Archive for July, 2009

RIP Chopstick

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2009 by Budd Black

While leaving for work today, I noticed a dead animal in the road by my
house. The first emotion that hit me was anger. Then came the empathy
because I knew my daughter would be devastated. I told my wife when I
came in to get a bag to collect Chopstick off of the road. We debated
about not telling the kids, but didn't think that our cat of three years
leaving them sounded like a good idea. We were going to wait until
after school to tell Ashli. My wife was, understandably, shaken up and
my daughter knew something was wrong and she had to tell her.

Chopstick had been part of our family for over 3 years. While she
wasn't the most gentle cat, she was very affectionate. Most nights she
would sleep at the foot of on of our beds. In the winter time she would
get underneath the covers. She liked to jump up on to my shoulders. We
tried to keep her as an inside only cat at first, but cats that want
outside will get there. She was a Tonkinese and was beautiful. She was
a great cat and she will be sorely missed.

Bye Chopstick!

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Ninja Assassin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 29, 2009 by Budd Black

It must be the 80’s again.  Transformers, G.I. Joe, Tron, and now a ninja movie.  I am pretty excited.  The ninja movies of the 80s fed my thirst for martial arts and violence as a child.  Fortunately they can’t just throw some Asian baddy into a movie with a white lead that knows passable martial arts.  Unfortunately they have special effects now that a martial arts, and especially, a ninja movie could depend upon too much. 

The movie has yet to come out, but the trailer is available on Hulu and it actually has me excited.  A lot of the weapon stuff looks like it is CG which is kind of a cop out but it also looks like the movie is going to be in 3D.  The movie will be starring Rain, the Korean singer.  Some people will remember him from I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay, but most everyone will know him as Taejo from Speed Racer.  The plot looks to be about an orphan that is trained in the ways of Ninja and then betrays his master based on some moral disagreement.  Pretty standard Ninja movie plot.

The real exciting thing about this movie is who are behind the scenes.  This movie is being produced by the Wachowski brothers and the screen play was rewritten by J. Michael Straczynski.  The Wachowskis know how to make a movie high octane and Straczynski is an excellent writer.  This movie should stand up plot wise with his help.  The movie looks dark both visually and thematically.  I am looking forward to it and may actually see it in the theaters due to my wife’s infatuation with Rain.

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Sluggy Freelance

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2009 by Budd Black

I may have spoken of this strip before, but the current storyline is worthy of some promotion.

If you have never read Sluggy before (http://www.sluggy.com), then hopping in on the current storyline will lose you quick. Fortunately, Pete (Abrams, creator of Sluggy) has the entire strip archived on the website. You can go all the way back to the humble beginnings of one of the characters summoning Satan on his computer and the only way to get him off was windows. The strips quickly progress from Joke a days to ongoing story arcs that satire everything from x-files to Harry Potter. Oh, and the art gets better.

The current storyline is weaving together a lot of things that have been left hanging and building for several years. The strip is 11 years old, and some of these threads go back pretty far. Pete is nice enough to use reference links that take you back to older strips when he is referencing one of these loose threads.

The characters are what this comic is about. Torg and Riff are awesome and play off of each other perfectly. Zoë is wonderful and I have a crush on her even though she isn't real. Gwynn is a character that you love to hate and the characters do to, but deep down everyone really likes her. Bun-Bun is a switchblade wielding, anthropomorphic mini-lop bunny with an attitude and the skills to back it up. Kiki the ferret can lighten up the most intense situation. The cast is well written and play off of each other perfectly. Oh, and gasp, they grow. Yes, the characters develop and grow. They learn lessons and sometimes do bad things. They make sacrifices and sometimes act selfishly.

This strip is worth the two days it will take you to get through the archives and the minute a day it will take to follow it. Pete just keeps doing it better year after year, and I usually can't wait to get my next Sluggy fix. I check it first thing when I get to work and it starts the day off right. What are you waiting for? Get over there and check it out.

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Again!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2009 by Budd Black

Vox is blocked at work again. ARG!!!!!

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The Roast Burger

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2009 by Budd Black

Had the Bacon Cheddar roast burger. It was free with the purchase of a
medium size drink today. For a free sandwich, I can't really complain,
but if I was spending money, I would get something else off of the menu.

The roast burger is a roast beef sandwich dressed as a burger (lettuce,
tomato, onion, and such). I would rather have a burger dressed as a
burger though or a roast beef sandwich dressed as a roast beef. The
sandwich did have some good bacon on it but the bacon tasted way better
than the roast beef and overwhelmed the sandwich. I don't think I would
have enjoyed the non bacon versions of the sandwich at all. My bill for
lunch was $3 and I got a sandwich, a drink, and a cherry turnover. Not
the best of lunches, but you can't really beat that price.

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Dating in the Dark

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2009 by Budd Black

Not usually one for reality shows, but I was flipping through and the
premise got my attention. It is a dating show where the couples don't
actually see each other. They are only allowed to interact in a totally
dark room. At the end they are shown the person that they choose. Then
they have to choose if they will continue dating them. This may seem
like an opportunity to match up a really hideous person with a real
looker, but that isn't what they did. In fact, ABC suggested matches
based on personality tests but didn't make anyone pick that person.
They all did anyhow.

Of the three couples only one didn't choose to continue. The
guy showed up, but the girl just couldn't date someone without
supermodel good looks. One of the guys had reservations about a girl
because of looks, but he decided that he didn't care and they left
happy.

One part of the show that I found most interesting is that they
had sketch artists come in and draw what the people thought their dates
looked like. The guys were very close, it was almost scary. The girls
were not that close at all, except the girl that was completely shocked
by the way her guy looked and refused to see him again. Her picture
looked pretty close and wasn't complimenting at all.

It was pretty good, but I can see it getting a lot worse. In
the future, they will try and match obese people with people physically
fit, minorities with closet KKK members, really ugly people with
supermodels, and Vulcans with Klingons. At this point the show will
take a really downward turn. I know physical attraction isn't the whole
equation but you can't find the person repulsive and still love them.

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Chocolate

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 20, 2009 by Budd Black

    Chocolate (2008) is a Thai film directed by Prachya Pinkaew (Ong Bak).  This film stars breakout actress Jija Yanin.  It is about an autistic teanager (Yanin) and her desire to collect debts owed to her mother.  Being a martial arts film, you can bet that no one wants to pay.
    The plot is okay but it is somewhat clumsy.  The first time I watched it I had a hard time following what was going on in the beginning.  The rest of the movie has a lot of situations where you have to suspend disbelief.  This is okay for the fight scenes but when it is for normal plot points it can be distracting.  But, this movie ain't about plot.
    Turn the subtitles on and watch it in Thai.  The English dub is horrible.  A lot of reviews are critical of the acting, but they were most likely watching the dubbed version.  Yanin is excellent.  This is her first film and she is playing an autistic character in a rather believable fashion.  When it comes to martial arts is where she really shines though. 
    The movie itself is almost like a video game.  Each fight scene is like a level and they tend to get harder as the movie goes on.  The fights have definite homages to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li.  Yanin is the female breakout martial arts star that the world has been waiting for.  She was trained in Tae Kwon Do prior to the movie and trained Muay Thai for the movie for two years before filming and for the two years of filming.  Her acting is good, but she really shines in the fight scenes. 
    Overall, it was a pretty good film.  It is a fun movie and the final fight scene alone is well worth the rental fee, the purchase price even.  There is some brief nudity and a whole lot of violence, so it might not be for the kiddies, but any martial arts film lover is sure to like this movie. 

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