Monday, March 29, 2010

May I Request a Sidebar, Your Honor?

Recently a good friend and I were discussing one of the videos in the "Other Links to Kill Time" sidebar on this site and I rekindled my love for some of these random and pointless links. I'd like to share some of them with you now in a segment I'd like to call "Sidebar Spotlight."

The theme today is that of repetitiveness. "What?" Repetitiveness. All of these links have a song/video that repeats over and over again, making for a fun (and sometimes mind-numbingly fun) experience. Let's take a gander, shall we?

1. Badger Badger Badger - Ahhhh, a classic. When there are any sound issues on my computer, or if I can't tell if sound is working on a particular web address, I'll go to this site to test my speakers. It's a reliable sound source - I always know there will be sound here. The URL is pretty easy to remember, too.

2. Independent Woman Cats - We listened to this website for a full work day one time as an experiment. It actually wasn't as annoying as it sounds. I actually tuned it out after a while and it blended into the background noise.

3. Magical Trevor and Magical Trevor 2 - Both similar in theme (the theme = randomness), these videos have catchy tunes that get stuck in my head quite easily. Kids get a kick out of this one.

4. The Llama Song - This may be the most annoying song on here to others, it's high-pitched, repetitive and odd-sounding, but I love it. Yes, I have this one memorized and have found myself singing it absentmindedly, on occasion.

5. Only in Kenya - If I'm ever put on the advertising account for Kenya Tourism, this WILL be the slogan/song I use. Because, let's face it, some things ONLY happen in Kenya.

So there's my "Sidebar Spotlight." It was a fun little trip down memory lane for me and I hope it was a magical journey for you as well. I challenge you, faithful readers, to listen to each one of these songs at least three times through - they grow on you.

Word of Caution: I wouldn't do this all in one sitting, though. That could drive a person crazy and cause them to be a menace to society.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Everybody Knows that the World is Full of Stupid People

Hopefully I'm not the only who remembers that "Banditos" song by The Refreshments, otherwise the title of this blog is going to seem a bit cruel.

But maybe I need to be cruel, because some people are, let's face it, stupid. Some people just don't seem to think things through and their stupidness, unfortunately, affects others around them.

Case in point, Michael Karanja Kamau from Pittsburgh, PA. Michael went to a Jay-Z concert (no, I'm not calling him stupid for that, although I am questioning his musical tastes - I'm on Team Beyonce) and apparently was not very responsible in his drinking, or in his choice of clothing. On the way back to his home Michael got cold and decided to seek shelter. . .in the home of one Frank Fontana. Frank and Michael do not know each other.

Around 5:30 in the morning, Frank was awoken by someone getting into bed with him. I guess Frank was pretty tired, because instead of actually rolling over and seeing who was climbing into his sheets, he sleepily asked if it was his girlfriend, who had keys to his house. A deep baritone voice then replied, "No, it's not." That woke Frank up.

Frank jumped up and grabbed a bat and held Michael at bay until police arrived. When police asked Michael what he was doing, he replied that he was cold and wanted to come inside. And it seems that Michael REALLY wanted to get warm because he broke down two different doors to get into Frank "Deep Sleeper" Fontana's bedroom. Cops said that while Michael was intoxicated, he was "not to the point that he could not realize what was occurring." Michael was charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

"But, The Former 786," you say, "drunk-stupid is not the same as stupid-stupid. I still believe people are inherently smart."

Round 2! *bell rings*

Picture with me, if you will, a furniture store in Kenniwick, WA at night. A stealthy criminal sneaks into the unsuspecting Bella Office Furniture store, making sure not to trip any alarms or leave any DNA evidence of who he is. As he looks over his bounty, his mind races and his pulse quickens when he begins to think of how much money he can make selling the stolen goods.

This master thief decides not to waste any time taking stuff that won't sell, so he gets on the store's computer and logs into his MySpace account (did I mention he was 17 years old?) and starts posting things that he's planning to sell - just to see if there are any takers, I guess. Then, since he was online already, he decides to surf the web for a while - five hours, to be exact. But who HASN'T let time slip away like that when you're online in the middle of a heist? Time flies, man.

The police had no problem finding him - he left quite the trail of bread crumbs.

"But, The Former 786," you say, "young-stupid is not the same as stupid-stupid. I still believe people are inherently smart."

Round 3! *bell rings*

Click here for undeniable proof that people are stupid.

"You win, The Former 786. You win."

I know. Thanks for admitting it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Watch Me, I'm Irish

In case you needed something to watch today (St. Patrick's Day) here are some fine Irish recommendations for you to peruse (click the name to see the trailer):

Also, pretty much anything starring Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Daniel Day Lewis, Gerard Butler, Cillian Murphy or Pierce Brosnan can count as Irish.

Erin go Bragh!

Monday, March 15, 2010

In Soviet Russia, Viral Video Posts YOU!

I'm going to start this post with the video - no explanation, no forewarning, no preparation, just the video - enjoy:

How's that for a slice of fried gold?

