Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's colder than a witch's teat in a brass bra!

I'm not going to complain, because I know we need the moisture. But I am going to start wearing a big, poofy, furry hat like they wear in Fargo and in Russia. In fact, I'm starting to think I'm in Fargo. And if I could grow a beard that didn't make me look like Joe Dirt, I'd do that too. But really, this is not very springlike weather. Except for a couple of weeks in mid-March when it got really nice really fast, this winter has seemed eternal. And we're expecting another storm Wednesday. And again on Friday. Then one more on Monday. It's like God's April Fool's joke. At least this will force Jack Mormons in Utah to pay attention to conference, and make me feel better about getting ten hours of religion this weekend (although, realistically, I will probably drift off for most of at least one session), and the weather can be as Fargolike as it wants.

Speaking of Fargo, can I just say how much I love the Coen Brothers and their movies? In my recent post on the worst movies ever, one reader expressed hatred for anything made by the Coens, among other classics. Dumb and Dumber might just be the most quotable movie ever, and stands on its own with or without your approval, Mr. Nathan Graham. As for the Coens, I have seen every one of their thirteen (to date) feature-length movies, and liked them all. Some are better than others, but I know going in I'm never going to be bored. I do agree with your general assessment of most of Jim Carrey's slapstick, so no hard feelings... you scum-sucking pig. (Just kidding. Kind of).

We've started disciplining our children with a strategy known as "thumbscrews". Just kidding, it's a strategy called "seat-away" that they use at Jackson's school, where the offending child is put in a seat facing the corner until they are good and miserable and penitent, not speaking to or making eye contact with them until that time, and it seems to work really well. I'm listening to the tortured screams of Seth right now as he refuses to take his seat-away like a man. Maybe next time he'll think twice before hitting his mother, or throwing food, or writing bad checks. Anyhoo, you stay classy, San Diego...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another Saturday Night (And I Ain't Got Nobody)

So, it's 9:18 on Saturday night and I have nothing better to do than blog. I am starting to feel pretty pathetic. We've put the boys down (not the same way you put down a dog, although it was a temptation), and Amy is in front of the TV, ignoring me and trying to forget her late afternoon and evening. The day started out nice. We took the boys to the park, and I made brunch. But things went downhill from there, and the boys' continual misbehaving has driven Amy to a state of constant paranoia, and she's developed a nervous twitch in her eye. It seems we are still in our rut of grumpiness. My friend Eskimo Bob suggested that it's the time of year that our bodies start to detox from the winter, and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. One would think that the coming of spring would make us blissful, but I have heard from schoolteachers that their students' behavior is predictably awful every March, like clockwork, and I know that our own boys have been rotten little scoundrels. So thank you, Bob, for imparting some of the mystical wisdom native to your people. I will be hoping that we come out of our doldrums soon.

I did get to take the Mrs. on a date last night. We spent $10.25 per ticket to see Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D. It was solid, but nothing spectacular. If you haven't gone to a 3-D movie in the past few years, I definitely suggest you spend a few extra bucks sometime. You're going to see a lot more of it from Hollywood. Movie moguls are investing heavily in 3-D technology, and it definitely changes the experience. I could see it sucking you into a movie like never before, and I'm all about losing myself in the experience, so I'm looking forward to seeing something like Iron Man in 3-D. As for Monsters vs. Aliens, I'd give it two and a half stars. The story is a little weak, and they missed some opportunities to make a movie that was truly memorable, but you could do a lot worse. It's definitely not up to the insane standards Pixar has established for the new generation of animated movies, so if you want something truly great for kids and adults, this isn't it; Pixar's Up is out on May 29. But with over a month until the summer movie season kicks off, and no real competition until then, I would bet the farm that it is going to make a buttload of money. (By the way, I'd like to know: is buttload, boatload, or crapload biggest?)

Well, I am going to go salvage what is remaining of my Saturday night. Hopefully Amy isn't keeled over in a puddle of her own drool. Have a great remainder of the weekend.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Survey #2: Worst Movie Ever

Okay people, it's time to dig in deep to your most horrific and painful memories, and cast your vote for the worst movies ever. It's been only two weeks since our last (and first) survey, which I had planned to make a monthly feature on the blog. But when I was at the Redbox today, I noticed that Rob Schneider's masterpiece, Big Stan, is going straight to DVD tomorrow, and I thought this would be a great topic. For those of you who missed the memo, Big Stan is the moving story of a con artist who panics when he learns he's going to prison for fraud, and his fear of jailhouse rape leads him to hire a martial arts guru to teach him self-defense. It gets better: the guru is none other than David Carradine, the actor who plays Bill on Kill Bill, and the movie's original title was Unrapeable. Seriously. I couldn't make this stuff up. Anyhoo, the thought occurred to me, how bad would this movie have to be to be sent straight to DVD? Rob Schneider has set the bar pretty low with The Animal, The Hot Chick, and TWO Deuce Bigalow movies, all of which got theatrical releases. I am almost tempted to pick it up just to see how much worse it could be, and am extra intrigued because it features Jennifer Morrison (Cameron from House) as Schneider's wife.

