The Midnight Launch Post

Monday night I worked the Grand Theft Auto launch, which marks the first time I’ve pulled a shift at GameStop in a fair while. I played the part of the door man letting limited numbers of customers into the shop to pay off their game and then lineup outside to wait for 12:00 to roll around. At which point we let them back in to get the game… bit of an odd system, but with street dated merchandise like big-game-releases we aren’t allowed to send people away with their copy until midnight. Hanging out before and after with Tony and the guys was pretty cool, though I definitely would have started to fade if I didn’t have a Monster on the way there to wake me up. If you ever want to meet some of Orlando’s more ‘interesting’ characters I’d recommend coming out the next time a game about drug deals and car thievery has a midnight release*. Some of the people that where waiting in line where borderline scary. Others cartoons of themselves. Everyone behaved though and didn’t give me any crap for cutting them off in the line and making them wait, which I was afraid might happen. All in all it went pretty smoothly. I picked up a copy for myself, but haven’t sunk any time into it behind the opening cut scene really. Looking forward to giving it a spin at some point over the weekend.

* Why can’t games be more wholesome?

The Woo-Hoo? Post

This week was the first week that the new Simpson’s ride is open to the public. Part of a soft-opening before the grand opening next month, the ride is already pulling in large crowds to check it out. Bruce and I stopped by yesterday to give it a whirl, and while it was an enjoyable ride and pretty funny, the whole thing failed to really strike a chord with me. I just had an overwhelming sense of ‘this is just Back to the Future with a new coat of paint’ and despite the massive Imax screen and moving vehicle-seats, I never felt like I was doing anything more than watching a Simpson’s movie while my chair wiggled. Waiting in line was pretty cool though (as cool as waiting like a lemming can be I suppose). There where flat panel TVs each with a different character on them placed in walls and behind stands that made it look like the character was actually there talking to you. Its kind of weird sounding, but works really well. The ride doesn’t take itself as seriously as many others do and pokes fun at theme park food prices, gift shop placement and queue lines, as well as even taking a few jabs at Disney and SeaWorld, which also helps take the edge off the wait. Simpson’s fans won’t be disappointed though, the whole experience drips with Springfield’s finest and their accompanying sense of humor and the production values are clearly high. I just wish they did something other than a verbatim theme-swap from the old attraction. Maybe being around theme parks has jaded me and turned me into a ride-snob. I hope so, because I really want to like this ride a lot more than I did after my initial spin. D’oh.


The Broom Broom Post

Mario Kart came out today on the Wii, so after a much needed McDonald’s breakfast I stopped by the store to pick it up. Having played it for a few rounds I gotta say that its an awful lot of fun. The game comes with a wheel attachment that you pop the wii-mote inside and use like a regular steering wheel. It works pretty well and is the kind of thing you can pick up and play no matter who you are. I look forward to having a few friends round for some wii-wheel waving. Due to Nintendo’s backwards ways a new ‘friend-code (read: annoying number) is assigned to each player if they want to play online. This is of course in addition to the lengthy code number assigned to the wii itself. Why we have to deal with so many inane numbers is beyond me (well I suppose it’s to stop child predators kidnapping Little Timmy’s soul while he plays Mario, but whatever. Screw Timmy). My code is below should you wish to fire turtle shells at me online sometime.

The Wine and Sake Post

Last night I went down to Winter Park with Alana and a few of her friends. I had never been to the area before, less one direct trip to see a movie last summer, so I was not really familiar. The place is really nice and reminds me a lot of a Georgetown meets Old Town hybrid, but with more of a focus on shopping and the arts than its DC counterpart. We first headed to the Wine Room, which is a really cool idea for a bar. When you go in you buy a card that you can use to sample different wines. The whole place is filled with bottles lining the walls and elaborate Willy-Wonka style vending stations that allow guests to see the bottle as the wine is poured, as well as read up on the wines style/taste/history etc. All the wines are grouped by region and can be found allover the place inside the bar. Couches, tables and areas to mill about and schmooze are provided. I ended up not digging the wine so much (its all moldy grape juice to me) but fortunately they have an excellent selection of beers at a (proper) bar in the back.

Afterwards we headed down the road a bit to a sake bar. The place was really weird, but very likable. There where no seats, just cushions and low tables for people to sit at, while a DJ spun in the back and waitresses brought around all kinds of bizarre drinks. I stuck with beer (Kirin Ichiban) due to the need to drive home eventually, but was intrigued by the many different sake brews and odd beverages other people where ordering. The weirder of all where these fruit flavored teas that came in a sealed container that had floating balls of tapioca in the bottom. The straws they came with where really think to allow the balls to passes through. (‘Tapioca balls must chew before swallow’- as the directions eloquently stated). The weirdest past of all where the bathroom doors which had large glass windows that allowed people to see right into the stall from the bar area. The fact that the toilets where illuminated in a bright blue neon glow made it even more conspicuous. On the inside there is a switch that actives a second light that inastantly causes the window to frost up so people cant see in or out. Pretty cool, if not overly unnecessary. All in all I had a good time, defiantly want to check the Winter Park area out again in the near future.


