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Showing posts from February, 2013

Parenting - Observations Through Kids

I recently mentioned how despite kids inquisitive minds, they don't harp on the aesthetics of the human form when in a negative way.  Their minds work completely devoid of things like shame, worry and in many ways seriousness.  My rosacea went almost unnoticed because of my bald head and my red, dried and bulbous nose made one child refer to it as a "Pirate's Nose," which he followed with a hearty "arrrrrr."  It takes the pain of being an adult away most times and for that I am grateful.

I've always been fascinated by one aspect of human behavior when it comes to parenting.  Why do some parents have no memory of how their parents actions, if performed similarly, would have affected them.  The other day, I had a child who was in my Kindergarten Sports class.  He has missed the first week and was one of the few kids in the class who was not in the Spring session, so he truly was a "new" kid.  My class met in the auditorium and one child was miss…

My Dream Home

As people who know me fairly well have probably heard, I live in the world's smallest apartment.  I absolutely hate it, but not for the reasons you might think.  I do not hate it for it's minuscule size.  I won't go into the actual size, because I don't want the focus of this little story to be bogged down by people's amazement on how I haven't gone out of my mind, but let's just say, I can literally reach my fridge and TV while laying on my bed and a walk to the bathroom take less than five steps. Yes really.

So the other day I'm looking at a website that featured micro-houses and then some other small home sites and it got me thinking to what I wanted from a home.  In the early 70's my parents bought some land in Andes, NY and with basically no experience at all, they invited some more handy friends away for the weekend to build a house. They slept in tents and started construction on the house they knew they wanted.  The basic cabin was one large…

Shortest Movie (Positive) Movie Review Ever - Kill List

Quirky Blog Title?

Kill List is a British crime drama, thriller and horror film all rolled into one.  Yes that is right; all three.  To describe anything in it, would be to give major story lines away.  I will say this. There is not one scene in the entire movie that doesn't hold some meaning.  Not one.  At 95 minutes, that is a fairly difficult task.  The movie wraps everything up into a not so neat package that might have some scratching their heads.  I will fully admit, I was confused at first, but then replayed the movie in my mind, scene by scene and then it hit me.   The things that shocked me no longer shocked me and this was OK.  The movie is very clever, very odd and brutally violent. There is a social commentary in the movie that also plays a part, maybe even a character and they is our ambivalence to violence.  Much like Michael Haneke's 1997 film (and 2007 American remake) Funny Games, the movie plays on our acceptance of violence, which has turned into somewhat of…

2013 Oscar Thoughts

For the first time in 33 years, I did not watch the Oscars live.  The Oscars has always been a tradition and my mother and I would yell, scream, laugh, cry, sing along and dance with all the selections.  There was a time, long ago, when I would have seen a good number of the movies involved.  This year, they are few, if any.  I am a film fanatic, but I detest the theatre, because somewhere along the way, we've broken the social contract of acceptable public behavior and to save myself from possible incarceration, I've decided to forego the mass viewings and wait til each masterpiece appears before me, whilst laying, most likely in my underwear, under a comforter with a cup of coffee and my dreams.
Not seeing was interesting, because I had to live vicariously through the likes of Roger Ebert, Patton Oswalt, John Hodgeman and a host of comedian and B-list celebrities and journalists I follow on Twitter.  This made, for what I can assume, a much funnier night than to watch Seth M…

Cult Classic - Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

After watching The Raid: Redemption last night, I decided to go retro and dig into my minuscule video collection.  I am a movie enthusiast, but I personally own less than 10 DVDs.  My feeling has always been that to over watch a movie is to desensitize yourself to what made it special in the first place.  I've watched Jaws so many times, that despite it's brilliance, I now only see flaws, where I used to see magic.  A perfect example of a great movie gone bad is the first two Godfather movies.  I now only see the faulty over-acting in some scenes and it overshadows some others.  I mean honestly, is their a worse actor in history than Carlo?  Even Brando's caricature of immigrant Italians is almost laughable.  Still brilliant, but it makes me realize, how much better the story telling is in the Coen brother's Miller's Crossing was. This isn't about big budget films or epics.  This is about a film made for $100,000 and which catapulted a director into a place whi…

S**t You Realize At 6AM

You know how when you turn on the hot water it's cold first? I live in the only place where when you turn on the cold water it's hot first.  No really.  Scorching hot.

If you're a cop and you see a car full of guys at the White Castle drive-thru or at 7-11 and it's after 4AM....you are a kind soul.

I do not like sweets very much.  I don't like desserts, I don't love ice cream (will get a coffee shake once in a while), don't love pancakes for breakfast, but if it's 4-5AM and you put any kind of cake or cookie in front of me, it's as good as gone.

