Last night I got the chance to take in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (now being referred to as ALVH). Coming into it, I’d read, and really enjoyed, the book. Seth Grahame-Smith did a very impressive job of intricately weaving the well known history of the 16th President of the United States with a dark twist, vampires. The delicate balance of historical accuracy flawlessly overlapping with vampiric motivation is actually what drew me to incessantly turning the pages. Lincoln’s firm stance on slavery, his vital role in the civil war, and his historic term as President, were all shrouded with this dark secret. In my mind, it still stands as one of the more innovative books I’ve read.
The movie doesn’t do the book justice; and anyone who reads the book before seeing the movie will be disappointed with the lack of carry over from the pages to the screen. At least I was. On a number of occasions I even found myself dropping my head into my hands.
I will say right now, the movie contains about 25% of the book’s plot and has completely made up the remaining 75%. For moviegoers who haven’t read the novel previously, it’s not much of a problem. I really liked the movie regardless of what it was supposed to look like. I understand that the movie business isn’t really about making the consumer happy, it’s about making the actors, producers, and directors all fantastically rich. Plus, I’d rather present you wonderful people with an argument as opposed to writing “I enjoyed this film”, putting up a picture, and being on my way.
To paraphrase my favorite comedian/philosopher Louis CK, “We’ve created such a high bar of stimulus, that anything below the norm can’t compete. We feed our kids insanity.”
It’s a valid point, we’ve been conditioned on, as CK says, “Anger and colors.” Movies need a manifested antagonist, with a leader preferably that our hero can come up against at the end of a rising action. It needs to be politically correct and ethnically diverse. Oh, and it can’t be complex.
I would really have enjoyed the film as the book played out, which in my mind could have been done just as easily, without a giant burning train trestle scene.
Everything considered, I’d recommend this to people who enjoy a good action film. The untapped well of axe-themed killing sprees has never really been explored until now. Fair warning, it gets bloody.
Stay Thirsty My Friends,
The heart of the champion
cannot be denied.
As one who refuses
to be swept aside.
I will make my own history,
this land I will stake.
I’ll scratch and I’ll claw,
till my muscles all ache.
Destined for glory
and fueled by pride,
you can teach what’s been taught,
but can’t fake what’s inside.
So fight for your life,
lay your foes at your feet.
Cause your enemies pray
you’re the one they don’t meet.
On May 13th, 2011, Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment. The facts resulting from the coroner’s report showed there was a deadly level of alcohol and oxycodone in his system. He was a tried and tested Dub player, fans still tell me horror stories of the things he’d do to our team when he played on Prince George and Medicine Hat later on. He put in five years of work in junior before heading out on a four year journey that eventually landed him a job with the Minnesota Wild.
Just this morning, an article was posted here bringing to light the severity of the pill situation, not only with him but with the league as a whole. It was a brutal kind of realization. Every new fact set a knot in my stomach, knowing stuff like this could have been, and can be, prevented. It’s a brutal truth; action is never taken until it’s too late.
At the same time I recognize the necessity for having pain killers readily available. Anyone who has played hockey knows it’s a taxing game, with as many or more cuts and bruises than any other sport. Go to any hockey team in any league and you’ll find the majority of the players are suffering from some kind of nagging pain that requires some kind of pill to alleviate it.
Now, seeing it in a second-hand sort of way, the degree at which pills are readily available is alarming.
Hockey players are warriors who cringe at the sound of being told “You’re gonna have to sit out a few games.” In our minds, it’s failure, you’re not doing your job if you’re sitting in the pressbox in a suit all game. Personally, I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I’ve seen guys go down for weeks at a time with every kind of injury. I’ve been knocked out of games in the same manner. In the second game of playoffs a few years ago, I tore my MCL and had to sit on the sidelines and hand away everything I had worked for that season. It’s heartbreaking.
