Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It wasn't all bad though. The director did an admirable job of portraying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It was almost a character in itself. The teenage characters were also portrayed accurately - they were very awkward and phony, constantly seeking the approval of their peers.
On to the stupid. I'm not going to spend a great deal of time on this, I'll just hit a few things. For starters, the vampire main character is over 100 years old, despite having the body of a 17 year old and yet we're expected to believe that he has anything other than a physical interest in a 17 year old girl? I don't think that anyone other than a teen girl would believe that.
Next, adding the twist to the vampire lore that they can't go into the sunshine because their skin gets all shiny and sparkly and blows their cover is stupid enough that it makes me angry. Maintaining their anonymity is the vampires biggest concern? Really?
The last point I'll mention is that there seemed to be several loose ends that were never tied up. One example would be that one of the female vampires whose name I can't recall (the hot blond one) expresses her disdain for the main character whose name I also forgot (played by the cute Kristen Stewart (I just checked and she turns 19 in a couple days so she's legal - whew)). This is brought up a couple times but nothing ever comes of it and no explanation is given as to why. It is simply dropped. And there are a few other plot elements which are also brought up and inexplicably dropped. It's as if there were a lot more in the book that was cut from the film, but the editing and screenplay was sloppy enough that these stray plot elements weren't completely removed.
Ultimately this movie is about what I expected of it - a crappy romance aimed aimed at a different audience. If you're out of high school or male, chances are this isn't the movie for you. If your love of Forks is strong enough though you might enjoy it. Although if your knowledge of Western Washington geography is good enough a few of the minor lines might cause a little irritation. At one point the sheriff, who is tracking the bad vampires, says, "they are headed east, it looks like they are Kitsap County's problem now." It is a loooong way from Forks to Kitsap County. And the Hood Canal is in the way.
In other news, I can't believe they keep making more Fast & Furious movies. Who in the world watches these? And how does Vin Diesel continue to get jobs? I really don't understand.
Sadly, the persistent folks back at Liberty Mutual HQ continue to find new and innovative ways to track down my happy place and trash it. The latest atrocity came when I found out today that a bunch of the people on my floor were laid off today. Worst of all, I think that among them was the drop dead gorgeous woman down the hall was among them. This is a woman so attractive that sometimes I forget what I'm doing when I see her walk by. Now I'll probably never see her again. Just one more level of escapism I've been robbed of. I don't know how I'll survive.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
If you’re one of those people who’d rather hide their money under a mattressI could have used some solid advice like this 6 months ago. It probably would have saved me a lot of money.
than give it to an investment adviser, you’re ignoring a basic economic fact:
Mattresses are expensive. Let's say you want to hide $500 under a mattress. A
queen mattress capable of hiding such a sum could run you as much as, say, $500.
Do the math: By the time you've paid for the mattress, you'll have no money left
to hide under it. Smart move, asshole.
As you've probably already guess since you're probably not so racked with hunger pangs and caffeine deficiencies that you can read properly and see the Keebler elf on the package, these were in fact elfin crackers. Fear not, the story had a happy ending. As luck would have it, the crackers were tasty, if not bold, and my stomach was satisfied.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Here are some other random thoughts for you. Were this crazy plan to work, it would also provide a convenient place for me to roast coffee without setting off a smoke alarm. I am also amused by some of the required tools for assembly. A partner - I'd have to borrow one of those from somewhere. Tape measure - I'm in good shape here now. Lubricant - I'm a little confused about what the lube would be used for. Work gloves - always a good idea when working with lube. Large hammer - I'm pretty fond of hitting things with a hammer, and a large one is more tempting. Yes, I'm pretty sure I couldn't assemble this without assistance.
Next up is another one I've been hearing with increasing frequency: 'it is what it is'. I don't know that there is a more meaningless phrase in use today. It is simply a way for somebody to make noise without saying anything. A way to say, "hey, I don't have anything to say but pay attention to me anyway."
Last on the agenda for the day is not so much a cliche as a double play of buzzwords. The more time I spend in the business world, the more often I hear the words proactive and paradigm. As in, "Excuse me, but 'proactive' and 'paradigm'? Aren't these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important?" This is one of my all time favorite Simpsons quotes, one which was immediately followed by, "I'm fired, aren't I?"
Monday, March 23, 2009
The evils of high fructose corn syrup are well known, but the extent to which corn has pervaded our diet is pretty amazing. It's almost impossible to get beef that isn't corn fed in this country, and the sad truth is that to fatten up cattle, they are placed in feed lots where their movement is severely restricted and they are fed corn which fattens them up before the slaughter. As a result, corn fed beef is higher in fat and saturated fat than grass fed beef. And when you consider that corn syrup is in everything from bread to soft drinks, and that fried foods are often times fried in corn oil, a large percentage of America's diet is comprised of corn, particularly fast food.
It also turns out that over the years, corn has been cultivated to get higher yield strains, sacrificing nutritional value in the process. So the more corn we grow, the worse it is for us, and since it is in almost everything, it is contributing to obesity and all the illnesses that go along with it, particularly diabetes.
