3.30.2006

Special Dispensation

OK. I'm only going to discuss this one time. After this post, I will discuss it no more (unless you bring it up).
 
First off, I want to clearly point out that Han Shot First. Period.  Anakin Skywalker's ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi should NEVER have been Hayden Christiansen. And Boba Fett's voice should not have been re-dubbed. Period.
 
Those are my 3 biggest pet peeves with how George Lucas decided to handle the Special Edition and DVD releases of StarWars Eps 4, 5, and 6.  All of the other stuff (enhanced scenes blah blah) doesn't really bother me all that much. But the three things listed above really just cheese me off. Every time. And will continue to cheese me off. Every time. Period.
 
In a nutshell, here's why. The first point. Han Shot First. He's a space pirate/smuggler who carries a gun on his hip. He's a bad-ass. Anyone who pals around with a wookie is a bad-ass. Period. He's got some cheese head greenie in his face about to toast him. So he shoots him and pays the bartender for his troubles. It's a classic western staple--think of any western where the 'hero' shoots someone under the poker table. The baddie never actually shoots (usually). Mostly they flinch like they're going for their gun. And that's enough to merit the dirt nap. Han did the same thing. I don't know whether it was a crisis of consciousness or not, but Lucas should have just left that one well enough alone. End of story.
 
As for the other two....my biggest problem is that they are so clearly lame attempts to make the first three movies conform to the prequels that it's sickening. When Luke removes Vader's helmet, the face he sees is that of Sebastian Shaw. It only makes sense that that's who the ghost should be. True, it can be argued that it should be Hayden Suckensen because that's who played Anakin when he became Vader. There's just one fatal flaw with that. It's assuming that the human part of Vader would never age in the suit. Clearly Jedi (and Sith) age. Obi Wan aged. Yoda aged. Palpatine aged. Why are we to assume that Anakin's ghost (which wasn't a ghost until Vader died in Jedi) also wouldn't be that of an aged man? Lucas screwed up. This was clearly an attempt to make all 6 movies 'cohesive.' Why stop with the ghost? Why not digitally put Hayden's face over Shaw's when Luke removes the helmet? Why? Oh yeah, because then they'd be the same freaking age and it wouldn't work AT ALL!!  He should have just left it alone.
 
The last one is a minor point. Boba Fett's voice. Boba Fett is a badass. Jango Fett (from the prequel) was played by a bad Australian actor with horrible delivery. Why Lucas would want to can Jeremy Bulloch's kick-ass menacing reading of Fett's lines and replace them with Temuera Morrison's flat lifeless readings is beyond me. And it doesn't even make any sense. Boba Fett was an unaltered clone. Can we not assume that his voice would not have been exactly like Jango's?
 
So, those are my biggest peeves (in order of cheesed-offedness).
 
But (and here's where the temperature in Hell lowers a few degrees)......but....I can understand why George did what he did. Yes. I said it. I understand why.  Now settle down...I still don't think there's any excuse for the 3 main cheese points listed above. But as for the rest, wanting to "enhance" it I can totally see where he's coming from (and no, I don't think the above items "enhanced" the story in ANY way, shape, or form and I will debate anyone who states otherwise).
 
But, going back to the why. I understand now why Lucas wanted to go back and tinker with his former masterpieces.
 
Simply put-because he could.
 
The technology for the first three movies didn't exist at the time that Lucas made the movies. Lucas invented it. He and his team single handedly spearheaded the Hollywood Special FX revolution. Fast forward to when he released the special editions....computers were more powerful. Editing was easier. And I'm sure that every time he watched his movies he thought "if only I'd have done this instead of that."  He made the movies. Only he knows what he REALLY wanted to do with the movies. I'm sure he wanted a sprawling Mos Eisley space port. But budget and technological constraints prevented it. Flash forward to the release of the special editions. Compositing tools were better, editing was easier. And ILM was off the charts at the time. So, sure-it makes sense to beef up the Mos Eisley scene.
 
And that's how I feel with most of the enhanced scenes. Shit just wasn't around when Lucas filmed it originally. So when he re-released them, he made it "better."
 
I know...I know. It's like messing with the sacred text or something, but again. I know WHY he did it.
 
