Wednesday, December 31, 2008

6 Movies I Watched From Beginning to End This Year


Because I didn't see enough to make a Best Of List. In no particular order:
  1. Iron Man
  2. Indiana Jones 4
  3. The Incredible Hulk
  4. Doubt
  5. The Forbidden Kingdom
  6. W.
If I get to see 6 more 2008 movies in 2009, they'll be:
  1. Pineapple Express
  2. Burn After Reading
  3. Quantum of Solace
  4. Slumdog Millionaire
  5. Harold & Kumar 2
I think I read enough this year to make a slightly decent Best of the Books I Read 2008 list. "The Chicago Way" will not be on it. "The Secret History" might make it if I finish it tonight.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rattle Off Another Meme: 20 Fave Actresses


via Tom the Dog
  • Helen Mirren -- Prime Suspect
  • Jewel Staite -- Firefly
  • Kim Dickens -- Zero Effect
  • Robin Weigert -- Deadwood
  • Michelle Yeoh -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Hilary Swank -- Boys Don't Cry
  • Minnie Driver -- Grosse Pointe Blank
  • Mary Astor -- The Maltese Falcon
  • Jodie Foster -- The Silence of the Lambs
  • Gillian Anderson -- X-Files
  • Elisabeth Sladen -- Doctor Who
  • Freema Agyeman -- Doctor Who
  • Billie Piper -- Doctor Who
  • Myrna Loy -- The Thin Man
  • Angela Bassett -- Strange Days
  • Julianne Moore -- The Big Lebowski
  • Allison Janney -- The West Wing
  • Sigourney Weaver -- Alien
  • Emma Thompson -- Howard's End
  • Kate Winslet -- Sense & Sensibility

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey Day

Hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving. It's been a blast here in the c-dog household. Even though it was just us this year, we did the whole turkey-potatoes-stuffing-yams-cranberry relish spread ... first time either the missus or I had attempted it instead of just fixing a side dish to bring to a relative's. Came out great, if I do say. The turkey was moist and flavorful and, thanks to my America's Test Kitchen cookbook, I made the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten.

With some time off I've been able to catch up on watching my Dr. Who commentaries. Fun stuff. Listening to the actors cop to their acting mistakes, tease one another, point out when poor Matthew (Adric) Waterhouse was hungover and puking off-camera, etc. is great fun. (Learned just now via the wikipedia link that Mr. Waterhouse has lived in Connecticut since 1998. Bit of local flavor there. Couldn't verify with whitepages.com though, the one Matthew Waterhouse in CT is 35-39 yrs old, so too young to be our Adric.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Book/Reading Meme


via It Doesn't Have To Be Right...

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

For Kim Stanley Robinson, it's Hardback & first available paperback. For all others, it's whatever the library has or I can get on bookmooch.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Bookmark! Dog-earing is vandalism.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Well, I used to alpha by author, then chronological within author. Now, I'm lucky to keep authors together.

Keep, throw away or sell?

Depends, mostly keep. Doing lots of bookmooching though.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep. But I took the dj off "Quicksilver" while reading it, lost it for a while, found it, then lost it again during the move, and found it in the car after the move - trashed. I'm starting to wish I didn't care about djs. I like the plain, no dj, look. And they're a pain when you're reading.

Last book you bought?
Wow. I can't remember. It may be a couple years since I bought a book? I'm a library guy. Oh wait, "Sixty Days and Counting" was a 2007 book, that was the last one I bought.

Last book someone bought for you?

Would've been last Christmas ... so Quicksilver from my mother-in-law.

What are some of the books on your to-buy list?


Collection (short stories, same author) or anthology (short stories, different authors)?

Collection, I suppose.

Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, or the velvety embrace of Death?
Potter.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?

Nighttime.

The books you need to go with other books on your shelves?

I'm still missing a few Lucius Shepards.

Do you read anywhere and anytime you can or do you have a set reading time and/or place?
Whenever and wherever I can. Which is not often. I've got an office/library in the new house though, so that's nice.

Do you have seasonal reading habits?

No.

Do you read one book at a time or do you have two or more books going at once?

I'd prefer one at a time but I'm all over the place lately. Audiobooks in the car. Picking up graphic novels before I've finished other books I've started. Keeping one book in the living room and another in the office. A mess.

What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books?
Seriously, don't me started. Books are not coasters. Bookmarks are a must. Don't lick your finger before turning the page of my book, you sick f*ck, that's just gross.

Name one book you surprised yourself by liking.

"Atonement."

How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book?
I don't think I ever put book reviews on TC. I review books on LibraryThing when I have the energy. So, not that often.

