Friday, August 21, 2009

And then, there are things you just shouldn't do

Let's say you're doing something that is really fun, but you know would get you in trouble if you were caught. Like fired from your job, or go to jail trouble. What you definitely should not do is take pictures or video of it.

This lesson was recently learned by a cop in Texas (and three of his fellow officers) when he had a hot waitress pose on his patrol car, holding his rifle. That's not a euphemism, but I'm guessing he was hoping it would become one.

Now, I have to admit, I like this photo:

But really, was it worth his job? Possibly his career? Because that's what he stands to lose.

If you're up to no good, enjoy it, but put away the camera.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

There are things you just can't do, part 2

I've written before that there are just some things you can't do.

I have another to add to the list. You see, earlier this week I was at the pet store, and I saw this huuuuge tattooed biker-looking guy walking to his huuuuge truck, looking all tough and super-butch, except...he was carrying bags from Trader Joe's next door. You just cannot look tough and manly shopping at Trader Joe's.

"Wooo, tough guy, you going to dip some chips in some tahini? Maybe some organic hummus?"

It just can't be done. And the same can be said for PCC or Whole Foods.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Movie Review: District 9

Two movies in two nights. Crazy.

So last night we went to the midnight showing of District 9.

My thoughts: it was awesome.

This isn't some cheesed-up alien movie. The film is actually quite thoughtful and pretty heavy. It will make you uncomfortable, and that's a good thing. I've read some criticism that the story did not explain the aliens well enough, and that is valid. But I didn't feel it was a cop-out like some reviewers felt. The reasons behind the aliens' unwillingness or inability to rise above their slum conditions and integrate with society are hinted at, but not broadly explained. If you aren't paying attention to the more subtle themes, you might not catch it.

It's easy, though, to miss the more subtle elements, as director Neill Blomkamp (whom I've written about before) fills his first feature-length film with intense visuals and action. Parts of the movie borders on overwhelming, but that worked for me.

The main (human) character in the movie is portrayed very well as a flawed, vulnerable human, which makes the movie both harder and easier to watch.

For the squeamish, I do warn that there are some gross-out scenes (the missus, definitely squeamish, said there were "about five shots that weren't gross-out"). Also there is a fair amount of "shaky-cam" action going on, so sit back a little further from the screen if you get motion sickness and don't want to taste your popcorn twice.

All in all, loved it, and heartily recommend it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chick Flick Night movie review

Last night after work, the missus declared her desire to go to the theater to view a film. Upon asking which film, I was told "Julie & Julia".

Now, I had already stated my willingness to go see this blatant chick flick because it looked amusing and endearing.

I know I lost manpoints for merely typing that last sentence, so I shall press on and tell you that it really was an ok movie. It was definitely not bad, and I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it partly because it was about, on some level, cooking and food, two subjects near and dear to my fat, cholesterol-clogged heart. Mostly, though, the movie was really made by Meryl Streep playing Julia Child, and to a lesser degree Stanley Tucci playing her husband Paul.

The movie bounces back and forth between two stories: on the one hand, it tells the story of Julia Child living in France in the 1950s and learning to cook at the Cordon Bleu academy and writing the book that made her famous, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This part of the movie is based on Child's book, My Life in France. On the other hand, it tells the story of Julie Powell, a cube-farm-dwelling 30-year-old in 2002, who blogged her experience cooking her way through all of the recipes in the aforementioned Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

While Amy Adams (who plays Julie Powell) is cute and her half of the movie gives modern audiences something to relate to, the film belongs to Streep and her portrayal of Child. This is unavoidable, though, as you have Streep - an experienced and indisputable master of her craft - compared with Adams, a much younger and less experienced Hollywood "cute" actress. And this parallels the roles they play - Child, a brilliant chef who changed the face of American cooking, versus Powell, a blogger who got a book deal during the blog-to-book-deal craze that swept up this guy but inexplicably missed me and the other authors of the awesomest blog ever, Billy Ocean, Student Council Treasurer.

What it boils down to is that I could have watched a whole movie of Streep playing Child; the same could not be said of Adams playing Powell. The "modern" half of the movie doesn't detract from the film, but it doesn't add anything either.

But guys, if your woman wants you to go see this, it won't be unbearable. Go, make her happy. And hopefully you're like me and have a woman who is also a sci-fi buff and really wants to go see District 9 as well.

(Also, if you're looking forward to District 9, but haven't seen the director's short Alive in Joburg that inspired District 9, check it out now - plus his other short Tetra Vaal)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Wacko: Philip Schneider

This one was brought to my attention via Metafilter. Philip Schnieder claimed to have worked as an engineer on secret underground bases in New Mexico. He died of a stroke in 1996, but hsi fellow UFO conspiracy nuts claim he was murdered because he was revealing information about the government's secret relationship with aliens. Despite the fact that he also claimed the government was at war with the aliens, apparently underground:

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What is "Cognitive Dissonance," Alex?

From today's Politics section on

And then from today's Business section on