Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Cheat Day

Dude, have I really not treated myself to a day in the city since August?  I see the last movie review I did over on the main site was Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation back during the August long weekend.  No, wait.  I had a dentist appointment in September, and since I had the rest of the day after that, I went into West Edmonton Mall for a look-see.  But as for my typical "spend the whole day screwing around, spending too much money, and seeing a movie,"...yeah, I haven't done that since the August long.

As I said back then, my movie watching had kind of dropped off, because we were into the movies that I only "kinda sorta" wanted to see.  But with the Christmas blockbuster season starting up, things are going to start picking up again movie-wise.  And on this particular day, I was off to see the latest in the James Bond pantheon, Spectre.

Since I bought my tickets online to see the new Star Wars movie a few weeks ago, I figured it was time to experiement more with buying my tickets online.  This time, though, rather than print off the tickets, I chose the "pick up at the theatre" option.  Once the tickets were bought online, and all the ticket confirmations were e-mailed to me, I thought, "Gee, Cineplex, you have this wonderful app.  Why doesn't this sync to the app and you just send everything to my phone?"  And then I checked my app to see that that's exactly what happened.  You've thought of everything, modern technology!

Had to gas up my car before heading to the city.  I know, stopping for gas doesn't sound very notable, but I'm doing it in a way that's very new to me.  I've joked about this on the air.  When I was home for my summer vacation back in August, my Dad sat me down and said, "Son, I think you're old enough to have this now," and he gave me...my very own card for the UFA Cardlock.  So I've been filling up at the UFA lately.  It's good, if you live on a tight budget like me.  As my Dad pointed out, on average, the UFA tends to be 10 cents cheaper than the typical gas stations.  And they recently upgraded their system so you can pay with debit now, making it just like any other pay-at-the-pump set-up.  I feel like a true Alberta prairie boy now.

It was an uneventful drive into the city.  As I blogged many years ago, I minimize the guilt of spending too much money in the city if I buy at least one thing I actually, genuinely need.  And lo and behold, I was in need of some new underwear.  Got the new tighty whiteys picked up, and then I saw some shirts on sale that I liked.  Christmas decorations are now on sale at most places, so I picked up some replacement bulbs for my patio lights.  It's frustrated me all summer.  I've got some burnt-out bulbs on my patio lights, but since they use the same bulbs as Christmas lights, I had to wait until now for replacement bulbs to go on sale.  Anyway, bulbs are bought, and next summer, my patio will be glowing once again.

Had to stop at Best Buy to feed my technology addiction.  I think I've blogged about this before, but I'm starting to price out a new Blu-Ray player.  I've run into a problem with a few of my Blu-Rays.  After the loading screen, the screen goes black and the disc refuses to play.  I've googled the problem, and it says I need to install the latest updates for my Blu-Ray player.  I googled my make and model, and discovered the last update was released three years ago.  So it may be time to upgrade.  And it's a good time to, too.  I bought my Blu-Ray player 6 years ago, when Blu-Ray was all new and exciting.  I paid $300 for it back then, but now, they've really come down in price.  I can get a really good one for around $80.  I won't buy one today.  I'm thinking in January, when I'm flush with Christmas cash and Boxing Day sales are still in swing.

For there, to my beloved West Edmonton Mall.  I entered that cathedral of consumerism and was getting ready to get down to business when I got a text from my mother.  Turns out my parents were in the city that day as well, and my mother had a hunch that I was probably in the city too, to catch the new James Bond movie.  Plans were quickly made to have lunch.  It was good to have lunch with my parents, as we decided to go to a real restaurant, rather than the usual food court fare.  I tend to avoid real restaurants these days, because I feel there's less judgmental eyes on me in a fast food place.  When you're alone in a fast food restaurant, you're a weary traveler, looking for a bite before resuming the road.  When you're alone in a real restaurant, you're a friendless, dateless loser.

When my parents resumed their journey, it was time for Bond!  Went to the theatre to pick up my ticket.  I brought up the bar code on my phone, went to the special kiosk to get my ticket, but the bar code wouldn't scan.  Not to worry...just enter the code that came with the bar code, and the machine printed out my ticket.  Quick, easy, and painless.  And it was time for James Bond to return!

Spectre Movie Poster

I quite enjoyed Spectre.  I geeked out hard at the end of Skyfall.  At the end of Skyfall, it was like the reboot that started with Casino Royale was complete, and it was time to get back to some good ol' classic Bond adventures.  And here, more of the classic Bond elements are on display.  He gets out of jams with gadgets from Q.  The classic gun barrel sequence is back at the beginning.  The villain has a lair inside a crater.  Bond has some cheezy one-liners and action sequences.  This feels more like the classic Bond films than any of the other in the Daniel Craig run.

That being said, the attempt to try and tie all the previous films together seemed a little forced.  I know we've all got to have cinematic universes and a continuity to our films, but I highly doubt that the villain we meet in this film has been orchestrating things since Casino Royale.  They also add some new wrinkles to the terrorist organization known as SPECTRE and its boss Blofeld that seemed totally unnecessary.

Don't get me wrong, Skyfall is still the best of the Daniel Craig run.  But I liked this particular outing for Bond.

I give it 3 nibs.  Full review on the website.

After the film, had to do some browsing in HMV.  It's that time again.  With a new Bond film in theatres, that means all of the Bond films have been re-released on Blu-Ray at bargain bin prices.  I decided to get myself the "James Bond in Asia" double feature.  First up, from the Sean Connery era, You Only Live Twice, which primarily takes place in Japan.  I remember the last time I saw it on TV.  I was home for Christmas about a year ago, and there was a sequence that takes place at Himeji-jo, Japan's largest castle.  In the Bond universe, Himeji-jo houses the training facility for the Japanese secret service's platoon of ninja commandos.  Watching that sequence, I boasted about visiting the castle in my time in Japan.  My Dad excitedly and seriously asked, "Is it just like the movie?  With all the ninjas running around?"  "No, Dad," I said.  "It's just a tourist attraction these days."

And, to complete the double feature, I picked up, from the Roger Moore era, The Man With the Golden Gun.  I once tweeted that Bond films of the 1970s seemed to involved plopping Bond into whatever film genre was popular at the time.  For example, since Hong Kong kung fu films were popular, they dropped Bond into one and got The Man With the Golden Gun.  It's long considered to be the worst Bond film ever, but Christopher Lee steals the show as the villain, the international assassin known as Scaramanga.

I had to feed another of my addictions.  My top collectable for this past year seems to be the Funko ReAction figures...action figures designed to look like the mass-produced toys of the late-1970s/early-1980s.  It seems like every time I stop by my favourite collectables shop in West Edmonton Mall, they've got a new batch I covet.  This time, it's from my current favourite TV show, The Flash.

A photo posted by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

Since my parents were kind enough to cover lunch, I had a little extra in the budget for supper, so I headed off to Fatburger.  I see they opened up that one in the West Edmonton Mall food court, but I decided to take the long way home and stop at the one in Spruce Grove.  I'm still new to the Fatburger experience, but I wanted to try something on their menu they call "Nacho Fries."  They take fries and then cover them with ground beef, nacho cheese, tomatos and jalepenios...kinda like Taco Bell's Fries Supreme.  I quite enjoyed them. 

And I will admit, tipping is one of those adult skills I have yet to figure out.  I'm assuming it's good at Fatburger when the clerk and the kitchen staff all scream out "FAT TIP!" after you tip, correct? 

Then I put the travel tunes on in ol' Bessie Lou and headed home for Westlock.  It was a good day...a day long needed...a day that hadn't come around in a long time. 

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