STEVEBLOG Home on the Range

23Sep/110

Big and tall and short and small

Every man had his own quirks and twists - Harriet Beecher Stowe

Wow, starting with a quote makes me feel classy. Thanks high school English class for the idea! Anyhoo, I am here to talk about quirks. Those odd little things that seem normal to you but garner blank stares when you mention them in passing. You know, like your collection of toe nail clippings. I know you claim it is for genetic material for future organ growth but seriously, we all know you are not fooling anyone. Don’t worry, I was not planning on focusing entirely on your idiosyncrasies tonight. No, tonight is all mine. I even picked out one of my stranger ones just for your entertainment!

I like to find small buildings beside large buildings.

SAM_1005

Look at that little building, it’s so tiny!

Yes, small buildings stuck beside much larger buildings. Most people who are interested in architecture would probably care about when the buildings were built, what style inspired them, the reason for the arches or even what the different coloured sections imply but not me. Nope, the relative size difference is what catches my attention. If I had a shrink, I’m sure we would have a good conversation and get to the root of my building size fetish but that is far too straightforward and healthy for me. Random musings and unsubstantiated guesses are more my style.

SAM_1006

Cascading smaller buildings, oh my!

Naturally, when presented with mismatched building sizes, I immediately associate with the smaller building. It could be that the smaller building tends to be older with much more pronounced character but once again, that’s a tad classy for me. No, I believe I associate with the smaller building because of a deep seeded childhood trauma. If I have learned anything from prime time television, it is that childhood trauma plays a huge role in all of our mannerisms. Now, I was by no means a small child growing up, although I played one in real life up until high school. In fact, I made such a convincing small child, I once was blown over by the wind into a puddle. True story, I had to walk home in my gym shorts. It was tough to be towered over by all of the bigger kids.

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Even low lighting a psychedelic camera can’t stop me!

There is one other reason I associate with those smaller buildings. One that is inspiring and surprisingly insightful. Despite being dwarfed by their neighbours, each one of these small buildings stand their ground. They quietly hold their position while being overshadowed by these large, loud towers. That inner strength, the idea of being true to oneself and not changing to grab attention sets quite a good example. These buildings could always cover themselves with neon lights and disco balls to catch the eye but they don’t. Well, they at least hang around until some developer buys the land, tears them down and puts up a giant condominium. C’est la vie.

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Tiny! No, not that one, the one beside the one beside Ubisoft. Yes, it has a separate number.

This concludes our very special episode of Steveblog. I promise the next one will be no where near as classy, with the quotes and French phrases replaces with fart jokes and a picture of someone falling down.

Your pal,

Steve

30Aug/111

One Week

We take a break from our regular broadcast for a very special message. One Week is an amazing movie. It might shake all two of my readers to their very core to hear this, but not only did I cry during this movie, I cried both times I saw it. Now it may not be the crying that you are used to, that’s physical pain from wedgies, nance, but it is crying all the same. At one point during the movie, the main character says that if he had one week to live he would make love right to her right now. Replace her with Canada and life and that is the power of this movie.

By all rights, I should not have expected much from the movie. A Canadian film with little fanfare and starring Pacey from Pacey’s Creek. Yes, I know what the official title was and I also know why we all watched it.

dawson_season_3_01

Seriously, if I didn’t know what this was I would assume it was a horror movie. Dawson is creepy as heck.

One Week takes a fairly simple premise, a man going West for adventure while trying to cope with his cancer diagnosis, and uses it to celebrate all things Canadian. Ok, so the East coast doesn’t get much mention so it’s more like celebrating all things Canadian that count. Ok, sorry East coast, you are pretty awesome too. Trust me, I will be back to drink in your pubs and regale you of stories of people with more all of their teeth.

The slow pace and abundance of Tim Horton’s cups cannot stop the sheer beauty of the country from shining through. Even without a potentially terminal medical condition hanging over my head, I too feel like just packing a bag and driving.

