Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Movies Recently

King Kong
Worth seeing? Yes. Great movie? No. Too long? Way. Great special effects? Yes. Best character? Kong, definitely. No actor in the movie is as convincing as the cg ape, least of all Jack Black.

The first hour starts out impressively. 1930s NYC looks amazing. Then, it quickly degenerates. I don't know if it's the editor or the director you blame when what ought to take 15 minutes takes 60, but someone needed to recognize that fat needed to be cut.

The Skull Island middle third or so of the movie also runs too long. It's not that it drags -- it's almost nonstop mayhem once Kong appears but maybe Kong could fight two T. Rexes instead of three (too much of a good thing here), maybe the giant insect part was unnecessary -- and for Pete's sake, can we cut the number of shakey zoom-to-skull shots and ease up on the jarringly faux dramatic slo-mo shots?

After returning to NYC, the movie ends well: Kong's escape, the ice pond interlude, and the Empire State Building sequence are awesome.

Syriana
This should have been a great movie, a compelling examination of how business and government work for and against each other, of how macro and micro forces conspire to twist the work of the best intentioned so they serve the will of the greediest and most corrupt, or something like that; the elements are there, but they don't quite add up. Siddig El Fadil, George Clooney, Chris Cooper, and even Matt Damon turn in intriguing performances ... and yet taken all together, the film is less than the sum of its parts. I found myself wishing the focus had been different; I would've rather seen the Prince Nasir character as the central focus - he's the only character aside from Damon's Wall Street analyst with whom we can sympathize. I'm not familiar with the source material, so I may be imagining a movie that couldn't have been made from the book it was based on. I wanted to like Syriana, but can't recommend it.

I've just started reading Lucius Shepard's Weapons of Mass Seduction and can, however, wholeheartedly recommend it. Now them's some movie reviews. Lucius has a keen eye for what makes a movie suck and an entertaining penchant for imagining how appropriate karmic retribution would play out for the likes of a Steven Spielberg, for example. He also bravely practices Bonedaddy's art of reviewing a movie he hasn't seen yet, boldly predicting why and how it will suck. Not that he hates everything, he actually is kinder to Vanilla Sky I would have suspected, though I still don't think I'll be able to bring myself to watch it.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Story Time

One of the best parts of the Holiday Season is getting together with the family and hearing some old-timey stories. My Great-Uncle Dick always has a bunch of 'em. He's in his 80s, grew up during the Depression, served in the Coast Guard during WWII, and is the father of twins -- which is of particular revelance to Tif and I these days. One of his twins stories was about how, when his kids were little, one afternoon they were playing ball in the yard while he was at work. They must have had wild arms because they were losing all their baseballs. They went to their mom and she dug a baseball out of dad's dresser drawer. The ball, it turns out, was one he had signed at a ballgame when he was 9 years old -- signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. They played with it a while -- didn't lose it -- but basically destroyed the signatures to the point you could barely make them out any longer.

Another Uncle Dick story deals with the Germans who came ashore on Long Island during WWII and the Coast Guardsmen who spotted them. He knew the guy and got the story of the night from him over a beer not long after it happened. Evidently, the guy who spotted the Germans wasn't exactly 'on patrol' but was drinking a bottle of whiskey in a shack on the beach having shown up late for his duty that night and could more accurately have been said to have been spotted by the Germans than having detected them himself. Apparently, he nearly didn't tell anyone he saw them (they threatened him and gave him some cash -- as the linked story relates) and he waited several hours before even tryng to inform his superior officers, and even then it was more luck than anything that decided to do anything about it.

Good ol' Uncle Dick. He gave our waitress one of those little bags of chocolate gold coins and told her that his leftovers were for his grandmother who lives in cardboard box under the bridge. He then ripped a loud fart that had people several tables away laughing out loud.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone's enjoying themselves. I've already got two books of Su Doku (not opening early, it was my birthday yesterday!) to work on while I load all my ska cds into the new iPod. Yeah, that's right: living large. Next year it all be for the baby C-Dogs, so I'm enjoying getting gifts while it lasts. :P

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

That Wacky Liberal Media

So I suffered a day - okay, five minutes or so - of talk radio yesterday, listening to conservatives bleat and whine how the media was screwing W on the secret wire tapping story to deflect attention away from the elections in Iraq. Seems to me if the New York Times wanted to screw the president - or at least do their job - they could have published this story when they first had it - before the frickin' election! At least then we would have known that the dimmer among us were voting for a king.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

TNT is Dropping the Ball

Sat. 8pm ET

NBC - Law & Order, "In God We Trust" Fontana and Falco (Michael Imperioli) make an arrest after a blaze kills a firefighter, and the discovery of a charred pistol leads them to reopen the investigation into an old murder. [I missed a bunch of episodes after Green was shot, I had no idea there even was a Detective Falco. Rock me, Amadeus.]

USA - Law & Order: SVU, "Fallacy" A female party-goer claims self-defense after killing her attacker.

BRAVO - Law & Order: Criminal Intent, "Cherry Red" An elderly woman who dies in a fire leaves part of her estate to a young woman who is subsequently murdered.

COURTTV - Law & Order: Trial by Jury, "Truth or Consequences" When the murder of a young woman leaves detectives with three suspects, they work to turn them against each other to determine the culprit.

What's with TNT tonight, they couldn't roll out a Briscoe and Curtis episode? They show two or three every other night. Slackers.

Cracking a Thousand

Last.fm tracks the music I listen to on the pc at work and at home (usually while playing poker). While getting bounced from a sit and go this afternoon, I noticed I'd gone over a thousand tracks. Here are the artists I've listened to the most:
cdogzilla's Last.fm Overall Artists Chart
The Replacements, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and The Specials also tied for 10th; evidently, the chart link only grabs the first one listed.

Underrepresented because they've been in the car for most of the last month or so would be The Killers, Jets to Brazil, Modest Mouse, Fugazi, The Mekons, The Blow Monkeys, and Superchunk.

Update: Whattayaknow, looks like the chart updates as I continue listening. Neat.

"You know how I know that you're gay?"

Not quite as funny as billed, I thought The Wedding Crashers was funnier, but still pretty darned good: Steve Carrell in The 40 Year Old Virgin. As Mooj said, "It's not about the Butthole Pleasure ... not about the Rattlesnake Wiggle and the Alligator F#ckhouse," or something to that effect. I was laughing too hard to keep up with his brilliant monologue.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Spies Like Us

Without any legal authority or judicial oversight, they have been spying on us. Us meaning Americans. This should surprise no one. Any government willing to torture foreigners and detain its own citizens without charges or due process doesn't care one bit about your historical rights. They are, in fact, hostile to our constitution and our privacy and will misuse whatever powers they are given and even some they are not.