Is it me or does it seem like most people buy pets to fill a void in their lives. A lost family member or friend, a break up, want a baby but not ready, can't have a baby, they moved, lost a job, changed jobs, etc.   Nobody ever seems to buy a pet, just because they want to take care of something and have it love them back.  Isn't that supposed to be the reason?

In the few years I've been on Face…

Quickie Review - The Raid; Redemption

Do you like action movies? I generally do not. I've always been more of the dialogue, mental anguish, troubled protagonist, looking for purpose and answers kind of guy.  That being said, before I turned 30, my favorite movie of all time was Lethal Weapon and even today, my favorite movie is The Killer.  The Raid: Redemption, might be #3 in terms of action movies.  While I can't say it's perfect, because the plot is so painfully simple, it does unravel into something with a few more layers and like most great action movies, leaves way for a definite sequel.  One which I have read is in the works.

Here's the great thing about this movie. You don't know these actors and none of them are big stars, even in their native lands.  The movie is fast paced.  Let me rephrase that.  The movie is so ridiculously fast paced, your heart is never really given a break.  There is arguably the best martial arts fights choreographed in any movie ever made.  That's saying something…

Free Writing - Take 19

Delirious.  Fifteen hours of sleep since Sunday morning and I've been sick since Tuesday Morning....maybe it hit me Monday night, will sipping beers. I do not know. Like I said, delirious.  I have written two blogs tonight. Each took about twenty minutes and I deleted them both.  They were both about food shopping and eating. Nobody cares.  Nobody cares about the silliness when you try and point out little things in life that help, because everyone, myself included knows better.  Those forty wasted minutes talked about my saving money after spending $100 on five meals with a car, I spent $40 and made eight meals over the last three days and I still have ten English Muffins and a cream cheese and a half left.  This is exciting right?  I was thinking about a diet and I mapped it out and I would spend roughly $7 a day on food, maybe even less, if I cut out beef.  Who cares? I'm sick, my head isn't working. I read somewhere once that you should never think about things too har…

Quickie Review - Tyrannosaur

I recently was turned onto a movie starring Paddy Considine called In America.  The movie turned out to be terrific and I noticed when checking Netflix that he had his directorial debut featured.  I knew nothing about it, but decided to throw it on top of me queue.  The movie is called Tyrannosaur and stars familiar face Peter Mullan (Trainspotting, Boy A) and Olivia Colman as Joseph and Hanna.  Joseph is an angry middle aged drunk who spends his days sipping pints and basically being angry.  Hanna is well to do, but works in a second hand clothing store, praying for others and taking sips when nobody is looking.

I will warn anyone interested, the movie starts off with drunken Joseph, kicking his dog, then carrying him home only to bury him the next morning.  We immediately realize that this man lives a very troubled life.  Throughout the film, his inability to harness his anger takes its toll on everyone around him, but in reality, it's only he is who is getting beaten.  Life ha…

My Satirical Take On My Own Facebook Debating

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Joe's Status: I don't know how anyone can really like the taste of vanilla ice cream over chocolate.
Joe: Chocolate is like the best thing in the world.
Meghan: I know right, people are stupid. (Joe Like's This)
Joe: Joe Posts video of a chocolate shake being made. (Meghan Likes This)
Meghan: Nice (Joe Likes This)
Me: I personally don't like chocolate and prefer vanilla, because it isn't so sweet.
Joe: Always have to be opposite. (Meghan Likes This)
Meghan: There goes Me being different just to be different (Joe likes this).
Me: What, I am just saying it's not always black or should I say brown and white.
Joe: Nobody who likes ice cream likes vanilla more.
Me: Nobody?  I do and know about 200 people who don't like chocolate more.
Joe: Joe posts random statistic about people chocolate being the world's favorite flavor without any data.
Me: You got that from a website called chocolateismyworld.com
Joe: …

Why Your Teenager Will Probably Be A Jerk!

Well, everyone one I know who has a kid and knows I don't just skipped over this and called me a name to themselves, but if you're reading just hear me out.  I realize when I was a kid, I was looking at it from an adolescents perspective, but the reality was, I wasn't like many kids.  My parents made me an integral part of their dinner parties and allowed me to be a sponge, soaking up any knowledge, wisdom or life lessons that maybe they had forgot to pass down.  Also, my parents friends liked me.

Let's start off with the basics.  Respect. You can teach your kid to be respectful, but that half-hearted, limp-dicked handshake your son just gave me tells me, you failed in that area.  You know why kids are jerks to adults?  They can be.  When I was a teen, I didn't have a cell phone, so that meant if I called a friend or girlfriend, I most likely was going to have to speak to their parents first. This was practice in how to be respectful.  A lesson which pays off down…

The A to Z's: Pissed Off Edition

Automobiles: Haven't had one in two years and now I do.  Stress and money is all they are.
Boehner, John:  One of the most evil and divisive human beings in American Politics.
Catastrophes: The world is going to hell in a hand basket and we need to figure out why.
Dogs that bark incessantly: I have a neighbor who has an awesome dog.  I have another whose sucks!
Envelopes: I have junk mail fucking everywhere.  On the floor, the table, the bed.  Stop killing trees!
Free Speech: Just kidding, but the shit coming out of the likes of Rush Limbaugh is slander.
Gluten Free:  Does anyone over 30 know one person growing up who had these allergies?
Ham:  I don't hate ham, but I had my fill at Christmas.  Done with ham til next Christmas.
Idiots:  We used to live in the smartest country in the world. Now we have Mob Wives and Pawn Stars.
Jersey: I feel bad for them with Hurricane Sandy, but do you hear NY bitching as much?
Killings: I know they say it can't possibly be the guns, but …

Quickie Review - Juan of the Dead

Zombie films have really taken off lately.  So much so that The Walking Dead has made it big as a television serious.  The reality is, zombie films, while fun, are rarely actually very good movies.  You have the classics by George Romero and then you have everything else.  Until recently.  Film makers, somehow realized there could be humor inserted into them and it would make them better.  Or at the very least, change the pace.  Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead turned the same old tale into something quite entertaining, even if the scares really aren't there.  Dead Snow, while not a great movie, took it to a whole other level.  It made the zombies organized and fast.  Oh and did I mention they were Nazis?  Yeah, it's one you have to see to believe.
So now we come to Juan of the Dead.  The film was billed as the first Cuban horror film and is directed by Alejandro Brugues.  The protagonist, Juan, played by Alexis Diaz de Villegas, is a slacker in every sense of the word.  He ha…

The Valentine's Day Menu - Turning Tapas into Tap-Ass

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

History has taught me three important things about this Hallmark Holiday. These things are crucial to having a successful and enjoyable day.  By following these three things, you should ensure some reciprocal love or at very least, if nature gets in the way, some serious I.O.U. action.

First off, flowers are nice, but trust me, unless you're having them delivered to her workplace, so that her incredibly jealous friends and coworkers can act like children who have just opened a pinata, they are not essential.  Flowers are nice, but they are a waste of money and they die quickly.  Unless it's about presentation, flowers on Valentine's Day are only for those of us who are less confident.  Get her flowers the following week or two later, when nobody is expecting and you've doubled your awesomeness.  Trust me on this one.  Instead, spend that money on tickets to something or casual dinner out this weekend.  Maybe Sunday night, when you're bo…

When Pain Becomes Agony

Since I was young, I've had what could be considered a high pain threshold.  In my younger years, I broke fingers and toes with such frequency that I soon went without doctor's visits and silly splints.  By the age of about 30, I had broken each finger twice and each toe at least once.  I remember one day in sixth or seventh grade, I was walking with my school backpack strap on my hand and someone bumped into me. I hit the wall going around the corner and felt a little pinch.  I looked down to see my finger pointed in the other direction.  I slowly grasped the finger, yanked it and Voila! Healed!  That was always the way. I boxed in my friend's house and we beat the shit out of each other and we even played tackle football in the snow on a concrete basketball court a few times, sans equipment.  I've been hit by a car while riding my bike, hit with a baseball in the head and got a black eye or two from guys who weren't thrilled by my actions.  Never once did I feel …

Quickie Review - The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door is a B-movie, horror film, based on the Sylvia Likens torture and murder case many years ago in Indiana.  It's known to some as the worst case of child abuse ever.  Likens was 16 when she died.  The movie is told through the eyes of a young neighbor who had a boyhood crush on the young girl and who was her only friend, other than her sister throughout the movie.  Despite their friendship, he basically did nothing to help her and was witness to all of the brutality.

The movies is exploitative in nature and is incredibly difficult to watch. The young girl is tortured in ways that are unimaginable and is tortured by so many people, it's hard to believe this happened.  The portrayal of the mother, Ruth (who is played by the actress who played Molly Ringwald's sister in 16 Candles) who facilitates the horrors against the poor girl, is probably the most troubling.  Her boys, who she treats like buddies and the neighborhood kids all join in.

If there is sociall…

Church & State and Bias (or is it).

