little_tristan: (catloaf hover)
Yesterday I finally watched Natural Born Killers. When it first came out, I saw the previews, watched the tv commercials, and read the reviews and articles that argued endlessly over whether it was brilliant or trash. I didn't watch it, because what I gathered from all that was that it was probably about the stupidest thing ever put on film. But I was a lot more prejudiced then (is that weird to be more prejudiced at 19 than 35?), so I gave it a shot. And now, having seen it, I can safely say that it actually is one of the stupidest things ever put on film. Not the stupidest, probably, because it doesn't feature Rob Schneider or Adam Sandler (who have both made a decent movie or two, but let's face it, they've also raised the bar on stupid quite a bit), but I couldn't find any brilliance in it at all. Outside of Robert Downey Jr.'s ability to pull off a convincing Australian accent, it had nothing to recommend it. And, sixteen years after its initial release, it's hopelessly dated anyway. So that was a waste of two hours. Funny how much better both Pulp Fiction and Kalifornia have held up over the years. I understand Tarantino wrote the original draft of NBK, but it wasn't much like his other movies. All the way through, I kept thinking they were just trashing up Kalifornia. Like someone saw that movie and liked Juliette Lewis so much, they just said, "Let's make that over again, only longer, more violent, and more pretentious. Get Oliver Stone--he'll know what to do."

Now I'm watching That Man Bolt, which is my first experience with the genre known as "blaxploitation". I don't really know what that means, so I can't tell if the movie/character is a racist caricature, or a joke, or if the caricature is the joke. Or, whichever it is, if the actor is in on it. So I'm not sure if I'm allowed to enjoy it/laugh at it/question it, or if it's just a piece out of a different time that can't be judged by today's standards. (Like watching Birth of a Nation purely as a historical achievement in the technicalities of film-making.) The only thing I'm really positive of at this point is that Jack Ging was freaking hot in 1973. (Yes, that's why I rented it. Surprised? Didn't think so. I'm also not sure if he's really a good guy, or if he's a double crosser. I'm hoping it's the former, because Bolt has a bit of a temper.)

I also saw a movie called Thirteen the other day, and that was an interesting experience. It had everything in it that I hate, yet I didn't hate it. Evan Rachel Wood (Tracey) and Nikki Reed (Evie) are a pair of best friends who bond over shoplifting, home-piercing, drugs, sex and self-mutilation. They seem to be having a really good time, but then they're always high, so they would be. I had a little trouble buying them as thirteen year olds, although at the time of release they were 16 and 15, respectively, and I don't know how long it took to shoot, so maybe they were. But they were so bizarrely advanced for their age that I was wondering all through it why they needed rides from Tracey's mom and why they weren't allowed out after dark. It came as a big shock when Tracey's English teacher threatened to have her held back in the seventh grade. Okay, it's called Thirteen, but again, they were so high-school-junior about everything, I was actually waiting throughout the movie to find out what the title was in reference to.

So, yeah, spoiled little bitches who do nothing but hurt themselves, each other, and the people who are trying to take care of them is normally not my thing. But this movie totally pulled it off. Even at the end, when I was hating Evie a little bit (and her guardian a lot), I felt this incredible urge to take her aside in private and just ask her why. Even knowing that she'd lie and the lie would make it worse, I would just have to ask. I still pitied her that much. And Tracey deserved an answer, too.
little_tristan: (Sheldon WTF)
Yes, I admit, I like a classic now and then. And the premise of a woman being driven mad by her husband is almost universally relatable, no? Yet my disappointment, nay disgust, with this film was such that I'm taking precious time away from Pet Society to complain about it.
Spoilers for a movie you'll never see if you haven't already... )
little_tristan: (cutter john)
Last night the internet was down for a good five hours. It was painful. The cable guy came out this morning and determined by scanning from his truck that we're all fucked up and our shit's all retarded. (Forgive me the Idiocracy reference, but it totally fits.) For those who haven't seen the movie and/or still understand English, that means nothing in the house was operating at capacity. He ran a new line from the street to the house and then came in to look at the interior retardation situation. After nearly an hour, he came back with the answer that we're running too many things off the central line. We have five TV cables and four internet connections, and apparently that's stressing the signal. While the cable guy admits that we're entitled to connect as much time suck as we want throughout the house, he isn't quite sure how to make that possible without frequent internet crashes, and possibly degrading the cable signal to the point where I can't watch Supernatural. (It's always the single digit channels that suffer.)