Now, will the rats leave this sinking GOP ship?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Kong

Piggybacking on the upcoming release of Peter Jackson's King Kong, two of my channels showed the original and the '76 remake. Piggybacking on the fact that I had nothing to do, I managed to catch the endings to both within 45 minutes of each other. The only thing I can say about the first one is that it's not as good as I remember. (Hard to beat the experience of seeing it as a nine year old and not knowing what will happen.)

The second one was just laugh out loud funny, though. The guy in the monkey suit doesn't event pretend to act like an ape. He walks upright. He kind of saunters around, like he's looking for his mark and not aware they're filming. Also, Jeff Bridges wears the same beard Jeff Daniels will use 24 years later in The Squid and the Whale, meaning I will confuse the two for the next decade. Finally, how could they end the movie without, "It was beauty that killed the beast"?

This means that I probably won't be seeing the new version anytime soon. Watching two Kong death dives in rapid succession - in the original he bounces of the ledges of the Empire State Building in a Homer-esque fashion - saps my excitment.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Fortnight and Counting

A relatively engaging interview with David Tennant in today's Observer.
He goes on to enthuse about the way in which Davies, since he took over, has invested the characters with an emotional life that wasn't foregrounded in the earlier series, so that in many ways it is a love story. 'I mean, they're not shagging, but in every other way, they're a couple. Like John Steed and Emma Peel. Mind you,' he adds, 'he is about 900 and she's 19, so it'd be a bit ... Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.'
Just over two weeks to go until the Christmas Special airs.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Top Games

One of the highlights of the occasional trips to Brooklyn, Ithaca, or wherever the Cryptonauts gather is the gaming, whether it's one of the Baseball-Beat-Your-Neighbor-Leg-in-Pot-Bitches-of-Eastwick poker variations or Settlers or Sucking Vacuum or Dark Tower or what have you. Here's what looks like a great list of possible additions to the canon: Top 100 Games.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Hidden Agenda


Thomas Veil still won't find out who erased his life, but at least the sadly unappreciated Nowhere Man will finally see the light of day again.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

The Prime of Darren McGavin


ABC's Night Stalker has apparently been axed. I tried watching it, but there was really wasn't much to recommend it. Off work today and, as it would happen, Sci-Fi is running a Kolchak: The Night Stalker marathon. It's very 70s, that's for sure. The first episode I caught featured the least convincing werewolf I've seen this side of Rolf the Dog after a rough night banging out tunes at a roadhouse. Still, they're mildly entertaining, enough so that I've sat through the wererolf, a zombie, a smarmy satanic Senator, an Indian Spirit jewel thief played by none other than Richard "Jaws" Kiel, a vampire cornier than Count Chocula, and now super strong Jack the Ripper. Not sure if my continued viewing is more a comment on how watchable the show is or a condemnation of the rest of daytime TV.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Monday, November 28, 2005

Trampoline Bear

I know this has been around for a while but I've never linked it. Oh man. Can't get enough of the trampoline bear video.

This in lieu of the snarky post about how we used to be the ones saying you shouldn't have secret prisons and torture people with a link to the article about how the EU has made every American with a conscience (again) ashamed of our government. OK, never mind in lieu of, here's the link. The bear video is much funnier.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Anti-Anti-Utopianism

Joshua Glen's got a relatively thoughtful article in today's Globe that reviews the Jamesonian perspective on utopian sci-fi from Bellamy's Looking Backward through the likes of Delany, LeGuin, and PKD. Ultimately, (you probably saw this coming if you know who my favorite author is) Kim Stanley Robinson is described as the contemporary author whose novels do the best job of challenging readers to imagine alternatives.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Model Cybermen

Link to BBC Article

Another List to Nitpick

Empire's 50 Greatest Independent Films
  • Sideways at #9?! Shouldn't be on the list. I chuckled a few times, sure, I'm not saying it's a bad movie ... it's just not anywhere near that good.
  • Sex, Lies, and Videotape? I must be the only person that thinks this is, maybe, Soderbergh's 5th best movie.
  • I'm less bothered by The Usual Suspects at #8. It would be on my list of 50, just not near the top.
  • The Terminator's inclusion, I wouldn't have thought it was 'indie'? But I guess when James Cameron does it, he just goes big.
  • 29th seems like a reach for Keitel's The Bad Lieutenant. I was bored and didn't pay much attention to it, so I don't remember it too well. But, I can't believe it's a good sign that what I remember about it is being bored and thinking "overrated."
  • The Blair Witch Project ahead of Grosse Point Blanke? I think not. At least flip them, then drop BWP (off the list) and push GPB up a few more places.
  • There's no way El Mariachi should've been the last one in.
  • Swingers belongs in the top 20, not at the back end.
  • City of God at #17 is better than at least 5 of the movies rated ahead of it.
The good thing about lists like this is there are a bunch of movies (seventeen, I think) on there that I haven't seen ... a few of which look interesting enough to add to my Netflix queue. I'm not much of a gross out/horror movie guy, so I really have no desire to see, for example, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, speaking of gross horror, where the heck is Peter Jackson's Dead Alive?! That's a Top Tenner they missed!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Muay Thai Ascending

Finally saw Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior last night. I know I'm way behind the times here but I've got to rave about it anyways. If you're even just slightly disposed to like a good martial arts movie, you've got to check this one out. It's pretty much everything you look for in a movie that explores the complex themes of "guys kicking each other in the head" and "you stole my village's Buddha head and I'm going to get it back." What's nice is there's not a lot of b.s. around the secondary characters ... just enough dialogue and plot to connect the fight and chase sequences without getting mired down in the B-movie style acting.

Muay Thai has gotten kind of a bad rap ever since Bruce Lee busted up those Thai baddies in The Big Boss (Fists of Fury). When martial arts movie fans think of Muay Thai Boxing, I think we tend to see it as the second or third style used by one of the hero's opponents in a tournament, looks tough with all those knees and elbows, but the Thai Boxer always loses. Tony Jaa definitely restores some lustre to the Muay Thai style in this flick.

Lots of guys (Donnie Yen, Mark Dacascos, Van Damme) looked for a movie or two like they might pick up the mantle created by Bruce Lee then assumed by Jackie Chan and Jet Li -- a mantle which frankly needs some younger shoulders to rest upon; but, those other guys just continued to make B-movies that left people looking for something better. Ong Bak makes me think Tony Jaa's got the chops to be the next worldwide martial arts star.

CGI and wire-fu have their place but you can't fake the visceral thrill of watching a guy jump off the back of a pick up truck and bust the motorcycle helmet off an underpaid stuntman's head. There's a chase sequence in Ong Bak that would make Jackie proud: jumping through hoops, running over tables, sliding under trucks and jumping over cars. The only thing that works against the movie's energy is the woeful score: the lamest 'hip hop' and 'techno' I think I ever heard, both apparently produced on the same cheap synthesiser. Still, big thumbs up from me. If it's not already, move it to the top of your Netflix queue.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ancient Pyramid Discovered in the Balkans?


SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- A Sarajevo-born researcher said he has discovered an ancient pyramid in the hills of central Bosnia.

Semir Osmanagic said Visocica Hill, about 18 miles from Sarajevo, is actually a pyramid built by people who were the first inhabitants of the Balkans.

The researcher said the hill, which is about 2,300 feet high, is man-made.

The hill includes sandstone slabs 17 feet below the surface. Sandstone, he said, is not a naturally occurring rock in the area.

Osmanagic said he will use aerial and satellite imagery and underground radar studies of the area to prove his theory.
Here's the link but I just gave you the whole article since it was so short.

Monday, October 24, 2005

White House v. Onion

From the NY Times:
You might have thought that the White House had enough on its plate late last month, what with its search for a new Supreme Court nominee, the continuing war in Iraq and the C.I.A. leak investigation. But it found time to add another item to its agenda - stopping The Onion, the satirical newspaper, from using the presidential seal.

The newspaper regularly produces a parody of President Bush's weekly radio address on its Web site (www.theonion.com/content/node/40121), where it has a picture of President Bush and the official insignia.

"It has come to my attention that The Onion is using the presidential seal on its Web site," Grant M. Dixton, associate counsel to the president, wrote to The Onion on Sept. 28. (At the time, Mr. Dixton's office was also helping Mr. Bush find a Supreme Court nominee; days later his boss, Harriet E. Miers, was nominated.)

Citing the United States Code, Mr. Dixton wrote that the seal "is not to be used in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement." Exceptions may be made, he noted, but The Onion had never applied for such an exception.

The Onion was amused. "I'm surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion," Scott Dikkers, editor in chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the money be used instead for tax breaks for satirists.

More formally, The Onion's lawyers responded that the paper's readers - it prints about 500,000 copies weekly, and three million people read it online - are well aware that The Onion is a joke.

"It is inconceivable that anyone would think that, by using the seal, The Onion intends to 'convey... sponsorship or approval' by the president," wrote Rochelle H. Klaskin, the paper's lawyer, who went on to note that a headline in the current issue made the point: "Bush to Appoint Someone to Be in Charge of Country."

Moreover, she wrote, The Onion and its Web site are free, so the seal is not being used for commercial purposes. That said, The Onion asked that its letter be considered a formal application to use the seal.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Night Out in Boston (Remember the Red Bull Bombs!)

We don't get out much, on account of being all old and tiring easily, but last night we met up with a friend of the missus who'd flown in from San Francisco. We had dinner and some drinks at the Living Room. My dinner started with miniburgers (tasty), and chicken taquitos (not the best, but not bad), then had the grilled swordfish (very good). The martinis were excellent. I had two Up All Nights (Absolut Citron, Red Bull, Splash of Cranberry) and a White Cosmo (Absolute Citron, Cointreau, Lime juice and a splash of white cranberry juice with a twist). Pretty loaded at that point. I'd definitely go back.

We went to Ames Plow Tavern in Faneuil Hall after. Nice enough pub. Kitty O'Shea's after that. Corey introduced me to a new drink: the Red Bull Bomb (1 part Red Bull, two parts Jagermeister). Surprisingly, it was quite good.

That's enough drinking for a while. Feeling today like I do, I remember why I don't do that so much any more.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Something You (Probably) Don't See Every Day

The fella over at Bag of Nothing posted a clip of his wife removing her glass eye. It's not horrific or anything, just kind of unexpected. That's me, always trying to keep an eye out for interesting links. *badda-boom*

Friday, October 7, 2005

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Serenity

The missus and I saw Serenity last night and we both thought it was brilliant. I'm not going to give it a full on review, so no spoilers, but I am strongly encouraging people who might be on the fence to see it. It's smart, funny, well-written, chock full o' action, and, while I think it stands alone just fine, it definitely has some big time pay-offs for fans of the show.

I guess it's not burning up the box office, so see it on big screen while you can.

Nitpicks? Yeah, a few. I liked the tv theme, the music in the film is OK, but I really would've preferred they'd stayed truer to the sound of the show. It's not until the very end of the credits that they break out the guitar and give you a full-on (no vocals) return to the original theme. Also, I felt the Book character got slighted, we were just getting to know him on the show and he's hardly in the movie at all: sad. Finally, Action Movie Cliche #177-B is in full effect: whenever a someone shoots somone else who is not shirtless in the chest, the shootee will be wearing body armor, making you groan and say to yourself "why don't they ever aim for the head?"

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Our Weekend on the Kancamagus Byway

The missus and I got a room up in the White Mountain region this weekend to celebrate our second anniversary (tomorrow). Neither of us had ever been up there, but now that we've been, we're eager to go back.

It's not yet peak foliage up there, probably a week or more early for that, but there were touches of red and yellow in the mix and it was still gorgeous. We stayed in Lincoln, the west end of the Kancamagus, and did the loop through Conway. En route, we hit several of the scenic areas off the road, stopped at Attitash to ride the ski lift up and take the Alpine Slide down (I cruised past Mrs. C-Dog and the two slowpokes that started in front of her - nearly putting my slide off the track at least once), watched the Sox at sports pub in Conway, did a little hiking in the woods, and basically just had a grand ol' time.

We loved our suite (solid recommendation for the InnSeason - Pollard Brook if you're thinking of taking a trip up that way) -- for a reasonable price we had a huge suite with a great view. We'd definitely stay there if we were going up for a ski trip ... the one bedroom suite comes with a murphy bed in the living room and the bathroom has two sinks in separate areas, so it would be very comfortable for four to share. Our dining out experiences were mixed ... the power went out on the main drag in North Conway, so we weren't able to eat at the Muddy Moose, which was the spot we'd scouted out in advance. Delaney's was fine but unremarkable. The service at brew pub we stopped in drove us out before we could even try the food. Can't remember the name of that one, it was in the town just north of North Conway. Wouldn't go back there.

We would've tried Fratello's, which came highly recommended, but ate lunch so late we didn't do dinner Saturday night. Next time. Breakfast at the Sunny Day Diner in Lincoln was outstanding though. Would definitely go back on a return trip.

More:
Some photos up at my Flickr page.
A few seconds of video of me exploring Stony Gorge at my vimeo page.

Friday, September 30, 2005

They'll Give Any Right Wing Nut Job a Talk Show


Bennett, who held prominent posts in the administrations of former presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, told a caller to his syndicated radio talk show Wednesday: "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.

"That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," he said. [CNN.com]

I wonder if Bennett has considered what aborting *every* fetus would do to the crime rates?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Deft Touch on the Remote

Last night was another big Red Sox game (another miserable loss)plus the season premiere of Veronica Mars and a chance for me to catch last week's Lost before the new episode, I'd dutifully avoided reading anything about it, or any teasers for episode two, so it was all new to me.

