Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Bye 2008

And Good Riddance; hopefully 2009 has better things in store.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

A few days early, but I won't be around to post the next few days. So I wish all a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fingers Crossed!

Ok, I finally broke down and made an appointment with a career counselor. I'm not finding a job on my own and my nest egg has sprouted wings and is flying away quickly. I'm hoping a professional can shore up my resume and presentation skills and I'll be jobbed again ASAP. Then I can be a bit happier and will actually feel like posting more often than 1 time a month, contrary to what I wanted to do, but the lack of employment and the current financial status don't put me in the mood to do much of anything than crawl under a rock.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


And I thought my students were hard to get an answer out of.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008


AWWWW...I was hoping to see him dance more. He's my favorite. Why did they have to stick him with a sucky partner?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

[title of show]

I finally had the chance to see this on Saturday night. I had heard about the show for a few years, and when the closing notice went up, I didn't want to miss it. I was not disappointed. The show had me laughing from start to finish. I'll skip plot specifics since they should be pretty well known by now or can give them to you. The actors are all from the off-broadway version and it's obvious they truly have come to inhabit their roles. Even most of the songs were catchy, to the point where I ordered the cast album, something I haven't done for a show in years.

After the show, all the performers come out the stage door and spend as much time is needed to say hi to all the fans and sign autographs and take pictures. I've never seen Broadway actors act so nice toward their fans. I've gotten my share of autographs, but most actors make it seem like a chore they have to do. Here, they sign, chat you up and thank you for coming. And Hunter Bell in person....very attractive.

Such a shame that it's closing on Oct. 12th. Hopefully something can be done to keep it going a little longer. I'd love the opportunity to see it a few more times. If anyone reading this has thought about seeing it, or is looking for something to see in the next two weeks, I would highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New York Film Festival

So I will be attending the NYFF again this year, as I have been doing every year since 1994. Damn, time flies fast. Either way, here is my schedule of films (there are a few I can't attend, so if anyone sees this who lives in the NY area, you're welcome to ask me for my ticket.)

9/26 8:00pm The Class
9/27 6:00pm Happy-Go-Lucky (This is one of the films I can't attend, anyone?)
9/28 12:00pm Happy-Go-Lucky
9/28 9:00pm I'm Gonna Explode
9/30 9:15pm The Northern Land (Not sure I'm going to see this, anyone?)
10/1 9:15pm Waltz with Bashir (Stuck in Westchester that night, anyone?)
10/4 6:15pm Ashes of Time Redux
10/4 9:15pm Changeling
10/5 3:00pm Four Nights With Anna
10/5 9:00pm Gomorrah
10/6 9:15pm The Headless Woman (Not sure I'm going to see this, anyone?)
10/7 6:00pm Che
10/9 6:00pm Tokyo Sonata
10/9 9:00pm Tulpan
10/10 6:00pm A Christmas Tale
10/10 9:45pm Let it Rain
10/11 1:30pm Darren Aronofsky: Director's Dialogue
10/12 2:30pm Bullet in the Head
10/12 5:15pm Serbis
10/12 8:30pm The Wrestler

I will attending all of these alone, save for The Wrestler. Look for the person who is the saddest one there and come say HI!

Mood Upswing

Well, my attempt to find decent employment has not produced anything yet, but at least I'm back to tutoring. This way, my bank account won't quite fall off at the rate it has been. I'm still holding off on the last resort of prostituting myself, I think I'm attractive enough, but would any possible cients be?

Either way, I've been kicking myself at not writing more. I believe the complete lack of focus going on in my life doesn't add. I think about writing a post, but then remember that I could go watch this TV show, or go see that movie, or read some book, and all thoughts about posting fly out the window. I watched both of the Sci-Fi Dune miniseries in 2 days, when I could easily have talked about the movies I've seen, or my trip to Ocean City.

But I've been reading other blogs for quite some time now on a regular basis, and I figure I have to do something, even if it's something as simple as posting a video, so I'm going to try to forget all the other distractions and try to do something each day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm still wading my way through the countless hours of the Olympics I've Tivo'd, hence the total lack of posts for the past few weeks. I was hoping to do some Olympic posts, but am basically spending all my free time watching Table Tennis. Anyway, I saw this on MSNBC today and couldn't pass it up. It's the way I'd like to go, except I want my eyes open.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Other O.C.

Part 3 of my summer vacation starts in a few hours. I'll be driving down to Atlantic City for the night (and hopefully a few jackpots), then on Saturday, a short hop to Ocean City. This one will be a family vacation for the week: sister, brother-in-law, nieces..... I'll be back on August 9, just in time for the Olympics and finding a job. Hopefully, once I get a job, I be able to do more regular updates here. Without a job, all the free time I have makes it harder to write posts, every time I try to type, my mind races to about 10 other things I could be doing. With the regiment of a job, I'll be forced to budget time more wisely.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Step Brothers Haiku Review

Ferrell and Reilly
Hate then learn to tolerate
Much laughter ensues.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Dark Knight Haiku Review

Batman, Joker, Dent
Good and Evil push and pull
Viewer is left pleased.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fdot responds to panta924

This is basically a continuation of my Revolutionary Road review and the comments left by panta924.

I purposely left out technical considerations of the film. Being a screening, we will given the typical caveat that color correction and sound still needed to be completed; and indeed, the first few establishing shots of the film were so dark that it was difficult to discern what they were. I assume those will be fixed up in time for the general release. Addressing the mentioned areas:

Cinematography: It's certainly serviceable, but nothing that truly stood out from the film. A large percentage of the film takes place indoors during the daytime, so there is a lot of typical indoor office and house lighting. The cinematographer is Roger Deakins, so I was hoping for a bit more. It's not disappointing by any means, just not amazing.

Such: The music was bad. This is not one of Thomas Newman's better scores. It was either too dramatic for the scene, or didn't fit the mood the scene.

Screenplay: This is the film's major flaw. The screenplay is the major reason I gave the film a C-. Revolutionary Road is not a bad film, it's a dull film. The decision to start the film with a major argument and continue after the opening credits with more marital strife never allows the audience to develop a relationship with the characters. You just don't really care what happens to them. The decision to movie to Paris is milked for a few laughs, but the decision is made right after another major argument. One scene is Frank and April yelling at each other, the next scene is April playing the doting wife and coming up with this plan. The way that Winslet plays April gives the audience a sense that there is some sort of mental imbalance within her, but the film doesn't spend 1 second exploring that possibility, so April just comes off as an incredibly strange character. I don't need everything explained to me in a movie, but dropping no clues can leave one confused. Mental Issue? Suburban Malaise? Who knows? The ending of the film also falls short (I haven't read the book, so I don't know if it matches up). It's telegraphed well in advance, so it's not much of a shock, then it's followed by a strange coda of two scenes featuring the secondary characters of the movie (a neighbor couple and Kathy Bates' real estate agent). The film just presents Frank and April as miserable for so much of the running time, that it just wears you down.

Leo: Well, I like Leo, so I'm happy to say that he does do a good job in the film. However, he isn't given that much to do. Apart from the arguments with April and an argument with Michael Shannon's character, he is largely reactionary. His character arc is very small and undramatic, so he has nothing big to sink his acting chops into. He pulls off what he has to do well, but I wish there was more for him to do.


Yes, I did it, I killed Yvette. I hated her, so much... That... it... it... flam - flames. Flames, on the side of my face, heaving... breath - , heaving breaths. Heaving breath...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

FDot breaks down "Revolutionary Road"

N.B. I saw Revolutionary Road at a test screening this past Wednesday. Obviously, there will be some changes made to it before the final version is released later this year.

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Written by: Justin Haythe based on the Richard Yates' novel.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Michael Shannon

The Short of it: A depressing slog through a disintegrating marriage that not even test screenings can save.

The Long of it: Obviously, reviewing a test screening comes with it's own set of issues; the least of which is that the version I saw will no doubt have some changes made to it before the final release. However, with a running time of 1:51, there's not a whole lot to work with.

The story is actually quite simple; in 1955, Frank and April Wheeler (DiCaprio and Winslet) are a young married couple (with 2 children) in the suburbs. They both suffer from a superiority complex, believing they are more important then the other rubes who live in the suburbs, and both feeling that they don't have the lives they were meant to live: April wanted to be an actress and Frank just doesn't want to be doing his job. On a whim, they decide that a move to Paris will be beneficial to both.

This plot device is where the problems with the movie start. The film opens with a major fight between Frank and April, so it's hard to develop any feelings for the characters. Then, even though April was majorly annoyed with Frank, suddenly on a dime, she proposes this Paris trip. She'll work as a secretary while Frank just does stuff (seriously, the idea is for him to lay about and read). A good chunk of time is spent watching every secondary character's reaction to this news. Obviously, complications ensue, with Frank in his professional life and April in her personal life. Unfortunately, the movie continues on a slog through fight after fight and depressing scene after depressing scene until the very end of the film.

Here are my main issues with Revolutionary Road.

1. The obvious comic relief. The Wheeler's real estate agent (Kathy Bates) asks the Wheeler's if they would be willing to entertain her son (Michael Shannon) for an afternoon, while he is on a furlough from the local psychiatric ward. Shannon is a breath of fresh air in the proceedings, and is supposed to be the one character who can see through the facade of happiness that the Wheeler's put up, but his character is so odd and tic-y, that it becomes obvious he was needed solely to relieve the film of it's dour tone and liven up the screen for a moment. There are no laughs to be found in the film when Shannon is not on the screen. So while the character is enjoyable to watch, he feels a touch shoehorned in.

2. April Wheeler. This is where the film truly lost it. The character of April obviously suffers from some sort of mental imbalance. In one scene, she will be having a major fight with Frank, telling him that she hates him, never wants to see him again, yet in the next scene, she is playing the perfect housewife. There must be some sort of disorder going on, but the film's major flaw is that it never even remotely delves into examining this idea. The viewer is left with the possibility that either she does have some sort of imbalance, or else she is suffering from the worst case of suburban ennui ever recorded. Winslet overacts slightly in the role, making it even more frustrating that the film ignores this tack.

3. The tone. The film is just depressing. Save for Michael Shannon's two scenes, all the rest of the scenes tend to be fights or discussions about how unhappy they are. I have nothing against a film that wants to be bleak, but Revolutionary Road is such a downer, you can't catch your breath.

4. The ending. I can't imagine that it will be left alone. It's just bad. It's set up so boldly that it comes as no surprise to the viewer when it happens. Worse, it's a bit of an abrupt end, then strangely followed by two scenes with the secondary characters discussing the Wheelers.

The Sum Up: Again, this was a test screening, so the final product will be somewhat different. With a running time already under 2 hours, I'm not sure what can be done with the film. It's just a depressing movie with no surprises that doesn't examine the issues it should. Lightning has not struck twice for DiCaprio and Winslet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home Again, Off Again

Well, I arrived home late Tuesday night, just in time to do all my laundry, catch up on my internet sites and pack my suitcases once again. I'm off to Chicago for the 17-22. Then I'll be back for 9 days and it's off to NJ. Aftetr that, I'll be around for a while. Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm Going to L.A.

Or somewhat close by. I'll be hitting Pasadena this weekend to spend some time with my 95 year old grandfather. (Cue the AWWWW'S) Quick trip. Leave Friday, return Monday, perfect amount of time. Then I'll be home for 2 days before taking a week in Chicago to visit even more family. Hopefully, I'll remember to take some pictures to bore everyone here with.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Journey's End

GRAH! Saturday needs to get here tomorrow so I can bittorrent this.

Janko Out....Marat In!

Ok, so Janko flamed out the other day.....hopefully he'll be at the US Open so I can him. For now though, an old favorite is somehow still in the mix at Wimbledon. Marat Safin! No idea how he's managed to keep himself composed to get to the quarterfinals, but I've always enjoyed watching him play, and I've got to have someone to root for, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a semifinal berth for Marat!

Monday, June 30, 2008

It's Worked So Far.....

