Archive for December, 2009

Final Thoughts

December 31, 2009

What does one do for the last post of a decade?  List all the resolutions I have no intention of keeping?  A top 10 of 2009?  A photo gallery of the past 10 years?

Meh.  It’s all been done or is being done elsewhere.  Let’s talk about cartoons!

One of my favorite movies growing up (and to this day) is Transformers: The Movie circa 1986.  Eighties rock, Optimus Prime, Leonard Nimoy and Orson “This is Probably What God Sounds Like” Welles.  What more do you need in a movie?  I remember watching it a while back and laughing at the narrator’s opening line (in slow epic voice, Jon):

“THE YEAR IS TWO-THOUSAND AND FIVE!!!”

When I saw that somewhere around the age of 6 or 7, it didn’t even register as a valid date.  It entered my head as “crazy way off in the future”.  It would be like a movie today taking place in the year 3056 or something.  Now it’s not only past 2005 but we’re already onto 2010, an even more futuristic sounding year.  In that movie Daniel had a hoverboard and giant transforming robots for friends.  Five years late, I’m beginning to feel the eensiest bit gypped here.

Y’know what?  I don’t care what 2010 holds.  I won’t be satisfied till I get my very own transforming exosuit and giant robot dinosaur. 

Happy (non-hoverboarding) New Year.

– J

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December Movies

December 28, 2009

Howdy!

Had a great vacation back in Texas.  Not much happened worth noting here.  Family, food, tornados.  You know, all the usual stuff you associate with Christmas.

Saw a couple of movies over the holiday.  The two big ones right now – Avatar and Sherlock Holmes. 

Avatar was truly amazing.  It was refreshingly original and brilliantly executed.  With a half-billion dollar price tag, it had better be, right?  I do recommend seeing it in 3-D if you have the opportunity.  It’s the first instance I can recall that the inclusion of 3-D genuinely added to the experience. 

It was a lot of movie, but never felt slow to me.  With regards to the plot, it was a little predictable but that was easily overpowered by the visuals moving it along.  In regard to some reviews you may have heard about certain biases, I saw very little in the way of forcing too much Earthy Crunchy down peoples throats.  If the main characters live in a tree, you can’t accuse a movie of pushing conservationism on an audience when they don’t want it blown up.  Politically, there was just enough blatant bias to take me out of the movie, but only once that I recall.

Sherlock Holmes was a lot of fun.  From the admittedly little I know about Sherlock Holmes, I think it did the series justice.  The differences between previous movies and books are best described over at LawDog.  Accuracy aside, this movie was also well executed and totally worth paying for a movie ticket.  At times it felt like a really violent episode of House M.D., but I’d wager it was House that first borrowed certain personality traits from Holmes instead of the other way around.

It’s nice to see two movies so close together and feel I got my money’s worth out of both of them.  There may be hope for Hollywood yet!!

Naaaah.

– J

So Bad It’s Good

December 28, 2009

Sometimes I come across stuff on the internet and get jealous that I didn’t come up with it myself.  Comixed.com is a regular cause of such jealousy.  Had to share this one.

– J

Sent From My iPhone

December 19, 2009

Air travel. It has shrunk our world, sped it up, spread us out and given an inexhaustible supply of material to comedians.

Sometimes when I see a plane in the sky I like to take a moment and remind myself that what I’m really seeing is a giant piece of metal giving gravity a 30,000 foot middle finger. It’s an amazing act of physics that is just part of our daily lives.

First time I flew I was 18 making my first trip to New York City to be part of one of those tourist groups I’d (unknowingly) someday need to step around on my lunch break. I loved takeoff and landing and I’m pretty sure I kept my barf bag as a souvenir*.

Now I fly two or three times a year on average. The traditional holiday travel which I’m enduring right now (seat 13F, to be exact), Dragon-con in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, and usually another trip to Texas sometime during the year. The excitement of air travel faded somewhere over Tennessee in 2002 while I was wedged in the back right corner of a plane between a curved wall and an enormous snoring man who seemed to believe bathing was something that only happened to other people.

It’s all changing of course. I think part of Al Qaeda’s master plot was to slowly drive Americans mad with all the new regulations they knew would be implemented at airports. And because of the current price gouging economy, airlines charge more for luggage these days, but still lose it for free. Nice to see some things won’t ever change.

Happy travels, bloggers.

* they’re not called barf bags anymore. I think it’s something like Air Travel Discomfort Recepticals

Whose Cider You On?

December 15, 2009

This is a recipe for spiked apple cider I had a hand in creating with Texan New Yorker a few years ago.  And by “creating” I mean she made it and I named it.  She might have let me stir a few times.  Either way, it’s made me very popular at holiday parties.

Damn Good Apple Cider

1 Gallon Apple Cider (the fresher the better.  Check your local farmer’s markets)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp whole cloves
3 shots of DeKuypers Hot Damn Cinnamon Schnapps
Sugar to taste

Bring it to a simmer but don’t let it boil.  Stir frequently and give it about 15 minutes to let all the flavors mix well.  Add sugar depending on how sweet you like your cider.  Serve in your favorite mug.  Best enjoyed during cheesy Christmas movies with friends and family.

My favorite thing about this is that the recipe is not set in stone.  If you prefer more of one thing than another then go for it.  I suggest heating up your cider and adding small amounts of the other flavors in a mug and sampling to see what you like more of.  Another big hint is to avoid the 100 proof Hot Damn at all costs.  It tastes less like cinnamon and more like cough syrup past its expiration date.

And the answer to your question is, “Yes. I did post this as an excuse to use that title.”

Happy Holidays!

– J

Gettin’ Festive

December 9, 2009

The time between Thanksgiving and *Insert late December holiday of your choosing here* is always so much fun.  Last night, Roomie and I got our tree bought and put up.  Tonight we’ll be decorating it while listening to Christmas music in front of the fireplace.

After putting Jack* up, we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Isn’t it amazing how something made in 1965 with cheap, grainy animation has more staying power and significance than all the new Christmas movies they crap out every year?  A Shrek Christmas?  Is this really necessary?

Also coming up is the annual return to the Lone Star State.  I’m trying to ignore all the work I have to do before then long enough to get excited.  I’m just going home for a week, but it will hopefully be good quality time with family and friends. 

Hope it’s going great for you too so far.  Live it up!  And don’t forget that the best things in life can’t be bought.  Except maybe for Caramel Apple Cider at Starbucks.  That might be an exception.

– J

*The tree is named is Jack this year.  Last year it was Verne.

Rambling

December 4, 2009

I’m in a pretty good mood this morning.  Trains were all jacked-up getting from Queens into the city, but I managed to outsmart the MTA and got to work only 5 minutes later than usual.  Upon getting to work, the trash talk began around the office about the Giants/Dallas game this Sunday.  Sunday is also church, which has been very interesting as of late.  Last week we finished a series about pursuing your dreams.  And if those dreams came true, would God be glorified?  I think its funny how people talk about dreams.  I can say that “I’ve dreamed of being a rock star all my life” but I REALLY dream about totally random stuff.  For instance, Wednesday night I dreamed me and my roommate met Greg Kinnear at a BBQ restaurant in Montana.  And then nobody would talk to us when we tried to pay our tab (Except Greg.  Quite the chatty fellow in a dream, Greg Kinnear) so we walked out on our tab (and Greg).  I’ve never walked out on a tab before, but during my years waiting tables I’ve seen it happen many times.  I saw lots of things waiting tables.  I’ve seen a tray of drinks dropped on a woman in her Sunday best.  I once dropped a full side of ranch dressing that hit the floor and bounced with a delightful spinning effect that spread it around about half the restaurant.  I’ve never pissed off so many people so fast.  I also saw lots of good things waiting tables.  I saw new, terrified and shy teenagers turn into confident, outgoing, servers with no fear of trays of any size.  I was a server trainer and developed a sort of “Trays 101” for new servers.  Silly though it sounds, I was secretly very proud every time I saw some 100 pound girl hoist a meal for a family of 6 to her shoulder and carry it without a problem.  Knowing I had a hand in that felt good.  Makes me wonder if that’s how teachers feel all the time with their students.  Must be a rewarding job.  I’d like a rewarding job.  I don’t get a lot of personal satisfaction out my current job. I guess for the most part, I enjoy it.  I work hard and like the people I work with, but it’s not something I’m particularly proud to be a part of.  Speaking of work, I should probably get some done today…

Have a good one!

– J

It’s Crazy

December 2, 2009

Christopher Walken is coming to Broadway.

For those that aren’t aware of me and my roommate’s obsession with the awesomeness of this man, think of it like the time Barbara Streisand walked onto the set of Coffee Talk.  Or if Pat Sajak walked into Ed Grimley‘s apartment.

And if you didn’t watch SNL in the 90’s and therefore don’t get either of those references, the point to take away here is that I’m really, really excited about this.

Happy December everyone!

– J