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A Couch Potato’s Review of The Anomaly (2014)

12/19/2014 Comments off

A Couch Potato’s Review of The Anomaly (2014)

When it came to this particular movie, I heard nothing about it. No previews, no reviews, nothing in the newspapers, not even word of mouth from friends or Usenetters into Science Fiction. And if it’s enough to pique my interest to pick it up, it usually means it’s some sort of bomb that would make even the most casual and easily entertained of movie-goers groan in horror and eye-roll themselves into an epileptic seizure. Think movies like Battle Beyond the Stars, or Starcrash, or even Mutant Chronicles bad.

What can I say? One of the habits I picked up from my step-father is the ability to home in on the worst possible movies to watch while I idle away a few hours between the various other virtues (and vices) I have. The only difference between my step-father and I is I don’t try to entice others by saying things like “…I heard this was a good movie…” and hope they’re going to come along for the ride. No, these stinkers are only for me as I only subject myself to these sort of celluloid nightmares.

Surprisingly though, this wasn’t quite a stinker as I was expecting. Quite the opposite really. It was good. It was entertaining. While there were some glitches with the story telling, they were minor enough for me to ignore as I continued to figure out what was going on with the story

The story opens up with Ryan (played by Noel Clarke) as he finds himself unconscious on the floor in the back of an armoured car and wondering where he was and what was going on. In the back of this armoured car is also a young boy, chained up against the wall with his head covered with some sort of fabric bag. Ryan looks at his watch and realizes that he’s lost time, he’s not where he’s supposed to be and the boy’s name is Alex (played by Art Parkinson). The two of them escape from the armoured car and after a chase end up in a cemetery where Alex twists his ankle, the two of them hide from their captors. The driver of the truck catches up with them and after a surprising fight (to the audience as it’s not entirely leaked that Ryan’s ex-military), Noel beats his captor to the ground and returns to Alex hiding behind a tombstone. The boy explains that he had been abducted from his mother (who had been killed) by men in red masks and didn’t know where he was going. While Noel and Alex are trying to sort out what happened and why they were there to each of them, another of the accomplices (played by Ian Somerhalder) shows up near to them and dialing a mobile phone (this movie is clearly in the future as the phone looks like a simple piece of clear plastic), calls Noel and asks him where he is. After hanging up and putting the phone away, he begins picking through his coat pockets, first pulling out a pistol from one side, and then a red mask from the other. Alex realizes that he’s talking to one of his abductors and begins screaming blue murder. Noel begins pressing against the area just behind the ears and he (through the use of special effects) blacks out.

The story pretty much goes like this from beginning to end. You learn that Ryan is ex-military — which clearly explains his fighting prowess in certain scenes. You learn that he was being treated for PTSD for some reason (that unfolds later on in the movie). You learn that this movie is in some undisclosed future based on the buildings, the Blade Runner-esque billboard advertising floating up in the story along with the general technology used by the characters. You learn that there the villains are a father (played by Brian Cox) and son (Somerhalder) team. You learn that Ryan gets help from one of the unlikeliest places (although typical of Hollywood and only moderately typical of UK Production Companies) — a prostitute that he rescues during his “lucid” moments named Dana (played by Alexis Knapp). Finally you learn how he overcomes these black-outs which ties the story up rather nicely. And Ryan does this all within the 10 minutes each time he recovers his personality.

It’s pretty amazing all the things he learns within those 10 minutes and how much of it he remembers again when he regains lucidity. It’s also pretty amazing in the time between these moments, he finds himself in various places in the world: London, New York City, even Shanghai I think, some unspecified building with its windows boarded up, a secret lab, a secret location where he confronts who’s causing him these problems, out in the middle of a field in what feels like the middle of nowhere, a brothel with peep windows, and on and on. Even finding himself in an interrogation room on an airplane. It’s the sort of scenery choosing that lends an air of confusion when the protagonist is suddenly recovering his memory.

A sort of downside I found watching this is that while it’s good that there’s compressed time through editing, the impact of how much time that passes between these lucid moments is pretty much lessened by everything else going on. It took me a second run through of the movie for me to put together the amount of days and weeks that passed between the first occurrence and the last. There were even times you didn’t know when it was. While this isn’t too much of a detractor, it’s enough for me to pause a few moments to put it together in my head for without that timeline, it felt like a jumble between time and location.

The fight choreography in this movie is certainly better than its Hollywood counterparts (this movie was produced in the UK). None of this shaky-cam or CGI nonsense covering up the movements of the actors. And though I understand how such fight choreography works in the Western World — I really got the impression that the blows exchanged by the actors were connecting a lot harder than they actually were. There were a couple of scenes where the camera moved to odd angles in order to cover up the choreography (to maintain the illusion of realism), these change of camera angles weren’t bad enough to detract from the enjoyment of certain people getting the snot beaten out of them for being the assorted minor villains in the story (like the pimp Sergio (played by Michael Bisping) or his henchmen).

Storytelling was solid and flowed from scene to scene making it believable enough to keep me entertained without breaking the suspension of disbelief needed to make this story believable, Although I did find myself surfacing (back to reality) toward the end when I realized that the diabolical plan launched by the father and son team was a little too far-fetched for just one person to control the world in the way that they were proposing, at least the plot didn’t get far enough along for this aspect to detract from the story. I remembered when I started questioning my ability to suspend my disbelief it’s not as though the science for this diabolical plan hadn’t been introduced in the past — I remember stories dating back to the 60s that introduced something similar, so that didn’t completely distract me from the entertainment value of this film.

Looking at the credits and information on IMDB, I realized I caught that one of the piece of trivia: the picture of Ryan and his wife (shown later in the film) were of Clarke and Freema Agyeman which was used as a prop in an episode of Doctor Who where his character from that series was married to her character in an alternative timeline. No doubt Mr. Clarke was given that as a gift for the work he had done in Doctor Who and contributed it to this movie.

Bottom Line: Seeing that it had been released to US theaters, this had to have been a sleeper. One that I highly recommend to watch if you’re into science fiction and world-engulfing conspiracies. It’s entertaining, albeit a bit trite in some places (like the ending), but at least it’s not the typical insipid nonsense Hollywood grinds out ad nausea. And leaves the audience wondering, “What would you do if you were in the protagonist’s place?”

A Couch Potato’s Review of Godzilla (2014)

09/17/2014 Comments off

A Couch Potato’s Review of Godzilla (2014)

I know that it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and written a review on anything, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been watching the good, the bad, the ugly, the awful and the truly toxic Hollywood (and various independent productions) have to offer. No, it just meant that I haven’t had the want, the desire, the panache or the gumption to critique them publicly. There’s been a couple of movies and even a book that I tore into in my journal, I decided as a sort of “return” I was going to sit and give a go with the American Re-Remake of a B-Movie Japanese Cult classic. While I might not go into the blow-by-blow details of the movie as I used to, there will be some spoilers based on the scenes that I had issues with.

