Monday, January 31, 2005

Karma

I warn all of you ahead of time: Naughty language (towards the end of the video).

For those of you who haven't seen this yet, here's the situation:
A group of idiots goes riding around the suburbs in their car
attempting to smack kids off their bikes with a car door as they drive
by. See what karma does to people like that?



Saturday, January 29, 2005

How old are you... really?

Because everyone else is doing it

You Are 25 Years Old
25
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

It's dead on! I just turned 25 this week!
I sense a government conspiracy!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Cheated!!!

For the DVD enthusiast in your household, or your roommate who really loves their movies, etc....

MGM is settling a class-action lawsuit brought against them because they purposefully shipped DVDs portraying movies in the wrong format.

People who bought any of the HUGE list (PDF) of MGM DVDs in the "Widescreen" format are eligible for a FREE MGM DVD from a list of 325 movies, or $7.10 per person per DVD listed.

I for one am kind of upsetted that a company would knowingly take advantage of consumers in this way. When I purchase a movie, I want to see it in the way it was meant to be viewed, not chopped up to save disc space or spare the company an expense. It's downright dastardly!

Anyways, if you want more information on this lawsuit, please visit MGM DVD Class Action's website, where you can view the title lists, download forms to join in the lawsuit, request an exclusion, and more. I urge you to take advantage of this situation if you can, because you've already been taken advantage of...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Phantom of the Opera in 15 minutes...

For those of you who haven't visited her site before "Cleolinda" over  at LiveJournal has been making me lose control of my bladder for some time now with her hilarious 15-minute renditions of new movies gracing the silver, overpriced, and sometimes awkwardly bad screen.

Her most recent entry has been 'Phantom of the Opera in Fifteen Minutes', and I urge you all to go give it a read in the hopes that you too will have trouble with your bladders, or at least laugh a little.

Garrr....

 
    My pirate name is:   
 
    Black John Bonney   
   
    Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well.    Arr!   
  Get your own pirate name from fidius.org. 

Friday, January 21, 2005

One does not simply walk into Mordor...

*snort* Man that's funny... watch the whole image... it says 'fin' at the end. I think that's swedish for 'funny' or something.



Thanks to JengaJam for the linkzors

Thursday, January 20, 2005

News That Sucks

Dirty Bomb possibly headed to Boston: It's not so much the fear of a nuclear disaster in Boston that makes me dislike this news, it's that the state and local government seem to be somewhat lax in their pursuit of the people they have identified as being involved in it.

The inevitability we all have to live with in the United States is that sooner or later "terrorists" are going to strike our soil again, and that the toll will be many times greater than those previously suffered. I believe that it's the job of the government to maintain order and to follow up on leads, but I feel that in what might be a politically sound judgement in keeping local Bostonians in the dark regarding the plot might also lead to a greater death toll were something to go wrong.

I am not hoping that something goes wrong. I don't want to see anyone suffer, at all. Unfortunately, there are those in the world who seek to destroy a way of life that is foreign to them due to motivations of money, or religion. It might be a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black, as George Bush in his inaugural address mentioned 'spreading freedom throughout the entire world'. That's the sort of thing that is going to make more countries and organizations mount up against the United States, as we attempt to install democracy through whatever means neccessary to cull the bloodshed and death that we might observe from the outside of other countries such as Iraq or North Korea.

At any rate, I'm sending all my sleuth karma to the law enforcement folks who are working hard to find the people who may or may not be involved in this plot. I love my city, and I don't want anything bad to happen to it or the people who live and work there. Should the inevitable come today, or tomorrow though... stay safe, and head upwind.

Texas Lawmaker to Grade Children on Weight: This, at face value, would seem like a good idea. Parents and children need to be acutely conscious of their health and welfare. As the article mentions, and as has been featured in the news and movies as of late, the instances of childhood diabetes, obesity, and other weight-related problems have skyrocketed in recent years with no signs of slowing. Shouldn't someone be keeping an eye on these kids to make sure that they're healthy? Why shouldn't it become part of the school requirements?

The first person (or persons) that the welfare of a child is the responsibility of are the parents. That is the way it should be, as it always has been, and really as it instinctually seems to work. Whether we like it or not, the vast majority of our offspring are our own way of continuing our lineage, and by cutting their lives short by letting their bodies degrade to a completely unhealthy level, we aren't doing ourselves any favors. Of course, in the modren age of working parents (as well as an overly litigious society) the responsibility seems to have shifted away slightly from the parents.

Unfortunately, the parents are as much to blame for this legislative attempt as anyone else. In today's schools, there are no more competitive games during recess or gym class, because children don't want to lose at anything. This extends beyond the physical realm and into the classroom as well, as children are awarded for their work no matter what level it might be at. When everyone is equal regardless of effort, there is no motivation for excelling! Why try harder than the bare minimum when you will be rewarded just as well as those who work the most?

I am afraid that this is just another symptom of parents giving up their responsibility because they no longer want to be bothered. A simple check-up with a doctor (something that should be routine for children aside) could easily help parents track the health of their children, but given the startling number of obese and overweight children in the United States, it's obvious that it's not a great enough concern for them. I don't like to think that my kids will have to grow up being graded on their weight because if the trend of rewarding everyone continues, then even with this legislation involved, there will come a time when students won't have to try to be healthy. They will be rewarded no matter what.

January 20th, 2005: A Random Fact...

The Eagles' Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the most successful album of all time. (nope, not Thriller, nor The White Album)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Movie Review: Million Dollar Baby

This is the type of movie where to say too much would be to give the entire thing away. Things you should know about this movie: Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank all deserve whatever awards they recieve for their amazing work, and probably more than they will get. Each plays a crucial role in the film, both in the main plot of the movie (a woman boxer struggling to make it to the top) and several subplots that become apparent through the first half of the movie.

What you haven't seen in the trailers, or the posters, or with discussions with friends are the parts of the movie that will truly move you. The parts that will break you down. Million Dollar Baby is an amazing film which will get to the core of you whether you like it or not.

Clint Eastwood, starring in his bajillionth movie (he also directed), is Frankie Dunn, a 'cutter' in the boxing world, and trainer to an athlete with a great future in the ring by the name of Big Willie Little (Mike Colter). He runs a small gym which instead of making money, is somehow losing it despite several great fighters having trained there. He has lost touch with himself, and is struggling to come to terms with his religion. Along with him is an old friend in the form of Eddie "Scrappy" Dupris (Morgan Freeman) who is blind in one eye, but sharp of wit and full of heart. Before too long, a young female boxer named Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walks through their door, and that is when the story starts in earnest.

Unfortunately, as I said, to say anything more about the plot beyond that point would be to give it all away. There is some mild foreshadowing, as things which will obviously become important later in the film are brought up, but in the end it is the unexpected things that will really bring the human drama to the viewer. I can understand now, having seen it, why people are calling this the best movie of the year (for 2004) and I would happily agree that it stands out as one of the best movies I have seen in the past twelve months. Had I seen this prior to the New Year, it would have appeared high on the 'Top 10' posting.

The camera work is great; really first-rate stuff. There are some framing shots and lighting tricks that are really touching. The sound was good; the effects of the gym, the punching bag, the boxing matches... all really done well. I would recommend this movie to anyone. 9 out of 10.

Trailer:



Tuesday, January 18, 2005

My Top 10 Movies of 2004

Kill Bill: Volume II:



Why yes, the bride was back. The culmination of Quentin Tarantino's latest work really showed us how brutal the U.S. cinema could continue to be, as Q. wove a tale of family lost and revenge. Uma Thurman and the rest of the cast did a bang up job getting really banged up, and while some of the action might have been a little over the top, no one can argue with a sword fight in a trailer in the middle of a desert. At least no sane person.


Super Size Me:



Who said Micheal Moore was the only documentary film-maker who could make audiences squirm in 2004? Morgan Spurlock's freshman effort recieved many accolades as it made its way around the United States and at the many film festivals around the world. Taking a hard look at what could happen to the human body when only fast food is ingested made most people cringe at the thought, and hopefully made a fair number of people pass on their next serving of french fries.


Goodbye, Lenin:



The fall of a separated Germany. Once in a lifetime occurance. Unfortunately for our hero, his mother happened to be in a coma at the time. Oops. Great comedy with real family undertones about an entire neighborhood that comes together to help a woman continue living, despite needing to keep her alive through a lie. Were she to find out the truth, who knows what might happen to her...


Napoleon Dynamite:


Quirky comedy from MTV about a boy growing up in the midwest, and what basically appears to be any other period in his somewhat strange life. An older brother who meets women from the city on the internet, cow's milk drinking contests sponsored by our friends the FFA, and all of the unrequited love that so many of us experienced during high school. However, most of us didn't get to do some amazing dancing, or have a best friend with gang-connections.

Spider-Man 2:


One of the few sequels in recent memory to stand up and surpass the original movie in terms of simple movie greatness. On top of that, to be a comic book movie with superheroes and supervillians, and still not be a screw up. That's tough to come by, but Sam Raimi did the job with a great returning cast, and a fantastic new villian. I for one am looking forward to Spidey 3.

The Incredibles:


Another superhero movie. Sorry. One of Pixar's best efforts. I'm glad that they will be getting out from under the guise of the Mouse House; hopefully that'll put them into a position to do more work that isn't so cutesy all the time. I have nothing against animated fish, or bugs, but I would like to see something like a 'Final Fantasy', only without all the sucking. The Incredibles was a great movie, one which I reviewed right here. I enjoyed it immensely, and managed to get out to see it twice before it disappeared from the movie screens. It'll definitely be something I think about picking up on DVD, and truly was a film that could appeal to audiences of all ages.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:


Woe be it to those who say Jim Carrey can't be a dramatic actor. He had me sold early in 2004 of his ability, and I would hope to see him win a shot at a Best Actor Oscar for his amazing story of mind-erasure gone horribly wrong. A movie full of lessons, pain, and overall caring. People deliberately erasing things that have made their lives too painful to cope with otherwise. A state that we in reality are not too far off from. Thankfully, this movie was a lot better than 'Paycheck' which operated around a similar plot device.

Garden State:


Overmedicated young man gets a new lease on what had for a long time not been his life. I think a lot of people coming off of a childhood filled with medication might do exactly what happens here. It's a journey of self-rediscovery, or I suppose just self-discovery for the first time. As demonstrated it is strange and weird sometimes to go 'home' again to the place that you were born, but as it unfolds, it becomes obvious that home is truly where the heart is whether that be with a place, or with a person. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to feel good.... and possibly cry... not that I did... at all *flexes!*

Ray:


Jamie Foxx making the second amazing movie within a year. It's truly his time to shine. This movie takes a look nearly the entire lifetime of Ray Charles, celebrated singer and pianist. His was a story of conflict, drugs, adultery, and somehow being able to see the light at the end of it all, despite being completely blind past his early childhood. He had to suffer with the death of his brother as one of the last things he saw. It can't get much worse than that. This movie was amazing, and will be something to look forward to seeing again when it's released on DVD.

Shaun of the Dead:



Hands down the funnest movie of the year, as well as being the funniest. I have been known from time to time to enjoy a good zombie movie, and I have been known to enjoy good comedies. Occasionally, I'll even suffer through one of those damn British rom-coms with Hugh Grant (but only for a lady!). This movie had it all; it was a comedy, it was a zombie flick, it was a buddy movie, it had a great soundtrack. To top it all off, it starts out with scenes we can all identify with! The 'urban zombie'. This has already been released on DVD, and if you don't have it yet, you should seriously consider buying it before the impending zombie crisis, since it will tell you exactly how to handle yourself!


My Top 10 Movies I'm glad I missed in 2004 (in no particular order of suckitude):


Torque
The Big Bounce
Jersey Girl
The Whole Ten Yards
Van Helsing
White Chicks
Catwoman
Thunderbirds
Taxi
Seed of Chucky

2005 HP Houston Marathon

My results!


Wow, what a fun trip. Of course, I am paying for it today with legs in prime pain condition. Thankfully, liberal amounts of ibuprofen and cold & sinus medication have been applied (I managed to get a headcold on one of the flights) and I am already on the mend.


Friday after work, two of the interns here at Ametek took me to Logan where I started my journey to Dallas/Ft. Worth. After a pretty uneventful flight to Atlanta (although there was some chop which got everyone out of their seats *whee!*), I had to run like crazy to get to my next flight and didn't get to eat anything other than pretzels... yum. Once out of Atlanta, I was seated with a phys. ed. student from Atlanta, and a Texan dude who writes children's books. The student was squeamish about flying, so the children's author and I decided to regale her with stories of our flying past. As it turns out, the guy had actually been in a crash before. We pretty much stopped telling those kinds of stories after that.


I arrived at DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport) at about 10:30 local time, and was met by my friend Mike and his wife Sherry. Mike went to college with me at RIT, and I was a guest at his wedding (which was lovely). It was nice to get to see them in their new place. Mike is an engineer with Lockheed-Martin and works on skin research (the surface of the wings) for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (click for a picture). They had just moved into a new place, which was really nice, and they have a cute little dog named 'Toby' who I became quickly acquainted with.


Saturday morning we set out for Houston. It's about a four-hour drive from Ft. Worth to Houston and in between the two metro areas is about two hundred and fourty miles of... nothing. There are fields, gas stations, cows, and that's about it. There really isn't much to see between them, and so the drive was pretty boring. I got to play with Mike's GPS Sytem (Magellan 500) which was really cool. They have a habit of calling the GPS voice a crack whore when she gets them all screwed up, but I think after my presence, they're just going to call her a slut now. A dirty, dirty GPS tramp. That's what she was.


Anywho after the drive we checked into our hotel (conveniently located about a block from the starting line) we headed over to the Expo, I got my registration packet and some free swag from some of the vendors. Oh, and some really nice socks.


Since we were in Houston, and two out of the three travellers were aerospace dorks back in college (and let's face it, still are) we decided to head to the Johnson Space Center for a tour of the facilities. We got to the see a lot of the buildings up close and personal, and got a tour of several of the astronaut training facilities as well as the historical mission control center, where the Apollo and Gemini missions were controlled from (complete with rotary phones). That was a blast. One of those places I always wanted to visit, but was never sure if I'd get the chance. I can scratch that one off the list now.


Before we went back to the hotel to rest for the evening, we went to 'Cavatore's' restaurant in Houston. Best. Italian. Food. Ever. Complete with an authentic Italian dude singing and playing the piano for everyone! It was amazing. Olive Garden can just shut itself down, because thos place was the best. I mean it. If you're ever in the area, make sure you head over there. Even Mike (whose real name is Michele... he's just that Italian) was impressed. He said it was just like his mom used to make, and that's saying something.


Sunday was the morning of the race. At 7AM, two F-18 fighter jets flew over the start line, and 17, 206 runners started on their way to the finish line (at a temperature of about 38-degrees). I decided that in order to help push myself along, I would need some crowd support so the evening before, I bought some vinyl letters from Office Depot and stuck them onto my running shirt. All throughout the course of the race, people were shouting my name! It was fantastic! "Go Ethan! You're doing great!" For 26 miles, people knew who I was. Other runners were pushing me to run faster, to do better... it was the best feeling in the world. Everyone deserves to be a star, just for a couple of hours. I think I got that sensation on Sunday.


By mile 20, I had started to slow down, and was considering walking for a little bit. But then, my personal savior came through for me. As I got my water at the water station, this dude ran up next to me and said, "C'mon Ethan, we've got a good thing going, let's not break it up!", and it was on. He and I ran the last 6 miles side by side, all the while people calling out, "Go Ethan! Go UPS!" (he was wearing a UPS shirt). It was fantastic. I was honored to have run with him, and we shook hands before we parted. His name was Nacho, and he was the best.


After the race was through, I went inside, collected my finishers goods, and sat down for a nice carb-filled meal of eggs, biscuits, hash browns, and ice cream. Man, that first meal hits the spot. I met up with Sherry and Mike, and retired back to the hotel where I sat in the hot tub for a little while, took a quick nap, a shower, and then we got on our way!


The trip back was quick and easy; we stopped at 'Sonic' (which we need up here!) and I got a fruit smoothie that was great and then ordered in some Chinese food for dinner while I watched the Patriots mop up the Indianapolis Colts for the second year in a row. After that it was bedtime, and we all settled in for a nice sleep. The next morning I flew back to Boston where I was picked up by my friend Jenny Lin (an amazing ultimate player) at the airport. I should have some pictures to post on Thursday from the race, so I'll post more then!


A new beginning

Finally, random people can post their comments too. The day is saved.