Sunday, June 26, 2011

DOODLE OF THE WEEK #8 Bud the Duck Stuck in Mud

Bud...Bud.  He isn't very smart.  I found him, the other morning just like this, after he woke me with his loud quacks.  He was somehow stuck in mud.  How did it happen?  I didn't know yet.  I guessed that maybe his feet suctioned and he wasn't strong enough to pull himself free.  I saw him flapping his wings but that failed, too.  A strange thing happened next, or maybe it was just the sleep in my eyes, but I think I saw some other ducks trying to pull him out with a rope.  None of them were strong enough, and they left Bud, abandoned to his spot.

HELP!!!

So what did I do next? I did what any reasonable person would.  I pulled him out from the mud.
I expected to be showered with gratitude and thanks, but instead I got a look of horror.  His wide eyes danced all around, the lower part of his beak quivered. I think he thought I was going to eat him.  So I tried to clean him up quick and I let him go.

A few days later I went to investigate this treacherous mud and guess what I found?  Concrete.  Yep, he must have fallen asleep while it was still moist, and then it thickened around him.

Luckily for him, I found him before it dried completely.  Otherwise Bud the Duck would always be stuck.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mini Movie Review- Super 8


Best movie of the year so far.  Might as well call it Super Gr8.  I loved this move so FREAKING much!  It felt a lot like Spielberg's old movies, ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Goonies (he produced that one).

It was funny, scary, sad, happy.  Sometimes almost all at once.  The music was great, it reminded me of ET.

The child actors in the movie were amazing.  It's funny when I hear people say that child actors can't act, but they definitely can, it's just a matter of getting the best out of them, and good directors do that.  Directors like Spielberg, and now JJ Abrams.

I also liked how the kids in this movie actually looked like regular kids.  Many movies these days have kids that are 3-5 years older than the character they play, and look like they came from a Gap ad.  There's something endearing about kids that have a few flaws.

It's not a perfect movie by any means, but it's definitely a blast.  I think younger kids would be scared if they saw it, there were parts that even made me jump.

Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with the Super 8 Motels.  :)



4.25 Super 8 Motel logos out of 5

Mini Movie Review- Green Lantern






As always, I try to keep things as spoiler free as possible.

Recently I went to the drive-in.  Where I live, the drive-in gets you two movies for the price of one, and you can bring in your own food.  I usually reserve the drive-in for movies I have low expectations for, or for movies I don't want to spend as much money on.  I was super stoked for Green Lantern all year, until I saw the reviews last week.  I usually try not to let critics get in the way of enjoying a movie, but this one is at 25% or so on Rotten Tomatoes, and when that many critics hate a movie, there are usually some problems.

As such, I went in with low expectations.  Even then, I wasn't blown away.  The idea behind the Green Lanterns is cool.  They can create anything their "will" allows, just imagine it and they can create it.  The movie never lives up to the limitless possibilities imagination can create.

Ryan Reynolds did a good job, he actually was one of the best parts of the movie.

One of the baddies, Hector Hammond, is played by Peter Sarsgaard. That dude can squeal.  He squeals this insane scream I think 3 or 4 times.  I bet he had fun playing that character.

Most of the special effects were pretty awesome, especially on the world of Oa.  But movies are more than eye candy to me.  The movie felt oddly paced, had some cheesy dialogue, not enough action and the ending felt anti-climactic.

That being said, I somehow still managed to enjoy myself during bits of the movie.  Some of it was funny, or clever.

But this movie should have been amazing, possibly best movie of the year (outside of Potter) but as it stands, its a slightly above average comic book movie.

Don't believe the hate, it's not as bad as Batman & Robin or Daredevil.  When (or if) you go just sit back, try not to think too much and you might find yourself having a somewhat fun time.  I also think if you have a 9-13 year old boy, he would definitely dig it.


3 out of 5 springs under a Semi

CREATURE WORKSHOP #3 Dandylion

dan·dy

[dan-dee] noun, plural -dies, adjective, -di·er, -di·est
–noun
Informal . something or someone of exceptional or first-rate quality: Your reply was a dandy.
 
First-rate?  Thanks for the explanation Dictionary.com.
  
Lions, the four legged variety, are majestic and cool animals.  They are also known for their brute strength and their bites.  They truly are the king of beasts.
 
Dandelions are the worst if you want to get rid of them.  Spray 'em, pick 'em, they come back every year.  They sit on your lawn, like they are giving you the finger every time you look at them and say, "Yeah, I'm back.  There's nothing you can do about it."

So what happened when scientists went too far, like in Jurassic Park, and combined the DNA of Taraxacum officinale with Panthera Leo?

THEY CREATED A MONSTER!

Cross-eyed jerk...



Definitely, as the description implies, they're first rate.  FIRST RATE A-HOLES! Yeah these little buggers are tougher than snot to kill.  They will bite and like crickets at night, they never shut up.  I have to wear earplugs when I'm mowing my lawn, because they shout insults.  Just this morning I was trying to sleep, and outside the Dandylions were at it again, arguing about something pointless.  This was the gist of our conversation.
 
I had just rolled out of bed and I heard them shouting at each other.
 
"You keep playin' with grass, I told ya it's bad fer ya."
"You can't tell me what to do, dad."

I opened my window and yelled at them.

"Shut up! I'm trying to sleep!"

"Oi!  Lookit, it's the wee man," the male said.

"Mine yer own business," the cub said.
 
"C'mere man!  Lemme see yer toes," a Dandylioness said.  "I got sumfin' fer ya."
 
"Ya got some weed-b-gon?" 

"Oh ya!" the male said. "Come try it again on us."

I rubbed my eyes so I could see clearer.

"Just be quiet fellas, alright?  I'm trying to get some shuteye."

"Oh, sorry," the male said, but he had a smirk on his face, "Shh...everyone shad up!"

Just as I was about to close the window, the Dandylions obviously wanted to make me angry, because they all started roaring as loudly as they could.

"AHHHHHH ROOOOOOAAAAAR!"

"ROOOAAAARRRRR!"

"RAH RAH RAH!"

So what did I do next?  I got out the earplugs.
Click to expand for more details...

This picture is of the jerks living nearby.  The cub at the top right, lighter than the others, he gets scolded quite a bit.  Apparently he has been eating lots of grass, and well, it's not very good for Dandylions, they are meat-eaters.  The Dandylioness' usually aren't as pleased about the bickering.

TIPS ON REMOVAL
 
Flamethrowers are effective.  Fresh out?  Yeah, me too.  Get some flammable spray and a match and your set.  You could try weed-b-gon or some other equivalent, but weed killers only kill weeds, and these are something more than just a weed.  They are genetically enhanced anima-weeds.  
THEIR CREATION
The government started creating these things as a form of psychological warfare, intended to annoy the enemy to death.  But unfortunately they were even more resilient than the government realized, and they lost control of them.  Now they're everywhere.  They usually hide within the ranks of regular dandelions because they blend really well.  

They are carnivorous plants, and they lie in wait.  When I mow my lawn I always wear high socks up to my knees.  If I am wearing some shorts I get some strange looks, but hey, its better than losing a chunk of my leg.  I remember the times when I used to be able to lay on the lawn comfortably and point out different clouds to my friends or family, good luck doing that now.  Too dangerous.

Maybe I should ditch the grass and just get some rocks.
  
  
 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

DOODLE OF THE WEEK #7 The Parakeet without a Pair of Feet

Poor little Parakeet.  Cleaning his cage is an absolute mess.  Because of his stumps for feet he has to have a flat surface at the bottom of the cage without bars or holes, otherwise he gets his legs stuck.  Because of this there isn't a tray to slide out, unlike with the cages with bars, so when it's time to clean everything has to be scrubbed.

Drinking water can get awkward...

How does he do with perching?  Not really well.  Without those long claws wrapping itself around a branch, Parakeet without feet has to straddle the branch and use his wings to balance his weight.  It's a very sad and pathetic sight.

His songs are somewhat muffled as well, seeing as how he is constantly brushing his beak against the flat ground.

Sometimes he can walk, but it's very awkward, like the clown in the circus on those leg extender things.  With each step you are afraid the clown is going to lose his balance and topple.

Poor Parakeet without a Pair of Feet.

So, I have had two parakeets in my life, neither were ever as interesting as this doodle.  One flew away, and one passed away.  However I have a story about a friend's Parrot that I would like to share.


I remember my friend got a Parrot and they had it in a big cage out for display.  I thought the Parrot was really awesome, well, at first anyway.  The thing bit me, like, all the time.  My friend's mother told me that he sensed fear, but I wasn't scared of him until he bit me.  So why did he bite me the first time, then?  