The long and the short of it is that American Directors and Producers just don’t quite get it. They came close in this movie – certainly infinitely closer than the abortion of a Roland Emmerich film at the turn of the century. The problem is that there’s too much cultural differences between Japan and America that makes it near to impossible for Americans to truly get it. That and of course, Americans suffer a really bad problem with what I like to call the “wouldn’t it be cool, if…” Syndrome in trying to one up everything that they want to touch. This movie is of course no exception to that syndrome as this movie tried to also pile in way too healthy heapings of American Heroism (otherwise known as Individual Heroism), a Love story, and the usual hippy like fervor against all things military.

So I’ll admit that I didn’t actually buy this DVD. I decided on taking advantage of The Pirate Bay with the exclusive intent that if this movie was good enough, I’d actually spend the money on getting it from my local Wal*Mart or cheapskate store that sells them when they reach bargain bin. The first thing I noticed of course – besides the glowing praise of a good DVD rip – as the anger (and disgust) form leechers from around the world that Americans were once again trying their hand at a Japanese Monster Movie once again. One of the most comical comments I read was the one that said, “Bryan Cranston’s in it, and any movie that has Bryan Cranston in it can’t be bad…” The response to that was, “[Cranston] dies within 15 minutes of the film, and after that it blows chunks…”

I chuckled at it while I picked up the magnet for it and while watching it, realized it wasn’t entirely true. Cranston’s character was pronounced dead at 42 minutes into it.

Sure there were some names in this film after Cranston dies – the scientist played by Ken Watanabe, the Navy Admiral played by David Strathairn – but on the whole, it was a film of mostly unknown and untried actors. So far, that’s about right given that Sony (then Toho) Studios but I think the true reason was because anyone that remembers the names that worked in the Emmerich Abomination™ (Reno, Savant and Broderick) would run away from the thought of doing a remake for the sake of their careers and unborn children. Or as an agent would tell the actor they represent, “Take my advice and if anyone asks why you didn’t audition for the role, tell them… you weren’t available…”

Unlike the Emmerich Abomination™, it was decided to have two different monsters in this film: Godzilla and a male (and female) MUTO (Massive Unknown Terrestrial Organism). Americans missed the mark here, but this is because of a cultural difference more than anything else. The Japanese love giving everything a label or a name that stands out. Mothra, Gyaos, Gamera, Hedora and on and on and on. Americans love their acronyms. So instead of giving it a name – usually done by the scientist – they gave it an acronym clearly indicating that they’re not going to last.

One of the points American Producers and Director seem to have finally clued into was that Godzilla wasn’t actually the villain. Barring the original 1954 release that was more a warning of the hubris of man that caused a creature to make the potential extinction of mankind – like they did in the Emmerich Abortion™ – Godzilla was there mucking up the US Navy and San Francisco to get at the MUTO to “restore balance” to the planet. While this message was more than a bit heavy-handed – something only Americans seem to love to do – at least the scale, fire-breathing monster didn’t go all hating on the silly Homosapiens that often were in its path.

Another thing that seemed to have been missed is how the scientist was pretty much ignored by the military. While it’s not entirely surprising given that a majority of Hollywood’s producers, directors and productions houses absolutely abhor the military (by making them appear as tank-brained, war mongers) at least it seemed that the military was out for the common good of the people. While this might come close to what I remember of the military in the tons of monster movies I’ve been watching since I was a child, it still gets a mark against it as Americans don’t seem to entirely understand how the military still deferred to the scientists that had been studying the monster(s). Then again this is definitely a cultural difference that doesn’t translate well to American Individualism.

I find myself torn on the level of panic and the amount of focus TPTB had on the “little people” in this film. What I mean is the hero’s medical wife, his son and the people that were being evacuated from the epicenter of monster destruction. This also includes the Golden Gate Bridge and Levi’s Stadium (or was it supposed to be AT&T Park? I don’t know and frankly I didn’t care to stick around to check it in the credits) where the survivors collected in the aftermath. While I understand the importance of showing panicking humans when it comes to a rampaging set of monsters destroying the town you’re living in, there seemed to have way too much focus on the twanging of the good old heart-strings of family reunions. While it has always existed in the monster movies I’ve watched, at the same time it seemed too focus on the individualism of the panicked instead of simply using them to show the orderly evacuation of the affected people from the epicenter.

And finally, the TPTB missed the “magic” of Godzilla. While they did a good job trying to show how unstoppable Godzilla was, they seemed to have spent too much time trying to establish the reality of an atomic mutated, unstoppable, fire-breathing monster from the prehistoric past, they missed the point that Godzilla was never really… well, real. Making him real was too surreal. And in doing that it ruined any magic we might have remembered of Godzilla from our childhood.

Bottom Line: While my vitriol went down as the movie progressed, I couldn’t shake the feeling that while this was a better attempt at an Americanized version of the Japanese icon, Americans still aren’t quite getting it because of a combination of cultural differences and what I’ve seen of my generation trying to make what they grew up with… well grow up with them. They miss the biggest point in that some things don’t need to be matured: and this was one of them. It’s worth a one-watch, but “owning” it? No, it’s really not worth it.

After the Humidity Madness

06/20/2014 Comments off

Entry 06/19/2014 09:35:12 AM – Mentat 704

Finally!!!! After several days of warmer than average weather and unbearable amounts of humidity; it’s finally started raining here this morning. While the humidity is still up there (more than 80% the last time I checked a couple of hours ago), at least it’s not the oppressive BS that I’ve put up the last couple of days. Good thing too, given that I’m getting rather tired of being completely drained out come sundown then the temperatures drop to where I expect them for this time of year… Well that and I don’t have to suffer through one sinus or the other shutting down and blocking up when I move my head one way or the other. So, hopefully over the next couple of days it’ll be more bearable than it has been and I can enjoy Emancipation Day without it feeling quite so like August here in the Tundras of New England.

Of course the amusing thing in all this is that I’m currently over my mother’s house watching her Monster Child — Jack. The amusing thing was that my mother sent up to my Aunt’s house to wash her car in spite of it raining even up there in Woonsocket. She went up there out of sheer stubbornness because she canceled out last week for washing the car on threat of rain. Last week we almost brought Jack along so that he could get a bath (he’s smelling particularly dog at the moment), but the more my mother thought about it — the more she decided it was best he stayed at home and went to a groomer for a washing instead. Not that I blame my mother in her decision — Jack is too easily riled by other dogs, and my aunt’s little hyper mutt would set him off… So while my mother’s off; I’m treated to looks (and attitude) like this:

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I get looks like that because I’m not my mother and I’m not one to give him treats whenever he wants or needs. Yeah, she spoils him rotten and because I’m not high on the pecking order/pack order in the house, he often mopes when I’m over making sure he doesn’t wreck the house during any abandonment issues he might go through. At least he’s not begging to go out in his boredom before his usual walk time.

