Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rave: Beard Terror Watch

I like a beard on a man.

I am also a big supporter of the burgeoning Menaissance movement, and its resulting "retrosexuals", because it tends to squick me out when men spend too much time on personal grooming.

However, that being said, some beards are cause for concern. Like the "molester beard":

Or the equally sketchy "Youth Minister Beard":

And, of course the age-old adage "never trust a man with a soul patch" is one of my Montebellucci cardinal rules of thumb. Thank you to rapper "Pitbull" for modeling exactly what I speak of:

But how is one to tell a good, friendly beard from a sinister one? Easy! I found this handy guide which outlines everything you need to know about beards, and the men who sport them.

You're welcome.

(click to make it bigger)


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rave: Scotland!

Readers, this Rave is very close to my heart. I speak of my ancestral homeland, a place of lochs, badass militia men and windswept moors. I speak, of course, of Scotland.

While my name suggests that I am perhaps Italian, it is not so [that is a whole other side of the family]; my forebears hailed mostly from the most rocking country in the Northern Hemisphere. I mentioned a while ago that even my map-of-the-world shower curtain doesn't give Scotland any respect, let alone the rest of the world. I hope that this exhaustive discussion of fair Alba will persuade you that I am indeed sprung from the loins of greatness. So, without further ado, I present: Reasons why Scotland is Awesome.

1. I am from there.

2. If one is from Scotland, one gets their own tartan and motto
That's right. On my fridge right now is a sweet magnet which contains my clan's tartan (a beguiling mix of green, grey, orange and brown -aww yeah!) and our motto which I will keep to myself for fear of clan identity theft. Isn't it dreamy? Don't you just want to drape your entire self with this magnificent melange of color and pattern?

Do you have that on your fridge? No, you probably just have some wack-ass drawing by your spawn:

(just to let you know, you are the only one who can even tell, or cares, what that shit is supposed to be). 

3. It looks like this:
Normally, I'm more of a idyllic beach girl, but these vistas make me want to have a torrid love affair with some dark-skinned foundling my father discovered on the streets of Liverpool.

This scenery also appeals to my dream of living in a run down country estate in which I sit in an old wheelchair, knees covered with a tartan blanket and drink copious amounts of Laudenum as I pine for my lost youth.

4. It has badasses of a scope, depth and breadth unheard of in any other place.
To wit:
William Wallace:

A hardcore 13th century freedom fighter, William Wallace was one of Scotland's biggest badasses. Weighing in at 6"7' and lord knows how many pounds, Wallace was man enough to wield this beauty:

The Wallace Sword, which is 5 foot 6 inches of pure fire-forged English-killing fury. To add to its amazingness, and Wallace's badassery, consider the following: 

After his stunning victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, the English left 5,000 dead on the field, including their despised treasurer, Hugh Cressingham. One of Cressingham's most bastardly acts was to order that all wool produced in Scotland was to be confiscated and sent to England, leading to increased hardship for the locals. For heaven's sake man, you do not mess with a Scot's wool! 

If you had your druthers what would you have done to this man? Kick him in the guts a little? Perhaps spit on him, or take a sweet new Facebook profile pic next to your spoils of war? Not William Wallace, he flayed (!) Cressingham and used his skin as both a trophy of victory, and to make a belt for his sword. What?! I don't have a single accessory made of human bark; I am such a loser.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rave: Tiger Steals the Show

This guy is my hero, or perhaps my id.

As anyone who has seen my karaoke performance of "Alone" by Heart knows, lurking within me lies a performer waiting to be unleashed. I start soft, lulling you into a false sense of security, then open up full throttle culminating in an ungodly wail that brings me to my knees. Then, I bask in the adoring gasps of my new fans.

In this video, keep your eyes on the "tiger" on the left hand side. He represents everything I never knew I wanted to do, in dance form.

In fact, he reminds me of the time when I was 6 and my school put on its annual nativity play. It was the highlight of the season and I knew I had what it took to be Mary, Mother of Jesus. I felt I could bring a renewed sense of wonder to this integral member of the Bible. When the time came, it turned out some other stupid girl got the part and I was stuck being "Sheep #3" in the rousing musical number "Busy in Bethlehem".

Had I seen this video, I would have know what to do.

