May 31, 2007

Wastin' Away Again

Once again, since I like what I like, I am heading off to my favorite vacation spot. Key West.

I had to spill the beans to Gia because of packing issues (Seriously, how the hell can you take a woman on a mystery vacation without her packing her entire fucking wardrobe?), and she practically jumped for joy. Actually she did jump, and it was fun to watch. ;)

Once again if you need to get in touch with me, I will be here. We definitely will be there watching the show on Friday night and/or Saturday night, so check out the web-cam for all the fun and excitement. Check out their blog too. I'm gonna try to finagle myself into one of the pictures on there somehow.

It's going to be hot and humid, but we don't care. The place we are staying (actually, I split it up and we are staying at two different joints), has A/C and a pool, so there will be plenty of inactivity. Plus, I'm sure if we try hard enough we can find someplace to have a cold, alcoholic beverage or twelve.

Hee hee! See y'all when I get back!

PS - Hey, I just realized that this is my 99th post. I'll have to come back with some great stories for #100.

May 24, 2007

What a character

I was saddened last night watching the season finale of Lost.

Not because the season was over, that is sad, but because they killed off one of my favorite characters on the show played by one of my favorite character actors. Friendly Tom, played by M.C. Gainey.

I love this guy. He's a bit player in just about everything that he does, but he always shines. Whether he's playing the no-such-a-bad-guy Swamp Thing in Con Air, or the evil Earl (nice!) in Breakdown, or the film version of Roscoe P. Coltrane in Dukes of Hazzard...this guy is always good. And who can forget his full frontal scene in Sideways? Yikes!

I love me some character actors. They often get the shit roles in films, and they never get to appear on Letterman, but they often mean so much to the film.

Here are three of my other favorite unsung heroes:

Cliff Curtis - This guy is truly special. It doesn't matter that he is New Zealand Maori descent. He has played many, many different racial and ethnic types. He has played Arabs in Three Kings, The Insider and The Majestic, and Hispanics in Training Day, Blow and Collateral Damage. He first came to my attention as the Bully, the child rapist in Once Were Warriors...a truly brutal and incredible film. Unlike Gainey, he gets to play sympathetic roles on occasion as well. He was great in Whale Rider and in the TV mini-series "Traffic".

Dennis Farina - Yeah, he basically keeps playing the same character over and over again. The wise-cracking mob boss or the wise-cracking cop. But he does it sooooo well. I guess being a former Chicago cop helps out. He stole the show from Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin in Midnight Run, and he was perfect as Ray Barboni in Get Shorty. Always fun!

Alfre Woodard - An immensely talented woman who rarely gets the starring roles that she so deserves. From Grand Canyon to Passion Fish to Primal Fear to Star Trek: First Contact to Love and Basketball...she always shines. Gotta admit, I've had a bit of a crush on her for the longest time now. As Jason Lee's character in Mumford says "She's a good-looking woman".

May 22, 2007

Today's Rant

Do you know what I really hate?

Those ads on TV for prescription drugs. Seems like most of them these days are for dudes who can't get it up, but they also have ones for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, etc...

They make no sense to me. Do we, the viewers at home, see those commercials and say "Aha...I need to tell my doctor about Provasic (RDU-90)" or whatever drug they are hocking with soft light and gentle breezes on the commercial? Doesn't my doctor already know about Provasic and what it can and can't do, and isn't he/she the best judge of what drugs I need?

By the way, two points if you can come up with where I got the fictional name Provasic from?

I know, I know...doctors are influenced by many things when it comes to prescribing drugs, especially if there is more than one drug that can be used for whatever ails you. The reps from the drug companies push their product onto the medical community with all kinds of perks, but still I don't think my doctor is going to assign me some pills that will negatively affect me.

I dunno...the whole process seems weird. Just who are those ads targeting? Me? My doctor?

I do really enjoy the disclaimers at the end, though. "Do not take Provasic if you are have any liver problems or if you have more than 3 drinks a week (!!!). Provasic shouldn't be prescribed if you are pregnant, are thinking about getting pregnant or if you just don't give a fuck if you get pregnant because you are only going to get an abortion anyway."

My favorite was this one drug called FloMax or something like that. It's to help men with enlarged prostates have a better and firmer stream during urination or so they say. One of the warnings was "If you are considering cataract surgery, please consult with your doctor before taking FloMax."

WTF! What could cataract surgery possible have to do with medication to give you a better piss? I'm sure there is a real reason, but it still made me laugh.

May 16, 2007

Odds n Sods

Just a few things on a Wednesday lunch-time:

  • I realized a little late that Slyde is away in the Dominican Republic and he is recording all of his favorite shows while he is away. One of them being Survivor, which I revealed the winner in my previous post. Hopefully he is having way too much fun to putz around on the Internet while he is away. I did shoot him a text message saying as much. Don't know if he received it or not. Oops!
  • Had a blast last night watching my friends play their third game in the inaugural season of JD's women's softball team. They won 29-8 for their first victory and they have some real good players. Next week, I'm bringing the lounge chair and a cooler of beers.
  • Speaking of sports, the Yankees kinda suck right now. I'm hoping they start to turn things around with a sweep of the ChiSox starting with a double-header today. A-Rod need to find that April magic again, and Matsui, Cano and Abreu simply have to start hitting like they can.
  • Had drinks at Besito again last night. We are really starting to love that place.
  • Taking Gia away for a super-secret mini-vacation in two weeks. Don't even ask me where I'm taking her, because its super-secret (and she reads this shit). But I'm looking forward to it and it can't get here soon enough.
  • Speaking of Gia, she is off for the full weekend coming up (whoooo-hoooo) and it's sorely needed. She has been filling in for the owner for the past few weeks while he has been recuperating from surgery. She needs the time off. Maybe we will head into NYC for some good times. Especially if the weather stays as nice as it has been the past few days. 70+ and sunny. Nice!
  • Have to head out sometime today or tomorrow to buy birthday gifts for two of my nieces (Sarah - 5, and Audrey - 3) as well as one of my nephews (David - 4). Did I mention that there are 7 more? Big family. Big.

May 14, 2007

His name is Earl

My tagged post from Kat is directly below, but let me just take a moment to congratulate Earl Cole on winning the Fiji edition of Survivor last night.

Just goes to show that all Earls rule! WTG, big guy!

Earls of the World...Rejoice!!!

Tagged again...

This time from Kat, but as I told her I'm only doing the second part of the thingy. So here goes:

The rules:
1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Kat (Ontario, Canada)
B.E. Earl (Huntington, NY)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

Canterbury Ales - Good English-style pub food (is that an oxymoron?) and a great selection of draft beers. Plus the lovely and talented Gia is the manager there. Reason enough to give it a go.

Musashino - A Korean-owned Japanese/Korean sushi restaurant that serves out-of-this-world fresh seafood prepared by the man behind the bar, Charlie Joo. Gotta sit at the sushi bar and try his world famous oysters. Super stuff. In a town and area filled with sushi joints, this one stands out.

Mac's Steakhouse - Never liked the name, but this steak joint that is seemingly always in transition seems to have found it's niche. Gone are the days of uber-priced meals, the restaurant has managed to lower it's prices while maintaining its great service. With the addition of a new destination steakhouse here in town (Prime), Mac's has its work cut out for itself. Let's hope they survive the battle.

Besito - I've actually only been to this place for drinks before last Wednesday. Now, I've eaten there twice and I'm ready to sing their praises. Upscale Mexican food (another oxymoron?) with a great tequila menu. Gia and I ate there last night and it was fabu. She had a drink called a "Michelada" that included beer, lime juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire and a salted rim...and she lurved it! Food was great too!

Cafe Buenos Aires - A new player in town in a location that has had more than it's share of failed restaurants. Hopefully this one sticks. As the name suggests, Argentinian fare and a great tapas bar are the attractions here. The bar needs a little work on its selection, but the wines and the caipirinhas (brown sugar, lime, cachaca) are first-rate. Should succeed as the principal owner has a devoted following in town from his work at other area restaurants.

