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Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Here we stay?

In Sports on May 20, 2014 at 7:27 PM

As I pen this, the city council of Sacramento is holding a “vote” to give the Sacramento Kings a new arena in Downtown. I say “vote” because anyone in this town knows that the local government will give them the new arena.

I have a few complaints about the new arena, simply because A) the team is horrible, and has been for several years. When Rick Addleman was the head coach, they actually managed to get to the playoffs; they lost to the Lakers every time, but they managed to get there. The second complaint is that the team may be able to afford the new arena, but the city can’t. The city can’t even afford to pay police officers and firefighters, but we have two billion dollars to give to the team for an arena that will be “old” in ten years?

The mayor of Sacramento, (a former basketball player and Kings member, I’d like to add) has devoted his entire mayoral reign to getting the new arena. The libraries are under funded, as are the area’s schools; hospitals can’t afford to take care of patients, but we can afford a new arena…
If the team where any good, OK, fine, give them a new arena. But the mayor decided not to try and keep Campbell’s Soup, or the Coca-Cola bottling plant here, but he fought hard and raised the money and called every big name in his Rolodex to keep the team. Right, way to be a mayor for the people.

The plan to put the arena in Downtown is flawed because the area they want to put the arena, the site of the now former Westfield’s Downtown Plaza (it’s being torn down to make room for the arena) doesn’t have the room. The Light rail there is a major transit hub for the city, a city that according to politicians, is too polluted and the same city politicians want us to take the public transit to get around town. They had plans to move it, but they realized…it would cost to much…more than two BILLION DOLLARS I guess…so they decided to incorporate that into the plans of the arena. That was changed; now it will be left alone and they will build into the available businesses there. They tried to claim emenate domain on the Macy’s there, but that failed, so they decided to build around it. Some time ago, the State Historical Society got a government code to force an easy access tunnel to Old Sac, and they have to leave that alone, so they had to change plans again.
The reason they are putting the arena where it is, is because the major sports teams in the big cities have them in their city’s downtown. The reason being that the other city’s downtown’s are bigger. Seriously, take a walk in downtown LA; try to go from one side to the other in one day. It cannot be done. Here, on the other hand, one could walk from one end to the other in a matter of hours.
Traffic is another problem there. It is already congested, and adding tour buses and limos is not going to ease that problem. The site that should have been chosen is the former air base McCellen. That site already has the infrastructure like parking, sewage, electricity and the like. The Downtown Plaza site does not. If you have ever driven a car down there, you will know. They have two bathrooms, one for each gender, and the arena is going to need at least sixty to seventy to accommodate the amount of people who are filling up on beer, soda, water, nachos and the like. Of course, in order to demolish an old airbase, you would need Presidential, or at least federal government’s approval, and that takes too long.
Not to be left out, is the fact that every, and I do mean EVERY downtown business there has supported the new arena, apparently forgetting that the city will raise taxes and rent on those same businesses who are loyal supporters because they will have anew arena, which, hypothetically, will increase foot traffic…
When the mayor and his political goons chose that site, they held  press conference and said that the new arena will bring back and revitalize the downtown area. People stopped going there because traffic and parking is a nightmare, partly due to the fact that people can’t walk two feet without being hit up for money because there is a bar on every other street. Traffic will become even more hellish when the arena is built. First will be the construction crews there followed by the team. People have been going to the Downtown Plaza – a lot of them. When they went there with their goons and saw no one is beyond me. Every time I have been down there, there has always been a tone of shoppers and people using the shortcut to Old Sac.

I am predicting that within the first year of that arena being built, someone will have tagged the signs, and the homeless population will skyrocket with the influx of people there. The arena, will, in all honesty, increase revenue for the city; it will. However, with the team being so bad at playing basketball, I doubt that after the first season, we will see a sellout crowd. I’m only giving the team the first year because the city will, as it has thus far, cling to it’s team., but after they keep losing games because they get terrible players, and only one or two nationally televized games (they had one last year…one single nationally televized game) then, the fans will see that maybe spending two billion dollars on an arena (not to mention that the investors and owners are worth far more than that, and they could have paid for this and kept all revenue) and some hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the team, may not have been a good idea…but I doubt it.

Who knows, maybe sometime in the future, they will finally see that the Kings are not worth the trouble and they will let them go to another city. I hear that Seattle wants a new team…

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Horror movies

In Movies on May 16, 2014 at 12:39 AM

As a kid, I loved horror movies; I’d just eat em up, now, however, they seem to be tame. As I type this, i’m currently saddened by the fact that there are no good horror movies. I don’t mean the gory, bloody, slasher flicks like Friday the 13th, or A Nightmare on Elm Street. I mean a good, scary movie. Be it the Vincent Price and Alfred Hitchcock style of psychological scare, or even a creepy villain. The reason that Jason and Freddy are popular is because they where scary; maybe not to an adult, but they where to the teenaged girls who clung to their date’s arms in horror as they slashed their way through countless victims.

