Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Finally Over...

Well, it's the 29th of December and I'm still here. I made it through Christmas and my birthday with my sanity relatively intact. This is an interesting turn of events. I never thought I'd make it.

Christmas is and always shall be something of a non-event for me. In fact, if it wasn't for the other people in my family, I wouldn't do anything for Christmas at all. Just enjoy the day off from work and then muddle on. This year I got closer to that than ever before. There were no decorations in my house, no carols, no tree. My family all crowded into my apartment, so I had to get gifts. Remarkably enough, I was even put in the position of fixing someone's Christmas, so they'd have a better one. Can you believe it? ME, fixing Christmas for someone?? ME?? I mean ME?? I'm still astounded by it.

I didn't get much in terms of gifts, but that's never really been the point of the holiday for me. My goal is to survive the day with as little fighting with my family as possible. And this year, I got the closest to that goal, I've EVER gotten.

As for my birthday, as always, it passed with little note. I got a bunch of "Happy birthday"s from my friends on FaceBook, and a couple of personal messages. I went out and saw True Grit (good movie), bought myself some Blu-Rays, and treated myself to dinner. I still have the desire to have a HUGE party on my birthday, and one day, I will do it. But for this year, the marking of the 34th orbit around the sun that the earth made since I was introduced to the multi-verse, I was good with a slow day by myself. If I'd had the money, I would have topped the day off with a hooker or two, but that also is for another year.

We're a couple days away from New Year's Eve and it's looking like I'm not going to be doing much for that, either. This year, I'm going to stay up and watch one of the specials (normally, I just sleep through it) maybe with a bottle of wine or something. It could be fun.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So It's Only, Like, About Damn Time!

I'm not one to get too high up on the Blu-Ray phenomenon. It still feels like a bit too much like unnecessary extravagance, especially since there isn't a big difference from DVDs to Blu-Ray. They both look the same. But, I am excited about a Blu-Ray release!! This one...

That's right folks!!! Get ready to journey with the Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Buttercup, and my personal favorite, Inigo Montoya.... only this time in HIGH DEF!!!  I even found a review of the upgraded transfer of the film to blu-ray!! So go to your nearest video store, or online site and order it RIGHT NOW!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Modern Day Christmas Greeting...

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all...

And, a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of the other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to age, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, disability, or political affiliation.

(Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for him/herself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tron: Legacy - Enter The Grid...

Have you ever watched a movie and wondered where did all the millions of dollars go? With Tron:Legacy (T:L), every single dollar of the budget is visible on the screen. The original movie had a visual style that remains distinct and original even today. T:L took that style and transformed it into a sleeker, smoother version of itself that was new and entirely its own. The best revamp was done to the single most famous icon of the Tron universe: The LightCycle. Gone are the ninety-degree turns and rectangular jet walls, replaced by the grace of curves and the multi-level Cycle Course. Even watching those beautiful machines crash and shatter like so much glass was gorgeous (if a bit painful) to see.

Overall, the director Joe Kosinski did an excellent job balancing the necessary artificial aesthetic of The Grid with the essential grounding in reality it needed to have to in order to be taken seriously as a world in and of itself. And while doing all that, he managed to still make it reminiscent of the original style, giving the digital world a look that felt like it evolved from the first film, like software evolves from its previously written versions. My "fanboy" eyes almost melted due the sheer awesomeness of how the Grid looked.

The other big visual achievement that T:L got was the "Benjamin Buttons" style CGI that allowed them to show a youthful Jeff Bridges in a beginning flashback and as C.L.U., his digital alter-ego. And for the most part it worked really well! I found it a little off putting during the real world scenes, but once in the Grid, it added a fantastic visual creepiness to C.L.U. that perfectly complimented the character. In fact, the only place the effect broke down at all was in the mouth. And that was only in two places in film.

