Feb 26, 2013

Gun control is good for Republicans

A little while after the election I wondered about the future of the Republican party and where I thought it was headed after suffering such a miserable defeat at the hands of Obama and the DNC. I wondered if they could rebound from this, and even gave them suggestions on how they could pull themselves up by their bootstraps and be all bootstrappy. Of course no one listened to me and my awesomeness, but shockingly they didn't have to.
Lacking clarvoyance I wondered what issue the Republicans could rally around to somehow justify their existence to voters. Then the Democrats handed them one, gun control, and the party has sprung new life. Whether you agree with gun control or not, it currently is a right, and historically the party that fights to expand liberty is the one that usually wins in the end. Granted, the gun legislation being proposed is something our country has implemented before, well barely, and somehow the Republic still stood strong, but the very mention of limiting firearms ownership will rally many apolitical folks into standing firm with those elected officials who promise to block said restrictions.
So if the next mid-term elections see a growth in Republican seats in Congress, you may want to thank the DNC.
"I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it." - Clint Eastwood

Feb 21, 2013

Wiwille's movie reviews part 94

Role models are necessary in a film about kids, but it's the ones that no one should emulate are the ones that are fun to watch. Hesher takes the idea of anti-exemplar and cranks it up to 11. Set in the 80s presumably, it tells the tale of TJ, a troubled kid who lost his mom in a tragic car accident, which he and his clinically depressed father survived. Both he and his grieving dad are shacked up with grandma, who is resigned to only hoping to see her son and grandson get better and move on with their lives.
Enter the enigmatic Hesher, the town badass. He seems like he belongs in an 80s metal band, complete with long hair, bad tattoos, and a black belt in the art of not giving a shit. Basically, he was the guy that any 80s metal head kid wanted to be when they grew up, before they came to the realization that such guys always ended up living shitty lives. He mysteriously shows up at TJ's home, to which none of the family seems to have much of a problem with, nor does anyone ask him to leave, and decides to take up residence there. He follows TJ around for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, including the audience, and tries to mentor him in being hardcore. Hesher gets TJ in trouble, tries to tell him about the birds and the bees in a fashion you would expect, and basically is more of a nuisance than a real friend.
While struggling with the death of his mother and being tormented by a kid uglier than the bully in "A Christmas Story", TJ meets a mousy, lonely checkout clerk, who catches his eye. Hesher, naturally, makes some attempt to get TJ to woo his much older crush, but that, as with many things Hesher touches, goes to shit.
Hesher is a movie I can strongly recommend, based on the performances of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rainn Wilson alone. The former plays the title character brilliantly, sometimes funny, sometimes charming, and sometimes downright scary and disturbing, this role really showcases Levitt's talents better than any other I've seen him play. Even TJ, played by Devin Brochu, works really well and I'm looking forward to seeing him in more films. The plot shouldn't seem too interesting, but it is compelling thanks to the cryptic nature of the story.
So who is Hesher? Is he some sort of fucked up Mary Poppins? Is he an angel making foolish attempts at sprouting wings? Is he just some drifter who's cold black heart was softened by TJ and he feels compelled to aid in the grieving process? Watch and find out.
Thanks to Mattbear (who needs to blog for fuck's sake) 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.
"Hesher himself [is] a mysterious, magnetic, repellent, and alluring figure... It's quite an astonishing performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt." - Jeffrey M Anderson

Feb 11, 2013

Wiwille gets his geek on

I've never been to a comic-con, Star Trek convention, or anything of the like, until yesterday. It was then I drove to the Irving Convention Center to feast mine eyes on the wonder that is geekdom, and wander in the belly of the 2013 Dallas Sci-Fi Expo. I truly went in a virgin to the whole experience and didn't really know what to expect. All I know of these things is that they're filled with nerds who negotiate the amount of over priced toys, comics, and paraphernalia. Oh and for whatever reason, much like Halloween, it gives an excuse for many women to bring out their inner whore. At least these stereotypes are what the internet has taught me, and we know the internet is right about everything.
I pay for parking and make my way into the line. I was standing next to a guy who was wearing a Nostromo jacket, and I was slightly proud of the fact I got the reference. We started chatting and he turned out to be a most interesting gent. He recently moved to Dallas from the Bay Area after working for ILM for many years. He built (in the computer) R2-D2 for Episode III and did some extensive work on The Clone Wars series. They moved the line to buy tickets and then they told us to go outside and wait in line again for whatever reason. My new friend had a cigarette while I enjoyed a cigarillo, and we chatted more about all things geekery. Not shockingly he's been to many events, such as San Diego comic-con, that Star Wars annual event in Disney World, and various other sci-fi conventions and comic book related stuff. He was like the Rick Steves of nerd travel.

 These two were standing out front as I smoked my cigarillo. They stayed in character the entire time, which was impressive. Snoogins.

We talked about the things we do and do not like about geek culture, and I really enjoyed his company. He told me what I can and can't expect inside the doors, which was not far from my previously held unsubstantiated view of the going ons in the world of dorks. I looked across the line and noticed very few people seemed to be dressed up, and my new buddy said that was typical, as about only 10% get into costume, or cos-play as they call it for whatever reason.
Next in line to me were these girls, who were kind enough to pose and were quite a big hit for obvious reasons.

Rogue and Jean Grey from the X-Men.

The girl dressed as Jean Grey couldn't have been warm, but I'm guessing being prepared for the elements aren't important to cos-players.
We made our way into the building and wandered through the first floor. It was full of booths that held all sorts of merchandise, from toys to comics to autographed everything to bootleg DVDs to pretty much anything a nerd would want. While what was on display wasn't surprising, what was, and shouldn't have been, kind of shocking was the exorbitant prices for these things. I found old toys that I used to play with, such as GI Joe and Star Wars, that ranged in the hundreds to thousands even. I tried to find some old Uncle Scrooge comics for my dad, met with some success, and called him to see if he wanted them. After he found out the price he told me to put them down and if anything, buy me a newly printed collection as he could care less about having a high priced comic that would make him feel guilty if he read it.

I liked the Star Blazers cartoon as much as the next guy, but $600?

There were folks in costume wandering the floor doing as I and my friends were, browsing, shopping, and generally just absorbing the atmosphere. I came upon one girl, who I thought was Harley Quinn, but wasn't sure as she barely resembled any Quinn I'm familiar with, so I asked if I could take a pic as my sister's a huge fan. (A friend of mine proved how much of a huge nerd he is by confirming that she is in fact dressed as the girl who has unrequited love with the Joker.) She complied and posed like she was a professional.

When I was a pro it took forever to get someone into just the right pose. This girl needed no direction and immediately went all model on me.

She obviously is attractive and caught the eye of many guys, so I was curious if she ever got bored with being asked to pose over and over again, but I relented from asking and let her go about her shopping. I just showed this pic to Corey and he announced he needs to propose marriage to this girl. I'm sure a single girl could do quite well at a sci-fi expo, that is if they can get guys to approach them.
I started to get bored pretty quickly as most of the booths had the same stuff, and few of it was interesting beyond nostalgic reasons. I admit I'm a geek, but I see little use in buying toys and stuff that you won't want to use. I mean, if a toy isn't being played in the dirt enjoyed by an adolescent, there's no reason for it to exist. I felt a real disconnect with my nerdy brethren when it comes to collections, as I'm not a collector by any means, and really don't see the point. Sure if I were at a garage sale and saw something really cheap that I knew was worth far more than the sticker price, I would snatch it up and try and sell it as soon as possible, but it just doesn't interest me as a hobby.
Still there was some interesting things that caught my eye, namely the replica weapons and old toys I used to play with and some that met an unceremonious demise in the name of witnessing the awesome power of fireworks.
My friends Gary and Terry found a booth selling Stargate and various other merchandise. One had a staff signed by the SG1 cast, including Richard Dean Anderson. The operator of the booth got them both to pose with props.
The three of us decided to get some lunch and sat in the cafeteria area for some grubbing. It was then announced that there was to be a cos-play red carpet event, and if we wanted pics we were to walk five yards to get into the line. I got in the front row, which allotted me to get some characters to stare directly into my lens and pose for me, again without any direction.

This sexy Doctor and her equally feminine Capt Jack Harkness was a hit with the fans of the BBC shows in attendance.

This is a BSG pilot. I had to be told this.

I'm told this is Jem from that old cartoon.

A Harley Quinn I'm more familiar with.

I had no idea what was going on with this photo, but it was told to me later by a huge dork that it's the girl from Weird Science.

Look kids, it's Captain Cleavage!

Rogue being all rogue-ish.

The messed up restoration of that Jesus fresco that made the news a few years back. Well I laughed. Many in attendance were unfamiliar with that event, including my two Christian friends who came with me.

I couldn't get these two to look at me at the same time, which makes sense considering all the cameras around. She looks like she wants to feed me those death berries.

Agent Scully with some piercing eyes.


I imagine every one of these type events has a token Ghostbuster.

No clue who they're supposed to be, but they were having so much fun I had to take a snap.

Assuming that kid in the Stormtrooper outfit's a boy, he's going to remember this forever.

There were other characters and more pics which I won't bore you with. Afterwards the three of us went outside for a break from the action and had some cigarillos, and then braved on to the upper floors. Those floors contained all the celebrities which you can pay top dollar and waste hours in line for a quick meet and greet and photo. I had no interest in seeing stars whore themselves so I made my goodbyes and decided to go home and see my family.
I had a good time at the event and am glad I got to experience it, but I won't be doing so again unless there's a celebrity I really need to meet, and since Hunter S Thompson is dead and has no connection to sci-fi, I doubt that'll be happening ever. If I have a kid who's into nerdiness I'd take them of course, and possibly dress up with them, but otherwise I have little interest in reliving that experience. Although my new found friend in line did say I need to go to San Diego comic-con at least once, so that's on the bucket list. It may make for good blog material.
"I was a big sci-fi fantasy geek when I was younger... secretly, in my room." - Christina Ricci

