Awesome Things

Things that are awesome (some of which may have been previously mentioned here) in no particular order:

  • Sushi + beer + sake + friends = AWESOME
  • Live burlesque. Also, The Wife potentially taking burlesque classes. :D
  • Absinthe. I'm digging on Kübler, which is locally available now. Admittedly, I talk more people into not trying absinthe than I talk into trying it. It's not for everyone.
  • Rock Band. I'm pretty useless on anything except the singing, but it's more fun than Karaoke Revolution because the other people are playing along with you. Drumming is unpossible for me.
  • Tiki bars. Especially the Tiki Torch in Edgewater. I know one of the owners, so I'm psyched to give it a shot. I'll be toting The Wife and her mother down this Saturday, I believe. Daddy needs a Mai Tai with a quickness!
  • Anita O'Day. Holy crap! How have I never heard of her until now? Best thing to ever happen to me thanks to Plurk. (If you're not already a Twitter user, you might try Plurk instead.) Also loving Sarah Vaughn these days.
  • The Silent Years. The Globe comes out soon.
  • Going to the doctor to get my first physical in who knows how many years. It seems I'm doing well. (I still have to do blood work, though.)
  • Michael Phelps. Yeah... WOW.
  • The iPhone 3G. Lots of people gripe about various things, but in general I say it's damned amazing.
  • Dark Knight. Saw it on IMAX. It was pretty good.
  • Rumbi fish tacos. I'm stunned, but these are currently my favorite fish tacos.
  • Knowing one of the guys on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
  • Fuelly. All the cool kids are doing it.
  • Bumping into an acquaintance and having their first comment be "You look good."

And other stuff, too. That's a pretty good list for now, though.

Long Weekends Should Be Longer

Not that I'm greedy or anything. It just that I once again managed to let a holiday weekend slip by without doing anything worth mentioning. I got back on the exercise horse with short, awful runs on Saturday and Monday and Bowflex action on Sunday, but so what? I dipped to a new low weight for this weight loss effort, too, but bounced back up a pound or so.

My mother had a nice deck party on her brand new deck on Saturday -- that was pretty much the highlight of the weekend. She and her cohorts are now talking about starting a rescue not just for Danes but for all sorts of giant dogs. (I figure that'll make Miracle Ed smile.)

After Ma's I went to check in on my friend David's birthday party, but apparently it had just broken up after BJ Penn beat up Sean Sherk. Since the party (and DJ) were winding down, Erik and I went to his house to throw darts and play a little ping-pong. Yep. We're wild.

Sunday was a failure, as I decided not to ride my motorcycle figuring I would do that on Monday. Well, Monday turned out rainy, so no Bonneville time for me. This bummed me out since Erik had come over last week to help me get the Bonnie running well after a long bit of garage rest.

So it goes, eh?

A couple media notes:

  1. Don't waste your time with Revolver. Gah.
  2. Sweeney Todd, by contrast was good times. On Helena Bonham Carter -- Me: "I wonder what she's like day to day... You never hear much gossip." Wife: "Yeah, I don't know. I was just thinking she's got to be the oldest goth chick around." Me: "Still totally hot, though." Wife: "Well, yeah."
  3. Also, if you're cooler than me (by which, in this case, I mean you own a Blu-ray player), you might be interested in Amazon's Blu-ray sale.

3:10 to Robert Ford

I hooked up a couple Westerns on the Amazon Unbox recently. The first was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Much like its title, the film is over-long, but it features some great cinematography and some mighty fine performances -- especially from Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell. I was amused at one point when the narration describing Jesse James mentioned that he had a condition that caused him to blink a lot... and there's Brad Pitt, doing his standard scruffy-faced, wide-eye, unblinking crazy face.... Um, yeah... OK, Brad. That said, Pitt is generally good, too, but it's a role that isn't much of a stretch for him. Anyway, the movie itself is good enough that I would certainly recommend it "if that's your sort of thing" -- by which I guess I'd mean low-action, semi-cerebral period pieces with pretty pictures.