While we're on the subject, let's talk Jeff Bridges and the actors. First off, I have to tip my hat to Mr. Bridges. He has never EVER failed to deliver anything less than a fantastic performance in any of his movies (and I am SO looking forward to seeing him in True Grit) and Tron:Legacy is no exception. Bridges plays both Flynn and C.L.U. with absolute perfection. Even after being in the system for 20 years, Flynn still has a sense of awe & wonder about the world he built, and Bridges conveys that child like love effortlessly, and then takes Flynn on an emotional arc, catalyzed by the appearance of his son, that is amazing to watch. For any other actor, I think the temptation to make C.L.U. an over-the-top villain would be to great to resist. Yet, Bridges plays C.L.U. with a level of honesty and sincerity that fully fleshes out the characer, making him into a believable antagonist. By the end of the film, I found myself actually feeling for C.L.U. and the anguish he felt.

As tricky as Flynn & C.L.U. were to play, I think that Sam Flynn (the son on Kevin Flynn) was also a very difficult role to play, and Garrett Hedlund aced the role. The reason Sam is such an difficult role is because of the opposing goals for the character. As the audience's gateway into the Grid (and the film), Sam should just be a reactionary character, never initiating anything or having any other motives except for what's happening to him. Yet, there's also the drive to find out about his father, the anger of being abandoned, the amazement at this digital world his father created, the surprise that the stories his father told him as a child were all true. All these emotions boil under the surface of Sam Flynn and Hedlund touched upon all of them, yet never lost the openness that was needed to keep the audience anchored and invested in his character and consequently, the film.   

When it was announced that Daft Punk would be working on the music for T:L, the world was overjoyed! Then people heard the soundtrack and complained because it wasn't club dance/electronic music. It was, in fact, an actual musical score. I stayed away from the music (except for the single, Derezzed, which was impossible to avoid) until I watched the movie. But, watching the movie, I can understand why Daft Punk made the music the way they did. And as awesome as the visuals were, the movie jumped to the next level of awesomeness with the sound.

Daft Punk really showcased their mastery of music with this score. Just like the visuals paid homage to the original while being distinct yet realistic to itself, the music lives in that intersection of typical electronic beats, atmospheric orchestral pieces (the violins in "Nocturne" and "Adagio for TRON were amazing!!), and old synthesized sound (mostly on the "End Of Line" track) that flows seamlessly with the visuals. I have to admit, this soundtrack has given me much more respect for Daft Punk. It would have been easy to just create some typical (but still fantastic) techno beats for this movie and call it a day. But, listening to the soundtrack after the movie, you can hear the care that went into this album. It's so complete and whole that it stands on its own as a work of art. I do admit to wishing for a "Music Inspired By" album from Daft Punk, where they cut loose and let their signature style come pounding through, but even if they don't, this soundtrack is a testament to their skill. (I LOVED their cameo in the movie, too. It was a fun tribute to them.)

Now, being a fully fledged movie buff, I do have to admit there were some flaws with Tron: Legacy. And they fell pretty much in the same slot as the first one: the story. First, like in the original, they didn't really do much with Tron, the character the movie is named after. Secondly, (also like in the original) the script seemed to bite off a little more than it could process, trying to be too many things at once. A touching emotional story of a son looking for his father, a hopeful story of how the hidden wonders of technology could save us from the problems we seem unable to solve, an exploration of the philosophies of life, of self, and of the promise and pitfalls of both action & inaction. All of these themes and more make appearances in the story line, but despite the (impressive for a Disney movie) two hour duration, there simply wasn't enough time to cover all of that in a single movie.

The only other flaw in the film has to do with the restrained tone of the film. Being a Disney film, there are themes that T:L couldn't get into, like sexuality or violence, and other themes embedded into the film (such as not too subtle Christian religious references) that keep Tron:Legacy from fully reaching the potential of the storyline it created.

I watched this movie in the theaters on opening night, and despite its flaws, Tron: Legacy held up pretty well. As I watched the film, I noticed that it had it's audience in rapture. There was no chatter, no whispering. Everyone was just caught up in what was going on. It was amazing to see, considering that the theater was absolutely PACKED with people. 

Overall, I loved this film. I walked in expecting an epic movie, and that's exactly what I got. It was an amazing ride. It surpassed its predecessor with flying colors, and I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to have a good time for a couple of hours. As for me, I will be watching it again!

