Friday, November 30, 2012

FML - Oppa Baby Style

So my son has developed his first addiction - watching "Gangnam Style" on YouTube on my cell phone.  If he's being fussy, simply popping that on for him manages to calm him down.  He also bops his feet and waves his arms to the music (if he's not holding the phone himself), but he can't do the whole dance yet (obviously).

Here is a cute photo of him enjoying a bottle and watching the video.

Oh, and if you have no clue what the heck Gangnam Style is (what, have you been living under a rock this year?) it is that YouTube music video that has racked up 855 million views and counting in a mere four months, and its performer, Psy, has shown up all over TV including Ellen, Saturday Night Live, the American Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and many other places.  Just go to YouTube and search for "Gangnam Style" and you'll find it, its the one with a massive ton of views. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PCP on DVD - Gone

I like a good thriller as much as the next film fan.  The problem is that it is hard to surprise me with a movie anymore, as I've seen so many films I usually can see the ending coming a mile away.  Gone tries its best to keep the viewer guessing, but its best is not good enough.

Gone - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  5 out of 10.

Amanda Seyfried stars in Gone as a girl who's sister goes missing.  A year earlier, Amanda had been kidnapped as well, and she believes that the man that took her has now taken her sister.  The problem for her is that no one believes her, because she has a history of mental illness and no one believed her last year when she was taken.  So, she has to try and find her sister, but the film attempts to keep you guessing as to what really happened compared to how much of it is just paranoia or mental illness.

The film really tries its best, and Seyfried is good as she usually is, but the film was just somewhat lacking overall.  Some of the decisions made by Seyfried's character move beyond the realm of history of mental illness and into the realm of outright stupidity.  You know you're watching a bad movie when you want to yell at the screen to tell the characters to stop doing something so stupid.

Overall, the film could have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse.  Instead it is perfectly average and due to be gone from my memory before long.

Friday, November 23, 2012

PCP on DVD - Puss in Boots

It seems sequels, prequels, remakes, and spinoffs are all that get made in Hollywood these days.  Puss in Boots is a prequel and spinoff from the Shrek franchise that thankfully has some legs of its own, unlike all too many unoriginal ideas for films.

Puss in Boots - 2011, rated PG.  My rating:  7 out of 10.

This movie tells the origin story of the character of Puss in Boots, explaining how he turned in to the swashbuckling rogue from the Shrek franchise.  As a film I enjoyed it better than the 3rd and 4th Shrek movies, so at least it improved upon the series, but it still doesn't hold a candle to Shrek 1 and 2. 

Aside from Puss, the entire rest of the cast of characters are all new to the Shrek universe, including Humpty Dumpty and Jack & Jill.  This allows the film to feel a lot more independent of the Shrek franchise, as opposed to simply being a Shrek story told from Puss' point of view.  The film has both heart and wit, and it is enjoyable for both kids and adults.  It isn't anything particularly new or groundbreaking for the plot however, it is pretty straightforward and predictable for the majority of the film (of course though, it's a kid's movie, it's not like I should be expecting major plot twists).  Still, it is a worthy addition to the franchise and those that liked the Puss character from the Shrek series should take the time to watch this movie.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

FML - First 5k in the bag

So this past weekend, my wife and I competed in our first 5k, along with my stepsister, her husband, and my niece.  It was the Miles for the Military 5k in South Barrington, raising money for veterans charities.  The race went a lot better than I expected.  I finished in 40:43, which beat my personal best in training by about 4 minutes.  However, since we started at the back of the pack, there was a good 20-30 seconds before we crossed the starting line, so my time was even better than that.  There is definitely a lot of pressure to run faster when you are running in a giant crowd, as opposed to running solo on a treadmill.  The course had timers up at the mile markers, so I know my splits.  I hit the first mile mark at 12:27, and the 2nd mile mark at 25:30.  It was the final mile that really killed me.  I was overheating because I had on too many layers, so I had to revert to walking briefly in order to remove my sweatshirt and move my runner's tag from my sweatshirt to my undershirt.  Nothing is more fun than trying to pin back on a tag while moving.  I tried to do it while still running but I kept stabbing myself with the pins.  I suppose if I had been dressed better for the race, I would've broken the 40 minute mark, but at least I have a nice goal for my next race.