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If scenery like this does not float your boat, you may have a few too many holes.

Even if you do not really connect with the emotional journey of living in the face of death, watching for the sheer beauty of the country is inspiring. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to invest some money in the lottery to fund my next cross country journey.

Your pal,

Steve

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24Aug/111

Inventing a new world

Inventing new things is easy, all you need to do is take two unrelated things and combine them. For example, dinosaur + helicopter = dinocopter. It would be completely useless but I am sure that would not stop some chump from investing their life savings on it and hitting up the Dragons’ Den. Inventing useful things are where the money is, however that takes far more time and effort than I am willing to devote. Luckily for you, my court appointed community service forces encourages me to make charitable donations so I am willing to part with potentially the most important innovation since Corn Flakes. In a strange coincidence, my idea was also an accident and will probably lower your sex drive if you think about it too much.

dinocopter

The Dinocopter in all its underwear biting glory.

Hey, we are over here now. Seriously, the dinocopter is almost as lame of a joke as Dr. Rofloctopus. FYI, Dr. Rofloctopus is a lamer joke so you really should not have snickered. Focus people, there is a money earning idea coming your way. Not just any money earning idea either, so forget about your failed lemonade stand (you needed more sugar) and your forgotten children’s education boardgame (it’s spelt board not bored so get that learning out of there). This idea is going to blow your mind because solves massive global problems. What global problems? How about raw material shortages and lack of clean energy for starters. That is not just my opinion either, it is science fact.

drrofloctopus

Dr. Rofloctopus was never good at delivering bad news.

So what is this brilliant idea? Spiders. No, really. I am sitting in my basement, which I think I should rename to “Spiders’ Den” because there are far more of them than me. I am including my ego in this calculation so you can gather there are quite a few spiders. The thing is, spiders are presumably living creatures that need food and energy to live and make webs. However, there is no possible way that there is enough food lying around for them to eat. Seriously, I barely have enough food to keep myself alive let alone a legion of eight legged creatures. I can only draw two conclusions from this; they either drink my blood when I sleep or they don’t need food to function. Since I don’t like the idea of spiders crawling all over me while I sleep, I’m going to assume it is the latter. And thus, the brilliant idea, spiders can be the workforce of the future. Never tiring, always working, these tiny creatures will build our future in ways that only robot apocalyptic visionists could ever imagine. With the help of our friend the arachnid, we can turn the world wide web into a real world wide web.

arachnaphobia

What could possibly go wrong?

I, for one, support our new arachnid overlords.

Your pal,

Steve

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9Jul/111

Crossword Puzzles: Child’s play or playing you like a child?

Crossword puzzles are a great way to pass time on a rainy day, keep your mind sharp, spend some quality time with your loved ones, or make your latte last longer while you hold the best seats in the coffee bar forcing others to separate from their friends or go wander the rainy streets for somewhere to sit. While they probably have an entirely different history, I would have checked but the Wikipedia article was really boring, they are a natural extension from a child’s word search. Both puzzles have the puzzler trying to find words in a grid, just the grownup version does not explicitly tell you what words you are trying to find. Like a child, word searches are imbued the spirit of exploration and innocence; the magical words are hidden in plain sight and just need the dullness of reality to be stripped away. Crossword puzzles have abandoned those values to instead become a dry exercise of general knowledge retention; words can only go in specific places and even though a clue might have multiple answers, only one is correct. Have you ever stopped to think what other adult characteristics snuck into crosswords? No? That’s probably because you have never stopped to think, but do not worry, there is always someone else to think for you and today that is me. Here are some more qualities that crossword puzzles share with the real world.