Now that it’s getting into summer, I’m trying to discipline Jack a little bit more and not be completely spazzed out during this walks. Also trying to curb his hyper attitude at barking at faeries. It seems that I’ve come to learn that he’s pretty myopic (near-sighted) as he’s gone crazy barking at smaller people (children and in one case a rather short Latino mowing the lawn at the apartment complex on the path we normally walk). Even at inanimate objects like lawn bags on the sidewalk if they’re the right distance from him. When he gets closer, Jack stops when he realizes what he’s barking at is not a dog at all.

Surprisingly, Jack does really well when he’s short leashed: he walks at the same speed I do, doesn’t do a lot of doubling back to check various scents from other dog-owners that walk the same path. Even maintains a sense of calm when dealing with Starlings, and faeries… But the instant he’s given more leash — off he goes spazzing out more. I suspect it’s going to take months for him to calm down given I don’t think the Summer Heat’s going to calm him down any.

On the flip side, Moe’s even more sedate with the summer heat and humidity. While he might not get up on me at the desk when the ambient temperature’s over 75 F/23 C, he’s still just as determined to lay on me when I take an afternoon cat nap. Which in itself is “fun” because it’s like having more than 101.5 F/38.6 C laying down on my crotch area. Worse when he’s happy and sprawls out like a napping toddler. He doesn’t seem to have much issue hanging off me head upside and purring to his heart’s content as he sleep as well.

In fact, today was the first day he was in the front window and didn’t freak out and hide when said “hello” when she walked by. Unlike the last time when she did that and he hid under the covers in the bedroom for hours. Of course, he’ll still hide whenever anyone else is over… but at least I think he’s figured out if whoever it is that talks to him is on the street, then he’s safe.

The level of stupidity is going up now that the weather’s getting warmer. For example, my neighbors across the street now rent the whole house, one of them made the “brilliant” decision of putting their two little dogs on the first floor… While this might not sound like a fail as I imply, it is when you realize these two dogs are easily stressed out and start barking at anything and everything that walks by or barks in the neighborhood. Worse, when someone walks by — they fly to the front windows wrecking the blinds in the process. I walked by, and one of their two dogs, just flew at the window and through the blinds. Heard them a couple of more times after that when I was in my kitchen and cooking my lunch. It hasn’t happened today as I didn’t see them in the window, so hopefully they’ve learned their lesson.

Then there’s the second floor neighbors in the house across the parking lot (in the back of my house). Seems that they went away on vacation or something and one of their two cats ended up on the fire escape of their apartment for the last three days according to one eye-witness that was waiting by the house. When I talked with the witness, I told them someone would come home in a couple of hours (late morning/early afternoon) and I’ll let them know… but he wouldn’t have anything of the sort. Not only did he continue to wait and watch but also called Animal Rescue about the cat. Sure enough, the third floor tenants came back and were able to rescue the cat from the fire escape, but the witness didn’t stick around to catch Animal Rescue to tell them that the cat’s all right.

That was left to me when I came out of my mother’s house and saw them there looking about the wrong side of the street. So after 10 minutes of explaining to the woman what happened and who had done the good deed, she was off.

Then yesterday, the neighbors across the street had a friend over in some monster pick up truck that I didn’t think twice about, until that friend decided to leave and it sounded like the transmission on the truck was about to fall out. Did that warning screech stop them? Well sort of. They stopped their truck in the middle of the intersection to the side road (Adams St) where they left it there blocking (non-existent) traffic for about an hour. Oh they moved it. In fact, the owner started his truck and apparently drove away with it sounding like the transmission would drop out at any time. It was a hell of a din given that the owner drove away at no more than 5 MPH even onto Atwells Avenue.

Thanks to that, my ears were ringing about 5 minutes after they had gone. Not to mention gave Moe quite the fright too as he couldn’t figure out where the sound was coming from.

Then there was the din a couple of days ago in the parking lot with someone that sounded like was setting off some sort of fireworks. Either that or had to break into their car as it sounded more like a window being broken the more I think about it. My cat completely freaked out with that and tried his best to hide under the bureau in the process. When I checked in the morning, there was broken glass, or any sort of fireworks refuse in the parking lot either.

And finally the highlight of the week had to be my neighbor downstairs. Now keep in mind this woman rarely if ever opens up her windows even with the impending summer weather. She’s rarely seen other than perhaps in glimpses when she throws her trash or recycles. My mother says during July and August she has an air conditioner in her bedroom window, but her windows are never opened otherwise.

She opened her windows the other day. For what appeared to be “spring cleaning”. Windows were opened and it looked like she had her curtains out on the fence drying. Since then though? Closed again. 89 F/32 C with 95% humidity and the windows have remained closed.

How she can do that is beyond me.

As for me…

I’m sore. Not entirely sure why. Old age, probably. Well that and the amount of humidity in the air. Sleep as once again swung back to “normal”. So much so that I seem to be making up with bizarre dreams in overtime. While I can’t remember them as much as I should, I remember enough to know that it’s been a sort of powder keg dredging up memories old and not so from my past. Some of these recurrences I know I caused by thinking about them at the right time before I fell asleep. Other seems to be off-shoots of those memories.

[Last Edited: 6/20/2014 6:26:42 PM]

To continue…

I’m finding myself modestly cautious about what I remember and when given that I’m finding myself highly self-suggestible because of it. It’s not just being the right frame of tired for this suggestible state to happen, but also just being… well, impressionable on the whole. I found one of the dreams that I had last night had been triggered by a set of thoughts that I had while re-watching an episode of Heroic Age yesterday afternoon.

For entertainment, I’ve given up (again) on Andromeda at near precisely the same place I did before (when it was first run too). Why? Well because by season 3 this show was seriously, seriously dumbed down when they ejected Robert Hewitt Wolfe from the production team and gave [Kevin] Sorbo more authority. I tried also to get back into the remake of Battlestar Galactica and realized it’s too depressive for the summer. So it’s back to anime for me for the time being. Namely Samurai 7 and Heroic Age for the time being. I might go digging for others, but these two work for the time being.

Finally I would like to throw a great big, screw you to the team at FourSquare. Seems that for the last couple of weeks they had left their app alone but was pushing a new social app called “Swarm”. Didn’t like the looks of Swarm and it wasn’t really in the queue for loading it up on the phone. Then today when I was out doing a bit of shopping with my mother, tried to check in using FourSquare only to find it disabled until I installed and downloaded the new Swarm app to my phone….

