Kirst Words

They only sound cursed.

April 4th, 2015

So I was never a big Fast and Furious fan until Fast Five. When they dragged that safe through the streets of Rio(? some Brazilian city) and did it straight faced, I was hooked. Six was even more wonderful and over the top but that was Justin Lin’s swan song, having directed parts three through six. Enter James Wan director of Insidious and The Conjuring and writer/director of the first Saw. Wan picked up where Lin left off and ran with it. Furious Seven is as over the top and crazy as the previous two combined. And it did feel more of a cap to a five, six and seven trilogy with them sending Paul Walker off with some heartwarming class. I won’t go into how ridiculous everything was, though I felt Dwayne was a bit too hammy in his delivery and Wan’s overall treatment of the Hobbs character, but if you enjoyed the last two you won’t be disappointed.

I hadn’t kept up with any news about 7 and was surprised to see not only Ronda Rousey but also Tony Jaa. Both were villains and villains never win in these movies but neither martial artist had their crazy, immense skills looked down upon. Especially Jaa. He did everything Jackie Chan style — if someone was climbing stairs he found some other clever way to flip, jump and climb there. Again, as a villain. While I would have liked a Roman/Han vs. Joe Taslim style beat down from six where they just had no chance against him, Paul Walker got to hold his own (sorta) against Jaa.

March 28th, 2015

So last Tuesday at book club Steve just had lasik and now had 20/20 vision. (We’re a blind group with everyone in attendance wearing glasses or contacts. It must be something about so much reading under poor light conditions.) We teased him for now having perfect vision and he was commenting on how his sight wasn’t that great when Rachel said “if you’re not six to ten inches from my face then I can’t see you!” This is how I often describe my range of clear vision so I did the old “let’s trade glasses” deal. I put hers on and her prescription was weaker than mine and she apologized for them not being clean. Mine were less than a week old so I had kept them relatively clean.

A quick aside. Most nearsighted people never keep their glasses clean. We can’t see how dirty they are until someone does something like wanting to wear them and we then inspect the glasses as we’re removing them — when they’re in that short range of clear vision and we’re thinking about them. This is usually accompanied by an internal “oh dear” as we hand them over, surprised at how much dust and grease are on the lenses and wondering what could have turned green on the edges of the frames, promising to thoroughly clean them once we get home. When your vision’s really bad, you never notice the dirt on lenses because even dirty lenses improve your vision so much that it’s not something you think about.

When Rachel put mine on, her face lit up like one of those underprivileged or third world kids who get glasses for the first time. She literally squealed with joy and cheerfully exclaimed “this has never happened before! I can see! All those little headlights outside are so clear!” I have a big head and she is a tiny little thing so my glasses kept sliding down her nose and she continually pushed them up to regain optimal vision. There aren’t many people whose vision is comparable to mine. I’m in the -7.5 range so it’s cool when I swap glasses and people don’t get a headache but I’ve never had someone actually thrilled to realize they just needed their prescription updated.

Don’t worry the Japan Nite post is coming up. It was great! Verrry long, but great.

BTW-We read Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui but I just watched the Satoshi Kon anime adaptation. Tsutsui also wrote The Girl Who Leapt Through Time which was adapted into one of my favorite anime. The Paprika anime was so intriguing and comparing it to what was said in club I really want to read it now. It’s been a slow year with me really only reading Preston and Child’s Blue Labyrinth (Pendergast 14 –Fourteen!?! Really?) and only partially reading our other two club choices this year: Bonk and Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Maybe my new bifocal glasses will get me back on track. The old non-bifocal ones were not conducive to reading and neither were contacts — bifocal or regular with reading glasses. That and we’re reading Jasper Fforde of whom I’ve read most of his body of work but not his Nursery Crimes series.

February 14th, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service
This was fun. Violent, over-the-top fun as one would expect from the writer and director of Kick-Ass but still fun. It is very much a tongue-in-cheek, extreme version of James Bond and spy films in the same way Kick-Ass was for comic books.

The movie follows the plot (if not the specifics) of the comic fairly well, though I would have preferred Mark Hamill be Mark Hamill as he was in the comic. Several minor things were changed, the most notable being the villain going from a white nerd to Samuel L. Jackson and his henchman changing from a large black man with springy, knife feet to Sofia Boutella with springy, knife feet and Lea Michelle bangs.