Anyway, as the little moron that I was, my friend and I decided to take him out of the cage.  And guess what the Parrot did?  No joke, the thing flew right at me.  His wings weren't clipped, so he had no problems chasing me around the house.  A little later my friend and  I had escaped into the bathroom.  For my friend it was a game, no one was biting him, but for me, it was life and death.  Safe at last, I thought.  We sat in the darkness for a moment, I flipped the switch of the light and guess what?  The Parrot had managed to land on my friends shoulder just before we slammed the door shut, undetected.  I swear I've seen things like this in the movies.

So I ran out of the bathroom.  I didn't have anywhere else to go but up the stairs.  He was catching up to me.  I remember turning around and pleading (well maybe not out loud) and seeing the glint in the eyes of the bird.  They were pure red evil and there was nothing I could say to change its mind.  It wanted to kill me.  I still have the image in my mind's eye, almost like it was in slow motion, the wings flapping, the hideous noise it screeched as its beat clicked.  I thought it would go for my eyes, so I curled up in a ball right on the stairs.  He attacked the back of my neck and pulled off skin and let me tell you, it hurt!  I still have a small bump on the back of my neck from the attack. My friend's sister saved me.  Apparently she could pick up the evil bird without any issues, and it calmed down straight away.

So, I guess the moral of the story is, if something hates you, don't play with it.  It's bad news.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

DOODLE OF THE WEEK #6 Tabby Cat vs Flabby Rat

Have you ever opened your window and heard a stray cat hissing in the alley below?  Maybe try listening closer next time, wait and see, you might soon be hearing the sounds of an epic fight to the death.
Don't get too close, it's gonna get messy.

Only the toughest cats survive on the streets.  Sometimes you will see the results of their fights on their face, paws, or legs.  Rats on the other hands are born survivors, they can squeeze through the smallest places, and when necessary they are vicious, vicious fighters. 

So... rats are gross.  Cats are scary.  There isn't even a word to describe what happens when these two creatures get together and duel.

Not a big fan of either species.

Now I want to point out that some cats are okay.  I have had friendly neighborhood cats come up to me and greet me, just for the sake of saying hello.  However, I have met just as many crazy cats that would surely eat me if they were three times their size.

We had a cat growing up, her name was Sweepy.  That cat was absolutely insane.  Some of my siblings told me that I provoked her whenever she attacked me, which is absolutely not true.   The cat loved to sleep on my sister's bed.  I remember walking into her room, and petting Sweepy.  She was purring, happy, eyes closed, and I swear I DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING STUPID.  I didn't pull her tail, or rip out a hair.  I was just calmly petting her along her back and then the next instant the cat bit my nose and clawed my cheeks.

Demon cat.

This next picture isn't Sweepy.  I just did a google search for tabby cats and this is what I pulled up. 
Seriously if this cat was big enough, he would eat you



Some rats actually are okay.  I had a pet rat named Copper growing up, she was given to me when she was a bit older, but she would come to me when I called her name.  Copper was cool, but the rats crawl into your home and poop on your floor?  Not so cool.

I never realized how smart rats were until I had one.  That's the scary thing about them, you kill one and fifteen more take its place.  Rats definitely benefit from humans being the dominant creatures on the planet.  With our garbage and food everywhere, they are in heaven.  Perhaps the rats are plotting to take everything over at some point.  No one would suspect vermin.

Imagine finding this rat's poop in your kitchen

This is where the cool cats come in place.  The cool ones are the good guys.  The nice cats that would come up to you and sleep next to your leg, they are the ones fighting the good fight.  Keeping the bad rats in the sewers.  Perhaps they are enlisting the smart rats, the good ones, as spies, so they can thwart any type of rat plan.  

This is the only possible explanation for why only some rats, and some cats are cool.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

BAD MOVIE POSTER #2 Last But Not Leashed

This poster took me forever, because I had to draw everything in MS Paint.  The logos though, some of those I used courtesy of www.flamingtext.com.


Synopsis:

Undefeated Scruffy Muttroo is in the dangerous and ultra-competitive dog racing ring.  It's all he has ever known since he was just a pup and his undefeated status is the only thing he treasures.  He is used to the people at the dog pound treating him poorly.   But when Scruffy gets one small taste of freedom during the massive doggy breakout, he beomes determined to escape from dog racing forever.  There's a catch though: for Scruffy's plan to succeed, he will have to come in last place.  Is his dream of being off the leash worth the shame of defeat?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

DOODLE OF THE WEEK #5 The Knocktopus

A giant Octopus crawls from the ocean onto the pier, causing widespread panic among the people.  His eyes narrow on a man, heavier set than the others, and looking absolutely delicious.  He slides with his tentacles after him.

The man runs as fast as he can but he can't hold up the pace for long, this is the first time he has run in probably three years.  Easy pickings, the Octopus thinks.  Soon he snatches the man, but finds holding him still more difficult than he expected.  His suction cups are still moist and greasy from sliding out of an oil polluted ocean.

The man has a free arm flailing about, appearing to do some sort of twist, almost like a dance while inside the coils. 


"Just hold still!" the Octopus mutters. "Stop squirming!  This will only take a sec."

The man breaks another arm free.  With an exasperated sigh, Octopus' eyes dance around for something that could help him.  He sees a sign that reads "Bob's Hardware."  With a giant tentacle he crashes into it.

"Bingo," the Octopus says.

He procures a hammer and aims it at the man's head.  Biting his tongue, the Octopus concentrates and...

WAM!

The man is knocked unconcious.

NOW THAT'S A KNOCKTOPUS!

 
The Knocktopus!

I guess the moral of the story is not to build hardware shops on piers.  Who is going to hang out at the pier, buy some soft shelled crab and a necklace made out of shark teeth, and then a drill, or a 2x4?  No one.  It only arms the octopi, and makes their job easier.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Review #1! Beyonders: A World without Heroes

I really like this book.
Brandon Mull is a good writer and very good storyteller.  I hadn't actually read any of his books until a couple of months ago when someone recommended I read the Fablehaven series.  I borrowed all the books and read them all in two weeks.  That's about as glowing of a recommendation as I can write.

The Subtitle

After I finished reading Fablehaven, I looked to see what his next book would be.  I remember only seeing the title, and I thought, "Wow, what a lame subtitle."

A World without Heroes

I didn't have anything else to judge it on.  All I had seen was the title.  I think for a debut author, it might hurt them more to have a vague subtitle, but Brandon Mull is a New York Times best selling author and has an established fan base.  So even if the subtitle isn't very good, it wouldn't hurt him any.  People have read his books and know they are good, and that says much more than any cover or title would.  Doesn't mean I can't have a little bit of fun with the subtitle though, eh?

A World with Bad Guys
I have no qualms with Beyonders as a stand alone title.  But did they want to save ink and call it A World without Heroes instead of the real title A World Where Bad Things Happen and No One Does Anything About It?

I can imagine the back snippet now... Jason was a boy that was eaten by a hippo and taken to a mysterious world.  To his great surprise he watched a grandma fall down and break her pelvis and no one helped her.  It was a world where bad things happen and no one does anything about it...

That subtitle could mean so many things.  What is a hero to begin with?  Does that mean no firefighters? Police?  I know some people's heroes are their parents, a teacher, a clergyman.  I suppose that when I saw the cover he was talking about a knight slaying a dragon type of hero, but remember I only saw the title first.
 
Besides, don't most stories start out with a situation where people are in need of a hero, and the main character has to become that hero? If that's the case, this subtitle doesn't really distinguish the book from most other fantasy novels.

More Fun

I love to throw Harry Potter references in my reviews if you haven't noticed, probably because it's my favorite series.  What if J.K. Rowling decided to title Chamber of Secrets this instead:

World with Magic!


Granted, after the popularity of the first Harry Potter, Rowling could have called it Harry Potter and the Big Magic Turd and people would have bought it, because they knew it was good. 

I am not one to put lots of spoilers in my reviews, but I can tell you that the subtitle "A World without Heroes" definitely makes sense and is relevant to the story.  But just because it makes sense, doesn't make it good.  Why call the Harry Potter finale Deathly Hallows?  Instead call it Harry Potter:  Big Magic Fight.

Back to the Review


I wanted to mention at the beginning of my review that I loved the book because I am sure it may sound like I am bashing it, but I am just having some fun.  One of the cool things about Beyonders is that, unlike Fablehaven (which I also like quite a bit), my impression is that Brandon Mull knew exactly where he was taking the story from the get go.  Sometimes Fablehaven dragged on through the five books, but overall it was a great story.  But with this one, I didn't have any problems there.

It's also fun seeing the progression of Brandon Mull as a writer.  Each book he writes seems to be more well written than the last.  I think he borrows some ideas a little bit from Harry Potter, well, the Deathly Hallows in particular, but that's alright.  I didn't think it was a blatant rip off by any means.

It took about fifty pages in before it really grabbed me, but once it did, it never let go.


4 and 1/2 Hippos out of 5.