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The Undiscovered Gate Which Leads Towards Galileo's Celestial Garden

A Place For Opinions, Parodies, Wild Accusations, Plus Cinematic And Worldly Reflections.

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Avatar Returns...Again

8/27/2010 4:04:04 PM permalink

Haven't We Met Before?

Well we know that it's very likely, at the very least, that Hanso is getting ready to return to Pandora...again. But is everyone else? To my knowledge, there's very little fanfare about the return. In fact, I woke up this morning and after attending to my cats, reading the newspaper, and devoting a good hour to hunting down names and addresses to those signatories on the WGA's website, a very subtle notion made me realize "it's Friday. 'Avatar' is Now Showing once more."

I'd known "Avatar" was coming back to the local theaters, but what I didn't realize is how there seems to be little to no buzz about it. I saw one commercial advertising it, overheard how one friend of mine (who doesn't own the DVD or Blu-Ray) was thinking of heading over to see it this weekend, and another friend stating it was coming to an IMAX theater, but she wasn't sticking around to see it.

So does it really matter if "Avatar" returns?

The Devil Made MeUs Do It

This will be a unique experiment, even if it is somewhat low key (or so it appears.) The big bad blue story of Nature RocksCorporations Sucks is all too plentiful around us. It was just in theaters a short half dozen months or so ago. It's already sitting in many media shelves as we speak (except mine since I tossed it), and at my local Best Buy's display shelves they're overstocked on the Unobotanium by about 300%.

So, as the "Simpson's Movie" joke goes, why pay for something they can see for free at home?

We know it's worked before...albeit slightly differently. My memory drifts back to when Disney would re-release a Pixar offering because it had "bloopers" at the end of the movie. The difference is, you will recall, that "Monsters Inc." and the rest hadn't been stamped on VHS or DVD yet.

On the Pixar notion, I'm quite confident that Disney made Pixar do it just to squeeze one or two more ounces of blood out of the theatrical run AND the home video release before it was even released.

But which money making scheme is the lesser of the two evils? Disney's, most likely, which knows something of evil marketing schemes. In fact, as far as I'm concerned they invented it.

So we have "Avatar" in theaters, "Avatar" all across the country in home theaters and taking up valuable space on retailer's shelves, now we have it again in theaters and god only knows how many more times in which they'll issue it to home video again this year alone.

Twice, I believe, is the official running count.

I'm afraid to look it up, truth be told. I'm afraid an Extra Blue Blu-Ray Edition will appear right before my eyes with 17 extra seconds of people mispronouncing 'unobtanium' on the Extra Features disc.

But, looking at the whole through my microcosm of life, I'm betting "Avatar" won't be on the top of Jarrod's weekending Box Office Report. It's only available on one screen in my general region, which is saying something since there's a total of thirty-four screens in the Fort Smith area alone.

Personally, I think this is only for the Hanso's of the world, and those that might not have actually seen it during its theater run: a total of five people.

As for its placing on the weekending box office list, I'll place it at #3 (at the most optimistic) and #7 (as the least optimistic).

It will be interesting to see where it lands. I'm sure as hell not going to head to town to see it, though. I did look it up in the local paper to see where it was playing though. And then I immediately found something far more important to worry about -- mozzarella sticks.

As a parting thought, I wonder if James Cameron is following the 3-D structural mapping of the Titanic as seen on The Weather Channel. Jimmy, they beat you to it.


Tags: avatar

Super Mario, Starcraft 2, And Starlight (Both Real And Maniacal): FTW!

8/14/2010 7:12:54 AM permalink

The Kids Are Alright

As Facebook based Maniacs will know, I spend a certain amount of time online harassing all my FB friends in some ways or another. But the key to my FB friends is that I ACTUALLY KNOW THEM! I HAVE ACTUALLY ENCOUNTERED THEM!

Here in real life and in the blogs and comments sections of Mania, alliances have been forged. We fight like cats and dogs ("Twilight" and Jar Jar Abrams) and we come to each other's defense.  The point is, I know you. You know me. And that's how it should be.

But now, I'm scratching my head a recent trend: people I don't actually know are sending requests. One popped up and I looked at the profile image -- this is someone's kid! I ask another friend (from high school) "who is X?" "Oh, that's Y's kid!"

Oh brother. I know Y, but I don't know Y's kids -- and they're not even old enough to understand my comic references. I press IGNORE, and send out a general message telling my "responsible" adult friends to please keep the kids at bay, as I've no interest in being the next Michael Jackson.

That thread was joined by another high school friend I'd recently located, and she was with her daughter and kept reading the back and forth between me and a few others and kept laughing, while her precious young daughter kept asking "what's so funny?" and tried to view the going's-on on her iPhone. When the daughter said she couldn't, as I keep my profile private, her mom decided to have her daughter send a friend request, partially to annoy me (given the circumstances above).

I debated approving this for a while, and finally gave in. Now her daughter is a follower of mine.

I'm Getting Too Old For This

I should've realized that the floodgates were on the verge of being broken apart. My opinion was "fine, I'll make an exception for her."