My family all spanked me on the course, however.  My 10 year old niece and my stepsister beat me by 5 minutes, my brother in law by 4.5 minutes, and my wife by 3 minutes.  At least I was able to finish though, and I am proud of myself for taking this step to improve my health.

Next up is the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in March, and the Big 10k in the summertime.  I'm hoping I do well in those races, and I'll have to spend the winter working on my endurance if I hope to have any sort of good time in those events.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

PCP in Theaters - Breaking Dawn Part 2

So my wife and I had a chance for a nice date night recently, and we went out with friends of ours to go see the latest in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn Part 2.  We caught it at the Hollywood Palms theater in Naperville, IL, which I highly recommend as a pretty cool place to catch a flick.  One of the actors from the film, Peter Facinelli (aka Carlisle Cullen), was in the house signing autographs and taking pictures with fans for $20 (something that theater does often, they had Tom "Draco Malfoy" Felton there for the premiere of the final Harry Potter movie).  Our friend Laine took a picture with him, but I chose to pass on shelling out the $20 for that.

Anyways, the Twilight saga has finally come to an end, so on with my review.

The Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn Part 2.  2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  7.5 out of 10.

Just like I said in my review of Breaking Dawn Part 1(scroll down after the review of Mission Impossible 4), the film here feels like half of a movie.  Part 1 was the love story aspect of the book adaptation, and this one was the more fast-paced action half of the book.  Back is all of the cast from the prior films with their wooden acting skills still in place.

The film picks up right where the prior left off, with Kristen Stewart's Bella now a vampire.  The director attempts to show us how she perceives things now by showing a lot of extreme detail zoom shots, so we know just how more advanced her senses are now.  It gets old pretty quick, but thankfully it also gets abandoned pretty rapidly as well.  Also annoying in the early part of the film is the awful CGI for the half human half vampire child Renesmee (and for the record that name is stupid).  Because her character is growing up at a hyper-accelerated rate (and has a mental development well past where she should for her age), it doesn't make sense to use a series of real babies, but I honestly wish they had, or at least spent a few more bucks on the effects because the CGI is really horrible.  Every time that baby was on the screen it just pulled me right out of the scene.

Read the rest of the review after the jump --->

Friday, November 16, 2012

POS - Post election wrapup

So the election has come and gone and we've all had a little bit of time to reflect on the outcomes in all of the races, both locally and nationally.  I wanted to put my thoughts to the page as to how I feel about the outcome of all of the races, so here is my 2012 election wrapup, in nice and easy bullet points format.

Presidential race thoughts:

