Sunday, August 27, 2006

You Can't Teach That Birthday Special

Though I never thought that we could lose
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando...

I guess I have to do the Stallions year end report in this post. I didn't think I would have to. The season's over now because we lost to the Calgary Gators 30-14 on Saturday. They were a totally different team than the one we played on July 8, and they just kind of got the better of us. We also had some bad luck on a few plays, but that always happens and it goes both ways so no need to think "what if." At the end of it all, it was a privilege to call myself a part of that team and to be on the same field as some of those guys. I just wish I could have made more of a contribution than I did. But my streak of never missing a regular season football practice is still intact and I felt that I improved a lot. I plan to keep working in the offseason, and I hope to join the team again next season if they will have me back. It will be very strange not having practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I know that I am going to miss it a lot in about a month or so just like I did with the Spartans.

My birthday was today and I watched Beerfest and went for dinner at Ric's Grill in St. Albert which is almost too classy for me. Excellent food and excellent wine, but I likely won't remember too much of it, since kids only remember bad birthdays.

Let's see what's been going on in movies and TV lately:

Batman Begins: It's not like the other Batman movies, except that it's dark and gothic like all the other ones. Christian Bale plays the lead surprisingly well, but maybe I'm biased by the lousy performances of George Clooney and Val Kilmer in the previous sequels. It's not really like other superhero movies because there isn't really a true supervillain in this one. The bad guys are closer to common criminals. Anyway, I could go either way on this one...nothing to write home about, but not bad either.

Beerfest: All the same producers, writers, and actors as Super Troopers, so if you liked that film, chances are you'll like this one too. Super Troopers was better though. Same style of humour, and it isn't too preachy about the negative effects of heavy drinking either. There's a disclaimer at the beginning and a little blurb in the middle about how Beerfest is ruining the characters' lives, but that's about it. There are some fall down funny parts and some gross out parts but overall, it's pretty funny. Reminded me a little bit of Lister.

Ladder 49: First of all, I knew Johnny Cash was going to get roasted after watching the first five minutes, and it's really sappy that way. It also seemed a little unrealistic to me...I don't think emergency services workers can be that dramatic otherwise the job would wear on them too much. Some of the paramedics I know have a really twisted sense of humour, but in their words it's kind of like "If you don't laugh, then you've got to cry." Rescue Me is more like that and it's sometimes billed as a dark comedy so as far as fire fighting shows go, I prefer Rescue Me.

Lost in Translation: This was my second attempt at this film. The first time I saw it, I was drunk or passed out (or both) and didn't follow it as closely as I should have. As I've said numerous times, I'm extremely biased toward midlife crisis films, so naturally, I liked this movie. The two main characters are named Bob and Charlotte. Bob is middle-aged and is always away from his family and can't communicate with his wife. Charlotte is almost in the same boat except that her husband is always away and she is much younger. They both have something to offer each other. Bob gives Charlotte the attention and humour she needs and Charlotte kind of helps reconnect Bob to his life. In contrast to Bob's wife, Charlotte communicates well with Bob and they can openly discuss things about the meaning of life, why we're here, where we're going, etc. The first time I saw it, I didn't like it because nothing really happens in the movie, but it's more about the characters than anything. If you don't like movies where two characters just talk, then you won't like it. I for one thought it was well done and very well written.

Rescue Me Season Three: Pretty much the only show I stay up to date with on a weekly basis. This is a great show because Denis Leary just plays an angry guy, which he does so well. As for season three, I thought there were a couple of episodes that just kind of lagged and didn't contribute anything to the big picture. I'll reserve judgement until I see the season finale on Wednesday though. All drama shows kill off characters periodically to keep the audience interested and to throw in twists, but in Rescue Me, most of the dead characters end up coming back as ghosts who can interact and communicate with Denis Leary only. Anyway, if you want to watch a show about firefighters with booze and drug problems, then this is the show for you. If you want to get into this show, just make sure you pay close attention to the character development because that's really important if you want to fully understand what's going on, especially in the newer episodes.

