Friday, July 30

The Friday Hot Sheet

Man, four days without a cell phone will mess your world up.
I don't know -- maybe it's a sign that I'm really far too connected to all this social media/internet stuff -- but not having access to the world that I was used to for a few days was a real eye opener. I mean, I was able to get by and survive, but the simple fact was that I'd become so tethered to that technology that I didn't even have another phone in the house to fall back on should something have happened.
And yet, it's interesting to think how easy it was for me to get into that bind.
Whether it was for financial reasons, convenience, or both -- having just one phone that could do just about everything I needed seemed like a cool idea until that one phone went on the fritz and suddenly I had NOTHING.
And yet, was it really any different back in the day when I had one crappy AT&T slimline tethered to the wall?
You know the one -- with that super long extension cord you bought at the drug store attached so you could walk around your apartment like a pimp while you held the cradle in one hand while you held the receiver between your cheek and shoulder, talking whatever game you could while absently pacing back and forth as far as your own little personalized phone cord leash would let you go?

I know I'm not the only one who eventually ended up with the broken little plastic thingy on the connector -- which meant that sometimes when you took one step too far or maybe turned your head suddenly you'd end up killing the call (usually at the exact moment when you didn't need the line to go dead)?

Nothing like aimlessly twisting your finger in a cord while talking away only to suddenly realize that you've both disconnected yourself and blocked the other person from calling you back all in one move.

Dropped calls or spotty 3G coverage is annoying, but when you get right down to it is nothing compared to the hell of waiting for your pulse tone phone to cycle through all the 8's and 9's in some girls phone number while you tried to get her back on the line before someone else at her house tied up the line and the moment slipped away.
So before I dial zero and have the operator break into the line -- here are this week's risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here:
Oversaturation  I sorta lost count after a while there -- but something like 50 more tapes of Mel Gibson screaming obscenities on the phone were released last week, the difference being that this time around nobody really gave a shit. Which is kind of weird, considering how hilarious this whole situation was the first time we heard about it. It's almost as if everybody sort of had an unconscious limit for the number of times we could hear Mel yell out the c-word, and he crossed it somewhere around the fifth phone call.

Little did we know there were like 10 more of the things, and that Radar Online would do everything they could to make sure we had access to them all.

It's one of the strange things about our voyeuristic society. We have an appetite for seeing people fall from their pedestals, especially when they reveal themselves to be something different from what we perhaps thought they were. And yet the one thing people grow weary of in a hurry is when two self-absorbed people feel the need to bicker in public. Which is not to say that Mel Gibson isn't some unbalanced racist nutjob, but this has been going on long enough for folks to realize that his Russian girlfriend spent like 2 months recording their conversations (which suggests that even if she were the victim of his temper -- that she in turn put extra effort into guiding conversations towards things she knew would just set his crazy ass off, and then conveniently hushing up so the microphone would pick up his rantings loud and clear).

Now don't get it twisted -- I'm not trying to shift the blame or put the victim on trial here, but once something like this stretches into two weeks I'm sure I'm not the only one who suddenly felt like an involuntary marriage counselor who was stuck having to hear all of this played out in front of them. Plus, after the first round of games I think we all started to suspect what we had here were two people who like to argue, people who want the drama. At which point I think the majority of us just sorta backed out of the room, closed the door, and got on with our lives while those two peacocks continue to peck it out amongst themselves.

FuturamaNetflix has several seasons of Futurama available for instant play, and after a long time of not seeing the show I decided to queue up an episode the other day while I was watching my son play video games. What started out as an attempt at interesting background noise turned into a full night of him and I catching up on a show we occasionally watched before bedtime when he was younger.

I like The Simpsons, but was never really addicted to it the way a lot of other people I know were. As such, I initially didn't gravitate towards Futurama when it was on FOX. Then I discovered it on Adult Swim a few years later and fell utterly in love with the show. But as they frequently do, Adult Swim sorta ran Futurama into the ground with marathons and repeated episodes night after night. Still funny, but too much of the same thing over and over, you know?

The new episodes on Comedy Central have been fun -- but what's been really neat for me is revisiting those old episodes now that my son is old enough to start getting more of the jokes. He's only 10, so a good bunch of it still flies over his head -- but we've really been getting into the slapstick parts together, which has led to a bunch of great father/son evenings recently.

So many of the shows he likes (Ben 10, Bakugan, Flapjack, etc.) do nothing for me at all, and a huge majority of the things I like are things he really doesn't need to be seeing yet -- so it's nice to find something that offers us both a middleground.

Obama on
The View
Back in my time of being unemployed, daytime TV was an easy narcotic to fall prey to. Even when I was hyper-vigilant about submitting applications and resumes to places, it wasn't like I could force the phone to ring -- so there were lots of days where I would veg out at home catching up on old reruns, Sportscenter, or trashy talk shows.

And yet, one thing I could never really get with was The View. I know it's aimed at a different audience and gender than I fit into -- but the few times I've seen it flipping channels it was really hard to see how that show ever became a hit.

Seriously, everybody on there talks over everyone else. Not to mention the fact that it's frequently confusing as to what the hell they're even talking about in the first place. But worst of all, they never really seem to settle any of their own arguments. Who knows, maybe that's the point -- but any time I tried to check it out it gave me a headache just listening to those hens cluck at each other.

As such, it was a little weird to hear that Obama was going on there -- and yet it was clearly a platform where he could reach out to a demographic that was a huge help to him during the election years and address a variety topics in a forum where for the most part he couldn't get too grilled. Not that they didn't try to ask him tough questions -- but that the format and time restrictions played in his favor a lot more than say a press conference or some open town hall meeting in the middle of nowhere filled with prospective Joe the Plumber's lying in wait.

Unfortunately, the whole thing ended up being more of a media circus than anything else -- which John Stewart was quick to point out on The Daily Show later that night:
Look, I realize that the man's not quite conquered all the dragons yet. And a lot of that is on him, his administration, and the way they choose to handle things. But I like that he's willing to get into forums like this and take the shots (such as they are). Of course he's still a politician -- so you have to take his answers with a certain grain of salt, but it's good to see him in a situation where he can feel somewhat at ease and still be faced with questions and concerns.

Season 2
If you're looking for someone to at least partially blame for the return of these overhyped Bennies, feel free to get mad at me. Even though I was fully aware of how ridiculous the whole thing was I watched anyway, enjoying the human train wreck for what it was -- especially considering that the first time it appeared was in the dead of a particularly long winter (even in Florida) -- which had the strange side effect of making coastal New Jersey seem like some tropical paradise by comparison.

All of which makes me wonder how well Jersey Shore will fare this second time around -- especially given that most of the country is in now the throes of a brutally hot summer, meaning the on-screen antics won't have the benefit of seeming like somewhere we'd all like to be instead of shivering in the cold.

This time around they're not even in New Jersey, but in South Beach Miami (Jersey was snowed under when the series was shot), which means the clubs they visit will be swankier, the a-holes and grenades around them more pretentious -- in short, it will be less of a show about morons bumbling though a boardwalk summer and more about quasi-celebrities partying in the playground of the rich and well-to-do.

I'm still interested in this new season (it premiered last night but I haven't had a chance to watch my DVR recording of it) -- but a big part of the appeal the first time around was these vapid kids acting like the various spots they hit on the shore were the greatest places ever, only to have the camera zoom out to catch a scene wider than just the fist pumping guidos to reveal that the "exclusive club" they were all at was just some lazy boardwalk watering hole filled with half-asleep old guys and the kind of dudes who would punch a Snooki on cue.

Anyone who's ever spent time at Panama City Beach or Daytona's old boardwalk before they cleaned it up knows exactly what I'm talking about here -- because that's really what the Jersey Shore is. The rich kids go to the Hamptons, and the rest of us get the crappy putt-putt course next to the T-Shirt shop.

So those of you who are sick of Snooki, Paulie D, The Situation, and the rest shouldn't worry too much, because MTV (as usual) is messing with the formula, which rarely ends well. Lets just hope for the sake of entertainment that it goes out in a flaming spray-tanned ball of fury.

Fight Club
Look, I want to like this video clip. I love Fight Club. I love old-school literary humor. I also really, really love it when hot chicks beat the crap out of one another. So on all those fronts, this clip wins with flying colors.
But there’s a problem.
See, there are just some things in this world that transcend basic comedy. That rise above all premise, character, and metaphor. Maybe it’s just me -- but when you ask someone to buy into something like this, it’s imperative that I believe it all the way through. That nothing comes between me and that fourth wall that would interrupt my suspension of disbelief to the point where I have trouble remembering what the original joke was supposed to be.
And if there’s one thing in this world that I understand -- one rule that I absolutely know to be true:
It’s that the white girl dance ruins everything.

Seriously, ladies. I was 100% with you until around the 2:25 mark.

[Listening to:  88-Keys - "Close Call (Feat. Phonte)" ]

Thursday, July 29

A Dude Playing a Dude Disguised as Another Dude

Remember that blog post I wrote about a week back where I was telling you how I was worried that my dog might believe he's a cat on account of me discovering that he had somehow managed to poop in the litterbox?
Well apparently that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Seriously, new shit has come to light:
One minute I'm trying to figure out why the puppy only wants to eat the cat food and the next I find the cat sleeping in the kennel.
I mean really, what's next?

