Thursday, December 21, 2006

This is the End My Friends

...of 2006 anyways.
That is, unless I do have enough spare time to do a post over the holidays, this will likely be my last post until 2007.
I'm also attempting to shop tonight and there's a very good chance I may end up mangled in a parkling lot, underneath a shopping cart or in a jail cell. Bets anyone?
Anyways - to those I'm seeing in Ontario - I can't wait.
To those I leave behind in Alberta - see you soon.
To each and everyone - all the best and thanks tons for dropping by.
See you in the New Year...or, if I get bored, about a couple days from now.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

On a Better Note

Dear Santa,
So you read the blog eh? Yeah...look, I didn't want to leave things on a sour note. Yeah, it may appear as though have a thing against Christmas shopping - but I'm also edgy about pretty much all other days of shopping (minus free shopping), so lets just mark it all down as a general distaste for crowds.
How's the misses? Still rocking?
Either way, I'm hoping you still drop by. And, in the spirit of covering my ass, I thought I'd post the Twelve Things I Love About Christmas.
If this doesn't work, I'll just leave the regular envelope by the cookies. Jerk.

The Snow: I've always been a winter person. Maybe I was a black bear in a previous life (see past post). Either way, seeing the ole white outside almost always gets me in the season. I suggested to MJ that we make a snowman outside our lawn with the sign: Will Give Snowjob for Food. She's down with it. Look for him in January.
The Random Bands: Apparantly there are stockades of people with instruments hidden in a bunker somewhere who reveal themselves around this time and use every public space to play. And as a closet classical music listener, I like to secretly hum along.
That Random Nice Guy: You know... him.
Stockings: Pretty much the best part of Christmas. Stockings are great because they consist of everything you have to buy for yourself but HATE buying for yourself (deoderant, socks, jock itch powder, bubble gum, etc.)
Tequila: Because all Bradford holidays are marked with tequila shots. It's just that some Bradford friends can't always handle that tradition and pass out at 9pm *ahemSTEVEahem*
Cards from Random People You Haven't Talked to All Year: pretty self-explanitory
A Sudden Slowdown of work: I'm probably jinxing myself with this one.
TV Christmas Specials: Especially because they're now being made by creators who are jaded with the uber sweet Christmas specials of years past. See Office.
Christmas Lights: Cheap and stimulating.
Gifts: Yeah - so I still like gifts but not the actual shopping for them. I never promised to be consistent.
Time Off: With most of the Bradford clan a few thousand kilometres away, Christmas affords me a couple days at least to remind them what I look like. And to also remind them that I work with radio so when I pass around the hat, I don't get any attitude.
Christmas Dinner: Despite the one time Momma Bradford left the cooking pins in (also a time she hates being reminded of), Christmas dinners are pretty much the penultimate dinners.

Thanks big guy,
(heart) Matt

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Joys of Christmas Consumerism

That's it. I'm done - outstanding Christmas shopping be damned. If I do manage to break through the gathering hordes this year, it will be the last time I do. Next year, everyone I know better be happy with things I find on ebay and/or homemade devices I can fashion together with items from my apartment.

They say (well, someone said) that 1 out of 4 men leave shopping until the very last minute. The same source (again - I forget) also says that 1 out of 6 men would also like to do away with Christmas Shopping all together. And really, can you friggin' blame them?

Sure our evolutionary history may dictate that males are the hunter gatherers (relax, it's science)- but I assure you this genetic pre-disposition wouldn't have lasted long if there were Wal-Marts back in prehistoric times. I can guarantee you that if they were, males would have developed the art of gift certificates long before modern man.

Frig. I hate christmas shopping. So, as a public service, I offer these gentle reminders:

A Shopping Carts Is NOT Personal Luggage: They are also not portable cribs, battering rams or place holders. This is one instance where the name does not beget it's ultimate purpose. Yes, they are carts for shopping - but its purposes should be limited to food and/or large items. Malls are crowded enough without having to play frogger everytime one wishes to cross an aisle, head to the washroom or line up for chinese food.

