Monday, April 29, 2013

The Mouse That RAWWWWRED!!!

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

 

NFL’s version of Christmas came this past week as well… I can’t believe I didn’t even mention it. Obviously it’s far too busy & complex to chat about like the NBA’s Christmas (coming in a few months) but the Eagles did a lot better than I kind of expected. All the expert mock drafters had them doing something stupid like getting yet another quarterback (luckily the Jets took all that heat) with the 4th overall pick & they actually picked somebody that I hoped they would in offensive tackle Lane Johnson from Oklahoma. Big dude, great athlete, let’s hope he stays health. Then they picked up Stanford tight end Zach Ertz to help out with their quick, nimble offense, then an LSU lineman in the 3rd round, and then… they picked up USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Now… for a 4th round draft pick, you really can’t hate on that… but you already have so many at that position. Hopefully he pans out well. Oh… they also picked up a U of U lineman Joe Kruger (brother of former Ravens lineman Paul Kruger) so yeah, they actually did a good draft. Yay!!! Niners did pretty good too. In fact, I’d say that most teams addressed their needs… at least sorta.

 

The NBA playoffs are kicking up too… Spurs just swept the Lakers… Warriors are on the verge of meeting them in the next round… the Heat are continuing their ways… I’m sure that somebody somewhere is watching the Hawks & Pacers with any kind of genuine intrigue… ugh… SPORTS!!!

 

Oh… and let’s not forget movies…

 

First up is “For a Good Time, Call…” which I was recommended a while back by Bubbles who saw it in theatres. Basically the story is about a girl in her twenties who is having trouble finding a job, breaks up with her boyfriend (he dumped her ass), and while looking for a new apartment in Manhattan is set up by her GBF (Justin Long) with a friend of a friend who puked all over her one night after a kegger. Obviously once that happens you can never be friends with that person ever again… if you’re a chick. Anyway, semi-odd couple live passive-aggressively until the goodie-goodie finds out that the other is running a phone sex line out of her room. Well, she needs money, so she offers to help manage it… and then gets sucked into it… and calamity ensues. I assume that the ladies might find it hilarious… and I’ll admit that it had maybe two moments where I thought it was funny… but yeah, nothing too spectacular.

 




Next is “Wreck It Ralph” starring voice talents like John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch & Adam Lakers Carolla in a computer-animated story about the life of video games. Wreck It Ralph is a villain in his game… but he doesn’t want to be a villain anymore. He wants to win a medal & get some respect. So he ventures into another video game, which is a big no-no… and shenanigans ensue. As you would expect from Pixar & Dreamworks and all those movies, they have the formula down, make great kids flicks that adults can also enjoy… so I say go see this one as well. It’s funny, well done & appeals to the kid in all of us. Now if only I could get a few bucks from Dreamworks for that stirring review…

 

Next up was one that Izzy suggested from 1959 called “The Mouse That Roared” starring Peter Sellers. The small principality of Grand Fenwick is having a financial crisis thanks to Napa Valley taking away their primary export of a certain kind of wine. This plunges the small nation into desperate measures. How will they overcome? By declaring war on the United States. History has shown that once the U.S. wins a war with a country, they then nurse that country back to health (see German, Japan, our financial crisis, etc). So their plan is to send over a small band of incompetent soldiers to declare war… but then in a freak accident, they manage to obtain the ultimate weapon… the legendary Q-Bomb, as well as it’s inventor & lovely daughter. Now what to do? It’s actually a pretty cute little comedy flick from a bygone era. I highly recommend it.


Last up is “This is 40” starring Paul Rudd as director Judd Apatow & the rest of Judd’s family (actress Kelly Mann & his two daughters) basically about a married couple where both adults are reaching that dreaded age of 40. Throw in some money troubles & you’ve got a story line… but there are a lot of great comedy that I enjoyed & some fantastic cameos from the likes of Jason Segal, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow and even… Megan Fox. Yes, she’s still alive & working even after starting her own family. Fun Fact: I’ve been so out of the game that I pulled a “That chick on the ladder looks a lot like Megan Fox…” while watching. Anyway, great little comedy… and because it’s Judd Apatow it’s well over two hours but hey, you just might enjoy it. I’d say check it out… and I’ve got at least 8 more years until I need to worry about this stuff.
 
