Monday, April 27, 2009

In a World Where Puppies are in Charge...

So K's laptop finally hit a brick wall...well, not literally. But sometimes I felt the urge to introduce it to one. Basically, the power jack separated from the motherboard. It was soldered twice but never really took either time. To repair it would have cost probably around $300, assuming I did not want to do the job of putting in a new motherboard myself (which I did not). Getting a new power jack was an option, but not a real great one.

So for about an hour and a half on Saturday, G and I had a grand time disassembling it and looking at its innards. After that, I feel confident that I could replace a laptop motherboard with ease. After putting it all back together, we had no extra screws left over! Whee! With repairs not economically feasible, I did what any responsible laptop user would do--I put it out to pasture. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, though.

I am not really a big fan of laptops. When they work, they're great. But when they break (which happens all too often), they are horrible. They're expensive, difficult to upgrade, and even more difficult to repair. If my desktop PC has problems, they are fixed yesterday, and for very little $$. But I must admit, laptops are really cool. They have that "I really don't need this but it's so fun I can't resist" quality about them.

I got her a viable alternate laptop that cost just about as much as the repairs would have cost on the old, dead laptop. I was so happy to have found the deal that I got myself one! So now she has her lappy back and I have its evil twin (complete with creepy Star Trek goatee). I have now begun using it as my primary computer unless I am gaming (which was the whole purpose of my gaming rig to begin with).

And now, for something completely different...

Scifi Pictures Presents: "Carny"

Ohboy...what a hot mess. "Carny" is a mixture of ridiculous, stereotype, and boring, all rolled into a burrito shell made of crap. How would you like your crap burrito? With green sauce? Anyway, this movie stars Lou Diamond Phillips as the local sheriff of a small, rural town in the middle of nowhere. Now, what I find utterly hilarious, is that he doesn't actually have a name! He's billed as "Town Sheriff". Bwahaha! After that, the names are unrecognizable--typical for Scifi (if they even have a headliner at all).

So a carnival comes to town, complete with a freak show. A bible-thumping priest warns everyone of the impending evil and intends to drive the freaks out of town one way or another. He speaks in bad omens and portents but, mostly, is just irritating, and I found myself wanting him to be the first one off'd.

So anyhoo, it turns out this freak show has a special freak--the "Jersey Devil". Freak gets loose, slaughters people for sport, creates chaos--the usual. I blame the minister's son who was throwing popcorn at the creature. I mean, that would be annoying for anyone and I wouldn't blame them if they were out for blood. So, essentially, the Jersey Devil is just a misunderstood outcast who...well, attacks, dismembers, and eats people. But we all have our faults, right? I tend not to sleep enough. Are you going to hunt me down for being evil?

As always, a posse forms, which is never a good sign--unless you like high body counts. And it just so happens that I do!! So the leader of the carny is evil; he also kills people, blah blah. The minister whoops ass on the Jersey Devil, but doesn't kill it and, in turn, gets his ass handed to him (yay!) but, in the end, the poor, misguided outcast creature is slain...but...at what cost? At...what...cost?

Drive-In Totals:
Drunken Monster Bait: 2
Batshit Crazy Ministers: 1
Gallons of Blood in 1 Human: Apparently 50
Love Interests: 0
Ferris Wheel-Fu
Jail-Fu
Dismembered Tongue
Hilarious Parenting

2 1/2 stars.

So good at wasting our time

Monday, April 20, 2009

All the news that fits, we print

So I think I am going into the insurance business. I've got a plan, and it is going to pay off--big time. I've found a niche that I can slip into and become the industry leader in no time! See, it has come to my attention that there is a type of insurance out there that is desperately needed, but that nobody has!

Zombie Insurance.

That's right--zombie insurance. Picture this: the zombie apocalypse is upon you, and you're holed up in your abode with the requisite shotgun, bottled water, and some food. You're listening to the radio when, all of a sudden, ZOMBIES!! They're knocking on your windows and your door, moaning something about brains, and they want in! Okay, so you fight them off successfully, but your home is left in shambles. You've got bulletholes, broken windows, and your cable TV is out. Your regular insurance policy won't pay for zombie-related damages, I assure you. That, my friend, is why you need First Mutual Zombie Insurance!