My very first movie, "Air Check" was shot with a 2MP digital still camera that took digital video (640x480) at 20fps at 20second intervals. It was all I had. And I wanted to make a movie. So it was all I needed. Because making the movie was more important to me than what I used to make it. And I suspect StarWars was much the same way for Lucas. Not too much longer after I completed it, I got a Canon MiniDV camcorder. I thought about re-shooting Air Check with the new gear. I had it all storyboarded, it would have been fairly straightforward.  And then in January of this year. I got a Panasonic 3CCD miniDV camera. And again, I thought..."wow...my gear is now SO much better. Wouldn't it be cool to reshoot it and see how much better it could be?"
 
And as tempting as it is to think about doing that, it cannot happen. The filming of Air Check was lightning in a bottle for me. It was a time of self-discovery when I realized that my voice was not entirely in my music (as I had always thought), but was instead in my movies. Getting the visuals in my head out into the universe. Every step of the way was a learning process, a journey of self-actualization.  If I were to go back and try to refilm that, some of that initial, virginal essence would be gone. Sure, the scenes might look better, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the result would be better.
 
It's a subtle difference. And it surprises me that it escaped Lucas.
 
But apparently it did, because for some of us die-hards, Han will have always taken the first shot.
 
 
 

3.29.2006

The Battle of Yavin

Greetings fellow thrifters. If you've been keeping score, you will know that it's 1/2 price Wednesday at the Ohio Thrift Store.

And did we score?

Oh yes. Yes we did.
If you've read this blog before, you know I normally hit the toys first, then the t-shirts, then everything else.

Today since it was 1/2 price on all clothes, I deviated slightly and went straight to the clothes (there were some big dudes there and I didn't want to have to Indian wrestle them for the only pair of 46/30 jeans in the whole store).


On the way to the clothes I noticed this.
What genius put this on the shelf?? Who in the hell wants a snowman with no head??


And now a little foray into some of the clothes (yes, this post is slightly out of order. Events did take place sometime between 7:15PM and 8:49PM...after that, it's pretty much a blur).

My mom goes to Vegas a few times a year and I'm pretty sure not even she would be caught dead in this shirt. Nonetheless I have no doubt that it was upwards of $25 in some swanky hotel gift shop.


Remember Sit-and-Spin?? It was a rotating disc on a base and you turned yourself (and the disc you were sitting on) by "steering". I know kids these days would probably never go for that. First of all there has to be a good reason to spin (and to be honest, I don't think there ever was). Secondly there needs to be some kind of visual stimulation for modern kids. Well, it looks like the fine folks over at Playskool have taken care of that. They've come up with the Music & Lights Sit 'n Spin:Rockin' Tunes. The premise is simple. Combine the classic Sit'n Spin with Simon. No good can come of this. Even thinking about it now makes me throw up in my mouth...just a little bit.


I don't know what it is with South Park Shirts, but I don't consider it a good day of thrifting anymore unless I see one. Today was a good day.



I watched America's Next Top Skating Idol...or whatever the heck that show's called the other night (and no, I do not want to talk about it, thankyouverymuch). But I felt like this vest really would have fit right in. It's definitely off the flame-o-meter.



There appeared to be a snake theme running through tonight's foray. This was a shirt that I was sure would fit me. Nancy, though, has vision that is not skewed by, well, being me. So we left the shirt.

But we took this one. I don't care if it fits or not. I'll make it fit, dammit! It was just too cool to leave behind.

This shirt would have been great for Tommy. If he was like, older. Or wore an Adult XL. But he is neither. I find it interesting how much like the logo for Flash Gordon this looks.

This concert shirt was from the IMPACT WORLD TOUR. Apparently it had less of an impact than they had originally hoped.

And this is a shirt that no one in their sober mind buys (or wears)...ever. Now, that's not to say there haven't been times when I wish I had a great shark party shirt. But it's been many many years.

The store supposedly sold "Hot Gifts." This shirt, however, was not one of them.

I imagine the conversation (in someone's head) going a little like this:
"Damn, son! $3.99 for a fine pair of cammy overhauls! And they's half price. So we're lookin' at somewhere abouts 2 bucks. Hmm. But I've got 3 pairs already. Shit. Still, hate to pass up such a find. Hey momma! What'choo think? Reckon we otter get 'em?"

