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Reviews / feedback / comments on books, movies, television, technology, food, etc. (These might be short snippets and not long reviews)

Written By: Gary on December 2, 2013 No Comment

White House Down was a fun movie. Jamie Foxx as the president was interesting, most of the time he was pretty serious, but generally more playful than the president is portrayed in the movies (sometimes a little too playful).

white-house-down-poster.pngMaggie Gyllenhaal was excellent, I always see her in movies and think she’s great, but I never realize that it’s her. From Donnie Darko to Secretary to Stranger Than Fiction to a Secret Service agent in this movie is a bit of a wide range of characters.

Channing Tatum was the hero, he was there applying to be a Secret Service agent who was pretty much told he didn’t have the right stuff. He took his daughter on a tour after his interview and that’s when the terrorists attacked and they got separated.

Joey King played the daughter and she was amazing!!! At some point The President happens to walk by and she gets him to answer a question for her video blog (sorry, “YouTube Channel”) and se pretty much floors him with her question. She played the voice of the “china girl” in Oz the Great and Powerful and she was great in that too, I remember specifically looking up later to see who did the voice (but I had no idea at the time).

This movie is exactly what you would imaging. It’s Die Hard but at the White House. Too many bullets and missiles for the hero to survive, but they manage to do it (of course!).

I have to say it was way more fun than I expected. Lots of action, some good one-liners, trying to figure out what’s real and what’s misdirection made for a great movie. Also, it was 2:10 long and it sure didn’t seem it, sometimes even amazing movies start seeming long after a while. I enjoyed it but after yesterday’s weird movie review (Upstream Color) it was certainly a welcome relief!

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Written By: Gary on December 1, 2013 No Comment

I’m not sure why I watched Upstream Color in the first place, I read a good review, some actor I liked in it or exactly what it was. But once I started watching it, I couldn’t stop. There are some spoilers in here, I say “some” because it’s so strange of a movie I’m not sure if it’s actually revealing anything…

There is some new street drug and it’s got something to do with some kind of roly-poly bug that’s killing some plants. Plus, this woman, Kris (played by Amy Seimetz) gets kidnapped and manipulated (controlled) into giving away all her money. This is all in the first few minutes. Most of the story is her trying to get her life back, she remembers (mostly) nothing of what happened to her.

upstream-color-tbu.png

Oh wait, I forgot about the pigs, (that’s really important) there’s some stuff transplanted from her that’s injected into some pigs and the guy who did all this watches the pig. Maybe he still watches her too, but it’s hard to tell if he’s watching her or the pig sometimes. Sometimes what your’e watching is what they’re experiencing in their heads and not what they are seeing with their eyes.

Then Kris meets a nice guy who seems like he’s dealt with some trauma in his life so he’s willing to be with her. I can’t write much more without giving everything away. I think I give away less than the synopsis’s do, but some give away too much.

The visuals are very interesting. Shot in a weird way that I liked. The dialog was reminiscent of (what I think of) as David Mamet dialog, except his is usually more overly dramatic and misleading (in a conversational confusing way), this is just as intense but it’s noir misdirecting, it’s just cRaZy.

It’s insane. Completely weird. But I was compelled to see how this was going to get get all wrapped up to make sense, I will say it gets wrapped up, but I’m not sure about the making sense. This wasn’t weird in a “eXistenZ” or “Brazil” kind of way, those movies made complete sense.

I’m sure I’m missing some of the symbolism or at least missing the recreational pharmaceuticals to help me understand everything.

FYI, there was no one in the cast that I remember from anywhere else, the same for producers/directors. But I know the few places I looked the movie up, it also recommended/suggested Moon and Primer, both weird but very interesting and/or excellent movies in my opinion.

It’s available to rent or buy at Amazon, iTunes, etc…

Written By: Gary on November 23, 2012 No Comment

The Early Edition 2 works OFF-LINE for news reading!!! You don’t need WiFi to use it, just to sync it! So if you have the data plan (or even if you don’t have a data plan), you can sync beforehand and not pay for any data! This pre-caching makes it really fast to use, it’s slow at the beginning when it’s pulling stories and images down, but once it’s down , you don’t have to wait for a thing. Even if it didn’t have this feature, it’s great for news reading of any topics you might be interested in.

And it syncs with Google Reader, I haven’t tried that yet. (I should, I use Google Reader all the time). I think the choices are GoogleReader or stand alone, no integration.

early-edition-2.jpgI love this app, I can’t decide if it’s #1 or #2 of my favorite news readers. But this is the one I use sometimes when I’m in the house, but all the times when I’m out the of the house. As I put my iPad in the sleeve, I run Early Edition 2, so it syncs with my WiFi as I’m heading out, then when I get somewhere, even if they don’t have WiFi, I have pages and pages of things I’m interested to read on my retina iPad. If you want to do this, be sure to set the settings for “Preload Images” to “ON”, or else you won’t have any images there and under “General” I set “Autofetch Options” to run “Every Launch”. (I set my “image frequency” to “Most”). There are separate settings for 3G (I assume that include LTE, 4G and HSPA+) so that it doesn’t automatically fetch and cache images.

It’s got settings for “Unread” news, “Today” or “All” news. I use “Unread” and in the settings I have it set to ‘if I see the headline, it counts as read’. So if I see something interesting, I have to read it then (or star it for later).

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It’s got great sharing options: Twitter, Instapaper, Readability, Facebook, Pinboard, Delicious, RedItLater and Evernote. I’m not on-line, I just mail a link to myself (I always forget if I star something off-line if it remembers it for later).

My biggest complaint: When reading an article I click it to go full screen (you have to or you don’t see enough) and I can swipe for the next article (if I want it). BUT to close an article I have to move my finger to the very tippy-top of the screen and click “done”, it needs something different (double-tap on the white space or anywhere that isn’t clickable) to close an article.

Downside on the setup: It’s a little awkward to manage your sections. Once you learn it, it’s okay, but it takes a little bit. It’s worth it though!

$4.99 is a little pricey though. I think it’s worth it. It goes on sale occasionally (but not often and not for long)

Written By: Gary on December 14, 2010 No Comment

I got a new book and it’s hysterical. But you’ve got to love books end enjoy technology to get all the jokes. If you’ve provided some technical support you’ll find it extra funny too. But it’s really for everyone who’s got a digital device but still reads…

It's a Book Lane SmithThere is a few pages from the book posted at Amazon if you scroll about a third of the way down it gives you a good feel for the book; there is also a video but the video really gives way too much away (and I don’t think it’s as funny).