End of Line 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Maven Loves.... Jeff Bridges

I'm not someone who makes friends easily. But the few friends I have, I keep pretty much forever. I can see myself with the same group of people even in my future lives. That being said, there are times when I hate my friends. I mean true, deep black hatred of the ages. The type of hate that destroys souls and gives birth to the most vile of demons.

Today, I hate my friend David. I hate him because in his blog, The Bimillennial Man, he introduced me to the one of the strangest, weirdest, and hottest movie reviewers on the planet, Tara Perry, the Movie Maven. Here's her take on this weekend's movies:

I swore I would never admit to watching this. Let alone post one on my blog, but I just couldn't help it. She's just so beautiful, I can't stop watching.... I hate you, David. Grrrr... Argh! *sigh*

Interview With A Director...

In a previous blog post, I talk about my opinion on movie remakes, and how I'm always open to them. One of the reasons why is because I always wonder what the movie would be like if it had been done with modern technology. To be completely honest, a large chunk of my enthusiasm for the movie Tron: Legacy is fueled by the desire to see such a visually distinctive world rendered under the power of current computer technology.

Now, I've tried to stay away from the media hype of the movie in order to not build up my expectations to an impossible-to-meet level. But given the marketing engine that Disney has, some hype has gotten through. One example of this is an interview I came across with the director of Tron: Legacy, Joe Kosinski.

It was an intriguing read, and I find that the ideas he presented in that interview give me a more solid, intellectual basis for wanting to watch the film. Don't get me wrong, there's still a large part of the "fanboy" impetus in my head, but now there's more to it. I'm interested in seeing how a living, digital world would evolve with no connection to the outside world (which would be the Internet, in this case.) I'm interested in seeing how they present the passage of time for a digitized human. And given how cool the original Tron games were, it's definitely going to be interesting to see what new games they came up with for this movie.

This is cool, now it's no longer just over the top fanboy love that makes me want to see Tron: Legacy. There's a legitimate interest in this movie in and of itself, for me. ROCK!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sailing On Stranger Tides

In a post last month, I mentioned that the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie is in the works. Well, since that posting, my dear readers, the producers of the film have released a full on trailer for the film. And it seems to confirm exactly what I was saying earlier. There is no more Will & Elizabeth, and we're focusing almost exclusively on Capt. Jack Sparrow's latest adventure, finding the Fountain of Youth. Here's the trailer:

Doesn't that look good? I always say, if you want to make a movie better, add a feisty Latina with a sword, and finally someone listened to me!! And Ian McShane as Blackbeard looks positively evil! This looks like it's going to be LOADS of fun!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Outside The Government, Beyond The Police

Doctor Who

Doc tor Who

Tor doc Who

Torc do Who

Torch od Wo

At the same time that I found out about the new series of Doctor Who, I was told about the spin off series, Torchwood. The series takes place in the same universe as Doctor Who, but is completely Earth based.

The story goes like this: In a ep of the new Doctor Who, the Doctor finds himself battling an alien life form that wants to kill Queen Victoria during her visit to the Torchwood Estates. As you might expect, the Doctor saves the day (and the Queen) but Her Royal Majesty takes issue with the Doctor's reckless attitude and decrees him an enemy of the Empire. In accordance with this decree, she founds the Torchwood Institute, in deference to the name of the estate, whose sole purpose is to defend the British Empire from alien attack and especially from the Doctor.

While references abound for Torchwood in the new Doctor Who series, Torchwood takes direct action during the introductory ep of Tenth Doctor, The Christmas Invasion, when the Prime Minister authorizes Torchwood to destroy an alien ship. In a later ep of Doctor Who, the Doctor directly encounters Torchwood and finds out that they defend the Empire from alien attacks by scavenging alien technology and using it against future threats. In this same episode, Torchwood unleashes a resurgence of the Cybermen on Earth. In the ensuing battle, Torchwood is destroyed. At this point, one of the Doctor's former companions, Capt. Jack Harkness takes over Torchwood, moves it from London to Cardiff, Wales, and re-makes the organization (it's third incarnation) into a more empathic, less aggressive, morally grounded version.

