Oct 31, 2008

Lēogan

My friend, who shall remain nameless, is not a fan of Obama. In fact he's made it clear he'll be casting his ballot for McCain, well that is if he votes at all. So anti in his Democrat stance he often sends email forwards with jokes and little tidbits against the left's chosen savior.

Most of those were reviewed by me only to be quickly deleted; however one did intrigue me. My friend even wrote in the forward itself explaining his stance. Listed below is his message (grammatical errors intact):

"This email was passed on to me by a U.S. Veteran (not the origional one from the message) who is a black man origionally from Trinidad and who served in the U.S. Army for over 20 years. He is a good friend of mine and even he feels this way about Obama. PLEASE PASS THIS ONE ON TO EVERY VOTER YOU CAN!!!!

Your going to want to take a hard look at the ballot before you make your decision people.
Is there an American flag hanging near where your voting? How do you fell about that flag and about your freedom. And yes, I know there is still Freedom in this country because I have traveled to the Philippines where there are men holstering guns outside every McDonalds and every store you can possibly imagine. I love my country and my flag and I hope you do to. My friend from Trinidad who severd this country for many years certainly does."


Feeling under siege from a supposed anti-American Democratic president he took the time to write the above message detailing his thoughts about the forward he received, which is below:

"I am not a biggoted person, yet I am both a Veteran and Patriotic Person.Can we allow this SON OF A BITCH become our President.

Please pass on to anyone leaning Obama's way... this is serious. VOTE CHARACTER.
All I can say is WOW!!!! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: THIS IS DISTURBING!!!!
From Sunday's Televised 'Meet the Press' Senator Obama was asked about his stance on the American Flag. Obama Explains National Anthem Stance Sun, 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, General Bill Ginn' USAF (ret.) asked Obama to explain why he doesn't follow protocol when the National Anthem is played. The General also stated to the Senator that according to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171... During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. At the very least, 'Stand and Face It' Senator Obama Live on Sunday states, 'As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides, Obama said. 'There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all.
It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing.' If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.'We should consider to reinvent our National Anthem as well as to redesign our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. My wife disrespects the Flag for many personal reasons. Together she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past, many years ago. She has her views and I have mine'. WHAAAAAAAT !!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it right. This could possibly be our next President"


This seemed suspicious so I did some research. After browsing many sites, such as Snopes.com, I found no evidence of this. In fact none of this ever took place on Meet the Press. Largely regarded as a hoax, partially because of the now famous Pledge of Allegiance where Obama did not place his hand over his heart, the email has circulated through many inboxes. Of course McCain supporters are going to believe this at first glance as man hears what they want to hear.

I replied to my friend with the following:

"While I respect you getting involved in the process of politics and encourage you to continue to do so, this forward is a complete fabrication. A lot of myths surround this man for reasons I can't understand, but a good source to check on information such as this has been Snopes.com, which fact checks various urban legends political and non. I don't mean to be belittling, just wanting to help you make an informed decision and I trust you'll make an honest vote when you cast your ballot. Here is the truth behind this email forward http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/stance.asp"

He thanked me for the message and replied to all he sent the email to with:

"I have been informed that my previous email was false and here is the information you should note. I didn't do enough research beforehand and here is a link to prove it. I'm as tired as everyone else of this political tennis grudge match that started a long time ago with many more contestants and that it never seems to end.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/stance.asp

**** (my buddy from Trinidad) is in fact a good friend. That hasn't changed and he was unaware of the email being false also."


I'm pretty happy that he's big enough to admit he's wrong and let all involved know the truth about the forward rather than give the thousand yard stare followed by a 'yeah but'. I was glad to hear that he's more interested in reasonable discourse than encouraging falsehoods.

I guess since conservatives always love to wave the flag of oppression that a lot seem to want to make up any lie to try and sway someone's vote. I would like to have a long discussion with the originator of this email.

Since most of my readers live in Washington state or the great country to the north I'm going to refrain from telling you how to vote. Since Obama will win this state's electorate I find it...oh hell. You best be voting Wiwille. A vote for Wiwille is vote for a hard drinking, boobie obsessed White House. That's exactly the kind of change we need in this country.

On another note I'm in my costume right now and it is kind of a lame one. Oh well. I do wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween.



"Why can't I just eat my waffle?" - Barack Obama

Oct 30, 2008

Thursday Music

With the upcoming Bond film many discussions are centered around the mythos that is the British secret agent. More than 20 films have been released which surprises me at times when I think about it. I know a lot about the series, but I only like three of the films.

No none of the movies I like star Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan. I have taste after all.

Bond girls are of course a big draw to the series. My personal favorites have been Tatiana, Vesper, and of course Honey Ryder. Everyone has the one that caught their eye though. Many mention Solitaire, Jill Masterson, and Holly Goodhead, but that's okay. They have a right to be wrong.

With all the talk about favorite films, actors, and Bond girls no one seems to mention their favorite music. This is mostly due to the fact that most, if not all, Bond opening songs suck hard. That being said some of the themes do work quite well.

Today dear readers I bring you one of my favorite Bond themes from 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service':



As a bonus I'll add in one of the greatest scenes from the series ever:



"There are women who take it to the wire. That's what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation. They want a smack." - Sean Connery

Oct 28, 2008

Brought to you by the letter P

I was tagged by WIGSF. Apparently I'm supposed to list ten things that start with the letter P and write a brief description. In the spirit of my roommate Pablog I'll write it in verse. Yes poet Wiwille is in effect.

P is for pessimist, for what I've been known.
P is for passion, for boobies I've been shown.
P is for package, which mine could be larger.
P is for penguin, the stout bird who walks with a swagger.
P is for pathetic, like my Scarlett crush.
P is for parachuting, which is quite a rush.
P is for primal, my behavior is such.
P is for parchesee, a game at which I suck.
P is for paddling, a boat down the stream.
P is for poetry, my skills are quite lean.

Wow that sucked.

"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." - W. H. Auden

Oct 27, 2008

Masculīnus

This weekend was too short. Much to short. I took a nap this afternoon, which was clearly a mistake and now I'm suffering from insomnia. Tomorrow (today) will suck.

It was Corey's birthday and he asked for a very small celebration with only myself and Quoc. Saturday afternoon we met at my place and discussed important topics such as what's the coolest aspect of the Star Wars universe. We briefly went over the agenda then decided to pile into the car to do something unusual.

We went to shoot guns. Three grown men who are reasonably intelligent and relatively mentally stable thought it to be a great idea to ring in a new year for my best friend by decimating paper targets with high velocity projectiles.

We enter the range and I could sense a bit of nervousness sweep over the two of them. Remember Quoc used to be in the Army, but in all his time he never shot a handgun at any sort of target be it person or otherwise.

Having the most experience with guns, and that's saying very little, I take charge and rent us a Glock 9mm. I figured it would be a good overall caliber. Still powerful, but not much kick and not deafening.

They both agreed that I was to go first. Just like when the three of us went skydiving I was to take lead on the activity. I guess I make a good guinea pig.

I hang the target, load the magazine, move the paper to a reasonable distance, put the clip into the gun, release the chamber, and take aim. I was to take the first shot. I leaned forward and squint. My sights were bearing onto my intended. As my fingers squeezed the grip I remembered it has been years since I fired a weapon, but I knew what was to come. I squeezed the trigger.

The small kick of the gun startles me at first. The sound from the muzzle bursts enough that even with my ear protection I feel the noise assault my sense. The smell of gunpowder rises into my nostrils and I lower my gun a bit. I look down range and see where the bullet met up with the paper. I take aim again and fire some more.

I empty the magazine and take my target. I did okay.

Corey and Quoc both had a great time shooting and did very well. We went through 300 rounds of ammunition and improvement was apparent. I enjoyed my time as well. Contrary to what Hollywood may tell you shooting a gun is not a simple task for most and takes more skill than the unlearned would realize. After firing so many rounds, not to mention loading the clips over and over again, we felt a bit drained.

I started to think about why we enjoyed it so much. I guess people get really nervous around guns and rightly so. They're dangerous. They can hurt if not kill you. My generation knows little about weapons and that's possibly a good thing, but to actually learn how to use a handgun safely and correctly feels like overcoming a fear for many. I noticed the place was very packed with people to my surprise. They had a waiting list it was so busy. They all seemed like normal decent folk who enjoyed shooting as a sport and not the slack jawed simpletons that everyone associates with gun culture. Ages, races, and genders were diverse in the range. No I won't look down on them for enjoying a sport or cower that they may or may not shoot up a place.

Do I expect people do have a different opinion of me that I enjoyed shooting a handgun at a paper target? Oh most certainly.

During dinner we sat and discussed hitting a liquor store for later that night. Not familiar with the area we talked about how we would go about finding one. I looked at Corey.

"If only we had some device that could search a database to find information that we need," I said to him.

He pulled out his Iphone and commented how he was picking up my sarcasm. We spent quite some time trying to locate a liquor store through the small phone. Finally after much frustration at the use of it Corey asked the waitress where the nearest store was. She gave us simple directions that proved to be useful.

I guess we need to up our Iphone IQ.

After purchasing a few bottles we headed to go-kart racing. These are not your simple lawn mower vehicles. These are high speed electric karts that can go up to 35 mph. It was then we learned it was a really bad idea to eat before this activity as we all felt nauseous turning the corners at such a high rate of speed. It doesn't sound like you're going that fast, but sitting so low to the ground and in such a small vehicle it sure felt like you were flying.

After three races we were wiped. Steering actually took some muscle.

We headed down to Corey's where we ended the night with drinking, conversation, and video games. Next morning we had a greasy spoon breakfast and finally I went home to get some much needed rest.