The world wants you to fail

I am sure there are some nice people in your life that take joy in your success but they are not the world. “The World” is everyone else that you don’t know and unless you know a bunch of crossword makers, then you are out of luck here. There is a very simple reason why shows like MXC became so popular and why we collectively follow celebrities hoping they embarrass themselves; other people getting hurt is funny and we feel less successful if others are more successful than us. Naturally, this extends to crossword puzzles. Crossword puzzles dangle the proverbial carrot waiting for you take take that intellectual lunge into a pile of failure. You may be able to hide your failure by disposing of those partially filled puzzles but if you are playing with others, you can bet your idiotic suggestion will not be left unmocked, especially if you had been leading the word charge.

embigot Embigot? Do you even know the effect of the prefix “em” on a word like “bigot”? Inbigot would have made more sense, caveman.
Also, seriously, sheep are opile? Hey, I didn’t realize this was make up words Friday.

“You will fail” is generally left out of the fables I read growing up but it is ever so present amongst adults. Take that, judgemental crossword!

They are out to get you

Crossword puzzles seem like the creation of a whimsical games maker or the calculated product of a computer algorithm. Either way, you would expect the puzzle maker is either on your side or is not aware of your existence. The truth is that they thrive on your anguish. The most popular crossword puzzle is the New York Time’s Sunday crossword, which is known for its extreme difficulty. The tricky balance is that these puzzle makers need to string their audience along just enough for them to feel they can complete the crossword before crushing them with clues so obscure or ambiguous that they give up in frustration. On the plus side, they have not yet figured out how to punish us if we somehow manage to complete the puzzle.

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Congratulations, you solved the crossword!

Failure is final

Chances are that you have heard the saying “you’re only as good as your last mistake”. Well crosswords like to drive that point home. Grownups play with pens because pencils are unprofessional. The one strength of the pencil is for correcting mistakes, which would be incredibly helpful for crossword puzzles. The puzzle makers know you use a pen, so they make sure to leave you with tiny boxes that don’t even let you properly scratch out words you got wrong. Once you have committed to a word, your only options are a barely legible correction or an unsolvable puzzle. That’s right, all it takes is one wrong word and you cannot solve the puzzle. Well, maybe if you fill in some imaginary words like embigot or opile. A favourite trick is to provide a clue with multiple answers that seem right to people who don’t really know for sure.

uranus Ain’t no rings here, just a black hole.
Also, they seemed to have compromised with “centeen” for “in the middle”. I guess sometimes it takes some time…

How much do you want to bet the players gave up and decided to try a new puzzle? If you answered, “for sure!”, then congratulations on not actually answering the question. We would have accepted any object relevant to wagers, such as a large denomination of money or your child’s saxophone. They did give up though.

Things are not always what they seem

Ever since us adults learned about subtext and subliminal messaging, we seem to have taken it as our duty to abuse them. We always use those concepts as much as possible from sarcastic insult-compliments to pilfering lunch money from children through ads. Well guess what. Our “friends”, the crossword puzzle makers are continuing that tradition. They have several ways to send us messages, sometimes the words in the grid form phrases when read in a certain way, other times a puzzle contains similar themes to invoke a response. My favourite, however, is taunting you with the left over clues. This is a very tricky method, being that they aim to have the most difficult clues act as thinly veiled taunts. Just think, you are scratching your head trying to figure out what the last few words are when you see it: a big F you.

magiceye
At this point it seems less like a list of clues and more like a magic eye poster of a big middle finger.

There you have it, not only do they want us to fail, they are also there to spit in our faces when we realize it. The best part? We can’t get enough of it. Now if you can excuse me, I need to grab my safety blanket and cry myself to sleep.

Your pal,

Steve

2Jun/110

Door Flyers as Literature

Originally I was planning on writing about internet memes. You know, those fun things that allow us to comically approach such deeply personal topics such as our woeful failure to live up to our dreams, let alone our parents’ standards, ala sad Keanu. No really, why do you think he is so sad? You can tell yourself that it is because of a disappointing sandwich but we all know that it is really his post-modern expression of the futility of meeting external expectations. I’m putting the over/under of my use of spell check for that last sentence at 4. The correct answer is over; bonus points to the person who guessed “of” as one of my misspelled words (editor’s note: he spelt it as “pf”). Instead of these fantastical memes, I felt I should discuss a flyer I found squeezed into my door.

