Monday, May 31, 2010

Austin: Day Three

Today was the main reason we found ourselves in the land of hippies and patchouli, Morris' triathlon, so we woke up early to get the race numbers put on his arm for the race and see him off. He had to be there early to get signed in and all the other nonsense, so we saw him off and then headed back to bed for a bit.

The wife and I dressed and walked down the street around 11:00, as we had a corner the race turned staked out to hopefully catch Morris at, where we thought it'd be easy to snap the requested picture of him in the thick of his run portion of the triathlon. We were able to get a decent pic, cheer him on, then made our way bak to the hotel to take the Yorkie for a walk.

We strolled down to the lake area and made our way towards the bridge on Congress where all the bats emerge at dusk, then walked back to the hotel and were about to sit down on the patio area for a mimosa when Morris called to say that he was wrapping up his last stuff and that we could start heading to the restaurant we were set to meet at for lunch.

They Fucked With The Wrong Eastwood!We headed that way, though some of the traffic still trickling away from the triathlon kinda bogged us down, so Morris was already at Shady Grove when we arrived, waiting to be seated. We had a drink and were soon shown to our table, which afforded me a view of the nearby television that was showing Hang 'Em High on TCM, so I kinda watched that with no sound while we ate and visited.

We followed Morris back to the hotel, so he could drop off his vehicle, then we headed over to the capitol area, where we toured a few of the buildings before finally heading back to the hotel to chill. We had a couple drinks in the bar, visited and people-watched a bit before heading upstairs to check in on the Yorkie and start getting ready for dinner, because all we do when out of town is fucking eat.

We had dinner at The County Line, which is always good for reliably decent barbecue, then the wife wanted to pop into Book People in the way back to the hotel, just because it's one of her old haunts.

Back at the hotel finally, we started winding down to get rested up for the long-ass drive home tomorrow afternoon.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Austin: Day Two

The Yorkie was being a pain in the ass this morning and woke us up at 7:00 in the morning, so the wife and I were laying in bed when Morris woke up to start getting ready for his run and swim that he'd planned to stay loose for his triathlon tomorrow. The wife had a spa visit booked out for 9:00, so I'd arranged for coffee to be delivered at 8:30 so we could all have a cup before we went our separate ways.

The wife split for her thing, Morris headed out and then I dressed and took the Yorkie for a walk along the path by the lake, which she seemed to enjoy fairly well, though the runners and bikers kinda wigged her out a little bit. Actually, come to think of it, I don't think she really cared for the people walking either. She's kind of a little asshole sometimes, I assume it's because of how much time she spends with me.

We all met back in the room toward the lunch hour, then headed out to eat at Threadgill's, which was a pretty good meal, though they had some band playing in the back area, so that was a little chaotic for a bit, but they thankfully took frequent breaks. Morris had to do some sort of sign-in for his triathlon after lunch, so we said our goodbyes and the wife and I split with a grocery list of Half Price Books locations that we wanted to hit. While sitting in the turn lane, some jagoff in a little SUV suddenly blends into our lane with no signal, which was irritating and I commented that I'd imagine such a nice new vehicle would have turn signals as a standard option, so this guy's obviously a dick. The light changes and he proceeds to turn ahead of us, directly in front of a car that I'm pretty damned sure didn't even try to brake all that much, t-boning the SUV right in the side, which made me say "Good for him!" We eased around the two vehicles and were on our way.

More Crap For The Shelves...We hit 4 different bookstores and a used CD and DVD place that wasn't as well stocked as I might've hoped, but we each still managed to find a nice little pile of stuff along the way, which is cool because we don't really have any books or movies at the house, as astute readers may've gathered from past posts. /End Sarcasm.

We eventually met Morris back at the hotel, I grabbed a shower and then we headed out to dinner, cathing up on the day on the drive. Dinner was an Italian place called Siena, where the food was great but our waiter was lousy, as he seemed much more intent on the family at a table behind us. I don't know if we weren't cute enough or what his deal was, but he ignored his way down to the bare minimum of a tip, because we finally just had to ask for our bill rather than let him bullshit with this other table for God knows how much longer. Hell, as Morris noted, the kid serving up bread was more helpful than our actual waiter.

We had dessert at a place called Amy's Ice Cream, which was pretty tasty and surprisingly busy considering it was pushing towards 10:00 at night by this point. The wife wanted to step into a little toy store called Toy Joy, so we did that next and I was surprised to hear the Suspiria soundtrack playing when we walked in. It's always funny or surprising to see my own interests or tastes reflected in public, so I was rather amused; it's a cute little store. We walked to two nearby video stores, which the wife wanted me to check out because they might have movies more suited to my tastes, which was indeed the case, but unfortunately they were rental places, so despite a small section of used sale titles in each store, there was little to really browse besides the rental material. I was rather impressed with the rental selections of both stores, but left empty-handed because the sale items were all fairly common stuff.

Back at the hotel we relaxed and Morris started getting his stuff ready for tomorrow, whcih the wife is kind enough to go and snap a few pics of, most likely while I sleep in, because I'm a lousy friend.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Austin: Day One

The wife got up early today and started getting packed up for the trip to Austin. I slept in a few hours, then got up and ran down my own list of things to do before we could get out of town. I ran trash out, showered and finally packed up my clothes for the trip and started loading our stuff into the car. We stopped in at a drive-thru for a small lunch on the way out of town, then hit the road.

The drive passed surprisingly fast: the wife read most of the time while I listened to a few podcasts to pass the time, so the next thing I know we're getting into town and are at the Four Seasons. The funniest thing is that I'm not a huge fan of Austin, as the hippy vibe kinda wears on me, so I was making jokes about patchouli and shit like that all the way into town. We're stopped at a red light and a scruffy looking dude wanders across the street in front of us, catching Bella's eye from her dog carrier, and she immediately barked at him, which I took as a sign of solidarity.

