Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Logos.

Look at these new Pepsis.

The "smile" gets bigger or smaller depending on the drink's... what, potency? Pepsi has gone through a LOT of different looks over the years, but I think far and away my absolute favorite is the white can with the old logo from the late 80's/early 90's:

Simple. Elegant. Perfect. If you like Pepsi. I'm more of a Coca-Cola man.

Here's some other recent beverage makeovers.

When I was in high school, Nestea looked like this:

That looks like a fun drink! Now, Nestea looks like this:

That looks like medicine.

And how bout Sierra Mist? I only started drinking this a couple years ago. It looked like this:

That also looks like a fun drink! Now it looks like this:

That looks like a horror movie.


I feel like every time they redesign beverage logos-- or any logos, for that matter-- I like the new logo a lot less. But I suppose logo changes are necessary... for time travelers to be able to triangulate the approximate year in a pinch.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The other night I was out for a run when I turned a corner and found myself looking at real life CAROLERS. As in, a group of people singing "O Come All Ye Faithful." I was quite amazed at the sight. Even though I've been aware of the existence of carolers my entire life, and I've seen them all the time in videos, this was the first time I ever saw them with my naked eye. And as I observed this phenomenon for real, I was struck by what a bizarre thing it is, for this group of assorted persons to stand around in the darkened streets outside a house and sing with their unprofessional singing voices. A woman came out of the house cradling her dog like a baby and just watched them, like she might watch her TV. What a weird thing! The neighbor also popped out, while talking on the phone, possibly telling someone about weird things happening in his neighborhood.

I wonder what other extremely common things I've managed to never see in person.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Day the Earth Did Something Stupid.

Twentieth Century Fox has announced that on Friday, December 12, 2008, not only will it release the remake of 1951's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (starring Keanu Reeves) into both regular theatres and IMAX, it will also be transmitting the film into deep space.

I can't believe it either! IMAX!

The movie will be fired into Alpha Centauri, which is the closest star system to our own solar system, and they'll be receiving it sometime in the year 2012. This is the first intergalactic feature-length movie transmission, so that's pretty cool. Only... well, right now, this movie's got 8 out of 11 rotten reviews on rottentomatoes.com, giving it a shameful 27% on the tomatometer.

What if there's an advanced civilization in Alpha Centauri? These possibly genocidal aliens are going to watch the transmission and make the following observations:

- This movie is shitty and pisses us off.
- This movie gives us the idea to take over Earth.
- The assholes who sent us this are a mere 4.37 light years away.

Then today, I saw a commercial for it on TV. At the end of the commercial, the announcer said this:


I was actually looking forward to this movie before all these promotional stunts. Doesn't Twentieth Century Fox realize how blatantly they are forecasting that the movie itself is not good?

All I can say is, they better attach that Wolverine trailer to the deep space transmission, because if they don't, those aliens are going to be fucking PISSED.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Golden Oldies.

I wasn't very well-versed in popular music when I was growing up. I picked up some of it peripherally, but my entire time at elementary school, when I would listen to the radio in my room, it was always tuned to Majic 102.7, an oldies station in South Florida. That was over ten years ago. I was back in Florida recently, driving around on some nights, so in my search for decent music (which ultimately eluded me), I tuned to Majic 102.7. But something was very different about this station now. Not all of the songs they were playing were oldies. But they hadn't changed formats or anything. Then I noticed that the station was now purporting to feature all the "greatest hits of the 60s and 70s."

Whoa. Excuse me. But oldies are from the 50s and 60s. Not the 70s. Apparently, somewhere around the turn of the century, oldies stations started concentrating less on the 50s and more on the 70s to stay hip to their demographics. This sounds to me like an immeasurably foolish precedent.

You can't redefine what constitutes an oldie as the decades pass. Pretty soon, everything's gonna be an oldie. But everything from the past few decades already has a name. Like disco, classic rock, punk, grunge, or easy listening. And so it goes for all music present and future, because whenever a style of music changes enough that it can be classified as something else, they always come up with a new name. Like nu metal, psychobilly, hatecore, indie pop, or even pornogrind.

My point is that the term "oldies" was coined for one style of music. The original rock and pop music from the 50s and 60s. If they change that, and give its name to something else, the world will be dumber for it. Words from our cultural lexicon change their meaning all the time, but the cause is typically general ignorance. This isn't like Nick at Nite phasing out The Dick Van Dyke Show and airing George Lopez under the banner of classic TV (as egregiously foul as that is). This is serious. This is our language. Fuck everyone who contributes to the death of the golden oldie.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

This Ain't No Cartoon.

Just a couple weeks ago, I blogged on here about how hurt I was that Superman Returns wasn't getting a sequel, and I referred to my comic book movie wish list, the #1 item of which was that we'd get another live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Earlier this week, Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman said the following on a message board:

Yes, it is true. Although the CGI film did well enough to warrent a sequel, there has been much talk between Imagi and Warners to do a better "re-invention" (newest Hollywood buzzword) of the TMNT's, in a live action film--like what was done with Batman. Back to basics, back to the origin and the intro of the Shredder, etc...there have been talks, trips to Northampton to talk to Mr Laird, and discussions with the original "first" TMNT film director Steve Barron to come back and do it right--but no official word yet...will keep you posted. Best, Kevin

The greatness of this news rivals the shittiness of the Superman news. I am so happy right now. Seriously. All I was even presuming to wish was that they make a live action Turtles movie. I wouldn't have cared if it was a big piece of shit. I daredn't DREAM that they'd even involve Steve Barron in something like this. The idea that they're even CONSIDERING it is just... wow.

This story has since been decried by some people in the know (see some of the Ninja Turtle blogs linked on the right-hand column of this blog), claiming "these rumors are not true." But everyone needs to look closer. All these bloggers are saying is that this is not an official press release about the definitive next TMNT movie. And Kevin Eastman never said it was. He said this is what they're talking about. And I guess some of the more fast food-approach McBloggers like Perez Hilton were reporting that this was an official deal that was happening. But it's not. It's just talk. And right now, that is more than enough for me.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Yesterday, I was standing somewhere waiting for a ride, and I started making a list in my head. A list of comic book movie wishes. Like, if I could make a list of comic book movie-related wishes, and they could all come true, what would they be? I'd ask for a Nolan Batman movie with the Riddler in it. Maybe a Fantastic Four reboot (and quick). Possibly an Ed Solomon-scripted Men in Black sequel. Above all, I'd definitely want another live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, the exact style of the first movie, that maybe more directly adapts the early seasons of the original animated series.

But the first wish that popped into my head, and was the thought that prompted the list to begin with, was that I wished there would be a direct Bryan Singer-directed sequel to 2006's Superman Returns. I don't think anyone anticipated a movie like this as the culmination of two decades of false starts and aborted attempts to bring Superman back to the big screen. Some people didn't like it, and they all had their own different issues with it. I was thrown by it, but only because it seemed like it was setting something up that we wouldn't get to until its hypothetical sequel(s). I'd had a similar reaction to Singer's X-Men, which he then followed up with the really awesome X2. So I wasn't too worried about it, and I actually like Superman Returns a lot. In the past year or so, there have been numerous worrisome rumors about Singer possibly not getting to do his follow-up (announced in early 2006 and referred to tentatively as "The Man of Steel"). The shooting date kept getting pushed back while Singer worked on other movies. In October 2007, his two writers actually left the project. And since then, there have been more rumblings that the franchise might get rebooted. The talk would never get too far, but it always troubled me that I never heard any quotes from Singer himself about what was happening. Last month, Warners supposedly started taking pitches from new writers for the Superman sequel. As far as anyone knew, this didn't mean Singer was necessarily losing the franchise, and Brandon Routh was still the official Superman.

Today we got confirmation from Warner Brothers that Superman is getting rebooted. Studio exec Jeff Robinov gave a whole quote explaining about how they're going to do like Marvel and introduce solo movies for each DC hero with the eventual intent of putting them all together in a Justice League movie, and that all the heroes will be dark and brooding like The Dark Knight. He elaborated, proving even further that he had no idea what he was talking about.

This really hurts me. I was emotionally invested in Superman Returns, and it looks like I'm never going to find out where it was going. I want to hear from Bryan Singer already. Why the fuck is Man of Steel dead?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Bullshit.

Earlier this week, WB Entertainment President & COO Alan Horn announced that they were changing the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from November 21, 2008 to July 17, 2009. He said it's mainly because a lot of other movies had WGA strike-related complications and they needed something like Harry Potter to pick up the slack come blockbuster season.

