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Monday, October 31, 2005

General Observations of a Crow…

…Why don’t I watch much football? Generally speaking, I’m a sports fan, and will watch most sports if there’s a good competition (except for basketball, golf, tennis, or anything synchronized – boring!) I watch car races for the wrecks, and if I’m really bored or waiting for something else to come on, I’ll even watch a few minutes of figure skating hoping to see a complete wipeout (I even managed to snag a vid clip from a highlight reel of a spectacular spill – can’t believe she didn’t crack her head open). But then there’s football. Sure, I watch some here and there, and it does have it’s entertainment value. I’ve even been to a couple of CFL games (only ‘professional’ sport with affordable tickets). But try as I might to be a real fan of the NFL, I just can’t seem to hold more than a passing interest. It could have something to do with the interest-reducing stops and starts. Or the always exciting 2 yard run into a sea of 300 pound crushers. But I think what really turns me off is the absolutely lame, stupid, and asinine end zone celebrations. If I want to watch someone get paid millions to act stupid, I’ll rent a Jim Carrey movie and get some actual laughs. Watching these ‘pros’ keep trying to come up with new variations of the dancing chicken after a 1st quarter six foot pass for an early touchdown is annoying. I could see it if it was close to the end of a tight game and you just scored a touchdown – by all means, celebrate, man. But you don’t see a baseball player dancing a jig and falling over after getting a first inning single. Come on guys, this isn’t an 8 year old’s school yard game – it’s the pros, be professional. Now get back out there and smash the crap out of those other guys in helmets…

… listening parties sure are nice. A real handy way to listen to the whole album and see if you like it. Listened to Big & Rich’s “Comin’ to Your City” and there are actually some good tunes on it. Better though, is Patty Loveless new one “Dreamin’ My Dreams.” The first single and track “Keep Your Distance” is a really good country tune. Plus, she recorded one of my favorite Steve Earle tunes “My Old Friend the Blues.” I didn’t think anyone could do this song justice besides Steve, but she comes close. Earle’s take on it is better, but it’s interesting to hear someone else sing it.

…Watching Smokey and the Bandit here…wonder how much longer before Hollywood remakes that one…and the two sequels nobody asked for. Who would be the Bandit, though, that’s the question. If the Dukes movie casting is any indication, I guess we’ll be looking at pop singers and out of work American Pie actors…

…I think I’ll use this new heading for these ‘here and there’ blog entries (blogtries? Blentry? Blotries? Bloggies?) Bonus points if anyone knows where the title “Observations of a Crow” comes from. (clue: if you know, then you already know about one of the best albums ever).

…Better say goodnight to the moon here and get some sleep before “God hits them brights”…

Friday, October 28, 2005


"Halloween? Hmph! Ain't Nobody gets free candy on MY watch!"

kidding people...just testing some picture posting stuff...

Typical CBC

CBC Television - Rick Mercer Report

So, CBC wound up with a rather entertaining and successful show last season before the strike/lockout/utter lack of management (or whatever you want to call it) with the show Rick Mercer's Monday Report. (Kind of like a Canadian "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" but once a week and less bleeps). It aired once a week on Monday nights. Simple enough, right? Well, I was watching the Comedy Network show "Popcultured" where I heard about the rescheduling. CBC programming gurus apparently decided that the show called "Monday Report" would now be shown on Tuesday nights. I wonder how many meetings they had to have to come up with that brilliant idea...

So now the show will be called plain old Rick Mercer's Report. Now they can shuffle the dateless show anywhere they want on the schedule, I guess. Leave it to CBC to screw around with something that works. This is the network that tried to get rid of Ron MacLean and Don Cherry on HNIC, and we all know how that turned out...

Brain Chips? Van Damme!!

