Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giving in to peer pressure.

Every fall, I face this temptation, and for the last several years, I've hung tough. I've stayed strong. I've resisted temptation.

Today, I gave in.

I am now a cable TV subscriber.

I feel dirty admitting that.

You may be saying, "Dave, it's about time you quit being stubborn about this. I can't believe you haven't had cable for so long!" But the fact is, I've been doing just fine without cable TV for the past two or three years. You may not be aware of this, but they broadcast television shows right now--for free--over the AIR!

I was content in the past, setting my VCR to record 8 television programs (or blocks of programs) each week. I had my six-hour tape ready, and had to watch my shows pretty regularly so I didn't miss anything. It was fine. It was cool. And it was FREE.

However, the "digital conversion" has now thrown a monkey wrench into my plans. Turns out I have to change channels on Uncle Sam's magic black box, so I can't program the VCR. I made do this past spring, by preparing the night before and selecting which channel to record the next day. But now that the digital switchover is complete, it seems like I'm getting less consistent service. And I still can't get CBS. I'm gonna miss Big Bang Theory if i don't address this.

Cable isn't cheap, but it is easy. And having a DVR to record things and watch them at my convenience is really an inviting proposition.

So, out of curiosity, I went over to the cable company's website, and saw that they were also giving away free money for signing up. Free money's pretty inviting too.

So I did it. It's done. And on Thursday night, I'll have glorious, crystal-clear cable television.

My parents will be thrilled--I can stop clogging up their DVR with my shows.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Greatest Four Minutes in Film History

I will not countenance disagreement on this matter:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Too Much Awesome Not to Share

If you don't immediately recognize what this video is parodying, you need to go out and rent the greatest film ever made by humans.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Dear Ron" Letter

(Cross-posted at the Waddling Bison blog)

My dearest Micki D,

We've been together for...ever, really. As long as I can remember, you've been a part of my life. When I was a child, I used to beg my parents to let me go to your house, because lunch with you made me happy, and you always shared your toys.

As I grew, my appetite for your companionship grew as well. My love for you was super-sized, and your affect on me multiplied. Sometimes, in high school, my busy schedule with work and sports kept us from seeing each other so often, and the lack of companionship was as plain to see.

But with college, and especially in the early part of my post-college career, our relationship was renewed, and it deepened daily. I'd stop by and see you in the mornings on my way to work, and sometimes immediately after work, on my way home. You welcomed me at your window, and bestowed your paper-wrapped presents on me.

This affection we shared grew to a deep love, freely refilled day by day. And it's been great, Micki. Really. Believe me when I say, I'm lovin' it.

But something has happened to me. I've started making changes in my life. And I have to confess--I just don't think we can see each other anymore.

It's not you. You've been great. I just don't know if our relationship has been healthy for me. I know I'm the only one to blame in this; you never claimed to be anything but what you are, and I loved you for that. And lately, as you have emphasized your particular values, I have to confess that loving you has never been cheaper or easier.

However, in the last few months, sneaking off to see you has left me feeling guilty every time. I try to pretend I'm only an acquaintance, and sometimes even lie about our trysts. I can't do that anymore.

You've been great, Micki. Really. But my life is taking me down new roads. And you can't come with me this time.

I'm really sorry. But we're through. If we cross paths in the future, it's okay to wave, or say hi. But we can never be this close again.

Know that you will always have a quarter-pound of my heart.

Your special sauce,

P.S. If you see your sister Wendy, tell her I need to talk to her, okay?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No Iron Man? FINE. How about a Superman?

Since the legal powers-that-be removed the flippin sweet IM2 footage from the internets, here's a recap of the previous season of "Smallville"--in case you were curious what the CW's longest-running series is up to.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Better than Ashley Simpson doing a jig.

I'm gonna break what is generally considered a cardinal rule among elite bloggers. The one that goes, "Don't blog your dreams, because no one really cares." (That's never stopped me before, however.) So here we go:


I'm the lead singer of a alterna-rock band, think Collective Soul or something college-rocky. We're doing a live concert in this gorgeous auditorium, similar to the one in "School of Rock," with the balcony and everything. Large venue. This concert is being produced by Janet Jackson and Randy Jackson (the Idol judge, who in my mind has always been an extant member of the Jackson 5). The concert is also being simulcast live on the internet.

