Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Portland Snow Pictures

I have put together a new slide show of my snowy days pictures.

The other way to see the pictures with more control: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crazedlunatik/sets/72157611855597281/show/

Friday, December 26, 2008

2 Rambling Reviews - Hamlet 2 and Yes Man

It was the day after Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring not even a louse.
Asleep in his bed a little past noon,
when he got up, dust bunnies he did moon.
Stumbling to the chair, there arose such a clatter
but when living alone it really does not matter.
Finally, in the early afternoon, motivation did hit
and he decided he needed to do something besides sit.
Showered and shaved he greeted the day,
Joyous was he until he saw cause for dismay.
The car, it sat surrounded by snow,
severely limiting where he might go!
Out of the house was what he had swore,
so he grabbed another jacket and locked his door.
On foot he trodded toward the mall
where swarmed a lot of people, some really tall.
Claustrophobia, the fear of tight space, sprang to his mind
he felt the urge to punch, so as not to be confined!
He left the mall with feet all a flutter,
running through an overflowing gutter.
His shoes now soaked he thought of home
but strong was his urge to continue to roam.
To the theater he soon set his sight,
to watch whatever, whenever, he might!

That is more or less how I ended up at the movie theater a few minutes before Yes Man was about to begin. I wish I could tell you I planned to see this movie but I didn't. I literally had only one choice for a movie starting then. It's not that I had planned to skip this movie or anything but the plan was to see it with beer, either at home or at the beer theaters. Either way I needed to be out of the house today and even with wet soggy feet I decided to pull the trigger and see the movie.

Yes Man stars Jim Carrey, the jerk fiance from Wedding Crashers (Bradley Cooper) and the zombie looking chick from The Happening (Zooey Deschanel). Jim Carrey plays Carl a man who is hiding from the world after his break up with his wife (Molly Sims). He nearly alienates his best friend Peter (Bradley Cooper) when he fails to show for his bachelor party. Carl decides to go to a seminar called "Yes is the new no" and makes a covenant with himself and the author to say yes to everything. For whatever reason he follows this to the 'T' and for a while everything is going great. He meets a great girl (Zooey), makes new friends, and gets promoted. Then things go to heck in a hand basket. The girl he likes is mad and won't take his calls, his job ends up making him fire people, the authorities think he's a terrorist and his ex-wife wants him back and he is not interested anymore. What is a guy to do?

Well, lets start off with Zooey Deschanel. This girl is cute and she seems to have a few more facial expressions besides the one demonstrated in The Happening (THANK GOODNESS!!!!). So I actually enjoyed her in this, the scene where she is singing in her band is great because the lyrics are fantastic and zany. Anyway she looked cute in this movie, she had a personality in this movie and I fell in love with her. I do need to say that we still see a lot of the deer in the headlights look from her as this seems to be a natural look she makes.... Oh well. Jim Carrey is getting older but he was bouncing off the screen and doing his usual rubber man stuff. Yet this role was pretty understated for him and the film never seemed to really generate the kind of laughs I used to get from a Jim Carrey film. It was almost like he was trying to grow up a little on us but knew we wanted to see his crazy antics. I enjoyed the movie and I laughed quite a bit while watching it but in the end it still left me a little remniscent for the good ol' Ace Ventura days. Some bonuses... Hyde from that 70's show is in it, General Zod from Superman II is in it, and the ever cute Kate from NCIS is in it (my favorite character names are used instead of their real names, you must find the actors behind them).

When I got home I was relieved to be out of my wet socks but I had the urge to watch something else. I had rented Hamlet 2 on Christmas but had not seen it yet. So I started dinner, made some phone calls and settled in for a viewing of something I expected to be terrible.

I had seen the previews and decided to wait until it made it to video. Nothing had impressed me about it but the "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" song had seem naughty enough to give this movie a try. Then I forgot all about it. Luckily I have visited the video store a lot lately and I always know when a new release has arrived. Anyway I ended up renting it but not having a desire to see it right away. I still had some Paniponi Dash! episodes to watch. So when I got home from Yes Man I just popped the thing in. The movie hooked me with one well placed line "So we must ask, where do dreams go to die?" and then they open on a desert town and they pan to a sign that says "Welcome to Tucson". HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I love when people make fun of Tucson, AZ and this film does so in spades. It does it so much that they were denied the priviledge of filming there and ended up filming in Albuquerque, NM.

The movie is about a failed actor turned drama teacher (Steve Coogan) who is not doing so well at this gig either. He has a frustrated wife (Catherine Keener) and he has a bunch of kids who took drama because the school cut the budget and eliminated their preferred choices. He takes this unexpected development as a chance to live out the "Inspiring Teacher" role portrayed in movies like Dangerous Minds or Dead Poets Society. He is a retard but the class seems to enjoy watching him to see exactly what is coming next. Then he is told his drama department will be cut after the semester ends. He is destroyed but after a pep talk from the play critic of the high school newspaper (who looked like he was in junior high), he decides to produce his own creation Hamlet 2. Somehow he gets the kids involved in this horrible looking play, manages to get the town and school upset and the support of the ACLU(Amy Poehler plays a feisty ACLU lady). All kinds of obstacles get in his way his wife leaves him with the roommate they got to pay the rent (David Arquette), he finds out he is sterile and she is pregnant with the roomie's baby, he loses his job, he is assaulted and threatened, he gives up on sobriety but somehow the students pull it all together and they perform the play. The parts of the play you actually see are offensive and hillarious at the same time. The "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" song was fantastically silly. One of the best parts was Elisabeth Shue plays herself but as an Elisabeth Shue who gave up on Hollywood to be a nurse and the only thing she misses is not being able to make out with people. This movie is stupid, offensive and somehow funny. I enjoyed it. Director and co-writer Andrew Fleming said (in the DVD extras), "I believe this film will appeal to my friends, mentally unstable people, people out for some cheap laughs and drunkards."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all where you want to be this Christmas Day. I am at home in slippers and pajamas typing away. Unfortunately I am not at my aunt's house today due to the snow lingering too long. So for the first time ever, I am having a white Christmas! Don't worry my Aunt and Uncle and I will all have our Christmas dinner another day. A little Christmas story for you all.

Joey awoke early and bounded down the stairs. The whole house was dark except for the lights on the Christmas tree. The presents were calling his name but he knew he had to wait. His parents had forbade him from waking them up before 7 AM and it was 4:30 AM. He had some time to kill.... His stocking was stuffed with interesting looking stuff and his desire to dig in and see what was what burned brightly inside him. He dared not step any closer because he knew his desire would be his undoing. He went in to the kitchen and decided to have breakfast. He grabbed a bowl, a spoon, a box of Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter Crunch, and the gallon of milk. That gallon sure was heavy as it was nearly full. He would have to concentrate to avoid any spills! He was being so good he thought. He had not woken anyone up, he had not ripped open any presents and he had not even looked in his stocking. Surely someone this good deserved a piece of Christmas Fudge! He grabbed the biggest piece he saw and began nibbling on it as he poured his cereal. The fudge was so good he wanted another piece but he decided he had to wait. He grabbed the milk jug with both hands and slowly tipped it so only a trickle came out. When he had enough milk he put the cap on and lugged it back to the refrigerator. He sat down and ate his cereal.

When he was finished he looked at the clock, he was sure it was close to 7 by now. It was only 4:52..... How could it only be 4:52? It was impossible that time moved this slow. As he rinsed the spoon and bowl and placed them in the dishwasher he realized that he really was being exceptionally good. Someone who was this good deserved an almond cluster! He selected the biggest piece and grabbed a napkin. He went out to the TV room and turned it on, surely their had to be some cartoons on. He flipped through all the stations and found only one. It was Clifford the Big Red Dog on PBS..... he hated the cartoons on PBS. They were so boring! He decided to find his Spongebob Christmas disc after he finished his almond cluster. It was so good he gobbled it too fast. No one would mind him having one more while he watched Spongebob. He grabbed the dvd, the next biggest almond cluster, and a glass of water and sat back down in front of the TV. He made himself eat the cluster slowly so he could get all the goodness out of it that was possible. He was finished before the previews were done.... and he wanted more. He knew that getting too much more chocolate would get him in trouble so he decided on popcorn. He went back to the kitchen and selected Kettle corn. He decided he needed a soda to go with the popcorn and he selected sprite (his only other option was diet so it was not much of a choice). He returned to the TV room and hit play to get Spongebob started.

He was not sure what was going on but he couldn't sit still. Even Spongebob was not compelling enough to keep his attention. He went back to the kitchen and had a few cookies and some milk. He was pretty full at this point. He decided he should use the treadmill while he watched TV like his mom did. He went back to the TV room and grabbed the remote and started Spongebob again. He got on the treadmill and started it up. He had to turn the TV up though and realized he was probably being too loud. He got back off the treadmill and turned the TV down. He ran to his room to get some toys. He grabbed his tub of action figures and ran down stairs. He realized that he needed to grab some vehicles for these guys and ran back upstairs and grabbed a few jeeps. Then he began setting them all around the room in strategic places and having them drive around in jeeps. They were all fighting each other and he was having a grand old time when he started to feel really tired. He grabbed a pillow and decided to watch the rest of Spongebob....

