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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Miles of Memories...

Country Roads, old theatre marquee signs;
Parkin' lots, and billboards flyin' by.
Spanish mosques, little hick town squares;
Wild roses on a river bank, girl its almost like you're there

Oh, every mile, a memory; every song, another scene,
From some old movie going back in time you and me.
Every day, a page turned down; every night, a lonesome sound,
Like a freight train rollin' through my dreams:
Every mile, a memory.

Red sun down, out across the western sky,
Takes me back to the fire in your eyes.
Texas stars in a purple night.
Not seein' 'em with you baby; oh, they never do it right, no.

Every mile, a memory; every song, another scene,
From some old movie going back in time you and me.
Every day, a page turned down; every night, a lonesome sound,
Like a freight train rollin' through my dreams:
Every mile, a memory.

Funny how no matter where I run,
Round every bend I only see,
Just how far I haven't come.

Every mile, a memory; every song, another scene,
From some old movie going back in time you and me.
Every day, a page turned down; every night, a lonesome sound,
Like a freight train rollin' through my dreams:
Every mile, a memory;
Every mile, a memory;
Every mile, a memory.

"Every Mile A Memory" by Dierks Bentley

This guy just keeps getting better. Looks like Dierks Bentley has a new hit here and new album coming out too. Love the song - so many things can bring back a memory...and I remember everything...

Hard Pressed Jeans...

Has anybody seen the new Levi’s jeans commercials? There are two versions, one from the guy’s point of view, and one from the girls. They basically walk this straight line towards each other. Not sure what it has to do with jeans, but there you go…

However, the truly bad part of it is the butchered versions, sung by other "singers", of Johnny Cash’s classic “I Walk The Line” that are played during the commercials. They take a great song like that, and not only do terrible, terrible covers of it, but then run it in a jeans commercial.

That’s just wrong.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Random Stuff...

Well, I’ve had my hours bumped up a bit at work recently, hence the lack of posting. As far as I know, it won’t last long term, so I hope to get some more stuff up here soon. Once I get the hang of the routine, I’ll be able to post a bit again…

Till then, some random thoughts…

Pluto is no longer a planet, and our solar system now has only 8 planets – not the 9 we all learned about in school. I think this is all a plot to sell more encyclopedias. Does anyone buy them anymore, really? They had to force some new sales, so they came up with messing with the solar system. Bravo. And isn’t calling Pluto a ‘dwarf planet’ splitting hairs? I guess size does matter. And besides, don’t scientists have more important things to do than discuss what makes a ‘planet’ and what makes a ‘dwarf planet’? Come on people – a Smart Car is really a ‘dwarf car’, but its still a car. Oops – wait till they get a hold of that thought…more encyclopedia rewriting…

With my extra work going on, I decided to give myself a bonus and stopped by the local comic book / hobby shop. Hadn’t been in there in a while, and they’ve realigned it a bit. Less comics, more…other stuff. Anyway, they still had comics so I took a look through them. Bought a couple old Wolverine issues, and found the Identity Crisis, softcover TPB for 15 bucks. Have been wanting to read that one since it came out and created all kinds of discussion on the ‘net. I read about half of it when I got home, and its as good as they say. How far would you go to protect or avenge the ones you love if you had the power? It’s a different kind of story for the spandex set of superheroes.

Then, I saw The Punisher: The Tyger #1 comic of the Max line. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Garth Ennis’ run on the Punisher under the MAX brand (meaning not for kids). I hummed and hawed about it, then decided why not? I could see if I liked the writing, then decide if I wanted to go after the collected TPB’s. I shouldn’t have doubted it. After all, I thought Garth Ennis’ Punisher graphic novel Born was one of the best I’ve read, and this comic is more of the same. Fantastic art that fits the mood of the story and a great read; a story that makes you think a bit. Referencing William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” ---- “Tyger, Tyger, burning bright, in the forests of the night – What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?” The line from the poem “Did He who made the lamb…make thee?” plays an important part in the story. Two characters in the story – Father David, who reads the poem to a class, and Frank Castle (as a kid) take it two completely different ways. What Frank then later witnesses as a kid is a stepping stone on a dark path that would lead to what plays out in Vietnam in the novel Born and of course the tragic last straw turning point of what happens to him and his family in the park, all turning him into The Punisher, who in Frank’s mind, is ultimately his take on the Tyger. I haven’t read the complete line of course, but from the stories I’ve read, Garth Ennis has taken what was kind of a goon of a character and turned him into a complex character study of human extremes. Excellent writing, glad I picked it up. Think I’ll have to start saving my pennies for the TPB’s…

After I got home and looked up from my reading, I realized three hours had gone by, and it was far more enjoyable and thought provoking than anything on TV…

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dances With Produce...

