Monday, August 31, 2009

High Speed Chase in Ypsi

Last night around 10:30, we had just finished watching Tropic Thunder (which was funny, but not as Earth shattering as I'd been lead to believe) & switched on Man v Wild when we started to hear sirens... not the hotties on some remote island, but the loudies on some gov't vehicles. I assumed we were hearing cops, fire trucks & ambulances because there were so many, but then they came roaring down the alley across the street & turned in front of our house. A few minutes later, they came down the alley again, but this time they went straight between our house & the neighbors'. The chase went on much longer than I would've expected (10 or 15 minutes), & @ 1 point, they even seemed to have lost him as he cruised down the street laid back w/ his cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth. Stephanie noticed the butt & is still laughing over the image of him smoking while being tailed through the neighborhood by 6 or 7 city cars, 3 county cars, & a rumored helicopter. In the end, the cops did their job & got him right @ the end of the alley across the street, but it was touch & go for a little while. The idea of a high-speed chase on our street is scary enough, but then the thought that he might slam into our new car which was parked in front of the house added to our heightened anxiety. There's still no word about what he did, but in keeping w/ my sworn duty as a verbal vigilante for Visions of Ypsi, I promise to post any & all info as soon as I get it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer of Arnold Post #3: The Fantasies

*Hercules in New York: If you're like me, you never actually attempted to sit through this thing until recently. The stand out scene involves Hercules wrestling a bear in Central Park & the bear is clearly just a dude in a bear costume. I'm sure Arnold had plenty of experience w/ furries before this film so he was able to pull on that going in, plus he was then able to claim all the previous experience as some sort of Stanislovski preparation for this movie. Don't watch this unless you have a lot of time to kill. It's only about 80 minutes, but it feels like a lifetime. 1/2 out of 5 jiggly pecs... unless you've seen it a million times over the last 30 years; in which case, 4 out of 5 jiggly pecs
*Conan the Barbarian: The 1st of his 3 "Sword & Sorcery" films based on the stories of Robert E. Howard, most people like this 1 the most. The bad guy is played by James Earl Jones, which was a bit of downgrade after The Empire Strikes Back, & the good king is played by Max Von Sydow, an interesting finale to his early '80s triumvirate which also includes Flash Gordon & Victory. Certainly worth another viewing... but Stephanie hated it. 2 1/2 out of 5 jiggly pecs
*Conan the Destroyer: The fact that I like this 1 more than Barbarian puts me in a small minority, but it is hat it is. The cast is fantastically awful, & ironically Wilt Chamberlain gets to protect the sanctity of the virgin. I imagine he actually banged everyone on set... including the horses & the llama... & that horned God thing. An awesomely awesome flick. 3 1/2 out of 5 jiggly pecs
*Red Sonja: Steeling a move from the Indiana Jones Playbook, Arnold is teamed up w/ a kid, but Ernie Reyes Jr. is certainly no Jonathan Ke Quan. I kind of liked this when I was a kid, but it blows. Skip it & check out the recent comic book instead. 1 1/2 out of 5 jiggly pecs
*End of Days: This film has 2 good qualities: Gabriel Byrne is a good Satan & Arnold's character's name is pretty good... Jericho Cane. Other than that, it's pretty fun, but the gaping holes in the plot are endless. As a side-note, this is the first film we've covered so far to come straight out of a marketing meeting. And the meeting went thusly:
Marketing Dude #1: "Who can we get Arnold to fight?"
Marketing Dude #2: "Satan?"
MD1: "Cool!"
These are the same dudes who came up w/ Arnold v Los Angeles (The Terminator), Arnold v a Space Alien(Predator), & Arnold v himself (The 6th Day). 2 1/2 out of 5 jiggly pecs

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Champions League Draw

Group A: Bayern Munich, Juventus, FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Maccabi Haifa
Group B: Manchester United, CSKA Moscow, Besiktas, Wolfsberg
Group C: AC Milan, Real Madrid, Olympique de Marseille, Wolfsberg
Group D: Chelsea, Porto, Atletico Madrid, APOEL
Group E: Liverpool, Olympique Lyonnais, Fiorentina, Debrecen
Group F: FC Barcelona, Internazional Milan, Dynamo Kyiv, Rubin
Group G: Sevilla, Rangers, Stuttgart, Unirea Urziceni
Group H: Arsenal FC, AZ Alkmaar, Olympiacos FC, Standard Liege

First off, Arsenal lucked out. This is certainly their easiest grop stage in quite a while. I would guess Olympiacos will go through as the #2 team, but AZ might slip through. The other easy group is definitely Group G: Sevilla & Rangers pretty much have a pass to the knock-out round. Man U should breeze through Group B, but the 2nd team is up in the air... it could go to any of them. Of the rest, Groups A, C, & D look the toughest. My prediction is Bayern & Juve, Real Madrid & Marseille, & Chelsea & Atletico, but Bordeaux, AC Milan, & Porto could certainly get through too.

Don't forget... Man U v Arsenal this Saturday @ 12:15... who's coming over for it?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer of Arnold Post #2: The Comedies

*Red Heat
Admittedly, calling this a comedy is a bit of a stretch, but it attempts to fit into the mold of Beverly Hills Cop & Lethal Weapon. However, James Belushi never tries to be as funny as Eddie Murphy, & Arnold is certainly no Danny Glover. Overall, it works well though. It's 1 of the 2 I skipped when I was young, but I'm glad I saw it. Not only is it a solid film, but Arnold, as the Soviet cop, gets to enlighten Belushi's benighted dufus about the importance of friendship & openmindedness. 3 1/2 out of 5 jiggly pectorals
My favorite of the comedies, Twins pairs Arnold w/ Danny DeVito for the 1st of 3 winning films. I was thinking about DeVito & realized that I've never seen a Danny DeVito film I don't like. Maybe next year we'll have a summer of Danny... we've already seen 4 this summer (along w/ the Arnold's, we watched Romancing the Stone w/ the kids), Aiden is already dieing for a viewing of Batman Returns, & I'd get to watch Johnny Dangerously again. Anyway, the chemistry between the 2 is strong, & the ridiculous premise works well... much better than when they revived it years later w/ Junior. 4 out of 5 jiggly pecs
*Kindergarten Cop
We watched this 1 twice, once by ourselves & then later w/ the kids. We liked it & so did Solstice & Aiden. Plus, we get our 1st & 2nd Schwartze-quips on the list. Of course, "It's not a tum-mah" is good & has been a favorite of mine for years, but I realized there's a better 1: "I'm the pah-rty poopah" is just fantastic. 4 out of 5 jiggly pecs
*The Last Action Hero
This post-modern action-comedy starts strong but fails miserably by the final act. DeVto provides the voice of Whiskers the Cat, & the long train of cameos is clever, but the kid isn't good enough to hold the comedy together, & the self-referential film w/in a film is sort of forgotten after 15 minutes of decent comedy. The other problem is that it takes a while to get going. Those 15 minutes of decent comedy are actually the 2nd 15 minutes of the film. 2 out of 5 jiggly pecs
Again, Arnold teams w/ Danny DeVito in an homage to Frankenstien, & again it works pretty well... not reall well, but pretty well, & certainly not as well as Twins. Once the disbelief is properly suspended, we get to enjoy Emma Thompson who is always good. The role-reversial is fun, but we made the mistake of watching it w/o the kids. I'll have to see it again w/ them because they'll like it more than me. 3 out of 5 jiggly pecs
*Jingle All the Way
One we didn't forget to watch w/ the kids; it teams Arnold w/ Sinbad & a young Anakin Skywalker plus we get a cameo from Jim Belushi as the mafia santa selling shoddy toys to yuppie parents. Complete w/ dwarf tossing, this goes beyond the other comedies in an attempt to reach a dumbed down audience & it works in spades. Solstice wants to make it a X-Mas tradition. 3 out of 5 jiggly pecs

Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer of Arnold Post #1: The Beginning

As you probably know, we watched every* Schwarzenegger film over the last month & a half. It started w/ the Terminators, progressed through the other late 80s Sci/Fi & then became a whole summer film project. Since the project ended last night, my 1st plan was to review all of the films in 1 long post, but the scope of a project like that is unfair to his nuanced complexity. I wouldn't be able to give each film it's propers in 1 long post, but then again an individual post for each movie wouldn't be what my dedicated readers want so I decided to break them up by category (comedy: Red Heat, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, The Last Action Hero, Junior, & Jingle All the Way; Fantasy: Hercules in New York, Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, Red Sonja, & End of Days; Sci/Fi: The Terminator, Predator, Running Man, Total Recall, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The 6th Day, & Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines; Action: Commando, Raw Deal, True Lies, Eraser, Collateral Damage; Other: Stay Hungry, Batman & Robin, & Around the World in 80 Days). I know that some of these films don't fit perfectly into their categories, but give me a break, I just watched 26 of these fucking things besides, I wanted to round out the groups so as to keep the posts relatively similar in length.People have been rather curious as to why we even attempted this cinematic Everest. Well, it started out as simply a goofy thing to do this summer, but the more time I put into it the more I thought I should do something w/ it. I'm kicking around a couple articles right now, 1 about the construction of masculinity throughout his movies, 1 as some sort of light general interest piece that the New Yorker or NPR would be all about, & 1 about his comedies. Little has been written about them so I think that's the path I may follow... & it's where we'll start next time... here @ Visions of Ypsi. So stay tuned for ore Schwarzerneggerian fun & remember the Visions of Ypsi Summer Book Club Post is coming soon too.

* I know a few of his projects are missing from our viewing. For the most part, we left them out on purpose & here's why.
Pumping Iron: we left out all documentaries.
The Villain: It's a western from 1979 w/ Kirk Douglas & Ann-Margret. I couldn't find it anywhere, but it's not really a Schwarzenegger film anyway. He has a bit part so I'm not worried about it, but if & when it's on TV I'll be sure to check it out.
The Jayne Mansfield Story: It was made for TV, & we stuck w/ the features.
Lincoln: He voices a character but isn't actually in it.
Christmas in Connecticut: He has a tiny, uncredited roll & we skipped all of those, but I'm sure we'll give it a go come December.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another Cub Scout Outting

We just got back from the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Only 4 of the boys showed up (3 more than went to the Mudhens' game), which was nice, although 1 was his typical loud, obnoxious self. The rest were great, & Aiden seemed to love it. We saw frogs, fish, deer droppings, birds, deer tracks, flowers, & a plethora of fancy plants & trees. Of course, they were too loud for us to have seen any larger animals, but that was ok. We expected as much. The new leader seems much cooler than the 1 from last year, so if Aiden wants to stick w/ it (& it seems he does), it will probably be easier to handle this year. One of the kids kicked his shoe into the stream so his dad had to wade in after it. In hind sight, it was pretty funny, but I'm glad Aiden didn't do it.
The pond... just like a Bob Ross
The kids (+ a sibling)
Fleming Creek
Bonus Pic: The sweet Railroad construction vehicle that was in Depot Town Yesterday

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Solstice is 10? Are you shitting me?

Solstice turned 10 yesterday. WTF? It's crazy how fast it goes. When I was 10 I was a shit-head... making out w/ chicks and drinking the occasional beer. I can say w/ confidence that she's not doing these things, but I'm sure they're on the horizon. Well, not the kissing girls part, but kissing boys I'm sure will come soon. So we'll let this be a warning to all the little shit-heads who think they're going to pull the same crap on her that I pulled on the girls when I was her age (& who happen to be avid readers of Visions of Ypsi): Touch her & be prepared to suffer the consequences!Her big day was fun. Family came over Sunday afternoon for cake & presents & then we had our little time yesterday morning. I made a fun breakfast of blueberry pancakes, eggs & brie (no one wanted the cheese but me) after which she opened her presents. In the afternoon, while I was working, Stephanie & Mary took the kids raspberry picking. They came home & proceeded to make jam (& also can some peaches which is apparently a major pain in the ass. They look great though... I'll keep you all posted on the outcome of the canning & jamming, but Stephanie's previous attempts have been fantastic so I have high hopes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hercules in New York...

The dubbed version w/ a messed up sound track. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lighthouses & Ice Cream

If you've known me for any length of time, you might know that I've always had some weird fascination w/ old lighthouses. It may go back to my 1st viewing of Pete's Dragon when I was 6 or 7; I'm not certain, but I know I want to live in one some day. That said, The Coast Guard is giving one away off the coast of Massachusetts. According to Wikipedia, it dates back to 1860 & the 1st 40 feet are solid granite. Apparently, the upkeep is pretty expensive, but it's cool as hell. The only problems would be the fact that there's really no back yard in which to kick a ball around, & because it's solid granite for 40 feet, getting to the top requires going up a ladder on the outside until one reaches the door. That might not go over well w/ Stephanie or the kids.In other awesome news, The Icecreamist Boutique in London will start selling Viagra-Ice cream in September... & it come w/ a shot of absinthe! Here's a picture of Cheryl Cole enjoying the sweet treat. Apparently, Ashley Cole needs more than a hot wife and £90000 a week to get things going.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Riverside Park

Yesterday evening, we went to the Kelly Miller Circus in Riverside Park. My mom joined us & we had a great time. We met up @ Sidetrack & had a nice dinner before heading down to the river where we did our best to pretend the animals are treated well & focus on the creepy human element. It was hard to ignore the animals completely though because Isaiah had such a good time checking them out. He loved the elephants & dogs, but seemed confused about the tigers. He did seem impressed when they were hopping around like Tigger, & the little dogs were a hit too as the trainer had them jumping over things. Solstice & Aiden took an Elephant ride during the intermission. When I was a kid, my dad took me to a circus in Petoskey & I rode an elephant so I figured they should get the chance to be just like Indy & Short Round too. Solstice also dug the clowns & the dude on a motorcycle on a tight-rope w/ his wife hanging below him & spinning around... it was pretty sweet. Aiden, on the other hand, hasn't been able to pick a favorite attraction... he dug it all. I dug the trapeze artists & the half-naked chicks spinning around on ropes (add a beer & a lonely & suddenly it goes from cool acrobatics to sleazy pole dance, but it's really cool.) I was also impressed by the juggler... I'm always impressed by jugglers. Stephanie was loving the clowns as they did some 3 Stooges/Keystone Cops type fighting routines. Of course, she liked the acrobats & trapeze artists too. Here's the Ypsi Citizen Circus Article for all the info I'm not covering.
On the Elephant
Isaiah having a blast
Tony the Clown catches a potato on a fork
W/ the greatest of ease
The tightrope motorcycle family

In other Riverside Park news, the Ypsi Neighborhood Associations are hosting a picnic this afternoon w/ free food & entertainment in an attempt to get more people involved in their neighborhoods. I'm afraid the rain might keep us away though. it sounds pretty cool (1:30-4:00 in the park), but I might have to settle for the Arsenal v Valencia friendly @ 3:30. Speaking of the Beautiful Game, I started a fantasy league for the Championship (sort of like the English soccer equivalent to AAA Baseball). If you're interested in a fantasy league filled w/ players w/ whom you're not familiar, go here & then join the DB Championship w/ this code: 6829.

Here's the Ypsi Citizen article about the CoPAC Picnic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

21 Days

I had my pre-adoption physical yesterday & then the officer from the courts came out to the house for the home-visit. These were the last 2 things that needed to occur before the adoption is finalized. Now we just have to endure the 3 week waiting period & then all will be done. After the court person left, I took the kids to Target to get cleaning supplies & Isaiah was freaking out about the big rubber balls in the ball cage thing so I got him 1 in a sort of celebration regarding the fact that the adoption is almost finished. We stopped @ the Rocket afterwards to pick up tix for the circus this Friday. (The Kelly Miller Circus will be back this week for 2 shows. We went last year & while the animal issues are obviously problematic, we had a great time... y'all should check it out. Here is the post from last year's extravaganza.) while we were checking out the stuff in the store, Isaiah started pointing & saying "ball." I couldn't see 1, so I walked to where he was pointing, but still no ball. The I said, "You're ball is in the car; wee left it in the car." He started nodding & pointing out the window towards the car. It was so freaking cute... & it made the fact that I'd just spent 2 bucks on yet another ball well worth it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

67 Years Young...

... if he was still alive...

"Oh, I get it. Peace... no middle finger... right?"

- Clifford