Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Superman Doomsday

Superman Doomsday Trailer

I cannot wait for this!

I have the original Superman Doomsday graphic novels (somewhere), and eagerly read the story when it first came out around 1993 starting with "Death of Superman", then "A World Without Superman", and then the return of the Man of Steel. This Direct to DVD movie follows all three major plot lines from the comics, covering three years of comic continuity.

There are changes from the source material, however.

Doomsday doesn't beat the snot out the Justice League before tangling with Big Blue. And, we will not see the four pretenders who take up Supes' mantle (Cyborg Superman, Steel, Superboy, and Last Son of Krypton). Those two are the biggest deviations. Apparently, in this version, Superman is the only hero on Earth.

The DVD will also be PG-13, so expect more visceral violence than in previous DC animations. It should be interesting to see what they show and do.

Villains in the DVD will be Lex Luthor, Doomsday, and Superman himself. (He fights his darker side). Toyman is also listed on imdb.

Casting includes Adam Baldwin as Superman, James Marsters as Lex Luther, Anne Heche as Lois Lane, and a few other voices you might recognize from numerous voice overs in animation.

I have high hopes for this movie. It has got to be better than the enjoyable, yet lackluster Superman Returns. We'll find out in a couple of months.

Superman Doomsday will be available on 8.17.07

You can see more at the Official Superman Doomsday Website!

You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry!

I love comics. I love super-heroes.

Hulk is one of my most favorite super-heroes. Sometimes on the side of angels, sometimes not. Always looking out for himself.

Hulk has gone through so many incarnations, so many vastly different looks, it can be difficult to decide which one to do a particular movie on.

Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible HulkMost people know the iconic Lou Ferrigno Hulk from the television series, The Incredible Hulk. I loved the series while growing up, even if Hulk was too skinny, too short, and not green enough. Compared to my beloved Hulk comics, that is.

They got one thing right, however ... the facial features. Savage Hulk is my absolute favorite look for the Emerald Giant. Lou captured the bestial Beast-Within appearance I have always felt Hulk was best suited for.

The 2003 movie, Hulk, used pure CGI to create Hulk's face (and body), though it did seem extrapolated from actor Eric Bana's actual facial features.

CGI Hulk from 2003 I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but felt Hulk's portrayal was overdone in a few ways. The biggest of which was his growing to huge, tree-sized proportions. It makes sense in a way. He'd need a massive frame to carry and utilize the correspondingly massive musculature. He did keep to the Hulk maxim of growing stronger the angrier he got. His face was very humanized, less bestial which gave him a humanity for the audience to relate to, but detracted from the overall monster-inside-us counter-point director Ang Lee seemed to be trying to make.

The fight scenes, excepting the final battle, were fantastic. Pure super-hero beauty on screen, pure Hulk. I was even excited to see they kept Hulk's leaping miles at time in. The middle of the movie was the best, while he fights the Army and escapes from the underground bunker. I even enjoyed the comic-style transitions between scenes Ang Lee utilized.

Unfortunately, Hulk didn't do as well as hoped, and was panned by many critics, both film and comic buffs alike.

The upshot is a new, Hulk movie is going forward. Not a sequel, but a re-start. A re- imagining of the Verdant Behemoth with new cast, and radically different look for the eponymous title character, The Incredible Hulk. I'm stoked after seeing this clip from Comic-Con!

Edward Norton will be playing Bruce Banner, with Liv Tyler as Betty Ross and William Hurt as Gen. "Thunderbolt" Ross. Tim Roth will be playing Emil Blonsky, which means we may actually see some hero vs. villain action in this movie with Hulk going up against the Abomination!

The Incredible Hulk is currently slated for a July 13th, 2008 release.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Poll Position

I've added another Poll to the right side of the screen, bottom of the first section. You may choose multiple answers.

I did this Poll for several reasons. First, I finally found out why I could not adjust my blogger layout (and how to work around it by removing the 2 from the www2 URL prefix). B, I woke up with a bad head cold and went back to sleep after taking the kids to camp, reawakening at about noon-thirty in time for a bologna sandwich lunch. And, 3, I never know what to put up, really.

You gotta admit, it beats having another Fart post!

If you inadvertently came here looking for information about the 1982 Namco arcade game, you're not entirely out of luck. You can watch the original Pole Position commercial (love that theme song!) or download a version to play right on your computer!

And just because I wubs joo all ...

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Simpsons Movie (2007)



Near the beginning of The Simpsons Movie Homer berates a crowd of people for watching an Itchy & Scratchy movie they paid for when they could watch the same thing at home, on TV! More prophetic words by Homer were never spoken.

