Archive for November 2003

 
 

Sunday Links Roundup

OK, so the Friday round of links didn’t quite make it out on time. My computer was still in a state of disrepair. Sorry about that. Better late than never, though:

1. Remember last week’s item about Jackie Chan playing Cato in THE PINK PANTHER? Sadly, MGM has officially denied the story. Dang.

2. There are people out there who like to bounce balls. Hundreds of balls. Then they record it and post it on their web site. They’re call the Gravity and Chaos Club, and I’m sure there’s a valid scientific reason for their existence. I just think the videos are cool. Check them out.

3. They’re still setting records for solving the Rubik’s Cube in the fastest possible time.

4. And a new generation has discovered Rubik’s Amazing Cube.

5. The more I read about her, the more I like Mandy Moore. I picked up the album. It’s OK. But I love her attitude. (Please note that the headline to this story misspells the word “eke,” as any crossword puzzle solver could tell you.)

More driving craziness

I’m in another ranting mode.

I was driving home via Route 287 North this afternoon, coming up on the lovely little town of Boonton. There’s a slight bend in the road as you get there. I was in the far left lane. There was a guy just ahead of my front bumper in the middle lane, driving slightly slower than I. As the bend approached, I watched him carefully. I am, after all, a defensive driver. He was drifting towards the left side of his lane, but that’s normal. People tend to take bends to the inside, after all. Human nature. Only, this guy didn’t stop. He turned right into my lane, just as my front bumper was getting even with his rear wheel.

Perhaps I was in his blind spot at that point? I don’t know, but I can tell you this: He didn’t use his blinker.

Next thing I know, I’m slamming on the brakes and sliding into the shoulder on the left side of the road, which still had another couple hundred feet to go before it disappeared into a concrete divider. Good timing, eh?

I quickly swerved back into my lane behind the guy, who didn’t look back, didn’t speed up, and didn’t do so much as to throw a hand up to apologize. That’s when I did something I don’t normally do:

I honked my horn at him.

It was pointless. The damage was already done and corrected for. But I felt better tooting the horn at the bastiche. He passed up a car in the middle lane and put his blinker on (for a change) and moved back over. At that point, I revved my engine a good loud amount to smoke by him in the fast lane.

Idiots.

I hate people.

What is the lesson to be learned here? Once again, blinkers are useless. Nobody uses them, and it’s not a smart thing ever to rely on one. Also, drive defensively and assume EVERYONE is gunning for you on the right. 9 times out of 10, sadly, you’ll be right.

A new thought on blinkers

I wrote here before of my bold new plan to outlaw the blinker from cars. The theory is that, after all, nobody uses them. Why bother?

Well, I’ve had second thoughts on that idea. After all, I’m all for smaller government and streamlined lawbooks. As such, I no longer can propose that we draft Yet Another Law to regulate driving behavior.

Instead, I say nobody should bother using their blinkers/turn signals/indicators anymore. This way, we can also strip from the lawbooks any law that says we have to.

After all, blinkers are an unfair advantage to everyone else driving on the road with you. When they see your blinker, it gives them warning of what you’re going to do so that they can speed up to cut you off or slow down to prevent you from turning. It happened to me three times in succession on the road just the other night. Why would I want to signal my intentions to a road full of ingrates who delight in nothing more than stopping my forward progress? These are people who were more than happy to hang back for a full mile and do 55 until I signaled my intention to change into the lane in front of them. That ticked them off and suddenly they became speed demons to fill the gap between them and the car in front of them.

So I say to you, my friends, do away with your blinkers. It’s a fool’s game. And you’re going to lose.

Computer, Down and Out

Posting might be a little thin this weekend. I’ve decided to start from scratch with my computer setup. I’ve backed everything up, deleted lots of stuff, and burned lots of CDs. Now I’m reinstalling WinXP and preparing to do everything right the FIRST time for a change, in part so that I can get this wireless network finally working.

There is good news from this project so far: I discovered the answer to an earlier Linux question I posed here. It turns out that Linux doesn’t like the digital adapter connection between my computer and my monitor. Once I switched to the analog plug, everything worked splendidly. I was able to back up lots of stuff to the Linux hard drive in my computer.