So checking out the reviews on the store and see people are not happy with it at all. A quick download and install I found out why… What made the Foursquare app fun (and sort of unique) was all the features that it used to have had been disables. Gone was the ability to maintain and gaining “Mayorships” at locations. Gone were the point tally acquired during a week of check-ins. In it’s place is a buggy program that leaves the GPS portion of the phone always on and draining power, and organizing through text and messaging — friends to join you here or there.

It’s a good idea if you’re a social butterfly or collect friends like tchotchke.. but for me? Not really. With the exclusion of one acquaintance in the Rhode Island area, most of my friends and acquaintances are nation and world wide. So that organizing feature Swarm offers is very useless to me. Add to the fact that you can’t check in with just Foursquare, I wrote some disparaging reviews for both apps, and deleted my account with FourSquare in the process with the same note that when they remove Swarm, I might come back. Probably not, I’m not a fan of any company that makes draconian decisions that demand their user base install more apps to test out their new ideas by destroying what’s already working.

So bye-bye and screw you FourSquare for betraying a loyal fan and destroying a fun app.

That’s about it for the time being. Until the next time.

TGI Laundry Day

03/02/2012 1 comment

Entry 03/02/2012 10:06:53 AM – Mentat 632

Another Friday, another day at the laundromat.

The roommate’s come home a couple of days late, but at least he’s home in time for the routine song and dance with the landlord about how his section of the rent’s going to be late. At this point I find myself apathetic. I’ve reached my limit to his song and dance and for as long as I’m not dealing with eviction notices, I could care less of what arrangement Mark has with the landlord. Although I do know the landlord’s in a tight fix because all four families in my apartment complex have finally moved out leaving us and one neighbor on the third floor there. I heard when the landlord stopped by to drop off rat traps that another three of his apartments have been mostly vacated as ours have as well — so while he’s going to be a bit tense about late rent, he’s not going to push too hard given that he doesn’t want to lose what little income he has coming in at the moment.

According to what Mark’s telling me, his “job” wants him to head back to New Orleans in a couple of weeks there is some sort of International Art Exposition/Seminar/What-have-you going on there middle of the month and the company that he’s contracted through wants him to represent the company at it. Unlike his last trip, he’s only going to be gone a weekend (at most) at the company’s expense, so it’s not as though I get an extended break from his “motivational” speeches. This time since he’s come home, he’s telling me that he wants to clean up the two rooms he squats in… Heh and me being me will only believe it when I see it.

Though I did promise to help him try to get the box spring and mattress he had been given from the now ex-girlfriend before her move south. The mattress is going to be easy enough as it’s flexible… But the box spring? It’s a queen sized and I can’t see that getting up either stairwell. This is after all an old house and so the hallways were built for humans being of the average height of 5’6″ (167 cm), so I can see all sorts of problems getting it up the stairs. I think it might fit through the back windows, but the problem with this is that we would need to get them out of the frame to get it in… And given this is the second floor… I can see all sorts of accidents happening. Heh, it makes me glad that I went with a single sized futon instead of a double. Well that and the frame comes completely apart with a couple of easy to twist screws.

Wilma (the feral) and I have finally worked out an agreement. Her eyes have got to be the worst out of the three when it comes to collecting gunk in them. So every morning when I wake up, crack open the door to my room and head to the bathroom, she’ll wait patiently on the heater (when it’s idle and not on) or at just out of the way of the door (when it is), and when I’m done with my nature call, will allow me to clean her eyes providing that the very next thing I do is throw food for her. For as long as I either sit with her or throw kibble — she’s content. Found this out when one morning I gave her a pet, cleaned her eyes and then walked away which she had then hissed and took a swing at me in a miff. The instant I went to the kibble bowl, she was more than happy and forgot that what I had done.

The other two… Heh… Well… I’ll be uploading a picture I had taken last week of one of the two getting somewhere she wasn’t supposed to. Whiskey is finally sleeping with me when I nap (though he makes such an effort about where and how he wants to sleep on my lap). Since Mark’s come home the three of them don’t spend half as much time around him as he was used to. They might return to normal if he sticks around the house for longer, though right now they look to me for about everything: food, company, play and to moan about being lonely.

Since my last journal entry I’ve gone on a movie binge. So far I’ve watched, How to Train Your Dragon, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Priest, District 13, Quantum of Solace, Is it Just Me?, Strapped, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Star Trek: Nemesis, You Should Meet My Son!, and Dog Tags At the time of my writing this entry I still have Shank, Sherlock Holmes and District 13: Ultimatum to get through… Some of the thoughts that I’ve had on the various movies have been:

  • Since when do Vikings have Scottish Accents? Sickly sweet cute and nauseatingly politically correct, but hit the spot just right in spite of it all. Oh and Jay Baruchel continued to pull off nerdy well. (How to Train Your Dragon)
  • Luc Besson creates some interesting cult movies, but his sequels suck so badly they warp the very fabric of time and space! (District 13, but Transporter comes readily to mind for this as well. Thankfully he’s never made a sequel to Fifth Element, but I bet it would suck worse).
  • Percy Jackson came too late. It would’ve done perfect years earlier (even before Harry Potter), but because of Potter, this is a desperate grab for another franchise to capture kids and kids at heart to watching a new series. Oh, and since when did Greek Gods have British and Scottish Accents?
  • Nicolas Cage at least didn’t look like he was sleepwalking and on drugs in this film, and the rug on his head was certainly better (than the rug he had on his head in Next). But even Alfred Molina couldn’t save this paltry live-action reimagining of the Fantasia clip of the same name. Jay Baruchel was able to pull off nerd really well: I remember being that awkward in high school too. (Sorcerer’s Apprentice).
  • I’m glad I bailed on Star Trek back before Star Trek: Insurrection. This movie sucked. Good on Brent Spiner though to kill his character off to prevent him from coming back. And B4 is too “limited” to pull off Data’s resurrection in spite of what they did with him in Star Trek Online (Star Trek: Nemesis).
  • James Bond has lost its vision. There was an insane megalomaniac in this, but there was no clear point of a plan to destroy the world, no resolution when the villain was caught, and too many mixed messages about the current state of the world. I can see why this movie had such a cold reception at the box office. (Quantum of Solace)
  • The South isn’t that stereotypical, though the message was clear enough. The sisters remind me too keenly of my family when it comes to computers too (You Should Meet My Son!)
  • I could completely relate to the hero in Is it Just Me? And the love interest reminded me too much of Damion when he used to get stubborn and steadfast. Well that and the love interest’s attempt at a southern accent did as well.
  • A story about a hustler lost in an apartment complex who falls in love… While this is a sort of fairy tale, some of the messages that I walked away with from this movie left me thinking on more than one level. It’s a movie I would actually recommend to friends interested in the genre (Strapped).
  • I went into it mindless (Priest) and enjoyed it in spite of the fact that the Priests were Jedi Knights in black. Oh and a big thumb’s up to the fact that the Vampires were murderous killers and not disco balls on legs.
  • What a Charlie-Foxtrot! What message they were trying to hint at in the beginning of this film is nothing of the message that it ended with. I need to recommend a run-away from this movie to anyone that asks about it! (Dog Tags).

