Friday, August 29, 2008

Cap'n Neruotic's Music Video LIst Honorable Mentions

While compiling my Top 20 Favorite Music Videos (In No Particular Order) I came up with quite a few videos that, while noteworthy, didn't quite make the cut. So, I figure I'd go ahead and do a quick follow-up post.

Best Bjork Song Not Done By Bjork: "Bedtime Story" by Madonna (lyrics by Bjork, natch)

Best Use of Freaky Puppets Caricatures of Famous People: "Land of Confusion" by Genesis

Best "What Were They Smoking?" Video: "Frontier Psychiatrist" by The Avalanches

Best "Who Knew David Fincher Was a Bob Fosse Fan?" Video: "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul

Best "Who Knew David Fincher Was a Fan of Roger Rabbit/Anchors Aweigh?" Video: "Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul

Best Recursive Michel Gondry Video Not Included In the Other List: "Come Into My World" by Kylie Minogue

Best Dark and Twisty, Not What I Expected, Better Not Watch If You're At All Squeamish Or Easily Grossed Out Video: "Rock DJ" by Robbie Williams


Cap'n Neurotic's Top 20 Favorite Music Videos (In No Particular Order)

Co-worker and fellow SF/Comic geek Starlett has posted a list of her Top 10 Favorite Music Videos. And while I can't quibble with most of her choices, I can't help feeling that a Top 10 Music Video list that doesn't include an entry from either Spike Jonez or Michel Gondry -- even in the "runner up" section -- is missing something. So, I figured I'd go ahead and do my own list . . . of course, the problem is making sure I don't overload on Spike Jonez and Michel Gondry videos . . .

Anyway, here's my Top 20 Favorite Music Videos (In No Particular Order). As with Starlett's list, this is not a list of favorite songs, necessarily, but of those clever, original, inventive, entertaining, engaging, disturbing, memorable music videos that helped burn the songs into my brain forever. When possible, the videos will either be linked or embedded.

1. "Everlong" by The Foo Fighters: One of those cases where I'm not sure how much of my love of the song is just because I love the song, and how much is because I love the video and the love bleeds through. Always loved the Evil Dead homage, as well as Dave Grohl's dream warrior skills. Plus, the nice shift from woman in bed to man playing drums at the end is one of my favorite transitions of all time. The first Michel Gondry video on my list, and one that only touches on his love for recursive storytelling.

2. "Virtual Insanity" by Jamiroquai. Such a cool video; I remember spending so much time trying to figure out how they pulled it off back in the day.

3. "Take on Me" by Ah-Ha. A true classic, don't think this one needs much in the way of explanation.

4. "Sabotage" by The Beastie Boys. Prior to this video, I don't think I ever would have dreamed of linking The Beastie Boys to 70s police dramas, and yet Spike Jonze makes it seem like such a natural fit.

5. "Buddy Holly" by Weezer: Was a big fan of "Undone (The Sweater Song)" but it was "Buddy Holly" that firmly entrenched Weezer into my favorite bands list. This one always brings back memories of the Parker days.

6. "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim. While I had unknowingly been a fan of his work before this one, I'm pretty sure that "Praise You" was the video that really put the name Spike Jonze on my radar.

7. "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim: Can't go wrong with a dancing Christopher Walken, especially dancing to a song that references the sand worms in Dune. Again, thank you Mr. Jonze.

8. "Lucas with the Lid Off" by Lucas. Another video that's filled to the brim with Parker nostalgia, and another example of the stylistic mastery of Michel Gondry.

9. "Bachelorette" by Bjork. Out of all of the Bjork videos directed by Gondry (which is most of them), I think this self-referential tale best exemplifies his work.

10. "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel. Another classic video that probably doesn't need much explanation from me.

11. "Are You Gonna Go My Way" by Lenny Kravitz. Don't know what it is about this video, it's not particularly clever or original, but somehow it just perfectly captures the energy of the song for me. Plus, I'm pretty sure that the girl that dorky kid from Dazed and Confused hooks up with is in it.

