November 30, 2010

It's Almost December

     Wow. Haven't posted here since January? Sorry about that. Just too damn busy with RowThree and The Movie Club I guess.

Maybe someday I'll be back.

January 04, 2010

FAVORITE FILMS OF THE DECADE (#72):

     Ocean's Eleven

Steven Soderbergh is still my favorite living director. Partly because of his willingness and courage to experiment with little indie fares that probably no one will see. But he also does the big flashy blockbusters with the huge A-list cast and snappy camera work. Enter Ocean's Eleven. A fun caper movie remade with twice the flash and personality of the original. With a cast full of faces that movie goers all adore clearly having a ball, it's just too easy to get swept up in the fun and the snarky dialogue. While the sequels don't quite live up to the greatness that this "original" had to offer, they nonetheless take nothing away from the fun that Clooney, Damon, Cheadle, Pitt, et. al. provide us. This is one that can popped in about once a year and still be enjoyed.









January 02, 2010

Some Music from 2009

     Is there anything more irrelevant than top ten music lists in the world of today? With the wonder of the internet, there is SO MUCH music out there that a top ten list can't possibly be a "best of" list since no one out there can hear everything that the world offers. However, that isn't to say one can't make a list of music that they really liked on the year. That includes me. I'm less in tune with the music world of today as I was, say five years ago. But I still manage to check out a helluva lot of tunage throughout the year that I get to listen to nearly uninterrupted all day, every day. So here is a list (in alpha order) of some of the music I really, really dug over the past 12 months.



Animal Collective (Merriweather Post Pavillion)
- It's like The Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man"; it's on everyone's list. For good reason.





Antlers (Hospice)
- In today's downloady world (a track here and a track there) it's nice when a band comes out and releases such a peaceful, yet sad and angry story piece. This is a full album.





Appleseed Cast (Sagarmatha)
- Nine tracks of sustained, loud, distortion-ridden, crescendoing, shoe-gazing pieces of awesome.





The Big Pink (A Brief History of Love)
-"The Verve" meets "Explosions in the Sky"... with some electronica.





The Dead Weather (Horehound)
- It's the artist of the decade switching instruments and still constructing a most triumphant record.





Florence and the Machine (Lungs)
- Sinead O'Connor joins forces with "The Ting Tings".





Phoenix (Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix)
- If "Spoon" and "Vampire Weekend" had a love child in the mid-70's.





White Lies (To Lose My Life)
- If "The Killers" actually wanted to kill themselves.





White Rabbits (It's Frightening)
- What if 90's era Alanis Morissette wrote a bunch of songs and "Broken Social Scene" arranged and performed them all?





Yeah Yeah Yeahs (It's Blitz!)
- Opening track: Zero. Song of the year? Yes.


Honorable mentions:
Dashboard Confessional (After the Ending)
Magnolia Electric Co. (Josephine)
Cymbals Eat Guitars (Why There are Mountains)
Norah Jones (The Fall)
Metric (Fantasies)
Karen O. and the Kids (Where the Wild Things Are [OST])

January 01, 2010

FAVORITE FILMS OF THE DECADE (#49):

     Downfall
Completely brilliant depiction of Adolf Hitler's final days. Defeat is eminent; acceptance is not. A "character" that has been played time and time again, yet never portrayed more magnificently than by that of the performance given by Bruno Ganz. A person in history that has grown almost laughable (see Inglourious Basterds)in the way in which he is portrayed; almost as a caricature. Not here. This is a stunning and gut wrenching performance that is based mostly on the memoirs of Hitler's personal secretary. This is a part of history only one person was privy to and now we/you finally get to see those details that make the man and shows his colors for who he truly was.


 


 


 
 

December 31, 2009

FAVORITE FILMS OF THE DECADE (#91):

     The Cell
Tarsem Singh is one of the top five directors working today in terms of visual imagination. His films are hauntingly (sometimes terrifyingly) beautiful with some of the most surreal, yet believable, imagery you're likely to see in cinema today. The Cell, in my opinion, was unfairly shat upon by movie goers and critics alike when it was released way back in 2000. It showcases some gorgeous cinematography in a unique world of dreams and nightmares. Jennifer Lopez is not as terrible as some like to suggest (see Soderbergh's Out of Sight for further proof of that fact) and D'Onofrio is superb in maybe his finest role ever; playing not only a psychopathic killer, but also the essence of a little boy who draws on our sympathies as well as a terrifying demon. All of the visual prowess in this film is kept in check from being a total mess by a rather simple story that remains compelling throughout. Also look for a more serious role from an early Vince Vaughn. As October rolls around, give this one another chance - or maybe some snowy evening in February. You might realize the amazingness of this film ambience and mood it will instill within you.



 

 

 


 

December 30, 2009

FAVORITE FILMS OF THE DECADE (#30):

     3-Iron
From Korea comes another from one of my favorite living directors, Kim Ki-Duk. 3-Iron is a charming tale about a homeless couple who survives (rather lavishly, considering) by breaking into wealthy homes while the owners are away and snacking on their food and sleeping their bed. In exchange, they do some cleaning up and general up-keep. Told breathtakingly well with zero dialogue(!) throughout most of the running time of the film, it is both exhilarating while simultaneously warming the heart.


 

July 24, 2009

Reason #156 - Glad to Be Male

     Working in the customer service industry can be a real pain in the ass for a lot of people. If it's done right however, it can be pretty easy and fairly rewarding. When I say "done right," part of that includes just picking the right company to work for. I happen to work for a great company in which the customers often have some problems with their product, but it's not the kind of product that is extremely important and ruins lives if it gets screwed up (ya know like lost luggage or wedding photos or something). Nope; here it's mostly inconsequential stuff and it's usually an easy fix anyway so the customer almost always walks away happy. Not to mention 99% of my job is over the phone so I never have to see the actual customer face to face. But...

Occasionally you'll get a real bitch who flies off the handle because her 7 year-old's T-ball pictures are misspelled or is missing a part of the package. You know, real end of the world type stuff. So every so often I'll come in to the office and check the voice mail and there will be a recording from a raging bitch all pissed off (and I mean PISSED OFF!) that one of her wallet photos is slightly bent on the corner or something. Like I said, end of life as we know it right?

The funny thing is this: I get these types of messages about once every six months or so. And every. single. time. As soon as I call them back and use my "manly" voice they back off. I've had some of these customers be screaming at female subordinates and as soon as I get on the phone they back off... big time.

So first of all, don't be an asshole when calling a customer service agent. Be forceful and confident, but be polite too. Screaming and ranting is the worst way to get what you want - especially from me. I basically have carte blanche with my job responsibilities so if you piss me off, I'll simply tell you to go to hell in not so many words and everyone loses.

Second, just because the customer service rep you're speaking to on the phone is a female, does not give you the right to push her around and bully her. Maybe it's a subconscious thing, but for whatever reason, people become extremely meek and fragile and almost friendly as soon as they hear a male's voice. This is just seconds after their outburst on my voice mail. Weird.

/rant

July 23, 2009

In the Weeds

     With LOST off the air for at least another five months, I've started up soemthing new: "Weeds." An easy show to get into right away. Funny, entertaining, decent acting, passable script, good looking women and Kevin Nealon. So I finished season 1 this past week and now I'm onto season 2.

They changed the opening theme song for season 2! Seriously, wtf? This is one of the very few shows (maybe the only show) I can remember ever watching* (at least recently) and actually sit through the opening song because I enjoy it so much. Now it sucks. Ah well. The show is still good.

http://rowthree.com/audio/little-boxes.mp3

*My parents would let me stay up an extra 10 minutes on Friday nights after "The Dukes of Hazzard" so I could listen to the theme song for "Dallas." I still think that shit is the mad note. What other opening theme songs for a TV show are good enough that you can watch them over and over and over and not get sick of them?

July 09, 2009

Classmates

     So way back when (even before the days of Facebook and MySpace), I signed up for the free trial of Classmates.com. I never actually subscribed to the service which is $10/month, but I am a "member" there technically and about once a month I get email reminders from then telling me so and so looked at my profile or that I have a message waiting from someone.

Seriously?

Do people actually pay this company to look up old friends from high school? Why would anyone use this service when Facebook is now the social norm? It just doesn't make any sense to me unless there is something I'm overlooking that makes their service unique - other than you have to pay for it. Weird.

June 18, 2009

Poor George

     My buddy George lost his leg this week. He's managing, but he's full of pain meds and doesn't seem to really "get" what's going on. He'll pull through though. Maybe we should get him a doggie skate-board?







May 12, 2009

Advice for a Tuesday

     If you're looking to buy generic oatmeal (I buy the box of 12 small packages), don't go with the "Market Pantry" brand. It's not very sweet (I like maple and brown sugar flavor) and has a cardboard taste to it. Do yourself a favor and just get the "Cub" brand. Tastes just like Quaker Oats or the more expensive name brands.

As you were.

PS - Between Jif and Skippy, it's no contest: JIF!

May 02, 2009

Night of the Nest

     Guess I won't be riding my bike any time soon eh?



April 25, 2009

The Bus Blog - Episode 7: STOP!

     The final leg of my late night commute takes about 10 hours longer than necessary due to the frequent stops the bus has to make. There is a stop on EVERY block for a stretch of about 40 blocks. How retarded is that? Even worse, the K-Mart actually has TWO tops in front of it. That's right, two stops about 200 feet apart that people actually get off at. It's ridiculous.

This little bus experiment is about over I do believe. Just a couple more weeks then it's back to polluting the air with my car. Hey, at least there's only one of me (in a fairly fuel efficient car) instead of 20 gas guzzling buses zooming down the freeway every 2 minutes with no one riding them.

April 08, 2009

Online Dating

     Browsing through potential matches on my dating site and came across one girl with some great verbiage on her "What I'm Currently Doing with My Life" section of her profile:

"Currently, I'm starring in my own reality show, which is a show all about my life. It's on about 16 hours a day, and only I can watch it through my own eyes. If I could make one criticism about the show, it would be that the dialogue is somewhat trite, the characters are shallow, and there is no plot. Also, some commercials in between would help break up the monotony."

That about sums it up. Good stuff.

March 28, 2009

Verizon: UN-FUCKIN'-BELIEVABLE!

     Forgive the language, but if you listen to this thing, there is no other word to describe it. Apparently this is from a couple of years ago. How could I not have heard this before? This is the most unbelievable customer service call I have ever heard. I can't express my frustration enough. Just listen:

http://media.putfile.com/Verizon-Bad-Math

.

March 25, 2009

The Bus Blog - Episode 6: Is it Worth It?

     Actually, I already asked this question a couple of episodes back. But this time, I don't mean is it worth it for me personally; but is it worth it in general?

This morning while waiting for my express bus (about 9 minutes), I watched as 18, yes eighteen, busses screamed past my stop on the way somewhere. Each of these buses had a total of one person on them: the driver. That's 18 busses with no one riding them. I finally got on my bus and from the time I got on to the time I got off, a total of 12 people had ridden it. So there are more empty buses on the road than there are people riding the express bus from downtown Minneapolis to the southern metro.

So what is the point? If all these empty buses are just going to drive around aimlessly anyway (not to mention there are usually as many as five idling away at any given time at the various stations around town), why should I bother taking up my time and effort to curb gasoline usage? I use FAR less gasoline in a week than any of these buses and spend far less time doing it.

The more I do this bus thing, the more I realize it's bullshit. I do like catching up on reading and relaxing after work however.

March 24, 2009

The Bus Blog - Episode 5: Waiting

     So far waiting for the bus to show up at my number of locations has not been a problem at all. Normally no more than 7 or 8 minutes tops and it's usually inside a shelter or building. And usually it's more like only 2 or 3 minutes of waiting. Until tonight.

18 minutes at the corner of Lake and Chicago. If you're not from the area, let's just say it isn't the most advisable place to be standing around at 10:30 at night whistling dixie. Note to self, use the other route from now on. It's 3 minutes longer but it's a lifetime's worth for the safety.

March 18, 2009

The Bus Blog - Episode 4: Green Day

     Because of the whole "green thing", after 6pm on St Patrick's Day, Metro Transit allowed anyone who wanted to to ride for free. Well, St. Patrick's Day just happened to fall on a day where I work at my second job this year. So when I went home at 9pm, every yahoo in the city and their brother was on the bus. It stunk, it was crowded and the people looking for a free ride were, shall we say, less than desirable. I think I'll take a cab next time it is "green" day.

March 17, 2009

The Bus Blog - Episode 3: The Wheels Go Round and Round

     I do like the fact that once I'm on the express portion of my commute, I can sit back and do whatever: sleep, read, play video games, watch an iPod movie, etc. The stress of not having to deal with cars and traffic is definitely a load off. The busses are generally pretty comfortable (a lot nicer inside than I thought they would be) and the drivers (for the most part) seem fairly sane. I've finally gotten some long overdue reading done over the past couple of weeks. Bonus.