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Thursday, May 31, 2007

TV - Traveler

CBR Talks Traveler

Tripped over a new ABC show tonight called Traveler. I didn't even know anything about this show, but I flipped to it as two college aged guys were rolling blading through a museum as they tried to get away with a prank. Chased by security, they finally make it out and disappear down the street to the corner. Safe, the one guy uses his cellphone and calls another buddy, apparently still inside the museum. He hears the other guy say "Did you make it out?" He says yes, they did, then the guy says "I'm sorry I have to do this." And then Boom! The museum explodes. A pretty fun to watch sequence even if the explosion was clearly CGI (I guess you can't blow up a museum in New York. The CGI was noticeable, but not as bad as say the fake explosion at the end of the movie Tango & Cash :)

So, anyway, I was hooked into the show from there on. Watched the first two hours and now I'm going to have to watch the rest. It's about these two college buddies starting a road trip and winding up framed for a terrorist act and on their own to prove their innocence. There are the usual government agencies on their trail as well. Basically, it's a lot like 24, but better. For one, the pacing was quicker - no obvious 'filler' spots, at least not yet. Secondly, these are ordinary guys in way over their heads. No superhero Jack Bauer skills here, just a lot of desperate running, some luck, and whatever their wits come up with.

The other interesting thing I found out in the article above, is that this summer series is only 8 episodes. So that explains the faster pacing, plus its not as big a commitment to follow. If it goes over well, they're hoping for more in January. The series is off to a good start, so check it out on Wednesday nights at 10 on ABC.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Of All The Gin Joints...

Well, with the delusional "blockbusters" appearing in theatres these days getting poor reviews, it'd be nice to watch a good movie. As luck would have it, I'm flipping through the channels tonight and guess what's playing - Casablanca. Only one of the best films ever made. So I watched it from start to finish and they even played it straight through with no commercials.

Now why can't I get something like that for my movie going money when I drop a 10 spot at the local cineplex? I mean, CGI can be nice to look at, but don't forget this little thing called a good script. And quality acting - like Bogey...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mo. man burns books as act of protest - Yahoo! News

Well now, that's an interesting way to protest. He couldn't even give books away anymore, so he decided to burn them. He's got 20,000 to go, so people in Kansas City can be kept warm for quite some time.

It's a shame though, that fewer and fewer people read for enjoyment. Of course, even I read less than I used to, as I read so much more on the internet. But I still love a good book, or a graphic novel. It helps to stretch the imagination in ways that movies and TV just don't. Pity that the future generation is turning away from it.

That's a Lot of Doubloons...

Pirates Reaches $332M Worldwide -

Well, there you have it. The world loves it's pirates - unless they're actually pirating stuff, apparently. Anyway, that's a lot of money for an opening weekend for a film that got some lukewarm reviews at best and followed a rather dud of a sequel. But then, it is the end of a trilogy, so even I want to see how it plays out, but I think I'll wait a bit.

Was contemplating going to either Pirates, Shrek, or Spidey today with a friend, but when we got to the theatre, there was barely any parking and we just knew the place would be packed. Since we both hate crowds, we spent some time in the bookstore across from the theatre and grabbed a pizza instead. Plus, I got two hardcover noir/crime books for a total of ten bucks. After some of the lackluster reviews for these "big 3" movies, I think our money and time was spent in a better way today...

Sports Roundup...

Well, Dario Franchitti won the Indy 500. Yeah, I don’t know who he is either, but Sportscenter showed his wife Ashley Judd jumping up and down barefoot in the rain after his win, so I’m happy…um, for him, I mean…

Stanley Cup final begins Monday night. Oh wait – you mean hockey season isn’t over yet? Does anybody outside of Canada or possibly Anaheim even know about this or even care? All I can say is that Ottawa better win.

And in bad news today, Barry Bonds hit his 746th home run. Which means he is getting closer to Hank Aaron’s all time record. No way should Barry “Steroid” Bonds lay claim to this record, but it’s going to happen. Fortunately, it looks like most people outside of San Francisco realize it’s bogus and don’t care. Still, it ain’t right.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Buy High, Sell Low...

Anybody else think its weird when I turn on TMN and one of the selections is the animated kids flick, "Over the Hedge" - at 10 at night? Yeah, that's when a lot of kids are up watching movies.

Went and sold some DVD's to Beat Goes On today. Man, they must be making a killing. I mean, I was glad to get some cash and free up some shelf space, but their profit margin is like 300-400 percent mark up on what they're paying out. Their high prices may be why I don't buy much from them anymore. New at Future = 20 something bucks. Used at BGO = 18. And they probably bought it for 3 or 4 bucks. Oh well, good luck to 'em. As long as they're willing to give me cash so that I can clean out some junk, more power to them. They even gave me cash for some old CD's. Remember those things? Too bad they won't take cassettes...

Go Ottawa! (Didn't think I'd Say That)

So its finally set - this year's Stanley Cup final will be the Anaheim Ducks vs the Ottawa Senators! Go Ottawa! 3 straight Cup finals with a Canadian team in there - come on guys, let's win one at least. We can't have 3 straight years with a faux hockey city on the Cup (Tampa, Carolina, and Anaheim? Can't let that happen).

The weird thing is that the final doesn't even get started till next Monday. What? I guess they think the ice will be better in California in June...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Trent Reznor Lashes Out At Record Company

Trent Reznor Lashes Out At Record Company

Great article featuring comments from Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor about hour the music industry is screwing it's own consumer base. Outraged at the insane price of his own album in Australia, he took it up with a record exec and was told that since his band has a true fanbase of devoted fans, they can charge more. It's the pop stuff they have to discount to get people to buy. Reznor didn't think much of that, and is quoted as saying "No wonder people steal music."

Music and Movie companies have to be the only industry that thinks the way to solve their problems is to rip off their own consumer base even more. Although I am not all that familiar with his music (except for the music in the 300 trailer), kudos to Trent Reznor for going public with what the record company was doing.

Long Weekend...

Still in a blogging rut these days as my mental CPU cycles have been spent elsewhere. However, there are a few things of note…

The May Month of Three-quels continues. Spiderman 3 smashed box office records, and now Shrek 3 has hit theatres with 122 million and that doesn’t even count holiday Monday. I have yet to see Spidey 3. I was psyched to see it based on the trailers, but then I read a lot of negative reviews on it and it has kind of fallen into maybe DVD territory. I may still see it if the mood hits, but I won’t worry if I miss the theatrical run. Now Shrek is in theatres too and has come out to lackluster reviews as well. Worst of the 3, I read. I wasn’t planning on seeing it in the theatre anyway, so no loss there. That just leaves Pirates 3 coming next week. My enthusiasm is low for that to begin with (thank you Pirates 2 for that), but I read a quote from Orlando Bloom somewhere on the net to the effect that the story is so complicated, even the writers can’t figure it out. Still, I’ll wait for some actual review before I decide either way. It’ll probably be June before I see these anyway, with my perpetual hate of crowded theatres. I guess I just have to wait for Transformers and Die Hard 4. Come on Bruce, don’t let me down… has some clips from the upcoming Sarah Conner Chronicles TV show. They’re trying to continue the Terminator saga on TV now, and from where I’m standing, it doesn’t look good. I see they’ve decided to go with the whiny wuss John Conner version from Terminator 3 instead of the nervy smartass from T2. That’s a big strike against it. I think Lena Headey will do ok in the lead role, but she’s no Linda Hamilton by a long shot. I realize these are just clips, but I don’t see the kind of intensity Linda had in the role. The only upshot would be Summer Glau doing another version of her River from Firefly role as the “good” Terminator protecting John. Nice to see her getting work, but I fear this will be yet another short lived sci-fi TV show on her resume.

And I have to post on this. Thanks to the Movie Blog via AICN, we get a 3 minute trailer for the new upcoming Rambo film. It features a reclusive Rambo in Thailand getting reluctantly involved in the situation in Burma. I had my doubts as well for a new Rambo movie, but this clip is great stuff. You get the action and explosiveness that you’d expect from a Rambo movie, but there is also a realistic grittiness that brings this out of the generic ‘80s action mindset. There is some hardcore action here too – you’ll be flat out amazed at that one kill in the jeep. It looks like Stallone may come up with back to back hits with his iconic Rocky and Rambo characters. Grab the trailer here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why I Love My View Out My Window...

Fantastic rain storm passed through here earlier on tonight. Sheets of rain, really dark clouds, and high winds. It really poured, and then it was over. And when it was over, I got to see this:

Not a great pic from the cellphone camera, but it was a pretty cool rainbow. Haven't seen one in a while, and they usually fade in and out through the sky, but this one was crystal clear and came down almost on the highway. Pretty cool...

