Friday, September 24, 2010

Spelled Out, Movie Review

A few times I have probably mentioned that life has become just way too complicated and everything seems to revolve around the computer, i-phone, e-mail, text-mail, twitter, twatter, facebook, in-your face, and all that garbage. That is not to mention the fax machine, which still exists, typewriter(which doesn’t exist that I know of), ball point pin, #2 pencil, and smoke signals. Well there is another method of communicating that has now become sort of complicated, it is called talking to your pets by having to spell words so as not to upset them or get them all hyper. Buffman & Squeaky have reached that mentality that is driving me nuts. While the Boston Terrier is considered to be one smart breed of dogs ole Buffman(9rs), and Squeaky(4yrs) have now exceeded that by learning the English language to such a point that we are now having to spell things out so they do not get too excited about what is fixing to happen. Case in point, if we happen to slip and say we are going some where(which doesn’t matter where, just saying GO OR GOING seems to be the key word) then they start barking, jumping, chewing, and grabbing the leash so they can GO. Then if they are not going we have to go through the explanations of why they are not going and then give them a cookie(dog bone). The bad part about this is they could be conning us to get the cookie, but on the other hand we always give them one when we leave without them. So, now we have started spelling everything. So, we can’t use the words, running, walking, going, playing, riding the motorcycle, going to town, going to a movie, without spelling it out. Right now that is working but it will not be long before they figure it out. Oh, I forgot, you can’t open the drawer where the leashes are unless you want two Boston’s licking and leaping all over your legs raving to GO!! I am thinking the next step might be sign language, but by some of the expressions on Buffs face I know he will figure that one out real quick. This dog can look at you with the most, what in the hell is this human thinking expressions I have ever seen. In the mornings he will give me his good morning look by standing on the arm of the chair over my lap, turns his head for a slight minute staring right into my eyes. He then turns his head the other way, and steps down. Like, well I have done my duty to this dude called master, and now to get on with my day of sleeping, barking, pooping, peeing, eating, and licking. On the other hand Squeaky just looks at me with a dead pain look of, “why bother?”, I am going to just do my thing, sleep, bark, poop, pee, eat and lick when I want to. For me, I will GO(spelled out) and DO(spelled out) my thing for the day wondering what challenges they have in store for me upon my return.

Movie Review: “Get Low”, *****, What a movie!! This truly an actors movie, with a great story, great set, and great acting through out. Robert Duvall sets the bar so high with his performance as 40-year hermit Felix Bush that he will be impossible to forget when Academy Award nominations arrive next year. The mystery of why bushy(you will see what I am referring to) Felix Bush became a hermit is the story, and then how the movie got its’ name Get Low will also be told. Great acting by Spacek and Bill Murray. Rated PG-13 for some thematic material and brief violent content.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bad Breath, Movie Review