[Listening to:  Sting - "Consider Me Gone" ]

Wednesday, July 28

That's My Jam: Squeee

I'll probably catch a bunch of crap for this, but I've always loved this song -- so anyone who's got a problem with it can go screw.
Even more embarrassing than admitting I actually like a mall metal song is the fact that while I do enjoy the guitars and the arrangements -- what really draws me back to this song time and time again are the vocals. Straight up -- I love singing along with this. I mean, I'm not really that great a singer at all -- but that rarely ever stops me from trying my best to keep up with this track in the car, the shower, or wherever this might come up on the iPod.
Actual results may vary.
But the absolute weirdest fact about my love for this song is that I probably never should have even heard of it in the first place.
Had I never landed a job as a middle school teacher at the exact time frame that I
did the chances of me ever coming across this song would probably have been zero.
But I did take that job, which led to a string of years where I spent the better part of my days hanging out with rooms full of 14 year-olds.

I liked the kids. Despite all the yelling I did (and I did quite a bit of that), my students and I actually got along pretty good. A big part of that was me just being my stupid big kid self -- but I also think that a lot of it can be contributed to the fact that I liked to try and use music as a bridge.

For example I used to do this thing where I would randomly pick a kid to be the DJ. The DJ could bring in any 3 songs he wanted to play. The other kids would listen to those songs and then do a timed writing on the music they heard with prompts like "Which one of these three songs would you rather be stuck in an elevator listening to, and why?" -- which in my mind felt like an interesting way to practice for the FCAT.

But beyond that -- one of the things I noticed early on in my teaching career was the way that the different cliques of kids tended to separate. I mean, I know that's what cliques are supposed to do, -- but I always felt like it got in the way of open discussions in class. So I tried to do what I could to break down those lines, even if it was just during class time in my room.
Most of the time the kids who were into hip-hop would turn their nose at the songs the rocker kids chose (and vice versa) -- but every now and then you'd catch a kid opening his ears to something new.
Unfortunately, what it meant for me was that I had to endure a ton of really shitty death metal and cheesy hip hop while I tried to get these kids to walk a mile in each others' shoes. Between the emo kids with their H.I.M. and Evanescence and the rap fans with their Master P and Lil Jon it felt like the price for this particular d├ętente might be my own sanity.

There was even this one kid who brought in this rap country song that might just be the corniest thing I've ever heard in my life -- which was bad enough, but then I couldn't get the friggin chorus out of my head for like three days afterward.
And now neither can you. You're welcome.
Anyways, the point of all this is that one of the bands that got played to death when I did this thing was My Chemical Romance, who at the time were the darlings de jour of the Hot Topic set. Most of what I heard from them drove me up the wall -- mainly because (in an odd twist, considering the reasons I like "The Ghost of You") I really couldn't stand singer Gerard Way's caterwauling vocals and a what felt like an overabundance of frenetic pop punk behind him.
The music was loud and brash -- but instead of focusing that energy towards a destination, My Chemical Romance songs always seemed to just run around in circles like a kid who'd had too much sugar and couldn't handle the high.
Later albums had them becoming more theatrical and ostentatious -- almost as if they bought into their own fame and supposed importance, and much like latter-era Marylin Manson got caught up in their own cult of personality, culminating in the rock-opera-ish mess that made up the majority of The Black Parade. I tried to listen to it a few times at the urging of former students (not to mention multiple endorsements from Chez at Deus ex Malcontent) -- but as soon as I came across the track where the singer does a duet with (I'm not making this up) Liza Minelli, I was pretty much done with them.

It's weird, because being the old guy in the classroom back when I was a teacher -- it was painfully obvious to me that despite a staggering number of my femalestudents drawing the band's logos all over their textbooks and claiming their ever-lasting love for various members of the band all the goddamn time that My Chemical Romance were doomed to be just another flash in the pan just like so many other bands that girls had gotten all ootzy over back when I was in school.
And yet here was a song by them that I genuinely liked.
And it wasn't the only one, either.
Every year a new crop of teenagers finds some new band, rapper, or artist tho go utterly crazy for -- and then forget a few years later. From Menudo to Duran Duran (although to be fair, those dudes can actually play) -- pretty boys with guitars run the dangerous risk of becoming big stars for the most superficial of reasons, leaving them little to stand on once puberty hits and their core group fans move onto something else. Most of the time (at least in my mind) it's a good thing, because it provides most of pop music's most annoying personalities with relatively short half-lives.
But every now and then I find myself wondering if this continual building up and tearing down of the flavor of the month might occasionally be robbing us of a choice few bands or artists that might actually be a lot better than the screaming teenage fangirl hype that they were built around.
I can't be the only one who's ever run into this problem. Have there ever been any bands that you really liked as a kid because they were wildly popular or just filled with really good-looking pin-up model types who actually had good songs to offer? Maybe a group that you first found as a teeny bopper but still find yourself listening to now?
And if so, who were they?

[Listening to:  Black Sheep - "Similak Child" ]

Tuesday, July 27

Everybody Relax, I'm Here

Goat butts against the hedge and horns become entangled, bitches.

[Listening to:  Sevendust - "Forever Dead" ]

Monday, July 26

The Ghost of Greg

So I finally got my marching orders telling me it's time to move to my new cube, where my new manager (the one who gets all bent out of shape about my dress code violations) can keep a better eye on me. Not that he's actually come out and said that's what he's doing -- but the way things have been going lately it seems like the only really logical explanation.

To be honest, the whole thing has been an annoying drama. Currently I sit with document control -- a department that I don't work for, but the one that's actually the closest related to my job. Anyways, the guy who runs that department is one of these passive-aggressive types who clearly has issues with some of my quirks, but really doesn't have any sort of direct authority to do anything about it -- a problem he compensates for by quietly doing all these little backhanded things to sort of kneecap me.
Like -- one day I could use the network color printer in the room, and the next my access was blocked by an "administrator."
This is the same guy who ratted me out to my old manager for drinking coffee at my desk instead of asking me not to do it (my old manager rolled his eyes when he told me about this, and went on to tell me that dude's always been like this).
But by far his master stroke has been this whole cubicle move thing.
Basically the company is remodeling our offices bit by bit. As part of this remodeling, the people I currently sit with are moving to a different location with customized offices and updated equipment. I found this out because passive-aggressive guy was boasting about it all in a conversation he started with me one day.
Then 10 minutes later I went to a meeting with my new manager, who
informed me that I wasn't included in the doc control department move.
Anyways, eventually they found an open spot for me -- one that was formerly inhabited by a guy in finance named Greg. Our job functions rarely cross paths, but on the few occasions I've worked with Greg I've always found him to be a good dude. Apparently he's moving up the ladder a bit (kudos) so his old cube opened up.

On the good side, I'll be getting 3 1/2 walls (which is a step up from the shared table/desk thing I'm sitting at now) -- but I'm also now in my new manager's line of sight, and even though I'm moving to a new spot I STILL can't have coffee at my desk, which is just criminal.

All that being said, it's just a desk, and despite my occasional whining this is a pretty good gig, and one I'm not in a hurry to lose -- especially when you consider just how crappy the job market is out there, so even if some of the details of this move kinda stink -- so in the end my mission really is to just suck it up and roll with the changes, you know?

Or at least I thought that was my mission. Because the other day when I went over to my future new desk to see how much space I was getting --
This is what I found:
OK, new mission -- Where the hell's the rest of Greg!?
And who do I talk to around here about getting a cubicle with no monsters hiding underneath it?

[Listening to:  OutKast - "I'll Call Before I Come" ]

Sunday, July 25

Adorable Little Angel

So, how did the kid sleepover go?
Not too bad. The kids got along, fun was had, nobody died or lost any limbs. Braden (the visiting kid) actually asked his parents if he could for stay another night -- which was either a sign of how well things were going, or just his way of pre-planning as there were still a few things in the apartment that he hadn't had a chance to mess with yet.

At one point the kids were sufficiently involved with videogames and snacks and stuff that I went to check my text messages only to discover that my phone was messing up. "Messing up" being code for not working at all. I'd been having some issues with my Droid lately, so I just assumed it needed a reboot to fix the problem.
It didn't.
And thus began the unexpected crisis of the day -- as it became immediately clear that the phone was on, but the display was dead, rendering the phone pretty much useless.

Add to this some weirdness in my contract which enabled me to get a replacement, but only from the factory and only three days from now. And while I suppose the fact that I don't have to fork out a couple of hundred dollars for a new one (my only other option, according to Verizon) is a good thing, am I the only one out there who suspects that most cell phone providers just make up their various rules and restrictions as they go along?

Either way, I'm smartphone-less for a few days -- which has provided me with the horrible realization of just how tethered to that thing I've become. In addition to not having a working phone, I'm also without my de facto watch, my mobile access to the web and various internet-based distractions, my text communications device -- all that stuff.
Kinda sad to realize just how addicted the world has become to these things.
I also have a bunch of apps/games on there for my son to play with (which he had been proudly showing off to his sleepover buddy earlier in the evening) -- which he asked to play with this morning and I had to remind him that he couldn't since the phone had stopped working.
At which point he kinda nodded in remembrance and said,
"Oh yeah, that happened after Braden dropped it."

[Listening to:  Skindred - "You Can't Stop It" ]

Friday, July 23

The Friday Hot Sheet

Damn, it’s hot out. Winter cold isn’t much fun to start with, but if I had to trade one climactic condition away, it would be these endless waves of thick, sticky hot that just won’t go away during the late summer months. For the record, I like sunshine. I love warmth. But this is something else entirely.
This heat just sorta sits on you – embalming you in its dryness without relief.
Living in Florida certainly doesn’t help -- but at least there’s a beach and plenty of pools nearby.

One of the reasons I like apartment living is the amenities -- but there’s something about my current complex that’s a little weird when it comes to chlorinated swimming, or to be more precise -- the company you'll find yourself in once you decide to hit the pool.

