Friday, February 26, 2010

Well, That's Kind of Amazing

So, my dad had brain (well, top-o'-the-spine) surgery on Tuesday*, and he's already home and doesn't even have a headache -- and they went in via his face! Unfortunately, I couldn't convince the surgeons to attach Frankenstein-style** bolts to his neck while he was under, but they didn't think it was nearly as funny as I did. Overachieving med-schoolers just don't know the funny when they hear it -- except for proctologists.

* I decided it wasn't funny enough to post about beforehand
** Yeah, yeah, I know the scientist is Frankenstein, not the monster. Keep it in your pants, nerds.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

But, Honey, I Was There For The Art!!!

To recreate the scandal Gustav Klimt's "Beethoven Frieze" originally inspired, An Austrian art museum is having visitors first walk through a swingers' club to get to the museum.

While the club isn't active during museum hours, patrons get to see the couches, erotic art and possibly mistresses of the club before seeing the art (which also involves nude women).

There was no information in the article on what kind of objects are allowed in the coat check.

And, yes, I will be visiting Vienna before the exhibit closes. Why do you ask?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Star Wars Rewatch: The Empire Strikes Back Part 2

1:05:20 - Oooooh! "Bounty Hunters -- we don't need their scum" -- "Yes, sir" I love the delivery -- just trying not to piss off the boss until he leaves. I think the various scenes of the Empire at work are second only to "Office Space" in portraying life in a big corporation. Or maybe just at Citigroup.

1:05:55 - In some ways, the bounty hunters scene shows Lucas in a nutshell -- great with visuals and setup, but the promise tends to be better than the delivery. Why didn't we see Boba (or Jango, whatever!) Fett disintegrate anyone? I feel ripped off.

1:06:30 - When Capt. Needa says he'll take full responsibility, is it just me or does his subordinate give him the same look Troy McClure gave to cows headed to Bovine University?

1:07:45 - Yoda's just the most sadistic yoga instructor, ever.

1:09:00 - "Do or do not -- there is no try" Maybe with a better pep talk Luke could have done it. Instead? Luke goes into full pout.

1:11:00 - Yoda has gotten far more mystical after 20 years of solitude -- "luminous beings are we," indeed. I think some of mushrooms he eats must be magical.

1:13:00 - "Apology accepted, Captain Needa". Do people want body duty on Vader's ship? Or is it a crap job? I'm think it's safe -- Vader's gotten his killing out of his system and is off to hang out in Sith Nook.

1:15:00 - "Bespin's pretty far..." Duh. It's space. Everything is fing far.

1:15:55 - Unfortunately for Han, his moment is immediately followed by Boba Fett's much cooler (and shorter) moment.

1:17:30 - "Always in motion is the future." Thanks for that tip, Yoda. If it weren't in motion, it would be the past.

1:19:00 - Bespin is one of Lucas's cooler ideas for a world. I do think this is the one film that is improved by the special edition -- it only makes sense that people living on a floating city would want lots of windows.

1:19:55 - What are the chances the guy with the computer ear warmer is playing WoW? He's got nerd written all over him.

1:21:55 - Hmmm... Threepio getting blasted doesn't seem like a good omen.

1:23:30 - Yoda and Obi-Wan (where's he been?) make some good points, but maybe now is the time to tell Luke what happened to his pops?

1:24:30 - "There is another," shouldn't Obi-Wan know this? He was there for the birth.

1:26:40 - Lando: (Looking at Threepio in pieces) "Having problem with your droid?" Han: "No, no problem, why?" Just great delivery by Han.

1:27:30 - I think this is Vader's high point of all the movies -- he doesn't even bother with his lightsaber. I do think a deleted scene of dinner would be fun.

1:29:30 - I love the wary look Lando gives Boba Fett. I don't see them having a beer after the torture session.

1:32:15 - At this point in the movie, I'm thinking that making Lando the first black character in the movies isn't a positive example of integration in sci-fi. Let's hope things improve for Interstellar Brother.

1:34:30 - Other than as a plot device, why does Vader keep Fett from shooting Chewie?

1:35:00 - And this scene explains why I always respond with "I know" when my girlfriends say they love me*.

1:36:00 - How did Han's hands get uncuffed during the freezing?

1:37:15 - "I'm altering the deal -- pray I don't alter it any further." Vader's just fing with Lando now, isn't he?

1:39:00 - If Luke's "learned so much", why isn't he using his lightsaber instead of his blaster?

1:40:00 - I think Vader is toying with Luke because he's just having fun**. He can't have had a lightsaber fight in years.