His parents had woken up a few time as he ran up and down the stairs and when the treadmill had been going. They were determined to stay in bed until 7 AM, even if they weren't sleeping. They had set the time and they were determined to stick to their rules. They sat there staring at the clock, how on earth could time take this long? It was only 5:45 at this point. They both settled on reading a book since they had no intention of officially getting up and neither could sleep any longer. Mom grabbed a mystery and dad a sci fi book and they enjoyed some quiet time with their books. When their alarm went off they were amazed that their son had not made much more noise since the marathon running session up and down the stairs. They went downstairs and found him asleep in the TV room next to a bowl of popcorn and a bunch of toys. The Spongebob video was still going though. They slipped out and decided to get some coffee going. Mom noticed a few pieces of candy missing and a bunch of cookies eaten but really not too bad considering he had been alone for hours. He probably had crashed out after the sugar shock wore off. They had enough time to have a leisurely breakfast of oatmeal and toast before they decided to wake their son to get on with Christmas.

He was a little confused when they woke him up and they had to remind him it was Christmas but once he remembered he ran to the living room and began looking through the contents of his stocking. They opened presents and took photos and had a grand ol' time! Soon the doorbell rang and it was other relatives and the gift giving started over again. Soon the adults were enjoying more coffee and chatter while the kids raced around the TV room with their sparkly new toys. Then the adults got to work on dinner while the kids built forts and played war with their toys. Occasionally one child would slip in to the kitchen and slip out with candy. The adults soon realized what was happening and put the delicious treats away in an effort to get them to eat something at Christmas dinner. When it was time to eat the table was filled with food. A huge Christmas ham, cranberry relish, marshmallow topped yams, a bowl of olives (that the children immediately began putting on their fingers), a variety of pickles from sweet to dill, veggies and dip, rolls, mashed potatoes, Waldorf salad, and other delicious holiday delights. It was a grand feast and everyone sat around in a food coma as the food was replaced and desert was put out. Everybody claimed to be too full to eat anything but as soon as the first piece of pie was on a plate everyone else gave in and followed suit. Over all it was a great Christmas and when it came time to go home they found their children asleep in the giant pillow fort and they snapped a picture.

Hope you enjoyed the little story. You guys have been really good.... so go ahead have a huge piece of Christmas fudge!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The cards are enroute!

I have sent off the last batch of Christmas cards! Which of course means some of you will get them after Christmas.... sorry. I sent out a lot of cards this year and a lot of the cards are just plain strange. Even stranger then my normal strange. So you might get the card and think "WTF?" Hahaha

Once again... if you do not get a card it's because I had no address. So.... waaah!

I wanted to do a few mini-reviews here.

Twilight - I liked this movie. Was it cinematic excellence? No. I am not sure if this would be enjoyable if you aren't already a fan of the series. Just being a fan does not guarantee you will like it either... I had a few friends tell me they hated it. I think all the bad and honest critiques I heard as a result of my diatribe about letting girls have their movie really helped. I had such low expectations that the movie could only be better... :) Anyway if you can get past the fact that Edward looks constipated (and can't act his way out of a paper bag), Alice is not in the movie enough, Emmett isn't big enough, Carlisle was miscast, and the vampires sparkle like they fell into a vat of glitter when they are in the sunlight you might have a chance of liking this movie. Kristen Stewart, the girl who played Bella, is very cute and probably the best actor of the bunch. I felt she needed some love since Robert Pattinson, Edward, is getting all the love (even though he looked constipated and couldn't act the girls were all hooked, my niece says she doesn't care because he is handsome).

The House Bunny - This movie is stupid! So I laughed a lot. I can't say this was an original idea for a movie but it was pretty funny and Anna Faris is pretty goood at being incredibly stupid. Anna plays Shelley, a Bunny who dreams of being a centerfold. Unfortunately, her Bunny expiration date (she turns 27) arrives and she is booted. She ends up working with a misfit sorority to turn them into popular girls. If you like stupid flicks there is a chance you will like this flick.

Havoc - I have a mini-crush on Anne Hathaway and made a big deal about the fact she was fully clothed in Get Smart. So my friend, Nancy, texted the name of this movie to me. Anne sheds her top several times. Thanks Nancy. Unfortunately the movie was barely watchable even with all the toplessness.... It'a about a bunch of white kids who whine about their life while trying to be black, even though they are spoiled rich kids with every opportunity available to them. Anne's character gets enamored with a Mexican drug dealer and all heck breaks loose... Seriously! She gets topless in the stupidest movie ever!

Kung Fu Panda - I didn't want to see ths movie in the theaters because the preview was terrible. I kept hearing from little tiny people that it was good so I rented it. I have to say this was pretty good. The graphics were amazing and the story was funny and cute. If you like kid flicks you might like is one. A panda dreams of being a kung fu master and finally ends up becoming one.

American Zombie - Strange. This was a fake documentary film about real life zombies. The zombies are high functioning and they keep interviewing them. One of the documentors is obsessed by the idea of finding out about flesh eating habits and other horror cliches. Of course none of the zombies answer that question... It was pretty entertaining but probably will only appeal to zombie fans.

Horton Hears a Who - Wasn't bad but wasn't great. Seemed fairly faithful to the original story but longer. Kids will probably like this.

Spartan - This is about some politicians daughter disappearing. It was watchable but not high on my list of recommendations.None of the characters are all that engaging.

X-Files: I Want to Believe - Wow.... this movie was stupid! I was never a big fan of the show, so I am not sure why I felt compelled to see it. I guess I felt it had to be at least entertaining... it wasn't. I don't even know what to tell you about this movie because it was just such a waste of time.

John Tucker Must Die - Not a bad teen flck. Amusing. Not great but watchable. John Tucker is the most popular boy in school who also likes to date 3 girls at one time. They find out about it and are super mad of course. They plot revenge and he is pretty good at turning all the bad into good. So they send in a new and unnoticed girl to break his heart.

Funny Games - They kept breaking the 4th wall! Meaning these homicidal kids kept talking to you, trying to make you an accomplice. I ended up doing homework with this in the background. It was a bad movie about horrible people. Take a flying pass on this one!

Leatherheads - Despite having Renee Zellweger (I don't like her) in this movie this was not a bad movie. Pretty darn fun. George Clooney is an aging football star when no one cares about football. Due to lack of fan support he ends up looking for work... unfortunately he is not any good at anything besides football. He lures the # 1 college player into the game and ends up revitalizing the interest of the public. Unfortunately, his brilliance is also his undoing as he begins taking a backseat.

Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles Vol. 1 - This little dude is a crack up. I was laughing really hard through out this stand up act. As a warning: he is no holds barred and might be offensive to your delicate sensibilities.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Cards!!

Here is the thing, I send out Christmas cards and I have a fun time making up silly stories to put in them. I want to send you a Christmas card but I can't. I NEED your address! Send your mailing address to crazedlunatik@gmail.com so that my card can find a good home.

In case you are on the fence about getting card from me let me share a few of the topics I have written about this year. Enraged rabbits taking over the world, a monkey construction company in the making, conversation with a ferret, a twist on the lottery scam letter and a Nigerian scam letter. Here is the Nigerian Scam letter for your enjoyment:

This letter may come as a shock to you as we have never met. I am Mutubu Gumubo of the Nigerian National Bank. Last year, a fellow by the name of Michael Williams was in Nigeria working for the Nigerian Oil Conservance Coalition when he was murdered in the streets. We have looked high and low for his family and relatives but have found no one. Upon further study of Mr. Williams's past, we found your name as a former co-worker of his. By way of a totally and completely legitimate Nigerian law this connection is enough for you to inherit all he had. The paperwork has already begun we just need your response to complete the process.

Unlike most Americans working abroad, Mr. Williams did not die with a lot of money or assets. What he died with was a wallet containing one US dollar and over 700 billion dollars in debt. Please contact us soon to set up a payment schedule.

Yours truly,
Mutubu Gumubo
Debt Collector
Nigerian National Bank

See what fun that was? The cards get zanier as I go, get your limited edition Christmas card today! No card is exactly the same, all are spontaneously written and contain hardly any facts or reality. There will be no silly recitation of this year's events! Simply made up stories to bring you Christmas cheer!

EMAIL ME YOUR MAILING ADDRESS!!!!! crazedlunatik@gmail.com

Sunday, December 07, 2008

December has begun!

Good Evening (or morning or afternoon depending on when you are reading this).

I have been away from this blog for too long and I felt I needed to post something to move past the Thanksgiving post. I am back in Portland after having a fabulous time in Phoenix. I loved getting together with those I was able to and as usual I wish we had more time. I also missed a few people this trip and I wish that had not happened. Either way I was truly happy and ready to be heading back home. I enjoy visiting Phoenix but more and more, Portland is becoming my home. I was a little homesick while I was in Phoenix. I spent a lot of time wishing you all were visiting me and we could go out to eat at Pambiche, the little Cuban restaurant near me. It is truly good to be home.

Unfortuantely, school is back in session and I am completely not ready for it. I want another week or 2 off. Of course we usually don't get what we want.

I may have landed a teeny tiny part time job.... I will know for sure after Thursday! Woo!

I failed to finish my NANOWRIMO novel this year. I hit 16,000 in the first week and then the two school classes just got in the way. I ended with 26,000 words, yep, 10,000 words in 3 weeks versus 16,000 in one week. I am not planning on quitting just because I failed to finish in a month, I plan to get going on it again soon. I had some people, Betty being the most vocal, who were wondering when I would be posting a fictional story on here again. I am working on one called Time. As soon as it is done, or halfway done, I will post it.

