Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Happy birthday to me......happy birthday to me!

If I were Elvis I'd be dead now.

Monday, May 30, 2005

I had to be SUCH a parent this weekend.

We were having a wonderful weekend. Both Johnny and Jimmy were here. There were two friends with kids parties on Saturday which kept us busy and then my friend Bruce and his family were in town. As an adopted member of the family we ended up there for a spaghetti dinner which turned into swimming in his sister's pool until almost 11PM.

Sunday was a whole day spent back at his sister's for a cookout and hours marinating in chlorine. They even had a cake for my birthday. The boys were getting along, even though John had fought hard to make this trip solo. It was fantastic.

Until we got home. I was ready to fire up a movie and they complained that we were out of soda. I gave them some money and sent them off to the convenience store just down the street; a simple 15 minute walk back and forth.

After 20 minutes I began to get concerned.

Then at thirty minutes I was out at the end of the drive way peering into the 10:30PM darkness at the end of the street.

15 minuets later I was in the car and speeding off with adrenalin pumping.

The convenience store that were headed for was closed. I assumed they might have headed for another one just down the street. Off I sped.

Let me take this moment to describe myself at this point. I had jumped into he car clad only in shorts and a t-shirt. My hair was frazzled from a day in pool water and was pulled back in a single pony tail. Remebering, though, this was hair that had spent that day soaking in chlorinated water; so it was thin, brittle and created a wild "Manson" look as I stuck my wild-eyed head into the Cumberland Farms asking in anyone had seen my two wayward boys. I'm sure the fact my forehead was a sun-burned red only added to this lunatic-like image.

They, apparently had not been there, so I headed off in another direction towards the only two remaining convenience stores all the time rehearsing my call to the sheriff's office.

I did find them about four blocks away from the trailer on their return trip, soda bottles in hand. I would have loved to have been able to hear their conversation as I turned the van around but it was drowned out by the screeching tires.

As soon as the door opened, the excuses began to fly. "SHUT UP!" I yelled and the air was immediately sucked from the van.

We returned home and I ordered them inside while I tried to calm myself and put in some semblance of order what I wanted to say. While the adrenalin rush has wiped most of it from my memory I do believe I made very salient points about how difficult a divorce their mother and I had and how not so well received a phone call would be telling her I had somehow "misplaced" the both of them. They tried defending themselves but like every lecture I remembered from my youth I had an answer for everything they said that immediately shut them down to mute piles on the furniture.

I tired to spread the blame and vent the anger at the both of them evenly. One of the biggest issues I hit on was how we were working towards John being able to make the trip by rail by himself and that a screw-up like this certainly wouldn't help prove his point.

I didn't rant, I didn't rave and I don't think I really raised my voice more than once as I very clearly laid out just how pissed off I was. I did channel my mother as I said "Well, no, you didn't think". I was fair enough to them that, when it was over, I admitted exactly how much "like a parent" I sounded.

Before they went to sleep I told them both, separately and privately, that I realized that I might have overreacted a slight bit, but that the stakes are high and they did seem to see my point.

Of course, as I type this now I remember from my own youth, that I usually just let a lot of it go in one ear and right out the other. Time will tell just how deep genetics goes.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

For what are the Sith getting REVENGE?

That was the first thought I had as the scroll started on my third viewing. Who gives a frak about trade federations when we're dying to know whether Palpetine was the apprentice of Darth Plagueis. Lucas teases us with that story. Imagine the sweeping story of power and greed, of the rise and fall of the Sith followed by Vader's ascension. Episode II cooked because it focused directly on that story. Ever since "Phantom" came out we all walked out of the movie scratching our heads wondering where Lucas was going will all that boring crap. Apparently, the answer was "NOWEHRE"!

Another tease from Lucas was the mention of Qui Gon. I am going to be royally pissed off if that's going to be one of his "Special Edition" added scenes for the future DVD release. Damn it, George we don't go to your movies to wait for extra releases we go to see the dang thing as a whole in the theater.