1:42:55 - Here's a trash-talking tip, Luke: If you say, "You'll find I'm full of surprises," don't follow it up with losing your lightsaber. It makes you look like a tool.

1:44:20 - After Luke knocks Vader off the ledge, why doesn't he go help Han and Leia? Wasn't that the point of this little trip?

1:45:00 - That music means playtime is over, Luke. So do the flying pieces of junk kicking the crap out of you.

1:45:45 - Luke, you're hanging on for dear life, but now is not the time to panic.

1:48:05 - Artoo commenting that Threepio has looked better while in the midst of the escape is why I love him.

1:48:50 - A pissed-off Vader is coming at you with a vengeance, still not the time to panic.

1:49:20 - You lost your hand and your lightsaber. Still not the time to panic.

1:50:10 - If there had been an Internet in 1980, "I am your father" would have broken it in half.

1:51:45 - You're hanging upside-down from an antenna on the bottom of a floating city. NOW you can panic.

1:53:55 - How do you know Michael Bay didn't direct this***? Lando doesn't say, "I'm getting too old for this shit" when he goes to get Luke.

1:55:50 - Is that Jon Cryer in an Imperial uniform? It sure looked like him.

1:57:00 - I know Luke is annoyed about being kept in the dark, but I think he's missing the bigger picture of VADER IS EVIL!

1:58:00 - The whole secondary plot (which I think would make for a HILARIOUS "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern" take on Star Wars) of Piett's rise to Admiral over the bodies of his predecessors has built to this moment -- the look of resigned terror he gives Vader. And then? Nothing. Pretty hilarious.

1:59:00 - So, Lando's taken Han's seat, his ship and now he's raiding his closet? That seems a bit over-the-top.

2:00:00 - I have to say, that was pretty sweet. It's hard to say it's better than Star Wars as it's so far advanced in both style and effects, but it is all kinds of awesome.

* And that explains why they don't continue to love me.
** Just like Brett Favre!
*** In addition to it not sucking and having zero quick-cuts or slo-mo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Star Wars Rewatch: The Empire Strikes Back Part 1

0:50 - It's kind of a downer scroll at the start. What happened to the big party at the end of the last one? And how is Luke a leader? One lucky shot and they follow the guy? This rebellion impresses me less with each movie. And Vader is OBSESSED with Luke?

2:50 - Wow. Watching the movies back-to-back really emphasizes the huge leap in special effects quality.

4:00 - Way to be aware of your environment, Jedi-boy.

4:30 - Everyone else wears white to blend in, Han has the stylin' blue number -- with a fur-lined hood, no less. Classy!

5:55 - It didn't take Leia long to go from confident, funny smart-ass to angry and annoying.

8:45 - I'm betting waking up hanging upside-down to the sounds of hungry animal roars is worse than my alarm.

13:00 - So, why has Ben waited so long to pass Luke on to Yoda? Does Jedi telepathy require you to be near death? And why doesn't he tell Luke to drag Leia with him?

16:30 - So is the bath with the super underwear to get rid of the taunton funk?

16:50 - Hey, look, Luke has scars now! And they look nothing like scars one would get in a car wreck.

19:50 - The Imperial March! Sooooo menacing. And it sounds NOTHING like "Mars, Bringer of War" by Holst.

20:50 - What kind of dumbass tries to argue with Vader? I'm not confident in his chances of surviving. And why was Veers standing DIRECTLY behind Vader? That was creepy. I do love the glare given to Captain Suck-Up, though. Every office has an ass-kisser!

21:30 - So, is the Falcon proof that Han's a great mechanic or a bad one? It flies, but just barely. You start out thinking he's Jesus with a hyperspanner, but I'm skeptical.

22:55 - Is that Vader's egg? His nook? And I think the guy talking to him is the head Nazi in the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

23:30 - "He's as clumsy as he is stupid" -- I think that about 10 times a day while at work

23:50 - I love the guy in the background looking over his should as Ozzel drops dead -- then sees Vader and immediately tries to look busy. Heh.

25:10 - Far be it from me to criticize, but 2 shots from the big gun was enough to get by the Star Destroyer?

25:40 - Luke's copilot is overly happy. That should work out well.

27:40 - Or not.

29:15 - I don't get why the infantry starts charging when the walker is destroyed -- did they forget the ships also had guns? They do realize they're just going to have to run back, right?

32:45 - OK, Luke's commando attack on the walker is cool. Good thing no one else tried it?

35:00 - So, is the Falcon's only surprise its lasers? And it's so disappointing that Han actually says, "Punch it" and not, "Punch it, Chewie"

37:30 - And so begins the saga of the broken Falcon...

