September 2009

When you download photos from flickr, the photo ID is actually stored in the filename, and you can use this to get back to the original photo. I decided to make any photos that are uploaded with the flickr filename automatically link to the original via perl code that I first posted here.

However, I have since realized that some pictures I post are actually a combination of several original pictures. Thus, I am now updating my code to properly deal with giving the link to all original images it is comprised of. The hardest part was dealing with the english rules for commas and “and”. “1 and 2” vs “1, 2, and 3” vs “1, 2, 3, and 4”.

Anyway, here is the revised code for auto-flickr-linking-to-original-pic:

my @matches = $file =~ /([0-9]{10})_[0-9a-f]{10}[_ ][a-z]/ig;
my $matchNum = 0;
foreach $tmpmatch (@matches) {
  $tmpid = $tmpmatch;
  if ($matchNum == 1) {
    $caption .= "Originally posted at ";
    $caption .= "$FLICKR_PHOTOID_TO_URL_PREFIX$tmpid";
  } elsif ($matchNum == @matches) {
    if (@matches > 2) { $s .= "	, ";	}
    $caption .= " and $FLICKR_PHOTOID_TO_URL_PREFIX$tmpid";
  } else {
    $caption .= " , $FLICKR_PHOTOID_TO_URL_PREFIX$tmpid";
if (@matches > 0) { $s .= "\n"; }

This is definitely a bit more complex than the original version:

if ($file =~ /([0-9]{10})_[0-9a-f]{10}_[a-z]/i) {
    $caption .= "Originally posted at $FLICKR_PHOTOID_URL$1\n";


Dreamed Carolyn died. Wailed around in depression on the brink of insanity … for WEEKS. At one point, I was in a department store hiding behind a bunch of clothes hung up the wall, because I could not face the public. Worst… dream… EVER!

“Dreams… They’re the hurricanes that wash the soulfilth from the superdome of our nightminds.”
-Xavier:Renegade Angel

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A bit late, but we’re finally watching this 5+ years later, and it’s nice to be able to skip directly to the Director’s cut and not watch the last-minute theatrical cut they made to please the studios with a PG-13 rating. (I call that censorship, personally.)

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a superhero named Daredevil;
Comparable to Batman in jumping from level to level.
A rapist was unfortunately ruled innocent;
A train turned his body into a huge dent!
This is the kind of violence in which I can revel.

HAIKU REVIEW: Nobody saw this!
An underrated hero —
Not just some zero.

PEOPLE: Ben Affleck (was kind of surprised at this choice, but apparently this was Kevin Smith’s suggestion). Jennifer Garner reprises her role as Elektra. Colin Farrel. Jon Favreau. Michael Clarke Duncan (Armageddon, The Island, Sin City) makes an excellent Kingpin — even if his skin is a different color, he looks JUST LIKE HIM. Plus, he was Kingpin’s voice in MTV’s Spider-Man (2003) series (the one where Neil Patrick Harris played Spider-Man, and Lisa Loeb played Mary Jane). Jude Ciccolella (Mike Novak from 24) & Coolio (Director’s Cut only, and we could have perhaps done without the Coolio side-plot). And an awesome Kevin Smith cameo, as well as a non-speaking Stan Lee cameo.

QUIRKS: Your standard superhero action movie with the expected quirks — a romance angle, a crime angle, and a “secret identity life” angle (i.e. a subplot involving DareDevil’s civilian identity, Matt Murdock).

VISUALS: Pretty good action scenes. DareDevil might not whip around buildings as well as Spider-Man, but he does it at least as well as Batman. And he does it with limited sight, and with far less money than Batman. Batman/Bruce Wayne relies on being rich, and can buy fancy toys to get him out of situations. DareDevil is a lawyer, but not a rich one. He takes pro bono cases and has clients that pay him… in fish.

MORALS: This movie is not as moral as the higher-profiled Marvel superhero films. They could get away with more, because DareDevil is less popular. Batman got popular and evolved into somebody who would NEVER kill a bad guy, even though his roots in the 1940s comics were… Killing bad guys. A dark knight. One who kills criminals who the justice system doesn’t manage to snag. Well — since DareDevil is relatively unknown, and hardly anybody would see this film… The director’s cut, at least, has some major death-inducing violence. Bad guys being killed. And I’m happy for this.

BAD STUFF: You wont see Kingpin in the Spider-Man movies, despite the fact that he’s the main villain — becuase of intellectual property laws and licensing issues. So if it seems strange that Kingpin is only in the DareDevil movies — that is why. Corporate politics and capitalistic greed.

CONCLUSION: 4/5 stars on Netflix. 7.5/10 on IMDB; I’d give it closer to a 7, Carolyn would give it closer to an 8, so I voted 8 for both of us. The director’s cut was a staggering 2+ hours, and this gave us plenty of time to cover DareDevil’s origin, civilian life, love live, and “supervillian conflict”, without having to gloss over things in a rushed manner.

Carolyn said it was comparable to Hellboy 2… But I think Hellboy 2 was more interesting visually, and had richer characters.

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t pass this one up just because DareDevil has less notoriety than Spider-Man, X-Men, Wolverine, The Hulk, or Batman. This went into territory The Dark Knight was scared to go into, despite the fact that Batman started out as someone who frequently shot, killed, and maimed criminals. With The Dark Knight, we had to simply imagine how horrible The Joker was, as he did things that they were scared to show on camera. Maybe a director’s cut of The Dark Knight will come out someday, with the violence intact. Otherwise, I don’t like being babied, and in some ways this [The Director’s Cut] was better than The Dark Knight for not pulling punches, and for sticking to the canon more. The Dark Knight had made-up main characters that weren’t even in the comic book! Rachel Dawes? Please! DareDevil is more authentic than The Dark Knight. Maybe not better, but more authentic.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Every Marvel superhero movie ever.

MOVIE QUOTE: Daredevil: Hey, that light? At the end of the tunnel? Guess what? That’s not heaven…
Jose Quesada: I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!
Daredevil: That’s the C train!

COINCIDENCES: (Crank, DareDevil) 2 movies in a week where someone rides a motorcycle standing up. Also, this had lots of backflips like Hellboy 2.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Benj liked it. Jordan and Wayne didn’t like it. Nobody else watched it. Wow. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Time to watch the sequel! Which only gets a 3.9 on IMDB compared to the 6.1 of the original!

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a movie called Van Wilder 2.
Not quite as good as Revenge Of The Nerds 2.
Taking place in the UK;
it was certainly okay.
Though interesting characters only numbered in the few.

HAIKU REVIEW: National Lampoon:
Pumping out college movies
at a breakneck pace.

PEOPLE: No Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder) this time. Just Kal Penn (aka Kumar from the Harold & Kumar movies). So yes — Van Wilder sequels don’t have Van Wilder in them! And Holly Davidson just gets hotter the longer you look at her (the huge boobs help). Though the main love interest in this movie is played by Lauren Cohan…. I have to say Holly Davidson is way hotter. It’s just not obvious at first. The boobs really sink in after awhile. Anyway… This is from the director of National Lampoon’s Bag Boy… Who’s only directed 3 movies.

QUIRKS: Takes place in “Camford”, a combination of Cambridge and Oxford. Briefly spoofs Dead Poets Society and Zorro, but mostly spoofs British snobbery. Since Van Wilder 1 spoorfed American snobbery, this was a good chance of pace.

This actually feels a bit more like Revenge Of The Nerds than the original Van Wilder movie.

MORALS: Rich people are often douchebags. Especially fraternity-based people.

BAD STUFF: There are probably at least 5 jokes that just aren’t funny at all… And the movie is quite generic. Even more generic than Van Wilder 1.

CONCLUSION: Generic pass: 3/5 stars on Netflix, 6/10 on IMDB. 5/10 for Carolyn, who didn’t seem to enjoy it quite as much. She initially wanted to say 4/10, but then conceded to the fact that she did enjoy watching it.

