April 2010


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Farrel — who both worked on Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy and Wake Up Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. With John C. Reilly (aka Dr. Steve Brule from Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job); Jane Lynch, who we just saw in the Area 57 pilot; David Koechner, who professed his love to Ron Burgundy in the Anchorman deleted movie; Michael Clarke Duncan, who we just saw as Kingpin in the excellent DareDevil movie (he was also Balactus in Minoriteam, and in Sin City, The Scorpion King, Armageddon); the lovely Leslie Bibb (Sex & Death 101, Iron Man, Wristcutters: A Love Story); Molly Shannon (SNL) as a drunk wife; the very lovely (but repressed in this movie) Amy Adams (who was in a few episodes of The Office, described as “Pam 6.0” by Michael Shott); Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Borat) as the “bad guy”; Andy Richter as the bad guy’s gay lover. A pretty good cast for a comedy movie.

QUIRKS: This is, unfortunately, a sports-themed movie — NASCAR. That counts against it. But it’s also a movie full of non-stop laughs — and the comedy doesn’t ever stop. Even the child stars are hilarious. And Borat makes an excellent annoying French villian.

CONCLUSION: This was quite funny. I’d give it 4/5 stars on Netflix, though it might only deserve 3 due to us not caring about sports. And I’d give it 7.5/10 on IMDB. It’s definitely a grade-A comedy, but at the same time, it’s not a masterpiece. Anchorman was funnier.

RECOMMENDATION: If you like Will Farrel or John C. Reilly, you should probably check this out.

SIMILAR MOVIES: This movie very much has the same feel as Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. You put the same people together, and it’s no surprise that they make a similar movie. It also reminds me of Walk Hard:The Dewey Cox Story (especially with John C. Reilly starring!).

MOVIE QUOTE: Ricky Bobby: [television commercial] Hi, I’m Ricky Bobby. If you don’t chew Big Red, then FUCK YOU!

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Scott loved it. Tatiana, Wayne, Eric M, Christian D really liked it. Metinee, Benj, Ian, and Rebekah liked it. Everyone seemed to at least like this. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Ryan S’s excellent review] Time to watch an anime series again. It’s been awhile.

PLOT SUMMARY: Space garbage is a problem in the future, requiring full-time garbage collection of debris in Earth orbit. Meanwhile, selfish capitalist corporations are trying a land-grab at claiming all the space resources as the property of whoever invests (rich get richer), while terrorist groups pit innumerable lives against their desire to have space resources divided up for the benefit of all humanity. But that’s just the back story: This series, like most anime, is quite character driven, and about the relationships between the various characters. But again, I direct the reader to Ryan S’s excellent review of this series, as I am too lazy to write full reviews, because I try to review EVERYTHING I watch. It’s too much :)

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Corporations selfishly grab space resources; terrorists do good things.

https://i0.wp.com/ideonexus.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/planetes01.jpgQUIRKS: Based on a comic. Space. Politics. Terrorism. Capitalism. Smoking. Personal relationships. Love. Loss. It’s a 26 episode series, so there are many different kinds of episodes… Depressing ones, funny ones, dramatic ones, etc.

This is often heralded as the most realistic space-based anime ever made. They consulted with the Japanese equivalent of NASA to make sure things were accurate. Also, for example, space is dead silent. If they show a ship exploding — there will be no sound. Finally, paste-eating nerds won’t have to complain in a Comic Book Guy voice: “You can’t really hear explosions in space.”

VISUALS: Nothing special, but anime visuals are almost always superior to their American-animated counterparts.

POLITICS: Tons of politics in this movie. They don’t take the central stage; Most anime is about a guy and a girl falling in love, with the characters in the foreground, and the plot in the background. But politics permeate many of the episodes, as well as the series’s climax. This improves the show by making it more thought-provoking than a non-political show would be. Also, they amazingly don’t take sides. One could argue that the terrorists in this series are the good guys, making sure that space exploration benefits ALL of humanity, not just the rich capitalists. You could also argue that the terrorists are the bad guys, threatening to set space travel back decades by killing innumerable people. This moral ambiguity makes the series that much more enjoyable.

BAD STUFF: The one issue I had with smoking was the smoking booth: If they’d really done their research, they would probably have been able to more accurately depict smoking in the future by having Fee use an e-cigarette to vaporize nicotine, instead of smoking cigarettes with fire. Since no combustion occurs with vaporization, no precious oxygen is wasted. Though I’m not sure what the byproduct of that is like, and what its effects on space instrumentation would be, I would assume for purposes of space vehicle safety, that vapor > smoke.

