Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Captain

In an effort to make some hay with the writing on this rag of a blog, beginning Monday, this blog will be devoted to the most important person on the hockey team: the captain.  Despite what you think, the captain doesn't always have to be the superstar.  In fact, you can look down the list of captains on very team (except the Minnesota Wild, and that will be explained when it's their time) and you will see that not all team captains are the leading scorers on the team.  You will also see that the team captain in hockey is one of the most coveted things to be called on a hockey team, as the responsibilities are substantial, both on and off the ice, as they are often the ones who communicate with the referees on the ice and are usually the ones the other players gravitate towards in the locker room.

What happens when a team is without a captain?  Well, that is what the Alternate captains are for:

The alternate captains don't have as much to do, and the responsibilities are usually split amongst two or three players, depending on how many wear the "A" on their jerseys.  Sometimes, a team will have only alternate captains, which will either be because the team hasn't appointed a captain or the captain is out due to injury or any other reason.  It is during those times that the alternate captains hold as much importance as the captain.  One such exception in the last 60 years?  Anytime Roberto Luongo was on the active roster.  You see, Luongo was the Vancouver Canucks captain from 2008-2010, and he was the goaltender.  Because goaltenders are not allowed to wear the captain's "C," the alternate captains on the Canucks had to be the liaison for the referees during games.  Much more will be duscussed when it comes time for the Canucks and their history of Captains.  And though it isn't hockey related, it is captain related, so it has to be here: it wouldn't be a Captain-themed month without including a "Captain My Captain" doughnut (featured with the Catpain Voodoo doughnut):

Friday, October 29, 2010

Winter Classic: 62 Days and Counting

The wait for this season's Winter Classic (Stateside version) is nearing two months exactly.  It should make a great late Christmas present for me to go along with the early Christmas present of seeing Agalloch twice two weekends before that.  Now, we know what the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals will wear for that game.

Pittsburgh's look for New Year's Day
As you can tell, the Penguins finally revealed their looks, and like the look of their Winter Classic in Buffalo, the Penguins went back to the baby blue retro look, though this time, the lighter blues are the secondary color to the navy blue that the Pens wore during their first years of existence.

Washington's look for New Year's Day
Washington's look is quite similar to what they wore during their first years as a franchise prior to 1995.  The jerseys are actually not too bad, but they likely should have thought out how to better fit the Captain and Alternate Captain designations better.  As you can tell, they have to battle the star motif for a spot on the jersey, which makes the jerseys look like a mess.

There's also going to be a Winter Classic in February for the folks in Canada, with Montreal and Calgary being the teams.  That will be covered as that Classic nears the date of February 20.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...A Comedy

Ever since I began this blog that you read (or don't read) on a weekly basis, much of the talk has been about hockey, horror movies, and just the love for metal music.  Today, I will take a small detour into some comedy, and today's movie is actually familiar territory for me, since Monty Python is considered a staple in anyone's laugh repertoire.

Life of Brian was one of the movies that the Monty Python troupe made and offers their take on the times in which the Romans and Jews were in a struggle for control.  If you know your religion studies at all (Christian or not), then you'll get what is going on.  The movie follows a guy named Brian, who spends his entire life being mistaken for the Messiah, as evidenced early on by the Three Wise Men visiting his place as a baby.  His place just happens to be next door to the real Messiah, which explains the Wise Men taking back the gifts.  Those who take their religion seriously need not apply here, since the movie skewers the idea quite a bit.

While Life of Brian isn't on the level of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the movie more than holds its own when it comes to laughs.  And no Monty Python movie would be complete without quotables and a memorable song:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Topics of the Week

In the past week, there have been two things that have dominated the NHL headlines:  Rick Rypien grabbing a Minnesota Wild fan on his way to the locker room and Ilya Kovalchuk being a healthy scratch for Saturday's game against the Sabres.  I went into fairly good length about the first topic, so the only thing to touch upon there is the length of the suspension.  I think the length is a little short, but a good track record and others testifying to his overall nature had something to do with that, so I can't place blame on the league for that.  Now, it's up to Rypien to prove that he has learned from his mistake, and apologizing for his actions is a good start.

Topic two is the healthy scratch of Kovalchuk.  Reportedly, this was the coach's decision because he missed a team meeting.  Now, supposedly, this was to send a message to the team, but given that the Devils got trounced 6-1, and even when Kovalchuk returned the next game against the Rangers, only to lose 3-1, there seems to be trouble in the Garden State.  It's too soon to tell, but given the Devils' penchant for turning over the coaching position almost as constantly as someone would change their underwear, it wouldn't be surprising if the Devils change coaches at the end of the year.  The Devils made their bed, now they have to lie in it for the next 15 years, and no one outside of New Jersey will feel sorry for them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doomed to Repeat Itself

Most of you know this jersey that you see above.  You will likely have seen a powder blue version floating around masquerading as the Colorado Avalanche third jersey.  However, since that jersey is still in use, there isn't a chance that I can induct it right now.  That doesn't mean the original version can't be talked about today, though.  This version was worn from the 2001-2002 season up to the 2006-2007 season, and like many of the third jerseys prior to 2008, was retired once the RBK Edge jerseys were introduced.

As you can tell, the Avalanche third jersey didn't exactly use up all of the imagination afforded to it, as the word "COLORADO" is in a diagonal patter on a burgundy background and the striping isn't all that inspiring, either.  The team's primary logo is on the shoulders of the jersey, and...well, that's about it, really.  Ugly?  No, but a really uninspired effort, one that is repeated today (for some reason).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Accept the Saxon-Head

Halloween is just around the corner, and movie watching has actually been down compared to the April movie marathon.  It also means that hockey season is in full swing and rubbing rabbit's feet that the Portland Trailblazers can stay healthy for a full season.  Today's movie is from the son of Mario Bava, Lamberto, and is his signature movie Demons.

The movie is about people who get an invitation from a mysterious figure (Michele Soavi, which means you should take a shot, as per the rules of the "Spot Michele Soavi" drinking game) for an unidentified movie in a theater that no one has heard about until that evening.  The central figures in the movie are two young girls who skip class to attend, and two guys who meet up with them at the theater.  If you have seen The Church at all, then you will know where it borrows much of its story from, as Demons soon sees the people in the theater looking to not get infected and turn into a demon.  The source: a mask that somehow causes a cut on the person's face who wears it, if only for a few seconds.  As for the movie within a movie, it further illustrates this point, as the events of the movie soon get replicated within the theater.  Survival and trying to stay uninfected are the ideas for the movie, and it works to a large degree.  Demons borrows from Cat O'Nine Tails (blind man has his assistant tell him what is going on in the movie) and Suspiria (the use of color in the movie) to great effect, and it figures, since Dario Argento had a hand in this movie.  The gore in this movie is great in quantity and quality, though there are instances of the "turning into one of them" where you wonder if they grow really bad boils.  The main characters aren't too annoying, and the state of panic is done well, as the feeling of being unable to escape, with the exits concreted and bricked off, turn the movie into one LSD-induced nightmare (not that I recommend doing that kind of thing).  Of particular interest is the usherette, who stands out just for sheer beauty.

The soundtrack is heavy metal laden, which sets a template for Opera, which was Argento's next movie, and fits in with some of the movie's best scenes.  Demons takes the best parts of some of Italian horror's best movies and makes it equally, if not better.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thoughts from the Rypien Incident

As many of you probably know by now, there was an altercation between Vancouver Canucks center Rick Rypien and a fan as he was leaving the ice during a game against the Minnesota Wild.  The NHL acted quickly and suspended him indefinitely, pending a hearing.

Here is the video for those who have no idea what I'm talking about (and if you haven't seen it, I'm quite frankly surprised, since this somehow made its way onto a Kansas City news broadcast):

Before I get into how I feel about the incident, I would like to acknowledge that I am a Canucks fan (you probably already knew that) and Rypien is one of my favorite players on the team.  That said, I am disappointed with his actions, grabbing the fan as he was leaving the area.  Looking at the footage, all the fan was really doing was clapping, and not even in a manner that would be considered provokable.  Do I think Rypien crossed a line?  Yes.  Also of note is the fact that Rypien didn't do much more than just grab the fan, which makes the fan's idea of considering legal action ridiculous.  The NHL was right to act quickly on the matter, since the Canucks were to play the following day and didn't want Rypien out on the ice before a definitive decision was reached.  Suspension (I would say 10 games would be okay, no more than 12) and a fine are all the actions that should be taken, and nothing more.  In addition, I would like to hear Rypien's side of the story (just to get an idea) and an apology to the fan would more than be sufficient on his end.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Tale of Hope

The gentleman you see to your left is Travis Roy.  On this day fifteen years ago, he realized his dream of playing hockey at a high level, only to see that dream dashed in eleven seconds.  The account, from the Travis Roy Foundation website:

Eleven seconds was all it took. Eleven seconds to stop cold a shining career scarcely before it had take off on the ice. Travis Roy was a promising 20-year-old hockey star. Then moments into his first collegiate game as a Boston University freshman, a freak accident drove Travis into the boards. A cracked fourth vertebra left him paralyzed from the neck down.

