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Movie Review: Twilight Saga - New Moon

Yeah I am man enough to say it, I went to go see New Moon with my wife! On top of that I have listened to all 4 books on audiobook. Audiobooks help on the iPod while at work. So what does a guy who likes to pound his chest and make animal sounds to prove his manhood think about the latest installment of the Twilight series....
It was a pretty damn good movie!
The twilight series if you haven't heard enough about it yet, is about Bella, a neurotic, self loathing, average looking teenager that some how by miracle attracts the fancy of a 100+ year old, sexy and not to mention (Spoiler) VIRGIN vampire... But it is not her that goes after him, it is Edward that can't stay away from her. OK, already you guys out there are already crying bullshit. But that sums up the first movie.
For our second installment Belle and Edward are still a couple until a mishap with a paper cut at her birthday party has another vampire in Edward's family, Jasper, goes into a rage trying to lunge for her to get a taste of blood.
Soon after Edward comes to the conclusion that Bella will be better off and safer without him around. Being the neurotic type that she does what every scorned woman does, fall into the arms of her best friend Jacob. But as soon as they get close Jacob disappears too. So here is poor Bella wallowing in her self pity for months. When she finally has the cahones to confront Jacob she finds out his absence is due to him becoming a werewolf. Yep, the arch enemy of the vampires. The presence of two new vampires in the region on a killing spree has the tribe beginning to transform. So here comes the conflict. She is now falling in love with a werewolf while she is still in love with this vampire dope that took off with no way to contact her.
Now many of the women I have talked to hated this part of the book, because they fell in love with Edward, and now Jacob is getting all the attention from Bella. But as a guy, this story line seems much more realistic. Edward to me seemed like nothing but a fictional female wet dream for the perfect man, a guy that will do anything possible for his woman, and not to mention when you are 100 years old, you tend to rack up a nice bank account and able to woo her with all the luxuries. But us guys out there will relate much more to Jacob, the Quileute 16yo that deals with real world issues and understands having Bella, a mortal, living with a bunch of vampires is probably not the best idea.
All this comes to a boiling point when Bella decides to pull a boneheaded move of jump off of a cliff and there is confusion if she is alive or dead. And Edward being Edward decides he can't live without her and decides to commit suicide. I won't give up any more than that but you can see how women are gaga over this guy. And as a guy you just have to laugh at it at times because no real guy would ever do half of the stuff that happens in this series. But we are not the target market, and that is why this movie has already made over $300 million worldwide. All and all this is a good movie, I really liked the interaction between Jacob and the other members of the Sam's Wolfpack. The fight scenes were decent and for you guys that want this in a move, the next movie will be full of action and will continue to rack in the big bucks!

The Farting Turkey

It's a day late, but was worth the wait, here is the farting turkey.

Bill O'Reilly vs Spill O'Reilly

After PBS reruns a 2yo episode of Sesame Street, the Conservative bunch gets their panties in a wad, thinking that they are bashing Fox News calling it "Pox News" and that it is a "Trashy News Show". Some people just don't get parodies. In return Sesame Street introduces one of their funniest grouches ever, Spill O'Reilly!

Graphics Tutorial - Using Blending Modes: Part 1 - Multiply Layer

Here is a great tutorial on How to Render Concept Art from an old friend of mine over at part 2 coming soon.

Black Friday... what a crock!

Another year passes and I am sitting home for Black Friday. I have done this once in 34 years, and boy was that a waste of time. Sure there are a few deals out there, but buyer beware. What might seem like a good price on a TV or Blu-Ray player is not really that great of a deal. What you are getting in return is the lowest quality product for a couple bucks less. We were also looking at Toys R Us' flyer they were trying to unload all their Hulk toys that weren't selling since last summer. Funny how even the stuff on clearance that isn't moving now becomes a great deal on Black Friday?

We are looking for a Blu-Ray player this year, and at first glance you are wowed by the $50 OFF prices, until you do some homework. Best Buys 3 available players all had issues. The Insignia player is selling for $50! Well that model is the "house brand" that has a reputation of breaking down in a year, and is very bare bones. The Sony for $129 is bare bones too, no extra features like Netflix or Wifi or Pandora. The Samsung for $150 is Wifi ready(for an additoinal $90, you don't even get the wifi card, you have to buy it seperatly) and although it has the Netflix and Pandora, it only has 2.1 stereo, useless if you want to hook it up to a surround sound system, which now with Blu-Ray is 7.1. 

Besides  part of me is very leary of picking up a Blu-Ray player anyways after hearing a report on how disc based media will be outdated as soon as 3-5 years with the rate of development of downloadable and streaming content. That is why it looks smart to pick up any of these players with the streaming capabilities. That is the future folks.

 Don't get fooled by the silly sales,  do your homework first!!!! 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

In return I give you this classic Thanksgiving commercial with Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal

Gadget Review - Motorola Droid

The Motorola DROID is Verizon's shot at taking down AT&T's iPhone, but is it worth getting?

I purchased my DROID two weeks ago and love 85% of it. It has many great features but does have its flaws. 

