Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Celebrity doctors

I just got back from the eye doctor; while I was there I discovered that my doctors tend to resemble celebrities. My optometrist looks like Alan Arkin from about 10-15 years ago, and my dentist looks like James Cameron. My lady bits doctor looks a bit like Cheryl Hines (Larry David's wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm, among other things). It makes me want to collect an ensemble cast of specialists surrounding me. It would be like being in a bizzarro Hollywood, where everyone is a genius instead of being a hedonistic liar.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Most Fabulous Theoretical Rock Band Ever

I am now an internet celebrity, sharing space from Adam of Mythbusters and Brian from Guster. I was recognized at the Boiler Room karaoke (yes, I do have that vice now), and promptly snapped and posted on the Treebrains facebook profile:

The group had its humble beginnings in the yard of Steve "the Sneeze." Anyone can join, you don't have to do anything, and the T-shirt is optional. In fact, the T-shirt is now a rarity as they aren't selling them anymore. Check out or to see my lovely visage up close or check out the hilarious posts. Theoretical bands are fun!

Oh, but look at the time!! As it is now after five o'clock, I have lost interest in posting any more on this subject, but will amend it later. Out!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Musical tastes

I was just thinking of this at lunch. Bringing up your music preferences invariable starts a debate about who's better. I've had each of the following arguments with others fairly recently:

David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar – There are three kinds of people in the world. Van Halen lovers, Van Hagar lovers, and people who couldn’t give less of a shit about either of them. I’m one of the former. David Lee Roth was in Van Halen first, so there’s a point for him. He’s honestly quite odd, which is another point in his favor (most people like a spectacle in their lead singers). I happen to like his insane screeching, and would love to be able to mimic it at karaoke. Also, since leaving, he’s been a gigolo and an EMT, and has gotten back together with the Van Halen brothers more times than most celebrity couples. Then there’s Sammy. The guy brought us “I Can’t Drive Fifty-Five” and “There’s Only One Way to Rock” prior to joining the band. Once installed, he pussified them quite quickly (Seriously, “Why Can’t This Be Love?” They’re supposed to be rocking about drop dead legs and stuff). Sure, it’s possible that Eddie might have written the lyrics for some of the Van Hagar songs, in which case, another point goes to Roth for refusing to let Eddie wax romantic during his tenure. I heard Sammy is a nice guy, I’ll give him that, but there’s not enough Cabo Wabo in the world to make me change my allegiance.

David Gilmour vs. Roger Waters – Yes, it’s true, when Roger Waters split, Pink Floyd took a turn into pop territory. Mostly gone were the dark depressing odes to Syd Barrett, dead fathers, and mental illness; and when a dark sounding song did turn up, it seemed to be trying too hard. BUT, Waters did not make Pink Floyd what it was; rather, he worked with Gilmour’s musical skills to make his odd concepts bearable to listen to. When he tried to do it alone, his works came out sounding like pieces of performance art rather than songs. “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict,” anyone? Hint: it can’t even be loosely classified as a song. Or take his post-Floyd album “the Pros and Cons of Hitchiking.” Even in the beginning, right after Syd got dumped, Waters wrote songs that mimicked (not perfectly) Barrett’s compositions. There’s no doubt that Dave is the better musician, but his heart lies with pop, and most Floyd fans aren’t keen on it. So, I will say that this argument is a tough one, but I for one am going to go with the actual music rather than concept. Also, Gilmour has historically been more attractive than Waters, and of course that's important.

Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix vs. Stevie Ray Vaughn – Yes, I know Jimi wrote it. Yes, I know he is a guitar legend. But Jimi’s version is about two and a half minutes, and Stevie’s is almost seven. Also, compared to Stevie’s smooth bluesy style, Jimi’s is quite rough and manic, as if he’s simply waiting to set his Fender on fire again. And I’m sure he meant it to be that way; it is Jimi Hendrix, after all. I have immense respect for the man. I just happen to prefer Stevie’s take on it, mostly due to the fact that he’s made it an instrumental to focus on the melody while Jimi mostly showcased his singing. Hell, they’re both dead and probably beyond caring anyhow, but Stevie it is, for me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Romantic ramblings of a spam generator

I got this as spam's truly poetic:

The Scooby snack teaches the tornado. Any lover can share a shower with the cloud formation inside the tomato, but it takes a real recliner to bury the moldy globule. A tape recorder seeks a sandwich. When you see the ski lodge, it means that the tattered customer goes to sleep. The underhandedly fractured mortician secretly plans an escape from the nearest industrial complex, and the plaintiff from the cashier makes love to a carelessly nuclear tape recorder.

If a freight train caricatures some paycheck about another light bulb, then a carpet tack defined by the submarine procrastinates. When you see some hypnotic reactor, it means that a grizzly bear living with the cargo bay hibernates. While a hypnotic football team rejoices, a briar patch starts reminiscing about lost glory. A fruit cake beyond a bartender competes with the unstable polar bear.

Most people believe that the gentle umbrella often satiates a football team of another ocean, but they need to remember how seldom the geosynchronous light bulb takes a coffee break. If the cheese wheel sanitizes a spider, then an umbrella daydreams. A fundraiser goes deep sea fishing with the grain of sand over a bowling ball, or a blood clot buries the geosynchronous briar patch. Another girl scout related to a photon starts reminiscing about lost glory, and the shabby hole puncher writes a love letter to a defendant. Some single-handedly worldly pork chop reads a magazine, and the diskette hides; however, a mysterious fairy competes with the college-educated photon.

Another mitochondrial particle accelerator procrastinates. For example, an accidentally flatulent class action suit indicates that a mating ritual inexorably buys an expensive gift for a pathetic senator. A turkey prays, and an infected line dancer sweeps the floor; however, the mortician writes a love letter to some seldom purple tabloid. When a skyscraper inside a skyscraper trembles, a greasy plaintiff earns frequent flier miles. Now and then, a ball bearing secretly befriends a knowingly alleged insurance agent. The wheelbarrow living with a fairy, a paper napkin related to the cowboy, and another smelly freight train are what made America great!

Another CEO inside a warranty takes a coffee break, and a so-called pickup truck leaves; however, a fundraiser beyond an ocean knows a roller coaster from a blithe spirit. When you see the wheelbarrow, it means that some carpet tack from a salad dressing starts reminiscing about lost glory. When the proverbial pine cone hibernates, a college-educated graduated cylinder wakes up. The freight train for a mortician has a change of heart about a satellite. Sometimes the college-educated jersey cow flies into a rage, but a wisely obsequious hole puncher always knowingly gives lectures on morality to a tomato!

A fire hydrant inside the grand piano procrastinates, and a chess board for a buzzard hesitates; however, a mean-spirited jersey cow eagerly trades baseball cards with the briar patch. For example, the particle accelerator indicates that a bowling ball figures out the most difficult fruit cake. Most people believe that a turkey completely secretly admires a stoic blood clot, but they need to remember how knowingly the turn signal defined by an apartment building beams with joy. When a tabloid is gentle, the outer globule tries to seduce the inferiority complex. A grand piano around the ski lodge feels nagging remorse, but a satellite secretly admires an asteroid inside an ocean.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day of the Dead...


13. Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert, 1989)

Synopsis – Louis Creed and family move into a small town in Maine. When his cat is hit by a semi (they live on a busy highway, not exactly an ideal location for a young family with pets, if you ask me), his helpful neighbor shows him a special Indian burial ground where the buried dead come back to life. Of course this event foreshadows Louis’ son also getting hit by a semi, and against his neighbor’s protestations (oh yeah, nabe, it’s okay for your dead cat to be inhabited by an ancient demon, but whoops, you shouldn’t bury HUMANS there, that would be too much, forget I even mentioned it, buddy. Have a beer.) Louis buries his son there. Who would suspect a child’s giggle could be so sinister?

How to survive – The neighbor really should have kept his blabbermouth shut. Otherwise, try to forget that your adorable dead tyke’s body is inhabited by a malevolent spirit that’s trying to kill you, and fight dirty. Small task, really.

