Monthly Archives: October 2009

Five Thoughts on a Friday

Happy Friday, and welcome to the pre-Halloween edition of Five Thoughts on a Friday!We’re moving fast today, so on with the show!

  1. No. I won’t give you any candy today. It isn’t Halloween. I don’t give a rat’s ass if the subdivision/city/whatever decided today would be a better day to have trick or treating. You trick or treat on Halloween. In the Dark. Like it’s supposed to be done. Now get off my lawn!!!
  2. Great story from a friend who coaches a youth hockey team this week. Turns out he needed to get a new goalie after Mr. Over protective hockey parent pulled the old goalie off the team. Why would someone pull a goalie off of a team? Poor coaching? Nope – youth league for crying out loud. Not enough ice time – nope, he was the goalie. The goalie got pulled off the time because…. wait for it…  He was facing too many shots!!   Hello!! Goalie! Supposed to have the other team taking shots. In fact, some people call facing a lot of shots “Practice”.  Have fun growing up in that environment, snowflake.
  3. The end of October means that the year is really going to start speeding up now. You get into Thanksgiving in pretty short order here in the States, then December is a blur as you rush headlong into Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And you have 56 shopping days left until Christmas. Feel free to freak out now.
  4. How do you top a headline and story like this?  Answer… You don’t.
    Looking into loos ahead of Euro 2012 soccer
    WARSAW (Reuters) – Patrols of two, wearing white overalls, are boldly entering toilets across Poland to check whether the country is loo-ready for the 2012 EURO soccer championships.
    Lots of loos pass the test, they say, but others — particularly those that date back to pre-1989 Communist days — are less enticing.
  5. Note to MLB….. Reggie Jackson’s nickname of “Mr. October” meant something because the World Series ended in October. Now it ends in November. In the snow (Which is kind of funny to see on TV – a baseball game getting snowed on). Schedule some extra double header games or something during the summer to fix this!

That’s it for today folks! See you in November!

What ever happened to horror movies?

Howdy Folks!

A quick ‘sorta’ Halloween themed post for you here on a Wednesday. It’s almost the end of October, and that means Halloween. It also means some other things but that’s a subject for another post.

With Halloween coming up on Saturday, I’m noticing a lot of supposedly “scary” movies are making their way onto TV. Now, it’s no real secret that to Hollywood horror = gore a while back. These days,  it seems that a scary movie is all about someone’s leg being chopped off (and it being shown as it happens). See any of the 6,823 Saw movies as an example. Or you get some other overly graphic plot line  – I forget the trailer, but there was one showing a bug crawling down someone’s throat in their sleep.

Now, I get it. Those things are enough to make a lot of people wince or go squeamish. Heck, just mentioning spiders to some people is enough to get them going. And there’s my point. What in the world ever happened to classic horror? The stuff that messed with your head?

Let’s take an example… It was, at the time, one of the scariest movies going. These days it’s viewed almost as a comedy by some for a bunch of notable lines, but when it came out… it had people thinking it wasn’t safe to go into the water. That’s right. I’m talking about Jaws. Not the whole film, but consider the first scene.

  • You have the victim off on her own swimming
  • The eerie music starts, then continues to build. You just *know* something bad is going to hapen
  • You never, ever even see the shark coming. You don’t see the shark. At all.

Now, ignoring the fact that the opening scene most closely resembles a real life shark attack (Which is scary in and of itself) the fact that you never see the shark does not diminish the attack. In fact, it helps it. We all knew it was there, but the timing is what sets it up. You can’t really anticipate what’s going to happen because you can’t see the shark!

Want another example? How about Psycho? (The original – that remake NEVER happened!) The infamous shower scene. You see the knife. You see the victim. You see the blood go down the drain. You never see the actual stabbing. And yet it is one of the best known scenes in film.

“But Beer!  Jaws had gore! And you just talked about blood going down a shower drain!”

Yep, I did. I’m not completely opposed to it. Heck, I *expect* there to be blood if someone gets shot. What I don’t want – what I don’t find “scary” is the super slow motion, high definition impact of the back of someone’s head exploding. Gory, yes. Scary, no.

Here’s what I think happens. People watch all those old movies, then think “That isn’t so scary”. No, not after you’ve seen it 500 times. Like I mentioned earlier, Jaws is now viewed almost as a comedy. Why? Well, like I said, some classic lines for starters (“Hooper drives the boat”) but also because people have seen it so many times. You KNOW what’s going to happen now. You know when it’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen. The suspense is gone.

The key to horror is the suspense, not the gore. It’s the “make them jump” factor, not how gross you can make it.

So this Halloween if you want to watch a scary movie,  instead of watching Friday the 13th part 897 for the 500th time do yourself a favor. Check out where you get your movies from (Blockbuster, Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, wherever) and look for something you haven’t seen before. Look for something old.

Alfred Hitchcock is an excellent starting point.
On The Set Of Psycho

Black and white is a good sign. And if you can, look for something with the man who had one of, if not *THE* best evil laughs of all time. The late, great, Vincent Price.  Just don’t blame me if you have to sleep with the lights on after watching.

Happy Halloween!

Five Thoughts on a Friday

It’s Friday! It may be a cold, rainy Friday here, but a Friday is a Friday and that makes it better than a Monday if you ask me. So, without any further delays… it’s time for today’s Five Thoughts on a Friday.

  1. I can be really cranky about what constitutes an acceptable cause of a traffic jam on the freeway. Someone pulled over, or a crash on the other side of the road – Unacceptable. The mess today requiring 3 police cars, a fire truck, two flatbed tow trucks, and 3 ambulances? Perfectly understandable.   (And is it just me, or do we always feel better somehow, almost justified when we realize the cause of the delay is something major and not a bunch of gawkers?)
  2. Had a rather large discussion about old television shows yesterday. We’re talking some of the old classics, back when “cheese” was good. These days it’s all this reality crap. And the reality stuff, just doesn’t strike me as being very real in a lot of respects. Have to say I agree with Homer Simpson on this one…. “Lobo… Bring back Sheriff Lobo!”  (And since we’ve gotten into the video thing, you had to know THIS was coming, right?)
  3. Living near a fairly busy airport, I’m used to seeing a lot of commercial airliners overhead. Yesterday leaving the office, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see 3 A-10 thunderbolts come screaming over our parking lot. A small illustration on this:
    Used to seeing:
    Delta Emerges From Bankruptcy Protection

    Not used to seeing:
    USAF Tests Weapons In Nevada Desert

  4. Gamespot recently wrapped up their “Greatest Video Game Hero of All Time” contest. You can see the results here. I’m not sure that’s what I would have come up with, but hey – it’s their contest. Maybe we’ll do our own one day. As long as I can list Tommy Vercetti from GTA: Vice City as a “Hero”  (Or any of the GTA guys for that matter).
  5. Speaking of gaming, I hadn’t played it in a while and I had just about forgotten how immersive the open world GTA style games can be. Yes there are jobs/missions to be done, but sometime you just want to goof off. You know, kill some time with mindless fun – tearing around town seeing just how badly you can crash that car. And I *do* love the “get thrown through the front windshield because you had no seatbelt on” crash effect. Especially when it sends you hurtling off a bridge, hoping there’s water down below and not concrete!

Ok folks, that’s it for this week. Have a great weekend!


Sometimes it’s the work behind the scenes that counts

As you can see, there have been no posts since Friday. This is due to a number of things. A collaborator in absentia, a nasty cold, work being busy, and some experimentation on the HDTV debate. it really *is* easy to get hooked back into playing Xbox, you know? Could be something that turns into a blog topic too, so that’s good.  It was mostly about checking the display on the TV though. Check out the tweet in the side bar, it’s that way ———–>

That being said, it hasn’t been completely unproductive around here at the Beerbarrel and we’ll be back tomorrow for Five Thoughts of course. In the meantime we’ve been toying around with the video embedding, and it works well enough. It’s just been a matter of picking out the first video to get put up here on the Beerbarrel.

Settled on this one. It was a great video at the time, and honestly still is. Entertainment folks, that’s what it’s about sometimes.

Now, anyone know what the song was written about? We’re not telling.


