Tuesday, August 29, 2006

On the Move

As some of you know, my living situation has recently changed again, and by "recently" I mean "less than a week ago." You see, midway through last week The Anti-Cap'n and I decided to move out of Biz-Z's place and move in with another of the Singles group, who we'll call Cap'n Red* for now. Cap'n Red was in desperate straits, needing two roomies to move in before the end of the month or else he wouldn't be able to afford his place. There were many factors in this decision: lower rent; enough room for me to get rid of my storage unit; closer to work and church; less traffic; and escape from the black hole of cell phone service.

Oh, and then there's the fact that I no longer have to live in fear that I will wake up one morning to find that The Anti-Cap'n and Biz-Z's personality clash has resulted in one of them snapping and killing the other in his sleep.

That's, y'know, a bonus.

There were only two real downsides to the move. The first is that, because of the incredibly short notice that A.C. and I got, Biz-Z got even shorter notice that he was going to be without roomies to help him pay his mortgage, which sucks. The second drawback is that due to the accellerated moving schedule, I wasn't able to make it to Survivor: Book Monkey Island, which would have been merely a sad thing for me, if there hadn't been so many people having to cancel earlier that my dropping out at the last minute was the final straw, and S:BMI was no more. Now, if you thought Biz-Z was unhappy about being given short notice, that's nothing compared to the rancor I face from a certain irate Book Monkey. Not going to name names, but let's just say that if someone discovers my mutilated body skewered on a tiki torch with the words "The Tribe Has Spoken!" carved into my flesh, you might want to have the cops call Tin Man.

But despite the fact that the move men ticking a few people off, the pros outweighed the cons for me, and the move was underway. After tonight I'll probably be without home Internet access until sometime next week at the earliest, so barring any lunch-time blogging things might be a bit sparse around here.

I know, I know: what else is new.

*Pretty sure he said he was a potential CAP'NS member


Monday, August 28, 2006

Movie Mon. - Thrill Me.

Annapolis: Incredibly by-the-numbers film about a working class boy who fights against the low expectations of everyone around him to achieve his dreams, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda ad nauseum ad infinitum. Bland and predictable film that manages to smoosh together plot points from Officer and a Gentleman, Top Gun, Rocky, and who knows what else, and yet doesn't manage to do so in a manner that captures even a fraction of the quality of its predecessors. Not a bad movie: just not a good one, either.

Silent Hill: Disjointed horror film based on a popular video game follows a distressed mother trapped in the mysterious ghost town of Silent Hill. As far as video-game-to-big-screen treatments go, this one is a cut above most that I've seen, but is hamstrung by a convoluted plot and some clichéd characters. Still, the special effects are well done, and there are some sufficiently creepy scenes; for me, the sequence with the killer nurse creatures was worth the price of rental alone.

Poseidon: Surprisingly short (less than 90 minutes before the credits roll) remake of The Poseidon Adventure which manages to add some new spins on an old idea. While a bit predictable at times (I called the first major non-tidal-wave death fairly easily), there was at least one death and one survivor which shocked the heck out of me, as I was pretty positive they were going to be reversed. I found this one a little less grating than the original, which depended a bit too much on the group members fighting amongst themselves for dramatic tension. Nothing groundbreaking, but an enjoyable diversion.

Night of the Creeps: Horror-comedy from the 80s which I'd been wanting to see ever since James Gunn was accused of ripping it off for Slither. Well, I've now seen both films, and I'll say this much: Night of the Creeps is no Slither, that's for sure. Yes, they both revolve around alien worm looking thing jumping down people's throats and taking them over, but that barely scratches the surface of what either film is like. Creeps is definitely a product of the 80s (think Revenge of the Nerds meets Return of the Living Dead), but none the less enjoyable for it. A bit cheesy at times, but more well written than I had expected, and the leads are pretty likable, especially the gruff police detective with his great catchphrase "Thrill me." Right now this one is only available on VHS, but if you're a horror fan, do yourself a favor and keep an eye out for it. It's a little heavier on the humor than on the horror, perhaps, but the zombie sequences are still enjoyably gruesome.