As for this next week, business as usual... but I did find out that a few of my roommates are thinking about moving out in the next few months so that should be interesting. We have all been here for almost two full years now so it's probably about time that we've all moved on... but I'm good for the next little while so I'm planning on sticking around. We shall see how it all pans out. Have a great week everybody!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mystical Land of Gualalaaaaaaa

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

When last we spoke, I had just turned 32 years old... and there was a mysterious mystical journey that the great ladyfriend Dizzy was going to take me on. Well, she took me to a few places on this road trip... but the end destination was the city of Gualala. What? You've never heard of it? Me neither... but it's beautiful & I highly recommend it. Oh, you want more info? Maybe some pictures? Okay... can do...

The scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway basically had several beautiful views every few feet... so you kind of half to be selective if you only have 70-80 years to take it all in. Here are some places that we decided to stop along the way... and it started out as an overcast day & was pretty windy throughout... but still well worth it...





At Goat Rock, we got to walk through the wild irises and other wildflowers...




Then we pulled over at Gualala Point for a magnificent lunch of sourdough bread, fancy cheeses & salted meats, sugar snap peas, strawberries, and an incredible view of the city of Gualala. BEHOLD!!!



Then we took a little walk along the bluffs to a point where, during season, whales can be seen... and since we often have luck with seeing whales on my birthday, even out of season, we thought it was well worth it just for that. The sun came out & just made it a wonderful romantic jaunt...









After that, my phone basically died (battery is getting worse I think) but we drove up to Point Arena, then thought Mountain View Road back & of course... it was a beautiful windy mountain road. We got to Cloverdale... and found Hamburger Ranch BBQ... and let me tell you, that stuff is LEGIT. We had some ribs, tri tip, and a few sides... but the barbecue was magnificent... and we weren't even that hungry. If you're ever in the area, check it out, it's just off the 101.

Then we drove back around sunset, watched a few movies (later post) and just had a wonderful evening together. So yeah, go check out Gualala & enjoy the splendid nature that surrounds us here in Northern California. Now I just have to figure out how to top this wonderful weekend when Dizzy's birthday comes around in a few weeks. Hmm... I'll have to start brainstorming. Have a great day everybody!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Two to the Fifth Power

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
Sorry it has been so long since my last real update (non-movie review related) but it has been a little busy & a lot of fun. Today marks my 32nd birthday (or as I prefer… two to fifth power) but first, I’m going to take you back to last Friday…
 
Dizzy & I spent the Friday going up to Wine Country because yes… I actually had a weekday off from work. I know… mind… BLOWN!!! Anyway, we drove out there with really no plan (or map) so I yelped a few wineries in the area around the wine train. First up was Del Dotto Winery & Caves. Unfortunately, because we didn’t set up a tour ahead of time we didn’t get a tour of the caves where they keep their wine… but we did have a nice sampling… and the d├ęcor is obviously spot on. By the way, I kind of want to find a dive winery. Do you know what I mean? Like… a winery that’s kind of just… wood planks around… various wines are paired with hot dogs & churros or something cheap like that… employees are nice & bathrooms clean of course… but it’s not like the usual there were everything is marble & artsy or whatever. I wonder if Charles Shaw Wineries are like that... for those who know “Two Buck Chuck” it’s now “Two-Fitty Chuck” thanks to the “recession” or whatever.
 