So, let's hear your thoughts on some of your least favorite movies. The Animal may be the worst alleged comedy I've ever sat through, although the remake of The Producers came close. For overrated pretentious crap, it's hard to top The English Patient. For raping my childhood and destroying a classic, Treasure Planet deserves a special place in movie hell. 27 Dresses and Pillow Talk are two bad chick flicks that, even by bad chick flick standards (dialogue that makes you cringe, an obnoxious speech about love, and the girl predictably getting whatever she wants in the end, even if she's an incorrigible wench) are complete and utter garbage. Ghost Rider deserves a mention as possibly the worst movie I've seen in the last couple of years, or worst Nicolas Cage movie, which has kind of become its own genre. Cage seems to be playing with our minds, taking only the best and worst movies offered to him with absolutely no middle ground. And no list would be complete without Batman and Robin, which revels in its awfulness, and can only be described as super-gay, what with all the rubber nipples, codpieces, and choreographed henchmen wreaking havoc in rhythm, and nearly killed any future Batman films altogether. Alfred is at death's door, then just when all seems lost, comes out to say "I'm all better now. Oh, and I took the liberty of making Alicia Silverstone a bat-suit for ladies. You know, with boobies... just in case she wanted to fight crime. Or something." And we can't fail to mention Arnold Schwarzenegger's nuanced, subtle portrayal of Mr. Freeze. Anyway, whether it's of the "so-bad-it's-good" variety, or simply "so-bad-I-wanted-to bleach-my-eyes," the floor is now yours.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Aw, hamburgers!

Utah's teams went 0-3 in March Madness this year. Now, BYU we all pretty much expect to get bounced in the first round. It's basically become as much a part of early spring as St. Patrick's Day. And I don't really give a crap about the U. either. But my Aggies won 30 games and I really thought they had a good chance to win a couple. This will do nothing to get the smaller conferences any respect with the Selection Committee.

In other news, this is pretty much how I've been feeling all week. I've always considered Stanley one of the most underrated characters of The Office. The world is full of chronically grumpy, disgruntled malcontents, and Leslie David Baker plays him so well that seeing him offscreen I was taken aback at how happy he seemed and how much he smiled. Anyway, I've had no energy nor patience this week, and neither has Amy, so as you can imagine, our house has been a little slice of heaven, and about as fun as a bucketful of spiders. So here's to finishing the month of March strong and embracing my best self. You too, Amy. Or else.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I want to go to there...

Welcome to this dozenth post on Travels With Gilly. Sorry to have kept you waiting an entire week. I love blogging, and mean to do it 2-3 times per week, but this week I have been feeling pretty bland and uninspired. I have been wanting for the longest time to get away and refresh myself, and God knows Amy deserves a vacation too. It's up to me to get her one, seeing as I'm self-employed and any kind of substantial vacation will require funding from the heretofore empty coffers. I don't have paid time off, one of the real drawbacks of running your own business. Let that be a lesson to any reading this who have aught to complain about with a boss.

When I started doing this, I thought I would have more important stuff to say, since I always have an opinion about life, the universe, and everything. I am generally kind of a political junkie, but I have been feeling pretty apolitical and apathetic for a few months. So what you've gotten from me so far has been pretty lightweight. And mostly I like it. I love goofing off and making people laugh, and there will be a lot more of it in the future. But for today, I really just want to reflect and dream of being somewhere else of my choosing. I find it to be a really useful exercise to dig into your own motivations and then figure out how to make them come true. For me, a week alone reconnecting with the spousal unit would be my #1 wish in all the land. She does a lot for our chillins, and for me, but I've sensed her burnout the last few weeks. So I shall make it my goal to take her somewhere wonderful for our seventh anniversary this summer. Yep, we're nearing the seven-year itch. Our waifs will have to fend for themselves. I don't rightly know where we'll be, but it's gonna be good. Here, for your enjoyment, are some pictures of some of my favorite places in the whole world. I've been to all but a couple of them, but each inspired me. I hope you feel inspired too. Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Jason Voorhees, Charlie Brown!

