Monday, April 30, 2012

Rochelle, Rochelle Part 3: Milan

Sure, the average person doesn't take a BB (Baltics + Belarus) trip via Milan. Some would argue that Milan is in the exact opposite direction from the 'dorf. Those people are wrong*. It's a great intro to the trip -- the long bus rides (to/from the airports), the imposing architecture of the Duomo and the train station, the tasty food and cheap booze (wine in Italy, beer and vodka elsewhere) -- all these were to be key ingredients in the trip.

We never learn what Rochelle does in life (other than have an erotic journey), so I will have to guess.  Based on the number of expensive (and hence, fashionable) shops in Milan, I'm betting she was either a failed model or shoe designer. Seeing this inspired me to bloogling**, and so, I found this chart from the Italian Ministry of Finance**

After a tasty meal, I rode the sugar and caffeine rush to power through a trip to see the newly-cleaned duomo illuminated for the evening.

I woke up, went for a run in the sun (in shorts!), then headed for Bergamo and my cheap Ryan Air flight to Tallinn. Milan was done, the journey had begun in earnest. Sadly, the journey was still adjective-less.

Up next: An evening bar crawl in snain. Will I survive the second-hand douchebaggery of a night out in stag-heavy Tallinn?

* Tallinn is NE of the 'dorf (Minsk is ENE), Milan is South-by-Southeast. So not at all opposite.

**Bloogling: faking information claimed to be from the Internet, for the purposes of a blog

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Welcome to Basketball in a Soccer World

This guy is pretty clearly not as clueless as he acts, but it captures nicely the average European soccer fan's* grasp of hoops. But they did predict both Champions League semis correctly, so maybe this whole computer vs. computer thing could work.

As always, all credit for the video goes to the people who made it. Go to the YouTubes for that information.

* T and Robin, this doesn't include you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Avengers -- Spoiler-Free Review

Tonight was an extremely rare event -- the 'dorf got a Hollywood blockbuster, not just in English, but in 3D AND before it came out in the States! Of course, since I'm basically a 12-year-old boy with a steady income, I had to rush out and see the first showing. Here're my spoiler-free thoughts:
  • It was my favorite of the recent Marvel movies*
  • It was funny, really funny at parts.  But not so much that I thought it was slapstick (a la Spiderman 3), but various characters had good lines, mostly within character.  Thor's big laugh didn't seem like something he'd say, but it WAS hilarious, so I give it a pass
  • I was worried all the cool stuff was in the trailers.  This was not a problem.  And some of the trailer stuff popped up in places I didn't expect. And it's less cheesy
  • The Chrysler Building is basically the 7th Avenger.  It gets as much screen time as Hawkeye.  It doesn't come alive or have super powers, other than its real-life superpower of being the coolest skyscraper on the planet.
  • Speaking of which, he gets the short end of the screentime stick.  He's basically just a hardass, which is cool.  For a guy with a bow and arrow in a movie, being a hardass is punching wayyyy above his weight.  Now, for being a guy with a bow and arrow in an epic poem form the oral tradition, being a hardass is pretty par for the course
  • The Black Widow is way cooler than in Iron Man 2.  There, she was just eye candy.  Here she's a surprisingly valuable member of the team.  Note to Jon Favreau: hot women are not just there for latex placement.
  • Nick Fury is cool, but is shadier than previous flicks, which is good.  The chief spy shouldn't be trustworthy**
  • I didn't see many easter eggs, which is a blow to my nerd ego. I would guess there are some, but I couldn't pick any out
  • Stan Lee has a good cameo
  • The post-credits scene IS pretty blatant sequel material, as well as proving that director Joss Whedon is also a fan of 80s Marvel Comics. Hint: it's not Dazzler.
  • OK, fine.  If you want to know, follow the LINK for the identity of the spoiler.  I have to admit, the line that precedes him is a perfect summation of his character. I also have to admit that I don't think he'll be a good sequel villain
  • So, it was worth my "hard-earned" money.  I highly recommend it and give it a solid 8 out of 10.  I'd go higher, but I was hoping to see Spidey, the FF or Wolverine somewhere in the background
  • Finally, the trailer, in case you haven't seen it:

 * Previously I ranked these: Iron Man, X-Men: First Class, Thor, Iron Man 2, Hulk (the newer one), Captain America
** Or, if you ask George Tenet, competent

Rochelle, Rochelle Part 2: The Visa

On the DVD version of "Rochelle, Rochelle: A Young Girl's Erotic Journey From Milan to Minsk" there is a deleted scene entitled "Rochelle Gets Her Visa".  With no money and lacking the proper documents, she has to convince the stern Belarusian embassy functionary to issue the visa, with erotic results!

In what was a harbinger for the trip as a whole, I had the opposite result -- I had the money, documents I needed but, sadly, no erotic displays to get my visa.  Just an exorbitant fee for the visa and a very reasonable 30€* fee for the visa agency.

So, I took my passport with the spiffy new visa for a spin:

Impressive, right?  I love the cyrillic -- way cooler than the Latin alphabet.
Next up:  The trip proper starts in Milan!

