Kill Bill Volume 2: Less Blood, More Plot

Upon seeing the “sequel,” I could really tell how the two halves were supposed to fit together as a whole. Watched in succession, the pacing of the two movies would be perfect. While Kill Bill Volume 1 focused on The Bride and her single-minded revenge, Volume 2 focuses more on the backstory and why her revenge is so necessary (and so flawlessly executed). The alteration of pacing would be a cleansing of the palette after two hours of jam-packed hack-and-slash gore—you’ve got it out of your system, so now let’s see more of why she’s on a murderous rampage. If you didn’t enjoy Volume 1 because of the over-the-top blood and guts, you may enjoy Volume 2 more for its drama and plot and character development. However, if you enjoyed Volume 1 solely for the gratuitous violence and much fast-paced kicking of asses, you may be mildly disappointed in the lack of equally massive gore in the second installation of the story (although it does still have its share). Remember, The Bride has fewer people to kill in this movie, anyway. 🙂

Apart from seeing Kill Bill, Amy and Aaron and I went to Subway for lunch, then the Low Carb Solutions store for the infamous pork rinds, then to Allied and Goodwill and Savers before we got our movie tickets. Fun weekend, great weather, and Amy’s visit most certainly saved us from doing yardwork all weekend.

Ah, well. There’s always next weekend.

Rollins in Ann Arbor

Need to get my shower and get to sleep, but I just felt the need to update. It’s been a few days.

Went to see Henry Rollins do his spoken word thing in Ann Arbor on Sunday. I was worried that the drunk bastard sitting behind us would ruin the entire show instead of just the first 20 minutes, but he mercifully passed out and didn’t wake up until the show was almost over, nearly three hours later. I swear, we can’t get away from the drunken fucks even when we pay for reserved seats. —But drunken debauchery aside, Rollins was on top of his game, as always, with tales of his recent USO tour in Afghanistan and of a would-be burglar “running like a scared bitch,” as one Abe-lover I know would say. 🙂 Gotta get a Rollins fix every couple of years, just like Clutch.

While we were in Ann Arbor, we stopped by the anime store (of course), a couple record stores, and a couple of book stores. I ended up buying Nichelle Nichols’ autobiography, Beyond Uhura, a book on the making of Star Trek entitled Star Trek Lives!, and a trade-paperback edition of an Asimov-universe book that Aaron had already bought for me in small paperback form for Christmas. I felt kind of bad buying that one, but the size and artwork matched the two hardbacks I have for the other books of the set, and I just couldn’t resist. I may eBay the other paperback, but I may not. It was a present, after all.

Incidentally, I am absolutely hooked on Nichelle Nichols’ book. I can’t put it down.

I ordered some new candle scents that should be arriving soon: ginger, chamomile, green tea… and marshmallow. I also ordered tealight tins and wicks, so now I can pour a bunch of little candles and burn them together to test-mix fragrances. I still need to get some additives and a couple more dyes before I get going full-steam again, but I’m looking forward to it.

OK, my 20-minute session of Pilates kind of whipped my butt again tonight, so I’m hitting the shower and going to bed. Of course, once I’m there, I’ll probably read for a good half-hour before I actually go to sleep…

Ohayocon4

…was a lot of fun. Arrived at the Hyatt Regency Columbus at noon, got registered (after standing in line for a half hour), and ate lunch at the Subway in the hotel’s food court. (FYI, the Atkins-friendly Chicken Bacon Ranch wraps are yummy, and the actual wheat/soy wrap itself is really quite good, but the portion size leaves a little to be desired.)

After lunch, we hit the Dealer Room to spend our respective wads of cash. Two circuits around the Dealer Room yielded:

  • a Chibi Totoro plushie (the white one)
  • a Chu Totoro keychain (the blue one)
  • a deck of giant Totoro playing cards
  • Warcry: a book of Berserk postcards / art
  • a Berserk Dreamcast poster
  • a Gamera toy
  • an Aruru capsule toy (with Puyos—from the Puyo Puyo video game)

…and left us enough money for dinner later.

(more…)

Great Weekend

This weekend was the most fun and productive one I’ve had in a while. Saturday started off with lunch (of course), followed by the Wedding Fair at the small (aka Woodland Towne Centre). There, we ate some yummy moist wedding cake, avoided the DJs, talked to photographers, and ended up choosing one. She has interesting, professional-looking work; she has a good sense of humor; and she has very competitive prices. We scheduled a meeting at her studio for the following day at 7:30pm for contract-signing and an engagement sitting.

After the Wedding Fair was an attempt at the monthly BG Flea Market, held at the fairgrounds. However, by this point it was after 3:00, and most of the vendors were closing up shop. We walked in, saw this, and opted to wait until Sunday. So, we went to Wal-Mart instead.

At Wal-Mart, we got some basic necessities, like new dress pants for me and a can of compressed air for my streaky laser printer. Then back home to chill for a couple hours before heading back out again.

That evening, we met a couple of friends up at the Red Robin in Toledo for dinner. Excellent food, great alcoholic milkshakes, biggest BBQ Chicken salad in the known universe. Weirdest mascot you’ve ever seen. It’s a giant red robin (go figure), in the new-Freddy-Falcon style, for those of you from BGSU. You know, the cartoony-looking Freddy with the creepy big eyes and huge smiling beak. Mark got a picture of Aaron with the scary robin dude. We’ll see how that turns out.

Anyway, after dinner, we still had a couple hours before we had to be at Frankie’s, our destination point for the evening. So, we hung out in Barnes & Noble. Aaron & Kris both bought William Gibson’s new novel, Pattern Recognition, and I bought a copy of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. We tried to waste a decent amount of time there, but eventually we decided to go seek out Frankie’s, where none of us had been for years (and some of us never).

