Archive for July 2008

 
 

Time for another Link Dump Adventure!

  • Marvin the Martian was a cute character who starred in a very small number of Mike Maltese/Chuck Jones cartoons.  Now, they want to make a live action/CGI movie starring him.  I get the feeling that no good will come of this.

Visiting Yankees Stadium for the last time

Random thoughts:

It dawned on me during the drive to Yankee Stadium last night that though this was only the fourth Yankees game I’ve ever been to, three of them were against the Baltimore Orioles.  And I think the Yankees are now 1-2 in those games.  Oh, well.

I love between innings when they have the Yankees players on Diamondvision delivering the usual rules of the stadium, sponsor messages, etc.  It looks like there’s someone just off camera with a gun pointed at them while they read the note.  It’s not tough to memorize a ten word sentence, Jorge Posada.  It’s bad when you stop after the fourth word to read the next line on the cue card.  Embarrassing, it is.

Also embarrassing: Poor Derek Jeter having to go out before the game to shake hands with a bottle of French’s mustard, a Yankee Stadium “partner.”

I love the sweet Premio Italian sausage, even at the $8 price point.

Paid $5 for a soda I barely drank because I couldn’t tell if it was truly Diet Coke, or just a mix so bad that it tasted like regular Coke.

Baseball stadiums always seem smaller in person than on TV.

No foul balls came my way, so I doubt I made it to the telecast, even in high def.

We left after six innings, because we’re old and tired and have jobs and kids and whatnot.  The Yankees lost the game in the very next inning, from what I heard on the radio later.  On the bright side, we hit no traffic on the drive home.  It was wonderful.

On the drive in, we saw a van with signage for “Deathwish Piano Movers.”  Yes, I imagine that’s a fitting name for a piano moving company in the city. Made me laugh.

Had no problems bringing the camera into the stadium.  Just had to turn it on to show the security guard that it wasn’t a bomb.  Took over 250 pictures.  When I have the desktop computer set up again in a couple of weeks, I look forward to organizing them and uploading a lot of them to Flickr.  I have a pic of A-Rod’s home run swing.

My 70-300mm lens is just long enough to get good pics of the players on the same side of the field as you, so long as you have lower seats.  At 300mm, though, there’s some serious vignetting, and not nearly enough bokeh at f/5.6.

I couldn’t take any panoramic shots, because the lens was too long. Wish I had my 17-34mm lens on me, but didn’t want to carry that hunk of plastic in my pocket, and you can’t really bring a camera bag in with you anymore.  So I settled for getting long shots of details and was happy with that.

As if being the ballboy isn’t cool enough — sitting on the field, wearing the uniform — he also gets to play catch with an outfielder between innings.  The ballboy in front of our seats caught a line drive aimed right at him during the game, getting a big round of applause.

The guy in the upper deck who let the foul ball bounce in front of him and then down to the lower levels, got the biggest boos of the night.

The poor guy who caught the Orioles homerun ball in left field was mercilessly yelled at by those in the stands around him to throw back the ball.  It’s tradition now, I know, but still — the odds of catching a ball are not in your favor.  To have to give it back afterwards because the wrong team hit it?  Cruel.  To the guy’s credit, he didn’t just throw it back on the field.  He threw it right into Derek Jeter’s glove, on the fly.

Batting practice is just an excuse to create dozens of souvenirs for fans who get to their seats early.

Why Cablevision Sucks

Cablevision sucks.  For those of you in the back of the room: Cablevision sucks.

Look, we all know that the local cable company is an inefficient, unreliable, vicious monopoly.  We all know to expect as little from them as possible.  We all know that they actively suck at their jobs and make no bones about it. They’re cold, unfeeling, heartless, rude bastards.

They are, in short, the cable company. In my case, I’m stuck with the company I’ll refer to only as “Cablevision Sucks.”

A Cablevision Sucks rep was scheduled to come to the new house Monday between 8 am and 11 am.  My 30 weeks pregnant wife woke up early to get over to the house to wait for them. Cablevision Sucks — and you saw this coming already — didn’t show up.  Wife calls Cablevision Sucks at 11:15.  They say the appointment was rescheduled for 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. because of some issue with the previous home owner (whose name they had wrong, anyway), who had moved out of the house and transferred her account elsewhere a week ago.  Not only does Cablevision Sucks’ answer not make any sense, but Cablevision Sucks failed to inform us that they changed the appointment. (Really, try that at your doctor’s office sometime.  “Yeah, I had an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow at noon, but I’m free now, so I changed my appointment.  He’ll see me now.”  Riiight.)

At 1:00, they still haven’t shown up, so my wife calls them back.  They claim that there’s a rep in the area and that they’ll try to rush him along.  And that, as a show of good faith, they’ll credit our account $20.  In other words, my wife’s time is worth just over $3 an hour to Cablevision Sucks, a cable company whose customer service truly sucks.  In addition, their story for the reason of the appointment switch earlier in the morning also changed.

At 2:00, they still haven’t show up.  Cablevision Sucks says that the rep is running late but will be there soon.

Fool me once and all that. . . We reschedule for tomorrow 2 – 4.  Part of me wants to stand up that appointment to teach them a vindictive and petty lesson, but that doesn’t solve my cable issue.  Maybe I’ll just call the cable company every 15 minutes during that time frame to make sure the cable guy is still sticking to his appointment.

Another part of me wants to call Verizon and look into FiOS, but I’m sure Verizon is just as bad as Cablevision Sucks.

Can we ever get back to the point in this world where people (a) took pride in their work, (b) arrived in a timely fashion for their appointment, and (c) didn’t suck like Cablevision Sucks?

I know it’s too much to hope for.

Update: Wait!  This just in!  I wrote the above yesterday afternoon at around 3:00.  You want to know the kicker?  The cable guys showed up at the door at 5:00 p.m. Monday.  Let’s take bets: Do you think the next set of Cablevision Sucks reps will show up at the door this afternoon between 2:00 and 4:00 now?

New DVD Releases for 29 January 2008

Big release week, post San Diego convention.  Let’s get to the good stuff!

(The plug-in I used for this blog is having problems finding cover images for the first two DVDs I’m referencing here this week. Until then, please click through on either Buster Bunny below or the T-Shirt to get to Amazon.  Then, run a search to order the DVDs.  Thanks!)

  • Tiny Toon Adventures

An all-time classic. It’s probably not as good as I remember, but this was the first cartoon series I was a knowing fanboy for.  I know I’m in the minority here, but I Heart Elmyra.  Her first appearance, as she carries Dizzy Devil behind her, slapping him on every rock on the road along the way, still cracks me up.

Yes, the final animation had wildly varying quality, but the writing and art direction (from names such as Paul Dini and Bruce Timm) are top notch, with a lot of memorable and very cool stuff.  I love this series, and it’s one of the last things I’ve been waiting to see on DVD since the format debuted.

  • Freakazoid: Season One

This was a fun show that might have been a bit too wacky and zany for its own good. Things calmed down and focused a little better in the second season, but there’s still plenty of good stuff in here.

The story goes — and I’m not sure if this is true or not — that this was the last cartoon FOX was doing with Steven Spielberg, so they wanted to get as many different characters and spin-offable concepts into one show as possible.  Thus, the anthology format of the series.

  • Witchblade: The Complete Series

There’s a movie coming in 2010, but don’t expect Yancy Butler in it.

  • WarGames: 25th Anniversary Edition

Now I feel old again.

Celebrity Meter

Measure your level of Internet Celebrity!

I scored a 285.

End of week link dump

  • I’ve not watched any TV for two days now, and I don’t feel as if I’ve missed much.  On the other hand, WWIII might have broken out, and I wouldn’t have a clue. I’m too wrapped up on-line with San Diego convention coverage.  Onto the link dump!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday Link Dump

  • Closed on the house yesterday. Began making a checklist of all the things we need to do in it.  The devil is in the details, the list is ever-expanding, and multiple trips to Home Depot and Cost Cutters/Target are to be expected for the next month. Thus, you get a link dump today.
  • Remember: Just because you don’t like it, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its fans.  Take, for example, “Lifetime Wow!” It’s a website dedicated to reviewing Lifetime women-in-danger movies.

Nintendo Watchers are an Odd Lot

Wii Logo(I should probably save this for Pipeline as it comes close to being comics-related, but I think the video game stuff trumps that.  Besides, I’ve got plenty of stuff lined up for Pipeline next week already.)

E3 happened last week.  It’s the video game convention that’s in the midst of a transition.  What was once a giant spectacle has been toned down in the last couple of sessions to something closer to a series of press conferences aimed at the media.  It’s not consumer-focused.  It’s there for the press.

Sadly, not everyone gets that.  Some think E3 is still the E3 of old.  They think it still has glitz and glamour and should have the biggest announcements of the year.

Take, for example, Nintendo watchers.  Both those who decry the most successful gaming console on the market today as a fad, as well as its fans, have lamented Nintendo’s announcements this year at E3. It’s to be predicted from the usual throng of detractors who think “gaming” means “buying 10 first person shooters per year and spending all your spare time with them.”

But from Nintendo fans?

I can’t be the only one annoyed at all the whiners who say in one breath that they are upset with Nintendo for not announcing anything new for them, before saying in the next breath that they wanted a new Zelda, Mario, Kid Icarus, or Pikmin game.  Right?  They’re just as bad as the comic fans who want something “new” in comics when they mean they want a new “Superman” or “Spider-Man” mini-series. The timing this year didn’t work out right for Nintendo to make blockbuster announcements.  They never promised any, really, either.  They had a few new things to talk about, including a whole room mic and an extension to the Wiimote.  They didn’t come empty handed.  Heck, they officially announced Wii Sports II, fer godness’ sakes!  It’s the most popular game the Wii has. Many posit that the game is responsible for sluggish sales on other games — many are just happy playing that one. Why buy more?

Nintendo didn’t rush anything to force an announcement they couldn’t back up. Bully for them.  When the time comes, they’ll tell us what they have ready to go next.  I’m a patient man; I can wait.  I suppose that puts me in the minority.

