Yes, it's true. I am leaving today for a holiday to Beautiful and sunny Fairmont Hot Springs with my family, Mom, Aunt and Uncle. It should be very relaxing after a few hectic weeks at work. There will be swimming, hiking, and a good dose of stationary biking in the fitness room if possible.
I don't know if there will be any way to send or receive transmissions while I am there, so look for some news on June 3rd... :D
If you haven't looked yet, and are wondering about my thoughts on Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith, check out my lengthy review here!
MSNBC news - Federal authorities on Wednesday shut down a Web site used to find movies on the Bit Torrent file-sharing network, which was used to distribute the new "Star Wars" movie even before it was shown in theatres.
The movie was downloaded more than 10,000 times in the first 24 hours. Well no doubt.
President Bush signed a new law last month setting tough penalties of up to 10 years in prison for anyone caught distributing a movie or song prior to its commercial release. “Today’s crackdown sends a clear and unmistakable message to anyone involved in the online theft of copyrighted works that they cannot hide behind new technology,” said John C. Richter, acting assistant attorney general.
It's good to see the President sticking up for all of those mega-rich corporations yet again. Apparently, piracy cost th efilm industry about $3.5 billion last year. Yeah, well how much did they actually make? I think the President should stick to running a country that is falling to pieces instead of worrying about greedy film conglomerates.
The funny thing about all of this is that EliteTorrents.org is only one of a zillion torrent sites that have this movie in many forms. Once these sites are shut down, new ones will start. When they figure out how to stop the freebies on the net, new hacks will be created and it goes full circle. Maybe if they didn't pay "Stars" millions to act (and poorly most of the time) in movies, they would be more likely to be cheaper in theatres and on the shelf...
Another thing to think about. These "Torrent" sites are not distributing any copyrighted materials at all. The torrent file they distribute is created by some person somewhere and has absolutely nothing to do with the copyrighted material being shared. In other words, the movies, games and music are most definately NOT being stored on their sites. It is a very grey area, but then so is Prostitution, selling cigarettes, and so are places where heroin addicts can go and shoot up safely. I always had a problem with libraries too, come to think of it. Sure they buy one copy of a book, but they are SHARING it with loads of people...
Research has shown that searching many of the other sites for "Star Wars Episode III" returns a statement along the lines of "This search query has been blocked at the request of the copyright holder, in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA")"
It's not like Mr. Lucas and everyone else involved isn't going to make a zillion bucks off of this movie in the theatres, never mind lucrative endorsements... I mean really, Yoda on potato chips, Legos, most likely even Jedi Jello and Darkside Deodorant...
Is it right? Wrong? Who knows? All I know is that I saw it in the theatre, I will buy the movie on DVD when it comes out, I will go to Wendy's and see Yoda on my cup and I will buy the new "Wookie Assault Craft" Lego set....
Well after a week or more off from Ball due to a muscle type injury (I hope), I was just the first person all the way downstairs and into the lunchroom when they announced Donuts have arrived. This would lead me to believe I am more than ready to play ball again tonight. Of course, I'll miss next week being on holidays and all, but that should be fine in case of a minor relapse...
Wow.... Check out this splash page... Glad I got Star Wars when I did
I know a lot of people (especially the money makers) have problems with file sharing. I think it is because of the capitalist nature of society that something as file sharing is not allowed. I mean the internet is a massively impressive tool for sharing knowledge and data. What separates some data from other data? Can a site that only hosts torrents be libel? I mean, the site doesn't even have any of the data. I kind if expect this though.... Of course, another will pop up in it's place in no time :D
Just for the record, I went to Star Wars in the theatre. I loved it. I would go again I think. I will likely buy a DVD. But I would like to have a download copy too. Big friggin deal.
Long weekends always mess with my internal scheduling system. Up too late all weekend and now it is Tuesday. I forgot to fill the car last night. I almost got cut off by some arsehole on the way to work, only to end up being stuck behind him all the way as he was stuck behind someone else (Justice is served), and then, I locked my keys in the car when I got to work. But wait, I have a door key on my other keychain so I'm saved...
What else today I wonder. I know this week is going to be brutal as I am off on holidays with the family starting Friday. Have to try to tie up several projects now, and one isn't even started!!!
Oh... go down and read my Star Wars review. Unless you haven't seen the movie yet... :D
The final installment in Lucas' masterpiece. I think it was slated to be called "Rise of the Empire" at some point which I believe is a far more fitting name. Oh well, nitpicking there really. At any rate, my very first impression with this film was really "Wow". I have not taken much pleasure in the Episode I and Episode II films at all, and learned to hate much more than enjoy. I was dubious about this film, but I had heard good things from others, and besides.... knowing Darth Vader's origins was going to be SWEET!
Anakin turned Dark...
The main storyline of the entire movie was in my opinion, the turning of Anakin Skywalker and the birth of Darth Vader. This was of course, obvious, but how it was done was the best part I think. Throughout the entire film, with the knowledge of the inevitable fate of Anakin, I held on to a glimmer of hope, that somehow, he would not turn, and somehow, he would save the Jedi and the Princess and their children. Of course, this was not so. The taking of the Jedi Headquarters was indeed darker than any path Lucas has ventured before. Anakin slaying the "Younglings" was the last chance of any happy resolution to the show.
Student against Master
Another highlight of the movie was the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan. The pupil versus the master, and everything at stake. I actually felt Obi-Wan's pain at the discovery of the fate of his pupil. A big Kudo's to McGregor for that bit. It always seemed that the two characters played off of each other and eventually, it would come to a head. Anakin's impatience and hard-headedness always seemed to be taken in stride by Obi-Wan but I suspect he knew far more than he let on. I never understood how the Jedi council never found out about Anakin's annihilation of the Sandpeople. Sadly, some parts didn't come off great. The final moments, when the two were fighting on platforms floating over the lava was a little on the overdone side perhaps. And the way Anakin's impetuousness led him to his doom almost trivialised the entire battle.
I was never a big fan of Padme. I didn't like her character in the first two prequels, and in this one, she seemed to have a far smaller role which was good though obviously her role was quite important. I *did* almost feel sorry for her by the end, but the fact that a Princess as experienced as her in politics could not begin to see the true nature of the Senate or Palpatine was really beyond me. She seemed very unknowing of the events going on around her... and for the Leader of a planet who is active in the Senate... shame shame.
Yoda, One Pissed Off Jedi
Another aspect of the movie was the destruction of the Jedi. Now this was obviously a huge deal, but the way it was done was awesome. Of course, the previously mentioned attack on the Headquarters was the darkest Lucas has ventured in the series, but the final turning of Anakin, when he saves Palpatine from Windu and betrays all, was outstanding. The tension and conflict of emotions was unbelievable, and finally, Palpatine's charisma and promises win Anakin over. Yoda fighting Palpatine was a pretty cool battle actually, and I think perhaps lost amongst the other action and events.
General Grievous was both cool and overdone. The way he moved, and his voice and almost everything was super cool, but then I didn't like the four lightsaber thing at all. That is typical of what Lucas did with the last couple of movies and I thought it was silly and overdone. I mean, hunting Jedi for sport is fine, and displaying their sabers as trophies is also fine, but wielding four at once is almost silly.I laughed when he was advancing on Obi-Wan with the twirling saber thing going on. Not only this, but wouldn't the leader of the Droid army have shields like some of the lesser attack droids he has? It would only make sense to me for him to have shields. Of course, he was really only a side-plot in teh movie anyways IMO.
The face of the Darkside.
The creation of Darth Vader was awesome. From his rescue on the molten planet by the Emperor, all the way to when they clip the facemask on his helmet and he rose. Seeing Anakin's inevitable transformation unfold was the BEST part of the movie for me. I knew it was going to happen, but like I said before, there was always hope that somehow, he would not turn, and I felt a real empathy fo rthe character. What he did in the name of love was done for all the wrong reasons. He didn't want to save Padme for her or his baby, but fo rhis own selfishness. That is what drove him to the darkside, selfishness. He wanted more power than Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council was willing to teach him, and he wanted more respect than he had yet earned.
However, I didn't like his anguish when the Emperor told him he was responsible for Padme's death. If I recall correctly, wasn't he strangling her on the landing platform after she shunned him away in horror? It seems like the writing level took a major skip at that point but afterwards, it was fine again. Nonetheless, it still tied in nicely, and perhaps he had forgotten that bit of violence in his battle-lusted state. The very thing he had sought to save turned out to be both the final cause of his transformation, and ultimately, the final cause of his downfall (with the birth of Luke).
Visually, this movie was likely the best yet. The starting sequence of the battle is what really convinced me to see it in the theatre before watching my cheap download copy at home. I had only watched about the first 5 minutes and I was sold on it. The space battles were rather few and far between compared to the more classic episodes it seemed, but then other aspects and visual treats took over. I thought that some of the cutscenes were the BEST EVER in any of the movies, especially the entry scene to the Wookie planet and near the end, when the ship was flying through the rain towards the large tower on the other planet (names somewhat elude me and perhaps this is one of the few things I didn't like). Awesome graphics, and the kind of filming that makes seeing this on the big screen a MUST.
I also enjoyed the fixing of all of the loose ends. Leia going to Alderaan with Senator Organa, and Luke going to Uncle Owen's on Tatooine. leaving Yoda and Obi-Wan in exile, and pretty much the way everything finished up. The Death Star in it's infancy was a rare treat, and seeing the ships slowly go through design changes through all of the prequels until they almost looked like the familiar Wedge-shaped Star Destroyers we know and love.... I thought it was neat how the older ships *looked* older designwise, and as the prequels continued, they began to look more "modern" if you take my meaning. Seeing Chewie was neat as well, though there is still an unfinished tale about he met up with my all-time favorite character, Han Solo. I also didn't like the bit when Yoda told Obi-Wan he would teach him to talk to Qui-Jon or whatever the heck his name was. I guess it is similar to the way Obi-Wan talked to Luke after he was cut down by Darth Vader...
Overall, I loved the dark imagery of this movie, and like Empire Strikes Back, I liked the fact that it was most definately NOT a happy ending for pretty much everyone. There were no Teddy Bears, and Jar Jar and his Rastafarian sub-mariners stayed in the background of this one. The biggest reason I hated Episode I and II was that it seemed likehalf of the movies were more like video game levels or sequences than actual movies. Either the what seemed like an hour long Pod-race or the running through the droid factory and such... There was little of this in this movie. Perhaps a hint of it when Obi-Wan was chasing General Grievous on the lizard thing, but really, it was written far more thoughtfully. I have probably forgotten a good deal already, so I will need to watch it again and again to remember it all.
In the end, I have to rate this movie a 4.5 out of 5. I would have gone with a 5, but there were definately one or two bits I most certainly didn't like. It was easily a Great Redemption for the last two Episodes which, in my humble opinion, were absolute rubbish. Still a superb movie that I will easily watch over.
*** UPDATED ***
It's kind of funny. I have read a lot now about this movie, and many different perspectives, ideas and comments have come and gone. However, I was reading through more, and found this line from Tet's Pyramid...
"Is it that I waited 28 years for this? Is it that this took me back to a time when my life was simpler? I was a child again today for 2 and a half hours. But this is not my childhood movie, it is darker, it is sorrow, and it is technologically more than I could imagine in my youth."
It struck me like massive Low E Power Chord.... That is EXACTLY how I felt, both when I was lining up for tickets, and also waiting for the movie to start... watching it... driving home.
There has never been such a scourge of oxygen thieving low-life scum as there is now with the sudden increase of spamming. As if e-mail wasn't bad enough, but now companies sign you up to newsletters without you, yourself signing up. Recently, I have been bombarded with mail from miniature companies in France (I told them to piss off since I didn't sign up and it is no way to start a new business anyhow), Christian Aid??? Like cripes. I told them once to remove me, and I continued to receive mail. Losers.
Then there are guestbooks. My main website has a small guestbook but it is a freebie variety and I am sure they are easy targets for spammers. I get Viagra ads all the time.
Then there are MSN Spaces. Today, I have the pleasure of INDIVIDUALLY DELETING about 100 Trackbacks that are spammer links to friggin on-line Meds. I know you need to sign in with a passport to leave a comment but is there NO way to stop this sort of ridiculous BS? Can't Microsoft say, create a mindbogglingly useful tool that allows you to delete more than ONE ENTRY at a time?
Pissed Off. I was going to work on my Star Wars write-up, and instead I am writing this in ANGER and wishing piles of disease infested filth on the spammers to blame. I get to spend an hour deleting trackbacks! WOOT!
War! The Republic is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord, Count Dooku. There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere.
In a stunning move, the fiendish droid leader, General Grievious, has swept into the Republic capital and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate.
As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee the besieged capital with their valuable hostage, two Jedi knights lead a desperate mission to rescue the captive Chancellor.
I just came from seeing Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and was it ever worth the wait. In my opinion it was definately the best of the first three episodes, possibly the best of all Star Wars movies. Before the movie started, at 12:01, three kids decided to get up front of the theatre and put on a show with their light sabers. That was pretty cool. The movie rocked!!!!
Before I go off to bed I had to come here and say a couple things about the movie. It starts off rocking. R2's got some new spunk! Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is a rotten b@stard. Sweet lil' Ani turning into Vader was cool with all the drama. I knew he would kill Dooku but his poor legs. Now I understand why Obi Won thought Vader was dead. I liked the fight with General Grievious. Actually all the battle scenes were awesome. Chewbacca's back. Good ole' Chewy. I was shocked at the deaths of so many members of the Jedi council. I loved Mace Windu! Oh course Yoda rocked!!!! Poor Padmé. Work begins on the Death Star.... The entire movie ties in very nicely with the other three episodes.
Thanks to Leona for getting my ticket and all those who waited in line to hold my seat.
Lots more to say but it's so late. I will definately see it again and again. Have ya seen it? huh?
Roberto Rastapopoulos was a Greek-American tycoon, who was also known as the Marquis di Gorgonzola. He first appeared in Tintin in the "Cigars of the Pharaoh" adventure, and seemed to be a good guy in fact. He was producing a movie in Egypt for his Cosmos Pictures film company when he took Tintin in for shelter and food.
He quickly became Tintin's arch-nemesis however, and in "The Blue Lotus", he was actually revealed as the ringleader of a massive opium smuggling operation. Later on in Tintin's adventures, he surfaced again as a slave trader in "The Red Sea Sharks". Further nastiness begotten by Rastapopoulos included the kidnapping of the millionaire, Lazslo Carreidas in "Flight 714". In most stories, Rastapopoulos was accompanied by his ham-fisted sidekick, Captain Allen, who played the part of villain for Captain Haddock's character.
Finally, in "Tintin and the Lake of Sharks", Rastapopoulos was the neferious mastermind behind a large criminal gang. He was trying to use a device to create replicas of everything, in order to become even wealthier. At the end of this adventure, he was apprehended by Tintin and Captain Haddock.
At one point, Rastapopoulos was compared successfully to a Proboscis Monkey by Captain Allen! He was quite irate after that!
CTV News - Well after what may have been a run-in with Stephen Harper, Belinda Stronach has left the Conservative party and joined forces with Paul martin's Liberals as the new Human Resources Minister... This is just days ahead of a vote that could topple the Liberal minority government.
I think it is a great move myself, and though the Liberals are caught up in a mire right now, I could never have voted for Harper and his Missile Defence policies. I hope her arrival can help the situation at any rate.
She has stated several reasons for her defection...
"I do not believe it is right to line up with the Bloc Quebecois, who have a separatist agenda, to bring down the government to force an election," she said.
"I don't believe that's in our national interests and it compromises national unity."
I say good on her. I like the multi-cultural background of our country, and feel Quebec is as much a part of it as any province, so for me, the Bloc has always been a sore spot. Equality is one thing, but always pushing for more is not fair.
Apparently, the big turning point was a private meeting with Stephen Harper over some comments she had made in an interview. He suggested she would no longer appear in ads for the Party and the meeting erupted into shouting, and Harper's threats that she would never lead the Conservatives. No wonder she left. Harper is just a George W. Lapboy anyways :D
In this letter, I will try to describe Mr. Jeff Lawson's treatises in such a way that my language will not offend and yet will still convey my message that Mr. Lawson has made some dangerous assumptions about pretentious, logorrheic bimbos. I want to share this with you because I can no longer get very excited about any revelation of Mr. Lawson's hypocrisy or crookedness. It's what I've come to expect by now. The two things I just mentioned -- the way that on that basis, I should, at this point, indicate in a rough and approximate way the two pestilential tendencies that I believe are the main driving force of modern separatism and the fact that he has shown he's not afraid to be reckless -- may sound like they're completely unrelated, but they're not. The common link is that Mr. Lawson's is the prototypical face of cronyism. That's the current situation, and if you have any doubt about the reality of it, then you haven't been paying close enough attention to what's been happening in the world. In light of my stance on this issue, if we contradict Mr. Lawson, we are labelled unprincipled, wretched scrubs. If we capitulate, however, we forfeit our freedoms.
Even his shills don't care much for his political objectives; they simply wish to associate with other vile drug lords and skewer me over a pit barbecue. I've been rolling up my sleeves in preparation for a long, hard battle against mephitic, ugly idiots. He and his useless factotums must laugh about this in private, knowing that I challenge him to point out any text in this letter that proposes that we should derive moral guidance from his glitzy, multi-culti, hip-hop, consumption-oriented hatchet jobs. It isn't there. There's neither a hint nor a suggestion of such a thing.
If Mr. Lawson wants to bombard me with insults, fine. Just don't make me run for cover while he's at it. I aver I am not alone when I say that at no time in the past did deceitful killjoys shamble through the streets of cities, demanding rights they imagine some supernatural power has bestowed upon them. You can sum up his excuses in one word: biased. Finally, any one of the points I made in this letter could be turned into a complete research paper, but the conclusion of each would be the same: A well-respected professor at a nearby university, writing with the dispassionate objectivity that is a precondition of all scientific knowledge, has recently concluded that there is reason to fear that peremptory blowhards will annihilate a person's personality, individuality, will, and character one day.
Well it would seem that U.S. Army Spc. Sabrina Harman is the second US soldier tried in the now infamous Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. She waw guilty of 6 charges with her involvement in the abuses. So now, we wait some more. Sentencing is scheduled to start today, and she could face a maximum of 5 1/2 years in military prison. At least someone is geting somethign for some of this.
The thing is, now that the focus has shifted from the administration and the higher ups clearing themselves of any blame, this handful of soldiers will now get a spank on the wrist pretty much, for a situation that rocked many parts of the world. Maybe the SS officers should have gotten a slap on the wrist after World War II at Nuremburg? No, actually, to follow the scenario more closely, all of the higher ups (including the very brass of the SS) should have had their own people run the panels at Nuremburg and been cleared, and then only the soldiers at Aushwitz and other terror facilities would have to have a minimum penalty slapped on them. How about that?
Holy Schnikes... Last Wednesday, I hurt my upper left leg pretty bad. Just a muscle I think, and by today, after only walking lots in the off days, it started out not too bad. The first time I had to run though, watch out. I think there is more wrong than just a sore muscle :( Not that it mattered. We got spanked hard tonight anyways, and my crappy batting didn't help. I made some catches at least (in the 110 km/h pre-thunderstorm winds) but I will likely miss wednesday for sure. The only thing worse than no tplaying at all is trying to play hurt. All you can do is say "Man, I would have had that one..."
Oh well, give it a week off. I'll be back to avenge us. Heh.
Well, gotta say that apart from the run-in with The Fuzz, the weekend was super. Saturday, my brother and I went to Mom's house and did her yard up for her, and after that, we had to go and pick up an old matress and boxspring to take to the Women's Shelter in Red Deer. It was a great day out, so everythign was cool, except we ran out of time and never made it to the Shelter. Of course, we couldn't even find the place, so after driving around the City a little, we eneded up at Value Village, where some of the proceeds from donations go towards Diabetes. Good enough for us :D
We jammed in the garage Saturday and Sunday, and that was really fun. I think my brother really wants to start playing more :) Not too sure what the neighbours thought, but frankly, WHO CARES!!!!
I just received a really funny e-mail invite to join a Yahoo Group called NeEeO_HaCk... The group invite originates in UK & Ireland, but really, I am assuming this is some form of new phishing technique to cultivate e-mails or something. I do belong to a number of miniature painting related Yahoo groups already...
The message from the "group moderator" says:
A notable program to him its features special
He strong also and he is equal strong Optix_V1.33 ind NetDevil
I leave you with the program
Hmmm. Must resist the urge to click "Join this group" just to see what's up. Never heard of this sort of thing before though :(
Are you opposed to the illegal war of aggression in Iraq? Disturbed by the alarming number of innocent deaths in the war and occupation? Well now you can do something...
Today, May 15th, 2005, across the United States (and perhaps much more), people opposed to the war in Iraq will identify themselves with one of the Iraqi Dead by wearing a number between 1 and 100,000. Please help support this effort by checking out the link below...
Only a small donation is needed, if at all, or you can simply wear a number to help show support on that day. The largest lie of the entire war may be just how many CIVILIANS have been killed during the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is not, simply, OKAY, to cover one's eyes to this. Thank you :)
Today is the day! Take a moment to think about the War, and those lives lost if nothing else.
It was about 10:00 or so last night, and we had to go and pick up my son at his friends. My brother was down so we had had a few beers. No big deal. My wife was going to drive (she hadn't had anything to drink) so we all pile in the car for the trek across town.
Spirits were high, and we were having fun visiting and soon we would be home again to watch "Galaxy Quest" or do some other bit of important drinking or whatnot... Everything was going great!
We got to my son's friends and picked him up. Heading home, we took the long route around town, and sure enough, the Policeman (hereby referred to as "The Fuzz") was coming around a corner right beside us. The big problem here is that I have only one headlight at the moment. D'oh! He had us for sure. The red and blue swirly lights came on, and our hearts lept in trepidition. Visions of some retardedly expensive ticket filled our heads and we wished we had simply gone and bought a $13 headlamp.
"The reason I pulled you over is because you have a broken headlight" The Fuzz stated. "Can I see your license and registration please?"
Well guess what? My wife forgot her purse at home. We were only nipping across town after all (maybe a dozen blocks at best)... I opened the glove box and proferred several small black plastic registration sleeves to the officer. Well suddenly, the jubilation from before was gone. The ability to not produce a license is bad news at best. We were all suddenly a little anxious. But it got worse.
