Archive for October, 2009

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Metro riders to watch out for

October 28, 2009

After getting stuck sitting next to an asshole who wouldn’t move over for the second day in a row, I’ve decided to create a top 5 enemies list of whom to avoid sitting next to on the metro.  Here we go:

5.  Fat guys.  Even if they want to move over they just can’t.

4.  Guys with large bags on their laps.  Apparently if your bag is large enough it actually counts as a rider.  (Hey, there’s an idea to reduce Metro’s deficit – charge for bags!) The other day I saw a guy who put his big bag on the inside seat and then sat on the outside seat so he could lean over his bag, read his paper, and piss off everyone who saw him.

3.  Guys who look like they just leapt off the pages of GQ.  Anyone who spends that much time making themselves pretty is too self absorbed to even think about sharing the seat.

2.  Anyone reading the ‘Examiner.’  These self-proclaimed bastions of independent (i.e. conservative) thought will be so caught up reading about realist theory that they will see it as their patriotic duty to make you work for that extra space.  Don’t even bother trying to argue with them, all these guys respect is force.  Unless you’re prepared to get into a pretty heated shoving contest, look somewhere else.

1.  Anyone wearing an Air Force uniform.  Aside from being the poodles of the military doghouse, these guys just suck.  Between the flight suits they wear (even if they’ve never stepped foot in an airplane) and the tiger stripe camouflage (great for jungle incursions into Cambodia, less useful for Crystal City) these guys’ self-confidence is so low that they will take affront to any perceived attempt to further emasculate them.  If you’re looking to share a seat with an Air force guy (or gal, they suck too!), I guarantee they will not budge one inch. 

There it is, my own personal metro enemies list.  I guarantee if you keep these people in mind you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary back pain as you try to fold yourself into a seat.  Up next, top 5 metro suckers!

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Redskins MNF preview

October 26, 2009

ATT00122

OK, this marks my first and what will likely be my last football related post.  The reason for this is simple:  While I may be a Redskins fan, I know extremely little about football and have no real ability to support any of my football assertions with stats, history, or any other form of supporting evidence.  That said, what I am good at is predicting future outcomes based on historical and emerging trends.  With that thought in mind, here’s my call for Monday night:  Redskins will lose, but it won’t be the complete disaster people are probably expecting.  My read of the DC fan base is that people are expecting some sort of a Sarah Palin/Katie Couric level disaster, which while possible is not likley because, let’s be honest, the Redskins can’t possibly get any more embarassing.  After their atrocious offensive performance these last 5 weeks, the Redskins are about as low as a NFL team can possibly get.  Assuming that tonight’s game will be a disaster implies it will be different than the way the past five games have been, and since those games have been terrible, there is almost no way that the Redskins can do anything that would actually make them look worse.  Instead of getting a Palin/Couric interview, we are going to get a Palin/Biden VP debate where the Redskins try and do the right things, make a decent attempt at faking it, but in the end they perform at their usual level, the only difference being that people are now used to that level, so it doesn’t seem as bad.  I honestly don’t think the Redskins can become any more clown-like than they already are, which means that people’s expectations are suitably tempered so that tonight they will at least look like an NFL team, albeit a terrible one.  In some ways, the Redskins may actually  make out OK tonight.  The bar has been set so incredibly low that they almost can’t help but surpass the expectations everyone has set.  Short of Cambell hitting another referee in the head the Redskins will likely look better than people are expecting, which while refreshing, will do nothing to help the team’s record.

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Wolverine Movie: Glad I saw it but not worth seeing again.

October 21, 2009
The single best telling of the actual procedure turning Logan into Wolverine

The single best telling of the actual procedure turning Logan into Wolverine

I finally saw the Wolverine movie for the first time last night.  I realize I’m several months behind the times here, which is very odd for me since I normally try and see superhero movies the first weekend they come out, but after the initial negative hype I heard about the movie and the ridiculous previews, I decided to hold off until it was released on Net Flix.  Here’s my initial take:  Not as bad as people said it was, not as good as it should have been.  

My main issue with the movie was they didn’t take the time to develop the characters, and every time you thought you were starting to get into some more serious character development the subject in question always died.  Take for example John Wraith, as excellently portrayed by Will.I.am.  John Wraith has always been one of my favorite sub-characters in the Wolverine story line and just as I thought he was about to get some time in the spotlight he gets killed by Sabertooth!  The fight didn’t even make sense!  Why would a guy whose only mutant power is teleporting think to get into a fist fight with Sabertooth?  Teleporting or not, he’s going to get his ass kicked!  In the comics Wraith was always portrayed as the brains behind the outfit, but in the movie he comes off as a guy too stupid to know that you should probably not get into a fist fight with a guy bigger than you and who has claws.  (Interesting side note:  Will.I.am wanted to be in the movie but only if he could play a character that could teleport.  He is aware that starring in the movie doesn’t actually give you mutant powers right?  If he wanted to get in on the special effects you think he would have picked a character that could fly, at least that way you get to be hoisted up in a harness!)

