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Thursday, November 29, 2012

WUMF: November 2012 Edition

OK… so, I really slacked this past week.. but there’s been reasons. No… it wasn’t just because I was too busy playing Tekkit. I didn’t plan to be so slacky…

No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!

Yeah, OK… it was Tekkit.

And a few other things. With that… here’s the WUMF.

Skyfall Review
I was supposed to be doing a review of Skyfall, and in essence, Bond… Well, the end of the month came around and I didn’t want to cut into that thought process mid ramble. So, that’s coming next month, I did preface it last post, but purposely didn’t really start.

If you’re really hard up for some good Bond talk, check out The commentary is a little dry… kind of like Tom Bodett giving movie reviews on NPR, but his videos are pretty well done and somewhat hilarious. Put it this way… the guy did not like Brosnan as Bond, and he uses a lot of clips from The Matador to describe Brosnan’s post Bond mindset.  Priceless.  Plus... Cannonball Run redone with all James Bonds.

Game of Thrones Giveaway: The Westeros League
Well, I pulled it off at the 11th hour. After Season 2 of GoT ended, I started thinking about doing some designs. I had already put out a couple of ideas, but had never seen the show. Then, a friend lent me season one and I gobbled it up. Then, another friend fed me all of Season 2 from his thumb drive… Shhhh, don’t tell…. And I was loving it…. And then scared of a vagina wraith coming to get me. Seriously…. WTF?!?!

So, because of that, I started planning out a set of designs called The Westeros League. 14 teams based on the various houses in the show. Tried to model them after professional… and a couple of minor league sports teams here in the U.S. After I was done, I put posts on each design ranging from the inane ramblings of a Sports Center type commentary to finally abandoning the insanity and settling on just talking about the designs themselves.

Finally, I put together a prize pack of 14 stickers, a shirt, a stein, a $20 gift card, and Season 1 on Blu Ray and hosted a giveaway. The turnout was small, compared to some others I’ve done, but I expected this with a more concentrated theme. In the past, I’ve done holidays or seasons and that usually opens up the base of entries to a more broadened spectrum of people. With a dedicated Game of Thrones theme, it focused more on those who were fans of the show and a few others. Still, happy with the results.

'Tis the Season
Thanksgiving snuck up on me and I was not prepared for the amount of time I’d be putting into getting shit done around the house and work. The giveaway run this past week and I’ve been working on that. I had to get out and do the shopping stuff with my kid and my wife, for all our food. I was trying to catch up on stuff to keep my DVR from exploding…. And well, um TEKKIT

My Pool
If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know how much fun (sarcasm) I’ve had with my pool. I inherited it from my brother after he got a new one. It was an INTEX 16 foot round jobs that you assemble in fifteen minutes. Well, after three years of either being too lazy or ill prepared to close it down in the Fall, I decided I was going to it right. We cleaned out all the leaves, treated it with all the chemicals, and actually put the damn cover on the thing.

Then Hurricane Sandy said, “LOL Pitiful Hooman”. The cover came off with all the leaves and branches going into the pool. After it was all over, I attempted to clean it all back out and recover the pool. As I spouted every four letter word in the book, I noticed daylight peeking from the opposite side of the pool. Above the inlet hole, there appeared to be a foot long wide tear. I rage quit the job and tossed the skimmer. Someone asked if I could get a new liner… well, the whole damn pool is pretty much a liner. Now, I could probably try to patch it. However, I’ve spent too much time and money getting it up and running each year. I’m tired of just maintaining and pissing money away on it, so it’s either time to buy a real, more permanent pool… or just get another Intex. Thoughts? Remember, I am a cheap bastard and don’t plan on retiring in my current residence.

Winter Beer Exchange
I've done this a few times over the past year and plan on doing it again.  I have about 8 different beers to review for all you craft beer lovers.  I will probably keep notes on each, as I try them.  Since I won't be sharing with my Father-in-law.... he's on Coumadin and can't really touch this stuff right now... I can just drink the eight types in about four days and get a review out rather quickly.   Sorry, I'm not a big drinker, so two a night is plenty for me.

Here's what's on in bottles:
  • Heavy Seas Winter Storm Category 5 Ale.
  • Bell's Winter White Ale
  • Bell's Christmas Ale
  • Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas
  • Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale
  • Weyerbacher Winter Ale
  • Anchor Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  • Great Divide Hibernation Ale 
D-Bag of the Year Awards 2012
Most of December will probably be devoted to the annual D-Bag awards. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of research on my part. I need to go back and look at all the stories throughout the year. Of course, the usual suspects will be nominated: Death, Mother Nature, Chris Brown…

I am actually thinking of just streamlining the process more to whittle down the effort of having to rehash all the nominees. Guess I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

That’s it, folks. Bring on December! Mayans, be damned!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review of Skyfall, But First... Monologuing

I am a traditionalist. I like my adaptations played as close to the source material as possible. I like my sequels to be in the same vein as the originals or close to them. I don’t like reboots and I don’t like reinventing the wheel.

That being said, when you’ve been putting out movies in a franchise for fifty years, sometimes the old ways are the best ways. And… sometimes the material is better served being looked at from a different perspective while still maintaining that commonality of the franchise… Can anyone say “Crystal Skulls”?