At the exact same time, Issue #1007/1008 of Entertainment Weekly hit the stands. It was a Fall Movie Preview double issue, and the cover was a picture of Harry Potter's face.

This kinda sucks for the Entertainment Weekly peeps, who pride themselves on having their collective finger consistently on the pulse. Especially because it's a double issue, so it'll be on racks and shelves everywhere for two whole weeks before they can put out another one. But if you ask me, this was no accident. Warner Brothers knew Harry Potter was gonna be the cover story of Entertainment Weekly. I bet they purposely waited to make the announcement so they could still get that fortnight of face time on newsstands.

Tricky, fellas. But not tricky enough.

Incidentally, I kinda preferred the idea of a Harry Potter movie coming out in the fall. Just, aesthetically, it seemed to make more sense. Now we gotta see it in the summer. And wait an extra eight months for the privilege. WB spun this by pointing out that it'll shorten the wait between Half-Blood Prince and the next Harry Potter movie. In other words, we should go fuck ourselves.


Friday, August 15, 2008

R.I.P. Bennigan's (1976-2008)

Bennigan's is dead. Or is it?

Everyone knows Bennigan's Grill & Tavern. Or, uh, Bennigan's Restaurant. Whatever it is, everyone knows it. And apparently, it sucked. I just read a little bit about how in the 90's, they started cutting costs by bringing in frozen products, low quality meat, and other garbage. For some reason, Mr. Bennigan, or whoever the hell was in charge of things, just didn't know how to run a good restaurant. But it was something you could rely on. "Where can we go for dinner?" "Bennigan's." "God no."

On July 29, 2008, Bennigan's owner S&A Restaurant Corporation filed for bankruptcy and Bennigan's officially became defunct (along with some other chain called Steak and Ale). Overnight, they closed their doors forever. It seemed like our world might never be the same. "Where can we go for dinner?" "Bennigan's." "Doesn't exist anymore." Man. But then I found out something else. Roughly half of all Bennigan'ses in the country were franchises, and thus, were not affected by the company's bankruptcy. All franchise Bennigan's locations remain open! This does me no good, because there aren't any Bennigan's locations around here (ironically, there used to be one, but I think it closed sometime last year just for sucking). And if there were, I wouldn't know, because the Bennigan's website is now a dead link. But maybe you, dear reader, out there in some other state (or any of its international locations)-- you may have a Bennigan's near you that is still in operation. Go there and choke down some of their disgusting low-grade meat. Celebrate the rogue slophouse that will not die.

Wait a minute. Steak and Ale. I REMEMBER THAT PLACE. I definitely went there once when my brother and I were in elementary school. The walls were stone, like a castle. Man, that brings back memories. And now it's gone forever?!

R.I.P. Steak and Ale (1966-2008)


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thinking About Batman.

With The Dark Knight coming up, I was in the mood to watch the first four Batman movies, but I don't have any of them. I wanted to find out how much it would cost to buy them, so I looked up "Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997." This is a box set with 2-disc special editions of all four Batman movies (it would be stupid to try to buy any of them without getting the cool extras). But this box set is like, already out of print. It only came out in 2005, to promote Batman Begins. And now if I want to get it, I have to meet whatever price I can get for a used copy. That's so not Raven.

I found it a lot easier to enjoy these movies after Batman Begins came out. Before then, there was no live action Batman that really encompassed everything cool about Batman in a solid way. They all had good things about them. Even the two Schumacher ones (mostly Batman Forever). But they were always frustrating because they all had flaws, and there was no better live action Batman alternatives. Batman Begins changed everything, and I can now appreciate Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin for all their strengths, without forcing them to shoulder the burden of "representing Batman correctly."

The Schumacher movies are cool and interesting. But they are not proper Batman movies. They're outrageous, shiny, and gay. I don't mean that in a bad way. I just mean that one day, I watched them and I realized, this guy put in a lot of homosexual overtones, in both the heroes and the villains. The recurring imagery of sculpted rubber asses and nipples. The way Batman and Robin go on about being partners. The way Riddler and Two-Face flamboyantly mince around in costume jewelry. This interpretation is not necessarily crazy or wrong. It completely fits the style of the movie. But I can't ignore the fact that Joel Schumacher himself is gay. I have to believe that had something to do with the fact that he made a movie where everyone is a little gay. If Schumacher weren't gay, I don't know if I would've thought about it so much. It's an interesting discussion point.

The biggest atrocity the Schumacher movies commit is ruining five good Batman villains. The Riddler is a self-sabotaging genius. Two-Face is a tragic former friend of Batman, whose deformity leaves him a cold slave to chance. In the movie, they're both just hyper clowns. But they are both slightly redeemed by the brilliant actors portraying them, making them still be funny in a world that is otherwise without subtlety. Mr. Freeze is another cold, tragic figure. In the animated series, his backstory made you care for him, despite every horrible act he committed. And Poison Ivy is an inhuman monster who controls people with her sexuality. In the movie, they are both just gimmicky pun factories. And Bane, who, in the comics, was so formidable a foe that he actually broke Batman's back, is reduced to a grunting henchman. It's like they scrounged up a few minutes extra screen time and decided to assassinate another priceless comic book legacy while they were at it. They also turned Batgirl into a complete joke.

But in the end, it's good that these movies exist. Partly because their shittiness prompted the uproar that led to the faithful Batman Begins. But mainly because Batman is a character that has lived through the ages in countless thankfully unique interpretations. And every incarnation of the character is a part of who "Batman" is. Batman is the sum of every comic book, movie, and breakfast cereal boxtop about him.

Even that piece of shit indie movie where some guy captures Batman, then rapes and kills him. That's a part!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Will Smith Movies.

I am going to see Hancock tomorrow. I've been looking forward to this movie for probably over a year, since it was just a vague premise under its original title, "Tonight, He Comes." I've also been thinking about Will Smith movies in general. In the early stages of his career, I considered him infallible. This changed after a few missteps (which, like his successes, were colossal). But it's been mostly good, which is impressive, considering he has starred in AT LEAST one movie per year since 1995.

I decided to look through his filmography and catalogue his Top Best and Top Worst movies, in my opinion. In my opinion, here they are, in fun countdown order:


4. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) -- One of my favorite movies of that year. Smith is wonderful in this inspiring adaptation of a true story.
3. Enemy of the State (1998) -- I don't remember too many specifics about this movie, but I remember it being an impressive thriller with a lot of good stuff in it.
2. Independence Day (1996) -- One of my favorite action movies of all time. Amazing cast, awesome action, and a marriage of script and performance that never gets old.
1. Men in Black (1997) -- One of the best overall movies of all time, hands down. A script so well-written and perfectly performed. I don't expect Big Will will ever top this. But I enjoy seeing him try.

Honorable Mentions: I, Robot (2004), and I Am Legend (2007).


4. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) -- I never actually saw this movie, but I was on a plane once (either going to or coming from France) and this was up on the little TVs without volume. It looked kinda boring. Consider this entry a testament to how few bad movies Smith has actually made.
3. Shark Tale (2004) -- I didn't see this either, but I think I saw a part of it once. It doesn't stink because of anyone in it; it's just another one of those generic bullshit DreamWorks CGI projects with a ginormous cast (and nothing else of interest).
2. Wild Wild West (1999) -- This was the definitive moment when I realized Will Smith was, indeed, not infallible. This movie, from Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld, was one of the biggest wastes of money and talent the world has ever seen. I challenged myself to think of one thing about it I liked. I could only come up with the train full of gadgets that I think there was. And the Will Smith music video.
1. Men in Black II (2002) -- I actually couldn't decide which was worse; Wild Wild West or this, also from the frighteningly incapable Barry Sonnenfeld. I decided this was worse, not just because of how bad it is, but because it destroyed one of the most promising franchises of all time. The one thing I liked about it was the brief moment where Will Smith and Biz Markie speak in an alien beatbox language. And the Will Smith music video.

I've been avoiding the big spoilery trailer for Hancock. I've heard the audio for it a few times, but avoided the video every time. Despite this, I've still picked up a few peripheral images here and there. Finally, tomorrow, I can be staring at the screen when the entire story is flashed before my eyes. I just hope it's good. This time, they don't have a music video.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cell Phones While Driving.

Today was the first day of the new law in California: All drivers have been prohibited from using the phone while driving. However, if you're 18 and over, you're allowed to use a hands-free device. I think this kinda defeats the purpose of the law. People are all gonna be fumbling with their new headsets and we're gonna see a spike in traffic accidents. And after a while, all the morons yakking on their cell phones will essentially be driving around in stealth mode and the rest of us will be unable to see the phones and maneuver around them with caution.

