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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Now With Less Motivation...

I honestly don't feel like playing this evening folks, so this will be short and sweet, because who really cares anymore?

Managed to not get anything done today, continuing my streak of unmotivated sloth that's creeping towards two weeks now, I dunno what's up with that. It's not that I'm in any kind of bad mood or that sort of thing, it's just that I should be doing some writing and I have absolutely no motivation to sit down and work on it. I don't know what's up with that, but my 'tomorrow' has been planned out for the entire week and has yet to pan out as I'd like it to.

A Mesh Tank Top, Dude? Wow.On a bright note I watched a flick called The Stabilizer on Netfux Instant Watch this afternoon, as I knew it was meant to drop off the Instant option on the 1st of April, and it was every bit as corny, silly and over the top as all my interweb acquaintances had promised. The lead (Peter O'Brian) is a poor man's Stallone, at least that's what his giant mane of curly hair reminded me of, and he fights tons of guys in really terribly choreographed action sequences, it's pretty damned amusing.

In the evening we stepped out to pick up dinner, then returned to find that the damned garage door has finally crapped out on us. I tried to tweak the tension (as I've done in the past with some success) but it still did nothing but make a humming noise at me and not move. The wife is out of town tomorrow, so she'll take my car to the airport since the Mercedes is trapped in the garage, and I'll see to the door with the repairmen, which I hope won't be a giant pain in the ass.

I'm out, the way the day ended just sorta put me off.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A' Prowling We Will Go

We had the Maid lined out for this morning/afternoon, so I decided to go and do some running around instead of holing up in the office, as is my custom. The Downey Is Afoot!I dressed and headed out to grab a copy of Sherlock Holmes, which was set to hit stores today.

I grabbed that after a brief pass thorugh the store in search of any random sale items that might catch my eye, and then headed over to Odessa to see what kind of crap they had laying around at Big Lots. Sadly, my main interest was because they had a sale going that knocked another $.50 cents off the $3 flicks if you bought four of them. I actually found a few things, at lest enough to hit the 4 DVD mark to qualify for the sale price, so that's something to be proud of, right?

I browsed a few other places, found a cheap copy of Amy Sedaris' book on entertaining, so I'm looking forward to checking that out, as I've always eyed it at the bookstore but had yet to take the plunge and drop the cash on it. Cocktails?I also found cheap DVD copies of House Of The Devil and New Police Story, so I cautiously purchased those, hoping that the discs wouldn't be all fucked up as some used merchandise can be from this particular store. The House Of The Devil disc in particular I was a little dicey on, as it was a former rental copy, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

I visited El Vox at his house after trying unsuccessfully to roust him for a lunch outing. We caught up a bit, but I eventually excused myself to go and grab a bite to eat, as it was getting into the mid-afternoon. I picked up some takeout on my way out of town, then made my way back home to eat and chill out.

I watched another flick off the Netfux Instant Watch list, a flick called Survival Quest about a group of civilians that run afoul of a group of military types in the woods while on a simple survival skill-building outing. It was a decent film, though the tone was a bit weird, going from feeling like it was teaching the typical Afterschool Special life-lessons to people dying and then back to feelings again, which made for a strange ride at times.

The wife had plans to hang out with a friend this evening and attend some kind of piano recital or something (I wasn't involved in any element of this, so I have no idea), so I ended up watching the two movies I'd been nervous about buying back to back just to be sure that they weren't completely cocked up. I opened both of them to find numerous scratches and the standard fingerprints all over them. Honestly, I don't know if I'm the only person on the face of the earth who doesn't handle a DVD or CD by smearing my sweaty, greasy hands all over the disc surface when I touch it, but it certainly feels like it at times. I get in DVD's from Netfux that look like the person who rented it ahead of me must've been in the process of making sausage when they put it back in the mailer; it's fucking ridiculous.

Thankfully both films played without any issue, so that was a relief, as I'd worried for a few that I might've just pissed away money on two films that I'd now have to go through the hassle of returning or exchanging.

The wife got home late and we took a look at the latest episode of Lost, which continues to be a rewarding experience, even if the 'Flash-Sideways' all appear to be roughly the same except for convenient tweaks.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Daily Shorthand

No matter what the hell I intend in the evenings, I still find myself up until all sorts of unGodly hours, so I slept in this morning, getting up shortly before noon to see what the Yorkie was on about, yapping half-heartedly in the front room.

The wife was puttering around the house, so we visited a bit, as she'd been making numerous phone-calls and had plenty of news to relate to me. I decided to run a couple errands before the day got completely away from me, so I dressed quickly, took the wife's lunch order and then headed out, listening to this week's episode of the DVD Weekly Podcast on the drive.

I dropped off a magazine that I'd scored a free subscription to that I thought Grandmother might be interested in, as Soap Opera Digest holds no allure for me. I stopped at her house, explained the odd subscription and that I'd be dropping them by periodically, then hit the post office and picked up food before heading back to the house to chill with the wife and eat while we caught up on our television from last Thursday night. This took up more time than I had initially had in mind, so when we'd wrapped that up I headed to the Office to look into clearing off some of the clutter and maybe getting a couple things submitted to the other websites that I've been ignoring recently.