VM was disappointing. I got hooked this summer and had high hopes for the new season. Pretty much dashed. I think it was a mistake to try to jam in a bunch of exposition to pick up from where the last season left off -- the waitress job, breaking up with Logan, getting back with Duncan, all in flashback was just too much. None of it was handled convincingly. And the bus crash at the end didn't sit quite right. And is the ghost of Lilly Kane going to keep showing up to save her life? This episode had sophomore slump written all over it.

Lost, on the other hand, hit the ground running. From last week's premiere, I knew right away that the other runner in the stadium was the guy down the hatch, so I was listening for something that would tip off his being from the island already but the only thing that struck me as possibly having double meaning was his "lift it up" comment -- vague enough to mean anything, or nothing. As for Desomond saying he's training to race around the world, I suppose that could be a hint he left the island to meet with the future castaways before they got on Flight 815, or it could be an explanation of how he ended up on the island? Episode 2 didn't really add much, felt like a stretcher episode, padding between the episodes where something actually happens. Hugo's numbers stop a countdown, but a countdown to what?

What's Another Word for Pirate Treasure?

Booty, son, it's booty. And a Chilean robot just found a ton of it off the island that inspired Robinson Crusoe. (via Boing Boing)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thousand Hand Slap

This is what the interet is all about: the ability to summon the moving image of a roasted chicken wearing a lettuce mawashi giving another roasted chicken E. Honda's famous Thousand Hand Slap whenever you want!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

KSR Calls It Like He Sees It

Kim Stanley Robinson Interviewed in the Guardian
KSR is a little more rambunctious than usual in this interview. You can tell he's as pissed off as the rest of us about the incompetence and mendacity of W's administration (and their apologists):
"And in terms of the president, there are similarities, but I wanted mine to be much nicer. The current guy is worthless, probably the worst president in American history. There's a sort of stupid, small-minded meanness - a pathological assholery - to him. I think he likes doing bad things. And I think a fair amount of his base approves of that resentment - against the idea of progress, against the future, against the rest of the world ...


"It's heads-down time over here. Now we're in it, and it's a godawful point in history, but I cross my fingers for an honest election in 2008. There is a lot of awareness in the States of the severity of the situation, and maybe this hurricane will foreground it again - another obvious sign that there's a problem. On we go."

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Cons

I'm not sure if I'm laughing at the joke or the context. Just funny. Made me think of ReaderCon all those years ago.
"Is a Klingon warrior red?" he boomed. "No! He is green!" Suddenly this reporter was surrounded by laughing Klingons. "It's hard to explain to humans why that's funny," one said, raising his flagon of blood wine and drinking.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

The Red Cross

If you haven't already done so, consider this a friendly reminder that you don't have to give much and every little bit helps.

Monday, August 29, 2005

New Trek Movie?

I've admittedly not paid much attention to the Star Trek universe, still, am surprised there's already a Trek XI movie being drafted. More surprised to learn that it's another prequel, as if Enterprise weren't reason enough to not try prequelizing again. More...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

K-9 Attack! Attack!

Even knowing Sladen would be back, it totally slipped my mind that casting obviously opened the door for the return of K-9. Nice to see as well that John Leeson will again provide the voice acting.

Wonder if they'll fix him up like they did the Daleks so he can navigate stairs?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Closest Thing to 'Official' Documentation I've Seen Yet on How to Find the Viaducts


Wow, this brings back some high school and college years memories. [Directions and links to maps, scroll down to the section called Lyman Viaduct]

The last time we went, HD's car got broken into and my backpack with all my textbooks, along with my class notes, was stolen. Made exams extra interesting that semester.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Amazon Shorts

Amazon Shorts
New short fiction and essays available only from Amazon to either read online or download as PDF files. I just bought a Lucius Shepard story and a Kim Stanley Robinson essay. (There's also a $50 gift certificate contest for first reviews ... and neither has a review attached yet, so that's next after I read 'em.)

Update: done and done. I recommend both and now am crossing my fingers that one of the reviews will make me 50 clams.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Well, While Our Server Seems to Have Crapped the Bed ...

At least fellow Cryptonauts can read about the 9 yr. old whose monster won a contest to be featured in Dr. Who next season.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Monkey Naming Rights

Goldenpalace.com paid $650,000 to name a newly discovered species of titi monkey. My $14.76 bid to name the species "C-Dog Monkey!" (that's right, the exclamation point would've been mandatory) didn't have a chance.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I Watch Too Much TV

I know this because I just found myself wishing Levis'd used the Madness tune from the stone tossing commercial on the broken-in jeans commercial instead, so they'd have one good commercial to play twice as often.

I just got hooked on Veronica Mars. Missed Olerud's Grand Slam because I got sucked into the back-to-back episodes on CBS last night.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Doctor Who News

Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) will be back next season and Monarch of the Glen's Anthony Head will appear. [BBC]

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mmmm ... forbidden time travel donut

"Gravity doughnut promises time machine"
This sounds suspicously like a fanboy physicist trying to salvage the Superman-flies-really-fast-around-the-earth-reversing-its-rotation-thereby-turning-back-time scene. From the article:
In theory, it should be possible to travel back to any point in time after the time machine was built, reports Ori in Physical Review Letters1. One slight snag is that he has not worked out how to generate the gravitational doughnut, although he has some ideas. "It's wild speculation, but you may need to move large masses rapidly in a circular motion," Ori says.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

You Try, You Really Try ...

... to give people the benefit of the doubt, to not lapse back to embarrassing arguments you made in high school (e.g., 'people should have to pass some kind of intelligence test before being allowed to procreate') and then you stumble across something like this Angry Retarded Mom and you pretty much feel sick to death with humanity all over again. (Not that it makes it right, but she started calling people 'tards' first.) Check the post about firearms, it's chock full o' black humor.

On a semi-related note, I'm tempted to develop a Micah 6:8 Litmus Test for blogs that profess to be written by Christians but are little more than hateful screeds against 'libs, muslims, and gays'. I'm thinking of a template like:
The Micah 6:8 Litmus Test has been applied to your blog. Here are your results:
Do Justly
You wrote: "[insert easy to find quote in support of torture]"
Love Mercy
You wrote: "[insert easy to find quote advocating bombing the hell out of civilians in some other country demonstrably not involved in the 9/11 attacks]"
Walk Humbly With Thy God
You wrote: "[insert easy to find quote advocating putting statues of the Ten Commandments in front of courthouses or some other blatant violation of the principle of Separation of Church and State]"

You failed the test miserably. Your God is disgusted with you. I hope you're looking forward to the hellfire and damnation you've got coming.
Needs some tweaking. I, personally, don't believe anybody's got hellfire or damnation coming ... just want to point out that they must believe it based on their purported religous beliefs. If I ever decide to apply it, I'm sure you'll be able to tell by the inevitable spike in drool-soaked wingnut troll comments here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Irony

I just renewed my AAA membership, while at their site, I saw link that I thought odd for AAA .. "Witness 20th Anniversary Tour."

