Sunday, July 18, 2010

What the hell is Wolverine doing in my hometown?

I live in Hollywood and have had a decent amount of celebrity sightings here and there. But I don't see them that often because I'm not typically in areas where we would cross paths, and I'm also not on a permanent look out for them. I maintain that if I was in line for a sandwich and Johnny Depp or someone was near me, I'd be too busy to notice.

Johnny Depp: Excuse me, are you done ordering?
Me: In a minute, they put tomatoes on my order when I specifically asked them NOT to. Ugh, can you believe it? Hmm, he looks familiar. Oh well.

But there is one thing I certainly would notice. This man:

Humina humina, humina! Awoogah! Awoogah!
In this place:

That's a great deal on Vidalia Onions!

The place? A local grocery store called Colasanti's in my hometown (which I recommend). That's right. I moved all the way across the country and missed my chance to see Hugh Jackman in a store that is literally ten minutes away from the house I grew up in.

Not. Fair.

When my friend from back home mentioned it on Facebook, I had to ask if he was serious. But apparently, Hugh Jackman is filming something in a nearby town, and he stopped in to get some groceries (I'd also recommend the bread Mr. Jackman).

I cannot wrap my head around this image though. I cannot picture Hugh Jackman in that grocery store, let alone in my hometown. And on top of that, I cannot think what on earth he'd do for entertainment in hometown. Because there's not a whole lot to do. What's he going to do? Visit the Kensington Metro Park and do some hiking or visit the farm (if he's lucky, there'll be piglets!)? Canoe? Bowl? Play hide and seek at Walmart or Meijer with friends (something I've never done, but friends of mine have. I've been bored, but I've never been that bored)?

The mind boggles.

And I still don't regret moving out of my hometown. Hugh Jackman sighting or no.

The Wolverine in his natural habitat.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This Song is Going to Be Stuck In Your Head

Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we'll do.
Near, far, in our motor car Oh what a happy time we'll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.....

That's right. A classic to most, utterly despised at first by me.

It stems back to the second grade. The elementary school I went to offered a "year round" program, that took more breaks and had a school year that went past the traditional year. It was a great program, I had some awesome teachers and we did a lot of cool stuff.

As a result of going to school in the summer, it was sometimes deemed to hot to run around outside at recess and the lunch room would be closed as well (it could get toasty in Michigan and our school didn't have air conditioning because most classes didn't need it). So we'd eat lunch in our classroom and occasionally watch a movie.

On one of those days, it came down to a vote between something awesome (possibly The Lion King or Aladdin) and what Megan brought in. Megan brought in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And just about everyone voted for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I had never seen the movie or heard of it before that day. Being cranky from the heat and losing the chance to watch The Lion King or Aladdin (in school! That's awesome!), I was already slightly predisposed to not wanting to like it.

I don't remember much of the beginning of the movie, but nearly the nano-second the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang song started, I snapped. I didn't act out or anything, but I could just barely suppress how annoying I found the movie and the song. I remember nothing else from the viewing, let alone if we finished it, and I was happy about it. Screw that movie, I thought in my tiny brain. Screw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Rarely has a movie ever put so much rage in me.

Nearly twenty years later, I moved across the country to work in Hollywood. Luckily, I have family that lives out here and I was able to crash with them for free for a bit. That family includes a young cousin, who at the time I initially moved out there, happened to love a certain movie that had been the bane of a single day in my childhood: Chitty Chitty freakin' Bang Bang.

But I'm an adult. I'm not going to deny my sweet little cousin one of her favorites, and I barely remembered a thing about the movie anyway, so I decided to watch it with her one time.

Either we didn't finish the movie that week in class, or I blocked the entire thing from my memory because the movie I watched was almost nothing like what I remembered.

Sure I remembered the beginning (sort of):

At this point in the movie, I'm neutral, it's about as innocuous as I expected. But then things get weeeeeeird.