The Real Life Tetris Post

I remember Eric sent me this link a long time ago and I laughed my ass off then, so imagine my excitement when I ran across it on a late night YouTube rampage. We seriously need to forget about reality TV stateside and take a hint from our Asian counterparts. This is how you make a good TV show.

The Printed Comic Page

Co-Op is getting printed as part of a ‘TopSoil Anthology’ that will be hitting a select few comic book stores next Saturday for Free Comic Book Day. I am really excited about the whole thing and can’t wait to get my hands on one of the final copies.

Usually Co-Op
alternates pages between Treebeer’d and myself taking turns, but being that he’s got another of his web comics (Jungle Planet) featured in the anthology I was given full rein this time through. The comic features Co-Op, Jungle Planet and Sediment by Mike West, the owner of Top Soil Comics. Co-Op is getting four pages which we are dubbing ‘The Lost Levels’ due to the need for us to re-introduce the characters and pseudo-start-fresh for our print audience. As usual heavy nerdyness is required to understand the majority of the references.


The Forgetting What's-Her-Name Post

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a hilarious disaster comedy centering around a likable everyman losing is unfairly hot girlfriend to an eccentric rock star. Peter (the dumpee) takes the news understandably hard, and decides that a Hawaiian getaway was the only way to break out of comically tragic downward spiral of self pity. Good idea…but his ex is staying at the same hotel. Ruh-roh! Calamity ensues. While this might not sound like the best of predicaments for a comedy, I have to assure you that this is one of those laugh out loud movies that you can enjoy over and over (not that I’ve seen it more than once).

The cast clearly work well together and take on their roles perfectly. Jason Segal takes center stage this time around having been largely a supporter of his co-stars, and plays the role of the dumped-everyman perfectly. His timing is perfect and he brings out the best of everyone making the littlest thing absolutely hilarious. While IMDB-ing names for this review I also found that he wrote the script too. Nice one you over-achiever you!

While the ladies in the film (Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis) are both awesomely hot and do a great job, its the supporting cast that really have your sides splitting. Funnyman Russell Brand plays Aldous Snow, the ridiculously overcooked British rocker character and absolutely steals every scene he is in. Imagine the maladjusted offspring of Jack Sparrow and David Brent (the Office) and you are on the right track. His in-film music videos are absolutely priceless and feature lots of pelvic thrusts at nuns and holding of signs that read ‘sodomize intolerance’, so that gives you a bit of an idea. Paul Rudd’s surf instructor and Jonah Hill’s waiter are brilliant as well.

The only thing I fault this movie for is that despite its best efforts it seems to not reach the bar set by Knocked Up, Superbad and 40-Yr-Old-Virgin as far as being a memorable movie (which is rather amusing considering the title). But keeping in mind that those movies pretty much set the bar for modern comedies at the moment, that’s not selling this one short by any means. It’s just not unique enough to stand on its own when looked at outside of its family of recent Apatow-crew releases.


The Man-Tree Post

Wow. And here’s me freaking out when I get a pimple…


The Manhunt Post

Last night I took Tom up on an invitation out to UCF to play Manhunt with a group of students. The game can best be described as a ‘grown-up’ version of hide-and-seek. A section of the campus is outlined as fair game at the start of the match and a ‘jail’ is designated. Teams are picked by the captains, one hunts and the other hides. The hiders are given 5 minutes to scatter while the hunters wait with chalk. After the 5 minute head start the hunters dash off in an attempt to catch the other team within the half hour time limit. If found the hiding-teamers can bolt and must be caught by the hunting team (tagged with chalk) before being escorted to jail. Jail breaks can occur if a hiding teammate manages to approach the jail un-apprehended and “free” his/her captured team.

The game sounds simple enough, but considering we had a huge section of the campus to hide/hunt in and the fact that it was a night made it a lot of fun. I’m a better hider than hunter I think, mainly because I’ve never been on campus before. I went undetected the first round, bothered only by the family of possum that apparently enjoyed hiding in the same place. Chasing someone at full pelt through bushes and across buildings is pretty cool. One guy busted through a fence after I gave chase and booked it right into some waiting teammates. I managed to make at least one catch in the last minute of the round when a guy made a dash for some bushes and up a wall. I assume he figured that by hiding out on a ledge none would bother going for him with only one minute left, but I leaped up after him and cornered him in the side of one of the student union buildings. I felt pretty cool making an obnoxiously large “X” on the guy with my chalk as he realized that a 2 story drop was probably not a valid form of escape.