We got checked in at the hotel about 20 minutes ahead of Morris, I even saw him unloading his gear downstairs from the window of our room as we started putting stuff on hangers and settling in.

We unpacked a few things, then headed out for our evening, starting with dinner at the Hyde Park Grill because the wife & Morris both have a few staple items they have to have when they visit this area. We had a quick bite to eat, then headed out to a theater that the wife had suggested, as it is adjacent to some shopping she was familiar with and in her mind seemed easier to swing than tracking down one of the famed Alamo Drafthouse locations that everyone will mention in connection to Austin. Naturally, the theater she drove us to had moved, so in its place we found a fucking Cheescake Factory; it would seem that a lot has changed in the 10 years since she lived here. (BTW, Googling the nearest Drafthouse just out of curiosity, I realize there's one 8 FUCKING MINUTES from our hotel, so I may have to start second guessing the wife from time to time.)

But Is It Art? Yes.We finally tracked the place down and were able to catch Exit Through The Gift Shop, the documentary that's ostensibly about Bristol graffiti artist Banksy, but ends up being more about him turning the camera back on the oddball guy who'se trying to make the film. It's a great flick, and the turn the movie takes is pretty fascinating, as the film-maker is revealed to be pretty fucking nutty. Good film, very happy to have seen it, as it gives a nice look into the world of graffiti art and the people it's now made famous.

We had coffee and dessert at a place called Mozart's, which overlooks the waters of Lake Austin, which was nice, then headed back to the hotel to chill out and relax. I took the Yorkie for a stroll around our floor, then settled in with the laptop to work on this before crashing out for the night.

I'm out kids, we have a busy shopping day tomorrow.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

He Knows You're Alone In A Hearse!

I went to bed later than I wanted last night, hoping for about 5 or 6 hours of sleep. My wife has this habit of mumbling in her sleep, as well as the weird jimmy legs, y'know, like when you joke that a dog is chasing a rabbit in its sleep? It sounds kind of amusing, but it's really annoying as fuck when a person like me is just drifting off to sleep, because little noises or movements snap me awake like a shot, so I had trouble getting to sleep because the wife is fighting ninjas or whatever the fuck she was dreaming about. I finally managed to fall asleep, then woke up and took a piss at 7:00 this morning and tried to go back to sleep. Next thing I know, the wife starts in again with the jimmy-legs, which had me grinding my teeth in an effort to not scream "FUCK!" at the top of my lungs. I finally took a deep breath around 8:00 and gave up entirely, made some coffee and fired up the computer.

The Lawn Guys came and went, the Yorkie barked at them for the 30 minutes they were here, the wife slept through it entirely. I yawned and wanted to go kick her but resisted the urge.

Not Sexy Enough To Save The Plot...I banged out a review for Zero Woman R, an oddball Japanese softcore porn/action fest that I had to review for one of the sites, then started in on another review before the wife got up and about. We ended up having the Repair Guys out again, as the stupid hot water wasn't working in the kitchen again, but their fix was pretty simple, so that passed quickly and we're finally back in business.

We had scheduled to finally pick up a rental car for the wife so that we could return the Jeep to the Mother In Law's place, as we've had it for about a week now. I had suggested this because I thought it might be a good idea to take this rental car to Austin instead of the Maxima, not that the Maxima has any real issues, but I figure if we can put that wear on someone else's car instead of mine, why not? The rental folks were chatty as all hell, I'm pretty sure it's a company line of questioning, or they were planning a biography for the wife and I, because they REALLY got into detail with some questions; our destination,what fav places we might have there, etc. Weird.

We dropped the Jeep off, visited a bit with the In-Laws, then headed home after picking up some deli sandwiches for lunch. We ate and watched this week's episode of Justified, just to stay current, then I started in on the laundry I needed to do and got some more writing done while the wife chilled in the bedroom with some television off the DVR. I eventually came to a stopping point and got off the computer, as my eyes had about had enough, caught a 20 minute catnap in the den before taking the time to pick up the kitchen a bit and sort through mail and the like.

The wife and I watched a little horror flick off the To-Watch Pile, a cheap purchase called He Knows You're Alone, which is about a knife wielding killer who targets women on the verge of their wedding day, for reasons that are never made fully clear aside from the fact that a guy was jilted and now hates brides? Odd stuff, but a different take on the standard slasher tropes and has some amusing 80's fashions and cliches, so that always makes it fun.

Congrats, You've Made A Hearse Creepy. Talk About Shooting Fish In A Barrel..We wrapped the evening with The Hearse, also from the To-Watch Pile, which was about Trish Van Devere moving to a family home in the country, where an aunt used to practice witchcraft and made enemies of the locals. She's immediately haunted by noises in the home and a antique black hearse that chases her through the country back roads until she's on the verge of losing her mind. It also features Joseph Cotten as an amazingly argumentative attorney who tries to run her out of the house that he's been charged with looking after all these years just because he thinks he deserves to own it. He's actually pretty amusing, nothing he says is anything but grouchy and hateful, so he's always worth a laugh when he's sparring with Van Devere.

We called it a night around 10:00, as I still had writing and laundry to finish up before tomorrow morning.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sleeping My Life Away

Yeah, so my weird sleep patterns continue to worsen as I slept well into the afternoon today. I got up, saw that the wife had left a text message saying that the hot water wasn't working, so I put in a call to the repairmen to see what was up with that (as a brief once over of the tankless water heater did nothing but reaffirm my status as NOT a handyman), then I ran to grab myself a quick bite before those guys called back.

After a few stops and starts over the course of what eventually felt like a fucking long afternoon we had hot water back in the house, so I can actually wash some clothes tomorrow, as that situation is getting out of hand.