Reeker: Entertaining horror flick about a group of college kids who wind up trapped in a strangely deserted rest stop while being picked off by a ghostly presence which announces itself by a horrendous stench. And no, it's not a giant killer skunk, although man, what a great movie that would make, huh? A well written and acted film which has the distinction of being about the only thing I've ever seen Devon Gummersol in where I didn't want to pummel his character about the head and shoulders. My only complaint about the film is the weak, weak, weak ending; not bad enough to make me write off the whole film, since it wasn't as badly telegraphed as most films with this particular "twist," but still, it reduced my overall rating of the film by a few notches.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Few Thoughts on the Emmys

  • The fact that anyone associated with Will and Grace won anything is a travesty

  • Kyra Sedgwick was robbed

  • The "Bob Newheart will suffocate if we run long" gag was genius

  • Steve Carrell was robbed

  • The Steven Colbert/Jon Stewart presentation was the highlight of the show. "I lost to Copacabana. Wolverine I could have lost to. He's got claws for hands."

  • Chandra Wilson was robbed

  • When the segment honoring Dick Clark was announced, my first thought was "Oh, crap, is Dick Clark dead? How did I miss that?"

  • Jane Kaczmarek was robbed

  • Best acceptance speech had to be Greg Garcia (the writer of My Name is Earl's pilot) with his "here are the people I won't be thanking" list.

  • Will Arnett was robbed

  • Was I the only one disappointed that Farrah Fawcett's speech during the Aaron Spelling tribute was borderline coherent? Oh, well, at least she looked like she might break into unintelligible babbling at any moment, and that was worth a few minutes of entertainment.

  • Jamie Pressly was robbed

  • I can't believe that Arrested Development didn't win a single award, but at least most of the time it lost to other deserving shows (Earl and The Office)

  • Lauren Graham, Kelly Bishop, Zach Braff, Kristen Bell, Ethan Suple, T.R. Knight, the entire cast of Lost, and every cast member of The Office other than Carrell were all really, really, really robbed by not even being nominated.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Curse You, Stan Lee!

Farewell Major Victory

You will be missed.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What a Load of Dren!

The Sci-Fi Channel has just announced that they're honoring the fact that Stargate SG-1 is the longest running Sci-Fi series ever by . . . cancelling it. *sigh*

Please take a moment of silence to commemorate this outstanding SF series, and then enjoy this small clip from the 200th episode

I know that means nothing to most of you, but trust me, if you've ever watched Farscape, that was frelling hilarious.


Happy Birthday, Mom!

If you would, please head over to my mom's blog or her MySpace page and wish her a very happy birthday.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Movie Mon. - Yes, I'm Still Alive

Scary Movie 4: The latest installment in the horror spoof series is a definite improvement over parts 2 and 3, which I largely chalk up to the fact that it has an actual plot; random jokes are nice and all, but I've found that spoofs which have a driving purpose entertain me more than those without. Anna Faris does her usually ditzy blonde act to great effect as usual, and Craig Bierko demonstrates a gift for comedy that his roles in Cinderella Man and The 13th Floor hadn't prepared me for. A few too many bowel movement jokes for my taste, but all in all, not a total waste of my time.

Manderlay: Second installment of Lars von Trier's "America - Land of Opportunities" trilogy takes up where Dogville left off, with Grace (now played by Bryce Dallas Howard rather than Nicole Kidman) and her gangster father (now played by Willem Dafoe) stumbling across a plantation where slavery has not yet been abolished. A darkly comic satire, Manderlay takes a look at oppression and its effect on the oppressed. Much like Dogville, this film shows humanity at its lowest, as all of the good intentions in the world slide away at the first hint of betrayal or danger. And, much like Dogville, the end credits filled with some of the most shameful moments in our country's history with Bowie's "Young Americans" playing in the background is sure to be devisive, although in this case I found the credits to be much more clearly tied into the film's overt theme than in the case of Dogville. An experimental and thought-provoking film that I enjoyed, but feel reluctant to recommend to most casual movie watchers.

Lost City: Drama revolving around three brothers (Andy Garcia, Nestor Carbonell, Enrique Murciano) in Cuba whose lives become inexorably intertwined with the fall of Batista and rise of Castro. Interesting, if a bit over-long, film which engaged me much more in the first half than in the second.

High School Musical: Surprisingly entertaining made-for-TV Disney movie which follows the usual star-crossed lovers trope to good effect while hammering away the message that "diversity is good." My favorite sequences were the song and dance numbers by the always cheesey (and borderline creepy) brother-sister act, but there's actually a lot to like in the predictable but fun little film that caters to the 'tween set without totally losing itself in mindlessness. Fun fact: Ms. Darbus, the theater teacher, is played by a Tony-nominated actress who starred as Cassie in the film version of A Chorus Line. Pretty high pedigree for someone who doesn't even sing in this one.

