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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Trade Offs

It's February 26th. What does this mean?

Well, it's trade deadline day in the NHL, of course! Lots of speculation, but who knows what will happen. When I was younger, I always had fun following things on deadline day - usually by radio and TSN at 6 at night. Didn't have the instant update internet back then. I still follow it all, but not like I use to. And now the sports networks in Canada have gone nuts about it too with all day coverage as they talk and talk and talk while waiting for something to happen so they can dissect in detail the impact of a seventh defense man for a 3rd round draft pick. With today's salary cap and crazy salaries, you don't see the roster changing trades we used to. It's all prospects and picks. Not as much fun, but I remember the fun I used to have...

Elsewhere today, we await whatever Apple's doing. The online store is down, so something is in the works. The rumor sites seem to indicate it's going to be a MacBook bump and not much more. Guess those ugly 3 year old MacBook Pros paperweights might hang around a little longer. So I keep waiting for a better Pro and a cheaper iPod Touch. Good thing I'm patient...

UPDATE: Well, the store is back online and we have new updates for the Macbook and the Macbook Pro. Some nice stuff, some mundane. The price points stay the same, but the MacBook gets bigger hard drives, faster processors, and 2GB of RAM on the second tier and up MacBook. The Pro gets bumps in the Processor, Hard Drive, Graphics RAM, LED Backlit display, and the Multi Touch Trackpad! The downside - same old slippery keyboard, dang it. So besides the Pro trackpad, nothing really exciting, just moderate bumps. Guess I'm still waiting unless I find a steal in the Refurbs...

Get this - the new laptops no longer come with an Apple Remote! Really? They can't afford to throw that in? Apple inches closer to Micro$oft territory. And I'm not the only one unimpressed and looking at refurbs - seems to be the consensus in the comments of other sites I'm reading.

Oh, and still no trades in the NHL. The deadline is at 3.

Me Mini Movie Reviews: John Rambo (aka, Rambo 4)

So, after a successful comeback with Rocky 6, Stallone went back to the well and did another Rambo flick too. I wasn't sure about that, but then I saw the first trailer for Rambo and I was sold. Then the other month I watched Rocky 6 for the first time (yeah, I know, I'm way behind the movie curve) and loved it. So I was more than pumped for a Rambo Return. Would it deliver?

Oh yeah, it did. Set in Burma (where real life atrocities are taking place), it finds Rambo living apart from the world and not too keen on helping out anyone or anything. He's been screwed over too many times, seen too much, and just wants to be left alone. He's a man whose lost his faith in humanity and everything else, and Stallone portrays Rambo's world weariness perfectly. Then into his secluded life walks some American missionaries on a trek upriver to bring medical help and supplies to those in need and they want him and his boat to take them there. Understandably, he tells them to go home. Where they want to go is a war zone. But he reluctantly winds up convinced and out they go. Trouble ensues, and snowballs, leading Rambo to have to face his inner demons and decide if there's anything left thats worth fighting for. Take a wild guess what happens next.

Sure, as some other reviews pointed out, the dialogue isn't the best, but I thought it was good and appropriate to the characters, if a little stilted. Rambo preferred silence, which was great in some moments, but when he did speak he made his point clear. Julie Benz (of Angel fame!) was the key contributor to Rambo's tumult, and came off pretty well. The other missionary leader had some awkward lines, but overall the acting was serviceable, and you don't watch a Rambo movie for the acting chops.

You watch it for the action, and holy smokes did Stallone (who also wrote & directed) deliver. This was some of the most brutally violent war time action I've ever seen. It starts with the army's horrible acts against the people, and then when Rambo turns up and lets loose against the oppressors it's taken to another level. Both sides let loose without mercy, and the carnage is staggering. It is outright war, and it isn't pretty. And yet through that action that people expect in a Rambo movie, there was a grimness to it of the madness of survival and war. How far will a person go when pushed? Why does Rambo leave his solitude to do what he does? And in the end, did it make a difference?

I'm not sure he quite made it, but you could tell Stallone was aiming for something higher here than a run of the mill action flick. And while the incredibly well done action was impressive, the quieter moments and questions raised were more so. I really liked that the after battle moments and then the final scene all played out without any dialogue at all. It was said with looks and what was done spoke for itself.

In the end, Stallone did something surprising here by taking the reins of his two most famous characters himself, returning to their stories years later, and coming up with a perfect last story for both. I really liked both Rocky 6 and Rambo 4, and how both were given a great closing chapter.

Verdict: Recommended, but not if you're squeamish of blood.

Monday, February 25, 2008

And The Oscar Goes To...

So the Oscars were on tonight. Did anybody care? Just kidding. Sort of. I find it hard to care as the only movie I've seen that was nominated for anything was The Bourne Ultimatum, which won for Best Sound. I haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees, though I can't wait to see No Country For Old Men (Best Picture Winner!) when it comes to DVD. Can't say any of the others will be too near the top of my rental queue though. What's more fun than actually watching the Oscars though is visiting the various websites that are covering it. Way faster, and usually a lot funnier too. That way I can see who won for best makeup (really? At least it wasn't Norbit) while spending my night watching Beverly Hills Cop II (back when Eddie Murphy was still watchable). Way more fun.

Did anyone catch the Pittsburgh Penguins / San Jose Sharks hockey game this afternoon? Was flipping through the channels and saw that TSN was going to cover it. Great! A Sunday afternoon hockey game. The best part was at the start, as they told us the game would be delayed because the Zamboni blew a gasket and left its transmission fluid at centre ice. When it backed away and revealed the huge pool of red fluid, it looked like it had run over something at the red line. Some of the fans didn't appreciate the fumes either. Oh well, they got it cleaned up and played the game. San Jose won.

And what could be coming from Apple on Tuesday? Going to be something. They've got limited time discounts on refurbed aluminum iMacs on their website, so they're trying to move those for some reason and the other week Best Buy had MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off, which they rarely ever do. Maybe they've got something new. Or maybe they'll just let us know they're finally going to ship those new Time Capsules a month late...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Beak?! Really?

Some comic book movie news today...

Looks like they are shoe horning in even more characters into the Wolverine movie. We now have Wolverine, Sabertooth, Silver Fox, Deadpool, Wraith, William Stryker, Gambit, and now Beak and Agent 0 - aka Maverick - have been added and cast. Now, up until the last two days, all the additional cast made sense for a Wolverine Origins movie. But Gambit and Beak?! Really? How are they going to explain these guys in the Weapon X storyline? The only thing I can think of is if they are doing a present day story with flashbacks to the Weapon X story. This way they can makes this a pseudo X-Men 4 movie under a Wolverine title. Either way, with all these characters being pushed into it, I'm starting to worry it might be going X3 territory. Guess time will tell.

Elsewhere, we get the great news that Garth Ennis' comic The Boys has been picked up by Columbia to turn it into a movie. This will be wild if it gets made right. It'll have to be a hard R as it is one violent and over the top superhero satire. I'm a big fan of Ennis' books, but I don't know if Hollywood has the guts to put out something of his without doing the usual "censored for your protection" routine. This'll be one of the 'wait for the unrated DVD version' movies, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stretching Writing Muscles

Thanks to a great idea at Keanan Brand's blog, I tried this writing exercise. His idea was to find a book or magazine or something, flip through it and point your finger down at a random spot and take that word under your finger. Then do it again for three words. Then set a timer for no less than 5 minutes and no more than 15 and without thinking about it, just start writing something that uses those three words. Then when the timer goes off, stop writing wherever you are. It exercises your writing muscles, you get the gears going for more serious writing, and you get some ideas for future stories.

So with a short bit of time here before I go off to bed, I gave it a whirl. I grabbed a book and three words. Started my timer for 15 minutes and went to it. Not sure where this was going, but this is what I came up with. I'm too tired to use it to charge into more serious writing, but it was indeed great fun and now I've got a new character and possible short story. Great idea!