Super-soldiers may get brain-chip - The Other Side - Breaking News 24/7 -

I don't know how true this story is, but it seems to be rather insane to be working towards Super soldiers with brain chips. If this truly is the case, somebody quick run down to the closest Blockbuster video and rent Universal Soldier and all its 85 sequels with actors you've never heard of and show these lab techs just what goes wrong every single time they try something like this. Not to mention the fact that by the time they get this tested and working, Jean Claude Van Damme may not be able to take them all down again. Either that, or just get rid of all the ice...

Amazon Sausage? Octoberfest Bratwurst Sampler 1: Gourmet Food

This is something I haven't seen is a good source for books, DVD's, music, etc; but would you buy your meat products from Imagine this conversation - "Honey, what's for dinner?" "I don't know - check the mail." Apparently they sell just about anything off that website...

It also says the following: "Requires expedited shipping to ensure freshness." Well, I certainly hope so. How long can bratwurst stay in the back of a UPS truck before getting funky?

NHL - Atlanta Thrashers/Pittsburgh Penguins Recap Thursday October 27, 2005 - Yahoo! Sports

NHL - Atlanta Thrashers/Pittsburgh Penguins Recap - Yahoo! Sports

Well, Pittsburgh finally wins a game, their first of the season. They came back from being down 4 goals to beat Atlanta 7-5. (7-5?! what is this, baseball?) Mario Lemieux showed he still has some game left in him with a five point night. (2 goals, 3 assists.) Now all he has to do is keep scoring like that every game for the rest of the season and maybe, just maybe, the Penguins will have a chance at the playoffs.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

King Kong - Even Bigger

Coming Soon! - King Kong Report

Apparently, the new King Kong film remake by Peter Jackson is now bigger and more bloated than first thought. It will run 3 hours and the budget is now increased to 207 million. Talk about betting the farm on a movie. Just imagine if this thing flops. It probably won't, but they're going to need some big weekend box office numbers to make back that kind of expense. Is there really that big a crowd to see a movie about an overgrown ape? Especially one that's been done before? It's not something I'll be rushing out to see, but you can judge for yourself December 14.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

PluggedIn: DVD format war brews even as videos go off-disk - Yahoo! News

PluggedIn: DVD format war brews even as videos go off-disk - Yahoo! News

Great. As if the upcoming DVD format war wasn't stupid enough, now it may be the beginning of the end for DVD altogether. Some are speculating consumers would rather have video on demand and streaming downloads than DVD hardware and discs. Come on, people. It's way better to own the product yourself. I don't want to have to depend on the whims of somebody else's hard drive files when I want to watch something. The video on demand guys already change their libraries every month. If I want to sit down and watch an episode or two of The Rockford Files, I want to be able to that when I want and as many times as I want for one price, not on the off chance it's available in someone else's online library. Plus, either way, we're going to have to pay for it, so I'd rather own it outright with an actual media form of a shiny disc I can hold in my hands ;-)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tales of the Stranger, Ep 3

Well, after a long delay, here’s episode 3 in the Tales of the Stranger series. Since probably most have forgotten, the last ep was back in April and the first was in January. Now that I’ve got the full story in my head, maybe I can crank a few more of these out without half a year going by. This one’s a little shorter than the other two, but it’s more of a bridge towards the rest of the story. Anyway, enjoy, if you can…

Hundred Proof Memories, by Eaglewing

The night was cold as winter was making a last ditch effort to hang on before ultimately giving in to spring. There were still spots of snow on the ground in that one stoplight town as the tractor trailer rolled to a stop outside the local Gas 'n Go. The driver and passenger climbed down and took a look around. The passenger shook hands with the driver, thanking him for the ride, before heading towards the only other place open, which was the local watering hole.

He hadn't planned on it, but he was feeling low tonight, and needed some relief. Things were getting heavier the closer he got to going back and even though he knew what he had to do - and was making progress towards it - it didn't make the doing any easier.

So in he walked to Joe's Saloon looking at no one and everything. He parked himself on the stool at the end of the bar, ordered something with permanent memory erasing in a glass, drank it, and ordered another.

No one there had seen him before, but they all were familiar with the method, if not the man.