Saw a commercial for a new apple-mango thing. Turns out its for Gain laundry detergent. The tag line is “Have you tried the Apple Mango Tango?” Um, how about No. I’m a guy, and while I don’t want to go to work with my clothes smelling like a sweat shop, I also don't want to go to work smelling like a fruit basket...

Hasta la Vista, Baby

Was gonna post this last night while I was watching the movie, but anyway, here it is…

Watching Terminator 2 here…

That shotgun Arnie used in Terminator 2 sure was cool. The swing around pump action they made for it was genius. Watching the great T2 sure makes you wish T3 had been better. But that’s what happens when you’re more concerned about the special effects action sequences instead of having them serve the story. Same thing with X3 and Batman Forever. What is it about the 3rd movie in a series that has it all start to go south? Is it because that’s when they inevitably change directors? The way they left T3 almost makes you hope Arnie comes back from politics for one more round in the black leather so that they can end the series on a good note. Oh, and bring back James Cameron (like that’s going to happen)…….

….and just finished watching T2. Gotta love the Space channel. They show some great flicks – and here’s the important part – in widescreen and uncut. Hadn’t watched T2 in a while, but that’s got to be one of the best flicks ever made. It was made in ’91, and the special effects were ahead of its time and groundbreaking. Then throw in the action elements – the truck chase from SkyNet HQ to the steel mill is awesome – and the sci-fi, futuristic elements too. All that wouldn’t have meant much though if it didn’t have a good story, and it really did. Also, as many have said, Arnie was born to play the Terminator role. And you gotta love Linda Hamilton at the end facing off against the bad Terminator, racking that shotgun one armed and firing off round after round. Almost had him too :)

Did a little ‘net searching, and since T3 made money, it looks like T4 is a go. Claire Daines is going to be back, as will the director of T3. Nick Stahl isn’t confirmed yet, but you’d think that’d be a given. Here’s the corker – they want Arnie back of course, but since he’s the Governator now, they actually have a backup plan to make the movie without him if he can’t do it. Are you kidding me? As bad an idea as it was to make T3 without James Cameron and Linda Hamilton, this is even worse. Why would I go see T4 if there’s no Arnie? That’s going to have to be one amazing marketing job.

At least we have T2. That’s how you make a movie.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I'll Never Lose...

Just when every ray of hope was gone
I should have known that you would come along
I can't believe I ever doubted you
My old friend the blues

Another lonely night, a nameless town
If sleep don't take me first, you'll come around
'Cause I know I can always count on you
My old friend the blues

Lovers leave and friends will let you down
But you're the only sure thing that I've found
No matter what I do I'll never lose
My old friend the blues

Just let me hide my weary heart in you
My old friend the blues

"My Old Friend The Blues"
by Steve Earle

Sunday, August 13, 2006

See The Future...It's Not That Great

Here’s why I don’t get my computer advice from Future Shop. Their latest commercial has a Future Shop ‘tech’ reading a letter asking what kind of computer would be best for a student?

His answer is to go to the dude’s dorm room and respond with something like this: “I’d recommend a dual core PC so you can rip a CD, use the internet, and write an essay all at the same time.”

Right. You can do that with a Pentium 3 – I’ve done it – and you can get one of those used for well under a hundred bucks. Thanks a lot, Mr. Future Shop Advice Man for needlessly up-selling the customer.