Corey seemed to enjoy his birthday celebration and I was happy to be a part of it.

"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

Oct 23, 2008

Thursday Music

Piano arrangements of movie themes are not normally my style, but I used to love some of them as a kid.

Stop laughing.

Anyways my folks had a record of Ferrante and Teicher which I used to listen to...

Stop laughing damnit.

The one song that really captured my interest is Exodus, which I....

Oh screw you. Here's your song.

"When you get married you forget about kissing other women." - Pat Boone

Oct 21, 2008

Amicitia

Neither a borrower or a lender be. This Shakespearean quote was often touted by my parents to me. They quite rightly instilled a belief into me that debt was another form of slavery and to use credit only in a few circumstances. I've largely carried those teachings into my adult life. I only have one credit card which I use in a situation that I deem dire. Otherwise if the money is not in my checking account I simply don't spend.

They also drilled into me how I should never lend money to friends. This was a lesson I failed at.

A friend, we'll call him Steve, called me months ago asking for money. He was out of work and was behind in his rent. Faced with an eviction notice he asked that I help him out. I told him I couldn't as I had a vehicle repair that was quite expensive and he should look to other means.

Let me give you a little background. Steve and I have been friends for years. He was that friend who no one else in my circle liked. He's not very intelligent nor cultured, but I found him to be a decent fellow who had some sense of charm. Steve was very handy and taught me a lot about mechanics as we tinkered around with cars while sipping beers. He enjoyed my company and I his, but there was a dark side to him.

Steve had addictions. No it wasn't to drugs or any other illicit substance. Steve could not keep his spending habits in control. He would rack up credit on many items he neither needed nor fit his income. Being working class and with little education Steve held odd jobs that couldn't supplement his want for material excess. A couple times I got calls from those check cashing places who said he put me down as a reference and he defaulted on his payments. I told them to never call me again as I know nothing about it.

He also had a more dangerous addiction. He couldn't stop dating emotionally troubled women. Throughout my years of knowing him he attracted the most psychotic females I've ever encountered. The mother of his daughter is so insane I could write a thesis on her alone. His involvement with these women not only effected his psyche, but his bank account and even encounters with the law.

Coming from a troubled childhood Steve seemed to do the best he could with the family he was given. Sadly he at times seemed to need therapy or an act of Christ for him to lead a more responsible life. I felt sorry for him at times and was often there to lend him a hand. I even went so far as to lie to a girlfriend for him when he was cheating on her, an experience I hope to never have again. Steve can best be described as a 30 something adolescent.

Whether it was giving a few bucks, being an ear for him when he was experiencing personal drama, or buying things for his daughter I was glad to assist and had a small amount of hope that his life would turn around. It got tough though.

After an encounter with his baby mama I found myself bailing him out of jail. As I stood in the bail bondsman office another 'customer' looked at me as I was hesitating to sign the paper work.

"You're doing the best thing a friend can ever do," he said to me. "You're a good friend."

I sighed, signed the paper, and handed my money to the bondsman.

I waited for Steve to be processed and released. I told him I would give him a ride home, but before hand I chewed his ass for trying to make it work with a woman who's prone to violence and all sorts of crazy behavior. He actually took it well and for once followed my advice and ended the relationship.

I hate to make it seem that the friendship was one sided. He was there to help me move, fix my car, and to just hang out over beers. He was loyal to me for what it was worth.

Fast forward to six months ago. He called me again pleading with me for help. His landlord gave him until the end of the week to come up with two months rent or he'd be out on the street. He had no where to go and him and his current girlfriend were without options. No one would give him a loan or a place to stay. His tug at my heart worked though. After much thought I told him I'd loan him the money and we agreed he'd pay me $150 a month until the debt was paid off. I asked him if he had a problem to at least call me and let me know.

I haven't heard from him since. Not a phone call. Nothing. His phone was disconnected. Worrying about him and his daughter's safety I went to his place to check up. When walking up to his door I heard voices coming from the apartment. I knock. It got quiet. I knock again. Not a sound. I knock a third time. No response at all.

I stood for about two minutes before I decided that kicking in the door would not be a good idea. I left.

I relayed all this to Corey. He said I might have done this knowing full well this would happen and I could exit the friendship guilt free. He may be right. Time will tell. I knew there were going to be problems, but nothing like this. I feel like a fool.

I don't care about the money. Even though two months rent at Seattle area rates are quite high I can afford the loss. I'm not broke by no means and my financial state has not suffered. I'm just pissed he didn't have the courtesy, or the balls, to face me if not for the sake of manners, but at least for our friendship.

Let this be a lesson to you all. If you want someone out of your life simply loan them money.

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry." - Lord Polonius, Hamlet

Leave him alone

So a man takes a walk in Canada, possibly sporting a tuque, with his dogs. His mission was to spot moose. Along the way he finds himself being rushed and attacked by a black bear. Fearful that he might...you know...die the man takes the best course of action and picks up a stick and bludgeoned the animal to death saving the life of himself and the canines.

