Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weak

So today was probably our last chance to get snow. All of the weather forecasters were calling for 1-3 inches of the flaky white substance that we have essentially seen none of the entire winter. I was hoping for enough to take G sledding. My skeptical side told me that they were full of shit. My other side...oh, wait, I have no other side.

Sometimes I hate being right. It doesn't happen often--nay, it happens rarely. This was one of those rare occurrences. We got snow...if you can imagine Frosty the Snowman shaking off some dandruff. Yeah, that's what we got. Frosty shook his freaking head and we got what fell off. My theory is that weather forecasters are wrong 50% of the time in summer. When it's winter, they are wrong 85% of the time. I have yet to see evidence to sway such an opinion.

So no sledding, no snow forts, no snowballs. I feel like winter purposely ripped us off. Of course, we got a torrential downpour yesterday that flooded part of our back yard. I saw several animals in pairs floating down a creek in a boat. Not sure exactly what the world was trying to tell me. When H's and O's combine in that capacity, it is truly humbling. I can't imagine how much snow it would have actually amounted to. Probably somewhere around the "epic proportions" area.

And now, onto something slightly more interesting:

SciFi Pictures Presents: Anacondas: Trail of Blood

So it was "Snake Day" on the SciFi network today, building up to a crescendo that was Anacondas. This movie seems to be a sequel to Anaconda III and actually has a couple of recurring characters (who are played by nobodies). SciFi has, once again, wheeled out John Rhys-Davies to "star" in yet another movie. He had a career at one point but he must have signed a long-term contract with SciFi and wasn't able to get out of it, short of killing himself and having his body parts shipped to Costa Rica (because SciFi could probably bring him back as a zombie actor to star in Octopus 15).

When the movie started, K and I were quite confused as to exactly who the hell were all these people? This movie started out with more characters from totally different groups than any other movie SciFi has pumped out. After trying to figure it out, we categorized them into their own groups (per K): "Hors 'Doerves", "Appetizers", and "Snacks". That seemed to alleviate all confusion and the movie progressed. Much bad CGI and eating ensued.

So basically these bigass, regenerating snakes escaped from a lab in the last movie and the "cute scientist chick" is trying to rectify the problem. Then there is a team of archaeologists...or gravediggers...I'm not sure which. Then there is a random college kid wandering around. Oh, and John Rhys-Davies has hired a dude (who has subsequently hired more dudes) to kill the chick and her now dead partner. Confused yet? It doesn't matter. Most of them bite it...or get bitten--you know what I mean. Also, there's some magical syrum...oh, and a chick gets bitten by a poisonous (but nonlethal) spider which, to our surprise, had no real purpose in the storyline at all! Watching this movie was like trying to watch a Senate hearing...but a Senate hearing has more blood and screaming.

The acting was top-knotch...or about as "top-knotch" as SciFi can provide (which is to say, just above "talking monkey" level). Mostly it consisted of people being shot or stabbed in the arm and somehow being able to use it to lift heavy objects without any pain. On the surface, it would seem that the snake is not the only creature that can regenerate. But, alas, it was just crappy writing and "acting".

So we get about halfway through and the movie turns pretty interesting! I was surprised. See, there's this ring, and these two short dudes are trying to get rid of it. Then some scabby, bunion-covered guys attack a citadel and...oh, wait, that was The Two Towers. Heh. Sorry. We flipped back and forth so we could see the battle at Helm's Deep. That movie rocks.

There really isn't much else to tell. The bad guys all lose, most of the good guys lose, and the snake is killed. And then, at the very end...we see...ANOTHER GIANT SNAKE!! NOOOOO!!! Are you surprised? Me neither. I'm sure "Anaconda 6: The Suckening" will really be even better! The one burning question I had--why did John Rhys-Davies hire such a nOOb to kill one dude and one chick? This idiot hired a team of FOUR OTHER PEOPLE just to take out two scientists. Clearly, he fails at his job. He also failed at staying alive.