Sorry Haters: Bizarre film about an Arab cab driver who gets more than he bargained for when he agrees to let an obviously unstable fare (Robin Wright Penn) help him retrieve his deported brother. What starts out as a fairly straight-forward film takes several strange turns that often left me scratching my head and reciting the mantra "She's a loony!" over and over again. Here it is a week later, and I'm still not quite sure to make of the very last scene. I think the movie became much more interesting after it became obvous that Penn's character was unbalanced, but even so, I had a hard time staying interested in this one.

The Resurrected: Adaptation of Lovecraft's "The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward" from the early 1990s starring John Terry (Jack's dad on Lost) as a private eye who stumbles onto a case steeped in mysticism and resurrected corpses. A bit cheesey, but watchable.

Inside Man: Who'd have thunk it: a Spike Lee movie I actually enjoyed with no reservations whatsoever! Probably has a lot to do with the fact that this one doesn't have the usual Lee agenda, but is instead a well-crafted thriller about a bank robbery and hostage situation which isn't quite what it seems. A great cast (Denzel, Jodie Foster, Clive Owen, and a flawlessly American-accented Chiwetel Ejiofor) and an interesting twist on the robbery/hostage trope make this a highly recommended film.

Confederate States of America: Now this is more what I'd expect from Spike Lee (who was an executive producer): a satiric look at an alternate history where the Confederacy won the Civil War and kept slavery in effect through the present. Lots of detractors of the film rail against it for its premise, pointing out how unlikely many of the historical changes are, but I think that such criticism is missing the bigger point of the film, which aims to examine race relations in our country by viewing them through a slightly different perspective. The film is sure to offend some, especially when it segues into the overly rascist product placements . . . campaigns which become ever more shocking when you discover that every one is based on an actual, historical products. Really enjoyed this one as well.

: Noirish high school drama about a maverick student (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who sets out on a quest to rescue his ex-girlfriend (Emilie de Ravin), becoming embroiled in a high-school drug ring in the process. Loved this movie: stylish (and occasionally stylized), smart, funny, evocative of hardboiled noir (especially with its high level of fast-talking lingo) without beling slavishly devoted . . . great film. Now, Bubblegum Tate had a couple of problems with it, one of which I can agree with (the dialogue could have been enunciated a bit better, especially early on), and one which didn't faze me as much as it did him (Gordon-Levitt's character breaking from the hardboiled mold). Highly recommend this one, which is going on my "movies I must own" list.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Randomness Abounds!

Good grief, can't believe I haven't posted anything since last Monday. Lots of half-formed blog posts floating around in my head, but I haven't been focused enough to type any up. So, until I gain some focus, here's a bunch of random tidbits.

  • Many ups and downs in the world of Survivor: Book Monkey Island. The Anti-Cap'n has agreed to play, and Cap'n Cluck was interested in working behind the scenes, but now Rebel Monkey won't be able to make it. Last call for interested parties.

  • I was very disapointed by the expulsion of Monkey Girl on Who Wants to Be a Super-Hero; I understand why she had to go, but after her super-human efforts during last week's guaranteed-to-give-Cap'n-N.-nightmares dog challenge, I was hoping to see her take it all. *sigh* Oh, well, at least Major Victory is still in it. And, I have to say, Dark Enforcer is much more entertaining than Iron Enforcer.

  • My soon-to-be-boss and I started a "Supervision 101" class on campus on Thursday, which will take up my Thursday mornings for the next several weeks. We had an icebreaker which was supposed to demonstrate the need to "think outside the box" when confronted with random questions: they ranged from "How old is the letter Z" to "What color is your favorite song?" The instructor was surprised at how quickly we all came up with answers, saying that there are usually people who totally freeze up when confronted by such oddities; I guess most of the people in our group are used to oddity. I know I am.

  • I'll get into more detail later, but for now let me just say that I enjoyed the heck out of Brick and Inside Man, both of which just came out on DVD this week. If you're looking for something to rent, those are my suggestions.

  • I also watched the DVD sneak peak of the pilots for the new NBC shows Kidnapped and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I enjoyed Kidnapped, but absolutely loved Studio 60: a stellar cast armed with stellar writing, I'm going to be plugging this show ad nauseum. Fair warning.

  • Last night Biz-Z and his girlfriend had a cookout for their families at the house; since I partook of the food, I felt it was only right for me to stay out among the others after I'd finished stuffing my face, despite the fact that I was in total "don't know these people and shall therefore not contribute anything to any conversation whatsoever" mode, which was compounded by the fact that all the conversations going on around me were the type that tend to put a glazed look on my face: home improvement, motorcycles, power tools, etc.

  • Yesterday at lunch H.Q. told us a story about how some people at TWU refer to her as "the Wal-Mart girl" since she once let herself be interviewed for an article about whether people buy their makeup at Wal-Mart or specialty stores. H.Q. represented the Wal-Mart side of things, and so when the article came out, there was a gigantic picture of her next to a truly excellent headline: "Pretty Cheap." I told her if I'd known of that story before, she would have had a nickname much earlier . . .

  • I really, really, really want to see The Descent on the big screen, but there's a real dearth of horror fans in my local circle of friends.

  • I was only kinda-sorta wanting to see Accepted; then I found out that the director was co-writer of Grosse Point Blank and High Fidelity, as well as co-creator of the all too short-lived excellent supernatural series Dead Last, and it got bumped up a few notches in my need to see list. Of course, it's still below Snakes on a Plane, but then again, what isn't?


Monday, August 07, 2006

Movie Mon. - A Lover of Man and Beast Alike

Couple of weeks worth of movie reviewage here, so let's not dilly dally with introductory ramblings.

Ask the Dust: Period piece about the relationship between a struggling writer (Colin Farrell) and a tempestuous waitress (Salma Hayek) in 1930s Los Angeles. A well done, if occasionally frustrating, film. Farrell's character alternates between charmingly funny "lover of man and beast alike" and mean-spirited ass . . . much as I imagine Farrell himself. The movie veers from a chronicle of an oddly captivating dysfunctional duo in the first two acts into a maudlin, star-crossed love story in the final act which lessens the impact of the film; not surprisingly, it turns out that the first part of the film follows the plot of the novel which inspired the film fairly closely, while the sappy third act is a complete departure. Strong performances from Farrell, Hayek, and Idina Menzel (as a crazy admirer of Farrell) still make this worth a viewing, although passionate fans of the novel might disagree.

Benchwarmers: Lowbrow comedy starring David Spade in a typical loser role, Jon Heder in a role that makes it look like Napoleon Dynamite may have been a bit of a comedic fluke, and Rob Schneider in that rarest of roles for him, a quick-witted, confident, commanding lead man. Will wonders never cease? As for the film itself, well, it wasn't as bad as I had feared it was going to be. It's at its best when it's at its most absurd and surreal; for me, the breakout character was the agoraphobic Howie, played by comedian (and co-writer) Nick Swardson, although the paranoid little person with his peanut butter pterodactyl sculpture is a close second. It's when the movie held to well-worn clichés that it lost me. Still, it never caused me physical pain, which is always a plus, and had enough amusing moments for me to feel like it wasn't a total waste of my time.

Final Destination 3: Latest installment in the franchise where death is the antagonist slaps the formula onto a roller coaster accident, this time playing up the "clues" angle with the help of a series of digital photos. Like many franchise films, the quality of the third installment is a bit below that of the previous one, which in turn was less than the original. That being said, if you enjoyed the first two, you'll probably enjoy this one as well. The cast is likable, the dialogue is often amusing (intentionally, even), and the deaths, though over-the-top, are generally inventive. The DVD has a "Choose Their Fates" feature which gives you the option of slightly altering the path of the film, but I'd have to say that from my experience it wasn't really worth the time and effort as most changes were minor and inconsequential..

Clean: Drama about a former junkie (Maggie Cheung) trying to get her life back on track so she can take back custody of her son from her in-laws. The biggest surprise for me in this film (other than the fact that half of it takes place in France and is therefore subtitled) was that the relationship between Cheung and her father-in-law (Nick Nolte) was not adversarial at all; it's not all sturm-und-drang, "You'll never see your son again, you junkie whore!" melodrama like the synopsis implies. Instead, we see a grandfather who is pulling for his daughter-in-law to pull herself together, and a mother who willingly relinquishes custody until she's able to pull her life together and provide for her son. A bit slow at times, but overall a well-done film.