Living Free. In Cobra-infested neighborhoods. One has to wonder how free you could truly be with the constant threat of cobras lurking about?


Geeks unite! In my day, you had to hide the fact that you knew how many hit points it took to kill a crystal dragon (1400), but now with the MMORPG's, it's cool to be a geek. Geek is the new...er...geek.

Quite possibly one of the worst movies ever (certainly on my top 25). When I was growing up, my grandparents got me an 8-track player boom box and I told my parents I wanted Sgt. Pepper's. I got this. On 8-track (NOW it all comes into focus, doesn't it??).


Now, I need to take a moment away from my comedy gold and just ramble (you knew it was coming sooner or later, don't act surprised). But tonight at the thrift store, I found something I have never seen at this particular store-vinyl albums...in REALLY good shape. And in plastic sleeves (and yes, I did buy the above mentioned Sgt. Pepper's album). I got about 11 albums tonight, the first albums I have purchased (if memory serves) in about a year or so. So, needless to say I was jazzed.

I didn't get any of the other 'secret shopper' items I had planned on getting over here.
But I got albums.

And I got something more.

The chance to proudly say...
"F*** the NUGE!!!!"Nothing in the world feels quite like it.


As I was leaving, I had a moment of panic creep through my vinyl euphoria....I had made the bold claim about Lionel Richie's presence in any thrift store of merit. I knew, though, that I didn't see it on vinyl as I was flipping through.

Trouble was brewing. And then I saw my salvation--The Cassettes!!


And there, among NU SHOOZ and Heart I found it :

The store passed!!! It retains it's CSD (Can't Slow Down) Certification!!!!!

And now if you'll excuse me, I have to go try on my mummy shirt with the cammy overhaulin' shorts!

It's Snot Me

we know of an ancient radiation.
that haunts dismembered constellations,
a faintly glimmering radio station.
while frank sinatra sings stormy weather,
the flies and spiders get along together,
cobwebs fall on an old skipping record.


"Frank Sinatra," Cake.


So...it would seem the runaway mucous production has started again. I think that will have to be one of my production companies, Runaway Mucous Productions--maybe for the cheesy horror/sci-fi movies that will inevitably get made by me :-)

I finished the video for Tommy's basketball season last night (and stayed up way too late burning copies for eveyone on the team and the other 8 people that we know will want a copy).

In other news, I started the Microsoft 70-290 course-quite possibly the hardest of all Microsoft courses on my way to the MCSA that I'm trying to get. Work's paying for it, so that's cool. But it looks like it could be tough. I haven't been in a education mode (like real classes) for about 8 years or so. So, it should be interesting.

I am also happy to say that today is 1/2 price day at the thrift store, so with any luck there will be some good comedy gold tonight. In additional to some clothes for the family, I'm also going to incorporate a couple 'secret shopper items' that I'll be looking for. Namely vintage star wars swag, a turkey baster and something that's AS SEEN ON TV. Wish me luck. I think it's also time to re-certify the store for it's CSD certificate. See...in order to qualify for 'kick ass' thrift store status, there must be at least one copy of Lionel Richie's "Can't Slow Down" in some way shape or form. This insures that the quality of good used shite is up to my high standards.

I've also been kicking around the idea of starting a podcast/internet radio show. The premise is simple....take one of the albums from my shelf of vinyl....talk a little...play side one in its entirety..talk a little more...play side two in its entirety..talk a little more. Or maybe only play one side from 2 different albums. Not sure how it's all going to pan out yet. And I'd like to also have guests on the show. Maybe make it weekly (or bi-weekly, not sure yet). The guests could come on...talk about the album...first time they heard it...significance...that kind of thing. I've got a list of about 6 or 7 people that I'd want to have on the show (people I dig talking about music with...that kind of thing).

I don't know when this is going to happen, but I have carved out my niche in the blogoshpere for it http://sideonepodcast.blogspot.com

There's nothing there right now but a shell, so don't go expecting too much.I might try to get the first post up this weekend. We'll see how that shakes out.

And that's about all I got for now. I need to get back to work. So I'm gonna.

3.27.2006

Impalas??

OK. I'm only going to ask this once (and I don't really expect an answer)...