CONCLUSION: An excellent anime series that doesn’t fall into the boring tropes that most anime series fall into.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.8/10, Netflix: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.6/5 stars. It’s true, we don’t like anime as much as “true” anime fans do).

https://i0.wp.com/ideonexus.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/planetes02.jpgRECOMMENDATION: Even if you hate anime, this is a very “non-anime” anime series worth checking out. Again, read Ryan S’s excellent review of this series. It says more than I will ever bother to.

COINCIDENCES: (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Planetes #24) 2 videos in 2 days where someone had to *temporarily* be in a wheelchair due to hypothermia. Space or time travel’ll do that to ya.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: I’m going to assume, based on Ryan S’s excellent review, that he loved it. Ben W also chimed in on Facebook, with good things to say about it.
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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Parthena convinced us to watch this. I’d never seen it, and I think Carolyn hadn’t seen it since she was a kid.

PEOPLE: Directed by John Carpenter (after Prince Of Darkness, but before Starman). Starring Kurt Russel, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong (who’s been in a lot of stuff that we’ve watched lately), Victor Wong, Suzee Pai.

QUIRKS: Totally craziness. I mean… this movie is a prime example of the 1980s over-the-top movie style that was quite popular back then!

VISUALS: Yes… there’s lots of neat visual stuff in this movie. Being a 1986 movie, the special effects obviously aren’t up to date. But being a fantasy movie set in a modern world, it really doesn’t matter. A lot of the stuff that happens can only be described as “out of this world”.

MORALS: Kurt Russell doesn’t have them. He just wants his $1,148.

CONCLUSION: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. This is a really good crazy caper! There’s a lot of “WTF!!!” moments here… from Kurt Russell’s opening CB-radio rants where he seems to be channeling Denis Leary, to the fact that sorcery is real, dudes float out of the sky, and crazy mass murders can happen in Chinatown without the police ever caring. This was definitely a fun adventure.

Too bad they didn’t go through with the scene after the ending that they originally wanted. It sounds fun! :) Also, Scary Movie 2 parodies this at some point, but I probably didn’t notice at the time! D’oh! Robot Chicken S1E11 also has a sketch with characters from this movie.

RECOMMENDATION: If you like 80’s capers — this is definitely one to see. Most people seem to have seen this movie, and highly recommend it!

MOVIE QUOTE: Jack Burton: When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like that: “Have ya paid your dues, Jack?” “Yessir, the check is in the mail.”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Parthena, Christian, Chris Z loved it. Ian & Benj really liked it. Carolyn liked it, but that was an old rating; I wonder if it’s changed now. (more…)

20100503 – Netherlands – Amsterdam, Paradiso
20100505 – CH-Geneva, PTR-Usine
20100507 – France – Limoges, CC………M John Lennon
20100508 – France – Rennes, Antipode
20100509 – France – Tourcoing, Le Grand Mix
20100512 – GB-London, Electric Ballroom
20100514 – Italy – Parma, Circolo Onirica
20100515 – Italy – Roma, Init
20100521 – Hauzenberg bei Passau, 29. Pfingst Open Air NEW!!!
20100716 – B-Dour, Dour Festival
20100717 – FR-Montmartin Sur Mer, Chauffer Dans La Noirceur
20100910 – Berlin, Berlin Festival

Oh who am I kidding? If I go somewhere, it’s going to be Amsterdam.

BTW, these are Atari Teenage Riot reunion tour dates. They’re probably not doing it again, and this is the only time in 10 yrs that they’ve played. (more…)

things that have died in the past 4 months:

  • my car [deer = fender, headlight, blinker, +$3000, -$200]
    20091206 - hit a deer - front left - big hole - GEDC0915
  • my car [tie rod, -$700]
    20100227 - Clint's car - tie rod broke - Clint's tires point in different directions - 0 - success edit
  • my car [tire, -$100]
    postcard - woman fixing car in garters - b39c3 (b&w)
  • my RAM [they’re not honoring the warranty replacement because they claim it came from a 4G set, even though I never got 4G at once ever, -$80]
    20091212 - 1 - RAM failure - GEDC1106
  • my 1.5TB harddrive [only 6 months old, Western Digital Green drives suck]
  • carolyn’s car [headlights, -$10 so far, much more to come]
    20090620 - Artomatic - GEDC0129 - Carolyn's car's coolant casualty
  • carolyn’s mp3 player [-$47]
    20080113 - Chicago - 150-5010 - clock radio
  • carolyn’s motherboard [-$70]
    20071006-08 - building Hades - 139-3902 - motherboard (Abit IP35 Pro)
  • carolyn’s power supply [-$45]
    20071006-08 - building Hades - 138-3818 - power supply with MANY connectors
  • carolyn’s 120G harddrive
    20090118 - cleaning house - 175-7503 - harddrives
  • our house’s dryer [$-82 so far]
    20071030 - Beavis in the laundry room - 141-4155
  • our smallest TV, which I had since 1990ish
    20100214 - party aftermath - GEDC1538 - broken TV

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OPENING BRAG

I was always one who did things first on their computer.

I was the first human being I knew to get online via BBSes (using a dumb terminal, not a computer), AND on the internet (via illegal hacking; special thanks to local wardialers).

I was the first human being I knew to have his computer talk, or store music digitally (VOC file of 16 second Descendents song in ~1990, baby! MP3 wasn’t invented yet!);

I was the first human being I knew to use a social networking site (SixDegrees–not ONE person answered my friend requests. People didn’t understand the potential of the concept, and now almost every one of them is on Facebook);

I’also m pretty sure I was the first human being I knew to use Google (at least, I remember emailing my whole addressbook to tell them about this new search engine that beat the pants off of Altavista and Lycos. But perhaps I heard about it from one of my colleagues).

I was also the first human being I know to have any semblance of a buddy list — because Windows chat programs hasn’t been invented yet. Not to my knowledge. I did it by cobbling together the unix finger command via a cron job with it’s output filtered by grep.

HOW? Step 1: Know the unix ‘talk’ command

Unixphiles probably remember the Unix talk command. Before Facebook chat, before Yahoo Chat, before AOL chat, before ICQ, even before BBS sysop chat — there was the unix talk command:

^ Kinda like that. But without the Windows around it, as you were probably on a dumb terminal connected to a unix server

It allowed you to talk to an email address — since back then, the majority of email addresses were tied to a unix shell account.

Besides IRC and BBSes, this was really the only way to talk to someone else online. And I’ve always been interested in the extra reach online provides; I’m an eccentric person and it’s always been hard to find people like me.

In fact, I met Carolyn on a BBS in 1991 — and it just so happened that she went to my high school. Thus, when we first met over 18 years ago, her first words to me were, “Are you Satan?”, and my first words to her were, “Are you Magic Mist?”

HOW? Step 2: Know the unix ‘finger’ command

finger.jpg

Perverted jokes aside, the unix finger command let you ‘finger’ an account, to see some basic information about it. A very basic finger would, at a minimum, give you a set of information like this:

(I've redacted my IP address from these screenshots.)

And if you edited a local file called “.plan”, you could insert extra information here. Of course I did this, so my finger output was actually longer (insert Futurama finglonger joke here):

(Click any of these images to see them in full size.)

Notice the line that says “On since Wed Dec 23”? That is crucial for step 3.

HOW? Step 3: Know the unix ‘grep‘ command

Grep is one of the single most useful unix commands in existence. I use it EVERY day. It basically returns lines that match what you’re looking for.

I use it to search my phone numbers, as well as to search my filelists so I know where files are. It employs regular expressions, which are a powerful way of matching text. (Ask Vicky about her regular expression skirt…)

Basically, if you grep for something that isn’t there, it will return nothing, like so:

Yes: The finger output above did not contain the word "snuffleupagus", so there was no output.

But if you grep for something that IS there, like “On since”, it will return the line that matches that:

"On since" appears in my unix finger output, so that line is displayed.

So now we have a command that:

  • Displays a line of text if an account is online (because finger returns a line saying “on since”)
    – or –
  • Displays nothing if an account is offline (because finger does not return a line saying “on since”)

It looks like we have a way of spitting a line out to the screen if someone is online. But how do we automate this?

HOW? Step 4: Know unix cron jobs

Cron jobs are simply unix’s way of scheduling tasks. I wont go into the details, as they are quite fugly.

But basically, you can run programs at any interval you want. I used to use it to send emails to myself every hour during business hours reminding me to do my anti-carpal tunnel hand exercises. It’s well known enough that there are shirts of it available at Zazzle.com:

free advertising

So, I simply set up a cron job to finger specific email addresses and grep them for “on since” every minute. If the person was online, the text would simply appear on your screen — wherever your cursor was:

Sample line of output.

This could mess up what you were doing — displaying a line of text over your email inbox, or over a file you were editing; so you would just hit Control-L (the refresh key) to erase the text and fix the screen. It was an ugly kludge, but it worked. And obviously you might want to grep the line containing their username out as well, so you know who is online.