I want to tell you guys some more stuff.... lets see.....

I bought Generation Dead for Jessica to read and she was enjoying it last I checked. I gave her permission to loan it out so you may want to bother her about it if you want to read it.

I saw Quantum of Solace while in Phoenix with my mom and Becky. I loved it. I am not so sure Becky did even though she was interested in it because Judi Dench was in it. She apparently thought it was going to be more Pride and Prejudice and less James Bondish. Of course she was right about it not being a typical Bond movie, this new Bond is not really your typical Bond, he kicks butt and never actually gets around to asking questions or being suave. I actually really like the new Bond, so much so that I own Casino Royale and plan to purchase Quantum of Solace. I do not own any other Bond movie. Usually once I have seen them I have no desire to see them again. Just to be perfectly clear, I think this was a good flick and one you should go see.

One of my favorite books, Lovely Bones, was written by Alice Sebold. She has written a new book called the Almost Moon and I picked up a hard cover copy super cheap while I was in Phoenix. It is a horrible story so far, I don't mean poorly written, it is not poorly written just very crazy. I will finish it and do a review as this book is pretty intense.

I picked up J.K. Rowlings latest book today, Tales of Beedle the Bard. It has five fairy tales including the one alluded to in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the 7th book). It was a quick read (under an hour) and the fairy tales were not too bad, with good morals in them. If you have a young Harry Potter fan you might want to get this for them, I plan to hold onto it and keep it in my future classroom.

I have stretched this entry enough and will soon end it. First... one last thing, I have pictures from my trip, most notably some fantastic shots from the Desert Botanical Garden featuring Dale Chihuly's glass artwork. I will clean them up and put them in a slide show sometime this week.

Your humble blogenator, Mike

P.S. HOLIDAY CARDS are in production by me... I need addresses!!!! Get your free Christmas Card filled with random lies and made up events! A revered and time honored holiday tradition 2 years in the making.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Hey all!

What a week! I want to thank my mom for all her help with my lesson plans. I think they definitely were lifted up a notch because of your guidance. I am looking forward to a homework free week! YAY!!

I absolutely can't wait until I am down in Phoenix hanging with the other half of my peeps. I hope everyone has a good week and a good Thanksgiving if I fail to see you this holiday.


P.S. It is holiday season and I love sending Christmas cards out, those that have recieved them in the past have enjoyed some fantastic lies and falsehoods about my year. I would love to SEND YOU a FREE Christmas card. I am asking for an address only, no need to reciprocate with a card back. Email me your address at crazedlunatik@gmail.com and you will make the list!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Misrepresenation is a dish best served cold!

FIRST: I know misrepresenation is not a word and that the closest word to it should be spelled misrepresentation. I am not trying to talk about misrepresentation; I am speaking of Misrepresenation, the nation. Read further to see what I am on about...

SECOND: This is the 2nd part of a 2 part rant.... they kind of interlink. Kind of.... The first part is called "Procrastination across the nation! Misrepresenation that is!"

Back to the critics. I was reading the early reviews of Twilight. Let's clarify something here... I read this book and liked it. I read the other 3 in the series and they were OK but the first was good. I read the other 3 mainly due to the hook Stephenie Meyer ensared me with during my voracious reading of the first book. Going in I knew this was aimed at teen girls..... so when it delivered a silly and dreamy romance, I was neither upset nor surprised. This book is not pretending to be R-Rated.... the two characters don't even "make love" until they get freaking married in the 4th book! Of course after they get married and Bella becomes all vampy they are at it like rabbits! Knowing this was a book not geared toward me helped me realize what to expect, and I enjoyed the experience. My dad did not enjoy his reading adventure with this series but that was because I was hooked and kept rambling about how good it was and set super high expectations. It was like a drug, until about a month after I read the final book I just couldn't stop talking about it; sorry pop. I enjoyed it and I freely admit that (without shame even). I, of course, have moved on and fully endorse these other teen genre books:

The House of Night series - Another teen vamp book but a little edgier and with a different slant, the world has vampires and all vampires pop out of ordinary teens when they turn 16, blood exchanges not necessary. The 5th book is being released next year and I can't wait.

13 Reasons Why - This book has quite an interesting concept. It deals with a male survivor of another person's suicide (a person that he had a huge crush on). He receives 7 tapes after she kills herself, 13 recorded sides, explaining why she killed herself. This is the only non-series book on this list.

Generation Dead - Dead teenagers are coming back to life and instead of craving brains they are craving acceptance and a place in society. I signed on to follow this author's blog as I am eagerly awaiting the sequel and happened to also enjoy his blog http://watersdan.blogspot.com/.

I got a little distracted..... OK, my point was Twilight is really aimed at teen girls. It has plenty of adult fans, two of my last teachers (including my current teacher) love the books and we talked about them in depth. However, the bread and butter is a decade or two younger then I am. That is also who the movie is aimed at. So what is with all this silly bashing of the movie because it is aimed at teenage girls? So freaking what!? They don't get a movie aimed at them? Only dorky comic book fans (I am one of these people too) can get a movie? And now some quotes I shall mock:

"I’m sure this love story seems profound to young readers with only a vague understanding of the vampire myth, but anyone with even a basic understanding of the plot of Dracula knows that forbidden vampire love is a pretty damn conventional part of the genre that really offers nothing new." - Charles Varrick for Martiniboys.com http://www.martiniboys.com/Montreal/Twilight:-Movie-Review-movie-1146_page2.html

Hmm.... Nothing new. I guess besides a vampire book not filled with blood, insane violence, lacking a super evil vamp guy hungry for a ladie's virtue, and something that is completely aimed at teen girls. TOTALLY UNORIGINAL! Yes, please bring on the same ol' blood, violence and cliched bad vampire story.

"Twilight" will mesmerize its target audience, 16-year-old girls and their grandmothers. Their mothers know all too much about boys like this. I saw it at a sneak preview. Last time I saw a movie in that same theater, the audience welcomed it as an opportunity to catch up on gossip, texting, and laughing at private jokes. This time the audience was rapt with attention. Sometimes a soft chuckle, as when the principal Indian boy has well-developed incisors. Sometimes a soft sigh. Afterwards, I eavesdropped on some conversations. A few were saying, "He's so hot!" More floated in a sweet dreaminess. Edward seemed to stir their surrender instincts. - Roger Ebert; Chicago Sun-Times (pick a name you dyslexic paper!), http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081119/REVIEWS/811199997

What is with the hate man? His whole article basically bashes the young ladies for being naive enough to fall in love with a movie about mismatched and ill-fated love. Yeah, screw you too Willy Shakespeare! I guess he only likes movies with cross-dressers, boring plots, senseless violence, and random nudity (like: The Valley of the Dolls).

Bad Article Titles:
'Twilight' barely gets the blood flowing - Claudia Puig; USA Today (yeah bubblegum light of the entire newspaper industry is mocking something for not being deep....) http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/reviews/2008-11-19-twilight_N.htm
Twilight lacks bite - Edmonton Sun (I am looking for a page 3 girl, it looks like the London rag with the topless ladies), http://www.edmontonsun.com/Entertainment/MovieReviews/2008/11/20/7470366-sun.html
Dear diary: My guardian angel is a vampire! - James Sanford (not a bad review just a silly and funny title) Kalamazoo Gazette http://www.mlive.com/movies/index.ssf/2008/11/dear_diary_my_guardian_angel_i.html
'Twilight' fans stake hearts on vampire romance - Karina Bland; Arizona Republic http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/2008/11/20/20081120twilightfans1120-CP.html

Please! Pretty Please! Pretty, pretty, pretty please (with sugar on top) more cliches! Not only do the cliche's abound in the reviews' titles most of the reviews are filled with them. Sad!

My pet peeve is not that they did not like the movie. That is fine, dislike the movie, hate the acting, mock the crappy special effects and wish it had been better. My pet peeve is when they senselessly bash a whole segment of people. So a gaggle of young girls are rushing to this movie and swooning over the dude playing Edward Cullen (the chalky faced lad who is the vampire partner of Bella), where is the harm? Why make fun of them simply because they liked it and your OLD ASS didn't? I think the other problem is a lot of people didn't bother themselves with details like: it is a bubblegum vampire love story for young girls! The story should not be a silly little overlooked fact! Instead of spending 5 minutes googling the book and realizing what it is and who it's for, let's spend the entire review mad that the movie was exactly what the books are. BUY A CLUE! Spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story. YOU GET PAID TO REVIEW MOVIES PUT IN SOME FREAKING EFFORT!!!
(HEY! My ignorance of Beowulf is not the issue people, unless you start paying for my reviews. Don't go off on tangents, only I can do that. If you insist on going off on tangents start your own pointless blog!)

Just so you know not all the reviews of this movie are bad, a lot are pretty positive and seem to get what the movie is and who it is for.