Most of the movie is spent following Eggsy (Taron Egerton) as he trains to be a Kingsman. His dad was a Kingsman, trained by Harry Hart (Colin Firth) codename: Galahad and he saved Harry’s life by sacrificing his own so Harry feels he owe’s Eggsy. Eggsy’s a tough, streetwise kid and all the other Kingsmen trainees are upper-class snobs. But he understands the world instead of being distanced from it. Strangely this never really gets paid off in the film.

The main plot of the film is about a fiendish scheme by Valentine (Jackson) who is a tech mogul concerned about overpopulation and doing something about it. The Kingsmen slowly discover his plans and attempt to stop him but of course it all falls to Eggsy to save the day in the end. Kingsman is very much style over substance and is all about over-the-top extremes and coolness. And on that level it works very well. The story, like most spy thrillers, is overly complex but nothing special. We never get emotionally attached to anyone to care (Eggsy’s dog was probably the most sympathetic) and that lessens some of the impact mostly because we know how it will end. How these films always end.

Still, fun and worth seeing.

Seventh Son
So I got out at 12:38 and there, on the way out, was a Seventh Son saying it would start at 12:40! I had just refilled my drink with 32 oz of mellow yellow zero grape (the best of the Coke Freestyle Machine’s 146+ flavors) so I thought “Why not? How bad can it be?” and snuck in.

Man was I wrong. Not even Julianne Moore, looking goth-amazing, made the movie any better. I’d easily pledge my soul to darkness for her and she actually did a fair job but she had limited screen time. Everyone else was horrible and it was a star studded cast! Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams and of course the Dude, Jeff Bridges, who played his role as a drunken, crotchety, Dumbledore played by a mumbly Jeff Bridges.

The plot has something to do with Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) the seventh son of a seventh son who ends up being apprenticed to Master Gregory (Bridges). Gregory and Mother Malkin (Moore) used to have thing but she went evil on him but he couldn’t bring himself to kill her so he imprisoned her. She escaped and want’s revenge. Tom has a thing for Alice (Alicia Vikander) who is the daughter of Malkin’s sister and also a witch like her mother and aunt. That summary was more interesting than the film and all I’m going to supply. Don’t go see it. It’s 47 Ronin, Colin Farrel Total Recall or Sucker Punch bad.

January 23rd, 2015

Back in 2009 I flirted with doing a sketch-of-the-day. The majority of drawings I did were portraits drawn from images of famous people in magazines or the internet. Usually of attractive, famous women. I eventually ended up doing most of them on toned paper with purple and white pencil. They’re all on my Deviant Art page. Anyway I’m doing it again and I’ve made it a week. (I tend to get bored quickly so a week is slightly significant.)

They’re far from perfect. (Sooo far.) It’s mostly a warm-up-ish exercise. Which means yes, I am drawing other things. Apart from the first two, which were very rusty/labor intensive, I haven’t spent more than an hour on each and I’m hoping to get down to about a half hour. They’re also up on Deviant Art. Take a look. This is today’s.

Sketch of the Day January 23, 2015

Anne Hathaway – Sketch of the Day January 23, 2015

In other things, I saw Hobbit 3 last weekend. I’m on call this week. The Royal Rumble is on Sunday as is the SAG Awards, Miss Universe and the Pro Bowl for football. Snow is also expected. On Monday I’m hosting book club (Bonk by Mary Roach) and the week after authors Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) and Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) will make their way to various Anderson’s Events.

January 10th, 2015

I have a two car garage and I drive a mini cooper. Space is not a problem. I let things creep a bit where I couldn’t fit two cars in my garage (or a car and my mini) so I decided to straighten things up a bit. I have a garbage can, recycling bin, lawnmower, snow blower, shop vac, hoses, wheelbarrow, bike and some smaller, miscellaneous items. I really just needed to shift things to the edges, which I started doing. I did one side and then on the other, while I was moving the snow blower, I smelled gas. Gasoline gas, not light your stove, heat your house gas. Eventually I discovered I had not placed my one gallon gas can on a stable surface and it had tipped over spilling about an half gallon on the floor of my garage. It leaked out the venting tab which really doesn’t close properly.

I was doing all of this with the garage door closed. (It’s been cold!) I opened the garage door to air out the garage and tried to sweep the gas out with a deck brush with little success. My next thought was to light it on fire. I shot that idea down but really, it would be quick and there would be no issues, right? Because I was moving things there was gas along the edge of the wall and I probably would have burned the house down. But still, there’s always that temptation. How bad could it really be? I mean what if someone came, smelled gas and lit the gas from the outside? I would just be beating them to the punch and in a controlled situation. But no, logic won out.

As it was, the house has smelled faintly of gas and I try to open the garage for a few minutes every so often to vent. The spill was Thursday night and here, Saturday morning, it’s much better and I’m hoping it will be mostly evaporated in about a week. Still, another reason not to clean!

December 27th, 2014

Here it is, the end of the month and I have not seen any movies since Mockingjay. I would have thought Hobbit:B5A for sure and maybe Into the Woods but there you have it. There is still a possibility of seeing Princess Kaguya at the Siskel Center.

[Edit: saw Into The Woods.]

Movies (seen in theater)
300: Rise of an Empire
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Big Hero 6
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dracula Untold
Godzilla (2014)
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy
Into The Woods
John Wick
The Lego Movie
The Maze Runner
Mockingjay pt. 1
Monty Python, Live! (Mostly)
The Raid 2: Berendal
RiffTrax: Anaconda
RiffTrax: Sharknado
Robocop (2014)
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Transformers: Age of Extinction
The Wind Rises
X-Men: Days of Future Past

The 6th Extinction by James Rollins
14 by Peter Clines
Bellwether by Connie Willis
The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
How to Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Supergirls by Mike Madrid
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel by Haruki Murakami

Yes, I read The Eyre Affair a long time ago but having read Jane Eyre for bookclub I did a real re-reading and actually understood more of the Eyre specific jokes. Similar with The Secret History, I read it long ago but it ended up a book club choice. It’s not a full re-reading for me but close enough. I have weird theories about this book and I’m anxious to see what people thought.

December 21st, 2014

I’m hella tired from staying out WAY late last night. Went to bed at 4:45 woke up at 11:45.

Still haven’t seen anything since Big Hero 6. Birdman, Princess Kaguya, Hobbit:B5A, nothing. (I hope to see at least Kaguya and Hobbit before year’s end.) So I thought I’d re-present the Non-traditional Christmas movie list.
About A Boy
Batman Returns
Die Hard
Die Hard 2
Edward Scissorhands
Friday After Next
Home Alone
Lethal Weapon
Love Actually
Mixed Nuts
The Ref
Reindeer Games
Small Soldiers
The Sure Thing
Trapped In Paradise
While You Were Sleeping

I would also suggest the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit hexology as they were all released around Christmas.

Any more you can think of?

I only ended up watching Love Actually this year but my 1000th tweet was:
It’s Christmas Eve and who is number one on the Radio Chart Show? It’s Billy Mack! #LoveActually

November 27th, 2014

Done. Another National Novel Writing Month is over (for me) because I finished.

Just under 51,000 words. The last 6000 or so were me filling more things in. I had a beginning and ending but if it were up to me, my novella would have ended at 45,000 words. This comes out to 130 or so pages if you’re interested.

I think I have the inklings of an actual book somewhere. Between this and my first (2012) successes. Last year’s attempt was more random thoughts that I tried to link and failed.

November 22nd, 2014


I really don’t know that I’m going to ever see Interstellar. The almost three hour running time (169 minutes) is daunting and it seems that the rules for trailer time have been lifted from exactly 15 minutes to somewhere closer to 25 minutes which means even if I just show up and get in as the trailers start, I’m still there for almost 3.5 hours. But who knows? I am in the middle of NaNoWriMo so time is at a weird premium. Even the DVR just gets wiped occasionally.

But I still do have time to do stuff. In addition to seeing John Cleese, I attempted to host book club — they cancelled the day of so I didn’t really gain any time, I just didn’t have to host. (Yes, it’s kinda shitty, even more so since they tried to change the date on me the day before when I hosted last month.) I also went to see Mick Foley. I would have taken notes and maybe written something up but there was a danger I’d've been thrown out. Really. Foley was Thursday night up in MB Financial Park where there is also a Muvico theater with their glorious MuviXL screens and the night I saw Foley Mockingjay started. Bet you thought I’d never get around to the title subject of this blog. Don’t worry, you’ll think that again. The theater was full except the “pit” so I waited and went to a local 9:15 am matinee on Friday. I was hoping for earlier but 9:15 is pretty good.