RECOMMENDATION: If you watched Van Wilder 1… You might shy away from this based on its IMDB rating and the fact that it’s a Van Wilder movie without Van Wilder. But it’s still in the same vein.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Revenge Of The Nerds 1.

MOVIE QUOTE: Pip: [grabs a sword] Let’s settle this the way our ancestors did.
Taj: You’re going to exploit me economically?

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Christian D liked it. Benj hated it. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix] I keep hearing about this over and over… And since we’ve been trying to watch all the National Lampoon movies (even though National Lampoon today has nothing to do with what it used to be), it’s time to take the plunge. At least this got a 6.1 on IMDB. The sequel only gets a 3.1.

HAIKU REVIEW: College comedies
follow a good formula
that we can’t resist.

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a film called Van Wilder.
Old comedies were once much more milder.
[highlight for spoilers] Guys tricked into eating sperm;
That really made us squirm!
Your prudish wife has seen no scene viler ;)

PEOPLE: Erik Estrada has a cameo. Ryan Reynolds (from Just Friends) as Van Wilder. Tara Reid (aka Bunny Lebowski)–she’s hot and needs better roles. Kal Penn (aka Kumar from the Harold & Kumar movies). Curtis Armstrong (aka Booger from Revenge Of The Nerds 1 through 4, also in Moonlighting) plays a campus cop.

QUIRKS: Another formulaic college comedy with douchebag authority issues and a romantic angle as well. This is basically the (original) National Lampoon’s Animal House formula, which has been used over and over and over and over and over. And we really never tire of this formula, if it’s done well.

And it was done well.

MORALS: Sometimes you really need to grow up and move on. Staying in school 7 years is way too long. And if you’re dating a douchebag, try to figure that out before marrying him. Also: Some fraternities are full of assholes. But we knew that already, didn’t we?

BAD STUFF: There are at least 2 MAJOR gross-out moments. This is bad for some people. Even *I* gagged, and that’s rare. But, uh… Gross is funny. I don’t count this as bad for us, it just may be bad for others. The major gross-out moment is EPIC, probably in the top 10 sickest pranks I’ve ever seen pulled in a movie. Maybe it’s been done before, but never this explicitly.

There are also some predictable plot developments. How often does a guy who gets laid a lot fall in love with a girl, who spurns him, [highlight for spoilers] sending him into a depressed bender, but then changes her mind to come see him, only to find him with some floozy he’s screwing to get over the depression of being spurned by her earlier, with him then running after her trying to explain. Pretty much EVERY college romance movie has that plot development. After a while, you come to expect such things.

CONCLUSION: Thoroughly entertaining. We watched this after midnight on a dead friday night while drinking, and it served to make us feel like we’d gotten wasted and gone to a party and had fun, when all we’d really done is plopped ourselves in front of the tube for 1.5 hours. As far as the “Animal House” genre of movies goes, this is pretty top tier. It still only gets 3/5 stars on Netflix, though I’m sorely tempted to give it 4 stars. I did give it a 7/10 on IMDB, however, so this is a bit better than the “generic pass” that most National Lampoon movies get. These movies always feel great when you watch them, but then are typically not very memorable or unique.

RECOMMENDATION: If you like college party movies — this is definitely in the better half.

SIMILAR MOVIES: National Lampoon’s Animal House definitely comes to mind.


1) Van Wilder: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere… Write that down.”

2) Van Wilder: “What is wrong with people today?”
Hutch: [taking a bong hit] “It’s the internet, it fries their brain cells.”

3) Van Wilder: “Her name’s Naomi. That’s ‘I moan’ backwards.”  … I wish I’d thought of that before. (more…)

yard sale Total spent $97.50 plus ~$5 gas for a total of $102.50. We bought 20 items – for an estimated value of $424.50, leading to a profit of $322. Forgot to keep track of how long it took us, but I think we were out for about 4 hours or so, so that’s about $80/hr as a couple or $40/hr per person. And to earn $322 after taxes you’d really have to earn $460; money saved (by not having to spend it) is actually worth more than we realize when the government’s cut is taken into consideration.