Next stop was a very small, yet very nice vineyard called Razi Winery. We pulled in & thought that the place was closed… but then a nice gentleman invited us in… so we had a nice tasting (very reasonably priced) paired with some great cheese… and then we found out… it was actually the owner who had invited us in & treated us while he was waiting for another party with an appointment about an hour later. Nice guy… great wine… go buy some… we did. After that, we grabbed a bit to eat at the Fatted Pig (there’s also a location in San Francisco I found out) and then it was time for…
 
The Napa Wine Train – So we met up with Dizzy’s aunts & cousin… and boarded the Wine Train. Basically, it’s this well-maintained & very posh train of about a dozen cars that goes from Napa to St. Helena & back over the course of 3-4 hours. The ride to St. Helena was during the “Golden Hour” so everything was beautiful as the pictures will show…
 





Then on the way back, we enjoyed a great 5-star dinner (with actually decent proportions) and eachother’s company. I highly recommend it. Yes… it’s absolutely pricey… but because it’s worth it. Especially for a special dinner date or something… guys… hint.
 
Saturday, we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. It was almost the same as last year… but had a good time there… oh and there was this shirt that I thought you’d all enjoy…
 
Sunday was a pretty lazy day but then we helped sell raffle tickets with the Meals on Wheels benefit that I volunteer for twice a year. Luckily this time I got to treat my lady to some of the fine wines & hors d’ouevres from celebrated chefs around the world that are a part of the benefit. Had I money to donate & be a full-on rapist… sorry, I’m being told it’s pronounced philanthropist, I’d totally be down in attending more of these things. In the meantime, I can donate my time… and maybe a little money (I didn’t win anything on the raffle). Great night!
 
Tuesday night after work, I met up with one of Dizzy’s friend from Detroit & we hit up a few bars. She wanted dive bars but… there really aren’t any dive bars in the Financial District / SOMA. Dive bars don’t have $7 beers. We probably could’ve made it out to the Castro where the beer flows like wine… but we only had a few hours and most of that would’ve been travel by bus. Still, great chick & we had a few drinks, then met up with Dizzy, then apparently she left town on the train a few hours later. So that was that…
 
Thursday night was Big Sky by the Bay a.k.a. The Carla & Larry Show a.k.a. Save Sharkey as it has been called over the years… which is basically a benefit that my friend Carla (oddly enough, who I met at a Meals on Wheels thing) and her friend Larry try to raise money for their common friend Sharkey. Basically it’s telecast live on the interwebs, but it’s a variety show, live auction, raffle, party & a half all rolled into one… and this year it was held at the Hi Dive bar located at right next to the world famous Bay Bridge. Here are a few pictures…
 
 


 
Today was my birthday… and yes, I got to spend it at work… but my coworkers really know what I like, so they got me a German Chocolate cake… and then they decorated my closet office up in Mardi Gras theme. There were beads & some masquerade confetti EVERYWHERE along with green & gold banners and the like… and then there was this…
 
So yeah, it’s been a great birthday week… and this weekend, Dizzy is taking me to a secret location on a road trip… the only thing I know is that it’s north of here. I think I may have spoiled it though because she mentioned it last night & I asked “Is it Point Reyes Lighthouse?” “… N… No… Dammit… yeah, it is… I mean… not anymore…” Of course it was the one place north of here that I’ve visited… but I’m sure we’ll work something out. The weather’s supposed to be a little windy & cold anyway so worst-case, just snuggling next to the fire or whatever works too. We’ll be okay. Which brings me to something that I haven’t mentioned in a while… mainly because I haven’t been doing my job of keeping you up on the REAL news… but without further ado…
 
Apocalypse Update – Yes, the Apocalypse continues… but it’s not just India, Sri Lanka, Florida & other third world countries (ba-da-tish) but now it has spread into another state. Snakes have slithered into a Mississippi courthouse this spring, posing no threat… but definitely giving workers the creeps. Five of the brown DeKay's snakes — sometimes called earth snakes — have been found in the Hinds County circuit clerk's basement office since April 8. A deputy clerk, Kelly Phillips, says the largest was as big around as her finger and a few inches long… though she said that she didn't stop to measure it. Former zookeeper Percy King went to the courthouse to identify the allegedly non-venomous snakes. He says they have soft teeth that probably couldn't even break a human's skin. They can enter buildings through tiny holes. Phillips says the first time she saw one, she screamed, "Snake!" and several co-workers scattered. One coworker (probably a dude) picked it up with a paper clamp and took it outside. So… it’s not like the Everglades being overran by giant Burmese pythons or the entire justice system of Sri Lanka collapsing because of the Slithering Death… but still, keep your eyes peeled out there.
 
