Friday, November 30, 2007
More Bono!
Because nothing says Christmas like Bono.

There are 25 days until Christmas. Tomorrow y'all can bust out the advent calendars. Is it just me, or does chocolate taste better when it comes from behind tiny cardboard doors?

Here's Band-Aid with their iconic, if misinformed, Christmas ballad. Speaking of misinformed, go here to see lots of photos of snow in Africa. And as promised, Bono himself reminding us "tonight, thank god it's THEM instead of YOU." Geez, Bono - that's harsh. Nice mullet, BTW. Actually, this video is a veritable showcase of mullets. Also: nobody wants to stand next to Boy George. Why? This is a mystery for the ages.

The greatest gift they'll get this year is LIFE, people.

Thursday, November 29, 2007
U2 used to be such a great band...
I'm not really sure where these guys went wrong. I really loved Achtung Baby, but after that album it was all downhill. And I have to admit, I liked Bono a whole lot more before he started slicking his hair back and became the World's Conscience. And isn't he a knight now? Sir Bono? What a sellout. But I digress.

Here we have some Joshua Tree era U2, and in my opinion this is when they were at the top of their game. They were all hats and ponytails, and those horrid bug-eyed sunglasses were still a couple of years away. They were so awesome! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU, U2? WHYYYYYYY.

Anyway. This is yet another of my favorite holiday songs. Ladies and gents, enjoy U2 at their finest. There are now 26 days until Christmas. Have you ever noticed that U2's drummer never ages? I suspect a pact with Satan.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Hey, I'm just wondering...
For my readers in Australia and the UK: did you guys get all these strange stop-motion Christmas things on TV when you were kids? I grew up with quite a selection of this kind of programming, and I think it warped my mind.

This is another of my personal favorites. For the record, I live in Heat Miser territory, and have never even come close to having a White Christmas.

There are 27 days left until Christmas, and I am tempted to do the rest of my shopping online.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I am not ashamed to say I like this.
It's WHAM, people. 28 days to go. Did I mention that it's Wham?

Monday, November 26, 2007
Carol of the Bells: The WTF edition
There are 29 days left until Christmas. I bought someone a present today!

When I first started this Christmas Countdown thing, it was my intention to share some of my favorite holiday music with y'all. But so far, most of the versions I've been able to find on YouTube have been kind of cracked out.

I love the Carol of the Bells. I love to hear it played on hand-bells, something I get to do every year at our community's Christmas festival. YouTube has a lot of videos of people playing this on the hand-bells, most of which are poor quality (if you want to see some of the worst camera work of all time, go here). Ultimately I figured what the hell, I might as well just take the weirdness and run with it.

Have I ever mentioned that Claymation gives me nightmares? I'm serious.

Sunday, November 25, 2007
This is going to be the best Christmas Walford's ever seen!
In which we pay tribute to EastEnders, and take this blog's Quality level down a few notches.

There are 30 days left until Christmas. I haven't done any of my shopping yet. Have you?

I was looking on YouTube for a clip of one of my favorite holiday songs, and couldn't find any that I really liked. But then I stumbled across this version, as sung by EastEnders' very own Alfie Moon and Kat Slater. On the one hand, they do a much better job of singing than I ever would have given them credit for. On the other hand, it's EastEnders. Don't get me wrong, I like EastEnders quite a lot. But...

Well, you'll see.

I'm not entirely clear on the scenario here. The actors are calling one another by their real names (Shane and Jessie), but are acting as if they're in character. Also, if anyone reading this (besides M) is familiar with EastEnders, you'll know that the notion of Kat Slater as a woman of virtue and morality is laughable at best. When she sings "my mother will start to worry," I have to wonder if they're just taking the piss. Anyway, here it is. It's kind of a train wreck. But here at Codename V, we like train wrecks.

Saturday, November 24, 2007
It's Christmas Countdown Time
In which Sir Percival lets us use his piano when he's not around.

I would be remiss if I didn't include this, and the sooner the better really. Let's go all the way back to 1977 and enjoy David Bowie's surreal duet with Bing Crosby. It's just inexplicable. Bing Crosby died a month after filming this. That makes it a little bit creepy in addition to being really flippin' weird.

I like the dialogue in this one. One wonders how they managed to exchange this banter while keeping straight faces. David Bowie comes across as being culturally ignorant, and Bing Crosby condescends all over Bowie's type of music (some of it is really fine).

There are 31 days until Christmas, kids. Santa's watching you.

Friday, November 23, 2007
V's Christmas Countdown
In which V gets into the holiday spirit, and provides y'all with a smashing yuletide song every flippin' day.