There may be a thousand things that cause bad breath, and none of them are probably worth going into detail about. I know that dipping snuff causes bad breath, fact is one time a guy came up to me at a trade show and I immediately picked up the bad breath scent as he talked. Funny thing is as I tried to move away from him he would just keep getting closer as he talked. Finally after backing up nearly twenty feet I figured out a way to end this conversation. Alcohol, garlic, onions, and other food stuff also causes bad breath, not to mention bad oral hygiene. So, last night at the movies I was stuck beside a guy that had bad breath and no matter how much I moved around in my seat I could not prevent this stalking odor from entered my nostrils. The other bad thing is that there were no other seats available so I was really stuck. After paying $7.50 for the movie I sure didn’t want to give up the seat and miss a movie I was looking forward to seeing. The other bad thing about this particular bad breath is that it was caused from alcohol and I figured maybe the night before he hung a big one on and this breath was not only bad it was at least two days old. Now there is nothing worse than alcohol breath that is two days old. As I sit here and write this my mental power of suggestion is reviving the odor that hounded me for two hours last night during the movie. The other weird thing I noticed was that the lady next to me was just as close as the guy to the left of me and I didn’t notice her breath at all. All I noticed about her is that she seemed to make little comments or sighs all through the movie. During one sex scene(soft porn type scene) I noticed that she was very quiet and no movement at all, while the bad breath guy was omitting a steady stream of bad breath my way. I tried to discreetly cover up my nostrils so I wouldn’t have to take this in, but that didn’t work. I noticed that bad breath works in a very stealth way and no matter what, I could not offer any resistence to it penetrating my smell glands, if that is what they are called, and it was driving me crazy. The movie was good, but not so good that I had to go through this torture but I persisted to the bloody end. To take my mind off of the offensive odor I decided to come up with ways I could combat this in the future, 1. I could just get up and move to another seat if available or leave the movie and request a refund, 2. I could make sure I have breath mints or gum in my packet and offer it to the offender, 3. I could just politely explain to the offender that he/she has bad breath and I wish they would move to another seat, 4. As a defense mechanism I could go in with some real bad breath of my own and combat their bad breath with my bad breath, kind of a tit for tat type thing, or nanananana to you my friend, take my bad breath. Sounds like I have some good alternatives so I will prepare myself for the next crowded movie.

Movie Review: “The American”, *** George Clooney portrays Jack, an assassin and master craftsman. When a job in Sweden ends badly(meaning he shots his girl friend in the back of the head), Jack vows to his contact(Bruce Altman) that his next assignment will be his last. He hides in the Italian countryside and relishes being apart from death for a while(even though he never verbalizes this feeling except for making love with his favorite whore). Jack does surprise his feelings by making an odd friendship with a local priest(Paolo Bonacelli) and pursues romance with his whore(beautiful Violante Placido). Of course by stepping out a little of his shadows he not only tempts fate, he suffers the consequences. To me there were some holes in the movie that stripped it of the fourth star, since it was a well done movie and Clooney is great. Rated R for violence, sexual content(you mean the soft porn nude sexual scene, that was awesome!) and nudity.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hotter 'N Hell or Bicycle Heaven

Okay, I get to have all the fun, now I am in Wichita Falls, Texas for the Hotter ‘N Hell bicycle event. My mission here is to show off the Athletes Honey Milk and ride the 50 mile course. This event is to Wichita Falls and bicycle riders what Sturgis, SD is to motorcycle riders. Over 14,000 bicycle riders converge on the city starting about Wednesday prior to the event on Saturday. While this is not truly a race or a tour, it is better described as a spectacle. While there are some very competitive riders they only represent about 1% of total number. Some of the “other” riders will actually buy a bike the week before and then become riders who choose to ride 25, 50, 100K(62.5) or 100 miles. Some 29 years ago some one had the bright idea to have a bicycle event in this small city(90,000) and since the temperature this time of year is “Hotter ‘N Hell” they thought it would be smart to name it just that. So, over the years it has grown in stature and reputation. There have been years when the temperature was so high they had to cancel some of the mileage just make sure everyone finished without injury. This will be my fourth time to do the event and I will venture out on the roads to do the 50 mile distance. The temperature this year has been in the high 60’s early in the morning while rising to the mid 90’s by noon. I mentioned to someone yesterday that if the cool early mornings keep up they will have to change he name of the event to “Cooler Than Thou” or something like that. At any rate this is a well run event, well backed by the city and its’ citizens. Wichita Falls feels like it is in another state instead of Texas. While it has oil, cowboys, a small university and an Air Force base it just seems to have a different feel than Texas. Fact is I keep thinking we are in another time zone, but no we are really CDT and this is really Texas. Since the hotel rooms sell out a year in advance we decided to try the RV camping thing and rented a 26’ RV that could sleep 6 people. We hope that is not the count since it is beginning to close in on us now, and it feels like it must feel to travel in a submarine. Everything seems to be in the way from one end to the other or just to go to the rest room. I have bumped my head numerous times and worry about the sewer tank filling up and over flowing. So far so good and maybe this might be a good idea for the future. We had to come on Wednesday since the RV spaces close to the event center for the expo, and race start was a first come, first serve basis. When we got here there were only 4 other RV’s, now there are 200. Since it is really not an RV camp ground the trailers are parked very close together and it really feels like an RV ghetto. But it is within walking distance of everything that goes on with the event and is probably a good thing. The tell tale story will come when we have to hook up the pickup to the trailer again to head back. But RV’ers have a way of paying attention to their neighbors needs and I am sure they will come to our rescue.

