Sunday, May 17, 2015

5 x 5 miscellania: My sister sent me Gumby & Pokey

1. As I have mentioned before on this blog, my sisters will often send me gifts of a geekish nature for any reason or no reason at all. A week or so ago, I received a package from Older Older Sister. The note inside read Found these in a closet - think they were for you. Along with the note were new Gumby & Pokey Action figures. I was a big fan of these clay-animation characters and it brought back a lot of good memories to see them again. So, thanks, Sis!

2. I was lucky enough to be around for the original (1953-1968) Art Clokey series, when it was at its anarchic and surrealistic finest.  I was always a bigger fan of Pokey than Gumby, actually; Gumby was a little too enthusiastically intrepid and opportunistic, and I liked Pokey's grumbling, hoof-dragging compliance. (This preference may be a function of the same set of values that puts me in that small minority who think Ferris Bueller was a jerk, not a hero.) When I learned on Gumbyworld that Gumby and Pokey are pals only because Gumby saved Pokey's life, well, let's say that put a lot about that relationship into clearer perspective.

3. I actually had a Pokey figure back when I was a kid, but not a Gumby.  Pokey was obviously my preferred choice, but it was the Gumby figure that had accessories like space helmets and cowboy hats, which Pokey couldn't use, since Gumby's head is flat laterally and Pokey's head is flat end-on. Such are the vicissitudes of childhood predilections.

4. In November 1984, Omni magazine ran an article about dreams and sleep in which it was suggested that leaving Gumby cartoons on while falling asleep might encourage lucid dreaming (dreams that the dreamer can control) because of its modeling of a moldable, controllable reality to your unconscious mind. I tried it a few times back then; I never exerienced lucid dreaming but I did have some wild trips.

5. Apparently, an unofficial motto of the United States Marine Corps is Semper Gumby, which they translate as Always Flexible, a somewhat light-hearted nod to the value placed on responsiveness and resourcefulness expressed in other more martial mantras such as Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome. The use of the phrase dates back to 1984, which sorta makes sense, in the scheme of things.

Anyway, thanks gain, Sis. Here's a closing shot of Gumby and Pokey doing what comes naturally - interacting with weird little aspects of the real world in weird way.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5 x 5 Movie review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

1. Wonder Wife and I made sure to watch this latest Avengers movie between episode 2.19 and episode 2.20 of the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The integration was seamless. Seam. Less. Is this the future? To get the whole story, I will need to participate in several simultaneous narrative streams?

2. Why does Marvel Studios get that the Avengers, and Captain American especially, would care about civilians becoming collateral damage, while DC Entertainment has Superman engaging in battle in the middle of a town or city with hardly a concern for the locals? Has anyone at DCE ever even read a comic?

3. Nice to see lots of faces from the supporting casts of all the different movies; the two missing Women were lampshaded amusingly.

4.  I know that I have said this in other review, but why does every battle have to be so big and so loud and so chaotic ALL THE TIME?! The rise of CGI has taken the constraints off some aspects of filmmaking, and constraints generate creativity. Now, all the action is quick cuts and confusing perspectives, incomprehensible and unengaging, particularly when held in contrast to the quieter, character-directed bits, which were actually quite good.

5. I do not 'ship Natasha and Bruce, not one little bit.