The problem is there’s one line in it that might offend someone if you let kids read it (one of the character’s name is Monkey while the other is Jackass); it’s fine, but there’d be complaints if it was in a children’s library. While it’s presented as a kid’s book, it’s certainly for adults, especially for adults who read…

So if you’re looking for something else for the reader in your life who has trouble giving up books to get a KIndle, a Nook or some other digital reading device, they’ll appreciate this book.

Also, it’s really inexpensive. But Amazon always jumps their prices around, so I can’t promise the price, but today it’s listed at only $5.55, so it’s kind of a no-brainer if it stays that low…

Written By: Gary on November 6, 2010 No Comment

What to say about this movie? It’s not for everyone, but it’s probably got a little of something in it for everyone.

  • A strange movie. For sure!
  • A good movie? I’m not sure.
  • Seriously oddly compelling? Definitely!
  • s it a movie? A comic book? A video game? Yes, it’s all three at the same time…

Scott’s got a new girlfriend, but to move along in the relationship, he must defeat her seven ex-boyfriends exes. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) Edgar WrightAlthough I’m not sure why he must defeat them, they’re just after him. She seems aware of it, but overall she doesn’t seem like “she” needs him to complete the task. You need to just accept this point and move along with the plot.

But it’s filled with many interesting scenes; I’m not saying they all make sense, but they’re interesting and have some cool effects.

In some bizarro way it made me think of what we leave in the wake of our old relationships… What perspective do the others have? What perspective do they have years later? Do they think “Gary who?” or “Gary, sigh…”? Hopefully somewhere in the middle and without too much anger or regret…

Written By: Gary on March 25, 2010 No Comment

This is just a test of MacJournal. I’ve tried it in the past, but I thought I’d give it another try since it just came in a bundle I purchased and they’re coming out with an iPhone app that you can sync your entries with it.

I had a few problems getting it to configure. I ended up manually doing the settings and using the MovableType protocol with a blog ID of “1”. Couldn’t get the atom protocol for posting to work (I’ve never gotten it to work with any blogging client). Actually, it just alerted me to version 5.2 with allowed me to use the WordPress protocol, but I still needed to use a blog ID of “1”. And when it pulls down my old entries, it pulls down my tags, but doesn’t seem to grab my categories.

As I write this, I see a way to set the tags, but I don’t see any way to set my categories. I see it pulled the categories down from the web site but I just don’t see how to choose them. When you submit the post (“Send to Blog”) is when it asks you to pick the category! That was not in the help section at all. Also, it’s kind of inconvenient, if you write an article off-line and wait until you are connected to the internet to post it you can’t just hit send, you need to pick the categories which might not seem like a big deal, but when you’ve got a 1/2 dozen posts you wrote off-line and you’ve only got a few minutes to post (and they might be charging you by the minute) it’d be nice to have done that part in advance.

wpid-wpid-MJicon5.rPcVM2jzA0Wh.KjwjelAnqYBn.jpgHmm… Trying to figure out how to wrap the text around this image. Can’t figure out how to edit the HTML (my preferred choice) to change it. Not so happy with this at this point, but maybe someone will offer some tips.

Later: It also auto capitalized my tags after I specifically typed them in lowercase, not happy with that. I’ve got a few other WordPress things: Not being able to edit custom fields and set the slug for the blog post name, but those are pretty specific things, but I wanted to mention them for those loooking for a client.

I’ll play with it a little more, but I think I’ll be sticking with Ecto which integrates with WordPress quite nicely. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it doesn’t let me do some of the things I want to do. Ecto handles the categories, tags, custom fields and the web URL (slug) for WordPress very well; plus it allows me to create some macros, makes it pretty to create Amazon links, has a nice preview and can switch between WYSIWYG and HTML quite easily.

FYI, this is MacJournal version 5.1.4 5.2 and a self-hosted WordPress 2.9.2 blog.

Written By: Gary on December 5, 2009 One Comment

If you’ve thought about Scrabble for the iPhone (or iPod Touch) it might be time to try it, if you play Scrabble on Facebook it’s past time to try it!

scrabble-push-sm.pngI’ve always been a Scrabble fan and on my Palm Treo I used to play Scrabble all the time. While this version by Electronic Arts is excellent, I think the Palm OS was a little better; I think because the stylus made it easier to play, on this version they zoom you in and then you have to zoom back out (which works much better than it sounds).

They advertise that you can play with someone on the same WiFi network, but that’s no big deal to me, if they’re that close, just set up a board! The amazing part of this program is how it interfaces with Facebook, you can have multiple games going and it keeps track of them all and you can invite people to play and all that stuff, it works great. I did not play Scrabble on Facebook previously but I liked the idea of playing someone from a distance. I haven’t challenged anyone that I haven’t played in real life, but I will. The problem is that I don’t spend that much time on Facebook it’s inconvenient to keep checking to see if it’s my turn?

scrn_iphone_scrabble02.jpgFor a while the game has been popping up with a tip saying it works with push notifications (but it didn’t). I’ve only been using the app for a week and the latest version (that I think came out yesterday) now supports push when it’s your turn. At least when it’s your turn on Facebook they’ll send a push alert to your iPhone or iPod touch (I’m not sure about playing someone on the same WiFi network). I also noticed if that it’s alerted you that it’s your turn when you launch the app it takes you right to the game board!

This is great but it’s a little odd, there are three kinds of push notifications: alerts (text pop-up), sound and badges (alters the app icon, see below) but they chose to not to implement the text alert; while they may have had a reason to think you don’t need them you do have on/off options for all the different notifications. I can see how it would be overwhelming for those who are playing 20-50 games at a time, for me, I’d like the text alert since if I don’t hear the sound (not likely) I have to keep peeking at the app icon/badge (which is way better than having to launch the application). The push alerts aren’t perfect (they don’t always show up), but I’m think that might be an Apple thing and not a Scrabble problem.

scrabble-badge-notification.pngI’ve not played with the computer much, but some people complained that it’s too easy (the Palm OS version had 3-5 levels) and I’ve had no one to play with on WiFi but I suppose it’s probably similar to Facebook play.

Available on SCRABBLE

Written By: Gary on December 4, 2009 One Comment

The iPhone eats battery power. The more you use it the more it eats. As a result, the more you use it the unhappier you get when it dies.

Maximal Power External Battery for i-Phone, i-Phone 3G, and Ipods (Black) Maximal PowerSo I picked up this 1900mAh external battery and it was a great investment.

I keep it in my bag and it’s great when I need it. It’s not just powering your phone, it’s charging it! So once you remove it from the phone, it’s been charging your phone in the meantime.

Honestly, it doesn’t snap on very well, so it’ll fall off if you place it in a jacket or suit pocket and aren’t careful, but it won’t fall off if you’re using it for most non-gaming applications. It seems to fits well with my Seidio case (review).

