Reviews

If you actually care what I think about movies, music, or books, this is where to look.

I’m a boring, boring man.

Hello! The evilly thoughtful SkaYoYo and Tufty have given me a late Christmas present: Untersocks. SkaYoYo seems to think it’s funny to torment me. I guess I can’t blame him; he’s hardly the only person to think that. Anyway, I haven’t opened the socks yet. I’m seriously considering a sock-off: Buy six pairs of brand new ubersocks, serialize them 1-6, serialize SkaYoYo’s untersocks to match, wear untersock 1 with ubersock 1, untersock 2 with ubersock 2, etc, and just keep going with them, and see which socks wear out first. But I already have a lot of socks. Perhaps I will perform this worthy experiment when I haven’t quite so many socks.

Speaking of which, my cunning plan is finally paying off! I’ve discarded a few of my untersocks! Bwahahaha!

Let’s see…worthy GirlAndi was tasked with sending me a CD of pictures from Wilmy’s Annual New Year’s Extravaganza. She got the CD and a picture…of her kid (LaRyantrelle) NOT at the Extravaganza. Which is adorable. Nothing like feeding a baby a healthy mixture of Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 and coffee beans. But that’s okay. She’s still a sweetie for trying. However, it might be her ‘subtle’ way of telling me that I don’t really want to see that video of me ‘pretending’ to be drunk.

Our house is getting close to done! I’ll put a bunch of pictures up soon! My next post, in fact, I intend to pretty much just post pictures. Anyway, as of yesterday’s nocturnal break-in (sometimes we sneak in after hours) and this afternoon’s drive by, they’re basically done inside the house besides touching up in the approximately 10,000 locations designated by little pieces of blue painters’ tape (KrisDi and I kept finding unmarked scratches/marks/damage, so we’d tear the big pieces of blue tape in half and put part of it on what we found), putting in the water heater, finishing up some of the vents and lights, and putting the last two burners into the range. Outside, they’ve started painting finally, and they’ve started doing the landscaping. They tore the crap out of that backyard. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like when they think they’re done with it.

Oh, and in other news, Mom started paying people to maul her.

———- Books I read and movies I watched ———-

Marginal Man by Chad Oliver. This is a short story about an anthropologist who goes to other human-inhabited planets to turn them into markets (“So, you guys make things by hand and hunt with bows and arrows, eh? Try these sewing machines and rifles!”). Then he runs into a ‘primitive’ society which apparently has no interest in ‘improving’ their situation, which does not help his innate doubts about the equivalence of ‘progress’ and ‘improvement’. Not too shabby. And the nice thing about short stories is that they’re short. If he’d tried to extend it into a whole book, it wouldn’t have worked.

Lorelei of the Red Mist by Ray Bradbury and Leigh Brackett. Another short story, this one about a thief on Venus dying and having his personality implanted into the brain-dead body of Conan in a barbarian culture located in Venus’ upper atmosphere. It’s a very strange premise for a story, but it wasn’t too shabby. Although I don’t recall the name “Lorelei” showing up anywhere in the story.

Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda. Wow, it seems like it’s been a long time since I read this. Because it has. Maybe two months or so. Anyway, this was an interesting book, lent to me by a co-working who seems to think highly of the philosophies described in the book. I can see where some of them would be appealing in some ways, and some of them might even be beneficial, but a lot of it just seemed like crap to me. However, as just a light story to read, there are still some interesting little stories and characters, so I did like it.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I got about half way through this when I figured out that there couldn’t possibly be a connection to the movie, which I’ve never seen. You can tell from the previews that there are evil robots attempting to kill humans, which never happens in any of the stories in the book. There is one case where a robot begins to try to attack a human, but fails to do so. Anyway, there are nine short stories tied together by mechanism of a single storyteller speaking to a single reporter audience, and they get progressively heavier. The first couple were funny, and then semi-funny, and so on. I enjoyed it. I guess maybe Asimov earned his reputation.

The Hogfather. I finally watched this made-for-TV-movie with Mom. KrisDi got sick of it and left the room after about five minutes (if that). It was silly. I’ve never read the book. I think I enjoyed it.

Love Actually. I’ve seen this before. It was the first movie I took KrisDi to see when we first started dating. We liked it and bought it, and then we brought it back to her parents’ place for Christmas and watched it with them. Somehow, we managed to forget all the nudity and cursing. I still like it. “Remember kids, don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star and they’ll give ’em to you for free!”

Sweeney Todd. It’s a musical. It’s dark. I liked it. It was funny, and actually creepy. “Nothing’s going to harm you, not while I’m around…Toby…where are you?” Mom pointed out the little segment with the broken mirror, and yes, that was some very cool imagery. She was also right that the repetitive violence was unnecessary. After the first couple explicit throat-cuttings, implicit throat-cuttings would have been just as (if not more) effective. I really liked the sequence where Mrs. Lovett was fantasizing about her future with Sweeney Todd, and kept imagining them in various normal situations, but they were so terribly out of place…anyway, yes, I liked it.

Juno. A comedy about a 16-year-old who gets pregnant and decides to give the kid up for adoption. I liked Juno’s character a lot, she was hilarious. I liked this movie more than I liked Sweeney Todd. “Can’t we just like kick this old school. You know, like I stick the baby in a basket, send it your way, like Moses and the reeds?” “I am a sacred vessel; all you got in your stomach is Taco Bell.”

Superbad. Meh. There were funny parts. I hated Seth. I liked McLovin/Fogle and the cops. Jonah was kinda boring.

Posted by snaotheus, 2 comments

I didn’t break it

Here’s a bunch of pictures of our house over the course of November. It’s built, they haven’t painted the outside or installed gutters, they started smoothing out and painting the interior walls, but there’s no cabinet or flooring or fixtures yet (that was true when I wrote it, but now there are cabinets and countertops, tile and linoleum, and starting to get trim and interior doors, and now we have a door knob, even though it’s not the right one). They also haven’t done the landscaping they said they’d do. So we’ll see about that.

We also have some pictures of E-Dubs and Pixel Chick’s new dog Mia. She’s a Boston Terrier. For some reason, despite the fact that I’ve never been a fan of small dogs and I’ve always been vocal about it, my reputation as a human being is on the decline for not making an exception. Who knows, maybe this minuscule little gerbil of a dog will turn into a strapping young pit bull? Well, piffle, I say! Included in here are two really cool pictures of KrisDi’s drowning gingerbread man.

Our stuff started to fall apart the week I started writing this (got distracted, didn’t finish, didn’t get back to it for a couple weeks). My laptop started crashing, and eventually I either verified that my hard drive was broken or broke it in the process of trying to verify it. KrisDi’s monitor died and I neither fixed it nor made it more broken by dismantling it and putting it back together. KrisDi’s new monitor came in, and I took my little one back from her computer to my computer, where it has promptly started to die (one of the backlights only comes on about 85% of the time). I tried to fix the display on our bread maker and succeeded in taking it apart and re-assembling it (this process took like two months), again without worsening the behavior. I also think KrisDi’s UPS might be going out, because when I was taking my monitor and moving it to her machine, I bumped the power and her computer immediately died. That’s not what it’s supposed to do. I still haven’t gotten around to paying attention to that. Our shower also started to fall apart, and the maintenance guy came to take more tiles off and tape up a sheet of black plastic (very attractive). Another maintenance guy came by that Monday to put new tile, caulk, and grout up. They told us we could shower the following Tuesday morning. We did, and the shower fell apart again, so I taped a trash bag over it and called maintenance. We got a poorly-scrawled note jammed into our door saying they were trying to schedule to have someone come in and install a shower insert or something silly like that.
In completely unrelated news, Hum has been playing on a Cadillac commercial (I think this is a link to the commercial), which surprises me. Not many people have heard of Hum. That’s pretty cool for them, though.

We’ll be flying to Chicago in about four hours, so even though I have a bunch of stuff since I started writing this, I’m going to post it. I’ll write more from the Dub Family Abode.

