Monday, December 21, 2009

In the scope of Christmas horror there aren't that many entries. There are quite a few but only a handful make the rounds each year for most viewing parties or screenings. The wonderful Silent Night, Deadly Night is at the top of most people's list. There is nothing wrong with this, because it's a great freaking movie! Killer Santa is always good and the picketing and boycotting by the PTA upon its initial release was an added bonus. Some would argue that the film's first sequel (there are five movies in the franchise total) is even better because it not only replays the highlights from the first flick but it contains awesome of its own. Just look at the wonderful, and infamous, "garbage day" scene.

Some of the other movies include another psycho Santa in Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out) or the one with the wrestler Goldberg as a demon who was forced to be Santa after losing a bet but is now ready to get his revenge on the world - Santa's Slay. The UK also has a killer running around London in a Santa suit with 1984s Don't Open Till Christmas and the notorious David Hess directed a Christmas themed slasher in 1980 called To All a Good Night where someone is stalking and killing teens at an all girls school in, you guessed it, a Santa outfit.

There are seasonal films that don't revolve around a deranged St. Nick. One of my favorites, and not just for the Christmas Horror subgenre, is Bob Clark's 1974 slasher inspiration Black Christmas. All the girls in the sorority house are ready to go home for the holidays when one of them goes missing. They are plagued by strange obscene phone calls and the first feature with "the call is coming from inside the house" angle. This is such a great film full of atmosphere and an increasingly unsettling feeling throughout the running time. If you haven't seen this put it to the top of your list, queue or whatever. And don't watch the remake from a couple years ago because it's shit.

Plenty of films take place around the holiday and earn a wonderful spot in my heart. Recently I watched a film called The Children where the kids get a sort of illness over the holidays which turns them into killing machines. You might also want to check out an Italian film from 1975 called Night Train Murders which is basically the same story as Last House on the Left (which itself was based on The Virgin Spring) but it takes place on a train with the girl going home to her parents' house for Christmas.

There are many more I could mention but I want to get to my reason for writing this in the first place. The other night I watched a new-to-me Christmas horror film and feel it is my duty to share the joy with everyone else. Prepare yourself for pure awesome!

In my exploits in and out of, and working in, video stores I remember seeing the above cover for the film Elves (1989) but never got around to watching. Boy and I sad I waited this long. Had I known the gem that awaited me there would be no way I could have held out for twenty years! In just the first fifteen minutes you are treated to a woman putting a cat in a pillowcase and drowning it in a toilet, a sexual harassing mall Santa and this awesome kid in his Ninja Turtle pajamas dropping the F-bomb like crazy.

There is even more to that scene, but that's all you get on this clip from YouTube. Besides all of the awesomeness I already mentioned, and even more amazing things I don't want to ruin, the flick stars Dan Haggerty! This should be reason enough to watch. He smokes like a chimney and delivers one hell of a flat, bearded performance. The plot concerns a Nazi group who summon evil elves with their sights on helping create the master race of ruthless soldiers. A young girl is targeted, the girl in the above clip with her pervy brother, by the the elves and the mysterious men with guns and weird pony tails. Her grandfather may know something about what's going on but with his half-assed German accent it will be hard to tell just what that is. The FX used on these creatures, including their overall design, is something to behold. Just see them on the back of the VHS box:

Add the bad FX, bad dialog, bad acting and some super out-of-nowhere "twists" this is one holiday horror flick that needs to make it into your yearly repertoire. Of course this would be better suited with copious amounts of alcohol and a group of friends to laugh along with you, but it's not necessary. The film is not, nor will it probably ever be, on DVD but seek out the VHS or find it some other way (wink) because you need to see Elves in all its glory.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sonor Hearing

I know it's been a while since I've blogged. I'm bad and a slacker. Hopefully I'll try to get back into the swing of things for those of you who actually read my blog.

While sitting here on the couch, being lazy on a Saturday afternoon I came across an infomercial for the Loud 'N Clear.

I get the point. For a mere $20 you get a cheaper option to a hearing aid with a "stylish" twist. They boast that it will help the hard of hearing as well as enhance hearing for others so you can hear conversations from far away. So, not only do you get to hear what girls at a party are saying about you at a party, but you get to look like a douchebag at the same time! All that's missing is an Ed Hardy T-shirt.

Forget how stupid you look while wearing, if it works what difference does it make? I really don't see how this could be used for everything the commercial boasts. Most likely it can amplify sound, that is the easy part. What it doesn't say is to what degree. The ad says you can hear all the action at the big game while showing someone in the middle of a cheering crowd. If this $20 gadget amplifies enough to hear a kid at a little league game sliding into home plate fifty feet away, what does the screaming parent next to you sound like?

Do people really not consider this? From some reviews I have read online it doesn't really work anyway, but it astonishes me how easily people can be "tricked" into ordering such crap.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I was going to do a "Tonight's Menu" a week or so ago, but I was very unhappy with the way things were going. I made some Rainbow Trout and was having problems. Even though everything tasted alright, Jenny loved it, I was not happy so I just erased all of the photos. So here we are with what I made tonight, some yummy comfort food.

On Tonight's Menu: Meatloaf with Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus

I started with pulsing a box of Garlic & Cheese croutons in the food processor until rather smooth. Normally I would just use the garlic flavor but this was the closest I found at the store. It turned out to be a good thing.

Then I pulsed a chopped carrot, chopped onion, a few cloves of garlic, fresh black pepper, thyme, chili powder and cayenne. Usually all the dry herbs and such would go with the croutons, but I forgot. Oh well.

Onto to the meat! Most of the time I use a mixture of regular ground chuck and ground sirloin, but I was at Whole Foods and they didn't have the sirloin. Yes, I could have them grind some sirloin but I didn't want to wait. What they did have was ground buffalo. I thought that might be pretty tasty, so that is what I got.

After everything is combined you can either put it into a loaf pan and then turn it out onto a parchment lined sheet pan, or if you don't have a loaf pan, like me, then just form it into a loaf on the pan.

Once your meatloaf is in a 325º oven you can make the sauce. Just whisk together some ketchup, Heinz 57, worcestershire, Tabasco, cumin and honey.

Ten minutes after the meatloaf has been in the oven slide it out and baste with the sauce. It is also a good idea to put a probe thermometer in and set the alarm for 155º. You want to put the probe at an angle about halfway into the loaf.

When the alarm goes off pull the meatloaf out of the oven, remove the probe and baste on a little more sauce. You should also cover loosely with foil and let the meat rest for about five minutes. ALWAYS REST YOUR MEAT!

Once all is said and done you are ready to plate. I served with some great sour cream mashed potatoes and some steamed asparagus.

If I had anything to do over again I would blanch the asparagus and drop it into an ice bath instead of steaming. No big deal, everything tasted wonderful and there are plenty of leftovers for a meatloaf sandwich tomorrow. Yea! Fulci even had a great time licking the plates. He looks a bit like a giraffe, don't you think?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I understand that people do not think of movies the same way as myself. To some people they are just a way to kill a couple of hours and be mildly entertained in the process. Few have respect for the theater going experience anymore, as evident by their rude behavior, talking and such. Something that has always annoyed me is people getting up during a movie, for whatever reason. I witnessed someone recently get to a movie quite a bit early with the family and they were sharing one of the large, refillable, popcorn buckets. They ate as quickly as possible and when the trailers ended and the movie began one of them arose to get more popcorn. Why the hell did they wait until the movie started? Is this not the reason they paid money to get in the theater? The last time I can remember getting up for anything during a movie was during Independence Day in 1996. I never got up during movies but this was a second viewing and I knew what was coming up so I decided to run grab a pickle. I was with a friend and we were near the front of the packed theater and on my way out I slipped on some soda and crashed in front of everyone. There was thunderous laughter and my ass hurt. This was a sign from the movie gods to not get up while the projector is running.

Probably the number one reason people get up during a movie is to go to the bathroom. This is something I have also never understood. Have you no bladder control? I understand there are certain times that when you have to go, you REALLY have to go. I highly doubt all of these people have a very dire situation brewing. Personally there has not been a situation in my memory where I had to go or there would be problems. I even sat through all of Titanic, which I really didn't enjoy, and I had to go pretty bad by the time the credit began to roll (I even stayed during all of them too).

Now it has come to my attention there is a website out there called Run Pee. On this site you can look up a movie and see at which points during any film you should get up to go to the bathroom. It looks like this:

You see the timeline and under it will give you a "vague" description of what happens right before you'll have a couple of minutes to alleviate you bladder. If you want to know what happens during the time you will miss, you can click the box below and the scrambled text will spoil the scene. Many have been raving about this site, and how it is a great tool for movie goers, I, of course, have a problem with this.

Most films are made and put you in a story and they set everything up so that you are caught up in what is on the screen. When you leave the theater, for any reason, all this accomplishes is taking you out of the world the filmmakers spent so long trying to create. Even if you are at a bad flick, like the latest Mike Meyers tragedy, getting up and leaving does not just affect you. There are other people in the theater with you, and when you walk by, in front of, or around them it distracts. I don't spend ten bucks to have you walking in front of me. If you have to go to the bathroom just hold it! If you have poor bladder control, or are going to a longer film (i.e. Lord of the Rings) then don't get the bucket size of soda at the concession stand. It is that simple.

If the website were not enough to piss me off, they have escalated to the next level - an iPhone app. The iPhone is freaking wonderful, and the apps only make it better, but this is a bad idea. All this app does is not only encourage people to get up during the film, but now they are going to pull out their phones while the movie is going and distract those around them with the glow. I see no good coming of this.

Why can't people just sit down, shut up and watch the damn movie?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Working long hours and having little computer time has a negative impact on my blogging, but today there are a few things I wanted to say regardless of sleep. Thanks to the explosion on Twitter today I was kept up to date on the situation with Michael Jackson. I know everyone and their mother is blogging about this right now, but I still want to express some feelings.

For as long as I can remember in my brief life there has been Michael Jackson. I cannot remember a time with out him. Off the Wall came out a year before I was born so I was never alive in a world without him - until now. My cousin was a big fan, as well as anyone on the planet, so I heard his music from the very beginning. By the time I was old enough to know a little, around four, I would emulate Michael everywhere. I had a small "Beat It" style jacket, white glove, glittered socks (which I still have) and, of course, the penny loafers. In fact, it was at the shoe store where my show would begin.

The name of the store escapes me at the moment, but it is a kids shoe store in Ft. Worth and this is where my mom always took us for footwear. While trying on the penny loafers I would proceed to do my Michael impersonation. "Beat It," "Billie Jean" or "Thiller" and all the dancing that came along. Learning how to moonwalk was one of the greatest things to me at the time, and it's something I still enjoy doing on occasion.

