Monday, February 28, 2011

Charlie Sheen to be replaced by John Stamos?

Just saw a quick headline on my Google Reader from E! Online stating the following:
Sources: CBS Begins Courting John Stamos to Replace Charlie Sheen (for Real This Time!)

Click here for article while it lasts.
I'm not a regular of Two and a Half Men but the episodes and short clips I've seen are pretty freaking hilarious. I wish I had the time to invest in catching up and/or just watching a new show. I have a hard enough time watching the shit I want to watch as it is...the TiVo is screaming at me to get the shitloads of episodes watched!

What I've seen of the show does not make me think that John Stamos would be a welcome, needed, or good replacement or addition. I've never really like Stamos' acting. He spent too long a time with Full House and his "acting" on that show is the lasting impression I have of his abilities. In Never Too Young to Die, he had a different character than in Full House but he still wasn't that great. I think I've seen him on some evening TV show in the past year or so...quick IMDB search says it was ER and Glee. I wasn't impressed in what I saw of him on ER. I barely saw a full episode of him in Glee so I can't comment on it. I did like him in some made-for-TV-Lifetime-type movie but I don't recall what it was. I think he beat his wife or killed her and tried to kill another...you know, the typical Lifetime movie.

I think it comes down to Stamos does serious-with-personality way better than he does ANY comedy. And Two and a Half Men is 95% comedy...the other 5% is serious which becomes a lead in to the comedy.

Anyway, I really don't care either way. I'm not vested in watching 2 1/2 but for those that are, I really think it'll be very hard to replace Sheen's arrogance-with-comedy or comedy-with-arrogance role.

Actually, I think I put too much damn thought it such a quick read and post. :-)

Honda CR-Z and Crosstour

Saturday, I had a long day. I played tennis in the morning and then went to lunch with my tennis buds. I didn't need to go and really didn't want to go, initially, but I did. That's the kind of friend I am. I didn't want to go (to tennis or even lunch) because I had honey-do things to do as well as studying for a test on Monday—today.

I got back into my area about 2pm. I had to get the CRV oil changed and then an inspection because it expires the end of this month. I had a coupon for the dealership oil change for $24.95. I think it's like a $8-$10 savings. That's why I wanted to see how backed up the dealership "express" service was. I pulled into the bay and a service guy, Lamont, approached my vehicle. I asked how long for an oil change. He said about an hour. Damn! I told him that I am going to need an inspection, either there or somewhere else, but I wanted to see what they thought about my tires. They looked center-bald.

Anyway after all the back-and-forth chatter and making a longer story shorter, I was at the dearlship "express" service for a little over three hours. I got oil changed, tire changed, tire rotationed/balanced, and inspected. All for the low price of $948.

While I was waiting during my hour that turned to three hours, I got some studying done for my test which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise, especially with the decent albeit windy weather. During my breaks fro study, I walked around the outside near the dealership and saw a few vehicles that were pretty interesting.

The first I saw was the CR-Z. I saw this one from the side-rear view. It reminded me of a Prius but somewhate sportier, to me anyway. I really liked the way the CR-Z looked in comparison. The wife was talking about a Prius as our next vehicle or something similar in the hybrid option. Funny that I should see this the day after we talked about it. I asked the service guy, Lamont, to compare the CR-Z to the Prius. The main thing I got out of his babbling was that the CR-Z has three different driving modes: sport, economy and something else. I could be wrong on the first two. I guess that's why Lamont is the service guy and not the sales guy but they really should give the service guy more knowledge on the vehicles to help start a sale or whatever. Know what I mean?

Anyway, it might be something worth looking into when we decided to get a new vehicle down road. You can find Google images here.

The 2nd vehicle I saw ws the Crosstour. It caught my eye from its rear end. I thought it was similar to that of a type of BMW—I don't remember exactly what model. I looked inside to see what the interior was like. It was pretty nice and it has wood-grain dash and such. It looked pretty "luxurious" as well as somewhat sporty. To me, it was eye-catching and I had to know more about. Once again, asking the service guy, Lamont, wasn't much help other than, "Your oil changes in the CRZ-Z or Crosstour will most definitely not have a couple of $24.95. The oil is zero weight and the change is $55." Helpful but not the help for which I was looking.

I found a pretty decent write up here. Of course, it turns out to be written by a dealership but it gives you the gist of the vehicle with some images. You can find other images by Googling or click here since I've already done it.

The Crosstour seems like a pretty nice vehicle. I think the price tag is around $34k and I'm sure that goes up or down with whatever package is chosen.

Neither is in my immediate (or even distant) future but it's nice to see different...new...vehicles and dream.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Follow-up comments on some products I've purchased

I was perusing some hit stats for my blog and I saw some search terms that pointed people to my most awesom thoughts. The ones that meant something to me were the ones where I purchased an item and I didn't follow up with what I thought about that item. What an injustice to my readers. So, I thought I would follow up on a few products that I have purchased within the past year or two. I'm not going to link to the original posts as they are searchable and will be found quite easily.

Anyway, here it goes:

Remington Dual Flex Cordless Shaver—This this is a complete and utter piece of shit! I didn't expect much from the $19.99 price tag but I expected something a little better than I got. The dual blades/shavers are worthless. I felt like I was using an old cheese grater on my neck. In fact, after using this once and only once, I had nicks and cuts near/around my Adam's apple. Talk about BURNS! I thought maybe using this as a fuzz buster instead but I'm sure it would have shredded my clothes as it did my neck. Again, I didn't expect much but a new rechargeable and portable shaver would have been very nice to replace my very old other one (I forget which brand and model). I washed the Dual Flex very well with soap, water and Sea Breeze then promptly returned it to Walgreen's.