—— Movies and Books and Whatnot ——

Knocked Up. It was all right. Not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it had its funny parts. Some day, I’ll play fetch with someone’s kids.
Lorelei of the Red Mist by Ray Bradbury and Leigh Brackett. It’s a short story. An ugly little criminal steals a bunch of money from some company on Venus, dies in an upper-atmosphere colony peopled by Conan and some other barbarians, where an alien sticks his personality into Conan’s body. Pretty odd, kinda neat. I enjoyed it.

Posted by snaotheus, 5 comments

Happy Thanksgiving

So, we got to go curling. We were going to go with Ben and the Popes; the Popes picked our dinner location (Macaroni Grill) and then informed us that they couldn’t eat with us, and then Ben called us and said he was too tired from moving all day and wasn’t coming to dinner or to curling. So I had to go admit to Macaroni Grill that I eat in such a disgusting manner that my friends won’t eat with me.

Anyway, I was surprised by the curling place, because it’s just a curling place. No ice skating, just curling, all year long (as far as I know), and they’re pretty old as far as American curling clubs go. It was pretty impressive. They had a bar and a lounge and all this stuff. Very cool. I should try to go back for the next open house, on December 1st.

So, the instructors at this place actually knew what they were doing. One of them is apparently a seven-time national women’s curling champion, which is pretty cool. We were busy enough that we didn’t really take any pictures. I tried twice to get a video of the Pope falling on ice, but he refused to cooperate and stubbornly remained moderately balanced. We got to play two ends with two teams of six, and we won 3 to 0 (because we’re awesome). That was fun.

I have more news of the Martian — on the day of KrisDi’s work Thanksgiving potluck, the Martian brought in a violin and proceeded to play loudly in his cubicle, and then performed requests at the actual potluck. Apparently he’s done this more than once. Someone asked for Turkey in the Straw, but he started playing Silent Night (his hearing is not particularly good, like his violin playing). Afterward, he proclaimed that if anyone had kids that wanted to play instruments, they should pick weeds to keep their fingers strong.

For Thanksgiving this year, I’m currently at E-Dubs and Pixel Chick’s place. For once, KrisDi doesn’t have to cook everything. I’ll have to go to work tomorrow, but I’m told it won’t be too bad. Apparently they typically buy everyone lunch and send them home early on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s just a rumor until it actually happens. Saturday we’re going to go visit Mom and Grandma, and then Sunday Mom’s going visit us so we can watch the Hogfather.

Right now, E-Dubs is showing us his dirty under, complaining about the worn spots, wondering where his new ones are, and proclaiming that he can’t wear “the ones that are all blown out.”

Anyway, Hogfather. Based on the book by Terry Pratchett. I haven’t read the book, and I’m sure the made-for-TV-movie adaptation will be terrible, but it’ll be fun to watch. I’ll see if the Popes or Ben are interested in seeing it, too. And that’s my plan for the next few days.

——- Books and Movies ——-

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. This was funny, irreverent, and interesting, but not as raucous as The Stupidest Angel. It’s supposed to cover the 30 years of Jesus’ life before he got nailed to a cross from the standpoint of his best buddy Levi who is called Biff. How He made Biff sleep with numerous whores to help Him understand sin, how he decided that maybe bacon’s OK after all, how he learned Yoga and tried to teach it to an elephant…etc. It was fun. Kind of sad, in that Christopher Moore did a good job of really making me like the Jesus character, even though I knew perfectly well he was going to die nailed to a cross. I enjoyed the book, though.

Wristcutters: A Love Story. So, the premise is there’s a special afterlife for suicides. “Just like the regular world, but a little worse.” This guy Zia kills himself (I think because his girlfriend left him), and finds out later that his girlfriend killed herself some short time after his suicide, and he takes his friends and goes on a quest to find her. It’s silly and morbidly funny. Plus it had Tom Waits in it, and a NoDak playing the girlfriend.

