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Written by mthoza

June 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm

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In The News: Paula Deen

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Written by mthoza

June 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm

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What I Learned From Man of Steel

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Man of Steel
Directed by Zach Snyder
Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams

My reviews usually contain spoilers

Here’s my general takeaway from the movie:

General Zod: I am a superior warrior, bred to fight, adapt to and defeat all enemies of Krypton. I exist only to protect my people and I am very good at it.

Man of Steel: I am a super human raised on a farm by regular folk and I had no idea who or what I was until about a week ago but I think I can beat you. *bonks Zod on the head, destroys entire city in process*

Humans: *standing in ruins of destroyed city* Yay the superhuman alien that likes us won. We love you superman.

I will be the first to admit that Superman is not my cup of tea. The whole idea of his invulnerability removes the interest for me. To me Superman stories are just cartoon arms races for little kids. Superman is invulnerable so the badguys have to keep one upping each other to challenge him. Eventually you have these characters fighting that are so powerful that entire planets are being tossed around like marbles and of course Superman is more powerful than any of them.

Man of Steel tries very hard to make the superman compelling. There’s lots of brooding and very serious speeches by the 2 father types. There’s the mother and the love interest. It’s very earnest.

I accepted the wandering emo super alien for most of the film until an inexplicable tornado kills his adoptive father.

Let me set the scene for you. The (I am guessing teenage) superman and his family get caught in traffic that is going to be swept away by a tornado. The superman gets his mother to safety but forgets the family dog. So, adoptive dad tells superhuman teenager to stay behind while he goes to rescue the dog. Ok, that’s plausible, I guess, maybe they didn’t know he was invulnerable yet. What ruined it for me was when dad realizes he is going to die and raises his hand in regal surrender to keep his son away.

Now I try not to talk during movies but at this point I turned to my friend and said “but he’s the goddamn superman.” Seriously, if superman can’t save his dad what’s the goddamned point?


The action is phenomenal. In fact the scenes with Zod’s female lieutenant taking out infantry are sublime. That’s how a superalien would kick ass, she gets to have all the fun. Even the fight at the end with supes bashing Zod around the city were slick. It was quite a bit better than Neo vs Agent Smith, it’s hard not to compare the two because they are similar for sure.

No review would be complete without mentioning the shaky cam. If no one warns you let me. Michael Bay ain’t got shit on Zach Snyder when it comes to camera movement. Even when earth papa and superkid are talking there’s an earthquake going on. I had to close my eyes during non dialogue scenes to save myself from motion sickness. What was the purpose of that Zach?

I must say this though, I would watch it again. I am a sucker for slick. Slick directing, slick action. The look and feel of the flick is my kind of world. It definitely has a touch of Nolan’s DC universe and personally that gives Man of Steel a leg up over the Avengers universe. Somehow, even with a invulnerable superalien running around, the world in Man of Steel is more real and grounded to me and that is the most important thing for superhero movies for me. I want them in my universe, I don’t want to have to visit their’s.

Written by mthoza

June 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Movies and Parental Units

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Type A: Abandon all hope. These parental units do away with movies and other social endeavors altogether. “Won’t someone think of the children?” is their primary concern.

Type B: Abandon all responsibility. These parents dump their progeny on the grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings. They return to social endeavors as if nothing even happened. “Kid? What kid? Oh yeah, I think they’re with their granddad.”

Type C: Abandon all courtesy. These parents drag their screaming offspring to whatever movie they want to see. “Take my 3 year old to see Blade? Sure, why the hell not? “

Written by mthoza

June 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

Posted in random, rant

Tagged with , , , , ,

Life Change

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Everyone always tells you that having a kid will change your life. Current fathers will give you that serious look and say something along the lines of “there goes your social life.”

This is something I’ve prepared for, my wife and I have had a good run, almost 13 years of childless freedom. We knew there were going to be changes, less discretionary time and money, what we did not expect was summer of 2013. We are pretty avid moviegoers and when there is something even remotely interesting to us we will usually take the opportunity to get out of the house. Luckily the local cineplex has $5 Monday shows so it’s not a bank breaking habit.