A few nights ago, I got into a political and religious discussion.  I immediately was told "here we go again."  So the seven hours I previously spent talking about pitchers and catchers reporting, the snow storm, the commercials during the Super Bowl and the people waiting to see Justin Bieber is conversation worthy, but arguing the problems with our living under this false pretense of a division of church and state isn't worthy?  Opinions are like assholes, I'm told so often, but the thing is, what if the people you are arguing with are using opinions and you are using empirical data, actual quotes and complex factual arguments to state your case?  I find it's during these times, that I am called names, get the eye roll or am ignored or my favorite, called biased.

Biased, by definition, means to show prejudice for or against something unfairly.  The key word is unfairly.  A friend of mine constantly calls the New York Times liberally biased, yet in nearly six m…

The Last Supper (aka Death Row Meal) - Week Addition

We've all played the game.  Great chefs around the world even do it.  It's called many things, but most often, it's called the "Death Row" game.  Your life is about to be taken.  You have one last request granted.  The final meal.  I've always said, mine would the most simple thing.  Lamb chops.  Plain and simple. What if this wish was granted for a week?  What if you could design a 21 course send off?  What would you select?  I'm definitely going to forget some items and this may change one day, but right now, if given the opportunity, what would I select?  I'm only giving my self one stipulation.  I can not select the same thing twice, although the same ingredients may be repeated but not identically.  I will choose a breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I'm not a dessert person, but for this, I'll add a dessert course.  I should also add that not everything is going to be some glamorous meal.  Sometimes, it's something as simple as a grilled c…

Quickie Review - Deadfall

I will start off by saying this.  If you are a woman, you'll be happy to know that Eric Bana and Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam are this.  If you are a man, may I introduce Olivia Wilde and Kate Mara.  If you're a fan of the older generation, please enjoy Treat Williams, Kris Kristofferson and the incredible Sissy Spacek.  Thankfully there is more than just eye candy to this movie.  There is a pretty decent, even if it is a tad recycled, story about redemption.  The movie isn't going to knock your socks off, but it will keep you engrossed from beginning to end.

I don't like giving away parts of the story, so I'll keep my discussion to the characters and those who play them.  There are basically four sub-stories that come together to form one.  There are the outlaws who share an odd bond.  There is the family that was torn apart for reasons we're not sure about.  There is the cop trying to get her father's approval.  Finally there is the young man who f…

Why I Disliked The Walking Dead

I was a little late getting around to seeing The Walking Dead.  The reviews I read called it one of the best series to ever hit cable television.  So I'm thinking The Wire, Dexter, The Shield and the first two seasons of the Sopranos level stuff.  Hell, I'll even throw in True Blood, because the episodes I watched (maybe three) were actually fun.  So I get the first DVD which contains the first four episodes out of six.  I watched all four straight through and this is what I came away with,

First off, let me state that I am a horror film fanatic and recently I've seen some truly crazy stuff, like Inside, Calviare and The Woman.  As far as Zombie flicks, I've seen all the classics, such as the Romero, Fulci and the new wave of Zombie films that have added humor, such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. So I have something to base it on.  So I was pretty excited to see this series.  And then I watched.

The first episode does what no other series has ever done in it'…

Random Thoughts at 5:30am

Is it me or is every zombie movie or TV show that was made in the last 30 years, just a remake of The Warriors, but with Zombies instead of gangs?
The same people who are opposed to the U.S. using drones to kill Americans proven to be siding with terrorist groups abroad were the ones who were mad Clinton didn't kill Bin Laden without proof.
This morning and afternoon I felt awful. Stuffy, sniffling, cold and achy.  I slept as much as I could, then I went and bought spicy food.  Then I walked outside in 30 degree weather in a short sleeved shirt and exaggerated my breathing.  I feel absolutely fine right now (aside from being wide awake). Modern medicine!
I use Facebook as a source of amusement, instigation and at times to start trouble, but the last three months have lead me to believe that about ten percent of my friends need to be medicated.  Honestly.
Today, on a friend's status there were a few comments that bordered on being racist.  I was starting to get angry, until I r…

Free Writing - Take 18

Well, if all goes as planned, I will be driving tomorrow.  I'm a little nervous to be honest.  It's been almost eighteen months since I last drove.  Here or there I've moved someones car, but that's about it.  It's been a while since I had that freedom and while I look forward to it, I realize there is a change that is going to have to happen.  I can't be careless like I have been in the past.  I made myself that promise and I don't plan on breaking it.  I'm not looking forward to the $100 a month in insurance and however much this gas guzzler take to fill, but I will look forward to the opportunities it will afford me and the potential money it will save me. It's kind of funny, but I'm nervous about the eye test tomorrow.  I haven't been sleeping well and I'm worried that this will affect my vision. The last time I went to renew my license, I had a similar problem and it almost cost me.  That was eight years ago.  I'm not going to w…