Thursday, November 29, 2007

Welcome To The Dead Zone; I'm Goin To Graceland

Currently Reading: Lamb by Christopher Moore

And so holiday number one is done. One down, two more to go. Welcome to the dead zone between them. That's pretty much what work is like right now, a dead zone. It's a temporary lull though. Think of it as the eye of the hurricane.

Last week, leading into Thanksgiving, we were doing easily more than double our normal volume on the weekend and during the week, well it was like every day was Saturday. In fact, I actually had to give up one of my days off because we knew we'd need more people in the salon. Not that I minded. Makes for a better paycheck and Christmas shopping is right around the corner.

We hit Thanksgiving and BAM, nothing after that. Dead. Even on Saturday it was dead. Sunday was worse because it rained. Same with Monday. Rain really kills our walk-in traffic. Seriously would you want to pay someone to wash your dog knowing your yard is going to be one big mud puddle to play in? No, of course not. That's just silly.

And even though we had our staff dressed up as Christmassy as possible, people were more interested in hitting the mall and big box stores instead. I can't really blame them of course. There were some pretty decent deals out there if you could afford to pay for bundles. That's my boss by the way. I think she had a little too much holiday cheer for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving went well for CC and I. We ate over at my parents' house along with the rest of the family. CC and I were in charge of veggies.

The kids brought over an Xbox and we spent a decent amount of time playing Guitar Hero. We really like that game. Unfortunately the older versions didn't have much music that we actually recognized. I think, in the one they brought with them, we only knew maybe 2 or 3 songs out of the whole thing. Not good. However, when we were out on Friday, we DID come across the latest version of Guitar Hero, Legends of Rock. Now on THAT one we know just about every song and even better, they make it for PC. Guess what we've been doing SINCE Thanksgiving? You got it, GUITAR HERO!

Speaking of guitar heroes, CC's company got a whole bunch of VIP tickets to Graceland (that's where Elvis lived in case you forgot). There was a party for one of the companies they do business with and we got to tour Graceland at night (without having to deal with all the crowds and stuff) plus we got to tour the automobile museum (Elvis' cars) and there were drinks and finger foods and so forth. We had a good time and unlike during the usual tour, we were allowed to take pictures (I used my cell phone so they're not the BEST pictures but still pretty good).

When you first go in through the front door, off to the side you have this REALLY white living room. And I mean WHITE. Everything in there pretty much is white. Must have been hell to clean that's for sure. I mean, Memphis is a pretty dusty city so just walking through the room would have been enough to get the place dirty. Then again, if you're Elvis, you can afford good cleaning staff.

Of course the whole place was decorated for Christmas. There were trees in just about every room and outside there were plenty of lights. Mostly they followed a musical theme. Plenty of large music notes and guitars and that sort of thing, and even a piano out in front of the main building across the street from the mansion where they arrange tours and such. Very holiday, very festive, very gaudy too for that matter. But I guess that's part of the Elvis experience.

Anyway, back to the tour. In the living room area, right by the ropes is a really nice portrait of Elvis. I grabbed a shot of that.

This was actually our second trip to Graceland. Yeah, seriously, twice for us and we're not even big Elvis fans. Just goes to show you how little there is to do here in Memphis :-) Actually the first time we went was back in 1999 during CC's first trip here. She'd come to see me in San Antonio, but '99 was her first trip to Memphis. She figured we should go see Graceland since that's what everyone talks about. And after that first visit we both agreed it was a lot more interesting than we were expecting. The whole thing still sometimes feels like a very creepy shrine though, especially when you get out to the gravesite.

Across from the white living room there's a billiard room. You should see this place, the walls are covered in pleated fabric. It's a rather small room actually, kinda crowded if you're going to be playing pool but I guess it was big enough. They don't really let you rack things up and play a game there while on the tour. They do point out that there's a rip in the fabric covering the pool table where someone once tried to do a trick shot and stuck the cue through the felt. Gees, all that money, you'd think he'd have someone come in and redo the felt right? But then again, that would make the tour kinda boring and hey, maybe he WAS going to get it fixed and just never got around to it.

One thing that strikes you as a bit odd while you're on this tour is how normal sized everything seems. Given how stars flaunt their wealth these days you go into the thing expecting a MUCH larger house. This is Elvis for crying out loud right? You're thinking the guy MUST have had a HUGE mansion with lots and lots of land and the whole thing but actually, no, it's really just a big house. You don't have the high ceilings and stuff that the modern mansions have and the rooms are often small and cozy. Take this kitchen for example. Now, as far as kitchens go, this is a pretty good sized one right? Sure, if you're talking about any suburban house, this is great but for a star as big as Elvis? You'd think he'd have something more impressive. And just look at that fridge! Could have come right off the showroom floor at Sears. That's probably part of why he was so popular. Even when he was rich he was still pretty normal.

