31 July 2009

+JMJ+

Friday Night Movie: The Karate Kid

Not that I expect anyone to have noticed, but I didn't actually post this on Friday night. You see, instead of staying home with Ralph Macchio, I stepped out with Ninjapeps, Nitesword and Nitesword's boyfriend. (He must have have a cool gamer name of his own, but I don't know what it is yet.) We watched The Proposal together and had a fine time. Hopefully, my loyal Bloggians will have just as great a time watching The Karate Kid now that I've finally got the live blog started.

Speaking of starting, let's do just that, shall we?


0:56 There's always something exciting about a move. I think we're beginning on a great note.
1:57 Do you think they told him this was going to be another Rocky?
2:06 John G. Avildsen? Hey . . .
2:57 These single mother metaphors just jump into my lap, don't they? She can't even start her car without a guy around.
3:24 All right, it is another Rocky.
3:56 I missed you, Johnnycakes.
4:34 "This is the Garden of Eden!" And she's the new Old Eve . . .
4:58 Is this foreshadowing?
5:08 Are those pigs doing what I think they're doing? =S
5:42 So much for the pool, Mom.
6:11 Dogs are always a good sign, at least . . .
6:42 The children of single mothers turn into real smart asses--and this single mother knows it.
8:22 . . . And a legend is born.
8:55 The Beach Boys make everything better, don't they?
9:14 Now they're just showing off.
10:04 It Takes Two to Tango: You know, this soundtrack isn't bad! California is sounding good.

All right! So far, so good. California seems like a great place to start over, if you don't mind the weird repair guys, that is . . .

29 July 2009

+JMJ+

Wednesday Night Trailer: "Wax On . . . Wax Off . . ."
(Because "hammer on" and "pull off" aren't movie catchphrases yet)



We're back in 1984, where we belong. (I hope I didn't punch any Orwellian buttons with that statement.)

28 July 2009

+JMJ+

Recipe: Magic Meatballs

When I started "Shredded Cheddar", everyone seemed to think it was going to be a food blog. (Hmmmm. I wonder why . . .) So here I go again, aiming to please . . .

For dinner tonight, I made what I call "Magic Meatballs" because I cooked the whole dish almost entirely in the microwave. They tasted great. I know because my grandmother couldn't think of a critical thing to say when she tasted them.

26 July 2009

+JMJ+

Rainy Day Music: Classic Duran Duran

I love monsoon weather! The rains make everything cool, and the wind makes everything seem fresh, and the heavy clouds make it seem like very early morning all afternoon. There is enchantment in this weather, if you want some.

For me, there is also much nostalgia. The world outside my window could be the backdrop of some dream, and at any minute a strong gust might blow the mist aside and show me another world I once knew very briefly. So there is no wholesome Country music for me and Christine this week, just trippy New Romantic . . .


24 July 2009

+JMJ+

Christine's Worst Nightmare


She's an RJ Masa rather than a fancy Taylor guitar, but she's still delicate.

23 July 2009

+JMJ+

More on Bloodlines
(Another Companion Post to On Bloodlines)

I really don't know where to begin with a story as convoluted as this. How can one begin at the beginning when one deliberately started in the middle, in the first place?

There are two facts we can start with--two legs for you to stand on:

1) Despite having called him a "stupid fat hobbit," I'm really a big Sean Astin fan.

2) When my grandfather moved out, he left me a sizeable collection of books, most of which are non-fiction books about history, politics or cinema.

Now for my beginning, which may not be the beginning.

21 July 2009

+JMJ+

Secret Babies: A Companion Post

My post on single mothers is finally up over at Sancta Sanctis. I thought I'd never get over the blogger's block. For that, I have Heart to thank. It was this song that finally snapped the words into motion:


Who knew that a single and its music video needed to be appreciated together to make real sense? Maybe the lyrics were self-explanatory--and I just wasn't paying attention--but I really didn't know the whole story until I stumbled upon this video today.

20 July 2009

+JMJ+

Worth a Thousand Words: My Weekend

PhotobucketAlign Center

So . . . how was yours?

Right now, those adorable Goonies are scampering around in the caverns of my mind. Expect one of my crazy posts soon on either this blog or Sancta Sanctis.

19 July 2009

+JMJ+

"Thirteen!!!"

HBO Rome LegionXIII

This is my thirteenth post on Shredded Cheddar! I thought I'd acknowledge the fact with a picture of Legio XIII from HBO's Rome.

18 July 2009

+JMJ+

Writing Diary, Entry #6

A few months ago, I told a friend what a difficult time I've been having getting assignments from magazine editors. She advised me to look for opportunities in the electronics industry because its firms always need writers for their technical journals. It was such a non sequitur that at first I thought it was a joke. Yet the sad truth was that for her, as for many, writing is writing is writing is writing . . .

Right now I'm working on someone else's technical article. He asked me to proofread it because I have a degree in English Literature. Again, I don't see how one follows the other, but it obviously makes sense to him. Practically speaking, however, my two years of reading the Great Books are about as helpful to me now as my two years of gymnastics training. One doesn't approach the canon to proofread it, you know!