12. "Clint Eastwood" by Gorrillaz. Got to have at least one video from everyone's favorite animated band since The Archies, so if I'm going to have one might as well have the one that introduced them to the world.

13. "It's Like That" by Run DMC vs. Jason Nevins. Love the dance-off in this. 'Nuff said.

14. "Sober" by Tool. A bit freaky, to be sure, but darned if it didn't leave an impression on me.

15. "Around the World" by Daft Punk. Recursive and repetitive, like any good Gondry video, but endlessly visually interesting at the same time.

16. "It's Oh So Quiet" by Bjork. Look, a Bjork video done by someone other than Gondry! And look, that "someone" is Spike Jonez! And it's a paean to Broadway musicals! Plus, y'know, Bjork!

17. "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith. This video made a huge impression on me as a kid; guess I shouldn't have been so surprised that it was directed by the man responsible for a couple of movies that have made huge impressions on me, Se7en and Fight Club. That's right, before becoming a big name Hollywood director, David Fincher was a pretty prolific video director, handling work by Madonna ("Vogue," "Express Yourself"), Billy Idol ("Rock the Cradle of Love") and, most surprisingly, Paula Abdul ("Striaght Up," "Forever Your Girl," "The Way That You Love Me," and two others to be named later). The one thing that always drove me crazy in the video: what the heck was Janie spelling on the floor after shooting her dad?

18. "Don't Speak" by No Doubt. I always liked the way No Doubt was able to take their frustration and turmoil generated by the media focus on Gwen and transform it into one of their best videos.

19. "Freak on a Leash" by Korn. Magic bullet destroying stuff all over town, what's not to love?

20. TIE: "A Million Ways to be Cruel" and "Here it Goes Again" by OK Go. Yeah, they've probably been overplayed to death by now, but with good reason.

I'm pretty sure there are some videos that have just totally slipped my mind, and I'm sure Zinger will be the first to say "I can't believe you included that No Doubt crap but left out so-and-so." I welcome any and all comments and suggestions.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Movie Mon - "Hawk the Slayer's Rubbish!"

Prom Night (2008): Incredibly predictable slasher film that bears next to no resemblance to the original, with this one focusing on a teenage girl being stalked by a crazy teacher so obsessed with her that he killed her whole family four years earlier, and has now broken out of the mental hospital just in time to terrorize her and her friends on Prom Night. All in all, just your average teen slasher film, not much to distinguish it from others of the genre. Maybe worth a rental, but you'd probably be just as well off either waiting for it to come on cable or possibly doing what I did after I finished: dig out the original.

Prom Night (1980):
One of the films that helped gain Jamie Lee Curtis the nickname of "The Scream Queen," this slasher film has a plot reminiscent of I Know What You Did Last Summer, with a group of kids accidentally causing a death and then being knocked off years later by someone who somehow knows their secret. Fairly enjoyable horror film, worth it for the awesome dance sequence alone

Go, Jamie Lee, go! If the clip had started just a few minutes earlier, you would have had the pleasure of seeing Leslie "The Naked Gun" Nielsen dancing incredibly stiffly with his on-screen daughter.

Remarkably bland poker-centered film about a young hotshot (Brett Harrison) who is coached by a former pro (Burt Reynolds) who hasn't played poker in 20 years due to a promise to his wife. Although there are a couple of good moments, overall this one just didn't engage me at all. Think part of the problem is that the film managed to make Brett Harrison, who is usually one of my favorite actors, unlikeable, not a good thing for the star of your film.

The Bank Job:
Entertaining caper film that is based on the true story of a massive bank robbery in the U.K. in the 70s, although the reasons for the robbery itself as presented in the film -- namely that it was all part of an MI6 plan to use a group of unwitting thieves to retrieve blackmail photos of Princess Margaret from a safety deposit box -- are highly speculative. Still, truthfulness aside, a fun film.

Tropic Thunder:
Hilarious film that reminds me why once upon a time I actually liked seeing Ben Stiller films -- dark and twisty comedy guaranteed to have Li'l Random and myself rolling all the way through. From the moment the fake trailers started playing at the beginning, I was hooked. Definitely one I want to see again.