Now for the ride report. I mentioned above that we were doing the 50 miler but as the testestorone started to build after seeing all of the riders and the new equipment we switched to the 100K(62 miles). They allow you to do this after you start the course, since the entry fee is the same for all. My fellow rider John Harris was trying to sell me on the 100 miler with the bribe that they gave out brockwurst and free beer at mile 87 so we needed to up the ante and go the ultimate distance. Of course I was tempted and we had to make the decision at mile 50. We were both feeling good, the weather was excellent, and I must say it was tempting. The brockwurst and beer was sounding better by the minute; however, I wasn’t too sure on how I would feel after stopping to partake and then riding another 13 miles. So, I convinced John that we could get brockwurst and beer after we finished the 100K and even enjoy it. He finally agreed and we moved on towards the finish line. We were able to finish with a 3:30 hour time frame and felt good doing it. Now for the beer and brockwurst!! We also received some Athletes Honey Milk from the finish line expo and proceeded to begin our recovery of tired legs and sore butt.

Since we were RV’ing it added a second dimension to the trip, since usually it involves a hotel room and then head on back after loading the bikes and suitcases. But when you RV anywhere it is as much about setting up and tearing down as it is anything else. There are certain things you have to do in setting up that make the rest of your trip more comfortable, such as the awning. Put the awning up and then you have a nice shaded area to sit and talk pre and post race information. You must also hook up the water, electricity, and sewer properly or you really have a problem. These are things we take for granted in the hotel rooms, but you can‘t do that in an RV. We also learned what to do when the shower water tank(different than the sewer tank) reserve decides to over flow. This is called “gray water” and is really the old shower and dishwasher waste water. We learned that you can drain this water out on the ground if you do it very discreetly, meaning you wait until after dark. Seems as though this is a practice done by all of the experienced RV’ers, so we pitched in to do our share of sharing the used “gray” water. On the sewer side we had no problem and after arriving back in Lubbock we searched out a “RV Sewer Dump” and after going to the faithful know it all, “google” we located a dump at the Chishom Truck stop. After asking everyone where the dump was located we pulled up to it to learn that there was a sign on it that said, yep you guess it, “RV Sewer Dump!” The odd thing about it is that it is just a innocent plastic pipe running straight down with the hole left open for you to put your drainage hose it and without much fanfare it takes the bad smelling stuff with open arms. The other way we were able to determine it was the sewer dump is the always offensive odor coming from the eagerly awaiting sewer pipe. This little chore only took about 10 minute and we were rid our our waste and off to do the final clean up and return to the RV to its rightful owner. My conclusions for this adventure is that you really don’t rent or buy these things to save money, because you don’t, you rent them to have some kind of 26’ highway submarine to play with and see if you can overcome the little challenges they throw out to you during the trip. One good thing is that we were able to park it so close to the event activities that we were able to walk back and forth to the events. This was nice since all of the hotels you would stay in were not of walking distance. So, put a big triple plus up for the RV ghetto. Possibly this will be done again in 2011; however, that Courtyard by Marriott sure did look good as we passed by it.


Hog Heaven, Movie Review

The Jewish have Yom Kippur, the Islam's have Mecca, the Christians have the Passover and Hog riders have Sturgis, South Dakota. Fact is every second weekend of August over 700,000 faithful riders, some 1 per centers (the original bad guys) and lots of pretenders make the trek, one way or the other. Not only that this has been going on for the past 70 years, and looks solid for another 70 at least. So, I did the Hog thing and headed out North to the Black Hills and over 2,000 miles of riding that noisy beast. Since the ride is what it is supposed to be about, I made sure I got in nearly 500 miles a day and then glided into Sturgis easily on the second day. Along the way I stopped at some small towns and in one I actually got a great motel room for $40.00. The lady who checked me in was very old (about my age I am sure) and she was apologetic that she had to charge me tax and made the bill a whopping $43.00. Little did she know that I would be paying $144.00 the next night in Chadron, Nebraska. Since this is my fourth trip to the Black Hills I was beginning to feel like a veteran until I met a lady who was making her 16th straight trip. Seems as though no matter what our story is on any given subject someone else can always top it. Regardless I can say I ride the Hog hard and fast, have dirt under my finger nails plus at least three days of beard, and my hair is matted from the wind and helmet. I also am proud to have that motorcycle engine odor about me and maybe a little gasoline scent to cover up that Aqua Velva. This is all part of the mystique in riding these two wheel demons and just simply makes you feel free as a breeze and in charge of the landscape.

On the way up I was stopped by a construction flagman and told it would be about 20 minutes before the escort truck could take me through. So, I turned off the engine and was waiting patiently when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw 5 riders pulling up behind me. They were also dressed in the same kind of gear, looking kind of like the Jackson five, and after they got close to me I recognized the Banditos branded apparel. While these guys were not quite as well known as the Hell’s Angels, they were at one time considered in the one per-center category of bad ass motorcycle riders. Since they were parked behind me while waiting I turned around and spoke to them and recognized them as being from Lubbock. While we made a little small talk it was not what I would call a conversation or that we would become best friends, since gang members like this view a lone rider somewhere in the category of training wheels for their Hog or a flat tire, so it was silent until we started to move again. While we were behind the escort vehicle the Banditos were content to stay behind me but once we were out of the control of the escort these bad guys came around me in unison. Since I was now going 75 they had to be be going at least 85. Funny thing is they made a big statement about passing me, with the loud pipes blasting at me and then swerving in front of me to make this, we are the Kings statement. Then about 90 miles later I saw them in a gas station filling up. They then did the same passing game when they caught me. This went on for the next 600 miles, they catch me, pass me then have to stop to rest, I pass them, then they go hell bent for leather to catch me and pass me. Maybe they were auditioning me for membership in the club or something of that nature. While in Sturgis I never saw them again; however, it is not hard to lose someone with 700,000 other motorcycles around. Funny how the motorcycle brings out the kid in all of us, reminded me of shooting marbles when I was 10 years old.

One thing a person really has to be careful about is not laying the Hog down when you get around all the other riders. The reason is because the testosterone is so deep that you don’t stand a chance of staying up if you are not careful. Something about these machines really brings out the manhood thing in the men who ride them. One thing I can say is that within a 400 mile radius the motorcycle rider is King and is well accepted by the locals and the money that we spend while there is very much appreciated. In the Black hills of South Dakota the rally is a tremendous economic impact to this area. On the way back to Texas I noticed a lot of welcome signs and even though I hit heavy rain storms in the Panhandle of Texas it was a very enjoyable trip and the ride was great.

Movie Review: “Switch”, ***, Always good to look at Jennifer Aniston stars in an offbeat comedy as Kassie, a smart, fun-loving single woman who, despite the objections of slightly neurotic friend Wally(played by Jason Bateman), decides she does not need a husband to have a baby of her own. Seven years later, Kassie discovers that her plans may have gone awry as Wally becomes acquainted with Kassie’s slightly neurotic son. A well done movie and in reality Aniston is catching some flak from different do good groups who say she is saying you don’t need to be married to have kids. This is not a message or cause movie, just a form of fiction romantic comedy with a new twist. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language.