The reason I presented this video to you like that is because that's how it was presented to me. I was just given the link and was able to enjoy it for what it was: pure, unfiltered, baritone Russian joy. I mean, can anyone watch that whole video and not crack a smile? That guy seems so happy, so careless - it's contagious!

But who is he?

Well, if you must know, after some in-depth investigative journalism, I found out his name is Эдуа́рд Анато́льевич Хи́ль, aka Eduard Anatolyevich Khil, aka Eduard Khil, aka Edward Hill. He's a Russian singer who was born on September 4th, 1934. That video is taken from his performance on a Russian variety show in 1976. The name of the song is "Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой," or, "I Am Very Glad, Because I’m Finally Going Home." No, I am not making that up.

But why the weird gibberish lyrics? Well, Eduard explains them by saying, "Lyrics were written for it, but they were poor. I mean, they were good, but one couldn't publish them at that time. They contained words like these: 'I'm riding my stallion, so-and-so mustang, and my beloved Mary is thousand miles away knitting a stocking for me". Of course, we failed to publish it at that time, and we, Arkady Ostrovsky and I, decided to make it a vocalise. But the essence remained in the title."

Yes it did, Eduard. Yes it did.

This random video is now being passed all around the interwebs. Plus, it's been shown and parodied on such shows as The Colbert Report and Jimmy Kimmel Live. And some even say that this "Trololololololololololo" video is going to become the new Rick Roll. I, personally, don't think it will, though. It's just too tiresome to say "HA! YOU JUST GOT Trololololololololololo-ed!"

But what does Eduard think of all this sudden and random fame? "I haven't heard anything about it," he said, "It's nice, of course!"

Yes it is, Eduard. Yes it is.

You can find more out about Eduard on his website by clicking here. . .and finding a translator.

In the meantime, let's watch it again, shall we?

Ahhhhh. Pure, unfiltered, baritone Russian joy!

Bask in it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar (and) the Grouch

So the Academy Awards are done with for the year, and I'm actually not as disappointed as I was last year, or the year before that. There were some well-deserved awards given and some well-deserved snubs given. I'd like to take a moment and nitpick about some of the categories. I'll probably only talk about the "more important" ones (don't hate me for saying that, Jeff), because I just wanted to hit on the ones I actually had an opinion on - and I don't want this post to get too long.

Oh, and yes, this post WILL discuss winners, so if you don't know them yet and don't want to have things spoiled for you DON'T READ BELOW!!!

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)/Writing (Original)

Can something be considered "original" if it was based on articles of a journalist? I say this because The Hurt Locker is based on the accounts of a freelance writer who hung out with a bomb squad in Iraq for a while. Isn't that what the adapted category is for? I'm thinking this one should have gone to Up because it was, truly, an original story. And while I still haven't seen Precious, I think I'm still gonna say that District 9 should have gotten Best Adapted.


It was refreshing to see how nervous and flattered Kathryn Bigelow was to win. It shows there's still some innocence in her and she hasn't turned to the egotistical side yet *cough*QuentinTarantinoandJamesCameron*cough*. I thought it was very fitting that she gave tribute to the armed forces and the everyday heroes like firemen and Hazmat teams. Although, I will admit I was rooting for Jason Reitman.

Animated Feature Film

Where's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? I think it should have at LEAST been nominated. Coraline had some fun visuals, but it was pretty slow. I've only seen half of The Princess and the Frog because my children got bored with it and made it so we had to leave the movie theater. And no one even knows what The Secret of Kells is! I'm glad Up won, though. It's not every day that they make you cry at the BEGINNING of a movie and then make you laugh the rest of the time.

Best Supporting Actress

I didn't really care about this category - mostly because I hadn't seen any of the movies in this category. But I was rooting for Anna Kendrick. Darn. And I still stand by my opinion that people with apostrophes in their names shouldn't be winning Academy Awards.

Best Actress

Wow. They've now dangled the Oscar in front of Meryl Streep's eyes 16 times now (13 for Best Actress, three for Best Supporting Actress - she holds the record) and they've only given it to her twice. Ouch. What does she need to do to prove herself to the Academy? She hasn't won since 1982! They're probably just holding out so they can give her a Lifetime Achievement Award next year. But I was very happy to see Sandra Bullock win this one. She was so surprised that she actually went into shock for a moment and didn't move, and then she accidentally snubbed Meryl Streep on a hug and left Ms. Streep hanging. Plus, she is the FIRST actress to EVER win an Academy Award for Best Actress AND a Razzie for Worst Actress in the same year! Way to go, Sandra!

Best Supporting Actor

Poor Matt Damon. He learned the hard lesson that fake accents just don't cut it with the Academy - no matter how convincing you are. He should have played that role as Jason Bourne and he would have had a better shot at winning the award (and the rugby game in the movie). I would have liked to see this one go to Stanley Tucci (he wins the creepy award, definitely), but I'll allow Christoph Waltz his moment in the spotlight without too much complaint - don't expect too much more from this guy - at least not here in the States. Based on his IMDb list, he seems to specialize in German-related fare.

Best Actor

I was wrong on this one. I was convinced that the Academy was going to award Morgan Freeman for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela. But I am very happy to see Jeff Bridges win this one. He's a favorite actor of mine (Tron forever! Wooooooooo!) and, based on what I've seen, he plays a complex and vulnerable character. I'm betting he cries at one point in the film, too, which is a MUST for ANY Academy Award nominee. And while we're speaking of musts, I noticed the list this year did have it's token druggie/alcoholic nomination and gay nomination, but it was lacking the obligatory mentally-handicapped nomination and the Sean Penn nomination.

Best Picture

I will admit that, on average, I will have seen only two (2) out of the five (5) Best Picture nominees going in to the Academy Awards, so imagine how proud I felt when I had seen four (4) of the Best Picture candidates this year! Too bad they upped the number (#) of nominees to ten. Believe it or not, 2 (two) out of five (5) and 4 (four) out of ten (10) are the exact same percentage (%) of films! Well-played, Mr. Academy. . .well played.

But I digress. The winner was The Hurt Locker (called it!). I have actually seen this one and I was impressed. It has a very realistic look and feel, but the film felt like it dragged on a bit too long and it was fairly slow and repetitive. I'm happy that it won, even if I liked some other movies more. District 9, for example, had more of an emotional impact on me, as did Up. But I understand why this movie won - it's well done.

And I was elated that the Academy wasn't blinded by the fancy, colorful, 3-D special effects of that overpriced, overbudgeted movie Precious! I'm kidding, of course. Avatar was eye-candy, yes, but I think we all know, deep down inside, that it isn't best picture material - even if the special effects were fun.

This is also one of the few years where I actually WANTED to see most of the nominees. I still have yet to see The Blind Side, Inglourious Basterds, A Serious Man and Up in the Air, which are all queued up and ready to go.

Final Thoughts:

District 9 should have gotten something - anything from the Academy! It was a well-made movie!

I still don't know what the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing is. Neither does the Academy, apparently, and that's why they gave both to The Hurt Locker.

Avatar got the awards it deserved: Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.

Congratulations, The Young Victoria, for winning the award for Costume Design and for being the obscure "mainstream" film of the night. Who are you, again?

I dislike Barbara Streisand for a number of reasons, but did anyone notice else how after Sandra Bullock gave a heartfelt speech about how race, religion or sex didn't matter, Barbara walked out right after her and made a point of saying that the Best Director award could, potentially, be given, for the first time, to a woman (hold for applause) or an African-American (hold for applause)? I guess it still matters to Barb, Sandra.

Overall, I was pleased with this year's outcome. They seemed to not avoid movies that were popular to the mainstream public this time. Maybe, just maybe, the Academy isn't completely out of touch with society quite yet.

Monday, March 1, 2010

He Who Controls the Spice

Old Spice.

Years ago, this was known as an "old man's cologne." The kind of aftershave that people said smelled like their dad. One of my first memories of this fragrance was when I was probably about 6 or 7 years old. I was running away from my brother and I hid behind the couch in our living room. My flawless hiding spot was soon found, however, and my brother had me trapped. I don't remember what I had done to deserve this punishment, exactly, but he took a bottle of Old Spice, and poured it onto my head. I clearly remember looking up and seeing the medium-sized white glass bottle tipping slowly in his hand and the clear liquid beginning to pour out - right into my eyes. And while the searing pain in my eyes was excruciating, I do actually remember thinking how much Old Spice smelled like my dad.

Since that incident back in the day (but probably not because of it), Old Spice had kind of fallen into obscurity. Yes, it was still a staple scent in cologne, aftershave and deodorant, but people didn't talk about it that much. I remember seeing a few Old Spice commercials a while back starring Bruce Campbell, but it wasn't until just recently when Isaiah Mustafa made every woman's dream come true (on a horse!) during the Super Bowl that Old Spice's fan base exploded.

Now, I'm not here to show you this commercial (in fact, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here), I'm here to show you how this commercial was made. Maybe it's because I'm a writer, maybe it's because I'd like to get into advertising and/or film making, or maybe it's because I've always had a fascination with "Behind the Scenes" videos (I was watching The Making of Thriller at age 4), but I found the clip below absolutely fascinating.

Now, yes, this is a long video, and that fact will send most of you running for the hills, but it's also a very entertaining video about how this Old Spice commercial was made - I recommend it. And, as you know, you can always trust my recommendations.

For those of you who don't want to watch a 20 minute video (or can't watch it at this time because you're at work and the boss is RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!), here's a quick little fun link for you, too. Click on the link below and then zoom in on the map by clicking on the red balloon a couple of times.

Sharks from Space

It's pretty cool what Google Earth can find.

I'm on a horse.