Pop culture accomplishments a week before Christmas

1) To start with, it's not pop culture-related, but you know Christmas is almost here when the family gatherings ramp up in frequency and your stomach goes into serious training, given the vast quantities of good (frequently rich) food and drink it's subjected to. It was my father's birthday on Saturday so there was a test run for our tummies a week before Christmas - with a spread of cold meats, bread and salads, followed by strawberry pavlova, fruit salad, ice cream and chocolate cake. My tried and tested "No Second Helpings" strategy seems to be the best way to survive the seasonal gluttony.

2) Speaking of Christmas this weekend I had to contend with 3 super grouchy female Scrooges, between the ages of 1 and 90. We were treated to snapping, death stares and full blown tantrums. I'm not saying we don't all have our bad moods, and women are prone to emotional swings, but jeez, ladies, take your "Bah! Humbug!" attitudes and PMS-pissyness somewhere else please.

3) Anyway, this weekend I completed Guitar Hero 5 on Career Mode, with me on vocals (Medium difficulty), the bf on drums (Medium) and our friend on guitar (Expert). The last 2 tracks are incredibly difficult from an instrument-playing perspective.

After completing the game we then proceeded to shuffle instruments and graduate to new difficulty levels: me - Hard vocals, bf - Hard guitar, and friend - Hard drums. In my third attempt at drum playing I managed to do a much better job. Granted I was only playing on Easy but I was proud of my improved coordination.

4) Remaining on the topic of gaming, I ran the Nexus instance for the first time in World of WarCraft so that I could complete my undead warlock's sexy Winter Veil ensemble. Necrophiliacs rejoice!

5) Meanwhile, Girlz 'N' Games fans will likely be pleased to know that the special Christmas edition comic strip is well underway, and is likely to be up here bright and early on Christmas Eve.

6) In terms of books and comics, I've now reached Exodus and the Moses story in the Bible, and have started the collected Witchblade superhero saga. My goodness, talk about taking "sex sells" to the pervy extreme... but without comic book coitus of course! Do you know any homicide detectives who look or dress like this?

7) And, finally this weekend, I got to see Avatar. Of course my full review will be appearing on this blog shortly but in a nutshell, the film inspired the same sense of wonder in me that Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings did. So often with today's fantasy films the audience is encouraged to take an emotional step back from the onscreen action and consciously appreciate the slick special effects. With Avatar, by contrast, that never happens. You totally buy into what you are seeing onscreen as "real." This said, it seems more appropriate to call Avatar "Great" as opposed to "Outstanding."

And I would also at this point like to complain about my experience at the Durban Gateway IMAX. After receiving excellent, friendly customer service over the phone when I booked tickets, everything went downhill. The film started 15 minutes later than advertised and seeing as the cinema doors were kept closed until then, everyone had to stand squashed together, waiting. It was hot, uncomfortable and claustrophobic and I actually nearly passed out. Worst of all, while the filmic image was still massive, Avatar was only projected on about 2/3rds of the giant screen. When you're paying a premium price for a premium experience, you should be receiving the full screen, flawless experience... without distracting image borders in the periphery of your vision.

I wish I knew who was in charge of SA IMAX, so I could complain to someone senior and bring down some serious results-producing wrath on the Gateway cinema management.


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