ASUS G50VT-X5—This is one beast of a notebook. I purchased it as a desktop replacement although I had no intention on replacing or foregoing having a desktop. This thing is heavy. It's not overwhelmingly so but it isn't a thin portable like some of these other notebooks and netbooks. I purchased knowing this in advance. This thing is pretty fast. It runs Vista which after having 7 afterwards on my machine at work, I would upgrade the G50VT if it was near-free for me to do so. Since it's not, I will stick with Vista for now. I've had this for a little over a year and have not had any problems up until about a month ago. I think I posted about it crashing on me. After I got a new hard drive and reinstalled my software (this machine came with restoration software and disks...a big plus in my book for ASUS!), I focused on the seemingly bad hard drive to hopefully get my files off it. I back up every night to multiple hard drives but the one thing I didn't back up was my Outook.pst file. I keep all my email that matters filed in different folders within Outlook and this hadn't been backed up since maybe a month or so before. The nice thing about the G50VT is that it has a spare HD bay for expansion. I had a 500 GB in there before the crash which was one of my backups locations. When the crash happened, I thought I'd use the 500 GB to replace the failed 320 GB. For some reason I couldn't get the 500 GB to recognize for re-installation. Luckily, I had another 500 GB that I used. I was able to insert the "bad" 320 GB into the expansion bay and get my files. In fact, the 320 GB was not bad at all. It was fully and properly functioning. After some tinkering and swapping, I found that the 500 GB I originally had in the expansion bay was bad and it was causing the notebook to not boot or anything but turn on. Yippee for me as I didn't have to take it in for service! Since the reinstall though, I think I've noticed that the machine runs a little hotter and the fan runs more. I'm not sure why or if it was the same before and I just didn't notice. I use this machine every now and then because I decided to purchase the Alienware M11x to be my portable powerhouse notebook for school and personal use.

Alienware M11x—I got this thing for a really good deal a month or two ago. I probably could have waited a month or so and gotten the better deals on the i5 that I am seeing now. My thought is that I really wasn't going to use the M11x for high-processor-requirements like gaming as much as just simple things such as school, email, and Internet. I say that but I am sort of disappointed about not waiting a month or so to get the faster speed at basically the same price. Oh well! The M11x is a pretty nice machine. I like how it is zippier than my Samsung netbook and occasionally it'll open a browser window or Office file faster than my ASUS-G50VT (which is sort of weird). I'm digging the slightly larger than a netbook screen and the backlit keyboard. The casing is slick and appealing but definitely prone to fingerprinting just like the LCD screen. I haven't played around a lot with all the features like overclocking and the Aliensense because I don't need to overclock right now (and don't have the time to play around right now) and I prefer to type in my password than wait for the camera to recognize my mug for no-typing logging in. It works but my typing is faster especially in low-light situations.

I've been pretty happy with it up until the day that I could no longer use it. One day, I took it out of my bag. Hit the power button and it turned on. I got the cool LEDs to light up around the computer base and keyboard but nothing else. No boot up. No Windows loading screen. Nothing. I thought this could be a hard drive issue so I removed the bottom cover and removed the hard drive. I connect the HD to my ASUS via USB to SATA cables and the HD shows up in My Computer. I am able to copy, paste and remove files without issue for a few hours. I decide it must not be a HD issue. I put the HD back into the machine and turn on the power. Voila! I have boot up, Windows logon and I am able to see my username's desktop and all. I work on it for a few hours and go to bed. I wake in the morning and turn the M11x off. I wait a few minutes and power it back on. Same as before: no boot up, no Windows loading, nothing! I repeat powering down, uplugging the power cord, removing the battery, replacing the batter, plugging in the power cord and powering on many, many times with the same result: Nothing!

A few days later I am finally able to call Dell/Alienware support. I don't know if all Dell machines are like this but it was VERY nice to have the Alienware "brochure" that had all my machines information on it like customer service phone number, specs of my machine, the customer support tag, the type of service plan I have, along with other information. It was beneficial to have all this in one place. I call from my work around mid-afternoon on a Friday. I get some Middle Eastern person who's name I could not understand and could barely comprehend his English speaking. I was polite and told him I was having trouble hearing/understanding him and he made effort to be more clear. After some time, he "asked his supervisor" some questions and they said I needed to have the machine in front of me so they could troubleshoot some more to make sure they ordered the correct part for service. WTF!? When did I become part of Dell's technical support team? The way I see it is that they should send someone out (I have next day home service as part of my plan) to assess my issue and then if they have to take my machine or return another day with parts, that's what THEY should do! I paid for the service to be done for me not for me to be part of the service I'm paying for! Anyway, I told them I'd have to call them back when I got home from work or in the next day or so. He gave me a different 866 number to call and said it would be direct to their department and anyone would be able to help me due to the notes he has placed under my file on their system.

I was finally able to call the 866# he gave me this past Tuesday (Gimme a break! I've been busy with work, kids and school). When I called the first time, it rang about 10x and then it sounded like someone picked up the line and hung up. I didn't know for sure until a recording came on that said, "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again." I called the number a second time and a recording came on that said something about "Thank you for using [something]" and my call was forwarded through some phone system, I guess. Finally, a woman picked up and I told her I was calling about following up with getting my Alienware serviced. She responded confusingly, "I'm sorry what were you calling in reference to?" I repeated and she said, "Sir, you have reached [so-and-so] Apartments." I was like, "This is NOT Dell Computers customer service?" "No sir." "Okay, thanks!"

That's as far as I've gotten so far because I had some more homework and shit to do the past few days. I may go home this evening and try again but I might have something to do. I will definitely follow up Friday evening or sometime Saturday because they are available 24/7. It's just my schedule that's fucked up.

I can say that 1) I'm not impressed with the stability of the M11x since it's been two months and something is wrong with it and 2) Dell/Alienware customer service so far has has somewhat solidified all the negative comments I've read online over the years about their poor service. Hopefully, it will get better when I have time to call them again.

Tachyon XC HD Helmet Cam—I've tried to get my use out of this little toy. It's a toy to me because I really didn't need to buy it. I just thought it was cool and had to get it.

Anyway, I have posted a short video before so you can just search "Tachyon" on my blog to find and see it. It's nothing spectacular since it was my first use but it shows the quality of the video pretty well. I've made another short driving video but I haven't edited it yet.