The interesting thing about this is that to a large extent, this can be traced to government subsidies originally created by Agricultural Secretary Earl Butz in 1973. He implemented a plan to pay farmers to produce as much as possible. This drove down prices to the point that farmers can no longer make money without subsidies. As a result unhealthy food containing corn and corn syrup are cheaper so people buy and eat more of these unhealthy foods. In a round about way, we are subsidising the poor health and obesity of America. We're subsidising low cost foods with taxes and medical bills.
So maybe it's time to end farm subsidies. At the very least I've been convinced to eat healthier. I gave up soft drinks several years ago, but if I could find grass fed beef I'd be willing to pay more for it. And if I cold find more foods that didn't contain corn syrup I'd pay more for those too.
Since Leonard can't make any new memories, he has to meticulously keep track of everything he learns and everyone he knows with notes and photographs, and the clues to finding the man that raped and murdered his wife he tattoos on his body.
This is the film that initially introduced me to Christopher Nolan who went on to direct Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Prestige. Memento is every bit as good as any of these and the story is told in reverse, starting with Leonard killing the man who raped and murdered his wife. The film then slowly backtracks, occasionally throwing in some flashbacks, creating a sense of confusion similar to what Leonard feels. As you realize that a lot of the people he associates with are pretty sketchy, you can't help wonder if he's being used.
Guy Pearce does an amazing job and Carrie Ann Moss and Joe Pants are wonderful in supporting roles. Movies don't get much better than this. I command you to watch it as soon as possible.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Laimbeer went from menacing Marshall, Will, and Holly as an
adolescent to menacing the entire
NBA as an adult.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Anyway, I saw that South Carolina governor Mark Sanford has announced that he will be rejecting nearly a quarter of the federal money headed to his state as part of the economic stimulus plan.
"I have come to conclude that it would be a mistake to simply accept the money as offered," Sanford wrote to state legislators in announcing his decision. "When one is in a hole, the first order of business is to stop digging."
I have to agree that increasing government spending is not the way to fix the economy, but I'm sure that many of the intended recipients of this money are going to be none too happy with him. The typical response that you'd expect from the opposition - that it is political posturing - was quickly leveled. Who knows, maybe it is political posturing, but at least it's interesting to see a politician literally put his money where his mouth is rather than decry the stimulus package only to accept the handouts whole heartedly. I'll be interested to see the ramifications.
The other interesting quote for me was this:
"Every state should be laser-focused right now on one issue: jobs, jobs, jobs," said O'Malley, vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
All I can think after reading that is that I thought the majority of the stimulus package was earmarked for extending unemployment benefits. How exactly is paying people not to work supposed to increase jobs? The other lingering question for me is, if Sanford does follow through with this and reject the money, what will become of the funds? Will they go toward paying down the national debt, or will they simply be reallocated to some other government program. Who knows, and I'm honestly beginning to lose interest already.
One last bit of advise before I call it a day, if you're going to put a dummy in your car so that you can drive in the HOV lane, make sure to buckle him up so that you don't get pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. The Washington State Patrol will give you a $124 ticket and confiscate your dummy.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
By the way, I feel compelled to say that most of the people who comment on youtube have got to be the dumbest people in the world. I try my best not to read any comments but sometimes it happens anyway and I think I lose an IQ point with each comment I read.
Your "no stank you" commercials are so &^#)@# annoying that mere words cannot begin to express the rage I feel when I see one. You are all evil @%%^#s and I hope you die a slow and extremely painful death. Extremely. I swear, if I see that piece of @&$* one more time, I will track you down, shove a red hot ^&^#$%& up your fat @#$& while &(**&^ing you in the @#^^ until your @#^^$@ turn black and blue. I will then proceed to beat you with a crowbar until your own mother won't recognize you. I now plan to take up smoking simply out of spite.
Your worst nightmare
The price of stamps will climb ever higher
You will invent a humorous toilet lid
You will find true love on Flag Day
Your store is being robbed Apu
And my personal favorite: You will be aroused by a shampoo commercial
It's so true. Now I really want some Chinese food....
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Disturbed is no stranger to covers. They've done a decent version of Land of Confusion by Genesis, a surprisingly good version of the Tears for Fears classic Shout. I really didn't think that one would translate well to hard rock but boy was I wrong. All that considered, I was pleased at the quality of Midlife Crisis. I always thought the original was more of a pop song than a hard rock song, with some sampled and electronic sounds and an upbeat drum line. I may be in the minority on that since on more than one occasion I've had it cranked only to have someone walk by and express shock that would make you think I was listening to death metal.
Anyway, Disturbed removes all of the pop elements and makes it a full on head banging rock song. It works well, but still fails to match the original. David Draiman does a good job with the vocals but doesn't have the feeling or versatility of Mike Patton. It also drops the multi layered vocals of the original - the harmonies and canon aren't there. The drums are also less pronounced, which I see as a bit of a detraction. All in all though, a great cover that I will listen to repeatedly. Unlike a lot of covers which are made as close as possible to the original, Disturbed changed it enough to give it a different feel, to put their own trademark on it, but not so much that it sounds like a completely different song (like the horrific cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal by some terrible punk band that I don't care to be reminded of).
For comparison/contrast, here is the original. Running neck and neck with Falling to Pieces as my favorite song by the band, I love it and even after all these years can't get enough of it.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
I guess one of the things that I haven't looked at yet is battery life. The battery in my Razr is terrible and I really don't want another phone that I have to charge every day. So, all things considered so far, the Omnia looks like the phone for me, but if somebody has some information I've overlooked or another phone I haven't considered (there's no way in the world I'm jumping on the iphone bandwagon), I'd like to hear it.
**Note: damn blogger and their occasional weird formatting problems. Why must it be so difficult sometimes?**
While flipping around on the television this evening to try to find something to have on in the background while I made dinner and took care of the various other minutia before getting side tracked chatting about the draft online, I stumbled on channel 661. This has been one of those channels that they have been playing musical stations (pun intended) with. It is now Palladia, apparently part of the MTV family. Not holding that against it, I tuned in to see the end of an HD Duran Duran concert (repeat showings 3/6 at 3pm, 3/20 at 5pm, and 3/21 at 11am). I couldn't help thinking that even as old guys, they still put on a great show. I was actually watching a bunch of their old videos on youtube over the weekend, marveling at how many great songs they had, and seeing the concert reinforced that.
How they are not thought of as one of the great bands in history is a mystery to me. I'm not sure any of their contemporaries pumped out more hits. And while most of it was pure pop, they did have some songs with a little more edge like Wild Boys and also could slow it down and produce a great ballad like Save a Prayer. As the 80's wound down and they started changing line ups, the hits started drying up. But for about a 7 year stretch, there was nobody better. One interesting fact I just discovered is that none of the 3 Taylors - Roger, Andy, and John - were related. That seems really unlikely.
Anyway, after the Duran Duran concert concluded, a show on U2 started up. Throughout, all I could think was what happened to them? How could they have gone from writing amazing songs like Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride, and With or Without You to churning out garbage like Lemon and Discotheque? Hitting their peak at the Joshua Tree, they seemed to do an about face. Rather than fading into anonymity, on subsequent albums they seemed intent on destroying their image of having a social conscience and instead sold their souls for fame and fortune. They have become a caricature of band that hit it big and didn't know what to do. Putting on ridiculously over the top stage shows to hide their increasingly sub par music and publicly making asses of themselves to keep their faces in the news. It's sad really, particularly when you consider the people they used to be. But ultimately, no matter how far they've strayed, they are still the band that used to write great songs and since the show didn't venture into the new garbage, it was enjoyable. Particularly in glorious high def.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
In other news, I would like to publicly say happy square root day to one and all. As I'm sure all of you are aware, today is 3/3/09, and looking at that date I'm also sure that everyone can see that 3x3=9, hence the name square root day. Equally obvious should be that this phenomenon only occurs 9 times per century and the next will not occur until 4/4/16. So live it up while you can. Armageddon may come before the next square root day.
Also, Pi Day (3/14) is less than two weeks away. Begin your preparations now. Right now I'm thinking about eating an apple pie to celebrate.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Anyway, the above article is pretty superficial, but after a little more research, this whole saga is getting more interesting. I found this article with a lot more information. For starters, they are victims of signing a stupid loan - a 5 year loan with a balloon payment at the end. So after buying the house for $160k and making a 50% down payment, $83k is due on May 1. And after spending $150k in renovations in that time, the owner didn't have the forethought to set aside enough for the remaining payment.
After looking at some more pictures of the cave and finding out that prior to being a private residence, it served as a concert venue for the likes of the Motor City Madman - Ted Nugent, Bob Segar, and Tina Turner, I can't help thinking it would be a pretty cool place to live. If only I was willing to move to Festus, MO. Is there anything more manly than living in a cave, particularly one with electricity, plumbing, and internet access? That's a dream come true. Hopefully this family will be able to procure a more traditional loan and remain there.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
The Fall takes place primarily in a hospital where Roy, a silent film stunt man, has broken his back and is paralyzed from the waist down. He befriends a young girl, Alexandria, with a broken arm who likes to wander around the hospital to relieve her boredom. Roy begins telling Alexandria a story and we view the story through her imagination. It isn't too long before we find out that Roy is suicidal and is only telling the story in the hopes of persuading Alexandria to steal some morphine for him to over dose.
It may sound a little bleak, but ultimately it is a story about hope. I'm a sucker for a fairy tale, and the story told by Roy comes across as very fairy tale-esque. It is a visually stunning - I watched it on blu ray, and if you have high definition available you should take advantage. There is more too it than amazing imagery though. The pacing is a little slower than your typical Hollywood fare and in my opinion is perfect. A lot of movies seem too rushed for me, but The Fall takes it's time and allows you to absorb the story and develop an attachment to the characters without being boring.
Some reviewers have called it self indulgent and shallow, but those reviewers are wrong. The story is captivating and unravels like a tapestry. The young girl who played Alexandria did a wonderful job and the rest of the cast was terrific as well. I'm starting to lose my concentration and before I get any more nonsensical I'll just say go watch The Fall. You'll thank me later.