I will admit that the beginning of 2013 has been pretty sparse. We have not been that interested in many of the films being put out. We did go see A Good Day To Die Hard. We are suckers for Bruce Willis and seeing Jai Courtney outside of Spartacus (read: with a shirt on) was cool. We were vaguely interested in Jack the Giant Slayer but the trailers and reviews were so tepid we decided not to catch it. I very much wanted to see Stoker but it never came within a hundred miles of our little town. Olympus Has Fallen was one of the prime candidates for us but once again the trailers and reviews kept us away. We got to see To The Wonder at home via digital on demand and that was nice, usually Terrence Malick films don’t come to theaters around here. Oblivion was a good time, a return to old form for us, aside from the fact that my wife was 8.5mos pregnant and barely made it without having to run to the restroom.

So that brings us to May 3rd, the due date for our little one. The day Iron Man 3 was released. Well, that was just the beginning. In the following weeks there are far too many movies that my wife and I would normally find our way to. Let’s see…

  1. Iron Man 3
  2. The Great Gatsby
  3. Star Trek Into Darkness
  4. Epic
  5. After Earth
  6. Now You See Me
  7. Man of Steel
  8. Monsters University
  9. World War Z
  10. White House Down
  11. The Lone Ranger
  12. Despicable Me 2
  13. Pacific Rim
  14. R.I.P.D.
  15. The Wolverine
  16. 2 Guns
  17. Elysium
  18. Kick-Ass 2
  19. The World’s End

I imagine if my kid ever grows up and reads this she will point out how self-centered I was being when I wrote it. She will probably make some reference to some fault in her personality and blame it all on this. Well, if it was me that’s what I would do.

I can look at the list of movies I will miss and feel a pang of remorse. I am human and as part of being human I endeavor to do things I enjoy. Movies are one of the things that bring me great joy and having them taken away is hard. However, I don’t mind nearly as much as I thought I would.

It is true that my little one is still just a squirmy mindless little thing and won’t remember a thing about the next few months or years but I will. I will eventually see those films through streaming or renting and that’s okay. Perhaps a year ago or even 3 months ago it wouldn’t be okay. I’d stamp my foot and throw a little temper tantrum in my head because god forbid something make me miss my movies. I am quite insufferable. But this isn’t back then. It is now. I will sneak out and see what I can but that urgency isn’t there anymore. There are more important things for me to be doing now. I was afraid I would be that insufferable bastard about things like movies and free time. It was one of the reasons I was hesitant to have children. But now that she is here I find myself finally having to be a grown up. Mind you I don’t care for it much but does anyone really? Who doesn’t look back and think about how nice it was to be without responsibility?

I joke about this list to friends. I tease my childless coworker about how much he would hate having a kid. I do what was done to me but I do it not out of spite, no, I do it with my tongue in my cheek because I know, as all father’s do (or should), that there will always be [that thing I used to do] but that my little one will only be little right now.

“Just wait until you are old enough,” I say. “There is so much I want to show you.”

Written by mthoza

June 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Film, Life, The Kid

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Old Time Music

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When I was an early teen I was still deeply ensconced in the Seventh-Day Adventist church and as such my musical interests were limited to hymnals and the local Christian station, KCJH (now KYCC)

At the time there was sort of a blossoming of Contemporary Christian Music artists and I found myself drawn to these “hip” and “cool” performers. The particular church I was attending could be considered almost puritanical and so I was able to rebel, however innocently, from their indoctrination by listening to the paganistic beats of Carman and dc Talk. I could easily delve into a rant about how, by being so rigid and unbending, the church did far more pushing away than I did wandering away but that is for a different day.

Today I just wanted to express how awful that music was in an aural sense not in a moral sense. Through the magic of Google’s streaming music service I have recently gone back and listened to my favorite albums from that time.

Carman is the leading offender on all fronts. His stolen hooks and ripped from pop culture beats mutated into praise songs makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I instantly had fond memories of his songs upon hearing the familiar songs and could remember all the words and melodies. But sentimentality aside as I listen to those songs now the only thing I can hear is his tone deaf singing. The man’s voice is flat and uneven and just about every person who has ever gotten into the final 50 on American Idol could sing circles around him. Say what you will about Disney kids but they can all at least sing for real. As for his attempts at rapping, wow, just wow, I swear his song “Who’s In The House” is not a song so much as it is absurdist performance art along the likes of Yoko Ono. He also dabbles in reggae and country and 50’s rock’n’roll. It’s varied to say the least. In his song “America Again” he does a pretty good William Shatner spoken word album impression.

dc Talk, aside from co-opting some beats/melodies from Nirvana and other popular music acts from the time, is much much less offensive aurally than Carman. They were, as far as I can tell, real musicians and I can still enjoy most of their later stuff as decent if not good.

