May 31, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars

Last weekend I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

For anyone who has any worries that this film might suck, set those fears aside. It's a good movie and fits in with the other Indy flicks. It is, after all, no more goofy than any of the other episodes, where ancient artifacts wield god-like powers.

If you happen to be a Russian communist, then just get over it.

May 19, 2008

MMR-B-Q 40th Birthday Party

On Sunday I went to the all day concert for 93.3 WMMR. It was at the Camden waterfront arena (which keeps changing names). Unfortunately I had a lawn ticket, so I got very wet! But I was right up on the railing the whole time, even managed to hold onto my spot for Stone Temple Pilots.

Jealousy Curve opened the show. They're a local band that's just breaking into the scene, they were very good and a great choice to open. Another group of locals, Silvertide, was also very good.

Airbourne is a new band out of Austrailia, they rocked the house like AC/DC in their early Bonn Scott days. As far as I'm concerned, they stole the show everyone that followed except for the last two acts.

Ashes Divide, which is made up of members of A Perfect Circle (I think), was next up. They were okay, but kinda poppy, which would have been very cool in the 80s.

Then The Hooters played, talk about a trip back to the 80s. They were very good, but in a nostalgic way. Their sound is very much rooted in the 80s, I still like a lot of their songs but it's not like I'm going to get a CD. Now back in the day, I owned two and never thought I'd part with them!

Everclear was next up. For a band that's been around a while and gotten plenty or airplay, I was underwhelmed.

Staind came on next, finally re-establishing the rock. They really tore it up, sounding easily as good or better than their album cuts. Surprisingly, I knew most of the songs...I may have a new artist to add to my collection.

Finally, Stone Temple Pilots. Who knew that STP would ever get back together? And after all the "We know how to handle a lead singer with substance abuse problems" talk from Slash, I didn't expect Velvet Revolver to dump Scott Wyland just after their second album came out. But now STP is back with a vengeance! They really rocked, they were in perfect form and the whole place was energized.

May 16, 2008

Grand Canyon Skywalk = Tourist Trap

While I was out in Vegas just over a week ago, Randy and I decided on a trip to see the Grand Canyon. So we drove over Hoover Dam and prepared for a long drive...the signs were saying it was over 200 miles to the Canyon, though on the map we could see a few Indian reservations that went to the southern edge.

Then we saw signs for the Skywalk on the Hualapai Reservation. Why not?

We drove across miles of desert, through two small towns and an extensive Joshua Tree forest (which, for some reason, reminded me of the Pine Barrens, minus all the undergrowth). Then we left the paved road for 20 miles of dirt road.

At this turn-off we saw what should have been our first warning of things to come, a sign for the Skywalk that actually included some price information: $20 parking and additional fees

We finally arrived on the reservation. The parking area looked like a tractor-trailer parking area, it was huged. Unfortunately, it was also completely fenced in, though the rim of the canyon could clearly be seen about 1/4 - 1/2 mile away. We were so close that we could see the tops of the cliffs on the other side. But there seemed to be no access for foot traffic.

We were directed into the Tourism Center, were we learned part of the bitter truth. We'd already paid $20 just to park the car. To take the bus ride to the Skywalk was $39. It was another $39 to go out onto the Skywalk personal cameras allowed.

The camera thing immediately made me irritated. I can understand an art museum not allowing flash photography, that's one thing. But to not allow cameras to an outdoor or nature area is just a money has nothing to do with preserving the sacred ground of the Hualapai, for they will take photos of you (for a price, of course).

So we figured it was about $100 to see the Grand Canyon: $20 to park, $40 for the bus ride, then $40 for the Skywalk. We figured that, being the cruel Indians these seem to be, you probably can't see the Canyon from the Skywalk bus stop just as you can't see it from the car parking area.

Screw it, we left.

On the long-ass drive out, several other things dawned on us. There'd been mention of lockers to store your camera while out on the Skywalk, so how much wampum for a locker? Then there was the map inside the Tourism Center, which showed three parking areas, though we only found pricing information for the Skywalk parking area. Were there additional charges to get off the bus at these areas? Probably. Then we surmised that the Skywalk probably doesn't have the best view of the Canyon, it's probably from Guano Point (which is what one of the other areas was actually named) or the other bus stop.

Lesson learned. If you travel across the continent and decide to see the Grand Canyon, then by all means, drive the extra hours to the U.S. National Park. Do not try to see it from the "Wanna-pay", or any other Indian reservation. We got ripped off and only paid $20 to park...I can only imagine that getting hit for money every step of the way must feel like financial rape.

May 15, 2008

Nine Inch Nails: The Slip

A few weeks ago, Nine Inch Nails offered a free download of a new album called The Slip. This has some of the feel of Year Zero, but it's grittier if you could somehow mix Year Zero with Broken. Discipline is definitely radio-worthy, there are some other good songs here too. All in all, not bad for a free download, though this one's not for the average listener.

May 10, 2008

Iron Man


I got a chance to watch Iron Man opening weekend (which was last weekend, while I was out in Vegas). Oh damn, what a good film. It's lots of fun, and since the hero is already a grown man, there's no time wasted on teen angst like in Spider-Man.

Robert Downey Jr. does an outstanding job portraying the playboy tech tycoon Tony Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow is great in her role as Tony's extremely competent personal assistant. And Jeff Bridges really surprised me: he's shaved his head, changed his look (looks like he even gained some weight) and plays out of character.

For a movie based off a comic book that, admittedly, is B-list, the writing is surprisingly good. The story's nice and tight, there's no wasted time or slow spots, yet it manages not to be a Bruckheimer. Some suspension of disbelief is required, then again this is basically science fiction.

This is a must-see on the big screen, and a must-own DVD...take my word for it!

May 08, 2008

Let Her Eat Cake

Fun story about a gorilla's birthday.