A Slice of Fried Gold

Justice is served

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dallas Cook

Back in Spring Break 2005, I flew down to Arizona to meet up with my mom to catch some awesome Spring Training baseball games, try my hand playing some Texas Hold'Em, and to catch my favorite band Gatsby's American Dream at this random venue in Tempe called Neckbeard's. It was a soda bar, and when I got there a concert was already going on. It was like four in the afternoon, and another show was wrapping up. What the hell was this place?

Gatsby's show was supposed to start at 5:30 pm, so I grabbed a beer and hurried back. The early show was still going on, so I asked the doorman if I could just go in. He said sure, and there was only like 50 or 60 people in there but they all seemed to be having a good time. The band on stage was a ska band called Suburban Legends and they were fantastic. They had all of what I love in a stage show - organized dance moves, crowd interaction, and fun tunes. In short, I freaking loved these guys.

After the show, the whole band came out to hang out as the next show prepared. I went out to talk to them, and the band was filled with some of the coolest guys I ever met. In particular, lead singer Tim Maurer and trombone player Ryan Dallas Cook were awesome, as they invited to go get milk and cookies with everyone (the audience was incredibly young) at a nearby store. And they did, yet I stayed to watch the show. However, I never forgot how awesome this band was and how great of people this band was.

Some seven months later, Dallas Cook died in a most terrible way. He was riding his motorcycle down Interstate 15 in Orange County when, unexpectedly, a stalled SUV appeared. Cook couldn't stop and he ended up crashing into the SUV, rocketing off and getting hit by oncoming traffic, dying in the process. A particularly horrible death for a great person.

Yet that isn't even the worst part. The driver of the SUV was a Hyundai executive who was on his way back from a company party, was drunk and had crashed his SUV into the wall. His car stalled, and shortly thereafter Cook came. Youn Bum Lee, the executive, quickly fled the country and to this day has not even spent a day in jail, being protected by his company and by his country.

Well on Wednesday, that changed, as Lee was extradited to face trial in Orange County for manslaughter. Over three years after his death, the man responsible for Dallas Cook's death will face justice. Cook was just 23 and was very successful for his age, and now his family can finally start healing, and justice can finally be served.

While it would have been better if it didn't happen, I'm glad Cook's family is finally seeing some sort of closure. Rest in peace finally to a great young musician.

The Good and the Bad

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Good: Lost

Tonight's episode of Lost has to be one of the best episodes the show has ever come out with. There were huge reveals and awesome moments, story progression, more intriguing questions, plus they really focused on the most interesting parts of the current setup (Lost writers - Island folk extremely interesting, Hurley not). Really, this season has started off as well as any, and it's safe to say that Lost is on its way to one of its best seasons yet.

The (very, very, very) Bad: Final Crisis #7

Simply put, one of the most incomprehensible event books I've ever read, if not one of the most impossible to understand comics ever. While issues 3 and 4 were fairly intriguing, this series ended unbelievably poorly. I love Grant Morrison's work in the past (you name it, his JLA run, WE3, All Star Superman, etc.), but this is a virtual lock for worst comic of the year. An absolute mess of a comic book.

One thing I do want to note: it was a very pretty mess with interesting layouts. Doug Mahnke should have been on pencils this whole series. The man is a saint. Love his work, hopefully DC puts him on a bigger book after this.

Think Cosmically, Act Locally

#1 - Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly

For my first venture into reading of the year (horrible start to the year caused by a very, very busy January), I read Brian Wood (of DMZ fame) and Ryan Kelly's wonderful 12 issue comic series Local.

While wandering Title Wave books in Anchorage with my mom, we randomly came across a comics "section" (two quick points: quotes on section because it was on book shelf which is smaller than my collection, and that Title Wave is the place that had an employee that I asked "where are your graphic novels?" to which she responded with , in the most condescending way possible, "we only have the German novel Maus", with a look of contempt and disdain in her eyes - not a fan of her) and I eagerly looked through it. While I'm not a fan of Title Wave and their pretentious nature ("I read, thus, I am better than you"), they do offer killer discounts. I saw a collection of all 12 issues of Local and saw that it was only $17.50 while it was $29.99 at Barnes and Noble, well, needless to say I eagerly snatched it up.

Strangely, I then went to Barnes and Noble, drank my coffee and tore through the whole series while listening to Explosions in the Sky (a current fave). I loved every second of this story, which follows one character named Megan McKeenan through her youth as a person who never can find a true home. Each issue features her in a new location, with most issues focusing on her while some focus on others with her simply appearing in them.

All in all though, it's a study of the meaning of home today, of finding yourself through the lens of a location, and it really is an excellent read for a younger person such as myself who still has not necessarily solidifed my sense of identity. The character of Megan finds herself impulsively jumping around the continent of North America, not really searching for something in particular, but trying to find something all the same. She begins her travels in Portland and weaves the continent, and Wood and Kelly meticulously researched each and every location Megan visits (I totally recognized the Pharmacy in Portland and the route she takes into Missoula, Montana) to add a real sense of realism to the story.

Wood really is the king of realistic comics right now, as even his more outlandish comic DMZ, which follows a photographer in a modern day American civil war, is steeped in realism unseen in other comics today. Not only are the locations entirely accurate, but the emotions and thought process behind characters simply feels more human than characters in other comics (or books for that matter). The growth he writes into protagonist Megan is natural and really gives the book an arc when on first sight there doesn't appear to be one.

Of course, Ryan Kelly's art really grounds the story as well, as his locations are not quite photo realistic but extremely detailed, his characters properly convey emotions and thought (although his men do tend to look a bit...similar), and he creates one of the more dynamic looking female characters around with his look for Megan.

All in all, this book is fantastic. Not only does it hit home with the search for identity today, but Megan really has this every girl feel that strikes me strongly as well. I can see a bit of every girl I've ever known in her, and she truly is a remarkable creation by Wood and Kelly.

I definitely recommend this for everyone who wants a good read, regardless of whether you're into comics or not.

Local: A-

Kim and David go to Italy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh my god, we're going to Italy!

It's been discussed frequently lately, but still no official word as to whether or not it was going to be true...until today. What's the news?

Kim is coming to meet me on my Europe trip!

I will still be spending at least the first two weeks of my trip by myself, but for the last week or so in Italy (my dream location), I will be joined by my wonderful friend Kim for the entirety. We'll share gondola rides, scooter ventures, Capri, architecture, and care free lifestyle together for a week. Not only that, but it will be the first time in nearly seven months that I've seen one of my best friends and it will be in the place I've always dreamt of going.

I'm so excited I can barely contain myself.

Hooray Europe trip 2009! You're going to be so awesome!

The New American Way


While busily working through spreadsheets and other such work at my job, I sighed as I heard a familiar sound. The clamor of four speakerphones turning on simultaneously, all at maximum volume, all featuring a nearly harmonious "hello" from the Yellow Pages reps as the phone connects.

"Kill me," I softly say to myself as my music plays.

It's not that I don't like these people. They seem okay enough. It's just their unintentional stupidity (or perhaps that is just how they are) and circular nature (conference call, loudness, we ask for them to use headsets or go to the conference room, they agree, silence, we do a jig, repeat) endlessly kill me. One primary feature of the human race, or at least the lowest common denominator, is that we're always destined to repeat ourselves. As Ronald D. Moore, man amongst men, genius of geniuses, would say, "all this has happened before, and all this will happen again."

For a people who seemingly have made large leaps in terms of intelligence and technology, how is it that we're still so simple in the face of seemingly not so difficult things?

Example: the people who have purchased the Snuggie (you can check the infomercial at the top of this if you haven't seen it - it's glorious). Now for those that have seen it, you have to be thinking "well, how many of these dumb things could possibly have sold?"

Four million, according to an article published today from Advertising Age magazine.

Four million blanket/cloak/monk's robes have been purchased, a blanket/cloak/monk's robe that I openly mock upon sight of the infomercial. That seemingly is perpetually ridiculed by the mass of society. Yet assuming the average customer purchased the two based off the screaming deal offered in the infomercial (2 for $19.95, plus two reading lights, get out!), two million people have purchased this amazing contraption...that is essentially a warmer version of a robe worn backwards.

Is our mass consumerism so bad at this point that we really need to buy another object that effectively can be recreated by reversing a robe and putting a blanket on? Or becoming a buddhist monk? Or by drinking the Kool Aid and joining some sort of cult? All of those things are likely more cost effective than the snuggie, with the first being recreated the fastest, the second option providing spiritual enlightenment, and the third gets you some sweet, sweet Kool Aid.


Really, I guess I just don't understand people. Are we really going the way of Idiocracy (as I so often like to ask)? If you watched Larry Charles and Bill Maher's newest documentary Religulous, you'd likely think so.

Not to come down on those who look to religion for guidance and direction for their own personal beliefs, but this movie really shares all of the things I look at as problematic in the world of religion (zealotry, violence, taking advantage of people, you know...the usual) and expands upon them.

People are often so desperate to believe in something that they'll take whatever they can get, as brilliantly demonstrated in the section of the movie where a crowd gathers around Maher in Hyde Park in Chicago (a location famed for its' street preachers and gathered flock) as he preaches the gospel of the book of Scientology and the ways of the Jedi. Some look at him like he's crazy, others are clearly moved by his words.

The point is, most people in this world are gradually moving in a direction towards blind consumerism regardless of the state of the economy, away from logic despite what stares them in the face, and ignoring personal responsibility in lieu of personal comfort.

In short, we're all about the number one, baby.

We want a reverse robe blanket thing? We get a reverse robe blanket thing. We want comfort in the form of believing some peoples bodies may be full of midochlorians? Take that comfort. You want to blare your speaker phone, annoying everyone within a 45 foot radius to bring ease to your morning (I mean come on...those headsets are freaking heavy)? You do it.

It's the new American way. We better get used to it.

The Weekend Edition

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This weekend rocked. They all pretty much do, but this one was great in particular because it didn't involve going to the bars. I have to admit, it was nice to have a welcome respite from going to the bars. Plus, some awesome happenings came down. What happened this weekend?

  • Cover letters, beer, and delicious dinner at Taproot with Amy
  • Religulous at Bear Tooth (fannnnnntastic)
  • Coffee with sister at Kaladi's
  • Lunch with mom and sister at Middle Way Cafe
  • Little Big Planet!!!!!
  • Bad movie night with Brian, Colver, Lorna, and Morgan
  • Defiance with my parents
  • Reading Local for the first time
  • Rock of Love Bus with Amy and Jason
As it always is, the highlight of the weekend was most definitely bad movie night. Bad movie nights are always fantastic, and this one was excellent in particular.

Lorna and I: sharing pants like true friends

As I told Brian, I've always perceived he and I to be the de facto curators of bad movie night. There is a certain art to what we do, most of which ties to finding a movie that is truly terrible, that thinks it could be good, but isn't so bad it's impossible to watch. It takes a gift to pick something of that sort out of racks upon racks of movies, and it is a gift that Brian and I both share.

This time on the agenda were Uwe Boll's new instant masterpiece Postal, the Paris Hilton/Elisha Cuthbert horror film House of Wax, and sci-fi superstar 100 Million B.C. (this was a time that the dinosaurs were extra badass and the movies were extra...bad). None of them were really superb bad movies, but in true form, we all brought our A game and turned it into a glorious night.

We had the aforementioned section of the night where we spoke almost entirely in single word abbreviations, we had extremely late night breakfast burritos, we had Lorna and I sharing pants, random wrestling matches, popcorn, and tons upon tons of laughter. It was a truly great night, and as per usual the perpetual BMN foursome of Brian, Colver, Lorna, and I all had a great time. We were so awesome, we tired Lorna and Colver's dog Ror Monster (aka Rory aka Aurora) out to the point where she slept through our insanity.

That dog tires very, very difficultly. We however do not. We totally cmm'd that dog. Another splendid bad movie night down the hatch.

Fun with Facebook

Recently I picked up another new phone (I've been going through about 2 or 3 a week at this point) and this one is one I think I'm going to stick with for a while. It's the Blackberry 8220 (essentially a flip phone version of the Blackberry Pearl) and it's pretty much everything I could want in a phone. It has a great keypad for texting, it has Wi Fi, you can load it up with applications, and it checks both my work and play emails all the time.

I freaking love it.

One of the benefits also is the Facebook application, which updates me whenever I get a message, wall posting, or anything really. It also provides me the ability to give on the run status updates, which, when combined with a night of watching bad movies and creating new inside jokes, is pretty freaking hysterical.

Example: last night while watching the truly abysmal House of Wax, we created the term CMMing (short for Chad Michael Murray-ing), which didn't really have a clear definition, but seemed to mean any time anyone did something awesome, badass, or decidedly unlike a horror movie characters general M.O. It was hilarious, and led to a period of time where myself and fellow bad movie night attendees Brian, Colver, and Lorna only spoke in single letter abbreviations of words, which made very little sense but made us laugh very hard all the same.

Back to the point of the phone, because I was a little tanked and was really entertained by our current discussions, I of course started making Facebook status updates that related to what we were discussing and/or watching. Because of the CMMing term, I of course made my last update to say "David is CMMing bitches." Given Facebook censors, I woke up in the morning to say "David is cmming." Which is dangerously close to something else.

Needless to say I fixed it as fast as humanly possible and it seemed as if no one noticed, but still, for as long as I have this phone I need to watch those Facebook updates. People will start think I'm some sort of freak person if I don't watch those updates. Or a porn star. One of the two. Either way, I'm not down with that.

Video of the Decade?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The video for Animal Collective's incredibly awesome track "My Girls" off their new album Merriweather Post Pavilion made it to the intarwebs. It's pretty spectacular and most definitely trippy beyond words. Check it out for a look into the minds of Animal Collective, or perhaps not I hope. That'd be pretty freaking weird if that's the type of thing they think about often.

Oscar nominations 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar sad...

I guess when I was building it up in my mind, I must have been imagining the Academy as some sort of group of people who actually likes outside the box thinking, unique storytelling, and you know, the best movies. That's probably how I get all hyped up every year, just to find out that they're exactly who I thought they were (thanks Dennis Green!). I said it was like Christmas every time they announce the nominations, except it's like that Christmas when you first find out Santa doesn't exist.

Why am I pessimistic about awards season all of a sudden?

Well the nominations came out, and I'm unimpressed. How so?

Let me count the ways...

1. Boring Best Picture nominations (The Reader? Milk? Come on, let's try a bit harder)
2. No Clint Eastwood for Best Actor
3. The Boss gets robbed of a Best Song nomination
4. Wall-E gets robbed
5. No Christopher Nolan or Darren Aronofsky...but Stephen Daldry?
6. Angelina Jolie over Sally Hawkins
7. Doubt getting 4 acting nominations

Of course, it wasn't all bad. There were some great calls by them, but the uninspired Best Picture nominations really nullified it. What were particiularly good calls by the Academy?

