Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 85 - 101 Days of Awesome

My thanks to somewhat regular commenter The Jakes for recommending Cheeseboard Pizza to me many years back. This isn't your typical pizza place. You don't go up to the counter and order the pizza you want. No, you order the pizza they want.

The make one kind of pizza every day. You can check their website to see if it's one you're going to like that day, then head on in. But beware - it doesn't matter what time you go or on what day. There will be a line out there door. I've never waited less than five minutes and often about 15 to get in. But once you get to the counter, you order and they have it ready, hot and fresh out of the over.

I tend to enjoy any pizza they have with Crimini Mushrooms. But really, don't worry about what kind they're serving. They're all delicious.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 84 - 101 Days of Awesome

I like Stephen King. He's awesome. There are a bunch of his books that I really love. Pet Semetary was the first one I read back in middle school. It (the book, not the pronoun) is scary with a great story and great characters. The whole idea of The Long Walk has stuck in my head since reading it for the first time, and I recently reread it. Misery was probably the fastest I ever read a book. The whole Dark Tower series is epic and flawfully perfect. The Eyes of the Dragon. The Talisman. Needful Things (which others disliked - I loved the slow build and then all of the shit hitting the fan at once). Duma Key. 11/22/63. And don't forget his novellas which became Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption.

My favorite? The Stand. It's the story that really introduces the ideas that are going to go into the Dark Tower series. It takes a lot of great characters and throws them into the worst possible circumstance and watches them become more than they were, for better or worse. It's the next Stephen King book that I'm going to reread.

Yeah, he's also thrown out a few turds. The ending to Under the Dome is first and foremost. I can't make it more than 40 pages into Lisey's Story. The Colorado Kid was ridiculous (Hey! Here's an unexplainable mystery. Let me go ahead and not explain it!). I liked parts of The Cell, but it just didn't add up. And From a Buick 8 had a cool idea that just didn't go anywhere in the end.

I'll probably read just about everything that he continues to write.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 83 - 101 Days of Awesome

I hate exercise. But there are very few better feelings that when you finish exercise for the day. Not only is it done, but you accomplish something that day. As I'm getting close to finishing another round of Insanity, this is my awesome of the day - my post workout drink of chocolate milk.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 82 - 101 Days of Awesome

On the night Craig Ferguson got his robot sidekick, this is how he was introduced. It's three minutes of pure awesome.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 81 - 101 Days of Awesome

I'm discussing many more awesome movie soundtracks than I originally planned, but I don't think that's a bad thing in any way. The Superman soundtrack is pretty amazing. It's another of John Williams's greats.  I actually want to focus on just the first 1:30 of the clip above. Even though the main theme is so fantastic, this is my favorite part. And yeah, the rest of the clip is also cool.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 80 - 101 Days of Awesome

If there's anything I've learned over the past ten years that is most important, it's this: The Mythbusters are awesome.

I saw Adam and Jaime at Comic Con a few years back, and they were great. Then a couple years ago I saw Adam Savage driving in his Prius in San Francisco while I was driving my Prius. We had a Prius Parade, and it was beautiful.

I used to show an episode in class. The junior Mythbusters test whether Benjamin Franklin really completed his key and lightening experiment. My favorite part about the episode is that Adam and Jamie test fart myths. It was perfect for eighth grade.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 79 - 101 Days of Awesome

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I really, really love this movie. Clemintine is someone I really could fall for. And it would probably end up in the same way, with me getting my memory erased. Again.

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are perfect. The script is perfect. The stuff that doesn't make sense at first later does, and it's perfect. The music is perfect.

But maybe I love it because on some level I wish it could be real. Is that awesome? Probably not.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 78 - 101 Days of Awesome

I want to talk about a few really awesome soundtracks. While I'll have a few posts that focus on some other soundtracks, this is to cover a few that I might now want to give a full post to, but they're still awesome.

 The first is Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.