I mean yeah, any time there’s a pool that’s generally accessible – you’re gonna have to deal with screaming kids, overbearing parents, and the nagging worry that you're swimming at least partially in someone else's pee. That’s just part of the deal.

But what I’m finding more and more bothersome when I go for swims or take my kid to go play in the water are the supposedly upwardly mobile types.

There’s this one couple in particular who show up to the pool on a semi-regular basis who bring a permanent stinkface with them. Neither of them say much, but their condescending looks and the continual fuss they make over this sorta iPod dock/radio thing they always bring with him to blast Norah Jones (btw, who asked you to supply music in the first place?) just makes me want to pay every kid I can find to do 1000 cannonballs just so we can short the thing out.
Last time I checked we all pay the same landlord rent, so don't
act all huffy that someone else is soaking up your sunshine, k?
It’s one thing for Jethro and Bertha to buy thong bathing suits for each and every one of their fat little children before they come to the pool. But it’s quite another to come to an apartment pool with a look that clearly betrays the fact that you believe it should be your own private playground.
So before I "accidentally" let the dog pee all over their towels -- here are this week’s risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here:
The San Diego Comic Con  Sometimes the Internet offers people a chance to connect to events and other people thousands of miles away, whether it's through social networking sites or mutual interest in a viral video or whatever. But sometimes the web focuses on things you're not at. Things you can't share.

Every year in San Diego there's a comic book convention. Its more than just comics of course, but once upon a time it was sort of a closely guarded secret spot for nerds, anime fans, and movie geeks. Then it sort of became a cool thing for celebs to crash, and now it's just become a self-congratulatory Hollywood wank fest. But more than that -- it's a magnet for bloggers of almost all varieties to go and either celebrate their fandom or make fun of the people there.
And boy do they rub it in.
People I know who've gone before rave about it, but they also do that "it used to be cool, but then it sold out. I shan't be returning." And while I'm sure they're right (these are trusted friends, after all) it doesn't diminish the fact that I really wanted to go. I thought about it for many years (Gristina lives there and used to go annually) but I simply couldn't afford the trip. I'd still like to go to it at some point -- not because it seems like everyone else is there and I'm worried I'm missing out on something, but because it looks like a really great time for an anime/comic book/film geek like me.

It's just sort of weird the way almost all the blogs and news sites I frequent are reporting from the con this week. So literally all my regular news and stuff is being filtered through updates about girls in Slave Leia costumes and news about Joss Whedon directing the new Avengers movie. "Nyah, Nyah -- I stood in line for two hours to see a table filled with people who worked on Lost, what did you do today?"
I read about you doing it, thanks.

Inception I know I've already gushed about this on Twitter and to anyone willing (or unwilling) to listen to me rave on about it for the last week or so -- but it really is an entertaining movie. Not only for the interesting storyline and all the special effects, but for the thoughts it provokes and the conversations it leads to after you see it. Sometimes the best part of watching a movie (or enjoying any form of art, for that matter) is letting it sink in and considering it afterward.

As such, I've been really happy about the way Inception has sat in my mind this past week, letting me consider ideas and sort of work through some of the things the film leaves open to interpretation. It's sorta like a Rubik's cube that you can pick up and play with now and again.

But let me ask this of the people who have already seen it. How are you sleeping? I'm finding that although I haven't had any really wacky dreams (that I can recall) since watching the movie, I'm sorta hyper-aware of waking up lately. Like I'll open my eyes and sit up, but then I'm taking more stock of my surroundings than I usually do. Kinda like the way I didn't like showers after seeing Psycho or hated answering the phone after The Ring. I haven't invested in a totem just yet, but it's sorta weird that I keep waking up wondering which level I'm on.

Sleepovers  This weekend (tonight, in fact) my son will be hosting his first sleepover with one of his friends from daycare -- which really means that I will be hosting my first kid that's not mine sleeping in my apartment tonight. Curren's super jacked up about it, and it should be a good time, but if this kid is anything like my son is -- I've got some serious house cleaning to do. A few months ago he stayed over at another kids house, and the next day my son basically ratted out every detail of their place to me.

10 year-olds don't really get the concept of discretion, so it's not like it's mean-spirited -- but I distinctly remember listening to him telling me how messy their bathroom was and instantly realizing that if we ever had this kid over to my place the same thing was going to happen to me.

I'm a single guy living alone with a fast Internet connection. There's a high amount of porn stuff in this place that I'm pretty sure this kid's parent's don't want to know about. I can just see Curren coming back from daycare next week telling me that he can't play with his friend anymore. Talk about embarrassing.

SaltI know Angelina Jolie's a mega-star and all and her name is usually enough of a draw to get people in the door, but does anyone else find it weird how sort of quietly this movies marketing has been? I mean, I've seen trailers and I've heard about it -- but unlike a lot of other films this summer, I don't feel particularly bashed over the head with hype about Salt, and it makes me wonder why?