Hawk the Slayer:
Yes, that's right, after watching all of Spaced I decided I had to rent the film that prodded Tim's boss Bilbo to defend the fantasy genre with terminal intensity. So, was Bilbo right to deck the men who proclaimed that Hawk the Slayer was rubbish? Well, I'm tempted to let this trailer speak for itself:

But, yeah, the film's pretty much rubbish. But highly entertaining, "wish I'd watched it with Li'l Random so we could have MST3Ked it together" rubbish; as this clip video shows, just the incessant Hawk theme music is worthy of mockery. And if you're thinking that Hawk looks a little familiar, that's probably because you've recently seen him as Christian Shepherd, Jack and Claire's creepy dead dad on Lost. Only rent this one if you're in the mood to mock some B-movie antics.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Fragmented Friday - PAC Man Fever

Got the following IM from Zinger yesterday afternoon: "You made a mistake with your blog. Unless you start posting more often, we're all going to have to see that pic of PigPen until you decide to blog again. Hopefully it will not be long." I assured him that I had a Fragmented Friday post in the works.

The other day I was checking my site statistics and saw that CoIM got a hit as a result of the following Google search: destroying shack fu. So, watch out, bubba, apparently someone in New York has it out for you.

I'm slowly adjusting to a PigPen-less household; you know, it's the little things that get ya. Like, how when the new season of Deadliest Catch comes on, who's going to sing along with the theme song with me? And when I watch Wipeout, who's going to laugh so hard at people face-planting that I have to rewind the tape so he can take a hit of his inhaler and get his breath back? And what the heck am I going to do with the vast array of rubber bands, paper wads, and other projectiles I unconsciously accumulate with an eye towards hurling them in PigPen's general direction?

After my Ham of Dogpatch, USA post I was eagerly awaiting some sort of response from PigPen, and was disappointed when none was forthcoming; after all, now that we no longer room together, I have to find other, long distance ways to pick fights with him. Turns out that he did try to post a comment on the MySpace version of the blog, but for some reason it didn't take. From what he said, the comment was pretty much what I expected it would be, first responding to my hairline crack with a "like you have room to talk" comeback, followed by an assurance that if I had hollered that out he would have come off the stage and into the audience to find me, just like I had told Li'l Random and Trouble he would. He also said that the girl trying to get him to take the picture wasn't embarrassed, since he was embarrassed enough for the both of them. Think that was about it.

Along with my lack of drive to write anything for the past month or two, I've also had a lack of drive to attend my judo classes. The first few I missed were because Shack-Fu had just gotten back into town after deployment and PigPen's work schedule changed so he was actually home from work before 9 or 10, and I chose trying to maximize my quality time with two of my Best Friends before they moved on over going to class, rationalizing that I could go back to judo at any time, but who knew how many more chances I'd have to work out with Shack or pick a fight with PigPen? Of course, the longer I went without going to judo, the harder it became to get motivated to return; ironically, the two people who were my initial reason for slacking off were the two voices raised loudest in disappointment over my lack of attendance. This all came to a bit of a head on Sunday when I was at lunch with the Singles and I saw one of the black belts from class coming in with his family. Shack-Fu noticed him too, and remarked that he was one of Shack-Fu's co-workers. I, silly little man that I am, mentioned that he was one of my senseis. Not too long after that, Shack-Fu got up to get a refill on his drink, but was gone for quite a while; the mystery of his extended absence was solved when I suddenly heard his voice uttering my name loudly from across the restaurant. I turned my head and saw him and my sensei both staring at me with manic grins on their faces. Yup, nothing like knowing that I've now been singled out for special humiliation and attention to get me back to class; Shack-Fu knows me so well!

For the record, while I razzed PigPen about hamming it up in Li'l Abner, the fact is that the whole cast was pretty hammy -- at one scene a character literally vocalized a "Yuk yuk yuk!" type of laugh as he skipped off stage -- so he was just going along with the tone of the production. Plus, he made us laugh (on purpose, even), which is what he was there for, so I'd say it was a successful role for him.

Oh, and Shack-Fu's machinations did work, and I did finally make it back to judo on Tuesday; so far out of shape that I thought at one point I was going to keel over and die. All that, and the FEMA sensei wasn't even there. *sigh*

It's the time of year at work where all the librarians have to turn in their Personnel Affairs Committee binders which are filled with documentation of all the work we've performed throughout the year, both in our primary assignments and in our professional development. Since the documentation in these PAC binders are what are used to determine raises, promotions, and extension of contracts, it's a pretty stressful time of year. My joy has been that this is my third PAC binder to prepare, and it's also my third job title, as every year since I've become a librarian my job description has changed drastically. I'm hoping that now that I've become Head of the Serials and Electronic Resources Unit these drastic changes will die down, and I can actually start focusing on that whole "professional development" thing I've heard about. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go write up my personal essay for the binder explaining why the heck I did what I did this year.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Ham of Dogpatch, USA

You may recall that a while back I mentioned that Brown-Eyed Girl had been cast as one of the Dogpatch wives in the Denton Community Theater's productin of Li'l Abner. What I haven't mentioned is that a few weeks before the show opened she sent an email out asking for "muscular guys" to volunteer to help out as sort of background characters; three guesses which of my best buds answered the call.

Yup, that's right, The Lovable PigPen was kind enough to offer up his body for the good of the theater. When he came home the night of his first rehearsal he told me that he actually got a featured, if non-speaking, part. You see, part of the plot of the play is that there is this special tonic which will transform any guy drinking it into the picture of perfect masculinity. The big reveal of this is when a government agent drinks the potion,

stumbles off stage, and returns a changed man*.

In essence, PigPen's role consisted of him wearing a tattered shirt, ripping it off, flexing and calling attention to his physique while all the women oooed and ahhhed over him; in other words, the part of his dreams.

Unfortunately, he only got to appear in the one scene, although he did show back up at the end to do the curtain call. Of course, as a minor non-speaking role he got to stand up on the "hill" in the back with the other minor non-speaking role: a guy in a bear costume. Seeing PigPen standing on the hill waving at the crowd next to the bear gave Li'l Random the giggles because, and I quote "It's like something from an Adam Sandler movie." Personally, I was flashing more on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law which would have the bear show up randomly for no reason at all, but the point was well taken.

Outside of enjoying getting to watch PigPen in his element -- you know, hamming it up** -- my other favorite parts of the production were the guy playing Evil-Eye Fleegle, who stole every scene he was in, and watching Brown-Eyed Girl really get into her part as a wife mourning her husband's loss of libido during the big Dogpatch Wives number "Put 'Em Back."

My favorite moment after the production, however, happened when we found PigPen and Brown-Eyed Girl after the show was over to congratulate them. We were standing there talking and some girl came up with a camera and asked PigPen if he could take a picture; PigPen, once again clad in the tattered and torn shirt of his costume, said "Sure, shirt on or shirt off?" The girl, looking mildly embarrassed for him, clarified that she wanted him to take a picture of her and someone else; put a big ol' smile on my face.

*There was a part of me that wanted to yell out "Sure, he's got muscles now, but what happened to his hairline?" when he came out, but I knew that such an act would have been my death warrant. But oh, what a glorious death it would have been . . .
**I would make a crack about how he was such a big ham he should have played Salomey, but I'm about the only one who would get the joke, so I won't.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TV Tues - Fried Gold and Raw Crap

Hasn't really been much in the way of TV to watch recently outside of the Olympics, but I have managed to make my way through a couple of Brit-coms.