More Quizzes of teh Interwebs!





cdogzilla's Dewey Decimal Section:

335 Socialism & related systems

cdogzilla = 345769221 = 345+769+221 = 1335


Class:
300 Social Sciences


Contains:
Books on politics, economics, education and the law.



What it says about you:
You are good at understanding people and finding the systems that work for them. You like having established reasoning behind your decisions. You consider it very important for your friends to always have your back.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com



cdog voted for Obama. cdog's full name yielded "Socialism" in an interweb quiz. Therefore: Obama is a Socialist. Wingnuts to arms!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wingnut Paranoia

How come nobody says this? - Colin McEnroe | To Wit
Almost nobody mentions the fact that Obama -- after living down a cascade of accusations (including from Joe the Plumber) that he would be a soft ally to Israel, that he himself was a Muslim, that he was in the thrall of an anti-Semitic preacher, that he was a confederate of Farrakhan -- picked as his right hand man an Orthodox Jew.

Somewhere on the interwebs, forgot to blog it and can't find it at the moment, is a post that lists a whole bunch of things that, if any one of them happens, the blogger will eat a hat. The list includes things like "President Obama makes it illegal to criticize President Obama," and "President Obama launches an invasion of Israel," &c. All the fear-mongering, wingnut doomsday predictions that have a probability approaching 0 of happening.

Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain Campaign Coming Apart at the Seams


Less than two weeks to Election Day and Palin's giving depositions in her abuse of power scandal, Joe McCain is illegally harassing a 911 operator, and we're finding out the highest paid staffer in the campaign is Palin's hairdresser (nice follow up to the $150K shopping spree news), and ... what a shock ... Ashley Todd turns out to be a race-baiting fraud.

Fox News' John Moody:
If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain's quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.
At least that hack Drudge has the decency to fess up to his shoddy reporting ... well, it's currently under the huge banner that reads, "JOE THE PLUMBER 'SCARED FOR AMERICA' IF OBAMA PRESIDENT"

Is this not the most surreal election season we've ever lived through?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Settling In Here In North Cackalacka


Home projects will probably keep posting on light on my part; however, I'm still clicking 'share' now and again when I get a chance to scan my Reader. If you were to go over there, you'd find items on the following topics in the last few weeks:
  • McCain's cluelessness
  • Palin's inability to tell the truth
  • Sylvester McCoy
  • Pedro & Manny
  • A Monkey Taking a Shower (video)
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Calexico
  • Cussing in a Comic Book
This weekend's project was to stain the fence. Home Depot didn't have a sprayer to rent so I bought one of those 2 gallon lawn sprayers and used that. 16 (!!!) gallons of stain later, it turned out pretty nice. If I do say so myself. I'm pretty sunburnt and worn out. The next project I take on will be an inside job: either painting the kids' room or the living room. Tile backsplash, some landscaping, sealing the garage floor, not to mention all the unpacking still to be done ... I can see where this owning a proper home thing is going to keep me busy

My other ongoing project is to get my books out of attic boxes and into my LibraryThing. Once out of the box, they're either going onto a bookshelf or on BookMooch. Trying to pare down to essentials and books I'm saving for Blake and Amelia when they get a little older. So far, it's been tough putting anything up for Mooching, but I'm making the hard choices to get down to a manageable number.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All-Star Day Daydreaming

One of my earliest memories of sheer youthful summertime joy is of July 4, 1976. My dad hosted a family cookout at the house on King St. My Uncles Rob and Jim were there and Jim's sons Matt, Adam, and P.J. My cousins were these semi-mythical (to me) best friends by blood who, by living in England, were the coolest and most exotic members of my family in my 5 year old mind. Running around and playing with them while burgers and hot dogs flew of the grill, corn on the cob from the farm next door (heavy with butter and salt) was in constant supply, and fireworks went off ... I was in heaven. That memory is hard-wired in a way not many others are.

Billy Crystal has a bit in the movie "City Slickers" about his father taking him to see his first game at Yankee Stadium when was 7 years old where he describes walking up the dark tunnel under the bleachers, holding his father's hand, to emerge into the sun and see the green grass of field in person for the first time. You can just tell he's tapping into a real-life memory.

I mention these two things because I think they establish the time-frame in which you can give a kid one of those memories that they'll be old enough to keep with them their whole life but they'll still be young enough for the things remembered to be larger than life.

I'd like nothing more than for Blake and Amelia's first big league game to be at Fenway one summer between 2011 and 2013 when they're in that 5-7 year old range. Even if they don't turn out to be Red Sox (unthinkable) or even baseball fans, that first site of a ballpark in the sunshine after coming out of a dark tunnel, while holding their dad's hand -- that's a feeling I can't wait to give them.