41:15 - How much time did Yoda spend in the Jedi archives looking for the perfect shithole?

43:00 - I think Lucas went back to the well once too often with the serpent-under-the-water-but-not-really-a-danger thing.

44:00 - Vader's ship is badass, but the coolness is quickly ruined by seeing his scarred noggin. Definitely worse than catching your boss picking his nose.

47:15 - And the first appearance by everyone's favorite Jedi master! Is he testing Luke's resistance to annoyance? I actually think he's gone insane by not having contact with anyone else for 20 years. And you can tell Luke has recovered from his mauling/frostbite when he starts whining again.

50:50 - I love Han when he's being smarmy AND a smartass. Though how much older is he than Leia? I'm thinking 5-10 years.

53:00 - I like this Emperor, though he has some messed up eyes. And does he know Vader is trying to topple him and plans to swap Luke for Vader, or has he gotten soft?

55:40 - Yoda's the guy who thought Anakin was too old to begin his training and now is complaining about the same with Luke, so why didn't he leave his hovel and start his training earlier?

56:45 - Not finishing what he begins isn't the problem in the Skywalker clan. Remember how there weren't any Younglings at the Temple?

58:50 - I HATE it when mynocks chew on the power cables of my bike.

59:30 - How do you know Han's actually worried? He had a great opportunity to catch/grope Leia and he just ran by. He does, however, have time to take another shot at her hoity-toity attitude!

1:00:00 - Nerds, you can argue it's impossible to have such a life form in space, but you have to admit that's just cool.

1:01:20 - Knowing good from evil when you're calm, passive, etc. is pretty useless for a guy destined to face Vader and the Emperor. How about, "Look, just don't work with Vader or the Emperor."

1:02:30 - Has Yoda never dealt with a 20-something guy? The only way he'd leave his weapons behind is if Yoda implied it was cowardly to bring them.

1:03:30 - Did Yoda create this little Garden of Evil? Or did he just find it?

And while Luke ponders the meaning of his face under the mask, I'll end the first half. However, I think Yoda bringing him here was a huge mistake -- Luke now thinks he has a chance against Vader. Which, as we all know, is not true.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Star Wars Rewatch: A New Hope Part 2

1:03:28 - The Millenium Falcon looks big at first, but compared to the Stormtroopers it's kind of small. I wouldn't want to spend a few weeks in there with a wookie, that's for sure.

1:05:30 - So, the Stormtroopers get cool armor and the scanning crew gets jumpsuits from a gas station surplus store? They could ask Gomer if he wanted to get the oil checked and they'd look right at home. And are they Empire or private contractors? I'm thinking the latter.

1:05:55 - Is it possible that sideburns are some sort of symbol of rank in the Empire? If so, the guy calling TK421 reports directly to the Emperor. He's part wookie, I think.

1:06:30 - Luke's got a point about the noise. Does Obi-Wan's lightsaber have only a partial battery charge or something? And don't say he's saving his energy to face Vader -- how much effort does it take to cut a few guys in half? Nice shot of Luke preening after, though.

1:07:40 - And that's the end of Obi-Wan's time with the gang. He really maximizes the number of catchphrases for his screen time, though, right?

1:10:00 - "I can't see a thing in this helmet" -- Leave it to the Empire to go cheap on the gear for the troops!

1:12:00 - How many cameras does one room need? Are they filming all communications in 3D?

1:14:50 - "I must face him, alone!" You know Tarkin gets tired of Vader's Sith posturing.

1:16:20 - "Wonderful girl -- either I'm going to kill her or I'm beginning to like her!" Ah, the 70s. Such witty repartee! In the remake, this will be, "damn, I'd like to back that up!"

1:18:20 - Hey, Han, instead of firing randomly into the muck, why not shoot the tentacle holding Luke?

1:20:05 - Apparently Stormtrooper training emphasizes the honest nature of droids. And the one guarding the door clearly doesn't give a crap about two droids. He's just pissed he didn't get to guard the hot prisoner.

1:22:00 - I have to say, I never really bought the threat of the garbage compactor. At least, I don't think I did. I did, however, miss that there was apparently a shower and while-you-wait dry cleaners outside the garbage.

1:24:00 - One of the problems with the other movies is that none of the female characters (or really anyone except Han and young Obi-Wan) are as funny as Leia in this one.

1:26:40 - Why is the heroic Star Wars theme being played while Luke a) ducks and b) fails to even come close to hitting the stormtroopers? He's worse than me playing Halo while drunk. And what happened to the trooper on the far side BEFORE they swung over? I'm betting smoke break.

