Monday, July 31, 2006

Heidi just recently finished my voiceover website, and Sound Advice is hosting it for the next nearly-a-year. It's really professionally done, and I quite dig it. It's also a step in the right direction for me to promote myself. 'Course, I need to be able to pay for my own promotion, but again, it's a step in the right direction. Go, listen to my dulcet tones. I, if I do say so myself, rock.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Amazing Screw-on Head

I just watched the pilot for a work of genius. The Amazing Screw-on Head is an animated pilot that may or may not be used on the scifi channel. The animation is a little clumsy, but the ideas presented and the performances and the writing were all freakin' crazy hilarious.

Screw-on Head is a mechanical head that works for President Lincoln to discover strange and unusual phenonmena (like a vaguely Lovecraftian and Steampunk comic X-Files). The show starts with a voice-over by Abraham Lincoln telling us that there are two histories; the public one, and the other one (the one with all the strange stuff that Screw-on Head investigates). At the end of the show, they hint at old civilizations across the North American continent with strange and unusual technology, and Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act (to disguise the exploration to the Confederates). In any case, Paul Giamatti voices Screw-on Head, and David Hyde Pierce does a fantastic job voicing Screw-on Head's arch-nemesis, Emporer Zombie. Screw-on Head has his companions: Mr. Groin (his faithful manservant) and Mr. Dog (who seems to be a dog who's sole purpose is to distract the bag guys, die, and then come back again). Emporer Zombie has his companions: two unnamed old ladies, a machine-gun toting monkey, and the vampire ex-lover of Screw-on Head (whose name escapes me).

This show has some of the oddest and most unusual twists I've ever seen. Emporer Zombie needs to know the information that someone he captured has, so he smokes him in a giant hookah. The evil Cthulhoid demigod who intends to devastate the world has been imprisoned for thousands of years in a turnip. All of these seem to be OK and could be handled well or poorly, but because the dialogue is so witty and brilliant, it ends up being a quirky work of genius.

See it online, fill out the survey, and pray that it gets picked up fo broadcast.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

AHA and Goose Island

Heidi and I have had a relatively crappy day. It's too damn hot, we've had car troubles, and we just went to Wal-Mart. For that last part, you need to understand what a large Wal-Mart in the suburbs is like on a hot weekend day. It ain't pretty. We were planning on hitting Ravinia tonight, but because of the heat and the car problems, we were unable to make it.

But one thing we were able to do was go to an American Homebrewer's Association event at Goose Island. That was a lot of fun. I was able to chat briefly with way more experienced brewers, and hang out with Heidi and Matt for a while, and even tour the brewery part of Goose Island. It was way cool, and more educational than I think I understand just yet. And it was air-conditioned. And, for $33, I got four beers (one of them in a bottle to take home), a $5 off token for a future visit to Goose Island and a new membership into the AHA. So that's a heck of a discount. So the part of the day that worked well worked really well. The rest of the day was kinda bleah.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The move

The vast majority of my stuff is moved to Schaumburg. I'm actually kinda glad I wasn't working the past couple days, as I had a lot of stuff to move, and not a lot of space in which to move it (VW Beetles have a fair amount of passenger space, but they really aren't cargo vehicles). But the movers came and took all my furniture to the new place, and voila! I'm now sitting on my couch, but with a remarkable amount of space between me and the rest of our stuff. I have yet to unpack the electronics for the Altar of Entertainment, but that'll happen shortly.

In any case, the new place is beginning to look like a home, and the old place looks hollow (albeit still pretty messy).

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

We finally saw Dead Man's Chest yesterday, and I have to say this was one of the most purely entertaining films I've seen in about a year (and that one was among the most entertaining I've ever seen). Easily the most enjoyable of this season.

The story has a few subplots in it: Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) are due to be married, but on their wedding day, they're both arrested for helping Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) escape (in the previous movie). The big goal of the arrest is for the East India Company representative who made the arrest to get the magic compass that Jack carries with him, and Will is supposed to do that while Elizabeth is stuck in prison. Elizabeth is, of course, not long for prison, and ends up on a ship, attemping to find Will. Meanwhile, Jack has some problems with Davy Jones (the captain of the Flying Dutchman, not the lead singer for the Monkees), as he made a deal with Jones 13 years ago to be able to captain the Black Pearl. That was the terms of the contract, now Jones wants Jack to join his crew of underwater not-quite-undead-but-close sailors for 100 years in repayment for his debt. Jones releases the Kraken to find Sparrow, and heaps of fun ensues.