Here's the real problem: It's not the act of holding the phone with your hands that is causing accidents. It's the act of engaging someone in conversation that slows your concentration and reaction time. Phone conversations are actually more dangerous on the road than drunk drivers, and several studies have proven that hands-free devices do NOTHING to change that (not that we need studies to tell us what common sense should already have covered). They should just outlaw cell phones while driving altogether. We got along on the road for 100 years just fine without them.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Bizarre Human Behavior.

I was at Subways and the girl making my sandwich went to cut it in half. She cut it really fast, tossed the knife aside, then stopped. She examined the cut, pulling the bread slightly apart, and realized she hadn't cut it all the way. Then she thought about it, continued wrapping it, and put it in a bag.

I could not explain her train of thought.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Dark Knight Posters.

In 2005, I was looking at all the cool Batman Begins posters coming out, and I decided that I definitely wanted one. Here were the basic options:

Teaser posters, such as "black and white in cave" and "silhouette."

I generally don't like teaser posters, so I didn't bother with those. I was more into the bat swarm-filled theatrical posters:

I knew I didn't want the one where he's holding Katie Holmes, and I think the one of his head and shoulders was technically, like, the official official theatrical poster, but the one where he's flying overhead with his cape spread was just too beautiful to pass up. So I knew I'd get that one eventually. Then one day they announced that they were pushing up the release date from June 17 to June 15. I immediately ordered the flying cape poster on the chance that I'd get one with the original date, and sure enough, I now have a poster that has the incorrect "June 17" on the bottom. I thought that was kinda cool. I pulled the same trick the following year when they pushed Superman Returns up from June 30 to June 28. So I have a nice display of both incorrectly-dated posters together. I am pleased by things that probably wouldn't please most other people.

Now The Dark Knight is coming out, and I have to think about which poster I want. In December 2007, they put out some domestic and international teaser posters:

Then in April 2008, they released the official theatrical poster (with the burning building), as well as some alternates and extra teaser stuff. I don't know which of it is international or what:

You mightn't know this just from reading it, but I did a fuckload of research just to write this ridiculous post. Anyway, I think I would definitely like to get the official theatrical one of Batman before the burning building. That's basically the only Dark Knight poster I would consider essential display material. Ideally, though, I'd like to also find mini versions of the two teasers of Batman and Joker's backs and use them to replace my two current Transformers mini posters of Megatron and Optimus Prime. The Transformers ones are cool, because they're profile shots (so they're looking at each other), but I didn't really love that movie, so I'm always looking for a new pair to replace them. It's like I'm dating someone I don't really like (so I can get sex while I wait for "the one"). Right now, I think the hypothetical mini versions of the Batman/Joker back teasers are "the one."

So, to recap. I want big theatrical burning building and two mini back teasers.

However. This Friday I was at a store looking at action figures when I saw they had some 22x34 posters for The Dark Knight at five dollars each:

Five dollars for 22x34 posters. That's a fucking deal. So I bought them. They also had the original teaser one of the graffiti on the wall, but I don't much care for that one. I mean, it's painted bricks. I figure I'll take down my big Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life poster and put these two up in its stead. It's a heavy loss, but I still have the original Lara Croft Tomb Raider mini-poster to keep Angelina somewhere on that wall. And I still want the other three that I said.

Mini posters are easy to come by. I get them for free all the time at movie theaters and comic book stores. But it's not often I actually purchase new full-size posters. It seems to only happen now when there's a Superman or Batman movie. Although next year I will probably get at least one Watchmen poster.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Length of Things.

It's interesting how people seem to have just organically decided how long everything should be. Songs are a few minutes long, movies are a couple hours long, etc. What if society had evolved in such a way that, organically, we decided songs would be a half hour long? Is it based on societal sensibilities, or is it more biologically based (though of course the two are far from mutually exclusive)? I wonder if there was a society where humans were exactly the same, but the society itself was really different. Or a very similar society, but the humans were way smarter. Would songs and movies be the same length?


Monday, June 2, 2008

The 2008 MTV Movie Awards.

Tonight I watched the 2008 MTV Movie Awards. I made picks on a ballot beforehand to make it more fun. Here's how I did:

MY PICK: Amy Adams, Enchanted
WINNER: Ellen Page, Juno

Whatev. Both were good.

MY PICK: Tobey Maguire vs. James Franco, Spider-Man 3
WINNER: Sean Faris vs. Cam Gigandet, Never Back Down

I should've known. That whole movie was about fighting! I'm glad it won. I just went with Spidey 3 because that was an exceptionally cool fight.

MY PICK: Iron Man
WINNER: Iron Man

No contest there.

MY PICK: Will Smith, I Am Legend
WINNER: Will Smith, I Am Legend

That was one of Will's best roles. He really makes that movie.

MY PICK: Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
WINNER: Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End


MY PICK: Michael Cera, Superbad
WINNER: Zac Efron, Hairspray

I'm not really sure what this award means.

MY PICK: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
WINNER: Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I suppose if anyone merits two awards, it's Johnny Depp.

MY PICK: Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
WINNER: Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman, Step Up 2 the Streets

I only picked Harry Potter because I thought that was the funniest potential winner of the "Best Kiss" award.

WINNER: Transformers

Holy shit. Overall, it was a pretty good show. Mike Myers was a good host. The Wayne's World comeback was fucking awesome (it was exactly as good as it was in the early 90's). And I scored a three out of nine. Funny that there was only nine awards (not counting Adam Sandler's lifetime achievement thing). I'm really amazed that there's no category for Best Song. This would be the ideal show for it. One, because they love to nominate stuff that would never get recognition at the Academy Awards, so they could nominate all the bullshit pop songs they wanted. And two, because they used to show music on this channel. Although, to their credit, they did throw in a couple of completely irrelevant live music performances by Coldplay and the Pussycat Dolls. I'd say the low point of the evening was when Seth Rogen and James Franco, in a seemingly unscripted moment, took out a bag of weed and smoked a J before presenting an award, and the directors in the booth were so flustered, they nervously stayed in a super wide shot for the whole thing, and cut to some useless reaction shots toward the end. Grow some balls, MTV.

I do like that there's an award show where Step Up 2 the Streets and Never Back Down both walk away with awards.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Blog: Redbox Rentals.

I just started a new blog dedicated exclusively to my Redbox rentals. What the hell does this mean? Read it to find out.

Big D Pitchas: Redbox Rentals.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Love James Cameron.

I saw an article today that said James Cameron's next project might be "The Dive," a true story about the romance between this Cuban diver guy and his female protegee. First, Cameron told the Hollywood Reporter this:

"After Avatar, I want to do something a lot smaller."

Then, he said this:

"It's a drama, a love story. This will require underwater photography, which will look gorgeous in 3-D."


Friday, May 2, 2008

Iron Man Action Figure.

I got my tickets for Iron Man two weeks ago. I'll be seeing it tonight. I thought it would be cool to get an Iron Man toy before I saw the movie. So last week, my friends (Justin, my brother, and Carl) and I made arrangements to have lunch on Wednesday (April 30) at a Burger King in Burbank (the one seen at the beginning of Back to the Future). I figured we'd have lunch, get one of those Burger King Iron Man toys, then walk next door to the Toys R Us and possibly buy one of the new Iron Man action figures.

So on Wednesday, we went to Burger King. Justin ordered his food first. He didn't want a toy, so he didn't ask for one. I asked for one, and the lady told me you could only get one if you ordered a Kids Meal. Because they didn't want to run out, she said. Yeah, I can only imagine how a hopeful customer would feel if they came all the way to Burger King and couldn't get their Iron Man toy. It sounds awful. Anyway, I had already made my order, and she had already called it into the microphone, so I just said fine and I got no toy. Then my brother walked up to the cashier next to me. I told him in advance about the Kids Meal thing and told him to get a Kids Meal so he could get the toy. He said he didn't want a Kids Meal.

My brother frustrates me sometimes. A Kids Meal is food, isn't it? What the fuck difference does it make what you order? If it's too small, just order more!

So he didn't even try to get the toy. When we sat down, Carl had an Iron Man toy. He said he just asked for one and they sold it to him. When we finished eating, Carl ended up throwing it away on accident. So already this day was not going so hot. We walked over to the Toys R Us and they had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures. A guy who worked there checked the computer and told us the Toys R Us in Van Nuys was also sold out, but the one in Glendale had four action figures left. He gave me a printout of that information (it was a pretty slow day).