Sadly, after reinstalling WinXP, my boot loader no longer recognizes the fact that my Linux partition exists, nor does it allow me to write a new LILO loader. If it’s not one problem, it’s another, eh?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the USA, and a pleasant Thursday night to the rest of you. ;-)

I hope to be back soon.

Lord of the Rings errors

Peter Jackson is not just a great director, but he has a great sense of humor. Witness this article, in which he responds to some of the nit-picks and mistakes people have found in the first two movies in the trilogy. Funny stuff, most of which I never caught. I guess I just get too involved in the movies and don’t go looking for little nits to pick. Or, I’m oblivious to these things.

New Releases, 11.25.2003

The holiday season begins next week, for sure. There’s not much in the release list for this week, that’s for sure. The full list can be had at DVDJournal.com, as always, but here are the only two highlights I could drudge up for this week:

Bruce Almighty (widescreen) (2003)
X2: X-Men United (2-disc set) (widescreen) (2003)

The first one is a renter. The second one is Straight To Christmas List for me.

Next week should be better, though, with ALIAS, ALIEN QUADRILOGY, JEREMIAH, and a lot more.

Bring back Sledgehammer!

I was going to save this for Friday’s links round-up, but this is too good:

Alan Spencer, the creator of the all-too-short-lived sit-com, SLEDGEHAMMER, has a website promoting his own show. Ah, what a fun creation it was.

http://www.sledgehammeronline.com/

He’s trying to pull together a DVD set for the series, too. Now that would be an easy buy for me. There’s a petition on the site you can link to, also.

Sledgehammer was, at the time, the lowest rated TV series in history to be renewed. It was glorious madness.

Today’s DVD release posting will be available by this afternoon.

Friday Links Round Up

Here we go again:

1. Mouse gestures rule.

2. GI Joe train sets also rule. I had this one as a kid. Dad had a lot of fun putting it together, nailing the set onto a large piece of plywood, as I recall. I don’t know that the thing ever worked, though, like most such toys of my youth. The little car race tracks were particularly failure-worthy. I got one of those every year for Christmas and then again on my birthday. Rarely did they work. The DUKES OF HAZZARD one looked so cool, too.

3. It’s official: William Shatner is a great actor. Who amongst us didn’t know that already, though? I can hear his delightful Shakespearian rap from FREE ENTERPRISE in my head right now…

4. Breadmakers claim the Atkins diet is causing an industry slump. I thought this was funny until I saw Lewis Black comment on it during THE DAILY SHOW the other night. Now I think it’s the funniest thing ever.

5. So, Steve Martin is Inspector Clouseau. I’m OK with that. Now, Jackie Chan is Cato. I really like that.

A viable business model?

I’m wondering if filing lawsuit after lawsuit in lieu of offering any tangible goods or services is truly the ultimate business model in this day and age? Perhaps the lawyers have won, after all? We have a new economy based on litigiousness now. SCO is expanding the scope of its lawsuits outside the Linux world — they didn’t bite enough because they’re too smart — and looking at filing suit against BSD.

Mid-Week Links

OK, I’m still trying to work into a routine here. In the meantime, here are five various and sundry links:

1. TheDigitalBits.com is reporting that January will see two very exciting releases: Complete series releases of both THE CRITIC and the horribly underrated DILBERT cartoon.

2. One author fought back when he got stalked on Amazon.com. It’s just one more example of why the internet is such an insane place sometimes. But it’s not the tech that drives people stupid like this. Fans did stupid things long before there was an internet.

3. Gene Ray, of FAME fame, died recently. Didn’t I just see him on one of those E! or VH-1 flashback shows?

4. Steve Martin will, indeed, play Inspector Clouseau in the next PINK PANTHER movie. I’ve long held that only Rowan Atkinson could pull the role off, but I think Steve Martin is a good choice, anyway.

5. And, finally, the double barreled cannon. A spectacular failure.

Things are looking up

Day Two at the New Job. Finally received my computer. At 4:45 p.m.

