Monday, June 30, 2008

Controversial Post

FYI, this post deals with the war, soldiers, and other controversial subjects. This post is the result of a long winded discussion myself and some others had yesterday on the message board for the video game clan I have. It started with someone posting a video of soldiers in Iraq doing some really horrible things. I couldn't watch the whole thing as I had to turn it off after I saw soldiers teaching Iraqi children to say things in English that were against their religion and laughing about it, teasing kids with bottled water as they drove in a truck and making the kids run after them, and finally throwing a puppy off a cliff.

Like I said, it started with someone posting the videos and wondering why people would do this. Someone else retorted that although it looks bad, you cannot judge a soldier because of the things they go through over there. He brought up PTSD and the stress of being over there. As he had a father killed while in the service, he said the subject of soldiers was very sensitive to him.

I countered with the fact that although I support our troops for putting their lives on the line, whether or not I believe in or support the war. I believe that the stress of being over there has to be extremely overwhelming, but I absolutely do not condone anything of this nature. I just don't see how being in war makes one do such hurtful things. War is bad, but does it impare your judgement of what is right and wrong? Does war turn you into pure evil. Does war teach you animal cruelty? Or are these just (and I know this is just a VERY small majority of the troops) the troops who as children, blew up bullfrogs and beat up kids for loose change?

War is a horrible thing and I know it must do horirble things to people, but to what extent does it change your morals?

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Nightmare

So, I had a nightmare last night and I woke up scared, but also pensive at the same time. The details are fairly shady, but this is what I remember. I was convinced that there was a demon walking among us or coming to our world or something like that. By demon, I mean a Devil-ish creature. Could have been Satan himself, I am not sure. Anyways, nobody believed me. Then someone, can't remember who, called me into their office and said they were starting to believe because they had seen things move in their office. Yeah, that is a sign of a ghost generally, but hey, it was a dream. Anyways, I was in the person's office and stuff started to move. I remember I started to get chills. Then suddenly, an etch a sketch that was on hanging on the wall for some reason started to draw itself very quickly. It drew a demon-like creature in a nun outfit. It was scary looking as hell, and the the drawing opened its eyes and pointed at me like it saw me and was going to get me. I freaked out and then I woke up. I was super freaked upon waking up, but then I started thinking to myself. Has that ever happened in a movie. Has an etch a sketch ever been used in a horror movie, because I tell you what, I think it made for a very scary situation and a scene like in my dreams could really freak people out. Anyone know if something like that has happened in a movie? Think it would be scary?

Speaking of scary, I really want this doll. It is from the Living Dead Doll series which are dolls made to look scary. This is their Captain Spaulding from the Rob Zombie films done in Living Dead Doll form. How would you love having that on your bedside table? Or, put it on the bedside table of your guest bedroom! Would love to see if it ends up covered up by morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Upcoming Movies

Some future movie news for those of you who are movie freaks like me! First off, it looks like we are getting closer and closer to Tarantino's long awaited "Inglorious Bastards" getting off the ground. In case you don't follow Tarantino, this is a film that he has long been rumored to be making. He talked about it way before the Kill Bill movies and possibly, even before Jackie Brown. But, if you know Tarantino, you also know he is a lot of talk. At Cannes though this year, he announced that the film may finally see the light of day, possibly as early as the end of 2009. Now, depending on who you listen to, he is either finishing up the script or getting ready to start casting. But, the good news is that we seem to be getting more news than ever and it looks like it will happen. So what is it about? Here is a brief summary according to the internet which pretty much jives with what I have been hearing:

“A bunch of hardened criminals on a military transport during World War II - that got ambushed by the Nazis. Everyone but the criminals gets killed and the prisoners decide to make their way to neutral Switzerland- and must fight the Nazis and the Allies to get there. It's a true No Man's Land scenario.”

The thing has people and me so excited about the potential of this movie is who he will cast. Years ago, when Quentin started talking about this, he had hopes to bring the best of the best in action stars together - Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, and more along with some of Quentin's favorites - Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, and company. Who knows what the plan will be now, but hopefully, we will see some sort of all star cast. it could end up being a great movie.

Next, posters are starting to come out for the GI Joe live action movie. Sure, it sounds silly and I will probably have to drag Jessica to it, but then again, she initially didn't want to see Transformers either, until the trailer. Hopefully, when we get our first look at the movie in trailer form, it gives me some hope and something to look forward to. Because as an 80s kid, Transformers followed by GI Joe is a dream come true.

