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.

March 16, 2009

The Bus Blog - Episode 2: Is It Worth It?

     Yes and no. So far I'm very much on the fence about the entire daily use of metro transit in terms of cost, efficiency and time. One of the biggest things that pisses me off is MT's constant advertising slogan about saving gas money and riding the bus. What a crock of shit. Ok, if you drive a Lincoln Navigator or a Suburban, you're probably going to save some money by taking the bus to work every day.

Money:
But if you're like most people who have a 10+ mile commute, you drive a fairly practical ride (like a Honda Civic or Gallant or something). Personally, I drive a VW Pasaat V6. I had to fill up my tank about once every 2 weeks. At $2/gallon, it ended up being about $60. Let's be liberal about it though and say I fill up every 10 - 12 days. So it ends up being closer to $80 per month (at the most). Guess what? My 31-day pass cost me $85. So right off the bat I'm spending more money than I would be if I drove my car everyday.

To be fair, if one ditched their car completely and had no car payment, no upkeep and no insurance payments, then yeah, you're obviously saving a boatload of money. But most work commuters who ride the bus still own cars, they're just paying for not having to drive and/or they're being ecologically sound. But for me, financially speaking, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Time:
Put simply, it sucks. I have to wake up an hour earlier to make sure I catch the bus on time. It's then about a 45 - 50 minute commute with 2 transfers when I could've hopped in my car with the stereo blasting and gotten to work in 20 minutes (or 25 if there happens to some traffic). Same thing on the way home. On top of this, I work a second job. So on those two days (+ Sunday), I have to take a bus to that job and since there is no express bus after I close up shop, I have to take a round-a-bout bus with again 2 transfers and it takes me 2 HOURS to get home. That is a 20 mile trip. I'll say it again: to go 20 miles it takes 2 fucking hours! People always say "time is money." I finally understand what that means and to a guy like me two hours missing from my life that I could be spending doing other things is seriously draining.

Walking:
This part is not so bad. The bus picks me up in the morning literally across the street from my house. The most I ever have to walk is about 1/5 of a mile. So that's not bad. Plus I got a little Razor scooter that gets me where I want to go pretty quickly. I'll say this, the bus system pretty much goes everywhere I want/need it to. So no complaints there.

More pros and cons will be weighed on in future installments of the bus blog...

March 15, 2009

The Bus Blog - Episode 1: So I'm Riding the Bus Now

     It's been a while since I've done any personal blogging. Movie world is just taking up too much time... oh yeah, and I'm on a bus for up to 3 hours a day. Hence, this new series on metro transit.

As some of you may know, I've decided to go green (a term I'm beginning to loathe) and ride the bus to work. I tried it for a few days with the cash fare and decided it worked well enough to go for broke and keep my car parked for an entire month and see how it goes. So I purchased the 31-Day pass and have been taking the bus (or walking) everywhere I need to go since about the first of the month. I've been meaning to start this daily bus blog for some time. Well, here it is.

I will play catch up with my experiences over the next few days and weeks.
Enjoy.

February 10, 2009

Pet Peave of the Day: Vol. XXII

     People who double-click links on the internet.

January 23, 2009

I Can't Come Up with a Clever Title, so... AWESOME.

     Thanks to Marina for pointing me towards the coolest t-shirt I've ever seen:





They also come in white or black. You can buy them HERE

UPDATE: Also, not quite as cool, but from the same site, Gaffi Sticks!



January 19, 2009