Stick with it till the end where El Tigre really goes to to town. Two emphatic thumbs up.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Club: Manimal's Selection

Here at ijustwanttoconquerpeopleandtheirsouls I often discuss my dear husband, the Resident Manimal. One reason I enjoy our betrothal more than anything is observing his random obsessions. Avid readers of this blog (I am flattering myself here) will remember his Wunderkammer, but there are so many more things which intrigue the beast-man. The RM is sort of like a human magpie, accumulating shiny new things for his mental "nest". Recently, his obsessions have ranged from UFOs, pitbulls and painting to home wart removal, baseball gloves and treating leather with Mink oil.

Usually, the warning signs of a Manimal obsession begin with copious amounts of internet research and then a trip to Barnes and Noble. This ritualistic approach to learning prompted the idea for this very post: A Book Club.

Whereas I usually try to work my way through the back of a cereal box, or one free subway newspaper per week, the Manimal is a voracious reader. He is always jumping around from topic to topic, switching genres like a fat man switches corduroy pants. Our reading selections are also vastly disparate. Sometimes, I will pull out the big guns and delve into a Victorian, prompting much eye-rolling from my boo. We're kind of like Paula Abdul and MC Skat Cat:

Paula Abdul - Opposites Attract
Uploaded by val6210. - See the latest featured music videos.

This got me thinking. "Ronnie, why don't you and the Manimal become a modern day Siskel and Ebert, recommending books for the masses?" With our powers combined, there'll be something for everyone.

In this feature, I plan to discuss the latest additions to the our home library, provide interesting snippets and perhaps get some feedback from the man himself.  It'll be like Oprah, except with more cage fighting and eastern philosophies.

Yesterday, Manimal came home with the very book which planted the seed for the Club: Knife Fighting: A Practical Course by Michael D. Janich.

It's a shame that this cover is a little blurry because otherwise you would see the amazingness of the pictures.

Written by this man,
Knife Fighting aims to "allow a novice knife fighter to develop the skills required for today's combative streets'. It's full of helpful tips to help you destroy any jive-ass turkey who may try to jack you on your way home.

*An aside, Janich has an instructional video which also looks promising:

From a cursory glance I found this book to be chock-full of great advice. Janich opens with a few words on important psychological decisions like: "If you have no choice and are forced to face an opponent armed with a blade, expect to get cut". This way, Janich says, you can avoid the pesky "shock" which tends to accompany the knowledge that someone has delivered a punishing knife strike to your thorax, and keep on fighting.

He also tackles those nasty moral and legal problems that tend to come along with a mano-a-mano knife duel. If you find yourself about to engage in a battle, Janich says, you best make sure you have "made the decision that you might have to kill your opponent". If you haven't mentally sured up your capacity for homicide, your "chances of survival will be severely diminished". Luckily, I already decide who I would kill, and who I would spare every day as I walk to work.

Thankfully, if you do decide to kill a man just to watch him die, Janich is in your corner. Despite the "twisted legal system" in this country which frowns upon preemptively unleashing a physical blitzkrieg on a complete stranger, you can breathe easy about being prosecuted.  Janich helpfully points out that you can only be tried as the aggressor if "1) your opponent survives to press charges against you, and 2) your opponent is willing to contact the police". This book is full of great advice!

Once you have grappled with these ideas, you're ready to learn some bitching knife fighting techniques. The best part is that each move is accompanied by some sweet photo representations.

Finish him!

Great tips Mike! One should never become fixated on one's knife, we have plenty of other "body weapons"at our disposal. It looks like Janich is advocating my patented move: the "sissy kick". Also, he seems to be reminding us not to forget the powerful anti-thug protection of acid-wash dad jeans and vintage cop sunglasses.

So, to sum up: a great book if you're looking to practice slicing someone's throat, or become a masked vigilante. Thumbs up.

The Manimal did not care for it, however. When I asked him for a score, he gave it a "4 out of 10" because it wasn't "combat effective" whatever that means. Thumbs down.

As a final thought, I'll conclude with some wise words from Janich himself: "It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

List: Embarassing Stuff Which Makes Me Cry

When I first began this blog, I mentioned how under my stoic antipodean exterior lies a ball of sentimental goo waiting to be prodded. While I may not reveal my true emotions very often, there are some things that get me every time, namely in the form of cheesy movie scenes.

