Sunday, December 31, 2006

The blog post one year in the making

A new car, new job and the Steelers won the Superbowl. 2006 was a pretty good year overall.

It all started on January 1, as every year does. The Steelers had clenched a 6th seed in the NFL playoffs, and worked their way to the big game doing the unthinkable, winning three games on the road. Sometimes not only playing the opponents but the opponent’s fans’ emotions, Refs and thin air.

And yes, I did grow a beard to match Big Ben.

Sometime in that final week of January I ventured to my local Saturn dealership to look at new vehicles. With interest rates on the rise I settled on a Black 2006 Saturn VUE. However with the Superbowl only days away I had apprehension about trading in my native Pittsburgh car, so I told the guys at the dealership that I would not drive off the lot without my brand new Pittsburgh Steelers License Plate holder attached.

They even played the Steelers fight song for me as I got in the car.

Then came the Superbowl. If you haven’t noticed I’m a bit of a fan. So much so I DVR every game, and play on a delay with the sound muted and listening to the Sirius Satellite Radio broadcast of the game featuring the Steelers announcers. Now this made watching the Superbowl interesting. Wanting to see the commercials we would switch audio feeds on my TV to hear the best part of the game, the commercials. The NFL really needs to get rid of that Superbowl bye week and put the game back in January where it belongs!

The team in Black and Gold won and I broke the dress code by wearing my Hines Ward jersey to work on Monday. A coworker asked, “If they lost would you have been unbearable today?” I said, “No, I’m more unbearable because they did win!”

In April I said goodbye to my work home of more than five years. It was time to move on and I’m glad I did. I left Cardinal Health for Xcelerate Media. It’s a small e-learning company. How small? We’re located above a Starbucks in Dublin.

It’s almost a complete 180 from corporate America. I show up in Jeans, or shorts, sandals… well whatever I’m comfortable in. The people I work with are great. And Stephen Correll has nothing on our office.

We pass the football around the big room all the developers work in. We developed a random number generator with a list of restaurants attached to the numbers just so we can decide where to go to lunch. This is negated by the fact that we go to Donato’s about three times a week.

We have a Consultant who comes into our office every so often, and is compiling a list of things we do that would get him fired at his office. I guess calling out “not it!” when the phone rings is frowned upon elsewhere.

There was one black mark on the year, and that was the passing of Grandma. She was a fighter a feisty one and stuck around longer than we expected. But she is missed. But not necessarily at 7am on my birthday when she liked to call me to remind me what day it is.

Finally at the end of the year I gave into my friend Kelly’s request to write movie reviews professionally. Yes, you heard me right, I am now officially a professional movie critic. She is an editor with the online newspaper She said that since I’m already writing reviews I should do it for them and get paid. So there may not be as many on my blog, but there will be more reviews in the paper.
Well that’s the blog post that took a year to write, well only about a half hour in reality. But you get the picture. 2007 looks to be even better, of course it would be depressing if I didn’t say that. Who wants to look forward to depressing stuff anyway?See you in the New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006


Invariably in a list of great sports films you will see the word “Rocky” appear at least once. Often times more often than that, and never with the Roman numeral “V” after it. Come to think of it, repeat after me: “Rocky V does not exist… Rocky V does not exist…”

Now that we have that out of the way we can move on to the final (Sly’s words) installment in the Rocky series, “Rocky Balboa

This summer when I saw the first preview for this film my gut reaction was, “he has to loose this one.”

And that is addressed in the exposition of the film. If you’ve been living under a rock or been in US custody for being an evil dictator in the Middle East (at which point you’ve already been executed) you know that the premise for this movie is that a sports show pits Rocky Balboa against the current champion in a virtual boxing match in which Balboa wins. This garners interest in the boxing world and a fight is set up.

But even before we get into this plotline of the film, we get a lot of Rocky visiting the old neighborhood, and replaying in his mind, and ours, the classic scenes from the first two movies. On top of that, quite a bit of time at Adrian’s grave.

One of the more interesting retrospectives lands Rocky in his old neighborhood bar. This leads to the reintroduction of one of the most classic characters in the Rocky series, “Little Maria”. Just like he did when he was a nobody club fighter he offers somewhat unsolicited advice, to make her life just a little better. This time she actually takes it.

The things that make Rocky such an endearing character in American Cinema are still there: his dumb wit, his tolerance for Pauley, and his everlasting love for his late wife, Adrian.

In fact it is in this exposition that makes this film as good as all the critics say it is. The movie’s central theme is that just because someone is older doesn’t mean they’re useless. The theme is driven home by writer/director Sylvester Stallone through dialogue and visuals true to the Rocky genre. Or to sum it up as Toby Keith said, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.”

The movie is very non-Hollywood in several ways. As a function of our youth-oriented culture nobody gives Rocky a snowball’s chance against champion Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver). But Rocky is a fighter and a fighter must fight. Even if he is “too old” in the eyes of, well, everyone.

Much like you believed a club fighter could go the distance against the champ thirty years ago, this time you believe a sixty-five-year-old man can get into a boxing ring.

Now I’ve spent a good deal praising the first two-thirds of this movie, and that brings us to the fight scene. It is the fight scene that keeps this movie from being on a par with the first two (and best two) films in the series.

From the opening bell it feels almost like the fight scene from thirty years ago. Rocky, the underdog, gets outboxed hands down in the first round. From there I’ll avoid the spoilers, but the fight could have been better.
That being said, finally the Rocky story has an ending fitting its great legacy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Movie For Book People

First off, credit to someone in Hollywood for finally having an original idea. After years of remakes, franchise sequels and film versions stuff we’ve seen in other mediums we finally have something that is about as original a concept as there has been in recent years.

I’m talking about “Stranger Than Fiction” the latest offering from the current golden boy Saturday Night Live Alum Will Ferrell. Now before you go on expecting another Elf or Ron Burgundy type performance I’m going to warn you upfront: Will Ferrell underplays his role. He underplays it so much in fact he accepts the fact that he is not the best actor in the film. By my count he is solidly in the bottom two.

But that’s where this movie separates itself from other Will Ferrell movies. Instead of playing someone with more mouth than brains here we see Ferrell as Harold Crick, IRS agent and watch wearer. That’s about the extent of his character at the start of this film.
A humdrum character who goes through an extraordinary series of events in a short period of time. The first of which is hearing a voice narrate his life.

That narrator is the voice of Emma Thompson and she’s not just narrating the movie, she’s the voice of author Kay Eiffel who is writing the book in which Crick is the main character.

Finally convinced he is not crazy and actually living in a story he seeks out literature Professor Jules Hilbert played by Dustin Hoffman, who is the best actor in the movie and steals every scene he is in.

As it turns out Eiffel’s literary style is such that she kills off the main character in all of her stories and Crick is her next victim. This has Crick quite upset.

Rounding out the cast is Queen Latifah, the author’s assistant sent by the publisher to get Kay off her writer’s block. I’ve said it before and I must stress the point. Rappers don’t make bad movies. And the Queen continues that tradition.

Finally we have Crick’s love interest. Played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. A college dropout baker hippy wannabe who Crick finds himself auditing. Can you guess what happens next? I’ll give you a hint, It’s not Will Ferrell sleeping with Emma Thompson, Queen Latifah or Dustin Hoffman!

You just won’t understand the complexity of this movie unless you read good books. Not just novels you find in the grocery store line, but really good books by people whose names get used in sentences with words like “literature” and “genius”. Tom Wolfe comes to mind, as does John Updike. People whose stories show real human growth and where seemingly insignificant things become the defining factors in the characters’ lives.

If you’ve read these kinds of books you know what I’m talking about, and you’ll get what this movie is about. You see this movie is not so much about the principle character Harold Crick, but really about the book Kay Eiffel is writing.

Those great books you’ve read, this is the story about how those great authors come up with those books.

If it’s possible for a movie to make you appreciate books this is the best attempt to do so. Ferrell’s performance is passable because he under acts for once in his career. His casing in the main role was simply to sell tickets, but it is by allowing the rest of the cast to lift up his performance that makes the movie better than the sum of it’s parts.

The movie is PG-13 and deservedly so for sexual situations and a wholly unnecessary f-bomb. But the appeal is to more mature audiences anyway. I doubt anyone who has yet to write an English term paper would be able to hold their attention on the screen… or is that what the sex scenes were for?

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Night at the Office

Wednesday night I decided it was time to go get a beer so I wanted to look for a bar I'd heard about called "The Office"

Great name, by the way.

"Honey, I'm going to the office!" 6 hours later you come home plastered. "I really love my job!"

Well it's a nice place. Brand new and it looks like a bar you'd see on CSI Miami. The bar itself was pretty packed so I squeezed in next to cute girl with freckles and a nose ring and ordered my Miller Lite.

"high five." The cute girl with the freckles and the nose ring said while holding up her hand. Oh, and she was pretty drunk too.

SoI high-fived her, but she only made contact with half of my hand.

