I Will Not Pay to Online Date!

That pretty much sums it up.

That pretty much sums it up.

I figure I’d now take the opportunity to do a little dating rant based on both a paper I wrote in Creative Writing class last semester at HCCC and also based on actual experience. Okay, here we go.

Here’s the situation. You’re on a dating site looking for someone who could easily become your significant other. Then one day, he or she decides to send you a message. You go online and check your inbox to see his or her message. You go to click on the message and next thing you know, the site’s asking you for your credit card information because they want you to pay a membership fee before you can talk to the person trying to message you.

Has this ever happened to you? Well, being a man of the Internet myself, it has happened to me several times. And no folks, I did not give the site my credit card. But still, I am sort of mad about this. I mean, we’re talking about the major dating sites like Match.com, Cupid.com, eHarmony.com and countless others. Match.com takes it a step further and asks for the credit card just to see who viewed your profile. They’re the ones who advertise that they have a very high success ratio in matching people up and yet they sneak in that “free trial membership” deal just to get you to pay. This is absolute crap.

Now I know that there are free sites out there that people can go to (and I belong to a couple of them) such as OKCupid.com, DateHookup.com or you can even use the social networking sites like Facebook and other sites. I have had slightly better luck on the social networking sites than I have had on either the dating sites or offline. Although none of the potential dates I met on the social networking sites led to anything lasting, at least I didn’t have to be prompted to whip out the ol’ credit card to talk to someone.

However, I still think that paying money to talk to someone on a dating site is just too much. Probably the only valid reason I would accept as far as people paying to talk to a potential significant other is that the site is trying to curb creepers and scammers that would otherwise have a field day on the free sites. However, it also has the potential to keep out people who are sincere about finding someone and who may not even have a credit card to use to pay to talk to someone.

And in that case, I just think that’s wrong. But that’s just me.

In conclusion, I just think that if the main dating sites did away with their fees and their “free trial membership” tactics, people would actually have better luck meeting people without having to shell out the credit card to pay unnecessary money just to talk to someone who may or may not be interested in them. That way, more people would actually use the site to hopefully find the happiness they deserve without having to reach for the wallet.

The reaching for the wallet part should be reserved for the date itself.

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Q & A: 15 Weird Questions

Welcome to my latest Q & A vlog. And this week, the questions are not from Formspring. Instead they’re part of a series of tagged questions where someone has to answer weird questions. However, this Q & A is going to be shorter than the last few Q & A’s I’ve done since I’ve been back on YouTube. The last few Q & A’s I’ve done have actually been either close to or slightly over 20 minutes each. Since there are only 15 questions in this one, this one is going to be much shorter. Hopefully next week, I’ll have enough Formspring questions for the next vlog. So anyway, here we go.

Q: What’s a nickname only your family calls you?

A: I don’t think I really have a nickname only my family calls me.

Q: What’s a weird habit of yours?

A: I’m not sure if I really have any.

Q: Do you have any weird phobias?

A: Not really.

Q: What’s a song you secretly LOVE to blast and belt out when you’re alone?

A: Anything 80’s. No specific song, just any song from the 80’s.

Q: What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?

A: I have quite a few. Haters on YouTube, people who try to bum cigarettes off of me when I don’t smoke, rejection, women who aren’t my type trying to pick me up, and things that suck.

Q: What’s one of your nervous habits?

A: Sometimes, I twiddle my thumbs; sometimes when I’m anxious, my knees shake; and I have a bit of a stutter which I’m still trying to work on. But other than that, I don’t have any real nervous habits.

Q: What side of the bed do you sleep on?

A: I don’t really sleep in a bed. I sleep on a couch.

Q: What was your first stuffed animal & its name?

A: It was a stuffed German Shepherd dog and it was named Tramp.

Q: What’s the drink you ALWAYS order at Starbucks?

A: I don’t go to Starbucks. I do order frappes at McDonald’s. As I mentioned in recent episodes of TAOB, it’s become my new addiction.

Q: What’s the beauty rule you preach but never ACTUALLY practice?

A: I don’t really have any to tell you the truth.

Q: Which way do you face in the shower?

A: I don’t really think about that sort of thing.

Q: Do you have any weird body skills?

A: Not that I know of. Unless I have superpowers and I don’t know it yet.

Q: What’s your favorite ‘comfort food’/food that’s ‘bad’ but you love to eat it anyways?

