Thursday, April 30, 2009

When did TLC become a constant freak show?



Not every show on the network is related to this. They still have LA Ink, that chopper show, What Not to Wear and plenty of house shows. It just seems like the majority of the programming is geared towards some sort of freak. Look at the big, prime time shows.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 - This one is not so bad. Sure they are filming most of these kids growing up for the world to see because of all the multiple births, but what's next? I can just see the waste of life Octo-Mom becoming the next star on TLC. It has been confirmed that a UK company is planning to film documentary footage of the kids from now until they are eighteen. This will air across the pond and they are going to look for an American outlet. Please, no. This woman deserves no money and no more attention.

18 Kids and Counting - Formerly 17 Kids and Counting but these parents cannot keep it in their pants! This show is about a family with eighteen freaking kids because the parent feel "God's plan" for them is to have all these kids. Growing up in a house of these religious wackos is bad enough, but add having to deal with seventeen siblings and I cannot see how this is bad for the kids. Watch five minutes of the show and you will see what I mean.



Little People, Big World - Here is the first show about little people. The parents are midgets, four kids all normal size save for one, and he has a full size twin! This is not the only small show on the station, there is another called The Little Couple about two shorties who get hitched and their everyday life. Of course, they have a small dog too. I would much rather watch it if they had a Mastiff or an Irish Wolfhound. That would be entertaining.

Toddlers & Tiaras - This is one of the newer shows exploiting kids with whacked out parents. As if the child pageant world was not disturbing enough on its own, now we get to see these kids every therapy causing step of the way. Maybe if another JonBenet Ramsey happens the parents will actually get caught on tape so they won't get away.

Now, most of these are not as crazy as some of the other shows on the network. These really weird programs air repeatedly late at night and on weekends. There have been multiple shows on the worlds largest man. This guy lives in Mexico and weighed over 1,200 pounds in 2006. Since then he has lost over 500 pounds thanks to his, now, wife. He has had specials about his life, dating and marrying his caregiver.

After you leave the fat man's tent head over and check out the astonishing mermaid girl! This is an eight year old girl with a rare disease which cause her not to develop below the waist. She is left with legs fused together in the shape of a mermaid's tale.



What is next? I know of two more exhibits TLC has been displaying. The smallest people in the world features people with primordial dwarfism. That's right, regular little people were not enough. These guys and girls are smaller and have even higher voices. Hooray! Conjoined twins are another great attraction and they have them. Multiple shows on the conjoined of all ages, from sixteen year old girls all the way through the world's oldest (pictured at the top of this blog entry). Will they separate? Will they live? Will they date?

The Learning Circus has been some fun sideshow entertainment lately, I can't wait until they have a special on geeks. I suddenly have a hankering to watch Browning's film Freaks.

One of us!
One of us!
One of us!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Playing with your food is something that most of us are scolded for throughout our childhoods. Evidently in Japan, the land of werid, they have decided to embrace the half-pint past time and have created the Somen Noodle Slide!



This awesomely odd device comes from Bandai, a company known for toys and video games, so the whole family can play with their dinner together. The noodles start at the house on the top and wind through the slide to a small plate at the bottom.

I don't really know what the hell people need this for, but it does look like fun. Leave it to Japan to corner the market on noodle slides. Maybe I'll get to work on my mashed potato pool.

[Press Release via Gizmodo]

Potty Talk 3

Hand sanitation was not next on my list for a "Potty Talk" segment, but after a mind-ending experience in a public bathroom today I cannot help but tell the tale.

I always wash my hands after using the bathroom. It's just the right thing to do. Actually, I enjoy the whole process. Smelling the different soaps in all of the different places (hate foam soap by the way) and the water rushing over my hands while I make faces in the mirror. Good times. The worst part of the whole ordeal is drying off your hands when you're done. Paper towels are my preferred method, and I end up using a lot of them because I want my hands totally dry. Hand dryers are just ridiculous and outdated. It takes a couple of minutes to get all of the moisture removed and who wants to stand there with that loud fan that whole time. Whenever I go into a bathroom and notice there are only hand dryers I contemplate not washing my hands. I do, of course, but I am not happy.

Today I had a salad at Whole Foods (the newer one at Abrams and Gaston) before band practice and took advantage of the facilities before I left. There were paper towels but there was also this weird device attached to the wall.



I was not sure what to make of it, but I am in love with this dryer! You put your hands in it fingertips down, this activates the super high pressure air and you slowly pull your hands back out. After two passes, and probably eight seconds, my hands were as dry as they were before I washed them. Amazing!



If every public bathroom had this device I would become a dryer man faster than you can say "hygiene." If they were available for consumers I would even put one in my bathroom. Next time I make it over to Whole Foods I will be washing my hands, whether they need it or not, just to use this kick ass device.

If you ever run across the Dyson Airblade you will see what I mean. I'm not crazy, I promise.

Monday, April 27, 2009



I love Netflix. Ever since I got my membership in 2004 I have been a disciple of the red envelope. There have been trying times when I get a mucked up disc or something gets lost in the mail, but overall I could not be happier. I pick titles online and they come directly to my mailbox, what's not to like?

Still, there is the part of me that misses heading out to the video store and walking up and down each aisle trying to make my decision. Before your mind wanders towards the obscene corporate VHS tapes of Blockbuster let me assure you that I am talking about much smaller stores/chains. There are a few different stores that have meant a lot to me over the years and, as far as I know, they are all closed. This will be the first of a series of video rental stories. I'll begin at the beginning...

When I was born up until the time I was nine years old and about to enter the fourth grade my family lived in Fort Worth. A neighborhood called Hallmark in the Everman school district, near the Miller Brewery and Mrs. Baird's Bread. A little over half a mile from our quaint house was a small mom-and-pop video store called Video Scene. I don't remember when it opened or when we started going there I just remember this as being my first video store experience.