If you were to take Angel, The X-Files, Men In Black, and Doctor who, put them in a blender and turn it on high and you'd get Torchwood. I find Torchwood more appealing than it's parent program because of the darker subject matter, as well as the morally flawed characters. The interplay between the Torchwood team alone is fascinating to watch. While I would recommend Doctor Who to any sci-fi fan, I would recommend Torchwood to my friends. For some reason, that cynical, wise ass attitude would work as well for my friends, as it does for me.

Thoughts On... The Doctor

In this previous post, I promised that I would talk about one of my newly added favorites in the realm of sci-fi television, Doctor Who. Well folks, here it is, my take on Doctor Who. One note before we begin, I've only started watching the new series which started in 2005. For all the fans who have been watching since 1963, I apologize ahead of time for any slights or insults that I may inadvertently deliver. The ones that I explicitly deliver, I won't apologize for.

For those of you who don't know, Doctor who is a show about an alien being called "The Doctor", who looks remarkably human, that travels around space and time (in a craft called the T.A.R.D.I.S) exploring, having adventures, protecting Earth, and basically just getting into all kinds of trouble. At times the Doctor has anywhere from 1 to 3 companions tagging along (usually human) as sidekicks or lightning rods. 

First off, the show itself. I am of the opinion that Doctor Who is one of the most original science fiction shows ever created. The concepts presented are fascinating, the idealism is refreshing without short changing or pandering to it's audience, and the technology presented is exceptionally creative. And it's just plain FUN to watch. There are very few shows out there (most created by Joss Whedon) that blend sci-fi, humor, drama, horror, and action in a single episode, let alone an entire series!

One of the most original concepts of the series relates to The Doctor himself, and directly relates to the seemingly never ending appeal of the show. In 1966, the actor who played the Doctor left the show. In an effort to keep the show going, the writers at the time introduced the Doctor's ability to regenerate into an entirely new appearance with new quirks, but retaining the memories of the previous  Doctors. Currently, there have been a total of 11 Doctors, with the eleventh Doctor being on air currently.

It turns out that I have seen the last 4 Doctors. One of which was in a made for US tv movie, that I had completely forgotten about until recently. The other three have been covered in the new series. Out of the Doctors I have seen, my personal favorite is the ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston. His portrayal was fluid enough that it meshed with ever changing tone of the show. The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, was fantastic but he comes across as a bit of a goof which can short circuit the times when the show is trying to be serious or suspenseful. The latest Doctor is also exceptional, but seems a bit too grave for the role which can throw a sonic screwdriver into the comedic parts of the show.

As for the Doctor's companions, they are as random and varied as the different iterations of the Doctor they travel with. My personal favorite being Donna Noble, the only companion I've seen that wasn't hopelessly in love with the Doctor and actually gave him a hard time on a repeated basis. I do have to make a small mention of another of my favorite companions of the Doctor, Capt. Jack Harkness. He was definitely awesome, but more about him on a different posting. 

I started watching Doctor Who when a friend of mine was having orgasms watching the season 4 finale and basically begged me to watch the series. And it took two episodes to really lock me into the series. But having watched the new series, and reading up on the older series, I do have one gripe about the show. While the show is completely original as compared to other science fiction programming, there isn't a great deal of NEW thinking IN the show. I'd say about 95% of the greatest set pieces of the show have all been rehashes of prior events. The one that I particularly enjoyed, the appearance of another alien of the same race as the Doctor calling himself the Master, turns out to be nothing more than the latest "return" of a villain that has been a part of the series since the beginning. And honestly, how many times can the Daleks come back before they are reduced to a crutch?

