Archive for January, 2005

All sorts of stuff…

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Lots of stuff to ramble on about today… where should I start? Let’s just go with the movies first.

Spun I forget exactly what got this in my queue. I think it was something about Billy Corgan doing the original music for the film. That, and I really liked Requiem for a Dream. Well, it wasn’t entirely disappointing, but I wasn’t all that impressed. The first 20 minutes of the movie will make you dizzy with the camera work and the bizarre sex scene. After that it settles down into a rather boring movie about speed freaks. It just didn’t really do anything for me. I’ll give it a C

Along Came Polly Completely average Stiller/Aniston comedy. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Opposites come together, funny stuff happens, opposites get driven apart because of one of their actions, chance for reconciliation at the end. Da Vinci’s Notebook could make a song about these movies…. if they were still together. Worth a few giggles, enough for a C+

Garden State Solid movie all around. Zach Braff’s directing debut – you may know him from the TV show Scrubs – goes really well. Hopefully we’ll see more from him. People have complained that it starts off slow, and it does, but it fits. The main character is heavily medicated, he’s on about a dozen different anti-depressants. The pace of the movie coincides with the pace of his life. As he comes out of his haze, you come out of it with him. I was impressed with Natatlie Portman too. I mean, come on, to hear Queen Amidala say “I have three Dobermans, and if I didn’t kick them in the balls on a regular basis, I’d never get anything done” is almost worth the price admission. B+

Friday Night Lights Powerful, emotional, and exciting flick. And I’ll warn you again, I’m not the emotional type when it comes to movies. Based on a true story of a high school football team from Odessa, TX. Now, this isn’t Varsity Blues (which is still a good movie) – there’s not a ton of laughs or any kind of love story. It’s just a damn good story about high school kids playing football in a small Texas town that lived for football. I’m thinking of picking up the book by H.G. Bissinger because the movie did take a few liberties with the real story, but not so much that it changes a whole lot. The book is supposed to be more accurate. Aside from the one overly-cheesey speech delivered by Billy Bob Thorton, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. I was even surprised to see Tim McGraw give a more-than-decent performance. I usually hate when singers decide they should be actors, but as long as he doesn’t decide to be a leading man in anything, he’ll do great. Watch the extras on the DVD! They have some interviews with the players now – it’s really interesting to see. Especially Boobie Miles. This one gets an A-

Oh what else? I’ve laid off GTA:SA and played some SOCOM:II online – I suck at it. It’s a good game, I guess I’d just do better with keyboard controls. Oh, Nascar 2005 is actually good now. The previous Nascar installments from EA have sucked pretty bad.

Read the following IP Phone review on

I’ve been with Vonage for about a month now, and I’m pretty happy with them. It’s a great idea, as long as you know exactly what you’re getting into – and they don’t explain that too well on their site.

I bought my adapter from for $50 – you get a $50 rebate after you’ve been with Vonage for 3 months. Find someone to refer you, and you get a month free – at least you’re supposed to, I haven’t gotten mine yet. I signed up on the 500 minute plan which is 500 minutes/month, plus all the bells and whistles like voicemail, call waiting, caller id, call return, etc. Incoming minutes do not count against your 500. Outgoing calls count against your 500 minutes – local, long distance, whatever. The 500 minute plan (as of 1/25/05) is $15/month. You can get unlimited minutes for $25/month.

Installation is pretty easy if you’re computer savvy. If not, you might have a little trouble. It requires enabling port-forwarding on your router. If you have a friend that knows a little about these things, ask them to help. I actually made one call to their tech support, and I was only on hold for a few minutes. And yes, you can have it work on every phone in your house. It’s not as hard as it seems. You just have to disconnect the phone company’s line and plug this box into any jack – it’ll use the existing wiring in your house. You may even be able to keep your existing number – check their website first. I wasn’t able to, but I didn’t really care. They had my area code, so that was good enough for me.

The web interface is pretty spiffy. You log on and can sell all your calls made and received by date, time, number, duration. You can even listen to your voicemail through your computer. You can even setup email notification when you get a new voice mail. I’m something of a geek, so this stuff is fun to me.

I haven’t had a problem with call quality yet. Some people have complained of ‘echos’ – I haven’t heard it. Yes, your internet connection will slow down while you’re on the phone, but you’ll be talking and not surfing anyway.

Some answers I wish I knew before, or were difficult to find:
Overages – If you go over the 500 minute plan, it’s 3.9 cents per minute.
Service Fees – It seems there’s a $9.99 charge to do almost anything. Change plans or change your number, it’s a $9.99 service fee. Seems silly.

