Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Typo Or Freudian Slip?

Shipping instructions found on a recent delivery at work last week:


Insert your own "What can Brown do for you?" jokes here.
You Think I'm Kidding...

...but I honestly think that people are posted at different places, wherever I go, so that they can either a) get in my way or b) follow me into the bathroom.

Further proof of this belief presented itself yesterday. I was making my way to the single seater loo, located in the front of the building. Nobody followed me over there. Not a soul was shadowing me. I got to the restroom, only to find it occupied. So, I made my way to the nasty, icky multi-convenience bathroom. While walking up to it, someone came around the corner just as I got there & followed me in!!! Then, after he finally left, someone else came in, did their thing & then grabbed a paper towel to dry their hands - without having turned on the water!!!

EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!! Ick! Ick! Ickity-ick!

So, I sat there for a few more minutes, trying to contain my revulsion over what I'd just heard happen. Then, someone else came in. Yes, three people in less than ten minutes.

I'm not paranoid, I tell ya! They're all following me - I just know it!
Theeeeeere's Johnnie

Johnnie Cochran died today.

In a statement released through his agent, O.J. Simpson said "I didn't do it! I wasn't even in L.A."

Monday, March 28, 2005

1 Golf Club + 75 Balls =


I didn't realize that so many different, & previously unknown, muscles were used to hit a golf ball. Or, at least, to swing at one (I won't claim to have actually hit every one every time).

The Boy & I decided on Saturday to take advantage of the beautiful day out & go to the driving range instead of the batting cages as we had first planned. Other than the occasional mini golf game, I have not touched a golf club in about fifteen years. I was so bad at it that I never cared to try the game again. But, we've had a golf course just down the road for a few years now, so, I figured I'd give the driving range a shot again.

Walking up to the pro shop, I got a very "Caddyshack" type feeling when I spotted the sign next to the door that said, in big, red letters, something about "no admittance without a collared shirt." Since The Boy was in a sleeveless shirt & I was in a t-shirt covered in hair (we'd just gotten our hair cut), I was feeling woefully underdressed & just a bit uncomfortable. The Boy drug me into the pro shop anyway & the first thing one of the clerks behind the counter said was "You must be here for the driving range."

Yeah, that did wonders for my self image.

Things got better, though, when The Boy talked the clerk into giving us two medium baskets of balls for the price of one large bucket (a savings of seven dollars - cha-ching!). I swear, that kid could sell an icebox to an Eskimo. Anyway, our buckets & borrowed clubs in hand, we made our way to the range. The first half dozen swings were met with much laughing & little actual connecting with the ball. A few more wiffed swings & we finally started getting the hang of it, with only the occasional ball flying straight up into the air. Two hours later, we finished the buckets & returned our borrowed clubs to the pro shop (where I was greeted by some guy who looked like he was going to take me down & throw me out of the course for my inappropriate attire).

Later in the evening, I got the first indication that my musculature was less than thrilled with the activities of earlier in the day. T & I went grocery shopping &, as I picked up a freakin' twelve-pack of sodas, my forearms screamed at me. Literally. The next morning, my legs & lower back were revolting against me. This was all agitated by having to sit up in the balcony at church (thank goodness it wasn't one of the usual Baptist Cardio Workout services). The rest of the day was spent getting up & down from my chair veeeery gingerly. And today - I am stiff. Even typing has proven to be a challenge (my apologies for any stray typos that snuck through).

I think I'll just stick to spectator sports & video games from now on.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

He has risen, He is not here

1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salo'me, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him.

2 And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.

3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?"

4 And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; --it was very large.

5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed.

6 And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, He is not here; see the place where they laid Him.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Movie Review Time, Kiddies

So, what'd you do last Friday night? Me? Oh, nothing much. Fought the hordes at Wally World, found out that the Mickey D's in said establishment has a very limited menu & saw a little flick called "Robots."

What's that, you say? Me, going to the theatre in a Star Wars year, before the next episode comes out? I know, it felt weird to me, too. But, they did run the new "Sith" trailer before the movie, so, I guess that kind of makes up for things. And how'd it go, you ask? (OK, maybe you didn't...just humor me, 'K?)