Anyway, that should do it for this evening. Thank you all for the birthday wishes… and have a great weekend everybody!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Red Sox Still Suck

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,


Well, now that I’ve caught you up on some of my shenanigans over the past few weeks… how about some movie reviews? Good? Alright then…

First up was a documentary about arm wrestling called “Pulling John” starring the legendary arm wrestler & fellow Utahn John Brzenk. Basically it follows how arm wrestling started, then there were the world championships… and then this kid from Utah basically dominated the sport for the next 30 years. Like… no comparison. MJ only dominated for about a decade. Jesse Owens the same… but John was holding it down for three solid decades. However… now he’s in his fifties… and there are guys in their twenties looking to take his crown… and frankly, the Russian guy in this movie looks like he could lift a f**king bus. Check it out… I found it VERY interesting. So interesting… I’m probably going to watch “Over the Top” again… and I’ve already seen it more times than any man should.

 

So when my family was visiting… we were talking about movies when we were driving about town… and I made a joke about getting points for running over people in my way… oh yeah, I do it all the time… but only rarely act. Anyway, my mom mentioned this movie she remembered from when she was in high school that was “sooooo stupid” that she had to share it with me. Basically it was a race across America… where the drivers got points for running over people along the way… and I thought “Wow, that does sound really stupid. How have I not heard of this movie before?” Well, Dizzy searched the interwebs… and behold, it was the original “Death Race 2000” starring David Carradine (of “Kung Fu” & dying of autoerotic asphicsiation in Thailand fame) and a young actor by the name of Sylvester Stallone. Yes, the movie was later remade starring Jason Statham and had criminals racing for freedom instead of “big shot athletes” racing for fame & money. Sigh… the 70’s version was a political commentary, possibly ahead of its time… but done so awfully that it’s worth a watch just to laugh at it. I mean… Stallone was the supporting actor… and the story was… well, I’ve told it… and it’s… it’s just awful… like a racecar mowing down a bunch of hospice workers… which is one of the scenes. So glad my mom recommended it…

 

Her next suggestion was… wait for it… “Nude Nuns with Big Guns” which I’m not even joking about. Okay, it was my 16-year old cousin Alicia that picked it… but yeah… the story is about nuns who take their vows… and then basically become Mexican drug mules by the clergy & cartels. Well, one of them fights back… and the movie is kind of like somebody trying to do their best Quentin Tarantino – Robert Rodriguez impression… but it’s pretty bad. Some gratuitous nudity if you’re looking for some on Netflix, kiddies. I wouldn’t recommend it… but yeah, just had to mention it because my mom & cousin suggested it. Good call, ladies. We later watched “Addams Family Values” to try & cleanse our heads of the filth.

 




Next is “Hitchcock” starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dame Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johannsen, Jessica Biel & many others. The story is about the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock (Hopkins & quite convincingly) and how in the late 50’s he grew tired of making thrillers… and instead wanted to make something FAR more unsettling… so then this book “Psycho” came out… and he found his inspiration. With the help of his wife Alma (Mirren) he set out to get it made… but none of the studios would touch it… so then he financed it himself… but would it be the end of Hitchcock’s legend… or at least fortune? Hopefully you know how it ends… but still, give it a gander. Fun fact: I had no idea that “Vertigo” flopped at the theatres. It’s one of my favorite movies at all time but it was referenced in this movie like it was “Pearl Harbor” or something…

 

Next is “Life of Pi” which is director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain” & “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”) adapting a story about an Indian child’s journey to Canada with his family… but then, things go wrong… and it becomes a tale of survival. I recommend it. I was under the impression that it was a children’s tale brought to live action… but then I thought, why would it be nominated for Best Picture? It’s pretty hard hitting… and beautifully shot. I’m about to forgive Ang Lee for “Hulk” after watching this movie… but not quite there. Check it out.

