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Wednesday, June 29, 2005  

...And They're Off!
Wiener Dog Races!

posted by JMV | 6/29/2005 04:00:00 PM

Drilling to the Very Heart
1) Do you have a book/movie/album that you love, but can’t seem to get anyone else to read/watch/listen?
2) What is your favorite Beatles album or song?
3) Who would you cast in the two leads in the long-rumored remake of Casablanca?
4) Do you have any irrational food-aversions?
5) What was the first DVD you bought?
6) Do you listen to Podcasts? Record a podcast? Know that the fuck a podcast is?

posted by JMV | 6/29/2005 01:45:00 PM

Tuesday, June 28, 2005  

Throwing the Gauntlet
I had an idea for a new blog-based activity: I will issue a challenge to another blogger who frequents this site to write on a particular topic, or answer a particular question. The blogger will then accept or decline the challenge in the comments of this post and write up their post within a couple of days (linking back here when they are done.) Upon completion of the challenge the blogger can then propose a new topic/question to another blogger of their choice and the cycle begins anew.

So, without further adieu I challenge Julie from Attack of the Z to write about: How do you relate to the Gilmore Girls representation of both extremes of the mother-daughter relationship?

posted by JMV | 6/28/2005 12:38:00 PM

Kong Is King

It is time for another edition of John Digs!
First up: the King Kong Trailer! It looks pretty damn amazing, and I’m very happy that 2005 will see another epic Peter Jackson film!
Next we have Bloc Party. I just got this album and I’m loving it! Fantastic hooks, political but not overly-so lyrics, and a strong dense production add up to one of the highlights of the current resurgence of new-wave.
And finally: Batman Begins. I didn’t get much of a chance to talk about this last week, but I absolutely loved the newest cinematic interpretation of the mythos. I really wish I had the time and energy to sit down and write a real review of this film because I have a lot to say on the matter, but suffice to say Burton’s ’89 Batman was a turning point in my life. The travesty of the 90s-era Batman films were so appalling to me that I had even buried my love for Burton’s Batman deep within me. Batman Begins really makes me feel like a kid again (I even made Julie buy me a shiny Batman sticker at the supermarket over the weekend.) Everything from the pacing of the film, to the art direction, photography, and visual effects were pitch-perfect. The cast was on-par with the ’89 film and (not surprisingly) Christian Bale’s performance was the highlight. He has an amazing range and embodied all the facets of Bruce Wayne from Mopey brat to spoiled play-boy brat, to vengeful hero, to ass-kicking superhero.

posted by JMV | 6/28/2005 11:54:00 AM

Monday, June 27, 2005  


That was a fantastic weekend after a high-impact high-stress week. The weather in LA couldn’t have been better (mid 70s and sunny) and Julie was inexplicably off Saturday AND Sunday. So we were able to do some shopping, lounge around the house, re-stock our fridge, pantry and larder, and drink copious amounts of coffee. We re-watched The Big Lebowski and caught an early evening showing of “March of the Penguins” and generally had a fantastic time. Julie also scored tickets to Tori Amos at the Greek theater (where the Ditty Bops may or may not be opening!) Now I can tackle my week (and there is even a three-day weekend at the end!) Does anybody have any 4th of July plans?

posted by JMV | 6/27/2005 12:44:00 PM

Thursday, June 23, 2005  

Serial Dreams
Night before last I had a long and complex dream about going to Europe. After some strange deal or bargain, Julie and I ended up in France for a week w/ no itinerary. Then last night I dreamed about they day before this dream-trip and Julie and I were running around trying to make preparations for the trip. Maybe tonight I’ll dream about the day-before that and each night I’ll go back further in time until I figure out how exactly I can get Julie and I to Europe for a week or two…

posted by JMV | 6/23/2005 05:54:00 PM

Wednesday, June 22, 2005  

Holy Quizes Batman!
Finally got to see Batman Begins lastnight and I was floored by how kick-ass it was. It easily deserves a spot right next to the OG Burton film as best cinematic adaptation of the mythos. But that is another post because this post is all about the irreverent questions!
1) Who is your favorite Batman Villain?
2) What is your favorite thing to cook?
3) They say you learn something new everyday, what did you learn yesterday?
4) What shoes are you currently wearing?
5) What is something that you used to hate, but now you love?
6) What is your favorite breakfast meat?

posted by JMV | 6/22/2005 12:19:00 PM

Friday, June 17, 2005  

Below the Radar
I forgot to mention that the Powerbook has finally gone into the shop for repair. So no always-on internet terminal for me this weekend. I mean there is the PC in the bedroom, but it is a PC. And it is in the bedroom….

posted by JMV | 6/17/2005 05:07:00 PM

We Are All On Drugs
I just got a sneak-peak of the new Weezer video that is being finished upstairs and I must say that it rocks! The editor re-cut a vintage 80s hair-metal video (complete with Grim Reaper, leather-daddy werewolf, and mad-max-style tanks) to match the song. I’m not sure when it will hit the web/MTV/FUSE/etc, but keep an eye out.

In other news… I had figured after Beau and Mary’s wedding that there wouldn’t be any more engagement announcement from my friends anytime soon. I forgot about my dad. Yup, Ol’ Man Verive proposed to his long-time girlfriend Debbie earlier in the month! So congrats pop, I wish you the best!

In other other news… It is Friday! Rock-on!

posted by JMV | 6/17/2005 11:36:00 AM

Wednesday, June 15, 2005  

Not So Fast
Work is crazy. Crazier even than usual. Our purchaser is in Peru, and I get to do his job until he gets back. Plus my own job. What does this mean for you? You only get 2/3 the quiz…
1) How many apps/windows do you have open right now?
2) Have you seen Firefly? Did you love it?
3) What was your favorite class in High School? In College?
4) If you had an acolyte, what would be your first lesion?

posted by JMV | 6/15/2005 12:28:00 PM

Tuesday, June 14, 2005  

A Chain of Memories
(An experiment in distributed blogging)
I’m very excited about “Batman Begins” opening this weekend. I love Batman, and the first Burton Batman film was hugely influential on my childhood. I think I saw the film 5 times in the theater. Though oddly it wasn’t until years later that I really got into the comic-book stories. The first Batman comic I ever bought was a story about Batman fighting Klansmen in the turn-of-the-century American South. The comic was purchased (along with “The New Warriors” #2) at a 7-11 on Main and Palmyra in Orange California.

This neighborhood, currently home to Paul, was once home to my Grandemere Verive. Jany was a very strong woman. Her family was active in the French underground while the Nazis occupied their small town in northern France. Then the American GIs landed and the fighting came to that quiet village. I realized her strength when I once shuffled a deck of cards from the drawer in her kitchen.

Everyday she would play a couple of games of solitaire, and the cards were latterly creased down the center from years of riffle-shuffles in her strong-hands. If she won one of these daily games then, feeling lucky for the day, she would buy a lottery ticket (the scratch-off kind.). I was visiting her at the Fountain Bleu apartments one day when she won and we walked to the 7-11 where I could get a candy bar and s couple of comic books (or perhaps a cheap plastic toy.) and maybe play a few games of “Altered Beast” or “Golden Axe” at the coin-op machine over magazine rack.

We would then spend that evening watching TV after eating her Linguine with clam-sauce. (Not the typical butter-and-garlic sauce the is standard, but a velvety tomato-based red sauce.) We would watch “The Big Spin” and “Golden Girls” and “227.” I would also often browse though the towering bookcase in the foyer that was filled with old musty books (many in French.) My favorites were the vintage set of World Book Encyclopedia and a very old copy of the collect works of Poe that was either my Fathers or my uncles from school. I absconded with this book sometime during high school, and now it lives on MY foyer bookcase.

posted by JMV | 6/14/2005 05:54:00 PM

Friday, June 10, 2005  

A Call to Action!
Have you seen the latest strip? It is time to take action! I implore all of you to visit the Save IFTL and make your voices heard!

posted by JMV | 6/10/2005 11:33:00 AM

Thursday, June 09, 2005  

Breaking News: Weatherman Fired from Job in Hell
Alternately: “John (mostly) Agrees is Pitchfork Review.” Yeah, I’m as shocked as you… But the Pitchfork Media review of the White Stripes album runs pretty closely to my initial thoughts. The really dig the single, mention the furious “Red Rain” as the highlight of the disc, and deride the odder, seemingly unfinished, tracks. So until I climb out from under the flaming wreckage of my desk at work and get to posting a real review of the album head-over to Pitchfork and check out that review. (and for a laugh read their review of the Coldplay disk.)

posted by JMV | 6/09/2005 05:46:00 PM

Wednesday, June 08, 2005  

This Is Getting Old
I had every intention of getting this up at midnight last night, but as you can tell that didn’t happen. I’m just having a really hard time coming up with questions, and I think the Wednesday Quiz might be nearing the end of its run here on OH.. I guess we’ll see.
1) Do you have any particular “rituals” or methodologies when listening to a new album?
2) Do you remember any particularly terrifying childhood nightmares?
3) Do you have any fantastic money-saving tips?
4) Lasagna or ravioli?
5) What do you covet?
6) Do you have an arch-nemesis?
7) If you are a lurker, why haven’t you posted/commented?

posted by JMV | 6/08/2005 12:25:00 PM

Tuesday, June 07, 2005  

John Digs:
Narc: This little independent movie for last year knocked my socks off. From the opening sequence which left my heart-racing, my stomach turned, and has haunted my thoughts since I watched it on Friday I was hooked. Narc is a dark and gritty story of two Detroit cops investigating the murder of an undercover cop. It sounds like a run-of-the-mill cop-drama shot with independent style, but it comes off more fiercely original and masterful than any other police-procedural in recent memory. Between the script, the riveting performances (including a career best by Ray Liota) and the visual style Narc both evokes of the hard-hitting cop dramas of the 70s (Serpico, The French Connection, The Bad Lieutenant) and hints at a new renascence in what has become the most overworked genre in Hollywood.

