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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Boredom of Canada Day

I awoke this morning feeling awake.  Invigorated.  The entire world was mine for the having.  For many, many years in Athabasca, the Canada Day weekend had always been a very busy weekend.  That is the weekend of the Magnificent River Rats Festival, and thanks to my position, I was always very involved.  Originally, as a reporter, covering the event.  Then, when I was promoted to the on-air slot, I'd get to emcee the event.  When the festival started earning a little more money, I would be broadcasting live from the event AND emceeing.  And then, when they ran short of volunteers, there were a few years where I volunteered to be treasurer.  Broadcasting live, then emceeing, then whatever extra time in the office counting the gate receipts.  It was busy weekend. 

But now, I'm in Westlock, where they do nothing for Canada Day.  The River Rats are very, very far away.  For the first time in a very long time, I could do whatever I wanted to on the Canada Day weekend.

It got very boring very quick.

I know I went into the city just one short week ago, but come on, it's the long weekend!  Something must be done to get out and enjoy it!  My loose plan, Pixar junkie that I am, was to see Monsters University.  And this time, I finally remembered my movie passes.  For those who've never had the pleasure of being a Telus customer, occasionally they send you gifts to thank you for being a customer.  A little over a year ago, they sent me two free movie passes.  I put them on my fridge, and whenever I go see a movie, I forget about them.  I even moved.  When I moved, I took down the magnet they were stuck to my fridge with, made sure the magnet and the passes were packed together, and when I unpacked, I stuck them back on the fridge.  But this time...this time...I remembered.  A free movie is so much better than a movie you pay for.

As I've blogged before, I always feel better about spending money in the city if I buy something I actually need.  So, first to Wal-Mart for socks and underwear.  I like to go for walks.  Socks wear out quick.  And they had pants!  I don't know why, but I've always had difficulty finding pants in my size.  And there jeans, in MY size, in a style I like, and on sale!  So naturally I took two.

Blogging about buying clothes...I'd better nerd it up a little cuz that's what you come here for.

With my necessities in tow, it was off to the toy section to see if there were any collectable action figures for my collecting.  As I said last time, I currently feel strangely satisfied with the state of my collection, so I wasn't surprised when I didn't see anything I wanted.  But as I was leaving the toy section, I found myself walking past the Hot Wheels displays.

I've always wondered how Hot Wheels collectors get off scott-free.  Action figure collectors are routinely mocked on sitcoms.  Barbie doll collectors are always treated as an oddity in human interest stories on the news.  But those gearheads who have basements full of Hot Wheels and other brands of die cast metal cars?  No one says boo to them.  Probably because they are pretty serious car guys, too, and they could bash your head in with a socket wrench.

That being said though, I have mentioned that a few Hot Wheels and other branded die cast metal cars have found their way into my collection.  I have a Batmobile.  I have Herbie the Love Bug.  I have the Mach 5 from Speed Racer.  But there is one car I always wanted.  I'm sure you know of my love of the Back to the Future movies.  So as I was breezing by the Hot Wheels display, I froze in my tracks when I saw this.

A Hot Wheels version of the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future

Yup.  The Hot Wheels version of the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future.  No question in my mind.  It went into my basket with nary a thought.

When it comes to the stories about the making of films, the making of Back to the Future is the one I know backwards and forwards.  Do you know why they chose a DeLorean to be the time machine in Back to the Future?  They had already written the script, and there's that gag where Marty first arrives in 1955, and thanks to the gullwing doors on the car, the old farmer mistakes it for a spaceship.  And the DeLorean was the most prominent car that boasted gullwing doors at the time.  When they settled on the DeLorean, it was turned over to prominent Hollywood designer Andrew Probert (who also designed the Enterprise-D for Star Trek: The Next Generation) to customize it and make it look like someone modified it into a time machine in their garage.

And this Hot Wheels version will have to until I'm rich and famous and can by me a real DeLorean.

Now that I had my necessities (and something new for my toy collection), it was off to Best Buy.  Yeah, I was going to do my usual gazing longingly at flatscreen TVs and hoping to some day have enough money to upgrade to one, but I also had a specific goal.  I've also been blogging a lot lately that, thanks to all the hype around Skyfall, James Bond movies got dirt cheap on Blu-Ray.  So, for the past few months, I've been snatching up my favourite Bond films at discount bin prices.  And now that I'm finished with that, I looked around, and realized that in the wake of Star Trek Into Darkness, the Star Trek movies on Blu-Ray had gotten dirt cheap.  So it's time to upgrade the Star Trek movies.

About a month ago, online, I found the boxed set of all the Original Crew films for $45.  Now, to complete the collection, I was off to Best Buy to get the boxed set of the Next Generation films.  Last time I was in Best Buy about a month ago, I saw they had it marked down to $35.  Lucky for me, it was still in stock and still at that price.  And I now own all the Star Trek movies on VHS, DVD, and Blu.

From there, to my favourite of haunts, West Edmonton Mall.  The great Mall...always in flux, always in transition.  That constant state of flux is currently throwing me off, as a few of my favourite kiosks in the food court have shut down.  But that's a blessing in disguise, as it forces me out of my comfort zone and trying new things.  Have you heard of this burger place called Harvey's?  The put whatever toppings you want on your burger!  Right in front of you!

(Yes, I know about Harvey's.  I was being sarcastic in that last paragraph.)

The usual stops in the mall, again, like last time didn't have much to offer me.  You know in HMV you're scraping the bottom of the barrel when you whip out your smart phone and start going through your Amazon wish list.  "Do they have this one?  Do I want this one?  Do I want pay that much for it?  I don't know."  It always feels strange to walk out of there empty-handed.

But now, to the theatre, to see Monsters University.  I'm so used to using those automated ticket machines, but with my free movie pass, I had to go to clerk and actually initiate some human contact.  Luckily, there was no line.  I got up to the clerk, asked for a ticket to Monsters University, and proudly gave her my free movie pass.  She hit a few buttons on the cash register and said, "Ya know, for next time, you've got to present these before you order."  "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know," I said, but she just shrugged in a "Whatevs.  Happens all the time," kind of manner.

So.  Monsters University.  Like a lot of Pixar fans, I'm growing weary of the sequels.  Toy Story 3 was heart-wrenchingly amazing, and Cars 2 was...Pixar's child that we don't talk about much.  And while Monsters University is way better than Cars 2, it's not Toy Story 3.  For those who haven't kept up on the premise, Monsters University is a prequel to Monsters Inc., as it chronicles how Mike and Sully first met in college and overcame their differences to become best friends.

There is a lot of "I've seen this all before" to it.  I mean, we've all seen Animal House by now.  But there is some genuine emotion at the climax, and while you have seen it all before, it's still entertaining, and I found it to be quite satisfying.  Pixar's still in a bit of a slump, but this one shows some steps back in the right direction.  3 Nibs.

Oh, and I can't forget, as is the grand Pixar tradition, it started with their latest short film The Blue Umbrella.  It's about a romance between a blue umbrella and a red umbrella.  Have you seen those memes where they find faces in everyday objects?  Imagine a movie where those faces are the characters.  And through them, a whole city begins conspiring to get these two together.  It did remind me a lot of the Disney short Paperman from last year.  But again, very good.  My only complaint is that the music sounded like it was ripped from a Coke commercial.

After all that, I was ready to call it a day, and began heading home.  I'm still not used to the shorter travel time to the city and back, so I was pleasantly surprised that I had enough time to do some grocery shopping when I got home.

And that's how I conquered the boredom on Day 1 of my Canada Day weekend.  What does the rest of the weekend hold?  

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