Then last night I watched 3:10 to Yuma. More action to this one -- it's what you'd call a straight up Western. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe are both quite good, and it was a treat to see that guy from Firefly again. Best of all was a scene-stealing Ben Foster as Charlie Prince -- that character is a perfect Western villain. If you like people shooting at other people from horseback, this is your choice.

Unfortunately, I'm puzzled by the climax... (Spoilers ahoy!)

The actions of Crowe's character, Ben Wade, in the finale don't make sense to me at all. He decides to go along with Bale's Dan Evans to get on the train, but doesn't call off his boys, who are trying their damnedest to kill Evans. He actually behaves as if he is running from his own gang. Only as he gets on the train does he make any effort -- too late -- to keep Evans from being killed. He then proceeds to dispatch his entire gang in seeming revenge. WTF? Then he goes ahead and hops into the cage on the train to be taken to prison, but that's revealed to be something he does only to make Evans's son feel better (or something) because he calls his horse to follow along, implying an escape in the near future....


Why would he go along tot he train and not call off his gang? If he wasn't going to call off his boys, why would he shoot them all after they killed Evans? Why would he do all of this if he was just going to escape and start over? At least I'm not alone:

Without giving anything away, let’s just say that in the interests of a socko finale Wade behaves in ways even Crowe can’t make us swallow.

Like I said, I don't get it.

UPDATE: I should have checked Rod's fake script first:

CHRISTIAN BALE (clutching chest) I did it, son!

CHRISTIAN BALE’S KID Did what? Managed to be so pathetic that Crowe took pity on you and volunteered to go to jail so that you could feel like a hero, despite being such a complete loser?

CHRISTIAN BALE Yeah, I totally did that. (dies)

Nerd Sexy

Today, Rod posted these rejected Star Wars products to our sooper-seekrit IRC channel, prompting the following:

  • Jake: and pants are optional!
  • Rod: hell yes
  • Rod: and then if you're at a halloween party and some girl opens up your sweaty suit to blow you, she can say "and i thought they smelled bad on the outside"
  • Rod: and then you can marry her because she's awesome

That's gold, people. Pure gold!

And then there was this exchange, as well...

Hit 'Em Again

Here's to having MLK Day off from work! Going for my walk/run today in 15 degree (F) temps wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. Until my calf started cramping. That had nothing to do with the cold, though. It was ready to go from the activity earlier in the weekend.

Junk I've run across:


Would any of Christian Bale's film characters be a good lay? Probably not.

3:10 To Yuma: Unexpressive. Plays things close to the vest. Grim. Secretly defensive with too much to prove. Might open up in private and might consider decent cocksmanship another sign of his must-be-proven-constantly manliness, but also might consider foreplay a sign of weakness. Thumbs down.

Cocksmanship is the word of the day, kids.

This of course leads us to the proverbial "List" that we like to pretend we are all allowed to keep. The List specifies the celebrities that your partner is supposed to let you frolic freely with, should you ever get the chance. Of course, the only thing that even lets The List exist is the fact that you will never get that chance. In fact, I know someone who had a particular vixen removed forcibly from his List because he'd actually met her in person once. This brings the game too close to reality. No good.

I don't actively maintain my list, but I like to keep a fuzzy idea of who might be on it for when the barroom conversation turn that direction. I have to say, though, that the glut of celebrity gossip sites (coupled with the fact that I know a couple people in the film industry who like to tell me "Oh, she's a total bitch and she has some kind of weird skin fungus." when I bring up someone I'd totally take a run at) is kind of ruining the whole notion of The List. None of these people are nearly as perfect as they used to seem and that's just no fun.

Now that I've built it up so much, I'm balking on the idea of typing out my List. It's a fluid, ever-changing thing... I'm reticent to nail it down.

How 'bout you go first?