And what if you or your spouse were to get bitten by a zombie? You know what happens then, right? Your hunger for brains increases (moreso than normal, if you're into that kind of thing) and you start lumbering around in a daze. No, you're not just sleepwalking. You, unfortunately, are a zombie. But nobody's going to pay for your loss (or your spouse's, if he/she survives). Who are you going to turn to? You get peace of mind for just pennies a day! And there are no health screenings and no age requirements!

And you can get special discounts for preventative measures such as extra fences, lights, barricades, and good student discounts! You might even qualify after you've been bitten (payment in advance, not a guarantee). Really, I think this is an awesome idea. And if you steal it, I'll send the zombie hordes after you.

Also, I am not a crackpot.

Let's get onto the movie. Scifi Pictures Presents: "War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave".

Okay, aside from the asinine name, this movie has plenty of other reasons to laugh...hard. War of the Worlds TWO?? Seriously? Anyway, this vehicle stars C. Thomas Howell...and is also directed by C. Thomas Howell...did I mention it's also produced by...you guessed it, C. Thomas Howell. Now, I thought he had faded into obscurity but apparently he's been busy with bit parts on TV shows like 24. He also apparently has a billion movies in either pre-production (rumored) or post-production. This particular theatrical masterpiece probably should have stayed in "non-production".

So you know the original story of War of the Worlds--aliens come to Earth, they kick ass, then they sneeze and die. Well, Scifi did a remake of a...remake...or something, which also was done by C. Thomas Howell. He must really dig wars...and worlds, and stuff. So, anyway, Earth won the first war (hurray!), but the aliens are back (d'oh!) and they're not happy...well, I assume they're not happy. We never really see them, but I bet they're giving us all the finger and glaring at us, wherever they are.

So Howell's character, George Herbert, is an astronomer and is basically responsible for winning the first war (of the worlds) by injecting a virus into one of the aliens' eyeball-thingies. He met up with his wife and son at the end of the first war (of the worlds). In this war (of the worlds), his wife is inexplicably gone (probably due to the actress bailing on such a crappy movie) but his son is still around. His son gets zapped by a walker which, we find out, means he was teleported inside its belly. Now Herbert spends the entire freaking movie looking for his son.

At one point, he meets up with a guy I call "The Hispanic Tool", because he was a completely cowardly, whiny bonemuncher. They also meet up with a diseased psycho lady. They all get captured and then, somehow, find themselves in a deserted city. Meanwhile, a ragtag bunch of ruffians fly some advanced fighter planes into space to fight the mothership, but get "timejumped" to Mars.

Turns out that Herbert and his band of misfits are in the mothership, dwelling in a fabricated city. One of the fighters falls from the artificial sky and crashes. No idea how they avoided venting atmosphere or how they avoided destroying the fighter, but okay. The Herbert and his band of misfits manage to get lost, whine a lot, run away, find Herbert's son, get sick, beat the aliens, and fly away with the pilot (all four of them) in the one-man fighter. Are you laughing yet? Seriously, this movie had more holes than a cheese cloth. It was laughable at best, deplorable at worst. K and I nearly turned it off several times.

Oh, there was also an ex-NASA chick with a really bad accent that was completely unidentifiable or nonexistent. I prognosticate that she was an alien hiding among us.

In the end, they somehow all make it back to Earth and survive...then the next wave of aliens makes themselves known...by broadcasting Cyndi Lauper songs on the radio. I crap you negative...well, maybe a little.

Here are your Drive-In Totals:
Love Interests: 0
Likeable Characters: 0
Actual Alien Sightings: 0
Instances of Recycled CGI, Found on the Floor: 500
Sick, Crazy Bastards who Drink Too Much: 1
Alien zap-fu
Needle-fu
Ineffectual gun-fu

2 stars

Maybe time is a bird in flight

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Voices Inside My Head

First of all, watch this...now...and laugh, I tell you, LAUGH!

We Didn't Start the Flamewar

So, yesterday, G got her tonsils and adenoids removed. They weren't infected or anything. The main problem is real estate--they took up way too much. These monstrous tonsils were rather large and, thus, G snored a lot and had problems breathing when she slept. In an effort to improve her health and retain our own sanity, we convinced a doctor to yank them. G is six and she's always snored, so they have always been an issue.