Skyfall represents the latest in a series of films which franchise predates the death of JFK. And, frankly, Bond never looked better. But along the way, we need to look at the evolution of how we got from Connery to Craig and Dr. No to Skyfall.

I started to do just one post but as I ranted on for nearly three pages, I thought, “Might as well break this up into sections…” Call me Peter Jackson, bitch!

So, I’ll start off giving my thoughts on the Bond character as portrayed by the various actors. Next, I’ll go into the movie evolution. Lastly, Skyfall. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read any further.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bond at 50

Coming over the next week, I'll be putting up some rather lengthy entries on my thoughts on the different Bonds as well as the newest movie itself.  It'll be a return to the old days of my three page long rants, oh joy, right?  I will also go back and redo my Bond theme list to include the latest song, by Adele.

So, to get in the mood, I self bought... for Christmas... thanks hon... ;)  the Blu-Ray collection of Bond 50.  The thing is, a friend bought it a few weeks ago for $150.  I saw it on Wednesday for $129, so I snapped it up.   Come Thursday, it was up to $200 and by later on Friday, it was $205.   Now... it's $99.   Unreal.  I'm kicking myself, yet not quite upset enough to pull the trigger and get a couple to sell on eBay.  I suggest picking up a copy for yourself or your loved ones, this Christmas... before the price goes back up.  It has 22 out of the 23 EON Bond films along with tons of extras.
Bond 50 from Amazon.  Today, 11/24/12 for $99.99.
Qualifies for free shipping.

UPDATE:  Apparently, that $99 price was short lived.  It's now $249.  I would check on Monday.  It's bound to be somewhere close to $150-$200, again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Game of Thrones Giveaway

OK,  sorry to be late this week.  I'm in the middle of a giveaway over at the store blog.  Not to sound biased, but I think it's a pretty sweet one, too. 

Winner gets a copy of Season One of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray, a set of 14 stickers from my Westeros League designs, a shirt with the design of their choice, a mug/stein/4 shot glasses with a design of their choice, and a $20 gift card to Skreened.

It's simple to enter.  Just comment on the blog post, retweet a phrase, or come over to the Facebook page and comment on my cover photo.  That's three chances to win between now and November 26th.

Also, just found out that Season 2 of Game of Thrones will be released on February 19, 2013, a month before Season 3 starts up on HBO.  You can pre-order it on Amazon, now.  And get over and enter the giveaway.... WINTER IS COMING

Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage
or Buy New $55.99

Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lazy Vs. Efficient

I hate wasting time and resources.

I hate when I am not getting the most out of something. I usually do not run the A/C or the heater while driving. If it’s nice out, I keep the window down and the air off. In the colder months, I will heat up the car, just to take the chill out. Then, I will just drive with the heat off, but the temperature to heat. I also don’t use the gas pedal on hills. I build up a decent speed, and then coast through a hill to the bottom. Some will disagree with my approach to gas efficiency. I know it sounds silly, but I still manage to get at least 300 miles to a tank of gas in a V6 engine driving back and forth through Pittsburgh, everyday.

I also hate wasting time in the mornings. When I get to work, the kitchen is the first room I enter on my way to my cube. I put my lunch in the fridge, make my coffee, and get breakfast ready. Some days, it’s Pop Tarts. Some days, it’s cereal. Lately, it’s been oatmeal. In any case, I get it all prepared before heading to my cube. That way I don’t have to walk all the way there, drop off my stuff, then walk back to the kitchen. I can have my coffee and breakfast going while I get my computer up and running, checking emails, etc. That may seem lazy, like I don’t want to walk all that way. I consider it being efficient in using my time wisely.

I remember in one of my old jobs, working at a hotel, that due to being pressed for time in turning over a room from a lunch to a wedding we would try to be as efficient as possible. If the room had all rectangle tables for a meeting, and we needed mostly round tables, we’d save the ones we needed and remove the rest. We would take back two rectangle tables, one in each hand, and bring out two round tables, rolling them out, side by side.

One day, I snapped at a younger, less experienced coworker. They were carrying in round tables and not taking out rectangles. I flat out said, “If I see you walk out of here empty handed, one more time, I’m putting my foot in your ass.” Of course, I was mostly joking, but we needed to hurry.

Anytime I can reduce the number of trips I need to make, I feel like I am being efficient. Granted, I try to carry every bag of groceries from the car, instead of making trips because it’s tiring. However, is it really being lazy if you load up your arms to capacity instead of carrying two bags and making ten trips in and out of the house?

When I’m at home on my laptop, working or just vegging, I tend to do what I can from a fixed position. If the kid wants a channel change, I ask her to bring me the remote. Yeah, that’s not lazy, huh? LOL. Granted, I’m a big guy who hates to get up and down a lot. Still working….well not much… on that. It’s hard when 80% of what you do to make money involves a computer and a chair.

That reminds me… I have a giveaway to prepare. Wink wink

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sports in Bizarro Burgh

Maybe the Mayans were right.

