Monday, February 20, 2006

Bird Strike! and "Pride and Prejudice"

’91 Honda Rustbucket – 1
Adult Red-Tailed Hawk – 0

After I finished with my second church of the morning (which went very well, stayed awake and all sermons were good, although the Kossuth Street pastor was out of town for a family emergency. See last post if you have no idea what I’m talking about), I went to lunch at Earhart (made to order chocolate-chip pancakes!) and gave Blue (Rebecca) a ride back to McCutcheon. On the way there, we were going about 35mph on State Street and all of a sudden BAM!, something HIT MY CAR. Even scarier; it hit the upper left corner of my windshield, so there was no way to see it coming through the roof of the car and was right in front of me. In a flash of brown it was gone and we were confused out of our minds. Blue was looking out the window as I parked in front of McCutcheon and determined that it must have been a bird that hit us. When we walked back to the site, we found a Papa Johns delivery guy on the phone with the DNR and standing over a Red-Tailed Hawk on the side of the road. As soon as he told them where to find it, he left to go deliver his pizzas while we stood there and looked at it. The good news is that it ended up right next to the curb, so there wasn’t much danger of more cars hitting it as they drove by (and of course we weren’t going to move it even if it was in the middle of the road, because you just don’t touch birds, especially birds of prey). It was obviously quite hurt, although there weren’t any gaping wounds visible or a lot of blood (just a few drops out of the beak). By the time the DNR guy showed up about a half hour later, the bird had breathed its last. He put on some special gloves, and after checking to make sure it was dead he picked it up and gave it a little examination. He said that neither of its wings were broken, and there were no apparent wounds (like I mentioned before), so we’re guessing it broke its neck on impact with my car. It was an absolutely beautiful adult specimen and he thought they might stuff it for display at a state park or something (makes me sad that it’s illegal to own feathers or other parts of raptors unless they are for a religious purpose, because I would have loved to have one of those feathers). Why it hit my car, I don’t know; maybe it was sick or messed up in the head or didn’t notice us coming as it dove for some prey. For all I know we might have just saved the life of one of our precious Purdue squirrels…

My busy evening went well, although I’m going to miss being able to stay for more than the first half hour of action group because I have to leave early for my Freiburg meeting at 8pm. Judging from the way we interacted as a team last night, I get the feeling that spending spring break overseas with that group should be, shall we say, interesting (and I mean that in a good/hilarious way). We still haven’t had much chance to get to know people, but I can tell people are picking up on the usual Chip-Fack-Pauline-Me banter really fast.

On the way back from Prayer & Praise I was able to share less-than-popular opinion with the ARK (Amy-Ruth-Kathy) girls on our entertainment Friday night. As a bit of background, for a period of several months they’ve been twisting the arms of Eddie, JChen, and I into seeing Pride and Prejudice with them and it was showing Friday night at Fowler. So after Cru a large group of us found ourselves scattered around the theater attempting to follow fast-paced Old English dialogue. After the movie got done Amy spent the ride from Fowler over to Harrison Grille attempting to pry my opinion of the movie out of me, but I would only say that I wanted to think about it before I said anything. It would be safe to say that my thoughts, when I finally shared them Sunday night, didn’t go over very well. In brief summary (and I suspect largely due to the attempt to translate such a large novel/6-hr BBC series into a 2-hr film, but it’s entirely possible the novel also suffers from the same problems, I can only speak for the movie because it’s all I’ve seen/read and should be evaluated as such):

  1. Because of the large amounts of events/details/subplots going on in the highly complex storyline and the lack of clear connections between all of them, the plot as a whole seemed convoluted or, at times, downright schizophrenic.
  2. Apparently the movie is supposed to span a series of several months (or longer), but there is no clear sense of the passage of time. Apart from a very rare mention in the dialogue that someone’s been somewhere for a month or similar time marker, there’s no way to tell if a scene is separated from the next by a matter of hours, days, weeks, or longer.
  3. The love story itself, which is apparently the main focus of all this chaos, feels about as believable as that of Anakin and Padme/Amidala in Episode II (Star Wars). For those of you unversed with that movie, it is notorious for going from him as brooding, moody teenager obsessed with her and her barely tolerating him to them both wildly in love (and he’s still a brooding, moody teenager) without any visible movement from one to the other (the only scenes that make the love subplot even remotely believable can only be found in the “Deleted Scenes” section of the DVD, but I digress). Pride and Prejudice felt largely the same way.

On a more technical note, the mixing of the music/dialogue was often done in such a way as to have the music partially drowning out the dialogue so that it was even more difficult to follow than it would otherwise have been (I can understand spoken Old English just fine, if I can hear it (actually, it's not technically "Old" English, but a relatively early form of Modern English)).

The responses the girls offered to my reasons for saying I didn’t care for it essentially boiled down to “well, you should watch the 6-hr BBC version/read the book.” But, as Tiller so aptly pointed out the other night, I wasn’t asked to evaluate the BBC version or the book, I was asked my opinion of the movie. If to understand or appreciate a film, one must consult a rendering 3x as long or a novel that would take even longer to read, one can conclude that the film cannot stand on its own and is therefore only “poor” at best. Granted, the other sources can be used to enhance one’s understanding/appreciation (as it did for the ARK girls to the point that they were able to fill in all the discrepancies mentioned earlier without even thinking about it), but a movie simply must be able to stand on its own merit.