Spaced (Series 1 & 2): The series that was pretty much directly responsible for Shaun of the Dead, this series was created by Shaun star Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson who not only wrote every episode together, but also starred as Tim and Daisy, two twenty-something semi-slackers who initially pose as a "professional" couple in order to secure a flat together, although that very sit-com-y premise is rarely the driving force of the show. Instead, it focuses on the pop culture heavy lives of aspiring comic book writer Tim, who makes money working in a comic shop

aspiring writer and master job-shirker Daisy

Tim's best friend the militarily minded (and often simple-minded) Mike

and my favorite character in the show, their downstairs neighbor Brian

The show's humor was a combination of character based moments

weird situations

and pop culture references and homages, such as this ending of Series 2 Episode 6 whose dialogue is very reminiscent of a certain much-beloved SF film

And then of course there was the opening sequence which inspired Pegg and series director Edgar Wright to create one of my all-time favorite films, Shaun of the Dead

I'm currently halfway through the commentary tracks on the DVDs; I've finished the original batch of commentaries which were done for the British DVDs years ago -- which, incidentally, is where I learned that Nick Frost (Mike) coined the phrase "Fried Gold" to describe perfection -- and now just need to move on to the ones made specifically for the American version, which features not only the cast and crew of the series, but also several big Hollywood names who are fans, such as Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarrantino, Matt Stone (of South Park fame), an Diablo Cody (writer of Juno).

All in all, a great series, and one I am very sorry only lasted for 14 episodes. If they were ever to do a reunion, I would have to do a dance of joy

Sadly, mine would probably be more like the middle one

Black Books Series 1: While looking through the IMDB message boards about Spaced I came across a thread about similar Brit-coms and saw a few people rave about the show as being one of the greatest shows ever, so I decided to put it in my queue. As I watched the first episode I thought to myself "Well, okay, so I'm not loving it, but sometimes pilots are a little slow to get off the ground, I'm sure by the next ep or two it will find its footing." Then, as I moved into the next couple of episodes I reflected on all of the rave reviews it had received and wondered what in the world I was missing. By the end of the disc, I knew exactly what I was missing: the three hours I had wasted watching the dreadfully uneven show. True, there were bits and pieces of truly funny stuff here and there, such as the sequence where Bernard is trying to injure himself to get an extension on his taxes

or the sadly non-Youtube-able moment where Bernard gleefully dials and redials Manny's cell phone knowing that it causes Manny pain when it rings, but by the time the credits of the final episode rolled I almost did a dance of joy that I had reached the end and didn't have to suffer through any more of it. Somehow don't think I'll be requesting Series 2 or 3 . . . I also want to find everyone who said "If you loved Spaced or Father Ted you'll love this" and slap them upside the head. I mean, I know comedy is subjective and all, but the tone and style of all three of those shows are so vastly different that I don't know why anyone would compare them at all. Plus, Spaced and Father Ted have several well-defined characters with consistent and amusing quirks, whereas Black Books only has one truly consistent character, the surly book-store owner played by Dylan Moran, with the other two seeming to have personalities that shift to whatever gag was needed. All in all, not my cup of tea, but apparently I'm in the minority here, since it has an overall rating of 9.3 on IMDB.


Tardy Tuesday's Movie Monday Makeup - Lots o' Stuff

The Spiderwick Chronicles: Very entertaining family-friendly fantasy about Jared Grace a young boy (Freddie "August Rush" Highmore) who stumbles on a book containing all the secrets of the fairy world, thus drawing the attention of an evil ogre (an under-utilized Nick Nolte). Highmore does a good job playing both the rebellious Jared and his more reserved twin brother Simon (a role that gave me several August Rush flashbacks), and the rest of the cast does good work as well. One of the better family-centered fantasy films to come out recently.

Very bizarre horror/comedy about two orphans and their magical talking ventriloquist dummy who go on a senseless murder spree. Bad writing, over-the-top-acting, muddled plot, and poor editing made this one a mess; about the only redeeming quality was Rocky Marquette's performance as the functionally mute Norbert who capers around with a Howdy-Doody style grin plastered on his face the entire time, but as much as I enjoyed the surreal nature of that role, that wasn't enough to elevate this above its lackluster components. Oh, and I almost forgot about the brief cameo by Larry Manetti, a.k.a Rick on Magnum P.I. as himself, which was also nice and odd in a "how in the world did that come about?" sort of way, but still, not really a great selling point for the film. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang: Okay, technically this was released as The Sasquatch Gang, but I prefer the original title, even if it does turn out to be as much toilet humor as it is a nod to The Apple Dumpling Gang. The film focuses on a group of geeks who stumble across apparent proof of the existence of sasquatch, and the way they and a couple of stoners try to profit off of the discovery. Not what you would call a highbrow film, but I thought it had a lot going for it, especially with the two stoner parts played by Justin Long and Joey Kern, that latter of whom cracked me up with his character voice.

