Archive for August 2004

 
 

Apple – iMac G5

I’m impressed by the new iMac design Apple is rolling out. That’s an impressive achievement to get all that computer into that little pizza box.

I’m a little concerned about a “16:10 widescreen” display for movies, but I’ll chalk that up to a typo…

The 20 inch display version is $1900. 17 inch iMac is either $1300 or $1500, depending on which processor speed you pick.

2004 VMAs, Part One

I TiVoed the VMAs again this year in hour long increments. The problem with these awards shows on a TiVo is that if you record the whole thing as one program, you can’t delete any of it until you’ve watched it all. So I set my TiVo up to record in hour long increments and chop it off as I go along.

As I did last year, I’ll be blogging my thoughts as I watch this year’s rock and shock. I’m up to about 9:45 or so of the broadcast now.

  1. At least the rappers get dressed up in fancy suits. Even if the untucked and loose style doesn’t do it for me, I give them points for effort. This is in direct opposition to the greasy, dirty looking rockers who think wearing old t-shirts is stylish and retro. In reality, they look uncomfortable, outdated, and too tight.

  2. Will Smith’s introduction of Shaw was pretty funny.

  3. Best Pop Video went to the least interesting group of the lot. Oh, look, another award for No Doubt. ::yawn:: And it’s for a new single on a Greatest Hits album? UGH, now we’re giving out awards for that money grab of fans? Wouldn’t it have been just that much more interesting to make fun of MTV for giving the award to Hillary Duff?

  4. It is obvious that the lead singer from Hoobastank can’t sing. He didn’t hit a single note right in his entire performance. I was embarrassed for him. We might give him the benefit of the doubt and say he couldn’t hear himself in his ear piece and that affected his performance. In that case, he was the lucky one during that performance who didn’t have to listen to those attempts at notes.

  5. The mosh pit crowd must have been a great idea on paper. In reality, it doesn’t work. Too disruptive. Tough to stage things. Made it impossible for a lot of people on stage to know what was going on. On the flip side, it allowed for Matthew Lillard to make an entrance on an inflatable raft. Well, sort of. That raft was carried through the crowd by beefy security types. You just have the impression of a crowd surfer.

  6. Crowd surfing should be banned in any and all forms, anyway.

  7. I know I’m out of touch when Jon Stewart is talking about the People’s Choice award, and I don’t recognize a single act in the little boxes at the bottom of the screen.

  8. That Best Female Video serenade was painful, too long, and uncomfortable. I guess they needed to stretch things out to buy time for whatever came next.

To be continued…

Short Cuts to DVD

DVDFILE.COM: Disc News

After many years of waiting by Robert Altman fans, the director’s last remaining epic not to get the DVD treatment is finally here. Just announced from The Criterion Collection is a November 12th release for Short Cuts, which will get the full two-disc treatment.

This is one I’ve wanted to see for years, for a relatively odd reason: Lori Singer of VR.5 was also in it.

Plus, it’s Altman which means it’ll be at least interesting. His GOSFORD PARK should have won Best Picture in 2002. It’s an amazing piece of work.

New releases, 31 August 2004

It’s a large release list this week, with 50 discs up for sale. That’s why I would recommend checking out the full list for yourself. In the meantime, here’s what catches my fancy:

The Passion of the Christ (widescreen) (2004)

Haven’t seen it yet, but would like to. Still, I think it’s more a rental than a purchase. I don’t think I’d be inclined to watch it a second time. Should Best Buy have it on sale at some ridiculously cheap price, though, I might have to look into it.

South Park: The Passion of the Jew (2004)

Ah, counterprogramming. . .

Star Trek: The Original Series: Season One (8-disc set)

It’s the big geek release of the week, tailor made for those who didn’t jump aboard the DVD bandwagon early enough to know a time when TV series were still being released two-episodes-at-a-time. Thankfully, X-FILES came along and showed the way.

Trekkies 2 (2004)

I still haven’t seen the original TREKKIES. I did see and enjoy FREE ENTERPRISE, though. Doesn’t that count for something?

Good, it’s a cheap week. I didn’t pick up SHAOLIN SOCCER last week, so I’ll handle that this week, instead.

Looking forward to next week: A metric tonne of TV releases, SOUL PLANE, CLERKS X, and the longest list of DVD releases for a single week that I’ve ever seen. Heck, I think the list of TV releases numbers almost 50 discs. We might need to play with numbers next week to tally the totals.

Update: Stopped at Best Buy today. Picked up SHAOLIN SOCCER and a special two pack of TREKKIES and TREKKIES 2. I’ve always wanted to see those two…

Second Update: I received an e-mail from Amazon.com today, which outlines 17 TV-to-DVD releases due out on September 7th. That’s ridiculous. Still, December 7th is looking like the day to beat for most number of interesting releases. More on this next week, though.

Pro Bowling’s Turnaround

Wired 12.09: Kingpin

Rob Glaser and his geek pals from Microsoft wanted to pull pro bowling out of the gutter. So they bought the whole damn league. [...] TV ratings are climbing; 775,000 households watched pro bowling on ESPN last year, up 25 percent from two seasons ago. Viewership among 18- to 34-year-old males – the demo that makes or breaks most pro sports – is up 80 percent-plus. More people now watch the PBA than the National Hockey League.