Microsoft Prepping To Take On Open Source

Microsoft Prepping To Take On Open Source

Looks like Micro$oft is trying to take over the open source community yet again. Time to support the Penguin I guess.

And for the love of all things that are good and free, don't buy Microsoft Office ever again. Go get OpenOffice. Just as good, and as I just recently found out, about $700 cheaper.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bloggy Block...

Hectic couple of days for me, so not a lot of blogging inspiration. Hopefully I'll get around to some more posts during the week...

Till then, anyone heard the latest Brad Paisley song called "Ticks"? Very funny, slyly worded, and a great tune too. You can read the lyrics here and listen to the song on his MySpace page.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Link for Me

Just posting a link up for myself so I don't forget it. Although it's an interesting walkthrough of a Debian install

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Me Mini Movie Review Smokin’ Aces

As a fan of Joe Carnahan’s excellent neo-noir Narc, I was looking forward to seeing his new directorial effort, Smokin’ Aces. It revolves around an FBI witness holed up in the penthouse suite of a hotel and the deluge of various assassins that descend to kill Buddy “Aces” Israel in order to collect the 1 million dollar bounty on his head. The FBI needs to keep him alive to make their case against a powerful, yet aging, mob boss. From the trailer, it looks like all hell then breaks loose as bullets fly. There is an incredibly diverse ensemble cast in place as well: Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Ryan Reynolds, Jeremy Piven, Alicia Keys, Jason Bateman, Andy Garcia, and more.

Now, first of all, I enjoyed the movie. The trailer was a bit of a miss sell of it though, as it made it look like nothing more than a slam bang, bullet laden, action fest. In fact, every character gets their moment – even the most minor (what was with the Ritalin Karate Kid?). The various character setups come pretty quick, along with a lot of fast dialogue (with some great lines), during the first hour of the movie as all the players are introduced and brought together to the focal point of the hotel. Then as the action hits and the bullets fly, it’s an all out blast to the end to see who makes it and who doesn’t. There are some twists that come along to keep things interesting, but if you’re paying attention at the beginning, you’ll see most of them coming. There is an actual story here, and a good one, but if you go into it just waiting for the action, you may be more than a little confused. There’s a half decent plot going here if you’re watching for it.

The acting is excellent from the main players, although there is some needless over the top mayhem from some of the more peculiar assassins. Ray Liotta is of course stellar as always, along with a good non-comedic role performance from Ryan Reynolds as the two FBI agents trying to get to Aces first to keep him alive. They provide most of any gravitas of the movie. Andy Garcia brings his usual touch of class to any film as the FBI boss concerned with the greater good. The two surprises for me were the performances from rapper Common (who I’d never heard of prior to this) and singer Alicia Keys. Common has a great moment when he confronts his boss Aces about loyalty, and even though he was technically one of the ‘bad guys,’ he had me pulling for that character. Keys showed that she may have a decent future on the big screen, being the character and not just another singer trying to be an actor.

For what I expected to be a Tarantino-esque, shoot ‘em up, over the top, violent movie, it turned into an unexpectedly good story about loyalty and betrayal. Joe Carnahan certainly plays the odd character moments up, and there is plenty of blood letting violence as the bodies start to fall in the hotel climax, but he shows a solid noir sensibility and manages to show us Ryan Reynolds can do more than crack the funny quips. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s a fun ride.

Verdict: Recommended for Tarantino or Neo-Noir fans.
Rated: R (It’s for a reason, people. Not for kids)

Terminator Franchise Rights Bought Up...

Halcyon Company Acquires Terminator Franchise -

Well, this is interesting. Halcyon has acquired all rights to the Terminator franchise. The article is mostly a lot of BS about how great their marketing will be for movies not made yet, but there was a couple notes of interest. They are going full steam ahead for a Terminator 4 movie, which will be the start of a new trilogy of Terminator movies. Is this a good thing?

I've written before of how much I like the first 2 Terminator flicks - some of the most enjoyable storytelling and movie making moments. Plus, besides all the action and ahead of its time special effects, the storyline was solid. It was about how the future wasn't set in stone, that you could change things. It was about fighting for hope.

Then came Terminator 3 - different director and writers. And what did they do? They basically just ditched that for a movie of costly set pieces and a storyline of no hope, saying that no matter what they did, the future couldn't be changed. Nice twist.

