Monday, January 26, 2009

There's a Pattern

So I'm Sitting Here (TM), in my chair drinking coffee. The coffee tastes like pee but I'm drinking it because it's nice and hot. And it's so, so cold outside. So we have now learned that hot pee on a cold morning is awesome, even though it's hot pee.

I couldn't actually bring myself to watch the entirety of any SciFi movie this weekend. Mayhaps it was a short attention span, or the movies sucked or...well, that's probably it. I skipped them completely on Saturday but Sunday...Sunday was special. It was DINOSAUR DAY!! And, oh, was it bad. It wasn't "pinned under the tires of an 18-wheeler" bad. But it was "Uwe Boll might have been able to do better" bad. Movies as deliciously bad as these have a special place in the film industry--somewhere between the bathroom and the dumpster at a local eatery. They are usually devoid of any actual substance but, for some reason, I am unable to pry my poor eyes away.

But I still did not watch any of them in their entirety. I watched bits of several, however, and I've come to the conclusion that, should I ever become unemployed, I can probably whip up a movie with my camcorder and some toy dinosaurs and probably come out with something better! To make a good retarded-but-entertaining dinosaur movie for the SciFi channel you need only a few supplies, but you must follow a formula.

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
  1. One person willing to wear a crappy rubber dinosaur suit
  2. Stock footage of crappy CGI dinosaurs
  3. A C-average art student to draw in blood spatters whenever said dinosaurs are shot (which doesn't happen very often--more on that later)
  4. Some toy guns, purchased from your local $1 Store
  5. Someone to make sound effects such as "pew pew pew" and "boom!" and "rawr! I'm a dinosaur!"

Yep...those are pretty much all the supplies you need. For a location, I'd suggest a forest. Caves are nice but usually require actual lighting, which drives up the budget.

So we're halfway there already! What? You say we need a script and a plot? Seriously, have you learned nothing?? For your convenience, I have created the "SciFi Dinosaur Movie Builder". That's right, I am a genius.

So here it is--is a listing of qualities that must be used to create a movie of this caliber:

  • Hapless victims trapped on island (or planet), discover dinosaurs.
  • Military expedition team is exploring uncharted territory (under the ocean, island, planet) and encounters dinosaurs.
  • Shady corporation is running experiments. They are either creating dinosaurs for the military or their harmless experiment goes horribly awry. Dinosaurs get loose; much eating ensues.
  • No Matter What, the military is always powerless. Either bullets are useless or the soldiers have the worst aim ever. And it often takes precisely 1,000 direct hits to take down a man-sized dinosaur--but that rarely happens (hence the art student will usually be bored).
  • There is almost always a shady guy or criminal organization getting in the way and messing things up. They always die in the end.
  • Just when the good guys think the situation is the worst possible, there is either a Dinosaur Boss Fight or they find an entire colony of dinosaurs, replete with shopping malls, car dealerships, and "people processing plants" for the sophisticated meat-eater.
  • There will always be several scenes with someone running from a dinosaur, and the dinosaur following the victim, but they will never appear together until the very end. So the victim is just running away from nothing most of the time.
  • Finally, and here's the most important part, there is always at least one hot chick. Usually there is a semi-hot chick soldier, but there is always always always the "hot chick doctor" (or specialist) included with any group. She will, 99% of the time, survive but will also, 99% of the time, do absolutely nothing.

So there yo uhave it--the complete ingredients to making a dinosaur movie that the SciFi network will instantly snatch up. Trust me, you'll make millions.

After killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Stuff a Transpirin'

So, for the first time, I helped my daughter with her homework recently. I found it a bit odd...she's six, in kindergarten. I remember kindergarten. Homework? In kindergarten? When I was in kindergarten (stop laughing, it was a long time ago, but there were no dinosaurs, smartass) we didn't have homework. We didn't actually learn much. We watched filmstrips, played with things like magnets, and continued learning to work together and share things...and I'm pretty sure there were graham crackers involved. Crazy. But I bet if we did have homework in kindergarten, I would've waited until the last minute to do it, then made up some lame excuse as to why it didn't actually get done. Oh, not that I ever did that...it's all theomoreticalistic.

SciFi Saturday:
This week's SciFi Channel offering was "The Immortal Voyage of Captain Drake". The very title of this one spoke to me...it said "Steer away from what is sure to be a stinky turd left out to steam in the cold January morning and eventually turn white, to be eaten by a passing dog later on." Well, maybe the title didn't say exactly that...but it's still pretty accurate...and leaves no doubt whatsoever.

I really, truly, should have listened to my conscience. Instead, I indeed viewed a goodly portion of this film, starring Adrian Paul (Duncan McCloud of the clan of Suck). Stupid me. So basically Drake is competing against his Spanish counterpart to aimlessly travel across the ocean and F-up every piece of mythology from every culture ever. Their ultimate goal is to find the Tree of Life or the Tomato Plant of Bunyon Removal or somesuch. To do this, they have to find Plato's Map, fight a kraken, turn left at the Lost City of Atlantis, and they even find the Tree of Knowledge! Too bad they didn't discover Lincoln's gold, or Paris Hilton's virginity! That would have truly been amazing.

