Monday, January 26, 2009

The Action Star Stare

If you want to be an action star, you need to perfect "The Stare". Consider this "Blue Steel" for asskickers. Luckily, Target was nice enough to have a line-up of three such looks lined up for comparison.

Blue Steel for asskickers

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Libris Hiatus

I own a lot of books. Too many. I've read a lot of them but there are literally hundreds that I haven't cracked the cover on. Yet, I keep buying and I need to stop!

Even today I picked up two new books. They were used, yes, but I still don't think I should be spending money on books to add to the pile when I have so many I haven't even touched. So, that's it. I'm putting a stoppage on my book buying until I read at least two hundred of the books I currently have.

Note that there are at least 322 books (at the moment) in my "want to read" list and that's not even fully up to date with everything I own, have borrowed, or have downloaded as an audiobook. I should be able to stay busy for a while if my willpower holds out. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is Time Malleable?

I'm still fascinated by Daniel Faraday's journal. I wrote a bit about this before. Below are some screencaps from the first episode of the fifth season.

A lot of these images are too small/blurry for me to make out much of the text. I'm hoping that other folks will be doing that for the Lostpedia. However, note that the "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant" inscription has changed and is on an entirely different page than it was originally shown.

Because You Left

The Constant

In a show where continuity is key and there's little left "to chance" (or so we're lead to believe), it seems that this error is deliberate. It would also seem to imply that Faraday's statements about being unable to change the past or the future are just for the tourists. I would venture to say that Faraday doesn't have another page in his journal with the same "Desmond Hume will be my constant" statement but, rather, he wrote it on two different occasions, meaning that time is malleable.

Serial Killer Organ Donors

That serial killer has an organ that can save a little boy! That's the premise for the next episode of Gray's Anatomy. That also was the premise for the 1998 film Desperate Measures.

Gray's Anatomy

Desperate Measures

Monday, January 19, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Like a Sci-Fi Reeses Cup

"You got your Doctor Who in my Star Trek!"
"You got your Star Trek in my Doctor Who!"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Pieces Online

It's a good day to be me... Got a couple pieces posted today:

Enjoy! And be sure to Digg it if you're a power user. LOL.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

13 Worst Films I Saw in 2008

Rather than calling this the "13 Worst Movies of 2008," I had to put in the "I Saw" caveat. There were a lot of films I avoided like the plague and since I'm not in the pocket of any major (or minor) studios, I wasn't about to plunk down my hard-earned cash on a lot of crap like The Happening, 88-Minutes, or any insipid romantic comedies. That said, here are my personal picks for the worst films I suffered through in 2008:

13. The Day the Earth Stood Still - Casting Keanu Reeves as a charmless alien was a stroke of genius. It's the role he was born to play. Otherwise, there's little other intelligent life to be found in this ill-conceived remake of the classic sci-fi film. Even worse than the lack of resolution to the lame "you'd better start recycling or the world will end" plot was the presence of Jaden Smith. Playing the bratty stepson of scientist Jennifer Connelly; I wanted to strangle this kid.

12. Appaloosa - It wasn't that bad of a film. I liked Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen quite a bit. However, this film was ruined by the character played by Renée Zellweger. She stuck out like a sore thumb and managed to ruin the overall viewing experience.

11. Seven Pounds - Melodramatic tripe made simply to garner tears and awards.

10. Diary of the Dead - Though I managed to see this one in 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival, it didn't come out domestically until 2008. Bad timing brought it on the heels of Cloverfield, a superior shaky-cam film with some real thrills. Diary of the Dead looked like the kind of crappy zombie flick that would be lucky to merit a blurb in Fangoria. Alas, this flick was helmed by the maestro of the undead, George Romero. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. That this movie could make me suddenly find Land of the Dead a relatively innocuous film by comparison speaks volumes.

9. Alien Versus Predator: Requiem - This came out at the tail end of 2007, meaning that it missed out on topping a lot of "worst lists" of that year. Allow me to say that this flick managed to be horrible enough to hold over for both years. Pitting the two titular creatures in Small Town, USA should have been a rip-roaring good time but was slowed down to a crawl by the lukewarm script that never gained momentum. With enough life to fill a thimble, this blight on both the Alien and Predator franchises was a death dirge to fun sci-fi mayhem.

8. X-Files: I Want To Believe - Rather than continuing the mythology of the series, this tepid thriller was a two hour "filler episode" that was a disappointment to fans and casual observers alike. The overwrought Christian claptrap was only slightly less jaw-dropping than Dana Scully googling the medical procedure she performed. Pray that she's never your doctor.

7. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Continuing to piss on the formerly good name of the Star Wars franchise, George Lucas greenlit this lame kiddie flick to kick off the floundering animated television series. I could only shake my head at the inanity of the rudimentary story and the depths to which George Lucas will go to make a buck.

6. Plastic City - Beating out The Mummy 3 as the worst Anthony Wong film of the year, Plastic City is a Brazilian crime drama with Wong as a crime lord. Sounds promising, right? Unfortunately, this flick is over-directed by Nelson Yu Lik-wai. He turns the proceedings into a long-winded art film that boggles the mind and numbs the posterior.

5. Burning Plain - A self-indulgent family drama from Guillermo Arriaga (writer of Babel), this flick has yet to get a U.S. release date. While some would contend that Hancock was the worst thing Charleze Theron was in during 2008, I contend that this was worse. The only thing going for this melodrama was the fractured time structure which only helps to muddy the waters of Burning Plain, making it appear deeper than it truly is.

4. Martyrs - While I dislike torture porn films, I think the French have cornered the market on making the worst of the lot. More than disgusting, Martyrs is trés pretentious and trés boring, perhaps even being the most extreme in these two areas.