A: Creole-flavored ziti. If you watched the first episode of TAOB since I returned from my hiatus, I showed you how to make it. All you need is ziti (or any type of pasta) and creole seasoning. Sure it’s spicy and if anything, it clears your sinuses. But it’s soooo good.

Q: What’s a phrase or exclamation you always say?

A: One lone cat against a big bad world. My motto.

Q: Time to sleep- what are you ACTUALLY wearing?

A: Oh, wouldn’t you like to know.

And there you go. My 15 weird questions for this week’s Q & A. Since this was part of a tagged thing, I’m not really tagging anyone so don’t worry about it. Like I said, I will have an all-new Q & A vlog next week with questions from Formspring.

Spider-Man (1977 TV Pilot)

Spider-Man, 1970’s style.

 

 

 

Today, since I didn’t get to do a new movie review, I decided to do a special old movie review and this one is a very rare find. It’s not available on DVD. However, I recently discovered it on YouTube and I figure why not review it. Here then is a review of “Spider-Man…” the 1970’s TV pilot.

Yeah, it’s almost as cheesy as the 60’s Batman TV series and the visual effects are primitive even by 70’s standards, but it sure is nostalgic. I remember seeing  this as a kid on Videodisc (if you’re as old as I am, you’ll remember videodiscs) and I thought it was really good back then.

There were obviously some liberties taken with the show. For one thing, Peter Parker (played here by Nicholas Hammond who at the time was known only as one of the Von Trapp kids in The Sound of Music) gets his super powers while in college. In the comics, he gets them while still in high school. He starts out as a photographer for the Daily Bugle before he gets bitten by the radioactive spider whereas in the comics, he works for the Bugle after becoming Spider-Man. There’s no mentioning of his Uncle Ben, whose murder gave Spidey his motivation and his “with great power comes great responsibility” philosophy. So he really has no motivation to become Spider-Man except that he was bitten by a radioactive spider and that he becomes a superhero just for the fun of it. Plus, Spidey’s too quiet. It’s like he’s more ninja than superhero in this one.

I know I’m nitpicking, but I am a die-hard Spider-Man fan. Deal with it.

But there are some things that stand out: For one, the funky “porn music” score (which almost every 70’s show seemed to have and this was no exception) and the wall-crawling effects, which seem unbelievable and impossible (even for a stuntman in the 70’s) to do. But to be fair, Spidey was a next-to-impossible superhero character to pull off back in the 70’s as opposed to now where we have CGI technology to bring him to life. And this show gets an A for effort.

The 2-hour pilot is basically an origin story. Peter gets his powers, becomes Spider-Man and fights crime. His first adversary in this one  is a self-help guru (played by Thayer David aka the boxing promoter from the first Rocky movie) who uses mind control to hypnotize select people to rob banks for him. His evil plan that Spidey has to foil is that he’s blackmailing the city in which unless the city pays him millions of dollars, he is going to hypnotize ten people to commit mass suicide.

Sure enough, the pilot episode launched the series, which lasted for two very short seasons, producing a total of 13 episodes before CBS pulled the plug, not because of ratings but because of “network politics.” CBS didn’t want to be known as the “Superhero Network.” At that time, CBS also had “Wonder Woman” and “The Incredible Hulk” on the air at that time.

But I can’t really pick on the show too much. After all, it was the 70’s. But those were the days. So if you’re nostalgic and want to see an early attempt to bring your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to TV or film, you might want to check it out.

Since it still is not available on DVD, if you want to watch it and don’t want to search for it, here it is:

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Well friends, this is it. The big one. The review that everyone has been waiting for. A review of the most anticipated film of 2012. So sit back, relax, and buckle up because I am about to get this review underway. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a review of the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises.

But before we get started, I want to offer an apology for not reviewing the previous film, The Dark Knight. I was just starting to film myself on YouTube at the time The Dark Knight came out and I meant to do a review of that film at the time, but I forgot all about it and by the time I would have gotten around to it, everyone would have said everything I was going to say about it anyway so I decided not to go through with it.

So as my way of atoning for that, I am going to review this movie. One suggestion I would make about this movie is that you better pack a lunch because this film is almost 3 hours long. You heard that right, folks. Almost 3 hours long, a rarity for a summer movie blockbuster. So let’s not waste any time, shall we?