Apparently the movie was originally a vehicle for Tom Cruise -- who's movie choices lately make Mel Gibson seem rational (did you hear they're building an entire movie around the agent character he played in Tropic Thunder, the same guy he trotted out at the MTV movie awards? Hey Tom, it was a funny character -- but maybe ask Paul Reubens how much fun it is to be stuck in a franchise that's been built around one joke, eh?). I don't really know why Cruise backed out of it, but for them to re-write the thing around Jolie seems pretty intriguing. She's good at stunt driven movies, she's actually a half-decent actress, and still even after all the hype and press one of the hottest women in Hollywood -- so I'm interested in seeing it, even if I have my doubts about the story.

I mean lets face it, the only good part of Wanted was Morgan Freeman saying "Shoot this motherfucker." The rest of that movie stank out loud. This one at least looks like it's got potential, so maybe she can get back in the swing of making films people actually want to watch, instead of movies that are only good for screencaps.

The Social Network  On the other hand, the movie who's advertising I can't seem to get away from is David Fincher's latest -- which tells the story of the beginning days and struggles of the guys who created Facebook. And wow does it look super fucking boring. Sure you've got some kids choir singing Radiohead and Justin Timberlake doing his slimy shark-suit best as the apparent villain, but let me see if I've got this straight for a second -- this is like a two-hour movie where one rich white kid takes another rich white kid to court to see who gets to keep ownership of Facebook and therefore become even richer?
Well hell, where do I sign up for that all night party of fun?
I understand it's probably a compelling story and of course relevant to the Internet generation, but movies about corporate lawsuits regardless of who is directing them are perpetually dour, which makes me wonder why it's getting such a marketing push. Is there like some zombie/sparkly vampire subplot in the middle that I'm somehow unaware of? Does Justin Timberlake transform into a car somewhere in the story and try to kill Megan Fox? Because otherwise, Radiohead or no -- I'll pass.

The Dildo KnightUnlike Andrew Breitbart, FOX News, and apparently the American Government -- I do my best to fact-check stuff before posting it on this site. I may not always have the best grasp of the possessive case or the correct use of semicolons -- but I've at least heard of Wikipedia and know how to access it.

Unfortunately, as much as I tried to find out what the heck was going on in this video clip -- there's surprisingly little information available out there about the reasoning behind this mano e' mano throwdown between this guy in the tinfoil suit of armor swinging around a whip and his opponent, who appears to be armed with nothing more than an oversized sex toy -- which is really sort of odd, since that's the sort of thing the internet was kinda built around.

Whatever the case, this exists -- and some guy who wasn't busy filming courtroom scenes for the Facebook movie caught it all on tape. Whip dude versus Dildo guy (which sounds like it ought to be a whole lot sexier) going all Thunderdome for your entertainment.
Take it away, gentlemen!

[Listening to:  MC Chris - "Nrrrd Grrrl" ]

Thursday, July 22


Epic mosh pit. Get your elbows up, motherfuckers!
All that being said -- what the hell, lady!?
Walking in the room scattering cat food like you're feeding a bunch of chickens -- wasswrongwitchu?

Look, I know you've got like 130 friggin' cats under your roof, which clearly makes you a shoe-in for the crazy cat lady hall of fame -- so you probably think you know a little something about taking care of the common household feline -- but take it from someone who knows, behavior like that is gonna get you eaten.
Seriously, cats don't screw around when it comes to stuff like this.
Back in the day the oldest of my two cats got tired of seeing me on the couch cuddling and petting on this incredibly sexy girl I was really digging, so when I got up to go refill our drinks she sauntered over to where my date was sitting and proceeded to drop a deuce on her shoulder.
Not near her. Not close enough so she could smell it like some territorial marking.
My cat started to take a dump on my date.
It was only sheer luck that let me see what she was trying to do seconds before it happened, which enabled me to dive across the room like MacGuyver so I could pull the girl to safety -- but that didn't stop her from having a jealous cat jump on her head while she was trying to sleep later that night, or her clothes and shoes from getting shed upon whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The two of them eventually reached a semblance of peace, but that was only after a bunch of catnip, a lot of patience, and the introduction of a new kitten (come to think of it, Aja tried to shit on her too). And even then -- now I've got to deal with two jealous felines judging anyone I try to bring home with me.
But if there's anything that proves just how much the cat runs
this house -- it's the shocking discovery I made the other day.
As many of you probably already know, I got my son a beagle puppy for Christmas this year. He's adorable and cute and all the other things that puppies invariably are, but for all his cuteness -- he's also kinda stupid (the pretty ones usually are, amirite ladies?)
To wit, housebreaking him has been a nightmare.
Although he (and I, lets be fair here -- I had to learn a few new habits too) is getting a lot better about knowing where and when to drop off his daily batches of baked goods -- this progress hasn't come without a lot of accidents, carpet stains, and raised voices along the way.