Now that he's in recovery for numerous wounds the man from the north, who has more balls than any of you, is now under fire from animal rights activists for fatally injuring the bear. Many people have taken it upon themselves to call into radio shows and write local papers purporting to be the guy and change the story.

What even gets me more is that people are calling him harassing the guy about his method of self defense. One woman asked why he had to put down the bear and not simply run away from it.

Folks it's a friggin bear. Look I like animals that are cute as much as the next person, but if one attacks me I would defend myself from it. Guess what? So would you. Oh and you don't out run a full grown bear. They're fast. They have claws. They do not engage in the Care Bear stare. Sure they're skittish, but at times they'll kill you. I repeat they will kill you. If you were being attacked by a flesh eating predator you would not yell to someone nearby 'don't kill it. It has rights'.

I know all this cause I'm a scientist. This lab coat I'm wearing with the name tag Dr Wiwille proves it. Now back to my important research on boobies and the effect they have on mildly literate bloggers.

"There's what we expect bears to do and then there's what they do. Sometimes the two don't match." - Joe Clark



Bear-attack survivor faces new onslaught

Oct 20, 2008

Seattle women gasp in horror.

In my morning news browsing I found a lot of information regarding the election. Mostly uninteresting tales of Palin on SNL and Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama. Many other things have been happening across the globe, but I find it my duty to post about news that really matters to you. The story being about coffee and breasts size.

According to a new study in Sweden scientists claim that women who drink a lot of coffee experience shrinkage in their bosom. This news may come as a shock to the coffee capitol of the world. In good news though the same amount of consumption can reduce the risk of breast cancer. So what'll it be ladies? Do big boobs or lowering the chances of disease matter more? Assuming that cancer wasn't even a variable would you give up your beloved beverage for the sake of filling your push up bra?

The real question is why don't I see a reduction in my moobs?

"Scientists now believe that the primary biological function of breasts is to make males stupid." - Dave Barry

Study: Cups of java cut cup size

Oct 19, 2008

Sleep

I'm kinda drunk. Not really inebriated, but just mildly intoxicated. I rather enjoy this state as I don't have to worry about the brown bottle flu or an arrest for disorderly conduct. Still it brings out the silly in me which sometimes, okay all the time, lets forth too much information. This night was no exception.

I told my friends about an episode that happened this week that I found quite disturbing. They thought it to be rather humorous. Not sure whether the story was funny because of the alcohol they consumed I'll let you decided.

I sleep in boxers and a t-shirt. No pajamas or anything fancy. It's simple attire. A few mornings back though I had an interesting incident. My alarm clock went off and I felt a bit of a chill. It was then I realized I was not wearing any undershorts.

I was dumbfounded. I found them at the foot of my bed, but couldn't understand why this happened. I was sleeping alone and wasn't having one of 'those' dreams. Apparently I sleep pretty heavily as my boxers somehow liberated themselves. This concerns me.

"You can tell a lot about a person from his underwear." - Rachel Bilson

Oct 16, 2008

Thursday Music

My dear friends Andrea and Justin will be leaving the Seattle area and I have mixed opinions on it. Sure I'll miss their company, Andrea's moaning on various things that piss her off (she's cute when she's angry), and Justin's antics, but then again I won't have to help them move on a yearly basis anymore.

I've known Andrea for quite a few years now, even before she got her infamous....enhancements. We both were hired on as contractors for the company we work for at the same time. So there we sat in a training class and she annoyed the living piss out of me.

After training she would always IM me with irritating sunshine emoticons and such. Andrea also took great pleasure in mocking my stern look at various times. After seeing smiley face after smiley face appear on my messenger I finally just broke down and typed 'bite ass' back to her. She laughed and yelled 'love you too Erik.' From then a friendship ensued surprisingly.

Andrea's always been one to embrace her buttrock past. (Yes I said 'buttrock'. Deal with it Mattbear.) While most are embarrassed about the fact they listened to hair bands she takes pride that she once rocked out to 'musicians' that are probably solely responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.

There will be one band that will remind me of Andrea though. As she takes her job out of state with her new husband I'll simply listen to one of her favorite bands and recall how big hair, fishnets, and gawdy makeup once ruled the day as well as her fashion sense.

"When we try to write a pop song, we go for standard pop arrangements, even to the point where we will go to the key change at the end, which is really cheesy." - Joe Elliott

Oct 15, 2008

I'm lazy

I wasn't tagged by Jlee, but I'm ripping off this meme anyways. I've been in a training class all week and am feeling a bit lazy. Here goes:

Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. List six unspectacular things about you.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.

I don't consider much in my life spectacular, but I guess that may depend on the definition. I will list things that would surprise most who know me.

