Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Celtics

Tonight I randomly decided I should go over to The Fours for dinner. I've been there a few times before, it's a sports bar in Boston down by the Garden. Its not all that special (despite what you might think of some place voted the #1 sports bar in America), but it seemed like a good place to go.

What I didn't realize was that the Celtics were in town tonight playing game 5 of their series against the Atlanta Hawks. The area around the Garden was absolutely packed, with Celtics fans everywhere. I couldn't even get into the Fours, or any of the other sports bars nearby.

I did get some free Celtics paraphernalia from a couple of street marketing people in the area. But it was hard to be positive about the Celtics' good year, considering that the primary reason for that is the acquisition of Kevin Garnett from the Timberwolves.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Try Before You Buy

At the end of March I wrote about trying to find a working demonstration camera at Best Buy in Lakeville. At the time I was looking for a point-and-shoot camera, but also wanted to look at a dSLR. At the time they had the dSLR out but only the body, so you couldn't actually use it for anything.

A few weeks later when we finally bought that point-and-shoot, the Circuit City didn't have a demo dSLR that I was looking for and the Best Buy we eventually bought from didn't carry it all (they hadn't been 're-designed' I was told).

Flash forward to last night, I had some extra time after dinner and decided to walk over to the nearby Best Buy and check out their dSLRs. They had a demo D300, but it was in a case and so I had to ask to try it. Unfortunately the battery was dead (I was told), so I asked them to charge it up and said I would come back the next night.

That was today, so I walked back over ready to finally try out the camera. After finally tracking down a salesperson, they said "Oh and by the way the camera doesn't turn on because the battery is bad".

So I left and decided to go over to Ritz camera, which I had previously been avoiding due to not wanting to deal with their commissioned sales people. They also didn't have a D300 demonstration unit, only a single one still in the box.

So then I decided to try Sears, assuming they wouldn't carry it but hoping they might. Of course they didn't so I remembered there was a Radioshack at the other end of the mall and walked over there. Except that apparently their store closed because now it is an AT&T store.

The end result was an hour spent walking back and forth between stores, only to fail to find a demonstration D300 anywhere. I don't understand why no one has working demonstration units of the camera. How else are you going to try it out? And who, exactly, is going to buy a camera that retails for close to 10 times what a point-and-shoot camera sells for, without ever trying it? Certainly not me, at least not if I can help it.


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Monday, April 28, 2008

It's Going to be a Long Career

I was eating dinner tonight and there were two people sitting at the next table over. It was a restaurant where all of the tables are crammed right on top of each other so that you are practically sitting together. The two people were apparently in college training to be school teachers and spent most of the dinner discussing certification exams and their student teaching assignments.

At one point they were complaining about how disturbingly poor their students were at certain things and the girl goes "The main problem is that kids are just so lazy. They won't do what I tell them".

Sounds to me like the start of a long, happy career.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Impractical

For the 7-8 months, Linzy and I have been trying really hard to take advantage of the library to reduce the number of books we have cluttering up the house. The Dakota County library has a nice queue system, ala Netflix, that allows you to keep track of which books you want and wait for ones that aren't available yet.

Anyways, as I will be taking a trip for work this week, Linzy ordered up the next book in the Malazan series for me to hopefully bring with. Unfortunately when it came it highlighted one of the issues with the library's queue system: You never quite know what format book you are going to get.

It might be a paperback, hardcover, large paperback, large print edition, who knows. In this case, the book turned out to be in super-jumbo hardcover edition. It weighs in at a strangely thick 750 pages. And thus is totally impractical for me to lug along on my trip.

Which turned out to be OK considering I haven't quite finished the previous book yet, but at the time it originally came I was thinking I would be ready for it in time and had visions of trying to cram it into my laptop bag.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Recent Media - 4/25

Explanation - Previous Lists

TV: 30 Rock Season 1 - I finished the last few episodes this week. As I've said before, I thought the show was very funny and cleverly written. There were certainly some episodes that I thought were less interesting then others, but on a whole I thought it was pretty good. The rest of the week I watched Black Sky instead of TV shows (more on this in the movie section).

