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Monday
Aug042008

Another Life Cast Test

Testing new update to Life Cast iPhone app. It seems that my original settings were deleted on upgrade.

Posted with LifeCast

Wednesday
Jul302008

Summer Love

I am in LOVE!

Here is a picture of my secret love.


I have recently become an Apple fanboy. I was a die hard Windows user and have always had some sort of operating system from Microsoft- MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Win 2k, Win XP. I have not ventured completely into the Vista world as of yet. I did mess around with IBM OS2, but alas that went the way of the DODO.

A year ago I purchased a Mac-mini to hook up to my new hi-def TV (Samsung HL-S4666W) so I can browse the internet and read my email from my couch. Not to mention playing a little LOTRO. That was a great way, suggested by my friend Technotyrant, to introduce me to the Mac OS and the world of Apple. Little did he know, or perhaps a part of his plan, that he was about to introduce a fundamental shift of a friend's view.

In October of 2007, my 4 year old Windows PC crashed. I had a motherboard failure. It didn't phase me much as I was planning to upgrade the computer. I wasn't actively looking for a replacement as of yet, so I moved the Mac-mini from the living room to my office. I had loaded Windows XP with Boot Camp to have some Windows functionality and proceeded to use that for the rest of the month and into December. I couldn't divorce myself from the Windows environment since it was what I was used to. So I basically used my Mac computer as a Windows machine.

Boy was I a jerk.

It gnawed on me that I was using a Mac computer with Windows- an OS not optimized for it. So I bit the bullet and promised to give Mac a chance. I would use it for a whole month without Windows. After the first week and a half, I had gotten used to the Mac OS and was really enjoying my experiences with it. That one month promise lasted for 4 months. In April of this year, I worked from home and used the Mac exclusively and found that I wasn't missing much from the Windows world. That was the exact time- much like Neo in The Matrix finally realizing that he was the one, that I realized I didn't need Windows and I really, really liked the Mac.

Design, Interface, and Stability is what Apple has going for it with the Mac. From a strong OS X foundation (it doesn't crash), hardware that integrates easily, and a nice set of packed in software- using a Mac is an experience. Spaces, Expose, Finder, Garage Band, iLife, Photo Booth, and Time Machine are all applications that come with OS X and are great, free editions of software that are very useful and powerful for packaged apps. One only need to use a Mac for some time to understand all the fuss and todo that Apple fanboys have been shouting for years.

"It is easy to use!", "Better than Windows!", "Things just work!"

All of those are correct. Ever since that day in April, I having been pining for an Apple Desktop powerful enough to replace my Windows desktop and more robust then the Mac-mini. So over this past weekend I purchased an Apple iMac. This is what I chose- or perhaps what chose me:

24-inch: 3.06GHz

3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB memory
500GB hard drive
8x double-layer Super Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB memory

This puppy rocks. I love the iMac design- though I have to see how I will adapt by not easily being able to get into the chassis (hardly a factor anymore since I barely have time to tinker with PCs at all). I seem to be giddy unearthing this new environment as I explore, uncover, and learn the ins-and-outs of this pretty machine. You may call it infatuation or puppy love and that may be true. But I do know that I haven't been this excited over a computer in a very long time. I can't express to you in mere words just how intuitive OS X is.

Though I may be in love I am certainly not blind. OS X does have its issues: the Mail app isn't as flexible as I would like. I don't like that I cannot have more than one session of an application running like a browser or a word processor. I'd like to have more control of the Dock. I'd like to have faster access to my applications folder without using the finder. But these are all minor complaints that certainly do not take away from the entire experience. Compared to the alternative, those issues are a walk in the park. All in all, I am absolutely ecstatic over my purchase and I hope that my Love Affair continues for a very long time.

If you want to have an affair as well- one that won't distress families or hurt your emotional id, do yourself a favor and get a Mac.

You won't regret it!

AAAH, isn't she pretty in motion???

So true, my bloated friend...

l8r

Tuesday
Jul222008

Dark Knight Review

So, it's been a few days since I saw the Dark Knight. In my last post, I gave you my initial thoughts right after the movie but I didn't get into too many details because I was simply overwhelmed by what I had just seen. You know, I was listening to Howard Stern and a listener posed a question: "Where does The Dark Knight rate on the all time superhero movie scale?" I'm not going to get into Howard's answers, you can get Sirius for that, but it made me start thinking about where this movie ranks in my top five and more importantly, why.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, the movie is great. My best recommendation is to go see it. See it on the big screen or on IMAX- it's that good. I am a huge Batman fan. I started collecting comics in the late 80's and into the mid 90's. I stopped actively collecting the weekly series when I felt they were becoming stale. Today I am more of a graphic novel person, or comic series compilation. I don't have the time or inclination to subscribe to a weekly comic, I'd rather get a hard back set of a particular run. I was always a big independent fan purchasing quirky and surreal comics, which were (and still are) my tastes. But in my heyday, I did collect mainstream comics, Batman being one of them. I was around for the re-imagining, if you may, of Batman with releases like The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Batman: The Killing Joke, and Batman: A Death in the Family. It was a time when comics were shedding their "kid" skin and being allowed to mature.

When I first heard of the Batman movie from Tim Burton, I was excited. Rumors of a hokey version circulated for a bit with Bill Murray attached which would have mimicked the 60's campy show. But with Burton in place and his reassurances that Batman would be taken seriously- I was stoked. I saw the premier in New York with a friend of mine, and I saw the movie that year 4 times. Tim Burton, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson gave me a glimmer of the Batman I was used to from the comics. It was a bit overproduced, but it was not the TV version and for that I think, the movie gets a strong pass. On subsequent viewings, it holds up the best out of all of them, but still has many problems.

