Thursday, October 02, 2014

Whack a Mole or Bee

It's been a bit slow around here, and that's fine.  I get involved in one thing or another, and have to drop that and do something else.  I guess life is like that.  I was out walking around my property in the front yard yesterday, and noticed that it looked like some wild animal or perhaps a dog had been digging around in an area of my yard that is an offset island from my main yard.  There are some bushes and greenery in it, but there's also a nice purple crepe myrtle tree there that I don't want destroyed, so I investigated it further.  I noticed though when looking into one of the deeper holes there were bees inside the hole,  so I don't know if they dug the hole (I can't imagine that) or a wild animal did and they decided to make a home there.  Either way, sort of a pisser, but I guess that's life.  As my dad used to say, there's always something.  I tried spraying some hornet's nest killer into their colony, and was ready to run in case they turned out to be some sort of aggressive bee, however, I'm not so sure that that's going to do the trick entirely.  I got up today and turned on the sprinkler system to the island as I read they do not like moisture, hoping that that might encourage them to find a better home and move on as well.  But once some of these bees and wasp find a home they can be hard to get rid of, so I'll just have to monitor their activity over the next few days, and hopefully they'll move on. 

I watched Xtro last night, which I found on Youtube.  I remember the cover of it back in the days of VHS, and being a SF fan was always a bit curious about it.  As the cover implies, it's a SF horror film in the mold of  the Ridley Scott film, Alien, but with their own take on the genre.  It's also an alien abduction type story.  To be sure, it's a B-grade, low budget film, but as the same time I thought had a few things that were interesting about it.

For one, at least the film kept me thinking or at least wondering what and where the plot was headed.  I also liked that it was a British production. I'm a monster fan, so they had a pretty interesting take on the alien, and also it used lighting to good effect in some scenes.  Much like Alien, the creature that they created goes through a metamorphosis, and though less clear in some of the alien's changes or even motives, I thought that was okay.  I made it seem more alien-like.  There's a weirdness or unsettling nature to the film, that reminded me at times of something like Hellraiser or something along that line.  Also though the score was lean and sparse, and I enjoyed the old analog synthesizer soundtrack and the atmosphere it added.   There's a bit of gore here and there, and the story is a bit inconsistent at times, but overall for a B-film, it held my attention. 

The next movie I watched, although it was getting late, was an adaptation of a film taken from Jean M. Auel's book, The Clan of the Cave Bear.   I've seen this series of books in used book stores and sales, and have picked them up and looked at them and thought, hum, that sort of appeals to me as I'm a prehistoric and dinosaur fan.  I think I've even run across the DVD from time to time in pawn shops, but I think I confused it with the movie, Quest for Fire (which is another pretty good prehistoric film), so I've overlooked watching it for years.  But I have to say it really engaged me and I can see why it became a bestseller back in the day.  I don't recall how this movie did at the box office or what critics thought of the film because for whatever reason, it flew under my radar.

It's one of those films that within a few minutes sets up a whole new world, wherein my attention was drawn right into it.  It's basically about a wandering Neanderthal tribe in search of a cave as winter is coming on, and they need a home for the cold weather.  On their journey they find a young abandoned blonde child called Ayla, a Cro-Magnon, that is adopted by one of their women.  She's not totally accepted into their tribe due to looking different, and perhaps other reasons, but over time we go along with her journey into adulthood.  One of the questions I had about the film is the woman that adopts the child is pregnant at the time, but the movie doesn't address what happens to that woman's child.  Maybe they did, but it wasn't clear to me, or I just didn't catch it.

At any rate, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It had great scenery shot up in Canada, which really gave it the atmosphere it needed, and the score to the film worked really well too--reminding me of some of the music Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells, Ommadawn, etc.) did many years ago or maybe something along the lines of Vangelis.  Perhaps, the film is oriented more towards fantasy, but I think Jean Auel did extensive research on her series of books, so that it's grounded in scientific findings as well.   It really made me more curious about her books, which I'll have to keep an eye out for at book sales.  It would be nice to find the second book in the series, The Valley of the Horses.

If interested I found this older, short interview with Mrs. Auel.  I thought it was interesting to hear her talk about her work.  You can find it here.  Click on the bottom link that says 1985, mp3 file.


At 8:46 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

It's been a while since I looked at Auel, but she has her moments. One novel from the period I liked a lot was "Dance of the Tiger" by Bjorn Kurten. As a professor of anthropology he is heavy on the science, which seems to be the objection of the minority of reviewers who didn't like it -- the fantasy element is limited. I thought it made the story all the better. By the way, his Neanderthals are blond and the Cro-Magnons are dark, which (though speculative) makes sense since the Neanderthals had adapted to European conditions for hundreds of thousands of years whereas the Cro-Magnons were much more recently from Africa.

I have persistent carpenter bees. They keep coming back. Fortunately I'm not allergic, but they do scare guests. Good luck with the insects and other critters.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Thanks Richard for the book recommend. I'll try and remember it when out book looking. The theory on Neanderthals vs. Cro-Mags makes sense to me. It's hard to wrap my mind around our species, but also our own personal family bloodline going back that far in time, sort of staggers the imagination.

I like reading about that stuff though from time to time, whether it's fantasy or science.

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

My dad is a big fan Auel's books. He was so happy when she finally wrapped up the series, because she took many years between each one. She claimed it was because of evolving research and information about the time period. But I've read some reviews that question her details.

I haven't seen the movie in years, but I remember enjoying back in the day. The score was considered a bit of an oddity being electronic for something so primitive.


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