Now the big wigs of Halcyon are saying that's the jumping off point for their new movies. And since I'm pretty sure Arnie and Linda Hamilton won't be back, I'm only mildly interested in T4. I wonder what the casting is going to be this time? Let me guess - The Rock as a charismatic Terminator sent back in time to protect John Connor (played by Shia Labouf) and his fiancee (played by a returning Claire Daines, who needs a paycheck) from an army of diabolic machines from the future led by a handgun turned robot called Megatron and nefarious Agent Smith, only to be saved at the last minute, in an surprising twist, by a dying female boxing Terminator from the PAST! (played by Hilary Swank). It will be the biggest cross marketing promotional event ever. And the trailer will end with these words: "Directed by Brett Ratner." They won't even need a script writer - this stuff will write itself.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Get Yer Trailers!

Some new trailers available in glorious Quicktime. Check ‘em out…

The Bourne Ultimatum in Quicktime HD. Looks good, but I hope they’ve lost the shaky cam. Download Here.

Pirates 3. In Quicktime! Hopefully this is better than Pirates 2, and the trailer does look good. Great line from Captain Jack near the end. Download Here.

Good Luck Chuck. Dane Cook is back and has done a minor upgrade from starring with Jessica Simpson in Employee of the Month to Jessica Alba in this one. A couple of laughs, and a couple excuses to see Alba in underwear. Download Here.

Superbad. Looks like a high school comedy with a couple laughs. Download Here.

License to Wed. Another trailer for a comedy that features one maybe laugh. Mandy Moore looks good though, as always. Looks like another over the top Robin Williams vehicle for a paycheck though. Download Here.

Ratatouille. The 9 minute preview in HD 480P of the next animated hit from Pixar. It's a fun, wild sequence, and the animation is top notch. This had me smiling more than the previously listed comedies. Should be a hit. It’s a 129 megs, so don’t download unless your high speed is working. Download Here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Speaking of the Law...

The other day I was driving around and got in behind one of those annoying "more speaker than car" souped up street machines that are popular with the pimp-my-ride crowd. Of course, this guy had the tunes up and revved his engine without any consideration for others around him. So, I immediately disliked him on general principle. However, it was the license plate that got my attention: "YBELEGAL"

Nothing like daring the cops to pull you over. I guess he enjoys hearing the words "License and registration, please." and "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

To quote Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon!"

Paris Fought The Law, & The Law Won...

Sky Showbiz - Paris Sent To Jail

Well, it's about time. The infamous, and relatively useless, heir to the Hilton money was sentenced to 45 days in jail for breaking probation and driving with a suspended license.

She had previously been banned from driving in September 2006, when she received 36 months of probation for alcohol-related reckless driving. She was then caught driving on her suspended licence in January 2007, but was let off with a warning. But she was caught again in February 2007.

Now, I have no sympathy for those who drive under the influence, and I have even less for Paris Hilton. How stupid can you be? Nice to see the judge didn't cave to celebrity for a change and actually handed down a jail sentence.

The thing is, this girl has every privilege in the world. Money to burn, will never have to work, and yet she does absolutely nothing with her life. Her only claim to 'celebrity' is her drunk partying, a 'leaked' sex tape that nobody wants to see, and music album that nobody wants to hear. Maybe getting slapped upside the head with some harsh reality will make her want to do something with her wealth and privilege. But somehow I doubt it...

Tales of the Stranger: Episode 10, Part 2

Here we go with part 2 of Episode 10. This one came together pretty easy, but I'm having a tougher time with part 3, so we'll see where it goes. This one is a bit longer too, with a word count over 2000. So, enjoy if you can, and comments - good, bad, or ugly - are always welcome...

Fuse by Eaglewing

Down at the court house they're ringin' the flag down
Long black line of cars snakin' slow through town
Red sheets snappin' on the line
With this ring will you be mine
The fuse is burning, Shut out the lights
The fuse is burning, Come on let me do you right

THEN, Years Ago…

The rising hill road was covered in settling dust that sparkled in the moonlight. It wound past a cemetery that overlooked the torn up city down in the valley below. A lone young man stood in the yard, staring at markers naming those that had meant something to him. Tempers, greed, and stupidity had conspired to take them away, and he had played his part, a part called failure.

He had been part of the gang that started a war that they couldn’t finish, and the cost had been high. Way higher than he ever thought imaginable. Bullets fired with intent had found their marks, and that would have been bad enough. But it was the stray ones that went places they weren’t supposed to and found those that were innocent that hurt the most. He had been warned, but he was an angry young man that didn’t think past the end of his own being. That had been rudely and cruelly changed when he buried the last family he’d had along with the family he was going to have. If only he’d stayed that night. The ring he’d given her was six feet under now, ‘cause that’s how he’d meant it. She wasn’t supposed to be there, but – he abruptly shook his head. He couldn’t play that film on his memory’s screen yet again.