Finally, check this out....

Really? They are remaking Robocop? The first movie is an action classic. But is not just an action movie. The first movie is FULL of political and social satire. Somehow, I don't see them making the same kind of movie. I see this movie as probably being just any other action movie. Like most movies lately, I also see it toned down to a PG 13 rating which a travesty compared to how violent the original is. This has potential to be a disaster. I'll probably see it....

Monday, June 23, 2008

I can't get enough of bad tv

So it is the off season for television shows, meaning, all that is really on are reruns and shows that would never survive during the regular television season September - May. Funny thing is, my wife and I seem to have more shows on our DVR right now than during the television season. And you know what, they are mostly shows that the general population would consider trash shows. And what is even worse, we are addicted to this garbage.

Case in point, we love to watch the show, "The Moment of Truth." People are hooked up to a lie detector(done backstage) and asked questions that expose themselves and ruin their lives and the lives of they ones they love. Sample questions - "Do you regret marrying your husband," "Have you ever cheated on your girlfriend," and "Do you think your life would have been better if you had lived with your dad instead of your mom?" And the people answer this in front of their loved ones. It is just wrong, hurtful, and like a train wreck, we can not turn our heads away. If you enjoy watching people ruin their lives, well, this is for you.

How about the fact that we watch, "The Two Coreys?" Yes, we watch a reality show about former child stars Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. It just started its second season. Like the above mentioned show. It is also a train wreck and their lives, especially that of Corey Haim and is an absolute mess. They have such a disfunctional relationship, it is almost comical. I find myself thinking, how did he become so screwed up?!?

And what starts this week that Jess and I will be all over? "Wipeout" and "I Survived a Japanese Game Show." Wipeout seems to be just an American knockoff of MXC and that is enough to make me tune in as MXC is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. We've been knocking off all their horror movies, why not their tv shows? Seeing people go through strange obstacle courses and hurting themselves? I am so there! Then, the latter show seems to be a game show where the contestants will be made to do all kinds of weird shit, a la, Japanese game shows, which are known for being off the wall. Are they going to make then eat weird stuff? Tar and feather themselves? Who knows, but again, my ass will be firmly planted in the seat.

You know what, I know these are bad shows and further evidence of the downfall of society. But I cannot, NOT watch these. I'm sick....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Manuel on Movies #4

Haven't seen much in the last month. Been fairly busy and I kept forgetting to send back my movies to Netflix. So, here is what you get...

Rambo - I bought this on Bluray on a blind buy simply because I owned the other ones and I loved them. This was a kick ass movie. It didn't have the great storyline like First Blood and was more like the sequels, but it kicked my ass. This movie is just pure balls to wall action. It was as if Stallone said, I am just going to make an action movie, thrown in a little bit of story, but make it as violent as the ratings board will allow. Seriously, this is easily one of the most violent movies I have ever seen. Heads are blown off, arms chopped off, babies thrown in fires(!), etc. This was a throw back to the great one man army movies of the 80s. You know the ones - short on story, heavy on blowing shit up. If that appeals to you, rent this movie!!! 8 out of 10

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - Finally got around to seeing this comedy from last year from Adam Sandler. It was cute. Nowhere near Sandler's greatest, but it kept my attention and had some amusing parts. Easily the highlight though is Jessica Biel in her bra and panties. Yowza!!! 6.5 out of 10.

The Reaping - This movie is about a woman who goes to a small town to investigate because they are experiencing the 10 plagues of Egypt. The town starts to believe that it is the cause of a little girl, while Hilary Swank, playing a skeptic, tries to prove the town otherwise. There are some cool and creepy special effects in the movie, but truthfully, the movie wasn't that good. I was disappointed because I was actually looking forward to it, but it was actually kind of dull. Oh well... 5 out of 10

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer - I kid you not, they made this movie. This is a direct to video sequel to the Jennifer Love Hewitt "I know what you did" movies. Those were decent. This movie was a pretty bad movie, made bad by a bad script and even worse acting. 3 out of 10

Now, something different. I haven't seen this movie, but I REALLY want to see it. It just came out in limited release so I am assuming I will have to wait until it comes out on DVD. I love documentaries. Throw in soccer and it has to be good! Looks very touching...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stan Winston 1946-2008