We would go in there usually once or twice a week during the school year and rent videos. The owners and workers knew us as regulars, which greatly helped me out during the summer. Because the staff knew my parents, they knew what I was allowed to watch - which consisted of pretty much anything but porn. While school was out my neighbors, David and Mike, would join me in riding our bikes up to Video Scene and renting a new tape practically every day. Horror was our main genre (shocker right?) but we would get a lot of comedies too. The Police Academy catalog was watched many times. Guttenberg's the man!

When you came in you could smell popcorn in the air. They had a small popcorn machine/cart with those thin paper popcorn bags that you could fill up while you browsed. We definitely partook in the butter goodness while we argued over what depraved cinematic goodness would assault our eyes for the day. Now, anytime I am somewhere with those small popcorn bags I cannot help but teleport to Video Scene in my mind.

Another great thing about this store is they supplied me with many posters and film goodies to decorate my walls. Sure, my dad got his fair share, but I was the proud owner of some memorabilia too. There are only two remaining trinkets from that store in my collection, and they are both standees. One is the titular character from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 and the other is Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2 Freddy's Revenge. I can't remember which standee it was, but I have vivid memories of trying to ride my bike home while carrying a cardboard horror hero, which was bigger than I was at the time. Here is a picture of me a couple of years ago with the Freddy standee and my Sylvester Stallone doll from Over the Top.



While the store closed many years ago and I can never go back, I have Video Scene to thank for starting my cinematic identity off right. I'm sure I would have found my way in the world of VHS somewhere, but having this close store with few restrictions really helped.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quacktastic!



I haven’t seen Howard the Duck since I was a kid, and even then I really don’t remember much. After all, I was six years old when it hit theaters, and maybe seven when I caught it on video. Ever since then all people can say about the movie is that it is horrible, or the worst movie ever made. I say that is a bit harsh. While I’m probably not the best person to say which films are the worst ever, since I tend to like schlocky B-grade films, I don't think the throng of fans who have built Howard's cult status could be so wrong.

This film does have its moments of complete ridiculousity (yeah, I just typed that) but it is such a fun time I don't know how anyone could not enjoy themselves. Little people in a duck suit, Jeffrey Jones slowly turning into a demon, Playduck magazine, a very green Tim Robbins, 80s fashion and music, duck sex (almost), lovely young Lea Thompson in her underwear - what's not to like?

It is amazing how ratings have changed though. This flick is rated PG but there is a very interesting scene at the beginning when Howard is being beamed to Earth where his chair bursts through some walls and he passes through the middle of a young she-duck's bath. She is singing in the tub, wearing a shower cap while her feathered duck boobs are showing. Not the Barbie kind that are just mounds, these duck breasts (Ha!) have pink nipples. Everyone knows ducks don't have nipples, seeing as they are not mammals, but it would not have the same effect without them. All of the cartoon ducks in those great adult cartoons, think Fritz the Cat, have nipples, so why not in this movie?

Most of the rest of the film could probably be shown on TV now except for that, and maybe a few bad words, but it is just weird how the ratings system has changed. I have a decent sized collection of radio spots for films in the 70s and 80s, mostly horror and exploitation, where they talk about unimaginable horrors and blood soaked this and that while the trailer ends with "rated PG." Granted a lot of these preceded the PG-13 rating, which came into play in 1984, but Howard the Duck was after it and now that would probably be given a PG-13. I'm sure the MPAA would give the filmmakers a note back saying, "a few bad words, cigar smoking and female duck nipples." The smoking thing is the newest trend in ratings bullshit. Now if anyone onscreen is smoking a cigarette it automatically bumps up the rating. Next time your watching a trailer and on the green band screen where it shows the rating look and see if it lists smoking. A lot of them do now. If you want to check out more lame actions by the MPAA check out the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated. Highly recommended.

Friday, April 24, 2009



There I was checking some things on my DVR and decided to see what was on tomorrow's SNL. Instead of searching for it I just went to NBC and cycled through to tomorrow night. On my journey I noticed something a bit disheartening, the lack of kid's shows.

It has been a long time since I was up early on a Saturday when I did not have somewhere to go. Since High School, or probably longer, I have not gotten up and watched TV very early so I never really noticed the gradual change in programming. I guess with the majority of people having cable and channels like Disney, Nickelodeon, Nick Toons and many more there is no need for the major networks to fill their mornings with cartoons. The current lineup is not completely devoid of kid oriented shows, but it is nothing like it used to be. NBC, for example, has the Today show on until 9:00, then it is local news and finally two hours of cartoons before it switches to golf, or NASCAR, or whatever lame sport is in season. ABC has reruns of Nickelodeon kid sitcoms (That's So Raven, Hannah Montana, etc...), CBS shows cartoons starting at 8:30, and the FOX has an hour of Saved by the Bell. The only channel showing cartoons is the CW, from 7:00am until noon, most of which are weird Japanese shows like Yu-Gi-Oh.

I could just be remembering a bit wrong, but I could swear that when I was a kid every network channel had cartoons from around six or seven through to noon. That was the best part of the week. No school and eating cereal, or pancakes on special occasions, in my He-Man PJs while watching hours of cartoons. Snorks, Smurfs, Transformers, Masters of the Universe, Heathcliff, Looney Tunes, Dungeons & Dragons, Tom & Jerry, Muppet Babies and so many more. Most of the cartoons on today are crap, in my opinion, but it still sucks that kids without cable are screwed.

Tonight was another installment of Dallas Cinemania's fine programming - One Eyed Jacks. This is a western starring Marlon Brando and Karl Malden, and the only film directed by Brando. I am not a big fan of westerns but I really want to support Eric, the guy behind the screenings, and I want to keep this happening every month. Luckily I did enjoy the film even if it is a bit long with a 141 minute running time.

