Saturday, December 3, 2011

Top 5 Christmas Songs

I'm on record saying that I don't really like Christmas music. I'm going to revise the statement now so I hope all the members of the press have their little tape recorders ready. I like Christmas music, in small doses, only during December. Really, only during Christmas Tree decorating, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. And even then, there's only about 20 or 30 songs I like. I'll keep this short, here's my favorites. Leave me a comment with yours!

Top 5 Christmas Songs

1. The Pogues - Fairy Tale of New York

2. Bing Crosby/David Bowie - The Little Drummer Boy

3. The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)\

4. My Chemical Romance - All I Want For Christmas Is You 

I love the original too, but I love this cover 1000x more. 

5. Charles Brown - Please Come Home For Christmas

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top 5 Commuting Albums

When I first moved here, I was in love with idea of public transportation. As soon as it made sense (one year after living here, when we'd moved to a more transit friendly neighborhood), I sold my car. We were 100% reliant on the Chicago Transit Authority and I was still happy. Through chattering teeth while walking through snow to get to the grocery store I would say "See, this isn't so bad." It turns out, I could only keep that up for so long. I think I've reached my breaking point.

That's not to say I don't like the idea of public transportation. I think every major metropolitan area (I'm looking at you Detroit) should make it a #1 priority. It's good for the environment, more economical than car ownership, reduces drunk driving accidents (I don't know that there's a study on this last one, but it makes sense to me so just go with it), and helps those who may not have access to a car to get around. But when you've just spent 8 hours in front of a copy machine and all you want to do is put in your 30 minutes at the gym and get home, putting an hour on a train crammed full of people is the opposite of just what the doctor ordered. Incidentally, what would that be? Is there an opposite for doctor?

Needless to say, it can be grating. This person over here is not following the unwritten rules of the train and he's sitting on the outside seat during rush hour forcing people to endure the awkward situation of asking him to move, which most people would rather stand than endure. That guy over there is listening to house music, which is a crime in it's own right, but it's so god damn loud that I can hear it on the other side of the train. AND SOMEONE JUST STEPPED ON MY FOOT! There's precious little that can make this whole thing tolerable. The one thing I never ride a train without is my iPod. As long as I can stick something in my ears and stare out the window, it's going to be OK. A lot of times, I shuffle. But in the morning, on my way to work, I generally prefer to put a full album on so that I don't have to worry about doing any skipping around. With that, I present today's list.

Top 5 Commuting Albums

1. The Clash - London Calling

Favorite Track : Lost In the Supermarket

2. Material Issue - Destination Universe

Favorite Track : Ballad of a Lonely Man

3. Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

Favorite Track : Miracle Man

4. Rancid - And Out Come the Wolves

Favorite Track : Old Friend

5. Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

Favorite Track : The Waitress

So commuters, what are some of your favorites?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Top 5 Halloween Candies

I know, I know. It's almost 2 weeks after Halloween. But I live in an apartment building, so I don't see trick or treaters and I don't have any kids to take trick or treating. I didn't see my first piece of halloween candy this year until 4 days ago when someone in accounting brought in all of their leftovers. Some would say I went a little overboard on the first day, but if you space out the amount of candy I would have eaten in the average 2 weeks after Halloween, I was way below the line.

Allow me to begin by saying I have some of the best parents in the world. They are very supportive of me and are always there to help me to do the things that I want to do. That all being said, I’ve been wondering something lately. Does anyone out there think that having more restrictions on foods when you were a kid leads to an unhealthy adulthood? Anyone who would look at photos of me as a child would question the restrictive nature of my diet when my parents were paying for my food. Yes, I ate a lot of food that wasn’t that great for me, but I don’t think that’s really what made me fat. I was fat because I liked to play Mortal Kombat in my room while the other kids were pretending to be Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on Randy’s trampoline. I preferred to spend those few years of adolescence before getting my driver’s license burning incense, writing in my journal, and listening to Our Lady Peace while the others rode their bikes and got into trouble. I was an indoor kid. Cut to adulthood. I pay for my own cereal now and I find that I always choose the sugary stuff that my parents wouldn’t let me have over the corn flakes or cheerios (both of which I do enjoy.) My fiancĂ© and I always swing by the candy aisle when we grocery shop. We don’t always get something, but it’s rare that there isn’t at least a bag of pretzel M+M’s in our utility/menu/candy drawer. What I’m getting at is, I’ve developed quite a sweet tooth. I do pretty well at keeping it in check, but when it hits hard, it can’t be ignored.

