Me and My Nine Iron

October 28, 2010

Spam calls

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 4:11 pm

Like most people, I won’t pick up if an unrecognizable number calls me. In the

Oh, hey, ya'll.

past week, I’ve gotten voicemails to my cell phone from a gay guy and a Vietnamese guy who left his message in his native tongue. Well, they both did. Zing! Both were clearly looking for someone else, as the gay guy mentioned in reference to my answering message, “You sound different,” in almost the exact same tone as Bruce from Family Guy. (Should that be slash Herbert, the pederast?)

It half-sounded like a business call from New York; I sure hope he got his contract concern resolved. The other was a 408 number from Milpitas. For a second there, I thought you had something to do with it, Chris. Maybe, I should’ve saved it and had you translate it for me. I can tell you this, he didn’t sound too happy.

If there’s anything I want from my new Attorney General, it’s stricter enforcement of harassing and law-breaking telemarketers. I know I won’t get it, and the FCC responded to my complaints saying they couldn’t find the companies in violation of anything. The National Do Not Call Registry is now rendered completely useless and out of nowhere, these unwanted calls have been made so frequently to my house that I’ve had to utilize my new AT&T U-verse Voice feature to block these assholes. Did you know telemarketers can call until 9p?

I feel I’ll exceed my limit of 20 blocked numbers in due time, it’s that bad. I’m talking several times a day, every single day – per company. And I don’t even know why these particular companies even call. A newspaper subscription company is among the top of the list of harassers; that’s a fine business, but you’re in Missouri and I live in California. What are you thinking? I don’t give two shits about your local news. And I’m not even counting the political calls I receive, which for no good reason is held an exception to the Do Not Call list.

So why don’t I just answer these calls and tell each company to put me on its do not call list like I’m supposed to? Because I physically can’t. The worst part of these calls is that they act like kids’ crank calls. Apparently, what happens is computers call house numbers automatically, even when there aren’t any operators to handle them. The calls then hang up immediately, realizing they fucked up. So you never even talk to anybody.

Only from a Google search of the numbers displayed on my Caller ID do I find out there are multiple threads of people complaining about the very same numbers and the very same habit of those very callers hanging up on them. I wish I had an ‘Ignore’ button on my home phone so I can at least do away with the incessant ringing.

It seems like for most things in this country, if you just go by the book and hope that the system will bestow upon you the righteousness you expect, you won’t get what you want.

BJ

October 26, 2010

What would you do?

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 7:53 pm

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in that you’d probably call the cops if you witnessed a burglary on your neighbor’s house. What about for a drunk driver?

I was riding in a car next to one coming home from a late-night fast food run on Saturday. I mean, drunk like you wouldn’t believe someone would be that dumb to get behind the wheel. The kind of drunk that registers triple the limit when you get pulled over. The drunk that kills an Angels pitcher the night of his major league debut.

We first noticed this guy to the right of us when he didn’t immediately go on the green. He swerved through the two right lanes, braked in the middle of the road and braked late at the next stoplight. My driver was concerned with getting the hell out of there and left it up to me whether I wanted to report him. I decided not to, and my illogical rational was that I’d report the next one.

You don’t need to read MADD’s list to spot a drunk driver. It might actually confuse you in wondering if the dude’s drunk or getting road head. Either way, call the cops. They’re the same too; you think you can drive past it, but you can’t hide it. I promise you.

What’s up with MADD anyway? Whatever happened to FADD? Dads care to, I would think. Anyway, if you have AAA, you can get a free tow home on New Year’s Eve if you live within seven miles of where you’re stranded. As my festive friend believes the holiday season’s begun, happy holidays, everyone.

BJ

October 25, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2 review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 3:26 pm
Tags:

The more I think about this movie, the more I dislike it. It’s very gimmicky

Poster

with its similar format to the original. The only thing is, for the most part, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, is less scary and annoys with its lazy attempt to frighten with loud bangs.

A prequel to the original, we spend the beginning part of the movie being introduced to this new family. The “Nights” are much more tame in this 91-minute movie and really saves itself from being a bad one by unraveling in an intense sequence of events in the final ten minutes. I just shuddered writing that last sentence.

Notwithstanding the above, surprisingly, I got more freaked out at home than I did the first time and if you liked the original, it’s worth checking out. It ties in nicely to the story at the end, but if it weren’t for the hundreds of millions of dollars it’s going to make, it would’ve been better off leaving the original alone.

It actually broke the record for biggest midnight gross for an R-rated movie with $4.6 million, and after its opening weekend success, Paramount is considering a third part. Shoot me now.

Side note: The beard must be wearing off because I got carded for my ticket. That’s right, I looked 16 or younger. Sigh. I might have to do it right like Brian Wilson.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

BJ

October 19, 2010

Sportscaster for a day

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 12:21 pm
Tags:

KTLA is offering one lucky winner a spot to be its sportscaster for one night. Check out the contest here. Hopefully, the winner can permanently replace Derrin Horton and Steve Hartman, two guys whose blind loyalty to the Lakers is both disgusting and unprofessional.

BJ

October 18, 2010

Getting strapped

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 3:46 pm

As if my last post foreshadowed things to come, that very afternoon the “‘hood” got jacked.

A couple of weeks ago, a patrol car sped over to me as I went out to get my mail one day. Inside were two older men in casual police wear – comparable to Thomas Lennon‘s short shorts from Reno 911! Okay, maybe without the short shorts. They told me they’ve been seeing a rise in petty theft in the area-from burglaries and items being jacked from cars-and to alert the neighbors. As the car drove away, the rear window had a sign which read, “Out of Service.”

I went to my neighbor’s house to chat for a few minutes, and the first thing I said was, “Look at that dog. He gone.” Or something like that. The important thing is that this tiny pomeranian just turned the corner and proceeded to go down the hill, with no one in sight. After ten minutes, we both ended up going out at the same time; him just before me.

When I had got back from my errand, I found my neighbor already back and steaming mad. It turns out as he drove off in front of me, he witnessed a burglary in progress. Our neighbor, who we had just talked with a few days earlier and who had just gone on vacation (coincidence, anyone?) had people running out his front door with a TV; heavy-duty screws removed from his front door, we later found out.

My neighbor singlehandedly chases after these four terrified scumbags, only to have them get away. He called Fullerton PD to file a report, and it took well over half an hour for an officer to report to the scene. Upon his second calling, the woman replied, “All of our officers are busy at the moment.” [Insert cop joke here.] Oh, and guess who the cute little dog belonged to.

Yesterday, my other neighbor got his cell phone stolen from his car while he was working out at the gym. And he hardly seemed surprised, knowing that it was prevalent at that gym parking lot. Is that what the fucking O.C. ‘burbs have come to? And if the 24 knew about it, as a paying member, I’d be pissed there isn’t effective security in the lots. Hell, the security guys at Korean supermarkets retrieve carts from the parking lots. 24 can surely pay some change to prevent obvious window smashings in the middle of the day.

It was only a matter of time before the crime started hitting home. And now that it has, this means war. We’ll be waiting…

BJ

October 14, 2010

Staying in

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 11:53 am

Working at home, it’s not hard for me to not leave the house for days at a time. And when you’re confined in your home, as you would a prison or anywhere for that matter, you sometimes get a little crazy in the head. Some more than others; I’d like to believe I’m the “others.”

So I’m hanging out with my friends last week and unconsciously, I start making these weird noises because well, I consider it entertainment when I’m alone for prolonged periods of time. One of my friends told me that I should leave the house at least once a day to avoid said faux pas, but hell, I’ve had some episodes where the outside world is more fucked up and crazier than I am. No thank you.

Like the other day, I was out driving and a car waiting in the left turn lane wanted out. The lanes going straight were packed so she didn’t move, as the left turn signal turned green. Being behind her, I was thinking, “You’re actually not going to move” and had to veer into oncoming traffic to go around this frozen car. Because I had to not only put my life in danger but break the law, I gave this car a soft honk as I passed by. That trash of a lady honked back and gave me the finger. Fuck you very much.

Consider me sensitive to “trivial” things like that, but is it too much to ask society to treat me decent and fair? If you’re going to behave that way, then world, get used to my weird noises because I’m staying in.

BJ

October 13, 2010

Sonata test drive

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 1:44 am
Tags:

It seems like that time of year for car companies to offer test drives on the

Sonata

upcoming year’s models. Jeep and Ford have sent me their snail mail, but Hyundai stands out with its complimentary gift valued at $30 just for driving its 2011 Hyundai Sonata at the Santa Anita Race Track.

Check it out here. It’s going on this Friday through Sunday and actually looks like a lot of fun.

BJ

October 11, 2010

Movie reviews

Indeliberately, I managed to see three movies on the ongoing war in a short period of time. Before The Hurt Locker, movies on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq generally flopped at the box office. It’s weird that testosterone-driven males who love action flicks don’t consider seeing war movies or there would be a bigger bang at the box office. No pun intended. It’s like they want to distance themselves from the reality that thousands of Americans have died in a losing war. Maybe, it’s just too soon.

Green Zone

A highly-glamorized war movie, it was entertaining to say the least. It was a fast-paced thriller about the inaccuracies of the intelligence American troops have been receiving in regards to the whereabouts of weapons of mass destruction, and Matt Damon‘s will to find out the truth about the unreliable sources. Outside of that, it was nothing groundbreaking and the story was trite, and I’m utterly surprised Roger Ebert gave this movie four stars out of four.

Almost as surprising as the project being given a $100 million budget when they know about the general unpopularity of movies on this topic. And as big a star as Damon has become, he doesn’t command an audience as some might think. I’m surprised it even made $95 million.

Many called this movie anti-American, based on the portrayal of unfavorable actions. To those who feel that way, the truth hurts. Like in any workplace, politics are always involved, and I think everyone knows about the hardheadedness of a military. Michael Moore wrote, “It is the most HONEST film about the Iraq War made by Hollywood.” And like Lambs, it’s highly moralistic.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Hurt Locker

Probably the one Iraq-themed war movie that separates itself from the rest, it has a contemporary take on the modern war – fighting IEDs, not people. We all have its accolades fresh in our minds: the six Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first female Best Director and the first Best Picture never to enter the weekend box office top 10. As great as this movie was, I don’t believe it deserved Best Picture and view its depiction on operations so inaccurate, it solely prevents me from giving it a perfect rating.

Those who know best how things work over there have this to say:

  • Author Brandon Friedman – “in real life, EOD techs don’t conduct dangerous missions as autonomous three-man teams without communications gear … Another thing you’ll rarely hear in combat is an EOD E-7 suggesting to two or three of his guys that they leave the scene of an explosion in an Iraqi city by saying: ‘C’mon, let’s split up. We can cover more ground that way.'”
  • Veteran Alex Horton – “the way the team goes about their missions is completely absurd”, though he went on to call the film “the best Iraq movie to date”
  • A bomb disposal team leader called the film’s portrayal of a bomb expert “grossly exaggerated and not appropriate”, and describing the lead character as “more of a run and gun cowboy type…exactly the kind of person that we’re not looking for”. Another bomb disposal team member said that the lead character’s “swagger would put a whole team at risk. Our team leaders don’t have that kind of invincibility complex, and if they do, they aren’t allowed to operate. A team leader’s first priority is getting his team home in one piece.”

So as cool as Jeremy Renner looked, it’s all-too-made for Hollywood and is insulting to our troops, who do risk their lives for us.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Lions for Lambs (2007)

After watching this movie, I had a hunch it would have received critical acclaim with its star-studded cast (Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise) and poignant dialogue. Redford also directed and produced the film, which he was excited for because it wasn’t like Hollywood’s many “straight-out entertainment” projects, like Green Zone is exactly. Instead, we see a professor (Redford) and a student talk in his office and a senator (Cruise) and a journalist (Streep) talk about the war as the clock on the wall ticks by an hour. We think there’s going to be some grand culmination bringing all of these characters together, but then the movie cuts out.

Three reviews that sum up mine:

  1. Ebert – “under the delusion that it’s going somewhere”
  2. Derek Elley of Variety – “uses a lot of words to say nothing new”
  3. Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter – “a well-made movie that offers no answers but raises many important questions”

It’s not as harsh as the critics made it out to be and is almost as though it’s objective was to raise awareness on the war, which I don’t have a problem with. Others did, and it was one of Cruise’s lowest-grossing movies.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Ludo – Prepare the Preparations

The St. Louis-native band came out with a much better album than their last, most notably, their acoustic/softer tracks in the middle of the album (Anything for You, All the Stars in Texas) are a vast improvement over those in their major studio label debut album, You’re Awful, I Love You. And it’s paid off, cracking them in the top 100 for the first time. They’re only going to get bigger in the alternative rock scene and might’ve pegged themselves over Motion City Soundtrack, whose recent album, My Dinosaur Life, can’t keep up with this one.