Rio (Brando) and Longworth (Malden) are bank robbers who are surrounded by Rurales in Mexico and they only have one horse. Longworth goes to get another horse, but ends up leaving him to be captured and jailed so he can keep the two bags of gold. Five years later, Rio escapes and is on the hunt to find his old partner for some revenge only to find out he is now a sheriff in Monterrey, California.

For a film made in 1961 the print was not as bad as I expected after we were warned of some bad spots. There are plenty of slower parts that I think could have been cut, but at least the studio shortened the flick. Allegedly Brando's cut was about five hours long!

Dallas Cinemania has been bringing some great films to the area and has some good ones coming up - Shogun Assassin in May and Umberto Lenzi's sleaze film Paranoia in June. One of the things he has been trying to do to get butts in the seats is having a DJ performing before the film starts. In my opinion these are a waste of time and effort. The first one he had was before The Holy Mountain and they actually remixed music from the film. Last month and this month it has just been someone playing records. Yeah, that's cool I guess but too much effort when they could just make a playlist. For one, I was the only one in the theater while he was doing his thing until about the last five to ten minutes. People would start to walk in, look at the empty theater, look at the DJ, then walk back out. Second, this guy had full decks, a mixer, two huge speakers and a couple crates of records and he played for 30 minutes tops. If I were a DJ I don't think that would be worth my time. That is a lot of set-up and tear down for not very much exposure.

While on the subject of cool film things in the area, I just found out about another group who have had a couple of screenings and somehow I missed out on everything. They are called Horror Remix. Their goal is to take three films and edit out all of the boring story stuff and leave you with two hours of blood, boobs, gore and all the money shots of your favorite old horror flicks! Sweet, right? In the past they have done killer dolls films with clips from Black Devil Doll from Hell (1984), Ghosthouse (1988), Trilogy of Terror (1975) and PIN (1988); there was also a Christmas themed show with Iced (1988), Christmas Evil (1980) and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1988) with the awesome "Garbage Day" scene. The best thing about these screenings - THEY ARE FREE! So, make your way out to the Studio Movie Grill in Addison next Wednesday, April 29th, at 10pm for some good times with Death Rock Part 1. Check out their ad and trailer below and I hope to see you there.




Horror Remix Presents… DEATH ROCK from Edward John on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

After all of the job complaining I was doing I may have found something of a silver lining. While perusing Facebook a couple of nights ago I found a posting on a PA group, for a staff position at Reel FX in Dallas.

This company does CG FX, Animation, Video Games and pretty much anything else you can think of in the post-production world. Some of the employees are formers of Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar, so needless to say they do top notch work. If you go to their website you can watch videos about the company and the work they have done. The film Open Season 2 was done by Reel FX and lately, and probably most notably to those who read this, they did the animated film Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter that went along with the huge movie release.

If I got this job I would be their lone staff production assistant. This would entail quite a bit of grunt work, and I would not get to be working on a set anymore. That does kind of suck, but there are plenty of upsides.

  • Steady pay
  • Benefits
  • Room for advancement within the company in most of the departments
  • In house classes in the different department and on the different types of software (i.e. After Effects, Maya, etc...)


It all sounds really sweet and I already had an interview today. The two women I met with seemed happy, but they probably have other applicants and want to find the right fit, which I understand. Everything did seem positive when I left and one of the women basically said she thought I would work out well.

After leaving the office/call center world I have never been happier. At first I thought it was just the freelance thing, but lately I'm not so sure that's the answer. Sitting around bored in the house wondering when the hell I am going to get to work again does not make me happy, the more creative aspects of "the industry" does give my life joy. Even though this would be back in a more structured office-like environment, I really think this might very well turn into a great thing for me.

METAL!

Alright, I like metal. Sue me. Sure, there are plenty of bands I don't get but I still like to rock out (heh). One of the best things about the Black Metal groups, aside from the spikes and corpse paint, are the mostly incomprehensible band logos.

Before we continue, black metal is not metal played by black guys. Yes, Body Count ruled but that is not what this is about. Wikipedia says, "Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It often employs fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, double-kick drumming, and unconventional song structure." The guys in the bands look like this:


Well they are not all teens in the suburbs, most of them are hardcore Norwegian evil beings. Now, on with the logos...



Some aren't too hard to read. The first is Borknagar, a Progressive/Viking/Folk/Black metal group from Norway; and the second is Swedish black metal outfit Watain. These two are similar with their form of symmetry, especially in Watain's. This is a common theme in most logos. Then there are the harder to read, like this ridiculous entry into society.


Stumped? Me too. It allegedly says Korgonthurus, which I think is some sort of dinosaur. I have stared at this forever and cannot figure out how the hell this tree branch says Korgonthurus. I even looked at the below image where someone outlined the letter and I still don't see half of the name.


This all came along because @GhoulishGary from Rue Morgue Magazine posted a link on Twitter to a blog called Metal Sucks where they have a contest going for guessing the "Completely Unreadable Band Logo of the Week."


If you can figure out what that says head over to their site and enter! If you want to check out a few more hard-to-read logos check HERE and HERE.

As an added bonus here is a video of some teens in Russia doing an acoustic black metal performance for the class' enjoyment. Hi-larious!



Monday, April 20, 2009

It's that time again, time for a recipe. Don't have too many pictures for the different steps because I had a lot of things going on and in my hurried state I kept forgetting to snap pictures. After all, this was a mostly made up recipe as I went along. Hopefully you can get the idea from what I do have below. Bon Appetit!

Menu: Pan Braised Balsamic Lamb Shank with a cool Pasta Salad and roasted Zucchini

First step was to heat a pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Once heated I added the Lamb Shanks to sear on each side.


Once the shank was successfully seared I took them out and put them on a plate, covered with foil, while I prepped the pan for braising. I added more Olive Oil and some diced sweet onion, Kosher Salt and fresh cracked pepper.