When I was a lad, we had SNICK’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” and, for a child of five, it was terrifying, yet, at the same time, Fox ran Tales from the Crypt on Saturday nights, another show that I watched and, oddly enough, wasn’t scared. Hell, i wanted the Crypt Keeper as a friend, for corn sake! Now, it seems that all the good ideas have been done so much that no one in Hollywood can produce anything original. Every movie that I have seen has the same elements: A hapless blond with giant tits who runs TOWARD danger, a stoner who can’t do anything but die, and an improbable location. Take, for instance, the Friday the 13th films. Every year, a bunch of teenagers (dumb ones, I should point out) go up to Camp Crystal Lake, have sex and smoke pot. Jason pops up around the first quarter of the film and…kills them. Granted, he does it in some pretty outrageous ways, like the pruning shears through this dude’s eyes right after he has sex with some hapless broad with giant tits. However, I did like the scene where a hapless couple is in a sleeping bag and he scoops them up and proceeds to bash them about in the sleeping bag, the way one might do if they are trying to kill a rodent. That was funny! In A Nightmare on Elm Street, naturally, Freddy can only kill you if you sleep, and of course you’ve got to sleep at some point, so…yeah. I do like the inventive ways he did you in. It’s been a while, but I seem to recall him putting his finger claw through the ear of a deaf kid because that was his fear, which, while terrible, was cool to see….

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the fact that Hollywood can’t seem to produce an original movie so they remake everything in sight. They did it with the Freddy and Jason movies. See, they can’t come up with a new killer, so they remake the two arguably most iconic killers in cinema history, and recreated them. In the remake of the Jason slasher flicks, they didn’t change much, aside from the killer. See, in the original FT13, Jason’s mother is the killer, and we don’t see him until the very end, but he was but a lad. In the new one, we see him as the killer. Yawn.
The remake of the Freddy films, I have yet to see, but have been noticing that there is no plans to continue the series yet.
Another point I’d like to make is if the movie is successful the first time, they tend to make sequel after sequel, thus tainting the story. See, the first Hellraiser was great. Then, the producers n Hollywood decided to make a sequel, and then it ended up being an eight film shitfest. Halloween was great…the first one, anyhow. After that, they never acted like they tried. Granted, Jamie Lee Curtis was typecast in horror flicks because of her scream, so James Cameron decided he had to make a sequel. It did great numbers, then the third installment came out and almost killed the franchise. Flash forward to the Rob Zombie film; they gave Michael Meyers a back story as to why he was a deranged killer. That movie, I actually liked; hell, I overpaid to see in the cinema!

When I first saw The Ring, it was a damn good horror movie! It was originally a Japanese film entitled “Ringu”. I enjoyed it immensely; made me feel like a child watching the horror movies for the first time. And, naturally, the Japanese made a sequel, and it was popular, so too, did the Americans did it also. In this one, the mom, played by the very beautiful Naomi Watts moves with her boy to a small town (in Seattle, if memory serves) and finds work as a news reporter. She discovers a death and is reporting on the crime scene when she decides to open to body bag…only to find the twisted face of a man who has met Samara (the girl from the video) and discovers that her work from the first movie was not complete. The second one wasn’t as good as the first, as is usually the case, but I liked it. Often times, there will crop up rumors of the film having a third and (probably not) final installment, since that is how it was in Japan. I am still currently waiting for that to happen, and would actually like to see it.
There has even been a “clone” of sorts with the genre. In the film “One Missed Call” (haven’t seen it, just trying to remember the trailer I saw) you get a call and then you die somehow? I guess the writers saw The Ring and jumped to the good parts?
The reason why The Ring was successful was because it was actually a scary film. The girl coming out of the TV, and killing you? That is the element that modern horror movies need; that scare factor. Nowadays, its all “Big slow guy with a weapon (usually a chainsaw) and a dumb broad meeting…” The chainsaw thing started with Leatherface and the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sadly, that movie suffered both fates; having sequels made and becoming a comedy film, and then being remade for the younger folks…Don’t think it’s a comedy? Watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 with the late Dennis Hopper…”I am the lord of the harvest” was the funniest line ever in cinema, and then they proceeded to follow up that gem with another series of sequels. One starred the Sawyer family in a chili cook-off; the father was disqualified when it was found out that his recipe had bones in it…somehow Leatherface gets a metal leg…one starred Rene Zellewager (or however you pronounce it) and Matthew McConehey (again, can’t spell it). The original film worked because it hadn’t been done before. The remakes where shit, but because they where made from my favorite horror movie, I had to see them. Again, they trashed it. Again, they gave too much story to the damn movie; who the hell watches a horror movie and thinks ‘Gee, this movie needs an origin story for this killer”!? I will say this about the movie, however: It was nice to see R. Lee Ermy in something other than a Drill Instructor. Aside from that, it was shit.