No, I'm not talking about the crappy Bryan Adams song. The Overture, embedded above, is a cool piece. It's a real call to adventure. I haven't seen the movie in a long time. I suspect that any good feels I have for this movie are from the Overture.

Next is Pirates of the Caribbean.

I enjoyed the first Pirates of the Caribbean. I mildly enjoyed the second. I disliked that third. I couldn't finish the first half of the fourth. Much like Robin Hood, I think I liked the main theme better than the movie. I remember it being a fun, though too long, movie. But I still like listening to the track above, called He's a Pirate.

Dances With Wolves.

Dances With Wolves is, as I remember it, a pretty good movie. But I haven't seen it since I saw it in the theaters. Unless you count when I saw Avatar, that is. Anyone seen it recently? Does it hold up? I've listened to the soundtrack plenty of times since then.Jump to around the 4:00 mark for the part you'll likely recognize, if not from the movie but from the dozens of other times it's been used since then.

Finally The Last of the Mohicans.

This is another movie that I've only seen once. I saw it on video more than 15 years ago, and I need to see it again.  Any movie with Daniel Day Lewis is worth rewatching just for his performance.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 77 - 101 Days of Awesome

I enjoy listening to Penn Jillette's podcast, Penn's Sunday School. It's funny and discusses atheism and libertarianism. I tend to agree more on the atheist side, but I never outright dismiss his libertarian viewpoints when he gives his particular viewpoint. He's comes from every issue from the point of view of love and liberty.

I've seen Penn and Teller a couple times in Las Vegas. Not only is their show great, but they wait outside the theater to sign autographs, take pictures, and talk to each and every guest who wants to. I really dig that.

The thing I really want to hit on today is this article that Penn wrote while appearing on Celebrity Apprentice. If you didn't watch the show, the article still makes plenty of sense. In addition to other things, he discusses pure art and pure joy. One of his lines - "I use Teller's broad definition of art -- 'Whatever we do after the chores are done.'" - lets me believe that what I'm doing here is actually art, and I like that.

That article was one of the main inspirations for me to complete this 101 Days of Awesome. Please read. Or even better, listen to this clip from his podcast of him reading it.

Penn's Huffington Post Article

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 76 - 101 Days of Awesome

With the release of part one of The Hobbit, I was reminded of how much I really enjoyed Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. Those movies are the longest movies that I actually enjoyed being long. Most movies are way too long, The Hobbit included. But I overlooked it for LOTR.

I was a Peter Jackson fan way back when I first saw Bad Taste. Most of you haven't seen it. It's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Yeah, it's gross. But it's a very cartoony gross. If you've sat through an episode of The Walking Dead, you can certainly handle Bad Taste.

I enjoyed the first Hobbit movie. I wonder, though, if my enjoyment was of the movie itself or of the sentimental return to Middle Earth. It's too long. Jackson has put absolutely everything possible into this movie, and then added another twenty minutes on top of that. I'll hold off final judgement until I see all three movies - and I will, as Jackson earned that from me with the first three movies. I still can't imagine how this is going to be stretched into three movies.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 75 - 101 Days of Awesome

I have too many posts about food, don't I? Well in order to argue, you would have to argue that CHICKEN WINGS aren't awesome. That would make you lame.

I enjoy me some tasty wings. On my 2004 road trip, I drove to Buffalo to have some delicious buffalo wings in Buffalo. While I don't have any pictures from my meal that night, I do have this picture taken the next day on the Canada side of Niagara Falls. As I experienced both within 24 hours, I can tell you that the wings were more awesome than the Falls. The Spider-Man ride? That was also pretty awesome.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 74 - 101 Days of Awesome

Before you start reading, press play and listen!

That's all I really need to have here, right?You're ready for adventure. I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark when it was released in theaters about a year ago and had just as much fun as the first time. There were a few kids in the audience who were really digging it. I have a feeling that two things are going to make these movies hold up forever. First, they were already set in the past. They won't be dated in that way. Second, they don't rely on big special effects. It's all stunt that should be filmed in the same way today. And even the special effects they do have (melting faces) look just right for the story.