I do need to give these flyer people credit because they did make a full colour page of propaganda. Regardless of what they are schlocking, I do appreciate the effort made in making it look nice. Now while they definitely had my attention with the full colour pictures, they lost me with the meaning of the big bold text. There were a whole bunch of words, but big, bold and prominent was the question “WILL HUMANS RUIN THIS EARTH?”. My first thought it is that this is some sort of religious brochure. My second thought was, “wait,  this Earth?”. Every religion that I know of is pretty keen on making sure we know there has only really been us and our grand master puba (GMP) was responsible for the creation of everything. Once you toss in the this qualifier, you imply there are other Earths that may or may not be ruinable by us humans.

Fancy promotional topics aside, I decided to read the rest of the flyer. Turns out that part of a multi-day convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be answering that caps locked question. From then on my interpretation turned sadly sad. If you are from the future, you would get that joke, being that it is a takeoff of a meme that I am trying to start, which obviously will become popular at some point. If you aren’t from the future, well… yeah… Good luck with that.

Random asides, aside…. There was one specific segway that really got to me. They quoted Matthew 6:10 “Jesus taught his followers to pray: Let your kingdom come”, which was immediately follow by their question of “What is God’s Kingdom?”. Literal me interprets this by connecting “your” to “God” (although really, what other interpretation is there?). So as God, I only have one decree; more macaroni pictures.

Your pal,

Steve

23May/110

Really? The Cliffhanger Ending

We all love sequels. You can lie to yourself, but you cannot lie to me. We are all suckers for continued adventures of our favourite characters, otherwise there would be no series for Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Wars, Alien, Terminator, Godfather, Indiana Jones, etc. Heck, we would not even been graced with Sex and the City 2 and Iron Man 2, nor would people be excited for The Hangover 2 and speculating about a Thor 2. Contrary to popular belief, movie companies are actually big faceless companies that are more concerned with making money than pandering to our tastes. I could go on but I think even you are understanding that Hollywood would not be making all of these sequels unless we wanted to see them and regardless of your taste in movies, there are sequels you know and love.

I like sequels more than the average person, as you might have noticed from my extremely popular Movie Sequel Mondays series. So here I am, a sequel aficionado (thanks spellcheck!) that is completely at peace with follow ups intended solely as cash-ins, yet I am opposed to the most obvious sequel foreshadowing: the cliffhanger. Cliffhangers can be very effective ending techniques, but more often than not, they are copout endings tossed in under the illusion that if the movie makes enough money they are prepped to carry on the story.

First, let’s look at a good example of a set up sequel: Urban Legend. This delightful horror movie ended with the big reveal that the killer was not dead and appeared to be starting up again with a new group of friends/victims. Urban Legend: Final Cut picked up right when the original cliffhanger left off by… completely ignoring it. This type of sequel is generally reserved for action and horror movies, where we get an entirely new cast and story that have no need for a cliffhanger to be made.

For the sequels that do manage to bring back some of the same characters, they rarely pick up near the end of the last movie. You can more or less expect the characters to be emotionally/physically exhausted by the trials of the previous movie, so naturally the sequel will take place long enough after the events to give allow for some offscreen character development. In this case, the cliffhanger is essentially useless in that it not only cannot be an urgent incident, but it also removes any mystery around a new antagonist, being that we already know the old one is still around.

Then we have all of the sequels that do not get made. Some of them may originally look like they should be the launchpad of a blockbuster series, oh hi Waterworld, while others really do not have any right expecting anyone would bother with a sequel, sorry Fire Serpent. These movies are particularly frustrating because they leave the viewer with that awful aftertaste that they spent two hours getting invested in a story only to have it completely invalidated in the last 5 minutes.

