Category: Entertainment


I’m still here.  But, then, I really only post at my new site:
 
In any case, so you’re not here and totally bored, here’s an entertaining little video (I had nothing to do with its creation, but it makes me laugh to tears!!!).  WARNING:  While there’s nothing really bad about this, the lyrics and closing credits are definitely in the high PG-13 to mild R rating range (for SICK SICK SICK humor). 
Hope you enjoy it.  Leave me a comment if you do.

Movie Day!

This weekend we saw two movies (I saw one twice!).  We had some of the boys’ friends sleep over, and had originally planned to see Cars with them.  As will happen to young kids, though, the sleepover wore our guests out, and they decided not to go with us.  Instead, they decided to rest up and have our boys sleep over their house last night.  So we got a date night  and finally saw The DaVinci CodeCars was a repeat for me because, being in school for digital animation, we took an impromptu field trip to the 12:30 matinee on Friday after class.
 
Neither of these disappointed me at all.  Neither totally put me in awe, either.
 
Let me start out by saying this was not Pixar’s best.  That aside, it was still better than most other kids’ movies that I’ve seen.  This is Pixar, after all.  I think the only negatives I saw were those of compatibility.  I don’t follow NASCAR or country music.  I do, however, love Larry the Cable Guy, and he cleaned up really well for the kids.
 
You might compare this to an automotive version of Doc Hollywood.  It’s a shallow someone totally unfamiliar with small-town life forcefully immersed in the thick of it.  It was well done, and I loved the Route 66 theming and 50′s neon scenes.  The animation was entirely superb, and the writing was very solid.  The jokes were a good mix of kid and grown-up humor.  It had sentiment and growth.  And let me just say the scene where we’re first introduced to the farming equipment was my absolute favorite!
 
Oh, and Pixar hides a "42" in all their films (kindred souls!).  This one sticks it in the second line of the opening scene.  "One winner… 42 losers."  Could that be?  Are there really 43 cars in a NASCAR race??  Also, I’d read that the jeep is a 1942 model, but that one’s a bit too obscure.
 
HINT:  DO NOT LEAVE THE THEATER UNTIL THE LAST FRAME OF THE CREDITS IS OVER!!
 
I was pleasantly surprised with this film.  You can’t see a movie this late in the game and have no spoilers at all, but those I did have only made the film better.  I wasn’t shocked to see all the romance removed from it, but I still thought it should have been there.  The clue "SOFIA" was missing.  That was a surprise, but again, the book was huge.  They’d have to remove some of it to get down under 3 hours (2:40 to be exact). 
 
Tom Hanks had a bit of "heft" to him.  I thought he was too thin to play this role, but something they did for him (or his pre-filming diet) made him look a bit more solid.  Not heavy, but solid.  Audrey Tautou played a very convincing Sophie.  If I were Langdon, I would have stuck with her through all she put him through, too. ;) 
 
I’m trying to figure out what I’d consider negative about this film, but I really have nothing to put my finger on.  Still, for some reason, it wasn’t a mind-blowing, chanting-"WOW"-as-you-leave-the-theater kind of great film.  But, as a companion to the book I read some time ago, it was barely shy of "essential". 
OK, since I panicked (despite the advice of the brilliant author I emulate in my own minor way) and took down the last survey of "Firsts", here’s another one that’s not as personally exposing.
 
Thanks, Chris, for suggesting this one! 
 
Rule:  Describe yourself using ONLY song titles.  In my case, I’m going to take that to mean the nature/lyrics of the song aren’t important.  So, if I use "Halo", by Depeche Mode, it means "Halo", not a guilt-ridden imprisonment on the straight and narrow, as the song suggests.
 
Choose a band/artist:  Depeche Mode
Are you male or female:  "John The Revelator"
Describe yourself: "Strangelove", "Introspectre", "People Are People", "Dreaming of Me"
How do you feel about some people: "A Pain That I’m Used To", "Pimpf",  "Damaged People"
How do you feel about yourself: "Somebody",  "Nothing’s Impossible"
Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: "Nothing", "It’s No Good"
(Added By Chris) Describe your wife: "Precious", "I Feel Loved", "Sweetest Perfection"
Describe what you want to be: "The World In My Eyes", "Personal Jesus"
Describe how you live: "Behind The Wheel", "Everything Counts", "Never Let Me Down Again"
Describe how you love: "Master And Servant" (kidding!!), "But Not Tonight", "One Caress", "Pleasure, Little Treasure", "Love, In Itself"
What would you ask for if you had just one wish: "I Want It All", "Freestate", "Route 66"
Share a few words of wisdom: "Enjoy the Silence", "Get The Balance Right"
Where do you live: "In Your Room", "Here Is The House"
Now say goodbye: "Leave In Silence", "Goodnight Lovers"
 
I started hearing rumblings about this movie a few months ago, and it intrigued me.  It’s storyline was an old legend that took place around the time that Christianity started to replace the ancient Nordic religion.  Supposedly, it was the story that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write Lord of the Rings.  It’s been around in Europe since 2004, but just made it here to the U.S. recently.  It would appear on the Sci Fi channel and on DVD on the same day… one when I was in New York.  So I missed it.  But I rented it just recently.
 