I went with Vonage because I was already paying $25-$30 for a home phone that I hardly ever use. My cell phone doesn’t work that great at home, but I was terrified to make long distance calls because I never knew how much it would end up costing me. For $15/month I don’t worry about that, plus I get all the features that the phone company charges another $10-$20 for – I love caller id, and don’t think the phone company should charge for it. I wasn’t worried about setting it up, and the 911 and power “possible bad points” don’t really matter to me.

Is it for you? Keep in mind that if your internet connection fails, you don’t have a phone. That usually means if your power fails you won’t have a phone. If that bothers you, you can spend $80 on a UPS in case of power failure. You do have voicemail, and you can setup a number to have your calls forwarded to if your service is down. Also, 911 dialing isn’t exactly the same. Your call will be routed to your Public Service Answering Point, but not how a ‘normal’ 911 call is – you’ll have to give the operator your name, address, and number. If you have small children, I’m not sure this is a great idea. Note: Evidently, in Rhode Island it uses something similar to E-911, so the operator will have all your information.

So there it is – I can almost promise you’ll save money. If you can deal with the possibility of it not working just like a normal phone 100% of the time, go for it.


As part of my quest to become more of an elitist, I now have a coffee roaster. IP phone, coffee roaster, and actual wine glasses. Before long I won’t be a beer swilling, vulgar, unkempt bum. Maybe. I’ll write more about the coffee roaster later – I’ve only used it once so far, so give me a few more days.

Keep sharp objects away from me today….

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005

Last night sucked… didn’t sleep well, which isn’t completely abnormal, just slightly worse than normal. I won’t start there.

Woke up, my house is cold. Really cold. It’s time to move – my landlady sucks and should be forced to live there in the Winter. Get outside, it’s snowed. Great. Mother Nature even hates me. Now my 20 minute drive to work will be 45 because people are morons, and I still have to drop a movie off at Blockbuster. Now, I know they’ve done away with late fees, but I’m not taking any chances. Those people are brutal. Owe them 36 cents for more than a week and they send collections after you. Bastards.

Three block from my house, some idiot decides to stop right in the middle of making a left turn. I mean right in the middle. I almost hit someone. I thought, “I’d like to drag that guy out of his van and beat him with a crow bar. Time to lay off the GTA I think. Oh, the reason he stopped? He was turning onto the entrance ramp to the interstate and noticed it was moving real slow. Listen to the radio, twit. I wanted to make him his own airborne traffic reporter.

Ok.. bad weather.. slow driving, this is normal. I’m ok. Until the only stretch of open road (I’m taking the back way because I listened to the radio) and two morons decide to pace each other. Great. No lights for miles, and these guys both want to do 10 mph under the limit, next to each other. Sigh.

So, a few other idiots and close calls later, I get to the parking garage. Now, I’ve seen some screwed up parking garages – this is not one of them. This one is really simple, and you don’t need to drive it at 1 mph. Of course I get behind the person that does, and has to pause at every floor to look around.

Ok, so we haven’t started out good so far… but, not horrible.

Then it really starts… between people arguing my job with me (you’re a %@$&#^ secretary! Don’t argue my job with me!!) and the people that can’t figure out how to click a checkbox to toggle between color and black and white on a printer… I’m about to snap. And if one more person complains about their cell phone coverage to me, or the ‘on-hold’ music sounding bad, I’m stabbing them in the eye. I’ve got a knot in my back and a kink in my neck, but I’m willing to bet I can still wing a stapler at your head. My red, Swingline stapler even. Yes, I actually have one of those.

Guy night just got cancelled and I just noticed I’m wearing dark green pants, with black shoes, and khaki socks. Perfect.

And I just found out my grandfather isn’t do so well with his health problems. When it rains it pours, eh?

Oh well… I’m still breathing, I’m not worried about where my next meal will come from, and I don’t have any super-serious life problems. I’m not really complaining, just venting some frustration. Crap happens, but being miserable is a choice. I don’t like being miserable, it’s not all that fun. I do like picturing myself beating someone with a baseball bat though. I’ll never be one of those guys that snaps and everyone says “You would have never expected it from him!” 😀

Oh, and if you’re one of those people that puts the body of the email in the subject line, don’t ever email me, I’ll ridicule you to no end.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, January 11th, 2005

Did you forget my birthday? Don’t feel bad… chances are I missed yours too.

