Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Now for Something Completely Different - Full Metal Jousting

Update 02/01/2012
I just saw the first TV ad for this series that showed more than the Logo. It looks good.
All of us have an image from childhood of a knight in shining armor. They tend to be the embodiment of courage, strength and justice. Everyone has wondered what it would be like. History Channel is following that dream with a new reality show titled FULL METAL JOUSTING. The show will follow a survivor format pitting sixteen contestants against each other in a winner take all competition. I expect this to be flagged Viewer Discretion Advised. Take it seriously. Jousting as a sport has never really stopped since the days such men at arms were the cutting edge. There are currently Jousting Societies in the United States, Canada and England. I know the English Society is at least one hundred years old. Injuries are common and deaths are not uncommon. I doubt if we will see anyone killed on screen, but from the previews I know there will be injuries.
As folks who have been here before know I am not a great fan of the survival style programs. "Reality" programs aren't much better. That doesn't keep me from checking out the ones on History and Discovery channel. They still make me nuts on occasion.
Is there any chance the next season of TOP SHOTS will recruit grownups that know they will be expected to use anything capable of sending a projectile, or being thrown down range? When they are whining about I didn't expect - fill in the blank - is when I usually change channels.

How could the gun savvy folks on SONS OF GUNS not know there were a number of fighter planes with machine guns that fired through the propeller in World War Two? The Me.109 and P - 39 to name two.
I will be watching Full Metal Jousting. After all, the plottings and back biting in this one will be historically correct.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

We Went To The Movies Last Night

We went to the movies last night, ONE FOR THE MONEY, but no one who reads this Blog will be surprised by that. Helene and I went with her friend Maggie. So I don't keep folks waiting, the movie was great!

Helene and I have read all of Janet Evanovich's books and have been looking forward to this film for years. The ladies books are so funny; we have BOTH read everything she has written, even the romances. This Movie was the first Evanovich offering Maggie has ever been exposed to. A good time was had by all of us.

I normally hate standing in lines, but was delighted to see there was a line for ONE FOR THE MONEY. There were no lines for any other films.

The great majority of the folks in line with us were women. Of the men I was in the minority, having read the books, but all of us were interested based on the trailers we had been seeing on TV.

I will not include spoilers here. For those of you that have read ONE FOR THE MONEY there is plenty about this movie to like. I am on record as having enjoyed it compeletly.

For folks looking for a reason not to like the movie, you can probably find something. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The biggest reason is the time they have to tell the story. This is true with any book. In this case the audio book is eight hours and thirty two minutes long. For a movie to include everything it would have to be about the same. A eight and a half hour movie is going to die on the vine.

The target length for both film makers and theater operators is ninety minutes. ONE FOR THE MONEY is one hundred and six minutes, which will allow for five or six showings a day.

This means the characters can not be developed as fully as they can in the book where a chapter can be devoted to introducing someone new. Sadly, a lot of favorite scenes will be shortened, combined or lost compeletly. Does the movie keep the feel, pacing and flavor of ONE FOR THE MONEY? Oh Yeah!!

There are a couple of delightful moments that aren't in the book. One I will discuss is shown in a trailer.

Stephanie is looking out the window when a car explodes. Both she and Joe hit the deck and she say's "They blew up our car!"

"Who's car?" Joe demands!

"Your car," Stephanie answers. "Do you want it back?"

Old time fans know that's not the way it happened in the book. But it's a great movie line. As for how it did happen in the book, READ IT! I'm not spoiling it either.

There are folks posting negative reviews. There were folks that didn't like Indiana Jones or Star Wars. Think what you would have missed out on if you had taken those fools seriously!

Last, I have been hearing that ONE FOR THE MONEY isn't the top box office winner so far. To that I say, hide and watch. Plum fans are not near done promoting this film. We want to see more of the books made into movies.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Katherine and Jason Plug One For The Money

Tonight at 7:00PM TV Guide Channel will be running Two If By Sea staring Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary. So what you might ask? (Meaning no disrespect to Sandra Bullock) The movie will be hosted by Katherine Heigl and Jason O'Mara.

