Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reading Dip

As far as number-of-books-read-per-year goes, 2009 was a bust. In 2008 I read 24 books. 29 in 2006, and 27 in 2005. I only read nine books last year. Nine? If you know me, that's unacceptable. I blame Mario Kart, Seasons 1-5 of Saturday Night Live on DVD, and the fact that I doodled more in the past year than all previous years combined.

So it's not like I wasn't doing something, I just wasn't doing a lot of reading. I'll try to make up for it this year. I'm almost finished with my third book of 2010, but it came with a price: my doodling numbers have plummeted.


Friday, January 29, 2010

The Facts of Amish Life

Yesterday when Sarah and I got home, there were five Amish girls coming out of our apartment building. My first honest reaction was, "Oh, we're at the wrong address." Four of the girls looked to be in their 20s and they were accompanied by an older heavyset lady with a friendly smile.

One of the girls was having trouble locking the front door as we approached.

"Don't worry about it, we're going in, we'll get it," Sarah said. The Amish girl smiled. "Are you guys moving in?" Sarah sounded hopeful.

"No," the girl smiled, they just hired us to clean upstairs.

My first thought was, "Wow, our upstairs neighbors are really lazy."

My second thought was, "How amazing would that have been if they were moving upstairs. That would have been comedy gold. It would be like living below the Amish version of The Facts of Life."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Avatar: Congrats?

Recently Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time.


Is it really that amazing? Or is it just because of the 3D aspect and the higher ticket-price to see it in 3D that jacked up the final dollar count? Is the movie itself that much better than every other sci-fi film that comes down the pike?

I don't know, even with all the hype about the amazing 3D technology and how beautiful the film is and how James Cameron is the world's most unrecognized genius, I still walked away asking myself what the hoopla was all about.
I guess it's cool to look at for the first 20 minutes until you realize you're not really looking at anything. Kinda like Katy Perry in a diamond-studded dress. At first you're like "Oooh, sparkly" and then you realize "Wow, besides that, there really isn't anything there."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The New iPad!

Possible advertising slogans:

"iPad. Because you bought the iPhone on the first day, too. Sucker."

"Why pay less for a PC when you can pay more for what we market as being cooler?"

"Impress your friends. For about 10 minutes."

"iPad. From Apple. Do we know how to get you to pay to overcompensate for something else, or what?"

"Because a nerd with expensive toys is just a nerd with expensive toys.
But mostly just a nerd."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Top 10 Movies of 2009...and Then Some (Keith Soljacich Edition)

It's my pleasure again to send out my top 10 movies and more!  Take a read and let me know what you think... am I crazy, am I nuts, am I right?  Remember, enjoyment of movies is subjective and personal.  What I liked, you may not.  What you liked, I may not.  It's a free country bub and I love movies.

My Top 10 of 2009
1. Avatar - Marvelous.  One of the 3 best cinema experiences of my life.  I'll bet you a billion dollars 3D is the future of movies now.  Cameron would probably double-down.
2. District 9 - A director who absolutely owned his flick
3. Inglorious Basterds - I'm a sucker for Quentin, but so were a lot of other people
4. Star Trek - A solid solid solid action/sci-fi movie, and the second Trek movie I've seen (I saw the whale one when it came out, hence).  Just goes to show why JJ should have directed the prequels.
5. The Hurt Locker - Have you seen this?  You will.  Intense is an understatement.
6. The Hangover - Hysterical, funniest movie of the year.
7. Watchmen - Don't get me wrong and excellent movie but was missing that "thing"
8. Invictus - Morgan Freeman as Mandela.  I think this was Eastwood's middle finger to Spike Lee
9. The Messenger - Emotional roller-coaster ride of the year.  Tough movie to watch, but unforgettable
10. Gentlemen Broncos - I was one of 3 people in the theater laughing.  It's a cupcake for nerds.

My Predicted Top 10 From January 2008 and my comments at the time (comments now)
1. Watchmen - Unbelievable this is coming out, will be fantastic (Damn good but not #1)
2. Avatar - James Cameron is back, filmed in IMAX 3D (Wish I had placed this awesome)
3. Inglorious Basterds - New Tarantino (Yup - BADASS)
4. Observe & Report - Trust me (Pretty good but overall a disappointment)
6. Funny People - New Apatow flick with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen about stand-up comedians (Ditto)
6. Wolverine - Looks good bub (Uck, this was a HUGE letdown)
7. Bruno - New Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) movie, completes the Ali G trifecta (Damn funny, but not Top 10 material)
8. Terminator Salvation - John Conner+Christian Bale=Badass (Really good, I like it but not Top 10)
9. Public Enemies - Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, Michael Mann, filmed in Chicago, all good (Big Letdown... I was bored)
10. Shutter Island - New Scorcese flick takes place on an island that houses a prison for the insane (Didn't come out in 2009 so doesn't count)

Movies I Wish I Had Seen:
Where The Wild Things Are
Up In The Air
The Road
The Lovely Bones
Ninja Assasin
Mystery Team

Movies I Will Never See (Ever):
Did You Hear About The Morgans?
Whip It
Taking of Pelham 123
The Soloist

My Top TV Series in 2009
1. LOST - Until it ends
2. Curb Your Enthusiasm - Danny Dooberstein!
3. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - 2009 was the year I finally gave in and I'm glad
4. Mad Men - Sit Down, Shut The Door best episode of TV this year
5. Eastbound & Down - So consistently funny
6. 30 Rock
7. The Office
8. Breaking Bad
9. Chuck
10. Fringe

Top 10 Movies To Look For in 2010

1. Iron Man 2 - WAR MACHINE
2. Kick Ass - Haven't heard of it?  You will.
3. Slammin Salmon - New one from the Super Troopers gang.  I'm a sucker for comedy.
4. Shutter Island - New Scorcese, been on hold for a bit
5. Alice in Wonderland (IMAX 3D) - Sure
6. MacGruber - The movie's in good hands and anyone who's seen Will Forte on anything but SNL knows he's a loon
7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - In the capable hands of Edgar Wright.  Might be the geekiest movie ever made
8. Predators - Sold
9. Inception - New Chris Nolan (Dark Knight) movie
10. Toy Story 3D - I'm a sucker for 3D
1,248. Twilight: The Turd One - Will they or won't they?  Who cares!

Am I Crazy?  2011 will be awesome!!!
1. Ghostbusters 3
2. Captain America
3. Thor
4. The Hobbit Part 1
5. Anchorman 2
6. The Hangover 2
7. Dinner For Schmucks
8. Sucker Punch
9. Green Lantern
10. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows Part 2

OK I'm Insane!!! 2012: The World Ends!!!!  Will Email Still Exist?
1. Batman 3 - Definitely
2. The Avengers - Definitely
3. Avatar 2?
4. The Hobbit Part 2
5. Indiana Jones 5
6. Kill Bill 3?
7. X-Men First Class
8. Spiderman Reboot - Not sure if this will be good yet

What do you think?  What were your 10 best?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Four. That's how many times our cat has thrown up today. I only hope this means she has finally started to die. I know that's mean, but it's honest. I'm tired of scooping kitty litter.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Top Movies of 2009 (Ashlea Breneman Edition)

woohoo! i think i have my list, finally!

** i LOVE a good story. stories that make you think about life, love and the possibilities. these movies all had great stories in them...

10. Sunshine Cleaning i think amy adams and emily blunt are fantastic in this. the scene where amy is sitting on a porch with an old woman who just lost her husband is so precious to me.

9. Avatar first time i saw a 3-D movie in who knows how long... perhaps ever... so that is why it made my list. i just wish they took a little bit more time to develop the story line.

8. State of Play this movie didn't garner a ton of attention, but i thought it was an extremely well-written script that kept me guessing until the very end.

7. 17 Again yeah, it has Zac Efron in it. but he actually doesn't suck at acting. and for some reason i laughed the whole way through this film. and yes, maybe our hands did just make a baby

6. The Proposal helllooo ryan reynolds. sandra bullock - thank you for always giving me a mental picture whenever i hear usher's song "yeah" from now on.

5. Sherlock Holmes since the bourne saga has come to an end, i need a fun new spy, let me beat up some guys series. thank you sherlock holmes.

4. 500 Days of Summer i loved the way this film was put together showing the progress and the deterioration of the relationship. ending was a bit cliche and a letdown but the message they sent through the ending i liked. plus i learned a fun new game to play in public.

3. Up wow... who would have thought that a pixar film could so moving?!? i definitely didn't know what i was getting into before i watched this. the montage of carl and ellie's life is great. my personal book of stuff i'm going to do is already formed in my mind.

