Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Well, 2008 is almost done as I write this. It also marks a whole year's worth of daily posts. I don't know if I'll keep up daily posts in the coming year; I might focus more on quality than quantity.

I'd like to thank all of you who come here and read this blog and take the time to comment; I really appreciate it.

In 2009, I'm going to finally finish Bad Movies From A to Z, if only so I can start another project I've been thinking of doing, and hopefully, I'll be able to write more in-depth posts in general.

Have a safe night tonight, and I'll see you in the new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finding TV treasure

In researching my list of must-see TV shows I mentioned yesterday, I rediscovered the treasure trove of old TV at the Internet Archive.

For example...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Do I really need to watch more TV shows?


As many shows as I've seen, I am reminded that there are four basic groups into which TV shows fall:

1) Shows I remember

2) Shows I know I've seen but don't recall

3) Shows I have heard of but have never seen

4) What the hell was that?

The latter two categories are the most interesting to me, because it astounds me when you think of just how much stuff has been on TV, good, bad, and bizarre. Even with as much TV as I consumed as a kid, growing up with three solid independent stations that offered a cornucopia of TV shows, there's stuff that I just plain missed.

Here's an example of all four types of TV shows:

Fortunately, the Internet is chock full of people who share their memories of shows, which often times is the only resource for people like me who have yet to make the trip to the Paley Center for Media for research.

Someday I'll make it to the West Coast branch of the center, and I'll finally be able to see such lost shows as Turn-On, a Laugh-In-type show that was canceled after its first episode (and in some markets during the broadcast). Any time a book about TV referred to legendary flops, Turn-On was always at the top of the list.

In many cases, I'm sure there's a pretty logical reason why we don't see certain shows: they're abysmal. But I feel like there's a treasure trove of stuff out there that I have yet to see. It's sort of like archaeology, except with fewer degrees, less travel, and (in my case, at least), a developing pot belly.

Some shows defy belief that they managed to make it to air. But everything that did represents the fact that someone, somewhere, thought a program was worthy enough to spend money on and show to millions of people.

A great example of this is illustrated in an article on Television Obscurities that features 10 of the "most outlandish TV concepts ever."

And before you ask, yes, I've seen most of them. You can say many things about me, but you can't say I don't have a morbid sense of curiosity and a strong stomach for weird programming.

I think I'll work on a list of my must-see shows in the next day or so, and why I want to see them. Feel free to jog my memory in the comments.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Idol of millions, give or take a few million

Earlier tonight, I got to play Rock Band 2 on Xbox Live with some friends, which was a lot of fun. And I hardly even sucked that bad, too.

This was a pretty fun weekend. We did some Christmas get-together stuff and hung around the house as well, although we did manage to take advantage of the sunshine that beamed in through the windows.

And, apropos of nothing, here's a video:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A minor writing roadblock

Not only did my wife get me Rock Band 2 for Christmas, but my parents got me Guitar Hero: World Tour, and my wife's parents got me a fat stack of cool games that will also take up my time.

All of this means that for the next few weeks, I will likely get little extraneous writing done. I know, I know, I really ought to be putting my nose to the grindstone and all that, but dude--I have a bunch of new games I haven't beaten yet; I'm obligated.

You can't see it, but I'm throwing the horns right now in anticipation of a rousing round of fake guitar playing.

If you're on Xbox Live, add SiftinJeff to your list of pals, and you, too, can beat my ass at a game.

Friday, December 26, 2008

...little pond hopper...

If you just can't wait until March when it finally gets a DVD release, you can watch Howard the Duck right here, thanks to Hulu.

Much has been said about how awful this movie is. I was 11 going on 12 when this came out, so I'm not as critical as others. Don't get me wrong; it's not a great movie, and it bears little resemblance to what made Steve Gerber's waterfowl creation so awesome.

That said, it does have Lea Thompson in it, albeit as a victim of a crimping iron accident. So sit back, grab some corn, and it's movie time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

Well, tomorrow's Christmas, so Merry Christmas in advance to all of you (and Happy continued Hanukkah as well).

We're spending the holiday with family, so tomorrow morning should be fun. I'm already full of, um, holiday cheer (since I don't have any driving to do tonight), and consequently, am pretty relaxed.

I hope everything is well with all of you. I appreciate everyone who reads my drivel, even if I don't say it very often.

And in Christmas song-related news, I somehow managed to get all the way until today without hearing "Feliz Navidad," and then I heard in twice already. For some reason, I used to hate that song, and knowing this, my mom would use it to get me out of bed on Christmas morning. I have since developed an appreciation for the song.

So, Feliz Navidad!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the eleventh day of Christmas...

The thing I'm looking most forward to this Christmas is seeing my son's face when he opens his presents. He's five now, and he does this thing when he's happy.

The corners of his mouth turn up and he does his best not to smile, but you can tell that he's excited about what he's seeing.

I never get tired of seeing it.

Even better; in a few years, I'll be able to see my daughter's reactions, too. I feel kinda sappy looking so forward to it, but I'm a sentimental fool. Sue me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the tenth day of Christmas...

I thought it appropriate I saw this today, as I convinced my son to watch an episode or two of Thundercats this morning.

Alas, it's fake, but it's really well-done. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On the ninth day of Christmas...

While the Super Powers Collection action figures were always on our Christmas wish lists, a solid backup was anything from the Marvel Secret Wars Collection.

They weren't as cool as the Super Powers figures; they weren't as articulated, for one, and, well, they were Marvel characters, and my brother and I were DC kids.

Still, we ended up with almost the whole first wave of figures, and we staged our own Marvel vs. DC slugfests, with DC always coming out on top. We had one vehicle; a motorcycley thing, and I eventually got a Doom Roller and the Tower of Doom on eBay when I was much older.

