It’s been a quiet week on Lake Eklutna (I’ve been waiting this entire blog to make the Garrison Keillor joke), Katrina’s still working at the phone company in Anchorage, and I’m still preparing for the holiday rush at GameStop. Actually, I’ve gotten some worrying signs from my managers there that they are “concerned” about my performance. Not that I don’t make sales or cop an attitude, but that I don’t make sales fast enough. At the risk of turning this blog into a venting place for my workplace stress (ALWAYS a bad idea), it does kind of irritate me that efficiency is valued over friendly customer service. Why waste time explaining things completely to the lost-looking parents when you can just tear through the membership card, warranty information, and reservations of two different customers in that amount of time? Good for numbers, bad for customer satisfaction.
We’re still trying to find a place to settle, but anyone who’s done it knows that apartment hunting can be frustrating, time-consuming, and a lengthy process. Once we are functioning under our own steam, rather than leeching off of Katrina’s family, I’ll feel a lot better about… Well, everything.
This week seems to be the beginning of the “holiday season”, at least as the entertainment industry understands it. We’re finally starting to see some good movies hitting the theaters again, and I’m noticing better quality video games on the shelves at work, too. I’m a little behind on movies I want to see (Argo and Cloud Atlas are both on my radar, I am a former movie critic and film student after all), but Katrina and I did make an effort to see Wreck-it Ralph this weekend. The often-used “Toy Story with arcade games” description is fairly apt, though it has enough of its own vibe that it cannot be decried as a rip-off. After all, this is Disney we’re talking about, and John Lassiter (director of Toy Story) does have his name on the project. It’s a great, kid-friendly movie with a lot of passing references (and more than a few direct ones) to games I’m fairly certain most of that kid audience probably hasn’t played. The three main featured games are clearly Donkey Kong (with a bit of Rampage), MarioKart, and Halo analogues, all done in their own not-previously-licensed styles. It’s one of those things that makes the difference between a good animated movie and a crummy one; entertaining for the little ones, but with references, jokes, and themes complicated enough for the grown-ups to appreciate.
Speaking of Disney, the biggest news of the decade hit this week, when the family entertainment company bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas for around $4 billion, and then turned around and announced a “Star Wars: Episode 7″ scheduled for 2015, with further films in development. At the time of the announcement, there were a lot of digital spit-takes around the Internet-based Star Wars community, followed by a certain amount of panic, then cries of “ruined childhoods”. But I don’t see it that way. If there is a company that can do things that don’t ruin childhoods, it’s Disney. Yes, they bought Jim Henson’s Muppets and promptly buried them, but Pixar has done well under their wing, and Marvel has been spectacular. The idea of further Star Wars films, especially ones that may bring back Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker (perhaps in an “Old Ben Kenobi” kind of role), is tremendously exciting.
With a new James Bond film coming this week, and the first movie of The Hobbit on the way, not to mention the slew of big new video games hitting the market this month, there’s plenty to look forward to in the near future as well. I’m just hoping I can find the time between work, apartment hunting, and my obligations to the Rixes to enjoy some of it.