Friday, November 05, 2010

Pop Culture Roundup

The Fellowship of the Ring has gotten better, but it's still far from my favorite read for the year. It's not a book that I feel very inspired to pick up because I'm eager to see what happens next. Like, I never think, "Whoa, what's going to happen to Frodo? I'd better keep reading..." No. Not really. I thought I'd be much more into this than I am. I only read it while I rock Coffeeson on the weekends, so I'll probably be at this for a couple more weeks at least. In the meantime, I found a review on Amazon that named my feelings so amazingly and hilariously perfect:
Just wanted to vent a bit on Tolkien's "masterpiece". Oy. Why does everybody love this stuff so much? I don't get it. I didn't read it when I was in puberty, so maybe I missed some nostalgic connection to it. The plot is:

* Ring bad, if evil guy gets, enslaves world
* Good guys must destroy ring
* Travel
* Fight bad guys
* Travel
* Fight bad guys
* Travel
* Fight bad guys
* ...
* Throw ring in lava

The text is almost totally lacking in humor. The few female characters in the book seem like adolescent fantasies. And I got completely bored and lost keeping track of this needlessly-intricate world of places and names - "Borodor Gorofarp set forth through the hills of Borax to the west of which the Isle of Greepdorf and the dwarven village of Potstunk lay, which the rangers call Harmabon, known to ancient elves as Yakayaka, a village which we will not be concerned with at all henceforth."

Get out your maps and your klingon dictionary, let's look all this up...
Even if you like these books, you have to admit this person hits it right on the nose. Come on, admit it. ADMIT IT.

I read the second chapter of The Practicing Congregation for my book study, since we're taking two chapters at a time. The second is a rehash of all the cultural factors that the church has had to begin facing the past few decades that I've read about many times. She notes that a church in decline wants to search for someone to blame, whether it's the new pastor, newer members, the choir director, or whomever else, when in fact there isn't anyone to's just the way the world has changed. She also helpfully notes that the changes happening in the world create a lot of anxiety in people, and of course people bring their anxiety to church where it ends up creating conflict. Okay, let's hear more about the model now.

We watched Zombieland this week, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as four survivors in a zombie-infested United States. The film has some different rules for how zombies behave: they can run fast, jump, climb, and display some measure of intelligence. I could get by my hang-ups about that stuff, though. While it is a comedy in the vein of Shaun of the Dead, it's also a coming-of-age story of sorts for Eisenberg's character. There's also the theme of what family is, including a moment that Harrelson's character has that might not have caused such a strong reaction from Coffeewife and I 2 1/2 years ago. There's a certain amount of winking at the audience, as it doesn't take itself too seriously even though it has a few serious moments.

We watched part of the live Ghost Hunters on Halloween evening. It was back on TV this year after last year's lame attempt to make it mostly an online thing, save for brief updates during commercial breaks of a bunch of repeat episodes. This year they were at the Buffalo Central Terminal. As always, they cross-promoted SyFy shows by having WWE wrestler Kofi Kingston help (Smackdown is on SyFy now...yeah, I know), as well as a few actors from some other shows I've never heard of. They did experience a couple things while we watched, particularly Jay beginning the "shave and a haircut" knocks, and some unseen thing finishing it. He tried it at least a half dozen times in a row, and it seems it only wanted to play the first time. The guests as always seemed very out of place and either unsure of how to help with the investigation, or silently thinking, "I can't believe somebody is making me be here." Regardless, watching this has become part of the Coffeehousehold's Halloween tradition, and I was glad to have it back.

One of my favorite songs of the moment is "See the Flames Begin to Crawl" by Five Iron Frenzy: