Posted by Brandon |

A movie shouldn't be memorable based solely on a good performance by Keanu Reeves. Unfortunately for Thumbsucker, this is the case. Ok, it isn't that bad, but what I remember most about this more or less paint by numbers suburban teen coming of age indie movie are the bit players rather than the main characters or the story itself.

In order of most memorable, here are the 10 ways I will remember Thumbsucker...

1. Benjamin Bratt's drugged out Matt Schramm, a big time television actor whose overacting provides the film's only funny moments when they are watching his show "The Line". Benjamin Bratt is awesome in the five minutes he is on screen.
2. Mr. Geary (Vince Vaughn) primping in front of a mirror before a debate competition wishing he was bald. Vince Vaughn is awesome as well in a serious role. I'm just going to start seeing every movie he makes from here on out because he steals the show in all of them.
3. The Polyphonic Spree's joyous score that turns an otherwise drab movie into something much more meaningful even though there is nothing meaningful happening.
4. Ritalin is only three molecules away from cocaine.
5. The message that marijuana will help you get the girl you want, even if it is fleeting and help you get on an even keel when thumbsucking and Ritalin couldn't help.
6. Keanu Reeves is really good, because his retarded Bill and Ted "whoa" voice and tone work perfectly for his role as a hippie orthodontist.
7. Elliot Smith music = Coming of age!
8. Running through Times Square = Coming of age! (???)
9. It was filmed in Beaverton, Oregon.
10. Four idiots came into the theater with about five minutes left in the movie and talked the entire time.

Notice I didn't mention anything about Thumbsucker himself or his parents. This was the focus of the movie, and despite good performances by Lou Taylor Pucci, Vincent D'Onofrio and Tilda Swinton, nothing about them stood out as memorable or important. They had great chemistry and their relationships were spot on, but they kind of just wandered around bored and frustrated, which is exactly how I felt whenever they were on screen.

This film lacked a certain quality that would tie all of these good performances together into a successful story. The conflicts were minor, everyday stuff that we all had to deal with when we were younger and director Mike Mills doesn't really add anything new to the coming of age genre. Instead we get a very lifelike and normal (boring) story that is overshadowed by the fringe characters and the soundtrack.


Ok, So November Might Be...

Posted by Brandon |

Yes, I've decided to delay Down With Pants! Mustache Month for at least one month. First of all, there didn't seem to be much interest, but that doesn't matter that much. The most important issue at hand that I did not take into account is that October 31st is Halloween, of course. I have been considering many different costumes but I think I have decided to go as Dog The Bounty Hunter this year and I need to grow myself a beard instead...

Death? is thinking she will go as his wife, Beth, although I think that she should stick with her first idea: The Landlady from Kung Fu Hustle. Either way, the most important thing is that we find a Halloween party to attend. In Seattle we went to a great party for the past two years where every single person was dressed up and they were really creative. We need to find basically the same thing, but in Ventura.

But back to Mustache Month. I think I am going to combine Mustache Month with National Novel Writing Month in November and write a novel about my mustache as well as keeping track of the social experiment that Mustache Month was meant to be. That really sounds busy...but I think I'm up to it.

Finally, I totally forgot to take my camera to my softball game tonight which was a huge shame because we played against a super serious, mulletted, son of a bitch that would have been perfect. He either plays before us or after us next week so if I can remember to bring my camera, he will definitely be the "Super Serious Rec League Softball Player of the Week". He would shoot to the top of the list for "Super Serious Rec League Softball Player of the Year" as well as leading the league in voting for the MVM (Most Valuable Mullet) award.


The Art of Walking Out

Posted by Brandon |

Janet over at The Art of Getting By was nice enough to post my below average tale of walking out on my job. Please head over to her blog and check it out and then continue reading all of her excellent posts and the excellent posts that all the other guest bloggers wrote but then hurry back here for a possible "Super Serious Rec League Softball Player of the Week" sighting tomorrow night.



Posted by Brandon |

After the debacle that was my softball game last week, I should have expected some fallout. But I could have never predicted just how far I would fall. Tonight, I started at catcher (the absolute worst position in slow-pitch softball) and batted dead last. I then was subbed out in the third inning and sat the bench for two innings before returning to play right field.

But I showed them that last week was a fluke. I had a base hit and drove in a run in my first at-bat, grounded out in my second but somehow managed to move the runner from second all the way home, beat out yet another grounder in my third at-bat, and finally drove in two runs with a single to center in the top of the seventh. Plus, someone else struck out tonight, taking all of the attention off of my two strikeouts last week. I also made a bare handed catch of a foul ball while playing catcher that ended a rally.

So, things went much better this week. Ater being demoted I responded very well. I wonder if that will win me any points with the coach and maybe I can move out of the nether regions of softball defense at catcher and right field.