Janko's about to take the court in his 4th round match against Rainer Schuettler. So far, every time I've posted a picture of him, he's won. Highly doubtful it's because of this, but superstitions abound. Janko's favored in this match, so hopefully it will be a cakewalk for him.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Round 3

Janko tries to make the 4th round at Wimbledon today for the 2nd time. His opponent this round is Dmitry Tursunov. He's ranked a little lower than Roddick, and by Tipsy's own admission that he doesn't try as hard when he's up against a lower ranked player I feel a touch of forboding here. Still, I will have my fingers crossed, and my camera ready for when he come to NY for the Open this August.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tipsy Vs. A-Rod

I've done a bit of soul-searching, and as much as I would love to see Roddick advance to another Grand Slam Championship, he just cannot break my love for Tipsy. So when the two play on Thursday, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for Janko to make it to the 3rd round.

Should this feat fail, at least he is in the 2nd round of the doubles, so hope is still alive there also.

Edit (6/26 3:15pm) YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Go Tipsy!

My favorite tennis player, Janko Tipsarevic, has his first singles match today at Wimbledon. Fingers crossed!

Edit (4:06pm): YES! Janko won his first match 7-6 6-4 6-2. Next up is Andy Roddick. I'm going to be so conflicted over this one. I want both to make it to the end, yet now only one can. Soul searching is required to determine who I want to win more.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


AHHHHHH! 1 sister, 1 brother-in-law, 1 two year old, 1 two month old and 1 giant mess. How will I survive to Thursday? Can't even get to barely internet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I just found out that this is the student I've been tutoring for the past few weeks. I changed the names in the article to initials (and removed addresses), just to be nice; but they are public information. He does get points for originality for choosing a wrench as the possible weapon. And he's been nothing but super respectful with me.

Rye high school student accused of threatening principal with wrench

RYE - A high school junior is accused of threatening his principal with a pipe wrench after the teen was told he couldn't attend the prom, police said.

CA, 17, has been charged with third-degree criminal trespass, third-degree menacing and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon with the intent to use it, all misdemeanors, said Lt. JV of the Rye police.

CA had met Friday with the principal of Rye High School, JR, to discuss whether he would be allowed to attend the school's junior prom that night. CA was serving a three-day suspension after pulling a chair out from underneath a teacher's aide and causing her to fall.

When CA was told he was banned from the prom, he left the school and returned 20 minutes later with a 2 1/2 -foot pipe wrench, the kind used to open fire hydrants, Lt. JV said. CA joined the Rye City Fire Department as a junior volunteer member in January.

The school psychologist saw CA pacing with the wrench outside the principal's office and asked the teen to come to his office. The principal joined them, as the psychologist tried to coax CA into surrendering the wrench, Lt. JV said.

"At that time, the young man raised the pipe wrench above his head in a threatening manner toward the principal," Lt. JV said. "Ultimately he turned over the weapon to the psychologist."

CA was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital for mental evaluation before school officials notified police. The teen was arraigned on charges Friday night and released on $500 bail.

Superintendent ES of the Rye City School District said "based on the threat of violence, he has been suspended again," pending a school hearing scheduled for next week.

"It certainly isn't something that happens very often," ES said of the alleged threat. "From time to time, there are young people that make poor decisions in response to anger and frustration."

ES said CA couldn't be expelled from school under state law, but could be given a lengthy suspension. He said it's possible CA could be suspended up to a year, meaning he would receive school instruction at home.

JD, a fire inspector and lieutenant with the Fire Department, said neither volunteers nor career firefighters are issued fire hydrant wrenches by the department. He said he thought the fire chief would suspend CA, pending the outcome of the charges.

"He's always been respectful and nice around me, but I don't know what he's like in the classroom," JD said. "Obviously as he demonstrated here, he is not ready to be a member of our service."

A call to CA's home was not returned. The teen did not respond to an e-mail message.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer Fun

The school year is drawing to a close here in NY in just a few scant weeks, and it's looking quite likely that I won't have a job in a district for next year before that happens.

I have an opportunity to drive a cab for a family friend's company over the summer, that might prove to be fun for a bit, I always enhoy meeting new people.

I was thinking that if I can't get into a school for next year. I might try the field of journalism or publishing. I do have a M.A. in English, so it might be enough to get my foot in, then see what happens from there.

Is there anyone reading this with knowledge of either field and what possibilities there might be out there for me?

Tutoring Frustrations that the school year here in NY is winding down, all the problem students/parents seem to be finding their way to my schedule. Let's see....

Student #1. Didn't bother to show up for 6 weeks in a row, never answered the phone if I called and wouldn't return messages. Then she calls the company and says that now she really wants to work so she passes for the year. I had her transferred to another tutor.

Student #2. For the past 3 weeks, has refused to get out of bed to come to tutoring. One time, I even had to go to his bedroom and try to cajole him to come. No luck. and kind of creepy. The parent &/or relative just stands there and asks him to get out of bed, but he just says no and they just shrug. They threaten to take away his video games, but they don't know the systems, so they don't know which components to take. I'm not for child abuse, but if I ever have a child who pulls that, I guarantee that he/she will be gotten out of bed for the tutor.

Student #3. The one student I could trust, catches the flu. No clue when he'll be better.

Student/Parent#4. I've been calling them to set up an appointment for the past week, yet no one has called me back yet. Looks like she'll fail too.

Student/Parent#5. The information for the student comes from the school. This family gave the school 3 different numbers. 2 don't work anymore and the third is for a local bank that no one for the family works for. So no way to contact them.

Student/Parent#6. I called this parent today to set up an appointment, but she does not speak English, only Spanish. I took French in high school, so I had no way to convey to her what I was calling for, so she hung up on me. Now don't accuse me of being immigrant phobic, I don't know the backstory of this family, so I can't pass judgement, I'm solely coming at this from the point that I have to tutor this student for two weeks and administer an exam, yet short of constantly calling the house till I get someone else, I have no way of setting up an appointment.

The next 2 weeks should prove interesting.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Patti LuPone in Gypsy

WOW. Just WOW.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anyone do Accomplice?

This one is for my NYC readers. I was wondering if any one has taken part in the Accomplice show. It looks like a lot of fun, but $65 is a little steep for me to try it blind. Has anyone done it? Is it worth it?

