Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's alive... Alive!!!

My wife has beaten BioShock.

Then she beat BioShock 2.

And, right now, she has just settled down to give Fallout 3 a try.

Is it wrong that I might be just a little bit turned on right now?

Another shameless plug

This is I Smile At Stuff.

Melissa is my sister-in-law and the mother of my nieces (or in the lingo of the street: "daughters from another mother and my brother").  I wasn't aware until recently that she was blogging (or had been told and forgot, something that she's used to since she married my brother), so I was very happy to find that she is as funny on paper (figuratively speaking) as she is in person (speaking speaking).

Please enjoy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A review of the movie "The Wolfman"

Ah, the Wolfman.

I will start by saying that The Wolfman is the third least terrifying movie monster on my list (preceded only by the Blob at 1 and the Mummy at 2).  While I enjoyed the heck out of the new Mummy franchise, I was underwhelmed by the Blob remake back in the 80's.  I was therefore going to give The Wolfman a 50/50 chance of surprising me pleasantly.

*** SPOILER ALERT***

Do not continue reading if you are going to see this movie.  Instead, skip to the very bottom of this review.

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The Wolfman is a terrible movie.


I thought it was interesting that in the opening credits it is listed as "Based on the script by Curt Siodmak".  Curt Siodmak wrote the script for the original "The Wolf Man" back in 1941.  As near as I can figure, Andrew Walker and David Self (who wrote this version) cut out maybe 40 pages of script and the space between Wolf and Man, and added a lot of space for people to get gored.

Here's the story:  Benecio Del Toro is Lawrence Talbot, a popular stage actor in the 1890's who has returned from America to tour his native England.  Upon receipt of the news of his brother's mysterious disappearance, he travels home for the first time since being sent away by his father as a child (he was the child, not his father).  There he meets his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins) and his brother's fiance (Emily Blunt) and his father's servant (guy who I've never seen before).

Then a werewolf shows up, kills a whole bunch of people, and you know what?  Nobody really cares.  At least, nobody watching the movie does.

Plot contrivances abound.  For example, how do we get Benicio Del Toro as the son of Anthony Hopkins.  No problem, tart his mother up in some kind of vaguely Spanish looking dress in a flashback, and voila!

How do we explain Benicio Del Toro's accent?  Or lack thereof?  No problem, he grew up in America, away from his family.  And because he's now a famous stage actor, he just happens to be back in the country when all this happens.

Okay, but how do we explain - (slap) stop asking questions you!  Back in the box!

Speaking of Del Toro speaking, I'm guessing that this movie probably went through a couple of re-visions.  First, they probably were going to do everything with English accents.  They got Hopkins, Blunt, and Hugo Weaving.  But then they somehow got Benicio Del Toro for the lead.  I will say this, his American accent is bang on. 

But then they decided to let Anthony Hopkins, a man who can definitely do an English accent, also go with American.

And then to, I don't know, confuse everyone just that much more, Emily Blunt slips into and out of an American accent.  And so does Hugo Weaving.  I gave up, and just decided to pretend that there was a small street urchin just off camera saying things like "Top notch, guvna!" and "Oi, e's a brute that one, eh?" and "I lost me legs!"  It made me smile.

Honestly, there are so many, many reasons not to see this movie.

On the upside, it did have effects make up by Rick Baker (who among his many movies also did An American Werewolf in London), and original music by Danny Elfman.  On the downside, I would never have known that Rick Baker was involved in any way because of the CGI.  Also, this is the first movie ever scored by Danny Elfman that I did not recognize as Danny Elfman.  And I didn't like that either of those things happened.

So there you have it.  Don't see this movie.

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Anthony Hopkins is a werewolf.

I know, I know, you hate me for ruining the movie, but swear to god, I just saved you $10 and 2 hours.  You should thank me.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Three of my favorite things

I'd like to introduce you to Bacon Gravy.

For those that know me, you know that I am unlikely to pass up Bacon or Gravy.  The two comprise two of my favorite things.  Nothing brings Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner to a crashing halt like running out of gravy.  And bacon... it speaks for itself.

Bacon Gravy is the blog of a highly intelligent young lady that happens to enjoy many of the same fine foods that I do.  In fact, I feel that in some small way I am partly responsible for some of the foods that she likes/hates because she is my sister.  For example, take this recent post regarding raisins.  I'm not saying that she doesn't like raisins because of me (cause, wow, do I ever not like raisins), but I did hate raisins first. 

I'm just saying.

If you enjoy food, (and really, who doesn't enjoy food?  Nobody that comes over to our respective homes for dinner, that's for sure) then you should read her blog.  Plus, she posts on a more regular basis than I do, so I'm actually increasing your continual fun levels by directing you there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I should not like this

I should not like this for a few reasons.

But you know what?  I do. 

I don't even mind that these guys look like some kind of weird hybrid between Vanilla Ice and glittery vampires.  I'm just going to take a leap of faith and assume that they considered Bowie to be the first shiny vampire so it's an homage to him and not just so they can capitalize on any other "vampire"-esque characters.  Nope, it's Bowie.

Just in case though, I'm going to start calling people that I don't like "Jedwards", cause it sounds insulting.

The Avatar Show

If you're like one of the other people on this planet, you've probably seen the movie Avatar.

People that saw Avatar come in two different flavors: those who believe that it is the greatest thing ever filmed in the history of the universe and we should probably just shut down all production on other movies and just film Avatar sequels and related products, and those that thought it was an okay flick with good special effects.

I fall distinctly into the second category, in case you are wondering.

I don't begrudge James Cameron for any of the success of Avatar.  I thought it was an okay flick with good special effects (see, told you I was in the second category).  Cameron's a smart guy.  He takes a well known story that works, sets it in a different time/place, adds more money than you or I are likely to see in our lifetimes, then films it.

It worked for Titanic: Romeo and Juliet + Titanic.

It worked for The Abyss:  E.T. The Extra Terrestrial + Underwater.

It worked for Aliens:  Terminator + Space.

It worked for Terminator:  A Midsummer's Night Dream + Cyborgs.

There's been some hype about how Avatar is simply Pocahontas in Space.  It's very easy to draw the comparisons.  And if that was all there was to it, I'd leave it there. But there's more.  So prepare to have your entire world rocked to its intelligent symbiotic plant like core.

It's not like James Cameron hid it from you.  He put it right out there in the middle of the story, the very reason for the conflict: Unobtainium.  This strange mineral defies all laws of nature and floats - nay, it shuns gravity - thus making it useful for all sorts of things that are never explained adequately in the movie.  I assume that the entire operation is funded by a cosmetics corporation who use it in shampoos to give hair more lift and bounce.  Or maybe it's used in breast implants for the same reasons.  Whatever the case, Unobtainium is a vital resource.

But does that description of Unobtainium sound familiar?  Where have I heard that before?  Oh, wait, that's right: Saturday mornings from my childhood.

Unobtainium is Upsidaisium.

Remember Upsidaisium?  It's the anti-gravity floating mineral that Boris and Natasha were trying to steal.

Avatar is Rocky and Bullwinkle in Space.

So there.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chuck

We have started watching Chuck. 

For the education of those that have never watched Chuck, and the entertainment of those that do, I have figured out the pitch that got this show greenlit:  It's "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" meets James Bond. 

Chuck is a popular guy that is down on his luck who accidentally becomes the repository of all of the government secrets.  He has crazy adventures with his beautiful but dangerous CIA bodyguard and his dangerous but dangerous NSA bodyguard, all the while trying to get a real life.

It's a funny show, has it's moments, and we're enjoying it.  But there is one little thing that keeps popping up that makes me crazy.  It took a little while for us to catch on to it, but once you see it, it just keeps showing its ugly head.  And it's probably not what you think.

The character of Chuck is a nice guy.  We know this because we are told in every episode what a nice guy he is.  Seriously, it's almost a drinking game.  All his friends love him and are loyal to him in a way that is usually reserved for old army buddies that have a deep and terrible secret.  And in every episode, we are treated to Chuck being the comic/nice-guy foil to the serious government agents and the bad guys that they take on.

But, and this is a pretty big but, there's been one tiny oversight.

Chuck is a jerk.

If Chuck was your friend, you would find every excuse imaginable to sever any ties you may have with him, pretending that you don't know him and perhaps burning any evidence that you have a shared history up to and including geographic locations.

