Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spooky Singles

Last Friday was the Singles Halloween party, held at the home of Angel, Cap'n Cluck, and their roomie who I shall call Doc Jetson for the moment: Doc because Cluckity had decided that each of the members of their household (including the pets) synched up with one of the Severn Dwarves (Cluck was Sneezy, Angel was Bashful, etc.), and Jetson because I don't want to confuse her with my old roomie The Doc and that's who she was for Halloween: Jane Jetson.

Doc Jetson and Mad Doctor Angel

Upon our arrival, we were greated with a personalized graveyard Cluckity had made.

I got to help her write some of the epitaphs, but mine was all her doing.

What a horrible, horrible way to die! Horrible!

Cluck had set the house up to play a semi-murder-mystery game of Clue, and had asked me to come up with clues which would direct players from one room to the next, as well as provide hints to the identity of the killer, as well as the weapon of choice and murder locale. Of course, she asked me to come up with the clues back in September, and I didn't wind up writing them until, oh, a couple of days before the party in the span of about an hour. The clues were as follows:

Kitchen clues
It's the color of sin she doth wear
No, not black, well, except for her hair
It's the bloodiest shade
But some care must be made
For it still does not mean she was there

The killer may be blunt
His weapon, though, was not
Perhaps this devil danced
Where normal folks foxtrot

Ballroom clues
Although you see stilettos
On some women's dancing shoes
There were no pointed weapons
When Body life did lose

This room was made for dancing
And that's all that's been done
For more clues head on in to where
Reclining seems like fun

Lounge clues
A room meant for relaxing
And enjoyment of one's life
Could never be the scene
Of such horrendous strife

Instead let's set our sights
On where food our teeth do rend
Could a candle's flickering light
Illuminate our Body's end?

Dining room clues

All the colors in the 'verse
Might put our Body in the hearse
But the one with many hues
Isn’t one you should accuse

Perhaps there’s more to find
In the place of solitude
In the office where our Body
Often went to think and brood

Study clues

It’s such a mess that minds such as
A soldier’s might rebel
But a military drive
Is not our murderer’s tale-tell

So where to glean the knowledge
Of how best to kill one’s foe?
Why, perhaps within the room
With works of Christie, Doyle, and Poe.

Library clues

Killer used a smoking gun?
Well sir that’s a load of tripe
But it’s also true
He never used
A smoking pipe

And nothing here but books o’er which
The smoking prof might drool
Perhaps the trouble happened
In the room that’s used for pool?

Billiard room clues

Trouble with a capital T
May in this room be found
But one thing you won’t see
Is a body on the ground

This room is clear
There’s no blood here
It’s quiet as a mouse
So next you should
Go do some good
And look at the greenhouse

Conservatory clues

Pure as snow?
This I doubt.
Killer, though?
Count her out.

There’s something rotten here
Something reeking much like doom
Or is that just the stench from
The food preparing room . . .?

Now do you see why I didn't want to write a mystery for Write in the Thick of It? Apparently I should have had somebody who didn't already know the answer proofread the clues beforehand, as the intrepid detectives took a looooooooong time to figure it out. But eventually Li'l Random and his partner-in-crime-solving Mei-mei* reigned victorious in the game.

Following the protracted game of "nobody can figure out Todd's clues," we voted for the costume contest. Angel won funniest for her Mad Doctor outfit pictured above; our nickless Singles intern won scariest

Mei-mei won best overall
and Cap'n Bubbles and a couple of her friends wore best group theme

Surprisingly, I don't think I hear them burst into anything from Wicked all night long

Other notable costumes included a nickless pirate

Arrrr, I demands a nickname, ye scurvy dog!

Black Ops Fluffy and finally-back-from-deployment Cap'n Shack-Fu

"Just let them try to send me away again."
bloody victim Cap'n Peanut

"What, I didn't get best costume? That's it, time for some comfort food!"

Batman and his new crimefighting partner, Mullet Man

"No, Bats, I'm not Wayne. Or Garth. Or Joe Dirt."

and Gypsy Queen Cluck and her faithful companion Li'l Random

although after many people asked The Random One if he was supopsed to be a pirate, he decided that his outfit was more of a pirate/gypsy ensemble, or, to use the phrase he coined, "pripsy."
The random pripsy carrying one of his babies** close to his heart

Of course, the fact that Li'l Random decided to try on Mei-Mei's red go-go boots may have led to other, less flattering guesses as to his costumed identity . . .

"Why can't I ever find these in my size?"

After the costume contest, it was time for pumpkin carving. I didn't participate, what with my lack of artistic abilities and all, but a lot of the gang did. While there were some nice, intricate pieces, my two favorites were Li'l Random and Mei-Mei's, due to its simplicity

and Cap'n Peanut's because it was his own original design

Honorable mention goes to Li'l Random's foray into apple carving

After the pumpkin carving was over, some of the guests started to leave. Li'l Random and Doc Jetson, who had been having a bit of a feud going all night after she pegged him in the face with a handful of pumpkin guts, broke out into a full-scale water war in the garage, with Mei-mei and Cap'n Peanut jumping in for good measure. I stayed out of the way for the most part, only getting involved long enough to warn my best bud Li'l Random that Doc J. was hiding around the corner ready to drench him with the tub left over from apple-bobbing.

Sadly, no pictures of the drenched water-war combatants as of yet.

Cap'n Shack-Fu catching some Zs after a long night of Halloweening

*More on Mei-Mei's nickname another time, promise.
**Yes, there's a story there; oddly enough, it's sorta connected with Mei-Mei's nickname.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TV Tues -Damaging Their Geek Cred

Monday, October 22

Chuck (NBC 7:00):
I'm hoping that this episode puts a rest to the "Chuck is standing everyone up and disappointing them" style of subplots, at least for a while; it's one of those storytelling tropes that I don't particularly enjoy. Outside of that (and the glaring absence of Captain Awesome), entertaining as usual.

Journeyman (NBC 9:00): Finally! Finally somebody actually witnessed him travel! And I don't care if it was just his little kid or not, I'm just happy that there is some external proof in the present that will maybe help him convince his wife to stop being such an [expletive deleted].

Tuesday, October 23

Reaper (CW 8:00):
Sadly, have absolutely nothing to say about this ep because I apparently set the VCR up incorrectly, and thus taped channel 8 (ABC and Dancing with the Stars result show) instead of channel 9. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 24

Pushing Daisies (ABC 7:00):
When Olive told Chuck's aunt to make a little birdhouse in her soul, I immediately thought "hey, they just referenced a They Might Be Giants song, how weird is that?" Of course, after the next commercial break we got to hear Olive and the aunt actually sing "Birdhouse in Your Soul," and I'm still trying to decide if that makes it more or less weird . . . I love Swoosie Kurtz as the more bitter aunt if for no other reason than she brings some much needed cynicism to the show. Oh, sure, Chi McBride brings it as well, but his comes across primarily as grumpiness at Chuck, while her demeanor is bleak and pessimistic in all things. Was also fun to see Jayma Mays (a.k.a. Hiro's doomed waitress girlfriend from season 1 of Heroes) as the very-Southern lighthouse keeper.

Private Practice (ABC 8:00): Once again, the doc from the big hospital is unnecessarily evil toward the private practice crew, taking me totally out of the show. Really, the only thing I truly enjoyed about this ep were the scenes revolving around Del and his midwifery rite of passage -- glad that Chris Lowell has found life after Veronica Mars.

Ultimate Fighter (Spike 9:00): I know I haven't been talking about UF much, but I have been watching it faithfully this season, just keep forgetting to post about it, mainly because I usually don't have much to say outside of that I really want Team Hughes to beat Team Serra just to spite Serra, but at this point I don't see it happening. Oh, and that Mac is a freak.

Thursday, October 25

My Name is Earl (NBC 7:00):
I liked the fact that they referenced the good ol' blood-thirsty Joy of season 1, and showed that while she still may be selfish and evil, she's not quite as evil.

30 Rock (NBC 7:30): Am I the only one disappointed we didn't get to actually see the Page-off?

Survivor (CBS 7:00): Of all of the times for them to attempt the "throw the challenge so you can use hidden immunity" stratagem *sigh* Oh, well, at least they got rid of annoying Sherea.

The Office (NBC 8:00): Loved Andy's inability to remember the end to the jingle, and Dwight's maniacal glee at realizing that Angela was still thinking of him when making out with Andy.

Scrubs (NBC 8:30): And so, the final season begins. I'm glad that Elliot and J.D. aren't getting back together (at least, not yet), and I have to admit, I kind of like watching angry, bitter Keith. I'm wondering how much longer Elizabeth Banks will stick around as Kim after the baby is born; I'm hoping a while, because I've loved her ever since Wet Hot American Summer and have felt that out of all of J.D.'s relationships she was the best overall fit.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC 8:00): So, the Gizzy cat is finally out of the bag; it's about time. While I've hated the whole storyline, I am glad that Izzy called Christina on her "closed circle" hypocrisy. Loved Bailey's glee at the prospect of the annual chainsaw pumpkin carving festival.

Monday, October 29

How I Met Your Mother (CBS 7:00):
Only a so-so episode; some nice lines here and there, but not one of their best efforts.

Big Bang Theory (CBS 7:30): Another funny ep, but I did have one minor complaint: Wolowitz's assertion that Koothrappali's costume was the actual Norse god Thor and not the Marvel comics equivalent rings false, for as any true geek knows, the Norse god Thor had red hair and a beard, and not the traditional long golden locks that were popularized by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in the day. Normally I probably wouldn't have pointed this out -- unless, y'know, it was a really slow blogging day -- but as the show makes a huge point about the literalism and obsessive nature of the four main geeks, I found this lapse in geekery slightly disappointing.

And, once again,



Heroes (NBC 8:00): Bob's sudden change of heart after Mohinder's hissy fit rang false, but I'm not sure if it's part of a larger plot or just poor scripting. Only time will tell, I suppose. And, boy, that West sure is a bad influence on our Claire-Bear, isn't he?


Monday, October 29, 2007

Movie Mon. - Return of the Zed-Word Comedy

28 Weeks Later: Sequel to the entertaining pseudo-zed-world film 28 Days Later has some interesting ideas and scenes, but suffers from an overabundance of stupid character decisions which are all made for no other reason than to advance the plot. Mildly frustrating film that fails to capture the fun of its predecessor.

Bug: Strange little psychological thriller about a lonely woman who becomes involved with a mysterious drifter who claims to have been the victim of government experiments; when the end credits rolled, Maverick turned to me and said "I hope you can get your money back for this," to which I simply replied "I liked it." The film was adapted from a stage play, and boy, does it show; highly dialog and character driven, and once we get past the initial intro of characters, the bulk of the film takes place in the same room. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing; as the main characters begin their descent into rampant paranoia, the claustrophobic nature of their environs worked to enhance the tension. A bit slow-going, and a bit too strange for some, but if nothing else one that I'll recommend to fellow Odd Squodder Li'l Random.

Fido: Horror-comedy which could probably be described as Night of the Living Dead meets Leave it to Beaver, with a smattering of Lassie or Old Yeller thrown in. It's the 1950s, and the great Zombie Wars are over; the zombie problem still persists, but has been contained and controlled by ZomCon and their zombie-control collars, which have turned the blood-thirsty living dead into menial labor -- mailmen, milkmen, crossing guards, etc. After Timmy Robertson's mom buys a brand new zombie to help out around the house, social outcast Timmy realizes that he now has a new best friend, although things take a turn for the worse when Fido's control collar malfunctions and a neighbor pays the price . . . Funny, stylized film that might not be threatening Shaun of the Dead's position as "funniest zed-word movie ever," but it definitely ranks in the top five. I mean, how can you not love a film with lines such as "Bill, just because your father tried to eat you does that mean we all have to be unhappy?" Check out the trailer here.

The Tripper: Semi-humorous slasher film from writer/director David Arquette about a serial killer in a Ronald Regan mask terrorizing a music festival filled with drugged out pseudo-hippies. The concept is much better than the actual film, which never quite lives up to the fun inherent in the premise. Still a worthwhile movie for fans of the genre, although gorehound aficionados might be disappointed by the lackluster, man-that-looks-fake FX.

The Condemned: Surprisingly entertaining Stone Cold Steve Austin vehicle about a group of death row inmates from around the world who are given a chance to fight for their chance at freedom as part of a crazy businessman's latest attempt at reality TV. As far as mindless action movies go, this one wasn't all that bad, although the architect of the whole scheme made the leap from "slightly cold hearted" to "maniacally evil bastage" in such a short amount of time that it kind of took me out of the film. Plus, I have a low tolerance for overly violent movies that try to be a commentary on how horrible we are for loving to watch violence; there's usually a pretty fine line between satire and hypocrisy, and this one felt like it fell a bit on the hypocritical side.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"What I Watched" Wednesday - TV Time

I think I'll save my movie reviews for next Monday, since I've only watched a couple since last time. Should be a nice Halloweeny review day, since I have a couple of off-beat newly released on DVD horror flicks on their way to me from Netflix right now: Fido, about a boy and his pet zombie, and The Tripper, the feature-length writing and directorial debut of David Arquette about a Ronald Regan-obsessed serial killer going after a hippie commune. How can I pass up either of those?

Now, on to the TV reviews.

Monday, Oct. 15

Chuck (NBC 7:00): Yes, still running a week behind on reporting these. My only complaint about the episode was that Sarah got all ticked at Chuck for not trusting her, even though she flat out lied to him about Bryce. Other than that, still a great show

Journeyman (NBC 9:00): Every week I'm torn on this one: on the one hand, each episode has some clever moments, and I'm definitely intrigued by the overall mystery of what exactly is causing his travels; on the other hand, the fact that he falls into domestic chitchat with Olivia instead of pressing her for some real answers rankles, and the bipolar attitude of his wife towards him is driving me insane, as is the fact that nobody ever sees him disappear.

Tuesday, Oct. 16

Reaper (CW, 8:00): This one almost felt like it was shown out of sequence; either that, or they're setting up that, when it comes to dealing with the Devil, Sam's a very slow learner. Plus, they all acted like "nobody can sell your soul but you" was a new idea, even though it got brought up in the pilot; of course, with all of the junk that got crammed into that overstuffed mess, it's not surprising that it slipped through the cracks. Still like the show a lot for it's wit and humor, but feel like the through-plot isn't progressing at all.

Wednesday, Oct. 17

Pushing Daisies (ABC 7:00):
First of all, some good news: Pushing Daisies has been picked up for the full season, meaning we are guaranteed at least 22 episodes. The overall plotting still leaves a bit to be desired, and sometimes the characters seem about to collapse under the weight of their own preciousness, but I'm still hooked for now.

Private Practice (ABC 8:00): Am I the only one annoyed by the blond doctor from the big hospital who seems to only be there to give the main cast an establishment to rail against? And I hate that they're going to have Cooper pursue Violet, as I'm pretty sure that making them a couple instead of just good friends will screw up their dynamic.

Thursday, Oct. 18

My Name Is Earl (NBC 7:00):
I liked the concept of everyone escaping their mundane lives through the joys of creative writing more than I did the actual execution; don't know why, but most of the installments fell flat for me. Not that there weren't some great moments sprinkled throughout, especially in Randy's mishmash superhero tale an Catalina's telenovela, but all in all, not one of their stronger eps.

30 Rock (NBC 7:30): The whole "Jenna gets fat" storyline is much more entertaining than I had anticipated, and the cookie jar sequences were great. While I can understand why they're focusing on their heavy hitters (Jack, Liz, Tracey, and Kenneth) I do wish they'd go back to showing more of the writers' room. Although, after complaining in the past how underutilized Jane Krakowski had been, I suppose I should be happy she's getting a bit of the spotlight now.

Survivor (CBS 7:00): Well, there went my hopes of seeing the most annoying people go first; can't believe the girls blew the challenge so blatantly.

The Office (NBC 8:00): As usual, the show veers from the genius (Pam's reaction to realizing Michael was watching Million Dollar Baby, the Schrute farm, Andy's wooing of Angela, Kevin's ire towards Scrantonicity, Kelly's crazy mind games) to the cringe inducing (the bulk of Michael's scenes). If I can make it through Michael being a complete moron, I can make it through anything. Have to say, the scene where Jim goes to comfort Dwight in the stairwell was actually kind of touching.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC 8:00): Not one of their better episodes: the Izzie/Callie stuff was as bad as I'd feared, and Adele's dressing down of The Chief made me switch between hoping he gives up on getting her back and thinking that he approached the topic with her in the dumbest way possible and so deserved to get a tongue-lashing. All in all, far too little Bailey; even a crappy episode can be saved with a generous helping of Bailey.

Monday, Oct 22

How I Met Your Mother (CBS 7:00):
Liked the way that future Ted dealt with the fact that he couldn't remember Blahblah's real name; liked Barney's crazy/hotness scale illustrations; liked all of the reminiscing of how they met; liked Blahblah's crazy reactions to Robin; liked Barney's repeated use of "crazy"; all in all, liked quite a bit in this ep.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS 7:30): More good news: this show, which has gotten stronger with each episode, has also been picked up for a full 22 episodes. Nice to see Sara Gilbert return, hope she makes a habit of it, but once again the true star of the show is Sheldon.

And now, for Bubblegum "Don't have cable so will have to wait for the DVDs" Tate's benefit: SPOILER SPACE


Heroes (NBC 8:00): Parkman's dad's identity as the killer makes sense if you remember that Angela Petrelli's injuries were self-inflicted, and that Hiro's dad was the only one who saw the assailant that "pushed" him off the roof; if that's really the case, and he's not just a red herring, then I wonder who it was that Mr. Sulu, I mean, Nakamura, saw rushing him in the vision. Glad to see Kristen "Veronica Mars" Bell pop up; wondering exactly who her "daddy" is. Oh, and Mohinder still annoys the heck out of me; from the instant he let Sylar live instead of finishing him off last season he lost all rights to judge anybody else for their decision making.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Waiting for Wednesday

My deepest apologies, my blog monkeys, but I have not exactly been in the right frame of mind to do much in the way of blogging, and am doubtful I will find the time today to do my usual TV roundup -- please check back tomorrow for a "What I Watched" Wednesday post.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Couldn't Have Worked Out Better If I Had Planned It

It seems about the only way I can catch the wily PigPen off-guard is by a combination of fortuitous circumstances; last night was a prime example.

