Turd Furgeson

"It's a giant hat.  It's funny."
Memorial to September 11, 2001 Tragedy
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Safe Return
August 2005
Real Men Wear Flight Suits!
07 August 2005:

Constantine DVD Deluxe Edition
I saw this movie in the theater with some friends from ROTC and an easily excited young lady who must've been jumping five feet out of her seat every ten minutes.   Which was impressive since she was only five feet tall herself. 
This is a pretty cool movie based on the Hellblazer comic book series from Vertigo - a line by DC Comics.  That alone makes it worthy of at least checking out.  And, of course, the Holy War motif is one of my personal favorites.  Any film with mortals battling the forces of Heaven and Hell is gonna be at least a little cool.  But Constantine is never bland. 
Computer Effects:  Personally, I've been more than a little disappointed in the avant garde approach many films have taken with respect to their special effects.  Computer generated imaging is just like any other form of art - it needs to touch the observer on some emotional level to be any good.  Even if it's only just sheer awe, it must provoke some kind of human reaction.  Oh yeah, and it should look at least a little bit real.  This movie does exactly that from the black angelic wings to the landscape of Hell.  That, mixed with excellent directing on the part of Francis Lawrence throughout the entire film (both real and CGI scenes) make Constantine a visual masterpiece.
Characters:  John Constantine is just your classic hero.  By "classic" I mean Achilles, not Captain America.  He is a flawed and selfish man who does incredible deeds not because he wants to be a hero but because he expects to get something out of it.  And, to top it all off, he's a doomed man.  He's a suicide dying of cancer and the rules say he's got just one place to go when he dies.  "What would you do if you were sentanced to a prison where half of the inmates were put there by you?"  Hell, he even flips Lucifer the bird!
The DVD extras are decent.  I particularly like the feature Constantine Cosmology, which elaborates on the timelessness of this classic.  I give this film 15 resounding bibles from hell.

The Dukes of Hazzard
The only way you'll stop laughing is if you eat too much popcorn and get sick - which I did!  This film is the reason why movie theaters are built!  Just a hillarious movie that's so much fun to see with your friends.  I recommend a group of at least eight - the more the merrier!  Seriously, this is probably one of the funniest things that I've seen all year!  Trust me, you will love this movie no matter how stuck-up or prejiduced you are towards the South or Jessica Simpson, for that matter.  I give this film twenty loud General Lees!
20 August 2005:

GUNDAM SEED Special Edition Part 1: The Empty Battlefield

Year 70 of the Cosmic Era.  The Coordinators, a group of genetically-enhanced humans, have moved into colonies orbiting the Earth called PLANTs.  But that hasn't quieted the tensions between them and regular humans still living on the Earth; the conflict soon escalates into full-scale war.
On the neutral colony of Heliopolis, Kira Yamato, and his friends are going to school and just being young, not having anything to do with the war.  But when the ZAFT commando forces attack, Kira's life changes forever.  left with no choice, he and Earth Alliance Forces officer Murrue Ramius are thrown into battle in a prototype mobile weapon, which Kira christens "GUNDAM".  Now, Kira must defend himself, his friends, and a group of survivors from Heliopolis, from his own people.  For, unknown to anyone else, Kira is a Coordinator.  And the enemy he faces on the battlefield is his childhood best friend, Athrun!

This DVD basically chronicles the first 20 episodes of the series almost entirely from the perspective of Kira.  It's cool to watch as a kind of review of the series but it doesn't really involve the plights of the other characters, which I think is what made the series so phenomenal.  It also includes some new background scenes that changes the progression of the original story a little bit.  And, of course, all the dramatic death scenes have been revamped to be much more graphic.  It will leave you wondering just how many severed heads can actually fit into one movie. 
It's also encoded in a 16:9 aspect ratio, giving it a much edgier look.  I had hoped that the battle scenes would have been redone to be much more animate - more like the ones in the sequal series GUNDAM SEED Destiny.
Coming 13 September 2005:
21 August 2005:

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid

Sousuke's mission to guard Kaname is abruptly canceled shortly after the final battle with Gauron aboard the Tuatha de Danaan.  It is discovered that a terrorist group is developing Black Technology that rivals that of Mithril.  Leaving a very distraught Kaname in Tokyo, Sousuke returns to Full Active Status to do battle against the most dangerous enemy the world has ever known.


