Archive for July, 2009

New Weekend, New Movies, New Movie Reviews

Posted in Nonsense, TV/Movies on July 24, 2009 by Bob

The weekend is upon us. With the weekend comes new movies. With new movies comes movie reviews. Very rarely do I listen too much to what the reviewers say. I mainly use a review to decide whether or not to pay $9 to see a movie in the theater or to wait until it is on demand. My problem with movie reviews in general is that they are subjective. Now, I realize there is some merit to most reviews as a baseline. If every single critic says a movie is so bad that you will want to gouge your eyes out… then I probably won’t go to see it. However, most times you can already figure out it is that bad by the title or the star. (The Hottie & the Nottie with Paris Hilton is a perfect example).

There are a few movie critics that I utilize in deciding if I should see a movie or not. Sometimes I make my decision by going the opposite of what they say. Personally, I can not stand Will Ferrell in almost every movie he makes. I know a lot of people like him,  but I don’t find a 42 year old acting like a 16 year old funny. I also am not a big fan of the recent spate of Judd Apatow movies, again making me unpopular I am sure. Critics however think they are the best thing in the world, even when they start off the comments with “sophomoric comedy at it’s best”. Maybe I am getting too old too fast, but I don’t find movies that rely on swearing and fart jokes as comedy to be very funny.

But I digress. I was talking about movie reviews. I have looked at web sites and what not that claim to be “real people” reviews in the past, but even these have disappointed me and take an opinionated slant. I know that is what “critics” are supposed to do but I guess I am of the “I don’t know art but I know what I like” ilk. (I really do want a painting of dogs playing poker)

I have thoughts of starting my own site or perhaps a blog where my friends and anyone else can just post their own reviews of movies. The kind of reviews that are just “I liked it because” or “I didn’t like it because” without a deep analysis or cinematic terms. I understand all these and look at movies from a very intellectual way at times, deconstructing them for various reasons, but I want to just know if it has good Three Stooges moments or not.

My whole point of this comes down to this. If anyone knows of any existing sites or blogs that convey what I am looking for, please let me know as I am pretty darn lazy and would have a hard time keeping up with my own site.

For now, I will listen to the critics and go see what they say is bad, (Siskel & Ebert hated The Dark Crystal and it is one of my favorites) avoid the movies they say are the funniest movies on the planet, (one critic I see most Friday mornings has a major man crush on Will Ferrell), and get dragged to whatever chick flick my wife wants to take me to because well, she is my wife.

Karaoke, Deck Destruction and Post Pubescent Wizards

Posted in Nonsense, TV/Movies on July 21, 2009 by Bob

Karaoke

Friday night we went and did something we haven’t done in quite a while. We went to karaoke. Yes, we like karaoke as both Jackie and I are half way decent singers. I also used to KJ (Karaoke Jockey for the uninitiated). When you go all the time to a karaoke show, you get to know the regulars and the host and have a good time. When you go frequently, you also know where to go for a good crowd and a good show. When you don’t go that often you take the risk of running into an interesting crowd. Friday night was no exception.

It was the last night for karaoke at Kelsey’s Road House in Barrington and an interesting night it was. You know it is going to be an odd night when during the first few songs, a 22 yr old chin strap beard, backward hat wearing kid is dancing the lawnmower to Gangsta’s Paradise. I am pretty sure you can get beat up anywhere if you are doing that. It is then followed by a number of drunk people including one guy who’s shirt kept opening farther and farther with each drink, Larry from Three’s Company, and another 6 foot 2 inch man dancing like Cotton Hill from King of the Hill. I know I shouldn’t be surprised. The other highlights of the night were me being hit on by a middle age woman with a muppet fetish and the entire bar cheering when a girl walked from one end of the room to the other. I don’t know either.

Deck Destruction

On Saturday we started taking apart our deck. We took the railings off and went through 4 cans of wasp killer to destroy all the nests underneath. The strangest part is the nest of Blue Wasps we found. I looked them up on the web and they are supposedly from Texas and mainly feed on Black Widow spiders. Should I be worried?

Wizards

Sunday I took Jackie to see Harry Potter 6. (Half Blood Prince or something like that) I will admit that I laughed at a few points, and didn’t have a HORRIBLE time. But, I still can’t find the obsessive fascination with it that so many others have. I did however find the spoof they did on The Soup quite entertaining. The Real World Hogwarts. Now THAT would be an amusing reality show I think.

That’s it for today. Kind of babbling but haven’t written in a while and felt I needed to post an update for the three people that read my blog.

Hollywood Déjà vu

Posted in Nonsense, TV/Movies on July 6, 2009 by Bob

Anyone that knows me (well maybe only my wife will know) knows exactly what I am going to complain about. Very few original ideas in movies and TV. It seems that everything on TV and in the movies is a remake or stolen idea of something that has already been done. The majority of TV game shows and even the “reality” shows come from over seas. A person can count on one hand the number of movies that come out that aren’t remakes of one kind or another. You don’t have to go any further than Wikipedia to find a list of all the films that have had remakes. From “12 Angry Men” to “You’ve Got Mail” (yes, even THAT was a remake) and including ALL the Poseidon Adventures, Hollywood is overflowing with unoriginal movies.

I even found a site, Den of Geek, that has a list of even more remakes in the works, including a remake of “Back to School” starring Cedric the “entertainer. So glad for this because “The Honeymooners” was SUCH a success. (Sorry, I don’t find him much of an entertainer and find it presumptuous of him to name himself as such) But I digress.

The reason I am on this rant again is of a new show starting on SyFy (formerly SciFi). It is an original series called “Warehouse 13”. The premise is that there is a warehouse that holds supernatural objects. 3 people are charged with finding missing items and looking for new ones. In 1987 there was a series (that runs on SyFy in reruns coincidentally) in which there was a vault that housed supernatural items and 3 people are charged with finding missing ones and looking for new ones. (These are both very basic descriptions but you get the point). The name of that series was “Friday the 13th: The Series”. They are redoing the same basic premise and not even changing the 13 in the title. I know 13 unlucky number and all but still.

I love SyFy and will probably watch this a few times at least. I know the younger generation deserves some of the older movies with better effects and actors they actually know, (granted I never knew who the original Marshal, Will and Holly were from the 70’s Land of the Lost when I was a kid in the 70’s) but I just wish there would be some original movies and television.

The few original movies that come out cause people, like a friend of mine to lament “So is Away We Go ever going to open in suburban Chicago theaters?” That is how I feel about original programming. When will it come? Of course, am I going to cancel cable and turn my tv into a planter? Nope. I am as guilty as everyone else for watching some of the remakes.

Joining the Cult and Customer Service

Posted in Nonsense, Tech Stuff on July 3, 2009 by Bob

Joining the Cult

I have had an iPod Classic since Christmas and my wife Jackie has had an iPod mini for a few years, but yesterday we joined the Apple cult full fledged. We bought a MacBook Pro.

I am a die hard PC lover. It is what I grew up on. Mt first programming was a text Dungeons & Dragons type roll play game in 5000 some odd lines of Basic that I played on our amber monochrome monitor. I build my own PC desktop computers. I know how to fix things when they stop working on a PC. But, I work in an industry where there are just as many, if not more, Macs as there are PCs, so I need to be proficient with both. And it helps to have both technologies at your disposal when freelancing. In addition to that, some things I will admit, are just easier on a Mac. Particularly music, movies, and pictures. I also have a large quantity of software for the Mac along with a few other reasons that made it a sound purchase.

The other reason we decided on the MacBook was the current offer. Jackie gets an education discount because of her job and because of that we also got the $229 rebate toward a new iPod. So, we got an iPod classic for around $20. Pretty good deal to get me to join the Apple cult.

Customer Service

The whole experience of buying the MacBook was an actual pleasure. The Best Buy near us happens to have an Apple Store inside of it. Since this was much closer than driving to Woodfield Mall, we decided to give it a try. Normally I hate going to Best Buy for anything that requires the salesperson to actually have knowledge, but the idea of going to Woodfield on the 4th of July weekend was even more detestable.

We walked into the store and headed directly toward the “Apple Store”. We looked around and found what we wanted. Within a few seconds we were approached by Joe. He asked us if we needed help and we told him exactly what we wanted. He said ok and looked to see that they had what we wanted in stock. Another customer of course came up and asked him a question in the middle of him talking to us, (a blog for another day) and we told him to go ahead we wanted to look around a bit anyway. We looked at the iPods, some other things, and then when we were ready, Joe was right there to help us. He apologized for getting caught up with the other customer (brownie point 1) and proceeded to get our purchase together.

Joe actually was knowledgeable on all things Apple. He offered us other items, including pointing out to us an old model MacBook pro was on sale for $1600. (it was a display model of the$2600 and up model) however, he did not try to shove anything down our throats. When I told him I worked on Macs at work, he said “oh, Ok, you know what you need then” and still asked and offered, but never pushed as often times happens to me at Best Buy.

He made sure that all our discounts were correct, made sure we had all the right info and even tried to down-sell me when I asked about software instead of trying to up-sell me to the more expensive version. (by now this is brownie point 4 or 5)

Then it was time for the favorite Best Buy question…”Would you like to purchase the extended protection plan?” Instead of the usual far off look that most cashiers have while asking this, knowing you will most likely say no, Joe actually explained it. Not only did he explain the protection plan, but he told us all the options of their plan vs. Apple Care and gave personal experiences with both…but not in a sales way. So, he is either sincere or the best damn sales kid in the world. I still didn’t buy anything but I liked his style.

It was to say the least the most enjoyable shopping experience I have had at Best Buy ever, and the best customer service I have experienced in a long time. Kudos to you Joe, I hope you are on commission and still are working there when I am ready top get my LED TV.

Celebrity Deaths and the Media

Posted in Nonsense, TV/Movies with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2009 by Bob

I am sure I am not the first to talk about this and I am sure I won’t be the last, but since this is my venting forum I figured, what the hell.

With the spate of celebrity deaths lately, I realize how much the media plays into how we percieve the importance of any one particular individual. No one person’s life is worth more or less than another of course, but with the media coverage that comes with a celbrity death, we come to realize that the worth of an individual is how much their death can ad to the ratings of a news outlet.

It is also disturbing, or more annoying I should say, to me anyway, how far the media digs into things after the death, that they should just leave alone and not further tarnish the image of anyone. Of course I am talking about Michael Jackson.

Personally, I have never been a obsessive MJ fan. I agree that his early music changed the face of the industry and he was an incredibly talented individual. But, (and here is where I become unpopular) he became a total whack job. This is his preference and how someone wants to live their life is their own business. He did not hurt me in anyway with his antics so I really don’t care that much. I do find myself feeling sorry for his family and yes, even his memory as the media coverage continues on.

Michael Jackson dies of apparent heart failure. That should have been the end of it. Let his fans mourn, and his memory and legacy live on. There is no need to tarnish what is left of good memories of the man with now saying he was addicted to pain killers, his kids weren’t his biological offspring, and any of the other things the media is bringing out. Who cares! His die hard devoted fans will dismiss this as “eccentric” behavior or dismiss it all together anyway. His detractors will just say “figured as much” and let it go as well. If some kind of manslaughter charge comes out of all this for his doctor or someone else that is one thing, but again, we don’t need to hear every single thing about the investigation. What is the need to drag him through the dirt AFTER he has died. Let the man rest in peace.

Personally, I will not bennefit from his will, and niether will anyone else not in it, so why do we care? In part, it is our fault for paying attention to the media coverage. On the other hand, the media goes and takes all this information to feed our morbid curiosities to live vicariously through others.

Michael Jackson died a week ago and his death is still leading stories on some Fo…various news outlets. How many people even know Karl Malden died yesterday?

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