Hoisting his surplus army sack packed with everything he owned over his shoulder; he stared down the hill at the town he had called home, and whispered “Goodbye.” Then he walked out of the graveyard to the dusty road. He really had every intention to walk away from all he’d known and never come back, but he still had his reservations. It wasn’t like he knew anything else but the gang and the streets. Where was he going to go from here?

He looked up as a dusty black ’68 Ford Cougar broke the silence of the night and roared up the road towards him, coming to a stop in front of him. The driver leaned over and rolled down the window.

“Hey there, buddy, could you help me out? Looking for a place to eat and gas up. Anything good in that town down there?”

The young man leaned into the car window, looking at another man close in age and noticed the cowboy hat and crazy grin the driver wore. “No, man, you don’t want to go down there.” He turned and looked back as he spoke. “Nothin’ good in that town.”

It was then that the driver realized he was stopped in front of a cemetery. He grew suddenly serious. “Hey man, I didn’t see…I’m sorry if I interrupted something here.”

“No, no you didn’t. I was just saying goodbye, and thinking about leaving. Was just about to start walking when you came along, so don’t worry about it.”

“Well, do you need a lift? I’ll give you a ride if you need one. Where you headed?”

“I don’t know, hadn’t thought that far. Hadn’t thought of the actual leaving…” The young man shook his head, taking another look back at the grave markers as it slowly kept sinking in that he was alone now.

The cowboy behind the wheel saw the body language and the hesitation. But he had seen something else, something still alive, in the young man’s eyes. And he knew moving on was essential to living, or so his yet untested young mind thought.

“I don’t know what happened man, but I can see you’re asking yourself a lot of questions. Try this one – is there anything back there worth staying, or worth dying for?”

The man on the side of the road shook his head as he quietly whispered, “No, I guess there really isn’t anymore…”

“Well then,” began the driver quietly. “Come on, I’ll give you a lift. Try to get back to doing some living further on up the road.”

Neither one said anything for the next several minutes. For some reason, the driver felt it was important that he wait patiently, so he did. The young man had a decision to make, and in time he made one. Looking away from the grave markers and back at the cowboy, he nodded in agreement. Opening the car door, he tossed the sack onto the back seat before climbing in.

“Thanks. I appreciate it.” He put his hand out towards the driver. “The name is Sonny. And who might you be stranger?”

NOW, Years To Go…

The Stranger smiled at the memory of the first time he had met Sonny. They turned out to be two of a kind, raising hell and taking names. They were partners, covering each other’s backs through all the rest of the adventures they’d have. And so it was now, as the Stranger was doing what a partner would. Sonny had known the gang war battles and the high and useless costs. He wouldn’t hesitate to try to turn it around for someone else if he could. But Sonny wasn’t here, so it was up to the Stranger, and he’d honor Sonny’s memory by doing what he could. Having followed the girl back to her building, he had eyeballed the obvious Bobby during their rather heated hellos. He was hoping Jamie would be able to do some heavy duty convincing, but he wasn’t counting on it. He knew what loyalty to a friend meant. Either way, he didn’t have much time before all hell broke loose, and he’d need every minute of it. Time for some recon, and with a little luck, a face to face with this Tiny, whoever he might be…

Blood moon risin' in a sky of black dust
Tell me Baby who do you trust?
The fuse is burning, Shut out the lights
The fuse is burning, Come on let me do you right

In the sparse, second floor, dingy apartment bedroom, the words flew fast back and forth, as Bobby and Jamie tried to convince the other of what needed to be done. He was telling her he couldn’t let a friend down. He was a man that needed to do what needed to be done, to do what was right, even if the cost was high. It was about honor, about friendship, about being something different than what passed for the definition of being a man in these parts. And she could see it, but she wasn’t having it either. She was asking him to walk away from Tiny, from the code he carried. She was asking him to stay alive. It wasn’t going well.

“What good am I then?” shouted Bobby. “What kind of a friend – what kind of a man – would I be to let him walk into that with no one to cover his back? No one he can count on. That’s not who I am, and how could I live with myself if I let him die like that? A man’s gotta be able to look in the mirror at the end of the day! Don’t you get that?”

