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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Fangirl Friday – Simon Pegg

Object of my obsession Simon John Beckingham (Simon Pegg) – February 14, 1970

My favorite appearances: Shaun of the Dead – Shaun, Paul – Graeme Willy, Hot Fuzz – Nicholas Angel

Simon-Pegg-OnlineIf you have been reading my movie reviews you know I love zombie movies.  So of course I had to see Shaun of the Dead.  By the end not only was this brilliant horror/comedy feature on my favorite zombie movies ever list but also the lovable geek boy that is Simon Pegg had found a place into my fangirl heart.

fe564b9ccbcf1aafa1742fc7121a42b6Most people stand out in movies for being unearthly attractive, freakish, or displaying some overblown feature; muscles, breasts, eyes, etc.  However what stands out for me is his normalness.  The roles he plays, be it the wage slave title character Shaun, the highly intelligent but slightly awkward Benji in Mission Impossible III and Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol, or the “top cop” in Hot Fuzz; we all know someone like Mr. Pegg.  Heck at some point in our lives we’ve all been a bit like him.

f124b909d04ab5242a6d33f868f17a3bMost comedic actors, I find, try to hard to be funny both on and off screen. Jim Carrey is a good example of this.  However Simon Pegg just has to be himself and that’s enough to laugh along with him. And the fact that he  embraces his geeky/nerdy side… Bonus!

014faf329fe68102a1edc9446e0f6e43Of course no fangirling about Simon would be complete without mentioning his friend, frequent co-star, and bromance partner, Nick Frost.  Although Pegg is very enjoyable on his own, the easy, natural chemistry between he and Mr. Frost makes any feature they appear in worth the price of admission.  That and I may have a small crush on Nick as well.

I’ll leave you with my second favorite clip from Simon and Nick in Shaun of the Dead.  My favorite would be a major spoiler to those who  haven’t seen it.  To those who  have, “player two has entered the game.”  For those who haven’t, watch the freakin’ movie already.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Fangirl Friday

 

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Valiant – Movie 124 of 365

Valiant 2005My partner was all “If you like Captain America, you’ll love Valiant.” He knows I LOVE the movie Captain America: The First Avenger.  I had become tired of the whole slew of bad boy steps ups, grows up, and becomes the hero movies.  It was nice to see someone who was good (but not goodie two shoes) come along and, with a little help, becomes the hero.

Valiant (Ewan McGregor) is a little like Steve Rodgers, itching to serve but just not quite up to the task physically, or so others would think.  The difference is he succeeds through perseverance and cleverness where Rodgers got a serum booster.

Set in WWII England, this movie focuses on the passenger pigeons used by the military.  Valiant, our diminutive pigeon, wants to serve with the Royal Homing Pigeon Service who are responsible for carrying important messages.  No one thinks he can do it but he sets off to go sign up anyway.

Along the way he meets Bugsy (Ricky Gervais)  a likable but annoying con artist and bum.  Oddly enough they both get accepted into the Pigeon Service, much to Bugsy’s dismay.  They are part of a… well let’s just say their squad isn’t the best, or the next best, or even the one after that.  But still they have a job to do. Even if it’s facing down the evil Von Talon (Tim Curry)

I think this is a really good movie for kids although younger ones may find it a bit slow and not get all the references.  It’s partly educational as well.  Me?  I liked it.  It’s not Captain America but you can’t help cheer for the good little guy.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Plant some S#*% Chronicles – Part 2

squirrelSo a lot has happened in the yard since I last posted.  Probably most evident by the lack of blogging.  In that time period, I’ve (with assistance) weeded the beds, put back down the frames, made several trips to garden centers, added dirt, and miracle of miracles actually put stuff into the ground.  This post will cover the edibles.

I’m not a neat gardener, you will never see my gardens in any fancy magazine.  I don’t plant in even rows, I’m not a consistent weeder, etc.  Part of this is time but the big part is me. I’m very out of shape and currently I weigh the most I ever have in my entire life.  Not particularly something I’m proud of.  As of a result my usual inflexible ability to get up, down, and over the garden is made even worse.  But what I lack in athleticism I make up in just plain stubborn and help for others.  This planting project is now in it’s fourth day (not just the veggies but the rest will be another post) and hopefully it will be done today.

I don’t plant a lot of plants for the  space I have. I’m aware of this.  I do this for a few reasons.  First, the tags the plants come with say to plant things far away from each other and the results look so desolate when they are first in the ground.  Secondly, for this year, I don’t have trellises.  The monkey grass is too close to the beds and last year they damaged the trellises.  Thirdly, I don’t want to waste food. There are many things I would like to grow but I’m the only one who eats them or we don’t eat a lot of it and I don’t know how to preserve or get rid of the excess.

Not much else to say about the food garden so onto the photos.

 THE PLANTS

FirstBed

First box – Sweet Basil and two Red Bell Pepper plants – I figure I can freeze the extra peppers.


 
SecondBed

Second box – Sweet 100 cherry tomato, Better Boy Bush tomato, and jalapeno (unfortunately I think a lot of this will end up wasted)

 

Third box - Bush Cucumbers (If I actually get a cucumber this year it will be a miracle)

Third box – Bush Cucumbers (If I actually get a cucumber this year it will be a miracle)

 

Fourth box - Sugar Baby Watermelon (Hope I get to them before the groundhogs, squirrels, possums, and stray cats do)

Fourth box – Sugar Baby Watermelon (Hope I get to harvest them before the groundhogs, squirrels, possums, and stray cats devour them)

 

Not pictured – Kentucky Colonel Spearmint and Rosemary

I may also get some onion sets and throw in some various lettuce seed packs I’ve bought to fill in the blank spaces and see what happens .

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Gardening

 

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Plant some S#*% Chronicles – Part 1

Wild Strawberry

Wild strawberry in my yard

So inspired by the wonderful TED Talk of Rob Finley, I decided that even though it’s probably a little late I will conquer the weeds and restart my garden.  My garden used to be a fairly pretty and successful thing.  But then year’s of garden misfires and stress elsewhere I kind of let it go.  Always I said, I’ll work on it the next day, week, month… but that time never came.  And then like with most neglected things you are so embarrassed  so overwhelmed with the enormity of fixing it that you just put it out of your mind.  It was easy with my garden.  It’s nearly impossible to see from our kitchen window and there was never a reason to go into the back yard.

The beds with frames removed.

The beds with frames removed.

Finally I confronted my folly and it was ugly.  Not only was the garden severely overgrown but the monkey grass behind it was taking over, growing to a height that had easily passed the fence behind it. I felt hopeless, there was nothing I could do to fix this mess.  However, I would promise myself every week that I would do something about it, even though I clearly had no idea even where I would start.

Frames and dismantled pipe trellis

Frames and dismantled pipe trellis

What was a big help besides Mr. Finley’s great talk was that my housemate and a friend tackled the Monkey Grass issue.  It took  three weeks of yard waste recycling (95 gallon cart) to get rid of all the cut leaves.  The next part was removing the raised bed frames to more easily dig out the weeds and old plants from the bed.  Now I am in no way, shape, or form in top physical form, I would barely agree to good physical form.  However, when I want to get something done I’m stubborn as hell.  So I work until I can’t catch my breath and my back pain is at about a 7 or 8 then I take a break.  It took a couple of tries but I got all the frames up and away from the beds.

The first two beds weeded

The first two beds weeded

Today I started the weeding process.  It’s slow going because all I’m using is a shovel.  A rototiller probably would have helped but I’m afraid of  most power tools.  I can use a drill and that’s about it.  So it’s slow going but it got done.  Well two beds at least.  Hopefully the other two beds finished tomorrow, then frames back down, buy dirt and then FINALLY plant some s#*%.

On a slightly related note, this year seems to be good for wild strawberries.  I wonder if I should attempt the more cultivated variety.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Gardening, Writing

 

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Prometheus – Movie 123 of 365

Prometheus 2012I have a love/hate relationship with the Alien movie series; I loved Aliens (Alien 2), I can tolerate Alien 3, I haven’t seen Alien:Resurrection and the original Alien is a great sedative. So although the previews for Prometheus looked interesting, and Idris Elba as Janek and Noomi Rapace portraying Elizabeth Shaw, were looking good as usual, I didn’t want to get stuck in the theatre enduring a prequel snoozefest.

Luckily it wasn’t, for the most part.  Prometheus is about a group of scientist traveling to a planet to possibly find the origins to the human race.  So if this is a prequel, what does that have to do with the rest of the franchise?  I’m not sure, even after watching the movie, I can see some connections but not enough to call it a prequel.  And after doing some research it’s more of a prequel of sorts.  It takes place prior to Alien but those creatures may or may not (I found conflicting answers) be the ancestors of the nightmare inducing, Geiger designed, monstrosities we’ve all grown to cringe at and love.

I really tried to keep up with all the things going on but in the end I just decided to sit back and enjoy the movie. The plot is actually pretty interesting and for the most part is played out well.  It also has great world design, lots of cool equipment and special effects, a cast full of nice eye candy; but no so pretty that it makes it hard to believe they are scientists and grunt workers, and a decent chemistry between all involved.  Also, if you like yelling at smart people for doing dumb stuff, there is a lot of that in here too.

The “surprise” subplot was completely unnecessary in my opinion.  We are journeying to earth’s origins and if possibly and alien race created us. It’s enough story to work with, thank you.  Speaking of unnecessary  Charlize Theron‘s character Meredith Vickers.  This had nothing to do with Theron’s acting. It just felt like sometimes there was too many characters to keep up with when everyone really wasn’t bringing anything to the party.  But she’s important to the subplot which I read later has something to do with  the series but honestly, I just didn’t care about that.

Another thing that bothered me is I really wanted Rapace to be harder, more bad ass.  I know I was unfairly comparing her Shaw to Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley.  But you know, I probably wasn’t the only one. Also if you have seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy you know Rapace can bring it.  Maybe this character wasn’t written that way. Either that or they are saving it for the sequel, much like with Ripley.

The true standout performance though was Michael Fassbender as the android David.   Fassbender seems to play the cool, controlled, and  devious characters almost a bit too well.  And while I thought Lance Henriksen was great and creepy as Bishop in Aliens, I thought David was infinitely more developed and interesting.

As with the first Alien movie I’ll probably need to rewatch it to catch and understand everything but at least this time I won’t be falling asleep.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Iron Man 3 – Movie 122 of 365

Iron Man 3 2013Chances are if you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 already you aren’t going to. Of course I saw it the first showing that was available at my favorite theater.  Non-3D because I’m one of those people who can’t see 3D.  I absolutely loved it.  But I think that is mainly because the storyline, for the most part, went where I thought it was supposed to go after The Avengers.  However, I’m not sure everyone would agree with me.  I could tell you what it’s about, like you don’t know already.  I could even spoiler it, but I hate reviews like that.  So I thought I would simply do bullet points as to why you may (or may not) like the newest addition to the Iron Man/Marvel franchise.

PLUSES

  • Continues to integrate the Iron Man franchise into the Avengers’ universe.  Make no mistake this is very much about post Battle of New York as it is about Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and his latest nemesis   It just doesn’t come up once but multiple times.  There is some really obvious things missing and their explanation is “almost” plausible.
  • More War Machine/Col. James Rhodes.  Still think switching to Don Cheadle was an excellent idea.  I hope that he get’s integrated into more of the Marvel franchise.
  • More Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).  Still think he can be written just a tad better.
  • More human Tony Stark while still being very much Stark.  He had to be effected, although I worry just maybe a bit too much.  I’m thinking he’ll be mostly back to his improved but old self by Avengers 2.

MINUSES

  • The villain got a bit convoluted and lost in the beginning.  He got better at the end but still just didn’t feel complete.  
  • The funny parts weren’t  as funny as the first two movies, felt like the timing was off.  I don’t know if that was intentional or not.
  • While Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)  in some ways is improved in this one she felt weaker. Which is a shame because she’s my favorite superhero girlfriend and is usually pretty good at holding her own.

Overall, yeah I’ll see it again, I’m still a Marvel fangirl. And the bonus scene was a pleasant surprise.  Not that there was one, afterall it’s a Marvel movie, one never leaves before the credits are over, but that it fit nicely into my own head canon.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Dead Season – Movie 121 of 365

Dead Season 2012If you watch as many zombie movies as I do, you have no doubt wondered why people haven’t tried some things.  My main one would be get out of the freaking sprawling metropolis, small towns and wide open spaces equal less people.  First sign of the zombie apocalypse I’m taking the back roads (cause everyone jumps on the stupid highway) out of town.  This isn’t my best case scenario escape plan, but I can’t execute the other because I don’t live near any coastlines.  The best case, find an island. Because I’m pretty freakin’ sure that zombies can’t swim.

Dead Season actually executes my best case scenario.  Set a while into the zombie apocalypse, Elvis (Scott Peat) and Tweeter (Marissa Merrill), trade supplies with a privateer for a boat and head to an island that is said to be safe.  And it is mostly.  There are still a few zombies around but the  island inhabitants, headed by Kurt Conrad (James C. Burns), seem to be taking care of the problem.  But this isn’t a free loving hippie commune and the island isn’t paradise. The island is an old military test base so most of the plants are toxic as well as the water around it, so most if not all the plants and animals are inedible.  Because of this supplies consist of what was brought to the island and whatever cargo that may wash up on shore.  Slso, Conrad runs the island with an iron hand.  If you can’t prove somehow useful, you are not allowed to live.  Elvis and Tweeter are reluctantly accepted into the group but they don’t feel like they are being told the whole story.

When the truth finally comes out, it may just be scarier than the walking undead.

I really wanted to like this movie, but my goodness is it slow.  The acting is not that great and dialogue does very little to move the story along.  I really think it could’ve been darker given the subject matter and what’s going on but it just hung there in blandsville.  Watch it for a different take on surviving the zombie apocalypse but if you want to be scared, you are going to have to use your own imagination.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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