June 2006 Archives

Soda, not pop

Pop The Soda Shop seems like an interesting idea. I've been missing soda, but trying not to drink too much or any of the stuff with HFCS. Not only does this site have some interesting flavors for sale, but they list the ingredients, and many are without corn syrup. I like. I don't know if or when I will place an order, but if I do I'll let you know how it went.

Serenity on the Big Screen Again

Missed it the first time? Just miss it, period? You will get your chance this week as part of the Big Damn Movie, Big Damn Benefits (AKA "Can't Stop the Serenity" AKA "Worldwide Serenity Day") worldwide charity event. Proceeds from the screenings will go to Joss Whedon's favorite charity, Equality Now, which works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world.

You can see the film in the Milwaukee area on June 22 at Showtime Cinema in Franklin, or in Madison on June 24 at Market Square Cinema. Tickets are $10 (5 for students) in advance, $12 at the door, and they do appreciate it if you let them know that you are coming, so that they can have a head count.

Through the Vortex

The Verona Vortex, that is. It seems that no matter how many times I go to Verona, I always end up taking a wrong turn or two, a wrong street here and there. I can get out of town with no problem, but getting in is the challenge. Still, it was worth it to fight my way through the Vortex tonight. Nothing like a carnival to say, "Welcome to summer."

I wandered through the midway for a while with R and A, checking out the scene and getting a feel for the place. Then A and I rode the ferris wheel. We had just reached the apex of the ride while waiting for the last riders to board when I confessed, "I'm terrified of heights." Of course, this set us both giggling like madwomen for the rest of the ride. The fear of heights is part of what makes the ride what it is, making the animal brain squeal, "I shouldn't be here! I'm falling!!" while the rational part of the brain sits back and enjoys the view and the sunset.

For our second ride, we chose the Tilt-a-Wirl--always a favorite of mine. The ride lasted quiet awhile, and our trend of laughing like idiots continued unabated. We began the trip trying to get the capsule to shift into cirles, but by the end we were too weak with laughter to do much more than lean our heads back and attempt to stay upright. We screamed like monkeys, partly from the excitement of the spinning, and partly from the laughing. Halfway through, just to be wicked, I brought up a joke. A told me I was mean. Maybe I am.

The Tilt-a-Wirl man didn't take our tickets, so we had enough left for one more ride. I was tempted to head for The Zipper (definitely the carnival ride with the best double entendre for a name), but A would hear none of it. Instead, we chose the "Magic Carpet". It turned out to be a little too boring for me, and at the same time a little too much for A's stomach, which seemed to be on a delayed reaction from the Tilt-a-Wirl. However, that didn't stop us from belting out a Disney tune on our way around.

Just after we got off of the final ride, the first of the fireworks display began. It was quite an impressive show. Of course, it is impossible to watch a nice set of fireworks without grinning like an idiot, which the three of us did, heads tipped towards the sky and eyes wide.

This is why we can tolerate winter in a place where the weather actively tries to kill you. We put up with the bitter because we know that the sweet will follow. Welcome to summer, my friends. I'm ready for some more cheesy local festivals.

A brief review

Leinie's Sunset Wheat beer is amazingly excellent!

X-Men: The Last Stand

For Memorial Day, I went to see X-Men: The Last Stand and I must say I enjoyed myself. I am enough of a fan of the comics to get excited about things like Kitty Pryde finally having a larger role in the film, and yet not such a purist that I feel the need to pick it apart in comparison to the comics. It was exciting and fun, and had a number of "Holy cow!" moments. Twas also nice to be able to ogle Hugh Jackman as Wolverine some more.

I do wish that some of the characters that had been introduced had been given more to do. Angel, for example, was kind of a blank. I also found myself missing Alan Cumming's Nightcrawler, though I imagine he was busy working on The Threepenny Opera. Not enough time to do Kurt Weil *and* Kurt Wagner. Another item on my wish list would have been much, much fewer lines from the eternally wooden Halle Berry. Also, according to IMDB's trivia page, Summer Glau auditioned for the part of Kitty Pryde. That would have been incredibly cool, though Ellen Page did a wonderful job. (On that line of "wouldn't it have been cool--imagine Joss Whedon direction an X-men movie.)

The last thing I have to say about the movie is that you really need to watch to the end of the credits. Sometimes the "cookie" at the end is just silly or cute, but this one is seriously worth the wait.

On other topics, a bit of link following on IMDB revealed to me that there is a Wolverine project in the works for next year, as well as an Ender's Game for 2008. Possibly very neat.

Mardi Gras: Made in China

The last entry in our Wisconsin Film Fest schedule was Mardi Gras: Made in China. After our disappointment over Darwin's Nightmare, we were a little worried that this documentary would be another downer. Fortunately, though it wasn't exactly a light-hearted gigglefest, it was an enjoyable film. It made you think, but it didn't make you want to lie down and die.

Director David Redmon decided to look closely at the ever popular Mardi Gras beads. Where do they come from? Who makes them? What do they think of the beads? The film bounced back and forth between the teaming streets of (pre-Katrina) Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the stark and orderly factory in China where most of the beads are produced.

The factory workers were mostly young women, who lived in tiny dorms on the factory grounds and sent much of their earnings home to their families. They came across as fairly sweet and innocent, with big dreams of the future. The bead-wearers were, by contrast, were in the midst of a drunken party that involved food, music, and lots of physical exposure. When shown photos from Mardi Gras, the factory workers giggled in embarassment and expressed wonder that anyone would go to such lengths to obtain the cheap, tacky beads. When shown photos of the factory workers, the partiers tended to display guilt and/or anger at the filmmaker for killing their buzz with real-world issues.

It seemed to be a very even-handed treatment. Even the relatively wealthy (male) factory owner and the American distributor who sold the beads at a huge mark-up didn't come across as villians. Redmon certainly sets us to thinking, but he never falls into the trap of the easy answer or the convenient bad guy.

My one problem when watching the film was not related to the film but to the weekend. I had been up late for two nights running, and up very early that morning, so I was exhausted and occasionally drifted into drowsiness during the screening, which made me miss some parts of the film.

And there you have it. Late late late, my last film fest review. Also overdue: I had a coupon for a free movie rental at Bongo Video that came with our tickets. It expired on 5/31, and I never used it. Ah well.

Fun with acronyms

Subject line of an email from the Wisconsin Alumni Association: "Kick Off Your Summer with WAA!" Try saying it out loud. Yeah, I laughed, too.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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