There are other people in the immediate area: And yes, they would like to also shop in this are too ... if that's alright with you. No? Going to be here awhile? Please, let me step over your seven children and your collection of bags. Fancy that, we bumped into one another! Oops! I'm very sorry to have invaded your personal space - which apparantly now encompasses the entire stationary section of Hallmark.

We're Not Happy to Be Here Either: This one goes to you, sour-faced 16 year employee who was called in to work extra shifts at Sears. Believe me when I say that no one on either end of the chaos enjoys the Christmas Shopping experience so when we ask you for a little help or more information, we're not doing it to add fodder for your angst-ridden rants to your goth friends - we're doing it so we can get the hell out dodge and enjoy a heavily laced litre of nog.

However, there are other people in the line: That is, if you do need that little extra help or information, please - for the benefit of the 30 people behind you - ensure that you've done at least a little leg work before asking. None of us are experts, but if you're asking about prices on the display to DIRECT LEFT OF YOUR PERSON, then understand that you deserve the sarcasm and/or eye rolling that will ensue. Similarly - do your homework. A list is too is an inkling of a clue as to what you're after. Understand that everyone is in a hurry to escape and by hitting up the teller for information on 'what's good for kids' this christmas, you're guaranteed to win the ire and possible car-keying of those with actual physical purchases behind you.

Extended Warranties are the Devil's Tool: Dear electronic stores - we're on to you. We've watched 60 minutes and we have at least some understanding of the internet. Therefore, we're smarter and we're cheaper. So - if we say no to your 90 year all-inclusive extended warranty (which may or may not cover damage), then accept your defeat and move on. That crap may have worked last Christmas, but we're not as willing to dole out 300 more dollars on a guarantee that SHOULD HAVE BE OFFERED INITIALLY.

Ok. That's it - please feel free to join the revolution and add any further tips. Meanwhile, I'll be boarding up my windows and avoiding human contact until Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Numbers Are In

I'm watching you - or at least pie graphs representing you.
Having just installed a counter into the blog I now know a few things:

9 People visited in the 4 hours since the last post
0 Comments were made
100% Of visiters did not comment.
1 Man-child cried in the employee washroom. (hint: me)
5 Puppies will meet their grisly end if this trend continues.


The 31st Post Spectacular: Past, Present and Beyond

Long long ago in a radio station far far away I had a blog. Some people read it. Most didn't (read: people not my mom or co-workers).

Long story short, I abandoned said blog to the dark catacombs of never to visit it again. Until Now.

Last December I bought MJ a hamster for Christmas (who now lives with both of us). Her name is Meatwad - and you get bonus points if you know where that's from.
Another long story short, I wrote an entry about purchasing a hamster and it wasn't actually too crappy. So - in the spirit of celebrating my 31 Postaversary, here it is:

*Oh, and I now have a counter for this blog. which was the main point of this post - But I wanted to actually add some content.

originally posted January'06
Buying a Hamster. Not the quick shop and go experience as I expected when I first suggested getting my ladyfriend a Hamster. As a guy, the idea of a hamster for Christmas was ideal because a) I wanted a Hamster anyways, so this way I get the joys of playing with a Hamster without the nasty business of cleaning or feeding (relax, this isn’t how I feel about kids) and b) they're cute…and cute gifts win big! But alas … buying a Hamster? Not so easy.

AVAILABILITY: This may be a Peace River problem only since Malls typically close around 6 pm which is, of course, perfect for 85% of the population who work until 5 pm and then eat. By perfect of course I mean horribly inconvenient. Hence, lesson One: Plan Ahead.