My words to use:

1. ballyhooed
2. tour
3. right


Sure, whatever she said. Go make them swoon, make them throw pretty under-things on to the stage. Make them feel a dagger in the heart and a smile on their face.

So I did what the manager of this fool's tour said and I climbed the metal steps up to the stage with my trusty six gun of a wired-for-sound guitar in my right hand and I aimed for their hearts. When those lights came up and the music hit the air like a steel fist of lyrical truth, I finally felt something.

I wasn't sure what it was that I felt, but it felt right. It felt like home. It felt like whiskey on a cold night straight from the bottle in a neon saloon. All the pain could come flowing out and hit everyone in front of me. And they not only paid me for the pleasure, they wanted more. So I gave them all the more they could take, and all that I could give.

For that ninety minutes of truth and golden limelight, I was the poet, the preacher, the bartender, the drinker, the circus clown, the make believer, and even a liar. I sung of heart break and world changing love. Of the thousand wrongs and the one thing right. Lies, truth, and extensions of both. I showed them a world they couldn't live in and I couldn't leave.

'Cause in the end, they got their money's worth and I walked back down those steps after a ballyhooed attempt at emptying my soul and praying somebody would see through it all and want what was left. There'd been a hundred towns and a million lights, and it had never happened.

So the taut stringed six gun went back in the case, and I climbed back aboard the bus that would take me somewhere else and I'd do it all again. And if I kept doing it often enough, maybe I'd get her out of my blood stream with all the rest of the turbulence. But somehow, that just didn't seem likely.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodbye HD-DVD

It looks like HD-DVD is destined for the history books as Toshiba is finally throwing in the towel on the next gen format. About bloody time too. I didn't care who won, but as long as there were two formats, I wasn't going anywhere near either one. Now that it might be settled, I may be able to afford a HDTV by summer if the prices drop a bit. I'm looking for at least a 46" TV with 1080P, and they're still a might expensive. Hopefully with one format to rally around, they'll start pushing the TV and BluRay stuff and dropping prices to do it. One can hope anyway.

As it is, I don't know that even with a nice shiny TV I'd be buying a BluRay. Maybe with a PS3 in another year or so, but I'm still happy with good old regular DVD. And with resold DVD's and Blockbuster's previously viewed selections and Amazon sales, they're out there pretty cheap. Compared to 30 dollar BluRay discs, I just can't get too excited yet. Maybe I just have to see more high Def discs being played to be wowed into it. Maybe. What might get me excited would be Apple puting BluRay drives into MacBook Pros with an HDMI out. Now that would be something - a bluray player that I could output to a TV and the capability to burn 50GB discs. Come on Apple - get with it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do

This is just too odd not to post up. Apparently, for the first time, Gorillas have been photographed having sex face to face. I guess that's never been done before in the land of monkey love.

This is being touted as a big deal for evolution, and studying our ancestors and so forth. Personally, I don't believe in evolution and kind of find it fun that this would even be a big deal. I mean, how do we know that the gorillas haven't been watching us while we were watching them and decided to just give this face to face thing a whirl. Think about that the next time you're doing the horizontal mambo - there could be a gorilla with a notepad out there watching and taking notes. What if we are their ancestors? Maybe they decided it was better eating bananas and fooling around all day instead of filling out TPS reports and we're doing all the work while they have all the fun. Damn dirty apes!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

This 'N That...

Not a lot of inspiration on what to blog about these days, but let's see here...

The Indiana Jones trailer was excellent. Ford looks older, of course, but he's still got it. Shia Labouef kinda looks out of place, but the rest of it looks great. Good action, fun set pieces, and wry one lines. With this, Dark Knight, and Iron Man, it gives me hope this movie year will be better than last year.

Gotta make a trip to the local Blockbuster. I still haven't seen Gone Baby Gone, We Own The Night, 3:10 to Yuma, or even Shoot 'Em Up. And now American Gangster is coming out this week too. If only I could watch movies at work.

And I think I read somewhere on the net that Polaroid technology is going the way of the dodo. No more "Snap!" and then "TaDa!". Guess everyone is going digital. Still, Polaroid instant developing was way cool. Ah, for the good ol' days...