Having a character that, for all intents and purposes, is immortal and is NOT locked into a single appearance is a television dream! But there is a catch. Having to come up with enough new material so the show doesn't get stuck in a cycle of re-hashing old material in a new format. Overall, the show is fantastic, and I'm very much looking forward to the next season (or series as the Brits call it!) just to see what weirdness the Doctor gets himself into now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rockin' Chicken Parm

Because I have so many friends who cook, I've gotten TONS of ridicule over my learning such a basic principle of cooking that you add seasoning while you cook. A friend of mine (a gorgeous little hottie named Jesca) started a recipes blog called Rockin' Recipes, and gave me permission to post one of her recipes here. Granted, I did re-write it for men since, let's face it guys, we can be food prep-challenged. Click here for the original un-edited recipe.

NOTE: If you are planning on using this recipe as part of a pre-meditated seduction, please make sure that your target is:
  • A) Not a Vegetarian, and
  • B) Not lactose-intolerant
Believe you me, the night will go a lot more smoothly if you have those facts ahead of time! And here's the Male version of Rockin' Recipe's Chicken Parmesan:
Your Weaponry:
3 Bowls
2 Sheets of Wax Paper
1 Baking Dish (A Cookie Sheet can be substituted)
1 Skillet
1 Stove with Oven

Your Ammunition:
4 Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Flour
1 pkg Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

A large amount of Pasta Sauce (your preference)
Some flour for dusting (your preference)
Some butter or margarine for greasing (your preference)

Battle Prep:
- Fill the bowls:
-- Bowl 1: Flour
-- Bowl 2: Eggs beaten within an inch of their lives
-- Bowl 3: Bread Crumbs (Optional: Add salt & pepper to taste.)

- Grease the Baking dish with your choice of butter

Battle Plan:

Stage 1:
On a stove top place oil in skillet and let heat. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

By this point, the chicken breasts have been making smart ass remarks, so you take each one and place it in between the two sheets of wax paper and beat the wiseass out of them! When they are about a quarter of an inch thick, they've learned their lesson.

Take one of the newly schooled chicken breast and pat it (on BOTH sides) in the flour. This dries the skin and allows the egg to stick a little better. Next, dip it in the egg.

Order some of the expendable crumbs to jump into the oil and test if it's ready. If the oil bubbles around them, it's time for stage 2.

Stage 2:
Take the chicken breast and dip both sides in the final bowl with bread crumbs. When the meat has a solid shield around it, transfer it to the hot oil. Cooking the chicken on both sides should take only 2-3 minutes. This is just to solidify the bread crumb shield into it's final golden brown form. While this is cooking, prep the next breast for its time in the oil.

Evac the finished chicken into the greased baking dish and place the next piece of chicken into the oil. keep going until all four have done their duty and are in the baking dish.

Pour a fair amount of your chosen pasta sauce on top. Then bake for 35 min. Then it's time for stage 3.

Stage 3:
At the 35 min mark, add the shredded mozzarella and then bake another 10 min until the cheese is browning. This chicken is now DONE!

You can serve this with whatever other dishes you wish, or man up and eat it solo! Recommended team mates: Linguine (or any pasta, duh!), or serve on a bed of rice.Other than that, you're on your own for what else you want to serve with it.

NOTE: This recipe has been known to increase attraction and create a great deal of affection for the cook in those who eat it. Be warned: do not, I repeat, DO NOT serve this to someone you don't like!

An Interesting Discovery...

I have a confession to make, my dear readers, and it's a painful one. I don't know everything. No, seriously! I know that reading this blog has made you believe that I am an undeniable, never-ending font of knowledge, second only to the Lord God Himself!! But, alas, I am not. I am the first to admit, that there are whole realms of knowledge that I am not privy to. The current bane to my font of eternal wisdom and know-it-allness (yes, I know that's not a word! Just go with it...) is cooking.

Yes, the arcane and mystical art of food preparation is still very much a mystery for me. I can make cold cereal, scrambled eggs, mac & cheese, and a wide variety of sandwiches... but that's it. To be completely honest, most of my meals have been take out. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to continue that particular style of cooking, and so by necessity, I'm forced to cook for myself. And since I can't live on just the stuff I know how to make, I am also forced to learn how to make actual meals.

