Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Red Box Gives Me New Life

You know I should be paid for this, really. I recently noticed a large red vending machine outside my local Albertson's. It had lots of pretty pictures all over it and a touch screen monitor in the middle of it. I began pushing buttons and little images appeared and I was delighted. I selected one slid my card through and out popped a dvd. I paid a buck and was able to view it. The next day I returned it but if I hadn't it would have been another buck. I did all this in full view of a Blockbusters store. It was glorious, it was new, and it was inventive. The company calls themselves Red Box and you can see more at REDBOX.COM

The first movie I saw was "Thank You For Smoking" which was such a wonderful guilty pleasure I almost ran out to find a job defending big tobacco. It cost me a dollar. The second movie was "Stomp the Yard", a urban drama about an inner city youth redefining himself in college with the help of a fraternity, a girl and a step team. It was a little silly but it was still enjoyable and it also only cost a dollar. Tonight I rented a total stinker of a film, a real dog. "Eragon" a movie that seemed to take as little from the book it gets it's title and character names from as possible. It was awful but that horrendous viewing torture session cost me a dollar. Not 4 dollars like the video store. I love Red Box and I hope it continues to operate. A thing to note is that Red Box seems to only have the latest movies. You won't find the original Night of the Living Dead here nor will you find Nosferatu, they are just too old!

Some of you may be thinking but don't you have Netflix Mike? Well yeah I do but it seems every weekend I find myself without a movie to view and that means no movie until Tuesday at the earliest. I have been renting from other establishments dropping nearly 8 dollars every weekend when I could have just spent 2 dollars. TWOOOO DOOOLLLAAAARRRS!!! I WANT MY TWOOO DOOOOLLLAAAARRRSSS! (Name that movie)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Newsy News

Wasn't that the most interesting review of a weekend I have ever done?

Anyways I have some news.

Kevin K admitted he secretly loves the Bee Gee's.

Doug and Amber had their twin girls this last week and they are super cute.

I am apartment hunting but currently have had no luck.

And that is the news.

My Weekend

Now that was a weekend. Wish you had been here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Long Days

Well this week started out weird. My desk mate at work Crystal (She was mentioned during the RTA 2007 ceremony as a nominee), came in about midday on Monday and tendered her resignation. It was not totally out of the blue. She had become increasingly irritated with some of the stat counting that had become the focus of the job. Even though the interview consisted of them telling us how stats aren't that big of a deal as long as you take care of your customer. That wasn't the only reason she quit but I am sure it helped make the decision for her. She has some serious family stuff going on right now and wanted to have time to take care of things properly. The whole problem is that now I am the only one in my row and I am dying of boredom. The evil company also cracked down on drawing, reading and any other activity between calls so I don't even have the relief of drawing during my increasingly lengthening wait times. I am bouncing off the walls! The sad thing is this week I am spending half of my time in training and the other half on the phones. Once training is over I will be taking calls in our new system and I will not have long wait times but I still need something to make the day tolerable again. Stupid no drawing rule! Stupid no neighbor having area! At least next week we get back in the class room for 4 full days instead of 1 full day and 3 half days. Training has the benefit of neighbors to keep me occupied. Anyway this week has seemed really long. I can not wait until this time tomorrow!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Rambling Review of 28 Weeks Later

It was a movie going experience like no other. I was the first to walk into the theater and I had an open seat selection. I chose dead center. I put my soda in the cup holder and I prepared to wait out the next 20 minutes before show time by playing a stupid game on my mobile phone. A total of 6 other people came in and it was nearly time. I switched my phone to silent mode and got ready for the film to begin. The room went dark and the previews started and then 20 people came in. All 20 people sat in the two rows directly behind mine. They were loud too! Eating popcorn like cows grazing in the field and by that I meant they must have trucked it in because all 20 people were mowing down the popcorn. It was insanity I could barely hear the trailers over the crunching. I was debating on whether to move or not when the movie started and they all went quiet. Completely quiet! For 30 fricking seconds! That was when somebody started uttering the phrases that the actor had just said. I turned and looked in the general direction when the on screen actors heard a loud banging on the door and some kid begging to be let in. I turned back to the movie and they had let the kid in (always a mistake in horror movies, never help people when you are in a horror movie, it just sends bad karma your way). Anyway these people allow the kid some food and he is obviously hungry and he is stuffing food into his dirty face with his hands when one of my uneducated 'friends' behind me decide to say "Oh that is disgusting!" Which, let's be realistic people, is surprising, this is a horror movie about zombies. Zombies like to eat live people.... you have to expect this movie to have disgusting moments, and this scene of a starved child was not one of them. So my shocked and horrified 'friends' and I watched the kid continue to stuff his face when some girl looks out a boarded up window (another bad thing to do in horror movies if you commit to hiding then pretend like there is no outside) and of course an enraged zombie bursts through for a quick bite. This does not offend my discerning palated 'friends' because for the next few minutes of frantic running and bashing of zombies, utter silence prevails. The scene was mystifying because it did not focus on anything and made you feel like the camera man was actually being attacked by the zombies.... In fact I could not even tell who was being attacked or what was going on and I did not much care for that. Then the man with the crowbar who is there with his wife goes looking for her while she is looking for the boy that they let in that ended up leading these zombies to them. See how being kind in horror movies always ends up biting you in the backside? Anyway the zombies follow him up to the room and he is dragging his wife away when she sees the boy so she breaks the hold and goes to the boy as the zombies break down the door (once again helping people in horror movies is a big no-no). She starts calling for her hubby to save her but he decides to save his own butt and shuts and bolts a door and ends up running away while the zombies close in on him. His wife is beating on the window as he runs across the field to a motor boat. She gets yanked away from the window and the husband is the only survivor.....

Enter a new world. The zombie crisis is over because these zombies ate their entire food supply (us if you have not been keeping up) and the US army is working on taking London back. They have managed to have a little city that is home to quite a few people and is beginning to receive new people every day. Two kids are on the flight 'home' much to the surprise of our lovely doctor friend. They of course are our faithful but cowardly husbands kids. He tells the kids a slightly different tale of their mother's demise (which means it will come back to haunt you if you are in a horror movie). The kids are there barely a day when they decide to go to their real home to get some items, like a picture of mommy dearest. While they are there they discover a completely crazy mom who is surprisingly not dead just a little off the deep end. You hang out with zombies, hide in an attic and think you are the only person left alive in London and we shall see how sane you are! Anyway she obviously is immune to the virus that causes the lovely zombieism but she is not disease free. She carries the virus from at least one bite sustained during her zombie infested day. The husband gets infected from a kiss and soon the town is being firebombed by the US Army! GO TEAM! USA! USA! USA! This movie makes think the whole world hates us. Anyway the doctor has realized somewhere along the way that the kids are valuable for a possible vaccine and she along with an Army guy decide to get them safely out of London. The two helpers die, the kids don't but the son gets infected and he is of course immune. Needless to say the kids get out of London and they take out France with the sweet virus.

Through the whole movie I had the group of rejects talking, munching, getting up to use the bathroom a gajillion times and generally be distracting and obnoxious. I was really wishing a chainsaw wielding maniac would decide to come through the door a few times and dispose of my unwanted companions in a horribly bloody manner but it never happened. So the movie was tainted a bit and I have debated about doing this review because the retarded 20's involvement in my movie going experience may have completely biased my review. That being said I have decided either way I need to review it with all honesty. I loved 28 Days later, the original movie. I did not love 28 Weeks Later. The movie failed to introduce anything new to the genre. The zombies, who were groundbreaking in the first movie, were exactly the same. They were fast moving nightmares and the virus took hold immediately. That was an amazing difference from prior zombie flicks where you wondered where the real danger was when all the zombies moved at the speed of sloths. The zombies don't seem to change except maybe the dad zombie, infected by the immune mom, seems smarter. Maybe the mom's version of the virus improves his resourcefulness but I am not sure and I frankly never cared. That was where the problem originates. I was never made to care about these characters. I never hoped for them in the slightest and I was not shocked by anyone's fate. I also was annoyed by the frantic camera work that made it hard to see what was happening and to who it was happening. I know this is a style a lot of up and coming film makers seem to employ for action sequences but I did not like it in the Bourne Identity and I did not like it here. In fact it was rather distracting. Another annoying thing is the movie is very quiet for the most part. All the scenes not involving zombies seemed to be at a whispered volume. Combine that with deaf people and then lines are missed as the crowd repeats what was said the line before. I missed whole snippets of dialogue and was very annoyed by that. Maybe the movie house is to blame there. Well not 'maybe' it's more a definitely. When you hear the Spiderman 3 noise over the crazy zombie scene you know there is an issue. In a positive note I have to say that the teenaged daughter had amazingly expressive eyes and she did a wonderful job in showing emotion throughout the movie. She could have saved the movie and she very well might have had I not had the entire congregation of A.R.C. sitting behind me repeating lines to the hearing impaired in the group. I will probably get this movie from Netflix when it comes out on video just to make sure my disappointment in the movie was because of the movie and not because of the experience. If anything changes in my assessment of this movie I will let you know. If you should go see this movie I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Am I wrong or right? Was this as bad as it seemed or was it a gem that I should revisit?

Happy Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day! Happy Mother's day to my mom and every other mom out there. A special note goes out to Robert and Denise who are new parents of twins. Little Ethan and Cole are freshly minted and keeping their parents busy already.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

All New Blog Entries Until I Stop Writing Them!

Have any of you been watching anything on NBC lately? I am sure all of you are much to smart to be watching the crap they push on you at NBC. I am just saying that I am not. I have been watching NBC kind of half heartedly. I like Heroes but I am not sure exactly why because to me it does not seem very likable. I bet that last confession just put somebody into therapy. The other show I like is The Real Wedding Crashers. It is usually hard to watch in one sitting so I usually tape it and watch it in spurts. I can't imagine a second season. It could only get zanier and I am betting that would get less fun super quick. My favorite scene was in this last Monday's episode and it involved a guy named Skippy who is not what you would call a ladies man... anyway they set two girls up to argue over him and have him just sitting there looking confused, here is a video clip.Anyway these shows are not the reason I wanted to talk about NBC. Although mentioning popular shows does raise my hit count and I always like that. The reason I am talking about NBC is there advertising sucks lately. They have been ending all their show announcements with the phrase (pardon the bold): "ALL NEW UNTIL THE END OF THE SEASON". Pardon me if I am missing something but isn't that how every single television season works? If I recall correctly it works this way: new shows until the season is over and then reruns. Now of course it works this way 3 new shows then a mid-season hiatus so long that they show 14 prior seasons and then premier 4 new shows. Then the season is over and we have a break until the next season. Every time I hear that phrase I feel like turning the TV off and picking up a book. I have read 7 books in the last month. And cnn.com has the nerve to ask "Where have all the viewers gone?" I am all over that! We can never tell when it is actually new shows on the damn TV so now we rent the damn show from Netflix! MORONS!!!

The show that seems to be firmly attached to this new tagline seems to be ER. I have to ask this. Who in their right minds still watches this show? I have never been a fan, admittedly, but I amazed the damn thing is still on! Seriously George CLooney was last on that show in 1978! End this show soon! Why is it still on? When they start having tag lines like "ER: The Wedding' the show is way past over.

Seeing how I am in mid rant here I think I am going to switch gears. Have you looked at Craigslist for pets? If you haven't go do it now. There seems to be some trend in the world of animal adoption that says in order to properly entice people to take this animal you must type the note as if you are the animal. I have a few examples here: Ex 1, EX 2, & Ex 3 (my favorite). What is wrong with people? I first of all know animals can't type but I feel that if they could they would not type up this crap. I think these animals have to be ten times smarter then these owners that are trying to ditch them. Every time I read a note like this I feel like taking the person to the pound to be put to sleep! Who thought it would be clever to start doing this? Why does this continue? I figure if you really want to type as if you are the animal at least give the animal an edge or something. Here is my example of a proper dog writing a letter trying to get a new home:
Example 1
Seriously ya gotta spring me this dame is all batty! It just gonna be like 200 for the papers and I am a free dog. I swear I'm good for it! I won't poo on your rug more then every other Tuesday! I will only eat the ugly fluffy couch pillow! I'm a good dog I deserve to live! Seriously the other day I was snipped! I mean I am harmless, I won't even hump your stuffed Kermit the Frog! Please just come and bust me outta here! There is all these other dogs and I have to sleep with one eye open! The pound ain't a place for pretty faced dogs like me! Honest it ain't! I can't even turn the corner without someone dropping the soap. I am too young to die! C'mon mista! I ain't gonna cost you much and the dames will really like me. I am a lady pleaser. I won't even pass gas in front of them or nothin! HONEST YA GOTTA HELP!!! I'M BEGGIN YA!!!

Example 2
Hey look at this bloody mess of a hat! They got me wearing this outfit like I am some sorta suuuper model or some such nonsense! It is bollocks if you ask me I ought to chomp their face off I should! Serve' tha lot of 'em right, dontcha think? Granted I'm not the tallest dog on the yard but a bloody raincoat! What am I Paddington bloody Bear? That one is a right jerk if you ask me! Sitting around in a raincoat all day wif nuthing going on ahtall! Should be ashamed he should! He's a ruttin' ol' bear not a bloody train station commuter. Where does a bear go that he needs a locomotive? It's bloody nonsense if you ask me! Anyway I would love to come to your home if you are not a right idiot that thinks they should dress me up in some bloody fool outfit. It just isn't decent! Cheers!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Training and more training

It was another fantabulous day in my life. I had a car that ran and a completely cleaned out checking account and more then likely my pop had a squeaky clean checking account as well. Stupid mechanic nonsense! Let's not waste times on trivial matters of past events. I will move forward. I went to work for the first day of training on the new systems. It wasn't too bad, they had us using the system right away which was a major complaint before for me. The class has a sense of humor and so does the trainer which is a good thing because that is how I stay awake is by laughing and making the boring stuff seem fun. It was about mid-day when I had my first wave of horror. As I sat eating my microwaved disaster I remembered that I had continuing education class that night from 6 to 9. The class, although tedious and horrible, was not the issue. The issue was my empty bank account and the lack of preparing for two meals today. I had brought one lunch and had a dollar fifty in my pocket. I was doomed to have a bag of chips and a can of soda for dinner. Then the reality of only one friend being in the class with me sank in. I was without entertainers and people to complain with. Then the reality of being at work from 7:45 to 4:30 hit really hard and I felt despair. I was sitting at my desk after being let out of training early.... waiting for the clock to hit 4:30 so I could clock out. I was a little confused as to what to do about dinner and what to do for an hour and a half. When the girl next to me gave me a buck towards dinner and I found 50 cents in my soda fund. I ran to Wendy's and got a 2.99 meal deal. It made my night. My coworker rocks!! Please forget about me damning her in the last blog for being right about my car! Then I just sat around and caught up on some email and looked at couches online at IKEA. Not that I will ever be able to buy a couch but I looked anyway.

The ce class was almost like the last class I took. The same monkey brained guy kept making comments and I kept feeling like kicking him during the presentation or shanking him.... Then I got a brilliant idea and I drew a story where the guy was eaten by my character Croc. Actually he was beheaded by Croc. Which made me giggle and kinda of ended up helping me overcome my ire. Kind of... I think I am skipping the next ce class.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Do you ever notice that your car decides to betray you when there is nothing that can be done? I definitely noticed. I was driving home Friday, from an interesting evening that probably deserves it's own blog but will never see one... A light on my dash popped up it was my little battery icon. I had been driving for ten minutes now and the car had had no trouble starting up. I thought "Hmm.... it is a battery light but I know a dead battery and this is not a dead battery. I mean I am driving in the car, it has juice." I unplugged my iPod and turned off the radio. I turned off the heater and I drove in silence. My car was eerily quiet. If you know my car you know it is never ever quiet. It rattles along making all sorts of racket and a horrible jarring noise engulfs the cars whenever the exhausted shocks encounter a large bump or pothole. It is just part of my car and has been since a few months after I got it. After whatever those crafty Used Car Salesmen did at Tempe Dodge so it would sound smooth and quiet long enough for someone to buy it. In fact it often worries my passengers, fearing that the car will just go kaput right where we idle during a red light. It is the sound it should make and the sound I expect to hear from it when I am driving. A sound that means my car will continue moving. Friday night it made no sound as it idled, it made no sound as I drove and it didn't even object to the potholes in the street. It sounded like a car they make advertisements about. That combined with the glowing red battery light told me whatever was wrong was not a simple battery.
I woke up Saturday morning expecting to have a dead vehicle but it started. It started without the little light and without the comforting rattle of a car that always sounds like it will die at any moment. I hoped that the light would go away and that after work those guys at Les Schwab would say "Oh it's just a 50 dollar battery. No worries." Halfway to work the light was back. I worked all day long thinking about that stupid light. Crystal my cubicle neighbor said "It comes on after a little while? It's probably your alternator." Damn her and her prediction. It was a battery! It had to be, I could not afford anything else. I would later discover, much to my chagrin, that I didn't even have enough for that imagined battery. I rushed out of the evil towers that I called work and I headed to those ever so friendly Les Schwab guys. The guy caught me before I walked in the office and soon he was testing my car. "Your battery is fine. Your alternator is the problem." I asked him if they could get it fixed he said "We do not work on alternators." Then laughed mysteriously. OK so there was no mysterious laugh, but strangely enough as I wrote this line a loud mysterious laugh came from my neighbor... talk about creepy! Anyway he recommended a place that was closed at 3 and seeing how it was 4:50 I thanked him for his non-help. I drove home and looked at all the closed auto places thinking who the heck told them they could run on banking hours? As if breaking down only happened on the week day? How inconvenient is it that we all wait until Monday through Friday to get our cars fixed? I headed home and I stayed there. The next day I got up and called twenty places all of them were closed. I went back to bed. I got up again and watched Rome an HBO series about the Roman empire. It is interesting but not captivating if you ask me. Then I went out to my car half expecting it to not work. It started up in the same eerily quiet manner but soon there was a new and distinctly different rattle then I had ever heard and a weird metallic noise. I stumbled across an open Firestone, which amazed me. They unfortunately could not get the part today so I left. I drove all around and nothing else was open. I took my car home and I have sat here in worry ever since. I have no idea if this thing will start tomorrow. No idea if it will strand me somewhere and no idea how I was going to get the alternator fixed. So I made a decision. With some help from my dad I am taking tomorrow off and I am getting my car to someone that can fix my car the same day. Then I will pay my dad back. Not a great plan, or a good one even but it is a plan.