Saturday, August 30, 2008

Random: Lost & Found Lion

watch video before reading post

This is a shorter version of a documentary I heard about from the 70’s. Apparently it’s a true story and pretty cool. While the music induces a horrible flashback of the early 90’s and the end titles are uber-cheesy its pretty cool. The whole time I was expecting the animal to rip someone’s head off. While that would have been my ending of choice this one will do. I guess its cause I like lions and Brits.

I am not encouraging you to actually track down old pets, old friends, or old girlfriends/boyfriends. Both are dangerous, not what you remember, and better left a memory. Don’t blame my blog if you make a dumb choice. This story was turned into a documentary because it’s the exception, not the rule.

I am off to check Craigslist for any Jaguars that are up for adoption.

Friday, August 29, 2008

50 years of an Amazing Talent...
25 years of getting progressively weirder.

This is a computer generated image of what Michael Jackson would look like today without any cosmetic surgery... then again, he’s said explicitly he hasn’t had any cosmetic surgery so these wacky computers must be wrong.

Michael Jackson turns 50. The story goes that his father had him playing tambourine for the Jackson 5 until he started singing back up and clearly blew his brother out of the water (Poor Jermaine.) Michael was a lead singer at 9, had an abusive father long before that, and remained in the public eye long after that. Jackson is ridiculously talented and his eccentric side has always been present along with his talent.

I have a general rule; just because something goes out of style doesn’t mean it goes out of my favor. Michael Jackson was my favorite artist as a kid. I was raised in a time when Bad was an edgy record, when you watched the making of thriller every time it was on TV, when Jackson truly was the “king of pop”. His music is infectious, when I was a senior in high school and his music was “out of style”, I would pull into the student parking lot blasting any number of his hits. People would turn down their Tupac to listen to his hits.

I stood by him when accusations started to come out in the early 90’s. I just figured people were out to extort an eccentric guy. Then almost a decade later he does an interview with Martin Bashir, a shady British journalist. Bashir certainly twisted Jackson’s words to make him look really horrible. With that said, he did say some things that weren’t normal. I remember watching the interview with a bunch of guys at the time. My friend Dana and I, super-fans, defended him the whole way through. Then when everybody left the room we turned to each other and said this didn’t look good.

The guy clearly has issues, and definitely hasn’t used good judgment. Sharing a bed with children that aren’t yours, after being accused of shadiness, not smart. Calling it “Magical” while trying to justify it to a tabloid reporter, not smart at all. I don’t know if Michael did anything more than what he admits. What I do know is the guy is a damaged man with an unprecedented talent. It’s disappointing too, imagine if he was balanced and still making great records. Imagine if he wasn’t spending every dime he had on lame crap in overpriced boutiques in Vegas, but managing his Beatles Rights and investing in other artists…sad, I know.

You know what, I am not going to mourn the mistakes of Michael or focus on what could have been. Instead I am going to listen to his music throughout the weekend, pull up to different places blasting his hits. I am going to watch the making of thriller on you tube. Let’s celebrate a great musician that changed pop music and transformed a remote planet with a gift that you can’t see…but hear. Oh, glorious Captain Eo, I’m also going to watch that in celebration of this happy day.

We can’t change the past, but “we are here to change the world!”

Happy Birthday Michael.

I've shown this before but couldn't resist to show it again. A past birthday, click here and scroll to the bottom. Michael accepted his cake as an award.

Michael Jackson accepted the “Artist of the Millennium” award, when in reality all he was being presented with is a birthday cake. Enjoy this awkward moment. (note: watch the start and not the No Doubt acceptance speech. The only reason that is in the clip is because Michael is still on the stage.)

Tropic Thunder is exactly what was forecast.

You may remember the kid on the left in the glasses as a loser friend from knocked up, but I remember him from Almost Famous as the Led Zeppelin superfan kid.