Here are your Drive-In Totals:

Giant Snakes: 3 (I think...maybe more. Dammit, I lost count!)
Misleading Spider Bites: 1
Useless Chicks Who Can't Do Anything Without a Man Present: 1
Guns: Way too many for scientists
Disembodied Arms: 1
CGI That Looked Like Action Figures: 1
Hobbits: 4 (wait, how'd that get in there?)
Pocket Knife-Fu
Gas Can-Fu
Head Exploding
Body-ripping
Bone Cancer

3 Stars

I'll show you a cop, falls asleep on the job

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Caught Me a Random!

There is no SciFi Saturday review this week. We weren't home. I guess I could watch it Thursday night and rock your face with a most certainly excellent review. Maybe I'll do that.

I've been preoccupied with a Flash game called Mushroom Revolution. I am quite the sucker for Tower Defense games. It's a most disagreeable combination. I usually end up having to play the same level over and over because, well, I suck. But at least I have fun doing it! Anyay, this is yet another one of Kongregate.com's many offerings and is quite fun...that is, once you realize you can press the "B" button to stop the God-forsaken mushrooms from bouncing incessantly. Though, I guess, if TD games aren't your thing, there is always Don't Shit Your Pants...You know, if you are into that kind of thing (don't lie!).

We all returned from travel yesterday evening. This morning, my cat's first order of business was to give me a "Welcome Home" present. He looked at me, then proceeded to vomit. I had enough manual dexterity to grab him and hold him on the kitchen floor (linoleum) during this process which made my job a lot easier. Nastier...but easier. Sometimes I truly hate that cat. I think it's mostly because he seems to be able to yark on command or whenever he feels like it. Come to think of it, I really should figure out a way to make money off that. It's out there...somewhere, just waiting for me to cradle it in my loving arms.

Spring is right around the corner and I've decided to up the ante for the garden this year. I am going to nail some 2x4's together and start my own little raised garden. This could prove to be a colossal failure but I am willing to give it a try. I am planning on stuffing about 8 inches of hay into the garden (along with whatever food waste I can gather up) and hope that it creates some nice, tasty humus (as well as killing the grass and weeds). Then I will plant like a madman and hope that something other than weeds comes out of it. I fully realize that the main force working against me will be the fiery skyball...or lack thereof.

I am currently sucking on lemon drops that may be close to five years old. Hard candy doesn't go bad, does it? It's not like I'll contract salmonella, the plague, or Peruvian Devilgerbil Disease, right?

On the wings of life

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Glitter, She is Everywhere!

Combine one very creative six-year-old girl, some cardstock, glue, and glitter, and you get...well, you get very cute homemande Valentines Day cards. But you also get glitter...on your face, on your shirt, on your butt...even on the pets! Actually, it's kind of refreshing. Food looks tastier, everything sparkles, and I often forget how much the pets irritate me with their hair and vomit (now sparkly hair and sparkly vomit).

G spent a good amount of time making Valentines Day cards for the whole family. and we had a big presentation when she handed them out to us. I believe that was my favorite part of the day. When she gets going, there's no stopping her. Unfortunately, that holds true in most everything she does, good or bad.

So I'm totally hooked on Fallout 3. I love immense worlds with long storylines and freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Much like Morrowind and Oblivion, you have complete autonomy in the game; doing whatever you want, even if it doesn't move the main story at all. The way I usually roll with these games is to play them intensely for a while, then shelf them for maybe a year, then play them to completion.

I like the Fallout world (played Fallout 1 and 2) but I'm still not as big a fan of technological, scifi games as I am of fantasy games. I like Oblivion better than Fallout 3, but Fallout 3 is definitely a quality game. I find that games like this are rare and it is a good idea to snatch them up whenever you can--even if you aren't going to play them for a while. I've bought some real turds in my life and learned from my mistakes. Fallout 3 was definitely worth the purchase (which I got for 20% off at the now closing Circuit City).

