Saturday, June 24, 2006

Twistin' the Night Away

I'm on a Sam Cooke kick tonight, probably because tomorrow night is karaoke night, though I'm fairly certain there isn't any Sam Cooke to be had in the Saturday Night Music Club catalog. However, tomorrow night at the bowling alley, I will be singing my usual Eric Cartman version of "Come Sail Away," though I'm fairly certain that I'm going to preface this with "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch," as well as a couple of other songs I generally wouldn't sing (read: 1960's soul music).

I'm pissed off, because I put a quarter-inch ding in my laptop screen, which I'm going to see forever. It's like a focal point once you know it's there. I can't help it, but my eyes are just drawn to it, like a reminder of how I managed to fuck up my screen. Oh, sure, I could fix it, but it's not worth the $300 to completely replace the screen. It pisses me off, but I have my limits.

The World Cup is on this week, and ... yeah, I really don't give a shit. Yes, I am American, which means my love affair with soccer (note: not football, futbol, or any other spelling of such) ended when I was about ten years old, at which point videogames effectively took over my life. That America is now officially out of the World Cup tournament isn't much of a shock, nor am I terribly disappointed, given that Brandi Chastain isn't on the team. Yes, my happiest memories of soccer involve the U.S. Women's World Cup team, particularly the part where Brandi Chastain whipped her shirt off (stupid sports bra).

I'm about halfway through season five of X-Files, and it's all part of my plan to watch all of the episodes (nine seasons' worth, plus the movie) and determine precisely where it was that the show jumped the shark, if at all. Now, since I'm not one of those people who gets particularly attached to stars of a show, I think that I could probably evaluate it strictly from a writing and production standpoint, and might possibly come to the conclusion that the show was still good at the end, when David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were no longer on the show. For the time being, though, I'm really quite happy with the series, as I'm about a dozen episodes from watching the movie, which takes place between seasons five and six.

I've spent about the last week being sick. I'm getting better, but for a couple of days, I seriously thought I had mesothelioma or black lung or something along those lines. I've gone from having stuffy sinuses and a dry cough to a wet cough with dry sinuses, and I'm trying to figure out which one is worse. At this point, I'm still not fully convinced that I don't have tuberculosis (or, as I prefer to call it, consumption).

I've been playing Galactic Civilizations II for the last couple of days on my PC, and it's eating my life. It's a very nice game, but I'm not all that happy with the tech-tree, which is more like tech-lines, since there are never multiple requirements for advancing a piece of scientific knowledge. This was one of the things that Civilization 4 got absolutely right (along with most everything else). I mean, I can't really say it's a bad tech system, since everything makes sense, but I find that I haven't been getting into knock-down drag-out brawls with my opponents. I've just been winning the game too quickly, and that's not satisfying. That I've been working my way up from the lowest difficulty setting is probably a good part of this, as I understand the opponents' AI gets to be a real bitch around the Tough difficulty level.

Anyway, it's late, so I'm going to get some sleep and go do karaoke in about eighteen or so hours.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, June 09, 2006


So, no shit, there I was (all stories become ten times better when started with this phrase) at the bowling alley after work. I occasionally go there after work for a beer because it's the quietest bar around, but tonight I was drinking in the bowling alley proper because there was a private party in the bowling alley bar. Yeah, draw your own conclusions about that. But I digress.

Anyway, I'm standing at one of the tables, drinking my beer, smoking my cigarette, and this elderly woman walks up to the right of me and says, "Mind if I look at your balls for a second?" and immediately reaches toward my crotch. Now, the fact escapes me momentarily that this is the most action I've gotten in a long time, so I jump back a good three feet as I process the words I've just heard, attempting not to cough up my Rolling Rock while this processing is going on. It's not an easy task, let me tell you. She goes about fondling the bowling balls near where my crotch was until only seconds prior, while I attempt to hold in all of the comments I'd have said to her if she'd been about half a century younger. Instead, I stand about a yard away, still holding the sort of look of revulsion on my face that Butt-Head would get upon watching a Richard Marx video. Finding no balls that will satisfy her, she moves on.

I just thought I'd share that story with you before I sober up and forget it.

AIM: therbmcc71

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stuck in a Movie You Can't Get Out Of

I will preface this post with an excerpt from Roger Ebert's review of North:
I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
In a nutshell, this is my exact opinion of Underworld: Evolution. It is quite possibly the most tremendously awful movie I have ever seen in my life, even worse than Arlington Road, and that's taking into account the fact that Kate Beckinsdale spends the entire movie traipsing around in a tight black leather outfit. I sometimes see masterpieces of cinema and can't think afterwards of any way that the film could have been improved upon, and I felt much the same way with this one, short of perhaps throwing the script out and setting the production team out in the desert to be picked off by vultures.

One of the quotes I found on Rotten Tomatoes (the aggregated score for Underworld: Evolution being a whopping 15%) was from Paul Arendt of the BBC, who said, "So dedicated to its ludicrously convoluted plot that it takes half an hour to explain what the hell is going on." I watched this movie for an hour and forty minutes, and I still don't know what the fuck was going on. Maybe I forgot some huge details from the first movie, and I was tempted for a moment to watch it again, and then I realized that doing so would only cause my brain further injury, quite possibly leading me into my kitchen to find various cutting implements with which I could take my own life.

About an hour into the film, I made various observations, including, but not limited to:
  1. If not for the vapid fight sequences, this movie would be five minutes long by now.
  2. Derek Jacobi is in this movie. He's one of the great Shakespearean actors (as well as a Knight of the British Empire), and he's been reduced to this.
  3. This movie follows absolutely none of the usual rules of werewolves or vampires. More on that in a moment, though, as the tangent I'm about to go on is far more entertaining than this movie.
  4. The director really has a thing for cutting people's heads in half.
  5. What the hell is the monster from Jeepers Creepers doing in this movie?
  6. I wonder if it was in the script that Scott Speedman has to rip off his shirt before going into battle as his half-werewolf, half-vampire self. Like the Incredible Hulk, he does nothing about his pants, and they're still quite intact after the fight, but his shirt must be removed before he can begin fighting werewolves, vampires, or Creed fans who think he's Scott Stapp.
Getting back to point number three, it really annoys me when movies can't establish general rules for vampires and/or werewolves (or various other types of monsters) and then follow them. I mean, as much as I dislike Lost Boys, at least they set down the rules. Oh, sure, the Underworld movies have this thing for ultraviolet ammunition that's built to kill vampires (which means 'goodbye humanity' if they ever get their hands on good sunblock), and I'll admit that separating the head from the body is a generally accepted means of killing vampires, but I don't think dumping bullets into werewolves quite cuts it. Seriously, what ever happened to the basic tenet that you had to use silver for werewolves and wooden stakes for vampires?

This led to other questions about basic vampire vulnerabilities:
  1. Why do some vampire stories or movies do the whole "vampires hate garlic" thing? Why do they hate garlic? Is it the smell? Does this make Olive Garden a safe place to hang out when you're being pursued by the bloodthirsty undead?
  2. And then there's the matter of vampires who can't enter your home unless they're invited in. This was one of those Lost Boys things that didn't seem to go anywhere but Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This begs the question, what qualifies as a home? I can see how owning a house would keep the vampires out, but what if you've got a mortgage, making the house technically the bank's? How about if you're renting an apartment; does there have to be a lease, or can you just go month to month? Better yet, if you've checked into a hotel, can they just bust your door down? Do you have to stay in the room for a few days before you're (in vampire legalese) living there, or do you just have to unpack your bags? Can a vampire just hypmotize you and get you to take three steps out of the room? What about the hotel hallway; is that a general common area, or is the vampire unable to wander the halls unless he, too, has stopped by the front desk and gotten himself a room? Why do vampires always resort to trickery to get people out of their houses, when throwing a molotov cocktail or a tear-gas grenade through a window would do the same thing and probably in less time? No one has ever made any of this clear.
  3. If you play up the damnation angle, holy water against vampires makes perfectly good sense. At the same time, though, the only time this has ever been used effectively was when the master thespians Coreys Haim and Feldman loaded up Super-Soakers with the stuff.
  4. Is it innate vampiric nature that every vampire has to be a morose motherfucker? I mean, look at Interview with the Vampire: Sure, Lestat's having a pretty good time, but everyone else is like, "Oh, god, it sucks to be a vampire; cursed to walk the night, preying on humanity, blah, blah, blah..." Perhaps their great depression is caused by a lack of Vitamin D, which we all know is magically created by the human body through exposure to sunlight. At the same time, I'm sure vampires could probably take supplements for that.
  5. In the Underworld movies, the vampires often take the moral high-ground by not eating people who don't deserve it; rather, they enjoy a nice blood cocktail out of a transfusion bag, due to the fact that apparently vampires run blood banks all over the world. Anyway, they never suck the blood out of even recently-dead people, but there they go with their refrigerated blood-packs. Do the blood-packs have an expiration date? If the blood donor was a heavy drinker of Vitamin D milk, would that help make the vampire more chipper?
  6. Has there ever in recorded history (albeit fictitious) been an overweight vampire? Why is it that their hair is always so nicely moussed, even during mortal combat?
  7. Scott Speedman is half-vampire, half-werewolf, and at one point has sex with Kate Beckinsdale. Does the werewolf half of him like it doggy-style? ... Oh, you know you made that joke the last time you saw a werewolf movie, just just get down off of your pulpit.
Yes, I know I spelled 'hypmotize' incorrectly. This was for comedic effect. Your mileage may vary.

In short, Underworld: Evolution makes Cursed look like The Howling. It makes Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood look like Near Dark. It makes movies like Tango & Cash look good. In the immortal words of Geena Davis, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

At least there's good news, and it has nothing to do with saving money on car insurance: I bought The Complete U2 through iTunes for a whopping $150, but it's 446 songs, clocking in at over thirty-five hours, including albums, EP's, b-sides, rarities, unreleased stuff, and it's just phenomenal. No, you can't have a copy, because that would entail way more work than you're probably worth, and everyone's already asked, anyway.

AIM: therbmcc71