1:28:00 - Finally, some Jedi whoop-ass. I still think Obi-Wan should have taunted. After all, asking Darth if he misses walking barefoot might've thrown him. I also noticed Vader's Schwarz is longer, and that this seems more like a what I imagine a real swordfight to look like.

1:29:00 - I have to admit, I didn't take Ben's death so well the first time. And was Luke using the Dark Side afterward? Because he rather suspiciously hit a trooper WITH HIS FIRST SHOT.

1:31:00 - Luke's pretty broken up for losing a guy he'd known, what, a day? A week? Then again, he did just lose two father figures. But he gained a father/nemesis, big brother/sexual rival and a Chinatown-style sister/crush, so it's a wash.

1:32:30 - I just noticed that Chewie looks like he's playing the piano, not flying the Falcon. Meanwhile, each TIE fighter has a bigger explosion than Alderaan had.

1:35:10 - Nothing like man-talk after a big space battle. And as for the landing on Yavin, whenever I finally visit Tikal, I'm getting there early in the morning so i can wear a goofy helmet while I scan the horizon with my radar gun.

1:38:10 - You'd think with the Force and interstellar travel, they'd also have HD video.

1:41:00 - "You ok, Artoo?" I'm pretty sure his whistled reply was "Blow me, farmboy."

1:42:00 - Nothing like an exciting montage of cockpit closings!

1:43:50 - Apparently, Luke's master plan of flying straight into the side of the Death Star while firing wildly didn't pan out. Way to listen to the briefing, chief.

1:44:30 - A bit on the nose to call the fat guy "Porkins", isn't it?

1:45:07 - Next time I want someone to get their head out of their ass, I'm telling them "Pick up your visual scanning!"

1:47:50 - How annoying is Gold "Stay on target!" Leader? I'd say 7.3 Urkels.

1:51:20 - Does Luke's wingman have a space porn career to go with his porn 'stache?

1:52:55 - The hick that just arrived is hearing voices. Is no one else concerned?

1:53:55 - I love that Vader is beaten, not by Luke or Han, but by the incompetence of his hand-picked wingman. To see how the Emperor takes the news of this, check out this video. The official version at Adult Swim is blocked in Deutschland.

1:54:10 - A novice pilot named Skywalker from Tatooine just succeeded where the grizzled veterans couldn't, thanks to the Force! We'll never see that OR another Death Star again, I'd wager!

1:56:40 - Luke definitely was checking out Leia's cleavage during the medal ceremony. And why didn't Chewie get a medal? So specist.

And that's a wrap, nerds. Suck down the rest of the Milk Duds on your way home. I should have the next installment out in less than 12 parsecs*.

* Don't even start with me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Star Wars Rewatch: A New Hope Part 1

Since I've seen these movies FAR too many times, I'm not going to act like I haven't seen them and know how it all turns out (Dorothy was dreaming the whole thing, right?). But since I am watching them in the order of release, I'll adopt what literary critics call "Inconsistent Omniscience", where I act surprised by events when I think it's funny. And there's no spoiler alert, since these movies have all been out for 5 years or more.

0:00 - The drumroll for 20th Cent. Fox still gets me excited.

0:01 - "Long ago..." is a much better intro than "Don't pin me down on dates or places"

1:30 - Woohoo! Go peace and freedom and bizarre hairdos!

2:40 - Hey, look, robots! It's hard to remember that they were actually unusual back then.

3:05 - Why is the rebellion populated entirely by white guys? Or is it just segregated? Either way, uncool. And, dude, trim the eyebrows.

4:00 - Are these the only competent stormtroopers left in the Empire? Because this is definitely the only group that manages to not suck. The rest were apparently cloned from Curly Howard.

5:12 - Aaaaaand, my first true love appears. She pretty much set the standard for women for me. Hard to believe I'm still single, huh?

5:50 - This Vader guy seems like a badass.

10:30 - Threepio doesn't waste much time before he starts acting like a complete jackass, does he?

12:10 - Do they make glowing contacts to have Jawa eyes? THAT would be cool.

13:15 - I was just thinking, "wow, that scene of the Jawa ship at dusk is cool" when I realized it was TOO cool. Now I've switched to the original version.

15:20 - "Look sir, droids!" This is my favorite line in the entire saga, because the guy acts like he's just split the atom instead of finding a piece of metal. But you have to a respect a guy who enjoys his work.

17:30 - What a cyber-suck-up Threepio is. Artoo has seen this before and is disgusted.

18:00 - Do you think Luke's whining is so strong because of his connection to the Force?

19:05 - Even the annoying kid knows when Threepio is overselling. Had he not been waived off, I'm pretty sure Threepio would have claimed that Artoo could fly, pilot spaceships or fix hyperdrives. And that would just be lame.