Oh, there were a few moments that you wouldn't see splash across your television during a typical Simpsons episode. But, as with more recent seasons, it appears the willingness to stretch boundaries was dropped in order to keep it PG. Well, PG-13 is the rating given to The Simpsons Movie, but it is far, far less PG-13 than any other similarly rated movie released this year. You'll see the reason for the rating if you watch this film. It's not language ...

This is not to say I did not like the movie. I did. I laughed many times, snickered a lot, and even sang along with about 2/3 of the hundred or so other movie-goers when Homer sings the Spider-Pig song ...

"Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig, does whatever a spider-pig does."

You don't get that sort of unplanned, spontaneous audience participation in many movies.

The movie plays out like a long episode of The Simpsons. Unfortunately, the closer to the film's release it got, more and more of this lean 87 minute movie was shown in trailers, clips, and talk shows. While it does drive up interest in seeing the movie, it detracts from the final experience because you've seen the gags dozens of times. Some held up to the hype, like the spider-pig song, while others drew flat amused laughter, as if they once found it funny but now ... meh. (The wrecking ball scene is a perfect example).

The story is not a bad one, a bit more epic in scope than most episodes, but nothing ground breaking.

Lake Springfield has become dangerously polluted. Lisa Simpson exhorts the town into doing something about it. Dumping into the lake is banned. Good ol' Homer, however, dumps in a silo full of porcine poop instead of going to the hazardous materials plant. Now the lake is toxic, threatening the rest of the country, forcing President Swarzzennegger to place a containment dome over Springfield. Homer is found out and blamed. Now, Homer and family must save Springfield and themselves. Hilarity ensues.

In the course of this straight forward plot, we get to meet a high profile band, an extremely high profile actor, the entire population of Springfield, and, of course, Spider-Pig.

If you are a die-hard Simpsons fan, you should rush out and see this. If you merely like the Simpsons, do as Homer suggests and save your money for the DVD or rental. If you hate the Simpsons ... well, there must be something wrong with you. See your family physician immediately!

If you do go to see this at a theater, wait through the credits for some more fun and a surprise or two. ~.^

I give The Simpsons Movie 3 of 5 Raivynns!

Raivynn Rating

Will the Simpsons Movie Stink?

Based on this trailer, it just might!

Ok, Ok ... I had a post I wanted to do. I really did. Then I got sidetracked. Then, I got lazy. Plus I need a shower if I'm actually going to go see the movie today because ... well, Eau d'Naturale doesn't go over well in a crowded theater.

I'll let you all know how it was!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I am supposed to post something everyday, so here you go ...


My kidney is hurting. no real post today. I should go to the doc, but after the $700 radiator, kids' camp fees, and my previous meds and visits, compounded by the fact I am uninsured ... I ain't got nothing to pay the doc with. *sigh*

My legs are doing much better, however. Healing up nice, awaiting the next outbreak in quiet fear and consternation. I *cough cough* saved some of the meds so if it happens again, maybe I can catch it quick without having to lay out a few hundred bucks again.

Dunno what is really wrong, kidney wise. No pain while going or anything like that. One doctor told me it was my back muscles not my kidney. But, I think he was just not willing to spend much time and effort on an uninsured patient. I know the difference between back muscle pain and kidney pain. I've had kidney stones (well, it was more of gritty sludge which is worse, I've been told), and this feels similar. Far, far less painful, but the ache is close.

I have been drinking a lot of milk and caffeinated soda the last week or so. Both are extreme contributors to the build up of calcium in the kidney. Especially for those prone to it. Gonna lay off the soda and moo juice a while. Stick with plain ol' Tampa water ... which is about as clean as drinking out of the gutter after a summer rain. Always sediment or something sticking to the sides of my cup after I drink it. Might be my pipes. The place is going on 20 years old ... =/

I use bottled water, if i can. But I hate dipping into the hurricane supply we try to keep in stock. We have several flats of those 20 oz. bottles. Easy to carry, stackable, and can be placed in the truck quickly. Plus, no need to worry about cups and other stuff in an emergency, and they can be used for other purposes when empty (if needed, use your own imaginations! ~.^).

So, there you go .. something posted. Hope you're happy now!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter - The Musical!

Okay, so it's really just a guy singing a home-brew song about (the then upcoming) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book. This guy and his brother are spendign a year with out written communication and are doing daily video blogs to each other. (You can learn more at www.brotherhood2.com)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

re: Anonymous

Last week, I had a post apologizing for missing a day or two of blogging. An anonymous commenter left the following reply:

"That's no excuse. It takes like what? 5 minutes to post something? You say updated daily. So update daily! You have an obligation to your readers. Our time is too precious to be wasted visiting sites that claim regular updates and don't deliver. Of course, your readership is probably not very many. I'm guessing no more than 10 a day, probably less. Get RSS at least, so people know when you've updated. And get rid of that old poll while you're at it! Hope your mother is okay. Peace!"