17 July 2009

+JMJ+

Friday Night Movie: Kindergarten Cop

Q: Which combination of four words can really kill Friday Night Movie?

A: "Embedding disabled by request"

We're not going to let that spoil our fun, are we? Not when we're all stoked to make a case for Arnold Schwarzenegger as the most Pro-Father Action star in our Feminized world!!!

Kindergarten Cop must be the most subversively anti-single mother movie ever made--and for that reason alone, is highly worth watching.


0:45 The 80s are slowly edging into the 90s . . . and it looks as if the fashions couldn't handle the cusp.
0:59 There's something about Arnold Schwarzenegger that's extremely cheering . . . as if he's a one-man sunburst.
1:24
Those purple lines under the actors' names remind me of the glow sticks my mother bought me at Disneyland in 1987. (Okay, enough about me . . .)
2:04 I almost forgot: Dominic was played by twins!
3:35 The labyrinths of urban architecture are the closest modern Action movies ever get to the Gothic genre while still staying true to themselves.
4:48 Who knew that a symptom of avarice was making bad jokes?
5:32 "I'm not stupid, Mr. Crisp." Famous last words, indeed!
6:27 What a bitchy introduction!
6:39 Cullen??? His name is CULLEN? What a sad name to have a in a post-Twilight world. (Bwahahahahahahaha!)
7:34 "I'm a cop, you idiot!" Anyone who doesn't immediately trust an Arnold Schwarzenegger character is an idiot. (Which totally explains the Governator's political success.)
9:43 That is (really obvious) shorthand for "Place where the bad people are."

16 July 2009

+JMJ+

Quo Vadis, Caseole?

I'm not quite sure how Shredded Cheddar suddenly became a movie blog. It was originally conceived as a little-of-everything blog, minus the explicitly Catholic stuff, which I publish online elsewhere. I guess it decided it had a mind of its own. (Oooooh! That could be the seed of a Stephen King novel . . . or a Terminator FanFic.)

15 July 2009

+JMJ+

Wednesday Night Trailer: "It's Not a Tumor!"


You may be wondering why I've seemingly abandoned my investigation of 1984 for a movie which came out so late in the 80s that people who don't know how to count assume that the year is actually part of the 90s . . .

14 July 2009

+JMJ+

My Astoria, Oregon Dream House

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Please tell me you know what I'm talking about! If "Astoria, Oregon" didn't ring a bell, then the sign addressing "Goonies" should have . . .

10 July 2009

+JMJ+

Friday Night Movie: Red Dawn



0:21 This is all because of a bad wheat harvest??? Oooooooh! We're in the middle of our own wheat-related crisis these days . . . and of course I blame the environmentalists, who are the new Communists.
0:22 "Greens Party gains control" . . . What was I just saying about environmentalists?
0:35 Am I the only one wondering what was happening in the Philippines at this time?
1:06 I KNEW IT!!!
2:40 "Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat." So said Theodore Roosevelt . . . but you'll find similar counsel in Dante's Inferno, in which the latter class of souls are scorned even by Hell.
2:52 It's Darry!!! =D
3:32 Ah, classrooms before computers! Hand-drawn visual aids have a certain and never-to-be replicated charm.
3:49 So the Soviets are the new Mongols? My History classes were never like this.
4:08 Oh, so that's why I was thinking earlier, "That guy looks like Emilio Estevez!" =P
5:16 Is it significant that the History teacher is the first to die?
5:40 In a world full of school shootings, this part is quite uncomfortable to watch.
5:57 That has got to be the most disorganised invading army in the world.
6:06 And that is the most incompetent assassin.
6:18 How did Darry Jed find about it so fast?
6:34 It's either terrible aiming by the Soviets (which is entirely plausible, given what we've seen so far) or the director's desire to see an iconic yellow school bus go up in flames.
6:42 This is like the story of Noah's Ark . . . with parachutes coming down from the sky instead of rain.
6:59 "They can have my gun when they pry it out of my cold dead hands." Obviously, the Soviets have never heard of Charlton Heston.
7:07 Oh . . . =(
7:54 There may be a whole postgraduate thesis waiting to be written on the gas station as an oasis in the American setting.
8:57 After guns, ammo, sleeping bags, and canned food . . . a football. Oh, yes.
9:09 Those Soviets are freaking BLIND!

08 July 2009

+JMJ+

Wednesday Night Trailer: "Wolverines!!!"


See you at the Live Blog on Friday!

As you can see, I figured out a way to make Shredded Cheddar load much, much faster! It's all about hiding the videos . . .

07 July 2009

+JMJ+

1984: A Great Year for (Friday Night) Movies

Ask a movie connoisseur what the greatest year for movies was, and he just might say 1939, the year of Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and Ninotchka . . .

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

. . . to name a select three.

(For those who ask about the silver medalist, as I do, the second best year is purportedly 1927.)

I don't know about you, but the first thing I look at when I come across an almanac is which books, movies and other beacons of pop culture came out that year. Though I am not a serious cinephile, I would have nominated 1965, the year of The Sound of Music and Dr. Zhivago . . .