CASE IN POINT: This guy is actually funny and does a seemingly more fair review of the movie. He notes the intended audience, some of the drawbacks and even the good points. Here is a quote of a warning he includes to parents and all those who show up not possesing that ever elusive clue:
-- Advisory: This movie contains some violence and sensuality. This material also attracts packs of girls with extremely high-pitched voices, who will scream every time their favorite character comes onscreen. Bring earplugs, or sit at least six rows away from anyone female between the ages of 12 and 15. - Peter Hartlaub; San Francisco Chronicle; http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/20/DDC8147DP2.DTL

Like sitting away from the girls will help.....

Apparently the town in the novel exists http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/movies/388508_twilightforks20.html

This guy had the funniest review of them all. I am assuming he was deliberately misinterpreting the point of the story to enrage the fans. He did a good job. Anyway he compares Twilight to the Twilight Zone and pretends (I hope) that he does not know they have nothing to do with each other.
"Twilight" has to be one of the worst adaptations of a television show that has ever been produced. It simply fails to capture the magic of the old television series. From 1959 to 1964, one of the most inventive shows ever broadcast, "The Twilight Zone," thrilled television audiences. Co-written and hosted by Rod Serling, it was an amazing series and one whose 148 individual installments viewers continue to enjoy today. Now comes along this new version with the shortened title "Twilight." They should have chosen a different title: "The Twilight Crap." - Ronald Birkow; Dateline Hollywood, http://www.datelinehollywood.com/dateline_hollywood/2008/11/review-twilight-is-a-horrible-adaptation-of-the-original-twilight-zone.html

A sample of the extremely enraged fans:
Are you stupid or just living in a cave???? This movie has NOTHING TO DO with the Twilight Zone! Its not supposed to!

It is based on the series of four novels by Stephenie Meyer, one the increasingly heralded authors of our time. It is a phenomenon in America and across the world and you somehow have seen the movie already and think that it is supposed to be coming from the Twilight Zone????

You are a poor excuse for a journalist, and frankly, a disappointment and failure as a writer. Do some background research and maybe get a job at McDonalds since it looks like you fail as a journalist. - Katelyn

umm.... i think you need to get FIRED due to your LACK of research as a journalist!!! I would be EMBARRASSED if i were you to print up a review without even knowing what the movie was based on and quite frankly a bit scared due to the phenomenal FANBASE this movie has that is going to TEAR you up for this misrepresenation of a best-selling book!!!! LOL - tina

I can't help it. Excuse me, tina, first of all let's start with your name the "t" should be a "T" and the "i" used in reference to yourself should be "I". Holy run-on: "I would be EMBARRASSED if i were you to print up a review without even knowing what the movie was based on and quite frankly a bit scared due to the phenomenal FANBASE this movie has that is going to TEAR you up for this misrepresenation of a best-selling book!!!!" I love it! Misrepresenation? Is that near Mexico, I did not know there was a nation called Misrepresenation. And finally: Contrary to popular belief, LOL, is not a word.

OK I think this dual-post is complete....... for now. Don't worry I wrote a sentence or two for my lesson plans while writing this monster.

P.S. Do not get all huffy about me mocking that girl's post. I happen to love run-on sentences and use them a lot in my blogging. If you need proof, read these two entries again.

P.P.S. If someone could assist me... I am trying to book a flight to Misrepresenation... I can't seem to find it listed at Southwest Airlines or Orbitz...

Procrastination across the nation! Misrepresenation that is!

FIRST: I know misrepresenation is not a word and that the closest word to it should be spelled misrepresentation. I am not trying to talk about misrepresentation; I am speaking of Misrepresenation, the nation. Read "Misrepresenation is a dish best served cold!" to see what I am on about...

SECOND: This is the first part of the two post rant.

I feel like I am becoming predictable..... every time I am avoiding homework I write a blog entry. The last week of my reading class has an intense level of homework and so I am really not wanting to do it. I feel like kicking someone but I know assault charges would ony hinder my current career goals so instead I am writing 2 very large blog entries. I talked to my friend, a few hours ago, about the various stresses this week's pile o'homework has caused and the fact that she and I both practice the fine art of procrastination. Now, we always get everything done with a pretty decent grade on all the papers, reports and lesson plans we have to produce but we spend a few hours at the end of the week whining to each other over the phone about the homework that we find ourselves mired in. While commiserating our current situation, she happened to mention a Spongebob episode where he has to write a paper and keeps allowing everything become a distraction; feeding Gary, watching Gary eat to insure no choking, cleaning his room and all sorts of things. We laughed about it because it is a mirror image of what we go through each week, not that we plan to make any changes. Just so you know, I am starting 2 days earlier than normal because of the staggering pile I have in front of me. So, yes, this blog entry is an avoidance of homework and I hope that does not offend any of the "Don't put off 'til tomorrow..." crowd.

In an effort to make my homework go smoother, I went to the library to grab the book I am attempting to create 3 more lesson plans about. Of course it wasn't there (or in any of the other branches as all these stupid little kids are reading it at home, completely ruining the reason children's books are written! Which of course is so that stupid people in education programs can make crappy lessons about these cute books and ruin them completely for every child in America if the lesson ever gets used in a real classroom). But I am not one to waste a trip to the library. So I wandered the aisles and found a book about Living Dead CSI.... totally and completely vital information for me to read! I also found three movies that I had been sort of wanting to see, kind of. Million Dollar Baby (I hate Hillary Swank, I have no reason for it but I do. The reason I read it was it has been recommended to me a lot. I am positive it will suck but at least I don't have to pay for it!), Rescue Dawn (I have no idea either), and Beowulf. So now I will direct some pent up homework ire at Beowulf.

A Mini Rambling Review of Beowulf

OK, two things you should know.
1. I have no idea what this was rated or if anyone saw it.
2. I know absolutely nothing about Beowulf.

Now lets examine these two points... It is rare that I pay attention to other people's reviews of movies unless I personally know that individual. Roger Ebert is absolutely unreliable, have you seen the movie that bears his name The Valley of the Dolls? Crap. Leonard Maltin.... I would never listen to a guy that looks or talks like that. The other reviewers (critics) are not even people I know the name of so we won't break down why they are no nothing poop heads (I wanted to sound smart with that last put down, did it work?). If someone I know tells me something I will listen, even when it is my dad telling me all the reviewers (yes, the ones I don't listen to) panned whatever movie I am excited about. I'll get back to these silly reviewers shenanigans in a moment...

That brings us back to Beowulf. Who? And I should care because? Here is the thing with "classics" they are usually written in a way that a 70 page story requires a 400 page book to explain all the details in order for you to understand the story. It is difficult to read and totally an unrewarding practice, as someone will come along and make a terrible movie out of it eventually. Although, after some conversations with my niece I am reading The Inferno and enjoying it. I burst into tears of laughter when I tried to read aloud and hit a bit a spot of trouble saying "Though thou art". To my credit, I had read nearly an entire Cano by the time that combination of words derailed me into a fit of giggles. Anyway as far as Beowulf goes I did not know he existed until shortly before the movie came out and then I saw the twerp everywhere.

The movie. If you saw the ads you may remember it looked pretty realistic for a computer generated movie which is why I was interested. While watching the movie I saw that they spent so much time on the close up face shots that they forgot that the characters should also move smoothly, they look like poorly animated robots. Angelina Jolie's character was the smoothest and best rendered character but both you and I know that this is because some pervy computer geek painstakingly detailed every pixel as carefully and lovingly as possible.

Then the vocalization of Beowulf.... talk about a lot of yelling that is barely understandable. "IAMBAYOWUL" Yeah.... thanks but keep your day job. The vocalization of Beowulf made me hate him the minute he appeared on screen and then the whole fighting Grendel naked thing? Really cgi rendered man butt? I could have done with a loin cloth at least, thank you very much.

The story? Some king has his village attacked by some deformed dude named Grendel. He lets it be known that any heroes that come and kill this deformed dude will be given them half his kingdom's gold. Like the next day Beowulf is there... but apparently it is actually a while later, yet they give no indication of how long or how many wannabe heroes are bested before he arrives on their shore. Either way he comes in bragging about how he is pimp of the century or some such crap. They (he and his men) drink a lot and he hits on the queen. Then he gets naked to go to sleep and await this Grendel dude. Of course Grendel comes, gets his deformed ear drum burst (yuck!), and his arm ripped off (by a naked dude that has speech problems). Somehow, he dies but not until he comes back to his mommy (Angelina Jolie). We find out the king fathered this monstrosity after being seduced by Angelina... how can you blame him? Anyway she is super mad and decides to strike back and lures Beowulf to her place where she seduces him within 5 seconds.... Talk about a fine moral fiber and courageous dude. Anyway when he gets back he lies and says she is dead, the king knows he is lying. He decides to hand his kingdom to Beowulf and then commits suicide (I said I don't know already).

Years later: Beowulf is a crabby whiny king with no soul. A dragon attacks his kingdom, the dragon is his son he made with Angelina (why his son is not malformed I don't know, stop asking). So he has to kill the dragon... and what about Angelina? She is left alive to seduce again. Anyway in the aftermath of the silly battle, Beowulf's right hand man refuses to listen to Beowulf's deathbed confession. His right hadnd man becomes king (I can only assume Beowulf only fathered the demon dragon dude) and we are left with the possibility that Angelina is seducing the new king....

So what I learned about Beowulf is that he was a fraud, liar and coward. Fantastic.... skip this movie!

See "Misrepresenation is a dish best served cold!" for the continued rant that takes on critics....

