Saturday, February 26, 2011

Double the Fun, Book Perception and A Couple Comics.

Well, what do you know! It's the weekend! The last weekend in February, 2011! You know what that means... it's "Two-Fer Weekend" in My Little Corner of the World! You get two of everything today!

Here's your second Landscapey Picture. Not that the waterfall pic is not good enough, it certainly is... I'm just following the rules, sorry...

Ahh! Very nice...

OK, time to talk books...

So, I finished Devices and Desires by KJ Parker last night. It is officially on the Finished Shelf. I tell ya, I really enjoy Parker's style. I really wish someone here has read one of Parker's books, since I wondered something that I'd like to ask y'all... since Parker is an enigma, who's real identity is a mystery, there's much speculation as to who he/she really is, and, in fact, what his/her gender is.

Question #1: Do you think it's possible to accurately identify the gender of an author simply by the writing itself, and the word/structure/style choices the author employs? After having read two of Parker's books, I'm convinced the author is male. But I can't really go too in depth as far as why I think that, if none of y'all have read him/her...

Actually, now that I think on it, I believe Abbie and Rebecca read The Folding Knife. In fact, I can't seem to locate that book in my office anywhere, which makes me think I've lent it to someone and promptly forgotten about it...

Anyway, I finished Elantris and Devices and Desires, and wrestled with what to read next.

Ah, here we go... Question #2: How quickly can you tell if a book is going to be good or suck?

I asked Abbie yesterday (since she reads a LOT of books) how quickly she can normally get a good feel for a book. Meaning, can she tell right away if she's going to like a book? She told me she usually gives a book a nice, long chance to hook her into the story. I might as well make this an informal poll. For me, I'm easily derailed by problems on page 1. I don't have that sort of Abbie-esque patience.

What prompted this was trying to decide what to read next, from my collection. I grabbed Solitary, by Travis Thrasher (a book I won in a book website giveaway last year, which I noticed is autographed by the author!), and from page one I was put off. I made myself finish the prologue, but I could tell right away that the terse, first person style was not going to agree with me. Is that fair? The author obviously invested himself in this book, and it came stock with the requisite blurbs of praise from various genre semi-luminaries. But it went right back on the shelf, after a scant minute or two reading the prologue (and flipping to random spots in the book, to see if the style continued in the same vein).

So I grabbed another book, this time The Jackal of Nar by John Marco. I made it through the short prologue, and about 3 pages into Chapter One before likewise putting this one back. Too many names, characters, races and unexplained references. I hate that. Introduce way too much, too quickly, with the idea that I should already know what you're talking about. Like getting a bucket of water dumped on my head. If I have to go back and re-read paragraphs at the very outset of the book, I know it's going to be a slog. (And before you ask, it not only is definitely a Book One in a series, it is the author's debut novel. Nothing came before...)

So was it fair to ditch that one so soon? Who knows.

I grabbed a third book: Lavondyss, by Robert Holdstock. Again, plaudits and accolades, classic fantasy, etc. Three pages in, and back it went. A strong flowery fairytale feel. My patience already strained because of the previous two failed attempts, I slotted Lavondyss back on the shelf. Is that fair? Probably not. I may try it again later, but probably not.

I grabbed The Hammer next, by KJ Parker, and was IMMEDIATELY sucked in. And then, for giggles, at a stopping point, I opened up The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie, and likewise was IMMEDIATELY sucked in. I now am doing what I dread... another round of simultaneously reading two books. But my point is, in both Parker and Abercrombie's case, I fell into the tale from the first sentence. I knew right away that I was going to get into these tales, and fast. They both grabbed me by my lapels and yanked me in, whereas the others seemed to actively push me away.

So what are your thoughts? Do you feel guilty chucking a book away after a couple pages? Do you force yourself to persevere in the hopes that the tale will ultimately hook you? Or do you feel life is too short to spin your wheels on books that don't grab you by the short-hairs from the word go?

OK, now for two videos...

Saw this one on Bits and Pieces...