Candy can fall into a lot of different categories for me. You could do a general candy list, a movie theatre candy list, a driving candy list, and a Halloween candy list. How I choose that something winds up in the Halloween. For now, since we’re still within an acceptable window, let’s go with Halloween candies.

What qualifies something as “Halloween” candy? I’m going to lay down the following qualifications.

1. Must be available in bite size
2. Must have been available when I was trick or treating age (up the age of 13 I think).
3. Should still be available today.

All that said, please leave some comments with your thoughts on my list and your own list. I’m trying real hard to keep writing in this at least 3-4 times a week and knowing that others are reading will definitely keep me driven. Here we go.

Top 5 Halloween Candies

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I’ve always loved peanut butter. I don’t eat it as much as I used to and I think it's because I burned myself out on it as a kid. However, Reese's has always been a staple in my candy eating career. I've always loved Peanut Butter Cups. When you dumped my candy bag into the communal candy bowl (which was great for me because it allowed me to dip into my brothers collection as well) you would find only wrappers for the Peanut Butter Cups. I would grab them out of the bag in between each house.

2. Whoppers

I think my love of Whoppers is genetically inherited from my father. Every year when we would go trick or treating, he would search our haul for the Whoppers and I think I just grew to love them as I became protective of them. Man, they are great. OH! AND DID YOU KNOW THERE'S A VERSION WITH REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER INSTEAD OF CHOCOLATE! They are so good, but don't come in Halloween sizes.

3. Dots

My teacher is second grade was the worst. She was mean, especially to me. A favorite story around the family table when reminiscing about childhood is the time when she said something hurtful to me in front of the class and I began to cry. Since I was wearing my cub scout uniform at the time, she saw a window to get a second jab in by saying "Oh class, look at the girl scout." I have to imagine the girl scouts in the class probably took offense, as they probably didn't want me in their ranks any more than the boy scouts did.

Anyway, she loved Dots. Her desk would be littered with boxes of them on her birthday and in a rare show of compassion towards her students, she would share. Despite the horrors of being her student, I really like Dots. However, unlike the previous two, I only eat Dots at Halloween. They are never a choice any other time.

4. Sixlets

I forgot all about these little guys until this week when I saw them in the bowl of candy. I noticed something odd about these little balls of candy coated chocolate. I think the candy that is used to coat them is also the same ingredients that are used to make gumballs because every time I emptied the entire tube (the only way to consume sixlets) into my mouth, I thought they might be little weird gumballs, but shortly after, my mouth was filled with chocolate. One of life's great surprises. 

5. Candy Corn

Look, there are some things that just can't be explained. I love candy corn and I don't know why. How dare you judge me?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top 5 Documentaries

So much time between blog entries. How does this happen? Well, usually, I have an idea for a blog and by the time I'm at a computer to write it, I've convinced myself that it just doesn't have the momentum. "I can't think of 5 *insert thing here* that I like enough to put on a top 5 list." It's this kind of self-judgement that's probably held me back a lot in life. Tonight, and hopefully for the foreseeable future, I'm just going to go for it. Some nights, I'm not going to have something to write about that relates to what's going on. On those nights, I go back to the original plan that I had set up for myself and go to the rainy day bin. My friends Dan and Alicia really helped me fill it up. However, I would love more ideas for top 5 lists that I could write. Anything you're interested in, leave it in a comment, and I'll make it a top 5 list at some point.

Anyhow, tonight I'm sitting here eating some dinner and watching a movie on Netflix Instant. That's where the inspiration for this post comes from. I'm watching Michael Moore's documentary "The Big One". For those who haven't seen it, it basically follows Michael on his book tour for his novel "Downsize This" and while in certain cities, dropping in on corporations that had laid off tons of employees while posting huge profits to try and get an explanation.

I love Michael Moore. Friends of mine will tell you about how I fell asleep in the middle of Bowling For Columbine, but listen, I was tired and there was a point where, like an 80 year old man, I could fall asleep in any movie theatre unless the movie was absolutely riveting. I used it as my rating system. "Hey, Tubbs. What did you think of Eight Crazy Nights?" "Fell asleep." "Hey, did you see Spiderman yet?" "Yep. I stayed awake the whole time too."

I also love documentaries in general. Netflix Instant is chock full of amazing documentaries and I've watched my share (probably yours too). Without further ado, I present my.....