Monday, November 17, 2008

What a week!

I am glad that week is over. I had some fantastic times and some grueling completely irritating times. With the end of last week, the worst classes I have ever taken, since my undergraduate degree, also ended, the class on Adolescent Development. Before I get all weepy and celebratory I want to dwell on the good things.

I have a friend named Edie who I used to work with at the evil insurance company. She also writes a blog, Displaced Brooklynite - http://adisplacedbrooklynite.blogspot.com/. It has not been updated since President-Elect Obama was elected but we shall forgive her non-writing ways since I have a tendency to fall off the radar as well. Anyway we had tried to meet up at the Wordstock event but had failed miserably and we resolved to meet for a cup of coffee and a lively discussion of her trip to France. What happened in reality was a day long event of shopping, eating and drinking. We had a good time and I visited some places I would never have walked into on my own. Some of those were women's clothing stores but another was a little eatery downtown and a nice little bar. Anyway we had a great time.

That was a great escape from reality, which was a group paper and presentation on why a junior high school should become a middle school for the Adolescent Development class. And another lesson plan for my Reading class. Apparently becoming a middle school is more then a mere name change, there is meaning behind the words; it was probably the most boring topic in the history of the world. Once again something that had nothing to do with learning to become a teacher was what we were tasked with for an assignment. How knowing the difference between a middle school and a junior high school will help me teach is beyond me. I figure either one will work for me as long as they pay me. This assignment was bad but not as bad as pretending to Be Erickson and assess our own adolescent experiences in the context of his theory. My attempt was comical at best.

Anyway I got home after that long day of lighting up the town and I was exhausted. So within an hour of getting home I was in bed. Unfortunately sleep was elusive that night and kept slipping through my fingers. I ended up tossing and turning and managed 4 hours of sleep before I gave up and went out to the living room and watched a movie and surfed the net. I stumbled across a web exclusive show called Gemini Division and was instantly intrigued. It is at NBC.com and they have 60+ episodes already. It is set in the future and is sci-fi in nature. It has some recognizable actors in it and it seems to be set in front of a green screen. Some graphics are better then others. Anyway I watched that until it was time to go to court.

No.... I didn't do anything bad. I was there to serve Jury Duty and I was allowed to sit in a room and drift in and out of consciousness from 8 AM until about 2:30 PM. That was when my name was called and I went in to a room for jury selection. I am too dang nice or honest looking because I was picked to serve on the jury. It was a criminal case and it was a complete and total mess. The case would end up bleeding over into Thursday and tie up a day and a half. The complete incompetence of the two attorneys and the strangeness of the case were amazing. We ended up only convicting the defendent of one count and not the other. If you want to know more about the case just post a comment and I will go into detail... of course with names altered to protect those involved.

As a result of the sleep deprivation and being on a trial that kept me occupied for a day and a half no homework was done Wednesday and only one slide was made for the presentation by the end of Thursday. Part of my reluctance to do the assignment came directly from apathy. I did not care about this topic nor had I bothered to understand it. Friday was spent doing everything but homework and I was at Barnes and Noble when my friend Cat called to ask me some questions about the assignments facing us. She reminded me that we had to go out the next night (after class) to celebrate slaying the demon that was this class. So I went home and got busy. I wrote a snippet for the paper and turned my one slide and couple paragraphs in for the assignment. I had essentially done the minimum on an assignmentand felt a little guilty but I got over it. Then I began hammering out the assignment for my reading class. This class has been kicking my butt. Well both have been but this class especially. I was working on the third lesson plan, the first two had not went over that well, and I was hoping that the third one was the charm. I am still up in the air about how well it was received but this week I need to make 2 more and clean up the mistakes in the first three and turn them in as an integrated unit. It is ridiculous.

Anyway we went to class Saturday and did our presentation and went through our dog and pony show. I pretended I cared and got involved in the discussion because the first class we had with this teacher had resulted in no participation points for me. My problem stemmed from not having ever fantasized what my future classroom would look like one day and so I had nothing to add and so she felt it necessary to grill me on the topic. I came up with some stupid ideas but since she had to call on me and I had not volunteered I got low participation points. So I decided to talk a lot in class but I still did not get full participation points. How irritating! I have a few choice words for her but I will not share them here. Anyway we muddled through the class, all 5 of us, yes there were only 5 people taking the class and we all hated it. Then as Cat and I were discussing where to eat while leaving another classmate mentioned he was stranded until 5:30 and it was only 3:30. He had been dropped off by his wife and had been sure the class would run the entire class time because the teacher had said as much. Even though she had only one presentation to watch and nothing really to discuss, she managed to drag the class on for 2 hours when in reality it was 50 minutes of material tops. Anyway we had him hop in the car and he, Cat and I had some nosh at McCormick and Schmick. They have a happy hour with fantastic prices as the non-happy hour prices are out of my ball park. After much belly aching about the class and laughter was had we dropped him off and parted company. Cat and I ended up hanging out later that night and our 4 stop tour included Pambiche, which is a fantastic Cuban restaurant. A place everyone should experience. It was a good time.

So a weird and fun week came to a close.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Heckler - A Rambling Review

I was walking through the local video store, when I should have been writing a paper or two for school, and something caught my eye. It wasn't the first time this particular video had caught my eye and I knew I had to rent it. (No, it had no naked ladies on the cover promising to do inappropriate things) You simply can't walk past a movie over and over again, stop to read the back, think "Man that looks interesting" and not take it home eventually. So I rented it....

It should have been interesting. The cover was interesting, the people that took part in it were all famous and successful people..... so what went wrong? Nothing. It was a good flick. The movie is called Heckler and it was made by Jamie Kennedy in response to being heckled during live shows and some seriously brutal reviews. Jamie Kennedy has had a crazy backlash after movies like Malibu's Most Wanted and Son of the Mask. I have seen Malibu's Most Wanted and the movie is completely retarded but it is supposed to be. It works for what it is, a ridiculous naive rich white kid attempts to "keep it real" while spending time in the "ghetto". You don't walk away enlightened but what is wrong with you if you expected to? I have not seen Son of the Mask... so I have no opinion about it. I didn't even know that there was a movie called Son of the Mask. I am getting off track a bit..... and you probably thought "A Rambling Review" was just a clever name and not an apt title. So, without further ado, I give you my review of HECKLER!

The movie starts by displaying the word heckler and supplies a definition.

Heckler (noun) one who tries to embarrass, harass and/or annoy someone speaking or performing in public with gibes, questions and objections. Someone who provokes to affect a performer in a critical or negative way.

It starts off showing an example of Jaime getting heckled and then interjects comedians, movie stars, directors and sports stars being interviewed about their take on hecklers. They continue to go from interviews and splices of people getting heckled and their responses to those people. They have David Cross, Joe Rogan, Louie Anderson, Paul F. Tompkins, Vince August (who has a scene with a fantastic come back to someone heckling him as he completely rips the rug from under her feet), Lewis Black, David Alan Grier, Dave Attell, Jon Lovitz, Bill Maher, Craig Ferguson, Paul Rodriguez, Mike Ditka, Andrew "Dice" Clay and a lot more. It is a documentary of how people who entertain you feel about the abuse you dish out to them while they are doing their jobs. The comments they make in the interviews combined with the clips of these comedians handling the hecklers are absolutely fantastic. I was laughing hard and the harder they came at these hecklers the more I laughed. They have a clip of Bill Hicks going absolutely crazy when a woman yells "You suck!" at him. He is so mad that he just keeps verbally bashing her but the entire time it was hysterical. Brilliant.

They then kick it up a level by having Jaime talk to some of his hecklers and hear what they have to say. The scenes are slightly uncomfortable but that is what is pretty amazing about it. He sits there and listens and asks for more detail... Who does that? It was brutally fantastic.

Then they move on to critics. This is where I found out that Jamie Kennedy made a movie called Son of the Mask. I knew people had universally panned Malibu's Most Wanted but they do that to all movies that are like it. Critics don't seem to like silly, funny movies. They like art films and movies that have "meaning". Or at least that is what I get from reading critics' reviews. I stopped reading critics' reviews before seeing a movie because that guy/gal does not know me enough to make a recommendation for me.... and I like to see it, possibly review it and then find out what others said.


Yes, you are right I critique movies from time to time. So this is about me too isn't it? I guess the simple answer is yes. For every movie I have told you to go see I have definitely ripped one apart. Just take a look at last month where I tore apart The Happening. So how can I sit here and judge these other critics? How can I pretend that I am any better then they are? Well let's get this straight right now. I am a critic and so is every other person on the planet. The only difference is some people feel the need to publish their critiques and some people actually get paid for what they publish. I fall into the first category, occasionally I either see a movie I liked or disliked enough to write about. I would even say I have tended to write more about movies I disliked then movies I liked because they are more fun to write about. It is great to make fun of the dialog or the silly plot. It is even stupendously entertaining to make fun of horrible acting or to pretend like you knew what the director was thinking when they lost their mind and made that movie. Here is the other thing about those reviews.... people like them because people like to get a laugh or two themselves. I don't feel guilty that I reviewed a film and was rough on it nor that I was rough on those involved in the making of the film. It is what it is. When you make a movie and get people to pay you to see it you have to expect they will say what they think. I think in reality people do expect people to say how they feel about movies, actors, comedians, musicians, athletes but that their message in this movie is "Hey we are human too. I have feelings and they are no less delicate then yours." Fair enough.

