Monthly Archives: June 2010

Karate Kid…did we really need a remake?

Done properly, none can defense!

Was there really a reason to remake this movie other than Will and Jada Smith wanting to have a way to showcase their son’s Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking skills?  The first movie was about as perfect in it’s cheesieness as it could get and I don’t believe there could even be any room for improvement.  I mean really, is there a person over the age of 30 that can hear the following line and not be able to pretty much quote the entire thing from memory?

Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.

Lamar

Where is your javelin?

That first Karate Kid movie is such a classic.  The poor but charming outsider taking on the richer, meaner and cooler bullies and gaining a much needed father figure along the way.  Sure, Ponyboy had about as much athletic ability as my laptop.  And sure, Mr. Myagi was way believable taking on all those Kobra Kai skeletons at once without breaking his hip.  And sure, the biggest and baddest dojo in town..where they do not train to be merciful… has Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds as one of it’s students (which has always tripped me out a bit).  And sure, I wanted to kick Daniel-san’s ass about halfway through the movie for being a whiny little bitch…dude complained all the time and he was getting free karate lessons and a pretty bad ass ride out of the deal.  So you had to wax a few cars, paint a fence and a house and sand a freakin’ deck…buck up Mary…you got some cool shit out of the deal.  But all that aside…the movie is still a classic.

Jaden Smith

I pulled something just looking at this.

Seriously, weren’t the other 3 sequels bad enough.  One of those freakin’ movies had Hillary Swank as the Karate Kid for Christ’s sake.  Now we have the Midget Fresh Prince being the Karate Kid…in China?  And Jackie “Do you understand the words that are comin’ outta my mouf” Chan is Mr. Myagi?  Grrrrr…. China?  Shouldn’t that make this Kung-fu Kid at least?

And this Smith kid is only 11.  The original movie was all about beating the odds and getting the girl.  I really hope they don’t keep that with this movie…who wants to watch an 11 year old with a love interest?   I actually saw the kid on one of the morning shows today where they were talking about this movie being his first on-screen kiss.  Ewww. Besides Jesus Quintana (that creep can roll), does anyone else really want to see two 11 year olds making out?

Anyway… Since the movie is coming out today I thought I would share two Karate Kid themed videos.  First, one of my all time music videos that has pretty much the entire cast of the original movie in it…from No More Kings (If you haven’t seen this before…watch…if you have…watch it again..it never gets old):

Just loved the ending on that one.

And finally this little preview of a mockumentary about Ralph Macchio being all grown up and unable to shake the nice guy image.  Some of the funniest stuff I have seen in quite a while.

***Edit…since this video is no longer hosted on Youtube, you can click the link in the VodPod widget to the left or you can just click here to go see the video on Funny or Die.

Soooo…Happy Karate Kid Day!   GET HIM A BODY BAG!

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Stephen Strasburg. Ok, so he did live up to the hype…

strasburg

Kneebuckler

What a debut Stephen Strasburg had last night  in front of 40,000+ at Nationals Park.  I have to admit that I was a non-believer.  I really thought that with all the hype surrounding this kid and with his lightning quick tour of the minor leagues that he would be a disappointment last night.  I really thought that, even though he was facing the Pirates, he was going to get shelled.  Not much in this world actually does live up to its hype.

Strasburg has been the talk of the town lately and you really couldn’t talk to another sports fan without the subject of this young phenom coming up.  i promised myself that there was no way I was going to get invested in this guy before I saw him throw a single pitch to a player standing in a Major League batter’s box.  So over the last couple weeks I have been quite vocal to my friends and family about how I thought that Strasburg wouldn’t make it through 3 innings because the kid would be serving up beachballs that would be getting knocked all around the park.  The pressure and the nerves…there was no way that this 21 year old would be able to contain his emotions and get the ball over the plate with any consistency.  I was happy to be wrong.

The kid has an incredible arm.  The 4-seamer broke the three digit mark a couple times.   His breaking ball was buckling the knees of a few of the right handed hitters like they had never seen a curveball before.  And his offspeed pitch is just unfair when the hitter has just had his tower buzzed by the 97 mph cheese the pitch before.  I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the batter’s box facing this guy last night that is for sure.

14 Ks

14 Strikeouts

I started to become a believer at the end of the 2nd inning when 4 of the 6 recorded outs were already strikeouts.  I was definitely hooked and reeled in when he left the game with 14 strikeouts on 94 pitches (65 for strikes) after 7 innings.  The kid retired the last 10 straight batters and the last 7 were strikeouts.  Pretty amazing stuff right there.

To make it to “the show” is the dream of every little kid that has played little league baseball.  But to make it and set franchise records on your very first night in the league is beyond even the wild imaginings of those same kids.  He set a franchise record for strikeouts in a single game for the Nationals last night.  He was also just one off the MLB record for strikeouts by a pitcher in his debut and no one in the modern era has been close (the 15 strikeout record is held by two pitchers, Richard in ’71 and Spooner in ’54).

I think this kid is going to be something special for a very long time.  The only question I have rattling around in my brain is how long until he is playing for the Red Sox or Yankees?

photos by Mudflapdc

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An Afternoon of Finds, Frustration and Totally Unnecessary Fear

Hidden Pond

Hidden Pond

After the past weekend of 90+ degree days, thunderstorms and tornado warnings it was gorgeous today.  Too gorgeous to stay inside all day so I packed up a bag and headed out to a nearby park for some Geocaching.  I picked Hidden Pond today because there were just a few caches hidden around the park and because I hadn’t been there for over 10 years easily.

Hidden Pond is a pretty little park in Springfield, VA that has a pond (duh), some great little trails and a stream or two to follow along.  A great little park nestled in among all the suburban sprawl where you can spend an afternoon enjoying a fun little walk.  We used to go here all the time back in high school and I couldn’t help but think of the crazy stuff that used to go on back in that park when I was younger.

My purpose today was to hit up 3 of the caches in the park and then just bug out home.  I thought it would be relatively quick but, like with everything else in life, I hit a snag or two along the way.  The first snag came in the form of a deer crashing through the bushes and bounding in front of me.  The freakin’ thing landed about 5 feet in front of me on the path and scared the shit out of me.  Then the thing just stood behind a tree about 20 feet away and stared at me.  I stood there for a couple of seconds wondering if the thing was going to turn and attack.

Hidden Pond Deer

The Hellbeast

The first thing that came to mind was how embarrassing this was going to be if it did turn and attack.  First off, the dear was a doe and I was now acutely aware of the fact that I have zero knowledge of wildlife.  Are these seemingly docile creatures even known to attack anyone?  Shit, I just didn’t know.  I started thinking about all kinds of things…like how I didn’t tell anyone I was even coming out here today.  I also worried that if it did start bounding back toward me that I would turn and run…screaming like a little girl.  Should I just stand still?  Should I walk away?  Should I call out to it and see if it is friendly?  Yeah, all that was going through my mind in the span of about 2 seconds.

And the deer just stood there staring at me.

After just staring at each other for a couple more seconds I pulled out my camera and snapped a pic…maybe when someone found my body they could see the last thing I took a picture of and hunt that rabid Bambi down to exact vengeance.  As soon as the picture was snapped the deer bounded off deeper into the woods in a flash.  Apparently the sound of my camera was all it took to scare it off.

I am such a wuss.

But seriously, in my defense, I am a total indoor cat and nature freaks me out.

I know…i am just a wuss.

Turtles Sunbathing at Hidden Pond

After I stopped acting like a 7 year old girl I did actually get to those caches.  I only found 2 of the 3 I set out to find because the GPS was acting really squirrely.  It is really frustrating when you are pretty sure you are standing in the exact location of the cache and you still can’t find it.  It is even more frustrating when you look at the logs other people have posted on the website and the last person to find it…which just happened to be yesterday…was a mother and her 6 year old daughter.   As if the deer thing wasn’t enough of a blow to the ego.

But after searching the area over and over with no luck I just finally threw in the towel.  I hate to give up but I was getting no where fast.

Maybe, if I keep this up, I will get over my fear of the outdoors….but if you saw the way I flailed about when walking through that spiderweb today…that is probably just wishful thinking on my part.

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Heartless: The Story of the Tin Man

watching home alone

Watching Home Alone at Christmas of 2009

As I watch my nephews sit in front of the TV and watch the same DVD for the 100th time or the same Netflix Scooby-Doo episode for the 5th straight time…in a row…this morning I tend to wonder how I ever became fixated on certain movies or shows when I was a kid.  There were no DVDs, DVRs, or streaming movies…hell, there weren’t even VCRs yet.  Taking Star Wars as an example, I saw the original movie in the theater once when I was 6 years old and I don’t even remember when I saw it for the second time.  But I did know every character, every scene and every line from the movie.  I had every action figure, every vehicle and my life was pretty much Star Wars themed.  This obsession with Star Wars was without being to watch it over and over and without memorizing every scene by heart in the process.

I remember having comic books and records (Yes, records) about Star Wars that I would read and listen to over and over and I guess that is about the same thing.  But I can’t imagine my nephews getting to the same obsessive point about a particular story by just reading a comic or listening to a record.  I really do believe that they couldn’t get so wrapped up in Star Wars if they didn’t get to watch the movies over and over again.

Wizard of Oz was another of those obsessions when I was a kid.  Back then the movie was shown once a year on TV.  I remember that it was a big deal for my family as we would all be gathered around the TV to watch Dorothy and her brainless, heartless and gutless friends battle it out with the Wicked Witch.  There was no rewinding to watch a great scene over and over.  We just watched the movie from start to finish and then it was over until next year.  But I still loved that movie and I still know every word to every song.

I really do think it was the Wizard of Oz that started my love for fables and fairy tales.  I have always been in love with any kind of mythology and stories that build their own have always been some of my favorites.  Of course we all know that Tolkien created his own mythology.  Gaiman did it with his still unsurpassed Sandman series.  JJ Abrams did it with Lost.  Willingham is still doing it with his Fables series.  And Baum did it with his Oz stories.

It is the mark of a great story when you see if being retold or re-imagined over and over.  The Wizard is one of those stories that has been done countless times..some of them really good and some of them really, really bad (I am talking about you Sci-Fi channel and your stupid Tin Man).

The movie below is one of the good ones.  It is the back-story of the Tin Man and it is just about perfectly done.  The Tin Woodsman without a heart is a tale of sadness and lost love and is probably what has always drawn me to the poor guy.  This short film captures the essence of the Tin Man perfectly.  Oh…and I love his badass Steampunk look too.

Check it out.  I have already watched it a few times and I think I will watch it a few more…. I think my nephews and I aren’t that much different at all.

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Memorial Day Weekend: We Discover Geocaching

 

Pirate Deb

Pirate Deb

What did you all do over the Memorial Day weekend? Deb and I spent a portion of it looking for plastic containers, in the woods, using billion-dollar satellites; otherwise known as Geocaching. Knowing that Deb has always had a thing for pirates, searching for buried treasure just seemed like a great way to spend an afternoon. We had been meaning to get to this over the last couple of months but something always seemed to come up on the weekends and we just never had the chance to start. But this weekend we finally got to around to it.

For those that don’t know, Geocaching is basically a treasure hunting game where people from all over hide little treasures (or caches) just about anywhere and everywhere. You just log into the Geocaching website and find a few of the caches to get you on your way, grab a GPS and head out. Luckily, they have really good apps for just about every smartphone now so we just used the phone as our GPS and it worked really well. These caches can be hidden just about anywhere and there are usually a couple clues on the site to help you when you reach the coordinates on your GPS. We then just packed up a backpack with some water and other essentials for the day and headed out.

Log signing

Signing the log

The first cache that we found was literally a stones throw from Deb’s place. Unfortunately for us, I had no idea how to work the app on my phone when we started out so we walked about a mile in a big circle before I figured out how to use the GPS. When we realized where we were supposed to be I was a bit embarrassed. We headed to the small park where the GPS said I should have taken us initially and after just a few minutes of searching we found the small magnetic container hidden under a picnic table. We opened up the container and found a couple of small items and a logfile. We signed the log and carefully replaced the cache in it’s spot (making sure no one was watching) and headed out excited to have the first one under our belts.

Coin Trading Cache

Coin Trading Cache

We hit a few more of the spots during the day. One of the spots was a cache that was setup as a foreign coin trading cache. We found this one and Deb, having just returned from her business trip to Brazil, added a 25 Centavo coin to the collection. We took away a crappy little Canadian coin to make some room in the cache. I had to shoo away a couple of bratty little kids to make sure we could get to and then replace the cache without their noticing but we got in and out with no problems.

We didn’t always have great luck when we were searching though. We spent about an hour searching a small park over in Arlington for a cache that we are now pretty sure is no longer there. We searched under every rock and bush, up every tree and signpost and in every spot we could think of before just giving up. We were really glad this wasn’t the first stop we had on our circuit of Arlington or we might have just given up altogether.

debcoins

Deb at the Coin Trading cache

All in all though, this was really a fun day. A really cheap way to go out and have a lot of fun and get some good exercise along the way on a gorgeous day. We ended up exhausted and sweaty and our feet were pretty sore but we had a great time. We are planning to do a lot more over the weekends as we get further into summer. I think next week we are going to be hitting up Fountainhead Park and seeing how many caches we can find while enjoying a fun little hike through the woods.  So… if you are looking for a challenging way to spend a sunny day and want to get out and get a bit of exercise for both your body and your brain…you really should give Geocaching a try.  You never know, we might run into you on a trail out there somewhere in the area this summer.

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