When I had the inspiration for this post, we were in the midst of the Winter Olympics. Ergo, the instance of "stuff that will make me misty" was at code orange. In fact, it was this very commercial which galvanized me into writing:

What?? Are you serious? His daughter...Jane. That. is. too.much. Morgan Freeman, you should hang your head, sir. Using that voice for such shameless tear-jerking. Go World, indeed. Go to Hell World, for using a man's personal tragedy to sell me a Visa card is more like it.

More often than not, scenes which make me teary have one of the following elements: a slow clap, the Olympics, an underdog, a family reunion or a parent being proud of their child. Take away from that what you will.

I don't claim this list to be definitive, but it's a brief glimpse into my psyche. Spoiler Alert! It's real scary in there.

1. Rudy
Who doesn't emote when Rudy makes the sack? Serial killers, that's who.

2. Family Reunions

I could not find Salt Man from Home Alone and his moving reunion with his estranged son so I went with an equally awesome example: The end of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Oh man, the combination of the tears of a clown (Del Griffith) and a Paul Young song (the soundtrack to many an uncomfortable Sunday drive with my parents) is almost too much for me.

"Hello, Mrs. Page". Gah.

3. Cool Runnings.
Daang, John Candy seems to figure prominently in this post. This also has a slow clap which always pushes me over the edge.

4. Thomas J.'s Funeral.

Ah, My Girl. No-one really remembers this story of an outcast boy-girl BFF summer. The scene where Vada wanders into Thomas J.'s funeral (he died from bee stings while he was looking for her mood ring in the woods- one of my top ten fears. The bee sting part, not the lost mood ring) is so super sad. "Where are his glasses?", indeed.

5. Mr. Miyagi's face when Daniel-san wins.

Stupid Cobra Kai. They play dirty and use an illegal leg kick to cripple lovable Daniel LaRusso in the finals. However, Daniel can't be taken out so easily and keeps hobbling back for more punishment. In the final round LaRusso faces off against Johnny Lawrence played by ultimate 80s movie villain William Zabka pictured below:

*An aside: As I performed a cursory William Zabka search, I stumbled across the amazingness pictured below. I doff my cap to you sir (or madam) for etching not only a picture of Billy Zabka, but a picture of Billy Zabka dressed as Johnny Lawrence dressed as a skeleton for Halloween on your person for eternity. Bravo!

When Daniel uses the age-old Crane Kick to defeat the low-down tactics of Kobra Kai sensai John Kreese, it is not only a victory for Daniel, it is a victory for all of us. Miyagi knows this and, though he doesn't say it, his face at the end of The Karate Kid speaks volumes.

Finally, thanks to my friend B$$, please feast your eyes on this fantastic music video written and directed by Mr. Zabka. I don't know why he hasn't won major recognition for this beauty.

6. Milo and Otis
I hope you will all talk to me after this list. What began as a lighthearted lark has quickly devolved into a humiliating exercise in self flagellation. Exhibit A: Milo and Otis. When I first saw this film about a cheeky cat and a pug-faced Richard the Lionheart, I probably cried like 75 times. It is also narrated by the eminent Dudley Moore, adding a sense of gravitas to proceedings.

I decided to use the video below, rather than one scene because 1) I like the incongruous choice of Soul Asylum's song about teenage runaways and 2) it has all the cute bits (frogs! crab attack!) in one three minute and fifty three second package.

7. Japanese Condom commercials
I don't really have anything to explain myself here, this is just a really nice condom commercial, you guys.

Well, there you have it. I am lame.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rave: Sweet Parallel Parking

Maybe it's because I am a loser who can't drive at the age of 30, or maybe because my inner bogan needs feeding, but I love a good parking stunt. This kid is already a better driver than me and he's about one fifth of my age.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rave: Indian PSAs

Although some condom ads make you misty, and others make you scared, there are very few that make you want to get up and shake your junk. Sometimes, the only way to encourage the use of prophylactics is with a good old fashioned Bollywood song and dance routine.

What do we get in the U!S!A!? A buch of wack-ass penguins telling us to stay in school. This PSA just makes me want to go and get my hands on some Bob Hope and drop out.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wish List: Business Cards

In my line of work, having a business card would be scoffed at; I'd be better served spending my money on a bunch of 'ludes.

However, in the future, I would certainly like to have some of these bad boys. Although, I would not have such an aggressively quirky outfit on:

If things really were to go my way and I become a boss, I'd definitely force everyone in my employ to get these Lego beauties: