Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Big Black Wha...wha..whaaaaaaaat???

If you ever get to Grand Cayman you'll have to check out the Pirate's Grotto where you can have your picture taken with the legendary (at least acccording to the tour guides and locales) and imfamous Big Black Dick (or Richard, if you will). A pirate who supposedly sailed in the area of the Caymans. There is also a Big Black Dick Rum, which is quite good.

There are some days where you'll find half a dozen tourists standing in line just to have their photo taken. Sadly I don't think you can actually read the scroll, but it is pretty funny seeing some of the older and more conservative tourists reacting to the whole thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Child in her California office

Since I frequently mention her, here's a pic of Kristina (often referred to as The Child, here at Chez Chaput). She is Donna's daughter and I'm proud to say my step-daughter. Living out in California and happy having just bought her own condo.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This is just a test!

This is a test so you can ignore it if you like. This picture was taken of Donna and myself several years ago at Atlantic City.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A short review of the movie: FANTASTIC FOUR

We had a rainy day on the cruise so Donna and I spent some time in our stateroom. She caught some sleep, while I decided to check out the free movies on the cabin set. I was surprised to discover that on this particular day they were showing the FANTASTIC FOUR. I never had the chance to catch it in the theatres so figured this was the perfect opportunity.

Since I didn't see it when it was in release I don't know if the film was edited for viewing by 'general audiences' on the ship, as there were kids on board. Assuming nothing major was lost here's what I thought.

Let's be honest here, the entire cast except for Michael Chiklis could have been replaced with the cast from the never "officially released" FF film Roger Corman made. I find it hard to believe that this is the best that Tim Story & company could have gotten. Ioan Grufford and Julian McMahon could have easily exchanged roles and the casting director could have watched any prime time show on the WB to come up with somebody more talented then Chris Evans. Jessica Alba looks like she watched BATMAN FOREVER and channeled Nicole Kidman's performance from that flick. Ten seconds of lingerie shots don't make a character.

I will give it up for most of the FX in the film, only a couple of shots of Mr. Fantastic in action looked shoddy. In the final confrontation with Victor (who never really becomes DOCTOR DOOM, in my opinion) makes good use of CGI with Reed turning from spinning wheel to blanket. Chiklis did what he could under all that make up and I thought he made you feel for Ben.

Overall not as bad as some folks had led me to believe. I don't know if the feature made enough for a sequel, but I'd count on it. Perhaps they'll recast all but Grimm and give us something a bit better.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sailing away!

If you click on the above headline you'll find that the Carnival Miracle is sailing the Western Caribbean. Baring unforeseen disasters Donna and will be enjoying the pools, bars, shows and especially room service. There's nothing like closing down the casino and heading back to your room to order a fruit & cheese platter or mini-pizza at 2:00am.

Keep an eye on each other and take care until I get back!

Oh...before I forget. It really is an eye opener to check out random blogs on the sign in page. Give it a try, but be forewarned that there is some VERY adult stuff floating about. Whoa!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Not on my reading list

I thought it was safe to begin reading some of the books which have been sitting on my bookcase for the past few months. As I mentioned previously I have a couple of paperbacks that I was going to take along on the cruise (along with the latest issue of CBG). Naturally, when I got home last night I found a box sitting on the steps (Donna and I live on the second floor of her mother's two-family in Brooklyn).

Apparently the good folks over at the Joe Bob Briggs site still have enough confidence in my reviews to continue sending new books. There is still at least one review (possibly two, but I'm losing track at this point) which has yet to be posted so it seems time to load me down again.

The box contained six books, mostly published only last year. Four are hard covers and the other two mass market paperbacks, including the political novel by Barbara Boxer, A TIME TO RUN. As usual when I receive shipments like this I'll try to read them in order of publication so the reviews (when they eventually are posted) aren't totally out of date.

I'm finishing off the book DREAMING WAR by Gore Vidal, so I'll let you know what book I'll be taking along in the next day or two.

Four days until the cruise and counting every minute!

Friday, January 06, 2006

30 Days of Night: a brief review

This year I'm actually going to try to put some comics related stuff in this blog. I figured I'd start with a book which received a lot of attention and appears to have made the writer one of the current hot creators in the industry.

30 Days of Night (IDW) - I read this in the trade paper edition which includes the mini-series and extra stuff, like writer Steven Niles' original script. It is easy to see why the book proved so popular and the fact that it has been optioned for a feature film proves that it caught more then passing fanboy interest. I recall reading that there is or will be sequels which take place in the same world as this, if not featuring the same characters, since only a few of the principles in this story survive the assault and final confrontations.

To be honest, I didn't find anything particularly original beyond the initial set up. The idea of a tribe of vampires taking over a small Alaskan town during a period of sunless days is something I had not read before, but my vampire reading may be more limited than yours. Sadly, once that bit of business begins there isn't a lot else except for graphic violence and a claustrophobic feeling. The art by Ben Templesmith is of the Bill Sienkiewicz (circa STRAY TOASTERS) school of 'dark, scary and difficult to interpret.' I have to be honest and say that there were several scenes so dark and ARTISTIC that I had no clue what was going on nor who was doing what to whom. With such a large number of characters, many of whom are not even given names, it would have been nice if there was some way to identify them. Also, since we don't know the people in town we can't feel anything when they are killed. They remind you of the citizens of Tokyo stomped by Godzilla and his co-horts, being simply faceless victims not important to the plot.

There are some nice touches in the married couple, Eban & Stella who happen to be the town sheriffs. They have a good relationship and it's this rather than the mayhem taking place outside that really carries the only impact the story has. Fans of this book can only hope that the eventual film adaptation have actors good enough, with some kind of on-screen chemistry, to make the characters work.

I'll give it two stars and recommend you borrow it from your neighborhood library or a friend. Give it another star if you're really into this type of thing. As they say your milage may vary.

Warm beer and other stuff

Just heard on Air America about a Missouri law maker trying to pass legislation which would ban convenience stores from selling beer with temperatures less then 60 degrees. Apparently this, in his way of thinking, would cut down on drunk driving because people would be less likely to pop open a can of room temp brew on the ride home. Obviously this guy doesn't remember his younger days and the rule that any beer short of steaming is acceptable. If you can open the can you can drink it!

Wonder what my buddies over at the Beer Advocate think of this?

We're down to single digits in the Cruise Countdown. Donna is ironing some of our clothes and checking to see if a last minute visit to the dry cleaner is in order. She's also going to get her hair cut tomorrow, since Mister Steve (her colorist) already took care of those nasty dark roots.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Getting ready for the cruise

I've learned from past cruises (and years in the Navy) that it's best to plan your travels ahead of time. Donna and I spent part of yesterday doing some shopping for clothes and incidentals we'll be bringing along with us. We only have ten days left until the cruise, but we'll be flying down to Tampa the day before. I'm going to be bringing up our suitcases tonight after work to let them air out and then we can start packing some of the stuff (bathing suits, toiletries, etc.) we won't be needing until we're actually aboard the Carnival Miracle on Sunday.

I probably won't log in during the cruise, since I'm pretty cheap and Carnival charges a few bucks for even the shortest computer time. What I plan on doing is writing a short journal beginning the Saturday before (1/14) when we fly down and keeping track of some of the things we do. I'll then write it up and post it when I get back. The best part is that you can read it or ignore it depending on how you feel about this sort of thing.