Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best Movie of 2009 (IMHO)

I was looking over a list of the top grossing movies of 2009 to remind myself of what movies came out in '09. It's amazing how many bad ones there were that I blocked out of my memory, like Inheart. There wasn't a lot I saw this year that really blew me away so trying to pick a best movie out of the bunch came down to three. My pick for the best movie of 2009 didn't do very well at the box office, or with critics, but I have to pick Surrogates as my top choice.

Surrogates stars my main man, Bruce Willis, as FBI Agent Tom Greer in a world where most people rarely leave their house. Their life experience is lived out through the use of remotely-controlled robotic bodies, known as surrogates. The handicapped are able to walk, the disfigured are able to look beautiful and the lazy...are allowed to continu being lazy. Damage done to the surrogate is not felt by the operator so it is seen as a better and safer method of life.

Murders start happening and there is a group of humans who refuse to live surrogates who live on the outskirts of town. Greer eventually stops using his surrogate to investigate the murders and figure out what's going on. Overall, it's a really intriguing concept and I think they pulled it off rather well, unlike my pick for Worst Movie of 2009.

My other top movie choices of 2009 were The Hangover and Star Trek. The Hangover was funny and easily the best comedy of this year. Star Trek did a fantastic job of introducing these characters to an audience that knew very little about them (me) and having the story make perfect sense.

Worst Movie of 2009 (IMHO)

For me, the worst movie this year has to be District 9. It's the polar opposite of my top movie of 2009 in that it has a great concept yet fails to deliver on it. D9 tells the story of aliens who crash land in South Africa, who are then captured and kept in camps while scientists try to study them and their technology. It's a much more "real world" take on what would happen if aliens did actually land here and weren't out to completely destroy us, like in every other alien movie. Where the movie fails, though, is in its main character who makes completely nonsense choices in his actions.

The movie also starts off in a pseudo-documentary style which is cool but then it just degenerates into a generic, over budget action movie. The main character becomes despicable by the end and you're left to wonder what happened to such a wonderful concept.

Honorable mention for the worst movie goes to Disney's A Christmas Carol in 3D - a story which didn't need to be told yet again, and certainly not in 3D.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just Older Pt. 2

I think another appeal of listening to "classic rock" is there is little to no chance of an artist and their legacy becoming tainted. My friend Rick once pointed out that it may actually benefit some artists (Sublime, Nirvana, Bob Marley) if they die early in their career. The upside is that we didn't get to see them suck. There was no Kurt Cobain solo album where he experiments with a reggae style and drum loops. All we have is three studio albums and we're left wanting more.

There are plenty of '90s bands that I love(d) whose last few albums have been a downhill slide (see Everclear, 7Mary3, Live). The career of most classic rock artists is essentially over - there won't be any new Queen or Zeppelin albums. Their statement in music has been made.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


If you can answer any or all of these three Twitter-related questions, you win a lifetime supply of hominy.

1) Why is my company on Twitter?

2) Why are they following Steven Seagal on Twitter?

3) Why did they send a tweet to Steven Seagal?

Answers will be accepted up until midnight on December 22, 2009. Read the fine print for all rules and restrictions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just Older

I don't know if other people are going, or have gone, through this but I notice my musical taste changing as I age. I used to like bands such as Queen or Led Zeppelin, but now I LOVE them. I find myself listening to 95.5 KLOS and their playlist of Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie a lot more than my usual choice of 106.7 KROQ and their roster of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and Rise Against. I like those bands okay but I'd much rather hear the older "classic" rock. I surely must be getting older.

The only thing I don't like about classic rock is some songs tend to drag on for a minute longer than they really need to, like Free keeps repeating "all right now" at the end of "All Right Now" or Guess Who's "American Woman" where they keep saying "I'm gonna leave you long...bye bye...I'm gonna leave you...I gotta go...bye bye..." Just leave her and end the song already, plz!!!

In the meantime, enjoy the Bon Jovi song "Just Older" --

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Awk. Ward.

I got an email from my high school about a Christmas thing this past weekend. It advertised an appearance by Santa, crafts and free breakfast. In my head, I pictured stacks of pancakes and muffins, and 10-15 local artists selling homemade crafts so we could pick up some Christmas gifts. The campus is maybe 5 minutes from where we live, so The Wife and I went to check it out. Plus, I figured I could show her where I went to school.

Here's what we ended up getting: Santa Claus (as promised!), mini-bagels and donuts (well, it was free) and tables set up with craft supplies so kids could make stuff (not a local artist in sight). Crap! We felt pretty weird since we have no child of our own and I don't want to look like a molester and/or kidnapper. Quick, time for Plan B: grab a bagel and donut (respectively) and then flee! That was a fine plan, you see, until a girl from my graduating class spotted me and said hello with her husband and kid. #$*(!, we've been seen! We talked for two awkward minutes and then got the heck out of there.

Not really how I envisioned my Saturday morning going but I have to give props to my Wife for going along with my stupid crazy ideas sometimes. Perhaps I should have emailed back for more information before we drove over there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Semi-Glare™

One of my pet peeves is The Glare. I guess I should call it The Semi-Glare™. Let me fill you in on what happened - I was in an informal meeting of my department. By informal, I mean we all gathered around one side of the room by the printers to listen to my boss talk for 5 minutes. I had forgotten to turn down my cellphone ringer so when someone called me, it started crankin' out Poison's "Nothin' But a Good Time" - it was on volume 3 out of 7. In under 1 ring, I was reaching for my phone. I fumbled a bit with it in my pocket and shut it off during the second ring. The boss didn't say anything to me during or after the meeting. In my opinion, everyone that heard the ring should have just gone on with their day because there's nothing to say.

But no, afterwards, the guy I was standing next to gave me The Semi-Glare™ and said, "Hey, good time for your cell phone to ring." Guess what, asshole? I didn't do it on purpose - I forgot to turn my ringer off! I don't need your follow up commentary! I know I messed up, that's why I immediately sprang into action. If I was the jerk you're making me out to be by talking about it, I would have let it go or even answered the phone.

Just the way he said it really irked me. It's like when I see Moms with their crying children at church. When you see them get up from their seat to take the baby outside, it's because they realize it's a distraction and they're doing something about it. You turning around to give them The Semi-Glare™ is completely unnecessary, you douchebag. If the person that's causing a distraction is doing something about it, just leave them alone. Go ahead and upgrade your Semi-Glare™ into a full Glare for someone more deserving.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I was finally able to cross one band off my List of Bands I Should See Before They Retire (or I Die). I wanted the best, I got the best - I'm talking about the hottest band in the land - KISS!

The concert was at Staples Center last Wednesday and it was pretty good. The opening act was Buckcherry who we heard as we were walking in and finding our seats. We caught their last 4 songs and they were alright. The guy sitting next to me decided to strike up a conversation and asked how many times I'd seen KISS. I told him this was my first and he said this was his 8th time, but "usually he's hanging out with the band and watching the show from backstage." I didn't press him for information but going from backstage to the nosebleed section is quite the downgrade. He then started talking to me about pro wrestling at which point I was dumbounded. I have a passive interest in both KISS and pro wrestling but this dude was pretty weird to begin with. The Wife was getting annoyed with him so we got up to "get a drink" and said "we'd be right back" but we eventually returned to our seats when the lights when down for KISS.

They opened up with "Deuce" and "Strutter" and played for over 2 hours total. It was a good show with lots of pyrotechnics, flashpots, fireworks and whatnot. I was a little disappointed with some aspects of the setlist (like 2 songs from the new album and some older cuts like "100,000 Years" and "Shock Me.") We did get the classic staples like "Detroit Rock City" and "Shout It Out Loud" a few surprises like "Calling Dr. Love" and "Lick It Up." Overall, I'd give the show an 8 - I'm glad we went but I don't need to rush out and see them the next time they come through on tour.