• I Think We Need A Bigger Boat

    upgradesIt was becoming apparent that our home network was a bit under-powered for all the stuff we stream and the plethora of devices connected wirelessly. The cable modem (Motorola SB6121) was from 3 years ago and the wireless router (Cisco E1200) wasn’t that fancy 4 years ago. The ISP keeps modifying how they pump data through our cable, so older modems, even DOCSIS 3.0 ones, can’t do the full speeds advertised for the upper tiers.

    Thanks to a wicked deal on Amazon, I picked up a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 and CM500 modem. After several hours of configuring while watching the Arizona Wildcats clobber ASU, I now have a modern high speed network. I can now get the full speed available to me from the ISP and I can achieve the same speeds on newer wireless devices.

    In addition to the performance boosts, I’m really liking the new features available: remote access, VPN access, bandwidth usage logs, and robust parental controls.

    After all that, my PS3 Media Server software stopped working. Then I found Plex and it’s about a million times better. It allows me to stream movies and music to my PS3 and other devices.

    Now, I just need to upgrade to a PS4. ūüôĀ


  • Yeasayer – Amen & Goodbye (2016)

    Yeasayer has been one of those bands that you find and you continue to wonder how their fan base never grows any bigger. They have infectious pop songs and crazy world music-infused rock electronic. They’ve done straight rock and reduced synthetic sounds, while maintaining a consistent originality that is hard to find these days.

    I saw them in a little club in 2010 and then again in the same little club this year. Both times, I was blown away at the mastery of their craft. I also loved how some of the songs took on a very different feel when played live. I gained a new appreciation for the bassist, Ira Wolf Tuton, who played almost the entire set on a semi-hollow body fretless bass. At one point, he played the bass solely by fretting with one hand while shaking a maraca with his other hand. Another part had him doing a high up solo that I had always thought was played on keyboard or guitar from the recording.

    Live music digressions aside, this new album is an excellent addition to their body of work. There are some serious gems, from the lead single¬†I Am Chemistry¬†to the dance-inducing¬†Silly Me. What they do best are the harmonious chorus arrangements on songs like¬†Half Asleep and¬†Gerson’s Whistle and I Am Chemistry. This time around, they’ve also added a female vocalist to fill in the frequency gaps and it works very well.

    The instrumental interludes are a bit of a weak point, but otherwise, I think this is a solid album and serious contender for year-end best lists.


  • Frustrated, Incorporated

    imageThe original title of this post was going to be: Thanks A Lot, Shitheads

    I’m trying to stay positive and hope for the best, though. I’m trying to remember that I have kids and I need to set a good example for them. Going off the rails right now would not be good for anyone.

    I’M. FUCKING. PISSED. OFF! There is no silver lining. No happier days on the horizon. The people that thought this was a good idea are selfish, delusional pissants who think that they have been left behind. Well, guess what? You left yourselves behind. You didn’t want to be a part of the system when your team lost 8 years ago. You alienated yourselves. The American dream is there for the taking and if you are going to be lazy, whining complainers who wait for a demagogue to promise the world, then you get what’s coming to you. You get nothing. You’ve been lied to. I can’t fathom how a nation of nearly 320 million people sees only 125 million of them being bothered to participate in their own democracy, and¬†less than half of them picking the winner. That’s less than 20% of the total population, and I’m not even that good at math.

    I’m going to keep an open mind, and I’m going to offer some words of hope in the form of two quotes:

    When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.

    ¬† ¬† ¬†–Mahatma Gandhi

     

    Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world’s a fine place and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.

    ¬† ¬† ¬†–William Somerset

     

    I also made a playlist:

    https://play.google.com/music/playlist/AMaBXynFnjXWpxFZDDlFp9HxGKK1l8kbT5eN3S_bMaZapzA7VitE5dME0WQwarcm0oR4MtbhOXhEimc-bEG3OPUDY4mldZ9jQw==


  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

    halloween5I kinda feel like this one should be called Halloween 5: The Final Night He Came Home. Or Halloween: The Final Revenge.Otherwise, I have no idea that the series was supposed to be done for a 7 years.