In my experience (which has been documented on this blog in the past), whenever they tell you a store in a nearby city has three or four of something left in stock, this means that store is sold out of that thing, and their computer inventory is off by about three or four. But I live close to Glendale, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to look. First, we went to the Glendale Target. They had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures. Then we went to the Glendale Toys R Us. They had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures. I asked a woman who worked there if they had any Iron Man action figures left, and she looked at me like I'd just walked into a supermarket and asked for fresh pterodactyl meat. She walked me over to the shelf I had already looked at and double-checked with another employee, who reacted as if she had just asked him if maybe there was some pterodactyl meat left in the freezer. I showed her the printout from the other Toys R Us, not really expecting it to help, but just so she would know that Toys R Us fucked us into traveling a long distance for nothing. She theorized that maybe the phantom four action figures had been stolen. Hmm.

Later that day, I went to Golden Apple Comics and the West Hollywood Target. Golden Apple had a giant display of Iron Man stuff, with an action figure stuck in as part of the display. If they were selling these babies, I didn't see them. Target had some Iron Man stuff, but no action figures.

I'm not crazy, right? Is it too much to ask that toy retailers stock action figures of one of the biggest movies of the year on the WEEK it's coming out?

This whole situation got me to thinking about how last week, I was in La Habra, where I visited a Target and a Walmart. The Target had had a couple of Iron Man action figures and the Walmart had had a bunch. I hadn't bought anything then because I had no money, and I figured I would just get it on our Burger King/Toys R Us trip on Wednesday. But now I had nothing. So yesterday, I went back to La Habra and had lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Then I went across the street to a second Walmart that La Habra had, that I had never been to. And oh my god, this La Habra Walmart, oh my god. Not only did they have Iron Man action figures. They also had Incredible Hulk action figures, Indiana Jones action figures, and The Dark Knight action figures. They also had standard turtles in their TMNT action figure line. From now on, this place is my first stop.

Right now, there's five Iron Man action figures to choose from:
- The Mark 1. This is Iron Man's shitty first armor that he builds in the movie.
- The Mark 2. This is the second version that looks almost like the final version, except it's silver.
- The Mark 3. This is the final red and gold Iron Man suit.
- The Prototype. This is essentially the Mark 3, but with detachable parts to reveal Tony Stark underneath.
- Iron Monger. I believe this is the giant suit the villain builds in the movie.

Now, I'm a sucker for a superhero's shitty first costume. My favorite part of Spider-Man was when he was wearing that stupid wrestling outfit. So I was very interested in the Mark 1. But I also kinda wanted the final suit, so I could display it with my Superman Returns Superman and Batman Begins Batman. And the Prototype's removable mask feature was very tempting. Every kid wants the action figure that can switch between superhero and secret identity (I had the BTAS Bruce Wayne/Batman as a kid). So I ended up going with the Prototype. Also, the La Habra Walmart didn't have any Mark 1s.

The action figure is pretty cool looking. It's hard to play with, because it lets you switch out his bare arms for armored arms, and those babies'll fall off if you handle the figure in any way, as will his shoulder pads. Whenever I show it to people, I hear myself saying "could you pick that piece up?" a lot. But for display purposes, it works beautifully. The removable mask is great. I'm not sure about the scale, because this Iron Man is noticeably taller than Superman and Batman. So maybe they won't stand next to each other on my action figure display. Maybe stick him in the back so he loses a few inches from perspective.

And hey, tonight I'm actually seeing the movie!

If I could offer one bit of wisdom based on this experience, it's this: If you ever want to get a new movie action figure, but you live in or near a big city, just drive directly to the Walmart that's 30 miles out of town.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

American Idol Loser Wish List: Top 4.

Here's my American Idol Loser Wish List from last week. In order from the person I most want off the show (David Archuleta) to the person I least want off the show (Brooke White). With tonight's Bottom Two underlined.

1. David Archuleta.
2. Jason Castro.
3. David Cook.
4. Syesha Mercado.
5. Brooke White.

And Brooke White went home. I'll keep watching for Syesha Mercado, but the show is essentially over for me.

Here's my Loser Wish List for next week:

1. David Archuleta.
2. David Archuleta.
3. David Archuleta.
4. David Archuleta.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

American Idol Loser Wish List: Top 5.

Here's my wish list from last week. It goes in order from the person I MOST want off the show (David Archuleta) to the person I LEAST want off the show (Brooke White). I've underlined last night's Bottom Two.

1. David Archuleta.
2. Jason Castro.
3. David Cook.
4. Syesha Mercado.
5. Carly Smithson.
6. Brooke White.

Wow. Not a single guy in danger. Not David Archuleta, who I think sucked, or even Jason Castro, who sucked in a more obvious way. Instead, our Bottom Two are Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson, with Carly ultimately being sent home. I can't believe Archuleta and Castro's popularity. This show is a piece of shit.

Here's my Loser Wish List for next week:

1. David Archuleta.
2. Jason Castro.
3. David Cook.
4. Syesha Mercado.
5. Brooke White.

I think I've reached the point where the order of my list is pretty much locked in, and the only thing that will change every week is who comes off it. Only four more weeks of bullshit to go.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where Not to Sit II.

This is a continuation of my entry from March 13, People Telling Me Where Not to Sit: A Story in Two Parts (part two specifically). Today I took my brother to the DMV for another crack at the driving test. Again, I was told to step out of my car, and I approached the bench on the side of the building, where there was already a girl reading a textbook. I sat down peacefully next to her with my book. But the same woman who booted me off the benches last time was watching me walk, and when I sat down, she told the both of us that we had to move to the front of the building.

But this time I wanted answers. So when she said this, I responded, "How come?" She paused, thrown by this potential challenge.

"How come?" she repeated.

She then pointed at a sign behind me on the wall that said:


I could see I had already started to upset her, so I ended my line of questioning right there. But if I had felt more leeway, I would've pointed out that my car was being used for a drive test, and that the drive test applicants themselves are never required to be outside the car at any point, which would've segued to my ultimate question, "Why are there benches here?"

On a side note, I told my brother before the test that if he passed, we would get dinner at Boston Market, but if he failed again, we would get dinner somewhere shitty. He passed (it took me three tries too). I gotta remember this Boston Market trick in the future.


Monday, April 21, 2008

American Idol Loser Wish List: Top 6.

Here is my loser wish list from last week. The higher on the list, the more I want them to leave. I've underlined the names that ended up being the Bottom Three.

1. David Archuleta.
2. Jason Castro.
3. Kristy Lee Cook.
4. David Cook.
5. Syesha Mercado.
6. Carly Smithson.
7. Brooke White.

Will you look at that. This is the second time I've had to see Brooke in the Bottom Three. And on top of that, Ryan gave the immediate reprieve to Syesha, making me have to see Brooke in the BOTTOM TWO. In the end, Kristy Lee Cook went home. This was so close, it didn't even feel like a victory. I'm coming to the point where I'm not going to want to watch the show anymore.

Here's my Loser Wish List for this week:

1. David Archuleta. It's kinda good that he hasn't been in a Bottom Three yet. People feel secure about his future, and hopefully this will lead to a blindside elimination. I really dislike him now.
2. Jason Castro. Haven't forgotten this guy. I want him out too.
3. David Cook. Doesn't really need the show anymore.
4. Syesha Mercado. Always does great, and always gets shit on by the judges.
5. Carly Smithson. See above.
6. Brooke White. I hope last week's Bottom Two scare will push people to give her more votes. Also, I noticed the past two weeks, during the Wednesday night medleys, she keeps getting screwed in terms of solo distribution. If it happens again, it won't be a coincidence.

Okay. Very simple this week. I'm rooting for an all-male Bottom Three and an all-female Top Three. Let's see how good I do.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

American Idol Loser Wish List: Top 7.

Last week, my American Idol Loser Wish List (ordered from shittiest to best) was this:

1. Jason Castro.
2. Kristy Lee Cook.
3. David Archuleta.
4. Syesha Mercado.
5. Michael Johns.
6. David Cook.
7. Carly Smithson.
8. Brooke White.

The Bottom Three were Syesha Mercado, Michael Johns, and Carly Smithson. What the fuck. WAY off. I hate a Bottom Three that guarantees the loss of a good singer. In the end, Ryan sent Michael Johns packing, which sucked, but I was happy to have the two girls remain.

Tomorrow is the next elimination. Here is my new list for the week:

1. David Archuleta. Simon keeps giving him glowing reviews, and I just don't like him at all. I don't enjoy the sound of his voice. He is becoming a huge threat, and I want him off the show now.
2. Jason Castro. Suck!
3. Kristy Lee Cook. Inconsequential.
4. David Cook. Like I say every week, I think this guy is great, but I hope he doesn't take one of the higher spots, because he's like the only current Idol who is already guaranteed a career after the show. That's why I put him in the Daughtry spot.
5. Syesha Mercado. Love her.
6. Carly Smithson. Could use a high rank, and definitely deserves it.
7. Brooke White. My fave.