And then there's the jungle room. Ok now this is one of those places where you can see money. Granted, it's a pretty tacky use of money, but money all the same. Hell you even have a fountain over there in one corner of the room. The whole place looks like the lounge area of some sort of tiki restaurant or something like that. Yes, I know it was the 70's and this is the sort of thing people thought looked really cool back then but still, I'm pretty sure I would have gone in an entirely different direction if I were doing the decorations. I thought the monkeys were a nice touch though :-)

Now, at this point of the tour, you start to move away from the house as it used to be and more into little Elvis shrines set up in the remaining rooms. Yes, you do go down into the basement area where he's got another lounge area and one room where there are three or four TVs all set up so Elvis could watch them at the same time. He'd heard that LBJ used to do it that way so he decided to copy that. It all has that no-funny sort of 60's futuristic look.

In fact, quite a few of the things along the tour have that look. You get to see what folks back then thought was going to be the way of the future as well as a slice of what things were like in the past. Take this bed for example. He had this in his dressing room so I guess they took it with them when they were on tour. Notice how the bed is covered in this sort of shag fur stuff. Yeah that was living large back then. You knew you were somebody if you could afford all that faux fur :-) But to show off even MORE, it's ROUND. There was this sort of odd fascination back then with round beds. Y0u see it pop up over and over again in old movies and movies that pick on old movies. But what really sets this bed apart is what's in the canopy. He's got a STEREO hooked up in there. Yeah, I know, by today's standards that's really no big deal but back in the day, MAN that was AWESOME! And it's all chunky too with big knobs and push buttons and stuff. Must have felt like something out of NASA :-)

And check out this TV! Yeah this was down in the basement with a lot of other Elvis stuff like his old Army uniforms. This here was what you'd call a large screen TV in the way-back. This thing is quite a piece of furniture. It's about 4 feet wide and you've got maybe a 24 inch screen in the middle. Speakers on each side but you know that wasn't playing anything in stereo. TV wasn't broadcast in stereo so what you have there is more of a double-mono output. They didn't have it turned on though so I have no idea if this one was color or black and white. It's really hard to tell because TV tech went pretty fast back then and folks were still using black and white TV's for a long time. Keep in mind also that a lot of TV stations didn't broadcast in color either so having a color TV wasn't necessarily a big deal if your city didn't have a TV station that sent out a color signal.

Now this, this was cool, this was what had to be one of the first cell phones. Didn't work like a cell phone I'm sure. It was probably a radio phone. But DAMN that must have been pretty cool back in the 50's. You're Elvis right? So if you need to make a phone call, who has time to go track down a land line. You wanna make that call from the back yard or from the golf course or whatever. That's when you reach for this baby. Over on the right side, you've got your handset and, well I guess the whole rest of the box is taken up with whatever sends out the signal. I didn't see any antenna on it so I'm guessing that it collapsed. And in case you were wondering, yes, it's exactly as big as you think it is. That handset would fit just about any standard phone these days though it must have been considered small back then. Still, pretty cool that you could get stuff like that if you REALLY wanted them.

Now, now Elvis museum would be complete without showing off some of these. In the later years of his career, he went with the jumpsuit as his main performing wardrobe and he had a LOT of jumpsuits. These ones here are the more famous ones you've seen on TV and in pictures. Yes, that's the cape with the eagle on it. And that's the jumpsuit he wore it with. They even have video in the background showing him performing while in these costumes. Sort of makes you wonder how we survived the 70's doesn't it? I mean, people thought this stuff was COOL! Look at those belt buckles!

This particular room also houses a whole mess of his gold and platinum records. It's a racquetball court behind the house that they've turned into a little mini-museum. Two hole walls, floor to ceiling are covered in records. One wall has all of his North American gold and platinum singles, the other has all of the international ones. It's pretty impressive when you think about it, especially considering, as the tour points out, he never did a concert outside North America. Today that would be unheard of. Hell having that many gold records is unheard of today, but not touring international?

So there you go, Graceland. It's not a bad tour. Better if you're an Elvis fan of course. I mean, if you're not an Elvis fan the place is pretty pointless. It'd be like touring the Football Hall of Fame if you weren't a football fan. But if you're in the Memphis area and you were a fan of his music or movies or both, you should probably head over there and check it out. Probably hold a lot of memories for you.