The real story involves the treasure of the Nibelungs (the original title was "Ring of the Nibelungs"), which is guarded by a dragon and posessed by whomever wears a certain ring.  Fate brings together a king raised as a blacksmith and the queen of Iceland (not Bjork… that’s the next entry below this one).  Greed over the treasure brings the royalty of a third kingdom to split the couple up between brother (the King) and sister (the Princess).  From there, all sorts of treachery and battles ensue.  For a "made for TV" movie, it was FANTASTIC.  I’d have put it at "above average" if it were released in theaters.  I give it a wholehearted thumbs-up.
 
Notice I said the "real story" above.  Here’s how I saw it from my own perspective… A guy named Eric  fights dragons and seduces Kristanna Loken.  Afterward, Eric  is very ambitiously pursued by Alicia Witt (see my Survey Entry from December 4 – Question 33), and they end up married.  Man, this is the FEEL GOOD MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!!! 

Lucky Me!

Saturday night, I went to see Howie Mandel with my sister and her husband and two friends.  It was at the Westbury Music Fair, which is a tiny little theater in the round.  I had to get a few quick snaps with the phone camera, although you really can’t tell much from them.
 
Stop reading now if you don’t want
a spoiler about the show!
 
It started with a video of this old guy on a 60′s era TV show singing this dragging song with no life in his body whatsoever.  He stood perfectly still, arms dangling limply by his side through the whole song.  The video was so expertly edited, that it took several iterations to figure out he was singing the same two verses over and over again.  After about 10 minutes of this, the camera panned away, and it looked like an end was in sight.  Then, as seemlessly as before, it ran right back into the first verse again.  The crowed booed, cheered, chanted "HOWIE! HOWIE!", all to no avail.  Finally, he reached the end of the song, and the little "PLAY" logo on the bottom (I thought it was a botched projector-ism) switched to "REWIND", and the video backed up to the middle of the song.  All this repetition, and no one in our party could remember the lyrics beyond sun, moon and "Lucky Me!"  It was well over 15 minutes in total before we got to the comedian… John Mendoza!
 
 
I love John Mendoza – I think mainly because he’s an older, married guy.  He’s a few steps ahead of me in the parenting game, but we have commonality.
 
 
We then got a 20-minute break (?!), which it turned out WASN’T enough time to get a beer.  Then Howie came out.  I didn’t stop laughing until he left the stage (which didn’t happen until he gave up on us leaving first).  I sometimes think I’m just a few levels of introversion away from Howie.  I’d love to have the guts to mess with strangers’ minds the way he does.  Instead, I have to pick on my friends and family.  So far, they’ve dealt with it well.  I’d share the humor, but Howie Mandel does not translate well to text.  Just know it was hilarious!
 
 
A little note for those who think they know Howie, but haven’t seen him… his humor does get rude.  Don’t bring the little kids (I knew this… we didn’t make this mistake).
That’s about right… blue jeans, black tee, and a
messy computer desk in the background.
 
 
Hey look!!  It’s the new Bratz™ "EricAtRandom" doll!
It’s NOT a DOLL!  It’s an ACTION FIGURE!!!
Oh yeah?  What "action" does it perform?
SHUT…UP… or I’ll show you some "action"!!!
You wish!  M-O-O-O-M!!!
 
Thanks, Catholic Mom, for the suggestion!
I recently left a comment on Catholic Mom‘s site because an interesting Google search found me by one of her comments here.  Someone got here by searching for "cheerleader washing a car" (CM had earlier commented about her high school days and charity car washes).  Someone found her blog by "mom naked".
 
Rest assured, you won’t find cheerleaders washing cars here, nor will you find any naked moms on CM’s site (c’mon, we’re FAMILY people!).  But Google found the right combinations of words somewhere on the pages to consider them relevant.
 
Here are this week’s searches that have led people to visit me so far:

Kind of an innocent week, huh?  Were you aware that we could discern the exact search phrase used to find us in an external search engine?

