Monthly Maunder: October 2019

This month’s maunder comes courtesy of Red Metal of Extra Life Reviews, who I must once again thank for, if nothing else, offering up anther round of thought-provoking questions – this well of curiosity knows no bounds! This time the award is the Real Neat Blogger Award, which is…well…really neat! Having heard of many different such awards over the years, I must say that this one was new to me, and I most humbly accept it with the following answers to Red Metal’s questions.

1. Have you ever watched a film in theaters that featured an intermission?

Can’t say that I have. Are there movies that do this still? I can understand if something like Avengers: Endgame might have. Hell, I needed couple bathroom breaks at home with that one.

2. What is the most expensive ticket you’ve ever purchased?

The Lion King on Broadway. We simply couldn’t cheap out and see this one from the nosebleed section. We had to be somewhere on the floor with a good view of both center stage and the aisles. I was in grad school at the time, and we used a chunk of my loan money at the time to pay for our many-hundreds-of-dollars excursion. Totally worth it.

3. If you had to trade in fluency of your first language for another, which one would you choose?

French. Might be something of a pedestrian answer, but I took French for several years in high school/college, and I really enjoyed it. For whatever reason, I learned it fairly easily, and I still remember a lot of my old lessons with “Pierre & Mireille.” I’d not be able to pass it off today in any regard – the years away from it have taken their toll – but I can still read French reasonably well. I’ve thought about brushing up on it via online courses, but, y’know…life.

4. If you could appear on any game show (including ones that have ended), which one would you choose?

Press Your Luck. Man, I used to l-o-v-e that show! I remember watching a few episodes of its new version back when we had cable, but I would have had to be on it during its dorky 1980s run. Especially when I could have won a Trans Am! Big glasses, frizzy hair, oversized cardigan, that ginormous button, and no whammies, of course.

5. As someone who has watched many classics over the past few years, I’ve concluded that old films are overall better than recent efforts. What do you think the current generation of filmmakers lacks that allowed their predecessors to shine?

I’m not sure how to best answer this, and it probably doesn’t help that I don’t watch many movies these days, and the last one I saw was Avengers: Endgame. In trying to formulate an answer, part of me wants to compare Endgame with one of my all-time favorite movies, Arsenic and Old Lace. But that’s probably not fair. Neither is comparing their directors, the Russo brothers and Frank Capra, respectively. That also seems quite unfair. But maybe there’s an answer in the “why?” Why does it feel incredibly weird to compare a 1940s dark comedy to a recent blockbuster? They were both made in Hollywood by creative-types with visions. Why is it that it seems like Capra and the Russos don’t, or can’t, inhabit the same conversation? Their resumes have similar guts, after all. If there’s something to the “why,” it comes down to storytelling. If I’m being honest, I’m not watching Endgame for its story — triumph and loss is nothing new — I’m there for dazzling tech and cool CGI. With Arsenic and Old Lace, however, I’m there, from its first minute to its last, for the zany story and the characters that inhabit it. It seems that a lot of new movies just have crappy stories; or, they have great stories that are all mucked up with too much obnoxiousness, and nobody seems to care.

6. How do you like your eggs prepared?

Scrambled or hard-boiled. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I cannot stand runny yolks.

7. How do you like your potatoes prepared?

Steamed, chopped, and sautéed in lots of butter until the edges get brown and crispy. Season with salt and pepper. So good.

8. If you found yourself directing films, which genre would you want to specialize in?

Oh man, I’m pretty sure I’d be the worst director. But I guess I’d probably be okay with historical drama. That’s mostly because I think I’d enjoy the research that would be involved. And I’d make sure that all paper and handwriting was historically accurate. Why can no one ever get them right??

9. What is your favorite band/artist with a limited discography (i.e. no more than four studio albums)?

Janis Joplin. She released three albums before she died in 1970, and her last studio album, also my favorite, Pearl, came out a few months after her death. I adore everything about her – her voice, her energy, her charisma. And as insensitive as it might sound, I’m glad we didn’t see her reach old age. I don’t know that she would have aged very gracefully.

10. There are many stories over the years of projects or ideas never getting off the ground or being canceled mid-production. Which one would you bring into reality if you could?

Since I’m still on a Dark Crystal kick, I’ll go with The Power of the Dark Crystal. Some dozen years ago, there were rumors that the Henson Company was gearing up for this sequel to the original movie. I never heard anything more about it besides the rumors, and it was eventually re-crafted into a…uh…I think it was graphic novel(?) not too long ago. Anyway, I could not have been more excited at the time for a Dark Crystal sequel. Funding such might be a little moot today, but if I could, I so would.

11. What series do you feel managed to be consistently good for an extended period of time?

Yoshi. And yes, I did just finish playing Yoshi’s Crafted World, which I loved, and which is why this is so fresh in mind.  I mean, I never would have guessed that a green dinosaur from a Mario game would have ever found much traction beyond just being a green dinosaur in a Mario game, but here we are. The thing about it is that they’ve not really messed with Yoshi’s formula over the years, they just keep putting the clan in better and better games. Yoshi’s Crafted World is inventive, creative, beautiful, and enjoyable. And at its core, we’re still throwing eggs at enemies and reaching finish lines, just like we did years ago in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island.

So no individual nominations from me this time round, apologies there. Instead, I’ll go the route of nominating YOU! If you’re reading, it means you’re already a real neat blogger, which is a real neat thing! If you feel like doing so, throw up your answers to the following questions in the comment section. And thanks. Thanks for being a real neat person. 🤗 🧡

  1. You’re on-the-go, craving a warm beverage and a sweet treat. Where do you head?
  2. When writing by hand, pen or pencil?
  3. Of your preferred writing tool, do you have a favorite type, brand, style, etc?
  4. You have just purchased a plot of land on which you will build a magnificent city. What is the first thing you build?
  5. Favorite quick and easy weeknight meal?
  6. You’re ready to pull off the best heist of all-time and must put together your perfect team – what three folks do you choose? They can be real, fictional, or a combination thereof.
  7. Favorite free game?
  8. Looking up from your current digital device, what is the first thing you see?
  9. We all know that we can’t possibly live without our phones, but one is one piece of non-tech that you can’t live without? (i.e. My sunglasses. My eyes hate the sun.)
  10. Favorite musician of the past year?
  11. A prominent biographer is writing your life’s story – what is the book’s final sentence?

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