A major missed opportunity, which could have been handled with one or two simple lines of dialogue, was Anakin's lightsaber. In "A New Hope" Ben gives the weapon to Luke saying, "You father wanted you to have this when you were old enough..." Imagine the emotional impact of Anakin referencing that same line when he learns he's to be a father.

The defeat of Anakin (Sorry, I can't bring myself to calling him Vader until he's in the suit) was an emotional dud. We have been waiting 26 years for this moment. Ben is supposed to kick his ass and knock him into the lava not tease him with "I've got the high ground" and then slice off his legs. Since when were Vader's legs prosthetics anyway? Then he burns up simply be accident after the fight is over and Ben just skulks away? Wimp out. This is supposed to be Judas kissing Christ in the garden.....this is supposed to be a ropadope...instead we get "Hey, look, your shoe's untied"!!! Perfect set up and punch line would be (that missed opportunity again) Qui Gon coming to Ben and telling him what he must do to Anakin and then Ben throwing him to his fate.

"Wipe the protocol driod's memory".....LAME!

How many women out there would want an audience when they were giving birth like Padme had?

Where did Ben keep getting all those robes he kept taking off every time he had a fight and never retreived?

The job to have in thois galaxy is the owner of "Prosthetics R US".

One more Jedi dangles precariously from a ledge and I'll scream!

The Wookiees should have been subtiteled. althoug, that was a nice "Apocalypse Now" homage in the fly-over of the Wookee beach.

I wanted to see Anakin slay the younglings in a similar fashion to what he did to the Sand People in "Clones". Apparently, it is in the novelization it just would have made his turn to the Dark Side even more horrific and tie it in with the previous chapter showing that this turn had actually been happening for quite some time.

Just how long does it take women from Naboo to carry a child to term? I was confused by the scene after Ben leaves to chase Grevious. There was another one of Anakin's nightmares and then Anakin talks with Padme about having found a way to save her from his nightmares. She walks out looking like she's 5 months pregnant. Anakin talks with her about Ben having been there just that morning. The apparent pregnant stomach implies months had gone by. Stop shaking your head at me; other people said the same thing. One little line referencing how long until they're born would have saved that. Looking at one of the early scripts which made it online shows a scene with that visit from Ben. Look forward to seeing that on the DVD release, I'm sure.

What about the memories Leia had about her mother? "She always seemed so sad." I know it was dramatically correct for Padme to die but didn't Organa's wife look happy at the end of the movie finally getting to adopt a baby girl. Why did she have to make her sad?

I will say that Anakin's slide into the dark side worked better for me this time around. The seduction by Palpetine is fantastic. All the way through you can still see his inner turmoil which continues through to the end of his life in "Jedi".

The CGI work is a mixed bag. While Lucas still didn't seem to want to fill every square inch of the screen with it like he did in "Clones" he still seems hesitant to have his actors on the screen without something happening in the background. The animated Dooku and newborn babies were distracting. If anyone does the first fully CGI cast movie; I'd put my money on Lucasfilm.

The music was phenomenal; another Oscar for Williams. From the first notes of the film, when you see the Separatists ships looming over Couriscant and the timpany are pounding away you know it's going to be a dark film. Then as Anakin and Ben fly in you hear "Luke's theme". That got my adrenalin going.

It was nice to see humor return. You definitely got a feel for the interplay between Anakin and Ben which echoed back to their saber fight in "A New Hope". We finally get to see Anakin as "the best fighter pilot in the galaxy".