Let’s see… We had the Pirates cock tease for another season… this time, making it past the All Star Break with an above .500 record. We actually thought… “Screw winning season, I smell division leader… nay… PLAYOFFS!” Then, another 19 inning game crushed our souls like a can in a compactor. The team fell down the chute of our board game minds. They picked the lollipop card in Candyland and had to go all the way back to the beginning. But… we still had Penguins Hockey and Steelers Football, right? RIGHT?!?!?

Training camp rolled around and our new offensive line was set. Finally, we had better protection for Ben and more holes to create for RBs. But… Mike Wallace was nowhere in sight. He wasn’t in Latrobe. He wasn’t in Pittsburgh. He was home, sitting on his couch, wearing his helmet, and reading his playbook… hoping for more money. He waited. Training started. He waited. The pre season started. He waited. Three pre season games passed. He finally showed up. We played Denver. Oh, yeah, we lost some of our shiny new toys in the early games. We also broke some of our others… *cough*Troy *cough*

But not to fear, Mike Wallace came in and made touch downs and amazing plays… and who needs training camp… and pre season? Soon those sentiments were replaced with, “Who needs to learn how to catch the ball, first?”

We lost to bad teams like Oakland and Tennessee… we squeaked by in Kansas City… We lost our starting quarterback…. He went out with a shoulder sprain that could puncture his aorta? Was that what I heard? I’m kidding, of course. So, in comes the cannon that is Byron Leftwich. The guy who was supposed to start in Ben’s absence during his four game suspension… only to break his arm in pre season, that year.

On his first play during the KC game, he throws to NOBODY and ends up ass over tin cup on the ground. Who’s his backup? Not Charlie Batch, mister reliable. Mister “I can manage a game while never making you believe I can either win it or lose it on one play rather I will do my best and that’s pretty damn good”. Mister, “I’ve been in this league a long time and bailed your asses out, and yet you still put me down in the depth chart only to come and ask for my help, but I will never be resentful because I am a true gentleman”. That guy. He was inactive. So… who was our emergency QB? I knew who he would have been last year… Hines Ward. The guy we got rid of and then waited for Mike Wallace to finally show up.

For Sunday’s game against Baltimore… the emergency guy is Heath Miller. I would rather have Heath play QB than Leftwich at this point. At least he can move. He may not have a cannon that can throw the ball into the parking lot on the off chance a receiver happens to be there waiting… but he isn’t the Tin Woodsman in the pocket that takes 20 minutes to throw the ball. Now, Ben does take a long time, but that’s play development, not the act of throwing the ball.

When I saw the schedule this year and noted that we had three divisional games in a row: Baltimore, Cleveland, and Baltimore, I knew we were in trouble. I predicted something like 7-9 or 9-7 due to what I perceived to be a rough schedule. Denver was getting Manning… we lost to them in the playoffs but still, the Ninety-Six Million Dollar Manning is always a problem at QB. Beyond that, look at our back half of the schedule: Baltimore, Cleveland, Baltimore, San Diego, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Dallas and San Diego suck, and Cleveland… pffft alleasy games.

We were supposed to have killed Oakland and Kansas City… and Tennessee was supposed to be manageable. San Diego scares me…because they are a bad team… and possibly… so are we. My prediction stands…. 9-7…or 7-9… hopefully, I’m wrong… except in the case of 8-8.

At least there’s hockey….


Friday, November 9, 2012

World War Z Trailer Released

So, the new movie trailer for World War Z has hit the web.  Sigh.  I loved both Max Brooks' zombie apocalypse books, but this film looks to just be another "missed the mark" adaptation of books where only the basic plot and title are kept from the source material.  Think of The Running Man movie in comparison to the book by Richard Bachman (Stephen King).

The trailer looks like any disaster movie, set in New York.  Typical day of traffic where the main character has happy conversation with his family.  Then, it all goes to shit.   After that, there's running and explosions, and aliens, and asteroids, and Godzilla, and... wrong movies.   You get the idea. 

What follows is a Matrix Revolutions like assault of zombies on level with 28 Days Later rage virus zombies and Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead versions. These zombies just don't run, they plow over each other and off of objects like lemmings or horses spooked by Samara from The Ring. The zombies from Brooks' novels are shambling and shuffling and only pose real threats in great numbers or sitting on the bottom of a lake.
Here's the trailer... see for yourself.

With that, I offered to redo the movie and here's what I came up with in an hour. 

Movie is done in 30 minutes!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Achievement Unlocked: I Voted

Whatever your party affiliation, your convictions, or opinions, we can all agree that it is our civic duty to get out and vote. 

For us PA voters, there has been a huge deal made about Photo ID being required for voting.  In fact, the stupid ads were still be played on the air even after the Supreme Court shot down the law requiring ID.  So, in case you are still confused, I will say it one last time....

In Pennsylvania, you will be ASKED, but NOT REQUIRED to show Photo Identification at the polls, unless you are voting for the first time in a new polling place.

OK, so get out and vote.  The lines will be long, but I'd rather complain about wasting an hour of my life instead of not being able to complain about the next four years.

Achievement Unlocked: I Voted
Get it at the following places:
Redbubble, Skreened, Cafepress, and Zazzle

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