Friday, April 29

Red Carpet Sale - Predictions Half Off!!

Here's my Oscar picks for 2006:

Best Picture:
I imagine they'll revert back to their nonsensical judication process,
sooo... Harry Potter 4 or War of the worlds.

Best Actor:
This will go to the black actor in a non-comedy role, like Martin
Lawrence in Big Momma's house 3.

Best Female:
Definatly one of the greats that I used to like when I was younger,
until they became obscure. I can see Bette Middler, or Liza for their
stellar performance in the remake of Gone with the wind.

Best Director:
Let's see... They might give a sympathy one to Lucas, but I doubt it.
I'll go with... Eastwood again. People like him.

Best Sound design:
My personal favourite category will be swept again by Scott Millan and
Greg Orloff.

At any rate I'll give away more annekenstein goodies if any of my
predictions actually come true.

Thursday, April 28

U B Me

Okay, my posting has fallen way off.  I apologise. Or apologize (I can never be sure about the 's' 'z' thing).
A few reasons why I've not been blogging:  to be honest, I feel like I've kinda run out of things to say.  Then I get that "I'm in a slump" feeling and think I need a good posting to get me out of the slump. Then, whenever I begin to write something, I get into it, then an overwhelming "this is a stupid waste of time post" despondency comes over me and I erase it.  Then I build it up in my mind to where the post has to be fantastic before I deem it Monster worthy. Boo hoo, me.

So, I'm in a slump, and who does one turn to when one is feeling down?  Why, one turns to the anonymous and not so anonymous friends who frequent one's blog.  And so I turn you do, dear reader.  I turn to you with an offer. 

How about you write a post (or two, or three) for me?  The only stipulation is that you need to write it as if it's me who's written it.  In my voice (or lack thereof).  Write your The Annekenstein Monster post and email it to me at my email address on the left hand side there... "send it 2 me at gmail dot com"
If I receive any, I'll most likely post them.  I'll not indicate, in the posts, which ones were not written by me.  It'll be a little secret between you and me.  Only I get all the glory, because people will think your excellent words will have come from my brain.

To write like me, I suggest you follow these guidelines:  1) have bad plumbing in your home.  Bad plumbing holds a wealth of blogable material.  Actually, I'm thinking of nailing some holes in the toilet, just so I'll have something to post about.  2) when driving to work, look at something totally innocuous and vow to write about it.  Good 'somethings' are birds by the side of the road, signs, a solitary glove stuck to a branch of a tree (actually, don't take that one, 'cause I'm writing a great post about the very thing.  oh, what the hell, you can have that one).  3) take a trip to Moncton and then type the boring details of the trip, as if it was interesting. 4) make the Miami Dolphins your favourite sports team.  The disappointment you feel, loss after loss, should be sufficient to encourage you to write "my" blues away.
Remember, I'm rather proud of my "clever" post titles, so if you're going to submit an "authentic" Rob MacDonald TAM post, please include the sharp title.

Thanks for your help.  I'm sure you all will have no problem out Robbing Rob.

Wednesday, April 27

Your My American Idol Recap Has Arrived

I am battling the demons of redundancy, because in a few short minutes, this post will be so yesterday.  In a few minutes, *America* (tm) will have its votes revealed to *America* and we'll all now (even us Canadians) who got sent home.
So, how'd they perform last night?  Well, read on and I dare you to disagree:

Carrie.  She is so bland.  She'd make a perfect country star.  I swear, she is soulless.  She may look pretty (I don't really think so), but she is empty.  And what's with Ryan asking her why she has a hard time remembering lyrics?  I heard it as: "You're stupid."  And this, coming from Ryan.

Bo.  I despise his taste in music.  But I think he is the most genuine contestant remaining.  He seems like a nice guy, just one with an awful hairstyle and the shitty taste in music to go along with it.  He looked ridiculous, of course, and his singing left me empty.  I was glad to see (and this goes for pretty much the entire show) the judges willing to step up their criticisms a bit.  Paula actually seemed coherently observant about what was happening.

Vonzell.  Yo Yo, dude, you just didn't do it for me tonight, y'know.  I mean, you ended it up real nice, yeah, but that beginning, dog, that was all pitchy and stuff and, I don't know, you know, it was good, but it wasn't good good, you know.  Not your best performance, but it was aiight... I thought you sparkled like a shimmering glisten-stick that was left out in the rain and then had to be brought inside to dry off and eat lemming-pie and you glowed like a blossom in the virgin woods... Okay, thanks, Paurla...listen, if I'm being brutally honest, it wasn't your best performance (audience boos).  Let me finish.  But saying that, I think you have the endorsement of my brain and you could go very far in this competition....(Idol music up, Seacrest out)...Vonerelli!  Man, I thought you brought it, you are totally dug.  Don't listen to what Simon says, he's a man that I kid about loving men.
She started out bad.  Real bad, but ended very well.  That's just not good enough for me.

Anthony.  Aw, A-Fed, I wish you were long gone.  I wish I didn't have to hear you get oh so slightly better and more comfortable each week.  I wish you had a stronger voice, so that since the girls and gay boys are keeping you in with their votes, at least you'd be tolerable to listen to.  That's what I wish.  Perhaps your best performance so far, but so all about nothing.  You're mediocre.