So I thought it would have just the right amount of cheese to be funny...you know, not take itself seriously? It didn't take itself seriously but, as it turns out, this made it suck even more!

Now, I'm so obviously a parent. At one point in this sorry excuse for a flick, one of the dudes yells "Come on, vamanos!" I looked at K and burst into song with "Everybody let's go! Come on let's get to it, I know that we can do it!" What would have killed me is if one of the other dudes had said these lines as serious dialogue. That would've been priceless.

I'd tell you more about the movie but, at some point, K and I got bored and wandered into traffic. We're totally fine, but that lightpost is never going to be the same again.

So I guess my JoeBob's Drive-in Totals are going to be a bit skewed, having missed 30 minutes of the movie (as well as those parts we missed because we chose to watch "Celebrity Rehab Presents: Soberhouse".

Drive-In Totals:

Bad CGI Castles: 1
Barfights:1
Skeletal Femurs Fondled: 1
Chicks Losing Clothes While Rappeling Down a Castle Wall: 1 (more of this might have made the movie better)
Hector Elizondo Look-Alikes: 1/2
Dora References: 1
Bad Accents: All of them
Scorpion-Fu: 1
Cannonball-Fu: About 200,000
Kraken-Fu: 1

1 1/2 stars

You're a day-glow pteradactyl

Friday, January 16, 2009

Boredomosity

So I'm bored. That means you, the reader, benefit! Or not. Whatever. Shut up! Stop confusing me!

My Xbox 360, purchased almost two years ago, was giving me problems for the last few months. It worked flawlessly until I got my first "unable to read disc" error. Wait...was my Xbox illiterate? Did it need some tutoring? It happened infrequently and was easily (though irritatingly) corrected by a reboot. But then it started locking up and, eventually, I got 3/4 of the RROD. But if I rebooted, it was fine again. I started wanting it to explode.

See, I bought the 2-year service plan at Best Buy. I knew, at the time, that the Xbox 360s were ticking time bombs and many found early graves. I figured I could afford the $60 for the service plan rather than another $300-$400 for a new box.

But sporadic lockups and disc errors are really difficult to reproduce...which Best Buy had to do in order to honor the service plan. It seems they actually have to be able to see that there is something wrong with the unit. Who knew! (Note that I totally understand this reasoning, but it's no less frustrating.) So, with just about four months left on the service plan, I decided to take action and try to get it replaced.

After one such failed test and three visits to Best Buy, I finally gave them my Xbox on a Saturday morning and told them "you can keep it for testing until Monday evening." I crossed my fingers in hopes that it would seriously malfunction and that would be the end of that problem.

I got a call Sunday morning. They had run it for testing for 24 hours but it hadn't thrown craps at all. It worked perfectly!! Boffo! Wait...I mean...DAMMIT! The good news, however, was that they believed me! Seriously? They're taking my word for it? Holy crap!

My personal opinion is that they simply got tired of testing it and realized I meant business. Maybe they believed I wasn't trying to screw them (which I wasn't), I don't know. In any case, I got a new box with a larger hard drive and two free games (that I'll probably not play) for the $60 I paid for the service plan! Hopefully the new Xbox, which is supposedly sturdier, will last me until the Xbox 720 or Super Xbox Extreme or whatever it will be called will be released.

Let Z1 be Z squared plus C

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Bottom of the Random

First off, I just have to mention how cool I think it is that my daughter, who turned six on Saturday, requested sushi for her birthday dinner...and she ate a lot of it.

So anyone who has watched the Scifi channel knows that they throw up some pretty bad movies. Like, literally, they're throwing dog crap at a wall in an effort to get some of it to stick. It rarely does. But K and I, for some reason, are drawn like little sadistic moths to the flame when it comes to these offerings. Our friendship was built on crappy movies, and that tradition continues through to our marriage. So we usually watch the Scifi Saturday movie every week--it is the most dangerous night on TV, you know.

Most of the time we find them to be entertaining. Sometimes they are boring and, on a couple of occasions, they have been downright incomprehensible and we turn off the TV and say "wtf just happened in the last two hours?" (watch "Death Tunnel" if you want to experience this).

This last weekend was Ginger Snaps: Unleashed--apparently a sequel to the original Ginger Snaps. Seeing as though the first movie was apparently about a girl named Ginger, the first movie has a fitting title. But the sequel has to do with her sister, Brigette, so I'm thinking they should have called it something like Brigette Goes Apeshit or Brigette Breaks. Even those suck rocks, though.

So the first movie, Ginger Snaps was about a girl who is slowly turning into a werewolf. We either saw only part of the first movie and don't remember it or we didn't watch it at all. If the sequel is any indication, our time was better spent beating ourselves over the head with live fish.