If The Kingdoms Are United, They Will Never Be Divided!I did finally get something else watched for review for Pop Syndicate, though I dunno if will actually get the review written before the weekend at the rate I'm going. I enjoyed Three Kingdoms well enough, as it features Andy Lau in a great role as a humble man rising through the ranks of the military during an epic campaign to unite three separate kingdoms (duh) and his eventual clashes with the daughter of his enemy, played by the lovely Maggie Q. I also noticed that Maggie Q's real name is Margaret Denise Quigley, which sounds amazingly less exotic than her screen name, and she's from Hawaii rather than anywhere in the East, so that was an odd discovery. I mean hell, next I'll find out Michelle Yeoh is from Toledo, Ohio or something.

Y'know What's Rough? Ali McGraw Cheating On You With Steve Fucking McQueen.The wife and I ordered in food and relaxed with a re-watch (for me anyway, she was a 1st time viewer) of The Kid Stays In The Picture, which I had grabbed from an Amazon vendor last month when I noticed that it'd gone out of print. It holds up really well and it's fun to reflect on the various ups and downs of Evans' career knowing how successful some of the films ended up being, yet he's fighting tooth and nail to get them out of the pitch stage, it's interesting to consider. It was pretty amusing to nudge the wife from time to time and casually mention how humble Evans seemed in his voice-over, usually as he was making some wildly God-like proclamation. The dude's entertaining, but he has an amazingly healthy opinion of himself, s'all I'm saying.

The wife and I called it a night shortly afterward, though I stayed up a little bit later to give last Friday's episode of The Ricky Gervais Show a look, as I suddenly realized I still hadn't given it a spin.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

And You Thought YOUR Family Was Fucked Up

I happily caught up on my sleep, though it ended up basically wasting away about half my day as a result, which is always frustrating. The wife was out doing her thing, so I dressed and was about to head out to run a couple errands when it dawned on me that I should eat something so I wouldn't be waiting until late afternoon to finally pick up food.

I was in the process of making myself a sandwich when the wife got home, so we visited a bit and caught up on her day. I suggested a solution to her need to pass along some documents to a fellow volunteer, as our CD/DVD burner drive seems to be unwilling to play ball in recent weeks, so I offered to pick up a cheap flash drive that she can just give this woman and be done with the whole thing.

Hellbilly DeluxeI headed out to get my oil changed, then stopped into Barnes & Noble for a couple magazines before grabbing the flash drive at Best Buy. I also picked up the new Hank III album, which I have yet to actually listen to, but I like having the peace of mind in owning it to spin at my leisure.

The wife spent some time this afternoon with her youngest Nephew, so she was out of the house when I got home. I popped in a movie I have for review, which turned out to be fairly short, so by the time it ended it was pushing towards 5:00 and I decided to go and pick up a small dinner for myself, as I had no idea whatsoever when the wife would actually get home.

Relate To Humanity Much? Yeesh.Food secured, I popped in Terry Zwigoff's documentary film Crumb for a re-watch from the To-Watch Pile, as it's a film I'd had on my mind for a couple weeks now. It's on the verge of a Criterion Blu-ray release this summer, which I figure I'll end up buying, thus I decided to watch this DVD I've been sitting on for at least 3 years since I bought it. I had sort of forgotten how bleak Crumb's family life is, his brothers are both shattered shells of human beings, which is so amazingly bizarre to think of antisocial misanthrope Crumb as the most well-adjusted of the bunch, as his work and personal life have both been pretty out there over the years. I mean really, when Crumb himself is the most well-adjusted person to come out of your family unit, you've fucked up somewhere down the line in your parenting, your genetics, SOMETHING. It's gone bad in a major way. I also love the fact that the 2 hour film ends on such a downer of a coda with the text at the end, amid the verbal naggings of the mother, it's like a final fuck you for liking the film. All said, it's a fascinating documentary, I look forward to buying it on Blu-ray and then not watching it for several years, because I'm an idiot.

The wife got home late, spent some time throwing stuff on the flash drive while I finished my movie, then we caught up on the afternoon and evening before she headed to bed for some much needed rest and I started fiddling around with this bullshit.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Maid, Werewolves And Stepfathers

I slept about 3 and a half hours last night, sinus drainage wreaking havoc on my ability to breathe, so that was just an awesome way to spend an evening.

The wife had almost her entire day tied up with various shit, so aside from hearing her in the shower this morning, I really didn't see a lot of her except for about an hour around lunch and then this evening when she finally got home.

But I digress.

I got up around 9:00, though I could've easily slept a few more hours after my miserable night. I started a pot of coffee and headed to the Office to try to get a bit of writing done. The Maid arrived and started in on her routine, I got a review written, then the wife called offering to bring home some lunch in between meetings. We caught up a bit, then she split and I did some more polishing on a review until the Maid split, then I loaded up some recycling that the wife had piled up over the weekend as she sorted stuff, as I wanted to drop it off before it got out of hand.

Seriously, There's Not Even A Werewolf In One Of These Damned Films!I watched a double-feature DVD I'd grabbed awhile back that featured Werewolf Of London backed with She-Wolf Of London, neither of which were all that amazing. I liked the first film better, as the latter didnt even have a damned werewolf in it, it was all a Scooby-esque plot by wicked humans. Oh well, I was hoping for more out of it, but for $3 it was an okay way to kill a few hours, hell, the films were barely over an hour each.

The wife was kind enough to bring home sandwiches for dinner, so we ate while watching The Stepfather II, in honor of Terry O'Quinn's recently ended Lost run. The sequel is fun, basically more of the same and we had fun checking out the overly 80's fashions, I think that may be at least a good 40% of our enjoyment of some of these older films, all the bad sartorial decisions on display. We watched that, then I eventually threw in another one of the short little Scooby-Doo films in the little boxset I've been working my way through, just to see what it was about. I would be kinda disappointed with these had I paid more than $3 for the set, but as it stands it's all a bit of harmless fun.