Again, not exactly high-brow stuff, but it made me laugh more often than not. Plus, it's got some nice non-linear story-telling going on, and a pretty funny fight sequence between the geeks and the local bullies. Not for everyone, but I liked it.

Smart People:
Enjoyable dramedy about a surly English professor (Dennis Quaid) who suffers a concussion and must rely on his no-account adopted brother (Thomas Hayden Church) to chauffer him around, while simultaneously trying to date his doctor (Sarah Jessica Parker) and deal with his highly intelligent but slightly misanthropic daughter (the always excellent Ellen Page). Liked this one a lot, especially the scenes between the loser uncle and over-achiever daughter; I know there are people out there who complain that Ellen Page always plays the same sort of role again and again, but for me, the fact that she does it so well and so effortlessly makes it a joy to watch.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay:
Mostly pointless sequel to a mostly pointless film which really only had two sequences that made me laugh; the first was the encounter with the surprisingly insightful red-necks (one of whom was played by the always hilarious Missy Pyle), and the second of course being every scene with Neil Patrick Harris, whose every moment on screen is, as the cast and crew of Spaced would say, "Fried Gold*." Outside of those things, however: blech.

Never Back Down:
Predictable movie about an young man who moves to new school, gets beaten up by the local martial arts stud, and then trains hard with a martial arts master from another country so that he can redeem himself at the big martial arts competition, at which he suffers an injury in an early match and then has to fight past his pain when his rival exploits the injury. Gee, why does this sound familiar . . . Okay, so maybe it's not quite as blatant Karate Kid rip-off as I make it sound -- nobody yells anything about getting a body bag, for one -- but still, a pretty formulaic film. Has enough enjoyable character moments to make it not a total wash, but not one I'm going to be recommending to too many folks.

Karaoke Terror: The Complete Japanese Showa Songbook:
Dark comedy about a deadly feud that erupts between two groups of karaoke lovers, one a gang of disafected, amoral youths, and the other a gathering of middle aged divorcees all named Midori.

Strange little film, best part by far was the creepy psychic girl who served as a catalyst to keep the murderous feud going.

Mildly entertaining horror film about an Australian tour boat being terrorized by a gigantic crocodile. Suffers at times from an overabundance of stupid people doing stupid things, but all in all, a lot better than, say, Primeval, but nowhere near as good as the pinnacle of giant crocodile movies, Lake Placid. In fact, I say give this a pass and rent Lake Placid, much superior film.

Finishing the Game:
Mockumentary about the efforts to finish Bruce Lee's incomplete film Game of Death following his demise using a stand-in. Lots of potential here, but sadly most of it was wasted. If only the whole film could have lived up to the promise of this sequence

it would have been worth a hearty recommendation. As it is, all I can say is that there are some good parts scattered throughout, enough to have made it worth my while, but not enough to make me push it on anyone else.

Stargate Continuum:
The second straight-to-DVD Stargate SG-1 film dabbles in the muddy waters of time travel psuedo-science as the human members of the team find themselves trapped in an alternate time line where the Stargate program was never started thanks to the machinations of the last surviving Ba'al clone -- oh please let it be the last Ba'al -- and his time machine. As far as extended episodes go, not bad, but due to the alternate timeline having Vala still possessed by Qutesh I was robbed of seeing my favorite character in all but a couple of scenes, making it a less than stellar viewing experience. Although it was nice to see Jack back.