WTF happened to Henry Rollins?
I'm flipping through during commercial breaks of Elaine's new show and her breast wishes dress and I hit IFC. Which I used to think stood for Independent Film Channel. Now I'm pretty sure it means "I'm friggin' cryin'"

Why you ask?

Rollins.
Black Flag
Rollins Band

Bad A$$ mofo. I used to have nightmares that he would kick down my door and tell me what a puss poser I was.

But not anymore. That dream went the way of the shadow people.

There was Mr. Anti-establishment himself....talking about Impalas, Gazelles, and nature documentaries. And making noises. Like he was talking to an elementary school auditorium.

Seriously. What the hell?

I had to go back to mindless network drivel when he started his next bit (as in bit of bad comedy) with a story about the squirrels he's been watching in his backyard.

Shit just ain't right.

3.19.2006

A Tribute to Limozeen

So...you may recall that I recently got my very first P.O.S. Electric Guitar back. And you may also recall the folly with the "amp" from Freecycle.

And now, dear readers, I will let you in on the dramatic conclusion to those harrowing tales.

From Bob at work I recently got a Vox Pathfinder 15amp which looks a little (exactly) like this:
I have to say, the amp freakin' rocks. It's got built in tremelo, and this killer overdrive feature which makes the thing sound crunchy as all get out.

So tonight, I decided to try it all out. The amp, the POS Guitar, the FAB distortion pedal (purchased the day of the Sam Ash incident), the Alesis drum machine and the Alesis io2.

The results are just...well, funny.

I give you the theme song to the soon to be hit WB-Series, "My 'Tard Husband." I call it "shortbus." Take a listen here. It's about 3MB in size and 4:14 of unbearable cheese (and the guitars get markedly louder at about the minute mark-you've been warned). See...my guitar playing is on par with every other high-schooler's right about now. I just this weekend figured out "Iron Man" and bits and pieces of "Wanted Dead or Alive" and I'm dangerously close to wanting to be in a rock and roll band and grow my hair long (ok, just kidding-I'll keep the short hair). So...while it's not the most musically advanced, it meets my a-number-one criteria....it's fun. Fun to just wank around and not take it seriously in the least. Fun to just let go with the whammy bar (but not too much, we all know how those cheap whammy's kill strings, LOL). So...that's me. Having fun.

And of course, since our entire household happens to have the music gene, Tommy had to get in on the act. He strapped on the POS and did his best Richie Sambora while I accompanied on the drum machine and synth. It wound up to be a 23+minute jam of mind numbing proportions. I stripped out the warm-ups. The jam can be found here. So, yeah, that's Tommy on the guitar (minus the whammy bar-didn't want him breaking the strings).

I have to say I'm proud of a couple of things. One was mine (and Tommy's) ability to just let go and play and have fun and not give a rip what notes we were playing or even if it made any sense. It was just fun.

The other thing I'm pleased with is how the Alesis io2 actually performed. I recorded it all in to Adobe Audition with no burps or hiccups. It's going to work out really well, I think.

Rock on beyotches, rock on!!

March Madness Comedy Gold

I don't get into March Madness. To me the betting pools are little more than a huge lottery for a sport that I have only a cursory interest in (fantasy baseball leagues are the only thing more baffling to me than MMNCAA brackets).

And yet..I was pleased to see as I was channel surfing today, a bit of unexpected humor in the whole "race to the final four" b.s.
Brad Pitt Plays B-Ball??
Yes, folks, apparently Variety isn't enough anymore. Some seem to feel the need to advertise during national sporting events. Brad Pitt could not be reached for comment, but his publicists told us that while they didn't actually plan for this to happen, "it's 2 hours of free publicity for Mr. Pitt. "

3.17.2006

For a Few Dollars More

So I'm on this Z-Pack antibiotic thing...and it seems to be working. Only I'm now seriously considering tracking down some of that mucinex stuff...because damn. My nose has not stopped running for 5 days. I don't know if it's a side effect or what, but it's really annoying. The other sucky part is, blowing my nose hurts my ears...which is why I'm on the daggone meds to begin with-double ear infection. Ah well, lemme just grab a kleenex and get to typing.

First off, A happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. It's the one day a year when we all get to pretend we're full-Irish and that green beer doesn't make us want to vomit.

OK, now that that's out of the way. Let's get down to it.

The Thrift.

