3.30.2007

The TMNT Post

The inner (and mostly outer) child in me won’t let a Ninja Turtles movie come out and not at least check it out. I was fully expecting a crappy adaptation with goofy 3D animation. I was pleasantly mistaken.

The movie was animated beautifully, with some terrific fight scenes. If you’re a turtles fan (or used to be when that sort of thing was socially acceptable) then you won’t be disappointed with this new take on everyone’s favorite pizza eating ninjas. The plot could have been a tad more ‘turtles-oriented’ with the Shedder or something more familiar but unfortunately they opted for the usual ‘save the world before the planets align and open a portal of evil’-crap. However the many pluses to the movie more than cover that up. Human characters were a tad goofy looking (Bratz meet Shrek is the best way I can describe them) but again you get used to the art direction fairly quickly and move on to appreciate the photorealistic qualities of their movements and surroundings. The brotherly face-off between Raph and Leo was brilliant, and there is a scene towards the end of the film that pits the Turtles and allies against thousands of Foot Ninja, which is a fanboy’s dream.

All in all it’s a great film. If you grew up in the 80’s and/or like animated ass-kickery I don’t see how you can’t enjoy this one. Hopefully your friends won’t give you a hard time for going to see it. P.S There is no Ninja Rap in this one… so if you were hoping for Vanilla Ice I’m afraid you’ll have to find your old VHS. Or......

3.27.2007

The Tijuana Tile Post

Tijuana Flats is a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants that started down here in Orlando by a UCF student a few years back. It’s fast become one of my favorite places to go for lunch with the guys from work. They have a bizarre d├ęcor primarily featuring crazy colors and various bizarre imagery. One thing they do which I think is pretty cool is let customers take home a ceiling tile to decorate (according to their store limitations) and bring it back for them to put up as part of the restaurant. I asked about picking one up a few weeks back and was told that there was a contest this month for the best ceiling tile entry. Winner gets $30-worth of free food and hot sauce. I would have entered a tile even if there wasn’t a prize, but knowing it’s a contest got me stoked about it. Anyway tomorrow is the deadline and I just finished my tile up tonight. The rules specify that it’s gotta use certain colors, and feature something pertaining to iguanas, radioactive signs, fire, hotsause and/or super heroes. A bit of an odd list, but it’s so the tiles fit their wacky theme I suppose. Anyway, below is a shot of my entry. I’ll let you know if I win. (And will never mention it again if I lose).

The Fort Jackson Post

Last weekend I headed up to South Carolina for Stefan’s graduation from boot camp at Fort Jackson. The trip up was a bit arduous (about 8 hours) but I left work early on Thursday to beat all the traffic in Orlando and Jacksonville, so I did pretty well compared to what could have been. Mum and Dad, Jake and Sam came down from VA and we all stayed at a hotel south of the base. Stefan’s graduation ceremony was good (lots of marching) and it was terrific to see him. He’s definitely changed, but is very much the same old Stefan (thank goodness). We’re all very proud. Got to take him off base for the Saturday and hung out at the hotel and about town. Can’t stress how good it was to see everyone again. Sunday morning Stefan headed off to Texas for the start of his 4-month paramedic training program, and the rest of us hung out and spent some family time together. Missing them all already.

3.24.2007

The 300 Post

I feel obligated to start this little review by saying that I didn’t like 300 as much as I expected to. The rave reviews from family and friends who had seen it before me, as well as the positive feedback in the critic world had led me to believe that this film was a guaranteed new favorite for me. Alas I found myself forcing myself to enjoy the movie more that I was.

First off I want to hail what the film does well. It has many positive aspects to it and what works, works wonders. However the end result was lost on me despite my attempt to love it. The cinematography was stunning; Frank Miller’s comic was realized in the flesh virtually page for page. I felt like I was watching a painting in motion. The acting (despite sorely mismatched accents) was more than expectable, and served the movie well.

I honestly think that that the bad outweighed the good. The bad being; the story telling, character establishment, and the overkilled (pun) gore. Character’s would die and I’d not care. People would be referred to and I’d have no idea who they were talking about unless it was Xereces or the Leonidus. In all honesty the original graphic novel was less than 100 pages, so it’s not surprising that the movie felt drawn out and suffered from plot issues throughout, but there was little to no connection made with the audience that made us value any of the killings and noble actions taking place on the screen. The Spartans are presented as nerveless killing machines from the get go, so there is little more to do than watch said machines do their job for the next 2 hours.

I like the idea of this movie much more than the movie itself, and with the exception of a few fight scenes and their accompanying special effects, I have to say that I enjoyed the commercial more than the full feature.

3.19.2007

The World's End Post

There are few things in this world that would make me watch Dancing with the Stars. And being that by 'dancing' they don’t mean ‘making out’ and by 'stars' they don’t mean Ana Hickman and Kelly Rippa, I’m left with my 2nd choice; that being the premier of the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie trailer for At World’s End. The trailer debuted just a few moments ago during the commercial breaks in a shameful attempt to get wanna-be pirates to watch and boost ratings. Well it worked, for me at least. And man am I glad I watched it (And even more glad that they aired the trailer in the second break, considering it’s a 2-hour show tonight). Sparrow’s back as we knew he would be, plus we catch lots of interesting clips namely shots of a massive whirlpool, pirates uniting and blanketing the horizon, plus all the minor characters that make the films so great. Best of all a swordfight in the rain, on a ship’s mast, between Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow as the ship plummets towards the edge of the world. Top that.

What’s ‘more better’ is the movie hits in a little less than two months! Stoked! Click the image to view the trailer.

The 100th Post

So here I am, 100 posts into this blog… Honestly I am very happy I’ve kept it going this long. I really like the idea of keeping a blog going for all the practical reasons, but also because it’s generally a lot of fun (for me). It’s been a shade over six months now since I’ve moved down here. Alot’s happened, and it feels like ages have past since I was crashing at Uncle Cromar’s house and living off of the EasyMac and Pringles the MowCow guys sent with me. I can remember the days where all I’d think of doing was sharing whatever menial events had happened that day over this little site as a way to stay connected with the people I was leaving in Virginia. It really helped me get through the rough patches of homesickness. Half a year later I’m really liking it here. I’ve met great people, done a lot of interesting things that I don’t think I could have accomplished in VA, and generally grown up a whole lot (I think). Anyway I’m sure there are many bloggers out there that hit 100 posts within a week so I’ll wrap this one up. Here’s hoping I still catch the occasional reader during the next 100.

The Burn Victim Post

Time in the sun this weekend has caught up to me. Well at least half of me. Sitting out at the baseball game on Saturday has taken its toll on the right side of my face and neck. Being that the sun was always on that side of me during the 4-5 hours I was out there. That combined with the whole day outside at Bay Hill on Sunday has left me rather… lopsided in the sunburn department. Having a hard time turning my neck to the right, and generally look pretty dorky. Oh well. Its half as bad as it was yesterday, so here’s hoping tomorrow I’ll be half again on my way to recovery.

3.18.2007

The Peacock Room Post

Buck and Lola work for Chillin’ Music; a record label they are both under and a big part of the electronic scene in Orlando and Miami. Friday night they had a Chillin’ event downtown at the Peacock Room. I had never been before despite numerous invites for various reasons, but was on the guest list this time, so I defiantly wanted to finally check the place out. It was pretty cool. A fully stocked bar with an eclectic design to the whole place. Buck was spinning, as well as a few other of their DJ friends from San Francisco. Sue and Arnold from work were there as well, which was cool, plus the usual crowd of Buck/Laura friends who I get on really well with. I haven’t been out with them for a while so it was cool to see everyone again. Good times. Glad I went.

The Arnold Palmer Post

Duncan’s parents got a bunch of clubhouse level passes to the Arnold Palmer Invitational today at Ball Hill. I’m not a golf enthusiast, but Bay Hill is really classy, plus club house access lets us get right up there with the players. And mentally I am trying to top my celebrity picture with Manny the Sharkman with someone of a higher caliber…say Tiger Woods. Though I didn’t get to take a shot with Tiger (they confiscated all cellphones and cameras if you took one out), I did see him sink a nice birdie, literally 10 feet away from me. Which was pretty cool. Spent some time in the clubhouse chilling with Duncan. Added to my already heinous sunburn too. Good times. Snagged a very weak shot in the car as we were leaving just because I didn’t want to bring the camera for no reason (see below).

The Byrd’s have been keeping me well fed this weekend and continually refuse to let me pay my way. Today we hit Two-Jay’s deli for some terrific sandwiches, and more massive deserts. They headed to Key West today, to see some Nat’s spring training games and spend time with relatives. It was great to see them. Glad Duncan made it down.

The St. Patty's Post

Yesterday we (Dawn, Bruce, Donna and I) went to Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex to see a Braves/Cardinals spring training game. Dawn had given us tickets as Christmas presents last year, and it’s something they try to do every year. Game was fun and we had a good time (if not horribly sunburned). Duncan made it down from VA to catch the majority of the game too which was cool.

After the game Duncan and I went to the Ale House for some green beer and not so healthy food. Then headed back to his and his parents villa they are staying at. Hung around there for a bit then headed to Joe’s crab shack for a enormous meal of crabs, hushpuppies and massive deserts. Good time.

3.15.2007

The Bond-athon Post

This week marked the release of the recent Bond outing; Casino Royal. I was very fond of the film when it premiered towards the end of last year and have been anticipating its DVD release for some time. I recently inherited the family Bond box sets (they released new ones and Dad upgraded) and decided to watch them all*, in order before Casino Royal came out. Over the past few weeks I’ve sunk a lot of time into the Bond’s and walk away with a much better understanding and appreciation as a fan. It was also very interesting to see the films evolve as the times changed. Bond’s demeanor, style, attitude towards women as well as each movie’s enemies and plotlines are all every indicative of their respective releases. I finally feel like I can back up my opinions about which films are the best, and which actor best played the role. With that said here are my best and worst Bond films:

The 5 Worst:
The Man With The Golden Gun- The emphasis was placed on Christopher Lee’s character and failed to deliver any suspense, twists or climactic battles. Though it did have Knick-Knack. Bless his little soul.

The Living Daylights- Honestly if this was what we had to expect from Dalton, I’d not have invited him back for another stab at Bond. Uncharismatic and stale.

Die Another Day- This seemed like an attempted launching platform for Halley Barry’s Jinx character more than a Bond film. Plus Madonna has a cameo and Bond’s car can turn invisible. Crap.

You Only Live Twice- Train for weeks and undergo facial modifications to become ‘Japanese’ only to run in and shoot some people. Terrible terrible movie. Plus he never looked Japanese at all.

Dr. No- Honey Rider was gorgeous. That’s about all this film had going for it. We don’t even see the doctor till the very end, and he’s rather slow and disappointing. Poor start to a terrific series of films. I’m glad they didn’t stop here.


The 5 Best:
Goldeneye- The perfect Bond movie. Great twists, brilliant villains and a lot of action. Cements Brosnan as one of the best Bonds.

Casino Royal- The new badass take on Bond. Daniel Craig defies the naysayers and delivers in a terrific and moderately realistic Bond flick that’s a breath of fresh air.

From Russia With Love- The first ‘true’ Bond film. Harrowing escapes, espionage and intrigue, and a showdown on the Oriental Express. Great film. Classic.

Goldfinger- Lots of Bond mainstays start to form here with Goldfinger. My favorites being the elaborate death plots, superhuman badguys (OddJob) and treating Bond like royalty when being held captive.

License To Kill- Dalton, though a weak Bond, is blessed with a great story here. Terrific opening scene with Blowfeld getting his overdue death makes this a fanboy favorite.

*I didn’t watch Never Say Never Again, the Thunderball remake, simply because its not part of the box set and is an ‘unofficial’ Bond film.

3.08.2007

The Wipeout Post

Sunday, Sarah and I headed to Adrenalina, at the Florida Mall to sign up for their flow rider machine. It’s basically a mock wave with optimal surfing conditions generated by massive jets that shoot water up a plastic wave shaped slide. It’s about 10ft tall and probably 30 ft long, and kept inside a giant boxed in area in the back of the store. The store sells extreme sporting gear, like boards, paintball markers and mountain climbing gear, and has this gigantic tank in the rear with the wave machine in it. The store fills with onlookers who crowd around the tank and cheer (or jeer) the surfers inside. There were some pros there that were pulling off some pretty cool moves, but more importantly there were shumcks (like us) who busted their asses and ate a lot of wipeouts. Unfortunately we weren’t able to take any footage of us hitting the waves, but we did get some shots of the people who went on before us. Check out the video below to get an idea of what it was like. And then THIS ONE to see how painful it can be... Loads of fun, we had a great time. Glad we did it.



The Published Nerdyness Post

Yesterday at work I made some awesomely nerdy shirts based off of my latest gaming vice; Crackdown. It came up as a joke with Live buddy Treebeerd that they should make t-shirts featuring the game’s cheese-ball announcer’s phrases. We have a t-shirt printer here at work, so I figured I should whip up a few. The shirts came out awesome, so I snapped some piccies and let 360 Fanboy (a blog I regularly read) know about it, and today they wrote a post on them. You can check it out over at the address below:

http://www.xbox360fanboy.com/2007/03/08/remember-agent-crackdown-tshirts/

3.05.2007

The Saturday Post

Meant to get this up sooner, but figured spending time with Sarah was more important that writing about spending time with her.

Sarah and I scored some free tickets to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure this weekend from my buddy Craig. We hit the parks early on Saturday and blew through ‘Studios in a couple of hours. We hit all the good rides (Mummy, Men in Black etc) and managed to sneak in a trip on Back to the Future, which incidentally is being closed down to make way for a new ride in 2 weeks. We got all our ride photos for free as well cus…well you know…I got the hook up. I think I got quite obnoxious wandering the parks commenting on how I never usually have to wait in lines and random facts about the park. Sarah put up with me though, which I am appreciative of.

Lunchtime came and we hit Citywalk, eating at Margaritaville which was pretty awesome surprisingly. Had me a Landshark Lager (which I am determined to make my new beer) and a crab cake sandwich. Both were excellent. Sarah enjoyed her veggie-mushroom-thingy too, so all went well.

Next up was Islands, which was loads of fun. Did Spiderman and both the Dueling Dragons before it started to belt rain. Hoped inline for Hulk ‘cus the wait was 20 min and it was indoors, hoping to ride out the rain…nope. We rode it in the POURING rain and got absolutely saturated. The rain was beating down so hard it actually hurt to open your eyes. Fun times. Soggy. But fun times.

Later that night, after a nice nap and a good shower, we met up with Buck and Lola downtown for some Thai. Never eaten at a Thai place before, so it was a bit of an adventure for me. I tried the red curry with shrimp and chicken, after a recommendation from some of Buck’s DJ friends who ate with us. I really enjoyed it and think I might try whipping it up here sometime. After dinner we hit Crooked Bayou for a drink then headed to Suite B to see the aforementioned DJ friend running his set. Didn’t stick around for long because I was knackered after a long day.

3.02.2007

The Near Death Post

Today on the way to the gym, Sarah and I were in some harrowing car action when a guy coming the other way cut across into our lane at quite a clip while we were turning a corner. Fortunately I’ve got mad stunt-driver quality reflexes and cut the corner via the ditch and avoided the oncoming car. Actually I kinda didn’t even realize what was happening until we’d missed him. But the guy was completely in our lane, almost as if he was trying to hit is. Here a shot of my awesome driving skills as taken by a nearby bystander with impeccable timing (and a tripod). Being the manly man that I am, we shrugged off the near death experience, went to the gym where I promptly benchpressed a dumpster and then went on to work.