A lone voice crying from the Sonoran desert.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Beowulf - Review

I watched Beowulf this week.

For those of you who don't know, the movie is CGI directed by Robert Zemeckis, the guy responsible for Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, Forest Gump and more. It uses the same tech as The Polar Express and Monster House.

I was so excited when this came out in November as Beowulf has been my favorite story/novel since I was a kid. I read the abridged version when I was 11 and a mythology nut. I read the unabridged version at 16 and it just reaffirmed to me what a fantastic story this was. A bit of history for those that don't know it, Beowulf is the oldest written western, ... ANYTHING! It predates any other written text from Europe except the bible. It is the oldest non religous text in the world. Of course there are older stories passed down by oral traditions but were not written till later. This is a viking story.

I had extremely high hopes for this film. It seems like everyone saw this movie in the theater, and those that didn't are buying the dang thing on DVD!

Robert Zemeckis gave the entire world the shaft on this movie.

For starters the movie starts off with Hrothgar in his kindgom initiating a new throne room. The characters act like, well, a bunch of freaking vikings. Loud, bawdy and gregarious. Kind of like a wierd grissom family reuinion with more alcohol. Immediately after they are terrorized by Grendel. Grendel for the uninitiated is a demon, the devil, an ogre, a monster etc.

Grendel for all intents and purposes kills every able bodied male in the room except Hrothgar (getting to that) and his advisor (played by a skeevy John Malkovich) who hides.

Hrothgar proceedes to burn/bury the dead and then bar the doors to his great hall as he believes THATS WHY GRENDEL ATTACKED.

Enter Beowulf on his ship with his men fighting through a rough storm but they persevere and land. Talking about how great Beowulf is (sorry I was bored by this point). Honestly the whole messenger part of the story reminded me of a great movie, 13th Warrior. Sadly the similarities end there.

Beowulf then talks to Hrothgar who is just excited to see a real man around, although with the fame Beowulf is packing he should have hidden his wife a little better. Beowulf demands booze and they start another party. Here's where I got a little upset. John Malkovich's character shows up and starts questioning Beowulfs heroism (a sea race) and we go back in time to check it out. We now get to see a super cool race between Beowulf and another Hombre who apparently is pretty tough dude.

They are swimming and Beowulf narrates the attack of several Sea Monsters. I'm thinking ALRIGHT some action! Let's kill some monsters! Beowulf kills several even digging through ones EYE! I'm so remembering that the next time I'm fighting a sea monster, get swallowed and EXPLODE OUT OF IT'S EYE SCREAMING MY NAME! Too freaking cool! Unfortunately the magic ends with Beowulf getting entranced by a mermaid and we get the impression he's sowing some oats because he drops his dirk under water. Back to Hrothgars hall. As Beowulf now BLOVIATES about how great he is, his captain starts grumbling about how he killed fewer monsters the last time he told the story. WTH?! If this guy was any kind of friend/captain, or any kind of a viking he'd be shouting Beowulfs praises and then looking for women, gold or booze!

Talking between the king and his queen, his advisor (John Malkovich is brilliant but still a skeeve) and Beowulf resumes. And talking between Beowulfs men. The grunts were much more interesting almost like hanging out with the football team again. Yeah it was that raunchy.

Hrothgar leaves and Beowulf gets naked. He WHAT?! Yes he gets NAKED! Something about fighting the monster as god intended. WTH? In the poem he fights without his sword but naked? Thats a stretch. So of course the fight scene is needlessly complicated because the camera constantly must put something oblong in front of Beowulf's nethers. This makes it the most frustratingly difficult to watch fight scene I believe that has ever been put to film.

From there EVERYTHING goes downhill. Beowulf goes to fight Grendels mother who happens to be a naked Angelina Jolie who he then sows some more seed because she's lost her baby and wants a son. Hrothgar kills himself because Grendel is dead (oh by the way he's grendels daddy). Beowulf becomes the dragons father and he kills the dragon by cutting through a thin slip of skin at the base of the neck and then (extremely painfully) cuts his own arm off to rip the heart of the dragon out to save his wife (Hrothgars old one) and his mistress.

Then he falls to the beach and dies.

This movie sucked in so many ways I can't begin to exclaim. Beowulf was a classic hero, meaning great and boastful powerful and strong. All the things that the Vikings and Celts would have respected and expected in their heroes. Not this crappy Beowulf who doubts himself, is vain uncertain.

This does win the award for the best rant.

I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger. I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night. Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power! I AM BEOWULF!

This also wins hands down for one of the most beautiful movies or CGI movies ever! I've been wanting another adult themed CGI movie since Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Sadly we're still waiting for a great one, because this Beowulf leaves much to be desired.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

To Protect and to Serve...

This is the description of a request for equipment for agents of the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives). They are requesting a series of Leatherman brand multi tools, the Micra model. The key is they want them engraved with ATF - Assett Forfeiture "always think forfeiture." Great slogan for our federal government. This explains a lot as this >>>clowns are the same ones responsible for Ruby Ridge, Waco and dozens of other abuses of power. So much for due process in our country. Your worried about the 2nd Amendment, there goes the 4th! We can add this to the list of government abuses with the Rico Act, the Patriot Act, Supreme Court Immanent Domain rulings and more. YEAH FOR AMERICA! WE WIN AGAIN!



I must admit I feel strangely naseaus at the sheer volume of excuses make for their behavior, their financial situation, the behavior of their children, their driving and so much more. Whose fault is it? Not theirs apparently.

There are two sides to being responsible. One is to acknowledge a duty, a need, or a behavior that either must be met or must be avoided and then following through. The second side to that is when you fail to live up to those expectations, accepting that responsibility, not like a politician, but in reality accepting the consequences that go with it.