I do really like this movie; don't get me wrong. It is a flawed masterpiece. You might also say, "Who the hell are you to second guess the director". I've been addicted to this series since 1977; I'm a little emotionally invested in it. These pre-quels have never gotten anywhere near the originals until this one and it still missed the mark, if only by a fraction. There is a definite charm that has been lost since "Jedi". It's nice that Lucas has all these CGI wonders he can work with but to quote one of his own characters, "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed..." While he's got the vision the way he wants it he's still missing something about the heart of the story. While the coolest moment of the movie was Yoda knocking over those two guards with the flick of a wrist that still can't beat the simple performance of Frank Oz and a couple of pounds of latex. There was a sense of "being home" when we saw the interior of Organa's blockade runner for the first time on 26 years. You could tell it wasn't a CGI interior and it felt like a Star Wars movie again.

Definitely the best of these three. Where it ranks with the other might have to wait until I can watch them in storytelling order. I'll get back to you after Christmas.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The best part about going to see Episode III on Thursday with my son was the car I got to rent. I had requested a convertible anyway because of this being a special event. When I got there the woman at Avis just smiled and handed me the keys to a brand-spanking-new 50th Anniversary Thunderbird!

I had FUN with this car.

Of course they have a governor on the engine which would not allow me to go over 100 mph but the car certainly did sing when it was topped off. Why anyone with a convertible in Florida would put the top up if it isn't raining is a mystery to me. This car was sooooooo sweet.

When I got to Johnny's he was standing in the driveway with some friends; I think the car got me the "cool dad" title. First thing he and his brother did was to do the patented "Batman" jump into the car with out opening the door. When we left to head out for dinner and the movie I turned the car to take the longer highway route to get to the mall. John asked why.

"Look as the car we're in, I answered, "You want to just drive this at 35 mph?!"

As soon as we hit the on ramp I punched the accelerator and the engine smoothly whined its way through the gears bolting us to top speed zipping in between cars getting to the mall in moments.

"This never happened!" I screamed to him over the rushing air. He just smiled and enjoyed the ride.

When we got to the mall I found a large empty section of parking lot and brought the car to a complete stop.

"What are we doing here?" John asked.

"Hold on."

I was taking a chance here because I had never had a car that was able to do what I was trying to do. I grabbed the wheel, turned it hard and then slammed on the accelerator. The car spun around in a perfect donut; engine humming and tires screeching.

As the car settled to a stop at the end of its 360 degrees John said, "You've always wanted to do that, didn't you?"

"Not really something I could do with an Areosar!"

"Yeah, it would probably tip over."

We went to a restaurant called Cheeburger Cheeburger. They have this one pound hamburger challenge; if you finish the burger they take your photo with a large styrofoam burger and put it up on the wall with hundred of others. My son finished his and signed his photo "I'm still hungry!"

A proud moment for the Eaton family!

Three of his friends joined us at the theater for the movie. It was great hanging out with him and his friends; seeing him in his own environment. This one of the things I really miss in not being the "residential dad". I had always pictured our house as the one that all the friends hung out.

So much seems so familiar. There was the funny friend. The cool one who high fived me. And the hanger on who invited himself to everything the others went to probably because what he had at home was lacking. In some ways this was just as good as if he and I had gone to the midnight show ourselves.

Oh...the movie! He loved it. My final review will be tomorrow after I see it one more time.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

So,so,so,so friggin close it hurt.

I just got back from the midnight show of Episode III. Let me first say that I did like it. I will save a detailed review until after I see it a few more times.

I think the biggest problem is that there has been almost 30 years of build up and expectation which makes a hard target to hit.

More after I see it again. Right now I'm going to bed!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Just like the series as a whole; the finale of "Star Trek: Enterprise" was unsatisfying and limp. The way they killed Trip was especially so. I was even somewhat let down that the story did not take the tact we had been led to believe; that the entire series had been a holograph novel Riker and Troi were going through. It would have been kinder to this whole abomination if it were nothing more than Bobby Ewing coming out of the shower.

Star Trek will be back. Hopefully without Rick Berman. If anything, he has been the abomination to Trek. Thank goodness there's still Ron Moore and "Battlestar Galactica".

It should have been "Star Trek: Excelsior" all along.

