Back to the Future’s Future is Too Futuristic

Time for a little more geekery about Back to the Future. While watching part two I couldn’t help but notice that the filmmaker’s vision of 2015–a mere seven years away–was incredibly advanced. Granted the movie was made in the late 1980s when 2015 was still 25 years away, but it’s kind of incredible how far off they were in their predictions. Of course it’s only a movie and it’s all for good fun, but it has interesting implications for science fiction writers trying to depict the future. Namely: The future is never as advanced as you think it should be.

In Back to the Future 2 we see all sorts of incredible futuristic advancements. The most eye-popping is the flying car, and it seems the entire interstate system has already been transferred from concrete roads to airborne flyways. Clothing comes in self-fitting styles, skateboards can hover, the weather can either be controlled or predicted with perfect accuracy, fingerprint scanners have replaced door knobs, video screens have replaced windows, home appliances are voice activated, food is regularly de- and re-hydrated, a home energy appliance creates as much energy as a nuclear reaction and fax machines are everywhere.

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On Watching Back to the Future

I spent the two days before Christmas watching the complete Back to the Future trilogy (and I’m a little shocked that you can buy the whole thing from Amazon for $20 right now). I haven’t seen the movies in a while and it was great to go back and enjoy them again.

The first one was by far the best, but I think the second two are decent, at least giving you a chance to revel in that fictional world a little more (which is what sequels are all about). It would have helped the sequels a lot if they were envisioned when the original was written (the whole ‘Marty goes nuts when someone calls him chicken’ plotline would have worked a lot better in the sequels if it had appeared in the original at all–instead it just showcases that the sequels were an after thought).

I loved how tight the writing and plotting were in the original. There’s hardly a moment wasted in the movie–everything has a purpose and is important. That’s pretty hard to do.

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Shopping at Walgreen’s on Christmas

So 8:00 p.m. on Christmas night is not the best time to find something to eat. Since we’d been gone for four days there wasn’t much to eat in the house that didn’t require lots of preparation (thawing chicken at 8:00 p.m. seemed kind of stupid).

So I did the only reasonable thing and drove up and down the nearest major thoroughfare to see what was open. And what’s open at 8:00 p.m. on Christmas night? One Mexican restaurant, three Chinese buffets and Walgreen’s. We went with frozen pizza from Walgreen’s.

Walgreen’s was packed with people buying last minute gifts when they really shouldn’t have bothered (though I didn’t see any taking advantage of the large Chia Head/Clapper display near the front).

The woman in front of me in line spent $111–at Walgreen’s–on gifts including Christmas boxers that came with their own gift bag, a combo chess/backgammon game pack and some kind of My Little Pony set. I kept trying to imagine what sort of situation would require spending $111 at Walgreen’s at 8:00 p.m. on Christmas. Wasn’t coming up with much.

Sick for Christmas

Lexi got sick for the second major holiday in a row and spent Christmas Eve throwing up. Not exactly the best treat to leave for Santa. She seemed better on the ride home, but proved us wrong outside of Chippewa Falls when she threw up in the car. Again. After we stopped at a truck stop to clean her up she managed to do it a couple more times before we made it home. I’m beginning to associate holiday travel with the smell of vomit.

Highlight of Lexi’s sickness: Feeling like a negligent parent while cleaning up Lexi on the floor of the men’s room.

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Christmas 2007

Yesterday we returned to a snowy St. Paul and finished up Christmas 2007. We had three Christmases and one birthday party in three days. Whew. I also managed to take 381 photos, which I’m slowly trying to get online.

Maybe it’s the multiple Christmases (you can add a fourth Christmas when you include the one we had with my family in Thanksgiving), or the traveling and not being at my own house, or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m an adult now, but Christmas never quite seems as magical as it did when I was a kid.

Africa Bans Plastic Bags

Apparently the entire continent of Africa is banning plastic bags. (Sidetrack: I think it’s kind of weird that we refer to all of Africa as one entity–AIDS in Africa, orphans in Africa, poverty in Africa, government corruption in Africa, etc. I guess you get some of that with Europe or Asia, but it seems like we do it disproportionately to Africa. End sidetrack.)

At first it seems kind of silly. But then as you imagine billions of plastic bags floating around, I can see how it’d be quite the problem. I always try to reuse my plastic bags (excellent for dog poop), but we always have way more than we’ll ever use. Seems like it should be fairly easy to ween ourselves from plastic bags. Ikea does a nice job of that by simply charging you 5 cents for each bag you use.

The more I think about it, banning plastic bags starts to sound pretty rational and wasting plastic bags for the two things you bought at Target sounds kind of silly.

Go See Juno

A little more than a month ago I asked if you could do a funny movie about adoption. The answer? You bet your sweet bippy.

We went to see Juno last night, the adoption-related movie penned by the former stripper and Minnesota native, Diablo Cody. And I can say that all my fears about the movie not living up to the hype were unfounded. It’s better than the hype.

It’s laugh out loud hilarious, it has a great story, it’s honest and it’s real. They don’t make many movies like this one. At times it felt like Napoleon Dynamite, except instead of being so funny because it was awkward and bizarre, it was just funny.

So in case I haven’t been clear yet, go see Juno.