Back in the heyday of the Alternative Music Scene, Frankie’s was apparently the place to be to see great bands like Goober & the Peas, the Afghan Whigs, the Smashing Pumpkins, Pure, and dozens of other groups whose flyers are posted on Frankie’s Wall of Fame. Now, though… Frankie’s has turned into a bit of a dive. Unbeknownst to us, of course, until we found the place and wandered into the cold, dim bar.

After the door-dude found us and took our seven bucks apiece, we wandered about, reading the Wall of Fame and wondering what the hell happened. As the first “band,” MC Habitat, was setting up its turntables and mics, we made a break for the outer room, where lived two pool tables (in use), six chairs, and three dirty tables. We pulled a table from against the wall, found four chairs without too many tears in their linings, and proceeded to sit and freeze our asses off.

We sat there for an hour.

Finally, after one of our friends came to join us and promptly gave up and left, and a few of Kris’s friends (who are also friends of the band we were there to see) showed up and said hello, and after our tizoes and nizoes were frizoze, we decided to go check out band number two of three: The Satisfactions. This band is from BG, which gave us pause. Historically, very few bands from Bowling Green have amounted to shit. The Satisfactions were no exception. Their set started out mediocre, and only went downhill. By the end of the set, the lead singer took notice that the crowd (except their groupies) no longer gave a shit about their music, and decided to go climb on the light rig just above the stage. When he didn’t fall and crack his fool head open, or bring the lights crashing down on everyone, he climbed back down and lay on the floor in the midst of the disinterested crowd to sing the remainder of the penultimate song.

The final number of their set took the proverbial cake, though. The opening riff reminded me of a song I knew, and I tried to pin it down as they sang the first verse. I still hadn’t figured it out when Kris poked his head in between Aaron’s and mine and started singing, “I’m comin’ baaaack with my dinosaur aaaact…” Their chord structure was an exact mimic (OK, ripoff) of Matthew Sweet’s song “Dinosaur Act,” from the 1993 album Altered Beast. We sang the chorus a couple times, as the band sang the words to their own little song. Then, mercifully, they were done.

After that came the band we’d actually gone to see: The Soledad Brothers. (You know, I think eventually I’ll put all these paragraphs into my reviews section…) The Toledo-based Soledads were once a two-piece, but have added another Brother to the mix, to make one drummer, one guitarist/lead vocalist, and one guitarist/saxophonist. This is the most explosive band I have ever seen live. The genre is blues. The atmosphere is electric. The volume is loud.

Yeah… I think I’ll expound later in my reviews section. At any rate, we got out of there at around 2am. Kick-ass show. Amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Go to their website and take a listen, though they’re much better live than in the studio, IMO.

So, Sunday morning/afternoon rolled around, and Sheryl called. She wanted to go to the Flea Market. Well, I’ll be damned… so did we. We told her we’d give her a call when we were going to head out there. We finished waking up and getting ready, then called Sheryl and left a message to meet us at said Flea Market at two o’clock. And we went to have our lunch at the China Dragon. Yummy.

When we got to the fairgrounds, Sheryl was inside waiting. She surprized the hell out of us by giving us the gift of a prepaid cell phone. Apparently, her Japanese friend Mariko was going to come visit, and Sheryl had gotten her the phone for her stay. But… Japan says that the U.S. is going to war in March, and that was going to be when Mariko’s return trip would have been. So, she opted out of the visit, leaving Sheryl with much unhappiness and a paid-for cell phone.

But once again, the BG Flea Market was unfulfilling. The only real amusement came from the generic Ken-doll look-alikes, dressed in full 80’s gay regalia, with black mesh tops and shiny shorts. We made the rounds of the building, thanked Sheryl and bid her adieu, and headed off to do our grocery shopping.

Usually, we do shopping and laundry on Sunday evening. But, since we were planning to go meet with our photographer in the evening, we’d had to rearrange our little schedule. So, off to do shopping and laundry. Fun times.

By the time we were finished with laundry, it was time to get ready for engagement photos and head off to Fostoria. We’d never been to Fostoria, so driving at night in the boonies was a lot of fun. Anyway, we got there with little incident, and found the studio no problem.

Carol Creeger reminds me of someone’s mom. She has an open and honest sense of humor about her, but is totally professional about her work. We sat down and completed the contract first, with her giving us some time to discuss while she set up the studio for our portraits. Once all the details were ironed out, she gave us the nickel tour of the studio and got us ready for our sitting. She shot digital, which was excellent; she got to see the images as she took them, and got to get our approval before keeping them. We got a feel for how she works, and she got a feel for what we like. I only had to mention my stupid double-chin once before she adjusted our posing and her lighting to make it disappear. We also learned not to make Diana say anything silly before taking the exposure, because Diana’s eyebrows go up and her mouth looks funny. 🙂

After the sitting (which was short and sweet), she showed us around her office, and we just shot the shit for a few minutes before Aaron wrote her the check for the deposit. The engagement sitting is included, and we’ll get a matted 8×10 of one photo for guest signatures. We can also order reprints — we’ll probably get some wallets for $15 a dozen, which isn’t unreasonable. Two weeks before the wedding, we need to send her the remaining balance plus our sheet of necessary shots. Overall, we came away from Carol’s studio with an overwhelming sense of relief, and the knowledge that we will have some quality photos of our wedding day.

Nine o’clock. Hungry. Dinnertime, chillin’ out time, TV time, printer-cleaning time, computer time. Which then brings us to now. Which is midnight. Bedtime.