What, I wondered, does an auto club have to do with mid-80's Kelly McGillis flick? From the page:
Package* for 2 includes:
1-night hotel accomodations
Full hot breakfast buffet
PA Dutch family-style dinner
Official Witness Movie Experience Tour
Witness DVD or VHS movie upon check-in
Then, it goes on to list all the things you get as part of the package.
All rooms feature a refrigerator, coffeemaker, in-room safe, hairdryer, iron & ironing board, pay-per-view movies, Nintendo games and free high speed wireless Internet access. There are two restaurants, lounge, three pools , fitness center with women's and men's saunas and whirlpool, lighted tennis courts, basketball and shuffleboard, and game room.
I think you have to play the Nintendo games on a hand-carved wooden controller (like this iPod), but aside from that, I'm still a little stunned by the juxtaposition. I mean, what?, no animatronic Amish (Amishatronic?) to guide you through a holodeck simulating scenes from the movie?

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Google Map Hacks

Robot Wisdom linked a couple nice ones today, a pedometer and a map/satellite overlay. Looking a nice list of the different hacks out there (which I didn't find), I did happen upon another one that looks like it might be cool way to make an online 'scrapbook' of a trip.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Your Wait is Over Anime Boy

You can finally get your own gundam.

Gary, George, and Ferrets

Wait for it ... wait for it. You'll know when you've got to the good part. Watch now -- you'll need the sound to enjoy fully.

The Best Movie Reviews Include Crudely Drawn Comics

This Episode 3 review is pretty hilarious. Can't vouch for all the articles on the site but I definitely got a Filthy vibe off the movie related ones.

BookCrossing.com

BookCrossing.com
I like the idea of this, but am thinking that without some kind of obvious visual reference, lots of well intentioned drops would just wind up in Lost & Found bins. Maybe if you printed up a bookmark to stick in the front with the url prominently displayed and a blurb about what it's about would do the trick? I'm going to see if I can pick out one or two books to try this with. Not sure where I'll leave them though ...

One of the threads in the forum at the site is 'What would your pseudonym be?' I think I would go with Alek J. Hidell. It's one of the aliases Lee Harvey Oswald used (at least that's one Delillo mentions in Zodiac ... er, Libra [thanks Bonedaddy]) and it would put me right next to Heinlein in most bookstore shelves.

Reanimator

Zombie dogs. Dig the photo. Nice puppy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Squashing Philosophers

Squashing Philosophers
Not a flash game, it's the Reader's Digest versions of some classic works. Nicely done.

This on the other hand, is just silly: Spiderman will make you gay.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Video Blogging

We took my nephew to Brenton Point State Park down in Newport this afternoon to try out the kite he got for his birthday. I uploaded a few seconds of video to Vimeo -- check it out, but be warned Firefox doesn't like the clip, it should play fine in Explorer.

A word of advice if you go to a kite park: keep an eye on the guy with stunt kite. I got knocked clean off my feet by a guy who couldn't control his kite. I took it right in the ear and went down like a house of cards.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The AFI's Top 100 Movie Lines

A line from "The Maltese Falcon" came in at 14th: "The stuff that dreams are made of." That's a movie full of great lines and, while that line is sharp enough in context, about a dozen others leapt to mind first. My suggestions to go ahead of their choice:
  • "When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it," Spade tells a pouting Cairo. If I ever have to slap anyone, you can bet I'll be using it.
  • Spade gives Brigid the kiss off, "I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you."
  • "A crippled newsie took 'em away from him. I made him give 'em back," Spade tells Gutman as he hands over Wilmer's guns.
  • Joel Cairo has a ton of great lines, "Our private conversations have not been such that I am anxious to continue them. Forgive me for speaking so bluntly, but it is the truth." I tell people that all the time.
  • Cairo again, after Spade has knocked him out for attempting to search his office at gunpoint and given him his little pistol back, "Please place your hands behind your head. I intend to search your offices." Spade's chuckling reply, "Go ahead, I won't stop you," is equally priceless.
  • Gutman too has great patter for a heavy, "I distrust a man who says 'when.' If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does." I never get to use that line, but I always bear it in mind when I'm offered a drink.
  • Spade to Wilmer, "The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter, eh?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Who Finale

I caught the finale last night. I wasn't sure what to make of the 'Heart of the Tardis' when we first caught a glimpse of it and I'm less sure now. Holy Deus Ex Machina, Batman! This episode is in some ways the most disappointing of the new series, while in others it continues to exceed my wildest expectations for how good it could be. Spoilers follow.

I'm sure the the Doctor's first on screen kiss will get folks all fired up but it's his second kiss, of Rose, that confused me the most. Captain Jack had been flirting with Doctor (and Rose, and just about everyone else) and the Doctor had been pretty at ease with it, so given that Jack was basically saying his goodbyes figuring he was about to be exterminated by the Daleks (and had already kissed Rose), the kiss shouldn't have been a surprise. What was more of a surprise was that the Doctor kissed Rose during the whole transference of the orange glowey gas vortex thing.

The best of it was the Doctor's decision when faced with having to answer the Emperor Dalek's challenge. Activating the Delta Wave will kill all the Daleks, but it will also kill everyone on the station (himself and Jack included) and the entire population of Earth circa the year 200,000. There are colonies of humans elsewhere, so his choice boils down to: (1) either destroy all the Daleks and most of humanity, or (2) let the Daleks harvest every human on Earth to increase the size of their army. The Emperor Dalek asks him, "Are you a killer or a coward?"

I'm glad they let us see the Doctor's choice ("Coward.") before doing the all-too-easy wrap-up. Here's the resolution in a nutshell: Rose looks inside the Tardis console, gets the power to know and manipulate all of time and space (grrrrr), turns the Daleks to dust, restores Jack's life, scatters the Bad Wolf clues (hokey), and then is saved by the Doctor's kiss before the Vortex overwhelms her. This sounds like a rejected script from the McCoy years!!!

I really wanted the Bad Wolf clues to have something to do with the Master. No such luck. I love that they set out to tie the whole series together. I loved the fleet of Dalek ships and the streams of Daleks invading the satellite. The Emperor Dalek was awesome. Rose's conversation with Mickey and her mom was pitch perfect and tied together the themes of the show deftly, while showing us that her character really is "worth saving." She gets it. The Doctor was right about her. It's great stuff. I just wish they hadn't found a lorry big enough to tug open the console.

We only get a few seconds of Tennant after the regeneration. We'll have to wait for the Christmas special to see what he's all about.

Concerned About Waterflow in the Hock?