This is also from the 1985 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the eighth day of Christmas...

I was asked to compile a wish list for work, so you know, if anyone out there still needs gift ideas for me, get your notepad ready and click this link.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On the sixth day of Christmas...

1978. My last Christmas as an only child. You can almost see that look of impending doom on my face here, can't you?

Thirty years later, and I'm still not all that excited to get a picture taken with Santa Claus. No, there's not a picture for that. I'm old enough that I can say no.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the fifth day of Christmas...

I offer some ideas for you last-minute shoppers. If you go to my Cafe Press store, you can find an array of awesome garments. Here are just two items.


Come on; this stuff ain't gonna buy itself...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the fourth day of Christmas...

I got an early present. Some kind soul uploaded an episode of The Magnificent Marble Machine to YouTube. This show was on my list of must-see short-lived shows.

It's a game show that features a gigantic pinball machine. How can you not love that? In the spirit of sharing, here it is, just for you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On the second day of Christmas...

I can't very well talk about Christmas without mentioning the classic holiday special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. It still throws me off that it is shown on ABC these days, because it doesn't feel special unless I see this before the cartoon:

Anyhow, here's an ad for the special from a December 1978 TV Guide.

I always wondered how much Dolly Madison got out of associating with the Peanuts specials. The two are still linked in my mind, even 30 years later.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On the first day of Christmas...


This comes from the 1985 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog. The ad itself reflects the second wave of figures in the Super Powers Collection, one of my all-time favorite toy sets.

What struck me as odd looking at it now is that not only is the Darkseid Destroyer (the spaceship in the top right) missing pieces, such as the flight pods that went on each wing, and the guns that are supposed to be on the front, but since Darkseid is standing on the rock below the ship's wing, who is it in the cockpit?

It's Hobgoblin, a villain from the Marvel Secret Wars Collection, not even part of the same toy line.

I picked up my own Darkseid Destroyer a few years back and finally broke down and assembled it in the early days of the blog here.

While the toy line was still going, anything my brother and I didn't have would surely be at the top of our Christmas wish lists. One particular figure from the line eluded us, and it remains on my own wish list out of principle: Cyborg.

Hope springs eternal, though.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Take a sniff. Pull it out.

The taste is gonna move you when you pop it in your mouth.

Oh, why aren't there lyrics like these any more?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Today was kind of a crappy day, so instead of the usual meandering, here is a video of a kitten.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh God, make it go away...

I make fun of The Star Wars Holiday Special, but as bad as that is, it's not the only offender in the ill-conceived live-action genre program.

Let me tell you about a little thing called Legends of the Superheroes. Imagine the old Batman TV show combined with the inanity of Challenge of the Superfriends. And then take the result and get it drunk and maybe even hit it in the head with a hammer.

I'm warning you; this is pretty awful. But I think it's my duty to keep you from buying a bootleg videotape of this program at a comic convention.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My dad told me the computer was versatile, but...

In the early days of home computing, we picked some losers before some winners. We were the only family I knew of who had a Coleco Adam, and before that we had a Timex Sinclair.

But in our pre-PC days, we managed to settle on first the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A and then ultimately, our trusty Commodore 128, on which we played about a billion Commodore 64 games over and over.

So when I saw this video this morning, it tugged a little at my heartstrings. Some enterprising souls have created an ersatz Guitar Hero game that runs on the C-64. It's called Shredz64.

While I'm tempted to break out my old C-128 to try it out, I really don't have the room or an adapter for my guitar controller anyway. But check out this demo, in which the SID version of a popular 80s tune is played.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A movie that haunts me

Last night, I watched a movie that I don't think I'd seen since it was in the theaters: Deadly Friend. It's a typical love story: supergenius boy who creates a pet robot named BB falls in love with abused girl and reanimates her with his robot's brain after her dad accidentally kills her, only to find that she takes revenge on her tormentors.

I saw this in the theater with my dad, who I could usually con into taking me to see horror movies. But one scene in this flick haunts me, and not because it's scary. Here's a link to the video, all cued up:

Right when the main character, Paul, whips back the blanket, everyone in the theater gasped, which startled me a little. My dad thought it actually scared me, and to this day, should the film come up, will laugh and say "BB," in an approximation of the robot's voice.

The movie holds up fairly well for what it is, up until the ending. I'd post the video here, but it makes even less sense out of context than it does in context. I'm curious if the ending was tacked on after polling a test audience or something.

Anyhow, here's the trailer. I just sent it back to Netflix, so you may be the lucky person to get it next.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

What's on TV?

Here is a cool way to waste some time and be festive all at the same time: BetaMaxmas. Relive the fun of staying home for winter break.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Just out of morbid curiosity...

What is your least favorite Christmas song? This, surprisingly, isn't mine.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Important cookie-baking tip

If you decide to make Christmas cookies this season, don't listen to the guy who dares you to eat a whole teaspoon of cinnamon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

No business like snow business

Having lived in suburban California, I have yet to experience a white Christmas. There were a few times it looked like it might get close, but even then, it would have been more of a wet Christmas, as the snow would melt as it hit the ground.

We've gone to the snow on the day after Christmas, which was a lot of fun, especially for someone who rarely sees it. I think I was about 12, and we went to the snow with our extended family. I was eager to try out the sled my cousins had.

After finding a patch of snow that wasn't mobbed, we settled in for some frosty fun. My dad was convinced that he could sled on a broken-down cardboard box we had in the trunk, but I was holding out for the real sled.

My brother and I got our turn, and we schlepped the sled up to the top of the hill. The gentle slope evened out in the middle before continuing its downhill run, so we knew we had to get enough momentum to go all the way down the hill.