SoundMusic poster DoctorZhivago poster

. . . or 1952, just for Singin' in the Rain.

SinginRain Poster

I really should get to the point now, aye?

05 July 2009

+JMJ+

Like What I've Done with the Place?

So far, three very different visitors have dropped some kind of hint that the colour scheme might be a bit too lurid for . . . regular people. I see what they mean and am considering changing some of the louder bits.

[A truly beloved friend has just instant messaged me to say that she likes my colours and that they're appealing to kids . . . like Halloween. Hmmmmm. I am willing to bet that anyone who can't bear Shredded Cheddar wasn't born in the 1980s.]

Another friend (who isn't half as beloved) has complained observed that Shredded Cheddar takes a long time to load. Well, that's what happens when I live blog a movie. Guess what will happen later this week, when two Friday Night Movie posts will share the front page? (Two Friday Night Movie posts and the trailer for the second one.) It will take forever to load!!!

As I've painstakingly explained to everyone who has had issues with Shredded Cheddar: the cleverness of the design means that only those who actually want to read this blog will read this blog. So far, I think I'm the only one reading my own stuff . . . but that might have more to do with my friends being uninterested rather than actually turned off. If my friends were interested in the stuff I blog, I wouldn't have to blog it, would I?

03 July 2009

+JMJ+

Friday Night Movie: The Outsiders

Here I am, alone again, nowhere to turn, no one to go to . . .

Yes, it's another typical Friday night for your favourite blogger. Unlike Eponine, however, I don't walk around at night imagining myself partnered with Matt Dillon . . . or C. Thomas Howell . . . or Rob Lowe . . . or Patrick Swayze . . . or Ralph Macchio . . . or Emilio Estevez . . . or Tom Cruise. Why do that when I can watch the purported cinematic mess that is The Outsiders on YouTube.com?



0:20 Awww, why are you giving that away? We're not supposed to know it's a composition for English class until the very, very end!
0:24 Well, that's certainly not how I imagined Ponyboy would talk . . .
1:29 Those stupid Socs should get a life . . . and a bigger vocabulary so that they don't keep saying "Greaser" in every other sentence.
2:22 Were all the cuss words cut out so that this could be posted on YouTube.com?
2:33 KILL HIM, TWO-BIT!
2:36 Tom Cruise, what are you doing in this movie???
2:56 Oh, come on! Dally could have totally taken out that windshield. Who do you think you're fooling, Matt Dillon?
3:01 And Patrick Swayze makes three! So much bad acting from good actors. Who could have seen this coming?
3:13 Now Rob Lowe bites the dust . . . This screenplay isn't cutting anyone any breaks.
3:39 Oh, so that's how you pronounce "Socs."
3:42 "Hey, if I want my kid brother to tell me what do with my other kid bother, I'll ask you, all right? Kid brother." I actually like this line.
4:04 Tom Cruise, why are you still here?
4:34 But while you're still here, Mr. Cruise, let me tell you that your accent comes and goes.
5:39 I do appreciate your doing your own stunts, Mr. Cruise.
6:12 Oh, Glory! Dally, if you ask me to be your girlfriend, I will never two-time you when you are in jail.

(Why do I have the feeling that all these actors are real-life "Socs" who are having the time of their newly socially conscious lives playing toughened "Greasers"?)

02 July 2009

+JMJ+

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Better TV Than You Think

While I've been writing for Atlas TV Guide over here, TV Guide Magazine in the States has been counting down the Top 100 episodes of all time. That means the single greatest episode of 100 different American TV shows since the time TV really caught on.

A pop culture blogger borrowed the concept and turned it into a meme, sharing her own Top 5 episodes of all time and asking her readers to do the same. Naturally, I was totally game! It took about five minutes of staring at the blank field in her comments box before I realised that I haven't actually watched enough of five different shows to pick a greatest episode for each one.

SHOCK!!! HORROR!!!

I know. There goes my reputation . . .

All I could manage was one episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and one episode from G.I. Joe. That makes two episodes out of two decades . . . and I've been alive for almost three.

It was while nursing my embarrassment that I came up with a Top 5 list of the last show I watched with any regularity before Mike Rowe burst into my life with Dirty Jobs. It doesn't make up for not having a "real" Top 5 list according to the meme's rules . . . but I'll get to that when I can.

My Top 5 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

1) Graduation Day, Part 2

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The show's original concept was a literal interpretation of the universally acknowledged truth that High School is Hell. In this episode, the entire student body unites to take down a demon that is planning to launch the end of the world right on their campus. This season finale is more honest about the real meaning of surviving high school than anything else I've ever seen. Congratulations, Class of 1999!


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01 July 2009

+JMJ+

My First Lessons
(Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love YouTube.com)

Forget "self-taught"! I'm happy and humbled to be "'tube-taught"! Here are four videos I've found to be remarkably helpful.



This is the first pattern I ever learned. (Isn't Megan beautiful?)

After my fingers got the hang of it, I realised it was too gloomy for the songs I most wanted to play. So I went looking for other patterns . . .