"You missed," I said.

"Have you seen Borat?"

"No I haven't."

"He does that... High five!"

This time playing on her inebriation I missed her hand on purpose.

"You Missed again."

She started laughing not sure if missing was her fault or mine.

We tried high fiving a few more times and I became like Lucy to her Charlie Brown always snatching the football away just before Charlie can kick it.

Finally I missed on purpose and tapped her on the forehead. She laughed flurtatiously then introduced me to her boyfriend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stem Cell Tic-Tac-Toe

People who think Christians are all of one mindset, reading the Bible instead of the newspaper, watching NASCARR and finding more Muslim countries to invade.

People who think that have obviously never set foot inside a church. Like any demographic segment there are as diverse a set of opinions as you might have at your average beat M*ch*g*n party.

That being said I walked into a conversation at church Sunday on the topic of Stem Cell research. Now I know liberals like to think Christians never put down the bible and are otherwise uninformed, but in reality it’s liberals who rarely read past the headlines and learn the facts about stem cell research.

I’m going to base the rest of this blog post on these three facts:
  1. Embryonic stem cell research is legal (just not funded by the federal government)
  2. Embryonic stem cell research has yielded ZERO treatments
  3. Adult stem cell research has yielded over seventy treatments

The conversation began somewhere around the point that the government should permit stem cell research.

Of course I had an opinion and said that the government does permit it, they’re just not funding it. Private industry has done plenty of research as well but because there are no results it has become a money hole and thus they have focused efforts on adult stem cell research where the rewards are abundant.

The reply was that the government should fund it because there are so many cures that could come from stem cell research.

At this time I defined the differences between adult and embryonic stem cells. Of course embryonic stem cells only come from aborted fetuses.

That’s when I was presented with the great myth: embryonic stem cells are untyped and can be made to become any kind of cell.

Well that’s a great theory, but it has yet to be proven in practice, whereas adult stem cells are providing over seventy cures for varying diseases.

Now I rarely get political at church, but I had to play my pro-life card here. You do realize that the only way to get embryonic stem cells is from aborted fetuses? And the real political motivation behind the stem cell issue is to legitimize the practice of abortion.

“Well, what else are you going to do with an aborted fetus?”

Sometimes you just aren’t prepared to react. This coming from someone who lives her faith, and is even in seminary with the hopes of becoming a pastor.

If I may take a take a page from Ann Coulter, the church of liberalism isn’t so much without God, just trying to become him.

But you don’t have to take my word on the miracles of adult stem cells, here are two articles with the details on everything I’ve said above.


Using The Body's Own Stem Cells To Grow New Arteries

Now, vision possible with [adult] stem cells

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday night breakdown

6:00 walk over to the Dublin Village tavern for $3 burger night with Buddy.
6:45 Karrie, Laci and Matt show up.
7:15 Bryce joins the party
8:00 round of shots
8:20 Bob and his brother join in.
10:00 we move the party to Chubbys
12:20 Bryce bets me that I won't make an 8:00 AM conference call
12:30 Finally get home
7:15 Wake up
8:00 AM conference call and I am there, with bryce

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mr. Pimpmobile: Gone But Not Forgotten

Related posts: Mr. Pimpmobile: Part 1, Part 2

I think we’ve all met this certain kind of individual. The type that after a while you wonder how they get their shoes tied in the morning. You wonder how they hold a job or why they’re allowed out of the house without wearing a helmet.

Mr. Pimpmobile is one of these people.

It’s been about a year since I’ve seen my nemesis, though I happen to see the Pimpmobile at Kroger one day last winter. But apparently Mr. Pimpmobile misses me.

Now It’s been a few years sine I’ve moved. But as I recall I pretty much had the new address memorized within a few days, and within a year, I was getting all my junk mail at my new address.

Well yesterday afternoon as I was chillin’ with some Seinfeld reruns after work, there is a knock on my door. My hippy dippy neighbor lady said that a package was delivered during the day and she signed for it.

Not expecting anything I thanked her for it and started to open it. That’s when I saw the addressee. It was addressed to MR. PIMPMOBILE!!! Ladies and gentlemen, a year after moving he’s still giving out his old address!

Now at this point I ceased opening up the package because even though I have no idea what’s in the box I’m very sure it’s not something I would want.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Who are you calling a Hallo-weenie?

Laundry basket: $2.49

Rope for suspenders: $1.99

Safety pins: $1.19

Winning the prize for most original costume: PRICELESS!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Is it just me or is TV better these days? Yes I know that’s a silly question; how could I get any better?

About a year ago I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that stated “Television has traditionally been a writer’s medium and Movies a medium for Directors.” The article went on to describe that the decreased cost of visual effects due to the use of computer imagery has put many TV shows on a par with our favorite Hollywood Blockbusters.

The article went on to site shows like Smallville and CSI as being among the most popular and using the new digital media technologies to tell their story.

This, combined with the fact that Hollywood most movies are remakes these days shows that these effects are nothing without good writing when it comes to movies.

And the timeliness of this post has everything to do with tonight’s premier of Lost. So as a tribute to the most important season premier of the fall, here is my review of highlights of this season so far.

Sunday Night Football
NBC Sundays 8:00
Football returns to NBC with host Bob Costas, and his team of pundits, Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, Sterling Sharpe Peter King and Chris Collinsworth host a high quality, excellently polished football show. Madden and Michaels do the play by play during the game which means you only actually have to listen to Chris Collinsworth during half time. That when you should actually be in the kitchen opening another beer anyway!

Till Death
Fox Plugging all holes in the weekly lineup
Brad Garrett only a year removed from “Raymond” is now leading a series as the disillusioned married man mentoring a newlywed neighbor. There you go; the basis for every episode. I probably wouldn’t have mentioned this show other than the fact that Fox airs this show about 3 times a week just to get you to know that “we got the Raymond’s brother!”

NBC Monday’s 9:00
On the surface, it’s X-Men. And they’re up front about it. They even make references to X-men comics and other science-fiction works. However a good idea is a good idea, and when you add good writing and acting into it you have a very intriguing story and characters you can empathize with. Unlike last season’s Surface NBC seems very intent on promoting this show to success. The show’s Jump-the-shark moment could come if the story-within-a-story plot device comes off as cheesy. So far, so good.

CBS Wedyesdays 8:00
Last season when the networks decided to fling as much science fiction at us as possible due to the success of Lost in 2004 we got a lot of eye candy that didn’t stick around for the whole season. The problem with these shows was that they focused wholly on the science fiction element and not on the gripping human drama that is the heart of Lost. Jericho finds that formula and correctly implements it. Jericho is a small Kansas town that is cut off from the rest of the world when a mushroom cloud is seen in the distance over Denver. With no communication and resources limited, the townspeople must work together to survive post nuclear America. It really is Lost in the Midwest fully taking advantage of an ensemble cast to portray gripping drama. Jumping-the-shark could come when they run out of nuclear-bomb related conflicts. Then again I never thought being stranded on an island without Maryanne and Ginger would never last 3 years!

The other shows premiering this fall:
Ugly Betty: the title just doesn’t appeal
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: I don’t watch shows with Alec Baldwin
30 Rock: This is the show with Alec Baldwin? Aside from the Baldwin factor I really can’t tell the difference.
Friday Night Lights: Why is this on Tuesdays?
Smith: The most common name for a TV show.
Daybreak, Kidnapped, Standoff, Vanished, Runaway: All basically the same show.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Where Somebody Occasionally Might Recall Your Face But Is Drawing A Blank On The Name

The Backstreet Pub is closed!

I recall the day I first saw my condo and was standing on the front porch with my realtor pointing at the sign in the back of the strip mall across the street and saying, “I drink there!”

Yes, walking distance from a place that has Miller Lite on tap is a selling point in my book!

But last weekend Brett and I were having a couple beers and he pointed out to me that the booths up against the window were gone and that one of the plasma TVs was removed.

Me being an optimist asked the bartender on duty why all the changes. Her line was that they were having the carpet cleaned. That sounded reasonable enough. However on Wednesday Brett emailed me to tell me it had closed.

So now I am a man without a home.

Thursday night I walked into the Gooseneck Tavern in Powell. Immediately Kristy, the lovely bartender on duty, knew why I was there.

Friday, I tried Chubbys… unfortunately it’s a bar run like a resturant, so at 1:00. That’s about the time I still had 5 songs left on the jukebox.

The Backstreet used to let me stay at least until the jukebox ran out.

I ran into Jason at Spoonz… That was the first bar I knew about when I moved to Columbus. I also haven’t closed that place down in quite some time. He told me that he and some mutual friends go to The Hard Road Café for the Buckeye games. So Saturday after the Buckeyes beat Iowa 35-21 I traveled to Hard Road for a beer, or three.

Not everybody knew my name there, but at least a few familiar faces, cold beer and I got to listen to the worlds worst rendition of “Feed My Frankenstein”. Saturday night is Karaoke night at the Hard Road… That’s why Saturdays I usually went to the Backstreet.