Severed: Forest of the Dead
: Low budget horror film about a group of loggers and environmental activists who are besieged by a band of zed-words. The film showed some promise with an interesting setting and several recognizable faces to fans of the Sci-Fi Channel (notably the late Presidential aide Billy from Battlestar Gallactica and the late Tok'ra Martouf from Stargate: SG-1), but it suffered from too many logical inconsistencies and a sub-plot involving further zombie outbreaks which went absolutely nowhere.

Ice Station Zebra
: Thriller from the late 60s about a submarine crew (captained by Rock Hudson) sent on an Arctic rescue mission which is actually a cover for some Cold War espionage. The movie didn't really grab my interest until the crew actually reaches the titular Arctic base; unfortunately, it's well over 90 minutes into the film before that happens. But even as the action ramped up and my interest was maintained, I still felt a bit of a disconnect from it for one reason: the horrible, horrible Arctic set, whose ice and snow are so incredibly fake that it kept distracting me from everything else. Seriously, it was like something from the original Star Trek series. Was fun just to see Patrick McGoohan play spy, though.

Chasing Sleep: Psychological thriller about an English professor (Jeff Daniels) whose worry and lack of sleep after he reports his wife missing cause him to fall into an ever increasing spiral of paranoia and delusion. Strong performance from Daniels, but the film itself moves at a glacial pace, a glacier constructed totally out of symbolism. Honestly, you could choke a camel on the overt imagery in this one. By the end of the film it's a bit difficult to know exactly what's real and what's in his head, which would normally bother me, but somehow in this one, it works. I'm still curious about what the screenwriter and/or director intended with the whole "everyone around him is on medication" motif.

V for Vendetta: As I was watching the DVD it dawned on me that I never did do that in-depth review I had promised many moons ago, which is too bad, since I don't really remember what all I had planned on saying that first time. In lieu of in-depth analysis, I will instead include one of my favorite snippets of dialogue from the film:

Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

I will say that I enjoyed it just as much the second time, perhaps even a little bit more, since the departures from the graphic novel didn't take me by surprise this time, and that Hugo Weaving does an excellent job as the perpetually masked man. Highly recommended.

Pressure: Thriller starring Kerr Smith and Lochlyn Munro as a couple of med students who stop off at a small town bar and wind up becoming fugitives from the law thanks to a corrupt sheriff (Donnelly Rhodes, who you might know as the doctor on Battlestar Gallactica but who will always be Dutch from Soap to me) and his psychotic son. For a straight to DVD movie that I'd never heard of before, this was surprisingly entertaining, thanks to a funny script and likeable actors.

Hide and Creep: Another low-budget zed-word film, this one falling into the redneck zed-word horror-comedy category. The acting was often sub-par, and it won't win any awards for its FX, but the script was actually pretty danged funny. The ending was a bit of a let-down, but The Anti-Cap'n and I still felt it was worth our time. Plus, I've got to give a thumbs up to any movie which includes a diatribe about how "Is Pepsi okay?" is not a valid response to someone ordering a Coke at a restaurant.

Subject Two
: Low key horror film about a disgruntled medical student who volunteers to help out with an experiment in resurrection technology, not realizing that he's going to be the subject. An interesting film which focuses almost exclusively on the experimenter and his subject; a bit slow at times, but its undercurrent of dark humor and imaginative take on the Frankenstein motif made it one I'd feel good recommending to other horror aficionados.

Acacia: Japanese horror film about a creepy young orphan with a creepy link to the creepy acacia tree in his adoptive parents' back yard. This one was really nothing to write home about.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Melancholy Mohoohoo

Last weekend was a bittersweet one among the Singles as we bid adieu to one of our mainstays: Magic Pants.

And why has Magic Pants decided to desert us? Oh, some cockamamie excuse about "finishing her degree" and "no jobs around here" and "getting hired at a dream job near Waco." You know silly stuff like that.