I am honestly torn between thinking that is so cool I have to get one, and that it is so lame I'd never be caught dead with one. What say you?

Next... while I never really was a fan of the Zelda video game series (like many other people I know), I certainly do appreciate great artwork. First, CLICK HERE to go see a high-res version of an incredible piece of Zelda-themed artwork. Then spare yourself ten (or so) minutes to watch the timelapse of the painting being created...

And now, a pair of webcomics for you. First, a funny (admittedly geeky) Inception hybrid comic... I hope you've seen the movie...

That reminds me, still haven't fixed my "Shockwave Flash"-- You Tube problem. I hope I remember to ask Vye about it this weekend...

And for those that like their comics poorly drawn and absurd, some White Ninja!

Well, as usual, I had more stuff to prattle on about, but I don't want to trespass upon your patience any further. Until we meet again, good bye and good night!

Dave Dave

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Gluttony, Forced Perspective and Facebombs

Today's post-leading picture brought to you by the amazing Kekai Kotaki, via his equally amazing blog Cake Mix. Ah, he makes it look so easy...

So, I kicked my reading back into gear and polished off Elantris, by Branden Sanderson over the course of the last two evenings. A really good read, though I blanched a bit at a couple forced scenes, especially toward the end, which were a bit too convenient/contrived. All in all, I really enjoyed it, but I still prefer the Mistborn series. I did read a while back that Sanderson plans a sequel to Elantris (as well as a sequel to Warbreaker), shoe-horned into his amazingly-ambitious writing schedule for the next couple years. Good luck to him; the man spins a great yarn.

Glad I could finish a novel; it's been a while. And I'm glad to move Elantris from "To Be Read" over to "Read". I've got so much more to read! I don't know if I should likewise finish Devices and Desires, by KJ Parker, or start Joe Abercrombie's Heroes, or perhaps skim Name of the Wind again, in preparation for the eminent arrival of Wise Man's Fear, which will ship to me in a week's time. Not to mention the shelf-full of books beckoning, including Tchaikovsky, Marco, Zelazny, Williams, Kearney and Parker...

Ah, it's a nice problem to have...

Speaking of "forcing perspective"... dang, have you seen some of the footage from the aftermath of that quake in Christchurch, New Zealand? Holy mackerel, that's hardcore. I'd embed a video, but for some reason, my computer is glitching every time I try to watch something from YouTube. Some type of error in reference to "Shockwave Flash", whatever that means.

Anyway, I'm sure you can check it out, if you haven't. Scary stuff.

Plus, all the protests and uproars all over the place. Of course, I have an opinion about the union troubles in Wisconsin (and now Indiana), but I don't feel like stirring up a controversy tonight. Let's just say I believe unions have evolved well beyond their usefulness, and need a good dose of curtailing. Maybe not eliminated altogether, but I wouldn't mind seeing them emasculated a bit.

I'll leave it at that.

I've been watching a show on Netflix Watch Instantly called "American Pickers" which has held my interest for a few episodes lately. If you haven't seen it, the two hosts roam around the back roads of Iowa and the surrounding states, trying to find old folks on farms that have accumulated a ton of stuff, and they ask if they can root through their stuff, looking for goodies to buy from them. Basically, they hunt down old stuff that they can resell. It may not sound in the least bit interesting, but it is pretty wild, watching them rooting around in old barns and farm buildings, looking for old bikes or signs or oil cans or whatever. Kinda cool. Again, I'd post a video clip, but until I get this "YouTube problem" solved, I can't... it's odd... I can watch YouTube videos that are embedded on other sites just fine, but if I try to watch them on You Tube itself, it freezes and crashes my browser. Annoying.

And now, the freakiest thing you've seen all day... cue the cats... aaaand... ACTION!

There's something I really enjoy about this particular meme. There's tons of these out there. Starts off with a picture of a group of people (or in this case, cats), with one person making a funny face. Then they slowly zoom in on the funny face. Then they pull back for a final shot, having photoshopped the funny face onto everyone else in the picture. The effects are often insanely funny (to me). The meme has a name (Facebomb, a variation of the meme "Tenso") in case you want to google it thine own self. Or go to this URLesque page to view a bunch of great ones.

There, that's your Internet Meme Lesson for the day...

Well, time for me to run along. Gotta decide what to read tonight... I had more to talk about, but I'll hold off until next post. Adios, y'all.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mellow Saturday Randomness

Mellow Saturday. A little overcast. No pressing deadlines. Wifey's at the mall. Just a peaceful, round-the-house afternoon. Nice.

As usual, I go into this post not really knowing what I want to say. I guess I'll start with a cool video, and see where it goes from there...

YOUTH from Tommy Petroni on Vimeo.

How ridiculously cool is that video? Of course, I don't know any of those people, but it was really touching in any case. How cool, just to carry a camera around and just tape a bunch of footage of you and your friends just farting around, doing not much of anything other than just enjoying life and each other's company? Then edit together a cool montage that they can all look back on, years from now, and get all maudlin.  Makes me wish I'd done something similar. Family videos are one thing... "friend" videos seem a whole other animal.

There might be a movie idea hidden in that concept. I may have to chew on it a bit...

That reminds me, I thought of yet another (what I feel to be) cool book idea recently. Lots of potential. It is, at once, cool and frustrating that I come up with fun ideas like this. If I could finish previously fleshed-out ideas first, that would be one thing. But to come up with new ideas when old ones lay unfinished... well, what can I do? I'll just take extensive notes and file it away for future reference.

Here's another cool video.

Living Room from Mr.Beam on Vimeo.

Yet again, way cool. It seems Vimeo has the highest-quality video content available.

Apparently, that "room" has a pair of video projectors in it, and it "paints" the room with different designs. It makes me want to redecorate my office. I'd love to ditch all my shelves and furniture, and just repaint the place, put some wacky art up, and nice lighting, and maybe some cool, out-of-the-box bookshelves. Plus, I'd like to have a futon, or even a twin bed, if it will fit. I'm sick of sleeping on the couch - and it doesn't look like I'll be back into my own room any time soon.

Too bad I can't really afford to redecorate at the moment...

I went to Barnes & Noble today, with the remainder of my gift card (from Xmas - thanks Lisa!), to nose around a bit. I ended up pre-ordering A Wise Man's Fear for $15, plus free overnight shipping (I'm a B&N Member, you know! So important!).

I still had $20 left after that, so I bought a omnibus edition of the Amber Chronicles, by Roger Zelazny. It's supposed to be classic fantasy, and has been in my Amazon cart, in the "on hold" area for over a year. Figured I'd give it a thorough purchasing, since it was basically no charge. When I got it into the car and cracked it open, to my dismay, I see that the entire epic 10-book collection is written from the first person perspective! NOOOO!!!

Hey, Abbie, wanna read it? lol

I was pondering again my aversion to reading "first person" stories, and I *think* my main beef is that it seems a lazy way to write a story. A story feels like it has more depth to me when there are multiple perspectives and viewpoints to contrast, rather than locking the narrative into a single path. Then I thought, "well, if it's so easy, perhaps you should make your first book from the first person, so you'll actually finish a script, you numbnuts!" Lord knows, I have practice writing first person perspective... that's all this blog is...

If you don't read Paula's blog, you need to! She's been updating regularly, and she's a great writer. But she needs your help. You see, she has a rare condition that makes writing very painful if she doesn't get a steady stream of comments. So, you could help spare her pain, and could possibly save her life, by going over there, enjoying her wit and talent, and then leaving comments. You will receive the reward of great writing to enjoy, as well as additional jewels in your crown when you get to Heaven.

And, of course, Logan's Blog, Kris' Blog, Rebecca's Blog and Abbie's Blog are all the Bee's Knees as well...

Adios for now, eh.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bittermen, Controversy, Oz and Jack Johnson.

Yay! I survived Valentine's Day relatively unscathed!