My plan is to take it with me in the next few days, weeks or probably months on my helmet during a bike ride but it depends on when I get a chance to do it.

So, look forward to seeing some more videos from the Tachyon soon. They are big files so it takes me some time to edit and such with my limited knowledge of video editing tools.

HTC Evo Shift—I've had this phone for a few months now. I've gotten a little more used to it. I like the phone much better than my initial introduction with it. All the features of it are pretty cool. The touch screen is fast and responsive. The apps that I've downloaded and used have been useful and have so far been without issues. It came with quite a few apps already installed which I have used and like as well.

One issue I have is the emailing function. I have my SBCGLOBAL.NET email set up with my phone for sending and receiving. When I am typing a message, it doesn't automatically create punctuation like my Blackberry did. For instance, words like "can't," "won't," "wouldn't," or "I'm." It even doesn't automatically add a period when I space-space at the end of a sentence. Luckily, the slide-out keyboard has a dedicated period key but it still would be nice for it to auto-end a sentence.

I downloaded the app Handcent SMS for texting. It does what the email should with the auto-punctuation. It also makes texting kind of fun because it puts the text messages in bubbles. I like this SMS app over the built-in app.

There was another issue I had with the phone but for some reason I can't remember what it was. I remember talking to my wife about it because she had the same issue with her Evo. I'm sure it'll come back to me soon.

I'm still getting familiar with other functions of the phone that I may not use as often. Overall, I don't think it was a bad purchase or upgrade from the Blackberry. It's taking some time to get used to the different functions compared to my Blackberry but I did have the Blackberry for almost six years and this one just for a few months.

In the news 02/25/2011

Article headline from the Dallas News states:
Cowboys running back Marion Barber donates $500,000 worth of computers to Dallas ISD high schools
Click here for article while it lasts.
I read this article and I give props to Marion Barber for giving back to a few schools in the Dallas ISD.

I think all high-paid athletes should give back. They are making millions and with all these budget cuts and the down economy every amount, especially $500k, helps.

It's also the right thing to do when it's these communities that are helping to pay their salaries. These children's parents are probably fan(atics) that pay top dollar to attend the football games and frivolous events with their family and friends. They should be acknowledged and rewarded in some way.

Anyway, big high five to Marion, for his donation could not have come at a better time with the anticipated education budget cuts. Oh yeah and it says that Marion approached the principal of one of the schools to see what he can do.

BIG HIGH FIVE TO BARBER!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Email humor 02/23/2011

 
Getting A Parking Ticket

The other day I went downtown to run a few errands. I went into the local coffee shop for a snack.

I was only there for about 5 minutes, and when I came out, there was this cop writing out a parking ticket.

I said to him, 'Come on, man, how about giving a retired person a break'? He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. His insensitivity annoyed me, so I called him a Nazi.

He glared at me and then wrote out another ticket for having worn tires.

So I proceeded to call him a 'doughnut eating Gestapo.' He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first.

Then he wrote a third ticket when I called him a moron in blue.

This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I talked back to him the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, I didn't really care. I came downtown on the bus.

I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. The doctor tells me that it's important for my health.



That's all I got to say about that!
 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

L & L Hawaiian BBQ in Plano, Texas

On my unexpected day off yesterday, I was out in the Plano area. On my way back to Dallas, I remembered wanting to try this place called L & L Hawaiian Barbecue in Plano. It's located in a shopping center on the east side of Preston Road just south of the 121 Tollway.

I wasn't really hungry for lunch when I stopped by because we had a big breakfast and I had just finished a Starbuck's Venti Cafe White Mocha. I was just purchasing some food to take home for a late lunch. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to try the L&L since I was in the area.

I entered the establishment and it was pretty dead. I didn't think it was a very good sign for business, especially a restaurant, to have only four and a half occupants at around 11:30-12 o'clock. It's even worse when the occupants are the cook, the cashier, the elderly parents of the cashier and probably owners of the franchise, and a baby which I'm assuming is the grandchild of the owners. While I was trying to decide what I wanted from their surprisingly limited menu options (I compare their menu choices to the L&L in Waikiki), an Asian family of six entered. I told them they could go before me since I was still trying to decide if it was worth my time to purchase something since my anticipation was better than the actual menu choices.

After the family ordered, I decided to go with the BBQ Chicken Salad and the Lau Lau/Kalua Pork Combo which comes with rice and mac salad. I thought I could drop off the BBQ Salad to my wife on my way home as her office is on the way. They had a picture of both the Salad and Kalua Pork but not the Lau Lau. I vaguely remembered what the Lau Lau was from this past summer in Hawaii but wasn't sure until it was served. I think the BBQ Chicken Salad was like $8.50 and the Pork Combo was like $9.50. I got the aloha portion which gives you more mac salad and two scoops of rice. I think the difference in price is like a dollar for aloha size.

About an hour later, we arrived home and it was time to test the food. The kids and I stood around the styrofoam container (which styrofoam isn't a problem for me like some others) with high expectations. The Lau Lau was indeed what I expected: pork steamed/cooked in a taro wrap. I'm not much for the wrap portion as it's not very flavorful (to me) and is mushy. I scraped the leaf off and ate the pork. The kids didn't want any of it although. The dish was very close to that which I had in Hawaii but I think it steamed longer in Hawaii because the pork was more tender than this. One child devoured the mac salad which is very good and exactly like it was in Hawaii. The other took a scoop of rice and half of the Kalua Pork and cabbage. The Kalua Pork was very close in comparison as well but it wasn't as tender as on the islands. It's shredded but you can still tell that it wasn't as tender. It was still very good and it's better than nothing. I finished everything in the container that the kids didn't eat except for the leaf so it wasn't awful. It just wasn't my Hawaiian/Filipino cuisine that I remember.