Tomorrow, I can spend the morning setting everything up, and I can finally do some work on Wednesday afternoon. God Bless America. =)

New Releases for 18 Nov 2003

It’s a big week this week for me. As always, the full list can be found over at DVDJournal.com.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Vol. 1

You can hear the screams of delight from Adult Swim viewers everywhere. I’m not one of them, but I hear their screams, anyway.

The King of Queens: Season One (3-disc set)

Thus finally proving that they’ll put anything out on DVD these days.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Special Extended DVD Edition (4-disc set)

This is the big release of the week, no doubt. I skipped the first DVD of the movie to wait for this one, and I’m glad my patience will be rewarded.

Once Upon a Time in the West (2-disc set) (1968)

The classic western that everyone raves over. I’ve never seen it. I intend to fix that, perhaps this weekend.

They Might Be Giants: Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns (2002)

Aside from LORD OF THE RINGS, this is the big release of the week for me. Nightline showed an excerpt from it once that was quite promising. DVDJournal even named it their disc of the week, with a must-read review.

Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life (2003)

This is a rental. I’m not expecting much, but I am curious.

Winged Migration: Special Edition (2003)

I’ve heard so many good things about this that I might just rent it also someday.

Next week: X2 and some other stuff.

Not quite a wasted day

First day at the new office today. They didn’t have a computer for me. Many professions would not be phased by this. Being a computer programmer, it pretty well wrecked my day. I spent the day, instead, reading a fine book on programming in Perl. I learned some neat tricks I intend to use in the future.

With any luck, I’ll have a computer tomorrow. Cross your fingers.

Contestant Updates

  • Remember Jaered, the contestant tossed off the second season of AMERICAN IDOL for failing to disclose abuse charges he had to answer for back home? He was acquitted this week. Whoops.

  • Does the voice singing the song in the back half of the Pride and Prejudice trailer sound familiar? Does that face you see for a split second before the credits pop up look familiar? It’s Carmen Rasmusen, the single most savaged contestant in the history of Simon Cowell’s rein. It’s a catchy little ditty, albeit horribly computer-enhanced.

  • Kelly Clarkson is the favorite to win the holiday stunt World Idol special on Christmas Day and New Year’s.

Matrix Reloaded

Matrix Reloaded DVD cover art I still haven’t seen the third chapter in the Wachowski Bros’ trilogy, but I think I’ve already been spoiled to death on it. Everyone assumes you’ve seen it on opening weekend, and the mouths just start to fly. ::sigh::

Still, let’s keep this entry spoiler-free for the third movie. We’ll deal with that one later this week, hopefully.

This morning, I took the chance to close the blinds, pump up the sound system, and blast my way through MATRIX RELOADED so I could be all caught up before heading off to see the third movie sometime this week. I was surprised by just how good it was. I had some mixed feelings on the movie when I saw it in the theaters earlier this year. I also know the current Conventional Wisdom is that everything after the first movie sucked. However, I really enjoyed this movie the second time more than I did the first. Perhaps it was lowered expectations. It’s true that the second movie doesn’t carry all the great iconic moments that the first did: Trinity jumping up and freezing in mid-air with bullet time is forever engrained in our mass media consciousness now. Ditto Neo doing the lambada while bullets fly over his body, or just the very image of the green characters of the Matrix scrolling down the screen.

The second movie has its share of cool moments and cool effects, but the video game look that the Big Burly Brawl degenerates into at its end is a bit much. The Zion rave that I hated so much in the theaters didn’t seem so bad at home. It only lasted about five minutes. In the theater, it felt like 15. The highway chase at the end is still the centerpiece of the movie, and doesn’t suffer from too many CGI effects, unless you start looking for them. However, it’s the smaller moments I liked more, such as Neo’s fight scene with the Oracle’s guard, or the entire opening sequence of Trinity with guns blazing, and even Neo’s final hand to hand combat scene in the Merovingian’s lair.

The DVD quality is impressive. Colors are bright where they are supposed to be. The image is crystal clear, with no odd patterns of halo effects showing up. The sound is very impressive. It’s just a great disc. They put everything into it, too. The movie clocks in past 2 hours, and they left all the special edition material for a separate disc, to squeeze all the bits they could into the movie. Good move. I have to get around to those featurettes next.