COST: There’s a popular theory about fish that it costs more to let them die than to feed them. After stocking up on wood chips, treats and food I’m tempted to extend this theory to Hamsters. Though… I won’t….because I would risk loosing those cute points by evening mentioning it. Let's put it this way..a hamster costs 9.99….food costs about 20 bucks a month and that’s if you're mean and don’t buy any treats. So … yeah … you make your own decision … just don’t let me know about it.

CHOOSING A CAGE: The Hamster Industry is catching on to the Hamster trend…which means that you can expect to shell out at least 50 bucks for a decent cage. And these aren’t the cages of 10 years ago, my friend, these are the decorative, colored plastic tube utopians of the future. I wish my room looked like these things. Anyways, so these are built on the premise that your hamster will be mini acrobats…which they will be until they get fat at around month 4. Then all those fancy tubes just equal pooping dens and clogged up memories of the agile hamster you once had. My advice…go middle of the road so at least when your hamster gets fat he/she wont be reminded of their prime on a daily basis (just like that chin-up bar I still have hanging around).

CHOOSING A HAMSTER: Luckily we had a whopping three to chose from. But they were three different kinds. Understand this…no matter what you pick, they’ll all eventually look like one big lump of fur lying in the corner of the cage. And you can’t pick based on smarts or how well it seems they recognize you…they don’t. Here’s a quick look into a Hamster’s mind “Food? Food? … Food? Poop … Food?”That said…Teddy Bear Hamsters are cutest. But you can’t really go wrong. If you subscribe to the ‘Hamster Cost Analysis Theory’ above, then you can chose a different one every week! But again, don’t let me know about it.

TAKING IT HOME: Fortunately most pet stores provide a steel enforced carriage device to take your hamster home in. And by this I mean a cardboard box which serves to stir your new pet into a state of frenzy. We made the smart decision of bringing it home first and then buying dinner. Even still, it bit Marijana and had a good go at my toe. Lets just say we initiated a little eye for eye justice. Try climbing now biatch! Otherwise it's best if you assemble the cage and get it in as soon as possible. Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t feel particularly playful after being ripped from its home, transported in darkness and thrust into a colorful tube utopian it will soon recognize as the last place it will ever live.

NAMING YOUR HAMSTER: A friend of ours made a good point…that you should name a pet after you see it. The rebels we were, we named it before. Hence: Meatwad. You may know the name from the popular Aqua Teen Hunger force show…which was the genisis of the Hamster idea in the first place. For all you other creatively challenged people, I’ll make it simple. Think of the first three ultra cute fat-related names and them immediately abandon them. Also, name it something you won’t regret years down the road. My last hamster was named Frodo. Frodo died in his sleep , but I’m told his dying words were ‘thanks for naming me Frodo, nerd.” Alas, we buried Frodo in the front yard where a lonely golf ball and food dish mark his remains.Just as a side note: I recently learned that Hamsters sometimes hibernate. In which case, I sincerely hope Frodo was actually dead.

That’s about it. Good luck and happy hunting. For all my sarcasm, hamsters are pretty much the perfect low maintenance pet for most students, children, and radio employees … aka the mentally and financial challenged.

Monday, December 11, 2006

All Good TV Things Must End

It's always been kind of a love/hate thing with me and Series Finales.
For one; they're almost always bittersweet. When I love a show, I love a show. And If I've cared enough to follow a show straight until its natural end (which, these days, is rare), I'm always a bit hesitant about seeing it fade off into re-run heaven.
On the other hand, if a show has run past its prime, then I'd rather see it end on a high instead of watching an X-File-ish descent into sheer old-age madness.
Then there's the issue of closure. That is - how the hell do you wrap up a long-running show while pleasing its entire audience? You can't. So again - love/hate.

This weekend, I had the immense pleasure of finishing Six Feet Under. But more on that later. While renewing my hope for great TV, it also got me thinking about other Series Finales I've seen and how they've either changed or enhanced my feelings on their respective shows.