Now, I'm not one of those bittermen that rail on the holiday for being a vapid, commercial tool of manipulation; I'm all for love and smooches, eh. If people want to get all mushy and snuggle and exchange gifts, I say, go for it! You have my envy. Hey, don't get me wrong, I am a bitterman in many other ways... just not about Valentine's Day. Still, I expected it to be dismal this year, and it wasn't. It was very neutral - which is actually a big, unexpected, pleasant surprise. Vive l'amour!

I won't go into detail... I have to be careful what I write in here now, ever since that teacher got suspended for complaining in her little blog about her students, coworkers and group of district clowns that she is associated with. She didn't name anyone, of course, or even say the name of the school she works for. Apparently, she usually blogs about food-related interests to the half-dozen or so friends and family that occasionally reads her rambling. But a couple times, she blogged about her school, and someone turned her in to the Thought Police.

Imagine! Someone getting mixed up in a controversy for writing opinions in her little corner of the world, being skimmed by a handful of readers! Soft, little words, spoken in the dark, for the amusement of a few fellow travelers, to brighten their day a bit. Bitten! Forced to answer for herself! Taken to task! Made a public spectacle, and an example! Oh, the horror!


I'm just glad that's never happened to me. Twice.

So, lately I've resisted the urge to buy more games I'll never play. Are you proud of me? I'm finally showing a modicum of common sense! It's about time, eh!? Well, it hasn't spread to other areas of my life just yet. I bought a couple more books to add to my large Shelf Of Books I May Never Ultimately End Up Reading. I bought a copy of The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie, and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin.

Here, let me shamelessly post the pictures of their covers, in a vain attempt to add filler to tonight's post!

Ooh! Nice and bloody!

Ooh! Nice and... uh... castley!

I made the command decision to buy the Kindle editions of both, so the only dust they will be collecting is virtual dust. On the one hand, it will be nice to take them along with me everywhere, in case I wanna read'ems. On the other hand, I can't loan them out to anyone, and, sadly, I won't be able to mail them to one of my virtual pals (ahem... Logan!... ahem), like I have done in the past. Meh, you gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.

I've read good things about both books, so they are added to my collection!

OMG, they're making a sequel to The Wizard of Oz! Look!

OK, I'm kidding. Sorry for the false alarm. That's what happens when I have a funny picture in my archive, and no reason to post it. But share it, I must! It's what I live for!

Actually, this next part is true. I recall reading a recent article about talk of remaking Wizard of Oz, shooting the exact same script that the original was shot from, and instead of going from black-n-white to color when Dorothy enters Oz, they'll go from 2D to 3D. Then back to 2D again at the end. Not sure what to make of that, actually. I see the logic in the 2D/3D thing, but to not update the script at all? That doesn't make sense.

They should let George Lucas direct it. Wait, hear me out here! The biggest disaster in reference to those gawd-awful Star Wars prequels was by far the script. You can't really fault the actors for their ridiculously bad performances (except Hayden perhaps), since, as I like to say, "a gourmet chef can only do so much with baloney." The scripts were ridiculous. However, if they are, in fact, going to run with the original script, that problem is solved.

Plus, Lucasfilm has the technology and the resources to potentially make it as big a spectacle as it will need to be, and the dough to hire the big names it will no doubt need in the cast. But the biggest selling point for letting Lucas do the remake is the fact that, as was recently revealed, for the past few years, he has been buying up the rights to the images of dead hollywood actors, so he can use kick-butt CGI tech to bring dead actors back to life, so to speak, and cast them in movies. So he can bring back Judy Garland, if he wanted. Or heck, cast Marilyn Monroe or even use Bette Davis as the wicked witch. Think of the cameos!

Of course, that brings us one step closer to every film actor's nightmare: the time when they'll no longer be needed. When computers will be so powerful and sophisticated that they will be able to generate artificial performances that are not only believable, but Oscar-worthy.

This is my current Favorite Song

So, I've been watching streamed content each night on my iPad, using the NetFlix app. Tons of cool, if you ask me. I watched a Ken Burns documentary on the rise and fall of the first ever black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson, called Unforgivable Blackness. Lots of great archival footage from back in the day - he became champion in 1908. Man, am I ignorant about my own country's history. Society was SOOO friggin openly racist back in the day, it is mind-boggling. What a shame. I mean that.

Anyway, he was so unbelievably dominant, and such a strong personality, I had no clue. He absolutely demolished everyone he faced, and always with a big smile. He'd hold people up, and go easy on them, just to make the fight last longer, so the crowd would feel they'd gotten their money's worth. Anyway, that's one thing I love about all of the content available to watch streamed on Netflix. I learn a lot, and I'm entertained at the same time. Ken Burns always does quality stuff. If you ever get a chance to watch this doc about Jack Johnson, I highly recommend it.

In fact, let me shamelessly post a picture of Jack Johnson, in another vain attempt to add filler to tonight's post!

It's hard to get an appreciation for his size in pictures of just him... he was big, strong, and intelligent.

That's how most of his opponents ended up...

OK, one picture of a flying beagle, and I'm done for the night.

Until we meet again, my friends! (Did you notice how optimistic I was in pluralizing "friend" there? That means I'm assuming more than one of you will actually read this post!)

Dave the Goof

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Present Tense for the Tense Present

Location, location, location...

Dave sits on a bench at the mall near his house, and watches people wander by, unimpressed with their questionable path-finding AI. As usual, the largest groups of meandering mall-haunters are: Overly-preened Teens; the Grey-haired Brigade; and a label-less group comprised of "well-dressed women over 40 on their way to or from Nordstrom's." They all have their unique set of quirks, yet none of the members of these major groups of mall-striders (or even most of the other subgroups) bother Dave much anymore. He has finally achieved an age where he realizes that people are just people.

There remains, however, a sub-group that still causes an eyebrow to arch on Dave's forehead; namely, those who have decided, for whatever reason, to insert discs or hoops into various parts of their face, to create unsightly, gaping holes in their flesh. Usually the loops are wedged into the ear lobes, but occasionally the feature of choice is the nose, or even the cheek or lower lip. Large collections of "regular" earrings don't phase Dave anymore. Neither does seeing people covered in tattoos. But the bizarre facial hoops are still a mystery to him. Not being a dentist, seeing someone's lower gumline is disconcerting to Dave. And adding additional nostrils to one's face is pure confusion - what message could possibly be conveyed by such an act of exhibition?

Dave shrugs it off and turns his attention back to the passing human flotsam - knowing that when he finally decides to stand up to leave, he will become another piece floating by. Dave embraces his membership in the mall subgroup called "Those out of whom life has beaten the sense of superiority, who now shuffle along, happy to be alive and in reasonably good health."

The number of stores Dave's likes to go into at the mall has shrunk recently, from three (the Game store, the Apple store, and Starbucks) down to two (bye bye, game store!). In an effort to find something else to look at while wandering, Dave goes into the pet store. The sign in the window notifies Dave that the store is under new management... inside, Dave finds...

A Monorail Cat

A Raccoon Comedian 

A Phlegmatic Retriever

A Difficult Bear

A Suspicious Husky

And a couple of Overly-Attentive Terriers

Needless to say, Dave is impressed with the pet store, and its new management. Dave's list of mall stores he will frequent has now been raised back up to three. Of course, he cannot afford a new pet, but there's no harm in looking, Dave tells himself.

Dave wanders into Sears to look at the latest flatscreen TV's - another item he cannot currently afford to buy. But again, Dave gets his browse on... Most of the TV's lining the aisles have the same thing playing upon them:  a repeating highlight video of high-definition shots of nature, designed to show off the picture quality of each set. While impressive, it does not hold Dave's interest for long. For squirreled away in the clearance section of the far aisle is a small TV playing more interesting clips...

A Crazy Norwegian 

A Quick Joke Pitch

An Incredible Stunt Bicyclist

And a German beer commercial that skirts the line of Good Taste...

Dave's cellphone rings. He answers. It is his wife, notifying him that she and their daughters are finished shopping, and are cleared for departure. Dave smiles. He pockets his cellphone and heads for the exit.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Raft of Mini-Reviews and the Greatest Video Clip Ever.