Five Thoughts on a Friday

It’s Friday again, and Beer’s here with five thoughts. Hmmm… Beer’s here. Reminds me of an old German drinking song:

“Bier hier, bier heir, oder ich fall um”
Anyhow…. on with the Five Thoughts

  1. Honestly.. Who thought up karaoke? Who thought it was a good idea? That’s the same time of thinking that lead to putting dart boards (The real ones with the metal tips) in the bars where people are drinking. Hmm… That’s where they put karaoke too. Bartender? Can I get a few of those metal darts for a minute or two please?
  2. Very few really good news stories this week. Sorry, but the hoax “boy in the balloon” story doesn’t even come close to last week’s “Pirates try to attack the navy ship” story.  The news that the original drummer from KISS, (Peter Criss) beat male breast cancer was surprising to hear, but not something to laugh about.
  3. Now, having lamented the lack of good stories for the week, I swear that I could NOT make stuff like this up if I WANTED to. This one earns the “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?!” of the week.
  4. Halloween is closing in fast now. Everyone have their costumes picked out? Candy bought and ready to be handed out? Personally I’d like to thank the kids in my neighborhood for being so lazy, we don’t have to buy much candy since they can’t seem to be bothered to walk more than a few houses in either direction. FOR FREE CANDY!  Hell, we used to cover what felt like half the damned city. We had to head home to empty out the pillowcases so we could co get more FREE CANDY!  Lazy turds!
  5. RIP “Captain Lou” Albano. You were one of a kind, even in the crazy world of 80’s pro wrestling.

Captain Lou

That’s it for this week folks, have a great weekend!

The great HDTV dilemma

So it’s no secret that I have an Xbox 360 at home. At least I’m not trying to keep it a secret. I don’t use it much though. Over the past few days I’ve tried it, and I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion. The headline above is true. To get the most from my Xbox, I’m going to have to upgrade my TV.


The TV the Xbox is hooked to isn’t anything special at all. It’s your basic small, non-HDTV secondary TV for the house. It’s served me well through all of the PS2 era, but with the rise of these high detail games, the lower definition and small screen are making it hard to read some of the stuff on the screen. And for all you jokers out there? I did get my eyes checked. I was told that “Medically speaking I had very boring eyes” and I needed no corrective lenses. Don’t even have to go back for a checkup this year unless there’s a change in my vision.

So here I am. With the Xbox hooked to a less than ideal TV and limited options.

  • Hook the Xbox to the big television in the other room (Where I really don’t want the Xbox to be)
  • Bring the big TV into the small room where I have the Xbox <– Not *really* an option for several reasons
  • Suffer along with the small TV and just deal with a severely sub-optimal gaming experience
  • See if there’s a way to swap the other television from upstairs. See if that one is better.
  • Remodel the whole room – and then buy a brand new, larger, HDTV for myself as a reward.

Those last two entries seem to hold the most potential. And I have to do something, or I doubt I’ll be buying many more games for the console anytime soon.

So which one would YOU pick?


Five Thoughts on a Friday

Wow, it’s that time again already. At least we made it to another Friday, even if it is supposed to rain all weekend. So, in the immortal words of Elvis Presley (Sing it folks!)  “It’s one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready” and… Five thoughts on a Friday!  I know, I know… I skipped four. Hey, it isn’t in the song, either. Artistic license and all that.

  1. A question for the sports fans in Michigan. Why are you so quick to label the Tigers blowing the division a choke (it was), but so quick to defend your Red Wings who blew a 3games to 1 lead in the Stanley Cup finals? Instead blaming the refs, the media, the President of the United States, and anyone else you can think of. The Tigers choked, the Red Wings choked. Big deal, it happens. Deal with it. Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about your Lions. You know they’ll probably lose. (OK, that last one was a bit of a cheap shot, I admit it)
  2. It’s been a pretty slow week around here as far as spotting silly things to mock in this column. Still getting a lot of mileage out of the Somali pirate story though. That one needed it’s own post though. As a followup, we have a photo of the French Navy ship they tried to attack at the end of this page.
  3. This weekend is shaping up to be one of those weekends where you wish you were at work so you could goof off. There’s that much on the agenda – although most of it is weather dependent and will probably get rained out. Too bad that doesn’t make them go away.
  4. I’m a big believer in the “There’s a time and place for everything” theory. I also believe there are times you need to keep your freaking mouth shut. Noticing an issue that’s sure to piss off the boss is one of those times to keep your mouth shut. NOT TO BLURT IT OUT FOR THE ENTIRE BUILDING TO HEAR.  Head. Desk. Slam. Thanks, thanks for making everyone’s day THAT much harder. Sheesh.
  5. I’m starting to see signs of Christmas decorations going up. Really folks, can we get to at LEAST Halloween before we worry about Christmas? Thanksgiving would be even better, but I’ll take Halloween. Next thing we know they’ll start going up after Labor Day!

Oh yeah, looks like a cargo ship to me!
Oh yeah, looks like a cargo ship to me!

Alright folks, enjoy your weekend! Where ever it may be.