He ordered another with a nod and a jerk of his hand, then all he said was "Leave the bottle." The barkeep did.

No one bothered to even look at him again. They figured to leave him to his own brand of painkiller. After all, they had their own pain and personal medications to deal with.

But there was one who looked straight at him. There always was.

She was looking good and looking at him. A blonde beauty, dressed to kill and putting it on display. She wore her shirt wasting buttons and showing more than enough to clear most men's minds. It was a hell of a package, and she was pointing it straight at him, waiting for the affect to take effect.

He finally looked in her direction, but he was looking through her instead of at her, and she started to get impatient. So she moved a little closer.

She got his attention when she slid slowly and softly onto the empty barstool next to his. Her voice was honey-coated sweetness as she drawled "Buy me a drink, stranger?"

He nodded, motioned the barkeep for another glass, and poured her one; all without a word. She smiled at him before knocking it back, then had to cough at the unexpected kick. He was drinking one hundred proof, that was for sure.

"What are we forgetting tonight, sugar?"

"I don't remember." His reply was short, ground out with a voice like tires on a gravel road.

"Oh, well then, what are we drinking to?"

"Tryin' to forget." He raised his glass in a mock toast, and fired back another round.

"Well, sugar, there are better ways to forget what you don't want to remember. I'm really good at helping people do just that. I can ease all your pain, baby." She slid a warm hand along his arm as she finished. It was a sales pitch not one man had turned down yet.

But there's a first time for everything, and even the barkeep had stopped what he was doing to see if this man had what it took to turn down the best there ever was. The barkeep shook his head at the sight - a man with that many shots in him should be putty in her hands.

The stranger didn’t do much of anything for a few moments. Just his eyes narrowed as he stared into the shot glass of dark liquid in front of him as if seeing something or someone not there before. Then he finally lifted his head up and fixed the beauty with steady eyes.

"You're a hard easy to say no to. I'll give you that. But I'm not here to make any new memories, I'm here to get rid of some old ones. If this night goes well, I may not remember what I'm tryin' to forget, but I'll remember the forgettin' and your practiced lines and touch won't be anywhere in the memory. Nice try, darlin', but try it on someone a little less sober and a lot more forgetful."

Surprised, then quickly angered, she replied curtly, "Your loss, sugar. I'm the best you never had."

She slid off that barstool, drew herself up to her full height, walked across the room and out the door making sure every eye in the joint was on her and spelling it out with every click of her high heels what the hard drinkin' man at the bar had just turned down.

The barkeep couldn't stand it. He walked to the end of the bar. He just had to ask.

"Are you nuts, man? She don't offer that to just anyone. How the hell did you turn that down? And why?!"

"Really none of your business," mumbled the man before pouring another shot and downing it. "But since you asked, she's not the best I never had. I've already had the best and better than what was here tonight. A cold gray morning and something else took it away and I've spent a lot of time trying to forget it."

His hand moved to the bottle again, and he surprised himself by continuing. "Truth be told, I haven't once yet. I've even emptied a few of these bottles in the effort and that doesn't work either. There ain't nothin' that'll do it. Pain like that makes it damn easy to say no to a self-proclaimed painkiller interested in other things than me. So, I'd rather remember the forgettin' than another new memory I'll have to try to erase. I guess it's all in how you look at it. I may be carrying a heavy load, but I'm used to the weight. Why add more?"

He started to lift the bottle to pour another shot, then stopped. He stared at the bottle for a long moment, then set it down.

"Why add more?" he said quietly, then paid what he owed, and got up.

The barkeep just shook his head again as he watched the man get up and walk calmly out the door. He went back to cleaning glasses and wondered what kind of pain could blind a man to pleasure like the blonde beauty was offering tonight. He was sure he didn't know what, and was damn sure that if such a thing did exist, he hoped he would never know it. There were just some things that should not even be.

He needed to clear his head, so he poured himself a shot from the same bottle the stranger had been working on. He poured it down his throat and gasped for air as the burn hit. A couple of the other patrons glanced at him as he worked his way through his coughing fit. Definitely strong stuff, he thought. Another shot might put him on the floor. Then, as he set his glass down, it hit him. Incredulously, he looked at the door where the stranger had evenly walked out of and then back at the bottle.

There were just some things that should not even be.

The End.

Days Go By...

Well, Keith Urban is actually coming to Copps in that's a concert I'd like to go to. Still, I can't see spending fifty plus dollars on the ticket (plus tax and other fees). He's got a new DVD out too of a live concert selling for close to twenty bucks, so maybe finding that used would be the better option...

Kind of funny though - as much as I love music and how important it is to the soundtrack of my life, I have never been to a live concert. Maybe someday I'll actually get to one...but then, it'd probably be too loud for my ears and I hate crowds, so maybe I'll just stick to DVD's and MP3's. Speaking of hating crowds, remember the free concert in Central Park by Garth Brooks? I remember seeing the shots from the sky of the crowds below. Talk about a sea of humanity. I would have hated to be in the middle of that...

Rambo in the Boonies?

"Rambo" Back On Duty - E! Online News

Well, did a little digging on the upcoming Rambo flick and here's an excerpt from the article:

Stallone, 58, will write the screenplay. "I've signed the deal and I have the old headband, machine gun and bow and arrow ready to go. I am looking forward to showing movie fans the real action hero again," Stallone said in a statement.

The sequel opens with our brooding Vietnam vet finally settling down with a wife and child, while still working for the military...Though he's "assimilated into the tapestry of America," workplace stress forces Rambo to leave the big city and move his family to the boonies. Their lives are upended however by white supremacists unhappy about a part-Navajo man moving into the area. When the racists take Rambo's 10-year-old daughter hostage, dad is forced back into action to rescue her.

According to Stallone, the new film will be similar in tone to the "character-driven" franchise-launching First Blood (1982), in which Rambo uses his battle-honed skills to get even with a small-town sheriff, as opposed to the more cartoonish action-packed sequels. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) was the blockbuster film of the series, featuring Rambo returned to Vietnam to rescue fellow POWs; 1988's Rambo III found our hero battling the Soviet army with the help of Afghan guerrillas.

Hmmm, sounds more like an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger than a big screen Rambo movie. At least the bow and arrow is back...

"Rocky" Returns! - Yahoo! News

"Rocky" Returns! - Yahoo! News

The '80's called, they want they're self-respect back. Not that they ever had any. With Harrison Ford coming back with another Indy installment, I guess this was only a matter of time. A Rocky 6 and a Rambo 4 on their way to a theatre near you. Should be interesting - if Stallone, who is writing the screenplays for both, can come up with an interesting story, then great. But if they're only doing this for money and because Hollywood can't come up with anything original, great. (and when they do get something original, they don't properly promote it, like Serenity ;-)

I wonder if Rambo will be using old-fashioned stunt work or CGI. Let's see Rambo do bullet time Matrix moves. Yikes.

So what's next in movie sequels and remakes? Who knows - maybe we'll even get a "Tango & Cash 2 - We're Cookin' Now!"

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Movie Night

Well, wound up seeing Wallace & Gromit the other day with a good friend. Not one I'd normally pick, but it was her choice, and besides, it was for her birthday, so what could I say? Actually, it was rather enjoyable as it turned out to be rather funny - lots of British humor - and I don't think they missed one bad pun they could squeeze in. When you consider how they made it (stop motion claymation. move a piece of clay, shoot a picture, move it again, shoot a picture, and so on) it is truly amazing at what was in the movie. Seamless chase and action scenes. No wonder it took five years to make.

