Monday, February 25, 2013

The City Kidnapped Gretchen!!!

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well... it was bound to happen but somebody finally stole Gretchen. And no... it wasn't some asshat looking to take her on a joy ride... or some crackhead, who usually don't have the qualities needed for stealing a vehicle... or an international spy needing to commandeer it for a fantastic getaway chase or anything... but rather some knob-gobbling asshat in a trucker hat and probably unemployable by any other standards, who was hired by the city of San Francisco to go kidnap cars and hold them for ransom... or more commonly known as a tow truck driver. Why was it stolen? Allegedly it was blocking a driveway (it wasn't) but I have no proof... and the tow company by law doesn't give refunds... and God knows the City of San Francisco isn't just going to say "Here... take your $501 ransom back... our bad... oh, you got a $98 ticket with it too? Well schucks, we'll just wave that off too. Kazaam!!!" So in short, f**k the city of San Francisco... and I refuse to break for Meter Maids from now on... or tow truck drivers... if they're in the street, in my lane, they're fair game. Watch yo back, b**ches!!!

Anyway, other than that, one good thing did come out of Wednesday night when it happened. I got to have a meal with Bubbles to catch up & thank her for covering for me while I was out of town. We had dinner at Gracias Madre in the Mission... and it's a Vegan restaurant... but surprisingly good. I highly recommend it if you're into that whole vegan thing.

The New Orleans pictures are now loaded on my computer... but there's a lot to cyphen through... so instead I'm going to blab about a few movies I saw over the weekend... and show you some pictures from the Chinese New Year Parade on Saturday. Here's the latter:

Starting off this week's movie capades... is "Jack the Giant Slayer" starring Nicholas Hoult as Jack and the likes of Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane & Stanley Tucci along with the voice talents of many Englishmen... and from the director of "The Usual Suspects" & the original X-Men Trilogy. Basically it's the retelling of Jack & the Beanstalk... but with CGI, a little more character development, a love story & all the usual stuff that you would expect in a big budget movie... and it's actually done pretty well. Sure, it's a little predictable but it's what you expect... and even funny at times. There are some major loopholes in the story & execution of it (WHAT? In a fairy tale movie?) primarily with regards to the giants... but hey, it's a kids flick for all ages. I highly recommend it.

Next up was "Looper" starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Bruce Willis. The key to really enjoying this movie... is just to accept that the only application for time travel in the future is for the Mafia to send people back in time to get whacked. Apparently the future doesn't have the Nevada desert or something. There's a mafia mutt / drug addict (Levitt) who executes the people sent back through time to him... until one day, they send back him thirty years in the future (Willis). Well, apparently he gets craftier in 30 years & escapes... and hyjinx ensue as now the mafia is after both of them... and you throw in some telekinetic powers... and it's actually a pretty good movie despite trying to tell you the plot. Again, take it with a little bit of disbelief. It's kind of like Terminator if instead of a robot being sent back to kill an unborn child... it's some guy getting sent back through time to get whack himself. Wait... that doesn't sound good at all. Just go ahead & check it out if you want. You don't care about loopholes in the story. Bruce Willis is in it. Sold.

Next is "Beasts of the Southern Wild" which is a story about a little girl in southern Louisiana (Bayou country) during Hurricane Katrina and just living in that environment. It was very imaginative & enjoyable... and being a fan of Louisiana (and nearly going out to that area during my latest visit), you have to respect those crazy rednecks who live in that kind of environment living off the land... or the water more appropriately. You want to check this movie out. I know it gets all the Oscar buzz & all that... but yeah, it's actually pretty cool... and it's only 90 minutes.

Next up was a find on Netflix called "FDR: American Badass" starring Barry Bostwick. It's a straight to DVD comedy about FDR (Bostwick) and his being stricken with polio by a werewolf bite (true story) and how he became the president of the United States shortly after... and defeated the Nazi werewolf axis of evil (unconfirmed). The movie is actually pretty funny in a sophemoric way (allegedly there are other ways) but yeah, it's not going to win any awards... the humor is crass at times... but then again, I'm kind of a fan of that. Fun fact: Kevin Sorbo ("Hercules") is in it!!! See if you can find where he shows up.

Lastly is "Centurion" starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West & Olga Kurylenko. Set in 2nd century Britain/Scotland, it's the story of a man (Fassbender) whose the lone survivor of a Roman legion that is basically destroyed by an army of Pilts (Scots of the day). He escapes & meets up with another army, they're devastated, and the few survivors basically spend the rest of the movie trying to get back to their people & avoid the Pilts, led by a vengeful leader and an expert tracker (Kurylenko). If you liked movies such as "Pathfinder" or "King Arthur" or "Braveheart" fight scenes, I think you'll really enjoy this flick. It's from the director of "The Descent" so that's a hint that it gets pretty bloody & is beautifully shot... so enjoy if that's your thing.