International Idiocy: May the Force be with You Edition

May the Force be with You

This story is just too funny. Nothing I can say could possibly do it justice. Box of it.

FDot breaks down "Speed Racer"

Directed by: Larry and Andy Wachowski

Written by: Larry and Andy Wachowski

Starring: Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, an annoying monkey

The Short of it:
Good beginning, good ending, bloated middle

The Long of it:
Full disclosure here: My friend knows the night manager of a local theatre, so I've been seeing a number of movies recently for free, Speed Racer included. I believe that when one sees a movie for free, it does alter slightly one's perception of a movie. I'm a bit more forgiving of a movie when I don't have to shell out $11 to see it.

Speed Racer actually starts off quite well, quickly setting up the main character and his motivations. Much has already been said about the visuals of the movie, so I can't add much to that discussion. However, while they certainly are something to behold, by the end they just become part of the movie; there's no more WOW factor about the visuals at the end. The first 40 minutes zip by quite quickly, as the rest of the Racer family is introduced and the character arcs are set up. At the 40 minute mark, however, is when the movie takes a turn for the worse.

Speed has been approached by a large corporation about racing for them. Speed wants to maintain his Independence and chooses not to sign. This is where the villain of the piece launches into a large discussion about racing and how it's always operated and how certain races affect the stock prices of companies and the machinations that went into certain racer to enable takeover bids god I got lost listening to this. If this movie was rated PG-13, I might buy into a more complex description, but this is quite obviously a PG movie aimed at 10 year old, and what 10year old is interested in a minutes long discussion about the stock market?

That scene was just the precursor to an incredibly bloated middle section. The audience is treated to about 40 minutes of screen time on a cross country race only to serve a plot point that could have been wrapped up in 5. This was the main issue I had with the film. Slice off 45 minutes and Speed Racer would have been a great film, but it looks like the editor fell asleep. 135 minutes for a children's movie not about Harry Potter is a dicey proposition. The other main bloat issue was Spirtle and his monkey. I am aware that in the TV show these 2 served virtually the same purpose, but here they just detract from the story. While Speed is hearing about stock takeover bids, Spirtle and the monkey go on a candy eating spree at the company's headquarters, then take a joyride around on a cart until they are finally caught. What does that scene have to do with the movie. Nothing. It's just total filler, no doubt included to make young people laugh. Maybe it does, but it's scenes like this that just added to the running time. At least have Spirtle spot something or perform some task that will actually assist Speed Racer later on, but instead, he and the monkey are just comic relief that serve no purpose to the overall story.

At least Speed Racer does pick back up at the end. The final race and especially its finish is done quite well. Even I couldn't help getting excited watching it, even though I knew what the outcome would be. Obviously, everyone got exactly what was coming to them, good or bad.

The Sum Up: The visuals are fantastic, but don't WOW throughout the entire film. The story is needlessly convoluted and contains way too much filler, but the beginning and end of the film shine through and it's an enjoyable enough movie to sit through.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FDot receives a proposal!

It appears that I must exude some amount of sexiness I'm unaware of; for today, I received my first proposal from a total stranger on Myspace. I must admit that on one side it is a touch flattering to receive some attention as its been quite a while since I've had any. Quite a while. However, on the other side, it's a bit creepy. Let's see what I received. My comments will be in italics, plus the names have been changed, though as you'll see, he did a good job of that himself.

Subject: hiya [Hmmm...not technically a word, but OK]

Hey FDot, how's it going? I'm Bill from the North Bronx---and occasionally Hartsdale. [Two nearby areas, sounds plausible enough]

I was just browsing thru [not correct spelling] profiles of people who live around my area, and I came across yours. I liked what I saw! [How charming. Out of the many random profiles that were looked at, supposedly I'm the one who stood out. Not that he sent similar notes to many others.]

I know its [no apostrophe] strange enough receiving an e-mail from someone you dont [no apostrophe] know, so not having a pic in my profile can't make things any better. [You think? The profile has nothing; supposedly Bill here went to two high schools 23 years apart and had no information about himself listed]

It's just that I'm not "out", so that's why there's no pic. [Um, ??? I know this is a personal decision, but I doubt a picture of yourself on myspace automatically makes you gay.]

If you'd like, I'd send you my pic or i'd [not capitalized] go on webcam for you "live" so you can see me. [Wow, that's inviting. No doubt I'd need my credit card too.]

If you're into it maybe we can chat further on here or on the phone or instant messenger (mine is [redacted] on aim) or something. [Between the offer of chatting on Myspace, the phone and AIM, what is left for something to cover? That sounds ominous.]

I'm a nice guy, goodlooking, I workout 4x/week. [How would I know? You have no picture.]

I'm just a little iddy [iddy?] bit older than u----41. [Ugh. u? Really...YOU was too hard to type. No comment on the age, 41 is ok for me]

I play and teach tennis and I love basketball. I'm a [redacted] too. I saw on ur profile that ur an unemployed [redacted]. Was thay [typo] by choice? [ur...sigh. I redacted the job description just as a caution. No, my unemployment was not by choice, though that's an entirely different story.]

I'm sorry to bother you bother you if ur not interested, but if you are I hope to hear from you real soon man! [How cute, a stutter! At least he calls me a man.]

Joe [Here's where he lost me. If I was really desperate, I might play along and send a response back; but at the beginning of the letter, he said his name was Bill, and suddenly now it's Joe? You don't accidentally type your name incorrectly, I'm not sure what this is, but it's not something I'm going to respond to.]

So it looks like for the time being.....I will remain single.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gravatar help needed

Does anyone reading this use Gravatar? I've been wanting to change the avatar I use for over 2 weeks. However, the Gravatar site has been down for me since I made that decision. I type in the address and the cursor just spins until the request times out. Same thing if I pull up a cached page from Google and click on a link. Nothing. Does anyone know a way to get into the site; or at least a way to override the Gravatar avatar with an avatar from another site?

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Greatest Worst Comic

A thank you to, of all things, Cracked Magazine for tuning me into this comic strip.

Mark Trail is a comic strip that has been around for just over 60 years. The strip revolves around it's title character, a photojournalist and erstwhile conservationist. He also helps people solve injustices against animals. He has also been in his early 30's for many decades (even Charles Schultz allowed his characters to age a few years).

The strip tends to suffer from a few glaring flaws. First, the humans aren't drawn terribly well. There are some body ratio issues. In addition, every evil human in the strip is given sideburns and long hair. Secondly, while the strip follows a story line, every Sunday is devoted to some wonder of nature, effectively killing the momentum of the story. Finally, as it is a nature strip, there are some beautiful drawings of animals, however, the animals are drawn in instead of the humans, causing one to believe that either the humans have transmorgified or that the animals are suddenly capable of speech.

Allow me to show a few examples from the most recent storyline, which involves a pet kidnapping ring.

Here are the kidnappers planning the kidnapping of a puppy. Note the sideburns and ponytail (how evil!) Oddly, the kidnappers appear to be in cahoots with a local sparrow:

The next day shows that perhaps it's the sparrow who is the brains of the outfit:

Here's a Friday strip, where the plan to kidnap the puppy is set in motion:

Here's the Saturday strip, where it looks like the plan might work:

Oh no! Will the puppy fall for the ruse? Quick, let's find out on Sunday, where all comic strips have more room to tell a story:

Yay! The puppy.....uh....what the hell? A MONKEY EATING EAGLE? BAD HAIR DAY? What does this have to do with anything? Did I tune into that show with the Crocodile Hunter's scary looking daughter? Oh well, it turns out that the puppy is indeed kidnapped, so now it's Mark Trail to the rescue! Though for some reason, he lets a wild rabbit do the questioning for him:

And those hands in the final panel? What can he do with those tiny little things?
Notice how in this final example his hands have grown back to a more normal size, but HORRORS, the poor girl's mother has transformed into a goose!

Will Mark Trail be able to find the kidnapped puppy and return him safely? How many more animals are involved with this scheme? Will the girl's mother return from going south for the winter in time to continue being a mother? (At least you could make a nice down pillow from her.) Time will answer all these questions, and I will be happy to bring you the answers to them, provided you don't actually get the comic strip in your newspaper.


A thank you to Cracked Magazine for tuning me into this comic strip.

Mark Trail is a comic strip that has been around for over 60 years. The focus of the strip is on the character of Mark Trail, a photojournalist and erswhile conservationist. The stories revolve around animals and the dangers they face. Recently, the strip has been running a story about a pet theft ring, where pets are kidnapped then ransomed back to their owners at high cost. However, the strip suffers from a few flaws.

1. There is no Sunday strip. Excuse me, there is no Sunday strip that forwards the story. Every Sunday strip is a dissertation on some aspect of the animal kingdom, while the story takes a one day break.

2. The drawings of the humans stink. They look about as generic as a humna can be. A sketch artists nightmare.

3. The animals look beautiful, which is good for a comic strip that revolves around animals; however, the animals are sometimes randomly given the foreground in a panel, leading to what appears to be either the transmorgification of the human characters, or animals spouting off random thoughts about a subject.

First, in the midst of the kidnapping sotryline, here is a Sunday strip apropos to nothing.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just Another Day

As much as I love Cookie Puss.....I much prefer a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Anything with massive quantities of chocolate will do.

Ok...let's see what has transpired on my birthday in years gone by:


1908: Eve Arden--good comedienne, love Grease
1923: Al Lewis--Grandpa Munster!
1926: Cloris Leachman--From the down years of The Facts of Life
1946: Bill Plympton--I love The Tune!
1956: Lars Von Trier--Damn you for never finishing The Kingdom
1959: Paul Gross--God, he was hot in Aspen Extreme
1973: Akon--Oh well, bound to be a turkey in the bunch
plus many others


1900: Casey Jones--Choo Choo!
1945: Adolf Hitler--That's right, my birthday killed him.
1989: Sergio Leone--Hmm...need to see more of his films.
2007: Tom Poston--Aww...I loved Newhart.
plus many others I've never heard of


1812: Louisiana admitted to the U.S.--never been there
1939: World Fair Opens--FDR first president to appear on TV
1993: Birth of the World Wide Web
plus a bunch of observances I've never heard of.

All in all, not a shabby day to have been born!

Monday, April 28, 2008

2 days to another year closer to my death

35 isn't old, right?

Saturday, April 26, 2008


T - 4

For some reason, this week has always filled with birthdays for my family and relatives. My father's birthday was today (hard to believe he's been gone for 4 1/2 years...where does the time go?), my cousin was the 28th, my niece is the 29th, I'm on the 30th, and my uncle is May 1st. Must be something about the end of July that makes people frisky.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Countdown Continues

5 days left. Then I'll be 35. Do I look 35? I hope not.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Countdown Begins

Ick.....already only 6 days left to my birthday. Another year older. Another year closer to losing my looks (such as they are). Another year closer to whatever else life has in store for me.

American Idiocy: Screwed by the Pooch Edition

Screwed by the Pooch

Here's a novel way to end one's political career. She doesn't even offer any proof as to the dog being "neglected" by the original owners. And it was on the Today show? Alice, Texas? I don't even know where in the state that is. Today must be hard up for news stories if they have to dig that far down. I hear there may be some rumblings about an incident with a ferret in Lebo, Montana. Perhaps that will merit national news time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

R.I.P. Buddy

I was on Facebook the other night and got into one of those 'search on every name I know' jags, seeing who had a profile and who didn't. I got to searching on some students I once taught to see how they were doing and to my utter shock, one name came up with a memorial page.

I'm not going to go into his name or his picture, but he was one of my favorite students ever. Even though we were 15 years apart in age, he was still loads of fun to talk to at school. He was a bit of a computer wiz, creating his own websites and his own text game. I remember he even hacked into the school computers once to retrieve some internal memo he wanted to see. Even after I left the district for another job, we would periodically keep in touch online or over the phone to see how the other was doing. I saw big things for him in the future and am just devastated that his life is cut short at 19.

I don't know all the details, it sounds like it was some freak medical thing; I just hope he went quietly and peacefully and is able to keep up his love of computers whereever he is. Hopefully someday I'll be able to say hi to him again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What could it be?

I posted this earlier today for Puntabulous' Teach Me Something Tuesdays. Naturally, Craig, being the intelligent webmaster he is, had no problem solving it. (Hi, Craig!) So I thought I'd post it over here for those random people who find their way to my site and are looking for a small brain teaser.

The Question is:

3212333, 222, 399, 3212333, 322321

The answer is: ?

Reaper Returns!


Yay for writer's strike end! One my new favorite shows from this season comes back with new episdoes tonight. The previous episodes ended on a good note, so the writers have had plenty of time to make the new episodes even better. And who doesn't love Bret Harrison? I could spend oodles of time watching him watch paint dry. Renew this show, CW!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Give me your Comet, your Clorox

I recently visited the Statue of Liberty (how touristy!) with some out-of-town friends. Getting an up close look at the statue again gave me two thoughts.

1. She's tiny. Really, Lady Liberty is a lot smaller than I had remembered.

2. Besides the tired and poor, Lady Liberty has been taking in a lot of dust particles. She's filthy. The picture above shows the better half of her as the other half is all dirt-caked. Somebody needs another cleaning stat. Plus, it should be simple as no one is allowed into the statue herself anymore.

What the Fuck?

So I went outside to collect my mail this afternoon and was greeted by this sight about 2 feet in front of my mailbox. This can only be what might be politely described as the partial remains of a squirrel. Seriously though, what the hell happened to it? It wasn't run over, no car can do that; nor do I live in an area overrun by vicious animals. It looks like someone or something had a massive vendetta against it. Whatever happened, it had to be about as ugly a way to go as can be imagined. Ick.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mon Oncle

Exciting and quick news. I've been made an Uncle for the 2nd time! My sister gave birth to her second daughter: Adelaide Grace O'Connor this past Thursday 3/28 sometime around 5:00pm. Mother and daughter are both doing well and I get to go down next weekend to see everyone.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Remember this post from just a short time ago? Contrary to what some people have said to me, I am not insane. I just happened to notice today that Film Threat posted a Never Back Down review, and sure enough, their reviewer was also reminded of that classic film, Showdown.

Ah, it's nice to know that there are other people out there with the same tastes in movies as myself. Now, why can't I get a job as a film reviewer? Seriously, what do I have to do?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore

One of my great obsessions is the game show. I had the fortune to grow up during the 1980's, during the last great period of popularity for game shows. Sure, there are a few still on here and there, but I don't count reality shows as true game shows, and most of the rest are hidden in cable or syndicated at strange hours. I love the days when game shows make up most of a network's morning programming. Surprisingly, I have recently came upon a game show thanks to GSN that I've never really thought about, but have quickly added to my TIVO Season Pass. Amazing that this show lasted 18 seasons on the air and still went off before I was born. The premise of the show is so simple, I'm stunned that no one has thought to try and revive it for today's audiences, as it would make perfect family entertainment. So I present for your enjoyment two clips from What's My Line?

Friday, March 14, 2008

American Idiocy: Exercising Your Right Edition

Story Here


Some people......

GRAH! I'm in a very ticked off mood right now.

While I'm looking for a full time teaching position for the fall, I'm currently working for a local tutoring agency. If a student is suspended or out for medical reasons for a decent amount of time, I get the call to help tutor them. Two hours per week, at $25 per hour, that makes for a $50 session. Obviously, this is nowhere near what I would earn in a school, so I need every assignment that comes my way. The other day I received a call that a student in a nearby town needed two sessions before he went back to school. "Great!", I thought, "that's $100 I could use to pay some bills." I got in touch with the parent on Wednesday and set it up that I would meet the student on Friday (today) at the local library.

I get to the library today (a 30 minute drive from my house) and no student. I wait around a few minutes in the lobby, then wander around the library wondering if the student was already there and perhaps set himself up at a table somewhere. No student, so I wait in the lobby for a few more minutes. Finally, I give the mother a call and tell her that her son has not shown up yet. Her response is that the school decided he could come back starting today so he was there and obviously wouldn't be coming.

WTF! First off, why is the school ending his suspension early? Secondly, the parent had my phone number, so why couldn't she get off her lazy ass and call me sometime before I had to leave for the library? They knew he was going back, and we weren't meeting until 12:30pm, so she had the time to let me know it was cancelled. Worse, the school is going to let him catch up with his missed work there, so no tutoring is required. All I get to do is put down 1 hour for a missed session, since I was there but the student wasn't, reason be damned. So my $100 two session student, became a 90 minute $25 waste of time. The other $75 I'm out for, no chance to make it up, and I could have used that to pay off a bill or two.

I'll live, but how rude can you get? The parent knew her son wasn't going to be at the session, so instead of calling me Thursday or this morning and telling me the news, I have to drive 30 minutes, wait 30 minutes, and drive home 30 minutes wasting time that I could have spent doing something more constructive. Maybe if I'm lucky, she'll get hit by a bus.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Burning Question + Vault of Forgotten Movies: Martial Arts Edition

I am absolutely seeing this movie as soon as possible, I am only human after all.

never back down

However, something niggles at me.....this looks familiar. I enjoy a good martial arts movie...even paid to see that Mark Dacascos "Only the Strong" film where Capoeira was the art of choice, but this seems awfully familiar. Hmmmm.....(searches brain....neurons firing....accessing movie knowledge)....AH!


I knew I saw "Never Back Down" before. It was 1993 and it was called "Showdown", not this "American Karate Tiger", I have no idea where that retitling came from. Let's see here.....