I had a moment of unbelievable stupidity this evening. I was picking up a cake for our "Enterprise Wake" party. It was a small white cake with "Star Trek; Enterprise RIP" printed on it. As I was going through the checkout there was this wonderfully beautiful young lady at the register. In my mind I went thought a delightful witty exchange where she asks if the cake says, "Star Trek?"

"Yes, it does," I answer "Don't tell me I'm lucky enough that you;re a fan."

"Why, yes, I am," she answers.

I get up to the register and push the cake forward. She glances inside the bag and sure enough says to me, "Does that cake say Star Trek on it?"

"Yes, it does," I answer.

And that was it.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

I mad a very interesting discovery in my storage room the other day; a journal of mine from the spring of 1980. What a trip down amnesia lane.

It was filled with teenage romance and angst as the 18 year old not yet known as Towaway approached the end of his high school career. There was one girl for whom I spent a third of the book professing undying love with talk of marriage. Then in the blinding flash of 5 pages was dumped and ready to profess undying love for yet another fair haired beauty who was the absolute end of all being.

Well.......four months, anyway!

I still know one of these people. She and I still talk occasionally. Reading back through the years makes me wonder how she looks back on those times. Groping sessions in the backs of cars, in parks, behind buildings and houses devoid of parents for even the slightest moments. We never went all to far but the activities of which I wrote seemed no less erotic than any 3 minute section of Dad's stolen 8MM film collection he had hidden in his cedar chest.

This journal did exactly what I intended; to be a time capsule for those times in my life. It sat, untouched, for decades. Now it lays itself open in my God-awful chicken scratch (you have no idea how fortunate YOU are this is typed!) as a true and honest documentation of what goes through a teenage kids mind.

Apparently, most of that is testosterone.

It will be interesting to see if this "journal" lasts as long. How will I react to it in 25 years? I'm still looking for the older journals I know are in there somewhere; ones I did around 1975 - 77. I am dying to share these with my son.

Well, maybe I'll wait till I find the ones from Junior High School. Not so much testosterone in those.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I miss my mom today.

I miss her laugh.

I miss calling her and make fun of the stupid old people I would have to call at work. I would tell her, "I just wanted to talk to someone in their 70's who knew what day it was".

I miss her hugs.

I miss her gossip.

I miss the twinkle in her eyes just before she would say or do something funny.

I miss her patience with me.

I miss her being angry with me.

I miss her being a phone call away.

I miss her being a few hours drive away.

Today is really no different from any other day, to tell you the truth.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A sure sign that I'm becoming a middle aged fart.

I got all excited about a new stretch of road that opened up a few days ago. They have been working on this three mile section of road for a while now and it was delayed for about a month. You'd have to know the area, but it is a bypass to the major artery through the county and something I saw as a "Why didn't they do this years ago?!" kind of thing.

It would save me a stressful ride to and from work. It might save me time as well. It looked to be a more direct route than what I was traveling. I was overjoyed when they announced its construction.

Finally you could see the progress from the main road. Trees were cleared, A foundation was laid. Pavement. I gladly put up with the inconvenience of narrowed lanes on our main thoroughfare as crews married the new and old roads. Landscaping was completed. Then, finally, the ultimate tease; the traffic light at the new intersection. To taunt me even further, in a gesture I'm sure the highway department saw as courteous but only served to heighten my anticipation, was a blinking warning sign for the past two weeks announcing that the traffic light would become operational on April 28th.

The the day came. As I drove by and saw the barricades had been removed I could hardly contain myself. With screeching tires I made my first turn onto this road to Nirvana. And it is a very pretty ride through the savannahs. Two lanes which wander almost aimlessly past miles of brush and trees. They even built in a "scenic overlook" parking area halfway through so drivers could stop and enjoy nature's beauty.


Wait a freakin' minute! I'm getting misty over a road?!

What's next? Amway?!