Just forget the words and sing along

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Trying to Get Out More

Well, a long weekend has passed.  Two whole days of fun and frivolity!  I say "two days" is a long weekend for me, because we're into the super-busy time at work.  I'm going to be live on location just about every Saturday from now until the middle of September.  So with two free days upon me, I knew I should try to get out and have some fun.  I know so, because a co-worker told me to do that on Friday afternoon. 

This is where co-workers can be helpful for more than just work.  For example, after work on Saturday, one said, "Hey, me and my wife are going to see Guardians of the Galaxy.  Are you in?"

Hells, yeah.

I was freaking out slightly on the drive to the theatre.  I've fallen into the habit of getting to the theatre at least a half-hour before showtime, to ensure getting good seats and all.  We only arrived about 5 minutes before showtime.  But, lucky for me, my co-worker had thought ahead and bought the tickets online, and in the fancy UltraAVX theatre with assigned seating and everything.  So good seats were assured.  (And I've got to pay him back for my ticket at work on Tuesday.)

So when Marvel first announced their "Phase II" of films, Guardians of the Galaxy was the real curve ball.  A largely obscure superhero team.  Rather new in comics, too, as this incarnation was a gritty reboot that came about in 2008.  The decision to make a Guardians of the Galaxy film left a lot of people scratching their heads.  But still, there was hope.  Space opera has been a mainstay of comic books and superheroes, going all the way back to the early days with the characters like Buck Rogers.  We haven't gotten a really good adaptation of a comic book space opera.  It could have been Green Lantern.  It should have been Green Lantern.  So all our hopes fell to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Wow.  This film is crazy.  And I mean in that in the good way.  The music.  Ye gods, the music.  The mesh of outer space action and classic pop hits from the 1960s through the 1980s just works.  Maybe hearing classic rock as spaceships zoom by just bring back memories of my teen years and watching Heavy Metal on basic cable late at night.  The humour.  It is incredibly funny.  Rocket Raccoon and Groot steal the show.  They are definitely the Han Solo and Chewbacca of these interplanetary outlaws.  And kudos to Vin Diesel, who's able to inject so much emotion and intonation in the constant repetition of "I am Groot." 

And our villains.  Lee Pace surprised me as Ronan the Accuser.  He's come a long way from being Ned the Piemaker on Pushing Daisies.

But of course, there are some flaws.  So many characters, some are bound to get short shrift.  I felt we could have spent a little more time with Gamora and her story.  And at this point, Marvel's got a winning formula, so they don't deviate too far from it.

I found myself getting quite a bit distracted during the film, and I can thank my friend for that.  On the way into the theatre, he was like, "My buddies saw this last night, and they say Nathan Fillion's cameo is really hard to spot!"  So with that in my head, I spent far too much time playing "Where's Nathan Fillion?"  

But it was an incredibly fun and entertaining movie.  I give it 3.5 our of 4 nibs.  The complete review is on the website.

That was Saturday.  Sunday I mostly spent on the couch.  I'm paying $8 for that Netflix, I may as well get my money's worth.

Then on Sunday, I did have a bit of a plan in place.  Last time I went to the city, you may remember me blogging about the arrival of the American burger chain Carl's Jr arriving in the Edmonton area.  I also blogged that I was able to fully sample their offerings because I went on a full stomach.  So, on my holiday Monday, after eating nothing but a piece of toast for breakfast, I went down to Spruce Grove to again try Carl's Jr.

Got there just after 11AM, so it was nice and quiet as the lunch rush hadn't quite began yet.  Now that I was good and hungry, I went for their Portebello Mushroom Thickburger.  The way I understand it, the Thickburger is Carl's Jr's answer to burgers like A&W's Uncle Burger or McDonald's Angus Third Pounder.  And biting into that Thickburger, I ran into the same problem that I have with those other burgers:  it is so thick, I find it physically uncomfortable to eat.  I can't open my jaw that wide.

But I made it through, and as Swiss mushroom burgers go, it was pretty good.  It was a very sharp Swiss cheese they used, and you could really taste it.  I know an advertising feature of Carl's Jr burgers is that they are messy, and this Thickburger lived up to that reputation, with bits constantly oozing out the back.

The fries were good.  Also nice and thick, just enough of a crunchy outside and soft insides, and not too much salt.

But so far, Carl's Jr hasn't really wowed me.  Wendy's is still my favourite.  But still, more research is required.  Meaning I'll probably eat there a few more times before I make a final judgement.

It was very filling though.  I'm typing this up at 10:30PM, and I'm still full from it.

After that, I started browsing around that power centre that now fills the east end of Spruce Grove.  I constantly marvel at how it's built up over the past few years.  I saw they have a Michael's now, so I stopped in to get a frame.  I figured it was time to frame my autographed poster of Dick Assman.

For those who don't remember, way back in the late-1990s, David Letterman was doing this own version of Jay Leno's Headlines bit.  He'd point out and make fun of some of the...eccentric things that one would find in their local newspapers.  Letterman got this newspaper from Regina, and in it was an ad for a Petro-Canada, the owner and proprietor of it was named "Dick Assman."  Needless to say, Letterman took great delight in the name, and Dick Assman soon became a running gag on the show.  Dick Assman was everywhere.  Once the bit had run its course, Letterman ended it by having Dick Assman on the show.  You had to listen very carefully to hear Letterman and Assman's final words to each other over the music.

Letterman:  So how exactly do you pronounce your last name?

Assman:  "Ozman." 

So, at the height of "Dick Assmania," my brother, an electrician, was working on a job in Regina.  He was heading back to his hotel one night, saw that he needed gas, and was passing by a Petro-Canada with a sign out front saying, "The Home of Dick Assman."  "No way," said my brother.  So, he stopped in for gas, and sure enough, Mr. Dick Assman was working behind the counter that night.  Of course, there was now a selection of Dick Assman merchandise on sale, so my brother picked me up a poster and asked Mr. Assman to sign it, which he gladly did.  My fellow denizens of Moi Hall were pretty impressed when I hung that up in my dorm room.

Anywho, flash forward to the present day.  I have a friend who's a huge fan of Letterman, and upon Letterman's recent announcement of retirement, he dropped everything to head down to New York City and see a taping while he still could.  I highly suggest you listen to his podcast describing the experience.  After hearing his tale, I started wondering about my unique piece of Letterman merchandise and wondering if I still had it.  And sure enough, in back of my closet, in an old mailing tube full of old poster, I found it.  So I figured it was time to bring it out, nicely frame it, and re-hang it.

So those first two steps are done.  Have to figure out that third step now. 

And that was my long weekend.  Like the man said:  Something good...something bad...a little of both.

PS  I just noticed this is my 2500th blog entry.  Wow.

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