Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meats for the Belly and the Belly for Meats. Plus, Other Stuff.

OK, so it's Saturday at the moment - and a beautiful one at that! Not a speck of snow anywhere! You could say we're buried 8-feet deep in sunshine. If I were cruel, I'd rub it in. MUAHAHAHA!!! I'll have to let Mattson Tomlin rub it in... apparently, he's here in San Diego visiting, no doubt taking a long, well-deserved break from the epic effort to finish up Solomon Grundy. I dropped him a quick note, but no doubt he's got dozens of people clamouring for his attention, so doubtless he wants to be left alone.

I watched the movie Red the other night, and was impressed. It was a fun action movie that didn't take itself too seriously. My expectations weren't too high for it going in, and it easily exceeded them. Great cast (Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, "that lady from Weeds", and others). If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it.

It's about a bunch of older former CIA spies who have to (somewhat) reunite in order to find out why the CIA seems to be trying to have them all killed. That's the nutshell synopsis, and if it sounds formulaic and cliché, you're right. But it's done really well. It also has Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss in it, as well as a cameo by Ernest Borgnine. Admittedly, I kept waiting for Karl Urban to say, "I'd cut off your head, dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground." But he never did...

I like the French movie poster better...

At least, I think that's French...

So lately, I've been watching Season 3 of Man v Food on Netflix Watch Instantly. It's so cool to watch Netflix stuff streamed onto my iPad using the Netflix app. Of course, I only do it at home when I can use the built-in wireless (read: free!). I'd never dream of using my 3G allowance to stream movie content... ANYWAY, I watched an episode where Adam went to San Diego, and one of the featured stops was a local BBQ place called Phil's BBQ. They showed an amazing-looking tri-tip sandwich that I just had to find a way to try. They recently opened a new Phil's in San Marcos (About 15 minutes from my house), so I took the family there today to eat, and got the sandwich. And yes, it was every bit as amazing as I'd hoped it would be.

Wonderful, thinly-sliced tri-tip with a solid, peppery kick and the amazing BBQ sauce. You need to try this, if you are in SoCal. In fact, go get one to go, and rent Red and make a night of it. You'll thank me later.

I went this morning to that writer's meeting in Vista again, for the NaNoWriMo writers. There were only 4 of us there today, but that didn't stop me. In fact, I got more done this week than last. Though, admittedly, I've been working on a memoir-type "book" as a gift for a certain someone's upcoming 21st birthday (ahem... Eldest Daughter... ahem). It's a surprise, so if you know her, please don't tell her! I know she won't read about it here, since she doesn't read this blog (much like my wifey). For various reasons, I thought it would be a good idea for her, if I wrote her a loooong letter (a book, so to speak) that covers a bunch of my early history, how I met her mom, things going on in my life around the time she was born, why I made certain decisions that I did, etc., as well as all the cool stuff that I love about her, as a person. It can't be easy to grow up with parents that are at times extremely contentious.

Bottom line, it has obviously caused me to revisit a lot of the decisions I made just out of high school, and has been sort of an eye-opener for myself as well. I intend to have it be a constant work-in-progress, and hopefully send her an updated, expanded edition of it each year, for the time being. Who knows how long I'll be alive? I don't want to take with me to my grave certain things that really should have been said and shared. I might write similar tomes for all my kids, and maybe my wife and parents as well. Who knows.

This video, ladies and gentlemen, is ENTIRELY generated by computer. Nothing is filmed. It is the highest quality CGI I've ever seen.

If you liked that, there's a longer video called The Third & The Seventh that is also amazing, if you're so inclined.

I read another short story by Ted Chiang, in his collection that I've been reading. Once again, a creative, fascinating premise. The story is called Hell is the Absence of God, and here's the premise. It centers around the reality of angelic visits. Imagine if angels routinely appeared in our world, with proclamations from God, performing miracles, etc., such that they were news stories ("the Angel Nathaniel appeared in ____ today, and his message was ____. 8 people were healed, 3 killed, and damages were estimated at $8.1 million.") The visitations are not uncommon, but actually seeing one is a rare privilege, and usually, a support group normally forms comprised of those that witnessed the visitation, and those who were effected by it, either experiencing an associated miracle, or being harmed or losing a loved-one in the event.

One character has lost his beloved wife. When the angel appeared in town, she was eating in a cafe by the main window, which shattered, spraying her with broken glass, and she bled to death before help could arrive. Her soul was seen to ascend up into heaven. Others who were killed were seen descending into hell.

I found it really fascinating, and oddly, it seems to fit scripturally and logically... the idea that the same "visitation" or "move of God" could be a blessing to one, while being a tragedy for another. The main character's struggle is wanting to make sure he goes to Heaven when he dies, to be reunited with his wife, but being mad at God for taking her away from him. He'll need to love God in order to assure he'll go to Heaven, but he doesn't want to love God, since he's mad at Him.

That doesn't spoil anything, really. It just sets the stage for the story. There are two other characters with intriguing plot lines, and they all ultimately intertwine in a really satisfying way. Again, highly recommended reading.

As per usual, I have a butt-load of work-related projects I am avoiding at this moment, so I can write this post. I feel I've procrastinated long enough. Going to bail for now.

By the way, I'm tinkering with some ideas for more Wagnervana web comics. Maybe I'll have another up soon.




Paula Titus said...

Great post. So happy to hear you're writing the book for your daughter, I know she'll treasure it forever. Sounds like it may do you some good as well - hashing out old decisions. It's funny how things take on whole new perspectives when we're older. (notice I didn't say "old."

Not sure if you got my message about "The Master's Program" because I was trying to multitask and being a giant failure at it when I sent (not sure if it sent) but just wanted you to know I'm on Chapter 3 now and am really enjoying it. :) Have a great night!

David Wagner said...

Thanks, Paula. And you can say "old"... I'm old, you know!

Got the message about the Master's Program, thanks. I really do hope you like it - at least, I hope that it's clear enough to where you can see what I'm trying to do with it. Man, the hours I've spent chewing on that story... now, if I could write my way out of the corner I'm in, and finish the thing!

Anonymous said...

I checked out the Chiang book. I've read the first two. Not too impressed with "Babylon," but then fascinated by "Intelligence!" My brain was exhausted trying to keep up :)

Beth A.

Abbie Josephsen said...

I think your daughter will be extremely touched and blessed that you are undertaking such a task for her. It definitely will be worth it dave, for both of you. Good luck with it!

David Wagner said...

Beth: Be sure to let me know what you think of his other stories - some good stuff, I think. Better yet, start a blog, and blog about it!

Abbie: Thanks for the encouragement. Don't spoil the surprise!!!

logankstewart said...

Craving... BBQ... mmmmmmmmm...

Kristopher A. Denby said...

That CGI film left me speechless. OMG.