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The Wolverine movie is filming right now (is anybody really going to call it X-Men Origins: Wolverine?) and we get our first official photo! (via

As a fan of the comic Wolverine character, and the first two X-Men movies, I'm looking forward to this one. They've got a respectable director, and some good casting so far. They're being tight lipped on the details, and I actually hope they continue to do so. Some movies are almost getting spoiled by the amount that gets leaked and spread thanks to fanboy obsession, and this one I want to enjoy in the theatre without knowing too much, like I did with X-Men 1. Of course, I might not be able to keep away from the websites and news. It's a conundrum.

Anyway, great pic. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Here and There...

Went out with a friend for a bit...walked around Chapters and each grabbed a new book out of the bargain section. Mine was fiction, her's was decidedly not. I liked the title of what I found - Murder In The Hearse Degree. Looks interesting, about an undertaker named Hitchcock Sewell that pokes his nose into mystery cases he probably shouldn't. Flipped through it and it looks like a good sarcastic sense of humor running through the character as well. Hope it's good - always fun to find a hidden gem in the bargain books, especially for seven bucks instead of thirty.

Caught a bit of Letterman and they did a fun comedy bit where somebody punched out Dr. Phil. Classic. Wonder how they got him to do that. Gotta say though, that Craig Ferguson has the best monologue of the late night bits. His show is a lot of fun, and I don't think he's afraid to ad libt. He was quite "chatty" on the show tonight :)

Apple has released Leopard 10.5.2. Ooooh, a service pack for OS X! Oh wait, that's Windows talk, this is an update. Guess it fixes a bunch of bugs and gives a choice of folders and stacks which seemed to really bug people. A lot of other stuff got updated, but I guess the reports are iCal is still screwy. I'm still on Tiger, so it doesn't matter much to me. I like Tiger, seems nice and solid. Talk to me when Leopard gets to 10.5.5.

And apparently the writers strike is supposed to be over soon, so our fave TV shows can get back on track. Yeah, right. some were probably cancelled, and a lot won't be back till fall. 24 might not be back till 2009. The TV landscape won't be back to normal for some time, and let's not forget the actors could still strike in the summer and I'd imagine that would have an effect for both TV and movies. Then again, the level of acting we're getting in the weekly box office champs wouldn't be missed anyway.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Trailer Hitch

Valentine's Day doth approacheth. Normally, I couldn't care less. It's a day marked on the calendar for the strict purpose of selling stuff to the masses. Corporations want your money, and they'll create a holiday to do it. What, you think cinnamon hearts are going to eat themselves?

Anyway, back to the point. This year, I'll be marking the day on the calendar. Why, you might ask? Have I fallen into smitten, wallet-thinning, love? No, of course not. I still have control of my faculties. No, the reason is that according to word going 'round the net, the trailer for Indiana Jones 4 (official title has something to do with a crystal and a skull and a kingdom and a's bloody long, so we'll just go with Indy 4) is going to hit the world that day. So that actually makes the day worth something.

Now, I don't have the nostalgia attachment to Indy like most folks. However, it's been a long dry winter as far as movie hype has gone, and us web geeks need a trailer to obsess over. (ok, the Batman trailer was way cool, but what have you done for me lately, Apple Trailer site?) Besides, I like this last gasp rash of returning heroes to the big screen. Stallone, Willis, and Ford coming back to show 'em how it's done. Let's just hope it's good.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Criminal Preview

Check out this MySpace post featuring 10 pages of next upcoming issue of Criminal - one of my favorite ongoing series written by one of my fave writers, Ed Brubaker.

The pages aren't colored yet, but the story of Gnarly (the bartender of the first two story arcs, Coward and Lawless) draws you right in. And actually, it reads and looks fantastic in black and white.