Books: Deadhouse Gates - I've reached the halfway point in this book and enjoying it quite a bit more then I was early on. After spending the first part of the book introducing a whole slew of new characters, things are starting to get interesting and I am anxious to see where things go from here. Linzy already picked up the next one from the library for me, so the pressure to finish is on.

Movies: Family Guy: Blue Harvest, Beowulf & Black Sky - Linzy and I watched Blue Harvest last weekend and thought it was pretty funny. You have to be a Star Wars fan, of course, but I thought it was amusing. Although I was annoyed at the wasted time for a musical number, and the lack of anyone saying "You're all clear kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home". I mean, how can you skip the best line in the whole movie?

Beowulf! We watched that movie tonight, since Linzy and seen it. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I did the first time through. The dragon scenes were still cool, but the rest just didn't hold up as well as I hoped.

Black Sky is a documentary from the Discovery Channel on the X-Prize, which my new Boss loaned me. It was pretty interesting. I knew a bit about the X-Prize already (from John Carmack's involvement) but it was interesting to see more behind-the-scenes stuff on Scaled Composites and how they went about winning. It was especially crazy to see them taking a glider up to 50,000 feet, putting a test pilot in it and dropping it having never done anything with it before. No test flights, no wind tunnel work, nothing. And every 'test' was like that. "Let's take it up and try out the rocket engine that we've never fired in this plane before. OK".

Video Games (Portable): Final Fantasy V Advance - And so Lunar: Dragon Song joins the long list of games I'll likely never play again. It was a bad, bad game, and that was made even more painfully obvious after I bought FF5 and started playing that. Which is quite fun, although definitely a challenging game. Very challenging, but I'm enjoying it.

Video Games (Home): Rock Band & Super Mario Galaxy - I didn't really play either of these much this week, but I did find some time today to play them both, since I had the day off. In Rock Band I finally broke down and bought the Boston pack, so I played through those songs a couple times. In Super Mario Galaxy I crossed the 60 star mark and unlocked the final battle, but instead of moving right on to that I have been working through unlocking all of the extra galaxies.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Umbrellas

It was raining pretty hard tonight when I left work, and so it was interesting to see how everyone downtown was coping with the rain.

I was not particularly prepared, but was at least wearing a water repellent jacket with a good hood. Some people were well prepared, with real yellow raincoats or large golf umbrellas. Others were using the mad, extremely wet, dash technique or the ineffective 'hold a notepad over your head and pretend like that keeps you dry'.

Then there was the guy using what looked like a little girl-sized pink umbrella complete with hearts and ponies. Very dignified.


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For Sale

I've been amusing myself this spring keeping an eye on all of the houses nearby that are going on the market for sale. On my street directly there are four houses for sale, within a couple blocks. If you include nearby streets the number jumps significantly. Clearly many people were sitting around this winter waiting for the starting gun to go off for the spring house selling season.

I'm just wondering whether there actually will be a spring selling season, because none of the houses appear to be getting much traffic despite being priced significantly below what homes were listing as recently as last summer. It should be interesting to see how long the houses sit on the market and what they end up selling for.

Now does not seem like the time to be trying to sell your house, if at possible.

[ Incidentally, while looking up prices for these houses I'm floored at just how horrendous big-company realty sites still are. Back when we bought our house in 2001, that was sort of to be expected, but in 2008? Why can't I have a Google maps interface and drag over an area with push pins for all of the houses that are for sale. Then I could hover over them, see some basic details and click on them for more details. Combine it with Google Earth pictures or something for bonus points. Using a map to pick an area and then being forced to a completely different page sorted by price with no overlaid map of where the house is just seems silly these days. ]


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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dealer Plates

This evening Linzy and I were walking Pippen through the neighborhood. At one point we passed a shiny Ford Mustang that was fresh from a dealer, complete with dealer plates. For some reason at that point we were talking about repeat DUI offenders and I blurted out "What kind of plates can turn into whiskey plates? Could you end up with whiskey dealer plates?"

For some reason that seemed amusing. The thing is I'm honestly not exactly sure how whiskey plates work. In theory they are supposed to go on the primary vehicle of a repeat offender. So, if you primary vehicle is a dealer-plated car would you end up with whiskey dealer plates? What if it was a government plate (assume for a minute that you would actually get charged twice).

I suppose you would end up with normal whiskey plates, but it would be sort of amusing to see government or dealer whiskey plates.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

CSI: Miami Milk

The other night Linzy and I were discussing her strong dislike of milk. At the time she was watching CSI: Miami (her favorite TV show) and so I asked her if they made CSI: Miami Milk if she would like it more. She said "Of course!".

The next morning I had a little bit of extra time before I needed to catch the bus, so I amused myself by decorating our extra unopened milk jug as CSI: Miami milk. And then I just left it in the fridge like nothing happened.



A day went by while we finished off the previous jug, and then a few days went by before she noticed the decorated milk carton. And of course by that time had forgotten all about my comment about CSI: Miami milk.

That pretty much ruined the joke, but I was amused each night while I would try to angle for making Linzy pour the milk in the hopes she would notice.




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Sunday, April 20, 2008

New TV Cabinet

I've mentioned a couple of times offhandedly that we finally got a new TV cabinet for the basement. The search has been in theory going on since we got the TV two years ago. At first there were not many cabinets to choose from that I liked which would work for the TV size, and none that had exactly the shelves and arrangements like I wanted.

Although what we were looking for didn't seem all that out-of-the-ordinary, in the end we decided to go with a custom cabinet to get more choice over what we ended up with. Specifically we got it from Anderson Millwork, which Brenden's dad owns and they both work at. Brenden designed it, and made sure everything was going to fit and that we had the right holes for everything.



Those holes in the back were the only issue we ended up having with the cabinet as they ended up a little small for the receiver once you took into account the hinges and extra length of the cords in the back. After a quick trip back through the band saw it all worked out just fine.

Both Linzy and are really happy with the cabinet, and it cleans up the room downstairs considerably. It had been so long since we had a real cabinet I had forgotten how much better things look with one.




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Friday, April 18, 2008

Recent Media - 4/18

Explanation - Previous Lists

TV: 30 Rock Season 1 - I'm almost done with this season of 30 Rock and have been enjoying it quite a bit. There have been a few less interesting episodes, but in general they have amused me and at times made me laugh heartily. I've only got a few episodes to go, and then it will be back to Nip/Tuck.

Books: Deadhouse Gates - I'm about a third of the way through the book and it has been pretty good so far. I would say that it hasn't been quite as good as the first, but it has kept my interest and things are picking up a bit now. The main issue with this book relative to the last book is that I don't like the characters quite as much. My favorites are hold-overs from the previous book, because most of the new ones introduced are not particularly likable. Perhaps that will change over the course of the series but at this point several of them are quite annoying.

Movies: Helvetica & Haarp - Helvetica was interesting, for about the first two thirds but then towards the end I was quite ready for it to end. The whole movie made me think of Moen for some reason, and not just because he liked it.

Haarp is a concert DVD of Muse playing Wembley Stadium and I thought it was pretty cool. The performance was terrific and the video was well put together. The song list was a little front loaded with energetic songs and then dragged a bit towards the middle/end, but I really thought it was good overall.

Video Games (Portable): Lunar: Dragon Song - I bought this used last weekend primarily because it was only $10. I should have paid more for some other game, because L:DS is bad. Really bad. The fact that it has a 59% on GameRankings should have tipped me off (though I didn't check before purchasing). I could give you a list of all the things that are ridiculous about the game but it's probably not worth it.

Video Games (Home): Crackdown & Zuma - Last weekend I didn't have the stereo hooked up, so I was playing other XBox 360 games that have been gathering dust. Crackdown I threw in to try out the free DLC that was released for the last 100 achievement points. But that just turned out to litter the world with content that you couldn't play without purchasing the other expansion pack so I got pissed and played Zuma instead. Which was also frustrating, but at least not because of publisher greediness.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Difficulty: Impossible

Brenden was over tonight dropping off the new, improved cabinet and at one point we were talking about how difficult some old NES games were. We each had examples of ridiculously hard games, but mine happened to be Metal Gear for the NES.

I distinctly remember buying it and dying repeatedly in the opening few screens. Over and over and over. Off the top of my head, I said "I'm not sure that I ever made it past the third screen for the longest time". All I remember was that you started off with no weapons, no armor or health packs or anything and you had to sneak past all these attack dogs. Who if they saw you ran over and killed you basically instantly. I believe you could punch them but they were so fast it was virtually impossible. By the third screen (I think) they added some guards with guns who were equally unrelenting in their hunt to kill you.

Eventually I just gave up on the game and moved on to other games. For the longest time it sat there unplayed, but one day I gave it another shot for some reason and actually made it just a little further into the game where you acquired a gun and everything became much easier at that point. Still difficult, but possible and I even ended up beating the game.

So tonight I decided to look up whether that game was actually considered hard or if I was just bad at it. I found this site ranking 10 classic games known for their difficulty level. It had this to say about Metal Gear for the NES:

The first Solid Snake adventure took place in the jungle with a top-down view of the action. Casual players had difficulty making past the third screen in the game, where it seemed that no matter what action you took, guards would discover, and summarily kill, Snake with no remorse. Very few people had the skill and patience to make it to the end of this very difficult game.


I was amused that they specifically call out the third screen and that at least subconsciously I remembered that was where I would repeatedly fail. I was also at least a little relieved to discover that the first results on my search weren't for pages talking about the 'easiest' NES games.

[ For reference: Metal Gear also made this list of the 10 most difficult NES games. ]


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tech Refresh

At work one of my friends is looking at getting a new iPod because his iPod color is going on the fritz and he has a trip to India coming up next week. He's been agonizing over whether to buy one right at the moment for a variety of reason but at least partially because the Mac rumors sites say not to buy one now due to the high probability that the line will be refreshed soon.

My opinion was that this summer was too soon for a new iPod Classic model (what he is interested in) and at the earliest we'd be looking at the end of the year or possibly the beginning of next year. What I didn't mention was my own particularly poor track record of gadget buying/gifting:

  • In June 2002 I got a Gameboy Advance for my birthday. The much-improved Gameboy Advance SP came out in February 2003.
  • In December 2004 I got a Gameboy Advance SP for Christmas. The DS had just come out a few weeks earlier.
  • In December 2005 I got a Nintendo DS for Christmas. The DS Lite was released in March 2006.
  • I just bought a DS Lite in October 2007 to replace my damaged DS Phat, and the rumor is that this July a new DS will be coming out.

So clearly I might not be the best person to listen to for advice on when to purchase hot new technology.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Waylaid

It's been a long, long time since work interfered with my ability to find time to blog on a given night. At least in some way other then by having me travel somewhere. But tonight things that were supposed to take 3 hours and be done by mid-afternoon were still running at 10:30pm. And since we are in major crunch mode with sev 1 problems right now, those extra 7 hours weren't exactly ones that could be freely given up.

In any case, work will sort itself out and get back to a more sane schedule eventually and this was basically just a long-winded way of saying "No new blog post for you".

I'd suggest a quick game of Desktop Tower Defense to ease the pain.


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Monday, April 14, 2008

Mergers

This morning at work I saw a headline saying Blockbuster was submitting a bid to buy Circuit City. I must admit at first I thought I was mis-reading it, because it is so bizarre. Seriously, if that isn't a sign of desperation on Blockbuster's part, I don't know what is. It smacks of buying what you can afford, not what you need. Although what Blockbuster needs is most likely some sort of miracle.

Then tonight I got an e-mail from Northwest notifying Worldperks members of the impending merger with Delta, which honestly looks more like Delta buying Northwest with Northwest's money then a merger. I can't think of many ways airline consolidation will be good for consumers, but then again the airline companies are pretty open about their disdain for their customers these days. So perhaps it won't be much worse. At least until they start de-emphasizing the Minneapolis hub and I have to fly through Atlanta or Detroit to get to Boston.


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Camera

Today Linzy and I spent a while visiting local stores checking out digital cameras and finally broke down and bought one. We decided to go middle-of-the-road for a point-and-shoot with size and speed of operation and manufacturer (non-Sony) being the principle decision factors, with the thinking that in a few months (before our summer vacation) I'll get a dSLR to complement it. Anyways we ended up with the Canon SD1100 IS.

The camera is a slight technical improvement over our old camera, going to 8.0 mp from 7.2 and sporting optical image stabilization and face detection. It is definitely not as fancy as the DSC-W200 we owned for a week last fall, but costs significantly less. The new camera is also even smaller then our already small DSC-P200, which should make it handy for carrying around in a pocket.



The pictures I've taken so far seem fine, thought perhaps not as vivid as Sony's cameras tend to be. There are many schools of thought on that, of course, and a Canon advocate would argue their pictures are more true-to-life and the Sony reds are over saturated. A Sony advocate would probably say the Canon's pictures are dull.

One nice thing, at least relative to Sony cameras, is the use of straight-up SD cards for a memory card which are dirt cheap. We bought a 4GB card for $28 off the shelf at Best Buy, and I assume I could have paid 2/3rds or less then that if I had ordered it from some Internet retailer.



It will take a bit to get used to the Canon controls. At this point I haven't figured out the best way to force the ISO speed to the lowest setting and still leave most everything else on Auto, nor how to get it to remember the last flash setting on Auto mode. I'm also missing having a simple 'review' button to see the picture that was just taken. Having to switch into Playback mode just to glance at the last picture again seems awkward.



Regardless, I happy with the camera and Linzy is thrilled about its shiny blue coloring and tiny size. So I think we'll get along just fine.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Recent Media - 4/11

Explanation - Previous Lists

TV: 30 Rock Season 1 - The entertainment center was replaced last weekend and due to lack of proper length cords is in disarray. So I couldn't watch the last few episodes of Nip/Tuck. Instead I watched about 6 or seven episodes of 30 Rock: Season 1 while exercising. That show amuses me, at least partially because several characters are basically playing themselves. I love the interactions of Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan.

Books: Deadhouse Gates - The second book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. It has been interesting so far, although it starts with almost completely new characters relative to the previous book. Apparently the series is written as pairs with each book focusing on a particular set of characters/area of the world. Then the series continues with sequels to each of those books (i.e. book three is more-or-less a sequel to book one, book four is a sequel to book two). I'm enjoying the books and definitely planning on continuing through the series even once the library runs out of books (they only carry books 1-3).

Movies: American Gangster and King of Kong - American Gangster was OK. It was interesting in its portrayal of a non-Italian gangster, but it was also a bit slow moving and somewhat predictable. Overall very average.

King of Kong on the other hand was very good, I thought. It is a documentary on a guy who gets laid off and decided to try to capture the high score on the Donkey Kong arcade game. The previous high score was set back in the early eighties by Billy Mitchell, who is actually pretty famous for all of his high scores and his perfect Pac-Man game, and also (conveniently) happens to be a bit ecentric. That, plus the ridiculous lengths the video game referee organization makes the challenger go through made for an interesting movie. At least to me, but perhaps I am a bit biased.

Video Games (Portable): Advance Wars: Dual Strike - I'm on mission 15 or 16 on the Hard campaign, and starting to get a little bored with the game. I almost bought a new game when I was ordering things from Amazon the other day, but in the end I decided to be cheap and wait until I was even more tired of Dual Strike. That will be soon, I imagine. Likely by the end of the month when I have a trip coming up.

Video Games (Home): Rock Band - Brenden came over on Saturday night and we played 20-30 or so songs with him on Hard drums and me on Expert guitar. It wasn't a cakewalk, but we did pretty good and I even badgered Brenden into playing Expert drums for one multi-song set (which we passed, barely). It was fun, and a different vibe then when we are breezing through songs on Expert guitar/Expert Bass.

Music: Strangely enough, lots of Iron Maiden. The Killers album is astonishingly good considering it was released in 1981 and made mostly of songs that were rejected for the debut album. Their style sounds a bit dated now, but only because it has been copied by a million bands since.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wild Game

Last night I went to the Wild's first playoff game for an outing at work. Another group had gotten an executive suite and when they ended up with extra tickets the invite list expanded enough that I was able to go along.

I've never been to a Wild game, let alone to a playoff game in an executive suite. It was a lot of fun. The suite was really nice, plenty large enough for the 40 people or so that attended and with a nice view of the rink. The spread of appetizers was impressive with everything from fruit, cheese and crackers, and popcorn to buffalo wings and ribs. Plus they had some tasty cookies and delicious churned ice cream for making sundaes.

The game itself was extremely exciting, as the Wild came back from two goals down in the third period to tie things up. Then they averted disaster on a penalty shot with like 2 minutes to go, forcing overtime. Unfortunately they lost midway through the first overtime period, but it was still a very exciting game.

It was a pretty good time.


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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Discount Travel

On Tuesday my latest copy of Forbes magazine came, along with the quarterly Forbes Life magazine. The Forbes Life magazine is always good for a chuckle at the extravagance that lies within its many personal airplane and high-end liquor ads. This particular edition caught my eye because it featured an article entitled "Greece on $50,000 a day".

I can't figure out if it is a joke or not.

The article discusses bungalows for $2,900 a night, private villas to the tune of $18,560 a night, multi-thousand dollar helicopter rides, resorts where every room has a private pool, and the Royal Blu Mansion to the tune of $46,500 a night.

There is even extensive coverage of yachts ranging from $136,000 a day down to the 'reasonable' $47,807 a day yacht that includes seven cabins, a crew of eleven, a swimming platform and onboard pool. The bargain yacht does nickel and dime you, as it "does not include gasoline for the water toys or soft drinks". No free soda for 50k a day? Seriously?

The thing I can't figure out is who exactly the target audience for that article is. Are people who can afford to spend $50,000 a day on a vacation really going to plan their own trip? Wouldn't there be some sort of travel agent involved to make all the reservations and arrangements? I assume they aren't going to be scouring Expedia to try and save 15% on a room. Maybe it is unrealistic but I guess I was assuming if I was going to drop $350k on a weeks vacation, I wouldn't expect to have to do much more then give some general guidelines, OK an itinerary, and show up for the trip.

It is interesting I guess to see how the other 1% lives.

[ Incidentally, I am always amused that one of the steak house in Boston that I sometimes go to when in town is always advertising in Forbes. ]


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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Detour

There was a serious accident downtown today in the middle of the street that my buses come down. That totally screwed up the ride home as the buses were all delayed, re-routed, and generally messed up.

It was only after I started walking up the street that I saw the huge crowd of fire engines, ambulances and a ton of cops blocking everything off. I did manage to get a good picture of the car, though I had trouble envisioning what exactly had gone wrong to end up with only a single car involved and lying on its roof in the middle of the road.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

So Let It Be Edited

I saw yesterday that Charlton Heston passed away over the weekend. I wasn't that much of a fan Charlton Heston per-se but I do have a story about one of his movies.

When I was a kid my parents taught 3rd grade Sunday school for years and years. Every other year the material covered the Ten Commandments, Passover, escaping Egypt, and wandering the desert. The tradition with this material was that one Sunday my parents would make mutton, unleavened bread, and show the Ten Commandments movie.

Of course the Ten Commandments movie is a ridiculously long 3 hours and 40 minutes, where as Sunday School was less then an hour. So my Dad would dub together a shortened 'highlights' version of the movie. Each year, though, they seemed to change just how long the Sunday School class was (one year it might be 46 minutes, the next 52 minutes) and so my parents would have to re-edit the tape to the right length.

Now, this was back in the day long before video editing equipment became commonplace, so it was literally a process of playing one VCR tape and recording it onto another tape and then pausing the recording, fast-forwarding to the correct place, and recording a little more. It was a long labor-intensive process and required effectively watching the Ten Commandments movie over and over.

As such, I've seen the movie a lot. Both the many shortened versions my Dad would make (the 46 minute, 52 minute, 58 minute, 43 minute, etc) and the whole movie while Dad was marking down how long specific sections were. The sub-hour versions of the film had a lot more action then the real ~4 hour epic version. For a 3rd grader, there was no comparison, they were a million times better.

I haven't seen the film for years and years, but if I did I would probably be disappointed at how slow moving it is. Instead of just jumping directly from high point to high point.


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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Baby Farm Animals

This afternoon Linzy and I went over to the Minnesota Zoo to see the baby farm animals. Linzy has been wanting to go see them for a couple weekends, but we hadn't foudn the time before today. Unfortunately today wasn't the nicest day to be making the long walk from the zoo entrance to the back of the zoo, since it was cold and rainy, but we still got to see the little animals.