Feb 5, 2013

Super Bowl

Even though my family weren't real fans of sports, much less football, we, like most, always tuned in to the Super Bowl. We ate crackers and cheese and watched the games with enthusiasm even if we didn't give two shits who won. My parents being from the Bay Area, always rooted for the 49ers and with them I got to see the magic that was Montana, Rice, Craig, Lott, Carter, etc take the field and make the sport of football look easy. There was an element of grace with those teams, and they dominated the league. My family watched the best ever play and win, and it made for wonderful memories.
After the 49ers beat the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, the organization collapsed for many reasons and soon became the laughing stock of the NFL for many years. The Team of the Decade (80s) morphed into the something resembling the Detroit Lions. It was painful, but I persevered and continued watching the NFL, enjoying the many great games the league offered.
In the late 80s and early 90s it seemed everyone was a 49ers fan, even in the Northwest, and it's not hard to figure out why. They were winners and they had some of the best players of their time, and even some of all time. But as the team from Candlestick started to suck more than a gay hooker at the Republican National Convention, you saw less and less people wearing San Fransisco attire. I was alone in my fandom. Not one friend was a fan of the Bay Area team anymore.
Then came the restructuring of the NFL divisions. Seattle, who enjoyed a decades long rivalry with the Raiders in the AFC West, were moved to the NFC West and no one was happy about it. Emerald City fans were rightfully bummed about losing out on their rivalry, which they enjoyed year after year. NFC West fans were puzzled as to why the Seahawks, who have long been known to suck horribly, needed to be in the NFC, much less the NFC West. The 49ers enjoyed a long rivalry with the Rams, but that soon gave way to a new bitter enemy, the the team residing in the town I lived in.
I was personally annoyed. I was living in the Seattle area and found myself the only person in my circle of friends as a 49ers fan, and was out numbered by those who worshiped at the ground of a tax funded stadium. The 49ers were horrible, and I knew I would catch hell every time they played. I was not disappointed. I went to my first 49er-Seahawk game at what was then called Seahawk stadium, a beautiful place really, by myself as my friend got sick, and had the worst sports watching experiences of my life.
As the second quarter came to be, after hearing a bunch of jeering lobbed my way, I felt a bottle hit me upside the head. I turned around and screamed my demand for the thrower to fess up. As expected, no one did. For folks who aren't familiar with Seattle, the citizens are famous for being passive/aggressive. I waved security over to discuss the matter, and he commented on how brave I was showing up alone wearing a 49ers jersey.
The 49ers lost, and I congratulated the fans sitting next to me. They responded by giving me shit, and one guy even started to posture and talk tough about how he'd like to kick my ass. I told him I'd oblige happily, but he responded by saying it wasn't worth it. As I made the long walk down out of the stadium people gave me all kinds of hell for rooting for a team that wasn't the Seahawks, but I just smiled and said some version of "the Seahawks played really well tonight".
Of course, that experience could be typical of any nosebleed seats in any sporting event when someone rooting for a visiting team can expect, but I was naive enough to think that Seahawk fans wouldn't act so Raiderish. I went back a couple more times to a hostile crowd, and they were more verbally childish when the 49ers actually won. Finally I just gave up and decided watching the 49ers play the Seahawks would be best done in front of the tv, home, alone.
As the Seahawks started to resemble a team that was worthy of respect I caught more hell, but again to be expected. Seahawk fans really started to annoy me though. I never met a single one that actually new the actual mechanics of the game, or could even tell me what a 4-3 defense was. They'd love Hasselback and Holmgren one minute, only to proclaim them as the wost thing that happened to the organization the next. It was tiring.
Then came Super Bowl XL. I was happy the Seahawks made it and hoped they would win, but had my doubts they could pull it off against a superior team as the Steelers were. If they won I could finally see some consistency from their fan base. They would be happy for a year and I could stop listening to them whine. We all know the results of that wretched game and the fans to this day bitch about how the refs cost them the championship, never mind that Seattle was out played that day, and it's arguable they deserved to even be there. (Oh yeah, I'm part of the East Coast biased media!)
Sunday promised to make this year the best year for football I've ever experienced. I won the championship in both my fantasy football leagues, and if my favorite team won the Super Bowl I would be ecstatic. So I sat in my friend's media room watching the first half and saw Raven's Cary Williams clearly shove a ref after he inserted himself into the scrum and threw a few obvious punches into a 49ers midsection.
"What..what the hell?" I said to anyone listening. "How the hell is that not a penalty, much less an automatic ejection?"
My friends nodded in agreement, but probably just to be polite. I imagine they noticed my ever growing frustration at the inability of the NFC Champions to actually move the chains. I saw blown calls on both sides and was growing impatient with professional referees' inability to simply do their job.
It was then it hit me. I sounded like a Seahawk fan. Here I was, rooting for a NFL organization that has a long storied history of excellence, whining like someone from the Northwest. I was ashamed of myself.
I watched the first half end, and decided the 49ers deserved to lose this game after playing like they had Dave Krieg helming the offense. The lights went out, my daughter started getting tired, and the wife signaled it was time to go home, to which I agreed.
My wife complimented me at my lack of consumption of alcohol, as I only had two beers. She was impressed, as normally I my beer drinking during Super Bowl is something I've never held back on, but I was the driver and I needed to get the family home safe. How times have truly changed.
After we got home I turned on the TV to see the 49ers had scored seventeen points. What the hell? They could win this? I was delighted to see this actually turn into a game. Then of course, the 49ers blew every opportunity that came there way, and lost what could of been the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
I dropped my remote and swore a little. My wife reminded me it's only a game, to which I had to agree. I got texts and FB messages from newly formed Baltimore fans giving me hell, because for some reason people have no problems seeing Ray Lewis get a ring, which is just baffling to me. I know he found Jesus and all, which in a weird bit of logic makes the most horrible person somehow a fan favorite, but seriously it's like wanting Roman Polanski or Mel Gibson to win an Oscar. Still they were happy and all the way from Dallas I could hear the cities of Clevland and San Fransisco collectivley wail with sadness. Since Jim Harbaugh is the most hated coach in the league for actually showing passion during a game, haters have another reason to mock and despise him.
So I now understand the misery that was laid upon my Seattle brethren all those years ago. Consequently a lot of 49ers fans are earning the none too clever nickname of forty-whiners, which is dripping with dramatic irony considering it was likely Seahawk fans who coined it. It makes sense as some lack the maturity to football knowledge to asses the real aspects of why their team lost. Makes me sad to see fans of the same team act in such a manner.
I can't really complain though as the team from San Fransisco showed greatness this season, and gave me some great memories that hearkened me back to their old days, when watching your favorite football team play really well was an exciting event. While I'm dissapointed in the loss, I'm glad I got to see them have a succeful season and congratulate the Ravens and their fans on a great win.
Now that I live amongst Dallas fans, who strangely enough aren't as bitchy as those on the west coast, I'm still alone in my fandom, but I'm in classier company surprisingly enough. The Cowboys are hated the league over for reasons that I find odd as that team has delivered some great football over the years, but they've made me very grateful I'm not an Eagles fan.
"Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser" - Vince Lombardi