Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Funny Sidebar:

Okay as promised, here are a few pics of the praying mantises that have taken over our office. I don't have a pic of the original mantis, but I'm sure you can imagine it, what with the similarities below. Ha.

Since I can't figure out how to thumbnail link with Blogger's new image insert thingy, I'll just link in the text and you can click if you're interested in seeing a larger image. Oi.

Missi did the tiger and the cow. The HR assistant did the giraffe on the top right, and a caseworker did the giraffe on the bottom left. And yes, I'm well aware that the monkey looks a lot like Fieval from An American Tail. Ugh.



Here are the horror additions to our Wall O' Shame. Missi did the witch. That hat kills me!




And now...for the superheroes. Sorry you can't see Captain America's shield, but it's an awkward angle, thanks to that purple clipboard. Oops! Missi did the Thing from Fantastic Four, and another caseworker did Michaelangelo, the TMNT. And Flash is, appropriately, right next to the electrical outlet. Heh. Completely accidental, mind you.





And, of course, the Hulk gets a pic all its own. God bless Missi and her blank page additions! Isn't he awesome??


And yet more superheroes. I did Dr. Fate (all the way left) before I remembered to copy off the eye dots and goofy side-smile, or he'd look MUCH better. *sigh*

Missi did Spider-Man and Brandon, the caseworker that started this fiasco, did Robin. Heh.


Chris, another caseworker (we have like 10 of them, mind you), did Space Ghost and Brak. Frackin awesome! Ha!


And here, folks, is the evidence of my eternal geekitude. *sigh* Yes, it looks like Chewbacca has sideburns. You try cutting out that much fur!


And that's it for now, folks. There are, of course, far more now. I did add Spawn and Hellboy, the Tick and Arthur, a couple of fairies, a macaw, and...yes...Elvis himself to the seedings just this morning. Oi. But this oughtta let you know what we're up to. Isn't this just retarded??

But sooooo much fun!

Thanks again, Darcalus, for taking pics to share. I still, for the life of me, can't figure out how to move anything from my camera to my computer for free! Waaaah!

Dear Charlie:

I usually don't pimp movies that are yet to be here. It's hard to judge a flick by its trailer, after all. A lot of times, all the funny parts are in the trailer, leaving the movie a disappointment. Or all the excellent action scenes are spoilered months ahead of time. You get the idea.

So I don't usually salivate over a flick, even if I love the trailer. I just don't do it.

But I am. Heh. Now, anyway.

Check this out: Tropic Thunder, PG version, R version. Heed the R rating. There are some mo-fos in there. Some blood. Some entrails, probably. A knife-flailing kid getting thrown into a river, heh. God, I can't WAIT to see this flick.

If it's Ben Stiller a la Mystery Men, I'm in. If it's Jack Black humor a la "Tribute" and even "Wonderboy", I'm so in. And if it's Robert Downey, Jr., a la....

Aw, who am I kidding? At this point, I'd watch Mr. Downey in a six-hour romance/drama in black-n-white with no sound. On a 12-inch screen. In Latin with no subtitles.

But yeah, I'm seriously on the edge of my seat for this one. It looks just right up my sense of humor's alley. Just...wrong...but in the best possible way.

And if I had only one question to ask Mr. Downey in light of his most recent film moves, it wouldn't be about how he feels about Iron Man's success or what it was like in the suit or if he'd make a sequel -- duh! -- or if he drew on his own life experience for his portrayal of Tony Stark or anything like that.

My question, Mr. Downey -- said as if he drops by every other day or so -- is this: do you know all the words to "Movin' on Up", or did you just learn enough for the trailer?

Hey, the public has a right to know.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Well, I must say that I had a movie-licious day yesterday. First and foremost was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Yeah. That was just pure entertainment, there.

I honestly don't care what the critics thought of it. I haven't even checked. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The group I went with thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The music. The hat. The chases and escapes.

Unlike so many long-awaited -- and ultimately disappointing -- sequels, this one delivers because the makers kept what made the earlier movies so great. They followed the equation. The only thing they changed was Nazis to communists, heh, and that ain't so great a jump.

They gave Indy a war record. I always thought they should do that. They intimated things from both the early movies and from the "young adventures" series they did way back when. They invented stuff out of whole cloth and borrowed liberally from actual lore.

And they put Harrison Ford through a car chase. There was always some kind of car chase. Great times, there. Heh.