The wife came home many hours later and I asked how she liked the BBQ Chicken Salad. She thought it was very good but she too felt that it wasn't actually Hawaiian/Filipino cuisine. The BBQ chicken does have a specific glaze/sauce that is often represented in H/F cuisine. But it too was basically an iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber salad with glazed chicken and a side of Asian dressing. Was it good? Yes. Was it Hawaiian? Sure, maybe. Can it be had at Pei Wei, Royal Thai or some other Asian cuisine restaurant for a similar cost? Yes, something comparable can be found in non-Hawaiian-specific restaurants.

Is L&L truly H/F cuisine? In my opinion, it is not entirely. I think it has been modified over the years just like many cuisines to capture the tastes of the locals...these locals just happen to be White Americans and this location specifically for Texans. I'm not saying that's entirely bad but the website professes that they bring the Hawaiian homeland cuisine to those many displaced Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders that had to migrate to the mainland. Personally, I feel gypped.

The L&L in Waikiki is very Hawaiian/Filipino. I could get Pork or Chicken Adobo, Shoyu Chicken, Teriyaki Beef or Chicken, Pancit and many others. It was freaking awesome! I think the money-grubbing expansion has destroyed the L&L brand. Again, I'm not sure what the other L&L franchises serve in the other states but if it doesn't have a corporate structure of what should be offered, then it's not genuine to those of us that truly know.

I posted a picture and comment on Facebook and my cousin (a crazy and rambling one) commented saying I shouldn't hate on the braddahs trying to bring the homeland to the mainland. I didn't respond but he's so ignorant that he doesn't realize the founders are not Hawaiian. I'm not completely positive but I believe one is of Chinese descent and the other may be Korean. I believe one came to Hawaii for schooling at the University of Manoa.

Anyway, it doesn't matter who it is. If they aren't going to properly bring the homeland, I'd much rather them not bring it at all.


Red (2010)

Red (2010). I had an unexpected day off from work yesterday. My kids were off for President's Day. We didn't know until Friday around 6pm when the school district emailed a "Just for clarification" email to explain/confirm the dates of make-up for the four missed ice/snow days near the first week of February. Anyway this led to me having to take a vacation day because I could not find any one to pawn my children off to. Now granted they are probably old enough to "take care" of themselves for eight hours during the daytime but a good excuse is the best excuse to take an unexpected day off. Besides, we had workers coming to the house and we needed it to be empty for them to work.

Anyhow, that was great of the district to let us know of the day off the Friday evening before the weekend before the day off.

I have had this movie in my possession way too long for my BBTAP membership. I think it's been like 2-3 weeks since I rented them. That's too damn long to fit into my cost-worth analysis.

The kids and I ended up watching this movie together. It's rated PG-13. There wasn't much bad in it other than cursing, some occasional blood, and some not-so-graphic assassinations/killings.

The movie was actually entertaining and funny. The kids thought it was fairly funny too. I was kind of bummed (spoiler alert) that Joe, Morgan Freeman's character, didn't survive the movie. I guess I can see the point as he went out doing what he knew and loved instead of letting his terminal cancer kill him slowly and painfully. Some people commented that they felt Malkovich was over the top and too high on LSD. I thought he played it perfectly. Willis' character is typical Willis these days: comedic ex-military specialist/killer/etc. Freeman's character was minimal but it was similar to a few of his recent/past roles: retired expert in whatever field he retired from. Mary Louis Parker's character was forgettable other than how attractive Parker has gotten over the years. I think her role could have been written out or differently but I don't think it was a central catalyst in the movie. She's still pretty hot in a weird kind of way. Helen Mirren is one of the hottest "old broads" I've seen in film these days. There's something about her that just hits a nerve within me. I can't explain it but it's a little weird to me in a cool way...like I want to see her topless just as much as Parker. I thought Mirren's character was well done and they explained and weaved her story well within the group. SPOILER ALERT! I almost cried when I thought she was going to die after gettig shot in the hip area. Richard Dreyfuss had a pivotal but small part. I don't recall seeing him in a movie in some time. It looks like he may have had some facial work done. Dreyfuss' role was short and sweet and not overdone.

Overall, I didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised and entertained. By all means, this is no award-winning film but it did the job it was supposed to do and did it fairly well which was enjoyable entertainment.

Nothing against the movie but I'm still a cheap ass so I would recommend this movie if you can get the $1 Redbox price or something under $3.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Silence of the Lambs 20-year anniversary

Not a big post or anything really about the movie but I did read an article about the creation of the characters and such. It was pretty interesting and I'd link to it if I thought about it before I closed the website down.

Anyway, my reason for posting is until I read the article...

I didn't realize this guy



was the same as this guy


How he has changed and so have his roles.

Interesting...just interesting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blockbuster needs a new business model (obviously)

Today, I curiously clicked on the "On Demand" button within my online Blockbuster account. This curiosity was created because of my use of "Watch Instantly" on Netflix. I'm still getting my money's worth out of my free trial. I've mentioned previously about why I can't justify Netflix—lack of recent movies for instant play. But, my free trial has made me look into what Blockbuster can offer me in comparison for online movie play.

After viewing the FAQs of On Demand at Blockbuster.com (here), I understand why more people are choosing Netflix. The first two sentences in FAQ #2's answer sums up that reason perfectly:
"No. Blockbuster On Demand is separate from a Blockbuster By Mail subscription plan."
What...the...fu...?! Seriously!?

Once again, this is how BB appreciates and rewards is customers, old and new. How long have customers felt like BB has screwed them over the years with exorbitant rental and late fees? How did BB respond: they took late fees away and then sort of brought them back as well. Now customers want to be able to view movies online. What did BB do: to please customers and to compete with Netflix they added On Demand...but with a catch. Unlike Netflix, the online viewing at BB will require a per movie rate versus a monthly rate. Wrong move BB!

Without getting into the nitty gritty and regurgitating facts I'm sure many others already know (because I'm new to Netflix and online movie streaming), Blockbuster has failed once again to capture, retain or gather customers. Why would ANYONE want to pay extra for something that a competitor already include in its packages? Other than the brick-and-mortar store exchanges, BB has no differentiator...and this differentiator obviously isn't enough to compete.