So...if you care, a little review. Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

Show Plot: Scully's pregnant, then she's not. Then she is. Mulder's dead. Then he isn't. Then he is. Aliens are here. Then they aren't - then they might be back. Scully and Mulder leave. Come back. Rinse. Repeat.
Finale Plot: After multiple years of having the same argument, Scully and Mulder finally get to the bottom of the alien invasion and their love/more-than-friend feelings for each other. Oh, and Cancer man is
Series Finale: Sarcasm aside, the X-Files were my first true plunge into TV Geekdome. I remember calling home in University just to hum the opening intro with my mom. No, I did not have a girlfriend at the time...why? Either way, after about 1 movie and three seasons too many, the show had jumped its last shark and was finally ending. Now...up until the end, the entire series had led up to some mysterious and uber-complicated alien conspiracy. That and an often-baffling love affair between the two main leads (something the creator swore would never happen). Needless to say, expectations for the 2 hour finale were high. And they remained high until the last 10 minutes when the alien invasion kinda semi-began. huh? HUH? Almost nine years of teasing open-ended closing? No. This shit may fly with other shows, but X-Files needed closure. Until this day, I still think FOX misplaced the last 10 hours of the final season. I'll still love the X-Files, but I'll always shake my fist when I think of what could have been.
Rating: 2 flip-flopping plots out of 5

Plot: Angel (of Buffy Fame) wrangles up his own army of do-gooders to take on do-badders.
Finale Plot: Angel and his team make one last desperate plight to rid the world of ultimate evil from inside the bowels of the beast (aka a law firm).
Series Finale: The last two seasons of Angel were nothing short of pure giddy geek fun and the series finale embraced this feeling right up until the final lines. Many balked at the jarring ending, but there was no better way to say goodbye to Angel and friends. After successfully bringing down the worst of the worst, the worst strike back in the final moments by opening up a can of wup ass on earth. Broken, beaten (and some dead) the remaining members of Angel's posse run off into their certain deaths...doing what they do best. Perfect. Goosebumps. While I wanted everything to be wrapped up all nice and pretty, this was Joss Whedon's way of reminding us that these heroes are immortal and should be remembered as such. Whedon has a gift for making you really care about his characters - be they interdimensional Kareokee singing demons or vampire brides - they feel real. So when the show ended, it felt as though we were saying goodbye to these very real people - and some, like Wesley, for good. Action packed, funny, touching and all-round great - Angel's last moments left you wanting more, but not needing more.
Rating: 4 'hell yeahs' out of 5
Plot: TV's most depressing/quarky family struggle to maintain the family funeral business while staying sane and pursuing their own 'lives'. I wrote a spec for this show back in University. know...plugging myself.
Finale Plot: The last season took a turn for the dark and stayed this way until the end. Pretty much everyone who was still kicking by this point was either reeling from a loss, affair, mental breakdown or near-death experience. The final few episodes even saw the departure of one of its more complicated characters and the arrival of two new adopted children in David and Keith's lives. The ultimate highlight of the series finale was the uber touching montage at the end which had Claire driving off into her future mixed with scenes depicting the eventual death of everyone in the series. Starting with Ruth's peaceful goodbye in 2025 to Claire's bedridden fairwell in 2085 - everyone meets their maker (and some, like Keith, more violently than others). I can't remember a time in TV when I was so moved/taken. This was the payoff I wanted. After the final Fisher bit the dust, I knew I would never need to know what comes next and that happens man.
Review: 4.5 Choked up Matt's out of 5

Plot: A show...about nothing! Ingenious!
Finale Plot: The famous foursome stand trial against their peers for just being plain assholes.

Finale Review: How do you wrap up a series about nothing? How do you complete one of the best modern sitcoms? Seems the creators didn't really have an answer themselves. Instead of breaking new ground, Seinfeld digs up the ultimate cliche and brings back all the famous one-off characters for tv land's biggest interventions. I wasn't a huge fan of Seinfeld, but I still respected it for its ideas and fresh take on the genre. This final episode didn't help bolster this impression. Left in a jail cell to (presumably) continue being assholes, the series ends with a pretty bold statement about its characters and a somewhat hollow feeling inside.