All the time that Chuck is gallivanting around, secretly saving the world from certain doom and destruction, he's still trying to hold onto whatever semblance of a real life he may have had.  This includes working his day job to keep his cover.  What this really means is that Chuck is drawing a paycheck while his co-workers and "friends" cover for him. 

Picture your place of business.  In all probability, there is at least one other person working with you.  I want you to picture your best friend is that person you work with.  Now, imagine that they walks in and out of the office all day whenever they feel like it regardless of what's going on, leaving you to cover and pick up the slack.  And not only do they continue to get paid, they are also considered for promotion to become your boss because YOU'RE the slacker.

In a very short time, you would be cultivating your murderous thoughts into a diabolic scheme to remove said friend/co-worker from your life.  But not in the world of Chuck!  Not only can Chuck do the above, but he also gets insane favors that he never returns, but is always granted without any hesitation or question.

In conclusion, Chuck is a big jerk.  But it's still a funny show.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

There's geek, then there's Geek.

I'm proud to count myself among the rank and file of geek- and nerd-dom.  Most of my closest friends are also in that group.  We're not in that land of crazy where we dress up like cartoon characters and disparage others for not knowing the difference between Mr. Fusion and a dilithium crystal (although I would find it sad if you didn't).

Every once in a while, somebody out there steps up to the plate and says "Look what I can do!"  These are the people that buy a Delorean and rebuild it into a time machine.  Or remodel their apartment to look like the bridge of the Enterprise.  I am in awe of these people and their dedication to their craft.  They are like modern day artisans or monks, toiling over each item until perfected.  Their creations represent hundreds of hours and sizeable chunks of cash to create, and you have to be in awe of someone that would risk their entire lives and opportunity to ever be intimate with another human being to do it.


I just found this guy who did something that is obviously possible when you consider it, yet seems impossible.  What did he do?  He built a CPU


For those non-tech savvy readers out there, the CPU is the brain of you computer.  Without it, you don't have a computer.  They are immensely complex and very very small.  There are lots of people that build computers from parts, every computer I've owned since 1999 has been a homebrew.  But I've never tried to build the parts that make a computer before.  It would be like deciding I wanted to build an airplane.  It's possible, but come on. 

It's got thousands of wire connections that he made by hand, linking all the chips together.  And we're talking TINY connections (you can tell I mean really small by the fact I put that in caps).  Connecting and testing each one. 

Then, once that was out of the way, he still had to get it to work.  You don't just load Windows on a CPU that you just built, it would never work.  So he took an operating system called Minix-2 and rewrote it to work on it.

I salute you crazy geek guy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kijiji: Translation, Poetry, -Snicker-, Obsession

Translation: Neighbors secured their network


You just gotta...feeeeeel it

Truly, the work of a master beat poet.

bongo

(badda badda badda)
its 16 inch
(bump)
high
(bum badda)

just dont us

(bam)

this one

(bam)

no more

(badda badda bam)

no need

(bump)

for it

(bam)
65.00
(badda badda bam badda badda bam bam bump)


I don't normally look at these kinds of ads...


...but that's the name of your company? Isn't that kind of, I don't know, obvious? It's kind of like naming a Chinese restaurant "You'll be hungry later".


Stop watching!! This is the greatest movie ever!! Good Will Hunting!! Wife says I'm obsessed!! Doctor tells me to get rid of it!! Yay!! $5.00.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm not ashamed, but maybe I should be...

This story starts with me playing a video game and ends with me admitting that I have a problem.

Picture my rec room.


I've been spending a lot of time down here since we finished it. Most recently, I've been spending my time down here playing Bioshock 2. It's a very good game and I highly recommend it.

I'm no spring chicken any more though. After a few hours of gaming, I need a break. I need to do something different.

Robyn's at work, and if she was home she'd be playing Bioshock 2, so that kind of defeats the purpose. I'm not hungry, I'm not tired, I'm just kind of feeling that I want to do something different.

And that's when I found it. The thing that haunts me, the thing that represents everything that I thought I knew about myself that turned out to be a lie. And I thought, I'm home alone - now's the time to do it. It's safe. Nobody will bear witness, and I could always blame the cats later.

I found the Rock Band mic.

Have you ever played Rock Band with me?