That’s just the movies I’ve seen so far. One of these days I might go back to writing a review or two.. Right now though — quick thoughts are about as much as I want to share. I think I might even get around to picking up Apollo 18 as well. There was also another movie that I was talking with Glenn about that I would put off for another day. While I can’t remember it off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure it’s time to pick it up as well.

So there’s a new word that’s ending up on my “loathe” list and that’s regular. Men looking for a regular guy. Men who describe themselves as regular. Seems that earlier this week, I had someone say to me that he was a regular guy and that he’s looking for someone regular. Heh, nipped that one in the bud by telling him right off there’s nothing “regular” about me. Really, what is this quest for finding a man that has as much color as gray and as much personality as Lurch? It’s one thing to be stoic and perhaps as reliable as a rock to stand on — but it’s quite the other to remove all personality traits and expression to the point of being projecting one as bland. I mean sure it’s not remotely truthful — look at the things my roommate said to me to sell himself and what I’ve discovered of him 4 months later is quite contradictory… But to intentionally try to sell oneself as that bland is mind-boggling.

Well that’s going to be it for the time being. Off I go to watch a bit of movies and then off to make lunch. Until the next time.

Entry 08/03/2011 10:30:29 PM – Mentat 617

08/04/2011 5 comments

The world is round; it has no point.” – Adrienne E. Gusoff

Needless to say that it’s been a fun couple of weeks since I’ve last sat down to write. I was able to work out getting a replacement mobile phone for the one that I broke, and so far it’s survived longer than the first one (by a couple of weeks). Was also able to get the screen protector on without any problem whatsoever, and now I don’t mind it so much when I get oily fingerprints all over the screen because they’re easy enough to wipe off with a lint-free cloth. So I can be as ham-handed about it as I want without worrying about it getting dirty — which was probably the reason why I was being so cautious and careful that caused me to drop the phone in the first place. Was even able to work out a slight glitch in getting the SD card recognized on the PC. Then we had a power fluctuation in the house early in the morning between the last entry and this one, causing the power supply to die a terrible and horrible death (read: didn’t come back online with enough power for the video card).

New power supply in place (one with about 300 watts more power than the previous and putting it at a humble 1100 watts) and Frankenstein’s beast is back online. However, it turns out one of the front intake fans refuses to power up for reasons I’m not entirely sure. While it’s only one fan out of six, it’s still enough for me to be only slightly concerned with the cooling within the box particularly given the heat wave we’ve just come out from. At the moment, the temperatures around the Tundras of New England are more than a little comfortable — but as this is August (and technically the hottest time of the year) — I’m sure we have a couple of more days this month for the scorching hot (near 100 F/40 C) temps to strike some more.

*sighs* Still though, if it’s not one thing, it’s another…

Other than that — it’s relatively quiet here at the moment. My aunt and uncle are getting ready for a trip to Florida in a couple of weeks, for a couple of weeks, which means I’ll be watching their pets along with making sure things go along smoothly while they’re gone. It’s going to be pretty interesting to hear back from them given that Florida at this time of year is infinitely worse than here — and they’ve been practically melting (and bitching about it) the instant the temperature gets above 85 F (29.4 C).

I’ve been feeling pretty good since I’ve gotten the bike back and doing 20 km a day riding. Heh, some days I’m so covered in sweat, people think I got caught in a downpour along the way, though the good thing is that I haven’t had any sort of charley horses, and whatever swelling I had of the feet and ankles quickly goes down with so much as a 20 minute walk (1 mile/1.6 km). Good thing too — because while it’s not in the least bit painful, the fourth generation hypochondriac that I can be ends up thinking horrible things are going on — from elephantiasis (as I’ve said before) to kidney failure, to some of the nastier heart conditions/heart disease that can be found on the medical related websites.

I know, I know… leave the diagnoses to medical professionals if there’s a problem, and as a fourth generation hypochondriac to steer well clear of such sites. It’s just that sometimes in the morning, while I’m still waking up and sort of in a curious frame of mind, I end up finding information that seems to relate to my symptoms, and even though I’ve read it and realize that it’s not going to happen here — like the elephantiasis (which occurs in tropical areas) — my brains think that there’s always a possibility of it happening here. And that’s when I become my own worst nightmare and start worrying. At least for about 30 or so minutes before I drive it all out of my head and go about my business as usual. At least the good thing is that such silly worrying doesn’t seem to invade into my unconscious and I end up dreaming about some dreaded virus or some such happening…

…No! Of course not! What ends up in my head is working/quitting and re-hiring at my last job almost a year later. Yeah, that’s the dream that I had last night. One that was so annoying and disorientating, when I woke up at 6 in the morning to Cricket’s parading up and down my pillow because she was hungry was that I wasn’t sure whether it was all a dream or whether there were parts of reality to it with me going back to work there. Yeah, that one was definitely fun. Took me two minutes longer than I wanted to spend thinking about it this morning and realizing that my going back to work there for some months and then quitting again was a recurring theme of my dreams whenever I dream of the job.

Although sitting here and thinking about that dream again, I realize that I had another dream that followed it that was even more demented than the whole working/quitting recurring theme that I had. No, the next dream that tied in had nothing to do with the usual aliens invading earth motif that I typically have. And no, it wasn’t post war nuclear holocaust either. All I can remember as I’m sitting here writing this is that it was… weird in a very entertaining sort of way. Oh well… I might be able to remember it another time; right now though it’s lost to the back recesses of my brain waiting to jump out when I least expect it.

Speaking of, I was thinking about that during my ride through Smithfield. In about 2 weeks, I’ll have celebrated my first anniversary of leaving that job and loafing as I have during that time. Funny how even after a year of ups and downs and some of the trials and tribulations that I’ve gone through, I still find myself torn as to my decision on it. It’s not as bad now as it was last year — though it’s enough to still pull at me sometimes and leave me wondering whether I did the right thing or not. While my sanity is certainly better for it — it’s just one of those sort of things that I sometimes wonder whether this was a challenge I should have learned from instead of bailing out before I completely lost my temper. *shrugs* At this point it’s neither here nor there as it’s not something that can be readily rectified

Cricket’s hating the heat at about this point. If she hasn’t been growling and hissing at me when I’ve checked for life and gave her a quick pet, she’s been so sprawled out and lacking such energy during the day when the temperatures get up above 80. Her appetite’s slacked off a little because of it, though I did press her a bit into continuing to eat the three cans of wet food a day and whatever dry she’s in the mood for. Right now she’s off on the bed, sprawled out again and completely passed out after finishing off her third can of food for the day.

