Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Spiderman 3 Teaser Trailer

Lots of good stuff coming out right now. Supposedly this is going to hit the theaters this weekend, however I've got my hands on a YouTube video that is up for the time being.

Looks freaking sweet.

Venom. Sandman. Good shit.


Transformers the Movie News: BumbleBee

Now, this is the first time I've had any type of scoop on anything on the internet before. Aint It Cool News had some pictures up of BumbleBee from the Transformers The Movie live action flick that Michael Bay is doing. Well, Paramount made them take the movie down quicker than a fart disappears in the wind.

However, with a little snooping I was able to track the picture down and I now share it with you.

BumbleBee is a Camaro in the movie...which is odd, but hey, you gotta make due with the vehicles you can get rights too. Evidently from what I've read, he's in a used car lot and is bought by a dad and his son. Obviously there is backstory as to why he's there, and I don't know it, so good luck trying to find out why.

Anyway, I thought it was cool that they were doing real robots and CGI so the movie will have more of a feel like Jurassic Park, and less like the new Star Wars. I've always thought CGI is overused now, and makes things look like a video game. This movie will be much easier to stomach with them using real physical objects at times.



New Comments

I got a plethora of new comments from someone who somehow managed to stumble over this here internet site of mine. I’d like to welcome them, whoever they are, and let them know they are one of only five other people who read this thing. Congratulations!

Actually, I think it’s neat that anyone can sort of plop their way in here, read my comments, and commend or flame me.


Rush to get your hands on this!

Oh man, Rush ole buddy, what will you do next. Seems as though everyone’s favorite right wing talk show hack has erectile dysfunctional disorder, known as ED. Poor guy just can’t get it up. How do I know this, because it’s on CNN.com silly.  Seems as though Rush doesn’t like to get prescriptions for his drugs, he buys them illegally. He was at the airport, customs found a bottle labeled Viagra, and amazingly it wasn’t in his name. Seriously though, I can’t blame the guy for wanting to get it up, everyone deserves to be able to have some sex, unfortunately even Mr. Limbaugh. However, Rush, buddy, you’ve got to play by the rules. Just like your fiasco with the pain killers, you should have learned, normal people have to get prescriptions for their drugs; otherwise you’re just a drug user, not a patient.

Oh well…as you can tell I can’t stand the guy, so its nice to be able to jab him a bit about his, er um, problem.


Congress Schmongress

Glad to see their taking up the life threatening issue of flag burning right now, because, you know, this is why people don’t have jobs and are going hungry. Seriously, what the hell? They vote down raising the federal minimum wage, but will stop at nothing to try and amend the constitution so that our flag can’t be burned. I’m no fan of desecrating the flag, but we’ve got to get our priorities straight. Wasn’t it just two weeks ago everyone was all about reforming immigration? What the hell happened to that?



Movie Review: Layer Cake

I had the pleasure of sitting down with this little film the other night. I was in the mood for a gritty British drug/crime film, and this fit the bill nicely. Here is the summary from IMDB.com for the film:


“Based upon JJ Connelly's London crime novel, "LAYER CAKE" is about a successful cocaine dealer (DANIEL CRAIG) who has earned a respected place among England's Mafia elite and plans an early retirement from the business. However, big boss Jimmy Price hands down a tough assignment: find Charlotte Ryder, the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy's old pal Edward, a powerful construction business player and gossip papers socialite. Complicating matters are two million pounds' worth of Grade A ecstasy, a brutal neo-Nazi sect and a whole series of double crossings. The title "LAYER CAKE" refers to the layers or levels the dealer has to go through as he painstakingly plots his own escape. What is revealed is a modern underworld where the rules have changed. There are no 'codes', or 'families' and respect lasts as long as a line. Not knowing who he can trust, he has to use all his 'savvy', 'telling' and skills which make him one of the best, to escape his own. The ultimate last job, a love interest called Tammy and an international drugs ring, threaten to draw him back into the 'cake mix'. But, time is running out and the penalty will endure a lifetime…”


I first learned who Daniel Craig was when I heard he was going to be the new James Bond. I must say, the first time I saw him I was less then pleased. I just didn’t think he looked the part. However, after watching him in Layer Cake I can see why the picked him, he’s perfect. Craig has the ability to seem real, subtle, and intense at the same time on camera. He takes a character, which is stuck in events the common person, thank God, will never have to deal with, but portrays him in a manner that makes the viewer able to emphasize with him. I’d love to tell you what the name of Craig’s character is in the film, but you never learn that. In the credits he’s simply referred to as XXXX.


The supporting cast for the film is rock solid as well. George Harris, who plays Morty, is a very intense Indian born actor who has lived in the UK for some time. I don’t know much about him but he’s great in this movie and easily one of my favorite characters. Colm Meany, of Star Trek fame, plays Gene and is remarkable as well. He’s an old school intense gangster who works with Craig’s character, even though he has his own agenda. Sienna Miller plays the love interest for Craig, even though she’s in like a total of 5 minutes of the film. Those 5 minutes are smoking though. Rounding out the cast are Michael Gambon, who plays Eddie Temple, and Kenneth Cranham, who plays Jimmy. These two are the chief villains and the archetype for British gangster bad guys, really really solid stuff.


