Soon To Be Classics

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Superman Returns - A piece at a time

Here's a short snippet of Superman Returns from Brandon Routh's website. It's a clip that is being used in a promotion in Australia.

Enjoy. Despite the fact that it proves they did remove the yellow shield from the back of the cape. *sigh*

In The Essence of Fairness

I was critical of the latest (at least here in the States) incarnation of Doctor Who. The British import always had laughable special effects, long after us yanks had it figured out sometime in the 70's and 80's. The latest version features much better SFX which is nice because it doesn't distract me away from the story. The writing, has been getting better and better. (I should point out that the premiere episode featured trash cans coming to life and eating people.)

Last Friday's episode, Father's Day, began as a typical time-travel adventure. Rose wants to go back and be at her Father's side when he's killed. He was killed by a hit-and-run and in flashback, we learn that he died alone in the street. Rose and the Doctor go back but she can't bring herself to run into the street until it's too late. The Doctor agrees to take her back a second time but stresses how dangerous this is as they are *already there*. As you might guess, Rose ignores the danger and her altruistic nature kicks in. She pushes her father out of harm's way and saves him, thus altering the past.

At this point, every other time-travel show goes the same direction. This one though, written by Paul Cornell, goes another way. Time has been altered, and is not happy about it at all. Instead of the future just lumbering forward until the protagonist fixes things, Time itself becomes a character of sorts, working to repair the damage. Flying creatures appear and begin killing everyone who came in even remote contact with Rose and the Doctor, and then pretty much the entire planet. It had a very "The Langoliers" feel to it and it was really just a plot device to push the characters into an enclosed space (an old church) for the drama.

Rose gets to spend time with her dad and in a very nice touch, he comments on how he gave her his car keys. "You don't just give your car to a stranger, but for some reason I trusted you. Since the moment I met you. Why?" Eventually, he figures out that Rose is his daughter and that he's not supposed to be alive. He blames himself for what is apparantly the end of the World.

The beautiful plot device here, is that the car that should have originally killed him, makes a second attempt on his life. Then, when in the church, they see the car constantly driving around the church, appearing and disappearing after the point that should have been the killing blow to Paul. It's an odd lesson since the Doctor has changed the past before, but there was no effort by Time as an entity to "fix" things. Still, the idea was compelling. The backstory with Rose and her father could have taken the maudelin route but never did. It was sweet and very human. In fact, it was Paul who figured out what needed to happen and made the decision to run out in front of the car, resetting everything, if not slightly different.

There was one last nice touch. After Paul is saved, there's an angry exchange between Rose and the Doctor about what she'd done. Rose says "But my father won't do anything important, he's just an ordinary man." The Doctor replies that "ordinary people are the most powerful in the universe". It loses effect in translation, but there was a very nice uncurrent about the power of people who just live and enjoy their time while they're on this Earth.

So, a big thumbs up on this one. If this is the kind of writing we'll see from the series, I'm on board. It's a shame that this version of the Doctor quit after only one season.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Garage Sale Day

My wife's favorite activity is going to weekend garage sales. She usually comes home with all manner of things and usually gets pretty good deals. From time to time, I will go with her mainly for logistics; following the map, turning the van around, finding parking, etc.

We went out today and really hit a lot of houses and saw some really strange stuff. In no particular order:
- An "estate sale" where I got the creeps walking into the house. I *KNOW* someone died in their recently. We bought a piece of tupperware so I hope it doesn't become animated and kill us tonight.
- A guy who's yard sale contained old bike parts, a rusted POS motorcycle and (and I am not making this up) two military-grade mortar launchers. I didn't ask how much for them.
- A very old die-cast Batmobile from the 60's TV show. You can tell it was original because it was made in Britian. Unfortunately, it was in awful shape.
- A binder full of Pokemon cards. I won't tell you what the price tag was as it's just sad.
- A table full of Beanie Babies. See above comment.
- An abbacus about two feet wide and three feet tall. It was probably made prior to the great technological advances that really shrunk tech in about 100 B.C.

I rarely get anything but I did see something I couldn't pass up on today. I picked up a PERFECT copy of the 2004 Axis and Allies board game for one dollar. I got the impression that the parents were selling stuff out of the son's room while he was away. Based on the condition, it doesn't appear to have every been played so he'll probably never notice it.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. :)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Looking Forward To Snow

I love this.

The White House just named Tony Snow, the FOX News commentator and talk show radio host, as the White House Press Secretary to replace the outgoing Scott McClellan who (I think) just got fed up with the job. I can't blame McClellan, as the hostility in the White House Press Room has greatly increased well past the level of any professional decorum. Notable among the persistant agitators, are the White House reporters for ABC News, including their correspondant Martha Raddatzh, who's a withered hag with a chip on her shoulder the size of a buick. Her nightly reports are so dramaticized that I expect to hear theme music in the background. There have been others as well and McClellan usually didn't handle being shouted at very well. I was watching a report recently that was implying that reporters in the press room know they'll get play on all of the major news channels if they can engage in a verbal fight with the press secretary. Priceless.

So now the conspiracy theorists are out in force, decrying the naming of Snow to the position. Naming a FOX News correspondant won't score any points with the Left, as they're convinced that FOX news gets their marching orders from Washington, much in the same way that the Right believes ABC, CBS, and NBC get their marching orders from the DNC. (Of course, CNN gets their marching orders from Al-Jazzeera.)

First off, I think Snow will do a great job. I watch Tony Snow and I like him. He's actually been pretty vocal about the President in the past; even fairly recently. I disagree with a lot that is going on in the White House lately so Snow has pretty much fallen in with my thinking on many issues. Plus, he's a cancer survivor. While that doesn't mean he's going to be good at any particular job or another, that's a trait that I hold in pretty high regard.

Now, of course, according to the Left, the only reason he was hired is because he's from Fox News so the "white house can control the situation". I'm not seeing a lot of people recognize his talent or accomplishments. That's a real shame.

I think it will be wonderful to see the Brady Room tamed by someone who's trained to debate and think on his feet. Radio commentators are like that. Maybe some manners and respect will become the norm in the press.

Monday, April 24, 2006

So the wife can see...

Friday, April 21, 2006

So What's Up?

I almost never do this, but I figured it was time for a "personal update".

I think I'm doing pretty good right now. At work, I'm at the helm of a great new game with a lot of really positive buzz behind it. Everyday, I get to see another piece of the overall picture come together and it's very exciting. Literally, I get to "play" at work everyday. My other game needs a little work and it's very challenging to dig into it and figure out what to do. There's a couple of other incredible things being dangled in front of me so it's all good.

The wife and kids have been gone for 9 days now. It's gone by fast but I really miss them. They'll be back in a few days.

My diet kinda crashed when I went to Vegas and I just haven't gotten back on track. Put 5 pounds back on so I need to get back in step.

The last couple of weeks have been very strange. In rapid succession, several members of my Radio past have contacted me out of the blue. Glenda, Casey and Johnny all dropped me a line and it was great to hear from them. I'm going back to Ohio ("home") in June and plan on seeing all of them. Working with them was the best times in my life and the Franks family was truly a family to me.

By the way, I finally broke down and bought a pair of headphones for work. I could never understand why everyone had headphones until I moved from my office to a cubicle. Yikes. At the moment, I'm jamming to Tina Turner's "The Best"; probably my favorite song when I'm feeling good about things.

I wish the world was doing better. The war sucks, I'm sick of politicians and the hatred on both sides. There's been a lot of violence against children lately. I have no pity for the people who commit these acts. As I'm typing this, there's a special on TV about the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital showing young kids with cancer. Just breaks my heart and makes me realize how lucky I am.

I mowed the lawn with my manual lawn mower. For some reason, it did a reallly crappy job and now I wish I had a gasoline powered push mower again. But, the yard is blooming and the flowers are popping up everywhere. My lawn is very over-landscaped and there's no way I can keep up with it.

As I doubt my wife will read this, I have a surprise for her upon her return. I have spent a lot of time while she's away building her a craft room in the garage. I can actually swing a hammer when I need to and I really enjoy building projects like this. I've framed in an 8x10' room and will hang insulation and hopefully drywall this weekend. I can't do the ceiling by myself so that part will not get done. Hanging the 10' ceiling frame by myself was a challenge but I can be clever when I need to be and a nice rope and pulley system worked wonders. Gotta love MacGuyver.

Now I'm listening to "My Town" by the Michael Stanley Band. You have never heard of them. They were a Cleveland band and makes me long for that city. (It's a great place, really!)

Enough rambling. Thanks for making it this far.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's a 24 Quiz!

We're down to the last quarter of the season, so it's time to see who's been paying attention and who's the best prognosticator. Please answer the following questions in comments. The winner will receive a fabulous prize!

1) Who will kill President Logan? (Name or "No one")
2) Who will kill Christopher Henderson? (Name or "No one")
3) Which "good guy" character will die next?
a) Mike Novick
b) Secretary of Defense Heller
c) Audrey Raines
d) Bill Buchanan
e) Miles The Weasel
f) Vice President Hal Gardner
4) Will the next person Jack kills (or shoots in the thigh) be a named character or a "red shirt"?
5) How many people will Jack kill between 1am and 6am?
6) How many times will Jack say "dammit!" between 1am and 6am?
7) Will there be one more "mole" this season?
8) Why is Shari even on the show? (Essay)
9) Who will be CTU Director by season's end?
10) Who knew that Jack was alive? (Name or "someone not yet revealed")

That's it! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Guess Who's Back?

I've been looking for something besides WoW to occupy my gaming time as the "treadmill" of MMORPG's is starting to get dull. There's a free download (500 meg!) of the new "Tomb Raider: Legend" game for the PC. After about 30 minutes, I loaded the program and was mightily impressed.

The intro to the game is very cinematic and quite sharp. The demo is an entire level and features the "well equipped" Lara (I'm talking about weapons and gear, of course) discovering a Bolivian temple and a band of terrorists who have taken up residence there.

The controls were tough to get used to having played WoW for so long. This is a typical case of the camera following a different lead from the movement so it took some time. Once I got the hang of that (Lara only died once) I got a chance to adjust to the character moves. Lara has a nice set of abilities that seem to mimic the new Prince of Persia trilogy. Targetting is easily handled by hitting the "G" key and then the guns begin blazing by pounding on "H". She also has a graple which can be used to swing over chasms as well as grapple and pull things close to her (bullwhip, anyone?)

I haven't made it through the whole level yet, but so far, it is a lot of fun. I'm running a mid-range video card (128 meg Xtasy) and it looks great. Lara looks a lot more human than previous incarnations and she's had a little reduction in the chest. (Sorry ladies, but she now also has a waist size of -1.)

All in all, if you're looking for good solo, adventure gaming, this Legend could be what you're looking for.

Silent Birth and Idiots

Well, it's been a long time since I've done a post on Tom Cruise but this was just too good.

I was watching a news report this morning with a Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld on FOX News about the "silent birth" procedure that Cruise's "religion" demands. Here's what said about the procedure:

"The doctrine also states that newborns cannot be poked or prodded for medical tests or even spoken to for the first seven days of their lives, believing that babies go through so much pain during the birth, they shouldn't have to experience any further discomfort or sensory experience that could return later in life to haunt them."

Rosenfeld's take was that this policy could actually be harmful to the child. Remember that a child in the womb is NOT deaf and they can hear an awful lot going around, including the voice of the parents. In fact, it's believed this is soothing to the child. (Think of "imprinting" with horses and other animals.) So now, born under this "religion" you are supposed to actually take away stimulus from a newborn.

Note too that the doctor is not allowed to have any tests done for a week after birth. I understand that there are a lot of religions out there that don't like modern medicine. They have their opinion, I have mine.

I weep for the baby Zenu.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

So Cool, It's Scary

I have stumbled upon probably the coolest piece of software I have seen in some time. Yes, I know that I'm just adding to the insidious plot that Google has to take over mankind, but if these are the spoils, sign me up. Google Earth is (I guess) a new program that allows you to see, well, about anyplace on Earth that you want. You know how you've pulled up your house from a satellite photo? That's essentially what this is. However, this takes it about 100 steps further and it's just a lot of fun to play with.

I have been finding (not looking for, FINDING) places I used to live, work and other places that are important to me without entering in addresses. Using the interface, I'm able to pull these places up. Now, I've always been good at roads and directions so I can identify the landmarks. Still, this program makes it easy and it's a ton of fun.

Just for kicks, I put "Area 51" in the search bar. It zoomed in on the following image:

Yikes. Now, I have not been able to find the Great Pyramids (they don't have a Dex listing, you know) but I've seen the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Liberty and inside your bedroom window. Kidding.

This is a free download and you can get it at

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Well No Shit, Oprah

Newsflash: Oprah says "wealth is a good thing". That should resonate well with the daytime zombies that worship her.

Read the most obvious statement ever here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I'm a salesman, not a doctor, dammit!

Here's how I spent my Saturday evening.

I was running some work errands (don't ask) when the wife calls on the cell.

"You have to get home right now. Bailey shoved a bead up her nose and I can't see it."


So I meet Jen at Valley Medical Center. Why is it that everytime I have had to take someone to the Emergency Room, it's on a Saturday night? For the timecode, I think I arrived at 5pm. Jen had to leave for her own appointment so I sat with Bailey, who was very quiet, perhaps waiting for daddy to explode.


"Yes Daddy?" came the feeble reply.

"How did the bead get up your nose?"

"I don't know."

And I left it at that. In the meantime, I watched two other children puke in front of me, a hispanic woman alone with roughly 47 children running rampant, and a television BLARING (and I am not making this up) the ONLY movie that they will air unedited on television, "Saving Private Ryan".

Being the typical parent, I know that the bead is probably in her lung by now, will require major surgey and the donation of one of my lungs. Not that I was panicking, but that is where your mind goes when it's one of your kids. So the triage nurse tells me that this is no big deal and it happens all the time. Apparently the secret is to wait several hours with the bead precariously stuck in the nasal cavity waiting to get sucked down into the lungs.

"Bailey, don't inhale", I said.


We finally get taken over the ill-named "Rapid Care" building and wait an even longer time. Around 7:30, we get called in. Once we get Bailey on the gurney they tell us what they're going to do. This involves essentially the same tool they would use to open arteries. Instrument goes in, balloon inflates, pull back through. Sounds painful, but we have little choice.

The doctor then walks in and he's about 200 years old. He's muttering something about treating Lincoln. He's actually very nice though and looks up her nose and we can see the bead.

"Before we start sticking sharp instruments in there, I would like you to try the 'blow method' first", he says to me.

"The what?"

He wants me to hold shut her other nostril, wrap my lips around hers in a tight seal and blow hard and quick into her mouth. He believes this might shoot the bead out.

I think he's insane and I start looking for a blunt object.

Sensing my hesitation, he assures me that this is a "trick" that doctors usually don't tell patients but he thinks it's the best option first. Now, I'm worried because I have VERY good lung capacity. The first time, I don't blow hard enough. Second time, she moves and it doesn't work. Mind you, Bailey thinks this is very funny. The third time, I blow really hard and fast and a silver bead comes shooting out of Bailey's nose like a rocket. I'm not sure who in the room is more surprised but Bailey begans laughing hysterically. I check the bead for brains.

The doctor smiles and says "wow, I'm kinda surprised that worked." Where was that blunt object??

"So, since I did the work, do I still have to pay for this?" I asked.

So we laid out the ground rules. Nothing in the nose. Nothing in the ears. Only food and drink in the mouth. The nurse appends my list and tells Bailey she is allowed to put her elbow in her ear. She spends the rest of the night trying to do this.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Episode 16

An aside: We left daylight savings time (or entered it) during this season? Does that mean Jack has to relive 10pm-11pm. I hope not. This was a weird one.

In no particular order and spoilers lie ahead:

- I didn't quite catch why catching Bierko wasn't good enough. How did Jack know that someone else was in on it? That there was a higher connection?

- Poor Bill. How many times can you get replaced in the same day? And now, he's really pissed at Audrey. And he won't be around any longer to sexually harrass the new nutcase in CTU.

- With the new homeland security people coming in, doesn't this make like the third person to sit in Edgar's chair that day? On a side note, would you be walking so proudly and smiling into a building that was full of nerve gas just three hours previously??

- Logan? LOGAN? Hmm..this is really starting to look like "Lost" to me. The early conversations (which were private) between Cummings and Logan now make no sense whatsoever, unless we can believe that Cummings didn't know that Logan was really pulling the strings. Does Mike know? Where did he get off to?

- Gotta love the assistant. How many hours have we seen her onscreen with no hint that her daughter was being held by terrorists? And why was Robocop at work all day when this very important terrorist work was going on?

- So Wayne Palmer is in a car wreck, shot at with guns AND A MISSLE, runs through a drainage tunnel and into the woods but his suit is spectacular. Gotta love the Italian fabrics.

Still, it was a fun episode. There's a lot of really silly things happening but I do have fun with the show. I still say that there's someone else out there that knows Jack was alive. We have yet to see that addressed.

Monday, April 03, 2006


I swear I am not teaching him how to pose like a GAP catalog.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Howard the Stuck

I'm sorry, but I think this is really funny.

Howard Stern ("the King of all media") is angry and lashing out at his fan base for not following him to satellite radio. As in the case of a young man that works with me, $12.99 per month was too much to hear Howard talk dirty to stippers. Howard was very easily replaced on the radio dial.

There's a lot of reasons I don't like satellite radio or Howard, most come from my days in Radio. Satellite will eventually destroy local radio (thanks in no small part to the National Association of Broadcaster's blind stupidity). I suppose it will go the way of free TV. It's still there but few people don't have a cable box.

As for Howard, I have listened to his show a handful of times and have never been impressed. The majority of the people I know that like him do so because he "talks dirty". Every once in a while, you get the "Howard is brilliant, the voice of a new generation that believes in free speech and self-expression and ..blah blah blah". There are plenty of guys on the dial out there that DO fit that description and that do shows a thousand times better than Howard Stern's crap. I only recently discovered that Bob Rivers is here in Seattle and he does a great show which goes off-color at times, but is nowhere near the trainwreck that is a Stern show.

Don't get me wrong, but I do agree with Howard on what a bunch of shitheads the FCC are. Thank God I got out of Radio before that nonsense with Janet Jackson hit. Radio was in trouble long before that though. If you want to know why commercial Radio sucks, you can thank Bill Clinton and the total backdoor deal that was the 1996 Telecom Bill he so gleefully signed. (It's a long story if you ever want to hear it.)

So at the heart of it, I guess this is a statement on America. Stern, who's ratings were falling prior to his satellite move, believed America was so addicted to his schtick, that they'd pay anything to listen to even worse language and content. America, to our seldom recognized credit, wasn't that interested. Stern's broadcast Radio show was like a wreck on the side of the highway that a lot of people will stop to look at as they drive by, but few will actually leave their homes to go look at.