OK, way too much stuff to cover, so I think I'll just make it a Speed Round instead of going into too much detail...

A Mini-Review: Stories of Your Life and Others
Finished the Ted Chiang collection called Stories of Your Life, with ultimately mixed results. After having finished the collection, I shall now be forced to temper my enthusiasm from a few posts ago. I still hold that Understand is perhaps the best short work I've ever read, for the combination of style, content and pure reading enjoyment. I also especially enjoyed Story of Your Life, Hell is the Absence of God and Tower of Babylon, for their imagination as well as their level of creative writing.

A couple of his later pieces were a bit too experimental for my tastes, but I applaud the author for trying unorthodox approaches (I'm thinking mainly of his pieces entitled The Evolution of Human Science and Liking What You See: A Documentary). While I still whole-heartedly recommend this collection, it wasn't without its weak links. Give it a shot and see what you think. Leave me a comment about it!


A Mini-Review: Facing Ali
I got this disc from Netflix the other day, and immediately gave it a watching. It's a documentary about Muhammad Ali, from the perspective of those boxers that faced him in most of his biggest, most-famous bouts. Rather than just being another documentary about the legend, it covered new ground (for me, anyway), highlighting the affects that each fight had on those fighters that fought Ali, whether they beat him or lost. Boxers such as Henry Cooper, George Chuvalo, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Ernie Shavers, Ken Norton and others. Also unique in this doc were the less-than-flattering glimpses and details about Ali that the casual fan might never have heard. He wasn't always the squeaky-clean fighter, and his decisions, both personal and career-wise, weren't always very logical.

I think this documentary kind of transcends boxing. It really was touching to hear about the backgrounds of all these fighters, how they grew up, the tough times they all seemed to have trying to make it in professional boxing, and how their lives changed (often drastically) after getting the chance to fight Ali. While many of them were not exactly Ali fans at the time of their bouts (not all of them could stomach Ali's bombast), they all seem to honestly be grateful for getting the chance. I especially found George Foreman's account of the famous Thrilla in Manilla fight to be fascinating. All in all, a very inspiring, fascinating, touching documentary. Highly recommended. I may buy a copy for my collection.


Time to break things up with a hilarious video. You will NOT believe this. It's from a Bollywood movie (from what I understand), and has Russian overdubbed dialog. And the most ridiculous CGI you've ever seen. Trust me, this may well be the best 10 minutes of video on the internet...

It just keeps getting weirder and crazier... I can't decide if it's the best "worst" thing, or the worst "best" thing I've ever watched... what do you think?

A quick side note: I went out back to pick more lemons off of our lemon bush over the weekend. We have another "bush" that sprouted a few lemons as well, so I went over to see if any were ready... and they're not lemons, they're oranges! I'm the proud daddy of a lemon bush and an orange bush now!


You need to go read Kris' review of one of my all-time favorite movies from the 80's, Die Hard. The review only has a couple measly comments! It needs more love! Click HERE to go read it, and leave the man a quick comment for his effort! For some reason, I really resonated with Die Hard when it came out back in 88. I liked it so much, I went 9 times to the theater to see it, dragging anyone I could (including my mom!). I even bought the movie poster for my wall. It certainly isn't a flawless film - it has its share of corniness and overdone bits, but overall, I enjoyed the heck out of it, and can still quote dozens of lines from the film at will. I think the film has held up pretty well over time. If violence and some profanity doesn't bother you much, I'd recommend watching it if you haven't seen it before.

Speaking of great (though flawed) films, I watched Tombstone last night, with fresh eyes. I've had a strange relationship with Tombstone over the years since it first came out. Didn't see it in the theater, but caught it on disc, and loved it. Of course, my first impression upon seeing it for the first time was of Val Kilmer's incredible performance as Doc Holliday. Subsequent viewings has slowly seen my appreciation for Kurt Russell's performance as Wyatt Earp surpass that of Kilmer's. The more I watch Val's performance, the more overdone it seems to me.