We made it to the theatre &, having bought the tickets at lunchtime, made our way to Theatre #10. Since we were delayed by the time distortion warp that happens every time one goes to Wally World, we arrived to find the all of the good seats taken. I eventually staked out a place in the last row, clear against the left wall of the building. Unfortunately, positioned right in front of us was a halfwall that effectively blocked out a small portion of the screen. So, while T & The Boy made a run to the bathroom, I moved on to the only other seats available - the floor seats. The others returned to find me at the new location & we all settled in for our movie going experience. We started out not with advertisements, but directly on to the trailers instead.

First up - a new "Herbie the Love Bug" movie (Remember those?), "Herbie - Fully Loaded." Yeah, we need this. Starring Lindsay Lohan (&, despite the movie's title, it has nothing to do with her father), Michael Keaton & Matt Dillon, to boot. (A quick comment on the leads - while Ms. Lohan is not an unattractive woman, her voice is reminiscent of an agitated cat being drug across a blackboard. And Mr. Keaton, Mr. Dillon...wow...were you both needing rent money or something?) OK, back to the trailer - Herbie was apparently mothballed at some point (Probably after the ill advised sequel "Herbie Goes To A Monster Truck Rally"), as when the possessed "people's car" is found, there's an inch of dust on him. Ms. L is part of a racing family. She finds Herbie. Hijinks ensue. CGI galore. While it doesn't look horrible, it just seems unnecessary.

I will probably be haunted by this one come Christmas when The Boy puts it on his list.

Next up, a new trailer for "Madagascar," with the vocal stylings of Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimer & Chris Rock. This trailer helps to flesh out the story a little & made me want to see it a bit more than the first one did. The premise makes more sense now. It seems that some of the animals in the New York Zoo decide to go out for a night on the town. They get captured & sent to Madagascar (Why send animals to an island that they don't even come from in the wild is beyond me. I guess naming the movie "Africa" would've been a bit less geographically specific. Besides, they probably already have the Burger King tie-in toys already made). Hijinks again ensue. I could probably wait for it to come out on DVD, but T, The Boy & I will most likely go see it together on a family movie night when it comes out. It couldn't be as bad as "Shark Tale," at least.

Please tell me that it couldn't be as bad as "Shark Tale."


Finally, the main reason for me to even go to the movies that night came up - the new "Revenge Of The Sith" trailer.


Darth Sidious bustin' out his lightsaber! Yoda bustin' a move! Anakin slip slidin' deeper into the Dark Side! Space battles! Lasers! Stars! Wars! This one's got it all, Loyal Readers! I sat there with my jaw hanging open. The Boy could've tossed stale Juji Fruits that he picked up off the floor into my mouth & I wouldn't have noticed nor cared. I even clapped when the trailer was over. Y'know, one of those rapid claps, the kind usually reserved for twelve year old girls when they see the latest boy band that they're foaming at the mouth over. I did not, however, yell "I love you!" at the screen. At least not loud enough for anyone to hear.

I hope.

I could've left the theatre right when that trailer was finished, knowing that my $6 for a ticket was well spent. But, T & The Boy wanted to stay for the movie. Killjoys, harshin' on my Star Wars buzz...

So, about the movie. Before I go any further, though, I must warn you - if you are prone to motion sickness or are coming off of cold medication, I would advise waiting for video on this one. Or bringing along a barf bag. You just may need it. And whatever you do, don't sit too close to the screen. This thing even had me a bit dizzy. Of course, that may have been the residual effect of the "Star Wars" trailer, but...

If I could use two words to describe "Robots, " I'd use busy & tiring. But, then, that'd be a pretty short review. So, I'll add a few other words to fill space. "Robots" stars the vocal talents of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear, Drew Carrey, Amanda Bynes & a few dozen other people whose names escape me at the moment. The story is a basic fable with a moral at the end for good measure. The story follows 'bot Rodney Copperbottom (MacGregor) as he grows up & then sets out on his own to become an inventor at robot philanthropist Bigweld's (Brooks) company.

