Hell's Kitchen

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

All I know is, if Bonnie beats out Rock in next week's finale, I'm never watching Hell's Kitchen again.


Rock is clearly the better chef in the kitchen. We'll find that out next week when he leads his team against Bonnie's. Or else.


Simpsons Movie

Monday, July 30, 2007

I can honesty say that I had been waiting for the day that a Simpsons movie was made and for the longest time I was in the group of people who did not want it to happen. Why? Because I thought they would go overboard and not do the great legacy of The Simpsons it's due justice.

And then it happened. Fox went ahead and made a movie with the Simpson family and cast of characters America and the world has been watching since 1989. And it was brilliant.

Sure, The Simpsons Movie did some things you would never see on the television show, such as Homer using a hand gesture, Marge cursing, and Bart showing off his...well, not his butt. The animation was definitely different from the show, and why not? When you have a Hollywood studio producing one of the ultimate movies in the franchise, you want to make it look good. The movie uses more of a Futurama style in it's animation, which was fine with me. I love Futurama. The plot wasn't too over the top. You get a good fill of the characters you love, but maybe you missed some of your favorite characters.

For example, where was Sideshow Bob? Are you telling me in the whole timeline of the movie you couldn't put Sideshow Bob, the ultimate Simpsons cameo character and nemesis to Bart, in one stinking scene? Was Kelsey Grammar demanding too much? I doubt it, when you can find a way to get Tom Hanks to have one of the best lines of the movie.

And maybe it was just me, but Arnold Schwarzenegger as President of the United States? Why not stick to Simpsons characters and put Simpsons film star Rainier Wolfcastle in that role?

All in all though we follow the story of Homer ruining the lives of his family as Marge questions their marriage, Lisa detests his morals, and Bart looks for a new father figure in his life...Ned Flanders. But as it happens in every show with similar conflicts, Homer realizes what he must do to help save his relationship with his family, and in this case the entire town of Springfield.

If you happen to be like me and have been watching the show on tv for it's entirety, as well as the many many reruns, and own all of the dvd season releases, then you will likely enjoy the movie on another level. There are some great inside jokes that only the purest of Simpsons fans would understand. For example, I knew the elephant's name. Did you? I particularly got a great kick over the scene where Homer and Bart jump Springfield Gorge. I think I may have been the only one in my surrounding area that loved that part so much. I know, I'm a dork.

If you are a fan of The Simpsons, you probably already saw this movie and enjoyed it. If you have never seen an episode of The Simpsons you probably have never watched tv in your life. Do yourself a favor and check out this movie. If you get a chance find a theater that is showing the digital version of the movie, as the picture and sound will be even crisper and sharper than a traditional roll of film (which is what I saw). Prepare to have a good time.

If you can't see The Simpsons Movie, or you alreday have and you're still looking for some good laughs, then check out the Adam Sandler and Kevin James film, I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry. I think Adam Sandler is funny, but I think Kevin James is hilarious. James was the star of one of my favorite, and often overlooked, show The King of Queens. Having grown to love his character of Doug Heffernan, I had to see this film. As in every Sandler film over the past few years you will find Sandler playing the role of the guy who thinks of himself first and everybody else never, until he realizes that his best friend needs help that nobody else can provide. From there Sandler transforms his opinions 180 degrees as you get the feel good ending. And you got it, Sandler's pals make their usual cameo appearances, and so does Gary Valentine, James' brother.

Of course the most marketable aspect of the film is Jessica Biel. Gee, I wonder why...


Harry Potter Madness: Part 2

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Well we did it. Stef and I went to the Borders in North Wales, where she had reserved her copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows when it was initially announced. I had stopped by earlier in the afternoon to pick up her wristband that would determine when she would actually receive her copy. We got a silver wristband which I thought was pretty good seeing as it was after 3pm in the afternoon. The silver wristbands were the second group of people to get their copies (the happiest people on the night had orange wristbands).

There were a bunch of activities to be going on, including a costume contest, Snape bingo, trivia, and a few other things to keep kids occupied way past their normal bedtime. I still did not know what I was about to step into. When we pulled into the parking lot and saw that there were way more cars than what we usually see, so many in fact that it flowed into the lot by the abandoned Pizza Hutt, that is when I started to realize just how big this event was.

