Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Voyage Into Bay Style Explosions

It has been an exceedingly long while since I've featured the world's most egotistical director, so here we are...

Lunatic Director Announces New Project; Reporters Sigh In Dismay

Los Angeles (AP) Reporters were summoned this week to the production offices of Digital Domain in Playa Vista, L.A., for a new announcement made by the company’s resident self-described cinematic genius. Some of those reporters were real reporters, sent on this assignment by cranky editors with grudges who hated them (editor: shut up!). Others were of the entertainment reporter variety, each of them vacant headed twits who were gushing to themselves as they arrived at the facility, speculating on what big announcement might be in store.

As the real reporters and the entertainment reporters gathered in the facility auditorium, this reporter felt the oncoming of a headache (editor: I hope it’s a brain tumour, you smirking bastard!) at the idea of being stuck with so many entertainment reporters to take in yet another announcement from the most egomaniacal film director of them all (editor: hey! He’s a humble guy!) This reporter would also like to point out that his editor is particularly mean spirited, with that brain tumour remark, and that his editor is the subject of a restraining order preventing him from being in the same building as this reporter (editor: and someday I’ll figure out a way past that restraining order and you’ll get what’s coming).

This reporter would further like to point out that his editor is unwise to write threats in the form of editorial notes into publicized reports (editor: shut up!). Now then, the real reporters and the entertainment reporters had all gathered together in the auditorium. As usual, the entertainment reporters were gossiping among themselves as to what might be announced. The real reporters were checking their watches and wondering how long this nonsense might take. A spokeswoman came out on stage, where a podium had been set up, with a full length mirror beside it. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention?” she called out. “Give it up for the greatest cinematic genius of all time… Michael…. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

The entertainment reporters broke out into rapturous applause. This reporter wondered what the point was to dragging out Bay’s surname like that. And Bay himself came out on stage. As usual, he had that same demented grin, the same delirious look in his eyes. As always, his hair was disheveled and he was bearing three days of stubble. And as usual, he was dressed fairly casually- jeans and a denim shirt. He waved to the crowd, came up to the podium, winked at himself in the mirror, and faced the crowd.

“Hello!” he called out. “It’s great to see you! And it’s great that you’re seeing me!” He grinned again, totally oblivious to the contempt and dismayed sighs from real reporters, drinking in the adulation of the entertainment reporters. “You know, I’ve got a lot going on. Projects that are occupying my attention. And yet there’s always room for more. And it occurred to me the other night. I had one of those nights I occasionally get where I have insomnia. So I’m sitting up, watching television, and there’s this show on. Something I’m sure you’ve all seen before. A lighthearted romp on the ocean, big guest stars every week, romantic adventures, character comedy with the regular cast. So I realized, hey… why not adapt it into a blockbuster film? Which is why I’m already planning the epic adaptation of… wait for it! The Love Boat!”

The entertainment reporters broke out into more applause. Bay grinned and laughed, soaking in their approval, looking all the more like a demented buffoon. The real reporters shook their heads. The television series, having had aired for nine seasons from 1977-1986, was hardly the sort of thing that could adapt well to the big screen. Romantic pairings on a cruise? Pure fluff of a past era in a present day that had long since outgrown cruise liners? How would you even begin to weave a film out of that? And especially in the style of Michael Bay, who was addicted to explosions, Aerosmith tunes, bikini clad women waxing cars, noise, peril, and excess? (editor: shut up! Michael Bay is a great director!)

“Are you serious?” this reporter asked, having had already decided this whole announcement was a waste of his time. (editor: you’re a waste of my time!)

“Of course I am! Why do people keep asking me that?” Bay asked, seeming confused.

“Well, a romantic melodrama hardly seems like your typical sort of film,” a Reuters reporter noted.

“That’s right. Which is why I have to add a few things in,” Bay admitted. “Now it all starts out seemingly like you’d expect in the television series. A passenger ship in the Pacific taking on passengers for a luxury cruise. Random people seemingly drawn together. Romantic moments. At least until it’s revealed that one of them is a mad bomber and there’s a hurricane headed right for the ship, and icebergs being thrown around, and sharks in the water and all sorts of big moments and peril. So without further ado, let’s start giving it up for the cast I’ve already signed up. First, we have to have the stoic and noble captain, the big man himself. Now in the television series, his name was Merrill Stubing. That’s not going to fly in a Michael Bay movie if you ask me. I mean, what kind of name is Merrill? So we’re changing his first name to Mark. Anyway, that’s beside the point. Ladies and gentlemen, give a hand to one of my favourite actors, Mr. Nicolas Cage!”

Cage stumbled out on stage, waving a bottle of scotch as he drunkenly strode towards Bay. The entertainment reporters cheered. “Hello! Thanks for coming out!” This reporter wondered if Cage had ever considered that he might be a full blown alcoholic. The actor took his place by Bay.