1. I've faked an orgasm on more than one occasion.
2. I'm really not into porn, well at least hardcore.
3. I'm not all that excited about Obama and I don't think McCain is the anti-christ, assistant anti-christ maybe.
4. I've never watched Risky Business.
5. I hate Tootsie Rolls.
6. It took me longer than I thought it would to write this.

I won't tag anyone. Do it if you want.

I really didn't follow any of the rules of the meme did I? I suck at these. I should go back to blogging about other useless crap. Your regularly scheduled Erik's Ramblings will return tomorrow.

"A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.'" - Barack Obama

Oct 14, 2008

I find your lack of faith disturbing

A few weeks ago Corey and I were hanging out at my place. I put in 'The Force Unleashed' in my Xbox 360 and told him to have fun. He played the fist level, which starts you as Darth Vader whooping all sorts of ass on Wookies. Basically you walk around all Vader like with force powers that allow you to pick up almost anything and throw it into oblivion.

Corey was having fun levitating Wookies and tossing them into trees, rocks, off cliffs, and sometimes into other furry creatures. Knocking down trees, pushing stones, and hacking up everything in his path seemed like a delight to him. He sat there as I explained my nerdgasom when I first played it and paused for a bit. He turned to look at me and said it's probably a good thing we don't have force powers.

Now that I think about it I wonder what kind of Jedi/Sith I would be. I mean I'd like to think that I would end poverty, cure cancer, and end the career of most politicians. Basically I'd be all nice and help people with all my force goodness.

Power corrupts though. There's the part of me that knows if I'm stuck in traffic all cars would spontaneously move over to the shoulder. If someone was wearing baggy pants that showed boxers the waistline would magically lift and tighten to a point where it would leave marks in their skin. If some jackass tires to convince me that Palin is a good VP candidate, well that's a choking.

I wonder if Scarlett has a weak mind? Oh the things I would.....

Yeah I'd be so evil. They'd call me Darth Wiwille.

"Your own need to be shines out of any dream or creation you imagine." - James Earl Jones

Oct 13, 2008

Lucy

Yesterday I went and saw Lucy's Legacy at the Pacific Science Center. It was a great exhibit displaying the history of Ethiopia and one of it's most treasured finds, the world's oldest living human fossil. I loved the history aspect of it as my conventional education regarding the region mostly consisted of the Italian occupation during WWII. Oh and there's that whole Queen of Sheba story which historians are still debating over whether she even existed or not.

Jeff once informed me that the Fun Forrest in the Seattle Center will be closing next spring so I took what will probably be my last ride of the roller coaster there. It was actually pretty fun. Given that it's all rickety and old made the experience that much more exciting. I'm going to miss it.

Afterwards Eli, Friend (yes that's his given name), and I had a nice meal at Cedars. After stuffing ourselves we walked around the U district. We passed some ads for Verizon written in some southeast Asian language. It got me to thinking, which is dangerous I know. Do Asian people have a more difficult time sending text messages? I mean does the language translate well into typing it in a small phone? Do older people of the culture complain about the bastardization of their beloved verse into phrases such as 'OMG U SUX'? These are serious questions that I believe only the wisest in the field of linguistics can answer.

I picked up part of my Halloween costume in some random store for my Boondock Saints outfit. No I don't have a 'twin' yet and may never, but since it got the most votes and I like the idea I decided I'm going to do it anyways. Last thing I need is a Celtic cross to make it complete.

"And I am reminded, on this holy day, of the sad story of Kitty Genovese. As you all may remember, a long time ago, almost thirty years ago, this poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police. They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men" - The Boondock Saints

Oct 10, 2008

Wiwille's movie reviews part 61

It's hard to believe that I've reviewed over 60 films for various readers. Even more surprising is that most of them have been quite good with a few exceptions (I'm looking at you Greg).

In keeping with his theme of submitting films with supernatural flavor, Jeff asked me to review 'The Haunting'. I saw the remake of it a few years back which was only scary if you were frightened by the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Even though I'm not a big fan of horror I do enjoy some of the classic thrillers so I'd thought I'd give it a go.

The Haunting stars Richard Johnson, who plays an anthropologist that's taken an interest in the paranormal. Having researched a large estate where every occupant dies he decides it would be a great idea to take a team of assistants to spend some time there for research. Eleanor gets hired to take on the task of being Johnson's subject and finds a connection to the house, in deed and in psyche. Her obsession over the house and many spooky incidents gives her an obsession over the estate.

I don't want to write too much about the plot as to give it away. The Haunting though is a genuinely creepy film. Shot in 1963 Robert Wise shot it in a fashion to allow the audience to use their imagination about the supernatural presence. The photography does an excellent job in throwing quirky, but effective angles and techniques to give a viewer chills without just being lazy and showing you everything. While the dialogue, acting, and a few plot points are a little sloppy the visuals make up for it. Still the story is a good one and has enough twists.