Track o' the post: There's No I In Threesome from Interpol's latest, Our Love To Admire (Note: Those links take you to Amazon's MP3 download area, which I highly recommend. I might try to keep doing a track for each post. I might not.)

Amazon Sells Music Correctly

You know what else I like? The new Amazon MP3 Music Downloads thingy, that's what. Prices are roughly similar to iTunes Music Store and there's no DRM whatsoever.

Hotness on a bun. (Y'know... As far as buying music goes. I still say buy directly from the artist if at all possible.)

The boss at Yahoo! Music agrees:

But now, eight years later, Amazon’s finally done what was clearly the right solution in 1999. Music in the format that people actually want it in, with a Web-based experience that’s simple and works with any device. I bought tracks from Amazon (Kevin Drew and No Age), downloaded them, sync’d them to my new iPod Nano, and had them playing in my home audio system (Control 4) in less than five minutes. PRAISE JESUS. It only took 8 years.

8 years. How much opportunity have we lost in those 8 years? How much naivety and hubris did we have when we said, “if we build it they will come�? What did we spend? And what did we gain? We certainly didn’t gain mass user adoption or trust, two prerequisites to success on the Internet.

I'm also still a big fan of Amazon Unbox with its $4 "rentals" that download straight to my TiVo.

That's sexy, too.

Bart's Junk

Executive Summary: The Simpsons Movie was immensely enjoyable. You should go see it, even if you don't watch the TV show anymore. (Some of the stuff I talk about after the jump could be considered spoilers, I guess...)

The Wife, the Mother-in-Law, and I saw the Simpsons Movie yesterday. It's definitely worth a peek. I think it absolutely succeeds in breathing new life into the franchise, which has to be the best you can expect. It's really interesting how a little nudity and some cursing can punch up a TV cartoon. ;^)

It's also kind of interesting to me how the secondary characters were used in the movie. Flanders got a lot of play, but Mr. Burns barely graced the screen, and Willie never even had a line. Makes you wonder how the next one (you have to assume there will be another one -- Maggie says so) will use the people of Springfield differently. The one was focused more closely on the Simpson clan than the show usually is, so one might expect the next movie to spread out a bit. Or not.

Either way, I'll be there.

Survivor TV

Last year I got super obsessed with the Survivorman series, which features a somewhat whiny, absolutely Canadian, but ever-resourceful Les Stroud in the seemingly unlikely role of lone survivor. And he really seems to be alone, too. At least he makes a big deal about carrying his cameras and such. Good TV, I tell you. (Wikipedia) Then along came Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild with his somewhat curious good looks, British accent, and willingness to get buck naked on TV. Yep. I love that one, too. Lots. I don't care if he has a camera crew or even if it's partly fake. Nowhere else will you see someone jump into a Scottish peet bog over his head wearing nowt but a pair of blue boxers. He's also the only person I've ever seen drink pee on basic cable. (Wikipedia)

Now I've seen all of the reruns of both shows, and I'm wanting more. I wonder if this is one of those passing things like my FoodTV obsession.


Side note: Bear may be a faker, but the director of that This Is England skinhead movie mentioned here earlier may be more real than anyone anticipated.

Doom & Despair? Where's the popcorn?

Last night the Wife and I took in Children of Men (via Amazon Unbox, no less -- pretty sweet). I loved it big time, but then I'm a sucker for distopian visions of the near future. My favorite part is when everyone stops fighting when they see the first new born in 18 years, letting the protagonists carry the baby through an urban war zone unmolested... And then suddenly someone fires a rocket and everything picks right back up. That scene right there is is one of the most pointed and concise commentaries on the human condition I've seen in a while.

Speaking of distopia and commentaries on the human condition, our friends at I Watch Stuff had a run of tidbits (two) regarding my favorite sub-genre: Skinhead movies!

First, we have Kevin Bacon going to war against an overblown "skinhead" gang in Death Sentence. It looks absolutely ridiculous (it's directed by the Saw guy...), but at the same time AWESOME.

