May 31, 2010

Overrated films part 25

"I still haven't seen Avatar," I relayed to a few friends.

"Trust me," one of them said. "You have."

I sat down to finally view the movie everyone is discussing, whether they've seen it or not. While most I know at least enjoyed the film, if not rant and raved about how it was the greatest movie ever created, I was curious to see what the masses saw in it, because after watching the previews I had little to no interest in seeing what I basically saw was a James Cameron animated adventure. There were those that reportedly took their own life in the hopes that they would be transported to Pandora and live like a giant Smurf if you can believe it.

I plop in the disc and figure out the plot within ten minutes. A man battling the demons of his past finds exotic culture, which embraces him, and then finds redemption in the new life he's chosen. Yes you've seen this plot at least a dozen times and sometimes better than this film can offer, but I enjoyed Avatar. Yes it was often corny, some of the characters were less then stereotypes, and the story was simple, but I loved the world Cameron created. The lush scenery, the wonderful imagery, and the creation of the utopian society hooked me.

I was impressed with many of the elements, but when the credits started rolling I couldn't help but think why it became so well regarded. Sure it's a technical marvel that deserves accolades in that department alone, but the music failed me in many respects as well as some of the acting. I can understand it being a hit, but an Oscar nomination for Best Picture?

Maybe if I saw it in 3-D, as many have, I would've enjoyed it that much more, but as it holds up as home entertainment it's simply an enjoyable popcorn blockbuster. Like many films on my Overrated list it's a movie I enjoyed, but it doesn't deserve being the hallowed halls of great cinema.

"It's a remote-control movie experience, a high-tech "wish you were here" scribbled on a very expensive postcard." - Stephanie Zacharek

May 30, 2010


Now that having kids is coming closer to a reality than a surreal dream I felt it necessary to step up my game regarding finding my birth parents, or at the very least my medical history. I pulled out all my records and filled out a form I received from the agency that placed me with my parents.

I glanced over making sure I had as much information as needed. On the form it asked for my birth name. I don't have one, at least none that I'm aware of. Did my birth parents name me? Assuming they're still alive do they recall my birthdays and refer to me as the namesake they gave me for the short amount of time before I was placed in the care of others? Are they or my siblings, if I have any, notorious figures like Charles Manson?

These questions may go unanswered as my main goal is to find my medical history for the sake of my yet to be conceived children. If that's all the information I find then I'll be happy.

I placed the envelope in the mailbox and let out a sigh of hope. I just want this to be over with.

"My adoption was treated as a celebration." - Michael Reagan

May 24, 2010

She pays.

Today I decided to finally take the big step and officially become a Texan. I drove down to the Texas Department of Public Safety which was located in a strip mall and was the only establishment not owned and operated by the Asian community.

The place was packed with numerous folk trying to gain the privilege to drive on public roads. I go to the front desk clerk and she makes sure I have all the information necessary to qualify for this exclusive club. Washington State drivers license? Check. Texas vehicle registration? Check. Proof of insurance? Check. Social Security card? Check. Passport? Check.

Seriously they required all of that just to apply for a license. No matter though. The clerk let me know that all of my papers were in order and I was to stand in a long line of annoyed individuals who'd rather be pouring Amy Winehouse's urine directly into their eye. Still I stood like a gallant gentleman ready to kill time.

For whatever reason they wouldn't let me drink my coffee and made me throw it out. No food or drink was allowed in those hallowed halls. Sigh.

I overhear conversations the front desk clerk was having with other citizens of Texas. As I was making no headway in line it was hard to not listen to folks try to explain their drivers license dilemma. One lady really stood out.

She was a young latina who looked like the kind of person that had make up by Dutch Boy. She announced to the clerk and anyone within a five mile radius that her drivers license was stolen and she needed a replacement. The clerk explained to her the requirements for obtaining another one, including identification needed and to fill out some form. The girl was none too happy about this.

"You mean I have to wait in line," she cried to the clerk?

"Yes mam," the clerk said. "Then they'll help you get your license."

"I can't wait in line," the girl demanded. "I need help."

"Mam," said the clerk. "They can assist you. Just fill out the form and bring back the required ID and you'll get your license back."