For those that are curious I listened to the running commentary of the movie as well. What that says is that I really liked this movie, I never listen to commentary. The point for me to bring up listening to the commentary is they make some great points in the movie and then even more directly in the commentary. Not all movies are made to be measured on the same scale. Jaime Kennedy talks about Spy Kids vs. There Will Be Blood, two completely different movies and genres, why exactly would the same reviewer be used for both movies. It would make more sense to get a review of Spy Kids from a kid and perhaps their parent. Who knows if a kid movie hits the bulls eye on the target better then a kid? Add a parent to round out the recommendation for parents or adults who are thinking of seeing it. The point I took from this was have the reviewer be a genuine fan or the right market for the movie. Jon Lovitz talks about the movie Benchwarmers, which took a beating in the press. If you were the right market (adolescents), it delivered all the farts and nose picking you come to expect in a fine movie. Now, it might sound like I am saying we should pick people that will like the movies to do reviews of the movies..... but I'm not. We should pick people who might actually know what a good movie in that genre should be like. Grab the overly literary guy/gal to review Cold Mountain, There Will Be Blood and The Red Balloon. Then grab the guy/gal who still laughs when they fart to see a movie like Benchwarmers.

Then I learned I am completely damned for doing my criticism in a blog on the internet. I am such a bastard. The internet and all of us reviewers are scum. Here is the thing.... I am over it. I am going to continue to critique films and occasionally I am going to make fun of people that made the movie or appeared in it. I figure it this way... I write these reviews and publish them publicly and you can say whatever you want to me, about me or my writing. I don't delete any comment unless I wrote it myself and I realized I misspelled half the words because I did not read it before submitting it. You are also free to say whatever you want about my writing skills or lack of them on my creative pieces. I put it out there and you have the right to say whatever crosses your mind about it. Film, comedy, music, art, writing that is mass produced is going to be critiqued and occasionally a little fun will be poked at your expense. You have to learn to move past the negative, even if that means making a movie about it. I do not, however, think you should heckle a live act. Ask yourself this: would I start making comments like "You suck!" to my boss while he was presenting the quarterly presentation to you? I am thinking you wouldn't. First of all you would be unemployed and secondly it's not polite. Leave the live presentations alone.

Wait.... I take that back. Continue heckling, I like watching them rip you apart piece by piece.

Great movie. Check it out and make sure you see the extras. There are some classic deleted scenes and edited scenes that add a laugh to the viewing.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Holy crap we are soon getting a new president! YAY!

I hope you enjoyed the Halloween story, I had fun writing about it. I felt compelled to tell you that the idea of zombies that think and don't eat brains was kind of derived from a book I am reading called Generation Dead. My story was meant to be funny while theirs seems to talk about social responsibility and humanity. ANyway it is an interesting book.

I am writing my little tiny brains out this month and having a blast. If you know someone who is doing NANAWRIMO this month pat them on the back and hand them a coffee. They probably have not slept well at all and could use the caffeine. Then tell them silly things like "I can't wait to read it!", "I bet it'll be fantastic!", "How exciting!" or "My infant can write 50,000 words in half a day! You wuss!"

I have my first interview in nearly a month happening tomorrow. It is a phone interview.... so I am going to act really excited and enthusiastic. Yay me.

I am getting excited about visiting ya'll in PHX. Woo!

Speaking of impending events... it is Christmas card time. I NEED you're addresses. Please email your addresses to crazedlunatik@gmail.com, that way I can get started writing them after I am done with this novel writing thing. They will have all new lies and half truths. It will be fun! Be part of the Christmas card zaniness! Remember as always you do not need to send a card to recieve a card, if you want one give me your address. I can almost guarantee I won't use that address to come over and rob you.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Candy Sticks - A Halloween Story

He had one stop left to make. Then he was free to head home and sit down in his big, comfy recliner. He had rented every horror movie he had ever liked. He was going to have a marathon of horror flicks running until he passed out. The only thing left were movie snacks, Halloween candy for trick or treaters (but really for him), soda and a frozen pizza. He parked in front of the grocery store and went in.

He grabbed microwavable popcorn, red licorice, cola and a huge pepperoni pizza. Then he headed to the candy aisle. It was filled with signs that said: "MORE CANDY IN THE SEASONAL AISLE!" He was a little irritated at that sign because he had no idea where the "seasonal aisle" was. This was a big store. One of those stores that had groceries, sports equipment, clothes, housewares and a lot of other crap. So he started wandering around. He was nearly to the garden section when he figured he better ask, he must of past it because it couldn't be near the garden section. He approached a uniformed female employee who was busy sweeping the floor.

"Excuse me. I need to find the seasonal aisle with all the Halloween candy. Can you help me?" He asked.

The employee slowly stopped sweeping and lifted her head even more slowly. He thought her movements were really stiff and odd. Then he saw her face.... she looked dead. So this person took Halloween seriously. She was not only dressed up at work but she was playing the part. The girl looked like she was pretty when she did not have the sick pallor of death hanging on her cheeks. Then he looked into her eyes and a chill ran up his spine. This girl was a good actress. Her eyes even looked devoid of life. That was when she dropped the broom, slowly turned and began awkwardly shuffling forward. He stood there stunned for a minute not sure what to do until he realized she was simply staying in character. So he did the only thing he could.... he followed her.

They were heading back toward the garden section. He had let logic get in his way again. Who puts the seasonal aisle near the garden section? Shouldn't the seasonal aisle be closer to the middle of the store? He turned his attention back to the girl in front of him, her gait remained awkward and she was definitely taking her time. He was positive that walking like she was would slow anyone down. It was like she was willing one of her legs to move as she dragged it forward with the foot facing perpendicular to the direction they were going. The other leg was pointed in the right direction but it also looked like she was very determinedly making it move. He decided to try and mimic the walk. It was so George Romero zombie-ish that he was nearly ready to propose to this pretty girl pretending to be dead. The walk was harder to pull off then he expected and he nearly fell over. He decided to try the walk later, when less people would see him fall face first into the ground. He was not really interested in achieving public embarrassment.

The girl stopped and then slowly maneuvered her body to face an aisle and slowly lifted her arm pointing down the aisle. That was when he looked and saw the Halloween candy. He thanked her but she ignored him and slowly turned and began lumbering back the other way. He smiled at her back and then turned to see what candy was still available.

The candy aisle had been pretty well plundered but there was still some left. He picked up a bag of M&M's, Snickers and Bug Hunk. Then he saw a bag of "Candy Sticks" which were packaged in small boxes with superheroes on them. He saw that they were only a buck and he put a couple bags in his basket. He was not entirely sure what the heck a candy stick was but he was curious. If they weren't any good he would hand them out to any kid that showed up at his door. It was always good to get a cheap crappy candy and hand that out with one good candy. That way he could give the kids a handful of candy but only lose 1 good candy at a time. It was a method designed to leave him with plenty of tasty Halloween candy to devour over the next few days. He purchased his personal Halloween party goods in a self check out lane and headed out to his car.

When he got home he turned on the oven to heat it up for the pizza and put the cola in the refridge. Then he grabbed a large mixing bowl and emptied all of his candy into it. He grabbed another bowl for the popcorn but that was for later. He put the licorice on the coffee table next to the bowl of candy and then he put in his first movie, The Shining. As he waited for the oven to get hot he sat down to watch the movie. His curiosity drove him to grab the candy sicks. He opened a little box and found two little sticks that reminded him of the candy cigarettes he used to play with as a kid. If one end had been died red it would have been a candy cigarette and not a candy stick. He chuckled at the PC-ness of it all as he pretended to smoke it, letting it hang loosely from his mouth as he talked to the TV in his best mobster impression. The oven beeped to let him know the desired temperature had been attained. He put the self rising pepperoni pizza inside and went back to pretending to smoke while he watched Jack Nicholson's descent into insanity play out in front of him. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY

The doorbell rang. He hopped up, grabbed the candy bowl and whipped open the door. To more people looking like zombies, even the children. They merely groaned and stared at him with their disturbing eyes. The TV seemed overly loud just then as Jack was hacking at the bathroom door with an axe while the super skinny lady screamed. He quickly grabbed a handful of candy and gave it to the way too real looking zombie children. They looked in the bag and slowly turned to head to another door. The parents merely moaned again before turning to go. That was creepy... he was not entirely sure why the only people he had seen this evening were dressed like zombies. Even the little girl was a zombie.... shouldn't she have been a princess or something sweet? Maybe the family couldn't afford anything but face make up. He shut the door and sat back down to watch Jack chase the little boy through the hedge maze.

The cooking timer buzzed and he got up to pull the pizza out. He was starving as he used his pizza cutter to cut it into pizza slice sized pieces. He grabbed a few slices and set them down in front of his chair before heading back into the kitchen to grab a soda, a paper towel and the Parmesan cheese. He set them down next to the plate and quickly changed DVDs. He decided on the Ring next and he popped it in.

He watched the movie begin and looked away right before they showed the face of the dead girl in the closet. He hated that scene it always freaked him out, the creepy moving girl in the video was terrible but the first girl she kills in the movie was the worst. The doorbell rang as Naomi Watts made her first appearance. He certainly liked Naomi and was a little irritated at the interruption but he had seen the movie before and he got up and grabbed the candy bowl. The door was filled with normal children in cute little princess costumes and Star Wars characters. The disconcerting part was that they merely moaned and held up their plastic pumpkin. He quickly handed them candy and shut the door. His heart was racing. He did not like those moans. He wanted a good ol' fashion "Trick or Treat" and smiling children.

He tried calming down and focused on his breathing when the door bell interrupted him again. He jumped and a startled yelp leaped from his mouth. He opened the door slowly and was greeted with more moaning children that looked like zombies in Halloween costumes holding up plastic pumpkins. This time after handing out the candy and shutting the door he turned off the porch light. He was done with this trick or treat crap. He turned the deadbolt and added the chain lock. Then he turned off all the interior lights and closed his blinds. He sat down and that was when he noticed his pizza was sitting untouched next to a pile of candy stick boxes. Had he not eaten any of his pizza? Had he eaten all these candy sticks? He saw the other half of the pizza sitting on his cutting board in the kitchen. He had not eaten any of it yet. His soda was not even opened yet. That was odd.... he picked up a slice and took a bite but it tasted terrible. He set it back on the plate and looked up to see the kid telling Naomi Watts about the little girl in the video. He reached into the candy bowl and hunted around until he felt one of the candy stick boxes.

The door bell rang again. He irritably moaned, grabbed the candy bowl and opened the door. He was greeted by moans and plastic pumpkins. He dutifully filled them with candy and then closed his door after he moaned back at them. He grabbed another candy stick and slowly began chewing it down to nothing before popping in another. The movie had ended and he headed over to change the movies. It seemed to be quite an effort as he had to think his way through each step. While he worked on opening the case the DVD player went on standby mode and the news appeared on the screen. The reporter was talking "... Candy Sticks. Apparently the candy sticks have been causing some strange reaction to the people who eat them. The government has not clarified what type of reaction people are experience but they urge you not to eat them. If you have them please put them aside and stop handing them out to children. Then call the number that is on this screen. Once again this is an emergency notification to stop handing out or eating the Candy Sticks...." The reporter began repeating herself and he stopped listening. He moaned as the DVD box finally opened and he put the next film into the player. He grabbed another box of candy sticks and stood up and shuffled back to his seat. The whole time he focused on his candy sticks. When he finally sat down the movie was already past the beginning and if he was not mistaken he felt that it was nearly the middle of a movie. How long had it taken him to get to his chair? There must be something wrong with his DVD player and then he remembered the news lady talking about his candy sticks. He decided to take a look at his reflection in the bathroom mirror and he made his way there.

When he finally looked into the mirror he saw something dead looking back at him. He felt like he should be alarmed but he could not bring himself to be. He headed back to his chair. When he arrived he saw the movie had ended and he reporter was back on. "... cause people to appear to be the living dead. According to our sources those that have consumed the Candy Sticks this year have been poisoned. The people appear to be zombies but unlike the horror moves they do not seem to require brains or human flesh. If you see someone that looks like a zombie please call your local police. Do not attack them or be overly afraid as they seem to be going through the normal motions of daily life but just a bit slower. The government is working on a cure for this affliction and the police are tasked with bringing all affected people back to a treatment facility. We repeat our earlier warning to not consume or hand out any more Candy Sticks this year. Put them aside and call the police. They will come and get them when they get into your neighborhood....." The reporter's voice droned on but he stopped listening. He continued eating his candy sticks and thinking about being a zombie. The only thought in his mind was "at least I don't have to eat brains." He opened his mouth to laugh and a moan came out instead.

Friday, October 24, 2008

AQNP - A Quick November Preview

Hey all!

Well October is nearing an end and I have made a few decisions about November. First of all I should let you know it is National Novel Writing Month. I participated last year and wrote over 50,000 words. I then followed it up by not finishing editing it and it is almost a year later. So I have a half edited story that I was intending to get out to readers and have them give me feedback and I was going to rewrite from there. Well I am a slacker. Writing is way more fun then editing. Anyway I almost decided not to participate this year. I have a lot more going on, with school and job hunting. I also have an unedited novel sitting around collecting dust (not literally as it is digitally stored). Then I received a message that my niece Jessica is taking part. I thought to myself how cool is she? Pretty darn cool. She inspired me to give it another shot. I hope I can pull it off again this year especially knowing I have someone else I know that is doing it. Someone to shout encouragement to. Having said that if I don't finish it because of my homework load and other responsibilities that is fine.... disappointing but fine.

Secondly November is also the month Portland has a festival called Wordstock. Authors, small newspapers, magazines and presses get together set up booths and sell their wares and also have little seminars. I went to it 2 years ago and had a good time. Last year I was devoted to making 50,000 words and skipped it. This year I decided to volunteer for it. i will be part of the stage crew on Sunday morning. I get a t-shirt for free and get in free. If you live in Portland and this seems interesting to you and you think you might want to work the festival go to their website and look up volunteering. They are still looking for volunteers last I heard. If you don't want to work it you might want to go to the festival and check it out as it is pretty dang cool.

Then the last thing is I am making a reappearance in Phoenix over the Thanksgiving holiday. Thursday I am going to some friends house to eat some turkey. Saturday evening I am going to be at a gala event at my mom's house. Friday is still up in the air although some talk of hitting up RA has come up. We shall see. Anyway if you are down in PHX keep me in mind and maybe we can make some magic happen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Rambling Review of The Happening

So I decided to watch The Happening. I figured M. Night Shyamalan had to have a good movie left in him. I mean he keeps getting the green light to make movies and it is inevitable one of them would be good again. Surely he did not kill all of his creativity making The Sixth Sense. I mean eventually he has to make a good movie again, right?

I have seen almost all....

The Sixth Sense - Talk about a crazy movie. I did not see that ending coming. It blew my freaking mind MAN!

Unbreakable - I liked this movie. I did not love this movie but I could see what he was trying to do and I decided to forgive him. Besides Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson as super hero vs. super villain? It was meant to be. He just managed to get it wrong enough.

Signs - Water kills aliens? Really? Of all the retarded events ever! I could almost like this one except for the frigging water killing the aliens.

The Village - Holy crap! Talk about vomitorama! Even though I fell in complete love with Bryce Dallas Howard this movie sucked.

Lady in the Water - Really? I skipped this one. Did you see the ads? They were completely stu!

Which brings us to The Happening..... and here is my review.

***SPOILER ALERT: The whole movie is below this line.***

"Let's stay ahead of the wind." - Elliot Moore (played by Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg)

So we begin the movie in a park and the wind is blowing. Some chick turns to her friend and asks what she is reading. Her friend laughs and tells her. A second later this idiot asks the same frigging question. Then she kills herself. We flash across town as people are killing themselves. Oh my goodness must be terrorists!

Next we find ourselves at a high school where Elliot Moore (M. Wahlberg) is teaching science to a bunch of high schoolers. Remember that Mr. Wahlberg is a science teacher.... it's important. The vice-principal pulls him from class and has already done so with all of the teachers so they can hear the news. Yes... she pulled all the teachers from every class and brought them to one room to tell them people are dying. Yep, no supervision for the kids at all.... just a big meeting to tell a bunch of bad actors that there is some sort of epidemic hitting a major city. Sure let's leave the kids to their own devices... no need to protect our wards! Really? When they finally get back it appears that they don't tell the kids anything. School ends with Mr. Moore telling them to make sure and work on their science projects because they are due Monday. I guess the teachers are not worried because all the dying was happening in New York. I think they are in Philadelphia... and they figure terrorists are responsible for these deaths and then they assume the terrorists won't bother with Philly. Either way Mr. Moore and a co-worker, Julian, decide to go to the co-worker's mother's house, who is frantically trying to get everyone to get out of dodge.

Elliot brings his weird wife Alma with him, she is played by Zooey Deschanel (very cute). Apparently Zooey has one look because she makes it the entire movie.... whether she is mad, sad or happy.

Of course, her character does not "feel comfortable sharing her emotions with others" so perhaps she is a good actress in other films. You certainly have no idea from this movie. Oh and Zooey and Mark have terrible chemistry... they seem more like strangers then married people even if this particular marriage is going through a "tough time".

They meet up with Julian (John Leguizamo), the co-worker at school, and his daughter Jess. Apparently there is bad blood between Julian and Alma.... which was a stupid storyline. Julian thinks Alma is incapable of loving anyone. Alma just so happens, conveniently, to have hung out with a male co-worker after work and lied about it to Elliot. It was "only dessert", perhaps this little lie is is the reason she dislikes Julian. No one likes proving someone right about being a bad person. Either way I didn't care.... which as a storyteller is the completely wrong reaction for the audience to have.

At this point in the movie I like Julian, as John Leguizamo always does a fantastic job in everything I have seen him in. I think the reason he seems compelling in this movie is he actually displays emotion. None of the other stars do. This is where we find out his wife is not going with them on this train but will catch the next one. Once again no one is expecting "the terrorists" to strike good ol' Philly, since that wouldn't be respectable. So they get on the train and they keep hearing more and more stories about it spreading to big cities. Then the train stops because the train conductor can't raise anyone and is not sure it is safe to go on. After sitting around in some Podunk town for a while the whole train load decides they better keep moving. So Elliot finds a crazy dude and his wife to give passage to the 4 of them. Meanwhile Julian is looking to go save his wife and gets passage for one and leaves his daughter with Elliot and Alma. Really? I am not a father but I am imagining that I would stay with my daughter and hope my wife is OK. I am also assuming that if our roles were reversed I could rely on my wife to protect our children and not leave them behind to rescue me. I mean who leaves their kid behind to look for someone they have not heard anything from in the last 2 hours? Did I fail to mention that he had not spoke to his wife in 2 hours? Yeah... so Julian runs off to 'save her' because he has not heard from her. Even the dirt knows that faceless woman is dead. Hello! IDIOT!