We got to the hospital at the bright and ugly at 6:30. Check-in and waiting around took much longer than the actual operation. And, as a parent, it wasn't the operation that worried me. Instead, it was the anesthesia. See, the operation is simple--heck, I could probably do it. (Please note: if I am removing your tonsils, it's probably because zombies killed all of the doctors.) Anesthesia, to me, seems really easy to mess up. And you never really know how each individual will react to being put to sleep.

Luckily, it all went well and we returned home just about two hours later, quite full-up on popsicles and ice cream. Both K and I are wiped out, though. Yeesh.

So since I was home yesterday, I decided to get something done. Yesterday officially marks the First Grass Cutting. Blech. Cutting the grass is maybe one of the most boring jobs I have to do around the house or the yard. But I got it done. I actually sharpened the mower blade, added more oil, replaced the spark plug, and cleaned out the air filter (it needs a new one but I have to go to Sears to get it and I hate them). Considering the mower is 10 years old and I have never replaced a) the spark plug and b) the air filter, it has held up incredibly well? Why have I not done this, you ask? Because I'm lazy...and I hate cutting the grass so much that I feel the cutting implement should suffer at least as much as I do. Also, it's a Craftsman mower...and I hate Sears.

The pre-garden is coming along nicely, now that we've actually had some sunlight! I have been using a grow light for the past couple of days and it has made a world of difference. The plants are actually growing again! Stupid weather...be more...nice to me! I am still really psyched about the garden, and hope that it is not a colossal failure. If I can just keep pests from eating the plants and get enough sunlight once they're planted I'll be happy.

EDIT: Some of you may know about my neighbor...I call him "Lawn Man". Lawn Man feels compelled to cut his grass the very day I cut mine. It doesn't matter if he just cut his yesterday. If I cut my grass, he's out there as soon as he can be, cutting his. Well, he did not disappoint me and was quickly outside, cutting his grass. I'm tempted to cut mine about an hour before it gets dark and THEN see what he does!

Armchair rocket scientist

Monday, April 13, 2009

Zombie Bunnies Ate Thor!!

Let's start the week off right with perhaps the most ridiculous headline, news story, and person I've ever seen:

Woody Harrelson Thought Paparazzi Was a Zombie!!

I guess he broke the guy's camera and assaulted him, then claimed he thought he was a zombie. You have to read the article to get the full effect of just how stupid Woody Harrelson actually is. It's not the common "wow, that guy is stupid" stupid. Nay. It is more of the "This guy is so outlandishly stupid that I am surprised he even remembers to breathe" stupid. There is a difference, and it is not subtle. But maybe I am biased. I've never liked the guy.

Also, speaking of zombies, I found this really cute and funny. Yes, I am allowed to find things to be "cute". It doesn't make me less of a man...seriously...stop laughing or I'll show you "cute". :S No, I'm not endorsing the game itself--I know nothing about it. I just find it funny.

There's a Zombie On Your Lawn

Seriously, watch it. It's great. And I bet you'll sing that song all day long.

So the movie review this week really won't be much of a review at all. The flick was not very entertaining, but I found enough material within it to make fun of it. So, without further ado, I present to you:

Scifi Pictures Presents: Thor: Hammer of the Gods (bwahahaha!)

This little gem stars the guy who played Brad Taylor on TV's "Home Improvement". I think he was the youngest one...or maybe the middle one...or the oldest one. Crap, I don't know. Did anyone pay attention to any of the boys? I really only watched that show for the outtakes at the end. Honest. Okay, I think he was the oldest boy. But to Hell with all that.

So Thor is an average, very non-manly, chubby, out of shape dude who is questing for Mjolnir, the mighty hammer of tasty goodness. Traveling with him are a couple of dudes and a couple of chicks. It's difficult to tell which is which since they're all clad in furs and wear helmets. Some fights happen, some people die, some bad CGI is thrown in for good measure, the hammer is procured and the TV channel gets switched. But I'm sure it ends well.

I liken this movie to what would happen if a bunch of hardcore D&D players got together and said "dude, let's make a movie!" Seriously, the dialogue was trying to sound all mystical and cool but came off about the same as any D&D session I've been in--with less Monty Python jokes...okay, none. What's funnier is that each character had a totally different accent! And none of them were remotely Norse!! They sounded like 3rd-rate British accents. It was hilarious.

The fight scenes were pretty lame and predictable. At one point, a fight developed between a bad chick and two good chicks (many heavy fur cloaks were removed, ooh la la!). I knew exactly what would happen. The good chicks would each attack the bad chick one at a time and one of the good chicks would die. Then the remaining good chick would go all apeshit on the bad chick, the bad chick would beg for mercy, and the good chick would off her. Bam...I was 100% correct, and I'm no genius.

No Drive-in Totals...there just wasn't enough of anything to count.

2 stars.

There's a zombie on your lawn

Thursday, April 9, 2009

File 13

First of all...I don't have a Facebook. I have no Myspace, Yourspace, or Theirspace. I don't tweet on Twitter. I am about as unpopular (and somewhat reclusive) as they come. So this is my only portal. If, for some reason, you can't get enough of me (a fact which I would find highly suspect), I am scattered about different forums here and there on numerous websites, and there's a decent chance you can encounter me on Kongregate.com.

There are a few people employed at the same institution as me who look like they might quite possibly be the saddest, most downtrodden people in existence. I have no idea if this is true but, upon passing them in the hallways of my fine employer, I can see the look on their face which is either perpetually grumpy or constantly sad-looking. I often wonder if I look like this either when I'm not paying attention, or when I actually am sad or pissed. Most of the time I feel like I look pretty happy but this is usually disproven when smiling for photos--I feel as though I am smiling really big but what actually comes across is some sort of evil glare or stinkeye.

The pre-garden is coming along quite well, but the plants seem to be lagging behind in the size department. They're growing but I'm unsure whether they are getting enough sun. I took them for a little stroll in the sun on the deck yesterday so maybe that helped. What didn't help was me nearly dropping them all and dumping them on the kitchen floor. I'm pretty sure there are explicit rules prohibiting that kind of abuse to plants in the "great gardening manual". Anyway, I don't feel they will be ready to plant in the ground at the end of April, which is what I originally had in mind. I may have to delay the act until mid-May, which I'm fine with. I just hope they actually produce this year. Do plants succumb to threats? I could, at least, give them all a stern talking to.

Writing has been rather slow the last few days but picked up considerably, starting at a trickle but ending with the faucet half on. It may not be a flood but it's an improvement. Most of the time it just depends on my mindset--if I am creatively inclined, I can spew forth words from my brain at an amazing rate. Said words may not be worth a damn, however, if I get carried away. If I am not in the mood to write, I may produce a really decent paragraph and be done with it...or produce nothing at all. Almost always I can determine whether my mind is ready to put pen to paper (or, more appropriately, fingers to keyboard) and produce something I can be proud of. The product of this week will most likely have to be heavily edited, but at least the framework is solid.

I think the finished product will be something worthy of public consumption--a vignette with a beginning and an end so as to be a satisfying appetizer. Unfortunately, I do not have a suitable main course but the two will be related, even though they will most certainly not be served together. Can I refill your drink while you wait?

You're a Rorschach test on fire

Monday, April 6, 2009

Somebody's Poisoned the Water Hole!

I am currently installing a beta of Windows 7 on a laptop to tinker with. I'm hopeful, yet cautious--much like the poor, unsuspecting rodent who eyes the piece of cheese placed firmly in the trap. If Windows 7 snaps my neck like a twig, I am going to be so pissed.

I tried to get T to build me a "chicken leg and pear sandwich" out of her felt play food yesterday. She wasn't having it. She even glared at me when I suggested that I might also want bacon and fish on it. She then made me a normal sandwich but wouldn't let me pretend to eat it. I wonder if she'll open up a deli when she grows up.

I transplanted the garden seedlings from their plastic trays into peat pots today. Because I planted so many seeds, and because so many actually germinated, I had to separate them and throw a lot of the plants away. Most of the poor, discarded bastards were lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. I transplanted some lettuce for G and also two jalepeno plants that she can help grow and give to Doc (my father). She's very proud of her little plants. My thumb is not remotely green so I am just happy they decided to grow at all.