My second major negative point was how they tried to tie the storyline into the X Men movies.  Why not tell the Wolverine story independently?  Trying to connect the two movies results in too many awkward transitions and too much use of deus ex machina.  Just keep them separate and let the viewer make the connection, especially since there’s almost 10 years between when Wolverine ends and the first X-Men starts.  A great example of not trying to connect an origin story to present day events is ‘Eight Mile,’ which ends with Eminem simply going back to work after winning the big rap battle.  Imagine how bad that movie would have been if Eminem had walked out of the club and there was a record producer waiting with a $10 million contract!  Origin stories need to stop forcing the connection between the origin and the present day; just let the viewers make the connection for themselves.  In superhero movies this is even more important because when you try and force a connection between the past and the present you end up introducing too many characters.  The easiest way to ruin a superhero movie is to try and put in as many characters as possible.  Too many spices ruins the soup and every unnecessary character you add takes away from the development of a necessary character.  Just pick a small handful that are relevant to the plot and focus on them.  Don’t try and cram every possible character into a single movie.  In the case of Wolverine I wouldn’t have put in Gambit (who served no purpose even though I loved seeing him finally make it into a movie) or Cyclops (no purpose) or Xavier (no purpose).

That said, there were some good parts.  I liked how the movie stayed true to the comics in terms of Silver Fox not really being killed by Sabertooth.  Big plus there as that was always one of the main questions driving the origin storyline (see Wolverine #60-68 for the best telling of that story line) There also weren’t too many ‘groaner’ moments, although the scene with Wolverine using his claws to spin the bike looked pretty fake (note to Hollywood:  Stop trying to add gimmicky effects to motorcycle scenes – they never work out and detract from an otherwise great action sequence.  e.g. that stupid bike flip off the wall at the end of the motorcycle scene in dark knight)  For the most part the one liners were decent too, although I do think the, ‘I’m the best at what I do,’ fell flat.  Finally, I liked how the ending tried to capture the complex nature of Logan’s past although I think the whole adamantium bullet thing was a pretty cheap way of inducing memory loss.

Cover of Wolverine # 62.  Yes, that's SilverFox in the middle.

Cover of Wolverine # 62. Yes, that's SilverFox in the middle.

In the end, I’m glad I finally saw the movie but it greatly benefited from me having low expectations.  All in all the movie seemed more like a bunch of decent fight scenes connected together than an actual story.  I applaud the attempt to stay true to the main parts of the Wolverine story lines but the attempt to connect Wolverine to X-Men simply resulted in to many unnecessary changes.  There is rumor of a second one being made which will take place in Japan, which I’m assuming will be based off the 1982 4 issue run featuring Wolverine in Japan.  This has some potential as that story line is one of the best Wolverine stories ever written and really shows off Wolverine’s character flaws in a way not normally portrayed.  If done properly, it has a lot of potential.

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riding the metro

October 20, 2009

What would happen if instead of getting off in Crystal City I simply kept riding?

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Riding the Metro

October 20, 2009

What would happen if instead of getting off in Crystal City I simply kept riding?

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Halloween costumes

October 19, 2009

 Costumes are tough.  There’s a lot of pressure to pull off a good costume – especially for the ladies.  Sexy is good, but take it too far and you end up looking like an actual hooker.  It’s kind of like guys who dress up for Renaissance Fairs – you know that if they could they would wear those costumes all year round, which is bad enough when it’s chain mail or a wool cloak, but it’s worse when it’s a leather mini skirt and fish net stockings.  Remember ladies, a little goes a long way!  The guys also have it tough – you need to make sure you pick an outfit that says, ‘I can relax and have a good sense of humor,’ but not one that says, ‘I wish I could wear this cape all year round.’  Come to think of it, why do we call them costumes when they usually end up revealing more about who we wish we were rather than hiding our secret alter egos?