Mini Link Dump

  • Trying to play catch-up on blogging this week already.  Go read today’s Pipeline when it’s up at CBR.  It’s a loooong one, but with some interesting thoughts in it, I think.
The Watchmen trailer was a very pleasant surprise. So, how many sites are working tonight on matching specific panels with screen grabs?

Here’s one!

New DVD Releases for 22 January 2008

  • 21

Loved the book. Saw that the movie was advertised as “inspired by” the book, and not directly adapting it.  That sounds like trouble.  Reviewers weren’t terribly kind, as I recall.  The book is great, though.

  • Spaced

This is the release of the week.  I’ve only ever seen the first half of the first episode, and have been dying to see more.  Now, you an get the complete series with tons of extras in one boxed set.

These are the people who brought you “Top Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead,” people!

  • Robot Chicken: Star Wars

Came out just shortly before the “Family Guy” parody.  This one is supposed to be pretty good, though I’ll likely never see it.  Only $10 at Amazon right now.  (Click on the image above.)

Next week is a HUGE week: Freakazoid and Tiny Toons.  They’re one of the last few things I’ve been waiting for on DVD since the birth of the format. Most everything else has come out already.

That Wii Fad Thing

Some companies are clueless.  They look at the console wars as being between the PS3 and the XBox 360.  That’s just a nice way to fool themselves into thinking they’re not losing, though.

Nintendo: Wii Outsells Xbox 360 In U.S. | Game | Life from Wired.com

The Wii has officially outsold the Xbox 360 in the U.S., making it the number-one console in America, Nintendo said Thursday.

Maybe the Wii isn’t just winning the war, but also defining the terms of it? Just a thought.

I mean, Microsoft thinks the Wii is a fad because non-gamers play it.  Yeah, it must suck to have your industry actually GROW. . .

Baseball is too commercial? Nooo…

iTunes is offering up a $5.00 video of the All Star Game.  What’s in it?

iTunes All Star Game

That wretching sound you just heard me make after reading the first five lines above is sponsored by Coca-Cola — stir to remove bubbles, and drink to cure your nausea!

The good news is, that $5.00 charge is considered a “Season Pass,” so it pays for four files.  The game, itself, runs 3:30.  Impressive.  Once you eliminate the commercials, it’s not THAT long a 15 inning game. . .  Individual files can be had for $1.99.

Say what you will about the Yankees, but at least they didn’t sell out on the name of their stadium to the highest bidder. (Wait, they haven’t sold out on the new Stadium, have they?)

When is your career over?

Nomo calls it a career after 12 years in majors – MLB – SI.com

[Hideo] Nomo announced his retirement Thursday, agent Don Nomura said. Once known for a deceptive delivery and a devastating forkball, the 39-year-old Nomo was released by the Kansas City Royals in late April.

When is your baseball career over?  When not even the Royals want you. .

The VandS Guide to O.A.R. — Of A Revolution

Because our good friend, Trip, didn’t know anything about O.A.R., here’s a quick on-line guide:

  • The O.A.R. Home Page (ofarevolution.com) – Autoplays the new single’s video.  Used to have all the original albums archived for your listening pleasure, but doesn’t appear to after this redesign.
  • Free Concert Downloads – O.A.R. has always encouraged the recording and free sharing of recordings of their concerts. (They’re not allowing soundboard recordings anymore, though, for reasons which strike me as “just an easier excuse to make than the real reason.”) There are hundreds of concerts for download at Archive.org.  It’s been a while since I downloaded one. Might be time again. . .
  • My First Mention of O.A.R. –  I reviewed the band for the first time almost five years ago now. They’ve become much bigger since then.
  • Set List Archives – Fascinating fan site.  It lists all their concerts and the set lists for each.  Plus, users can log in and check off the concerts they’ve been to, find out which songs they’ve heard live the most, etc. Here’s the first O.A.R. concert I went to, with Howie Day opening and flipping off the fans.

Thursday Linkages and Twittages

  • We haven’t had the need to update the SCO story for a long time. I thought it was over.  Turns out, it’s not.  And this latest update is so insane, I couldn’t explain it if I tried.  I link you to Slashdot to give it a try.

I haven’t done a full scale Twitter post lately, but here are some recent highlights of the last couple days:

  • I love PayPal and all, but still think they take too big a chunk out of my change, if you know what I mean.
  • San Diego is one week away. I may begin crying —- now.
  • First reaction to new OAR album – very radio friendly. Almost too much so. That’s only the first half, though. And I like the first single
  • 15 inning all star game? Who the heck pitched?!? Did they pull Wade Boggs out of retirement or something?
  • So, Amazon’s new Buy Me Later means I have to write them a check at the end of the process? JUST TAKE PAYPAL, AMAZON! Sheesh
  • The cell phone kept dying overnight. Then I realized there was no signal near my temp bed and searching for one for hours was killing it.
  • Wow, that’s an insane number of songs for Rock Band II. Bonus: I recognize more than a dozen.