Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Hometown

As an aspiring writer I often find myself wishing I lived in a big city where stuff happened and there were a lot of different kind of people around and experiences to be had. But when I really think about the town I live in I realize that's largely a case of the grass is always greener on the other side and I don't realize what's in the town I've lived in for most of my life.

I live in Petoskey in Northern Michigan which doesn't have much in the way of population or entertainment options if you're not a skier or golfer.  But I then remember that this is the same place Ernest Hemingway's family owned a summer house. In fact that house was on Walloon Lake which is the same place I grew up as a kid. I've been to bars that boast of him having been there and book stores have sections dedicated to his books, and books about him. His daughter had a house on the same road I lived on and was a member at the golf course down the road from my house. Hemingway has had many experiences that I haven't, but it's cool to think that there are similar ones between us. My Father spent time with me in the woods, and taught me to hunt as well, although I don't do it that often, and presumably that would be in the same woods that Hemingway learned as well, although it is much changed from then.

Not every town is going to be connected to a famous author, but they all have their stories and the past of families are interesting as well. It's important to remember that any place can seem boring if you overlook parts of it, and see a different place as exciting. Remember that there are people living in those places who think their town is boring and want to go somewhere as well.

I'm not quite sure what the point of this is beyond remembering that every place has its own quirks and to enjoy those and remember that there is always something interesting to be found. I think about this occasionally and walking around downtown they have plaques up that talk about the past of the city and I always stop and read them. I find that history interesting and every place should be remembered for its history and what it does that no other place offers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mixed Martial Arts

Saturday I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch UFC 140 and I've finally recovered enough to type about it. Okay, Sunday was the only day I was completely out of it, but Monday had a lot of napping after work to help compensate for a rough day of drinking as well. I also worked ten hours on Sunday and that doesn't facilitate a hangover recovery, but back to the point of watching UFC 140.

It was awesome. I don't think I'd agree if I just bought the PPV and watched it at home, but going to a bar and watching it with wings, beer, and other people helped a lot. I don't want to diminish the fights, but the show is only two hours, because of quick fights which were good, but short. As a fan of professional wrestling for most of my life I expect PPVs to give me more for my money, while I know that UFC isn't preplanned and anything can happen the shows bear a similar price and structure so it draws that comparison. However the show had a lot of awesome stuff happening.

I'll start with the first fight of the night which was over in seven seconds. Chang Sung Jung avoided a haymaker from Mark Hominich then rocked him with a punch and followed up as he fell for a decisive win, and while some people get down on these quick fights I think they are awesome occasionally. This is one thing that MMA has the advantage over wrestling in that a match can be this short and still be good because Jung looks like a beast and it's impressive that someone can legitimately KO somebody this quickly in a match.

The next match went to a decision and was boring to me so I don't want to talk about it. My disinterest was enabled by the fact that I didn't have a great angle to the tv and haven't been following UFC closely enough to know the fighters.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Tito Ortiz was next and all is well with the world because Nog won as I do know that I find Tito to be annoying and the best part was the fight being finished by TKO with body shots. I like that Ortiz got beaten while he's laying on the ground covering his head letting Nog punch and elbow the fuck out of his ribs. It was brutal and satisfying.

Next up was Frank Mir beating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by breaking his fucking arm with a Kimura. Antonio was controlling this match early with his strikes and nearly KOd Mir, but instead of continuing to punch he went in for a submission and Mir put him into a Kimura they did some rolls that looked awesome, then Antonio refused to tap out and his arm snapped. I didn't realize it at first, but the replays made it obvious and the people at the bar reacted so well to the moment, as did I. The fight was all action and the ending was brutal, but exciting.

The main event was Lyoto Machida vs. Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and this was a good fight that went a distance into the second round before Jones busted Machida open with an elbow and then choked him out with a great guillotine. At first it looked like they were just in a clinch to me. The ref tapped Jones to release and Machida dropped to the mat like a rock, it was an impressive win for Jones, and kind of disappointing to me because I like Machida, but I am always happy to watch a good fight.

They were mostly good fights and exciting to watch, but I'm even more excited for UFC 141 on December 30 that pits Allistar Overeem against Brock Lesnar, because watching those two behemoths fight each other is going to be awesome.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

No Time for Love Doctor Jones

I caught most of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark today on SyFy before going to work and it got me thinking about the series and how people love some of the movies and hate the others. For the rest of this post I'm going to shorten the names of the movies as follows
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Ark
Temple of Doom: Doom
The Last Crusade: Crusade
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Skull

Ark and Crusade are the ones that generally seem to be the most liked while Skull and Doom are disliked. Right off the bat the thing I notice is that people like the movies about Christian or Jewish relics while they dislike the movies about Indian religion and mysticism. There are probably other factors, but that complaint seems especially relevant to Skull from the complaints I've heard of the movie.

The addition of Shia Lebouf wasn't something a lot of people liked either, but in general people don't like change and I could overlook that personally, and was more of an attempt to be able to continue the franchise since Harrison Ford isn't really in shape to be making action movies anymore. The bigger complaint seems to be how unbelievable the story is. The first stop is always Indy in the fridge surviving the nuclear blast like that makes any less sense then him somehow surviving an underwater trip hanging onto the conning tower of a Nazi submarine in Ark. That's the kind of ridiculous goofy think I expect from a series like this, and this factor seems to be people enjoying the originals as kids and then growing up and expecting different things while the movies are still aimed at a younger demographic which is akin to Star Wars and something to save for a different post. I don't take Indiana Jones seriously and if he wants to get in a lead lined fridge and survive a nuclear explosion I'll believe he can do it.

The biggest complain is about the skulls and the fact that Aliens made them and brought them to Earth. People seem flabbergasted that the film makers expect us to believe this is possible. A box can contain the anger of God who melts people, and there can be a cup that grants immortality, but there is no way that Aliens exist. That might be short changing the argument a bit, but that seems to be the consensus of why people are grumpy about Skull. Personally I just view the relic for what it is a Macguffin to allow a fun adventure where Indy travels around the world, gets in traps, escapes, and complains about snakes.

The complaints about Doom seem to focus on the darker tone of the movie which I don't mind. It is borrowing from Star Wars again in that it makes the second movie darker, but I like the tone it takes. Putting the action in India gives the movie a much different setting with the jungle than Ark and Crusade have with the desert, but exploring different religious beliefs is a thing it did as well. Maybe backlash against those other beliefs is what made Lucas and Spielberg go back to Christian mythology with Crusade or perhaps that was the plan all along.

I might just be defensive as I've enjoyed all the movies and always will. They all have flaws. Skull has the awful monkey scene which was an awful decision, but it's still a fun adventure romp which is all I expect from an Indiana Jones movie, and I'm willing to suspend disbelief in Indy's survivability and the fact that maybe Aliens put crystal skulls on Earth because the movie makes it seem real.