SciFi Pictures Original: "Splinter"
Seeking: Spiny creature seeking single, loving, spiny creature to share intimate nights with, and to possibly eviscerate fleshy creatures with.
Enjoys: Killing fleshy creatures and using their bodies to kill more fleshy creatures. Also enjoys jerky movement and weird camera angles.
Turn-Offs: Fire. Fire bad! Fire hurt!
Hobbies: Blood, death, killing fleshy creatures and inhabiting their bodies. Also, needlepoint.

Alright, so, in this SciFi Saturday gem called Splinter, we have a young, loving married couple thrown into the mix with a rough convict all fleeing hideous death at the hands of a spiny creature that we barely get to see. It would seem that SciFi has taken my words to heart and adopted the "just because you have CGI doesn't mean you have to use it" mantra. Foregoing the oodles of bad computer animation that makes your badass monster look like a puppy with wings and a horn, they decided to give us the "less is more" theory of horror. Does it work? In this case, yes.

I am of the opinion that Willis O'Brien may have created the creepiest dynamic for horror movies when he invented the stop-motion method. (At least, I think he invented it. Ray Harryhausen would later go on to be the most popular stop-motion artist.) To me, there is nothing creepier than a monster moving in awkward, jerky ways as it comes at you to devour your liver and play ping pong with your spleen.

True, you rarely see the monster in Splinter. And what you do see is jerky, awkward, and downright creepy. Plus the creature itself is an amalgam of body parts and spines, much akin to the Flood from Halo (though the Flood doesn't have spines). It works. It definitely works.

The movie itself is less cliché than most movies I see in the theater. Sure, it sort of follows one of the SciFi formulas--the convict taking people hostage as the monster hunts them all. But that's about it. We get no explanation as to the origin of the monster, and that works as well. Also, surprisingly, not a whole lot of people in the movie actually get picked off. Two dudes, two chicks, and a dog--that's it. Low body count, in this case, equals more suspense. Though the convict's last stand and the ending were things I could see coming from the other side of the planet.

Oh, and the only person I recognized (not the name, mind you) was the nerdy husband. Neither K nor I could place him until I IMDB'd him. His name is Paul Costanzo, and he was Michael Tribbiani in the short-lived sitcom Joey. This is the first time when starring in a SciFi Pictures Original might be a step up!

Drive-in Totals:
Deaths: 5 (if you count the canine)
Crazy Nutjobs: 1
Incompetent Cops: 1
Backfired hair-brained schemes: 1
Shotgun-fu
Gas Pump-fu

4 stars

Don't believe the words you're speaking

Friday, February 13, 2009

Trouble in Suburbia

Okay, let's say that I am the president of my neighborhood's Homeowner's Association. We'll say that because, well, I am. Please allow me some exposition; it might help the situation make more sense later, if you read that far and haven't already given up.

So I disdain the actual existence of Homeowners' Associations (hereby known as HOAs) and Neighborhood Associations (hereby known as, um, ASSes, simply because I wanted to work that in). I really, truly hate them. I don't think it is anyone else's business what I do with my house. If they don't like it, they can go crying to mom until she gives them a popsicle and lets them watch a movie. Why does that sound familiar?...anyway, I really think HOAs and ASSes are poopy. (cwatididthar?)

So I joined the board. I figured I could keep our HOA honest if I was working from the inside. I don't care what color your mailbox is or how many shrubs you have in front of you house. Those things are not important...to anyone as far as I can tell. I've never heard anyone complain...about the couple of dead or missing bushes in front of our house anyway...ahem.

Almost done with my second year I have come to learn that I don't really hate HOAs and ASSes (have you giggled yet?) It's not the organizations I hate...it's the stupid bastards who make those organizations a necessity. It's the primitive screwheads who go above and beyond to do completely asinine things that irritate the rest of us. It's the drones who decide having something like a toilet or tires sitting in the front yard for months is a good idea (no, this hasn't happened in our neighborhood). I mean, sure, who doesn't get the urge to poop while cutting the front lawn? Am I right?