Windows 7 has now asked me five times to update its installer and reboot. A bad omen to be sure. Also, in case you were curious. The musaac system is currently playing its soothing, crappy version of Cindi Lauper's "Time After Time."

I recently had to order a part for my car and am going to get whacked about $200 for both the part and the installation. Would you care to guess what part it is? Fuel injector? Flux capacitor? How about a housing for my license plate? If you guessed the third option, you are correct. See, said automobile is going on 15 years old and I guess parts are becoming scarce. The screws which affix my license plate and hold it fast have long since rusted to the point where they are essentially metal super glue. They cannot be removed. I'd like to see even Superman try. So the only options are a) for them to just drill holes directly through into the trunk or b) replace the housing. Option A was tempting...oh so tempting. It was a nice, tasty Hot Wing dangled in front of my face. But I opted for the expensive option. The car itself has not given me reason to justify replacing it, and this is actually the most expensive repair it's had in quite a while.

Windows 7, after all of this work, has now informed me that I "cannot upgrade directly from Windows XP." Would have been nice if it had told me that when I actuall chose that option.

There is no safe seat at the feast

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sproing!

Lots happening...lots of stuff. Some of it is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but much of it is on the scale of a major intergalactic war where both sides shoot only straw papers at each other. Almost all of it would be considered rather inane and boring to just about everyone except me. So, no, I will not bore you with the minutia pertaining to said subjects.

Despite the lack of new writing links on the right side, I have not place the creativity in a dark corner of the basement to decompose. I am still writing, albeit, not in the quantities I would appreciate as a "decent amount". The writing I am doing is experimental, meaning I am trying to write something specifically for online publication. Publication by paper is really difficult to do but has way more prestige, in my opinion. Paper publication is also a right pain in the ass and is quite the ordeal.

Basically, I am taking it slowly, making sure not to write crap, and letting the story sort of grow out of itself. It appears to be working and I am quite pleased with the effort. I have this idea to simply write short stories about different people who live in the same paradigm but are either completely unrelated or only vaguely related. That way, the world basically creates itself without me doing the work! Well, sort of...hey, stop laughing. I'll tell, I swear I will!

As of yesterday, I officially resigned from our Homeowners' Association. At first, I hated HOAs. Then I realized that we, as an HOA, had accomplished some decent things socially for the neighborhood as well as just things that needed to be done--landscaping, book work etc. But I've come full circle and returned to the point at which I originally began. In general, I disdain HOAs. See, if it weren't for the inconsideration and stupidity of people in general, HOAs would not really need to exist as they do today. But some people decide they need to infringe upon other peoples' good taste, land, or air space. Thus, the HOA was born out of the ashes of hatred and spite. An evil entity born from evil? Sounds about right.

Anyway, I really was not happy with the actions I felt I had to take, nor was I happy with the direction the HOA was going. You might think this means that the HOA was taking some action against a homeowner. You would be right. You might also think I was against this action. You would be wrong. I would have LIKED to have been against the action, because my emotions were with the homeowner. But my sensibilities were with the covenants and restrictions. But because of some flip-flopping and general unwillingness to even investigate the issue (which could go to court), I resigned. I think it is the HOA's duty to at least investigate, legally, complaints of homeowners, rather than just say "I'm tired of dealing with this, let them have their way."

But maybe that's just my hangup. The last thing I want to do is force a homeowner to do something. But when someone complains about said "something", I feel the duty to follow up on that complaint. Funny, that. My answer to that used to be "quit whining, loser." :D

I find now that my thoughts tend to turn toward a house on a piece of land somewhere out of town where have no immediate neighbors, no homeowners' association, and no hassle. Obviously, we also have no money. But a recent refi (and appraisal) on our current house gives me a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel...that is, presumably, not a freight train headed my way. I find this scenario more appealing each time it pops into my head and nibbles on my brain. Or maybe that's grubs. It tickles either way.

I told K to start thinking about what things she would like to see in a new house. We're nowhere near that stage but you can never start too early. Perhaps I should start a fundraiser? Like maybe the biggest bake sale ever? Oooh, I could sell plasma!

And now I leave you with one of my favorite pics of the week--a funny sign.

Half the world hates what half the world does every day