Archive for September 2007

 
 

New DVD Releases for 25 Sept 2007

These are the dreadful final days we can take the release list from DVDJournal.com for granted.

  • Alone in the Dark: Unrated Director’s Cut (2005)

Stars Tara Reid. Strike one. Based on a video game. Strike two. IMDB synopsis: “This plot synopsis is empty. “

YOU’RE OUT!

  • Dr. Giggles (1992)

Dark Horse Comics fans will recognize the comic tie-in here.

  • Knocked Up (2007)

This is the release of the week. Looks like a great movie. Got a lot of good reviews. Everyone loved it. Made a small fortune at the box office.

  • Robert Klein: The HBO Specials 1975-2005 (4-disc set)

Wait, HBO existed in 1975? I thought it wasn’t around until a couple years later? I was too young to watch those specials, but I’ve always heard good things about them. Bring on the sniglets! Wait, that was a different HBO guy from the time, wasn’t it? Nevermind.

The Sniglet guy was Robert Rich Hall, right? By an insane coincidence, he’s in the news this week, for being Moe the Bartender’s model.

Maybe next week will be better? FANTASTIC FOUR 2 is coming out, at least.

Alice Ghostley, Comic TV and Stage Actress, Is Dead – New York Times

Alice Ghostley, Comic TV and Stage Actress, Is Dead – New York Times

Alice Ghostley, a Tony Award-winning actress who became known to television viewers for her roles as dizzy sidekicks on “Bewitched? and “Designing Women,? died yesterday at her home in Studio City, Calif. Her age was usually given as 81.

Another old lady/next-door-neighbor sidekick of our sit-com youths is gone. This is a sad day, indeed.

Someone check in on Edie McClurg, quick! If Mrs. Poole falls, I’ll be crestfallen.

GH – The Problem With Nicholas

Regular General Hospital viewers know that there’s something odd happening with Nicholas. I haven’t figured out all the details, myself, just yet. However, I do know one simple unassailable fact that makes me laugh every time I think about it:

The Butler is doing it.

Take my word on it.

Family Guy – Star Wars

Family Guy Does Star WarsFind a place on-line to pirate it.  It’s worth seeing, in case you missed it on Sunday night.  Besides a sound clip from AIRPLANE and a cameo appearance by Rush Limbaugh (decrying Lando Calrissian as an affirmative action hire), there’s a ton of great humor to be mined from this.  It even gets meta as Daddy Griffin and son have an argument at the end over ROBOT CHICKEN.  (Dad voiced by Family Guy’s creator, and son by Robot Chicken’s.)

Just when I thought there was no new humor to be mined from a STAR WARS parody, the folks at FAMILY GUY did it last night.  If you’ve seen the original movie, (odd are good that you have) you’ll recognize all of the homages, the fades, the wipes, the bits of odd pacing, etc. that they lavishly threw into this episode.  No wonder they wanted George Lucas’ approval.  The show would have been close to copyright infringement without it.  Poking fun at John Williams and then moving into a Danny Elfman reference?  Beautiful! Highly recommended, unless you’re predisposed to hate the show already.

SCO – The Journalist Fall Out

And now the fair and impartial journalists get to admit to their gullibility:

Forbes.com – Magazine Article

This time, I figured I should at least give SCO the benefit of the doubt. I flew to Utah and interviewed their managers. I attended a SCO conference in Las Vegas and did more interviews. They told me all sorts of things, like they’d found a “smoking gun” that proved IBM was guilty, and that they were preparing to sue big Hollywood companies that use Linux server farms to make movies. I reported what they said. Turns out I was getting played. They never produced a smoking gun. They never sued any Hollywood company. [...] But I still thought it would be foolish to predict how this lawsuit (or any lawsuit) would play out. I even wrote an article called “Revenge of the Nerds,” which poked fun at the pack of amateur sleuths who were following the case on a Web site called Groklaw and who claimed to know for sure that SCO was going to lose. [...] The truth, as is often the case, is far less exciting than the conspiracy theorists would like to believe. It is simply this: I got it wrong. The nerds got it right.

I wonder how many other journalists will be honest enough to admit that.

Fall Season Thus Far

I guess if Tom isn’t watching it, then I WILL!

Here’s what I’ve watched so far:

America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 9: I think that’s the right season number. In any case, it’s getting a little predictable. The show is cast for personality perhaps even moreso than modeling ability, with Tyra hoping against hope that she can change these girls’ lives. She should be looking more for modeling acumen, but that’s just me. In any case, we get our stereotypical witch, the shy one with a disability, the one who’s trying hard to overcome molestation, rape, abuse, etc. (probably more than one), the pageant girl who doesn’t stand a chance and is just there for laughs, and a couple of ugly ducklings that scream high model.

Since the models pranced around in bikinis for most of the hour, you barely even notice the dramatic up skirt angles the camera takes when the girls walk down the stairs of the luxury ocean liner they’re on.

Let’s start placing our bets on which one will have the panic attack when Tyra tells her that her hair is getting chopped off.

Kitchen Nightmares: I like Gordon Ramsey. Many have doubted the veracity of this series, and they may turn out to be right. It’s too early to tell. I know this: I enjoyed the first episode, but it had way too quick an ending. The jerk of an owner of the restaurant remained a self-centered jerk through all the fighting, the talks with Chef Ramsey, the life lessons Ramsey tried to teach him, and the gifts he was given. But at 9:55, one discussion suddenly turns the jerk’s life around and he’s a good family man who helps out his people and runs a successful restaurant. RiiIIIiight.

Reality TV is all in the editing. That’s where the story is shaped, even moreso (again with that word) than what the camera guys in the field do. Perhaps it’s asking too much to make a believable edit out of this much material. But at least they stick to the restaurant and the drama surrounding its turnaround. Other shows — Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — are far too busy shopping at their show’s sponsor and talking about what an important job they’re doing to actually bother showing us HOW THEY BUILD THE FLIPPING HOUSE! At least here we see more of the details, as broadly sketched as they might be.

What can I honestly expect from just an hour, though, right? At least they don’t spend half their time teasing what’s coming up after each commercial break. That’s a nice change of pace.

This one’s definitely a keeper on my fall schedule.

Beauty and the Geek, Season Four: I like the new twists on the show this season. And the contestant selection special (clocking in at LESS than the first full hour) was entertaining and mercifully brief. Looks like they’re trying to make the host of the show more personable. We saw him smiling, interacting with people, and not just reading scripts stiffly. Is this CW’s attempt to create their own Ryan Seacrest? Noticed how all the geeks in the show had to mention their comic book collections. And judging by the coming attractions, they’re heading down to San Diego Comic-Con later this season. I didn’t see anyone mention the show filming at Comic-Con this year, though. Odd.

Also noticed the ThinkGeek “Binary People” t-shirt, and an L33T t-shirt that made me laugh.

My wife is a little worried that I got so much of what the geeks were talking about. I pointed out that just because I know what LARPing is, doesn’t mean I endorse the hobby. I still laugh mightily over the classic “Lightning Bolt” YouTube video.

In the end, though, the show makes me proud to be a geek — because I know that I’m still better than those people, no matter how bad I might ever have been.

In other TV: Won’t be watching Dancing With The Stars this year, in large part because three hours is a lot to ask of me in one week for a premiere. Ugh. I’m still working on cutting down how much TV I watch. The summer was nice that way.

I do want to see REAPER this coming week. And CHUCK, whenever it premieres. I’d like to start back up on BOSTON LEGAL when it starts Tuesday. It’s already adding up too quickly, I’m afraid.

ABC Fires Rocket(Boom)

Internet Celebrity Doesn’t Translate: Amanda Congdon Let Go By ABC

Amanda Congdon, best known as the original host of Rocketboom, has been let go by ABCNews.com.

Let’s all hope VH1 does the same to Perez Hilton next.

Still stomping all over that grave

This made me smile:

SCO Group admits it may fold | CNET News.com

Having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, SCO claims it may go under permanently, depending on how much the court decides it owes Novell. The SCO Group may need to wind up its operations after its copyright case against Novell collapsed, prompting it to file for bankruptcy.

Quote of the Day

Strategy Letter VI – Joel on Software

And your programmers are like, jeez louise, GMail is huge, we can’t port GMail to this stupid NewSDK. We’d have to change every line of code. Heck it’d be a complete rewrite; the whole programming model is upside down and recursive and the portable programming language has more parentheses than even Google can buy. The last line of almost every function consists of a string of 3,296 right parentheses. You have to buy a special editor to count them.

Remember, kids: Piracy is wrong!

However, you have to enjoy the antics of The Pirate Bay, who are now suing 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony, Activision, et. al.

That’s right.  The pirates are suing the movie /music/video game companies.

The Pirate Bay – The worlds largest BitTorrent tracker

Thanks to the email-leakage from MediaDefender-Defenders we now have proof of the things we’ve been suspecting for a long time; the big record and movie labels are paying professional hackers, saboteurs and ddosers to destroy our trackers.

Are You Smarter Than A Second Grader?

I have a question:

Are peanuts living things?

If you use these two questions to determine if something is living, then it would seem “yes”:

  • Do they use food?

  • Do they grow?

We know there are SIX characteristics, but we’re dealing with seven year olds here.  We only get two questions.  We’ve eliminated planes with this definition, but are peanuts living?  Are carrots?

(Do we need to ask about free will first?)

Bonus question: What are the three laws of robotics?

My wife thanks you in advance.

