Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shotgun Prose has a fan

It is exciting to log in and regularly get fan mail from "Anonymous".

I recently posted some videos on You Tube where I did some recording off of the tv of old tapes. I received a number of really detailed comments from the same person with a screen name as the only identifier, where the writer decided to comment personally on me as well as showing displeasure for the videos themselves. Fine. If you don't like the videos don't watch them. I know that I don't have home internet or anything and rely on accessible computers in order to post online. The fact that these old videos were transferred the way I did was kind of funny for how low tech it was, but that was lost on the viewer.

As a single father and full time substitute teacher (a profession I was able to fall back on a couple years ago when faced with a changing insurance industry - my old job doesn't exist any more) I have to be extraordinarily careful about where I spend my resources. Things like cable and internet are luxuries I simply have to let go. I make no apologies as I work full time and very hard. Still, the reality is that I do not have a home computer and rely on what the computer systems I can get to allow me to do.

Shortly after receiving the messages at You Tube I started getting comments from an "Anonymous" reader. The tone and writing strike me as consistent with the You Tube comments. I clearly have a fan.

It is funny to read how much you seem to hate everything I have written and do. Nice to know you have so much free time. I know I wish I had that much free time.

It is even better how much you have to say when you don't ever disclose who you are.

So, no I don't feel stupid that the Sounders got 20K season tickets. I found one small element of their ad campaign to be tired and over used. My comment was after a general description of how much I liked virtually everything else that they had done. If you were capable of understanding the notion of context, maybe that would have been noticed. Also, when Adrian responded to me personally he commented that my point was certainly valid and would be forwarded to the department. The SSFC got 20K in tix because of a convergence of of a variety of elements, of which marketing played a small part.

And, when a person writes a check to someone their bank should honor that check at its face value; not as a service to the person cashing it, but so as to honor what their own customer intended. Check cashing is a minor part of modern banking and hardly a difficult or expensive consideration. When customers find out that their bank charges the people they wrote the check to in order to cash it they are usually very angry. I know that because I was once a teller and had that conversation with many account holders who were glad that the financial institution I worked for did not do that. In no way do I imply that many fees are not valid and justified. But, much like a courtesy cup of water is a minor service provided to a patron at a restaurant so to is cashing a check for a customer at the bank on which it was written. A simple knowledge of the banking system would show that by sending a person to their own bank and making that check then work its way through the banking system a significant amount of processing expenses are created that are avoidable otherwise.

I am reasonably certain that this is all from the same person. At first I found the comments to be funny. They don't anger me because my skin is pretty thick and I can take it. I just find it tiresome. Criticism is fine. Hiding behind anonymity while insulting someone personally is not something I can respect.

"Anonymous" comments will not be posted on this blog from today forward. All unidentified comments will be deleted unread when they show up in the "Comment Moderation" section.

So, "Anonymous" ... in the words of a Pearl Jam song I like, "This is not for you." Go back upstairs and see what your mother is making you for dinner.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brown Belt

Seattle Taekwondo
Thai Kickboxing program
Brown Belt test
715-800PM February 26, 2009

Which 39 year old will have a better year?

Two homecomings. Two men 8 days apart in age.

Kasey Keller is returning home after a long career in European soccer to play for the Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field. He is 39 years old and will turn 40 in November at the end of the season.

Ken Griffey, Jr. is returning to Seattle after nearly a decade adrift to play for the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. He is 39 years old and will turn 40 in November at the end of the season.

I am hoping that they both have great years, but following each player should make for an interesting sidebar during 2009.

Friday the 13th email to my son ...

My critique of the ending to the movie. The decision to take him to see the new Friday the 13th is a questionable one, but so be it. I am not a horror movie fan and the movie was watchable and he loved it. The ending was set up to be something really cool and after setting so much stuff up they chose to go a different direction that left me puzzled.

"All in all it was not a bad movie; entertaining and startling.

However, they were so very close to being excellent with the ending and instead they went for the homage ending ...

See ...

Clay was about the same age and build as Jason so it would be plausible to people that he was behind the mask.

He spent a lot of time in the area, enough to tick off a cop that knew he was there.

The convenience store clerk, old guy with the tow truck, and grouchy lady all seemed to be safe from Jason and could have been used to protect Jason and blame Clay. The Convenience store guy would not put up signs and could place the kids and Clay together and be a witness to the bad blood between Clay and the blond guy.

The old lady commented to leave him alone, like she knew something.

The old guy was not followed by Jason and the body Jason threw on the truck was gone when Clay and his sister got there near the end.

Clay left his bike, backpack, and fingerprints all over the camp. When the cops would show up later evidence could point at him.

The death of the cop could be placed and set up as a revenge killing for telling him to go away, instead of helping him with the sister.

There was always also the financial motive of the drugs in the woods and Clay wanting to keep people away, after all he was estranged from his sis prior to her disappearance. Could he have hurt her as retribution for finding out that he was up in the woods growing drugs? It would be a perfect cover for the drug operation to use the story of Jason to keep people away.

Not saying it was a bad film, because it was entertaining, but they certainly set up a huge finish that would allow Jason to escape and blame someone else."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Karma gives me a 2nd chance in the same week ...

... and the same snowstorm.

After the Thanksgiving Day gas incident on 99 I was looking forward to my chance to pay forward the push that got me past 212th to someone. I did not have to wait long, but it was a disaster.

The Sunday morning after the first snow in December I pulled out of the video store and went to go up hill and noticed a nice new smaller car stalled out half way up. It was clear that if I stopped I would likely need to turn around myself, but with the driver waving me down I decided to stop and see if I could help.

"Help me," the older lady seemed desperate. I pointed out to her that she merely needed to roll back a few car lengths to back into the video store and then turn down the hill and go around where it was plowed better.

She insisted that I do it. There is a big ditch there and although it was likely that I would easily be able to do it I was not about to wreck her nice car. I told her how to do it but she nearly came to tears. I told her I was sorry and that I would follow her around to make sure all went well but that I could not take responsibility for her car that way.

She indicated that all she needed to do was get to the top of this hill. I said she could just call or walk up and that someone could help her. She continued to insist, almost angrily, that I drive her car. I would not.

After a few minutes of shivering through this and realizing it would not end well I let her know that I needed to go. She got in her car - and much like I said and did myself - she backed in and turned down the hill and all was fine. I felt bad.

On that Tuesday afternoon I was in the B&N parking lot in Lynnwood when I was approached outside the store by a woman asking me for help in the parking lot. She asked if I knew how to jump start a vehicle. I went over to where she had the car and saw that she was one of four women working to perform a jump start. One had the manual out and one was hooking up the cables. The woman who flagged me down stood with a friend and commented how cliched this was that one man was being brought in.

It appeared that they actually had it under control. Although it did not start right away I told them to let it charge and that I would check on them in a few minutes. I went inside and came back out maybe 5 to 10 minutes later. The car still was not turning over.

A car not turning over at this point can mean many things and I said so, which did not cheer them up.

So ... I disconnected everything and reconnected the cables myself, making certain to really get a good connection. The car fired right up. Near as I could tell they had the cables right but just had not got the connections really solid.

They were an odd combination of happy and frustrated. I just told them that it was likely that the connections really needed to be better and that they had basically otherwise done it right. They thanked me, but were clearly a bit embarrassed by the speed at which the car started after I redid it.

At this point, I quietly took my leave.

The Taqwacores

This December a friend posted a link about this story on Facebook. I had not heard of this novel, yet it had been an Internet sensation for several years. At Christmas I received two copies of the same novel so I went to 3rd Place Books and asked about this one. The two clerks had not heard of it either, but did a quick search on The Google looking for "Buffalo Punk Rock Muslims Book" and found the article. A quick database search led to an order for the book and when it came in I quickly began reading.

I have to admit that there were points where I was startled, and so I can imagine the shock value to Muslim readers; and, bear in mind that I didn't necessarily get all the jokes, references, and double meanings in the text.

Think of it this way. If Salinger was younger, a Muslim convert, and into punk rock then this would be a novel he would write.

Another Look At #2

Another Look At #2

I have been planning on a doing a series of these reviews for some time now to follow up on the Metal Church review. Instead, I am going to do one big post here with some snippets about why these records are worth a look years later.

Iron Maiden
The X Factor
I resisted this record to the point I pretended it did not exist ... almost like Highlander sequels. Then it was loaned to me. I played it and immediately liked it and played it again. And again. If a record gets my attention enough to spin it over and over again right away it goes to a special place in my collection. The second Blaze record was good, but not nearly this good.

Born In America
Riot was one of those bands that should have made it but didn't. They had a few records before flaming out. Every song on this record is great 80s rock. I played this tape out more than once. Master of Puppets had the same fate ... that alone should tell you how highly I think of this record

War Babies
War Babies
I actually have a weird connection to the bass player even though I don't recall ever meeting him. Paul Stanley produced a great record from one of the lost bands of the era that produced so many platinum bands from Seattle. I can still put this on and let it run through.

Aldo Nova
Aldo Nova is likely thought of as a one hit wonder, yet this record from a few years after his big hit is actually a very solid 80s pop rock record. It doesn't quite reach the status of guilty pleasure, because it is not schlocky that way, but it is cool to put on and listen to from time to time now. Too bad no one seemed to notice at this point.

Jean Beauvoir
Drums Along the Mohawk
I stumbled across this record about the same time as the Aldo Nova one. There is a historical reference to the title after all I finally saw online a few years ago and probably should have known then. However, much like the Aldo Nova record above it is nice to put this record on from time to time.

The best Judas Priest album since Screaming For Vengeance, even though it was just Rob. The album fades in with a classic Halford scream and reminded fans to go back and listen to their JP records again. I saw Halford on Tour with Maiden and QR in support of this and it was one of the best shows I ever have attended.

Geoff Tate
Geoff Tate
A solo record for the QR front man that has never received much attention. It's too bad, because the pop side of QR is really evident. It is clearly not a QR record and the songs stand alone.

Mick Jagger
Goddess in the Doorway
I wish Mick would do more of this even though it got mixed reviews - which was hardly shocking. The title track alone is one I think of a lot when I see certain women.

These are some really good records you might have missed, but are worth the time to check out.

Movie reviews for Jason

Jason has asked if I could provide some reviews in conjunction with his 50 movie Janus film series review binge (which can be followed at It turns out that there are 5 movies of the 50 that I have previously watched, as well as a couple others I have meant to and one that I have now watched in order to participate in the process.

I have watched Ikiru, The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, The 7th Seal, and Ugetsu in the past and added The Third Man to the list so as to at least watch one new one from the list.

Jason is listing long descriptions of the films and then has "What I liked" and "What I didn't like" sections. I am simplifying my thoughts into single paragraphs in lieu of the "liked" and "disliked" thing here. These snippets will be added in the comments section of each review later on Jason's site.

The Third Man
The black and white actually makes this film better than had it been in color. You can feel the cold and dampness of Vienna in the way that it is filmed. The acting, script, and depth of characters that start as archetypes and become more and more really drew me in. I liked that the British officer started as a cliche and turned out to be one of the most humane characters in the film, since I would not have predicted that.

This is perhaps the greatest "value of a single life" film ever made, with only It's a Wonderful Life" as its peer. I had been aware of Kurosawa and seen a couple of the obvious films, but because of the Barenaked Ladies song lyric ("Like Kurosawa I make mad films" ...) I finally got around to seeing a few Kurosawa films a few years back. I watched Ikiru first ... and then went on a binge of seeing all but one of his films he is listed on the IMDB as being "Director" of. If anyone finds a copy of Those Who Make Tomorrow (or even Horse, where he is listed as director of a few scenes) please let me know. The sense of desperation of trying to accomplish something, anything really, in the face of stifling bureaucracy prior to dying pushes our quiet and dull lead. There is an old Japanese saying that translates to, "If you intend to die, you can do anything." Indeed.

Obsession is powerful. Delusions of grandeur often follow. Although I enjoyed this film and think it is worth watching I must admit that I found it disconcerting in that it seems to be saying that trying to rise above one's station is a mistake and that we should settle for what we are. That theme came to me after watching this and bummed me out for a while.

The Seven Samauri
Between watching Ikiru and The Seven Samauri I came to the conclusion that Takashi Shimura was often more important in Kurosawa films than Toshiro Mifune was. This is a sweeping epic about a very small village and battle in the grand scheme of things. The way that this small village is set to be so important as to be worth defending for honor and not merely coin slowly dawns on the viewer.

The Seventh Seal
I must say that although this film is worth watching, it really falls into the category of something I can appreciate, but didn't necessarily like or dislike. Sort of like Wuthering Heights.

An effective case study in how perspective blurs objectivity, even with the best of intentions. Every time I hear of someone being convicted due to shaky testimony or released later because of forensic evidence I think back to the lesson of Rashomon or 12 Angry Men and think about how both films should be played to juries when they first go in to deliberate at the end of a trial.

Pulp Fiction Novels

I recently stumbled across some cheap old paperbacks from the 40s to 60s while shopping at a used book store for a buck a piece mostly. Fun reading, even if totally in the guilty pleasure category.

My father's work ethic

I am a single dad that gets no deductions despite providing for a percentage of my children's support and having additional basic living expenses in order to have a place they can stay on certain weekends.

I am not feeling sorry for myself. But, as I do my taxes and get punished by the system I must admit I am very frustrated.

My father worked hard and instilled that in me. I have worked my entire life and been willing to work OT, 2nd jobs, and holidays in order to try and get by. Yet, I find myself brutalized by the expense of living alone, but having the expenses of a family at the same time. I have a bigger place than I would otherwise need to be paying for. But, at tax time I have no "dependents" per se to claim.

The tax code needs to be reflective of the reality of single non-custodial fathers like me.

I am very frustrated today.

glamourpuss #5

I have intended to review these issues more thoroughly in the past, but really haven't done a great job as I am still burned out on reviews from years of music writing. Since this is the end of part one of Dave's study of comic art history it is time to look over the series.

I had been waiting for a story and in #5 we get a short panel to panel story ... nice. Even at three pages it is good to see some development of glamourpuss as a comic.

I imagine that we will get a thorough Hal Foster run through at some point given Foster's influence on early Cerebus ...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I am still watching even if for the wrong reasons.

Back in 07 in this blog I wrote about how excited I was to have "Couch Potato Wednesdays". Basically, it was because of LOST and how much I loved that show.

Recently, I have not had "Couch Potato Wednesdays". I watch episodes on line every couple weeks to catch up, but have mostly done so due to being stubborn and finding the show funny.

LOST is not a comedy.

I posted this Winter that I thought the show really needed to pull itself together to redeem seasons 5 and 6 after the terrible ending to season 4 and the special effect that would have looked lame a long time ago killed Eko.

LOST now is a show that I make fun of. Several of the actors look like they are one more silly script from intentionally getting a DUI to get their character written off the show.

Three seasons of steady and solid ratings have vanished. I looked up the ratings and the show has lost about a quarter of its audience during seasons 4 and so far in season 5. The ratings will continue to slip.

My brother and I do not agree on much in regards to our entertainment. However, we both started watching season 1 and last year both started thinking about how bad it was getting at the same time. Now, instead of discussing it, we make fun of it together.

I know some people who have the opposite opinion, and that is fine. But really, the Smoke Monster? Good Lord, that would have been a bad special effect in the 80s and it LOOKS like a special effect now.

This is the last posting about LOST on this blog. Ever.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Welcome home George!

I guess the sleeveless jerseys are coming back ...

With George coming home to the M's - and most importantly NOT going to Los Bravos - Tuesday evening family dinners can continue during baseball season.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You think that I would be happy ...

... but I am not.

The banners are down at Key Arena. I posted after the Metallica show in December how I thought they should come down pending the rebirth of a Seattle Sonics 2.0 ... and now that they are down ... it doesn't make me feel any better.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

WWE "No Way Out"

February 15, 2009
Key Arena
Seattle, WA

Melina Retains in a dark match over Beth Phoenix.

They shock us with the Smackdown Elimination Chamber to start ... with an even more shocking pin of Edge by Jeff Hardy in less than 5 minutes. Then HHH survives and leaves with the belt. DX is off to a good start tonight.

Randy Orton and Shane O'Mac thrill us with a few wild spots and bore us with lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of nothing in between.

The ECW title was on the line. An okay dark match that was in the middle of a PPV.

No one was really shocked by HBK beating JBL to end his really lame storyline, but it went longer than a JBL match usually does. A good night for DX.

Edge shocks us with an ambush over someone who had no business being in the main event in the first place and pins John Cena - much to the delight of my brother - and survives to now have the belt from the other show. Will Edge and Vicki survive?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Making Lefse

Me, Sam, and Gram on Valentine's Day 2k9 ...

This is actually a fairly time consuming process due to the amount of time it takes to cook each one ...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Holy Carp! What did I just drink?

I will let y'all look this up ...

So I saw a different flavor in the sports drink aisle the other day and grabbed it to sample.

Then, the other morning while sipping this in class I read the label ...

Not that there's anything wrong with that ... but it was not what I was expecting. Decent drink though ...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Maximize your time wasting ...

Some people have so little time that they use it to point out to people how little time they have.

They don't have time to work out.

They don't have time to cook for themselves.

They don't have time to see family.

They have such a tragic time schedule that they can only spend time online posting comments about how so many people are stupid and waste their time.

I don't really care if people like my stuff, but hello? If you don't like it and it wastes your time then isn't using more time to point it out your problem and not mine?

Just because someone has an opinion it does not mean that they actually have something to say ...

If I waste your time, stay away.

Friday, February 06, 2009

youtube channel is working ...

"the comic book shop" and other vids are now online ...

I am not going to move all the little vids from the Keeper Studios myspace page to youtube at this time, and probably not ever.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The proper crepe (part deux) ...

Follow up to June 11, 2007 posting ...

This morning ...