The submission process for one of them is still a bit new to me , so that probably took longer than it actually needs to, but after one scrapped attempt I got that mother loaded properly, so I felt pretty good about that. I moved on tot he other site, which I'm more familiar with, tho the actual submission left me scrambling for the proper pics to upload, as I'd never grabbed them from the web in advance.

By this time it was creeping into the 5:00 o'clock hour, so I decided to treat myself to a martini and some swinging tunes, so the wife and I relaxed for 'happy hour' and then she started in making dinner, a pretty tasty little chicken dish.

I Never Saw A Single Cookie, Truth Be Told...We watched something off the Netfux Instant Queue that's gonna disappear on April 1st, a weird little sexploitation flick called Sugar Cookies, in which a pornographer basically Jedi Mind Tricks a girl into shooting herself in the head, so Mary Woronov's character seeks revenge on him, which involves another young girl and a healthy dose of lesbian cavorting. Woronov has a strangely sexy butchy quality that's hard to describe exactly, I mean, she's not conventionally pretty, but I find her kinds sexy in these sleazy roles from the 70's. Very odd.

I requested that we take a look at a couple of the episodes of Lost that are still on the TiVo, not new eps, but the re-runs that ABC does with the odd 'Pop-up Video' factoids at the bottom of the screen, just because I wanted to stay somewhat current with those instead of having a dozen of them piled up when the show ends.

We called it a night around 10:00, as is our custom and now I'm here, hunting and pecking.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cinematic Sunday One Hundred Thirty Three

How is it Sunday again already? I demand a re-count.

First up we have Animal Kingdom, and Australian crime film from director David Michôd and starring newcomer James Frecheville as a conflicted member of a crime family who may very well bring down all those around him. Co-starring Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton and Guy Pearce, the film hits theaters later this year, so keep your eyes peeled.



Next we have Exit Through The Gift Shop, a documentary about Bristol-based graphitti artist Banksy, whose simple black and white art has found acclaim the world over, even turning up at the most recent Sundance film festival. The film is about a French shop-owner who attempted to make a film about Banksy, a man who has notoriously avoided being caught on film, only to have the artist begin filming him instead. I've always loved his work, so I'm very keen to see this one, though I expect that it'll be on DVD rather than in theaters.



Finally there's Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, the latest from Edgar Wright of Hot Fuzz & Shaun Of The Dead fame. It's based on the comic series by Bryan Lee O'Malley that I'm aware of but have no particular attachment to, which might be why I think the trailer looks rather fun instead of falling in step with the slight web backlash I've been seeing here and there on Twitter. It stars Michael Cera as Pilgrim, who falls for Romana Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) only to find out that winning her heart involves doing battle with her 'evil exes', all of whom appear to have super-powers, which I'm sure makes sense in the context of the film but is a little puzzling on paper to this layman. Oh well, it looks fun, give it a peep.



Be seeing you.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Creepy Is As Creepy Does

The wife had to be at the fundraiser she's working on this weekend to do admissions or some such, so she was out of the house early today, but got home shortly after noon as I was feeding the Yorkie and preparing to text her and see what she was up to. We decided to go and grab a bite to for lunch, hitting up a steak house, though we both had salads and I ate a club sandwich, which is kind of amusing considering the restaurant that we chose. I grabbed a coffee on the way back home, the the wife crashed out for a bit, as she'd slept poorly last night, and I headed to the den to get caught up on some of my Netfux viewing.

I'd noticed that another handful of movies that are available as part of Netfux Instant Watch service are about to disappear on April 1st, so I had jotted down this little shortlist of odds and ends that I want to try and squeeze in before they're gone next Thursday.

Worst Cannes Experience Until The Brown Bunny!First up on the chopping block was The Last Horror Film, an early 80's slasher that stars Joe Spinell as a cabbie who dreams of making a film with the object of his obsession, Caroline Munro, who he follows to the Cannes film festival. Soon enough bodies start piling up and the go-to guy to blame is the sweaty, creepy dude who's been lurking around trying to meet Munro, which isn't much of a stretch to be perfectly honest. Spinell, God rest him, he's just not a handsome man, and the long greasy hairstyle he sports does him no favors, he looks like a creepy dude even before he starts in with the crazy talk that puts everyone on edge. I decided to take notes on the flick, as I feel that we've been lacking on the horror reviews over at the old BSL, so look for a review in the next few weeks.

Kinski Showing Us His Relaxed Expression...Next up was one of three Werner Herzog movies that are about to drop off the Instant Watch, 1972's Aguirre, The Wrath Of God. The story of Spaniards trekking through the jungle looking for the fabled city of El Dorado and instead finding nothing but misery and madness, it stars Klaus Kinski and was rather engrossing. Kinksi looks simply contemptuous and angry the entire film, sporting this odd body language that led me to believe that his character was meant to have been dropped down a mineshaft at some point, leaving him with this weird crooked gait and way of holding himself. I dug the film, it was interesting that the Conquistadors kept trying to exert a modern law onto their increasingly crazy and irrational experiences For example, when a power struggle leads to a coup, they still maintain the pretense of order by trying to have a trial when it's obvious that they've gone off the rails entirely, as if clinging desperately to the 'normal' life that they've known will somehow help them.