As a temporary measure, he disconnected one of the cable splitters so we no longer have TV in my bedroom or the guest room upstairs that no one uses. We figure that giving up the ten minutes of Two and a Half Men before bed is worth it to be constantly online. And the cable guy is going to talk to some people and get back to us with new ideas. We may end up buying a signal amp so we can have banality in EVERY ROOM. Because damn it, it's our right.
little_tristan: (cutter john)
McCoy was just here to look at my chair. He had wheels, but when I explained some of the other symptoms (the right front wheel that rotates on its caster like a deranged shopping cart, the excessive play in the left drive wheel, usw), and he was able to see it for himself, it was determined that there was nothing for it but to take it into the shop. Those caster bearings are hell to pull out, and the motor/gearboxes need replacing. Which I suspected, but didn't say, because when I tell people I need new motors, they assume I don't know what I'm talking about and ignore me anyway. (Note: I get new motors every year. These things are not built for my purposes and I burn through them like they were powered by hamsters.)

So all that is about what I expected. The good news is that he was able to bring a loaner after all. The bad news is, it's a Pronto. Now I'm going to educate you a little bit on wheelchairs so buckle up. )
little_tristan: (cutter john)
So we're not going to Portland tomorrow after all. I remembered last night that Herr's company just changed insurers and the new company doesn't do business with CARE Medical, the place where I usually go. Not that I love CARE, but they're clearly the lesser of two evils. I've been with these other people before, because there are 3 major carriers here and in ten years of employee health coverage, I've been with them all many, many times. The other 2 use CARE, while the 3rd is propriety and makes you go to providers they own for everything. It would be okay, except they're fairly incompetent. Jobs that take CARE two or three days can take these people up to six weeks, because they tend to break it much worse while trying to fix it. And the insurance that makes me use them doesn't cover the rental of the temporary chair, either, so that might be deliberate.

Anyway, I called them today and got a fairly even mix of good and bad news. Good: most of the repairs should be covered. Bad: Up to 80%, after deductible, with no out of pocket maximum. Good: They send a guy out to do the work on site (or pick it up, if it's going to take too long) so we don't have to worry about going up there. Bad: The aforementioned gross incompetence. Good: It will probably get done eventually. Bad: They want to "gather information" first, so there's no actual ETA on this. And the information gathering is pretty insulting. The guy I talked to said they have to get information from my doctor, which can only be to make sure the wheelchair is really, truly necessary, and prescribed by a real doctor, rather than some piece of crap I picked up at Goodwill and am trying to get fixed for resale. And he kept saying they needed "chair information" from CARE, no doubt part of validating the medical necessity.

Which wold be fine, except then he called back to tell me that the people at CARE denied that I got it from them. Somehow, given the conditions of that sale, I'm not surprised. Their saleswoman told me my insurance wouldn't cover a new one when I needed it because it was too soon (they say wheelchairs have to last 5 years, whether they actually do or not), but she could get me a used one for however much they would pay. So that's what I have, a second hand disaster that started dropping screws two weeks after I brought it home. But when I saw the insurance statements a month or so later, I discovered that they billed both the work insurer and Medicare as if it was new, and got paid the full amount. And I didn't turn them in because I knew I'd need them later for repairs, since the insurer wouldn't let me go anywhere else. It's like reporting abuse in a nursing home while you're still a patient--they tell you it's safe, but it's not their asses on the line, is it? So, yeah, they've conveniently lost all record of that little piece of insurance fraud. He then asked me what insurance company paid for it, so he could check with them. Like I remember who we were with for six months five years ago. I gave him the names of the two others we alternate with and said good luck. I imagine he'll figure it out. Those people help each other a lot more than they help us. But it's gonna slow things down for sure.

Still, I haven't cried once today, and the sniveling little victim in my second book is turning into quite the kick-ass heroine in the rewrite.
little_tristan: (Book Snail)
I went into this book really expecting to like it, like a female David Sedaris without all the self-loathing. What I got was a woman with a narcissistic personality disorder so extreme that she's proud of having a narcissistic personality disorder. Not that it wasn't funny--there were lots of good one liners and dog stories, but I couldn't relate to being a big city rich bitch who shops at stores that I can't afford to walk past. Her life is all about spas and pearls, and it got really old. "Oh, I'm rich and lazy and isn't it hilarious that I'm fat?" No, not really. Not after the first 200 pages. And the Ann Coulter reading and Rammstein hating did nothing to endear her to me. How can you not like Rammstein? If that's what being a Republican does to you, then I clearly made the right call there. Although her love of all things homosexual makes the Republican thing a bit hypocritical. I actually wonder, for a memoir, how much of this was real and how much was blatant hypocrisy to sell books. Is she really into gay men and Oprah, or is she really a tight ass Republican who knows that's what sells books? I couldn't figure it out. Although Republicanism does seem to be largely built on hypocrisy, with all the politicians emphasis on family values while cheating and drinking and, you know, being secretly gay. Although, to be fair, she does mention some of that.

So, yeah, it was kind of funny, but I don't think I'll be reading any more of her books. This one got repetitive halfway through, and I imagine the others would be more of the same.

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