Every week, Simon sucks all the guys' dicks and then gives all the girls shit reviews. Syesha is consistently good, but they keep finding bullshit reasons to criticize her. "You're imitating Whitney." "I don't think people know that song." How bout you concentrate on how good a fucking singer she is? I thought that's what the contest was. With Carly, they always claim she wasn't as technically good as she could be. Am I just tone deaf? Then there's Brooke. I think these judges are systematically destroying her confidence to the point where she's not performing as well as she could. And they seem to trash her more because she's so good about taking criticism. Obviously she's not going to win this thing, because the whole goddamn show is designed to reward only the powerhouse singers, whether they deserve it or not (see Season 6). But Brooke's perfectly suited for that cool piano woman style, and that is a valid thing that should hold more weight on this stupid fucking show.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Made of Honor.

There's a movie coming out called Made of Honor. It stars Patrick Dempsey as a guy who's a shameless womanizer, and whose best friend is a pretty girl played by Michelle Monaghan. Their relationship is unbelievably platonic, but when she goes on vacation, he realizes that he loves her. So when she comes back, he goes to make his move, but whoops-- she's got a fiancee! And she wants him to be her maid of honor! What the fuck! Now it's up to him and his scheming guy friends to break up the engagement.

If you ask me, the title of this movie should be, "My Best Friend's Wedding," because it's essentially a fucking remake, but it's actually called, "Made of Honor." Get it? It's a pun on "maid of honor." That's great. The problem is that the pun makes no sense. See, a pun should have, at the very least, a double meaning. Like, the movie "Witless Protection," starring Larry the Cable Guy. The first meaning comes from the fact that he's in witness protection, and the pun gives it the second meaning; that he's a witless moron. But there's nothing about Patrick Dempsey's situation that fits with the literal interpretation of "Made of Honor." He's MADE of honor? No. That doesn't work. This movie is shit.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

American Idol Loser Wish List: Top 8.

So last week, my American Idol Loser Wish List went like this:

1. Jason Castro
2. Ramiele Malubay
3. Kristy Lee Cook
4. David Archuleta
5. Syesha Mercado
6. Michael Johns
7. Brooke White/Carly Smithson/David Cook

Tonight, the Bottom Three were Ramiele Malubay, Kristy Lee Cook, and Brooke White. So, right off the bat, my #1 pick was wrong. But it turned out Ramiele went home, which was my #2 pick. So I did good this week. Here is my revised list, with Brooke White, Carly Smithson, and David Cook finally split into individual slots:

1. Jason Castro. Should already be home.
2. Kristy Lee Cook. Is very nice, but has to go sometime.
3. David Archuleta. Is occasionally great, but not my cup of tea.
4. Syesha Mercado. Still hasn't done anything to crack my top four.
5. Michael Johns. Solid.
6. David Cook. I think he's already secured himself a proper post-Idol career, so going out in 3rd place wouldn't hurt him a bit. He's like this year's Daughtry.
7. Carly Smithson. I'd like to see her stay as long as possible, till America gets that she's great.
8. Brooke White. Sadly, her personal non-powerhouse style does not lend itself to winning American Idol, so she's kind of a long shot. But seeing her in the Bottom Three tonight made me realize I'm not okay with her leaving the show at any point.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Longing for Less Information.

I kinda miss the days when people wouldn't know a movie was getting made until the actual trailer came out in theaters. Ever since the Internet became a household tool, I've been filling my head with information about every movie in every possible stage of development. I don't even know why I do it. It's one of the first things I ever naturally found myself doing online. I mean, it's because I love movies. But I'm also robbing myself of a certain measure of joy. A joy that maybe doesn't even exist anymore thanks to the virus-like proliferation of entertainment news all over the place.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of one night when I was in my living room and a commercial for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze came on the TV. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were of course my entire life in elementary school, and the first movie was basically my primary object of worship. So when this commercial came on out of nowhere, I very clearly remember being beside myself with euphoria. And I also very clearly remember having no idea what had just happened on the commercial I saw. Like, as soon as it was over, I had a vision of Leonardo or someone in a giant room doing something, and I couldn't tell you what. I hadn't been able to retain anything concrete from the commercial because of how happy I was to see it. The pure thrill of seeing an unexpected movie trailer for the first time is quite simply unmatched by the mundane experience of reading about a pending deal on a movie news website.

I still find myself overwhelmed by certain trailers. The teasers for Superman Returns and The Dark Knight, for example, took my breath away despite the fact that I had long already known those movies existed. But there is nothing like a trailer for something you love taking you completely by surprise. I think the last time a movie caught me by surprise was in 2003, when I went to see Bad Boys II and they showed a trailer for Once Upon a Time in Mexico. As I slowly realized that I was seeing a trailer for a sequel to Desperado, I was shocked. I love Desperado! How the hell did this get made without my knowing about it? I've been looking at movie news on the Internet since the mid-90's.

I don't know if that will ever happen to me again. But I hope so.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

American Idol 7 Picks.

So Chikezie went home tonight. He wouldn't have been my pick, but I suppose it could've been worse.

Here's who I think should get voted off next, in order:

1. Jason Castro. Who should have gone home long before the Top 12, let alone the Top 9.
2. Ramiele Malubay. Not bad, but never really wows me.
3. Kristy Lee Cook. Because enough is enough.
4. David Archuleta. The only realistic threat whose success I would have a problem with.
5. Syesha Mercado. Although it looks like she might already be gone by this point.
6. Michael Johns. Seems to get shit on a lot, but has already proven his greatness (usually with Queen).

Then, as long as the Top 3 are Brooke White, Carly Smithson, and David Cook, I don't care who wins. I think they've been the standouts for a while.


Friday, March 21, 2008


Today I saw a homeless guy walking through traffic with a sign that said, "WHY LIE? I WANT A BEER." And wherever there was free space left over, he wrote in stuff like "CIGGS" and "SKUNK WEED." I had to take pause to decide whether or not I found this admirable, and it occurred to me that gauging one's reaction to this sign would be an interesting social Rorchach test.

Personally, I'd like to think that if my life fell completely apart and I resigned myself to a slow, public suicide, I would still maintain a sense of humor about it.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Double Yellow Lines.

Today I saw someone do the exact thing that I got busted for last year. Merge over double yellow lines to stay on the 110 N when the car pool lane turned into an exit. In about eight years of driving, it was my only traffic violation.

I would never do that today, because I'm very familiar with the road, but at the time, I did it out of fear that it would take me forever to find my way back onto the 110, and I guarantee you I pulled it off a hell of a lot more safely than this guy today did. But the guy today did not have to pay a $300+ ticket and go to online traffic school. I had to do those things. And every day, I see people stopping traffic so they can make illegal turns over double yellow lines. Double yellow lines should be treated like walls, not the suggestion of walls, to be acknowledged only when it's convenient. Maybe they should start building real walls.

I'm not sure if there is a point to this post.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Sandwich Stories.

Last week, I went to a Steak Escapes and started to say my order. Before I could finish, the woman at the register interrupted and predicted what the rest of the order would be.

I kinda don't like being recognized like this. I enjoy anonymity when it comes to stupid things like sandwich orders. I guess it's because I'd rather be recognized for more noteworthy things. Like, one time I was interning at a place and they asked me to photocopy a 400-page book about the Trail of Tears. They showed me how to lay it down on the Xerox machine and press down just right so the pages wouldn't come out crooked, and the binding wouldn't cut off any of the words. So I did it exactly how they told me. For the rest of the day, people were complimenting me on how well I photocopied this book. The receptionist introduced me to someone who worked there, and she said, "Diego? Oh, you photocopied the Trail of Tears!" And she started raving about how usually their book photocopies are terrible, but that the one I did was awesome. What I had done was not really a big deal, but I completely appreciated the recognition. If someone sees me and is like, "Oh, this guy. He's going to get turkey philly. Watch." That just makes me never want to go to that place ever again.

Then today, I went to a Quizno, and I got the two sammies from Celebrity Apprentice.

See, last week, their task on the show was to create a new sandwich for Quizno. Team Hydra (Lennox Lewis, Piers Morgan, Carol Alt) created the Champ (turkey, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, Chipotle Mayo), and Team Empresario (Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin) created the Cowboy Club (prime rib, Mozzarella, bacon, sautéed onions, Chipotle Mayo). They are only available for the rest of this week. But I bet if I go in next week and tell them the ingredients, they'll make me the goddamn discontinued reality show sammies.