Step Up 2 The Streets:
Pretty predictable and occasionally cheesy film about a troubled girl from the hood who gets on at the prestigious school for the arts from the previous film and, of course, learns many lessons about life and friendship and love and stuff. But despite predictable plot points, and a really, really, really unnecessarily cheesy inspirational speech at the end, this movie gets a thumbs up from me for two reasons: the awesome dance sequences in general, and the character of Moose in particular

Incidentally, after seeing this Li'l Random now wants to be called Li'l Moose. My only other complaint is this: needed more

Then again, just about anything could be improved with some more

21: So-so film very loosely based on the real life story of a group of MIT students who made big money counting cards in Vegas. I thought the transformation of the protagonist from nice guy to jerk was way over the top, and it kind of took me out of the film.

The Lost Boys 2: The Tribe:
Mediocre sequel to the classic 80s film replaces biker vampires with surfer vampires, a pair of brothers being stalked with a brother-sister combo, a pair of comic shop working vampire hunters with a single surf-board making vampire hunter (the returning Corey Feldman), and vampire gang leader Keifer Sutherland with vampire gang leader Keifer Sutherland's half-brother Angus Sutherland. It was this last change that threw me for a loop before I saw the credits, as during the opening sequence I kept thinking "Wow, guy sure reminds me of a young Keifer, wonder if that was on purpose . . ." This is not nearly as horrible as more reviews I've read made it out to be; yeah, it's not great, but I've seen much, much worse get far better reviews. Afraid this one just collapses under the weight of trying to live up to the original.

The Pineapple Express:
Stoner comedy from the writers of Superbad sees Dale, a pot-head process server, and Saul, his zoned out pot-dealer, on the run from a violent drug dealer after Dale witnesses a murder. Li'l Random -- excuse, me, Li'l Moose -- and I went to see this last weekend as our Odd Squodd film of the week, and both cracked up all the way through; don't know if that knowledge will entice anyone else to see it, just know that he and I enjoyed the heck out of the film. Think my favorite parts were the two big fist fight sequences, both of which had me rolling.

*More on that soon, promise.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Fragmented Friday - Back From the (Brain) Dead

Many apologies for the my unannounced hiatus from blogging. To be honest, over the last couple of months I've had trouble writing up much of anything, whether it be a blog post or email or Sunday school lesson or short story or what have you; I'd try, but could not find the focus. In fact, I had planned to write this particular blog post on Monday, but you can see how well that panned out. Still, I need to get my writing juices jump-started somehow, so here's a brief update on three pretty big things that have been going on.

1) Cap'n Shack-Fu has now officially passed his Phase II exam for entrance to the FBI, and has also passed his physical fitness test and polygraph; it's now on to the background check. However, while he did technically pass the physical fitness test in order to move on to the next step in the hiring process, he was one point away from being totally in the clear. Instead, he's now on physical fitness probation and must report back to the FBI each week with a progress report on how his workouts are going, and might even have to head down to the branch office periodically for observation. Now, since he was only one point behind due to not being able to work out while on deployments, it shouldn't be too hard for him to bring the score up . . . as long as he doesn't get deployed again, that is.

2) The Lovable PigPen has now officially moved from a status of "Roomie" to "Fomer Roomie." Li'l Random and I helped PigPen and Cap'n Peanut move into their new place in Lewisville last weekend, a task we were both more than happy to assist with up until Peanut mentioned that we were going to have to move his piano into their second floor apartment; think when it comes time for them to move out Li'l Brother and I are going to take up a collection so they can get movers to take the damnable thing back down the stairs. It's been odd walking by PigPen's empty room all week, and I've had a couple of "Can't wait to tell PigPen when he gets . . . oh, wait . . ." moments here and there. Right now Maverick and I are trying to find a new roomie to help out with the rent and bills since our lease is of the "we're responsible for rent until someone else takes over" variety, something that's becoming even more of a priority due to the next item.

3) Maverick is officially a car owner again. After over a year and a half without a reliably running vehicle, he picked up a used car this past weekend. The upside for me is that now I can go back to my old work schedule and not have to worry about coordinating rides. The downside is that throwing in car payments, insurance, and gas costs on top of increased rent and bills is going to stretch Maverick's budget to the brink. So, if you happen to know of a single, non-smoking male with a reliable source of income looking for a place to live in the Denton area, well, you know who to call.