1. Ten (count it!) nominations for Slumdog Millionaire
2. The Academy making it possible to get an M.I.A. performance at the Oscars
3. In Bruges getting a screenplay nomination
4. Robert Downey Jr. in blackface getting a nomination
5. Michael Shannon (the only exceptional part of Revolutionary Road) getting a nomination
6. Richard Jenkins in tha house!!!!
7. Man on Wire getting a nomination

Here's hoping there is just a Slumdog sweep so we can have some fun with it. The rest of the nominees are tried and true Oscar bait, let's see some fresh blood win this year. Next year we can work on the nominees. Maybe between now and then the Academy will grow some cojones.

Superman vs. Inflation

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Action Comics #1

For the longest time, my friend Pat who works at Bosco's (my friendly neighborhood comic book joint) has said that comics will be hitting $3.99 sooner rather than later. With the way the economy is going and the fact that customers still purchase comics (when they're special of course) at the $3.99 price point, it really could be any day when the jump hits.

I figured, no way could this happen of course. The comic book industry throughout my life has taken moderate jumps, not huge jumps like that. $1 to $1.25. $1.25 to $1.50. $1.50 to $1.99. Things of that sort. That would be a jump of a whole dollar, increasing the price by a third of the existing amount. I could see a jump to $3.50, but $3.99? That's absurd. Think about all of the things you can get for $3.99?

  • 3 gallons of gas (if you live somewhere besides Alaska...damn Alaska)
  • A gallon of milk (in Alaska, I have no idea how much it is in places that forcibly try to curb my milk habit)
  • 4 songs on iTunes
  • Almost an entire half special at Benny's Taco Wagon
  • Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy at Title Wave, plus have enough left over for a hot chocolate from Kaladi's to drink while reading
Needless to say my response was most often "surrrreeeeee Pat. Sure." as I cheerily purchased my massive stack of books. They'd never boost comics by a dollar in a bad economy. No way!

April 2009 solicits just came out from Diamond Comic Distributions, and sure enough? A lot of the big books have made the leap to $3.99. Not all of them, but an attention getting percentage and most books that are deemed must buys. That's how they get you - "hey David...look at me. I'm awesome, you can't not get me." It's right too, so I do that. Next thing you know a slightly less awesome book moves up, and then another, and then another, and then next thing you know I'm paying $3.99 for Brave and the Bold (a lower tier comic that my mom and sister merrily pointed out - repeatedly - sounds like a daytime soap opera).

Well you know what comic industry? I've been looking to drop some books. You bump it to $3.99, sayanora title, I'm going to start trade waiting. Sure I'm impatient when it comes to comic books, but I'm not stupid. I have no problem saving $1.50 an issue if I have to wait 6 months longer.

The most amazing thing is that for the most part, comics are an industry that is in serious pain. The industries top books sell 1/8th of what they did as recently as 1990, the movies about the characters have not infused any titles with sudden sales rushes, and overall, while the quality is higher than it's ever been, issue by issue buzz is nowhere near P.F.C. (pre foil covers - aka before stupid, cheesy foil covers almost ruined the industry in the 90's).

Especially as a person who spent a few years of his life learning the ins and outs of business, I have to wonder what signs the big 2 have seen that indicate sales won't plummet after this increase. I don't really have any answers, but I really have to admit, I miss the days of $1 comics.

Christmas comes early this year!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh Oscar...

When I was little (as many of you also likely did), I'd always get so excited for Christmas morning that I could hardly sleep. "What could be in my stocking?!" "What is that big present?!" "Am I getting (insert awesome game/movie/toy here)?" All of those were common thoughts for me as I grew up. That feeling of course has went away quite a bit, with nothing really ever being as exciting as Christmas morning was now that I'm a quarter century old.

However, strangely, every year when the Academy Award nominations are announced I get really, really excited to the point I actually get up on time and eagerly pursue news about the nominations. I really have no idea why that is, mostly my love for movies I guess, but still, it's pretty bizarre how into it I am. This Thursday is the day in 2009, and my cup is already running over with excitement.

All in all, it's a great day for movie buffs, with the great nominations drawing a ton of excitement and the snubs feeling my ire in force, it's an emotional roller coaster and I feel like I'm going to be up at the crack of dawn, frantically refreshing MSNBC or IMDB while eating my Kashi Go Lean cereal at 5 am. Well, if we lived in a theoretical world where I'd get up at 5 am for anything. But you get the theoretical.

Before we get to it, just wanted to drop my two cents on predictions for the major awards in this years Oscars (no supporting actor/actress awards though, especially considering I feel that Heath Ledger has the actual Best Supporting Actor win locked up). See below, let's hope I'm not too off or I'm going to feel dumb!

Also, for one thing, I'm going for the upset special and am predicting Milk getting dominated outside of Sean Penn, and Wall-E sneaking in. I have no reason to believe this will happen, outside the fact I found one to be decent but not amazing and the other to be one of the best movies I've ever seen. Guess which is which.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Dark Knight, Wall-E.

Last one in: Wall-E
Last one out: Milk

Best Director: Danny Boyle, David Fincher, Ron Howard, Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofsky.

Last one in: Darren Aronofsky
Last one out: Gus Van Sant

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn, Frank Langella, Clint Eastwood, Richard Jenkins.

Last one in: Richard Jenkins
Last one out: Brad Pitt

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Sally Hawkins, Melissa Leo.

Last one in: Melissa Leo
Last one out: Kristin Scott Thomas

Super Tuesday

Animal Collective (above) and Andrew Bird (right)

Are you a music fan? Do you like music you can sing along to, but also challenges you as a listener? Do you like music that doesn't really sound like anything else you're currently listening to? Well do I have two albums for you!

Today features not one, but two great releases, with Andrew Bird releasing his follow up to my personal 2007 album of the year Armchair Apocrypha, titled Noble Beast (streaming here) and Animal Collective releasing their own, blog anointed "album of the year" in Merriweather Post Pavilion (streaming here), an album more steeped in pre-release hype than anything since last years debut by Vampire Weekend. It deserves a lot of it too, and Andrew Bird always deserves a shot from a pure talent standpoint.

Do yourself and pick up these albums. If you're a music fan, you owe it to yourself.

The Weekend Edition

Monday, January 19, 2009

This weekend was pretty much out of control. Between Friday and Saturday, with one evening being a night where I was a tour guide to Anchorage bars and the other being the yearly (and amazing) Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival, I really don't think I need to drink again for the next few months. My liver is crying "uncle!" right now, and yesterday I felt like I was living in a microwave and was perpetually as tired as I've ever been.

Worth it!

What else happened?

  • Dinner at Club Paris with mom and dad (mouthwateringly fantastic!)
  • Battlestar Galactica premiering (can I use mouthwateringly fantastic again?)
  • David Harper: Alaskan bar tour guide (awesome!)
  • Let the Right One In with my mom
  • Gumbo House for my birthday with my mom, dad, and sister
  • Getting awesome new running shoes for my bday at Skinny Raven
  • Beer and Barley Wine Festival!
  • Random pics and amazing food with Hannah
  • Dance party plus at the Avenue as per usual
  • Snow City in the morning with Jason and Hannah
  • Feeling like death but having a bunch of fun at Chuck E Cheese
  • Watching Tropic Thunder on blu ray whilst trying to not pass out (I fail)
So yeah, it was a total blasty blast of a weekend, to steal a line from the Boss (of the Hannah Ross variety, not that more musical but slightly less awesome knock off of her Bruce Springsteen). What was the highlight?