Then came the requests from my teenaged cousin's friends who live southeast of me. I now have unknown teenaged boys friending me because we have similar interests: anime and gaming.

I write my younger cousin about this, and he clues me in on the circumstances. If these kids saw my posts at his place or he simply mentioned me in past conversations, I don't know. But, hey, that older cousin of yours is cool. Friend Request Sent.

That's two more I've approved recently. So now I'm having a little gaming fun with them by challenging their knowledge and capabilities of Nintendo's offerings from days gone by. My glory days, so to speak.

I used to write to Nintendo HQ at least on a monthly basis. I still have their letters, as they are filled with tips, tricks, and strategies I didn't have access to via my regular "Nintendo Power" or "GamePro" magazines. One such letter revealed a trick no one in my circle had heard of, so I scanned the letter, uploaded it to FB, and tagged my cousin in it.

I'd laid down an 8-bit gaming gauntlet by saying "here's the move, I never could accomplish it, now let's see if you can outshine your older cousin."

As the old saying goes, "them's fightin' words" among gamers. Now I'm laughing, and waiting, to see if this most recent generation can outdo what we did in the 80's and 90's. And I wouldn't be surprised if he pulls it off this weekend. And I'm sure I'll get a comment from him and his posse with the phrasing "pwnd!" or "ftw!" in it somewhere.

In case you're wondering, the trick relates to a well timed move in the original "Super Mario Bros.'" which causes you to shrink in size to normal Mario, then get a magic mushroom without growing, and then obtaining a fire flower thus making you a small, fireball hurling Mario.

Extension Cords After Sunset

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. -- Oscar Wilde

One friend of mine posted this quote as her status update the other day. It was the first reminder that I need to get my head back on straight and start promoting "Sweet Dreams: A Sandman's Story," but it's a little difficult to do so, now that I'm logging every odd little beat my heart jumps on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, one of my new teenaged FB friends posted a status update told me that, maybe, there's hope for the world after all, and there is a place for cosmic based reflection and dreaming.

Said update reads as a list of ingredients: one chair, one table, an electrical outlet, extension cords, a glass of milk, Oreo Poptarts, a laptop, and one copy of  "Starcraft 2," as he fights the good fight underneath the starry Arkansas night sky. He even refers to it as the "greatest thing since the big bang."

This is inspiring to me, as I'm about to begin my thirty-third year with a screwed up heart, a need for low dose Aspirin, and a newfound lawyer, not to mention the possible need for a good cardiologist.

Also, I'm thinking of modifying one particular scene from "Summertime Blues" to more closely mirror what this young man had set out to do on a hot summer night: gaming under the stars FTW!


Tags: starcraft 2, super mario bros, sweet dreams, my life, facebook

Super Mario Mii...And A Touch Of Inception

7/16/2010 3:42:45 PM permalink

So, while only being halfway through the year, already like a good little squirrel I plan on gathering up my nuts and hiding them away for the sake of my sanity come this winter.

I hate winter. For me it is a domain of woe in which Jimmy Buffett is my guiding light out of this seasonal hell hole, along with anything visual featuring bright blue and green color schemes.

Past winters were survived with the help of "Wave Race 64," "Star Tropics," and Jimmy Buffett's "Meet Me In Margaritaville," "Boats, Beaches, Bars, And Ballads," and "Live in Anguilla" audio collections.

This season will be especially quiet as dad won't be here, therefore it will be even more so important to keep my wits about me.

Behold my (possible) salvation: a brand new Wii.

No, I don't have one...yet. I do have the strategy guides of "Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" and "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption." I bought them when I had the chance, knowing full well gaming had advanced to such a level that, should I ever achieve this madness, I'll need the guide -- namely because I'm having such a horrid time trying to figure out "Zelda: Majora's Mask" on my N64 without the blasted guide.

I've always enjoyed the Metroid and Zelda games, so those were a given notion. And a Mario game is equally obvious.

But there are a few games I know nothing about, yet they've got my interest. I posted a similar query on Facebook, but Hanso was the only one to really respond, so I thought I'd repost the question here.

Here are the games of obvious names I've written down I should get:

"Super Mario Galaxy" 1 and 2, "New Super Mario Bros.," "Super Paper Mario," and "Mario Kart" -- these go along with "Zelda: Twilight Princess" and the "Metroid" Trilogy.

Also on my list, yet lesser known, are "Final Fantasy - Crystal Bearers," and "Rabbids Go Home." Those, and "Ghostbusters," which I can seem to no longer find in my area for the Wii.

Any opinions?

As a parting thought, I've considered what could possibly be done with the original Zelda adventure: keep everything about it the same, except make it in the POV style that was featured first in "Ocarina of Time."  Sure, that would make it hard as hell even for experienced players who've been at it since the mid-80's, but it would be a very unique experience. We'd need to keep an optional overview map in the lower corners of the screen so we remember that you burn THIS bush, and not the one next to it.

I don't know how popular that idea would be, but I'd play it. It might be too much for "Zelda: A Link To The Past," but what do I know?

I Did It For Yoshi's Cookie

Now someone explain this to can obtain the original games for the NES, etc., to play on the Wii, correct?

I also know it uses an internet connection, mostly because our own Bob Trate talked about how nice it would be if I had a Wii, and the upcoming "GoldenEye," and a high speed connection with which he could challenge me to a game in real time.

But just how does one obtain the past games for the current console? Download, I'm assuming, but what would it cost? And how would you pay for it?

Yeah, I'm showing my ignorance, but that's normal. All I've really done with a Wii is look foolish as I attempt to play "Mario Galaxy 2" and " New Super Mario Bros."

Hanso Would Be Proud

Sunday morning, I believe, I'll head out to see "Inception." I know there's been some hype on here about it, but I must admit I've avoided it like the plague. And, since I recently took my friend's wife to "Eclipse," I'm thinking of taking him along with me, since he and I have never "hit the town," so to speak, together.

Any comments regarding this concerning the similar discussion in the "Eclipse" review will be met with the most severe punishment I can dish out: a wave of the fist and then a need to lay down for twenty minutes because I over extended myself.

Tags: wii, mario, inception

Back To The Cinema

7/11/2010 3:45:54 PM permalink

Malco Theaters Are The Devil

Once upon a time, in that faraway land called Circa Two Years ago, there was a mighty Malco Theater ten miles from my abundant wilderness in which DLP digitally enhanced theater screens shown with a high def shine and a mighty boom from the sound system that would send shivering tingles up your spine on something as boring as a Coca Cola commercial.

They were, for me, that good.

But time has passed and, I guess for the good of the franchise, all the DLP systems were stripped from my Malco and shipped away to...well I don't know where. I'm stuck with a second rate sound system and an image that is easily inferior to a DVD presentation on a standard definition television.

Whereas when DLP was king, there were no visual disruptions; now I have thin black lines running up and down and dancing along the image. GET THOSE BLACK LINES OFF MY EDWARD, YOU BASTARDS!

(Sorry, did I type that out loud?)

Yeah I wasn't happy with that presentation of "Eclipse." I was even more disappointed when viewing "Toy Story 3" on opening day, at the very first showing, and it also had black lines ruining the image, not to mention the sound fluttering momentarily at the beginning as if it was recorded back in the 1930's.

My picture perfect theater is no longer so, so now I have to put in extra mileage to attend another Malco Theater with, well what do you know, DLP projection systems. And that theater is about 5 - 7 years older than mine. My theater has eight viewing halls, the other has twelve. My theater was sacrificed for...unknown reasons. I really have no clue.

Screw you Malco -- if you lot can't restore the proper equipment in my theater, then I'm going back to the Carmike.

Adventures With A Fangirl

So what prompted this? The wife of a dear friend asked me if I'd take her to see "Eclipse." I said I would, and did a long rant which you've just read. Off we go to the "better" theater, passing up the one I fell in love with some years ago. It was convenient, it was very affordable, and it was (WAS!) state of the art.

So I load her up today, and we hit the interstate. Off to the Malco 12. She hadn't seen a first run movie (or any movie) in theaters in about a decade, so I wanted to treat her. I pay for both our tickets, and point out where the theaters are, and where the restrooms are. I look at my ticket, and say "ours is over there. We've got five minutes."

The Malco 12 is very nice. So is the building and furnishings of my smaller Malco 8. The only problem is, as stated earlier, the projection systems.

My companion is impressed, and as time ticks away, we head for viewing hall eleven and come across the trailer for "Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader" in full force, and she's pretty much knocked back a few steps.

We make our way in, sit down, and with just enough time for her to get the hell freaked out of her by the trailer for "Paranormal Activity 2." She jumps, and I'm taking it all in stride.

And so the trailers pass and "Eclipse" begins. And it runs. I'm enjoying it even more the second go around since I have no visual anomalies, and she's absolutely involved in every single moment upon the screen. After the first chase, involving the wolves, the Cullens, and Victoria through the woods, she turns to me and says "that was intense."

I smiled and said "it's just going to get better."

And it did. More time passes, and then we're at the crucial moment when Edward takes down Victoria. I look over to my friend and see her jaw hanging down. I pat her upon the knee and go "you okay?"

She smiles "yeah, I just didn't expect that."

As our feature ends, she's smiling ear to ear and looking somewhat post orgasmic, repeatedly saying that was the best movie ever. She's all smiles and relaxed.

It's nice to know I can still show a girl a good time.

I take her home, and she immediately begins fawning over the movie and everything, and her husband states that he has had to promise his daughter he'll take her to "Eclipse" as well. So I immediately launch into...

A Cinematic Survival Guide

Rule 1 -- Sunday Morning Is The Best Time To Go. Besides being not as costly, it's also the time when the theaters are nearly empty. Aim for a late morning, very early afternoon showing. The general rule here is between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. After that things start getting hairy.

Rule 2 -- Park As Close As You Can With Easy Access To Get The Hell Out Of There. Enough said.