Cryptonauts with East Hartford origins can check the flow of water through the Hockanum River with this tool. Rest easy, at the time of this post, water flow was 'normal'.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lots of Doctor Who News

Today at BBC News
The news is all good: a third season has been ordered, we'll see the regeneration to Tennant this week, Billie Tyler will stay on as Rose for all the second season (not just the first couple episodes as had earlier been reported), and the Cybermen will appear in the second season.

If they don't announce a US release soon, I'm seriously considering picking up a region free dvd player and ordering the box set when it comes out in the UK.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Watergate Informant Identity Revealed, World Lets Out Collective Yawn

This would have been big news 30 years ago. Today, it seems people remember there was a Watergate scandal, and maybe remember that Woodward and Bernstein did the story ... but nobody seems to be saying 'the mystery of Deep Throat is finally resolved!' I have to admit, the first thing I thought of was to check whether Felt looked like Donald Sutherland; I somehow misremembered Sutherland as having played Deep Throat in the Redford and Hoffman movie -- it was actually Hal Holbrook.

So, who should've played Deep Throat in the movie, you ask? Evidently, Bob Barker fit the bill. See the second picture in this story and tell me you can't see him saying "Come on down! You're the next contestant on The Price is Right!"

Addendum: Perusing Wikipedia, I learned that Pat Buchanan thought CT's former Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker, Jr. was Deep Throat. I don't think I'd seen that before.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

File Under: Irony

It'd been a while since I checked Slate's list of Bushisms. Most recently added: "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."—Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005.

Exhibit A: Bush & Co. repeating things over and over and over.
Exhibit B: Getting the catapult.

80 Years After Scopes

You get the sense Dawkins has really lost his patience with the IDers.
Many evolutionary transitions are elegantly documented by more or less continuous series of changing intermediate fossils. Some are not, and these are the famous “gaps”. Michael Shermer has wittily pointed out that if a new fossil discovery neatly bisects a “gap”, the creationist will declare that there are now two gaps! Note yet again the use of a default. If there are no fossils to document a postulated evolutionary transition, the assumption is that there was no evolutionary transition: God must have intervened.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Keep It On the Downlow

Wired, please, shhhhh. I like usenet on the d.l. Next thing you know Dateline NBC will be sicking John Stossel (I think I'm mixing up my American Idol promo shows and their corresponding bilous, wingnut pseudo-journos) on the story, riling up the squareheads.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Turkzilla!

I've mentioned before how I see wild turkeys all the time around work. This morning, driving in on Rt. 7, I saw the King of the Turkeys. He was monstrous. He was like half turkey, half Godzilla. His back was as high as where my driver's side window starts. He must've been 5' tall and over a hundred pounds! He took up nearly all of the oncoming traffic lane. I'm half expecting when I get home tonight to see on the news that a car was totalled in a collision with it, but the turkey just lost a few feathers and strutted back into the woods. I wish I had my cameraphone handy. Instead, you get my artist's rendering:
Turkzilla

The Boudoir of the Grape

I'm not even as knowledgable as ol' Basil Fawlty when it comes to wine; however, I did acquire a taste for Wollersheim's Prairie Fumé when I lived in WI, so the Supreme Court did me a small favor today.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Time Flies Like an Arrow, Monkeys Like a Banana


Monkey!

Who Movie?


Thompson also confirmed that BBC Films is pushing ahead with its plans for a Doctor Who feature, the progress of which is dependent on how the new Doctor Who TV series is received in the US. [BBC News]
How can they gauge how the new series is received in the US without it actually being shown in the US?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Serenity Now

Serenity trailer. Buffy and Angel repeats are on all the time ... it's the Firefly DVDs I keep popping in though. (Did you know Giles is on Monarch of the Glen now? The Ripper project may not be dead, he says.) So, yeah, I'm looking forward to the movie. Looks like Summer gets to channel Michelle Yeoh for a bar fight. Good stuff.

Am itching to check out the HHGTTG movie this weekend but we're doing the Rebuild Providence thing tomorrow, followed by Mission of Burma, which means I'll be sleeping 'til noon on Sunday and scrambling to get the usual errands done before crashing early to be to work for 6 o'freaking clock Monday morning.

Getting a KSR Fix

The Next Novel Can't Come Soon Enough
I'll read anything by Kim Stanley Robinson, even a drier than toast admonishment of UC Davis's building plans in his local paper's Op-Ed section.

William Shatner

A1phie over at YOY found this hilarious bit about the shatner. I feel like there ought to be a clever way to tie a lyric from the Wedding Present's "Shatner" into this post but it's just not coming together.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Next for Eccleston?

According to Dark Horizons, he may be up for Silas (the albino assassin) in "The DaVinci Code." I dunno ... I wouldn't consider that a plum part. Is Creepy Villain that much better a career path?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

We Know Who the 10th Doctor Will Be

David Tennant will replace Eccleston after this season. Billie will stay on as Rose. I was thrilled when I learned Eccleston had the job; not knowing a thing yet about Tennant, except that he looks like a cross between Sylvester McCoy and MacAuley Culkin, I am a bit underwhelmed. I suppose I ought to be glad he is, like Eccleston, out of Davies's stable (Tennant is Casanova in the BBC3 series) and grew up a fan of the series. I'll have to see if I can pull an ep or two of Casanova down and see how he handles himself. Part of me wishes they could get Tom Baker out Monarch of the Glen and convince him to have another go.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Deadwood

The characters matched up against their historical inspirations.

Ask Me Tricky Questions

This is an Old Fogey Crypto-Muso Alert ... Mission of Burma are going to be at the Living Room in Providence on Saturday, 4/30. Not interested? Then you'll have to stay just as far from me as me from you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Wild Animal Crossing

Driving into work this morning two animals darted in front of my car. The second was a wild turkey, of which I see a ton, so that wasn't too exciting, but the first a moment earlier was something I don't think I'd ever seen before. It was like a big ferret. Long, low to the ground, with a long sort of bushy tail, but definitely not a fox. It was dark brown or maybe even black and it moved quick. I've been driving myself crazy trying to think what animal is like a big wild ferret ... mongoose? polecat? People are trying to tell me it might've been an otter, but I've seen otter and this was no otter. Mink maybe? According to Encarta: "Although white-tailed deer are considered Rhode Island’s only large wild animal, moose and black bear occasionally cross the Connecticut and Massachusetts border in the state. Among the smaller animals native to the state are the raccoon, gray squirrel, woodchuck, and muskrat. Skunks, opossums, mink, coyotes, and red foxes are also numerous, as are salamanders, turtles, and snakes." I'm thinking mink.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Unquiet Dead

Third episode of the new Who is also quite good, I'm happy to report. It may not sound like praise (it is though) but I swear these shows are like Intro to Philosophy class sophmore year with Dr. Bergen (sp?) and a bit of Mr. Abelon thrown in. The writers throw around some ethical dilemmas and let the characters take different tacks at 'em. In the end, the show's not fantastically deep or anything but you can tell the writers and actors take joy in being just a bit smarter and more mischievous than the audience expected; it's infectious fun. And I know some TCers would appreciate the punning, some of which is clever, some truly groanworthy: during a seance the Doctor tells an uncooperative Charles Dickens to stop antagonizing Gwyneth as she tries to contact the cadaver inhabiting aliens, "I prefer a happy medium."