“Yes, Bobby, I do. But you’ll be killed! Can’t you see that you can’t save him? That he’s made his choice? You have to walk away from this. Stay here with me, please! I need you to do this for me, I – ”

He cut her off. “Walk away?! This is my life, Tiny’s life! You don’t have to face this. You can stay here and you’ll live on just fine. But you want me to just walk away and leave him for dead? What could make me stay here and let a friend down like that? What good would I be to you if I did that? How can I let fall everything I am? Tell me that!”

She paused, knowing the next words had to be right. She felt so much in that moment, and could feel things coming to a bad end. Tears started to fall down her cheeks as she quietly whispered with everything she had left in her soul.

“I love you, Bobby. I just love you. I could live without you if I had to, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to know what that’s like. I don’t want to feel that. I may be able to live on, but I won’t be alive. Don’t you get that?”

And the words stopped. He stared at her; she stared at him. It hit him hard, hearing her say the words he had long hoped to hear someday. It burned within her, to be asking him in the name of survival to forsake the very thing that made her fall for him in the first place – what made him a man. Each could see the other’s point, but neither could see a way around it. And maybe there wasn’t. They could both feel the time running out on them, and neither was ready for that.

He moved first, and she didn’t hesitate to follow. He pulled her to him in a heated embrace. Tired arms pulled each other closer with renewed strength, lips locking together in desperation. If time was up and this was it, if this was all there was left for them, then it was time to make it count.

Tires on the highway hissin' that something's coming
You can feel the wires in the tree tops hummin'
Devil's on the horizon line
Your kiss and I'm alive

Quiet afternoon an empty house
On the edge of the bed you slip off your blouse
The room is burning with the noon sun
Your bittersweet taste on my tongue
The fuse is burning, Shut out the lights
The fuse is burning, Come on let me do you right

The gunshots ripped a hole through the silence of the night. Gang members were falling all around, bullets flying through the air to punch bloody holes into human flesh. He yelled to Tiny, but he was too late. The red spray flew through the air as Bobby screamed and watched the life go out of his best friends eyes. Then the never-ending hail of bullets found him, slicing through any chance he’d ever have. As he fell to the dirt, he looked up to see Jamie, reaching for him, but too far away. He’d lost. He’d lost it all…

Then Bobby’s eyes flew open, awakened from a nightmare into a dream. The feel of Jamie’s touches was burned into his skin, and as he awoke with her in his arms, he realized he was suddenly faced with a terrible choice. He finally had everything he ever wanted, laying next to him, giving him hope with every breath of hers on his skin. And yet, he had a friend out in the streets who was no doubt going to die tonight if he didn’t do something. And if he did do something, the chances were beyond high that he’d never get back to this dream again.

She felt the tension flow through his muscles, and she awoke with a feeling of dread. Slowly lifting her head, she turned to look into his eyes. Her heart broke at what she saw there – he had made a choice, and by her, it was the wrong one. She pulled back quickly, and he slid out of bed.

“No!” Jamie cried. “Don’t go, Bobby, please don’t go. I can’t lose you!”

“I can’t, baby, I just can’t leave him. I gotta do what I gotta do, it’s who I am, and I owe him. I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for him. He saved my life, and I gotta watch his back. I owe him that much.”

She was shaking her head, watching him pull clothes on and grab his guns. He kept talking, “Stay here, I’ll be back. I will make it back, darlin’, I will. I’ll get us out of here, out of this, but you gotta trust me. I love ya, baby…” And he was gone.

She pulled the sheet up to her chest, sitting alone on the bed as the minutes ticked by. How could he do it? Then she answered her own question and made up her mind. Slipping off the bed, she went to the dresser and pulled out a small handgun Bobby had given her some time ago for protection on these rough streets. Then she began pulling on her jeans and a sweatshirt, found her shoes, and hit the door running. Because of loyalty to friendship, Bobby couldn’t let Tiny walk into a war zone alone. But she loved her man, and she couldn’t let Bobby walk into one alone either. They needed to be together, right or wrong, dead or alive…

To Be Continued…

Lyrics from the song:
"The Fuse", written by Bruce Springsteen
Album: The Rising

Friday, May 04, 2007

Picture This

PSP News: Sony's PSP Camera next month -

I want one of these. A little camera that can be snapped onto my PSP USB port to record pictures or video. It'd just be a really cool gadget to have, although I don't know about the quality.

The downside is that it's only being released in Europe. What? When is it coming to North America? It's a cool little gadget. I must have it!

