Tuesday, July 31, 2007

PVD Mania

For those of you not familiar with trance master Paul Van Dyk, his song 'Time of Our Lives' is being used on the new Jeep commercial (though apparently not very new, guess I don't watch enough TV). As well, I finally picked up the latest PS2 DDR game when I noticed that his song 'The Other Side' was a featured track.

Side note, dance songs in particular make poor music videos, IMHO. Kind’a like New Age music in that regard.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Weekend Movies

The Simpsons


Bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for a movie that would return The Simpsons to what made it great in its early runs fifteen or so years ago, but it wound up being a movie length version of the same crap they've been running on the small screen for the last couple years. It typifies lazy, elitist humor of the day by making PC enviro claims while making fun of working class whites and Christians (the only two groups you can make fun of without having to worry about the ire of the NYT editorial board). Visually stunning though; if I didn't speak English I would've guessed it was one of the greatest things ever made. I should point out that all the golden moments from the film are in the trailers over on YouTube. Heck, even this Burger King ad was more enjoyable than much of the film.

Rescue Dawn


A beautifully shot, if rather depressing film. I probably have a favorably biased opinion of this film since I saw it after that mediocre Simpsons movie. Kudos to Christian Bale for a fine performance. I know he had lost weight for the film, but I think this the first time I saw an actor change his weight for a role while the film was in production. I know he has trouble changing that goofy expression on his face; but when it came to this film, as the football players might say, he 'left it all on the field'. My only minor gripe with the film is that it had a slight 'foriegn' twinge to it (for lack of a better term I’ll call it ‘conceited amateurism’). I can't quite put my finger on it, but a reviewer elsewhere said it had to do with the fact that the German director didn't have the ability to shoot an English language production properly. I dunno, but I was happy to see many more people in at least our theater watching Rescue Dawn than were in with us to see The Simpsons.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ruben Pizza

My love of unhealthy pizzas is well documented, but I found a new one the ruben pizza. Unfortunately instead of being several hours away like other pizzas, I can get this one at the end of the street:

Corned beef, thousand island for sauce and sauerkraut. It's topped with Mozzarella which is good because I've never been a big fan of swiss.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Anime Watch - Lucky Star

I've taken to watching an anime show called Lucky Star (No Controlling Legal Authority Downloads). It's nominally geared towards (Japanese) girls, but it's more of a spoof of animes that are geared towards (Japanese) girls. I bummed this bit from the first episode to give you a little taste:


One of the big reasons I watch these toons is to check out cultural differences. Japan's culture has a lot of enviable traits (along with some rather not so enviable traits of course). Education means a lot more over there, and although I've seen this depicted before I still find it interesting:


What the students are doing is checking out their grades on the wall, i.e., their grades are on the wall for everyone to see. I've been trying to picture such a setup in the States since an idea like this goes so hard against American culture that it's fun to imagine such an improbable scenario. It ranks right up there with imagining what life would be like if the sky was green, though that in and of itself is probably more likely.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Secret Mind Powers

Here's a guy who knows how to make friends. His thesis (supported by many facts) is that A) Brain power determines success and B) Since brain power isn't distributed evenly among the nations, some countries are smarter than others, then those with more brain power will be more successful. I would lay out some specifics, but one need only to scan the globe in order to come to much the same conclusion. However, I like this line from a reader review:
Like many important discoveries in science, it seems obvious in retrospect that these national differences in intelligence must inevitably determine differences in economic development. Indeed, it seems astonishing that no-one had hitherto advanced this simple thesis, even before the recent Dark Age of Political Correctness closed in.
This reminds me of that paper put out recently that boldly stated that 'men and women are different'. Only in a retarded age such as our own is such stuff even necessary. No one in the past ever saw the need to do research into something so blindingly obvious.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bright Eyes

For those who are fans of our cat Tiger, I figured I'd drop a note to that he's passed on. He was the first 'good' cat (in that he wasn't all pissy all the time was actually happy to see you) that I'd owned and he was also the first (of several) cats for our family. This is my favorite pic though, shot by Mrs. Sandmich some years ago:

I know, pet obits are a low form of web material and it ranks pretty low when it comes to the scale of human tragedy; but this cat kicked a particularly large amount of ass.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Toilet Humor

Remember back in the day when the Internet held so much promise? That it was going to solve all societies woes? I found a little slice from that time that I thought had disappeared under the rubble of the bursting tech bubble, a little Flash series called "Central Toilet". There's ten episodes but only the first two are any good. I should warn you that the parent site (RSUBOX) disappeared for a spell, and although it's back the content doesn't appear to have been updated since sometime around 1999, so check it out while it lasts!

Monday, July 09, 2007

CrapBox360

We all know about Microsoft finally caving and saying that their console is prone to occasionally turning into afancy white brick, but what was mildly interesting was their marketing speak that continues to this day:
"The majority of Xbox 360 owners are having a great experience with their console and have from day one," Entertainment & Devices Division President Robbie Bach said in a statement.
Just so you know, a 50.001% customer satisfaction ratio is a success in Microsoft's book!

Yet again, I'm not seeing even any vague details about what issues the 360 is having, apart from customer speculation.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Another Shot at the RIAA

I'm sympathetic to the RIAAs complaints, though their legally dubious, harassing tactics have always drained what little empathy I can muster for a group that represents heartless multinational conglomerates. However, it looks like at least some inroads are being made against them, from here:
It has now come to light that the case is taking a new turn, as Ms. Crain's attorney has filed a motion to amend their counterclaims to include new allegations against the RIAA and its investigative partners. According to court documents, Ms. Crain "has become aware upon information and belief that [the RIAA] have illegally employed unlicensed investigators in the State of Texas and used the information thereby obtained to file this and other similar actions across the country."

The article also mentioned the MPAA, but I don't think much of movie bootleggers since the movie industry is pretty effective at pricing their products. Although even decent movies can be had for under $10 at WalMart, the movie industry usually prices DVDs according to interest (i.e. quality), packaging (extras), and age. They aren't under the delusion that people want to pay $40 for a 20 year old B grade film, but for some reason their buddies in the RIAA continue to believe that Vanilla Ice's fifteen year old follow up album is worth $1 a track.