There are 32 days left until Christmas. Let's kick things off with some nostalgia. Growing up in the 70s and early 80s, American kids had no shortage of television specials for nearly every holiday. My mom used to put a tape recorder next to the television and record the narration for me, so that I could listen to the stories whenever I wanted. NOTE TO TODAY'S MISCREANT YOUTH: this is the kind of thing we had to do before VCRs. Y'all have it easy. I had to listen to my favorite cartoons ON CASSETTE TAPE. And I walked ten miles to school in the snow. Barefoot, even. Uphill both ways.

Right now the Youth Of Today is wondering WTF a "cassette tape" is. And I feel old.

But anyway. Nostalgia. I still watch this on the television every year. Enjoy :)

Friday, November 16, 2007
Earliest Memory
My friend Lisa tagged me for this. I am supposed to:

1. Describe my earliest memory where the memory is clear, and where "clear" means I can depict at least three details.

2. Give an estimate of my age at the time.

3. Tag five other bloggers.

My absolute earliest memory is of swallowing a piece of hard candy whole, with the plastic wrapper still on. But I can't remember three details, so that one doesn't count.

I guess it would have to be this time that I was on a car trip with my parents. We were going to Charlotte, NC, and I threw up in the car. My parents drove this horrible avocado-green station wagon, and on car trips I would sprawl in the back of it with coloring books and toys. The time that I threw up, I was wearing a frilly pink dress. I hated frilly dresses, but my mom wouldn't dress me in anything else. I threw up all over it, and she got upset that the dress was ruined. We stopped off at some strip mall by the side of the road so that she could clean my dress at a laundromat. We must have been going somewhere important, to bother cleaning the dress on the way. I remember sitting in the laundromat in my tights and frilly pinafore.

I wasn't in school yet, but I remember liking Star Wars, so I must have been around four years old.

I don't know five other people with blogs, so as per usual the tagging policy is this: if you want it, take it.


Pop Culture 101
Check it out, bitches!


I find this hard to believe, as my writing style tends towards the overuse of "dude." But whatever. This blog is EDUCATED, y'all.
Film Review: Beowulf

It's been a while since I was keen enough to see a film on opening day. Beowulf was certainly worth the effort. IMBD only gives this 6.6 out of 10 stars, which is mediocre. Disregard their rating system, which is obviously flawed. My movie-going companion this morning was Codename Mom, who was also extremely keen. Codename Mom declares that Beowulf is the best film we have ever seen together at the cinema. Note: Codename Mom says this about every film we see together at the cinema. I would say that Beowulf is definitely one of the best films of 2007.

The plot in a nutshell:

Grendel is terrorizing a Norse village. Beowulf shows up and kicks his ass. Grendel's mom takes offense. Beowulf sets out to kill her as well. She seduces him with her beauty (she is Angelina Jolie, after all) and promises of power and wealth. He goes back to the village and tells an elaborate lie about how he sent her to a horrible death. Chaos ensues.

Points to consider:

While this film is animated (and in the collective opinion of Codenames V and Mom, beautifully so), it is NOT for children. Anyone who takes their kids to see this is in for a rude awakening. For a start, it's ultraviolent. There are numerous bawdy references, and quite a bit of nudity. No actual genitals, mind you, but still. Quite a bit of nudity. Apparently this got a PG-13 rating, which kind of surprises me a little. I can see people assuming PG-13 means "kid-friendly" but this film is really rather extreme.

V's general thoughts:

This is probably a wrong thing to say, but Beowulf is a hot piece of CGI ass.

The dialogue is compelling, with voices provided by some awesome people. Note: Grendel is voiced by Crispin Glover. Brilliant.

This film is action packed. And I do mean action packed. Contains more than its fair share of epic peril and bravery. Codename Mom, who is somewhat excitable, was quite literally on the edge of her seat throughout. She also covered her eyes during some of the scary bits, bless her heart.

There are a few scenes that are creepy as hell, and at least a couple of times it occurred to me that Beowulf is actually kind of a horror film. In particular, a scene where Beowulf wakes up to find his entire army of men slaughtered and hung like cattle from the beams of the mead-house. I guess it doesn't sound like much, but I found it genuinely chilling.


Totally recommended. And like many of the films I review, NOT for the squeamish. Think twice before letting kids under maybe 15 or so see this, as it deals with some disturbing things.


Friday, November 09, 2007
Friday Baddie Blogging
This week's baddie is the Sumatran Rat Monkey.

I pity the fool who doesn't know about the Sumatran Rat Monkey.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Great Workout Song Of The Week
I'm going to take y'all way back to 2001 for some Andrew WK. I listened to this CD nonstop for a while, and then forgot about it completely. This week, Mr. WK has made his way back to my iPod for trips to the gym. Enjoy.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Film Review: Bug

I've just seen William Friedkin's Bug. I'll cut to the chase here: this was one of the most terrible films I've seen in quite a while. It was complete ass. Be warned, I'm about to give away the whole thing - so don't keep reading if you plan on watching this and don't want to be spoiled. If you do plan on watching this, I'd like to know your reasons, just out of curiosity. Are you a masochist? A boring person? What?

The premise:

Ashley Judd is a trashy lonely woman who lives alone in a seedy motel. She meets a Mysterious Stranger and falls in love with him over the course of about ten minutes. Her jailbird ex-husband (Harry Connick Jr) shows up every now and then to smack her around a little. Before too long, the Mysterious Stranger puts forth his conspiracy theory about how the army infected him with parasitic bugs. Ashley Judd totally buys into this. Chaos ensues.

The problem:

I was intrigued by this film because I was under the impression that the bug thing was this Big Question. Are the bugs real? Not real? Are these two people crazy? Or are they the only sane people? William Friedkin directed The Exorcist, so I assumed he'd be bringing the scary. Like, the producers phoned him up and said "Yo Bill, we need some scary. Can you bring it?" and he was all like "It's done broughted."

But no. Sadly, no. There is no mystery here at all. There is absolutely no question that both Ashley Judd and the Mysterious Stranger are batshit insane, obsessive, delusional, etc. So you find yourself watching something that you thought might be a thriller, or at least have a considerable plot twist at the end. And about a half hour into it you realize - oh snap. This is not a thriller. There is no twist ending to reward me for making it through the next 60 minutes. This is all there is.

And I'll tell you what "all there is" consists of - two crazy people in a seedy motel room, talking about bugs and picking at their own scabs. OMG SRSLY. That's it. That's the ENTIRE FILM. To be fair, there's a brief scene at the beginning that's set in a bar, but the entire rest of the film is set in this crappy motel room.

I suppose there are people out there who like films about two people talking. I mean, this film right here has seven and a half stars on the IMDB. This is because some people equate "arty and pretentious" with "Quality." As a former student of film, I am here to tell you that this is not so. Most of the time, "arty and pretentious" is just plain boring, and people like to pretend that it's not boring because liking that sort of thing makes them feel intelligent. TRUE FACT.

I digress, as I often do. The moral of this story is that You The Viewer wind up watching two nutters talk about bugs for quite a long time. And there's no indication at all that anything else is going to happen. The only thing that happens is that they get crazier and crazier until it reaches the point where they've run off all their friends and have covered every surface of their shitty motel room with aluminum foil.

At the end they die. Because this is the only way to kill the bugs that don't really exist. And you want to know what? I was GLAD they died, because they were tedious boring assholes.

Conclusion: NO


Sunday, November 04, 2007
Film Review: Antibodies

The great thing about the dvd rental place that I use is that they get lots and lots of foreign films. I am grateful for this, and often wonder why they keep getting so many of them when I am probably one of fewer than ten people who rent them. Seriously, sometimes I'll rent a foreign film that's been sitting on the shelf for ages, and when I take it out of the case, the DVD is pristine. Whereas usually rental DVDs look as if someone has tried to clean them with steel wool. But I digress.

I was wandering around looking for something new to see, and I stumbled across Anitibodies. This is a German crime thriller, along the same kind of lines as Silence of the Lambs or Seven (or Se7en, if you're anal).

The basic plot:

A serial killer has been going around small towns, killing children. He kills almost exclusively boys, however in one small town a little girl was killed. The constable in this town is obsessed with solving the crime. He sees everyone as a suspect, and as a result everyone in town hates him. A suspect is captured by the police, and the small town constable goes to question this suspect, hoping to shed some light on the case of the murdered girl.

Meanwhile, the constable's own teenaged son is (a) wetting the bed, (b) setting fires, and (c) possibly killing small animals. We all know what that means, don't we?

Most of the film is about this serial killer playing cruel mind games with the small town constable. He's all "I didn't kill that little girl, I only kill little boys. But I was in your town, and I saw your son..."

Other thoughts on this film:

This was Quality all the way. Great cinematography, well filmed, excellent production values. Plot is intriguing from start to finish. There's some blood, but it's not horror movie levels of gore. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a good 'serial killer vs, police' film. Bear in mind, it's German, so if you don't like subtitles this probably isn't for you. Also: if you don't like subtitles, wtf is wrong with you?


If you can find this, watch it. One of the best films of its genre.