Sunday, September 23, 2007

weekend round-up

Well, the weekend was okay, if brief. I worked on Saturday, which was interesting as I was testing a simulation for one of our clients. Sometimes I really dig what we do at my company, and Saturday was one of those days.

Next weekend we are boarding a plane to attend Jamie's cousin's wedding in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, which should be fun, if a bit of a whirlwind trip.

But this weekend I had my ass handed to me by allergies.

I did not have allergies growing up, and after college, I misdiagnosed my allergies I'd developed for years, believing I was picking up a series of colds. But it seems that the allergies I had before we left Texas in '02 have come back to slug me in the head.

My poor mother called me last night all the way from Michigan, where she's currently visiting friends, and I was no kind of conversationalist. She was all chipper and wanting to talk football, and I was grouchy and disappointing.

Yesterday was also "catch up on errands" day, as we've had stuff going on for literally weeks, and will be gone next weekend. Unfortunately, this meant a trip to the mall, a place which has lost all luster and allure for me as a consumer. So much junk to buy, and maybe 1% of 1% is something I would ponder buying, and most of those items are in the power tool section at Sears.

Even the Build-A-Bear Workshop is only mildly amusing until you realize you're imitating the work of a Peruvian sweatshop worker, sorta like when they used to have the questionable chain of "make your own steak!" restaurants scattered around. (I know I can make my own steak. It's called staying home and firing up the grill. Advantage to restaurant: No dishes to wash). However, rather than be paid $2.00 per day for my bear-making wages, I would be paying Build-A-Bear $20 for the privilege of performing manual labor.

All of these complaints are minimized, of course, if there's a Superman Bear. In that case, its money and time well spent.

UT had its annual lambasting of the Rice Owls. 58-14. One TD never should have happened, and the other one took place when the scrubs were in for the fourth quarter. We abandoned the game to go see "3:10 to Yuma".

As little as I ever wanted to actually visit Yuma while I was in Arizona, this move makes the trek even less appealing. Or at least the trek to the train station to catch a train to Yuma. The stark Southwestern landscape did nothing to make me yearn for the deserts of Arizona.

Christian Bale continues to cement his position in my mind as one of the finest actors of his generation, making interesting choices for his character and managing to make the hero, a dully virtuous character, into an interesting, three-dimensional person. Russell Crowe also handles his character well, and mostly refrains from going standard Hollywood over the top in his portrayal.

The movie itself reminds me of some of the later Westerns, such as "High Noon", which used the environs of the expanding frontier as a petri dish for people free of enforceable law, and relying upon their own sense of right and wrong, damn the consequences, often in the face of desperation and profitable lawlessness. Other movies such as "Winchester '73", "Sons of Katie Elder" and others play with the same territory. The Spaghetti Western galvanized the concept, and movies like "The Wild Bunch" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" often crossed over to seeing things even a bit more from the traditional antagonist's point of view. Which is part of why I find it interesting that the Western genre, much like superheroes, is often tagged with what is considered to be an adolescent belief in black and white morality.

Speaking of Cowboys, the Pokes won another one, stomping last year's Division Champs into the ground with a 34-10 victory over the Bears on NBC's Sunday Night Football. It's a good year once again to be a Cowboys fan.


J.S. said...

I couldn't help but notice that your "antagonist as hero" discussion of American westerns led, by way of natural transition, into an analysis of The Dallas Cowboys.

The League said...

Well, that Jerry Jones...

Michael Corley said...

I like the concept of westerns as analogous to super heroes. Special people (trackers, gunfighters, kung fu wanderers) are set apart from the common man and choose to defend or harm their bretheren.

The League said...

There's certainly something to genre movies and media opening up possibilities for folks living outside of society. Once the mask or cape is on, the rules that other folks live by no longer apply, just as much as if they were in the expansive, uncontainable west. I'm sure there's a paper in this somewhere, just as film critics always seem to want to insist that sci-fi movies are westerns, etc...