Oh, and speaking of Future Shop, I was in there the other day (to buy the DVD for the movie Brick – best movie of the year I’ve seen so far – and of course they didn’t have it), and they had an HD-DVD and a Blu-Ray DVD systems setup and playing. Nothing about it would entice me to lay out the kind of money those systems cost. In fact, the HD-DVD wasn’t really noticeably better than a normal DVD. The Blu-Ray was a sharper image – it was playing the first Pirates movie during a swordfight, and you could really see the sweat on the guy’s faces. However, there really wasn’t enough of a ‘wow’ factor to impress over a regular DVD on a good TV. Here’s hoping both of these greedy, greedy camps suffer a flame out of Howard Dean proportions.

And finally, speaking of Brick, on the day of its DVD release, Future Shop had none, Blockbuster had 4 copies all rented out, and only Rogers video had copies. Sure, it’s a smaller Indie movie, but do we really need a whole wall of Failure to Launch DVD’s, and no Brick?! I didn’t think so. And speaking of Rogers Video, unlike Blockbuster – who assumes people have realized the superiority of widescreen – at Rogers, you really have to watch which version you pick up of Fullscreen or Widescreen DVD as they are mixed together. Couldn’t believe it. At least separate them, people…

Some Free Comics

Download 1st Issues of Popular Vertigo Titles

This is pretty cool. Vertigo is making some 1st issues of their most popular Graphic Novels available for free. They're in PDF format and you can get them at the above link. Just click on the title you're interested in, then find the Download PDF link. (Be advised, these comics are Not geared for kids)

I already own the first TPB of the Preacher series and the first 2 TPB's of the 100 Bullets series. I've always wanted to check out Sandman, Fables, and Y: The Last Man too, and after reading these issues, I'll have to save up my pennies for an Amazon order.

These are some of the higher regarded comics out there, so if you've ever had an interest in the comic book world, but weren't into the spandex crowd (ie X-Men, Superman, Batman, etc), check these out. The premise for Fables is pure genius, 100 Bullets is modern noir, and Sandman is often cited for the 'comics as literature' argument.

Comics today are highly varied and there's something for all tastes in the comic book world - it's not just for the geek crowd anymore :) I always thought Graphic Novels were the best of both worlds of movies and books. You can tell a longer story than a 2 hour movie, and include the character's internal monologues and thoughts where a movie can't; and then you can get the action, images, and facial expressions that you can't get with books. Of course, this 'best of both worlds' thing only works when it's done well with a good combo of writer and artist. When its not...well, comic book stores are full of back issues of good examples of that :)

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow...

So, for some reason, I’m watching a bit of a Married With Children rerun that has the guys worried about losing their hair and getting suckered buying products to reduce the follicle exodus. It cuts to a commercial, and I do what I always do when that happens – flip the channel. The channel I land on is also a commercial and I flip on, but it takes one second for me to realize what I just saw, and I laughed out loud. I had just gone from a show about hair loss to a Nair commercial.

Oh, the irony.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rundown of Coming Movies...

Well, the summer movie blockbuster season is supposed to be halfway through, but looks pretty much over to me. August is yet another month of black hole movie-dom at the theatre. The possible exception would be Edward Norton’s “The Illusionist.” The trailer certainly has me intrigued, and much like seeing Julia Stiles in the Bourne Identity, seeing Jessica Biel in this one is of those “What is she doing in a movie like this?” moments.

However, as fall comes around, studios finally roll out their big guns of quality movies in anticipation of Oscar buzz. Well, as close as Hollywood can get to ‘quality’ anyway. September and October are looking pretty stacked for interesting movies, so I thought I’d do a rundown of what has caught my attention.

Sep 1/06 – Crank. This features Jason Stratham in another action role. Yes, it looks like a brainless action fest, but the trailer is fun and it’s a promising setup. Jason plays a hitman who has been given a lethal poison that affects his adrenaline. Basically, he has to keep his adrenaline up and pumping while the clock ticks down on his rush to find a cure or exact revenge before he dies. So basically, he’s a character that has nothing to lose and is looking for the next adrenaline charging moment. Adds up to a very action packed trailer. Oh, and did I mention Amy Smart is in this too? Yep, sign me up.

Sep 15/06 –
The Black Dahlia. Features Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckart, Scarlett Johannson, Hillary Swank. This one I am really looking forward to. From the writer of LA Confidential, (loved that movie), this is also set in the ‘40’s and follows cops Hartnett and Eckart trying to solve the Black Dahlia murder case. Now, Hartnett is no Russell Crowe, but after seeing him in Sin City doing that noir turn and being impressed that he might actually be able to act, I’m certainly intrigued to see what he does here. And Scarlettt Johannson and ‘40’s cars are in there too. I’m definitely seeing this one.