With any luck we'll be living in NC, not in RI, by then and this experience will involve some planning to line up a flight, a stopover at Uncle Jeremy's, and a rental car because we might as well drive down to the Bronx and show them (the new) Yankee stadium, too.

I haven't been able to watch much baseball this summer but I hope to watch the All-Star game tonight. When I see those guys that haven't played in Yankee Stadium getting out there to soak it all in, I'm going to be thinking about where I want to be in 3 or 4 years with my family: a day game at Fenway, teaching them how to keep score and hoping to catch a foul ball.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday X-Posting


Items recently shared on my Google Reader page include:
  • A note about the baptist church picketing George "the profane atheist" Carlin's funeral via the New Humanist.
  • A reminder that Angle Season 1 is now on Hulu.com.
  • A note about the Hartford Courant (America's oldest continuously published daily paper) cutting newsroom staff and number of pages devoted to news.
  • A clip about the guy from the underappreciated "New Amsterdam" moving on to a new show that is apparently going to be a series of something's-gone-wrong-on-the-holodeck episodes of TNG via Sci-Fi News.
  • And a nice little clip of one of Obama's advisors reducing Laura Ingraham to a demented harpy. Well, even more of a demented harpy than she normally is, via News Hounds.
And on a personal note, I've got a bunch of pictures up at flickr of our day trip to Carver, MA where the littl'uns got to meet their favorite train.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Holmes!

No Shit, Sherlock: Guy Ritchie Reimagines Holmes - The Screengrab
I'm not philosophically opposed to reimagining Sherlock Holmes either. I loved 'Zero Effect'.

Ritchie I think is perfect for a Sherlock Holmes reimagining. I can't think of a better Holmes for this purpose than Jason Statham. That would so rock. Heck, the fella what played Turkish's little brother in Snatch could be his Watson. Keep it in the Ritchie stable.
Crossposted from my Google Reader Shared page.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Gold-Titanium Alloy Man


Does whatever a Gold-Titanium Alloy pig can ... d'oh!

I like Robert Downey Jr. I liked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I think I've liked him in other things, so why is it I can only call to mind his supporting roles in US Marshalls (bleh) and True Believer? I keep wanting to say he was great in The Grifters and Grosse Pointe Blanke -- and then I remember that was John Cusack. Anyways, he was a great Tony Stark here: charming, sharp, and just this side of dissolute. (Keep in mind, I've never read an Iron Man comic in my life, so whether he's Comic Book Guy's Tony Stark is beyond my ken.)

Iron Man delivers superhero/comic book fun that left me hoping the planned trilogy comes to pass -- with Favreau at the helm of all three. I liked Batman Begins, it was my last 'favorite comic book movie', but I'm really not looking forward to the sequel. I'm just not that goth, I guess. I like the bold primary colors comics more than the brooding I'm-so-dark-I'm-cool genre calculated to appeal to the NIN set. Those less dark superhero movies have been a mixed bag to this point: Superman Returns, Daredevil, Ang Lee's Hulk, Raimi's Spider-Man movies, the X-Men movies -- there's some wild inconsistency there. Hammy to stilted acting (Maguire the former, any X-(wo)man the latter, Affleck both), distractingly awful CGI, ludicrously overstuffed/semi-coherent stories, there's been something fundamentally wrong with all of them. While each of those movies had elements I liked, none of them have held up particularly well for me. The first two Spideys would be best of that lot. [Update: A day later, I find myself thinking, "How could those Afghan soldiers have been stupid enough to let Stark build the Iron Man 1.0 suit right under their noses when he was supposed to be building them missiles? Instead of watching on grainy video monitors wondering what he was up to ('Maybe he made some modifications?' one asks another) they could've asked him directly and made him show progress.) Of course, I wondered the same thing during the movie, but I stopped wondering as I got caught up in the tension of getting the suit built in time, etc. I think it would be hard to sit through that a second time.]

Downey wasn't the only actor doing fine work in this movie. Jeff "The Dude" Bridges was great as Downey's mentor and (obligatory spoiler alert, if needed) ultimate nemesis. I didn't even recognize him at first with that bald dome-full beard look. Are his meaty, arms dealing paws in this movie the same hands that balanced White Russians so delicately in The Big Lebowski? None of the performances here were so one-dimensionally bad that they distracted me from the flow of the movie. Can't say that about many (any?) other superhero movie.

I like too that Iron Man isn't as powerful as the Hulk and Superman. You don't find yourself wondering things like "Could he really pick up a whole continent like that? Wouldn't it break in half in the middle, or the weight of the whole continent focused where he's standing cause the part of the earth's crust he's standing on to sink?" And the suit has that Gundam/Mech appeal that satisfies the tech/gadget lover in me much more than Batman's token nod.

Summing up: Iron Man delivers the Saturday matinee summer action movie goods.
More reviews: KcM spot-on | HND nails Downey's turn | WAW has more RDJr gushing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How Did I Not Know About Moe Berg?

Tooling around Barnes & Noble before seeing "The Forbidden Kingdom" this past weekend, I read the first few pages of The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg. Berg was a back-up catcher for the Red Sox in the late 30s, then a coach for a couple years, and (as you may have guessed) eventually a spy working for the OSS during WW2. One of his assignments was to attend a lecture by Werner Heisenberg, determine if the Germans were close to developing an A-Bomb, and shoot him if they were. Fascinating stuff. [Moe Berg Wikipedia page]

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Crouching Tiger, Spanking Monkey


I've been burned too often (I'm looking at you, The Tuxedo) by American-made Jackie Chan movies to have it be an automatic thatI'll be there opening weekend; but, largely because of Armond White's review [New York Press - ARMOND WHITE - Mash of the Titans], I did open the wallet and make the trek to check out The Forbidden Kingdom.

I was a little worried about five minutes in when the gang of toughs reminded me a little too much of the Rumble in the Bronx baddies. Luckily, the magical transport to the Middle Kingdom happened pretty quickly and the movie hit its stride. Jackie and Jet worked well together, the fight scenes were fun, and there were lots of nods to classic movies to give the geeks like me some chances to buff our Shaw Bros. merit badges earned for learning to recognize the animal styles before they're called out.

This Michael Angarano kid they found to be the student to Jackie and Jet though ... I read he had to learn kung fu to get the role, so I hoped that meant he could already act. He learned enough kung fu to convincingly play a novice but maybe they'd have been better served finding someone with a martial arts background who could learn to act. If he had any screen charisma at all, I'd be pulling for a sequel where Jackie's Lu Yan character continued to mentor him through another adventure.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Ol' EHHS


The former stomping grounds of several Cryptonauts only shows up in my news feed when:
(1) Sexual Assault charges lead to the dismissal of faculty member,
(2) the basketball team (or Doug Wiggins) either does well or some current or former player gets in trouble (eg. Doug Wiggins), or
(3) the high school receives a bomb threat.

Like today apparently.

Friday, March 21, 2008

San Di-freaking-ego 70, UCONN 69


Ugh.

Lucius in Stride

Lucius Shepard's Hugo Nominated short story, "Stars Seen Through Stone." The intrusion of other realities into troubled relationships is Shepard's meat and potatoes. I like this as a relatively upbeat alternate version of his recent short novel, "Softspoken."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Armond the Hammer

Somebody Else's Meta-Review
This [review for There Will be Blood] is the worst movie review I have ever
read (“A Guilt-Soaked Epic,” Jan. 2-8). Aspects of it lead me to believe that
your reviewer [Armond White] is mentally deficient for failing to grasp
painfully obvious plot elements, such as the “estranged brother” character, who
is not an estranged brother at all, but a charlatan, which is where the gravitas
of the Plainview character is fully manifest. He not only fails to recognize the
best dramatic performance of the last 25 years, but his incessant name-dropping
of irrelevant RELICS is not only obnoxious, but confuses even the most patient
reader. This review, honestly, belongs in the SAT examination, as an object of
boredom to be mocked and sworn at, representative of film criticism at its most
masturbatory. This is the nadir of film criticism, and your reviewer is a
blithering idiot.—Daniel Simon

Since reading White's "The Resistance," I've been on the lookout for his reviews and reactions he provokes. Kevin over at GiTM mentioned him in passing the other day as well. I'm standing by my Second-Best-Film-Critic vote until I borrow "Chuck and Larry" from JD and confirm my suspicion that it's a piece of crap.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Why Armond White is My New Favorite Movie Critic (After Filthy)


'"The Bubble,' featuring the year's best original screenplay, is one of the peaks of the gay cinema breakthroughs that critics pretended to welcome with the big-budget, name-star 'Brokeback Mountain' but then ignored as a matter of habit. Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox's symbolic situations, recognizable characters and nuanced dialog surpasses even the superb (and unfairly maligned) 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry' in realistic details. Fox's script isn't a satire but a political romance that dares give unprejudiced clarity to the inequities of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, global homophobia and middle-class privilege." -- Armond White [indieWIRE]

Is he brilliant or totally wack? I'm not sure, I guess I'd have to netflix ' ... Chuck and Larry' to find out, a step I can't bring myself to take; but, I like that I'm almost always surprised by his reviews.
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