The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posted by Matt on January 21, 2010

I’m baaaaaack.

The trip was interesting. Don’t know how much I participated in the things the conference was about (I went to a few of the presentations, and had to sit through the last half of the big final meeting where the press group’s constitution was amended. I essentially voted yes on everything, not giving a damn. Not that most of that was all that important, nor would my vote have swayed the decision either way). I heard some interesting things, though, and met some of the staff of other newspapers, who were fun to talk to and hang out with.

Edmonton is a pretty great place, and it was made better by the unusually warm weather. We didn’t do much while there, but I did drive through the city center (seeing the variety of local stores, clubs, architecture, etc.) We went to some comic stores, too. I’d never been to the really big nerd clubhouses that I’ve read about on the various comics blogs, and these met all the expectations that I had set for them. Big, with a huge variety of comics and trades, filled with unusual merchandise and old action figures. I now understand the glory and the awfulness of them. More of the former, though, but only because I had never been there before, I’m sure. Got some books I wanted (including one of the annoyingly unavailable X-Force/X-Statix trades), so the trips were overall very profitable.

Of course, there was the prerequisite trip to the West Edmonton Mall, which is every bit as large, glorious, and scary as I seen. To sound completely confusing, it both felt larger and smaller than I imagined. I mean, it’s really huge, and filled with many a thing. We traversed it in a few hours, although we didn’t see absolutely everything. We did, however, see lemurs, who lived in a habitat not far from the aquarium and Columbus ship recreation. That was completely unexpected, and amusing. Lemurs!

It was good to see the thing from the inside finally, after 10 years. Now I will have a bit more experience with it to help some of my ideas (one of which involves the mall, or a reasonable facsimile).

So yes, I had fun going out of town, aside from the long, claustrophobic car trip.

****************
Watched all of the first season of Mighty Boosh now. It isn’t quite as consistently good as the next two series, as it was still finding its footing and doesn’t have all the main cast developed (Bollo was only a bit player), and some of the stuff in it felt like half-baked versions of what would later be developed. But the comedy is still there, and many of the episodes are pretty great, and it has characters sadly absent from later series (Bob Fossil, who does make a comeback in series 3, and Matt Berry as Dixon Brainbridge, a truly great villain/asshole). My favorite episode is probably ‘Jungle’ (which features another one of Rich Fulcher’s insane characters who gave me probably the biggest laugh of all 8 episodes), although they are all pretty good, overall (especially in the last half).

It’s also probably the least frightening of all three series, although it’s strangeness is still in full-force. So if ‘Eels’ gives you nightmares, I can tell you there’s probably nothing here that will have the same effect (maybe ‘Charlie’).

Now I feel complete.

****************
A wrestling-loving friend of mine recently showed me Ring of Honor videos. As a promotion, I think it’s a pretty nice alternative to the big guns. It’s incredibly low-tech, and seems like an indie league with better lighting. But the wrestling is good, the wrestlers sell their gimmicks incredibly well, and Jim Cornette! So yeah, the examples I saw left me with good impressions on the whole thing.

Here’s the thing about wrestling: It’s carnival entertainment that often appeals to the lowest common denominator. But it can be fun, especially when you get some guys who create good cartoon personas for themselves and know how to keep a fake fight interesting. Basically, I see it in the same way I see kaiju movies: they are a silly good time that often appeals to the side of me that likes colourful characters beating up each other.

That said, most of modern wrestling is problematic. The WWE has no clue what it’s doing anymore, making dumb decision after dumb decision, wasting talent, having its flaws (including certain personalities being favoured over others for blatant and stupid reasoning) and now facing an avalanche of bad PR because of the ever-growing list of dead wrestlers. However, at least they show some sign of competence compared to the only real big budget rival in town, TNA, who have bought off many great people, have some promising performers, but who can’t do anything write. Wasting time with backstage story filler, including nonsensical gimmicks (even during non-gimmick matches), and having a large number of boring or confusingly short matches. It’s a train wreck, and even as someone who knows wrestling only from a peripheral view, I can tell that.

And that’s why ROH is kind of a breath of fresh air. It’s straight-up wrestling, and it gives the viewers what they want. It seems able to draw the most entertainment from this often bloated redneck industry.

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