For $14 (at Amazon), this is the best stocking stuffer you could get the iPhone enthusiast in your life (or iPod Touch or any iPod device I guess); if only it came in colors!

It always seems to have a charge whenever I need it. Although it’s rare more than a few weeks go by when I need it.

It you plug in the battery into a charger and the iPhone into the battery it’ll charge both. This brings me to my biggest complaint: I wish that when it was on the phone and plugged into the sync cable it’d charge both devices and pass through the data so I could sync at the same time.

This works with the current Amazon bonus of $5 worth of MP3 downloads with purchase (I think this is good only once per cart, not for multiple items in the same cart).

Written By: Gary on October 24, 2009 No Comment

I shot, edited (titles and transitions) and uploaded this video from my iPhone. I used ReelDirector for the editing. This is my first attempt but it was way easy to use. reeldirectorvideoThe video was shot on the iPhone, edited on the iPhone and e-mailed to YouTube for uploading. It’s five short stiched-together videos (which I was able to trim when I imported them) with some text at the beginning and end. I used the same transition (blur) for all the transitions since it was easy to use (you can customize this per transition). You can rearrange the videos once they are in there, but I pretty much picked them in the order that I wanted them in.

This is from the balloon festival from a few months ago. The first speaker is me talking as I shot it. The rest is whatever voiceover was going on at the time. Nothing fancy at all.



Direct link to the video is here.

I didn’t time it, but I’d guess it was about three or four minutes (on the iPhone 3gs 3.01 OS) to stitch and build the one minute video. My biggest complaint is I couldn’t extend the time for the titles and credits and the time is too short). I also wish I could have inserted some photos too (but then there wouldn’t have been audio behind it). The strangest thing was that it didn’t save the video back to the phone, I didn’t see any way to get it out of the program other than e-mailing it to myself (or YouTube) but that worked fine (the iTunes page says this works in 3.1). it’s very cool software but it’s a little pricy at $7.99 for $3.99 (since iMovie came out); I used an iTunes gift card that I got last month for my birthday which made the (old $7.99 price) a bit more digestible…

Written By: Gary on September 24, 2009 One Comment

What I don’t like about my Bluetooth earpiece for my iPhone is that it only streams audio from the phone calls. Why Apple (all cell makers) don’t let you use BT audio from other parts of your phone, I don’t understand. I have a pair of semi-bulky BlueTooth stereo headphones that and they stream the iPod music, podcasts, sound effects from games, and everything (but they’re bulky). My normal bluetooth earpiece just fits in my shirt pocket for when I’m not using it so I rather use that. The trick is to find an earpiece that supports A2DP.

Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset (Black) PlantronicsI decided on the Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset for three reasons: they were inexpensive, I’ve had good experience with Plantronics in the past and they came with a second earbud (earplug?) for your other ear if you want stereo sound.

So now I can listen to podcasts or news (or whatever) while waiting for something (doctor appointment, a movie to start, anything) without having to cover both ears (and not have to carry anything big around to do it). The same goes for videos or watching YouTube. Or if I’m playing a game I’ll still get sound, it’s nice to have audio feedback even for simple puzzle games, but especially for puzzle games. Your device must support A2DP for audio other than phone calls.

I think my main uses for this will be phone calls, listening to audio (books, The Economist and podcasts, streaming some radio) and some games. I can walk pretty far from the phone when listening, when I head upstairs (most amount of wall/stairs interference) it cuts out a little, but once I’m upstairs it still sounds great.

I think I’ll rarely plug in the second earpiece but I’ll keep it in my computer bag just in case. It’d be great if I knew I was going to be somewhere loud, but it might be too loud for them to hear me. Obviously I can use these for music, but I rarely listen to music via headphones, I generally listen to music at home or in the car, but I guess I now have the option (sort of).

The packaging was very nice, I couldn’t believe these were a $35 from from the box. In the box was a nice manual, not some teeny tiny thing that you’ll never find again. The BT headset, a nice carrying bag, two ear loops, 3 different pairs of ear gels (plus a weird pair foam ear pieces), a wall plug charger and some weird strap (unidentified in the manual) to dangle it from your neck (like a neckless, I guess).

So this BT headset gets a two thumbs up from me. No real minuses on the headset at all, but this is my first few hours of use and I really enjoy them so far.

I’ll probably do a follow-up in a few days, so if you have any questions, leave them in the comments.

Written By: Gary on August 19, 2009 One Comment

I’ve read the book The Time Traveler’s Wife several times (and when I say several I’m thinking four or five times). This was the first novel by Audrey Niffenegger and it took her over five years to release her second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, which is due out soon (end of September 2009). You can check out a review I wrote a few years back if you don’t know anything about it.

The Time Traveler's Wife SoundtrackIf you don’t know anything about it, know this: it’s not a science fiction movie! I know that it seems counter-intuitive, but the movie is about their relationship and how this “disease” affects it. Henry travels through time and can’t control it, he’s not some tinkering scientist with a lab in the basement. The main thing is that he generally travels to the same places, this is what makes the story work. When he travels to unfamiliar places that’s when there is trouble; did I mention that his clothes don’t travel with him?

I thought the movie was amazing! Obviously, they had to change a few things in the movie. It was so wonderfully done I can clearly remember the one scene I didn’t like and there was one scene that I thought should have been left in. I thought the character’s were aged okay, really more Henry’s character was necessary than Claire’s, since Henry was the traveler you needed to be able to figure out how old he was when he appeared.

The only other thing I’m saying before I offer some spoiler-like things is the only swearing I noticed was the word “shit” and you get to see Eric and Rachel’s butts, so it’s a pretty safe film if your wondering about it for your kids from that perspective (but it is about life and gets intense so it’s not happy-go-lucky for your younger kids). Reviews seem to score about 70-75% but it really seems as if people love it or hate hate it, not many people in-between (35% or 1,700 reviews on IMDB gave it a 10). And don’t watch the preview, it gives away way too much!

It’s a long book with a lot of craziness and depressing parts of life. The movie got rid of most of the bad/extra-depressing parts. It’s still there though: pain, life, suffering, death and it’s a lot more visual than the book. And it’s got lots of sad parts. I actually think it’s more emotional if you read the book since you now what parts are coming.

It really just worked. I thought everything came together very well. I’m not going to rave about it, since I’m sure I’ve oversold it already. There was that one scene in the middle that I didn’t like the way it went, it just didn’t flow right, if you see it remember to come back and leave a comment as to what you thought the worse done scene was.

They added/changed a few scenes too, one scene ended completely differently than I thought it would (but was done excellent). I was really disappointed that they cut a scene, had they not made a fore-shadowy reference to it I might have lived without it. And the way the movie put some parts together it might even have changed things a little bit, but still I missed it. I will say I stayed to the end of the credits just in case they ran that scene, it would have worked really well there, it is a time travel movie after all.