We are now stuck with the seemingly insurmountable problem of Hollywood wanting more money, us wanting continuing series, but generally lame cliffhangers. Thankfully, source of anything worth knowing comes through for us again. Yes, I am talking about television. Television has been pumping out effectively cliffhangers for decades. Be they season ending bombshells, to single episode arcs affecting a season long story, to every commercial break cliffhanger ala Prison Break, television has pretty much perfected them.

What is the secret to television cliffhangers? Contained story arcs. TV shows can contain several levels of story arcs, from season long to commercial break long. The rule of thumb being the intensity of the cliffhanger should inversely proportional to the length of the story arc. If you build up an emotional response, you better pay it off before those feelings fade away. Longer story arcs need more carefully planned cliffhangers that focus on multiple potential outcomes rather than immediate danger. Just as Prison Break did great with the commercial break danger, Lost did great for the potential outcome discussions. The next key point for cliffhangers is that it should connect to the story but it should not be part of the main plot.

Cliffhangers should open or contribute to a new arc, leaving us with at least one satisfyingly complete viewing experiences. Or hey, just give us more empty, self-invalidating stories because we keep on paying to watch them.

Your pal,

Steve

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4Apr/111

April Fooled

I have a reputation of being an easy target for April Fool’s Day. My problem is that I embody the unfortunate combination of being a good sport and being incredibly gullible. Knowing this, I approach every April Fool’s with a cautious expectation that I will be pranked. Last year I managed to get off easy with a business trip; although taking two flights and driving in Toronto rush hour twice does sound like a joke at my expense… This year I was planning on taking charge and going on the offensive, which quickly was abandoned when I saw my desk. I greeted it with a bunch of pocket stuff to hold on to and it greeted me with a ransom note.

SAM_0932

I refuse to edit my writing but I will critique ransom notes.

Pre-caffeinated Steve misread the note and assumed that I would be the one getting executed at the end of the day if I did not find the record. I figured that I have had a good run and I would just leave the joke at that. Then I realized that it was Luigi’s life on the line and I said “F#%@ that, I’m getting that green guy back.” For those who are not aware, Luigi and I have a connection. Everyone has their favourite Mario character and that happy go lucky goofball is mine. Many a night, it would be “Pink-a” Luigi and me against the world in frenzied Smash Bros games. Yes, the pink version of Luigi was my trademark. I knew who was responsible for the ransom note (the font selection gave it away), but little did I know that he was only a part of the conspiracy against me.

It is times like this where being an awesomely observant person like me really pays off. I knew there was a record store down the street, which probably would not have the right album, but I just needed an album to show up the prankster. We even had a farewell lunch planned that would have me walk right past the record store. Unfortunately, my brash confidence lead me to leak this important information so when I showed up at the pub for lunch everyone asked me if I found the record. Rookies. Of course I left the record store stop for after lunch but this gave me the perfect out to play all nonchalant.

After lunch I went to the record store and started flipping through in the odd chance I would find the right album. That is when a guy, who I originally assumed worked there but he may just like hanging out there, said it was nice to see a young guy in buying records. I told him I do not even have a turntable and explained the whole situation to him. At that point another guy in the store got my attention; turns out that my friend’s dad just happened to be record shopping in an obscure little store at the exact same time. We caught up for a bit before I refocused on my task and picked up my substitute record and proceeded to the checkout. There were two people behind the counter, neither one being the one who I thought was working there. Thankfully, that guy decided I was the perfect person to discuss conspiracy theories with because it really passed the time before one of the employees decided they wanted my money.

The office greeted me with “what did you get?” questions that I deftly avoided. I even managed to smuggle the record in without anyone really seeing it. There was a message waiting for me in my inbox from the kidnapper:

You know what needs to be done to save him.
tick tick tick ... his time's running out...

-Monsieur Pudding

luigi-in-peril

Game. On.

SAM_0933

Post it to win it.