That's all I want to say. Just listen - it's beautiful! (imagine that yelled in a German accent).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 73 - 101 Days of Awesome

I didn't discover Scrubs until fairly late in its run. I saw most of the episodes in syndication and completely out of order. In fact, I'm still not really too sure of the chronology of the show. But I still grew to love it anyway.

There are some spectacularly great episodes.The musical episode is my favorite of the novelty musical episodes (yes, better than Buffy). My Way Home is a Wizard of Oz themed episode. My Screw Up features Brendan Fraser and shows how good of an actor John C. McGinley is. But the best episode is My Lunch. It's the episode with The Fray's How To Save a Life

I mentioned John C. McGinley above. He plays Dr. Cox. Dr.  Cox is one of my favorite TV characters ever. He's not totally believable. But he's rather consistent.  Most importantly, he's the guy who taught me that it's ok to express my hate of Hugh Jackman.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 72 - 101 Days of Awesome

A few days ago I mentioned my 1999 road trip. Another result of that trip came at the end. I ended in San Diego attending a fantasy football draft, the CFFL league. As a football fan, I thought it was pretty awesome. I headed back home ready to start our new league, EDSFFL. A couple years later I even joined the CFFL.

I did really well the first several years of the EDSFFL. My team, Sharks With Frickin' Laser Beams Attached To Their Heads, was regularly in the playoffs, I went to the championship several times, and won the league twice. My success has been... less so in the CFFL, though I proudly have won it once with my team Clobberin' Time.

The biggest problem is that I probably root for actual football teams less now than I did before. My team wins? Whatever. How did my fantasy players do?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 70 - 101 Days of Awesome

The UK version of The Office was hilarious by itself. The US version became great when it stopped trying to emulate the UK version. Yeah, it has overstayed itself. When Steve Carrell left the show, it hasn't been the same.

But my favorite character is still there. I celebrate the ending of the TV show with a salute to the most awesome character. Creed Bratton is played by Creed Bratton. Creed Bratton was in the band the Grass Roots. Those of you who know the character but didn't know that fact might be wondering if I were talking about the actor or the character.

For those of you who don't know the awesome of Creed, here's a collection of clips. You might be thinking,"I don't understand the context of these clips."  That's OK. He doesn't either.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 69 - 101 Days of Awesome

I was first exposed to John Steinbeck when I was assigned The Red Pony as our first novel of freshmen year. I hated it. It felt like a kids book when I wanted to start reading real novels. I later read Of Mice and Men. Better. I wasn't assigned The Grapes of Wrath. I remember other students reading it and disliking it because, according to them, there was a twenty page description of a turtle crossing the road.  In college I was assigned In Dubious Battle. It was OK, but tough to get through.

So with all that behind me, I still don't know why I actually picked up East of Eden. It was recommended to me by a couple friends whose judgement I guess I trusted. But it looks just as boring as the rest of his stuff. And before you say it, I read it before Oprah made it one of her book club choices.

I'm a somewhat fast reader, but it ended up being a really fast read, even at a dense 600+ pages of epicness. Here's my favorite line from the book:

"If necklaces of pork chops were accepted, it would be a sad child who could not wear pork chops."

I haven't watched the movie. I'm somewhat afraid to. I usually watch a movie as soon as I finish the book. It's been about fifteen years since I read it. I think it's getting time for a reread, and then perhaps I'll take a look at the movie. That's my timshel.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 68 - 101 Days of Awesome

Sleep is pretty awesome. But you know what's even more awesome? Those days that you get to sleep in with no alarm at all. I want one of those days.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 67 - 101 Days of Awesome

Why do people like Louis CK? It's because he says things that people think but more eloquently and a million times funnier. And that thing you think might not have been a conscious thought. It might be that reason you hate something but haven't been able to put your finger on why you hate. He'll tell you.

Here's an example as he talks about the miracle of human flight.

When the comics of 2040 talk about who inspired them as kids, Louis CK is going to be mentioned over and over again. I know this because the comics of 2013 are already saying it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Day 66 - 101 Days of Awesome

Here's one that I can't describe well enough. You need to check it out for yourself. First of all, if you aren't subscribed to some podcasts, you need to jump on that. Once you do, you need to check out Mike and Tom Eat Snack.

In this podcast, Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh, well, eat snacks. They pick a snack, eat a snack, rate a snack. It's the PER system. Sometimes they pick the snack themselves. Sometimes they are sent by viewers (and they know they aren't actually viewers).  There are running jokes, so don't start with the most recent episode. Start at the beginning. Just... go subscribe and listen for yourself.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Day 65 - 101 Days of Awesome

Delicious. Have you been to the Public Market Emeryville? There's some damn tasty food there. I seem to be drawn back to the same place every time I go, getting the exact same thing. It's the Afghan Cuisine. I typically pick up the three item sampler with Saffron Chicken, Spicy Chicken, and Lamb and Potato Curry.  Delicious.

Lance E. Kisses once said, while standing outside of it pointing at the burger place next to it, that those burgers might be the greatest burgers in the world, but he would never know it. I have been there many times. I have never eaten a burger there. I want my Afghan Cuisine.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Day 64 - 101 Days of Awesome

I laughed pretty hard the first time I saw Austin Powers. It's almost too bad it became as popular as it was. It would have made for some pretty good inside jokes. I showed it in class at lunchtime a few years back. It still held up pretty well.

But the awesome thing about it is the soundtrack. It's such a sweet taste of the late 60s. While I don't exactly watch the movie much anymore, I still take a listen to the soundtrack every now and again.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 63 - 101 Days of Awesome

I've mentioned a few times before that I don't particularly like musicals, but I love the ones I do. My favorite is probably Singin' in the Rain. I've had the opportunity to see it in the theaters with a crowd a couple times in the past few years. It's always a great experience, and watching certain songs is just pure joy.

In my opinion, the absolute best part of the movie is Make 'Em Laugh. If this scene were filmed today, it would be edited over and over again to make it work (unless it's Joseph Gordon Levitt). But the original? The talent oozes off of the film cells.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 62 - 101 Days of Awesome

I've mentioned before that my favorite video game series is the Legend of Zelda. If you've never played the game... just skip this one.
In the Ocarina of Time, you learn the Song of Storms. Well, the way you learn it is actually pretty cool. You go back and forth in time. When you're your older self, you learn it from this guy who learned it from you when you were younger because you learn it then go back in time and teach it to him, who then teaches it to you later. Yeah.

Anyway, a few Zelda games reference the song later. It's always a blast to hear it again. It's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 61 - 101 Days of Awesome

Flight of the Conchords did one major thing right - they stopped after two seasons. What they left us with were two awesome seasons. I went through them fairly quickly. Here are two of my favorite songs from the series:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Day 60 - 101 Days of Awesome

Ah, The Daily Show. I have no idea when I last missed an episode of The Daily Show. When I've gone on vacation, I've made it a point to record every episode at the highest priority. On one of those trips, my DVR crapped out halfway through. I think that was 2007. So yeah, it's probably been since then. I've fast forwarded through some interviews, but I've seen most of the rest. I've had some catch up marathons for sure.

I'm going to take a moment to clarify what a lot of people likely mean when they say that they get their news from The Daily Show. Occasionally, they will bring a story to light that isn't being talked about by other news outlets. Perhaps there is some bill being passed by Congress that is full of hypocrisy. If it isn't "front page" news, we might not be exposed to it otherwise. Those of us who watch are also smart, so we'll go investigate more on our own.

