Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. Downtown Disney

Monday August 23rd, 2010. You have no idea how exciting it is to be writing this entry on the morning of the 24th. It means I have finally caught up with all my blogging and am back on track. No longer will I be haunted by past days begging for thousands of words – no, for the next little while all is right in the world once more.

Waking up in San Diego we had a dislike of the city from the night before – but that didn't mean we were not willing to give it a fair shake. Our first destination was the beach – Mission Beach to walk along the board walk, which is more of a cement walkway with bikers that want to run you down, not unlike on the sidewalks of Europe. There's a lot of people begging for money here – but well to do folks, begging not for food, but so they can put gas in their cars. Somehow I'm not as sympathetic.

There's also a roller coaster. Did not look safe. I avoided it.

It was hot, we weren't willing to get wet, the beach could only offer so much. Back in the car. I thought about the gaslamp district as I wanted to check that out – but then parking, and city traffic – we were already on the outskirts. It was ten in the morning, and we had a two hour drive ahead of us to meet up with a friend in Anaheim at four. How could we kill four hours? Lets get rid of thirty minutes for traffic we weren't expecting, and another thirty for eating. Three hours to kill.

Eating at IHOP (a welcome change of pace from the fast food that has become standard as of late) was a good start. Delicious treats for all. Then we hit up a mall – a mall with an AMC cinema in it.

Scott Pilgrim was playing, and since it was before noon tickets were only six bucks – if that's not good reason to be unemployed, I don't know what is. Welfare? That's a good reason too I guess.

So there we were, sitting down to watch Scott Pilgrim, when a guy came in behind us munch-munch-munching loudly on his popcorn. My, still sick, brain had a hard time with this and I tried to ignore, but it was like in a cartoon where each bite was represented by a jackhammer slamming the pavement. Luckily he was a fast eater and by the time the movie started, after twenty minutes of previews, he was done.

Opening with the 16-bit Universal Studios logo and sound was perfect. The credits of the movie showed this was not created for Scott Pilgrim, but rather it was made in 1997. What movie was it first used it? My ten seconds of Google reveal nothing.

The film was a streamlined version of the comics – with all the characters being much better than in the books. They made more sense, they seemed how they should be. All was right in the world. Now, sure, they didn't blow up Honest Eds, and Knive's dad was left out, but I was cool with that.

The only thing that bothers me about the movie is that I feel its existence led to book 6 being chopped up from what it was originally supposed to be to fit the plot of the film. I have a hard time accepting Kim being totally cut out of book six, and all her material ret conned. This wasn't a problem in the film, as she was – more or less – left out for the whole thing. She played a good role, and was what she needed to be.

Big cheers for the movie. Sure it cost 100-million (who thought that would be a good idea? Honestly – that's a damn lot of money to spend on an indy comic.) and sure it only made 10-million opening week, so kind of a flop, but I loved it, and I'm glad it was made. I would say this will set a bad precedent for other movies like this ever having a chance to be born, but really – there are no others like this, and this is already made. Take that world, it's out. Victory is ours.

Now go back to canceling all the great tv shows before their time.

The critics are mixed – some digging it for what it is, others not quite getting the importance and impact of the video game references (but times, they are a changing, and these peoples parents probably didn't understand “that crazy rock an' roll with the wee Elvaaaas boy wiggling his no no bits” so move on.) nor appreciate that the music was supposed to be terrible – they're not a good band. That's the joke. But many seemed happy with it.

I didn't care either way, for me this was the comic brought to life and made better. And it was a window of home.

I have not seen home in a long time, but watching this movie, I saw the C.N. Tower on the Toronto Skyline, and Casa loma where I went with a friend to a wedding not all that long before leaving. There was bloor street, Lee's palace, the good ol' hated TTC (prices adjusted from the comic for the rate increase in Toronto since I've been gone.) And Honest Ed's. More important than that, the greatest Pizza in the world – Pizza Pizza (everyone disagrees, but I love it.) Scott and friends were eating it at the place I used to pick it up after work when i was walking Bloor. Now this was a mistake on their part, as that store is the worst Pizza Pizza in the city, giving you burnt crust, and bad service – but it was home, and it was my place.

