movies comments edit

Friday night I went immediately after work to see Underworld, the new hyper-stylized Matrix-wannabe film.

Don’t worry, I knew exactly what I was going into.

See, I liked The Matrix. I liked Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I liked that both had their own interesting visual styles and artistic approaches. So when I saw the previews for Underworld, I was all over it. I mean, how can you pass up something like that? Two great tastes that go great together.

The story is about Selene (played by the almost ridiculously hot Kate Beckinsale), a vampire “death dealer.” She and a group of other gun-toting vampires spearhead the vampire side of the vampire/werewolf battle. (See, they have silver nitrate-filled bullets that they shoot the werewolves with, right? And the werewolves have UV irradiated liquid filled bullets that they shoot the vampires with. That’s how they rationalize the guns. Just accept it and move on.) While Selene is out hunting one day, she sees that the werewolves (or “lycans,” as they are called in the film) are taking a special interest in this particular human. Turns out the human has a special quality to his blood that lets him become both a vampire and a werewolf, and stronger than both. The werewolves think this is great; the vampires, not so much. Battle ensues. Asses get kicked. Much shooting. All becomes well with the world.

In all honesty, I wasn’t disappointed. They did a great job of bringing the whole vampire/werewolf mythos into a contemporary Matrix-esque setting. The visual style was keen, the guns were cool, the chicks were hot. What more could you ask?

Well, there were a few issues I had that would have made the movie just a little better.

First, the visual style, while keen, was a little overdone. Ever notice how everything in The Matrix has a sort of greenish tinge to it? Everything in Underworld was done in twilight blue. There really wasn’t much in the way of color or light, which made it hard to see what was going on at times. Cool? Yes. Hard to see? Also, yes. I mean, blood runs black in twilight. That’s great and all, but it sort of lacks some of the power of seeing the red of blood in battle. Maybe laying off the camera filters just a little would have been helpful.

Second, the guns. I thought it was a really, really cool idea to have fully automatic pistols. Portable death in quantities. I like that. But, you know, pistol clips only hold like 9 or 14 rounds in them. And with these huge .50 caliber bullets (or what looked like something that large, since you have to have a huge bullet to hold all the liquid you’re shooting), you’re only going to get 9 in there. Which means if you hold down the trigger on your fully automatic pistol, you’ve got about a second worth of shooting in it, then you’ve got to reload. Where was the reloading? You can’t take out an army on two clips. They reloaded sometimes, but not nearly enough.

Third, the love interest. Selene gets this vampire/werewolf/human guy and runs him all over town trying to save him (over the course of a couple of days) and somehow, without really having any conversation with the guy, falls in love with him. No, no, no. If Kate Beckinsale drug my ass around town for two days and all I ever did was cause her trouble, she’d only end up hating me. Not so in this movie. I didn’t buy that part.

Finally, the chicks. I won’t see eye-to-eye with some of you on this one, but the folks in my camp will know what I’m saying here. If you’re going to stick Kate Beckinsale in latex (or leather or whatever), and you’re going to parade around a bunch of vampire women in ultra-tight corset-style tops and so on and so forth, and you’re going to the trouble of putting in the obligatory love interest, and you’re going to get your movie rated R for violence and language, then you’d best go all the way and show me some tits. Seriously. Where were the boobs in this film? This is worse than a Washington strip club. Don’t start the launch sequence if you’re not going to fire the missile. Here’s hoping that stuff shows up in the deleted scenes or the director’s cut or something on DVD.

Long story short, I liked this and I’d say it’d be good for a matinee or a rental, but don’t pay full price unless you’re really into the vampire/werewolf thing.

food, personal comments edit

We went yesterday to Chang’s Mongolian Grill (all you can eat, baby!) for lunch, and while I love Chang’s, Chang’s doesn’t seem to love me. I’ve had terrible gas since then (woke Jenn up at around four this morning with my farting in my sleep), our whole apartment smells like garlic, and I just dropped a loaf that would kill a small army. Damn.

I’m still working on my pMachine upgrade. I’ve got some good ideas on paper, now I just have to compose my thoughts on the computer. I tried a couple of things yesterday that turned out like crap, so I’ve started that over. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve been working with the Microsoft Log Parser, a tool that allows you to query - like a database - activity logs from your web site. It’s pretty slick and really fast. Plus, it comes with a programmatic component you can use to write your own programs that take advantage of the fast and easy parsing capabilities that Microsoft has already built.

We have a guy at our company who wrote his own log parser that analyzes logs for security attacks. I suggested that he look into using the programmatic component in his analyzer because, well, why reinvent the wheel? Especially in the case of program code that you don’t want to have to maintain. Why not use the robust engine provided you for free?

I got the response that the log parser isn’t smart enough. Huh? Sure, maybe the canned executable version isn’t, but the componentized version is only as smart as you make it. Sounds like the thing not smart enough is the guy writing the program. Oh, well. Can’t save everyone from themselves.

I guess they’re trying to patent this thing, too, which I hope does not imply that they’re going to try to sell it, because I’ve seen the reports it spits out and legible they are not. Maybe they should hire a UI guy to look at that stuff… but, of course, with the code they’ve got built up, who knows how maintainable (or adjustable) it is? Some people program when they really just shouldn’t.

I got my new Fisher Space Pen yesterday in the mail.

Fisher Space Pen... straight from Mulholland Drive! (5k
image)

I’m actually pretty stoked about it. It looks really cool, and I think the grip on the end of the pen is pretty nifty. Anyway, there it is - if you find it somewhere, it will be because I lost it, so please give it back if you do. So far, I’ve had it sitting right here just fine all morning.