I made the drop behind the water cooler. Immediately my first suspect showed up with the record and thought my response was brilliant. However, he did not produce Luigi so I sent him back to re-drop the bounty to try and avoid a Dumb and Dumber moment. Shortly after that Luigi was returned to me from the second conspirator. From there I learned there were at least 4 people in on the conspiracy, but one had not been around to see my brave heroics. If you are thinking an evil grin flashed on my face then you would be right.

At that point I thought “What would JIm do?”. I could wrap his desk, send him faxes from the future, or… wait… I hate Jim, he is unnecessarily mean. Yeah, he may be a bit of a dreamboat but there is fog on those shores, bosun. Instead I went with the lazy cover his mouse pointer with tape. But not just tape, this picture too:

luigi_half2

That’sa not-a banana!

Naturally a revenge prank this lame was greeted with a fairly indifferent response. The memorable part was when he checked to make sure I did not mess with the batteries of his mouse. You see, I had replaced his mouse batteries with mini pop-out snakes that totally made him jump. Ok, so I did not even consider messing with his batteries but now that I have thought about it, mini pop-out snakes sound really cool. The end result was the office having a good time, Luigi face being promoted to water bottle status, and Luigi and me being united.

SAM_0934

Together forever! Or at least until I change my shirt.

I have two words to say to you April Fool’s: Hi, cutie. I mean, Bring it!

Your pal,

Steve

28Mar/110

Operation Beached Whale

Everyone loves a buffet. There is no wait for your food to be cooked and you can eat all the things you love. Feel like an all bacon breakfast? Done. How about an ice cream dinner? Just add sprinkles. Feel like loosening your belt? Go right ahead. Yet behind this inviting front lies a terrible secret; you will end up paying more for less. You see, these buffets bank on you not eating anywhere near your money’s worth. Ok, so that is not really a big secret because obviously they have to make money somehow. However, I am feeling generous so I will teach you, my faithful reader, how to eat your money’s worth at an all you can eat buffet.

1) Research

studying-boh

The Declaration of Interdependence was written on a napkin by a… a…

You probably think you can just roll up to a buffet with a big appetite and demolish that heat lamped food trough. Well guess what? You have already lost. Buffets know that some of the tastiest and filling food can also be the cheapest. Your first action is to know your food. You need to know what the most expensive dishes are at the buffet. This varies by restaurant specialty, season, and unpredictable shortages of course, but so remember to keep on top of local prices. Ideally you would set up a graph that tracks price versus filling but we all know how lazy you are (the Velcro shoes are a dead giveaway). A well thought out game plan makes all the difference when it comes to being a chump or a champ.

2) Training

physical-training-benefits

Feel the burn. That’s indigestion.

So you have mapped out your eating plans and marked your high value foods. Now it is time to skip a meal or two to build up an appetite and chow down, right? Wrong. Hunger is good but starving yourself is a one way ticket to failure. Now you may be used to failure but that is a stench I just cannot wear. The key to filling your stomach is bringing the largest stomach possible to the table. How do you do that? Simple, eat more leading up to the feast. Stomachs are elastic, so stretching them with large meals is necessary to maximize your consumption capacity.

3) Game Day

rugby scrum

Anyone see my contact down there?

You have a food strategy. Your stomach is at peak capacity. What comes next? Build that appetite. No, don’t starve yourself. Remember 4 sentences ago? You want to go the other way by working up an appetite through some good old fashioned exercise. The body uses food as fuel so naturally if you burn through some energy you will need more. Ergo, more exercise leads to more hunger. I know, crazy isn’t it?

The Simpsons may have given us the impression that we can eat a restaurant out of business through sheer tenacity but that is far from the truth. You see, unless you are a champion eater then you will need to follow an eating regiment to ensure success. If you are a champion eater then you are already doing it, smart ass. So just this once, rise above the normal. Extend beyond the average. Follow my three steps and you can guarantee that you eat more than your $15 worth at your next buffet. Or stay at home and eat potato chips, but hey, it’s your life.