The animation is great. Dizzying at times, but great. A lot of fast paced action & rapid fire jokes from Williams, who manages to convey his manic energy through his pixelated alterego (One of the movie's problems at times). McGregor makes a serviceable hero, a little vanilla at times (Another problem). When it got too slow, I just imagined him firing up a lightsaber & taking out some of the bad robots. And I was happy again. Mel Brooks' talent seemed to have been wasted, though (Yet another problem - collect 'em all, kids!). He plays a kindly, idealistic robot who wants to make life good for all robots in Robot City. The way the character is played, though (for the half of the movie that he's in), he's more annoying than anything, at first spouting platitiudes about how you can be anything that you want to be & being content with who you are & schtuff like that. Then, having given up on his dream, he's a domino addicted hermit. He's forced from the top spot in the company by Ratchet (Kinnear), although, how this was done is never explored. Ratchet's trying to get rid of the "outmodes" (I hate it when movies use lame technobabble) & get the citizenry to purchase upgrades for themselves instead of just replacing old parts (Their slogan - "Why be you when you can be new?").

The movie seems to rely a lot on speed: fast jokes, scenes moving at sublight, sequences that make you carsick. I still haven't decided if this was an attempt to draw attention away from the lightweight story or not. I've been trying not to make comparisons to "The Incredibles," but, as it is my plumbline for movies of this sort, holding "Robots" up to "Incredibles" light is inevitable. "Incredibles" had a good, engaging story. It didn't rely on the razzle dazzle of the family's superpowers. Those tended to be secondary. The family part was what was focused on. In "Robots," though, it was more about the razzle dazzle. It's as though the makers of the movie thought that while a little was fine, megatons of eye candy would be even better. The backgrounds & cityscapes were impressive, but there was just too much going on all of the time. It was too cluttered. There was just too much to take in all at once.

Couple that with trying to keep up with Robin Williams. To get an idea of just how frentic his character was, take the energy level from Genie from "Aladdin" & multiply it by about a thousand. His character in this movie, "Fender," is like a hyperactive child after a binge at the Wonka Factory. I must commend the animators for managing to generate a character that fit Williams. They must've worked their fingers to nubs trying to capture that. After awhile, though, trying to keep up with his constant one-liners & impersonations just ceased to be fun. Well, as fun as it could be.

The female characters range from Bynes' fiesty "Piper" to Jennifer Coolidge's doting "Aunt Fanny" (Who gives new meaning to "junk in the trunk") to Berry's careerbot "Cappy." Now, anyone who knows me well enough knows that I like strong women. Women who can take care of themselves. Whiney, frail, timid women, in the movies or in real life, annoy me to no end. But here, it's like they took all of the qualities of one woman & made three female characters out of them. The problem with that is that you end up with very one dimensional characters. Piper is a teenage 'bot with the "I can do anything you can do better" attitude. Aunt Fanny is an older unit whose nurture programming is still firmly intact, taking in homeless robots & making hot grease drinks for them. Cappy'ss the successful shebot, climbing her way up the corporate ladder at Bigweld's while fending off advances from Ratchet, because she's, y'know, just so hot & all. I doubt that storyline would've gotten very far if they would've made her look like Aunt Fanny.

The obligatory romantic subplot between Rodney & Cappy is never really explained. It just sorta happens. I mean, Cappy's tall, svelte & all that. Rodney, on the other hand looks like...well...imagine if the Rocketeer & a toaster had a child. Now, imagine that child growing up & having a child with a '57 Chevy. That's pretty much what Rodney looks like. You can't tell me that Cappy was attracted to his personality, either, because they barely share any screentime together throughout the first half of the movie. The subplot just felt tacked on, like the writer was going through his "How To Write A Story" handbook, got to the romance chapter & just threw something together. Yes, I know this is just a cartoon, but it's still telling a story. If they're going to try to cram every cliche' possible, the story still needs to make sense.