That account is scary enough just reading it, but to actually see the footage of that is even more cringe-inducing.  However, that accident only signaled the beginning for him, as he had to not only learn how to deal with being a quadriplegic, but also relying on others to do even a simple thing like scratching his nose.  Today, he is still in a wheelchair, but that doesn't stop him from painting pictures (using his mouth to guide the paintbrush) or giving motivational speeches.

One of a handful of greeting cards as painted by Roy
He has also written a book (with help, of course) called Eleven Seconds, which chronicles his story from the time of the accident and the road that he tread to regain some semblance of normalcy.  The Travis Roy Foundation was founded to help people that have had spinal cord injuries and to help fund research for a cure.  The money collected goes towards adaptive equipment for individuals with such injuries such as motorized wheelchairs, voice activated computers, and other things that will help.  If you would like to know more about the Foundation, go to the link here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Put a Sock in it!

When you think of well written autobiographies, one would not think too much of pro wrestlers as writing great books, nevermind autobiographies.  Now, would those same people be shocked by the fact that a few of those same wrestlers who write their own life stories make the New York Times best sellers list?  One of the very first people to invoke that question is Mick Foley, who came out with Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweat Socks.  As you can tell, this is in reference to the character he was playing in the WWF at the time, Mankind (pictured here).  This look into the blood, sweat, and tears that he has given up, both figuratively and literally, offers the reader a look into what goes into pro wrestling, and while it doesn't proclaim to be a sport, the price that is paid is almost as much as someone who plays a sport such as football or baseball.  The reader will laugh at some of Foley's stories, which showcase his sense of humor, and in many cases, like some of his trips to Japan, the reader will cringe at the details of some his matches.  Overall, the book is a rather lengthy read, but that is because Foley has a lot to say, which is more than what could be said about a few other reads.

So, how successful was Have a Nice Day?  Well, it opened new doors for Foley, which led to among other things, a children's story and a couple of other books, one of which also made the New York Time best sellers list in Foley is Good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time...Too Much Time to Kill

Many of you who read this rag (and even those who don't) know about Lucio Fulci and some of his works.  Movies such as The Beyond ("Stop using logic, it's a B-movie"), City of the Living Dead, and Zombie are all considered essential viewing.  However, like many directors, time wasn't very kind to him (Demonia, anyone?).  The biggest piece of evidence that supports this: House of Clocks.  Originally a television movie, it was actually never aired due to excessive (in quality) violence and somehow ended up on DVD.

The basic story of the movie: three people break into a house with the intent of robbing it.  Along the way, they shoot the occupants and soon after, things get complicated, as the house is full of clocks that mysteriously turn back time, which naturally causes problems for the trio.  The movie itself is one long, boring stretch that does very little to relieve that boredom.  As for violence, there isn't a whole heck of a lot, with the maid getting poked to death (don't ask) and the standard gunshots.  Truthfully, this movie was difficult to get through, and if you can get through the movie, you deserve a pat on the back.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Birth of the Blue and Green

Yesterday, I talked a bit about the Los Angeles Kings' first looks and brought up the Vancouver Canucks' first looks.  Well, what better way to segue into today's subject than the first looks of the Vancouver Canucks.  As you can tell by the jersey above, the stick in the rink was around, and if you're wondering where the team could have thought about those Flying V jerseys that would make their debut in the late 1970's, look no further than the jersey's sleeves and the "V" that runs down the sleeves.  Who knew that this would be a theme for the Canucks in their 40 years: weird and out there designs.  It also has its charms, which makes the revival today all the more remarkable.  Of course, this design will probably be only for this season, which like the 1970 design, is all too short for it to be out there.  Of course, many people thought the Flying V jerseys lasted too long, but the Canucks could at least, claim to have been to the Stanley Cup Finals in them, so whether you liked it or not, you had no choice but to look at them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lakers on Skates

I haven't done one of these in a while, and with the season underway, I figured that this would be a good time to do something with jerseys.  When the Vancouver Canucks broke out their alternate jerseys for their 40th anniversary on opening night Saturday, it was almost like a trip back in time, with the team honoring the 1970-71 team and a passing of the torch, so to speak, as Orland Kurtenbach, the team's first captain, handed Henrik Sedin his new jersey, complete with the captain's C, as he was named the team captain, replacing Roberto Luongo.  The Canucks weren't the only ones to break out their first looks: their opponents for that evening were the Los Angeles Kings, who were also the team's first opponents in their first game in the NHL 40 years ago.  The Kings broke out their purple and yellow jerseys that were the team's road jerseys in their early days.  The Kings' jerseys, in particular, could be mistaken for "Lakers on Skates," as both teams not only shared the same colors for a time, but also the same building, as they do now.  Yellow is normally considered a hideous color on any jersey, but there are instances where it actually works, and both Los Angeles teams pull this off well.

