the gathering of the gun geek clan, and other notes from a day off.

The Northeast Blogger Dinner down in Manchester was a ton of fun.  A few of us hit the range before the dinner at Manchester Firing Line.  I brought the Steyr along, which turned out to be the popular girl at the prom—everyone wanted to give it a spin, and everyone who put a magazine or two through it came back from the firing line with a grin.  Something about that pistol just feels very much Right.  After hearing some smack talk about revolvers, I also had to offer up the 3” K-frame that was riding on my belt, which has a much nicer trigger than the rental Ruger SP-101 they were wringing out, and it was widely concluded that the three-inch Smith is a Very Nice Shooter, Indeed.

The roads were not too bad going down to Manchester, but horrible on the way back, especially the uncleared side roads from the Interstate back to Castle Frostbite.  I had to pilot Robin’s little front-wheel drive Neon along tire ruts in the two to three inches of snow on the road, and it was slow going.  This morning I had to fire up Mr. Snowblower and clear out the driveway…we had roughly six inches of new snow on the ground between Saturday and Sunday morning.

While I was on my extended vacation, I watched Avatar.  (Sherlock Holmes was also in consideration, but the showtimes for Avatar were more convenient at that point in time, and I just had to see what all the ooh-ing and aah-ing was all about.  Verdict:

–The special effects and CGI were just over-the-top sensational.  At no point did I sit up and think, “This is where the computer took over.”  The visuals are phenomenal, no doubt about it.  Much like Terminator 2 set the bar for CGI in the 1990s, everyone else will be playing catch-up with James Cameron once again in the ought-Tens.  (That’s what I’ll call the decade until I come across a better term.)  We’ve reached the point where you could fake any damn thing you wanted on video, and it would look better and more convincing that actual reality.

–The storyline, on the other hand, was insultingly preachy.  Oh, noes! The private corporation and its evil space mercenaries are going to burn down the Home Tree…for profit! Quick, Gaia, help the communal, tree-dwelling, nature-loving indigenous people!  As Tamara already commented on her blog: the wildlife on Pandora is mostly hexapodal, but the sentient and sapient aliens are…tall blue humans with tails and pointy ears?  (Yes, I realize that Cameron didn’t want to have the audience go “ick” at Hero Protagonist locking tongues with something tentacled and six-legged, but the aliens were not nearly alien enough.)

–On the same note: the Na’vi were too much like Native Americans.  Cameron built in way too many parallels, to the point where the whole thing just started looking like Dances With Wolves.  Plains tribes that ride horses…bow-armed warriors…face paint and bead necklaces…in tune with nature…yes, James Cameron, we get it.

All in all, the CGI-gasm salvaged the whole thing, and I didn’t feel robbed by having shelled out $6.75 for the matinee.  The “refreshment” prices are a different story altogether.  Ten bucks for a soda and a hot dog? Holy shit.  And it wasn’t even a monster hot dog–more like a hot pup, or a hot dogguette.  It’s been two years since I’ve been in a movie theater, and after that wallet rape, it’ll be another two or three years before I step into one again.

Anyway, that’s the after-action report from Super Dadcation yesterday.  Words were written, a movie was watched, rounds were fired, friends were present, and much fun was had.  Now we dive into the coming work week with newfound energy and motivation…or something.


22 thoughts on “the gathering of the gun geek clan, and other notes from a day off.

  1. Kristopher says:

    The studio gets nearly all of the ticket cash.

    The theatre tries to pay for itself with food and drink sales. Some theatre owners have a problem with the concept of lower prices = more sales.

    I educate them by not buying their expensive food … something that ain’t always an option if you have kids with you.

  2. ATLien says:

    take a person with a wheelchair with you next time. when my friends go with me, we put Wendy’s in my backpack. saving mucho $$$

  3. Jay G. says:

    Thanks for braving the elements to come play with us, Marko.

    Let’s not let so much time elapse betwixt these get-togethers, no?

    (side note: Ought-tens. LOL)

  4. Al Terego says:

    Sounds like a day well meant and spent.

    But…”the ought-Tens”? To me it’ll be the tens for a while and then the teens…and I have high hopes for those teens; I’ll be entering my seventh and probably final decade then, and I hope to see a proud and stable Free Republic again before I’m gone.


  5. MarkHB says:

    As Kristopher’s made the point that theatres stay alive by selling sodas and munce-tubes at mesoatmospheric prices, I’ll point out a fact about Terminator Two.

    This much-vaunted CGI-heavy movie had approximately 20 seconds of computer-generated imagery in it’s whole runtime. The tiles. The jail-bars scene. Some chrome fingers. Gloop In, Get Out. Most everything else was clever editing, and rubber craters sprayed silver.

    Entertaining side note: ILM quoted a Large Sum to do the “orbital skydive” close-ups in the new Star Trek movie. There were caveats about how long the actors could be hung upside down, the tech issues of Greenscreen Rotunda Filming, et cetera. So Abrams took his actors outside on a clear day, stood them on mirrors as they looked up, and physically shook the Panaflex camera with his hand as they did their dialogue. Took an hour, cost maybe a grand. Looked great.

    • wolfwalker says:

      This much-vaunted CGI-heavy movie had approximately 20 seconds of computer-generated imagery in it’s whole runtime.

      I think it was a little more than that — probably 30-40 seconds all told. Which was a helluvalot for 1990.

      OTOH, I don’t agree that T2 “set the bar for CGI in the 1990s.” I’d say that Jurassic Park (1993) did that. It’s possible to see most of the CGI shots in JP if you know exactly how to tell CGI from other SFX. It’s not possible to see all of them unless you already know what they are.

  6. Al Terego says:

    Sounds like a day well meant and well spent.

    But…”the ought-Tens”? To me it’ll just be the tens for a while and then the teens. And I have high hopes for those teens. I’ll be entering my seventh and probably final decade about then; and I’d like to see a proud and stable Free Republic once again before I go, and maybe leave something worth defending to my children and grandchildren.


  7. The Big Guy says:

    Hi Wrangler-
    I was great to meet you at the Firing Line… The Steyr is a fine weapon. Smooth recoil and great sights.
    I was also fun to have a few minutes to chat with you and the other ‘Bloggers at Jillian’s…
    Hopefully I’ll get up north again soon and have more time to hob-nob among the civilized people…

    Take care-

    (The other Jay)

  8. RevolverRob says:

    Movie theaters suck. When I saw Sherlock Holmes (the first time), it wasn’t on my dime, so we went to the local Cineplex and forked over $14.50 for a large drink and popcorn.

    When I came back home and saw Holmes again, it was at the local joint,, the Alamo Drafthouse. It is one of those movie theaters that has two important things, the first is beer, the second is waitstaff and managers that will pause the movie and eject with appropriate humiliation anyone who talks, texts, or otherwise rudely interrupts the film. And the last reason is precisely why I spend my movie going dollars with the Alamo, they care about your movie going experience. The food isn’t expensive (and it’s a fair shake better than mega-plex junk), the service is top notch, and the experience is better overall. Plus, the ticket prices are great, two tickets to a late showing (but not matinee) was all of $13.50 plus $5 for chips and queso for two.

    I know there isn’t one in New England (yet!), but line up a few investors and a good location and I imagine you could really reap the benefits.


    • Jay G. says:


      We’ve actually got a local chain here, Chunky’s, that sounds very similar. They’re not as far north into the Arctic circle as Marko, but he could inquire into a franchise if he could build a large enough igloo…

  9. […] fit into one safe, but they all have names. Yeah.  Siguette performed nicely at the range, but Marko’s Steyr was undoubtedly the blond cheerleader of our group.  *sniffle*  It’s okay honey, Mommy […]

  10. Lissa says:

    Yes, yes, the Steyr was the cheer captain and Siguette was on the bleachers. *sniffle* I petted her and told her she was Mommy’s good girl, so now she’s okay.

    Great seeing you! 🙂

  11. ASM826 says:

    From you and Borepatch I get the impression it was a good winter gathering. Sorry I live so far south.

    Okay, I’m not sorry about that. I’m sorry you guys don’t live further south.

    On the name of the 2010s, you have another year to figure it out, the decade begins next year.

  12. BryanP says:

    Holmes was fun. I haven’t seen Avatar yet, but want to. As for food, for the prices the theater charges I make a point of having lunch before going to the movies. For the same money you get a real meal.

  13. David says:

    Wish I could have made it down there! Alas, too much snow.

    Avatar sounds like an expensive remake of Ferngully.

  14. ravenshrike says:

    This is why the stop before the movie theater is the gas station, with requisite baggy coat and, if female, baggy purse. More snacks for less. The only thing with more value at the movie theater is the soda, and even then only if you get the large and refill it once or twice, which most people don’t do.

    • Marko Kloos says:

      That’s because most people don’t have the bladder capacity of a humpback whale. I got the large Diet Coke, and I had to get up four times to hit the bathroom.

      • Tam says:

        You would have died on roadtrips with my dad; as an adult I thank my father for the incredible bladder control I learned as a child.

        “We’re driving from Atlanta to visit relatives in Dallas. First potty stop’s in Mississippi.”

        I haven’t left a theatre to pee in I don’t know how long… 😀

  15. LabRat says:

    Sherlock Holmes is made of sheer and unadulterated win. I enjoyed myself far more than any other movie I can think of since Iron Man.

    Avatar, I think I won’t see. I have a massive chip on my shoulder when it comes to noble-savage crap due to living very much around actual Native Americans, and it goes from “tolerable shlock” to outright racism in my mind pretty easily.

  16. Al Terego says:

    “it goes…to outright racism in my mind pretty easily.”

    Doesn’t everything? It’s not my taste in movies, but it’s just a damn movie.


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