"Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you STAND, Men of the West!" - Aragorn, The Return of The King
Best Invertebrate of 2009: Again, this was tough, but the Pompeii worm (Alvinella pompejana) really stood out this year.
Best Source Of Material To Rehash On A "Best Of 2009" Blog Post: Twitter.
Best Vodka: Grey Goose.
Best Way To Drink Grey Goose: Frequently.
Best Dadblog: DadCentric. (Yes, I'm biased. But I'd put my fellow DadCentricians up against anybody. This seems like a good time to thank them for all of the excellent work they've done this past year; I'm humbled to be associated with them. In 2010, we'll be taking the site even further.)
Best Surf Contest: the 2009 Eddie Aikau Invitational.
Best TV Show I Shoulda Started Watching Earlier: Sons of Anarchy
Best Zombie-Related Pop Culture Offering: Zombieland
Best Non-Fiction Book That I Read This Year That Was Actually Published Last Year: The Forever War, Dexter Filkins
Best of Times: The name I would give to my Styx tribute band if I decided to form one.
Best Curse Word Beginning With The Letter "T": Twat. (Really, try it on someone, male, female, doesn't matter. It will enrage them.)
I went to the Barnes and Noble for lunch today; I do this a lot, and for those of you who want to stay abreast of the latest developments in the comic or sci-fi book worlds without looking like a complete dork in front of your spouse, family, or friends, this is the way to go. You can sit there in the Geek Stacks alongside the Japanese exchange students and socially challenged IT guys and read the latest Batman graphic novel without fear of reprisal. And you don't have to worry about salespeople giving you a look and telling you that "this isn't a library", because let's face it, big chain bookstores are today's libraries - people go there to read, and do homework, and you get dirty looks if you are loud. They might be better than libraries, because unlike libraries big chain bookstores sell lattes and Penthouse magazines.
Anyway, I'm at the B&N and I'm reading volume 1 of The Walking Dead, a comic book about zombies. The zombies have taken over the country, and the story focuses on a cop who wakes up from a coma and has adventures involving the aforementioned zombies, who comport themselves in a zombi-esque manner - moaning, shambling, eating people, etc. I do enjoy a good zombie tale (Shaun of The Dead, World War Z ) but it always strikes me as odd that in zombie movies and books, people aren't as freaked out over zombies as I would be if that zombie shit really happened. For example, the other day, there was a spider crawling along the carpet. I don't like spiders, to the extent that if I see a spider that's bigger than, say, a dime, I will leave the room and ask my wife to kill it. This was a small spider, no bigger than my thumbnail, so I grabbed a flipflop and smacked it. "Got you, you sonofabitch", I grunted, at which point the spider stirred and continued to crawl along the floor. "JESUS FUCK!!!!," I shrieked, and proceeded to pound the living hell out of the spider with the flipflop, with all the vehemence of a Spartan hoplite, coupled with the neurotic fear of a hairless Chihuahua. "DIE!!! DIE YOU BASTARD! TONIGHT YOU DINE IN HELL!!!!!!" I've noticed that in the zombie movies, the good guys are generally not completely sent off the rails at the site of long dead Aunt Tilly walking around gnawing on someone's bloody femur. There's usually a bit of terse dialogue, something along these lines:
Aunt Tilly: "Feeeeeeeeemur!"
Sheriff Chad Everett: "My GOD. It's my dear Aunt Tilly, who raised me when I was a boy and who I loved as if she were my own mother! Back from the dead and eating people!"
Nurse Margo Kidder: "Dear Lord, Sheriff Chad! You're right! Dear Aunt Tilly! She used to make those yummy Rice Krispie treats for us. So, how do we kill her?"
Sheriff Chad: "Hmmm - let me grab this pick axe and bury it in my dear Aunt Tilly's head. Even though she raised me when I was a boy and I loved her as if she were my own mother, I can do this without hesitation! Also, I'm not at all thinking about the big picture, the whole dead-walking-the-earth-eating-people thing. Odd."
Same scene, with me:
Aunt Tilly: "Feeeeeeeeeemur!"
Me: (Shits pants, puts thumb in mouth, cries.)
I would not do well in the eventual Zombie Holocaust. Nor, I suspect, would I be of much use to anyone in the event of an Alien Invasion, Robot Uprising, Giant Meteor Strike, Massive Killer Bee Attack, Supervillian Crisis, or Communist Takeover. As it stands, about the best I can do is prepare for the possibility of a McCain/Palin Victory. If you need me, I'll be out back, building my Republican-Proof Bunker. (It'll be stocked with South Park and DailyShow DVD's, imported beer, arugula, and French fries. Am I forgetting anything?)
Understand this: the book that had the biggest impact on my life was The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy. My worldview - that the Earth is a silly place, and quite frankly, we'd all be better off living someplace else, was cemented after reading Douglas Adams' brilliantly funny novel back in high school. The Green Guy from the book's original cover is tattooed on my right shoulder blade. (I tried to include a picture, but the camera was not cooperating. Trust me - it's there. And I get compliments from everyone on it.)
So it was with some serious trepidation that I made plans with Ornery Haggis to go see it last night. The mostly positive reviews (written by critics who had read the book) buoyed my spirits.
And I was not disappointed.
I'll get this out of the way. Yes - it's different from the novel. In many ways. Most of them good. There are new characters, new planets, and new gags. The bad ways that it differs (namely, a love story that wasn't in the book) don't, as it so often happens, derail the movie.
But there are so many great moments - the Vogons, the Planet Factory Floor, the ill-fated whale, the Infinite Improbability Drive, the Guide itself. The film never loses it's sense of giddiness, and in the end, that's what counts. After all, as Ford Prefect would say, the Galaxy's a fun place. So thumbs up, and I look forward to the sequel.