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!

personal, music comments edit

For those who have a little extra time and bandwidth, check out Homestar Runner for some pretty funny cartoons. They’re in Flash, and they do use sound, so make sure you can hear what’s going on. I haven’t found anything “dirty” on there, so if you can only check it out at work, I think it’s okay.

Unless, of course, you’ll get fired anyway.

Maybe you should try it, regardless.

My favorite ones are “Strong Bad’s Email” where this character, Strong Bad, answers letters. Again, the audio is key here. I was rolling after watching the “Guitar” episode; almost as funny as Turd Ferguson.

Speaking of Turd Ferguson, I never was able to find an electronic version of that skit. If anyone’s got one, let me know. I still wanna make Turd Ferguson t-shirts.

tv, music, cats comments edit

Last night Jenn and I went to see American Idols - Live! at the Rose Garden. We both had a totally cool time and I came out very pleasantly surprised.

They did sing the songs that you saw them sing on the television, but there were some new ones thrown in the mix, too, that livened it up a bit. So you sort of knew what you were in for up front, yet it still held your attention.

Something I came out very pleased about was that a couple of the people who I thought weren’t all that good when I watched them on television were fantastic live. You’d be surprised the difference a live band makes in a performance.

I will continue to maintain that Kelly was a good choice for the winner. She was the best one out there from a vocal standpoint. On the other hand, Justin was by far the best performer. He had a great repoire with the audience and just seemed very natural up there.

For all the folks who wondered why Nikki came in third and wasn’t eliminated sooner, she proved herself worthy with a great rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon. Watching her there made me realize why she was my original favorite at the start of the show.

Anyway, it was a blast, and well worth the money. Also, the merchandise was affordable - $15 for a t-shirt rather than the typical $40 you see at concerts nowadays. I got a program and Jenn got a shirt.

Something else that was nice about the concert: When we went, we got all dressed up - not in formal clothes or anything, but decent “going-out” clothes - and made it an event. I wouldn’t call myself “old” necessarily, but I’ll admit that doing that made me feel, well, “young again.” I think I will have to do that more often.

In other news, my baby Xev cat has an infection where they took her little uterus out, so we have to try to get her to eat antibiotics twice a day. You’d be surprised how strong that little cat is when you try to force-feed her stuff. And fast, too! I think we should be done with that in a week or so, and hopefully she’ll be better then. She has returned to her usual routine of crying all night long, so I can’t say she isn’t mostly back to normal already.

movies comments edit

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment of the Harry Potter movie series. The first (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) sort of set a precedent for the visual effects, imagery, and ability to stick closely to the book, so going into this one I had certain expectations.

Now, I hate going into movies expecting anything. Nine times out of ten, I’m going to come out disappointed.

I came out loving this movie.

Understand that this is not just more of the same. This movie is better than the first. The effects are better. The characters are better. Everything you liked about the first one is back, and it’s better than ever.

The first movie was criticized for sticking too close to the book it was based on. I don’t understand that; isn’t that the point of making a movie out of a book - to bring the book to life on the screen? Well, apologies to the other critics out there, but this one stays close to its book, too, and I’m glad it does. Seeing the movie play out on the screen the way it did in my mind when I read the book… it was brilliance.

All of the original actors return to reprise their roles from the original (though slightly older and showing the signs of puberty; Daniel Radcliffe as Harry has a noticeably deeper voice than before, and you even get a bit of a crack out of Rupert Grint as he plays Ron Weasley). Radcliffe is a likeable Harry, and every kid always wanted friends like Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson).

The new characters were also wonderfully cast. Kenneth Branagh does a perfect job as Gilderoy Lockhart and Miriam Margolyes is exactly as I pictured Professor Sprout. The only character I wasn’t too fond of was Moaning Myrtle, played by Shirley Henderson. I’m not sure if it was Henderson’s annoying voice or the fact that she really wasn’t how I pictured Myrtle that bothered me. Oh well - a small price to pay for such fun.

Sadly, this will be the last time we see Richard Harris in his role as school headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The role will need to be re-cast due to his passing. He was a perfect Dumbledore, and he will be missed. This will also be the last time we see Chris Columbus directing; he has passed the reins on to a new director, Alfonso Cuarón.

Anyway, what this basically boils down to is that you should see this movie. If you liked the first one, you’ll love this. If you haven’t seen the first one, what have you been doing? Go rent (or buy!) the first one, enjoy it, and promptly see the second. You won’t be disappointed.