We called it a night around 10:00, yet I'm still up much later than I should be for no good reason.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Hey Grandma, Wanna Burn One?

The wife spent most of the day going through some stuff she has to get ready for the woman taking her position at one of the non-profits, as the paperwork in question had been all but ruined when the ceiling in their office caved in during that storm we had a week or so ago. I had the standing plans to meet EL for lunch, so I forced myself from the bed and got ready to go and do that, regretting staying up late reading all the hateful dissections of the Lost finale.

I met EL, we visited about our respective week's, family drama and this that and the other, then I headed home, stopping to drop a magazine off at Grandmother's house on the way back to the house. I piddled around the house, cleaning up a bit, then actually lay down with the wife for a brief nap. That didn't last long, as is my normal custom, so I was up after about an hour, made myself a cocktail and did some reading in the living room until the wife came through on her way to an evening meeting.

Surprisingly Funny!I decided that I wanted something light to watch this evening, so while she was out I re-watched something I'd grabbed for a few bucks awhile back, a movie called Grandma's Boy, which is about a middle aged video game tester who falls for the new (only?) female in his office, played by the gorgeous Linda Cardellini. He's also living with his Grandmother and her wacky roommates at the time, and they eventually all get high together, so it's kinda like Cheech & Chong meet The Golden Girls.

The wife was kind enough to bring home some dinner after her meeting, so we ate and watched a few things that'd been TiVo'd last night during Lost, then called it a night. The wife has a busy day tomorrow and I know that the Maid will also be underfoot, so there's that to look forward to; at least it means I'll spend most of the afternoon in the office, so maybe I'll get some writing done.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

They SAID "Whatever Happened, Happened, Goddammit!" (Or: Lost Series Finale)


I'm skipping the Cinematic Sunday feature because no one cares anyway and mostly because I've spent an emotional night watching a re-cap of the series and then the series finale of Lost, which left me fairly well spent.

I have to say that I am always a little surprised and saddened by how quickly the interwebs turn on anything, especially something like this show which ended in such a way as to invite interpretation. I mean, don't get me wrong, I find it very hard to believe that the writing staff had all of this shit mapped out anywhere, and I would venture to guess that a good amount of the middle seasons were played by ear before they really bore down and found a direction, but none of that takes anything away from the emotional impact that this final season has had for me.

The show has definitely felt more about the journey rather than the vehicle we're in, so taking this ride with these characters has been enjoyable to me all the way around. I also say that with the luxury of having watched the first episode around the middle of last year and then marathoned through the ensuing seasons shortly before the final one started, so had I been hanging on for this stuff since 2004 I might be singing a different tune.

The most amusing thing is people bitching about not having all the questions answered by the end of the series, up to and including what the Island itself actually is, as well as all the various rules and regulations and scientific bullshit that I can't imagine wanting the boring details of. The most common argument against this is to my mind is George Lucas explaining away such an intriguing concept as The Force by telling us it's something in the bloodstream that they have a test for! Super, so this one kid ate paint chips, this other one didn't and now one of them can be a Jedi? Fuck off for demystifying it and making it extraordinarily mundane in the process.

I honestly don't know that I've ever been a fan of a show that had quite that high profile styled ending of something like Lost, nothing I've really followed had the same 'cult' status that this show has, or if it had said status, I wasn't following it (Battlestar Galactica, for example) during its heyday, so I was unaware of the fandom response at the time.

Oh well, I suppose that I have to go with my gut reaction, which found this show very satisfying, rather than spending the next week or so nit-picking this one apart like most of the interweb will be doing, if Twitter and the like is any indication just a few short hours after the credits have rolled. The main thing that's driving me crazy is the normal wingnuts who have suddenly begun to come out of the woodwork claiming that the entire show was a cop-out because of the reveals of this final episode. The most offensive bit here is that (SPOILERS HERE) due to the reveals of the last 10 minutes or so of the show people are now assuming that your cast was dead the entire time, thus making the show utterly pointless, which is asinine and not what the ending implies at all. That's also essentially like saying that if your character dies near or at the end of a story that you've just jerked the reader/viewer around the entire time.

I would much rather simply accept this ending, warts, plotholes and all rather than have them attempt to explain away all of the mystery of the show in an effort to satisfy everyone who will probably hate them for it anyway.

Oh well, I loved it, I hope everyone shitcanning it all over the place enjoys doing just that, because God forbid anyone have some fun in their lives that doesn't involve tearing other folks (or their creations) down just for exercise. It's times like this that I actually feel like I'm growing up a bit, as the general negativity on the web has begun to strike me as rather pointless.

Y'know, unless it's something I personally find boring and lacking in redeeming qualities, then it's fair game.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ghostly Saturday

I slept in a bit today while the wife got up and started in on her massive piles of laundry, then I finally made my way into the kitchen while she was on the phone speaking to her Grandmother. I suggested barbecue for lunch, she agreed and I dressed to head out to pick that up, as I was looking forward to a quiet afternoon in the den today.

Stay The Hell Out Of RussiaBarbecue secured, I headed home and we watched last night's episode of The Soup while we ate lunch, then the wife headed off to the bedroom to piddle with this or that and I popped in a little something off the To-Watch Pile. I hadn't watched Nacho Cerda's film The Abandoned since I saw it in the theater (back when we still made any effort to go see movies theatrically), but it holds up rather well. It's a damned fine little ghost story all the way around, the house is creepy as hell and the overall mood of the film is rather unsettling all the way around as it deftly ties up the various mysteries throughout. Good stuff, well worth a rental.