One major difference between dogs and cats is that dogs are very expressive with their eyes. There's a look a mutt will give you when he knows that he's done something bad -- sort of an ashamed half glance that lets you know it's time to put him into the kennel (which has become the conditioned punishment for soiling the rug).

But the other day I came into the living room and found the puppy already in the kennel of his own accord and already giving me the "I done a bad thing, Paw" look. I closed the gate on him, but then when I went looking around the place -- I couldn't find anything. No spots, no stains, no chewed-up stuff of any kind.

In fact, I was just about to let him back out of his makeshift cell when I smelled that familiar foul odor telling me that maybe he had done something. I tracked it down only to realize that he indeed had left a present inside the house.
But it wasn't on the carpet.
It was in the litterbox.
Damn cat's such a control freak she's telling the dog where to poop now. It's friggin crazy. I've got one of those boxes with the cover. I don't even know how he got his big ass in there, much less how he squeezed back out. But the evidence inside (oh the joys of pet ownership) was undeniable -- he had done the deed where all cats are supposed to, just like she told him to.
Seriously, what other motivation could he possibly have had for doing such a thing?

[Listening to:  Sevendust - "Splinter" ]

Wednesday, July 21

That's My Jam: Kinda Like Tron on Acid

Happened across this song the other day and found myself digging it enough to share. It's funny though, because I think this is another one of those tunes where the video definitely helps with the appeal -- and yet even though I really dig the style of animation going on here, I couldn't help but notice how much effort was put into making you think of other group's videos while you were watching the clip.
Almost as if the director's strategy was like:
"The song's OK and all -- but it might help our chances of making it a hit if we can find some way to
remind people of Zero 7 or at the very least trick them into thinking Daft Punk was somehow involved."
Look, just say they sound like Chromeo and lets all just get on with our lives, ok?
Anyways, it's a nice little change of pace from all the Sevendust I've been overloading on since their fantastic new CD came out.
See what you think -- Here's Arsenal, with Estupendo

[Listening to:  Duran Duran - "The Chauffeur" ]

Tuesday, July 20


Seriously, it's been a couple of days and I'm still kinda jacked up about it.

UPDATED: I was doing some work on the site recently and came across a piece I wrote back in 2008. At the time, Inception was still little more than a cool idea in a screenwriters mind. If you've seen the movie (or even if you haven't) it's definitely worth a read. Kinda trippy, when you think about it.

[Listening to:  Sevendust - "Ride Insane" ]

Monday, July 19

Everybody's Hands Go Up and They Stay There

I can't even begin to tell you how funny this is to me.

-- First floor conference room door, Jax FL.
"Jesus people, we couldn't even get the room right!"

[Listening to:  Namie Amuro - "Handle Me" ]

Friday, July 16

The Friday Hot Sheet

Summer is racing by. The other day at the grocery store I noticed they've already got out the little separate section for school supplies. There's an email in my inbox reminding me about little league registration for the upcoming Fall season. It seems like just yesterday that I was looking forward to the end of the school year so I could spend more time with the boy.

Of course it's not really like I've lost the time completely -- but it's one of those weird times where it seems like now that it's in the past, the memory of it seems very short. Relativity at play. Almost as if my realization of all the things I'll have to do between here and the end of August to ensure that things go smoothly is somehow so much heavier than the specific memories of June and July thus far, and so all the sudden it's as the one thing is just that much more immense than the other.
Kinda weird, when you think about it.
Of course a big part of that is probably related to the way this week has been utterly lackluster at work. I've been feeling really uninspired at the office lately, which is sort of a normal summer thing I suppose -- but there's not really tons of new or particularly exciting things happening there, which sorta screws the balance of time during the individual days up. You know how it is -- when you're at work it seems like every hour of doing nothing lasts forever, but once you get home and someone asks how your day was, you've got next to nothing to report, which makes the day suddenly feel really short and inconsequential in retrospect.
All of which is to say that I'm totally psyched to see Inception this weekend.
Honestly, I really think that's what it is. All my anticipation to see Chris Nolan's latest dream within a dream within an action movie within a dream movie has got me seeing this "not a lot happened" week in terms of some wacky time versus time construct that barely even makes sense to me.
So before I start jumping around staircase looking for a fight -- here are this week’s risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here:
Mel Gibson  Holy crap. Have any of us had even half as bad a week as this guy has? Anybody notice how good Tiger is playing at the British Open (Don't even try to tell me those things aren't connected)? Day after day more tapes of the Road Warrior going batshit crazy -- recorded in perfect crystal clear "you just messed with the wrong woman" audio by his Russian girlfriend who is either looking to make him to confess to hitting her or find some way to prove that she isn't just making up her claims that he's a hateful, angry, unbalanced maniac who's got her scared for her and her child's life. Either way -- it's hard not to be somehow morbidly fascinated by it all (and the cute kitten recaps of the wackadoo quotes that keep coming out), even if it's just for the fact that there's just so much insane venom being revealed day after day. Seriously, who knew the guy was this far gone?

