June 2009


general&Movies&pop culture&reviews28 Jun 2009 03:56 pm

i don’t rant much, but i kind of feel like there’s some ranting in me that’s determined to come out… and believe me, i could tear apart all the snakes and crooks inside the insurance industry and COBRA… and regale the conversations that i’ve had with them over the past few months… no stinking wonder that the health care system is broken in America… but i won’t… i’ll simply inhale, exhale and simmer down… and start things off today with a review of a movie that i was really looking forward to, Transformers 2: The Rise of the Fallen

TRANSFORM…

now playing: Piece of Junk Car – KJ-52

i’m really hard-pressed to think of a time when i walked away from the theater as disappointed as i was leaving the theater the other day… i’m not sure if it was my own expectations, my ideological notion that action movies can be visually and intellectually stimulating, the sheer excitement of seeing the transformers on the big screen or simply that i bought into the hype, but all the wind that filled my sails heading into the theater had long disappeared as i walked out… i had waited for the first installment the hit DVD and clearly i was wrong not to wait for the sequel as well…

i expected that Transformers 2 would build off of the first movie, which, as i remember it, was pretty amazing… i expected a lot of action sequences, a lot of sweet cars, and stunning special effects… and, to that end, the movie delivers, but because those elements were at least equally balanced out by juvenile humor, a script that felt like it was written by fifth graders, a poached plotline and way more suggestion than necessary, i left feeling very short-changed…

Surely “the twins” have been a target for controversy as there have been allegations of racism as there was towards Jar Jar Binks, but to that end, i’ll simply say that those claims are ridiculous – i felt more like they were a couple of hyper-stereotypical rednecks than anything else – but they were indicative of the foolish direction that the movie took overall…

Clearly, the crew wanted to movie to have a humorous bent, but unfortunately they resorted to the basest level of humor available… the air-headed mother getting accidentally high, the number of anatomy jokes, crass language from the transformers, and on and on… and sexual content ranging from dogs being frisky, a little robot taking liberties with Megan Fox’s leg, the “Baywatch” running scenes, and a transformer disguised as a college student that makes several advances on the lead character… (by the way, this character makes absolutely zero sense in the context of the movie since none of the other robots look remotely like humans nor is there any reference to such characters that i remember from Transformers lore)…

The plot also seemed like a big rip-off as it closely resembled that of Johnny Mnemonic and, more recently, Chuck… but even that could’ve been overlooked had the script been written with even the slightest hint of intelligence… and to top it all off, the movie dragged on and on for two and a half hours – also known as about an hour too long…

As i’ve stated before, when the movie played to its strengths – action and special effects – it was nothing short of spectacular… unfortunately it didn’t stay there… it’s also worth noting that John Turturro did a fine job as Agent Simmons… and there were actually some really good moments between Sam and Bumblebee, but other than those highlights, the movie really blew a great opportunity to further establish a franchise that could be great…

The bottom line for me is this… it felt like the producers and directors wanted to make Transformers into something other than an action movie… perhaps they wanted to be taken more seriously than your typical action movie fare… but they forgot that there’s nothing wrong with an action movie simply being an action movie… and if you want to add humor into the mix, that’s fine, but let it happen naturally – don’t force-fit it… as it was, i wanted to see Transformers 2 and i feel like i watched Harold and Kumar: Defeating the Decepticons…

… AND ROLL OUT

and that’s my take… have you seen it? what did you think? am i crazy? let me know and i’ll be back with more things to talk about soon…

peace… love… bdg…

general28 Jun 2009 03:54 pm

i don’t rant much, but i kind of feel like there’s some ranting in me that’s determined to come out… and believe me, i could tear apart all the snakes and crooks inside the insurance industry and COBRA… and regale the conversations that i’ve had with them over the past few months… no stinking wonder that the health care system is broken in America… but i won’t… i’ll simply inhale, exhale and simmer down… and start things off today with a review of a movie that i was really looking forward to, Transformers 2: The Rise of the Fallen

TRANSFORM…

now playing: Piece of Junk Car – KJ-52

i’m really hard-pressed to think of a time when i walked away from the theater as disappointed as i was leaving the theater the other day… i’m not sure if it was my own expectations, my ideological notion that action movies can be visually and intellectually stimulating, the sheer excitement of seeing the transformers on the big screen or simply that i bought into the hype, but all the wind that filled my sails heading into the theater had long disappeared as i walked out… i had waited for the first installment the hit DVD and clearly i was wrong not to wait for the sequel as well…

i expected that Transformers 2 would build off of the first movie, which, as i remember it, was pretty amazing… i expected a lot of action sequences, a lot of sweet cars, and stunning special effects… and, to that end, the movie delivers, but because those elements were at least equally balanced out by juvenile humor, a script that felt like it was written by fifth graders, a poached plotline and way more suggestion than necessary, i left feeling very short-changed…

