July 20, 2000

Advogato Entry 4

Well, I decided to mke2fs the damn thing.. Apparently, something exploded on my hard drive and threw random bits everywhere. I wrote a tiny program to try and find the 0xEF53 magic number marking a superblock -- found nothing in 1GB of data. I'm still trying to figure that one out especially considering that I did a byte-by-byte check. I should have gotten back hundreds or thousands or millions of false positives, but I got nothing.

I dd'd the first meg or so of the disk, found all sorts of aincent garbage (OnTrack disk manager, anyone?). Perhaps the kernel exploded after hitting the 5% reserved space for root... Hmm.. Found some text files that got turned into binary files from all of the flying bits. Oh well, at least it wasn't important data, and I do have a lot of it backed up on a CD somewhere..

Some of the corruption may have hit my /usr partition as well. MP3s were not playing nicely from XMMS. I ran `rpm -V xmms' and discovered that libmpg123.so had a bad md5sum. I just hope there aren't more problems.. Hmm.. Perhaps this had something to do with the solar flares (though I'd put that at about 3% probability). Maybe I need more shielding...

I'm probably going to write up several mini-howtos so my users can figure out how to mount their home directories via SMB, print to the Novell printers, and use SSH instead of telnet. Pretty generic, but who knows how well things will work. Also, I played around with the login scripts on our main Solaris box. People can now safely get bash running by creating a ~/.iwantbash file. I couldn't just change /etc/passwd to point to /usr/local/bin/bash, because there are other systems in the NIS domain that are Linux boxen with /bin/bash instead. Also, people can get GNU ls to work in color now with a ~/.iwantcolorls file. Hopefully, I put everything in the right place so the scripts people have written won't be broken..

I still have to tell my boss that I'll be gone for a week and a half to do Marching Band. Perhaps I'll have to do some coding on the Flute website. I just wish the U ran PHP on my web server..

Afternoon

*Yawn* *stretch* Ooh.. Actually did some work today. Did some more mangling on login scripts. What a mess those things are. However, I am really beginning to like RedHat's /etc/profile.d idea. I can just make tiny scriptlets and have them get run from either /etc/profile or /etc/bashrc (since it's an either-or situation when you start a shell, AFAICT). I suppose I'll be tinkering on über-scripts that can startup both Solaris and Linux pretty soon. Then again, I shouldn't play too much, since I won't actually have an opportunity to test them (users get a tad peeved when the system reboots in the middle of a week-long run of data analysis..). Oh well.

One of my roommates is coming to the apartment to visit. Yeah, he's not living here this summer. Stayed at home. Whatever. Of course, myself and the other roommate that are around here are happy he's coming, since his car works and we can finally go buy some food. It's either that or try your luck on some 7-month-old beef in the freezer. We're planning on going to X-Men this weekend, and I have another friend I should invite to come along. I hope I'll remember.

Found some school songs encoded in .au and .ra format on the Marching Band's homepage. I think I'll vorbize them, though I don't know how well 8-bit mono works..

Posted by mike at 02:39 PM Central | Dan , Josh , Movies , Music , Old Advogato Diary , School , Work | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 24, 2000

Advogato Entry 7

Evening

I had a refreshing weekend. Went out to see X-Men with two of my roommates and another friend on Friday -- very good show. Actually ate real food over the weekend, which was a nice change (our primary vehicle was down, so we hadn't been to the supermarket for a few weeks). However, I wish I'd had a decent chance to do some hacking..

Today I continued mucking around with login scripts -- that task will probably never end.. Solaris doesn't set $USER.. How weird. Oh well, I suppose it's not a big deal.

I played around with bash prompts a little too much. Man, tinkering with a cool color prompt can be really fun. Unfortunately, I have other stuff to do.

We're currently looking to find a cross-platform (well, just Solaris and Linux) backup solution. Right now, we're backing up the Solaris boxes with ufsdump, and the Linux boxes aren't getting backed up. We have BRU, though I'm not sure if we have enough licenses for the whole server cluster. I'll have to see if Amanda is a good choice, though we'll probably need to add SSL support.

We just put Samba on a few of our Solaris servers. It's working fine, but people are having trouble finding them in the browse lists. I'm not sure how stable SMB workgroups are when you have a large number of nodes. Many hosts seem to fade in and out of existence. We talked to the NT guys and they say that they have problems too. I'm sure that being on a /21 network doesn't help. NMB lookups still work, and a person can just type in `\\server\share', so I guess it's not a big deal.

I should really keep writing some documentation for the RLG Security Project that I'm trying to coordinate. At least I'm writing some similar documentation for my users at work, so maybe it won't be a big problem..

Posted by mike at 08:12 PM Central | Dan , Josh , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , School , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 11, 2000

Advogato Entry 24

Morning

The 12 Coins Problem: It's really easy if you have a balance with 3 platters. You can even do it in two weighings..

Oooh.. here we go -- ``The A&E guide to the late summer big studio movie toilet. Approach with caution.'' Space Cowboys: How bad is it? James Garner seems to be edging his way off the set. The Replacements: Survival Tip: You won't. Take strychnine.

Sometimes, the campus newspaper just rocks ;-)

Anyway, I'm really impressed with the level of political debate in the US these days (and it's amusing to watch the coverage of the Reform Party convention ;-). I think Nader (and the others too) is really getting people talking. Of course, this begs the question -- how many people are going to be in the debates? I remember that there were some debates already, just involving the Democratic and Republican candidates. IIRC, the Republicans had 5 candidates, and the moderator was making a valiant but vain attempt to keep order. That many candidates is very difficult to handle. But I think that if you let in Nader, it's only right to let in others, namely Buchanan (who I hate, just so you know) and Browne (and there are probably others). This is an interesting year, though the primary candidates are very un-interesting (IMHO).

The electricians are apparently going to take quite a while to get the three new 30A plugs in. They managed to do the conduit for one of the plugs yesterday. That's about it. Oh well, we plugged our Sun E425R into some regular jacks for the time being. Still crunching Seti@home packets instead of serving an Oracle DB. We still don't know when that will happen. We don't know what tools will be used in the database project, so the Oracle people won't come and install the db. I have to help research Java development environments. Oh fun.

Finally moved some data over and started using my 60 GB drive. I'm not sure how well ReiserFS is doing it's job, but the drive is extremely quiet. Nice. At work, I'm still torturing myself with an 800x600 display. I think this is part of the reason why I'm having trouble getting work done -- I can't get enough stuff on the screen at once to see what I'm doing.

Enough rambling. Time to do some work.

August 18, 2000

Advogato Entry 31

Early/Late

I shouldn't have, but I wrote something to Fred Moody. Cripes. The guy has `sources' that span a continent of hatreds. NT guys that hate Linux. BSD guys that hate Linux. Security guys that say having source code is a risk. Guys that say having source is a good thing. He has managed to make just about the most self-contradictory article ever. Is he insane? Well, I wouldn't blame him for going a little nuts after having to read what many /. trolls sent him, but this goes above and beyond...

Anyway, I shouldn't waste my diary entry on that.

schoen: Yeah, I felt pretty much like that. Didn't get much work done today after seeing that. I was hoping for a good outcome, but the judge couldn't or wouldn't try to test the Constitutionality of it. It'll pretty much go to the Supremes whether we like it or not. Hopefully, the MPAA won't try to completely stall the case (though I expect they will).

On the radar data front, I have been slowly digging up information about data formats. There's a bit here and here. I'm not sure if the data available over FTP is currently being encrypted or not. Apparently, they have designated times when it is not encrypted to facilitate testing of software. The encryption will be removed once everyone is able to receive over FTP or some sort of multicast. There's an older system called NIDS that has to be phased out before everything can be publically available.. Kind of strange. The RSL system apparently can't decode the products that NOAA is currently releasing, and I don't know if it ever will -- it seems to understand a more raw form of data.

Anyway, I hope I'll be able to find some software to decode the stuff that will be available over FTP. Either that, or I'll just have to keep hunting for decent documentation about the file formats...

Afternoon

Grr. I wish Mapquest had an option for making biker-friendly maps and directions. It should basically ignore interstate highways (which are illegal to bike on, unless you have a permit or something), and add bike trails.

I want to go see The Cell tonight. I am still pissed about the MPAA-DeCSS debacle, but I'm in need of some mind-bending.

Posted by mike at 01:58 PM Central | Law , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Software , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 19, 2000

Advogato Entry 32

Morning

I ended up riding my bike out to a theater in a nearby suburb in order to watch The Cell. It was both cool and not. Like with many movies, I'd already seen many of the best visuals in the ads, which was disappointing. Also, you could tell that Jennifer Lopez was trying to hide her accent, which was just annoying..

I remember that I had read too many reviews of The Matrix before seeing it, which spoiled much of the experience. It was still a cool movie, but I wasn't as surprised by what happened as everyone else was.

Seen on the web: LAPD Harassed Philly Mayor's Aide. ``We don't treat our guests in Philadelphia this way,'' the Mayor said. A lot of people would disagree.

I'm wondering if/when Kuro5hin will be resurrected. It was an interesting site.

There are a lot of different methods for distributing news and information popping up on the Internet. You have the traditional media, where the editors tell reporters what to do. You have places like Slashdot, where individuals tell editors about interesting things they've seen. Then there are places like Kuro5hin, where news is moderated before being released to everyone. Advogato requires a certain level of trust for people to be able to post news. The Independent Media Centers largely have an open policy where basically anyone can post.

In my opinion, a combination of these techniques is required. Certain reporters could gain trust and basically post whatever they want. People who are less trusted probably need to go through at least a thin layer of moderation and filtering. Perhaps everything should go through a kuro5hin-style moderation. Then again, it may be hard for the trust levels to work appropriately. For instance, if you have a general news site that suddenly starts getting input from a well-known reporter from a well-known newspaper, would they instantly become trusted and able to post anything? I suppose it depends on the audience.

If the readers get much of their news from corporate media outlets, they'd probably mark the reporter much higer than if the readers were more interested in the independent media.

Just some random thoughts..

Posted by mike at 07:31 AM Central | Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Politics , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 13, 2001

Advogato Entry 44

Well, I did go see Antitrust. I don't highly recommend it. Definitely a rental, unless you want to see the (usually very quick) screen shots in their full resolution.. If you want that, go see a matinee or watch it at a second-run theater.

I think the baseline story was good, it's just that the writer and director didn't quite know how to piece it together. I went and read a number of reviews, and I think many agree that there were some very good bits in it. A lot of them understood what the movie was supposed to be, and that the packaging just turned out to be pretty bad (although it looked good). Okay, the packaging was really, really bad. Ryan Phillippe? Why, God, why? A bunch of the sideline characters would have played the starring roles far better. There was one guy that helped introduce Phillippe's character (Milo) to the office that I thought really should have been played out much more. He had one of the best lines in the movie: ``You have a girlfriend? Like a real three-dimensional girlfriend? That's really rare around here, man.''

Also, the techie bits were pretty good. It looked like the f/x people actually listened to John Hall. It was kind of funny though, since some of the screenshots were based around Gnome, others appeared to be from CDE or something (the good guys used Gtk/Gnome, the evil guys appeared to use Motif).

In the end, the movie feels like it was an alpha release. I think it was spliced together pretty badly. It could be improved quite a bit by rearranging the scenes, making some cuts longer or shorter, etc. That would probably bring it up from one or one and a half star to two stars (of four). If they ditched most of the leading roles (Phillippe, Forlani, Cook) and replaced them with the supporting stars, it could have easily reached 3 out of 4.

I heard over the grapevine that Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman (along with a bunch of people from Ximian/HelixCode) went to see the movie. Apparently, Nat was very loudly making Miguel's presence known to the theater crowd, and Miguel wasn't terribly happy about that. But, like I said, that's over the grapevine..

Posted by mike at 10:45 AM Central | Movies , Old Advogato Diary | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 08, 2001

Advogato Entry 189

I was in #billennium on irc.openprojects.net. Wow ;-)

Our apartment's female friend appears to have picked the guy she's going to get to know the most. We'll see how that plays out.

Just saw AI at the cheap theater. I thought it was good, but then I suppose I had lowered expectations, since everyone I had talked to had just thought, ``meh...''

Put `set blink-matching-paren on' in /etc/inputrc or ~/.inputrc for paren matching in bash and other programs that use the readline library.

Append `user_pref("capability.policy.default.Window.open", "noAccess");' to your Mozilla prefs.js file to get rid of those stupid popup windows.

Posted by mike at 10:23 PM Central | Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 02, 2001

Advogato Entry 197

Haven't posted for a few days. Been somewhat busy with homework and, well, being lazy. Currently seeing if I can compile octave-mpi again or not.

Too bad `make -jN' doesn't always work. I suppose people don't like having to set up the proper dependency structures for it..

Stalled too much on homework this weekend. Got it mostly done, but not as good as I could have done. Something just seemed to be missing for me after a while.

I suppose James Randi could probably debunk it easily, but it's interesting that the Global Consciousness Project at Princeton apparently can see changes in the output of random number generators when big events happen, suggesting that thought or emotion can somehow affect the physical world.

I've wondered a lot about my place in the world. Probably any conscious being would do the same. There are the thoughts where you wonder about where, when, and why. Is the world real, or some sort of test for a soul or a mind?

Maybe I read too much sci-fi as a kid, though I think I just identified with it. But it probably had a negative impact, too.

I probably believe a little too much in fate. I just expect certain things to happen in my life. I'll get a girlfriend someday, and things will just happen, right? Unfortunately, it hasn't `just happened' yet. Which all probably just screws up my worldview and makes me feel like I got left out or something, somewhere didn't click when it was supposed to.

I tend to get like this after I've spent too much time sequestered in my room. I need to get out of the apartment more, see more people, and probably get out of town. Again, timing lands in my way. I was hoping to see Zoolander with friends this weekend, but it sounds like they'll be going next weekend, when I'm planning to go home for a few days.

Dammit dammit dammit dammit..

Posted by mike at 09:14 AM Central | Movies , Old Advogato Diary , School , September 11th , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 27, 2001

Advogato Entry 204

Hmm. Mozilla has trouble picking font sizes on my computer. Appears to be an issue with the interaction of Mozilla, Xinerama, and the X font server. TrueType fonts seem to exacerbate the problem, but it's hard to be sure.

Hopefully I can find where the bug is, if there is one, this week during Mozilla's bugweek. I think, just like with gv and gnome-gv, it's calculating DPI of the screen incorrectly. If I specify the font size to be 14pt (what my normal font is set to in browser settings), I get a font much larger. Huge, in fact.

Even 8pt text is big. It's crazy.

Anyway..

Saw Iron Monkey. It's more bloody than the other Kung-Fu movies I've seen, so Quentin Tarantino supporting it isn't too surprising.

Driving back, I was reminded of the fluidity of life. I don't spend much time in cars, so I forget how driving can be like a dance, and how traffic has such interesting motions. In my life, where things are often measured in frames-per-second, it's good to be reminded that the real world is much more continuous.

I really wish I'd dated at least a girl or two in High School. I still don't know how this sort of thing works. Not that I have any opportunity to find out at the moment..

Dammit.

Posted by mike at 10:28 PM Central | Movies , Old Advogato Diary , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 23, 2001

Advogato Entry 221

Spent a while talking to my Dad about the wireless firewall project I've been playing with for months. I was reminded of some of the reasons why we wanted to use `real' IP addresses instead of RFC1918 `internal' addresses. We wandered onto the subject of the new version of IP, IPv6. I believe he wasn't aware that it used 128-bit addressing.

Anyway, I'll probably be replacing our home's Linux IP Masq gateway with a Linksys router. My Dad isn't a Linux guru, so I'm sure he'll appreciate the web-based administration. Also, it's probably slightly less politically charged than having a Linux box sitting there. Annoying that Linux users even have to think about that..

My family is planning to go see Monsters, Inc. tonight.. Not sure if I'll do any shopping this weekend. If I do, I'll have to see if anything jumps out at me as a gift for Sarah -- her birthday is Sunday.

Posted by mike at 06:34 AM Central | Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , Wireless | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 25, 2001

Advogato Entry 222

It's Sarah's birthday today. I have to remember to at least send her an e-mail. I kind of wanted to get her a gift, but I had no idea what would be good.

Anyway, heading back to school later today. Not even sure yet if my brother and I will be taking a car. My birthday is at the end of the week, so I suppose he'll want it around so he can go shopping.

Saw The Dish last night. Pretty good movie about the radio telescope in Australia that picked up the TV images of the moon landing. Pretty funny, too, though it made me realize that the Australian accent is a little harder for me to understand than I thought it was.

Carrier Pigeons! hehe..

Well, I did quite a bit of stuff over break. Thank goodness none of it involved school.

Posted by mike at 08:00 AM Central | Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 13, 2001

Advogato Entry 234

I think I'll hold off getting a laptop until after Christmas. Still not sure if I want the system I mentioned previously -- in total, I'd probably shell out over $2000 to get the system, more RAM, and a wireless card. I'm just not sure if I want to spend that much money. Also, the system would have to arrive by the end of next week. I don't feel like pushing the shipping industry any harder than it's already going :-p

Which reminds me -- I have some savings bonds I should cash in..

School-related activities are winding down for the semester. I don't have any more homework, and I worked my way down to two finals: one on Tuesday and the other on Thursday.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.. Dammit. I just know I'm going to make a mess of things. On the upside, I know I'm handling things much better than I could be. I have some e-mail laying around from High School when I couldn't keep my eyes off another girl -- I basically didn't know up from down back then.

Anyway, just trying to be her friend, I guess. Might get to go see Lord of the Rings with her next week. I guess everyone else wants to wait until next Saturday, but I'm expecting to be at home by then. Sarah wants to go on Wednesday (opening night), so that's probably when I'd go.

Later

Whoops! My finals are on Tuesday and Wednesday. Glad I went to class today (er, well, one of my classes).

Posted by mike at 07:29 AM Central | Laptop , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 12, 2002

Advogato Entry 250

Wrote up some of my experiences so far in getting Linux going on my laptop, and submitted it to the linux-laptop folks.

Discovered the other day that APIC was the problem on my computer, causing it to hang when an APM event of some kind happened.

I want to get out of the apartment. I need to buy some more pop and get some RJ45 connectors so I can build a good Ethernet cable. There are probably tons of other things I should do, too. I'd like to pick up a wireless PC card, but I don't think there are any good deals on those around here (too bad my main source of stuff is either Tran Micro or Best Buy.. I'd go out and get the stuff, but my nerves are shot.