I took a break from my movie watching to go and pick up our dinner, then we chilled with a bit of television off the TiVo before I popped in a little something off the To-Watch Pile that I felt was in the same vein as what I'd watched earlier, and fit with the directors featured. I drug out my copies of both Maniac, which also stars Spinell in virtually the same role as he played in TLHF, as well as Grizzly Man, a more recent effort from Herzog that I wanted to give another look to before I filed it away in the Media Closet.

Worst Neighbor Evar!We ended up only watching (re-watching, actually) Maniac, which was every bit as off-putting as the other Spinell film had been, as he goes into these crazed monologues and sweaty rituals in this crazy room he keeps the trophies from his kills in, it's very disturbing. The only issue I have is with the latter half of the film, in which he again menaces Caroline Munro, though he at first approaches her as someone who is interested in her photography. She seems to leap with excitement at the idea that this disheveled creepshow is interested in her and her work, which I found a little far-fetched, as she's a beautiful woman and it seems highly unlikely that she has any shortage of men sniffing around her. I mean, as I mentioned earlier, Spinell just doesn't look very well-adjusted in either of these films, and if I saw the dude on the street, I might be tempted to see what was happening on the other side of the road, and I'm a grown-ass man, I cannot for the life of me imagine a gorgeous woman leaping at the chance to hang out with him. I wondered aloud to the wife if a Gypsy fortune teller had told her to that a hideous man would have an 'impact on her life' or something, at least that would explain why she was talking to him instead of getting a restraining order.

We called it a night shortly after the movie ended, as I would like to try and get a reasonable amount of sleep without having to be in bed until noon tomorrow.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Mingling With The Great Unwashed

Things and stuff happened today, but I want to focus my energies on my evening, as I attended a fundraiser with the wife, further cementing the vast divide between myself and my fellow man here locally.

The wife had to be there to open this thing up as well as stick around to help clean up afterward, so I bit the bullet and drove, ensuring that I'd be there for the full run of the event. I hit the bar, which was stocked with only domestic swill in the beer department and cheap wine, so my whiskey dreams went up in smoke immediately. I decided on a White Zinfandel, because I find that Merlot generally makes me think that there's a stick of butter lost in the bottle, it's a weird aftertaste that I don't want to have to get used to. The White Zin probably makes me look like some kinda faggot-fairy-nancy-boy to the locals with their Bud Light, but what do I care, eh? Bottom line, I'm not a wine guy, so I was making the best of things.

Fortified with shitty wine, I joined the wife near the entrance to the venue, where we greeted folks as they entered for the better part of an hour, then joined the acquaintances we were to be seated with at our table inside. We visited a bit, then mingled our way over to the food buffet stations, my wine count is about 3 glasses at this stage. We got our food, then headed back to the table, ate with our friends (acquaintances? I dunno how I want to qualify these folks) and chit chatted about the entertainment, a mid-level country music act that I'd personally never heard, but had heard of. It was hard to judge his show, as every other song was a cover, so you weren't really getting the full effect of listening to his music exactly, but his covers were decent enough.

The wife turned to me and said that she was happy I wasn't like "the other men here", indicating the folks standing around swilling shitty beer and bidding on hunting trips, which I assured her was my pleasure, as I'd never wanted to be like any of these people. I mean, they seem like nice enough folks on the surface I suppose, but I've just never had anything in common with the average alpha male jag-off, and now here I am in a room full of them. What's more, every single one of these assholes seemed to know one another, it was a bit nauseating.

Lotsa backslapping, that's all I'm saying. Monkeys relate to one another on higher levels than these people. Okay, I'll stop, I'm just being a judgmental cunt, but you have to admit, I'm pretty good at it, right?

We made another round looking at the silent auction items to see how the sales were going (I grabbed wines 4 & 5 around this point), I commented to my buddy the Minister (who I've developed a puzzling rapport with, despite my inherently sacrilegious nature) that I was puzzled by the behavior of one of the members of our party, the 'class-warrior' type we'd had dinner with a few months ago. The guy wasn't too keen on being here at all, apparently my being around was actually a selling point (presumably since he'd know someone there), and then he and his wife show up, don't eat, don't even have a beer or anything, barely say 2 words to anyone at the table. It was just odd to me, as I'm not an outgoing person at all, but I've developed a persona to put others at ease, make with the chit chat, all that bullshit. It's rather sociopathic if you dig too deep, I prefer to think it's merely a tool to help keep others at ease when I really don't have much to say to them.

That said, I can't for the life of me imagine that this dude is so socially retarded that he can't make with the small talk any better than he does, he seems defiantly removed from the proceedings like a sullen kid, I just don't get it.

The evening finally got towards that 'wrapping the fuck up' stage, where all the 'ugly lights' came on and they called out the winners of the various raffle items. The wife started helping the other women pulling stuff from tables so that the venue people could put of their rental items, so I joined her in doing that, corralling all the table decor and table cloths near the back of the building. Most of the lingering attendees took the hint and moved on, but I'll be damned if there weren't a good couple dozen people who didn't have anywhere else to be and just sat at their tables while we cleaned around them, visiting as though they'd been reunited with long lost relatives rather than having a night out with the same shitty people that they see every weekend.

In the interest of making their stay as unpleasant as possible, I actually crop-dusted a table full of folks as I walked by with my arms loaded with junk, just blew a silent fart as I was passing them and kept on moving, because fuck 'em, y'know?

