Saturday, February 28, 2009

Long Night

This screenshot of my laptop at 3 AM pretty much sums up my work day today.

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Governator's Ten Best

Gun to my head, I would have to say that Arnold Schwarzenegger is my favorite actor of all-time. Now I don't consider him the BEST actor of all-time, just my personal favorite. I grew up watching Arnold action movies and enjoying the way he delivered many classic lines on screen. With recent news about the race to succeed the Governator in California, I though it would be a good opportunity to list my personal top 10 list of Arnold films. Some of these are absolute classics that I own on DVD and will delightfully screen for Josh and Alex when they get to be the right age. Included with each movie is the most memorable Arnoldism from the film.

#1 - Terminator 2: Judgment Day - "Hasta La Vista... Baby!"

#2 - Predator - "Get to tha CHOPPAH!"

#3 - Total Recall - "Get your ass to Mars"

#4 - The Running Man - "Killian, here's your Subzero, now plain zero"

#5 - Kindergarten Cop - "That's not a too-mah!"

#6 - True Lies - "You're Fired!"

#7 - The Terminator - "I'll be Back."

#8 - Commando - "Let off some steam, Bennett."

#9 - Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines - "You are terminated."

#10 - Eraser - "You're luggage."

Once his term is done I hope Arnold returns to Hollywood and gives us a few more one-line zingers in film before he fully retires from acting.

The classic Predator line

Kaddo'in it Right

Out on the grind here in the Boston area, my co-workers and I decided to go out for dinner. Unfortunately, I work with a lot of Indian tech guys who are vegetarian and we need to cater to their taste when choosing a restaurant. Fortunately, I love Indian food so we usually end up at a place I enjoy. Last night we ventured out to Helmand, an Afghan restaurant in Cambridge recommended by the up and coming Boston food critic Theresa (of BostonDish).

The restaurant is not eye catching from the outside as it's located on the edge of nice and sketchy and has no external decoration. It looks as if it is a nondescript health clinic on the outside. Inside, the decor is very Middle Eastern and the scene is very festive with everyone seeming to be enjoying themselves. We sat in the back room (no reservation) and enjoyed a very good meal that was surprisingly cheap ($30 for appetizer, entree and wine). The main dish I ordered was Lamb Lawand which tasted very Indian in origin and featured an excellent side of rice and creamed spinach. The flatbread served throughout the meal was slightly addicting and resembled the bread served at Cosi for sandwiches. The highlight of the meal was the appetizer though. Theresa suggested we try Kaddo but once I read the ingredients I had second thoughts. Tell me if this sounds appetizing: pumpkin covered with ground beef sauce and yogurt. That did NOT sound like a good combination but I trusted the expert's recommendation and we ordered it. The combination worked completely and the dish was very unique and tasty. Somehow the slight saltiness of the ground beef sauce provided the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the baked pumpkin. All in all it turned out to be an excellent choice.

I might have to go seek out some Kaddo with Lori back in the DC area. For more information, check out Theresa's BostonDish review of Helmand.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Memes and LOLs

Every few years an Internet buzzword catches fire and people in droves begin using it all over the net. A few years ago LOL was all the rage and now thanks to The Facebook (as I like to call it), "meme" is the word du Jour. Apparently meme is pronounced mee-mm (like theme) and originates from the Greek word mimic. In the Web 2.0 world, meme refers to some text-based activity/game passed from person to person through sites like Facebook. I myself have written a few Facebook notes that would be considered "memes" by people who enjoy using web 2.0 jargon.

I will not conform to this way of web-speak as I hate the sound of that word and don't choose to use it. What's wrong with calling it a note (as it is defined in Facebook as one). I choose to take the same road when it comes to web acronyms like LOL or ROFLMAO. LOL got so bad a few years ago that people put it in most every email or AOL chat message. If I find something funny through electronic communication, I will respond with "Ha" or "HA HAAA" or "that's fucking funny." I don't need to resort to goofy acronyms to express my laughter. LOL is still one my top 10 pet peeves. And are you REALLY Laughing OUT LOUD?? I doubt it. I bet only 5 or 10 percent of the time someone types LOL while actually physically laughing loudly.

I guess I just don't believe we have to create new pseudo-words to assist with communication in a digital age. We already have all the words we need to communicate properly. Maybe I'm being a curmudgeon but I know others that feel the same way.

(I do like me some LOL CATS though)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who you Gonna Call?

Ghostbusters 1 and 2 make my list of the top 100 movies of all time. When hearing this, most people exclaim "Ghostbusters TWO!?!?" in bewilderment. Yeah you heard me right, I actually enjoy Ghostbusters 2 MORE than the original. This can be attributed to the Summer of 1990 when HBO played the film non-stop for weeks at a time. My brother and I were at home a lot and just sat in front of the tube watching it over and over again. We learned all the lines nearly verbatim (Viggy Viggy Viggy, you've been a very bad MONKEY!) and can still go pretty much word-for-word when viewing the movie to this day.

Apparently the proton packs may need to be dusted off as the much rumored-about Ghostbusters 3 is potentially moving towards a filming date of later this fall.
To my personal delight it's rumored that the original cast members may be back to reprise their roles (lord knows Ernie Hudson can use some work). Making this news even better is the fact that the writers of The Office are working on penning the script. Combine the quirky Office-style humor with the original Ghostbusters and you've got movie gold as far as I'm concerned. No matter how old Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and company are, Ghostbusters 3 would have to be better than Indiana Jones 4. Right?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

24 Techspeak

One of the most annoying parts about 24 is the way the show's writers throw around technical terms in a hodgepodge method to try to make a device or a process sound more impressive or plausible than it actually is.  Last night's episode had a few examples of that during the "system reset" attempt by the two rogue FBI analysts.   I don't remember the terminology word-for-word but the female analyst claimed that all she needed to do to erase the hard drives from all FBI computers was to "write a socket-enabled hyper macro that is inserted into the level 4 subnet with sector based access rights".

I'm convinced that the producers and writers know virtually nothing about networking and information technology in general and instead buy a pack of those refrigerator words (technical edition) and lay them out on a table.  They then pick 5 or 6 of the words and put them in some random order and plug that into the script.  Try it for yourself.  Here are several available words.   Feel free to use any of them to make a perfectly legitimate sentence that a CTU or FBI techie would spout.


Just randomly, I could write "configure the socket port to filter the subnet module" and while I know (because I'm a nerd) that it makes no sense, it could totally be used on the show.

Also there's no way a single "CIP Firewall" could protect all the devices and integral pieces of technology that power the country's infrastructure.  It does make for a nice plot point though.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ding Dong, The Jag is Dead!

This is slightly old news (happened last week) but I finally got around to reporting it (posting it on your favorite blog).  As some of you know, we have wonderful neighbors to the left of us (if you're facing our house).  The Poffibitys (spelling?) are a swell family of 8-10 people living in a medium-sized townhouse that apparently have no regard for anyone in their community.  The mom keeps popping out kids only slightly less frequently than OctoMom.  They are of Native American ancestry (they actually beat a drum loudly every now and then at night) and refuse to change their license plates from being registered in South Carolina or Oklahoma.  Apparently they also don't pay taxes because of some Native American tax loophole.  The father figure (a strange handyman-looking guy with a crew cut) has not fathered any of the litter of kids but lives there and is always working on one of their 12 cars.  Oh and he's wanted by the cops for something.  And their son is a drug dealer.  And they have piles of trash on their deck and in their backyard.

Anyways, the one big problem I've had with these folks is that they like to park cars they never use in the visitor parking spaces.  They had an old dilapidated Jaguar with four flat tires (and trash and old car seats inside) parked in the visitor spot for over 3 years.  It never.  moved.  once!   Well FINALLY the local cops intervened and towed that sumbitch away last week.  Unfortunately the other car in the picture above is also their car and I don't believe it's moved in months.  I'm slightly reluctant to park in the newly vacated spot because of all the dirt dust and possibly nails that lie there (after all it hadn't seen the sun in THREE YEARS).  At least the neighborhood now has a new spot to use to entertain their guests.  The next step is for the family to move out altogether but I'm convinced that we'll move out before they ever will.  

I know Lori has more background details on the psychos and will probably correct my post as usual.