Anyway...just for shits and giggles, let's compare a plan of each.

Netflix
  • Unlimited streaming only @ $7.99
  • Unlimited streaming and 3 DVDs @$19.99.
Blockbuster
  • Unlimited streaming not available in any plan
  • 3 DVDs/Games @ $19.99 (5 in-store exchanges per month)

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Am Sam (2001)

I Am Sam (2001). Continuing with getting the most out of my free trial of Netflix, I saw this title available for instant play. I was going to take my time watching it but in the notes section of my queue it says, "Available until 2/15/2011." I don't know what that means or why but it made me start watching this movie today, at work but before my start time around 7:45am. I had to pause a few times once others started trekking into the office but I finally finished it this evening.

I didn't realize/remember that Dakota Fanning was in this movie. It's weird to see her young after just seeing her in The Runaways. She was so pale, blue-eyed and blond as a child. She could have been a real-life Powder-type.

Watching this movie reminded me of how hot Michelle Pfeiffer was. I don't recall seeing her in anything recently (past few years) or even in paparazzi shots so I don't know what she looks like presently. I was able to get a screen shot from the movie though. Those eyes. Those lips. That hair. Um...

Anyhow, this movie was fairly good. Getting closer to the end, I realized that I may have seen this movie already. If not the entire movie, at least the ending starting with when Dakota starts living with Laura Dern. I think the acting was well done even though Sean's character made me think I was watching Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man or Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Penn was kind of a combination of the two. I thought the supporting cast of the mentally challenged was hysterical and well-acted. I wanted to thumb Dern's character on the head for being such a bitch to Sam but I can understand where she was coming from. At the same time, Sam seemed to be able to raise Lucy up to the age of 7. Granted she was going to surpass him and the parent would become the child but the court could have supplied a support system or a tie to some church group or something. I guess it's better and cheaper to just take the kid away than to provide support. I can see that point of view as well.

So, before I get too carried away. I would recommend this movie. I wouldn't pay for it as it came out some eleven years ago but I'm guessing you won't find many friends with this in their movie collection.

By the way, did I mention how hot Michelle Pfeiffer was? With one exception, when she was crying and the bluish veins started showing through her pale skin in her forehead/temple. That was kind of gross because she looked like she was on her way to becoming one of the living dead.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

New semester of classes for me

Not that anyone cares but I didn't get a chance to share what grade I got in my Employee Benefits class taken last semester, Fall 2010 (mentioned in this post).

Slack-ass Jay ended up getting a C. That's right bitches...a C. Hold the applause.

Again, this class wasn't one of my core courses. It was a business elective and to get a C, Hell!, to pass is good for me! What I can take away from this is (1) I'm 3 hours closer to being done and (2) I passed!

Now, I am about a month into the Spring 2011 term. I'm taking two management courses that are the two core courses I have to take for my management major. I didn't want to double up on two business courses in one term because I know what kind of slacker I am. But I didn't have much of a choice. The classes are getting slim pickens these days and the closer I get to my graduation the harder it is to find a class that will fit my major AND fit my work/personal schedule.

This semester I am taking a Human Resource Management course as well as a Leadership & Culture (i.e. Organizational Behaviour) course. After attending a few classes, these classes overlap just a bit. I mean what is leadership and culture if you don't have good human resources management. A few terms I have heard in both classes. I wish it was so simple as paying attention on one class to pass both. LOL!

Anyway, today I have a test in my HR class. Because of the snow/ice last week, it's only over chapters 1-3. He didn't want to push back the test and mess up his syllabus schedule because of guest speakers and such. It's great that it's only three chapters but that's if we read those chapters already and slack-ass Jay sort of did. His comment to the class was, "Well, you guys already read the three chapters before the "break," right?" Ha! Foolish man how I have him fooled.

So, wish me luck on exam one today. I'll need it. I feel semi-confident but who knows what will be on the test. It's 50 multiple choice questions so maybe that will help me...maybe not.

Have I mentioned before how I hate school?


That's all I got to say about that!
 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Email humor 02/09/2011




Jilted ticket holders sue NFL and Jerry Jones


As George W. Duke says in Rocky V, "Touch me and I'll sue! God damn! Only in America!"

Newstory headline at CBSDFW.com reads,
Denied Super Bowl Ticketholders File Class-Action Suit

Click for here story while it lasts.
The NFL and Jerry Jones should have seen this one coming. Who can I sue and how much can I get is the new American Dream. It's no longer the "Dream" of olden days.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think the NFL and especially Jerry Jones make too much damn money and stick it to the fans as much as possible and probably more than any sport but a $5 million lawsuit? Really?

My thought is if the league or Jerry pays me triple the amount of my ticket costs, pays for my travel and lodging and gives me souvenirs from Super Bowl XLV and as long as they also pay for my new ticket costs, travel and lodging and something like $2,000 for spending for Super Bowl XLVI, I would be more than happy. Heck, maybe even just give me like $20,000 or enough for reimbursement of my costs plus an "NFL and Jerry are sorry for your inconvenience" stipend (I'm not a huge football fan so the game isn't as important to me as what I do with my money but fans may think differently). Either way, I think this is closer to a "reasonable reimbursement" than $5 million.

The lawyer seems to me to be of the ambulance chaser type. He says let's sue for $5 million because $3.5 million will be his percentage of the take. If any court judge or jury finds for $5 million, our country is falling further into ridiculousness. Lawsuits like this are no different than the Ponzi schemes, the bank/housing loan debacles, and Enron-type scandals. It's about ultimate profitability. True that's what Jerry wanted but is his desire to boast a record attendance worthy of $5 million? I'm not sure it is.

So, these people will file. It may even go to court. They may even win a settlement. But who do you think will ultimately suffer? For sure if it's a $5 million payout, it will be the one-time fan, the football fanatic or the Cowboys season ticket holder. Jerry probably has that in his back pocket but the person who buys a ticket will pay. It will be done by increasing the ticket price, the handling/processing fee or higher over-pricing of concessions.