So let's say a neighbor constructs...a giant metal elephant in their front yard but doesn't pass the plans through the HOA to make sure it meets the covenants and restrictions (a fancy way of saying "Don't be stupid, fool!"). So they build a metal elephant which leads to many MANY complaints from neighbors. But the elephant is a necessity to...um...scare away the grues who want to eat the homeowners. They can't replace it with anything that looks nicer because the grues would not be scared (thus defeating the purpose; also, they can't afford it) and they can't get rid of it, but there are a lot of angry neighbors who want it gone. So what do you do?

Yeah. Hi. I'm the poor slob who got to talk to the homeowner and try to work things out (the elephant is not an elephant, mind you). I definitely understand the plight of the homeowner but, conversely, they didn't consult the board, thereby avoiding the disaster in the first place. It's a little more complicated than I made it out to be but I think it's going to end up in court--exactly the type of thing I disdain. If this was something stupid like "you don't have enough bricks built into the front of your house" I would totally look the other way and not give a greasy rat's behind. But it's not. People feel that it is affecting their property values etc. And if we ignore these homeowners for the happiness of one homeowner, I don't feel we're doing anyone justice.

This situation could go on for a while. Hopefully it'll be something I won't have to watch on a day-to-day basis.

Low man is due

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Weekend of Fun...and Chicken

My lovely wife is enjoying some much needed (and much deserved) alone time which leaves Daddy with my two daughters, flying a solo weekend for the first time ever. I have to admit I was a bit nervous at work on Friday, wondering exactly what would happen. Would they lay traps? Would I end up in a giant cookpot, the natives (and pets) dancing around me? Many scenarios ran through my internal movie projector. Then it broke down. I tried to fix it but to no avail. I had to issue refunds. It was a bad situation.

Not having a cookpot big enough for myself, I decided to formulate something that resembled a plan--meals, activities etc. Luckily, everything has gone smoothly and nobody has been eaten or sacrificed to the strange, pony-shaped idol that smells oddly like strawberries. Tonight I cooked fried chicken for the first time. Except for needing more seasoning in the coating mixture, it turned out very well. For this I procured an electric skillet and, I must say, it was a good purchase thus far. I think I'll bring it to bed with me tonight. The cats might be jealous but they'll cope...or poop in my shoes...which, now that I think about it, is probably their way of coping.

But today was very fun. The girls and I spent this gorgeous day at the park. 70 degrees in February? Yeah, nice. Then we ran a couple of errands at the mall. Said mall was quite busy. I guess everyone equates nice weather with shopping indoors. Anyhoo, we shared a cookie dough Blizzard and rode the carousel in between errands. I got yelled at by the otherwise-very nice elderly gentleman who pushes the "go" button for the ride.

And now I must go so that I can view SciFi's offering for tonight. The cast seems to consist of 95% females, so it can't be all bad, right? Can it? SERIOUSLY??

Alright, so here it is...

Journey to the Center of the Earth (SciFi Style)
We've seen it all before: Something as routine as teleportation goes horribly awry and either turns you into into beef stew or sends you off course into chaos and hideous death. But it was bound to happen. These are the type of people who can't take two steps without some massive disaster sending everything into discord. These are the kind of people you do not hang out with!! They look like you and me, but they have a nasty habit of having safes and pianos fall on them, presumably from outer space. Avoid these people!!

By the way, this movie stars zero names that anyone would recognize. That being said, it was better than a lot of SciFi's fare.

So a team of five chicks is getting ready to beam into Stuttgart for reasons I still do not understand. It's routine, but they're carrying weapons. So I'm assuming they are not on a scientific mission. No, wait, there's the standard glasses-clad, "nerdy but hot in a coy kind of way" scientist chick who doesn't fit in. There is also the pair of chicks who don't like each other, but you never know why (and it's true, you never find out). Okay, I'm game. Let's see what happens.