Pure pandemonium. Tons of kids. Lots of costumes. I have to hand it to these Potter-heads, they love their book. Now someday I hope to have some kids of my own, and I hope they enjoy reading as much as Stef does, because I believe it will be valuable to their lives, but part of me hopes they don't get so wrapped up in a series that they want to dress in costumes and go to the store at midnight to get a fresh copy.

Some of my favorite costumes on the night included a couple of real young kids dressed as Harry Potter, one kid dressed as Hedwig (whose mother by the way was dressed in a costume but I think she was dressed more like Link), and one lady was dressed as Dolores Umbridge. But the best costume, to me, was the guy who decided to show up as Darth Vader. I wish I had a picture of that one. Now I haven't read the final book yet, but here is my...

!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!
Darth Vader killed Potter's parents, and is the true father of Harry.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

All in all we received Stef's copy a little bit before 1am and we got home not too long afterward, so the night could have gone on much longer. Good thing I got that silver wristband, eh? I can safely say I will never go to a midnight release for book ever again. Enjoy a couple of my snapshots form the night. The rest can be found on my Flickr page.

This is what you saw as soon as you walked through the front door.

If you weren't into Harry Potter there was quality reading available for all. I was a little perturbed seeing Penn State picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten though.

Mt. Boxes of Potter.

This kid apparently didn't have an orange wristband. Poor guy.


Harry Potter Madness

Friday, July 20, 2007

Well I am fresh back from my cruise honeymoon in the Caribbean Sea and what else is there to do than get caught up in all of the Harry Potter hoopla this week?

We were away when the Harry Potter movie was released so we made sure to catch it the afternoon after we came back. I thought it was good, but I don't think I liked it as much as the last one (you'll have to excuse me as I don't have all of the names of the books and movies straight). From what I've been told the movie did leave a lot of stuff out, but as far as making a movie it seemed to flow well for me, the casual Harry Potter fan. I admit I haven't read all of the books, in fact I actually fell asleep reading the first installment, so I am only watching these movies for a sense of entertainment. Without having read the books I think I have a decent enough grasp of what's going on in the movies just fine. Having said that I definitely recommend either watching the previous movies or reading the preceding books before watching this movie, because when it starts it throws you right into the thick of the conflict between Harry and the name which not be spoken...or however they refer to Voldemort. I'm not even sure if I spelled that correctly! Again, Casual Potter fan.

As for the big event, the midnight release of the final chapters in the Harry Potter legacey, I will be there with Stef for it all. Stef has her copy reserved and we'll be there to pick it up, along with how many other nutty people are in the area, at the Borders in Montgomeryville. Check back here later this weekend to see what I thought, if you are interested.

Or don't, whatever. :^)

If you would like to see pictures from the cruise, check out my Flickr page for all of the pictures! There are 385 in all!


To the Lady at the Gym

Thursday, July 05, 2007

To the lady at the gym who was using the exercise bike with her headphones plugged into the bike's radio,

Please do not feel the need to sing along out loud to whatever song you are listening too in the future. It is annoying. Your voice was not good. And people were mocking you. It's one thing to be grunting while lifting weights or something, but singing along to songs on your music player or the radio? Nope. Not a good idea.

Thank you for listening,


Introducing ClustrMaps!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'd like to announce a new and exciting feature to my blog...well, as exciting as a feature on a blog can be I suppose. It's not exactly like I'm holding you on the edge of your desk chair as the anticipation and eagerness overfills your body with excitement. Right? If you said yes, you need to find yourself a hobby! If not, then read on.

It's called ClustrMaps. You can see mine on the right hand side at the bottom of the links box. Simply put it is another adaptation of the hit counter. This one actually tracks your readers or profile viewers on a map of the world, thus giving you a chance to see where your readers are. This is a neat idea for those of you who want to see what kind of audience you have. Do most of your profile or blog readers come from your local area or are you somehow branching out to unknown people all over the globe? Each view is denoted by a red circle on the map. I believe the dots can get bigger if a certain number of people from one area access your page, but I admit there are still some features I need to brush up on.

The widget is clean and does not pollute your site. There are four different HTML codes offered so you can pick the thumbnail you like best to add to your page. There is also a "plus" version as well as a "pro" version (in development) which give you access to some extra features such as zooming in on a map, customization of a map, and the removal of the small ads. The small text ads do not offend me so I guess I'll stick with the free beta version and give it a whirl.