Constantine.  You had me tricked, those last few weeks, what with your good singing and controlled (barely) ego-pout.  But tonight, the lid came off and I saw you for the sad, sexless, pathetic foot-kickin-into-the-camera guy you are.  It was a bad performance lyrically, and, even though the judges claimed it was a good performance physically, I thought you were so slimy.  I hated your performance, and you... just have to stop that pout thing, 'kay?  You spent the whole song last night looking for the camera that was on, and singing into it.  Sing to the audience in the room and let the camera do its work.  Ugh, what a piece of crap that was.

Scott.  Worst. Performance. Ever.  A couple of those notes, ouch.  No doubt, you're going home tonight, Scott.  Just not good enough.  Even Anthony out-sang you.  Ugh.

Bottom Three:  Scott, Vonzell, Carrie

Leaving:  Scott

Saturday, April 23

He(a)r(e) Squared

Is it "Hear! Hear!", or is it "Here! Here!"?

My inclination is to think it's Here! Here!, but I could see it going the other way too.

Hear! Hear!... as in "Listen to what is being said.  And by me requesting that all around hear what is being said, I am endorsing it!"


Here!  Here!... as in "I agree with, and endorse what was just said.  I do.  Me.  Right here.  Here." or "I endorse you, sir. Me, standing here!"

I suppose too, it could be "Hear here!" in "Everyone here, in the vicinity of the speaker, hear what he has to say!"

Friday, April 22

From Nothing...To This

I have come to this particular post having no idea what I am going to post about.  In fact, apart from that initial line, which I thought of as I was waiting for the page to load, the rest of this is free flow, top of my head kinda, in other words, likely pretty boring, bad stuff.
I am currently half way through the longest hour of the workday.  I always find from 3 to 4pm to be dreadfully long.  You know, I just paused and re-read those last two lines, about the time there, and I made myself sick.  Sick with the awful feeling that this could be the worst post I ever make, resorting to commenting on the time.  Holy shit!
At least it's a sunny day, and the forecast for the weekend looks pretty good too, doesn't it.
Oh, man, drastic action time, so here's a joke I'm just going to make up right now.  It will not be funny, but it will be completed.

A man who has two left feet walks into a bar and orders a Banana Daquiri.  It's a rather rough and tumble bar, and the barkeeper, in no polite terms, tells the man that they don't serve Banana Daquiris.  The man makes a pouty face and whines "But I have two left feet.  Doesn't that count for something?"
The barkeeper, whose very own recently departed mother had two left feet as well, suddenly felt pangs of guilt and sentimentality.  He broke down and began crying.  One of the tough guys in the bar, who was playing pool with his girlfriend, heard the crying and asked "What the shit is that crying?"
The barkeep was by this point sobbing uncontrollably, so the two-left-footed man took the initiative to answer the question.
"I could tell you the sad tale of the crying barkeep", said the man, "but to do so, I'd have to have sex with your lovely lady there."
The woman, who was sick and tired of beating her boyfriend at pool, spoke up and said "I'll have sex with you, but first I need to call my two children and tell them I'll be home later than usual."
The tough guy, who had often expressed to his girlfriend, his desire to participate in a threesome, didn't interject and instead offered, "That's okay by my, but I want to be part of the action."
All three agreed, and they decided they'd do the deed right there on the pool table.
However, before they could really get into it, the woman, who had a crippling brittle bone disease, broke in two and died.
This made the tough guy sob.  His wailing added to the still-strong sobs of the barkeep, who was now remembering the last time he spoke to his mother, and how he wished he would have told her he loved her.
Through his pain, the tough guy noticed that Two-Left Feet wasn't crying.  "How can you not be upset over this?  The cracking in two of the woman I was about to share with you in sexual pleasure gratification?"
To whiche the two-left-footed man replied.  "I'm sorry, but I was told never to cry over split MILF."

The tough guy and the barkeep then punched the shit out of the two left footed guy.

Ugh.  I can barely bring myself to click the submit button to post this.

Wednesday, April 20


I don't like any of the American Idol contestants, as performers.  Bland, bland, bland.  I can't imagine being even remotely interested in anything that any of them would bring to a song recording as the next American Idol.  Just like I don't care about any of the current winners and second place and former contestants.  It's all shit songs sung by pre-fab crappers.  It's not for me, the music, the industry.

Why do I watch?

Now, on to the reviews:

Constantine sang "Knights of Broadway" and did a pretty good job with it.  I agree with Simon's Las Vegas entertainer criticism of the performance and who cares?  The best thing I can say about Constantine's performance was that his smouldering sexuality was hard to locate this week.   I don't like the song, and his performance of it did nothing to alter my impression of the song.

Carrie, looking like a toy-doll dressed up by a very lonely little girl, sings a song I can't stand:  MacArthur Park.  I didn't think she did a very good job of it.  Yeah, she kept the final warbling notes for a long time, but who cares?  My problem with Carrie is that her eyes always appear vacant, like she's physically on the stage, but her mind is totally elsewhere.  That she admitted that she had no idea what the song was about was foolish, I thought.  And it added to her empty performance of it.  At least make the lyrics mean something to you, and emote that.  She just sang the words, more or less note for note, and there was nothing behind it. 

I am giving up on liking Scott.  He's just looks too much a pent up anger bomb.  When he attempts to smile it reminds of Mr. Burns trying to smile.  It's just not natural.  I do like the impression that Scott at least seems to be investing in the songs he sings.  Too bad his voice can't live up to the quality of the competition.  An okay job by him, but he'll be bottom three, again.  Oh, and shut up about your mother picking your songs for you.  Just stop that.

Anthony gave perhaps his strongest vocal performance, but all other aspects of his segment were weak.  He is just a little boy pretending to be a man.  Everyone can see it, can't you?  He has moments when his voice sounds strong, but they are always followed by moments of weakness and failing.  And he doesn't know what to do with his body.  He has no ability to control or knowledge of his presence.  He is boring.  I wish he was long gone.  I don't like him.

Vonzell has another strong week, but was often on the verge of being upstaged by the three excellent background singers.  That was troubling.  I've noticed, too, that she has a trick she relies on, which is to laugh as if she's having fun.  Once it seemed genuine, but week after week, I'm beginning to think it's affected.  If it is, then boo on her.  She's gonna go a long way in the competition.

Anwar will be gone after tonight's show.  I've given up on him.  He's constantly undersold his talents and I'm no longer waiting for him to give the performance I've been waiting for from him.  He's too much a thinker and seems incapable of just doing.  Just sing and enjoy yourself.  Now it's too late, because he'll be gone.  And I could care less.

Bo.  Bo and I just don't get along.  I don't like the music he sings and I don't like the way he sings it.  I hate his hair and I guess I just don't get him.  Only because everyone says he did great will I assume he did great.  I didn't see it myself.  I never see the brilliance that is apparently Bo.

A pretty boring week, I thought.  Unmemorable.

Bottom three:  Anwar, Carrie, Scott

Leaving:  Anwar  (who should leave:  Anthony.  Always Anthony, until he actually leaves)

Tuesday, April 19

Moncton Blitzkrieg

This is pure inanity...
Here are some notes and observations from the very quick and simple Moncton Shopping Blitzkrieg.
The plan was to leave Charlottetown on Saturday around 10am.  We left our driveway at 9:55 but inexplicably didn't leave Charlottetown until about 11:10.  Well, actually it is explicable.
We had to go get Cameron, who was on the morning side of a sleepover at a friend's house.  He had a good time, he said, although they didn't get much sleep.  This fact would become a major factor later on in the trip.  After we got Cameron, I thought I would take this time to exchange my (potentially faulty) iTrip FM transmittor at Future Shop and then have a properly functioning one for the trip.  So, that took about twenty minutes too long.  Then we had to go get some cash.  The first bank/ATM (at WalMart) was not functioning, so off to the second one, further in town.
Finally on our way, I was a bit grumpy, for three reasons:  1) it was taking too long to get going, 2) there wasn't quite the amount of money in the bank I thought there was, and 3) the new iTrip was just as crappy as the original one (I think, actually, it's our crappy car that causes the iTrip to be too static-y, which severely lessens the enjoyment of listening to the iPod in the car).
We get in Cornwall, and stop at the Tims for some on-the-road bagels and coffee.  This stop, too, takes too long and it's about 11:30 before we're actually "on our way".
On our way to the bridge, we play a road-trip game.  We each pick a colour of vehicle.  Each time that colour vehicle meets us on the road, we get a point.  First to 10 wins.  I picked "red" and came a close second (I had 9) to Cameron, who picked "blue".  Karyn was a distant third with only 7 "white" vehicles.
We gassed up in Borden-Carleton at the Esso.  I noticed a couple of new flavours of Humpty Dumpty chips and as I'm a sucker for trying new flavours of chips I have to try them.  "Lime and Pepper" and "Cheese and Onion".  The rest of the car is aghast at the anticipation of the stink from the chips.  I open the Lime and Pepper, and what a pleasant surprise.  They are fantastic!  So subtle in flavour, a great taste experience.  The rest of the car become fans of the chips and I begrudginly share.  Having inhaled the Lime and Pepper chips, we decide to save the Cheese and Onion for the trip home.
Cameron, hung over from a night of sleep deprivation, falls quickly to sleep in the back seat of the car, and we zoom to Moncton.  He awakes moments before we arrive in the city proper.
I'm not too hungry from the bagels and coffee and chips, so it's up to the other two to decide where to eat.  They are tempted by Chinese, but decide against it after realising it's a buffet.  A quickly decided upon second choice is Jungle Jims.  I had faint recollections of poor service the last time we were there, so long ago, but was up for the experience.  It was a mistake.  The service was terrible, the food not so great, and it took forever to leave.  They cut us a deal on our bill, but I can't recommend the place lowly enough.
Mediocre food in our bellies, it's off to shop!  We Champlain Place it, and away we go.  My goal is to find a jacket.  Karyn wants some new clothes in general, and Cameron is hoping we buy him a video game.  After a couple of hours in the mall, Karyn has a couple of new pieces of clothing, Cameron has a new video game and I have a new jacket.
We decide to head to the other side of town, and check out Winners et al, plus see if there's a movie we could all take in (there wasn't).  On our way to Winners, we see the new Old Navy store.  Excited we are, and we head inside.  It was very busy.  I may have bought something, but the lines for the checkout were much too long, so we left empty-handed.  Winners had moved from where I remember it, but we found the new one.  Disappointing, it seemed much smaller than the original one.  Not much bigger than the Charlottetown one.
Having spend ourselves shopping, we have a decision. Hang around Moncton for an hour or so, wait until we're hungry, then eat, or head home and eat on the way, most likely at my favourite of favourite places, the Aulac Big Stop Irving.  We choose to head home.
On the way to Aulac,  Cameron promptly fell asleep, only to wake up moments before we arrive at the Irving.  We did make a small detour on the way, taking a drive through the lovely town of Sackville.  Karyn got very excited about seeing a pheasant on the road in front of us (she gets excited at seeing any animal).
Again, I was amazed at the professionalism of the servers at the Big Stop.  Amazing ability to be upbeat and positive and fast and courteous and friendly.  Amazing.  Moments before we got there, Karyn came down with a whopper of a headache and didn't really enjoy the Big Stop busi-ness.  It didn't help that the new toy that accompanies kids meals at the Big Stop was an annoying whistle.  Six or seven kids throughout were whistling their obliviously annoying high pitched whistles.  And still the servers appeared happy.  How?
I so rarely order dessert (as you can likely tell by my svelte figure), but for years I've been intrigued by the immensely huge size of the desserts on display at the Big Stop.  I succumbed and ordered a piece of chocolate cake.  It was huge and delicious.  We couldn't finish it.  And it only cost $3.49.  Amazing.
We drove home, Cameron stayed awake, and got home about 9:30.

And that was the blitzkrieg to Moncton.

In Moncton, I become Islander

I have a stereotypical image of what an Islander is:  He is of slight build, with ballcap, denim jeans and denim jacket.  He holds a Tim Hortons cup almost always.

I am not of slight build, I don't wear ball caps (not the right shaped head), only occasionally hold Tims cups (prefer Robins), and until this weekend, didn't wear a denim jacket.  This weekend I took a major step towards looking like an Islander.  I bought a denim jacket.  In Moncton.
I had been searching for a new jacket for a few weeks now.  I wanted one that had big pockets on the lapel (big enough to carry my iPod and my digital camera), pockets in front down below (to carry car keys and coins).  Buttoned up or zippered, it didn't matter, but I wanted it to be cotton or denim.  And it needed to be long enough for my tall frame.  I didn't want a nylon jacket.  Any jacket I saw in Charlottetown failed in some way, so I moved to the internet and a brief search there failed too.  My only hope was a trip to Moncton.
It's the old story:  I looked in practically every pertinent store in Moncton and hadn't found a jacket that came close.  After mentally giving up, I went into one more store, and there it was:  the jacket.  Huge upper pockets, deep dark lower front pockets (some inner pockets too!) and it was on sale.  The only down side was that the jacket was of that type of denim that looks old and worn, kind of distressed.  I really don't like that.  So, I had a decision to make.  Get a jacket that is perfect in almost every way except for the crappy faded look, or, succumb to my petty ideas of taste and leave empty handed.
I bought the jacket and I'm glad I did.
Now I just have to rid myself of the notion that I look like an Islander.  I am a Maritimer.  Just like those two guys in Goin' Down The Road.
I must embrace my roots. 
I must be me.

Eenie Meenie My Knee Ow

It's been a while since I updated you all on the status of my sore knees (I wait, as I hear the exhalation of air from  thousands of readers who've been holding their breath)...

I hurt my knees a couple of weeks after I started walking/jogging.  I am such a cliche.  Well, the pain was considerable at times, but (since it was the same type of pain as my recurring "university basketball knee injury" trouble) I knew it would eventually get better.  After two weeks of not really getting better, I decided I should see a doctor, so I went to a night clinic.  It was a fairly fast procedure, the night clinic, as I was in and out in about an hour and a half.
The doctor confirmed my expectations that all that was needed to heal me was time.  However, in her examination of my knees (what with the pulling and the gyrating and the flavin flave), she made them much much more painful.  I hobbled home and began my weeklong campaign of medicating myself with Advil (I usually don't take pain medication, but this pain was an exception).  The Advil worked at hiding the pain, but my knees still felt pretty weak and tender.
That was almost two weeks ago.  By this past weekend, my knees are/were at about 90%.  The pain is gone, the Advil is gone, and only the occasional twinge of the slightest pain is experienced.

As the doctor was examining me, she was manipulating my legs in all manner of directions and noticed an odd cracking sound at in my hip region.  She didn't like the sound of it and suggested that maybe jogging wouldn't be the best approach for me in my quest to get healthier.

So, I'm not going to be running for a while.  I'll begin a walking (and perhaps bicycling) regimine in about a week's time, and build myself up from there.

Friday, April 15


As I was watching The Apprentice last night...was it me, or did  pontiac there seem to solstice be an abundance of in-show advertising pontiac for a particular product. 
This, of course, is normal pontiac for The Apprensolstice but last night was excessively so.  The more I watched the hour, the cheaper pontiac I felt.  Of course, it didn't help that solstice every second ad during the commercial breaks (an ironic phrase seeing how there actually is no 'break' between since the entire show has turned become all about the product anyway) was pontiac for Pontiac as well.

Too much.  pontiac

Thursday, April 14

The Mow My Lawn Commitee

I see in this cbc report that Charlottetown City Councillor Mitchell Tweel is to receive his $16,000 councillor "salary" despite not being on any committees (because he was removed from the committees he was on).  Apparently, councillors are expected to sit on committees in order to receive their annual stipend.

Therefore, I propose the Mow My Lawn Committee, which Councillor Tweel can be let in charge of.  I realise that Mitchell does not represent my district.  And I realise that, perhaps of all the councillors, Mitchell is the one who is most adamant about doing good for his district, even if it's detrimental to other districts.  Because of this, i think it is unlikely that he gives a shit about my lawn, but I think he'd go a long way to earning the share of his salary that I paid out to him, if he would come to my house and mow my lawn.  Once a year, in August.

So, how about it Mitch?  I'll supply the gasoline and the push-mower, you supply the validation of your councillorship.

Wednesday, April 13

I Am Robot, Hear Me Sing

OMG!!!  Could you believe it when Paula said something negative about one of the contestants' performance?  I was like SHUT UP!  Tammy, what are you wearing to school tomorrow?  Don't wear your pink Hello Kitty because I'm wearing mine, kay?  And Anthony the Russian likes you.

I was just trying to get into the mindset of a 13 year old MSN Messenger girl because:
a) I go undercover on chatlines trying to trick perverts into  thinking I'm  13 and available, just part of the sting.
b) I want to try to understand the mentality that keeps voting for Anthony the ArMuEsRsIiCaAnN to stay in American Idol.
c) It just really turns me on.

Here's my oh-so-important opinion about last night's performances.  Ignore as you see fit:
The order in which I remember them:

Nadia:  She wears a red short short tina turner "I'm Still Sexy, Dammit!" dress, and it looks great.  She looks great, with legs that don't quit.  Too bad her song was so dreadfully boring.  It was sung well (I thought) but there was just something lacking.  Nadia is in danger of Bottom Three tonight.  Oh, and she's gotta be careful of those mouth contortions too.  Sure, sure, emote all you want, and the tina turner scowl face can look good if employed for just a sec, but when tina turner turns into the Rober DeNiro "I'm holding a pistol at your head, and I'm angry, and I'm gonna fuckin' kill you" look...well, then you got problems.

Bo: I'm not a fan of Bo, even though, apparently, the rest of the world is.  His rendition of Free Bird was not very good in my opinion.  I'm not sure if it's the song, or his version, but it seemed to consist of only 6 notes, sung in random order, over and over and all emitted with a "rock" grrrr through clenched rock balls.  Bo has lost some of his early favourite status, I'd say.

Scott:  I agree with Simon that many of Scott's notes were not the right ones.  But, he sang them with heart and soul and conviction, and when you do that, well that cancels a lot of the mistakes.  I thought this was Scott's best performance so far, and he even seems to be letting that Psycho Killer persona drop a little bit.  Heck, he was even smiling last night.  I think of all the contestants, Scott is the one who can best explore the emotion in a song.

Anwar:  Technically the best singer in the competition?  Technically the most consistently under-performing contestant.  Oh Amway, I've given up on you.  You have yet to show us the voice and emotion and joy that lies somewhere within you.  You are a singing robot, coded to sing the correct notes.  If it's not too late (that is, if you don't get booted off tonight, which is a real possibility) you need to become a human boy and discover your beating, blood-pumping heart.  If you make it past tonight, then no more do I want to hear: "the song I'm singing tonight is 1000100101001000110001111001010011001010001."

Anthony: Blech.  Blonde hair, blue eyes, good looking.  You remind me of a younger me.  Blech.  At least he performed the best I've seen him yet.  And that was still the worst of the bunch.  Anthony's biggest problem is a weak voice.  In a singing competition, that's a pretty serious problem.  But seeing as this is a popularity contest, keep on trucking, A-Fed.  I've already wasted more words on you than I think you deserve, but here's a couple more: You shouldn't be in this competition.

Carrie:  Guess what, world!  Carrie Rocks!!  Unfortunately, she doesn't rock very well.  If you can, look at a replay of her performance last night.  She was most definitely there in body, but look behind the eyes, and she was a million miles away.  She also sings like a robot, if you ask me.  But a root that has had its emotion chip installed a thousand years ago.  That robot, you see, has long ago given up the quest to actually feel, think, emote like a hu-man.  All it can do is be almost hu-man.  Carrie is almost hu-man.

Vonzell: Oh Vonzell, I may have misjudged you.  I've called you on the lacking emotion in song earlier, but I think you must have found a couple of bags of Constantine's Extra Emotion Elixir (tm), because the last two weeks, you've brought your quality way up.  Last night, I thought she was the best of the bunch.  Let's hear it for the girl!

Constantine:  Okay, Constantine was obviously rope-a-doping the competition in the early rounds.  Last three weeks. though, he's been dynamite.  Last night's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a risky choice (I thought. Always dangerous to tackle an iconic song like that.  Just ask Simon about Free Bird.) but he did a great job with it.  I may even be succumbing to his smoldering eyes and pouty mouth.

Bottom Three tonight:
Anwar, Nadia, Carrie


Phil, Such An Elimination Tease!

My very good friend, CBC Mainstreet host and Sketch22 compatriot, Mort Rainnie, turned me on to this funny article about last night's The Amazing Race.

Mort found it funny.  I found it funny.  If you are watching this round of TAR, you will most likely find it funny.