"Sir, I hope for your sake that you have current insurance to show me" says The Fuzz. The anxiety kicked into high gear. It seems the newest little bit of folded pink paper in either of the small black plastic registration sleeves was from 2003. What had I done? My wife was already faced with a ticket for not being able to produce her license, we had a broken headlamp, and now, no insurance papers to show??
Panic set in as The Fuzz retreated to his cruiser to check out all of our information. We were looking at a hefty fine for everything now, though we knew I had insurance since we pay itr every damn month. At worst case, they would tow the car and we would be stuck with that bill as well. I had no other papers in the glove box. We racked our brains thinking of a thousand letters from the Insurance people, and where these things are generally kept... It looked glum for sure.
The Fuzz came back from his cruiser, and approached our vehicle. I expected the worst. We were likely all tense like cats about to get hit by a speeding vehicle and he said "Today is your lucky day..."
We got a ticket for not producing a license, and nothing for the headlamp, and nothing for the insurance BUT now, we had to FIND proof of insurance and give it to him by 6:00 tonight! The Fuzz even let us drive home with no tow and impound. All things considered, the ticket we got was awesome! It was a super reminder, though expensive, to always carry this stuff and remember to keep everything up to date.
The big concern now was that if I didn't have the insurance paper in my car, where the hell was it? We got home after The Fuzz let us go, and the frenzied search began. No clue. We looked in jackets, wallets, drawers, boxes, containers... nothing. Panic was setting in again. But, then, all I needed was proof. I would phone the insurance company in the morning and get a new paper. Easy :) We went out to the garage so my brother could have a smoke, and we remembered that we had stashed all the old papers and letters in a bag in the garage from last year. On a hunch, my wife began thumbing through it, and BOOM! There it was! A letter from my insurance company about 6 pages long, and hidden away at the back was my new pink slips of paper!!!
The anxiety was lifted instantly. Relief came in waves like you couldn't imagine. Now we just had to show The Fuzz and he would let us be in peace. Naturally, everyone madly scrambled about, looking for their own registrations and such.
Remember, ALWAYS carry your operator's license with you. AND a $15 fix is far easier than a big fine for being lazy!!!
Heh, so yeah, I found a torrent and downloaded the complete Trilogy of 5 books for the "Hitchhiker's Guide", all read by Douglas Adams himself, as well as the Original Radio Scripts. Talk about helping the workday blow by :D
The first book alone is over four and a half hours long... Super I say. I think I need these for painting as well. Next on the list to finish getting is the "Lord of the Rings" and David Edding's "Belgariad" only because I read all ten books ages ago, and I simply don't have the time to read them again!
So the Messagecast Instant Alert Service was "aquired" by someone and the service has been suspended until further notice... I will keep folks posted. This is the service you can sign up to to get MSN Messenger alerts when my Blog is updated.
Looks to me like these guys aren't fooling around with their new album and tour. Considering it is the first time Halford has been with the band since Painkiller in 1992, they seem to be taking the World By Storm. I saw one date in Toronto so far on their tour schedule and I can only hope they come to Calgary or Edmonton.
I saw them on the Painkiller tour with Testament and Megadeth. Easily the loudest, and most dramatic stage show I have ever seen.... From the very opening riff of "Hell Bent For Leather" where the stage opened up to reveal Rob riding out on the Harley to the final explosion of light and sound after their second encore, I would love to see their new Angel of Retribution show!
Watch out Canseco... Here I come! Okay, so it wasn't a 550 foot blast to the upper deck but rather a perfectly placed drive to the gap in right center that went to the fence... I got my first homer last night and it just so happened to be 2 outs and the bases jammed :D
We won 20-9 so all in all, our team played awesome. Gotta love Slo-Pitch scores eh?
We watched the new movie last night. My very first, and most intense feeling is that they should not have tried to fit everything into an hour and a half movie, and they didn't which was blatantly obvious. Of course, when I watch the movie again, I will likely device further insight both good and bad.
Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie, but.... There was far too much lacking in it for my personal tastes. I can understand where the movie is not doing well in theatres for sure. Right from the terrible opening music (yeah it made me laugh at the very start but then it quickly got very irritating) to many other inexplainable things... To an untrained Adams fan, the appearance of Vogon ships, Galactic Presidents and many other things would simply be confusing without further explanation and no "Present Day" label at the bottom of the screen.
Most of the actual story was okay. Taking bits from other books and changing them to cram the story in was good and bad. Changing Frogstar to Vogsphere was a neat trick as I actually enjoyed the extended role given to the Vogons. They are indeed officious and makes me think of your average government in action!!! Hehe. They were also well created visually IMO. The ships were a pleasant surprise, as the preview left me wondering at the lack of yellow, but they were indeed the size of giant office blocks :) and they did indeed hang in the air the way that bricks don't. But adding the stuff about the Point of View gun, and surgically removing Zaphod's second er, face was not so great. The gun itself was cool and had a definate Adams feel to it, but they could have actually used *real* parts of the story instead of making up more.
The love story was irrelevant in my opinion. It added to the "last two humans in the universe" feel perhaps, but was not at all necessary in the story. I always felt that Trillian was a minor character and now she has been thrust to the forefront almost... Her role was fine but nothing more. Definately a Hollywood "get the girls to watch the movie" move...
Marvin's head was far too big. IN that respect however, remember the definition of a robot given to us by the Syrius Cybernetics Corporation. "Your plastic pal who's fun to be with". Indeed, he looks the part, but the irony is the failure of the GPP (Genuine People Personality) prototype. I definately liked his old voice much more. He did complain an awful lot however, and hearing the classic lines was fun, though some were in very different places of the show.