Now, as a man in his mid twenties, I have to point out that I still like a good scare. Recently, I discovered an internet phenomenon called “Creepypasta” . Now, when i say that I discovered it recently, I mean that i actually spent some time looking up these things. I was familiar with BEN Drowned and Jeff the Killer, but never actually bothered to read up on them. They’d creep up on the internet here and there, and I looked at the photos and wondered “What the fuck is wrong with Link?” I must admit that I read them at night and sometimes, they creep into the back of my mind. Sometimes, I’d hear a noise and jokingly wonder if it’s Jeff, or one of the other Creepypasta fellows, however one that grabbed me and didn’t let go was a story entitled “The Russian Sleep Experiment”. I won’t ruin for anyone who has yet to discover the story, but it did make me think twice about the government and the sleep studies I read about. Another that got me was the one sometimes called “Drip Drip Drip”. That one did give me a scare, solely because mama has a small dog…

In the world of Creepypasta, it’s not all scares, however. Some, like the “Lost Episodes” sets, are just plain weak. The story entitled “Squidward’s Suicide”, “Dead Bart”, “Mickey’s Suicide (or Suicide mouse)” are just asinine. In Dead Bart, it is supposed to be a haunted (aren’t they all) episode that Matt Groening created sometime in the first season, but it never aired and was destroyed, yet somehow a copy exists online. It is supposed to be booby-trapped with a virus but you can still burn the file to a disk (?) and watch it somehow. In the “lost episode” it had a scene where, at the episode’s climax, you could see all the guest stars (at this point in the series, they had none) from the future, and they all died on the same day. Now, that presents an issue for me. 1, how did Matt know who would be famous, or how did he know the show would be popular? 2, how did they all die on the same day? Did he plan some new reunion episode for the show? Total bullshit. The “haunted” video game series o Creepypasta, stories like BEN Drowned, Lost Silver (from Pokemon fame) are total shit, simply because if there is a problem with the game, like, for instance a glitch that allegedly makes the game haunted, why wouldn’t you just shut it off? In the Pokemon game, you are supposed to fight Red from the first series of Pokemon games. Eventually, you lose your arms and legs, and become a ghost…..right. There is another about Lavender Town, but at the time I’m posting this, I have yet to read it, or care enough about it to bother. But from what I read, it is supposed to make the player commit suicide. Again, I stress that I have not read it, so if I’m wrong, who cares, but if the suicide thing is true, it must be very slow, given that I’ve played, beaten, and replayed those games since I was ten, and have yet to commit suicide…
Jeff the Killer. While the photo is creepy, if you read, or watch the stories on YouTube, and apply the simple thing of logic, you will simply see that it is shit. See, in the story, he was bullied, and, according to the story on the official Creepypasta website, he was set on fire and “became a walking inferno” when he is doused with bleach and vodka. Now, this is where it gets to be fun. See, bleach is not flammable, and it would dilute the vodka. Now, lets pretend that he was set on fire. If he was, his clothes (the white hoodie and black slacks) would have burned and adhered to his skin. Supposing he survived that, his vocal chords would have been toasted and he couldn’t utter his trademark “Go to sleep”. Now there’s the matter of his smile. If he cut his mouth to have a smile like that of The Joker, he wouldn’t be able to talk at all without the sheer pain that comes with tearing your muscles. Why he cut his eyelids off is beyond me, something about him wanting to see his face all the time, was it? Then we get to his recovery…it was WAY to fast for a person who had his entire body burned…not to mention, his hair would have gone from a brown color to non-existent, as hair is the first thing to go ….
There is still the matter of my favorite Creepypasta, Laughing Jack. Now, admittedly, I am not a fan of clowns; not scared of them, just not a fan. I did, however enjoy this story, even if it has a few plot holes. Like, for instance, how he became “Laughing Jack”. What happened to him to make him a deranged clown who kills children?
Smile.dog, Smile.jpg or Smile Dog is another one that I like, warts and all. In it, there is supposed to be a “cursed” file of a demonic dog who is smiling (with a hand in the photo that has never been explained) and if you don’t “Spread the word” you will be haunted by his image every time you close your eyes until you do. In the story, a man wants to talk to a lady about it, but she has a change of heart and tells him to leave, only to email him some time later and share her story and the “cursed” file with him. He has a quandary; can he share the file with others and “Spread the word” as per the request? Yes, yes he can.
Getting back to Jeff the Killer for a moment. According to the internet, the photo is real, not real in the since that it is of a real killer, but of a photoshopped girl who was bullied, hid in her closet to kill herself. The photo was posted, mocked and photoshopped to become that of the meme of Jeff the Killer. I do not know if her committing suicide is true, but, it is the internet, after all.

Here’s hoping that Hollywood can make a decent movie again.

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