Which brings us to the topic at hand. I've learned recently (the last year or so) that you have to pre-season food in order for it to have any flavor. Yet, even with the most vigorous seasoning I could accomplish, I still couldn't get a truly flavorful meal. All my seasoning stayed at the outermost layer of whatever I was preparing. But, I recently got an idea: what if I put seasoning in with the food while it was cooking AS WELL as when I prepare it for cooking?? Last night, I tested my theory. I took my chicken and seasoned it as normal with my old faithful, Goya Adobo, a seasoning mix that is used in practically all latin cooking consisting of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, dry orégano brujo, and occasionally dried citrus zest.

I got a pot and put some corn oil in, and then crumbled up a cube of chicken bouillon in the oil. I heated up the oil and put my chicken in. It took about 15-20 min, but I came out with some very tasty chicken. Of course, I also burned the oil/bouillon mix that I was cooking the chicken in, but at least the theory held!!!

Now, I know that the experienced cooks reading this all are shaking your heads at me and grumbling any number of names at me. In my defense, I don't watch cooking shows, I wasn't trained in cooking, nor have I taken any cooking classes outside of high school Home Ec. This is all new to me, so cut me a break! For my next trick: how to get rice to not come out as a sticky mush better suited for sushi!

I think I might be aiming a little high....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Some New Rock Music....

I was creating a mix CD for a co-worker of mine when I needed a good, recent rock song. I did a little digging and found this song. It's got a great beat, catchy lyrics, a great guitar solo.... oh, and really hot women in the video.

As far as I can tell, this is a relatively new band and this is their first single off of their first album that was released this summer. I got this album as an early Christmas gift and I haven't heard it all, but what I've heard is good. Check out the video for "Porn Star Dancing"

Company Christmas Party: The Aftermath...

Well, I made it through the Christmas party. Overall impression: underwhelmed. For the past six months, I heard stories about how wild & crazy this particular party was going to be. With every story things got wilder & wilder. There were hints of lesbian make out sessions, clothes swapping, and other interesting things. Instead, I got a bunch of people playing pool, drinking, and talking.

After a few minutes of arriving, I decided to not go through with the "get totally wasted" plan and just drink a little bit to get a nice buzz and then ride out the buzz at the festivities. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually had fun. I know, I couldn't believe it either. I actually ENJOYED being out with people, drinking and talking. I think I'm losing my hermit tendencies.

I was even considering hitting on this absolutely GORGEOUS waitress, but common sense prevailed and I did not. Instead, I ogled all the hot women I work with (now slightly dressed up) and the hot girlfriends/spouses of my male colleagues. It was a lot of ogling, but after 3 or 4 Long Island Iced Teas, I knew I was up to the task. I also talked about increasingly erratic and bizarre topics with my co-workers, such as: the risk/reward analysis of actually hitting on the waitress I was checking out, whether or not a pool table would make a suitable bed, the benefits of substituting a relationship with Internet porn and prostitutes, whether or not online dating is relatable to a confidence scam, etc.

I had planned on bringing a date, but online dating did not produce anyone in time, and my alternate choice for a companion got locked down at her job, so I was stag for the night, but it was still a good time. And I made it home safe & sound. All in all, it was a good time, but I was hoping for a bit of a wilder time. There would be SO many more stories I couldn't tell!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Company Christmas Party and My Last Drinking Binge...

So my company is having a Christmas party tonight with an open bar. I'm not one to drink wantonly, but I was thinking about going all out and getting completely trashed at the party, and participating in what most of the people in the world consider to be "having a good time". Since what I normally do: playing video games, reading books, and watching tv/movies, don't seem to be "good time" activities.

I usually don't get drunk because alcohol is a super extreme depressant for me and knocks me out rapidly. One time, I made it a point to get trashed, it was for one of my birthdays... possibly my 27th birthday... I went (read: was dragged) to this bar near the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, NYC called Jekyll & Hydes. It's a cool place, going for the horror movie/evil scientist laboratory vibe. If you get a chance, check it out.