The Zoo had some baby goats, two sleepy baby sheep, some baby chicks, a baby cow and a whole bunch of baby piglets. The piglets were by far the most active, running around, wrestling with each other, trampling through the momma pig's food dish (earning them an angry grunt and snap of the mouth), and generally being rambunctious. The baby goats were very friendly, just like most of the goats are, coming right up to the gate when people were nearby.

It didn't take real long, but we had a good time wandering through the farm area and seeing the new babies. I wouldn't have wanted to pay the normal Zoo entrance fee just to see the baby animals, but since Linzy has a membership it was free.

The piglets playing rambunctious piglet-games in their pen.


Part of the game seemed to be running around moshing in the pen and then zipping outside and all the way down the run as fast as possible, smashing into the fence at the opposite end (because the wet ground was too slippery to stop quickly).


The other pen of piglets wasn't doing much of anything except snoozing.


One of the baby goats. His/her sister was back in the pen trying to get one of the older goats to play with it. When that was unsuccessful, she peed on it. That got a snap from the older goat.


The other two baby goats.


The dark brown cow was angry with the dun-colored cow, but then was trying to make up by licking its head/eye/face repeatedly.


Baby chickens



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Friday, April 04, 2008

Recent Media - 4/4

Explanation - Previous Lists

TV: The Wire: Season 1 & Nip/Tuck Season 3 - As far as The Wire, I don't really have anything to say except that Linzy and I watched one more episode this week and it was good. Linzy is still frustrated with the slower pace (relative to something like CSI where multiple cases are started and finished in an hour), but I have been enjoying it. Nip/Tuck is still good as well, although I am almost done with the season. Big things are happening with the story line which almost makes up for the fact that the Carver hasn't made an appearance for many episodes.

Books: Garden of the Moon - I finished the book on Monday and thought that it finished quite strong. All of the confusion of multiple characters and unexplained backstory made sense by the end and there was even a satisfying conclusion (that also setup for future books). I've moved on to Deadhouse Gates, the next book in the series.

Movies: Stardust - I liked this movie more then I was expecting to at first. It took a little while for things to get going, but once the 'adventure' started I was much more interested in what was going on then I was at the beginning. I recognize the need for the beginning to set the story up, but I have to admit to being a little bored. Overall I liked the film.

Video Games (Portable): Advance Wars: Dual Strike - I'm through another 6 or 7 missions on the Hard campaign. There have been a few missions that weren't too difficult, but there have been several that required serious consideration on how to approach them (and at least one mission that needed a 'do-over'). I'm roughly halfway through now and things have gotten quite difficult. But I am still enjoying the game.

Video Games (Home): Super Mario Galaxy - Last weekend I played some Super Mario Galaxy and got another 6-7 stars. I'm about 5 away from unlocking the last galaxy, but still have most of the second-to-the-last one left to complete plus all the random stars. The game is very fun and clever at times, and at others I just find it a little repetitive and the controls frustrating. Overall it is far more fun then frustrating, but it still has its moments.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Awareness Test

This amused me:




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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

I'm not a particularly natural formal presenter on non-technical topics. I can usually make decent slides, but when it comes to talking to them I am not nearly as effortlessly smooth as some people. However, I seem to improve drastically if I practice talking through the slides two or three times.

The strange part is that afterwards I can never really remember exactly what I said. Some little portion must stick with me because after once or twice through things come more smoothly. I assume I'm subconsciously remembering some main points to touch on, or the order to talk about things, but it is pretty strange. Especially when I finish and think "well, that seemed to go better" but for the life of me can't recall the specific way I explained something.


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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Proper Attire

I was a little late leaving for work this morning because I spent some time clearing the worst of the snow off the driveway, and so as I was driving out of the neighborhood the school-aged kids were starting to head to the school bus stops.

As I was stopped at the last stop sign, I happened to look over to my left and notice two kids walking down the road. The junior high or perhaps early high school girl was trudging through the 4 inches of snow/slush on the road in capri jeans and flip-flops.

It looked cold.

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