Surely “the twins” have been a target for controversy as there have been allegations of racism as there was towards Jar Jar Binks, but to that end, i’ll simply say that those claims are ridiculous – i felt more like they were a couple of hyper-stereotypical rednecks than anything else – but they were indicative of the foolish direction that the movie took overall…

Clearly, the crew wanted to movie to have a humorous bent, but unfortunately they resorted to the basest level of humor available… the air-headed mother getting accidentally high, the number of anatomy jokes, crass language from the transformers, and on and on… and sexual content ranging from dogs being frisky, a little robot taking liberties with Megan Fox’s leg, the “Baywatch” running scenes, and a transformer disguised as a college student that makes several advances on the lead character… (by the way, this character makes absolutely zero sense in the context of the movie since none of the other robots look remotely like humans nor is there any reference to such characters that i remember from Transformers lore)…

The plot also seemed like a big rip-off as it closely resembled that of Johnny Mnemonic and, more recently, Chuck… but even that could’ve been overlooked had the script been written with even the slightest hint of intelligence… and to top it all off, the movie dragged on and on for two and a half hours – also known as about an hour too long…

As i’ve stated before, when the movie played to its strengths – action and special effects – it was nothing short of spectacular… unfortunately it didn’t stay there… it’s also worth noting that John Turturro did a fine job as Agent Simmons… and there were actually some really good moments between Sam and Bumblebee, but other than those highlights, the movie really blew a great opportunity to further establish a franchise that could be great…

The bottom line for me is this… it felt like the producers and directors wanted to make Transformers into something other than an action movie… perhaps they wanted to be taken more seriously than your typical action movie fare… but they forgot that there’s nothing wrong with an action movie simply being an action movie… and if you want to add humor into the mix, that’s fine, but let it happen naturally – don’t force-fit it… as it was, i wanted to see Transformers 2 and i feel like i watched Harold and Kumar: Defeating the Decepticons…

… AND ROLL OUT

and that’s my take… have you seen it? what did you think? am i crazy? let me know and i’ll be back with more things to talk about soon…

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf12 Jun 2009 04:23 pm

Well, summer is just around the corner and, even though i’m pretty distracted with the up and down frustrations of the current circumstances, it’s important to remember that my occupation, like everything else, is just a small part of who i am and i can’t let it dictate the other aspects of my life… or whatever it is i’m babbling about…

Anyway, summer means summer reading and i’ve got a big old stack of books that i’m eyeing for this summer…

now, i realize that the odds are probably not in my favor – especially since i still have a bunch that i’m finishing up with now that will prevent me from getting a head start… to that end, here’s a handful of reviews on some of the books i’ve recently found myself finishing up…

now playing: Bird of Paradise – Charlie Parker


Squawwwk! by Thomas Rockwell

this is a book that i remember reading and re-reading several times as a youngster… as such, as i was reading through the well-worn pages, sharing this tale with my two boys, many of the scenes were still very familiar… As we worked through the book, however, i wasn’t entirely sure what it was that drew me back again and again…

It’s a charming story, filled with what would now be considered political incorrectness – comments about weight and foolishness, for example – but at the heart of it, it’s a statement about how we react to things that we don’t understand… it’s an intriguing social commentary that’s pretty fun to read and, if you’re a fan of How to Eat Fried Worms, you may want to check out Thomas Rockwell’s lesser known book… the one about the giant, electric-blue bird that grew out of a book… the one called Squawwwk!

now playing: It’s Magic – Fenders


The Secrets of Droon: The Magic Escapes by Tony Abbott

My son likes the Magic Tree House book series and for some reason, on his last visit to the school library, this book was recommended to him… now, i’m not the kind of dad who’s immediately opposed to a book based on the cover (though it looks like a cheap Harry Potter knock-off), and i’m not afraid of books about magic and things of that nature…

that said, i did decide to read the book before sharing it with little boy and found the book to be incredibly pointless… though i wouldn’t recommend judging books by their covers, i do have to admit that this book seemingly lived up to my initial assessment based on the cover art… i haven’t read any of the Harry Potter series, i imagine that those books are everything that this book would like to be, but isn’t… the only message i could ascertain from the book was something about being able to do anything when you do it with your friends… the story itself was fairly bland overall with just a few interesting moments that were never fully developed… i suppose you could write that off because it’s part of a series, but i just wasn’t impressed at all and have no interest in the rest of the series…

now playing: Different – Jackson Waters


Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

This is a book that i really struggled with while i was reading it… it’s a really good read with an absolutely compelling premise, weaving two entirely separate storylines into one threaded connection… if the book had another subtitle, it could apprpriately be “A Cord of Three Strands,” referring to the verse in Ecclesiastes that explains the strong bond that is created when God connects two people together…

Though it was really a challenging book for the obvious reason of broadening one’s perspective on issues like prejudice, homelessness, and materialism, the most powerful message from where i sit was – not surprisingly – one of love… particularly as the book shared in great detail the painful story of Ron and his wife, Debbie… I’ll leave it at that so as not to ruin any of the unknowns, but it might make sense to keep some tissues handy when you read though this one…

now playing: Betrayal – Fiction Family


Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl

Okay, so i had no idea who Lis Wiehl was before reading this book and i’ve still never knowingly seen her in action, but clearly she’s more than qualified to write this book, having served as a federal prosecuter and currently as a correspondant for Fox News… and i say that because two of the three main characters in this well-told novel wear those shoes… the third, a special agent at the FBI, is drawn from the pages of Wiehl’s father’s career in the FBI…

The premise of the story has a “ripped from the headlines” feel and follows the search and investigation of a missing Senate page… i guess what i didn’t realize going into the book was that it was intended for a female audience and, fortunately, there were only a few brief parts where that was really obvious… call it Law and Order meets Murder She Wrote in print and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the book…

It will keep you guessing, it will keep you connected, it will certainly hold your attention and it will go by quickly… i do recommend the book and expect that you’ll enjoy it as well…

MORE IN A BIT

i’m going to take a quick breather here and come back in a little bit to talk specifically about three publications of the Bible that i’ve recently gotten and explored… and then i’ll do a general rundown of the books that i’m still finishing up before diving into the big list for the summer…

peace… love… bdg…

general12 Jun 2009 04:20 pm

Well, summer is just around the corner and, even though i’m pretty distracted with the up and down frustrations of the current circumstances, it’s important to remember that my occupation, like everything else, is just a small part of who i am and i can’t let it dictate the other aspects of my life… or whatever it is i’m babbling about…

Anyway, summer means summer reading and i’ve got a big old stack of books that i’m eyeing for this summer…

now, i realize that the odds are probably not in my favor – especially since i still have a bunch that i’m finishing up with now that will prevent me from getting a head start… to that end, here’s a handful of reviews on some of the books i’ve recently found myself finishing up…

now playing: Bird of Paradise – Charlie Parker

Squawwwk! by Thomas Rockwell
this is a book that i remember reading and re-reading several times as a youngster… as such, as i was reading through the well-worn pages, sharing this tale with my two boys, many of the scenes were still very familiar… As we worked through the book, however, i wasn’t entirely sure what it was that drew me back again and again…

It’s a charming story, filled with what would now be considered political incorrectness – comments about weight and foolishness, for example – but at the heart of it, it’s a statement about how we react to things that we don’t understand… it’s an intriguing social commentary that’s pretty fun to read and, if you’re a fan of How to Eat Fried Worms, you may want to check out Thomas Rockwell’s lesser known book… the one about the giant, electric-blue bird that grew out of a book… the one called Squawwwk!

now playing: It’s Magic – Fenders

The Secrets of Droon: The Magic Escapes by Tony Abbott
My son likes the Magic Tree House book series and for some reason, on his last visit to the school library, this book was recommended to him… now, i’m not the kind of dad who’s immediately opposed to a book based on the cover (though it looks like a cheap Harry Potter knock-off), and i’m not afraid of books about magic and things of that nature…

that said, i did decide to read the book before sharing it with little boy and found the book to be incredibly pointless… though i wouldn’t recommend judging books by their covers, i do have to admit that this book seemingly lived up to my initial assessment based on the cover art… i haven’t read any of the Harry Potter series, i imagine that those books are everything that this book would like to be, but isn’t… the only message i could ascertain from the book was something about being able to do anything when you do it with your friends… the story itself was fairly bland overall with just a few interesting moments that were never fully developed… i suppose you could write that off because it’s part of a series, but i just wasn’t impressed at all and have no interest in the rest of the series…

now playing: Different – Jackson Waters

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
This is a book that i really struggled with while i was reading it… it’s a really good read with an absolutely compelling premise, weaving two entirely separate storylines into one threaded connection… if the book had another subtitle, it could apprpriately be “A Cord of Three Strands,” referring to the verse in Ecclesiastes that explains the strong bond that is created when God connects two people together…

Though it was really a challenging book for the obvious reason of broadening one’s perspective on issues like prejudice, homelessness, and materialism, the most powerful message from where i sit was – not surprisingly – one of love… particularly as the book shared in great detail the painful story of Ron and his wife, Debbie… I’ll leave it at that so as not to ruin any of the unknowns, but it might make sense to keep some tissues handy when you read though this one…

now playing: Betrayal – Fiction Family

Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl
Okay, so i had no idea who Lis Wiehl was before reading this book and i’ve still never knowingly seen her in action, but clearly she’s more than qualified to write this book, having served as a federal prosecuter and currently as a correspondant for Fox News… and i say that because two of the three main characters in this well-told novel wear those shoes… the third, a special agent at the FBI, is drawn from the pages of Wiehl’s father’s career in the FBI…

The premise of the story has a “ripped from the headlines” feel and follows the search and investigation of a missing Senate page… i guess what i didn’t realize going into the book was that it was intended for a female audience and, fortunately, there were only a few brief parts where that was really obvious… call it Law and Order meets Murder She Wrote in print and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the book…

It will keep you guessing, it will keep you connected, it will certainly hold your attention and it will go by quickly… i do recommend the book and expect that you’ll enjoy it as well…

MORE IN A BIT

i’m going to take a quick breather here and come back in a little bit to talk specifically about three publications of the Bible that i’ve recently gotten and explored… and then i’ll do a general rundown of the books that i’m still finishing up before diving into the big list for the summer…

peace… love… bdg…

general07 Jun 2009 04:16 pm

hopefully you’re all enjoying the cool sounds of Seabird after that sweet deal of the day from Thursday… i’ve been enjoying that album since it released last year… Anyway, i have a few things to chat up today, but this post will be about one thing split into four parts… sit tight for all things House of Heroes…

BACK IN THE DAY

now playing: Back in the Day – Ahmad

Looking back, it might not have seemed that the group No Tagbacks took much of anything seriously. However, when the trio of bassist AJ Babcock, vocalist Tim Skipper and drummer Colin Rigsby rebranded themselves as House of Heroes, they certainly gained some momentum – enough to earn a record deal with TobyMac’s Gotee Records, a solid launching pad for the group that now has a couple albums and is definitely one to watch.

ENTER THE HEROES

now playing: Metaphor in Parentheses – House of Heroes

As House of Heroes, the group released their debut album, What You Want Is Now, via Vanishing Point Records. The album was produced by Plankeye’s Scott Silletta and caught the attention of Toby McKeehan, who signed them to Gotee shortly after the release.

2005 brought another debut of sorts, the self-titled label debut from Gotee – an album that was redone and rebranded as Say No More, released through Gotee’s sister label, Mono Vs Stereo. Common to each of the albums, the soaring vocals of Tim Skipper and the distinct rock sounds that combine raw passion and refined artistry.

THE END (BUT NOT THE END)

now playing: Sooner or Later – House of Heroes

Which brings us to last year and the release of The End Is Not the End, an epic journey offering a unique perspective of war over the backdrop of rock and roll. One of my personal favorites from last year, the album takes the group’s sound to the next level and offers fans something palpable to hang on to, touching on the many emotions related to the subject matter and exploring the many facet of musicianship the group has to offer.

Whether it’s the classic rock motif presented by tracks like “Voices” and “Lose Control” or the tender side of things displayed by ballads like “By Your Side,” the album gives listeners plenty to enjoy. Perhaps no more so than on the single, “In the Valley of the Dying Sun“, which manages to balance all of these aspects and utilize them together. There’s even a hint of The Beatles in the opening track “If” which brings us to the next topic of conversation…

THE EEPS

now playing: If (acoustic) – House of Heroes

This year, House of Heroes has kept their feet on the throttle as they’ve been dropping EPs to keep us enjoying the music year round. After a special Christmas single – Silent Night – the group released a three song EP called The Acoustic End that provides a fresh take on three of the tunes from their latest album, including the aforementioned “If” with its Beatle-esque song structure.

And later this week, on the heels of the big debuts of Rock Band: The Beatles at the E3 conference last week, House of Heroes offers a 3-song EP covering some influential songs from The Beatles, including “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da“, “Can’t Buy Me Love“, and “It Won’t Be Love.” One nice thing about the EP is that the group clearly realized that the songs have already stood the test of time and, rather than giving them a complete overhaul, just added a few minor touches of their own personality into the mix, reminding us all of the power of the songs that redefined rock and roll and changed America.

THE REAL END (FOR NOW)

So that’s House of Heroes in a Bucket (of Bullets). Most of their albums are available on iTunes by searching for House of Heroes. House of Heroes Meets the Beatles is available on Tuesday, but can be pre-ordered now.

peace… love… bdg…

MUSIC07 Jun 2009 04:10 pm

hopefully you’re all enjoying the cool sounds of Seabird after that sweet deal of the day from Thursday… i’ve been enjoying that album since it released last year… Anyway, i have a few things to chat up today, but this post will be about one thing split into four parts… sit tight for all things House of Heroes…

BACK IN THE DAY

now playing: Back in the Day – Ahmad

Looking back, it might not have seemed that the group No Tagbacks took much of anything seriously. However, when the trio of bassist AJ Babcock, vocalist Tim Skipper and drummer Colin Rigsby rebranded themselves as House of Heroes, they certainly gained some momentum – enough to earn a record deal with TobyMac’s Gotee Records, a solid launching pad for the group that now has a couple albums and is definitely one to watch.

ENTER THE HEROES

now playing: Metaphor in Parentheses – House of Heroes

As House of Heroes, the group released their debut album, What You Want Is Now, via Vanishing Point Records. The album was produced by Plankeye’s Scott Silletta and caught the attention of Toby McKeehan, who signed them to Gotee shortly after the release.

2005 brought another debut of sorts, the self-titled label debut from Gotee – an album that was redone and rebranded as Say No More, released through Gotee’s sister label, Mono Vs Stereo. Common to each of the albums, the soaring vocals of Tim Skipper and the distinct rock sounds that combine raw passion and refined artistry.

THE END (BUT NOT THE END)

now playing: Sooner or Later – House of Heroes

Which brings us to last year and the release of The End Is Not the End, an epic journey offering a unique perspective of war over the backdrop of rock and roll. One of my personal favorites from last year, the album takes the group’s sound to the next level and offers fans something palpable to hang on to, touching on the many emotions related to the subject matter and exploring the many facet of musicianship the group has to offer.

Whether it’s the classic rock motif presented by tracks like “Voices” and “Lose Control” or the tender side of things displayed by ballads like “By Your Side,” the album gives listeners plenty to enjoy. Perhaps no more so than on the single, “In the Valley of the Dying Sun“, which manages to balance all of these aspects and utilize them together. There’s even a hint of The Beatles in the opening track “If” which brings us to the next topic of conversation…

THE EEPS

now playing: If (acoustic) – House of Heroes

This year, House of Heroes has kept their feet on the throttle as they’ve been dropping EPs to keep us enjoying the music year round. After a special Christmas single – Silent Night – the group released a three song EP called The Acoustic End that provides a fresh take on three of the tunes from their latest album, including the aforementioned “If” with its Beatle-esque song structure.

And later this week, on the heels of the big debuts of Rock Band: The Beatles at the E3 conference last week, House of Heroes offers a 3-song EP covering some influential songs from The Beatles, including “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da“, “Can’t Buy Me Love“, and “It Won’t Be Love.” One nice thing about the EP is that the group clearly realized that the songs have already stood the test of time and, rather than giving them a complete overhaul, just added a few minor touches of their own personality into the mix, reminding us all of the power of the songs that redefined rock and roll and changed America.

THE REAL END (FOR NOW)

So that’s House of Heroes in a Bucket (of Bullets). Most of their albums are available on iTunes by searching for House of Heroes. House of Heroes Meets the Beatles is available on Tuesday, but can be pre-ordered now.

peace… love… bdg…

general04 Jun 2009 02:01 pm

Deal of the day for today? Seabird’s full album for less than two bucks at Amazon MP3… i’ll be back later…

peace… love… bdg…

general04 Jun 2009 11:15 am

I just posted this BENADRYL® Pollen Alert widget for 500 credits. You can earn free credits too!

MUSIC04 Jun 2009 11:12 am

Deal of the day for today? Seabird’s full album for less than two bucks at Amazon MP3… i’ll be back later…

peace… love… bdg…

general02 Jun 2009 10:58 pm

I just posted this pool play widget from Starwood aloft for 500 credits. You can earn free credits too!