Thursday, April 7, 2005

The End of the World

Second ep of the new Who's got a premise no doubt inspired by the end of the universe party from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: lots of big shot aliens gathering to watch the Earth be consumed by the sun. Nice touch: the purported last human (a 'bitchy trampoline' as Rose calls her) brings an artifact to the party, a jukebox she misidentifies as an iPod. They fire it up and play Soft Cell's "Tainted Love". One of the alien partygoers has a murderous agenda has unleashed some murderous spider-robots and the Doctor's got Rose in a pickle.

The Tardis it turns out has a telepathic translating function which conveniently explains how the Doctor and Rose can communicate wherever they go. Another nice touch: the Doctor is a bit cold-blooded. "Everything has it's time and everything dies," is what he tells Rose as he stands by and lets the last human explode. We also learn that Gallifrey was destroyed in a war and the Doctor is the last of the Time Lords ... a decided break in the continuity quite obviously ripe with time travel paradoxes. Not sure that was a good idea but we'll see how much impact it has going forward.

The next ep will be set in 1860 and apparently involves Charles Dickens and some sort of zombie-ghoulie. Looks more than a little like "Talons of Weng-Chiang." I'm digging the scene.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Back from Spring Training

The missus and I got back from sunny Florida this afternoon. We had a great trip. Saw the Sox play at Brighthouse Field [virtual tour/ Tif and I in the stands]against the Phillies while visiting with family in the Tampa area. My Aunt Linda showed us a painting she's working on for me that I am very psyched and geeked up to receive in the mail shortly. I'll be posting a picture once it comes. Think chimps.

From Tampa, we moved down the Gulf Coast to Sarasota and took in a Cinci v. Minnesota game. We also went to the beach at Siesta Keys while there. Very nice.

From there, we went a little farther south to Fort Meyers and saw the Sox again. Directly from that game we drove across Florida (flat and boring, like northern Ohio and Indiana) to Stuart (just north of West Palm Beach). We were there for a friend's wedding but I got to take in another game at Tradition Field -- Mets vs. Dodgers. I'm pretty sunburnt.

The games were all a blast and I'll be putting some photos up on Flickr after we unpack the camera and memory cards. While we were down there, I caught a matinee of Sin City. It was OK but didn't exactly blow me away. The groom showed us NASA's World Wind program -- easily the coolest satellite imagery tool I've seen so far.

Come back to find that not only do I have a hammerlock on the bragging rights bracket challenge at ESPN ... I stand to pull in some scratch if UNC wins tonight in this pool where my name is misspelled. Go 'Heels!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Rose 2

The A-Z of Doctor Who: A quickie primer for the new series.
P Piper, Billie ... the Doctor's new companion, Rose - and unlike in the old days, the show is focused as much on her character as the Time Lord's. The tabloids have applauded this recognition that things have moved on since 1963, which is why they've printed so many photographs of her in her knickers.

Monday, March 7, 2005

Rose

The first episode of the new Who series bodes well. It's got some of the little clunks you expect in a premiere, even though it's already firmly in a context. The main thing is: it's true enough to what was good about about the original series without being crushed under the weight of 25+ years of baggage -- no mean feat. It retains a certain childish charm, yet is smart enough for the older set to enjoy.

Eccleston as the Doctor is quite good, as expected. There's no transition from McGann (is Richard Grant officially part of the continuity?) but we are given to believe he is newly regenerated. If there's an axis of the Who archetypes, he plots nearest Pertwee and Tom Baker, but Eccleston has definitely made the role his own. He's got a bit of Colin Baker's arrogance and a touch of Troughton's playfulness, just enough to feel like the Doctor, but not too much of any to come off as apeing.

Billie Piper is excellent as Rose. She's the focal point of the episode and carries it off quite well. I get the sense the show is every bit as much Rose's as the Doctor's, a refreshing shift in focus.

The Tardis hits and misses for me. It looks just different enough from the outside to look like a fake, but that'll pass. The inside I felt was a little too cluttered and bat-cavey. The old console in the middle of a bare floor made no sense, but this seems a bit too much of an overcompesation. I loved the touch of being able to see into the inside from outside, something that never happened in the old show. Later though, I found myself missing the idea there could be an antechamber between the outside door and the interior. This way it looks like poor design, as if someone could chuck a rock in and hit the central console.

The opening music and title sequence are a perfect update. The dematerialisation sound effect is comfortably familiar. Davies & Co. are clearly sending the message to fans of the old show that this is still Doctor Who. Whatever may come, it's the same continuity.

The Autons were a curious choice for debut villains. Without giving anything away, good use was made of their inherent creepiness. On the other hand, I wished they'd not brought back the hand that opens up to a gun; it just doesn't make sense. And, if they cand do they do the T3-type morphing late in the show, why don't they earlier?

The humor is maybe a hair broader and scattershot than it needed to be. I'm condfident that's a kink they'll work out though. The Auton Garbage Pail didn't need to belch after flytrapping Rose's boyfriend (who by the way, was the only sketchy actor of the lot) -- I told myself "it's a kid's show and that would make my nephew laugh," but I knew it would be the clangingly wrong note that'd stick with me.

I've forced myself to try to be objective and not gush, but I really need to cut loose and admit that, as a fanboy, I was in geek heaven watching this. What's great is I don't feel like this is going to be a guilty pleasure. This should appeal to the Buffy/Angel/Firefly and Farscape crowd. The writing and acting are every bit as good as we've been conditioned to expect by Whedon and this time the fx don't condemn the show to easy dismissal by those unwilling to make allowances.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Usenet Alert

The first episode of the new Doctor Who is up at alt.binaries.drwho. Review pending ...

Saturday, March 5, 2005

Stickin' It to Duke Poker Stylee (Or, The Poor Man's Jackpot Jay Busts the Braggadocio)

I signed up the All-In Poker Challenge at ESPN.com today. The deal is: they are running for 11 weeks (I'm not sure how many weeks are left), you have to win five single table tourneys during the week to qualify for the Sunday tourney, the top finishers in the Sunday Tourneys get into a Final Tourney at the end of the thing, and the winner gets a seat at the next WSOP. It's free, so i'm trying it.