I was talking to PigPen while he was checking his MySpace for the first time in weeks. And, since he hadn't checked his MySpace in weeks, he had a ton of notifications about new blog posts to go through, both from myself and others. As he was scanning the titles he came across my recent post Guess Which Two of the Seven Dwarves I Am*. He clicked on the link, and while the computer was slowly loading the page, he glanced at me mischievously. "Let's see, there's Dopey . . ." here he trailed of, as I had immediately leaned over and began tapping the screen next to the fine print before he had even gotten a single work out. Puzzled, he squinted at the screen and read my preemptive "And no, PigPen, Dopey is not an option" comment. His reactions followed quickly upon one another; shock, laughter, high-fiving of me, knocking of own chair over, faux-stomping off to his room while bemoaning loudly "Have I really become that predictable?" Well, when it comes to taking cheap shots at me, yes, yes he has.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

TV Tues - Hopelessly Devoted

Been a little too busy to get totally caught up on everything (Monday nights are way too chock full of good TV and activities), but here's what's been watched and deemed comment-worthy.

Monday Oct. 8

Chuck (NBC 7:00):
Still my favorite show of the new season; glad to see that they're finally done with all the set-up and are now ready to head into the Villain-of-the-Week stuff.

Journeyman (NBC 8:00): There are parts of this show that I'm really enjoying, and then parts that drive me crazy. The fact that he never presses very hard for information from former fiance and fellow time traveler about why they are the way they are: frustrating.

Tuesday Oct. 9

(CW 8:00):
After what struck me as a trifle forced and overcrowded pilot, the second and third episodes of the series have lived up to the rave reviews it's been receiving. I am now officially on board for the long haul.

Wednesday Oct. 10

Pushing Up Daisies (ABC 7:00):
So, I went into the second ep with my expectations set at a slightly different level, and for the first 15-20 minutes I was still not quite into it. But then we had the sequence with the Japanese businessfolk which made me smile, followed quickly by the Dandelion model hunkered over behind the car and crabwalking on the rotating dias as she ate the pie which made me laugh out loud, which was soon followed by Kristen Chenowith in a scene which made me think "that is one of the most awesome things I've ever seen.*"

Sure, there were some plot holes, and the stylized nature takes some getting used to, but that scene right there has earned Pushing Daisies a place in my heart**.

Private Practice (ABC 8:00): This one was a bit hit or miss for me; most of the "miss" scenes were ones focusing on Addison, while the "hit" scenes featured Cooper and Violet, which is turning out to be a pattern. My favorite line of the episode came from Naomi, however: "This boy's baking cakes at me!"

Thursday Oct. 11

My Name is Earl (NBC 7:00): One of the nice things about Earl is that it even if they do decide to have Earl serve out the full jail sentence instead of springing him with some deus ex machina, it can easily avoid falling into a jailhouse rut by dint of flashback episodes such as this.

Survivor (CBS 7:00): Extremely glad to see crazy Dave gone; let's hope the voting out of annoying cast members trend continues. Of course, with the high percentage of annoying cast members remaining, it would almost be hard not to.

The Office (NBC 8:00): Several great moments in this ep: Pam and Jim's pranking of Dwight, the office members obsessed with the DVD screen, the whole office's reaction to the pizza announcement (especially Kevin's "It tastes like hot circles of garbage"), Meredith wanting Jim to sign her cast . . . all comedy gold. But nothing beats the sheer awesomeness of Andy wooing Angela with Abba's "Take a Chance on Me" while backed up by two friends on speaker-phone -- greatness, pure greatness.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC 8:00): Good-bye, Really Old Guy; we hardly knew ye. Christina's manipulation of Meredith was fun, and pretty much every scene with Bailey was gold, as usual. The previews for this weeks ep that show Izzy getting ready for fisticuffs with Callie just made me cringe, however.


How I Met Your Mother (CBS 7:00):
The mini-Barneys were great, as was Barney's Machiavellian plan to win The Game.

Big Bang Theory (CBS 7:30):
Man, they're bringing in all the Roseanne alums, aren't they? I'm hoping John Goodman or Sarah Chalke are next on the list. As for the episode itself, Sheldon continues to be the highlight of the show.

Two and a Half Men (CBS 8:00): The return of Rose! Too bad Drive had to be canceled in order for it to happen. Here's hoping it's not a one-off appearance.

Heroes (NBC 8:00):
Okay, the big reveal that Parkman's dad was one of the Nine; took me by surprise. The reveal that he was also the Nightmare Man; not so much. Interesting that Sylar is going by Gabriel again; I wonder if that has any significance other than him just feeling lost. Also enjoyed watching Micah's cousin discover her Taskmaster-esque photographic reflexes.

*A scene I'm sure several other people saw as "The moment the show lost all appeal."
**Even if it did get "Hopelessly Devoted" stuck in my head for the rest of the week.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Movie Mon. - A Smattering of Horror

Very little movie watching got done this week due to trying to stay current on TV viewage, attending the State Fair, working out, physical therapy, roomies' softball games, etc. So here are the two whole movies I was able to watch this past week.

Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane: Low budget horror flick whose tongue may not have been firmly planted in cheek, but it definitely poked itself over to the side from time to time. Some characters entertained me (the fed and his prisoner, the stewardesses), some annoyed me (the golfer's wife, the head scientist, the jocks and their vapid girlfriends), but overall the film just left me cold; it's almost as if all the wit the writers had was wasted on the title.