In my case, I was only monitoring ONE person, so I didn’t need to know who it was.

She eventually sent me photographs of her boobs in the postal mail, so I’d say this system was a success.

boobs-as-motivation.jpg

They say all significant hardware advances are due to war, while all significant software advances are due to porn.

I eventually found her on Facebook, but I’m honestly not sure if she remembers me. And before anyone asks, she was, and is, quite attractive. In fact, between this girl’s photographs, and 18 years and counting with Carolyn, I’d say most of the sex I’ve gotten in my life has been a direct result of my technical prowess. Rowwwr…. Am I sexy yet?

WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ALL THAT?

No point. (Made you read! Haha!)

I just thought it would be neat to document something unique that I did in the early 1990s. I’m sure other people had this idea and implemented it too — but *I* didn’t know these people. Back then, people weren’t generally connected online — the world wide web didn’t exist yet. People had to come up with innovations on their own. So if anyone else ever did this as well — or something similar — I’d love to hear about it.

Old school computing had so much charm compared to nowadays. Nowadays, everything has been done. I just spend time talking about politics, blogging, and uploading photos. Back then? It was big a challenge just to get your words to reach ONE person, let alone millions of readers.

THE END. (more…)

SPOILER ALERT – This contains some minor 24 spoilers. Reposted with permission of SubGenius Rev. Ramona BackItOnUp, who posted this on her Facebook, where the world cannot appreciate its awesomeness. Here we go:

Scene One

Jack Bauer: I sure am glad I’m retired from CTU! I never want to get stuck inside another nukular bomb again, that’s for sure. I just want to do some banking at Bank of America, because of their great customer service and low fees. Maybe I’ll spend some time with my daughter Kim, now that there are no national crises going on to endanger my family!

Tony Almeida: Not so fast, Jack. I have the explosives here in the microfilm. If you ever want to see your wife alive again, meet me in the parking lot of 7-11, home of the Big Gulp.

JB: Tony, you have a contract with 7-11 now?

TA: No, but I’m working on it. Mmmm, I love that coffee, made fresh every hour!

Chloe: Jack, I’m trying to upload the explosives to your PDA, but I can’t get the floor plan for the White House unless you get me a Snickers Bar. Snickers really satisfies!

JB: That’s fine, Chloe, but right now I need you to snap into a Slim Jim.

Renee: I’m Renee, and I’m relatively new to the show. Have I missed any calls from my Coldwell Banker?

TA: Renee, your head is shaped like a wedge. So was Jack’s wife’s. And the terrorist woman who had an affair with him. Their heads were as wedge-shaped as a slice of DiGiorno pizza. It’s not delivery – it’s DiGiorno.

All: (laughter)

Scene Two

JB: (On the phone) Kim, I realize I’ve been shooting heroin for an undetermined number of seasons, but you need to get on a plane out of California NOW. I can’t explain it, but I’m a Federal Agent, and I simply can not believe this is not butter.

Kim Bauer: No, Dad, you listen to ME. I’m built Ford tough and I’m not thinking different. I live here, and I have a family, and I’m busy drinking a Coors Light, which is the right beer now. I can’t uproot my life every time you call. You owe me an explanation!

JB: THE TERRORISTS ARE ON THE BOAT. STAY OFF THE CARNIVAL CRUISE. Kim, I repeat, Just Do It.

KB: Okay dad. I can hear you now.

JB: Good

Scene Three

Michelle Almeida: I can’t believe they killed me off in season four! Wait, what season are we up to now?

TA: What? I can’t hear you over this crunchy cereal I’m chewing. It has caused several humorous misunderstandings already so far.

JB: Won’t somebody please send me the schematics? I had to break a Russian’s fingers this morning and there’s still a nukular dirty bomb in the air shaft.

TA: That’s what he said.

All: (Laughter)

President David Palmer: We’re ALL in good hands now. Well, except that Russian.

23:57
23:58
23:59
24:00 (more…)

yard saleGot up at 7:20AM, ate at Burger King, and made it out driving by 8AM. Went out until about noon, for a total of 4 hours.

Total spent $43.25 plus ~$7.50 gas for 45 miles of driving, for a total cost of $50.75.

We bought 13 items – 48 if you count each separate deodorant – for a total estimated value of $478.72, leading to a profit of $427.97.

That’s $107/hr as a couple or $53.50/hr per person. And to earn that much after taxes you’d really have to earn $612; money saved (by not having to spend it) is actually worth more than we realize when the government’s cut is taken into consideration.