P.S. – Bring kleenex…

Written By: Gary on August 11, 2009 One Comment

Tori always has interesting lighting at her concerts. Lots of changes during the show with more to do with the set and lighting (no actual physical changes). I always enjoy it.

The concert was awesome (as Tori always is), had a great seat, row G (on the right side) so it was perfect. As people cleared out I was able to move up front for the last few songs).

Below I’ve got a few low quality photos (my iPhone is great, but in the dark it’s not so great) and a video to illustrate the lighting.

tori-IMG_0401.JPG

tori-IMG_0405.JPG

tori-IMG_0393.JPG

tori-IMG_0395.JPG

The video is just a few quick clips so you can see the lighting (I think it’s four clips about seven seconds each).

I’ve never seen this before but if you follow the direct link to YouTube and click on the HQ button at the bottom it makes the movie bigger (like the HD button does). Give it a try.

But I haven’t figured out a way to directly link it to make it the bigger HQ automatically (you can append &fmt22 to force into large HD or &fmt=18 to force into normal HQ but I’m looking for the large HQ answer, anyone?).

Written By: Gary on August 7, 2009 No Comment

So I made a plea a few weeks ago looking for a case for my iPhone (zero responses). Just couldn’t find the one for me, I want something not too bulky but I wanted the screen to be protected. I was worried about damaging the screen, I’m not so concerned about scratches to the case (or even around the edge of the screen). Although when you try to take things in for warranty repair, I’ve learned the less damage to the case the better.

Seidio Innocase II Surface Spring Clip Holster Combo for iPhone 3GS, 3G (Black) SeidioSeidio Innocase Holster for iPhone 3G and 3GS - Black SeidioI think this is the case for me, it’s the Seidio Innocase II Surface Spring Clip Holster Combo for iPhone 3GS and 3G. When they say combo it’s really two products in one it’s this holster with a separate form fitting case for the iPhone that fits in the holster. What I really really like about this is that the screen faces in. I loved my cheaper holster but the screen faced out and that made me nervous.

The form fitting case is nice because it’s not too big and it makes the darn iPhone a lot less slippery! It’s easy in and out of the holster. And the holster has a stopper on it so that the phone cannot slide and release the pressure of the spring clip, it pretty much has to be intentionally released to remove it. I love it and since I’ve been using this I’ve stopped looking at other cases for my iPhone.

The case fits so tightly if you’ve got a screen protector on your iPhone make sure it’s on perfect or it’ll hit the case, I had to peel it back (it wasn’t perfect) and trim it back (now it looks bad). And I think it definitely runs a little hotter with the case on.

Here’s the problem: Since I’ve got the case now it doesn’t fit in my car holder and it’s a little tight on my bicycle holder (a future post). And it fits so tightly it takes way too much time to remove.

So if you think this is the type of case you want, it’s definitely worth the extra money and it seems very well built. Just make sure you pick the “combo” so you get the holster and the case; the phone doesn’t fit in the holster without the case.

Written By: Gary on August 4, 2009 No Comment

So iTunes has the Defying Gravity pilot for free! And it’s available in HD! It’s probably only free for a few more days (but who knows). (UPDATE: Defying Gravity is on Hulu in 480p.)

defygrav.jpgI forgot this was going to be on this week, I set the TiVo up a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure where it’s going to go. I think it’s only on for six weeks, so don’t fall too much in love with it.

It’s in 2052. It’s not a super high-tech 2052, they’ve got cooler TVs and while the spaceship is great, the rest isn’t that science fiction-ish. But you mostly forget about it. What really caught my eye was that we don’t have a Space Elevator yet!?! They had to launch to get up to get in to orbit (to get on the big space ship).


Direct link to the preview.

So they astronauts (think) they’re on a mission to all the planets in the solar system. But there is some mysterious (alien?) intelligence guiding their way, so who knows what the mission actually is.

It’s got an A Fine Frenzy song (Last of Days) in it too! About 30 minutes in if you have commercials, probably bout 22 minutes in without. She’s awesome!

Written By: Gary on July 11, 2009 No Comment

autostitch-icon.pngSo one of the coolest programs I’ve downloaded from the iPhone App Store is AutoStitch. It takes a bunch of photos and stitches them together. Alex Lindsey talked about this on MacBreak Weekly a few weeks ago. He spoke so highly of it, I plopped down my $1.99 and started using it immediately.

autostitch-screen-capture.PNGYou take a bunch of overlapping photos and it stitches them together, it does this completely automatically, there is no user intervention. You can use pictures you’ve taken with the iPhone but you can just as easily use pictures that you’ve synced with the phone. So this can work for the iPod Touch too, just sync some photos and when you’ve got some spare time, stitch them together. It does an amazing job.

I first used some photos that I shot on my Canon SD1100, it that just happened to be synced to the phone and did a great job of stitching them together. So you don’t need an iPhone, an iPod Touch with photos that you’ve synced works great too.

Above you can see a sample screenshot from the program where I chose 22 photos and it stitched them together (click it to enlarge). Remember all I did was pick the photos and a few minutes later it churned these out. All these photos were taken with the iPhone 3gs. If I cropped some of the edges of the photos, it’d look like I took there with a really wide angle lens.

Here are two samples:

detroit-cityfestjaggies.JPG
I chose this one specifically so you can really see how it pieces these together. It’s got gaps in it, (I think) this is the one I took 22 photos for the image; just the part with the people on the blanket in the middle is 3 or 4 images.
Click the image to enlarge to 2,500 by 800 pixels.



detroitcityfest.JPG
This one is more complete as I took many up and down photos to go with it. That’s the Detroit Fisher Building on the left.
Click the image to enlarge to 2,000 by 1,000 pixels.

These pictures were taken at CityFest in Detroit this summer.

I’ve used it multiple times and only once had a problem; it got confused when I did a 360 panorama when the same type of railing showed up several times, this was because all the condos where I live are similar so it really couldn’t match things up. There are some matching issues with color/contrast and people moving, but this is really great!

This software is well worth the $1.99! I think I got that much fun out of it in the first hour, let alone all the time since then. ZZZ

Written By: Gary on January 7, 2009 One Comment

So I really liked the idea of the TV show The Mentalist. A guy who used to do a mind reading act and talk to the dead (and all that malarky) decides to consult full-time with the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation). He’s a smart-ass with a great sense of humor. Looked to be be a show I’d really like.