Since I was older and heavier, I got the back of the two-man sled, while my brother manned the front. With a hefty shove, we were off.

This is where everything goes in slow motion.

We were sailing along nicely, when my brother thought we were going too fast, so he pulled the handbrakes that were on the sides.

Alas, those weren't brakes; they were what you steered with. As soon as he pulled them, we went sideways, losing very little momentum. As we flipped and tumbled out of the sled, I rolled over my brother's head, practically planting him in the snow--accidentally, mind you.

The empty sled skittered to the bottom of the hill. My brother and I dusted ourselves off and looked at each other.


And we headed back up the hill.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In retrospect, not as cool as I thought

Back in the dim, dark recesses of time (the 80s), my brother and I had secured our very own Castle Grayskull from the Masters of the Universe Collection.

We used it with the few He-Man figures we had, as well as our Super Powers figures. It was one of the coolest toys we had, bragging-wise.

And then Mattel released the evil equivalent of Castle Grayskull: Snake Mountain. Not only was this Skeletor's bad-ass hideout, but it had a microphone that supposedly made you sound evil as well.

Okay, so that picture doesn't really scream "badass," but still...the catalog clearly states that the microphone will change your natural voice into "a frightening voice of evil!"

The folks taking pics for Montgomery Wards' '84 Christmas catalog further belittled Snake Mountain by including Fisto (still loving that name) tooling around in a Dragon Walker.

I mean, seriously--how evil can your lair be if Fisto is hanging out front?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Merry Christmas from Payless. Merry Christmaaaaaaaaas...

How is it I can find almost anything on the Internet, but a 3-minute search yields me no mp3 or video of one of my favorite commercial jingles? It's an unjust world, I tell you.

If you grew up near a Payless drug store in the 70s and 80s, you're probably already damning me for getting the song stuck in your head.

If you didn't have Payless, then you are spared.

Anyhow, if anyone tracks it down, gimme a holler, wouldja?

Monday, December 01, 2008

The countdown begins...

This year, I figured I'd try doing a countdown to Christmas, with a vaguely Christmas-related post every day until the 25th.

For starters, here's a block of 80s Christmas commercials:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh, and by the way...

NaBloPoMo, yes. NaNoWriMo, not so much.

Post No. 700: Making cookies

Since we had a four-day weekend, Brody and I took a little time and made some cutout Christmas cookies.

Here we are during the prebaking decoration:

Brody was adamant that we decorate the Christmas tree cookie with green sugar, but it was my idea to put the snowflakes on it. The finished result:

It was also my idea to add eyes to the angel cookie down in the bottom left, but looking at it now, it reminds me of something. Give me a minute, here...

Ah, that's what it was.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Columnated ruins domino

One of my favorite albums is Smile by Brian Wilson, though I heard most of it as bootlegs from the aborted 1967 Beach Boys version of the album.

In one of my favorite songs on the album, "Surf's Up," there's a line, courtesy of co-writer Van Dyke Parks, that goes, "Columnated ruins domino."

This was one of the lyrics on the album that Mike Love is said to have challenged, asking for an explanation, which Parks did not have.

This was the first thing that occurred to me the first time I heard the lyric:

Sadly, this is the way my brain works.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What, me, antisocial?

I never said I was particularly smart.

Given that I hate waking up early, have an almost pathological aversion to crowds and crowded places, and have a general disdain for people, it seems a bit odd that I would show up to Toys R Us at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

But there I was. And with relatively little trouble, I got what I needed and was back home about a half-hour after I left.

Tonight, we went to a potluck at a friend's house. Tomorrow, I go over to my brother's house to have a little post-Thanksgiving shindig with our families.

For someone who is shy to the point of being antisocial, I've got quite a bit on my social schedule. I'm not quite up to social butterfly yet, but I'm at least a social moth or something, right?

Hope everyone has a pleasant and safe extended holiday. More tomorrow, possibly with brotherly antics.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Something to give thanks for.

Without a doubt, this was the best part of any Thanksgiving Day parade in recent memory:

Happy Thanksgiving, kids!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Friday night videos: It is to laugh

To get you in a cheery mood for tomorrow's holiday festivities, here are some videos that, no matter how many times I see them, make me laugh.

A lot.

The Leeroy Jenkins Incident

Best Drug Bust News Report Ever (slightly NSFW)

Coolest fight scene from Black Belt Jones

Roommate's revenge

What smells like peanuts?

Are there any that you never get tired of?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A sense of wonder...

I hadn't been to AOL's In2TV for a while, but I saw today that you can embed videos, so I had to try it out. Modern technology is allowing me to share with you my very favoritest episode of Wonder Woman: "The Feminum Mystique." Feminum, if I recall correctly, is what Wonder Woman's bracelets are made of. On the show, anyway. I think back in the day in the comics, they were made of Amazonium.

Anyhow, enjoy both parts of this Wonder Woman epic, featuring Debra Winger as WW's little sis.

Watch more Wonder Woman videos on AOL Video

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rock out

Here's arousing ditty to get you all psyched up for another week of work. Hoohah.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The number's up.

It's true.

One of the many things that makes me look like a chump is that when asked for my cell phone number, I have to look it up. On my cell phone.

Some people are just really good at remembering phone numbers. I'm not. I mean, how often do I call myself, really?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Have you seen this man?

I thought I'd put this up for the sake of comparison. Now that you can make avatars for Xbox Live, I just had to make one for myself. It's actually kinda sad how much this looks like me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spending way too much time doing this.

