Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Call me, Dad

I feel like a bit of a heel doing this while working (my team is taking a break so I am too) and knowing that Jill is upstairs tending to the needs of our one month old. I'll likely get my comeuppance this evening when it's my turn to take care of him.

So I'm a dad now which is surreal or at least it seems so when I'm not feeding, calming, and changing my son's diapers of which there are many. I've had a month now to make the adjustment from a happy go lucky husband with light obligations to full blown parent with more considerable ones.

Doing my weekly chores now takes a backseat to the baby's needs. I've managed to give my beloved lawn some attention once a week and the coming winter will put an end to that for a few months. I will have to tend to snow removal from time to time but Jill is getting better with Henry so I can take the time to do it.

There are so many things you take for granted before having children. Silly things like an evening snack (or snacks) just don't happen. We've worked out the whole eating schedule. Henry likes to be cranky from 5pm to 10pm so dinner has gone from our together time to one of us eating while the other does their best to calm the baby. On the plus side, I can now eat a largish dinner in under ten minutes. The only time it takes longer is when I have to take a break to change a poopy diaper which Henry likes to create around the time when I eat. He always knows when I've opened a pint of ice cream because he always cries a couple of bites in regardless of how asleep he was when I open it. There are silver linings to this cloud. I'm not flirting with 180lbs like I was pre-baby.

All that being said, I wouldn't trade it for anything. As time rolls on we'll get back to many of our old activities since he's not going to be a newborn forever. Sometimes it feels that way though. When Henry is content he looks it and I just marvel at the sleeping baby that Jill and I are taking care of. He's just fantastic.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Scene Stealers

My wife and I were watching a program last night where a contestant looked a lot like the character, Brenda from Adventures in Babysitting and that got me to thinking. There are a lot of great characters out there that chew scenery. Some are linchpins for their respective film and others are just bit parts but they leave you wanting more even though they're not the central character. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Penelope Ann Miller - Adventures in Babysitting
Brenda is definitely the linchpin for this film since she's the catalyst for everything. We just get snippets of her stumbling about and having an altogether awful time while the protagonists make their way to her.

Val Kilmer - Tombstone
Kilmer's Doc Holiday really chews the scenery and dominates whenever he's on camera. He balances recklessness with an eerie sense of calm. The film is about the Earps but you want to watch Holiday.

Sam Rockwell - Galaxy Quest
Rockwell is great in everything he does and you almost always get a sense that he didn't get the memo that he wasn't the star of the film. Perhaps it's a bit overacted but in the context of the film I think it works. Like Brenda, Guy is the linchpin in that he reminds us that they're not space travelers. While the rest of the characters handle their situation as if it's something that happens to them on a regular basis, Guy is clearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown as any normal person would be. Good on him.

Veronica Cartwright - Witches of Eastwick
Here's another character that like Rockwell's Guy, seems to be the starting point for writing. It's almost as if the film was written for the character. Cartwright nails the lack of dignity and insanity while being the only rational character in the film besides Nicholson.

Christopher Walken - Joe Dirt
I swear this part was written just so they could have Walken in their film. It's almost as if they just handed him a mop and said, "Walk around and do whatever you feel like doing. From the looks of it, that's exactly what they did. That being said, his character is so great, I'd watch Joe Dirt just to see it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I likes the musics

It's time for another film score blog. When I'm falling into a rut at work I listen to my favorite songs which aren't necessarily songs. I love orchestral pieces from soundtracks. There are plenty of great composers from the days before film and I do enjoy them but there's something transporting about pizzicato strings, rolling timpani drums, and piping trumpets. Here are some more of my favorite tunes.

Star Trek - Jerry Goldsmith
Everybody loves Jerry Goldsmith even when they don't like him. I'm not a huge fan of the Star Trek films and am by no means a Trekkie but I love what Goldsmith did with the films. You get an almost instant sense of the vastness of space and what it takes to traverse it gracefully.