1408: Director's Cut: Adaptation of a Stephen King story about a man who makes his living writing about haunted vacation spots even though he doesn't believe in the supernatural -- up until he checks into the malevolent room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel, that is. The bulk of the movie is John Cusack talking to himself as he tries to cope with the strange occurrences in the room; in the hands of a lesser actor this might have made the movie unwatchable, but Cusack's charisma and skill propelled the movie along just fine. One of the better horror movies I've seen recently. In the interest of padding today's woefully short post, there are three things in particular I'd like to comment on, for three, as you know, is the magic number. Oh yes it is; it's the magic number. Just ask School House Rock if you don't believe me.

But I digress.

  1. The version we watched was the director's cut with "alternate ending." After looking up the details of the theatrical ending, may I just say that I am extremely glad we got to watch the version we did; it appears that the original ending was replaced at the theaters because test audiences said it was "too much of a downer." And, heaven forbid a horror movie not have a sugar-coated, "they all lived happily after" ending, right? *sigh*
  2. During the mind games the room was playing on Cusack, The Lovable PigPen, prompted, one assumes, but a sort of professional respect for a fellow force for evil, repeatedly commented "Oh, the room is goooooood! I like this room!" However, there was one moment which even PigPen admitted was a step to far; I guess the fictional hotel room wins the "who's more evil?" contest.
  3. Every time Samuel L. Jackson appeared on screen, I was waiting for him to scream "I'm tired of these [expletive deleted] ghosts in this [expletive deleted] room!" Although that never happened, Mr. Jackson did get to drop at least one f-bomb, I believe, which makes me wonder if he has now made that a part of his contract, and if letting him have a purple lightsaber was the only way Lucas could get him to waive that clause for the Star Wars prequels.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Guess Which Two of the Seven Dwarves I Am*

You know what I'd like? I'd like for my body to respond to my going to bed an hour earlier than usual as an opportunity to get an hour more rest, instead of just waking me up an hour before my alarm clock goes off. That would be nice.

*And no, PigPen, Dopey is not an option


Thursday, October 11, 2007

It Puts the Lotion on Its Skin, In Hopes Its Finger Will Bend Again

For the next few weeks I'll be doing physical therapy for my finger Tuesday and Thursday afternoons after I get off of work. My initial evaluation was a couple of days ago, at which point I discovered that my recovering middle finger is about 1 cm bigger in diameter than the other middle finger. I also had confirmed that I haven't quite regained full range of motion in the ring and pinky fingers of the same hand, although their slight resistance to full motion is only a matter of a few degrees, whereas the big troublemaker has between 60-70 degrees of improvement before it's close to being normal* again.

To facilitate this, I've been given a series of exercises to do three to four times a day. First there is a series of stretches at the joints; I'm supposed to start out doing sets of 10, and then work my way up. Next, there is the "tendon glide" exercise, which resembles this image

except my instructions were to go A-D-A-B-A-E-A-C, all of which counts as one rep. I'm also supposed to apply copious amounts of hand lotion in order to massage the area around the scar for about 3-4 minutes 3-4 times a day in order to flatten out and break up the scar tissue. Then, once an hour I'm supposed to raise my hand above my head an open and close it in order to get the blood pumping and reduce swelling; three to four times a day I'm supposed to follow this up by propping my elbow on a towel, applying more hand lotion and massaging from my fingertip down to my forearm for 3-4 minutes, which is also supposed to help with improving circulation and reducing swelling. Sounds like a blast, huh?

My second appointment is this afternoon; we'll see much progress has been made in the whole two days since I started.



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

TV Tues - Revising Expectations

Finally starting to get a little caught up, although there are still a couple of shows I'm lagging behind on.


Moonlight (CBS 8:00):
First of all, whatever genius at CBS's advertising department decided to market this as a show about a type of hero you've never seen before needs to be tied down and forced to watch every single episode of Forever Knight and Angel until they're finally willing to admit that, honestly, vampire detective? Not necessarily "original." Outside of that, I liked Jason Dohring as the baby-faced capitalistic vampire mentor, and thought that the female lead was likable. Not too keen on the main character as of yet (kind of bland in a brooding avenger of the night sort of way), but maybe that will change with time. Of course, that's assuming I stick with it long enough to find out . . .


Chuck (NBC 7:00):
Still my favorite new show of the season; the fast food fist fight between the warring agents was quite possibly the highlight of my TV watching week. Could have done without the awkward dinner party sequence, but I can forgive one small stumble in an otherwise entertaining show.

Journeyman (NBC 9:00): Finally got a chance to watch the first two epsiodes which turned out to be a lot more entertaining than I had predicted from the previews. The twist of having him miss out on huge portions of his current life due to his new powers does add some interesting tension, although his wife's reactions in the pilot really bugged me -- honestly, when your husband shows up after two days and says he can't remember where he's been, wouldn't a more compassionate, loving response be "Honey, let's get you to a doctor and make sure there's not something wrong" instead of her oh-so-sweet "Well, at least you could have called!" Sheesh. I just want to know how long it is before someone actually sees him disappear.


Cavemen (ABC 7:00)
: Not as catastrophically awful as I had feared, but in no way, shape, or form does it qualify as "good."

Carpoolers (ABC 7:30): Oh, Fred Goss, how far you have fallen; couple of mildly amusing moments, but probably not going to make it onto my watch list.


Pushing Daisies (ABC 7:00):
See, you'd think by now I would have learned not to get my expectations up too high. My biggest issue with the pilot stemmed from the fact that I went in expecting this to have the same dark, cynical, snarky sensibility as Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, and instead found myself immersed in a bright and shiny fairy tale. Sure, there's a bit of an edge hiding there, what with all the death and murder and such, but the overall perkiness of the characters threw me for a loop.

Private Practice
(ABC 8:00):
Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuch better second episode; sure, Addison getting all bent out of shape at Tim Daly (yeah, I still have no clue what his character's name is, and I"m too lazy to look it up on IMDB right now) was stupid, but overall the characters were much more likable this time around. Still not up to the quality of Grey's, but maybe it's starting to find its way.


My Name is Earl (NBC 7:00):
The Earl in jail storyline shows no sigh of ending anytime soon as we're introduced to the bumbling warden with his "one month off your prison term" certificates and see Randy get a job at the jail. I'm guessing that Earl will be spreading the wonders of karma throughout the penal system until the first batch of sweeps.

The Office (NBC 8:00): Lots of great stuff in this ep, especially psycho-stalker Kelly's attempts to woo Ryan back, but Michael driving his car into the water was a bit much for me; I prefer it when he comes across as clueless and not functionally retarded.

Survivor (CBS 7:00): Still not really finding anyone to cheer for, although James did earn points when he was complaining about being the only person out there who had apparently had the brains to go by a Barnes & Noble and read up on survival skills beforehand.

Grey's Anatomy (CBS 8:00): Some really great stuff with Bailey in the first two eps of the season, especially her shanghaiing of Meredith for help in the clinic and the exchange between her and Karev after his blunder with the meth-head dad. Right now I'm just waiting for the George/Izzy/Callie triangle to come to a head; hate all of the sneaking around.


how I Met Your Mother (CBS 7:00): I always enjoy the show when it highlights the competitive nature of the guys' friendship, so between the Wii Wimbledon and hunt for The Belt, this was a nice ep for me. Especially liked Barney's attempts at sabotage, his plan to put Ted back into the hunt, and his final "You did. You didn't. He didn't. No, wait, he did!" run. Good stuff.

Big Bang Theory (CBS 7:30): After being only so-so towards the show after the pilot, I find myself pleasantly surprised by how much I'm enjoying it. Loved the WoW bit at the beginning of the ep, and emotionally stunted Sheldon trying to cope with slightly-less stunted Leonard's romantic woes was entertaining. Even better was seeing Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki play potential love interests yet again, even if their current characters are about a zillion miles away from Darlene and David.

Two and a Half Men (CBS 8:00): Not much to say about the ep, other than after Robin's restaurant head injury was followed closely by Leonard's possible restaurant concussion on Big Bang Theory, PigPen and I were wondering if it was a theme night on the CBS sitcoms; sadly, Two and a Half Men broke the bleeding-head-in-a-fancy-restaurant streak, even if Charley's blind date did qualify as restaurant carnage of a sort.

(NBC 8:00):
Much like the first season, it's the adventures of Hiro which capture my attention more than anything else. I am intrigued by what the painting means for HRG, and was glad to see Maya actually take some initiative (of sorts), but really, until we get full into the story of this season's Big Bad, it's almost like we're treading water.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Movie Mon. - Studio 60 Syndrome Strikes Set

The TV Set: Indie film about the struggles of a TV producer (David Duchovny) to bring his dream project to life despite the meddling of TV executives (Ioan Gruffudd sporting his own accent for once and a very funny Sigourney Weaver) who absolutely "love" the script, but keep wanting to change it ("Does the brother have to commit suicide? It's just such a downer.") Some funny stuff here and there, but this is one of those films that will probably best be appreciated by those with some knowledge of the inner workings of TV shows and pilot seasons. Plus, it sort of suffers from what I shall be calling Studio 60 syndrome, i.e. everyone constantly talks about how awesome and funny the show within the show is, but every time it's on-screen it only makes you cringe, not laugh. So-so film that falls in the "not sorry I watched but not going to really recommend either" category, despite great performances by the always spectacular Sigourney Weaver and Judy Greer.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Sequel that manages to improve on the original in some aspects (mainly in having the team utilize their powers) while still falling into several of the same traps (why oh why did they decide to have Doom make bad puns? WHY?!?!?!?!?!) Galactus-as-space-cloud didn't bother me all that much, since I was too busy being bothered by all of the lame jokes. But, all the stuff with the Surfer was cool, and while I question the decision to have Johnny go all Super-Skrull at the end, I have to admit that seeing him wield all of the powers at once yielded some nice visuals. All in all, glad I waited to rent it.

The Film Crew Series: For those of you unaware, Mystery Science Theater 3000 veterans Mike Nelson, Kevin "Tom Servo" Murphy, and Bill "Crow T. Robot" Corbet are up to their old movie-mocking ways again, this time in a series of straight-to-DVD productions under the title of The Film Crew. So far I've watched two productions: Hollywood After Dark (featuring Golden Girl Rue Mclanahan as a stripper) and Killers From Space (featuring some of the dorkiest aliens you've ever seen on film. Oh, and Peter Graves). The silhouettes of Mike and the bots may be missing from the screen, but the snarky comments are flying as fast and furious as ever. If you were ever a fan of MST3K be sure to keep an eye out for The Film Crew; it'll be worth your while.

Yours, Mine, and Ours: Caught most of this remake on cable this weekend; not nearly as bad as I'd feared it would be, although I could have done without all of the "Dennis Quaid slips on something, windmills his arms for 30 seconds before landing face first in messy stuff" scenes. As far as family films go, not too bad; sure, it was occasionally hackneyed and always highly predictable, but it had a good cast and some pretty funny scenes with some of the kids.

Solarbabies: Okay, so I only saw a small portion of this late 80s SF non-classic on one of our movie channels this weekend, but I just had to comment on the fact that it not only starred 80s icons Jason Patric (the older brother in Lost Boys) and Jami Gertz (his vampire girlfriend in same), but also a young Lukas Haas (Witness, Lady in White, Mars Attacks, and the excellent Brick) , James LeGros (Ally McBeal, Scotland PA, Enemy of the State and the excellent Living in Oblivion), Peter DeLuise (son of Dom DeLuise and producer of the Stargate TV series), and, last but not least, Adrian Pasdar (the titular character of Profit and Nathan Petrelli on Heroes) sporting a bit of a Road Warrior-esque mullet.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Fractured Finger Friday - Innocent Bystander

Went in for my latest post-op checkup this morning. Apparently, my wonderfully cooperative body decided to react to the surgery by having more scar tissue build up than usual, which has caused the middle joint of my middle finger (otherwise known as the joint which should not have been effected at all by the surgery) to be much less bendy than it should be. At present, I can't even bend it 90 degrees without grabbing hold and yanking hard with the other hand, and even then it doesn't quite want to make it. After experimenting with similar finger cranking tactics, the doctor declared that what we had here was a case of an innocent bystander being negatively effected. So now I get to go to physical therapy and let them push, pull, yank, tug, mash, bind, and do Dox knows what to my stubborn little finger to get it to behave normally.

Who knows; before the year is up I might be able to make a fist again.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

And People Say I Watch Too Much TV . . .

The good news is that I managed to make it through all of last night without any homicide-inducing dreams. Of course, this was largely because the meds I took to combat my allergies wound up making me sleep the sleep of the dead, and after I woke up, called in sick, and fell back into bed to sleep for another four hours this nice side effect had worn off, and I was dropped into a dream wherein I was a member of Veronica Mars' scoobies and we were trying to figure out the case of the smiley face plastic bag killer from last night's premiere of Pushing Daisies. Not quite as stress-inducing as most of my recent dreams -- and a bit more TV-inspired than most to boot -- so it's a step in the right direction, I suppose.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

To Sleep, Perchance NOT to Dream

A while back I talked about my dreaming habits, and mentioned that I will go through long periods where I don't remember my dreams with brief periods of vivid dreaming; I am currently in one of those vivid dreaming phases, and I am completely and totally ready for it to stop immediately.


You see, these aren't just my normal*, run of the mill dreams. No, for the past couple of weeks my sleep has been filled with dreams with are intense, intricate, involved, and, most importantly, irritating. Very, very irritating. "Wake up so ticked off that I want to punch somebody in the face" irritating. While the specific details may vary, the gist of the dreams are essentially the same: people around me being combative, obstinate, obtuse, and overall annoying to the point of inducing within me homicidal rage. Yes, if a dream is a wish your heart makes as Cinderella would have us believe, then apparently my heart has a bit of a death wish.

The worst part about it is that thanks to these dreams I don't wake up well-rested and refreshed, but rather tense, angry, and worn down. I've never had such an extended run of untenable dreams, and I'm hoping that once they stop I won't soon have another batch. But most of all I'm hoping that this current dream cycle comes to a sudden end before what's left of my sanity does.

**Yes, that running gag is still going on, although the surplus usage of the word in Dexter, Heroes, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has almost burned the Boys of Benjiman Street out on it . . . almost.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

TV Tues - Cap'n Neurotic's Crisis of Infinite Monkeys Denton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure

Still a bit behind on TV viewage, due to a full day of activities on Saturday, so no thoughts on the premieres of Journeyman, Grey's Anatomy, Moonlight, or Stargate Atlantis .


Chuck (NBC 7:00):
Haven't had a chance to watch last night's ep yet, but as of the pilot this one is in the lead in the "best new show" category. Sure, the bloodthirsty NSA agents required a bit of a suspension of disbelief, but, honestly, so does the whole "secrets downloaded into a guy's brain by email" conceit. Funny script and likable cast; am curious to see how this plays out week to week.

Heroes (NBC 8:00): I sort of wish I'd rewatched Season 1 before this season started, if for no other reason than to keep track of who knows who from where. Couldn't remember who all Ando had had contact with, how many of the Petrellis Parkman had actually met, if Suresh and the Haitian had ever bumped into each other before, etc.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS 7:00): The tramp stamp and made the season premiere worthwhile; Marshall's letter to Lilly was my favorite part of last night's ep.

Big Bang Theory (CBS 7:30): Some potential here, but I'm not sure how much the witty one-liners can make up for the social awkwardness of the characters which makes me uncomfortable in turn.


Reaper (CW 8:00): A bit torn on this one. On the one hand, I love the cast, and the decision to play the devil as this self-assured, outwardly charming yet inherently cruel and heartless manipulator works remarkably well. On the other hand, despite some laughs here and there, I felt that much of the pilot was forced, but that could have been a result of trying to cram so much exposition and set-up into an hour. Reserving judgment until I see how the next couple of eps shape up.


Cavemen (ABC 7:00): You know, while I'm pretty sure this is going to be complete and total car-wreck from beginning to end -- which is kind of appropriate considering where the whole caveman premise started -- I still feel that morbid curiosity which might draw me into actually watching it just so I can make sure that my undying hatred for it is actually well-formed and based in facts.

Carpoolers (ABC 7:30): New sitcom whose previews haven't done much for me, but I'm going to give it a shot just because it has Fred Goss, the brillianns mind behind the late, lamented Sons and Daughters in it.


Back to You (Fox 7:00): I thought the pilot was a little stronger than the second episode, which was a bit too traditional sitcomy in its "must replace dead fish" running gag, but as the fish deaths got more ludicrous, it actually increased my enjoyment. Still on my watch list for the foreseeable future.

Bionic Woman (NBC 8:00): This reimagining of the late 70s series had one thing going for it in the pilot, which was the inclusion of Katee Sackhoff (a.k.a. Starbuck on the new Battlestar Gallactica) as the evil prototype bionic woman; beyond that, I didn't have a lot of sympathy or connection to any of the other characters, with the exception of the OSI (at least, I'm assuming they're going to call it OSI, don't think they ever said for sure) head shrinker. They're going to have to make the new Jamie Sommers a lot more interesting and engaging before the show has a chance to become a must-watch for me. Plus, a lot of the CGI was reeeeeeeeeealy bad. The premise, along with the promise of more badass Katee Sackhoff, has me on board for at least the next couple of eps, but some character tweaking needs to happen, stat.

Private Practice (ABC 8:00): You know, I really enjoyed the Grey's Anatomy episode which set up this spin-off series, so I was a bit surprised at how little I enjoyed the series premiere. I think the constant bickering of the characters turned me off. The talented cast and the fact that Grey's took a little while to find its footing buys this one a couple more shots.

Dirty Sexy Money (ABC 9:00): I enjoyed some of the quirkier moments of the pilot, but too much soap opera folderol for my taste; doubt I'll be watching it again.

PREMIERING TONIGHT (Wednesday Oct 3rd)

Pushing Daisies (ABC 7:00)
: By far the most anticipated new show of the season for me, and probably the most well reviewed one to boot. Supposed to be smart, funny, and quirky, so it probably won't last, but with Bryan Fuller (creator of Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, as well as co-executive producer of Heroes) behind the helm I have to give it a shot.