I look forward to doing it again next time they have a meet. It was a pretty good turn out with a good 10 or so people on a team. Though I have to say hanging out with college students definitely makes me feel old by comparison, and somehow very mature, which is extra scary.

The Juno Post

I tend not to do reviews of films I don’t catch in theaters. Personally I don’t think the experience is the same sitting on the couch* so it’s hard to make a 10 point scale that’s fair across the board. That being said my anger fueled rant after Netflix-ing Revolver last week forced me to break my ‘blogular morals. So to be fair I figured I’d post a favorable review next time something delightful blessed the Blu-Ray player. That something delightful arrived today in Juno.

Charming isn’t a word that accurately describes films to often, but in Juno’s case I find it very fitting. The film oozes charm in a quirky and adorable way, largely in part to it’s leading lady (Ellen Page) and her on-screen baby-daddy Bleeker (‘George’ Michael Cera). Both characters are absolute gold and portrayed with such charm (there it is again) and charisma that you can’t help but connect with them. Another real strength of the film lays with its supporting cast. Juno’s father and mother (namely the father) steal the show in their scenes, and Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner do a great job too. The plot is great, the quotes are hilarious and the characters are all…charming. There was a lot of hype on this film come award-time last year, which further aggravated the fact that I didn’t get a chance to catch it in theaters. Sufficed to say the critics where right in praising this film, though I think the “this film is this year’s Little Miss Sunshine” is unjust because I personally found Juno to be far more compelling and entertaining in every way.

There are a lot of obnoxious band/director/album plugs from all the ‘hip’ characters in the film, which seems to be a tad too common in the more indy-focused releases these days (cultured people just can’t keep it to themselves apparently. (I wouldn’t know) But that aside there really is nothing wrong with the film. I watched all the deleted and extended scenes and honestly feel robbed that they didn’t include them all, especially the Danny Trejo scene.

All in all I loved it. I would give it a 9.5 but I don’t feel like chopping a star in half for my little image, so a solid ‘9’ it is. A well rounded and delightful movie and a definite pick-up next time you are in Best Buy. Don’t forget your reward zone card. You get points for every purchase you make! This review brought to you by Best Buy.com

*I am currently funding advanced scientific research that will prove that sticky floors are the key to film enjoyment.


The Ghost-ly Video Post

Ghosts I-IV is the new Nine Inch Nails record that features over two hours of instrumental awesomeness. Picked up the record today and am thoroughly enjoying its noisy compilations. I am particularly excited about this record though due to the video ‘assignment’ that has been attached to the music. The project is offered up by Tent Reznor himself challenges Nail’s fans to create videos to accompany his music. I am currently listening through the tracks to figure out which section of the CD I want to try tackle.

I was turned on to the project by Nick and Harris on Facebook, both are directing their own entries (Nick’s is done actually, check here). I am deliberately not checking out any other videos people have made simply because I don’t want it to effect how mine turns out. But that’s not to say you cant take a peek at what’s on offer here. Just don’t tell me anything please. I am thinking I’ll go with animation for my video vs. live footage because it will serve as a nice precursor to my Kings Soul Project and let me get my feet wet before attempting a much more ambitious project.

Update: Screw it. I got nothing. While inspired in theory, the music didn’t offer anything as far as a direction or goal for my animation. I have tried milking a few faint ideas I’ve had over the past few free evenings but nothing is coming out of them. Nothing good anyway. Thus I quit.

The I Don't Rock Post

So I officially don’t rock on any level. This is not news to me but having exactly those words shoved in my face after attempting to play Rock Band last night drove the point home. Despite the game’s ability to point out my musical shortcomings I did have a lot of fun rocking out (or attempting to) over at Tony and Amanda’s last night. Those guys play a lot of Rock Band, as does their roommate and close group of friends. Fortunately there is an ‘easy’ setting and they where largely patient with me causing the band to loose points. With a little (read: a shitload) of practice I recon I could get into the game. The only downside is that you need a team of 4 to really enjoy it and I don’t think Coolio is much of a bassist.


The Weridness Continues Post

Ever found modern day instruments to be dull with their strings, keys and valves? Well look no further than this little gem. With this brand new technology known as ‘lasers’ you can generate beautiful music with the wave of your hand! This trailer reeks of 1990 cheesiness (unfortunately though I think it might be recent) including some people who are enjoying the experience waaaay more than humanly possible. Give these guys Oscars!. so they can hide them in the back of their closets and try to forget they ever had a part in something this ridiculous.


The Revolver Post

Lock Stock and Snatch are brilliant (if not overly similar) films. The Fifth Element is one of my favorites that I can watch over and over. So why is it that the two guys behind those movies (Guy Richie and Luc Besson) team up to make a film and the offspring is an inarticulate hunchback who somehow thinks he should be prom king?