 

Last up is “Dracula 3000” which was on Netflix… and I’ll admit, the only reason I watched it was because it stars Casper Van Diem (“Starship Troopers”), Erika Eleniak (Allie May in “Beverly Hillbillies”) and rapper Coolio… and I was curious what they have been up to the past 15 years or so. I should’ve known it was going to be pretty bad when there was a “special appearance by Udo Kier” who you may know from every Uwe Boll movie ever made as well as other bad cinema. However, I watched it. Basically, it’s the story of a rogue spaceship in the year 3000 answering a distress call from a larger spaceship, The Demeter. Okay, right there, I should just sum it up… basically it’s the story of Bram Stoker’s Dracula set on a spaceship like “Alien” only on a budget of a few grand. Seriously, their space helmets were obvious snorkeling equipment. Like… the neon blue & yellow trimmed ones that you get from Wal-Mart. Anyway, I started to fast forward through it… and yeah, it’s just horrible. I’d like to say it was an interesting concept… but it really isn’t even that. It’s about as interesting as “Jason X” was on a concept level… and just about as well done. Sorry guys… glad to see you were all still getting work though.
 
Last night, Dizzy, her cousin & I went to see the San Antonio Spurs (going for ring number five) play in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors, who will be in the playoffs for the 2nd time in 19 years. The game was actually really good... and not just because it was the Warriors starters against the Spurs bench the whole time (resting for playoffs) but Stephen Curry lit it up. It was good & close until the last 4-5 minutes when the Warriors put it away. Good for them & a good time for all.
 
Anyway, that'll do it for tonight. Busy week or so still to go... so get out there & get busy yourself... but don't forget to stop by. Have a great week everybody!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Snow Wax & the Seven Wharfs

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well... as mentioned before... my mom, Aunt Pat & cousin Alicia came to visit last weekend... so it started out with a Thursday afternoon in Union Square for dinner (Cheesecake Factory). Then on Friday, we went to Fishermen's Wharf because it was Alicia's first time out here... so really about the only thing that you haven't seen from that yet is when we went to the Wax Museum. This museum was... well, do you remember the wax museum in Barcelona from a few years ago where I mentioned that a lot of them don't really look like the subjects... but they're basically mannequins in their trademark clothing? This was similar... but still very cool... if not unintentionally creepy (and not just in the hall of terrors. BEHOLD!!!




 
Why is Einstein all alone?


 
Ugh... hate this one...


 
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBS!!!





Who put these people on the same display?
Donny & Marie, Jacko, the Olsen Twins...
and Tom Hanks. REALLY?

 
BEST ONE IN THE WHOLE PLACE!!!
Steve Irwin: "CROYKEY!!!"
John Rambo: "I'LL GET HER!!! RRREEAAARRRARAR!!!"

That night we watched a few movies (more on another entry) then on Saturday we drove along the coast to Half Moon Bay for some wandering, Taco Bell on the beach in Pacifica & showed Alicia the Golden Gate Bridge briefly. Sunday, we met up with Bubbles to go to the Asian Art Museum... but there was a line around the block for it... so we decided to go to the Walt Disney Museum instead.

Now, people have tried to describe this museum to me before... and basically just told me it was about the Disney family... not Disney stuff... and they're kind of right, but just a piss poor description. It's really about how Walt rose from basically a regular Midwestern guy... to a cartoonist... and a few more steps before he was Walt f**king Disney!!! From early works of his to sketches for his movies to plans for Disneyland and so on. It was REALLY interesting & I enjoyed it thoroughly... as I'm sure that you would. BEHOLD!!!



 
Yes... Walt made pinups for our troops in WWII...
Rrrrrr... except that I think only one of them is over 18... maybe...

SONG OF THE SOUTH!!!



Anyway, that'll do it for this entry. This coming week should also be busy with activities... so I'll share as soon as I can. Have a great day everybody!!! And remember... if you can't find the humor in everything... at least try to find the irony...

Where Should I Go Next?