This weekend was a bit unusual because Kaia went to Tahoe to hang with friends and my friend Ron was in for a few days from Tokyo so Chateau Boogie was relatively silent until 9PM Sunday night when The Sopranos hit the air.
I got a chance to hang out with a friend I've known since college, and since we've gone to war together -- ie played a lot of hockey games, during many of which we spilled blood together (usually, thankfully, not our own) -- we've got lots of history. For sure, I'm not minimizing what's happening in Iraq, but when I use the term "go to war" it's not as far off as it might sound to someone who has never played hockey with a close-knit group like ours. We played regularly at Skyrink at Chelsea Piers as well as other rinks, and for the most part, we happily woke up at 5:30 on Sunday mornings just for the chance to skate and battle together. Aside from the stitches, the casts, the braces, the hospital stays and the surgeries, everything went great -- and we have the bloodstains on our sweaters to prove it. The only unfortunate part is that, at 36, we're not really suited to playing competitively, although I think it has more to do with the fact that we'd rather sleep in on Sundays then skate. Another friend of mine asked me what I thought of Mark Messier, who retired after the 2003-04 season at the age of 43 after 25 years in the NHL. It's impressive that he was able to last that long in the NHL, and it's a testament to the mental discipline and the physical shape he has demonstrated over the course of his Hall of Fame career. However, aside from the fact that I think he stuck around way too long -- the Rangers re-enter (andswept from) the playoffs for the first time in 9 years the year after he retires is not a coinkidink -- if I was a guy who had no real education and lived my entire life going from hotel to hotel and city to city merely to play hockey, I'd make sure I was in peak physical form, even at 43, so I could (barely) compete and cash a $5 million paycheck for another year or two.
Having said that, it was nice to skate again with a friend I hadn't seen (nor skated with) for far too long. The fact that our skate occurred the same weekend the Rangers were bounced from the playoffs was sort of ironic; the last time we played hockey together the Rangers were a competitive team, so let's hope that both occur with more frequency and far less time between.
Meanwhile...I watched a couple movies over the weekend in between conversations with Kaia and other meandering, miscellaneous stuff. The first, "Lord of War" stars Nicolas Cage as arms dealer Yuri Orlov. Right off the bat that should tell you something's amiss -- Nic Cage as a Ukrainian-born arms dealer? Next you'd expect Betty White co-stars as his junkie love interest (she doesn't). The movie is actually pretty decent once given a whirl, but the suspension of disbelief, ironically, isn't simply a good strategy for the viewer but for the characters in the movie as well. The movie's premise, basically, is that the people who put guns in others hands are just as guilty as are those pulling the trigger. Nic Cage usually plays likable characters, and despite the fact that Yuri is a lousy human being who disappoints everyone who cares about him, his character is a likable guy -- sort of. The movie sort of muddles its message three quarters of the way, but overall it is a fairly predictable, if not interesting, story of how some kid from Williamsburg wound up being on a first-name basis with every warlord or paranoid dictator in the post Cold War world (again, suspension of disbelief). And the shots (no pun intended) of Africa and other desolate, burned-out third world locations was striking. It brought back my recent memory of "The Constant Gardener" which was a much more streamlined, sophisticated, real story -- but in many ways, this was a memorable movie as well. And the opening title sequence does Martin Scorcese proud -- and no, I won't explain.
The second film in the BoogieMarathon was "Picture Perfect" starring Jennifer Aniston...entertaining, light and fun, although also predictable, syrupy and formula. It's on par with other "romantic comedies" like "The Wedding Date" and "13 Going On 30." Corny and disposable but far less threatening than The Sopranos was last night...
If you haven't seen last night's Sopranos, I won't reveal anything beyond that this ultimate season has not let loose like it has in years past; however, the show is showing signs not of slowing down per se but finding answers to questions and as it winds down, leaving these characters to where they should be in their respective lives. I'm not having the kind of fun this season that I did watching Goodfellas, which was affirmatively electric, or The Godfather, which was pure heat; however, the season's been a lot of fun so far and I am hoping that if this is the final season it should wrap up properly.
Speaking of The Godfather, I completed the entire game and had a blast (no pun intended) doing so; since the game is set up so you don't need to complete every task perfectly or accomplish every goal to the letter, I managed to win the game with 91.5% of the tasks completed. So I opted to go back in and re-do everything (knowing what to do this time, I surmised, might help me along). Eh...still not easy, but a lot more entertaining. And driving around NYC -- especially up to my neighborhood, and to my work neighborhood, while I am in my apartment, is surreal, especially because many of the buildings represent the current visage of the City.
Finally, I'm enjoying the fact that it's beautiful in the City and I'm looking forward to Kaia's next trip here; I wanted to head there for the Union Street fair in June but I think she'll be here by that time, so until she's here, I'm going through the motions and counting the days.