I wasn’t going to blog about this movie because my opinion on it was simple… If you like Ben Stiller movies, and you laughed at the trailer, then you will like this movie. If you loathe Ben Stiller and think the trailer is stupid, then you will hate it. This movie is simple, kind of like Zoolander, except I liked Zoolander more. I laughed, don’t get me wrong, but it was like eating Cheerios. No one eats a bowl of Cheerios and raves that it was amazing, you just are happy to have a tasty breakfast. (Or Dinner, I won’t limit Cheerios to a single meal)

One surprise was the performance of Tom Cruise. I use to be a huge fan of Cruise, but in the last 3 years since he jumped on Oprah’s couch he’s become more and more repulsive. I walked out of the theater talking more about him than the other funny moments. It was a perfect move by Cruise; not taking himself too seriously. Only time will tell if this is a step in the right direction, or a hiccup in his pursuit of crazy. The other cameos in this movie were great. The actors making fun of the industry was the best part of this little film.

So, why are you writing a blog about this movie then? I decided to write this after reading Entertainment Weekly’s review of the film. Lisa Schwarzbaum gave this film an “A” rating. Really? An “A” for this simple little movie? Movies like Juno and No Country for Old Men didn’t earn that high of a rating according to Schwarzbaum. Is this lady just giving A’s away? My friend Danny, a high school teacher, use to lament students expectation of earning A’s because that was like a pass. Just because parents and colleges expect A’s doesn’t mean Danny would give them out for a performance that was par for the course. “C” means you hit the marks and did what was expected.

I try and rate things with that same integrity. I am calling Schwarzbaum’s ‘integrity’ into question here. I think she got it just plain wrong. Most of the time I agree with EW, but they got it wrong here. It’d be generous to give it a “B”, it was not excellent, it was Cheerios.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Confessions of a Disney Dork: The Convention

This is Mecca for the obsessed Disney fans.

I am a Disney Dork. It feels good just to be honest and say that. If you’ve known be for a few years, you’ve known about this and known that I am really not ashamed. The way I figure it, we all have quirky things and its better if we just own it rather than justify it. I’ve thought a lot about why I have this and there are some interesting theories about my personality and childhood and all that business. I won’t go into that here.

It became clear a few years ago that I wasn’t alone in this obsession when I attended my first NFFC convention. (NFFC: National Fantasy Fan Club, can’t have Disney in the title because of lawsuits.) My friend Dennis, another Disney Dork took me and Dann to this Mecca as he’s a member of the NFFC. The convention is a week long and has some fancy speakers throughout the week. I’ve only been on Sunday when all the vendors come out and the general public can get in for the low cost of $10. In years past I have dropped some coin and bought some cool stuff. (Well, I think its cool.) This year, in spite of the economy being “fundamentally sound” I didn’t have the cash to spend on trinkets. Instead I decided to go another route and have fun with friends.

Many of the Vendors at these events are a little over the top in their pursuit to sell you things you don’t need. To have fun I began to ask my very simple questions, acting like a novice. “So this thing is about Disney?” “Where can I find the Looney Toons Memorabilia?” I love playing dumb, especially when I really do know a ton of the trivia. Most of the people I encountered early on were so nice, and pounced at the opportunity to educate me. I would ask questions, trying to get Dann or Dennis to crack up. I never let on to the people that it was a joke. They all went home with a spring in their step that they got to educate a rookie.

I may be an uber-fan but I’ve never understood the appeal of pin trading. People have thousands of pins and are very territorial. I would offer $20 for all of them and they would scoff at me. Believe it or not my offer was genuine because that’s really what all of that stuff is worth to me. I was getting a little bit annoyed with some of the pin vendors and other people I was encountering later in the day. Their condescending tone was a little too much like the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons; just out to make a buck and hoping make others feel stupid in the process.

When my frustration started to take over I spotted James & Kim. This was like the exact opposite of the annoying vendor. They are sweet and genuinely love them some Disney. They’ve spent the last 9 years working on an exact replica of Nature’s Wonderland Railroad. That is a ride that was replaced by Big Thunder Mountain in Frontier Land. They are not done, but still chugging away on their endeavor. I’d heard the stories of them recalling the hours they’ve spent building the ‘battling elk’ to the exact specifications according to pictures and even some schematics.