If so, you'll know that I typically go for either one of the guitars or the drums. I do not take the mic, except in those rare occasions when it is late and I am feeling no pain.

I thought I knew how to sing. It's like talking, only louder and you make your voice high or low. You'd think that after a lifetime of singing at church that I'd have at least some idea of how to make the sounds coming out of my mouth sound halfway decent. But you'd be wrong. Oh so very, very wrong.

Being home alone, this would be a great time to practice. Maybe, maybe, if I spend a couple of hours during my days off I could be good. Okay, I could be better. I couldn't very well get worse, could I?

I could.

After "singing" my throat raw - my old voice and speech professor would be haunted by the sounds that I was making - for about 45 minutes, I finally progressed through 5 songs on easy.

These are not hard songs. They are mostly pop. They are roughly 3 minutes long each. I feel like I've been talking in a loud bar for a couple of hours.

I eventually discovered that Practice is easier than Easy in that you can't fail out.

But since none of you were here, and the neighbours didn't come to check on me, and the police didn't come to question why I was torturing small animals with bagpipes, I will simply say that all of the above was a lie and I sing like an angel.

Just not within hearing range of other people.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

FTFY

I have a confession to make: I don't read my own blog.

My ongoing theory has been "I wrote it, I put it together, why would I need to read it?" If I really needed to look at some of my old postings, I can do it from within the edit posts section of blogger.

Well, as it turns out, I probably should have been paying closer attention. For you see, The Blognostifier looks a lot like The Blognosticrap.

Sorry about that.

Edit: I know that it still doesn't look great, but at least the pictures are showing properly and it's all, mostly, in the same font now.

I kind of almost feel bad about this one...

Okay, I'm not judging anyone here. Everyone has priorities. What's important to one person may not be so to another. The events of my wedding day were such a blur that I didn't even put 2 and 2 together that we had chosen a turkey dinner for our reception because it was also Thanksgiving weekend.

But let's take a look at that last picture in the group...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Must be a proven sales technique...

Maybe prom dresses are only usable for a limited time?


Probably my favorite description of any prom dress that I've read to date: "worn once and not for long."

Once again, I was caught by the description that says that it was only "worn for about 4 hours" (which can only lead me to believe that it wasn't worn the rest of the time). Maybe that's just how second hand prom dresses are sold - the less that it was worn, the more it's worth?

I was also amused that the third picture in the set is a close up of the young woman's bosoms. Lucky for her, they are hidden behind a massive amount of bead-work.

I'm resisting the temptation to comment on her young beau. Instead, I shall simply say that his all out efforts to ensure that his young lady shines proves that romance isn't dead.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

"Never been worn" eh? Really? Never? Never ever?

And finally, something for the guys

Just so you don't get the idea that I'm some kind of freak that just looks at prom dresses on Kijiji...

I watched the Duke's of Hazzard, Smokey and the Bear, and the Beachcombers. You do, in fact, need 2.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This will be the centerpiece for our friends' new home...

Whether they want it or not. Maybe it's just me being a little passive aggressive about them moving.







I was flipping through my old posts, just to see what I'd been up to over the last year, and I found this. I wrote this in July, but for some reason I only saved it as a draft instead of publishing it.

So Alex and Trav... I am saddened to announce that I did not, in fact, purchase said freaky art class mask for your home. I know that the large, flat screen TV will help fill the void that this mask created when it didn't enter your home. Be strong, Wilsons. Be strong.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Great Google Experiment Part 1: Gmail

I've had a Gmail account for years. I don't remember exactly when I signed up, but I do remember that I used to talk to a couple of people from way back when I used to live in Halifax. Or maybe it was just after I left Halifax? Whatever. We're talking years. I even got my name for my account (which isn't that difficult a task for me most of the time).

I tried to look back at my earliest email, see what I was doing back in the day, but I appear to have suffered some kind of brain trauma that caused me to think it would be a good idea to delete all my email. Soooo, the first real Google product that I'd ever used... was something that I thought so little of that I cleaned it out.

Not off to a great start.

The big question is why would I switch to Gmail from my Hotmail account? I've been using Hotmail for over a decade. My earliest email on record is from 12 years ago this week, and I know that I had a lot more that I deleted from before that.

At a glance, there isn't a big reason to switch identities. Gmail and Hotmail do the same things. It's all email right?

Okay, yes, but one thing popped out at me immediately. Or rather, didn't pop out at me. Gmail has no banner ads. Now I know that I could install a banner ad killer, but (if I can use an analogy here) when I invite guests to a party I would prefer to invite people I trust enough that I don't have to frisk them at the door.

Instead of having banner ads, Gmail has a little bar above the option buttons that displays one-line ads. I'll compare this to the party guest that you know sells insurance, but has the dignity not to talk about it unless you bring the subject up. I like that.

The other thing that is kind of neat that Gmail does is Starred email. It's kind of like making favorites for your email. I don't have anything worth Starring right now, but if this keeps going, who knows? Maybe someone will forward me a particular funny picture of a yawning kitten with a clever caption beneath it?

One final thing that stands out for me with Gmail is something that confuses me about Hotmail.

I like having a big monitor. I've had it for about three years now, and I still smile when I look at it. It's a great monitor. I also have terrible eyesight. When people do the "what historical period would you like to live in" I always say "right now" because with my eyesight I'd be dead in pretty much any other age. Because of these two things, I like making stuff on my monitor really big.

When I zoom in on Gmail, it gets larger, but stays crisp, readable and usable.

When I zoom in on Hotmail, the banner ad gets larger. It actually got so large I thought it would burst, showering my email with Gillette shower gel and degrees from Walden University.

The victor here is definitely Gmail. They get special bonus points because I also happen to like the font.

I guess in retrospect there's nothing really that earth shattering about using Gmail that you couldn't figure out for yourself.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hey Apple, um... wait what?

NOTE: For those of you that aren't giant nerds, I will try to reduce the level of geek. Stick with me, you'll get the joke in the end. Maybe.

I've been talking about moving over to a Linux OS for a while now. It's like the basement or the garage: one of those tasks that I keep saying I'm going to get to, but later. I finally decided that I'd had enough of Mr. Windows XP telling me to download another security update, and downloaded a copy of Ubuntu.

For those of you that don't know Linux, its all about being free. There are also a lot of free programs that are analogues of things that you would have paid for... ahem. Yes, well, I hadn't fully investigated all my options as it were. And yeah, everything looked good. All kinds of legitimate software, for free, that would do everything that I could want. With one exception.

As it turns out, there isn't a way to get iTunes to work with Linux.

I've got a lot of time and even some money invested in iTunes and my iPod. Not an outrageous amount, but enough that the functionality of my iPod is pretty important to me. My plans had been thwarted.

The Punchline: I have to stay with Microsoft because of Apple.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Great Google Experiment

I'm going to try something that I've never done before: Live in the cloud.

And by the cloud, I'm referring to the plethora of Google applications and storage. Gmail, Calendar, Reader, Buzz... yes, I'll even stop using MS Office and use Google Docs. I've scored an invite or a nomination or a cease and desist letter from the only person I know that has Google Wave.

Admittedly there are a few things about the cloud that I can't really do. I do not have a mobile device, laptop, or a netbook, and I'm pretty sure I can get fired for signing into my Google account at work. I also only ever use my computer. Robyn's computer is kind of like the storage area of the furnace room: I know it's there, am always surprised when I find myself having to use it, and am never comfortable while I'm in there. Therefore, I won't be able to experience the full range of "always there" files and software. I'll figure something out; maybe this will force me to go visit people and use their computers.

You may ask me why I'm doing this. The answer is that I'm ever so slightly bored. Also, I'm intrigued by the fact that Google is making billions of dollars and producing stuff for free that I've never taken advantage of. And those of you that know me know that I love free. Free bacon is like a super bonus power up for me.

On a side note, you may find me bugging some of you to join gmail and stuff if you haven't already. Just, you know, so I have someone to talk to.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anyone else on Buzz?

So Google's going after a piece of the social networking pie, eh? Dang it, Google's just good enough that I'm willing to give it a try. My only question is whether anyone else is doing it...

See, since I pretty much never use my Gmail account, I don't have any Gmail contacts. And thus I don't know if anyone I know is using it and I'm just lazy enough to not search for people I know.

I'll be honest: if Google Buzz will keep people from sending vampire mobster farmers hugs to me, then I may switch over entirely.