Archive for December 2007

 
 

Blatant Commercial Plug – Amazon Marketplace

Just to round out the year:

Above this, you’ll see a link for the Amazon Marketplace. It’s right under the tasteful “Various and Sundry” banner atop every page on this blog.

I just added a bunch of things to the Marketplace and by clicking on that link you’ll be taken straight to them. I never realized there was such a high demand for REBOOT DVDs, for example. There’s also some animated DVDs up there, including some Miyazaki works, a Nintendo GameCube game or two, and some TV-on-DVD.

All funds raised in this effort go towards the purchase of a digital SLR, which will provide lots of raw material for this blog in the months ahead.

Thanks! Back to normal blogging now. . .

The Week In Twitter, Part One

From the week of Twittering:

Now playing with StumbleUpon. What are the odds that it’ll drive ANY traffic to my own website?

Christmas Eve in a Roman Catholic Church == Rock Opera.

I enjoy the challenge of Guitar Hero III on EASY. On MEDIUM, I want to chop off my hands at the wrist to make the pain feel less.

@ronxo – I’m with ya 100%. “A Christmas Story” is frighteningly annoying to me.

Perhaps ironically, navigating through GoDaddy’s website is a nightmare.

Happy birthday, Rod Serling! [25 Dec 2007]

@ronxo – I woke up at 7:00 this morning and chose to play Guitar Hero III rather than sleep another hour. RAWK!

I wish my family had asked me about my Amazon Associates link on the blog BEFORE Christmas day. ::sigh:: At least my Mom knew it.

Boxing Day may be an actual holiday in Canada, but I think the mall was busier today than it was in the days before Christmas. Cripes!

I just realized that I’ve forgotten how NOT to blog.

Why, on Guitar Hero III, do I have to skip past EIGHT SCREENS to get the main menu? That’s going to far. . .

@mikesterling — I’ll see your Dick Gregory and raise you a Walter Hudson

Just had the most brilliant “Brand New Day” theory that I can’t wait for the next Pipeline to share. I still think JoeQ is up to something.

OS X Leopard Breaks Second Life. And this is a BAD thing?!?

R.I.P. Paul “Zeus” Grant, a name that flickered across my computer screen many many many times in the mid-90s.

Finished Guitar Hero III on Easy last night. Started on Medium. Ouch, my wrists. . . (29 Dec)

Part Two tomorrow. . .

Weekend Link Dump Part Two (still a holiday weekend)

Weekend Link Dump Part One (hey, it’s the holidays!)

Diabetes Not Cured For Another Year

But Bayer is making good on a bad batch of test strips for their glucometer:

2007 Press Releases

Bayer Diabetes Care has initiated a voluntary market recall of test strips (sensors) used exclusively with the Contour TS Blood Glucose Meter. In the course of its routine quality control monitoring processes the Company identified a manufacturing issue with test strips from specific lots that could result in blood glucose readings with a positive bias that is outside of our product specifications. Test results may demonstrate results 5 -17% higher.

5-17% ain’t bad, but it ain’t good, either, especially at higher numbers. There’s a difference in the amount of insulin I’d take for a 200 blood sugar, as opposed to a 234, for example. But between 80 and 85? Nada.

Glad to see a company actually utilizes their QA testing. . .

Do Commercials Kill TV?

Watching TV shows on DVD is a remarkable experience. You can breeze through four hour-long episodes and not feel like a whole lot of time has passed. It’s amazing how quickly the time goes.

The reason for that is each episode is down to about 42 minutes, max, after you remove the credits and the commercials.  (I watched one recently that ended at the 39 minute mark.) Remember — and I’m assuming you’re older than 25 or so here — the days before time shifting, when you had to get up and walk to the TV to change the channel or the volume? People used to stick by one network for the entire night. Human laziness is a remarkable thing. Commercial breaks were used for snacks or bathroom breaks, I suppose, but they were part of the deal. You got used to it. It almost didn’t bother you.

But, those shows were 50 minutes or more. The commercial breaks didn’t run every 5 – 8 minutes. With TV shows down to 42 minutes (or less) of entertainment per hour, you can’t blame humanity for using DVRs and skipping shows for their eventual DVD releases.

The networks respond, of course, by adding MORE COMMERCIALS (or as many as the FCC will allow) to increase ad revenue they say is lost by people changing channels and not watching TV. They just don’t get it, and so they dig their holes deeper. One of the reasons pay cable shows like SOPRANOS appeals to people is more than just the cursing and graphic sex; I believe part of it is the lack of commercials making it so much easier to lose yourself in the world you’re watching.

Speaking of which, has the writer’s strike made anyone else feel guilty about watching TV shows on DVD?

Holiday Week Link Dump

New DVD Releases for 26 Dec 2007

Usually, nothing comes out to stores on Christmas week. The shopping season is done. But there’s a couple points of interest this year:

  • Rush Hour 3

I knew they were making this one, but I don’t ever recall seeing an ad for it or knowing it was in the movie theater. It’s just as well — Jackie Chan is long past his prime, and Chris Tucker is about the most annoying man in movies.

  • The Kingdom

Also known as the movie whose opening credits have been YouTubed and linked to by every major blog on the ‘net. Oddly enough, Best Buy has a special deal for you if you buy THE KINGDOM along with the straight-to-DVD release of the latest AMERICAN PIE sequel. Sure, those sound compatible.

  • Pan’s Labyrinth

I thought this one had come out already, but it seems to be new this week. Time flies. And Guillermo Del Toro directs.

(Update: It’s the high def discs that are coming out this week.  I’ve adjusted the cover art above accordingly.  Thanks, Paul!)

  • Galactica 1980

Came out on Sunday, actually, to take advantage of last-minute shoppers-for-geeks. As I recall, this thing has been savaged for the last two and a half decades. This is likely for the die-hards and completists.

In January, DVD sales will return with those items that Just Missed the Christmas holiday, some of them a result of being pushed back to allow for the projected bigger sellers to come out in prime Christmas season. Happy new year, DVDs!

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I am reusing last year’s graphic. It came out rather well, don’tcha think? We’ll return normal hours tomorrow with a look at this week’s DVD releases.

Merry Christmas!

Another Twittery Monday

Follow them all, or wait for Monday highlights:

  • My 4 year old niece kicked butt on NES Pinball tonight, scoring 60,000 on her first ball. I feel so old and useless.
  • Just cracked a new record for Amazon Associates points in a month. Yay Christmas shopping!
  • Almost finished Christmas shopping tonight. Most annoying store: The one where the credit card and gift card machines were down. OUCH
  • Using Google maps to verify addresses of Amazon Marketplace orderers. Shipping four packages tomorrow.
  • The mailman was very kind today. Walking Dead HC? I’m in heaven.
  • Got to test drive a Canon XTI today. After all the negatives I heard about its size, it didn’t feel small in my large hands.
  • Sad day: Amazon is out of stock of the Canon XTI camera. (With kit lens. The body is still in stock.)
  • Changing my game plan re:buying a new camera. Buying body, no kit, buying IS lens. Will cost a couple hundred more. Need more time.
  • You know what I hate? People who want to describe movie gags, take forever to do so, and don’t make them funny.
  • You know what else I hate? People who, hearing I haven’t seen a movie, then tell me the entire plot in painstaking detail.
  • Hacking around on a website, getting frustrated by weird kludges that are necessary to make things function for no conceivable reason.
  • The Refurbished Adorama lens of my lust: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
  • Apple has shut down ThinkSecret.com. And the Apple Fan Blogosphere isn’t threatening to burn down Apple for this. Why not?
  • Having the PayPal browser plug-in for a Mac would be very very handy to me.
  • I’ve reached the age now where Christmas is all suck. Family sucks.
  • Time to crack open Veronica Mars Season Three…
  • When do you know you’ve married the right woman? When she says, “I want to see 24 Season One? Do you have the DVDs?”
  • In the past, I can remember times when Amazon would offer 10% off your Wish List items after Christmas. I hope they do it again this year.
  • Sunday, 1:20 p.m.: I should start wrapping presents one of these days. . .
  • Wow. Even Slashdot has fallen for the Fake Steve Jobs Apple Lawyer gag. I’m not sure if that’s hilarious or sad.
  • Merry Christmas Eve Eve. We used to think my father was so smart using that when we were kids. Nowadays, it’s a punchline on ten sit-coms.

