Thursday, June 01, 2006

Finished Watching Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah Today...

...and overall, I'd have to say I really enjoyed it.

Now, basically, when it comes to Godzilla movies, I tend to be a bit "old school" (same as my tastes in so much other pop culture stuff, like comics and rock and roll). I'm used to Godzilla being the hero, and Ghidorah being the villain, and Mothra being an ally of Godzilla's (along with Rodan, who was absent from this movie).

In this movie, however... the Big G was definitely a villain, and Ghidorah was a good guy! In fact, he (along with Mothra and Baragon - the monster with big floppy ears, making him resemble a cross between a rhinocerous and a pug) are referred to in this movie as "Guardian Monsters"!

The special effects in this movie were outstanding... lots of CGI (although I should mention that I'm able to spot CGI much easier than many people, probably due to my computer graphics background), and very good energy effects, too!

The human characters were also very interesting... Yuri (I think that's her name) is a young woman who works for a low-budget tv studio (best known for producing kids shows) who wants to be taken seriously as a journalist. Her father is a general or commander of the Japanese Defense Forces. Yuri is definitely a step up from the female leads of the Big G movies of the 60s and 70s! She is very motivated, and doesn't let anything get in her way!

Next up in my Toho viewing is "Rebirth of Mothra III" -- now, I used to have part 1 on video, and I only watched it once before selling that copy... never saw part 2, so I expect that I'll be pretty much lost... but I can always enjoy a Toho monster flick just the same!


At Last... Some Recognition at Work!

So, during the first half of my day at work, the assistant Prepress Manager (acting Manager while the Prepress Manager is on maternity leave) called me into the office of the Operations Department Head. My first thought was that, somehow, I had done something incredibly wrong... but my fears were allayed, as it was explained to me by the Ops Head that she only likes to call people into her office for good things, and lets the Prepress Manager deal with the bad stuff.

She wanted to let me know that she'd been getting all kinds of great feedback from the Advertising Department concerning my work, and handed me a thank-you card which contained a $25 gift card for Thriftway (a grocery store chain, in case you're wondering).

The card read as follows:

Dear John, (yes, she spelled my first name wrong)

We want to thank you for providing such stellar customer service to the Advertising department and to our advertisers. Your attention to detail and team orientation has prompted routine compliments from the Sales Staff and Customers Thank you for rolling out the red carpet and for giving our customers legendary customer service!

Pretty high praise, eh?

Still no "Employee of the Month," but I'll take what I can get... and it is the first time that I've received such kudos that weren't just on my annual review.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Talk About Movies & TV Shows....

Well... thank goodness for Digital Video Recorders.

Thanks to our DVR, Jessi and I rarely miss one of our favorite television shows. Just in case you're curious, here's the shows we both watch, and why:

Law & Order
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Law & Order: Criminal Intent

(these three shows we not only catch the current season on NBC, but also reruns on, depending on the show, TNT, USA and Bravo)

I suppose one of the biggest factors in our watching these is that we like the characters, at least for the most part... especially Bobby Goren on Criminal Intent. In case you don't watch the show, Goren is amazingly well-versed in a variety of topics, and has incredible powers of observation. In addition, his knowledge of human psychology is also well above par.

Of course, another thing we like about these shows is that there's so darn many episodes of 'em! Unfortunately, we've started hitting the point where we have so few episodes left we haven't seen...


This NBC show is actually a Law and Order spin-off, although only one character, Alexandra Cabot, is from a previous show (she was the DA on SVU). The cops don't play as strong a role on this show... it focuses on the young DAs. But it's very, very compelling tv!

The Biggest Loser

Unfortunately, we're between seasons of this. We started watching this about the time Jessi and I joined Weight Watchers. A lot of the reason we watch is to compare what the competitors go through with what we've gone through.


Absolutely, positively our current favorite show. Sadly, the season just finished. Fortunately, we came to it late, so we have lots of eps we haven't seen yet. This shows the current season on Fox, with reruns on USA on Fridays from the first season. I'd imagine that by fall, we'll have seen all the eps to date... and then it'll be once a week to get our fix. Dr. Gregory House has a lot in common with Bobby Goren, at least so far as knowledge goes... House, however, has a very abraisive personality. Still... if I were very sick, and the doctors attempting to treat me couldn't figure out what was wrong, I'd rather have someone like House take over the treatment than someone with perfect bedside manner!


I know, duh!

Cold Case

New eps on CBS, reruns sporadically on TNT. Again, interesting characters... plus we have fun trying to solve it before the cops do.


Only on USA... well, there is another channel on our digital package that occasionally shows a Monk episode here or there. We enjoy the mystery aspect of this show, but equally, we get our enjoyment from watching Monk deal with the real world and his various phobias.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

This is the British version... currently being rerun on BBC America. The only BBC show I can get Jessi to watch with me. Hiliarious stuff.

I think that about covers the shows we both watch... there are shows that only I watch, however... and these days, they're all reruns...

The Prisoner, Red Dwarf, The Avengers, Blackadder, Are You Being Served?, and My Hero. All but Red Dwarf come from BBC America, while RD is being shown on the local PBS station. Sometimes I get quite a few shows on the DVR backed up, and it takes me a bit to watch them... since I only get to watch these before I go to work, and while I'm home on lunch break... this works out to about an hour per day.