The article is filled with great tidbits about the PBA and its turnaround. There’s even a documentary film about it that might find its way to DVD next year.

My winter league starts back up September 13th.

One last Olympic oddity

Is it really a worldly competition anymore? It seems like 3/4 of the athletes in the games these days go to school in America, train there, and then go back home to play for their home country.

More fun with fonts

ban comic sans :: Putting the Sans in Comic Sans

In 1995 Microsoft released the font Comic Sans originally designed for comic book style talk bubbles containing informational help text. Since that time the typeface has been used in countless contexts from restaurant signage to college exams to medical information. These widespread abuses of printed type threaten to erode the very foundations upon which centuries of typographic history are built.

It must be Death To Fonts week here at Various and Sundry.

This link was originally spotted at Near Mint Heroes.

Poker Invitational – Week Two

This weekend saw the secound episode of Fox Sports Net’s Poker Invitational. Previously, I had harsh words for the series for talking over the table talk, and having cheap graphics and annoying announcers.

After the second week, I’m happy to say that they’ve corrected the first problem. We got to hear more of the table talk this week, and the announcers stepped in only to explain the references as it went along.

As nervous as the announcers seem in front of the camera, they also add something new and different to the televised poker landscape. If all you watch is Celebrity Poker Showdown and the World Poker Tournament, you’ll only get two points of view on the game. This series adds more voices the mix, gives you slightly different takes on the proceedings, and will teach you a few more things.

I’m getting used to the graphics, but the “Bluff” blinker is still far too cute.

There’s hope for this show, yet.

Remember when — ?

Remember when E.R. was a hospital drama?

I stopped watching the series after the first three or four seasons. I was in college and classes took up most of my time. One day I stopped to notice that I had four videotapes of episodes piled up. I just didn’t care enough to watch it anymore.

Yet, I’ve watched with somewhat morbid fascination as the show has become more and more desperate for storylines. Helicopters chopping off limbs. Doctors visiting Africa. And now… Well, I saw the commercial today for the season premiere. Are they serious? They’re resorting to gunplay and car chases?

Exactly how long ago did the show jump the shark, exactly?

Convention Coverage this week

No, don’t worry. I’m not doing convention coverage this week.

I just want to take bets: Will there be more coverage in the media this week of what’s going on INSIDE Madison Square Garden, or OUTSIDE Madison Square Garden?

Right now, all the local NYC media are covering today’s protests like they were the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All we’ve heard about in the past month (ad nauseum) is about the protests being planned for the week.

Look, it’s the Republican’s fault for being so silly as to stage a convention inside New York City, but still… I have very little idea what’s supposed to happen at the convention, itself, this week.

The Scourge of Arial

The Scourge of Arial

Arial is everywhere. If you don’t know what it is, you don’t use a modern personal computer. Arial is a font that is familiar to anyone who uses Microsoft products, whether on a PC or a Mac. It has spread like a virus through the typographic landscape and illustrates the pervasiveness of Microsoft’s influence in the world. Arial’s ubiquity is not due to its beauty. It’s actually rather homely. Not that homeliness is necessarily a bad thing for a typeface. With typefaces, character and history are just as important. Arial, however, has a rather dubious history and not much character. In fact, Arial is little more than a shameless impostor.

This is the story of how Microsoft stole the Helvetica font, renamed it Arial, and avoided paying any copyrights on it in the process. All legal. All scummy.

Mug Shots Can Be Fun!

The Smoking Gun, of course, maintains a collection of celebrity mug shots for your perusal any day of the week. Stay away from Yasmine Bleeth’s, though, if you have a weak stomach or don’t want your image of her shattered.

Mamet creates TV show

Zap2it – TV news – Mamet, ‘Shield’ Creator Fight Terrorism for CBS

Shawn Ryan, the creator of “The Shield,” and writer-director David Mamet are teaming up for a series about the U.S. Army antiterrorism unit known as Delta Force. The show, which 20th Century Fox TV will produced, will follow the lives and dangerous work undertaken by members of the Delta Force. It’s based on the book “Inside Delta Force” by Eric Haney, one of the founding members of the force.

Be Looney on your computer

It’s Friday! Time to drive those in the cubicles around you nuts by playing random hilarious soundbites from classic Looney Tunes shorts. Click here and go nuts.

Pipeline Updates

Two weekends ago, I attended the WizardWorld: Chicago comic book convention. I’ve now recapped the events of that weekend across two Pipeline columns.

In the first, I look back at Friday and Saturday at the con, with special emphasis on the brewing Marvel/DC firestorm and the BATMAN BEGINS panel.

In part two, I cover Sunday, the big poker tournament from Friday night, and assorted odds and ends from the trip. Also, a review of Robert Kirkman’s latest BRIT comic, now with art from Cliff Rathburn.

As always, direct your comments on either column to the Pipeline message board over at CBR.