The curse of The Phantom Menace

I had rather grand designs for last Saturday. I set my alarm early so that I could get out and put in a 40 mile ride before heading over to Downtown Disney to take my son to meet my friend Nick and his daughter and see The Phantom Menace (Star Wars Episode I if you prefer) in that massive scam known as 3-D. You may remember Nick from his role in the live blog of our adventure out to see Patton Oswalt the Hard Rock a while back. Our friend Shaun was going to come with his daughter to complete the unhip and unholy triumvirate, but wasn’t able to make it. That was plan anyway, but it did not come off the way I hoped, and I am convinced that I was cursed by Patton Oswalt and Simon Pegg for going to see the PM.

Those two, if you don’t know, are two of the biggest Star Wars fans known to mankind, and both share a rather healthy disdain for the Star Wars “prequels.” Personally I’m rather indifferent to them, I’m just a dad taking my kid to see a movie that he enjoys. Here’s what Patton and Simon think of them (fair warning, both these clips are NSFW for language):

I think it is safe to say that they don’t like the Phantom Menace. And here’s why I think they probably cursed me.

When I woke up I started to get dressed and then looked out the window and saw absolutely nothing thanks to the pea soup thick layer of fog lingering outside. Ride delayed, queue the ominous music foreshadowing later troubling events.

When the fog finally started to lift, I finished getting dressed and loaded my bike on top of my car and set off, but had to turn around 2 minutes later because I left my gloves and helmet in the garage. Doh. With those now in my possession I drove down to the head of the Cady Way Trail down by Colonial Mall, only to discover that the fog down there was as thick as it was at my house an hour and a half earlier, so I waited in the car for a bit for it to lift, which it finally did  just shy of 9:00 AM. This put me a good 2 hours behind where I wanted to be, so I decided to scale back to a 20 mile ride and then call it a day.

Man, it was a great ride too. I felt really good, and really wished I had been able to get out when I wanted that morning. The weather ended up being perfect too, warm and muggy enough get loose and get a good sweat going, but cloudy and not a breath of wind. I plowed through the ride up until the last mile when I caught a glimpse of a minefield of broken glass a half second before I rode over it. Now, I’ve had flats before and generally you get a puncture in your tube and it deflates gradually, but this was akin to a blowout on an old car tire, with a big audible “Pop” and near instantaneous deflation.*sad trombone plays*

Had I been farther away from the end I would have attempted a quick repair and probably damaged my tire permanently, but since there was less then 1 mile to go I just started walking back to the car. One thing I forgot though is how comfortable it is (not) to walk in cycling shoes, and after a few hundred yards my left calf was balled up into one gigantic knot and felt really, really great (again, not). At this point though I recognized the forces that were aligning against me, hobbled back to the car and just called it quits for the day. I’m dedicated but also know a lost cause when I see one.

Here’s the 411 on my doomed spin.

Curse you, JarJar Binks.

After heading back home, temporarily defeated, somewhat broken, limping slightly but not beaten, I cleaned up, applied a healthy amount of Icy Hot to my calf (Byron: “mmmm, minty fresh”) gathered up the youngster and headed down to catch the movie. Thankfully, this trip was far less eventful, so apparently Oswalt and Pegg are more lenient on you if you have an excited 9 year old in tow. They may defend the sanctity of Star Wars with terminal intensity, but they are not monsters.

A word about the movie itself. The 3-D, as is usually the case with converted 2-D films, was pretty worthless. About all it manages to do is make the move 30% darker and give you a headache from wearing those glasses. That being said, I did enjoy it a bit more this time seeing it in the theater vs. TV, though that isn’t saying too much. JarJar is as annoying as ever (but thoroughly enjoyed by the target audience members sitting with us) and Darth Maul is still a big missed opportunity for George Lucas. His character was thoroughly underused and Nick (a much bigger SW fan than I) and I both agreed that he should have featured across the remaining prequels.

One more thing: it isn’t hard to see why these movies compare so poorly to the original trilogy. When the original Star Wars begin, that text that floats across the screen describes a pretty exciting story with clearly draw lines of good an evil. It’s classic stuff and pretty easy to follow. The Phantom Menace begins with a story about disputes over taxation and blockades by trade federations and some other stuff that would bore doctoral candidates in economics and international relations. You don’t even have to watch to figure out which is a better movie.

After the movie we all waded through the surprisingly dense crowds to Ragland Road for some dinner. These guys entertained themselves by throwing food at each other, practicing a combination of kung fu and Lego spinjitzu never before seen in these parts, and trying their best to make the veins in our respective heads pop out occasionally. We got back at them by eating the food off their plate and making them pose for pictures. Passive aggressive parenting at its finest.

We do so love standing in line.

A nice bowl of mussels on the porch at RR was a good way to top off a day that didn’t start so well but redeemed itself pretty nicely. 60 miles await me this weekend, so hopefully the weather, the biking gods, and Patton and Simon, will look kindly upon me.



Posted on February 23, 2012, in Cycling, Food and Drink, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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