And Shia LeBeouf was stellar, as always. That kid has a career in front of him. No matter what kind of part he's playing -- whether it's the same old, same old or something completely new and untried -- he brings a charisma, a force of personality to the role that makes it his and his alone. We'll be seeing him around for a long time to come unless he does something foolish with his personal life.

I won't go in depth with the plot because, while a few spoilers probably won't dampen the enjoyment of finding stuff out -- it's not terribly hard to guess, which, again, doesn't dampen any of the enjoyment -- it's always fun to approach an Indiana Jones movie with a clean slate. Which is why I didn't read any reviews or even any background on the making-of stuff.

It's just fun. Go see it if you're an Indiana Jones fan. Good times will abound.

Oh, and one more thing: in addition to my Star Wars mantis geekiness, I'll admit that I recognized the Nazca Lines. The monkey with the spiral tail, in specific. From where, you might ask?

A Nancy Drew novel. No, I'm not kidding. The Clue in the Crossword Cypher, to be exact. Yes, I am that much of a geek -- not only that I read it, but that I remembered it! Gah!

Anyway....

I watched a couple of other movies last night after we ate, but the only other one I'll talk about is Teeth. Beware -- the movie trailer I just linked is probably not work-safe. *snerk*

This movie takes a coming-of-age story for girls -- dealing with developing sexuality and the ideals behind womanhood itself -- and throws it all to hell. And it's AWESOME. Bwahah!

See, she has...teeth...down there. Remarkably similar to shark teeth. Heh, devastatingly sharp teeth. Down there. And sometimes, she uses them.

But I gotta give the makers some credit, because they set it up quite well. She's a lovely little girl just in the bud of her femininity. She's a member of the Promise group (or cult, if you prefer, heh) -- where kids make the promise to wait for sex until marriage. And she very firmly believes in her vow, even when she meets a boy that makes her heart race. In fact, she denies herself the temptation until her very own step-brother makes a play for her by insinuating that she's been saving herself all these years for him.

Ugh. Yeah, he's one sick puppy, but to give him credit, he's a frickin GREAT character. Heh.

Anyway, she throws herself at the other boy, intending to at least give her virginity to someone she thinks she loves, but when she begs out in the early stages of heavy-petting, the boy tries to "convince" her by raping her. He doesn't get too far before justice intervenes in the way of a terribly well-done crunching sound. Heheh. Screaming ensues.

Now doubly traumatized -- or is that triply traumatized? -- the poor girl gears herself up for her first gynecological examination to see if something's wrong down there. Unfortunately, all the men in her town are apparently sicko perverts, because the OB-GYN takes off his glove and gets up to some seriously unethical behavior before the mighty teeth employ themselves again and relieve him of his fingers. It's a hilarious scene with firebell screams and much jerking and thrashing around. Heh.

Even the boy she thinks of as a tentative friend, the one she goes to in terror before going to the police to admit that she killed the first jerk that raped her, basically rapes her. He gives her some of his mom's pills to calm her down, and when she's coasting on the feel-good vibes, starts feeling her up. She's so doped that she only half-heartedly tries to dissuade him by telling him the teeth will get him if he boinks her, but -- because she's not freaking out -- the teeth remain at bay. She enjoys a sexual experience for the first time.

And then finds out the guy had a bet with another friend that he could get her to break her Promise. The idiot tells the friend this ON THE PHONE while he's inside her. Do I really need to hint what happens? Heheh.

It's not a great movie. But it's a hilariously good movie. Well-done, for cheesy horror. Surprisingly well-done. Yes, we laughed our asses off, but isn't that what you're supposed to do at a B movie? And even while we laughed, I could see the positives of the flick.

So, if you aren't into the Indiana Jones raillery, you might step into the Teeth hilarity. Good times will be had by all. Except romantic comedy fans. They're pretty much right out. Heh.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Okay, so I'm a geek. No, I'm an uber-geek.

I work at a facility that provides therapy and case management for kids, so we always keep coloring pages handy to entertain those who don't like Legos and cars and blocks. Occasionally, we get a coloring book and copy pages out of it. This one was called "garden friends". Bugs. Flowers. Rodents. Kittens. You get the idea.

One of the pages was a very simple praying mantis. And I always want to spell that "preying". Anyway, it was just bold outlines. Big bug eyes. A little sidewise grin (as if insects can grin). Floppy antennae. Head and neck only. Cute-ish.