Inception I know I gushed about this in the opening paragraphs, but this is honestly the only movie I've been looking forward to in what has been a pretty lame summer season. Christopher Nolan's follow up to The Dark Knight features what appears to be a uniquely complex plot about people infiltrating and affecting the dreams of others matched with the kind of special effects that people want to see. And I don't say that lightly -- we've had movies come out this summer where characters could bend fire, movies where a child is able to do one-legged flip kick seemingly eight feet into the air, and a film where a bunch of dudes attempt to fly a tank. Essentially we're living in a computer-aided film age where just about anything you want to see is possible, and yet to have a trailer get you excited about an entire city folding over on itself is (at least for me) is pretty cool.

The odd thing is that here's a film that clearly announces itself as smart, or at the very least multi-layered -- which is a huge part of why I want to see it, and yet clearly it's got an action movie hiding inside of it (which considering Nolan's other work I'm pretty excited about too). In fact, my only real worry about this film is that much like The Matrix it will spur the growth of a super-annoying Twilight/Avatar style fanbase who try to make it out to be much more than it is.

To be perfectly honest, It's almost as if my real worry is that all the dummies who keep Adam Sandler rich will love this to the point where saying you like it too will rope you into conversations you'd normally avoid. Like I'd really prefer it if this was more my movie when I know (much like the Dark Knight) it will become a popular favorite. I'm not really 100% why that thought bothers me so much, but I suspect it comes from a feeling where I'd rather not be one of the masses when it comes to something like this -- and yet if it does take off and become the huge hit everyone expects it to be, how could you avoid it?

Maid Droid  Maid Droid is the story of a future where android technology has progressed to the point where people can purchase pretty girl shaped maid robots to clean around the house and look after their children while they're at work. One family does this, but die soon afterward in an accident, leaving the child in the care of the robot hottie. He eventually (of course) falls in love with it, and a large part of the remaining story deals with their struggles to make those feelings real.

Of course many people buy the maid droids simply to have sex with them -- which requires an upgrade (suggesting the Droids are made by ..Apple?) But for whatever reason this doesn't work for the protagonists -- but the man believes that he loves the robot, so they stay together regardless.

Then while all of this is happening the remains of the original android experiment -- robot pets (which were all recalled and thrown away) somehow congeal together to form one giant robot dog, which stalks the streets of Tokyo late at night and basically rapes unsuspecting women.

Then a puppet (who is 10 times creepier than the rape dog) tries to convince us that the women like it, because that's what women really want anyways.

Add in a third story about a police detective trying to stop the rape machine (as it's known) and what you have is this odd kind of retelling of the Pinocchio story from three different angles -- except this time there's animal rape and a sixty-year old man trying to get freaky with a 20 year-old girl who's pretending to be a robot.

If this all sounds kinda creepy and pervy -- well, that's because it is. There's a lot of despicable stuff in this flick. And yet, somehow there's this sweetness to the story. I mean, you sort of have to get past the robot rape dog part to see it, but it's there. I mean, lets not lie -- this is borderline porn (depending on your sensibilities), but it's sorta weird how a day or so after seeing this I'm sorta touched by just how much heart this dirty old man fantasy movie ended up having.

I don't know -- the more Asian cinema I take in (which is admittedly not tons) the more I'm surprised by what I get out of it. It makes me think I might not have even sat through this whole film a few years back.

Still, it's an interesting and bizarre movie -- almost in an Ichi the Killer/Oldboy sort of vein -- just with more weird sex than blood and gore. Not sure I'd recommend it to everyone, but I'm kinda glad I watched it, even if it was just for the experience.

Despicable MeI had problems with my internet last week, so I wasn't able to do a Hot Sheet -- but I did want to mention this. Despicable Me is a funny movie. My son is still doing the Steve Carell villain voice -- so if you've got kids and haven't seen it yet definitely check it out.

But be warned, despite some sweet moments and memorable scenes -- I found myself kinda bored during a lot of it. If you're on the fence about this as a date flick or something to catch because you like cartoons I might suggest waiting for a rental. It leans on the cute button waaaay too much, which is part of it's charm -- but it does so in a way that feels artificial, like "Here comes the little girl character to do her cute thing again -- prepare for FLUFFY!!"

Don't get me wrong, it's a fun ride for what it is -- but it's maybe not as astounding as people are making it out to be. I mean let's face it, this has been a pretty lame summer movie-wise. So in that respect, yeah -- Despicable Me was a billion times better than the last Shrek movie. But consider what that really means, you know?

Making MoneyMy boys in Vendetta Nation have been working hard lately, gearing up for a regional tour, promoting their upcoming album, and getting the video for their first single finished. It's always weird seeing your friends in things like this (not to mention the fact that a good half of this was shot at Endo) -- but I really dig this song, so I thought I'd pass it on to you.
See what you think!

[Listening to:  Ida Maria - "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" ]

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