To help send her off in style, The Cardinal hosted a going away extravaganza at his house on Saturday evening; the party was also supposed to serve as a congratulatory bash for Cap'n Cluck in honor of her new teaching job. I got there a little early, having allowed time for my usual lack of direction and inability to read street addresses while driving the car; I eventually had to call up Cap'n Cluck and ask here for some landmarks to narrow down which house was The Cardinal's. As I pulled up, I wondered if I had understood her directions correctly (a question I would have more readily asked myself after events to follow) since there were no other vehicles in sight. However, as I was parking I noticed another car pull up, driven by one of the Denton Bible crowd I had met the previous week. As we walked up to the front of the house another car pulled up with another D.B. guy. The front door had a note taped to it from The Cardinal explaining that he either (a) wasn't at home or (b) had forgotten to take the note down. It turned out that option (a) was the correct choice, but the three of us entertained ourselves by throwing around a Frisbee the guy I knew had brought. Meanwhile, the guy I didn't know introduced himself, saying "Hi, I'm D., nice to meet you, what was your name again? Mine's D., in case I didn't say." Over the course of the next 15 minutes, D. would tell me his name at least 5 more times, making him pretty much the only person I met that evening whose name I still recall.

We hadn't been throwing the Frisbee around for long when another D.B. guy showed up with his arms full of dessert; when he saw the note on the door he asked if the door was unlocked. We confessed we hadn't even tried it; lo and behold, the door was actually open, and we filed into the house to wait on the arrival of the owner and/or guests of honor. One by one, more D.B. members I didn't know showed up, which did wonders for my neurotically self-conscious nature, dontchaknow. I was vastly relieved when some people I actually knew started showing up to even out the numbers a bit.

A little while after Cap'n Cluck and Magic Pants arrived, Cluckity received a call from one of The Singles who was trying to find The Cardinal's house based on Cap'n C.'s directions. From my vantage point, the conversation went like this:
Cap'n C: [on phone] Okay, did you find Bell? [pause] You're on Dallas Drive? [voice filled with disbelief] How did you get to Dallas Drive from Bell?
Most of the room: Bell turns into Dallas Drive.
Cap'n C: [confused] What? How can that be? Dallas Drive is way over that way. [points towards Dallas Dr.]
Most of the room: So is Bell.
Cap'n C: [even more confused] Isn’t this Bell? [points in exact opposite direction of Bell]
Most of the room: No. Bonnie Brae!
Cap'n C: [into phone] Oops.

Needless to say, the lost Single was not too happy with Cluckity's navigational prompting.

The Cardinal provided dinner (chicken, of course), and afterwards it was game-playing time. Once again the most evil game in the world was brought out. We did make a couple of changes to the rules in hopes of making the game go a little bit faster. Fortunately I did quite a bit better than I did last time, although I did kind of freeze up during my two "me against the whole other team" tries. The first one was partially due to the word (change) and the second was due to the fact that no matter how much I tried to think of a song that had "rock and roll" in it, my mind would only conjure up ones that had "rock"; since the word was "roll," that helped me not at all. Still, I did pretty well during the regular turns, and The Cardinal and I used our Weird Al know-how to prolong our team's chances quite a few times. I think my strongest word was "girl," which enabled me to call upon songs from the Rolling Stones, Mamas and the Papas, and the Kingston Trio, among others. However, I was disappointed in myself when I later realized I had missed out on a perfect opportunity to sing the following song from Once More With Feeling:

I've been having a bad bad day
Come on won't you put that pad away
I'm asking you, please, no
It isn't right it isn't fair
There was no parking anywhere
I swear that hydrant wasn't there
Why can't you let me go?
I think I've paid more than my share
I'm just a poor girl, don't you care?
Hey, I'm not wearing underwear.
Almost everyone there would have had blank looks, but Squiggly would have known what I was talking about. Similarly, I also realized that there was a snippet from another OMWF song which I could have used for "change." Oh, well. Once again, I was on the losing team, and although the board didn't show it being as nearly as close as last time, I felt like our team put up a valiant effort.

By the time Encore ended there had been a slight reduction in our ranks. One of the D.B. guys lobbied hard for our next game to be something called Apples to Apples. The game goes like this: everyone draws 7 red cards, each of which has a person, place or thing listed on it. Then on each turn one person draws one green card which has some sort of descriptive term on it. Each person then has to decide which of their red cards best matches the attribute of the green card, and places the card face down in a pile. The person who drew the green card then looks through the pile and decides which one he likes best, and the person who played that card gets to keep the green card; when someone collects 4 green cards, they win. One key thing to note is that the decision rests entirely in the hands of the person who first drew the green card and their individual line of thinking. One person might choose the funniest answer, another might go with the one the most prosaic, and yet another might choose the most absurd non-sequiter. Because of this, it's more a game of knowing how everyone else judges, and selecting your answers accordingly, than plain old linear thinking. So, how was it?

