Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Dear McDonald's

I'm not lovin' it. In fact, I'm hatin' it, and wishin' you would be stoppin' it. Your commercials make my thumb go all spastic in a desperate attempt to change the channel before I have to hear that already bad R 'n B song made worse by your desperate last-ditch attempt to corner the "urban" market since white-bred suburbia has finally woken up and realized that your food makes us fat.

And while we're on the subject, in a more general public service announcement to marketing execs everywhere: "izzle" is no longer cool. "Izzling" words (i.e. "For sure" = "Fo shizzle" or "old school" = "old skizool") was fun for a lot of us as it was a great way to make fun of how ridiculous it sounded coming out of rapper's mouths. Now seeing Snoop Dog in AOL's new 9.0 commercial saying "Now just wait one minizzle [minute]," and having to hear that annoying Nanny in the Old Navy ads say the sentence I Dare Not Repeat makes me cringe to hear its very uncoolness. Look, if you're having a rapper who used to use the expression seriously spoofing the use of "izzle," you've defined parody, and by the definition of parody, that term is now dead. Let it rest in pizeace peace. Please.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

A Day Early

Sadly, this year's New Year's resolution is going to be identical to last year's. Lose Weight.

One could use the "circular weight loss/gain" thing to say that I'll just lose some weight and gain it all back again (like I did last year), only I'm going to pretend that last year was the "warm up" phase.

I managed to lose 14 pounds without changing my diet (other than cutting out Coke and most sodas) and by excercising almost daily. The plan went to pot when Liz and I got back from Disney and decided that the market was ripe to sell our house and buy a much bigger house. I had to skip going to the gym in order to use that time to work on the house.

This year I'm going to actually change my diet, and try and keep a more reasonable gym schedule. Instead of going every day (and then feeling bad when I'd "skip" a day), I'm going to make out a schedule where I hit the gym four times a week, with scheduled days off and on. Hopefully I'll be able to stick to this plan once the baby shows up. That's going to be the hardest part about all of this: finding the time and kicking the excuses when there's a baby around.

Resolution #2 will be to finally get going on that website I'm supposed to be transferring all of this to. I'm hoping to have a massive update, one that has game reviews, art (shut up!), and maybe even some comic work if I can get off of my very large fat ass.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

While I Still Have 11 Minutes Left...

I just wanted to wish anyone reading this a Merry Christmas. Or really, I hope that you had a good one, as this message will undoubtably be too late

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Lord of the SFX

So I just saw Return of the King for the second time tonight (got home at 1am, thanks for asking), and I have to say while WETA does some of the most incredible special effects in the industry, there's two shots in the movie which are so jarring that I cringe during the first one, and I laugh out loud at the second one. Don't get me wrong people, I love WETA. I think they're the best SFX studio in the industry. In fact, think of this very short list as a public service announcement for them to go back and find the boo-boos before the DVD is released.

Don't worry, no spoilers.

Shot 1). An establishing shot on the Town Hall (Hall of Kings?) in Rohan. I think the blond chick who's hot for Aragorn is standing out front (I forget her name for now). It's one of my ultimate pet peeves when it comes to stock video being used in television, and I was downright shocked to see it happen in LotR:tRotK. They evidently decided they didn't like the slow truck-out on the shot they originally shot (because a good establishing shot trucks in, not out), so they decided to just reverse the footage. Only there's flags waving and a couple of firepits burning in the shot. Nothing gets my goat more than watching flags flapping backwards (they look like snakes swimming through the air with their tails attached to the poles) and seeing fireplaces suck the flames back in. Think ZZTop's Velcro Fly video and you'll get the picture.

