Friday, January 23, 2009

N/A Wine?

This can't possibly taste good, can it?

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

Germans are "Colorful"

The fine people at Neatorama posted a link to this photo, spanning 100 meters in length, which chronicles the Warschauer Strasse railway station bridge in Berlin over the time frame of 20 days. The photographer, Simon Høgsberg, claims that only a few people realized that they were being photographed. I noticed a few key themes when viewing this quirky piece of art:

  • A: Germans are weird (we already know they love David Hasslehoff)
  • B: A lot of people seem to be looking at pieces of paper or talking on phones
  • C: The two people near the center of the picture with matching eye bandages really creep me out big time

Bonus point for spotting the one punky German who's flipping the bird at the camera.

Snowmobiling Dilemma

Every winter my Father-in-Law (Bob) goes on a few snowmobiling trips up in northern New Hampshire and Vermont with his friends. The trips last a few days and consist of living in a cabin, taking day trips on snowmobiles, relaxing and drinking at night while playing some cards. This has always sounded like a very appealing trip to me as I do enjoy the following: Winter, Snow, Drinking, Playing Cards. I've never tried driving a snowmobile but I'm a big fan of go-karts and have always wanted to go jet skiing, so how much different could this be? Next month Bob is going back up for a weekend trip and invited me to go. He said it would probably cost a couple hundred bucks for food, gas, heating in the cabin, etc... This seems fair and is not the main obstacle that I am trying to negotiate.

The big issue is taking time off of work. I would probably have to take two or three days vacation to make the trip (4 hours up to NJ and then 5 more hours to get to VT) over the long weekend. I'm already taking two days off in March to go to the Bahamas with Lori (sans kids - THANKS DAD/LAUREN!!!). I'd also be leaving the kids and Lori alone for several days so I would need to line up either a visit from her Mom or her sister to help out. And finally, I would be missing the Oscars! I've never missed the live show since I started watching regularly in the mid-to-late '80s. I know it's a little bit gay to factor this into my decision but I am a movie buff at heart and Oscar night really is kinda important to me.

Bob and my Mother-in-Law are coming down to Springfield this weekend and he will be bringing a spare helmet and pair of boots for me to try on. If I can't fit into the spare equipment (clothing) that they have for the trip I would have to buy my own which would drastically increase the overall cost of the trip and most likely cause me to pass on the offer. If the equipment ends up fitting fine, I'm leaning towards going on the trip (assuming I can line up a support visit for Lori and the kids) since I may not get another chance to try snowmobiling in the near future. I would have to go through a little withdrawal with no cellphone or internet access up in the cabin, but it might be good to unplug from the grid for a while.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nothing Works Here

So ever since Barack became President, the electronic badge reader on the door to the consulting space at my client site (Dept of Treasury) has been broken. Wasting taxpayer money, they have a security person positioned inside the door now to let people in when they knock until they fix the technical issue tomorrow. Today, since early this morning, the entire internet outside of the internal network has been down. No timetable on this fix. Looks like the transition of power is having a direct effect on the Treasury.

Oh and going through a whole workday without internet access is complete torture.

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

81st Annual Oscar Nominations

On the one year anniversary of Heath Ledger's death, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscar) Nominations were announced and Ledger is indeed up for Best Supporting Actor for his outstanding portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight. The list doesn't stray too far from what we saw at the Golden Globes but there are a few surprises including giving a Best Actor nod to Richard Jenkins in The Visitor. I saw this movie on a recommendation from my dad and was very impressed with Jenkins' performance. I know he won't win, but I'm glad the Academy decided to acknowledge him. I do think that The Dark Knight and/or Wall-E should have been up for Best Picture.

Since the Best Picture noms are now out, I will try to cram in some viewings of Milk, Frost/Nixon and The Reader over the next month before the show commences on February 22nd. I have already seen Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (my pick for Best Picture of 2008). Each year I try to see all five Best Picture nominees and am usually successful in doing so.

The list of the major six awards is posted below for those who want to get some early wagering ideas (the full list can be found here). I have put my early picks as to who will win in RED and who I WANT to win in BLUE.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
  • Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
  • Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight) (I haven't seen his performance yet)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
  • Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
  • Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Meryl Streep in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Amy Adams in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
  • Viola Davis in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Achievement in directing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

Best motion picture of the year

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
  • Milk” (Focus Features), A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Nominees to be determined
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production, Christian Colson, Producer

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change has come to E-Government

At 12:01 PM today just after Barack Obama became our President, was transformed as part of the new administration change.  The colors and fonts are very similar to those used at  After witnessing the brilliant web campaign run during the election process, I expect the new will help make this Presidency an interactive one.  There already are 5 entries on the Presidential blog and it seems that Barack (err President Obama) will continue to embrace the new media approach of connecting with the American people.  

My theory is that if the highest office in the country takes pride in creating an interactive and dynamic website that other major organizations will follow, thus increasing the need for developers and consultants to assist with the development and maintenance work involved in building these sites, giving consultants like myself a greater sense of job security going forward in this industry.  In short, I'm very happy that President Obama is in office.

UPDATE (8:22 PM): Looks like I beat CNN on this one.  They now are reporting a similar take on the new website. Also, you can subscribe to the White House blog through this feed here. I already have.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pizza Machine

We went out to dinner tonight with some friends at Bertuccis. We took the boys with us. Now usually Josh is the pizza hound and devours everything in sight. Tonight Alex, who barely eats one slice of pizza, ate 5 and a half slices of his kids pizza! We've never seen him eat like this. Now it could be related to the fact that he dropped three major bombs in his pants today and was running on empty (yeah I just blogged about my son taking a dump - deal with it). Whatever the reason, I'm sure Nonna (my mother-in-law) will be proud that Alex is embracing a little of his Italian background.

What the Frack is Going On Here

DISCLAIMER:  This post is a review/discussion of the first of the final 10 episodes of Battlestar Galactica that premiered Friday night.  If you have not seen it and don't want spoilers, please move on.  If you do not care about Battlestar Galactica, please move on.  Thanks

It's been a long wait in between BSG season 4.0 and season 4.5, but the premiere of 4.5 (Sometimes a Great Notion) was well worth it in my opinion.  I was surprised on many levels with the amount of key information that was revealed to us.  To touch on a few topics:

1.  The surprising suicide of Dee

I was never really a fan of her character on the show and I viewed her as mostly background noise but Kandyse McClure's performance in Sometimes a Great Notion was very solid and really drew me into the character of Dee and her relationship with Lee Adama.  Up until she capped herself in the head that is.  It was definitely a DVR rewinding moment that truly was a curve ball thrown by the writers.  McClure made me care about a character I had nothing invested in before this episode, which leads me to...

2.  Admiral Adama's drunken rage

Supreme acting by Edward James Olmos as he goes on a Jack Daniels tirade over the death of Dee.  His scenes with Colonel Tigh were great.  How he (or anyone on this show) has never taken home an Emmy is beyond me.

3.  Starbuck 2.0?

It was chilling to see the corpse of Starbuck in the viper on Earth.  I really don't have an explanation of how she died and came back unless she is a Cylon herself.  It seemed that the other members of the Final Five died in a previous life at some point on Earth and I assumed this proves that Starbuck is the last of the Final Five, but...

4.  Ellen is the Final member of the Five???

Didn't see this one coming at all.  It seems a bit pointless too because she's dead now.  Maybe there is another Ellen model out there somewhere though that Saul will now be looking for.  This was the only real letdown from the episode for me.

Comments from you BSG watchers?  I need some clarification on some of the events from a kick-ass start of the final 10 episodes.