Close, but no cigar: Red, Umberto's, Oaxaca, Thai USA, JD's, Cassis and many more. This town has nothing but restaurants and bars, yo!

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged. - Nah, let's not and say we did.

May 9, 2007

beep, bop, boop

My town has a mailbox that they painted up like R2D2.

I finally got to send some mail the other day from R2, and it made me so happy!

God, I'm such a geek!

May 7, 2007


As I mentioned in my previous post (for all three of you reading this), I had a major cold that knocked me silly for a good portion of the last month.

It lasted about a week at first, and then I gave it to Gia. I guess I wasn't quite over it because I still wasn't sleeping through the night. I would sleep for about an hour and a half at first, wake up soaking wet as my fever broke or something, then sleep on and off in 20 minute increments for the next few hours.

It really sucked!

And then, just like that old cat of legend, the cold came back. Probably caught it on the rebound from Gia. Even worse this time. Sore throat, stuffed head, all that shit! And still no sleep for the weary.

Well, all that finally changed last Wednesday night. I went to bed with the same feeling of dread that I had the previous three weeks. Ready to wake up in an hour or so and then toss and turn for the next 7 hours.

But it was bliss. I woke up in exactly the same position I was in the night before. I looked over to my nightstand and I saw that I had a full bottle of water there which said to me that I never woke up and had a drink - which had been part of my pattern. So I lay there wondering if I made it 5 or maybe even 6 hours without waking when I looked at my alarm clock.

8 hours! 8 hours of pure heaven! I almost couldn't believe it. I literally jumped out of bed in exultation. It was the best I had felt in almost a month.

I was beginning to think that I was never going to have a normal night of sleep again in my life. Now I've had my share of sleep problems (Restless leg syndrome), but they usually affected me going to sleep...not staying asleep. This was a first for me. But it looks like the darkest days are over.

So, knock on wood, things have been great since then. I'm catching up on my z's like you wouldn't believe. Eight great hours a night. Afternoon naps this past weekend. I feel like a new man.

So for all of you suffering with sleep disorders out there (Slyde, Kat, etc...), I felt your pain. But I never want to feel it again.

I treasure my sleep too much!

May 1, 2007

May Day re-post (hah!)

Taking a look at the calendar this morning, I saw that we are done with April and I say good riddance! I had a cold that kicked my ass for about half of the month, and the other half wasn't that great either.

But it is now May, May 1st in fact. And May 1st brings to mind all the wonderful pagan rituals celebrated in the film The Wicker Man. Not the crappy remake. The glorious original.

And that brings us to the following hunk-o-junk that I posted on Slyde's site last February. Feel free to enjoy it's nutty goodness once again. Or to dance naked around the May pole. Whichever you prefer. - Earl

Wicked Smaht
By B.E. Earl
02/05/2006 8:54 AM EST

Hey kids! Have you ever watched a film and decided that you didn't really like and/or understand it at first only to decide at a later time that you actually did like it and that it has gotten under your skin a bit? This happens to me an awful lot. It happened just recently with a so-called classic horror film called The Wicker Man from 1973. As you know, both Slyde and I are big fans of the horror genre, but neither of us had ever seen this classic until I had the chance to purchase the DVD sometime last week.

Let me give you a brief set-up to the movie. In modern day (early 70's) Scotland, a policeman (Edward Woodward) from the mainland is lured to a small island in the Hebrides to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. He encounters a strange group of villagers who act as if they had never seen the girl before. He also encounters the islander's strange religious and sexual practices which is disconcerting to him as he is a devout (and quite repressed) Christian. Suspecting that the girl has been sacrificed or is about to be sacrificed as part of some neo-pagan ritual, he stays on the island in an effort to save the young lass. I'll not go any further in case any of you haven't seen this gem, but let's just say things start to go awry for our young, repressed hero.

I'm not quite sure why I gave it a thumbs-down after my first viewing. It surely wasn't what I expected. There were horror elements to be sure, but I certainly wouldn't classify it solely as a horror film. The first half of the film played out almost as a musical, if you can believe that. There were songs sung in pubs, in fields, around the maypole, and even one extraordinarily strange seduction sung by the landlord's daughter to the policeman while in different rooms! It also didn't go a long way towards explaining some of the strange imagery on the island, but I guess at that point I had already semi-given up on the film.

That next day, however, I found that it HAD gotten under my skin a little. I began to research a little of the background of the film and it started to fascinate me even more. You see, this film was the brainchild of writer Anthony Shaffer, director Robin Hardy and star Christopher Lee. In fact, Lee was not paid a dime for his acting in this film although he continues to call it his favorite film that he had ever worked in. This project was very close to his heart and he wanted to see it completed. Had he accepted his normal fee the film may never have gotten off the ground. Mr. Shaffer had wanted to do a smart, contemporary British horror film which then turned into a morality play, and partly made that weird left turn into musical/drama. The studio which had made the film (British Lion, I believe) was sold soon after shooting had completed and the new head of the studio, Michael Deeley, was not quite sold on the film. In fact, after an early viewing of the film with Shaffer and Lee, he asked them what they thought of it. They believed that it was one of the finest things that either of them had worked on. He replied that it was quite possibly the worst film he had ever seen.

Well, if the head of your studio believes that about your film it ain't gonna be easy to get them to distribute it. They tried to convince Roger Corman to distribute it in the US, but his offer was too low for the studio to accept. It soon found another distributor, but without the clout that Corman could bring to the table the film shot quickly to obscurity even though it drew rave reviews. However, it soon began to rise in the underground as a cult classic. Theaters were playing the film at midnight showings to sold-out audiences. With the advent of VHS (and DVD later on) the legend of the film has continued to grow. There are fanzines, websites and festivals dedicated to the film. One disappointing note is that the original negative to the film has been lost to history. It is believed that it was accidentally included in some garbage that was used for landfill in England's M3 motorway. Mr. Lee deduces that was a direct result of the dislike that Mr. Deeley had for the film!

So, with new information in hand I decided to watch the film a second time and damn if I didn't love it this time around! Even the weird musical scenes were a delight to watch. And the conflict between the repressed Christian ideology of Woodward and the neo-pagan joy of the villagers was especially juicy to behold. Britt Ekland (dubbed by Annie Ross to portray a Scottish accent), Ingrid Pitt (strangely, the producers kept her Polish accent) and Diane Cilento were all beautiful and quite magnetic on the screen. But it was the thoroughly delightful Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle that stole the show. He was funny, thoughtful, smart and not at all outwardly evil as the ringleader of the neo-pagans. A very different Lee than the one I had grown up on when he was doing all those Hammer horror films. He didn't look so awful in a dress towards the end of the film either. I guess you have to see the film to understand that last bit.

Now this classic is being remade for 2006 release with Nicolas Cage as the police officer. They've also switched locales from an island off Scotland to an island off the Puget Sound in Washington (or somewhere in Maine...I've seen both written). Now, I hate to bash a movie before it is released, but I am of the opinion that they should have left this one alone. If they had to remake it I would have preferred that the producers keep the Scottish flavor as the influence of the Celtic pagan rituals will be hard to maintain in an American version. And Nicolas Cage? Ugh!

Anyway, as I stated in the opening sentence, I like when a film gets under my skin a bit. This one had me researching Celtic pagan rituals which is not so easy since the history is murky at best. You see there was no written documentation of these rituals, so what remains today sometimes feels like a bad game of telephone...but played over a couple of thousand years instead of whispered around the room at a party. The maypole, the fire dance, John Barleycorn and the wicker man itself all are a part of early pagan practices although any specifics are hard to come by. This film left me wanting more, and I think that is one of the marks of a truly great piece of art.