One especially good thing about the tour, Elvis died on the toilet and thankfully, that's NOT on display :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reality Check

Currently Reading: Lamb by Christopher Moore

I've been watching a lot more reality TV shows on cable lately. For that, I have to blame a show called The Soup over on E!

Each week, the host, Joel McHale, takes you through a really funny wrap-up of everything that's been going on in the world of reality and talk shows. You'll see all the latest outrageous moments from The View, the court shows, even the most obscure reality and dating shows. The jokes are great, as are the recurring gag characters and after it's over, you really wish they'd give the guy a full hour instead of just 30 minutes. Then again, if it ran TOO long it'd lose its impact and wouldn't be as good. I guess this is just a case of "leave them wanting more."

Anyway, I'm blaming this guy for my recent dive in television taste. Just a few months ago when I would channel surf, I'd buzz right by MTV or VH1 or even E! if I saw they were running one of those dating shows. Now, I slow down, pause a bit to see what's going on, maybe even stop and watch for a while. Watch for what? Why for the train wreck scene which will inevitably make it's way into The Soup.

There are three shows in particular that I've been pausing to view because they feature a rather high ratio of train wrecks. Hell last night I was actually bouncing between TWO of them because they were both on at the same time. Over on MTV you have a show called A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. This little dating game is pure soap. You've got your usual cast of assorted misfits, representing all that is wrong with the dating gene pool but with one little twist. Tila (pictured above) is bisexual so it's not the usual man vs man, it's man vs man vs woman which REALLY increases the chances of some messy arguments.

Over on VH1 was the other show I've been checking out from time to time, I Love New York 2 talk about egos and players and macho men and, well you get the idea. We're talking some serious mimbos here (those are male bimbos in case you didn't know). Watching them strut. That's New York over there. As you can tell from the rather CLASSY set design there, this show is REALLY all about . . . ok I can't keep going with a straight face. LOOK at that woman? I mean, when you see someone like that, where do you begin? Yes, I know, looks can be deceiving and all and to be honest, she strikes me as a generally nice person. A little self-absorbed but then who isn't when it comes to these TV shows. Now, the premise of her show, well, same as all the others. No tricks here. The only twist is that everyone on the show seems to have been scraped off the bottom of the collective shoe of America and I mean that in the nicest way possible. The way these guys strut around like peacocks and get into fights with each other is just too damn funny and yes, lots of train wreck potential here. Last night I just couldn't stop laughing at the "contest" they had. They were all supposed to cool something for New York using her FAVORITE food: RANCH DRESSING! Yes, that's right, this classy dame has a thing for ranch dressing and so the boys were set up in a kitchen to try cook. They were all required to use at least ONE CUP of ranch dressing in their recipes. Some of them were pretty smart. One guy marinated chicken in ranch dressing, grilled it up, done. Others weren't quite as brilliant. The funniest was the guy who did a burger and fries, putting some dressing on the burger and using the rest as a dipping sauce for the fries. She was pretty sympathetic to him at first, thinking he'd actually gone through the trouble to slice up the potatoes to make the fries from scratch. Of course, he later admitted the fries came from a bag. Yup, frozen fries with ranch dressing. Boy how did he manage to stay single all this time?

There are a few other shows I've been checking out. One of the better shows is something called America's Most Smartest Model. What you've got here is a group models who have to go through a series of smart people tests in order to win their "edge" over the others in the second half of the show where they do more model-type stuff. One episode had them working on science fair projects. The winner had the edge in the second contest which involved incorporating real, live geeks in an ad for suntan lotion. I can tell you this, if these people had to work for a living, I mean REALLY work, not just stand around and be pretty, they'd all starve to death.

Oh yes, must not forget Keeping Up With The Kardashians. This show revolves around the Kardashian family, with mom now married to Bruce Jenner. You remember Bruce I'm sure. He was in the decathlon in the Olympics WAY back. But the Kardashian name, you know that from one of two places. Either you remember it from the OJ trial. Robert Kardashian was a lawyer and friend of OJ. Or you may have heard about his daughter Kim who's famous for, to quote the host of The Soup, "having a big butt and a sex tape." Every time he introduces a clip from their show, that's how he refers to Kim, being famous for having a big butt and a sex tape. What's really funny is that I now can't read articles about her without injecting that little aside. Just today there was a blurb about her on Fox News and, of course, I'm sitting there mentally plugging in the guy from the Soup.

Oh, and don't think this has anything to do with CC being out of town again. Oh no, in fact, SHE was the one who got me turned on to the Soup in the first place and she ALSO sometimes pauses at these reality shows.

So why do we watch them? Why do so many people tune in night after night, week after week to sit through this stuff? To watch for the train wreck? Probably but also because, well lets face it, most of these people are REALLY pathetic. It's hard not to feel at least a LITTLE better about yourself after seeing the kind of things they're willing to do just for their 15 minutes of fame :-)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

This is NOT Beowulf

I was at the bookstore today, just browsing the shelves, when I came across the graphic novel (comic book) adaptation of the new film Beowulf. According to the cover it was based on the screenplay for the new movie. This sort of thing is pretty common these days, especially when it concerns a film with high geek potential and Beowulf certainly fits the bill. Having read Beowulf in high school, college and twice just for fun, I was curious to see how they were going to handle certain parts of the story. What I found was damn near enough to make me vow never to see this film at ALL.

The screenplay was done by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary. Avary is an academy award winning writer and Gaiman has been writing science fiction and fantasy books for quite a long time. They're both VERY good at what they do and I've read almost everything Gaiman has put into print. All of this combined to add to my disappointment when I had a look at the MAN liberties they took with the original source material.

The basic story of Beowulf is pretty simple. You've got the Danes being tormented by a monster called Grendel. He's really a nasty piece of work and tends to rip his victims limb from limb leaving a really nasty, bloody mess. Beowulf is a sort of friend of the family and general seeker of adventure (hero) so he sails over with his men and tells the king he's going to settle this thing for him.

They set up at the great hall, which is where Grendel makes his attacks and during the night, sure enough, here comes Grendel. So far the stories match up pretty well but it's right here at this MAJOR event that the two plotlines start to divert and the heroic aspects of Beowulf start to be watered down.

Beowulf has a nasty honor streak and, well he's pretty damn strong. How strong? Well we're talking Heracles league here. Grendel comes into the hall, starts killing people like he always does and he finds Beowulf there ready to take him on. But unlike all of the OTHER guys in the fight, Beowulf is pretty close to naked. He's in his underwear. Why? Well because Grendel doesn't use any weapons so why should he?

As you can imagine, they get into a BIG nasty fight. There's lots of thrashing around and as Beowulf later recounts to the king, he was trying to pounce on him, pin him and grapple him to death (line 961) but it didn't quite work out that way. Instead, Beowulf just got one HUGE grip on Grendel and refused to let go. Grendel eventually pulled away so hard, and Beowulf held on so tight, that Grendel's arm came off at the shoulder.

Here, we've got two differences from the movie version. In the movie, Beowulf uses chains, wraps them around Grendel's arm (or Grendel gets tangled in them) and he just holds onto the chains while Grendel is fleeing out the door. They then sort of slam the door on Grendel's arm giving him even more leverage until the arm comes off. I was looking at that thinking, "what the hell? Beowulf isn't supposed to need chains for this job. He's just super strong.

Ok, so maybe they don't want him to be quite THAT strong. Maybe they want to make him appear more vulnerable. Add to the dramatic tension. Fine, I'll let that one go. But what happens next REALLY does some damage to our hero's character.

After all the celebrations over Grendel's death, Grendel's mom pays them a visit and she is in a MEAN mood. She sneaks in at night while everyone is asleep and pretty much goes to town, leaving yet another bloody mess. The Danes tell Beowulf what's going on and so he decides that yes, she's gonna have to die too otherwise they're pretty much gonna run out of Danes.

Off he goes to the swamp where Grendel's mother lives. They find her pond and it's teeming with lizards and assorted nasty serpents (she has the power to control them you see). He dons his good armor to protect him from the weight of the water (yes, he intends to fight her underwater at the bottom of the pond) , someone gives him what's supposed to be a super-kick-ass sword and Beowulf dives in looking for Grendel's mom. He finds her, they fight. He uses his super sword on her but it breaks. Guess it wasn't that super. She tackles him, pulls a knife and is going to kill him but he manages to escape. That's when he sees this sword leftover from the time of giants. It's an ancient weapon so big and heavy that only HE can lift it these days. Naturally he grabs it and THWACK! Lops off her head. Now, being a rather nasty piece of work, her blood pretty much destroys the weapon so unfortunately he can't take it with him. He leaves taking the hilt of the sword (which is all that's left) and Grendel's head, just for fun.