Dropped the heat to medium-low and after the onion was mostly translucent and limp I added some minced garlic and quite a bit of aged balsamic vinegar.


That mixture cooked for a couple of minutes then I added a little more S&P, a little water, some red pepper flakes, oregano, the lamb and a couple sprigs of rosemary.


Now to braise! This was covered and cooked for about an hour and a half, turning every so often.


Once the meat was cooked through it was removed back to the plate with its foil hat. The leftover pan goodness was thickened up a bit for a sauce. Added a bit more water, some flour and a few tablespoons of butter, then whisked like crazy on high heat.


Everything tightened up quite nicely, and I was ready to plate. Here were the side dishes:

Pasta- I cooked some acini di pepe (small peppercorn shaped round pasta) in boiling water, drained and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking and cool it down. It went into a bowl and was tossed with kosher salt, pepper, lemon zest, fresh diced onion, extra virgin olive oil and some red wine vinegar.

Zucchini- Julienned a couple of zucchini tossed with some olive oil and S&P. Laid them all out on a baking sheet and roasted at around 350 for a bit.



Everything tasted wonderful. My only complaint was that the lamb was not "fall off the bone" tender. This would have been better achieved in a longer oven braising. Unfortunately I do not have a dutch oven (yet) and it would have taken too long in the crock pot. Next time I'll fix this and it will be much better. Still, it was quite delicious.

Here I am, torn again. Work has been ridiculously slow (read: non-existent)and besides going broke I'm getting a little stir crazy. A little over a week ago I got a call for some reality show that was going to be here during May and June. I sent them my availability and resume but never heard back. Not a surprise. She said the majority of the work would be weekends, and Seamus Stout is booked pretty much solid for the first three weekends of May. It is kind of hard to do the freelance thing with the band because of a lot of stuff shooting on weekends when we're playing. I don't want to quit the band, I really enjoy playing with the guys and just wish I wouldn't get passed over for jobs because I might have to play on a Saturday night. It has happened quite a few times.

As I have complained before, you cannot really have a part-time job in this industry because you never know your schedule. If there were only some place that would hire me on a contract style basis so I could take the time off if a shoot comes up. Bah!

The other night I was getting a wee bit depressed about monetary things and was thinking of just saying "fuck it" and going looking for a "real" job. Something like food prep or cooking at Central Market or Whole Foods would be cool. I looked on their websites and there are some positions available but I just don't know if I want to actually apply. I could just do part time, and I know they are really flexible with their schedules there, but to what degree? If I get a call for a commercial shoot that is going to be for five days, or more, would they be cool enough to let me go? On the other hand the second I take a job there, or anywhere, full time that will be when my phone starts ringing off the hook.

Another reason for my hesitation is this new film incentive bill that should go through this week. I don't really know what it entails, but supposedly it is good. L.A. has done some shady things with their incentive, and I believe NYC too, so things could start coming here. But that is a big could.

Do I hold out and hope it gets better? Does anyone out there know how flexible either of the markets are? Do any of you know of any fix for my problem? Sorry to whine about my job situation.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tick, Tock

While I was going through stuff to pack for moving I had to go through my "junk" drawer. This is not the normal junk drawer most people have with odd keys, screwdrivers and other assorted randomness. I have one of those too, but this drawer takes up an entire level in my dresser. In here I stash things I really want to keep but do not currently have shelf space for them. I found a G.I. Joe toiletry kit (the soap still has the Joe wrapper on it), Batman cereal box, a Jesus of the Ozarks pencil sharpener (!), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal box and many other cool trinkets. Luckily in my office at the new house there is a shelf in the closet so I can put some books there and use other shelving for my toys. Yes, I'm a dork.

One of the cooler items in the drawer was something I had forgotten all about - a Mickey Mouse wind-up alarm clock. I could not remember where this came from, just knew I have had it in my possession for as long as I can remember. Because of the lack of space, and me forgetting about it, the clock has been in this drawer for at least five years, maybe longer.





As you can see the clock has seen better days. There is a crack in the front, some rust on the bells and the back leg is missing. I decided to try winding it for fun and it works! This thing has kept time for over 24 hours now.

I called my mom to see if she knew where it came from and she, of course, does not remember except that it was most likely hers. Then I turned to the internet for info. After a while of searching I found one on this site called Go Antiques that is just like the one in my room. According to the description it was made by Bradley in the early 1950s. I really cannot believe this clock is, probably, 50+ years old and is still working, especially since it has been sitting unused for so long. Really shows you how well made things used to be. If it was something from today it would never make it that long.

As soon as it began to work I figured the ticking would get to me, it's definitely not quiet. I kept packing with it sitting near me and soon I forgot about it. Every once in a while I would notice the sound, but it wasn't a big deal.

This morning when I woke up I was greeted by the hypnotic sounds of the ticking clock. I was ready to get up but instead I just lay there in bed listening to the ticks and tocks for what seemed like a few minutes. In reality it was about thirty. Not really sure if this is a good thing, but I had some great brainstorming ideas in that time. I guess it hypnotized my brain into a good, creative place. Thanks Mickey!

By the way, the alarm does work. A very annoying ringing sound as one would expect. For some reason though it did not wake me up this morning, or it did and I just don't remember. It was not sitting very close to my bed and I sleep very soundly, so I might try moving over to my nightstand.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Movin' On Up

Well it is official, we were approved for the rent house. This is great news. Fulci will finally have a big backyard again. Now he will be able to run around leash free, not to mention how much easier it will be to let him out to go to the bathroom. Right now we have to "leash up" and go down three flights of stairs and then walk a little ways so he can take care of business. I don't mind the stairs all that much, but it gets to be a pain in the ass. Opening a door and stepping out on the back porch will be a welcome change.

There are a lot of things I have to do before the giant headache known as moving can be complete.