At this young age all I wanted was to grow up to be Michael Jackson. I would either tell people I wanted to be him or a singer just like him. In my copy of the Dr. Suess My Book About Me I have Jackson's name written in my just-learned-to-write chicken scratch under "Hero." He was my hero, but I was not alone. Kids and adults all over the world worshiped the ground on which he walked. Girls would cry like babies and even pass out during his concerts all because they were witnessing him perform. I never got a chance to see him live, but it was something I wished for all the time. Just the other day I was talking about the few acts that I would pay a lot of money to see if they came through Dallas again and his name was on the top of that list. Sadly, I will never get a chance to see him in the flesh.

Not everyone of my friends knows how much I love MJ. Sure, I had his music on my iPod, but who doesn't have a few of his songs? I have bought everyone of his albums at one time or another (with the exception of Invincible which I heard, but did not really like), and some I bought on vinyl, then cassette and finally CD. Yes, this means I even bought Dangerous. The first two solo albums are the best, without a doubt, and Bad has its moments, but just does not compare. Most of his albums' weight came from Quincy Jones being behind the sounds and lyrics, but no one has been a performer like Michael. An incredible dancer who moved like no one before. Just watch in the video below where he debuted the moonwalk at the Motown 25th anniversary show. The crowd went nuts, as did everyone watching their TV sets at home. No one could believe their eyes. Now so many people have been so heavily influenced by this man that it borders on plagiarism. This was just a small piece of what the man did to make his mark on the world. Look at the "Thriller" video (which is on MTV right now, it's even the long version) - this basically revolutionized the music video. There had been videos before where people would have a bit of a "story" involved, but Michael's musical short films grew the attention of the nation and were helmed by accomplished film directors (John Landis, Martin Scorsese). These videos featured elaborate budgets, FX and choreography that people cannot help but repeat. We had a copy of "Thriller" from the first airing that I pretty much wore out from so many viewings.

I read the news while I was working and while it did depress me quite a bit, there was not much time to think about the news. On the way home I put on some of his music and shed a couple of tears for the man behind the music that has been with me for my entire life. Have I turned into one of the fainting concert girls? I hope not, but I am saddened by his passing, mostly because of the shock. They say the celebrity deaths happen in threes, but I never would have expected Michael. Ed McMahon was old and not doing well and Farrah's cancer had been widely publicized, but this came out of the blue. I still cannot believe what has happened.

A lot of people probably wonder why anyone is sad for the death of a "deviant" such as Michael Jackson. I'm not sure if he did everything he was accused of, but I will admit there was something fishy happening. Why anyone let their child spend the night, alone, with a non-family member adult is beyond me. He had his moment and his artistic, and personal, choices took him somewhere that it was hard to watch. I'm not condoning the actions he is accused of, nor is this any excuse, but this is what a bad effect abuse can have on a person.

I hope people take the time to remember the good things about Michael, and the good times. Listen to some Jackson 5 or anything from Off the Wall or Thriller and you will find it hard not to remember a time you were in love with the King of Pop.

R.I.P. Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Check out this great article on HitFix by Drew McWeeny (aka Moriarty from Ain't It Cool News).

Friday, June 19, 2009

I love Chinese food. It's no secret, but I cannot get enough far east cuisine. One of the things most people know about Chinese food is what they have learned at the local buffet. While their food is never the best, it's usually rather cheap and you get to try a little bit of everything. Most of the time I would rather have good food, but ever now and again I get a hankering for the buffet. Sue me.

Something that has perplexed me for years is the waitress at the Chinese buffet. You walk to your table, they take a drink order and then you go get your food. Throughout the whole dining experience all this person does is get you refills, slowly, and pick up your dirty plates for your return trip to the smorgasboard. I guess it is nice to have someone bring you the drinks, but then the end of the meal comes. At any normal restaurant there is no question to the validity of the waiter/waitress and tip accordingly to the service. At the buffet you finish and then what? I guess you should tip, but what did they really do? You got all of the food, the plates could have been taken by a busboy, so that just leaves the beverages. Is it really worth dropping a dollar or two for a couple of refills? Sure it's just a couple of bucks, but I don't know that it's really tip worthy. I wish they would just get rid of this and you get your own drinks too. Most every fast food restaurant on the planet has the fountain drink set up, why can't this transfer over to the buffet?

I say we start picketing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It has been a while since I have done a cooking blog. I wanted to get settled into the new house a bit and get used to the new appliances. I have an oven that works very well, but it is probably the original piece from when the house was built in the early sixties. The stove is one of those flat smooth electric cooktops and it works great as well, but very different from the conventional coils I'm used to. In any event, last night I made some Brinner (that's breakfast for dinner, for those not in the know) and took some pictures for your enjoyment. Enjoy.

On Tonight's Menu: Homemade Buttermilk Pancackes with Scrambled Eggs and Maple Sausage Patties

Now I don't use any store bought mix to make my pancakes, I don't want to do that to my mouth. Instead I use a homemade "instant" pancake mix that I got from my hero Alton Brown from Food Network's Good Eats. For this mix you fill your container of choice with:

  • 6 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

Then shake everything up and you should be able to keep it in your air tight container for about three months.

When you are ready to make your pancakes get two mixing bowls and separate two eggs.

Now whisk two cups of buttermilk in with the whites and four tablespoons of melted butter with the yolks. The reason you do this is adding the eggs, buttermilk and butter all together is like mixing oil and water together - it just doesn't really want to work. The chemical make-up of the yolks to the butter, and buttermilk with the whites are very similar so by doing this you have a much better bind. Then you can mix the two together. If the butter is pretty warm then it is best to temper with the buttermilk/white mixture.

After all of that is mixed together then you take a much larger mixing bowl with two cups of your "instant" pancake mix in it and add the liquid mixture to the party. The crucial part here is not to over mix. Make sure all of the ingredients are combined, but there will be lumps. Lumps are good, they will cook out.

For cooking my pancakes I use a flat cast iron skillet over medium, sometimes low-medium, heat. Once hot I rub the end of a half stick of butter all over and wipe up the excess with a paper towel. The rest of the butter I throw into a small sauce pot on low, but I'll get to that in a moment. I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to dish out the batter, I find it gives a good size. Then you flip once the bubbles start as normal, usually about a couple of minutes per side.

Now with that butter in the sauce pot... Instead of putting butter on the pancakes at the table I like to use a spoon and drizzle the some melted butter over each flapjack as soon as it's off the griddle. This way the butter penetrates the disc and you get a richer flavor. Hey, I never said these were healthy.

This "instant" mix makes the best tasting pancakes I've ever made. While last night's were rather plain you can spice them up. Sometimes I add some cinnamon to the mix, or some blueberries, chocolate chips or whatever floats your boat. Once I even added some chopped bits of cooked bacon. It was alright, but not as good as I hoped.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For all of you office drones out there, your prayers have been answered. How many times have you sat at your desk nursing hunger pains for some beans? I know, too many to count. The problem has always been having to get up and walk all the way to the break room and wait for that microwave to heat up your snack, all the while your work is going unfinished. Say goodbye to these problems with Heinz's new invention - The Beanzwave!

Not only does this small microwave (only 7.4 inches in height) make for the perfect snack size and portability, but it runs via USB. This can cook other things besides beans like your tea, or other goods. Heinz did create this to go along with their Snap Pots (small plastic containers of beans) but as long as your food fits in the small opening it will heat in a flash. Not only is this the smallest microwave created it also makes use of mobile phone radio frequencies to heat your item, inside and out, in under a minute.

The Beanzwave has not officially hit the market yet, Heinz is still in the testing phases, but you know you want one. Don't let the, roughly, $160 price tag deter you from beans at your desk in less than a minute. Write your congressman today!

Now instead of getting up and going to that dank break room like a common worker you can propel yourself into the way of the future where all cooking devices will be powered through your computer. I can't wait for the firewire hotplate and the SATA refridgerator!

For those of you not familiar with the hilarity that his 30 Rock, they had a small microwave as a device this season. Click the picture below to watch a clip of The Fun Cooker at Eat Me Daily.

[Daily Mail via Gizmodo]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is a very special edition of the Potty Talk series. In this post we delve into a new device in the world of pet needs. Everyone hates to pick up dog doo, so one company took the initiative to create the first outdoor yard toilet for your puppy - the PowerLoo.

This flushable small toilet seems to work much like the can in an RV, only this hooks up directly to your existing water/sewer lines. The commercial, posted below, boasts that you never have to pick up or touch the poop ever again. Oh, except for the fact that you do! The website clearly states you have to pick it up yourself, and the actors in the spot are putting the business in there themselves. Can you really expect a dog to lift up the lid, do his dirty work then flush? There have been cats trained to use toilets, like in Meet the Parents, and I'm sure something like this could happen with with dogs, but not with the PowerLoo. There is a peddle to depress in order to open the lid otherwise you would just have an open water hole, kind of like a mini-well.

The worst part about all of this is the price. Be prepared to fork over just under $1000 for this gem, and that is not including installation or the heated pipe option for those in colder climates. Sounds like a big expense and hassle when you could just carry the dung to one of the house's toilets for much cheaper and a few more steps, or take it to the trash can.

On the plus side if you had one of these you could always pinch one off in your backyard.

[PowerLoo via Gizmodo]

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cross My Heart

I don't consider myself very knowledgeable in the ways of women's undergarments, but I've seen my fair share. You don't spend five years on a Rocky Horror cast without seeing a bit of lingerie. It seems that recently there have been more tech heavy bras on the market. When I saw Japan's Marriage Hunting Bra I was sure I had seen the craziest undergarment. This has LEDs showing the countdown to the wearer's ideal wedding date. A little weird yes, but I guess if a guy were to come across a girl like this he would know she was husband hunting and they could stick around or run for the hills.

This all falls to something that is the a new development in the U.K. - the Smart Memory Bra. What this bra does is senses a rise in body temperature and assuming this means an increased horny level the foam expands to push the breasts up and give more cleavage. The theory is great, now women can automatically look sluttier while on the go and find some guy, or girl, that gets their motor going. The only problem here is if the wearer gets hot due to any other factor, like some physical activity or being outside on a hot day, the boobs will rise.

On the plus side give this bra to a woman going through menopause and when the hot flashes start let the show begin.

By the way, yes, that is a bra made of bacon in the picture above.

[Lisca via Gizmodo]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Earlier, while perusing the normal sites on the interwebs, I came across an article about the television theme song on Variety. It should be no secret that I love my fair share of TV themes. If you were to scroll through my iPod once you get past the viking death metal and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from the Mannequin you would find over eight hours of boob tube tunes. This may be a bit of an unhealthy obsession, but I love to listen to them. Pulling up to a stoplight with my windows down rocking out to Alan Thicke crooning "show me that smile again," next to some guy blaring Lil' Wayne is awesome. Especially when their song ends and they hear what it coming from my car. I have no shame in listening to themes in the car. There was one road trip in particular where the whole way to Oklahoma City all we listened to were my precious short tunes.

It is no secret that the TV theme song has taken a back burner over the last few years. Gone are the days of the minute, or longer, opening credit sequences with iconic themes to get stuck in your head. The thought is to stop wasting the time with the credits and give more show to the viewer. I am all for this, but at the same time it is sad to see the theme song get shoved to the side. If you went to pretty much any bar/restaurant/mall/coffee shop and sang, "making your way in the world today takes everything you've got" most everyone within earshot would know exactly what you were singing, or whistle the tune from The Andy Griffith Show. These songs do not just start our favorite shows, but become a part of us. If you went into that same place and let out a pitch perfect cry in the tone of the ten second Heroes opening it would be highly unlikely anyone would no what the hell you were doing.

The does not make or break the show, but if there is a catchy tune I firmly believe the show will stick with you much longer. Each show that shortens there trademark opening to ten, or fewer, seconds takes away one of the best things about watching TV, in my opinion. They aren't all winners, but I still loved them - except for one. For some reason I was always weirded out by the start of Perry Mason. It might be the very dramatic tones or Raymond Burr, but I would change the channel with a quickness. I could sit and watch horror movies nonstop but the opening to Perry Mason was my one weakness.

There are still a few shows who still do a great theme song. Most of the good ones are on cable, HBO and Showtime seem to respect the art of TV themes, but network TV has its fair share. The Barenaked Ladies recorded an awesome song for The Big Bang Theory. While I have never been one of their fans, I find myself singing this all the time. "Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state..."

One of my favorite premium cable themes was taken away and I still cannot condone this action by the fine people on Weeds. "Little Boxes" was a perfect fit for the suburbs where all looks exactly the same, just like the fictional town of Agrestic in which Nancy began her pot dealing career. Through out the second and third seasons different musical artists did cover versions of the song and it was grand. When the Botwin's left Agrestic so did the theme. I know the theme didn't make sense anymore, but I also know I'm not the only one who misses hearing about those "little boxes made of ticky-tacky." I guess I'll always have my MP3 version to keep me company.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

As if there weren't enough stupid man accessories out there already e-Volve has taken it to a new level with the e-Holster! This is a shoulder holster similar to what a detective would wear for their gun, but this is for all of your tech toys. The main compartment has plenty of room for your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre or whatever smartphone you have. Of course, you could alway put your iPod there, PSP, Nintendo DS or a twinkie (I guess). There are even places to snake your earbud cord so it stays hidden and out of your way while you are styling in your new holster.

You may think this is just for tech gadgets, but that is where you would be wrong. Replace your normal wallet with slots for all your cash and cards, even a secure passport pocket.

I guess this is no worse than any money belt or fanny pack but there is just something really lame about wearing a holster for your freaking cell phone. You can't help but think about Gareth Keenan from the original BBC version of The Office. People laughed when he removed his jacket to reveal a holster for his mobile, why would that not be any different in real life?

[e-Holster via Engadget]

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recently in Gastonia, North Carolina a couple was arrested after being found "going at it" in a car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Sex acts in public are nothing all that new, but the age difference between the couple is the kicker. The mugshots paint a pretty picture too.

It turns out Asia Marie Howard, 25, was paid $20 to blow Mr. William Walter Stephens, 83, in his Buick. You expect prostitutes to troll truck stops and seedy areas, but I never figured a Wal-Mart parking lot the place for working girls. Though I'm not surprised.

The officer on the scene stopped them as they were leaving the parking lot, after they had been seen having sex in the aformentioned car. At least he let them finish, I'm sure that is not a sight one would want to see up close. You would think the charge would be prostitution since Howard admitted to being paid for the oral sex, but not in North Carolina. The charge - crime against nature. Yep, in some states certain sex acts, other than missionary I presume, are still illegal. This includes anal, oral, bestiality, necrophilia and in some cases homosexual acts. I understand not wanting to see anything like this in a public place, but if two consenting adults want to have a little ass sex, what is the big deal?

I remember around the time I graduated from high school there was a sexual arrest made in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Burleson. A nineteen year old guy, who I knew, was caught getting hot and heavy with a thirteen year old girl in his car. Way to screw up your life for some action. He is still registered as a sex offender, as confirmed by the website, and just went in for his yearly check-in and photo update on his 30th birthday last week. How can you ever enjoy a birthday again when you know you have to go have your new sex offender picture taken?


I'm a bad, bad blogger. Lately I have been neglecting posting updates here, and that will change. After moving into the new place last week I have been somewhat busy with unpacking and just getting settled.

Fulci has also needed tons of attention. He is finally getting used to the idea of this being his new home, but he was barely eating or drinking for the first couple of days. There is also the going into the backyard for the bathroom thing he had to "learn." I put that in quotes because he knows what to do at my parents' house, but not at his home. In just over a week he is getting so much better and I can kind of tell when he needs/wants to go outside.

I did take the time to see two great movies this weekend - Drag Me to Hell and Up. The first is a great return to the horror genre from Sam Raimi. He took his Evil Dead roots and mixed it well with a much bigger budget to create a fun thrilling ride. It is wonderful to live so close to a decent movie theater, Galaxy 10 (around 635 & Jupiter), with the special twilight prices, $4.75 for any show between 4pm and 6pm. For Up we had to see it in 3D and that theater does not have the technology so I figured this is as good of a time as any to try out Cinemark's XD3 screen at their location off the tollway in Plano. This auditorium has a VERY large screen (I believe around 70-80 feet), high end sound and a sweet digital projector. Of course, it is also equipped for 3D viewing. Because of all the added top end equipment tickets are $14! For that price I could see three flicks at Galaxy. Was it worth it? The experience was great, I know some people have had less than desirable experiences with this, but it was awesome for Jenny and me. None of the theater stats can really compare to the film itself, Pixar cannot be touched. With each film they release things just get better and better. I saw someone on Twitter, I think comedian Paul F. Tompkins, said on it seems Pixar has started making films for adults, and that is so true. While kids will love the jokes and animation the story really gets to adults, and there were many tissues used throughout the audience.

