Dec 30, 2011

Traveling to North Korea.

As I've written about before, I'm largely ignorant of North Korea. Granted this is largely due to the fact that they're isolationists of the highest order and rarely is western media allowed into the country, but still outside of the revolution and the Korean War (Police Action) I have a hard time even remembering the name for the country's founder. Most communist revolutionaries come to mind rather quickly (Pol-Pot, Castro, Lenin, and Mao), but the glorious founder of North (Best) Korea is largely absent from the Western collective concious.

Now that Kim Jon Il's is dead, and most of the world is happy to be rid of him, nations are anxious to see how their foreign policy will change, if any. After watching the below documentary, I have my doubts that the country is even interested in becoming a better neighbor in the world community, much less South Korea. I highly recommend viewing it:

"All of North Korea is a jail." - Kim Y. Sam

Dec 28, 2011

Wiwille's best and worst films of 2011

Now that I'm married and have a kid I rarely go to the cinema, which is a shame. I love films (you knew that), but I wait until they come to a format I can watch at my leisure. Still it's time for my annual best and worst list of the films I made time to sit through.
1. X-Men: First Class: After watching the abomination that was X-Men Orgins: Wolverine I was less than estatic about this, but I was pleasantly surprised with the story and the above average acting from most of the cast. I think the writers made a good choice in it's historical setting, and really brought a sense of wonder back to superhero films.
2. The Tree of Life: Another film I was expecting to not like, but enjoyed immensely. Some may call it pretentious Malik being all pretenciousy, but I found it to be a beautifuly shot film about the nature of life. It worked for me, which is surprising since I'm not one to worship at the feet of all thinks Malik.
3. Thor: Another film I expected to hate, but again it struck me how much attention to detail the filmmakers gave it. With a script littered with Shakesperean themes and a great performance by Anthony Hopkins I found this to be a refreshing change from comic book films that have little if nothing to say (I'm looking at you Iron Man).
4. Bridesmaids: Unlike the often compared to film that is The Hangover, this has an actual story and characters you can either relate to or actually know in real life. Plus it's amusing and the script let's the talent of the actors really shine. I haven't laughed harder with a film this year.
5. Captain America: The First Avenger: I know you're probably thinking enough with superhero movies, but this has to be included for the atmosphere alone. Not exactly a gripping story, but a decent orgin story was created for this iconic superhero that is just plain fun.
6. Limitless: Not exactly high-brow cinema, but it has style and an intriguing enough plot that kept me hooked.
Ok so the list is less than arty, but I haven't had time to see things I really wanted yet.
And now for the worst:
1. Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon: Big, loud, stupid. The plot is so silly even twelve year olds would have to roll their eyes at it, plus there's not a single moment in the film where you're asked to connect with any character what so ever.
2. The Hangover Part II: Same as the first with a different setting, except it wasn't funny at all. It was like hearing the same joke over and over again.
3. Green Lantern: Even the worst comic book films often times give you a sense of wonder at the majesty of a hero's power (Superman Returns), but this had nothing. The main character was horribly uninteresting as well the ridiculous and confusing plot was just draining. It possibly could've worked if it had a sense of humor about itself, which the screenwriters tried to go for, and failed.
"We all love a good creation myth. That's partly why X-Men: First Class is such fanboy fun." - Rick Groen

Dec 27, 2011

A day in the life of Wiwille

As you probably gathered, my life has changed completely since the baby arrived. Longtime readers will remember the days where I woke up, worked, came home, drank more than was safe or reasonable, involved myself in drama I never wanted nor needed, and repeated the process over and over again. Now I'll give you a tasted of what's it's like to be Wiwille today:

6:30am: Wife wakes me up and announces the baby is up. Groggily go into the kitchen, make a bottle, and get other items ready for the wife to do her motherly duties. Go back to sleep. Wake up again fifteen minutes later to let the dogs out.

7am: Wash used bottle. Get up and get ready for the gym. Go to gym and workout while watching bad morning news shows.

7:45am: Go home and shower.

8:30am: Sit down and log into work. Let the dogs out. Make breakfast and coffee.

9:30am: Wife announces baby needs attending to. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Feed and change baby if wife needs a break.

10am: Wash used bottle. Log back into work. Attend a meeting and pray the baby will sleep through it.

10:30am: Let the dogs out.

11:45am: Log back into work. Try to complete a task.

12pm: Go grab lunch for you and the wife.

12:15pm: Start to eat lunch, but baby needs another bottle. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Feed and change baby if wife needs a break. Spend the rest of the hour with baby, because it's kind of awesome to do so.

1pm: Wash used bottle. Log back into work. Try to complete a task. Have television playing in the background.

2p: Make snack. Let dogs out. Throw in a load of laundry.

2:15p: Log back into work. Try to complete a task.

3p: Wife announces baby needs to eat. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Feed and change baby if wife needs a break.

3:30p: Wash used bottle. Log back into work. Try to complete a task.

4p: Blog. Fold laundry.

4:30p: Ask wife about dinner. Cook or go out and get said dinner.

5p: Sit down to eat said dinner. Wife announces baby needs to eat. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Feed and change baby if wife needs a break. Watch dinner get cold.

5:30p Eat remaining dinner. Log back into work to see if any last minute items need attending to. Watch television with the wife.

7:p: Let dogs out.

7:30p: Wife announces baby needs to eat. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Feed and change baby if wife needs a break.

8p: Wash used bottle. Do dishes. Go back to watching television with wife.

9:30p: Wife and baby go to sleep. Go play video games.

10p: Let the dogs out.

10:15p: Go back to playing video games.

10:30p: Wife announces baby needs to eat. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Feed and change baby if wife needs a break.

11p: Wash used bottle. Turn off Xbox. Go to sleep.

1a: Wife announces baby needs to eat. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Thankfully the wife lets you go back to sleep while doing said motherly duties.

3:30a: Wife announces baby needs to eat. Make bottle and gather items for the wife to do her motherly duties. Thankfully the wife lets you go back to sleep while doing said motherly duties.

6:30a: Wife get the idea.

I wouldn't change my new found life for anything.

"Families with babies and families without babies are sorry for each other." - Edgar Watson Howe

Dec 26, 2011

Wiwille's movie reviews part 85

You young readers may not be aware of the 80s, but to those growing up in it recall it mostly consisted of fear of everything. Parents in the 80s were glued to talk shows and the like, trying to learn about the latest trend that would turn their precious little snowflake into a coke snorting, satan worshipping, goat rapist.

The satanic panic is one I remember with not so fond memories. Thanks to the journalists with a less than stellar moral code and the neurosis of many, those with children were frightened of harmless things such as heavy metal music and role playing games, one of which was the popular Dungeons and Dragons.

I only played Dungeons and Dragons once, but I ended up getting in a fist fight with the game master and that ended my role playing career. I did enjoy the game, but even as a kid I lost interest quick realizing how much of a money pit it was, and how I couldn't afford it as there was no way my folks would ever buy that stuff for me. They were told by their church and friends that D&D would lead to things such as pagan worship and suicide, and of course believed all of it, because Satan was lurking at every corner after their children.

A cautionary tale was made to warn parents of the dangers of role playing games in the format of a made for TV movie called "Mazes and Monsters." Starring a young Tom Hanks as Robbie, the film starts with three college students convincing Robbie to play a role playing game. Robbie at first relents as he just promised his folks he wouldn't, but of course there's an attractive woman in the group so he has to go.

Robbie then becomes obsessed with the game and his character. He abandons his love life and cares less about his studies. He starts dreaming of the game and a mysterious man who tells him how to live. Why this happens is anyone's guess, but it's assumed he's mentally ill. He leaves school and becomes a missing person as he wanders around New York looking for the "Great Hall" he's been dreaming about, and ends up stabbing a thug in the process. A man hunt ensues for Robbie by his three friends who are certain he may hurt himself as he can't distinguish reality from the game.

My god this movie is horrible. Not only is it satanic panic propaganda, but it's so horribly dated and incompetent that instead of warning viewers of the so called dangers of role playing it ended up being a laughable piece of work. Propaganda should be anything but dull, and this is a great cure for insomnia.

