Sunday, July 29, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Disturbia stars young Shia LaBeouf as a good kid who's become troubled after losing his father in an accident. Placed on house arrest, he amuses himself by watching his neighbor's lives, until he realizes a neighbor bears resemblances to a serial killer. LaBeouf is no Keanu Reeves, thank god, so he and his fellow cast members are able to pull this flick off as funny and suspenseful. 3 out of 5 stars.
Spider-Man 32. Much action. Some really lame, fake CGI, balanced out by humorous elements in Tobey Maguire's performance. Bonus points for one of the most delightful bad guys ever, "That 70's Show"'s Topher Grace. 3 out of 5 stars.
Shia LaBeouf is back in another movie, blockbuster Transformers. Let's face it, the basic plot of this movie isn't given to believability. Giant robots, disguised as common machines, have come to Earth. Despite that, this movie is just a rip-roarin' good time. Shia LaBeouf is really, really good, with Megan Fox providing the hotness requisite in any summer blockbuster. There are a string of other good to great actors, and even Josh Duhamel is nicely transitioning from TV to the big screen.
What moves this movie from being watchable (good actors balancing out unbelievable storyline) to great fun are the best special effects ever. By that, I mean combat from several ton sensate robots and people actually looks real. Go. See. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Smokin' Aces completes our cinematic round-up. Wow. This movie is so bad, it impresses me. Grindhouse wasn't this bad, and it was trying. Let's start with the actors, assigning a numerical value to their presence in the film. Ben Affleck: negative value, but rendered null because of what happens to him. Jeremy Piven: no value. Ray Liotta: no value. Andy Garcia: value-less to negative. Ryan Reynolds: positive value. Alicia Keys: Idiot (she said soon after September 11 that it was hard to be patriotic when your ancestors were slaves. Hey! Bimbo! You're European and Jamaican extract. Which "ancestors" of yours were slaves in the US?!), but balanced onscreen by personal beauty. No value.
Looking at the DVD cover art and description, this movie looks like a nonstop action extravaganza, with bullets, blood, and laughs (I mean, Jeremy Piven and Ryan Reynolds! Reynolds by himself can usually make a movie funny). But it's not. The producers and director obviously could not decide what kind of movie they wanted to make, since most of the movie is a "suspenseful" slow build up to the climax. The problem with doing it the hard crime drama way, is that the movie is peopled with outrageous characters, like the three neo-Nazis who actually perform contract hits - sometimes with chain saws and submachine guns- while wearing leather that's a combination of bondage gear and 3rd Reich, and the hit team that's made of two women of color. This pair holds a beautiful, sleek young lady who gets in close, and a short, bullish sniper with a .50 BMG, who has a heavy crush on her partner.
Instead of nonstop action, the movie moves slowly, and tries to go from comic-book fun to high drama. Director Joe Carnahan should never be forgiven for this one. Cursed be his name. Do NOT watch this, unless you hate yourself. I'm going to award 1.5 out of 5 stars, but only because Ryan Reynolds is in this movie, and Ben Affleck dies.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Your Score: The Grizzly Bear
Here's your results! Your spirit animal has a Nobility ranking of 14 out of 18.
Your spirit animal is the Grizzly Bear. No other spirit animal matches it's size and strength. This creature is among the noblest and most respectable, and you are truly fortunate. It is both fearsome and awesome to behold. It will serve you well, and shows that you have a deeper understanding than most. It is quite rare indeed to have a Grizzly as a spirit animal!
|Link: The What is Your Spirit Animal Test written by FindingEros on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
When I checked my email inbox, a message from PayPal was waiting, saying that an attempt to access my account from a foreign IP address had occurred, and requesting additional information to prove I was the one who attempted access. The same thing happened when I idly attempted to log in later.
When I returned to the US, I logged into my account, giving the additional financial information demanded. I then wrote a very nice letter to PP, that went something like this:
"Dear PayPal, thank you for your attempts to safeguard my account while I have been deployed to Afghanistan. I noticed you refused to let me log in recently because I was using a foreign IP address. Did you not notice I was overseas the previous nine months? Retards.
Love and Kisses,
When I logged in today, I was forced to input multiple data points before I could withdraw any funds from PayPal. The "additional security" changes show they were input last Friday, but when I go back to my GMail, I have a notice of these security precautions from today.
In either case, PayPal is composed of lying idiots. Thanks, I just wanted to get that off my chest.
It seems he met me at the Phi Kappa Phi dinner, so of course he thinks I'm ready to pwn the moon.
Now comes the part I love- making out a schedule, and registering for each class. Ech.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
This is cool, and a natural evolution in arms, but it would probably be more accurate to describe these attack aircraft as "unmanned". They are still under operator control.
I moved the silhouette target in close to show Davis likely range for the little North American Arms .22 revolver. R fired his
Davis blazed away with his .40 S&W Sigma, too. (Hey, don't blame me! He didn't ask first.) He hopes to move up to a Glock eventually, but the boy just loves shooting.
Ah, to have that enthusiasm. I wonder if I ever loved shooting that much?
This range session definitely reinforced my belief that the little single-action revolvers are better than a dirty look, but hard to get into action quickly. Or, well, at anything further than a few feet. My preference would be something like a Beretta Bobcat, a small standard DA revolver, or a Kel-Tec P32. I carried a P32 years ago while on the job, but was almost "made" once, so I guess there is indeed a niche for the tiny NAA. Sigh.
Planet Xtreme is packed with video games. One of the least expensive is T-Mek, a tank game battling AI or other local opponents. It's an old game, but easy to learn and play, and since the player keeps playing until he loses, I usually get at least four or five games per token. I stopped winning so much when Davis joined the fray, though.
When we finally made it into the Lazer Tag arena, we expected to be divided into teams, but it was not to be so. It was everyone for himself. I stalked through the maze, shooting "down" opponents left and right. Getting down on the floor is against the rules- rightly so, it's dangerous in the poorly lit maze- but most people stand very tall. Dropping your height by bending your knees deeply gives you a stable platform and makes you harder to see (and hit).
About halfway through the first game, I bumped into Davis, and he didn't seem to want to go away. After a few back-and-forth kills, I had a light bulb moment.
"Hey, why don't we team up?" So, until we eventually lost each other again, we did.
"Two is mo' better than one." The little saying we were taught in Basic learning to be good little infantry is "Two is one, and one is none."
I suppose no-one will be surprised to learn I held the high score at the end of the game. Davis was second.
We went back to playing other games until we were called again. This time, we had agreed we wanted teams, and told the other, larger group in the arms room we'd take them on. One of them wanted to get mouthy, and offered to bet us $50.
I'm not a betting man. So I didn't.
But, oh my god, we murdered them. As we broke down the ramp, I yelled quick instruction for every person to stay with at least one other teammate, and we went to town. When we ended the game, the workers/fanboys there told us the other team would have to do nothing but shoot the little bonus targets for 10 minutes straight to catch our score, and offered to take us on.
It was a fun night, but the cost was high. All the ninja walking I did in three games means it hurts to move my upper legs, and I have blisters on my hands from T-Mek. Totally worth
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Couldn't dodge. Slamming brakes wouldn't have helped.
BOOM! I was really worried sick, until I could inspect the lower front skirt of the car.
Little varmint. I'm glad I killed so many of your kin, the last hunting season I spent in the woods. Preferred tool is a reduced recoil slug at 25 meters from a ghost-ring cylinder bore 12 gauge.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Heh. Don't bring young children, as there's profanity and gore, but if you like cop movies, are in law enforcement, enjoy British humor, or enjoy movies, go see it.
in the Honor's course I took with her.
I became a little worried when she emailed me just before the 4th, and asked if I'd mind filling out an online app, since she didn't know where mine was, and her assistant was on vacation for a week. I realized at that point that I was past the deadline for fall entrance to most programs.
I received a letter from ASU yesterday, and found myself very nervous. When I opened the letter, the things I saw were some pamphlets regarding ASU resources. Definitely a
good sign! Behind those was my letter of acceptance. Yay!
Now I just have to find a way to make some money...
Monday, July 9, 2007
Oh, crap. I guessed I was about to get my first speeding ticket evar.
I told Jordy I had to go, pulled over to the side of the road, and pulled my bill of sale and proof of insurance from the glove compartment. I verified that my wallet was at hand, and rolled the window down. And then, noticed the "45 MPH" sign directly in front of me. Ah, man...
The young trooper was extremely aware, speaking to me from far to my rear (which would be a safe position for him should I become a threat). I held my BoS and insurance, but he only asked to see my driver's license.
"I'm sorry, I didn't notice the limit had dropped," I told him.
"It just changed. But I clocked you at 75 in a 55. Are you still at Smalltown Way?"
"Well, actually, I just got back from Afghanistan, so I'm still looking for another place."
"You in the Army?"
"Was, yes, sir."
"I'll be back in a minute. What type of vehicle is this?"
"'01 Grand Am."
I waited, nervously sipping my bottled water. Looking in the mirror, I could see another, older trooper wearing the traditional Smokey drill sergeant hat standing behind my car. He didn't look happy. The younger troop came back, still standing fairly far back behind me.
"This won't affect your insurance. This is a warning."
"Thank you, sir. I'll slow down." I folded my information and replaced it slowly, looked around my packed car at the clothes hamper, boxes, and green duffel bag, and pulled back onto the road.
That was it. No lecture. No sarcasm. And let me tell you, I did drive more slowly the rest of the way back.
We watched the fireworks from the roof of the science museum, along with some of her friends/coworkers (several of whom are easy on the eyes, but distressing on the ears). I had a much nicer time than I'd expected, watching the pretty colors shoot and bloom overhead, sometimes viewing the explosions through the "3 D" ("Queenvision": I kept hearing the opening strains of The Highlander theme when using) mask, which gave the viewer rainbow streamers around visual periphery.
I wouldn't dispute that I have my challenges like everyone else, but I kept seeing those lines of fire shoot across the sky, and thinking, It would have been really cool to shoot that at the Taliban. If you think about it, though, my experience of the actual warfighting in the 'Stan really amounted to unloading vast amounts of expensive fireworks on them at night. Often accompanied by whoops from the ODA with us.
The Marriot had incredibly soft beds and inane window dressings. Nice, thick draperies were hung, but they didn't move at all- the only "curtains" were filmy and barely obstructed any light, which meant that I began waking up at, oh, about dawn.
We had a great time shooting several rifles and handguns, including a fully automatic FN FAL and M11. It's a shame that historical curiosities like the auto FN FAL are difficult and costly to legally obtain in the US: while fun, a fully automatic .308 is close to the least effective weapon to commit a crime that I can imagine!
I picked up my Smith and Wesson 21-4 at the same time. Boy, was I disappointed! I figured a .44 Special N frame would be about perfect for me, and it would...if it felt right. A standard profile 4" N frame revolver balances wonderfully for me, but the tapered barrel classic blued 21 feels very different. I know some folks will think a piece like this is handgun perfection, so I couldn't in good conscience shoot it, especially since it looks almost mint. The only mark I could see is the typical ring on the cylinder from being turned when the trigger is pulled. I really hope I can find this pistol the owner it needs.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Happy Independence Day! Take a minute or so, perhaps more, to think about what both freedom in general, and the liberty we enjoy here in the United States, really means. Peace.