Twitterisms for a Friday

Another sampling of posts from my Twitter feed:

  • I want an Angel Investor to fund my lifestyle.
  • GMail Inbox Zero progress: Started at 1100 messages. Down to 539. Still a long way to go.
  • If the movie is one tenth as cool as the trailer, then IRON MAN is in good shape next year.
  • Boston Legal starts in two weeks – I never watched the last 6 or 7 episodes of last season. Time for BL Bankruptcy!
  • Britney Spears might be a talentless hack, but she ain’t fat.
  • It’s really bad when I start staring at Twitter and expecting it to update something exciting for me.
  • Reading blogs via RSS is depressing, because you see just how thoroughly productive all the other bloggers are compared to you. 
  • Depressing thought: Christmas Day is the only day I won’t be working an eight hour shift that work week.
  • Depressing thought: When I was in high school, girls wore grunge.
  • How long do you hold a door for someone walking in behind you? When are you helpful? When are you a jerk for closing it in someone’s face?
  • Can’t find the right pivot joint for this bi-fold door. ARGH! 
  • Cleaning house. Where did all that dust come from? Five bags of garbage out the door already.

The SCO Group Receives Nasdaq Notice Letter

The SCO Group Receives Nasdaq Notice Letter

The SCO Group, Inc. (the “Company”) , a leading provider of UNIX(R) software technology and mobile services, today announced it received a notice from The Nasdaq Stock Market indicating that the Company’s securities will be delisted from Nasdaq on September 27, 2007, pending an appeal.

At this point, I think the only thing left to do is lead a rousing rendition of that obnoxious “Hey hey hey nah nah nah good-bye” chant you hear at sporting events, right?

Adios, jerks! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer pack of lawyers.

Amazon Musings

Some thoughts about everyone’s favorite on-line “book store:”

I love Amazon Prime. I’m not going to keep it, though. $79 is a big chunk of cash for the convenience, but I love ordering a single $10 book and having it show up two days later. Accumulating $25 worth of books/DVDs/CDs/what-have-you to order all at once to get the free shipping isn’t so difficult for me. And it won’t kill me to wait the extra few days that the free shipping gives you. Sometimes, the free shipping is just as quick, anyway. Maybe if I ordered more often through Amazon it would be worth it, but I’m going to cancel my subscription before the month’s free trial ends. I know it’s irrational and illogical, but it’s still nice to have.

I’ve been selling books and DVDs on the Amazon Marketplace for the last month or so, and it’s a pretty solid system. For me, it’s a heck of a lot easier than dealing with eBay. First of all, listing an item is super simple. Delicious Library — which indexes my collection — has a simple “Sell on Amazon” button that brings me to the right page with the item’s Amazon number and description all ready to go. Second, listing an item doesn’t cost you a penny. No fees are taken until the item is sold. The item stays in the system for 90 days, which gives you a nice long time period to wait for the right buyer. Third, Amazon sets the shipping price and dictates the method of delivery — USPS media mail or first class. For a single DVD, it’s not that great a difference. And the amount Amazon reimburses you (i.e. charges the buyer) is enough to pay for shipping and the bubble envelope to put it in. Fourth, Amazon reimburses you in Amazon credit. You can also have them cut you a check, if you like, but I like spending the money right there at the Big A. It’s the whole carrot at the end of the stick thing — sell something, and you can buy something. Good Augie.

There is one catch with the Amazon Marketplace, though. You can change your asking price for the item at any time. As more people offer up the same item, they tend to undercut you to get the sale. This is great for buyers, as it drives prices down dramatically. For the sellers, it becomes a bit of a problem. I sold one DVD for $2.50 last week. Even counting for Amazon’s generous shipping charges, I made less than fifty cents off the deal. Amazon takes a flat fee for the listing after the purchase goes through, then a percentage of the final sale price. On a $2.50 item, it’s punishing.

So long as you’re selling DVDs or books that get you a $5 price tag or higher and you have a steady stock of cheap bubble mailers and a local post office you can get to at lunchtime, it’s a nifty system. Right now, I’m almost out of bubble mailers. I may have to go scour eBay, ironically enough, to pick up another cheap box if I want to keep sending these things out. To keep it simple, I haven’t started listing the boxed items, like the PRISONER DVDs or the X-FILES DVDs. Those might go up someday, too, as soon as I’m comfortable with the shipping annoyances.

Finally, thanks to all of you who’ve clicked through one of the Amazon banner ads on this site in the last few months. The big pay off on that will be coming my way at the end of this month or beginning of October, and then I’ll be able to pick up that Harmony Universal remote I’ve had my eye on all summer. Full review to follow, of course.

SCO still thrashing about

SCO Blames Linux For Bankruptcy Filing — SCO Group — InformationWeek

SCO Group CEO Darl McBride says competition from the open source Linux operating system was a major reason why the company was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. In a court filing in support of SCO’s bankruptcy petition, McBride noted that SCO’s sales of Unix-based products “have been declining over the past several years.” The slump, McBride said, “has been primarily attributable to significant competition from alternative operating systems, including Linux.” McBride listed IBM (IBM), Red Hat, Microsoft (MSFT), and Sun Microsystems (SUNW) as distributors of Linux or other software that is “aggressively taking market share away from Unix.”

Can someone find me a good image of a person stomping/dancing on someone else’s grave so that I can insert it here? If it’s a penguin doing the stomping/dancing, all the better. Thanks!