I’d give Layer Cake an 8.5 out of 10. The final scene is a perfect ending for the movie, which keeps you guessing nonstop for the last 30 minutes, “The king is dead, long live the king,” is a filling tribute for XXXX as things wrap up. If you can deal with the hard to follow British dialogue at times, this is a worthy flick to catch on a lazy Sunday.




Friday, June 23, 2006

Brief Movie Review: The Memory of a Killer

I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a Dutch film. Hell, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything from Belgium. However, if there are more movies out there like “The Memory of a Killer,” that’s going to change. While perusing Hollywood Video (which will soon be a thing of the past as I’m getting a Netflix account), I came across this title on their New Release wall. The box, while snappy in design, features an aging man with a gun and some other interesting people doing interesting things. The box cover that appears on IMDB.com is not the box they use at Hollywood Video.

The movie is based around an aging hitman Angelo Ledda, who, while eating lunch in Paris, is begrudgingly asked to do a “job” for his boss. Angelo is hesitant, as he states he’s retired, and you get the feeling that there is more to his reasons other than because he’s just getting “too old for this.” His boss convinces him and he’s off to the Belgium.

Something that confused me a lot, and this might just be because I’m unfamiliar with the area, is that people switch between Flemmish and French on the fly. I don’t know if this has to do with cultural influences in the area the movie takes place, or the predominance of a bi-lingual society, but I’m going to read up on it that later today. I mean, the movie is subtitled, so following along isn’t a big issue, but there is more than once occasion were they switch languages and comments are made like “you speak French, right?” and “there’s no need to use that archaic language, you can speak Flemmish here.”

So what’s the “memory” in the title stand for? Well, turns out that Angelo has a bit of a problem, he’s coming down with Alzheimer’s. Actually, it seems to be a genetic thing because his brother has it and is basically a pile of brain mush. The Dutch title of the film is “De Zaak Alzheimer,” which I thought was interesting. This effects his memory, and turns out to be the reason why he doesn’t want to do jobs anymore. He is forced to write basic things down on his arm so he won’t forget them, and at times will gets lost in what he’s doing, confused as to what he thinks he’s done and what he’s actually done. It is easily apparent when these memory problems are happening due to how they’re shot, but nonetheless it was an interesting angle. Fortunately, its not a huge part of the story and by far not the center piece of Angelo’s character.

I don’t want to go into the story too much, but it deals with Angelo not wanting to complete the second part of his job, which he finds out is killing a 12 or 13 year old girl. This basically escalates into a “cover-up/blackmail” of sorts dealing with child prostitution and some very high up officials in Belgian politics. Without the blackmail aspect of the story the reasons the bad guys are doing what they’re doing seem a little far fletched. But if you understand that if any of the blackmail stuff got out it could erupt into a scandal that could bring entire political families down, that seems to be enough. The story does try to point this out a few times, which was good enough for me.

I found all of the characters very interesting. The actors are rock solid with Koen De Bouw as Eric Vincke and Jan Decleir as Angelo Ledda. While all of the supporting cast was solid, the performances of these two leads really stood out in my view.

I’d give this movie an 8.5 out of 10, and it is easily one of the most interesting and original cop/crime dramas I’ve seen in some time.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hot enough for you

The Miami Heat won the NBA Championship last night, kudos to them. They were the better team when facing Detroit and came form a 2-0 deficit to beat the Mavericks. That’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Dwayne wade played brilliantly in the series and deserves the MVP crown hands down. Let’s hope this isn’t a start of a dynasty or my Pistons might be in trouble, if they aren’t already.


First day of Summer

Today is the Summer solstice or more commonly known as the summer solstice. It marks the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Starting tomorrow, the days will once again begin to get shorter, which will eventually lead to it getting dark at 5 o’clock again, which always sucks.

I remember we used to go camping at or near this weekend every year when I was a kid. The days seemed to last forever back then, and they very well may have. The more north you go, the more drastic the differences between day and night times, the closer to the equator, the less of a difference between day and night times. Growing up in Michigan, it wasn’t uncommon for it to stay light until 9:30-10:00. This made waiting for the fireworks to start at night seem like an eternity.

It was good times.

I guess there is some big thing going on at Stonehenge today. Being that it’s a big calendar, that doesn’t surprise me…those pagans can get all crazy sometimes.

Tomorrow is the make or break for the US team in the World Cup. If we beat Ghana, and Italy beats the Czechs, we’ll get to the second round where we’ll face Brazil and get destroyed. That’s no knock against us, Brazil beats everyone….you just sort of accept that. The families there only have enough money to buy one thing, and that’s a soccer ball….they’ll skip the beans if they have to.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Stomach....bad...must...go to...bathroom

Here’s a little heads up for you….don’t eat Brazilian tacos. I had the pleasure of enjoying a few while watching the USA fight tooth and nail against Italy for a tie Saturday at Loca Luna (a Brazilian bar and grille here in Atlanta). They sure tasted mighty fine going down. Unfortunately, they feel mighty terrible on their way out. So, I repeat, if you can, avoid eating Brazilian tacos, that is all.