Tron - Wendy Carlos
She wasn't the prettiest lady which was probably because she was a man but that didn't change the fact that she owned the synthesizer. This one takes me in the opposite direction as Goldsmith's Enterprise. It's not vast. It's isolated and has an unnatural fury to it.

The Life Aquatic - Mark Mothersbaugh
Devo's Mothersbaugh does it all in The Life Aquatic but this one is the best. I like the occasional break from the heavy numbers to enjoy his minimalist themes from his work in Wes Anderson films. They're like a good pot pie. Just enough ingredients to keep you happy.

Moon - Clint Mansell
Here's another minimalist track that gives me chills. I think the definition of a perfect soundtrack is the one you don't notice meaning it blends with the visuals completely. I always feel a slight uneasiness when I listen to this and I think it's because of the intent to convey the isolation and urgency of the films protagonist. Very cool, indeed.

That'll do it for this installment. Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to take a free mint on the way out.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Battle Royale III: Return of the Battle

Since I didn't do the math at the beginning we're left with three finalists. Here goes.

I originally thought it would be a good idea to just disqualify J&M because nobody knows who they are or what they look like. For all we knew they could be a two headed demon and if that were the case then they absolutely deserve to be in this competition.

Jacoby & Meyers vs Larry H. Parker vs Federated
All three take a different approach to their plan of attack and you'd think the whackadoos at Federated would be at a disadvantage against powerful lawyers but it's the wild card you need to watch out for. Fred Rated brings dynamite to a knife party while his opponents bring lawsuits. Advantage: Fred. Fred also has a plethora of alter egos that easily occupy the same space so what are a few stuffed shirts to do.

Larry H. Parker has made it known that he fights and that he's nearby. I don't know about you but that scares the shit out of me. Advantage: Larry.

Jacoby & Meyers have the whole two headed demon thing going so... Advantage: J&M?

It's a pretty even match if you ask me. Let's let it play out.

Larry comes out swinging and slaps J&M with a cease and desist order which is met with a counter suit stating that they came up with the lawyer commercial first. Larry argues that he was the first to actually appear in his own commercials and that he doesn't use actors. J&M unleashes a fireball from each mouth which ignites Larry's afro. They fail to notice that Fred has filled the court room with explosives and locked them all in. He shows off the finest in 1980's VCR technology before pushing the plunger blowing the four of them to smithereens.

Winner? Fred Rated. He's blown himself up lots of times.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Battle Royale: Part Deux

It's time for round two of my Southern California TV commercial all stars fight to the death. Last we left the kings of the LA basin, and let's be honest, the 80's, we had quite the battle going on. The dust has settled and we've got more casualties.

Round 2
Jacoby & Meyers vs Phil & Jims

This is really a two on two situation when you look at it. I don't think we ever saw Jacoby, Meyers, Phil, or Jim but I can only imagine that they were all gigantic and menacing. Just to recap the first round we've got J&M with commercials that play out like a "very special" episode of Family Ties. P&J went the quick and dirty route and stuck to their catchy jingle that features three words (Phil and Jims) over and over again. As much as I hated the former and only slightly hated the latter there is a clear winner.

Jacoby & Meyers were obviously loaded knew that tugging at your heart strings was infinitely better than having a sale.
Earl Scheib vs Larry H. Parker
I've always wondered what would happen if you put these two assholes into a room together. I'm certain that only one of them is walking out alive but he'll be doing so without a finger and/or an ear.

Youth wins this bout. Larry H. Parker will take Scheib to court for the shoddy paint job and then shank him in the parking lot. Don't fuck with Larry.
Federated vs Adee Plumbing
We never knew that they were going out of business. We just realized that there were no more Federated commercials. Adee is still going strong and rightfully so. As long as people poop, we'll have a need for plumbers. It was still a great ride while it lasted. There were two amazing events on TV in the 80's. No, not Geraldo opening Al Capone's vault. I'm talking about The Wonderful World of Disney bringing us "The Journey of Natty Gann" and "Flight of the Navigator" and a new Federated commercial.

Get 'em, Fred.

The final three way battle for TV commercial supremacy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Battle Royale

Growing up in the Los Angeles basin was quite an experience for kids in the 80's. Part of what made it weird were all the local commercials. I know everybody has their own local commercials where they grew up but humor me. I think ours were the best.

I always wondered who would win in a battle royale between the personalities. We're going to do it bracket style because everybody loves a Cinderella story.

Round 1
Jacoby & Meyers vs FGS Insurance
The battle of the boring. You knew instantly when one of these two snoozers was on that it was time for a quick wee. Jacoby & Meyers were more famous for the incredibly high production value of their commercials over their professional abilities.

FGS Insurance went in the opposite direction by spending as little money as possible on their spots. They must have sponsored the Dodgers at some point because I swear they always managed to get somebody from the outfield to guest star.

WINNER - Jacoby & Meyers
This was an easy one. When you were too sick to change the channel you could do a lot worse than Jacoby & Meyers. Fuck you, FGS Insurance.


Phil & Jim's vs National Lumber
Snappy jingle versus a cartoon. The funny thing about Phil & Jim's was that they were considered dated back then. I still loved the stupid jingle. Philinjims, philinjims, philinjims...

National Lumber also had a jingle but most people forgot it once that seizure inducing chicken opened its beak. The guy that voiced Cheap Chicken played jazz drums with my grandfather. We were more impressed when he played drums than we were when he did the voice for us.

WINNER - Phil & Jim's
Blame the chicken.


Jack Stephan vs Adee Plumbing
Catch phrases are cool. Apparently both of these companies were owned and operated by the same guys so that would explain why their commercials were so simiarl. I'm not sure if either of these qualifies as an actual catch phrase but I loved quoting both of these constantly. Sadly, I can't find a copy of the original Jack Stephan commercial with the Charles Grodin lookalike but you get the idea with this updated version. The original Jack had a full head of hair. He's dead now but his legacy lives on.

Adee plumbing also featured a character that we can only assume is God talking about plumbing problems and the company that fixes it. What plumber wears a double breasted suit? Adee do! This guy is straight up bad ass.

Winner - Adee Plumbing
Come on. Not only is the guy in the suit better looking, he's also clearly the voice of God. Stick that in your pipe and clog it, Morgan Freeman.


Cal Worthington vs Larry Parker
I know I strayed from the formula but hear me out. Two dynamic personalities going to head to head is what this contest is all about. Cal Worthington is a favorite by a mile but only because Larry Parker is such a dweeb.

Or at least Larry used to be a dweeb. Now he's super rich and will sue the shit out of you if you crash your stupid ass into one his clients. You can't even embed his videos. Fuck this guy, right? No way. Larry Parker has the biggest balls on TV.

Winner - Larry H. Parker
You object? Fuck you. Larry Parker objects. Get over it, pussy.


Federated versus Crazy Gideon
Come on in and spend some cash on overpriced electronics. A trip to Federated was always a good time because they had a Nintendo hooked up. A commercial from Federated was equally awesome thanks to Shadoe Stevens as Fred Rated. The commercials were nuts but that was okay for the former MTV generation.

Come on in and buy some crap. Is loud crazy? I don't know but I'd bet you'd never invite him over for dinner. He's out of business now but so is Federated.

Winner - Federated and Fred Rated
Those things on your arms are goosebumps.


May Company vs Earl Scheib
This is the wild card spot so it's going to be an obvious slobber knocker. The May Company uses their fancy name to promote murder in the name of fashion. What was murdered? Good taste.

Earl comes out swinging by doing the job on the cheap. How does it look when he's done? You guessed it. Cheap.

Winner - Earl Scheib
There's paint on that fur and Earl is holding the bucket.

Stay tuned for round two: Electric boogaloo!