Another table full of people who can't take a hint, all of them older than the wife and I (I.E.: old enough to know better and of an age to have something better to do with their lives instead of sitting around boozing it up in public) mentioned casually as we cleared their table that if the organization saved the cans and bottles for recycling that they could make some extra money (!) off the event. I resisted the urge to tell (scream at) the woman that regardless of the recycle value, no one in their right mind wanted to sort through 20 bags of trash to make $20 in recycling dividends. The cans are made of aluminum, not silver, bitch.

Don't get it twisted folks, I'm all about recycling, but this broad can eat a bag of dicks if she thinks I'm gonna spend my night going through trash bags trying not to get drenched in beer and Christ knows what else in the process of separating glass and aluminum.

We eventually got everything off the tables and helped the women empty the candles from the containers and back into their boxes, bagged up the rented table cloths, and were creeping towards the end of things when I spotted a couple dudes I'd seen earlier, two guys who embody all the worst things about the state of Texas. Slightly out of shape in tight jeans, big boots, big goofy hats, swilling cheap beer and generally being loud, they play into every awful stereotype you can imagine, and it makes me a little sick. They started in yammering at the musical artist about how great he'd been, I nudged the wife and said that I wanted to beat the two guys in hats to death with a shovel, she asked if they were with the band. I said that I certainly didn't think so, and sure enough, they were soon wandering around, talking to a couple of the women breaking down the event, then saying goodbye to another husband who'd been guilted into helping out. They seemed lost, with no place to go now that the open bar had dried up.

I paused to tell the wife that I don't know how the venue staff keep from stabbing these late lingering type fuckers in the neck and shoving them in the dumpsters...I mean I'd only been there for a scant five hours and I wanted them dead in a ditch simply because everything that came out of their mouths was loud and amounted to "I've drank a lot and I'm going to keep drinking until I go to sleep and then maybe wake up still drunk! Yay weekend!"

We finally called it a night as the actual volunteers were getting the stuff loaded out the door, the wife and I had been helping out of the kindness of her heart, so once they were in the home stretch we felt okay to split and head to the house. On the upside my labor walking shit all over the building and packing stuff up had burned off my minor buzz, so I drove us home without any fear of the fuzz bothering us.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Murderous Irishmen And Thieving DJ's

I'm tired and want to short hand this a bit, so let's do this dance, shall we?

I got caught up on a couple movies today, including something I'd heard absolutely nothing but bad things about, Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. Aequitas, Veritas, Kinda Derivitus...Hell, I even had a friend make a point of e-mailing me to say how much he hated it and warn all his friends away from watching it, but I decided to settle my curiosity and just give it a look.

It wasn't as good as the original film (which I haven't turned on like the rest of the web), but I certainly wasn't quite as let down as everyone else in my personal circle of friends or the interweb as a whole have apparently been with this movie. It felt like Duffy tried his damnedest to achieve the same quirky feel that his original had, but it just never quite happened. I will have a review up later this weekend or early next week, as I felt like I wanted to try and express more fully what I was let down by with the film. I guess a bare bones summation would just be that it felt like more of the same, but didn't quite pull it off as well as the original.

The wife had an event this evening that she was so kind as to let me off the hook for attending, so I also watched another flick from the stuff I have on hand for review, a documentary called Copyright Criminals. The focus is the rise of the use of sampling in hip-hop music and the various lawsuits that arose from it. Microphone CheckI want to be behind artists in their pursuit of a creative outlet, but it's hard to hear someone say that it's easier to grab a guitar lick than to learn to play guitar. I mean, if you have a beat you like, why not at the very least play it yourself on the drums rather than opening yourself up for a lawsuit from James Brown's estate? I think it's a very gray area as far as what you make with the samples being their own beast, but I just can't imagine people assuming that no one will care if they use the chorus from an existing pop song within their own work.

The wife caught most of that flick with me when she arrived home, then we made plans for tomorrow, as there's another fundraiser she has to attend that I'd committed to joining her for, so we'll be doing that tomorrow evening.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Movies & Shit

Man, I managed to get a really late start on this turkey (regardless of the posting time), so I may just bluff my way through and call it a night, because there's like five people reading this anyway, right?

Not a lot happening today anyway, the wife fielded a ton of calls, I stepped out briefly to grab a burger for lunch, then watched a few things off the To-Watch Pile to try and make up for the ton of stuff that I bought yesterday. This effort was sandbagged as a couple of cheap movies arrived in the mail from various Amazon sellers, who I've started checking out a lot recently to fill in gaps in certain graphic novel series for slightly cheaper than the Amazon pricing. Next thing I know, I've got a cart full of DVD's as well, just because they happen to save a couple bucks over the standard new pricing.

Oh Edwige, I Hear This One Is Depressing...I was rather happy to see that the 'used, like new' copies of The Kid Stays In The Picture and the now out of print No Shame release of Secrets Of A Call Girl both came in looking brand spanking new, so that's awesome.

I watched The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin, a film that I'd always wanted to check out and finally cross off that 'list of shame', comprised of all the films that I figure people would look at me as though I'm crazy for not having seen yet. This movie was a blast, Gordon Lui's character has a nice arc in the film, starting out as an angry man trying to learn kung-fu in an effort to seek vengeance, but eventually starting to evolve past that idea. This being a typical martial arts film, vengeance is thrust upon him, but it's a great journey for the character.