Rule 3 -- Don't Drink The Water. Or, better yet, don't buy their bottled water. $3.50 for a Dasani? I'm sometimes at the point where I need to be drinking water, and that's the condition I was in this morning. I rarely buy anything to eat or drink at any theater, but I needed the aquatic intake. I'll just buy a small Sprite from now on if I need something.

Rule 4 -- Always Dress Warmly, Even In Summer. I'm cold natured, or so I've been told. I'm always the first to be cold, and the heat kills me. But I know that theaters are sadistic machines that want you to be cold, even in winter. I was wearing a sweater and my usual cargo pants in "Twilight" a few years ago. And what was at the forefront of my mind? MY HANDS ARE FREEZING!

I'm doing the My-Hands-Are-Cold Dance in my chair while I'm trying to warm them up by sitting on them, by sticking them under my arms, by holding them close and them together. My companion today was in shorts and a short sleeve shirt, and I could tell she was cold. I told her I'd learned from experience that you must always dress warmly in the theater, no matter if it's August or January.

Rule  5 -- Always Sit On The Left Side Of The Theater. This is something I learned from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. They were giving tips on the theater going experience in the weekly Sunday periodical of either "Parade" or "USA Today." I'm not sure which. Anyway, they stated their theory of "as most people are right handed, they tend to follow their righty preference."

After I read that, I started practicing that theory. And, in my own limited way, I can see the merit of such a theory. I also see it when visiting a Wal-Mart Super Center. When you're inside one, and preparing to check out or simply leave, walk the length of the registers. I constantly observed the ones to the left are never as busy as the ones on the right.  There's also a lower amount of available check out lines. Go Left, Young Man.

Further Adventures With A Fangirl

Having gotten her jollies of looking at Edward, and wanting to visit a video rental establishment, I felt I'd go inside and poke and prod the obsession a little more. Walking the wall displays I found all the Robert Pattinson movies she didn't know about: "Haunted Airman," "How To Be," "Little Ashes," and "Remember Me."

This is the part where others would say "I've created a monster." I simply fed it this time around. I've only seen "Haunted Airman," but I could see the wheels spinning in those eyes.

I guess one day soon there'll be a Robert Pattinson movie marathon here in the hills of Arkansas. I'll make it up to her husband -- he loves "Firefly" and "Serenity," and I've promised to help him select a new high-def television.

PS - Yes, I will start talking about "other things" besides "Twilight" and Robert Pattinson. Hopefully sooner than later. But, for right now, these are the only thoughts in my head. Besides, I'm trying to resurrect my instincts for the written word, and a person has to start somewhere.

Tags: movies, malco theater, twilight, eclipse, robert pattinson

The Secret Dangers Of Having A Teenaged Niece

7/4/2010 12:25:37 PM permalink

Note: This is all, sadly, absolutely true. So given that, and the content below, I'm dedicating this one to darkknight and violator.

So it's the 4'th of July. What a national holiday has to do with becoming a Cullen for Halloween, I have no idea. But given the recent conversation in the "Eclipse" review by the slowly warming Rob Vaux, I thought this one would be good for a laugh by you lot.

I'm watching "Not The Messiah" on Blu-Ray when my niece and nephew barge in. My niece immediately expects me to start bragging on having seen "Eclipse" before her, and then she sets down a path of recounting her favorite scenes and lines with as much dedication as the average Maniac concerning their favorite movie.

She expects me to brag, but I'm not interested in doing so. I do show her my copy of the "Eclipse" soundtrack, which brings on salivation and Jacob inspired lust.

So life goes on for a few hours, and about half an hour I came in, laid down in my floor to rest, and about twenty minutes into that she steps in. She wants one of my Nestle Crunch bars, and, for unknown reasons, she starts listing things she's going to need: glitter, makeup, scissors, etc...

Uh oh.

"What are you planning?"

She has decided that, for Halloween this year, she is going to make me into a Cullen. Probably Edward or Jasper, and if such Jasper then I'll need to dye my hair or find a wig.

I say "nope, I'm Jacob" knowing full well I look nothing like the boy.


"I'm Jacob. See my tight werewolf butt?"


"Why can't I be Jacob? Huh?"

...because you're skinny and bony.

(Well duh. That's why I said I'm going to be Jacob. Did I mention she prefers Lautner over all others?)

You can't be Jacob! Maybe you can be...

(...and this is when the giggling started. I already know what she's considering: Bella. She then states it, and says I have her forehead.)

(don't ask, I've no clue myself)

"...nope, I'm Jacob."

YOU CAN'T BE JACOB! Maybe Jasper or Edward.


And on and on it went.

There are dangers to having 16 year old nieces. She enjoys combing my as many weird ways as she can. She wants to dress me up as a Cullen, and is leaning quite heavily to Jasper. And I buy her Taylor Lautner posters for her birthday and Christmas.

Sometimes I wonder if, when I'm dead, spoken at my eulogy and upon my tombstone will be these words: "Twilight Fanatic."

Happy Fourth Of July

Tags: my life, twilight

Back To The Beginning (and) Starlight Sees "Eclipse"

7/1/2010 4:02:27 PM permalink

Note -- We're gonna reminisce usual. The headings are in bold, as usual, so skip to your favorite part.

First Thing's First...Where Have You Been?

Wiseguy has noticed. I'm sure Jarrod, Hobbs, and several others have as well. The last twelve months have been constant chaos pasted upon the calendar. June '09 was when it began: mom's minor heart attack, and dad's first trips to the hospital.

It alternated back and forth who was sick and for what reason...and culminated in my dad's passing this past March.

Secondary to all this, there is the notion of my own...well..."lack of health" makes it sound like I'm dying myself. After injuring myself at my factory job last December, it has been decided my physical hereditary conditions are slowing me down. I have a chest condition known as pectus excavatum. My physiological state is anorexia nervosa -- except that I do eat. At 18 years old I was (and still am) nearly six foot tall. Back then I didn't weight a full 100 pounds.

I am now very close to 33...and was 130 pounds in January. I've been slowly losing weight again. I recently uncovered my heart condition (which I do not know the full extent of...yet) and I've likely permanently screwed up the upper-right area of my torso where I went to lift something I shouldn't have.

So, it's easy to see I've been busy.

Back To The Beginning

I know it's been a few years since "Twilight" first debuted, so I apparently need to retouch the original issues of my enjoyment of the novels and movie series. Spring of 2007, I believe, The History Channel debuted a documentary that I now own called "Vampire Secrets." I watched this documentary as part of my interest in the paranormal, and the information it yielded would be ultimately placed in my "Interesting Times" six part series.

But something else happened. In the latter half of the documentary, a real life tale was retold of how a teenaged boy lost himself into the self made vampiric image he'd created for himself. And that, among other notions of the vamp-subculture, feed my inspiration and gave rise to a script called "Unbitten," which basically stole the best parts of the documentary and shook it up in its own fashion. No actual neck biters were featured, just people who'd made themselves believe themselves to be.

I had a hell of a hard time writing that script...and when I was finished a few months or so later, I was watching Reelz Channel's featured trailers and, out of nowhere, was the teaser trailer for a new vampire movie called "Twilight."

It piqued my interest, but stayed in the back of my head.

Not too long after that I was my local movie theater, and while I'm buying tickets for some movie, I pass a poster for "Twilight." It kicked the memory of the teaser into my  mind, and the poster itself wormed its way into my mind.

I think all of this registered in my mind as a sort of haunting love story, bleak, dark, a touch of danger and darkness with pure magic sprinkled in for good measure. I did just finish my own script not too long ago, and that's exactly (albeit unintentionally) what I'd just come up with.

Months pass...and every so often I see the novels with their unique artwork. As I've done my own amateur photography, it caught my attention. It kept coming up. "Twilight" kept sneaking up on me.

More time passes...and the hype is building. We're awfully close to the first movie debuting. My niece is all a twitter and I don't know why. "Breaking Dawn" was just released and parties were being held. And I'm asking myself "What am I missing? It's been here this long, and I didn't know?"

Jarrod, it must be said, was the final enabler. I think it was an entire week of interviews and such being released that week here on Mania. "There it is again. And again. And again."

A very quiet decision was made -- I'd go see what the hoopla is all about. I arrive early at my movie theater...and there's lines out the door. I ran in to make sure I'd get a ticket. I had to know. I had to see it for myself, whatever it was. If only to satisfy the curiosity, I must know it for myself.

And I watched it. That's all it took.

I started reading the books at the beginning of the next year...with lots of space in between them so I wouldn't overdo it, as I had with "Hitchhiker." (I'd read all five all in one go. I burned myself out. I still don't remember most of the fourth book.)

Then you bastards came in and started trashing because you could. I'm going to protect what I like, no matter what it is: Star Trek, Hitchhiker, Twilight, etc. I must've been some voice of reason because Wiseguy was brought over, Maelstrom loved it, and I had to bet Jarrod to read it. Ponyboy made up his own mind, as he always does. And there's been others.

And that's the sort of brief story of how it all began.

The Reports Of My Sexuality Are Greatly...Accurate? WTF?

Apparently the phrase tongue in cheek has been ignored. The quote, picked up by the guys in Rob's review of "Eclipse," went like this:

Edward's the youngest of the lot. Howl, baby, howl. And much sexier I might add...I have a thing for mirrored disco balls. It's just a slight fetish. I can handle it.

Now if you look at the COMPLETE comment, you'll see it's my response to the ridiculous "he's too old for her, it's sick" arguments people have hurled at Edward and Bella. Bill is completely ignored (yes I now have seen "True Blood") and everyone seems to have convenient amnesia seeing as how Buffy is underage as well when she and Angel do the naughty.

And then there's the bit about the "mirrored disco balls." You lot have a dirty do I. But I obviously didn't consider the dual image I'd brought up. The original joke is still there...drag your mind out of the gutter and you'll see it. And then revisit the gutter if the image gets you hot.