Playing online against people far more qualified. While this video isn't me, it may as well be. I have to get back in the swing of things.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here's a movie that just screams "remake"

Isn't the world ready for an updated version of the classic TV movie Devil Dog: Hound of Hell?

I think the most interesting thing I could tell from the trailer is that the kids who were in the Witch Mountain movies appear to be playing brother and sister again. That's kinda weird.

Oh well. I'm told it's a scary movie, but I'll have to find out once I watch it--whenever that may be.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In fear of the Irony Police

We bought Wall-E on DVD today. At Wal-Mart. If you've seen the movie, you know why I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the Irony Police wagon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Halloween addendum

Managed to unearth another Halloween picture, though this was is a bit more recent than the others in last week's post.

By 1987, I was already in charge of taking my younger brother trick or treating. And if I had to schlep around town anyway, you'd better believe I was going to get some candy, so I dressed up, too.

As you can see, we staged Freddy vs. Jason years before it even hit the screen. I hadn't yet donned my sweater, because it was a bit warm. But I assure you, I was just as terrifying with my *cough* Garfield shirt.

I remember thinking my Freddy Krueger glove was pretty badass. It smelled practically toxic (new, not worn), so I'm sure the fabric was lead-infused, as were the plastic blades.

The few Freddy masks they had in the stores were pretty weak sauce, so I took an old skull mask of my uncle's and flipped it inside out to simulate burned, melty skin. It also had the benefit of allowing me to wear my glasses underneath.

No sense walking around in the dark if I can't see two feet in front of me, right?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Update to yesterday's post

Well, technically, you'll all have to wait till I'm able to afford an Xbox Live Gold membership. I'm supposed to get a free one-month trial, but after setting up my profile, the only options I was given was to pay.

I know they're cheaper on Amazon, but I'll just have to wait, since I dropped all my mad money on the console itself.

But after that, I will be a n00b, ready for some pwnage.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Xboxing's been good to me, Howard...

So I finally got all set up on Xbox Live, and lo and behold, it's almost midnight--because I've been playing all night.

So if any of you Xboxers out there want a n00b to pound on, my gamertag is


Be gentle.

Friday, November 14, 2008

That's gotta be a record.

For your Friday night video pleasure, here's the fastest Super Mario Bros. run you'll ever see.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We interrupt this program...

Had a great night. Hung out with my peeps after work. Just got an Xbox 360. Productivity for the night shot. Back tomorrow. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Okay, fine. Me in costume. Sorta.

After being mildly castigated by my friend last week because I didn't dress up for Halloween this year, I thought that I could at least comb through the Siftin' photo archives and take a look at Halloweens past.

This was Halloween 1975, when I was just days shy of my first birthday. One thing I always liked about my costumes was that they were often a blend of custom tailoring and low-tech reuse of existing garments.

Hence, the classic mouse ears hat. I'm told that I was a fiend for Mickey Mouse at a pretty young age. I called him "Meemouse" and would want to watch reruns of "The Mickey Mouse Club" when it came on.

I don't know if my parents took me out trick-or-treating, but at least there was a picture for posterity.

Okay, now wait just a minute here. Here's me in 1977, just before my third birthday. That's what the back of the picture says. But I have another picture (which is really fuzzy, so I didn't use it) of me in this outfit two years later when I was in kindergarten. Did my mom let me wear the same costume twice?

I called her, and once I mentioned it, she said that it was possible, but she didn't remember for sure.

At any rate, I remember this when I wore it in kindergarten. My mom made the fake fur leggings and the fake leather vest, but the base of the costume was a set of white thermal underwear. My favorite part of the costume was the plastic mace, which, by the end of a day of kindergarten, had very few pointy parts still sticking out.

This is one of my favorite Halloween costumes ever, despite this shot of me rolling my eyes. Mr. Skeleton here was a pretty clever outfit. It's just a black leotard with reflective tape as the various bones. Stylish and safe to hit the streets at night. In fact, now that I think of it, I don't remember ever having a store-bought costume. They were always handmade, which is pretty awesome.

The next year, I finally got to be Superman. That's me in the center of the shot. My mom, if I recall correctly, didn't make my cape; rather, my first-grade teacher did. We moved in the middle of first grade, and as a going-away present, she made me a red cape.

Embarrassingly, I used a full set of Superman Underoos along with blue tights for my main outfit. And since my idea of dying my cowboy boots red was not entirely practical, we used knee-high red socks stretched over them.

The last Halloween picture I have here--I need to go to the master archive to look for the ones I'm missing, which may actually be slides--skips ahead a few years to 1984.
I was crafting ever more elaborate ideas for costumes, but I couldn't decide which one I liked the most. Consequently, I ended up cobbling my costume together the night before Halloween. I used a bunch of the stuff my dad used at his job with the phone company and dressed as a phone guy. It was a cool costume in retrospect, but at the time, I remember being pissed off that I had to use a last-resort that wasn't superhero-related.
Does it show much?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My weird brain

My brain is weird. When I was younger, memories imprinted themselves on my brain with what I think now is disproportionate importance.

Case in point: We recently moved to Pleasanton, which is where I spent a lot of time as a lad growing up in nearby Livermore. Pleasanton had the Stoneridge Mall, which was the biggest mall in our area. Sometimes on our way home, we'd pass the Burger King right by the 580 freeway entrance, and I think we begged to stop damn near every time.

One particular time, we *had* to stop, because they were offering Superman-related merchandise. In fact, what we got were these cup holder toys:

Now, the weird thing is that to this day, I see that Burger King, and it is immediately categorized as "The Burger King where we got the cool Super Powers cupholders." Like over 20 years later, mind you.

This also happens when I drive through certain areas and remember what song I heard for the first time when I was there. Completely useless memories, but they're there.