Both of these films, while way different, are freaking great and you should rush out to see them ASAP! I will be blogging regularly again, hopefully another post later tonight, and I apologize for my absence.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The general movie going public never ceases to amaze me. People who arrive late to a film and stumble to their seats in the dark ten minutes in make no sense. I haven't decided if it is worse or not, but many of these people also leave before the movie is even over. What is the rush? The movie is beginning to wind down, the big climax has happened so I guess these patrons feel like they have seen the whole story. No need for a dènnouement. No need for an epilogue. That was around ten bucks, per person, well spent. You missed the first few minutes and the last few. Most of the time these people file out of the theater just as slowly as they entered. It's not like they are in a rush for something. Is there going to be a huge traffic jam of which I have not been made aware?

If this is a huge screening and you don't want to sit in traffic then why not wait in your seat? You will get to finish the actual movie, maybe see some bloopers if you have been watching a comedy, or there could be a little stinger after the credits. I always sit through the end credits of every film and read through the scrolling text. This is not just to see if there is anything after the credits, but just to see the names of everyone who worked on this project. I have always been like this. It pains me when I am at a film festival and I have to leave during the credits in order to make the next flick on my schedule. Maybe I am weird, but I think it is just everyone else who is rude.

Monday I finally went to see Star Trek, which was great. Less than a minute after the climax ended this couple in the back row began gathering their things to leave. As if this was not bad enough, the female started talking on the phone in a normal tone before they even left their row. So you don't want to sit and watch the end of the movie, do you have to be an annoying as possible to everyone else around you?

Once the credits began to roll the three people on the row in front of mine filed out one by one, and each of them stopped directly in my eye line. Could they not see I was sitting trying to see around them? I can forgive the first offender, because he may not have noticed, but his two friends should have seen.

There was also a group of people a few rows ahead who came in with their large refillable popcorn before the trailers. As soon as all of the trailers were over and the feature had begun one of them got up to refill the bucket. Why the hell did they wait until the film they paid to see to begin before getting up? This makes no sense!

I love to see films with an audience at times, but sometimes it is just not worth the agony my mind goes through.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Once my family moved to Burleson when I was nine or ten, we had to find a new video store. There were a couple of good ones in the area, including one where I was employed. That store will have to wait for a more detailed blog. So many stories to tell.

Around this time grocery stores started to rent VHS to anyone for a bit more convenience. Not sure if any of these stores do this still, but my dad and I would pick out the weekly rentals while my mother was waiting in line with the groceries. Albertsons' selection was not too bad, but there is something about a store just for videos that supermarkets do not possess. One rental place in the rural area of Burleson, somewhat close to my house, was a place called Showtime Video. This was a small shop, the couple only owned one store to my knowledge and the outside had a huge Hollywood themed mural with the husband and wife owners portrayed in the convertible Cadillac waving. This was probably also the first rental place I frequented that had that elusive adult room. The best part about Showtime's adult section was the door had the cartoon chick from Cool World on the door. I still, for whatever reason, have not seen that film. Someday.

The thing I remember most about Showtime is their extensive horror section. They had the largest collection of gory, splatter fun my young eyes had ever seen. Many of the titles were things I had never heard of, or only read about in the pages of Fangoria. By the time I got my driver's license I had my own membership. My curiosities lead me to rent all of the "true" gore mondo style films. They had all the entries in all of the series - Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Death Scenes. One afternoon I sat in the living room at my parent's house, alone, eating bean burritos from FasTaco (the greatest Mexican fast food place ever!) and watching Death Scenes II. I had just taken a big bite from my gooey lunch when Pennsylvania's State Treasurer Budd Dwyer shot himself in the head. This food and sight combination is probably only rivaled by eating Arbys while watching low budget porn.

The internet was still VERY young, so I had not seen this or any of the other horrible things I have watched since then. Years later I would see this same scene projected on the video screens at a Rob Zombie concert, but at the time I was blown away. Who knew this kind of stuff existed? While most of the Faces of Death stuff was fake, some of these types of videos had real footage and thus began the part of my brain that store what I can never unsee.

On another trip headed home from returning videos to Showtime I had my first car accident. Not even a mile from my house, it was either swerve into an oncoming car, a telephone pole and ditch on the other side, or rear end the truck ahead of me. I chose the truck. This turned out to be an alright decision because it did not damage to his car, and much less to mine than the other options at hand. Stupid rain.

Thank you Showtime for giving me access to hard-to-find horror and things I should not have been watching. You have warped me for the better.

Friday, May 22, 2009

One of the things about prison that has always bugged me is the lack for bathroom privacy. Holding cells have tons of people and one toilet in plain view. How can you sit down and take care of business with a dozen or so other people standing around? I would really have to go. Then when in a cell for an extended period of time you probably have a cell mate. After a while you can probably get used to excreting with him (or her for the felonious ladies) around. There is an upside to solitary confinement - the peace to do your dirty work.

Back in 1989 a convicted murderer named Michael Anderson Godwin was on death row in a South Carolina prison. Godwin was lucky enough to have a television in his cell, but unfortunately it was on the blink. He was working on fixing the TV but nature started to call so he figured he could do both at the same time. I guess he was not really thinking about how electricity works because when he bit down on an exposed wire while sitting on that metal toilet he fried. Guess it opens up a slot in the real electric chair for someone else.

Godwin was not the only one to have this problem, in 1997 something similar happened to Laurence Baker. He was serving in Pittsburgh when the homemade headphones he was wearing to listen to his TV whilst crapping electrocuted him. I would ask why these guys do not think about the metal toilet being a bad idea while working with electricity, but maybe I should be asking why all of these prisoners get TVs in their cells.

What a shocking shit. Wakka-wakka.

[Miami New Times via Gizmodo]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Not that it should be any surprise to anyone, but we, the horror consumers, are being screwed over yet again. This time Warner Bros. is the offending party with the new Blu-Ray release of the George A. Romero/Stephen King horror anthology classic Creepshow.

I'm sure the transfer has been cleaned up a bit for this high def medium, but where are the extras? The only other Creepshow release in the US was bare bones, yet Creepshow 2 received an awesome two-disc release. I think the fans deserve some bonus features. We don't really need them to do anything new, just port over the extras from the awesome double disc release from the UK over a year ago.

A guy named Michael Felsher, Red Shirt Pictures, produced some behind the scenes stuff for a non-existent special edition of Creepshow. This is the guy behind all of your favorite features from recent releases such as The Monster Squad, Dark Sky's special edition of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hellraiser and the upcoming Children of the Corn Blu-Ray. After everything was edited he went to Warner with all of the extras ready to go. They passed. He tried a few more times to reason with the studio, according to a Q&A I heard, to no avail. Across the pond the rights are owned by Universal and they jumped at the chance to do a sweet special edition for the fans. Why shouldn't they, the UK seems to get all the cool releases - Phantasm sphere set, Hellraiser lament configuration box set. The Creepshow SE has tons of great things like commentary with Romero and Tom Savini, around fifteen minutes of deleted scenes, thirty minutes of Savini's personal behind-the-scenes footage and Felsher's 90 minute (!) retrospective documentary. Who wouldn't want this?

I don't know why Warner is being so stubborn and releasing this Blu-Ray version with no extras when they are available and could easily be thrown on the disc. They would need to be converted to HD first, but Felsher probably already has them that way in anticipation. I will not buy this Blu-Ray release, even though I love the movie, in hopes they will eventually release a better version. It is annoying that they even consider doing this when they could do it right the first time, but you cannot win. Studios will do what they want and we are left to suffer through their mediocre releases, both mentally and economically.

Will it ever end?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On Monday I went to Fry's Electronics to purchase a washer and dryer for the new house. Having full size connections, and a place for them, is going to be awesome! I do love Fry's but it is kind of a love/hate relationship. Sometimes when you go in the staff is overly helpful, but most of the time when you actually need assistance it is like a freaking ghost town.

This was, of course, one of those times.

Jenny and I already picked the model we wanted so all I needed to do was buy them and schedule the delivery. After about five minutes of walking around the large appliances and slamming doors to try and get some attention I went on the hunt for a sales associate. I found some young guy stocking and told him I needed help buying a washer and dryer. "What kind of help do you need with that," he asked. "I need to buy them."

Blank stare.

Then I explained I knew what I wanted, I just needed to make the purchase. He went for help and soon a manager came over to me. She was very helpful and about ten to fifteen minutes later I was on my way to the register with the papers they needed to finalize everything.

When I handed the pages to the guy at the register he looked at them, back at me, back at the pages and then sighed. "Is this all they gave you?" What the hell kind of question is that? Why would I not give him something they gave me? Did I lose it in the two minutes it took to walk to the front and wait in the short line? I told him that was it, and then he asked if I was sure. Bah. He had to go make a copy of something and then he came back and we finished the transaction.

I do not understand people sometimes. I am sure there is not a crazy I.Q. test you have to pass to work retail, but can we please weed out the morons?

Monday, May 18, 2009

I have come very close to the end of my stay at this apartment I have called home for over three years. I try to cook a lot, usually Jenny comes over on Mondays for dinner so I try to make it a little nicer. As you may have noticed, this is when I normally post these cooking related blogs. This will be the last Monday in my current home so this was to be my last cooking hurrah. Since the last blog was not favored by Jessica, who is not a fan of pork, she suggested seafood this time around. Luckily I was already planning fish so I hope you all enjoy. The next cooking post will be in the new house!

On Tonight's Menu: Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi with Cilantro Lime Rice

First I crushed the macadamia nuts, which was much harder than I thought. After pounding them with a ton of noise for very little crushing, I put them in my coffee grinder which did the trick. Into this I mixed some melted butter, a couple tablespoons of AP flour and some Panko bread crumbs and set it aside.

The Mahi Mahi fillets were put on a baking sheet covered with vegetable oil lubed foil. They are seasoned with fresh pepper and kosher salt and put into a 450° oven for five minutes.

The fillets come out when the timer dings and brushed with a bit of sweetened condensed milk. Coconut milk would be good here as well, but Jenny is allergic so I substituted. Then the nut mixture is pressed on the tops of the fish and put back in the oven for about ten minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

When they come out of the oven, cover with foil to let the crust harden a bit for a nice crunch. After the rest it was time to eat with the cilantro lime rice and a small mixed green salad with some scallions, cranberries and a vinaigrette.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I have never really been a fan of trailer parks. I guess few people are, but I'm sure they do exist. Most of my distaste for these odd places probably stems from the involvement I had in their mazes of trash while delivering pizzas years ago.

I worked at Mr. Jim’s Pizza in Burleson, at first as a second job, but then full time because it was fun and easy. No stress whatsoever and I basically got paid to drive around and listen to music, two of my favorite things. Jim’s had a large delivery area, the largest in town, and because of this we catered to people who lived out in the middle of nowhere. Sure enough part of this rural route was stocked with quite a few different run down trailer parks. There was one in particular, whose name I cannot recall but I will refer to as Crap Town, in the area known as Rendon between Burleson and Mansfield off Farm Road 1187 which was the worst. Each trailer of each row seemed to be competing for who could live the most slovenly and it seems like the land the garbage trucks forgot.

Late one night I was taking a pizza out to the super of Crap Town. He did not have a double or single wide, but a two story house in the very back corner. After navigating through all the mess I finally came upon his home and when I got out all that could be heard was barking. On the second floor was a balcony where at least a dozen large dogs of all different breeds were alerting him and everyone else in the town, of my presence.

Before I could make it to his front door he was already outside meeting me halfway. Here is our conversation, paraphrased of course. It was ten or eleven years ago after all.

HIM: Sorry about all the dogs, but they won’t attack you from up there.

ME: No big deal. Are they all yours?

HIM: Nah, they are strays. The pound is coming to pick them up tomorrow. One of them is pretty mean; he got a hold of my hand pretty good.

After seeing his bandaged hand I looked up and there was one dog staring me, and my delicious smelling pizza, down with thick foam dripping from his mouth! This was not drool. I rushed through the rest of our transaction, hurriedly walked back to my car and drove the hell out of Crap Town. I never found out if they guy was alright after his altercation with the foaming beast, but I’m pretty sure he was. I would think news of him dying of rabies or something would have spread to me somehow.

It really is a shame that trailer parks are such lousy places, because some of the doublewides I have seen are not too bad. Take this hip new place from Clayton Homes for example.

This is the iHouse. Not sure why Clayton has adopted the Apple “i,” or anyone else for that matter. I guess people think adding that before your product automatically makes it better and that much more of a hot item. Oh well. The iHouse is very eco-friendly and comes with energy-efficient appliances, rainwater-catching system, dual flush toilets and heavily insulated walls. All this and the solar panels help to make the place so energy efficient that it is estimated the heating/cooling and electric needs are about $1 a day! Not only is the place nice to the environment, but it is pretty easy on the eyes as well. It might retail for around $140,000 for 1,000 square feet, but it does come fully furnished. Check out some interior shots.

This is the type of trailer I could see myself living in, if I were to ever go that route. The only problem is where would you put your iHouse? I think someone needs to pick a nicer area, buy a bunch of these and start the iHouse iPark. If everything is kept nice and tidy on the grounds it could really be a nice place. Much better than any duplexes and think of the wonderful ecological benefits. Maybe someone will do this someday, I sure as hell don’t have the money.

[Clayton iHouse]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Men, have you ever had a problem with splash back while urinating? No guy wants to have to sit down just to urinate, but you are stuck with the dilemma of not wanting a splash of your waste on your khakis. Thankfully the Japanese have been hard at work on solving this problem and now you will have dry pant fronts thanks to the Tenshi no Hizamakura, a.k.a Angels Knee Pillow!

Would you like to know the wonderful science behind this invention? "Scientists" counted the hundreds of droplets of spray that are caused by peeing from great heights, or hitting the rim, and decided the only way to get around this is to be lower and go directly into the bowl.

Of course the sane solution to this problem would be to just sit down when going "number one," but that is way to girlish for a man. Instead you should use the much more manly option of the Tenshi no Hizamakura.

The first model is the deluxe and consists of a cushioned two piece assembly that resemble little toilets for $60 (¥5800). If you are more cost/environmentally cautious then you may opt for the second "eco model" that is a one piece made of wood with a soft padding on the top for $50 (¥4800). Unfortunately it looks like these are only available in Japan, but give it time and, hopefully, they will soon be here in the States.


[House Doctor via Gizmodo]

Monday, May 11, 2009

Last night I began to think about what I wanted to cook for dinner tonight. I came up with nothing. Most of the time I like to plan the menu out ahead of time, for shopping and cooking time purposes. I woke up and had to meet a handyman at the new rent house Jenny and I will be moving into very soon (we get the keys on Friday). Once that was finished it was off to the grocery store. My new plan was to look around and come up with something. Tonight I did not go with anything too fancy but it tasted good and satiated my hog hunger.

Tonight's Menu - Pork Chops with a Mushroom Teriyaki Sauce

I did not take a lot of pictures of the meal in process tonight because everything was happening at once and so quickly that I really did not have time to snap the photos. After I cooked some onion in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes I through in the butterfly cut pork chops that had been marinating - soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, thyme, cayenne pepper and kosher salt.

While these cooked I drained the red potatoes, which had been boiling on another burner, and put then in my stand mixer. They started to mash as I added some milk, butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, sharp cheddar cheese and fresh chopped chives.

Before I knew it, the pork chops were done.

The chops went under foil to rest while the sauce was prepared. I added the mushrooms I sliced to the pan and deglazed with some water and some of the marinade. Using a whisk I scrapped up the bits on the pan and mixed that with some butter and a little all purpose flour on high while it reduced and thickened.

Now it was time to eat. Everything was put on a plate with some steamed broccoli, and the meal tasted great. Because of the soy the sauce was a tad salty, so next time I'll have to find a remedy for this.