(CBS 7:00): So far this season I haven't really found anybody to cheer for; doesn't seem to be an Ozzie or Yau-Man in the bunch. Gotta give props to Frosti for his competitive spirit, though; throwing himself at man-mountain James during the muddy reward challenge bumped him up a few notches in my book.

My Name is Earl (NBC 7:00): Excellent season premiere; loved all of the psycho threats from Glen (played with violent gusto by Ben Foster), and loved Joy's tough love program for Randy. Curious to see how long the Earl-in-prison storyline lasts.

The Office (NBC 8:00): A couple of Michael moments made me very uncomfortable, but those squirm-in-my-seat moments were more than made up for by the Dwight/Angela storyline. Was also fun seeing Ryan reacting to all of Michael's shenanigans. Oh, and if you have a Facebook account, be sure to join the "Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure" cause; for those of you without Facebook, you can show your support by buying a "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run For The Cure" T-Shirt or "Support the Rabid" bracelet. Remember: if you don't devote time and energy raising money to research a disease for which there's already a cure, who will?


30 Rock
(NBC 7:30): One of the surprises of last season was just how much I enjoyed this show, which seemed to get stronger as the season went on. Tonight we get to see if it falls prey to the Sophomore Slump.


Dexter (Showtime 8:00):
After finally getting a chance to catch the first season of Dexter on DVD last month, the roomies and I were really looking forward to the start of the new season. While I enjoyed the season premiere, the previews for the rest of the season have me a little concerned about the direction the show is headed; not so much with the manhunt directed at Dex, which I could see giving the series some nice tension if handled correctly, but with the weird "Dex joins an AA-style group to combat his serial killing nature" plot, which just left me scratching my head.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Movie Mon. - It's Baaaaaaaaaack.

Yes, it's the return of Movie Mondays, for now, at least; my level of movie watching is much reduced from what it was back when I started blogging, so there are occasionally weeks where I don't get any movies watched at all. Shocking, I know. Anyway, when I do get a chance to watch stuff, I will try to be more diligent about getting my thoughts down so that all of you blog monkeys can read them and think "He liked/hated that movie? What was he smoking?" Anyway, to kick off the return, here's a smattering of reviews of films I've seen since Movie Monday went on extended hiatus.

: British horror flick with a sense of humor about a group of weapons manufacturer workers who get lost on the way to a team-building retreat and find themselves being hunted down.

Two Weeks: Serio-comic look at the final two weeks of life of a cancer-ridden mother of four (Sally Fields) and how her children cope. A well-done little film which rises above the possible syrupy nature of such a tale by imbuing the siblings with a snarky sense of humor; I laughed out loud quite a few times.

Hot Fuzz: Loved this just as much on DVD as I did at the theater. Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost need to work together until the end of time; can't wait to see what the next project from these comic masterminds will be.

Pathfinder: Interesting film about an abandoned Viking child (Karl Urban, a.k.a. Vaako in Chronicles of Riddick) raised by a Native American tribe, and then called upon to defend them when his kinsmen return to rape and pillage. Some nice action helps propel the film past moments of "what were they thinking?"

Black Christmas: Remake of 70s slasher film (reviewed here by yours truly) which falls far short of the mark set by the original, much to no one's surprise, I'm sure. It was interesting to see Michelle Trachtenberg (best known as the titular character in Harriet the Spy or as Dawn on Buffy) play a much less perky and much more jaded character than I've seen in the past, but overall, the film's a mess, made even more so by the unbelievable survival abilities of the killers, which stretch credibility even by horror film standards.

Wind Chill: Interesting supernatural thriller about a couple of college students who become stranded on a haunted stretch of road in the middle of a blizzard. Let me spoil one thing for you right now: the two main characters are not, I repeat, not dead throughout the entire film; both Maverick and I were worried that they were playing out that old chestnut (about which I've railed before), and were both relieved to find out that wasn't the case. It takes a while for the supernatural aspects of the film to ramp up, but I so enjoyed the interaction between the main characters that I didn't really mind.

Year of the Dog: Off-beat comedy about a lonely woman (Molly Shannon) who undergoes some life changes after the death of her dog. This one was a bit hard to slog through at times; there were some pretty funny parts (especially those revolving around Shannon's best friend), but also long stretches with little to nothing of interest happening. In the end I'm glad I stuck it out, but not one I'd recommend to most folks.

Primeval: Goofy giant crocodile movie that's never quite sure what it wants to be, swinging wildly from giant monster movie to strident political commentary at a moment's notice. Filled with unbelievably annoying characters, only Orlando Jones made a really positive impression, and even that wasn't enough to get a positive review out of me. And don't even get me started on the horrible CGI. *shudder*

Fracture: Enjoyable thriller about a too-smart-for-his-own-good lawyer (Ryan Gosling) who gets used as a pawn in the machinations of too-smart-for-anybody's-good murderer (Anthony Hopkins). I'm surprised I liked this as much as I did considering that neither Gosling nor Hopkins' characters are all that likable, a result of the script and not the performances, which were top-notch. Oh, and if you've ever wondered to yourself "what exactly does Cap'n Neurotic's cell phone look like?" well this movie is for you, as Gosling not only uses the exact same model of phone as I do, but the phone actually plays a pivotal part in helping him unravel the mystery.

The Lookout: Another chapter in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's quest to completely obliterate that image of him as "that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun" has him returning to the world of pseudo-noir as a young man dealing with brain damage from a car wreck who is recruited to be the lookout for a bank robbery. Not too many surprises, perhaps, but a solid film with solid acting.

Wild Hogs: Comedy about a group of middle-aged guys with motorcycles who go on a road trip and get into all sorts of hijinks along the way. Not anywhere near as painfully unfunny as I had feared from the previews, which failed to make me laugh at all unless William H. Macy was onscreen. And, as one might suspect from that, most of the highlights of the film for me revolved around Macy's character; both Martin Lawrence and John Travolta's characters grated on my nerves, but Tim Allen was tolerable. All in all, not sorry I saw it, and most people I know liked it a whole lot more than I did, but it just didn't do much for me.