My hours have been sliding a bit at work recently (a recurring trend for me), so I've been doing (for instance) 2pm-10pm rather than 9am-5pm. That's not a problem job-wise, since I get a pretty free rein, and it's meant that I could do some upgrades when there are fewer people around. However, it does cut into my evening plans a bit.
I was intending to go to the gym for a cycling session tonight, so I dutifully went to bed (relatively) early last night so that I could be up early this morning. Unfortunately, this plan was scuppered when the burglar alarm went off in a supermarket on the other side of the road at about 1am. I had a look out of the window (not knowing exactly where the noise was coming from), and couldn't see any signs of criminal activity, so I went back to bed and hoped it would stop by itself. After about 10 minutes it was still going, and I wasn't having much luck ignoring it, so I got dressed and went out to investigate. Once I'd identified the shop in question, I called the local police station (on their non-emergency number) to report it; they wanted the exact address, so this is something that I needed to be outside for, rather than calling from my flat. Anyway, I gave them the info I had, along with my name/address/phone number, and they said that they probably wouldn't send a car out, but they'd try to contact the keyholder. I then went back to bed, and it did stop about 10 minutes later (flat battery?).
So, I didn't make it to the gym, but I did meet up with some friends to go and watch Nacho Libre at the cinema, which I enjoyed. It was a bit slow to start, but it got better as it went along, and had some very funny bits. (There's nothing after the credits, to save anyone waiting just for that.)
After my last trip to the Croydon cinema, things have improved - negligible queues at the snacks/ticket counter, and no annoying people talking on their phones during the film. Mind you, since I was expecting long queues, I wound up finishing my drink before I actually went into the film room, but never mind.
Before the film started, they had a few trailers:
Snakes on a Plane! I think this is a great concept, perfect in its simplicity. I've heard that the film itself may not be that good, but I want to like it, so I'm pretty sure I'll go to see it, if only to hear the line that they couldn't put in the trailer (as parodied in Dork Tower recently). That said, I'll also be interested to hear from other people who see it first (e.g. dwagon).
Little Man. No, no, and also "hell no". Not even if it was free.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I'm not sure about this one; it started out looking pretty bad, but the trailer got funnier as it went along ("feel the fear!"), so it may be worth watching.
Hot Fuzz. This looks pretty good - it's the same cast/writers as Shaun of the Dead (which I enjoyed), and the trailer was funny, so that bodes well. Mind you, it's not due out until next February (i.e. 6 months away), so it seems a bit early to be plugging it.
Speaking of trailers, I recently downloaded the teaser for Spider-Man 3 from the Apple website, which looks pretty good. I recognise a few of the plot points from the comics, and my only concern is that they might clutter the film with too many characters (one of the things that let Batman and Robin down).
That all dovetails neatly into my next point - I think that there is a certain overlap between wrestling and superheroes, in that masked wrestlers are probably the closest thing to costumed heroes/villains in our world. There have been a few wrestlers appearing in superhero stories (using the term loosely) - there were a bunch of them in an episode of Angel, and another one in a couple of issues of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. I'm not planning to start watching wrestling on TV, but it's probably useful to know a bit about it, so I've been reading Paul O'Brien's posts on that subject over at If Destroyed, Still True (he also writes the X-Axis comic reviews each week). The key point in American wrestling seems to be that everyone now recognises it as fake, so it's more like a sitcom with bad actors, where you can speculate on how the storyline will develop.
Speaking of comics, I was chatting to people earlier about some origin stories for superheroes/supervillains. A lot of these are a bit tenuous (by necessity), but some of them are pretty stupid even by the standards of their time. For instance, radioactivity has been established as a standard way to get superpowers, even if that doesn't quite work in the real world. Now consider The Whizzer: he gained the ability to run at super-speed when he received a blood transfusion from a mongoose. Not a radioactive mongoose, just a normal one. However, even he has to take second place to Black Condor... Taking analogies, Mowgli was raised by wolves, so he learnt to hunt. Tarzan was raised by apes, so he learnt to climb trees. This guy was raised by condors, so he learnt to fly! ("And leap, and stretch!") I think this may be one reason why I enjoyed the film tonight - I'm quite good at suspending my disbelief when appropriate...
On a related note, there was a good newsgroup post I read recently, summarising plot points from the X-Men comic: "So, Jean is about 25 (and currently dead for about the 4th time), has never been pregnant, and has three children, her 30 something son Nate Summers, his teenage identical twin Nate Grey, and her 20 year old daughter Rachel Summers (30 something Nate's older sister)."
Finally, coming back to films, the Disney channel have been plugging their new film recently: High School Musical (the basic premise seems similar to Grease). The film itself will be shown sometime soon, but in the meantime they're trying to persuade people to buy the soundtrack from Amazon/iTunes/their own website. The annoying thing is that one of the songs has got stuck in my head, but because I've only heard about 10 seconds of it, it's on a pretty short loop! So, I may wind up having to buy that song and/or watch the film, just to get a bit more variety. Yes, I know I suck :) Actually, it's one of these odd cases where I can pick holes in something while still enjoying it (despite myself). For instance, this particular song (We're all in this together), contains the line "Everyone is special in their own way". Compare and contrast to the son in The Incredibles: "If everyone is special then no-one is". This film also apparently has the dilemma of the lead male character being forced to choose between playing basketball and being in the musical, when he'd like to do both. I'd like to see a film where the gym coach says something like "Hey, if you want to play basketball, that's great, and I'll put you in the team. If you'd rather sing, that's fair enough, and I'll come along to watch you - nothing wussy about that. But you can't do both, because there just aren't enough hours in the day, so you won't be able to turn up for all the practice sessions, and you have to do your schoolwork too." Still, it's a pretty catchy song, and I have very little shame when it comes to my musical tastes.
Anyway, bedtime for me now, so that I can go swimming on time tomorrow evening.