gaming, playstation comments edit

…The Home of the No-Splinter, Full-Woody Tropical Dream Vacation (and Spa Salon).

Huge brownie points to whoever knows what that’s from.

(If you really don’t know, you can get a taste here.)

I’m having an interestingly bland day today. Not a whole lot going on, as is usual during holiday weeks. I’m being nickel-and-dimed to death with pissant requests. Modify a user account, check on this server, run around with no pants on…

Okay, maybe I’ve kept my pants on all day long, but the rest of the requests were pretty lame.

I went today and traded in Virtua Fighter 4. I bought it a while ago and after playing it a few times, I realize that it is too large and complicated for my tiny brain to grasp. In exchange (with an additional few dollars), I got Kingdom Hearts, a role-playing game with Disney characters in it. I’ve never been a huge RPG fan, but we rented this one a couple of days ago and it’s fun. Even Jenn is sucked in, which is cool because it’s hard to find games she likes.

I also picked up a copy of Ice Age because it was pretty funny. I didn’t like it as much as the Pixar movies that have come out, but it held its own.

I’ve got a haircut to get to, so I’m gonna get out of here.

movies comments edit

While reading here, keep in mind that the review is a little biased because: a) I love James Bond movies; b) I think Pierce Brosnan rocks; c) I like action movies almost regardless of whether they’re any good or not.

With that out of the way…

This Saturday, I saw the latest installment of the James Bond franchise, Die Another Day. My biggest question going into this one was, “Who’s the bad guy going to be?” I mean, think about it - during the cold war, the “bad guy” was always, like, a communist or some other terrorist against the World Order. Of course, you had your SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) people, but even the SPECTRE folks were, on some level, the same as the “evil commies.” Now that all that’s pretty much over, if you notice, Bond villains aren’t nearly as interesting because they’re utterly contrived - Who’s going to believe a bad guy is a media mogul who wants to do bad stuff so that he can get the scoop on other folks? I wasn’t disappointed this time around.

Die Another Day is the story of James Bond (Brosnan) getting captured while spying on some North Koreans who are plotting to take over South Korea (and, subsequently, the rest of the world). After a period of time, he gets released in trade for a North Korean assassin, Zao (Rick Yune). M (Judi Dench) thinks that trading Bond for Zao was too high of a price to pay and tells Bond that. Bond decides that he needs to track down Zao and recapture him in order to make things right and, in doing so, finds that Zao is working with the group of North Koreans who want to take things over. Which, thus, means that Bond now has to finish off the group of people who captured him in the first place. Revenge is sweet.

Take that, then throw into the mix Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), a philanthropic thrill-seeking diamond broker; Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike), his secretary who happens to be an Olympic-level fencer; and Jinx (Halle Berry), a woman who proves to be a wildcard in every situation. What you come out with is a Bond movie on par with the excitement of the originals, but with the effects and stunts you come to expect out of Hollywood action movies today.

Brosnan is my second favorite Bond, right after Roger Moore. (Don’t get me started on who the “best Bond” is; it’s a personal taste issue, and while the politically correct answer is “Sean Connery,” I will maintain that my favorite is Roger Moore.) I think he does his best job in this movie, finally coming into the role the way I had hoped he would with Goldeneye. If he had done this well with all of his Bond films, he’d be my new favorite.

I’ve never been a big Halle Berry fan, but I think she did well here. I heard something about people wanting to make a Jinx spin-off movie or something, and I hope they don’t. She was good, but not that good. She did throw in a certain quality that helped to kick the whole thing up a notch.

As far as the Bond girls go, Rosamund Pike was the one in this movie. Again, I’m not a big Halle Berry fan, and while she looked good, Pike was by far the hottest one on the screen. (Rosamund, if you’re reading this, feel free to stop by my place anytime.) She played her character well, and added a sort of subtle British element. Love it.

The humor here was well done as far as Bond movies go. There were the usual one-line groaners and lewd double-entendres, but there were some legitimately funny parts, too. John Cleese returns in his role as Q (I thought, after the last time, he’d be called “R,” since Desmond Llewelyn died, but “Q” works, too). And this time Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) has a nice scene all to herself that I was very pleased with. (I won’t ruin the surprise, but you’ll know it when you see it.)

The action and effects were superb, though there was a scene with Bond sort of parasailing on a tidal wave that was a little less than convincing. I wasn’t too concerned about it, though. I was too busy feeling excited by the whole thing.

All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised. Normally I have to classify movies in certain genres to put my feelings in context. Bond movies are sort of their own genre, sort of like Schwarzenegger films - it’s not an action movie, it’s a Bond movie. In that case, I try to gauge how good that movie is in relation to other movies of its respective genre - apples to apples, if you know what I mean. In this case, I’d say Bond has outdone himself. I could easily compare this to other action/intrigue movies and feel pleased about it. If only they could come up with Bond movies this well done all the time.

Anyway, I’d say see this on the big screen. I’d pay the full $7.50 for it - it’s well worth the watch.

food, hockey comments edit

I’ve decided that I’m partially hypoglycemic.

Now, I had a physical a bit ago and the blood work on it came back fine (yay, me!), and it didn’t say anything about that, yadda, yadda, yadda. But it boils down like this:

If I eat low-sugar foods, I can survive, but you bet your ass I’m gonna be grouchy. If I eat a reasonable amount of sugar periodically (like one of those bite-sized candy bars every four hours or so, something small but with a jolt in it), I’ll be much happier about things.