Changes at the Oscars

I stayed up til the bitter end of last night's 81st Annual Academy Awards, a show that went through some drastic changes in several aspects of the presentation. It was a decent show overall and I was glad that Slumdog Millionaire got some love from the Academy in what I view as a deserving Best Picture. I just don't think it's as great a film as 8 Oscar wins would indicate. It was a very well crafted film but not nearly the best of the year (Dark Knight, Wall-E, Benjamin Button are in that category). It certainly does not deserve to be #35 of all-time on this list. I'm happy that Sean Penn beat out Mickey Rourke for his second Best Actor award. I was all set to let Rourke win the award for The Wrestler until I saw Milk and Penn's transformation into Harvey Milk. Kate Winslet deserved her award as well, but not for The Reader as much as her previous 5 nominations.

As for the show itself, I thought Hugh Jackman did an average job at host. Some of the song and dance was a little too Tony Awardsish for my taste. I keep waiting for Hugh to come out of the closet one of these years. I enjoyed the close setting of the nominees as they were all gathered in the first few rows (where was Nicholson though??). The one major change I did not agree with was the way the acting categories were presented. While it was nice to see the groups of past winners up on stage and presenting the awards, I really missed seeing the actual clips from the nominated performances. It's always good to see the snippets of acting that got these people here in the first place. For example, I'll never know anything about Melissa Leo's performance in Frozen River because I'll never see that movie and didn't see a clip. The group presentation of the acting awards also took far too long and extended the show longer than need be (aren't the producers usually trying to find ways to cut time out of the proceedings?). I also didn't like how the orchestra played random music when each award was announced rather than the traditional orchestral score from the winning film.

I thought Sean Penn gave the best speech of the night and wish the Academy let Heath Ledger's daughter accept his award (although his family gave a nice respectful speech). As for who wore what... I'm not really the best judge of fashion but i thought Anne Hathaway looked real good in her dress (shown above). She also sang damn well too in helping out Hugh during the opening.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Review: The Reader

The Reader is one of the most depressing and plodding movies of 2008.  Spanning multiple decades between 1958 and 1995, the film is broken down into three main acts.  The first act features Kate Winslet's character (a 36-year-old German woman named Hanna Schmitz who works as a fare collector on a bus) involved in an affair with a 15-year-old boy (Michael Berg).  Throughout this act we get to see Ms. Winslet in all her glory in numerous sex scenes between her and actor David Kross (in his first major role).  Without a doubt this has to be the most nudity by an Oscar nominated actress in history.  The next act deals with a slightly older Hanna involved in a Nazi war crime trial for her involvement in a concentration camp.  Michael is at the trial as a law student and observes with conflicted emotions.  The final act follows a much older Berg (played by the always excellent Ralph Fiennes) trying to keep tabs on Schmitz while she grows old in prison.  

The name of the movie refers to the interaction between Berg and Schmitz throughout the film.  He reads to her often over the years (we find out why in the middle of the film although I noticed it early on).  I found the film to be quite boring at times and extremely slow-moving.  Director Stephen Daldry (who was at the helm for The Hours, a movie I loathe) does a decent job of recreating post WWII Germany but can't make up for the fact that the movie's two main characters are boring and lack much of a personality.  Winslet is pretty solid in the lead role (not her best effort but she'll probably win Oscar for her history of excellent acting).  She recently has come out and said that she doesn't want to do nudity in future roles.  Not surprising since she had enough in this movie to last her entire career.

I have to give this one only 2.5 JRs as I was extremely disappointed by the movie.  Even the score by unknown composer Nico Muhly is slow and lifeless.  The extra half-JR is for Winslet's jumblies which are on almost continuous display through the first third of the film.  Particularly annoying is the way the Michael Berg character aged throughout the movie.  In 1966, Berg is played by a very young looking Kross and 10 years later Fiennes is playing the role.  Those must have been the longest 10 years of Berg's life for him to age that rapidly.  Instead of seeing The Reader last night, I should have popped in the DVD of The Dark Knight, a MUCH more deserving Best Picture nominee.  I hate fat Harvey Weistein and his campaign to get The Reader nominated.  My Best Picture nomination list for 2008 would consist of (in order of preference):

The Dark Knight
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire