Thursday, March 19, 2009

I just love this bit.

I don't know who or what exactly Tracy Morgan is spoofing with this bit, but it's hillarious. I'd love to get the complete back story. Anybody know?

Click here for the mpeg.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I had to see it.

Warning: I will be discussing major plot points, and the ending. So if you have not seen the movie yet stop reading.

I have this theory that the more hype I hear about how great a movie is, the more disappointing it will actually turn out to be. I was delightfully surprised in 1995 when, after several months out in the theaters, I finally let a friend drag me to see Forrest Gump. That movie lived up to the hype. It was that good.

I was also pleasantly surprised two months ago when I went and finally saw Gran Torino. Again, a great story that ran the gamut from hilarious to heart-breaking. Well done.

But my first thoughts after walking out of the Slumdog Millionaire theater (actually before I even walked out) were that this story was not "believable." And the lack of believability was at many levels. Perhaps I'm just a naive American who doesn't understand the horrible lifestyles that the rest of the world lives in. If so, then the world is in greater trouble than I thought (and I already thought we were in a great deal of trouble as it was). But, even aside from the horrors of the children (which, honestly, I'll have to do some research on), there were so many things about this movie that I just didn't buy.

First and foremost... If I've just spent the night being tortured (...and I don't mean lightly tortured, like being smacked around a little bit. I mean really harshly tortured by near drowning, and then being strung up to hang while electrodes are run through me...) If I've spent the whole evening and next day going through that, and then find myself sitting on national television with millions of people watching later that evening- the first words out of my mouth certainly are not going to be "Yes I'm ready to play for more money." They're going to be more like, "I want the world to know that you had me tortured last night you sadistic bastard!"

Also, how many times did that guy "go back" for his girl? If you're infatuated with a girl (or, ladies, if you're infatuated with a guy), and you have to go back again, and again, and again, and again... and again to win her back- she ain't worth it! And I didn't buy the convenient ending, either. If his purpose for going on the show was to find his long-lost girl, then why did he wait until the end to call her? I suppose one could argue that the more he won, the more attention he knew the show would get, and therefore he waited so the viewing audience would build. But what if he missed a question and got booted off the show before getting to use his phone a friend lifeline? That was an even bigger gamble than the questions themselves were. Nope, I just didn't believe any of that.

The realistic movie would have lasted 5 minutes. It would have been some kid on the millionaire show being introduced by the host... "Well, Jamal, why don't you tell us a little about yourself?"

"I'm an 18 year old kid who has been through unmentionable horrors! My girlfriend was kidnapped and forced into prostitution as a child! I haven't seen her in years, and I know that she is being held by organized crime lords! Latika, where are you! I love you, and I want to rescue you! Help police- didn't you hear me? My girlfriend was kidnapped by the mob!"

Now, aside from the plot holes, there were other things that I just didn't like about this movie. It was two hours of exposure to a story of how misguided children can grow up to become gangsters. Halfway through the movie I found myself thinking, "How is this movie any different from (Brian De Palma's 1983 Al Pacino film) Scarface?" Both movies had me feeling that I wasn't being shown any positive values at all. They were both just bad stories about how a bad person grows up realising the benefits of being bad, and as a result gets worse until he meets his demise in a spray of bullets. I never saw the appeal of Scarface. I never understood the infatuation with that evil rise to power. Why is that entertainment? If I didn't like seeing a grown man go through it, why would I have any interest in seeing some little kid go through it?

If the movie was supposed to take place in the present, then the horrible things this kid went through in his childhood were just 10 - 15 years ago. I am going to have to do some human rights research into recent Indian history and see if there is any validity to the claims that this movie makes about the horrible lifestyle in that country. I think I'll start with the Amnesty International web page and see what they have to say. I respect that organization. If you are curious as I am, then you can read what they have to say here.

Long story short: this was a two hour ordeal to sit through. A long, slow, depressing story, with unrealistic, unbelievable circumstances, and a neat, tidy ending that honestly just didn't work.

(And what the heck was with that Thriller video in the end all about?)

I was disappointed. Slumdog didn't fly. The real best movie of 2008 was Gran Torino.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

time killer

I have to admit, I've been playing a lot of the video game Left 4 Dead lately. I bought it for myself as a reward for passing my Network+ exam, and it's been nearly two weeks now. What is so appealing about running around a city shooting zombies? Dunno. But apparently I'm one of many, many other people who are enjoying it, too.

The game itself is a system hog. It took forever to download and install the thing. Then it said that my video card driver was out of date, and made me download the latest one of those (took just shy of forever, too). Once I got it up and running it was fun, but the on-line servers seem pretty weak. I'm constantly getting booted off line and dealing with lag issues. I thought that upgrading my RAM might help, so I went from 1gig up to 2gigs, but it's not much better. I think maybe the weak link in the chain is my processor. The minimal system requirements suggest a 3.0Ghz Pentium 4, mine is only 2.8Ghz. Still, I thought that by doubling my RAM (up to twice the recommended requirements) would be some help- apparently not.

Also, you are forced to download this additional software from Steam, which is used for on-line play. It controls the servers and multi-player aspects of the game... But I don't like it. It is also a system hog, and I am constantly turning it off after game play (which I don't like having to do).

None of this is detracting from my amount of game play, though. I play this thing for hours at a time. Any of my blogging friends players? If so, let's meet up for a game!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bobo, you've inspired me.

My on-line friend Bobo, The Wandering Pallbearer, has a habit of photographing his meals and posting the pictures on the internet. Not sure why, but what the hey.

Recently I discovered the Weinerschnitzel #5 combo meal (chili cheese dog, chili cheeseburger, fries, and a soda), and wanted to share it with all of you. I always add a second chili cheese dog to the combo. I must say, that's a whole lot of really good fast food (although my local Weinerschnitzel is anything but fast), made even better with the addition of chili.

Gotta go... hungry!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Get back on that horse!

I took, and passed, my CompTIA Network + certification exam on Monday. You might think that I was immediately elated, but that was not the case. I spent 6 months preparing for it, and walked into the testing facility with a certain confidence. From the very first question, though (and there were 90 of them) I felt like I was in over my head. I was quite surprised at how many of the questions threw me. I barely passed the thing and, in fact, had myself convinced halfway through that I had failed it. At the end when the screen came up with the message "Congratulations! You passed." I was very surprised.

I think I know what happened. That test is updated every two years (or so, depending on what CompTIA feels like doing). When I bought my study material it was based on the 2005 test standards, which I was assured was the most up-to-date material. When I scheduled the test, however, I noticed that it was the 2007 version. I didn't worry too much about that though because I had been assured by the study material people that I did have the latest study guides. I even researched the test on the CompTIA website. They confirmed that the test was updated every few years, but that if it was between updated years that candidates should study the last updated material (again, the 2005 version).

I don't know if CompTIA came out with a new revision (the 2007 revision) between when I bought the material, and when I tested. But that seems unlikely, because I bought the material in November 2008, and the latest news then was that the test was going to be updated again in June 2009).

Bottom line- I felt overwhelmed by that test. And I'm sure that I had not studied the latest material. So, while I should have been thrilled for passing the thing, I actually walked out of the testing center angry because my score was so low.

Now, I know myself pretty well, and I know that when I am angry it is best to keep my mouth shut and deal with the situation later when I have calmed down (it took me a looooong time to learn that lesson, but I did finally learn it). Anyway, as a result I have not called the company (yet) that sold me the study guides. I'm still a little too upset to do it just yet, but I will probably call them next week. I want to make sure it never happens again. 6 months is a lot of time to put into studying for a test, and then almost fail it.

I passed, though, and got my certification. Now today (after a few days of ignoring it) I started posting my resume again. It's been a tough few months, not just for me but the whole country, with the banks crashing and the unemployment rate shooting up so high. I feel like I need to be telling myself, "Get back on that horse!"

Glad I passed. Glad I have the opportunities that I do. Gratitude.

A little nostalgia, anyone?

Well, since this is officially my 101st post on this blog, I thought I’d make it meaningful. For two years I served in the US Army, in the 187th Infantry Regiment (“Rakkasans!”) with the 101st Airborne Division / Air Assault. Ironically, this was the same unit that my father did his early Army training with (way back when dinosaurs and dirt were new). So it has always had special meaning for both of us. I can’t see the number 101 anymore without it having significant meaning for me, so I thought I’d share that little tid bit with all of you.

God bless America, and all of our troops overseas.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

For some reason, this is how I feel tonight.

"Ironic, isn't it Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has just cost me the election. And yet, if I were to have them killed, I'd be the one who would go to jail! Well, that's democracy for you."

"You are noble in defeat, sir."

Okay, I have a big test scheduled for Monday. I just took a practice test, and barely passed. I guess that means I need to brew a big pot of coffee and hit the freakin' books some more!

(How's that for my 100th post, huh!)

PS... Happy Birthday to Melissa's liver. Love you both.