Last night, Josh's friend Teresa came over, and we all watched Pay It Forward. A decent movie, but that's not why I'm talking about it. Teresa had complained about her roommate bringing her boyfriend overnight recently. I didn't say anything, but Josh and Sarah have been staying overnight a lot over break.

This morning, Josh asked me if it bugged me when Sarah was around so much. I couldn't really give a good answer. I thought about it a bit, and sent him an e-mail telling him that it is kind of hard having her around. I'm jealous that they could be having such a great time together. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm alone in the apartment, so it's really weird when she's around, but I can't get to know her since she's in the other room or something (and then promptly exits the room when I come in).

Anyway, Josh asked me about this when he got back from work. Should she spend less time here? No.. Do you want want to get to know her better? Um, er. Uh. Yeah. But, you know.. Uh. Only if.. Hmm..

So, I don't know what's going on. I'm going nuts. Sarah's not around now, and I don't know how much I'll be around over the next few days.

Posted by mike at 01:17 PM Central | Josh , Laptop , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 13, 2002

Advogato Entry 251

Just saw "The Royal Tenenbaums" with my family. It was a very weird movie, and it involved some pretty dark feelings. Still, it was pretty funny, and I'm glad I saw it. We went to the new theater in town that has nice stadium seating. Heck, the picture was even in focus!

Decided to put my more private stuff in a plaintext file on my laptop. No need to clutter up these pages with the junk in my head.

Compiled a new kernel for my laptop with VESA framebuffer support, but it doesn't seem to work right.. A mode that had worked in a previous incantation of the 2.4.17 kernel no longer works. Strange. At any rate, nobody knows the value to put in for 1600x1200 anyway.

Posted by mike at 08:51 PM Central | Laptop , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 15, 2002

Advogato Entry 272

Went to see Michael Moore tonight over in St. Paul. I was worried that he'd been lying about having overflow crowds for his book tour, but there really was a big line out the door of the church he was at, and there were a bunch of people who stayed out in the cold for 3 hours so that they could see him speak for the second time in one evening.

He showed some clips for his movie coming out this fall, Bowling for Columbine. Mostly, he just talked about stuff, but it was very funny, and it was cool to see people come together to talk about things that are supposedly unpopular here in the US at the moment.

Got in line to get into the church just behind the host of Mental Engineering, John Forde (eww.. that page definitely came out of something from Microsoft).. While we were all waiting to get in, someone in the line ahead of him asked, ``Anyone know what it's like inside this place?''

He said, ``No, I haven't been to church for a while,'' and paused.. ``I could tell you what the inside of detox looks like, though.'' That was pretty funny, but kinda not in the way I hoped..

Posted by mike at 09:31 PM Central | Michael Moore , Movies , Old Advogato Diary , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 27, 2003

Codecs and Transports and Players, Oh My!

Over the last few days, I've been playing around with the mencoder video encoder from MPlayer. Mostly, I've been monkeying with options and trying to find the best ways to encode MPEG4 video using the libavcodec codecs.

Last night, I downloaded the final trailer for The Matrix Reloaded, and discovered that my computer (a 1.3GHz Athlon) wasn't fast enough to play the movie. This is probably due to the fact that there are no Linux-native players for QuickTime (at least, none for the Sorenson codecs that Apple uses these days). I can play the files under Linux because some smart programmers use some trickery to load software library files (DLLs and other paraphernelia) ordinarily used for Windows in a way that they can be used in Linux.

Since my computer wasn't fast enough to pull that trick, I re-encoded the file, and then played it. It probably took me about half an hour to get it right, but when I did, the image quality was pretty impressive. The Sorenson codecs appear to sharpen images a little bit, so the image seemed slightly fuzzier when I re-encoded it, but not much. I think if I had the same source material to encode in the first place, the free codec I used would probably compare pretty well with the commercial software used to encode the trailer I downloaded.

The video file has a resolution of 1000x540 (a previous teaser trailer had a resolution of 1024x464, which is actually considerably smaller). The original file had a compressed video bitrate of about 5 megabits/second, and I tried to do a fair comparison, so my encodings were done to the same bitrate. I got a bit frustrated at times, since I was encoding a video that had already been compressed. I could see there were compression artifacts, but it was hard to tell how much was there from the original encoding, and how much was from my second pass.

Anyway, it seemed to me that the codecs are very comparable. It might be good to run a sharpening filter on output from the MPEG4 codec, just to get some edges highlighted, but it's probably hard to do that right. Also, (for me at least), the MPEG4 codec needed much less CPU power.

Posted by mike at 04:38 PM Central | Movies , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 28, 2003

Signs of the End Times

Hmm. The world might end soon -- I've got a Christina Aguilera song stuck in my head, and I don't really mind. We were listening to "Fighter" in the car on our way to Little T's, and Kari and Erin got into a discussion of how the video for that song is worse than the "Making-Of" show for the video. This is kind of interesting. I've been noticing that meta-entertainment (entertainment about entertainment: trailers, promo shows, etc) is often better than the entertainment it's linked to. For example, if you had the people who made the trailer for Adam Sandler's movie Anger Management do the movie itself, it probably would have been much better.

I just hope this doesn't apply to The Matrix sequels.

Posted by mike at 11:19 AM Central | Erin , Kari , Movies , Music , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 29, 2003

Watching Crap

I think my mom had mentioned something about the show Watching Ellie coming back, and possibly being better than what it was before, so I set my computer to record it. I've seen two episodes, one from today and one from last week, but neither was very good. The only real positive to the show is the presence of Steve Carell as Edgar, who is so good at insincere sincerity that he can make anything funny. Those years working on The Daily Show must have paid off.

On the subject of TV shows, I keep wondering if Good Morning, Miami is going to get canceled. NBC keeps dropping it off the schedule for weeks at a time, but it keeps coming back. Apparently, it's considered a "[b]ona fide new hit" and will likely stay on the air. I like the show, but it has a story line that can't help but get tiring quickly. They reworked it after the first few episodes, getting rid of the nun (good), and the only latina on the show (bad). A show about Miami without any Cubans in it.. Sheesh.

Ooo! I think it's awesome that The Real Cancun bombed over the weekend. It opened at number 10. Screw you, MTV.

Posted by mike at 10:08 PM Central | Daily Show , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 01, 2003

X2

Looks like some movie theaters ran X2 at midnight, but it looks like these are the times for Block E this weekend (though you can't buy tickets for 4:30 and 5:00 on the web).

1:00pm* | 1:30pm* | 2:00pm* | 4:00pm* | 4:30pm* | 5:00pm* | 7:00pm | 7:30pm | 8:00pm | 10:00pm | 10:30pm

Posted by mike at 10:03 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 02, 2003

I'll Have a Coke

Woke up with a strange feeling today, like something bad is going to happen. Maybe something good is going to happen. More likely, nothing is going to happen.

Dan, Kari, Adam, and I went to buy Friday tickets for X2 last night, then stopped in Borders for a while, and finally spent 45 minutes or so at Applebee's doing Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary Edition trivia. I think I got the most questions right ;-)

I was kind of surprised to know so many answers. I guess I'm much better at the 20th Anniversary version than the other versions, though I'm not quite the right age to be really good. I think some of Erin's older friends can totally beat my ass at it ;-)

Posted by mike at 11:05 AM Central | Adam , Dan , Erin , Kari , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2003

Blockbuster Time

Just got back from seeing X2. Very good movie, though I think they relied too much on the music to push on your emotional buttons in intense scenes. At least it wasn't that annoying electric guitar stuff like in Con Air and half the movies Mark Mancina scored ;-)

Anyway, you get to see a lot of people rip it up in X2, which is pretty entertaining. It was a heavier body count than I was expecting, though, and I got a little disturbed when audience members started laughing at some points where people died..

Still, a good movie, though you probably need to see it with someone who knows a fair bit about the X-Men saga to understand some of the things that happen (especially the little bit at the end).

On a lighter note, I'm very excited to see Finding Nemo when it comes out. Pixar totally rocks. It was also cool to see The Matrix Reloaded trailer on the big screen, but I could tell that the projector was cutting off a bit on the edges of the picture.

I watched the trailer so many times while playing with encoders that I saw some bits were missing. Most of the time it didn't matter, but there were some bits where something important got cropped out. I think this also happened in X2 a bit. In one scene where Mystique is in close quarters with Wolverine and frequently changing form it was impossible to see the hair she had, so you couldn't really tell who she was pretending to be.

Well, at least I only paid the student discount price ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:36 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 06, 2003

Today's Episode Brought to You By the Number 12

Why have so many things over the last few years been named after the letter O? It's not even like all of the e-services or i-product names that have come out for electronic or Internet-related things. I'm not talking about predicates or suffixes, just one letter.

There have been movies, stories, magazines, and now performance routines.

There was even a court case that came up between Oprah's O magazine and «O», a fetish mag from across the pond. Apparently the fetish mag had been around longer, but I'm pretty sure a judge decided that someone could tell pretty quickly by looking at the cover whether it was an Oprah magazine or the other one.

Cirque du Soleil has decided that one word is too much, and has gone down to just calling their routine “O”.

There was the movie O that came out two years ago, apparently an update of Shakespeare's Othello (which I didn't know until just now). But I imagine the name has been used for other movies (porn, porn, porn..).

Anyway, I just find it interesting that people tend to name things similarly on occasion. This is just one weird example where the name is really short and extraordinarily non-descriptive.

Posted by mike at 02:47 AM Central | Movies , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You Dog!

Woo! The Indiana Jones trilogy will be coming out on DVD in November. Just in time for my birthday wish list ;-)

Posted by mike at 03:06 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2003

Did Stuff And Got Things

I managed to exercise a little bit today, and went for a walk to Dinkytown and back. The main reason for going was to drop off the Mother's Day card I got for my mom at the post office. I'm not sure if I put it in the best place, though. I put it in the mail slot inside the post office.

At the post office back home, there are two mail slots inside, and two mail drop boxes in front. In both places, one is designated for in-city mail, and the other is for out-of-city. The mail will get there either way, but it's just faster if you put it in the right place.

Anyway, so my mom might not get her card until Monday. Oh well.

While I was in Dinkytown, I dodged some Greenpeace people and then went to Cheapo to get some music. I picked up the soundtrack to A Life Less Ordinary (another movie Ewan McGregor sings in -- or at least pretends to) and also The Matrix Reloaded. Yes, I got the soundtrack a week before I have any chance of seeing the movie.

Strangely, the soundtrack even has it's very own website. Hopefully, it's the only place you'll ever find a link image like this. Don't worry -- the Dave Matthews Band song is remixed by Paul Oakenfold ;-)

Posted by mike at 03:39 PM Central | Exercise , Family , Movies , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Does Not Compute

Okay, I'm almost done listening to both soundtracks. So far, I'm much happier with my Life Less Ordinary purchase. It even has a nasty message emblazoned on it, so I get to feel like a filthy lawbreaker ;-)

For promotional use only.
No sale allowed.
Must be returned on demand
of copyright owner

Anyway, check out the track listing. Of course, it helps that it cost $7.50 used versus almost $20 for the Matrix soundtrack (which has 2 discs).

I might change my mind after I see the new movie, though.

Posted by mike at 07:26 PM Central | Movies , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

May 15, 2003

Wish I Could Fly Like That

Saw The Matrix, and it was good. I think I personally liked it better than X2, but it still had problems. I think some of the fight scenes went on a bit too long, and maybe it was a bit funnier than it really should have been (going the opposite way of X2).

Maybe I just like pseudo-philosophical movies ;-)

I dropped my brother off after the movie and got diverted from my usual path home because I saw some flashing lights up ahead, and took the long route back, which goes past Dan/Josh/Erin's place (maybe I should just start calling it ”JED's place“). I saw some people standing in the driveway, and went over to see what was up. I guess they were looking at the after-effects of the Moon's eclipse.

I wanted to hang out a bit, but I needed some sleep. I almost got sucked into going along when Kjersten said something along the lines of, ”Isn't it sad when you like movies better than reality?“ Some of my reasons for liking movies better than reality were standing right there at the time, so I didn't really want to think about it too much.

I went home, reminded that the world I want isn't real, no matter how hard I want it to be. That's got to be the worst part of a movie like this..

Ah well, off to bed. I hope I have pleasant dreams tonight.

Posted by mike at 11:06 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 19, 2003

Sit-Down Stand-Up

So, I went home. I took a detour to Roseville so I could pick up North by Northwest on DVD for my Dad. I got Robin Williams: Live on Broadway for myself, though maybe I just should have rented it. It's good, and any of my friends can borrow it, but I probably couldn't watch the whole thing with other people around.. When I watch it again myself, I'll probably have to fast-forward through some bits.

I've always liked what I've been able to see of Robin Williams, so I guess I expected a bit more of the uncensored version of him. There's a lot of good stuff, but running around saying “Fuck off!” every 30 seconds doesn't really rise above the rest. I'm kind of disappointed..

I was remembering that I had high praise for him back in high school. When my graduating class wrote up profiles of ourselves, we were asked to name people we most admire, and I picked him because he could “bring a smile to anyone's face.” I still think that's true, but it might not be all smiles that he brings.

There were moments when I was watching the video and thinking of the kick in the pants I got when, weeks before graduation, my profile somehow randomly got printed right next to the profile of the girl I'd had a crush on all those years. Seeing her face next to mine—sporting huge ugly eyeglasses and dorky grin—did not sit well with me. But hell, she probably threw up when she saw it.

Oh well, I suppse I still managed better in high school than this poor kid.

Posted by mike at 07:30 PM Central | Comedy , Family , Movies , School , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 21, 2003

The Not-So-Great Adventure

Went home. Stuff happened.

I actually got a vacuum cleaner. A Eureka WhirlWind LiteSpeed 5740A, which appears to be highly rated on Epinions. Got it at Sears for $100.

I've used it a little. One of the quietest vacuums I've ever heard (though you can still definitely tell it's a vacuum). My mom was acting jealous when she saw how much stuff it picked up from the floor she'd vacuumed a few days before.. I figure that it was probably just picking up bits of disintegrating carpet, though..

We all watched North by Northwest after our excursion to Sears, and it was a good movie. You get to see a young Martin Landau! I never knew he was young! The cinematography seems so weird, though, since everything pretty much has the feel of being on a soundstage, even though some of it must have been shot outside. I'm not sure if that was the original intention, or if that's just what happened when the film got cleaned up to be put on DVD.

At any rate, it was nice watching it on my parents' TV, which produces a very clear picture. If I remember right, it's the 27" Samsung TXM2796HF. It's a flat-screen CRT that can do progressive scan and possibly better, but the documentation is a bit thin on the precise capabilities. My parents were out looking at TVs and decided on it because it looked much better than the standard interlaced Sony TVs of the same price range. I forget exactly what they paid, probably around $600.

There are a few things I don't like about it, the most prominent of which is the fact that the scan lines start to get bent about halfway down the screen. They start slightly angling like a roof or a caret (^), but the effect seems to get reduced when the CRT warms up.. Still, I was pretty amazed by the image we got while watching the movie.

The TV didn't come with an HDTV tuner, so I'm considering giving one to my parents as a thank-you for giving me way too much money during college.

Posted by mike at 04:14 PM Central | Abode , Family , Hardware , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 30, 2003

I Feel Good. I Feel Great. I Feel Wonderful.

Something's a bit weird about me today. I think I haven't been eating right. Oh well, at least I got out of the apartment—I went to Snyders, made some copies of my cable bills (to submit with my rent), and bought some filing folders so I can organize my bills.

I only get a few bills each month, but they're already stressing me out. I guess things get a little confusing since my rent and cable are pre-paid, but electricity and cell phone are post-paid.

Still, I'm starting to feel the bills, so hopefully I'll finally be motivated for finding work on Monday. It's the start of a new month, a way to get going fresh..

The weather is kind of keeping me inside at the moment, though I think I'm going to have to do something later. I'm just off-kilter right now and need something to put me in balance. Maybe someone will want to go see Finding Nemo with me, though maybe that should wait until Sunday or Monday.

Posted by mike at 03:32 PM Central | Abode , Movies , Self , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2003

Heh.. Movies Are Awesome

From Go:

Burke: Now, as law enforcement officers, Irene and I, we cannot recruit distributors from inside the force. It's against the rules. So what we do, is we look for people in other industries.
Irene: Like the entertainment industry.
Zack: Uhh, wait, wait. You want us to sell Amway?
Burke pauses, and looks perplexed
Burke: It's Confederated Products, it's, it's... it's a different company. It's a different quality of product.

Outside:

Zack: I need to do something terrifically unwholesome after that. I need to bathe in sin.

I agree.

Posted by mike at 06:23 PM Central | Movies | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 01, 2003

Consume This!

Bah, looks like the kind of pizza I like to get has disappeared at Rainbow. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that a lot of Rainbow stores were closed down recently. I forget exactly what the problem was, but the parent company was having financial difficulties. Rainbow is now owned by some other company (from Wisconsin, IIRC).

I was semi-fortunate to have a bagger for once. Well, he helped the cute girl in line ahead of me, but then was reluctant to do my stuff. I suppose I shouldn't complain too much, as I'm fully capable of doing it myself. Still, it's always a pain to find bags with handles there.

I can usually do a much better job of bagging, though. This guy seemed to be stoned, and didn't even fill my bags halfway. By the time I'd paid, he'd sort of done two of these bags, leaving bread and some other light groceries on the belt. I got a bit pissed off at this, and practically ripped the stuff out from under his hands and topped off the bags myself.

And don't even get me started on parking lots.. Aagh!

Anyway, my mom's going to be stopping by on her way home from Fargo to have some supper. I'll need to clean up a bit.

I just hope people don't call me right when she gets here to say they're going out.. We'll see what happens.

Woo! Finding Nemo has a 99% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Posted by mike at 02:56 PM Central | Family , Food , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 02, 2003

Accentuate the Positive

Ah well, kind of hit a down note after coming back from a nice walk this evening. I decided to IM someone who seemed to be annoyed that I wanted to chat. Oh well.

So, after sulking for a while, I popped in Blast from the Past and relaxed a bit. It's a pretty corny movie, but it's pretty funny and I think it fits Brendan Fraser pretty well. Of course, I suppose I've got a bit of a thing for Alicia Silverstone too ;-)

Yeah, I'm weird.

Well, I write far too much, so goodnight.