And you can't forget that The Daily Show begat The Colbert Report. It also gave us Steve Carrell, Ed Helms, and lots of other funny, funny people.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day 59 - 101 Days of Awesome

The first major road trip I took by myself was in the summer of 1999. I went to Seattle first, where I spend quite some time before really starting the trip. On the day I left, I drove I-90. It crosses the top of Idaho. It's a really beautiful drive through the pine tree covered mountains. I hit that as the sun was setting. I had been listening to Jimi Hendrix  - The Ultimate Experience. At the end of the album is Jimi's Star Spangled Banner from Woodstock. The sights and the sounds made the most awesome amalgam of existence for my drive.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day 58 - 101 Days of Awesome

I've talked about Star Wars a few times already, and I'm sure I will again. But on Star Wars day (May the Fourth be with you), I need to write about it again.

So for today, I'm going to mention the original ending to Return of the Jedi. Yes, it's the Yub Nub or Ewok Celebration song. The Daves of Thunder podcast would end its episodes with this beautiful and celebratory piece.  It's really how every school day should end. Imagine if you will that instead of the bell that this started playing. Kids and teachers could celebrate in the hallways together as they dance the Ewok Celebration dance that I'm sure long time commentator The Jakes still remembers well. What a beautiful world it would be if this were the way it were. If I were principal...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 57 - 101 Days of Awesome

I love The Goonies. As a kid, it was one of my absolute favorites. I fondly remember riding my bike all the way down to the Capri Theater to watch it a couple times. For a buck, I got to watch it twice with something else in between. I could have stayed to watch another time, but I would have had to watch the other movie again, and I probably was supposed to be home at a certain time or something.

I remember the horror in sixth grade when we were supposed to watch it in class as a celebration after we performed Hamlet. But then Ms. Oetting previewed the movie and wasn't happy with the number of times they said "Shit. So we watched the John Wayne movie Hondo. What's up with that shit?

But the awesome I'm going to talk about is the music. This is a specific piece of music from the movie that you will find embedded below. Take a listen as you finish reading. It's the first 1:40 or so.

As a kid, not only did I love the Goonies, but (hyperbole alert) I wanted nothing more than a Goonies sequel. Back then, there was one way to find out what movies were coming out that I knew of. You went to the movies and watched the trailers. So just imagine the awesome I felt the first time a trailer started and that music played! For a few seconds, I knew it was coming. Goonies 2 - Even Goonier! Now imagine the lack of awesome when I discover that instead, Dennis Quaid was going to be miniaturized and injected into Martin Short. And it wasn't just the Inner Space trailer. It was used often in the second half of the 80s.

So why is it awesome if I was so devastated and am still awaiting Goonies 2 - Electric Goonieloo? Because it is.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Day 56 - 101 Days of Awesome

If you have legitimate plans to watch the series soon, don't read on. Otherwise, I don't spoil everything. Just the end.

How will the series end? Will it suck? Will they tie up loose ends? Will the characters be redeemed? Some shows miss the mark (ahem, Battlestar Galactica and Lost). Some shows get it just right (Cheers and arguably The Sopranos).

Occasionally, it's perfect. The absolute best series ending of all time was for Six Feet Under. Not only was it beautiful, not only was it emotional, not only did it complete the stories of the characters, but it did it in a way that was SO PERFECT for the series before. Spoiler: A show about death showed us the deaths of the main characters. And the song playing, Breathe Me, makes it perfect.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 55 - 101 Days of Awesome

There are many, many songs in this world for which the following is true for many people. You hear the first few notes and you start to feel nausea. You want to turn it off. You want to complain. You want to declare that the terrorists have won. You want to strike down your fellow man just so that song will end.

But sometime, the vocalist enters before you're able to do any of those things, and there's a little surprise. It isn't Avril Lavigne after all. It's Weird Al! And suddenly, the nausea ends. You want it to keep playing. You want to sing along. The terrorist have lost again. You want to celebrate with your fellow man.

Who the crap doesn't like Weird Al? Bad people, that's who. A few years ago there was a petition to have Weird Al perform at the Super Bowl halftime show. Who heard that idea and thought it was a bad idea? Bad people that's who. It needs to happen because Weird Al is awesome.

Here's another surprise. Many of his original songs are awesome in your workout mix.