Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

I should have reviewed this a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away...)

Star Wars Episode three was...
Dark. Dark. Dark.

Anyone heard this before?

The truth is that after all the reviews that I read, I can't do this much justice. So first, I'll direct you here, to Jason Kottke's review, which sums up my sentiments pretty well.

There are SPOILERS, so if you haven't seen and don't want to know, don't read on. Otherwise, feel free!

Here's the thing: anyone worth their salt knows what is going to happen in this movie. We've already seen the sequel! What is amazing about this movie is that despite that, despite knowing the absolute evil of Darth Vader from the original trilogy, you still find yourself hoping that he won't really turn to the dark side.

That was, I think, George Lucas' biggest accomplishment with the last movie. The rest of it was the same ol' same ol' - bad dialogue, excessive effects (why on earth did Obi-Wan have to ride the giant iguana when Grievous had a space-Harley?), etc. These are the things that we come to expect and accept about the Star Wars universe. These people do not live in New Jersey and hang out at malls having philosophical discussions while in the food court (see: Mallrats). No, they live in space and while they manage to create elaborate clone armies, they can't handle more complicated dialogue than, "You're so beautiful." "I'm only beautiful because I'm so in love." "No, you're so beautiful because I'm so in love with you." PUKE.

It was certainly the best out of the first trilogy. The action doesn't get much better than Obi-Wan v. Anakin/Darth going on at the same time as Yoda v. Emperor. I know that Natalie Portman is probably kicking herself for accepting this role back when she did. It was probably a good idea at the time, but she's a much better actress than is displayed in Revenge of the Sith. Victim of bad dialogue, just like Hayden Christensen.

My favorite character is still Obi-Wan. Ewan McGregor still channels Sir Alec Guiness very well and they give him some of the clever witty banter that he dropped in Episode IV when he was an old coot.

Overall, the movie was pure popcorn entertainment, but it was really REALLY GOOD popcorn entertainment.

IMDB rating: 8/10

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Who's complaining?

We just got back from seeing a sneak preview of Cinderella Man, Ron Howard's depression-era-based-on-a-true-story boxing movie starring Russell Crowe as James J. Braddock, a real life Cinderella story who brought his family out of poverty during the depression era on pure guts and courage in the boxing ring.

The movie was good (some of the best boxing in a movie I've ever seen) and if it weren't for Million Dollar Baby last year, I'd be heralding it as the best boxing movie since Rocky IV, but what I want to talk about is the era.

We have it easy. Our lives (and when I say "our", I mean "my generation"...those of us who range from early 20's to mid-40's) have been relatively uneventful in the realm of character building. While many of us (myself included) will never forget September 11, 2001, one thing I am beginning to realize is that while it has changed some of the ways that we interact with people and situations, it has not really affected our way of life; it hasn't shaped the type of people that we have become.

That's where our generation is totally different than any other before us. Nothing has happened thus far in our lives that has dictated major changes in how we live. The amazing Americans that grew up during the Depression and subsequently World War II were defined by events that they could not control. Many of those people came out the other side stronger and while the time was difficult and full of despair, it wasn't as if they were the only ones who were suffering. There were millions of people who were unemployed and had to sell all of their belongings. Families were torn apart as people did ANYTHING THEY COULD just to get by. It gives me mixed feelings: gratitude that I've never known that kind of suffering, but also guilt for having it so well.

I have a wonderful family, a loving wife, a nice house, and a dog who rocks. There are a lot of people who can't say that, but for our generation, these things are more common than not.

It's no wonder that we are often considered by our elders to be unappreciative for the things that we have. WE HAVE NEVER KNOWN DIFFERENTLY.

But the question is this: could we handle it if it were different. If we had to go through the struggles that those living during the Depression did, would we rise above it and move forward or would we wilt under the intense pressure and utter despair? I would like to think that there is something inherent about the human spirit that allows us to rise up when times get tough. I know that I am appreciative for all that I have and if it disappeared, I would do anything in my power to make sure that my family always had enough. I like to think that I got that trait from my dad. He's sacrificed a lot to make sure that my brother and I and the rest of our family has always had more than enough.

I hope that he passed that along to me like his parents passed it to him and their parents before them...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A comment on music

Now, we all know that the RIAA and the music industry is pure unadulterated evil. Their continual persistence to put out crap while treating their artists like dirt and failing to fully embrace the digital music revolution has been well-documented and widely recognized.

But they don't seem to learn.

I'm a huge Coldplay fan. I even stayed up way past my bed time on Saturday just to catch them on Saturday Night Live. One thing I discovered was that their new album is going to be rights-protected when it comes out, virtually making it extremely difficult to put your songs on your iPod. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. If you want to put the songs on your iPod, you can download the album from iTunes (pre-order available now), get a couple exclusive tracks and your music will be iPod-riffic.

Does it really have to be that difficult? Why can't I purchase the CD like I want to and then rip it to my iPod? I just don't understand why we have competing logic here! What is so difficult about this? iPods account for 70% of the mp3 player market, yet with CDs, we want to make sure you CAN'T USE YOUR IPOD.

It's just another example of the industry being out of touch with the consumer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My bank got robbed today


Do bank robbers EVER get away with it? 25-year sentence automatically. Stupid stupid stupid.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Annoying Thing of the Day: Touchless Carwashes

I can't even begin to describe how annoying touchless carwashes are, but let's face it: Rain gets my car as clean as they do.

For the longest time, I have been searching for a gas station to offer anything but these sorry excuses for a "wash" and I finally found one yesterday. Words cannot describe my glee when I saw the velvet touch brushes, hanging limply before I punched in my code to send them into glorious, spinning, soapy action.

See, in Kansas, we have bugs in the summer, and lots of them. They get caked on your car, and then baked into the paint in the humid summer months. Being the lazy...errrr...BUSY American that I am, time to scrub down my gas-guzzling SUV is not easy to come by. Plus, I never really get too excited with the unpredictable weather we've been having lately.

Having a wash that will actually wreak havoc to your paint job in order to make your car shiny is nice...I don't want my car babied...it needs a hardcore wash, not some sissy touchless crap.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dear Blogger

Here are the following things that you could do to make your system better:

- Easier customization of the sidebar
- Categories for posts
- Better compliance with Safari (where'd all my menu items go?)


Monday, May 09, 2005

A co-worker of mine passed away

I started working at my current company just over five years ago. I was the 18th employee at the time and our organization has since grown to near 200.

When I started, there were two members of the marketing team, myself and the VP of Marketing. Now, our marketing group is over 15 members strong. During my first few months, I sat near the support area because there wasn't really anywhere else to sit and during that time, I got to interact with a couple of guys that I wouldn't really have interacted with now, considering the size of our company.

Back in those days, our company was small enough that our storage room contained a ping-pong table. We had the space because we didn't have excess marketing materials or remaindered computer parts taking up all the space. Doug and I would go back to the back and play ping-pong a couple of times a day, just to get away from our computer screens for a bit. He was in charge of a bit of product support, but mostly he was our entire IT staff as well as QA and some facilities management.

Doug was a rough guy. He grew up in the '60s and he lived life to its fullest. During our many talks over ping-pong, he let me in on his life and experiences. I was very blessed to have that time with him, learning about the company from its earliest beginnings, but more importantly, learning about Doug and his own life.

Doug passed away on Sunday night from a long battle with cancer. I know that he fought it tooth and nail to the end, but unfortunately, that sometimes isn't enough. I know that his family will miss him very much. Even though he has been absent from work much lately, I always assumed he would be back. I will miss him. He is a link to the past for me. He was the first person who befriended me here at this job. He helped me to fit in, to feel comfortable, even if I was from that dreaded department of "Sales & Marketing" that caused him so many headaches.

Rest in peace, Doug.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Tiger is out and it's awesome.

Got my copy over the weekend and installed it right away. I had issues on my first install because I didn't unplug my firewire drive, something that I guess should have been understood. Once I figured that out though, the install was a snap.

The first noticable difference is the speed. It just seems to run faster than it's other large-cat-counterparts Jaguar and Panther. Programs load faster, the computer awakes from sleep faster and searching is faster. When I got my iMac G5, I was a bit underwhelmed by the speed of it in comparison to the grey and white G4 Powermac I was using before. This OS gets rid of my speed concerns.

Spotlight is awesome, but I am really looking forward to using it more as I get more of my stuff converted over to my Mac...I've still got a few PC leftovers that I would like to eliminate if possible. Getting those indexed in Spotlight so they are easy to find in the future would make things easier.

My favorite (albeit very trite) feature is Dashboard, the handy-dandy widget holder complete with all the stuff you use regularly, but shouldn't need the internet for (package tracking, yellow pages, dictionary, thesaurus, etc.). I recently downloaded the Yahoo! Local Traffic widget and it is cool...giving you live updates of traffic in your area. Very nice little feature.

Overall, I'm finding that I want to spend more time on my computer just because the OS is so pretty. At work, I'm stuck on this awful XP-laden Dell, and I long for walks in the park with a shiny Aqua theme and a functional Dock and Dashboard. It also makes me realize that I need a prettier home for my computer. I think I'm going to build a desk this summer. It might be a bit of a project, but because of the size and shape of the room, custom is the only way I can go.

One can wish...