Site of the day – MetaFilter – lots of good stuff there. Easy way to kill a few hours if you’re bored.

Only movie review of the day (can you believe it??) is Bottle Rocket. I had never heard of it, but because I can add stuff to my Blockbuster queue from almost any where in the world, I watched it. “Here are just a few of the key ingredients: dynamite, pole vaulting, laughing gas, choppers – can you see how incredible this is going to be? – hang gliding, come on!” The Wilson brothers do a fine job, and James Caan delivers a few great lines. Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic) wrote it along with Owen Wilson. It came out in ’96 – same year as Swingers which it reminds me of ever so slightly. What was it about that time? Suicide Kings came out a year later… huh. Anyway, the only real common thread between all of those is friendship. Friends that will do just about anything for each other. I don’t think they had a very big budget, but Bottle Rocket was pretty well done. I’d give it a 4 out of 5.

Does anyone want to give me a job? I’ll do just about anything. Obviously I have no career as a movie critic. I am pretty good when it comes to computers and… uhhh… I guess that’s about it. That sucks. That’s about all I’m good at, and I don’t like manual or repetitive labor. Guess that narrows down my options.

I’m going to go buy a Mt Dew now, because I think it will make me a better person.

Happy New Year and stuff!

Tuesday, January 4th, 2005

Getting the movies out of the way first… just because.

City of Lost Children – odd. That’s about all I can say. Those French are some wacky people. It was like a really, really dark Willy Wonka… actually, that might have been the inspiration. Can’t really tell you to watch this unless you’re into strange forgien films.

Jersey Girl – What happened to Kevin Smith? And could someone give Ben some acting lessons? It had its moments I guess, I was just expecting a lot. Watch it if you’re bored I guess, and don’t expect too much.

Hannibal – Disturbing. Coming from me, that’s saying something. Would have been better with Jodie Foster. Good movie, but not if you have a weak stomach. Just trust me on that. I can’t even bring myself to describe the brain scene to you.

Shaun of the Dead – I actually thought it was hilarious. Dark sometimes, yet hilarious. I gave it a 4/5 stars – which is a pretty high rating for me. Those Brits, eh?

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – In contrast, I gave this 1.5 stars. Jack Black punting the dog was the only funny part of this movie. The rest was just… stupid.

Lost in America – The Griswalds meet Easy Rider. This is an older movie (’85 or so) but still pretty funny. Two yuppies ‘drop out’ of society, get a motorhome and set out to wander the country. They don’t get very far. I love his advertising idea for the casino – classic scene!

On an unrelated note, the ‘fridge here in the office smells like something died in it.

I got the PS2 network adapter for Christmas (yay!) and bought myself a USB headset for it, so I’ve been playing SOCOM II a little latley. Pretty decent so far. Rented Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 a few weeks ago. It was decent, but I got bored pretty fast. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great game, I’m just not that into skateboarding I guess. Speaking of the PS2 – everyone stay away from Datel products! I bought the Action Replay Max Evo Edition (AR Max for those of you Googling it that way) because I needed more memory for my PS2. For $30 you get the software and stuff and a 16mb USB drive. Well now you’re thinking “Sweet! So you can just keep all your saves on your PC then, right?” Well, yes, assuming they last long enough to get put on the drive. I needed space for SOCOM II (it wants 3mb free for some bloated reason) so I decided to move everything onto the USB drive except for my Grand Theft Auto data. I figured I’d copy that, just to back it up. Well I get all the moving done, and everything on my PS2 memory card just disappeared. I used the Playstation’s memory browser deal, and it showed up as ‘corrupt data’ … bummer. Datel’s answer? Format your memory card. My personal favorite line was “The error you encountered should not regularly occur when using the product.” HAHA! Well I’d hope not! How ever, it does seem to regularly happen – it happened to me the very first time I used the stupid thing, and there’s plenty of other horror stories out there – I found that with a quick Google search.

Yay! I can dial 911 again! I’ll explain later…

So how was your Christmas and New Year’s? Mine was pretty tame… a ton of snow right before Christmas, that kinda sucked. Hmmm… I’m not sure what I did with the picture of the little people… I’ll have to find that. It’s not as good as the bear in pajamas though. Let’s see…. anything else exciting? I’m not the god of “SceneIt?” like I assumed I would be. I’ve been demoted to demi-god status. All this really means is that there are bigger geeks than I out there. 😉 I also discovered I make a mean chicken tortilla soup.

I’m bored… entertain me…