So I ordered these babies, a guy made them, and the woman at the register said, "Sammies meal?" I could barely tell what she was saying because of her heavy accent, so I nodded, she rang me up, and I paid. But then I was given a beverage cup. I hadn't ordered a beverage. I then realized "sammy meal" is the name of a combo. I didn't want a combo. I just thought she was asking me if the two sammies were the meal I had ordered. The lesson here is don't assume you know what someone with a heavy accent is saying, because they may be putting extraneous items on your debit card.

The drink came in handy later because the Chipotle Mayo was a little spicy. As for which sammie I prefer, I'm gonna have to give the edge to the Cowboy Club. But I take it without onions.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

People Telling Me Where Not to Sit: A Story in Two Parts.


Some months back, I took my brother to a job interview at Disney Interactive. We drove up to a building at the end of a cul de sac (really more of a dead end). In front were some picnic tables and a general patio area. We walked up to the building and there seemed to be no reception area. He peered in a glass door and said it looked like a break room, so we walked around to try to find the entrance. We found some doors propped open by a loading area, so we entered the building. We passed through an area with cubicles and asked someone where to go. They directed us to the break room. Oh. So there is no reception area.

My brother sat next to a couple other people who were filling out forms and started to fill one out himself. One of the other applicants asked me if I needed a form, or a pen or something, and I told them no. I sat there peacefully reading my magazines that I had brought in a bag.

Later, a woman came up to us and asked if we both had an appointment. My brother said no, just him. She asked about me, and my brother said I was with him. She then asked me if I drove, I nodded my head, and she asked me if I could go wait in my car, because this was a "secure building." You mean this warehouse full of computer game workers in cubicles with the doors propped open on the side is a secure building? And my sitting in the break room reading my own magazine while my brother does a scheduled interview makes the building no longer secure? And I should go out past the outdoor patio area and sit in my car? You think that's gonna make your world safer? Or is it just that you need to tell people what to do? It's gotta be one of those.


Today, I took my brother to do his driving test at the DMV. We got there early and parked in the driving test lane on the side of the building. This is where cars line up to do the test. There was nobody there to tell us what to do, so we turned off the car and stepped outside to wait for someone. After a bit, a guy walked by and started berating us. "What are you doing? You just gonna leave your car there? Wait inside the car. You gotta learn how we do things around here. See, those guys behind you got the right idea, but they're not done yet. Sir! Turn your car off! Turn it off! Save some gas." Then he went inside.

Learn how things are done around here? How many driving tests does he think I intend to take in the coming days? So my brother sat in the car and I, anticipating the arrival of the driving test evaluator, sat on one of the two benches they had there by the side of the building. While I was sitting there peacefully reading another piece from my bag of magazines, a woman told me I couldn't sit there, and to wait in the car with my brother. Why? She didn't explain. In the car, I was able to help in handing my brother all the necessary documentation he needed to show; driver's license, insurance, registration. Then I of course got out of the car so the evaluator could get in and they drove off. So I sat back down on the bench and continued reading my magazine. A man stood next to me, apparently waiting for his son, who was doing the test as well. The woman came around again and told us both that we could only wait either inside the building or in front of it, but not where we were.

Oh, so we can never sit on these benches. I just thought we were allowed to wait there, because our cars were being used for driving tests, and that's the exact spot where they would be coming back, and if my brother failed the test, it would actually be illegal for him to drive the car anywhere to find me. That was the only reason.

So I moved all my stuff to a bench in front of the building that was identical to the bench on which I wasn't allowed to sit. I read my magazine there, and eventually I got a phone call from my brother, asking me where I was. I told him, in front of the building. He was confused, but then, so was I.

There seems to be this unsettling thing going on where people go to work, and they don't run the company, and they don't own any of the property there, but they enjoy exercising meaningless authority. It doesn't make much of a difference either way, but I guess I understand why they do it. The weird thing is that the side of the building is only used for driving tests. So here's my question.

Why the fuck do they have benches there?


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Robinson Crusoe.

From comingsoon.net:

Robinson Crusoe Washes Up at NBC
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
February 25, 2008

NBC has ordered 13 episodes of "Robinson Crusoe," a drama series based on Daniel Defoe's classic novel, and plans to launch it this fall or mid-season 2009, depending on whether there will be an actors strike in the summer.

The Hollywood Reporter says "Crusoe" will be an "adrenaline-charged version" of the 1719 novel with a contemporary feel and voice, including a 21st century take on race relations, but it will be a period drama, taking place in the 17th century when the book is set.

"It's part 'MacGyver,' part contemporary morality tale about race and personal discovery, part comedy and part 'Cast Away' meets 'Survivor,"' Silverman said.

Like the novel, NBC's series will center on Crusoe and his relationship with his loyal servant Friday. But in addition to their adventures overcoming marauding militias, hungry cannibals, wild cats, starvation and apocalyptic lightning storms described in the book, the series will introduce additional characters and elements, including a MacGyver-like knack of the lead character for making handy tools and devices out of common items.

Now that's a pitch.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why Borders Rewards Sucks.

It's free and easy to sign up, so why not. Every time you go to Borders, you show them your Borders Rewards card, and they scan it with your purchase.

But what does this actually do?

First, you have to make sure it's a Qualifying Purchase. Qualifying Purchases are purchases you make that qualify for Borders Bucks accrual. It has to be in a participating store, and it can be anything they sell (excluding purchases of gift cards and gift certificates, online transactions, or any transaction that involves Group Savings and Services or Teacher/Classroom discounts). Then you can get your Borders Bucks.

And what are Borders Bucks?

Well, whenever you spend any money at Borders, it is entered into your Qualifying Purchases balance. When you spend a cumulative amount of $150, you earn 5 Borders Bucks. Those bucks are only available to you in the month FOLLOWING the month in which they were earned. When that month is over, the 5 Borders Bucks go away. What if you reach the $150 in Qualifying Purchases and you get the 5 Borders Bucks, but you're not aware that it's even there? Then you don't get it. You have to catch the next one. Which will no doubt be easy, considering how everyone can afford to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars at Borders all the time. But you better be careful, because at the end of every calendar year, your Qualifying Purchases balance, wherever it's at, gets reset back to zero. Why? So it will be harder for you to get Borders Bucks.

If anything, this actually makes me want to shop at Borders less.


Friday, February 1, 2008


It is my contention that the word hamburger should no longer exist.

The term "hamburger" originates from the German city of Hamburg, and was coined in the late 19th century. Eventually, the "burger" part became a suffix, used in new terms such as cheeseburger, turkeyburger, veggieburger, or any other type of burger. This made the original hamburger inaccurate, because it is not made from ham. Hamburgers, then, should be called beefburgers.

I refuse to call a beefburger anything other than beefburger. And I would hope that everyone else adopt the same policy.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Goo Goo Dolls.

I've been waiting a long time for the Goo Goo Dolls to put out a greatest hits album. To the point that I started compiling my own list of Goo Goo Dolls singles, so I could just make my own, since they weren't going to. But then last November, they finally came out with "Greatest Hits Volume One: The Singles," which I immediately purchased. It contains all my favorite Goo Goo Dolls songs, and some others I'd never heard before. However, my absolute favorite Goo Goo Dolls song, "Name," is not there. In its place is a new version of it, recorded especially for this album. I didn't immediately get pissed off at this, because I remember Collective Soul had a new version of "She Said" in their greatest hits album, and it wasn't bad. It was actually almost identical. But this new version of "Name," I've since discovered, is kinda shitty. It's cool to hear it played differently, but it's horrifying to own the greatest hits album of a band that includes all their best songs, except for your very favorite one. Couldn't they have just stuck the classic version at the very end or something, like a bonus track? Or maybe have this new shit version be the bonus track. This is like having sex with a woman, and it's a perfectly wonderful session of crazy hot monkey sex, then right as I'm about to have an orgasm, she says, "hold on a second," and gives me a nice backrub. Thanks for the backrub; I appreciate it. But truth be told, I was hoping to achieve ejaculation.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Movie News.

So I was looking through my daily movie news sites, and I saw the following headline:

Alba on Sin City 2 and Fantastic Four 3

These guys got a quote from Jessica Alba, most likely during press for The Eye, regarding her involvement in the upcoming comic book movies Sin City 2 and Fantastic Four 3. There's also a sub-headline regarding a possible Dark Angel movie. Great! Here's the article, from comingsoon.net/superherohype.com:

Soon to be hot mom Jessica Alba talked to ComingSoon.net/Superhero Hype! on Wednesday about her upcoming films while promoting her new thriller, The Eye.

CS/SHH!: What can you tell us about your character in "Sin City 2"?
Jessica Alba:
I haven't read a script. I don't know anything about it. Robert (Rodriguez) and Frank (Miller) haven't talked to me about it at all.

CS/SHH!: How long until we get "Fantastic Four 3"?
I have no idea. I know the writers strike and the impending actors strike has kind of put a wrench in everything production wise. That film takes a lot of prep, a good six months of prep and about six months to shoot. With the strike, I think, maybe it's put on hold.

CS/SHH!: Any thought into making "Dark Angel" into a film?
We've talked about it, I want to work with Jim so I would pretty much do anything he wants to do.

CS/SHH!: In the "Fantastic Four" comics your character becomes a mother. Would you like to see that in the film?
Little Franklin? Yeah, I think that would be hilarious. He's so powerful, I think that would be a really interesting dynamic a mother-child dynamic. She's still a superhero but she's super protective and he's wild, he can do anything and has no sense of what's appropriate, that would be really fun.

The Eye opens in theaters on February 1.

So, apparently Jessica Alba not knowing anything about anything is newsworthy. This website is like a friend who tells you every thought that runs through their head. "I think I'm hungry, but I don't know yet." That's great. Did I need that info?


Monday, January 21, 2008


I had a really good calendar last year. It was the 2007 Künstler Civil War Calendar. It listed significant dates that related to the American Civil War, with Civil War paintings by Mort Künstler, accompanied by commentary that discussed what was being depicted in the pictures. This year, I went to the seasonal calendar store in the Glendale Galleria, looking for a 2008 edition, but I didn't find it. What I did find was an almost identical-looking one called the 2008 Künstler Legends in Gray Calendar. It was light gray instead of blue, and the entire thing was themed for the Confederacy. Why would Mort Künstler make such a drastic change in 2008? I am of course opposed to the Confederacy, so I didn't buy it. Instead, I bought a calendar that had facts about American presidents. But, judging by the back cover, this president one wasn't nearly as nice-looking as a Künstler calendar. So, without even opening it, I went back and exchanged it for the Legends in Gray calendar.

Later on, I looked on the Internet and discovered that there was indeed a 2008 Künstler Civil War Calendar. But it wasn't at any of the stores I went to this entire month. So, as of right now, I am stuck with a Confederate calendar for the rest of the year. Why don't I just buy the one I want? Because I refuse to pay full price online when all the stores are offering such attractive discounts. Am I condemned to not enjoy the rest of the year? What have I done?


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Last night I went to see The Great Debaters, which was very good. It was directed by Denzel Washington. There was a kid in it who plays the son of Forest Whitaker. He is part of a debate team coached by Denzel Washington, and the influence of these two men mold him into a... well, a great debater. At the end credits, I saw the name of the actor who played this kid.

Denzel Whitaker.

What? Oh, fuck off! That's his real name? He is supposedly not related to either of them. What's weird though is that this kid looks EXACTLY like Forest Whitaker, and acts with the intensity of Denzel Washington. I think what happened is they took the DNA of Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker and combined it to make their exact genetic hybrid (and then just invented him a backstory with fake parents). Denzel Whitaker is therefore the greatest actor that has ever walked the earth. To date.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites

So the other day I composed a list of the top twenty castaways I would like to see return for the upcoming installment of Survivor. I then got the new Entertainment Weekly (#973), which had a two-page spread detailing the final cast. What I hadn't realized when I wrote the list, however, was that they seemed to only be choosing people from seasons 9-15 of Survivor, just as All-Stars (season 8) was cast from seasons 1-7. So I wasted eleven of the twenty spots on my Top 20 list on people who weren't even being considered. Here now is my list again, with the names of the people who weren't chosen darkened out, and the people who weren't even eligible crossed out. For the sake of expediency, I've removed my original commentary.

20. Gary Hogeboom, Survivor Guatemala
19. Clarence Black, Survivor Africa
18. Rupert Boneham, Survivor Pearl Islands/All-Stars

17. Terry Deitz, Survivor Panama
16. Elisabeth Filarski, Survivor Australia
15. Ted Rogers, Jr., Survivor Thailand

14. Ashley Massaro, Survivor China

13. James Clement, Survivor China
12. Yau-Man Chan, Survivor Fiji
11. Rob Cesternino, Survivor Amazon/All-Stars
10. Jenna Lewis, Survivor Borneo/All-Stars
9. Robb Zbacnik, Survivor Thailand

8. Shane Powers, Survivor Panama
7. Lex van den Berghe, Survivor Africa/All-Stars

6. Parvati Shallow, Survivor Cook Islands
5. Hunter Ellis, Survivor Marquesas
4. Richard Hatch, Survivor Borneo/All-Stars

3. Judd Sergeant, Survivor Guatemala
2. Courtney Yates, Survivor China
1. Colleen Haskell, Survivor Borneo

So, James, Yau-Man, and Parvati. That's not too shabby. I love watching all three of them. But no Judd or Courtney? That's two omissions that really hurt. Makes me wish this was another straight-up All-Stars.

Here, by the way, is the list of names I had also considered, but left off the list:

- Alicia Calaway, Survivor Australia/All-Stars
- Jerri Manthey, Survivor Australia/All-Stars
- Colby Donaldson, Survivor Australia/All-Stars
- Tom Buchanan, Survivor Africa/All-Stars
- Christy Smith, Survivor Amazon
- Heidi Strobel, Survivor Amazon
- Jessa Morasca, Survivor Amazon/All-Stars

- Danni Boatwright, Survivor Guatemala
- Aras Baskauskas, Survivor Panama
- Sekou Bunch, Survivor Cook Islands
- Yul Kwon, Survivor Cook Islands
- Amanda Kimmel, Survivor China

Amanda is all right. Her face always reminded me disturbingly of Parvati, so it will be incredible to have them both competing together. Amanda is more of a strategist though, so I would expect her to last longer (unless they follow tradition and eliminate the established strategists first).

And here's the rest of the people who will be in Micronesia:

- Cirie Fields, Survivor Panama -- I kinda liked her. She started out the game incapable of surviving outdoors, regretting her decision to compete in the show, and marked for elimination by the rest of her tribe. But circumstances spared her, and she grew to become a pretty good player. She made it to 4th place, eliminated only after losing a fire challenge when there was a tied vote. She was also in my list peripherally as the OR nurse that Shane showed his balls to.
- Jonathan Penner, Survivor Cook Islands -- I completely forgot about this guy, but I'm actually very happy to see that he's on the show. Everyone in Cook Islands hated him, but he was great to watch.
- Ozzy Lusth, Survivor Cook Islands -- A good competitor who had the strength and agility of some kinda monkey. Will be interesting to have back, I suppose.
- Eliza Orlins, Survivor Vanuatu -- Who the fuck is this?
- Ami Cusack, Survivor Vanuatu -- Let me just clarify that Survivor Vanuatu was quite possibly the worst season ever of Survivor, and my absolute least favorite. So why are there two people from it? I can't imagine anyone in the tribe of fans actually knew these bitches by name.
- Jonny Fairplay, Survivor Pearl Islands -- This is the dumbest Survivor to ever play the game. He bragged to an irritating degree, and was actually a terrible strategist and a huge pain in the ass. He became notorious when he had his visiting friend tell him that his grandmother had died, in order to win sympathy from the other castaways (the grandmother, in reality, was fine). But what never gets mentioned is the fact that the dead grandmother trick only helped him win a meaningless reward (his friend got to stay longer-- wow!). It didn't do shit to help him with the actual game. He did manage to swear on his grandmother's grave a couple times before being voted off, so I guess there is that. The only pleasure I would get from watching this guy is if maybe he gets voted off in the first episode or something.

By the way, I just noticed that Jonny Fairplay is from season 7. So maybe I was wrong about that whole first eight seasons cutoff. Whatever.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Superman Not Returning?

From comingsoon.net/superherohype.com:

Routh Out of Superman Sequel, Too? Source: Latino Review January 4, 2008

Not long after we mentioned this article from Variety stating that Bryan Singer is highly unlikely to direct the Superman Returns sequel, Latino Review posted more possible bad news for the second film -- Brandon Routh may not return either as Clark Kent/Superman.

According to the site, the actor that lands the Superman role in George Miller's Justice League will go on to star in a separate Superman movie as well.

Again, none of this is official until the studio actually confirms or denies these rumors (about both Singer and Routh), so it will be a wait-and-see game for now.