Monday, April 11

Three Wins

It's not often that the people/teams that I cheer for in any sport win.  Sunday it was victory, victory, victory.  All in sports that non-sports fans would probably find incredibly boring.

First up was Men's World Curling.  Canada won gold and won it fairly decisively.  I actually stoppes watching this game after about 6 ends, when it was clear they would win.  The really interesting game for Canada came during Saturday's semi-final against Germany.  Right down to the second last rock of the game.  I enjoy watching curling.  The 4-Rock rule has been great for increasing offense and increasing viewing interest.

Then I switched over to NASCAR.  I always cheer for Jeff Gordon.  Yesterday he won, after coming back from 3 laps down.  I have yet to sit through an entire NASCAR race.  Too many laps that take too much time out of a day.  Usually I'll watch a bit at the first, check in periodically over the next three hours, then try to tune in the final hour or so.  That's what I did yesterday.

I ended the sports-day marathon with The Masters, watching Tiger Woods win his 4th green jacket.  It was a pretty exciting final round.  Chris DeMarco just wouldn't give up, and kept pressure on Tiger who bogeyed his final two regular round holes, forcing a playoff.  Tiger won that.  He's a pretty intense guy, that Tiger.  I doubt I'd like to hang out with him for any length of time, but he's a pretty exciting golfer to be a fan of.

Also watched on Sunday:  Arrested Development, which continues to make me laugh out loud several times an episode.  And Deadwood, which I am enjoying more and more each week.

The Cruellest Month

I thought it was supposed to be April showers bringing May flowers, not April heavy snowfall warnings...
My mind has moved on from the concept of snow.  I'm not going ot like this.

Sunday, April 10

Wha' 'Appened?

With my basic Typepad subscription, I get 1gig of allotted bandwidth per month.  Usually, my usage per month hovers in the 50-75% range, so no problem.
Thursday I was at about 16% with a projected usage of 82%.  Friday I check, and all of a sudden my actual current usage is 2.2 gigs (200+%) and with still 3 weeks left, a projected usage of 7gigs for the month.  What happened?  I did post a 17MB file link on thursday (I've since disabled the link), but it doesn't look like that many checked it out.  I can't see any indication of nefarious visiting to the site.
So, what happened?  Maybe it's just a glitch in the Typepad figuring?  Perhaps after the weekend it'll get rectified.

Friday, April 8

Friday Evening With A Beer And Music

Time for another listing of the music I hear.  Hear then (clever, no?) are the next ten songs that shuffle through my iTunes:

Let It Be - The Replacements:  I was never a big fan of The Replacements, and this song makes me wonder why.  I guess I only had so much room in my heart for alternative, cool bands that made music in the early '80's.
Love Rears Its Ugly Head - Living Colour: Even though they were from New York, they still knew the right way to spell colour.  How rare was a black band playing good medium to hard rock in the 80's?  Can you name another?  Vernon Reid played a mean guitar, Corey Glover sang a mean song.  This funky song is from their very good album Time's Up.
Rattled - The Travelling Wilburys:  Okay, so it's a pretty innocuous song, but I just can't seem to delete it from my collection.  I loved the idea of the Wilburys and some of their songs were pretty good, in a fun way.  This is pretty standard rock.
Death of an Interior Decorator - Death Cab for Cutie:  I'm not digging this song very much.  Don't know much about Death Cab for Cutie, although I do know I do like a couple of the other songs from the album Transatlanticism.  Not so much this one, though.  It just kind of moves along
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles:  Well, a good half song, kind of a novelty.  Paul's vocals sound good, but it segues into With A Little Help From My Friends, which doesn't do much for me.
Just As I Am - Willie Nelson: a little piano/guitar instrumental ditty that just kind of builds up to an inevitable conclusion.  It was just there, then it was done.
So Young - Ron Sexsmith:  I can always count on Ron Sexsmith to elevate the quality of any playlist.  This, from Other Songs, is typical Ron Sexsmith: subdued instrumentation, subdued but heartfelt singing.  Why isn't this guy famous?
Alabama Waltz - Hank Williams: a crackly old Hank Williams song, just him and his guitar.  The song sounds like it was recorded a thousand years ago, Hank Willams sounds like he's had a thousand years of trouble behind his voice.
Brian Song - Monty Python:  The theme to Python's The Life of Brian, very Bond Theme-ish.  Not too remarkable.
Turkish March (Mozart):  This ten song random list ends with a lovely piece of classical piano.

Well, that's ten songs, and a not very impressive selection, I must say.  Oh well, dem's the risks ya take when ya live on da edge, like I do.
Okay, one last song:  This will vindicate the list, surely:
Reeperbahn - Tom Waits:  Seriously, does he gargle with razor blades?  A great song from the best worst singer out there.

But He's A Cookie Monster

This article makes me sad.
Apparently, Sesame Street's Cookie Monster is going to learn about moderation in his eating habits.  He's going to learn that cookies are a "sometimes food" not an "anytime food".
I understand the reasoning behind this, I really do.  But I can't help but think that it's wrong.

The cookie monster is the cookie monster.  Gorging himself on cookies is the very point of his being.  They are taking away is very purpose.  Let Elmo learn to be healthy, but for the love of the children, leave Cookie alone.  Let him be what he is.