Lest we forget, Boogaard wasn’t the only brother we lost last year. In the coming months after his death, Wade Belak and Rick Rypien were both found dead in their homes. A lot of people started connecting dots with the roles these players had on their respective teams. As one article quaintly put it; gladiators. A Maclean’s article by Charlie Gillis titled “Wade Belak’s final hours” states.
“Paul Dennis, a psychologist who worked with the Leafs during Belak’s tenure there, was quoted widely last week noting that enforcers feel compelled to maintain an aura of invincibility, and therefore keep their darkest fears to themselves.”
That was written just weeks after Belak’s death but I think it applies to athletes as a whole. Nobody wants to admit defeat and ask for help. It boils down to the same reason why guys don’t want to stop and ask for directions. It’s not because we’re stubborn, it’s because we’re conditioned to writhe at the thought of defeat. Jim Thomson, a journeyman NHL fighter who lent his services to six teams has said “As a fighter, you live in fear.” Legendary tough guy Georges Laraque has even gone to say “We don’t like to show weakness. That’s the way it is. But even tough guys have weakness.”
Couple that with growing studies of how chronic pain and depression are interlinked and it adds up to a serious problem. Something needs to be done, the NHL is doing a poor job of protecting its most valuable assets, the players.
Stay Thirsty My Friends,
Yes folks, the dream is still alive. Our dream is still alive. For the last few months my cabinet and I have traveled across the nation, shaking babies and kissing hands. Our bus (which I have dubbed “The Jesus, Apple Pie, and Baseball Mobile”) has seen thousands of miles. Seeing the beautiful sights of the nation has led me to a deeper understanding of the country. I feel as if I’ve really come to know the pulse of the country which definitely helps in these kinds of things I’m told. Today I watched the sunrise, I had stayed up super late playing Call of Duty. Conveniently enough, many of my military stances are based off of the games.
I’m still on the prowl for a vice-president. Many critics say that, since I’m not actually running, convincing someone to be vice-president will be a challenge. So, I’m letting the people decide.
But in the meantime, I have been running the other candidates collective shows at the many debates I have attended.
// the following is a dialogue of the Arizona Republican Primary Debate at the Mesa Arts Center, in Mesa, Arizona. The debate was presided over by Journalist John King //
JK: Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the Arizona Republican Primary Debate, please help me in introducing this years Republican candidates for the President of the united states. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum…
(all four men walk onto stage wearing formal suits, stand in formation and wait for the anthem to be sung)
JK: … and Independent Candidate Taylor Peters
(The stage behind the candidates opens and a platform rises, shrouded in smoke. Standing on the pedestal is Candidate Peters, wearing what appears to be a Captain America costume. After awkwardly climbing down, Candidate Peters joins the rest of the group. The anthem is sung and the candidates take their places behind their podiums.)
JK: Congressman Paul, we begin with you sir
RP: I’m congressman Ron Paul from texas, I’m the defender of the constitution, I’m the champion of liberty, this shows the road map to peace and prosperity.
RS: I’m Rick Santorum, and we have a lot of troubles. I’m here to talk about a postitive solution that include everybody.
MR: I’m Mitt Romney, and I’m here to say that America’s Promise of prosperity has been broken by this president, and I’m–
(crowd erupts in applause)
MR: I guess that’s good enough, as George Costanza would say “When they’re applauding, stop.”
(Peters leans into his mic)
TP: I’m gonna have to politely correct you there Mitt. The episode you’re referring to is called “The Burning” and nowhere does George ever say “When they’re applauding, stop.”
JK: Candidate Peters, this is still just introductions. Please hold off on attacking fellow candidates till the debate begins.
(Taylor sits back, discouraged. Introductions conclude and debate begins)
JK: We now go to our sent in question that simply states “Define yourself in one word and one word only.” Congressman Paul.
JK: Senator Santorum.
JK: Mr. Speaker.
JK: Mr. Peters
TP: America. (fellow candidates collectively facepalm, the audience giggles, Taylor stands from his seat behind the podium.) Do not laugh at my citizens, for I promise to be the embodiment of what America is supposed to be. America needs a hero, I’m the hero we need, but not necessarily the hero we want. We have had enough pencil-pushers sitting behind their desk in the oval office. I will commit to being a hero for the nation of America. Boom. (drops mic, crowd erupts in a standing applause.)
