Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We've Got Good News And Bad News

Yay! Apple releases Java 6 for Mac OS X!

Boo! It won't run on my trusty Dual G5 Power Mac - Intel only need apply.

Another sign that my cheese-grater is approaching the end-of-the-road - and after only 5 years. That may be the shortest amount of time between Mac upgrades for me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Miscellaenous Movie Reviews

Been a little backed up at work, so I apparently haven't been posting here much. I'm sure the zero people who subscribe to the blog are disappointed. But here are the last few movies I've watched, none of which really deserve a whole post.

Bowfinger ended up being a pleasant enough little comedy, bordering on innocuous (but not to the degree of some of Steve Martin's other recent work). There were some nice background touches, like the illegal alien film crew that grew increasingly more sophisticated as the movie shoot went on. But on the whole, this movie basically defined its concept (a con-man filmmaker shooting a film around its star without his knowledge) and then didn't go much further than it needed to in using that concept. In particular, they strangely didn't do nearly as much as I thought they would with Eddie Murphy's portrayal of both the paranoid action star and his nerdy twin brother. Of course, after Norbit, maybe I should just be thankful. Three stars.

Kingpin didn't hold up nearly as well as I was expecting. I'm not a huge Farelley Brothers fan anyway, but this road film turned tiresome pretty quickly. The femme fatale character ended up being fairly schizophrenic - kindly one minute, greedy and self-centered the next - and Bill Murray's celebrity bowler character grew tiresome, as well. There's a few good lines ("It's kind of intimidating being around so many great athletes"), but give me The Big Lebowski over this any day for my bowling movie fix. Two stars.

Twelve Monkeys, on the other hand, held up better than I thought. Having already seen it (but not for a while), I already knew the twists coming up, and indeed, towards the end of the film, as Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe began to succumb to the inevitability of the history to come, things did begin to drag down a bit. But as it turned out, the airport-based finale still held dramatic impact and tension. Afterwards, one can't help but notice that for all of the star-power Brad Pitt ended up with for his portrayal of the insane Jeffrey Goines, that plot-line really ended up having little to do with the main thread - it was a giant red herring popping up throughout the film. But still, it's nice to see an intelligent use of time travel in a film (without requiring Cliff Notes a la Primer). Four stars.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Movie Review: The Departed

A good movie, but not as good as the Chinese original, Infernal Affairs. The main strength of this movie is the concept and plot, taken pretty much straight from the original, and still as compelling. Where The Departed suffers in comparison is in some of the actors. Maybe it's just because the American actors are more familiar to me than their Chinese counterparts, but here in particular Nicholson and Baldwin stuck out as sore thumbs. Scorsese apparently decided to let them run wild out of control, and Nicholson in particular just became tiresome as he went on. Not as bad as, say, Brando in The Score, but so noticable as to pull me out of the movie. I'm not sure why all of the players outside of DiCaprio, Damon and Vera Farmiga (and Farmiga ended up with the opposite problem, underplayed relative to everyone else) were played so broadly here, but it was a bad decision.

Still, the plot is strong enough to overcome much of that, so four stars.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Random Radio Thoughts

When Erin Hogan left KVET-AM in the morning, I knew there would be some problems. Erin and Bucky had a good thing going on their morning sports show - the fact that they were able to do a five-hour drive-time show and keep it full most days shows that they were good at the game. But Erin was the "radio" guy, and Bucky just couldn't keep the thing going by himself. So he was going to need a new full-time radio partner.

But the decision to pair him up with KVET-FM's Bob Cole seems like a mismatch. I haven't been listening religiously to the new show, partly because I'm just not a fan of Cole, period. But today's introduction, with a "spotlight on the music of Willie Nelson", demonstrates why I'm not getting the new show. I didn't want a local talk/music show, I wanted a good local sports show. And when I think of Bucky Goldboldt, I don't usually think of Willie Nelson music.

Having said that, Bucky and Bob is still miles better than the aural abortion that is the Charlie Hodge Halftime Show on KLBJ-FM. I don't think I've heard anything more painful to listen to than Hodge interacting with the brain-dead callers he seems to attract, and that includes (Dead) Air America. Good Lord, is it bad.

So, in other words, Austin radio has gotten even worse than before. I hadn't thought it was possible. Maybe this explains why I've gotten more into downloading podcast shows from other cities (such as Tony Kornheiser, and I'm giving Adam Corolla a shot as well).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kneel Before Zod Bevo!


Unleash The Flash Mob!

The Olympics is usually of little to no interest to me - I suppose if I cared about track-and-field or diving or hockey or skiing more, I might make an effort to track down coverage of those events, but I don't, so I don't. And the televised coverage is an endless series of "up close and personal" stories about "overcoming tragedy" and such, occasionally interrupted by figure skating. It's basically the Oprah version of sports.

So the selection of China as the host of this year's Olympics didn't really phase me much. But the professional protest class has finally figured out that even though China is closer to that Communist ideal than America, they still aren't actually very nice. And they've decided to channel their flair for meaningless gestures to disrupting the Olympic torch as it makes its way through Europe.

Now, nobody can put together meaningless clown shows like San Francisco. Just a casual glance through the photojournalism blog of Zombie shows that when somebody really offends them (by doing things like, say, recruiting Marines or not riding their bicycles), the fine, patriotic folks of the Bay Area can get a flash mob around to disrupt the few people that are actually trying to get things done.

So now that the torch is preparing to wind its way through San Francisco, folks are worried that there will be disruptions. Not me - I'm worried that our moonbats are not going to do enough to be able to match up to the French. Come on, California - now's the time I want to see some real action out of you people. Don't let us down!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sign Me Up

Just finished doing my federal income tax. As usual, I learned two things:

1. I need to have more withheld from my paycheck - time to write another big check.

2. We really need to have the FairTax put into place, and fast. I suspect my taxes are only a little more complicated than most, and I still don't understand all the little pieces of information needed. Why am I spending an hour trying to look up the cost basis for a stock I purchased eight years ago so that I can compute the capital gains tax on $5.90 received as cash in lieu of a fractional share during a merger? Is this really the best use of either my time or the government's?