Ford Prefect was black. This actually didn't bother me in the slightest. I only bring it up because I have never pictured him this way, and I have seen the old show about a Quilliard times. His character was actually very good however! The towel snapping scene with the Vogons was funny, and how he thought that cars were the dominant species on Earth really made me chuckle.
Arthur was the big bright spark in the movie IMO. He played the role as close as possible to how I imagine him, and the old movie to boot. Awkward, perhaps bumbling at times, he had problems grasping a great many things as to be expected. Keeping this character "normal" was absolutely imperative to the movie.
Let's talk about Zaphod. I am very mixed up now about his character. I think he was portrayed very well, and the brashness, ego and general idiocy was done up just fine. I enjoyed his character immensely in that regard. That being said, the second head was rubbish. Not only did it look cheesy, it was bad choice to use the Election as an excuse. He was supposed to only have one head when he stole away Trillian from Arthur... Not only that, but it is TWO HEADS, NOT TWO FACES. And the third arm. Well he only pulled it out a few times, and personally, I think it would have been much more useful. I did get a HUGE chuckle about his brain being powered by lemons with the thinking cap on though :D
Slartibartfast was one of the best characters in the movie. HE came off perfectly, and though he didn't mention his award for the Fjords of Norway, I suspect he would have if the show wasn't so short. John Malkovich was also good, though again, he was created basically to cram three books or more into one short movie.
Sorry, apparently Slartibartfast DID in fact mention his award :) I sit corrected, in my steamy broth of green vapor... resplendant in my battle shorts.
Let's discuss the Guide. I know time was a huge issue here, but the graphics were far worse I felt in the cut scenes with the Guide, and the selection and amount of entries portrayed were really not that great. In the old show, I loved almost every bit done with the Guide. The voice was the same, thank goodness, but so much was missed.
Deep Thought. This scene was not good. The woman's voice (no offense to women anywhere) was terrible and reminded me of the computer from Red Dwarf. I loved the Booming resonations of the voice in the old movie. Made the computer actually sound massive. Skipping out on the fun scene with the Philosophers Vroomfondel and Majikthise was a loss. I demand that they may or may not have made this movie that much better overall. Also, when Deep Thought gave them the answer, it was comical because of the crowds of people, but I felt it lacked the tension the original show had at that point. Not only this, but by the end of the movie, there is no clue that the Ultimate Question is "What do you get if you multiply nine by six"...
What was with the Earth Mark II? The fact that it is totally populated is stupid. The Magratheans create custom planets, not people. This leaves me thinking one thing: There can never be a sequel to this movie that I will like. No cavemen, no Golgafrinchans, no nothing.
There were some things that really got me though. The people in the bar, lying on the floor with bags over their heads... Ford and Arthur looking at the wall in the Vogon airlock and then getting sucked out of the floor... Zaphod picking up Trillian was a blast. Can't let that one go by... "Is this guy boring you?" Heh... The towels were still important. You always have to know where your towel is.
In a nutshell, Zaphod should have had two heads. Marvin should have had less head. The Earth Mk II was butchered. The movie was WAY too short, and I found that most of the changes were not good for both the story of THIS movie, and the chance of future movies. And I think Arthur lost his towel... It was good for some laughs however but worth the viewing? Hard to say.
*** UPDATE *** - Whatever happened to Ford's entry for Earth in the Guide? "Mostly Harmless"? I don't recall mention of it at all.
Zaphod says this movie is a 3 out 5 points for style and minus a million for changing and condensing too much.
Sweet bejeebus.... What IS with the US Admin. They have had a Bill in the past geared towards a National ID card that was shot down in Congress because it is an absolute invasion of privacy. Now, they are approving a Bill to further fund the war in Iraq (yay), and hidden away in the depths of this Bill is the very same National ID issue. They have to pass the Iraq Funding Bill it would seem, so now they are going to have to pass the added on bit about the ID cards. No debate. No discussion. No nothing.
I am no wizard with much of the discussion about US policy and how Bills are passed, but a much more in depth dissection of this can be found on Wil Wheaton's Blog...
To me, this is looking like a "Papers please... No? Up against the wall..." kind of situation developing.
Fascism. Watch your rights slowly dwindle away. Enjoy it people... and be happy if you live in Canada with our petty little issues we have.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell during the past two weeks and could slip further as U.S. crude oil and gasoline supplies swell, according to an industry analyst.
The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $2.2129 a gallon on May 6, down 3.08 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations released on Sunday.
In the past month, gasoline prices have fallen about 7.5 cents per gallon, after surging about 49 cents per gallon at retail from the start of 2005 through April 8.
Even now, with 1 US gallon being equal to 3.79 litres... they are looking at a National average of 58.4 cents a litre. Now I have ranted about this before, and sadly, most people totally missed the point of my rant. I don't care about how much gas costs in Newfoundland, Vancouver or England.
In Alberta, our prime industry is, well, you guessed it, OIL. We produce TONS of oil. There are wells everywhere, dotting the countryside more abundantly than farmhouses. Currently, we are paying between 84.9 cents a litre and 89.9 cents a litre. May long weekend, the prices are expected to jump over $1 a litre. WHY???? Do we export too much? Are taxes too high? Maybe the companies are just too greedy (what else is new)... They all seem to have very nice vehicles and houses those execs from the industry...
A breakdown of gasoline pump prices shows that about 60% of the pump price is the Base cost for the fuel. At this rate, it is almost on par with US prices already.... Federal tax is 15%, Provincial tax is 14% and GST is another 7% on top of all that (ie tax on tax). Now I understand the need for the taxation on both fronts, but is that the entire problem? If the raw gasoline costs 60% of the pump price (ie 54 cents a litre), then it is nearly the same as what your average US citizen is paying. I am sure the US taxes their gasoline production as well, but then they have a lot of, well, questionable sources of fuel as well. Why does our gas cost more? Processing and transport should realistically cost the same.