Watching the movie took me closer to there than I was now. Closer than I'd been in a long time. Even looking at Canada across Niagara Falls didn't show me My Canada. But this did.

And it hit me – I think I'm just about ready to go back.

I didn't travel to escape. I wasn't running from anything. It's not that there's nothing back there for me. I left a lot of good things behind, good people, friends, and family. Back in the city are a lot of people, places, and things that I love.

I'm not going to rush these next three weeks, but the sun is setting on my year long adventure and when it does, I won't be sad. Back there, in Toronto, there's a whole new adventure waiting – and while people have changed, moved, and grown just as I have... Well, I just can't wait to get back and hear all about it.

Cue credits, wait til they pass, cue 16 bit Scott beating up the words The End, and we were off to Anaheim.

When we rolled up i was met by Jen, a girl I'd met in Auckland – see the city wasn't all bad. She would be offering us a place to stay for the next three nights. We got in, saw she had rearranged her living room for us – a mattress on the floors, and couches moved to block the one small dog, and two giant ones from getting to us – and then were whisked away.

We were headed out to Downtown Disney.

I'd heard of this place – this land of shopping – but never seen it. We had no time for it in Florida, back in December, but here there was light to kill. In downtown Disney there are all number of shops to see an experience. Most will make you giggle and laugh. There's a Lego store too – which is all sorts of fun, holding up the boxes to their crazy augmented reality camera, and seeing the set pop up to life and move around on the screen. I also had a good chuckle looking at the new Star Wars set that included a Mon Calamari Jedi. Now that is a trap. And then there's the Build a Bear. I've mocked this before, but secretly I've always wanted on. I've just wanted one that looks like me.

They do not make beards for the bears – but what they do, apparently, make is Star Wars clothes. I saw a Jedi outfit. I saw a monkey. I knew I must match the two together. Unfortunately by the time I had done that, I knew that I must now buy the creature. Who could turn down a Jedi monkey? Honestly – ask yourself, could you turn it down? It was only thirty three dollars. A stuffed animal, nay, a stuffed Jedi animal at that price is a bargain.

Luckily for my wallet, Katherine saw me with the thing and declared that we were so cute. She would have ended extra o's on the word so. That's how I choose to remember it anyhow, and as such she decided to buy me the creature. Success.

Build a bear is a weird thing. First you grab the skin – limp and lifeless – then you get it stuffed by stepping on a foot pedal. Next you pick out a heart from a pile of them (creepy. I choose the checkered one, as my Jedi has dabbled with light and dark, just like Yoda.) Just may think it ends there, but there is a heart-ritual. You must rub it on your arm for strength, head for jedi wisdom, hands so it won't drop the light saber (yes it does come with a plush jedi-monkey light saber) and all sorts of other things. Then inside the heart goes, and the whole thing is sewn up by the staff.

I had my plush monkey, with a barcode inside. But why a barcode inside? At the computers I filled in information, and set up a birth certificate for Jedi Monkey, then listed personal information. Should the animal go off on any adventures and get lost, much like a dog's microchip it can be returned – should someone be so kind as to return it to a build a bear store.

I also received a code to let me play with the monkey online. Which terrified me. How many of these people online are happy bear hugging kids, and how many predators?

Even though it was a monkey – I still couldn't help calling it a bear. It's my Jedi Monkey Bear.

In the car out of Disney (after checking out their awesome mini-marvel t-shirts... so coo') I dressed it up proper in its new outfit. I was pleased. Far more than I should have been.

But the night wasn't over there. No. We headed to Fuddruckers where Jen bought us all burgers. Katherine had Bison, and I continued on my quest to eat new animals by having an Elk burger. This place was great. Good for you fancy burger joint, good for you.

As the night grew on we sat in the courtyard talking with all her neighbours, and it struck me what a lovely little community they had here. Knowing your neighbours. It's a great thing.

And with that – blogs, up to date. Official. Stamped it. No reversals. Success!

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