So, now that I can track where you are (so to speak) why not leave a comment in the comment section and introduce yourself and say where you are reading this from? Or not, the choice is yours ultimately.

Here are the rest of the maps that are offered, using this site to track visitors:
Recommended HTML code
Locations of visitors to this page


Advanced - true WC3 XHTML 1.1 validation
Locations of visitors to this page



Online Prescence

Monday, July 02, 2007

Today I found myself logging into four different online services while eating breakfast. Four! It started with logging into my bank account online so I could see where my balance stood after another weekend of wedding preparations so I could find out how much I could spend on lunch today. After finding out I can order a couple things off of the McDonald's dollar menu and drink form the water fountain at work I logged in to my MySpace and Facebook profiles. Being so socially involved in the world I feel the need to be a member of the two most popular social networks because one is simply not enough, even though I am friends with the same people (more or less) on both services. Do I need two separate profiles? After that it was a weekly visit to the Yahoo! Groups forums to check in on the Kappa Kappa Psi - Lambda Delta list serve to see if there were any posts about an outing over the weekend.

This is when I started to think to myself, "Self, exactly how many different online memberships do you have and why can't you have just one place to find them all?" I found it hard to answer myself because I honestly did not even know how many places I had online registrations for. This to me, is just the way of life. As the internet becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives I am sure that many people may find themselves in the same boat as myself, juggling passwords and login names from site to site.

There are software titles out there that will help you keep everything straight, unless you use the same user name and password for every service or forum. I admit I use the same user name as much as possible but I change my passwords dependant on the site I'm visiting. I have no idea how I keep them all straight in my head. It probably is an effect of playing Nintendo so much when I was younger and memorizing the Konami code and passwords and maze paths for so many games.

Here is a list of all of my online profiles for you to view. I'll be sure to add more as they surely come along, or I find the old ones that I've forgotten about. These things add up pretty fast!

MySpace - My first forray into the social networking aspect of the world wide web.
Facebook - Once I realized more of my MySpace friends were using Facebook, I decided to make the switch, so to speak.
Flickr - This is a social networking site and online photo album all in one. I love how you can pinpoint on a map where your pictures were taken.
FanNation - MySpace meets Sports Illustrated.
AskVille - I just wrote about this service in my recent blog post.
ebay - Here is my novice "About me" page on eBay.
Amazon - My profile for Amazon, featuring the link to my wonderful review of Mike Schmidt's Clearing the Bases. I had a wish list on there but recently deleted it. I do plan on bringing it back before the summer is up (so people can start birthday shopping for me!)
YouTube - there was a time when I anticipated actually uploading some videos to YouTube. That hasn't materialized, but I do have a profile page!

That is all I can dig up at the moment because those are the most common ones I use. When it comes to online forums, or message boards, I can rattle off a few that I have visited in my internet browsing history...
Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Eagles
D2football.com - fans of NCAA division two football
DigitPress - Gaming forum for retro game enthusiasts (NES, Genesis, SNES etc.) and collectors

And I am sure there are plenty more out there that escape my internal cache right now.

It doesn't stop there either. Many companies are forming their own online services where you can log in to their site, register your products and view online documentation, receive special offers, and receive online support in addition to other features. My favorite feature that both SanDisk and Black & Decker offer me is a way of viewing the products that I own by these companies. SanDisk allows me to view my "eBox" so I can see what items I have registered with them. When I view my eBox I see that I have registered my Sansa e250 and a 1GB Memory Stick PRO Duo. If I click on either item I can see all of the specs for the item, download the documentation for it, and access a FAQ. In some cases, as is the case for my Sansa player, I can download updated drivers and browse the accessories that are designed specifically for my player. With Black & Decker I can view a similar area, called "My Toolbox". When I go there I can check out my cordless screwdriver in all of its glory. Nintendo has the same feature as well. Every game or system comes with a little piece of paper with a code on it. You use that to register your game with your Nintendo profile so you can keep an online database of the Nintendo products you own. Those codes also allow you to get special downloads for your game, such as wallpaper, movies and cursors for your computer.

So, in a nutshell I think I can be found on an internet territory near you. I'm sure some of you can claim to be much more of an internet roamer so you probably have profiles here and profiles there. Take a minute to look through exactly how many forums you are associated with. Then take a step back and take a deep breath. It really can be overwhelming. Think identity theft can not happen to you? Maybe once you look at all of your outlets on the internet you may think twice about it.


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