Switch over to the movie version. First sign that things are not quite right is that Grendel's mom is played by Angelina Jolie. Why is this the first sign? Well, here's how she's described in the original:
  • in line 1259 she's called a monstrous hell-bride.
  • Line 1292 she's a hell-dam.
  • At line 1330 it talks of how she took one of the dead guys with her and is now eating him in her lair.
  • Line 1391, troll-dam.
  • Line 1518, swamp thing from hell.
  • Line 1520, tarn-hag.
Now, I ask you, does that sound line the woman you've seen in the previews for this movie? Most you can say is that she's got a sort of lizard tail on the back of her head. Not exactly very hag-like.

And here's where we take the BIG leap, the one that totally changes Beowulf's character completely. They start having a conversation about Grendel. She offers him a deal. She tells him that since he took her son, he should give her BACK a son. In other words, she wants to sleep with him. Ok, so he does that, sure, why not, he's a single, successful Geat working as an adventurer. She then also takes a golden horn from him and tell him that as long as she gets to keep that horn, she'll make him the greatest king ever. What can he say? He's human, he accepts.

Now, in the original, Beowulf does become a great king but it has NOTHING to do with anything Grendel's mom did. In fact, as you'll recall, he lopped her head off. No, Beowulf became a great king by saving pretty much everyone so many times that the old kings decided that yeah, when they die he'd be a good replacement.

What next follows in the original is a rather long account of the wars that Beowulf has to deal with. It's the slowest part of the story really. I figured they'd cut that from the movie and as far as I can tell, I was right. So we skip ahead to the end. Grendel fights the dragon.

Original version: someone accidentally steals a cup from the dragon's treasure hoard. Dragons are notoriously greedy critters and do NOT like it when anyone takes ANYTHING from their hoard. So what happens? Dragon goes nuts, starts torching the city and generally being nasty. Beowulf and company go out to slay it. Beowulf being rather old now, isn't quite as great as he used to be but he still manages to kill the dragon. Unfortunately, the dragon is somewhat poisonous, manages to get a bit on him and they both die. Everyone else finishes up with the wars they were in and later give Beowulf a great Viking-style funeral and that's pretty much it.

Needless to say the movie takes things in a bit of a different direction. Years after fighting Grendel's mom, someone brings him that horn she was keeping. Beowulf goes to give it back, at which point she introduces him to his "son," the big ass dragon. Say what? Yeah, I know, I was wondering why that was necessary too. Dragon goes around torching things, much wailing and gnashing of teeth until finally Beowulf delivers the fatal wound and pushes him off a cliff where he does, body broken among the rocks. There's the usual "sorry father" kinda stuff at the end and then he dies and gets washed away by the surf.

Of course, at this point Beowulf is ALSO near death. They take him to the water, he floats away as well. Angelina Jolie appears again, gives him a smooch and off they go to the land of the dead or something like that. I'm a little confused on that part because it wasn't very well done in the comic.

So, there you go. Just a SLIGHT difference between the two right? What I don't really understand is why they did it that way. The original story has more than enough action and intrigue in it. Why mess up the hero by belittling his accomplishments, saying he gained greatness because he nailed Grendel's mom? What's really wrong with making him a self-made hero king?

I CAN understand why they pretty much erased all the Christianity in the movie. Hollywood never wants to be religious unless they have to or unless they can make religion look bad. You see, in the original, Beowulf is pretty damn Christian and there's one section that goes to great lengths to explain that Grendel and his mother were descendants of Cain who was cursed because he killed his brother. Line 1265 sums it up that from Cain sprang all the misbegotten spirits.

Now, having said all that, and yes, I've said a LOT, I can't say that the movie will be bad. You've got two great screenwriters. You've got an accomplished director. You've got some pretty wild CGI and 3D effects working there plus a whole bunch of great voice actors all working together on this. So yeah, maybe they did a great job and the movie will be pretty good and it'll be a huge hit. After I see some of the reviews I may even go see it myself. Just remember though, if you see the film, this is NOT Beowulf. It's really more of a . . . I dunno, a What If? Some of the pre-release material calls it a re-imaging or a re-telling of the story but come on, they've made WAY too many changes for that. They're really pushing it when they use the "based on" label.

And as I've said, the shame of it all is that it just wasn't necessary, all the changes I mean. They had a chance to FINALLY make a really great version of this wonderful epic poem and they chose not to.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sliding Into Winter

Currently Reading: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Yeah it's getting a bit chilly out there. Woke up yesterday and I was FREEZING to death. Ok, not LITERALLY freezing but you know what I mean. See, when CC woke up, she found it a little but stuffy in the apartment so she opened up the window in the bedroom, one in the living room and the door to the balcony. Great, fine, yeah, so long as she's quiet and I can keep sleeping, no problem.