Your pal,

Steve

22Mar/110

Writer’s Block: Random Picture

I have been feeling a bit creatively blocked recently. Maybe it has something to do with finishing off a project and not being able to figure out what to commit to next. Or maybe, just maybe, it has to do with that devious supermoon. In either case, the solution is simple: force myself to write something. How do I do that? An image search, naturally. Of course, being that I am in a funk, the term I came up with was “random picture”. Yes, I use Bing. No, I don’t get paid by Microsoft, although seriously I should. At the very least they should have used my Chandler Bing reading search results idea. No, I’m not bitter. (Editor’s note: Steve is bitter.) I initially decided that I should write something about the first image result, so I clicked it before it finished loading to get a bigger version.

 bing_random

The random picture result.

“Wow, a sail of 213’s. I guess I can work with that" was my initial thought. Thankfully I had a second thought; bacon. My third thought was “Wait a minute, is that Chuck Norris down there?!?”. As far as I can tell, Bing tossed in some related pictures to my sail of numbers. Apparently nothing says sail of numbers like Chuck Norris, lolcats, and a partially coloured picture of a woolly mammoth. What’s that you say? Those aren’t related images, that’s someone’s actual webpage?!? Oh dear. That’s almost as bad as Paul Blart: Mall Cop fan fiction. Thankfully I have standards, so instead of ridiculing that poor soul, I will instead tell the story of when Chuck Norris met a guitar-playing lolcat that used numbers to defeat an enraged woolly mammoth.

The thing that people forget is that pre-internet Chuck Norris was more (or maybe less) than a meme. He was a hard working guy who just wanted to entertain and motivate the world with kickass movies that feature a seemingly average guy taking initiative and beating the bad guys into submission. Sometimes he would use kicks, sometimes he would use guns, sometimes he wouldn’t bother with sleeves, but throughout it all he would have a beard. Now while most people are concerned with all of his awesome accomplishments that have been immortalised through a bazillion Chuck Norrisisms, I was intrigued by the beard. Of the action stars of his time, he was the only one with a beard. Steven Seagal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and even Sylvester Stallone were more or less clean shaven through all of their movies. That raises the question, how did Chuck Norris end up with a beard?

The origin of Chuck Norris’ beard sounds like a story that belongs in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. As an aside, it is okay for relatively mainstream publications to swear via acronym (WTF blog!). See, Chuck Norris became famous in the 80s, which was the decade that shot animal acting to unprecedented levels. Special effects were limited, so the expertise of animal trainers had a huge impact on the calibre of the final product. The only problem is that some of these trainers had been raised in the 70s, which has the reputation of… appreciating nature to an unprecedented level. Naturally, this lifestyle influenced the behaviour of their trained animals. It was one particular trained animal, a cat named Charles, that lead to the famous beard.

Chuck and Charles met during the filming of Slaughter in San Francisco. Charles was no ordinary stage cat. For one, he still had all of his claws. Secondly, he had been trained to pluck guitar strings. I really want to say that he was trained to play guitar, but his trainer would handle holding strings to frets while Charles swatted strings so I don’t feel right saying it was all Charles. Charles and his trainer kept their talent a secret for the most part, hoping that they would one day leverage it to land a lucrative contract in Vegas.

One day during filming, a young Chuck Norris accidently connected with a few too many strikes on a particularly hairy stunt man. We know it was accidently because if Chuck Norris connects on purpose it knocks out you and your family. Our hairy stunt man took offense to these strikes and decided he would make an example of this up and coming action star by manhandling him. Charles’ trainer noticed the explosive situation brewing and did not want a work stoppage because of a random stunt man being hospitalized so he did the only thing he knew how to do; play guitar with a cat. The two of them played the best song they had ever played to try and distract this raging hairy man from picking a fight with Chuck Norris.

