Friday, May 30, 2008

A way to keep a journal of private entries, and keep doing it

If people are taking pictures to remember events, I highly recommend starting a blog. They are better for memory than pictures. The upside of writing to a blog is that you write to share to yourself and anyone that cares to read (yes I like reading my posts, don't ask me why). The downside is that you can't write anything too personal because it is open to the public. Blogs are better than journals because I would never spend the time to write anything that no one would read. Even if I can choose to make an entry public and others private, I would never write the private entries. The blog is more than a journal of your thoughts. Its 1 part journal. Other part a way to share your opinion to friends and family. And sometimes you write stuff to share information that you've found to anyone who can find the post through google.

So this is the solution to my private thoughts. I want to record them and reflect on them. I have a public blog that I share with people. This will be for the private thoughts that I couldn't care less if strangers read them. I just don't want anyone I know reading them and knowing that its me writing it. I just want to know someone may be reading it. So its not completely useless.

history through pictures and words

Phanfare has brought public browsing back. It was in everyone's best interest. I got a mass email from the CEO of Phanfare stating pretty much everything I experienced. I felt that I was betrayed after being more than a loyal customer and always telling people that they should join because its the best site. The lack of public browsing wasn't going to work for how I wanted to use it, and I would have never referred people to sign up if that was ever the case. I also felt that they were holding my photos hostage. I had to either pay for a site I no longer had use for so that they don't delete my photos, or not pay and lose my photos. I chose the latter since I always felt that pictures of old events really never did anything for me.

I'm not sure if everyone is this way, but I always thought I had an extraodinary visual memory of past events. I don't need pictures for me to remember the event. I can remember a scene, and the more I focus, I can remember the little details sometimes in astonishing detail. All the events I care to remember are are always with me. Some things I've forgotten because its something I would rather try not to remember. And some are beautiful memories that are although a little painful, they are shaping me into a person I am today and would like to become. These memories offer more detail better than any picture I've ever taken so far. So really, I've never taken any picture where it was a picture that I was taking so I can remember the event. Because it's all up here in my head in detail. I wouldn't say I have a photographic memory. I don't have photographic stills in my head. But I do remember events better than any set of photographs (even if I had them) could ever do for me, and I don't need photographs to jog it. Or maybe this is what photographic memory is. Everyone has the ability to remember events in extraordinary detail. Its just that people that think they are good at it are open to the suggestion that they can remember so they try harder, thus getting more practice doing it.

Anyway back to phanfare. I'm still a little sour about the whole ordeal, but the end result was that I got my account back, and all the pics were intact.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Criticisms of an evolving language.

What does "ttt" stand for? I've been seeing this a lot lately. It apparently stands for "to the top" to bump a post to the top. What a bunch of retarded people on the web we have these days.

Another acronym that I've been seeing is FTW. It means "for the win". I still don't know exactly what context it could really be used for other than it being used slightly out of context in almost any situation where its used. Did it evolve from WOW? Sounds like something people that play WOW might say.

I also hate people who use the analogy "the pot calling the kettle black." I actually had to look up what the hell that means a while back. Get a friggin' clue people. We haven't been putting pots in the fireplace to cook our meal for a long long time. Without doing that on a regular basis, people have no idea what that means. An analogy is used to clarify your point and is only good if people know what the hell you're talking about.

A fairly new cool saying I've learned on the other hand is "Jumped the shark". Its a Happy Days reference where Fonzie jumps a shark that has been caught in a net on water skiis. It sounds ridiculous. And watching the youtube clip, it is ridiculous. Its a clever way to say "it has passed it's prime" and "an act of desperation by lowering our standards" at the same time. In the English language we do not have such a word. Maybe in other languages, "Jumped the shark" can be perfectly translated into one word.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Review: Indiana Jones 4: Something about the crystal skulls

...Spoiler Alert...can you spoil something bad? hmmm...good question. Just to give you a point of reference, I am not a movie snob. I can easily enjoy average movies as long as it has some entertainment value.

To start. I liked all Indiana Jones movies....1 to 3 anyway. And yes I even liked Temple of Doom. Its a fun movie. Raiders of the Lost Ark had a slow start but its a solid movie.

The third one was just perfection across the board. Here are 3 notable scenes.

The part where Adolf Hitler signs his grail book.