Didn't like it.

Now, this probably had a bit to do with my crappy cards (almost all of which were city names) and a bit to do with the fact that I didn't know most of the D.B folks well enough to guess which why they'd jump. But, despite the fact that it's probably my least favorite game I've played in recent months, it also happened to be pretty much the only game I've won. I'm sure that means something, but haven't the foggiest idea what. Oh, in case you were wondering, my four winning attributes were sexy, wild, sharp, and the winning card which I can't quite recall, since when I one it all I could think of was "yes, the game is over!" I do recall that it was a negative thing, like "deceptive," and that I picked it up by playing the card "star fruit," my most absurd answer of the evening.

By the time we finished the game it had gotten pretty late, and the ranks of party goers dwindled even more. There was no more game playing, but several of us did hang around The Cardinal's house for awhile just visiting, or in the case of The Anti-Cap'n and The Cardinal, pestering Cap'n Cluck.

At one point The Cardinal was regaling us with a story of his youth, and how once upon a time due to housing issues he always slept out on the porch. This led into a discussion about how when he tells the story to his kids the experience will sound much worse, which then turned into a chorus of grumpy old men impressions: "Back in my day, we had to sleep on the porch in 150 degree weather, and we liked it, we loved it!" One such proclamation was that sleeping on the porch was uphill both ways; when the Cardinal expressed doubt on how that could be possible, Magic Pants was kind enough to demonstrate.

Man, we're going to miss her.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Survivor: Book Monkey Island

Last month when there was a mini-Book Monkey reunion in honor of Rebel Monkey's 30th b-day (an occasion which marked the first time I'd actually seen Kookamama or Bubblegum Tate in 4 or 5 years) an off-hand joke by Buster inspired by the tiki-torches quickly snowballed into "hey, yeah, that sounds like fun, let's do it!" And so was born the idea for our very own do-it-yourself home-version of Survivor, currently scheduled for the last full weekend in August.

The Mag has taken on planning duties for this fun-sized edition which, despite its shortened time frame, will still include two tribes, a merger, luxury and immunity challenges, tribal council, and a monetary prize for the winner, with all the contestants agreeing to chip in $25 which will go towards the prize and purchasing supplies.

Now, normally I wouldn't be discussing this so early, but there's a slight wrinkle: as of now, due to scheduling conflicts of some of the original interested parties, we're a few contestants short of the magic number of 10 needed to get all the budgeting to work out. So, I'm now putting out the call to all you blog monkeys out there: if you would like to see if you can outwit, outplay, and outlast the Book Monkeys, and can be in Enid, OK from 7:00 PM Friday Aug. 25 through the afternoon of Sunday Aug. 27, let me know.

I'm hoping to get at least a couple more people to sign up because, if they do, then I can skip embarrassing myself in the physical challenges and roughing it, and instead just play Jeff Probst.

Which reminds me: if you think it sounds like an entertaining weekend, but don't really want to compete, we are open to volunteers to help run challenges and maybe man video cameras that will one day yield footage guaranteed to embarrass us all for the rest of our lives.

Honestly, how can you pass that up?


Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Three Stooges of FBCD

As promised, here are the photos Cap'n Cluck took of her Stoogeriffic prank.

First we have Cluckity-co-conspirator Magic Pants posing with the masterpiece at Cluck's house.

Next we have the Mistress of Mohoohoo posing outside, where the natural light brings out my inate pastiness.

And the obligatroy long-shot wherein I'm surprised Cluckity was able to focus past the blinding whiteout provided by my face.

Help, I think I'm seeing double!

And finally, the grand unveiling.


Doggone? Not quite, but almost.

As I was leaving the house for work this morning I happened to catch something out of the corner of my eye which looked suspiciously like two dogs running around sans supervision several houses down. Not surprisingly, this caught my attention, as “strange dogs running wild on the streets” is one of the triggers for my personal form of dog-fear. However, as I looked at the two dogs cavorting in a neighbor’s yard, I thought to myself, "Boy, those look a lot like Sam and Jake . . . Oh, crap." I hollered out "Sam!" and sure enough, the larger dog's ears perked up, looked at me, and came a running, with the puppy hot on his heels. I shepherded them into the back yard which is when I figured out how they'd gotten out. Apparently the workers who had been there yesterday to pour some concrete for the back porch had neglected to securely fasten the gate and the rambunctious dogs had somehow sensed their window of opportunity and took it. I have no clue how long they'd been out and about, and if I hadn't been running later than I'd planned I might never have seen them at all. So, I guess hitting the snooze button actually worked in my favor for once.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

TV Tues - "Rotiart" Spelled Backwards Is "Traitor!"

Running late, I know, so let's just dive in.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: 3/4 of the way through this mini-series and I have to say, I'm not super-impressed. One of the problems is that the opened with the "William Hurt vs. killer toy soldiers" piece, and all others have paled in comparison. Only one of them has been really bad (the one with Claire Forlani was a big ol' mess), with the rest being pretty watchable (the Ron Livingston one was pretty fun), but through it all I just keep wondering why in the world they chose these particular stories to immortalize on film.

Eureka: New Sci-Fi comedy about a small town peopled by mad scientists and the average joe who gets roped into being the new sheriff. So far this one's been pretty fun; my favorite scene in last week's ep was when the sheriff realized that the smart house's "female" voice was really its inventor speaking in a falsetto. Fun concept and an engaging cast, but I'm wondering how well the "super science gone amuck" idea is going to be able to sustain the show.

Who Wants to be a Superhero?: So much to say about this entertaining little "reality" show, but having a hard time verbalizing it. The cheesiness factor is nearly overwhelming, such as the unveiling of Rotiart's true role and, well, practically every single word that comes out of Stan the Man's mouth, but that's part of the show's appeal. My favorite things from the premiere were Monkey Woman scaling the tree to change her costume; Feedback doing his little roll off of the ledge for the same task; and almost anything and everything that Major Victory said or did: wasn't a big fan of his "Be a winner, not a wiener" catchphrase, but his over-the-top melodramatic character moments made the show for me

Amazing Screw-on Head: If you haven't seen this incredibly strange and funny animated comedy, do yourself a favor and head to Sci-Fi.com to check it out. It's got a monkey with a gun, for crying out loud: what more do you want?

Stargate SG-1: I'll admit to being a little let down by the Atlantis crossover ep, but that's because I got my hopes set a bit too high. Still, it's always fun to watch Sam and Rodney play off of each other, and the bouncy energy Claudia Black brings to the role of Valla completely wipes away any image I have of her previous roles.

Carnivale Season 2: Why do I do it? Why do I let myself get emotionally evolved with shows that I know are doomed? Because they frickin' kick butt, that's why; better to have loved and lost a well written and entertaining show than to have never have loved one at all, that's my motto. I would like to have a little "chat" with the HBO exec who cancelled the show and then defended the action by claiming that the show had tied everything up. Obviously, this fool had stopped watching before the last 5 minutes of the show which found one cast member left for dead, another gone over to the dark side, and a presumed dead character brought back to wreak more havoc. I hope that the show's creator finds a way to tell the rest of the tale at some point, because I, for one, am dying to know how this ultimate battle between good and evil as exemplified by a false prophet and a renegade carnie turns out.

Newsradio Season 4: Finally finished up the last of the Phil Hartman episodes, and then listened to all of the commentaries. Now, I'm one of those folks who loves commentaries, and sitcom commentaries can be some of the best with so many funny minds riffing off of each other; I cite Futurama as a perfect example. Newsradio commentaries usually benefit from this as well, but this time around there was a bit of a snag, since most of the actors weren't able to make it in for more than one or two sessions at the most. I mean, it's just not the same without a spaced-out Andy Dick shushing all of his fellow commentators constantly because he's trying to hear the episode, y'know? Which brings me to one of my chief complaints about these commentaries, and a plea to DVD commentators in general (since I know oh so many big Hollywood types frequent CoIM . . .): please, if you're going to do a commentary for a series that was filmed more than a couple of years ago, please, please, please refamiliarize yourself with the episodes you're going to talk about before attempting the commentaries. I'm not suggesting you have to watch all of the episodes again; I understand you're busy with all of your deal-making and schmoozing and other Hollywood-star type stuff. But please, for the love of all that is holy, please at least go online and read a synopsis of the episode beforehand. That way, your audience doesn't have to spend almost half an hour listening to you all say "I have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on in this episode" over and over again, an especially frustrating experience when said commentary accompanies one or two of the viewer's favorite episodes.