Bye-Bye to GG

Breaking news: "Gilmore Girls" a goner

So that's it, the show has been officially canceled. It's been in limbo all season long if there was going to be an eighth season, and now, with two episodes left, they say it won't be back as contract extensions with the shows stars couldn't be hammered out. It'll be interesting to see how they do the series finale, but the writing is already on the wall of what's coming.

This was actually a pretty good show for the first 5 seasons. I certainly haven't seen all the episodes by a long shot, but any I caught on TV reruns were always fun to watch. Good writing is good writing, regardless of the topic. And I always liked waiting for Luke's reaction and sarcasm to the lunacy of the title character Gilmore Girls.

Of course, what the show will probably be known for is how the series creators didn't get a contract extension (they wanted multiple years), and almost tanked the series with a true "What the?" moment at the end of a pretty bad season 6 (during the season they even brought in what is always the death knell of a TV show - a kid). In fact, after getting interested in the show around season five, I missed a lot of episodes of season 6 and just kept up with it online. Then after that 'finger to the fans' season 6 ender, the creators left, writers and producers changed, and I was watching just to see if they could do a writing miracle and turn it around. It took half the season and 10 episodes before it even started to happen, but the last few have been back on track. So of course, that means it's being canceled. Either that, or the fact they lost about a million viewers each of the last two seasons.

It's probably about time the show ended, as there really isn't anywhere more for it to go. As an exercise in story arc writing, it's been an interesting watch. They should have planned a little for it though, and ended it properly after what could have been a pretty good season 6. Oh well, that's one less show to remember is on. Back to TV on DVD...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

DiCaprio In a Michael Mann Noir?

Mann Looking to Reteam with DiCaprio -

This could be good. Michael Mann is looking to direct a '30s era noir starring Leo DiCaprio as the Private Detective investigating whether a film starlet murdered her husband. The article says sources indicate it is a strong script in the vein of LA Confidential. If that's the case, sign me up.

I'm not sure I see Leo as a classic noir PI, but he can certainly act, so I think he can pull it off. And I always enjoy Mann directed films. I loved last years Miami Vice movie, even though a lot of people panned it, and Heat is one of my all time favorites. It will be very interesting to see how Mann does a period piece.

Sin City 2 Teaser Exists Somewhere!

There's Already a Sin City 2 Teaser?! -

This is way cool news - I hope it gets leaked onto the 'net soon:

Smokin' Aces director Joe Carnahan revealed on his official Blog that Robert Rodriguez gave him a sneak peek at Sin City 2:

Robert Rodriguez stopped by the office yesterday and showed me what may become the teaser for 'SIN CITY 2' and HOLY SH*T is it something. I don't want to let any cats out of any bags, so all I can say is there's not a hetero male moviegoer alive that's not going to deeply DIG that spot. Remember, he's doing 'A Dame To Kill For' and brother has he got it. That guy's enthusiasm for filmmaking is infectious too. A solid bloke and a good soul.

The second "Sin City" book, "A Dame to Kill For," is an earlier story of Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen's character), whose life is turned upside down when Ava, a woman from his past returns, saying she loves him and causing all sorts of problems for him.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New Rush Hour 3 Trailer

YouTube - Rush Hour 3 - trailer

New, actual trailer is out for Rush Hour 3. Had exactly one minor laugh, and a couple good stunt clips. Then it ended with the words all comic book movie fans have come to loath - "Directed by Brett Ratner." (No, I haven't forgotten about X-Men 3). Chan is always fun to watch, but was kind of hoping for something better than this considering Tucker is getting something like 25 mil. When is it coming to DVD?

Hydrogen bus fleet to debut in Whistler Hydrogen bus fleet to debut in Whistler

In time for the Olympics, BC is going to have Hydrogen fuel cell buses as the majority of their fleet in Whistler.

By 2009 in Whistler, you should be able to hop on a whisper-quiet hydrogen-powered bus that leaves nothing in its wake but water vapour.

That's pretty good to cut down on fuel emissions. Heat and water vapour, that's it. Pretty cool. But I'm wondering about safety...

Common concerns about the technology are cost and safety issues around hydrogen fuel storage and handling. The March report for Alameda-Contra Costa Transit found there had been no safety incidents since the buses were deployed in 2000. But several minor operating issues cropped up: fuel-cell buses were “significantly taller” than the diesel fleet, resulting in more need for tree trimming.

Well, if they say it's safe, then it must be. I wonder if they're going to name the first one Hindenburg?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

itunes? I Guess…

So it begins.