It could also mean that I need to figure out how to eat right, but… nah. Hypoglycemia is the answer. Besides, my mom said that my dad is legitimately a little hypoglycemic, and that’s hereditary, isn’t it?

At the hockey game yesterday, I had a particularly lucid moment where I thought of various rules that either don’t exist or should be changed to make hockey more exciting. This moment was brought about by the fact that we got our asses handed to us and I was more than irritated at that, but the ideas exist nonetheless.

First, nowhere in the rulebook, at least, nowhere I can find, does it say you can’t play with two sticks. I think each player should be entitled to two sticks: one to carry the puck with and one to beat off the opposing team.

Second, there are rules against kicking other players. Those need to go.

Third, the goalies should have electronic collars (like the dogs they are) that give them a little zap if they wander too far away from the crease. At least, our goalie should. That guy needs to stay in the fucking net.

Fourth, if a goalie is a dumbass and lets a goal go that was so stupid that a spectator could have climbed the glass, ran out onto the ice, and stopped in plenty of time, then every member of the audience who was outraged by that goal should be entitled to punch that goalie once after the game.

Spearing should be legal.

It’s not a rule (that I can find), but it pretty much seems that the officials won’t get in the middle of a fight until one player hits the ice. They need to stick to that; don’t break it up before it even starts, I mean, that’s why I’m there.

I think those changes should be made immediately. They would greatly enhance the game… at least for me, having season tickets to a losing streak.

gaming, playstation, movies comments edit

…Or maybe “doing nothing.”

It’s a slow day at the office today. I’m not complaining about that, because normally there’s so much going on that I can’t focus (which isn’t good - I can be doing something then just freeze and forget what I was in the middle of). Today, though, there’s not a lot, and that’s just fine. I’m sure it’s because folks are going places for the Thanksgiving holiday and aren’t in the office.

Next week’s going to be worse, since I only took Thanksgiving Thursday off and am in the office the rest of the week; the other guys in my department are out all next week for the most part. On Friday, I’m the only person scheduled to be in. That sort of means I’m going to have to answer the help desk phone… but it doesn’t mean that I actually have to help. Hey, man, I’m not desktop support - I just answer the phone, and only when I have to.

A while back I bought a soft dance pad for Dance Dance Revolution. I started playing, and I have to say, I have a lot of fun with it. I did find a few drawbacks to the soft pad, though - it scoots around on the carpet while you’re dancing; it’s not terribly sensitive (or it’s sensitive at the wrong time); and you can’t really feel the buttons, so your feet sort of “migrate” around on the pad and eventually you’re pressing the wrong buttons.

Well, I found a new pad that I need: The Dance Revolution Metal Evolution Pad. It’s a metal pad with the arcade dimensions (so it’s bigger than the pad I currently have, I think), weighs 35 pounds (so it won’t slide around) and is made of metal so it’s durable. It also costs $150, so I don’t think I’ll be ordering one instantly, but it’s something I’ll be thinking about. DDR’s a great workout and it’s a lot of fun. I’d like to think that the only reason I don’t play much lately is that I get frustrated with the pad.

On occasion I go look at, a local site that sometimes has contests where you can win passes to advance screenings of movies. A while back, I applied (in vain) to be their new movie reviewer. Since I didn’t get picked, I occasionally read the reviews published by the guy they did pick.

The guy they picked, I have decided, is a complete moron. He writes reviews like every other stupid critic out there - with no sensitivity to the entertainment that a movie provides. All that matters is the art, right?

His latest folly is his review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I’m not even going to link it up for you because it’s not worth the time to read. Basically, he gave it a “B-“ because - and I quote - “the story gets lost in the effects, and the script aims too low to hit even its target age group.”

Huh? Did the guy forget that it’s a kid’s movie based on a kid’s book? Or that it’s about magic, so the effects sort of have to be big? What’s he looking for?

To put it in context, he gave 8 Mile a “B,” whereas anyone I talk to who’s seen it says it sucks ass.

Okay, I’m done ranting about that.

I should probably get back to work. I’m reading this book about ASP.NET that is, uh… exciting. I think.

personal comments edit

Okay, I’m irritated with Amazon.

A while back I made a purchase using primarily gift certificates. It cost me near $150 for everything, but $110 of it was covered by gift certificates I’d saved up. When the package shipped, Amazon billed me $140 - only $10 of the gift certificates cleared, the other $100 didn’t.

I contacted Amazon and they said that the other $100 hadn’t cleared due to a “technical problem.” The issue was fixed and I would see a refund on my credit card shortly, accompanied by an email telling me that they’d processed the refund.

I waited for around 10 days and still hadn’t seen the refund, so I contacted them again. This time they said they were still working on it, that refunds take 7 - 10 business days, and that I would definitely get an email telling me when the refund occurred. That was Monday the 18th.

I went to look at my credit card statement today online and I saw that I had received a refund from Amazon, dated 11/19… for $89. Where’s the other $11? (Of course, I never did get an email from them, so maybe they’re somehow processing a $100 refund in two blocks - one for $89 and one for $11? Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.)

I’ve sent them another note. I want my $11!