I think the gas and oil industry is one of the most inefficient industries on the planet. Many of these companies are willing to pay more for simple supplies for example, than if they actually bought bulk supplies from a wholesales place. May sounds silly, but it runs all the way down the line. One company buys a roll of tape worth $2 for $5. They get it hotshotted out to a location costing maybe $100 or more, then they charge their clients even more. Remember, everyone needs to make money in our glorious economic machine. Suddenly, we are paying 90 cents a litre at the pump. Maybe it's time Canada invaded Kuwait :P
Next time the mighty US wants to complain about gasoline prices, try living in other parts of the world. Or maybe try taking the bus.
I was watching CTV news last night and they showed LA cops firing 120 rounds into an SUV who's driver wouldn't surrender after a several minute long chase. Apparently, they hit the guy 4 times (an outstanding 5% hit ratio) and barely wounded him (he is in stable condition now...) The video footage was cool... Sounded like a huge bag of popcorn cooking.
Read more... So they fired 120 rounds at this vehicle in an urban area as well. Wonder if that was a great idea. One cop was injured in the hail of bullets, and many slugs went into houses and other things in the vicinity. Sounds like one cop started and the others opened up as well.
Well I must say, yesterday was busy busy! Slept in a little, and then I got up to make breakfast for my wife. The boy ran down and bought a nice flower for her, so after eating and getting that, she was pretty happy. I cleaned up the kitchen and she iced a cake to take to the Grandma's farm later on.
I had finished the Marine Sarge the night before, so I needed to take lots of pics, and update my site. By the time that was done, it was time to go! We visited with the entire family out at Grandma's farm which is always fun, and as always, there was more than enough food to fill us up! After that, we zipped up to my Mom's place, and had a nice visit with her and my Aunt (they are twins :D ). My brother was already there, so that was a great surprise. He hadn't come down last weekend for his birthday, so it was good to see him. Stopped in at my buddies quick after that and then we all headed home!
Mom came up too, and we gave my brother his new microwave and stand that we had all got for his birthday. He has a pretty small pad in Edmonton, so it is ideal for him to heat up suppers and such :)
Well it was a good but very busy weekend. I am beat already and it is only 7 am! I have ball tonight too, so I better get lots of sleep at work :P
A solitary beam of light cut through the darkened stillness of the old house. Just an hour earlier, violence of the most heinous kind had taken place in this very room. Apart from a blood stain hardly visible on the dark wood floor underneath a barely warm corpse, there were no clues to be found. "The place is clean" the agent whispered softly...
So every time I sit and watch any of the CSI shows with my wife, it strikes me as odd that whenever they are investigating a room, house, car, flat, or just about anything, that they never turn the lights on. There is one guy looking for clues in a darkened house wielding nothing more than a flashlight... or someone in a lab trying to find "DNA samples" on something and all they have is one small overhead lamp on an extendable arm...
Come on! Turn on the lights! Shedding light on crime could actually be taken a little bit more literally in this case! Any good investigator knows that :D
Minor League Sports Creates Hometown "Haves and Have Nots"
This morning I am having problems deciding how to write this. I am angry, sad, relieved, all at the same time. Out of what I am presenting, the good news is that we will be saving likely over $2000 this summer. The bad news is that another child has to go without playing minor league sports this year because of poor management on the part of the Alberta Minor Ball administration.
I should make it clear that a lot of good people helped us out immensely trying to make this happen, and to them I say thank you wholeheartedly. It is folks like them that do make things worthwhile.
Remember when you were a kid? Softball in the evenings? Maybe soccer or a bowling league? They were fun, yet competitive. Almost all were affordable, except maybe hockey, but look where that is going anyways. When I was growing up, I did a lot of minor sports. Softball, a bowling league, Dolphins swimming, you name it. It kept me in shape and I had fun playing with my friends. My parents didn't have to break the bank paying fees and travelling either.
My boy, who is 12, has tried a few sports. Hockey was fun for a year, but it was hard for him to keep up with what was going on. We took a year off after that, and then he was enrolled in the local house league for baseball. He played Mosquito (age 10-11) ball for two years, and really enjoyed it. He can hit very well, and has an arm on him like Roger Clemens. Oh yeah, he's a lefty too. A southpaw. I know there is some real talent there with the proper coaching, and so do many others...
Well this year, for whatever reasons, there are no teams in our town for his age group. Last year, there were two Mosquito teams, and a Pee-Wee (age 12-13) team but this year, only one Mosquito team and NO Pee-Wee. We had an option to get him into the house league in another nearby town, but the coach of a "AA" Central Alberta team in Red Deer wanted him to play badly. The fee was a little more, but they said not to worry. Pay us what you paid in your town (a mere $70 for the entire season, everythign included), and we will cover the rest. How could we turn down a deal like that? Real coaching,a competetive league and the travel was all within an hour....
Not so. Last night we called the coach and had him removed from the team. He will not play ball this year at all. The original fee wasn't too bad, being about $155. Then the first games were announced, and Saturday at 10 am they are going to play a double header in Vegreville (a 3 hour drive) and Sunday in Beaumont (almost a 2 hour drive). So we were looking at over $100 for gas and food for the weekend. On top of that, we found out that there is another fee for Provincials. Another $75 to pay since their team is competetive and will be going to Provincials. So far? Suddenly we are looking at $230 for registration... Still not too bad. But it gets worse.
They have five tournaments in the season. They have to play since they are on the team. The cost for EACH tournament per child is $150. Not hotels or travel, just to enter the team. So now, our price tag has gone to almost $1000 for fees, and on top of that is the gasoline for travelling to practice twice a week and games that are up to three hours away every weekend. I estimate well over $1000 for that actually... Now I don't expect handouts by any means, but these fees are in no way reasonable. To put it in perspective, for myself to go and play in our annual Slo-pitch league, registration is $40 for the season (almost twice as long as the kids) and the average tournament costs between $10 and $30 to enter.
So because Alberta Minor Baseball is broke, having squandered away their coffers with pisspoor management, they have raised all of the fees for competetive leagues. Now you have to be "well-off" or your kid won't stand a chance in sports. I thought it was only hockey that was like that, but sadly, it is spreading quickly into other sports. So all those executives in Alberta Minor Baseball can go to their conferences, and eat their dinners in their hotels, and drink their drinks with strange people from other places, and buy useless management tools...
And my boy has to explain to his friends why he isn't playing ball this year :(
So I'm sitting at work listening to Def Leppard "Adrenalize" and I never thought it was true but sheesh... this album sounds exactly the same as all their other albums. Almost every song sounds the same in fact...
Let's see what other band's songs all sound the same:
Any other ideas? And why did Vivian Campbell (one of my true guitar heroes) quit a kick butt gig like Dio to play with these fags?
Hip-hop music has long been criticized for being misogynistic—and now the African-American and hip-hop communities are speaking out.
A leading magazine for black women, "Essence" has launched a year long campaign called "Take Back the Music"... Also, Ex-Employees of the popular Rap magazine "The Source", are possibly laying a bunch of charges ranging from degredation to sexual harrassment.
Religious leaders and others in communites which oppose these lyrics and musicians come out whenever the artists are coming to town. Naturally, the rappers in question wave the "free speech" banner at them... but it it? If the lyrics were of a religious nature... watch out! So why are songs degradign women okay? Or killing cops? Oops.
While, we're at it, let's ban all Rap and also Country as it is most likely responsible for 1 out of every 3 suicides and at least 40% of all cases of alcoholism...
* The numbers are not true. I only made them up :D
Remember those degrading pictures of Iraqi "Detainees" being subjugated to sexually humiliating positions? Remember the oh-so-cheery girl giving the thumbs up? Yeah she has been charged.
England, 22, pleaded guilty Monday to seven counts of mistreating prisoners, saying she let her comrades talk her into going along with the abuse. Prosecutors agreed to drop a count of committing an indecent act and one count of dereliction of duty.
She could have gotten up to 16 1/2 years in prison however an agreement has been made to lower that punishment. Lower it. There are prisoners in Guatanamo Bay that have been there almost 4 years now, with NO charges! Unbelievable. They really look out for their own I see. And of course, all of the Administration was cleared ages ago of any part in this, either through direct orders, or simply neglecting to do anything about it.
I hope they take pictures of her in jail... Heh. They would be good for a laugh and a finger or two as well.
Okay, I bit the bullet, and decided to ignore any numbers, snipes or anything! Recent things have made me re-evaluate my hobby somewhat, and I plan on returning to the "share cool minis with everyone" philosophy. I have uploaded a dozen or so today as a start towards repopulating what was one of the biggest accounts on CMoN :)
I will add more entries every few days until I am back up to over 70 like before...
Go ahead and vote or even better, leave a comment!
*** For those who do not know, Coolmini is a site where minis are judged by the masses for any manner of aspect, and a number score is given to each entry. Naturally, the numbers rarely reflect the true quality of the entry due to the many diverse tastes, styles and other factors involved. In order to leave comments, one must set up an account (which is free) and log in. Otherwise, you can simply leave scores from 1 to 10, with 1 being rubbish, 5 being average wargamer quality (say block painted, in the lines and sanded base) and 10 being a truly masterful piece of work.
Iran plans defense of nuclear program, while the US is set to deliver an ultimatum at an international conference.
Iran is planning to mount a staunch defense of its nuclear energy program at an international conference beginning today and will insist on rights to the same technology afforded to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a senior Iranian official said in an interview yesterday.
The US wants to stop any pursuit of nuclear power or research in Iran for fears of them building weapons instead of power plants.
Diplomats from over 180 countries are reviewing the NPT ove rthe course of the next month. The treaty gives may nations access to nuclear energy technology but does not allow them to create nuclear weapons. This deal that originated in 1970, also binds the 5 founding members (The US, France, Britain, China and Russia) to a committment to eventually elimate their nuclear weapon stockpiles.
It all seems like a goo dtreaty but sadly, there are no punishments for actually going out and researching bomb building... This is what happened with North Korea. They simply left the NPT.
Well my friend arrived safe Friday evening and after some visiting, we got right to some painting. It was a pretty early night, but then Saturday was the big busy day! We got to the store early, and set up. Right away, we had a lot of kids with questions (and grown-ups too even) so it was fun helpign everyone out, and getting some kids trying to paint.
The contest was really fun, and after about an hour or so, we got all the winners picked out and almost everyone won a prize. It was pretty neat to see the kids faces. On 10 year painted up an awesome treeman and won a first place for it.
We got back later after going for coffee and snacks with the folks who came from Calgary, and painted more that evening. Played some Magic even, though I got my butt kicked 3 straight games :(
It was super fun meeting a guy all the way from Minneapolis, especially after talking so much on the internet! Hopefully we'll be able to get together again at a convention or something :)
All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.
Site design created by Zaphod. All written work and code is the intellectual property of Glyn Evans.
I have lived in Central Alberta almost my entire life, except for a 4 year stint when I was younger in Swaziland, and about 5 years in beautiful BC. I have a wonderful girlfriend and am expecting very soon! I work in the engineering field and enjoy writing in my spare time.