23:30 - Luke's apparently too young/stupid to catch The Pointed Look or The Just-Drop-It-Grunt.

25:00 - "That's what I'm afraid of" Cryptic referrals to fathers don't get much more ominous than this. Then again, maybe his father also had a habit of striking dramatic poses at sunset?

26:50 - I'm beginning to think "A New Hope" isn't as good a secondary title as "Lots of Fing Foreshadowing"

27:25 - Bye-bye, Owen & Beru! See you in 4 movies!

28:30 - First, Luke is about as useless as the come. Next, were the Sand People going to drag Luke off and eat him? Or did they want a witness to their vandalizing.

30:00 - OK, I guess Obi-Wan does recognize Artoo. Hadn't picked up on that, though he could just be annoyed. Spending 20 years in a hovel in the desert will do that to you.

32:10 - "We should be on the move?" C'mon Kenobi, the last time we saw you, you were kicking Anakin's ass. Are you lazy or just too modest to show off in front of Junior Skywalker?

33:50 - That's the story? You've had 20 years to get ready for this moment and you just decide to claim Darth was a different guy? Weak, Obi-Wan, weak. Also, worst poker face in the galaxy. He looks like Nixon in the Kennedy debates here.

34:20 - "The Force" Apparently it's the galaxy's best way to change a topic. Forget your dad's murder, let's talk religion!

35:40 - Luke's right to weasel out of Alderaan. After his debut against the Sand People, Ben's gotta be thinking that the apple has fallen very far from the tree. He also seems not that disappointed to learn of Luke's weaseling.

37:00 - Say what you will about the Death Star, but it does have one bad-ass meeting room. Of course, if it were set in this galaxy, Vader and Tarkin would be typing away on their Blackberries instead of listening to Admiral BowlCut* drone on about how great the Death Star is. His speech should've been much shorter, "Two words, Death Star. That's how badass it is -- we are actually going to call it the Death Star."

38:30 - How'd the one guy get the pimp white uniform? He looks like an older Ricardo Montalban.

39:30 - "No, wait, Luke! It's too dangerous!" But not, apparently, dangerous enough for you to actually do something.

40:20 - How desensitized are we to violence? Charred skeletons were pretty extreme back in the day. This did, however, guarantee that I didn't touch the hot stovetop.

41:00 - How is a floating syringe more terrifying that Darth Vader?

42:00 - Well, maybe not a Jedi EXACTLY like your father.

42:20 - MOS EISLEY = NEW JERSEY. Same number of letters. Both widely considered the most wretched hives of scum and villainy in their areas.

43:20 - How huge were the effects in the movie? The scene of the landspeeder is OBVIOUSLY retouched, yet at the time it was soooo cool. Also, Threepio has moved from cowardice to specism for his defining characteristic.

44:00 - The cantina, or "This scene should be enough aliens for one movie", as Lucas refers to it

46:00 - Is it just me, or is it hilarious that the guy trying to PREVENT a bar fight is the one with the British accent? This has not been my experience.

47:00 - Are Chewie's eyes glazed over because he's tired of hearing Han drone on about the Falcon's speed?

50:00 - Han Solo, you rogue! At least he's a good tipper.

51:00 - And those are the stormtroopers we all know and love -- "It's locked, this armor is hot, fuck it."

53:00 - I like the seat-buckling. This was a big issue in the late-70s. In, you know, a galaxy far, far away.

53:50 - "I know a few maneuvers, we'll lose 'em." Apparently, these "maneuvers" consist entirely of moving in a straight line, then going really, really fast. But, you know, it's not like dusting crops, boy.

54:50 - "I should've recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board." Heroines in the 70s had moxie, didn't they?

57:00 - "As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." ... "Or it might just be my rheumatism acting up. You keep getting your ass kicked by the drone, ignore me."

57:54 - How did Chewie go from complete bully to lovable pal by the end of the movie? Of course, Threepio's solution is to cave as quickly as possible.

1:01:20 - How does hermit Kenobi know the difference between short and long-range fighters?

1:02:20 - How do we know there's a tractor beam? The classic Trek cockpit-shake. Which is illegal in Georgia.

Aaaaaand with that, the 1st part is done. Why break it up? Because I've got blogger's block. Sue me!

* Seriously, his haircut makes him look like an extra in "The Name Of The Rose"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Family Trip 2009 Part 2 - Paris

Some belated photos from the family Christmas trip to Paris. Facebook users should go HERE to see the photos once they've finished complaining about the latest changes to the FB layout.