The Mentalist CBSBut here’s the catch: in the first episode you learn that he’s really into this because his family was murdered by a killer named Red John, who did it just to taunt him (that’s the short version). So I really thought that part was going to ruin the series, I figured they’d waste ten minutes an episode on the Red John story-line and it’d just be annoying. Surprisingly, I’ve barely noticed it. There has been a few references and a few parts of the story-line tied to it (like his old psychiatrist was in an episode), but it really hasn’t consumed the season. I think there might have been some episodes where they didn’t mention it. I just watched a very Red John motivated episode and I’d say they did it right and I enjoyed it (although the hacking into the secure data-base was a little over the edge, IMHO). My thoughts of this ruining the story-line were unfounded and I’m happy it hasn’t bothered me like I thought it would.

If you’re not watching this show yet you might want to check it out.

Written By: Gary on December 29, 2008 No Comment

You can watch the full pilot episode of the new Showtime series The United States of Tara for free with promo code tara (pretty tricky, eh?). Toni Collette plays the multiple personality mother and John Corbett (Chris in the Morning from Northern Exposure) plays the (very accepting) dad. The semi-wild daughter is played by Brie Larson and I’m confident before the end of the series she’ll show some similar traits to her mother and Keir Gilchrist plays the smart/good son.

As you can see by the images below, Toni Collette plays a wide range of characters.

Toni Collette

I enjoyed the episode, but it starts a little slow as they have to introduce everyone and all their issues. It definitely picked up towards the end and I was laughing out loud at the few scenes at the end. If iTunes picks it up, I’ll certainly try it for another episode or two.

Written By: Gary on August 28, 2008 No Comment

The proper name of the hotel is Occidental Torremolinos (Occidental owns a bunch of hotels, but I’m not certain if it’s a “chain” or what) it’s a two floor hotel built in a square (hollow in the center) with an outside pool/hot tub and some tables outside in the middle. It is a nice standard “American” hotel and it’s located just off the edge of a busy area but it’s not too busy by the hotel. The room is standard “Holiday Inn” but with nicer finishing touches it was about $80 for the night.

I walked around last night and my only real complaint is there were too many American chain restaurants (there were a lot of Chinese restaurants but not in one particular area, they were scattered all over) the neighborhood seemed fine. Lots of Internet cafe’s all over the place.

This is a boring review but I always have a hard time deciding where to stay when in big cities and San Jose is pretty big so I thought I’d offer the basics.

Breakfast is free, in a nice dining room, it had juices, fruits, some Kellogg’s cereals, scrambled eggs and some kind of sausages but a bit below a full blown buffet but as included breakfasts go, it was great. Air conditioner, ceiling fan, TV, hair dryer and coffee pot in the room. There was a phone in the room which definitely not standard in the costa areas but I guess I’ve had them downtown and near the airport. The have a few old Windows machines with free Internet off the lobby, but WiFi is $8 a day (I think it’s accessible from the rooms too). Free semi-guarded parking too.

It’s very near the big Parque Metropolitano La Sabana, if you’ve ever seen a map of San Jose it’s the huge park in the middle of town. I haven’t had a chance to go in it yet this trip, I did go in about nine years ago so we’ll see how it changed. I mistakenly stayed in San Jose my first trip, I only say mistakenly in that I just needed to spend the night until friends showed up the next day, but the San Jose airport is not in San Jose (just like the Detroit airport is not in Detroit) I should have stayed neared the airport in that case.

If I had to stay in town I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again (and I decided to stay Friday and leisurely leave on Saturday).

Hotel Occidental Torremolinos
Calle 40 y Avenida 5 bis
San Jose, Costa Rica

Phone: 011 (506) 2 222-5266
Fax: 011 (506) 2 255-3167
San Jose West, San Jose, Costa Rica

Written By: Gary on July 31, 2008 No Comment

As I mentioned last week I was going to watch Stealing Beauty with Liv Tyler. I’m pretty sure that was the first thing I ever saw her in and she was so enchanting in it. She’s plays this sweet 19 year-old name Lucy (and Liv was 19 at the time) who goes to visit close family friends in an isolated mini-artians community in Italy. Most everyone there is older and they’re all interested in every little thing about her.

Jeremy Irons plays another friend of the community who is ill and just staying there to live out his last days. Lucy and Alex get to be close friends and being with her just adds new energy to his life. It’s almost as if these older characters are psychic vampires and are just absorbing whatever than can from her (it’s a strange analogy but I thought it more than once), it’s kind of funny in their limited gossipy community that she just brings a new energy to their little community.

I was disappointed in the quality of the DVD, I really expected more from the wonderful scenery in the movie. It was something that I originally at the “arts theatre” and it had some great scenery and it just didn’t transfer very well.

It’s a strange movie with some odd little sub-plots that I had forgotten about (it was 16 years ago) but like I said it was at the arts theatre and I don’t remember it getting released in the major markets (at least in Michigan).

Written By: Gary on July 18, 2008 One Comment

So I watched the 1951 version of The Day The Earth Stood Still last night and as I said last week it is still an amazing science fiction movie. I made Kelly sit through it so I was hoping it was as good as I remembered, it was (and she seemed to think so too).

The line this movie is the most famous for is

“Klaatu barada nikto”

It’s certainly not as mainstream as “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for”, but…

This was one of the first movie DVDs I ever purchased (maybe the first), it hit a good price on-line so I picked it up (I never bought movies for VHS but that’s about the time when I started for DVDs). I never watched it until now. THe sound was THX remastered and was very clear but the voices just weren’t as loud as the sound effects so if you turned it up to hear the next time the sound effects came on it was blaring. The good part was there wasn’t a lot where people were talking and there were effects.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie was

“I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.”

It was definitely a thinking sci-fi movie…

Instant gratification: You can rent it from Amazon for your TiVo or from iTunes (but it’s only $7.50 to buy it from Amazon).

Written By: Gary on July 5, 2008 3 Comments

Woo Hoo! More guest stars!!! And now on to the good stuff…

WARNING!!! BIG SPOILERS BELOW!
So it turns out I was right on target with one of my guesses and what I hoped would happen did, they just showed David Tennant’s hand-in-a-bottle way too many times this season for me to think it was a coincidence. They used that hand (hi hand) to keep David Tennant as this version of the Doctor after he regenerated. And used it for a few other things…

And amazingly my guess about Donna becoming the Doctor came out to be mostly-true. It was a wild guess and since I hadn’t seen anyone else talking about it, but it sure felt that way to me. I wanted to get it in writing so I could get credit for it later!

Now while the above two Doctor items were mutually exclusive, it wasn’t likely I’d be right on both but I think I should get at least one-and-a-half points out of two; she was “a” Doctor just not “The” Doctor. But with a title like “Journey’s End”, I wasn’t too hopeful about Donna but it did turn out to be a strange ending for her.