Ginger Snaps: Unleashed is about Ginger's sister, Brigette, who also has contracted lycanthropy ("werewolfism" for all you non-D&D nerds out there). She ends up in a mental institution, meets a sleazy orderly, and has a few run-ins with a very bizarre, creepy little girl who seems to be into the occult. Not the best premise in the world but certainly not the worst...except that NOTHING HAPPENS FOR THE FIRST HOUR!! There is virtually no body count for the first hour unless you count the dog. But I hear he abused children, so I'm sure he had it coming anyway.

The little girl turns out to be a psychotic, manipulative little snot who set her own grandmother on fire and framed the sleazy orderly (resulting in his gruesome, yet unseen death). In the end, she doublecrosses Brigette but doesn't kill her. Instead, she keeps her as a pet. So, um, yeah...really strange movie. Let's do a rundown, shall we?

In the spirit of JoeBob Briggs' Monstervision:

Mutilated Dog Heads: 1
Creepy, Brace-Faced Girls: 1
Crappy Special Effects: Too many to count
Taboo Sex Scenes: 1/2 (you only see them finishing getting dressed)
Dysfunctional Group Therapy Sessions: 1
Escapes Through Impossibly Large Air Vents: 1
Floor-Licking: 1
Burnt Grandmas in Full Body Casts: 1
Shotgun-Fu: 2
Exploding Scarecrow-Fu: 1
2 1/2 Stars (out of 5).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Purple Monkey Dishwasher

First off, a glimpse of total win:


That is The Magic Tree. A man and his son work tirelessly for a month to string over 2,000 strings of lights for Christmas. We visited The Magic Tree on Christmas Eve for the first time this year. I think we've found a new Christmas Eve tradition. I can't help but wonder what the neighbors think of it...and all the increased traffic.

On to other things. My iPod Touch came yesterday. I had been waiting with giddy excitement for five days. I'm sure K got in her requisite amount of eye-rolling whenever I mentioned it. I know full well that this is something I do not need. In fact, I need an iPod Touch just about as much as my cat needs a foot massage.

After scraping enough money together, both through rolled change and money I have saved up, I took the plunge when I found a really good deal at Best Buy (combined with a $25 rewards certificate). And, just let me say, this device is very useful to me...of course, all of that utility is frivolous, fun, and convenience.

I don't need to be able to browse the web while sitting at a coffee house. I certainly don't need to be able to look up a football schedule, scores, or stats. And I don't need to be able to look up restaurants and bars in my area. But, hell yeah, I want to! I could never justify having an iPhone or any other kind of smart phone. We can't afford the cost of the phone, much less the increased monthly charges. But that is what I ultimately want...for the sheer frivolity of it all! I'm a tech junkie, so sue me.

So last night I spent a good chunk of time downloading apps and giggling to myself while K looked at me, laughed, and rolled her eyes. The damn device is addictive. I'm in my own home and can just hop on my PC to look up something on the web, but noooo...now I'll just carry my iPod with me and save myself the 10-second walk! Take that, exercise!!

EDIT: I just logged into CNN's page to read some slanted news, and the first headline I saw was: "World's Oldest Person Credits Bacon". Ha! Take that, bacon-haters!! It's about time bacon got props! Total funny.

I was all up in a piece of heaven

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chapter 2

I posted Chapter 2 of The Forgotten Years: The Call of Chaos in my Writing.com portfolio if anyone is interested in reading it. And you should be. Why? I don't know...but I'm sure I'll think of a viable reason later. For now, just pretty please go read it...I'll be your best friend, really. I'm not just saying that. Either click on the link I just gave you (direct to Chapter 2) or click on the happy, multicolored fellow on the right. The passkey either way is 56841.

In this chapter, Cor'il rests at an inn and finds out more about his surroundings and the people. He even gets into a fight and has to go tell the lunch lady! When I say "lunch lady", I really mean "really sharp, pointy sword."

In other, unrelated news...

I ordered an iPod Touch (1st-gen) from BestBuy.com. I had originally intended to pick it up from the store itself but, as luck would have it, I came in on the last day of the sale and, as Best Buy would have it, they were out. Best Buy, IMO, is maybe the worst retail store...ever. Any time I go to get something there, they never have it in stock, I can never find anyone to help me answer questions, and if I do find someone, they seem to be a step above a talking cucumber. I know I'm generalizing, but this has been my experience almost every time. So why do I shop there? I have no idea. Honestly.

I still have yet to figure out how I'm going to pay for the iPod. Should I take a couple of days off from work and walk around downtown with a sandwich board that says "Will Work for iPod"? I fear I might actually make more $$ doing that than I do at work.

If I had wanted just another iPod, I may have looked at getting a Zune. But, really, I like the iPod Touch's WiFi functionality and the prospect of running some really cool apps on it. The music player is just icing on a very high-tech, silicone cake.

So I'm glad I got burned, think of all the things we learned