Top 5 Documentaries

1. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Oh you haven't seen this movie yet? Well, get off of your computer and go watch it. I'll wait.

Oh good you're back. Wasn't that awesome!

But seriously, King of Kong follows school teacher Steve Wiebe, who after losing his job, decides that he's going to break the world record for Donkey Kong. And he does it! The movie does not end there of course. We go one to see the world of intrigue that is classic video game record breakers. There is, without question, no better film villain than Billy Mitchell. He truly belongs on my "Top 5 Film Villains" list, but I guess I didn't think of him at the time.

2. Jesus Camp

I've watched this movie four or five times now. You wouldn't think it to be terrifying, but it truly is.

Now, I'm a Christian. I don't think that religion itself is a bad thing. However, these people are CARAZY! They are brainwashing their kids. The true testament of the movies terror comes in my father's review. Now, my dad doesn't watch movies like this very often. He loves the Godfather. He loves the Jackass movies. He loves Dumb and Dumber. I don't think he's much of a documentary guy. After watching this movie with my brother, he called me and he said "You need to watch this movie. I had a nightmare last night that I was trying to rescue the kids from the camp while the woman who runs it chased me with a machete (that's not verbatim of course, but it was something to that effect).

Go watch it.

3. Monster Camp

This (like King of Kong) is one of those documentaries about quirky people who take something really seriously while the audience is essentially laughing at them. Granted, this doc, like many of it's type, portrays these people lovingly and teaches us that it takes different strokes to move the world. But you just can't help but laugh at the guy who pays his daughter her allowance in "in game gold" that she can use during their LARPing weekend. Oh yeah, I didn't mention that. This movie is about LIVE ACTION ROLE PLAYING!

4. Capitalism: A Love Story

Probably my favorite of the Michael Moore movies. Every single one of his films is terrifying to me, but I think this one is the most unsettling and relevant today. If you want to spend every day wondering if you're going to lose your job, you should watch this movie.

5. Inside Job

Kristen and I just watched this one of Halloween weekend. It was just as terrifying as any horror movie we could have watched and Kristen was close to heading down to the Occupy Chicago protests to lend her voice to the chorus. Then she said it was too cold. I'm just glad the sentiment was there.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Top 5 Movies I'm Excited For!

My love for Jim Henson's Muppet's has been no secret to readers of this blog. There was no question I was going to be seeing the new Muppet movie, but the new trailer that was released this week really sold the ticket. I love the idea that this movie supposes a world where all of the episodes of the Muppet Show, all of the movies, all of that stuff, is being performed by real Muppets and not puppets. It makes them real, but not in the way that all of the other movies made them real. It makes them "canon" for the real world. Does that make sense? No? I don't care.

Anyhow, I love going to the movies. I like 'em all. But I really do enjoy the fall and summer and all the big movies that come out. It got to a point this summer where I said to Kristen while reading an EW magazine "You know, we're going to have to see at least a movie a week to keep up with all the stuff I want to see." Of course, we didn't wind up doing that. We won't do it this fall or next summer either I'm sure. But still, there are so many movies I'm excited for on the horizon. Here's 5 of them!

Top 5 Movies I'm Excited For

1. The Avengers

I've wanted to see a Justice League movie since I was in high school. I don't think I'll ever see one, but seeing an Avengers movie is just as mind blowing to me. I have to give Marvel credit for setting it up the way they did too. It took long term commitment to make Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America movies that were successful on their own while still looking down the pike and knowing this was going to be a reality. It's going to be amazing!

2. The Muppets

This is the trailer that I mentioned at the top, the one that inspired this post. Tell me this isn't a brilliant concept for a Muppet movie. Plus, Jason Segel is on record as being a huge Muppet fan. I feel like he was a great choice to write and star in this movie. 

3. J. Edgar

I'm not all together sure why I want to see this movie. I don't have much connection to the subject matter or anything, but it just looks really good.

4. The Dark Knight Rises

Let's face it. As long as someone keeps making Batman movies, I'm going to keep seeing them...forever. But Chris Nolan's Batman films have been more than just "comic book movies". They are cinematic masterpieces.

5. The Hunger Games

These dark, dystopian YA novels took the world by storm a little while ago. I got into them in a big way. The books are so fun and fast and crazy. They are just the type of book where you finish reading it and say to yourself "That's going to be a great movie." I really hope that I'm right.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top 5 Simpsons Episodes

Top 5 Simpsons Episodes

We’ve heard it all before. The Simpsons are being threatened with cancellation because the actors want to be compensated fairly for their work. I use fair loosely however. Paying someone who works 3-4 hours a week 8 million dollars a year seems more than fair, however, when you consider the amount of money the show makes, one could say the actors deserve what they are asking and probably more. However, to those of us who make considerably less than that for a 40 hour work week, it seems more than prudent to tell Nancy Cartwright to shut her whiny mouth and just be grateful she has the job she has during her time before the mother ship comes to hurry her to L. Ron Hubbard’s side on Planet Glypfnoar.

I’ll pose another question to you. It’s one that’s hard for me to ask as someone who grew up with America’s favorite cartoon family. Is it time for us to just let the Simpsons go? For example, people know that I love Kevin Smith. Some may say I’m obsessed with the work of the director, podcaster, and raconteur. When he announced that his upcoming film “Hit Somebody” would be his final film and that he would be segueing into other media and new projects after his retirement, I did not join the throngs of Kevin Smith fans who begged him to reconsider. I applaud him. Go out while things are good. Don’t fizzle.

The Office is another perfect example. To preface, I’m currently enjoying Andy as the new boss. However, there was absolutely no reason to continue the show past Steve Carrel’s departure last season. Take a cue from your British forefathers. Do 2 great seasons and call it a day. Move on and do something else. Keep coming up with new ideas.
On the opposite side of the coin, I still think the Simpsons has been totally entertaining. Are they still the groundbreaking show that they were in the 90's? Not by a long shot. But it still makes me laugh. I feel like I would feel the void if there was no more Simpsons. It's kind of like the sun. Even if I'm not always enjoying the sun, I feel better knowing it's there.
Just in case it goes away, I thought I would reflect on my....

Top 5 Simpsons Episodes.

1. King Size Homer
2. Weekend at Burnsie's
3. Homer at the Bat
4. You Only Move Twice
5. Homer's Enemy

My apologies. For some reason I could not post any youtube videos. I encourage you to go and watch these episodes for yourself. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

5 Things I'm Excited to Share With My Kids

Friday night, Kristen and I went to see They Might Be Giants. In addition to the massive library of albums they've put out for general consumption, they've also put out 3 children's albums. They're grown up shows are not geared towards children, but they also do a lot of gigs that are all ages where they play the children's material and some more kid friendly stuff from their regular albums (Dr. Worm, Particle Man, etc.) I saw a few people who had brought little kids to the show, which is fine but I didn't think the venue was a great place for kids and the f-bomb was dropped a few times. Anyhow, I got to thinking about when I become a father.

 I'm not in any hurry to have kids, but a family is something I've always wanted to have. I think I'm really excited to be a dad and I think being a nerd has a lot to do with that. Most nerds are essentially big kids. We love video games, superheroes, cartoons, etc and I think this makes nerds really great parents. Patton Oswalt said that if you want to have a cool kid, you need to keep them away from everything you like. If I play my kids The Smiths and tell them how amazing The Blues Brothers is their rebellious attitude will kick in and they'll hate everything good. However, there are things I can't wait to introduce to my children. And with that, I present to you...

5 Things I'm Excited to Share With My Kids

1. They Might Be Giants

I think my kid's will really enjoy this song. Not as much as me I'm sure, but still.

2. The Muppets

Ever since I've been a little kid, I've loved the Muppets. They are timeless (puppets never age) and, like They Might Be Giants, just as entertain for children as they are for adults. I can't wait to sit my kids down and watch Muppet Show DVD's for hours on end. I've always loved this sketch (and I don't think I've posted it in any of my other blogs which mention the Muppets thus far.)

3. Airplane! and Airplane 2

I have such great memories of sitting around as a family watching classic comedies at my dad's suggestion. Granted, I'll wait until my kids are around 10 before we watch this movie, but I think the vulgarities are relatively tame by today's standards. I'm also of the belief that if you don't teach kids that curse words are bad, they will be less likely to use them. And now, in keeping with the style of this post, a video from Airplane 2.

