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April 2017

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So, a rare autobiographical entry from me.

Went to the 12:30 matinee of Superman Returns at the Lumina. Purchased my ticket ahead of time online, not because I thought there would be a crowd at the first matinee (there wasn't) but just to test it out; I'd never done it before. Pretty simple: you print out your receipt & let them run your card, and they give you the real tix. I think even an idiot like me will be able to handle it in future.

Enjoyed SR, mostly. Way too long - the first half is extremely leisurely and slow to draw together - and some of the acting by the main cast (Routh, Bosworth) wasn't stellar. I liked the surprising quietness of a lot of it (though there is an adequate amount of boom-boom and smash-punch too). Spacey was over-the-top, but not quite as over-the-top as I expected. The Christ imagery was pounded in with a sledgehammer. Final verdict: thumbs up, with the understanding that Superman will never be a particularly complex character and that to expect the kind of character sophistication you get from the Spiderman and new Batman franchises is to expect too much.

Then a nice al fresco lunch at the Carrborro Hong Kong and a quick trip to the grocery store. Supper was salmon fillet, garlic roasted spinach with mushrooms, and rice. Then I forced myself to mow the lawn, which was a good decision - I would never have had time to get around to it Sunday and it pleasantly tired me out.

Took a quick shower, changed, and headed out to see An Inconvenient Truth at the Varsity. I had originally planned to see this at a Sunday matinee, but discovered the first showing then was too late for me to make a late afternoon appointment I had, so I rescheduled for the 9:30 Saturday show instead. This was my first trip into Chapel Hill proper in I don't know how long.

Parking was the one blemish to an otherwise perfect day. No, it wasn't hard to find a space, it being a holiday weekend in the summer; it's just my lot of first choice, Hill Hall, was still gated. Damn, they are really locking everything down tighter and tighter in town - two years ago I came in on the Fourth of July weekend (to see Fahrenheit 9/11 - sensing the beginning of a new personal yearly tradition here) and Hill had been wide open. I debated for a minute, then went on in. I know I could have found some free parking further down on campus, but I would have had to walk back in the dark later. I guess it was worth three or four bucks for relatively more personal safety, and it's not as if I can't afford it, but man, that burned me up!

Truth was the best Power Point presentation you'll ever see. (Take that how you will.) They misstepped precisely when they deviated from Gore's speech and included shots of him staring out/at an airplane window/hotel window/Mac screen, Thinking Deep Thoughts.

Afterward the main audience chatter was about Gore's demeanor - "He was so relaxed!" I think Gore has decided that since he can't be President, he's going to be Right, and he wants to make sure he gets credit for that in the history books - if there are any. Hence this movie, to lock in his "I told you so!" squibs. Still, some very worthwhile stuff in it - check it out on DVD.

When I got home, it had cooled off sufficiently to switch off the AC and put the window fan in. Then I fixed some gin-and-tonic and sat down to watch my latest from Netflix, Tomb of the Cybermen. Heaven - nothing beats relaxing at the end of an active and pleasant day by getting lightly buzzed and watching an appropriate piece of late-night cheese, especially when you can have cool fresh air coming in.

Tomb is from 1967, the Patrick Troughton epoch (the Second Doctor, the one who looked like Moe). He has two companions, Jamie, an eighteenth century Scottish piper, and Victoria, a young woman from - of course! - the Victorian era. She just joined up with the Doctor in the previous (unextant) serial. They land on a planet which looks suspiciously like a quarry, and join up with an archaeological expedition seeking . . . yes, you guessed it: The Tomb of the Cybermen! Well, they find it, and some of the expedition Have Secrets, and the cybermen wake up, and expedition members start dying off . . . We all know how these Who plots go, why even bother to continue?

This was my first Troughton, and I liked him well enough, though it was a bit hard to get a handle on his personality from this one serial. Victoria seemed very erratically written - she veered from complete vapor-case (or vapour-case) to moderately steely. Jamie, by contrast, was very well delineated in only a few scenes. I especially liked the detail when a redshirt tried to explain some future tech to him. He quickly interrupted and said, 'Oh, of course!'; he knew he wouldn't understand a word of it, didn't care, and just short-circuited the whole matter. Nicely done.

I was amused by the rocket ship crew members who kept coming by from the (offscreen) ship to chat with the expedition members: they spoke in some bizarre accent which drifted in and out, and which I couldn't quite place. Was that - ? No, it couldn't be - it was so off! I wasn't certain until I heard one of them say "reckon", and no doubt was left: they were supposed to be Americans.

Of course Tomb was incredibly sexist: "The women need to stay up here while we menfolk explore!" This was the sixties, after all. But I was actually surprised by a bit of racism: there is a big black servant, practically a slave, who works for the villainess. I suppose some might say it's not so bad since he turns to the Bright Side by the end of the serial; but he's still killed off saving the white folk, as all Good Darkies are required to.

And I can't believe I've actually written more about this than the other two movies combined!

So, anyway, a nice little day, full of nice little things, mostly arranged to my complete satisfaction. I really need to try to make more days turn out this well.

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