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Zombies

October 13, 2009

Why are zombie movies so entertaining?  I think it has to do with the idea of people being able to do whatever they want without any real regard for the consequences.  Drive whichever car you can find, live in whatever house you want, these are all part of the appeal of the zombie franchise.  It’s kind of like the whole ‘marooned on a tropical island fantasy,’ except here you have guns and have to watch out for zombies.  Of course, the zombie fantasy is largely related to what type of zombies you have to live with.  If the zombies are slow and easily killed (as in Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland) then you are golden; if they are fast and hard to kill (I am Legend), well, that’s just not as much fun.  I also think part of the zombie fun is being able to play survivalist.  Everyone loves to come up with their own ‘Zombie Survival Plan,’ which usually involves large guns and well defended positions.  If it were me, I would head for a nice house in the middle of nowhere, set up a perimeter that alerted me anytime someone came within 1 mile, and have a really big sniper rifle set up on my roof.   Of course, before I can head to the house in the middle of nowhere I need to survive the initial attack, which is where I think most zombie survivalists go wrong.  Most people’s immediate reaction is to hit the road and get out of town.  This is really stupid.  You can barely get out of town on a good day, let alone one where drivers are motivated by zombies!  Does anyone really want to be stuck in zombie-related rush hour?  Imagine sitting on 495 listening to the traffic report where, instead of hearing the usual, “Traffic is slowing down because people are rubbernecking,” you instead hear, “Traffic is slowing down because people are eating other people’s necks.”  This is not a situation you want to be in, which brings us to my main point:  The key to surviving a zombie attack is the first week.  If you can successfully barricade yourself in your house for one week, you have a much better chance of surviving.  That first week will allow sufficient time for all the panicky types to venture out in search of safety or supplies, which will of course result in them getting turned into zombies or killed.  Personally, I think one of the biggest threats people need to face during the first week of a zombie attack comes from other people!  Remember, everyone is going to be going nuts, and if you don’t think that old lady will blow your head off if she thinks you’re going to try and take that last can of condensed milk, well, then you just aren’t fit to survive to Z+7.  Also, keep in mind that the government will probably try and restore order and it’s quite possible that within seven days the government will have restored control, which means that any crimes you committed during the zombie attacks (such as looting or killing people) are still punishable.  You wouldn’t want to survive a zombie attack but then get sent to prison would you?  With that thought in mind, here’s what you need in order to survive the first seven days of a zombie attack:

1.  Well defended position.  If you live on the upper floor of a building you’re golden.  Just cut away the fire escape, board up the windows and doors, try and stay away from outside walls (remember, zombies can smell you through drywall), set a watch, pop in a few dvds and watch the clock.  If you don’t live in the penthouse suite, well, you have a bit more work to do.  First off, you need to seal the house.   Zombies detect you by smell, so lock the windows, draw the shades, and cover all openings with plastic.  This will help prevent zombies from getting hold of your sweet smelling flesh, which will help mitigate the need for step two:  Barricade all openings.  Even if you don’t have sheets of plywood sitting in your garage you can still erect some fairly formidable blockades.  Take apart your bed frames and furniture and you’ve got plenty of raw material to work with.  If all your furniture is from Ikea you may be in trouble.

2.  Weapons.  Fairly obvious, but not everyone has guns in their house.  I recommend weapons that can be assembled using common household items.  Cooking knives attached to broom handle are good, but you want to make sure your weapon has some heft to it.  These are zombies we’re killing, not Roman Gladiators.  The goal is to crush their heads, not cut parts of their body.  Heavy and blunt is far preferable to nimble and sharp.  If you happen to have a Klingon Batleth in your house then you’ve got the best of both worlds!  Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to go Macguyver here; you only need a weapon good enough to get you to the next weapon’s cache, which in my case is Home Depot.  Think of it like this:  the cooking knife on a broom handle gets you to the chainsaw which gets you to the gun store. 

3.  Supplies.  Water is the biggest item here because the human body can only go three days without water and after a week of zombie attacks public services will likely start to shut down.  The moment you board up your house start filling every container in your house with water from the tap.  Bathtubs, ziploc bags, pots and pans, anything!  Make sure to cover them with saran wrap and to stir them twice a day to ensure that they remain potable.  As for food, well, you can go almost three weeks without food, so it’s not as big a concern, but you will need your strength once you do leave your house.  I’m sure there is enough frozen stuff and prepackaged food in your house to help you survive.  Start with the fresh stuff and go from there and make sure to ration appropriately.   

4.  Entertainment.  You’ll need to do something to fend off cabin fever but it can’t be something that will alienate your fellow survivors.  Chess is probably a bad idea.

5.  A positive mental attitude.  If I’ve learned anything from TV it’s this:  Zombies are not hard to survive provided you take the time to come up with a solid plan and stay focused.  Keep a sharp eye out for the guy who starts to get overly depressed because that’s the one who will go crazy, do something stupid and get everyone killed.  Nick, I’m keeping my eye on you!

 

Well, that’s it.  Everything you need to know about surviving a zombie attack all the way from A for…attack…to Z for…well, you get where this is going.  Oh, one last thing, and perhaps the one point that sums of everything you need to know to ensure your survival:  You don’t have to be the best prepared guy in the world, you just have to better prepared than the guy  next to you.