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.