Review: 2 point 5 NEWMANS! out of 5

The Office (British Version)

Plot: Regular joes amble through their jobs at a paper company under the insane rule of a severely insecure boss in this 'mockumentary' of office life.
Plot Finale: Done as a 2 hour movie - everyone returns to the office for one last Christmas Party.
Review: As the American version looks to be mirroring the British, I won't give too much away. Suffice to say, the series wraps up on a very touching note and does a fine job of making you laugh out loud until it does. Highlights include David's run as a washed up reality tv show celebrity, his adventures in online dating and Tim's special gift to Dawn. Oh - and a music video that will leave you with a warm feeling inside.
Review: 4 'will they or wont they's' out of 5.

Farscape: Yeeeeeeeahhhh! Cheers: Awwwwwww Wonder Years: Sniff sniff.

So - in the spirit of opening up discussion - what are your favorite series finales?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Superman IV: Deleted Scenes

Well, MJ and I completed our Superman tour with Superman IV: the Quest for Peace. And while not as bat-crap insane as Superman III: Superman vs. Computer Code, it did warrant one final commentary.

Namely - it's about time someone called Superman on his shit. Seriously, this guy has been left unchecked for waaay too long. I was hoping this would have been addressed in the fourth film, but alas, no. So instead, I'm submitting two new scenes for use in upcoming re-releases.

INT. UN Forum - DAY
SUPERMAN addresses the delegates.
SUPERMAN: ...and in conclusion, I will single handedly rid the world of nuclear weapons.
They Clap. The CANADIAN delegate raises his hand.
CANADIAN: Superman. I think I speak on behalf of all us, when I say that we, as a people, are truly greatful.
SUPERMAN: Hey, for you guys ... anything.
CANADIAN: Still...uh, this whole idea seems pretty...complicated. How do you intend to collect the world's nuclear weapons?
SUPERMAN: A giant space net.
The delegates react...confused.
CANADIAN: said a giant space net...?
SUPERMAN: Sure. I'm thinking either a fishing net or, you know, something I make out of my own hair. Of course, if anyone wishes to donate their own space net...?
The delegates stare blankly at Superman.
SUPERMAN: No? Ok. Just don't come running when your space net suddenly disappears-
CANADIAN: Superman, what will do you with the weapons once collected?
SUPERMAN: Hurl them into the sun.
The delegates gasp
SUPERMAN: ...what?
CANADIAN: Superman, you do realize that the sun is, essentially, a giant ball of gas.
SUPERMAN: and...
CANADIAN: You intend to hurl nearly a million tonnes of nuclear weapons into...the sun.
SUPERMAN: I'm still not following.
CANADIAN: Can we vote on this?
They vote. Superman wins. Rigging is suspected.

LOIS interviews SUPERMAN following his defeat of NUCLEARMAN
LOIS: Once more, Superman, you've saved us. How did you do it?
SUPERMAN: High School physics, Lois. Nuclear Man, born of the sun, would obviously be powerless in complete darkness.
LOIS: you, like, lured him underground?
SUPERMAN: No, I pushed the moon infront of the sun.
LOIS: Holy fu-
SUPERMAN: What? I cut an entire mountain with eyes, rebuild the great wall of china with my mind and this is what I get shit for?
LOIS: Superman, you're aware that millions have died in freak tsunamis since you moved the moon.
SUPERMAN: That's impossible.
LOIS: Whole continents have been leveled due the dramatic shift in-
SUPERMAN: Screw this noise, I'm outta here.
Superman throws his Mic down and goes to a bar where he becomes...Dick Superman!

On another note, Marijana asked if they sold insurance for 'Acts of Superman' in Metropolis. Genius.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Skeletons on the DVD Shelf

One thing I've never been faulted for is my unwavering good taste. I have a friggin Mel C album for crap's sakes - even when I could have burned it.

Still, everyone has their weak moments - especially when it comes to movies. And whether they be gifts or a horrible lack of judgement, we all have a few skeletons hiding amongst our DVD collections. So, in an act of purging, here are a couple of mine:

Battlefield Earth
Plot: Tull and Brull (or something 'Ull') head an army of gigantic aliens against a Hu-mon revolution.
How I ended up with it: At some point, a couple friends of mine caught on to the fact that I was first in line for crap movies so, when Crapfield Earth was shat out onto DVD (mere weeks after release I imagine), they automatically assumed it was my favorite film. This was given as a joint birthday present and is watched on occasion if only for the scene where the rebellious 'Hu-mons' find a hanger of fully fueled 1000 year old jet fighters and teach themselves to fly.
Moulin Rouge
Plot: Ewan and Hottie McKidman engage in a tragic yet delightfully musical affair at the Moulin Rouge.
Why its There: I'm not going to lie: I love this movie. Admittidly, this is like the Ghandi of Chick Flick movies, but it just keeps calling me back. If anyone asks, I say it was for a project on 18th century Bohemiem movement - but if my heart asks, I say it's because I just can't get enough. sigh.

About a Boy
Plot: About a Boy
Why the Hell I Bought it: Believe me, I'm as stumped as you are. I think its' because there was a cool song in it. Beyond that, I don't know...Hugh Grant's charm? A discount at Rogers? Will I ever watch it again? In the event that my cable is out and all other movies past 'A' are unable to function...maybe. This was one of those 'hey, that was cute, I'll buy it' films that will probably never again feel the warmth of a DVD tray.

Making of the Matrix

Plot: A 3 hours scene by scene documentary about the making of the Matrix
Why Oh Why?! Those who know my once-addiction to the Matrix will see nothing out of the ordinary with this selection. It was THE movie and, as such, I just HAD to see how they made it. Highlights include the 'unthawing' of the Keannu-Bot before all major fight scenes and the part where the Wackowski brothers call an emergency meeting on how to ruin the triolgy.

Final Fantasy: Spirits Within
Plot: NOTHING at all to do with the video games.
And You Have This...Why? Because I'm an instant-geek for computer generated action. I love it. This film when widely ignored, but I guarantee you that 300 years into the future, mankind will unearth my apartment, find this movie, and re-discover what it means to have fun.

Well...that's all...that I can remember. Updates to come. Why not tell me YOUR guilty pleasure (movie related, please).

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ode to Dick-Superman

You know what the world really needs? More Super-assholes. Not your standard everyday assholes, but your Krypton-born/Radiated/Astral-being breed of douchebags.

Do you know what the best part of Superman III was? (Some points if you said 'when it ended'). It was when bland Superman took a hit of fake kryptonite and became an absolute dick.

Not evil...a dick...and this was the best decision ever made in the Superman Universe.

What did Dick-Superman do? Why, he did what ever other guy would do with god-like powers...he messed around with people. In the span of just a twenty minute montage, Dick-Superman grew a 5 o'clock shadow, gelled his hair, straightened the Leaning Tower of Pisa (thus expertly destroying local tourism), blew out the Olympic Flame (which is about 10 on the douchebag scale of international dickery), trashed a bar and scored with the bimbo villainesse - in the villain's own ski chalet. Kudos, dick superman, kudos.

Needless to say, Dick Superman was a hit at the Bradford-Ancic apartment. We even made a song:

He'll stop traffic just to keep you late,
He'll melt the ice so you can't skate,
He'll take the last M&M's from the vending machine,
And throw them out just to be mean,
He'll spin the earth backwards just for fun,
And make it rain in Florida - when he's done!
He's Dick Superman!
Dick Supermaaaaaaan!

So here's to you Dick-Superman. Though you may be mild-mannered now, here's hoping there's plenty of red/funky kryptonite in your future.