I decided to stick with the ghost theme and popped in The Grudge 2 next, a film I'd watched once and recalled liking well enough, if in spite of the silliness of where these ghosts keep turning up. I mean for Christ's sake, they pop up inside anything that casts a shadow basically, it borders on comical at times. I suppose if you're not a big horror fan that this concept could be really spooky, but it began to get to me a bit after awhile. It's worth a rental, as Takashi Shimizu tells a sharp story, fragmented into 3 separate time-lines, while never allowing the audience to become confused about what is happening.

Worst Visitor Day Ever.The wife came in during the middle of that film, so while she piddled on the laptop for a bit I popped in yet another flick from the To-Watch Pile. Michele Saovi's The Church was something I'd always been curious about, and while the story of a church built on a great pocket of evil is intriguing, ultimately the execution wasn't all that it could've been. The film isn't ever boring exactly, but it never develops any real momentum either, it's just a series of set pieces playing out over an hour and forty-five minutes.

The wife had to run an errand, so after I wrapped my 3rd film I made myself some leftovers and then she and I watched something light and harmless to round out the evening, a couple Scooby-Doo made-for-TV movies that were as average as I remembered. I wish that stuff would ever be as entertaining or fun as it was during my youth, but I suppose that it'll never hit the levels of nostalgia that those always will.

We called it a night shortly after 10:00, tomorrow I want to tackle some review material.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Apocalypse, Horror And Shock Treatment

I slept about 4 hours last night and was awakened by the Lawn Guys and the Yorkie protesting their presence, so I got up just before 9:00 the morning and started a pot of coffee while the wife dressed to run the dog to the Groomer.

I got a review started before she made it back home, then she made a few calls while I worked on that in the Office, then she headed out to get a pedicure, with the idea being that we'd go to lunch afterward. I was happily able to plow through the review and get it basically finished before she called to let me know that she was on her way back to the house. I dressed quickly, then we met Brian at a drugstore for a bite to eat. The food was as average as it ever is in that place, though they somehow stay busy, I guess people just don't want to make sandwiches at home or something, as this place does nothing extraordinary.

We headed home and since I had gotten the review I wanted to write pretty well dummied up I decided to force myself to check out one of the movies from the To-Watch Pile that I knew I was avoiding just due to the sheer amount of time involved in watching it.

This Is The End, My Bald Friend, The End...I'd never watched Apocalypse Now Redux, though I have seen the original cut a few times, but this 3 hr and 30 minute cut was new to me, so I popped that in and settled down for the long haul. I have to say that the 40-something minutes of new footage are fine to me, save for the bit at a random French plantation, as it felt like it just slowed things down a great deal on the backside of the film. Still a stunning film, great performances all the way around.

The wife had an awards thing to go to this evening, so she split for that and I decided to throw in something dramatically lighter than the first film, so I re-watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show while enjoying a couple of martinis. I really, really love that silly movie and I don't get the odd hatred some seem to have for it, because who doesn't like singing and fun? Of course I say that as the one person on the face of the planet who hasn't watched Glee and doesn't give a fuck if he ever does, so maybe I'm more like those folks than I realize.

I made the mistake of immediately following this flick up with the sequel Shock Treatment, which stars very few of the actors from the first film, and re-casts both Brad and Janet. While they aren't awful (well, Brad pretty much is, Janet is at least played by Jessica Harper from Suspiria), it's just never as catchy or interesting as the original film. Maybe I wouldn't judge so harshly had I not watched them back to back, but I don't see me coming back to this one anytime soon.

My sweet wife got home with some dinner toward the end of the film, so we ate while wrapping that up, then we each headed to bed and Office respectively afterward.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

My, What A Large Member You Have

The wife had things to do this morning, meetings and the like, so I got up and got started on a review for the old BSL, something which I've been sadly negligent in maintaining in recent months. That ate up the latter half of the morning, then I took some time to chill out and make myself some lunch before I had to be at the Hairdressers to get shorn for the month.

Casual Rape?I killed some time by starting a film on the TiVo that I wanted to try and check out before listening to ShowShow's review of it. Hanzo The Razor: The Snare is actually the 2nd film in the trilogy, but having heard a review of the first one on a GGTMC episode several months ago, I wasn't lost, and it's not as though there's any real continuity to carry over, so it's a pretty stand alone film. The flick is based around the conceit that Hanzo, an officer of the law in feudal Japan will go to any lengths to catch his man, or woman, and he is willing to use is enormous cock to torture the women into submission. Yeah, that's what will make this a deal-breaker for most people, the fact that the lead basically rapes any female suspect into submission, and that they immediately fall for him afterward. Now I don't blame you, but if you can get past such a bizarro plot device, there's a lot to like here, including a weapon-filled home, Hanzo's amusingly over the top methods of dealing with his superiors (shouting the down) and some really nice sword fights, especially the last scene of the film.

I paused the flick as the wife got home, we caught up on our respective days, then she started fielding a few calls while I headed out to get my hair did. I visited a bit with the Hairdressers, then hit the liquor store on the way home, as I was out of both my favorite beverages.

Back at the crib, I greeted the wife, washed whatever the Hairdressers always put into the hair out, then styled with my own product so that it'd be looking normal when we had to hit up a certain party this evening. The wife was channel surfing in the bedroom, on and off the phone, so I retired to the den and finished my light-hearted Japanese rape movie, which was pretty damned fun if you can get past all the um, rape. Oh, those wacky Japanese!

I made myself a martini around 5:00, as we'd decided to head out a little after the party had started, so I sipped that and flipped through the newspaper while the wife dressed. She rolled out of the bedroom slightly dressier than I'd expected, so I considered changing and decided to make myself another drink, because I didn't have the strength to put together any sort of outfit that late in the game.

We hit the party, stayed later than we'd planned, then stopped off at a restaurant on the way back to grab some dinner. The little Japanese steakhouse thankfully had an empty table on the far side of the restaurant so we didn't get stuck at one of those community tables with all the goofy antics they make you sit through before they'll feed you. We were seated for about 30 seconds before the child at the table behind the wife let loose with a blood-curdling shriek that made her eyes widen in shock. We discussed the fact that parents no longer give a shit about their kids' ridiculous behavior anymore, instead choosing to ignore it and ruin the nights of those around them, then she suddenly asked me if I was drunk.

"Maybe a little, I never really ate all that much today, why do you ask?"

"You're taking all of this noise more in stride than you normally would" she replied, which made me laugh, then I offered to leave if she wanted. She demurred, as she'd noted that the table looked to be on the backside of a meal when we were seated, so she was banking that they were about to leave. They did, only to have their cacophony replaced by rising noise from a table of two lesbian couples (judgment call, but I stand behind my assessment) who brayed with laughter at one another until I was forced to blurt "It's fun to be loud!" in a moment of societal tourette's that got a smile out of the wife.

Thankfully, they soon finished their meal as well and split, so the rest of our actual meal was somewhat peaceful, then we headed to the house and relaxed with the normal Thursday night NBC block of comedies, since they are all winding down for the season, actually calling it a night a good hour and change later than we normally would.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Managing The Pile For An Odd Double Bill

The wife had a few errands to run early this afternoon, so she and I stepped out to do that, dropping off a gift along the way, dropping her keys at the dealership so that they can begin the process of declaring her poor car dead, and then dropping all the electronics stuff at the headquarters of the organization whose meeting we attended last night. We paused in there somewhere to have lunch at Chili's, suffering through the slowest service we've had in recent memory, including a completely forgotten appetizer that we at least weren't charged for, so no harm, no foul I suppose.

We picked up a coffee and then hit the Mother In Law's house to borrow the Jeep, as Enterprise Rent A Car has been completely useless in getting a car for the wife since Friday. Their entire fleet was damaged in the hail and are presumably deemed 'unrentable', so while they wait for new cars to be driven in from out of town the wife is afoot or borrowing my car, which sounds fine until the car is gone and I immediately think of this or that dumbass errand I'd like to run but don't have a vehicle to do so.

Heading home afterward, I spent a bit of time picking up the house while the wife returned a few phone calls and started lining out details for this or that. I updated the computer database with the newly arrived films, with the intention of entering them in to the iPhone program later in the afternoon while I watched a movie.

Why Is There A Wolfman? Really.I decided to re-watch something that'd been purchased new, but arrived with a floating disc a few months back. I'd seen Escape 2000 several years ago, and it made enough of an impression on me that I decided to use it to pad out a Barnes & Noble order to qualify for free shipping. Set in a near future, the film is basically about Steve Railsback and Olivia Hussey trying to escape a fascist government camp where prisoners are used as sport for the rich. When they're released into the jungle, they're pursued by armed men and women intent on killing them, and the ensuing deaths are gloriously over the top. This film is directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and is usually mentioned in connection with the 'Ozploitation' genre, as it packs on the blood and violence, peppered slightly with a few boobs just for good measure. Oh, and there's a carny freak/wolf-man type of guy in there as well, for no real reason except that I assume the filmmakers had a few extra bucks for the fake hair, fangs and contacts. There's definitely an 'everything & the kitchen sink' feel to this one, but it's fun and moves along at a decent pace, so if you don't mind some over the top 80's action, this may be right up your alley.

Most Of Those Days Seemed Frustrating To Me...The wife caught the end of this one, which she seemed surprisingly amused by, then we popped in the Blu-ray of 500 Days Of Summer, a film which I was hoping wouldn't end up pissing me off with just how cute and zany and indie quirky it could be. I ended up liking it fairly well, though I think the wife dug it more than I did. The behavior of Zooey Daschanel's character was charming yet aloof and irritating at differing turns, and while it is ultimately in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's best interests, I was rather put off by the events. I dunno if this film will grow on me when it turns up on cable and I end up re-watching bits of it, but this initial impression was one of amusement and slight irritation by the time credits rolled. I suppose it's because her actions are based completely around her inner feelings, none of which we're necessarily privy to, leaving me feeling like JGL's character, and just slightly annoyed with her more than anything for a good deal of the running time.

We wrapped our evening up with last night's episode of Justified, then called it a night.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If Something's Hard To Do, Then It's Not Worth Doing

The wife spent most of her day fighting with a video presentation that she had planned for her meeting this evening, which she asked me to help her out with, catching me a little flat-footed as I first woke up. The issue was that she knows I burn stuff to disc all the time, so why couldn't I help her nail down this little musical presentation with a selection of photos? I tried to explain to her that I only burn music, but have no clue about burning DVD's, and it turned out to be a moot point as she was in the process of saving her project anyway and I couldn't help her at the moment anyway.

She spent some time working on that and looking into alternate methods of hosting things online for later use, so I dressed and ran by the post office to mail a package to a friend, then picked up lunch on the way back. We ate and watched some television, then I took a look at her situation on the computer, which I could get no further with than she had, as I'd expected. The computer just seemed unable or unwilling to burn the damned disc, so by this point she'd uploaded the entire thing to the web, with the intention of streaming it at her meeting rather than playing a disc. She seemed content with this, so I retired to the den to watch something from the To-Watch Pile while she grabbed a shower and tried to relax after all her computer issues.

EngelWings Of Desire was a film that I haven't watched in at least 5 years (possibly even 10); I think that initial viewing was on a VHS cassette over at a friend's house, to give an idea of how long ago it could've been. Wim Wenders gorgeously shot black and white tale spends most of its running time simply following a pair of angels around late 80's era Berlin, listening in on their thoughts, observing their comings and goings, perhaps slightly influencing them with their invisible presence, but for the most part they do nothing beyond watching the lives of the humans around them. This changes as one of them (Bruno Ganz) becomes interested in a lonely trapeze artist, and his budding feelings for her begin to be reflected in the small flashes of color that start to appear in the film, it's a very interesting technique and I really fell in love with this film all over again on this viewing. The film looks amazing, and the small role Peter Falk has as himself is just awesome, I'd even forgotten that he was in the film at all. I'd highly recommend this one, either for a re-watch like myself, or if you've never seen it, you should fix that immediately.

We dressed for the meeting this evening, which I was kinda feeling a little like it had been sprung on me at the last minute. The wife had presented the idea to me as "do you want to go to this meeting with me?", because it's the organization's last big meeting for the year, passing the torch to the woman who's going to be in charge next year, that sort of thing. I said no, as I figured she'd just ask if she wanted me there (as is our normal tradition, if it's important, she asks point blank rather than a 'do you wanna' kinda question), but after she mentioned a few friends who would be attending, I realized that I should probably be there, so I was kinda scrambling to see if I had a suit pressed, that kinda thing. We headed downtown to the venue, where we unloaded all the video equipment to drag upstairs to set up for her little presentation that was meant to run in the background while the meeting happened.

This is where it all got a lot more complicated, as she was unable to get the laptop to find the hotel's shitty weak wi-fi signal, so we had someone bring a router into the room, which boosted it dramatically, but still no dice. We tinkered around with the connection settings a bit with no luck and were on the verge of just pulling a 20 foot cord from the wall to the damned laptop when the wife was able to get a 2nd laptop (a 'work' one from the organization itself) to connect, which was great, so she plugged it into a projector, only to get the prompt that her Flash player wasn't current enough to play the video. I think she said a swear at this point.

She updated that, which took not as long as it could've, but longer than you want it to, then we suddenly By God Virginia had video playing on the screen via the linked projector.

The women arrived, I hit the cash bar(!) where I thanked Christ that I happened to have $20 on me, otherwise I might've started kicking people, as I felt that it'd been a long afternoon of minor struggles and annoyances. We mingled and eventually got seated as salads started getting served.

The wife plays her little presentation, which no one could hear the audio track of as they were to busy chattering away at their tables. The wife commented that she was certainly glad that she spent the time putting it together, I assured her that I liked it, even if these bitches couldn't be bothered to pay attention.

The evening passed without any real hassle, aside from the presentation of one particular award during which the two women giving it seemed hellbent on relating the honoree's life details from conception up until last week, it was getting a little ridiculous. I mean sorry ladies, but we're not giving out a Nobel Peace Prize here...

Once things were wrapped up I helped the wife schlep everything back downstairs and loaded up the car so we could head home.

We watched the penultimate episode of Lost, then the season finale of V before calling it a day.

The message here seems to be that if something is sort of a pain from the get-go, it's not going to really matter if you fight it to a standstill and eventually get the better of it, as our day of computer frustrations all seemed to be for naught in the grand scheme of things.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Bargain, Rinse, Repeat

The wife had what feels like has become her standard bullshit lunch meetings today, so she was up and gone when I got up and started my day. I made plans to see EL for lunch, but since the wife had my car I told him I'd nail down when she'd be home before I committed entirely to the idea, then headed to the shower to get ready for the day.

Once out of the shower I realized that the wife still hadn't returned my call, so I made plans to have EL pick me up instead, then called the wife back to tell her to disregard my original message. I killed rime taking some measurements for a couple recycled poster images that I'd decided to cobble together from an old calendar, just to see what size frames I'd need to put them into the Media Closet, then EL arrived and we headed out to eat.

Yay Cheap Stuff!We had Thai, as he wanted to do something closer to the house, caught up a bit and then he dropped me back home, where I visited with the wife about her plans for the afternoon. She was tied up prepping some things on the computer, so I loaded up the recycling and headed out to run a few errands. I dropped that stuff off, then popped into the local books, music and video outlet to look for the new Rue Morgue (again), which they thankfully had, then took a stroll through the DVD section to see what might jump out at me. I actually found several things, allowing me to take advantage of their 'buy one used, get a 2nd for $1' offer, so that saved me a few bucks. I made two more stops to grab a couple frames as well as the box I need to ship something in, as everything I had in the house was just a hair too small to accommodate the items in question, because why would anything ever be easy?

I headed home, where the poor wife was still dicking around with her project, so I ended up in the den, chilling out with some TiVo re-runs and looking over my used merchandise to make certain I hadn't been sold anything that was all scratched up, thankfully everything checked out, hell, there was even an ex-rental title in there that looked brand new, I assume they had zero rentals of it and simply burned it out cheap.

The wife split for her evening thing as I was getting a call from Corinthian, who I ended up being on the phone with for most of the time that the wife was gone, so that ate up most of my evening, catching up with him and hearing about how he's adjusted to living in Boston.

The wife got home, we visited a bit and watched a few Family Guy re-runs before calling it a night around 10:00.

Tomorrow we hopefully pick up the wife's rental car.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cinematic Sunday One Hundred Thirty Eight

As I mentioned last week, I thought I might make use of some of the odd stuff that I get sent to me by various marketing firms, who for no good reason seem to think I have a readership. How they got this impression I have no idea, as I repeatedly reiterate that I can only imagine about 20 people ever reading this stuff. But y'know, keep it coming, as I love mail in all forms, both snail and even 'e'.

Let Me In StillSo with that in mind, here's a little promo image that's been making the rounds from the upcoming American re-make of Let The Right One In, from director Matt Reeves, who previously directed Cloverfield. The re-make, entitled Let Me In will star little Hit-Girl herself, Chloe Moretz as the vampire girl who moves into an apartment building and befriends the lonely young bullied boy (played by The Road's Kodi Smit-McPhee) who lives down the hall. Like most others, I don't know that I really feel that this film needs a re-make, but I'm willing to give it a peep.