* I consider it reasonable as it saved me two trips to Bonn, either of which would've cost 20€

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

30 Rock Facebook Status Updates - Murphy Brown Lied To Us

It's late this week because I was trying to give a friend a bachelor party that didn't involve hot women with no other marketable job skills, alcohol-induced vomiting, or travel.  I originally proposed that we all watch 30 Rock and make note of the jokes that could be Facebook status updates, but the guys felt that this fell short of maximizing our fun.  So, you know, it's their fault it's late.  I also blame the communists*.
- is tired, because nunchuk-ing can wear a guy out
- is in cryogenic hibernation, waiting for 2016
- is busy burning down a Panda Express he fell in love with
- is building to the big breakdown -- like C&C Music Factory
- sent from one of my 4 iPads
- is selling discomfort
- life is happening!

- wants you to do your housework, you little crackers
- has never been with a man before
- is making coffee my bitch
- can see the veins behind my eyes
- sent this via Twitter, a media-savvy crackhead I know
- is being soooo trans-vaginal right now

* Or, if you're a Rush Limbaugh listener**, "Democrats"
** Or, if you're NOT a Rush Limbaugh listener, "dipshits"***
*** Isn't the current state of political discourse in America awesome? We've basically reached a cowardly version of Jacksonian politics -- name-calling without fear of being called out for a duel.

Rochelle, Rochelle Part 1: The Explanation

So, I've only been telling people that know of Seinfeld that my trip was actually Milan to Minsk.  My Euro friends (and American friends with less-than-ideal taste in TV) only hear about the BB (Baltics and Belarus) bit.  A few have found out the true itinerary, and the question invariably is, "why are you going to Milan if you're going to the Baltics & Belarus".  The answer, of course, is that I have too much free time on my hands.

The more complete answer is that the TV show Seinfeld referenced a fake movie, "Rochelle, Rochelle: A Young Girl's Erotic Journey From Milan to Minsk" in a few episodes.  We never see it, and only hear a few lines of dialogue and a bit of a song from the Broadway musical adaptation (starring Bette Midler!).  It's a cheesy Skinemax-style flick that enthralls the men and mystifies Elaine.  Obviously, this is a strong basis for a vacation.  Maybe next time I'll retrace Indy's trip in "The Last Crusade"*.

Next up: What will JT have to do to get a visa?

* Venice-Berlin-Petra. I'd skip the USA bit because it's never mentioned where he's a professor

Thursday, April 19, 2012

30 Rock Facebook Status Updates - Episodes 16 & 17

The post-Rochelle catch-up continues!
- was mugged by two five-year-olds in a trenchcoat
- caused that Italian cruise ship to crash
- is the 4th-worst person he knows
- is wearing last year's sweatshirt to his cousin's wedding
- is sobbing like Bill Belichick listening to Adele
- is a little skittish about lady pilots, ever since Amelia Earhart
- wants you to shut your cabbage hole
- will love you even if you become a doctor, lawyer or even a philanthropist

- popo popped Dookie down by the vacants
- knows what else is from the 70s -- women staying quiet
- is laughing like a Jew watching the Daily Show*
- is going to the store for milk and heroin
- could be six feet under... in the subterranean paradise we built to escape the poor
- sold your photos to mü
- loves watching carriage horses get whipped

* Yes, I know, this is more offensive than normal for me - and that's saying something!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Let's Get Some Perspective On This Secret Service Thing

Some balancing opinions on the latest scandal:
  • "Other than hire overage prostitutes, I think they did nothing wrong" Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy
  • "They weren't dudes, right?  So, what's the problem?" Ronaldo, former Brazilian soccer great
  • "Who hasn't hired a hooker on the government's dime?" Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York
  • "At least they didn't let Obama ride in a convertible" JFK, former US President
  • "Banging a few hookers?  Don't start whining until they're shooting at you. Also, a free tip: don't have bodyguards from a group you just sent the army after.  They hate that." Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of Italy
  • "I've been disappointed in our scandal-driven media's obsession with the story of 11 Secret Service agents who outsourced their sexual needs to cheaper foreign labor. Isn't that the point of free trade?  Even so, they should just ask forgiveness for their sin.  Works every time!" David Vitter, US Senator, R-Lousiana
  • "Good to see the Secret Service knows how to party! #winning" Charlie Sheen, jackhole at large

30 Rock Facebook Status Updates - Season 6 Episode 15

Two in a row! I just forgot to publish this one. And find the episode title. But whatever.

- is wearing medicated hospice shoes
- is in a permanent rut
- got a Jeers in "Corporate Blimp Monthly"
- is reading "Buffett on Buffets"
- is outsourcing the American Dream

- saw Lou Dobbs step on his own testicles
- thinks meditation is a waste of time, like learning French or kissing after sex
- is bathed in the aroma of Summer Horse Grave
- once pantsed Deepak Chopra while Craig T. Nelson taped it
- won the crotch jackpot