    It’s a direct continuation of part 4. Michael Myers is almost killed but gets away and then starts stalking his niece, played by Danielle Harris, who has a telepathic connection with Michael.

    Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis is also back, because we always need the guy who can stop Michael Myers, but never actually does.

    This is such a “paint by numbers” horror movie. None of the characters are interesting or worth saving. The telepathic girl says nothing and spends most of her scenes writhing around or being scared. Danielle Harris is not the best actress, but she was young so we’ll let it slide. She’s really good at seeming upset.

    By the time this movie came out, Michael Myers had lost all of “The Shape” menace and hidden danger. He had become a little too iconic.

    Anyway, snore. It’s only a Halloween movie by name. The atmosphere and suspense is nowhere to be found.

     

    Rating:

    rating2


  • Tales From The Darkside The Movie (1990)

    tales_from_the_darkside_the_movieFrom horror masters George Romero and Stephen King comes this horror anthology. The movie starts with a kidnapped boy (Matthew Lawrence) being held by a housewife (Deborah Harry) as the intended main course of a dinner party. The boy attempts to stall the cooking process by reading some stories to the housewife from a big book called Tales from the Darkside that he was given to occupy himself.

    Story 1 –¬†Lot 249

    Graduate student Steve Buscemi reanimates a mummy for revenge against two classmates who framed him for theft. Julianne Moore delivers an epic performance of mediocrity in her first movie role. Christian Slater is also great as the brother of Julianne Moore, who tries to do his own revenge after finding out what his roommate, Buscemi, has done. I like how the mummy kills people with methods explained early on as part of the mummification process.

    Story 2 –¬†Cat from Hell

    An old geezer hires a hit man to kill a cat he thinks is an agent of the devil sent to exact revenge for his pharmaceutical company killing cats during tests. The hit man thinks it’s weird, but takes the $100k payment to do it. You would think it would be over, but the predator becomes the prey and the hit man doesn’t make it, nor the geezer. I like the minimal horror parts, but this story could have been better.

    Story 3 –¬†Lover’s Vow

    James Remar plays a troubled artist with no money, named Preston. After a night of drinking, the bartender is brutally murdered in front of Preston by a gargoyle creature. The creature tells him to promise not to divulge what happened to anyone in exchange for his life. He agrees and picks up a girl (Rae Dawn Chong) as he’s running away. Seriously. They fall in love and have two kids and he becomes a successful artist. Then years later, he tells her about the gargoyle incident and she turns into the gargoyle, as do the children. She rips his throat out while she tells him she loves him but he broke his vow. What a metaphor for marriage. The gargoyle creature FX were laughably hilarious.

    Everything wraps up in glorious fashion and it ends up being one of the better horror anthologies of the olden days. Still, it suffers from the middle story crapfest. I don’t get why someone doesn’t say, “Hey, this one is not that good, let’s do a different story.”

    Rating:

    ratingratingrating2


  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

    invasion-posterAn alien organism arrives on earth and starts taking over the human race by duplicating people while they sleep. The clones are identical in appearance but are usually missing their personality or well known character traits. By the time anyone figures it out, it’s almost too late. Almost.

    Donald Sutherland plays health inspector Matthew, the one who puts together what is going on. We also get Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, and Veronica Cartwright. They all act the shit out of their parts, whether they are human or alien pod people.

    The movie is still pretty good for how old it is. It really nails the isolated, desperate tone. The survivors who haven’t been body snatched are on the run, out of options, and generally going from one tense moment to the next.

    I also like the special FX, which are mostly convincing throughout. The growing pod people are unnerving, and there are some gruesome parts.

    It’s good fun and terrifying that everyone is out to get you. I’d love to see an update/sequel involving a random guy who has somehow managed to be away from civilization when the alien takeover occurs. What exactly is the alien’s next step after they takeover? Just hang out and be pod people?

    Rating:

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  • Night of the Creeps (1986)

    nightofthecreepsAn alien canister crash lands in the 50s and releases a zombie virus. The first infected person is put on ice only to be thawed 30 years later by some punk kids trying to steal a cadaver for a frat pledge prank. 80s TEEN COMEDY HORROR TIME!!!!!!!!

    It’s mostly slow going as the infection starts to spread in the form of fast-moving slug creatures (here we go again) and create more alien zombies. As the action ramps up, the only hope for saving the sorority girls is the idiot pledges who brought about the zombie apocalypse in the first place. Our heroes! One is played by Rusty from¬†European Vacation and the other gets killed on the crapper.

    Zombie cat was awesome. The one-liners are awesome. The death by lawnmower is always fun. I also really enjoyed the shotgun to the head followed by flamethrower scorcher double-tap.

    If this had been what¬†Slugs was like, it might have been good. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it also doesn’t treat the viewer like a dumbass. If anything, my complaint is that the movie is over too quickly.

    Rating:

    ratingratingratingrating2


  • From Beyond (1986)

    frombeyondA mad scientist and his assistant (Jeffrey Combs) create a device called The Resonator that allows them to see things beyond reality. Unspeakable, horrible things, which cause the mad scientist to be decapitated and his assistant put in a nuthouse for the murder.

    The doctor who treats the assistant gets him out of the nuthouse and they, along with a detective (Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead)  head back to the research house to restart The Resonator. Things get cray-cray.

    As in Re-Animator, Jeffrey Combs is great as usual. Ken Foree is fun to see outside of Dawn of the Dead. The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable.

    The story is fairly bland, but the visuals are appropriately extreme. I like all the gruesome body configurations or fleshy flesh weirdness. I don’t even know how to describe it. The “beyond” stuff is all mangled. The mad scientist comes back as a flesh creature with a little head dingleberry. I feel like I’m not doing a very good job of explaining this.

    Anyway, it’s pretty out there and mostly fun to watch. It has echoes of¬†Re-Animator, since it’s directed by the same guy.

    Rating:

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  • Slugs (1988)

    slugsI’ve seen some animal-based horror movies but this one takes the taco. Slugs? Really? They don’t move fast enough. How could they possibly kill anyone? Who is going to be afraid of them?

    A health inspector in a small town uncovers the toxic waste-modified slug takeover. From the opening death, it takes a incredible amount of time before another death happens and it comes from a slug getting into a guy’s gardening glove. That seems pretty lame, but it escalates quickly into the guy chopping his hand off with a hatchet and the greenhouse blowing up from an open gas container.

    The slugs have little mouths and are kind of cute when they bite at people. That’s not really what you want to hear about your monster in your monster movie.

    The health inspector hero guy, Mike, is such a crappy character and isn’t even in that many scenes. Or at least, if he was, I didn’t notice. That’s how forgettable this guy was.

    The terrible acting is made worse by the ADR that seems just slightly off. Not that the sound is out of alignment or anything, just that the voices sound unnaturally crisp. Actually, some of it is kind of out of sync.

    The slugs’ strength is in their numbers and once they get a taste of the meat, they dive in head first. And they devour. It’s pretty hardcore, but not really.

    I don’t think the movie could ever have been something amazing, because the premise is so outrageous. If I were the hero, I’d just get a flamethrower and fry all the little slug bastards. Problem solved. Movie would have been over in 15 minutes.

    Rating:

    ratingrating2


  • Zombieland (2009)

    zombielandThis is what they mean when they say “new classic.” It’s equal parts hilarious and horrific as four zombie apocalypse survivors must come to terms with their total shitfest reality.

    What makes it work so well is the high octane pace and the spunk-filled wit. The characters have their quirks with Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) obsessed with his rules for survival and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) on a perpetual search for Twinkies.

    This ain’t¬†Night of the Living Dead or¬†The Walking Dead. Comedy is king and the jokes don’t stop. The spirit of¬†Shaun of the Deador¬†Army of Darkness is alive and well in¬†Zombieland.

    As close as the movie is to being perfect, the love story between Eisenberg and Emma Stone is not really necessary. Just because the characters are forced together due to unfortunate circumstances does not mean they need to get together.

    Did I mention that Jesse Eisenberg is a dipshit? I have nothing against him personally, but damn is that a punchable face. It’s OK, because it works here. The character of Columbus is annoying as Tallahassee points out regularly.

    The gore level is off the charts. Bloody zombie deaths at every turn. You will not be disappointed. It’s like a zombie wedding.

     

    Rating:

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