4. Star Wars

My parents weren't nerds, no matter how many times I may have called them that in my moody preteen years. As far as I know (I never really asked) they never even saw Star Wars. However, all of my friends in high school were nerds, so I still got my exposure and I fell in love. My kids won't have the same experience. My kids are going to learn about a father's love for his children and the fact that it knows no boundry when they watch Darth Vader pitch the Emperor down the...uhm....what would you call it? Let's go with "space well", rather than watch his son, who has become his enemy, suffer. I can't decide if I'll ever tell them that the Prequels exist. They are already going to be my kids, they'll have enough disappointment to deal with as it is.

5. Batman

Do I really need a reason for this? Batman is awesome. End of story.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Top 5 Things I Just Couldn’t Stick With

I’ve started a lot of things. Some I enjoy. Some I just know I should do. For some reason, I just can’t seem to stick with things. I was really enjoying writing this blog and I was getting some great feedback on it, but for some reason, the allure of playing Dr. Mario on my computer while watching TV was enough to take me away from the 30 minutes that it would take me to write a daily list. Anyway, I’m really going to try to get back to it and stick with it. I may not go daily, but I’m going to make my best effort. I hope all 5 of you will keep me on task. Anyway, let’s get reflective today. I present to you my…..

Top 5 Things I Just Couldn’t Stick With

I like to write. I don’t think I’m exceptionally good at it and I get frustrated by constant writer’s block, but I still enjoy doing it when I do. I’ve tried to set goals for myself to write something every single day, hence the blogs. For some reason, I just don’t feel like I have anything to say most days, but then I remember that it’s all an exercise. I’m not getting paid to do this, but still, I strive for quality. I think it’s an ego thing that often prevents me from writing and that’s my cross to bear.

When I started college, I was good friends with a guy named Chris. He was the (at the time) sole employee of the comic book store that I shopped at. He was really interested in photography and got me interested enough that I took it as a college course. I got a nice camera as a graduation gift, learned to develop film and everything. After that class was over and I had no access to a darkroom, I just kind of quit. I got interested again, but the cost of a pro digital camera are such that I just haven’t been willing to make the investment. One day maybe.

Magic the Gathering
There was a time where it was cool to play Magic. At this time, I was in 6th grade and I got into it because all of my friends were into it. My freshman year of high school, it was not cool to play Magic anymore. My friends, however, were not “cool”. They still played regularly. I remember stopping by the locker of a guy I was friends with in grade school who had outcooled me when we got to high school and saying “Hey man, do you still have your Magic cards?” He kind of sneered at me and then said “Yeah, probably in my basement or something?” “Do you still want them?” I asked. Disgusted, he said “Christ no. I’ll bring them tomorrow.” The next day he brought me two giant boxes of random cards and I was able to join my new nerd friends. I drop and pick up Magic constantly. I haven’t played in about 6-7 months, but I imagine when I move back home Dale (one of the aforementioned nerd friends) and I will start going to Friday Night Magic again.

As in magic tricks. Can you guys believe a human female is actually going to marry me? I’ve been into magic since I was 7 or 8 and my parents took me to see David Copperfield as a 1st Communion gift. In 3rd grade, I did a magic show for the talent show. I repeated it in 4th grade, completely with magic dancing cane routine to the “Moondance” by Van Morrison. It’s an expensive hobby though and one I would pick up and drop based on finances. I love to go to a magic shop and pick up a new trick once and awhile, but it’s been about 3 years since I’ve popped in. The girl does love going though because the sales demonstrations basically amount to a free magic show. I never choose which trick to buy until I’ve seen at least 10-12.

Comic Books
Let me tell you guys something. When 2 of your best friends and 1 of your good friends comprise 75% of the staff of a comic book store, you spend a lot of your free time there. When you spend at least 2 hours a day at a comic book store, you keep picking up new books and checking them out. Now me, I’m a collector by nature. I wasn’t satisfied to just read the books and keep up with the stories. I would read the new Captain Marvel while hanging out and then after I had finished it, I’d buy it. It got to a point where I was spending 60-70 bucks a week on comics. I just had to stop. Now, I’m a responsible adult and DC Comics has set the clock back to zero on all of there story lines which allows me to jump in to some stories. I’ve been responsible though, setting a limit of 10 books to have pulled for me. That way, I ever go over 30-40 bucks a month. It’s satisfying to go to the same store every week (Alley Cats Comics on Clark for me), have the cashier know your name, know the cashier’s name, make a little small talk and then have him hand you your reserve books. Let’s see how long I stick with comics before things get out of hand and I have to stop again.

So we’re back kids. Here’s hoping I can keep it going. Let me hear you Internet! What have hobbies have you failed to keep up with? 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Top 5 Board Games

This one will be pretty quick. Kristen's parents have been staying with us this week. They came out for a surprise visit. Saturday morning we decided that Saturday night we would hang out at the apartment and play games as we had to get up at the crack to go to Kristen's race. We were telling them about Settlers of Catan, a board game we both love but could never bring ourselves to spend 40 bucks on. Kristen's mom sounded interested and she handed us $20 bucks and said "Here, we'll contribute if you guys want to buy the game." I bounded off to the Dice Dojo, my local gaming store, and picked up a copy.

We had a great time playing. Kristen won. I came in last place. I was kind of embarrassed.

There's not much in this world that I can do competitively. Board games are one thing that I am very good at. I love them. So it would be fitting to do this list. For your consideration my.....

Top 5 Board Games

1. Scattegories

I love Scattegories. It's one of the few word games I'm actually good at. It requires outside the box thinking, a quick mind, and allows one to be clever in giving and fighting for their answers as we see in the commercial where the harpie would say to her husband as he desperately tries to sleep "Are you wearing a frown? Then I can wear a smirk."

2. Tripoli

Tripoli holds sentimental value for me. Back when I was nine or ten, my Uncle Russ and Aunt Jen arrived for Thanksgiving toting this game. I have fond memories of sitting around the table for hours playing this card game that combines poker, hearts, and gin rummy. We never played for real money, but I bet it would've been interesting if we had. Perhaps now that we're all grown ups, I'll suggest it this Thanksgiving.

3. Settlers of Catan

The game that begat the post. The object is to use strategic building and trade combined with the roll of the die to gain brick, wood, wheat, sheep, and stone and build settlements, roads, and cities on the island of Catan. The object is to get ten points anyway you can. It's a great deal of fun and I love the aspect of someone being your ally one minute and then your enemy the next.

4. Risk

This is another one that brings back fond memories. I can recall Dale teaching me how to play RISK when we were in high school and told by our Catholic school teachers that Dungeons and Dragons was not appropriate to play at lunchtime. Instead, after we'd finished eating, Dale and I would retreat to the library where there was a RISK game. We had a game that lasted over a month, playing every day, because of our constant (and arbitrary) fighting over the territories of the fabled Canada's. RISK is a constant staple of my cellphone applications and has been for years. I love you, you glorious game of World Domination.

5. Munchkin

I don't get to play this game nearly as much as I would like to. It takes a special type of person to enjoy this game because you need a passing knowledge of nerd culture and role playing games despite this actually being a roleplaying game. Basically, this is a card game where you attempt to reach ten points by killing monsters and getting treasure. Your fellow players can help you to kill monsters in exchange for sharing your treasure and they can also make it more difficult to kill monsters in order to win. It's great to see how 3 people will team up to stop one person from winning (especially when that person is Dale).

I'd love to hear what you think should be on this list. As a board game fan, I'm always looking for new suggestions. I was telling Kristen, now that we have our own Settlers game, we can go to Board game night at the Dice Dojo, grab something we've never played, and give it a try. I'm hoping that happens again soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Top 5 Movie Villains

There's no avoiding a tie-in with Harry Potter on a night like tonight. I went through a list of topics that I wanted to touch on that would've tied in perfectly (top 5 Phenomenons I Tried To Avoid But Was Wrong About, Top 5 Movies Based on Books), but as I sat watching the flick, I couldn't stop thinking about something that Andy Kaufman (as played by Jim Carrey) said about his idea to be a bad guy wrestler. "Everybody loves a villain." It's definitely true for me.

When I was younger, my favorite wrestlers were The Undertaker and The Model Rick Martel. Both heels. My soft spot for Batman lies (almost) entirely in my love for the Rogues Gallery of villains that come with him. Count me in with everyone else, because I love me some villains. And so, without further ado my.....

Top 5 Movie Villains

1.The Joker

It was hard for me to choose which picture to use here. Do I go Jack Nicholson (the Joker from my youth)? Caeser Romero (The other Joker from my youth)? Nah, I had to go Heath Ledger. It's definitely the definitive Joker performance. Well, until the next guy comes along because, let's face it, every time someone plays the Joker in a movie, it basically blows the last performance out of the water.

I love the Joker because he's got no moral compass. That's what makes a great villain. He doesn't want power, money, or any of the other things that motivate people to evil. He just wants chaos. I love it.