  • $55.00 – bass guitar & practice amp!! Fender Squier P-Bass ($279 new) and BP-15 15W amp (still louder than I need for home use!) ($55-$100). The guitar has “For Ever Is God’s Love” carved in the back, as well as a drawing on the front of the wrath of God (cross next to lightning coming down), another cross, “U.S.M.C.” (Marines), and a DX BMX sticker on the back. But most of this will simply be covered up by new stickers that I get. (EV:$150 since these aren’t new)
  • $10.00 – art work, huge 4’x3′ – thought it was just cool colors, but turned out to be a Phoenix – even better! (EV:$10???)
  • The art I got. Click through for full size.
  • $10.00 – comforter – trying friend’s advice of sleeping on top of many comforters to make the bed softer (got another one for $2 the following week) (EV:$25, at least)
  • $5.00 – x10 home automation radioshack pack: We just used our last module, so getting another lamp and appliance module is great. Getting a 4-device plug-in “remote” switch to mount on our wall next to our normal light-switch, allowing us to turn off almost all lights in the house as we walk to bed? PRICELESS. (EV:$40)
  • $5.00 – 8×8 dome tent, bag says “Enjoy my wife. She likes you to licky licky”. For Parthena to camp in! (EV:$50)
    $5 tent
  • $3.00 – harmonica – Bluesband Hohner International brand – totally kicks my plastic harmonica’s ass (EV:$5)

  • $1.00 – sickle, rusty. Fortunately I just got rust remover online a few months ago to restore these scissors I really liked that were left in the yard. Sure, the sickle was superseded by the scythe — and scything is coming back in style according to an instructional video I watched in 2007 — But this thing just looks like it’s mean and could fit in your coat pocket. And I’m a fan of blades! (EV:$1 … In it’s condition they were lucky to sell it!)
  • $1.00 – picture frame (EV:$5)
  • $1.00 – picture frame (EV:$5)
  • $1.00 – board game: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game ($20@Amazon)

  • $0.50 – wedding candle (EV:$2) – something to throw in with my sister’s wedding presents :)
  • $0.50 – wedding glass figurine (EV:$8) – something to throw in with my sister’s wedding presents, more as a joke :)
  • $0.50 – microwave plate stacker – allows you to microwave multiple plates at once. Too bad it was broken! (EV:$0)
  • $0.50 – CD: Sisters Of MercyFloodland. Yea we already have this, but would an extra copy really hurt? (EV:$5)
  • $0.25 – VHS: Abs Of Steel 2000 Platinum Edition…Carolyn’s VHS is getting worn! Throw another quarter in! ($3.50@Amazon)
  • $0.25 – funnel. Hey, Carolyn needed one of these! (EV:$1)
  • FREE! – comforter bags – What we use to organize our vast repositories (64+ cubic feet) of spare cablings (EV:$4)
  • FREE! – mirror – HUGE – like 4’x3x. I could barely lift it. Chipped in a corner, but ohhh so shiny! (EV:$50, but it’s hard to say how much a chipped mirror is really worth. New mirrors this size go for hundreds, and there’s no fancy frame.)

Click here for other Yard Sale-related postings.

* EV stands for “Estimated Value”, which I estimate by looking things up in Google Shopping or just plain Google.


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link] Why the hell is this rated 3.2/10 on IMDB? Is that some form of backlash against casting a non-asian Goku? He’s actually an alien, not an Asian, y’know!

HAIKU REVIEW: Japanese manga:
Crazy, convoluted tales.
Now on your TV.

PEOPLE: Justin Chatwin as Goku. This pissed off tons of fans who insist that an Asian character has to be played by an Asian, even though Goku is in reality an alien from another planet (this is not revealed in the movie and happens much later in the story’s chronology). But they almost cast Tom Welling (Clark Kent from Smallville) instead, which would have probably been even worse. Yun-Fat Chow (Pirates Of The Carribean 3, Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon) as Master Roshi. Emmy Rossum as Bulma (oh no! she’s not Asian either!). The very lovely Jamie Chung (MTV’s The Real World) as Chi Chi. James Marsters (Milton Fine/Braniac from Smallville, Spike from Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as the green-skinned Piccolo. Joon Park as Yamcha.

QUIRKS: Based on Dragon Ball Japanese manga / animated series, one of the most popular manga series of all time.
And if you’ve read/watched those, you know just how convoluted and crazy everything can be!

VISUALS: They did a good job at capturing some of the visual feel of the original material. Which is difficult if you’re going from 2-color manga drawings to a live action movie.

BAD STUFF: If you haven’t read the manga or watched the anime … This movie may seem very convoluted, even confusing and arbitrary. It’s also a bit rushed. The entire Dragon Ball story takes a whopping *508* animated episodes to tell (Dragon Ball=153, Dragon Ball Z=291, Dragon Ball GT=64). Even if you just want to cover Dragon Ball, 153 episodes is NEVER EVER going to compress into a single movie. It could easily take 25 movies to cover the entire story, and that’s being generous. So of course it’s going to feel rushed.

Basically… Nobody who watches this movie without previous exposure to the franchise is going to enjoy this as much as they would otherwise. I remember the Kamehamaha. I remember everyone saying “Namaste” and thinking “WTF?”. But these things will just seem even more random and confusing to outsiders.

It has been referred to as “surreal mess” that would only make sense to fans of the original series. I can’t necessarily dispute that. But here’s the thing: Carolyn did NOT read the manga, and we both gave up on watching the anime after 30+ episodes. It’s a bit tedious in animated form; what takes 22 minutes to happen in an episode can be read in about 5 minutes. It was a bit juvenile, and there was no way we’d be able to get through all 508 episodes. Yet despite not being nearly as exposed to the Dragon Ball universe as I was, Carolyn enjoyed it almost as much as I did.

Also, they changed some things — thus adding “Evolution” to the title. For example: Goku is supposed to have a tail. And Oozaru is supposed to come out during full moons, not eclipses.

Either way: This is not a series that takes place in *our* Earth! But many will be pissed at seeing depictions of a standard present-day earth alongside sci-fi elements like green aliens and magical elements like chi and dragonballs. But that’s how the original story is!

CONCLUSION: Despite the bad, Carolyn & I were incredibly impressed with this. There were so many ways they could screw it up — and they definitely tried to. But we really enjoyed the experience of watching it, and could only remark afterward that it greatly exceeded our expectations.

Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. We’ll probably be the highest raters of this movie out of anyone we know. :)

RECOMMENDATION: If you watched Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network, or read the manga… Don’t refuse to watch this just because Goku is not played by an Asian! He’s a Saiyan, not an Asian. You should be more mad that he doesn’t have a tail, than that he isn’t played by an Asian. And then there’s the fact that Asian manga draws everyone wide-eyed like westerners anyway! The other characters are all real Asians, just like they are in the manga.

If you have no idea what a Dragonball is… You will still like this movie if you are open-minded and enjoy this kind of thing. But if you are the average American movie viewer, you wont like this.

SEQUEL: I greatly look forward to Dragonball 2: Reborn in 2011. Fortunatley this movie will be driven by Asian consumption, so the fact that Americans aren’t going to like it as much shouldn’t stop the planned sequel from stopping.

MOVIE QUOTE: [presenting the Four-Star Dragon Ball]
Grandpa Gohan: There are only six others in the world, each with stars of one to seven. Besides you, Goku, this is my greatest treasure. (more…)

On 12/30/2008, I suddenly remembered an old childhood anecdote and reminded myself to blog about it later. On 3/25/2009, I finally got around to writing this. (more…)

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