I would never spend that many hours on a project like that and can laugh at the minutia, but I have to be realistic. I’ve spent countless days in the parks, hundreds of hours reading books, and thousands of dollars on an annual pass for the last 14 years. Jim & Kim crack me up in an endearing way. They finish each other’s sentences and clearly love what they do. We all have our obsessions, some are more socially accepted than others but it doesn’t change the fact that we all geek-out. So next time you see someone that’s a little ‘dorky’ realize that it is just a passion that isn’t socially accepted. I dare you to engage them and ask them about what they love. It’s fun to be around passionate people, even if it’s just a passion about a ride that closed 31 years ago.

See you next year, Disney Dorks!

Some pictures from the event…

(left to right) Jim, Kim & Trent

This is one of the three rooms that house the vendors, selling anything and everything Disney.

they sell everything from Disneyland Hotel Hangers (over the top, I know.)

to some cool collectibles like the telephone from Walt’s apartment. (cheesy to a mere mortal, but I think its rad.)

All these items are sold by these hipsters. (This couple cracked me up and deserved a photo.) These people empty their garage and come out once a year to fill your garage with stuff you don’t need.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Random: When I was a kid...

When I was a kid I had imaginary friends. I don't remember when or why they left, but I understand this persons sense of loss. My imaginary friends were called the "bosses". They were auto mechanics and always wore coveralls. I would save seats for them at the movies. If they read this blog, it would be great for them to email me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Random: How I can step up my game...

I've been told that I am too meek with the ladies and I need to step up my game.

Mike says I need to sweep girls off their feet.
Scott is constantly telling me that I need to be more confident.
It's like a choir in my ear telling me I'm "so money and I don't even know it."

Maybe they're right, maybe this is what the ladies are looking for?


Kudos to Darin & his blog for finding me this and inspiring me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Random: The Fall of Baja

Are all random posts going to be about food? Only time will tell. I have a few friends that have blogs about their meals. They are so good at it I couldn't compete with their awesome.

Dinner tonight at Baja Fresh. Remember when it was a ground breaking food experience? You'd crave the Baja because it was so darn good. Those days have ended. A few years ago the company was sold to the Wendy's corporation and quality has been declining ever since. To the point where I will suggest something else from here on out.

Corporate greed is like "the nothing" in The Neverending Story, taking
out everything in it's path. I am like that giant rock dude mourning
the loss; "they use to be such strong hands." This makes me sad.

I miss you Baja.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random Thoughts: Intro

New Feature at Thoughts of Trent

So, many of you have been writing and emailing that you check my blog every day and are often disappointed to find that I don't have a new post. Then you'd reference another mutual friend's blog and their consistency in posting. After looking at my friends blogs I realized that theirs take about 2 minutes to post, while mine can take a little longer.

I don't want to change the style of my posts because I like writing a detailed opinion, so instead of changing formats to appease those of you that check daily, I decided to add a type of post. Random Thoughts will be just that, a random thought opinion or experience. I will write most of these from my iPhone so they will be brief and in the moment. They won't have the fancy pictures or polls, instead it may or may not have an image from the phone.

It will be something fresh and updated frequently. If you like this new idea then yippee! If not, then just scroll past the posts labeled "Random" for the old Thoughts of Trent experience. I'd love to hear what you think so post a comment. Comments let me know people are reading and digging on it.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy!


The bar is high, and “American Teen” clears it.

As much as I wanted to wear a cool letterman’s jacket in high school, getting a letter in drama and show choir seemed to cancel out the cool.

Honestly, I was feeling defeated after a sub par cinematic experience. As I walk out of the theater, thinking of the better films of my youth, I spot an iconic poster for a great film. As I approach I get excited, are they really going to re-release “The Breakfast Club”? I’d rather spend the money to see that classic on the big screen then see the garbage I just witnessed. As I approach, I realize that the poster may look like the cast of the classic John Hughes film, but that’s no Emilio!

As I investigate the image I realize that this is a film that’s trying to market itself off the 80’s classic. It’s going by a different title, so it must not be a remake. Besides I would have read something about a remake. Now the idea of selling a film about teenagers on the coat tails of a classic is annoying. I went from annoyed to infuriated in the following weeks as I began to see JC Penny’s commercials that try and rip off the film in a back to school marketing campaign. (Seriously, I vote for a boycott.) When I learned this “American Teen” movie was a documentary about teens, I found myself in a bit of a moral quandary because I was very interested. How could I support a film that is basing its marketing on the publics love for a different film?

