Wednesday, August 31, 2011

$teve, Tall and Plane

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

So yeah, back on the grind since the family’s visit last week… and yeah, I already miss them… well, most of them. Not much else going on right now. No dating or anything. Here’s the thing though… I’m really bad at telling the difference between genuine care, concern and/or flirtation… and feigned customer service. For example, I go to my bank this morning to cash the rent checks… and there’s a cute girl behind the counter. Then again, there always is… because that’s why cute boys & girls are put in front of counters… and the ones who do the paperwork are stuck in their closet offices with fluorescent light (like me). Anyway, she was starting the small talk, asking about the upcoming weekend & such while running the checks, and of course I’m trying my damnedest to focus on her eyes & not her chest (but to no avail, quick glances, very nice) but it just seemed… I don’t know, flirtatious. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’d say it was just me… but this isn’t the first time that I’ve gone to the bank & have gotten the same feeling. I thought maybe it was just the Asian girls that liked me… but yeah, a lot of glances at me from the other ladies too (possibly for security risk?). Anyway, in the end, she asked me about my last name, I explained it’s Czechloslavakian & pronounced just as it’s spelled, she giggled & asked if there was anything else she could help with. Oh… if she only knew… but alas, I just wished her a good day & was off to work. See… being in an industry that’s a lot to do with customer service & building a hospitable atmosphere, one side of me thinks that she has done this kind of interaction 40 hours a week, for several years, and it’s nothing out of the ordinary… not unlike I do on a regular basis… but the other side says “$teve, you’re never going to get laid ever again unless you make a move on a girl that’s interested. The worst she can say is no, right?” Actually… the worst she can say is “Seriously?” and then start laughing… but that’s not likely & then you know she’s a C U Next Tuesday, so no real loss there. Just another day in my life… making a mildly intriguing observation about absolutely nothing. A few things that I forgot to mention before the family came…

Last week, I watched “Blow Out” starring John Travolta, Nancy Allen & John Lithgow. This movie is as old as I am… but still pretty good. The story is about a movie sound guy (Travolta) who is out recording wind noises in a park… when he records a car going off the road & into the water. He dives in to save the passenger (Allen) but the driver dies. Later he finds out that the driver was actually a Presidential candidate… and then finds that there may be a cover-up into the whole thing… and possibly murder. He sets out to find out the truth… but by doing so, also puts himself & the passenger in danger. This is one of the earlier movies of director Brian DePalma (“Scarface”, “Carlito’s Way”, “Untouchables”, etc) and you can really tell. There’s a lot of the great continuous shots, eerie angles, and that distinctive DePalma style that I personal think is among the best out there. I really enjoyed the movie… with the exception of Nancy Allen’s voice. It was that VERY whiny Jersey accent maybe… like purposely bad maybe… and the only other thing I had seen her in was the “Robocop” movies so not what I expected at all. Other than that though, Travolta rocked that sh*t, Lithgow was a creepy killer, and the whole story was just great in my personal opinion. Hell, he even drives a Jeep… through City Hall… and in a parade… oh spoiler alert? Eh, go check it out. I’ve given away NOTHING!!! Great flick.

Wednesday night, I watched “Take Me Home Tonight” starring Topher Grace, Dan Fogler, Anna Faris and something that I had asked about YEARS ago… and it finally happened… MICHAEL BIEHN IN A NON-ACTION MOVIE, A RAUNCHY ROMANTIC COMEDY OF ALL THINGS!!! Anyway, the story is about a brilliant MIT graduate (Grace) who moved back home & works at a video store (it’s 1986 or so, by the way, they still have video stores). He’s been obsessing over this high school crush (Jessica Palmer) since they were kids, but never made a move. Well, he’s an adult now… and he still doesn’t make a move. However, thanks to his best friend (Fogler), a party thrown by his twin sister’s (Farris) fiance, a stolen Benz, a bag of cocaine, a boost of confidence, a few obvious hints from his crush, he may just get laid tonight… but will he puss out? Who knows? Watch to find out. It was pretty hilarious at some points… but yeah, like all rom-coms there’s the usual drama that really isn’t drama but whatever. The moral of the story: Have some balls! And most importantly, SOMEBODY’S READING MY BLOG BECAUSE MICHAEL BIEHN WAS IN A NON-ACTION MOVIE!!! YAAAAY!!! HOLLYWOOD IS LISTENING!!! (or at least Mike’s agent, big ups!!!) Also…

Take the Scenic Route - Life is short -- so why not take the scenic route? That is the message BMW Financial Services seems to be encouraging with its new app, The Ultimate Drive. Released last week, the free app allows users to discover, share and rate the world's most interesting driving routes contributed by users worldwide. By incorporating GPS, the app is also able to find routes surrounding a particular location, and will alert users when new routes are discovered in their neighborhood. "There are plenty of sites that will show you the top roads to drive", said Pawan Murthy, of BMW Group Financial Services, which provides financing for BMW and MINI vehicles. "The roads that are filtering up (in the app) include others that very few people have ever heard of, and that's what makes it so exciting." So far more than 600 routes had been added to the app. Murthy said the most interesting routes are those with the best scenery and, for drivers with sporty cars, include many twists and turns. Points of interest and restaurants or cafes with good food, also get a lot of mentions. One user, who added a route just west of Denver that runs along North America's highest elevated public road warned drivers to "watch for bighorn sheep". Another route takes drivers along a trip that concludes at Arkansas' oldest continually operating general store. "It starts getting very granular from a user-experience standpoint as to what people will share on the app," said Murthy. He said this release is the first iteration of an app moving further toward "gamification," -- introducing game play elements to increase customer participation (like Grand Theft Auto IV?). A future version set for release in early October will be more interactive and include a point system aimed at giving customers greater incentive to participate. "We wanted to get Version 1 out so we could expose it to the world and initiate crowd sourcing of routes. Succeeding versions will have a closer connection with financial services", said Murthy. Most car companies provide free apps for a wide variety of purposes. One from Nissan, for example, allows owners to remotely manage and maintain their vehicles. Another from Mazda puts drivers in direct contact with roadside assistance. One drawback to The Ultimate Drive is that directions are not provided natively within the app. But routes can be exported to Facebook or through email, and can also be ported to another GPS-based maps application for directions. The Ultimate Drive is currently only available in North America. So there you go… if you’re like me & enjoy the occasional road trip, maybe check out this app. I just downloaded it but have yet to check it out. Got a few suggestions though. PCH from here to Cambria isn’t too damn bad with stops in Half Moon Bay, Monterey, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, etc. You’ve all seen the posts from last year’s big road trip. Anyway, suggestions for great road trips? Probably going to do Vegas to Grand Canyon in November, but I’m sure that’s just desert in between the two destinations, but you never know until you try, right? Get out there & travel… by land, by sea, or even by air…

What Women Want… On A Plane - The in-flight entertainment on some planes run by Australian airline Qantas currently contains a somewhat unusual offering… a movie that purports to elucidate the mysteries of female sexual pleasure. The 50-minute French film "The Female Orgasm Explained," which includes naked scenes, is carried on long-haul "Video on Demand" aircraft in the airline's "The Edge" channel -- complete with a warning that it is for mature audiences only (whew). "In general programs are selected according to quality of content, box office/ratings, topicality and Qantas customer demographics," Qantas said in a statement, adding that programs were screened by their program team before licensing.
"With the Edge, we source programs that are out of the ordinary across all genres." Airline crews are able to block content to the seats of minors and at the requests of their parents, it added. The film will be run until November (so book now). The choice of film may be a bit risky given the fact that airlines are usually quite careful about what they show, said Catriona Eider, an associate professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Sydney University. "I think sociologically it's interesting they are showing something that has the potential in that quite confined space to have people say 'Oh, what are you watching?' or shows that might be understood as titillating as porn," she said. But she added that changing social norms mean that off-limit topics have shifted. "'In Sex and the City', the orgasm is something pretty much spoken in everyday levels. It's no longer the taboo subject it was." Way to use a decade-old reference to defend your soft core porn, Qantas. Blame it on those b**ches! I applaud it. Now, you know I’d watch it on an airplane. Seriously, what the f**k else am I going to do? Then again… I’m the kind of guy that would watch a multitude of movies that wouldn’t really be appropriate for an airplane. You know… like “Cast Away” or something. Hmm… I may just bring the DVD with me & watch it on my laptop on my next flight over the Rockies in the winter. Some little kid asks, “What are you watching?” “It’s this great flick called ALIVE!!! You see, these people are on this flight over the mountains, not unlike where we are now, and this storm causes them to crash. Then, because nobody can get to them, they have to survive… so they make shelter, eat what little food they can find… and when that runs out… oh look at that, right on queue.” Kid witnesses his first act of cannibalism on my computer… immediately followed by the plane shaking slightly… the pilot warning of turbulence… and then he freaks the f**k out & I die a happy twisted man. However, this a great tie-in to my next Movie List…

Airplane Movie List (and my favorite lines from them)

Gold – Airplane! - “Billy, have you ever seen a grown man naked?” - Fittingly enough, the movie that’s exclamatorily named Airplane! tops my list. Why? If you have to ask, then you’ve never seen it. From the writers/directors team that would later brings such classics as “The Naked Gun” trilogy, “Hot Shots!”, several “Scary Movies” & “Baseketball” comes this story of redemption, courage under direst, and Love against all odds. Also you have everyone from Peter Graves, Robert Stack, Leslie Nielsen & even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saying some pretty hilarious & ridiculous sh*t in this satire. Also, check out the sequel too. You deserve it.