  • Fortify spots in backyard fence so Fulci cannot sneak through.
  • Set up for my internet/cable, through Uverse, to be installed at the new place.
  • Figure out if I need to buy and run Cat5 cable from the office into the living room.
  • Finish packing (big pain)
  • Get rid of stuff so I don't have to move it.


Another thing I need to do, that really sucks, is I must find a new home for my cat, Evilyn. Jenny is highly allergic to cats and cannot live with one. Usually when she leaves my apartment she is all sneezy and watery-eyed. I have no clue how to go about finding a place for her. If you, or anyone you know, would like an approximately six year old black cat let me know.

Once everything is moved in, any my office is all set up I will definitely be posting pictures for all to see, but that won't be until at least the end of May. If anyone is wanting to help with the moving process I'll gladly let you, ha!

Back to packing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So yesterday all I did was bitch, and I hate to do it again, but I have to let out my rage yet again. This time the subject lying across my chopping block is television. This annoyance really began last night when I sat down to watch the latest DVR’d episode of Fringe. This is one of my favorite new shows on TV. Very much like X-Files, which automatically gives it points, but with a little more of the new Lost/Heroes sort of connections of today’s dramas. Some people will argue that the things people do in fringe science on the show are completely unreal and would never happen. Duh! Of course they wouldn’t, it’s science fiction. Suspend your disbelief for a moment, won’t you?

Bah, back on track…

For the second week in a row American Idol, or something before it, has run a little long. Last week I fast forwarded almost ten minutes before Fringe finally started so I just downloaded the episode and watched it the next day. As for last night, it was only a few minutes in so I gave it a shot. The recording cut off with probably about one minute left in the show. I’m pretty sure I know how it ended, but given these programs like to add a little stinger I now have to download, or Hulu, the episode for the last freaking minute!

Now today I noticed that Scrubs and Better Off Ted (great new show) were not scheduled on my DVR. I looked on the guide for that time and there was something weird in its place. I checked TV Guide.com and ABC’s site and they showed they should be airing. Then I went to Dallas’ affiliate’s site, WFAA Channel 8, and there was the proof. Instead of showing a wonderful new show, or the second half of a two-parter, WFAA was showing Good Morning Texas After Dark, a special primetime presentation of the station’s morning show where they will talk about spring fashion. For fuck’s sake! I searched around the interwebs and found a reply WFAA sent someone who wrote in about this kick in the face.

“Thank you for writing.

Tomorrow night's preempted Scrubs episode has been rescheduled to air overnight Saturday (4/18) going into Sunday (4/19) morning at 3:35a.m.

Unfortunately we are not able to reschedule Better Off Ted into another time slot. However, episodes of Scrubs and Better Off Ted can also be viewed online at www.abc.com.

We apologize for any inconvenience our preemptions may cause. Let us know if we can be additional assistance.”

3:35 in the morning?! What the hell is that about? These stations are practically encouraging downloading the shows instead of fueling their advertisers.

Off to torrents I go.

Oh, the Horror

Why do DVD companies continue to shake down the general public? Time and time again film fans are given the shaft by most every company in Hollywood. There used to be the standard DVD double-dip (DD), and that was the only problem. Unfortunately today there are even more dips and more problems the consumer faces.

I would say the award for biggest offender of the DD would have to go to Anchor Bay. They have released about 8,000 different versions of Evil Dead alone, not to mention the countless other titles, and Evil Dead sequels, who have been released time and time again. The standard DD is no longer the big problem now. Each cinephile now has to wrestle with the decision - Blu-Ray or Not. I can see the arguments on both sides of the fence. On one hand why should I re-buy all of my DVDs on this new technology? Do I really need Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun in high definition? For the other side, if your TV is over 60”, or you have a theater room with a projector, Blu-Ray gets rid of the artifacting that a standard disc will show. As if this was not a hard enough decision these companies are making it worse.

A couple of months ago Paramount finally decided to release the uncut version of the original Friday the 13th on DVD and Blu-Ray, at the same they released parts 2 and 3 (in 3D!). Only part one got the Blu-Ray release while the other two were standard def only. I didn’t waste my money buying the other two since I still have the box set from 2004, the new extra features didn’t really matter to me. Now they have announced a Blu-Ray release of 2 and 3 on June 16th. I’m really glad I waited, but the insanity does not stop there. The very same day Paramount will release deluxe editions of parts 4-6, but guess what? NO FUCKING BLU-RAY! Of course they are trying to screw the public again. There were also some great fan commentaries recorded for these discs but they are missing from the extras list. Maybe they will put them on the high def versions when they inevitably come out in a couple months.

Probably the most frustrating news I have had dealing with DVDs recently would come from one of my favorite films from last year, and one of the best damn vampire movies ever. Magnolia Pictures released the Swedish vampiric coming-of-age tale Let the Right One In, which everyone should see, in March. Soon it came to my attention that they decided to go with different subtitles then were on the theatrical release. These new subtitles really dumb down the character development and change the feel of entire scenes, you can see the comparisons on Icons of Fright. After online complaining Magnolia realized they really screwed up and issued a statement saying they would be re-releasing the disc with the theatrical subtitles intact. Sound too good to be true? It is. The catch is they will not be replacing discs that you have already bought. Sigh. So fans, like me, who rushed out and bought a copy on the release date are getting it in the ass. The thanks we get for supporting their company and a great film is shitty subtitles. Now I am left with the problem of either keeping the Blu-Ray with poor subtitles or trading it in for about a quarter of what I paid for it to go back and give Magnolia thirty more dollars. I really do not want to give them anymore money, but I also don’t want to have an inferior version of the film. I e-mailed Magnolia about the whole issue about three weeks ago and, of course, never heard back.

Why do these companies continue to screw us?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tonight I decided to try out a new recipe, and what kind of person would I be if I did not share the experience with all of you? A bad one for sure. Here it is for your salivating.