I won 3 tourneys before breakfast, then took the afternoon off to watch the games on CBS. (Man, UConn sure has Syracuse's number. I guarantee you nobody wants to play the Huskies in the NCAAs. Did you happen to catch the Villanueva board and baseball outlet to the sreaking Gay? Sweet.) Won the next two while watching the Sox and Reds play a Grapefruit League game. The sweetest thing was winning the fifth tourney heads up against a guy with 'dukeblue' for a screen name. I stole a big pot with deuce-five offsuit to take a commanding lead. It seemed like a good time to start trash talking. "Kid, Duke doesn't beat UConn anymore." "Ooh, losing that pot's gotta make your head hurt. Like when Sellers bounced Laettner's head off the court -- that kinda hurt." "Langdon travelled. Langdon travelled." "Are you killing me stroftly yet?" "I'm gonna shock the world!" He never responded, probably wasn't even reading the chat, but it was still fun.

If you're thinking about playing, get ready for a certain amount of frustration. You have to be pretty quick to get on a table. It's like playing musical chairs with a thousand players and five chairs. Then, when you do get a seat, you have to accept the fact that of the ten players, at least 4 will be all-in on the first hand. Seriously, every table I played it was the same damn thing. Their hands will be A-4 offsuit, K-9 offsuit, 2-4 suited, and maybe a 6-7 suited for good measure. You must resist the urge to call them, even with bullets, because either the K-9 will fill his straight or the 2-4 will flush up. Then, you've got an idiot with half the chips in play that you've got to chip away at. Also, the cards are a little cmaller than I'd like, so it's hard to tell clubs from spades. I had to switch to the 4 color deck to stop betting at illusory flush draws.

Friday, March 4, 2005

Chimps

Would prefer to blog some good chimp news but "Chimps Attack" is all we've got today.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Did Sci-Fi Pass on the New Doctor Who?


... Sources tell IGNFF, Sci Fi Channel has already had a chance at the new series and passed after viewing some of the completed episodes. Some of the executives at the network found the series somewhat lacking and didn't think it would fit into the network's schedule[IGN]
According to the article, other reviewers have had a better reaction.
Q Magazine, a popular UK music magazine, has dubbed the new series "must see viewing" in a review published this past week.

Reviewer Boyd Hilton (also the TV editor for Heat Magazine) appears to have seen several completed episodes and was very impressed with what he saw. Describing the series as "every bit as good as its 70's heyday", Hilton also remarks that "you don't need to be a geek to enjoy it."
Eccleston I already liked from "The Second Coming," and I caught Billie Piper in "The Miller's Tale" the other night -- she seems like she's got more acting chops than any of the Doctor's companions since ... well, you might have to go back to the the Romanas to find another as comfortable in front of the camera. I've still got high hopes for the quality of the new series.

Actually, if this is indeed one of the new baddies, I think I detect a bit of Farscape influence, which could be a good thing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Anti-Christo

Wanna feel like Godzilla in Central Park for $3.50? Its Anti-Christo!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Movies Recently

Hotel Rwanda -- Tif and I took my mom out to a movie yesterday. Last time we did that, the two of them muscled me into a Showcase to see Sweet Home Alabama -- a supposedly sweet, but in actuality morally repugnant, "comedy" that made me feel dirty. I was pleasantly surprised when both were interested in seeing Hotel Rwanda.

I went in peripherally aware of Oscar-ish buzz clinging to the film like a dung beetle to a pile of ... well, dung. But, I like Don Cheadle. I think he's been unfairly panned for his turns in the Ocean's movies and he's done good work in Traffic and Out of Sight. Initially, I wasn't blown away by his portayal of Paul Rusesabagina, there's something about Cheadle and accents that always takes me a minute to get used to, before long though I was totally roped in; he did a great job crafting a believably heroic character without lapsing into pie-eyed humility and faux nobility.

This sort of movie fails if it all does is hero worship and make the baddies so cartoonishly bad that you end up feeling manipulated. Hotel Rwanda is, for a movie set amidst genocide, remarkably understated. The horror is conveyed, but in such a way that you (or, I, at least) never feel like the filmmakers are hammering away at you with the easy, gut-level manipulative stuff to foster an artifically high level of sympathy with the hero. My response to this movie was more thoughtful than emotional, although I doubt many people could sit through it without their hearts in their throats, and I think that sort of complex response (highly emotional, yet even more contemplative) is a credit to how the moral questions of the movie were posed.

Other movies I've seen recently:
The Manchurian Candidate (2004) -- Definitely worth a rental. It was better than I expected. I've never seen the original so I had no remake bias going in.
Sideways -- Slow starting, but it builds up to a pretty decent comedy. Not deserving of the fawning praise I've read, but there's enough there to make it worth checking out.
Around the World in 80 Days (2004) -- Jackie's ageing is getting progressively more difficult to watch. Some intriguing cameos, I was especially happy to see Sammo again, but Schwarzenegger as a Turkish Sultan was just ... words fail. Not as bad as the nadir of Jackie's career (The Tuxedo), but still, pretty freaking bad.
Whale Rider -- Glad I netflixed this one.
Men With Guns -- Not sure yet how I feel about this one. It certainly did not displace Lone Star atop my Sayles list.
Sherlock: Case of Evil -- Uneven and unnecesarily gross, in a decidedly 'made for cable' kind of way. Still, I liked enough of it to wish a better director would be brought in for a sequel. I'm a sucker for the Sherlock stuff though, so I wouldn't recommend this to any but Holmes completists.
Garden State -- Some funny. My unconcious short term memory manager is overwriting those files pretty quickly, so I can't say it made much of an impression.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Rudy 49

World's oldest captive gorilla 'celebrates' 49th birthday. (Thanks to Fut for the heads up.)

Monday, January 17, 2005

C-Dog's Belated 2004 Best Ofs

Movies, music, books, and games -- the lot of it took a back seat to sports last year. The dual UConn Championships back in the spring, then the Red Sox in the fall are what defined 2004 in terms of entertainment for me. Keeping up with the teams didn't leave much time for anything else.


Best Movies Released in 2004

1. Fahrenheit 9-11

2. Lost in Translation oops

3. Spider Man 2

4. Ocean's 12

5. (tie) Collateral & Man on Fire & The Bourne Supremacy & Kill Bill 2



2004 Movies I Still Want to See that May Have Made the List

1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

2. Shaun of the Dead



Disappointers

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ~yawns~

2. King Arthur





Best Movie of the Last Few Years That I Finally Saw in 2004

City of God (Cidade de Deus)



Slim pickings for tv in 2004. Lost got out of the gate strong, but is fading fast. Alias finished last season OK, but has finally become unwatchable. Enterprise remains unwatchable. No Whedon shows. Arrested Develpment has been funny, but I'm having a hard time thinking of anything else. Plenty of poker shows, of course. The rest is a glut of worthless to worse than worthless 'reality' shows. Thank goodness for NESN, ESPN, and occasional bright spots on Public TV and channels like IFC, Bravo, A&E, Turner Classic Movies, BBC America, Comedy Central and even the Cartoon Network (Adult Swim).
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