Ratchet is your sterotypical villain, vain, prideful & a momma's 'bot. He's pretty much all bark, though, as he cowers to anyone who says "Boo!" to him. His mother is using him to further her own nefarious dreams of ousting Bigweld permanently (Her hatred of Bigweld is never gone into) & take over the city - when she's not melting down its citizens. He hits on Cappy & then, when she rebuffs him & sides up with Rodney, he tries to have her melted down with the rest of the outmodes (Cripes! I hate that word). Needless to say, he gets his comeuppance in the in the end.

The only other thing that bugged me (& has been the major reason that I haven't cared to see too many of the more recent Disney movies) was the musical numbers that were thrown in (One for comedic effect & the other because the movie needed another number to allow all of the characters to be seen at the same time). "Incredibles", "The Iron Giant" &, amazingly enough (for a Disney movie, at least), "Lilo & Stitch" all showed that animated features can get by without having the leads break into song at the drop of a hat. If the story's a musical, then fine. I would think that a song here & there kinda comes with the territory. But they just seem unnecessary in a more action oriented story.

Now, while it sounds like I'm beating this movie up, I really don't think it was a horribly bad flick. (Trust me, I've seen some truly bad movies) It has it's good parts. The Robot City mass transit system was pretty cool. The humor was spread out pretty evenly, with enough to make the kiddies laugh (More visual humor than anything) & enough to make the adults chuckle (& fortunately, aimed high enough so as to go over kids heads). Visually, while extremely busy, is was stunning. The city was remeniscent of the city planet Coruscant from the latest "Star Wars" trilogy, with different sections of society living at different levels of the city. A very smooth, polished piece of eye candy.

While I could've waited for it to come out on DVD, it was worth the price of a matinee...or the discount tix I bought at work.

Robots: 3 1/2 Locking Nuts (Out of a possible 5)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Webster, A Teletubbie & The Batmobile

March 9th was the thirtyforth birthday of one Emmanuel Lewis, he of Webster & former Michael Jackson tote (now watch all of the Webster hits start pourin' in). To commemorate the occasion, Tim & I had the following conversation:

From: Jay
To: Tim

It's your birthday, Emmanuel Lewis!

He's 34 inches...er, I mean...years old today.

From: Tim
To: Jay

Hopefully Ma'am and George will have something special planned.


From: Jay
To: Tim

Maybe they'll have a party for him at Chuck E. Cheese's.

They give the birthday boy free tokens, y'know.


From: Tim
To: Jay

They could take him to Magic Mountain, but he'd only be able to go
on the kid rides.

From: Jay
To: Tim

Well, you must be so tall to ride the rides.

Maybe they could give him a roll of quarters & take him out in front
of K-Mart. All the rides are just his size there.


From: Tim
To: Jay

My head would explode if I saw Emmanuel Lewis outside Kmart riding
some double-decker bus or Batmobile knockoff.

Just typing that caused a slight tremor.

From: Jay
To: Tim

Just imagine seeing him doing that, yelling "Ma'am, George! Let's go again!"

Now I'm picturing him doing that dressed as a Teletubbie. Talk about
your head exploding visions...


From: Tim
To: Jay

To recap:

We are mentally picturing a 34-year-old Emmanuel Lewis dressed as a
Teletubbie, riding a coin-operated Batmobile outside of Kmart?
Have you ever seen Logan's Run? At the end, the computer mainframe that controls society is confronted with a concept that it simply cannot comprehend that literally causes it to cease to function. That's what's happening to me right now. Thanks.

Holy 34-year-old Emmanuel Lewis dressed as a Teletubbie, riding a coin-operated Batmobile outside of Kmart, Batman!

What in the name of 34-year-old Emmanuel Lewis dressed as a Teletubbie, riding a
coin-operated Batmobile outside of Kmart is going on here?!?!?!?!

Life is like 34-year-old Emmanuel Lewis dressed as a Teletubbie, riding a coin-operated Batmobile outside of Kmart.

From: Jay
To: Tim

Ow...my head asplode.

Some things are just too big to get one's mind around: The infinity of God. William Hung's rise to notoriety. And a 34-year -old Emmanuel Lewis dressed as a Teletubbie, riding a coin-operated Batmobile outside of Kmart.

Ow...there went my head again.


From: Tim
To: Jay

Picturing this is like in "2001" when Dave looked into the Monolith and took the next step of evolution. I am now the Starbaby.

"34-year-old Emmanuel Lewis dressed as a Teletubbie, riding a coin-operated Batmobile outside of Kmart" is my monolith, and all I can say is "My Gosh, it's full of stars!"

From: Jay
To: Tim

"Open the pod bay doors, MA'AM."

Wow...a 34-year-old Emmanuel Lewis dressed as a Teletubbie, riding a
coin-operated Batmobile outside of Kmart is the next evolutionary step?

Darwin was *so* wrong.

Further Proof That I Will Eat Just About Anything


He Hasn't Written Anything For Two Weeks & This Is The Best He Came Up With?

Today's example: O'Brien's Premium Hickory Smoked Beef Sticks

There slogan: "Taste the Magic," apparently being said by the leprechaun off to the right, holding what looks to be a rather large, disembodied...y'know. The drawing's reeeeally tiny, so it's hard to tell, but it really does look like he's holding the aftermath of a Bobbittization. (Really - how sad is it that a man's biggest claim to fame is that his unfortunate run-in with his angry wife & a kitchen knife coined a new term?)

The product's big claim? The one that they put in a big yellow starburst caption bubble?


That is such a relief. Now the only thing I have to worry about killing me is the various pieces of meat & mystery oil used to make this.

Nutrition information? We don' need no steeenking nutrition information! But, if you really, really want to know how fast this thing's gonna kill you, you'll have to write to the good people at O'Brien's in Bellevue, NE, where the art of Irish beef stick making is still going strong. I guess with the picture of the leprechaun & his...uh...y'know...there wasn't any space left for the manufactuer to write "Nutrition Facts: Nutrition facts? HAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!" all over the wrapper.

The really sad thing about these, though? Unlike the squeeze cheese, tofu & potted meat product that I have inflicted upon subjected treated myself to in the past, I actually like these things. If I had the money (& the number to a good heart surgeon), I'd buy all of them from the vending machine. Despite being a supposed meat product in a suspicious, viscous mystery fluid, they're actually really good. I mean, they look like oily cigars. Or preserved fingers. But they're just. So. Good.

Man, those Irish really know their way around meat by-products!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Dumb Things To Do When I'm Bored: Interview Myself

Q: Name?

A: Jay

Q: Jay? Short for anything?

A: At 6'1", there are few things I'm short for.

Q: I meant your name.

A: Oh...Yep.

Q: And that would be...?

A: What would be?

Q: Your name?

A: Jay.

Q: I mean is it short for anything?!?

A; I told you - yes.

Q: And what would THAT BE?!?

A: My name?


A: My name is Jay. Are you going to ask me anything else? This is getting a bit redundant. Perhaps if you wrote it down. It's j...a -


A: No, there's no "r" in my name.
My G-g-g-generation

T & I have been meaning to get more involved with our church in an attempt to not only do more with the church, but to also meet others & create (hopefully) friendships.. We've gone to an open house kinda thing. I counted visitors to the Halloween shindig last year. We've (well, I for now, as T's work schedule keeps getting in the way) started going to a Wednesday night Bible study. The only problem with all of this so far?

We inevitably end up being the youngest people in the group.

At the open house lunch thingie, we ended up sitting with a group of seniors, which, in & of itself isn't bad. But, being oldsters, they tend to like to talk. And talk. And talk some more. At the Halloween event, I was stationed at the gate with a woman who was probably in her fifties. And the Bible study? I'm the youngest one there by about thirty to forty years.

I told T the other day that I'd like to have friends come over for dinner, but at the rate we're going, the people we're meeting run the risk of having a heart attack on the way up the stairs to our apartment.