The Kings had this color scheme until 1988, when Wayne Gretzky was acquired.  Since then, they went from black and silver to black and purple, which in many ways, is a nice way to tie the past color schemes to create a good present day Kings jersey.  For one night at least, the Kings brought out the vintage looks and scored big time, as did the Canucks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thoughts from the Office

Today officially marks the second week of the still young NHL season, and already, some fates are being set in stone.  So, what did we learn?

The Buffalo Sabres will be out for blood against the Chicago Blackhawks, specifically Niklas Hjalmarsson.  The Sabres will get that opportunity on Saturday, when Hjalmarsson is slated to return from a two game suspension after his hit on Jason Pominville last meeting.  The Edmonton Oilers are off to a fast start, and while it won't last, the Oilers have something that they haven't had since the 2006 playoff run: hope. Yes, all eyes are on Taylor Hall, but don't be surprised if Jordan Eberle steals some of the spotlight.  It's going to be a long year for the New York Islanders.  Having already lost Kyle Okposo for six weeks and Mark Streit for the year, another superstar went down: John Tavares.  If there was ever a time for a team to earn some amnesty from the bad breaks, it is the Islanders.  The St. Louis Blues are 2-0 again this year, and with Jaroslav Halak in goal, it looks like the Blues will maintain the good times.  That doesn't mean they will make the playoffs with room to spare, though, as they don't have enough offense to do so.  The Tampa Bay Lightning look like a new team this year.  Management that is committed to the team makes all the difference, doesn't it?  Despite a 3-1 record, the Washington Capitals didn't convince me that they are worth the record.  Losing to Atlanta 4-2, and one goal victories over Ottawa and a starless Islanders team have me concerned, as the Capitals still don't have the secondary scoring necessary (read: second line center).  Maybe that gets resolved during the season, but until then, the questions will remain.  However, Michal Neuvirth has shown flashes of being the number one goalie.  When Semyon Varlamov comes back from injury, it will be interesting to see what happens there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Three Ring Circus Mall

Zombies have been (some of) the rage lately, with zombified novels and of course movies.  None of this would be possible without the work of one George A. Romero.  Whereas Night of the Living Dead started it all, it was his second zombie film Dawn of the Dead that established the parameters for how to deal with a zombie invasion and how zombies should act in a movie, that is, if zombies can get it through their nonexistent brains.

As with any Romero film, there is social commentary in the film, with the zombies gravitating towards a shopping mall in this film.  The main characters are a helicopter pilot, his girlfriend, and two soldiers, who escape a zombie invasion and find refuge in a mall.  For a while, the four fight off the zombies while trying to make some kind of living in the mall before the rigors of fighting off the zombies gets to one of them and he becomes one of them.  A biker gang disrupts the living, which naturally causes chaos within the mall.  Most of the gang becomes zombie food, and eventually, the surviving main characters have to flee the mall in the helicopter.

It was in this movie that the best way to deal with them is to shoot them in the head or sever the head from the rest of the body.  Also in the movie is some of the worst zombie makeup ever, which to be fair, wasn't established, since Romero was still trying to figure it out.  I never said this was a perfect zombie movie.  Even with the social commentary, there are some light-hearted moments such as the zombies trying to use the escalator and sometimes falling, and the biker gang trying to use practical jokes such as spritzer water and pies in the face of zombies.  I don't know about you, but pies in the face are good for baseball players, but zombies won't take too kindly to that sort of thing.

Yes, there was a remake of this movie, which I absolutely refuse to watch, and yes, the rules established in the movie have since, been broken (by Romero, no less, in Day of the Dead, which by the way, offers more social commentary and a reason for breaking the rules here, so he gets a pass here).  However, there are few zombie movies that are essential viewing like Dawn of the Dead.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Atargatis interview from 2006

To fill some space here and buy some time until I can think of something to write, today is recycled interview day, where an interview I did for either of the deceased publications gets posted.  Today is an interview from July 2006 with the German female-fronted metal band Atargatis and their vocalist Stephanie Luzie and was originally posted on Metal Coven.

Metal Coven: I think a good place to start is where did the name Atargatis come from and how does it fit with the music?

Luzie:  Well, Atargatis is the name of a Syrian goddess. It’s an allegory for the origin of life and ascension. We discover the legends that are told about the goddess and take it as a base for our concept, which is also applied on our new album Wasteland that tells about an everlasting cycle of life and rebirth as a kind of a new Genesis

MC:  Could you give a brief history of the band?

Luzie:  The main part of our band got together about eight years ago while playing concerts with our former bands.

We released three EP’s in the years 1999, 2002 and 2004 and with our new full-length album Wasteland, we’re able to present a complete and comprehensive example of our work.

MC:  Recently, a couple of members left the band. Could you explain the circumstances and who did you get to replace them?

Luzie:  Sadly, our former keyboard player Satyria and guitar player Sagoth left the band because of job-related reasons. They wouldn’t have been able to spend enough time on our music and decided to leave. So we’re able to present our new guitarist AZMO.

Our singer and bass player Lord Lornhold just couldn’t play on our new album Wasteland, but he’s still an important member of the band.

MC:  Most poeple who know about the band know you are also the vocalist in a band called Darkwell. With the going between Atargatis and Darkwell, has there been any conflicts in terms of touring or anything else related to either band?

Luzie:  There haven’t been any conflicts yet with the plans of Darkwell and Atargatis. It’s just important to organize concerts, rehearsals and songwriting well, so it works without any problem.

And playing in two bands means fun twice as big! ; )

MC:  For most people, Atargatis is a relatively unknown band outside of parts of Europe. If you could give a description of what your band sounds like to someone who hasn't heard of your band before, what would you say?

Luzie:  Our sound consists of classical elements and is based on catchy melodies by guitars and voice. You can describe our sound as a mixture of atmospheric keyboards and orchestral lines completed by powerful guitars. Groovy, as well as aggressive though mostly very melodic parts are followed by gentle, solemn passages and are thus interweaved to a mystical sound.

MC:  Wasteland is the first full-length album from the band. Can you explain how the record deal with Massacre Records came about?

Luzie:  We had been in conversation with several record labels and we chose Massacre Records because they fit exactly to our style of music. And the cooperation is very well!

It’s always important for your progression to get assistance so that you can work with combined energy

MC: Wasteland seems to be a concept album. If it is, could you elaborate on what concept is going on throughout the album?

Luzie: Indeed, our new album covers an interesting concept. Wasteland shows the development from a desolated and dried up earth at the end of our time, caused by mankind. The goddess Atargatis sends rain as a symbol for new existence to the earth. Afterwards nature spreads again and develops into a new “Garden of Eden” and this world is able to recover after the disastrous mistakes our species had made.

On the whole, the concept of Wasteland might be called a new history of creation – a second Genesis!

MC: On the album, vocals on two of the tracks are contributed by Stefan Hertrich of Darkseed. How did the arrangement come about and would you work with him in the future?

Luzie:  We know Darkseed very well and appreciate Stefan’s voice. So it was obvious to ask Stefan to take part on Wasteland as a guest singer and we are very content with the result. But live, we are still assisted by our singer Lord Lornhold.

MC: Has the band toured in support of Wasteland and what dates are there

Luzie: We are planning a tour in autumn and play several concerts in summer to promote our new album.

Upcoming shows:
28.07.06 Krefeld / Kulturfabrik (G)
08.09.06 Wörgl / Komma (A)
10.09.06 Leipzig / 2.Nocturnal Culture Night Festival (G)
16.09.06 Jettenbach / Castle (G)
30.12.06 Regensburg / Alte Mälzerei (G)

MC: I`ll wrap up the interview and say thanks for taking the time to answer the
questions and best of luck to the band.

Luzie:  Thanks a lot for your interesting questions,

Luzie and Atargatis

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do These Tights Make My Butt Look Big?

When looking through the books about wrestling, there is a common theme among many of them, which is that there is a major slant towards one of the spectrum, one way or the other.  This is especially true of wrestler autobiographies, and if you have read any of the WWE published wrestler autobiographies at all, you'll notice that some of them don't even bother to try and break kayfabe (fantasy, read: Hulk Hogan's autobiography).  And there are those that are complete and utter crap to the point where I won't even bother try to skim through (The Rock, and that one had little to no involvement from him, so calling that an autobiography would be a stretch).