It reminds me of buying an album because of a hit single that is popular on the radio. You buy the album for the single, but the more you listen, the more you enjoy other tracks. Pretty soon, the single is not even one of your favorites on the album anymore. Catchy, but gets old quick. Whereas often the less catchy ones have legs, and they grow on you, and ultimately mean way more.

Anyway, loved Kurt Russell's performance last night, and I enjoy Sam Elliot as Wyatt's brother Virgil (though he also overdoes it occasionally). I've NEVER been a fan of Bill Paxton in any capacity, and I can't believe they cast him as Wyatt's other brother Morgan. Still get a big kick out of Billy Bob Thornton's cameo, as well as Billy Zane. Michael Biehn's performance as Johnny Ringo was terrific as well. Tons of cameo's - you gotta love an ensemble film like this.

However, this time around, I've noticed a lot of the flaws in the film. Odd sequences of events, strange shot framing decisions, some questionable casting choices, unnecessary melodrama, questionable historic accuracy. Still, it's a great film, and well worthy of a watching, again, if you don't mind violence and some profanity.

Went up to my mommy's house to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. Actually watched the whole thing, for the first time since I can remember. Maybe first time ever. I don't think I even watched the whole game when the Chargers were in it (I hate to watch them lose). Anyway, great game, though I didn't really care who won, so long as it was close. Wifey was cheering on the Packers, and Sister was cheering on the Steelers, which was cool. Every play, somebody was cheering! I read today that 110 million people watched the game - by far the largest Super Bowl audience ever. Wonder what that was all about? My favorite part was Christina Aguilera messing up the National Anthem, lol.

Guess I'll call it a night. Got the first disc of The Pacific from Netflix as well, and of course, gobbled it up. I'll get a few more discs under my belt before writing a review. I don't want to skim over something that is this important to me. It deserves my full attention.

Adios for now.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scrabble Tourneys, Paratroopers and Ravine Crossings.

Greetings, one and all!

Well, one and most, anyway... one of you deserves a slap rather than a greetings! Whoever was actually praying that my life would get more interesting! Of course, God answered that prayer, but in a way that I absolutely cannot (and will not) talk about. So, yeah, things are interesting right now, but ironically, I can't speak on it!

So, I'll move onto other random odds and ends...

Abbie and Rebekah are trying to talk me into participating in a local Scrabble tourney. I don't know, I'm torn. Tourney rules are different - all my crutches would be removed. You can't consult a dictionary. Your opponent can play fake words, to try and trick you. If you challenge a play and the play is legal, you lose your turn. If you challenge it and it is a fake, then your opponent loses his turn. It's a gamble some will take, since a legit-sounding bingo can yield big rewards if it's unchallenged.

Plus, the rounds are timed, with one of those alternating chess clocks. Each player is allowed 15 total minutes to make all his plays. Every minute you go over the 15 minutes, you lose 10 points off the final score.

So, you need a huge cache of words stored in your brain ahead of time, be able to decide on plays quickly, and have the stones to both play fake words and challenge your opponent. I don't know if I can handle the pressure! But then, there's the fame and glory and money and fans and the key to the city...

Actually, the most compelling reason for me to attempt it would be so I could have something fun to blog about. Who knows, maybe I'll catch someone cheating and cause an uproar again!

Abbie asked recently what ever happened in the aftermath of the "hot dog eating scandal" from last Spring. In a word: nothing. I guess when you have backers in high places, you can get away with blatantly breaking the rules. I thought perhaps rules changes would be in order, but not that I've seen. Kind of a bummer, in a way.

My favorite aspect of that video is when the paratrooper gets close enough to hear the crowd noise. Something amazes me about that video. As straightforward as it is, for some reason I find it incredibly inspiring. Perhaps it is the combination of two things that are so completely American: college football and the military. Love it.

Switching gears, fans of WW2 (such as myself) might be interested in reading a review that Adam Whitehead over on Wertzone posted of a book on the Siege of Stalingrad, by H.E. Salisbury. Sounds like a terrific (though admittedly mammoth) read. HERE is the review.