Other interesting anecdotes:

1) The douche who tried to fight me. The flea market was sketchy enough, but then this guy tried to speed up and not let us pedestrians cross the street. I glared at him. I didn’t even flick him off! He just sat there in the middle of the road. He flicked me off, I got in my car, flicked him off, he got out and came at the car, he yelled, I yelled, I had my mini baseball bat in hand, but reversed out.. then, when we tried to leave the parking lot, he blocked us and the whole intersection. I laid down the horn non stop for a full 60 seconds — basically making everyone take notice that he was an asshole. He left. I guess he lost face and couldn’t go to the flea market after that. I declare victory.

2) The black folks who handed me a pamphlet when I arrived, saying, “Here! This is Jesus’s eternal salvation!” … Carolyn walked up with me, then they saw her, and said, “Oh, you’re American, not Hispanic!”, and handed her the English language version of the pamphlet. But I got the Spanish one. This was so funny that I wrapped them up as a joke gift for Nicole’s birthday party that night. We had fun looking through them. The guy was carrying a bag of sin. I commented, “I carry a bag o’ sin too! It’s between my legs.”

3) That guy who had that wacky blower thing had another yardsale this week. A re-run yard sale a week later? Will have to try to remember to avoid it. But this time he had a bottle of wine for only $3! I had grabbed it, but then some other lady already had dibs on it. I bid up to $4, but she matched it, and I let her have it. Later at another yard sale the same lady pulled up, and I was like “Watch out for this one, she’ll get your stuff before you!” and she was like “I had to pay $4 because of you!”, but we were all laughing.

  • $10.00: messager, Relaxor Deep Knead (5 zons, shiatsu lumbar fingers, home outlet and car adapter) ($200-$260 through Sharper Image according to recall info, we’ll say EV:$200)
  • $9.00: deodorant, Speedstick, small 0.5oz ($0.25/ea * 36–we filled the microwave we bought with them) ($1.27 new * 36 = $45.72 value)
  • $5.00: scanner, HP scanjet 3970 ($103 new)
  • $5.00: towels (4), brown, large & thick, very nice towels (EV:$30)
  • $3.00: microwave (ours seems like it’s starting to go) (EV:$35)
  • $3.00: game, Totally Gross Science game ($8 @ Amazon)
  • $2.00: mirror, 13×18 frame / 9×14 mirror, wrought iron gothic framing (EV:$20 at least)
  • $2.00: rake, small head type (ours has broken from use) (EV:$6)
  • $2.00: car mats, rubber (Carolyn’s car has standing water in it a lot, the fabric mats just aren’t cutting it) (EV:$9)
  • $1.00: glasses, full box, blue (we just wanted a lowball/rocks glass, but they had 6 rocks glasses plus tons of others) (EV:$15, though it could be over $30 really)
  • $1.00: microcassette recorders (2) with tapes (5) ($0:changed batteries, they wound, but microphones on both appeared to be broken) *** WE-GOT-SCREWED ITEM-OF-THE-WEEK ***
  • $0.25: book, Transforming the Difficult Child (joke gift for Nicole’s birthday party) ($7 used)
  • FREE: snake toy, wooden, black (for the cats, who don’t really seem to care much about it unless you move it yourself) (EV:$0!)

https://i1.wp.com/www.travelalert.net/massageseating/images/1001closecrop.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/dualelectronics.com/shop/images/logo%20microwave03.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/maintenance-products.com/img/brown_towel.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/chestofbooks.com/crafts/metal/Elementary-Metal-Work/images/Fig-40-Photograph-Frame.jpg

The mirror we got has a larger mirror / smaller frame, gothic wrought iron not this birds-and-bugs crap, looks good on our red wall.

https://i2.wp.com/www.educational-toys-mart.com/prodimages/totally-gross-science-board-game-medium.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/www.china-caraccessory.com/china-car-mat/rubber-car-mat-2303.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/w3.addresources.org/files/TransformingTheDifficultChild.jpg

http://s7d5.scene7.com/is/image/CanadianTire/0596877_1?$medium$&defaultImage=image_na_EN

https://i0.wp.com/cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/b/0/0/82/8/AAAAC4u4_6cAAAAAAIKEag.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yPMpxur%2BL._SL500_.jpg

Maybe next time. Still looking for one of the ones with the external control jack...

Click here for other Yard Sale-related postings.

* EV stands for “Estimated Value”, which I estimate by looking things up in Google Shopping/Google/Amazon/Ebay. I don’t always deduct for an item being used, unless it’s actually in worse condition.

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