Then the "No ticket" scene.

The part where Sean Connery shoots the tail of their own plane.

This is just 10 mintues of the movie. Epic is a word to describe it. The movie is about the holy grail, something people can never get enough of. Underneath it all, the movie is about Indiana Jones and his father. They never got along, and had a lot of misunderstandings. But somehow, with mutual interest of the holy grail, they finally get to understand eachother. They take a relationship that both parties have given up on and make it into something meaningful.

So about Indiana Jones 4...

Harrison Ford has not aged gracefully. He has turned into an old man. When he talks, sometimes his voice gives, and he sounds like the guy sitting on his porch yelling at the little kids that make too much noise. He does a good job masking it throughout the movie...except this one scene. And I really don't know why they would choose to not reshoot it. Put Sean Connery next to Harrison Ford, and Connery looks like he'll go on living for another 20 maybe 30 years, and Ford looks like he's going to die of feebleness in about 2 years, 5 years max.

See the pic? That is the pic about the Cottingley fairies. These photos mesmorized the world at one time. It had people believing in fairies. Then people discovered that it was a fake. And now everyone knows its fake because a lot of people were duped. How does this relate to the movie? The thing about crystal skulls is that they do really exist but everyone knows that they are fake. One time someone tried to pass them off as some kind of artifact of unknown origins posessing special from an ancient civilization that had advanced technology. It has been disproven, and everyone knows that the crystal skulls are not special. So when I heard Indiana Jones were going to do a movie about it, I thought they should have picked a better topic. It might seem silly, but I did believe in the holy grail when I watched The Last Crusade. And I still think there is something we don't understand about the grail that I wouldn't mind hearing another story about. As for the crystal skulls? No.... They might as well have based Indiana Jones around the Cottingley faries that everyone knows was a hoax.

Anyone remember how Austin Powers 2 started? How the movie starts, then its so cheesy and over the top that we discover they are filing a movie inside of a movie after director yells "cut". Well, from the first 15 minutes of the movie, it was so over the top cheesy, I expected to hear "cut" because any minute now, the lens would zoom out to reveal that Indiana Jones was doing movies because his fictional character had become famous. No, it wasn't going to be the case, but I'll give this movie a chance that things will improve if i give it some time.

And then for the next 15 minutes we are back in fast times in ridgemont high in the 50's where you know Lucus is doing his thing...but in a uber cheesy way. I keep thinking, man, this is so far from an Indiana Jones movie....I hope it gets good soon. They seriously need a change of scenery before the movie gets to anything interesting. But no, the movie just continues on developing from a 50's diner of all places. Something different I suppose. I am still giving the movie a benefit of doubt that it'll get better.

Then when the aliens made an appearance in a body bag and that's when things got real sour. For a moment when Indiana gets sent off on a rocket with wheels, I really thought Indiana was gonna travel through time. Did they really use the same prop from the movie "Timecop" with Jean Claude Van Damn? I know its supposed to resemble rocket testing equipment, but all I can think of was Timecop and traveling through time. Timetravel and Indiana Jones definitely could happen the way the movie was heading. Still hoping that things will get better...

Oh yeah, and then there was that refridgerator scene...ask me to think about something unbelievable in a movie...and the closest thing to it might be that movie where they increase the size of a sharks brain and it becomes super smart. But really, that could maybe happen if you're really really looking to stretch. The refridgerator scene in Indiana Jones 4, no. Never in a million years. Terrible. When Indiana Jones gets out of the refridgerator, someone in the audience yelled, "yeah right". Which was what everyone was thinking. I think "what the fuck?" would have worked just the same.

Then there is this overhead shot of this cemetary scene that is so obvious that its shot from a miniature...I really wonder why they didn't decide to redo it...add a filter...add some CGI. Do "something else". And maybe I realize its Lucus again trying to go back to the golden era of where miniatures was the hot new way to shoot. And he goes as far as to make it look extra *miniatury* so that people don't miss that its being shot at an miniature set. Lucus might have thought it was cool, but it literally just killed the movie. If a boom mic hit Indiana Jones on the head and they just kept rolling, it wouldn't have made a difference anymore. From this moment on, I am done making excuses for the movie and it felt like I was stuck watching a bad play.