Anyone else similarly afflicted?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Walk hard, thanks to Honda

Oddly enough, the day I thought, wow, is it already the season for The Nutcracker, I saw a story about a gizmo from Honda that is supposed to help with mobility.

And before I could say, "Go go, gadget legs," I thought that this contraption reminded me of something.

And then I figured it out. The one vehicle from Kenner's Super Powers Collection that I didn't mind not having as a kid: The Justice Jogger.

I would love to know who at Kenner thought any of the Justice Leaguers needed a weird vehicle like this, to say nothing of Superman, who was lounging in it on the box.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday night video: 1980 Fall Preview

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. I love that I can see TV ephemera on YouTube. This particular playlist consists of videos uploaded by user bobcnn. It's ABC's 1980 Fall Preview show. I loved these preview shows; I began formulating my viewing schedules based on them.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Music that brightened my day today.



I mean, seriously, how can you not like a girl with a ukulele? Really.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Taking another look

I was bummed to read this morning that Michael Crichton had died. At 66, he was still pretty young. While The Andromeda Strain and the Jurassic Park movies will likely get all the mentions in news coverage, we here at Siftin' will pay tribute to Mr. Crichton in our own way.

Please to enjoy our review of Looker, written and directed by Mr. Crichton.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Episode 2008: A New Hope

I'm still watching the local returns with a cautious eye, but in terms of the big race:


Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Unpack your adjectives

Well, we're just about unpacked. I mean, we did the kitchen this morning, I finished unpacking the books yesterday (no mean feat, as we have craptons of them), and the house doesn't look like the U-Haul box showroom so much.

Now, it occurs to me, that it's already November, which also happens to be National Novel Writing Month. As I haven't done any writing, I'd theoretically already be behind. But I think I may skip this year; I didn't make the 50,000-word goal in years past, so I'm thinking I probably wouldn't this year, either.

But if for some reason I have some kind of epiphany on BART tomorrow on the way to work, then I guess I'm back in the game.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Vote early, vote often!

Everyone remembers the first time they voted, I think. How would you have voted in this race?

For the record, I voted yes.

Friday, October 31, 2008


For the first time in my lifetime, it actually rained while I was out on Halloween. Not buckets, and not even consistently, but still, it rained. This is unusual for the part of California in which I live.

Although I guess technically, I'm in a different part now that we've moved; this was our first Halloween in our new digs.

And we're off to a good start; we got five full-size candy bars (another first in my experience). Brody was very enthusiastic about getting more candy even though he doesn't actually eat it.

"What are you going to do with all your candy?" my wife asked him.

"You gonna give it to me?" I asked.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Old man's lament

How sad is it to post a YouTube video just because I miss the old design of Doritos bags?

And get the hell off my lawn, y'damn kids...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How to keep a moron in suspense...

In this case, the moron would be me. I just caught this video on FAIL Blog, and I was sitting there trying to figure out the source of fail. See if you guess it before I did.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In my room...

I found this while I was unpacking one of the billion or so boxes now occupying my new house. I think I was around 7 or 8 when I wrote this for some school testing thing that was going on.

I got this copy right after I turned 18 and decided to request a copy of my scholastic file--you know, to see if everything they said would go in to your permanent record actually did.

Click the video below to get in the right mood to read it (click the pic underneath to embiggen).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Re: Moving

Unloading a 14-foot U-Haul truck loaded with boxes in one hour: Ow. Thinking of how sore I will be tomorrow, given how sore I was this morning: Do I have to wake up?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Still moving

Well, we got the bulk of everything moved over, but we still have a metric crapton of boxes to bring over. Bah.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So the Siftin' Industries HQ is moving to a new location tomorrow, and that means we're down to the last bit of packing and disassembling.

In fact, this is the last thing I'm doing before packing up the laptop, so nothing important better happen between now and tomorrow, 'cuz I don't want to waste even more packing tape.

Anyway, one of my disassembly projects is our bed. We got it from IKEA back in the Mesozoic Era, and it's made a number of moves right along with us, including one time we thought we'd save time and NOT take it apart--just load the frame on the moving truck and pack around it.

I like to think those scratches and scuff marks give the bed some character, but I digress.

I almost wasn't able to take it apart because my main toolkit is at the new place, while the dregs are here with us. And every hex key in that motley assemblage of rarely used tools is for something OTHER than our bed, as it turns out.

Fortunately, my wife remembered that the torque on our electric drill/screwdriver is adjustable, so I cranked it up to 11 (metaphorically speaking), and got that wedged hex bolt out.

Actually, I'm not sure that the little screw thingy is actually called a hex bolt. I'm pretty sure that's the phrase used to refer to the Scarlet Witch's power in The Avengers, but I think you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I'll do my best to be back tomorrow, but I have to drive a ginormous U-Haul truck with like negative suspension over the Altamont Pass and try not to get bumped through the roof of the cab. Oh, and it's a stick, too. I haven't driven a stick since, well, probably since the last time I had to drive a giant U-Haul truck.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Today, my wife and I have been married for 9 years.

In other news, let's hear it for hot women with poor judgment! W00t!

And in other other news, here's the best Iron Man costume I've seen in a while.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pop goes my brain

And here you thought Men Without Hats only had one song...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stay safe.

I'm in the middle of moving to the new Siftin' headquarters, so while I'm boxing up everything, you enjoy this video.

Or else.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday night video: I bet he was testy about this.

For tonight's video entry, I have painstakingly hand-selected this short piece that would very well be a segment on the show "Ow, My Balls!" from Idiocracy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Do you like my mullet?

OK, so recently, I shared with you, my close personal friends, the literal version of "Take On Me."