Oh yeah, I'm also going to start taking my camera to games so that I can bring you a new weekly feature at Down With Pants! "Super Serious Rec League Softball Player of the Week". I wish I had my camera tonight for the guy with the tight baseball pants, stirrups, elbow guard and spec goggles who stepped out after every pitch to adjust his batting gloves, clean his bat and size up the defense. I love these guys. They make playing rec league softball worthwhile.


October is...

Posted by Brandon |

Throughout the month of October I will be growing a mustache for only the second time in my life and I will blog about all of my thoughts and experiences living with the old cookie duster. It'll be kind of like Morgan Spurlock's (a devoted mustachioed man himself) show 30 Days, especially since I have always been a big time mustache hater. I am going to be thrust into a world I know nothing about and hopefully learn from the experience and maybe become less of a stachaphobe.

Inspired by one of my former co-workers projects, 30 Days in Red Pants, I am going to adopt the rules that he lived by during his project...

1. Wear the Red Pants Mustache whenever I'm outside of the house for 30 days straight (this shouldn't be a problem).
2. Never be the first to bring up the Red Pants Mustache.
3. Never reveal the secret of the Red Pants Mustache (except to loyal readers of Down With Pants!).
4. Attempt to get out in public with the Red Pants Mustache as much as possible. Or, at least, more than normal.

In addition, I would love to have my readers share their thoughts on mustaches or their experiences rocking the lip fuzz. If you would like to write a guest post for Mustache Month, please email me at downwithpants@gmail.com. I am also looking for someone else to join me on my journey and grow themselves a mustache during October so that we can compare and contrast our experiences.

Mustache Month kicks off with a bang on October 1st when I will be heading to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to see my Washington Huskies likely take a beating at the hands of the UCLA Bruins. Nothing like premiering my brand new mustache in front of 55,000 screaming Bruins fans who already hate me because of my Husky jersey. It should be quite a month!


Rita's Aftermath

Posted by Brandon |

Hurricane Rita was worse than I ever could have imagined it being. It blew down trees, buildings, flooded towns, forced the evacuation of millions of people and possibly damaged many of our nations oil refineries. But worst of all, Hurricane Rita blew Geraldo Rivera and noted racist and Fox News correspondent Mark Fuhrman into town.

You can't see it in this screencap very well, but Geraldo's hair is going crazy, looking completely windblown like he just has suffered all night long through the hurricane. But it is very obvious that he is wearing a full face of makeup. Maybe he nicknamed his hair dryer Hurricane Rita. Geraldo is such a fucking fake.


The Agony of Defeat

Posted by Brandon |

What are the three worst things you can possibly do? I think I have the answer...

1. Choke a dude to death with your bare hands.
2. Eat a newborn baby for sport.
3. Strike out swinging in slow-pitch softball.

Well, one down, two to go. That's right, tonight, I choked a dude to death with my bare hands! Ok, that isn't true, although I kind of wish I had because I wouldn't feel nearly as bad as I do now. I struck out in slow-pitch softball. In fact, I struck out in slow-pitch softball...Twice!!!

There is perhaps nothing more embarrassing than swinging and missing a ball lobbed to you specifically so you can hit it a mile. Slow-pitch softball is a sport designed so that nobody ever has to strike out. And yet, I thought I could take on god himself, who had a hand in designing this sport, and turn slow-pitch softball inside-out.

I have only played softball maybe four times in the last five, maybe even six years and needless to say I am out of practice. So it's kind of understandable that I struck out my first time at bat. In my second at bat I grounded out to third and in my third at bat I hit the ball about as hard as you can but the third baseman made an outstanding play to rob me of a double. In the bottom half of the sixth inning, with the game on the line down by two runs with two men on and two outs, I managed to swing and miss again. This time it was totally inexcusable.

So tomorrow, instead of watching my Bowling Green Fighting Falcons beat up on the Boise State Broncos on the gridiron after work, I need to find myself some batting cages and take about 100 swings to get my timing back before my next game on Thursday for a coed team. It's one thing to strike out in front of a bunch of guys, but it's something totally different to do it with girls around.

Or maybe I'll just stay home and eat myself some baby. It's probably more enjoyable than striking out in slow-pitch softball.

P.S....Best quote from the outstanding new show My Name is Earl (this might not be exactly the quote, but pretty close): "Muscles Don't Buy Mad Dog."


Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Posted by Brandon |

I know it be a little bit late, but if you didn't know already, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day! I did a little bit o' pirate talk, but not nearly enough. Maybe I'll extend it t' tomorrow as well. Hell, maybe I should just become a pirate. Sounds like a pretty damn good life if you ask me. Who doesn't love wenches.