Movies are good when you get lost in the story and in the character's reality. And it should never break the reality the characters are in. You should never be reminded that you are watching a movie. But it was done many many times, and sometimes on purpose. Because I know if my friends and I can easily spot when something should be reshot, a professional would have realized that it needed to be redone.

Probably the movie wasn't too bad, but I expected A LOT more from Lucus and Spielberg. Or maybe it was really this bad, and if it wasn't a movie about a hero everyone loved directed and written by Speilber and Lucas of all people (and watching with friends), I might have considered walking out. It was across the board bad. The story was poor (pick a story about something that is not associated with a phony legend, and put some witty/smart/good humor that is the magical formula in the Indiana Jones movies). The props were poor (miniature set sucked, don't borrow from Timecop). And directing was poor (a lot needed to be reshot and reprocessed, the acting was over the top, think Frau Farbisna of Austin Powers....about the same level of over-the-topness.). They have no excuse. Why do they do this to their loyal fans? I like complete collections, but I wouldn't add this movie to my collection just because its part of the Indiana Jones series.

I wanted to more than like it. I wanted to love it. I wanted it to have some scenes that would randomly pop into my head (months and years after I've watched the movie) when I'm driving in my car, so it can tickle my funnybone and lift me up. I want to be able to reference the lines like "No Ticket!" when I accidentally kick someone out of the car. Or say "I'm sorry son...They got us" when I accidentally destroy a part of the vehicle we're using in a team race. It would be hysterical because everyone would understand the refence. The Indiana Jones movies 1-3 had that. This one does not. There should be scenes where things are funnier when its left unsaid but everyone understands the reference. In this movie they seem to say it just incase we missed the joke. (knife to a gunfight. falling 3 times down the waterfall). Instead of Indiana saying, "Sorry kid, but it looks like you brought a knife to a gun fight." It is funnier if he would have said something to the tune of, "We know how this is gonna turn out. [smirk]". Its not that hard to fix these problems, but they made no attempts.

The hat scene at the very end of the movie is a good analogy. The hat falls off the coat hanger, and lands at Henry Jones Jr III's feet. As he's about to put it on his head, Indiana snatches it away from him. As if Harrison were saying, "We tried to pass the torch, but after the end result of this movie, we've all realized there probably isn't going to be a sequel. I'm keeping my hat to keep whatever's left of my (and the series) dignity. Sorry but we tried."

After the movie was over, a small group of people in the back started clapping. When you've watched an enjoyable movie, everyone is willing to partake in the clap as long as someone starts it. It wasn't the case in this movie. I felt that if I join in on the clap, I would be devaluing the praise I give when its due. I sensed this is what my friends felt as no clapping was happening in my row, or any rows near us. Walking out of the theather to gather with my friends, I noticed a lot of headshaking. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't just me that thought such a movie with such great potential and talent could be this bad.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Finally took the pluge to Dreamweaver and strict use of css

I have been using notepad/frontpage for both asp/html and css for the last 10 years or so. Why? Because I know it like the back of my hand, and whatever frontpage can't do (which is pretty much everything), I know how to do it by hand. Using notepad for css files, I could see why css is good to have, and I do use it often, but I end up just doing some inline formatting sooner or later because...? well, it is a easier, faster way to do it with the drawback of it getting messy (and finding out later its not supported by all browsers).

I always knew I should be using dreamweaver, but really, I never came across anything where I couldn't do it with notepad. If there is a browser incompatibility, I'll make it work. To me, its more about delivering a web page that is as you've imagined it, and less about standards. The web pages I that I don't like particularly are web pages created by dhtml/xhtml nazis that are more about the standard than making the site have some character.

So I finally took the plunge to dreamweaver, and decided to use it because it has the spry dropdown menu stuff which I couldn't get around not using this time. I always did my layout with tables because it was an easy way to lay out pictures and backgrounds. but now, I could see that its about about CSS and div tags. it is the better way. What I've come to realize is that although its not perfect, dreamweaver manages the CSS stuff pretty well, which makes it easy to follow the standards. following standards means its an investment for the ease of future updating and the amount of work it'll take if you want to change some styles around. it also means that its more search engine optimized. although i bet google really isn't favoring css vs the old inline formatting. not yet anyway.