Like, Child Catcher Weird:
What the hell?

Yeah, I definitely would have remembered that if I had seen it. But it gets weirder from there:

Now you're just screwing with me movie!

After a few more viewings, I came around to the movie because it was more bizarre than I could have ever expected and I loved how freaking weird it is. It came as no surprise when I learned that Roald Dahl had written the script, since he specializes in terrorizing kids with awesomely weird stories (I love his work).

So while it's not my favorite, the rage I felt as a seven year old has subsided significantly to mere befuddlement at how strange the movie actually is. Apart from a slight dislike of Dick Van Dyke (no specific reason, I just never liked him much as a kid or now), I quite enjoy the movie actually.

The song's still in your head, isn't it?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Deadbeat Parenting

I am a deadbeat parent. Somewhere in the North Atlantic, there is an Orca whale in J-pod wondering where it's adoptive human parent is and why she hasn't sent in any salmon for years now.

My criminal parenting started not long after seeing Free Willy. I loooooved Free Willy. I practically became an environmentalist after I saw it (along with being a paleontologist, since Jurassic Park came out the same year). I think I saw it in the theater, but I know I definitely saw it at home. Because at the end of the credits, they had a phone number you could call to donate money and adopt a whale.

"Mom? Dad? Can I adopt one of those whales?!"

Sure, they said. Sometime later, my whale paperwork came in. I had a photo of the back of some Orca from the J-Pod, all sorts of Save the Whales paperwork, and a nifty certificate basically saying the whale was "mine."

Awesome! I thought. I set the paperwork on my overcrowded desk and went on my merry way.

I NEVER saw that paperwork again. And I mean NEVER. Somewhere in the shuffle of cleaning, school paperwork and the passage of time, that folder of J-Pod paperwork disappeared.

Probably a year or two later, the whale paperwork suddenly popped into my brain. I frantically tore through everything in my room trying to find it, but it was to no avail. I was pretty sad about it. What would become of my whale? Was I supposed to follow up on it in any way? I have no idea because I am a negligent whale parent.

Why? Why did you abandon me?
I was 7 and I lost the paperwork! I'm sorry!

Why I remember that the whale is from the J-Pod, I'll never know. But as you might have guessed from this blog, my brain holds on to some pretty random information.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Welcome to Earth!

In light of the holiday that just passed (and the fact that they seem to play it a lot on A&E for no discernible reason), I'd like to discuss that American classic, that most patriotic of films:

Independence Day

I saw Independence Day with my parents the summer it came out. And it was awesome. So awesome.

Seeing the movie was "a heart-pounding thrill ride" (something I'm sure it said on the poster or a review somewhere).

It was funny. "Welcome to Earth!"

It was scary. The alien autopsy scene scared the life out of me.

It was patriotic. That speech by President Bill Pullman was the best. I was ready to fly a fighter jet and I was only 10.

And America won the day in the end. The aliens were defeated through the power of Morse code and Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith being cool.

Around this same time, my dad was moving to Washington D.C. and we were maybe at some point going to move with him (didn't end up happening, but that's another story). So sometime after seeing the movie, my dad went to D.C. and I missed him a lot. And it brought up a lot of questions about how our life would work and what was going to happen. But it also brought up some weird ones.

I don't know what made me ask this question (maybe the movie was on), but I asked my mom, "If aliens like in Independence Day settled over Washington D.C., would Dad know to get out in time?"

"Yes, of course," replied Mom.

"Would he come back here?"


"Would we be safe if aliens settled over Detroit?"

"Yes, we're far enough from Detroit that we'd be safe."

"Ok, good to know."

It was reassuring that if aliens settled over Detroit, we were well outside the blast zone. Some people have zombie apocalypse plans, I had an alien invasion plan when I was only 10. And what a relief that in the unlikely event aliens settled over D.C., my dad would be safe on the highway before we learned that they do not come in peace.

Nah, he'd be long gone by the time this started happening.