Silver – Air Force One – “Get off my plane!” – The timeless classic of a President (Harrison Ford) whose plane is taken over by terrorists (led by the great Gary Oldman) and now he has to save his family, his council, & his nation. You’ve probably seen it… and if not, it’s worth a gander. Also worth a gander is the similar “Executive Decision” starring Kurt Russell, John Leguizamo and (briefly) Steven Seagal. Another plane being taken hostage movie… but they send in a special forces team to get him out this time to stop nuclear weapons from hitting the East Coast or something. It’s been a few years, gimme a break.

Bronze – Con Air – “Put the bunny… in the box” – It’s my Catcher in the Rye (“Conspiracy Theory” reference). When I see it on TV, I pretty much have to watch it. A Marine/prisoner (Nicolas Cage) is on his way home to see his wife & daughter after serving some time in prison. He’s on the flying equivalent of a maximum security prison bus, with some of the top nasties in the world, and of course… they take the plane over & he has to save the day. It’s a Jerry Bruckheimer production, so you know there’s explosions, one-liners, bad accents and a pretty remarkable ensemble cast too with the likes of John Malkovich, Ving Rhames, John Cusack, Colm Meaney, Dave Chappelle, even Machete… er, Danny Trejo. I also liked George Clooney’s “Up in the Air” but if you’re wondering why “Top Gun” isn’t higher on the list… it just isn’t. Deal with it. My list.

Suggestion – Turbulence – “I changed my mind!” – After a shootout on a plane transporting passengers, a stewardess (Lauren Holly) has to outwit a smooth-talking serial killer (Ray Liotta) and land the plane herself. Sounds pretty cheesy, right? Well, it sort of is… but still a pretty entertaining flick. Wesley Snipes’ “Passenger 57” almost got mentioned here… but I pretty “Turbulence” because you kind of expect Wesley Snipes to kick some ass… despite having a very Welsh name. Lauren Holly, you don’t really expect much more than for her to be hot. Anyway, give it a gander if you’d like. “Amelia” was okay, starring Hillary Swank (as Amelia Earhart) & Richard Gere (as the guy). Leonardo DiCaprio rocked the sh*t in “The Aviator” but that was more about eccentric tycoondom than airplanes.

Flush It – Soul Plane – “Yeah, it was a cold day” – Oh yes, the obvious choice would be Samuel L. Jackson’s epicly bad classic “Snakes on a Plane” and believe me it was considered… but everybody rags on that movie. So I’m switching it up to “Soul Plane” which is an equally horrible movie about a guy who gets a lot of money, buys an airline (NWA – NorthWest Airlines or something), caters it to a certain African-American clientele, and on its maiden voyage hyjinx ensues. Starring the likes of Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Kevin Hart, DL Hughley, John Witherspoon, Tom Arnold, Godfrey, Mo’Nique, Loni Love, Terry Crews, and so on… you know it’s going to try to be funny. It has its moments… but pretty bad & unmemorable. I was only trying to keep from ragging on Samuel L. Jackson more for “Snakes on a Plane” because… it’s just so goddamn horrible.

FutureWatch – Top Gun 2 (2012?) – Okay so… I’m not really excited about the proposed sequel to Top Gun 2… with a cameo or more by Tom Cruise… and who knows, maybe Val Kilmer too (ICEMAN!!!). The first one was okay… Goose was the ultimate wingman (until he died), Kenny Loggins had a hit, as did Berlin (and memories of my junior prom), and you have to give it up for anybody who makes reference to the Righteous Brothers. As for a sequel, what can you expect? Well, Tony Scott might direct… so there’s probably explosions & now with CGI, maybe they’ll be shooting down aliens instead of Russian MIGs. Don’t knock it… wait for the trailer. Anyway, I just didn’t know of any other airplane related movies coming up any time soon. Maybe something about “The Wright Brothers” reuniting Ben Affleck & Matt Damon… with moustaches. It could work. Has there been a really good “DaVinci” movie made? Eh… I’m out of ideas right now… but I’m sure more will come up in time.

Anyway, that should do it for today. Next basketball game is on Thursday… and I’m kind of at the point where if they don’t start coming up with a strategy other than heave threes & let me rebound, I may just do pickup games… but we’ll see. Still no plans for Labor Day, so let me know if you hear of anything. Have a great day everybody!!!

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