In order to entertain the boys in Mom’s absence, I rented a DVD for them… "Howl’s Moving Castle".  While that’s an incredible film I will possibly purchase for them, it’s not what this entry is about.  You see, Blockbuster (what’s that?  you don’t have NetFlix???  GOSSSH!) gives me a free "Favorite" — or non-new — movie on weekdays with each new rental.
 
Nope, when Michelle’s away, that free movie is a "Daddy Movie".  It’s not what you think.  It’s a film in a genre that Michelle doesn’t enjoy and the kids don’t watch (independent, serious sci fi, and horror to name a few).  I’ve passed by the box for Pieces of April numerous times and have been drawn in by Katie Holmes’ dyed hair and heavy eyeshadow on the cover.  It’s always reminded me of college-age, non-college crowd (the Long Island crowd I hung out with over summers and holidays).  My friend/coworker, Todd, recently told me it was a good film for the 80′s new wave crowd, so I didn’t pass it up tonight.  It doesn’t take place in the 80′s… it’s current day.  But it certainly overlayed my 80′s experience well.
 
What a great film!  I will add to that the caveat that it’s entirely targeted.  It’s grungy, gritty, and even a bit chilling at times.  But if you’ve lived in or near the city, it all makes sense.  If you want heartwarming, it’s really not there for the most part.  But if you’ve ever been in a broken relationship, with one desperate chance and an absolute internal need to fix it, you’ll totally be in sync with the main character.
 
Here’s the deal.  April is the "first pancake", to use her own terms.  "The one you throw out," explains another character.  She’s the imperfect daughter in a "perfect" family.  Mom is dying of cancer, and opportunities for reconciliation are few.  She’s hosting her New Jersey suburbanite family in her run-down Manhattan apartment for Thanksgiving.  She knows nothing about cooking, but her boyfriend is helping her.  It gets really bad when she takes the stuff from the oven that she’s storing there, and it won’t light.  She has to rely on the kindness of her neighbors to cook the turkey.  Good luck finding kindness in a NYC apartment building (it’s not the one where Seinfeld lives!).
 
There’s humor (the film is tagged "Comedy"), but there’s a LOT of tension.  During the long trek from New Jersey, Mom is not feeling well.  The whole family is unhappy about this trip.  There’s humor, but it’s absolutely not the dominant atmosphere.  At the apartment, you can tell April is desperate to do this right, and you can feel the intense frustration as things go wrong, again interlaced with a dark, pessimistic form of humor.
 
A friend of mine named Michael once said things were going too well for him, that he needed a little depression to level things off.  I’d never thought of it that completely, but at the time (1988, in case you’re wondering), I totally understood where he was coming from.  This is the nature of Pieces of April.  So, when you’re ready for some bleak, the-world-isn’t-fit-to-live-in fun, watch this film.  And if you’re totally perplexed by that concept, look at the pretty girl on the cover (OMG.. you call that pretty?  Yes, I do!), and then continue walking by as I had for the previous two years.
 
Oh yeah… and that need for a little depression?  That, I believe, is a symptom of someone between achieving a post-college income and acquiring the worries of real adult life that tend to gobble it up.  I don’t have any need for that anymore, thankyouverymuch.
Five???  JUST Five???  OK… but for me this could be a "101 things" list.

  1. I am taller sitting down. "The heck!" you say!  Nope, it’s true.  I’m 5’7" when I stand.  My wife is 5’6".  When we sit, I’m a solid 3 — maybe 4 — inches taller than her.  Same situation with everyone (not to imply that EVERYONE is 5’6" … see number 5 below).  I’m not short in a seated crowd.  My inseams are anywhere between 28" and 29" depending on the style.  I am hinged in the wrong place.  I know this because I can not only touch my toes, but put fists to the ground (used to be palms).
  2. I love stretching.  More so than most people seem to.  I can often be caught arching backwards over my chair at work with my knees hooked up under the desk to prevent flipping over backwards and landing on my head.
  3. I am a complete type B personality.  Nothing angers me.  Except when I’m in the car.  My wife wouldn’t ride with me for a while, not for fear of her life, but because of her distaste for profanity.  I’ve since learned to tone it down to "DID YOU SEE THAT???", and she laughs and rolls her eyes.
  4. My circadian rythms are whack.  I think my "day" is upwards of 30 hours.  Left to my own devices, I would wake up 2+ hours later each day and stay up equivalently the next night.  2:00am is a wonderful time to be awake, and 8:00am is not.  Take away the alarm clock and eventually that would switch.
  5. I have an obsessive feeling of being misunderstood.  So I over explain myself.  Sometimes, I even over explain over explaining myself!  And when I gather that people are tired of hearing me explain myself, I have to explain my way out of it… very awkwardly.  Need I explain?

http://metaatem.net/words.php

This is from Kelly. Thanks for the link.. this was fun!