Later that night, I wound up seeing Serenity again by myself. Was shocked to see the theatre full for a movie in its 3rd week and that really is a niche market movie. Pleasantly shocked at that. Could all those people have read my blog and heeded my advice? It really is a cool movie and if enough people support it, maybe, just maybe, we'll get a sequel. If Speed 2 and Catwoman can get made, can we not find room for making more quality flicks like Serenity? Come on people, we can do it. Send a message to Hollywood. We don't want bigger budget brainless movies, we want quality writing and acting in what we watch. Stop already with the lame '70's remakes that are nowhere as good as the first time around and invest in some quality original concepts. We gotta get the truth out there. Fox can try, but you can't stop the signal... ;-)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tough All Over

Picked up Gary Allan’s new CD “Tough All Over” the day it came out. Had to go to two stores to find it, as Future Shop didn’t have it in stock. They had about 30 copies of Shania Twain’s latest album though, if that counts for anything...

Gary Allan is one of my favorite singers, and this new album is up there close to his best “Smoke Rings in the Dark.” It’s a dark album, which is no surprise considering what he’s gone through in the last year with his wife committing suicide. From what little I’ve read on it, she had some health issues among other things that led to it. Gary has been pretty private about it until now, expressing it through his music. As I read him saying in one interview, the album was “very expensive therapy.” The album’s tunes however stand on their own as a straight up, gritty country, musical punch to the heart.

Take a listen through my favorite track on the album, “I Just Got Back From Hell”. Knowing the back story, it's obvious what it was written about, but there's a lot in there that can apply to a lot of people. If that song doesn’t make you pause then you must be one of the truly blessed that hasn’t had to face some brutal times.

It’s a highly recommended album for those who are looking for something real outside of the watered down pop on the radio.

I just got back from Hell
And I’m standing here alive
I know it’s really hard to tell
Don’t know how I survived
But I can’t say that I’m doin’ great
But I think I’m doin’ well
That Devil’s gonna have to wait
‘Cause I just got back from Hell

Well, I just got back from Hell
And I guess to tell the truth
Well, I’ve been mad at everyone, including God and you
When you can’t find no one to blame you just blame yourself
And I know I’ll never be the same
I just got back from Hell

Forgive me if I had any part
If I ever broke your heart in two
Forgive me for what I didn’t know
For what I didn’t say or do
And, God, forgive me as well
‘Cause I just got back from Hell

Well, I just got back from Hell
And I need to make some plans
It’s the last thing that I wanna do
But I’ll do the best I can
I’m gonna learn to live again
But I think I’ll sit a spell
Tell the world that I’m alive
And I just got back from Hell

I can’t say that I’m doin’ great
But I think I'm getting’ well
Gonna let the world know I’m alive
And I just got back from Hell…
(I Just Got Back From Hell, by Gary Allan
CD: Tough All Over
Written by: Gary Allan and Harley Allen)

Back Again With a Little Here and There...

Well, back again. Had some time off and got some rest, then plowed through another week. Still liking the new job, so that’s good, and really liking this extra time to myself I’m finally getting…

Formatted and rebuilt my hard drive as well. It was past due, as Windows was doing its usual bi-annual wonky “what the heck was that” breakdown. I gotta learn a new operating system. I figure Windows is only going to get worse, especially with Microsoft seemingly bent on making it continually more restrictive and troublesome for the user. I guess they want us to buy Windows, install it, then beg them to let us use our own software. It’d be one thing if the software was any good, but it’s pretty much crap and you have to go through all this anyway. I’ll have to learn something new and switch to just plain nuts instead of Microsoft’s version of mixed nuts…

Got to pause here and watch Letterman’s “Will it Float” segment…a case of Dubble Bubble gum taped shut…and it Floats!! Ah, fun…

Elsewhere, Keith Urban’s new single, Better Life, is a definite toe tapper. If that doesn’t get you moving a little bit or feeling a little better, you might want to check your pulse. He’s got a unique way of writing upbeat tunes that don’t come across as just fluff…

Picked up some groceries and noticed a picture in the tabloids in my walk through the checkout of Teri Hatcher, the current media darling and one of the stars of the TV show Desperate Housewives. I have no idea what the show is about or why it’s a hit as a I don’t watch it, but it was the picture that caught my eye. Maybe it was just the picture or maybe its real, but my word, she was skinny. It’s probably a good thing that being on TV adds 10 pounds, or nobody would be able to see her. Now I know why that show is one of the few broadcast in High Definition. They have to have that clarity just to see the stars of the show when they turn sideways…

Speaking of groceries, spreadable honey is really good. Almost like a candy treat for someone like me who can’t have much of the candy aisle. Good for you too…

And lastly – go see the movie Serenity! Original concept, top notch excellent writing, good action, funny lines, and a story and more importantly characters you actually care about. Can’t believe Fox was so stupid as to cancel the TV show Firefly, but at least they got a movie to the theatres to properly wrap it up. Stupid, Stupid Fox, but one excellent movie from Universal. Go see it, and tell all your friends…

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Poor Kid...

So, Nic Cage and wife have a new son. Ok, congratulations. Proud day to be sure. Oh, what’s the new kid’s name you ask? Are you sure you want to know? Ok, Cage named his son Kal-El Coppola Cage.


No, that’s not a typo. He really named his kid that. Coppola as a middle name would be bad enough, but understandable.

But Kal-El?! Did you realize what you just did to the poor kid?

For those who may not know, Kal-El is Superman’s real name on his home planet of Krypton. So, basically Cage named his son after Superman – a comic book character. And not just any comic book character. Superman – probably the most famous one of them all. Now, anyone who has read my blog knows I’m into comics as a hobby and have nothing against them. I think the normal derision reserved for comic fans is somewhat undeserved and that a lot of good writing is being missed by a lot of people who think comic books are some lower form of ignorable literature. But that’s another topic for another day.

The thing here is the name that kid is saddled with for life. I mean, if you want to name your kid after Superman, why wouldn’t you go with his secret identity on earth – some form of Clark Kent. At least the kid wouldn’t have to go through life either explaining his name or avoiding the laughter and you’ve still given a nod to Supes. But no, that would be the logical thing to do.

Overall, what is up with celebrities going off the deep end when naming their kids? It certainly reinforces the notion that they live in a bubble completely unaware of the real world. Gwyneth Paltrow named her kid Apple. Apple?! Reportedly because the kid’s cheeks look like apples. I guess. Try explaining that when you’re 17.

This all reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where George revealed his ‘perfect’ name for a kid, should he ever have one, and it was ‘7’. 7 as in Mickey Mantle’s jersey number. In the show, his fiancé completely derided it and made fun of it while talking to a pregnant friend who thought it was great and wound up naming their kid 7, much to the dismay of George.

Are we really running out of names? What’s next? You name a kid Apple, why not Prune? If Kal-El, why not J’onn J’onzz, Rogue, or if it’s stateside, Captain America? Why not just pick some letters, through them together, and voila – a new name!

Whatever….good luck Kal-El, you’re going to need it…

Monday, October 03, 2005

Word of the Day...

I love a good epiphany. Nothing like fighting to figure something out, then, sometimes out of nowhere, sometimes out of a sequence of seemingly unrelated events, a switch in the brain gets flipped and on comes the light. Bang. It all makes sense. Just like that. Sure, it'd be easier if it all just made sense right away without the struggle to see the light. But if it was easy, anybody could do it. Besides, sometimes the fight to achieve clarity can be more rewarding than the end result and the things you learn along the way should never be discounted.

Tonight it wasn't anything major. I've just been running ideas through the brain for the continued story of 'The Stranger', of which I've posted 2 episodes on this blog before. There was a plot point I couldn't figure out, and then, in the middle of internet surfing and reading about unrelated things, I asked myself a question and bang, it hit me. The whole point of the story. I had to quickly open Notepad and start jotting down the ideas. Now, I just have to write the remaining episodes. There's still one plot point that's a little sticky, but it'll come. It was kind of like when the idea for the first one - Magic Marker on the Mailbox - hit me. I love that feeling - inspiration out of nowhere. An epiphany.