Not Necessarily News

I don’t know why we need four different versions of Entertainment Tonight between 7 and 8 p.m. every day. But it’s because they need to all fill 3 or 4 hours of TV a week — EACH — that stuff like this becomes a story:

Cops: ‘Mr. Bean’ dings a car in Aspen – Yahoo! News

British comedian Rowan Atkinson, known for playing the bumbling television and movie character Mr. Bean, made a mistake of his own when he backed an SUV into an Aspen woman’s car. Atkinson was moving from a metered spot Thursday when he struck the Volkswagen Jetta, police said.

Ohmigod! Veteran British Actor/Comedian dinged a car in a parking lot mishap. Quick! Write a story! ::sigh::

I’m waiting to see TMZ.com footage of Atkinson calmly filling out paperwork with a police officer behind his car, with a dramatic voice over talking about how Atkinson is hiding behind the car and is deeply ashamed of his actions. That would be followed by an interview with a traffic maid, a psychologist trained in handling accident victims, and a five minute retrospective of the celebrity’s previous run-ins with the law, no doubt consisting of a speeding ticket, an appearance at the policeman’s ball, and a scene filmed for a movie five years back.

It’s not right to make fun of the dead

I’m not going to.

I merely point to the irony:

Roofing magnate dies in fall – CNN.com

The 91st-richest man in the United States, a roofing company billionaire, has died after falling through his home garage’s roof, local authorities said Friday. Ken Hendricks, 66, was checking on construction Thursday night on the roof at his home in the town of Rock when he fell through, Rock County Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. Troy Knudson said.

Our First Christmas 2007

wedding_ornament.jpg, originally uploaded by AugieDB.

The tree has a lot of this style of ornament on it. This is the latest one. It’s pretty cute. Sadly, it has to be grey scale, because I just can’t fool my point-and-shoot into getting the lighting right at all.

Clash of the Choirs – Bullet Point Special!

  • My DVR decided that tonight’s finale was only one hour. So I missed Michael Bolton’s performance. Insert your own joke here.

  • You did a choir contest and gave Patti LaBelle a team and didn’t think she’d win? You’re nuts.

  • Of course, she lost to the guy who’s a reality TV star and has won these kinds of shows before.

  • Speaking of which, the final announcements of 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place were straight out of the play book from DANCING WITH THE STARS. Turn all lights red, throw a spotlight on each contestant, and have the host give the narrative storyline for each contestant before saying, “Coming in third and thus out of the contest. . . “

  • I’m sorry I missed the rest of the week. I’d love to have seen Blake Shelton’s team doing Marc Broussard’s “Home,” one of the rare five star songs on my iPod. (Watch the video here. I still can’t believe it’s a little white guy singing like that. You can see the choir practice on YouTube.) And I’m a sucker for “Fight of the Bumblebee.” (Here’s a piano variation called “Bumblebee Boogie,” whilst I’m YouTubing it.)

  • I did root for Patti LaBelle a little – she’s a fellow diabetic, after all.

  • Tracy Morgan has done live TV before. He’s done SNL, right? Was he at the show under protest Did he co-write the movie he’s there to pimp and was unsure of his standing with the WGA East or something? Or was it drugs? He looked completely out of it.

  • Most exciting commercial of the night: American Gladiators is coming back in January!  Whoo-hoo!

Thursday Link Dump

  • Trajan is the movie font. Wait, wasn’t GLADIATOR in Trajan? He named three other Russell Crowe movies, but missed the most obvious one to me. . .

  • LucasFilm Christmas cards through the years.

  • Here’s a hobby I want nothing to do with. It involves jumping off cliffs and sailing down with a webbed suit. Beautiful video, though.

  • Honestly, I’m not kidding. If you thought TEAM FORTRESS 2′s release was a miracle this year, take a gander at this: The DUKE NUKEM FOREVER trailer. No, that’s not a typo.

  • Imagine familiar corporate logos done up in Web 2.0 style. Now, imagine 60 such logos. Some are improvements. Others just added rounded corners, a reflection, and a new font.

  • Sometimes, I think that everything that could be said or done with STAR TREK has been done by now. Then a Flickr group comes along with the improbable name of “The Galactically Hot Women of Star Trek.” How does one not link to that?!? The only thing missing is a little icon in the corner for each of the women that Kirk bedded.