  • So Obama won, and won big (at least in the electoral college).  As I said on my election night mini-post, I predicted he would win all of the swing states except for North Carolina and Virginia.  I was right with the exception of Virginia.
  • That's my 2nd accurate prediction with the presidential race this year.  Back in the winter I predicted Romney would be the GOP nominee before the South Carolina primary even occurred.
  • I'm not too surprised with the outcome of the election.  Romney was a terrible candidate for the GOP.  Plenty of better options stayed on the sidelines, instead setting their sights on 2016.  Instead they nominated a man who couldn't release his tax returns because they'd reveal something damaging, he couldn't run on his record as a governor because it was too liberal for his base, his flip-flops on positions wrecked the public's trust, and he got killed running on his business cred because of how Bain Capital destroyed a lot of companies.  Not a smart choice by the GOP really.
  • This election will really go down in history as a missed opportunity for the GOP.  With 4 more years, Obama has a chance to cement his legacy, and by the time 2016 rolls around, Obamacare will be set in stone and extremely difficult for the GOP to repeal.
  • Speaking of 2016, and the future, the GOP really needs to work on expanding their party.  Obama killed Romney among Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans, by wider margins than any other Democratic candidate in history.  As America heads towards majority minority within a generation, if the GOP doesn't find a way to reach those groups, they will be demographically irrelevant within 30 years.  They're also going to need to find a way to reach out to the youth demographic, but unfortunately as long as they continue to be hard line on gay marriage, they will probably struggle with the under 30 vote.
  • The above is especially true among Hispanics.  Less than 20 years ago, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado were red states.  Now they tend to go blue, thanks in part to their growing Latino populations.  If the GOP doesn't do a better job with Hispanics, they stand to eventually lose Arizona and Texas as well.  And once they lose Texas, they can kiss their chances at the White House goodbye, thanks to the Electoral College math.  Maybe they might change their minds about their opposition to the Electoral College after all?
  • Man this was a fun week for schadenfreude.  There was Donald Trump's Twitter meltdown/call for revolution (link below in the misc items section), Karl Rove denying reality on Fox News on election night, Ann Coulter all despondent on the radio, Dick Morris' downfall after his extremely inaccurate election prediction of a Romney landslide, and this Tumblr - probably the funniest thing I've seen in awhile.
  • On the local radio here in Chicago, they were interviewing a man from Ohio about why he voted for Obama.  He explained that he was a laid off manufacturing employee and he stated he lost his job because he and his company "got Bain'd" when his company was bought out and his job shipped to China.  I fully support the term "got Bain'd" entering the lexicon.  It was little things like that that helped lead to Romney's defeat.
After the jump - my thoughts on Congress/Senate races as well as the major referendums on ballots across the country.  Read on!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

POS - Funny secession rebuttal

So secession has been in the news lately, with upset red staters calling for the union to dissolve because they are pissy that Obama won reelection.  I was emailed this funny rebuttal by my dad and wanted to share it with you because I thought this was too good not to share.  Enjoy!

Dear Red States:

We're pissed at your attitudes and politics and we've decided we're leaving.

We in the Blue States intend to form our own country . 

In case you aren't aware that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and the rest of the Northeast.

We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country of The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A).

To sum up briefly:
-You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.
-We get stem cell research and the best beaches.
-We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren. You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.
-We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.
-We get Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, & Google. You get WorldCom.
-We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
-We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.
-We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.
-Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than your Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulphur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Michigan, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

We're taking the good weed too. You can have that crap they grow in Mexico.


The Blue Wall

Yeah, this about sums up the brainpower behind the calls to secede.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PCP on DVD - Tower Heist

Sometimes when you throw together a cast with a bunch of talented actors, you get a great film.  Sometimes you don't.  Tower Heist is unfortunately part of the latter category.

Tower Heist - 2011, rated PG-13.  My rating:  6 out of 10.

Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller lead an all-star comedic cast in this heist tale.  Stiller and his fellow coworkers at a New York luxury high-rise have had their pension funds wiped out by one of the tower tenants, Alan Alda, in his Ponzi scheme.  So, Stiller and his coworkers lead a con to try to steal back any money that Alda has stashed away in his apartment in the tower.

The film is rather formulaic and dull, despite the presence of so many great people in the cast.  Stiller's straight man is rather boring, I think I like him better when he is playing over the top characters instead of the straight man in the comedy.  Eddie Murphy is probably the highlight of the cast, returning to his 1980s form with a character that seems straight out of Trading Places.  It's nice to see him back at his old form again, as opposed to some of the crappier roles he's taken lately.  But all in all though, the film was only okay, it is nothing particularly spectacular, and it was a relative disappointment given the cast.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

PCP on DVD - Contraband

Mark Wahlberg is often typecast as a tough guy anti-hero (The Italian Job, Shooter, Four Brothers, just to name a few examples), and he regularly stays inside that role.  When he does go outside the typecasting, he can turn in an amazing performance (Boogie Nights, The Fighter, The Departed), but it seems he goes back to the well of his usual type of role on a regular basis.  Contraband is one of those films where he goes back to his typecast role.

Contraband - 2012, rated R.  My rating:  6 out of 10.
There's not a whole lot of depth to the story in Contraband.  Mark Wahlberg is an ex-smuggler who is pulled back into the life in order to save his family.  The film is pretty light on action for the first half of the film, unlike how it is depicted in the trailers.  The second half of the film is where things really start to pick up, but by then I'd unfortunately lost most of my interest in the film.

The good thing in the film is seeing how Wahlberg pulls off the smuggling.  Similar to his role in The Italian Job he uses a lot of sleight of hand and deception to pull off his smuggling.  The reveal doesn't come until the end, but when it does come the payoff is nice.  There's also a few plot twists along the way that keep the film from being too straightforward and obvious, but they aren't particularly shocking twists and in fact you can see them coming a mile away.

All in all, if you are a fan of Wahlberg's movies, you'll probably like this one.  If you don't see this, then you aren't really missing much.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

POS - 4 more years!

It's 845 PM Central time on election day.  As of right now the polling is incredibly close in most of the swing states, but Fox News has called WI and PA for Obama, and he's leading pretty well in Ohio as well.  I really don't see any way in which Romney pulls off an upset here.  Even though we will be waiting on Florida for awhile, currently separated by about 2,000 votes out of 6 million cast, I feel pretty confident that this election will be going to Obama & the Dems are going to retain the Senate, while the GOP keeps the house.  For swing state predictions - Obama is going to pick up all but Virginia and North Carolina.  That's just my gut feeling.

Now the GOP has no one to blame but themselves.  They nominated a guy that flip-flops like crazy.  Had they had a competent nominee, perhaps they could have won.  They're going to have to do some soul searching now, the question is will they work across the aisle or will they dig in their heels and be even more obstinate?  I guess we'll find out as they address the fiscal cliff coming at the end of this year.

I am glad that Obama will win, and I hope this is not a premature celebration, but WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

POS - Go Vote!

If you haven't voted early, go vote today!  I'm sure you all know where I stand and who I'm planning on voting for (not that my vote matters thanks to the electoral college, as I complained about in this post earlier) but whether you agree with my political views or not, still go vote.  Voting is a great responsibility and a great right that so many around the world do not get to enjoy, so go make sure you enjoy that privilege!

Friday, November 2, 2012

FML - 15 days until 5k!

So my wife and I have been running for about 10 weeks now, and are registered for our first 5k on 11/17.  In our training for the 5k, we have both finally been able to successfully complete one (albeit on a treadmill) at a pace that we were comfortable at (about 15 minutes to a mile).  Unfortunately, that is slow as all heck, so we have two weeks to step up our pace a little bit so our time isn't completely laughable. 

The Couch to 5k app that we used to start our program was definitely very helpful in slowly but steadily building up our endurance, and I do recommend it.  Now if anyone has any suggestions for building up our speed without completely killing our endurance, I would appreciate the tips! 

Ultimately, my own goals for running are to increase my speed to a 12 minute mile for the short term, so when we do 5Ks in the spring we can break the 36 minute mark, then to eventually get down to around a 10 minute mile.  I know I can eventually meet that pace, because back in high school running 3 miles in 30 minutes was a prerequisite to be a defenseman on the lacrosse team (midfielders had to do it in 25).  Also, we plan on competing in the Big 10K next summer, a 10K sponsored by the Big Ten conference where you run representing your school.  After the 10Ks the next goal is to maybe get up to a half marathon.  I'm not sure if I want to take it that far though, or if my knees can handle it either.  We'll see!

The one nice thing is that when we run outdoors with the jogging stroller we can at least keep our son with us so it is some nice family time.  Unfortunately it is getting a bit too cold to consistently do that.  Thankfully, our gym has on site daycare so we can just drop him off there and run.

Michigan football + zombies = win?

So I wrote a post for that I'm going to link to here, as opposed to recreating the whole post.  It compares the opponents Michigan faced/will face this season to the zombies from the videogame Left 4 Dead 2.  If you are interested in a little zombie horror/football crossover action, I recommend you check it out!  Enjoy!