Snakes On A Plane: This is quite a masterpiece alright. I set the bar very low heading into this one obviously. I enjoyed how the movie poked fun at itself at times. For a movie that cheesy, you pretty much have to in order to keep the audience from constantly rolling their eyes, so kudos to the director. I think that films should avoid using CGI wherever it's possible, because it made the snakes look pretty fake. And I am going to pick apart the flying. No airline should ever use a 747 between Honolulu and Los Angeles because it makes little economic sense. The pilots were communicating with ATC remarkably well for having "Lost all avionics!" and why would a plane enroute IFR at 35,000 feet be talking to the tower at LAX? The airplane didn't overspeed as it fell from 35,000 feet. Its rapid descent continues to less than 200 feet and than miraculously recovers. In real life, a heavy aircraft like that one descending so rapidly would be fucked at about 5,000 feet if corrective action wasn't taken. If a 747 bounced like that on landing, a tire would probably have blown or the gear would have collapsed altogether. And he kept the plane tracking straight down the runway remarkably well down the runway considering the tailwind and was able to stop it in under 10,000 feet without the use of the thrust reverser and minimal brakes, which is pretty good considering the things approach at about 130-140 knots with full flaps. Ye Gods!

24 Season Two: Superior to season one. I can offer the same criticisms as season one though. I couldn't turn the show off as they were scrambling to find the bomb, but then after the bomb went off, I thought "How can they possibly fill 8 more hours??" It got a little dry and political from there and there was very little suspense. It picked up more toward the end, but it took Jack so long to get the evidence that the Cyprus recording was fake that it was almost a comedy of errors.

World Trade Center: This one was quite disappointing because my mom hyped it up way too much. It attempts to be a story of setting and a story of character and really fails at both. To be a story of setting, it would have to go into greater details of the actual World Trade Center disaster in kind of a minute by minute fashion, preferrably in real-time (kind of like United 93) but that would create too much of a spectacle out of the disaster. Even though this movie makes no attempt to glorify anything about September 11, 2001, some people still feel this movie was made too soon, so Oliver Stone was walking on eggshells right from the get-go. And to be a story of character, I think I would have to know a little bit more about the characters than just the banter between the two leads John and Will while they were pinned under the rubble. However, to accomplish this, they would have had to do some scenes taking place in the days before September 11, 2001 which would have made the movie about 4 hours long. The performance of Michael Pena was about the only saving grace in this film.

Also, this blog has been up for one year. Birthday wishes also to

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Signed to Four Month Deal

I still can't believe my good fortune in the last six weeks. The other day, I learned that one of the ladies in the lab was going back to school in the fall to pursue a career in nursing, so my boss offered me an extension. Of course I snapped it up because I'm not particularly interested in learning a new job right now even though the pay might be better. I'm especially not interested in being unemployed and not making any money either.

Also, the Falcons traded piece of garbage T.J. Duckett to Washington for receiver Ashley Lelie from Denver, who received a third round pick from Washington. In 2005, Ashley (which is a girl's name) started in 13 games for the Broncos and caught 42 passes for 770 yards and 1 TD. The low number of catches and the single TD is worrisome, but 30 of his catches were for first down, and Duckett was expendable anyhow since Warrick Dunn was going to be the #1 guy at RB anyway. They needed a receiver after losing The White Guy. The White Guy was the so-called "third down" receiver on the Falcons with 50 catches and 31 first downs so I think Lelie will step into this role quite nicely. I like this trade. Rich McKay is a genius and I think I have a man-crush on him.

I'll keep the terrible 80s videos coming, it's just that I have to write the posts in HTML so it takes forever to do each one.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

When does NFL start?

Well Danny Nocoachia, losing 4 of 5 in an 18 game season is completely unacceptable. Say what you will about the margin of losing and being a "young team." I'll see you in the unemployment line at Canada Place in September, bitch. At least we'll always have your gay little celebration on 2nd down in the Grey Cup to remember you by.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Terrible 80s Video #8

8. Tracey Ullman - They Don't Know

Quite a lot to pick apart with this one. There's a guy in a gold speedo playing the chimes at the beginning, Tracey stands over the ball return at the bowling alley as balls roll between her legs, there are cut scenes of home movies (presumably Tracey as a kid?) and there's this bizarre line dancing thing right in the middle. Then it cuts to Tracey looking like a knocked up alcoholic housewife shopping for groceries. They get a couple things right though...Tracey does the right thing by leaving the guy with the creeper 'stache and I get a kick out of the three-wheeled car. But yes, that is Paul McCartney at the end. Apparently, that's what she sees when she looks at the guy with the creeper 'stache. Or something. I have a hard time making sense of this one.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Terrible 80s Video #9

9. Styx - Mr. Roboto

This video is pretty much a literal translation of the lyrics, which I hate to begin with. The light show is just cheesy and the creepy expression on the faces of the robots will be in my nightmares for a long time, especially that one that's grinning. Shudder. At least the robots are doing "The Robot," one of the few redeeming features of this video that keeps it from ranking even lower. I hope the editor for this video never worked again because of the crappy transitions like the one shot that comes in from the corner and the other one that kind of flips into the middle. Totally unnecessary.