"I can't wait that long," the girl went on. "You need to help me. I pay your salary. You need to help me."

The clerk and her went back and forth, but every time the sharpie obsessed latina was told to stand in line she would fire back with 'I pay your salary'. The clerk was very patient with the moron, but firm with her stance that the girl had no special privileges from the others standing in line that also happened to contribute to her wage.

The girl was unrelenting though. She told a sob story of how she was stopped at the airport for not having a drivers license and was treated 'like a criminal'. Her voice softened and she was acting like she had just been harassed by brown shirt thugs.

The clerk was unmoved and told her how to get assistance in obtaining a new drivers license for the 17th time. On cue the the girl went into another rant.

"I pay your salary," she said. "Next time you work for the government you remember that I pay your salary."

What...the...hell? That was the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Next time the clerk works for the government? Was she being promoted or transferred? Anyways I got real tired of it.

"Excuse me mam," I said loudly to the clerk before the loud bitch harassing her could interject. "Can you help me for I'm unclear as to who pays your salary?"

The clerk bit her lip hard and others in line laughed at the girl who was making the experience even more miserable. She bolted out of there in a huff.

I finally walked out of there a privileged citizen of the Republic of Texas....

...and I can vote!

"Calling a taxi in Texas is like calling a rabbi in Iraq." - Fran Lebowitz

May 23, 2010

It's over.

If you haven't seen the last episode of Lost and don't want to read any spoilers do us all a favor and close this browser immediately and go about your life. It takes much less effort than writing a comment on this blog about how I should die in a fire.

It took me a while to watch an episode of Lost. I had little interest as the promos didn't look compelling and most fans of the show that I associate with could hardly give a reason other than 'you gotta see it'. Finally when Netflix decided to stream it I thought I'd give at least one episode a shot.

From then I was hooked. I watched seasons back to back to the point when people would call, text, or IM their greeting would always follow with: "You watching Lost?"

When the final credits rolled for the last episode I could hear the cries of many fans cruelly cursing the cast and the creators. When you have a show that's given so many a serious mind-fuck viewers wanted the entire timeline mapped out for them. It didn't happen and for that I loved it.

Yes I loved the ending. It was a great send off to a well crafted show that allowed it's audience to think as well as be entertained. I'll miss it.

“He said he had a show he wanted to put on the air about the survivors of a plane crash and would I please help him do it, ... I thought, 'How is that a show?' And then I thought if I were to do this it would be far too weird and borderline sci-fi and he'd never want to do it. But his response was no, I love that idea.” - J.J. Abrams

May 18, 2010

Bad Movies I Love part 26

At my employment at a movie theatre I remember screening the first live action Flintstones. I was actually kind of excited to see the movie as the previews did promise a charming tale of Fred and Wilma. It became a huge hit, but a bigger bore. The casting was poor at best as John Goodman couldn't even be bothered to dye his hair for the role, much less try and talk like the cartoon Fred. Rosie O'Donnel as Betty? Someone thought that was a good idea? Worst of all it the screenwriters didn't want to be bothered by making it funny for adults or children. There was not a single thing I enjoyed about it.

One late night with nothing on the agenda I flipped to the prequel, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. It's a simple love story of when Fred and his loyal companion Barney meet and fall in love with Wilma and Betty. Not exactly a deep plot of class struggles in a silly comedy, but damn I found myself entertained.

What made the film fun is the actors pulled it off and actually had, wait for it, talent. For the most part the cast sounded exactly like their cartoon counterparts and even had the look down. The sets were superior to the first film which is a feat indeed, but the real surprise for me is the jokes were actually kind of clever. Not entirely laugh out loud humor mind you, but enough to keep one amused. This time the screenwriters seemed to actually watch the source material and thought it would be a good idea to improve upon it.

Now this is not high brow cinema by any means, but as a fan of the animated Honeymooners rip-off in my youth I found it to be enjoyable nostalgia.

Wanna see a film reviewed by Wiwille? Drop me an email or comment and you'll see it soon on One Bad Apple. Rules are posted here.