With all the sketchiness surrounding this Justice League movie and its imminent infection of every potential DC superhero movie franchise by way of spin-offs, I've consistently sought comfort in that fact that at least Batman and Superman were safe in their own pre-established franchises. Just the rumor of something like this is enough to make me sick. I don't even want to think about it.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Survivor Dream List

At the end of Survivor China, they revealed that the next Survivor installment (premiering 2.7.08) would feature hardcore Survivor fans competing against former castaways. All they would reveal is that at least one of them would be from the Survivor China cast. In anticipation, I composed a list of people I would like to see return to the show. Here it is in a very loose, but nevertheless countdown format.

The Top Twenty Past Survivors I Would Like to See Return for Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites

20. Gary Hogeboom, Survivor Guatemala -- This guy was a quarterback in the NFL for ten years in the 80's. For the purposes of Survivor, he claimed his name was Gary Hawkins, and that he was a landscaper, because he thought his football background might cause other players to eliminate him. Unbelievably enough, there was another contestant named Danni, who was in sports radio, and she recognized him instantly. However, he denied everything and kept his secret safe the entire time he was on the show. There's really no reason to have him back; I just think he's cool.
19. Clarence Black, Survivor Africa -- Early on in the game, the rest of his tribe went off somewhere and Clarence stayed behind with one of the girls, who wasn't feeling well. During this time, he opened a can of beans and ate it. When the tribe got back, everyone was furious. He tried to say that he opened it for the girl who wasn't feeling well, but she said that was a bunch of shit. This is the reason he was voted off.
18. Rupert Boneham, Survivor Pearl Islands/All-Stars -- During the first episode of his first stint on Survivor, the two tribes had washed ashore of a small village with nothing but the clothes off their back and were desperately seeking food and supplies to bring to the camp. Rupert hung back, stole the shoes of everyone in the opposing tribe from their unattended raft, and used them to barter with the villagers. Later in the season, a fellow castaway trying to pull her weight accidentally dropped their only fishing spear into the ocean, and promptly forgot where. Rupert searched an area the size of like three football fields and found it. He was later awarded a million dollars for being the most popular Survivor in All-Stars.
17. Terry Deitz, Survivor Panama -- A former fighter pilot and retired Commander from the US Navy. His entire tribe was picked clean, but he made it to the final three by winning pretty much every single individual immunity challenge. Then he lost the final immunity and got the boot. Makes you wonder if he could do it again.
16. Elisabeth Filarski, Survivor Australia -- Better known now as Elisabeth Hasselbeck, mother of two, wife of Arizona Cardinals QB Tim Hasselbeck, and four-year conservative co-host of The View. When she first started out, she was nothing more than a 23-year-old shoe designer with a pretty smile. I'd love to see how the years have changed her.
15. Ted Rogers, Jr., Survivor Thailand -- This guy tried to get cozy with a fellow castaway one night, and when she gave him shit about it in front of everyone, he shot back some of the best bullshit that's ever been said on Survivor. Some quotes that stand out lovingly in my memory are, "I'm not even ATTRACTED to you!" and "I am one hundred and fifty... to two hundred percent devoted to my wife!"
14. Ashley Massaro, Survivor China -- A lady wrestler for WWE who was voted off second this season, partly because she was on a shitty tribe. I think she could be pretty good.
13. James Clement, Survivor China -- The hugely sculpted grave digger who contributed a refreshing dose of levelheadedness and work ethic to his otherwise mostly spoiled tribe. Was eventually double-crossed and eliminated while holding two immunity idols in his backpack.
12. Yau-Man Chan, Survivor Fiji -- This was the funny little Asian guy who got pretty far despite his diminutive stature. He stole our hearts, but fell three spots short of stealing the million.
11. Rob Cesternino, Survivor Amazon/All-Stars -- This guy played everyone in Survivor Amazon. At one point, he was quadruple-crossing people and for some reason, everyone still generally liked him. He was one of the few boasters who actually knew what he was doing, but landed in 3rd place after blowing an endurance challenge. When he returned in All-Stars, he was almost instantly voted off by his tribe, who pegged him as a potential threat.
10. Jenna Lewis, Survivor Borneo/All-Stars -- About four Survivor chicks have gone on to appear nude. Three of them did it in the pages of Playboy. Jenna Lewis did it in a "leaked" graphic sex tape. I would like to continue seeing her gradual decline from youthful mom to public whore.
9. Robb Zbacnik, Survivor Thailand -- A very abrasive, hostile guy who picked lots of fights and ate more than his share of bananas. On his last night, he had some kind of spiritual awakening, and suddenly he loved everyone and wanted to mend his relationship with his father. He was voted off immediately. Also, his luxury item for the beaches of Thailand was a skateboard.
8. Shane Powers, Survivor Panama -- A two-pack-a-day smoker who quit cold turkey to be in the game, and became extremely irritable and moody from the withdrawal. He would get into lots of arguments and occasionally ask to be voted off. There was this oddball woman who seemed to have a crush on him, who he would casually treat like crap, which was amazing to watch (typical dialogue: "How did this happen! Courtney!" "Don't yell at me." "I'm not yelling at you. I'm yelling in general."). Aside from this, he was just a weird guy. He would talk into a piece of wood, pretending it was a BlackBerry (and not in a jokey way, like Greg from the first season). He also waved his testicles in front of a terrified female castaway's face because she was an OR nurse and he thought there was a potential problem with his balls. After the season was over, I recognized him as one of the guys who tries to molest the two main characters in a parking lot in the pilot episode of My So-Called Life.
7. Lex van den Berghe, Survivor Africa/All-Stars -- I remember after Lex's Africa stint, he had some kind of column where he would write editorials analyzing new episodes of Survivor. When All-Stars came around, he and a couple other guys had alliance deals with each other before shooting even commenced. During the show, he sacrificed his own numbers to protect Amber Brkich at the request of Rob Mariano. Rob went on to vote Lex off and Lex took it really personally, becoming enraged, even though he had betrayed his friend Ethan earlier in the same season (Ethan didn't seem to give a shit).
6. Parvati Shallow, Survivor Cook Islands -- Just a hot little number who got by mostly on shameless flirtation. I think if I was on the show, I would probably give her my immunity and thank her for the privilege.
5. Hunter Ellis, Survivor Marquesas -- The clear dominant male in the fourth installment of Survivor. He always had a great attitude, and I expected him to kick everyone's ass, but all the weak players got together and voted him off in the third episode. I remember this as the first time that shitty players figured out how to get rid of good players (resulting in generally unlikeable winners), a trend that continued for some time after that. A couple weeks ago, I saw Hunter Ellis as a fitness guru in a late night infomercial.
4. Richard Hatch, Survivor Borneo/All-Stars -- The first ever winner of Survivor. Primarily known for constantly being naked, he was also a very smart player, like Rob Cesternino, and was eliminated from All-Stars for the same reason. He is currently doing time in a federal prison for tax evasion, so I guess he would have to appear live via satellite in a little coconut TV that the castaways have to carry everywhere they go.
3. Judd Sergeant, Survivor Guatemala -- Judd was a doorman who was always excellent to watch because of how unbelievably stupid he acted. At one point during the season, he received a clue that the hidden immunity idol was hidden in a tree, so he told everyone that it was somewhere on the ground, to throw them off. Fellow contestant Gary Hogeboom later spotted him off by himself, squinting up at the trees. During tribal council, Judd claimed he never lied to anyone during the game. Gary called him out on the tree thing, to which Judd responded, "Okay, I lied about the damn idol." I guess there was no real graceful way to handle that. Gary ended up finding the idol and playing it when he was about to get voted off. There have been many knuckleheads on Survivor, but never one as big as Judd. One of my all-time favorite Survivor moments is when Jeff Probst was introducing a challenge by saying it would be a test of the castaways' mental skills, and seeing Judd immediately close his eyes in silent defeat.
2. Courtney Yates, Survivor China -- The waiflike pixie with an acid tongue and a heart as black as coal. She was just such an unapologetic shrew that I feel like I must have her approval at any cost.
1. Colleen Haskell, Survivor Borneo -- She was one of the few people to turn down All-Stars when they asked her back. But a fella can dream.

Also considered: Alicia Calaway (Survivor Australia/All-Stars), Jerri Manthey (Survivor Australia/All-Stars), Colby Donaldson (Survivor Australia/All-Stars), Tom Buchanan (Survivor Africa/All-Stars), Christy Smith (Survivor Amazon), Heidi Strobel (Survivor Amazon), Jessa Morasca (Survivor Amazon/All-Stars), Danni Boatwright (Survivor Guatemala), Aras Baskauskas (Survivor Panama), Sekou Bunch (Survivor Cook Islands), Yul Kwon (Survivor Cook Islands), and Amanda Kimmel (Survivor China).