For the second straight year, I went to the Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival, and it proceeded to be one of the most fun days around. It was an absolutely genius way to spend my birthday, and was full of great times, great friends (seriously, people were coming out of the woodwork for this thing), tons of beer, and heaps of ridiculousness.

Plus, through the intoxication, somehow everyone realized it was my birthday, so there was that added bonus of cheer and merriment to be shared amongst the group. Multiple times during the night Jason (or Blaze Town as I for some reason insistently refer to him as) and I commented that we wished this happened all the time, because it's always such a blast and everyone has such a good time. Well, I don't want that to happen. I'd be perpetually hungover and my liver would be in terrible shape.

But I do wish there were more events (possibly ones without alcohol) that could seemingly united all of the awesome Alaskans into one place more often. I guess that really proves the power of good beer. It's incentive to become social for those that are anti social and added power for those that are already social. One way or another, the Beer and Barley Wine Festival was once again a great success.

I already can't wait for next year!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

My boy Fitz

Even without the Pats making it happen this year, I'm really happy about what's happening with the NFL right now. Why? I'm unbelieveably happy for the Arizona Cardinals, especially my favorite non-Patriot in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald (or Fitz as I incessantly refer to him as), as they made it into the Super Bowl today by beating the Philadelphia Eagles 32 to 25. They really deserved it, and I'm glad to see Fitz getting some success after dwelling in the cellar for the last few years.

Also, congrats to Adrian Wilson, he gave pretty much the single best post game interview I've ever seen. That's a person who loves the game and really believes in something. There is something to be said about that. Best of luck in the Super Bowl Cards!

Get excited America!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The world's frakking best television show is coming back as Battlestar Galactica is premiering its' final season tonight, promising the revelation of the final Cylon and digging further into what has happened to Earth now that they are there just tonight, plus much more over the other nine episodes.

In short?

We're in for perhaps ten of the most intense episodes of any show ever.

Consider myself as excited as I can possibly get about a television show. You're out of your mind if you aren't watching this show. Or you're a toaster. One way or another, bad news for you!

Big weekend coming!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I am super pumped for this weekend. It's loaded up with all kinds of awesomeness. First up, tomorrow night I'm having dinner with my parents at Club Paris (best steak ever!), then Battlestar Galactica's run through its' last ten episodes begins (and the final cylon will be revealed!), and finally I get to be a tour guide around Anchorage bars for my coworker Toni and her niece Courtney. Not a bad weekend right there by itself, but Saturday is also awesome.

Saturday is my birthday first off, I'm turning a quarter century old and I'm really beginning to feel it (although to be fair, I think I'm feeling the guy who kneed my calf earlier, much to my chagrin). That morning my mom is coming over to watch Let the Right One In, then we're going out to lunch with my dad and sister at the Gumbo House, followed up by going to Skinny Raven and picking out my birthday present (new running shoes!), and finally, the main event: the Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival.

This is of course going to be spectacular, as last year was one of the best times I had in 2008 and absolutely nuts. Plus, this year Jason and Amy get to go. They weren't able to attend last time so it's that much more amazing.

Sunday? That's going to be football and resting.

All in all, this weekend is going to be amazing. Now I just need to survive one more day of work and get the fun started. I really can't wait.

That's it? Seriously?

Batman and Darkseid plotting each other's demise

Grant Morrison, what is your status?

If you care to read Final Crisis, DC's current mega event, at some point in the future, you probably shouldn't read this. However, you should read this part here: don't read the damn thing.

I think I keep trying to convince myself that I really like it. It is entertaining, and conceptually, it's pretty spectacular. Darkseid and his fellow "new" New Gods take over the Earth as part of the transition into the fifth world, using the anti-life equation which has been spread throughout the Earth submitting the human race to Darkseid's will. Most heroes goes down in the first salvo, Batman is taken out after Batman R.I.P., Superman is in the future, and Wonder Woman has been brainwashed by the anti-life. What are the heroes to do? How can they save New Earth?

Yet, this is not the sum of all of its parts. It's Morrison at his most byzantine, it's rushed JG Jones art (plus middling Carlos Pacheco work over the rest of it), and the 2 page plot beats for seemingly massively important sections. When he does give a topic more than that, it's on the most random things, like two people sized cats fighting each other (okay, oversimplifying an actually pretty sweet fight between Tawky Tawny and Kalibak, but still).

Then, after not appearing for four issues, Batman shows up randomly, all of a sudden free after being captured by Darkseid's confederates. Of course, much posturing proceeds, Batman takes out a gun (even Morrison references the fact that he never uses guns) with a bullet that was used to kill Orion in the first issue (it can do that because it's full of radion...you know those New Gods, they're so silly), points it at Darkseid (who responds by Omega Sanctioning all up in Bats business), and then they kill each other by radion bullet and bendy eye beams respectively.

This all takes place over three pages.

So a fight between cat people gets two more pages than the death of the main villain of the story (possibly) and the most popular character in the DC universe. Of course due to the fact the Omega Sanction is actually something that puts the person into an endless loop of alternative realities that continuously suck worse than the previous one, it probably means Batman will get out (especially considering Mister Miracle did in another Morrison written book).

No less, the point isn't that Batman died. It's that he died in a 3 page section of an issue that cycled through plot elements as fast as I jump through channels while nothing is on (which makes sense as Morrison himself calls this "channel zapping comics."), it's that the entire series is disjointed, frantic, and all over the place, it's that the art is mediocre (besides Doug Mahnke's stellar final five pages - thank god he's drawing issue seven!), it's really a combination of everything.

While I really dug issue 4 and have overall found the series entertaining, it's just too much of the side of Morrison that people do not like. People applaud him for "challenging" the way comic book publishers write these vents, but come on now. Being different isn't always great. This issue is the perfect example of why it isn't.

Check here at the Daily Skew for a nice breakdown of issue #6. I'm glad to see public opinion is turning against Morrison in this regard. It's about damn time!

Best album of 2009?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Animal Collective's super trippy cover to Merriweather Post Pavilion

In college my core group of friends were Erik, Brian, Sobo, Colver, and myself. We were "the guys" and we were pretty much inseparable, regardless of differences. Cutting it down further, you did have polar opposites in many things, specifically when it came to Erik and I, who were far different in many, many views.

However, music was one very major overlap we had early in college. This proceeded on for a while, until we started to diverge, with the two of us staying in the world of more independent and more unknown music but Erik professing in far more experimental sound, with myself sticking with the music that had more pop sensibility to them.

In short, even within our little niche, Erik and I ended up being polar opposites once again, to a degree.

Yet, on January 6th, just barely into 2009, perhaps the best album of the year (yes it's early, but man, it's pretty awesome) was released, along with what could possibly be the Rosetta Stone to finally translate Erik into David, and vice versa. That album? Animal Collective's new album, Merriweather Post Pavilion.

This album has been quickly anointed "best album of the decade" by many blogs out there, even getting a 9.6 from the vaunted Pitchfork scoring system (the greatest rating from them since the Arcade Fire's Funeral - that's how you know it's serious). And you know what? It's overhyped, but only by so much.

It's the ultimate headphone album, as I made sure to roll it out on my iPod with a nice pair of headphones guiding me as I quickly worked on spreadsheets in the office, and within seconds I was enraptured by the layers (and do I mean layers, this album is like five albums structured ever so carefully upon each other) and the sheer feeling this album moved me with. I honestly could feel this music throughout my body, and at times I would cease being able to work because of it pulsating in my ears.

This album is so good, I could hardly function as a human being. That is something I can guarantee I've never said before.

Why is this the Rosetta Stone between Erik and I though? How does this album bridge the gap between our similar but ultimately disparate tastes?

While this album thrives on the layers and the experimental sound it provides (unsurprisingly from an Animal Collective album, a band that in my mind has provided albums in the past that are long in concept but lacking in reality), the reason it is so fantastic is because the songs exist in structures of pure pop sensibility and and a truly accurate representation of the talent within this band, fusing together the genius of Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist, and Deakin.

Once again, in short, this album is where Animal Collective becomes the sum of all it's parts. It's what would happen if you took Panda Bear's Person Pitch, a bunch of Bjork albums, a greatest hits of 60's pop, and Animal Collective's discography (besides MPP of course) into a blender, pressed frappe, and listened as you poured it into the world's most perfectly sized cup.

This is a beverage that Erik and I can share and both think "man, I'm glad we both found something we can agree upon."

Listen yourself. While it's still a bit out there for your average listener, with a little adventure in your heart and a nice set of headphones, I feel like you'd agree with us too.

Best Movies of 2008

Monday, January 12, 2009
It was really hard to finalize my top 10. Strangely enough, even with all of my complaining, it ended up being a pretty awesome year in movies. Typically for these things I preface by saying these are my favorite movies of the year, not best, but I really do feel like these are the best. One note to make is that this list is mostly devoid from comedies, but I do want to stress that I thought this was a great year for comedies: I really, really enjoyed Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and even Step Brothers and Definitely, Maybe. If I made a favorite list, the first two at least would likely be on there.

No less, first once, this is the best of 2008 list from yours truly. I highly recommend everything on this list, but it's a definitive and inseparable two way tie at the top.

Also, from time to time I will steal my own old reviews in places where I think I already captured what I said correctly.

1a. Slumdog Millionaire (Directed by Danny Boyle; Written by Simon Beaufoy)

Taken from my review in December...

Once again, a preface is necessary. Typically I swerve wildly into the realm of hyperbole way too easily, and this situation may be no different. Also, to each their own, as your opinion will almost assuredly not jive with mine.

I'm going to call it a tie with Wall E (because I have no guts and it's hard to decide), but Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's new film, is my favorite movie of the year. Not only that, but it quickly has jumped into the category of "one of my favorite movies of all time." It's that good.

Strangely enough, that makes it two straight years of Danny Boyle directing my favorite movie of the year (with Sunshine taking the nod last year). The man is one of the most prolific directors in the industry, and is perpetually excellent. On his rap sheet you have great films like Trainspotting, Millions, 28 Days Later, and the aforementioned Sunshine.

This is better than all of them.

This film takes on the feel of the fantasy like Millions, studying the life of a young man who goes on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? simply because he thinks the love of his life will be watching. You find out what makes a person like they are, how they learn, and how they grow to be the adult they're supposed be in this film. It's one of the most human and real movies I've ever seen, with parts that are shocking, hilarious, touching, and flat out incredible coming up nearly every minute.

Very few films actually make me want to get up and cheer during the midst of it, and I nearly did multiple times during it. It's a roller coaster of a movie, and every aspect of it is uniformly excellent. I just can't say enough about it. There is no part of the creation of this movie that was not well prepared and put together. It's the perfect fusion of script, acting, direction, cinematography, editing, and music (loaded with lots of M.I.A., how are you going to go wrong with that?).

I won't go into the plot at all, as it's better to be surprised by it (as this movie I somehow knew very little about, at least in the details, before going to see it). However, know this. It's very akin to Wall E in the fact that it's impossible not to like (or love). I have no doubt that this movie is for everyone, and I hope when the time comes it pulls in the nominations it deserves.

1b. Wall-E (Directed by Andrew Stanton; Written by Stanton, Pete Docter, and Jim Reardon)

Even though I love Pixar with immense passion, and many of their movies rank as all time favorites (both Toy Story's, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo), Wall-E managed to pull off the seemingly impossible and surpass all of them in my mind.

This movie managed to do more with silence, small motions, and longing looks than other movies this year did with 30 minutes of film. With apologies to Slumdog, this was the most romantic movie of the year and the most human, even though it was a story about a selfless robot and his pursuit of love. I wholeheartedly believe it deserves a Best Picture nomination.

Regardless of the fact it is an animated feature that some automatically demerit it for (archaic way of thinking if you ask me), this movie features better visuals, sound, and altogether cinematic appeal than almost anything else this year. The filmmaking talent behind it is almost unrivaled, and the idea that it being animated changes any of those previous ideas is ludicrous and backward thinking if you ask me.

I have no problem calling this one of my favorite movies of the year, and I really hope the Academy grows a heart between now and next week.


3. Let the Right One In (Directed by Tomas Alfredson; Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist)

Taken from my review from earlier this month...

When going through a large sum of movies to round up my Best of 2008 list, I really did not expect a miminalist Swedish love story between a Vampire in the form of a 12 year old girl and a bullied prototypical Swedish kid to stand out amongst the rest. Who would really, mostly because one would have to openly wonder whether or not a movie that fit under that description could possibly exist.

Yet it does. And it did.

It's name is Let the Right One In, and it's a remarkable movie that has a guaranteed spot in my favorite five movies of the year. Everything about it, from the two brilliant lead performances by the two child actors (Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar and the "wears sadness better than most Oscar winning actresses" vampire Eli as performed by Lina Leandersson) to the haunting music, from the subtle script to the brilliant direction (Tomas Alfredson...remember that name when he makes your next favorite American movie - he can set a scene like nobody's business), is phenomenal.

It's definitely not for everyone. Not into foreign film? Probably not for you. Not into movies with slow but thoughtful pacing? Avoid like the plague. But if you're an adventurous movie goer and want to see something truly excellent, check this out.

You'll be happy that you did.

4. In Bruges (Written and directed by Martin McDonagh)

In an incredibly surprising year that was highlighted by movies whose main characters were Indian youths from Mumbai, an incredibly loving and brave robot, and a Swedish vampire and her put upon best friend, this movie was possibly the most surprising of all.

Even though I saw the previews and immediately thought it looked awesome, I really expected some sort of zany crime comedy from them. What I got was one of the most affecting crime movies in recent memory, showing us what happens when everything goes wrong in a young criminals career. Plus, it provides us with hysterical humor, whip fast dialogue, and three brilliant lead performances.

While Brendan Gleason and Ralph Fiennes have earned their kudos over the years and were expectedly wonderful in this movie (Fiennes rageaholic boss character was particularly fun), it was Colin Farrell who really took this movie to the next level. He needed to be sympathetic while being a bastard, able to switch from a devestatingly tragic scene to one where he judo chops a midget, and give the most balanced performance of his career to make it work.

He did more than that, and that's why this is one of the best movies I saw this year.

5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Directed by David Fincher; Written by Eric Roth)

After the middling word about this movie, I was unsure. Sure it had a pedigree that was to die for. David Fincher, a brilliant director. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, incredible leads. Eric Roth, Academy Award winning screenwriter. What could go wrong?

Very little, when it got down to it. This movie was 2 hours and 47 minutes long, but it never dragged, it never sagged, and it always keep you involved with the story of this most unique character. Roth really hit another home run with this script, finally reaching the highs of Forrest Gump once again after years of mediocrity, and Fincher abandoned his visual panache for a more prestigious look, although he still occasionally threw in some trademark edge.

Of course, the movie was carried by performances, with Pitt and Blanchett being predictably superb. Blanchett, in my mind, was ravishing in this movie, looking better than she ever had and really establishing herself as a believable figure that was irresistable for her truly one-of-a-kind beau.

However, one note I do want to make is while these performances were good, it was the supporting performances that really made this movie what it was. Here's a shout out to Taraji P. Henson, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Jason Flemyng, Julia Ormond, Jared Harris, and Tilda Swinton for really making this great film a little bit greater.

6. The Dark Knight (Directed by Christopher Nolan; Written by Nolan and Jonathan Nolan)

This is not the best movie ever made. I want that to be known.

But it is a great one that is a gritty crime drama and the best comic book movie ever made, all wrapped up into one.

I'm not going to waste time going into this. You all know the count on this one. Ledger gave one of the legendary film performances in this. Nolan directed with a steady and precise hand. The story was grounded in realism, which is the element that most comic movie directors forget.

Yada yada yada. We've all seen it. We all love it.

7. Man On Wire (Directed by James Marsh)

From my review back in October...

You may have heard of this movie. It's a little documentary called Man on Wire and it is about a tightrope walker named Philippe Petit and his friends on an adventure to walk across a wire suspended between the Twin Towers. Hannah and I went and saw it tonight at Bear Tooth, and it flat out blew me away. Definitely one of the best movies I've seen this year, and probably the best documentary I've ever seen (although I do not consider myself a documentary connoisseur).

The whole film is an emotional powerhouse, providing the viewer with alternating moments of great levity and true sorrow. The story of one man's quest to live his dream and how it affects those around him, about the drive it takes to really accomplish what you want to do in life. It is absolutely incredible and inspirational, but the parts that really struck home were the ones that expressed what a person has to give up to get what they want. Of course, in the end I don't believe Petit would trade what he did for anything, as he was filled to the brim with joy over what he had accomplished.

All of the people within the film are brilliant, so full of life and so haunted by the one act they all shared. Haunted by the fear, by the joy, by the success, by everything it presented to them. This is the type of movie that makes you want to reconsider delaying your own dreams, and one that throws caution into your mind as you attempt to fulfill them. One way or another, it is more full of life than nearly any other movie you'll see.

This is a great film, and one that should be seen by everyone. It's for all of the dreamers out there, whether your dreams have been fulfilled or not.

8. The Visitor (Written and directed by Thomas McCarthy)

This is the most underrated movie of the year. It's an incredibly affecting movie that was very small and very ignored, but is getting some late breaking buzz to get character actor Richard Jenkins a deserved nomination. It follows a very lonely man (portrayed by Jenkins) whose wife has died and is now trying to find solace in music. Except he lacks all discernable talent in his wife's instrument of choice and clearly feels as if he is a failure, thoughts which he seemingly brow beats himself over.

It all changes when he goes to New York City for a conference and finds a couple from Syria and Senegal living in his home, and ultimately befriends them.

This movie brings together thoughts of relationships, of fairness of laws, of understanding your government, of loneliness, and of doing what is right simply because it is the right thing to do. The cast in this is uniformly excellent, but I wanted to give a shout out to the underrated Haaz Sleiman. As a coworker told me recently, he didn't believe this movie would work unless Sleiman made his Syrian character likeable. He did, and the whole movie works because of it.

Incredible film that needs as much love as it can get, which so far has not been much at all.

9. Frost/Nixon (Directed by Ron Howard; Written by Peter Morgan)

Taken from my December review...

Now, tonight we have Frost/Nixon, a film (you could almost describe it as a study/dramatic retelling that is incredibly play like, which is unsurprising given it's origin as a play) that delves into the unlikely interview that took place between British talk show host David Frost and the as of then recently resigned President Richard Nixon. While the structure itself seems as if it would lay credence to the film being technically sharp with a bore at its core (my bad for rhyming), I'm happy to say that I was riveted the whole way through.

There are a number of reasons why, but you have to start with Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost. I have to admit, after watching Sheen portray Frost, I immediately want to search out other roles he's done. He's remarkably charming, incredibly smooth, and a damn fine actor. The fact that Langella is getting all of the accolades is a shame.

Except it isn't, because his performance really is a tour de force. He manages to make his Nixon believable, forgiveable, despicable, and pitiable all at once. The man he portrays is like a wounded tiger, casually unfurling in a lurch, prepared to jump all over the clearly overmatched Frost at one point, then pulling back and seeming to be wounded and really just looking for some help. His character is an absolute enigma, sort of like the actual Nixon.

Ron Howard really proves himself as an actors' director in this, getting bravura performances from the primary duo, and supurb performances as well from Kevin Bacon and the holy trinity of Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt (hysterical as always), and Matthew MacFadyen as Frost's investigative team. His direction is assured, well structured, and reliant upon the gripping script that Peter Morgan culled from his critically ravished play. As it should have been.

This is an incredibly accomplished work from a wonderful team, and it deserves all of the accolades it has earned to date.

10. Gran Torino (Directed by Clint Eastwood; Written by Nick Schenk)

When getting down to the last two spots, it came between the Wrestler and Gran Torino. Both were buoyed by wonderful lead performances. Both had incredible directors. Both had great, but barely there scores.

They had a lot of overlap, in short.

However, when it came down to it, I loved Eastwood's Walt character. He was the ultimate crotchety old man, seemingly an extension of Eastwood himself in an attempt to share all of the racist jokes he's gathered throughout the years, yet deep down a man with a sense of honor, a sense of morale, and a great heart.

When I thought about it, I had to go with Torino, a great film by one of the all-time Hollywood legends.

11. The Wrestler (Directed by Darren Aronofsky; Written by Robert Siegel)

In the opposite of Eastwood's Walt character, we had Randy "the Ram" Robinson as portrayed by Mickey Rourke. I will admit it: this is the best performance this year. Rourke absolutely nails every scene and perpetually breaks your heart like he does to his daughter and everyone around him throughout the movie.

Aronofsky manages to balance a very minimalist style with the brilliant performance Rourke unleashes to make a great film, however, unlike in Gran Torino, I found myself ultimately disliking "The Ram." This sounds unfair of me to rate like this, but in terms of tiebreakers, them's the breaks kid. With all else being equal, the tiebreaker here is which character could I ultimately relate more with, and in that case Torino wins. This really was excellent however.

The Weekend Edition

Woops. Skipped a week strangely, but that wasn't a big deal because the entire weekend was spent watching movies. Hours upon hours of sweet, sweet movies. No less, that is now over as I've watched almost every movie I intended to watch. Look for a Top 10 of 2008 for movies (finally) today or tomorrow.

Until then, how was this weekend? In a word? Stupendous.

  • Jason's Hockey game (drinking Labatt Blue while watching Labatt Blue? That's called synergy, folks)

  • Four words: Rock of Love Bus

  • Working an event for work and going on the radio near constantly

  • Rocking shopping like a hurricane with Hannah

  • The Crewnit celebrates Lorna's birthday (Bear Tooth + Buckaroo)

  • Hannah, Jason and I dance party plussing all over the Avenue's face

  • Snow City with Hannah

  • Finally catching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  • Recovering and possibly getting sick
The highlight was definitely the Crewnit blowing Anchorage's minds with our awesomeness once again. Generally when the Crewnit gathers, it turns into an absolute mess of ridiculousness and laughter, and Saturday was no different. It's always better when it's someones birthday, so predictably this led to numerous cheers, myself deciding to dance for the ladies, and tons of heartbreak at the dart board.

Not only was there that, but there was Jason, Hannah, and myself going to the Avenue and pretty much dominating the dance floor for 2 or 3 hours after we separated from the rest of the Crewnit. I'm fairly certain if we actually had a video of our dance moves, they may be the most bizarre mix of head bobs, hand motions, and "how low can you go" segments a person has ever seen, but we didn't care. Well, Jason cared a little bit when he was puma'd, but still, I think overall the night was a success.

Any night that features an ensemble of Russian girls, dance parties, dancing with a girl that was my height (this pretty much blew my mind), late night runs to Taco Bell, the revelation of the origin of the hickey on my face from the previous week (birthday girl, come on down!), a conversation between six people that transitioned wildly from topic to topic (including the NFL playoffs, the Hills, Rock of Love Bus (best show ever), drunken antics, and many other things), and some intense dart action has got to be considered a success in my book.

Welcome to the Crewnit, where we call that Saturday. Always.

You're on fire Golden Globes!

Slumdog Millionaire


I'm impressed.

For once, an awards show did pretty fantastic. The Golden Globes were last night and they were strangely accurate, at least in terms of mirroring my opinion on a lot of major categories. While they weren't exactly reflective of my opinions, I at least found the alternatives they selected to be good enough and reasonable exceptions to what I thought were the best choices.

Examples of entirely accurate choices (in my opinion of course):

Slumdog Millionaire for Best Drama (Yay!!!!!)
Mickey Rourke for Best Actor in a Drama
Colin Farrell for Best Actor in a Comedy
Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Acotr (Duh.)
Wall-E for Best Animated Feature
Danny Boyle for Best Director (Yay!!!!!)
Best Screenplay (More Slumdog! Yay!!!!!)
Best Original Score (Slumdog mania! Yay!!!!!)

Of course, the TV awards were pretty weak with the exception of 30 Rock's dominance but you really can't have them all. Once again, NPH was absolutely robbed, but that happens always.

All in all, I was very impressed at least on the movie side. I'm glad to say that Slumdog Millionaire is pretty much locked in at this point for a Best Picture nomination, which excites me to no end. Yay!!!!!

It's not you, I swear, but we need to talk

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sorry Facebook friends. I know we're really close and all, sharing wall posts, scrabble games, and good times all around throughout the years, but I'm going to have let you go. I'd be lying if I said it was really you that caused your demise from my Facebook friends list, but sheer bribery goes a long way when it comes to cleaning up my social networking accounts.

So to all of you fairweather Facebook friends, I bid you adieu. I will gleefully sacrifice you as part of the "Whopper Sacrifice" application Facebook and Burger King just launched, where axing 10 Facebook friends earns you a coupon for a free Whopper. It's not even that I like Whoppers a lot, it's just that I simply cannot resist free food.

I hope you all make the cut. I really hope you do. I guess it all depends on how hungry I get. Here's a hint: I get pretty hungry.

Dreams become reality

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In a big step towards Europe and adulthood (did it really take me nearly 25 years to get a passport? Who am I?), I went in and sent away for my passport yesterday. Fully expecting it to take hours upon hours regardless of the fact I had everything filled out and ready before hand (I told my boss I'd try to be back in under two hours but I really couldn't promise anything), it ended up taking all of ten minutes. Also, people had said it takes at least 90 days to get to me - the guy at the post office said it should take three weeks. Thank god the whole process was just over hyped, I prefer it this way greatly.

So now I'm all ready to go to Europe. I just have to book my tickets, plot my route, and start learning key words and phrases in certain languages. Such as "chicken," "bathroom," and "am I currently in a brothel?" Just the basics, really.

The cold snap continues

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

For what feels like the 200th day in a row, the day started under -10 degrees in Anchorage, Alaska. The lowest it had gotten was -20, but that was nowhere near my house, being on the south side of town. This morning at my house it was -19, -30 on the south side, and -25 on the east side.

Thank god I plugged in my car today, otherwise it wouldn't have been going anywhere. As is, my cars computers were not operating at maximum capacity, moving so sluggishly that I didn't find out how cold it was until 4 minutes into my car ride. It did provide the really interesting sync up between the temperature reveal (-19!!! kill me!) and the ending of Portishead's "Machine Gun," where there is just a synthetic and ominous whine layered over the drum machines that run rampant through the song.

Strangely enough, if I was a machine, that was the exact sound I'd have been making when I saw how cold it was. Fitting.

There is relief in site, as it's supposed to get into the 20's (positive, that is) this upcoming weekend. May not seem that great, but when it's a 40 degree improvement, I'll take it. I'll likely be wearing beachwear this entire weekend to celebrate.

A Bromance brewing

So I can explain why I'm writing a blog about MTV's Bromance, a show about Brody Jenner's quest to find a new "bro" out of a group of nine contestants from across the nation. It all started with the worst intentions, I swear.

Last week I was on Facebook chatting with someone when she started talking about how there were a couple new MTV shows starting and she really wanted to watch them, but she was stuck somewhere that did not have cable. Given that situation, did I:

a) offer to record them like a good person
b) apologize and go on conversing
c) watch and give a play by play of everything that was happening, laughing hysterically all the way

Knowing me, of course I chose a combination. I started with c, but I gradually felt bad and chose a. I'm a bastard, but I'm not a monster.

Anyways, something odd happened while watching the show. I knew it was really bad. Don't get me wrong, this show is full of stupid people, melodrama, and ridiculousness. It was like a trainwreck, but in true trainwreck form, you really can't look away. Two weeks in, I'm okay with saying that this show is awesome in an amazingly bad sort of way.

I hate reality television, but I'm in love with MTV's Bromance.

God help me.

New Year Goals: Vol. 2

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just to make sure everything ends up in print so I can hold myself accountable, I'm posting my resolutions for the year of 2009. I'm going to try very hard to hit 100% this year, regardless of how difficult that may seem.

Resolution Number 1: Run a marathon.
Resolution Number 2: Stop going out to eat so much.
Resolution Number 3: Read 52 books or graphic novels.
Resolution Number 4: Get my blog up to 100 visits a day.
Resolution Number 5: Go to Europe.
Resolution Number 6: Get back to 190 and 200 pounds.
Resolution Number 7: Take a college course.
Resolution Number 8: Stop buying so many frivolous things.
Resolution Number 9: Learn something new that’s truly useful.
Resolution Number 10: Eat healthier and drink less.

It's on 2009. Let's do this.

New Year Goals: Vol. 1

Before I get into putting my goals for the next year into print (instead of the traditional "New Years Resolutions" - good call Kim), I'm going to look back to last year to see how I did on the ones I put into print then. Bolded means I was successful.

Resolution Number 1: Run a marathon.
Resolution Number 2: Get a promotion.
Resolution Number 3: Meet girl. Date girl. Get girlfriend.
Resolution Number 4: Average a blog for every two days of the year.
Resolution Number 5: Read 30 books.

Resolution Number 6: 2 self paid vacations.
Resolution Number 7: Stay between 190 and 200 pounds.
Resolution Number 8: Take a college course.
Resolution Number 9: Make more lunches and dinners at home.
Resolution Number 10: Be less wasteful.
Resolution Number 11: Take more pictures.

Resolution Number 12: Challenge myself.
Resolution Number 13: Drink? Hide phone.

Resolution Number 14: Develop abs (or get bigger shirts).
Resolution Number 15: Eat healthier

Not too bad. Eight out of 15 is pretty decent, especially given that 15 is a ton of resolutions to begin with. Some will carry over to 2009 due to the fact that I didn't quite make them as I'd hoped to do.

However, I do want to point out that I decimated my 2008 goal of 30 books by reading 51 (not quite the updated goal of 52, but still). I read a total of 23 actual books and 28 graphic novels, so I feel pretty good about that. I really would like to average one a week this year though.

Also, while I didn't maintain my weight as I'd hoped, I did go up to the 205 to 210 area, regulate my blood pressure, and start eating a lot more fruit and vegetables. So while it may have went up (mostly due to inconsistent work out habits), I'm still really fit I feel. There's something to be said about that.

Good work 2008 David. Let's hope 2009 David is even more successful.

Let the Right One In

Sunday, January 4, 2009

When going through a large sum of movies to round up my Best of 2008 list, I really did not expect a miminalist Swedish love story between a Vampire in the form of a 12 year old girl and a bullied prototypical Swedish kid to stand out amongst the rest. Who would really, mostly because one would have to openly wonder whether or not a movie that fit under that description could possibly exist.

Yet it does. And it did.

It's name is Let the Right One In, and it's a remarkable movie that has a guaranteed spot in my favorite five movies of the year. Everything about it, from the two brilliant lead performances by the two child actors (Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar and the "wears sadness better than most Oscar winning actresses" vampire Eli as performed by Lina Leandersson) to the haunting music, from the subtle script to the brilliant direction (Tomas Alfredson...remember that name when he makes your next favorite American movie - he can set a scene like nobody's business), is phenomenal.

It's definitely not for everyone. Not into foreign film? Probably not for you. Not into movies with slow but thoughtful pacing? Avoid like the plague. But if you're an adventurous movie goer and want to see something truly excellent, check this out.

You'll be happy that you did.

Let the Right One In: A

O Alaska

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Alaska when it isn't murdering me with its coldness

Preface: if you are considering a possible move to Alaska in the near future (*ahem* you know who you are), do not read this. Please observe the pretty picture instead. Isn't Alaska pretty? Gorgeous. Can't get better than that.

With that said...



Why do you want me to never go outside? Even better, why, when I'm inside, am I colder than my friends who are outside in Portland? I'm in a coffee shop, traditionally one of the warmer locations around, and I'm cold as hell while wearing a lengthy peacoat, scarf, and you know...clothing. To be fair, my feet are really my only cold part. But still, it's ridiculous.

I remember not that long ago I was reading (and getting excited about) our upcoming supposedly mild winter. See, the summer was crappy, so "scientists" (I use that term very loosely) claimed that because of our mild summer, we were going to have a warmer than usual winter.

Enter negative twenty.

Exit David.

I hate you Alaska.

Top TV Shows of 2008

Traditionally, I'd write a top five or a top 10 list for whatever. Actually, really it would just have to be an interval of five, that's all that really matters. However, this year in television six shows stood out above the rest in my book, so I'm going to stick with six. No more, no less. Below are my six favorite TV shows of 2008.

1. How I Met Your Mother

This combined with the number two show makes me say a euphoric "thank god it's monday!" every week, as it is the perfect way to start the week. It's part Seinfeld, part Arrested Development, but take out the cold, emotionless centers and replace them with heart and realistic relationships. This really feels like a sitcom designed specifically for me.

Kudos to my boy NPH for this as well. He may get all the publicity, but he deserves it. No one on television is funnier than Barney Stinson. No one.

2. Chuck

I love the rest of the shows on the list, but the character of Chuck (brilliantly played by Zachary Levi) is the guy that every nerd wants to be, meaning I relate to him and envy him while watching his antics on television. That's a unique and alluring combination. I find myself grinning uncontrollably while watching this show, as Chuck, Casey (Adam Baldwin), and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) go off on another wild mission, from saving the world from a satellite by beating the old arcade game Missile Command while listening to Rush's "Tom Sawyer," to defeating rogue CIA entities embodied by ex-girlfriend and Michael Rooker, to surviving the average day in the Buy More.

In terms of hour long shows, this has the most consistency and one of the most balanced and diverse casts on television. It's the best thing that Josh Schwartz has ever done, yet no one realizes it.

3. Battlestar Galactica

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Well, not really. Battlestar is still the best show on TV, it's just this year was the year of the comedy and Bstar Glac only provided me with 10 new episodes this year due to the writers strike and other ridiculousness. It did provide the single best episode of the season (the action packed and gut wrenching finale) and some of the best performances (when did Saul Tigh become the most dynamic character on television?), but it just didn't provide the product necessary to take number one.

However, there's a fairly decent chance I'll fall apart as a human being when the series finale airs some time in 2009. January 16th, 2009, you're too far away!

4. Dexter

Dexter and friends threw down another incredible season full of pitch black humor, tense drama, and buckets of blood, and they didn't lose a step from the first two remarkably great seasons. While the structure changed somewhat, losing the season long killer mystery for the most part, the show did not lack in awesomeness.


The cat and mouse awesomeness between Jimmy Smits' character Miguel Prado and Michael C. Hall's Dexter Morgan. You never really knew who was the cat and who was the mouse, but for the first time in the series, you never really knew for a fact that Dexter was going to make it through unscathed. He met his match, and he met it in his first real friend. Perhaps the two best performances on TV this year were featured here with Smits and Hall absolutely bringing down the house every episode. Incredible work.

5. Lost

Lost was freaking awesome this year. A huge return to prominence, featuring a change in structure from time to time, answers, and significant forward movement. Everything has been said about this show already, so I don't need to say much here. However, I do want to say the number five ranking here isn't to say it wasn't a great season (it was), it just means the other shows were truly exceptional.

Although, I did not like the season finale (I know, I'm the one).

6. Entourage

In the year of televisions most unlikely comeback, after two abysmal seasons (sad but true), Entourage got back to basics and provided us with its single best season. It was back to the hijinks with the crew, the wheeling and dealing by Ari (and his put upon assistant Lloyd), and the mix between the good life and the bad that comes with it that this show should be all about.

More shows need to realize that when they go astray, just get back to basics. Entourage did, and it's better than ever.

Crewnit Does New Years Eve 2008

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

This Wednesday was New Years Eve, and it was a celebration of the passing of another year. We went from 2008 to 2009 in grand fashion, with many of the same people I shared it with last year plus a lot of other new and old people.

2008 was a great year, kicked off the right way by an amazing party at Hannah's house sitting house, featuring some new friends, some departing friends (we miss you Lacey and Kim!), the creation of a friends super team with levels of awesomeness the world had yet to see (enter...the Crewnit), tons of fantastic events (Sobo and Sarah's wedding, Erik and Katie's wedding, Sasquatch, the Eklutna camping extravaganza, etc.), and pure unadultered ridiculousness by yours truly.

I'd have it no other way.

2009 started with the Crewnit and friends together at Colver and Lorna's place, partying down and kicking it up a notch like only we can. It was a fantastic night and almost the ideal way to start the year. Some say that the way you spend your new years eve is an indicator as to what your year is going to be like...here's hoping 2009 brings me the joy and friendship new years eve brought me.

Throughout the rest of the week I will be writing 2008 retrospectives and 2009 resolutions. Expect all of the fun those can bring this weekend. Get excited people...get excited. See below for pictures from Crewnit Does New Years Eve 2008.

2009, the year of the pickle

This happens always, Lorna and I fighting

Rebekah, Peter, Jason, and Hannah - all elbows, all the time

The Crewnit+1 Cheddared