Friday, October 12, 2012

National Lampoon's Staycation

Last week, I took some time off (or gave myself a time out, whichever the case may be) for some much needed R n' R. This is something I ridiculously consider a luxury because, quite honestly, I never give this particular sucker an even break and consider PTO so valuable that I don't want to spend a minute. But since accumulation of same is maxed out, necessity became the mother of reinvention as my brain pan was coated with over-cooked reality. Thus, I withdrew some hours and took a vacation. Since I didn't leave town, per se, one clever ass in the hat has dubbed this a "stay-cation". This was probably the same Alexandre Dumb-Ass who also came up with "bromance" and calls sandwiches "sammies".

In true Cherney style,, the week began with just about every electronic device in my possession going on the fritz-phone, computer, cable TV-and almost immediately, I went apoplectic and damn near suicidal with fears of what next might crap out. I wanted to beat them to the punch and depart this world before they did because I JUST COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. Technology is not my my friend. Oh, who am I kidding? My nemesis is basically anything with moving parts. I probably have an Neanderthal ancestor who fretted when the fire burned out and poured out his guts on a cave wall.   

""How fire work? Oh, woe is Kronk."

Kronk Cherney, caveman blogger.

Of course as I post these thoughts online, the irony is just so very...over-bearing. And my angst? Over-dramatic, to say the least and the least said the better. Yes, I over-reacted as everything returned to what I considered normal and you can all just consider these the rantings and ravings of One Whiny Bitch. That's what they used to call Kronk.

Frankly, I just wanted my cable back. There was a bountiful feast of programs just waiting for me and I wanted to gorge since I finally had the time to do so. I got my greedy little wish and dove in head-first. I caught up on TREME, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, LOUIE, HOMELAND, SONS OF ANARCHY, DOCTOR WHO ( guest starring my buddy the great Mike McShane), HELL ON WHEELS to name just a few.

You have your choice of two quotes here.

Jimmy Kimmel at this year's Emmy telecast: "There's a lot of great stuff on. I'm going to have to go out less."
or
Woody Allen in ANNIE HALL: "And eventually, you grow old and die."

Both actually apply.

HONEY BOO BOO aside, this really is the Platinum Age of television. No longer the Vast Wasteland, unless you count Bravo and TLC, TV has it all over the movies these days and that pains me to even consider those words.

This is why I am so over the moon about BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD,  the brilliant first film from director Benh Zeitlin that has actually restored my faith in the future of cinema once again. This fanciful tale of the Louisiana bayou told through a child's eyes grabbed me from the first frame to the last, a near-perfect fusion of fantasy and reality. Its sultry atmosphere and dreamy ambiance just wrapped me up and transported me to another world in time and place. That's where cinema-GOOD cinema-has the upper hand over television. Zeitlin's is one of the finest debuts from an American filmmaker since Terrence Malick's BADLANDS back in the Seventies (a film I don't think Malick has exceeded). But BEASTS would be only half as good without the extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime performance from Quvenzhané Wallis as the fierce heroine Hush-Puppy. Forget Batman and all of The Avengers. Hush-Puppy is the true super-heroine of summer 2012. She is one fierce Beast.

The rest of the week included stops at Portland culinary destinations like Bunk Sandwiches and Chef Andy Ricker's Pok Pok knock-off, the Whiskey Soda Lounge. This latter featured Vietnamese bar food like those amazing fish sauce chicken wings as well as a dish called Miang Cham-chilies, ginger, peanuts, dried shrimp, lime, shallot and coconut all minced and wrapped up in a betel leaves. A one bite wonder.

To justify an annual membership fee, the week finished at the Portland Art Museum for the new show, The Body Beautiful, presented in conjeunction with the British Museum. The Body Beautiful is a collection of Greek and Roman art, much of it never seen before in the U.S. Yes, it's the kind of show that make you want to clap your hands together and chant "Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!" But as usual, what sticks in my craw (which is found right up my ass) is the General Public. At what point in time has it been acceptable to bring a camera or even use one's phone as such in a goddamn art museum? I don't want a bunch of rubes flashing their doo-dads like a spastic paparazzi when I'm trying to enjoy the fucking art. The Gossip Girls posing with the discus thrower just about made me lose my Miang Cham. Does everything have to be chronicled and documented instead of just experienced? (Yes, I'm blogging about it. Irony. Yeah, we already covered that. Move on.) What's next PAM...laser tag? Cameras in art museums, wham bam, no thank you, PAM.

And finally, the grand finale of the week was a personal triumph for your humble narrator. I actually did some damn writing that didn't involve blogging, posting or anything online. I finished the first draft of my next book, even rocked it old school by penning it all in long-hand. Now the real hard part begins as I move on to the next level by trying read my own scribbling. Does anybody know Sanscrit?

To the right is a visual clue about said future magnum opus.

Let me tell you something, my friends. Getting back to basics sure felt good. I'm actually kind of proud of myself for the first time in awhile.

And THAT was a good week off. Or as Cronk Cherney would have said:

"Beats working for living."
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