Shot 2). Frodo's running away from the camera, and let's just say he's looking a bit disheveled and things are sort of glowing around him. Sam's yelling "Frodo!" Yeah, big help, I know. At any rate, it was shot as a two pass CG scene, where they shot a camera pan from left to right on the CG environment, and then attempted to match that camera move in the studio with live-action Frodo (or hell, even Mocap Frodo; who the hell knows at this point) and then composite the two shots together. Only someone screwed up somewhere, and the two camera paths don't match. So while Frodo's running away from the camera toward his destination, he's sliding along to the right, as if he were on ice. Our non-technical term for this in the animation industry is "ice-skating." Hey, I didn't say it was a clever term.

So there you go. Just two scenes that need fixin'. Out of like, 800 scenes in the movie that used CG. I wouldn't doubt that there's a scene in the movie that didn't use some sort of CG at this point.

Monday, December 22, 2003

'Tis the Season

Sure, the wife and I have been insanely charitable this year. Every year we like to give to some children's charities, and this year we gave more than ever to Little Friends, a charity for underpriveledged kids who not only aren't going to be getting anything for Christmas if you don't buy it for them, they're also developmentally challenged. Then at work, I also got a small drive going and convinced enough people to chip in for a Platinum Limited Edition Game Cube for Penny-Arcade's Child's Play charity.

But you know I'm seriously in the giving mood if I find myself rooting for Green Bay on Monday night football, which happened tonight.

Friday, December 19, 2003

We Have This Phrase

Many of you might recall that I've recently had to gut my primary computer and install a new hard drive, and go through the thumb-screw process of installing Windows XP not once but three times.

In doing so, I got to encounter an age-old problem for me, my nemesis if you will: installing Java Virtual Machine. I'm too lazy to search through my archives for it, but you may recall my frustration to learn that previously Microsoft had come to a sort of legal disagreement with the makers of Java, and no longer carried Java Virtual Machine on their website. They couldn't even refer me to who I could get it from.

So tonight I decide to head over to Popcap to play a quick game of Bookworm tonight. As it turns out, you need Java Virtual Machine for that (MSJVM). So I click the link to have it "auto-install" MSJVM, forgetting about the legal dispute. The link to have MS auto-install MSJVM brings me to an MS site that says the following:

We're sorry, you cannot view this page because it requires the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine (MSJVM). Your machine does not have the MSJVM installed. For more information please visit

Being a lover of sarcasm, Liz and I have an expression for situations like this: "It's like a dream come true!!!".

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

More Tales From the Webcam I Don't Have

You know how you always see birds fighting it out in mid-air, swirling around the sky above you, diving on each other? You know how you always ask yourself "What's the point? They never really seem to hurt each other." I mean, really, I've never seen any sort of outcome to one of those birdfights; they always wind up flying off in different directions.

Well, today I saw someone score a kill. There I was, waiting in line to turn left, when out of nowhere, these two robins go diving from the right of me directly in front of my car, the rear bird giving the lead bird a shot in the ribs with its beak, and the lead bird spirals out of control (and we're talking *just* like a plane that's lost a wing here) and slams head-first into the back of the car in front of me.

The thing dropped, lifeless, bounced off the car's bumper, and skidded to a halt towards the left side of the turn lane. I had to sort of drive "around" the bird, because I wasn't sure if it was underneath my front wheel or not. As I pulled forward, I could see that the bird was stunned, but attempting to gather its composure. It was on its feet, but sort of "lying" there as birds do when they're resting, attempting to adjust its wings a bit while it shook the cobwebs out after that slam into the car, as the other cars behind me also drove around it.

That bird was pwned.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Taste the Bitter Tar-Like Irony

So MSN linked to this neat new contraption called the Art-o-Mat, which is really nothing more than a glorified post-card selling machine built from an old, beautiful cigarette machine.

I decided that they were a pretty cool invention - put in five bucks, pull a knob, and get art - so I figured I'd check and see where some machines were located.

While there aren't a lot of places where you can find these things, you evidently could throw a rock anywhere in Winston-Salem, NC* and hit one. Go figure.

*For all you non-smokers, Winston-Salem is like, where cigarettes were practically invented. I mean, there's a brand named after the town, or vice versa for crying out loud.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Starbucks: It'sThey're Not Just for Coffee Anymore

So the new Battlestar Galactica thing ain't half bad. In fact, I'm quite taken with it. A phenomenal CG budget, excellent directing, and a true sense of urgency and survival (unlike the old series), and boy howdy did it get dark, fast.

While I like the new Starbuck, and the tension between her and Apollo, I have to say what I miss the least is the use of the term Centons. Thank god they dropped that.

It's money, it's time, it's a unit of measurement! Centons! Use one today!

Oh, and the Cylons? Hell. Yes. Don't worry, there's mechanical ones, too. They show up at the last minute. The tell-tale red eye trail is still there.

Friday, December 05, 2003

OtherMe. OtherYou.

I can't stop thinking about Star Trek Transporter technology, and the philosophical repercussions of using it. I know, I'm lame.

But consider the technology and how it works. A lot of people think that it's a teleporter, and it's not. It's a human fax machine. Normally, on a fax machine, your paper message goes in one end, the scanner reads your text, and then on the other end, another fax machine gets your encrypted message, and prints it out on another sheet of paper (with additional text tags up top to identify the sender, time and date, etc.). It's important to note that it doesn't stop trying to send the fax until the machine on the other end admits it was received successfully.

The transporter works in a similar way, only instead of two fax machines, there's only the one, so it has to beam the paper with the message on it to the new location, and when it knows there's a successful completion, it destroys the original document.

That document is you. You're not truly being beamed anywhere. You're dismantled, atom by atom, and stored inside of the computer as anti-matter in a pattern buffer, and then new anti-matter material is beamed down to the destination and re-assembled atom by atom, until a perfect facsimile of you is deposited. Then your original pattern is destroyed.

That's what I find really disturbing. I mean, for all intents and purposes, you're dead. Some say "pattern buffer," I say "disintigration ray." The transporter kills you and then re-assembles a new you. I just can't get past the metaphysical ramifications of your body just being destroyed for a few seconds, and then re-appearing as far away as, say, in orbit. If you have a conscience, or a spirit, does it know where to find you? Do you experience death upon dismantling? Does your newly formed clone retain all of your memories? (Well, obviously the last one is true according to how everyone who's transported on the show acts.)

And then there's the whole Will/Tom Riker thing. His transporter beam was reflected back in an ep of ST:TNG and a secondary Riker was created, who was trapped and abandoned in a cave for something like ten years. He thought he was the original Riker the whole time. Of course, Will Riker, the one transported back to the ship also thought he was the real Riker. That's because they're both really Riker. And that's what makes me wonder if a Trek Transporter could actually work.

Is the OtherYou created on the other end of the beam really you? Or is it just a perfect facsimile of you that remembers what it was like to be exactly you? Is the real you dead? Does it philosophically matter? Does the real you experience death? If there's a heaven, will there be like 800 of you wandering around?

Fuck, I'm driving myself insane here.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Blimp Crashes Into World's Largest Pile of Crap

No, really, it did.

I wish I had something funny to say about it, but hey, sometimes funny is funny. No icing needed.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Why My Job is Cooler Than Your Job

I was going to throw up a long rant about how bad Microsoft's XP Pro sucks, after having to install it three times in the course of a month on the same machine, but hey, why point out the obvious?

Instead, I'd like to direct your attention to my job, where just a couple of weeks ago I got to do my first very real prat/stuntfall in the motion suit. You see, someone needed to die going over a railing*.

And that someone was me. Cowboy movie, here I come!

*Make sure you right-click and save this off (because I suck, just clicking the link won't play the movie), and make sure you've got something that can play a DivX avi.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Dear Discovery Channel

If I'm a caucasian westerner watching a two hour special on "Xtreme Martial Arts," there's a pretty damn good chance that I'm going to go watch a certain movie that has a caucasian westerner who becomes a Samurai.

So next time, you don't need to show me half of the god damned movie during the martial arts special, okay?


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