I'm not saying they shouldn't complain, get something in return or even sue. But who really decided that $5 million was the amount to go for...the people or the lawyer?

Oh well...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

After the ice/snow thawed this past Saturday, I was able to walk to my local Blockbuster and exchange my mailed movies for new ones. I picked up Resident Evil: Afterlife thinking it would be a decent choice. I've seen all the movies of the series and with each one I'm a little confused, a little bored, a little miffed and a little 'eh.'

It's been a while since I saw the last one (Extinction, was it?) so a few flashbacks in this one were semi-helpful in jogging a little bit of memory. The start of the movie was confusing to me. First, when did Japan become the new hub of the Umbrella corporation? Second, there are a jillion Japanese walking around this lone Japanese girl who is/seems normal. I figured what was coming and they didn't disappoint. The girl suddenly turns weird, dead, or whatever and starts chomping on a randomly chosen guy. They camera view pulls out from street level to sky level to space level showing the rate of infection which then leads to Alice (Jovovich) to search for survivors while bringing down Umbrella corporation.

So, here are my questions:
  • How did this girl (Japanese one) get infected and how did she not die first then turn to zombie girl?
  • When did Alice learn to replicate herself and how did this become a "power" of the T-virus? I don't recall her learning some new abilities from any of the movies other than being a badass ninja marksman.
  • Where/how did the axe-wielding-hooded guy come from and what really was the purpose of his 5 minutes of screen time? How does he see through his burlap baggy? How was he smart enough to make his axe-anvil weapon but he couldn't kick Claire's ass? How did he find much less sneak into the showers without being seen, heard or asking for directions in that big ass jailhouse?
  • How did Alice keep the quarters from falling out of the shotguns when the barrel was pointed down?
  • Why didn't Claire and/or Alice somehow get naked in the shower fight with axe-wielder (or at ANY time)? It's not like there are lot of minor boys watching this movie since it veers too far from the game and hardcore gamers will not watch just for that fact. But it's also not like these boys haven't seen more or worse. All horror-type movies have female nudity at least in the top three requirements of being a horror movie.
  • Why did Chris Redfield have to talk like Christian Bale's Batman?
  • Where did the octopus-like mouths, tongues, or heads come from? Another side effect of the T-virus? Were these people injected by Umbrella or was this a natural mutation/reaction to the virus when they were bitten?
  • Why did they make the Wesker guy have the personality and dress of Terminator? I mean the sunglasses, really?
  • If Alice was made human by Wesker, how did she retain her badass-ness? I thought that was a bi-product of the T-virus.
  • If Alice is indeed human and she gets bitten by the undead aka infected, would it just react with her body like it did originally?
  • Before Alice was made "human," why did she run from the zombies because I thought she is (was) technically one of them?
  • How does Umbrella have so many uninfected humans to fly the helicopters in the end? How many facilities do they have that weren't blown up by Alice?
  • I hate endings like this movie had. I know it leaves it open for more sequels but when will/does it end?
I guess that's enough ranting. In the end, I thought the movie was watchable. I would not have paid to watch it at a movie theater unless it was at the $1 movie or better yet, 50-cent day. I was slightly excited and aroused at seeing Milla and Ali again but was disappointed in the lack of gratuitous bare skin shots aka boob shots of the two. I mean not even a shot of Ali in her white, wet t-shirt when fighting the axe guy. Bummer. The story line was fairly weak and barely existent but I kept watching hoping for more, for something. Maybe I was looking for an explanation and then closure. I didn't get it and I don't think anyone will with this movie. Let's sew this series up in the next and final movie or just leave it as it is. I can't handle another quickly thrown together senseless continuation...okay, I would still watch it but reluctantly and frustratedly.

That's my opinion. I liked the movie to an extent but it didn't have the same intenseness, suspense and horror as the first, second or how many ever there are. Try to borrow a friend's copy or watch instantly on your Netflix account that way you don't waste a DVD mailing.


Monday, February 07, 2011

What's wrong with the NHL?

The actual words that piqued my interest were
"Is the NHL Disappearing? What's Wrong with Professional Hockey?"
This from an article here that I saw on Yahoo!. I didn't read the entire article. I really just scanned the first paragraph or two.

It made me remember that there was an NHL All-Star game last weekend. Did any of you know that? Do any of you really care? I don't recall a lot of advertising and marketing done to promote it. In fact, the only reason why I found out about it was because I was flicking through the sport channels looking for a Stars game and saw the ticker at the bottom of the screen on ESPN2 mentioning something about the skills competition for the All-Star game. I was like, "What? We've already reached the NHL All-Star game?" I was shocked not to have seen more marketing at least on the sports channels like ESPN, ESPN2, Versus, Fox Sports Southwest or even on the Dallas Stars website.

So, I caught the rerun of some of the skills competition. I made a mental note to make sure I tuned in for the actual game. I watched the anthems: Canadian then American. The Canadian Tenors sung the Canadian anthem. They sounded pretty good and they sounded official like people in Canada knew and like them as performers. They announced who was going to sing the American anthem and my first thought was, "What in the FUCK has happened to the NHL!?" I shit you not. I was disturbed, disgusted and disappointed in who they got to sing for one of the manliest of sports' all-star game.

It was mother fucking Clay Aiken! That's right. Clay...mother fucking...Aiken!

Gary Bettman, that's what is fucking wrong with professional hockey! Only an ass-wipe, clueless commissioner would book Clay Aiken to sing at the manliest of man sports. As an NHL fan and enthusiast, I am ashamed at your lack of direction and support.

Anyway, I watched the 1st period of the game and was bored. There wasn't a lot of excitement in the game. I mean the NHL All-Star game like the NBA All-Star game is where the skilled players shine with their nifty moves and amazing shots. This is where we should see the spinning-360 backhand score, the pass-pass-pass-shot-while-the-goalie-flops score or the between-the-legs-shot-with-the-puck-in-the-top-corner score. I didn't see any of this in the 1st period so I found it hard to find a reason to return and watch the rest of the game.

