Fun and Games Dept

Start of the Weekend.

I’m on call this weekend but it’s not slowing us down at all. I’m kicking back after a little evening picnic. Dad and his girlfriend Karen, my sister Jennifer and her boyfriend David, Earl’s stepbrother Rick and his girlfriend Helen and Earl and I. Great food. Great conversation and a nice cap to a beautiful day.

A great way to start kick off the long weekend!

Bewitched: My Review.

Earl and I went to see ‘Bewitched” starring Nicole Kidman and Will Farrell last Friday night. I’ve been waiting to see this movie for almost a year, well, actually ten years or so since Penny Marshall originally announced that she was going to do it in the mid 1990s with Ted Bessell (from ‘That Girl’) directing.

This version was written by Nora and Delia Ephron, along with Adam Mc Kay (who apparently punched up the script for Will Farrell).

I give it a “B” or 3 out of 5 “oh my stars”.

I will elaborate further, but be forewarned that there’s spoilers in the rest of this blog entry, just in case you haven’t seen the movie yet.

You’ve been warned.

The movie is a *wonderful* tribute to the original Bewitched, with Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Agnes Moorehead and Paul Lynde in all their bewitching splendor in several scenes throughout the movie, by the way of clips from the original show. There’s numerous mentions of the original cast and it definitely pays homage to all those involved with the original.

Nicole Kidman plays Isabel Bigelow (the real life witch who plays Samantha in the “Bewitched” remake this movie is about) a bit ditzy. I’m confused about a couple aspects of her character. Does she have her own aunt named Aunt Clara who resembles Samantha’s Aunt Clara, including her collection of door knobs? Does she subscribe to the Wiccan traditions (through the use of tarot cards or whatever) or is she a witch with the same ideals as Samantha? Granted, she doesn’t twitch her nose, she tugs on her ear, but things happen pretty much like they did for Samantha on the original series.

I’m not a big Will Farrell fan as I think he’s pretty one dimensional as an actor. We get to see his “cheerleader” mode, his “Elf” mode and his “antics” mode. Jim Carrey would have been better simply because he bears a closer resemblence to Dick York but he would have been full of his own antics. Overall, I thought Will’s contribution was what I would have expected and nothing more. No pleasant surprises there, but no disappointments either.

Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine, both wonderfully cast, were hopelessly under used. I believe this was my biggest disappointment with the movie, especially when it comes to Shirley. When she played Iris Smythson, she was much more Endora-esque then when she played Endora. Agnes Moorehead had a presence about her that can not be duplicated. I thought Shirley held back way too much when it came to playing Endora. Plus, the love affair between Iris and Nigel was touched upon but never fully explored. It’s like they forgot about them 3/4 of the way through the movie!

In fact, I get the feeling that a big chunk of this movie was edited out. Of course, I’ve followed the production of this movie since it’s inception, so I know that there are scenes missing, but for the most part there’s a lack of continuity that can’t be overlooked. For example, did Isabel and Jack really get married or was it part of the remake of Bewitched. Where did Abner and Gladys Kravitz come from at the end, as part of the show or as part of reality (Richard Kind and Amy Sedaris were **dead on** as the Kravitzes)? What happened to Nigel and Iris? Where did Uncle Arthur go?

Earl and I are going to see the movie again once I’m off call next week, and I’m looking forward to the experience, if only just to pick up what I may have missed on the first viewing. We’ll definitely buy it when it comes out on DVD, especially if they include deleted scenes.

It’s not a bad movie but it’s not a summer blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, either. Its “o.k.”.

As an aside, the previews before the show included the trailer for “Rent”. OH MY GOD. I am pumped about seeing that movie this fall!

Everything But The Uniform.

Earl and I spent the day today preparing for our upcoming Big Camping Adventure. We set up the camper in the driveway so we were sure we can do it, no matter the weather. We were able to get the whole thing set up in less than 10 minutes. Not bad for our trial run!

We then shopped at any store in the area that had a hint of camping supplies. Vinyl tablecloths, bug repellent wipes, mountain pie makers, lawn chairs, you name it, we found it and bought it. We were having difficulty locating the things we needed and found ourselves rather stumped after visiting Wal*Mart, Target and K-mart. Then we realized that we had our very own Gander Mountain so we went wild in there. Always good fun.

To cap off the evening, we brushed up on our crime-fighting skills by watching Batman Begins. It was a good movie. We both agreed it was the best of the Batman movies to date. Not quite as good (at least for us) as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which we saw last night, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Now we feel completely prepared for our camping adventure coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to it.

Blog Buzz.

Earl and I just returned from a fabulous dinner with my dad and his girlfriend Karen and my sister Jennifer and her boyfriend David. I am a little buzzed from the three beers I had and am lying in bed. Wanna know what I’m wearing? You’ll have to IM me.