Let's all go eat cookies.  Right now.  Lots of them.  Everyone, eat a protest cookie.  Eat two.  Eat fifty!!!

WotD: Panglossian

In the last few months I have been steadily losing my panglossian expectations regarding the global environment and global economy.


You don't want that photo critic judging your prints.  He likes to panglossian non-glossy photos.

Thursday, April 7

Ninja's Surprise

Okay, after overwhelming demand.. actually it was just one request, and it was kind of pathetic at that... I'm going to put up our latest little MacDonald Family Pictures cinematic endeavour, Ninja's Surprise.

According to Typepad, I am currently projected to use 76% of my allotted bandwidth this month.  This 17MB file will likely put me over my limit if anybody actually bothers to download it.  Therefore it will likely be taken down after only a couple of days.  If you don't get it soon, it will be gone forever.  Kinda like Disney video releases.

Some DVD commentary for your enjoyment:  I find that if I watch this .wmv file with Windows Media Player, the image is kind of jumpy and rough.  When I watch it through PowerDVD, however, it plays like a charm (with video quality like you'd expect through a not-quite low-end digital camera).  Your player may work better.
The scene where the ninja is running towards the traveller, that was supposed to be a ripoff of Monty Python's Holy Grail, the scene where the knight storms the castle, but never seems to be getting closer, until ALL OF A SUDDEN, he's there!  Our version doesn't quite work as well, but it was a nice homage nonetheless.
The close-up shot of the traveller running, where we see just his head:  You'll notice the trees in the background aren't moving (as they should be if he was running).  That's because he's running on the spot, to give the *appearance* of him running and the camera staying with him.  It works okay, I think.  Also, in that scene the actor looks like he is laughing.  That's because he is, and he's laughing because the shot you see was actually a rehearsal.  See, the stupid director/cameraman inadvertently mis-pressed the record button.  This caused me to think, for about 3 or 4 shots,  the camera was recording when in fact it wasn't (actually it was recording when I thought it wasn't).  We lost a couple of excellent chase-scene shots because of that.  That's also why we had to re-use two or three times the only worthwhile chase-shot we had.
During the swordfight, we also shot an excellent Matrix-type special effect, but there just wasn't enough time within the music to fit that shot in.  You gotta trust me, though, that it was the best sfx shot you'd have ever seen.

You can download Ninja's Surprise here.

No you can't.  I went over my bandwidth limit for the month, so I took it down

PopCultured - A Big Miss

Last night I watched Popcultured, the new half-hour "comment on popculture" comedy show with Elvira Kurtz on The Comedy Network.
I thought it was pretty bad.  Not funny to me at all.  I'm not really sure what the format is supposed to be, but there was far too much single person monologuing going on.  And none of it were very interesting, nevermind funny.

Elvira really needs to stop smiling and appreciating the humour of what she says.  It's not good when the performer gets the biggest kick out of the material.  Her opening monologue was dull and full of fairly tame Jay Leno type current event jokes. Later, she did a bit on lip injections which basically culminated in her making faces at big pictures of celebrities.  Cheap and boring and bad.
Other segments included some woman's review of The DaVinci Code (or, rather, a review of people's perception of it, I'm not really sure what it was about, truthfully) and wasn't nearly as smart as she thought it was.  Another woman did another monologue opinion-piece type thing that I wouldn't even be able to remember if I was hypnotized specifically to bring up that memory.  Some guy did some on location video piece on gift bags at the Junos, and it was surprisingly bad.  Surprisingly bad in a show where expectations had continually plumetted, so that at the point when his segment came on "bad" was the expectation, and it still surprised me.  So, that's pretty bad.
Then Elvira interviewed some celebrity reporter from, I think, The National Post, and it was a terrible segment.  Appallingly full of entirely nothing of value in any entertaining way. 
And the show ended.

The production was poor.  I don't know whether it was live, but it sure looked live, because words were  stumbled over far too often (if it was taped, the director would/should have, a number of times, stopped the taping and had the performer speak more clearly).  No interesting set design to speak of.  It's also not good when a tv audience hears only a smattering of laughter from the studio audience.  It sounded like there were about 10 people in attendance.  Either get enough people to fill the room and get them to be very generous with their laughter, or cut the audience laughter out entirely.  It sounds bad when it sounds like so few people laughing.

They really need to rethink the "you do your funny bit segment, then I'll do my funny bit segment, then you do another funny bit segment, etc." routine and come up with some interesting look and feel.  As the show was presented last night, there was no flow, no direction, no focus.  It was just people saying things about things.  Standing and saying things.  Things that weren't that interesting.  The show desperately needs a look and feel and format.
How about getting some sofas, chairs a couple of TVs and turn the set (which is now basically "Nothing") into a giant funky living room.  It's the living room where people experience pop culture so it makes sense to talk about it there too.  Instead of the "I do my segment, then we cut to your segment, then cut to another segment" style, have the half hour unfold in a more informal manner, and let the segments flow naturally from one to another, with the other cast members on hand all the time, sitting around on couches, chairs, eating pizza or whatever.

As it is now, Popcultured is not worth anyone's time.  It's cable-access bad, and The Comedy Network needs to be airing better Canadian programming.