Woke up and imagined the headline: Wife Attempts To Kill Husband By Freezing! or perhaps Man Saved From Frosty Demise By Loyal Canines. Either way would have been accurate I think. I woke up to find myself covered in dogs (all mine thank you) and snuggly warm so long as I didn't get out of bed. Decided right then that was the way to go and stayed right where I was. Hell I even turned on the TV and watched a movie for a change. Just did things a little different.

Naturally I couldn't stay in bed ALL day and the dogs were getting a bit antsy. They'd been patient long enough and wanted OUT so I got up, quick-stepped over to the dresser and put on some warmer clothes then went about closing up the apartment again. I looked at the thermometer on the wall in the hallway, it was all the way down, down as far as it goes which means somewhere below 50 degrees.

Here's what happened. After CC left, the wind started to pick up. It was already a bit chilly out there but when the winds came in it got downright COLD. The worst place was in the hallway which was acting more like a wind tunnel than anything else. Warmer in the bedroom and living room, yes, but still pretty cool.

So . . . Hello Winter!

And what better way to greet winter than with Shaolin monks? Ok, Silly question. There are LOTS of better ways to greet winter but I needed to pull this all together and I'm not in any mood to come up with something more creative :-)

Sunday night we went to see the Shaolin Warriors show. It's a group of performers (monks?) who put on a live display of the Shaolin style kung fu type stuff you see in movies all the time. Fabulous show. Had a GREAT time. There were just too many individually cool things for me to list them all but here are a few that come to mind:

  • The guys breaking bands of steel on their heads
  • The two little kid monks
  • When they invited kids to come up on stage for a little bit of training and at the first demonstration one kid got so scared he ran off the stage
  • The guy who used suction and REALLY good abdominal control to stick a metal bowl to his belly that no one could pull off
  • The weapons display that was like something out of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

If you get a chance to see these guys, if they stop through your city on their tour, get tickets and go because it's a really great show.

Oh yes, almost forgot. I finished up Beowulf again. Don't look impressed, it's not really that long and when you read it in translation, it's actually a quick read. Anyway, Grendel's mom is NOT hot. Ok? Little bit of a diversion from the source material there in the new Beowulf movie. Just keep that in mind if you go see the film and wonder how she produced something as hideous as Grendel :-) Hmm, then again, now that I think about it, she was dating (married?) Billy Bob Thornton right? That was pretty nasty there so I suppose it's POSSIBLE in reality but in the poem, she's a hag ok?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Music Box Dancer, Beowulf

Currently Reading: Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney

Well it's been a pretty dull week so I didn't really have anything worth blogging about until today. I woke up this morning with a tune in my head I couldn't identify. Oh I knew I'd heard it and heard it a LOT at one point. I was even able to lock it down to the 1970's. I just couldn't remember what it was called or who performed it.

Now, in the old days about all you could really do is hum a few bars for people and see if anyone remembered it. I tried that with CC and she suggested it was something called Ballad for Adeline. So, using that wonderful tool the Internet, I did a search for it. Came up with a BUNCH of clips of people performing it but no, that wasn't it. I knew right away. So I did some more searching for 70's pop and piano solos and still came up empty. Then I remembered something CC had said. She said the song sounded like something you heard in a music box.

A HA! Music box! That's it! SO, I did a search for music box and came up with . . .

The song is called Music Box Dancer by Frank Mills and it was REALLY popular back in the 70's. They used to play this on the radio all the time and I REALLY loved it. Apparently so did a LOT of other people my age.

And from there to the 21st century, they've done a cgi movie of Beowulf. You may remember having to read this in high school. It's the story about the viking guy who ripped off the monster's arm and nailed it over the door of the great viking hall. Ok, that's the short version and not very accurate but that's probably what you remember.

After seeing the previews I've decided that this is something I want to check out. It also made me go back to the text to check out something else. You see, Angelina Jolie is playing Grendel's (the monster) mom. First Beowulf rips off Grendel's arm, then later he has to go deal with Grendel's mom, who I remember to be a serpent or dragon or something like that. I do NOT remember anything in there about Grendel's mom being hot. So I'm reading it again.

If you're interested in it yourself, I suggest the version by Seamus Heaney. His translation is EXCELLENT and a WHOLE lot easier to read than you probably remember from high school. Definitely worth checking out if you're into vikings or Old English literature or epic poems.