Menu: Moroccan Chicken with Green Olives and Lemon & Rosemary Potatos and Parsnips

Start off with a hot pan lubed with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and full of a julienned onion (sprinkled with Kosher Salt and fresh cracked pepper, of course).


After the onion is golden brown and delicious add in some garlic and the spices: paprika, cinnamon, cumin and ground ginger.


Toss for about a minute then add some chicken broth and bring to a boil.


When it came to a boil I added some sliced mushrooms to the mix.


Now we add the chicken. I used a cut up whole chicken, removed the skins, and put a sliced lemon in.


This needs too drop to a simmer for about thirty minutes, covered, and make sure to turn the pieces of chicken a few times.


Once the chicken was done I removed it to a plate and covered with some foil while I tended to the sauce. Turn the heat up to high, add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice and as many green olives as you desire. Jenny and I don't like pimentos so I pushed them out with a chopstick before I put them in.


This will reduce and tighten up over a few minutes and then you'll be ready to plate.


Everything tasted great! By the way, for the potatoes and parsnips I peeled them, cut them and dropped them in some boiling water for about fifteen minutes or so. Then drained them and heated up some butter milk and fresh chopped Rosemary in a skillet. Put the two together in my mixer and the rest is history.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Poor Dog

Some of you may have read my facebook update about this yesterday, but I still wanted to write about it anyway.

Yesterday Jenny and I were sitting on my couch watching Food Network with Fulci curled up under his blanket between us. Pretty much a normal thing. All of a sudden he jumped up and was acting really weird, like he couldn't walk. It soon became evident, he was having a seizure.

I had no clue what to do. Jenny and I were freaking out. His legs were stiff, he couldn't stand and his head was twisted around almost upside down. All I could do was hold onto him while he was on the ground and pet him. Lucky for me Jenny was a little more together than I was. I wrapped Fulci in a blanket and she grabbed her keys and we were on our way to the car. She drove, called 411 and found a nearby emergency vet.

They checked him out, did some blood work and other tests and said he was alright. His phosphorus levels were low, which is common after a seizure, but that was all. The vet said to let him rest for the remainder of the weekend and he would be fine. Seizures can happen in sighthounds but unless they last more than a couple of minutes, or begin to happen very often, it should not be a problem.

Since all of this happened he has been fine. Sleeping, eating and playing as normal. Hopefully this will not turn out to be a problem. I feel a bit like a fool for how helpless I seemed during the seizure. I have been around human emergency-type situations and never felt this way. I will just chalk it up to how I feel about everything involving my puppy, or most other animals for that matter. With a human you can explain to them what is happening, or what they just endured. Fulci does not understand that, I can only imagine how scared he must have been. If it was anywhere close to how I felt then it is bad. I am just glad I was here to hold him and maybe he felt a little comfort when he came to because he saw me there.

Friday, April 10, 2009

How many times have you found yourself sleepy while in transit but are too uncomfortable to sleep? Those airplane seats are just too cramped to catch a few winks, and that person next to you on the train probably does not want your head on their shoulder. Worry no more! Get yourself the new Nap Strap!



For just $98.95 you too can look like an idiot to all those traveling around you. Sure, you could just spend about a tenth of the cost at your local hardware store for a roll or two of Velcro, but you would miss out on our fabulous, and luxurious, extras.

  • Plush removable fleece eyeshade
  • Noise-reducing foam earplugs
  • Detailed instructions on how to strap your head to a chair
  • Stylish velvet carrying pouch

Order now and you will be the envy of your next commute. Don't be the only person in First Class without one!

Act now, and for the same price you can get the Nap Cap, that is the same great product that adds a dashing black, or red, baseball cap to the mix.



[Source Vacation Gadgets via Gizmodo]

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today the US Postal Service, who I did recently complain about, released the images of the new Simpsons stamps. I cannot wait to get these!



Yes, I am a dork. I have loved The Simpsons for the last 20 years and now that they are getting their own stamps I have to buy them. Earlier I read some complaints by fans because Matt Groening drew them himself in his odd way, rather than the clean look the characters have evolved to over the years. They think this makes them look sloppy or childish, but I love the look. It is not as crude as their first incarnations, but it kind of blends today's look with the humble, squiggled beginnings.

I have never been one to collect stamps at all, but I guess eventually the post office will get you eventually. I love the Universal Monsters stamps but never bought any of them. These Edgar Allan Poe stamps are pretty rad, so I might buy some of those too. Maybe this means I'm getting old or lame or something.

If you are interested in The Simpsons stamps you can pre-order them HERE. They come out on May 7th.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Do the Bartman

I was looking for something in a drawer today, and I came across a few old CDs. Among the stack was the first compact disc I ever owned - The Simpsons Sing the Blues.

I remember it was Christmas morning in 1990 and I received my very first CD player as part of those box stereos. It had a record player on top, CD just below that and two tape decks. At the time I thought I was hot shit. This bad boy would rock my room like no one's business, obviously. There were two tape decks that I could finally do some dubbing and this CD player was all the rage. The Simpsons disc came with it from my parents and I did not hesitate in setting it up (which required plugging it in and hooking up the two speakers cables) and I was doing "the bartman" in no time.

It just seems weird to me that I still have the very first CD I ever received almost twenty years ago. There aren't any others in my collection that are that old. I really don't have that many actual discs anymore anyways. In fact, I am about to go through the ones that I have and get rid of them all except for a few that I want to keep for collectible or sentimental reasons (I guess). You can bet I will be keeping The Simpsons, how could I ever get rid of that?

What was the first CD you ever rocked? I only want CDs, I already had plenty of tapes and records at this point too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I had a couple of DVDs on order from Amazon. No rush needed so I was waiting on the slow free shipping. A couple days ago I got the shipping confirmation and was expecting them anytime. On my way out to the bank I stopped by the mailboxes at my apartment complex.

Most of you know what apartment mailboxes look like, the wall, or walls, of small boxes in a central location. My box is on the bottom level and as I approached it there was something on the ground. I picked up the white package, flipped it over and it was my package from Amazon. What the hell?! I opened my mailbox and there was plenty of room. I can understand if the postman left the parcel on my doorstep or left me a note that I have to pick it up at the post office, but not this. Just drop this on the ground in the main common area of the complex. I'm sure no on ever steals stuff like this. Riiiiight.

After fuming for a few minutes I thought about calling the post office and complaining, but I wonder what good that will really do. My dad did work as a mailman for many, many years and I know all about the slaps on the wrist they get. Even if some action was taken what if my mail carrier is the kind who starts to fuck with me because I got him in trouble? Yeah, it's unethical and against the law to tamper with the mail, but that doesn't stop everyone. The service where I live now is bad enough as it is, I cannot afford for it to get any worse. I gave a couple of Netflix returns to my mailman one time and, surprise, they never made it back to the distribution center. I really hope I get this rent house (which I should know by the end of the week) because then there will, hopefully, be less snail mail shenanigans.

What should I do?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Grocery Pains

It seems every time I make my way to the grocery store I forget something. Doesn't matter how long I'm there, or if I walk down every aisle. I will get home and realize my error. I have a magnetic notepad on my refrigerator that I keep as up to date as possible but still I leave things off. I'm pretty sure I am not alone here, everyone forgets things from time to time, but every trip?

I used to say that if I had one wish it would be for a magical wallet that had the right amount of money in it for whatever I needed at the moment. It could be on a credit card, or cash for certain situations like tipping, but with each opening of it I had it all under control. When I get home from the failed trip to the market I want a fridge that does the same thing. Whenever I open it what I want to eat or drink at that moment is there. Sometimes I may want it to be ready to eat, and other times just the ingredients to cook. For example - I buy chicken breasts and separate them into freezer bags so I can use them in the future. The problem with this method is about half of the time I forget to move the bag from the freezer to the fridge in time and I end up having to quick thaw in the sink under running water. Not ideal.

Maybe someday I'll find that old, tarnished lamp and a genie will come out and grant me these two wishes. Not sure what the third will be. Maybe it will just be hoping it is not Robin Williams who comes out of the lamp.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm not sure how many of you who read my blog share my taste in movies. I know a number of you are into horror, but some of the weirder offerings may be lost to some of you. This is why I have decided to periodically post a review of sorts on some, possibly, little know film or just something I think you should see. We'll start it all off with a little Italian 70s sexploitation.

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I'll start off by saying this is not a movie for everyone. I know the title, Malabimba - The Malicious Whore sounds innocent enough, but this is no kid's movie. Italian director Andrea Bianchi (credited here as Andrew White) is no stranger to the sleazy sexploitation genre, or to having completely awesome titles for his film, having already directed the 1975 giallo Strip Nude for Your Killer. With Malabimba Bianchi manages to take a borrowed plot, sex it up and make it oddly entertaining and even watchable.

A young girl known as Bimba is possessed after a séance is conducted within the castle in which she lives. This turns the normal happy sixteen year old into a sex hungry beast. She lives here with her recently widowed father, some assorted relatives and a nun caretaker. They are all shocked by the strange things the young girl is doing, and people end up dying. Aunt Nais cannot keep her hands of Bimba's father as she witnesses while spying on their trysts. Doctors cannot find anything wrong with the girl and things just get worse, so the nun agrees to take over caring for the girl.

That is the basic plot, though it is hard to express the trashiness in words. I guess you could just say it is The Exorcist with a ton of full frontal nudity, that is probably more accurate. The connections between the two films are very clear. Bimba even disrupts a party, though instead of urinating on the rug she reveals her naked body to the room full of people. There have been quite a few rip-offs of The Exorcist, sleaze or otherwise, but this one manages to keep a relatively good group of actors and production value.

Let's be honest. If you want to know anything at all about this film it is not the plot. I'll get right to the sleaze. There are extended scenes of sexual gratification of all types. If they were to be removed from the movie the 85 minute running time would probably drop to just over an hour. Even though there is a hardcore XXX version of the flick, where all of the sex scenes go to full penetration, this is sleazy enough and does not go too far off the scale. That is not to say some of the scenes are a little ridiculous. There is a scene where Bimba, a very attractive young actress named Katell Laennec in her only role, pleasures herself with a teddy bear and stabs a phallic candle in its crotch for all to see. Bimba also kills a bedridden relative while giving him some oral pleasure, a very interesting scene. All of you nun fans will not be disappointed when Bimba and her nun (played by Mariangela Giordano, who also is in a very similar film a few years later called La Bimba di Satana) have some "fun" together in which the demon is transferred. This is much like what happens with Regan and Father Karras, if they were lesbians of course.

This disc from Severin Films includes a theatrical trailer, some deleted scenes (which can be included back into the film) that look to be ripped from a VHS somwhere and a sixteen minute look back at the film with Giordano and cinematographer Franco Villa. This film holds up rather well as a sleazy demonic possession film and fans of Jess Franco or Joe D'Amato will not be disappointed.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

So last night was the big Leonard Cohen show. The day started off kind of meh. Computer problems, tons of people around Deep Ellum causing parking for our pre-concert meal to be a pain and the seats were not as good as I thought. Then the lights went down, the show began and that all went away.

This show was absolutely amazing. Not only did Cohen sound amazing, and do little skips on/off stage, but he played for three glorious hours. It is hard to express what a joy it was to see this legend on tour at age 74, but I am so glad I spent the money on the tickets.

The highlight of the evening for me would have to be Cohen's spoken word version of "A Thousand Kisses Deep." Here are the words for your enjoyment.

You came to me this morning
And you handled me like meat.
You´d have to live alone to know
How good that feels, how sweet.
My mirror twin, my next of kin,
I´d know you in my sleep.
And who but you would take me in
A thousand kisses deep?

