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Been sick now for almost two weeks, and I have to say ENOUGH ALREADY. I am pretty stoic when it comes to pain, discomfort, grueling travel, and work. But if there’s one thing that’ll kill my soldier-on spirit, it’s a sore throat, and this one’s just not going away.

As I wait for pending throat-culture results, there’s nothing to be done about it but drink fluids and keep that Chloraseptic handy. It’s getting boring. I’m getting cranky. And you can’t eat ice cream at every meal.

On the other hand, I have managed to catch up on an awful lot of TV, reading, and movies—especially bad or silly ones. For some reason, sofa-sleeing called for ’80s silly horror, so I watched The Gate, with a young and pudgy Stephen Dorff, and House, starring WIlliam Katt. The Gate wasn’t scary, but quite entertaining, and family-friendly, too. Not that I was watching with anyone else, but it had that “wholesome horror” kind of vibe and amusing claymation-style critters. House, on the other hand, was absurd. It’s about an author battling spooky terrors, Vietnam flashbacks, the mysterious disappearance of his son, and writer’s block(!) in a haunted house. I kept waiting for a satisfying twist (Jacob’s Ladder, Secret Window), but it’s basically just a poltergeist tale. And the ending is awful.

The theme continued with better results in Night of the Comet, an ’80s take on the zombie apocalypse, Valley-Girl-style. I liked this one a lot more than expected, a funny bookend to the recently departed season two of Walking Dead.

Night of the Comet

Night of the Comet

How that segued into A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, I don’t know, but the comedy was a welcome relief. I didn’t think I’d go for the H&K franchise, since stoner comedy isn’t really my thing. But the characters were entertaining in a goofy, endearing way, and the story was amusing. That led to Hot Tub Time Machine, which was distracting enough for Ms. Bubonic-Plague-on-the-Sofa, with game performances and a ridiculous hook. As long as you don’t go looking for time-travel logic and like the stars in question, it’s worth a rental.

And speaking of the plague … somewhere amid all of that escapism, I watched an oddly fascinating Sean Bean flick called Black Death. I can’t say it’s particularly memorable, dramatically deep, or even recommendable, but I watched it through to the end—perhaps because I couldn’t move, but it also had decent art direction, as far as approximating a filthy, nasty, religiously extreme 14th-century England goes. Not exactly a cheery flick. What got me on board was Bean, in a pre-Game of Thrones set of armor. Also of interest to GoT fans is a third-act appearance by Carice van Houten, who plays an accused necromancer very similar in type to her Thrones character, Melisandre, but with wavy blonde tresses instead of red. That said, it’s a medieval drama, not a fantasy, so don’t expect any cool magic.

Last up on the movie-marathon front was Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, a flawed musical effort from Joss Whedon. I’d say if you’re a Whedonite, and particularly if you loved the musical Buffy episode “Once More, with Feeling,” then give it a shot—assuming that you haven’t already. I don’t know what took me so long. But, for Whedon-haters, this one’s probably your worst nightmare.

After that, I fell into a long chain of TV-streaming. Revenge, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23, a week’s worth of General Hospital, and a few episodes of Damages. All recommendable to their intended audience, which may or may not be you.

And then there was the attmpted Zardoz viewing. I really wanted to watch it (I’d seen it before, a long time ago), but I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. It’s such a peculiar movie that starts with camp, veers into seventies-era pseudo-sci-fi/sexual mumbo-jumbo, and back to hilarity again. It’s a mix of mesmerizing futuristic nonsense, riotous costumes, and awful dialogue. And you have to commend Sean Connery for wearing a red slingshot-diaper the whole time. Sadly, I snoozed through any plot-points that might have made sense. And then we came to the end. Not a good movie to watch when exhausted.

Sean Connery


When I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I slept or listened to audio books, finally finishing The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. I really enjoyed this fantasy/drama/romance about two magicians caught in a protracted battle of skill that takes place in a mysterious, traveling, cult circus. It was a little like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell as written by Neil Gaiman, especially in audio-book form. Very fablesque, with the same storytelling flow that Gaiman does so well, but with the semi-historical conflict of Jonathan Strange but more magic.

My next book, just started, is Jennifer Egan’s award-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I am enjoying thus far. Simple yet precise and perfect writing about an imperfect person. Right up my alley. As for movies, I am currently sampling the San Francisco International Film Festival. Next up is Target, a futuristic Russian flick that I’ll be seeing on Friday.

Until then, rest and drink lots of fluids.


From → Movies

One Comment
  1. mkc permalink

    Strep-scrape came back negative, btw. Just a lingering cold. No plague in the house.

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