So, yes. There was an NHL All-Star game last weekend. It was competing with the NFL Pro Bowl game which was on the same day and I'm sure near the same broadcast time.

I don't watch football and yet I knew when the Pro Bowl game was and when the Super Bowl would be.

I'm a hockey fan, not die-hard or hard-core but very in to it. I didn't know about the NHL All-Star game until the very last moment and then was disappointed when viewing it.

This is what's wrong with professional hockey. There was a time in Dallas of all places that you couldn't walk down the street without people talking about the Dallas Stars just as much if not more than the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks or the Texas Rangers. In fact, the Texas Rangers were always in a negative context and the butt of many jokes. Somewhere, they all turned it around especially the Ranges recently.

Hopefully hockey can do the same.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Netflix

A week or so ago I got a promotional mailing from Netflix. It was promoting a free trial for a month. They gave me a promotional code and everything saying I was "special." They were lying. I waited a week or so to decide whether or not I wanted to take advantage of the trial as I already have Blockbuster's Total Access Plan. Granted, the TAP doesn't include streaming but I really don't have a need to watch online. Besides, I typically have time to wait for my DVDs to be mailed to me.

With this crazy ass snow storm we've been having in Dallas, it made me think about this free trial promotion. I have three movies I need to return to the BB store to exchange for three others but the freezing temperatures have not been very accommodating. I could walk there but I said to myself, "Self, why not try the Netflix free trial?" So, that's what I did. What's funny thought is that I believe the promotional code they gave me is just a way for them to track their marketing. Smart but not a special offer for me. I could have just signed up on the main page and received the same "promotion." Basically, I just signed up for a free 31-day trial of the 1 DVD out-at-a-time plan with unlimited time to watch instantly. And I have made as much use as possible in the past three days (since Feb 1st) of my unlimited watch instantly.

Before I get into my brief thoughts on the movies I have seen, I must say that I was initially stoked about being able to watch instantly on my laptop or my PS3 but it sort of wore off a bit as I find that many of the movies I've looked into viewing over the past few days are not available for instant play. I don't know the reasoning behind it because I have seen newer titles as well as 1 to 3 or more years old not available. I guess there is some agreement with the movie industry but again, I don't know. I can see the instant streaming being a blast for instant gratification when you get the immediate urge to watch a movie but if it's not available, it kind of defeats the purpose. I pay $19.99 + tax a month for my BB Total Access Plan with 3 out at a time (DVD or games) and unlimited DVD exchanges in the store. With Netflix, it costs $9.99 + tax for only 1 out at a time and unlimited watch instantly but with the limits of availability. Personally, I think I'm getting the better deal with Blockbuster. Of course, once BB increases my rate, I will probably not use any service and go back to just watching boring Saturday Night Live on the weekends. :-)

To the "reviews..."

Frozen. This movie was slow. It started out slow. It continued to be slow. It ended slow. I know it's a movie but there is no way that a ski resort would not make doubly sure that there are no people on the ski lift before shutting down. It was predictable on how/when the people were going to get stuck. It was further predictable on what the fate of at least one of the people was going to be even though it ended up being two. I don't know much about skiing or how to ski but I would think that someone would be dressed a little more warmly than the first "victim." I also don't understand why they didn't put up the hoods of their jackets to get/stay warm. I found myself saying, "Why don't you put yo' hood up dumb asses!?" One of the best and freakiest parts of the was when the guy jumps from the lift chair and his legs break/shatter. That was pretty cool and gross at the same time. Something I didn't get was when the broken-leg guy yells up to his friend about being careful on trying to monkey-bar the lift cable. He says, "Be careful. Those cables are razor sharp!" Why would these cables be razor sharp? Is it a side effect from being constantly run through the wheels of the lift apparatus or what? I need to know. I may have to Google this when I have time and can remember to. To me, this movie is a pass.
 
Exam. This movie was also a slow starter. It takes place basically in one room. I don't get how a corporation could allow the shit that went on in the room near the end of the movie but I guess I shouldn't question A MOVIE. Also, when there is only one question and you really don't know what the question is, big deal. It's just downright polite to answer someone when they ask, "Are there any questions?" I get the premise of the movie and how people feel like they have to solve problems or some shit. Personally, I think I probably would have kept quiet and bade my time for the 80 mins. It may have not been the "answer" but it would be better than making up answers or what I thought the interviewers wanted me to do. This movie too is a pass.
 
Unthinkable. This movie is not what I expected. I thought it was going to be about something else because I didn't read the synopsis or anything. I think Samuel L. Jackson speaks the same in almost all his roles. He either is loud or very loud. He's always yelling at people or talking to people with hostility. Other than that, I thought he did a very good job in this role. Carrie-Anne Moss has always been my leather/latex clad hottie. She's attractive without all the make up and highly doable. I've had a thing for her since she kicked ass in The Matrix. She did a pretty good job in her role as well. I hate movies like this though that end without a real ending. We don't know if there was a 4th bomb or not. Where was Carrie-Anne going with the terrorist dude's children and will they grow up hating America and follow their father's terror-laden footsteps? I do agree that the steps Jackson's character took is fully necessary. If the "terrorist" isn't going to be humane, why should the American government or any government be? Give respect and forgiveness for someone who does not reciprocate? I think not. I still think this movie is passable but I don't think it's a total disappointment.
 
Octane. There is absolutely nothing positive I can say about this movie. Actually, I can. This movie positively sucks dirty ball sacks! This seemed like it was trying to be a British Fast-&-Furious-type movie and it came up way, way short! The acting was poor. The female characters lacked interest and attraction. I think it should have stayed with its British title (I think) of Dolphins. The best part about this movie was the suped-up Ford Capri which looked like a Chevy Nova. Oh, bugger! You can probably write your own script and it would be better than this movie. I'd definitely pass on this one.
 