I made the mistake of telling the bartender that it was my birthday, so all my drinks/shots were filled with more than would normally be the case. Right around midnight, I told the bartender that my birthday was over. He looks at me and says, "Look at my computer screen. It still says the 27th. It's still your birthday. Now have another!" It was shortly after this exchange that  I started the new drinking policy of drink whatever's put in front of me (at the behest of my so-called friends).

Anyone who has EVER been on a drinking binge knows that "Drink Whatever's In Front Of Me" is NEVER a good policy. I was, of course, a neophyte to drinking so I thought it was a good idea. That thinking ended when my bartender decided to pour me a shot of something that was pitch black. I mean PITCH BLACK, like I had trouble seeing the glass around the drink it was so dark.

"Drink this," says my bartender. And I say "my" bartender, because it seemed to me, buzzed as I was, the he was pouring drinks just for me. Everyone else's drinks just materialized in front of them, but mine were slow poured. I looked at the shot glass and asked, "What is it?"

"Just drink it!" So I did.

Now, I thought the drinks I had before were hitting me hard, but THAT drink felt like Mike Tyson had put on one of those Predator invisibility suits, stood in front of me, and PUNCHED ME DEAD IN THE FACE. I was shocked as hell to see that I was still standing after drinking that. "So what was that?"

"It's called Liquid Cocaine." I made a vow, after my bartender said that to NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVEREVEREVER drink that shot again. By this point, my friends and I had acquired some bar friends and we were swapping drinking stories and they were all making fun of me for being a newbie drinker. We had a flaming drink appropriately called, "Flaming Moe"s. At which point, I noticed that one of our bar friends was the drop dead gorgeous Italian woman I had been checking out earlier in the evening when I was still sober. And she was dressed in form-fitting black leather. And what a form she had! So, in my drunken stupor, I decided to walk up to this beautiful woman and say, "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen."

I said this without slurring a single word, in crystal clear English, despite being dead drunk. I know this because, if it had been drunk speak, her 9 foot tall, muscle-bound, Italian Mobster looking boyfriend would not have taken issue with my statement and stood up with the intent of splattering my face along the bar. At which point, my friends and I thought it would be very wise to vacate the premises.

Yes, that's right. I ran like a little girl. You know why? Cause running allowed me to survive and not be hunted down and killed for hitting on the wrong girl! You know how the Mafia are... vindictive! Then, while waiting for the Path train, which would take me back home to Newark, I started feeling sick. A tidal wave of nausea rose up through my body and I ran and started puking my internal organs out onto the tracks. During this completely involuntary action, my mind as a way of punishing me for my sins, decided to re-surface the memory of an article I had read earlier that way of some poor schmuck who had died in this same situation when a train came down the tunnel and decapitated him while he was puking over the rail.

Needless to say, I was scared out of my mind as I couldn't stop myself and I prayed devoutly for the train NOT to come on time. After all, what's ten minutes late between friends?? Thankfully, I finished emptying my stomach before the next train arrived. And I made it home safe & sound.

Now with an experience like that the last time I got trashed, why WOULDN'T I want to get trashed again???

Yes, I know. I need my head examined.

Top Ten Holiday Movies....

In keeping with the dark, twisted holiday themes of my life, I have compiled a list of my favorite holiday movies. These are the movies that have kept me sane (or what passes for sane for me) over the years during these festive, family focused frivolities. Before we get to the actual list, I want to give props to a couple of flicks that were good, but didn't rank high enough to make the list. First of the honorable mentions is Death Race. This one would have made the list except that most of the stuff that shows it takes place during the holidays is only on the Unrated version. Second, is The Addams Family which almost made the list on the strength of its opening scene of festive carolers about to be drenched in boiling liquid by the The Addamses! The master touch was the switch in the music from Christmas carol to The Addams Family theme.

And now, here are my top ten favorite holiday movies. 

10) Black Christmas (2006) - Christmas horror movies abound, but most of them focus on making the icons of the holiday evil, and there's only so many times I can watch Santa kill people before it gets old. This movie felt more like what my life would be like if I were caucasian and a serial killer. I'm already mentally deranged. One out of three ain't bad, right?