Anyway, that'll do it for tonight. Hope you enjoyed & I'll get the New Orleans pics up asap. Have a great day everybody!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

While I Was Away Drinking

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well... thanks to a wonderful weekend with the ladyfriend to celebrate Valentine's as well as an extended President's weekend... I still find myself unable to post a lot of the photos from sheer lack or time. You bloggers know what I'm talking about. So in the meantime, I thought I'd take out a lot of the wordiness of the pictures portion of the blog... and let you know about some interesting movies that I've seen the past few weeks while in New Orleans as well as with the ladyfriend since I came back.

First off, Filly got me hooked on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." After the first season, I didn't think it was possible... but after watching seasons 2 & 3 during some inclimate weather in New Orleans... that damn Joss Whedon has me hooked on another of his shows. Sum'bich. Anyway, I'm a few episodes into season four now... but just FYI...

First up was "Jumpin Jack Flash" starring Whoopi Goldberg from the mid-80's. How do I know that? Because it stars Whoopi Goldberg. Anyway, Filly had it on VHS & was appalled that I hadn't seen it... so we watched it. A woman who processes bank transactions (Whoopi) gets a mysterious message from a man who claims to be a British agent trapped behind enemy lines... and gets brought into a world of intrigue, danger, espionage, blah blah blah... and it's Whoopi so you get a lot of hilarious attitude along with it. It was okay, definitely had it's moments. I assume if you were ever planning on seeing it you would have already. One thumb up? It's okay.

Next up was "Star Trek IV: Voyage Home" which is the one set mostly in San Francisco where they travel back in time (disbelief) to borrow (steal) a few pair of humpback whales before some giant space thing destroys Earth in the 23rd century... because there are no whales. Yeah... think about it... it could happen. Anyway, you get the Shatner & the Nimoy & the Chekov & the Bones & you get to see San Francisco... but yeah, it's one of those sci-fi comedies even if unintentional maybe? I mean... I'm sure they took themselves seriously to a point but... I enjoyed it.

Next up was "Skyfall" starring Daniel Craig & Javier Bardem in the latest installment of James Bond. I'm sure most of you saw it in theatres... so good for you. Basically to sum up the last few Bonds, Casino Royale kicked ass & reignited the series... Quantum of Solace pretty much sucked from what I can remember... but now it's back with actual villains that you can fear both for their cunning & craziness (Bardem) and some kick ass action. As for the plot... it's a Bond flick. Former agent wants to blow up MI-6 and M (Dame Judy Dench) in particular so Bond has to save the day, even though he's having his own issues with them ordering a shot that accidentally hit him instead of its target in the beginning. I'd say spoiler alert but... it's before Adele even belts out the opening number, so I feel like I'm not spoiling anything. Go check it out if you like Bond... and if not, why are you reading my blog?


Next up is "Frankenweenie" which is a child friendly retelling of Frankenstein... but with a ten-year old kid bringing his beloved dog back to life instead of the usual story... and directed by Tim Burton. I HIGHLY recommend checking out this flick... and it's okay for the kids too. If you like "Nightmare Before Christmas" then you'll love this movie. I like it even better (primarily because of the lack of musical) but I understand that's not everybody's deal. Go check it out now.

Next up is "Flight" starring Denzel Washington & directed by Robert Zemeckis ("Back to the Future" trilogy & "Forrest Gump"). The plot seems somewhat based on the Hudson River Miracle or whatever it's called when Capt. Sully saved a bunch of people, but then veers off. Basically an alcoholic & drug using pilot (Washington) shows up hung over... but also high to counteract momentarily to an early morning flight... and about 45 minutes it, sh*t gets real... and he has to pull an amazing manuever to save 95% of the people on board (basically everybody with their seatbelts on). But then... the investigation finds that he was drunk and/or high... and basically from there, the movie drums into your face every moment that he's an incredibly obsessive alcoholic to a point of absolute unbelievability. How you ask? Well, having grown up around alcoholics, they tend to have a drink of choice that they kill themselves with. Now, Denzel's character chugs giant bottles of vodka while driving around town with the media after him while trying to be incognito (really?) but there's also beer, bourbon, everything in the mini bar, blah blah blah & it just got irritating. Thankfully I think that Mr. Zemeckis or the screenwriter hasn't grown up around alcoholics, but you can get the same effect without making it horribly obvious. Just a bit of advice. Anyway, I didn't care for the movie really. It seemed long... the "love story" was REALLY forced... and even though it had a great cast, they did okay. Nothing remarkable really. Sorry Denzel. You did okay from an acting perspective... but just didn't feel the movie.

Next up is "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" which is a bit of Norwegian Christmas horror flick... about a company digging deep into a mountain... and releasing SANTA CLAUS into the world so that he can devour & torture children!!! The cinematography is beautiful, it's a unique look at a chestnut classic... and I highly recommend it. It's on Netflix... here's the deal, check out the trailer. If you see the trailer & it intrigues you... the movie is basically that. Go for it.

Next is "Billy Jack" which I had heard about... but not in the best light, primarily the sequel "The Trial of Billy Jack" said to be one of the worst movies ever made... but the ladyfriend insisted that I check out this movie from her past. Basically it's a 70's movie about a half-breed American Indian Vietnam vet named Billy Jack who lives on the reservation and dispenses his own kind of soft-spoken martial arts justice to a small town where the white people basically pick on the Indian school (full of white people) and then eventually assault & rape them with no consequences. It was... interesting. The plot is... eh... the acting is... ugh... it did have a small part played by Dr Fever from WKRP in Cincinnatti... but yeah, you have to watch it with others & kind of laugh at it... and I get it... the white man destroyed the natives... over a century ago... even the old people don't remember when it happened. Sorry y'all...

Lastly was for me, a documentary called "SEC Storied: Sam Bowie" about the guy who was famously picked ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft. Here's a quick summary of the story. Sam grew up in small town Pennsylvania (Lebanon), his mama worked hard, daddy was an alcoholic, he was really tall (7-foot-1 at full stature) and really athletic and really good at basketball. He got recruited at Kentucky and was well on his way to the NBA his first two years of college... and then he fractured his leg... and was out for about two years. Then he came back... and hurt his leg again. Then had a decent senior year, so then the draft came... and he was an athletic center with major skills... and the Blazers already had Clyde Drexler playing MJ's position so... they went with the center. He had a great start to his career... MJ missed most of his second season... so nobody was really talking about it until his third year... when Sam rebroke his leg... and was out for a long time... and MJ was MJ. Then the next seven years was a series of comebacks & injuries, comebacks & injuries, then he retired & became a punchline. It's not that he was a horrible player or anything... he just got hurt... a lot. He still played ten years in the league which is more than most can say... but yeah, it's a tragic story... but he's happy now & raising horses in Lexington. It's a great story or perseverence really. Feel free to check it out. I'm a basketball nerd... and a fan of the human condition & the stories within. Deal with it.

Anyway, that oughta hold you over for a few days until I can get these pictures posted. Have a great day everybody!!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
I'll have posted pictures for my trip to New Orleans... but I thought that I'd just real quick wish you all a great Valentine's Day. Yes, I'm aware that it's a day or so late... but yesterday was busy... and I was focusing on my ladyfriend after a few weeks away. Now, you know I'm not the biggest fan of Valentine's Day given my checkered history on the day (found here & here). However, it has been getting progressively better as time goes by... and this was probably my best thus far.
It started in Igor's Bar & Grill in New Orleans with Filly & her friends in the midst of being a designated driver for a karaoke bash. I sang "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" by the Darkness and assisted Gator the KJ with his singing of "Across 110th Street" & finishing off the evening with "Get Low." We were out until after 3 AM... then woke up around 6 AM in New Orleans (4 AM Pacific time) to head out to the airport. However, a little bit of the story starts Valentine's Eve... when I sent this picture of one of Filly's roses to Dizzy...
She had mentioned that this kind of rose was her favorite (and probably a lot of yours out there as well) so I had an idea... get her some. One problem, it was Valentine's Eve... and it'd be VERY expensive even IF they were available & they'd be delivered to... wherever she was going to be... but I had a better idea... see if Bud the Rose wanted to hitch a ride back to the Bay with me.

Filly helped me put together this little transport...
so here's Buddy heading to the airport...

Flying first class in a classy Pralines box...

Grabbin' a bite to eat during a quick layover in Vegas...
Of course he eats Popeye's... he's a southern boy...

No time for Roulette at Mandalay Bay...
You've got a date with Dizzy...

...and finally landing at the Oakland Airport.
So I'm at the Oakland Airport... with the rose in the praline box... and I have to get a pass for AirBART to get home... and my arms are fully of stuff, so I set it to the side when it's a little crowded to get the ticket. Well, I turned my eyes from it for less than a minute... and when I turned back all of my stuff was there... except the praline box containing Bud. Somebody either swiped it... or threw it away thinking it was trash. WTF? Well, best case scenario... somebody thought they were getting a sweet treat & instead got a pleasant rosie surprise. Whatever... he & his box would've been the centerpiece of this presentation...
Inside the box would've been Bud saying howdy & carrying the contents of that little square package. Curious what was in there? Well, you'll have to check out Dizzy's blog to see it... and it's well worth a glance (and a read if you like my blog, hers is quiet similar). Anyway, New Orleans shenanigans coming soon on this glorious President's Day Weekend! Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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