3. Speed Racer - This film might have appealed to me if I were an 8-year old boy with ADHD. As it was, I felt like my eyeballs had been raped after I shuffled out of the theater.

2. The Films of Friedberg and Seltzer - We have a tie! It's impossible to say which flick is worse; Meet the Spartans or Disaster Movie since they're essentially the same film. These two movies by schlckmeisters Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer continue to follow their patented "every pop culture and movie reference plus the kitchen sink" formula of unfunny comedy. They've almost reached a level where they've managed to deconstruct comedy into its basic elements in order to remove all traces of funny.

1. The Love Guru - I didn't expect anything good when I stumbled upon this Mike Myers back alley abortion. I had heard how terrible this film was -- it even became something of an endurance test for the people around my office: "How far did you make it into The Love Guru?" was a test of manliness. As a point of pride, I made it to the end even if my stomach had wished I hadn't. Like watching a spoiled manchild undergoing self-therapy by parodying Deepak Chopra, this flick managed to be worse than The Cat in the Hat.

As for films that I liked in 2008, those were few and far between. The boffo box office blockbusters didn't do much for me. I enjoyed a number of films but my qualification for being the "best" meant that it was something I'd readily see a second time.

Of those, there are four: Iron Man, My Winnipeg, JCVD and My Name is Bruce.

Let's hope 2009 is a better year.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hasselin' the HOF

I'm certain that a lot has been written already about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Allow me to pile on.

There's no way that anything with such an illustrious title would ever fill the needs and expectations of music fans, specifically rock fans. It's not like "Rock & Roll" is a vague term or anything... oh, wait, it is. It's incredibly vague and the HOF doesn't do much to help define their terms in this area. There's a lot of folk, jazz, blues, country, and bluegrass at the roots of rock--reflected in some of the early inductees and in the opening corridor of the "Hall of Rock" -- but, afterwards, things get a little muddled.

At the heart of the R&R-HOF is a timeline showing the growth of rock & roll going decade by decade through various broad "movements" such as "The British Invasion" and "Grunge". Unfortunately, these give the impression that music ended in the 1990s and they're just not nearly as thorough as they should be. For example, the timeline skips the early '80s in their entirety and would lead casual viewers to believe that Punk Rock was a universally accepted form of music. There were definitely other styles more prevalent in the '70s.

Not even touching on Disco, there are dozens of musical subgenres missing in action including Funk, Heavy Metal (and all of its spawn), Hardcore, Yacht Rock, Experimental/Noise, Prog Rock, Art Rock, Surf Music, Electronica, Goth, and so much more including any music outside of the U.S. Canada, and U.K.. Rather than "Rock & Roll", it appeared that fashion and "Pop" were more the forte of the museum with scads of outfits from performers including Madonna and Michael Jackson -- two performers I would never associate with "Rock & Roll".

I also found it puzzling that several bands that had been inducted left such little impact in this timeline. As I perused this exhibit I kept thinking, "What about Black Sabbath? What about Metallica? Does the Museum even know these bands exist?" They must since Sabbath was a 2006 inductee and Metallica a 2009. One would think that every inductee would have a hallowed place in the halls of the R&R HOF. A permanent shrine to their stature and reason for their inclusion.

More Songs About Buildings and FoodThere are temporary exhibits but I hoped for better use of the space for permanent fare. Other broad strokes missing from the palette included album cover artwork (apart from the display of Talking Heads's More Songs About Buildings and Food), Rock & Roll in other forms of popular culture such as films (for years the highest selling record of all times was the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever), social activism via music ("We Are The World", anyone?), novelty songs, and more. Personally, I'd have loved an exhibit about fake bands, spotlighting Spinal Tap. The ties between the World's Loudest Band and the R&R HOF's location make for a perfect marriage. "Hello Cleveland!"

Again, I couldn't have hoped for a comprehensive look at Rock & Roll despite the lofty ambitions of the Hall of Fame but I was definitely hoping for more.

Friday, January 02, 2009

She Will Be Missed

I had a terrible end of 2008/beginning of 2009. A few weeks back my eldest dog, Abby, fell ill. It was bad enough that we took her to the 24 hour Emergency Vet where she was hospitalized for a few days as she was pumped full of fluids (she was dehydrated) and antibiotics. Once she could hold food down, she came home.

She was sluggish but good for a few days and appeared to be getting better. She would occasionally cough and bring up a little food and bile but nothing like the torrent of vomit she had been expelling a few days prior. As this persisted and that she quit eating, we took her into our regular Vet a week after she was discharged from Emergency Services. They took some blood and did some X-rays and weren't pleased with what they saw.

That night, Abby relapsed. She began vomiting again; awful, ill-smelling stuff that seemed to have no end. Worse, she seemed to look guilty about doing this. It seems that these bad spells happened mostly at night (mostly). She continued to refuse food and each round of vomiting left her weaker and more dehydrated. We had an appointment set up for an upper gastrointestinal X-ray for today, January 2 -- the earliest we could get her in between work and holidays.

By Wednesday night -- New Years Eve -- she was in dire straits. Despite eating a bit during the day, she was getting weaker and weaker. We knew that we had to do something when she went outside, laid down on the snowy driveway, and hesitated to come back in. Back to Emergency Services we went...

My poor girl's intestines were blocked. Cancer throughout her system. We found this out over the night and in the morning via a series of phone calls from the Vet. We knew what we had to do, and did it yesterday morning. We knew she was suffering and put an end to it.

This tore my heart out of my chest. Abby has been with us for over nine years now. She was the first dog that I helped raise up from a puppy. She and I spent a lot of time together. She loved riding in my car and I'd take her down to my PO Box as often as I could. She could fetch like nobody's business and loved swimming. She will be missed greatly.