Tomorrow night be an extremely momentous occasion in me TV watchin' life. I be actually excited t' watch a brand new network sitcom. It has been years and years and years and years (what I'm tryin' t' say be it's been a long time) since I got excited about a new network show. Me Name Be Earl premieres tomorrow at 9:00 PM (8:00 PM central and mountain time. T' only good thin' about livin' in t' Midwest was that we got Conan O'Brien on at 11:30 instead o' 12:30) on NBC and it sounds really good. I was a bit hesitant until I heard more about t' show on NPR's Day t' Day this afternoon but after that I was sold.

Steve Carrell and T' Office returns for a second season right after Me Name Be Earl. It should be interestin' t' see what direction they go with this season. T' first mirrored t' British versions first season fairly closely but thar be no way they can do that for t' second year. Either way, it should be damn funny.


A Day of Endless Possibilities

Posted by Brandon |

With Death? on call at the hospital from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon, the options for my Saturday were limitless. Living 60 miles from Los Angeles gives one a mind boggling amount of happenings to attend. Given all of these options, one is overwhelmed when trying to make a decision.

So I sat at the computer this morning considering my options. Should I go to the Oklahoma – UCLA game in Pasadena? How about the USC – Arkansas game in the ghetto? Or should I be really ambitious and make the attempt at a college football doubleheader and go to both? What about the Angels or even the Padres down in San Diego? That really isn’t that far to go. Holy crap there is a Kings – Ducks game at the Staples Center. Or what about the Ventura College – College of the Canyons football game five minutes from my house?

Or maybe I should take in some arts. I could go to the Getty Center or to the King Tut exhibit. There is probably a concert I would like to see somewhere. Or maybe I should just go for a hike, do some geocaching, go to the beach, get a haircut, buy some cleats, play some poker, go to the titty bar, do some laundry, eat some lunch, take a shower, shave.

Given all of these options I just couldn’t make a solid decision. So you know what I did? Nothing. That’s right nothing. Well, eventually I did take a shower, shave, go to dinner and a movie but that all happened after five o’clock. As far as my day went I just sat on the couch, watched the many football games, watched some My Sweet Sixteen, ate some ice cream and kept lazy-ing myself out of doing anything interesting.

And it was great. Last Saturday I spent nearly twelve hours at Disneyland. This weekend, I didn’t even change out of my shorts until 6:00 PM. To call it relaxing would be an understatement. I’m not even completely sure how I ended up getting dressed and going out, but somehow I guilted myself into cleaning up and going to see Grizzly Man. But after that I came home, put on my shorts again and I’ve been playing poker and watching TV ever since.

Oh the joys of doing absolutely nothing with your day. I will probably pay dearly for it on Sunday.



Posted by Brandon |

I don't know why, but for some reason I was thinking about Larry Johnson's Grandmama character today. I was going to be a lazy blogger (either way I'm a lazy blogger) today and just post a picture to remind us about one of the greatest ad campaigns of all time. But then I found the above picture and this blog entry from 2004 on Information Leafblower about how Converse brought LJ and Grandmama back. Why didn't I know about this? Did anyone see any of these ads?


Villa Incognito

Posted by Brandon |

You know a book is going to be good when it starts with the line "It has been reported that Tanuki fell from the sky using his scrotum as a parachute." I was taking a drink of soda on the airplane and nearly blew it all over the seat in front of me when I read that line. I closed the book, opened it again and reread that line to see if I might have been imagining it but I wasn't, that is really how Villa Incognito starts. I doubt there has ever been a book to open with such a great line. But that is what I have come to expect when reading anything by Tom Robbins.

I especially love this loving tribute to mayonnaise that I just have to share...

"The mystery of mayonnaise-and others besides Dickie Goldwire have surely puzzled over this-is how egg yolks, vegetable oil, vinegar (wine's angry brother), salt, sugar (earth's primal grin-energy), lemon juice, water, and, naturally, a pinch of the ol' calcium disodium EDTA could be combined in such a way as to produce a condiment so versatile, satisfying, and outright majestic that mustard, ketchup, and their ilk must bow down before it (though, at two bucks a jar, mayonnaise certainly doesn't put on airs) or else slink away in disgrace. Who but the French could have wrought this gastronomic miracle? Mayonnaise is France's gift to the New World's muddled palate, a boon that combines humanity's ancient instinctive craving for the cellular warmth of pure fat wit the modern, romantic fondness for complex flavors: mayo (as the lazy call it) may appear mild and prosaic, but behind its creamy veil it fairly seethes with tangy disposition. Cholesterol aside, it projects the luster that we astro-orphans have identified with well-being ever since we fell from the stars."

Not since Maya's wine speech in Sideways have I heard anyone wax so poetically about their love for a foodstuff. And I'm with Tom Robbins on this one, Mayo is amazing. Death? was touched by the wine speech because it nearly described how she felt about wine. Well, I have found my wine speech. Only it's about mayonnaise and not nasty ass wine.

Now if only I could find someone to wax poetic about Chocolate Lucky Charms.


Return Your Carts!

Posted by Brandon |

I just want to thank the lady that I saw today in the Target parking lot who took the time to maneuver around five rogue shopping carts and between two cars to the front side of the return just so that she could properly put away her shopping cart. It isn't everyday that you see such an effort anymore and I think she needs to be commended.

I believe that leaving your shopping cart any damn place you feel like is almost at the top of the list of lazy, bullshit things to do. Typically you don't have to go more than 50 feet to return a cart and yet I still see people going to extraordinary lengths to not put a cart in it's right place.

One of the newest things I've seen is people propping the cart up onto a curb or even lifting the entire cart into a curb planter, expending way more energy than pushing it gently to a return. The other day someone propped their cart onto a curb so that the ass end of the cart was directly behind my car. Not only were they being lazy but they purposely created work for me. So instead of returning one cart, like I always do, I returned two carts. One for me and one for the big asshole that couldn't do it himself.

I have seen super athletic people who look like they have just come from the gym all of a sudden get lazy and push their cart in the middle of the parking spot next to them. I have seen mothers tell their children to "just shove it over there". I have seen people within 10 feet of a cart return wedge their cart between the front of their car and the car opposite of them taking extra time and effort to not scratch the paint on their brand new Mercedes.

So when I see someone else give an exasperated sigh at the five rogue carts parked on the wrong side of a cart return and then purposely go out of their way to make sure that their cart got into the return, it warms my heart. There aren't too many people left that would make such a Herculean effort, but at least I know that there is me and that fine example of a human being that I witnessed today. Thank you.



Posted by Brandon |

Me shooting Zurg on the Buzz Lightyear ride. I personally am sympathetic to the dark overlord Zurg's cause, but what are you gonna do?

What a crazy couple of weeks this has been. I finally come back to reality tomorrow when I start my new job, but it was fun while it lasted. We had a friend in town this weekend and we showed her a fun and relaxing time by going to Disneyland on Saturday.

It was my first time to the Happiest Place On Earth and I had a blast (no pun intended). Other than the lifelong recurring nightmares I am going to have about It's a Small World everything was really great. Space Mountain was my favorite ride followed very closely by the Indiana Jones ride. I love how Disneyland loves to plunge you into darkness on nearly everyone of their rides. They may not be fast or do loops but the darkness goes a long ways toward scary the crap out of you.


Where's Brandon?

Posted by Brandon |

Sorry for the extended layoff and the less than uplifting post that I left you with. We just got back from our extended Labor Day Weekend trip to Olympia and Seattle. We came home for a wedding and to see the family and we had a great time.

I also walked out on my job today and went to the beach. Luckily I did get the other job with the toy company and my last day at Technicolor would have been on Friday so really, no loss. I start at the toy company on Monday and I am very excited.

More on all of these issues a little bit later...



Posted by Brandon |

Tonight with Death? on call at the hospital and me with some time to stay home and do some house work before our Labor Day trip to Seattle, I got sucked into the cable networks coverage of Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans. I flipped my way between CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Headline News and whatever other channel had something about it on. Essentially I learned nothing that I didn't learn earlier in the day reading articles online.

I don't really have much to add that you can't find elsewhere online (Boing Boing has a great archive of alternative sources of information that is much better than any of the network national coverage). I'm sickened by the whole thing. From the storm itself to the looting to the lack of readiness to the fact that New Orleans even existed in it's geography in the first place, I'm completely disheartened and frustrated with every single thing going on down there and around the country.

I hate to be so pessimistic, but I feel that no good will come of this tragedy. There isn't a bright side to be found. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and worse than that, will continue to go wrong. The lack of leadership from all facets of government and law enforcement is appalling and there are no signs them getting their act together. Sure the Army and the National Guard are either there or coming, but it truly doesn't look like they have any idea what to do, who to help or who is in charge.

It also feels like in general, throughout the country, nobody knows who is in charge. President Bush has been unmasked as a fraud of a leader. In this his most trying time, maybe even more so than 9/11, he is failing to calm a country on edge about something that doesn't even necessarily affect them directly. The aftershocks of this tragedy can be controlled with the right leadership but it is obvious that unless there is someone he can attack, President Bush doesn't know what to do. I will admit, I'm not totally sure what he should do, but he needs to do something beyond the call of duty to help the citizens of New Orleans, The Gulf Coast and the rest of the country deal with this tragedy and he needs to do it soon.

It is just ridiculous. How it could possibly come to this is amazing. There will be a lot of answering to do about how this happened when everybody is finally out of harms way and New Orleans is being rebuilt, if that day ever comes. From the White House to the Water Department, someone is going to have to answer and it will not be pretty when they do. But for the time being, please somebody do something and get these people a meal, clean water and some dry gound and hurry.