It's near the end of the show, and I'm doing the lead singer banter bit, thanking the Jacksons for setting up the event, and teasing them a little. I think i actually made the joke, "Keep it down you two, or we're turning this concert around and going home." But I'm the affable lead singer, so everyone laughed.

We're taking a short break, because I can see on the monitors that display the broadcast that there's a quick commercial for another band playing a future show. The band is called "O. A. F." which I mock quietly (but audibly) by crossing my eyes, and saying "Oaf!" Another laugh. Finally, we're "live" again, so I say something like, "Okay, let's go!"

The music starts. Typical pop-rock radio fare. Except... I don't remember the words. So I start coughing to cover it up. The problem is, there's a voice track to "boost" my vocals, and it's playing while I'm coughing. After the longest ten seconds of my career, as I'm gesturing with a finger across the throat to cut it off, the music ends. The band is embarrassed. Randy and Janet angrily storm out the side door of the auditorium. And I'm there, up front, amid the catcalls and boos. People are getting up to leave, laughing. One guy holds up his iPhone and says, "Dude, this clip is up all over the internet!"

Here's where it gets odd: I ignore the hisses and say something like, "Okay, okay, hang on, everybody! Come back, I wanna say something." People stop walking out, standing in the aisles, shushing a few talkers. Everyone's waiting for an explanation.

I go on to say something like, "Yes, I was using a vocal backing track tonight. I'm sorry if that seems like cheating. There are various reasons why a singer would do that. For example, maybe he's sick, and can't hit his usual notes. Maybe he's having trouble remembering a new song. Maybe...maybe he's just afraid of letting people down. I was. I wanted to give you guys the best show I could. We all do--that's what we do every night. We don't take this for granted, guys. We love playing music and making you happy, and we bust our tails every night to put on a good show, because we know that's what you want.

"I know I let you down tonight. But I want to make it up to you. So, here, gimme this--" At this point, I walk back to the guitar tech and take an acoustic guitar from his hand. As I'm walking back I grab a stool from near the drum kit, and plant myself in front of the mic. "No gimmicks, no machines. Just you and me."

The audience starts to filter back to their seats. Some leave, but most stay, confused and curious what will come next. I look over my shoulder at the dumbstruck band. "You guys can go grab some dinner in the dressing room; I'm good here."

Then I proceed to play an acoustic set. Our songs, covers, stuff I didn't even know if I knew well enough. And the crowd slowly warms up, until we're all singing along, having a great time.

Then I wake up.


A bizarre version of the "embarrassed in front of a crowd" dream. Maybe subconsciously, I'm reassuring myself that, if I fail, I can fail spectacularly and still keep people happy. Or maybe I'm just nuts.

We report, you decide.

Monday, August 03, 2009

In case you're curious...

The old diet blog has gotten a face-lift and has been repurposed for marathon training. Also, the URL has changed, so clicky the linky to get the new one. kthxbai.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

PBB Capsule Movie Reviews: "It's Already August?!?" Edition

Don't know what to do this weekend? Here are four cinematic options, two to look for at your local indieplex, and two summer blockbusters I'm just getting around to seeing at my local $1.50 theater.

I'm gonna spare you the synopsis of each film--check out the trailer, or look it up on IMDB if you're really curious:


X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Rated PG-13 for awesome violence and some couple-lovin

Finally! A Wolverine feature! Wolvie's my favorite X-Men character, as he is for many fans of the comics/films. Hugh Jackman has always been the perfect mix of rage and humanity to play this frustrated, broken, violent character. In this film, he shines. It's not a great movie--clearly not a "Marvel" movie, as Will says. (Essentially, there are two production companies who put out X-Men movies; this is from the lesser of the two.) But I tell ya what--if you want a rip-roaring actioner starring your favorite clawed mutant, you could do worse. (X-Men 3.) The film itself feels rushed; I wished it spent more time with some of the other X-Men Universe characters that are introduced and quickly ushered off-screen. (Dom!) Two I really wanted to see more of were Gambit and pre-mouthzip Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds!). Looking forward to hopefully future screen-time for both characters. The one great improvement that this movie makes on past X-Men films is casting the great Liev Schrieber as Sabretooth. Seriously. Amazing actor. If you don't agree, you clearly haven't seen his work, or are incapable of recognizing talent. This dude is legit. And he brings this character so much depth and menace that he ascends to even footing with Wolvie.