I just learned that Stan Winston died last night. You may not know the name unless you are a movie geek or nerd in general like me, but I guarantee you know his work. Stan Winston's studio is responsible for designing some of the most iconic character designs in recent memory. The Terminator - his design. The Aliens in Aliens - his designs. Predator - his design. The dinos in Jurrasic Park - his designs. The list goes on and on. His studio does makeup, character design, practical effects, and puppets with a new department now doing digital effects as well. He won a total of 4 Oscars for Terminator 2, Aliens, and Jurrasic Park. He is one of only 2 visual effects men to have a star on the Walk of Fame. The last thing he worked on that was completed was the Iron Man suit. His imagination created some of the characters of my favorite movies. A true behind the scenes legend has passed on. Below is a list of some of the most notable films he worked on courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Thing (1982)
Friday the 13th Part III (1983)
The Terminator (1984)
Aliens (1986)
The Monster Squad (1987)
Predator (1987)
Leviathan (1988)
Pumpkinhead (1989)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Predator 2 (1990)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Batman Returns (1992)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Congo (1995)
The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996)
T2 3-D: Battle Across Time (1996)
Ghosts (1997)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Small Soldiers (1998)
Lake Placid (1999)
End of Days (1999)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
A.I. (2001)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
When Darkness Falls (2002)
Big Fish (2003)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Wrong Turn (2003)
Constantine (2005)
Iron Man (2008)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Progressive Dinner

Sorry, been busy and lazy. Enough said. Anyways, last night, Jess and I did a progressive dinner with our folks. This is the 2nd time we have done this, with appetizers at one house, dinner at another house, and concluding with dessert at the final house. The first time was great and we followed it up with another fun time. Here is the picture diary:

Appetizers were at my parents' house...

They made a great fruit bouquet

These are mini chicken balls - chicken mixed with cream cheese and butter wrapped in a puff pastry.

Home-made sangria

This is what 6 grapes in your mouth looks like

Dinner was at Jessica's parents' house

We were going to have bread, but they caught on fire - literally

Salad with beets, mandarin oranges, and bleu cheese

Fresh tuna(corn on the cob not pictured)

Dessert was at our house

Jess did a great napkin arrangement

We grilled a ton of fruit

Homemade ice cream!

The full spread

Picture of all 6 of us at the end of the night. We thought the camera looked like it was tilting so we tilted to compensate. Or maybe we just drank too much?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Deflated and Vindicated

6 years of wondering and assumptions were put to rest today. Today, an old wound was opened, but it was news that brings some closure. In 2002, my Sacramento Kings were in the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings were the best team in the league and close to knocking off the defending champs, their rivals. Up 3 games to 2, the Kings had a chance to close out the Lakers. Game 6 ended up being, what most basketball observers consider, the worst officiated game in NBA history. The disparity of fouls called on the Kings was suspicious, especially in the 4th quarter when the Lakers shot 27 free throws and the Kings shot 9. The highlight of the fouls - Kobe Bryant elbowing Mike Bibby in the nose and Bibby getting called for the foul. Phantom fouls were called on the Kings left and right. At the end of the game, a narrow win for the Lakers, columnists across the country, not just here in Sacramento, declared that some kind of fix had to be in. Ralph Nader even tried to get an investigation going to no avail. In the end, the Lakers ended up winning the series in 7 games and went on to the finals where they easily won 4-0. For years, Sacramento Kings fans have wondered about this particular game, where a win was stolen from them.

Today, we learned the "truth." I put in quotations because it was a sworn statement from a convicted felon. Tim Donaghy was a ref for many years in the NBA, but last summer, it was discovered he had ties to the mob and would make bets on the games he was officiating. He admitted to it and convicted. Today, in federal court, he truned over papers where he admitted that the fix was in on that game. He did not officiate the game, but he named 2 referees who were in on the fix and were told by the league to make sure the Lakers won and make sure the series was extended to 7 games. He actually didn't come out and say names, but he said it was a 7 games series and that was the only one that year. Everyone knows what series he is tallking about. On tv right now, reporters are talking about it with the assumption that that is the series he is talking about. Even a Los Angeles reporter is saying, "I knew it." Now, Donaghy could be lying about this. However, he really doesn't gain from anything. I fully believe he is telling the truth. It opens an old wound as we Kings fan know that was our year. But, the sense of relief of having a suspicion confirmed after all this year feels good. Weird to feel so good and angry at the same time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

An upcoming trip!