As a humorous side note before I leave the topic, when I mentioned to my Mom on Saturday that they’d twisted our arms into going, she said she wished she’d known in advance so she could strongly admonish us not to go because it’s “too much of a chick flick.” Even funnier, when I mentioned that comment to the ARK girls, they immediately attempted to argue that because it comes from a piece of “great” literature, it doesn’t count as a chick flick! (an argument that flies in the face of the definitions of “chick flick” provided by Wikipedia (where it is even listed as a specific example of the genre), Encarta, the Cambridge Dictionary Online, and is regarded as such by my Mom, Tiller, Natalie Samples, both of my roommates, Amy Chen, Rebecca, and others).

And now for a shout-out to Rebecca and Amy Chen, who just paid me a completely random visit here at the AvTech Library (I’m at work) while I was typing this. Just one more thing to add onto an already good day (you know, when your first two classes of the day are cancelled so you don’t actually have anything until 1:30, it makes for a very relaxing start to the day).

In other news, a friend of mine has the first season of Hogan’s Heroes, a classic TV show from the same era as Gilligan’s Island on DVD and I’ve been working my way through it. I used to watch it when I was little and they had it on daytime TV, but I hadn’t seen it in years and had forgotten just how funny it was. Yeah, let me know if you want to join me for an episode or two sometime.

Ok, time to get some actual work done around the library and then meet Chris Rausch for dinner…


At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

You're lucky you weren't in a plane, because then you would have to file a report with the FAA and become part of a statistic people like me study.

And yes, I can't say I am likely to ever watch Pride and Prejudice again. *dodges rotten fruit*

As a side note, remind me to tell you about one of my envir. ethics prof's favorite arguments against utilitarianism (ie, the action which produces the greatest total good is the right action) if I don't go and tell you before you remind me (although I have a sneaking susupicion I'll be posting a lovely explanation of it on my blog in short order as I made the late-night mistake of eating some SweeTarts and getting a small sugar buzz).

At 1:30 AM, Blogger Edgar said...

I went to see Pride & Prejudice on Saturday night with some of the Earhart girls, and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. As soon as it hits DVD, it will be added to my collection. I guess you just lack the refined gene :).

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

Ok, new rule for anyone wanting to add their comments on the movie to this discussion: you have to say what, if any, previous experience you have with the story. So if you've read the book or seen the 6-hr BBC version, say so because I want to understand where you're coming from.

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

Ooh... we should do a Hogan's Heroes marathon sometime. I miss watching that show.

"I see nuthing, NUTHING!" ;o)

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

Previous experience with the story: have seen the 6-hour BBC version.

Bone to pick: If you do not watch Chick flicks (as they apparently have schizophrenic plots and completely unbelievable love stories), then how is it you can bear to watch The Princess Bride and rate it as a good movie worth watching? Since by all your technical definitions, it qualifies as a "Chick Flick"?

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

Beware the temptation to make unfair generalizations.
1. The specific objections I provided (the convoluted plot, lack of sense of scale with regard to time, and less-than-believable love story) were applied specifically to the movie in question, not to the genre of “chick flicks” as a whole.
2. No where in the post did I disparage the chick flick genre (there are some good ones, but a little goes a long way). The specific comment made by my Mom and later Amy Chen (with Rebecca agreeing) was that this was “too much” of a chick flick for our collective tastes.
3. To say “The Princess Bride” is a representative example of the chick flick genre (as you seem to claim) is like saying “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail” is representative of Hollywood’s interpretations of the story of King Arthur. I would probably classify it as more of a spoof of chick flicks than an actual member of the genre.
4. To clarify: the reason I provided definitions of the term was to counter the downright silly claim that “Pride and Prejudice” shouldn’t be considered a chick flick at all.

I am enjoying that we are finally getting some discussion on here, so please offer your thoughts if you've seen the movie.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger TilleR said...

Well I am going to do what you should have come to expect: I'm going to offer my thoughts having NOT seen the movie! It looks like CRAP. I don't like girly movies, girly movies are for girly men (and girls). I think I'll just go watch "The 13th Warrior" or "Godfather" or something else that's cool! Maybe "Oceans 11", or one of the seasons of "Dukes Of Hazard" (I have all 5 seasons on DVD!).


At 8:51 PM, Blogger kathy said...

I object!
My dad watches the occasional chick flick (even on his own) and he is in no way a "girly man".

At 12:14 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

While I do not any way like Tiller's comments on the movie (specifically since he has not seen it and therefore does not have a valid opinion about it), I have to respect someone who has all 5 seasons of the Dukes of Hazzard on DVD. Long live the General Lee!

At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Amy Chen said...

*sobs loudly* The first paragraph about the bird was so incredibly sad! (Especially the way you described the whole situation.) I'm so sorry I ever laughed at the incident! *sobs uncontrollably*

Ok, now moving on to "P and P." My experience: read the book, seen the BBC version, and saw the movie. Overall, I have mixed feelings about the movie. I loved the book and BBC version. But you have to take into account that I did those things when I was going through the emotional roller coasters of pre-teen/teen times, so anything that's sappy and romantic probably suited my tastes. So, seeing this version and being a lot grown up now :) I saw the negative sides of the movie. I totally understand why you, a facial-haired, burly, bear of a man :) wouldn't like it. And lastly, why does it not surprise me that Edgar "thoroughly enjoyed" it? :o)


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