This was such a kick in the pants. This show had some of the better action sequences I've ever seen. Not so hyperkinetic as kung-fu movies, but grandiose and just freakin' fun. Pretty much every action sequence, you think it can't get more impressive, and then it does at least once. The Kraken was a legitimately monstrous sea monster, and the scenes of it attacking boats were freakin' amazing. The swordfight on the waterwheel that's all over the previews, freakin' stunning. I was laughing, not so much becaue it was funny (although parts of it were), but rather out of pure joy from the staging and choreography. The whole scene with the cannibals (there's a lot of that in the previews as well), fan-freakin'-tastic from start to finish.

Bill Nighy plays Davy Jones, and is easily the best performance in the show (it seems the Pirates of the Carribean movies have fantastic bad guys). But this film is really Elizabeth's film. Whereas she doesn't really own the action sequences (Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp are both big "owners" of those), she's the most active in moving the plot along and getting things accomplished.

I think if I had to complain about anything (and I like to do that), I'd say that Johnny Depp's performance wasn't as inspired as the first film. It was still good, just not as good as it had been. I'm also a little miffed that they have a cliffhanger, "to be continued" ending. It wasn't one of those Battlestar Galactica type cliffhanger endings (where you scream profanities at the screen, hoping the producers will hear it); it did cap the movie, but it was also clearly "To be continued." I want to see three movies, not one and a two-parter. Still, the final scene (hell, the final shot), is so manipluative and provides a twist that is so unexpected that you leave the theatre wanting more, more more! I knew I had just been manipluated by what I saw on the screen, but I loved it and I want more of it.

So do I recommend this film? Only if you have a pulse. I heartily recommend it if you meet that prerequisite.

Friday, July 07, 2006


OK, I'm really looking forward to the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Heidi and I have been discussing whether I should go in full pirate regalia or some mock-up of it (it'll be hot this weekend, so I'll probably just wear the pirate T-Shirt and maybe an eyepatch). But something intriguing is on the horizon, something which I find interesting but frightening at the same time: Pirates of the Carribean Online. Yep, you heard me, a MMORPG based of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Now, at first glance, you would think this would be a wet dream of mine. However, Star Wars Galaxies, arguably the easiest MMOG setting you could possibly imagine to do right, was a steaming pile of donkey poo with a good character creation system. Now, this was before World of Warcraft came out, and really, pretty much every MMOG these days is modeled in some way off that system, because game designers (or rather the companies they work for) don't like risk, and that's a well-crafted and violently successful game. So, PoCO could very well end up being a fun game in its own right, but in a much cooler setting and with freakin' pirate ships! However, movie-based games tend to suckalot, so hopes aren't rising too high. I'll look forward to it, I'll try to sign up for the Beta (read: free test-run), but I'm not going to hold my breath for the year it takes to come out (and, being an MMO, it'll get pushed back and/or released earlier than it should have been).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! For those coming here from outside the United States, this is the American Independence Day. What this means is an opportunity to set off fireworks, and usually a barbeque. Nothing more (of course, it's been 230 years since we secured our status as a nation, and much like the prodigal son, we now like our "parent" again).

In any case, I'm showing the apartment a bit today, and then going to Heidi's folks for the aforementioned barbeque. I think we're even having satay (mmmmmmm), because nothing says "America" like a meal that originated in Thailand. After dinner, we may do some suburban fireworks, maybe not. In any case, there will be much eating of meat, and much relaxation, and my last batch of laundry before the move into the new place.

Monday, July 03, 2006


This weekend, Heidi and I went up to a resort in northwestern Michigan that was owned by old college friends of my grandparents. This resort, called Watervale, has been around since 1917, and really hasn't changed a whole lot since then. It's not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but it's charming and has a lot of family history there. I've been going there a few times a decade for my entire life, as have my mom and uncle. This weekend, we went up there to hang out with the entire extended family, and Heidi got to meet those she hasn't already met (and they got to meet her). It was quite successful.

One of the nice things about Watervale is how incredibly relaxing the place is. I left, stressed about work (or lack thereof), and didn't think about it for more than a few minutes over the weekend (By the way, this morning I found out my gig was extended for a week, so I still have work this week). The place is a short walk to Lake Michigan, but is on a much smaller lake (Lower Herring Lake) which has an outlet to Lake Michigan. Much of our time not hanging out with family and lounging around involved rowing across the small lake to the outlet and keeping a casual eye on the family kids.

This place is part of the family history, and will continue to be so, as Heidi found it just as charming and relaxing as I have, even without her having the extended history behind it.

FYI, this is our third trip, if you're linking here from a goal update. Our second can be found here, where you can see a link to #1.