ON24 2000During New Year’s 2000, this is my only souvenir. At the time, I was working at ON24 and my shift was 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. My normal bedtime was 6:30 p.m.

Although I set my alarm to wake up early, I slept through midnight and completely missed the Year 2000 celebration. But kept this noisemaker for almost 8 years until I scanned it for this site and tossed it in the trash bin.

071229 Cape HoneysuckleDecember in northern California’s South Bay is the only time of year where the weather varies greatly from day to day. Our usual cloudless blue skies give way to the height of the rainy season, this is the time of year that temperatures ranges from the mid-to-high 30s at night to the high 60s in the daytime.

It also is the time of year that winter flowers are in full bloom and winter allergies coincide with the cold and flu bugs. In our front garden here in Mountain View, the Cape Honeysuckle is just beginning to come into its peak flowering season. The bright-orange lipstick-sized blooms will cover this shrubby vine from late December until early February just about the time the spring bulbs start blooming.

The above picture was taken by me of one of our two Cape Honeysuckles on December 29, 2007. This particular vine climbs a trellis and reaches up more than 20 feet to the peak of the roof.

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Move along. Nothing original to see here…

I honestly didn’t think I’d pay to see a movie worse than Spider-Man 3 this year. I was wrong.

I plopped down $10.25 to see a little gem (if by “gem” you mean load of crap) called, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (or “AVPR,” for short).

Now, I have to say despite its many, many flaws, I still found myself amused – slightly. The film almost walked the line between campy spoof humor and kick-butt action. The special effects and the art direction were top notch. The cast was good – sometimes very good.

But, the main problem was that the sub-plot of humans in danger and the dialogue writing sucked big time.

Here, the main characters that draw the audience into the theatres are the acid-blooded Aliens and techie-savage Predators. The problem, neither of these characters talk – the most noise either of these makes is a clicking growl or screech.

This means the supporting humans must have interactions and dialogue worthy enough to draw in the audience enough for it to suspend disbelief in what is a pretty unbelievable concept. That just doesn’t happen.

[NOTE: Matters don’t get much better when the plot holes are so big that it’s hard to follow the story because the audience is talking out loud asking valid questions such as, “now why didn’t they just drive away in the tank?”]

With not-so-witty banter such as, “You’re too stupid to talk, shut up!” and “People are dying; we need guns,” screenwriter Shane Salerno is living up to his track record of writing really bad movies. He’s responsible for two other piles of bad dialogue in 2000’s Shaft remake and 1998’s Armageddon. I seriously wonder how he continues to dupe movie studios into paying him money to write.

It’s a shame.

The Alien franchise is one of the best in science fiction horror history. But now it has devolved to the level of self-aware bad camp. Sad.

Final rating: Horrible. 1 star out of 5.

(It gets the one star instead of zero for three reasons: 1. they avoid the save-the-babies for no apparent reason cliche of most horror films, 2. A laugh-out-loud scene when Daddy is telling his little girl there is no such thing as monsters, and 3. the creators put in little non-subtle but amusing nods to just about every famous horror movie made in the past 50 years.)