According to the spot I watched earlier a great deal of time will be devoted to discussions about One For The Money. They are intending to run the trailers of course, but also clips from the film. The more I see of it, the better I expect it to be.
One For The Money will be released this coming Friday, January 27. Helene and I have had our plans made for months and will be there. Personally, I expect the movie to be big hit!
Of course, the results could be interesting. At the moment Stephanie Plum merchandise is only available on Janet Evanovich's web site and a handful of enlightened book stores that cater to the mystery crowd. After the movie who knows.
A line of exploding or disappearing cars would attract collectors. Who could be the first on their block to collect all of Stephanie's cars?
Action figures are another natural. Stephanie of course, but there would have to be Joe AND Ranger. Anyone who has a Stephanie action figure would need Lula as well. Who could forget Grandma Mazur?
Dare I say it, there could even be a Stephanie Plub Barbie.
There is talk of making additional films depending on the success of this one. There could be dangers in that depending on how far into the series they get.
Is the world ready for Sally Sweet Barbie?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Car Tags

It seems I took the bait on this one. I had heard about the problem from a Re-enactor friend and thought it worth passing along. When I logged in today there was an E-mail from the gentleman telling me the warning was a Hox.
I wish also to thank Texasgungeek for kindly leaving a comment with the same information. If Texasgungeek reads this, please know the reason I have not posted comments lately is beacuse your system won't let me for what ever reason.
This one struck home because I have had my vehicle targeted by people who followed me from a gun shop in the past.
I will make more effort to check stories in the future.
Take a good look at the picture of the tire. Do you see the spot? It took me some looking to see it. Now I check my vehicles at least once a day. Look at the license plate and bumpers too.
A re-enactor buddy of mine sent this heads-up to the shooting community.
Gangs have started doing this on cars parked at shootings ranges, gun shows and shooting events. There is a good chance cars parked at such places have firearms inside, or will later on. The problem is such parking lots are watched to keep folks from breaking into the cars. So what's a thief to do?
Mark the interesting vehicles with some sort of spot, something that won't attract attention. Later their associates can cruise parking lots of restaurants, hotels or other locations where security is only tight enough to keep theft and break-ins within acceptable limits for their insurance company. The spots tell them which veichles are worth breaking into.
I would love to say this sort of thing was restricted to places like Los Angles, but it has started happening in Texas. A shooting event in San Antonio had cars tagged for later harvesting last summer.
So, look over your car, truck or motor home for markings you didn't put there. It could be a painted dot, mark, check or some sort of symbol. It could be paint, a sticker, magic marker or even scratched into the paint. They are thieves, remember? They couldn't care less about your stuff.
Spotting this early can save you from a nasty surprise later on.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Horseman Has Come And Gone

The Horseman visited last night. He came in darkness, and did not leave alone. Most of you who read this Blog will not know I was not Helene’s first husband, no need for you to. The son and daughter I sometimes refer to were from her first marriage. As far as I am concerned they are mine and I have no complaints, a statement I’m sure will be quoted back to me endlessly in the coming years.

Anyone who has ever gone through a divorce, or even watched one from the sidelines, knows there is drama. Everyone says things when they are angry. It wasn’t my place to add to the drama as long as Helene was safe. To Number One’s credit as loud as things got I was always able to stay in the background.

He didn’t like me much. I know - big surprise. The closest we ever came to conflict was when Helene and I would pick Matt up for weekend visits. It always followed the same routine. Number One would come to the workshop door and glair at me. I would smile and wave. Real grownup behavior on both sides. For the most part we made a point of avoiding each other. That worked for years.

Finally came a time that wouldn’t work. Tammy was graduating from Para-legal school. She bearded me in my den (literally) and told me her father would be at the ceremony and didn’t want a scene. I believe she came to me because she knew how well that would go over with her Dad. I told her I would behave as well as he did.

“What’s that suppose to mean?” she demanded.

“It means” I repeated “that I will behave Precisely as well as he does.”

It wasn’t the answer Tammy wanted but she knew it was the best she was going to get. The two families did not mix (Number One had remarried as well) at the ceremony. It concluded with both sets of parents watching her graduate, and without embarrassing Tammy.

The next occasion for us to be in the same place was the first birthday of Tammy’s daughter. Tammy and I had the same exchange, on the phone this time because Helene and I had left Houston for Central Texas.

As I remember it forty plus people gathered to watch an infant that had no idea what was happening smear birthday cake all over herself and everything she could reach. A tower of gifts that dwarfed the child was opened with the assistance of excited adults. As I am never without a knife I got the job of freeing the loot from its shipping crates.

It was Number One who came up with screw drivers and wire cutters for the more stubborn packing. It was the first and only time in the years we had “known” each other that we talked. The time passed pleasantly and ended cordially. That afternoon was the best friendship we could ever have expected to have. I would never see him again.

Health does not fail overnight. A few years ago my Grandmother passed in her sleep after losing ground for more than a year. A couple of years later my mother was taken by a slow cruel cancer. I spent a week watching her die by inches after she was no longer responsive. I will say without shame that in the end I was grateful to God for ending her suffering, while at the same time asking the almighty why it had to take so damn long when there was no way she would ever get better.

I will not go into details, but for Number One it was much worse. The kids can’t be helped through the grief process anymore than I could. Family helps by being there, but it is a wilderness everyone walks alone.

When we got the call Helene and I lit a candle for Number One. It was at the same time the least, and the most, we could do.

God’s speed Number One