The soothing sounds of a nearly recognizable version of “Three Blind Mice” with the ridiculous image a man/cat duo playing a guitar stopped the woolly mammoth in his tracks. He was captivated by the elegance of their performance, his anger fading into a child-like exuberance. He was realizing there was more to life than petty competitions and establishments of dominance. And that was when it hit him. By it I mean Chuck Norris’ foot in his face. The stunt man was taken to the hospital and Chuck and Charles celebrated their dominance with a few brews at the local bar. And that’s why Chuck Norris has a beard.

Your pal,

Steve

PS Yes, I know I never really explained the reason behind the beard but if you are paying enough attention to care about that then you should be more annoyed that I did not mention how numbers defeated the mammoth, and we both know you forgot completely about that.

2Mar/111

I watched it so you don’t have to: The Gingerdead Man

Every now and then I like to give back to my faithful reader. (Editor’s note: That is not a typo). I give back the only way I know how, by watching movies that no sane person should ever spend a couple of hours watching. And no, this has nothing to do with any court ordered community service.

I poached this “Steveview” from Past Steve, 2006 to be precise, so it is pretty old. However, it does set the stage nicely for a Steveview of The Gingerdead Man 2, coming soon to a Steveblog near you!

The Gingerdead Man (2005)

TheGingerdeadMan

Something’s In The Oven...

Monster movies are a staple of the horror industry but there are only so many vampire/frankenstein/king kong movies that can be made. We've seen many classic villains come from seemingly harmless creatures, like killer clowns, killer amoebas, and killer tomatoes. Now we add killer pastry to the mix. That lame pun is just one of many reasons why I have not seen a killer pastry movie before this.

The prologue has Gary Busey killing most of a family at a diner before he is arrested and executed. This accomplishes two things, creating a history between the killer and hero, and setting up a bakery that is staffed by teens and one alcoholic old lady. There's our stressed out cute hero, the baker with dreams of being a wrestler, his gimmick is The Butcher Baker (future WWE’ers take notes), the hot chick who... I'm not sure what she did, and the alcoholic lady. We also are introduced to greedy guy who wants to tear down the bakery, his bitchy daughter, and her hickish boyfriend. The gingerdead man is the reincarnation of Gary Busey, all they had to do was make the dough, add some blood, decorate him, and bake him.

busey

I rolled out of bed, now where's my goddamned pay check!

Now before we go any further, I want you to picture the smartest character you've seen in a movie. Got one in your head? Well you might as well lose that picture because the hickish boyfriend is officially the smartest man ever in a movie, not just a horror one. He's smart enough to use the woman who's using him, while still winning hearts of other women. When bitchy chick's cell phone battery died, he grabbed it and went to use the car charger. When confronted with an evil gingerbread man, he figured it was either a joke and he'd kick someone's ass over it or it was real and he'd shoot the flour out of the little guy. These are just a sampling of his flashes of brilliance.

doughboy

Feeling ashamed that the Pilsbury Dough Boy jumped into your head? Don't feel bad, they used it too.

The movie is basically a bunch of dough jokes with the gingerdead man running around laughing a lot. I don't know if I'll ever understand why evil people laugh sinisterly for long periods of time or why regular people are drawn to the laugh. Maybe it's some pied piper deal. Eventually the bitchy girl and her dad are killed just before The Butcher Baker shows up to save everyone else. He impresses the hot chick by biting off the gingerbread man's head and eating it. I'm sure the eating part was unnecessary but what do I know about impressing women?

baker

I can break your fucking back - break your back and make you humble and then fuck your ass. – Iron Sheik

Since movies cannot just end with killing the bad guy once anymore, the Baker gets some nasty indigestion and becomes evil. The remaining good guys kill him and live happily ever after. As his catch phrase went, his ass was toast. (take notes future WWE’ers)

If they had upped the body count and tossed in some gratuitous breast shots, this would have had been the definition of a cult classic. Unfortunately I don't think we'll be graced with a Gingerdead Man 2: Back and Batter Than Ever. (Current Steve’s note: Oh boy, were you ever wrong, Past Steve)

Your pal,

Steve