I loved you when you opened
Like a lily to the heat.
I´m just another snowman
Standing in the rain and sleet,
Who loved you with his frozen love
His second-hand physique -
With all he is, and all he was
A thousand kisses deep.

All soaked in sex, and pressed against
The limits of the sea:
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
We made it to the forward deck
I blessed our remnant fleet -
And then consented to be wrecked
A thousand kisses deep.

I know you had to lie to me,
I know you had to cheat.
But the Means no longer guarantee
The Virtue in Deceit.
That truth is bent, that beauty spent,
That style is obsolete -
Ever since the Holy Spirit went
A thousand kisses deep.

(So what about this Inner Light
That´s boundless and unique?
I´m slouching through another night
A thousand kisses deep.)

I´m turning tricks; I´m getting fixed,
I´m back on Boogie Street.
I tried to quit the business -
Hey, I´m lazy and I´m weak.
But sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go
A thousand kisses deep.

(And fragrant is the thought of you,
The file on you complete -
Except what we forgot to do
A thousand kisses deep.)

The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it´s done -
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it´s real
A thousand kisses deep.

(I jammed with Diz and Dante -
I did not have their sweep -
But once or twice, they let me play
A thousand kisses deep.)

And I´m still working with the wine,
Still dancing cheek to cheek.
The band is playing "Auld Lang Syne" -
The heart will not retreat.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep -
You ditch it all to stay alive
A thousand kisses deep.

And now you are the Angel Death
And now the Paraclete;
And now you are the Savior's Breath
And now the Belsen heap.
No turning from the threat of love,
No transcendental leap -
As witnessed here in time and blood
A thousand kisses deep.


UPDATE
Here is a video of Cohen performing this as he did last night.



Thursday, April 2, 2009

It is very rare for TV or film (especially TV) to show what high school is really like. Today it is much better than when I was in sixth grade, junior high or even throughout high school. I was young and had no idea what to expect. Then Saved by the Bell came along.

My eyes were now open and ready for the experience just a few years away. Everyone seemed to get along, save for a few minor differences, and your close friends were a diverse brand of cliques. The school's most popular hung around with the brainy, feminist as well as one of the biggest nerds at Bayside. Even when I went into junior high the cliques began and hardly anyone from the previous year still hung around with me. It was a little confusing to see Zack, Slater and Screech doing the Risky Business dance together while those I thought were my friends turned their nose to me because I was a bit different.

This is not some "feel sorry for me" post, I just think it is odd the way teen shows would portray life in school. NBC only made it worse with each late Saturday morning teen show they added - Hang Time, California Dreams and City Guys. The Dreams were great because not only were they an insanely diverse group (not just with ethnicity) but their "rock" band was just the epitome of early 90s cheese. I recently re-watched seasons one and two, now out on DVD, and I could not get over this freaking band. One episode it's a soft rock ballad, then a surf song, then R&B and after that maybe an alternative rock sound. Could they not make up their minds? I have never seen any band who did this.

I could go on and on about how easy TV makes everything. When you fail a class and are not going to graduate all you have to do is go to the principal and he will let you dance in one recital to make up for an entire semester. Yeah, that's fair. Or you could break every rule time and time again and all you get is after school detention. I wonder if high school was really like this anywhere, at any time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I have made it through hour three of VH1's Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 80s, hosted by Judah Friedlander. I love him, and 80s hits so I did not think I could go wrong. There are a few crappy tunes on here (cough, Frank Stallone, cough), but I love hearing some. How could anyone not love Der Kommissar, really?

This has me wondering if I would really like to be a one-hit wonder. Most of these musicians seem to be fine with it, but I've heard stories of many not liking the fifteen minutes. I'm pretty sure it would be hard to be "on top" one moment and then dropped the next. Just ask Willie Aames. Still it must be nice to know that you made at least one tune that made its way into the world. While I'm not the biggest fan of modern pop music, and most of the stuff I listen to is not on the radio, it would still be cool to live that rock star life for a while. On the other side, if I played in a band with the type of music this level of stardom would take I would probably have to kill myself.

Either way, something tells me traditional Celtic music will not get me there.

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Somewhat related to the One-Hit wonders are those who have tried and tried and never made their way to the top. This happens more than anything else and it is a pretty sad thing to think about, especially for anyone who has ever had "the dream."

Check out this trailer for a new documentary about just that, called Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

Work Sucks

Ever since I left the world of call centers and annoying people I have been much happier. The freedom of being self-employed is great, but there have been MANY disadvantages too.

I am about to fill out a lease application for a rental house (cross your fingers for me) and it asks for employer. Under the info you fill out is this: "If Applicant is self-employed, Landlord may require one or more previous year's tax return attested by a CPA, attorney, or other tax professional." This just annoys me to no end. I have run into a similar problem before, and just because you work for yourself does not mean you need a CPA! I understand if you own a company with employees and such, but I am a freelancer. I even had a guy who didn't know what "freelance" meant. Idiots.

The main problem with this life is when there is no work, like now. Small jobs have been coming through randomly, but where is all the work? I know the economy is in the toilet, but I was hoping it would not kill the film business. Yeah, if I lived in L.A. I would not have this problem, but I don't want to live in L.A. Maybe that should tell me something about this career path.

I have thought about trying to get a second job, like at Central Market or something, but when, and if, a film/commercial job comes along I would not be able to just take the work. This is the type of business that you cannot have second jobs. It's hard enough having to work around the band, but I love doing it so I won't stop. I just wish we played more so then I would have the extra cash, but those guys have other jobs too.

Lately I have been thinking of looking for a full-time job, but I cannot bring myself to actually put forth the effort. I love the freedom I have now, and remember how much I hated being in that office environment. I have been writing more lately so maybe that could turn into something (Cory, I should finally have something to send you soon). In the meantime I'll just sit here and be depressed about the lack of work.