GUNDAM SEED Destiny - Phase 44

Lacus interrupts Meer's broadcast, stating to the world that she is the real Lacus Clyne and does not support the actions of Chairman Dillundil.  She goes on to say that although she continues to fight on the side of Orb, she does not support the actions of Lord Djibril either.  Meanwhile, Djibril has fled to the Moon with the Earth Alliance Forces (EAF) still loyal to Blue Cosmos.  Unable to maintain the charade any longer, Dillundil effectively dismisses Meer.
Shinn and Lunamaria confront Rey and ask him if Dillundil's "Lacus" is a fake.  Rey dismisses it as irrelevant, saying that they have more important things to worry about; namely, the GUNDAMs Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice.  Dillundil, meanwhile, has left the Earth for ZAFT's new orbital base, Messiah.
On the moon, Djibril prepares to unleash the EAF's newest weapon of mass destruction against the PLANTs, Requiem.  Yzak, Dearka and the other members of the Joule team are dispatched by ZAFT to investigate an old Monyu space station moving towards the PLANTs.  There, they encounter EAF mobile suits.  Djibril fires Requiem at the PLANTs, using the Monyu space stations to bend an enormous energy beam at PLANT's capital, Aprilius.  However, Requiem misfires and instead hits six PLANTs in the Januarius and December cluster, instantly exposing three million non-combatant coordinators to the vacuum of space.
After witnessing the massacre, Rey tells Shinn and Lunamaria that if Kira and Athrun had not interfered at the Battle of Orb, they would have captured Djibril and prevented this atrocity.  Yzak's team manages to destroy one of the Monyu space stations after a fierce battle with the EAF fleet.
Lacus, Kira, and Athrun reveal to the rest of the Archangel's crew the details of Chairman Dillundil's "Destiny Plan": A world where every human's function in society is genetically pre-determined.  In effect, a world of slaves - unable to fight and unable to hope.  This is the PLANT chairman's vision of a world without war.  Uncertain if the cycle of blood can be stopped at this point, Neo/Mwu (now in a full Orb Defense Force uniform) asks them, "Why should we give up now just because it's useless?"  The crew vows to stop Dillundil, and Kira and Athrun decide to return to space in the GUNDAMs Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice.
23 August 2005:

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid:  Scene 01 - The Days That End

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid is the third Full Metal Panic! anime series.  The Cold War has reached a stalemate after a huge surge in technological advancement.  Battles are waged with Arm Slaves (AS), bipedal robots piloted by skilled soldiers, the key to military dominance.  Minor skirmishes and terrorist organizations have cropped up all over the world.  The last hope for humankind is Mithril, an organization of mercenaries with the most advanced military technology in the world.  Although they are funded and supported by the international community, they are completely autonomous and dedicated to the preservation of world peace.
The most advanced weapon in Mithril's arsenal is Arbalest, an AS piloted by a seventeen year-old professional mercenary, Sousuke Sagara.  Currently, Sousuke is assigned to protecting a young teenage girl, Kaname Chidori, in Tokyo Japan.  Under the guise of a high school student attending the same High School as Kaname, Sousuke has had a difficult time making the transition from battle-hardened soldier to high school civilian. 
Mithril's Uruz Team, Sousuke, Kurz and Mao, are dispatched to engage Balic guerrillas in the city of Taboli.  During the battle, the guerillas attack and shoot down one of Mithril's stealth copters with a highly advanced anti-aircraft missile.  Unable to liftoff from the combat zone, Sousuke has no other choice but to rush to the other side of the city to takeout the the anti-aircraft battery.  Sousuke succeeds in his mission, but is unable to regroup with the others for the extraction.  Under heavy enemy assault, Sousuke is forced onto a bridge where he is totally surrounded.  Just then, the Tuatha de Danaan surfaces to retrieve Sousuke and annihilate the enemy forces.
After the battle is over, Sousuke expresses his desire to pilot a different AS other than Arbalest.  However, his request is denied by Lt Commander Kalidin, the Operations Group Commander.  Sousuke is halso having difficulties juggling his schoolwork with duties as a soldier.  Tessa interrupts him in the cafeteria while he's studying and offers to help him with it.  It's obvious that she still has a crush on him.
Sousuke returns to Jendai High School and a furious Kaname as Tessa and the other officers assess the capabilities of the Anti-Aircraft missiles used against their forces in the last battle.  It's obvious that the Balic government didn't develop them on their own and that they must have been provided by a third party - someone with access to Black Technology.  In any case, it's a very serious threat to the future of Mithril's operations.

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid:  Scene 02 - The Underwater Scenary

Kalidin and Tessa reveal to the marines aboard the Tuatha de Dannan the true abilities of the Lamda Driver - A device employed by Arbalest that manifests the pilot's concious desires into energy fields.  Meanwhile, at Jendai High, Sousuke constructs a large RADAR on top of the roof to track nearby aircraft.  However, the machine wreaks havoc with all electronic devices in the school and Kaname makes him shut it down.  Shinji reveals to Sousuke that someone is posting voyeur photos of Kaname online but tells him not to tell her because it will upset her.  Sousuke, thinking that it's a terrorist performing reconaissance, goes into ultra-protective mode, even following Kaname into the bathroom!  However, he does manage to track the website to a disgruntled candidate for student body vice president who lost the election to Kaname.  Sousuke stops him before he can post another embarrasing photo by activating the RADAR.  However, he also destroys every other electronic device in the high school in the process.
Back in the Taboli, a strange man in a white trenchcoat is touring the battlefield from the day before.  He meets with the leader of the guerrilla forces, who is unhappy with the anti-aircraft missiles he sold him and refuses to pay him.  However, the man in the trenchcoat shoots the colonel in the head before his troops can react.  Then, he unleashes his forces against the rest of the soldiers, including two young girls who are incredibly fast and lethal, one of them is even piloting an AS.  As the guerrilla forces are slaughtered, the man in the trenchcoat breaks into Ave Maria.
The two girls obvious don't like working for this lunatic, who has no qualms about killing his own people mercilessly.  They get a phone call from yet another third party, this one with long white hair, telling them to keep a low profile.
27 August 2005:

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid:  Scene 03 - The Labyrinth & the Dragon

Terrorists have abducted five Northern Chinese delegates at a peace conference between North & South China.  Armed with five Arm Slaves, they've taken refuge in the Yangtze River Tunnel Pass, a four-kilometer underwater tunnel in the city of Nanjing.  Mithril dispatches it's elite AS detachment, including the Uruz team.  Using advanced communication equipment provided by Captain Vincent Blueno, an officer of Mithril's Intelligence Bureau, the marines meet little resistance and easily find the hostages.  However, one of the hostages turns out to be one of the weird sisters planted by Dr. Gates and kills three SRT personnel before turning on Mao.  Just then, Sousuke and the others find themselves surrounded by enemy AS.  The enemy AS are being lead by a unit that is an exact copy of Gauron's AS, Venom, and piloted by none other than Dr. Gates!

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid:  Scene 04 - Daylight

Mithril's SRT desperately battles their way through the underwater labyrinth of the Yangtze River Tunnel Pass.  However, the enemy is somehow able to anticipate their every move.  It soon becomes clear to Tessa that their communications have been intercepted by the enemy.  Commander Kalidan quickly improvises and is able to develop a new code by making reference to a conversation in the briefing earlier that day.  In effect, the SRT personnel do the exact opposite of what they are instructed to do by de Danaan.  Using this tactic, they're able to trap Dr. Gates and the rest of his group.  However, Gates' Venom is also equipped with a Lambda Driver and is able to escape.  Security Forces arrive at Captain Blueno's apartment to arrest him for treason, but he has already made his getaway!  After the mission, Sousuke looks at his reflection in a window and says, "You useless fool."

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid:  Scene 05 - Lovely Sicily

Sousuke has left for another mission.  Kaname is studying in class when she overhears another classmate talking on her cell phone with her boyfriend.  Jealous, she calls Sousuke to tell him that she's upset with him for not being around as much anymore.  Sousuke, meanwhile, is in the middle of a high-speed shootout in Sicily.  With him are Mao and Kurz, who have just apprehended Captain Blueno from his sanctuary.  Sousuke tries desperately to dodge enemy fire and talk to Kaname while driving but without much luck. Kaname becomes increasingly frustrated with Sousuke because she thinks that he's not paying her enough attention during their conversation or taking her seriously and hangs up, calling him an idiot.  After being rescued by a strange AS, Sousuke, Mao, and Kurz are safely retrieved with Captain Blueno in custody.
Sousuke immediately begins studying his textbooks for his make-up exam and Kurz asks him why he doesn't just stay in Japan if it's that difficult.  Sousuke says that he doesn't want to abandon his duty to Mithril or to Mao and Kurz.  Mao tells Sousuke that she's worried that he's taken up too many responsibilities to handle - guarding Kaname, partaking in missions, and piloting Arbalest - and that it's only a matter of time before he makes a fatal mistake.  She also points out that there's no reason for him to be guarding Kaname anymore anyway.  Kurz also makes the observation that since Sousuke was admitted to Jendai High School on fake credentials, it really doesn't matter if he graduates with Kaname or not.  For the first time, Sousuke realizes that he may have to choose between his life as a student with Kaname and his life as a soldier with Mithril.
28 August 2005:

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid:  Scene 06 - The Edge of Heaven

Captain Blueno is ruthlessly interrogated by Mithril's Operation Squadron.  During the interrogation, he reveals that the organization that recruited him is named Amalgam.  Amalgam is also the name of an alloy made from mercury.  The name has significance in that Mithril is also the name of a metallic alloy.  However, Amalgam is a real alloy and Mithril is fictional - invented by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The name would suggest that the organization was created specifically to counter Mithril.  The fact that they have grown so powerful without Mithril even knowing about them until now worries the commander of Mithril Operations.  He tells Tessa that the entire squadron will have to be reorganized, starting with the termination of Sousuke's mission to guard Kaname.
In Tokyo, Kaname and Kyoko take Sousuke to the Salon to get his hair styled.  Sousuke tries his very best not to panic from being in such a defenseless position, telling himself, "This is just a towel.  The towel is just to prevent my hair from falling onto my clothes.  It's not to restrain my arms.  And this is just a normal... n-n-normal pair of scissors!!!"  At which points he pulls his firearm on the stylist and Kaname smacks him.
On the way home, Kaname is upset with Sousuke at first, but then they begin to reflect on the last six months together.  Kaname invites Sousuke over to her place and offers to cut his hair for him since he can't trust strangers to do it.  The situation soon becomes very romantically tense.  As she's cutting his hair, Kaname asks Sousuke if he missed the test at school because he was in another battle.  He says that he was and she's relieved that he wasn't hurt.  Kaname asks him if the reason he's been so tense lately is if she's been targeted again.  Sousuke reveals that Intelligence has sent Wraith to guard over her from afar as a backup.  But Kaname tells Sousuke that he's the only person that she'd trust with her life.  When Sousuke falls asleep Kaname almost kisses him... almost!
Meanwhile, the two weird sisters steal one of Gates' advanced AS, saying that they plan to attack Mithril with it!
After the haircut, Sousuke and Kaname have some dinner and share an awkward moment at the door.  Sousuke returns to his apartment reflecting on what Kaname said to him about being the only person that she trusts with her life.  As he opens his laptop to write his report for the day, he receives the following email:

From the headquarters of the Western Pacific Ocean Fleet,

The total strategy headquarters determined to lift the present priority command 05E001-3128 at 1500 today.
URUZ 7 must withdraw from the present safe house, and return to the Merida Island base immediately by Root 3b.
Code Name <Wraith> will take over the guard of Kaname Chidori from here on out.
Henceforth, any contact with Kaname Chidori is forbidden.

Sousuke punches out his laptop's screen.
30 August 2005:

Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid:  Scene 07 - Left Behind

Sousuke runs out to his balcony calling out for Wraith and demanding that he speak with him.  When Wraith doesn't answer, Sousuke begins to shout out details about his mission, Mithril, and the Whispered to the people below.  Immediately, his cell phone rings and a distorted voice asks him if he has lost his mind.  After talking with Wraith, it becomes clear to Sousuke that the intelligence operative has no interest in protecting Kaname herself, but rather to merely keep her from falling into the hands of enemy organizations that would exploit her knowledge as a Whispered.  After all, he hadn't bothered to try and protect Kaname in any incident up to this point.  Wraith makes it clear to Sousuke that he is not impressed, but rather amused, with his work so far as Kaname's protector.  "What were you thinking in the first place," he asks, "You're frequently away from her because of your missions.  How efficient can you be as a guard if you can't be with her all the time?  Did you really think that you can protect her like that?  You haven't even been able to adapt to Japanese society in six months.  Your presence makes her vulnerable to unnecessary danger.  In the end, you're nothing but a burden to her.  So, I must take over your role."
The next morning, Kaname is in extremely good spirits.  She's looking forward to seeing Sousuke at school and talking with him privately, but he never comes to school.  Later in the day, she decides to call him to find out what he's up to.  Sousuke is packing up the last of his things when he gets the phone call.  The ID has Kaname's name and he can't decide whether or not to answer it.  Just as it looks as though he's about to answer it, the phone stops ringing.  Remembering what Wraith said to him, he decides not to call her back.  Sousuke packs the last of his things.  The weather is bad, but not all the water running down his face is from the rain.
Kaname and Kyoko are walking through town when one of the weird sisters passes her by.  Kaname gets a very strange resonance from her and goes into a panic.  She calls Sousuke again, but can only get an automated response.  Afraid and alone in her apartment, she goes over the edge when someone calls her phone and then hangs up.  She decides to go over to Sousuke's apartment to use his communication equipment to contact the Tuatha de Danaan.  However, when she goes inside the apartment is completely bare except for the school notes that Sousuke borrowed from her the night before.