We beer-battered some shrimp last night (I’m not really a beer drinker, so it’s good to find something to do with the leftover beer from our housewarming party), and it was pretty tasty.

I got to thinking it might be a faster/better idea if we just had a huge vat of oil for the frying, then battered all the shrimp and just dumped them in at the same time. Jenn said that would make them all stick together and come out in a big ball. Then it hit me: shrimp cones.

Get all the beer-battered shrimp to come out in a huge shrimp ball. Then make cones out of hush-puppy and throw the ball on top. Voila! Shrimp cones. Top with cocktail sauce and serve.

media, movies comments edit

Checked out I, Robot on Sunday afternoon, and it made for a pleasant time.

I, Robot is the new sci-fi action movie starring Will Smith, destined to be one of those summertime blockbusters that everyone ends up buying when the DVD comes out. Maybe.

See, it’s loosely based on the Isaac Asimov book of the same name. I thought I had read this a long time ago, but I apparently either don’t remember it or it wasn’t the same story. Either way, here’s the deal:

Will Smith is a technophobe living in a world where robots do everything. Everyone has a personal robot assistant, and these robots are the most helpful thing ever. On the eve of the largest robot release ever, the doctor who invented most of this technology gets thrown from a window and dies. But who did it?

Over the course of the movie, Smith (and Bridget Moynahan, who plays another robot-creating doctor) investigate the case and uncover a sinister plot to take over the world.

Now, you probably watched the previews. You probably saw the same thing I did - Will Smith kicking ass on a bunch of robots. You probably saw a lot of gunplay and fighting and car chases and all the things that make a light, fun action film.

Both you and I watched previews for a movie that really doesn’t exist.

See, I, Robot plays a lot more to the philosophic side of things. Can robots evolve? Can they feel emotions? Are they sentient beings, capable of free will? All of these things get looked at over the course of the murder investigation. Interesting? Sure. Reflective? Maybe. Is this the movie I came to see? No.

If I had wanted to see a Will Smith remake of Blade Runner, that’d be one thing. I saw the previews, though, and I expected some serious action. I wanted smart one-liners and things getting blown up. I wanted car chases and acrobatics. I wanted a special effects extravaganza with a nuclear climax. What I got was a sci-fi murder mystery with a side of philosophy.

That’s not to say this is a bad movie - far from it. I enjoyed the film. I don’t feel like I lost out on my $6. That said, it’s not the movie I went in to see. I expected one thing and got something else. I feel a slight bit disappointed, like the victim of a bait-and-switch scheme. Again, not that I got a lesser product, I just got a different product. It wasn’t what I expected.

If it’s not an action movie, don’t pimp it like it’s an action movie. Throw some more of the murder investigation in the previews. Give me something that makes me realize there’s more than just action here. I realize the action fills the seats, but you’ll get more positive word of mouth if you accurately represent the product. (Don’t even get me started on those movies with previews that show scenes that aren’t in the film.)

I, Robot is good. Go see it. It’s worth a matinee price in the theater, or at the very least a rental. I might have to think about it for the full price… I’d consider it, but it might end up a coin toss. Definitely worth checking out, just don’t go in looking for an all-out action film.

home comments edit

The next-door neighbor’s sprinkler system either needs some serious adjusting or he has a broken pipe because every time his sprinkler runs he floods out like a quarter of my back yard. I’m talking standing water an inch or two deep style, here.

Of course, the guy’s never home so he doesn’t notice.

I went over there this weekend to mention it to him but, as usual, he wasn’t home. I left a note and decided to hope for the best.

Later that day he must have come home because he left a note for us on our door. He confirmed that he’s not home too much, but he said he’d get it fixed in a couple of days.

So, now I wait. I’m glad it was reasonably amicable and I’m hoping to keep it that way. I’ll give him a week and see if it hasn’t been fixed by then. In the meantime, maybe I should get some swamp grass to plant along the fence line.

personal, home, windows comments edit

Well, I’ve got Windows up, I’ve got Office installed (and updating), I’ve got my antivirus software in place, and everything seems to be generally functioning. A few more apps, a little more customization, and I’m back in business.

If anything, this has taught me something: I’m going to store my user data on a different partition (or physical disk - even better!) than the OS. If it goes tits up on me again, at least I won’t lose my data.

personal, home, windows comments edit

I ran into this ridiculous chicken-and-egg scenario while trying to repair my Windows installation.

See, the problem I was having was that the DVD-ROM drives (plural - two different drives) would not read any media. I decided, after jumping through a bunch of hoops, that it was time to run the Windows repair. (I could do system restore until I’m blue in the face; I don’t know when the problem started, so I don’t know how far back I should go, or even if I still have a good restore point. Bah.)

Now, here’s the real killer on the Windows repair: If the problem you’re having is with some sort of registry entry or driver thing, it doesn’t fix it. That is, it doesn’t undo registry entries for you or repair files it didn’t put there in the first place. Normally I’d say that’s fine, but the problem seems to be that some driver(s) that some other program put in there are not communicating nicely with the Windows drivers. That means the registry needs to have entries related to the bad driver(s) removed.

It doesn’t do that.

Instead, it goes about making you think you can repair the install, and when it finally reboots it comes back and says “The file asms on Windows XP Professional CD-ROM is needed.”

That translates to: “I can’t talk to your CD-ROM.”

The Microsoft article on this says that in order to fix it (basically) you either have to edit the registry or you need to install Windows on a different partition, boot from that, and get your data off the disk.

I have issue with this. I can’t edit the registry because it won’t let me get to a spot in the installation where it allows for that. It boots up, goes straight to setup - do not stop at GO, do not collect $200 - and pops up the error. Safe mode doesn’t work - it thinks it’s in setup. Command prompt doesn’t work - it thinks it’s in setup. Recovery console doesn’t work - you can’t edit the registry from there. I don’t have any other partitions to install Windows to, so that’s out.

Basically, I’m screwed.

So I reformatted using the built-in IBM restore function that puts all of the hardware back to factory settings.

Except that they forgot to put in the Intel INF stuff and it gets confused when it loads up and sees all the devices I have (God forbid it just detect and install them all) so it pretty much hosed stuff right from the get-go.

I tried installing a clean version of Windows except I think the version I got from the IBM factory was a volume license version - the sticker on the side of the machine (with the license and serial number and all that) has a Windows XP Pro key… but my Windows XP Pro disc tells me it’s not valid (which is bullshit, otherwise why did I pay for it?).

So I’ve unplugged all of the unnecessary devices (didn’t remove internal stuff) and I’m back to trying the IBM restore route. I’m in the process of downloading all of the drivers they forgot so I can burn them to a disc on my work laptop and get them over to my home machine.

Assuming the DVD drives finally decide to work, that is.

This is exactly what I wanted to be doing this weekend. Reinstalling Windows. Because I don’t get enough of this sort of tedium elsewhere in my life.