles in my nightmatrish memory of their existence.

Let me try to explain. I go to the health club to improve my chances of dealing with my present health condition. I don't go to deal with humanity. In fact, I'd prefer if you'd simply ignore me. In return, I'll do the same for you. A fair enough deal for both of us I believe.

But some of you are frickin' idiots.

What follows is the list of cliched people who only seem to attend the health club when I do.

And I hate you all.

1) "The Grunter"

This guy is simply desperate for attention. Every time he does a rep with whatever neandarthal weight he's lifting, he grunts. Loudly. It sometimes sounds like he's pleasuring himself with each thrust. I'd love to take one of those weights, although I probably couldn't lift it, and drop it on his head.

I bet he grunts then.

2) "The Breather"

This guy is a close relative of "The Grunter". Since he's attempting to breathe correctly while he's lifting, he does so by making his exhalation as loud as freakin' possible. Hey look moron, I can breathe too. I just had an onion and garlic bagel. I think I'll exhale on you. Loudly. Just to mock you and your actions you twit.

3) "The Poser"

I usually am on the treadmill for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, so I have the time to observe this individual. You obviously went out shopping so you could look good at the club because you're wearing the nicest workout outfit possible. You get on the treadmill for maybe eight, nine minutes and then you simply grab your stuff and leave.

I wish I were you, with your magically enhanced metabolism and ability to shove an entire workout into less than a quarter of an hour. These people usually do this so when people ask what they did over the weekend they can respond, "Oh, I worked out." No you didn't nimrod. And wipe off the damn equipment for God's sake. Sheesh.

By the way, that leads me to...

4) The Oaf

The Oaf doesn't necessarily have to be overweight and slobbish. Just lazy. The Oaf usually sweats a lot because they're actually trying to lose some weight and get in shape.

But once they're done on whatever piece of equipment they've sweat upon, THEY JUST WALK AWAY. Even when your sweat dries, it's not going to all evaporate. You could have a cold, flu, the crabs, maybe herpes. Listen Oaf, I don't want your herpes.

This drives me freaking insane.

Where did common courtesy go in this country? Where did the assumption come from that you're too cool to walk your oafish ass over to the towel dispenser and use the disenfectant.?

5) The Expert

This individual thinks that their way of working out is the only way. And they'll let you know this even if you didn't ask for their help. I've been working out for the last decade, so please take your knowledge and stick it in those sweaty pits of yours.

6) The Judge

These people always need to feel better than you in the health club and they feed their ego by judging just how much you're working out. I just started back on a program yesterday because I had surgery TWO WEEKS AGO. I'm not up to my normal schedule. You don't know this, but you turn your nose up because you can do two minutes more on the treadmill than I can.

And the Judge is usually this fat slob who must go straight for the Super Size moments after they leave. Take your fat ass and waddle on over to the snack bar because that's where you seem more suited.

7) The Queen

When people move about the health club and they're attractive, I will glance. I do you the courtesy of not staring, just glancing. Sometimes I'll glance two or three times because I appreciate your appearance and how much you work on your body. I don't look your way to receive a dirty look indicating I'm not good enough for you. When you respond with your nose turned up in the air, everything I believed was beautiful about you totally evaporates.

The saddest part of all of this is that I pay a monthly fee to spend time with these people.

So what does that make me?

The Fool.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Catheter Chronicles III: Electric Boogaloo

God officially has a score to settle with me.

Sure, I don't believe in God, for it has been years since I've seen His existence in any form of life on this planet.

But I still think He's pissed.

Today was supposed to be a grand day, the kind of day you tell your grandchildren about, the kind of day that turns your entire life around. This was supposed to be the day that I could count down the days until hemodialysis (refresher: dialysis with burning needles at a clinic three times a week for three hours at a time) would end in my life.

Sigh.

The training started off great. After about 45 minutes Dr. Ron (who was pleasant enough) had introduced me to an entire cycle of peritoneal dialysis (refresher: dialysis done 4 to 5 times a day in the peritoneal cavity WITHOUT NEEDLES).

But then the tragedy began.

We tried to put about 500 cc's of fluid into my peritoneal cavity with less than pleasant results.

"Is this going to burn?" I asked.

"No, you shouldn't feel anything but a little pres..."

"OOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!"

Yeah, that was me yelling. I believe I was more shocked than anything.

"...you shouldn't feel anything..."

It felt as though someone was shoving a hot poker into my gut,as though I was being punished for negative past deeds.

Dr. Ron then tried to administer heparin to break up any clots that might have formed in the tubing. That was painful as well. We called my regular dialysis doctor and she said she would call back before the end of the day with an answer as to what our next step should be.

That was 10 hours ago.

I'm going to go through my mundane workday tomorrow hoping I receive a phone call with some form of good news.

So the whole experience was extremely disappointing. This was supposed to allow me to travel, to take back my Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights to go out to dinner, or work out, or just lie around and watch "The Incredibles" for the 12th time.

Here's a little tip: if you're thinking of naming your son or daughter Stacy, Stacey, Stacee, Staci, Stacie or Stay See, save your child the future humiliation of a life that never quite drives straight on the road of life. Take Johnny Cash's advice and name them "...Bill, or John...anything but Sue!"

I guess I should be happy for small blessings. The dialysis clinic now has a DVD player, so I brought my DVD copy of "The Incredibles" and watched the whole thing while dialysis dripped by. If you have not see this film and you wish to have your eyes filled with images of family, hilarity, silliness, regret and the possibility of greatness and what makes one special, view this film immediately!

I think I need some squiggly.

Here's hoping The Catheter Chronicles IV: The Voyage Home has a better ending.