(Taylor walks off the stage, and in a perfect George Costanza voice, addresses Mitt Romney)
TP: I knew I had hit my high note so I thanked the crowd and I was gone.
(rock music comes over the speakers as Candidate Peters blows kisses and throws “Where We Live” t-shirts into the crowd)
Stay Thirsty My Friends,
Like where are all the ugly superheroes. Just one, hideous, fat, superhero. That’s all I want to see. Some guy, who developed telekinesis after playing a year’s worth of Skyrim and eating his weight ten times over in Doritos and Mountain Dew. You know he’s never going to the gym now, if he can lift weight with his mind. It makes me think certain specially endowed super-groups, such as S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers, structure their acceptance policy like an Earl’s does. If you’re gorgeous, but lack some powers or superhuman abilities, we’ll let it slide.
Sure, all the guys in The Avengers have a wide range of abilities. Mastery of archery, superhuman everything, titanium-metal alloy suit, super solider serum, and being a god, all come in hand when the crap hits the fan.
Enter Black Widow.
A Russian ballerina, turned Soviet spy, turned SHIELD agent. Gets to parade around the streets of New York with a bunch of GQ superhumans pretty much because she has the uncanny ability of working sexy poses into fight scenes.
I’m all for having her in the movie, don’t get me wrong. Clearly, they had to give boyfriends something to comeback with when their girlfriends start developing plans to kidnap and force-marry Thor. However, it seems somewhat redundant when they throw her into a war scene against an alien race with nothing more than Blue Steel and a couple of pistols. It’d be like the stick guy for a hockey team suiting up and being thrown into a playoff game. Sure it looks nice, but it’s kinda stupid.
So without further ado…
AVERAGE JOE AND THE AVENGERS
EXT. HELICARRIER – SUNNY
BARNEY FINNIGAN a.k.a. AVERAGE JOE has arrived via HELICOPTER aboard the prestigious HELICARRIER, a flying headquarters for SHEILD and THE AVENGERS. He is late and rushes to meet up with the rest of the GROUP.
Barney! Welcome to SHEILD, hope
you made it here alright
(the two shake hands)
(clutching his stomach)
Uh.. yeah yes and no, I tend to fall
terribly ill when I travel.
I’ll get a medic to fix you up right
after you meet the team. Right this
INT. SHEILD MEETING ROOM
THE AVENGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA, DR. BRUCE BANNER, HAWKEYE, IRON MAN, THOR, and BLACK WIDOW all sit around a large GLASS TABLE in the center of the room.
— So Agent Romanoff here tosses me a
pistol and when I go to fire, it’s
Well you survived didn’t you…
Team, meet our newest member, Barney
(Barney shyly waves)
(turning towards Barney)
Woah, ugly tree. What planet is he
AVERAGE JOE nonchalantly scratches his crotch, everyone in the room is slightly disturbed but feels too awkward say anything.
Barney, I’ve heard a lot about
you. You’re a jack of all
(quietly, clearly star-struck)
You are quite an odd duck.
Who is this Jack you speak
It means he has every skill
imaginable, but can only
develop them so far.
Barney, a demonstration if
AVERAGE JOE reaches and outstretched hand and TELEKINETICALLY lifts a small BALLPOINT PEN off the table. He then shoots it in the air with a WEAK LASER BLAST from his eyes, FREEZES it with a blow from his mouth and turns it into STONE.
IRON MAN and THOR giggle under their breath. Suddenly, an alarm sounds in the background.
Alright team, suit up.
EXT. HELICARRIER DECK
THE AVENGERS assemble outside by the QUINJET. All heroes are dressed in sharp themed uniforms. AVERAGE JOE enters.
What the hell are you wearing!
What! This is my action stuff.
You’re wearing Nikes, track pants
And a white V-neck with “AJ”
written in sharpie on the front.
