Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Crusin' For Trouble

PT Cruiser's "Danger Will Robinson" light came on today - along with a bout of rough idling and hiccups while accelerating. It's now at the shop - a couple of months after having over $1000 of work done on various things.

Disillusionment factor with car = approaching warp 10

DVD Spending Tab IX

Bought the Ghostbusters/Stripes/Groundhog Day Triple Pack from Deep Discount for $6.98 with free shipping.

Also bought a used copy of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit for $3.00.

Yearly total: 21 movies, $104.98 spent.

Friday, December 14, 2007

An Early New Year's Resolution

Maybe I need to work on getting this number higher next year:

52%How Addicted to Apple Are You?

Of course, they didn't ask me how many blog posts about Apple ads I've written.

if (you.crying() || you.pouting()) { you.tell("why"); }

"He sees you when you're in sleep mode...."

That line was funny. Man, I'm such a nerd.

Grammar Is Fun

Rusty Hardin, attorney for Roger Clemens, on his client's appearance in the Mitchell Report:

Roger Clemens adamantly, vehemently and whatever other adjectives can be used, denies that he has ever used steroids or whatever the word is for improper substances.

I guess English is kind of optional in law school. "Whatever the word is" for adamantly and vehemently is adverb, genius.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TV Review: Tin Man - Part Two

Well, we didn't find out a lot more about what was going on than we knew in Part One. And we didn't get to play "spot the reference" anymore - the only new Wizard of Oz reference in this part was the rather ham-handed introduction of Toto, and why it made sense to cast him as an elderly black guy who just happens to morph into a small dog is beyond me.

As for the current story, we didn't really find out anything more substantive about either Glitch, Cain or the Lion (I don't even remember his name here in "The O.Z."). Our "Tin Man" found out his son may or may not be alive, but we still don't know why the mini-series is called Tin Man when he doesn't seem to be the focus of the story.

D.G. doesn't turn out much better. She gradually reveals repressed memories and magical talents whenever it is convenient for the plot to have her do so, but we don't have any bigger picture of what exactly is going on with her. And Zooey Deschanel continues to be the weak link in the acting department (although Toto was no great shakes in this episode either). She did manage to show a little emotion at the end, as she found her way to her old childhood home, but it took almost four hours of screen time to see it.

In fact, we don't really find out much of interest until the very end. The big reveal taking place in the final five minutes of the episode was pretty well-done - finding out what the source of the noise was actually had some mystery for a change, we get some explanation for how the evil sister came to be, and we see that there is an opportunity for redemption in part three. But again - it doesn't seem like we needed four hours to get to that point. This seems to me like some sub-plots could have been jettisoned and the whole thing done in a two-parter.

Part three is sitting on the Tivo - time to find out if the whole thing was worth it, or if it will fumble the slim chance it has away in the final drive.

There's Nothing Sadder Than An Aging Hipster

So, what's the first thing that comes into your mind when you think of a lexicographer?

That's right - cool.

No, not really. But I guess that's what Merriam-Webster has been shooting for recently. Last year, they attempted to jump on the Gen-Y, super-ironic, satirical bandwagon by selecting the Stephen-Colbert-coined "truthiness" as the "Word of the Year". This year, they've switched over to the l33t bandwagon by selecting "w00t" (yep, spelled with zeroes, not letters) as the "Word of the Year".

I know, I know - I can't remember the number of times I've used or heard the word "w00t" used over the past year. Oh wait - yes I can. Zero.

Hopefully, the fact that the "establishment" has now recognized the importance of l33tspeak will reduce its attractiveness - maybe it will die the quick death it deserves.

And get off my lawn!

Winter, Spring, Winter, Spring, Winter

The high temperature in Austin (according to Weather Underground) for December 8th through 13th:


Besides showing the wild temperature swings we've been having recently (no doubt induced by manmade global warming, or perhaps just the exhaust from Al Gore's jets), this is mainly just an excuse to see how the Google Chart API works. Now, I'm only limited to 50,000 hits on this URL per day, so I sure hope I don't get a sudden influx of hits here. (I think I'll be OK.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ummm, Go, Speed Racer, Go?

The trailer for the Wachowski Brothers Siblings version of Speed Racer is out.

Looks like the twisted offspring of F-Zero GX and Ang Lee's Hulk. I'm guessing an IMAX version will cause some children to explode in a massive seizure.

Don't think this one will be high on my must-watch list.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Run, Kay, Run!

Kay Bailey Hutchison has apparently failed to move up to more of a leadership position in the reshuffling following Trent Lott's stepping-down. This isn't a surprise - she isn't a strong conservative, and I don't really want her any higher in the pecking order than she is.

Except...for this little nugget down in the article:

For now, her decision stymies the ambitions of fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn to move up a notch, from vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the No. 5 post.

"I wouldn't say blocked. I'd say deferred," Mr. Cornyn said.


Cornyn is someone who has done nothing but impress me since going to Washington - much more than he ever did in Austin. His work on the Senate Judicial Committee has been exemplary, especially once the Democrats took over. It probably shouldn't surprise me, given the other wackiness and clique-iness (invented a new word have I) firmly in place in Washington, but I didn't realize that Hutchison was blocking Cornyn from a more senior leadership post just because she was the "senior senator".

Man, that rule must have really chapped Hillary's leathery hide - until she found another, more senior post to go after that didn't have Chucky-boy sitting in the way.

So, now I'm an even bigger supporter of Kay's upcoming gubernatorial run. I still don't want her to actually win it (although it is a relatively harmless place for her to sit), but it would get her out of Cornyn's way, and also allow Texas to send a real conservative in her place.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

TV Review: Tin Man - Part One

I had seen a lot of mediocre-to-negative buzz around this Sci-Fi Channel miniseries - maybe with good reason, since Sci-Fi hasn't exactly covered themselves in glory recently, preferring crappy lowball movies and the occasionally wrestling show to anything really sci-fi related. But it's only three episodes long, and since nothing else this fall has really captured my attention, I decided to give it a shot.

So far - not too bad.

Yeah, a lot of the pleasure is just in spotting the references back to the original source material - the Outer Zone or "O.Z." for Oz, the "zipperhead" for the Scarecrow, and so on. There's also new material added to the original story - but so far, it seems to be a fairly standard issue "lost princess - evil sister - missing relic" type fantasy story. I'm expecting to see things expand a bit, if for no other reason that it needs to fill out another four hours of screen time. But the fact that the story is called Tin Man makes me wonder how exactly that character will be fleshed out - he's got a backstory, more than the Scarecrow or Lion so far, but not enough to have the entire show named after him.

Actor-wise, things are pretty good, with Alan Cummings standing out as the Scarecrow-analog Glitch. The weak link in the cast is unfortunately the lead, Zooey Deschanel. She seems to have just one expression - a wide-eyed distant stare - but she matches it with a kind of above-it-all, barely-there acting style. It's not as if she's playing it as a goof, or as a self-aware person who knows she's in the middle of a fairy tale. She's just doesn't seem really involved in anything. And boy, Richard Dreyfus sure has expanded recently - Jaws would need two bites to get him down, now. The design and effects are also mostly OK, although there is some dodgy CGI (especially with the flying monkeys appearing at the end of part one).

Altogether, it's enough to keep me watching into part two. Now that the interest of "spot the reference" has largely ended (although the ruby slippers have yet to make an appearance), it'll be up to the story to keep things going - let's see if they can manage.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Least Wanted Gift

OK - maybe not least wanted, but it's pretty far down the line.

Individual episodes of the CBS Evening News for $18 each.

I don't think this is any particularly notable day, just May 24, 2000. Isreal withdraws from Lebanon is about it. There's several different days available.

If you are out there shopping for me - please don't get me one of these. The very thought that someone would pay extra to watch Dan Rather's reruns is almost too stupid to contemplate.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Tale Of Two Safaris

I've used a mix of Safari and Firefox for browsing on my Mac for a while now - primarily Safari. My office PC has Firefox and Internet Explorer, with IE used mainly for internal sites that "require" IE (many of which don't have any technical requirement to use IE). Now that Safari 3 has come out, I've upgraded on both my home Mac and my work PC.

And gotten two different stories.

I had previously installed the Safari beta for Windows on my PC. I really preferred the font rendering on Safari compared to other Windows apps - the darker, fuller letters were much better to read, and I was genuinely surprised to see so many PC users blasting the rendering as being "broken". Unfortunately, the browser was just too unstable to use regularly; I was getting a crash at least once an hour, compared to almost never from Firefox and IE. It was just a beta, so I wasn't worried or surprised, but it meant that an uninstall was coming.

Now a new beta release has been made. I'm not sure what functionality increases were made, but the stability was vastly improved, to where I could now use it as my primary browser over Firefox.

The opposite has been true on my Mac. Safari just never crashed before - I never had a problem, while Firefox would occasionally (but still very rarely) crash. Safari 3 does crash on me, however. I was really surprised the first time, since Safari had always been so stable. But it now happens - well, not regularly, but often enough to notice.

It's too bad, because it's a nice browser, but I'm afraid I may have to switch back to Firefox as my primary browser on my Mac. At least until a Safari update is released.