I have gaydar? Really? What do I think of Robert Pattinson's sexuality?

I will say this -- I recently started trying to evaluate an actor. I bought "The Haunted Airman." I'll likely buy "Remember Me." I keep examining "How To Be."

I've also acknowledged in the past (when the question was put forth) that the males are all, let's face it, good looking guys. So select your favorite piece of man candy if that's what you're in it for. By now you've already re-read the origins of my interest in the series.

I'm intentionally leaving the question of my sexuality blank. So have fun postulating on that topic guys.

And, since we're questioning one's manliness, here's a jab at Hanso.

Ahem. Cough.

"Hanso, as a manso, is only so-so."

(I've been waiting over a YEAR to use that joke. It never did fit in with TDK articles.)

Starlight Sees "Eclipse"

When I did my review for "New Moon," I detailed lessons learned from almost missing out on "Twilight" in the theater, and how I got there two hours early and FORMED the line to get in. I was first in line. Even so, I just barely made nine tickets. All the others had been snatched up.

The previous instances had the good fortune of school still being in session. This time, not so. I intentionally avoided the first day showings like the plague. These tween girls will tear me to shreds if I see their beloved boys before I do.

Besides I had errands to run. I was also going to play "Super Mario Galaxy 2" at Best Buy, but the console wasn't hooked up. I wandered about Best Buy, comparing and contrasting the X-Box 360 and the PS3, seeing as how I would like to, one day, play "Final Fantasy XIII." And, oh look, "Wolfenstein" is out for both systems. I enjoyed playing "Wolfenstein" on my first computer. I guess I'll have to keep saving my pennies for that and a Wii.

I do all my business...and decide, what the hell, I'll try to go see "Eclipse." I needed to sit down and rest anyways. I arrive thirty minutes early, and easily get a parking spot and a seat.

"Eclipse," so far, is still my favorite book. I still have not read "Breaking Dawn." I haven't even finished "Short Second Life of Bree Tanner."

I still love the visual style of the first film. I'm still cursing Chris Weitz for the under performing second installment. I'm prepared to worship David Slade for what he brought to the third.

I have very, very few minor complaints about "Eclipse." It is the best of the lot. And the added notion of shattering the vamps body parts like crystalline statues is just great.

The story, although reshuffling the sequences of the past histories of Rosalie, Jasper, and the Quillutes, were all included. I just wish they'd had been expanded upon, because those are the moments, along with the Cullens and the wolves training session, I enjoyed the most.

Jasper is still the most interesting of the characters, for me. Rosalie, who comes across as an uptight bitch in previous installments, shows us why she's so offended by Bella's presence. And Jasper going up against Alice is a unique viewing experience -- a flirty, sexy attitude is shining in that somewhat glowing face as she dodges every attack Jasper utilizes. Then, just like in the book, she catches him and ends the battle...with a soft kiss.


Though "Eclipse" is based on the novel, it borrows a little from the companion novella, and shows us the lost, confused, and all too innocent Bree Tanner caught up in something much too big for her to escape from unharmed.

Also, at the climactic moment, after Edward taunts Victoria that this is her best chance to kill him, the death blow Edward delivers isn't as graphic as it is in the book, which is something I can't figure out. Meyer went there, why not Slade?

Slade certainly delivers the goods on this, and I'm already asking "why not let him finish the series?"

I believe I rated the original "Twilight" as a B .

I gave "New Moon" a whole letter grade lesser than the original.

"Eclipse" eclipses them both. A-.

I did not want this to I'm going back in a day or two.

Tags: twilight, eclipse

Trying To Reason With The Summer Movie Season 2010

5/11/2010 2:20:32 PM permalink

Notice: Jarrod, spammers are out of control. I thought I'd take this liberty to mention that, just in case you haven't noticed. But I also realize you may not notice this notice. Your next notification will come when you find Betty White pulling her dentures out of her mouth to make room next to her tongue

Normally I take this time to bitch and moan about how the evolutionary scale for modern movies has morphed from a scale into a slip and slide.

I'm getting to where I can't do that anymore. And this is the first year in my life I'm not looking forward to summer. I can think of only two movies this year I'm hoping to see: "Eclipse," obviously, and "Toy Story 3." That's it. I had intentions to see "Prince of Persia," but that interest is dying.

For me, the real considerations for entertainment will be showing in my bedroom, or in my living room. And it's all made possible by my brand spanking new Blu-Ray player. And all titles listed below are the Blu versions.

Since a lot is coming soon (and now available) I highly doubt I'll buy even half of them on their release dates. But it is nice knowing I'll have something to watch in these blistering southern days of summer.


Nine (out now)
Michael Bolton: Live At The Royal Albert Hall -- (out now)
History of the World -- (out now)
High Anxiety -- (out now)
Robin Hood: Men In Tights -- (out now)
Man In The Iron Mask -- (out now)
True Blood Season 2 -- May 25'th
Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog -- May 25'th
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood -- May 25'th


Alice In Wonderland -- June 1'st
Caddyshack -- June 8'th
Not The Messiah (He's A Very Naughty Boy) -- June 8'th
Bruce Springsteen -- London Calling: Live in Hyde Park -- June 22'nd


Gabriel Iglesias: Hot And Fluffy -- July 13'th


National Lampoon's Vacation
National Lampoon's European Vacation
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

I didn't list the dates for these as I'll likely go out on my birthday and collect them all in one go. Plus there's also my need to read Breaking Dawn and the novella that goes along with Eclipse.