“Now then, the series had the captain’s daughter as part of the regular cast,” Bay continued. “And so it will be with this film. Playing Vicki Stubing, an ever reliable member of the crew, give it up for Megan Fox!”

Fox stepped out on stage, looking her usual way- a black mini-dress with low cut cleavage. There were cheers and cat calls from the entertainment reporters, and Fox smiled, drinking in the attention. Then she took her place with Cage and Bay.

Bay carried on. “And playing a new role, a young Navy SEAL veteran who’s trying to get past seeing his two best friends get run over by a Macy’s Christmas parade float… another of my favourite actors, Mr. Shia LaBeouf!”

Now it was LaBeouf who came out on stage, waving to the crowd, smiling. “Hello! Shia is happy to see you! Thank you for coming! Shia approves!” He walked up to the others, still grinning like an idiot. This reporter wondered if brain damage was a factor (editor: I’d like to give you brain damage, you twit!).

Bay nodded. “I’m still busy casting other roles, but I do have one more cast member to introduce to you. He’s a guy I haven’t worked with before, but he’s got just the energy I need for a vital member of the crew. He’s going to be playing the wise bartender Isaac Washington… ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Ice Cube!”

The sometime rapper and sometime actor stepped out on stage, looking uncertain. He took in the crowd, shrugged, and said, “okay, working with this guy was a bit of an impulsive thing to do. I figure, what’s the worst that can happen?”

“The end of your career?” this reporter asked.

“That’s a funny joke!” Bay said with a laugh. “Now then, we’re going to get busy on this film. I mean, when I’ve got all the other films in the pipeline done. We’re talking sunset views, romantic moments, babes in bikinis waxing… well, there’ll have to be something substituting for sports cars, because you can’t really race sports cars around on a cruise ship. We’re talking Aerosmith coming in and doing a theme song. We’re talking about explosions and peril and a sinking ship and rogue waves and sharks in the water and a menacing iceberg and…”

“Has anyone told you you’re insane?” this reporter asked.

Bay seemed confused. “Why would anyone think that? That’s all the time we’ve got today. Look for Doom On The Love Boat coming sometime in the future to a theatre near you! Thanks for everything!”

With that, Bay and the cast walked off. The gathering started to break up, with the entertainment reporters buzzing amongst themselves over the story. This reporter found the idea of rogue waves more appealing than editor-mandated assignments covering the narcissism of a twit (editor: I swear to God, I’m going to have you dropped into shark infested water covered with barbecue sauce).

In the opinion of this reporter, that last threat from his cranky editor is rather specific (editor: shut up! I hate you! Oh, do I hate you!).

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Fine Weekend For The Army Run

As I'm busy over at my photoblog, including with a post on the recent tornado here scheduled for tomorrow, I thought I'd present this photo post here today. The Canada Army Run is an annual event on a weekend in September in Ottawa, held this past weekend. It's been going on for over a decade, with military members, active and retired, participating along with their families in a series of races, including a marathon. I was late to the event on Sunday, as most of the runners had already crossed the finish line. There were a number of displays at our City Hall and neighbouring Cartier Square drill hall featuring military vehicles and equipment. 

This is the TAPV, a general utility vehicle used for reconnaissance and personnel transport.

The LAV 60 is a light armoured vehicle used for infantry transport and support in both combat and non combat situations.

The Buffalo is one part of a set of vehicles used in the detection and disposal of IEDs and other such weapons. Collectively the set are referred to as Expedient Route Opening Capability teams, and the Buffalo investigates potential threats. It's a big one, and well armoured given the requirements of its job. An expandable arm offers distance for the Buffalo in investigating a potential threat.

The Husky is the second part of that team. This vehicle is used to detect threats via the use of ground penetrating radar and metal detectors. The third and last part of the team is the Cougar, a transport for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal operators who actually handle disarming a bomb.

The M777 Howitzer is lighter and smaller than previous models like the M109, but offers more power and precision. At 9200 pounds, it is more mobile than its predecessor (the M109 for comparison is 49 940 pounds) and transportable by truck, helicopter, and aircraft. Its maximum range allows for accurate fire up to 30 kilometres.

The Bison armoured vehicle is a multipurpose transport that started out as an infantry carrier but serves numerous purposes- security, reconnaissance, command post, and in this case as an ambulance.

This is the Drill Hall, which still serves as a military facility, and dates to 1879. During the summer, the bulk of the Ceremonial Guard march out of here each morning towards Parliament Hill for the Changing Of The Guard ceremony.

This is the Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) truck, a multipurpose logistics truck for moving or towing gear into operations. 

And lest we forget that there was an actual race going on, here we have the finish line. As I was late in the proceedings, most of the runners had already passed through, but the finish line officials were on hand welcoming those finishing a marathon race.