Verdict: It's a popcorn movie, not necessarily a good X-Men movie, but a pretty good comic book movie and worth a rental for some great performances that transcend a weak script.


Terminator: Salvation
Rated PG-13 for flesh-ripping violence and brutal robot mayhem

Just saw this tonight. Loads of fun. Here's the deal for you Terminator fans: It's no Judgment Day. Of course it isn't. T2 will always be the unattainable benchmark for this series. But T:S is better than the other two films. I was discussing this with the guys tonight--it's like the first three Terminator films were the "Judgment Day" trilogy--they all focused on preventing it from happening. In "Salvation," there was no time travel, and the whole film was about the survival of the humans. It was focused squarely on "The Resistance." And that made it less of a "Terminator" movie, perhaps, but also more entertaining as an action movie. Christian Bale is great. He's always great, and he's great in this one. He conveys John Connor's determination to carry this colossal persona and set of expectations, as much as it seems to crush him emotionally. He can't just be a soldier, or a leader; he's got to be "The One." (Similar to Harry's Potter's dilemma, I guess.) But the rest of the cast in T:S is also very capable, including Bryce Dallas Howard, Michael Ironside, and Helena Bonham Carter. (Really? Yes.)

Verdict: Big, loud CGI-fest that allows the director to play in the "Terminator" sandbox. Solid cast, good pacing, and good effects. Worth a rental for Terminator fans, or fans of the genre.


Rated PG-13 (?) for manly booty and some blood

A man, alone for three years, working a mining job. Can't blame him for starting to see things. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, an astronaut on a mining mission, in this deliberate, beautifully-shot and expertly-directed film. The clear influences are "2001" and films like "Das Boot." The film has a claustrophobic feel at times, as the main action of the story takes place on a single station, a few connected rooms. In this story, Sam is two weeks from going home to his wife and little girl, who he has not been able to talk to (on a "live" feed) in three years. Then he has an accident, and... that's all i'm going to tell you. There's a sentient computer named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey) who is Sam's only company in the station--at least until... but anyway. The big "twist" of the film is revealed pretty early on, but it's not about the twist as much as the unfolding of the information, and how Sam processes it. It's really a great performance by Rockwell, who's becoming an actor I seek out at the cineplex.

Verdict: Good story (even if predictable), fantastic performance, and interesting themes with a lot of subtext worth mulling over. Check it out at the theater or on video, but definitely see it.


(500) Days of Summer
Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content/dialogue, and heartbreak

"This is a story about boy meets girl... This is a story about love--but this is NOT a love story." So saith the narrator in this cleverly-written, playfully-directed, and wonderfully-acted romantic dramedy about a boy and girl and the slippery nature of love and relationships. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are two of my favorite young(ish) actors in Hollywood, and this may be my favorite film for both of them. I will give this a deeply-felt but conditional recommendation: the film deals with love and sex in a pretty frank manner, but without being what I'd consider gratuitous, and the consequences of some of these choices are obvious. Nothing's free and easy here. And that may be one of the best elements of the movie. While there are many fanciful, stylized bits, the emotional core of the film is DEAD-ON realistic. Every decision the characters made actually made sense, based on how they were set up. In other words, there weren't out of character moments, there weren't blatantly contrived rom-com cliches, and the resolution you are given isn't common, but feels earned. I will say it without reservation: I really, really loved this movie. Not everyone will, but many of you could.

Verdict: If you can do so with clear conscience, go see this film, and pay whatever the theater asks of you, because it's worth every penny.