Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Enjoy this silly song from Lemon Demon on the subject of Valentine's Day.

Or, if you'd prefer a more romantic love song:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Welcome Back, Old Friend

Image from: Wikipedia
When I was in college, I subscribed to Netflix. This was a world-changing program for me. It was the perfect program for a college kid--they deliver movies TO YOU, and you can keep them as long as you like with no late fees. I watched a ton of anime, obviously, because that's what you do when you're 19, but I also watched a bunch of obscure movies--taped performances of stage plays no longer in wide circulation, obscure straight-to-DVD or TV movies, etc. It was great.

When they split the program a few years back to just instant or just DVDs, my wife and I decided to drop the DVDs part. After all, it was going to double the price we were paying for our subscription, and we really only used the Instant service anyway.

If you read this blog regularly, you might recall that we recently cancelled our membership to MoviePass. It was one of my favorite programs ever because I love love love movies, and there's something about the theater going experience that's almost religious to me. It sounds weird, but theaters are like my cathedrals where I go to pay my respects. Except when goddamned teenagers come in and talk loudly and fuck around on their bright ass phones, but anyway.

The loss of MoviePass has been particularly painful because we can now no longer afford to see the newly released movies that so many people flock to the theaters to see. I haven't seen Frozen, or Her, or Wolf of Wall Street, or American Hustle, or 12 Years a Slave, or Nebraska, or Inside Llewyn Davis, or The Monuments Men. Or a thousand other movies that came out recently in theaters that I reaaaally wanted to see.

We could catch the really really big movies when they come to Redbox...but that would mean standing outside in the cold to pick out a movie. Every time I've used a Redbox, it's been kind of unpleasant. It's not like when we used to have video rental stores where we could go stand inside, wander the shelves, and rent a few movies. It's a much more limited selection, and I hate standing outside in the cold--or the super hot--to get my movie. And I have to repeat that experience to return the movies. And besides, Redbox is mostly full of shitty direct-to-DVD horror movies or shitty direct-to-DVD kids' movies.

After talking about it, we signed up for a free trial of Netflix DVD and Redbox to compare the two services. The Redbox membership free trial includes 4 free movie rentals and access to their streaming service. We checked the Redbox streaming service had mostly the same stuff that Netflix did, only less of it. We still haven't used the Redbox free rentals. Meanwhile, we've watched three movies with Netflix that we hadn't gotten around to seeing--The Perks of Being a Wallflower, In a World..., and The Master.

Instead of paying $60 a month to see movies in the theater, we will pay around $16 a month. I don't get the theater experience, but I can at least see the new releases in a relatively quick manner, and I don't have to worry about standing out in the cold to get it, or whether it'll be too obscure a movie for Redbox.

It's nice to be able to check the mail and find a movie sitting in your mailbox waiting on you. It feels like getting a present, which is nice.

God I love movies.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cooking, But Rarely

The wife and I have spent the weekend doing BIG IMPORTANT THINGS. These are things that we're very excited and nervous about and can't really talk about yet as they very well may not amount to anything. Still. Exciting. This is an exciting year.

In other news that I can talk about, however, in an attempt to get a better handle of this whole "be an adult and stop spending all of your money on shit you don't need to for god's sake get it together" thing, we have decided to dip our toe into this whole "cook once a month thing."

Whenever I watched TV growing up, I noticed that parents would say to their kids "there's a meal in the freezer, just follow the direction on the package."

And I would be thunderstruck by the awesome. But I never knew how to go about it.

Recently-ish, some friends had a baby. We went over to visit them, and they were cooking a whole bunch of shit to freeze so that, what with the whole "baby keeping them busy" thing, they could just pop something into the oven and have a quick meal that would be good to go. I liked this idea. This was an economical idea.

So, this weekend, we finally took the plunge and decided to buy the ingredients to make some food to freeze and prepare later. I spent four or five hours last night cooking, and three or four hours this morning. I decided to make jambalaya, lasagna, a double batch of chili (because, chili, duh), and a rice/chicken/bake/casserole thingy.

The idea being, we can pull one of these bad boys out of the freezer every now and then for the next few weeks to warm up for a meal. This should help us avoid being so tired that we don't want to cook.

Pictured, four bags of chili, two bags of jambalaya, and a lasagna, ready to go when needed.
Writing-wise, I haven't really done much. It's been a busy bit at work. I need to get back into the habit. No excuses. Reading Kameron Hurley's post has me examining my own habits regarding work, writing, and other things in life, and looking at ways to improve them. Because Tobias Buckell, Kameron Hurley, Chuck Wendig, and Myke Cole appear to be fucking cyborgs made of spare typewriter parts and programmed with the software cds from Merriam-Webster and Microsoft Word, and I know that I have really no excuses for my lack of writing lately.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman: 1967 - 2014

Photo from: Wikipedia
Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of those actors that I never had to worry about. He elevated every movie I ever saw him in. He basically stole every scene he was in. Some actors have one type of role they can play well. Hoffman was one of those rare actors that could transform on screen.

I rarely saw Hoffman, I saw Dustin "Dusty" Davis in Twister, I saw Brandt in The Big Lebowski, I saw Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire. He had great humor, but just as much gravitas to carry a scene.

We lost an American legend of an actor. James Poniewozik said it best in this tweet: "A lot of deaths feel sad. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s feels like a robbery."

Amen, brother.