09) Nightmare Before Christmas - I always though this was a cool concept. The rituals of Christmas as interpreted by Halloween. This would have been higher, but a bunch of the songs are kind of annoying after the first viewing. Still the basic idea and the intensely impressive hard work in making this movie more than make up for the music.

08) Scrooged - This is probably the closest I'll ever get to liking a regular holiday movie. There's just something about the pathos and never ending sarcasm of Bill Murray that makes this movie awesome to watch. Even after he's been reformed, he still keeps the same style. This movie even made the three spirits fun!!

07) Lethal Weapon - There's nothing that warms the cockles of your heart than some good action during the holidays. And that's what Mel Gibson & Danny Glover deliver. Plus, we get a topless girl listening to Jingle Bell Rock, a shootout in a Christmas tree lot, and an epic hand to hand fight right in front of a somewhat cheerily decorated house! 

06) Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - The deadpan wiseass humor of Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer make this a holiday favorite for me. And the bonus of Michelle Monaghan bouncing around in a sexy Santa outfit doesn't hurt either!

05) Gremlins - This movie is the single most anti-consumerist movie I have ever seen. A father takes a gift to his son, and that gift spawns a bunch of evil creatures that terrorize an entire town! Plus, Phoebe Cates delivering one of the most horrible Christmas memories in film history just makes me happy in the fact that there are people who have had worse Christmases than I!

04) Bad Santa - I prefer the unrated version of this movie, but the best part is (and I can't believe I'm going to say this) is the sex scene... "Fuck me, Santa! Fuck me, Santa! Fuck me, Santa! Fuck me, Santa!" There's just something about that line that is just.... enchanting.

03) Trading Places - Where Gremlins is anti-consumerism. Trading Places is anti-commercialism. There's nothing that makes the holidays complete than having your boss take everything in your life away from you and give it to someone else, all for a lousy $1 bet!

02) The Ref - This movie is the closest I've seen to Christmas at my house growing up. Yelling, screaming, and gun play (well that was only the one year at my house, but still) and then a stupid meal that degenerates into more yelling, and screaming, until someone runs away.

01) Die Hard - This movie takes one of the most common holiday stories, trying to get to your family for the holidays, and gives it some major balls! No longer is it being stuck with strange people in a snow bound airport or small town. No, now it's a group of highly funded thieves pretending to be terrorists, with enough C4 to orbit Arnold Schwarzenegger and machine guns galore!! If this isn't a Christmas tradition at your house, make it one! Or else, I'll send John McLane to YOUR house and then we'll see how your house stands up to sustained gunfire & explosions from terrorists!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Enter December, Stage Left...

And here we are once again, in December. The month of my gestation, when the extra-terrestrial, trans-dimensional, and temporally bi-located scientists defiled the laws of physics and decent society and created me. Once they realized their error, they dumped me on this no-name rock in this backwater part of this slum galaxy.

But on the plus side, there are some things I'm looking forward to this month! Obviously, there's the release of Tron: Legacy. But there's also the Tron soundtrack, done by none other than Daft Punk!! And now that I have a PS3, I can also look forward to Tron: Evolution! One of the few games that I have a hope of surviving the multi-player online combat! Plus, the 2nd greatest movie to be released this year and the most original concept film, Inception, comes out on DVD!! Although, I might want to get THIS movie in Blu-Ray. I think it's worth it, don't you?

Plus, if I get a Christmas bonus from my job (unlikely), I might be able to afford to get a hooker for my birthday! (Practically impossible, but that would be a nice present!) Or maybe an actual birthday party, with drinks, dancing, and hot women dancing and getting drunk, still snubbing me, then puking all over my floor and electronics.... Hmmm, okay so that's probably a no on the birthday party either.... *sigh*

Still, there's a lot of awesome things happening this month! And I have the company Christmas party to go to later this week! That should be fun! Nothing is better than watching a bunch of co-workers get drunk and make complete fools of themselves while you record them for future blackmailing. Yes, this month might actually be fun for a change! I guess, we'll see!