Why Agent Cody Banks is a Creepy Movie

Introduction

I remember back in my high school days, I watched lots of random movies; something I continue to do to this day.  DVDs were still relatively new and Blockbuster was still king.

I saw trailers for a movie called “Agent Cody Banks”. Just by watching the trailer, it’s a kid-friendly James Bond knockoff starring Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff. At the time, both of them were popular but stuck in their respective typecasts before any dramatic events that would happen in their future. Needless to say, the movie did not hide its corniness and the movie had many bad reviews.

The Movie

There was something in the trailer that caught my attention. There is a line spoken that really makes this movie open to interpretation “We spent $10 million training this kid, and we did not teach him how to talk to women?!” Yes it’s very corny, but that’s the plot of the movie: Cody went to secret agent training camp where he learned lots of skills; during his training, he over-exaggerated his experience with women; because of this, he was selected to be transferred to her school, have the same classes and get close to the girl (Hilary Duff’s character) and find information about her father.

The comedy in the movie is the usual over-the-top, slapstick, non-violent, blue-screen stuff that would be in any Bond knockoff.

It just shocking to think about how the movie concentrates on the objective that this boy must talk to this girl because it is his objective and her life is in grave danger. He is humiliated, patronized and the video posted above really shows how many jokes are thrown at the audience, within the PG rating. Just the idea that Cody lied about his experience with girls, becoming the main reason why he is assigned this mission. Why would anyone be shocked that he lied? Would there be any reason to believe he was telling the truth? I mean, if they really wanted to protect the girl, couldn’t they just get another girl to be friends with her in school and they’d hang out together outside of school? Or, hire an older romantic guy, give him all her personal details so he can use it to attract her if they really wanted to go down the relationship route.

Anyways, the day is saved after various cliche action scenes and cheesy dialog. It is a bad movie. Anyways, here are some points worth noting:

  • Directed by Harald Zwart, who would go on to direct 2010′s The Karate Kid. He also directed The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, another movie that got bad reviews and was compared to Twilight. The movie does have nice special effects.
  • Prevail makes an appearance. He is one of the rappers from the group Swollen Members
  • Keith David plays the CIA director. He would play a similar role as leader of a secret organization in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
  • Moneca Delain plays the hologram. Although her role is very tiny in this movie, I remember her because she once made a song called “back in the day” which is directly based on “true” by Spandau Ballet. She also played a cheerleader in Smallville.
  • Veronica (the hot chick) is played by Angie Harmon.
  • Frankie Muniz was born in 1985. He is two years older than me. He was 18 when he was in this movie.

Conclusion

Although many people would brush it of as “yet another kid’s movie”, the boy-meets-girl plot really stands out. It’s a very cliched plot; I recently watched Paranoia which had its own boy-meets-girl subplot. Silver Linings Playbook was a very popular movie and I like it because it’s just as much about Pat letting go of his ex-wife as it is about accepting his fate and falling in love with Tiffany. In my opinion, choosing between an older, scared ex-wife with a restraining order and a younger, sexier Jennifer Lawrence is a no-brainer! Anyways, I just think the idea that the guy has to initiate contact with the girl first, getting everything right the first time and the girl being portrayed as a high-class superwoman that will turn down anyone that doesn’t fit her exact description of perfect can be easily misinterpreted. I remember speaking to someone about how there are more men than women in the world and making crude remarks about this. Love and marriage isn’t a magic solution that will leave you on the path to riches and make the world a better place. Just saying.

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The Fire Alarm Girl

Fire Alarm
“Fire Alarm” by Admit One (Mark Giles), Flickr.com

Introduction

I remember an incident that happened at an old job I worked at years ago.

One morning, we were all working just like we would on any other weekday.  Suddenly, the fire alarm started blaring.  It was so loud, it pierced my ears.  Everyone in the building moved down the stairs, eager to escape the excessively loud alarm.

I did not see any smoke or fire.  We crowded the parking lot as the fire engines moved in to investigate.  After 30 minutes, we entered the building, not sure of what happened.  Everyone assumed it was an unannounced fire drill to test our reflexes.

Gossip started spreading amongst ourselves about the fire alarm.  The building we worked in required key card access to enter any area.  In order to exit, a button needed to be pressed to unlock the door.  The exit button was next to the fire alarm.  The fire alarms were locked with a small glass rod to prevent accidental trigger.  From what I heard at the time, a new employee on her first day was trying to exit a room.  She was not aware of the exit buttons and pulled on the door repeatedly.  Someone was about to walk towards her and tell her to press the red button.  She suddenly pulled the fire alarm, breaking the glass rod, triggering the alarm, unlocking all the doors.

The Meeting

Later on in the afternoon, a meeting was arranged to explain what happened.  One of the managers describe what happened, confirming the gossip.  People were laughing and one person whispered “How do you not know the difference between the exit button and fire alarm?”  The girl who pulled the fire alarm was in the meeting room.  The manager explained how to use the exit buttons and to avoid pulling the fire alarm unless there is a fire.  People continued to smile and laugh while this was being explained.  The manager would go to explain that the company lost over an hour of productivity and the money wasted from this incident.

After the meeting ended, we stood up and went back to work.  The girl who pulled the fire alarm approached the door; someone coughed loudly and pointed at the exit button, staring at her awkwardly.  People were laughing and smiling as this happened.

Even after the meeting, people still gossiped and referred to her as the “Fire Alarm Girl”.  I can’t remember her real name.  As the week progressed, people stared at her every time she pressed the exit button to leave a room.  Sometimes people shouted “Don’t pull the fire alarm!”.

There was an unrelated incident where she wanted to print a single page from a document.  Unfortunately, she did not specify which page to print and over 500 color pages were printed, wasting the expensive print cartridges, which we did not have replacements for.  We placed an order for new ones and people continued laughing behind her back and calling her names.

Sudden Departure

After her first week, she left the company without notice.  There were a few theories about this; either she was fired for pulling the fire alarm (which is an offense in Canada) or she decided to quit.

I never laughed at her nor did I continue to spread gossip.  I never bothered to speak to her either and I can’t say that I made the effort to help her with the embarrassment.  I remained quiet about the situation and after she left, people continued to gossip and speculated to why she left.  What would I have said to her?  The gossip started to dissipate after we replaced our printer cartridges.

With the recession making success even more difficult, it can become too easy to turn against someone and laugh at someone for something that can seem mind-boggling.  I don’t believe people were respectful about this incident and for this week, we were behaving like school children with casual business clothes.  At the time, I was still a new employee; I was working there long before she started.  It was a very friendly work environment and we all got along with one another.  I don’t believe I could have made a difference if I interrupted people mocking her and stating “that’s not funny” and “show some respect”.  The managers laughed at her too.

Conclusion

What if someone else pulled the fire alarm:  A manager?  Me?  You?  She barely had a chance to prove herself to the company and I can’t say that anyone evaluated her skills and experience fairly.  What if she simply ignored everything and continued working like everyone else?  Would she eventually achieve success at another company?

“It only takes a few seconds to leave a first impression.  It can take years to recover from a bad one.”  That’s what I was told back in my high school co-op days.  I can’t say I would have made the same mistake; it’s possible she may have been new to the country and not familiar with fire alarms.  I admit the story is laughable and I feel that some people ridiculed her too much about it.  There’s no way to guarantee a perfect positive impression.  Sometimes we blunder and the only thing we can do is bite the bullet, hope it blows over and show everyone that we are capable of greatness.

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The Truth About Self-Help In A Nutshell

“There’s no way you’re going to get a quote from us to use on your book cover”
-Metropolitan Police spokesperson, referring to “Wall and Peace” by Banksy

Introduction

All my life, there have been people I’ve been looking up to for inspiration and guidance.  These types of people can be very rich, talented, intelligent, attractive, motivating, honest, fast, defensive, unique, loud, collected, respected, prepared for anything and most of all, willing to do whatever it takes to remain successful.  There’s always been a moment when I’ve said aloud, “I want to be just like…” and “if ____ can do it, so can I”.  Of all the people I’ve idolized, I know for sure that some people have written their own books, which sell based entirely on their image.

Examples of people I idolize and look up to include (in no particular order):

  • Pharrell Williams
  • Chad Hugo
  • Boris Vallejo
  • Bill Gates
  • Steve Jobs
  • Paul Reiche
  • Fred Ford
  • Alex Ness
  • Chris Nelson
  • Denis Dyack
  • Jay Z
  • Eminem
  • Daft Punk
  • Al Lowe
  • Frank Miller
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • James Cameron
  • Wes Anderson
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Chris Remo
  • Gene Roddenberry
  • George Lucas
  • Todd McFarlane

One thing about this list is most are celebrities, the rest are either filmmakers, CEOs or video game developers.  I am well aware I will never achieve the same success as those people.  The reason why these types of people inspire me, because I feel like the people mentioned above are free to do what they want, create something new, raw and not watered down.  They’re always doing what they feel is valuable and never stepping down simply because some manager disagrees with it.

I’ve seen hundreds of advertisements about getting rich legally, finding my dream job, finding true love, simple exercises to get the perfect body and discovering true happiness.  These are all things that happen under very difficult-to-replicate circumstances; finding ultimate success and true happiness is not something that can be done by following a specific path.  There are books about recipes, car maintenance and learning how to use computer software; these are things that guide the user towards very specific goals.

My First Self-Help Audiobook

I listened to a one-hour audiobook by a motivational speaker who talked about getting promotions and weight loss.  Overall, he seemed to mention random, indirect advice:

  • Whiten your teeth.  People with whiter teeth are more respected.
  • Avoid sugar.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid deep-fried and fatty foods.
  • Avoid red meat.
  • Exercise.
  • Start work earlier.
  • Work longer hours.
  • Take shorter lunch breaks and do more work.  There are no laws that prevent this.
  • Don’t listen to music while walking outside.
  • Always call clients and follow up with them.  Form relationships.  Ask if you can do more.
  • Avoid idle chit-chat at work.  Tell that person, “I’m too busy to talk right now.”  Let that person ruin someone else’s life.
  • Let nothing distract you.
  • Take part-time classes and never stop learning.  The more you learn, the more you earn.

At the end of the audiobook, the narrator asked that I go to a website and subscribe (for a fee) to an online success service where I can chat with other users about discovering my success.  While the above may improve someone’s health and work life, it’s described as if it’s a matter of making different choices.  I can’t do the above; not because I’m lazy and ignorant, but because I would feel even more miserable doing this simply because an audiobook told me so.  Any of the above points can be debated.  If I walked up to my friends and repeated this information to them, I don’t think they’d appreciate my “advice”.

You can’t get rich quick!

It is very possible to have a million dollars in my bank account.  I can win the lottery, strike gold, strike oil, discover a giant dinosaur fossil in my backyard or just happen to come up with that overnight million dollar business!  What all these have in common is they are highly unlikely and none of them can be achieved through a guaranteed logical means.

If we can’t reach this level of success, why bother?  Philosophical debates aside, one must work in order to live.  Money is required.  In the end, everything we do goes towards relaxation or paying off some living expense.

If I were to ask any millionaire how they became rich, I would be willing to bet my life they cannot tell me anything that I can replicate in order to gain the same riches.  Bottom line, they made the right connections, got lucky and are rich.  It just happens; an opportunity was present, the person took advantage of it at the right time and was lucky enough to gain an extremely large amount of wealth.

And yes, I know that money can’t buy happiness.

Constantly talking is not communication.

Advice is valuable.  However, it must be the right kind of advice.  I remember when I was getting my driver’s license, I decided to go to driving school.  Before my driving test, we drove on a road with a very slow speed limit of 40 kph (25 mph).  The instructor told me, “You will be driving on a road like this.  Be careful.  Watch the signs and your speed.”  I then drove to another area and parked at a curb.  The driving instructor told me, “Don’t park within 3 meters (10 feet) of fire hydrants”.  These are direct pieces of advice that are related to what I want.  In this case, a driver’s license.  If he started saying things such as “Always have a clear conscience”, “Wear comfortable shoes” and “Expect the unexpected”, I would feel offended.

It’s impossible to give advice to someone to go through life in a way that will apply to everyone.  In the case of the driving instructor, the advice was clear, concise and related directly to the task at hand.

People need advice tailored to their situation and resources, not hundreds of tips that sound like a good idea.

Love is blind. It will take over your mind.

I’m not Doctor Love nor do I give advice about love.  As of this post, I am single, never married.  Without getting too personal, all I can say is love is nothing like the movies and is quite predictable.  It is generally believed that 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Love can bring two people together.  However, one does not need to be in a relationship to be broke; it can just as easily happen to someone who is single.  There are millions of books dedicated to the subject of love.  Love is very complicated and is rarely synonymous with logic; the only thing they have in common are the first two letters.  I always hear about how exciting a relationship starts off; suddenly something happens, the climax ends and the relationship becomes worse and ends.  Everyone has a different idea of what defines “true love”.  Unfortunately, true love is not a stable currency that can be exchanged for goods and services.

Let’s just say that single people generally spend less money than those in a relationship or have kids.

You’re not getting any happier!

My grade 9 science teacher told the class, “Ask anyone out about their life; nobody tell you smiling.”  It was the end of the school year just before exam week.  At lot has changed since then.  If anyone asked me about my life, I wouldn’t discuss it smiling; I’d keep a straight face, get angry and complain endlessly about things that annoyed me.  Sure, there are things I wish I would have done differently, just like everyone else.  All I can do is learn from my mistakes; either avoid repeating them or be prepared so the consequences are not as severe next time.  As we get older, we start to accept that we are a tiny puzzle piece.  I am one of 7 billion people; Earth is just a pale blue dot in the universe.  Personally, I feel I am trying to find interesting things to stay focused on, getting things done rather than finding that philosophical path to true happiness.

Summary

No form of self-help can create a path to a successful life with love, adventure and excitement.  They’re nothing more than collections of advice that sound nice.  There are no logical, safe paths to riches, true love and happiness.  We rarely know what to expect and we can only react to what is happening in the present time and hope we’re prepared for it next time it happens.  The successful people we idolize probably wouldn’t be able to do it again if they were sent back in time to re-live their entire life again.  For these people, they just happened to see an opportunity, made the right decisions and got lucky.  Life is rarely fair.

There has never been a set path to success that everyone can follow and there never will be.  There are no free lunches.

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Kanye West – Yeezus

“With this album, we ain’t drop no single to radio. We ain’t got no NBA campaign, nothing like that. Shit, we ain’t even got no cover. We just made some real music.”
- Kanye West

Kanye West Yeezus Cover

If the cover artist did this for any other album, he or she would be fired!

Kanye’s latest album is now available. I just listened to the entire album on Rdio. This is the second album that has a heavy electronic influence mixed with minimalism; the first is “808s and Heartbreaks”, which also does not have a parental advisory label. The album barely had an advertising campaign and no singles were released.

Overall, I like the album; I love electronic tracks and unique sampling. Unfortunately, I’m the type of person who enjoys the beats more than the lyrics. At 40 minutes, it’s easy to listen to every song in a single sitting. That’s about it. I think it’s awesome that Daft Punk helped produce the first two tracks; it reminds of their Homework soundtrack.

Without writing a lengthy review, I’d like to post some brief thoughts:

  • The album cover is L A Z Y! The cover is not blank; it is missing! Okay, maybe they saved a few trees. A CD case without paper cover can potentially expose the CD to sun damage.  The CD itself is blank, except for the ring of text around it.  I’d have to squint at the edges so I don’t insert the disc upside down.  Only Kanye West can get away with an album that looks like this. Yes, it looks unique and immediately stands out when shelved next to albums with cover art! I can’t imagine an indie artist pulling this off with a major label. A cover artist would lose his or her job pulling something off like this if this wasn’t for Kanye West. This isn’t a single; this is the full album!
  • Speaking of singles: Check out Pusha T’s cover for the single “Numbers of the Boards”
  • This is really another way of Kanye of telling the world that he is rich and can do whatever he wants. He could have just as easily use a blank white background and it would still be successful.
  • I think it’s funny that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was controversial because of it’s bizarre and grotesque album cover to the point of having a pixellated version in some stores and Yeezus has no cover at all!
  • Can he copyright this?  If someone copies this, can that artist be sued?  There’s nothing to copyright!  You can’t own a blank design, right?  With the exception of the name “Kanye West” and “Def Jam”, there is no intellectual property that someone can claim to own.
  • Why did they bother with the red sticker?  Is that a minimum requirement?  Usually it would have something like “Featuring the #1 hit…”
  • How much did this album cost to manufacture?  Is it easier to make?  Is it faster?
  • If they release this in vinyl, will it have a picture of the blank CD image?  Or will it have a hole cut in the cover and the record will be blank too?
  • And yes, I stopped caring about his relationship with Kim Kardashian.  Whatever happens with them, I hope they continue to live happy lives.

Okay, maybe I over-analyzed…

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ThinkGeek Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off T-Shirts, Polos, Tank Tops


BOGO 50% Off

Starting today, June 10th at 12PM EST, ThinkGeek will give customers who purchase a t-shirt, polo or tank top, 50% off another t-shirt, polo or tank top. With their collection of pop culture references, nerd humor and other quirky images, there is so much to choose from. There’s something for everyone!

Promotion ends June 14th and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Hurry before your favorite clothes are sold out!

Link: BOGO 50% Off – Buy One, Get One 50% Off

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Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen w/ Stylus

Smith and Wesson SWPEN3BK Tactical Pen with Stylus Tip

Smith and Wesson SWPEN3BK Tactical Pen with Stylus Tip

The Smith & Wesson SWPEN3BK Tactical Pen (CAD $35.40) includes a stylus for use with touchscreens found in smartphones and tablets. While it is not considered a weapon, it is a quick and portable last-minute self-defence item should it be needed. Features include:

  • 5.7 inch length (14.478 cm)
  • 1.4 oz weight (39.6893 g)
  • Comes with black ink.  Can be refilled with Schmidt P900M Parker Style Black Ball Point Pen Refill, which surpasses the quality and longevity of regular pens.
  • Made of super strong T6061 Aircraft Aluminum

In other words, this is no ordinary pen. For those looking for a pen mightier than the sword, this is certainly it.

Check it out. What do you think about this?

Link: Smith and Wesson SWPEN3BK Tactical Pen with Stylus Tip

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Mamiya RZ67 Pro w/ 150mm Sekor Lens

Mamiya RZ67

Mamiya RZ67

This Mamiya RZ67 Pro (USD $430) is a powerful camera in the right hands.  For those who love film and want to explore the strengths of medium-format film.  There are even digital backs available, which turns the RZ67 into a full-blown digital camera without having to spend more cash to buy a completely different camera.

Link: Mamiya RZ67 Pro w/ 150mm Sekor Lens

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Introducing Xbox One

Xbox One

Xbox One

(Price TBA) With the Eighth Generation coming close, all three major home consoles have been revealed: The available Wii, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The hardware is not technologically compatible with the XBox 360.

While XBO does not support backwards compatibility, it will include the Kinect camera with every console. Not only is it simply a game console, it will become a direct source for TV shows and movies. The XBO is another piece of the video game competition and gamers will be a part of the battle royale between Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

With regards to the fate of the 360, Microsoft will still support, and people should be on the lookout for deals and discounts. Suddenly, those games I just didn’t want to spend cash on might be much more affodable now.

What do you think about the Xbox One?

Link: Shop Amazon – Introducing Xbox One

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Quentin Tarantino XX Collection

Quentin Tarantino XX Box

Quentin Tarantino XX Box

Quentin Tarantino XX Contents

Quentin Tarantino XX Contents

The Tarantino XX Collection (CAD $74.19) is a collection of Quentin Tarantino’s “eight essential films” everyone must watch before they die.  With a reputation of mixing genres, mature themes and graphic violence, he has a distinct style of direction.  The following is included in this collection:

  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Jackie Brown
  • True Romance
  • Death Proof
  • Two bonus discs

What are your thoughts about this?

Link: Tarantino XX Collection [Blu-ray]

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PENTAX WG-3 16 MP Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera

PENTAX WG-3 16 MP Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera

PENTAX WG-3 16 MP Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera

The PENTAX WG-3 16 MP Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera (CAD $299) is designed to be the ultimate, rugged HD camera.  It can be submersed in water for up to two hours, dustproof and can withstand a drop from a two meter height.  It utilizes pixel tracking technology for shake reduction.  The WG-3 can also record 1080p video with standardized h.264 compression.

For the serious traveler, this camera includes a pressure sensor, digital compass for checking pressure, altitude, depth and direction.  In addition, there is a GPS module to position data on to captured images, and travel log data.  Perfect for geotaggers!

What do you think?

Link: PENTAX WG-3 16 MP Rugged Waterproof Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom 3-Inch LCD and GPS Functionality (Black and Green)

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