Never have I seen a film that was so bad, but clearly thinks it’s brilliant. The film’s pathetic attempts to be cool and clever come across forced and fake and do little but irritate you. The constant romanticizing of mobsters, torture, assassins and gambling is so overdone that my head hurts from the propaganda. The attempts at Tarentino-eske ‘coolness’ are overshadowed in my anger however by the film’s need to constantly reference itself. Apparently unable to get over how clever his dialogue his, Richie has us listen to the same adages and chess-blabber over and over again to the point where it looses all meaning and relevance. You know how at the end of some movies when there is a clever plot twist or revelation there is often a flashback to the moment or quote that makes everything click and make sense? Well Revolver does that about 30 times*, robbing the quote of all meaning and burying it in a sea of redundant drivel while at the same time failing to offer any big revelations or clever twists.

After almost two hours of self-referencing flashbacks the movie’s primary plot point is finally paraded in front of the audience. This pearl of unabridged wisdom that the movie touts so proudly is that; our own egos are our own worst enemies. Wow. I am so enlightened. I had to sit through all that crap you just fed me to understand something that is taught to us in 3rd grade? Unfortunately this divine epiphany of a message is completely useless considering it came out of 1 hour and 44 minutes of hypocritical ego-stroking and quote regurgitation. I guarantee Richie takes the negative reception of his 3rd film with a grain of salt, and thinks his masterpiece to be above the average moviegoer’s head. Truth be told his complete lack of understanding of the subject matter he attempts to parade does little more than water down his pathetic crime-thriller and tortures anyone who musters up the balls to press play.The movie's presumptuous tagline is “Your mind can’t accept a game this big”. He even goes so far as to have doctors and philosopher s babble on about the ego during the ending credits. (Arrogant. Unnecessary. Redundant….pick one.)

On top of the crappy revelations and botched attempt at a clever ending, the movie fails to deliver on numerous other fronts including a myriad of plot holes and minor characters that seem not to matter as soon as the movie rounds third base. While the main ego-based-ending ties up the plot for a handful of characters, everyone else is completely forgotten about, including a very interesting character (Sorter) played by Mark Strong., who is the ONLY redeeming gem to be found in this floundering turd of a film.

I cannot stress enough how poorly cobbled together this film is. It’s a horrendous attempt at a deep and provocative thriller, that somehow does little more than fall flat on its face and make you look stupid for it.

*This is not an exaggeration by any means. I’d go back and count to prove the point but I don’t think I’d survive a second sitting. Please just take my word for it. PLEASE.


The New Project Post

I’m a big fan of side projects and it’s been a good while since I actually dedicated myself to more than just thinking about one. I’m always talking about how I plan on doing this or that, but rarely get past the initial statement and a few scribbled notes filed in a binder. Where am I going with this self-deprecating rant? Not sure really. Oh yes…I wanted to announce a side project.

My project is tentatively titled “Kings Soul Project”. In an attempt to roll many of my desired projects into one, this is an umbrella-title for three separate sub-projects, which include an illustrated children’s book, a graphic novel, and an animated short, all which revolve around the same plotline and basic characters.

Due to the scope of the project I don’t anticipate being done anytime soon, or having much tangible work for a good few weeks, but that’s where the beauty of the ‘side’-part of the project comes in. Any lack of progress can be attributed to me doing ‘non-side-stuff’, which of course is very important and must take precedence. Truth being that ‘non-side-stuff’ generally will include sitting on my couch playing Xbox; going to the bar; and occasionally pretending to want to go to the gym/eat right.

I plan on sharing concept art, segments of text, artwork and progress reports as the project moves on.

The Weekend Weirdness Post

A new feature for the blog premiers today. Weekend Weirdness will pop its adorable little head out each weekend and allow me to share with you a wonderful little token of internet goodness as I stumble across them. It’s not a celebration of the weekend* and not really a celebration weirdness either. In fact it’s not celebratory in and shape form or fashion. It just is. So there. This weekend I bring to you a music video for Camphor’s song “Castaway’ acted out entirely with Playmobile pirates.

* It is no way related to that one co-worker who wakes up on a Friday intent of fake-moaning “TGIF” to everyone at your office coffee machine in order to make their work week seem like it was hard. You know the one.


The New Ride Post

Today was a pretty good day. Nothing much went on at the office but after work I got to head down to the garage and pick up the Celica. I didn’t get a chance to mention it on the blog, but I cashed my insurance claim check from the vandalism and bought some custom parts for my car. I went on the wild side and figured I might as well have some fun with it being that its my car now. So once the parts came in I took them to a local garage to get them installed. I love the results. The side exhausts look really cool and the wheels look sooo much better with the rims. The decals came out really nice, but I think if I could do it again I’d have designed them around the door handles a little better. Check out my tricked out whip below.