Also on the topic of WW2, I'm getting the first disc of HBO's series The Pacific from Netflix on Friday. As stunning as Band of Brothers is, I'm really looking forward to seeing The Pacific, especially since it is, in part, based upon one of my favorite books, With the Old Breed, by Eugene Sledge. Once I get through the series, I'll post a review.

Enjoying the nice weather here in sunny SoCal. Sorry, rest of the world. San Diego has its drawbacks too, but one of the benefits is terrific weather year-round.

Gonna hit up the writer's meeting again on Saturday. Squish me luck. I recently sent my Word files for my first book attempt "The Master's Program" to Paula, at her request. So I was reading through them again (after not looking at them for a while), and am sort of seeing them fresh. There's some good stuff in there! There's also things that need to be thought through more and/or re-written completely. *sigh* Wish I could hit my stride on these projects. I don't know how to retroactively apply an outline to my two novel attempts, so I can work through the problems and obstacles better. In both cases, I simple started writing, keeping it all in my head. And in both cases, I've hit obstacles, and I'm at a loss as to how to push through them. I wish I could meet another writer that would say, "Hey, here's what you do. Boom!"

I feel like I've hiked up the edge of a deep ravine, and I can look across and see the other side, where I want to be. But I can't get there. I have to backtrack and find a way down and through. And I don't want to! It was hard hiking to this point! I don't want to undo some of it, and re-write my way through it! Can't I just build a bridge or something? Sheesh!

OK, I'll end tonight with a game, of sorts. Found these two cool videos yesterday, which cycle through a bunch of famous actors and actresses, through the history of cinema. See how many you can identify as they morph by! I got about 85% of the actors, but far less (maybe 50%) of the actresses...

The older actresses I had a hard time identifying.

Anyway, I trust you're all geared up for the weekend. Play nice!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Plumbing the Depths, and Testing Your Patience...

OK, everyone, sing it with me now! Ready?

"Everybody's got something to hide, except for me and my monkey!"

Aww, yeah... that song has to be the record for "Song That Uses the Most Cowbell". Love the energy...

Greetings, y'all. Thanks for allowing me a musical intro to tonight's post. Trust me, the alternative was far worse... I almost led with this zoo commercial...

To lead with that video would have been poor form, not to mention bad taste...

Sorry... this is the type of stuff I'm reduced to posting when my "real life" is so uneventful... it's been a very mellow last couple days. Straight-forward, day-at-a-time pluggin' along.

I don't know if I've posted that amazing snow picture before, the one at the top of this post. It was still in my "first run" archive, but I've been known to forget to move used pictures before... I have a mammoth photo archive, from my time spent floating around my favorite sites, looking for funny stuff to share. When I post something, I'll move it to the SPENT folder to avoid repeating myself, since Lord knows, y'all don't need to see stuff like this more than once...

And, knowing me, and my bizarre propensity for finding fart references amusing, I'd likely re-post it if I couldn't remember using it before. Yeah, I'm lame like that. 30 years out of grade school, and I still find this kind of thing funny. I mean, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I laughed way, way too hard at the following video...

I wish my armpit toots were that impressive...

So, yeah, I bet you're glad you tuned in today, eh? Yep, this is the type of deep, high-brow content that brings thousands of people to this blog daily. Anything to keep you entertained... so that you'll keep buying the Dave merchandise over in the Dave Store, and make me rich, rich, rich. Then I'll save up enough money to finally move out to San Diego, away from all of this gawd-awful snow. Brrr!

Wait, what? I already live in SoCal? Oh, well, never mind, then.

I guess I could be all trendy and talk about the Super Bowl. Except actually, for possibly the first time ever, I have absolutely no interest in the Super Bowl (or the commercials) this year. I mean, how could they top that zoo commercial I posted? Sheesh!

Well, I guess I better post a last funny (though esoteric) comic (that no one under 25 will get), and then hang a star on this epic post....

Sorry, if I need to explain it, it won't be funny...

Adios, y'all. Pray for me, that I have a more interesting week... or my next post will be more of the same...

Yes, that's a threat!