Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Long Goodbye

I'm going to retire this blog. It's been going for about a year and a half and I'm ready to call it quits. This started out because I thought it would be fun to get back into blogging by doing a blog with my brother, but he decided it wasn't for him a few months back and I'm finding that I'd rather revive my original blog than continue this one by myself. I'll keep this up and running through the end of the year, probably.

Thanks to anyone and everyone who's read this blog, it's been a fun time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Movie Reviews #12: Ghost Dog

I really should stop calling these Monday Movie Reviews. Just number them sequentially and call it good.

So I watched Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai and it turned out to be a lot better than I expected it to be. So, first things first, up front let me note that the profanity was pretty relentless since this is a mob movie about a hitman. It wasn't British mob movie bad, but it was pretty bad. There isn't really any sex, but there is quite a bit of violence. It's not too gory, but a lot of people get shot and these aren't old Western shots where there's a bang and the guy falls down. They use squibs, but there isn't too much splatter. Okay, on to the plot.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beer Photos #12: Alaskan Perseverance Ale

This is my favourite beer of all-time; an imperial stout: Alaskan's Perseverance Ale. I've tried just about 120 different beers since I took up drinking (crazy thing to say) last year and this is by far the best. Sadly, because it was a one-time deal for the 25th anniversary of the Alaskan Brewing Company, I'll probably never drink it again. Still, it lives in memory. It had sweet notes, coffee, dark chocolate, a hint of smokiness, was big, malty and thick and everything an imperial stout ought to be. If I were to run across it tomorrow in a bottle shop, I'd buy all of it they'd let me and draft my friends to come get the rest for me if there were a limit. I'm a little surprised that so many of the reviews you see on the internet discount it so much, but I'm going to chalk that up to being a stout/porter man living in an IPA world.

This was my Christmas Eve beer last year while the wife and I got the presents placed and stockings stuffed. And, indeed, that label does say "birch syrup" and "fireweed honey". Dang, but it was good. This also marks the point where I don't have to use these mugs any longer and the snazzy glassware I was given that Christmas starts showing up in the photos next week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Worst. Episode. Ever.

The ST:TNG episode "I, Borg" from the fifth season is the worst episode ever. Picard ignores a perfectly reasonable plan to eliminate the Borg threat once and for all, saving billions of lives, and instead gambles that the collective will find the idea of individuality attractive enough that they will all peacefully give up their genocidal ambitions. As we saw from, oh, every subsequent Borg episode, this did not work. This whole season of the show has been awful. Maudlin, touchy-feely episodes where the only issues at hand are who can be more sensitive than the next character. Faugh!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Movie Reviews #11: Early Spring

Early Spring is one of the few Yasujiro Ozu films that feels like a bit of a miss. I'm not entirely sure why this is. If I had to guess, I would say that it's because there aren't any really sympathetic characters. At least, none to this modern, Western viewer. The story is typical Ozu in that it's an everyday tale that could be found anywhere, but this time the conflict that drives the plot is a bit different.

In Early Spring the protagonist ends up having an affair with a typist/secretary from the office in which he works. Interestingly, despite implying that they sleep together, they can't even show the two kissing on screen. They do that turn away from the camera thing so her face is obscured behind his shoulder and he's facing away. Curious things, taboos.

The movie is still a well-made one and ends about as well as one might expect. The real point of it all seems less to focus on the three characters at the center of the plot, but upon the reactions and actions of those around them in the various social contexts. Some people place great emphasis on the infidelity and others seem to consider it almost an incidental and completely inconsequential thing.

In this case, I have to remind myself that even Homer nods, and that if I'd seen a film like this made by someone like Michael Bay, I'd be floored and astounded by the quality. It's worth seeing as part of the Ozu canon, can't miss it if you're watching all his movies, but it's not one to seek out particularly if you've got his other films available as well and you just need a good movie to watch.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Beer Photos #11: Stone Smoked Porter

Stone is one of those brewers that looms large, at least on the beer landscape which I inhabit. You can find their beer here locally just about everywhere that sells beer, whether it's the grocery store or the speciality bottle shop. I have to say, I wasn't terribly impressed by their Smoked Porter. It's not bad, but it's not great either. I suppose I'm a bit spoiled by having Alaskan Smoked Porter available most of the time as well; this might seem better were it not in competition. Stone isn't one of the breweries I like a lot, but they seem pretty dedicated to the IPA market (3 of 7 year-round beers are IPAs and a fourth is a basic pale ale) so perhaps that was inevitable. Folks I respect are pretty high on them when it comes to IPAs so I expect it's not them, it's me.

Oh, and yes, I was watching QI on YouTube shortly before Christmas (hence the return of the festive mug).

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fun with language

A couple words obtruded themselves upon my notice in the last week or two. First, a friend of mine was unfamiliar with the word "cull", which I used when talking about our church library and the need to do some weeding (a metaphor itself). He's not to be censured at all, of course, for not knowing the word. Give anyone a list of 100 vocabulary words and odds are that most folks will not know all of them. We all have lacunae in our vocabulary that seem odd to others. We'll consider the words themselves after the jump.

Peter Jackson, Tolkien and Lord of the Rings

There's a Hobbit movie coming. Well, three of them, to be precise. I am not impressed. There may have been hints of this attitude in a previous post, but let me lay out in more detail, for those who are interested, why I can't get worked up about the new movies. It's really about how Peter Jackson and his merrie band failed us with the LOTR trilogy that was given into his care. He's already forfeited all the trust the director of Meet the Feebles was ever going to get from me. Detailed thoughts after the jump.