I think tonight I’m going to go see Underworld. Can’t really pass on the whole Matrix-like thing, plus, you really can’t beat Kate Beckinsale in tight garb.

And one final treat - a great picture of Jennifer Garner arriving at last year’s Emmy Awards ceremony. Yow!

traffic comments edit

It’s time once again for… Traffic Asshole of the Week! This week, the Traffic Asshole is brought to you by Lexus, which is the kind of car the asshole was driving.

Or, at least, he was brought to my bumper by his Lexus.

So here’s me: Cruising along coming in to work this morning, going reasonably fast (the freeway’s only a 55, so… well, faster than that), and I’m in the fast lane, passing people in the slow lane (only two lanes, mind you), when this guy comes flying on the freeway and runs right up on my bumper. I’m not really sure what he’s trying to accomplish, since we’re already going both faster than the speed limit and faster than the slow lane. Not to mention I see that, just up ahead, everyone’s slowing way down because of an interchange where folks are merging.

This guy continues to ride me, close enough that I can’t even see his headlights, which is pretty fucking close. I consider doing the brake-tap thing, but then I think, “I don’t trust this guy’s ability to actually stop in time,” so I don’t.

Instead, I decide to try to take a picture. Perfect traffic asshole moment, right? Camera’s right there, so I pick it up, flip it around, and snap a photo:

Um... that's not what I was going for. (3k
image)

Okay, so that didn’t work too well. (You guys all think I’m taking a bunch of time when I get these pictures, but I’m actually just pointing the camera in the general direction and snapping a bunch of them, hoping for a decent one.)

That’s when I get this idea - take a picture of him in the rear view mirror!

Asshole in the rear view (9k
image)

That works much better. You can see just the tops of his headlights because he’s backed off a little there.

At this point, the asshole decides that, even though we’re almost to this interchange and traffic’s really slow, he’s going to try to pass me on the right.

Uh uh. You wanna be an asshole? I can be one, too. Plus, I’m pretty sure I can give you a good run for your money any day of the week, buddy. Time to floor it.

I end up running the guy right up to the slow traffic, when he decides to cave in and get back behind me.

Long about the time I’m getting ready to exit for work, I find out that he’s exiting at the same place. Now’s his chance! Time to make the move!

Getting ready to exit (3k
image)

Well, exit time, so I’d best get over, too. Oh, no! I’m feeling bad about myself now! I’m behind the asshole!

Oh, wait a sec, we’re all going really slow in a big long line of cars. Gee, getting that one car in front of me really got you far, man.

Hey, look! You're stuck in the same line I am! (4k
image)

I know what it was, though: He was excited to get to work to see if he had made Traffic Asshole of the Week. Congratulations, buddy, you did it!

personal, traffic comments edit

The commute home sucked. It’s only 14.3 miles between work and home, and it took me an hour and a quarter. That averages out to around 11.5 miles per hour.

Here, check this out:

Now THAT'S some TRAFFIC! (12k
image)

Traffic backed up as far as the eye could see. Ridiculous. And you know what it was? An accident coming in the opposite direction. Good, people. Rubberneck. That’ll definitely get us home faster.

Got home, gave Jenn her presents. I got her some movies (Amelie, Pretty Woman, and Can’t Buy Me Love), a foot massage spa thing, a Perfect Pancake, and a sewing machine. Not a bad haul considering none of her family showed up. Her parents are out of town for their annivesary and her sister had plans involving Jenn’s niece and a school get together or something. So it was me, Jenn, and my parents eating tiramisu torte and berry pie. Yum.

Tubby Cat as Gene Simmons (4k
image)During the party, I noticed that the Tubby Cat was doing her best impersonation of Gene Simmons. She’s funny when she does that, and I can’t figure out why. I heard that when cats are content they stick their tongues out. She must love laying on that paper! Click her head to see the full-body view.

Aside from that excitement, it was a nice, quiet evening at home. And now we’re at today, the tomorrow we talked about yesterday, and it’s back to the grinder for me.

personal, blog comments edit

Lots of stuff getting upgraded. Let’s see…

Jenn’s birthday is today, so her age has been upgraded. We’ll be getting together tonight with my parents and her sister and niece.

I got - free from MSDN - a ViewSonic V37 PocketPC. Very nice, if I do say so myself. I’ve migrated the stuff from my old Compaq iPaq 3600 onto this new machine and I’m not looking back.

I’ve installed pMachine so I can potentially provide some better blog features for you nameless masses who show up here to read about me every day. I’ve just got the base install complete, no customizations or anything, but I’ll be working on setting that up and getting it just right, after which I’ll import my blog entries from here over to there and get you going over there. I think my templates will change a bit, since I’d like to shake things up. My current idea is sort of a cobalt blue and black theme a la Mulholland Drive. So that’s getting upgraded.

Speaking of cobalt blue, I somehow lost my Fisher Space Pen. My favorite pen, black with a gold “US Ski Team” logo on it (I could have done without the logo, but the pen itself was the bomb. I had it in my pocket yesterday, and now… nothing. No idea where it went. So I ordered me up a new blue one, sort of like something you’d see out of Mulholland Drive. It’s cool, and I’m looking forward to getting it. So my pen is getting upgraded (from “no pen” to “really cool pen”).

Finally, I forgot to mention it, but a couple of days ago I broke down and ordered my new dining room table. I had found it at a different site, but then at the last minute I saw it on the Sears web site, for $55 cheaper. Can’t beat that. So my dining room is getting an upgrade. Of course, that’s not going to be here until October 13 or so. Shipping. Bah.