I've had this sitting in my queue for almost a year as WIGSF requested it a long time ago. Why it's even out on DVD is a mystery as there's no reason to watch this outside of a morbid curiosity. Put any interest aside as it sucks. I should add a rule that anyone who submits films this bad will be kicked in the crotch repeatedly.

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.

"Although intended as a cautionary tale, it's far more likely to inspire snickers than shudders." - James Sanford

Dec 23, 2011


Now that I'm a parent, sleep is something that is foreign to me. It's not that bad really as I got enough practice at giving up slumber when the wife was pregnant. Still sleep is something I kind of miss, as I get very little.

Whenever I express my newborn duties, the childless of my friends express their sympathy; however those with children seem to laugh at my exhaustion. It's sort of like how people watch a guy get kicked in the nuts, and laughter ensues. Pain is comedy for most, for whatever reason.

My parents, naturally, seem to enjoy the misery that is my lack of REM sleep. I guess becoming a parent means you have to take pleasure in the pain of others.

It's all worth it though.

"Babies control and bring up their families as much as they are controlled by them; in fact the family brings up baby by being brought up by him." - Erik H. Erikson

Dec 19, 2011

Homefront may not be just a video game...

Kim Jong Il (not pictured here) is no longer ronery. Ok that was a cheap joke, but I'm kind of surprised about the mix feelings from the world community about his passing. China still considers the barbaric country a close friend, which I guess shouldn't be shocking. Russia seems to want to stay friendly with the regime that doesn't seem to mind seeing it's citizens starve or have basic human rights.

The west is less than kind to North Korea, or Kim Jong's memory. I'm kind of indifferent to his death. Sure he was a horrible leader and a terrible human being, but he was just incompetent enough to not be a threat to anyone, but his own countrymen. Now that he's gone, little will change probably. If I had any hope that North Korea could progress into a country seriously interested in peace for the region, then I might care, but there is none. The North Korean people seem to be under massive discipline and even through the oppression the government is their savior.

My friend Tad, aka Kim Yoon Sup, pictured above, should take his rightful place amongst his people.

"Overall relations between the North and the South have developed in favor of national reconciliation, unity and reunification." - Kim Jong Il

Dec 16, 2011

Nigeria sucks.

I spoke with my parents the other day when mom informed me she had an "evil" phone call the other night. An office from the Department of Homeland Security phone them and informed my mother she had won a Reader's Digest sweepstakes totalling $490,000. All she had to do was send the Department of Homeland Security $2,000 to claim her prize.

Thankfully she didn't fall for the scam and informed the FBI. The office she dealt with looked up the number that appeared on the called ID originated from somewhere outside the US, and as such there was nothing they could do.

So the pig fucking scammer not only called my folks, which boils my blood, but is so stupid as to identify himself from the Department of Homeland Security. Why they didn't say they were from Reader's Digest is anyone's guess, but since these people have as much talent at scamming as a Colt's receiver does at catching footballs I wouldn't expect sound judgement from them.

The Nigerian scam has been with us for many years, well before the internet, but it's growing with frequency as people, few as they may be, are still falling for it.

"I don't think I'll ever escape the fact that I don't belong anywhere in particular. I've often dreamed about going back to Nigeria, but that's a very romantic notion. It's a hideous country to go to in reality." - Hugo Weaving

Dec 14, 2011

Trust him, he's a "doctor"

My wife hasn't been feeling well since labor. Due to a painful experience of the anesthesiologist taking up to an hour to apply the epidural, and sitting in a hunched over position while waiting for it, she started having back spasms and the like. Headaches have ensued while she's also suffered various aches in her neck and back.
Frustrated that time hasn't alleviated her symptoms, we got desperate and made an appointment for a chiropractor. Now I'm no fan of the practice. I understand some people swear by it; however my experience with them have been less than positive. Granted the adjustments feel good, but I found that I could just replicate the results by constantly stretching and exercising.
We went largely to see if we could rule out the possibility of the epidural causing the pain or if it was the result of her back being in a largely unnatural state for a prolonged period. I was skeptical if chiropractic care was the answer, but was again a bit desperate to learn more about my wife's illness.
We go into the clinic and instantly there was a red flag. I saw a brochure about a weight loss program the Dr endorses, and in huge letters it talks about the homeopathic weight loss medication called HCG, which has just been ordered under a massive recall by the FDA for...wait for it...having no proven effectiveness. Plus it's homeopathy, which is bullshit of the highest order, but I kept my mouth shut hoping that we would learn something.
The doctor introduced himself and the wife explained her symptoms. The doctor then went on a rant about epidurals and how women should just be taught to 'tough it out'. I wanted to punch the fucktard in the fact, not only for being a hawker of snake oil, but for being an insensitive prick. Luckily he caught himself by telling the wife he wasn't suggesting she wasn't tough, but that it is his opinion that women should do things natural, and that's why his last two children were all home birthed. I didn't feel like debating the fact that most of nature would like to kill you, as there's no changing the mind of a respected physician, but it crossed my mind.
Anyways he gave the wife an adjustment, which didn't help at all, and asked her to follow up with him later, which we'll never do. Hiring a witch doctor would've had the same effectiveness, and would've at least been entertaining.

Dec 13, 2011

Wiwille creates life.

"Jumping Jesus," I shouted. "I got to go. I'm going to be a daddy."

I was running a meeting at work when I received the text message from my wife that her water broke. Everyone told me to get off the call and get to the hospital. At home I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to pack last minute items. I drove to the hospital, sent texts and made phone calls to appropriate folks, and went to the room to see how Kelly was doing.

Labor is kind of like combat, it can be hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror. For most of it I sat around and greeted people who stopped by, tried to keep my wife as comfortable as possible, and tried to keep my mind occupied. Then, after over 17 hours the nurse decided it was time to push.

Now I expected to be in the room and coach my wife through the process, but I had no idea how much of an active participant I would be. In the old days fathers just chain smoked in the waiting rooms, cigars and whiskey ready to be passed out. The nurse ordered me and my mother in-law to grab the wife's legs and press them up against her as she made each push. The nurse then took out a sheet and tied a knot on each end and asked me to do a tug of war with Kelly as she pushed. The wife was getting exhausted as pushing took over an hour and a half, but finally the doctor showed and it was time to meet our daughter.

The wife pushed the head out and the doctor grabbed the baby's head and twisted it, making me think she may be crushing it. I wanted to punch the physician, but of course I trusted the fact that she knew what she was doing. For those who've never seen their wife in labor, I was shocked at how much adrenaline was running through me. Actually, I've never had a bigger rush, and this coming from someone who used to jump out of planes.

They finally let me hold my new baby girl, and I never felt more happy nor proud.

"I once heard two ladies going on and on about the pains of childbirth and how men don't seem to know what real pain is. I asked if either of them ever got themselves caught in a zipper." - Emo Phillips

Dec 7, 2011

Wiwille's movie reviews part 84

Sometimes it's great to fantasize about being able to altar the course of history. You've been in those conversations about if it's moral to kill Hitler before he became the Furher, or whether you could stop the career of Nickleback.

"The Final Countdown" plays with this idea. It's the story of the aircraft carrier Nimitz, which sounds like a schoolyard bully's taunt. Regardless this 80s carrier has aboard a civilian observer, played by Martin Sheen, and an old fashioned captain played by Kirk Douglas. The carrier leaves Pearl Harbor for a routine voyage, but is then transported back in time to Dec 6th 1941, the day before the Japanese attack Hawaii.

After some initial confusion the captain finally accepts that the impossible has happened. He picks up two boaters who have come under attack of Japanese Zeros, as well as one of the pilots who was shot down by the American jets. One of the boaters is a senator who when he learns of the plot tries to warn the naval base, but is laughed at.

The captain has a decision to make, attack the Japanese fleet with all the might of his overwhelming superior weapons and save thousands of lives, or not altar the course of history. After much debate he finally makes his decision...

"The Final Countdown" is extremely dated, with awful special effects and horrific music, but it's not without merits. The acting by the leads is far better than expected and the plot is interesting, even if the dialogue is not. There are some impressive flight scenes that would even rival "Top Gun", but largely the military readiness shots are straight out of a recruiting video.

I would recommend it based upon said strengths, but the ending is a cop out of the highest order and really made the viewing experience not a worth while one.
Thanks to Greg for submitting this. 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.