I’m gonna start off with a recap of the last movie, so this is hardly a spoiler because it’s safe to say that everyone by this point has seen The Dark Knight. Batman is wanted by the cops for murdering District Attorney Harvey Dent, even though by that time, Dent was corrupted by the Joker and turned into Two-Face. As Two-Face, Dent kidnaps Commissioner Gordon’s family and Batman saves them, even though Dent is killed in the process. In order to ensure that Dent’s good-guy reputation is secure, Batman and Gordon hatch a plot in which Batman will take the fall for both Dent’s death and the crimes Dent committed as Two-Face.

When this movie begins, its 8 years later and Batman has pretty much disappeared and the man behind the Bat, Bruce Wayne (again played by Christian Bale) has become a crippled recluse. Meanwhile two new villains have emerged to plague Gotham: Selena Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway), a cat burglar who we all know in the comics as Catwoman even though she isn’t called Catwoman in the movie and the main villain, Bane (played by Tom Hardy.) Now here is where I have to show some praise. Despite a liberty taken here and there, this movie’s Bane is closer to the real Bane as seen in the comics as opposed to the ass-raping the character received by Joel Schumacher in Batman and Robin. This is one of Batman’s most dangerous villains and the only real villain to actually defeat Batman and he is portrayed as such here but I’m not going to give too much away. I mean, it’s hard to do a movie like this without giving away too many spoilers.

Anne Hathaway does a pretty decent job here as Catwoman (I’ll call her that even though Nolan doesn’t call her that in the movie.) She has the right amount of sex appeal, physical prowess, and vulnerability that the character should have. And we sort of do feel the conflict that Catwoman has: She doesn’t know whether she wants to be a villain or a hero, just like in the comics.

The actions of both these villains force Bruce out of self-imposed exile and puts on the Bat suit again to save Gotham. Yes, folks, Christian Bale’s Bat-voice is back too, although it’s more toned down here than it is in the previous two movies. And what ensues is probably the biggest battle of his life.

And some of the supporting actors in this movie are pretty good too. Nolan Bat-regulars Michael Caine gives off an extremely touching performance especially for having significantly less screen time than in the last movie. Morgan Freeman again shines as Lucius Fox. Gary Oldman again does a pretty decent job as Commissioner Gordon. And the newcomers do a pretty decent job as well. Note that at least five of the main actors came over from Nolan’s last film, Inception (also a good movie I saw in theaters.) In addition to Tom Hardy (Bane) and Michael Caine (Alfred), Marion Cotillard (who appeared with Bale in the film Public Enemies) does fairly well as Miranda Tate, who has been handling Wayne Enterprise activities in Bruce’s absence.  You might think she doesn’t play a major role in the story, but she does (especially towards the end of the movie.) And Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as idealistic cop John Blake does most of the hero stuff whenever Batman is off-screen. And he does share a connection to Batman (which I also will not give away.)

The visuals are absolutely incredible. Everything from Batman’s newest vehicle, the Bat (a variation of the Batwing from the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher franchise) to Bane blowing up various sections of Gotham City (including a spectacular sequence where a football field is destroyed while one player plays on oblivious to the destruction around him.) And the climactic battle between Batman and his army of cops and Bane and his army of liberated criminals will clearly take your breath away.

Also of note is that this movie was filmed in New York City during the Occupy Wall Street movement which actually gives a hint of realism to this film (something the Nolan Bat-films have done pretty well) and from what I’ve heard, actual protesters were used as extras in the film further adding to the authenticity of the film.

So now on to the story. The story is a mixture of some of the best Batman stories ever told in the comics: “Knightfall” (the Batman/Bane storyline), “No Man’s Land” (criminals controlling a cut-off Gotham City) and the landmark mini-series, “The Dark Knight Returns” (Batman returning after a prolonged absence) and the story is told really well. In fact, the pacing is so good that you forget that this film is almost 3 hours long. If a movie can do that, then that’s the sign of a good movie.

So now the moment of truth: Is The Dark Knight Rises good or is it a colossal letdown? Well, in my honest opinion, The Dark Knight Rises is really, really good. In fact, I think I liked this better than The Dark Knight. It kept me really interested and it is clearly the ultimate Batman movie. A true epic and it’s also one of those rare threequels that is actually just as good as or better than the original movies. Other examples of this include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (even though I never seen it and as I’ve mentioned before in previous videos, I am not a Lord of the Rings fan.)

So there you go viewers. That is my take on The Dark Knight Rises. I highly recommend it to everyone and if you don’t want to see the Olympics, I suggest you go to the movies and check it out.