I think the song is awesome and Dennis DeYoung is the second greatest synthesizer player ever (Steve Winwood has the edge on him.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Top 10 Worst Music Videos of the 80s.

Thanks to this site (, I've been able to view a lot of music videos from the 1980s. Some are legitimately good, but even more of them are so cheesy and so bad that they're just funny. Over the next 10 days, I will present my favourite videos of the latter category. Keep in mind that for the most part I don't have a problem with the actual song. In some cases, it kicks ass. But the videos are truly terrible.

10. Michael Jackson - Bad

The year was 1987. Talented or not, people were beginning to realize that Michael has issues. He gets his nose done again, and he suddenly has cheekbones. Is he wearing make-up in this video?? Hell, it's the 80''s allowed! But it's insulting to transvestite men everywhere that he keeps grabbing his crotch. Do a shooter everytime MJ grabs his crotch. Whoever isn't passed out at the end of 4 minutes and 18 seconds wins, I can promise you no less than 7 shots and there are almost certainly some grabs that I've missed or haven't counted. Anyway, just watch the dance routines. They're bad...really really bad. Such a tragedy that the man who brought us probably the greatest video ever made (Thriller) had to go and shit this one out. And that's not even the worst of it...Martin Scorsese directed it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Where the hell did August go?

So tomorrow's the 16th of August and it just occurred to me that I don't have any plans for my birthday in 11 days.

Umm...holy fuck.

Seeing as how last year's celebration was an unmitigated disaster (I helped my brother move that afternoon, then got an allergic reaction to something at Mongolie Grill, but kids don't remember bad birthdays, right?) I don't have high expectations this year. It happens to fall on a Sunday this year, and I also happen to have the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off. It would normally become a 6 day bender I'm sure, but everyone else has, you know, work and responsibilities and shit and can't be that reckless. Most of my plans hinged on what the Stallions would be up to that weekend. It turns out we'll have a home game on the 26th at 5 PM. If we win that game (and we should) I'll probably go out boozing with the team that night. And Friday's out because I work until 11. That leaves Sunday for the official drinking party and nobody except for rubbie-dubs like me gets drunk on a Sunday.

Let's see...the Smos have a bye that week, so that's out. Derby Day is the 26th, but that conflicts with the Stallions. I'll probably even end up reffing football on the 27th. Maybe I'll just go see the movie that's sure to topple American Beauty right off the top of my all-time list. I'm talking, of course, about Snakes on a Plane.

Other than that, the job search is a little slower than I would like it to be. However, I have come up with a few opportunities that pay about $10 more per hour plus benefits for an easier job than the one I have now. I knew that I was getting fleeced as a summer contract worker, but I didn't know just how badly until now.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Awww...Damnit!" - Dave England

I went out to Lac La Biche over the long weekend to stay at Dre's cabin. The first night was good...we built a decent fire and had some beers. When I got up the next morning though I was chilly despite the fact it was about 22 degrees outside. I also didn't have much of an appetite. That was my first clue that something was wrong. We set to work digging a hole for an outhouse, and then I was feeling a little queasy and had to go inside for some peach drink. Well, after a couple of big chugs of peach drink, I had to run outside to barf. I took it easy for the rest of the afternoon. Then we had spaghetti for supper which I was not able to eat much of and then a few hours later, we built a big fire and had some more beers. I think I rushed the second Lucky Xtra because I ended up barfing again, so I was cut off. On Sunday, we went out on the boat, and (surprise!) when we got back on dry land I had to barf one more time. I then packed up and headed home with a one litre bottle of ginger ale as my companion. These queasy feelings subsided by Monday morning, but then every time I swallowed, it felt like I was swallowing glass, so I still couldn't eat or drink. And it hasn't gotten a lot better since then. I've discovered that I can drink as much milk as I want without feeling the intolerable pain, but it sucks not to be able to eat and drink what I want.

So I'm working the tailgate security at tomorrow's Eskimo game which I know I'm going to regret because 1) I hate the goddamn Riders and their fans worse than anything, 2) I hate the Schmos almost as much right now because they're a bunch of pieces of crap and 3) the Falcons open their preseason tomorrow against the Patriots and it's on TV. I was quite looking forward to seeing DJ Shockley, Klaus Alinen, Cedric Bonner, Cole Magner, Jason Randall, and others who have no business whatsoever playing in the regular season. I'm serious too. When one of the star players goes down in a game and his replacement trots in, it's better to have studied up on him and know what's going to happen instead of sitting there saying "Who the fuck...?"