  1. The network is great, I have many friends with iPhones that complain A LOT about their service.
  2. A nice rubberized metal body, easy to grip and feels sturdy
  3. FREE Google maps and navigation. No need to pay for this service like on other phones, it is included!
  4. Exchangeable media and batteries. The DROID comes with a 16g micro SD card and if your battery dies, you can replace it.
  5. Fun FREE Google apps like Sky Map, able to identify stars and planets just by pointing your phone towards them. Also the droid automatically syncs with your Google account to  Gmail and Facebook
  6. Possibly the best thing about the DROID is Verizon has finally allowed a phone to be a smart phone. Previously Verizon would nickle and dime you on monthly subscriptions, such as Internet, navigation, video, news feeds. You still have to buy into the data plan, but after that you are unlimited to what you want to do with your phone.
  1. After using the LG enV series QWERTY keyboards for years, the DROID's keyboard is tough to get used to. For one the keys are flat, and hardly any definition between the keys. Also they are lined up straight, rather than staggered like your computer keyboard. 
  2. The backspace key is also right next to the return key. While sending tweets, it is easy to send an incomplete message when your fat thumb hits the return on accident because you made a mistake typing.
  3. The battery cover is a little bit loose. The first week I had it this came off in my pocket multiple times. 
  4. Lack of apps, while the boast about their 10,000 different apps that is still only 10% of iPhone apps. And many of the ones that I would find useful are not available... YET.
  5. Not the best for Audio Media. I own two iPods, I have become spoiled by the ease of use to access music, podcasts and audiobooks. The Droid lumps them all in as MP3s with no separation between these 3 different kinds of audio. You have to make them into playlists, where an iPod and iPhone can separate these automatically.
  6. Does not Sync well, With external software you can get iTunes clones like Double Twist, but it just isn't the same. You have to manually dock the phone, then it works like a USB storage device.
OK, 6 of each, and I am sure there will be a part two down the road. I do not regret getting this phone, and in some ways I think it is superior to the iPhone, in some ways not.  

If you are considering switching carriers and not with Verizon or AT&T, I would highly recommend checking this phone out also before drinking the Kool-Aid and going straight for the iPhone!

Exotic Pet Sitting - Dirty Jobs Spoof

Here is our video we made for the Discovery Channels "You Spoof Discovery", It was chosen to air on both episodes.. Although they edited it, here is the original Directors Cut.

The costume was a homemade creation, that I used many times in costume contests, winning over $3000 in cash and prizes. We retired it, but I am tempted to make another more recognizable caracter... possibly the Wampa from Star Wars or Gossamer from Loony Tunes, comment and help me decide. 

Billy Mays.. we will miss you!

Possibly the greatest pitchman in the last 20 years, We lost Billy Mays this weekend also. Lately he really became a local hero in the Tampa Bay area. Billy knew how to sell, and myself being in the advertising industry, he was a real hero of mine. I have always been facinated by the business side of informercials and these as seen on tv type products, and Billy was the master of selling these. He had the intensity, the signature catch phrases, and the hand motions that could sell anything. Many people may have seen him only as the bearded guy in the blue shirt that yelled alot, but those of us who know advertising knew that Billy was a master of promoting his image and was very respected.

Once his show with Anthony Sullivan came on, Pitchmen, I was hooked. I watched every episode of Pitchmen and countless of his 2 minute shows over the years. The show’s best premise was not only Billy and Sully, but showing the stories of the inventors themselves. You got to see how these products came to air, and the behind the scenes struggles it took to shoot 2 minutes worth of commerical. Great for us industry guys. After hearing that it was coming back for a second season, I was very excited, unfortunatly we lost Billy and those future antics between Sully and Little Billy have been silenced.

Billy left behind a legacy both with his commercials but also his family. Seeing the past few episodes of Pitchmen we really got to his family, his son Billy Mays III and his 3 yo Daughter Elizabeth. I loved watching the interaction with his son “Little Billy”. I got into the direct marketing business right around his age and I really related to him a lot. I wish the best for his kids and condolences go out to the entire family and his business partner Anthony Sullivan.

Although Billy hit his head in an airline accident, the autopsy results (according to Little Billy’s twitter) are now showing signs of heart disease. I have the early signs of heart disease and have been ignoring it like an idiot. This news has really got me second guessing that. Especially knowing Billy left behind a young daughter around the same age as my two boys, this has me wanting to reschedule that doctors appointment. Wow, Billy Mays might of just saved my life!

Thank You Billy Mays you have brought entertainment and inspiration to both myself and millions around the world.

that horrible wait till closing.

It almost been a month since we made an offer on a house, and there is still a month to go until closing. This is so damn frustrating when you have to wait 45-60 until you can finally pick up the keys to your house and start to get it ready to move in.

Now is that time when in the back of your mind that you know that house is yours, but it sits there vacant. There is no one going in there any more checking up on the property, the pool is turning a lovely shade of green because they turned off the pump and the only time you can check up on it is during the inspections.

Ahh the inspections, those lovely report that tell you that that dream house you thought you were getting is filled with little problems, our favorite so far. RODENTS AND FUNGUS! Come to find out there is a small opening in the roof where it looks like rodents were getting in, and while up in the attic during the inspection we found some lovely little souvenirs. Also there is that nice report of wood eating fungus on the outside garage door.

Damn I want to get in there now and be able to fix up some shit. But alas we still have 28 days and counting.. This lovely wait, I can’t wait till it is over!

Buying a House in this economy - Part 2

Fixer-Upper vs. Remodel
Today we looked at 5 more properties only to find out 2 were already under contract, one looked like it was a former swinger party den, one was by high voltage power lines and one was over priced and too far north.

Although it sounds like a motley crew of locations one did shine so bright that we we actually placed a bid on it and would you believe it was the one that was overpriced? This house had nine out of ten of our things we were looking for in a house. It had real hardwood floors, it had a 2 car garage, it had a fenced in back yard (vinyl fence too!), it had a pool, it had an wide open floor plan. The one thing it didn’t have was a big open kitchen but as the song says you can’t always get what you want.

The house was set as a short sale, and is not guaranteed because we did have slightly lower bid than asking but we think we may be in luck. And as in the previous article mentions there are vultures out there just waiting to pick these things off. The house also has a mortgage that is $70,000 more than the asking price, so that alone shows you how good of a deal it is.

But why not just buy a house that is a much lower price that is a “Fixer Upper”? If you have the time on your hands and not the 2 small boys like we have then this may be your cup of tea, but many of the ones that we evaluated it seemed like many of these fell in neighborhoods where the lack of home pride was apparent. And when you think of it in a long run, that 20,000-40,000 more you are spending on a house that is already remodeled is going to let you start your life the day you move in. How many of these jobs that you had high hopes of “down the road” never happen? There are many of those unfinished honey-do lists out there, and you just look at that old carpet and wonder when you can replace it.

Yeah you will probably pay double or triple the price of the actual repairs over the life of your loan when you consider interest, but the piece of mind that it is already done and don’t need to bring outside workers or bust a knuckle or cut off a finger (ask my dad!) on a DIY job may be worth every penny.

Buying a house in this Economy - Part 1

Hey folks, all 2 of you watching this blog, I want a place to vent when buying a house, and in this economy people are saying it is the best time to buy. I beg to differ in many ways but here I go!

First before we even attempted to buy a house, I have been tracking the Median and Average house prices for the past 100 years. If anyone looked at this chart you would see that the housing bubble that many mentioned on TV was absolutely true. Starting around the late ninetys houses began to inflate to almost double their value (see chart below),  it was almost a matter of time before stuff blew up andthe market attempted to correct itself and prices came back down. 


Click below to read the rest!

A major part of this came from the leniency of new laws allowing people that really couldn’t afford a house at that time to get adjustable rate mortgages. Predator lenders came out and preyed upon these people. Now this brings us to today, many houses are being foreclosed on and being sold short sale.

We are seeing houses in our price range that are steals, and some are laughable because those poor saps who are backwards in their mortgages now who owe more than the house is worth are trying to still think they can get what they bought it for, and not realizing the people right down the street are selling their house for 25k-50k less.

Today we ran into a fun yet disturbing after effect. 2 houses we went to see had tenants that did not want to cooperate. One was from an owner that was renting out the house on a monthly basis. The owner is being about to be foreclosed upon and they want to sell the house now before they lose it. The problem is the renter does not want to move and is doing anything in their power to not cooperate with the company hired to show the property, so there goes one house we were in love with and unable to see and possibly put in an offer. Now we have to wait until the tenant is kicked out at the end of the month, and maybe we can look inside. 

The other case is a lender owned house. On paper we saw, it was vacant and ready to be shown anytime, again with lockbox on the door. Come to find out, since they wrote that, they have rented out the house. Once again, a tenant did not want to cooperate and decided to HIDE the box while she went out of town.  So out of 4 houses, 2 were blocked by renters, almost a complete waste of our time today. A 3rd house had a renter also, and was completely cooperative, but we were really not that interested in the house and it was a family with 2 young girls, they had the rooms all decorated and would feel a bit guilty kicking them out of their home. 

2 other houses we really liked were also pre-short sale houses but had been snagged up by “investors”, isn’t that part of this whole problem with the flipper types? Both were beautiful and big especially for the asking price, we knew these would go fast, appearantly in under a week.

Which brings me back to the begining of the blog, the last house we saw they were originally asking $225,000 and have “reduced the price” to $179,000 for 2 stories and a screened in pool, sounds like a steal right? Well when the value of the rest of the houses in the direct neighborhood have fallen to about $150,000 (some houses in the $90,000’s!)  it still seems to be they still have wishful thinking, especially when the house has no garage or attic for storing goodies like holiday stuff. 

So the hunt is still on, we have till the end of the month before we can see the house we really like (maybe) and till the end of august till our lease ends.  Feel free to check back as I vent some more, I still have much more to say about how we became financally capable of looking at the house and the run around when it comes to applying to become pre-approved for a mortgage. And more than likely I will post more about  the run around with closing costs, redecorating and all those goodies that come along with houses.

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