A blank slate.

So the receptionist, Missi, gets the idea to copy off a bunch of mantises and color them to Spring up the place. Just solid colors at first, but then she got more creative. Patterns. Polka dots, etc. So I nab a couple and color away. Tri-dots on one, camouflage on the other. She does one biker-black with flames and another tie-dyed.

And then, it happened. It's all Brandon's fault. He's one of the caseworkers, and he colored one like Marge Simpson without the tower of hair. Yeah. And then, he dropped the bombshell.

"I bet you could make one Batman!"

It was as good as a challenge, and my friends know how I take to challenges -- like a saiyan to an all-you-can-eat buffet. In about ten minutes, I had tossed out a Batmantis and moved on to Supermantis.

Of course, I drew the S insignia backwards, but so what? I'm dyslexic. Sue me.

Missi threw out a Spider-Mantis, and another caseworker somehow pulled a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle out of her...pocket. Michaelangelo, to be exact, though he's missing his nunchucks. It was officially a "thing".

But those two were only the beginning. Since my break was over, I decided to take a bunch of pages home and Google some comic book character images. I was particularly looking for the Justice League. Before hitting the sack, I'd put out Dr. Fate, Wonder Woman, J'onn J'onzz (the Martian Manhunter), Green Lantern, the Flash, Deadpool, and the Joker. A lion and a monkey. And a geisha with little red chopsticks decorated with dragons in her bun and little lavendar flowers on her obi.

Now, before you get to thinking that I considered myself an uber-geek at this point, keep in mind that I was only a regular geek then. I love my comic characters, but there's nothing wrong with having that much fun being goofy, no matter how much Brandon teases me about the "perfection" of my shading.

*grumblegrumble*

The problem is that I can't just color 2-D. Everyone else was making characters and animals and such, too, and doing quite well at it. Missi threw out some Disney characters that you wouldn't believe -- her masterpieces are Piglet, Pooh, and Eeyore. She also did a Hulk to end all Hulks. Purple pants and everything, although we're still dealing with just the head and neck, here. She added a page or two to the bottom and drew freehand. Giraffes and cows and Robin (to go with Batman) and so on.

It wasn't just me, is all I'm saying. I didn't go beyond comics geek until that second night.

Dark Helmet may well have gone to plaid, but I...went to Star Wars. Yes, Star Wars.

That particular grouping started when Brandon -- again, he's Mr. Instigation -- mentioned something I simply couldn't pass up. Darth Maul. I could just see it, so when I went home, I pulled up a promo pic and went right to it. And then did Yoda. And Princess Leia (in her early outfit with the cinnamon-bun hair, not the pervy gold bikini thing). Even Boba Fett, and don't think I didn't have enormous fun drawing out the armor and helmet.

And...Chewbacca. Yes, I doodled Chewbacca the Mantis. Mid-ululation.

It was at this point, ladies and gentlemen, that I became the uber-geek. It started with just a little coloring to spruce the place up and escalated to Sith Mantis level. Heh. The Star Wars bugs became a hit, and the hits just kept on coming.

The next night was batting clean-up. I did a C3PO to round out my Star Wars cast. Wolverine, Captain America, and Daredevil for the superhero clique. A dragon to go in the "animal" section. Robin Hood and the feather in his hat. A tattered mummy and cape-clad Dracula, complete with fangs.

And, to my infinite shame, a pretty fairy princess all done up to the nines. Jewelry included, if you believe it. Wings and everything. I wanted to disclaim it, but they wouldn't let me. And I couldn't not do the infamous shading that so gives me away.

Tonight, I've already outlined the Tick and Arthur, Hellboy, Spawn, and Iron Man (I'm not sure how he'll turn out, since the armor suit is the most recognizable part there and I'm still sticking with just head-and-neck stuff). I'm doing my noble best to avoid doing DBZ characters, although my beloved Kakarot is sooooooo calling my name. I mean, I could do 4 variations of Goku himself -- normal, Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 3 (2 looks too much like 1 to mess with trying to get the lightning bolts right), and Super Saiyan 4. And there's always Vegeta's tower of hair that's so distinctive. And Piccolo in all his green namek splendor.

Oh, and Frieza. But that thing would probably just scare the kids....

Anyway, I might actually be able to post some pictures of the ridiculousness we've gotten up to at work, but that depends on a few things. My cell phone pics won't upload unless I pay extra for a plan. A good friend at work -- thanks, Darcalus! -- took some digital pics to upload, but I won't hold him to posting them. They're a waste of web space, heh.