Here's the follow-up: the literal version of Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October = Halloween = Scary = This

I know it's not Halloween yet, but to get you in the proper frame of mind, I bring you not a standard slasher flick, not and old-school thriller, but something that may just break your brain.

Do you dare watch...

Turkish Star Trek?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Don't be a brick teaser

Because hey, who doesn't have 60 grand just lying around collecting dust--especially these days?

Well, if that pesky money is bringing you down, you can buy a lifesize replica of yourself built of Lego bricks.

I'm all into self-indulgence; I do write a blog, after all, but dear God; does anyone really need one of these? Do you get to approve it before you have to make the final payment?

"Looks good, but it needs some more bricks in the crotchular region. I hope you've got the factory on round-the-clock production..."

Or what if you get one made, and you've got a giant ass or something? Do you have to pay more? Would I get a discount because I have no hair?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

There's a party in the hizzouse!

Well, actually, that was earlier today, but that's okay. I go to a fair number of birthday parties for the youngsters, and consequently, I see a lot of toys.

And while my cousin's son got some pretty sweet swag for his first birthday, I didn't see anything that had a cool-ass commercial like this:

But on the up side, I did go home with an edible Curious George head, thus leading to a number of inappropriate jokes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

And the number one reason I'm still bitter is...

Many, many moons ago, I used to try my hand at coming up with pithy ideas for the Late Show with David Letterman Top 10 List contest on the show's Web site.

Week after week, I'd try my best, only to not make it among the top 10 submissions. Until one week, I finally did. The category: Top Ten Least-Popular Halloween Costumes.

Not only did I get on the list, but I was at the top spot. Numero uno! For my awesomeness, I earned a Late Show Online T-shirt.


Note that I didn't say received. Somehow, my beloved T-shirt never made it to my house. And though this was years ago--to give you an idea, I'm using Netscape on a Mac (Took the screenshot at work at the time)--it bugged me that there wasn't really a way to prove to my friends that I did it.

Aside from saving a printout of a screenshot and then finding it years later while packing. And now, I'm ineligible to win whatever prize they give away now, because I'm technically an employee of CBS. Sigh.

So to properly preserve my place in lame-o history, here is my winning submission (click to embiggen):

Friday, October 10, 2008

OK, so I'm a choosy mother.

Being a Superman nut as a kid meant that I was automatically interested in anything remotely to do with the character, whether it was Underoos, toys, or peanut butter.

Yes, Superman Peanut Butter graced shelves for a few years in the 1980s, and after pestering my mom, we got some. Being a choosy mother, she usually chose Jif.

I don't remember what it tasted like other than I liked Jif better despite the Superman connection. But every now and then I kept asking for it, in the vain hope that it had improved since the last time.

It was sorta like begging for Smuckers Goober Grape, the peanut butter that had jelly stripes already in it. It was good for one sandwich before reality set in and you realize it tasted like ass.

Anyway, it wouldn't be a Friday night without a video, so here's a commercial or two for Superman Peanut Butter:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

All in all, it's just another checker at the wall

As I get older, I realize that when you are a kid, you're half-crazy. Things that wouldn't make sense to someone with two brain cells to rub together are everyday occurances for kids.

Eighth grade:

Very early on in English that day, one of my friends earned 15 minutes of detention; I don't remember what for. Now, my other friend was getting a ride home with him, so he figured he may as well do something to earn detention, too.

Talking was almost always good to get your name on the board as a warning, but he needed a check by his name to earn full-fledged 15 minutes of infamy.

I know, I know. You're asking, "Why didn't he just stay without doing anything to earn detention?" But as I said, that's what sane adults wonder. Kids figure, "Hey, I have to stay anyway, I may as well do something fun."

I have a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; my first day of school when I moved to Livermore, I got brought into class with a few other kids for making noise in the bathroom. I was innocent, of course, but dumb enough to hang around. This will come into play shortly.

Now my pal needed a check. In a moment of inspiration, he spied a checker on the table of games on the wall nearest our desks. His plan was to throw the checker at the chalkboard.

Yeah. That made perfect sense.

Now by the wizened age of 13, I knew better than to be in the general vicinity of anyone even thinking of doing something detention-worthy. To that end, I made my way to the back of the classroom to get a drink of water from the fountain at the sink.

Unfortunately, my friend had already launched his projectile. The checker hit me square in the chest, bounced off the wall, off a table, hit a desk, and finally came to rest on the floor, but not after making more noise than a dinosaur passing a kidney stone.

My teacher looked to see the source of the ruckus, noticed my friend looking guilty and noticed me at the sink. She added a check by my friend's name on the board. He had achieved his goal.

But then she wrote my name on the board. I wasn't worried; I knew that sometimes you had to take one for the team.

She added a check by my name.

Yes, through no fault of my own--aside from being naturally stupid--I managed to get detention for something I didn't even do. I charley-horsed my friend in the arm--the same one that got stabbed with a pencil in another classroom incident--and expressed my dissatisfaction.

You can probably just fill in your favorite swear word here.

It look a lot of convincing on my friend's part after school when we all remained for our punishment, but my teacher relented and gave me a full pardon. I thanked her, gathered my stuff and hit the road.

As I cleared the school ground, I checked my watch and did a little math. Factoring in my explanation plus my friend's, and then some cross-examination, I was still only--

16 minutes late.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I am not a coffee achiever

In the grown-up world where I spend part of my existence, I feel I start the day at a disadvantage because I don't drink coffee.

So generally speaking, you'll never hear me say, "God, I'm beat. I need coffee." More often than not, it will be something like, "Oh God, I think I got beaten up by little men while I slept. Is today over yet?"

See, coffee drinkers have hope that there is a cure to their listlessness. Me, I have to rely on Pez.