Next we have This Is England about a young lad falling into the British skinhead family in the '80s. Looks effing fantastic (to me).

Weekend Highlights

I get the feeling that this summer's going to be a scorcher. That lovely Spring weather I was gushing about has faded into something more akin to a preheating blast furnace. Saturday evening the Wife and I gathered with our mothers and various other posse members to take in a tooth-and-nail roller derby bout with our beloved Rocky Mountain Roller Girls handing a sound trashing to the visiting Angel City Derby Girls from LA. Apparently the ACDG are relatively new and they tried to compensate for the lack of experience by - as our Zoom Zoom Zetta put it to me - "playing sooo dirty". As a spectator, I was thrilled. I was really worried Pinky 500 was going to throw down at some point, though (something I've only seen happen once so far). The night ended on a bit of a down note as Penny Payne needed to be helped off after a crash in the last jam.

Sunday kind of fell into the "too hot to move" category, so we took in Knocked Up. I'll give it a B+. It's not as funny as 40 Year Old Virgin, and a couple of the scenes were so obviously pieced together from hours of improv that they actually threw off the rhythm of the movie. All-in-all it's a great chick flick that guys will enjoy.

And... Yeah... That's about it.


OK, so... Sorry about the week an a half of nothing. I wish I could say I've been busy or some such, but no. Mostly I've been sitting around alternately playing World of Warcraft and watching TV while trying out new and exciting pillow-influenced hair styles.

I suppose I can blast out a short list of tidbits for you though:

  • The big news is that not only did Rod and I jump ship from my old place of employment; now Brandon has followed suit. He's working for an interesting new company, too.
  • Oh, yeah, I start my new gig today. I'm psyched.
  • Related to that, I had the best intentions to try and learn Ruby on Rails this past week that I've had off. That didn't really happen. I've got time, though. ;)
  • I did try to get right on switching my 401(k) plans to an IRA, but only got as far as opening the IRA because the 401(k) people didn't know I'd quit yet. Super...
  • Last Thursday, The Wife and I took in a matinée of Pan's Labyrinth -- totally frickin' awesome. Funny how Fascism and faerie tale allegory goes hand in hand so often.
  • Rod got my hooked up with a private torrent tracker site... Now I'm obsessed with keeping my upload/download ratio above 1.
  • Last night we mixed up a pitcher of martinis and took in the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It was generally an inoffensive evening of festivities, though I can say that some of my favorite shows (24, Weeds, ... that may be it) got robbed, but whatever. They did show Dennis Weaver in their "fallen soldiers" tribute, reminding me of the time he popped into a gas stop cafe in the middle of nowhere (aka Western Kansas) while Miracle Ed and I were having breakfast and trying to get our collective shit together at the tail end of a 31 hour single shot drive from Boston to Denver. Let me tell you, having a bunch of flatland hicks (remember, I'm somewhat of an expert in the field of recognizing and categorizing hicks) freaking out about how "that was the feller that played on that show!" really turns the surreal dial to 11.
  • Ever heard of "Toddy" coffee? Neither had I until the other day. I don't think I buy it.

I guess that will have to do for now.

High Ho, High Ho

I have no idea how long it's been since I've actually been to work. I had the week between Christmas and New Year's scheduled for vacation, but then we had the Hanukkah Blizzard of 2006 so things got started off really early for me. I guess two weeks ago today was the last time I was in the office. Take a guess at my motivation level... ;)

Thanks to the Hanukkah and Kwanzaa blizzard combination, we ended up spending the holidays doing a lot of sitting around and staring at each other. We did get out to the tattoo shop to get the Mother-in-Law a new piece (of which I should really get a better picture) and for The Wife and I to get some touch up done.

Other than that, not a lot to report. We did watch some DVDs:

  • Nacho Libre (B) -- Jack Black, yo. Plus I love me some Lucha Libre.
  • Talladega Nights (A-) -- Best Will Ferrell joint ever. Period. John C. Riley is a king.
  • Aeon Flux (B+) -- I was a big fan of the animated shorts on MTV's Liquid Television, but I kind of like this better. There was actually a storyline available without creative interpretation. Plus Charlize is badass.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (B-) -- Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow was weird in this one. Not nearly as good as the first one.

One quick link, while I'm at it: I like this guy's style.

Good Things

A categorized list: Hip Hop


  • Firefox 2.0 is out and seems worth the update. I do suggest getting the Tabbrowser Preferences extension, because I hate those tab close buttons on every tab. The inline spell checking is worth the price of admission, though.
  • (from Steve Berlin Johnson) is interesting, but I'm not sure it turns me on just yet. Not a whole lot of content for my neck of the woods so far.


The Nose Knows

It must have been sometime in college that I read Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. It easily became one of my all-time favorite novels. (It also makes an interesting gift for a new girlfriend, FYI. There are two copies in my house... I'm just sayin'...) Now I see that they're releasing a movie based on the novel, and the trailer doesn't look half bad.

I make no claims for the film, but the book is highly recommended.

Geeks in a Theater

Today the software team took off early to go see Snakes on a Plane. (It's quite the phenomenon on teh internets, y'know...) Much to our surprise, the movie had a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes before we left. (It's down to 63% now, which is stull hugely high for this particular motion picture.) It really is a fun, campy pic. Don't get me wrong, it's bad. It's tremendously stupid, and it certainly isn't art, but it's a good time if you want to go get rowdy in a movie theater.

More than anything, I can't get over how much fun Sam Jackson has had being part of SoaP. Good for him.


Another Movie List

Kottke points us to this list of 102 movies every movie buff should see. I'm not sure I buy the list, but I was curious how I stacked up: (Films I've seens are marked with *. Favorites - those which I have seen multiple times or own - are marked with **. The ones I think I've seen or that I've only seens bits of are flagged with ~.)

* 2001: A Space Odyssey The 400 Blows 8 1/2 Aguirre, the Wrath of God * Alien ~ All About Eve * Annie Hall ** Apocalypse Now * Bambi The Battleship Potemkin The Best Years of Our Lives ~ The Big Red One The Bicycle Thief The Big Sleep ** Blade Runner Blowup * Blue Velvet * Bonnie and Clyde Breathless Bringing Up Baby * Carrie * Casablanca Un Chien Andalou Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis * Chinatown * Citizen Kane * A Clockwork Orange * The Crying Game The Day the Earth Stood Still Days of Heaven * Dirty Harry The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie * Do the Right Thing ~ La Dolce Vita Double Indemnity * Dr. Strangelove * Duck Soup * E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial * Easy Rider * The Empire Strikes Back The Exorcist ** Fargo ** Fight Club Frankenstein The General * The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II * Gone With the Wind * GoodFellas ~ The Graduate ~ Halloween ~ A Hard Day's Night Intolerance It's a Gift * It's a Wonderful Life * Jaws The Lady Eve ~ Lawrence of Arabia M * Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior * The Maltese Falcon * The Manchurian Candidate Metropolis * Modern Times ** Monty Python and the Holy Grail Nashville The Night of the Hunter * Night of the Living Dead ** North by Northwest Nosferatu ~ On the Waterfront Once Upon a Time in the West Out of the Past Persona * Pink Flamingos * Psycho ** Pulp Fiction * Rashomon * Rear Window ** Rebel Without a Cause Red River Repulsion The Rules of the Game ** Scarface The Scarlet Empress * Schindler's List The Searchers ** The Seven Samurai * Singin' in the Rain ~ Some Like It Hot A Star Is Born ** A Streetcar Named Desire Sunset Boulevard ~ Taxi Driver The Third Man Tokyo Story Touch of Evil ~ The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Trouble in Paradise ** Vertigo * West Side Story ~ The Wild Bunch * The Wizard of Oz

So, 49 go into my "seen it" list and 12 more have at least passed before my eyes at some point.