Oh I must add it also stars one of the Jets from West Side Story. Kind of distracting when you're watching a horror film and expect the guy to start snapping his fingers and saying 'cooooool'.

Again I'm not a fan of horror, but I would have to recommend the original 'The Haunting'. Thanks to Jeff for submitting this.

Well this is the last of the movie review submissions thus far. Wanna see a film reviewed by Wiwille? Drop me an email or comment and you'll see it soon on Erik's Ramblings. Rules are posted here.

"Easily ranks among the finest supernatural suspense films ever made." - Mark Bourne

Oct 9, 2008

Thursday Music

Things aren't looking up for the McCain campaign. Polling numbers have shown that people have finally set aside their lust for Palin and cannot accept the idea of her taking second highest office in the land. His lackluster performance at the last two debates have given Obama a clear edge.

Yes times are tough for McCain. Recently Jackson Browne has filed a lawsuit against the campaign for using one of his songs without permission. Having not learned that lesson the Foo Fighters are upset about him using 'My Hero' without consulting them.

This is not the first time an artist was upset with a candidate using their songs. Reagan used Springsteen's 'Born in the USA', which I find amusing since it's really about the hellish life of a Vietnam veteran. I do wonder if Strom Thurmond ever strutted out to a campaign stop to Wagner.

So today I bring you the Foo Fighters 'My Hero', a song I'm not that thrilled with, but knowing what it's used for brings a whole new meaning to it.

"The saddest thing about this is that My Hero was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential. To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song." - David Grohl

Oct 7, 2008

Overrated books part 2

I never thought I'd be writing another post dedicated to an overrated book, but here I sit writing about a piece of supposed non-fiction. A friend of mine asked me to read 'Many Lives, Many Masters' by Dr Brian Weiss. She didn't give any description of the book. She just asked that I pick it up, read it, and keep an open mind.

When I asked how she came about reading this she stated the author was on Oprah plugging the book. Impressed by his performance on the show my friend went and picked it up and was blown away by it. She went on to say she gave it to family and friends, who were equally enthralled by it's contents.

My friend asked that I give an honest critique to her about the writer's findings and I promised I would. I did explain that I can be brutal when it comes to reviewing art. Knowing that was the case she did say my opinion meant a lot to her and she was really excited to hear it.
I went to Barnes & Noble that day. After ordering some coffee I ask the clerk for assistance in finding the book still not knowing what it's about. He pointed me to the New Age section.

Sigh. A new age book. This cannot end well. Still I promised to keep an open mind while giving an honest opinion about the writer's conclusions. So I opened the book and decided to give it a go.

Brian Weiss is a psychiatrist who in the book chronicles his care for a patient Catherine. Catherine suffers from numerous disorders such as hyper anxiety which stem from abuse and neglect on the part of her parents. She works in the medical industry and they know of each other before treatment begins; however they've never been formally introduced.

He takes her into his care and after a frustrating ordeal of not seeing any progress in the sessions Weiss decides to take a more non-conventional approach of regression therapy. Often viewed as a controversial method in the industry Weiss decided to employ it anyways as he seemed to be at the end of his rope. Under hypnosis Catherine started to go deep into her subconscious and relate tales of her youth. Progress seemed to be mounting.

Finally Weiss' patient was even going deeper and started recounting tales of a past life. Catherine apparently would go into deep trances and would not recall the information she relayed to her doctor after awaking. It was as if she was talking through the soul of her past existence directly to her therapist.

Her first story immediately raised a red flag. Weiss claimed throughout the book that he was a skeptic about reincarnation and as a scientist he demanded evidence of any such claim. Catherine, in her first recollection of a past life, claimed she was a servant in Greek aristocracy. Weiss was weirded out by this and asked what date it was. She stated it was 1863 BC.

Okay wait just a damn minute here. How the hell did she, or her supposed past life personage, know that? Christ wasn't even an idea then and the Gregorian calendar wasn't invented nor widely used until 700 years after Christ's reported death. What was her frame of reference? Did she actually know the pre-Gregorian date and do some quick and wildly impressive calculations on the fly?

What even bothered me more is that Weiss claimed over and over again to be a skeptic, but he never addressed this issue. I don't have eight years of higher education as anyone who reads this mildly literate blog can attest to, but still this caught me off guard. Why wouldn't it for a trained professional?

The book goes on and Catherine detailed many other lives and of course any Weiss continued to convey his skepticism on the subject, but continued the therapy. Finally after each telling of every life Catherine seemed to channel some sort of Master Spirit who told Weiss of the importance of reincarnation and how they had messages for him to spread the good word. Apparently the Master Spririt was detailing information that Catherine couldn't have known, including details of the death of Weiss' infant son. Never mind that she knew close friends and acquaintances of the therapist. Weiss insists that the knowledge could never have been privy to her.

The book goes on with the Master Spirits revealing to Weiss about what the messages they are trying to convey. Mostly they consist of you need to go through a bunch of lives till you learn to be a nice person. In each life you constantly encounter someone you love, who share each life with you and are supposed to help guide you into being all sweet and stuff. Oh and Catherine, according to Weiss, does get much better as a result of the therapy.

The book is easily digestible as far as prose is concerned and it is engaging. Still the whole premise is a bunch of nonsense. I haven't figured out who the fraud is in this, Catherine or Weiss, or if they're both in on it. The latter would make the most sense.

I gave my opinion to my friend who was disappointed in my assessment of the book and it's theories. She couldn't answer any of my doubts of Weiss' claims, but still believes in the book and continued to state that it changed her outlook on everything. It was difficult giving my critique to her as it felt like I was bashing someone's religion. Issues of faith are touchy, but I won't look down on her for buying into it.

She has elected not to talk to me anymore for reasons unrelated to the book, at least I think so.

I don't mean to condemn anyone who believes in reincarnation or any of that Master Spirit stuff. Actually I'm on the fence about regression therapy as from what I've read about it a lot of patients end up just making up their experiences. Still I can't sit here and pretend to know it doesn't exist. I'm simply not educated enough to say one way or the other. That being said this book and the fact that Oprah gave such a glowing endorsement of it bothers me to no end. What's even worse is that I tried to search for skeptical reviews of it and found little to no information.

People say we're living in an age of reason, but I disagree. The sales of this book, of which I admit I contributed to, are high. Weiss became an institution unto himself traveling the world and giving therapy sessions to people, for a fee of course. He's written other books as well and is regarded as a legend in the reincarnation world. Still I encourage anyone who's interested to give it a read and make up their own mind. I've got a copy I'm willing to give away.

"Only by rowing together, as one crew, can we avoid the storms and find our way home." - Dr Brian Weiss

Oct 6, 2008

Mormons, roller girls, and beer. Oh my!

Well dear readers I'm back from my trip. Yes Wiwille was gone for a few days and is now ready to write about the experience that is Salt Lake City, Utah.

Last week I was supposed to be filming a movie, but sadly the camera broke during the first week of shooting and Ryon, the director, postponed production. I went back and forth on the idea of cancelling the vacation time and keep working or find a place to go and chill for a few days. With time being on short notice everyone seemed to busy to pay for an expensive plane ticket anywhere and since it's my goal to at least take one flight per year I finally got an offer I couldn't refuse.

Thursday I boarded a flight to Salt Lake City. A short plane ride for sure, but one that was rather interesting. I sat next to a young guy, probably in his early twenties at best. Dressed in camouflage pants and sporting greasy hair he didn't seem to think that my reading of my book was all that important and engaged me in conversation.

So GI-Emo kid told me a tale of woe. He was flying to Salt Lake to visit his family and that they weren't going to be happy to learn of his 'lifestyle'. He seemed to want me to ask more about his current habits or activities that would be the cause of parental lack of love, but I refrained. GI-Emo kid still went on about his conservative Mormon family and how difficult it was being raised in his household being "different". I did feel bad for the guy. He seemed like a nice fellow and I wished him well as we exited the plane.

After gathering my luggage I exit the terminal to meet the third blogger buddy I've encountered in person, the lovely Kellie, author of The Rusted Violin. She was gracious enough to pick me up from the airport. We traveled to a coffee house and it was the best cup of jo I've ever had. I'm from Seattle. That's saying a lot.

Later we went to Park City, where I learned that the Sundance Film Festival actually resides. A quaint town with a turn of the twentieth century look we had a nice lunch at a local deli. Then came the shopping. We entered a new age store staffed by some air head clerk who reminded us that Janice would be by in five minutes to give readings, twice. We were the only people in the shop. After browsing a bunch of books dedicated to nonsense we finally made our way for some fun.

Park City Mountain Resort was a blast. The Alpine Slide was a lot of fun and the ZipRider was fast, but all too short. Still the view was beautiful and Utah is just pretty in the fall. The color of the leaves and the rolling mountains was a site I hope to see again.

Friday was a tour through history as I visited the Salt Lake Mormon Temple, aka Temple Square. Yes I was a pilgrim in an unholy land. Things I learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

  • They do not strip down to their magic underwear, aka Temple Garments, and engage in mixed martial arts combat in the temple. I wasn't allowed in the temple, as many in the faith aren't, but I'm convinced it doesn't happen as previously thought.
  • Not all of them wear short sleeve shirts with ties. Some of them wear long sleeves, at least the ones with some sort of fashion sense.
  • They do not roam the night gathering ex-Mormons and throwing them in some LDS re-education camp.
  • Followers of Joseph Smith do not come up to visitors screaming 'BRAINS' and try and eat their flesh.
  • There were no less than five weddings going on, on a Friday no less. This is very common. When I walked around the grounds I saw many newlywed couples having their photos taken outside the temple. I kind of wished I would've started my photography studio there.