I think that is one of the major dividing lines on the two major political idealogies ( I don't say parties because they no longer reflect the will of the people) in our country.

Side one says you screwed up, it's your mess you fix it or at least deal with it.
Side two says you screwed up, let me fix it for you.

This causes people who don't have the will or the fortitude to be mature adults and face their own issues to side with the party that will be more personally beneficial for them and clean up after them thus keeping the nanny party in a form of popular power. You notice when they can motivate their base to not go shopping with that welfare check and go vote they win elections, when they can't they lose.

What is most disgusting to me is the continual cry for pity from people who have made a mess of their lives and yet refuse to take responsibility for it. "It's not my fault I couldn't stay out of that back seat when I was in high school and got knocked up." Yet here in this country we have the most opportunities for success than any other country has available. I still believe that.

Option 1: Our country pours BILLIONS into government subsidized education. If you want to better yourself YOU CAN DO IT! The only excuse for not is like, school will totally mess with your social life! Or your homies just won't understand holmes!

Option 2: Our military offers a person a great opportunity to work, make a paycheck, have health benefits, AND GET THEIR EDUCATION PAID FOR! Unless you have a physical inability to enter the armed services...

Option 3: Get a job! There are thousands of jobs in this country that will not only pay well for someone who is eager and willing to work, but also to help in your education, see Verizon Wireless, sprint and most major corporations.

Suck it up, it's your life, deal with it!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Education Recession Convergence

Most People who know me know that in addition to being an FFL that I'm also a full time Educational Counselor for a Large University, ok, the largest University. My job is to talk to people all day about going to school, why they want to, what they want to study, what classes they want to take, what the degree is going to do for them.

Honestly, I love my job. I love talking to people and providing the solution I wish I'd had when I was 18 trying to figure out school.

It gets even better when I hear back from students years after I help them enroll. I heard recently from 2 students I helped into their Masters programs about 2 years ago. I haven't spoken with them in probably a year or more. Most of my contact with them was the full 2 years ago.

They finished their degrees, loved the program and were so excited to have it. Both have now achieved better jobs and making BANK! How much bank? I wish I was making half that much bank. Thats how much. In fact one of them was so grateful he still says he owes me a beer next time he's in the valley. I haven't had the heart to tell him I'll take a coke.

Why am I sharing all this?

Because everyone is so nervous with the recession that they are afraid is going to happen/happening right now. Ok if I had jumped into a too expensive house when prices were up (simple econ, buy low, sell high), but most geniuses bought hi and are now trying to survive low when their monthly is HIGH! Then I'd probably be nervous too. But that's life and consequences.

But I must admit I've had a lot of exasperation lately talking with people who are forty still in an entry level position, and afraid to move on with their education, because of the recession.

I'm digesting this. If the sky is falling WHY oh WHY would you hold still!?

If you don't have a degree and are afraid your not qualified to hold your seat at the table, shouldn't you be preparing to dodge that bullet you can see a year or more off?

If I was trying to not lose my job I'd make myself better qualified. If I thought I was going to lose it anyway, I'd put myself in a better position to replace my job, and I'd quite to go to another job before they could fire me, i'm sorry not PC, lay me off.

Now I know a degree isn't for everyone, but if you work in an office and don't have a degree... If your industry usually hires those with degrees but you snuck into it... Yeah I'm talking to you. Good luck.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lands End

What is important to you?

What fills you with passion?

What would you do to protect or preserve that?
I've been listening to people as we prepare to elect a new leader of the free world. And what I hear is silence amongst the noise. No one seems to want to do things right.

Worse it appears 99% of Americans don't understand the role of the federal government or what it is supposed to do. Heck 95% of Americans still think the Federal Government was responsible for the people of New Orleans and should have stepped in even when the city and state claimed they had everything under control. So much for states rights. Oh yeah the state was too busy to actually take care of people, yep too busy disarming non violent non criminal civilians. And yet no one dares to suggest that Obama would ever do this were he to take office.

How many people know the score of last nights game but can't tell you ten policies that the top three, scratch that, their preferred candidate even, is presenting to change America? Can you?

Finally I am sick and tired of everyone who mentions the word race, heritage, black, africa, arab, terrorism, immigration control, or any other related word is AUTOMATICALLY DUBBED A RACIST! That isn't what America is supposed to be, but we don't have freedom of speech, we have freedom as long as it's not controversial. Worse I am sick and tired of REVERSE racism! I am caucasian. My ancestors were scandanavians. Vikings from Norway and Sweden who conquered and raided much of Europe finally settling in England/Ireland/Scotland and Germany and Switzerland. I am not ashamed. But when was the last time Caucasians took a day to celebrate OUR heritage? Personally I think my ancestors would be ashamed of us for acting as ashamed of them as we do.

America celebrates Black History month where we show pictures not just of the civil rights struggle of the 60's but of ancient tribes dancing in Africa fine heritage. We also have a Hugo Chavez day, hell we even have Hugo Chavez High School here in Phoenix. Great let's celebrate a communist who stole from his own people. yay for brown pride! So where is the Caucasion Holiday?

How about a Caledonian Day! St. Patricks Day is close but doesn't count. It used to till it was turned in to a day to imbibe massive volumes of alcohol. YAY we're DRUNK!

So I here by refuse to apologize for being proud of my heritage. I'm going to wear my kilt with pride, I recommend every man of similar ancestry find a way to show his or her strength in their heritage. If you don't know it, learn it. there is no excuse and if you don't you shame yourself before them.

I will no longer apologize for my ancestors. They probably kicked your ancestors asses and took their women over a thousand years ago! deal with it!