2. Voldemort

Kristen and I were lucky enough to be able to visit "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" this past winter. We were able to cram our way into a gift shop. We were able to choose wands. She chose Dumbledore's. To me, there was no other choice. I got Voldemort's.

3. Jigsaw

Is it really even fair to call Jigsaw a villain? Sure, he's (at least partially) responsible for a lot of deaths, but if we're being honest, I'm behind his motives. He just wants to teach people to be thankful for the gift of life and stop taking everything for granted. Almost every survivor portrayed in those movies is so thankful that, at some point, he or she winds up working for Jigsaw.

I'm the guy who's watched and enjoyed all 7 Saw movies. Granted, the first one is the only won that is truly great. But they are all entertaining as hell and one day I'm going to sit down for a marathon.

4. Hannibal Lecter

Sleek, sophisticated, quick with a joke, and he eats human flesh. Hannibal Lecter is the total package of villaindom.

Fun fact: While being the most notable character in the entire film, Hannibal Lecter is only on screen a little more than 20 minutes in the whole film.

5. Garland "The Marietta Mangler" Greene

If you've been looking for that guy who truly, honestly loves the movie Con-Air, look no further. I love a quiet, unsettling creepy killer. Again, Garland is not the central villain in the movie (Honorable mention to Cyrus the Virus), but I love when Greene talks about driving through 5 states wearing his victims head as a hat. Beyond that, there's no more chilling line in this film than, while having a tea party with a 6 year old, Greene says "I am sick. There is no cure for what I have." That girl's so lucky she's still alive.

Alright internet, now's the time. Who's missing from this list?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top 5 Candies

I promised an adoring reader that I would try to write every day for 30 days. I think it's only fair after neglecting this blog for nigh on 3 weeks now. My apologies to my legions of fans. I hope I haven't disappointed the 6 of you too much. Anyway, here we go.

Sometimes I have really fond memories of things that turn out to not be quite as accurate in reality. Yesterday I stopped at Walgreen's before work to get some stuff for my snack drawer and as I was wandering around, I saw in the candy aisle a treat that I seemed to remember loving. Gum drops. Right below the gum drops....spice drops. Something in my head, probably that dick part of my brain that just likes to screw with me, was like "Aw man, you used to love gum drops and spice drops. Go ahead baby, have a little taste." Not being one to beg of peer pressure, I bought a bag of each and got real excited about popping some gum/spice drops in my mouth. Well let me tell you, gum drops were, at best, OK and spice drops....there just aren't words for my disappointment.

But we musn't dwell. Let's just move past this and focus on the good. With that I present to you my.....


1. Reese's Pieces

Reese's Pieces are my go to candy at the movies. I love to take a few kernels of popcorn and a few of these little guys and pop the whole thing in my mouth to have a little flavor party. They also take me back to a fond memory from about 7-8 years ago. It was Thanksgiving and all of my Milam cousins and I were sitting around the table after dinner and we got into one of the most glorious debates in history. One cousin (which one I can't recall) would says REE-SEEZ when talking about the peanut butter cup but say REE-SIZ when talking about the pieces. We had a great time debating whether or not it was acceptable to pronounce the company name two different ways when talking about two different products. I can't remember what kind of treaty we came to in the end.

2. 5th Avenue

So you're about to buy a Butterfinger huh? Did the store just not have Fifth Avenue? I refer to them as the "rich man's" Butterfinger, but in reality, they cost the same. The next time you're looking for a peanut butterey, chocolatey, crunchy treat, you should treat yourself to a Fifth Avenue instead of wasting your time with a Butterfinger or....I can barely say it.....Clark Bar.

3. Pretzel M+M's

This is kind of a new choice for me. Not really a "classic" if you will. I used to be a big fan of the Peanut Butter M+M. If you haven't noticed a trend in the previous two, I love me some peanut butter based candy. Coming in a close second for flavor profiles, salty/sweet. When the Pretzel M+M showed up on my mom's counter while I was visiting one weekend, I whooped for joy. These guys are not only great, but they are lower in fat than any other M+M. Thanks for looking out for me M+M's.

4. Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

I went back and for in my head about whether or not this counts as candy. This being the internet, I'm sure some guy will leave a comment like "Argg. Thatz not candi bro. ePiC fAiL!!!!" I don't care though. Chocolate covered potato chips are a big winner for me. Welcome to the list fella's.

5. Mo's Bacon Bar

This is kind of a special treat for me because that little bar of chocolate, no bigger than your average Hershey bar, is 7 GODDAMNED DOLLARS!!!!! Of course, it's Chicago. It's from a boutique choclatier. It's all fancy and it is really tasty. You're looking at dark chocolate with sea salt and bits of applewood smoked bacon in it. The idea to some people of bacon in chocolate is g-ross, but I'm telling you, give it a try and you won't be sorry. Even if you don't like it, you can say you've had an adventure.

So as always, let's here your picks for favorite candy. God willing, I'll be back tomorrow with another list.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top 5 Snacks

I’m at work at the time I'm writing this and usually, I don’t snack a whole lot at work. I try to alternate between water and coffee to keep something in my mouth and maybe eat a piece of fruit or a few licorice twists (which I’ve just recently fallen in love with) if I have it and am getting hungry. It’s odd to say but in general, I’m not much of a snacker for an overwieght person. You know me, bucking stereotypes left and right.

There is a clarification to be made. I should say that I’m not much of an active snacker. I don’t normally go out of my way to get a snack or have a snack. However, if I’m at a person’s house and snacks are out, I tend to snack alot. If I’m having a party and I put out snacks, I tend to hover around them. Good thing I don’t have a lot of parties.

The place I do the most snacking is on trips. On the train or bus home to Detroit, I’m almost non-stop eating. I’ll buy some chips or candy or something, try to stick a piece of fruit in there, and then also buy some sort of entree for the beginning of the ride. It probably comes from having nothing else to do except watch movies and eat. Again, lucky I don’t travel alot.

Now that I’ve made those disclaimers, I’m currently snacking. I had a feeling today was going to be an “I’ll need a snack” kind of day. I went with one of my absolute favorites , the number one on my …

Top 5 Snacks

1. Sesame Sticks

I’m not all together sure what these guys are, but man are they delicious. I’m looking at the ingredients on the little bag I got at Walgreens and apparently it’s simply wheat flour, sesame seeds, and salt. Simple, saltly, crunchy, and delicious. I’ve had them in different flavors like roasted pepper and honey roasted and I enjoy both, but nothing can top the original.

2. Popcorn

I love popcorn. I love movie theatre popcorn to a point where if I’ve made plans to go see a movie, I get just as excited about having popcorn. If those plans are later cancelled, that craving for popcorn will stick with me until slated. However, I also love cheddar popcorn. I had some amazing popcorn at a Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago from a place called Mother Butter’s. Later on, when going o a Tigers v. White Sox game, I took Kristen to their store front to sample their wares. Standout flavors for me included Bananas Foster and (one of the ones I bought) East Meets West White Cheddar, which was White Cheddar Popcorn seasoned with Indian Curry spices. There’s rarely, if ever, a time I don’t want popcorn.

3. Tortilla Chips and Hummus

I owe my beautiful bride to be for this one. I’ve liked hummus ever since I was first convinced to try it. I’ve always been a picky eater, but a few years ago, I decided to at least try some new stuff and hummus was on that list. Being close minded thought, I thought pita chips was the only thing that could possibly go with hummus. It was only a month or so ago that my lady suggested good tortillia chips as a vessel for hummus. Apparently, this is how she always eats it. My mind was blown some poor snack was blasted off of the top 5 snacks list.

4. Graham Crackers with milk

I’ve got to have the milk. It’s a requirement. I like to take the graham crackers, dunk it have way in the milk, count to 15 (so that it gets really soggy) and then eat it. I’ve tried eating them dry and it’s just not the same. Have you guys figured out how particular I can be yet?

5. Better Made Cheese Puffs

There’s a weird thing that happens to the Better Made Cheese Puff which I can’t explain. Most of the puffs are dry, like your average puffed cheese snack. Tasty and wonderful, but nothing that blows your mind. But what’s strange is the bottom of the bag. This is going to sound gross, but I promise it’s not. The bottom third of the bag is extra cheesy. As you get further down, the cheese puffs are almost damp. In my head, I get grossed out thinking that it’s just grease. But whenever I get my hands on Better Made Cheese Puffs (Better Made is a brand local to Detroit and their cheese puff is not produced at such a high volume as they used to. In fact, you have to get the giant bag, cause they don’t make a smaller snack size, from what I can tell when I’m home. Correct me if I’m wrong Detroiters), I’m always looking forward to the bottom third of the bag.