I also decided to look into Dario Argento's Four Flies On Grey Velvet, which I liked but wasn't just blown away by, so that was kind of an odd watch. I think it might grow on me, but I was at least slightly disappointed that it didn't impress me more, as most of Argento's catalog has made more of an impression on me the 1st time around.

The wife and I ended up watching the Blu-ray of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was just awesome. I love the fact that George Clooney is even a suave motherfucker when he's playing a stop motion animated fox! How cool is this guy? Geez.

We wrapped our evening with the normal Wednesday night fare of The Human Target and Ghost Hunters, then headed to the Office and the bedroom to chill out.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adding More Crap To The Pile

I can happily report that I am a free man, the jury duty bit has been called off for the week, I guess they were able to find all their victims from the remaining pool yesterday afternoon.Foxen!

I hit Best Buy this afternoon because I had a wild hair to blind-buy The Fantastic Mr. Fox, as I've been in a Wes Anderson mood and had heard nothing but good things about it. Hell, I think there were even a few Oscar nominations in there, so it sounded really promising. I ended up grabbing a few other cheap flicks that happened to be on sale, so I now have a cheap copy of both Son Of Rambow and The Foot Fist Way, two movies I'd been keen to own for some time but had been waaay overpriced for a standard def DVD.

It's Gonna Get Sleazy Before It Gets BetterI was planning on hitting the other Hollywood Video in town to see if it had anything different from what the one on the loop had, but first I popped into a pawn shop because a set of movies at Best Buy had jogged my memory about a copy I'd seen there a few months back. I had passed at the time because I was curious to see if I could turn it up anywhere else cheaper, and happily when I inquired about pricing today, the guy told me it was $5 cheaper than they had last time, so I ended up with a 20 film set for $10, so I'll be indulging myself in the Grindhouse Experience in the coming weeks, time permitting.

The other Hollywood Video had a surprisingly well-stocked store considering their current going out of business sale, and after a thorough pass through the store I found 3 movies I was willing to gamble on not being completely ruined by rental abuse. Oh, and while I was shopping the employees went through the entire store marking their signage down another $2, so the discs were now 3 for $18, or $7.98 apiece, leading me to wonder how long I'd have to browse before they got marked down again, y'know? Keep It Gangsta!My cheap haul (and they even gave the discs a good buffing, which cleaned them up remarkably well for ex-rental copies) was Seijun Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter, Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, and Ringo Lam's Full Contact, a film that I'd tried to find recently and came up empty handed on save for a few over priced imports. Two Criterions and an import disc for $6 apiece made me rather pleased with myself, I have to say.

I picked up a sandwich on the way home, where the wife was back from her meetings and was returning some phone calls. We caught up a bit, then I retired to the den to watch last Friday's episode of The Ricky Gervais Show while I ate.

The wife and I watched Precious, which had arrived from Netfux late last week. It was a heartbreaking experience but really well-made and acted. It did little beyond make me wanna beat all the shitty parents in the world to death, but man, it was a good flick. The wife started making an early dinner, so I ran the movie to the post office so that it'd get back to Netfux sooner than later, then spent some time with the TiVo, trying to ascertain if the damned line-up had sorted itself out yet. The answer is 'sorta', as we've got the majority of channels showing up properly, but are still missing weird chunks of stations from the HD block, which is sort of the reason for having the HD set-up and is therefore irritating on general principle.

The wife had an evening meeting, so I ended up popping in one of the Grindhouse Experience flicks, a movie called Raw Force from 1982, which is filled with gratuitous nudity, badly choreographed martial arts and a hokey island with weird monks reviving the dead; in short,, pretty much anything you could want from a movie.

That's been my background noise while I've hunted and pecked this out so I can have a jumpstart on my blogging this evening.

The wife got home a little late and we watched Lost, which continues to knock it out of the park as we head towards a series finale.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Can I Bring Ya'll A Lightbulb Or Something?

Today was kind of just a pain in the ass all the way around.

I had to turn up for jury duty, which of course meant that I went into it with the same joy that you'd expect from a man product-testing an explosively effective laxative. I managed to arrive early, as the lunch I had with the wife didn't take as long as we'd anticipated, so when I walked in about 15 minutes early to an over half-full room I was a bit shocked. I guess these other folks started turning up at noon rather than at 1:00 PM, as instructed.

We'd barely sat down when an older woman was suddenly lead out by a bailiff, stumbling and light-headed. I dunno if she'd hit the stairs instead of using the elevator like everyone else, but it was a weird way to start things off.

I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Gonna Direct It Anymore!I started the book by Sidney Lumet that I'd brought along, which is an interesting read, though the dude next to me wanted to chat me up a bit about it, as it was something that he'd read & enjoyed himself. I wanted to just tell him that I was here to dispense justice, not make friends, but I made with the chit-chat and eventually returned to my reading. I will say that he impressed me by name-checking both Roger Corman and Bruce Campbell, so he was a bit more well-read than the average local yokel, a pleasant surprise.