After hearing some great things about this documentary that swept Sundance I found myself in a little theater waiting for the film to start. (Clearly a little buzz can have me setting my righteous indignation aside.) I was in High School or worked with High School students for more than half my life, and find it to be an intriguing stage of life. It is a great, difficult and fresh time in life and is fascinating to watch. This movie, American Teen follows a few simple archetypes through their senior year. It shows the cliques and complexities in a funny and heartfelt fashion. It’s a great looking film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the great cinematic shots of the hallways to the animation and for the dream sequences, this movie doesn’t follow a basic style of a documentary. The director captures the gravity of various social situations, without making things seem cheesy and forced like an episode of “The Hills.”

You find yourself rooting for the underdog, cursing the villain, and remembering the simplicity of life in high school. I found myself laughing out loud at moments when the rest of the audience sat in silence. I guess it was the nuances of these students that brought me joy. Their pettiness is almost endearing and yet you hurt for them as they experience the parental conflict and breakups. When one of the characters discovers what school they’d be attending I found myself tearing up, remembering that moment in my adolescence. I’d never want to relive high school, the trauma would be too much, but I certainly enjoy watching it. They picked a great town, and a perfect group of students; I found each of them accessible and relatable.

The bar was set high when they made the correlation with my favorite John Hughes film, but I think I may have discovered my favorite documentary of the year. “The Breakfast Club” gave a window into the soul of the jock, the princess, the rebel, the outcast and the geek. While the world has changed drastically, “American Teen” shows that the basics are the same. While we all talk about how our lives have changed dramatically in the years since we left our lockers behind, this film reminds us that we are still basically the same.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

1 month later; iPhone thoughts

She doesn’t just look good, she’s can actually have a conversaton.

“Isn’t it ridiculous, people were sleeping outside to get this phone, who does that for a phone.” I chuckle at my friend, knowing that I spent most of the day standing outside of the Apple store in Simi Valley. “I mean, give me a break, I have an iPod, I have a phone, they work fine.” I didn’t say a word. It wasn’t because I’m afraid of going toe to toe if I think I’m right, but at that point, I wasn’t sure. I had stood in line for 8 hours that day based on a theory. I believed that Apple knew what they were doing and so on that trust I bought their product.

The next day I spent loading my old contacts into my new “mobile me” account. This is a new service Apple is providing that will sync pictures, music, contacts and calendar with all your computers and iPhone. I can take a picture on my phone and with a single click it is loaded to my computer at home and on a database that can be accessed from anywhere at Setting up my email was a breeze, and all my accounts were set up in minutes.

That night, I took my phone out for the first time. I walked to my car and with my earbuds in, I listened to some music. As I got in the car, I just kept my iPod going. Driving down the freeway, I got my first call. The music simply faded out, and the person calling’s name appeared. How great is that! This one single device now has the best of my music, and just fades right back up when I end the call. The way it functions is just like an Apple, super intuitive, clean menus, just the way it should.

The next day, as if I wasn’t happy enough, I discovered the App Store. This is different companies making applications specifically for the iPhone and may be the greatest strength of the phone. Facebook, movie times, and great games. They’re currently selling apps at an amazing rate and this is sure to be the strength of this new mobile platform. While at work, sitting in front of a computer with 4 gigs of RAM and a T1 line, I will use my iPhone apps for movie times and other features because its easier.

Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve LOVED about the phone…
(in no particular order)
- Visual voicemail, see the messages and delete them with a single touch.
- There’s an iPod in your pocket all the time, with a great new user interface.
- The real internet in your pocket, not just a mobile imposter.
- Fun games and other apps that make a waiting room a pleasure.
- GPS syncing with Google maps, and traffic. Search for a business and click the map, and it’s got point by point directions.
- Text messages look like an iChat conversation. It’s easy to see what was said.
- Take pictures with the camera, and it adds a tag that has your exact location to tell you where you were and when you took the photo.
- Automatically uses open WiFi connections to download things even faster than the already fast 3G network.
- YouTube on your phone, don’t describe the funny video you saw, just show it.

There are a few things that they need to address, like becoming flash compatible, adding a cut & paste feature, and making it easier to see and send pictures via text messaging. The great things about those flaws are that they can be fixed with a software update. I just plain love this phone, I say a prayer of thanks every morning when I put on the headphones and head out for the day. It really is just so good.

The iPhone isn’t for everyone but I’m not sure who it isn’t for. If you are a tech-savy person with a mobile lifestyle, then you need one tomorrow. I had a Blackberry for two years and loved having email and web on my phone, but this is totally different. It’s like remembering your love for driving when you got your first car; a 10-year-old Ford Taurus. Then comparing that with the joy you experience behind the wheel of your brand new convertible Ferrari.

Just the other day my friend that inadvertently mocked me for the iPhone saw that I had one. He laughed and asked how long I’d had it. I told him that I had it that day we talked but hadn’t used it so couldn’t argue for it. After letting him hold it and showing him the features for 20 minutes he asked me how long the lines are now. His conclusion was simple, “I have to get one of these.”

By the way, if you switch over to AT&T because this article was the tipping point, well then tell them Trent sent you. I get a credit! I didn’t write this article trying to sell phones, but if I did…hook a brother up!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The day the Dodgers Lost, but I won.

This was a picture from our box, the row in front of us is enjoying the 7th inning stretch.

I have been going to Dodger games since I was a baby. Growing up I can remember my dad going upstairs at my friend Jon’s house. Our dads would meet and divide the season tickets we shared. Back then my main concern was if we got to go to “free bobble head day”. The games of my youth were focused on chocolate malts with wooden spoons and sneaking down to the lobby between the dugouts to try and get autographs after the game. As a kid I can remember how bummed I was that I didn’t get to go to the World Series (1988). My father consoled me with the promise, “you can go next year, we’ll be back.”

20 years later we haven’t been back to the World Series. My father has been at many other great LA sports moments. He was at the Track & Field finals for the 1984 Olympics and I was at home with grandma. He was at Game 4: Lakers vs. Kings during the 2002 NBA Playoffs when Divac slapped the ball out and Horry hit the three to win the game. I was in Missouri at a sports bar getting strange looks from the locals as I ran around the restaurant screaming. He saw Gibson hit it out in the bottom of the 9th, Game 1 and I was at home watching on TV! I have been sure that my father is kicking my butt when it comes to witnessing LA Sports history.

Tuesday, July 8th, I gained something my father has never had as I made my way to Chavez Ravine for the Dodgers vs. the Braves. Now this may not have been a historical game, in fact it was an embarrassing loss. It was the best Dodger Game of my adult life and it all started with a text message. My friend Emily mentioned that her fiancĂ© Jeff had great tickets from work and they’d love to have me join them and another friend. Now whether the tickets are amazing or garbage if I am available I will never pass down Dodger tickets. I have to be honest, I was questioning whether the seats were that good, then I was told something by Jeff that still echoes in my mind; “2ND row field level. It’s ‘all you can eat’ in this section, so come prepared.”

I prepared indeed. People thought I was on a religious fast that day and I assured them that this fast had nothing to do with God, but everything to do with Dodger Dogs. When we arrived at the park we made our way down to our seats; one row back, right in front of 3rd base. As we sat down Nomar Garciaparra stood in front of us signing autographs. I could see the entire dugout to my right. In fact at one point I yelled at the coach and other players responded with laughter. We made our way to the private club that had all the food and drinks you could eat. There were bags of peanuts for the taking and trays so that you could take them back to your seats. Dodger Dogs, salads, enchiladas, prime rib, soft-serve, and more. The box seats actually had a counter for you to put your food on. It was amazing.

After 28 years of visiting the stadium, I went into that night with the intention of making my money back with all the free food I’d put down. While I am a big guy, I am not a power eater, but that night I had a mission. Mission Accomplished by the way, I was in a food comma for the next 24 hours. The game was great because of the friends. That’s what I love about Dodger games, you just chat with your friends and watch a great game at your leisure. While this day was amazing, I look ahead to the future with fear. I am worried that I will never be able to top this experience and every other game just won’t be the same. While the loss wasn’t historical, it was a great night that I hope to experience again. (Hint, hint…Jeff!)

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