When it cools off though Cricket shows a lot more life. I think that the field mouse my aunt’s caught hints of has been making its way into my part of the house, which might explain why Cricket’s been in some of the more obscure parts of the apartment staring at things for hours at a time. When I go to investigate, Cricket seems to try to poke into things — particularly when I come with a flashlight. Though neither she nor I have found any trace of the field mouse, making me think that she’s getting demented in her old age and chasing after shadows more than anything.

As a precaution I’ve laid out a couple of humane traps to see if I can’t catch it, but so far the traps have been left un-sprung leaving me think that it’s only in my aunt’s part of the house and not mine.

That’s about it for the time being. Off to watch the continuing sweeping melodramatic soap opera — The Great Queen SeonDeok that Hulu has had available. Sixty-two, just over an hour long episodes that’s a sort of historic story about the first Queen of the Silla Empire. Pretty damned good too, even if it’s been terribly predictable at some points. Not to mention the villain of the story is someone I can just love to hate – Misil. Something I would strongly recommend to people if they’re interested in period pieces.

Until the next time.

Entry 03/13/2011 01:30:18 PM – Mentat 605

03/13/2011 Comments off

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…” – Alphonse Karr

Sunday…

And because it’s a week prior to Spring and Daylight Savings Time Back in effect, what little sun that I was seeing at the buttcrack of dawn when my alarm goes off is going to be once again dark. Blah! I say. Sure, by the time June comes around and the sun will be up around 6’ish or so, but it would be better right now seeing it instead of getting the taste before it disappearing again. There’s something rather charming about sitting there by the window with the cat as the sun’s coming up and listening to my coffeemaker brewing away while I make faces at the cold that’s just outside the double-paned window. Now? Pfft! It’s going to be another hour or so before that happens again, and a couple of more months before I’ll be doing the same with the windows open… Or better, sitting out on the porch with the laptop instead. I really can’t wait actually.

It’s also rather hard to imagine that Spring’s only a week away. Though honestly being in the Tundras of New England that’s more just a marker on the calendar and not actually the advent to the change of seasons. Being as high as we are from the Equator, it usually means that we have several more weeks before we actually start seeing the signs of spring. If anything, we won’t be seeing any of the signs for spring until mid-April (optimistically) and right now… I’m seriously needing more than bitter and freezing cold, gray skies and dirty snow on the ground. Because right now, I’m at the end of the winter-blahs.

I can tell too… Inspiration is at an all-time low with me at the moment. I lack any sort of direction, have little want to being creative (even with the couple of ideas that I’ve been banging about my head the last week or so since I’ve been happily playing through Dragon Age: Origins), and generally just being a couch-potato about the house either watching various television shows in my Hulu queue, or chatting without any direction with friends and acquaintances online. Although truth be told there that with the acquaintances I’ve been finding my patience worn rather thing with some of the insipid games that I catch them doing. Another sure sign that I’m gripped by a bad case of the blahs as well. Hell, even the chores that I sometimes look forward to I find myself simply grinding through the same lack of gumption I have watching the various shows I usually like watching.

I know what I need too. It’s not a vacation somewhere warmer. It’s the need to have a bicycle under me as I’m pedaling like a madman up a hill and slaloming down the other side all the while listening to some trance tune that’s setting the tempo for my mad dash through the countryside. Of the thought of during the ride, stopping for a moment or two to picking up an iced coffee to put in a water-tight container that I can take the moments to enjoying when I get to the end of my run. Of being able to sit out in the summer sunrise (or sunset) and enjoy the feeling of a cooler breeze while the temperatures go down from hot and humid to only humid. And the impulsive sort of shopping expeditions that don’t require me to be conscious of the changes of cold to colder-than-a-witch’s-tit that happen during the winter.

*shrugs* It’ll be upon me soon enough. I just have to grin and bear it for the remainder of the time before it changes…

Barring the winter blahs that I’ve had going since the last journal entry and my “nose to the grindstone” approach when dealing with a combination of lethargy and anxiousness, things on the homestead were their usual wacky zaniness. Take for example the beginning of last week when we got some momentary surge in warmer weather thanks largely to the rains that we received. Sure, it was nice that it was warm enough for me to open my windows for about an hour before I realized just how chilly the breeze was, but the downside of that weather was that with all the snow and melt doing on and that run off wasn’t going into the streets as expected. In fact, we had a bit more flooding in the basement than I wanted to deal with. Further, with uncle out of commission because of the knee surgery replacement that he had two weeks prior, it was my duty and responsibility to monitor and vacuum up any standing water when it was found.

Thankfully because of my observations and intervention with my uncle and the flooding we went through last year, I was able to stave off the leaking that began reaching into the back areas of the finished parts of the basement. Had we originally put down the raised pallets on the floors the way that he had originally wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to catch the flooding until it had reached into ½ of the finished basement instead of the less than ¼ small patch that had actually occurred. Still, there have been times in the last couple of weeks as the melt and rain’s been hitting the area, I’ve felt like the little Dutch Boy with his finger in the dike. Fortunately for me looking outside most of the snow is gone from the front and side of the house, which means that barring the torrential rains like we received last year things in the basement should remain dry for the remainder of the year.

My aunt… Bless her heart… Came in with the mail on Wednesday and it being a Christian Holiday (Ash Wednesday), sparked the usual short-attitude from me when she asked if I would join her for mass (again as my uncle’s still convalescing from the surgery). Seriously it’s the same old dance with her on this, as though if through her continued asking, my attitude toward Catholic Church — and more importantly the dogma that it foists — is suddenly going to change overnight — and I’ll become the Catholic that I never truly was.

“Why don’t you come to church with me?” She’ll start.

“Because my days are a Catholic ended a long time ago,” I would respond. With her completely forgetting that I converted over to Buddhism decades ago and of which has been mentioned during every Christian Holiday she wants me to join them in celebrating in the course of the last 6… well, 7 years and brought up every time this dance starts.

“It’s not bad,” she offers.

“Look, I’m allergic to the dogma,” I get shorter the more she pushes her suggestion and waiting patiently for a different step to the dance with her bringing up my going to mass on the anniversary of my grandmother’s passing.

“What’s that?” — Meaning dogma, which I’ve explained to her countless times.

I get a bit shorter, though I’m not in the least bit angry, “Look it up please and keep in mind no matter how many times you ask me, I’m not going and I’m not changing my mind.” Relieved that she didn’t take the occasional route through bringing up my grandmother.

And with that, she leaves without saying another word.