I walked through the visitors center and saw huge paintings and murals of the stories of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. First there were Anglo looking statues of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Then I followed the story up until Joseph Smith's revelation and telling of another testament of Jesus Christ. I read the Book of Mormon years ago, but this was like a pop-up book telling. I got to see in life like scale Christ's preaching in the New World, Moroni burying the golden tablets, God appearing to Joseph, etc. The aesthetics of it was impressive, regardless of what one feels about the theology.

The replica of Thorvaldsen's Christus was amazing. It's quite possibly my favorite depiction of Jesus. Instead of the Renaissance wimpy savior it has a more masculine character. Strong, but still gentle you can see that image of that as one as a carpenter as well as the son of God. Housed in a domed roof that had the cosmos painted on it it was a striking image.

Later that evening I had dinner at the Garden Restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The view was gorgeous, the food was delicious and reasonably priced, and it had a retractable roof. The most interesting thing about the dining experience is that it sold no coffee or wine. Now that's really none too surprising considering the LDS church frowns on consumption of such beverages and they own the building and restaurant, but if such an establishment in Seattle didn't serve coffee I imagine they'd be out of business within a month.

Later that night I went to a bar called the Hog Wallow. I ordered a Guinness and sipped my first beer since I made the journey. I almost spit it out. I told Kellie it tasted weird, but she reminded me that the alcohol percentage was less in Utah.

What the hell? Whoever idea that was can rot in their own feces. Sure deprive me of coffee, but modify my beer, well that's just un-American.

I sat out on the patio with three ex-Mormon girls. One was a chipper sort who told me I looked 19. It was dark. The other upon hearing my profession decided to make it clear her feelings for my company and it's products. I love it when someone wants you to hate the place you enjoy working for. I mean I'm not a fan of many in the law enforcement community, but I don't meet cops casually and tell them I hate police officers. I only tell them that when they hand me tickets for illegal use of the horn. Weird.

Still I was having a great time. One of the highlights of the evening was Polygamy Porter. Yes this beer does exist. As Andrea said it's 'one big bag of Mormon awesome'. Still given it's alcohol content I consumed a lot to even feel as drunk. The lesson learned here is if you want to go out and get intoxicated in Utah you better have coin.

Damn this is turning into a long post.

Saturday night there was roller derby. Oh god that was hot. Scantily clad women all pushing each other around on roller skates. I approve. Sadly we couldn't stay long and had to leave early. This proved to be a bad choice indeed.

The weekend I go to Salt Lake City apparently was an LDS conference. I'm not sure what it all entails, but when we left the arena there was an army of men in white shirts and ties all roaming the sidewalks. Seriously there were hundreds of guys and they were blocking traffic something fierce. I rolled down the window and said 'render unto Caesar what is Caesar's', but they all ignored me. The Salt Lake City police did a terrible job of directing traffic and we were stuck there forever surrounded by the holy.

Sunday I was up at the Sundance Resort and it was just as gorgeous as you would imagine. I was sad to leave that evening, for I had a wonderful time and Kellie made a great hostess, even with her lack of driving skills. It was great vacation and I can't thank her enough for her generosity and great company.

On the flight back they showed 'Everybody Loves Raymond' on the screen. Electing not to listen to it the very cute girl next to me and I made up our own dialogue for the show. Our script got surprisingly vulgar and lots of laughter ensued. Later I learned the lady on the other side of me was involved in a Christian orphan fund. Whoops.

"In your hands or that of any other person, so much power would, no doubt, be dangerous. I am the only man in the world whom it would be safe to trust with it. Remember, I am a prophet!" - Joseph Smith

Oct 2, 2008

Thursday music

Dear Ryan,

Hearts have been broken the world over now that the news of your nuptials with the beloved Scarlett has broken. Many have mourned their fantasy as I have. It's truly a sad day.

I came home from a few days without any access to internet only to pop open my laptop and find numerous emails, IMs, etc breaking the news that my one true love is now yours. Not surprising really, but the heart of a man can be a fragile one and I lay here wondering if you are indeed the one.

Actually the idea of you and Scarlett makes sense. You probably have all sorts of qualities that a woman could want so I don't blame her. Then again you and her could be raging meth addicts who steal from orphans and shoot paintballs at clergy in your spare time, but in my own world, which is sometimes twisted I realize, she has the morals of Mother Theresa and the intellect of Stephen Hawking.

So my little internet obsession has truly come to an end knowing that in no way could I compete for her heart. Helps that her and I will never meet, but still. I guess it was either her engaging in matrimony or a restraining order so I prefer the former. At least she'll be happy with you.

So treat her well Ryan and congratulations in your quest to capture the heart of what has been my ideal since the start of this blog. I sit today, about to take flight, and will mourn my loss with a simple song.

Regards,
Wiwille

"One of the best things for a woman to hear is that she is sexy." - Scarlett Johansson