"A solid movie with a lousy ending." - Walter Chaw.

Dec 5, 2011

Bad Movies I Love part 31

Some bad movies are best remembered when you're young. I recall watching "The Warriors" for the first time when I was in my late twenties, based on numerous recommendations. I didn't care for it, but others who do seem to do so based on their memories from when they were twelve years old. We all have those films that are best preserved in the databanks of our youth, such as my love for movies such as "Rad" and "Red Dawn".

I recently watched "They Live", directed by John Carpenter, on Turner Classic Movies, of all channels. I've heard it quoted endlessly in my younger years, but never took the time to view it in it's entirety. After watching it I was dissapointed I waited so long to see this classic, dark comedy/sci-fi film.

"They Live" tells the story of a transient referred to as Nada. He meets Frank at his newfound place of employment, who takes him to a homeless dwelling for food and shelter. The church across the street has some strange doings, so naturally our hero decides to investigate. He finds it's a front for some weird sciencey devices. Confused, he leaves.

The next day police raid the shantytown and bust it up. The church goers leave in a hurry, so afterwards Nada looks through the church and finds a pair of sunglasses. He puts them on and sees that all media contains subliminal messages, like "Obey" and "Marry and Reproduce" and "Consume". He also sees some of the citizens as aliens, who control said media, which freaks him the hell out. He then aquires weapons and decides to fight the alien menace, as only a John Carpenter hero can.

"They Live" is a b movie in almost every fashion, but the story and the one liners are very entertaining. It does make fun of consumer culture, which is often an easy target, but surprisingly it's really funny and subersive. The movie has charm, even though the acting ranges from bad to unwatchable. The plot has holes, but I'd watch the movie again just to see Roddy Piper deliver such awesome lines such as "I have come here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. I'm all out of bubble gum", which is delivered at random.

I could only recommend maybe a handful of B-sci/fi films, but this is definitley one of them, maybe even at the top of my list.

"Carpenter's ability to fuse the bawdy humor and action with an intelligent script make for a genre film that is both thoughtful and entertaining." - Derek Smith

Dec 1, 2011

Wiwille is not a good leftie.

I feel like a terrible liberal when I admit that I don't find Jon Stewart nor Stephen Colbert that funny. It's almost hard to come out with it, as if I should hold my head down in shame as I don't worship at the altar of comedians who aren't as humorous as they and their audience think they are. The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are similar to watching modern SNL, you might get one chuckle in a half hour viewing. The rest of the jokes makes me scratch my head and wonder how the audience didn't see the punch line coming 20 seconds before it was delivered.

One of the reasons I was so happy to see Bush leave office is I didn't have to hear Stewart do that lame impression of him anymore. I could only stand watching him raise his fist in the air and damn something unrelated to whatever he was talking about so many times where even in my most bored moments I couldn't struggle a smile.

Granted Stewart has his moments, as does Colbert, and when they're on they're hilarious and insightful. Problem is that lasts maybe 12 seconds. I remember seeing Stewart take on the host of Mad Money and give him the what for and expected the poor bastard to answer for all of CNBC lack of journalistic excellence in the wake of the then new recession. We learned absolutely nothing from that interview, yet somehow Stewart was proclaimed a hero on the left, someone who took someone to task for all our sorrows. As if the host of an afternoon television show was responsible for poor mortgage lending.

Now I like it when Stewart verbally spars with people that actually matter in the public discourse, but what really bothers me is why he hasn't taken Adam Sandler to task for making unwatchable films and marketing them as funny. If he really cared about his audience he'd make sure to never have Sandler on the show to promote his mediocre films ever again.

Colbert's act is just getting old and the jokes are pretty stale. His writers only have to replace a few nouns here and there for each show and they're done. It just feels lazy each and every time.

Being fresh with material on a daily basis can't be easy, but at least be somewhat funny when you're being insightful or pretentious. Audiences are very forgiving, even when the host is being an arrogant ass. Bourdain's made a career of it, and he says nothing even remotely interesting.

Maybe I'm just missing the party, or I'm not as good a liberal as I think I am.

"I heard Dennis Kucinich say in a debate, 'When I'm president... and I just wanted to stop him and say, 'Dude.'" - Jon Stewart