Wednesday, April 6

Ninja's Surprise

Last Saturday, MacDonald Family Pictures produced another epic in film-making: Ninja's Surprise.
A 2 1/2 minute cinematic wonder starring Cameron and Keaton (the same team that starred in last week's film The Battle).  They are quickly becoming their generation's Crosby and Hope.  Or maybe Spade and Farley.
This time, we went on location to Robinson's Island, out around Brackley Beach.   Production costs must have creeped towards an astronomical 5 dollars for this movie filled with sword-play action, death and almost death and costumes.  Keaton plays The Traveller, a man in love with nature who is unfortunate enough to fall prey to the unexplained evilness of The Ninja. The Ninja attacks The Traveller, and in a move that Clint Eastwood would envy, The Traveller quickly subdues the over-zealous ninja.  Thinking him dead, The Traveller continues his travelling.
But wait!  The Ninja revives!  And chases The Traveller in a chase-scene that all future chase-scenes will be compared against.  As quick as the chase begins, it stops and a fantastic sword battle ensues. Having had enough of this fighting nonsense, The Traveller kills The Ninja.  This time, his dead eyes prove he has ceased, breath forever left.  A Ninja's surprise, to be sure!
The Traveller walks away, none the worse for wear.

The movie file is a bit too big for me to post here with my meagre bandwidth limits.  Maybe I'll put it up closer to the end of the month.

Chakra Con

Everyone knows it:  Paula Abdul is worthless as an American Idol judge.  Everyone knows the things she says are without value. When she declares two performances from last night as "brilliant", well, that's all the proof anyone needs.  She seems incapable of offering critical opinion that would be seen as negative, I suppose for fear of damaging the Idles delicate burgeoning egos. She sees it as being supportive, I guess, but it's not at all.  The Idles need to be critiqued, they need to learn how to improve.  On those rare instances when Paula considers a performance weak, the worst she'll do for an Idle is to tell them they had a really pretty smile, a beautiful aura or some other chakra bullshit.
Randy is not much better.  At least he'll allow the possibility that a performance wasn't good.  But he only has about three different ways of making that point.  "It was pitchy" "it didn't do it for me dude" and the "it was aiight" concession.  His criticisms have become worthless too, because they no longer mean anything.
Thank Goodness for Simon.  He usually is spot on with what was wrong with a performance and he's not afraid to speak his mind.  Yes, sometimes he's too blunt, and yes, everyone makes him out to be the villain, but in truth he's the only one who matters.

How was last night's performances?  The theme was Musicals and again, I was amazed at the generally poor choice in song that most made.  But perhaps it's not the choice in song so much as it is the arrangements that they sing.  Last night, the band seemed to be rather overpowering, making it difficult for many singers to highlight their, well, singing.
The standout, easily and surprisingly, was Constantine.  He absolutely nailed his song.  Yes the sex-eyes making love to the camera pout has got to stop, but this week and last he was really good.  I thought Nadia did a good job last night (although she left my wife feeling empty).
Anthony was awful (was always awful, will always be awful and needs to be the next to go), Scott was not very good either, but both looked good.  Nikko, I just don't like.  Bo was Bo-ring.  The BlondeCountryGirl did a really good impersonation of a singer, Vonzell looks so pretty but her singing is vaccuous.  And is there another female I'm not remembering?  If so, then she likely didn't do a memorable job. No, wait, it's Anwar.  He was, again, technically good but a poor choice of song.
The biggest problem with this batch of singers is that, generally, they have a really difficult time feeling the songs they sing.  It's all Paint By Numbers singing.  They more or less hit the right notes, but there's no soul behind the notes.
Tonight's Bottom Three: Anthony, Anwar and Nadia.  Not because I think Anwar or Nadia deserve to be there, but because America seems to want to get rid of them.

Anthony will go (this choice is based more on my need for him to go, and not on America's opinion, since they seem to ignore his lack of talent and focus rather on his cute factor)

Tuesday, April 5

My New Pope Prediction

I know who the new Pope will be. Well, I don't know who it will be, specifically.  I only know what the name will be.

The new Pope will be Pope Jorge Ringo I

Because, ever since Pope John Paul II, the Vatican knew:  The Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

Prediction:  The pope that comes after Pope Jorge Ringo I will be called Pope Timberlake.

Monday, April 4

Exercise: Who Knees It?

Yeah, so about that running thing I've been doing...
Well, it's on hiatus.  Last Tuesday, I went for my regular run/walk (actually turning up the heat to a frothy 20 minute regimine of sets of 90 seconds of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking) and got home, feeling good.  Next day I started having pains in my knees, and they've hung around and still pain me today.
Now, I get pains in my knees all the time, or specifically, in one of my knees.  Back when I was in university, I played some rec-basketball and twisted my left knee pretty badly.  Ever since then, it will occasionally just pop out (usually if I'm walking down stairs) and cause me a couple of days of intermittant pain and discomfort.  Then it goes away.
This is just like that pain, only a bit moreso, and more constant, and in both knees (although the right knee pales in comparison).  It's been bothersome for about a week, but today I sense it improving.  If it continues much longer, I'll have to get it looked at.
So, no more running until I'm well and truly recuped.
Can't say I miss it, though.

Friday, April 1

WotD: Jape

Due to the date, be suspicious of what you read and/or hear this morning.  It may be a jape.


Je suis un imitateur. J'ape.