2. The Blind Side there was so much hype about this movie, but i think it was worth all of it. the power of our choices to dramatically impact the lives of others is displayed wonderfully. go sandra and tim mcgraw!

1. Away We Go loved, loved, loved this movie! it made me excited about life and the idea that i can choose anywhere to live this journey. plus, john krasinski made beards look good and screaming on a train so fun.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Top 10 Movies of 2009 (Brad Moist Edition)

here's my list....I was waiting because I was hoping to go see Up In The Air and Crazy Heart before the deadline but no such luck...

I look forward to this every December. So, here's my Top 10 from 2009 plus 5 that I give an Honorable Mention and 5 that I still want to see really bad. I've also decided to change it up a bit and add my favorite line from each film.

1. Star Trek - "I dare you to do better."
2. Up - "Squirel"
3. Avatar - "They're pissing on us and not even giving us the courtesy of calling it rain."
4. The Hurt Locker - "What's the best way to go about disarming one of these things?"    "The way you don't die."
5. District 9 - "And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet."
6. Inglorious Basterds - We in the killin' Nazi business. And cousin, business is a boomin'."
7. The Hangover - "I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack."
8. Food, Inc
9. It Might Get Loud
10. Terminator Salvation  "What's that?"   "Two day old coyote. It's better than three day old coyote."

- Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):
Away We Go
500 Days of Summer
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

- 5 I Still Want To See:
Crazy Heart
Funny People
The Road
Up In The Air
Where The Wild Things Are

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top 10 Movies of 2009

Well, here they are, my pick for the ten best movies of the year. As I said in a previous blog, I'll admit I didn't get to see everything I wanted to see. I'll admit I wrote this list without yet being able to see SUNSHINE CLEANING, THE SOLOIST, THE INFORMANT!, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, THE BLIND SIDE, or THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. So, if one of those movies made your top 10 list and not mine, bad. But of all the other movies out're my ten favorite:

  1. INGLORIOUS BASTERDS - Wow. Tarantino does it again. Big time. At first I was shocked by how many elderly people were in the crowd at a Tarantino film, but then I realized if anyone was hungry to see history re-written so Hitler gets what he deserves, it would be people who were actually alive when it all went down.

  2. UP - This movie could have consisted solely of the opening sequence showing the ups and downs of Carl & Ellie's relationship, and it would still be in my top 10 of the year. There's more storytelling in this 5-minute vignette than in most of the other movies that came out this year.

  3. THE HANGOVER - This movie made me laugh more than any other movie this year. And for that, it gets to sit pretty at #3.

  4. AWAY WE GO - I heard some people complain that the main characters in this movie were either A) Too smarmy or B) Too much in love with each other to be interesting. Really? Well, then maybe THAT is why I fell in love with this movie and the main characters: because smarmy and totally in love pretty much describes me.

  5. FANTASTIC MR FOX - I didn't want to see this at all. The animation didn't look appealing and I'm not particularly a Wes Anderson fan. Who knew that this style of jerky stop-motion animation and Anderson's quirky filmmaking would be a perfect match I couldn't resist. And, when Mr Fox finally faces his only phobia, well...I admit I raised my fist along with them in a sincere LOL moment.

  6. PRECIOUS - The only time we see our heroine Precious smile in this movie is during the dream sequences, when the only thing she can do to protect herself from feeling the hurt around her is to leave this world for the brighter one in her imagination. And when she smiles in these visions, she beams. And when Mo'Nique delivers her Oscar-worthy monologue near the film's It makes you wonder what she was thinking when she gave us Phat Girlz.

  7. SHERLOCK HOLMES - I'll be honest. I didn't really want to see this one. I had forgotten, however, it was directed by Guy Ritchie, and from the first time Holmes walks us through a fight sequence and explains what will happen to his opponent's body before the first blow is thrown...I was hooked. CSI meets Arthur Conan Doyle.

  8. UP IN THE AIR - My wife accuses me of having a man-crush on George Clooney and I really have no defense. What can I say, this year he was the man. He appears in 2 films in my top 10 list. Anyone else in the role he played in this film may not have been able to make him so likable. Anyone who plays someone whose job it is to fire people (especially with the economy what it is these days) and make him someone you'd wanna hang out with is doing something right.

  9. THE PROPOSAL - I like Sandra Bullock. I like Ryan Reynolds. I did not, however, expect to like this movie as much as I did. This is how to do a romantic comedy (Sorry Hugh & Sarah Jessica).