Memoirs of a Geisha. Not really my kind of story, but the movie seemed well done and most of the acting seemed pretty good.

Posted by snaotheus, 3 comments

Arrogant Bastard

Well, I have some pictures for you today, which will be linked below as I discuss the contents. For one thing, I forgot to mention last time that we had a little trip to the Fremont Oktoberfest. There were, of course, many tasty brews, which we got to sample in tiny, tiny little mugs. Check out some of the pictures. Afterward, we went out to Feierabend, where I got involved in a bar fight. Two guys at another table, apparently co-workers, were out together, even though they appeared to have little in common (one was preppy looking, the other bedecked in metal piercings and tattoos). Prep was apparently making disparaging remarks about Punk’s girlfriend, which resulted in a fistfight, and the two of them rolled out the door. Then our waitress (who probably weighed about 120 lbs) went out to try and break them up, and she just kept getting knocked on her ass. I went out (stupidly) to try and help, grabbed one guy and pulled while a cook grabbed the other guy a pulled. Cook gave up quickly, and I was left hugging a stranger who was still quite actively fighting the other guy. E-Dubs recommended I go inside, so I did, where I discovered I was covered in a stranger’s blood. I went to wash up, and shortly after I got back, the cops showed up, so I’m glad I wasn’t still out in the fight. So that was that.

We went to a couple meetings with the house builder people to pick things like colors, doors, windows, carpets, flooring, etc. These people all suck. I don’t like them and they suck at their jobs. I don’t really feel like bitching about them in great detail. The worst part of it was that it took KrisDi two hours to drive the 20 miles to one of these meetings, and then she backed into a retaining wall and made a big scratch on her bumper. But, here’s a bunch more pictures of our house in the building process.

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers came to Jazz Alley, where KrisDi, E-Dubs and I went to see them. It was fun, it was a good show, and the guitarist (Buddy Whittington) was amazingly nimble with his sausage-fingers. Sometime recently we also saw Nels Cline Singers and the Scott Amendola Band at the Triple Door. It was weirder than the type of music I normally listen to (avant garde), but I enjoyed some of it.

Halloween has come and gone, and we didn’t do anything special besides make jack o’ lanterns. Of course, I spent a ridiculous amount of time on mine (at least on the second try). I modeled mine after the Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale label this year. The first attempt was a complete failure, but I had enough room on my pumpkin to try it a second time, which worked much better.

We had some visitors recently: Weesh showed up, and we took her around a little bit. We spent most of our time eating desserts. Jerry came up for work and stopped by the night he arrived and stayed with us the night before he flew out. We didn’t do a great deal besides go out to eat with him and talk about houses, since he just bought one down in California. Most recently we had Chris come up for work and visit us a couple times (once with Art’s girlfriend Sharona). That was fun. Again, we didn’t do much — we took them to see our house, we took them downtown to Pike’s Place, where we ate piroshkies.

Mom got a visit from us. Isn’t she lucky? We went to see the Cody Rivers Show, which was fast paced and occasionally very funny. Some of their bits were very impressive. They had one skit where they were saying all the words in each of their lines in alphabetical order instead of in speaking order, which was terrible to hear, but pretty cool.

Oh, and the Phoenix recommended XKCD to me, and I recommend it to you, as it is now on my daily comics list.

One last thing: I think I’ve had these pictures from Japan up on the website for a couple years, without ever linking to them. So, if you’re interested, check them out. Let me know if you’ve seen them before, because I’m not sure I never linked them, but I couldn’t find them quickly.

———- Books and movies and whatnot ———-

I finally finished the Dark Tower series by Stephen King (Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower). I have to admit, I started to consider it a chore. I’m glad it’s over. Stephen King writing himself in as a character was just too annoying. I liked the first three. I’d stop there.

Wasp by Eric Frank Russell. A co-worker in his sixties recommended it to me, and I read it on breaks at work. The idea is that a single wasp in a car can kill some humans and destroy a vehicle just by buzzing around and creating a disproportionate panic, why can’t a single human do the same to a whole planet? So, the government recruits likelies, trains them, and drops them off on other planets, where they terrorize the population and cause disproportionate panic, making them more susceptible to attack. It was pretty neat, but nothing too special.