Ah, but then there's the movies... the DVR lets us search for actors or themes... and so I've been able to record a number of Godzilla movies, especially some I've never seen before, or haven't seen in a long time! Today, I just started watching All-Out Monsters Attack, with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidora. I mentioned previously recording and watching some of the Planet of the Apes movies (unfortunately, they skipped the third and fifth movies in the series).

Just this weekend, I watched The Creature From the Black Lagoon... featuring the compelling Julie Adams. Her role in the picture is twofold: 1) To give the Creature a reason for coming onboard the heroes' boat, and 2) to change clothes all the time. I swear, she changes outfits several times a day!

Some of these changes, I didn't mind... like when she changed to wear shorts or her bathing suit (she had an amazing pair of legs). From what I can find in a few minutes on Google, she still appears to be a striking woman.

Anyway, I digress... while watching this movie, for the first time, I thought that perhaps this was a movie that could be remade, and remade well... perhaps giving the story more of an ecological spin to it (in case you've not seen it in a while, the institute that funds the expedition to find the Creature has as its motivation that Man will soon Explore The Stars, and by studying marine life to see how it adapted for the sea, they can learn how to adapt man to survive on other planets).

So... having thought about this... I learned that Universal's planning on a Summer 2006 shoot on a remake... I have no idea if I should look forward to this or not.

Now... getting away from DVR stuff... did I mention that we saw a Ghost Rider preview before X3 the other day? I've never been that big a fan of GR (aside from the issues Tony Isabella wrote -- Hi Tony!), but I have to admit, this movie looks good so far!


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Happy Memorial Day!

By the time most of you read this, it'll be Memorial Day... a day that I think most of us just look on as a means of getting a three-day weekend, and marking the "official" start of the barbeque season.

And if that's all it means to you, then I'm okay with that, honestly. Yes, I would rather that you take the time to honor those who gave their lives in service to this country, but I can understand if you don't do that. Hell, I served in the Navy myself, and I don't do anything to honor those who died serving in our armed forces. If you feel the need to do something to honor them, go for it (just, please, for God's sakes, don't buy some sticker for your car like those stupid "Support Our Troops" ribbon stickers -- buying them doesn't support our troops, it supports the guy selling them). If you don't feel like doing something, that's okay.

I would ask, however, that you don't join the ranks of those who are trying to turn Memorial Day into a day to honor ANYONE and EVERYONE who's passed away, for whatever reason. I see that as a perversion of the holiday.

Look, everyone has lost someone in their life... a friend, a family member, a hero, whatever... and if you want to honor them, you have 364 other days of the year to choose from. If the USA wants to create an all-new holiday that is to honor everyone who's ever died (and do we really need that?), they can do it... so long as the banks and post office don't close on that day. But don't try to abscond with Memorial Day, okay?

Rant aside, I hope you're enjoying your holiday weekend -- assuming you're from a part of the world that celebrates this holiday... and you get Monday off.

And if you're not, or you don't... well, in the words of Emily Litella, "Never mind."


X-Men: The Last Stand Review (spoilers, probably)

So, Jessi and I, along with our friend Dan and his son, went to see X-Men: The Last Stand today... the first movie we've gone to see since the last Harry Potter release (the next, if you care, will likely be Superman Returns).

In short... we liked it. If you haven't seen it yet, here's a brief rundown of the plot:

Worthington Industries has developed a "cure" for mutants, derived from the mutant Leech. It's obvious that this "cure" was developed originally to be used on Warren Worthington III, whom you'll recognize as the Angel, although he's never referred to that in the movie that I can tell. Magneto, of course, is not thrilled about this, and sees it as a threat to all mutants, and so he raises up an army to handle this.

Meanwhile, the X-Men are dealing with their reactions to this. Nightcrawler is nowhere to be seen (nor is he mentioned), and Cyclops has not gotten over Jean Grey's death in the previous film. Xavier tells Storm he sees her taking over for him some day. Rogue's having issues about not being able to touch her boyfriend, Bobby Drake (Iceman).

Hank McCoy, the Beast (played expertly on the screen, by the way) is the Secretary of Mutant Affairs, and he briefs the President on what's going on with the hunt for Magneto. We do learn that Magneto's accomplice, Mystique, has been captured.

It'll come as no surprise that Jean Grey is not dead, or rather, has been sort of ressurrected, with her powers amped up quite a bit. Yeah, it's the Phoenix, but don't go in expecting it to be like Phoenix was in the comics.

As with the previous movies, liberties are taken with the source material, but it works, and works very well.

Okay, there could well be spoilers ahead!

Lots and lots of cool stuff happen in this movie... if you're up on even the most basic of X-Men lore, you'll love all the "Easter Eggs" distributed throughout this movie... and the deeper you're into the X-Men, the more fun you'll have with them (there are a number of mutants I recognized, but didn't know by name, for example).

Some reviewers made a big deal out of Magneto using his powers to move the Golden Gate Bridge to provide a path to Alcatraz Island, where Worthington Industries has Leech and developed the cure. I don't see it as a problem... as visually compelling an image as it is on the screen, and given what kind of effect it would have on the troops monitoring the island, I can see where a show of power would be appropriate.

Colossus has much more screen time in this movie, although not much more character-wise. Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, the Beast, and Kitty are definitely the main players in this movie.

One word to the wise, if you haven't seen this movie yet... pee before you go into the theater! If you go to take a leak while the movie is on, you'll likely miss out on stuff that pays off later. And don't leave as soon as the credits start! Trust me on this.