"The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas is cute and funny, with plenty of slapstick and cuddly creatures for the kids and enough adult wit to keep parents reasonably amused." - David Germain

May 17, 2010


Now that I'm participating in grown up activities and planning for the future of my family I find myself nervous regarding the education and safety of my yet to be conceived offspring. Maybe it's a paternal instinct, but I've been researching schools and other institutions that will affect my childrens' upbringing. Now that I live in Texas I'm very scared about how they may be raised.

In Washington most residents had certain stereotypes about politics in Texas. Looked upon as a bunch of crazy evangelicals who believe that Christ rode dinosaurs, Darwin was a wife swapping atheist, and the slave trade wasn't really that harmful to Africans, Northwesterners often looked upon Texas as another world.

Now that I reside in the reddest of red states I find many people who actually fit that stereotype. Case in point is Cynthia Dunbar. A local lawyer who claims to be an evangelical and member of the Texas state school board, it is her mission to bring God and guns to the public schools. Believing the separation of church and state is a myth and the founding fathers were the moral equivalent of the writers of the gospel, Dunbar wants our children to think that McCarthy and all his crazy tactics was justified to use unsworn testimony in dragging peoples' name through the mud.

It gets worse.

The slave trade would be referred to as the "Atlantic triangular trade." The idea that America was anything less than a Christian nation founded upon biblical principles, slavery was just a minor moral offense, and George Wallace was as important as Dr Martin Luther King Jr, are all to be promoted in Texas public schools if this lawyer has her way.

I can understand people not wanting to remember the dark areas of our history and often many make excuses, or lies, about many important figures. Still I would rather have my kids learn the lessons of our past rather than have them repeat it.

In Washington conservatives send their children to private schools to get them away from what they call 'libtards'. In Texas I may have to home school to keep them away from fanatics.

"The only accurate method of ascertaining the intent of the founding fathers at the time of our government's inception comes from a biblical worldview. We as a nation were intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world." - Cynthia Dunbar

Texas schools board rewrites US history with lessons promoting God and guns

May 16, 2010


Growing up there was a local independent television channel that was around since the 50s. It had no affiliation with the big networks and broadcasted for free. I didn't have cable, so our antenna was the source of our tube watching needs. The station was KPTV Channel 12, serving Oregon and Southwest Washington.

While it was a sense of pride that this channel was locally owned and operated some of the programming can be best described as a little odd, but the truly bizarre was their commercials. Without the inflated budgets of other advertising companies local businesses and services would air the strangest scripts. From children singing about how to avoid hepatitas to a local electronics and home furnishings guru with a crew cut selling watches with his likeness on the face, we were always entertained with the oddities of northwest culture.

There was no odder commercial than the Kite Man.

The Kite Man was a PSA from Pacific Power. He would wear a large kite costume (shown above) and stand in front of children talking about kite safety. I've search high and low for video of the commercial, but sadly to no avail. Below is a brief description of the script:

The Kite Man: Is a safe kite made of metal ever?
Children (screaming): Never.
The Kite Man: Wire or wet string ever?
Children (screaming): Never.
The Kite Man: Do you stay away from streets antennas and power lines?
Children (screaming): All the time.
The Kite Man: What about frogs?
Little Girl: I like frogs.
The Kite Man: What do you do if your kite wiiiiiiiiinds (rolls eyes) around a power line?
Children (screaming): Call the Kite Man.
The Kite Man (close up shot, speaking at the camera): At pacific power. (Winks).

Why the hell the screenwriter felt compelled to include that bit of a little girl speaking about how much she likes amphibians during a PSA about kite safety is anyones' guess. Still the commercial was aired so much that long after it left the airwaves local kids would exclaim their love for frogs in the same manner every time they saw one. Maybe the people at Pacific Power really loved frogs and wanted to instill the belief on the children of Oregon so they don't grow up playing baseball with them or shoving firecrackers in their ass.

It worked. To this very day my sister loves everything frog related.

I have no idea what ever happened to The Kite Man. If my kite wiiiiiinds around the power line I have no idea who to call.

"Commercials on television are similar to sex and taxes; the more talk there is about them, the less likely they are to be curbed." - Jack Gould

May 14, 2010


I did the unthinkable recently. I deleted my MySpace account.

I know MySpace is so 2006, but I notice there were a few who still used the social networking site for reasons I can't explain. What's weird is how long I decided to use it. I sort of felt obligated to keep the account live and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because I wanted to have some way to keep in touch with people that I haven't spoken to in years, just in case I somehow needed to converse with them at some point.

What's amazing is I never liked MySpace. Sure at first it was interesting, but after a while going to someone's profile was a chore. When the site decided to allow people to customize their profiles I was excited by the idea since it could bring out my visually creative side, but the afterbirth wasn't worth it. Often I would open someone's page to find my browser hung, waiting for the privilege to see someone's content, only to find annoying colors, graphics that were an eyesore at best, and be blasted with music that's not fit for man nor beast.

So after too long a period of inactivity I let go of MySpace, but it had a hard time letting me leave. Like a scorned lover it kept asking me to go through numerous prompts trying to make sure I want to get rid of the outdated social networking site and even asked for an explanation. It was a long breakup, but one I felt good about doing.

I wonder if it'll feel that good getting rid of Facebook....

"The only true privacy is not to post anything on a social network that you wouldn’t want the world to see....We can blame Mark Zuckerberg all we like for killing privacy, but the truth is all he’s doing is giving us the rope with which to hang it ourselves." - Paul Carr

May 12, 2010


Last night was a historic night. For the first time in my personal history I entered an establishment I never thought I'd find myself in. I entered Hooters and soaked in the atmosphere.

It was everything I expected. Skinny waitresses, some with more than ample bosom, greeted me with a smile. There were many big screens adorning the walls and people of all ages, races, and genders were enjoying some fried food.

I was meeting Kelly's brother, step dad, and father there for drinks and camaradeire. We sat at a table and was greeted by a pretty brunette with slow talking mannerisms. She was raising money for breast cancer, an affliction that ran in her family. We didn't want hers to go to waste so I gave her two dollars.

After a couple mugs of beer we finally get our order of tater tots and wings. I've heard many different reviews concerning the food at Hooters. Some say the food is terrible, others take a liking to it. Finally it was my turn to judge for myself.

It wasn't half bad. I've had far better wings, but if you like a lot of breading on your chicken you'll certainly enjoy them. The tater tots were soaked in cheese and sour cream which was a cardiovascular delight.

The older men drank more and flirted with our waitress while rarely making eye contact. Understandable. They were pretty prominent and sometimes more interesting then hearing her talk about her personally life of pot, baseball, and an a boyfriend of four years. She went through the motions of feigning interest in the older gents' banter.

Nothing of real importance happened really, but the four of us had a great time talking, drinking, and eating more than we should have. It was cool being included in their social circle and I'm proud that one day I'm going to be a part of this family.

Oh on a side note...we're going to Redneck Heaven next time.

"Women are always complaining about men's fascination with breasts. But what if men were absolutely indifferent to breasts? What would women do then with these things that serve one function once or twice in a lifetime, and the rest of the time are just in the way?" - Jonathan Carroll

May 11, 2010


Scorned lovers have always wanted revenge on those that hurt them. Some vandalize property, sleep with friends or loved ones of those that dumped them, or any number of ways to show their anger. While behavior like this cannot be condoned it at times can be understood.

A new service has hit the intertubes for those who've been cheated on, dumped, etc. offers lice to sell to people so they may give the gift of crabs to those who have jilted them.

Seriously.....this exists.

I thought it was a joke, but the website claims it's not. In a strange manner they claim it's only for novelty purposes, but go on to state how sweet the itchy revenge may be. Of course they have a disclaimer trying to limit liability for those who may have suffered from scratching themselves.

Be careful out there boys and girls.

"Thank you SO much you saved my marriage! My wife broke it off with her new lover because she thought he gave her crabs, wish I had found this site sooner!" - Ryan

May 10, 2010

Less government....yeah....

I went and got my vehicle inspected today. While this may not seem that interesting let me tell you the process involved in the state of Washington. Back home you would simply drive up to a state inspection station. They'd open the door and plug a computer into the car and put a doo-dad on the tail pipe. The attendant would have you start up the car and let it run for a couple minutes. Upon passing the emissions test the employee would give you a sheet to take to the local DMV office or authorized office and turn in. You would then get your vehicle license tabs.

Texas is apparently different. I took my car to a local shop that advertised it does vehicle inspection. I pull up and let the snaggle toothed mechanic take control of my car. He put it in reverse and drove back through the parking lot. He then pulled forward and hit the brakes.

"What the hell," I thought?

I figured there must be a reason for that action, but let it go and went into the waiting room which was a sea of Us Weekly and People type rags about celebrities and who they're dating. They did have a television with news which was a plus.

The mechanic came to me with bad news. He said my windshield wipers needed to be replaced and my horn didn't work.

"Ok," I said. "I'll get them fixed then. So what now?"

"Sir," he said with a jack-o-lantern smile. "Your vehicle doesn't pass inspection."

"Really," I asked with surprise? "Is my muffler old?"

"You're new here aren't you?"

"Yeah." I thought the Washington plates would've made it obvious.

"Sir you need to get your windshield wipers and horn fixed in order for it to pass inspection."

"Oh," I said. "This is more than just an emissions test."

"Yes sir."

I gave the mechanic the go-ahead to fix what was needed, but couldn't help but think that the political party that dominated Texas is constantly espousing less government, but yet this kind of bureaucracy exists. It's not a big deal as I was going to fix these things anyways and am somewhat happy they care about cars being safe on the roads, but this seemed just a tad extreme.

I go and get myself some water and come back into the waiting room. A family entered and changed the channel to children's programming. I picked up some celebrity gossip rag, but then I started to hate myself for simply reading it.

The child didn't want to sit in her chair and plopped down on my foot. She continued watching some show with animated dinosaurs breaking out into song whenever she felt it necessary. I turned to her mother who was sound asleep. The mom then started to snore loudly.


The kid was a cute one, but didn't seem interested in me at all. Not once did the tyke look at me or even acknowledge my presence. I guess she thought my shoe was really comfortable.

Finally the woman was shook awake by a mechanic who had news for her. The large lady pulled her daughter off my foot and scolded her for being a pest. I wasn't annoyed with the kid and let that be known to the matriarch who just smiled. Her lack of glow made it obvious she hated her choices in life.

A young lady walked in with her boyfriend, both dressed to the nine. In a sharp dress she stood in the waiting room and smiled brightly with her significant other looking bored. The mechanic quickly came in and told her he wasn't even going to bother with the inspection as the tires are too bald. She huffed out of there with her man in tow.

My horn and wipers were finally replaced and now it's official. The streets of Texas are much safer now that I can honk.

"All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men." - Sam Houston

May 7, 2010


Some students in Morgan Hill, CA decided it would be a great idea to wear t-shirts and bandannas sporting the American Flag. While this is not particularly interesting they decided to do it on Cinco De Mayo. The administrators of the school were not amused and ordered the students to change their attire or go home.

The students elected to go home rather than face suspension.

I understand the staffs' position. They want to maintain order in their school and felt the patriotic display may incite fights or other unpleasantness. They assumed the children of Mexican descent would be offended as it is their holiday, which some of them were, and wanted to keep the peace as they best saw fit. Keep the children in their seats and have them shut the hell up.

It's sort of like a kid sporting Old Glory at St Patrick's Day in Boston. You know those drunken Irish would've beat the living crap out of....oh wait.

Still this whole thing is ridiculous. While the students who sported the American Flag may have been in the 'learn English or get the fuck out of my country' sect, they still did nothing wrong by simply wearing this on May 5th, or any day. It's not like they were wearing the Confederate Battle Flag on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday.

To coddle children away from debate is not preparing them for adulthood. While I know students don't exactly have freedom of speech in schools I think stifling them on this issue is doing everyone involved a disservice and further inflaming the debate on immigration.

"The boys will not be suspended and were allowed to return to school Thursday. We spotted one of them when he got to campus -- and, yes, he was sporting an American flag T-shirt." -

Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees

May 5, 2010


So the wedding date has been set and the venue has been booked. It's all so wonderful and at the same time surreal. I'm doing all this grown up stuff, weddings, looking at houses, and talk of producing little Wiwilles has my head in a spin. Still I'm looking forward to being an adult and sharing my life with another.

I have but one issue that is burning me. Do couples fart at the altar?

I know that sounds crude, but I've been to over two hundred weddings as a photographer or guest, but I've never got an answer to a question of the highest importance. Do couples fart at the altar?

I've attended very long weddings and I always wonder if the bride and/or groom have to hold one in to avoid embarrassing their most blessed day. In large weddings where they're mic'd up they can't risk turning a silent one into a raging thunderous release of gas.

I probably should spend about an hour before the wedding releasing all I can so that I may spare my bride, minister, and all in attendance the suffering of my noxious farts. This may take some special planning.

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." - Kurt Vonnegut

May 4, 2010

May the 4th be with you!

As I'm sure few of you are aware today is Intergalactic Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you). Okay maybe I'm the only one who gives a damn. Yes I'm kind of a dork.

So let me tell you a story of the R2-D2 phone. Years ago my parents would buy me anything Star Wars related for birthdays and Christmas. I'm not sure why. I think they overestimated how much I'm into the saga, but it was sweet of them and I appreciated every gift.

One year they bought me a R2-D2 phone, which was kind of a cool gift, but when I brought it home to my then girlfriend she just kind of smiled and told me I could use it. One morning we were awoke by the chirps and whistles by the infamous robot and she flew out of bed.

"That thing is loud," she exclaimed with anger.

I agreed that it was highly annoying so I put it away. I haven't had a land line in years so I just set R2 in the closet as he had little use.

Fast forward a few years...

I show Kelly the phone and ask where I could put it in our place. She stared at me blankly for a bit.

"Honey," she said as her voice softened. "It doesn't really go with anything I have."

"But," I said. "It's R2."

"We won't even have a land line though."

"Yeah, but I've had him for years."

"Honey, we can put him in a closet, or the garage."

I'm sure she was thinking 'Oh my God I'm marrying a nerd. I hope we have a girl.'

So I gave R2-D2 a new home in the hopes he's having fun with other astromec droids, like R5-D4. I'll miss all the good times we shared, long walks in the park and eating dinner by the fireplace.

Goodbye R2. The force will be with you...always.

Happy Intergalactic Star Wars Day to the folks in bloggerland!

"Learning to make films is very easy. Learning what to make films about is very hard." - George Lucas

Below is indeed the R2-D2 phone and that's the sound it made when people called.

May 2, 2010

All rednecks go to heaven.

We walk into 'Redneck Heaven', a place unfamiliar to both of us, for a drink. We open the doors and get our first glimpse of the atmosphere.

"Oh my," she said. Our eyes met a scantily clad waitress in an outfit that would make your average Hooters employee blush.

It was your average sports bar and grill. Nothing really special. Imagine your local biker saloon without the foul smell of grease and body odor. The place was decorated with NASCAR, sports, and biker memorabilia. The bar stools had Chevy and Harley logos proudly displayed.

Kelly was one of three female patrons there. The bar was surrounded by 30-40 something guys who were drinking a Friday afternoon away. Most were making small talk with the strippers...err...waitresses (pictured above) as the staff was showing as much skin as possible without getting arrested. The customers looked like hard laborers, weekend warrior Harley riders, and simple folk enjoying some company from hot women, regardless if they're paid to do so.

The men had a demeanor of what the establishment advertised. From a quick glance you'd think they were strong supporters of the Arizona immigration bill, but there was a sense of loneliness clouding their eyes. Some sat alone, hoping that their tips would garner a girl showing a bit more cleavage than normal, or the eventual hope of a phone number. I'm sure a few fantasized about parking lot oral and who knows maybe a few have succeeded, but I highly doubt it.

Sad as it may be it had one of the best taps I've yet to encounter.

Redneck Heaven is indeed a classy joint. It's so high brow there was a license plate mounted on the wall that said 'Viva Viagra'.

As we walked out of there I felt a bit dirty. Now I like scantily clad women as much as the next guy, maybe even more so, but there's always a level of despair as I watch the lonely pay of a bit of companionship.

Yes Kelly did catch me looking at our waitress. I've got poor eyeballing skills.

"The grand irony, however, is that Southern segregation was not brought to an end, nor redneck violence dramatically reduced, by violence." - Stanley Crouch