Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Juno is Awesome, Honest to Blog!

I watched Juno this weekend and it was great! All the Oscar buzz is well deserved. There were at least 2 trailers for it shown every day during The Daily Show last week which really sparked my interest. Plus, it has Michael Cera as one of the stars, who I have admired since Arrested Development (the most under appreciated show ever). The first scene is really funny with Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight Schrute) and really gets you into the movie quickly.

It wasn't really laugh out loud funny but then movies that are laugh out loud funny aren't nearly as good as a comedy of wit. I do wonder though, do kids these days really talk like this? I think not...
Juno: I'm pregnant.
Leah: What? Honest to blog?
Juno: Yeah, yeah, it's Bleaker's.
Leah: It's probably just a food baby. Did you have a big lunch?
Juno: No, this is not a food baby alright? I've taken like three pregnancy tests, and I'm forshizz up the spout.
Leah: How did you even generate enough pee for three pregnancy tests? That's amazing.
Juno: I don't know, I drank like, ten tons of Sunny D... Anyway dude, I'm telling you I'm pregnant and you're acting shockingly caviler.
Leah: Is this for real? Like for real, for real?
Juno: Unfortunately, yes.
Leah: Oh my god, Oh Shit! Phuket, Thailand!
Juno: There we go. That was kind of the emotion I was searching for on the first take.

My favorite part of the film though turns out to be the soundtrack. The song on the opening credits, All I Want Is You, is one of those fun little romantic songs like When I'm Sixty-Four, except this one was originally written as a kids song by Barry Louis Polisar, you know, like TMBG. Nice work Barry!

I really like all the music by Kimya Dawson (never heard of her before) and who can go wrong with Cat Power? She only has 1 song on the soundtrack but, man, the raw emotion in Chan Marshall's (Cat Power) voice gets me choked up sometimes, regardless of the words. I wish she would record and release a full version of the cover of Cat Steven's "How Can I Tell You" that she did for that diamond commercial.

So enjoy the trailer and go see the film if you haven't yet!

Cool, I noticed Cat Power has a new album, Jukebox, that came out today! Go check that out too.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Full Screen Movie Releases Should Die!

I watched a video last night, Skinny Girl Owned By Desert Eagle, that got me wanting to watch a movie I haven't seen in a long time, Snatch, all because of this scene with Bullet Tooth Tony.
And, the fact that you've got "replica" written down the side of your guns. And, the fact that I've got "Desert Eagle point 5 0" written on the side of mine, should precipitate your balls into shrinking, along with your presence. Now... fuck off.
Anyway, when I started watching Snatch, I was asked, which version I wanted to watch, Wide Screen or Full Screen. It reminded me of a question I have been wondering for a long time, Why do full screen releases even still exist?

Watching a movie in full screen is an abomination. You lose much of the movie the director intended for you to see and pan and scan is noticeably annoying. Movies are an art form that should not be disrespected just because someone owns a POS television and doesn't like the letterbox, even for bad movies. Furthermore, as old TV sales have been greatly eclipsed by newer 16:9HD TVs, wide screen is full screen (aspect ratios explained) on newer screens. Shoot, some movies like Gladiator, with an aspect ration of 2.35:1, are still letterbox on a 16:9 (1.78:1) TV.

I don't have any problems if the movie is released with both versions in the same package but it is a waste of resources to even create the full screen version. Many movies support both on the same disc but I still am annoyed at having to select it instead of going right to the movie. Some movies are released on dual sided discs to accommodate both. That is a little better but it does make the disc more expensive and I don't care to pay for the crappy full screen version I never will watch.

On Black Friday, there are always lots of good movie deals. This past year I went to Target on Black Friday to find a ton of movies for $5 and $10 each. I would have stocked up but they were all full screen! Why? I wouldn't even pay $5 for a full screen version of a movie. Another visit to Target in search of the newest Harry Potter release also proved frustrating. There were plenty of full screen versions of the film to purchase but the wide screen versions were all gone (fortunately they were only gone in the actual DVD section, there were still some wide screen versions by the checkout line).

I have to wonder, with the obvious differences in demand, why even offer a full screen version? Consumers are voting with our purchases but whoever makes the decision to carry more or only the wide screen version isn't listening. I imagine there are a number of full screen purchases made out of ignorance of the version purchased and other full screen purchases because only a full screen is available and the customer really wants the movie. Once or twice I have mistakenly purchased the full screen myself, only to return or exchange it ASAP. So full screen DVD releases should die a very quick death now with the prominence of widescreen televisions and the rise of HD-DVD and Blue-Ray high definition discs. Please!

And check out the Letterbox and Widescreen Advocacy Page.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Welcome Back Jon Stewart And Stephen Colbert!

I meant to post this last Monday when The A Daily Show and The Colbert Report came back on the air after the holidays despite the writers strike. I thought both shows did an excellent job without writers and did a good job covering the writers strike (that is about all they did actually). The explanation of both sides was both informative and entertaining. Colbert was much funnier than Jon though.

Favorite Daily Show quote was about 4:10 in: "Why did Viacom sue YouTube? Well, they sued them for a billion dollars, clearly a figure they pulled out of their asses. If there were real money on the Internet, don't you think they would have gone with a believable figure? A billion dollars? What are they four year olds?" Thanks for the play by play go to Variety's WGA Strike Blog.

It is clear they don't have writers though. It isn't nearly as funny or polished as before the strike and they both, but Colbert especially, do a lot of things that are obvious time killers. Colbert did some Ellen dancing and also had the audience applaud for him for several solid minutes on episodes last week.

The best part of their being back is it got me to the gym all week. I purposefully only have the most basic cable package so if I want to watch the Daily Show, I have to go to they gym. So here is to another week of working out. Thanks Jon and Stephen.

Monday, January 7, 2008

American Gladiators Is Back On NBC!!

Before getting into the BCS National Championship game tonight, I watched a little bit of the reincarnated American Gladiators. I knew this show was coming back but I didn't know it was on tonight until late this afternoon. I asked a few coworkers about it and got very mixed responses from "oh, ugh" to "awesome!". This show, fundamentally, is in fact awesome. I don't know that it has a place in prime time though.

The basic idea is you get a bunch of people who spend way too much time at the gym (these are the Gladiators) and pit them against "average" people who just spend too much time at the gym. That is the fun part. The show has all of these crazy games that involve shooting at each other, hitting each other with big padded bars while standing on a platform, many other physical games and finally The Eliminator! Dorky but fun to watch.

This new version of the show is very true to the original that I remember watching back in the early 90s from time to time on Sunday mornings while skipping church. We watched it in one of the Sunday School rooms. (Sorry Mom!) It still has all the great games from the original and the basic ideas are the same.

That is where the greatness is lost though. The hosts of the new show are Hulk Hogan and one of Muhammad Ali's daughters, Laila Ali. The fact that they are hosting isn't so bad but the way it is run is bad. It is run like a stupid WWF event with the annoying macho talk (from the ladies too) and all the stupid sports cliche talking. I swear, in one interview with the women competitors (before The Eliminator), they both said they were going to give it 110%. I mean, come on!!!

If it stays in this time slot there is NO WAY it will beat How I Met Your Mother once the writers strike is over but it will be fun while it lasts. It is in HD too which is always a plus since I don't have an HD package and only get what the network is sending out on basic cable.

And one last note. Although she didn't win tonight, watching Christie Philips compete was nice. She is a Karate Instructor, read her bio. And watch the video...

Or something else...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Years Resolutions and Stress

I think New Years Resolutions are kind of stupid. Why wait until January 1st to start getting your act together? I am not one to bash those who make resolutions though because I am one of you too.

I have been pretty stressed out since getting back to work after the holidays. I have so very little motivation to do anything. I put off a few things I wanted and needed to get done until after the holidays and now they are here and I still don't want to do them. Somethings I never wanted to do in the first place, which is why I procrastinated, but others I just didn't have time to do. Now I am swampped and stressed.

Another source of my stress is my weight. I feel uncomfortably fat. My weight has been creeping up there a lot since the middle of 2007. Over the holidays, I rationalized gorging and put off doing something about it even longer, fooling myself into thinking it didn't matter what I ate or how lazy I was because starting in 2008, I was going to get my act together. I am the heaviest I have ever been and would like to see my weight at 30-40 pounds less than it is now. Oh where are you willpower?!

As if having all this built up stuff to do and changes in my life that I need to make isn't enough, new things to do are coming in at the same time which is even more overwhelming because it makes it hard to finish all the old crap. My ideal solution of course is to just forget about it and put it off until tomorrow or next week. That is how I got where I am now though.

So starting right now I am going to make some changes:
  • Finish what I am doing before starting on something new
  • Stop eating like the only way to find nourishment is at a fast food place or eating like I am at a buffet for every meal, and then track my eating and weight
  • Get myself to the gym and/or pool and take the dog for longer walks
  • Stop doing things that aren't worth my time (this is a hard one)
  • Early to bed, early to rise... (and earlier to work)
Some of the best advise a friend gave me once was to take care of yourself first because when you don't you are worthless and can't take care of anything else. That is where I am now. Swapped, stressed, overweight and not doing enough about it. But I am going to start taking care of myself.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Google Indirectly Encourages Major Google Spam

Today, January 1st, 2008, there was a posting on Digg titled "January 1 TCP/IP". That posting is an example of Search Engine Spam at its finest.

That link caught my eye because it was such a stupid, uninformative title for a Digg article. I also found it strange because the site it went to was january-1-tcp-ip.blogspot.com. That sure is a specific blog with some specific keywords.

So then I followed the link to the blog and sure enough, it had 1 post about the advent of TCP/IP on January 1st, 1983. What in the world I thought.

Then I realized what was going on here. As most everyone has seen, Google occasionally honors certain people and holidays with a special logo. The special logo today was to honor the 25th anniversary of TCP/IP. With these special logos, they also link to a query and todays query string was "January 1 tcp/ip".

I imagine the search term originally went to something useful and informative but not now. It was Google Spammed thanks to Google themselves. Now that search phrase, and the clicking of the image on the Google home page, goes to a crap page created to exploit the link and make some AdSense cash. I guess Google doesn't mind too much since in the end they are making money off any click on that site too but still, that is disappointing.

Others also tried to take advantage of this. The first page of the Google search results returned things like this:
  • www.digg.com/tech_news/January_1_TCP_IP
  • byrev.net/2008-01/january-1-tcpip-switchover
  • january-1-tcpip.blogspot.com
  • january-1-tcp-ip-123.blogspot.com/2008/01/what-is-january-1-tcpip-and-why-it-is.html
  • january-1-tcp--ip.blogspot.com
So why oh why Diggers did you digg this link? As of writing this there are 1895 Diggs!! Is there some revenue sharing here? Can I get in on it too?

Oh, and Google, it is 2008 now, update your copyright text! Geez, keep it to 1 screw up a day on the home page please.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!!

Happy New Year 2008!!!

I just got done watching the ball drop again this year with Dick Clark and his eventual replacement Ryan Seacrest. Since his return to hosting Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve after his 2004 stroke, I get a little teary eyed watching him. Dick Clark is a trooper. He is still having speech troubles but despite his stroke he is still carrying on with the show. I really admire and respect that.

My wife brought up another interesting point tonight, New Years Day is when we both feel older, not on our birthdays.