Aside from someone being anonymously combative, I don't see how any blogger is obligated to provide content of any sort. It's not like readers pay for the privilege of accessing whatever drivel I decide to spout. Sure, if a blogger makes a statement that updates will be on a certain schedule, then that blogger should try to uphold that statement. Real life intervenes quite often, however; sickness, appointments, unforeseen delays in travel, the simple blahs ...

Think of my update schedule as a guideline, a rule of thumb, a suggestion of intent. Not a binding contract of service providement.

No one forces readers to visit their blogs. Sure, I like to see those page hits, I love to see those comments (even good ol' anonymous'). This is more of a hobby, a way to possibly entertain a few friends, maybe make a few new ones. It's no job, though sometimes it feels like one when I'm feeling ill or have no content ready to post about.

I appreciate all my readers ... and, unlike Anonymous' bitter guess above, it is more than 10 a day. According to Google Analytics, I've had 8174 pageviews since I started the blog on January 1, 2007. That averages out to 40 visits per day. (Okay, it's 39.87317 per day ... maybe from those families with 2.5 kids?)

No, it's not a huge number. Substantially more than 10, however. And, that is the average. Some days I have more, some days less. Weekends seem to be a huge drop in readership, but even then it's around 15 or more.

Some other interesting stats:

The average visit time on the site is 00:06:01 (six minutes) and viewing 1.45 pages per visit. Just under 30% of those are returning visitors, which equates out to about 12 people who come everyday. Again, not a lot, but I'm not shooting for a huge audience.

If things keep going the way they are, I should have 10,000 hits sometime in September or early October.

Okay, I'm done ranting. Time to pick up the kids from the airport.

Now there is something I wish I really could put off! ~.^

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Hardback CoverThis review contains no spoilers.

Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, is back for his 7th, and final, book in the wildly popular series by British author J.K. Rowling. He is once again accompanied in his adventures by Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, along with appearances by just about every character named in all the other Harry Potter books.

The story is woven with as much magic and excitement as any other Potter book, yet you can feel the tenseness throughout the narrative as Rowling leads us through to the final showdown between good and evil. We are breathlessly drug along from one narrow escape to another as Voldemort and his Death Eaters are on the hunt for Harry now that his slain mother's protective charm has broken on his 17th birthday. Harry, Hermione, and Ron embark on Dumbledore's final mission to locate and destroy Lord Voldemort's hidden Horcruxes, magical vessels containing portions of his very soul!

Rowling revisits many locales from previous books, as well as introducing new ones. Characters both loved and hated, old and new, are showcased. Many with unexpected surprises attached.

Deathly Hallows deftly slips all the disparate threads into a solid whole. Old questions and loose ends are wrapped up nicely, leaving the reader feeling satisfied, and quite possibly surprised.

The action is ramped up in this final book. Blood flows and bodies fall as the war against Lord Voldemort reaches a stunning peak. Never is it described for shock value, garishly or grotesquely, but some younger readers may be disquieted by the amount of violence and injury. I noticed more casual swearing in this outing than previous books, as well. Nothing excessive, and it is not jarring, though I could have done without a few of the "effing" comments. One notable line seems to be lifted directly from the movie Aliens. I actually laughed a bit at it. You'll know it when you see it.

Rowling has claimed that two important characters die in Deathly Hallows. This is true. Though more than two people die in the entire story. Some are expected, some are not. All have a bit of poignancy about them.

The book is a bittersweet ending to the Harry Potter saga. It leaves you fulfilled, yet sad at the series passing, much as you may be over several of the deaths in this book. Rowling has not ruled out the possibility of future adventures in the world of Wizards and Muggles, but I expect any such revisitation to be a few years coming.

Until then, we can look forward to two more movies, both of which should be mega-hits. Deathly Hallows almost seems as if it was written with the movie version in mind. You are sure to get that Big Screen feeling while reading this non-stop final adventure.

It is truly a magical experience!

I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows full marks; 5 of 5 Raivynns!

Raivynn Rating

Saturday, July 21, 2007


My Harry Potter book shall be delivered very soon. I will be reading it all day, and tomorrow, too. So my reviews of Ratatouille and Order of the Pheonix will be delayed I'll post more WoW videos however over the next two days ... just to keep you entertained.

WoW - Just As Long As Me

Jonathan Coulton's song put to WoW video by spiffworld.com.

Friday, July 20, 2007

WoW - I'm Too Sexy ...

Not the greatest video ever made, but I found it amusing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Long Two Days

Sorry there was no blog entry yesterday, nor really one for today.

Yesterday was filled with doctors appointments, at the tail end of which the car began to overheat. Not fun to have happen in Florida near 100°F weather. We had to turn the air conditioning off in the car to limit the stress on the radiator. We also ended up having to stop several times to allow it to cool down. (Once was at an Arby's, so at least I had a good lunch!)

My poor mom does not tolerate heat very well. I was worried about her, quietly freaking out that the car would make it home, and trying to put forth a confidant, cheerful face. If my emotions got to me, Mom would fall apart quicker than a Jenga game played by termites.

By the time we got the car home, it was past 4 o'clock. I've posted far later than that, but I was beat. After cooling off, I relaxed on the couch, ate some supper a little later, then played some WoW.

I had hoped to complete a long, arduous class quest chain for my mage. But circumstances precluded that, which was just as well. I was worn out from the long, hot day and tiring fast. Plus, I needed to be up by 5:30 to get the car to Firestone by the 6 AM opening.

Sure, I could have set an appointment, but you know car places. They'd get to the car when they got to the car. And, the earlier it was in, the earlier they could diagnose it, and the quicker parts could be ordered. I knew parts would have to be ordered.

My thoughts were that either the water pump had gone, or there may have been a hose problem or a blockage. the radiator didn't seem to be drawing water from the reservoir.

Turns out the radiator was blown. It had to be replaced to the tune of around $700. It also took from 6 AM until 2 PM of me sitting in the slightly warm, very noisy shop office. I'm beat.

So, ummm ... no funny videos, no stupid jokes, not even a half-hearted fart moment.

Lucky you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WoW - Big Blue Dress

I thought this was hilarious! I also liked the music. ^.^

Monday, July 16, 2007

Amish Paradise - Weird Al and WoW

One of my favorite Weird Al songs (a parody of Coolio's Gangster Paradise). The video is well done, and the thought of an Amish Night Elf is too funny. I like how the author even used original Warcraft screens for the barn-building sequence. hehe

Sunday, July 15, 2007

WoW and Weird Al

After a brief Transformers interlude yesterday, we're back with more WoW music videos! This next one is a paordy of Weird Al's original "That's Your Horoscope for Today". (Ironic, isn't it?)

Obviously the video was created before the Burning Crusade expansion pack. Still, hilarious! For those of you who would like to hear Weird Al's original song ... here you go!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Which Transformer Are You?

I've seen this at a few blogs and link sites, most recently over at TekPhreak's. Thought I'd give it a go. My first try I just picked what I thought woukld be funniest for me to anser, and I got Megatron. =/ Then, I answered seriously and got:

Find out which Transformer you are at LiquidGeneration!

Give it a go and see who you'd most likley be.

Bit of a warning though, like the recent movie, this quiz is PG-13.

Friday, July 13, 2007

WoW - Gadetzan Hardware Store

Great WoW video done to the song, "Hardware Store" by Weird Al Yankovich!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

WoW - A Pirate I Was Meant to Be!

World of Warcraft ... Pirates ... Funny Video ... ???


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This Present Darkness (1986) by Frank E. Peretti

The battle between Good and Evil takes on a spiritually terrifying mien in this novel by Frank E. Peretti.

The title comes from Ephesians 6:12 (RSV): "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Spiritual warfare is brought to vivid life in this gripping tale of the small, quiet college town of Ashton and the demonic forces striving to take it over.

When an investigative reporter photographs the chief of police in a secret meeting during the town carnival, she is thrown in jail. The new owner of the local newspaper with family problems, a young preacher accidentally voted in to serve as pastor, and the beautiful, spunky reporter soon become embroiled in a diabolical conspiracy involving Ashton's most powerful and influential people, an enigmatic New Age professor, a mysterious New York power broker, and a desperate woman on the run.

In the spiritual realm, Principalities of the Air pit their demonic hordes against the Hosts of Heaven. Demon against angel for the souls of Ashton. The forces of Heaven are outnumbered by billions. The Faithful in Ashton must join with God's Host to battle the evil spirits and end the threat to their town - and ultimately to the entire human race.

While This Present Darkness is a Christian authored novel, it tells an awe-inspiring tale of demons vs. angels without becoming preachy. It may even make you think differently on the philosophies of spiritual warfare after reading.

The book depicts an unseen tableau of demons and angels battling for our souls in our world. Sudden urges, burdens of the heart, strange coincidences, and outright miracles are explained as being the divine work of God's Heavenly Host, or the evil machinations of Satan's demonic forces. The angels derive their strength and power from the prayers of God's people. The demons gain theirs from the fear, depravity, and corruption of we simple humans.

A tale of human corruption, fascination with the occult, demonic possession, the conquering of a small town, and the good folk who are battling the evil is woven seamlessly into the spiritual tale of guardian angels, salvation, and the power of prayer.

The story is engaging, full of thrills, chills, twists and turns. The characters are believable, spiritual and flesh-and-blood alike. It plays out almost like a fantastic movie as you read. You won't want to put it down.

You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy this book. And while the outcome of the story is never in doubt, the ride through the events leading up to the thrilling climax is wild and exciting. You won't look at religion the same again.

If certain aspects of the story were updated to contemporary themes, and given a Hollywood budget, this would make a sure-fire blockbuster movie. The main problem would be the typical watering down of the religious overtones and Christian themes by Hollywood. *sigh*

I give This Present Darkness full marks; 5 of 5 Raivynns!

Raivynn Rating

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Open Water (2003) DVD

I am never scuba diving. Ever!

This film is like an 81 minute long public service ad showing you the perils of open water scuba diving. It shows us an unmarried couple who take a spur-of-the-moment diving vacation. They are dive certified and end up on a chartered boat in some un-named tropical locale. A mishap in the head count (why not have a sign-in sheet???) leads to our two protagonists being stranded two hours out from land, in the middle of the ocean.

That's where the based-on-a-true-story begins.

Daniel and Susan, our erstwhile divers, decide to do their own thing and not stay with the group. (There's Public Service Ad #1 - Stay With the Group!) They also spend too much time fiddling with some eels and petting a nurse shark, surfacing right at the 35 minutes dive time allotted for the trip. (PSA #2 - Be on Time!)

The boat is gone, the crew having flubbed the headcount and no one else noticing two people were missing. (PSA #3 - Make Friends Who Will Miss You! and PSA #4 - Don't Trust the Locals!)

Gradually, the two adrift divers realize they are lost at sea. Things begin to get worse as panic sets in, and the sharks begin to circle. If you follow closely, the film follows the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. It gives an interesting, even emotional, look into their situation.

The duo must deal with dehydration, motion sickness, hunger, fear, jellyfish swarms, and the ever present sharks as they try to survive. Daniel and Susan act like I imagine most couples in love would in a situation like this. It wasn't overblown. It wasn't melodramatic. They love each other, help each other, even yell at each other, but through it all they are there for one another.

The ending is more Perfect Storm than Titanic. It's melancholy, and leaves you a bit disappointed. But it's real. It feels true, like it would happen that way.

The scenes with the sharks were done using live sharks. No CG was used in the film. The whole thing was financed by two people, director Chris Kentis and his wife, producer Laura Lau. It was digitally shot, and often had only two or three crew filming (plus the actors) on weekends and holidays.

For an independent film shot for a mere $130,000, Open Water is a surprising well made movie. Lion's Gate purchased the film for $2.5 million after a screening at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was very well received. It grossed over $52 million worldwide.

I mention all that because while the film itself, while good, is not overly impressive, how it was made is. In this summer's glut of high budget, over-the-top films I've seen, Open Water is a refreshing change of a well-told, well-acted story done on a minimal budget.

For those of you with kids or easily bruised sensibilities, there is one (totally un-needed) scene of sexual nudity, and several places with heavy cursing. Though, in all honesty, I would have said much worse in that situation, and the cursing lent the film more realism than if it were eliminated or cut down.

The DVD I watched (Okay ...bought for my collection) is a Widescreen, 2-Disc set with tons of features. There are two commentary tracks: one with the director and producer, one with the actors. also included are Deleted Scenes, English and Spanish tracks (how do you scream in Spanish?), a Making Of featurette, and a short feature called "The Indie Essentials".

I haven't viewed the extras yet, so cannot really comment on them at this time.

For a bargain bin $5 movie, it was a good investment. I'm sure I'll watch this again a few times, as well as view some of the extra features.

As rental, you wouldn't be wasting your time or money. As a purchase, if you like survival flicks as much as I do, this is a decent one. I give Open Water a very solid 3 out of 5 Raivynns!

Raivynn Rating

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Die Hard 12: Die Hungry

This is the funniest thing I've seen this week!

It's from the Ben Stiller Show

WoW, Farts -- Raivynn Has No Post Again!

The actual fart tune was ripped from Family Guy which was parodying the song "Dueling Banjos", which is an iconic song from the movie "Deliverance".

Yeah, I'm bored. I have no real stuff to blog about today. The WoW Anvilmar server was buggy, so I came to drop this on you.

Sorry, Bruiser. I know I promised no more farts on Sunday, but ... WoW deserved it!

And that one dwarf sure had a purty mouth. ~.^

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Common Scents

A woman in Detroit is suing the city over co-workers' use of strong perfumes and air deoderizers. (Read it here!)

This story comes at a great time because I was going to revisit a previous post from a week ago when I wrote a mild rant about strong scents in public places. In that rant, I mentioned a poll you could take in my blog's sidebar.

The poll question read, "Should Strong Perfumes, Colognes, and Hand Lotions be Banned From Use in Restaurants and Work Places?" There were 9 votes total; 6 for banning (66%), 2 for not banning (22%), and 1 undecided (11%). And, yes I know there is a percent missing, gimme a break this isn't advanced math I'm doing here. ~.^

Now, I should have reworded that from Ban to Restrict. I don't think actually banning the use of personal scents is a reasonable response. But the scent wearer (user) should also exercise some common sense on how much to wear.

An anonymous comment on that post claimed the scent users have a right to personal expression.

To an extent, I agree with that statement. people should have a right to express themselves. Of course, obvious limitations to society and laws need to be observed. I may like walking around my house naked, but my kids don't need to see that, nor my neighbors across the street who happen to glance through my unshuttered, open picture window. I'm also pretty sure my cats don't particularly care for it either. Sure, they put on a good show of ignoring it, but I hear them sniggering to each other about it later.

My opinion is that your right to personal expression stops at my personal space. If I can smell you from three or four feet away, strongly and clearly, then you are invading my personal space, and you should move (or maybe wash it off). Perfume and other scents should be a personal thing. A person should have to be right up near you, within your personal space, to smell it.

Unless you are stating that your personal space extends around yourself in a substantially larger radius than others?

I consider it rude for someone to use a scented lotion, or to spritz perfume, while in a public place. Especially an eating establishment, or a grocery store.

Would they like it if I walked by their table and ... farted?

Hey, it's a natural bodily function. God created the ability for the human body to release excess gas. Perfume is a man-made substance, not natural. But, if I stood there and played the Flight of the Bumblebee with my Tushie Tuba, I'd be tossed out of the restaraunt; maybe even arrested.

Why? Because it is rude, offensive, and fairly gross ... by society's standards (and my own). Is not the stench of floral assault not as rude, offensive, and gross? I don't want to smell it at my table, let alone taste it! Yuck! But, perhaps farting is my way of expressing myself?

No? I don't think that excuse flies for either circumstance.

The above reminds me of a true story. It takes place long before smoking was banned in restaurants. I was maybe 16, so this had to be in the mid to late '80's.

My mother, my sister's mother-in-law, and myself were at one of our favorite pizza joints. Seating was in booths down a very long room, about 15 booths to a side; six seaters, eight if you were thin or very friendly. A wall ran along one side of the booths, with a six foot high barrier wall along the other. It was topped with various plants and a bronze runner bar.

We were seated, about half-way though our meal, when a group of five men entered and asked (almost demanded) that we move because this was their traditional booth. Of course we said no, there were about twenty or so other booths available for them to sit at and we had already begun eating. They cursed at us and sat directly behind us. Three on the bench directly behind my mother and myself, two across the table from those three.

Immediately they all lit up cigarettes and cigars. Annoying, but not much we could do other than move. Even though my mother has breathing problems compounded by smoke, she was adamant about not moving.

Then the "gentlemen" began holding their lit cigarettes (and one cigar) over their shioulders. Smoke began to billow into our eating space. We politely asked them if they would stop holding their cigarettes like that. They laughed and started to turn their heads and blow the smoke at us. One guy even tapped his ashes onto my mothers neck.

We complained to the restaraunt owner, who we knew as my sister had once dated his son in high school. Dimitri, the owner, apologized, and gave us our meal free, but said he couldn't tell them to stop because he didn't want trouble with those men. I got the picture. Yeah, Dimitri's place was THAT sorta pizza joint. >_>

We got the rest of the food packed up in boxes and my mother and my sister's in-law left, walking down the small hallway to the exit, the six foot barrier wall high wall to their right. As they passed where the men were you could hear them laugh harder and call us all sorts of cruel and nasty names. I was at the front counter, talking to Dimitri.

About this time I saw their waitress bring over their orders.

I said goodbye to Dimitri, casually grabbed the lid off a very full floor ashtray next to the counter, walked down the hallway, and as I got next to the Darwinian rejects' booth, I upended the entire ashtray over the wall and onto them, their food, and the huge pitcher of beer they were drinking.

Then I ran like hell.

The next time we ate at Dimitri's place, he said absolutely nothing to me about it, but I did get a free piece of baklava, "just because". ~.^

So, the next time someone sits near me in a restaurant and whips out the lotion or perfume, I think I'm ordering up a mess of baked beans.

Ah, I smell victory!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Transformers (2007)

Transformers (2007)This summer's blockbuster event is Transformers. And, unless you've lived under a rock for the last 20 years, you pretty much know what the movie is about.

Big. Transforming. Robots.

Transformers is a pure action romp from start to finish. You have Huge Shape-Shifting Robots fighting the military, you have Huge Shape-Shifting Robots fighting a secret government agency. You have Huge Shape-Shifting Robots fighting each other.

Oh, and a Little Shape-Shifting Robot fighting all that, plus Shia LeBouf and his hot girlfriend.

I enjoyed this movie. You don't get too many "popcorn flicks" like this every year. It was fast, it was energetic, it had a decent story, it even had made you care, just a little, about the people and robots in it.

In truth, the movie was more about people with some Huge Shape-Shifting Robots thrown in, than about Huge Shape-Shifting Robots who meet people.

And, that's okay.

One of the things the old Transformers cartoons did not depict very well, or at all, was how the Transformers being on Earth affected anything. The movie shows us, sometimes in excruciating detail, just how the United States would respond the Huge Shape-Shifting Robots ... pretty much how the Government is depicted responding to anything from outer space ... shoot at it, capture one, and torture / experiment on it!

Still, it felt plausible, and for once our government and military isn't portrayed as some inept, bumbling, and vaguely evil entity. (Though the throw-away, snide political commentary about the President is more biting). I suppose being a Fourth of July release, it behooved the filmmakers to show the US in a good light. Pump up the patriotism, fuel the war machine, and all that. *shrug*

Still, while the movie, overall, was a blast to watch, it suffered from similar plot bloat as did Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. There are several plot threads, and so many characters introduced, that you begin to feel slightly overwhelmed.

There are six groups of characters that alternately interact with one another throughout the film, eventually converging together in the film's climax: Shia LeBouf's Sam Witwicky and his girlfriend and family; the Special Forces military team; the Secretary of Defense (Jon Voight, yay!) and his signal breaker team; the enigmatic Sector 7; the brave Autobots; and the evil Decepticons.

I think they should have lost the Sector 7 and most of the signal breakers stuff and focused more on Sam Witicky and his relationship with Bumblebee (the yellow, Camaro Autobot). To me, that storyline was the true heart of the film, and it seemed a bit rushed and somewhat forced in places. Shia Lebouf was a great fit for his character, though at times he seemed more like his Even Stevens character in his frantic yelling and screaming at the beginning.

The Army vs. Robot sequences were great. Lots of explosions, plenty of cool guns, awesome special effects. Some of it could have been cut down, but Michael Bay sure loves his exploding action sequences. I'm not a huge fan of the way he does action. I much prefer the cleaner style of action I saw in Live Free or Die Hard to his choppy, quick shift style. It's not horrible, but I just prefer to see what is going on, rather than semi-see it and have to guess.

I liked having the Secretary of Defense in charge of things. Jon Voight is one of my favorite actors, and I really enjoyed seeing him in this role. The signal trackers were okay, but too much focus and importance was given to them, and the addition of Anthony Anderson's character was totally unneeded, slowed things down, and was just jarring in its blatant attempt to be "funny". (Though still not as ear-shriekingly bad as Bernie Mac as the car salesman at the beginning of the film).

The Decepticons looked sufficiently menacing, and very fluid. The Autobots were similarly fluid, but seem to convey a more benign nature. The CGI teams did excellent work with the designs and animations.

All the Transformers were realized perfectly on screen. You fully buy into the idea that these Huge Robots could transform into the vehicles and other shapes. The one thing that seemed incongruous about them was how they were able to move almost silently while walking or hiding. You'd think there would be great big WHOMPS when they took steps due to their massive size.

Peter Cullen returns as the voice of Optimus Prime. He makes the movie. Without him the movie would still be pretty good, but having him reprise his role as Optimus makes it freaking great! Optimus is more humorous in the film than in the cartoons, a refreshing change. All the Transformer dialogue is as fluid as their animations. You feel they are definitely "more than meets the eye".

There were a few other things I didn't care for in the film ... the Allspark's size-shifting, a few rude humor scenes, a bit more strong language than I care for in a "family film" (mostly several Mother Fu ... never completely spoken, but you know we all mentally finish the statement), and the ending sorta made me think "Why didn't he just do that in the first place?"

Overall, I liked it ... a lot. I'd go see it again, except I'd have less to drink beforehand as the movie is two and a half hours long. I'll definitely be getting this on DVD. And I eagerly await the sequel.

You know there will be one. They left it open at the end, with a hook or two here and there.

Still, you really only need one reason to go see this film ...

Big. Transforming. Robots.

I was wavering between a 3 or a 4 for my rating, but the movie has grown on me in the two days since i saw it. So I am giving Transformers as solid 4 out of 5 Raivynns.

Raivynn Rating

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth of July

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Fourth of July!

I'll be spending the day mucking about in WoW, watching one of 12 new DVDs with the family, likely playing a game or two with the kids, and once it gets dark ... Fireworks! Or, what passes as legal fireworks in my town.

Sure, I could basically lie to one of the hundreds of firework vendor tents scattered all over the county. I could tell them I wish to purchase the fireworks for agricultural purposes. I wouldn't need to worry about getting in trouble because the cops don't really enforce the ban on non-sparkler fireworks.

But, I feel it is wrong and sends a poor message to my kids. I'm constantly telling them not to lie, not even on the little stuff. How would it look for me to lie just so we can blow stuff up in celebration of our country's Independence? Real good way to honor my country ... by lying.

Of course, with all the politicians, you'd think lying would be the perfect way to celebrate. =/

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Going to the Movies

My mother and I are heading to the local cineplex at the mall to see Tranformers today. We'll likely be heading out around noonish, grab lunch at the mall food court, then slip into a 12:40 or 1:10 showing. Depends on how much we lallygag about in the food court ... and how crowded the mall is, I suppose.

I was not the biggest Transformers fan as a kid. I never even had any of the toys, though I did watch the cartoon. Not slavishly, but if it was on, I was home, and nothing else was capturing my attention, my eyes gazed upon the brave Autobots as they battled the evil Decepticons.

I did watch the Beast Wars era of Transformers, however. There were few totally CGI shows out back in 1996, and I found it visually entertaining. Plus, the show came on right after I got home from my graveyard shift job, and I watched it while munching a bowl of cereal before I showered and went to bed.

I don't know, in detail, the Transformer mythology. I'm avoiding reading up on it at Wikiepedia or other fan sites, so as to not taint my experience seeing the movie. I am already a little leery at the robot designs compared to what I recall from the cartoons and CGI series. But, I try to see movies about pre-existing properties (like super-heroes, and such) with an open mind. I like to think of the movie continuity as an alternate reality of sorts. This way I lessen any disappointment I might have about differences from the original source material.

I'll write up a review of the movie in the next day or so ... after I stop expecting every car, truck, or airplane to suddenly shift into a robot form with that digital ratcheting sound, that is.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tagged for Jesus

My regular blog buddies have been doing a thing where they "tag" a blog who is then supposed to list five reason why they dig Jesus, then tag 5 others to do the same.

The problem with this is those who are some of the last to be tagged, are limited in who is left to tag from their usual blog group. I don't know if I can retag someone, or even who has already been tagged. A few people I am blogging buddies with wouldn't appreciate what they would perceive as "blog spam", others have different views about religion. Again, they might not appreciate being tagged.

I'm awaiting some official ruling as to what can be done. Until then, here are my "Five Reasons I Dig Jesus":

¤ He undertook incredible punishment, pain, and persecution before He died for our salvation. Too many people focus only on His death and Resurrection, and seem to ignore or pass over His suffering before that. It's easy to die, and being the Divine, Resurrection (while a miracle) is what He is. I'm more impressed and thankful that Jesus would willingly subject himself to the beatings, the kicks, the punches, carrying the cross, the crown of thorns, the nailing, the spear thrust, the bitter water for me. I fancy I would be able to die for my loved ones, but I don't know if i could willingly withstand torture.

¤ His forgiveness. Jesus forgave those who tortured him, those who reviled and spat upon him. He forgives me. How cool is that?

¤ Jesus was a carpenter. He worked with his hands. In carpentry, you sometimes need a gentle touch, sometimes a forceful touch, always with precision, in order to build something worthwhile and sturdy. You see this in other aspects of His life in the Bible, too.

¤ Jesus was not afraid to stand up for what is right. He faced down angry mobs intent on stoning a prostitute. He stood up to, and threw out, the moneychangers in the temple. He even stood up to Satan on the mountaintop.

¤ Jesus was a great story teller. Sure, now we call them parables, but He told stories that entertained, not bored, all while getting his message across.

So, there you have my five.

Until I learn more about the rules of tagging, I'll just tag one person for now ...