At least I won't be bored.

Oh yes, I must also remind myself The Dark Knight, Twilight, and New Moon must also be purchased as soon as possible.

Now I'll just need to be able to keep my evil niece and nephew from the video shelf.

Tags: movies, blu-ray, summer

It All Happened While Jarrod Was Napping On The Job (Maybe)

4/29/2010 6:58:31 PM permalink

*Note -- This will make more sense to those that have been reading Maelstrom and my usual back and forth. Jarrod will notice the "flaming ducks" reference from my demand he hurl such items through the picture window of the man who wrote the latest Hitchhiker novel. I still have refused to read it, just so you know.

(Our Scene Takes Place Late One Night In Maelstrom's Evil Lair)

(metallic clanging)

Somewhere across this continent, under the ground is the lair where Maelstrom...uh...uses his dipstick and knowledge of Twilight on unsuspecting females to lure them into his bed of infinite pleasure and psychedelic shades of purple with one result in mind:

telling Ed to piss off

I knocked on the doors, slipped past the security systems, and was greeted by non other than Ed himself.

"Show me where he keeps the Mystery Apparatus. I've got a pay a visit to Texas. H-Town is the destination and, hopefully, get a few more bugs fixed in the process."

Well Ed didn't know what the Mystery Apparatus was (it is a mystery, after all) and Maelstrom didn't leave the proper set of keys, so I had to come back to my underground lair composed of Super Strong Silentanium, dropped a few ducks in kerosene, and prepared to light their quacking asses and, with the right trajectory, they should come crashing through Sarafin's bedroom window as he's attempting to make time with Vanessa Hudgens.

(they were admiring his collection of Justin Bieber posters)

But a recent development reminded me of something -- we need NEW MESSAGE notifications back again. Calibur454 was kind enough to write me a private message the other day, and I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't clicked on the Forums for just a whim. Hobbs also swears there's a missing email I haven't seen. And both members have tried writing on my profile their responses, concerning Star Trek and anime, respectively.

So Dear Mania Management (as the evil genius once wrote)

Fix it, bitches. I remember the good old days (you know, just a few short years ago) when everything worked beautifully. Hanso didn't have a catchphrase concerning a bat movie and all was well in the Mania world.

And come home Maelstrom. I need a good laugh. Maybe we can dance on Tokyo again.

Tags: my life

Shades Of Blu -- For All Of Mania

4/21/2010 4:14:31 PM permalink

As the Brian Adams song goes, " I am."

Where I've been...well, I won't go into for personal reasons.

So here's the thing -- for the first time ever, I'm studying each and every Blu-Ray player I come across at every single outlet I enter into: Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, etc.

Instead of the simple longing, these outings will lead to an actual PURCHASE. WHOO HOO!

So, finally, I will be able to view my copies of True Blood, Star Trek TOS Season 2, the extra features for Up and Harry Potter 6, and will finally see just how well the transfers for The Mask and Dumb And Dumber are.

But...for those of you who already have the player, I put forward this question: who has the best of them? Is it you? And why do you think so?

Leave a message --  you're a Maniac, you know what to do.

PS - (for Hanso) yes I'll have TDK on Blu soon as well. But Twilight and New Moon will be purchased the same day as the player. That, and Final Fantasy Advent Children as well.

Tags: blu-ray, my life

All My Friends Sold Their Souls To Steve Jobs

2/20/2010 5:02:16 PM permalink

So a while back a co-conspirator of mine needed a new cellular phone, and asked her geek Friday (cough, me, cough) to accompany her to Wal-Mart as she's afraid of being looked down upon by the supposedly knowledgeable tech gods in the Electronics Department.

"I'm going to buy an Iphone," she says, "and I need you there with me."

"Okay...I know nothing about Iphones, but I'll come along. And, incidentally, why don't you just go to Best Buy and get one?"

I must admit I had ulterior motives there -- she said it'd cost about two-hundred dollars to celebrate the brain power of Steve Jobs' new phone. She gets a new telephone with the necessary GPS, I get 200 points on my Reward Zone card.


So off we go into the rain to our friendly neighborhood Best Buy, and we're incidentally yelled at by the loss prevention dude in yellow who bellows WELCOME TO BEST BUY!

One day I'm going to fake a stroke, fall to the ground, and start speaking in tongues, because as nice as he is, such a welcome stated in the fashion of a Niagara Falls rumble is no welcome at all.

We head to the cell phone counter, and she's greeted by those of her own kind -- females. I stick around though, just in case. But while they do their bit, I slip her my RZ card and do a bit of browsing. I needed a new DVD shelf and those steel wire bits of shelving have had my interest for a while, so I check them out.

(Side Note - I did buy such a piece of shelving the other day at Target. It was seven dollars. True it holds fifteen DVD's, but it didn't solve the space problem. In fact it just made it worse. Also the shelf doesn't hold the movies very securely, so I don't recommend such shelving.)

So while I keep browsing, the price on my friend's new Iphone keeps going up, and up, and up. She needs a charger for the car, a charger for home, a Blue Tooth setup, those little plastic guards for the screen, and one or two other bits of accessories. The price is about five bucks short of 400.

Outside, I'm thinking "why? It's 400 bucks for a phone? It's just a damned phone! Sure, the GPS I understand..." (she drives all over the state) "...but 400? That's insane!"

Internally, I'm thinking "Holy hell! That twenty dollar certificate's gonna be mine, baby!"
She's had her Iphone and such for a few weeks now, and after this spending spree was made I posted on my Facebook account the rhetorical question of why anyone would need to spend so damned much on such a contraption.

Leave it to our very own Movie Lord to be the first to jump in the comments and defend the gizmo. I still don't understand the high price, but I completely understand Bob's need for one. Bob plays with movies and works with toys. Bob sees Sting in concert and needs tickets.

Bob...I envy you.

Then a real world friend of mine is the next in the comments section and restates how he bought not one, but two brand new Droid's for himself, and his sister.

Bastard. But I really don't envy him.

So over these few weeks I've been venturing out with my friend and I've been fondling her Iphone. In Fort Smith and Fayetteville, she has the full 3G service. She hated its GPS, and went out and bought a Garman. (That was another 200 points for my card.)

But the Iphone opened her up to You Tube, and she frantically started searching for Euro pop singer Mika's videos when we both learned that his video for "We Are Golden" was on there. I found the link, emailed it to her, and she fell in love with the shirtless, swaying Brit and his fun, flamboyant sound.

(How did I know about Mika? Saw him live on television, bought a CD, bought a second CD, one had the video on it, she was in Little Rock, I searched and emailed the link, and the rest is history.)

So I started playing with the Iphone. I started casually looking for a web browser, and couldn't find Firefox anywhere on the damned thing.

"How the hell do you get online?"

"Use Safari."

"What the hell's Safari?"

"Here, let me see it....there."

"Ah, okay. How the hell do I find anything on this?"

"Here...right there."

"Ah, okay."
I must say, using the keypads on this contraption isn't easy, even though I have skinny fingers. So here I am, going down the interstate, typing in there we go...J.

No, I wanted a K. Not a J.


Damn it.


Ah, there we go. I pressed what I thought was the Enter key. It wasn't.

Ah hell.

N-, no I wanted an M.

So after a few more minutes I started finding results on Mika. I then kept said results in mind and forced my Facebook friends to see me gushing over a link I wouldn't be able to see at home. That, it turns out, was not the correct link for "Lollipop" live in France.

So I try other things. I try my beloved Mania. I can see the page, but the script is so damned small. I then remember you enlarge it with two fingers by dragging them in opposite directions, and I stumble across through my profile to get to Maelstrom's so I can read some of his blog entries to my friend.

That wasn't very easy either. I'm reading the blog, and suddenly the page changes. Then I'm all in a panic to get back. This buttons aren't labeled! I'm freaking out as if I just drank a gallon of nitroglycerine and was now in a vibrating chair. How the hell do I get back?

Oh, there we go.

They really need to label this crap.

Another wonderful use for the Iphone I've discovered is I can browse through TLA Video, and can actually have my friend order a movie while we're on the go. Ah, smut for sale at 3G speeds.

I can't say I'm any more interested in buying an Iphone, or a Droid, or Blackberry or anything else. Besides the questionable and variable coverage I'd get out here, I still can't say I need one, or even really want one.

But this is coming from a guy who still uses audio cassettes in his truck. I never made the jump to CD, and I don't own an Ipod. I admit I'm now slowly being turned on by the notion of an Ipod, because my Discman doesn't play very well in a moving automobile (it's connected through the auxiliary input), not to mention the fact every time I seem to make a tape for Jimmy Buffett's "Live In Anguilla" album, the tape deck always eats the tape, no matter how new it is.

I also grossly underestimated this notion of mp3's. Back in '05 I started buying blank CD's as often as I could, intent on backing up my entire album collection (I never did finish) and then the mp3 players came around and now I've got two big boxes full of hundreds of duplicated albums in my closet and no real use for them.

I didn't finish because, well...I have a lot of albums. The fact I burned the CD-R drive up completely was also a contributing factor in that as well.

I guess it's just as well.

So with my mounting Reward Zone points I'm looking at Ipod's at Best Buy.

Then I saw they were over a hundred dollars.

I think I'll stick with my audio tapes for a while longer. As for phones, well, if you wanna call me, my smoke signal goes CLOUD, CLOUD, HALF CLOUD, BLACK SMOKE, CLOUD.

Don't forget to leave a message if you should call.

Tags: my life, iphones

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Date Joined: March 17, 2008