Saturday, September 29, 2007

No Wonder No One Listens to Classical Music

I was listening to WCRB (Boston's classical music station), and their station identification phrase is "Relaxing and Unique, Boston's Classical Music Station".

No wonder so many people think that classical music is the province of orthodontist waiting rooms.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bad Web UI Rant #769

Is it just me, or are more and more web sites looking more and more like bad knockoffs of MYST, without the pretty pictures? I mean, in terms of trying to find functionality -- you have to go rooting around a bunch of different pages and dropdown menus and make sure you don't overlook some small link over in the corner, and so on.

No, wait, MYST was fun. These are more like bad knockoffs of Riven.

(I am mostly referring to DNS registrars, who in my experience mostly suck. There's a reason I'm up at this hour.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WTF? #1517

In Orem, Utah, a 70-year-old woman was arrested for not watering her lawn.

Apparently she "is charged with resisting arrest and failing to maintain her landscaping, both misdemeanors."


Failing to water your lawn is a misdemeanor? In Utah? It's a desert, for crying out loud!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Review: Heroes

Heroes Season 1 came out on DVD a couple of weeks ago, and The Spouse and I got it from Netflix (actually, we rented disks 3 and 4 from our local video store because we were impatient) and watched it. We enjoyed it immensely.

Good writing, good acting (great casting), high quality production values (including really perfect use of CGI to flesh out various locations), great camera work, and a fabulous soundtrack (which isn't out in audio form yet, more's the pity). Overall, it's one of the best shows I've seen in a long time.

What I'm mostly worried about going into Season 2 are (a) having to go from a DVD marathon to week-to-week broadcasts; and (b) how do you top Season 1? A big problem with a lot of SF/Fantasy work is that the first volume (book, season, whatever) establishes the backstory and the universe (which is, after all, a whole lot of the fun), and later volumes can't do more than embroider it or maybe reinterpret it.

One minor quibble: we were both able to predict a major plot point in the season finale based on a prophetic dream they showed us about 2/3 of the way through the season. It seemed fairly obvious. But there were enough twists and turns throughout the season that had us chortling and OMFG-ing that I can't really hold that against them too terribly. (There was one episode mid-season that had a really big plot hole in it, but I cannot at this moment remember what it was, so I guess it didn't stress me out too much.) The pacing was pretty good, too.

Bottom line: highly recommended.

Bad Web UI Rant #761

Today's things I hate about bad web sites:

  • Sites which can't (won't) take passwords with non-alphanumeric symbols. (I've even run across some sites which won't take numbers. [!])
  • Form fields which are supposed to take numbers (like phone or credit card numbers) and require you to not include spaces or dashes. How hard is it to strip those out?



Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Summer Movie Roundup

Well, RavenWeb did a summer roundup, so this give me the excuse to do so as well....

I finally saw two Will Ferrell movies on DVD over the past few days: Talladega Nights and Blades of Glory.

Talladega Nights is somewhat funny, and might be worth a rainy-Saturday rental, but it's not fantastic. (The extras are far funnier than the movie, which is always a bad sign.) It's too long by 30 minutes or so, and goes in too many directions at once -- over the top crazy for a while, then maudlin, then tear-jerker, then crazy again. It takes genius writing and editing to pull that off, and the filmmakers don't in this case. The supporting cast is quite good, with small but good supporting turns by Molly Shannon, Amy Adams, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jane Lynch, and Gary Cole, plus a criminally underutilized Sacha Baron Cohen. The two actors playing "Ricky Bobby"s sons ("Walker" and "Texas Ranger") are fantastic, especially the younger, Grayson Russell. Expect to see more of him.

Blades of Glory was a pleasant surprise: a tight, funny movie that never takes itself terribly seriously. Ferrell and Jon Heder play men's figure skaters who get booted out of competition for fighting, and later combine to do doubles skating (through a rules loophole) to get back on the ice. Hilarity ensues. Lots of homosqueamish jokes ensue, but they don't seem mean-spirited (except towards the characters showing the squeamishness). Good guest turns by Jenna Fischer, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, and several real figure skaters round out a fun time. Recommended for a nice brainless hour and a half of fun.

RavenWeb may have liked Knocked Up, but I thought it rotted. The 40 Year Old Virgin was far funnier, and far less stupid, in my opinion. I found Knocked Up implausible, semi-insulting, and far too hyped. Plus, I don't like Seth Rogen much. Paul Rudd was good in the supporting role, but it's Leslie Mann (director Judd Apatow's wife) who really shines -- as an actress -- her character was annoying.

I know I saw more movies this summer, but I can't remember them.