We sat for 30 minutes before things got rolling, sat through the standard song and dance crapola about why we have to be there, what a great service we're doing for our country, stopped just shy of calling us heroes and singing "Proud To Be An American", thank God for small favors. The prosecution started in with their spiel, questions and the like, making sure everyone knew what was expected of them.

Next thing I know, there's a woman coming from a seat in the back, leaving in tears, the case hinted at something of a sexual nature, presumably this was too much for her, but I was still a little taken aback by it all, as this was way more drama than I'd come here expecting. I began to focus on the sconce that was out over the judge's area, wondering why the fuck our county can't even afford a $1 lightbulb, but the judge had opened with a bit about a new courthouse that's being built.

The afternoon wore on, I got some more reading done in between the various breaks we took, the defense made his spiel, peppered with a short bio about himself that I could have lived without, he gave it because they'd been quizzing us so much, he felt it was only fair. I would have rather he just launched into why we needed us to pay the fuck attention, but oh well, the wheels of justice grind slowly, don't they?

The good news is that the last two rows of potential jurors were dismissed at 4:30 in the afternoon, with instruction to call the next day to see if we were truly done. I have the idea that it's over for the week, but I'm apprehensive until I know for sure. Now I feel like I gotta get some stuff done tomorrow afternoon since this stupid timesink just ate my entire day.

I headed home, caught up with the wife, then made myself a drink and chilled in the den to look through the mail. The next thing I know, I'm realizing in horror that the TiVo line-up is completely cocked up due to an update made to the Suddenlink line-up. We spent some time on the phone to basically be told that the issue was on the TiVo end, not theirs, since we have the Cable Cards installed which only allow for communication one way (?).

I said fuckit, as I was over dealing with another expended phone conversation. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that giving the TiVo 24 hours or so to sort itself out will solve it all, as it's just a scrambled mess of what channels are actually assigned to whatever channel number, so maybe they'll sort it out by tomorrow afternoon.

We watched some Family Guy re-runs, the wife made some great sandwiches for dinner, then we called it around 10:00, as we're wont to do.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cinematic Sunday One Hundred Thirty Two

Trailers, eh?

first up this evening we have a trailer for The Mechanic, from director Simon West, a man whose work I've liked (Con Air) and been really put off by (When A Stranger Calls), so I'm crossing my fingers on this one. The re-make of the Charles Bronson film of the same name, this time around we have Jason Statham training Ben Foster as his replacement in the assassin business until things get personal. I'm down, but I do need to watch the original off the old TiVo in preparation for this re-make.



Next we have Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec, from director Luc Besson and starring Louise Bourgoin as the titular Adèle. The film is based on the French comic series by Jacques Tardi, which I seem to recall was serialized in a Dark Horse Comics anthology several years ago, so some of the material in the trailer looks familiar to me. The story is filled with high adventure, mummies and a pterodactyl wreaking havoc in Paris, all elements that I recall from my passing acquaintance with the source material, so this looks pretty interesting to me. It opens in April in France, so who knows when a US release will happen?



Finally, because I always have my eyes peeled for the next lycanthrope film, we have a low-budget affair called Werewolf Fever, from director Brian Singleton. The film looks to have a sense of humor and revolves around a werewolf attacking the folks who congregate at the Kingburger Drive-In. The wolf thankfully isn't CG, though what little we see of it in the trailer makes it less than wolf-y, but I'm willing to give it a go, see what the final product looks like.



Be seeing you.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Comedy To The Fifth Power, Then The Horror, The Horror...

I spent the day on the couch with my sweet wife plowing through some of the stuff on the To-Watch Pile, most of what I chose being in the short, breezy comedy genre in an effort to squeeze in as many titles as possible in the time we had available.

Young Karen Is Still Hot Karen...I picked up some deli sandwiches for our lunch, then we settled in with a movie called Last Resort, an 80's comedy that featured Charles Grodin taking his family on vacation to a hellish island called Club Sand or some such. Making me think of the poor man's Chevy Chase, Grodin spent the duration of the film irritated and uneasy while his family rose to the occasion and enjoyed themselves. I was rather amused to see Will & Grace's Megan Mullally as Grodin's teen daughter, she was cute and still had that same shrill voice, but I have to admit it was rather amusing that she's much hotter now that she's aged a bit. The wife dug that pretty well, so I decided to throw in another 'summer-ish' themed film.

The Sure Thing was something that she'd never seen, which kinda surprised me, but she really enjoyed the copy I'd picked up at Big Lots awhile back. I hadn't seen the film in possibly a decade, so it was nice to give it another look and kinda disconcerting to see Nicollette Sheridan way back in the day without her now standard fake boobs and collagen-filled lips.

Beware The Skunk ApeThe wife napped while I continued my beach front Saturday with a low budget affair from Adult Swim's Jay Edwards called Monster Beach Party A-Go-Go. I'd first heard about it a few years ago, when it was filmed as Stomp! Shout! Scream!, so the re-titling was kinda odd to me, but it pays wink and a nudge homage to the corny monster movies of the 60's. There's a girl group playing surf rock tunes, a skunk ape lurking around the beach and numerous bodies piling up (though mostly off-screen), it had some amusing campy moments, but was never anything that I found just laugh out loud funny.

The wife got up as I was starting Meatballs, a movie that I'd somehow never seen but I felt fit in with my 'summer' themed marathon. The wife had already seen this one, so she took the time to step out and pick up our dinner from a little pizza place across town. We ate while finishing up the flick, which I dug well enough, it's nice to see Murray in his prime and more animated than he's been in most flicks of late.

Funny, Funny StuffWe watched another summer camp flick next, Wet Hot American Summer, which was really funny and has been something I've had numerous people recommend to me, so it was fun to finally mark that off the list. The ensemble cast is fun, and there were several times that I laughed out loud, which is always a good barometer for a comedy. I can see giving this another look at some point, maybe check out the commentary, as it homaged many films within the genre, so I'd be curious to hear the filmmaker's thoughts on what they were influenced by.

We rounded out the evening with something from the old Netfux Instant Watch, the recent Return To Sleepaway Camp, in which a fat, bullying goofball of a guy is tormented by the other campers and people start dying after they give him a hard time. The film is downright surreal at times, as everyone in the movie is rather hateful and cruel for no real reason, so it's hard to feel bad for anyone as they die, because all of the people are assholes, including the victims.

Not a bad run for the day, I feel like I caught up a bit on my viewing this afternoon.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Now With Lots Of Multi-Hyphenated Titles

The Yorkie had the Groomer today, so the wife was already out the door to do that by the time my alarm went off. I got up and started coffee, feeling pretty good about the hours I've been keeping lately, since I've been out of bed at a reasonable hour this week.

I polished up a review and did some more house-cleaning with the music files on the computer, which is a fun project, but has been revealing to me that the Memorex Lightscribe discs I bought in a 25 count spindle months ago aren't all that they should be. I dunno if this is a bad batch or what, but out of the 25 discs, 7 wouldn't read as blank when placed in the drive, which is irritating as hell. I tried to fake out the computer and insert them again later when burning something else, but it became evident that these fuckers weren't going to play ball.

The wife and I had lunch at a sandwich place, during which time the Groomers surprised us by calling to say that the dog was ready, so we were able to pick her up on the way home, a nice change of pace from her normal visit, which keeps her there until late afternoon.

Once we got back to the house I piddled in the Office with the whole music thing, finally running out of usable CD's, so I stepped out to run by Best Buy and gamble on another spindle of blanks since I still have a gift card I'm chipping away at. Spoiler alert: the new spindle sucks equally, I had to try 4 of the fucking discs before one would burn properly. I see me saving up 25 of these (because the frustration aside, I like the discs and the option of burning disc labels or art via the Lightscribe thing) and then attempting a return of all defective merch, see if they can at least swap me out for a new bundle.

I'd Have Killed Myself At The Airport...In the late afternoon I decided to throw in something from the To-Watch Pile, as I've really fallen off on that little project (tho I have made decent progress on the Blu-ray side of things), piling up more DVD's this week even. I watched The Out-Of-Towners, the 1970 flick with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis as a couple from Ohio who take a nightmarishly bad trip to New York City. The weird thing is I didn't find the movie all that funny, perhaps because I was expecting the same Jack Lemmon I loved in things like Irma La Douce and The Apartment, but here he's kind of a blustery asshole who threatens to sue anyone who inconveniences him, it kind of wore on my nerves. I honestly didn't laugh a single time, though certain bits did make me smile. Oh well, it was a cheap disc bought used sometime last year, so I figure a got a few bucks worth of entertainment out of it.

The wife and I had our little happy hour at 5:00, I was happy to break in my newly arrived olive skewers and check out another jazz CD while we visited and chilled in the formal living area, enjoying the new set-up a bit.

We eventually picked up some take-out for dinner and watched another throwaway flick off the To-Watch Pile, the 2003 re-make of The In-Laws, which I recall seeing for free with friends way back when I still went to the theater with any sort of regularity. It was another cheap purchase, Big Lots a few weeks ago, and it was entertaining if forgettable. My main reason for buying was because I'm an easy mark for Ryan Reynolds in a film, which is a weird thing to say, but I like the guy, he's usually pretty entertaining, even though he has more of a peripheral role in this film.

The wife and I called it a night after the film, and I started the tedious process of finding out which disc would actually allow me to burn music while I worked on this junk.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bring On The Suburban Malaise

The wife had meetings today around noon, so I got up with the alarm and made coffee, because I'm trying to turn my weird sleeping schedule around yet again. I dunno when I became such a nocturnal creature, but it's getting a little ridiculous. The worst part of it is that me staying up late doesn't ever involve me doing anything constructive, instead I end up reading movie-related shit and just surfing around looking at dumb stuff rather than writing anything.

I got a couple things submitted to one of the sites, which I'd been putting off forever because I guess somewhere in my head I thought if I waited long enough I'd magically be able to submit all 8 reviews I need to write in a single sitting. This idea is obviously asinine, and I'm sure that the folks I'm sending this stuff to would much prefer one review every few days instead of waiting over a month for a pile of content to suddenly turn up.

I've also been working on burning several things from iTunes to disc and making covers & track listings for everything, so once I got everything squared away with the reviews and a couple CD's burned, it was pushing past noon. The wife got home and we visited a bit, then I headed out to grab a bite for lunch and drop something in the mail.