Planet Terror. In KrisDi’s description to her little brother, I think she said something along the lines of, “You might be interested in the first few minutes when Rose McGowan is shimmying about as a go-go dancer.” I was not terribly impressed.

Gone with the Wind. This is the first time I’ve ever seen it. I thought it was pretty good, which surprised me quite a bit. Boy is Scarlett a cold-hearted bitch, though. I liked Mammy.

Barton Fink. Another Coen brothers flick that shares much of its cast with The Big Lebowski. Boy, this was a weird movie, with little to no explanation or resolution. Just a bunch of weird, confusing stuff, with some hilarity thrown in for good measure. Not my favorite Coen brothers exploit, but orders of magnitude better than Planet Terror.

Posted by snaotheus, 7 comments

Whoah.

All right, so I’m in debt for the rest of my life, starting in January. KrisDi will be, too. We’re buying a house. Here’s a few pictures of the plot (we’re #340, so trees on two sides, neighbor on the third, street on the fourth), the floor plan, and the ‘elevation’ or face of the house (we’re “elevation A”). We also have some pictures of the foundation, pictures of the same model with Elevation B, and pictures of the interior of another model house with few upgrades, which will be pretty similar to the interior stuff we choose. You’ll have to read the descriptions under the pictures. The lot is tiny, the house is way bigger than we expected to get, the garage is barely two car, it’s actually in a good school district (the bad school district is to the left of the yellow houses on the plot map). Three bedrooms, two and a half bath, 2658 square feet. Jesus is this a lot of money.

We learned KrisDi and I have good credit (perfect is 850, mine is 802, KrisDi’s is 798 [I win!], and 690 is considered good). That’s good, since we want to borrow a significant fraction of a million dollars. Good thing I paid off my student loans in less than three years and bought and paid for a new car in one year (to the day). That probably makes me look pretty responsible. Ha! Fools! A strong command of simple math is no reason to think I’m a mature, responsible adult! Oh, and what I thought was hilarious is that the loan lady we talked to (from Chase) wrote my occupation down as “Pest Engineer”. I know I’m obnoxious, but this is legal documentation, pal!

Let’s see, what else? Monocular Ben has started a blog! That’s exciting. I finally learned why he doesn’t like jazz or classical or any other instrumental music.

We went to the Puyallup Fair with Mr. and Mrs. Pope. That was fun. We ate junk food (sans trans fat) and wondered how the hell E-Dubs and Pixel Chick (M-Wums?) managed to spend eleven hours there (“But this one goes to eleven!“). We rode the Bear ride, the correct name of which is unknown to me; I think it’s the same type of ride as the Teacups. The Pope and I can supply far more angular velocity than the average seven year old. I think we challenged the mechanical limitations of this infernal contraption. Then we all sat in the shade and panted for a while and thought, “Wow. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.”

—– Stuff I’ve read or watched or whatever —–

Stardust. Heck, that was good! Robert DeNiro was plain old hilarious, Michelle Pfeifer was good, Claire Danes‘ over-acting should have been re-taken until it didn’t suck but it didn’t kill the movie, and whoever played the billy goat guy was awesome. I think this is the first movie from a Neil Gaiman story I’ve ever seen, and I really liked it.

Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp. This was a fun little story. It just goes to show you, you should become an archaeologist and pay strict attention to your history, just in case you accidentally slip back in time to the Gothic Roman era, and decide to use your knowledge of the past (which is now the future) to change the world.

Colony, by Ben Bova. Mars was better. To be fair, Colony wasn’t terrible or anything, but with Lord of Light and Lathe of Heaven as the two preceding books, my palette was a bit spoiled, and this failed to please.

Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s a book about a dreamer whose dreams change the world retroactively. Strange premise. I very much enjoyed it. So, hurrah to Ursula for writing good non-Earthsea books!

Posted by snaotheus, 10 comments