There are exceptions, as Mick Foley has proven time and time again, with two autobiographies that became New York Times best sellers (Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, which will be reviewed in the near future, and Foley is Good) and a children's book that has Christmas in mind.  You can throw Chris Jericho onto the list of wrestlers turned successful authors (which is a very short list) and his autobiography A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex.  The book wasn't published by the WWE, which gives him some free reign when it comes to his sense of humor, which is evident in spades.  The book stops to the point of his WWF debut in 1999 (it was called that prior to 2002), which leaves an open door to the next ten years or so of his life.  The autobiography covers his journeys through Mexico, Germany, and Japan, among others, as he chases his dream of being a wrestler on the big stage of New York, otherwise known as the WWE.  Throughout the book, you will laugh at some of the things that happened while he was on the path to reaching his goals and you will also cry a little, too, with stories about his mother and some of his closest friends that he made while on the road.  Mostly though, putting down the book will be difficult to do, as it is one of the most compelling reads by a pro wrestler.  Jericho's journey is one that very few will EEEEEEEEE-ever take a-gain, and only Jericho could make such a journey entertaining and emotional at the same time.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Opening Night

Yesterday officially marked the opening of the 2010-2011 NHL season, and with that, came the first game of the season, which was played in Finland between Minnesota and Carolina.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't open a season between two teams that are unlikely to contend for a playoff spot this year.  The other games?  Three of the other four games featured some good rivalries, with Philadelphia spoiling the housewarming party for Pittsburgh, Toronto making Montreal fans scream at management for keeping Carey Price (it's going to be a long year for him, I'm afraid), and Chicago losing in OT to Colorado on their first step in the journey to defend their title.  And the Battle of Alberta went to Edmonton, with this goal being the highlight:

It's going to be a fun season, indeed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

General Random Thoughts

Even with this marathon of horror movies, sort of, many of them have already been written about, and last night was no exception.  So, today, in preparation for opening day of the NHL season (thank fuck!), there will be thoughts about the upcoming season and the movies seen so far this month.

Five questions for the upcoming season:

1. Can the Bruins forget about the choke job in the Conference Semi-finals?
2. Will the Capitals show up for the playoffs?
3. Can the Blackhawks overcome the losses of the offseason?
4. Who exactly is in goal for the Flyers?
5. Is this the year that the Canucks break through?

It has been five movies in six days, with the exception being Monday, which pointed towards the WWE.  Why pro wrestling over a movie?  Well, the idea of seeing the audience that paid to see a wrestling event (yes, there are people who still shell out money for this) be disappointed that their hero is now someone's bitch is actually quite appealing.  As for the actual movie nights: so far, it's been a mostly serious movie marathon, with Four Flies on Grey Velvet, a disturbing love and infidelity story in Possession, Do You Like Hitchcock?, and something to lighten the mood wrapped in existentialism in Cemetery Man.  Those four have provided some good fodder for creating a discussion group (if I'm not lazy to do it).  However, I decided to re-watch a really bad zombie movie in Hell of the Living Dead.  As bad as Troll 2 is, and I will get to that at some point this month, at least you could actually laugh at it.  Hell of the Living Dead offers no such laughs.  In fact, throughout the movie, I literally thought about just ripping the DVD out from the player and running a nail across the back of it.  Where to begin?  Well, despite the fact that three times in the movie, the advice of shooting the zombies in the head is mentioned, the leftovers from Dawn of the Dead still don't get it.  Then there's the protagonists, who should have been killed well before the ending, just so I wouldn't have to hear their constant idiocy.  And the movie felt like it was going on forever, when in reality, the time of the movie stated far less than that.  That movie was an exercise in sado-masochism, one which I hopefully won't try for another few months, lest I develop amnesia before then.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chicago Powerfest 2008

Time for a trip into the (not so) way back machine and May of 2008.  On the first of that month, I made may way with a few friends to the Chicago area for Chicago Powerfest.  The trip officially began shortly before 9 AM on Thursday, as the plan was to make this a road trip through part of the Midwest.  The first rest break happened just as we crossed into Iowa and the small town of Lamoni.  The drive through Iowa stunk, literally, as there were many instances of covering the nose, and other than that, there wasn't much to note there.  As we crossed into Illinois, one of the things that caught my eye was how high the Mississippi River was, as some poor sap likely would have had to get to his or her house by boat.  The closer we got to our destination, the more the traffic picked up.  We got to our destination of Mokena, which is just outside of Chicago, around 5 PM.  That was enough time to check into the hotel and grab some White Castle, and no, there was no Sack of Ten bought from there.  Since the White Castle and the venue were in walking distance from the hotel (literally across the street), it made things easier.  The first evening was the kick-off show, which was Pagan Fest with Tyr, Turisas, Ensiferum, and Eluveitie.  Rather than get into the review of the show, I will say that the evening was fun and didn't have much in the way of incidents.

