This blog goes to 11

A friend of mine pointed out that his blog turned 7 today. I was surprised because it was so close to my own “blogiversary.” (Does anyone still use that term?) So I checked and realized it wasn’t just close, it actually was my… anniversary of starting a blog. The old tradition was for me to forget about it until the 27th and then just copy and paste my entry from the previous year explaining what an idiot I was. Because, you know, keeping track of the day your blog started was very important at the time.

Anyway, since this is my first entry in a while and I probably haven’t talked to most of you outside of some random Facebooking, you should be able to guess that my “communicate more” thing hasn’t been panning out so well. But I will say that the health kick is definitely on the upswing. The gym around the corner finally opened and I’m already back up to 2.5 miles of running most days. Another week or so and maybe I’ll be back in my 5k form so that I can actually run a 5k.

Reading has definitely become a big focus and not only am I reading pretty much everyday, but I’ve already finished 4 books and am on pace for my challenge to read 24 this year. The photography and building hobbies are sort of on hold, but thanks to a trip to Disney World, spending time with The Kay has been more heavily prioritized. A lot of time spent with Legos has meant that sometimes she even wants to be with me instead of Mommy. Score one for Dad!

As for vinyl… well at least I’m listening to a lot of music in one form or another. And that reminds me, with new albums being dropped by the likes of St. Vincent, Wild Beasts, Beck, Neneh Cherry, Phantogram, Com Truise, etc. it’s about time I put a wrap on 2013. Maybe I’ll finally write something about the great albums from last year…


Movie overload

Holy cow have we watched a lot of movies lately. I’ve been meaning to write a bunch of mini-reviews, but each time I get around to it we watch something else. Let’s see if I can do a decent rundown of the latest ones:

Knocked Up – Very delayed in writing about this one, but Apatow has really set a standard for this type of vulgar, yet touching, comedy. What really helps sell these movies are the characters. No matter how idiotic they seem, by the end you really start to care about them because they are good people. If you don’t mind too many dirty words, this is a great take on the unplanned pregnancy story.

Blades of Glory – Even The Woman laughed at the immature humor on this one. I expected to enjoy it, but not as much as I did. The best work Will Ferrell has done on the big screen – not including Stranger Than Fiction, obviously.

Ratatouille – It’s Pixar. What more do I have to say? It’s another great kids’ flick that works well for adults. I loved the story, and the characters and animation were fantastic. ‘Nuff said.

Juno – I liked it. I enjoyed it. It was fun. Yes, it has it’s flaws, but every movie does. Juno is great character, even if her dialogue feels contrived at points – she’s the kind of kid you both hope and fear that you’ll have. She’s strong willed and independent, but that can lead to stupid things when you’re too young to understand. As for the rest of the cast, would they please stop making movies that don’t involve Michael Cera? Seriously, my biggest complaint is that Cera is not on screen enough. And Allison Janney is another one of my favorites. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner are great as the hip young couple that aren’t really “all that”. And J.K. Simmons – that’s me as a dad. “Next time I see that Bleeker kid I’m going to punch him in the wiener.” Yeah, that’s me. Watch and enjoy.

No Country for Old Men – Whoa… Alright, let me put it this way. I am a HUGE Coen Brothers fan. And even I was still unprepared for just how great this movie could be. The Coens can really excel with this type of movie – one that can be so completely riveting and frustrating at the same time. As a warning, the ending will leave a lot of people aggravated, but there shouldn’t be any tidy endings when dealing with such a terrible set of events. And as far as acting… Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Kelly McDonald and… and… hmm. I seem to remember someone else… Oh that’s right, Javier Bardem as possible the most intimidating killer to ever grace the big screen. If the scene with the gas station attendant doesn’t absolutely chill you to the bone, I don’t know what will. I’m really glad the Two-Headed Director won for this one.

Into the Wild – Probably the best film of ’07. I expected to enjoy it, but the story of Chris McCandless is quite fascinating and touching. While some people may feel Sean Penn is just idolizing him, I think it’s actually a very even telling that shows the good with the bad. McCandless connected with a lot of different people in very positive ways. Unfortunately he had a tragic flaw and didn’t understand that these social connections aren’t just niceties, but necessities. It’s the sad tale of someone going from one extreme to the other, and not realizing his mistake until it was too late. I definitely recommend this to everyone.

Superbad – Once it started with all of the vulgarity, I thought it was going to suck. But it gets better and better all the way to the end. And it has a major ingredient for being and awesome film: Michael Cera. Evan, Seth and McLovin are all great teenage characters. The “wacky hijinks” they go through this one night trying to get alcohol for a party are funny, but it’s the tale of their friendships and how much things change in your late teens that really made me enjoy the movie.

Enchanted – If I didn’t already have a crush on Amy Adams, I would now. The best way to sum this movie up: Delightful! I know that sounds corny, but Enchanted is big pile of fun that hits on all of the typical Disney stereotypes – embracing and making fun of them all at once. It’s worth it just for the scene when Amy calls for her animal friends to help her clean up Patrick Dempsey’s apartment and, instead of the usual group of woodland creatures, gets an army of pigeons, rats and cockroaches. Seriously hysterical. Even James Marsden puts on a great performance as the classic Prince Charming character. This is like a classic Disney flick – great for kids and adults.

The Darjeeling Limited – THIS IS A WES ANDERSON FILM. You know how I know that? Because every scene was done so that would be reminded that THIS IS A WES ANDERSON FILM. I love Wes. Rushmore ranks as one of my alltime favorites and The Life Aquatic was brilliant. Even though I though The Royal Tennenbaums was extremely overrated, I still enjoyed it. But he pretty much ruined what was a great idea for a movie with this one. The direction goes beyond quirkiness and just gets in the way of the storytelling. It’s a shame, because there truly were some great moments – the characters and the actors were all solid – but the movie itself felt like an amateurish parody of Anderson films.

Whew! I skipped a few classics that I may talk about later, and I also need to write about the horror movies I watched. Otherwise, this is a good breaking point before I kick off some more viewing to clean off my HTPC.

EDIT: Darn it all to heck! I knew I’d forget one. Dan in Real Life – The first half is great. The second half is predictable. Overall a nice movie, but missed out on being great. Regardless, Steve Carell is awesome.