So after Joel Schumacher killed the Batman franchise, I didn't think any more of it. I was content with leaving the Batman on the printed page as the best version or versions to be enjoyed. So, rumors start flying of reviving both the Caped Crusader and the Big Blue Bird. This time, I was not excited. I had no interest- my focus was on grander tales like The Lord of the Rings. So it was with hesitation and very low expectations that I found myself watching Batman Begins on the second weekend after it opened. Was I surprised! The movie thrilled me- it was the grittier, far more interesting take on our nocturnal friend. I couldn't help recommending the movie to all my friends, who ended up catching it when it released on DVD. They too were blown away. So for me, Christopher Nolan had a pass on the next film. Much like I gave Burton. I couldn't wait to see where his vision, this gritty world of many grays, were going to go.

When I first glimpsed the photo of Heath Ledger as the Joker, you know, the real closeup one. When I saw that picture, it solidified my faith in Nolan. It was unexpected, creepy, scary and just hit the right tone for me. I wasn't sure how Ledger would pull it off, but the look was excellent. So, this past weekend, I got a posse of family and friends to join me in watching The Dark Knight for the first time. I must admit that my expectations were sky-high for this movie. I read some of the online reviews raving about the movie which just fueled my anticipation. I couldn't wait, I got to the theater an hour and a half early to secure the best seats possible (a pet-peeve of mine when going to the movies) and succeeded in being the first in line. While waiting in line, we spent the time geeking out on other movies and re-hyping the one we were about to see. The time came, I got the best seats in the house and for the next 2.5 hours was treated to the most iconic, most mature, and most morally challenging superhero movie I had ever witnessed.

It's not enough to say that this movie is good or great or a must see. It is an experience- an emotional roller coaster where an actor transcends above expectations to give us an instant classic performance that no one will ever forget, a great ensemble cast that didn't feel shoe-horned in, a story that had the balls to ask the viewer to think about what they are watching, and deliver a character study of four main characters. This folks is just not a superhero movie, this is not a summer popcorn flick, nor is it an overwrought story reaching but never attaining- this is a Drama/Action movie. Emphasis on the Drama. Don't get me wrong, there are great set pieces and action scenes that get your heart pumping, but it is the tightly weaved story and the masterful way it unravels itself in the picture that makes this movie such an outstanding achievement. The tight humor, the emotional tugging, the suspense (yes, a superhero movie that is able to give your nerves a workout), the thrills, the soundtrack: it all makes for a movie that can be enjoyed by many tastes. And though the film is not without its flaws, they are too few or minimal to even address. This is what I had always envisioned a Batman movie to be. At this point, I cannot wait for the last movie in this trilogy. But I can view this film a couple of more times while I wait- which I intend to do.

So, where does this movie fall in my top 5 superhero films of all time? Right now, number 1. It is something I have only experienced a few times when watching a movie. Complete awe.

If it matters, here are the rest of my top 5 Superhero Movies:
1. The Dark Knight
2. Iron Man
3. SpiderMan 2
4. The X-Men 2
5. Superman

l8r

Sunday
Jul202008

Seriously Excellent

I am still trying to digest The Dark Knight. It is in simple words- un-fucking-believable. I was very hyped for this flick, but not even those expectations prepared me for the very well written, well acted and smartly paced movie I have seen so far this year. Talk about heady stuff- the moral choices asked of the characters in this movie is not your usual popcorn fluff. This movie will make you think and will leave the little spinning gears in your head clicking well after the movie is finished. I still need some time before a write up my thoughts on the movie- but do not hesitate to see this if you haven't already. It's PG13- but it sure didn't feel that way. Nolan has a great way of letting your mind finish off a scene without showing you the details. This film is gory in each and every viewers minds- kudos for that.

As for Heath Ledger and his Joker...this film is truly unique in that with such an iconic role to fill, Ledger loses himself in it and completely wipes any comparisons to previous Jokers ever. period. The unique quality of the film is that he does not overpower the other actors- believe it or not- Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Cain, Morgan Freeman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal turn in great performances and all have a chance to shine. I am planning to see this again on IMAX (couldn't at first because they were all sold out), so I can relish the details.

Is this a cinematic masterpiece? That I am not sure of, nor, would I venture I am qualified to say. What I know for sure is: this is the best damn Batman movie ever and probably the best damn comic book movie ever.

Go and see this. I'll have more to write about The Dark Knight after I have time to put my thoughts together.

l8r

Sunday
Jul202008

The Dark Knight


Well, I am going to check out The Dark Knight today. I will post a review for it later as well as for another very good movie called Hellboy 2. I saw that one last week and it's a great flick- if you liked the first one, you'll love this one.

Trolling the internet I saw that TDK (The Dark Knight) raked in 66 million bucks on the first day. It looks like this sequel will be a bona fide hit, ready to set some box office records. I myself am highly excited for the film (I'm a huge Batman fan). It will be interesting to see how well this movie does not only at the Box Office, but also at awards time. There is some buzz on Ledger being nominated for the Joker- I'll have to see the movie to agree, but critics are giving this movie some high marks and I wonder how much the folks in Hollywood will agree.

I am being selfish here, but I hope that it gets a ton of attention and finds a certain amount of legitimacy in that realm, so we (I) can get smart, compelling cinematic stories like this. There are a ton of comic book stories that have matured and are just as or more cerebral, smart or satisfying as the Batman stories. If this movie scores with the larger audience, I hope to get more like it!

l8r