The Legacy of Khane

Anyone who doesn’t think that Kasey Khane is a serious contender for the Cup this year needs to reconsider that thought. Evernham Mtorsports, with the exception of Mayfield, is firing on all cylinders this season and has propelled Khane to his 4th victory of the season, and we’re not even at the halfway point. As long as Khane doesn’t have anything drastic happen at the two remaining restrictor plate races, and manages to finish respectively at the two road courses, he will be in a top five spot coming into The Chase. With his vicory this past Sunday in the rain shortened 3M Performance 400 at Michigan, he’s set the tempo of what looks to be the pace for the second half of the year. I just don’t see many teams other than Jimmy and Kenseth being able to keep up long term.

The kid has talen, top notch equipment, and a very talented pit crew and crew chief. It reminds me of another ream, Jimmie Johnson, and the success he’s had the past few years. However, unlike Jimmy, I don’t see Kasey finishing second two years in a row when everything is said and done. Then again, Kasey does have a habit for finishing second, so maybe I’m wrong on that one.

Either way, it just helps my autographed die cast brushed metal 1:24th scale Kasey Khane car’s value go up. Yay me!


New Music

About two years ago or so I heard a song from an album called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”. It was played on a streaming station that I listen to sometimes that has relaxing ambient/downtempo music, the kind of stuff you play in the background while sipping wine and reading the New York Times. At any rate, one way or another I managed to stumble into the artist who did the song Brian Eno, and was surprised to see that the album “Music for Airports” was made the year I was born, 1978.

It seems as though Brian Eno was basically the guy who invented the ambient music genre, and through his four ambient albums, set the stage for the work that would be continued in the genre through the next three decades. I located and downloaded Ambient 1, 2, and 4, but have still yet to find Ambient 3. I encourage you to check it out if you like background soundscape type stuff. Be forewarned though, this is truly ambient music, not techno drum loops with synthesizers. The sounds played are meant to occupy a specific part of your brain and send smooth relaxing pulses through your body. Don’t go into this expecting any type of rhythm.

I’ve found his music calms me down quite a bit and helps me concentrate on the work I have at hand. I’m going to look into a few of his other albums, mainly the experimental ones, and see if there is anything else I like. Brian does have some more pop oriented stuff, but from all accounts I’ve been able to read his most influential music has been his ambient and experimental tones.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Ann Coulter Sucks Ass

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I can’t stand Ann Coulter. I think she is vile, filthy, and a terrible representative for the Republican party. She sits there, talking her hoity toity line about how conservatives and Republicans are morally superior to us “Godless” liberals and Democrats. However, I have a hard time taking a line about “abstinence” from a single woman well over 35 who wears skirts way to short and of course, as well all know, certainly hasn’t had sex, especially not with thirty of forty men, some three or four at a time.

Naturally, Henry Rollins, by no means a Liberal, hates her probably more than me. I find his words sum up my feelings quite well and I’ve decided to share with this video. That’s right folks, Letters From The Left is going MULTIMEDIA! Enjoy.


Thursday, June 15, 2006


I stand corrected… OSX 10.5 is codenamed Leopard, which I’m sure Arron thinks is really gay, and not Tiger as I originally stated. Tiger is the codename for 10.4, which is out now.

I’m new to this Mac stuff, so give me a pass on this.


Vista vs. OSX

I know there are a lot of people out there, myself included, who are now really interested in possibly getting a Mac now that they can run Windows XP. OSX and Windows XP each have their plusses and minuses. Aside from the fact that, according to Aaron, everyone who buys a Mac is a fag, many people find OSX more interesting and stable to use. However, from a versatility standpoint, Windows XP has far far more applications available for it and it is, without a doubt, the dominant platform for home PCs.

There is a new question to this debate, Vista. What will Vista be like compared to OSX. Mac has a new version of OSX coming out, 10.5, code name Tiger, but all of the features for it won’t be revealed until a conference in August, and its not going to be the type of leap that XP to Vista is, not even close. Vista, on the other hand, is available as a Beta right now, and people are able to get in and dig around.

For the sake of arguments, I found an article that does a pretty good job comparing OSX 10.4 to Windows Vista Beta 1. I’d love to have a Vista Beta vs. OSX 10.5 Beta article, but since there won’t be that much of a difference between 10.4 and 10.5, this article should do just fine.

Although I’m leaning toward getting a MacBook Pro in a few months, I’m probably going to wait until after Vista comes out to see if it can run Vista as well as OSX 10.5. With the new Intel chips coming out this fall, speed of the hardware will not be an issue.

You can read the article here.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Moto GP full review

I had the pleasure of playing the Moto GP demo a week or so ago and knew this was a game I had to pick up, so I did, yesterday, the day it came out. I walked into GameStop around 6:45 or so, Kingdom Hearts 2 in hand, and traded that bad boy in. They give 30 bucks for it right now, so if you’re sitting on a copy that you’ve beat, I suggest getting rid of it sooner rather than later, while the price is still up. So, I got my 30 buck trade in credit, plus 2 bucks more for the “GameStop” card or whatever, and I used my other 110 dollars of trade in credit toward the 30 dollar or so balance.

I got home, plopped it in, downloaded the update to the 360, darn backward compatibility upgrades, and then restarted. The lode screens are pretty neat, but who cares about that, right? First, a gripe, not a huge one, but still worth significant mention, this game takes a while to load. Everything about it loads slow, from the bike and driver models to the tracks themselves, it takes a good minute or so to load up. However, once loaded, that’s it, it’s there and ready to be used. If you need to restart the race, or whatever, that happens instantly. This is especially important for the challenged you’ll do, where you’ll likely restart over and over if you don’t get your start off the line just right so you can grab every precious second. Now on to the game play…

I really liked the menu screen. It’s simple, and easy to follow. I started a “career,” which gives you the option of playing from ’05 or ’06, each with slightly different drivers, and dove right it. First, I changed my name. Second, I picked my bike. Third, chose my country. Then I went on to choose my driver’s outfit, my team name, and designed my team logo. If anyone has played Forza Motorsport the plaint scheme stuff works much the same way, with the ability to use layer after layer. After this you get to distribute 12 points split between top speed, braking, cornering, and acceleration. You have a limit of a 9 in any category, so I went with a 5, 4, 4, 5 split respectively. Finally, it was off to the races.

You play though as a season, going through each track one at a time. Being pretty naive to the whole MotoGP world, and motorcycle racing in general, I have no idea if this is an actual world circuit or what, but the tracks sure do look nice. I’m not familiar with many of the track names I saw, except Laguna Seca, but the locations sure have me excited.

Each race is split with a challenge option, practice, qualifying, and race. The challenge is an option where you are given the opportunity to meet one or more “challenge” which is rewarded with one or more points you’re allowed to allocate to your driver. These are not easy to accomplish, and you will spend time and time again restarting hoping to get every line just right to make it to the end in the required amount of time. Practice, qualifying and race are all pretty self explanatory. One word of caution though, once you pass up a challenge, you are not able to go back, or at least not as far as I was able to figure out.

The racing is fast and fun. There are around 20 other drivers on the track with you at any time, and most of them time you’ll see them split into three groups, a lead pack, a chase pack, and a straggler pack. You should be able to keep up with the chase pack pretty easily, but getting up to and around the lead pack (usually 3-4 drivers) is tough. Racing a bike takes a lot of getting used to. The physics and driving mechanics are similar but yet completely different than a driving game all together. Because of how you race a bike, you have to brake and take turns completely different, and this takes a lot of getting used to, especially on really tight hairpins. However, with around 30-45 minutes it starts to feel more comfortable and I’m really getting the hang of it.

The graphics, as I mentioned in the demo, are sharp and the colors are vivid. This feels like a next-gen racer, and not a current-gen with some better textures. Really makes me excited to see what Test Drive is like when that comes out. The sound is solid, but nothing spectacular. The music is good but each stage seems to have one song that loops. I don’t know if this is a feature you can turn on and off, but it would have been nice if it went from one song to the next automatically. I’ve always thought the music control in Forza was perfect. I don’t know if there are licensed musicians and music, but it doesn’t sound like some studio mixed stuff, so I’ll assume, at least for the time being, that it’s all licensed.

I haven’t played online yet, so I’ll eave that section out of the formula here.

All in all I’ll give MotoGP a 7.5 out of 10, and this may go up to an 8 or 8.5 depending on how things progress. However, if online play sucks, the rating would go down. It seems like it’s a solid and well constructed game, and a well needed true racer for the 360, and if anyone wants a good run I’d say pick it up. Be warned though, it takes a good amount of time to get used to how a bike handles, and that may turn off some.


Monday, June 12, 2006


At this moment the USA vs. Czech Republic is underway. As a big soccer fan (played for 14 years), I’m excited, although I’m sure most of you aren’t. At any rate, I hope the boys play well, because believe it or not we are talented enough to beat the Czech Republic and Italy.


No Review of the ECW PPV, for the time being

Wrestling had a big night last night with the return of ECW to PPV and the “beginning” of the promotion once again. For those who don’t know, this is the second ECW PPV of the WWE owned era, with the first being last years One Night Stand. I ordered that PPV, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything on the card that had me pumped to order this year’s PPV, even with the temptation of the RVD vs. John Cena title fight. In addition, for 39.99, it was ust not worth it in my opinion. WWE is just charging too much money for their PPVs, and I’m not going to order them, again.

Actually, it’s been some time since I ordered a PPV from WWE….I think the last one I ordered was last years One Night Stand. I keep all the PPVs I order on my DVR, so I’ll have to go back and check. Since then, the only PPVs I’ve ordered are for TNA, which at 29.99 seems like a deal now.

Back when they first started streamlining PPVs on their website, WWE only charged 14.99 for a PPV. This was a deal to me, because more often than not I could afford to drop 15 bucks, so I would. When I could afford 29.99 or 34.99, I’d pay those amounts to watch it on TV, but most of the time in college 14.99 was all I could afford. Well, then WWE jacked the price up to the same as you pay for it on TV, and thus I had no cheaper alternative to do when things were tight. This, in my eyes, has leaded me to order less PPVs from WWE. Well, that and the fact their TV is so horrible. It’s easy not to order a PPV that you could give two craps about.

ECW might change this, since it’s not going to be like WWE TV, at least not for the time being. I’m going to record their TV on Sci-Fi this Tuesday (yes that’s’ right, they are on the Sci-Fi channel for right now) and I’ll have a review of what that’s like when I get a chance to watch it. As for why ECW will appear on Sci-Fi…well, it’s actually very easy. Sci-Fi, along with USA, are both owned by NBC/Universal (as is Bravo, CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, mun2, NBC Weather Plus, ShopNBC, Telemundo, Telemundo Puerto Rico, Sleuth, Universal HD and they have investments in A&E, The History Channel, History Channel International, The Biography Channel, National Geographic International, the Sundance Channel, and Tivo).

What does that mean? Well, WWE has a television agreement with NBC/Universal, which is why RAW airs on USA, and a few WWE specials (Saturday Nights Main Event) air on NBC. WWE had a new product they wanted to air, ECW, and went to NBC with it. NBC was hesitant about putting ECW, an unproven commodity at this point, on USA so they struck an agreement to air it for 13 weeks (I might be a bit off on this) on Scf-Fi to test it out. Why Sci-Fi? Why not? Sci-Fi really doesn’t have a whole lot going for it ratings wise, although it does have a very very proven and loyal fan base. So, NBC figured that putting ECW on there for a test run would be a safe bet because even if Sci-Fi’s current fan base got upset, they’d still tune in to the other shows, and if ECW can pop a 2 or 3 in the ratings it would be higher than anything else on the network, which in turn they hope will increase add revenues.

So, that’s, in a nutshell, why ECW is on Sci-Fi this Tuesday, and for the next twelve Tuesdays after that. If you want a more in-depth explanation, get a member ship to PWInsider.com and listen to the Hot News Hotlines that deal with it. Dave, Buck, and Mike do a much better job explaining things than I do and mention the people actually involved at NBC who made the deal happen. It should be interested to see how things turn out, since NBC has been promoting the swap with adds here and there, and WWE is of course pushing the show hard on RAW and SMACKDOWN.


Friday, June 09, 2006

House rejects Net neutrality rules

The U.S. House of Representatives definitively rejected the concept of Net neutrality on Thursday, dealing a bitter blow to Internet companies like Amazon.com, eBay and Google that had engaged in a last-minute lobbying campaign to support it.


Click here for the full story.


This is a sad sad day. Although I don’t find it a surprise that the Republicans would side with corporate interests as opposed to the interests of the private citizen, bottom line is that without net neutrality, the internet will change, and it will, in my opinion, change for the worse. Imagine a time when you’re charged a “long distance” type charge if  you visit a site off of Verizon’s pipeline, or you want to subscribe to a website that is in a bitter dispute with AT&T, and thus not carried by them over their pipes.

It won’t be like the internet, it will be like cable TV. Sure, the big sites will be available on all of the service providers, but forget about start ups…they won’t be able to afford the costs associated with being on the pipelines anymore.

This is not a good thing, and if it’s not stopped sooner or later, I have a fear that the internet, at least in America, is going to go in a direction that will hurt us for years to come. Without a free internet companies like Google, e-bay, ad Amazon would have never had the chance to grow to where they have today.


New Intel chip breakdown

For those super techy techs out there I found an interesting article about some of the new Intel Core2 Duo and Intel Core2 Duo Extreme chips due out Q3 of this year, with the first set of benchmarks I’ve seen. For those who don’t know, the new chips Intel has been making for the past 6 months or so aren’t super fast 4ghz chips, they’re slower, but there’s two cores to them, so their faster, sort of. I’m no expert on the actual physics, calculus, and engineering on this stuff, so I’ll break it down like this… Imagine a one lane highway that runs at 85 miles per hours (this is the 4 GHz chip). Then, imagine a four lane highway that runs at 65 miles per hour (this is the dual core chip at 2.2 GHz). Which one will be able to clear one millions cars first? The two lane highway, because it has more room to move the cars, even though they move at a slightly slower speed. Basically, the idea behind multi-core chips is adding more lanes to the highway of data. By no means is this a complete scientific metaphor for multi-core chip sets, but I think you get what I’m saying, even if it’s not entirely accurate.

At any rate, the article has some of the first performance specs on the new chips from Intel. I’m pretty excited about this stuff myself. I’m in the market for a laptop before the years end, and as much as I’d like to jump on the Dual Core bandwagon right now, I knew that if I waited it’d be more worth my while. I’d like to see what sort of plans Dell and Apple have for these new chips, especially in light of Vista coming out early next year. Someone should be able to get their hands on one of these systems relatively soon (believe it or not back to school season is 4 weeks away), granted Dell starts putting them in their PCs sooner rather than later, and put on the public beta of Vista to see what sort of performance they get. Obviously, Apple will take a slower amount of time to integrate these chips to their stuff, but I’d be surprised if they’re not going to rush to do it before back to school at well.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Just how far have video games come?

Check this out…

I’ve heard about Crysis, and didn’t believe it was going to be able to do what people said until I saw these pictures. Unfortunately, I don’t have a computer that will be capable of making anything even remotely close to these pictures (stupid Athalon 1700, 512 megs of Ram, and 128 meg 4xAGP card).

At any rate, one day I will have a new computer, and one day I will be able to look at these pictures. Really incredible stuff.




Just how far have video games come

Check this out…

I’ve heard about Crysis, and didn’t believe it was going to be able to do what people said until I saw these pictures. Unfortunately, I don’t have a computer that will be capable of making anything even remotely close to these pictures (stupid Athalon 1700, 512 megs of Ram, and 128 meg 4xAGP card).

At any rate, one day I will have a new computer, and one day I will be able to look at these pictures. Really incredible stuff.




In an unusual turn of events, I actually watched some WWE television last night. I’ve mentioned it on here before, and I’ll say it again, WWE TV has blown chunks for months. With the exception of Edge, briefly, winning the title, nothing has been interesting, let along good, on their TV shows. However, then they decided to bring back ECW, which perked my ear.

I’ve caught five minutes here and there on RAW the last few weeks, and kept up with what is going on by listening and reading PWinsider.com, and the build for the return of ECW has been lackluster thus far. But last night, last night was different; it was a special with the sole purpose to get over ECW, their new TV show, and the PPV thus Sunday.

Boy oh boy, this was the first time in a long time that I actually enjoyed WWE TV. Matches were fresh, storylines were interesting, there were new faces, the commentary wasn’t boring, the promos were incredible, and it was fun. It was freaking fun. It wasn’t like the past TV, where I’ve got dumb promos, stupid matches, dumb commentary, and terrible, terrible TV.

I really enjoyed last night’s show, especially the battle royal where Big Show turned. The showdown between Tazz and Lawler was incredible, those guys hit each other stiff and it was almost believable that they were really going at it. Say what you will about Jerry, but when he needs to, he can go, and for the first time in a long time Lawler was really really solid on color. It was an odd thing to hear four people on commentary, and a unique experience, but not something that should be done often.

All in all, a good, fun show and I’m interested to see how the PPV goes this weekend, although I won’t be buying it. I’m sorry WWE, but 39.99 is just too much to ask for a PPV. It’s a real shame too; I still have last year’s Once Night Stand on my DVR and watched the Mike Awesome vs. Tanaka match the other week. I do have the ECW show set to record on my DVR for next Tuesday on the SciFi channel. Why its on the SciFi channel I don’t know, but that’s where they’ve got TV for the next 13 weeks, so that’s what I’ll be watching.


Microsoft releases public download of (Beta) Vista

After months of limited testing, Microsoft late Wednesday made a beta version of Windows Vista publicly available for download.

The company kicked off what it called its "Customer Preview Program," a testing period in which the software maker hopes millions of tech enthusiasts will kick the tires on the new operating system.

Read the whole article here…

After messing with WMP and IE7 this past week, I can honestly say I’m excited about Vista. For the first time in a long time the thing doesn’t look like a boring Microsoft Windows, but like an OS who’s visual style was actually designed by people who specialize in visual style. However, none of this matters if the OS itself is buggy and crashes and really just doesn’t do its job well. Sort of like the rice burner that looks great but can’t go.

Anyway, I’ll probably check this out this weekend and see what all the fuss is all about. On the flip side, now that there is a public beta, it will be interesting to see if anyone can get it to run on the new Macs. I’ve seen some stuff about the previous MSDN betas running on Macs with the new Aero interface enabled, but many of those have been buggy. With this being the public beta, I expect it to be more stable and thus a more interesting feat if it runs, and runs well, on Apple hardware.



Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most recognizable face of Iraq's violent insurgency, died in a coalition airstrike near Baquba, jubilant U.S. and Iraqi authorities said today. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad called al-Zarqawi "the godfather of sectarian killing and terror in Iraq" and said his death "marks a great success for Iraq and the global war on terror."

Full story here…


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pretty freaking sweet

Demo Review: Moto GP 360

I downloaded Moto GP for the 360 last night and gave it a whirl. I must say I liked what I saw.

First things first, I’ve never played a motorcycle racing game before on a console. Well, that’s not true, I’m sure I play some arcade game or game for the NES that raced motorcycles. So, let me rephrase, I’ve never played a motorcycle game on the previous two generation of game concoles.

At any rate, having never played a motorcycle game before, I didn’t really know what to expect. I know I wanted real racing. I know I wanted good speed. I know I wanted photorealistic visuals. Basically, I wanted everything Project Gotham and Need for Speed couldn’t give me on the 360.

I was pleasantly surprised. Moto GP looks like it’s probably a pretty solid racing game, and maybe enough to tide me over until the new Forza comes out. At first, I couldn’t make it more than a few hundred meters before flying off my bike. I crashed, a lot, at first. Then again, motorcycles handle a lot different than cars do, so it took some getting used to. You can’t break hard, hit the turn, and then accelerate out of the turn after you hit the apex like you do in a car. Well, actually you can, but you have to do it differently on a bike, you need a little more finesse.

The demo only has on track and one driver available, but it does support demo play over XBOX Live, which is neat. I haven’t messed with the Live stuff yet, but I’ll be sure to check it out this week.

I’d give the Moto GP demo a 8 out of 10. I can’t say the game will score this high, since I was only playing a small part and for all I know, the rest of the game sucks, but so far it seems like it could be a winner in the racing categories.


Pointless Excecise

Found this tidbit about some exercise their doing on June 19th. Evidently, they’re planning on running a drill for an evacuation plan in the case of a nuclear strike. I don’t know about you, but seems like a waste of time and resources to me.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Windows Media Player 11

I had a chance to mess with Windows Media Player 11 today at work and I must say I’m very impressed. I’ve never been a big fan of WMP, since the early days, as it’s always been so Microsoft, which is big, bulky, and non-organic. Now, I don’t know if they got some new interface design people but this thing is above and beyond what they’ve been doing with WMP. It’s more, dare I say, Apple in its feel and I think the logical direction media player interfaces to go in. In addition, it gives you a good feel for where the Windows OS is going since it has much of the look of the upcoming Vista.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a clone of iTunes, nor should it be. This is a new media player that attempts to do some new things. First off, it feels easier to get around in. No longer does it go right to the DONWLOAD THIS STUFF TODAY page that WMP 10 does. Second, the lay out using the album art is ingenious! I really really liked that feature. Play lists are much easier to create and sort through now as well.

Right now WMP 11 is still in beta, which means some things are likely to be changed and tweaked before the final version, but all in all it seems pretty stable and functional to me and I don’t see this changing must in the future.



Stealing a page out of the playbook

Listening to NPR today they had a brief story about the current movement to pass the anti-gay marriage amendment, mentioning that it will do little to actually improve people’s lives. The commentator said that it was seen by most as a political move to rally the base of the Republicans, which of course it is.

It seems that the Democrats are taking a play out of the Red’s playbook and doing something similar, except instead of gay marriage it’s the federal minimum wage. I think this is actually a great idea, although I don’t see it passing. This is something that could help people out and really resonate with the voter base of a lot of hard hit areas. Unfortunately, I see many congressmen who side with big corporations voting this down.

Fact is, the minimum wage has been at the same 5.15 an hour since 1997, the longest stretch since it was changed after 9 years in 1991 to 3.80.  This is absurd. Study after study has shown that in areas that mandate a higher minimum wage, such as in states that have voted to increase it, it has improved the economy of those areas.

While I’d prefer to see them tackle some other issues first, this is something I’ve wanted to see done for a long time, and although it’s not likely to pass, if enough people pick up on it and are in favor of it they will be forced to vote it in eventually.


Electric sports car ready to challenge Porsche?

I thought this article was a neat read. Anyone who doubts how fast electric cars can be need only look at your little 9 volt battery powered car. Those things take off like a bat out of hell. Same principle applied here, but at a much larger scale. Since there is no combustion needed, and it’s instant power, drive trains can push power to the wheels much quicker and almost instantaneous. The problem is…you run on a battery, not gas.

GM used to have battery powered cars they were looking towards building for the future. Actually, there is a movie coming out about that called “Who Killed the Electric Car,” which I’ve seen parts for. Those things were fast, really fast, for their size. Like Civic Si fast….which is quick for a mass produced little compact sedan.

A Silicon Valley start-up is expected to show off an electric car this summer that it says can hang with Porsches and Ferraris and has attracted investments from the founders of Google and eBay.

Tesla Motors says its Tesla Roadster can accelerate, brake and handle like a high-end sports car. The company, in fact, claims the car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in four seconds.


Read the rest of the article here.


Monday, June 05, 2006

The top issue in congress right now

Lets see, what is going on in America right now that’s effecting everyone…. High gas prices, troops on Iraq, government corruption, Cynthia McKinney attacking people, middle class getting squeezed, wasted government funds in Katrina repair, boarder security, Paris Hilton being a celebrity for some reason. You’d think that the congress would want to tackle any of these issues, you know, the ones that actually affect our lives. Well, you’d be wrong because that’s not what’s on their plate. Instead, they’re going to debate a change to the constitution to ban gay marriage, again.

Those of you who watch the news, or do something other than just wallow in your own filth, might remember the last time they did this, before the last election. You see, this has no chance of passing. No one is going to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage, that’s just dumb (well, maybe some will, but not a significant amount). Regardless of how you feel about the issue, it’s really not a constitution amending worthy item, I mean come on… At any rate, congress knows that this isn’t going to pass too, which is exactly why they’re doing it.

Congress can’t get anything done right now that’s worth much. The fact of the matter is that when they do try to pass a decent piece of legislation it’s weighed down by partisan crap and ear marks which turn the bill into a shell of its former self. In addition, some of the things they need to do might just tick off rich people, who are really all that politicians care about nowadays anyway, so they can’t do that. Instead, to rally support, they bring up something worthless that will not affect the lives of anyone from one day to the next, gay marriage.

See, if they bring up gay marriage, all of the “common folk” get all excited. “Yeah, them faggots don’t need to get married, that’ll ruin the sanctity of marriage” says one fella. I remind you, this is the same fella who has been married three times, and we know that being married three times doesn’t do anything to tarnish the sanctity of marriage. This way, while the common folk are distracted, they don’t have to do anything that matters. They’re going to rally the base, get them all uppity, to turn them out at the polls.

And you know why they need to do that? Because people are angry, and in an off year election (a year when there is not a Presidential race) the people who turn up to vote are the people pissed off. And when people are pissed off incumbents have a habit of losing. Thus, rally the common folk around a single, non substantial issue, get them to turn out to support the legislator who will “vote in their interests to prohibit faggots from being married” and one hopes that they can offset all the angry people.

Problem with this is, most people are starting to catch on.

Watch this backfire this week. No one really cares about this issue, not with everything else going on right now.



Friday, June 02, 2006


I ventured into the world of investing somewhat last year. I was putting some money into my 401(k), but then stopped after I realized my company wasn’t going to be matching my funds. However, I was still able to get a 17.3 percent return on my investment. I’ve been investing in a Roth IRA now, and have had a more modest return of only 11 percent, but even that’s pretty good.

However, I made the jump into stocks last year when I bought some Delta stock. I know, you’re thinking that I’m crazy, Delta was bankrupt. Sure, so it’s a small amount, only 200 bucks. My train of thought was this, “If I lose 200 bucks will it really matter to me in 2 years?” The answer was no. However, if Delta is to recover, emerge from bankruptcy, and the stock rises, even marginally, I could make a good chunk of money off that 200 dollar investment.

So here’s the deal, I put 200 bucks into Delta at .75 cents, after the 14.99 trade commission I got 245 shares. Since then the stock has dropped as low as .38 cents, and as high as .89, but has been treading, give or take, at .60 for the last two months. As of today, the stock is at .75 cents, meaning excluding the commission, I’ve broken even.

My judgment on Delta as a buy was because I just couldn’t see the government letting the second/third largest carrier in the country go under, nor did I see the state of Georgia letting that happen either. Delta just employs way too many people. So, I figured that I could buy the stock really low, although had I waited I could have gotten it even lower, and then sat on it for a few years. My goal is to see it go up to 4 or 5 bucks a share eventually, and then I’d cash out. 245 shares at .75 equals 183.75 dollars. 245 shares at 4.00 equal 980. I’ll see a 490% gain on my investment. Small potatoes, but still neat to think about…

Meanwhile, in my fantasy league I “bought” 5000.00 worth of MasterCard when it went public at 39.00 a share. As of 10:47 am it’s up to 48.10. So far I’ve “made” 1166.66 dollars, or 25% gain short term. I figured, MasterCard was as a safe a bet, at least long term, as anything on Wall Street. I mean, come on, it’s Master Card. Too bad I didn’t have any real money. I don’t know how the stock will fare, but several things I’ve read expect it to sit at 50 bucks for a while, and then move with the economy. As more and more people slip into debt just to meet their daily demands on life, Master Card is as safe a bet as any.

Ferrari is supposed to go public sometime in the near future. I expect that stock to do well, since Ferrari seems to run some solid books and makes smart business decisions on how they produce and market their cars. Should be interesting to see how that does when it comes out.


He's big, but he's not dumb

I found an interesting story on SI.com today about athletes getting their degrees and whatnot. One of them stood out the most, and that was Shaq. Unlike most of the degrees, which were honorary and don’t mean shit, Shaq actually earned his Masters from the University of Phoenix, although it doesn’t say his major. Since the picture quote says he wants to go into Law Enforcement when his career is over, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was in Criminal Justice, but that’s just speculation. Good for Shaq.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ah the 90s

After getting back from the gym, eating some dinner, and watching Lou Dobbs be very angry and disgusted for an hour, I spent most of my evening putting together a new play list for my iPod. Typically putting a play list together only takes a few minutes. However, this was a play list that recreates the top 99 most requested songs ever from 99X “The New Rock Alternative,” rock station here in Atlanta.

While I had about 25% of the songs already, many of them I had to download again because either the CD I owned with them was stolen, or I had just never owned it to begin with.

Putting the list together took me back, to a better time so to speak, a time when the new sound came from a town named Seattle, Rap was enjoying its golden era as the East and West coast feuded, and Rock ruled the airwaves. It was like I was in the mid nineties all over again. Pearl Jam, Beck, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, and Red Hot Chili Peppers littered the play list with Nirvana having the most songs, including the number 3 and 1 spot with “Come as You Are” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” respectively. There were some other great bands on there such as Alice in Chains, Bush, and Green Day all making strong showings, even NIN made two appearances. There were some more modern songs on the list from Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, The Killers, The White Stripes, and even one from Evanescence.

However, ignoring the littering of more recent songs, it made me feel like I was back in high school again, when I was obsessed with music. The era of the CD was supreme, no one had heard about DVDs yet, HDTV was but a pipe dream, the SNES was the best video game system, and Friends was the new smash hit for NBC, it was the mid nineties all over again.

It made me think back to some of the choices I made growing up, things I thought I wanted to do, things I did that I really didn’t want to do, and I wondered if things could have turned out any differently. What would have happened had I stayed in Michigan my senior year of high school? What if I went to college in Michigan instead of SCAD. What if I stayed all 4 years at SCAD instead of transferring to UCF? What if I had banged the chick I was dating when I moved? There is only one thing I know for sure, and that’s if I hadn’t transferred to UCF I wouldn’t have met Bebe. Other than that, I don’t think too much would have changed for me. Sure, I would have ended up somewhere other than Atlanta, but I don’t think the person I’ve become would be any different. Maybe I’d be in LA, or Chicago, or New York, or Houston, but I’d still be me, the same guy I am now. I could be richer or poor, but still me.