I need a beer!

Friday, September 29, 2006

In The News

It's been a while but here it comes again...

The Adventures of Andy Presents:

PETA vs Six Flags over Roach promotion

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling on Six Flags Great America to
cancel a live cockroach-eating contest planned for next month's Fright

Six Flags officials announced this week that visitors to
Fright Fest 2006 will be offered a chance to eat a live Madagascar hissing
cockroach, a three-inch version of the Blattodea order that is native to the
island of Madagascar, but raised on farms for use as pets and feed.

Okay PETA, since cockroaches are members of the Insect Kingdom and not the Animal Kingdom this one is out of your jurisdiction. Thanks for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Just for comparison, a Madagascar hissing cockroach can grow to about the size of a Whitecastle slider…. And is only about half as gross.

My Two Dads

New York: A former boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith says he is the father of
the former Playboy playmate's newborn daughter - and he is seeking a DNA test to
prove it.
In an interview on Us magazine's website, Larry Birkhead, a
photographer, described as laughable claims by Smith's lawyer, Howard Stern,
that he was the father of Dannie Ray Hope, born in the Bahamas on September

"I have asked for a DNA test," Mr Birkhead said. He was confident of the
result. "I know I am the father of the child. I look forward to having a
relationship with my new daughter."

I smell a sitcom!!!

HP chair deflects blame in spy saga,20867,20498924-36375,00.html

The role played by Mark Hurd and his assistants in the Hewlett-Packard
boardroom spying scandal moved further into the spotlight on Thursday as
Patricia Dunn, HP's ousted chairman, laid blame for the fiasco with the
computer-maker's management team.

Ms Dunn's denial of responsibility for the scandal came as Ann Baskins,
HP's general counsel, became the closest HP official to chief executive Mr Hurd
to resign as a result of the controversy.

See and this whole time you were worried about Bill Gates and the CIA…
it was HP the whole time.

You can send your apologies to:
Apologies: C/O Adventures Of Andy
Dublin, Ohio 43016

That’s the news, I hope it was as good for you as it was for me!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Long Overdue Review of Pirates of the Caribbean 2

One of Disney’s biggest surprise hits of recent memory has been Pirates of the Caribbean. It is simply a swashbuckling tale of pirates, ghosts and the politics and romance of the British colonies.

Admittedly I have only seen the first movie once. It was shortly after the DVD release. Given the hype surrounding the sequel I did not have a chance to review the source material before seeing part 2.

However that did not take away from my enjoyment of part 2. And that’s as much as you need to know going into this movie. It is a pure joyride.

Continuing where the first film left off Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back in command of his ship, while Norrington (Jack Davenport) has Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) in custody and bargains with them to steal Jack’s magic compass so he might find a lost treasure.

Got all that? Okay cause that’s only the first half of the plot.

We soon find out that Jack Sparrow is on borrowed time and owes a debit to the mythic and visually stunning Davey Jones (Bill Nighy).

Throw in a love triangle between Bloom, Knightley and Depp and you find yourself in what boils down to the Star Wars of the high seas.

There are however two disappointing aspects to this movie. First it’s rated PG-13 for some intense images that could upset younger audience members. For older fans yes this is the Star Wars of the high seas. However, instead of bad guys in white plastic armor and an onyx-caped villain we have some rather gruesome half sea creature half human evildoers.

Continuing with the adult themes is the innuendo Depp creates when interacting with Knightley, as well as his drinking. Not quite the virtouous Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo was still a better roll model.

The second is the ending… it’s not. With Pirates 3 due in 2007 we are left with a cliffhanger that feels not so much like an ending to this movie, but the beginning of the third act. It just leaves you with that unfinished feeling when you leave the theatre.

The movie is paced well, always something visually appealing on the screen (but what’s not visual appealing about the Caribbean or Keira Knightley?). The humor is delivered with spot-on timing as well as believable and engaging dialogue. Overall the move does what the first does, but with a bigger effects budget and another edition due in a year. Like most of Disney’s live-action movies as of late this is a good one, but you may want to leave the sensitive younger kids at home.

P.S. Jack Sparrow runs like a girl!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Parable of Han Solo

This week I was out buying a video game and looking at DVD’s when I saw the Original Star Wars trilogy on DVD. Now this is the original unedited versions that are without the 1997 special features that some fans believe ruined the saga.

One of the most notable changes is that in the Special Editions Greedo shoots at Han Solo first in the classic bar scene.

In the updated version Ben Kenobi and Luke Skywalker have just agreed to book passage on Han’s ship the Millennium Falcon. Once Han agrees he sends Chewbacca to ready the ship. With Han alone Greedo, a bounty hunter, corners Solo at gunpoint and fires a warning shot above his shoulder before Han fires back killing Greedo where he sat.

The original vision shows depicts Han unholstering his weapon below the table and before Greedo is aware that there is a weapon pointed at him he is dead.

All movies should be made like this! Not the updated PC version that makes many true Star Wars fans want to puke but the way that hits you in your gut as great movie making? Why because it’s believable!

And this is how the war on terror should be fought.

We know the terrorists want us dead. Like Greedo they’re pointing guns in our preverbal faces. Liberals in our country would like to think that the enemy would fire a non-hazardous warning shot before we should be allowed to fire a deadly counter strike. However they forget that their last “warning shot” cost 3000 lives, 4 airplanes and my favorite 2 buildings in New York City!

Back in 1977 Han Solo got it right.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Comments from Dustin on Women and how they view themselves:
I was talking with a co-worker (female) on the subject of weight loss and/or self-image for females. Pretty gutsy, huh? Well, she made a comment that girls always are very sensitve about weight because of how guys expect or want them to look.

I told her that was false. I said that girls watch their figure and try to lose weight to impress OTHER WOMEN, not guys. I went on to say that women think guys care a lot about women's weight and stuff, but we guys really don't care that much on the average. When she asked me why guys talk about really hot women and want to approach them because they were thin, I responded by saying that guys do that to impress OTHER GUYS.

I went on to say that women shouldn't worry about weight and if they would just eat and exercise moderately their body will find it's ideal weight and they will be healthier than being too thin for what they are meant to.

Here is what I did not say. Basically, all that worry is a waste of time and causes them to be bitchy. Guys don't like bitchy women. We guys would certainly put up with an extra (at least) 10 lbs. if the women would all be happy. We don't like mean stick women, we like happy and healthy women!

Basically what he's saying is we don't need you to be an anorexic bitch... we just need you to not be a bitch!

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Reality Show That Brings Out the Best in People?

I don’t review TV that much and I assign myself the blanket title of “not a fan of reality shows” however I have found one case where I can enjoy such a premise.

“Who Wants To be A Superhero” Has been airing on the SciFi channel this summer. It takes 11 contestants who dress up in brightly-colored spandex and must prove themselves to that guru of all things comicdom, Stan Lee.

Now I must of course I must criticze the producers for not including the ultimate superhero in their competition... ME!!!

What sets this show apart from every other reality show in existence is that there is no backstabbing, no double-crossing and no manipulation of others to get ahead. Why?


All throughout this “competition” (it’s a reality show, the NFL is competition, this is semi-scripted roll playing on TV) the contestants have been asked to perform various acts that a superhero might face in everyday life. Many of the challenges were simple and rather indicative of the show’s low budget, but those who perform admirably are rewarded, and those who do not are asked to “turn in our costume”

This is a stark contrast to the Survivors and Apprentices of the reality world. There it is exposing weakness and beating down the competitors for selfish gain that makes for winners on those shows.

What Stan Lee has done here is influenced our reality show participants to support each other and are actually sad when someone is asked to leave.

The final episode airs this Thursday and will decide who will win between "Feedback" a computer nerd turned superhero, and "Fat Mamma" a heavyset black lady who touts the banner fo self esteem and punishes bullies.

It’s cheesy, it’s silly but it’s also wholesome and uplifting family viewing. And the winner get’s their character turned into a Darkhorse Comic series.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fan mail

I love reader comments. The best is when someone takes the time to email me.

Yesterday I recieved the following regarding my "Planetism in our Solar System" post:


I just wanted to let you know, that I will possibly be using your
post "Planetism in Our Own Solar System" as an example of an argument in a
critical reasoning class. Your blog will be cited, but I thought I'd let
you know.


p.s. - I for one agree, this planetism must stop!

To which I replied:

J, If I'm getting that kind of recognition, I think I'll go back and
double check my spelling! ;-)

Feel free to use whatever crazy ideas I post.


To which he replied:


I've never seen your blog until today, but I grab random blogs to use for
this course. I already corrected a couple spelling errors, but I'll check
back periodically for more arguments.


A weblebrety's work is never done!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Planetism in Our Own Solar System

Pluto Gets the Boot - Solar System Shrinks to 8 Planets

Pluto got the boot today when 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) annual meeting in Prague voted on a resolution that aims to define exactly what a planet is.

Effectively the scientific community is saying "Pluto, you are the weakest link... goodbye!"

I for one think this is planetism and I won't stand for it.The planetists in the scientific community are oppressing these "dwarf Planets".

People who know what they're talking about my not accept you, Pluto, but I do!

In the country club that is our solar system apparently these Dwarf Planets are not good enough to be categorized with the rest of us!

I propose affirmative planetary action and that we de-classify ourselves as a solar system until we officially recognize dwarf planets as full planets with all rights and privileges therein!

This should not be a solar system of exclusion, but one of inclusion!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Data Recovery Adventures of Andy Style

I’ve spent a lot of time at my computer this week, none of it blogging.

The Adventure begins Saturday evening when I decided it was finally time to reformat the old hard drive and reinstall everything. The week before I had purchased an external hard drive with ample space to do my backups. And like a good IT professional I properly backed up all my files, and settings.

Oh by the way, the Windows XP settings backup is a great utility!

So there I am, I’ve got all my backups in place A Windows XP install disc and a computer that desperately needs a reformat.

So when prompted to partition hard disc space I decide to go from 2 partitions to 1. So I start deleting partitions. Unfortunately my firewire drive was still on so that third partition I deleted was all my backup data.

(insert expletives here)

Now keep in mind At this point I have no access to my now unpardoned backup drive because the only firewire port in the house is on my desktop PC with no operating system at the moment.

Now this is where things get a little complicated. Even though I had the foresight to turn off the firewire drive AFTER I had deleted the partition (not that it would have mattered) Mid-format of the internal drive was interrupted when the power surged and restarted the computer.

At this point I have an unpartioned external drive and a half-formatted hard drive that when you plug it in you get a lot of clicking because it can’t find its own start point.

So I give up and go to the bar.

Sunday I buy a brand new internal hard drive and install Windows properly and then the fun begins. I finally have confirmation of my worst fears. I don’t have access to any of my backups!

Well I know where they are. They’re in that little grey box with the bright blue light on my desk… I just have no way to access them.

Apearently I’m not the only person to have done this. This article explains how someone could easially do the same thing. And I agree Frustration compounds even the simplest task (you can quote me on that one!).

I tried the program he recommended and honestly after 2 hours of waiting for it to finish scanning the drive and providing no results I was almost depressed. Wanting to give it another try I mentioned it to a DBA that I play volleyball with. He recommended Zero Assumption Recovery.

Where was this when I needed it Sunday? (given it was only Tuesday when I talked to him) but literally within 20 minutes I had found all my data in tact! So it didn’t take me long to whip out Mr. Plastic (that’s a credit card, not a penis euphemism you pervert!) and pay the $79 to get it all back.

So there you have it... Data Recovery Adventures Of Andy Style…

The moral of this story: Try not to loose anything important in the first place!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The final adventure of The Grandmanator

The Grandmanator’s adventure ended on July 22, after 80 full years and an unrelenting bout with Cancer.

Grandma was special. She came from nothing, never gained much more, but got her family to grow from that. All 3 of her daughters did quite well in comparison.

But this being my blog and my story I’ll tell the stories of Grandma and I. Maybe I didn’t always make time for her, but when she needed me I was there without question. You’ve read about our adventure at the hospital… well that’s where I gave her the nickname “Grandmanator”. It comes from the fact that every time over the past ten years that we’ve taken her to a hospital, we expected the worst… and she always proved us wrong.

She is the Grandmanator, she cannot be killed by conventional means.

Dinner with Grandma was always an adventure. Coming from a certain level of poverty (or moreso a function of having grown up in the great depression) she never turned down food. In fact that was her favorite thing, going out to eat. Her favorite foods include:

Chicken Livers

Okay that’s most of it but more than what she ate was what she did at the restaurant. Never one to waste, there was a guaranteed certainty that she would pack anything that wasn’t nailed down into a doggie bag. It got to be so comical that I’d start suggesting things she might not otherwise want. “Grandma, how about some of these Bob Evan’s jelly packets?”

In they went.

Just as interesting was where we went. Usually Max & Erma’s but often enough Olive Garden or Red Lobster. Once on an outing to Chi-Chi’s, which at the time happened to be across the street from Hooters, Grandma asked me if I’d ever been to Hooters. I hadn’t… and still haven’t. Now we all know Hooters isn’t exactly the place you take your grandmother. But you know what? I just might have taken her if she asked me to go there!

Grandma loved the animals

However one of the fondest memories of grandma comes from Christmas 85 or so. That was the year of Voltron. You see this wasn’t just a toy, as described on by toy virtuoso Matt it’s “The toy set that kicked more ass than a team of ass-kicking ass-kickers.”

Yes I had it!

More than just completing the set of 5 lions and their drivers Grandma actually WATCHED the show! Calling her wasn’t just a chance to talk to grandma; we connected on that most beloved defender of the universe. Even today when I pick up a Voltron comic, or as I start considering buying a masterpiece Voltron by Toynami, It’s not because giant lions make me all tingly inside… seriously they don’t, I prefer girls for that! It’s because it’s something I had with Grandma and though I’m sure she had lost that memory It’s still one of my favorites with her.

I’ll miss the feisty old lady who took on a petty cash register thief at 78. Or how she found a card for every possible occasion; sometimes with a strange dollar amount inside. I’m not complaining about seven dollars for Easter, that’s a pretty good resurrection in my book!

Grandma still had a sweet side. Though I joked that I had the only grandmother on the planet that didn’t cook, she always took me out to dinner even though I usually had more money. Offered me something to eat or drink 4 times an hour and wanted to please whoever was a guest in her house.

It’s good to have a grandma, especially one that sticks around longer than you expect. It just gives you more to miss.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In The News

The Adventures of Andy Presents:

Fans cheer Roethlisberger's every move during training camp debut
They screamed in delight, yelled out his name, asked him to slow down so they
could snap more pictures. Ben Roethlisberger heard the ruckus, realized he was the cause of it and could only smile at the attention.
And all he was doing midway through the Pittsburgh Steelers' first training camp practice Sunday was changing his jersey.
Actually I think they were just cheering because he finally put on a helmet!

Floyd Landis Denies Tour de France Doping

Floyd Landis stated his case this past Friday, denying any use of doping at
the Tour de France.“I declare convincingly and categorically that my winning the
Tour De France has been exclusively due to many years of training and my
complete devotion to cycling,” said Landis, in his first public appearance since
the positive doping test.

Is it really news that the French think an American has too much testosterone?

Heath Ledger to Play the Joker
"Brokeback Mountain" star Heath Ledger will swap his spurs and saddle for
whiteface and a twisted leer to play Batman arch villain the Joker, Warner Bros.
announced Monday.
Will this movie be called Broke Batman?

They can't all be winners...

Coming soon, A review of Pirates of the Caribbean and a farewell to the Grandmanator...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I don’t wanna’ grow up!

And we wrap up rapid-fire blogging tonight with something near and dear to my heart: Robot toys from the 80’s.

My friend Brett invited me over to cook out at his house. I’ve only been to his house once and that was to tour it and I was about 2 hours too late to put a bid on it. Damnit!

Well the house went to a good owner.

After the brats were on their way to being digested and we were on our third or fourth beer the subject of 80’s toys came up, and Brett broke out his collection of Transformers.

A pretty nice collection including an original Megatron, Optimous Prime, Perceptor, Omega Supreme and a complete Devastator!

We spent a couple hours trying to figure out how to convert these multi-dimensional toys in our adulthood, when we could do it in our sleep as children.

There’s something completely wholesome about 2 guys drinking beer and playing with toys kept in the basement for 20 years.
I also quoted him some prices and with the live-action Transformers movie coming out next year, the hype and excitement around Robots in Disguise will only grow and he’ll make a killing on ebay then!

On being a Weblebrity

n. pl. web·leb·ri·ties
a person recognized in real life for activity participated in on the internet.

Real celebrities don't have to ask to be asked for their autograph
I was introduced to the above term by my friend John a.k.a. "novapup" (a weblebrity in his own rite) from Washington. He describes his wife as a weblebirty. She goes by the internet name Panda and writes for the anime news website As they attend anime and sci-fi conventions people will see her nametag and ask “are you THE Panda?”

She is!

So this weekend I was in Cincinnati for an anime convention that I can’t pronounce and refuse to try and spell. It was a good time. webmaster (and big time weblebrity) Steve Yun and I partied pretty good.

While I was there I met a few other Robotech fans and one in particular who asked, “are you THE Azoric from”

”Yes I am,” I replied.

The eyes of the young man before me widened as he suddenly realized he was in the presence of a real-life weblebrity.

Yes I do like the attention. And when it gets back to me via the internet, I like it even more. You see when TrueGritt1 (his internet name) got home he posted the following on

Hey guys. I was at Ikasucon this weekend and I met Steve Yun and Azoric!!!

I was there when Steve presented the new Robotech movie, and it looks cool! I even got my picture taken with Steve!

And then later, at this Giant Robot Battle Panel, that was hosted by Steve, I met Azoric! Two very cool people and it was fun seeing them both. (I took Azoric's picture too.)

It was fun!!!

Not a lot of people know this, but I am quite fameous!

Bad Twin: A "Lost" Fan's review

I’m not usually much for mystery writing. I havent’ read the Da Vinci Code, the closest thing I’ve read to a mystery is the directions to potatos au grautten that I had no idea how it would turn out when I actually pulled them out of the oven… the verdict: Tasty!

Techincially I haven’t read the book I’m about to review, but an iPod plus summer travel plus being a "Lost"FANATIC means I downloaded the audiobook for my flights and drives.

First a little background. Bad Twin was written by Gary Troupe, who I understand was killed in the tragic loss of Oceaniac Flight 815 somewhere in the Paciffic Ocean.

Wait a second… that was on a TV show, not in reality! What’s going on here??? ABC/Disney/ Hyperion Press got my seventeen bucks that’s what!

Finally onto the story…

Bad twin is the story of Paul Artisan a private investigator in New York who takes on small cases to sustain his meager lifestyle. Usually snapping pictures of disability-claiming workers playing tennis or trophies wives with the gardener. These small cases are disrupted when Cliff Widmore, a real estate mogul hires Artisan to track down his estranged twin brother.

"Lost" fans will jump at the name Widmore, more on that later.

The search for Xander (short for Alexander) Widmore takes him from Manhattan to the Jersey shipyards, to Key West, Havanna, a hippy retreat in California, Sydney and back to New York.

Artisan’s unofficial partner in this quest is his former professor and literature aficionado Manny Wiseman who quotes famous books in regard to the case at hand. You know now that I’m seeing some of these names in print for the fist time I’m actually beginning to notice a literal character depiction in the name. Wiseman: with all the answers, Artisan: who is performing the act, no I say art of gumshoeing. But I digress…

Even though I went into this book as simply a Lost fan looking to get my fix among summer reruns, I found myself getting into the character, his atctions and trying to figure out for myself what exactly happened to Xander Widmore?

Complicating things is the fact that whenever Paul interviews someone they end up dead within forty-eight hours. Now misdirection is a staple of mystery writing, thus sending you down a false path only to bring you to the true path in the end.

Yes, that is how every mystery novel is and this is no different. You can’t argue with what works.
This book however also includes a nice old man with his dog, a sexy Australian PI and a sweet old man in a sweater with a blind old dog who pushes you closer to the answer you need.

And that is what you need to keep your interest between little clues left in there for the rest of us “Lost” fans.

Hey It’s a pretty good book. Perfect for summer reading, or downloading to your iPod. If you’re not a “Lost” fan then you may not know why the Hanso Foundation gets some unnecessary mentions.

And that brings us to what you really want: The "Lost"References in the book:
  1. Widmore
    The Whitmore family hires Paul Artisan to find their estranged brother/son who has gone missing since April 15th (4, 15 - Numbers). Whitmore is also the last name of Desmond's lost lover. No reference to Penny who’s father’s name is Charles Widmore if you were wondering.
  2. Hanso
    The Hanso foundation has an office on the 42nd (numbers again) floor of the Whitmore Building in New York.
  3. Thomas Middleverk - Hanso Executive, Widmore Board member
    Middleverk is mentioned as a recent addition to the Whitmore Board of Directors. He his described as more political and devious than his stately predecessor, Alvar Hanso.
  4. Alvar Hanso
    A former member of the Whitmore Board
  5. Mr. Cluck's
    A chicken resturant where Paul Artisan stops for a quick dinner upon arriving in California. Also where Hurley worked before winning the Lotery.
  6. Cindy
    A stewardess on Oceanic Airlines. Also mentioned as the real-life romantic interest of the author.
  7. 81516 (8, 15, 16)
    The keypad entry to the Whitmore estate, also the twin's birthdays (August 15th and 16th, born 23 (another member) minutes apart on either side of midnight... also a Lost number)

These references don't really do much to open up any mysteries on the show. Theyre also little more than assides to the story, but they were fun little ad-ins for us lostaways.

Rapid-fire blogging, coming your way

Rapid-fire blogging, coming your way...

Strap in and feel the g's!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Apparently I do have time to bleed…

“I ain’t got time to bleed” – Jessee Ventura
“If you prick us do we not bleed” – Shakespeare
“T’is only a flesh wound” – Monty Python

The title here has been borrowed, and made grammatically correct, from my literary equal Jessee Ventura who first said the line after not getting shot in the movie “Predator” he eventually was dragged through the jungle and skinned alive by an alien on his rite of passage.

The other too quotes are loosely related to what I have to say today.

Yesterday I gave blood… hence having time to bleed. Asside from needing some iron in my diet things went relatively well. Well except my nurse who looked like he should be playing bass for Rob Zombie couldn’t find my vein. I’m totally going to have a bruise today!

After my crystal Lite and cookies I went to the Used Book Store. Last week my mom cleaned out my Grandma’s apartment since she really can’t live alone anymore. I suggested taking the books to the Half Priced Books instead of throwing them out.

After a week of sliding around my trunk, the box I had the books in had broken. So I went into the Store and asked for a box to carry them in. The nice lady with the British Accent (I don’t know if that’s a prerequisite for working with books, but it made me trust her right away) offered me one of the collapsed ones at her desk. Also being helpful she used a packing tape roll gun to secure the box.

That’s all well and good in itself but where she cut the tape happened to be exactly where my left middle finger was resting.

Now if you’ve been paying attention you know that I just lost a pint of blood to the Red Cross, and now I have had my finger cut by the British lady at the Used Book Store. Not only do I have time to bleed, I am now bleeding in overtime!

It was really just a scratch, but it did bleed pretty good. They gave me a Band-Aid and helped me carry the box of books in; because I had not one, but two Red Cross stickers on my shirt, and a bright green bandage on my elbow.

Hoping they’d feel bad and give me a lot more for that box of books didn’t help. In fact, as is the case when you trade in items at a retail store, I ended up owing them two dollars.

But it was worth it. I found a dvd copy of the original 1953 version of War of the Worlds. You know; the edition that has an ending that isn’t completely disjointed from the rest of the movie.
So there’s the adventure of Andy and his blood.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Four Garters and no wife…

I’m not the most athletic guy in the world. Oh I have my moments. I’m valued by my volleyball team, I ran track and cross country all the way through college, I’ve even lifted a weight or two! But I seem to have one competitive skill that just happens to outshine the others.

I catch garters at weddings.

I caught my first garter at the age of 12, I thought it was the neatest thing… Not only did I get to catch this lacy silky thing, I go to put it on some good looking blonde’s leg. Sadly, however this would be my only chance to perform the second half of the Garter ceremony due to a series of coincidences to be described forthcoming.

That early 90’s summer night was pretty wild. Now I know the proper thing to do here is to put the garter as high as possible on the bouquet catcher’s leg as possible. But in my youth I was much shier than I am now. And my parents were there. I did my best to put on a show nonetheless.

My second catch was at a close college friend’s wedding.

It just so happened the one of my former college track teammate's dates caught the bouquet. Her name is Renee, and she's about 5"5' buxom blond with a beautiful smile and did I mention she's an aerobics instructor? No, well that should give you a mental image of the type of woman we're dealing with here. Now if it were anyone else I probably would have not done what I'm about to describe. But at least I have plenty of beer coming my way.

Renee's boyfriend at the time is about 5"4' and 220 lbs. I'm not exactly sure what he does for a living, but as long as I’ve known him I've known 2 things about him.
1) He’s got incredible speed for up to 200 meters
2) He can bench press about 3 of me!

So, as Adam (the groom) pulls of the garter from Amy (bride)… Oh on a side note, Adam’s looking again. Jason and I are at the front of the group trying to catch the piece of lingerie. (Didn’t think I could spell that word did you? well I looked it up!) The garter went up! A volley of hands reached and batted the flimsy piece of silk forward. Like a right outside linebacker spotting a loose football I dove at my target. The path was clear and I was about to beat 20 other single guys to the goal.

Yes, I had recovered the garter; it was in my hands and mine for the keeping!

Does the story end here? No, Of course not! When have I ever posted a story about my life that ends in absolute bliss? When have I ever written a story where I actually get the girl? When have I ever been able to sit back, tell everyone that my life is perfect and I have every want and desire fulfilled? Never I tell you NEVER! Because stories that end that way just totally suck!

Thus my adventure continues. There I was, on the ground, lingerie in my hand, however at that moment I ceased to be that linebacker. I turned, saw Jason and suddenly became a punt returner. Not the speed returner but the guy who catches the ball and pitches it back to his teammate and blocks a path to the endzone.

Yes my friends, I gave up my chance to touch a girl's leg (cut me some slack... its been a while) out of sheer loyalty to my friend... oh, and um, absolute fear for my life. Jason owes me more free beer than he realizes!

Now seeing as my selfless act ended in all parties involved returning shortly to singlehood I have resolved to do my matrimonial duty and ruthlessly obtain small items of lingerie by any means necessary.

Fast forward a couple years to my friend Tom’s wedding. Tom and I grew up in the same church. Though we didn’t go to the same school or hang out a whole lot outside of church we are always able to pick up where we left off when we see each other around holidays and such back at the old church.

Now Tom is a basketball player and coach, not professionally, but for the school he at which he teaches. Therefore many of his friends are also basketball-playing dudes. Me, well, I’m a football fan. So while Tom is reaching up under his new bride’s dress (it sounds naughty, but it’s appropriate when you think about it!) and pulls out the circular lace accent piece.

As the basketball players all tried to box each other out as if to rebound a missed jumpshot I summoned the spirit of Pittsburgh Steelers Safety, Troy Polamalu and chased down the airborne object, not allowing it to travel toward the guys playing basketball.

Upon grasping the item I tucked it under my arm and ran the distance of the dance floor as if it were the end zone.


That brings us to this past Saturday and the wedding of two friends from my current church. The wedding ceremony itself was simple and short, and thus quite impressive to my catholic “date” (don’t ask, this isn’t a dating blog).

The reception was equally nice, and after an eight-year-old girl caught the bouquet It was my turn to put on a show.

This summer I started playing sand volleyball at a local bar. It’s fun, you get to meet interesting people and there’s something about playing in the sand that makes you happy! I’ve also gained quite the skill for diving for white projectile objects. (you totally know where I’m going with this!)

As the crowd awaits, Phil feels around under Katie’s dress and pulls out the satiny circle. On a count of three he tosses the lingerie over his shoulder and to the opposite side of the single-guy crowd from me.

Without thinking, only reacting, I leap over some toddlers before me and in front of some large ex-football types to the right of me to snag the garter as I landed on my stomach and slid four feet toward the bar.

A more spectacular dive Greg Louganis could not have made.

So there you have it, I have caught the garter four times and I’m still single. So if you’re a girl who’s still single and keeps catching bouquets, please reply below with your name, email address, a photo and your bra size!

Kidding about that last one… but not really!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Superman Returns, and I really want to love this movie…

I want to love this movie, I really do, but I just can’t.

I love Bryan Singer. What he did in 2000 with X-Men was a huge paradigm shift in comic book movies. Whereas in the past your comic-based movies were made to bring the audience into the world of the comic hero, instead he brought the comic heroes into our world. This brought a trend to comic movies and helped to produce some of the finest and most entertaining superhero films of all time, including the first two Spider-Man films and the latest Batman movie.

Now I can respect Singer for his intentions, but sometimes the best of intentions go wrong. Singer did his best to emulate the directorial style of Richard Donnor who directed the first two Superman movies (He was fired half way through the second but that’s another story). It is in not doing what he does best that Singer does the movie, his reputation and the audience a great disservice.

This movie takes place 5 years after the events of Superman 2. In that time Scientists have found the remains of Krypton and Superman (Brendon Ruth) returns to his home planet to see it for himself.

Upon Returning he discovers the world has changed without him. He discovers that Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has won he Pulitzer for her story “Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman.” To top this shock to our hero’s system, Lois is engaged to a senior editor at the Daily Planet and they are raising a son.

Here’s where this movie really looses a lot of credit with fans. I have a belief in something called “Generally Accepted Superhero Lore” which is the dynamic of characters, events and interactions that are absolutely central to creating a classic superhero. They are generally accepted because most people, be they comic fans or not, are privy to these elements.

Case in point: Superman is the story of a super powered alien who comes to earth, disguises himself as a bumbling human, Clark Kent, in order to fit in with his adopted home. His love interest as a human is Lois Lane who usually is less-than-receptive to Clark’s advances and is absolutely in love with Superman. Simply put, you can write any superman story based on these rules.

This movie broke those rules.

But that’s not the worst offence of this movie. Casting was a major issue. Ruth is actually a very good Superman. His greatest asset is that he looks quite like Christopher Reeve in the 80’s (but with very long eyelashes). By the way, Reeve was the best superman of all time not by how he played Superman but how he played Clark Kent. Watch Reeve try to ask Lois out on a date in the first movie and tell me I’m wrong.

Kevin Spacy is Lex Luthor: Superman’s arch nemesis and supremely intelligent super criminal. Spacy is probably one of my favorite actors. When I heard he was cast in this role I had so much hope for a completely evil and psychotically nasty Lex Luthor. Instead, and this goes back to the directorial style decision mentioned above, we have Spacy playing Gene Hackman playing Lex Luthor. It just gives you the sense that things could have been so much more… real.

Finally, and the worst offender of the bunch was one of the most interesting characters in the Super-world. Kate Bosworth fails to actually play the sassy, never-take-no-for-an-answer Lois in favor of… well, a soccer mom. It is up to everyone else around her to play the role for her because she becomes your rather typical damsel in distress.

Finally we have the movie itself. In what could have been a great Superman story where the good guy faces off with the bad guy and after much turmoil good finally defeats evil we get a good versus evil plot that seemed rehashed from Superman I and a more involving plot where Superman and Clark try to deal with the issues left by his absence.

There are a couple plot twists that effectively knock you out of your seat, but much like tequila shots you find yourself regretting it in the morning.

It is my understanding that at the request of Warner Bros. Picures Bryan Singer was cutting scenes up until a week before the film’s debut. This means that the 2-hour forty-minute running time is actually the light version of the picture with the whole story only to be available on a director’s cut DVD with the extra forty-five minutes added in.

In the end this movie just tried to do too much. Between revisualizing the character dynamic, childhood flashbacks and an unnecessary third act sub-plot it bites off more then it can chew.

There was so much potential here. And so much of it never came to fruition. I wanted to love this movie. I really did, but in the end I just couldn’t.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cars: Pixar takes a ride through the Red States

A while back I had the idea to start a media-centric blog called the Red State Entertainment Blog. This would have been my critique of pop culture, specifically movies and television. But the gimmick of a Red State Entertainment Blog is that the reviews and critiques come from the standpoint of a social conservative.

That being said, is there anything more Red State than NASCAR? I love to turn on the Sunday race during an election year, wait for the camera to pan to the grandstands and say, “Look at all those Republicans!”

Which brings us to today’s movie review, Pixar Animation Studio’s “Cars.”

“Cars” is the story set in a world where all the living beings are not animals and people, but vehicles of some sort. From racecars filling the role of professional athletes, to Volkswagen Beetles with wings as flies gathering around a flickering light bulb; this is a world of automotive beings.

Starring in this alternative universe is Lightening McQueen (Owen Wilson), the hottest rookie racecar on the Piston Cup racing circuit. He’s young, hotheaded and cocky, to the point he alienates his entire pit crew and has no friends. Why? Because the “people” (remember this is a world of cars) in his life aren’t as important as him winning the Piston Cup.

Through a series of unlikely events on his way to Los Angeles he finds himself in a backwater town off of the now defunct route 66. In a scene reminiscent of Kevin Bacon in Footloose, the local judge takes an immediate disliking to the flashy young sports car who has brought fast driving to his sleepy little town.

What Lightening learns from his sentence in the one-light town, is that there’s more to life than fame, fortune and success. For the fist time in his life, he actually makes friends.

It is in this that the movie becomes truly red-state. Lightening, through his new-found friends, Sally (Bonnie Hunt), Matter (Larry the Cable Guy), and new mentor Doc (Paul Newman); he finds that it’s the people in your life who care about you that trump all the awards, money, fame and success you could ever build.

It took a visit to the reddest town in a red state to turn around his blue state mentality.

I have often related the term “Red State” not as a political sub-group, but as a lifestyle and values state of mind. So, despite my analogies here, this movie is highly non-political. It is in actuality a kids movie and holds dozens of little NASCAR references and cameos.

Overall Pixar does it again. Not only with another step forward in their animation technology, but with some of the most original writing in tensile-town. The voices are perfectly cast and even non racing fans like me get drawn into the NASCAR excitement. Kids may get a little bored as Lightening is learning his lesson, but thanks to Larry the Cable Guy popping in with a silly comment at exactly the right moment, you’re never far from a laugh.

In the end two of the best reasons to see Cars include not having to look at Owen Wilson’s cooked nose for 2 hours and not having to look at Larry the Cable guy at all!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Economics Explained

How are your stocks?

Well I have to take some blame for your short-term losses.

(click for larger view)

It's going to get better!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Stop Bitching And Start A Revolution!

I have new neighbors.

I Know I didn't mention this earlier, but here's the skinny. My new neighbors are... well... hippies.

Yes it's true... whereas I have not met the "boyfriend" or the children I have met the young lady who is currently going to school and claims to have once been pre-med. However I just don't know how much faith I'd have in a chain smoking highly tattooed doctor with a deadhead sticker on the back of her Honda Passport.

Okay, so yeah, hippies.

So this weekend the neighbors had houseguests.

No complaints here, but I did notice a number of bumper stickers on the houseguest's car. Such eloquent sayings such as "WWOD: What would Ozzy Do"; "Don't blame me I voted for Kerry"; and my favorite "Stop Bitching Start A Revolution."

Now this sentiment got me thinking. What if the left started a revolution. Let's see who they've got on their side.

and the gays.

Good enlistment. We've got the NRA and Wal Mart. Game, Set, Match!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Third Time’s a charm for X-Men

Movie fans are quick to point out that sequels are rarely as good as the film that imitated the series. Moreso, the third film in the series is usually a severe downturn in the franchise’s quality. It is a rare event then that a series will actually improve with each installment.

X-Men is one such franchise. This despite a change in the director’s chair (Bryan Singer left for Superman Returns and Brett Ratner succeeds him).

The first X-Men film was a groundbreaking event in comic book-to-film transitions. Instead of bringing the audience into the world of the superheroes, Instead the paradigm shift was to bring the superheroes into our world.

The second X-Men film is widely credited as being better than it’s predecessor. My personal opinion is that the climactic action was included a plot hole that allowed for the death of X-man Jean Grey, which was totally avoidable given the resources of the characters involved.

Fortunately all is forgiven in the resolution found in the third film.

X-Men 3 begins with flashbacks to the first time Professor Xavier meets Jean and also introduces a new mutant, Warren Worthington III, as the mutant son of a successful industrialist, embarrassed to tell his father he is a mutant.

Jean’s lover, Cyclops travels to the site of Jean’s death to find her miraculously alive.

Meanwhile Worthington’s father introduces a “cure” for the mutant gene. This is the core plot of the film and along which sides are drawn. On one side Magneto and his brotherhood seek to destroy the “cure” and its human developers.

Standing in their way are the X-Men with furry blue addition, Beast (Kelsey Grammer).

The wildcard in this match up is Jean Grey, who has been resurrected with a magnificent increase in power.

The movie is paced quite well, and even though two principle characters are killed off in the first half of the movie, it sets up a great emotional monologue for Haley Berry (Storm) to show off her Oscar-wining acting. Patrick Stewart ( Professor Xavier) and Ian McKellen (Magneto), offer the most acting experience and the best performances, followed by Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Haley Berry who are the clear stars, and with just cause. Berry for her Oscar and Jackman because Wolverine is clearly the favorite mutant among long-time X-fans.

The rest of the cast, while young, provides passable performances that help to movie along the plot rather than drag you into the mire of teeny-bopper soap opera sub plots.

In the end the movie is very high quality. Not only as a summer popcorn muncher, but as a gripping story that draws the viewer into the climactic final battle. I for one found myself on the edge of my seat anticipating the final showdown. It was worth it.

X-men 3 is a great film, satisfying long-time X-men comic fans as well as fans introduced to mutants exclusively through the movies.

Oh, and a little hint. When you see this movie, sit through the credits!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Poseidon – After 3 tries you think it would have gotten better.

One of the greatest disaster movies of all time would have to be The Poseidon Adventure with Gene Hackman. That movie was a riveting tale of survival against all odds. On the surface this movie does just that, but anyone who has seen the original will find much to be desired.

Kurt Russle is our hero, and is so in many ways. As Robert Ramsey he is the former mayor of New York and an ex firefighter… wait, is this a Backdraft sequel?

Of course the ship is turned upside down at the stroke of midnight in on New Year’s Eve by a Rogue Wave (I never heard of such a thing but it makes for some interesting reading) that leaves our band of oceanic voyagers upside-down in the ship’s ballroom.

Filling out our cast of adventurers not willing to stay put in the ship’s ballroom is Emily Rossum as the hero’s daughter, Mike Vogal as her secret fiancé, Josh Lucas as the troubleshooting loaner, Jadica Barrett as the sexy woman in need of rescue, Jimmy Bennett as her son, Mia Mastero as the Spanish stowaway, Richard Dreyfuss as the broken hearted gay architect (not sure who came up with this one) and Kevin Dillon as a character so repulsive you’re actually rather relieved he’s killed off five minutes after he’s introduced.

So there you have it; nine people trying to get off an upside down boat in the middle of the north Atlantic in late December, diving through water-filled compartments and not catching hypothermia.

Immediately after the boat tips you start to wonder why you’re supposed to care about these people, but eventually you do. If not for their back story, but because you’ve invested eight bucks and ninety-nine minutes of your life in this movie.

This remake doesn’t have the heart of the original, but fortunately lacks the cheese factor and the why-do-I-care-if-Steve-Gutenberg-survives factor of the NBC’s made-for-TV-version last year.

If you are capable of willing suspension of disbelief you can enjoy the movie, but if you are looking for deep thought-out filmmaking you will be disappointed.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci Code… A flop?

Dan Brown’s Tome, “The Da Vinci Code” is one of the best selling whodunnit’s in recent memory. Some facts on the book’s success include 60.5 million copies in print in 44 languages and any number of weeks on everybody’s best seller list.

Now let me put forth that I have not read the book. But I have consumed some news around the film to be released tomorrow.

1. Columbia/Sony has not released the film to reviewers until Wednesday Night. The company line explaining this rather unusual move for a movie of this magnitude is that they wanted to keep the controversey up. Typically the reason films are not released to the filmviewing press prior to public release is because they fear bad reviews before the release and don’t want to hurt opening weekend ticket sales. As the movie industry has changed in recent years a movie is made or broken in the first weekend. Aperantly even controversey won't overcome bad reviews.

2. Tom Hanks, one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood today is practically nowhere to be found. He has canceled the majority of his interviews promoting this movie because of what he reportedly said, “I don’t want to talk about my religion” (Source: Bill O’Reilly 5/18/2006). Could it be that he doesn’t want to go in front of an audience and apologize for a bad movie?

3. Early reviews are less glowing than the source material would warrant. Given the caliber of talent involved with the movie (no less than 4 well-deserved Oscars between Hanks and Ron Howard) I have heard the movie is “long”, “uninteresting” etc… This would confirm points 1 and 2.

Does the Da Vinci Code bother me as a Christian?

Now, Even though Dan Brown has become a media darling, and millions have read his book, I don’t see many people, not already on the side of persecuting Christianity heading to join that party. Christians who read the book, say it’s a good mystery, but were rather passé about the plot linking Jesus to Mary Magdalene romantically and creating a bloodline that ascended to the royal French throne.

Where as the mainstream media will promote anything that contradicts traditional religious teaching (see the recent excitement around the supposed Gospel of Judas) intellectually honest historians will point out hundreds of errors in Dan Brown’s “evidence.”

The Da Vinci Code does not bother me because truth always wins out over fiction… over time.

Perhaps Tom Hanks did say it best in one of his few interviews in which he stated, “People have been trying to bring down Christianity for thousands of years, and I don’t think the book that’s going to do it is sold at Barns & Noble in the fiction section.”

I really do like your attitude here, Tom. It's just a made-up story about some stuff, some of which actually happened.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Exit Interview

Today I had my exit interview. This was the first time I have ever gone through such things.

As I've mentioned recently, I've only ever been downsized. So now that it’s my choice to seek employment elsewhere someone from HR brings you into their office and asks you questions about how you rate your boss and the company.

I find it odd that this interview is conducted by someone I have never met before I gave my notice.

Now here's the really ironic part. When I essentially decide that I am better off working someplace else, they finally start asking me questions about how the company can work better. What did I like what can be improved type of stuff.

I've been reviewed every year for 5 years now, and nobody asked me what I thought about the company until I decide to quit. Maybe it's a moot point now but don't you think asking a current employee about the company would benefit that employee and get them to work better?

Or are that many people so fearful of criticizing management that they will only do it when there are no possible consequences?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stuart Scott, I'm disapointed in you!

Stuart Scott has long been one of my favorite ESPN anchors. As a fine sports comentator he has long anchored SportsCenter and recently his talents have been a part of ABC's broadcast of NBA games.

But you disapoint me Stuart!

Monday Night ABC aired a 2 hour special in which Illusionist, media whore, and animated cult leader, David Blaine would attempt to hold his breath in a water tank for nine minutes.

I didn't watch this "special" because, well as I described above, the whole point of this televised event would be to see if a man can survive holding his breath for nine minutes. Yet when I looked at the TV listings the show was scheduled to air for 2 hours.

And this is why I am disapointed with Stuart Scott!

As I channel Surfed monday Night I saw Mr. Scott, accomplished sportscaster and coiner of the phrase "Boo-ya" doing his best to fill the remaining 111 minutes of ABC's monday night lineup.

Stuart, I'm ashamed that you would stoop so low as to emcee such an event. David Blaine is to sports what Mr. Belvedere is to baseball (Intentional indirect Bob Eucher reference).

If this is what passed for TV on Mondays, I'm begining to think that Disney moving Monday Night Football from ABC to ESPN might have been a bad idea.

One mor thing... I have no idea if David Blaine held his breath for 9 minutes... and to be honest, I don't care!

Monday, May 08, 2006

I love Spam

I love spam. Most people are trying to find a way to filter it, remove it, delete it and never come in contact with it.

Oh, I'm refering to unsolicited email, not the canned meat (which goes great with grilled cheese!).

But spam email can be just as much fun, and without all the cholesterol. for instance, today I took a walk through my spam filter on my hotmail inbox. to which I recieved the following message:

Baton-wielding Israeli police cajoled and dragged dozens of Jewish squatters out of a three-story, Palestinian-owned home Sunday,demonstrating the new government's resolve to confront extremist settlers. Nineteen officers and seven settlers were reported injured during a clash outside as protesters tried to keep police from entering the building in a scene reminiscent of violence during last summer's forced evacuation of all the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.

In another sign of his tough approach, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet's first session that he will also crack down on wildcat settler outposts in the West Bank that have drawn international criticism.

Hi there :)
Susy sent me your email, she said you were looking to meet someone just like me :)
If you are interested, come meet me on this site it's alot of fun.

(link withheld)

Boy, does Suzy's friend know how to sweet talk a guy or what?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Giving Notice

This week marks a momentous event in my career.

I quit.

On the surface that’s not much of a career move but personally it’s a big event. You see, I’ve never quit before.

Out of college I was let go the day it was announced Gary Cherone left Van Halen (looking back, only one bad thing happened that day)

A year later I was part of the dotcom bubble burst, as I was informed I had no job 5 days before Christmas.

I still hold the right to be bitter about that one.

Here I am nearly 5 and a half years later I get to tell one of the largest corporations in America to take a hike. Well it’s not that bad, I’m still a shareholder so I have to like this place.

Over the past few months I’ve felt less and less comfortable in my position. Knowing that the technology that I’m an expert in isn’t what I’m working on. I have no design input and there is no need for my creative side in my work.

Is it any surprise I jumped on a job that would offer me exactly that?

Since giving my notice on Monday I’ve gotten a lot of “we’ll miss you but we’re happy for you.”

Will I miss this place? Yes and no… some of the bureaucracy, definitely not (the new job has a total of about 25 employees) the people, yes, the stock discount, definitely, getting up extra early to post earnings 4 times a year? No… but the 2 minute drill of web development will fall to someone else.

My last day is 1 week away.

And next Monday I can wear shorts to work.

I need to go shopping!

Monday, April 24, 2006

More Movie Crap

Have you seen the previews for Mel Gibson's "Apocolypto"?

If not Click here.

and if you're looking REALLY close you might see Mel himself !

hey, I'd stop taking movies so seriously too if I got snubbed for my film about Jesus!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

1680 days since United 93

Watch this trailer and come back when the emotion settles down a bit.
I heard that this movie really makes you hate the terrorists. They're the true badguys in this movie... which is something that hollywood has avoided since 9/11. They've changed some Tom Clancy movies so the terrorists weren't Arabs. On Lost the Muslum is the sincere thoughtful type and the take charge southern guy is the jerk.

Now after hearing a review of this film I want to see it. Kind of like Passion of the Christ you are drawn into a story of which you already know the ending, and you wish it would end differently, but you know it won't.

Now the controversy around this movie comes from people saying "it's too soon" "I don't want to reopen a wound."

Hearing anonymous liberals say things like that doesn't phase me, but when a friend of mine said it I was able to see our differences in thinking. For me 9/11 wasn't a wound that will eventually heal and be as good as ever. 9/11 to me was tantamount to loosing a leg. It would forever change the way I walk, with no means of going back.

I walk a little taller these days.

That brings me to the 2 types of people in America since 9/11. There are those who wish it never happened and don't want to be reminded that it ever did. They don't want us to fight terrorism and say the war is illegitimate. They go on to protest the Patriot Act and say that containment and appeasement is the way to peace.

Then there are those of us who saw the real reality of 9/11. And we're doing everything we can to stop it from ever happening again.

Dustin commented to me, "This type of behavior was forecasted in the early days after 9/11 when nearly everyone, even liberals, were showing patriotism. People said that one day the patriotism would wear off and Americans would start blaming one another."

Hopefully you felt the emotion watching that preview you felt that surge of emotion that had the pinkest of upper west-siders calling for blood after this tragic day. I know I felt it.

Is it too soon for this movie?

I say was Tobey Keith's song too soon?

Was it too soon for Battlestar Galactica to make parallels between 9/11 and the Cylon invasion?

Was it too soon to fight back?

I give credit to producer/writer/director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, The Bourne Identity) credit for making this movie. Is it too soon? I say it is not soon enough!

Regarding the 2 groups of Americans described above I give one group credit for this fact: 1,680 days without a terrorist event on this country's soil... and counting

"Let's roll!"
-- last known words of Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In the news..

The Adventures of Andy presents:
In The News
State pans decision to show inmates 'Brokeback Mountain'
Gay cowboy movie to be shown at stat prison.
Well, that's one way to get more people to see this movie. Nobody saw it in the theaters and you don't get a more captive audience than inmates!

Second from the Sun: European Probe Enters Venus Orbit
Europe's Venus Express probe entered orbit around Venus early Tuesday to begin a planned 16-month mission to study a planet.
Why does it not surprise me that a space mission from Europe would go to the planet where all the women are supposedly from?

Air trends 'amplifying' warming
Reduced air pollution and increased water evaporation appear to be adding to man-made global warming.
So Global warming was caused by air pollution... and now it's being caused by clean air... how bout it's a natural phenonomon that is beyond human controll!

I promise better joke next week!

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Passion of Michael Moore

"I'm like Michael Moore, except I'm thin, my jeans are
clean, and God loves me"

-- Ned Flanders The Simpsons

Friday, March 24, 2006

The myth of global warming

This headline makes no sense:
Melting ice threatens sea-level rise

Here's why. Water is one of the only materials that when it freezes, it expands. Thusly, when it melts, it contracts. For instance, if you fill a glass with water and put an ice cube in it then wait for the ice to melt the water level actually goes down.

This is where the environmental movement ceases to hold water (pun intended). Because, as I have stated above, the rise of sea levels cannot be the result of polar melting. Melting icebergs and icecaps (The North Pole being the warmer of the two would be the first to melt which has no land mass under it like the South Pole) would then cause a recession of waters along the coasts.

It is, then, global warming (if it existed) that is keeping the oceans from rising to dangerous levels!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Adventures of Andy at Whole Foods

I went to Whole Foods last night for grocery shopping.

They didn't have anything I liked, and the stuff I did like, I couldn't afford.

The only things I bought were some plumbs, a package of bacon some spaghetti (none of their sauces had meat) and some all natural che-tos

I had to get out of there because I was afraid that if I spent any more time there I'd start voting democrat!

They had organic beer.. that totally defeats the purpose of beer!

and they had no sliced cheese. My diet is built around sliced cheese! the closest thing they had was some sort of soy substitute.

You know, I live by the philosophy "Live Fast, Die young, and leave a beautiful corpse" without perservatives in all that Whole Food organic crap, how am I supposed to accomplish the 3rd part of my plan!?

I hear the current Kroger I live next door to will become an Aldi after the new Kroger (from what I hear, it will be the biggest in Ohio) is finished on the other side of the sawmill. I won't be able to continue my other philosophy "Only ever buy as much food as you can carry across the street" because aldi is one of these bulk places.

you don't just buy a box of cereal you buy a crate of it!

You don't buy ground beef there by the pound, you buy it by the metric ton!

It takes a forklift operator and three teamsters to load a package of Oreos into your cart!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Death and Taxes

It’s tax time. So this week I gathered up my tax forms, receipts, deductions and every other piece of financial information that would help me avoid that one thing we all dread most: Owing the IRS on April 15.

Now I hope I haven’t got pessimistic, and it’s just the subject matter here, but there’s no way to win when it comes to taxes (except maybe setting up residence in some country with no tax laws… but that sounds like a lot of work). Even if I don’t owe on tax day I also get a sinking feeling when I get a return check from Uncle Sam.

Oh, that reminds me, it wasn’t until only a few weeks ago that I finally realized that Uncle Sam has the same initials as United States. I need to start paying closer attention.

You see, when you get money back from the government it means that you should have had that money all year anyway!

I swear I’m not putting this much mental effort into dying. I don’t dread dying, probably because I can do that without the help of a CPA. Not that I don’t love my CPA. I met her in a bar and she was quite inebriated. Okay that’s probably not the best of credentials, but once she sobered up she did a great job for me last year. And sober she knows how to find a write-off by sense of smell!

But where are we as a society when we’re dreading reconciling our accounts with the government more than reconciling our accounts with the Almighty.

Maybe, I just have an inside track on the later.

I’ll give you a hint, that Jesus guy was right!