Favorite tracks: Too Tired to Wink, Whipped Cream, Rotten Town

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Maroon 5 – Hands All Over

One of the best-selling artists released their third studio album last month and like my sister and I joked, it takes them five years to come out with new music and it sounds the exact same (e.g. their first single, Misery). But like Misery, I’m not going to complain because why change what’s already working? Still, I’ve never seen a music artist evolve so little two albums and eight years later.

Frontman Adam Levine once remarked that this would be their last album, which would be a hell of a stint, squeezing every last drop out of their fame bottle. So where does this album rank among their three? Quite easily second, as I don’t see them ever being able to touch their debut album, as most artists seem to not be able to. But it’s a hell of a play, and I only skip one track – ironically, the album’s eponymous song.

Get the Deluxe Edition if you can; totally worth an additional five songs for $3 more. The last two are among my top 5, and there’s also a nice Alicia Keys cover.

Favorite tracks: Misery, I Can’t Lie, Get Back In My Life, Last Chance, No Curtain Call

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I would’ve posted the more popular Misery by Maroon 5, but the music video was so ridiculously bad, I went with Ludo’s single, Whipped Cream.

BJ

October 4, 2010

The Social Network review

The Social Network is an amazing two-hour movie in which the pace

brilliantly moves as fast as Mark Zuckerberg’s mouth. It has received universal praise with one executive at Columbia Pictures, who distributed the movie, saying it has received the best reviews from what the studio has put out that he has heard in his career. (It’s worth noting that holding your job for five years in the industry is an eternity.) I predict, as many others do, that this movie will have an impressive shelf life, surpassing $100 million, after debuting No. 1 with an impressive $23 million.

Although the cast brilliantly executed their roles, this movie would have been nowhere near as good had screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher not been involved with the project, two guys whose careers anyone aspiring to do what they do reveres. This is Sorkin’s fifth screenplay to go with three TV series, and you might know him from A Few Good Men, West Wing, which he won an Emmy for, or most recently, Charlie Wilson’s War. He also has been nominated for Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes three times, a success rate (3 out of 4!) about parallel to the ingenious Coen brothers. Having written a highly computer-technical script, he is purported to be the frontrunner for Best Adapted Screenplay at next year’s Oscars.

Fincher, who maybe surprisingly is some people’s favorite director, isn’t without his own impressive resume. Best known for Alien, Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which he received an Oscar nod for, he is also taking the reins for next year’s much-hyped The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Rooney Mara, who plays Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend. He could very possibly win Best Director on back-to-back projects, a feat I believe accomplished only three times, the last being in 1946. And no, Clint Eastwood was only in high school then.

Jesse Eisenberg could be recognized for Best Actor, and TSN is campaigning for (who knew they do that?) three Best Supporting Actor nods (Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer), most heavily for Garfield, who plays Zuckerberg’s best friend, Eduardo Saverin. (Side note: I found Timberlake’s soft voice distracting, almost as if he was going to break out in song at anytime. I’m going to guess it’s just me.)

Zuckerberg, who took umbrage at the movie being made and calling the whole story fictitious, is really not seen in a bad light at all. Of course, I’m sure it was a little more glamorized than it really was, but it was a great movie that should be in the mix for Best Picture, a category which should be a lot better than last year. (A friend suggested Inglourious Basterds should have won last year over The Hurt Locker and Avatar, and I wouldn’t argue with him there.) If you thought TSN just has to compete with Inception (9.0 imdB rating, T-3 all-time) and Toy Story 3 (8.7, T-14), you’re dead wrong. Just a few more movies yet to come out this year include Hereafter (9.0) on 10/22 and the much-hyped Black Swan (8.8) on 12/1.

TSN stands at 8.0, tied for 181st.

You’re on Facebook everyday, go watch how the youngest billionaire in the world got it started.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

BJ

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