Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

I Heart Robocop

I do.

I saw Robocop for the first time during one of our annual family vacation trips to Upper Michigan. Mom was cool enough to take us to the theater (1 screen, of course) in Ispheming, Michigan. To this day I recall that one of the trailers they showed prior to the movie was for a re-release of Disney's "Snow White". And then they showed one of the most intensely violent movies I had seen in my young life.

The movie has aged a little oddly. Some of the fashions thought no further than 1988. A good chunk of the technology barely surpasses 1990. But the movie's wink-and-a-nod look at corporate control of public trusts and the interstitial TV bits feel a little bit on the nose... Especially the Yamaha artificial heart commercial which seemed absurd in 1987, but now...

I also dig the story about Murphy recovering himself despite what's been done to him by crooks, OCP R&D, and what befalls him when he tries to move beyond his programming.

Robocop shoots a ton of people in this movie

The action sequences were cool if not a bit pre-dated by Terminator's equally nuts robot stop-motion and crazy gunplay sequences. The villains were some seriously evil, evil dudes, played by guys who would go on to star as Eric's dad on "That 70's Show" and another guy who wound up as a doctor on ER for a while (Jamie informs me his character lost an arm to a helicopter. I'm not clear on the specifics.) Plus, a young Miguel Ferrer, one of my favorite guys in any TV show or movie.

Dead or alive, you're going with Robocop

Peter Weller rocks as Robocop/ Murphy, and manages to make the transition from man to machine and back again in a way a lesser actor might have stumbled. And, darn it, why doesn't Nancy (Officer Anne Lewis) Allen get more parts? The last time I saw her was in "Out of Sight", I think, playing a supporting part. (And speaking of Allen's... why don't we see more Karen Allen? I know she isn't in Robocop, but I like Karen Allen, too).

Plus, you know, ED-209. Oh yes, ED-209.

You have 20 seconds to agree that ED-209 is totally awesome

Like many Verhoeven movies, Robocop is exceedingly violent. Not Wild Bunch violent, but its got its moments. So if you've just seen the movie once, and all you remember is a lot of squibs bursting open... I suggest you check the movie out again and note that there's a very sci-fi but kind of sad story about a dead cop, corporate corruption and a world slowly going nuts beneath the heaped upon layers of smoke and bullets.

Verhoeven also directed Total Recall, another sci-fi action flick/ satire that ALSO becomes more enjoyable on multiple viewings (and, to a lesser extent, Starship Troopers. A movie which always makes me cackle.). Total Recall also throws in a heaping dose of Arnie, so it's just a big stew of the stuff I loved in the late 80's.

Anyhow, I salute you, Robocop! Your sequels and TV shows got steadily goofier, but the first movie is still a good movie to stumble upon on a Friday night.

I dunno. I just really like Robocop. I thought I'd share.

Still, it is no R.O.T.O.R.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson was hit by a car driven by Mary Dodgen on the night of July 3rd, 2006. Jason found out in the early hours of July the 4th and returned to Austin. He was not at the concert when Jeff was hit as he was visiting with Jamie and me at our parents' house in Spring. We were supposed to be coming into town to tell my folks we were moving back to Texas, but had let it slip beforehand.

Kim and Sigmund Bloom were also struck, as well as two other men. Jeff passed on July 10th, 2006.

There's an article in today's Statesman about the current status of the case.

It's been a long year for Mandy, Jeff's parents (Don and Jajuan), Kim, Sigmund, Jason and a whole lot of people in Austin.

Jeff occasionally commented on these pages. He maintained his own blog. He assisted with the briefly lived media blog "Nanostalgia", with which many a-Leaguer participated. I knew Jeff mostly through e-mail, online, and a few times we'd visited while I was in Austin.

I didn't know Jeff as well as most folks, but I know Jeff is missed profoundly by all.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July the 4th, EoD

I've run this once before, but in the spirit of the holiday...

Beware, this video has naughty, naughty words.

We didn't do much. I slept late, did some stuff for work, it rained, went to the store. Returned a clock/weather radio I'd bought as (a) it wouldn't tune in to the weather frequency, and (b) if it lost power, despite battery back-up, the radio would turn off (but it would keep the time). It's a weather radio. Seriously, Timex... what the hell? What, exactly, were the criteria you assigned the engineers working on this piece of junk?

I'm not 100% positive I need a weather radio, but I'm also not 100% certain I DON'T need one.

Anyhow, we cooked some burgers with Matt. He ate my hotdog without permission, but we had plenty of food, so no big deal.

Went and bought fireworks and set them off in Buda. Never buy 48 jumping jacks, even if they are only $4. Do buy the artillery shells. Matt put on quite a show.

More dull days need to end with fireworks.


I actually grew up with this picture hanging in our hallway. I have no idea what happened to it.

Hey, Leaguers! Happy 4th of July!

Today's the day 231 years ago when we threw off the shackles of King George and went full tilt towards becoming the Robosaurus loving nation we would one day become.

The League of Melbotis salutes our nation, our troops, our first responders and, of course, the Red, White and Blue.

I hope everyone has a fantastic 4th!

And, if you get an opportunity, punch an Englishman in the face for not just giving us our independence when we asked for it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jill solves dog energy crisis

Arden puts cute doggy in inescapable death grip

Of course! If the dog is hyper, obtain a child. Apply child to dog...

It's really the only way I can think of to get Lucy to quit trying to sit on me when I'm playing Wii or on my laptop. I'm totally going to the Mall and looking for a lay-a-way plan for a kid this weekend.

Transformers Plus Robosaurus = Awesome x 1 Zillion

Tonight was Transformers + Robosaurus = Awesome. Peabo, if you heard lots of roaring of both crowd and robotic dinosaur from your home, you were right to tremble with fear and awe.

We were joined by JackBart and his fried, Tara. We also caught up with Denby (and hubby Mike) as well as Amy C. Steanso, of course, was in attendance.

The Alamo South promised a transformative experience

I am afraid I am at a bit of a loss for how to describe "Transformers". Some parts seemed set for an adult crowd, and then, literally the next moment, you would be reminded "ah... this is for kids".

Little boys will love this movie. And big boys, like myself, will be severely disappointed one moment and then rapt in amazement at the craziness I am seeing on screen. If nothing else, Transformers delivers a superhero picture on a scale worthy of the Transformers franchise. It's a bit tough to convey how amazing some of the sequences really were. It's also a bit stupefying how utterly goofy I found much of the movie.

I've decided to come down on the side of "Wow, what a crazy technical achievement". But I still think Michael Bay is one of the most questionable talents in Hollywood. As much effort as he was willing to put into the movie, it wasn't that he didn't seem to take the characters seriously, it was almost as if he was experiencing some of that embarassment that directors used to feel making big budget superhero films in the 80's and early 90's, before Spidey made it respectable.

But, as Jason said, "What did you want? A grown up movie about a line of toys for kids?" I dunno.

Pair that with some of the most incredible stuff I've seen on film in quite a while, and I have to state that it's at least worth seeing on teh big screen for the damn spectacle of it all. And... Optimus Prime.


But if you're looking for 4th of July viewing, I'd probably still recommend Ratatouille first, which is a cartoon about a rat which is probably better suited to adults who like a good glass of wine than kids looking for fart jokes.

But let's get real... we came for the movie, we stayed for the Robosaurus!

ROBOSAURUS!!! He's destroying cars for the Spirit of 1776.

Apparently folks who landed tickets for the 8:45 show got rained on and Robosaurus spit no fire. We were dry and got two shows' worth of fireballs and amazing carnage. Add in a live band, wanton destruction, the fire department (on hand in case an audience member spontaneously combusted from sheer awesome overload)and the most baffled MC to hit S. Austin in many a moon...

The poor MC was clearly used to Monster Truck shows and dirt bike rallies and seemed a bit confused by the fact that the mention we were in Texas did not elicit applause, nor when he went oddly jingoistic and declared (with no trace of irony) that Robosaurus was tearing cars apart for the 4th of July and the The Spirit of 1776.

What did get applause? Fireball.

Okay, you guys got my cameraphoen shots, and I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

The car-nage

Monday, July 02, 2007

Robosaurus Chaos

I received an e-mail from the Alamo South in regards to the Transformers/ Robosaurus event. After seeing the chaos at Alamo South for just a regular showing of Ratattouille this evening (totally awesome movie, btw), I can only imagine the chaos which shall be associated with Transformers. They're actually opening the doors at 1:00 PM for this event, so I have no idea what to expect. Chaos, I think.

I plan to be at the theater prior to 6:00 if I can help it.

I guess if you see me, give me a shout. I'll also have on my phone if you wish to coordinate.

Thanks to Carla and David

Before I forget... a special thanks to Carla and David for having us over for dinner on Friday. Or to Carla. I don't think David knew we would be there when he arrived from the airport. But he was still willing to talk turkey about Galactus and other important topics when he did arrive.

Carla made sloppy joes, which sounds less exciting than it was. I don't know where Carla gets her recipes, but these sloppy joes rocked the casbah. Well done, Carl.

We shall reconvene in the not-too-distant future.