I'm glad I did it, and having spent enough time with it, I feel like I won't ever have to use any more inline formatting.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stage6 is coming back May 2008

Yes, that is this month and it is NOT and April Fools Day joke. And we are already half into May 2008, so it won't be much longer. It won't come back as stage6, but it'll be known as (which was formerly known as Supposedly, it will be very much like stage6 with a new layout and probably new model that will eventually make it some money some day. Currently, it looks more like youtube than stage6, and it is not owned by divx, but it will use divx streaming technology. They are saying they will have 1.8TB/s+ bandwidth. Not a bad start i suppose. We'll see how this goes.

Deconstructing Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, Part 1

I'm in love with the book Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. More like mildly obsessed about it. And by mildly, I mean heavily. I've read the book, and I've got a hold of audible's audiobook of it, which is narrarated by no other than Anthony Bourdain. It couldn't be more than what I could have ever hoped for. With the book and the audiobook combined, I've read the book probably about 5 times. Because you do pick up something you've missed before or for my benefit have forgotten about. Every sentence is a like a hidden piece of shaved truffel that landed on a sauce plate that you are licking clean after you've had the best dish you've ever had in your life. And I'm not done licking just yet.

What is so interesting about it? Its his style of writing for one. His writings are very loaded with explosive visuals. You can see it. You can smell it. You can even feel the texture of it. Something not easy to accomplish for any writer. He writes like how I wished I could write. And lastly, you feel it. He's giving you the exceptional highs and the truly low lows (yes I'm proably quoting him there) of his life.

The formula for the story in a nutshell is a story you've heard countless times from just about any "Beyond the Glory" or biography (of any band that has gotten over a drug addiction). It starts with their humble beginnings. How their meteoric rise to success lead them to a crazy life/partying. How that crazy life lead to drugs, and them experiencing the lowest of the low points in their career. Then from going to hero to absolte zero, they decide they've had enough and do something about it, and stage a comeback tour. The formula is a foundation for any good biography. What sets him apart is his style of writing. And I believe some of it can be broken down.

For starters, he uses the words pretense, pretentious, pretentiousness a whole lot. Why? I don't know yet. But maybe there is a lot of that in cooking.

He knows how to exaggerate, without the negatives of exaggerations. He'll say something like "a meal you'd happily give your left kidney for." How many times has he said on TV "the best thing I've ever tasted"? proably only a few times, but he probably says something like that on a weekly or monthly basis for TV. He just changes it up a little. Its important that he does this because by him saying that, the viewer gets to imagine tasting something so good, its better than anything that they've personally tasted. And let me tell you, I've tasted some really good stuff in my lifetime. And I know that Tony has tasted a whole lot better because he travels and eats for a living. So every time you hear how good it is from him, he makes you feel like its better than anything you can ever imagine.

So over the next few posts, I'll be listening to the audiobook and I'll be desconstructing any patterns I recognize for my pleasure.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Create your own type of pasta and make history

Ever looked up the list of pasta in Wikipedia? Its considerably long. Which means one thing. There is an unlimited way you can shape a noodle, and people are continuously doing it. There is a good probability that 95% of everything on that list that is more than a few decades old made at one time or another. But who's to say you need any authority to make a new type of pasta?

So here is my pasta for the books: Fellatoni

An uncut rigatoni that is at least 6 inches in legth, cooked al dente so it can be used like a straw to suck and drink marinara like a soup.

mstsc /console no longer works with xp sp3

microsoft changed this without warning it seems. this begs the question..."are they insane? why?" words like haphazard, reckless, "on a whim" come to mind. words i'm sure they want people to associate with their server software. what's next? maybe the term "organizational unit" will be changed to "organizational container", and all the distinguished names will have OC= instead of OU= without a warning. Just for kicks and giggles.

luckily, instead of "/console", its "/admin" for example:
mstsc / /admin

on a side note, why /v, other than the fact that v is the 5th letter on the tail end of the alphabet. if you're going to change /console to /admin, why not change /v to /ip, or /server, /computer, /machine, /name? any one of these would be more fitting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recipe: Chanterelle Soup

Chanterelle mushrooms
white wine
chicken broth
unsalted butter
black pepper
garlic salt
olive oil

Simmer chanterelle mushrooms in chicken broth, saffron, a pinch of black pepper, white wine for at least 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, add the butter, and the walnuts (the walnuts should be about half the volume of the soup.) Put it in a blender, and blend until smoothe. Finely chop the chanterelle mushrooms, saute the chanterelle in olive oil, salt, and pepper until crispy.

Put the soup in a bowl, and place the sauteed mushrooms in the center. Garnish with some finely chopped parsley.

It should have the texture and remind you of lobster bisque, but a refined taste of chanterelle mushrooms.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What is art?

Art is something that moves you. Changes your mental state. If you have your mind on something, it takes your mind away from where it is currently, and puts you in a different state of mind.

Art is a representation of a novel idea. Something no one has ever done before. A different way of thinking. A thought that inspires a whole new branch of thought for the artist, and the people viewing the piece of artwork.

Art is an expression of yourself that you add to your life to make yourself more complete. Art is something you share to show someone the joy of discovering something new the way you've discovered the love for it.

Art is the experience of discovering a story from its parts. A story you'll never know for sure if someone else knows it exactly the way you know it. Something you want to share but you would rather not after you found something sacred.

Art is the name of the guy with no legs and no arms, hanging on your wall.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Speed Writing

Its like speed reading...where you read so quickly that you only catch a few words, and leave out the fillers. That seems like my writing these days. Not just in my blog, but in my text conversations with people. I find myself leaving out a few words, and sometimes parts of the phrases. Maybe if they got my message, they would be able to figure out what i was trying to say, but its really making me double check what I write, and most of the times it is missing a few words. Overall, double checking isn't a bad thing.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Grindhouse: A double feature

A revelation came to me as I was watching Grindhouse: Planet Terror with Eric and Wendy today. Grindhouse (the two movies combined) is a well rounded formula. Well rounded as in it is the ultimate thrill ride of a movie for both men and women.

On one hand, you have Grindhouse: Death Proof, which is actually the ultimate chick movie in disguise. The dialog is much like what I would assume Sex In The City dialog would be. Hot girls talking about relationships, the competition, and the exercise of hotness (flirting) to manipulate people into doing what they want guys to do. With that involved, the girls get into some trouble. This leads to girls being bad, and ultimately kicking some serious ass.

Grindhouse: Planet Terror on the other hand is a movie for guys who like movies with zombies, guns, strippers, and a lot of gore. There is nothing in disguise about this one. So it makes sense why Tarantino made this a double feature, and why it is so well received.

The movies separately on the other hand, doesn't work well if the viewers are both male and female. Grindhouse: Planet Terror is a movie where you have a bunch of guys in the room who can laugh shamelessly at the cheesy gore/violence, and root on for the hot stripper. Grindhouse: Death Proof I would imagine would be movie girls can watch, nod their heads about, and then have a long conversation about their current relationships afterwards with the other girls.

In conclusion, the movie worked well as a double feature in the theaters for a reason, but since the movies are sold separately (and extended about 30 minutes each) they are different beasts entirely at home.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Top 12 Chuck Norris Facts

1. Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.
2. Chuck Norris once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now The Islands.
3. Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.
4. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
5. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
6. Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors.
7. Some kids piss their name in the snow. Chuck Norris can piss his name into concrete.
8. Chuck Norris puts the "laughter" in "manslaughter".
9. Chuck Norris once won a game of Connect Four in 3 moves.
10. Chuck Norris sleeps with a night light. Not because Chuck Norris is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.
11. Chuck Norris can delete the Recycling Bin.
12. Once a cobra bit Chuck Norris' leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

Friday, May 2, 2008

PSP to become DivX Certified

That's all fine and good, but...the big question is, how well can it play (or if at all) resolutions higher than 480 x 272? The whole point is to avoid the hassle of re-encoding anything. I can re-encode all my video to 480 x 272 AVC, but I don't because:

1. Having 2 copies of the video doesn't make sense, takes a lot of space, especially since the second one I'm re-encoding is of a lower resolution.
2. It takes a lot of time. Even if I had a dual 4 core processor (I think its called skulltrail), and I had a multithreaded encoder, I would still probably rather not.

It all boils down to time and convienience. I don't have something that manages all the reencoding for me (even if I did, it would be a lot of extra wasted space and energy). I would not have to wait for something to re-encode if I wanted to take it to go.

Lets hope it can scale down the resolution and not lose frames, somehow.