My Childhood!Okay first up tonight is a trailer that's been around for a few weeks at this point, but I realized that I had never mentioned that one of my favorite comics from childhood is being released as a film, the trailer for which most of the interweb has already turned on because hey, it's fun to shitcan an entire film based on a 2 minute clip, right? The comic in question is Jonah Hex, a book that I absolutely loved as a kid. The film version is directed by Jimmy Hayward and stars Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex, Megan Fox stretching her acting wings as a hooker and John Malkovich as the villain responsible for the deaths of Hex's family. The film obviously plays fast and loose with any character history and looks to be a helluva lot more action oriented than the comics were, as they evoked a ton of spaghetti western mood in their original incarnation and a grimy supernatural vibe which Joe R. Lansdale infused the character with back in the 90's. This on the other hand looks to be a lot more over-the-top and action-y, but I'm willing to give it a go, just to see what it's all about. I think that it's nice to see something I enjoyed as a child in a live action form, regardless of the deviations from the source material.

Next we have a documentary by Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio called Cropsey, which is about the late 80's child murders centered around Willowbrook, a large mental facility in Staten Island, New York. The locals had always passed around the story of Cropsey, an escaped mental patient said to live in the tunnels beneath the abandoned asylum, but when children began to disappear the legend soon took on a disturbing reality. The arrest of a former employee who was squatting on the hospital grounds put a face on the killer, but in the minds of the local children, it effectively made the bogeyman 'real'. The two directors apparently grew up in the area, though they never knew one another, and have made this film to examine the facts behind the legends they heard as children. This looks interesting, though definitely more to my wife's 'true-crime' tastes than to my horror concerns.

Achtung!Finally this evening we have something I have only recently become aware of, a film called Iron Sky from Finnish director Timo Vuorensola. The film postulates that the Nazi party created a secret base on the moon in 1945 and are planning a big comeback in 2018. I have to say that the descriptions I've seen of this being a 'sci-fi comedy' don't exactly jive with the rather striking imagery on display in the teaser you'll see below, but I'm definitely intrigued by this one. I mean, c'mon, it's got a space station that's shaped like a swastika, how can that not be at least a little interesting to you? It's evidently still filming as I type this, so who knows when we'll finally see it, but I'll certainly be keeping my ear to the ground. I believe that the (Cool) Shite folks actually have an interview in the pipeline with the folks making this, so keep your eyes peeled for that as well.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Errands, Nerditry & Glorious French Comedy

I was up late last night piddling with this stuff, so I ended up with about 5 hours of sleep before the alarm went off. The wife and I were supposed to run over to Odessa to pick up some tickets from a couple vendors, along with the cash for any sold ones, so we headed out to do that shortly before 10:00, just to hit both of these places as they opened. We hit the first place, which took a lot less time than we'd anticipated, so we had a half hour to kill before the other store opened, leaving us free to waste some time in the local books, music and video outlet.

I asked the flunky stocking magazines if he had the latest Rue Morgue Magazine, as I couldn't find it on the shelf, and he looked over his cart, then offered to check in back to see if it was on their 'schedule' or something. He eventually tells me that if they had it, it'd be stocked in the hunting section, which made my heart sink, as he obviously had no fucking clue what I was looking for, because what kind of name is Rue Morgue Magazine for a hunting magazine, really?

It's Ultimately Clobberin' Time!I gave up on that idea and wandered the bargain books section, where I was pleasantly surprised to find the 1st four volumes of the Ultimate Fantastic Four hardcovers for $15 apiece, and one of them was actually marked down to $2, so the deal was better than I first thought. I'd read a handful of issues when I got them as a gift from a friend, so I figured it'd be fun to give the series a go in the proper chronological order.

We hit the other store afterward, got the tickets and money, stopped for some fast food lunch, then headed back home to drop the stuff off downtown and head to the house for the afternoon. We took a moment to go and survey the damage that had been done at her non-profit's headquarters, which was bad, but not as bad as it could've been, so that's something I suppose.

We chilled at the house for the afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the grey day and relaxed in the Library with the 1st volume of the Fantastic Four stuff, pausing to nap here and there for short periods of time, as my lack of sleep was catching up with me. I eventually stepped out back to rake off some of the sloppy detritus that'd piled up from the standing water, as it was covering most of the sidewalk that we take to and from the garage, basically assuring that we'd be tracking all kinds of shit into the house for the next week until the Lawn Guys come to blow it all away.

We met our friend JH for dinner, caught up with her a bit, then headed back to the house, taking a roundabout route that took us past the concert downtown, just to see if there were people turning out in spite of the kinda cold misty weather. We heard the bands gearing up and saw a decent amount of people making their way towards the venue, so hopefully the weather hasn't totally killed the event.

So Much Fun!Once we were back at the house I rebooted the TiVo (which was ailing a little after numerous power flips yesterday) so that we could get the Netfux connection to work, then we watched our second Jacques Tati film, as I thought it'd be something the wife could really get into. I really think that Tati was a genius, as this was every bit as funny as Playtime, which we'd watched a few months back, loaded with sight gags, bizarre misunderstandings and just a silly, playful tone that works almost on a silent film level. The Hulot character (played by Tati himself with amazingly odd body language and mannerisms) stumbles and bumbles his way through a resort, spreading unintentional chaos in his wake, the film is so much fun, I'd highly recommend checking it out. I am sitting here in the same state I was in after the first Tati film, fighting the urge to just buy all the Criterion editions of his movies, but I want to try and force myself to hold out for Blu-ray versions if at all possible.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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