It has been a hella long time since the missus and I have had the Dinner/Thrift Run and tonight we felt like we were due. I could sense the ozone-esque smell of comedy gold in the air. And I was not disappointed (I hope you all can say the same after reading on).

Usually the first place we head is the BulkThrift area. This is where all the skanky used bikes from 1983 wind up (with those sponge pad handlebar grips...remember those?). Today we were greeted by a sadder sight.
This sad little guy just looked all alone. It's actually kind of depressing to think, but somewhere there's a little kid out there sitting just like this, waiting for a bear to hug and hold.

But that moment passed as soon as I rounded the corner and saw this!
Now I have to be totally honest with you hear. My first thought was "the joke will pretty much write itself." It wasn't until I took a step back and actually looked at the thing before the second thought hit.

What the sh-t is it? It looks like a pillow. For your boobs. It's like one of those car pillows for your neck. Only for your boobs. Is such a thing really necessary??

And as long as we're in the vein of boobs, lets head over to the redneck training camp. First up for little Billy Bob is this wonderful item.
Now I want to assure you...this is not a little model. This is one of those ride along things with the little battery and kids race around the yard terrorizing the neighbor's cat (which I really never liked anyway). So after coming home from the tractor pull, what's the first thing lil'Bubba's gonna wanna do? That's right-run hover his sister's rubber ducky (also pictured).

I'd like to ask for a moment of silence and let you know that rap, as we knew it, is officially dead. The last gasp was the 36Mafia's win at the Academy Awards...but this is the final nail in the coffin.
When an entire genre of music is reduced to a stuffed toy, it's over. If you press the paw, it starts playing "F***Tha Police." Further proof that IceCube done lost his mind.

And now I'd like to take a moment and address a special segment to all of you World of Warcraft/MMORPG folks out there.

First off....Dungeons and Dragons started all of this. On paper. DECADES ago. And people had to actually interact face to face in order to play the game. It was the only way we got any sunlight (the short trips outside heading to someone else's basement). So don't tell me how great your horde is...I know. OK. I know.

But we also had some fancy games, too.

Observe:

Oh Yes! DarkTower was the isht back in the day,yo (because, really, you can only draw so many dungeons on graph paper and kiss up to that sucky DM for so long before your Jolt filled veins boil). This was from back in the day when MiltonBradley wasn't afraid to make cool games.

And if you got tired of the fantasy life, you could always try to impress your friends (or blow up your siblings' toys) with the dreaded Chemistry Set (cue scary music)!
Um. Sorry. It was the only chemistry set they had. And no, you're right. It's not very scary. Except for the part where it says you can make a Liquid Patriot. I'm not really sure what the hell that is...and I'm not sure I want to know at this point. There will just have to be some things in my life that go undiscovered. That would be one of them.


And what trip through the toy aisle would be complete without that game of global harmony "Give Peace A Chance"? What cracked me up about this is...look at what the American kid is wearing. A Braves t-shirt. The Atlanta Braves. Home of the Tomahawk chop. Nice.

The last thing to catch my eye as I headed out of the toys was the Radioshack Concertmate Starter Kit. This was basically Radioshack's way of convincing any parent that bought their Casio-OEM'd keyboards that they needed to help jumpstart their child's love of learning to play music. It came with instruction books and easy to read song books, chock full of the hottest hits.
Hits? Um...What? What hits? The only thing even close to a "hit" is Tears in Heaven. And that's going to (a)suck on the keyboard, (b)liven up the party (no, not really), or (c)suck so hard on the keyboard that your partyguests whap you over the head with the new keyboard mommy and daddy bought you. Better practice "Love Takes Time" instead. You know what else takes time? not sucking. And unfortunately, that won't be you if you try to play any of these "easy" hit songs on your keyboard.

From the toys, I drifted around a bit.
Found a scary statue:
A pair of glasses and it'd be Deadeye Dick. A red nose and it'd be Ted Kennedy. Either way it's WAY too freakin' creepy. And for $8.99?? No way.

Creepy stuff was proudly on display elsewhere in the store tonight. All I can say is...poor Brian. Your parents never gave you a chance, did they?
And here's the shelf where sucky lamps go to die.

OK. It's an electric candle....and the shade spins? Everything about this screams bad idea. There's just no way to harness its powers for good. It must be destroyed.