  10. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY - It wasn't until the next day when it really hit me how good this movie is. The filmmakers created very tangible suspense throughout the whole film and they did it without ever showing you anything. A shadow here. A door closing there. And still they managed to freak me out. Kinda makes you wish the guys from Saw would put down their buckets of blood and re-think a thing or two.

So there they are. Whaddya think? Am I close? What did you like? Comment and discuss.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Kenny Chesney in 3D

Apparently we've reached the end of finding a good use of 3D technology. After a year of dazzling images in top-of-the-line digital projection in such films as Avatar and Up, in the summer of 2010 Sony Pictures is bringing us a film of a Kenny Chesney concert IN 3D.

I'm too angry/perplexed/disappointed/befuddled to think of anything funny to say.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Top 10 Movies of 2009 (John Allen Edition)

(Ed's Note: It's time once again for my esteemed panel of friends to give you their favorite movies of 2009. Because we aren't Hollywood bigwigs with copies of the movies sent to us on DVD like we're Academy voters or movie reviewers, it's harder for us to catch everything that comes down the pike. But we sure try.  We'll start off this year with my buddy John Allen and his Top 10 movies of '09. The rest of ours will be coming soon. Stop by often and see which of my Pop Culture-starved friends you're most similar to when it comes to taste in film. Feel free to comment!)


  1. It Might Get Loud

  2. District 9

  3. Sherlock Holmes

  4. Law Abiding Citizen (still good even if Foxx does a Denzel impersonation for the whole movie)

  5. Inglourious Basterds

  6. State of Play

  7. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Steve!)

  8. The Men Who Stare at Goats

  9. Star Trek (and I'm not even a trekker, trekkie, whatever the heck it is)

  10. Harry Potter (yeah, so what?)

A Mom Bomb

One thing I love even more than websites telling me what to wear to church are websites that are trying so hard to be hip and cool that they base their entire line of clothing on a cool catchphrase ("That's the bomb!") that was actually never cool. Christians love clutching onto a phrase ten years too late and claiming it as their own (please accept as Exhibit A the countless number of youth groups with "Xtreme" in their name).

Carrying on that tradition, we now have a website for moms who are trying to look cool and embarrass their kids at the same time. That's right, you too can be a mom who's the bomb! Ladies and gentleman I present to you THE BOMB MOM.

THE BOMB MOM. Perfect for white suburban moms everywhere who want to let a shirt proclaim their coolness without having to go to the trouble of actually being cool.

The website's tagline is "For moms that got it goin' on."

I'm not sure if these people are aware that the only people who actually use the phrase "got it goin' on" are the women sitting in Oprah's studio audience. Not necessarily a demographic I would describe as "the bomb" but whatever. To be honest, I don't really describe anything as "the bomb," mostly because I get embarrassed when people roll their eyes at me.

All this site is missing is a "You go girl!" banner stretched across the bottom. Everything else is there, including this sentence lifted verbatim from the site:

Take a look around and shop to your hearts content. We have shirts for the bomb mommies out there in WOMENS, and shirts for the bomb mommies' littles ones too in TODDLER and BABY.

That's right, kids. How many grammatical and spelling mistakes can YOU find?

The Bomb Mom. Wear one of our shirts and you'll almost forget how much you love being pregnant!

Being a bomb mom is fun! Obviously.

Are you an anorexic mom? We've got one for you.

Are you a girl uncomfortable and a little embarrassed modeling a shirt in public that's kinda dorkish and you would never wear in real life? Then we have one for you, too.

Don't worry, ladies, if you can't decide which one to buy, THE BOMB MOM has conveniently given you a wide assortment of basically-identical shirts to choose from.

According to the website, the shirts were made in places like Peru and Thailand. (Insert your own sweatshop joke here.)

THE BOMB MOM. Clumsily raising the self-esteem of white soccer moms everywhere.

Coming soon: Dizzle Daddy jeans!*

*And other "cool" ideas thought up by a Youth Pastor with a goatee and frosted tips.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


What do you do when you come face to face with adversity (or what you may perceive to be adversity)? I'm blessed to be married to someone whose first instinct is not to get angered or stressed or worried. Sarah's knee-gut reaction is to hug, laugh at it, put her trust in God, and then make us the best turkey sandwiches you've ever tasted.

Adversity? I don't think so. Not with Sarah around.