Audio Adrenaline were around at the same time and their bloOm album had a profound effect on me, meaning much more to me than anything Carman or dc Talk put out. Knowing that it came as no surprise that I still very much like that album.

I also looked up Ray Boltz. If you were vaguely aware of any sort of Christian music at that time you probably heard his “Thank You” or “The Anchor Holds.” I will say that the lyrics:

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

Still strike me as quite beautiful. It’s a sweet, fanciful dream being expressed as all good poetry should do. However, once again, the quality of the singer brings me to tears. He’s awful. I would do anything for Beyonce or Josh Groban or just about anybody else to re-record that song. Hell, even Train would probably do great with it.

It is all too apparent that these hacks, these Carmans and Ray Boltzs of the world only achieved a modicum of success because they wore the brand of Christianity. I have no doubt that if they were paraded out and judged in an American Idol format they would be dismissed and fade away. It is a pity that this is true but like any other business venture the supply is only created if there is a demand.

I wouldn’t change what I listened to back then. I understand the importance of that music as it helped mold me into who I am today. My musical tastes eventually evolved out and by the time I was 18 or so I was enjoying all sorts of music. Bush and Soundgarden, Live and Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine but I didn’t ever fully give up my younger tastes, I never let the “uncoolness” of it keep me away. So now, so many years later, I am unafraid to listen to whatever catches my ear. Lady Gaga and Kesha, Skrillex and Eminem, Demi Lovato and Regina Spector, Modestep and Puscifer, Dream Theater and Deep Forest, Bob Marley and Otis Taylor, on and on the list goes. Carman may not have been very good but he did try every type of music under the sun and is probably one of the reasons my tastes are so eclectic.

Back to that Audio Adrenaline album bloOm, for a very long time I would sign all my emails/online correspondence with the final line “and my life has gone bloOm.”

And if you ever interacted with me on the SDA Compuserve forums you know me as

the Contemporary Christian Teen (CCT)

I once was lost in a foaming, roaming, rabid sea
Then bloom’s blossom changed my outlook
Now I’ve been set free


Written by mthoza

June 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

A Close Shave

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I started shaving when I was about 16 or so. I was self-taught, no father around, so I bought my own razors, I started with one of those Gillette Mach3s and have been using them ever since. I believe they’re up to 5 blades now. Electric was never an option for me, the ease of use was tempting but they just don’t give a close enough shave for my preferences so I muddled through with the disposables.

Ah yes, the disposable razor blade business model.

  1. Make a product
  2. Make an attachment for said product
  3. Charge big $$$ for attachment
  4. Make attachment need replacing frequently
  5. Profit!

Since I was going to have a few weeks off due to the new baby I decided it might be a good time to finally get around to trying shaving with a “old fashioned” safety razor. I’ve read about it before and it has always sounded intriguing but it has also sounded like one of those things that was too much work for too little gain. 20 minutes to shave? Multiple passes? Are you kidding me? It takes me less than 3 minutes with my current setup why change? Also, how could something over a hundred years old be as good as something new and improved? I am the last person to think anything not benefiting from technology is better than something that is.

Still, I wanted to try it. I got myself a simple Merkur Razor and a badger brush. I did a little research and settled on Proraso shaving soap and a good styptic stick. Once I had all the items in hand came the next part of learning how to actually do the thing. I’ve read so many horror stories of knicks and cuts, of bathrooms left looking like scenes from the Saw movies, it was intimidating to say the least. Youtube to the rescue.

After watching the video I felt sufficiently skilled and attempted it myself. I am happy to say I didn’t cut myself once, no blood, no horror. They do call them safety razors, it can be easy to knick an earlobe or lip but with enough patience it’s completely avoidable. And the shave, oh the shave, is wonderful. Perhaps it’s a combination of the new shaving soap and exfoliating brush but it’s the closest, softest, least irritating shave I have ever had. I can’t imagine ever going back. The results are fantastic and even the process is unique. There’s a satisfaction in stealing away for those 15 minutes and shaving in the quiet time.

I recommend everyone try it at least once, I think you’ll find it worth it.

Written by mthoza

May 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm