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Sunday, August 30, 2020


Older and no wiser: the long-awaited and most welcome return of Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reevs) Theodore Logan.

Just finished watching BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC, and I found it to be considerably superior to the second entry in the series, BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY (1991), a film that is not without its supporters. And before we get to the review, the original BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (1989) is still the best of the unintentional but very much a trilogy. This current entry brings everything full circle, and who of us who saw the original when it came out would have expected a return to our heroes some 31 years later?

The film finds our hapless heroes, still brought to life by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves — who slide back into the roles effortlessly — racing against the clock to simultaneously acquire the song that will unite humanity and save an unraveling universe, while also seeking to prevent their wives — 15th century princess, remember — from leaving them. Meanwhile, their daughters and female doppelgangers, Billie and Thea — they named their daughters after each other — go off on a trans-temporal adventure of their own as they assemble a band to play the song that their fathers are destined to craft, and in the process they set up "Bill & Ted: The Next Generation," should there be more of these.

 Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine): the next generation of time travelers?

Winter and Reeves return to their old characters deftly, having not lost a single step, and William Sadler returns as Death, reprising the role that was easily the best thing about BOGUS JOURNEY. Billie and Thea are basically Bill & Ted reborn as girls and they both work as distaff duplicates of their fathers, so they would be welcome if the torch is passed to them. Brigette Lundy-Paine is a standout as Billie, thanks to her nailing everything when it comes to a new embodiment of Reeves's Ted. She nails his manner of speech and his body language to an uncanny degree, and I would love to see more of her in the role. We also get Billie and Thea assembling an eclectic crew to travel through time with, including Jimi Hendrix, Luis Armstrong, Mozart, and others. It's a loony, convoluted mess that's a hoot to sit through, and it ends with quite and unexpected twist, actually...

There are no gags that went nowhere like in the previous film — one word: "Station," though station does briefly return as a nod to what came before — and the whole film is just a much-needed feel-good movie for this dire era. It's amusing on its own, but I think a lot of whether or not the viewer will enjoy it will be based on how much the viewer is already a Bill & Ted fan.

Bottom line: BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC is just what we need right now, and I feel good for having sat through it. If I had seen it in the theater at full price, I would have exited satisfied and in a good mood.

Lastly, illegal "party favors" are recommended for full enjoyment. Trust me on that one!

Poster for the theatrical release. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

RICK BAKER: METAMORPHOSIS Vol. 1: 1950-1989 Vol. 2: 199-2019

Though I've had it since just after my birthday, I have finally sat down (during dialysis) and begun reading special effects makeup legend Rick Baker's enormous and comprehensive two-volume autobiography, METAMORPHOSIS.

Straight-up the most expensive book I have ever purchased as a new edition, this tome is worth its weight in gold to Baker's fans, something I have counted myself as since the 1970's, and upon cracking it open and thumbing through it I felt like I had not spent a dime. This an exhaustive retrospective that stuns with every page, providing candid info on Baker's career, straight from the man himself, warts and all.

I brought Volume One with me to dialysis and began reading; introductions from frequent collaborator John Landis and director/fanboy Peter Jackson were heartfelt, but I was riveted from page 1 of Baker's recollections, beginning with his childhood years of encouragement from parents who pretty much allowed him to turn their little house into a makeup effects lab (his dad was a frustrated artist of considerable talent whose parents did not think being an artist was a real job), chronicling his teen years and early gigs (including working on GUMBY and DAVEY AND GOLIATH), then on to his first meeting with mentor and effects makeup god Dick Smith, followed by chapters on the making of OCTAMAN and SCHLOCK and other low-budget fare before being tapped to do makeup effects for the eighth James Bond film, LIVE AND LET DIE. Right now I'm absorbing his account of his time serving as Dick Smith's assistant on THE EXORCIST, and while I thought I knew pretty much everything about making of that film, I somehow never knew Baler had been involved, as the (deserved) lion's share of the kudos went to Smith.

I cannot wait to resume reading, as what have read so far made the 3.5 hours of dialysis just fly by. In short: If you can spare the hefty price, order your copy before it goes out print and becomes an even pricier collector's item. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.

Monday, August 10, 2020


Yesterday's all-day trip to the inner and outer regions of reality and existence did me a lot of good, both psychologically and physically. It gave the coughing time in which to get itself mostly out of my system while I lay on my super-comfy futon with comforters, stark naked, listening to my favorite psychedelic classics while incense fumes clouded the air.

Medical edibles are indeed the way to go, as yesterday's cubes opened my mind to a degree that allowed me to objectively contemplate all of my current situations and their relative insignificance when weighed against the universe as a whole. My problems amount to naught on the cosmic scale, and that is the lesson. I must deal with the here and now and handle my health situations as best as I can, but in the end it will all be nothing more than just another happenstance in life that will eventually be forgotten as the universe continues. Though I will fight to maintain my health, I have no fear of death, as that is inevitable anyway, so while I am here and going through this journey, I must center and find a place of calm, which I am working on on a daily basis.

It's all a cosmic adventure within my own body and mind, and even with the negative aspects of what I am enduring, it's still kind of cool to find out and understand just how much I can take. The journey continues...

Friday, August 07, 2020


Okay, kids, it's Serious Illness Story time!!!

One of the many, many fun things that I am discovering on my Stage 3 kidney failure journey is that the condition adversely affects one's bathroom functions...

You can guess where this story is going from that sentence, so feel free to stop here. You have been given fair warning.

For the past few days I have been semi-constipated but thought littler of it, as I had been eating light meals consisting mostly of Special K Red Berries cereal, until last night's Indian curry takeout meat, upon which I gorged shamelessly. I figured the fiber of the cereal and the assorted aspects of Indian cuisine would eventually team-up and open the sluices, so it was only a matter of time. Thus it was that I put it out of my mind.

Fast-forward to an hour ago, when I decided to finally drop off a massive month's worth of laundry at my local laundromat, so, I wrestled my overloaded granny cart down the stairs from my second floor apartment, a task that tested muscles that had lain fallow since the start of the pandemic and the closure of my gym. I wheeled the beast to the laundromat and hefted it out of the cart, which was basically a deadlift exercise with an improvised 60-pound kettlebell. That task also worked my muscles, particularly my core, and I felt the effect. I also wheeled the now-empty cart to the pharmacy and picked up my long-overdue meds. (While there I could not resist chatting up the always super-cute Latina who's been my favorite staffer there for years. She's utterly lovely and a total bombshell — who knows it — so I had to let her know that the jeans she was wearing today were absolutely her best friend. She smiled and simply said, "Hey, as long as I look good in them!")

I then made my way back toward home, but first I had to hit the Associated for a handful of items needed to facilitate tomorrow's kitchen endeavors. Nothing major, just some cooking oil, a couple of disposable aluminum pans, and some containers for fridge storage.

It was during my shopping that I suddenly felt the unmistakable sense of urgency, that signal that screamed "It's almost time for "BOMBS AWAY!!!", so as I paid for my items I debated whether to use the store's restroom or wait until I got home, which was just around the corner, not far at all. Common sense won out, as I could feel the contents of my arse cannon fighting a losing battle to remain within me. (At one point I could swear I felt fudge began to emerge, but, fortunately, I was just being presumptive due to my gastric anguish.) I asked the cashier, who has known me for years, if I could use the restroom. She gave me the green light, so I ran to the back, through the hanging partition and into where the loading into the basement took place, and attempted to enter the lavatory.

It's knob was broken and thus it was quite solidly locked.

I tight-arsed it back to the cashier, in agony, and explained the situation, so I was directed to ask the manager if I could use the can in the basement. I Found him and got approval (he too has known me for the past 23 years), so I flew down the stairs into the active basement, where loading and unloading of stock was going on, and made a beeline to the restroom.

I made it inside with not a moment to spare. In fact, it was so close, I swore I had a torpedo emerging from the firing bay before I had my pants down.

The resulting defecation was of such a tremendous, torturous scale, I felt like I was a priest committing a sacrifice to Sterculius, the Roman god of feces. If such were the case, the deity would be most pleased, as my offering was indeed mighty. A veritable edifice of of stored-up dooky that sat in the secret, underworld space's once-innocent porcelain receptacle in the supermarket that has served me so well in other ways for so many years. So impressive was this effort, that I thought I might have to battle it down the bowl with the nearby plunger as the water overflowed, but I thankfully did not have to endure such an indignity and the newly-minted temple of excremental wonder was accepted into Sterculius's hall of fecal fame with eagerness.

After an effort that was a profane parody of childbirth, I sat on the bowl in a genuine state of physical exhaustion. Is this what I can expect from Stage 3 kidney failure? If so, I need to be more aware and time such happenings with care. I was so drained (literally), I almost fell off of the seat.

I finally collected myself and felt much better, only to find that the only available toilet paper was two rolls, both of which had reached nearly their ass-end. I had the absolute bare minimum  of paper with which to finish the ceremony, but at least I had just enough.

Upon making my way back above ground and out of the rear of the store, I earnestly thanked the manager and the cashier and made my way home. where I collapsed for a while and reflected. The ride is for free, but is it worth it?