14. The Serpent and the Rainbow (Wes Craven, 1988)

Synopsis – This one is purportedly based on a true story, and is the only one on the list based on zombies of the drug-induced Haitian variety. Bill Pullman plays Dennis Alan, who has come to Haiti to research zombie lore. In the process, he makes an enemy of the local dictator, and gets buried alive himself.

How to survive – It’s extremely difficult in movies to research anything arcane, particularly voodoo. So spend your time at the beach. Secondly, try not to make the acquaintance/raise the ire of an evil dictator who also happens to be a voodoo priest.

15. Hell House (Lucio Fulci, 1984)

Synopsis – A family of three moves into a house in a small town. The family consists of a high-strung mom, a selfish, possibly serial cheating dad, and a little kid with the most annoyingly dubbed voice imaginable. And sadly, the kid (who is strangely named Bob) talks a lot. So there’s this zombie-like thing in the basement that I think is the previous owner, who was a scientist. At some point or another, every member of the family goes into the basement without harm (I guess the first one’s free, eh?). But, second time down, all bets are off, and the guy wants to eat your flesh. There are actually some very tense moments toward the end. Also, there are several dead end side plots that fail to raise interest, including the dad lusting after the baby sitter, the kid having dreams of the future, and a strange ghost girl that has very little to do with the rest of the movie but apparently falls under “twist ending” in Fulci’s book.

How to survive – In this one, I’ll assume you’re the baby sitter. Sacrifice the entire family, starting with the kid while the dad’s at work, then moving on to the dad, then the mom (who is useless). Then, just walk away. Also, learning to duck would come in real handy if you want to keep your head.

16. Return of the Living Dead 2 (Ken Weiderhorn, 1988)

Synopsis – A canister filled with zombie guts and viral waste tumbles off of a military truck (why was it not secured?) and falls into a ditch. Naturally, two kid come along, and decide to open the canister. Noxious green gas escapes, and quickly infects the town. The kids, some old guys, and some other people run around trying to avoid getting infected, and also try to put a stop to it. There’s a Michael Jackson parody here, as well as a touching scene in which a boyfriend (recently made a zombie) convinces his girlfriend that if she loved him, she’d let him eat her brain. She does. Also, dig the 80’s music.

How to survive – I can’t complain about how they handled it here. The majority of them survive, and the way they do it is on track.

17. Return of the Living Dead 3 (Brian Yuzna, 1994)

Synopsis – Funny how I have seen 2 and 3 but not one. So in this one, the military is up to its usual antics, and develops a serum that makes soldiers invincible! Unfortunately, sudden deathness and return to life as a brain-craving zombie is a major side effect. It only occurs in 100% of patients. This girl and her boyfriend have been involved in a fatal (for her) motorcycle accident, and surprise, his dad is one of the guys who’s been working on the experiment. Unable to face the loss of the actress who ended up being Mischa Barton’s mom on the OC, the guy takes her dead body to the compound and infects her with the serum. She comes back as a zombie, but is able to control the cravings by repeatedly cutting/stabbing herself. By the end of the movie she looks like a glass mosaic gone horribly wrong.

How to survive – Drive responsibly on your motorcycle. If you’re a scientist working on a top secret experiment that makes zombies, don’t tell your kid.

18. Dead Alive (Peter Jackson, 1992)

Synopsis – This is way before the Lord of the Rings franchise. I bet most who watched this would not even correlate that this was made by the same guy. So, a guy named Lionel and his mom go to the zoo, where she gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey (I hate monkeys) and begins to develop a taste for human flesh. At first, Lionel tries to cover it up/deny the problem, until things get wildly out of control. He’s entirely too popular to hide the fact that his mom is a cannibalistic zombie.

How to survive – Don’t take your mom to the zoo. If you do, and she gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey, and begins to crave your skin, send her to a nursing home, stat.

But wait, there's more...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Zombies, Second Wave

And it continues...

7. Evil Dead Trilogy (Sam Reimi, Rob Tapert)

Synopsis – Bruce Cambell is Ash, an everyman we can all relate to at the beginning of the first film, and a true action hero by the end of the third. We first find him and his friends on a holiday in a remote cabin in the woods. Little do they know, the cabin contains the book of the dead, which is a portal that allows the Deadites to invade their living bodies. The second film is pretty much a hilarious remake, and though Ash loses his hand in this one, I like to think he’s actually gaining a chainsaw. In the third, he’s sucked into medieval times by the portal, coming to the aid of a couple of kings with mullets in their quest to defeat the Deadite infestation. All this in order to return home to his dead end job. Shop smart, shop S-Mart.

How to survive – Pretty much do whatever Ash says. Never argue with anyone who has a chainsaw for an arm. And don’t lock anyone in the cellar.

8. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (Bob Clark, 1972)

Synopsis – This movie is not made by Dick Clark’s brother. At least not that I know of. A group of friends go to an abandoned house on an island to horse around with a corpse. They end up performing some sort of ritual with it and of course the corpse gets mad and comes back to life. This seems like a film made by an asshole teacher and his students who wanted to make a cult classic. To some, it is. To me, it’s utter crap.

How to survive – Respect the dead, for starters. Not all corpses like the Weekend at Bernie’s bit. Also, if you DO happen to raise the ire of a corpse, make an offering of the biggest asshole among you (that would be Alan) and save yourselves.

9. Creepshow “Something to Tide You Over” (George Romero, Stephen King, 1982)

Synopsis – Leslie Nielsen plays a wealthy yet dangerous man who is being cuckolded by his wife with Ted Danson. To exact revenge, he buries the lovebirds up to their necks in the sand at the tideline. He videotapes their demise at the hands of the sea, watching (and probably rewinding again and again) with rapturous pleasure. After the tide has gone back out, he inspects the scene of the crime to find their bodies missing. Thinking they either washed out to sea or got buried completely, he beams at the job well done. Later, they amble up to his house looking like someone dumped a truckload of Nori seaweed on them and sounding like Janis Joplin after too many cigarettes. You can guess what happens next.

How to survive – Ahh, zombie revenge on murdurous revenge on a pair of cheaters is a tough one. My suggestion would be to spend less time gloating over the murders you just committed, and maybe take an immediate trip somewhere far, far away. Preferably in the middle of a large land mass some distance from the beach. Best to just let ole Sam Malone have the cheating bitch and hope god blessed you with the foresight to have her sign a pre-nup.

10. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, 2004)

Synopsis – Adorable loser Shaun (Simon Pegg) loses his girlfriend, then wins her back during a hilarious zombie invasion of England. Sharply witty, with great acting, subtle parody of the genre, and Coldplay as zombies. Shaun leads the gang through the ‘hood to his favorite haunt, the Winchester pub. On the way they get lessons in acting like zombies to blend in, wreck a couple of cars, and do away with a stuffy roommate. One of the best parts is when they beat the crap out of the zombified pub owner and his wife with pool cues to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

How to Survive – Actually, though his mother, his stepdad, his best friend, and his girlfriend’s flatmates get picked off by zombies, Shaun does a pretty good job of trying to get them to safety(they’re just stupid/slow/heroic). Of the ones who died the flatmates could have lived if they just hadn’t decided to fight in front of a large window.

11. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)

Synopsis – Cillian Murphy wakes up alone in a hospital with a bad haircut. To top off his awesome day, he finds out he’s one of a handful of people who hasn’t been infected with a virus that makes super fast, super contagious zombies. He and two girls end up at a military base run by angry Christopher Eccleston, and he finds he not only has to protect the girls from the zombies, but also from the soldiers.

How to Survive – Wear goggles and surgical masks at all times when outside. In fact, wear hazmat suits if you can. Don’t waltz around on the open street, and definitely don’t seek out the help of the military. More often than not in these movies, they’re deeply involved in the outbreak, and/or just plain horny assholes.

12. Land of the Dead (George Romero AGAIN, 2005)

Synopsis – There is one last outpost of humanity, and it plays like Jabba the Hut’s digs. About three people AREN’T assholes, and everybody else is. Somehow Dennis Hopper has duped everyone into believing money is still important, and George Romero’s usual “who’s worse, us or them?” theme is prevalent. Meanwhile, the zombies have learned to stop staring dumbly at fireworks and start thinking about how to get into the city, to eat all those glorious, greedy brains. In this one also, zombies have shown that they really don’t mind taking a stroll under water to get where they’re going.

How to survive – Firstly, kill Dennis Hopper. Then, get the hell away from the other assholes, taking your armored truck into a less populated area. If none of these options work for you, definitely don’t sympathize with the zombies and forlornly say, “they deserve to live, too.” One can bet that the zombies won’t agree, and will eat your brain while you stand there struggling internally with ethics.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Zombies, Exhibit A

Let's do these in sixes, shall we?

The following are only zombie movies I have seen, and I have usually picked the original rather than the remake. See previous post for details. Moving on...

1. Ship of Zombies (Armando de Ossorio, 1974)

Synopsis – Some Italian lesbians and inept men climb aboard a ghost ship to explore. Come dark, zombies that look like peat bog mummies come to life, dismembering the majority of the speaking cast before the blond hero and the girl (who decides she isn’t a lesbian after all in the face of his average physique) get away from the ship. This is probably the first zombie movie I had ever seen, at the tender age of ten or so. Of course, I’ve seen it since then, once I was able to track it down.

How to survive – Throwing the coffins of the zombies overboard, then throwing yourself overboard and swimming ashore might not be the best idea ever. Zombies don’t have to breathe underwater.

2. Cemetery Man (Michele Soavi, 1994)

Synopsis – Poor put-upon cemetery caretaker Francesco Dellamorte (played convincingly hetero by Rupert Everett) has his hands full not only with his odd, simple assistant, but with the occupants of the graves returning to life a few days after interment. Also, they live in a snowglobe.

How to survive – Dellamorte does a good job with his dum-dum bullets, but a word of advice to him would be not to have sex with your new girlfriend on her dead husband’s grave. And throwing up on a girl may not get you a date immediately, but once she’s only a decapitated head, she may find you oddly irresistible.

3. Dawn of the Dead (Original, George Romero, 1978)

Synopsis – Zombies abound due to a mysterious virus. Our four intrepid heroes hole up in a shopping mall to wait it out. Three of them lack common sense but one of those three is a pregnant woman, so you know she’s going to survive regardless.

How to survive – Pretty much assume that any other survivors, savory or not, are also going to be attracted to the plethora of goods contained in your shopping mall. Barricade yourselves in your cozy lair until the assholes leave again. Don’t sneak around trying to get a good look at them; one will definitely spot you and follow you. And yes, it sucks to have to clear your mall of zombies twice. Use shotguns. Or better yet, lure them all out onto the ice rink and entertain yourself with their wacky antics as they slide around trying to get you.

4.Thriller (John Landis, 1983)

Synopsis – Begins with the preposterous premise of Michael Jackson on a date with a girl, and goes downhill from there. (Okay, it’s an extended music video, but I couldn’t resist.)

How to survive – Zombies love to dance! By all means, show ‘em your moves!

5. Demons (Lamberto Bava, 1985)

Synopsis – A girl gets a flier from a mysterious guy (Michele Soavi!) to attend a film at a newly opened theatre. After everyone settles in, someone gets infected by touching a mysterious demon mask, and hilarity ensues as the zombie virus spreads throughout the now locked theatre. It’s almost as if someone planned this catastrophe.

How to survive – I’ll tell you how to prevent this shit: put velvet ropes around the mask, or perhaps building a Plexiglas box for it. Otherwise, survival depends on getting yourself holed up somewhere no one would think to look.

6. Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)

Synopsis – Duane Jones takes leadership of a group of survivors in a farmhouse, barricading it from an onslaught of zombies that wandered in from the local cemetery. There’s a wicked scene involving a little girl, a garden trowel, and her jerkface dad. I’ve never looked at garden trowels the same since. This film is notable for two things – it’s got a black hero, which is rare for a time when black people still hadn’t made it out of servant roles, and it’s also got an implied budding interracial relationship. Yay, George Romero, for your forward thinking!

How to survive – Keep your head. And if somehow you make it through the night intact, it’s a good idea to make some sort of sandwich board proclaiming that you are definitely NOT a zombie before leaving the house. Tune in soon, for six more.