Today, Jess and I made plane reservations for a trip to Washington DC in October. We have been wanting to take an honest to goodness real vacation for a while. Not a couple nighter to Vegas or to the beach or something like that, but a long trip. We talked about going to London, but we would be spending about $2000 on tickets alone and decided against it. We talked about New York, but she has been there tons of times with some family living there and I spent 2 weeks there a few years ago. She wanted to go somewhere she had never been. As I had been wanting to take her to D.C. for awhile, we decided to book our trip. I spent a week in D.C. my junior year of high school. I went with some classmates for a learning trip. We took classes and of course saw sights, but it was all very structured. I have been wanting to go back since. So now, our plane plans are taken care of. Now we just need to decide on a hotel. Luckily, some of the guys I play video games with live in the D.C. area so we will be getting some help with planning our trip. Right now though, we are super excited. Anyone else been there and have some suggestions other than the usual museums and landmarks?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Random pictures

I now, finally, have a cord that I can use to connect my cell phone to my computer so that I can download pictures and post them. Here are some random pictures that I just had to post....

Yup, this first one was taken in a public restroom. These are toilet seat covers. But the amount of conversations going on on this piece of equipment crack me up. I especially like when someone decided to tell someone else that their tag was stupid. People crack me up. Party hats? Anyone ever though of these as hats? And how random that on the top left corner, someone wrote "John Doolittle", a local Congressman? What is the random point of that?!?!

We went to an Italian rsetaurant and they had this display of all kinds of religious memorabilia. I had to take a picture of this nun figurine only because it is frightening as hell!

I don't know if words are needed for this piggyback ride I saw on the freeway.

You know this sign exists because it happened too many times to people!!!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Manuel's New Tattoo

I'm going to tell the story while Manuel exercises on the Wii Fit...

For his 30th birthday, Manuel's sister, Cassie, gave him a gift certificate to her favorite tattoo shop, Fallen Angel Tattoo. Manuel's been talking about wanting a new tattoo for a while, so thanks to Cassie, he was forced to be a doer, not a talker.

Manuel has always been a comic guy, as you guys already know. His favorite character of all time is Wolverine, so he had the idea to get Wolverine's claw tattooed on the back of his calf.

We went to the shop Monday the 26th to talk about pricing and stuff. We were greeted by an extremely nice gentleman (who we later learned was the owner.) Manuel showed him the picture and he said he wanted to refer us to Brandon, who is their comic enthusiast. He told us to come back tomorrow when Brandon would be in the shop. We were very impressed that instead of doing the tattoo and taking the money for himself, he referred us to someone who would enjoy doing the tattoo, and do it right.

The next day Manuel went to the shop, met Brandon, and talked about what to have done. Brandon really wanted to do this picture of Wolverine and told Manuel he'd discount his usual $100 per hour rate if he let him. Manuel likes Wolverine and he likes zombies, so it was a perfect combination. That is, it was perfect until I got home from work. I didn't like it. It's too creepy, his face is too skull like. It's not Manuel at all.

I never told him not to do it, but he really wanted something both of us like, so he called Brandon and said he changed his mind, could he come up with something else? Brandon, being the genius he is, mentioned this picture, which is funny, because this is the one Manuel always had in mind but was afraid to have done for fear of having it messed up, but now that he had a comic enthusiast doing it, he felt more confident about it.

So Manuel agreed, but asked him to put his own spin on it, so it's a true original. This is the sketch Brandon came up with and the rest, as they say, is history.

Friday the 30th at 1pm Manuel met Brandon at Fallen Angel and it began:

The outline to trace.

Manuel getting inked.

Brandon working his magic.

About 3.5 to 4 hours into the tattoo.

Putting on the finishing touches.

At 7pm, 6 hours later, there it is, the finished product.

A close up of the detail of Hulk's face in Wolverine's claws.

A close up of Wolverine's face.

The coolest part of the whole thing is that Brandon LOVED the finished product. He was totally into it, making it exactly what he (and Manuel) wanted. His attention to detail was phenomenal, his skill matched by none. He is so proud of this tattoo, in fact, that he encouraged Manuel to go to the tattoo convention coming to town mid-June and enter it - he's positive it will win. How cool would that be, to have an award winning tattoo?!

Now Brandon and I are working really hard for the super hero sleeve...