Friday was kind of slow, with a lunch at Denny's across the street.  While one of the friends had the gold package that was part of the sponsorship, which meant a meet and greet with the band, everyone else got stuck in the hotel room watching Spongebob and old men talking about "horse sex."  The evening brought a bunch of unmemorable bands opening for Iced Earth and the return of Matt Barlow to vocals.  Before that, there were unruly people in the crowd and band members losing their cool.  When Iced Earth hit, there were sound problems.  Keep that in mind as I talk about Testament's set the next day (their set, not this piece).

Saturday was morning watching of house renovation shows and making fun of them.  Around noon, we actually got out of Mokena to head to Chicago in an effort to check out Kuma's Corner and Metal Haven Records.  The drive was pretty long, with the Chicago city traffic accounting for a good part of that.  First up was Kuma's Corner, which for the uninitiated, is a hamburger joint that has metal band names for sandwiches.  A word to the wise, weekends are generally the most packed, so a wait time of 30 minutes minimum should be expected if you do decide to head there one weekend.  After that was Metal Haven, which along with 2nd Avenue Records in Portland, OR, is a great place for metal music albums.  Both places happened to be not too far from Wrigley Field, which the closest we got was about a mile south.  We got back to the hotel about 6 PM, which meant a quick turnaround to the venue, and it also meant missing at least the opening band.  Overall, the Saturday set was considerably better, if only for the bands on the bill that evening.  Testament's set was delayed about 30 minutes for sound problems, but when they did hit the stage, the Pearl Room wasn't the same afterwards.

The next morning was time to go home, which meant an 11 AM leave time.  Instead of going back through Iowa, we decided to head through the St. Louis way, which meant nothing of note.  Fortunately, we didn't go through the St. Louis metro area, so that's one good thing.  We got into town about 8 PM, thus ending the weekend of metal in Chicagoland.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Voyeurism and You

It's no secret that Dario Argento has been called the Italain Alfred Hitchcock of horror.  Much of this is especially evident in his giallo films.  So, imagine the natural follow up when Argento made one in a series of movies that paid tribute to Hitchcock that was made exclusively for television.

Do You Like Hitchcock? is in many ways, Argento's take on the Hitchcock classic Rear Window, and begins with a young boy named Giulio, who follows a mysterious figure into the woods.  The figure runs into a house, where she meets her accomplice for some chicken slaughtering fun in the name of witchcraft.  They spot him and chase him away.  Fast forward to present day Torino, and Giulio is now a movie nerd who is still the same peeping tom that he was as a wee lad.  His spying eye goes across the street and the hot young woman (okay, show of hands, who wouldn't want to espy their hot young woman neighbor across the street?), who had been arguing with her mother.  Giulio just so happens to be a movie nerd of, wait for it, Alfred Hitchcock movies.  In fact, he makes references to some of his movies as certain scenes unfold.  When the neighbor's mother is murdered, the peeping tom in Giulio takes over, as does the obsession with Hitchcock, both of which infuriate his girlfriend.

The movie plays out as more of a tribute to Hitchcock, and it shows.  The visual splatter fest that usually dominates the Argento movies is absent, as there are really only two major deaths to speak of: the neighbor's mother and the creepy video store clerk.  Incidentally, one would have hoped for Giulio to bite the dust, as he fails as a protagonist in every way.  From his treatment of his girlfriend to the peeping tom syndrome, the Giulio character screams "stalker." and I don't mean the Barry Windham character that was on WWF television in the mid-90's.*  Overall, Do You Like Hitchcock? is decent for what it is, but it is far from a great movie.

* I always wanted to somehow incorporate a Wrestlecrap gimmick into a review, and I did it.  I can quit this blog now, but I won't.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


While I was doing the NHL season preview, a development happened that I managed to make into a contribution to the Hockey Blog in Canada.  If you haven't read it yet, you can find it here.  Now, the official obituary for the Buffalo "Buffaslug" was written around the time that the new Sabres jerseys were officially announced, so now, without any fear of inducting a current look, here is the Buffaslug.

Introduced in 2006, the jersey came on the heels of the team announcing that they would go back to the blue and gold.  When it came time to unveil the new look, it ended up being navy blue and gold and the logo, well, it looked like a demonic banana slug that had horns thrown on it.  The jersey itself was a mishmash of colors on the sleeves.  Now, for all of the detractors of the look, the jersey and logo made a lot of money.  For me personally, I didn't mind it too much, as I wear my Jason Pominville shirt with a sense of pride, and the logo was one of those guilty pleasures, just like the Islanders' fisherman logo of 1996.  However, the time for the old logo to be the Sabres' representative has come, and the Buffaslug can now rest in peace, knowing that it had a good four-year run, moneywise.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

More Things Missed...Non-Hockey Related

So, with a month devoted to hockey previews, there have been other things that I will have likely missed writing about, so to get you, who probably won't be reading this, and even if you do, it will probably be the equivalent of watching East Coast sports in that it will be predictable.

