Dec 312011

We are members of the Huntsville Museum of Art, though I visit far too infrequently.

Sometime before Christmas, Lea said something to me about a traveling exhibit there.  Now she probably explained the whole thing to me, but what I carried forward from it was “stained glass.”  So she said something about wanting to go this week, and I thought “oh yeah, the stained glass.”  Sure.  Let’s go.  Thursday got the nod.

Oh, what a marvelous trip!  The exhibit is In Company with Angels:  Seven Rediscovered Tiffany Windows.

The Cincinnati church of which these windows were part was demolished in 1964, and though some of the parishioners had the foresight to save the windows, they’ve been kind of sitting around here and there in barns and sheds and such until their rediscovery 10 years ago and subsequent restoration.  The angels are based on seven letters written to the seven Christian churches of Asia Minor identified in the Book of Revelation: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

I won’t go into too much detail here, partially because I want to leave discoveries for folks who go, but mostly because nothing I could say approaches the experience of seeing them.

Speaking of:  locals, you have two weeks left.  These windows are magnificent and absolutely worth the trip to the museum.

 Posted by at 2:21 pm
Dec 292011
  • We’re planning to visit seven angels today.
  • OK, son, check it out:  I tell you well in advance what time the video game is going off so you can plan.  If it’s 3:55, and I’ve already told you 30 minutes ago that I’m turning the video game off at 4:00, and you start a game that you know takes 10 minutes, then it is your fault that you lose it, not mine.
  • Speaking of, 2012 is really looking awesome for game releases.  Add Grand Theft Auto V to Halo 4 and Bioshock Infinite.
  • Would you guess that 5,500 items had been recovered from the Titanic?  They’re slated for auction next year, but good luck snagging something for your shelf, as the current plan is a single lot estimated at $189,000,000.
  • Today is apparently Dump GoDaddy Day.  I tend to agree with the article that this outrage over GoDaddy’s ambiguity toward SOPA is insufficient to take GoDaddy down, but I do find it morbidly fascinating that they’ve handled this so clumsily.
  • The Smoking Gun usually does a fabulous job of restoring my faith in humanity.  I mean, this young lady actually had her friend hold her infant daughter before she and her husband had sex on a city bus.
  • You know the numerical rating system on the Internet Movie Database?  This one goes to 11.
 Posted by at 8:19 am
Dec 272011

Well, the UPS man brought me Hostel: Part III today—release day—and what better time for a feel-good family flick than the interim between Christmas and New Year’s, eh?

(No, I didn’t watch it with my boys.  No need to call DHR.)

This is the first one not directed by Eli Roth (or “presented by Quentin Tarantino”), and the fact that this was a direct-to-video release effectively lowered my expectations.

Dig:  it’s not awful, but it’s a definite step down from the first and second installments.  There is a lot less budget here.  There is insufficient novelty value in moving the setting to Las Vegas.  There’s a well-done scene in which rich, well-dressed people drink expensive liquor and use their computers to do despicable things, but you know what?  It was better in Taken.

Basically, the first film was a well-produced, mostly well-acted introduction to the unthinkably horrific concept of a murder retreat.  The second film took the same setting, but added a marvelously understated sense of black humor and a wickedly powerful heroine.  (I’m a big fan of Hostel:  Part II.)

What sticks out is that this installment just doesn’t bring anything compelling of its own to the party.  I mean, it’s a gimmick franchise, you know?  It has one trick.  And given that it has one trick, there has to be payoff beyond plot; bonuses that stand on their own.  They just aren’t here.

(And if gorno is your thing:  this is nowhere near the first two.)

The biggest potential liability is one of audience assumption.  It’s inevitable that some people are going to happen into this film first and draw conclusions about the franchise at large, and that’s a mistake.  This is a skillful knockoff, not a legitimate spiritual successor to the first two chapters.

If you’re a Hostel completist—as disturbing as such a concept is—then see it.  Like I said, it’s not a disaster.  It’s just a shame that that the first two films stood so much taller.


 Posted by at 5:57 pm
Dec 262011
  • The boys had a good Christmas morning, I believe, though this is almost certainly Aaron’s last year to believe in Santa Claus.  Nathan, calling on subtlety and understatement I didn’t realize he yet had, did a good job preserving it for Aaron without overselling it.
  • Lea and I got a new couch for Christmas, and exchanged smaller stuff yesterday.  She got me a pillow I probably wouldn’t have paid for that is shaping up to be a great gift.
  • Dad had inch-thick strip steaks and shrimp for Christmas dinner.  Awesome.
  • Even so, I arrested my weight loss backslide in a week that included that, as well as movie popcorn.  Good for me.  Now, full reverse.
  • Church is extra-special on Christmas morning.
  • Nathan got six new video games from various directions yesterday, and yet still found it in himself to get pissed at me when I wouldn’t let him completely deplete his wallet to purchase a seventh today.  (It did please me and mostly redeem the moment when he came back about 15 minutes later and told me I was right.)
  • Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock tastes exactly like a Hershey bar made into a beer.  If that sounds appealing to you, then it’s a slam-dunk.
  • Today I reorganized my battery drawer and charger layout.  I did the dishes.  I’m going to cook tonight.  I don’t see much else productive happening.
 Posted by at 2:40 pm
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