Sep 15/06 –
The Last Kiss. I really enjoyed Zach Braff in Garden State, and this looks like something in the same vein. Normally I wouldn’t go for the ‘coming of age/where is my life going/should I marry this girl or not/ what does it all mean’ movie, but with Braff in it, I’ll check it out, though probably a rental.

Sep 22/06 –
Renaissance. Don’t know a lot about this one, except for seeing the trailer. It’s an animated movie, but definitely not for kids. If you took a futuristic Sin City movie, in total black and white, and animated it, this is what you’d get. Daniel Craig (the new Bond) is one of the voice actors. Looks like something totally unique.

Sep 29/06 –
Children of Men. Features Clive Owen and Julianna Moore. Been waiting for more info on this one since I first heard of it, and the trailer came out last week. I’m a big fan of Clive Owen, and this is another original setup. In the near future, something has made it impossible for women to have children. Therefore, the human race is becoming extinct, and the world descends into anarchy. In the middle of this, Owen’s character is brought into a situation where one woman has somehow become pregnant, and he must get her to safety. I’m not really doing the plot justice here, but the trailer looks excellent and it looks to be well acted with multiple character layers. Gotta see this one.

Sep 29/06 –
Flyboys. Features James Franco and Jean Reno. From the looks of the trailer it’s Pearl Harbor redone, but it’s set in WWI and it’s Sopwith Camels flying around instead of P-52 Mustangs. Franco seems miscast, but the aerial combat with all the biplanes, blimps, and explosions looks impressive. Could be a dud though.

Oct 6/06 –
The Departed. Features….oh man, too many good actors to list. Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, and Leo DiCaprio are in it and it’s directed by Scorcese. It’s an American remake of the Asian film Infernal Affairs. Basic setup – there’s the mob and there’s the cops. There’s a cop inside the mob and a mob guy inside the cops, and they’ve moved up to the high ranks within the organizations. They know there’s a rat inside and the heat is on – both sides. The trailer is fantastic and Nicholson stands out as the mob boss. Can’t wait to see this.

Oct 13/06 –
Man of the Year. Features Robin Williams, Christoper Walken. Basic plot – think what if Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, just for kicks, ran for President and won? Robin Williams plays the fake news comedian that does just that. But there’s a twist – think hanging chads…

Oct 13/06 –
The Marine. Features John Cena. Who? Yeah, that John Cena, of WWE wrestling fame. It’s a brainless action flick that might be good, but probably not. I miss the old 80’s and 90’s action fests I grew up watching (Cobra, Tango & Cash, Invasion USA, Hard Target, Con Air, etc), and Hollywood seems to be having trouble finding the next Stallone, Norris, or Van Damme. Enter wrestling stars. Now The Rock can act, but I don’t know if John Cena can. The trailer looks interesting enough – ex-Marine on vacation, wife gets taken hostage, rampage ensues – but they blew it with what looks like CGI stunts and explosions. Give me old school stuntwork, please.

Oct 27/06 –
The Prestige. Features Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johannson. Yep, its Batman vs Wolverine. Seriously though, it’s a tale set in the Victorian era of two magicians that are friends, become rivals, and descend into a battle of one-upmanship as they try to figure out what the other is doing. And from the excellent trailer, I think there is more to it than that. Oh, and it’s directed by Christopher Nolan of Memento and Batman Begins fame. This should be good.

So there you go. Make your plans accordingly and start saving your movie money :)
[I wanted to put up more pics, but Blogger is making posting pictures a real pain in the ass, so this will have to do till I figure out an easier way...]

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Die Even More Harder!

Live Free or Die Hard on June 29, 2007! -

Unbelievable, this thing is actually going ahead. They've got the release date picked - June 29, 2007 - and they're calling the fourth Die Hard movie "Live Free or Die Hard."

Here's the quick plot outline: "USA Today adds that the film will feature McClane attempting to stop a techno-terrorist from shutting down the nation's computer systems on the Fourth of July. The story takes place around Washington, D.C."