Well, the return trip to the Pacific Northwest is pretty much written now, as Agalloch announced their four show tour of the West Coast.  Weekend before Christmas, watch out because there will be dismemberment (or not) and many horrible jokes.  Since this is October, it's time to break out the horror movies, and since I reviewed a lot of what is in my collection, I might rehash some of those just for perspective from when they were talked about to the current view of it.  And I can finally stop thinking about wanting to punch the season of Summer in the face for a few months, now that Autumn has arrived.  Hoodie and hockey jersey weather, here I come.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Things Missed from the Preview...and Predictions

Now that the 30 teams have been covered in the 2010-2011 NHL season preview, there have been some things that have either been changed or missed along the way.  Since each piece was accurate at the time of the writing, the events that affected each team will have happened sometime after the writing, with the earlier teams obviously being affected the most.  So, to get you up to speed, here are some of the changes:

ANAHEIM DUCKS: Missed the addition of Andy Sutton, which gives the Ducks some of the defensive prowess lost when Francois Beauchemin and Chris Pronger left before last season.

ATLANTA THRASHERS: Dustin Byfuglien is now a defenseman, which should help the Thrashers' blue line.

BUFFALO SABRES: Went back to their old logo, with an updated look, as well as unveiled a new third jersey.  The unofficial obituary is posted on the Hockey Blog in Canada page, but an official eulogy will be posted here, as well as an induction of the Buffaslug into the "Weird" jersey collection.

CAROLINA HURRICANES: Named Tim Gleason and Brandon Sutter as alternate captains.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: Placed Cristobal Huet on waivers, meaning that he will be playing in Switzerland next season.

EDMONTON OILERS: Placed Sheldon Souray and Martin Gerber on waivers.  Expect Souray to be traded, since the New York Islanders may be looking at a defenseman (more on this later).

MINNESOTA WILD: Lost Josh Harding for the season due to injury.  If Nicklas Backstrom goes down, the Wild are really screwed.

MONTREAL CANADIENS: Named Brian Gionta the captain for this season.  No surprise, really, as he has experience in the big games, and it showed last playoff season.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Lost Kyle Okposo for 4-6 weeks and Mark Streit for possibly the season.  Do you think the Islanders are on the horn for Souray or Kevin Bieksa?

NEW YORK RANGERS: Placed Wade Redden on waivers.  What idiotic contract do you think they replace that with?

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Ian Laperriere and Michael Leighton are out for at least a month due to injury.  Great, just what the Flyers need, more injuries to their goaltenders.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: It looks like Nazem Kadri may be starting the season in the AHL.  Don't worry, he'll be in the NHL before long, if only because the Maple Leafs need a center.  The real worry is what effect the fans will have on him.

And now, the moment of truth: which two teams I think will make the Stanley Cup Finals.  Before I do announce the two teams, let's run down the teams that will likely fall short of the goal.  In the East, the Flyers will fall short for as long as their goaltending situation is unstable.  Then again, these are the Flyers, and anything can happen.  Just ask the Bruins.  Washington will still light up the scoreboard, but without a second line center and stability in goal, don't expect them to make the Conference finals.  Boston and Buffalo have goaltending to lean on, and that should serve them well.  However, both teams' mental toughness is in question, so counting on them to make a deep run would be foolish at this point.  The Lightning has the offense, but not the experience in the big games.  So, in the East, the representative will be Pittsburgh.  A better balance between offense and defense should really help here, and it doesn't hurt to have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, either.

In the West, the Blackhawks are the champions until they are unable to defend their title.  That may be before the Conference Finals, as a good part of their grit left this offseason, and questions of whether Marty Turco has anything left remain until he proves otherwise.  Phoenix and Los Angeles have good teams, but too much youth to really make that deep playoff run.  San Jose has all the tools, but until they actually make the Stanley Cup Finals, the whispers of the team's past will continue to haunt them come playoff time.  Last year, injuries derailed Detroit's chance of making it three in a row for the Finals.  And as much as Detroit should be in the Finals this year, what Jimmy Howard does will determine the Red Wings' fate.  That leaves Vancouver, and before you think of calling me a Homer, understand that Vancouver is the most balanced of all the teams.  Offensive firepower on the top two lines, a defense that offers as much offense as it does defense, and when it's on, a stellar goaltender.  If the stars align as they should, the Canucks will be the West's representative.

Stanley Cup Finals prediction: Vancouver beats Pittsburgh 4-3