If you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. The first two trades are available at Amazon. Ed Brubaker brings the noir in this series, and one of my favorite things are the extra pages at the back of each issue (available only in the singles, not the trades) of thoughts on noir movies and books and interviews with other writers. Great Stuff, worth you dollars.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wacky Weather

What's with the weather 'round here? First we got dumped on with snow, which was great, but then we got dumped on with rain, which wasn't so great 'cause that deleted the snow. But now we're back to snow fall out there and my desktop weather widget tells me we're going back to double digit temps with rain by Friday.

Oh, come on! Would you make up your mind Mother Nature?

Either way, this is February and we should be hip deep in snow. If we keep getting rain, there's only one person to blame for it.

Al Gore.

Amazon Jungle

Cruising the Amazon today, and found some cool stuff.

For those that like alt country (which is actually country since country is now pop), there's a few notable female singers coming out with new albums. And no, none of them have "under" in their last name. First up, Allison Moorer is coming out with a new album (yay) called Mockingbird. There's not a lot of instant buy female singers in country right now, but I'm always there for a new Moorer album, and this one seems to be a collection of covers of songs by other female artists that mean something to her. Check out her website for some notes from her about each song.

Looks like Tift Merritt is coming out with a new album as well called Another Country. She has a good voice and I've enjoyed her previous two albums. Then it also looks like Sheryl Crow is getting in on the new album act with Detours. I'll have to hear some snippets of songs before I'd pick this one up as I wasn't too keen on what I heard of her last album Wildflower and didn't buy that one either. (um, yeah, after listening to the Amazon snippets, I won't be buying this one).

Elsewhere, on the DVD front, we've got Walker Texas Ranger Season 4 coming and Rockford Season 5. The highly anticipated The Equalizer Season 1 is out, and Season 1 of Third Watch is coming as well. Third Watch was a solid show. ER and NYPD Blue got the headlines, but Third Watch was really good. Hey look at that - Perfect Strangers season 1 is coming to DVD. Really? Ok. Even Smurfs season 1 is coming to DVD. I guess everything will make it to the shelves eventually. Also, for anyone interested, the first 3 seasons of House are 47% off, and the Dead Like Me series is 60% off. Nice savings.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Not Much

Really got nothing to post about here...

um, Curtis Joseph is now playing for the Calgary Flames? Does every great Edmonton goalie finish his career in Calgary? First Grant Fuhr, now Joseph. Don't seem right, but he didn't win his game against Edmonton last night either. Go Oilers.

Finally installed Quicksilver on my Mac. I see why folks like it so much. Can forget messing around with the mouse and just stay on the keyboard to get things done. Takes a few days for it to learn your habits, but it's cool. Gives me the keyboard shortcut functionality I used to setup in Windows, but I don't have to program each and every shortcut to the programs and it reaches way deeper with what you can do. If you have a Mac, install it.

Looks like the WGA strike might be over soon. Too late to mean anything much for this TV season, as most of the shows are wrecked at this point, but an end to the strike would be a good thing no matter what. Enough of the crappy reality TV already.

So, yeah, really got nothing to post about here...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Big Bowl

So the Super Bore...uh, I mean Super Bowl, is currently being played. Looks like NE is up 7-3. What is this, a baseball game? Where's the offense? I take offense to the lack of offense. The good news is that NY isn't getting blown out. The bad news is that, as one announcer said, they're playing the best they can and are still losing. I don't really care who wins, but I was kind of pulling for the Giants to wreck the NFL cash train, referee assisted, not earned, perfect season of the Pats. Oh well, wishful thinking. They know a good marketing thing when they see it, no way they let that cash cow slip away on the last game. Or am I just way too cynical?

UPDATE: The Giants with a Touchdown! They have the lead back with 11 minutes left in the game! Can they pull off the upset?

UPDATE: NE scores a TD. Maybe it's over. Then NY comes back with a TD with 30 seconds left! Can they hang on?

UPDATE: They Did It! The underdog Giants upset the "best" team and win the Super Bowl. Not bad at all. The perfect season is gone. Always gotta cheer for the underdog.

At least this year they actually had a game worth watching instead of a blow out where the most interesting thing is the commercials (which we don't get to see in Canada. Stupid CRTC).

So the game is over. What else is on?