At any rate, geekiness aside, it has been fun, and it's totally infected the entire office -- in fact, the entire organization. In three days, we went from bugless walls to 75 bugs. I think I did about 28 of them, and I'm pretty sure Missi has done at least that many, if not more. But that leaves quite a few singles from caseworkers, the patient accounts pool, etc. We have baseball players, cowboys, an angel and devil combo, farm animals, SpongeBob Squarepants, and -- my personal favorite -- a self-portrait by one of the therapists. Priceless.

Materials Management has taken up the torch and is steadily filling their walls. My own supervisor took a few copies over to her building and passed them out to the other records people. They'll probably go up on our walls, too, to join the masses already holding court.

We've even got our clients handing a few in here and there, and we'll probably get way more of them next week. Those, we're taping up in the waiting room for the kids to see and enjoy more closely than on our office walls. Plaids and stripes. Polka dots and solids.

All in good fun.

But I'm still an uber-geek. *sheepish* And I still feel like such a dork for getting such a kick out of doodling on a mantis. What a riot.

Thank God I'm getting out of the house this weekend for a couple of hours to watch the new Indiana Jones flick. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I'd have all of the DBZ guys. And probably the Venture Brothers, too. And a few more X-Men. Elvis and Marilyn. Elton John, anyone??

Stop me now! Please!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Well, I usually don't do these internet meme things unless my beloved sister tags me, but Wonderwood is a friend of mine, so I'll cut him some slack. I'm not planning to run for office, either, so what can it hurt?

Ugh....

1. What were you doing 10 years ago? Ah, 1998. I was still in college, in a solid and loving relationship that had yet to head sour, had a crap job, and while we were pretty much broke all the time, we had friends and had fun.

Ironically enough, except for those first two things, my life hasn't changed. *snerk*

2. What are 5 things on your to-do list for today? Well, since I'm posting this at just about midnight, I'll put up a to-do list for tomorrow.

- Sleep in.
- Go see a flick on the big screen.
- Find out I won the PowerBall jackpot the night before.
- Mow at least half of my monster of a lawn.
- Pretend that I'll go to bed early while actually getting on another writing jag like last weekend and typing until like 2:00 AM.

3. What are some snacks you enjoy? Rice cakes. No, I'm not kidding.

4. What would you do if you were a billionaire? Buy a full tank of gas. No, I'm not kidding.

5. What are three of your bad habits? I'm a ridiculous procrastinator. I'll tell you the other two tomorrow.

6. What are 5 places you have lived? Here. There. Somewhere else. That other place. And my hometown.

7. What are 5 jobs you've had? Cashier. Paralegal. Medical records clerk. Baby-sitter. Indian crafts creator.

8. What's playing on your iPod/mp3 player right now? Well, currently, it's recharging. But I keep such an eclectic mix of stuff that it's impossible to generalize. Wierd Al Yankovic. Saliva. Nine Inch Nails. Garth Brooks. Madeleine Peyroux (thanks, BG!). John Lennon. Buffalo Springfield. Meat Loaf. It goes on and on.

9. What 5 people do you want to tag? I want to play tag with Vin Diesel, several DBZ characters, Robert Downey, Jr., a monkey, and the Ghost of Christmas Present from the movie Scrooged. I'm pretty sure the monkey would win.

Heh, there ya go, WW. Everything you never wanted to know about me. Woot!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Funny Sidebar:

Okay, you all know I'm a little hesitant -- read: stubborn as a mule -- on the subject of the DragonBall live-action movie. As far as I'm concerned, the only way a mainstream movie of my beloved DBZ characters would work is in CGI, so the original voice actors (of whatever language you grew up with) could stay the same and the energy effects would blend in with the action without looking blatant.


However, my hesitance...heh...just took a turn for the worse.


If you saw this wanted poster:







Would you then arrest this man?




I'm thinking...no. The two bear absolutely no resemblence to each other. In fact, if I didn't know the second was supposed to be the first, I would have never equated the two.


This bothers me.


You see, the studmuffin pictured first is the hero of the show. That second guy? Who knows?

Look, I'll admit that my bad feelings have turned out to nothing countless times. I have been wrong before and take no shame from admitting such. For all I know, this kid may pull a Robert Downey, Jr. on me and so own my beloved Kakarot that I'll wonder what I ever heard in Sean Schemmel's voice acting that so iconically made him Goku for me.