Thanks to those who participated in my survey. I didn't get the participation I'd hoped for, but good answers. Fittingly, it's Friday the 13th, for the second month in a row... I thought this schoolboy drawing captured the spirit of the day beautifully, even though I am a little disappointed in this kid's creativity. I guarantee you, in real life, at least one Peanuts character would be impaled, quite possibly two at a time whilst getting it on. Jason is nothing if not inventive in his chosen means of dispatching his victims. Harpoons, weedwhackers, even electric guitars. And, of course, his trusty machete. I always feared loss of limb from the machete. Even so, I am really looking forward to this weekend, except it's doubly cursed (honestly, what are the chances of two cursed days occurring on the same weekend?) I, for one, am going to beware the Ides of March. (And for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Or just type it in on Google or Wikipedia). Apparently Mr. Yates' 10th-grade English class made an impression on me, or at least that part of that play. Anyhoo, have a fantastic weekend.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Survey: Favorite Movie Villains

I have been toying with the idea of doing a monthly survey, but I need more readers than the six followers I've gained in my first month of blogging. Please bring your friends, even if they don't want to participate in the blog on a regular basis. This month's question: who is your favorite movie villain of all time? I myself am partial to Jason Voorhees, who I always feared would hack my limbs off when I was walking home from my friend Brandon's house after a Friday the 13th marathon on TNT's MonsterVision. The guy wouldn't die, even if he took a machete to the face. Plus, I always took a shortcut through a couple of neighborhood backyards, which saved me time, but looked remarkably like the woods at Camp Crystal Lake, especially if you'd just spent four hours with the poor, unsuspecting, promiscuous teenage camp counselors in installments I through VII. (And yes, that wasn't too far from my average Saturday night in high school, rather than doing whatever the cool kids do. I wouldn't know).

I also think that Buffalo Bill/Jame Gumb from Silence of the Lambs was much scarier than the famed Dr. Lecter, who you could almost classify as a protagonist in the film/book. Gumb was just creepy, making his woman suit and speaking to his prisoners as inanimate objects. I actually kind of aspired to be like Dr. Lecter: refined, polite, and brilliant, just without the taste for human flesh. Oh, and I just have to pass this on: I ran across a Japanese anime-style cartoon caricature of villain Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men. He looks so happy as he searches for the next victim of his airgun. Isn't he cute?

Anyhoo, who are your favorites? Discuss.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat...

I love a great sporting event. And last night's Jazz game was certainly great. I got tickets to last night's game for my brother's birthday, and although they sucked for most of the first half, the Jazz made up for it later, coming up with some fantastic plays. It was probably the best game I've ever been to. And we had really good seats, on the 25th row. I've been to several games in the lower bowl in the last two years, and I'm really spoiled now. No more wondering, "Is that Shaq? Oh, no, it's John Stockton". I totally want to go in with someone on season tickets, as soon as it can be justified (which isn't now). There are 41 home games every year, though, and I doubt I'd go to more than 10 or so. But I digress. The really great thing about last night's game was that it came against Denver, which has a real punk of a superstar, Carmelo Anthony, and a real prick of a head coach, George Karl. AND, it pulled the Jazz to within half a game of the division lead. They have now won 10 games in a row. And now, the greatest sporting event of the year (in my opinion) is just around the corner: March Madness. Baseball's Opening Day will follow shortly after. So, as a tribute to towering athletic achievement, here are some photos of the truly great moments in sports: the bloopers. The boners. The screwups. I can already hear my sister, who is 26 and has a master's degree, giggling uncontrollably like a little girl.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Some of you have asked about the name of my blog. It is a reference to one of my favorite books, John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America, a documentation of a cross-country road trip he took across America in the 1960s with his French poodle, Charley, near the end of Steinbeck's life. I have had a strange lifelong wanderlust and really connected with the story, and have always thought it would be a fantastic way to see the country, traveling through on mostly highways and back roads to stamp out some of the homogenization caused by the Interstates. "Gilly" was a nickname given me by a former mission mission companion, taken from my last name. For my blog, I wanted something original, but accessible and unpretentious, and it seemed like a good fit. Your travels with me will probably differ wildly from post to post. That's just the kind of guy I am. One day I may write about my innermost thoughts on politics and existence, and the virtues and shortcomings of Taco Bell the next. So far it's been pretty lightweight. But I appreciate you being part of the journey, whether you read the blog or not. Until next post, Godspeed.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

THAT'S more like it!

Finally it is warming up. Time to hang ten! As I mentioned, I have been one whiny mofo for the past month, so I'm feeling like doing jumping jacks and cartwheels now that it's March. Not quite Speedo weather yet, but I basically consider now the start of spring since, on average, the coldest 90 days along the Wasatch Front are from late November to late February. I don't care when the spring solstice is. Soon we will be doing barbecues, sipping lemonade on the back porch, and enjoying brainless action movies. Cannonball!