Welcome To My Suburban NightmareOnce I got back home I decided to throw in something off the To-Watch Pile, so I broke out the Criterion edition of Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, since it wasn't anything I felt like I would want to try and review, as I don't know that I have any big revelations to share about the film, despite how well made it is. I really enjoy the detachment of the characters, all sort of blindly fumbling for something to connect to, or to make them feel alive, all of them ultimately coming up short, it's a terrific film and I'm glad the wife wasn't around while I was watching it. The wife is an interesting case, because I can show her the most awful horror film I can find, of women being drug into the woods and being tortured and raped to death, she barely blinks, but these tales of suburban drama with the casual destruction of marriages and moral decay really depress and upset her. It's just sort of amusing, the stuff that most people would watch for entertainment is what will hit her hard, but a bit of the old ultraviolence doesn't even register as being offensive or disturbing.

I picked up the den a bit after the flick, then popped in a CD and was listening to some Bossa Nova stuff & making a cocktail when the wife popped in from her nap. We visited a bit, then we eventually made a run for some food and then chilled out with our normal Thursday night NBC comedy stuff.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Bra-Less...

We didn't really do anything special for Saint Patrick's day today, instead spent the day piddling around as we normally would.

My buddy El Vox called around 10:30 to see if I wanted to do some running around this morning, specifically hitting the little store that sells donated books to benefit the local Public Library. The place is only open from 9:00 - noon two days a week (Wednesdays & Saturdays), because it's staffed by volunteers who evidently want to make it as difficult as humanly possible to shop the store. I met Vox there, we browsed a bit, I found a few items, then it suddenly dawned on me that I didn't have any cash on me and had forgotten to grab my checkbook. Of course this store is the last place in town that actually still takes a check (and turns up their nose at credit cards), so I left my books with Vox for a few while I ran back to the house to grab the checkbook.

I naturally had a single check left in the book, so that kinda knee-capped any shopping I might do at our next stop, another used bookstore that doesn't take plastic either, but on the upside there wasn't anything there that really grabbed me. I might go back this weekend if I get a wild hair, just to see if one book is still hanging around, otherwise I can live without it.

Embiggen The Image For A Better LookVox followed me to the house, where we dropped off his truck and took one car to check out Big Lots, a store that continues to be the bane of my existence with the cheap shit. I mean it's just too tempting to drop $20 or so on a handful of cheap movies that I have no idea when I will actually get around to watching it.

We had some lunch afterward, then stopped into a Hollywood Video to see how deep the discounts are for a store that's closing. Turns out they must not be that interested in liquidation quite yet, as the DVD's averaged $8 apiece or MORE, which isn't what I'd expect for a blow-out sale. They wanted $15 a whack for used Blu-ray, which is just ridiculous.

We hit a few other shops, I also popped into the liquor store to grab a fresh bottle of Vodka for my new hobby, then we headed back to the house. I showed Vox our new living & dining room arrangements, then he split and I hopped online to poke around for a few. I put together a CD to play whilst I made my afternoon beverages, then I headed to the kitchen to gather my cocktail supplies.

I was sipping my second martini and flipping through the mail when the wife came in and had her standard single nip off my drink, then snacked on some olives while we caught up on our day.

We eventually retired to the den to watch some television, including a new episode of The Human Target and Ghost Hunters, pausing in there somewhere to hit a drive-thru for a burger for dinner.

Now I'm typing this crap.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We Were Cleaned Against Our Will

We had called the Maid & left a message yesterday requesting that she skip us this week so that we could have the week of Spring Break to ourselves and chill at the house. I'll be damned if I don't hear the wife answering the door this morning, letting the Maid in. I suppose she needed the cash and just showed as though she'd never got our voicemail, and the wife was too nice to just send her packing. Oh well. I made some coffee and spent the afternoon in the Office getting some writing done, polishing up a review, so that was good.

The wife had stepped out to pick up groceries, so I eventually took a break to help her put those away, the Maid split, then the wife and I visited a bit before I decided to run our recycling stuff to the bins before all that started to get out of hand.

My new hobby the past few days has been the cocktail hour, which I decided to enact shortly after we had our lousy Olive Garden experience yesterday afternoon. I had done a bit of reading on the subject and had decided to do it old school with Gin and Vermouth, just to see if that was to my taste. I can sadly report that upon my first sip it came rushing back to me why I don't drink Gin anymore: it's that strange pine-y flavor that it has, it makes me feel as though I've been stirring my cocktail with an air freshener from a carwash. The second one I made was with Grey Goose Vodka (what was left of it after our house guests had their way with it anyway), a mixture to which I added a dash of Olive juice to dirty it up a bit. This combination was much more to my liking, particularly because Vodka is fairly tasteless and doesn't overpower things.



Combine a delightful beverage with some jazz on the stereo and I begin to think those retro-cool hepcats who are into lounge music and that culture could definitely be on to something. My new ritual may become that I break out the shaker and olives at 5:00 PM every day, pop in a single CD to chill with as I sip my two tasty beverages, which feels like the magic number. The two cocktails bring on a terrific little buzz, then we chill with some food and check out the tube in the evening, it's just awesome.

The wife made a nice steak for dinner, then we were able to watch the newest episode of Lost live since she didn't have a meeting of any kind this evening, so that was a nice change of pace for our Tuesday night.

We called it a night around 10:00, as we are wont to do.

Be seeing you.

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