It could happen.


But on this fine, dwindling evening, I'm not feelin' it. I'm not feelin' it at all. I initially -- and perhaps rashly -- promised to watch the DragonBall live-action out of sheer loyalty. I'm thinking I may have to break that promise, unless something from the admired and hilarious Stephen Chow changes my mind. But it'll have to be something pretty darn astonishing to make up for...for...*looks up at second mugshot*...THAT.


Ugh.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Since everyone and their grandmother seems to have enjoyed Iron Man almost as much as I did, I won't have to be so glowing. Heh. Not that I could help it.

To be honest, Iron Man has supplanted the first Spider-Man movie in my affections. Spider-Man had the novelty of being one of the first comic book movies to really catch the public eye -- comic book fans and non-com fans alike. But Iron Man succeeds on different levels, partly because it's so damn good despite the rush of comic book flicks already out and partly...just because of Robert Downey, Jr.

Yup. I said it.

I've never been a big fan, you see. I didn't even remember that he was in Weird Science until Dave said it yesterday. In fact, I couldn't think of a single movie of his I'd seen and could only think of one that I hadn't. After I checked his filmography, I realized I had indeed seen him in a few things and that he's been praised vigorously for others, but I hadn't seen anything terribly...memorable.

Sorry, but it's true. Air America is probably the best of my memory, and I only vaguely remember how he did in it. Yeesh.

But that completely changed when I watched him as Tony Stark. He owned that role. I believed him from his first line. Or should I say "from his first snark"? Heh.

Director Jon Favreau said he wanted Downey because he thought he could really nail the "likable asshole" role. And oh, did he. Even at Stark's worst moments, he still has this...charisma...this presence that just radiates. You want to hate him, but you can't because under all the rich-boy entitlement, under all the schmarmy-fake charm, under all the elitist "I'm better than you" grease lies the unendingly loyal heart of a true patriot. Admittedly, he's only blinded himself to the reality of his work, but when it's finally brought home to him how far his father's dream (or his ideal of his father's dream) of bettering and protecting our beloved country has slipped, he reacts with instant and unswerving resolve.

And that's what Tony Stark is. Unswerving. Loyal. A jerk, but a jerk with purpose.

Now, I had a unique opportunity in watching this flick. I'm a comic book fan, so I'm pretty much going to enjoy the action, but I never read any of the Iron Man comics, so I didn't have any pre-set ideas about the story's mythology. I had both sides of the equation, there, which could have been either a blessing or a curse.

Then again, in a way, I'm probably the easiest fan to impress, so maybe my opinion doesn't mean much, but I was truly blown away by this flick. The CG was Transformers impressive, moving seamlessly between live action and computer work. The acting on all sides was spot-on -- even the director's body guard character (and I love Favreau's acting work -- I'm thinking both The Replacements and Very Bad Things here). The storyline was fabulous, combining patriotism in a decade not known for it and a biting, sarcastic, charming wit.

Even the understated and wholly believable love story was great, and that's usually the last thing a no-heart like me would mention. I'm no romantic, and I've never been particularly keen on Gwyneth Paltrow, either, but she did play Pepper Potts well with a quiet charm and a kind of cute panache that suited Stark's more obvious and polished schmarm perfectly. Good stuff, there. A good dynamic.

And the story-teller in me appreciated how well this story was told. I picked off every hint of what would happen. Little comments like, "That could power your heart for 15 lifetimes" followed by, "Or one big thing for 15 minutes". The significance of Pepper's gift of the "obsolete" arc reactor. But I still enjoyed the reveals. Their drama and intensity wasn't robbed by the foreshadowing, and they were subtle enough that most of the audience was appropriately surprised when they proved through. I like that. I like seeing craft in action.

And, while Edy and Dave both were a little disappointed at the final battle sequence -- claiming that it was anti-climactic and that they wished the two had really thrown down -- I had no such inhibitions. Iron Man had to defeat this final foe as he had the first one -- with his wits. With his genius. With only the tools at hand. And he succeeds with blinding, glaring colors. Heh.

In all, an excellent flick that hits all possible marks. I truly enjoyed it and will probably watch it again well before it's released on DVD. Heh, I simply can't wait that long.

Is there higher praise?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Iron Man rocks. Go see it.

More later.