Character: New Kid in Town--Brunette

Showdown: Kenn Scott playing Ken
Never Back Down: Sean Faris playing Jake

Charatcer: Arrogant Blond Asshole Jock

Showdown: Ken Mcleod (remember him...ahhhhhhhhhh)as Tom
Never Back Down: Cam Gigandet as Ryan

Character: Worthless female "love interest"

Showdown: Christine Taylor (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!) as Julie
Never Back Down: Amber Heard as Baja

Character: Wise Black Mentor

Showdown: Billy Blanks (Tae-Bo!) as Billy
Never Back Down: Djimon Honsou as Jean

The plots may differ slightly, in "Showdown" the fights are because the new kid hits on the jock's girlfriend, while in "Never Back Down" I believe they just fight. "Showdown" is the perfect "B" martial arts movie. It's just a giant ball of cheese from beginning to's nice to see that they do still make them like this. I thought the teen martial arts movie died out years ago. I highly doubt "Showdown" is out on DVD, but if it ever crosses your path, it's a fun way to spend 90 minutes. Beyond that, I don't remember too much about it....been over a decade since I've seen it. It might be in my unorganized VHS collection....I hope so. I need more Ken Mcleod.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Which is worse?

1. Getting stuck in traffic for over an hour and nearly missing the event you want to go to, but making it.

2. Driving around the city for 45 minutes unable to find a parking space and missing the event you want to go to.

3. Missing the event you want to go to a second time because an unexpected visitor shows up and you have to spend time with them.

4. Receiving a corrected tax statement from your broker after you've already mailed in your taxes.

Friday, March 7, 2008

FDot composes a Quatrain!

Post-it Notes so small and yellow
Stripe of stickum on your back
I rifle through you to stay mellow
'Till on a wall, one of you I shall tack.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

FDot has a realization.....

Ok. So tomorrow is Friday night. I'm a young guy, only 34 at the moment, so what is my plan for tomorrow? Going to a bar? Hanging out with my friends? Video games? No, no and no. On a Friday night, I'm heading into Brooklyn to see this man.

de oliveira

Who is this you ask? His name is Manoel de Oliveira. He is a Portuguese film maker. He is also 99 years old. Yes, 99. His latest film is having it's American premiere tomorrow night and he is going to be there for a Q&A. I believe it's his first time here since 2001. So instead of staying around home or going to be with friends, I'm taking a 50 minute drive into Brooklyn to see a 70 minute film and a 99 year old film maker. This has caused me to have 2 major revelations about myself.

1. I am a huge and obviously irredeemable film geek.

2. Doing things like this is why I am single.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Why Wasn't I Told This?

So I was on one of my Wikipedia whims the other day and ended up checking out the history of the comic strip "Beetle Bailey"

beetle bailey

It was then that I noticed a link to the comic strip "Hi and Lois"

hi and lois

Now.....I have been reading both these comic strips for how is it I was completely unaware of the fact that Beetle Bailey and Lois Flagston are brother and sister? I've racked my brain, but can remember no mention of the fact in either strip. I only get "Hi and Lois" as a Sunday strip, so is it possible it's been mentioned during the dailies? The two characters don't even look alike, and besides, even though they're two different strips, you'd think there would be some mention of that fact periodically. I can't stand it when I'm involved with something for years then discover some basic fact about it. Why wasn't I told this?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bear With Me

I've had to drive into Manhattan twice every day this week, while at the same time installing a webcam on my computer. Hopefully, as soon as this week is over, I'll be able to post video reviews of movies and whatever else enters my mind (which can be a scary place).


Friday, February 22, 2008

Very Long Oscar Predictions

EDIT (2/25 12:25AM) So it looks like I went 16 correct and 8 wrong for 67%...not too shabby.....I think The Bourne Ultimatum wins and especially The Golden Compass threw me the most that the writers strike is over...there will be nothing like experiencing a bloated 3+ hour self celebration of narcissism, sadly minus Debbie Allen dance numbers. Unlike many other bloggers, I will not be live blogging the event, since my computer is nowhere near a tv, and I will be too glued to the set to want to write anything about it. I'm also quite interested in the Spirit Awards the day before, as I had the honor of voting for them this year and want to see if my choices turn out to be the winners. But this post is about the let's see what we have.....

Best Actor:

Tommy Lee Jones and Viggo Mortensen should be happy with their nominations. Johnny Depp might win in a split vote scenario. George Clooney has the clout, but I believe DANIEL DAY-LEWIS gave the leading performance of the year and should easily walk away with the prize.

Best Supporting Actor:

Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Tom Wilkinson should be happy with their nominations. Casey Affleck has an extremely outside shot. Hal Holbrook has a decent chance if the Academy goes the 'honoring the body of work' route. However, they didn't do that for Laurel Bacall and they won't do it here. JAVIER BARDEM all the way.

Best Actress:

Cate Blanchett? Not a chance. Laura Linney will win one of these days, but this is not her year. Ellen Page has a decent shot at winning a split vote. Then it becomes hard. Either Marion Cotillard or Julie Christie has a great chance at winning. It's become quite a toss-up...but I think JULIE CHRISTIE will win. Just a hunch and I can easily be wrong.

Best Supporting Actress:

The hardest category of the lot. Atonement girl is probably the only one that can be safely discounted. Ruby Dee may have been honored by SAG, but I don't see the academy going that route. I didn't find her performance all that memorable. Tilda Swinton has a chance, but I'm just not feeling it for her, maybe another year. Cate Blanchett has a great chance too...but she also won recently and I just get a feeling that most won't vote for what amounts to a trick performance, even if it was good. That leaves AMY RYAN, who really did go all out in her performance and should squeak by the others.

Best Animated Film:

Surf's Up! Huh? Perspolis stands a decent chance since it was denied a Foreign Language nom...but RATATOUILLE can't be beat here. It's also French and most academy members won't stop hearing it from their kids if they don't give it the win.

Art Direction:

American Gangster and The Golden Compass....enjoy your nominations. There Will Be Blood might win as Jack Fisk is quite respected. Atonement possibly too, but save for a few set's just your pretty English countryside again. SWEENEY TODD created a older London that perfectly fit in with the sensibility of the film. This might be the category to honor it in...give Tim Burton some love.


Everyone talk about Roger Deakins splitting the vote. Who's really going to vote for Jesse James when his other film is the likely Best Picture winner? Atonement is a no. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly could take it as one of those 'let's honor it here' type of wins. No Country for Old Men should take the top prizes so THERE WILL BE BLOOD will most likely be honored here.