Shows that I have in my queue have finally picked back up what with those that are on public television coming back from their Spring Break, and Cable Shows coming to the end of the lag between broadcast dates and the agreement to show 30 days after airing (really? What’s the purpose of this other than to being greedy tits?) of which one show has finally come to the end of it’s showing… The Cape. My opinion on the show was low from the start and seeing its ending; am not only thankful that it was cancelled, but also surprised that I stuck it through to its last episode. Yeah, it was that god-awful…

Fraught with over-used clichés and needless angst, it felt like a broken record at times when the writers and the powers that be were trying to drive home with a sledgehammer how the protagonist — Nick Faraday (The Cape) — was wronged and how much of an obsession that he had going on with villain Peter Fleming (Chess). Really, even those that tuned in later in the episodes didn’t need it telegraphed to them with a jackhammer. To make matters worse, it missed the entire point of what superheroes are supposed to be: the ordinary Joe that through tragedy or accident, surpasses the ordinary citizen and becoming well, a superhero. Even the superheroes that rely on their wits and technology (and not super powers) — like Batman, Green Arrow, and more importantly Iron man — show a better than human approach to their crime-fighting techniques. The Cape? Pfft. They tried to add too much “realism” to hobble him as a superhero, making him look more human with a cape and a couple of mediocre tricks and less superhero.

Of course, it didn’t help matters any that Summer Glau was in the show… Her character came off as a combination of bored rich girl trying to make purpose in her life with snotty know-it-all. When they began telegraphing that Glau’s character — Orwell — was the daughter of Peter Fleming following almost out of the blue they begin to making her character MPD loony as her father. Of course it never helped matters that Glau (like Michelle Rodriguez) seems to have only one expression and for Glau that’s looking rather blank. All in all, I agree with NBC killing this show as much as I agreed last year or so when the Alphabet Network (ABC) did the same with Defying Gravity… or as I’m fond of calling it from others on Usenet; Defiling Gravity.

On the plus side, I stumbled across a piece of Korean Television on Hulu that shows a bit of promise: Athena: Goddess of War. A Spy-Action series that’s a spin-off from IRIS that Hulu also seems to have made it’s way there. And of course, being the left-hander and with my luck for stumbling onto things, I’m ending up watching them backwards. Not that I mind given that while there’s some reference to IRIS being referenced a couple of times in Athena, they are mostly independent of each other. More on that when I get through watching the show…

[Last Edited: 03/13/2011 08:06:17 PM]

Coming back from the rest of my queue on Hulu, I have to say… Fringe is really beginning to suck bad. With the last episode Os (short for the element Osmium and not anything else that might come to mind) I’m really beginning to lose my interest in this show. For while, I had thought that Bad Robot might have learned from some of its mistakes when telling stories like Alias, but the more I watch, the more I can’t help but see similarities from the latter show emerging in the former. With the advent of the on-going story demonstrating this rift going on between parallel dimensions causing a breakdown of the universe (or actually Multiverse if they’re wanting to be more accurate), I can’t shake the feeling that this dimensional rift will be used more and more to basically excuse to the fundamental breaking of science and physics in a carte blanche way thereby destroying my ability to suspend disbelief to enjoying the show. And worse, it’s being done in nearly the exact same fashion as done in Alias. Sad too, as I was really liking this show…

Well, I think I’m going to call it a night… it’s quiet, and I think I’m off to play a bit more before heading to bed early. Tomorrow, the section I didn’t talk about today: the geeky stuff.

Entry 11/25/2009 10:31:08 PM – Mentat 543

11/26/2009 Comments off
 

     Staycations can be a fabulous time in getting caught up with everything.  I mean here I am sitting at the computer, coffee in hand — halfway through to the midnight in the garden of good and evil, caught up with most of my deviations and messages in DA…  Checked in with my routine status on FB, halfway through the second DVD of Farscape Season 1, with my cat happily drooling on her couch, while listening to iTunes borderline on the psychotic side (from DJ Icey the last song to The Cranberries this song) and not a care in the world. 

     I got to finish Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four which was what I was more traditionally used to when it came to a Sherlock Holmes story.  I did so because Lindsay’s Trip to Arcturus was definitely on the wrong side of weird for the likes of me, and I found myself not wanting to track the story too much given that the entire first chapter was nothing more than fluff.  Needless to say though The Sign of Four did make more sense and followed the elements of deductive reasoning a hell of a lot better than the first book.  Although I admit that there had been times when I thought that Holmes was more a walking Deus ex Machina, given that throughout the entire book, you get the impression that he had the thing solved from the beginning and Doyle was just stringing us along through him in order to get the mystery solved.  The bottom line on this is that this is the sort of mystery story that I like reading, and while the elements aren’t my familiar science-fiction or fantasy elements, it was still a good read from beginning to end. 

     I’m not sure which book I want to read next.  I might cut into something from Jules Verne, as I can’t seem to find it within me to want to continue Lindsay’s book in the least.  Or maybe for giggles, I’ll try to tackle something from Burroughs.  At least I know that it’ll be cheap, tawdry pulp from Burroughs. 

     Also got to see JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and liked it enough that once my aunt and uncle are done with it I’m going to re-watch it to see if I can catch all the production gaffs.  While the elements are a good way to revitalize the franchise, I admit that I wasn’t too keen as the plot points that were being established…  For example, I didn’t like that Christine Chapel was completely written out of the story, and in her place Spock was having a relationship with Uhura.  The instant that I saw the hug in the turbo-elevator between the two of them I felt like I was watching someone else’s fanfic (slash more like it) put up on the silver screen.  Ugh…  But then again I remember the three years of TOS where Nurse Chapel was chasing Spock which felt like putting on a pair of old jeans. 

     I was completely put off with the information provided on McCoy, although I did appreciate and approve Karl Urban’s performance of McCoy.  You see, McCoy was a :simple country doctor" as he had routinely said and was from Georgia having gone to Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) for his medical degree.  I couldn’t for the life of me imagine that he’d wind up in Iowa and joining the shuttle to Starfleet Command and hooking up with Kirk as he was joining.  Further, I had always been under the impression that McCoy was drafted because of his knowledge on medicine (and re-drafted as it was mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and I wasn’t too keen that the introduction of his nickname completely misses the old High Seas reference of Sawbones.  Still though, Urban did a good job capturing the crotchety nature of McCoy and occasionally

     I give kudos to Chris Pine’s performance as James Tiberius Kirk, having caught the essence of Shatner’s swagger, more than occasional over-acting, and the essence of Kirk’s womanizing (right down to him and the Orion cadet) and wanting to hound dog Uhura (although this once again seemed more like a fanfic/slash writer’s dream of having someone from the main crew turn down Kirk’s flirtations). Although I did have some problem with the runaway bad boy attitude that he sported during the Kobayashi Maru Scenario and how he got disciplined and then grounded for it, instead of being given the commendation.  Sure this is an "alternative timeline" Trek, but still I didn’t and couldn’t approve of this, as it felt a cheat in the same way that Beavis & Butthead (Berman & Braga) did with Vulcans in Enterprise by making them cardboard cutouts of their established and accepted nature. 

     I also give applauds to Simon Peg (playing Montgomery Scott) and Anton Yelchin (playing Pavel Chekov) for surprising me in a good way with their performances.  When I saw their entrance, I was under the impression they were going to be nothing more than the butts of numerous jokes, and while this was in fact true they did play somewhat competent parts in performing their duties. 

     I give thumbs down to Zoe Saldana (playing Uhura), John Cho (playing Sulu) who seemed filler character that they filled out in all the wrong ways and again feel like a fanfic was written in a way that demonstrated the writer(s) disinterest in those characters.  A huge thumbs down to the cardboard cut-out of a villain Nero (played by Eric Bana) as well as the bullshit technobabble surrounding Red Matter. Please.  Anyone that watched Alias would readily recognize the reference of the red globe of Red Matter comes from…  Yes, the Rambaldi artifact that was created in Asia during the end of the first season. 

     Another big thumbs down was the planet of Vulcan and billions of inhabitants being wiped out during the movie.  This felt like a continued kick in the teeth from the way the Vulcans had been poorly portrayed in Enterprise and nothing more than a punching bag for the writers and Hollywood removing a race sci-fi and Trek fans look up to with an almost reverent devotion.  Although the jury’s still out on Spock.  Zachary Quinto put in an outstanding performance as Spock, enough that when my aunt stopped by while I was watching it, commented that [Quinto] reminded her of the spitting image of [Nimoy’s] Spock." My opinion might change of him in a second running, but presently, I find myself put off by him ejecting Kirk from the ship, instead of putting him in the brig.  After all, ships have brigs as well, you don’t eject someone because you’re pissed with them and they’re interfering with your command.  Further, brigs were in place in all shows, why is it suddenly not in this movie? 

 

     And Farscape  Wow, what fun this is returning to this universe and watching the first season.  Seems I’ve either missed one or two episodes or I had completely forgotten about them because of the stress I had been going through at the time that Sci-Fi Channel (long before it became SyFryed) decided on showing them back to back from the beginning in order to kick off the new season.  At about that time I was going through one form of hell with the ex.  Like Babylon 5, Farscape is considered for me one of the better building blocks of my understanding and appreciation of Science Fiction, even If Farscape definitely crosses the line often into the realm of fantasy. 

 

     Oh, and I was able to get Canonical’s Ubuntu Karmic Koala (9.10) loaded up, but not without significant problems.  Strange.  When I originally tried to perform the upgrade, the first thing that I noticed was that it had completely disabled the Third Party and Restricted programs and drivers which is a great big wrong in my book.  Then it was going to take the better part of 2 hours to complete the upgrade.  Thought against this and tried to load it up from disc that I had downloaded and burned from an ISO file.  Hah, what a joke that was.  The ISO passed the checksum, and the disc even passed the CD Check, but when I tried to run it, I got all sorts of crashes when trying to install it.  The fun part about that was, while grub was able to successfully load and allow me to get to my Windows Partition it kept giving me errors every time I attempted to boot to the Linux Partition. 

     Well this is just fine! I thought, let me grab the 9.04 and go through the painful couple of hour upgrade to get to it…  Which I did.  And though it took an hour less time because it was a fresh install of 9.04, it still was an hour longer than it should have been.  First thing that I notice they replaced the Gnome Add/Remove with this piece of fluff called the "Ubuntu Software Center". 

     Not liking it, I was fortunate to find how to get the Gnome Add/Remove back into the Administrator Menu, but not without me making comments about the POS "…Software Center" which can be read here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8370815#post8370815 and while I was able to get a majority of the programs that I wanted to install — I still have to perform a little more tweaking when I get the chance. 

     I’ve also noticed that for some reason, while 9.10 has been able to get Dolby 5.1 surround to work properly with both Rhythmbox and the OS itself, I’ve noticed that when trying to swap out from Linux to Windows, my Soundcard is completely locked in some sort of mode that prevents it from recognizing Windows API commands.  So far, the only fix for this is a complete shut down and cold start after 10 or more seconds.  I think I’ll look into seeing if this has been fixed or not after tomorrow.  Right now though I’ll keep to the Windows Partition for the moment as I like listening to music and watching DVDs without having to cold start the Workhorse. 

     An acquaintance of mine had suggested loading up Kubuntu or Xubuntu on the system, and while I’ve had the pleasure of getting Kubuntu running on my system once or twice, the glitches with the Add/Remove in Kubuntu is frightfully painful!  Seems that they still haven’t worked out the problem with mass laundry lists of adding/removing programs in Kubuntu that causes the whole package manager to come to a grinding halt causing it to take upward to 5 – 10 minutes per click to add the next program if one has already queued up more than 7 programs already, and not the sort of thing that I want to experience.  And the Adept Package Manager is like Synaptic which can be more than a little overwhelming for an intermediate Linux user.    Not to mention that I don’t like the KDE desktop as it’s worse than XP’s 3-year old with a coloring book experience, particularly with the taskbar. 

     And as an afterthought I was able to try out Xubuntu once, but couldn’t for the life of me get it to recognize the sound card, so I’ve scrapped it since.

     It is still in my not even remotely humble opinion that Linux is still not ready for the average user to use, and at the rate that it’s going, will continue to have less than 1% market-share.  This is because of the manner for which developers and coders continue to act snobby and condescending toward anyone that offers any negative criticism for a package or product.  Further, I’m still of the opinion that a cut down of the million and a half-flavors of Linux to say 3 – 5 varieties that would greatly assist being attractive to the casual user.  Particularly when they’re trying to find the solution to a problem and not swamped with having to cut through all sorts of Linux solutions that won’t work in the particular version they’re running (like the time I found a problem that someone was suffering from in Fedora which required an RPM package to be installed, and I was running Debian/Gnome that would require extra steps to get the RPM package running).  And finally, I continue to maintain the opinion that Linux users on the whole need to STFU if they cannot contribute to the solution of a problem..  I continue to see, "this didn’t happen to me" or "it’s working fine for me" tacked on to a thread and doesn’t inspire users to trudge on to try to find the solution to their problem. 

     Ultimately though I will continue to trudge on to learning it, as I seem to be getting better at finding the solutions on my own, rather than trying to find others to help me with a solution. 

 

     Well that’s about it for the time being.  Off for lunch, play a game or two and continue watching Farscape.  Until the next time.

Categories: Movies & Television