As if that weren't bad enough, it gets worse - the director is Len Wiseman, he of the two Underworld movies fame. Ouch.

Then there's this little tidbit from Wiseman - "Wiseman said none of the characters from the earlier movies were returning, and no other cast members were being announced yet." Why? No Bonnie Bedelia? No Samuel Jackson? No Dennis Franz? Ok, so that last one's a stretch. But still, you gotta have Bonnie in there to say "Why does this keep happening to us?" :)

On top of that, Wiseman says it'll be more epic, a nationwide threat. That's no good. The thrill of the Die Hard movies was that it was a focused threat and personal. Still, I guess they were scaling it up - one building, one airport, one city. I don't think nationwide is a good idea though.

I hope they don't royally screw this up. The Die Hard trilogy and the Lethal Weapon movies are some of my favorites. But I guess if Rocky, Rambo, Terminator, and maybe Indiana Jones can make comebacks, John McClane had to as well...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What A Maroon...

So, I went out to do some grocery shopping…and damn, it’s hot out there. The air outside is not moving…hate July and August. Give me winter over this shit. Anyway, picked up my stuff, then went through the checkout. Good thing I didn’t buy eggs, cause the dude doing the bagging – let’s call him Jammy McJammy, shall we? – pushed the food into the bags and then crammed it into the cart. And this wasn’t some high schooler on minimum wage – this dude was older than me. Then the last item he just handed to me, sans bag, as he obviously couldn’t figure out how to get it into the cart. I took it, and set it lightly on top. Simple. The job can’t be that hard. Anyway, nothing was cracked or smashed except for a bag of dill potato chips that seemed somewhat emotionally depressed from the incident.

Then, after putting the stuff in my vehicle, I drove out of the parking lot. At the exit I was going to use, there was one lane for incoming traffic, one lane for left turn traffic, and one lane for right turn traffic. There was one car in the right turn lane as I approached heading for the left lane. The woman driving didn’t have a signal on, and I guess that should have been my first warning. Sure enough, as I pulled up in the left lane, she proceeded to cut me off, and make a left turn out of nowhere. I was half expecting it, so no brake slamming was involved. Idiot – learn how to drive.

Then I did my laundry. Went down to the laundry room in my building and there was a notice up that starting in a couple days the price for a wash was going up 25 cents. What the hell? This price gouge comes courtesy of the company that maintains the machines. Now as far as I know, we’re already paying for the water usage in the building, so what is the price increase for? It costs extra to collect our money now? (Which is done electronically – they don’t even have to come out and get the quarters!) Sounds like a ripoff to me, but where can you look nowadays that doesn’t rip you off?

At least I was able to go to Wendy’s and get something good – a double cheeseburger and fries. The fries were actually done well and they got the order right too. Will wonders never cease?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Batman Movie News...

It’s been reported that the next Batman movie will be simply called “The Dark Knight.” The villain will be the famous Joker, and he will be played by Heath Ledger. There are also rumors that casting is still being done for characters Harvey Dent and The Penguin (who would be a British arms dealer – not the Danny Devito version).

I love the title. Simple, to the point, and implies a dark edge to the film, as it should be. Having Heath Ledger play the Joker is an odd casting choice, but I’m willing to give director Nolan the benefit of the doubt. He nailed every aspect of Batman Begins, so if he thinks Ledger is the man for the job, then so be it. Batman and the Joker have always kind of been two sides to the same coin – both rather crazy, but taken to different extremes. The Joker is insanely evil, while Batman is insanely committed to his cause of stamping out that evil. Can’t wait to see Nolan’s version of this on the big screen.

Pass Go and Swipe?

New Monopoly game uses debit card, no cash - Yahoo! News

Apparently, it's true. After hearing about this on the Colbert Report, I hit the net to check it out. Monopoly games in Britain are now being sold with debit cards and scanners instead of paper money.

I guess counting was too confusing for the kids. Can't a computer do it? These days, clerks have enough trouble making change, even when the computer tells them exactly how much to give out. I'm guessing this will help...or not. And by the way, wouldn't having a system where you punch in the numbers, then swipe the card to confirm it make it easier to cheat? Instead of the banker having to approve the game's transactions, can you now just add $200 to your own card?