Costume Design:

Everyone talks about the green dress in Atonement. I can't remember it. Sweeney Todd and La Vie en Rose I remember basically for suits, I doubt the academy will honor that. Across the Universe? I don't really remember costumes per se. Elizabeth 2 has your average regal queenly dresses, I think the well has run dry there. Plus, who want to honor Elizabeth 2. ATONEMENT will win for this green dress thingy.

Best Director:

Jason Reitman should be happy with his nomination. I doubt the George Clooney love will transmit to Tony Gilroy. This might be the chance to honor Diving Bell and give it to Julian Schnabel...but I don't see it. Paul Thomas Anderson will make more movies, and there are those who did not like There's Blood!. JOEL AND ETHAN COEN will walk away with the prize. People may not like the ending....but I was on the edge of my seat during the film.


There's not giving it to Michael Moore again...not with Iraq in the mix. That knock out War/Dance since that's Africa and Taxi to the Dark Side as that's Afghanistan. Operation Homecoming is a recitation of letters so NO END IN SIGHT will take the prize and we'll get to hear a 45 second diatribe against our Iraq involvement.

Short Documentary:

Salim Baba was too slight. La Corona was amusing but ultimately pointless. Sari's Mother was a bit confusing and didn't have too much emotional heft. FREEHELD grabs you by the throat and squeezes out tears until it's over. It will take the prize and we'll get 45 seconds about equal rights for gay/lesbian partners.


Into the Wild? Nope....not enough nominations to give it an Oscar. Diving Bell and Bourne Ultimatum have to sit back to another No Country and There's Blood! showdown. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN should take it as people want to see what will happen since Roderick Jaynes doesn't really exist.

Foreign Language:

I've never heard of 4 of these films and have only seen THE COUNTERFEITERS. SO it wins because I say so.


Like Norbit will really win. Here's the chance to give LA VIE EN ROSE it's Oscar. Pirates 3 has too much CGI to give it a makeup award.

Music Score:

3:10 to Yuma and The Kite Runner no one really cares about. I don't remember the music from Michael Clayton or Ratatouille. But I do remember the typewriter from ATONEMENT and the academy will also.

Music Song:

If August Rush wins, it's a sign of the apocalypse. Enchanted had nice songs...but the fact that there's 3 of them here shows that not many other films had original songs...and these weren't up to Menken's usual standards. Once is one of those films that everyone who see it seems to love (except me), but the music was great, and here's a chance to honor it in a catagory no one remembers later on. So FALLING SLOWLY take the prize.

Best Picture:

Atonement just isn't good enough. Neither is Michael Clayton. There Will Be Blood had too many detractors from the start to take the prize. It's a Juno/No Country showdown. I think enough people had the reaction that I did to Juno...that it wasn't very good...and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is 2007's best picture. Hopefully the Paul Haggis "gotcha!" award isn't given out again.

Animated Short:

Tough call. A film might be better than others, but I find the short catagories better suited to voting your gut instinct. I Met The Walrus was too short and pointless. My Love and Madame Tulti-Pulti had fanatstic animation but were also boring as paint drying in hell. Meme Less Pigeons Vont au Paradis is cute but a one-note joke. PETER AND THE WOLF was a hilarious telling of the story and should be the winner.

Live Action Short:

Il Supplente was too strange. The Tonto Woman has been done before. Tanghi Argentini was cute and could bring in some votes...but it's a one joke film. At Night is probably the most depressing 40 minutes I have ever sat through. Excellent, but it really is a tough sell. LE MOZART DES PICKPOCKETS was a cute 30 minute romp and the audience favorite when I saw it. At Night is probably the better film, but I think gut instinct tends to win out here.

Sound Editing:

Oh of those categories only the people involved know what it's about. Bourne is just a loud (albeit excellent) action film. Transformers was just loud. Ratatouille is animated. I think here THERE WILL BE BLOOD will win out over No Country, as the academy will want to give it something.

Sound Mixing:

This goes to the loudest film, so there's no need to discuss the other 4. TRANSFORMERS.

Visual Effects:

Golden Compass...please. Transformers and Pirates 3 run neck and neck here as they both were basically CGI films. I think TRANSFORMERS will take it, as Pirates 3 was considered too bloated and who doesn't love giant robots (as opposed to a giant Naomi Harris).

Adapted Screenplay:

Another No Country/Blood battle. But There's Blood! used it's book more as a template and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN really adapted it's book quite faithfully and into the best picture of the year.

Original Screenplay:

JUNO.....this way everyone can stop talking about it. I hated the screenplay...but it's another one of those 'give it something' awards.

And that's it........let's see Monday Morning how I did...enjoy the show!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

International Idiocy--Pissing Away Your Freedom Edition

Story Here

Denied the charges? Granted there's no database for this type of offense set up, so I imagine he was caught in the act....hard to deny that. And another incident featuring a guy in a kilt? I may not be completely knowledgeable when it comes to certain countries, but I've never heard of any animosity between Great Britain and Latvia. Or of anyone who would even care about that.


I recently cleaned up files that were littered around the computer and discovered numerous slips of paper with various websites written on them. One slip I recognized from when I was a substitute teacher back in the early aughts. I transcribed the websites into a notebook then started to look at them afresh. One of these websites is SIXTEENPAGES.NET For the life of me, I can't make heads or tails of this website, or why I would ever have written it down. It appears to be some sort of bizarre game; though I can't figure out the rules or the objective. If anyone has some serious time to waste, take a look and let me know what you think.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I went into NYC yesterday to go see the Documentary Shorts up for the Oscar this year. After getting my ticket, I went back to Broadway to waste some time. As I was walking there, a series of cars with people screaming and waving flags were coming down 50th Street. As I got closer to Times Square it became apparent that this was a Kosovo freedom rally, celebrating the recent declaration of independence from Serbia. The police had barricades set up from 42nd to 44th street for onlookers. I was quite surprised at the number of people who seemed to have ties to Kosovo, but the fun everyone was having was infectious. The stream of cars lasted for well over an hour. Luckily I had my camera with me....the pictures aren't great....but here they are....

kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally
kosovo rally