The Runaways. This movie actually wasn't too bad. It wasn't full of excitement, suspense, and intrigue but it was a good story about the starts of Joan Jett. Personally, I thought Kristen Stewart was better looking in this movie than in the Twilight series. Maybe it was the hair. Maybe it was the fact that she wasn't brooding and whining all the time. I don't know. It was the first role I've seen her in where she didn't act the same or similar to all the other roles. Dakota Fanning looked pretty good too. I feel gross saying that since I think she was playing at 16-yr-old and she is only 16 or 17 herself. I think it was the feathered hair and that she didn't play a typical role she's known for: cute, little big-eyed girl. I learned a few new things from this movie like who Cherie was and that Lita Ford was not just Lita Ford. She was part of The Runaways. Interesting to me but maybe not others. Overall, I think the movie was good. It was a biography of sorts and as such I think it did a good job without being boring.
 
The Girl Who Played With Fire. I was reluctant to continue my viewing of the series of "The Girl Who (With)..." movies. After watching the first movie, I wasn't impressed. In fact, I was left wondering what the hoopla was with this craptastic movie. My expectations were much lower for this movie but I found myself pleasantly surprised. This 2nd movie didn't seem as old-feeling...it didn't feel like it was shot on old 35mm film or something or like a VHS camera. Again, this could be what the original movie was going for but the slow story line and crappy acting didn't help better the movie.

I think the Lisbeth has gotten better looking since the last movie. Again, maybe that's what they were going for in the first but I don't know. She had better hair. She seemed more interesting and I think her acting has improved. The overall acting and story line seemed much better to me as well. Unlike the first movie though, I had to read the subtitles because watching instantly on Netflix did not provide me with the subtitle option for English.

I don't like the way it ended but I do understand it is a series so I'm accepting it. I think I will probably Netflix the next one (...Kicked the Hornet's Nest?) because I think I saw it available on instant play.
 

That's my experience so far with Netflix. I will continue to try and instantly watch as much as I can before I decide to cancel. Again, if I can't get the new releases I want to watch, then there is no reason for me to get Netflix. So far, I think it's overrated. Granted Blockbuster has fucked over a lot of people and I think that's why people hate it...kind of like Windows versus Macintosh. I've heard people say, "Dude, you got to get Netflix. It's so much better than Blockbuster." It makes me wonder what the hell these people are talking about. Maybe it's because I've been on BB for so long that price-wise I'm better off. I don't know. I personally don't see the advantage when I can get my DVDs (3 at a time for $19.99) and then exchange them at the store for three more compared to the same exact plan at Netflix (3 at a time for $19.99) and no store exchanges.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The NFL Experience 2011

I'm not a football fan. I can watch it. I understand the game. I don't really care who wins...although I do get agitated at stupid play calls and piss poor performance when I watch a game especially when it's the Cowboys. I've watch the Cowboys almost my entire life in some form or fashion, from my Dad being a semi-fanatic to my roommate total fanaticism in the sense that he COULD NOT miss a broadcast of a Cowboys' game.

Anyway, a coworker/friend of mine came in Friday morning excited about something she heard about (and I actually heard a commercial on the radio a few days earlier). It's called "The NFL Experience 2011." Apparently it's a pretty big deal and real football fans are already in the know. She's not a huge football fan but like all sport fans, she is into it especially when it's in her (our) own backyard AND it's not a huge dent in the pocketbook.

So, the commercial I heard I have already posted about it here. Well, I ended up attending this "experience" but I did not buy the tickets. My coworker offered and I said, "Maybe." I almost didn't go but then it rained Sunday morning and I could not play tennis so I called her and said I could.

She was excited as she didn't want to go with just another coworker who just happens to be an equal title to my friend/coworker and my immediate boss. I don't mind hanging out with my boss except for when she talks really loud even in the quietest of rooms, she complains about work issues which are mostly her fault because she works at work and then at home until she falls asleep, and....well, she's my BOSS. It's not horrible but at the same time I've just got to keep myself under control (because I lose that so often). It's more like I can't just let it all hang out and be myself entirely. I have to filter some of the things I say...sometimes...because I didn't invite her and it isn't a work function so if she can't separate the two, then we'd have issues that I'd have to take up with her.

So the tickets were only $25 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under. That's not too bad but I'm sure the ticket counter is not where they planned on making their profit. The 20oz bottles of Pepsi products were something like $8...I'm not for sure as my coworker bought me one. I didn't check the food prices although I was getting hungry while there (we went at 11 a.m. on Sunday) but I thought we might go eat somewhere afterward on the way home. We didn't, which was okay because I saved money, but I was near starved once I got home around 2 p.m.

Basically, if you are a kid that likes football or a hard-core adult football fan, this place is the place for you. Personally, inside the convention center is overpriced NFL products and food. They did have some freebies like you could take a photo in a Steelers or Packers football jersey, alone or with friends, in front of a green screen and they would impose it on a Dallas News newspaper print. It was pretty cool to go to the website the next day and find our picture and download it to my computer for free. Truthfully, the process costs nil for them to make so I couldn't see why they would charge other than people would pay. They had a memorabilia section where you could get autographed photos, paintings, helmets, jerseys and things like team lapel pins. The pins weren't just the two Super Bowl teams but they also had historical Super Bowl pins from years past as well as all NFL teams. I purchased a Super Bowl XLV pin that had the Lombardy Trophy in the middle and the team helmets on each side with the date of the game. It was $8 and I think that was a little much but I have a pin fetish and I think it is important for me to have something to represent that I was at the "experience" for SB XLV.

I had a neighbor that went with her three boys and they were the for a couple of hours more than we were but they are teen boys. I asked the 13-yr-old how the "experience" was for him and he said it was pretty good and he felt it was very kid-friendly. I guess that's what it is for...the kids and the adults that are still kids.

I thought I'd share just a few pictures from my "experience." I didn't have a lot because I forgot to take my own camera and was using my coworker's. She probably wouldn't appreciate all the very random shots I wanted to take. I guess if I thought about it that I could take whatever I wanted anyway because it's digital. Duh! Anyway...