I’ve taken the plunge into the itunes world. 4 hours, a lot of internet searching and forum reading, some handy downloads, some creative cursing at itunes, and I now have the album of music I wanted for about 10 bucks less than any store that didn’t stock it to begin with and I have it in DRM free crystal clear audio. Whew. It’s not easy, but it’s doable to get free to use MP3’s out of Apple’s restrictive yet cost effective way of getting music.

This all started because of Doc Walker. If you don’t know, they are a Canadian country band that came out with a most excellent self titled third album in 2007. After hearing the first single “Trying To Get Back To You,” I went to their website and was able to hear 2 more songs that I liked. Then the new single came out – “Driving With The Brakes On” and I knew I wanted this album. Well, Future Shop didn’t have it, and has it for 25 bucks and has it for 17 plus tax and shipping. Ouch. There had to be a better way. Having just recently loaded itunes for a podcast downloader test run, I looked at the itunes store and there was the album for 9.99 Canadian! So I was in – time to do the research and give itunes a shot.

Installing itunes wasn’t bad. As long as you’re careful on answering questions at setup, it won’t commandeer your entire music library. After poking around inside a bit, my opinion is that it isn’t much of a media player. It’s designed as a music shopping experience first, usability second. It’s not bad, but it’s no WinAmp for ease of use. As for podcasts, it works well for that. Easy to find, sort, download, and play. However, overall it’s a bit bloated software – if you want to browse podcasts and get recommendations, its great. If you have the URL’s already and just want a small, efficient program to go get them, use Juice.

Now on to the actual music buying experience. Here we go – created an account, which was pretty easy. Email, name, password, address, credit card, and you’re ready in a couple minutes to start buying music. If you’ve bought anything online, like from Amazon for instance, then you know the drill. Then off I went to the album I wanted, and confirmed my purchase – 12 tracks for 9.99. Not bad. It charged my card and started downloading.

This is where it started to get interesting. I got my first bump in the road at track 4. There was a network error and the track stopped downloading. It skipped over and continued on downloading the other 11 tracks. When that was done, I went back to my Purchased list, and there was track 4 with a handy little “Retry” button. Clicked it, and the download appeared successful. Great, I thought, I’ve got the album, although that download error was highly disconcerting. But I checked my files on the hard drive, and it was there and proper size, so I wasn’t worried.

Then I played the tracks. They sounded great – excellent audio quality. Except for track 4. It was there in itunes, on my list, and confirmed purchased, and on my hard drive, but no luck playing it. Something got screwed up on the problematic download. Stupid DRM bites the consumer once again. So, I randomly cursed greedy studio execs while I hit the net and the forums. I also started to look for what program to use to get rid of the DRM. I knew I could burn to CD and rip it back again to do it, but that seemed unnecessary. I wanted to preserve the digital file I had.

Well, long story short, the download network error is quite common, but there is a simple solution. Copy / move the unplayable file somewhere else on the hard drive, and then tell itunes where it is, and it plays. No kidding. Don’t know why, but it works. Kudos to some dude in the forums for that one.

To remove the DRM, check out the Hymn Project and get the QTFairuse6-2.5 files. Run your newly downloaded, yet DRM infected, itunes files through their handy program, and they come out in usable M4A files. And they don’t even lose audio quality or the tag info. From there, you can use itunes again or a number of other programs to convert to MP3, or Ogg, or whatever you prefer.

So, it took a bit of work, but it was worth it. I couldn’t find the album in stores, and online was too much money for something I would probably just rip to my hard drive and then put on the shelf. I do really miss the liner notes, but I can live without it. I did notice some albums on itunes come with a Digital Liner notes package to look at, so hopefully that gains popularity and is included on more albums.

As for itunes, it’s not the best program, but it’s usable. Handy for podcasts, ok for the store, and not much else. As long as the QT Fairuse program works, then all is well. I’m not about to upload and share music I just downloaded, but I should be able to play music I bought and paid for on any computer I own, or CD player, or MP3 player that is NOT an ipod. And that’s what Fair Use is all about.

As a side note, the movies and TV shows that can be bought and downloaded via itunes are only available in the US, not Canada. So the Canada version of itunes is only good for music, music videos, and audiobooks. Still, albums at 9.99 and individual tracks at 99 cents is a good deal. Just get yourself a copy of QTFairuse and be prepared to do a little bit of work with your files and its actually worth it. Who knew?