OK. I have to admit. this next item almost pulled me in. It's an electric popcorn popper AND...(drum roll please)....
A FONDUE POT!
But the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Sure, popcorn and the ability to dip small items skewered on sticks into a hot sauce like substance are both great things. But together??? Clearly this was an idea too revolutionary for today's society. I'm still not sure how (or why) they pulled it off in the 70's. If only it could make Bananas Foster...THEN it would truly would have been the complete 7o's Party Machine.


OK, all kidding aside. WTF is this??
I would have to say that Bobby is somewhere serving time for some very violent crime. Clearly though, it's not his fault. Who wouldn't be driven to a life of crime if THAT sign was in their room??

It's no secret that men geek off tools. And this one was cool:
I'm pretty sure it's some kind of amped up soldering gun. And it has a light. That's so you can see how much of your fingertip you've actually burned off trying to use the damn thing.

Speaking of burning fingertips...the missus and I recently had a conversation on which was the best Patrick Swayze movie.
Here's her answer:
She's wrong, of course. The best Patrick Swayze movie is clearly Red Dawn. As evidenced by the fact that there were no second-hand copies of it to be found at the thrift store (people tend to hang on to pure cinematic genius when they find it).

And on to the fun part of the thrift....the shirts!!

There's a rule somewhere in the T-Shirt Guide that says "If a 'Property Of...' t-shirt displays a size on the front of the shirt, that size MUST correspond to the actual size of said t-shirt." Apparently the folks at Plush are in violation of code.

The Zodiac Hockey League never really took off...


OH YEAH!! This baby made it home with me. Thunder...Thunder....Thundercats HOOOOOOO!
That's what I'm talkin' bout.


This wasn't my size, or I would have picked it up. It's always good to have collector's items with the original cast when one of them leaves the show. Apparently Chef Hayes decided that the trapped in the closet/scientology episode crossed the line. Right....what-6 years later and THAT's where Issaac Hayes is standing his moral ground??

Another artifact from the past. I remember waking up one morning, expecting my daily dose of Rodeo Today when I was greeted with Pamela Anderson's animated breastesses. Yes, overnight, TNN-formerly The Nashville Network-had become TNN-The first network for Men.
Of course, now it's called "SpikeTV." And you can't find an episode of Ren and Stimpy to save your ass. But they've more than made up for it with 2hours a day of CSI and MXC.


I was surprised to see a tourist shirt that was actually made in the country it was promoting. You really don't see that these days.

This is such a layered geek shirt that it's not even funny. See...Active Directory is what really allowed sysadmins to manage their network domains. So, he's Master of his Domain. Which, if you're a fan of Seinfeld, takes on a whole new meaning.
See what I mean? Geek humor. It's the new pink.

This shirt was only somewhat reassuring.

And this one somehow escaped the White House Gift Shop.

Nancy and I agree, this would have been so much better if it had said "Heaven's Just a Funky Moose," but you can't have everything.


The front of this is an ad for TurkeyHill Dairy farms. I just thought the back was cool. Because...yeah...maybe a giant cow would be cool. Then again, maybe it would be scary as hell.


Kinda just says it all, eh?

And I was trying to think....(a)what kind of son would buy this for his dad....and (b)what kind of dad would wear it proudly?? The answer to both part of the question were the same. And they both live in a trailer and think Kevin Federline is the luckiest sombitch on earth.

As we headed out, I noticed this in the "Showcase" area.
It's a animal skin of some sort.
With a painting on it.
Framed.
for like $35.
Who prices this stuff? And who on earth would buy this?? If you look closely, you'll see the golden horse looking back, as if to say, "Hey, lady...you really could use a pillow for your boobs."

And the last shot of the night goes to the Celebrity Fit Club commemorative clock.
It's interesting to note that the scales of justice have gone askew. Apparently we were trying to be too just and broke one of the chains. No matter, though. That rope should hold just fine.

Apparently justice is not only blind but it's a redneck timetelling device that's right at least twice a day.

And with that I leave you. Time for some cocoa puffs, some Friday Night Standup and a nyquil night cap.

Shakubuku Part Two: Eclectic Booglaloo

I posted on the book of face recently that I felt out of sorts. The gist of it being I couldn't decide if I was hungry, horny, or on the...