Like Breaking Dawn, Mockingjay really doesn’t need to be broken up into two parts. I’m not sure about Potter but I’m guessing they could’ve Goblet of Fired it and made that one film as well. I’ve read all the books for each of these series (yes, even Twilight) before I’ve seen the movies. Each part 1 I’ve seen, has been kind of a let down, consisting mostly of set up and Mockingjay holds true. In this year’s NaNoWriMo, I find myself sequelling my first novel and while it’s a little different it’s not enough different. Not “Hunger Games/Catching fire” or “Dan Brown” same but “Harry Potter” the same or “all of Neil Gaiman’s books are the same” same. And so I’ve spent some time pondering change. Suzanne Collins’ first two Hunger Games were almost exactly the same book with the same beats and I kind of wanted that familiarity with Mockingjay. Instead I hated the book. Life in district 13 was depressing, there was no adventure, everyone used Katniss. It was not fun. I’ve wondered if Collins was bored by the time she wrote third book and was looking to change it up. To change things as an author. To make things more interesting for herself.

So I didn’t hate part 1 the movie as much as I hated the book. I’m not sure I really hated the book as much as I did because I have not revisited it to see. Life in 13 was kinda boring and everyone was looking to use Katniss (Jeniffer Lawrence) who, as a character, has always been a bit simple and not very personable. The adults were interesting. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) was still the most enjoyable character in the film and he was quick to point out Katniss’ flaws. He was followed by Plutarch (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who seemed to spend a lot of time manipulating Coin (Julianne Moore) into being a more charismatic leader. But his performance was marred by the knowledge of his real-life tragedy. The film was almost all set up and it didn’t even end where I thought it would: Primrose (Willow Shields.) Maybe that’s too late. It’s not bad but not really for anyone other than book readers or die-hard fans (who I would think have read the book.)

Stingers: THERE ARE NONE! DO NOT STAY! At the very end of the credits I was hoping for a trailer for part 2. Instead the mockingjay pin logo morphed into the triumphant, almost phoenix-like, mockingjay logo set against a flaming background.

November 13th, 2014

Apologies to all, this is VERY first drafty and I’ll hopefully clean it up soon but I have to get back to NaNoWriMo-ing.

The recent O2 shows for Monty Python’s Flying Circus had the subtitle of One Down, Five to Go referring to the deceased Graham Chapman. Graham was the only Python I had seen live and that was back in the late 80s when Graham was promoting “The Dangerous Sports Club.” On Tuesday night I got to see my second Python live, John Cleese. John was promoting his autobiography “So Anyways” and appeared at the Tivoli Theater in downtown Downers Grove courtesy of Anderson’s Books.

Winter sort of started that day. It was Veterans Day and being a government employee meant I had the day off but the cold prevented me from wanting to go out. That and I wanted to get ahead on my NaNoWriMo-ing as I was planning to go out the next night as well. [I wrote enough of a cushion that I only need to write about 600 words today to stay on track.] I considered going to see Interstellar which would get out with enough time for me to easily make it but I decided I did not want to spend more than 6 hours in theater seats, no matter how comfortable they were so I left close to 6PM hoping to get there around 6:30 with rush hour traffic. I arrived and found no parking in the immediate area so I parked at the public library (still very close) but just south of the train tracks with the Tivoli Theater being just north and a block east.

It was cold. Not really but it was a good first cold and it was windy, adding to the cold. I found a spare stocking hat in my trunk but no gloves and headed over. The line went out the door. The line was for will-call tickets which I had. It moved steadily but still took about 15 minutes to get in. There I claimed my tickets, retrieved my books, grabbed a drink and found a seat about 1/3 of the way back and to the side. I got two books in case Pat was going to be able to join me but he couldn’t — we never did work out if he wanted a book though I’m sure I can find many people who wouldn’t mind getting an autographed John Cleese book as a gift.

In the theater there was a man playing an organ and two chairs with an end table between them and some bottles of water. We would applaud the organist after every song but everyone applauded louder when he started to sink into the stage. One of the Andersons from Anderson’s Bookshop introduced John Howard (I’m not really sure if that was his name but I’m sure about the Howard part) who was an extra in Life of Brian and a comedian in his own right. He introduced John Cleese to a standing ovation as the organist played the portion of Sousa’s Liberty Bell that served as the theme song for the Monty Python’s Flying Circus television show.

John Cleese’s father originally had the surname “Cheese” but was so tired of being teased about it changed the H to an L when he enlisted and became a “Cleese.” That’s why it’s rare to meet a Cleese as it’s not a proper name. John only had daughters and they both changed their names but one of his daughters was a comedian and performs using the stage name Camilla Cleese. She was performing the next night in Chicago but Howard quickly informed everyone it was sold out.

John’s mother was born in 1899 and died in 2000, spanning the entirety of the 20th Century. She was a very simple woman who feared everything and did not have common knowledge mainly due to her fearing everything. He told a story of how he and his wife served her quail eggs but she was unaware of the tiny things so John lied, claiming they were mole eggs that he and his wife gathered by the light of the full moon which is when the moles lay their eggs near the entrance of their burrows to which she told him “oh, that’s nice.” John continued by explaining how his mother would complain about all the things she was afraid of and what worried her and how she thought she was going to die.

The Mother Story
For her birthday she was spending a week with John in London. Instead of having to spend a long depressing Sunday night with her, listening to her describe all the ways she was going to die, I decided I would find something else to do. I recalled the Royal Shakespeare Company would be reading poetry in a few weeks and wouldn’t she like to go? “Oh no, I don’t like poetry,” was her reply but I mentioned she went to poetry readings all the time and she told me “that was for the sherry.” Now she was a fan of Peter Bridell [Author's Note: I'm not sure if this was the actor's name but it's the one I'm using] and I decided I’d trick her by telling her at some point in the programme they were going to load Peter Bridell into a cannon and fire him across the stage into a net. She said she liked Peter Bridell very much and that she would go. I was able to procure good seats in the very front.

Now three weeks pass and we go to see the Royal Shakespeare Company read poetry except I had got it wrong; they were not reading poetry but the diaries of Argentinian prisoners. The evening was turning out to be even more depressing than listening to my mother explain the ways in which she expected to die! At intermission I asked if she wanted to go but, to my surprise, she wanted to stay. So we stayed. The actors continued their readings and at some point she leaned over and whispered to me “When are they going to fire Peter Bridell out of a canon?” [At this point the audience can not stop laughing but John continued.] It had been three weeks and I forgot all about what I had told her to get her to go the theater and I found it so ridiculous I just burst out laughing. This, of course, was in the front row of the theater, in plain sight of the actors reading the diaries of war victims.

John performed in Chicago for bit in Hyde Park. It was there a fortune teller told him he was both creative and logical, which John believes he is. This was one of the reasons he was such a good comedian. John wanted to find a passage about Latin and math in his book and told Howard “Why don’t you say something while I try and find it?” Howard started to tell as story and was interrupted by John, “I’ve found it, you can shut up now.” John pointed out the cheap joke at his friend’s expense and of course let him finish his story.

John tried to explain comedy. Comedy is not appropriate comes down to 1) when something goes wrong or 2) when someone acts out of character.

He talked about religion and how weird a pope would appear to Christ with the fancy robes and hat. He discussed a character that did not get into Python, Vice Pope Eric who understood that when you teach a gospel of poverty, humility and penitence, you need a very rich and powerful organization to do it. He ended this talk of religion with the notion “An idea is not responsible for the people who hold it.”

The Michael Palin Prank
I got a call asking if Michael Palin and I would do something. Michael was doing one of his [big yawn] travel shows in Finland. I knew where he was staying and I called asking for him. While I waited for Michael to answer, I realized he had no idea where the caller was or who was calling so when Michael answered I said:
John [doing Finnish accent]: Hello? Is this Michael Palin?
Michael Palin: Yes
John: I Jorgen Svenhurst from the Finnish bureau of television and was wondering if I could interview you.
Michael told me that he was on a very busy schedule and that he was leaving in the morning and would not be able to do an interview tomorrow.
John: Oh, it is not for tomorrow. It is for today.
Michael: I’m sorry?
John: Yes, we are down in the lobby right now with a television crew. Would you please come down for an interview?
Michael explained how he was in his pajamas and not able to do so but I pressed on.
John: The Finnish viewers will take your dress as a sign of respect. They like pajamas.
Michael had finally had enough and refused throwing in some terse words
John: Oh please, it is for a program about one of the greatest comedians that has ever lived: Mr John Cleese [And John stops doing the Finnish accent and uses his real voice] and as one of his helpers we would like to hear what you have to say about him.
Michael laughed for two whole minutes.

One of John’s big regrets was not pranking Michael when he could have. When Michael was doing his [big yawn] Around the World in 80 days, John worked it out with the producer to prank Michael. John would to go the last stop, Singapore, and when Michael was filming he would walk across the background. He would then walk back in frame, look at the camera and come up to Michael. He would then tell him he was doing a program called Around the World in 79 days!

John was asked if he knew Douglas Adams and said not really but mentioned the second time he met him (which was shortly after the first) Douglas wore 4-inch risers and towered over John. Hammond added a story of when John and his wife lived in Burbank his wife had issues with her computer and when Hammond couldn’t figure it out she said, “who knows about computers? Douglas Adams!” And she called up Douglas Adams to fix her computer.

On the Python reunion he talked about how the Gumby sketch was axed in rehersals because everyone thought it was funny. During the third O2 show Eddie Izzard who did some onstage work with them had cut his head or ear and was bleeding profusely. John had spotted him while in the middle of a sketch and totally flubbed his lines. Afterwards he apologized to Eddie and was told that the mistakes made it better. Everyone watching knows the sketches much better than any of the Pythons and getting them right or wrong didn’t matter. He realized the shows were a way of fans saying thanks to them. John then decided he would, not necessarily intentionally, but intentionally mess up. Terry Jones had issues remembering all the horrible things to be said in the “Crunchy Frog” sketch and had a list in the box he could read. On one night, John took the list and read them for him. At the Tivoli, John proceeded to rattle them all off without issue.

John talked about the Daily Mail and their long standing hatred of him. For the release of “So, Anyway…” they attacked his book but got a professor to do it to lend credence. Researching the reviewer, John discovered he was a professor of criminology at Birmingham College which was until recently a polytechnic. The reviewer said it was too “self involved” but his daughter loved that because self-invloved is what an autobiography should be.

A question about comedy had the response that audiences will tell you if you’re funny, though some places are more difficult than others. He talked about how comedians steal. In art, one is influenced, but in comedy, you steal.

John talked about meeting the Dalai Lama and why he’s always laughing. Laughter allows you to be open to new ideas. It allows you to relax. You cannot be tense or fearful when laughing.

John talked about the origins of Fawlty Towers which was a hotel in New Zealand(? wherever) run by a very small man who, unlike Basil Fawlty, was angry all the time. He was clearly of the opinion that he could run this hotel properly if it weren’t for the guests. John noted this small man was henpecked by his very large wife and that dynamic went into Fawlty Towers. When John revealed the source, after the man retired, the Daily Mail in their effort to attack John, searched out this manager and asked him about the show. The man refused to talk to them but the tracked down his daughter and showed her Fawlty Towers to which she said, “that’s my dad.”

John was asked what his Spirit Animal would be which sent murmurs through the crowd, perhaps in anticipation of John verbally attacking the questioner, but he pondered it for a comedically long time and then answered “Lemurs” as he had a species of Lemur named after him. He then promptly changed his answer to “stuffed animals” because he and his wife were the only people he knew who both obsessed over stuffed animals. John found them wonderful and comical leading me to believe he was referring to the carnival prize type of stuffed animal and not the taxidermy stuffed animal.

He talked about the Holy Grail. How there was only so much hot water in the hotels and how everyone would rush back because only a few people could get warm baths after a day of shooting. He also told a story of how Terry Gilliam, who had only directed little pieces of paper at this point, was perhaps a bit too big for his director’s hat in one instance where Michael Palin had to eat prop mud which was edible but still tasted horrible. Terry would call cut almost immediately after Michael ate the mud and eventually Michael refused, yelling at cursing at Terry.

John ended the night with he and Hammond reading a sketch which was written by John and Graham Chapman and John felt was the precursor to Python. He left to a standing ovation but the Tivoli would then be playing Holy Grail for anyone who stayed. I didn’t.

It was still cold outside and you know how I mentioned I parked on the other side of the tracks? A freight train just started to cross as I reached the tracks and I stood out there for a good five (maybe more?) minutes.