Posted by mike at 01:14 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 04, 2003

Ah, What Wonderful Crap

Well, I came back to my place after watching The Animatrix and waited to watch The Daily Show. I didn't want to have weird Animatrix dreams...

Anyway, while I'm waiting, I hear one of my remaining drives click and spin down.

Ouch.

All of the drives seem to be having problems now. Not sure if turning down the fan is what did it. Hopefully not.

I guess it's good I didn't buy a Gameboy Advance SP while I was out with Dan at Best Buy this evening.. I did pick up some CDs. Free All Angels by Ash, and Golden State by Bush.

Posted by mike at 12:28 AM Central | Dan , Hardware , Movies , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 14, 2003

Fam-tastic

Heading home this evening. I got a Father's Day gift for my dad, though it isn't much. I'm going to a play, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, with my family tomorrow afternoon. Other than that, I'll probably try to take in a movie or two. Perhaps The Italian Job, and for some reason, I haven't seen Finding Nemo yet...

I suppose I'll head back up on Monday.

I'm debating if I want to go see Bill Maher when he comes in two weeks. I'd enjoy it, I'm sure, so I should probably do it.. I guess I'll have to see how my pocketbook feels when I come back up to the Cities.

Well, time to pack.

Posted by mike at 04:42 PM Central | Comedy , Family , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 15, 2003

Oh God

Even for a Sunday, I think I had to deal with too much religion today.

Went along with my family to church, which of course meant that this week's preacher was a woman who, with her voice, should have followed the call to become a kindergarten teacher rather than a person who interacts with adults on a regular basis. In addition, baptisms and communion followed, prolonging the whole mess. At least we were outside in some lawn chairs, so I could stretch my legs rather than being confined in a pew.

Got lunch after that, and did Father's Day gifting back at the house. I got my dad The Shawshank Redemption while my brother got him the book God's Debris by Scott Adams.

The play followed, and was actually very entertaining. However, it had religious overtones too—Jews calling each other ‘kikes,’ plus some more subtle stuff... I guess the play was written by the same guy who did Driving Miss Daisy, though Jews in Atlanta is about as far as the similarities go (or was the movie in Alabama? I forget...)

It was funny, though, and I went backstage afterward to visit with Suzi, my friend who was in it. She was excited to see me again, and I have no complaints about a cute blonde jumping at the chance to give me a hug ;-)

We sort of planned to see a movie together tonight, but then she went and tired herself out with the others there while striking the stage. Instead, continuing the religious theme, I went to see Bruce Almighty with my brother. It was okay, though I certainly had higher expectations for this evening...

Still, my friend said she's planning to come up to the Cities in two weeks, so hopefully we can finally see a movie together (well, actually, we once went to see Muppets in Space together years ago, though that was just because the movie we wanted to see was sold out).

Posted by mike at 11:29 PM Central | Family , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 21, 2003

Wahoo Internet-Fu!

Got bored watching TV, and then Hackers started up on SciFi channel. Watching it reminded me how much I always wanted the soundtrack, but I think it was only available in stores for about a week—three years after the movie came out. Something like that, at least.

Anyway, a simple search for “hackers soundtrack” found it.

Yay for the Internet!

Update: Of course, some of the files are broken, and the soundtrack didn't include all of the music in the movie (there's a track by Massive Attack that wasn't on it—I used to have the Massive Attack CD, though I think one of my friends took it years ago and never gave it back). Must have been replaced by a token rap song or closing credits diddy.

Posted by mike at 11:01 PM Central | Movies , Music , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 28, 2003

Body Snatchers

Left Dan's place, where people were watching Re-Animator. The actor I was thinking of was Jeffrey Combs—he played Weyoun on Deep Space Nine and showed up as an Andorean (sp?) and I think some other species on Enterprise.

Interestingly enough, the character he played in DS9 gets killed off and then comes back (multiple times, I think). Not exactly re-animated, but he got to be on the show a while longer at least...

Posted by mike at 01:30 AM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 08, 2003

Improving Your Image

Hey hey hey! Finally got a scanner going at work today. A Jade2 made by Linotype-Hell (yes, that was a real company—though it was probably bought out by Umax at some point). So, I was really happy, until I connected the scanner to another computer. The thing just refused to work with the software I had. Bah.

Well, that other computer has different stuff on it, and lots of things are proving to be incompatible. Then again, at least one thing is working on that machine that isn't working on the other one (hey, they fixed a bug.. woo!)

I'm considering getting a DV camera, though I suppose I probably won't. I hardly ever take still pictures, and find very little need to do movies, but it would be fun to play with video editing. Well, I suppose if I come across a cheap one...

Heh, of course, it would be really fun to get one of those HDTV cameras, though they only cost $3000 or so ;-)

Hmm.. I notice that there is a big mix of 24fps versus 30/60fps cameras out there for HDTV. Obviously, the 24fps cameras are for people who want to do film without film, and the other cameras are for everyone else. I just wonder if some people are going to feel pissed off if they get the type they didn't expect..

Hmm.. That train of thought doesn't make much sense. I guess it's getting late for me...

Posted by mike at 10:05 PM Central | Hardware , Movies , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2003

They Must Have Attended Screw U

Attempted to go see Pirates of the Caribbean, but the folks at Block E don't want to sell tickets after the showing starts.. That annoyed me greatly—I think I will tend to go to other theaters if I can. The actual seating is nice, but the service there tends to suck, and who thought out that stupid bathroom positioning anyway? Oh well, I was not sure about how I felt about being near a certain couple for an extended period of time..

So, I ended up wasting time at Borders, and then went to Target with Spike and Erin. Picked up Weird Al's new CD, and was informed that he'll be at the State Fair. I may have to go to that..

Moved onto some different test platforms today at work. One involves the same model of laptop that my brother has, which is kind of neat. However, I ran into a problem as soon as I started. In theory, the thing is supposed to work, but I was greeted with the Mac's equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death. Of course, Apple decided that the crash message should be multi-lingual, which I don't quite get..

Anyway, I want to bring in my laptop, just to see if Linux behaves the same way as MacOS. Just curious.

I accidentally trashed the database containing my preferences and desired shows for MythTV. Oops. I guess I shouldn't give myself root access after about 11 PM.

Ugh. Hewlett-Packard has some really annoying Shockwave Flash banner ads on Yahoo now that use a ton of CPU power. Whenever I open a few pages from Yahoo news, my browser slows down to a snail's pace. Bastards..

Posted by mike at 11:13 PM Central | Erin , Hardware , Internet , Josh , Laptop , Movies , Music , Sarah , Software , Spike , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 12, 2003

Musicali

The Linux users mailing list I usually post to seems to be rejecting my mail now. Not sure why that is. I think the University may have stopped allowing a certain form of authentication that the LUG mailing list was using to verify that my e-mail address was valid..

I bought High Fidelity at Best Buy today, 'cuz it was $10. There aren't any paper “liner notes” (or whatever you call it for a DVD), but there's a lot of extra stuff on the disc. About nine deleted scenes (which I looked at) and interviews with the cast and so forth (which I didn't). There are a few trailers for other lame movies, too.. Not the best film to DVD conversion I've ever seen (they shrunk the image slightly and put a black box around the whole thing), but hey it was cheap.

I'm really wanting to write a nice music program for Linux. Something that will do everything automagically (though I guess those various artists discs are always a trick..)

Most Linux software for music cataloguing and playing is either web-based or requires you to be running a database server on your system. Like I want to do that. That takes effort, dammit. I want something that requires no effort.

Reminds me of a comment a Math professor once made. Something along the lines of, “It's amazing how much effort a Math person will put into something to avoid doing actual work.” That applies to programmers as well...

Well, someone probably made the program I wanted. There was something called “xTunes” (referring to the X Window System that most people use on Linux), but I guess Apple sued or something since the name was too similar to “iTunes.”

Posted by mike at 08:21 PM Central | Movies , Music , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

To the eXtreme!

I suppose I should mention that I saw The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen last night. It was something to do and ended up being about what I expected. I guess I couldn't get over the whole crazy-Pakistani-looking Captain Nemo, though..

Previews were only 15 minutes. Maybe Block E did me a service the other day by not selling me a ticket—the movie may have actually been playing by the time we got there..

Posted by mike at 08:38 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 20, 2003

Like Television

While I wait for my first paycheck to arrive (one of the really annoying parts of going through a contracting agency), I'm in the mood for low-cost entertainment. I watched a recording of the movie Fahrenheit 451 that my computer made, and I'm slowly attacking the Project Gutenberg text of Anna Karenina. I'm converting my copy to an HTML version as I go, so there is at least some point in finishing it (there are other HTML versions out there, but they don't really follow the formatting style I prefer)…

I suppose that, in theory, I'm not supposed to understand the book. There are themes that I just have not had the opportunity to experience in life yet. (And at this rate…) But maybe I have not properly interpreted what other people said about the book. It so far seems to just be about princes and princesses—kind of odd material for almost anyone living in 2003.

I haven't managed to read any (non-technical) books for a while, so hopefully it will be entertaining no matter what…

I was sitting out eating lunch at Chipotle thinking that the United States has an entertainment culture, but then I remembered that we also work more than most other cultures. The dichotomy of working too hard and playing too hard is the best definition of the culture of the USA I can come up with at the moment…

Posted by mike at 12:33 PM Central | Books , Food , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 21, 2003

Working for the Devil

Started working with Windows XP Media Center today. I have to admit, it is kind of cool, but there are certain design decisions that I don't really go for..

My car seems to be acting up and hesitating a bit on the highway. I'm concerned, because this is similar behavior to what has happened in the past when the fuel computer goes nuts. However, I think the O2 sensor must be getting gunked up with all of the driving I've been doing recently, so I'll have to look into replacing it.

I also have to remember to take the car in for an oil change. My new job means that the miles will add on pretty quick for this car, and I might even have to consider changing the oil every two months. I suppose I should just bring the car in for a checkup in the not too distant future as well, to make sure nothing is going to explode in my face while I'm halfway to Hudson, but the car seemed to be doing fine until the hesitation I was talking about..

I guess I was also thinking it might be the Vehicle Speed Sensor, but I think that would only affect driving under cruise control, but the problem still seems to exist when I'm controlling the throttle manually. Another option might be to disconnect the battery for a while, which would (in theory) cause the car's computer to forget some of the calculations it has made about the car's normal performance. But then I have to go and reprogram all of my radio stations ;-)

Oooh, some people might like this story about the annual “Lebowski Fest.” Hmm.. I think I'd be scared by a group of Jesuses walking down the street :-)

Posted by mike at 10:37 PM Central | Car , Movies , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 25, 2003

I Try to Help People And All They Want to Do Is Save My Life

Went home after work today, and even got to leave half an hour early. I wasn't really able to do much anyway, since outside forces were at work to prevent me from getting my work done.

I was planning to meet up with a friend and go see a movie, but I guess she made other plans since she didn't hear from me soon enough. Oh well, something Sunday afternoon instead, I guess.

Saw T3 with my brother this evening. Probably about as good as a sequel sequel can get. Not the best movie ever made, but it actually unfolded to be a reasonably interesting storyline.

Oh, my brother repeated the saying that the Terminator is the character that Arnold was born to play, since it doesn't require any real emotion. Seeing the unfolding political situation in California, I figure he might not be available should another movie in the series come out. So, I'm thinking Al Gore…

Anyway, I'm probably going to go see Johnny English tomorrow with the family, and will see something with my friend on Sunday. Movie weekend…I guess I can stand some entertainment…

Posted by mike at 11:39 PM Central | Family , Movies , Politics , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 26, 2003

You Are Now Entering the Most Secure Zone in the Whole of England

Saw Johnny English with the family. Overall, probably just fairly entertaining, though a few moments I was dying of laughter. One of the most innovative chase scenes I've seen in a while ;-)

And hey, Natalie Imbruglia is pretty hot ;-)

I've been thinking about T3 a little bit, mostly because Claire Danes stands out in my memory for some reason. I'm trying to remember if she's been in any movies I've seen in the last few years, but the only thing I can think of is Romeo and Juliet

I got Jane's Addiction's new CD today. I think I most like the track that's been playing on the radio, but other tracks are fairly good…

Went to get the oil changed in my car, and they said I need a new gasket in the transmission, since it's supposedly leaking fluid. I guess I'll have to monitor that, though the fluid level seemed fine last I checked.

Speaking of cars, my mom mentioned that car dealers sometimes have good deals for recent (i.e. within 1-2 years) graduates. I guess I'll have to keep my eye out for anything about that..

Now we have to see if I'll finally get to hang out with my friend tomorrow. Hmm… I haven't gotten a haircut for a while… That sucks.

Posted by mike at 10:07 PM Central | Car , Family , Movies , Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 27, 2003

The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

So, I was listening to Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me, and I found out that the plotline for the new Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez movie Gigli is probably a bit different than what you'd expect from the trailers. I also looked it up on IMDB.

First off, Gigli is the name of Ben Affleck's character. J. Lo plays Ricki. Okay, in fairness, Gigli is the character's last name. His first name is Larry.

Secondly, Ricki is a lesbian assassin sent out to make sure Gigli does his job right. Of course, comedic hijinks ensue and they fall in love, blah blah blah…

Aww… Id'n 'at sweet…

WHAT?!?

Posted by mike at 12:01 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2003

Total World Domination

Well, that pcHDTV card I talked about has hit Slashdot. I was going to send a link, but I decided to wait until my card arrives before advertising it to the world too much. It should show up at work on Monday.

Now, I'm in the process of designing an appropriate home theater PC that has the necessary CPU power to decode the video stream nicely. This will be a challenge, since I also ultimately want to have a system that is quiet. I think I've figured out what I want for the base system, though. Probably going to get an Athlon XP 3000+ running on a VIA KT600-powered motherboard. That gives me all the goodies like USB2, FireWire, Serial ATA, and whatnot. I would go for an nVidia nForce2-based system since they're faster, but nVidia only has closed-source drivers for some stuff, and nVidia motherboards apparently don't play nicely with non-nVidia video cards, at least in Linux.

I am looking at getting one of the wacky Zalman fan-shaped CPU coolers, but I guess the extreme size of these heatsinks could actually damage the CPU in certain situations. However, they're very quiet.

It would be awesome to get one of the Ahanix cases, but they're very spendy. I'm still hunting for a good power supply and some good fans as well, but I guess I can't find all of the parts I want right away—I may have to try a few different things before I get things just the way I like.

But, once everything is set up properly, it should last me a long time. The PC would replace the functionality of several A/V components, and it would be infinitely configurable and expandable.

This is one happy day ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:29 PM Central | Hardware , Internet , Movies , Music , MythTV , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 13, 2003

Hehe—The Bartender Never Dies

Oh, now I get it, Desperado was a sequel. I always thought that I had missed something when watching that movie. I'll have to see El Mariachi sometime. But, in the nearer future, I'll probably see Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

Posted by mike at 09:25 PM Central | Movies | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 14, 2003

The Texans Are Revolting

I went to a late showing of Matchstick Men yesterday. I should have asked my brother to come along, but I figured he'd probably prefer to go to something a little more fun. Plus it was late.

Anyway, the first thing that hit me was not the movie, but a preview for The Alamo. Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett. Uh…

Well, my first reaction was shock. “Wasn't that during the Mexican-American War? Hasn't history determined that we basically got into that war for all of the wrong reasons?” The theater was absolutely silent after the preview finished, so I figure I wasn't the only person thinking that.

However, now that I research things a bit, it turns out that my thinking was pretty much all wrong. The Alamo happened in 1836, ten years before the Mexican-American War. A year earlier, Texas had declared its independence from Mexico, forming the short-lived Republic of Texas. That country(!) was still involved in the Texas Revolution at the time of the Alamo siege.

But, back to the movie I actually saw, I thought Matchstick Men was pretty good, though a bit mind-bending toward the end. At the end of the movie, they skip forward in time and Alison Lohman (who played the 14 year old daughter) gets very dolled-up. Needless to say, I was glad to see that in real life, she's 23 (and will turn 24 this week).

Posted by mike at 10:11 AM Central | Movies , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 26, 2003

Cover Your Hand

I was watching a bit of Logan's Run on DVD today. I was, uh, testing. Yeah, that's it. But, I wasn't paying enough attention to really justify watching the whole thing. Anyway, it's only worth mentioning because the architecture/interior design that they used reminded me a lot of how malls used to look when I was a kid. A Very Brady Feel, I would say…

Hmm. I should do stuff.

Posted by mike at 01:37 PM Central | Movies , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 27, 2003

Now Showing

Amazing. There are actually several movies out that I might like to go see. I suppose I should try to catch Lost in Translation this weekend, since there's no telling how long it will take for that movie to go wide release, if ever. In a similar vein, there's Anything Else. Of course, my single-ness makes such movies pretty annoying at times, so I'd have to be in the right mood.

On the action side, I didn't see Underworld, and I'm still debating whether I want to or not. Seems like a good rental for me, though you can't go wrong with Kate Beckinsale in a shiny black outfit. On the (literally) lighter side of action movies, there's still Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and I've been hearing good things about The Rundown even though it has The Rock and some horrendously crappy previews.

Heh. Now that I check the Uptown Theatre's website, it seems that Re-Animator will be playing tonight at midnight, for people who like that sort of thing. Then again, I doubt people like paying $8 (or whatever it is) to watch it ;-)

I should probably sign up for Netflix or one of the other services sometime soon, but I'm lacking proper movie-watching equipment at home. And, well, anything to put it on ;-)

Posted by mike at 10:42 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 28, 2003

Beware of Cute Lesbians

Went down to Uptown again today, after seeing Lost in Translation yesterday. Finally replaced my missing Massive Attack CD—I think a high school friend had borrowed Protection years ago, but I guess he never gave it back. Then again, I never paid him the $20 I was supposed to for that broken portable CD player.

I got some other music too, and tried out the Chipotle in the neighborhood (they just keep pulling me back in). Amazingly enough, they actually have their own parking lot! Shock of shocks. It was also nifty to discover that it's right across the street from the Brave New Workshop. I might have to go see their current project, Total Recall 2: The Governator.

Hmm. Did anyone see the TV ad that had Jesse in it, making fun of the California stuff? I don't even remember what product it was marketing.

Another TV ad that sticks in my head is this recent Pier 1 ad with Kirstie Alley in it, wearing some clothes that look disturbingly like Scientology uniforms. I have no idea if that's intentional or what…

In other news, I need someone to drop me a LiveJournal code, so I can make an account to see people's protected entries. I still plan to use my own website for journaling, although Movable Type seems to be a bit slow now that I have several hundred entries…

Posted by mike at 03:07 PM Central | Brian D , Food , Internet , Movies , Music , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 03, 2003

Epoch Shakur

It's the end of an era. Granted, the era was only a few months long…

The TiVo has been disconnected at work, and the big TVs have been put back in their original boxes. However, we have no shortage of computer monitors. I estimate that there are 100 functional displays at that place. Not bad for a site with a dozen people ;-)

Otherwise, not much…

Samwise Gamgee

A brave and loyal associate full of optimism, you remain true to your friends and their efforts, to whatever end.

Edit: I took the test a few times, changing variables that I think would be affected by my mood rather than my ethics. Other possibilities: Legolas Greenleaf and Gandalf from LoTR, as well as Marcus Cole and Delenn from B5.

Yeah, that's cheating.

Posted by mike at 07:56 PM Central | Movies , TV , Work | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 05, 2003

The American Way

Ah, Laundry Day, how I hate you.

I stayed up late reading the Sarah Vowell book. Cripes, this woman is my hero. I wish I had the vocabulary, travel experience, and knowledge of German existentialist cinema that she has.

The creepiest thing I learned: April 19th is “Patriot's Day,” at least in some states. That's the day in 1775 when the first shots were fired in the lead up to the American Revolution. Over 200 years later, Timothy McVeigh put a truck bomb in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City (though Internet research also shows that the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas was torched on that day a few years earlier). The incongruity with that and the new September 11th “Patriot Day” is disorienting.

I think I may have to read the book again. It's something I'd like to absorb more thoroughly.

Yesterday, I finally went to see Once Upon a Time in Mexico with my brother. It's a decent action movie, though the blood and gore factor was a bit higher than I expected. However, I have little doubt that a shotgun discharged at point blank range toward someone's kneecaps would probably have a similar effect to what was shown in the movie.

The most entertaining moment for me had to be when the Johnny Depp character was at a bullfight, wearing khakis and a t-shirt saying “CIA: Central Intelligence Agency,” as he laid plans for overthrowing the government. And, does he say “Savvy?” in every movie he's in?

After the movie, we went to Burger King, where I re-discovered the silliness that goes on in the fast food industry. I ordered a sandwich, an apple pie, and a small drink. The last thing I see before the price pops up on the little screen pointed at me is “MED COKE.” Medium? I wanted a small.

“I'm sorry, sir, we only have medium, large, and extra large. You can see it's not on the menu.” I mutter something about this being a letter-writing offense, but pay up. Later, when my food is ready, I tell her to tell her manager that I'd like to see small beverages back on the menu. She looks at me like I'm from Jupiter.

Despite cases being laughed out of courtrooms recently, fast food joint are not doing a good job of convincing me that there isn't a conspiracy to make everyone in America fat.

Posted by mike at 02:07 PM Central | Books , Food , Movies , September 11th , War | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

October 18, 2003

Choo! Choo!

Went to see Intolerable Cruelty. I highly recommend it, especially if you like the comedies that the Coen brothers have done. There are some points where the film kind of wimped out, but what do you expect from a romantic comedy?

Hmm. Now I suppose I have to get back into some model railroading so I can meet women… ;-)

Oh, and Bruce Campbell has a cameo.

Posted by mike at 12:09 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 22, 2003

You Must Ask Yourself, “What Would Boy George Do?”

Got an E-vite to a Halloween party, but I'm not sure what to do with that. I'm not a Halloween person. I generally feel incompatible with costumes. The most creative idea I've had would be to do the Tom Hanks character in Castaway, but Mike and shirtless is not a good combination. Especially if it's cold out.

I picked at the car a bit today, removing some more broken glass from the headlight. The car really doesn't look too bad, but it's unfortunate that the hit had to happen. I'm pretty sure I had been thinking “this car is in great condition” not long before the accident happened. Unfortunately, as much as having a pristine hood would make me happy, the cost of fixing it outweighs the benefit by a pretty wide margin.

Anyway, I picked the glass away to discover that it was attached with a few small clips, along with some pretty hefty adhesive. Removing enough of the glass and to put on new glass without damaging the (fiberglass?) assembly would be nearly impossible.

I drove out intending to buy some food (but mostly some beverages), but ended up buying the Indiana Jones set (along with some beverages). Now I just need to reattach my monitor to my main system so I can actually watch the DVDs.

Hmm. I could just attach my laptop to the monitor.

Anyway, my monitor is missing because it's in my bedroom attached to the new machine so I can play with HDTV stuff. If I had a job, I might just get a new monitor (actually, more likely an HDTV), but I don't. Hmm. Motivation to look for a job.

Still slowly slogging through the process of decoding the MPEG stream my digital TV tuner card spits out. Late last night, I figured out how to decode the short channel names used by broadcasters (like “TPT Wx,” “KSTP-DT,” etc.), and today I worked on decoding some more similar information. I'm almost at the point where I can actually seek through a stream, pick out the “programs” (basically subchannels), and demultiplex the packets I actually want. Some of this stuff just seems to be way more complicated than it should be.

I guess this is being difficult for me because I'm trying to go for a 100% implementation of functionality. All you need to know to decode a stream and watch something is about 10%, but the other 90% is sometimes useful. In order to do things properly, I've been slogging through a good portion of the 90% in preparation for doing the 10%. Well, this doesn't mean that I'm 90% done, just that I've already got a better foundation than most of the other software I've found.

Of course, progress has slowed today as I bothered to turn on my TV to see what was on. I Love the 80s Strikes Back took up much of the evening.

I Love the 80s Addendum: Snausages.

Posted by mike at 11:04 PM Central | Car , Hardware , Movies , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 25, 2003

Welcome to the Padded Room

I kinda hate my upstairs neighbor. The fact that his subwoofer seems to be putting out more noise than my entire stereo on most occasions is a factor. I suppose my resonance chamber of a bedroom doesn't help things. I really need to put more things on the walls, but I don't know if that would dampen the noise much.

The noise level is not excessive, just at that point where it is extremely irritating. I'm so glad I didn't put my main computer in my bedroom, or I'd get really pissed off. The bass I hear just interferes with my brain, making it impossible for me to put any coherent thought together.

And the boots! Don't get me started on the boots (or whatever footwear is used up there).

Well, anyway, I went to the HAM fest at RiverCentre with my brother today. I picked up a new 60mm fan to potentially replace the old one on my desktop's CPU heatsink for just $1. Plus $5 for parking and $10 for a ticket to get in. Yay.

Lots of old computer crap there, and a surprising number of Macs and Mac clones (there was a whole pallet load in one corner).

Tracked down a bug in my software that had been troubling me for the last two days or so. Turned out to be a simle thing where I thought a field was one byte shorter than it really was. Oops.

I'd kind of like to see a movie this weekend, but I think I had worked far enough down my list that movies were either gone or just didn't seem appealing enough. I could watch my DVD of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom since I already watched the first one, but Temple is my least favorite.

My parents will be up tomorrow for the Simon and Garfunkel concert and we'll probably be doing some bumming around town. My Mom has a stated interest in seeing the light rail terminals, which is oh so exciting.

Posted by mike at 09:18 PM Central | Abode , Family , Hardware , Movies , Music , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 28, 2003

Welcome to the Dark Side

One of the strangest things I've seen in the last few days was on The Daily Show last night. There was a dedication in Baghdad marking the reopening of one of the major bridges there. The military band on hand played several songs, including “Imperial March” from Star Wars.

Good choice. *gack*

Not much else has been going on.

Posted by mike at 02:57 PM Central | Daily Show , Movies , Music , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 03, 2003

Elections

This just struck me as funny:

Usually, a picture is worth 1000 words, but this needs a little description. Here's the Associated Press text that went with it on Yahoo!

Adult film actors Ron Jeremy and Mary 'Mary Carey' Cook pose on the set of their adult film 'Run Mary Run,' Sunday, Nov. 2, 2003, in Los Angeles. The adult film is based on her actual run for California governor. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Posted by mike at 11:47 PM Central | Movies , Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 05, 2003

Waste

I'll probably go see The Matrix in about 45 minutes with Adam and anyone else who happens to be available at that moment.

Yay for matinees: Cheap tickets for a big screen showing.

Oh, and I just came across this cigarette lighter, although I don't advocate smoking, especially not inside most places or near computers.

Update: The movie was good. I didn't really understand the end fight scene until Adam told me he thought it was “very Dragon Ball Z.”

Posted by mike at 02:21 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2003

Talkies

I think I'm going to go see Shattered Glass sometime this weekend. Love Actually looks really good, but considering the rather limited experience I've had with romance, I have to carefully ration movies like that. Master and Commander didn't really interest me at first, but the level of accuracy it has is supposed to be pretty amazing, so I'll have to see that in a theater sometime. On the other side of things, Looney Tunes: Back in Action definitely seems like a rental. I'll also probably see Timeline when it comes out, though hopefully it carries more weight than merely being written by Michael Crichton.

Posted by mike at 09:54 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 25, 2003

Land of Confusion

Well, if Rotten Tomatoes is any guide, Timeline will suck. So far, the reviews are not good.

Posted by mike at 01:52 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 29, 2003

Yob Yadhtrib

Too much of my day was spent purchasing and then returning a humidifier. The main water reservoir leaked, so we had to take it back.

We all went out to see Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which was reasonably entertaining. Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse. I don't think it was marketed properly to the movie distributors, though—the only showings in Rochester are matinées. The movie is plenty good for adults, so it's pretty dumb to not run it at night.

For my birthday haul, I got a strange automatic cheese grater thing, a DVD of Office Space, a set of Season Two of Futurama (which I may already own, but I got the gift receipt for that), and a toolbox with some miscellaneous sockets and stuff in it—mostly intended for car repairs, I guess.

And money. Can't go wrong there.

Oh yes, be ready to play your favorite durge at 10:30 tonight—that's when I'll officially be 25. Yay.

Posted by mike at 08:21 PM Central | Hardware , Movies , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 02, 2003

Doctor Zhivago

Wow. I was just watching Kid Notorious before The Daily Show starts, and there was a reference to Omar Sharif. Then, when the show went to commercial, I was channel-surfing and saw Omar Sharif on The Late Late Show. That's messed up. It's amazing he's not dead yet ;-)

The other thing I wanted to mention, the term “self-aggrandizing” seems to be having a pulse of popularity. It's a popular phrase on the audio commentary for The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Posted by mike at 11:57 PM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 06, 2003

The Four Horsemen

I went to see Elf. I felt I could use a laugh. It was good and funny, but I really get sick of seeing the main characters falling in love in every single fucking movie I see. I'm 25 years old now, and I still haven't managed to have a plot like that run through my own life.

And, Oh! I just can't wait until Christmas. I'll get to drag my grandpa (well, step-grandpa because he married my widowed grandma 10 or 15 years ago) out of the nursing home again. Seeing his droopy face and helping him slouch along the walk in front of my grandma's house won't dampen my spirit at all! I do this out of pride, not because I have to. I'm not wishing, every moment I'm out there, that I have a beautiful, smiling girlfriend back home, waiting for me with a twinkle in her eye and ready to wash away my worries. Psh! Who needs that when you've got a cancerous old man wheezing as he falls over in his seat!

Yes! This will surely be the best Christmas ever!

Posted by mike at 10:31 PM Central | Family , Movies , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 08, 2003

What the World Needs Now Is More Flying Elvi

Saw Shattered Glass yesterday at Har-Mar. I guess I was expecting something a little more engaging. I was amazed at how quiet the movie was—too many times where I had to be conscious of how loudly I was chomping on my popcorn.

I see Bubba Ho-Tep is playing at the Uptown, I'm surprised that I haven't seen anyone mention it. I suppose everyone who cares saw it already.

meh

Posted by mike at 04:07 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 09, 2003

Certified Circumcised Dick

So, The Hebrew Hammer was on Comedy Central last night. Of course, being raised a gentile, a lot of the humor probably went right by me, but it was still really funny. I guess the movie is going to run in theaters soon, which is pretty weird. I'm sure it's been floating around the independent theater circuit for quite a while—IMDB has comments dating back to July 2002.

It'd almost be worth seeing in the theater just to see what was cut off on the sides of the screen (I thought the pan and scan job was pretty poorly done), plus then you could listen to all of the swearing ;-) But, since I still managed to see most of the movie, I think I'll just wait to rent the DVD…

One weird thing was noticing that one of the characters was played by Peter Coyote. I don't know if I've ever actually seen him in anything before—he's much better known as an announcer voice. So, if you finish the movie and suddenly have an intense desire to get an Audi (not sure if he does ads for them, but maybe), you'll know why.

Posted by mike at 11:57 AM Central | Comedy , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 12, 2003

It Was Mrs. Peacock!

Ngah! Return of the King clocks in at 3 hours, 20 minutes. That's too damn long. It has 12 different endings. That's fucking annoying.

I don't plan on seeing that movie until those things are fixed.

Posted by mike at 09:30 AM Central | Movies | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 17, 2003

I'm a Dapper Dan Man

I think today is the day for me to get a haircut. I should probably get it cut every 4-6 weeks, but procrastination usually takes hold and I double that on a regular basis. We'll see if I can get it cut in a way I like. The last time I went, the stylist said I should say, “Number 4 and blend it on the back and sides.”

Aagh! I played FreeCraft again, and now I see images of footmen, peasants, and farms whenever I blink. This may be one reason why I don't play video games all that often. When I forst got the original SimCity, I remember falling asleep to images of buildings with little flashing lightning bolts on top, indicating they didn't have any electricity.

My brain must be lacking interesting input these days (not surprising). Last night, I watched Celebrity Poker Showdown which had Nicole Sullivan (from Mad TV), Hank Azaria, and some other people I didn't know. Later, I had a dream of the voice of Hank Azaria—Not Hank Azaria himself, or any of the characters he plays, just a unembodied voice.

Of course, that's just another datapoint showing that my dreams just tend to be weird. Why they can't be about things that I want (like women), I'll never know. Why didn't my brain pick Nicole Sullivan? Why didn't it flash back to the clip I saw of Keri Russell in some random movie on KSTC? How about Jodie Foster on the night I saw Silence of the Lambs?.

Bah.

Posted by mike at 01:50 PM Central | Movies , Self , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 19, 2003

Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture

Okay, I'm a few days late…

Posted by mike at 01:06 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 27, 2003

The Odyssey

I have returned from my extra-short Christmas excursion. I did some preparation on the 22nd, and then moved my car over to Dan and Erin's on the 23rd and finished up packing in time for my family to pick me up. We had White Castle for lunch, since my Dad has fond memories of it from Louisville, and then headed out. About 100 miles from Fargo, I took over driving, which was your average boredom until about 10 minutes in when we drove into a fogbank.

It was very strange—we could see weird clouds up ahead, and then we were in it after going over a few hills. We all expected the fog to disappear pretty quickly, but the rest of our journey was embedded in a haze. It was nearly sunset when we hit the fog, which may have explained the variations in color I saw. Off in the distance, the fog would cycle through faint red, orange, and blue.

I was anticipating that the fog would suddenly coalesce into something heavier where I wouldn't be able to see anything, but it never happened. I could see far enough almost all of the time, so I didn't need to slow from the speed limit of 70. We ended up making good time and arriving a little early.

Christmas Eve wasn't too busy. We visited my step-grandfather in the nursing home before going to church. I wouldn't have minded the service, except for the fact that PowerPoint has invaded Pontoppidan Lutheran Church in Fargo. The sermon was accompanied by fill-in-the-blank comments projected onto a screen down in front. Whenever the pastor got to the right moment, the appropriate words would fly across the screen and land in the blank spaces.

Weird. Just weird.

We had our traditional baked ham, baked potato, mashed rutabaga, corn, and “green stuff.” Green stuff is a concoction of green Jell-O, cottage cheese, and a white whipped substance of some kind (either whipped cream or whipped egg whites). It's a tradition that my Mom and her siblings enjoy, but I guess I've never really tried it…

Finally, we ended up at the time to unwrap presents. I got A Man, A Can, A Plan, a spatula (not to be confused with a turner), socks, a dress shirt, an air filter, Sliverado (VHS), a ZipZap racer, a Far Side calendar, a recipe box with some family recipes in it, the Indiana Jones collection with a bonus bonus DVD (I have since given the giver my previously-bought copy of the collection), and a one million candlepower spotlight.

The rest of our stay was mostly spent avoiding boredom. We had set up an RF modulator for a DVD player that my grandmother won from a magazine. We were amazed that the magazine jumped for a Sony rather than a random Wal-Mart brand. We watched one of my Indy movies, a few of the live-action episodes of The Tick (which my brother got—amazingly, it's widescreen), and some of Rocky and Bullwinkle which I got for my dad.

Before we left today, we got a few DVDs for my grandmother to try out. Hopefully the DVD player won't be too complicated for her. At least she doesn't have a hi-fi receiver and the whole shebang to worry about…

Yesterday evening, I talked to Erik on the phone. He said he was returning today, so we didn't get together to do anything. Turns out, he moved in with some of his old roommates and kept his phone number. He also apparently lost his little black book of contact info for other people, which explains why he's been so quiet (sort of). Anyway, I invited him to the big New Year's shindig, and I plan to communicate with him again in the coming days, but I guess he'll be busy during the University's experimental J-term.

7 AM to 7 PM. Blech.

Anyway, I'm back now. My car survived, and all of the stuff that's supposed to be in my apartment is here. Except, perhaps, for my cable bill…

Posted by mike at 08:28 PM Central | Erik , Family , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 04, 2004

We Cannot Find Reverse

Heh. I've been having quite a time on Wikipedia, but I just found Memory Alpha, a Star Trek WikiWiki. The coolest thing so far: the "This Week in Trek History" line on the front page ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:16 PM Central | Internet , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 10, 2004

Zoltar!!

Last week, Simmons was wondering where I got my Tom Hanks icon for LiveJournal. The truth is that I just searched at Google Images until I saw something I liked, which happens to be at this page from a movie site in the Netherlands. The site is in Dutch, but it appears that the image is a publicity still for Big.


Posted by mike at 10:24 PM Central | Internet , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 25, 2004

Well, Paint My Face and Call Me Charlie

Met Maddie and Jordan for the first time last night at Erin's birthday party. I guess I expected both of them to be taller ;-)

Today has been rather historical. I'd set up my computer to record Apocalypse Now Redux, the extended version of Apocalypse Now. Pretty good. A really young and skinny Laurence Fishburne. I didn't really go for the ending, though it reminded me that Vietnam had been pretty much in a steady state of war for 30 years by the time things wrapped up around 1975. Maybe even longer if much happened during World War II.

I just finished watching some episodes of The American Experience about the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. Some really interesting stuff, and many things I hadn't really heard of before.

Actually, I guess this has been a fairly historical weekend in general, since I also watched some stuff on the History Channel about the Goths and Mongols last night. I was really interested in the show on the Goths, since I'd never heard much about them before. Most stuff I've heard or seen has basically just said “We don't know much about them—well, except, they did sack Rome that one time…”

Posted by mike at 07:09 PM Central | Erin , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 22, 2004

Beyond Blunderdome

Blech, I'm sleepy. My sleep schedule is somewhat off since I ended up sleeping more with no Internet and restricted TV. Now I'm tired since I was in the next timezone, I guess. Oh well, I'll be back to what passes for normal in no time.

I think that at about 9:00 PM on the Friday before I left, I realized that I should probably try to call Erik and hang out with him more often. In theory, he's helping with teaching at the school right next to my apartment, so it wouldn't be hard to visit with him if he has an open schedule afterward… I suppose my desire to get to know some girls may have led me to distance myself from my male friends. I needed time to recover from being around guys all of the time in my CSci classes, I guess. Still, I'd want to spend time with some girls if the opportunity arose, but that's not going to happen if I never hang out with anybody…

I was guilted into going to church this morning in Rochester. It would have been nice to lounge around after driving all day yesterday, but no… I was worried that one of the pastors would mention Mel Gibson's movie, and one of them did. I was seconds away from getting up from my pew and leaving the sanctuary, but he managed to stop talking about it before that happened. It would have turned into a mess if I had left—my parents were on my left, and my brother and one of the church's pastors was on the right. Neither direction was a good option. Oh well, the guy didn't outright say, “you should go see this movie,” he just said something like “it sounds like this is an accurate portrayal of what [is believed to have] happened.” Still, I wish he'd actually see the movie before promoting it in any way.

But, I'm in Minneapolis now. Brought my brother up with me, since he'd visited home over the weekend. There was a little tension since we might have had to deal with bad weather, but things cleared up by the time we left (still wet on the road in some places, but not too bad).

Now I see that The Daily Show was all repeats this last week, so I didn't miss anything there. I'll have to go through the other shows my computer recorded and see if anything interesting showed up over the week (there appears to be a good Frontline episode).

Oh yeah—I'm glad Ralph Nader decided to run again. I wasn't sure if I wanted him there or not, but the Democratic nomination race is kicking out the candidates I like (er, the main candidate I liked, at least). By the way, the “Nader is a spoiler” argument doesn't carry any weight with me. In Florida in 2000, Gore and Bush were separated by 537 votes. The 10th-place finisher, James Harris of the Socialist Workers Party, had 558 votes, so that theoretically makes about eight people possibly responsible if you want to play the candidate blame game. In truth, the voting in Florida was just fubar in general (with tens of thousands of ballots considered “spoiled”), so you can't blame any of them.

Posted by mike at 10:23 PM Central | Daily Show , Decision 2000 , Decision 2004 , Erik , Family , Movies , Music , Ralph Nader , School , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 25, 2004

Just Bein' Honest

Ah, The Daily Show. Where would we be without you?

Hello! And welcome to Moviefone

To select – The Passion of the Christ – press one

To select – Jesus Christ – as your personal savior – press two

If you are one of they who mock them yea verily, I say unto thee – press three

If you need instructions again in tongues – press four

*beep*

Hulabalala! Nrabulalala! Nraah! Blualablah! Haaa!

Such sophistication ;-)

Posted by mike at 10:42 PM Central | Comedy , Daily Show , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 07, 2004

Ad-Aware

Okay, I'll bare one of my deep, dark obsessions to the world… (Okay, it's really neither deep nor dark, but this girl's face is one that I definitely notice.) Unceremoniously stolen from here:

Ramona Pringle as Heidi, the Ricola girl DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THAT RICOLA GIRL (Who Is Heidi????)

Well the internet has been buzzing about who this young lovely is. Her name is Ramona Pringle, and if you just can't get enough of that heavenly face, you should buy Model Behavior on VHS. Ramona has a featured part in this fun and funny Disney film. It's a great one for the whole family—but most especially for Ramona Pringle fans!

Also stars: Justin Timberlake, Maggie Lawson, Kathie Lee Gifford

There's also another page with a strangely freaky picture.

Posted by mike at 11:13 PM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 19, 2004

Maxuck

Yeah, the drive is probably toast. Fortunately, it appears to still have several months of warranty time left, so I can just get it replaced. Hopefully. I should see if Maxtor has any tools I can test with, though I figure the Linux kernel reporting various errors like AddrMarkNotFound is probably a bad sign.

I plan to go see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tomorrow, probably at the UA Pavilion theater by Best Buy.

I should stop in a job placement agency tomorrow too. It's been on my to-do list for too long. I really need to actually start writing that list down…

Posted by mike at 12:09 AM Central | Hardware , Movies , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Spotless Sunshine of the Eternal Mind

I am disturbed by the fact that I was almost born on the same date as Clay Aiken. Yay Mom for getting me out before midnight.

I went to see Eternal Sunshine today. It was really good. Charlie Kaufman does good work—and Michel Gondry does too, for that matter. I was actually thinking that some scenes in the movie looked like Gondry's previous work (I picked up a DVD of the music videos he's made), but I didn't know he had anything to do with the movie until I got home and looked it up on IMDB.

Anyway, good movie, yadda yadda yadda. It's one of those that you need to think about a bit to get the scenes properly re-ordered in your mind, but it's nice to occasionally see a movie that requires your neurons to actually exercise a bit.

Most of the previews didn't do anything for me. There was one for Saved! which seems to be set in a Catholic school. Seemed like it could be a good antidote for that other Jesus movie, but I'm not entirely sure. It's definitely targeted toward the teenage crowd, though I don't know what direction it's supposed to be going with regard to the basic religion question. Hmm. Mandy Moore as an overdone Jesus Freak? Heh.

There was also a preview for Garden State that looked interesting. I know I was partially hypnotized by the trailer's background (or foreground, since there's pretty much zero dialogue) music. Well, whatever. Hmm. Looks like it's basically Zach Braff's very own movie. Wacky.

Posted by mike at 05:51 PM Central | Movies , Music , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 28, 2004

Turn Down That Hippity-Hop!

Went to see The Ladykillers with my brother today, after we stopped in at a hobby shop and Ax-Man in St. Paul. There were a few interesting previews. Coffee and Cigarettes looks like it will be awesome (hmm. The person who runs coffeeandcigarettes.com will be annoyed if the movie gets big), and I think I'll have to see what Dogville is all about, though I guess I've been hearing about that one for months.

Anyway, I liked The Ladykillers. I got a bit confused by the intro, since it wasn't really spelled out that the initial sequences were just introducing the characters. There wasn't much separation between them, so the different scenes took a little effort to sort out afterward. I think I saw Bruce Campbell in a cameo, but he's only on-screen for about 3 seconds (as the “animal protection guy,” I think). Anyway, kind of a Southern version of Ocean's Eleven, though it goes in a different direction.

Hmm. I see Good Bye, Lenin! is coming to Edina. That might be interesting.

Posted by mike at 06:43 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 04, 2004

It's Only Chocolate

Kind of a movie weekend. I watched Captain Corelli's Mandolin late last night on A&E. I thought it was good, though the ending was fairly compressed. Apparently the book takes a different path. The movie induced me to try and learn a bit more about Italy's role in World War II. Usually, we just hear about the Germans and the Japanese, but nobody discusses Italy much. Of course, they swtched sides partway through the war, which definitely explains things a bit.

Today, After the Thin Man was on TCM, so I watched that. I know I'd seen about half of that movie once before, though I still missed an important point this time. Oh well. Those old Thin Man movies seem to stack up pretty well given that they were made in the 1930s, though there are some things that wouldn't go over well for a modern audience.

Well, I had been thinking of going to see Jersey Girl tonight, but since the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival is going on, I figured I'd try something different. I'd missed most of today's showings, but a movie from Poland named Insatiability (Nienasycenie in Polish) sounded interesting.

It's a movie that is really hard to put into words. I've only been able to find a few English reviews on the Internet, but I think there's general agreement that the movie is ultra-bizarre. One person said that it's so bad, it's brilliant. I don't know if I would call it bad. Okay, yes I would ;-) There are some silly moments that, if it weren't for the extraordinary context, would be thrown out by most people as tripe.

I think you'd be pretty hard-pressed to find something more bizarre than that movie. I'm sure stranger stuff exists, but this was very…different. The movie is based on a book written by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz in 1927. I'm not sure about how close the two are in content, though the retro-futuristic look of the movie would fit if the director was trying to create an environment that was futuristic for 1927…

I guess the film's director, Wiktor Grodecki, had visited this area a while ago and had done some work here, but I don't know much other than that. Someone high up in the film festival's staff (maybe the director or whatever his title would be) had intended to give a nice long introduction for everyone, but he got caught up somewhere else.

Anyway, I think that people who like bizarre movies would like it, though I won't think less—heck, I'd probably think more—of someone who hated the thing.

Posted by mike at 12:57 AM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 10, 2004

Rotten Eggs and the Safety of Mankind

I went to see Hellboy last night, mostly since the reviews had turned out pretty good. But, I dunno. I guess I'm getting just a tad tired of comic book movies. It was good, but I guess I was just needing something different yesterday.

Insatiability, the movie I saw last weekend, is going to play at Oak Street tonight at midnight (it's a last-minute replacement for another movie that couldn't be shown for some reason). I recommend it, if only out of sheer weirdness. But, I figure more of the people I know would prefer the Metallica movie that plays earlier in the evening there. Then again, I suppose everyone is going to be out of town tonight anyway. I'm no good at keeping track of people.

Posted by mike at 12:52 PM Central | Movies | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 19, 2004

Black Mamba in a Vortex

I'm starting to fall into the habit of exercising a bit while watching/listening to TV. Well, I've mostly been putting in DVDs of Family Guy and watching a few episodes in a stretch while I slowly do situps and a few small weights here and there.

Last year around this time, I managed to exercise almost every day for about 6 weeks. There was sort of a difference, not a whole lot, but it all disappeared pretty quickly anyway. I'm not working nearly as hard this time around, but I think my little winter of discontent made certain areas atrophy to a level that is probably unhealthy. I'm a long way from just being normal, apparently even moreso this time around. My back is hurting less, which is a good indication that I should always try to keep up some minimal exercise and maintain those muscles just a little bit, but I know I will feel cramped for time once I get a job again.

Picked up my brother so we could go see Kill Bill Vol. 2. I guess I went away with the impression that Quentin Tarantino is an asshole for requiring two films to put together that story. Some sequences were almost Kubrickian with the level of boredom they introduced. The “fight” scenes were rather anti-climactic in this episode, IMHO.

We had to run back to my apartment after the movie because of the rain. I was annoyed that weather coverage prevented me from seeing The Simpsons then, but channel 9 finally showed the new episode at 11:00.

I didn't think the weather coverage was very. I suppose it might have something to do with it being Sunday evening, though I guess it looked like every channel had their top weather people there except for ch. 11 (or was Ken Barlow hiding behind the curtain?) The people on TV were saying a lot of words, but they weren't conveying information very well.

Hmm, let's see if I can get some sleep tonight.

Posted by mike at 01:39 AM Central | Exercise , Movies , TV , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 02, 2004

Popstar

Tired: Waiting for the Olsen Twins to turn 18.

Wired: Waiting for Lindsay Lohan to turn 18.

Posted by mike at 07:19 PM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 26, 2004

Ride of the Valkyries

I'm baffled by the crap that American Movie Classics has been playing recently. I mean, Dudley Do-Right? Come on!

There seems to be an emerging relation between this AMC and that other AMC.

Had a job interview today at the U law school. It went okay, not great. Might have a second interview next week or so.

I went back to the library yesterday and read some more about the old streetcars that used to go through Minneapolis and other cities around here. I read through the book The Electric Railways of Minnesota, which turned out to be a much more technical book than I expected. Rosters of the different streetcars, where they came from, precise maps of the rails and streets of the era, construction of the railway. All sorts of stuff that would really excite some people, but I think most would get pretty bored by it.

There's a lot of really fascinating history to the old railway, but the human side of the story seems to be fading away in favor of business details (not really surprising though, since that book was compiled in large part by sifting through company records). Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places.

Ugh. I'm tired and need a nap. I think I need to move this fall to someplace where there aren't school buses driving by every two minutes in the morning. I'm off the main drag here, but the noise carries across the park, everybody seems to keep their cars here during the day, and the noise from the school gets to be annoying sometimes.

I guess this is what you get for living in the city, but I know there are quiter places nearby. Still, a lot of people seem to think that the city absolutely must be noisy. There was an entry on LiveJournal's Twin Cities community about motorcycles, and I largely agreed with it. I hate loud motorcycles. There is no reason for a small two-wheeled vehicle to make more noise than the average semi. Still, everybody ganged up on the guy who complained. Sheesh. Motorcycles can be very quiet, and there are people out there who actually like to have quiet rides.

Posted by mike at 03:45 PM Central | Books , Movies , Self , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2004

Shut Up, Donkey!

Yay! I found SkyscraperPage.com again! I was confused and thought it was Skyscrapers.com. That really worried me because all of the cool pictures were gone.

I went to see Shrek 2, but I was kind of disappointed. It's a tired storyline.

Hmm. I wonder if I'll be able to eat anything interesting tomorrow, seeing as it's a holiday. Then again, I should probably stay in—spent too much money on the movie, popcorn, and pop.

Agh! Before I forget, I should mention that a lot of evergreen plants around here seem to be dying. That doesn't seem good. At least three trees just on the land of my apartment building. Maybe somebody used bad weed killer or something when treating the area. Makes me wonder what I've inhaled.

Posted by mike at 02:03 AM Central | Abode , Food , Internet , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 02, 2004

Focus!

Heh. I signed up for Netflix. Apparently this was a good idea, considering that I now have 155 movies in my rental queue.

Posted by mike at 07:29 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 05, 2004

Another One Bites the Dust.

I signed up for Netflix on Wednesday. They shipped some DVDs on Thursday, which I got yesterday. I watched The Office yesterday, but wasn't very impressed by it. It was more ouch funny than ha-ha funny. I prefer ha-ha funny, thank you. Today I watched Spirited Away, but I think my lack of interest in the fantasy side of sci-fi/fantasy caused contributed to my lack of any real opinion on it. Kind of unfortunate.

I should probably recommend Netflix to my parents since they now have a fairly nice TV but no cable (not that they'd necessarily like cable anyway, I think). When nothing is on, they could just pop in a DVD instead. Oh well, maybe the lack of anything interesting on the tube contributes to them actually getting things done.

I'm in danger of overflowing the queue fairly soon, though topping it off would probably involve TV shows more than anything else. They're still a relatively sparse thing on my list, but I suppose more might get added in later.

We'll see how the three-at-a-time thing goes for me. I have a suspicion that this arrangement could leave me in a lurch on weekend. Netflix doesn't send out new discs on Saturday, Sunday, or postal holidays, so there will probably be a few Sundays and Mondays when I get stuck with nothing, but it's hard to say how quickly I'll go through new discs. This is particularly true since turnaround time also has to be factored in, and I don't know how that works yet.

If they send out a new disc on the same day they receive a returned one, if I send a disc in on Friday, I probably wouldn't get anything until Tuesday at least (fortunately Minneapolis has overnight shipping). If it takes a day for turnaround, it could be Wednesday. Of course, things get worse if the local shipping center doesn't have a movie. My parents are probably in an overnight shipping region, but it could be two nights for them.

Anyway, I might personally have to go up to the five-at-a-time system, but I doubt I'd ever need the eight-at-a-time subscription. I was thinking that my parents might prefer the four-movie-a-month subscription, but that might not quite be enough.

Well, in other news, my building is now owned by a new company. I have to remember to write my checks to them instead this coming month. I also don't know if the arrangement where I deduct my month's cable bill from rent (well, the portion paying for TV, not Internet) is still in force or not. It would suck if that went away.

Hmm. Time to skim the U's job website yet again. This job search is getting totally ridiculous.

Posted by mike at 07:32 PM Central | Abode , Family , Internet , Movies , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 06, 2004

Gaming the System

Okay, I'm going to have to watch what my Netflix queue does in the next few months, if I'm able to keep it that long. I pretty much filled up the queue already. Of particular interest to other Netflix users is the fact that nearly all are marked as being available now. Only one is marked as requiring any sort of wait (well, aside from discs that have not been released yet).

There are indications that the wait goes up over time, at least if the customer is a heavy user. That bugs me, since that's not the initial impression I got when I saw so many movies available “now.” Most of the sites I've seen out there that complain about this sort of thing are a year or so old. One dates back to 2000 or 2001 (though the guy has been an on-again, off-again customer starting in at least 1999).

Some of the complaints don't seem relevant anymore. It looks like cancellation of service can occur over the web. At least a few people had complained in the past that you had to call a phone number to cancel service. Still, I haven't gone through the entire process, so maybe there's some required human interaction at some point.

Theoretically, if these silly numbers I jotted down are right, a person like me living near a distribution center could watch something like 25 movies a month on the regular three-at-a-time plan. However, you'd have to watch every movie by 8:00 or whatever the late mail pickup time is in your neighborhood, and if two or three movies showed up the same day, you'd have to watch all of them right away. This probably isn't actually possible, though, since there are weekends to figure in.

More practical limits seem to be around 15 or 20, but I doubt Netflix appreciates users who manage to view that many discs in a month. People outside of overnight shipping regions kind of get shafted, since turnaround averages a little more than a week. That would probably theoretically work out to around 12 per month, but the same problems pop up here as with the 25 scenario above. More practical numbers would be a little less than 10, probably (though a few examples I've seen online seem to say that getting much more than 6 is pretty difficult).

I can certainly understand from an economic standpoint if the company wants to slow down heavy users. Current subscription rates are $22 for a month. Getting 10 discs means that the company has $2.20 to use to pay for each one, which isn't a whole lot, but it should still be possible to make a profit with that (IMHO). It's reasonable to expect that fairly normal people would want service at or near that level. There may be others beyond that, but they'd be toward the edge of the bell curve anyway.

It appears that Netflix currently has 28 distribution centers, and apparently 80% or more of their customer base has overnight delivery now, so there's a much greater opportunity for people to rent lots of DVDs. Having so many distribution centers is both good and bad. They can serve more people, and get them their videos at a faster pace. The company obviously has to pay for the expansion, and as they expand, the pace of returns gets higher and higher. This makes it a bit unclear to me if they'll be profitable in the long run.

Some people have advocated that they actually go back to a per-disc pricing model, at least if people want to watch a lot of movies. However, their current (or at least recent) strategy seems to be punishing people who watch a lot of stuff. New and low-volume customers get precedence, while high-volume customers get pushed back. This is essentially punishing good customers, which is not the best strategy in the world. The worst thing is that the company is not forthcoming about this information. Well, like I said, I don't know for certain that this will happen to me, or if this is really what is happening behind the curtain. If I see the movies in my queue slowly move from being available now toward being short and then long waits, I'll have to consider sending a note to someone like Mike Hatch, since that was not the same level of service that was presented to me during my free trial.

Posted by mike at 12:45 PM Central | Internet , Money , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 09, 2004

Washin, Washout

Well, on Sunday I headed home for a few days since a friend was in town. We managed to get together on Monday and Tuesday, which is better than the luck we'd been having lately. Anyway, I'm back in the Cities now, and my computer managed to shutdown gracefully in the power outage (grr!)

Anyway, I watched Bowfinger while waiting for my parents to show up during the day on Monday. I hung out with my friend in the evening after he'd come down from Duluth. On Tuesday, I guess I woke him up. Oh well, I kind of figured he'd sleep in longer than he expected to. Anyway, we went to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, then I gave him a short tour of the new “golf community” in town.

Yesterday evening, I hung out with another friend in the area, though this mostly consisted of me standing around nodding as other people talked. This particular friend is mechanically inclined, so he was replacing part of the front wheel on his car. I held the flashlight for a while, which sucked because it made me a good target for mosquitos. Sucky. I have something like 13 bites on my right arm, which I used to hold the flashlight.

Anyway, I was mostly lazy today, watched some Futurama, had supper with my parents in town, then headed back up to Minneapolis. Some Netflix DVDs were waiting for me, so I popped in Buffalo '66. Woo! Christina Ricci! I'm kind of mixed on the movie itself. Definitely different from your usual movie fare, though I guess it still wasn't really all that far off from some regular plot lines. Probably a worthwhile bit of time spent if you like Christina Ricci at all.

Bowfinger (which I watched on a DVD I'd bought my mom for Mother's Day) was much better than I had expected and Harry Potter was pretty good too, though it could have used a fair amount of tweaking.

There was a lot of rain today at my parents' place. Not as bad as some parts of Minnesota, though. Fortunately, things cleared up while I drove back to my apartment.

Posted by mike at 11:42 PM Central | Brian D , Family , Movies , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 12, 2004

What Dreams May Come

I'm just feeling really crappy right now. My joblessness is really getting to me, and I can't seem to find anything. I dunno… I mean, there are jobs out there, but the only entry-level technical jobs advertised are for help desks or call centers, hooking up cable TV, and data entry. I could probably manage the first two if I had to, though they would involve dealing with a lot of people who don't know how things work. The last would just be a boring clerk job, the equivalent of running a machine in a factory. I just couldn't do that without going crazy.

This past week, I've been feeling pretty awkward. While I was home, I tried calling friends, but I usually ended up talking to a machine. I know I stumble a lot when speaking, though I can sometimes recover if I'm talking to the right person. Answering machines kind of bother me since I'm not communicating with an actual person, but just hoping I get my words out in the right order on the first try.

I tried getting hold of a female friend of mine from high school, though I hadn't known if she had her own phone. I've tried calling her parents' place in the past, which gets to be pretty unnerving. It doesn't help that one time, I took a bit too long to leave a message and the machine beeped at me. I don't know if I was cut off or what, but I swore when it happened because I was in the middle of giving my phone number. Anyway, mostly I just got to be really scared of leaving weird-sounding messages.

I'm no good at chit-chat either, so it's hard for me to call up someone just to talk. I need to have a pretty strong pretense for calling, but I suppose that's true for a lot of guys. Still, I know my communication skills are pretty lackluster.

Anyway, so I'm just feeling alone, tired, and frustrated since I'm still not having luck on my job applications/interviews, and since I haven't really had a chance to talk to any girls that I truly know and appreciate since about the time I graduated, or even longer if certain variables are considered. I still haven't ever had a true girlfriend.

And now it seems that my curse of bad timing continues to extend into new realms. For this weekend, the only movie I have left from Netflix is , which I think I refrained from seeing in the theater because there was a long stretch of depressing movies being the only good stuff available on the big screen, and I'd had enough. This disc may have to collect dust for a while.

My life has been in doldrums for so long now that I tend to forget that I still only have a folding card table and a folding wooden chair in my kitchen. The times when I want to go and experience something new are usually tempered by the fact that I'd like to share the outing with someone close, but that just hasn't ever happened. My life would have been very different if I'd been able to have a girlfriend at some point.

Posted by mike at 07:00 PM Central | Abode , Movies , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

That's That

Okay, I watched the movie just to get it over with. I expected a good movie, albeit one that was depressing. It turned out that it was a crappy, meaningless film. Heh, I just had an image in my head of Rip Torn in Defending Your Life as he ate dirt (or something closely resembling dirt), proclaiming it to be delicious. I don't know what all the critics liked about the movie. So far, my experience has been that Rotten Tomatoes's ratings pretty closely match how I feel about big-screen flicks, but I'm baffled in this instance. My best description of the movie is “eclectic” due to the existence of a number of unusual elements added in. However, just putting a bunch of interesting but random bits together and running them through the blender doesn't make a good movie.

Well, that's over with, at least.

I guess the other thing I wanted to mention today was that I spent some time last night and today playing with DBMix, which is a music mixing program for Linux. It's kind of neat, allowing beat-matching and that sort of thing with just a mouse, but unfortunately the onboard sound on my motherboard doesn't play well with it, so I don't have a cue output, making it rather difficult to do anything useful. Argh. Maybe there's another driver that will work better than via82cxxx_audio.

Posted by mike at 09:49 PM Central | Movies , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 16, 2004

What Would Dan Quayle Say About That?

Not a whole lot has been happening, mostly just watching TV and movies, and applying for jobs. Today I had to go pick up Erik at the airport, after he came back from an interview in Washington state. Sarah IMed me around 10:30 or 11:00, but the only info she had was the time he expected to be ready to be picked up (she couldn't do it because she was doing CPR training). He didn't respond to any phone calls, so he must have been in the air already by that time.

Well, I got down there alright, but it turned out that I was at the wrong terminal. He must have flown Sun Country or something, since he had to be picked up at the Humphrey Terminal rather than the Lindbergh Terminal. Oops. So, I swung through Lindbergh one more time, since I wasn't sure if there was a quick exit from there down to Humphrey (there may have been, but I don't know where it would have been). So, I got back on the highway and got off at the right exit, but I've never driven to Humphrey before, and I've only ever been there about three times in my whole life—sometimes late at night, so I had few spatial references. Anyway, I ended up messing up my maneuvers a few times just because I was anticipating having to do things before I really had to. Then, I accidentally took a turn toward Lindbergh again. No! I hate it when I'm forced to drive like I don't know where I'm going.

Anyway, I finally made it there, and it probably would have been a lot easier if I just hadn't tried so hard to be ready for the unexpected. Then, there was the escapade of getting back to Erik's place. Well, Sarah called asking for an update just a few minutes after we left the airport, and then I missed the turn I wanted to take just as I picked up the call (See!? Driving and cell phones don't mix—except when you're trying to get pic up someone who is at the wrong terminal ;-)

Well, I'm not even sure if you can get from northbound I-35E to westbound I-94 anyway. We ended up taking U.S. 52, since I know that road, but we had to wait as traffic was backed up at the point where that road essentially ends to become surface streets. Things went okay on 94, but I got off on 280 and then improperly took the Energy Park Drive exit. D'oh. So, back to Minneapolis and up to Como (which we wouldn't have had to do, if the traffic hadn't been so heavy on that road too). Oh well, I guess I gave Erik the grand tour, which will be good for posterity, just in case he gets that job in Washington.

I went out for an evening walk today around the St. Anthony Falls trail loop and Nicollet Island. It was really nice until the mosquitos started biting a bit, but they didn't show up much until I was about ready to be done anyway.

The walk was made a lot more enjoyable by the fact that I've indulged in watching some DVDs starring my favorite female celebrity. I've written before about how just seeing or hearing someone I find attractive can really calm me down and make me happier. I think I really needed that, at least now that I think about how low I was feeling last weekend. Still, it is and will remain as one of those intangible things, since this is a person I'll never meet.

She was in the war movie We Were Soldiers a little bit. Probably not enough time to justify if it was a crappy movie, but I thought it was good, even though there was no single concise message it tried to portray. It's mostly just a movie about a battle plus a little bit about the families the soldiers left behind. It's a good movie if you just want to see how things happened, but not so good if you want a movie that answers the “why”s of war.

Today, Netflix delivered the first disc of the TV show my favorite celebrity was on. I'd actually added this to my queue and pushed it near the top of the list over the weekend when I was feeling down, since I knew it would help in a weird way. It's emotionally wrenching and draining sometimes, but it's also good since it shows that at least someone else in TV land understands that good, honest, yet quiet people like myself actually exist. Well, not that I'd ever be picked out of a lineup for my good looks or anything…

Unfortunately, there are some semi-technical issues with the DVDs, so I guess I'm glad I didn't follow the impulse I had over the weekend to just go out and buy the first season or two. Some of the music was changed (though I might not notice—it may have been changed already in reruns, which is where I first watched the show) and the video was not telecined properly for DVD distribution to make most video frame progressive-scan. That's kind of dumb, since a telecined TV show can take up significantly less space on the disc, either allowing a higher per-frame bitrate, or more video on each disc. Oh well, fortunately my DVD playing software has a video filter that will clean it up for me and give me nice non-interlaced output.

Hmm. I guess I may as well mention that, while I was walking around this evening, the voice of Ira Glass of This American Life popped into my head. A second later I thought, “You know, I bet my favorite celebrity would like that radio show.” So, I got home and was randomly reading articles about said person, and found out that she indeed listens to the show. I've decided that I won't make anything of it other than say, “Heh. That's funny,” since, well, millions of people like that show.

Oh, also, my brother is living in a place owned by someone Erik knows (and I suspect that other people I know may also know her). On our screwed up drive around town, I pointed out the road my brother lives on, and Erik said that his friend Vanessa owned a place there. I think I may have met her way in the past too, but I can't really remember. She seemed familiar when we met.

Posted by mike at 11:24 PM Central | Car , Erik , Family , Movies , Sarah , TV , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 06, 2004

All I Know Is, Bob Is A Dick

I can't believe Anchorman hasn't come out in theaters yet. It's been quite a while since I first started seeing ads for it. Well, maybe it just feels like a long time. I think I've been seeing previews since at least Hellboy which I probably saw in April.

Today, my website got a whole lot of spam comments from nipr.mil, which is apparently the DoD's big gateway to the Internet. Always good to know that the military's computers are secure.

Oh. The Fourth… I went with my brother down to the St. Anthony Main area, where we just happened to run into Dan, Laura, Josh, and Sarah. We ended up going up to the north end of the 3rd/Central bridge and sat at the curb. The bridge was blocked off, but it's kind of good that we didn't get any closer—the curb was much more comfortable than standing for that amount of time. Still, the show was only about 15 minutes.

Posted by mike at 11:35 PM Central | Dan , Internet , Josh , Movies , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2004

Snooch in the Booch

I'm thinking Dan should go as Silent Bob for Halloween this year.

Unless, of course, that's already been done.

Edit: …And then Adam could go as Jay! Sweet!

Not quite comic-book superheroes, but not too far off

Posted by mike at 07:42 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 11, 2004

Lickety Split

Saw Spider-Man 2 with my brother tonight at Block E. It was good. Yeah, I could go for Kirsten Dunst. But so could half the planet.

Last night, it was Anchorman at St. Anthony Main. That was funny, though there were some awkwardly long moments where things just seemed dumb. Whatever. It managed to even out. Seemed to be a strong contingent of Steve Carell fans in the audience. He had some of the funniest bits in the movie, but they were mostly very short blips on the screen.

Hmm. I was surprised to see that the Escape Ultra Lounge was at Block E. Seems like that site is falling into old habits.

Heh, which reminds me of all of the adult entertainment around the Warehouse Discrict Station on the light-rail line. I'm just curious how many kids have ridden the train and then asked, “Mommy, what's a showgirl?”

Posted by mike at 11:06 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 25, 2004

We Be Trammin'

I saw The Bourne Supremacy, and it was good.

In my car, I replaced my O2 sensor finally, and it was better (I think).

In my room, there's a pile of dirty laundry, and that's not so good.

Now I'm debating whether to do laundry or go see Farenheit 9/11 finally. I think the movie is going to win.

Posted by mike at 06:21 PM Central | Abode , Car , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 28, 2004

Dude, Where's My Social Commentary?

I'm actually kind of interested in seeing Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. It has a pretty good rating on Rotten Tomatoes—so far, at least. But maybe I'll just end up tacking it on my Netflix queue.

Posted by mike at 08:14 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 30, 2004

I Have No Root and I Want to Scream

Liev Schreiber is like, so totally evil:

I'm surprised I haven't seen him in more movies. But he does a good job of narrating my favorite PBS series. (Uh, that's plural.)

Posted by mike at 08:52 PM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 07, 2004

Insane in the Membrane

The presentation got off to a rocky start, but ended alright I guess. I can't be faulted for not knowing all that much about something I've just mucked with for a week.

I watched To Die For on DVD finally. I'm surprised how much of the movie I recognized from catching fragments on TV. It was pretty good, but I guess I just don't like Joaquin Phoenix at all. Looking at his face for too long makes me want to break things.

Now I'm tired and confusing my sentences. Sleep is probably a good idea. Too much of my brain has been used for too long this week.

Posted by mike at 06:14 PM Central | Movies , Self , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 13, 2004

Hey Look At Me I'm a Rockstar

If anyone is listening and can tell me the track that is played on the trailer for Jimmy Fallon's upcoming movie Taxi, I'd appreciate it. I know I've heard it before, but can't really place it. Seems like it must have popped up in an ad for a video game at some point.

Now that I think of it, it was probably Grand Theft Auto: Vice City—though I've never played that game and don't know if the song is in it. Hmm. If that's where the song is from, I guess it's not really surprising they'd use it to promote a movie about cars, bank robberies, etc.

Work was, well, work this morning. Tried to do my normal routine of support in the morning. I thought I'd be able to get done with that early, though I guess that didn't really happen.

It was my boss's birthday today. He was going to try and get his wife to go see Alien vs. Predator, but apparently that wasn't going to happen this evening. So, he dragged my workmate and I out of the office and over to the nearby theater to see the movie. About what I expected, I guess, though actually somewhat more plot than what I figured would show up. Considering the number of people that were at the 1:30 PM matinee, I won't be surprised if it ends up as the top movie this weekend. Not that it deserves it, of course.

Anyway, after the movie, we go back to the office. My boss finds out that his parents aren't visiting this weekend (he's originally from Alaska), which throws his weekend out of balance since he'd been planning on visiting Bemidji with them. Then it turns out that his wife had bought tickets already to go see AVP in the evening as a surprise. So anyway, I didn't envy him having to go home and make her feel better after the whole weekend turned upside-down.

Now, my workmate has got to spend the weekend in jail. Apparently it was either that or pay a bigger fine for his drunk driving conviction earlier this year. The advice my boss gave was simple: “Just don't do anything stupid.” I'm sure he'll be fine.

Sometimes it's good to just have a boring life.

Hmm. I noticed that Anne Hathaway was on The Graham Norton Effect last night. Yes, promoting her G-rated movie. That was kind of funny.

But apparently she's going to be topless in her next movie, so I guess it all evens out.

Posted by mike at 08:18 PM Central | Movies , Music , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 21, 2004

It's French, Bitch

Another weekend where I did a lot of walking, though a lot of it was inside. I went to the MoA via the light-rail+bus route. That bus kinda sucks, but at least they've had a new onramp to highway 62/highway 55 for the past week so that it doesn't have to do that stupid U-turn anymore. I'm amazed that none of the buses rolled over making that maneuver.

Actually, I walked through Minnehaha Park, following the creek down to the Mississippi and back. Okay, well, I took some of the trails that didn't go right next to the creek, but I figured I should take a different route down there (still, I think I've only gone that whole distance once before). Then I went the rest of the way down the line.

Dick Day and other Republicans in the state legislature really like to mention that a lot of riders are pretty much joyriding. I'm not sure how many people are totally joyriding, going on the train just for the sake of going on the train. I think most people actulaly go to a destination and come back. If they took the train to add to the “experience” of it all, that's fine by me, and it probably kept a car out of someplace it didn't need to be.

Anyway, my mall experience was pretty much like any other I've had. I hardly ever buy anything there. I'm just not the target audience of that place. Usually I just get some faux Chinese/Japanese food at one of the food courts. I had wandered up to the movie theaters to see if they were playing Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, but no dice. I saw that Collateral was playing, so I bated my time by traversing all of the different levels in the mall. I got back up there and waited in line for a ticket when, at the last second, I noticed that Garden State was going to be showing in an hour. So, I ditched the line, got some of the aforementioned Asian food, and wandered around a bit more.

I really liked the movie, except the ending just didn't do it for me. Definitely the most formulaic point of the whole film. At least they had that awesome trancey track that has been used in the ads come in at that point and lead into the credits. So I had to sit and listen for a few minutes—that song has been haunting me since I first saw the trailer. I checked at Sam Goody afterwards to see if they had any copies of the soundtrack, but their soundtrack section was extremely stunted, and I'm not sure if they had anything for any movies released this year. So, I went and made what is probably only my second online CD purchase since CDNow got bought out by Amazon (and I think the only thing I bought in the intervening time was a Car Talk CD).

Also, in my movie post-mortem browsing, I saw this in Roger Ebert's review, which kind of made me thing not so highly of the movie:

She is Sam (Natalie Portman), [a girl] you sometimes find in the movies, a girl who is completely available, absolutely desirable and really likes you

Oh well, so the guy gets the girl. What do you expect? Just if I could get the girl once in a while, that'd be good. So yeah, I'm kind of in the standard haze I get into after seeing movies that have anything to do with relationships. I definitely identified with Zach Braff's character a bit, but it's sad to think that at least he was doped up on lithium, Zoloft, Paxil…

Posted by mike at 10:22 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 04, 2004

In Search of the Fabulous Life of

Big Trouble is a really funny movie. A victim of unfortunate timing, I think. So many good actors in that flick… Dennis Farina, Rene Russo, Janeane Garofolo, Patrick Warburton, Zooey Deschanel, Jason Lee, Andy Richter, that guy from The New Guy, and several running gags like having everyone mention Martha Stewart in some way ;-)

FBI Agent Sykes: The president thanks you for your selfless act of courage.

FBI Agent Greer: Because he can never admit to what happened here, in lieu of a medal of honor, he'd like to send you a pair of cowboy boots with a “W” on them, and a hat.

Posted by mike at 12:51 PM Central | Comedy , Movies , September 11th | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 17, 2004

Globe Trekker

I figure I'll probably go see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow this weekend—most likely as a matinee at Block E. I figure its an effects movie, and the reviews so far seem to bear that out. So, if I'm getting about half a movie, I figure I should only pay about half as much.

I thought there were a bunch of movies out now that I wanted to see, but looking over the listings doesn't produce much interest. I might go out and get THX-1138, probably along with the new Prodigy album.

I was just thinking of how some of the material on my headphones has started to wear off. The thin rubbery coating on the big foam pads is coming off in little black bits which occasionally scare me. I suppose they worry me a bit because little black things usually signify insects of some kind for me.

Speaking of which—there was a huge bug on one of the cars outside work. I suppose there's a non-zero possibility that it was fake, but it looked pretty monstrous. Seemed to be a beetle with a long and thin body, pretty much all black, with long legs about 1.5 inches long. The body of the thing seemed to be about the size and shape of a Sharpie marker.

I decided to leave it alone.

Posted by mike at 09:24 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 21, 2004

Your Guide to Democracy Inaction

Well, I succumbed to the will of the Force during lunch today. Not that it was really intentional. I went to Best Buy with the intention of getting the new Green Day album, but I was sucked in by the Star Wars music playing and everything, so I ended up getting the box set too.

After getting out of there and heading to lunch, I realized that I had yet again forgotten to go by the post office to get some stamps. I ended up getting some Buckminster Fuller ones, although they're pretty huge for stamps. Kind of unfortunate to realize that they'll mostly be going to pay bills (well, if they aren't too big for my envelopes).

Posted by mike at 02:40 PM Central | Movies , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 15, 2004

I Have the Power

Do my eyes deceive me? Is it October 15th? Does that mean that Team America: World Police is finally in theaters?

Well, well, well…

I've had an eventful day already, with the power supply for my computer going out overnight. So, I guess it's good that I had that other PC sitting in the other room without any functioning drives. I quickly swapped out the power supply and was back up.

Jon Stewart will apparently be on CNN's Crossfire this afternoon at 3:30 PM CDT.

And speaking of CDT, daylight saving will end in the wee hours of October 31st, so all you Halloweenies will get one more hour of that day this year.

Posted by mike at 09:48 AM Central | Hardware , Movies , News , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 12, 2004

Layer Cake

Today's Republican annoyance: complaining about Democrats blocking nominees for Federal judges. Fortunately, at least one reporter brings up a nice point in an opening paragraph of their story today:

Democrats used the threat of a filibuster to block 10 of Bush's nominees to federal appeals courts. The Senate did confirm more than 200 of the president's choices.
Now, I don't know about you, but being picky of less than 5% of the choices seems completely reasonable to me.

Hmm. Somehow, I didn't finish this up at all this morning. Okay, let me continue…

WCCO ran an exposé on Metro Transit. Oh no! They have a safety record five times better than the national average! Whatever will we do? Apparently complain. Well, I do agree with the fact that the drivers are overworked and underpaid these days. The system needs a steadier source of income. It always strikes me as odd that the gasoline tax is part of the Minnesota state constitution. Some of those funds should be dedicated to transit, so that the lawmakers aren't bickering about funding every year or two and so that Metro Transit can actually plan ahead.

Anyway, I lot my job today. Not totally unexpected. Well, at least I've been getting calls about people semi-interested in hiring me lately…

I watched The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension this evening. Apparently most people like the movie and rank it up there with Back to the Future. Okay, maybe not all the way up there, but in the same general category. To me, it was trash, and I want those 102 minutes of my life back. Well, I never saw it as a kid, so maybe I just don't have that soft spot for it.

Posted by mike at 07:49 PM Central | Movies , Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 13, 2004

John Bigbooté

I got up early this morning because the landlord said he had to come into my apartment to fiddle with a valve for the heat. As far as I know, he didn't. I ended up leaving two hours after he was expected so that I could drop off my work equipment and keys at the office.

I got back home and decided to head out, hopefully to do some early Christmas shopping at the MoA, or maybe just get some ideas for something good but thrifty. Yeah, the Mall isn't the best place for that. Anyway, I'd also had the thought in my head to go find the Midtown Greenway. At first, I expected to just go on the train for a short hop down to Lake Street and get off to look for the trail, but all of the Gopher fans piled on and I didn't feel like pushing through everyone to get out.

I decided to just go down to Fort Snelling and do the Mall first. Unfortunately, the shuttle bus was majorly delayed, partly because of the stupid signal timing there and the pile of folks trying to get out of the park and ride lot. So, after 25 minutes or so, I just got back on the train and did the Greenway. I didn't really expect to go very far on it, but when I get going, I tend to walk a long way. I ended up going from the recently-completed east end all the way down past Hennepin Avenue near the western terminus.

I wandered into the Uptown Lund's and was wowed by their produce department, yet disturbed by the fishy smell coming from, well, fish. (Hey, if Alton Brown says fish isn't supposed to smell like that…) Anyway, I thought I'd just get a snack there, but I ended up doing the double-cheeseburger-and-two-apple-pie meal for $2.14. I missed a couple of the buses that could have taken me straight home and ended up on the 28 instead, which stops on the north end of downtown.

But hey, while I was wandering over to Nicollet Mall and pondering when a bus to get me across the river might come, I happened to look up and see a shooting star. That was pretty neat. It was a light as bright as the other airplanes flying around, so I thought it was a plane until it winked out of existence an instant later.

I ended up just walking home. Another good thing about not getting a direct bus was the fact that I remembered to go by the grocery store to get some food. Got some Marie Calender dinners since my mom has recomended them, and discovered that Rick's has started carrying Pagoda egg rolls.

Mmm. Pagoda.

Then I got home and discovered there wasn't anything on TV, so I watched Election. Reese Witherspoon is just so *perky* ;-)

Posted by mike at 09:03 PM Central | Food , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 04, 2004

Julie Nelson Can Report Me Any Day

Interesting factoid of the day: The United States needs to maintain an average job growth rate of 150,000 jobs per month just to keep up with population growth.

I went to see the TCLUG presentation on the Ocaml programming language today. Sounds interesting, and I'll probably have to try learning it. It's descended from Lisp and ML, though, which will make it somewhat of a challenge. I did alright in Scheme (basically a Lisp dialect), but when a guy threw ML at me in one of my courses, I got lost (I think I was on the verge of getting burnt out, though). Of course, while Scheme was a functional language, Ocaml can be the big three all together: procedural, functional, and imperative. They've addressed many annoying problems, though it isn't a silver bullet.

The presenter today said that the language works better on big projects, though that doesn't mean that it can't work for small things. One guy set up a bunch of mini-benchmarks, and Ocaml came in not far behind C for most things (speed, memory use, etc.). The nice features of Ocaml don't really become apparent at that level, though, so it wouldn't be crazy to think it couldn't surpass C for at least some bigger things. Hard to say, though.

The grand theoretical concept behind Java's garbage collection is apparently the same as what is used in Ocaml, but Java's implementation is really bad. One interesting thing is that Ocaml's garbage collection algorithm makes the memory that is in use much more cache-friendly, so you gain a lot of speed by making the CPU wait much less frequently on cache misses than in other languages/environments. C makes the programmer manually handle memory usage, so it becomes nightmarish even on small things.

After that, I tried out the extended light-rail line and had just enough time to get some late lunch/early supper before heading back. I decided to just take the reliever bus on the way back, though I probably would have gotten to downtown faster if I'd waited in line and taken the train. The bus got pretty filled up, so a black kid sat next to me and his sister and mom sat farther back.

He felt like talking, so I learned a bit about him. He had just turned 11 yesterday, and wanted to spend some of the money he'd gotten as a gift. However, his mom and sister seem to have connived him into using it for rides at Camp Snoopy rather than something he could hold onto for a while—and it sounds like he ended up paying for them! That's not right, and he knew it.

The kid seemed pretty smart, but wasn't in the greatest environment. He had trouble spelling (seemed to have trouble telling S's and C's apart, maybe that would indicate dyslexia or something) and didn't like to read. After we talked about reading a bit, he asked me to give him a little spelling quiz. He used to live in Chicago, so a few words on, I asked him to spell that (S-H-O…S-A…). I don't know, maybe I can track down his school and get someone to spend some one-on-one time with him. It sounds like he may have been held back a grade already (he was in fourth, I'm pretty sure most kids his age would be at fifth).

Maybe I'm thinking too much of his abilities, I don't know. I took a test in sixth grade that said I was reading at the level of a college student (I always thought that seemed ludicrous, though). I might/should try calling to the schools in his neighborhood (he said he was fairly close to the 38th Steet station, and his school wasn't far from his house, so that narrows it down), and asking if he could get some one-on-one attention, though I know it might be asking a lot of the school. Maybe I could volunteer or something, but I have no idea where my life is going to be in the next few weeks/months.

Oh, and the train was packed. I'm glad I wasn't trying to catch a plane or anything. I think that on a good day, a trip from EE/CSci to the airport would take about 40 minutes (this is an important data point, since my brother is flying out to California this week for an interview at Intel).

Well, I needed a pick-me-up when I got home, so I watched Freaky Friday from my pile of Netflix movies. Even brief images of Lindsay Lohan tend to etch themselves with laser beams into my gray matter, so she'll probably pop into my head randomly for the next day or three. Is it the freckles? I don't understand it!

Posted by mike at 10:06 PM Central | Movies , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2004

nicholas nickleby

Agh! I just watched Bridge on the River Kwai, where one of the main characters was played by William Holden. He's been dead since 1981, but I know there's a currently-alive (or at least not dead for long) actor who sounds exactly like him and looks pretty close to the same. The guy I'm thinking of has probably been in more B-movies, Sci-Fi channel flicks, and Outer Limits (or Twilight Zone) episodes than I can count, but I can't think of his name. Frustrating. I'm pretty sure he was in at least one episode of TNG too. He has a gravelly voice, usually has hair (black) puffed right so it stands fairly straight up, and often has a beard. He usually plays the bad guy, too, which is why I thought it was so weird this movie had “him” in a good role (though he really would have been about 5 to 10 years old when it was made).

Posted by mike at 11:02 PM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 16, 2004

Frostbite Falls

I came home for a few days, since a friend of mine was going to be here for two weeks. We went to see Blade: Trinity, which I guess was better than I expected, aside from being the world's longest iPod commercial. Ryan Reynolds was funny (watch out for the vampire pomerenian!) and Jessica Biel was her lovely self. I didn't know she was born in Ely, Minnesota. Oh, and she's much better as a non-blonde.

Some unexpected expected things happened for my friend, so we didn't hang out yesterday. Hopefully we'll do lunch or something today.

I sprayed fungicide on my mom's rose bushes on Tuesday. It was cold out, so the leaves got fungicidecicles. I also helped fix a festive deer that we have. One of those white wireframe jobbies that has Christmas lights strung through it. I had to go and replace about 20 light bulbs to get it to work, and then there were a few faulty ones that took a long time for my dad to track down with a tester.

Posted by mike at 10:40 AM Central | Brian D , Family , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 15, 2005

I Blame the Soup

I think Rick's Market may be getting sloppy. Several minor things seem to have cropped up lately—though it might just be that time of year or something. Then again, the place will get torn down at some point this year (Lunds bought the place and is plannng a low-rise development there). Of course, it's also more expensive than Rainbow (or Target), so I should probably start actually driving somewhere to get groceries.

The recent dip in temperatures came at the same time as an illness for me. It might be a coincidence, though I suspect the drop in humidity did it. I get a few sicknesses like this each year, usually one when the temperature first dips to around freezing, then another when it gets to around zero. I coughed/sneezed up phlegm in new and disgusting ways last night (fortunately it's not painful or anything, just gross).

I should have bought more orange juice.

Well, according to whatever source my computer is using for temperature, we got above freezing. Now KARE-11 can stop counting the hours since it went below zero. Sheesh.

I've been getting back into a semi-regular cycle of watching movies from Netflix. I watched The Cooler a few days ago and thought it was pretty good. A bunch of great actors in it, and I guess I've never seen Alec Baldwin in a role like that.

Today I watched Wild Things. At least it had a plot ;-) Yeah, I was hesitant to see it for a long time. I distinctly remember seeing the poster plastered next to the door in Territorial Hall when I was a freshman. It would be hard to find another image that screamed S-E-X so loudly. Given its non-existence in my life, I'm sure I consciously avoided looking at the poster pretty often. What was the thing that finally tipped the balance and caused me to see it?

Bill Murray.

Yeah, okay, rumors of make-out sessions between Neve Campbell and Denise Richards also had something to do with it, but I'm pretty sure that little tidbit had slipped my mind by the time it was added to my queue. I suppose it's weird for my priorities to be arranged this way, but I imagine it's an agitation-mitigation technique since things like that remind me of what I don't have. Then again, it's tough to feel too strongly when everyone is homicidal.

I finally caught the Battlestar Galactica miniseries on Tuesday and Wednesday, then watched the series begin on Friday. It turns out that the Brits have got a leg up on us Americans for once—the series started airing on Sky One last October. Should I just fire up BitTorrent? Perhaps if I start missing episodes—it's kind of nice to draw it out a bit (though it probably conflicts with when Monk is on).

Computer work seems so distant right now. Of course, everything is a little fuzzy at the moment because of my flu-ishness. Well, it's all a matter of my synapses being happy. Good new music and cute perfumed girls are the best antidotes for that. Since element B has been absent for a long time, this kind of explains why I've been so interested in the new radio station that I hope will finally be broadcasting soon. But, they probably won't be the station I want them to be. I'll just have to wait a bit longer.

Posted by mike at 10:36 PM Central | Food , Movies , Music , Self , TV , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 27, 2005

Razzmatazz

Well, I guess Halle Berry has a sense of humor:

"I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit," she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first."

Posted by mike at 09:36 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 10, 2005

The T.C.

I just had to laugh at my pile of Netflix movies today: The Doom Generation, Eyes Wide Shut, and then the eighth disc of the Monty Python TV series. Seems to reflect my bizarre moods lately, though.

Er, not that I even fully know what those two movies are about, so we'll see if I feel the same way later.

Posted by mike at 07:28 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 13, 2005

From the Good Side

So after a little Googling, I found that the cigarette girl in The Aviator was in fact not Jean Harlow played by Gwen Stefani but rather the character Thelma played by Josie Maran. Uh, who? Well, maybe I'd know who she was if I had a subscription to FHM or something, since she seems to mostly be a model. Like Kate Beckinsale (who played Ava Gardner), she seems to have gotten into the monster movies and was in Van Helsing (Beckinsale was in Underworld). Kind of annoying that they look totally different in their Aviator appearances than in any other images you'll find, mostly due to the "movie magic" of wigs and caked-on makeup.

Posted by mike at 12:41 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 14, 2005

Big Bear

I took Keen Eddie over to Dan's place yesterday so we could hang out and watch that, then we went with Josh, Kari, and Laura to see Ong-Bak. It's a pretty awesome martial arts film and had a lot of surprises for those guys since it demonstrates some Thai forms rather than the Chinese and Japanese stuff they're more accustomed to. There was an unpleasant scene with a girl that almost ruined things for me just because it distantly echoed something I worried about over the years, but the fight scenes were amazing and it's worth seeing just for that.

Oh! I don't know if anyone else caught it, but there was a shout out to Steven Spielberg. On a garage door in one scene it said "Hi Spielberg" and below that "Let do it together." That's apparently verbatim, I didn't quite catch it at first, but that's what IMDB says. It's possible that the message was added digitally and was not really there while filming.

After about an hour of sitting around with our stomachs grumbling, Dan, Laura, Kari, and I went to the Macaroni Grill at Rosedale. We almost hit a bar stool that was sitting in the parking lot! I guess some guy took two from the restaurant, but forgot one or something.

It was good to be out with friends, especially relatively unattached ones (no couples were together). I had wanted Sarah to come along, but I realized later that it could have easily been burdensome for me. I must make an effort to hang out in the coming weeks, though I can't afford to go to movies and eat out every time these days.

At least the Minneapolis smoking ban will go into effect soon, so then I'll be more comfortable trying out some of the music venues in the area. Now that we have a radio station that actually plays songs by bands who are coming through town, I might manage to get out. I've just always been under the impression that it's expensive to see music. Okay, it would often be as bad as going out to a movie and getting food, but at least it's more social than sitting in a theater.

Posted by mike at 06:57 AM Central | Dan , Josh , Kari , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 15, 2005

Favorite Curse Word?

I've never understood why daylight savings time comes in summer. I'm sure there's a logical explanation, but all I ever want is to have light appear in my bedroom at a consistent time of day. Uh, yeah, that's impossible. I really do want to get an alarm clock that can do that for me, though. They're not a common item, but there do exist devices that will simulate a sunrise. I was kind of wondering why I was able to wake up so early the last few days. It's been clear and sunny, which is a nice change.

A copy of Anything Else came in the mail today from Netflix, and I watched it this morning. I'm not feeling all that empathetic lately, so maybe I'll hate the film later, but my funnybone is still active and I thought it was very humorous. I suppose it's a relationship movie about a non-relationship, so it came at an opportune time. With this film, I could vaguely consider Jason Biggs to be a John Cusack of a slightly younger generation, but I wouldn't carry that idea too far. There was a happy ending, I think, but that part was much more true to life than your standard boy-meets-girl flick (er, aside from Woody Allen's character going wacko, but that's kind of separate).

I sent out some correspondence yesterday evening that will probably come back to haunt me, but it's still important. Then again, my mind keeps changing like crazy, so I may be feeling differently as responses float in. Well, it's a vaguely High Fidelity thing. It's not "what does it all mean?"—that's a stupid question—but it's not far enough away from that for me to be comfortable in my queries.

Posted by mike at 05:44 PM Central | Movies , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 23, 2005

Night of the Living Brain-Dead

A few months back I described The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension as a Troma video with no sex. Today I half-watched and half-fast-forwarded through The Doom Generation, and would describe it as a Troma video with no monsters. Okay, I don't even know what I'm saying since I only ever saw one Troma movie that I can recall, but I suppose you only need to see that once to get the idea. I personally think it was funnier than Buckaroo Banzai, so I guess I'd rate it as the better movie.

At any rate, it's out of my pile of three discs (finally!) so I can watch some decent stuff again. Off to the mailbox.

Posted by mike at 02:09 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005

The Newest from Paris Hilton

Went to Josh's birthday, then saw Sin City. Grand Slam in Eagan was alright, and I suppose turned out to be more fun than I was expecting when we walked in to see a huge crowd of kids. The bumper cars were entertaining, and had enough padding to keep you from being totally slammed. I did horribly on mini-golf, but what else is new.

The movie was good, though I hope the stilted conversation was an intentional representation of the frames in a comic. I'm trying to remember the biggest laugh from the movie. It might have been the comment about clean copies.

Posted by mike at 08:01 AM Central | Josh , Movies | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005

You've Got Red on You

I watched Tomb Raider in the morning. It was decent, not great, I guess. I wonder if Chris Barrie manages to do any more in the sequel.

Dan invited me over to see Shaun of the Dead, which was very amusing. The Z-Day bits at the end were funny too.

I just watched an episode of a show I liked so that I won't have zombie dreams. We'll see if that held them off or not. Well, if Scott Speedman gets zombified, I won't care too much :-p

Posted by mike at 01:04 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005

Rick James

Remember when you didn't know what "esoteric" meant? Too many people understand that now, so it will soon be supplanted by "abstruse".

In totally unrelated news, I watched Mean Girls finally. Very good and it came from an unexpected angle, though I suppose I purposely avoided knowing much about the movie when it first came out. I just had to avoid Lindsay Lohan until she was legal ;-)

Oh, and bonus points for using "Halcyon + On + On" at the end, even if they cut it off kind of quick.

Posted by mike at 03:40 PM Central | Movies , News | Comments (0)

April 23, 2005

The Black Hole

Wow. Better Off Dead is a pretty awful movie. It's supposed to be about a suicidal teenager, but he only tries like two times (and really only by accident)! Dancing cheeseburgers, crawling blue goo, "Fraunch" dressing.. Sheesh. Sad that Diane Franklin wasn't in very many more movies, though. She was cute. Oh! And her stunt double looked like he (didn't look much like a she!) was friggin black!

Heh, I could probably go on for hours if I really got started. John Cusack pretty much carries the whole movie, and is likely the only reason people actually think it's good.

I'm going out to try and get some semi-fresh air and get this bad movie stink off of me...

Posted by mike at 12:07 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

May 11, 2005

Boom Bip

Okay, for personal reference, just so I can keep these organized:

  • Polara is a local band
  • Pantera is a heavy metal band
  • Petra is a Christian rock band
Somehow I keep getting them confused.

I saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Monday and randomly ran into Adam and guest (Melissa?). I thought it was pretty entertaining, though not as good as it could have been. Still, when my parents asked, I gave it a thumbs-up. The Heart of Gold spaceship (and especially the escape pod) looks familiar, like one of the Red Dwarf pods or something. Then again, maybe it appeared on/in one of the books way back when. The huge hole in the rear end was unique, though. Zooey Deschanel was a good choice for Trillian, IMHO.

I got some extra cash back from the IRS, so I got myself some CDs.

Posted by mike at 04:54 PM Central | Movies , Music | Comments (0)

May 16, 2005

Where Were You When the Fit Hit the Shan?

Oh my god ohmygod ohmygodomygodomygod—Lindsay Lohan is going to be here! </fanboy>

This Prairie Home Companion movie is going to be bizarre.

Posted by mike at 10:30 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

King of Comedy

Well, I haven't updated for several days, so I suppose I should. It's all about my car and my phone. I went to see Revenge of the Sith last Sunday night at Block E. The movie was okay, not great. Visually stunning, but the script was pretty weak. I guess Hayden Christensen just doesn't hold my attention either...

Anyway, I went to the restroom after the movie let out, and realized that my phone was missing. I'd worn some shorts that I shouldn't have. The pockets were too small and they're out of style anyway. At any rate, I went back into the theater to look for my phone, but couldn't find it. I eventually left a note for folks at Block E to e-mail me if they found it (I had no phone, so leaving a number seemed silly).

When I got home, I sent myself a text message via e-mail just in case whoever found it hadn't turned it off and back on to see the convenient message I'd left as a welcome message. It would turn out that nobody bothered to read either my text messages or the welcome note. Anyway, I sent a second text message in the morning, then looked up the recent activity via the T-Mobile website. Uh oh—phone call to Ecuador. That only happens in movies! Sheesh.

So, hoping to prevent any more international dialing (nevermind that I was over my monthly minutes anyway) I went into downtown to try to find the T-Mobile store. I couldn't remember where it was, so it took some wandering before it was found at the IDS Center's Crystal Court. My phone was replaced for $42 and change and after just a few minutes of chit-chat. The new phone is a Nokia 6010, replacing a 3595.

Well, sort of. The new phone doesn't always display the time on the main screen, and I haven't been able to figure out how to change that. The new phone also wasn't working with GPRS, but that may have just been temporary (it's possible that I went over my 1MB of traffic per month, and they might just cut you off, though I'm not sure).

Of course, once whoever it was that found my phone realized that he couldn't make any more calls, it magically ended up in the office at Block E. I got an e-mail at about 5:45 PM. I think they may have had it for a few hours beforehand, since there were a few other call attempts around 2:30 PM, but then again they were mostly to women listed on my contact list. So nice that people want to terrorize people when they get a phone randomly landing in their lap (this is why I assume the person who stole it is a "he" rather than a "she").

Anyway, so I got the phone back after it became a dud to whoever found it. I'm actually using it now with the 6010's faceplate because of the aforementioned clock and data problems. Maybe I'll find the magic clock-enabling trick at some point and switch back to the new phone.

My car is finally repaired, at least enough so it won't stall anymore when leaving the highway. It's pretty straightforward—a solenoid in the torque converter that engages the internal "clutch" when traveling at highway speeds wasn't disengaging anymore. I was worried this would cost mondo cash, but $273 isn't too bad IMHO. It's not really clear if this helped the stuttering/jerking I've been feeling for a while—apparently that goes away when the air conditioner is turned on! Weird.

Well, I suppose I'll go to the TCLUG meeting tomorrow. It's about the SuSE distribution, owned by Novell these days. I don't know much about SuSE, so I may as well learn something about it.

Posted by mike at 12:18 AM Central | Car , Hardware , Movies | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

Yep

I saw Wedding Crashers yesterday and it was very funny. But if I poke at it too much, I'll get annoyed, so that's it.

Edit: Ah, that was Rachel McAdams. I kept thinking that she looked familiar. The black hair threw me off...

Posted by mike at 07:15 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

August 22, 2005

Memento

Flipping through the channels, I caught the tail end of a Stargate SG-1 episode, which finally allowed me to figure out a mystery I had after watching The Bridge on the River Kwai. William Holden appears in the classic film, while the younger (and not dead) guy I thought he resembled turns out to be Robert Foxworth.

Well, I dunno, maybe I'm the only one who sees a resemblance..

Posted by mike at 08:13 PM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (0)

December 17, 2005

Oilman

Silly.. Brokeback Mountain has been getting a lot of hype, but guess how many theaters it was in last weekend. 5. Ah, yes, those year-end mini-releases so that the'll be fresh in the mind of Academy voters. Okay, it was probably on more screens than five, since theater counts are done on a multiplex-by-multiplex basis...

Anyway, I saw Syriana over the weekend, which was pretty good. There are many elements of truth to the ideas in the film, though I expected a different kind of movie from the trailer that said "Imagine gasoline $20 at the pump."

There were a lot of respected actors in that movie, so I imagine it was either quite expensive to produce, or they all took a relatively slim paycheck to do it. Well, maybe I just have a higher opinion of most of them than the box office sometimes does.

Watching that movie was a little unusual because there were a number of people speaking Arabic or Farsi in the audience (well, heck, it could have been Hebrew for all I know). Other than that, the main cognitive dissonance for the evening came right at the beginning of the film reel when there was an advertisement for the National Guard...

Hmm. Isn't it amazing that the president is actually admitting things these days? Well, some things.. The administration doesn't say much about secret prisons, but they get pretty talkative about the NSA. Now watch them out an operative of that agency.. Hoo-boy.

Posted by mike at 04:07 PM Central | Movies , Politics | Comments (0)

February 06, 2006

Blessing Golf Clubs

As I hear about the protests because of cartoons portraying Muhammad, I can't help but think of the film Dogma and, particularly, the Buddy Jesus:

I've seen the cartoons, and they didn't seem particularly good to me. I can see why folks would get mad, but it's gotten waaaaayyy out of control.

Posted by mike at 10:44 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

March 18, 2006

Jaguar

I updated the CSS on my website and got the right column to always be vertical. I also pulled some redundant code out of the individual pages that get rendered, saving a few megabytes of space. Unfortunately, I'm still over 90% usage on my web space, so I'll have to get more creative eventually. I'm running an ancient version of Movable Type, and I've got to move to something better fairly soon.

I basically hadn't upgraded in the past because the export facility for this version doesn't include the actual article ID number used in the database. Without that, some of my internal links would go awry once the new site was up, since pages would have different numbers. I try to avoid breaking existing URL links whenever I can. I've just come across too many 404s in my time, I guess.

I'll probably try to catch V for Vendetta sometime this weekend. I'd also kind of like to see Night Watch, though I'm not sure if I'm in the mood. Oh, and I wanted to see Why We Fight. Hmm, there don't seem to be any good comedies out right now, except perhaps for Tristram Shandy (which I saw last week), and Dave Chappelle's Block Party.

Hmm.. Thinkety thinkety thinkety...

Posted by mike at 04:45 PM Central | Internet , Movies | Comments (0)

June 20, 2006

Off and On

According to the early reviews, the new Superman is really good. If that's true, the company that made the movie should fire their advertising department—the trailer is a stink bomb.

I saw Cars on opening night, and thought it was excellent. Then I saw A Prairie Home Companion the next day. That's a very different film, so it was hard to gauge. It seemed surprising how they played up the musical performers Robin and Linda Williams, and Jearlyn Steele. But whatever, it worked out alright.

I've continued to play with my camera, though I'm feeling a bit restricted by the graphics tools in Linux. The Gimp only handles 8 bits per color channel (24-bit graphics), which is normally fine, but it can cause images to turn out rather grainy if you start tweaking the brightness or whatever. Supposedly my camera can do something like 12 bits per color channel (36-bit graphics or thereabouts), and it would be really nice to have all of that color range used at least in the background while editing.

I know, I know, Cinepaint is supposed to let you do that, but there are two problems with it—it's a fork of the old 1.x version of The Gimp, and it's one of the buggiest pieces of software I've ever tried to run.

I occasionally try to get into an open source project here or there, but always get stuck because of the complexity. This case will probably be no different, but I'd like to take a shot at working on The Gimp to get it to handle higher bit depths. There's been some backend work already for GEGL, but that project has not yet reached a point where it can be integrated. I seem to recall hearing about that years ago, and it's not done. Well, software development takes time...

I've also tried to get some high dynamic range tools to work, where you combine multiple images into high bit depths using command-line tools, then convert that image into an 8-bit-per-channel image using special algorithms that mimic or trick the human visual system. Done right, you can get images of amazing color and detail. Here are a few examples: one two three. Well, those were actually made with a Windows program called Photomatix, but the same thing is possible on the command line. Unfortunately, one of the programs just doesn't work on my system. I point it at the JPEGs from my camera, and it says "no image found". I suspect that might be happening because my camera puts a bad string in one of the EXIF data fields...

Well, I finally wrote something after a month or so, but I've got to get ready for work.

Posted by mike at 08:42 AM Central | Movies , Photography , Software | Comments (0)

June 25, 2006

With additional dialogue by William Shakespeare

Well, I started watching The Black Adder since I got the first DVD from Netflix a few days ago. I noticed that the guy who plays King Richard IV was also in the movie Flash Gordon. So, I went and searched for "Flash Gordon" on IMDB. I was shocked to see that a new movie is expected in 2007.

By the way, the guy I was looking for was Brian Blessed.

Anyway, I'm not sure what would be the best way to do the remake. Should it be low-budget? Big-budget? As "realistic" as possible? As off-the-wall as possible? Somehow, I think the best thing to do is leave it be.

Well, beyond that, I should mention that I went to the giant car show at the fairgrounds over the weekend. I have a picture set up on Flickr. Kind of makes me wish I had a garage. Kind of.

I also attended a friend's "divorce party", though it wasn't heavily structured toward having any real relation to her divorce (at least not while I was there).

Posted by mike at 10:53 PM Central | Movies , TV | Comments (0)

August 13, 2006

Achoo a Queue Apu

It's interesting how different the movie rating predictions are between Netflix and the University of Minnesota's MovieLens project. I couldn't find a site-wide personalized list on Netflix, but here's what I did: I went through my queue and sorted movies based on the number in the phrase "Recommended based on x ratings". Here are the "top" movies in my queue that I haven't seen (supposedly):

  1. Rushmore
  2. Boogie Nights
  3. Swingers
  4. Annie Hall
  5. Bottle Rocket
  6. Taxi Driver
  7. The Fisher King
  8. Rashomon
  9. True Romance
  10. 21 Grams
Actually, I've tried watching Rushmore, but couldn't get past the first 20 minutes or so. MovieLens basically only thought I'd rate those films as "okay" or "pretty good". That site has a different list, starting with:
  1. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
  2. Akeelah and the Bee
  3. Lucky Number Slevin
  4. The Boondock Saints
  5. Walk on Water
  6. Miracle
  7. Water
  8. Return with Honor
  9. The Great Escape
  10. Say Anything
Again, Netflix doesn't really think I'd like many of those. Well, just an interesting little curiosity.

Posted by mike at 11:16 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

September 05, 2006

Quotidian

One of my favorite movie quotes ever, from Syriana:

Bryan Woodman: But what do you need a financial advisor for? Twenty years ago you had the highest Gross National Product in the world, now you're tied with Albania. Your second largest export is secondhand goods, closely followed by dates which you're losing five cents a pound on...You know what the business community thinks of you? They think that a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other's heads off and that's where you'll be in another hundred years, so on behalf of my firm I accept your offer.
Emphasis added for the bit I like best.. Of course, the movie is about a fictional country, but there are actual Mid-East countries where oil accounts for 90+% of exports. Hopefully they can see the end coming and will increase civil liberties and invest in education and other industries before the cash flow dies out. Actually, I think that was a point raised in the movie...

Which reminds me—I wonder what Alexander Siddig (formerly known as Siddig El Fadil) is up to these days. It doesn't seem like he's done much since Deep Space Nine, but then again, anybody would want to take some time off after being on a long-form dramatic series for seven years...

Posted by mike at 09:25 AM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

September 28, 2006

Peebles

Huh. Amanda Peet looks kinda different between Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and the last place I saw her: The Whole Nine Yards.

Oh, yeah, I didn't really get into the second episode of Studio 60 as much as the first one. "The very model of a modern network TV show" bit was kind of amusing, but that might have flown over the heads of lots of people. Everything I know about Gilbert and Sullivan I learned from The Simpsons... Ah, Sideshow Bob, where would we be without your love of the musical? Then again, I think most people like musicals more than I do—I tend to avoid them like the plague.

Posted by mike at 01:27 PM Central | Comedy , Movies , TV | Comments (0)

October 22, 2006

Scythe

I went to see Sweet Land at Har Mar today. It was a bit strange since I didn't get a normal ticket, but one of those simple types that you get at a raffle or something. I'm not sure if it was just for that movie or not—the ticket stubs may have been using a color code. Their register may have been down, and they might not be bothered to fix it before the new theater complex opens at Rosedale.

Anyway, the most elderly people I've seen at a movie in a long time, probably even exceeding A Prairie Home Companion. Well, there's Norwegian and German dialogue in the movie without any subtitles. I was able to follow a little, but I'll have to watch the movie again if my fluency improves in the future.

Anyway, it is put together really well, and I'd rate it very highly. I think my only complaint is that it seemed a little too quaint in some aspects. But, someone working on the film must have had a yearning to see actually doing stuff in a movie, so an old (Model T?) Ford and a steam-tractor–thresher combo both got the star treatment. Well, they had to fake the steam train at the beginning of the movie, but that's okay.

Posted by mike at 10:25 PM Central | Movies | Comments (0)

December 09, 2006

Diamond Tip

I was thinking of the movie Mallrats today as I was opening my new copy of Carnavas by Silversun Pickups. This is one of those discs that comes with an annoying sleeve around the jewel case which you have to remove to get at anything. The problem is that this one is way too tight and took some creativity to remove since most methods would seem to make it even tighter. So, I was thinking of that particular scene where—

Wait. Aw crap. That's not the movie I was thinking of at all, is it? Yeah, it's Kevin Smith's other film. No, not Clerks. The other one. No, no, no, not Jersey Girl—what the hell? The other other one. Yes, Chasing Amy. You know, the one where—

Y'know? Nevermind.

Well, I did go see The Fountain at the new Rosedale 14 theaters today. Unfortunately, the movie stopped halfway through for a few minutes, but it was already running again by the time I came back from complaining... I guess the Borg hive mind probably picked it up by the time I got over to the guest services counter.

Anyway, when I first heard the term "art movie" years and years ago, that's precisely what I was thinking of. I liked it, but it fits my kind of quiet patience.

Posted by mike at 02:30 PM Central | Movies , Music | Comments (0)

December 29, 2006

Blahg

And the big news for tonight is… The next Indiana Jones movie will hit theaters in May 2008!

Oh, and the 57,629th Iraqi since the March 2003 invasion died tonight. Whoopty-doo. (Actually, the number has got to be higher than that since it's just +1 from the civilian count at iraqbodycount.org and doesn't include military numbers…)

Posted by mike at 10:00 PM Central | Movies , Politics , War | Comments (0)

February 03, 2007

PCB

The Retahded

Posted by mike at 09:03 PM Central | Movies , Politics , TV , The Media | Comments (0)