Dinner was great in many ways, mostly because it was a chance to get together with family, partly because the food was awesome and the restaurant (The Retreat in Liverpool, N.Y.) was wonderful and also because we ran into someone. Her name is Angela, and she was Jennifer’s nurse back when she was in the hospital last fall with Legionella, a close cousin of Legionnaire’s Disease. Angela was the nurse on duty the night Jennifer made a small turnaround towards recovery. Angela was the nurse who insisted on calling a specialist that was on vacation that week because Jennifer wasn’t responding to medication and the on-staff specialists were a bit stumped. Angela was the nurse that kept us informed. She’s the spittin’ image of Jodi Foster and has a heart of gold. I didn’t think she’d remember us. She did, and she and my sister had a nice conversation and exchanged hugs. It was nice to remember her kindness. I wish there were more people like her in the world.

So now I’m lying in bed and Tom has parallel parked himself along the PowerBook. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged with a buzz in bed, and he doesn’t seem to remember the golden rule.

“Thou shall not nudge thine PowerBook.”

Actually, he’s showing me his new trick, using the left hand speaker grille of my notebook as a scratching post. It sounds like claws on a chalkboard. I do remember the old adage, “Cats can not fly, even with a foot assist.” So I gently remind him, but he doesn’t care. He does what he pleases and that will be that. He’s much like his daddies.

Earl and I picked up the camper today after work. The dealer had us set it up and reviewed all the features and details of our camper as we set it up and took it down. I’m very excited about heading out camping. We’ll probably sleep in the camper this weekend in the driveway. Much like I did when I was a teenager. It’ll be fun.

The Best Laid Plans.

Earl and I have been planning the trip for months. We were going to put the top on the Jeep down and head due west. We were going to ride the roads until we reached Montana. We would then take pictures of us drinking and driving (because its still legal there), see a few sights, chase a tornado and head back home. It would take 10 days. It’s occupied my thoughts since we got home from Disney in February.

Scrap that.

Tonight we went and bought a pop-up camper. It’s a brand new 21-foot when opened Fleetwood, complete with heat, refrigerator, two king sized beds and a sink that doubles as a shower if you use the vegetable sprayer wisely. (I’m just kidding about the shower part, to clean up you dunk your head in the porta-john.)

I love camping. (stop the snickering). I really do. When Earl and I got together we camped a number of times during our first couple of summers. But then I made a discovery. Earl hates tents. I’m not a huge fan of tents either, but I like camping and getting all outdoorsy and stuff. Jiffy Pop just doesn’t “pop” for me unless it’s over a camp fire. I like the adventure of using a public shower. The sound of the crashing waves on Lake Ontario is music to my ears.

Earl loves camping too, as long as he doesn’t have to sleep on the ground. So we bought the camper.

It’s actually very nice and I look forward to accessorizing with the obligatory patio lights hung with clothes pins. Earl wants the lights in the shape of jalepeños. I’m looking forward to riding through a thunderstorm in this little beauty. It’s going to be great. Besides, the money that we’d spend on the trip out west will now provide vacation enjoyment for years to come. Next year we can head out west with the camper and do it rugged style.

As I apparently said in my sleep the other night (so Earl says), “Bears in the woods go grrr grrr grrr.”

Fun In The Sun.

Earl and I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and hit the road in the Jeep on Saturday. We put the top down, slathered ourselves in sunscreen until we were whiter than Rose McGowan and headed for the big city. The big city of Syracuse, that is.

Actually, on our way to Syracuse we stopped and visited with my dad up at his store. We chatted about my grandfather and his health (he hasn’t been doing well lately), looked for the kittens that recently made an appearance on the second floor where they store insulation and moulding and basically just shot the bull for a bit.

After stopping for lunch at a diner in Pulaski and then driving around a bit, we ended up going to BalloonFest in Syracuse. It was hot, hot, hot at 95 degrees. We basted in the sun, took a stroll around and listened to some music. I was very pleased to see that the carnival rides included The Tempest, my favorite carnival (or around here, “Field Days”) ride of all time. My second favorite, The Trabant, was also there. I didn’t ride either of my favorites, mainly because the heat was starting to take it’s toll and I didn’t think my stomach was up for the ride. In retrospect, I’m becoming a major wuss. I’ve always prided myself on my amusement park endurance, as my mother raised us on “The Trabant” and “The Tempest” because the Merry Go ‘Round made her dizzy.

After BalloonFest (where no balloons flew due to the heat), we ate a Dinosaur Barbecue. If you are ever in Syracuse, you MUST stop at Dinosaur Barbecue. By this time, it was 8:00 or so and still very warm and muggy. So we did the sensible thing.

We took off to Buffalo, 150 miles to the west. It was Bear Night at a local bar there, and we wanted to hang out with some of the guys we had met at Bear Trek in Danbury back in April. It started to rain part of the way, so we had to pull under a bridge on the Thruway and put the Jeep top up quickly, but it was all good fun. We had a really good time in Buffalo. It’s nice to be able to hang out with like minded guys. We didn’t get to bed until 3:00 a.m. but we didn’t care.

This morning we headed back home to enjoy the day on the ranch.

I really appreciate being able to have spontaneous weekend like this. It’s a great way to get geared up for a good week.