(I have to put these things down somewhere ever since I’ve never truly gotten over that I had completely worked out how X-Men’s Jean Grey was going to come back to life and I never wrote in about it…)

No preview for the Christmas special, I’m under the impression they are filming it already. So that’s a little surprising we didn’t get a peek like the last few years. Not even a reference to it. The Christmas special preview was after the credits, more Cybermen, didn’t notice for sure if there was a companion.

I’m not a big Dalek fan, when there’s a bunch of villains (1,000s) they generally get rid of them with some non-reproduable miracle cure, so I didn’t like that part of the story-line. That part was a little bit slow for me, but they had a lot to wrap up too.

All in all, it was a bit of The Doctor dumping everyone off somewhere and him being alone (again). It’s not like he didn’t have some choices of a new (return) companion.

But, still, I can’t wait until the Christmas special! Unless we get a Torchwood (mini)series before then. Although, I’m thinking Torchwood is getting Martha and Mickey and that’ll make a completely different kind of team…

Written By: Gary on July 4, 2008 2 Comments

So I just saw Hancock and I really enjoyed it. A lot of laugh out loud moments. An excellent part for Will Smith. If you think this is yor type of movie than I bet you’ll enjoy it.

But the movie was different than I expected, I’m not sure if “twist” is the right word but it was something completely not expected. So go see it quickly, before you hear about it or before they change the TV trailers to reveal it.

The more interesting stuff is in the twist, so that’s all I’ve got to say…

Written By: Gary on June 21, 2008 3 Comments

So I’ve seen these Aiptek HD 720p Video Cameras around and they’ve had it at my local Target for $149 (it’s only $135 at Amazon), I figured if it was awful I could return it for their 15% restocking fee. Actually, I’m now thinking it’s my new camera to keep in my bag at all times.

It’s a

  • 720p HD video camera (which records to an SD chip) which is 1280×720.
  • 5 MP still camera.
  • Audio recorder.
  • and also records from a video source (haven’t tried this yet, but have read it looks great).

Quality is great but if you move the camera too quick it could compress a little better. But for the price it’s awesome and it’s better than I would have expected.

It’s got a record button on the front (where your trigger finger goes) and a record button on the LCD screen. On the back is a button for taking a snapshot at any time (other than when actually recording).

Other features: It’s got a standard tripod mount and comes with a charger (but also charges off the included USB cable), lens cap, carry strap, standard video cables and component cables. It’s smart enough when you flip the LCD screen to flip the video image for self recording.

Complaints: it sure could use image stabilization and audio-in for a microphone would be nice but I wouldn’t expect anything like that in a lower end product like this.

Other things: I’ve only played with it a little bit but the imaging looks a little better when moving the camera quickly in the lower quality modes (720×480 and 352×240). It looks like it has an IR receiver in the front (where your hand would be) but I don’t know if that’s what it is.

Written By: Gary on June 14, 2008 No Comment

So it’s Episode 10 (Season/Series 4) of Doctor Who, it’s pretty much a Doctor Who only episode, Donna Noble hangs back at the spa so we see her about a total of 60 seconds. The episode “Midnight” is written by Russell T. Davies, the man who revived the Doctor Who series four years ago and is still executive producer for Doctor Who and does the same for spinoffs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures (occasional writes episodes for both).

The conversation is cRaZy and and has a bunch of people talking and no one listening and when they are, they aren’t paying attention. It made me think of a David Mamet story multiple times, the conversations seemed so much like that of Oleana and other things he’s written, if you don’t know what I mean I’m not sure how to explain it. It was an interesting episode, if you watch the show you’ll see what I mean, if you know agree with me please let me know. Actually, it was a great episode, but it certainly wasn’t a “regular” episode.

Oh, and Rose shows up on the monitors again. No big surprise there…

I’ve got some spoilers (labeled with “SPOILERS”) but I’m going to talk about the next 3 episodes: previews, rumors and conjecture (some might consider the next few paragraphs spoilers too, so stop at any time). Generally Doctor Who seasons have 13 episodes and several times that last story has spanned the last three episodes (even if you didn’t realize there was more to come after episode 11) and generally the final episodes aren’t too much of a cliff-hanger since the Christmas Special (actually broadcast on Christmas between seasons of the show) has generally been meant to sort of stand on it’s own.Obviously at some time in the next few episodes Rose Tyler will return, we’ve seen her trying to contact The Doctor since the beginning of the season. Since I’ve heard that next episode is the opposite of this episode (not much of the Doctor) maybe it’ll be sooner than later. I’ve heard nothing about who’s going to be his companion next season (is Bilie Piper too busy with Secret Diary of a Call Girl?). But many months ago (I try not to listen much) I’ve heard that Rose, Donna, Martha, Capt. Jack Harkness and Sarah Jane Smith (maybe K-9 and Mickey too) will reunite to save The Doctor but that could just be a big rumor; I’ve seen nothing in the previews (they tend to give things away at the end of the Christmas previews) nor heard anything lately. But I’m pretty sure that John Barrowman (Capt. Jack) mentions that he’s in season 4 in his book Anything Goes so I’m assuming at least his part is true.

Also, we’ve never gotten much from the multiple times that they’ve mentioned the bees have disappeared from Earth (early 20th century), I’ve no clue what they are going to do with that.

SPOILERS – In this episode, Midnight, it really illustrates a really disappointing thing about the human race is we’re so stupid. No one wants to say “I don’t know” and no one wants to be the person that disagrees with the whole group, especially when it’s easier to agree with the whole group (especially if someone shouting you down). As the viewer you’ll see it, depending on how clever you are depends on how soon, but you’ll see it. The sad thing is because of peer pressure they almost sacrifice the wrong person and instead even more die.

Eh, I probably had more semi-spoilers in the speculation paragraphs than I actually did in the one with this episode spoilers.

Written By: Gary on May 4, 2008 One Comment

So I’ve really been liking the BBC’s SciFi shows the last few years and this weekend was a Doctor Who related weekend. I’ve never liked Doctor Who until the last few years (I’ll lean more towards I disliked it).

Here’s my Doctor Who related activities this weekend:

  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Glittering Storm audio book – Read by Elisabeth Sladen, who plays Sarah Jane Smith on the new series, as his companion in the 1970’s Doctor Who and did a cameo a few seasons ago (which then spun off the new children’s series). The book was good, started a little slow, I felt like she didn’t like the way her character was written but the book was unabridged so she couldn’t change it, but it got much much better as the book went on. Sometimes I got the boys confused but you could always tell the who the kids were. Good story too.
  • Doctor Who S4E5 The Poison Sky (part 2 to The Sontaran Stratagem) – I was excited that it was on this weekend, but I forgot that it was part two of a two-parter! And it’s got Martha Jones in it. Great second part, can’t say much without giving anything away, but another very (very) short appearance of Rose. I think we’ll see a bit of her (and hear about the Bees until those episodes come up). I was surprised at the mention of Torchwood, but I think Capt. Jack’s due for another appearance too (and maybe Sarah Jane).
  • Torchwood: Hidden – Read by Naoko Mori, who plays Toshiko. This is a good story, but it’s really hard to tell the character’s apart. It probably reads okay, but when there’s more than a few of them, it’s hard to tell who’s who. I’m not done with this one, but it’s good so far.

  • Doctor Who Confidential – It’s not strange to have a “making of” for movies of TV series, but Dr. Who has one every week and this week it was another 45 minutes of show (right after the series on a different channel). It’s just really bizarre to see another show just about the previous show just on, I don’t normally watch it but it was pretty good. Torchwood has a “confidential” too, but I’m not sure they’re as long. Just think of it as the DVD Extras, but right after the show.

    So it was a good weekend of entertainment. And I got lot’s of non-Doctor Who stuff done too…As other shows go, the BBC has had Jekyll as a short series, is testing out Being Human and I hoe they keep trying out more!

  • Written By: Gary on April 29, 2008 One Comment

    Just got back from a preview of Iron Man, it was excellent. It was a long movie but it did not feel like it at all, had to be close to two hours. Wonderful visual effects!! I couldn’t tell where Tony Stark ended and the CGI began. I was highly entertained and not disappointed at all! I had really high hopes and saw a million different previews and I thought it might spoil it, but that wasn’t the case at all.

    If you’ve got kids who want to see it: it’s got lots of violence but less than the average violent show (or video game) and the sexual references/scenes are way less than the average soap opera (which is probably too much).

    Jon Favreau (who you might remember as the Ultimate Fighting Champion wannabe from Friends) was the director/producer and also played Happy Hogan. The movie adaption book was written by Peter David who always writes good stuff (IMHO) so I’ll be checking that out. And of course, a humorous scene with Stan Lee….

    Where did our preview tickets come from? We have no idea, they showed up in a Mark’s mailbox with no indication of how the were won or distributed. We asked a few people in the theatre where they got their’s but it turned out they all “knew someone” or got them from “an aunt/grandmother” and didn’t know the original source.

    Possible Minor Spoiler below:I swear in one early scene (at the end of one of the scenes that take place in a club) I heard a few bars from the original Iron Man TV theme song. Did anyone else, or was this my imagination?

    Later: I’m certain it was the old theme. It’s the casino scene (right after the awards ceremony) as they walk towards the car, it’s gets louder and more pronounced (horns?) and then abruptly gets cut off. The last few bars are the clearest…

    Even Later: If you’re a comic fan, stay after the credits (I didn’t) I hear there’s an additional scene with a cameo you want want to miss..

    Written By: Gary on March 28, 2008 2 Comments

    So I’m using some Costa Rica photos to test the new free on-line edition of PhotoShop. It’s very cool, does more than what most desktop packages do, but while limited, I don’t need much more. They give you 2 GB of free storage. It’s got cool slideshows (full-scren if you like) but I’m sure it breaks some browsers…


    Costa Rica Dec 2007

    These photos are from when I was in Costa Rica in December 2007 and left Montezuma and took the ferry from the Lower Nicoya Peninsula (Paquera?) to Puntarenaas.

    Looks like you can even download your photos in their original size. They’re still in beta so who knows what they’ll charge for more storage (or features?).

    They do give you a way to put thumbnails and links to photos with having to use their viewer. Although it seems to be a 2 step process (thumbnail then link) for each photo. But it’s cheap, high-res and the flash interface is great.

    If you love PhotoShop, I’m sure you’ll hate it. It’s pretty as spplications, but since I don’t use any features past version 1, it’s very nice and easy to use. Here’s a link to the palette with all the main options on it. It’s even easier to use than I need it to be (and it has more features to use too). It e-mails a really nice graphical html link to your friends too.

    Written By: Gary on March 15, 2008 One Comment

    Alison Sudol was excellent last night. A very small venue at The Shelter, the cancert was sold out but I’d guess there were only about 300 people there, lots of room. No one was back farther than about the equivalent of about 10 rows (no seats, general admission standing only with just a few tables). I’ve seen A Fine Frenzy before and it was a smaller venue so it was great having the small crowd and as a bonus it was a non-smoking show. A Fine Frenzy Alison Sudol March 2008 Detroit

    She’s has such a lovely voice and writes her own songs. She’s got this voice that’s kind of a Sarah McLachlan / Tori Amos voice and she’s just incredible. She so beautiful and has this sunning red head, and while it might not be naturally that red, she’s got that anemic porcelain look that so many red heads do, I’m assuming she’s actually a redhead. My camera in my phone takes pretty crappy pictures, but I tried to take a few.

    She’s so into when she plays, and every so often she looks at the audience, I feel likes she’s forgotten us and that her manager told her she has to make eye contact every so often and that’s why she looks up. I always think of ‘gracious’ when thinking about her personality, that’s just how I feel when she’s talking to us and that’s how I feel when she talks to you personally. I did get to get to say ‘hi” and get her autograph on a promo poster after the concert. She’s just so nice, even with just a 30-second conversation…

    It was a busy night as we had a fund raiser at work at six and the concert doors opened at 6 too (they’re about 25 minutes apart). So we planned to skip the opening act and just see her and depending on the time possibly go back to the auction. When I finally called the concert hall. They said she was going on in 15 minutes!!!!! So I had to find Kelly and Mark get out of there. We made good time, even with having to go a longer route, found free parking right around the corner and when we walked in the music was playing but she hadn’t uttered a word yet!! So it was a great night.

    One Cell in the Sea A Fine FrenzyWe never got back to the auction, even though it was only 9:30 when we left, it was just a little too late to head back. So I have no idea what or if I won anything. I probably had my name on about $400 worth of things, but I’m assuming I got over bid on more than a few of them (there was still 30 minutes left of bidding when we took off). I had some train tickets to Chicago, baskets of games, chocolate, theatre tickets, plus I bid on one of my donated items and a few more things. One of the items I donated was for my Cat in the Hat basket which had books/stuff and included a visit from me as the Cat in the Hat (for birthday parties, classroom visits and bachelorette parties), I drove the bidding up to $75 before I left, but if no one bought it I’ve purchased myself. While I love doing it, it’s not worth it to spend a hot summer day outside in the outfit if it’s only giving the school that much money so we’ll see how that went. I also donated a basket of coffee and chocolate covered coffee beans that I picked up the stuff the last time I was in Costa Rica; I’m wondering what that sold for, it’s was only at $17 the last time I looked…

    Written By: Gary on February 24, 2008 2 Comments

    If this isn’t the cutest review of episode 4 that you’ve ever seen…

    I’m sure a few parts were re-shot, but it’s adorable…

    Here’s another cute kid video

    Written By: Gary on February 6, 2008 No Comment

    So this week’s episode of Torchwood is called “Meat”. It’s written by Catherine Tregenna, I bring that up right away because it’s a great episode. Low action but lots of story. Rhys is at the scene of an accident and who shows up? Gwen, with the Mystery Machine and the rest of the gang. So this becomes a big part the story-line (this all happens in the first few seconds and in last week’s preview, don’t worry I won’t give anything else away) and I really enjoyed the episode. Lots of great scenes of Cardiff too!

    The first thing I did after watching it was to look up Catherine Tregenna and what did I find? A few other great episodes: “Captain Jack Harkness” (when Tosh and Jack get trapped in the 1940’s) and “Out of Time” when a plane from the 1950’s comes through the rift. As a bonus, she writes “Adam”, next week’s episode! It looks like she’s written two other upcoming Torchwood episodes: Day In The Death Of (episode 8) and “From Out of the Rain” (episode 10) but I only saw that info mentioned at one place on-line (geos) and it didn’t mention the “Adam” episode (so maybe an episode title changed?). All the other shows she’s written for are other BBC(?) shows that I’ve never seen (I’ve only heard of East Enders). She’s written some plays and been an actress too.Then after “Adam”, Martha Jones joins up for the next three episodes! I believe she’s doing some work for UNIT, but I had assumed she was back finishing up becoming a Doctor…

    Written By: Gary on February 3, 2008 No Comment

    I waited so long for WordPress For Dummies, by Lisa Sabin-Wilson, and it was well worth the wait. I had been wanting to learn WordPress and had been a fan of Lisa’s blog so it was just what I needed as a motivator.

    It’s a “Dummies” book so it’s got that easy to use format. And it’s a reference book so most of it is not meant to be read linearly. If you’ve always wanted to set up a blog or switch to WordPress this is the way to go. It explains it from the basics up to the advanced. It’s step by step and it’ll get you running on your own host or at WordPress.com with ease.

    It covers Migrating to WP, 10 Great Free Themes, Ten Great Plugins, Using WP as a Content Management System, Understanding Templates and Plug-ins. It covers pretty much everything you need to know but those are the chapters I’ve read the most and use for reference. If you don’t know anything about PHP you’ll painlessly learn the bits that you do need to know for modifying templates (this is optional) and you’ll have picked up enough for when you want to use PHP for other “web stuff”.

    As I’m writing this post, I’m flipping through the book seeing if there is anything I’ve missed mentioning. There are so many areas of WP that I haven’t explored yet, I’ve read about them in the book and I can’t wait to try out some of the other features!Just about everything I’ve needed to know was in there, the only thing that I couldn’t find was detailed info on custom-fields which was (probably correctly) considered too advanced for a Dummies book.

    There are 3 different flavors of WordPress (they host, you host, and multi-user) and they all share multiple features so just pay attention to which flavor she’s talking about and you’ll be fine.

    It’s an awesome book! If you want to set up your own blog, self-hosted or not, WordPress is easy to use and WordPress For Dummies is the book to use.

    Written By: Gary on January 23, 2008 One Comment

    So the second season of Torchwood has started up. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a semi-secret organization with the job of finding (and removing) aliens and acquiring their technology to better protect Earth.

    “Torchwood: outside the government, beyond the police. Tracking down alien life on Earth, arming the human race against the future. The twenty-first century is when everything changes. And you gotta be ready. ”

    It’s actually a spin-off of the new Doctor Who series (2005), but it generally doesn’t have much to do with the Doctor, although the title does, here’s your anagram trivia for the day: Torchwood is actually Doctor Who rearranged.

    Back to Torchwood, the first season was not your normal Sci-Fi show, lots of sexual innuendo, lots of sex implied. I think all of the main characters hooked up with one of the other team members, an alien, someone of the same sex (or all three) at some point in season one (the show was created by Russell T. Davies who created Queer As Folk). Wait, I did say it was SciFi didn’t I? There are generally aliens, generally doing bad “take over the world” kinds of things and they usually stop them generally (but not always) saving lives in the process. When I first watched the show I didn’t realize it was a Doctor Who spin-off, I actually thought it was some kind of supernatural British cop show, but this was better…This season season I’ve read they’ve pushed it even more and I must say from the first two episodes it seems like it so far. Episode one of the second season there was more kissing than I’ve ever seen on a SciFi show in my life (maybe all sci-fi shows combined). Episode two is definitely a little edgier and a bit more intense (and violent) than last season, I really had no idea where this episode was going the first fifteen minutes of the show (had I paid attention to the episode title). I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season goes…

    It’s on BBC America on Saturdays at 9 PM and on BBC Two on Wednesdays at 9 PM (GMT).

    Written By: Gary on January 21, 2008 One Comment

    So I’ve mentioned this movie a few times before, mostly back in the summer of 2007 when I saw the unnamed 1-18-08 preview. I think I was pretty accurate in my original description when I originally referred to it as “Godzilla meets the Blair Witch Project“, that’s exactly what it was (except the creature wasn’t Godzilla). Lots of action, really awesome special effects. The jiggly camera action bothered some people, I was okay with it but I certainly understand why it’d be annoying…

    Cloverfield Matt ReevesThe plot needed a faster start at the beginning, they spent forever setting everything up. I thought the slow start was really odd since I thought the preview did a great job of setting everything up in about 30 seconds (rob,. party, going away, friends, explosion, monster, run) so I’m not sure why it took so long to set up in the film. I’ve got comments on the end too, but don’t worry I wont talk about those. I really enjoyed it, it’s pretty much what I expected (but with better effects) so I was happy.

    What I didn’t like was a few technical details: I thought at the beginning they specifically mentioned the video was specifically found on an SD chip, but throughout the movie it’s a “tape” and treated that way too, so I’m not sure why they bothered to set that up. And they didn’t seem to bother worrying about the camera battery as a plot problem, which I would have been okay with, except they did worry about they cell phone battery as a plot problem (and they way they handled it could have let them fix it as a camera problem too).Watch for this: At the beginning of the end credits, it looks like it’s overlaid on some (government?) documents / graphics with a 1969 date, I’m not sure what the significance of this was unless I really wasn’t paying attention to something significant during the movie (my one bathroom break wasn’t that long).

    They also showed a teaser of the new J. J. Abrams Star Trek movie, but it just showed the 1701 being built in the shipyards, not much else…

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