OH NOES!!! The routine beaming process has gone sour!! Nobody has any idea where the ladies have gone!! As the viewer, I have a really good guess, simply judging from the title. But what will happen to the Earth's supply of females if they keep beaming into the... center of the Earth (apply an echo effect to that)?

Basically, time is split between them being chased by dinosaurs, and them being chased by giant spiders. Oh, wait, there's a lot of crying and bitching, too...and then there's crying and bitching while being chased by dinosaurs and spiders. A couple of them get picked off, too. This is due to the #1 rule of SciFi Pictures originals: Bullets will never harm the big bad. Or, at the very least, they will only harm the big bad when it is convenient. Occasionally, bullets will harm the big bad universally, but the primitive screwhead firing the gun is such a lousy shot that they couldn't hit a target if their life depended on it (which it does).

Oh, and did I mention that there is another chick and her ex-lover trying to launch a rescue? Didn't see that coming, did you? Yeah, they're in some experimental drilling device known as the DD. I was waiting for them to just once call it the "Double D" but noooooo, that wasn't going to happen. Anyway, they encounter problem after problem that Mr. Scott from Star Trek would have had no problem fixing. Their biggest problem? What happens if we hit a giant air pocket where there's nothing to drill? My guess is...YOU FALL! And they found an air pocket...and they fell. I take that to be poor drill design...or just immense idiocy.

But, finally, everyone is saved and they beam back to the base, a few people lighter. Oh, did I forget to mention that someone accidentally brought a few baby spiders back?

(JoeBob's) Drive-In Totals:
Hot Military Chicks: All of them
Dinosaurs: 1
Giant Spiders: All of them
Dinosaur Meals: 2
Exploding Spider Chicks: 1
Selfish Bureaucrats: 1
Spider-Fu
Giant Lavaworm-Fu

Four stars.

Mandlebrot's in Heaven, at least he will be when he's dead

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Have Some Random With Your Eggs

There are certain times when I simply feel like a freak. Most of these times have to do with physical stuff--the way I seem to be able to illicit a cracking sound from any joint in my body at will, when I have a four-inch-long hair growing out of my arm, or the fact that I can perfectly mimic the sound of a cat horking a hairball (the Blogger spell checker loves that word, btw). Truly, I have my freakish moments.

So it's no surprise to me when I have an itch but can't find it. Yes, that's right...an itch I can't find. I call this a "phantom itch". During my morning drive to work this morning, my forehead started itching. I scratched it but found no relief. Though that spot felt as if it were itching, it truly wasn't. Or was it?

I don't know why exactly this happens. It's not like it happens all the time, but it is ponderous nonetheless. I finally found the source of the itch...on the back of my head. Go figure.

Let's All Get Lost
So I watched Lost last night (don't worry, no spoilers here). I love the show but am getting a bit confused with all the...shall we say..."shifting" going on. I can't keep anything straight half the time. I think they have only two(?) more seasons left so hopefully this problem will subside and I can get onto more pressing issues...like who's going to save the cheerleader? Oh, wait...different show. I gave up on that one after Season 2. But I'm committed to sticking with Lost. It still compels me. It commands me. During every commercial break I go into the kitchen and make it a sandwich.

Sometimes, Parents Get Through
The other night, during bedtime, G decided she was suddenly hungry. K and I told her it was too late--dinner was done at least an hour previous and she should have told us sometime before it was bedtime. G said she wanted an apple and, even after K told her "no", she went and got one. This type of thing happens--children refuse to listen to their parents--but is not tolerated by us. While K put T to bed, I had G sit down at the table with me and discussed "listening to Mommy and Daddy" and how it was disappointing when she did not. I told her that things go more smoothly when she listens to us, and that she had plenty of time before bedtime to let us know she was hungry. Usually this results in her being angry because she did not get her way.

So you can imagine how surprised I was when she gave it back and said "I guess if you don't want me to have it, I won't." She said it kind of sadly, as if she expected me to relent and say "no, go ahead," but I did not. I thanked her for listening and told her I was very proud of her. Then I tucked her in bed. What continued to amaze me was that she wasn't sad at all. She was perfectly fine with the whole arrangement. I find that, sometimes, I have an easier time reasoning with her than I do with most adults, or even myself!

There is research to be done

Monday, February 2, 2009

NBC's "All Day Show"

I guess it's inevitable. It would be a challenge for anyone to fill four hours of a morning news program. Nobody can ramble on that long and have anything relevant to say. Despite this impossibility, NBC tries every day to forcefeed The Today Show down the throats of America. I happen to have today off and I flipped on the TV whilest organizing the dishes and what hard-hitting news are they covering this lovely morning/almost afternoon?

The two morning bimbos--Kathie Lee Gifford and the other chick--are showing America how to upload or print out photos from Facebook. Wow. So the show's A-list gets to go through all the breaking news. The B-list gets to rehash that news, and the C-list gets to show you how to pick your nose while licking your toes and playing Musicbox Dancer on the piano. Truly astounding. Also, Kathie Lee is a world-class tool and the other chick constantly looks like she's mentally screaming "Get me the F out of here!"

The Superbowl was phenomenal--a world class entertainment mecca. I was rooting for the Cardinals but wasn't really invested in either team. The game was very enjoyable, the commercials were fun...total win. I'm not a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen but he did a good job.

SciFi Pictures Original: Wyvern (pronounced, in this case, "Why Vern". Indeed we should all ask ourselves this question.)
"In a world (Alaska) where polar bears roam (though you won't see any because that would cost money) there are flying lizard monsters who will pluck you out of your really small town of archetypical characters and eat you..." That wasn't the real tagline, but it should have been.

SciFi's latest offering for "The Most Dangerous Night on Television" was indeed bad, as usual. But this historic piece of cinema was also enjoyable, if only because it included just about every pseudo-horror movie cliche available. The CGI was bad, the acting was pretty bad, and it didn't include any actor of note (they touted "Northern Exposure's Barry Corbin" as the A-list actor). The "cute chick love interest" wasn't even that cute.

So the formula for this one is: Cute wandering man (in this case, a truck driver) with a questionable past happens upon a very small town about to hold its yearly festival (the Solstice Festival). Blah blah, monster (wyvern) attacks. Usually the dude in charge is an ass and refuses to call off the festival but, in this case, it eventually is called off. Eventually a select group of the town (the main characters) happen upon the nest of the wyvern and realize...it laid eggs!! Holy crap!! What a twist!! They devise a plan to kill it which, of course, fails, so the main dude (truck driver) takes charge, goes rogue, and saves the day. Oh, there's also the poor dude who gets out of his car, in the middle of the woods, to take a leak against a tree. You can guess what happens to him.

The best thing about this movie--the wyvern seems to have picked off the entire town by the end of the movie--seriously, you only see the choice few main characters at the end. There were two crackpot "old coots" so, obviously, one had to die. All law enforcement (read: two people) definitely had to bite it. Neither chick (the semi-hot radio chick nor the diner-owning love interest) were wyvern food. At the end of the movie, the truck driver decides to remain in the town and live there...and why wouldn't he? He basically owns the town now!!

This was, quite unfortunately, the last thing Don S. Davis did. Rest in peace, General George Hammond.

Alright, let's get to the (Joe Bob's) Drive-in Totals:

Moose Heads Dropped in a Wading Pool: 1
Eccentric (crazy) Old Dudes: 2
Homemade Coat Crafted From Mystery Pelts: 1
People With Guns In Alaska: Um, Everyone
Effectiveness of Those Guns: Surprisingly Ineffective (nothing new there)
Oversized Wyvern Omelets: 3
Disarmings: 1
Blood Waves: 1
Lunch-Losing Sheriffs: 1
Generator-fu
Crazy Woman-fu
18-Wheeler-fu

3 Stars

Code monkey think maybe manager wanna write goddamn login page himself