Not having started off well you figure the movie will either climb back out of the ditch or at least will not get any worse, but you'd be wrong. So the crazy couple decide to stop at their home to get food. They don't really spend anytime getting food but somehow in ten seconds they do. Then the crazy guy is talking about hot dogs and then starts rambling about plants being behind this attack. Everyone figures he is crazy (which in a movie like this it means you know the crazy guy is finally right for once) but, even thinking this guy is crazy, they still get in the car with this idiot. We flash to Julian who is in the town his wife is supposed to be and we see some landscapers have hung themselves in trees. Some chick starts freaking out in the car Julian in because of the hanging people. Julian is yelling at the others to roll up the windows and seal up the car. To calm this girl down he tells her to do a math problem to take her mind off what is going on. The problem with the math problem he selects is that it is not one she can figure out without a calculator... how giving some one an exponential math problem to calm them down is a good idea is beyond me. You might as well ask her to explain flight. Sure an expert could rattle on and sound like they know what they are talking about but I sure as heck have no clue and neither did she when confronted with this problem. This would have had half the desired effect as it would stop me from screaming because I would be strangling the math dork.

"Oh my God! Oh my God!"

"OK calm down. Seriously! I know what will calm you down here is a math problem. Say I give you a penny today and tomorrow I give you 2 cents. Then the next day I give you 4 cents and each day the amount doubles. How much would you have after 30 days?"

"Well heck Julian I have no frigging clue but I sure feel calm now..."

"Of course you do, you silly goose! Now let's go off ourselves!"

This scene did not happen like this in the movie but it might as well have.The problem I site is the one he uses in the movie. She was screaming out stupid answers like "Ten dollars!" and he is staring at a rip in the fabric roof of the jeep. Then he finally gives her the answer and the driver drives full speed into a tree. I am figuring the driver did not want any more frigging math problems and felt killing himself in a collision with a sturdy looking tree was the only way out. Can you really blame him? Anyway since Julian died we flash back to Elliot, Alma and Jess. They just discovered everyone in all the roads going in any direction are dead. So all these people, coming from several different directions are in one spot trying to figure out their options. They decide to go to less populated areas because big cities and large towns are being "targeted". The crazy guy is still rambling about frigging plants and everyone is still nodding and smiling politely at him. When suddenly a giant oak tree bites his head off.... just kidding but that would have been a heck of a lot cooler.

They decide to travel to a town that is not on the big national map because apparently only locals care about the town. They walk in two groups, one group heads out right away but the others are grabbing items from the car. Elliot, Alma and Jess are in the first group, this is when Alma reveals her devastating dessert secret (yawn). The second group is walking and then the wind starts blowing and they start offing themselves. The first group argues about what to do and some of them want to go back and help... Alma is one of them (still wearing the same sullen expression, refer to above picture). Elliot, the science teacher is yelling at them to let him think, as he is the de facto leader of this group. "What if it is the plants? We can't go back there." He decides and notices that the wind s blowing near those people offing themselves. "Let's stay ahead of the wind!" Remember when I told you that he was a science teacher? This is why it is important. How many science teachers would utter "Let's stay ahead of the wind!" I mean forget that in this movie the wind only picks up when the frigging plants go all homicidal on people. What is with that? It can't just be a windy day? Are you telling me Mr. Shyamalan thinks plants make wind? Are you telling me that a science teacher seriously believes he has a chance of outrunning wind? IS EVERYBODY TAKING CRAZY PILLS!?

Either way they all start running as the wind picks up. They split off into smaller groups and now it is Elliot, Alma, Jess and two teenage hooligans. Trying to outrun the wind.

The wind calms the heck down and they see a home. They decide to get some food and a moments respite. The family in the home wants them to leave and keep their "poisonous gas" to themselves. The hooligans get themselves killed by these crazy hillbillies when they demand some food from the people locked in the house and then there were 3. The three survivors run away and keep traveling when they finally see another house. Before checking out the house Elliot decides to share a deep dark secret, which is the best part of the movie. He talks about asking a cute pharmacist where the cough syrup was even though he did not have a cough and that he nearly spent 6 dollars on cough syrup he didn't need. Which I guess was his way of telling her that she is forgiven but the line was actually clever and I am not doing it justice. In the house they find a crazy old lady and shack up with her and then in the morning she goes even crazier then she was before. Then the wind picks up while she is freaking out in the garden and she kills herself by bashing her head into the house and Elliot realizes the plants are killing all humans regardless of how many people there are. Group size no longer matter. Of course he and Alma (who has Jess with her) are in separate parts of the crazy lady's place and can't reunite. They finally act like they love each other and decide if they are going to die they should be with each other. Of course they don't die and life begins anew.... Jess is going back to school. Alma is pregnant and scientists are telling the world the plants are warning us to change out ways and no one is listening. Then it starts happening again in another city... dun dun duh!


Anybody feel like outrunning wind? Holy crap, this movie is terrible. I am really sorry we dragged you into this little girl.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Adolescent Experiences... the paper

I have been very busy today finishing up my school work that is due this week. One of the classes wanted us to write about adolescent experiences and I enjoyed what I wrote even though I did not want to ever actually write it. Since I liked the end result, I am sharing it. Here is what the assignment was:

3. Adolescent Experience Paper, Part I: Think back to your early adolescent years, during grades 6 – 8. Based on your assigned readings for Week One, write a 350-700-word paper describing three experiences (transitions) that could be labeled as the following:
a. Biological
b. Cognitive
c. Social
For each experience, describe the effect on you. Was it positive or negative? Has that interpretation changed over the years?

Here is my interpretation:

Adolescent Experience: Part 1
Michael Williams
University of Phoenix

I do not look back on these years and have a great level of clarity. I remember it was awkward but I do not entirely remember why. So this assignment has definitely given me some pause. At first I despaired that all of my memories were beyond my reach so I called on a friend to help jog my memory. This long time friend definitely jogged my memory and quite a few laughs were had at both of our expenses. This is the result of our mutual remembrances.

We begin with something that would definitely lend itself to the social realm of an adolescent’s development. It also highlights a shift in thinking about girls, which means it also dabbles in the cognitive development realm. Yes, I no longer felt free to shove a girl off the jungle gym to get ahead of her but my new feelings were not completely clear. The female half of the population had become somehow intriguing, utterly incomprehensible and truly terrifying. As I understand, there is an intense need to socialize with peers during adolescence but not everyone is gifted enough to do so smoothly. I was far from smooth and tended to stick close to friends when I was in social situations. I remember one particular time that my best friends and I went to our first dance. The three of us were holding up the wall fairly well, daring each other to talk to the young ladies who unknowingly struck fear and longing to the very core of our beings. As we stood there, wasting time trying to goad each other into making the first move, the poor girls were forced to also sit and wait. I am sure that none of them wanted to become a social outcast by asking a boy to dance, which meant they had to wait for us to gather our courage. Finally I decided to take that first step. I asked a girl to dance and she immediately said yes, much to my relief. I had taken what I believed to be the first and hardest step and I was now dancing with a cute girl. It was the most frightening and awkward dance I have ever been a part of. I just lightly held her, unsure where to put my hands, attempting to think about baseball (not that I knew anything about baseball) and swayed back and forth like a robot from a bad 1950’s sci-fi flick. We didn’t speak nor did we make much eye contact either. All my bravado and convoluted planning had been focused on getting her to dance with me, not the actual dancing part. When the longest song on earth finally ended, I bolted back to my friends. In my haste to find the security of insecure male bonding I probably sent a very confusing message to the girl. I won’t even attempt to decipher what my hasty departure meant to her but I am sure it was as awkward for her as the asking and dancing had been for me. I then spent the rest of the time daring my friends to take the plunge but managing to feel completely relieved that I had “made a move.” I still remember that first dance as a great adventure although I look upon it now and see how silly I truly was.

My voice changing was the biological development that I clearly recall. I am not sure when it happened or how long it took but it could not end fast enough. I was embarrassed and people’s reactions didn’t help. Whether it was an amused glance or an escaped giggle it sent heat through my cheeks turning them deep scarlet. What I wanted to do was not speak ever again but that is not an option. Knowing that the voice change was just a part of growing up was not any help at the time. I figure the best thing for an adult to do is to not react and just keep on talking with them. After all it is something natural and it should be treated that way. Of course the problem was generally with kids the same age and I am not sure how to get them to cut each other some slack. Now that I am past that stage I definitely see how a smile or giggle is also natural but try to remember that everything is “utterly and devastatingly” embarrassing at that age.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The new apartment... a story told in pictures

I know some of you do not like viewing photos this way with the crazy filter and what not, so I have another way to see them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crazedlunatik/sets/72157608118288428/show/with/2949691045/