Twilight Imperium: I’ll fly my geek flag for a moment and gush over this crazy-complex board game: it rules. “TI” is a really beautiful example of elegant game design and integration of many different mechanics that become much more than the sum of the parts. But shit-damn it is complex! My favorite part is the sheer number of important strategic and tactical decisions you are given on every turn and the ample opportunities for gamesmanship. Really a game built by and for the hard-core gamer.

TV on DVD: Now that Summer has sprung and the network schedules are rife with warmed-over repeats, trite reality TV, and the Cable outlets are stretching for programming, our TiVos are getting harder and harder to fill. But we won’t go hungry for saccharin entertainment thanks to TV on DVD! The proliferation of shows in DVD, and the increasingly speedy turnaround from airing to retail availability really makes the $17/month for Netflix an even better value. Currently we are watching a second run-through of the lone season of Firefly (which I would give the OctopusHat Quality Gaurentee, if I could find the graphic…) the funniest show on TV: Arrested Development (also for a second time), and the first season of Six Feet Under (entertaining enough, but it hasn’t really grabbed me yet.)

posted by JMV | 6/07/2005 12:02:00 PM

Monday, June 06, 2005  

I was mulling over what to post about today when I ran across this link about beer and nicotine together at last. Seems those wacky Europeans have developed a beer to aid in quitting smoking but infusing the brew with “natural nicotine.” This sounds like a horrible idea to me as I can only imagine the unpleasantness caused by sucking down a sixer of this stuff while chain-smoking Reds. I can just about hear the wails of College Res-Life officials around the country…

posted by JMV | 6/06/2005 01:55:00 PM

Friday, June 03, 2005  

My (Somewhat) More Collected Thoughts
It is better the second time.
Digital Projection has come a LONG way in 2 years, and is certainly the way to see it.
The Anakin/Obi-Wan fight is one of the coolest moments in Star Wars. Period.
Franken-Vader is much less painful to watch the second time, and nearly all of the blame for the lameness falls on James Earl Jones’ lifeless and flat delivery.
The Mace v. Emperor scene rivals the aforementioned duel as “coolest scene ever,” but the Yoda v. Emperor scene falls flat.
Order 66 is still lame and the Jedi Purge could have/should have been done MUCH better.
The pacing of the film is all fucked up. Nearly every scene needed to either be longer or shorter, and the only story that follows a neat arc is Anakin’s fall, and even that is weirdly off-balance. I think Lucas is using a 5-act structure which seems odd and foreign since 90% of other films we see uses Aristotle’s 3-act structure. But don’t quote me on that as I haven’t had time to research it yet… But in the meantime check out Freytag’s Pyramid.

posted by JMV | 6/03/2005 01:29:00 PM

Thursday, June 02, 2005  

I Must Have Liked It
In the dark days following the release of Episode III and the great rift in geekdom that was created by the film’s questionable cinematic value I had great difficulty in quantifying my true feelings. I saw Episode I in the theater no less than three times; for back in 1999 the world was so starved for Star Wars action that even such a meager offering was at first heralded. So I tried extra hard to not get pulled into either camp in the Revenge of the Sith debate and really give the film some critical thought. I was greatly depressed with the conclusions that I reached. In fact, I was in a “funk” for a full week after the initial viewing as the shadow of disappointment slowly crept into my thoughts on the film.

And here I am, two weeks later, unable to sit still because I’m excited about the 8pm show tonight! That’s right, I’m going back (this time to see a digital projection) and I’m excited to watch the film again without the pretense of “opening night” and now that I know where all the “disappointments” lie I think I’ll be able to enjoy the film more.

Also, since I never managed to post a post-weekend post I would like to toot my horn now and say that when Julie and I went shopping over the weekend I was able to comfortably fit into size 34” pants. I haven’t worn 34” pants since 1998. Which brings my new year’s resolution count to 4/6 (smoking, weightless, more posting here, and no-more soda. Only regular exercise and learning an instrument remain!)

posted by JMV | 6/02/2005 03:51:00 PM

Wednesday, June 01, 2005  

Quizzle fo Shizzle
1) What book should I read next: 1776, Letham’s Motherless Brooklyn, or the ever popular Da Vinci Code?
2) How many e-mail addresses do you use?
3 How do you de-stress/unwind after a hard day?
4) What was the last movie that made you cry? Last book? Last TV commercial?
5) Is there anything about summer that you are particularly looking forward to?
6) From Chun: What was your favorite childhood toy?

posted by JMV | 6/01/2005 12:18:00 PM
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