And are those wrist bands?
Hey! These were on sale.
This is ridiculous. Coulson,
can you get this guy something
a bit more professional.
What…oh, woah. Yeah.
Barney, come with me.
AVERAGE JOE returns in ten seconds with a LEATHER SHEILD OUTFIT.
Woah, that was fast.
Yeah, quick changing is one of
EXT. – NEW YORK CITY
NEW YORK CITY is under attack from the CHITAURI, an ALIEN RACE bent on enslaving the people of EARTH. Each member of THE AVENGERS flies off into battle. AVERAGE JOE awkwardly tumbles onto a building roof.
EXT. – NEW YORK CITY – STREETS
Hawkeye! Get up high and keep us
posted on patterns and enemies.
Thor, you patrol the skies. Black Widow you —
Wait, where’s the newbie.
Just then a MASSIVE CHITAURI WARSHIP swoops by the heroes. Frantically holding on for dear life is AVERAGE JOE.
This is a lot harder than it looksin the movies!!!
A CHITAURI WARRIOR sneaks up behind AVERAGE JOE and sends him flying off the side, falling to the ground. THE HULK rushes and catches him.
(patting hulk on the back)
Thanks big guy, I owe you one
Ah, guys, I think I needto sit this one out. My
tendonitis is kicking in.
Hey, quick question though. Like, how do you guys get
paid. You don’t have jobs or anything. Do you just
hope you get free stuff. I never really got that…
Group flies off as AVERAGE JOE tries to shapeshift into a Thor look-a-like. He disappears into a bank vault that has been recently destroyed.
Not bad for an hours work and no editing I’d say.
Stay Thirsty My Friends,
It was the Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson who wrote the immortalized line “‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.” Clearly, he never played hockey.
I’m failing to believe that getting into all these long-winding relationships only to end in disappointment is really better than the alternative. Don’t get me wrong, going to battle for a championship is one thing, and no one plays to lose. But having the spoils of victory snatched from before your eyes twice is like replacing the knife in your back with a sword, painful. And yeah, I could easily fall back on excuses like the WHL was biased against having an American team represent the league. Or how, in the most important game of the year, the most feared powerplay in the league was conveniently given a whopping zero opportunities. I’m not one to complain, only bringing some prominent thoughts to light. So I digress.
As many of you have probably noticed, I took an abrupt and extended sabbatical from writing. I think it was part superstition seeing as how last year I posted everyday and that didn’t seem to work, so why not swing the pendulum in the complete opposite direction. So, one year and only two more playoff wins later, it didn’t seem to work as expected. But while I’m here I may as well touch on superstition. It varies in severity from player to player. Some guys order the exact same thing from Starbucks before games. There’s a specific routine players go through in the warm up, before going out after intermission, everything. Personally, I think it’s all in the suit. Look good, feel good, play good. If I lose in a certain combo, I have to change it up for the next game. If we win, the pattern repeats itself. I’d say it represents the notion that hockey is a lot more mental than anything. Moving on.
It’s the eve of my glorious, hopefully parade-filled return to summer life. Alongside the short drive up the coast comes a few less prevalent changes that I more or less look forward to:
My own bed – Pretty self-explanatory.
Home-cooking – No knock against my billets food, but nothing beats it.
Sunday Lunches – The reasons “FAMILY” is tattooed over my heart.
Having Facebook pictures that aren’t me playing hockey – From late September to May the pictures tab on Facebook is a never-ending flow of faceoffs, choppy strides, and awkward faces.
Seeing the Sun – Portland.
Non-competitive Sports – See you say that but when you’ve been conditioned on winning that phrase is really an oxymoron. Drop-in hockey, Volleyball, all usually end up with as much frustration and celebration as an on ice performance.
And a variety of other things I can’t think of now but I’m reminded of the minute I walk in the door.
For those of you wondering, I’ll keep the site going during the summer, posting will be sporadic as always but I’ll try and keep it informative and entertaining (as always?)
Stay Thirsty My Friends,