Which, judging from some of the looks I've gotten from co-workers, is not a breakfast food.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An ass full of pipe wrench

My friend Karyne sent this to me today, and I had to share it. This is the best version of "Take on Me" you're likely ever to hear and see.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Don't you know about the word?

I'm addicted. It plays into an already extant failing of mine, and now it's getting worse.

I got sucked in to playing Word Challenge on Facebook. I was fine just playing to kill time, but once friends started challenging me, I felt obligated to maintain my word nerd cred, you know?

I'm not normally a competitive person, but now that I'm getting better at it, it's hard to stop. My friend Jean is probably going to kill me soon, since I complained that I sucked and then a half-hour later beat my all-time best score (and hers).

That said, if you're on Facebook, challenge me. Half the time I get crappy letters and consequently, a crappy score.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Price is Retired

As a game show nerd, I found this interesting. It's a video showing pictures of every retired pricing game from The Price is Right. Plus, it uses the classic TPIR background cue music, which is pretty pimptacular.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Nobody will ever know

I didn't submit this picture, but I could have:

Seriously, Mr. UPS Dude, why even make this half-assed--nay, quarter-assed gesture? Is that really going to keep someone from swiping my package?

I wish I'd have taken a picture of it, but one time we got a package delivered, and it was a pretty sizable box, like about the size of a medium U-Haul box, and I shit you not, it was on my doorstep, UNDER THE MAT.

Thanks for nothing, douche.

(via FAIL Blog)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday night video fun

It's that time again. This week, I'm feeling like checking out some old TV commercials, so here you go.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Movies that made you cry

Okay, now because we're such close pals, I'm going to share something with you: the first movie that made me cry.

Summer of 1980. I'm 5 years old, at the drive-in with my parents. Generally, when we went to the drive-in, I was already dressed in my pajamas, because I'd be fast asleep by the time the previews ended.

But this particular trip, I wasn't the least bit sleepy. I wasn't really interested in the movie my parents went to see; it wasn't a comedy or a cartoon, so I didn't give two craps. But as they kept trying to discourage me from watching it, I figured that it might be worth checking out.

Plus, while I could make out the Cheech and Chong movie on the nearest screen, I couldn't hear any of it, so it was pointless.

As it turns out, we were watching the first Friday the 13th movie, which explains why my parents wanted me to be asleep. Once it became apparent that I was going to sneak looks every now and then, I got a quick briefing on how while this may look scary, it's all pretend; like a cartoon, so if I get scared, I should just laugh it off.

And amazingly, it worked. And I'm sure I didn't see a whole lot of gore. I kept being offered popcorn and distracted by other questions at key point in the movie. I guess they gave up near the end, because the big battle is the only part I vividly remember seeing.

I remember the sense of relief I felt when the heroine defeated the killer. I could finally relax now, as was the character, floating on the placid lake in a boat. Here, check it out:

Yeah, right until mangled seaweed-infested Jason popped out of the water and grabbed her out of the boat. That scared the living crap out of me, and for a minute or so, I cried.

I had a grand total of one nightmare (Jason was trying to get me, but instead of looking like a drowning victim, he looked like a mummy wrapped in multicolored gauze), and after that point, horror movies never scared me much. I'd get startled from time to time, but not actually scared. Even now, alas.

What was the first movie that made you cry?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Not a complete loss of a day

Woke up late. Felt like crap. Got bored.

So I packed some stuff and decided to fix my desktop computer, which has been ailing for quite some time. After various attempts proved fruitless, I backed up my important data, reformatted the drive and reinstalled Windows.

Now I have a lot of space free on this computer, and it's working just fine. I haven't had to do a spring cleaning like this in a while, but it's almost always cathartic.

Oh, and I played a little more Lego Batman. But work calls, so it's back to the rat race tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's like distilling poo

My friends often ask me after long drunken-sounding tirades, "Sparkman, why do you have such a hate-on for Batman and Robin?" The movie, not the characters.

Really, it's hard to point to just one thing. I spent much of Batman Forever defending its cheesiness to my friend Meredith. And let's face it; there was some asstacular content in that flick.

But the point at which I had to physically restrain myself from leaving the theater was when George Clooney whipped out the Bat Credit Card and said "Don't leave the cave without it."

If you want to experience the pain without sitting through the whole movie, check out this video, which I saw over at Topless Robot.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Why was I envious?

When I was in elementary school, I envied my friend Adam because he was an only child. Not so much because he didn't have a little brother to deal with, although there were some days...

No, I envied him because, as an only child, he tended to get the cooler toys. Like all three colors of Magic Sand, which we combined and somehow thought we could use coffee filters to return each color back to their rightful bottles. Or like the castle Lego set, or the Ewok Village playset, etc.

One of the games he had was a handheld Pac-Man clone called Epoch Man, which, not surprisingly, was made by Epoch. I remember being a little jealous because while I as playing Mattel's Electronic Football, he had this gem.

In retrospect, I had the better game, but I was young and didn't know any better.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Leggo my Lego Batman!

At the request of my son, we exchanged some old games we never play for the new Lego Batman, which he's been jonesing for since he saw the preview on Lego Indiana Jones.

I haven't finished it just yet, but it's pretty fun, just like the other Lego games. Okay, enough writing. Gotham City needs me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"I'm good for about twice a year."

My friend Karyne shared this with me the other day, and I just had to share with you. It has some NSFW language, so use your headphones.

And I'd hold off on watching this if you're planning on eating chocolate pudding any time soon. Watch it before it disappears.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hug a copy editor today

Most of the time, you don't notice copy editors. A lot of people don't know what they even do. But I assure you, they're important. Not only do they try to keep all the L's in reference to Public Storage, but they also are responsible for finessing the copy; making it the best it can be.

And they have to do it in such a way that it doesn't look obvious to the reader (or to the writer). It's not a glorious job; that is to say, there's not a lot of attention paid to what they do.

So, given that I am both a copy editor and an incredible affection whore, I created a group on Facebook for copy editors and fans of copy editors. It's called Hug a Copy Editor. Like many Facebook groups, it's fairly pointless but fun to participate in anyway, so check it out.

As of this post, we've already got more than 30 members, and there's a burningly important question on the poll, as well as some copy-editing-related pictures.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Author, author

I've now been to two book signings. The last one was quite a while ago, when I saw Beverly Cleary. Today on my lunch break, I saw Brad Meltzer, whose latest book is Book of Lies. I held off buying it till today, just for the signing.

He talked about the book for a little bit and answered a few questions from the audience before getting to the actual signing. He seems like a cool cat; very mellow and self-deprecating. We talked for a little bit while he was signing my book, and I mentioned that it was nice to meet him in person, as we'd traded e-mails a few times.

"Oh, what's your e-mail address?"

I told him.

"Oh, you're Sparkman! Yeah, we e-mailed each other just a week or so ago."

So that was pretty cool. Plus, he's a Superman nerd like me, so we have that in common.

I haven't finished the book yet--I only got through 125 pages on the train ride home--but I'm digging it so far. Again, here's a little bit about the book. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This never fails to cheer me up. I offer it to you on the off chance you need a little cheer.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Head over heels for the Monkees

OK, so now Brody and I are working our way through various episodes of The Monkees. I'm working up to my favorite episode as a kid, "Monkees Get Out More Dirt," which guest-starred Julie Newmar.

I don't know how many of my fellow 5-year-olds back then developed a crush on her because of the one-two punch of this episode and various turns as Catwoman on Batman, but it sure worked on me.

And in other Monkees items, I found this while poking around on the Intarwebs. It's the Monkees' feature film Head. While it has gained a cult following, I can only imagine the puzzled looks from the young girls who loved the group when they saw this for the first time. It's odd, but it's got some cool tunes in it.

As for the movie's title, I heard a story (apocryphal, I assume)that it was named Head with thoughts of a possible sequel in mind so they could use the immortal tagline, "From the producers who gave you..."

You know, I think you can just do the math on this one for yourself. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

If only it were always this easy...

"Hey Dad," my son said.


"I wanna play the Indiana Jones game."

"This one?" I pointed to the PlayStation 2.


I don't know why he wanted to, but I wasn't about to say no. Keep in mind that when he plays Lego Indiana Jones, that actually means I play it while he watches and provides a running commentary.

"That's Indiannie Jones!"

"You found a treasure chest!"

"You broked the man!"

And even more amazingly, he fell asleep watching. I think he just wanted to unwind, but it was fun for us to share the time. Even though he didn't have a controller in hand, he was telling me the story, so in a way, he was playing, too.

And he already told me that we have to get Lego Batman.

Soon. Very soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hopefully he won't hold it against me

This morning I shared a show from my childhood with my son. I hadn't seen an actual episode since I was a kid, and it had aged even worse than I'd anticipated.

He seemed to like it okay, but he wasn't asking to watch more episodes, if you know what I mean. See what you think:

Online Videos by

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ace of Base rawks your face!

It's Friday, and the air is just right for having a good time. What better way to kick off your Friday night festivities than by enjoying a rendition of a popular song from the 1990s?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I decided to be a day early in celebrating "Talk Like a Pirate Day" and said "Arrrrrrrrrr" for a really long time. I'm feeling better now, but while I recuperate, check out this creepy-ass toy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The hole truth

The folks over at have an interesting story about the history of the anus.

Yeah. You read that correctly.

I thought this was the most interesting part:
"So he and others have suggested that over time, the mouth elongated and then separated into a mouth and anus. Once the body included a gut with two ends, the anus could migrate to the far end of animal."
So now, I think, we have an explanation for the phrases "talking out of your ass" and "You know about real life like my ass chews bubblegum."

And while this article explains the origin of the anus, it still doesn't explain how so many of them end up in front of me on the freeway.

Pun not intended.

(via Monkeyfilter)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Isn't technology grand? If yes, go to Page 37.

My buddy Ken passed this along to me today, and I just thought it was slicker than snot on a doorknob.

All you fellow old people who have fond memories of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books will at the very least grin when you see this.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yoicks and away!

I have some stuff to do, so in lieu of actual content, here is one of my (and my son's) favorite cartoons: Robin Hood Daffy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 it's the fru-its of the dev-il

Somehow despite being a nerd of the highest order (we were first online with Q-Link, for crap's sake), I had not yet made my way into the wonderful world of MMORPGs.

How did this happen?

Well, I'm just about as socially inept in cyberspace as I am in meatspace. I'm getting better, though; building up eptness, I guess you could say.

Anyhow, I broke down and decided to try City of Villains, partly because if I was going to try an MMORPG, it would involve superheroes and supervillains, and partly because I found it at Big Lots for only $6.99 (with the first month free).

What can I say? I'm socially inept and cheap.

I've just barely started, but I'm kinda digging it so far. I tried not to spend too long creating my first villain, because I didn't want it to be like playing The Sims, where I'd spend so much time designing the house and furnishing it that when it came time to actually play, I was over it.

My villain has mostly electrical-based powers. I thought I had the perfect name: Sparkman. Alas, it was taken. As was damn near every vaguely electricity-related name I could think of in the span of a few minutes.

I eventually ended up calling him Con Edison.

Hey, at least it wasn't already taken.