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.