Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Movies I've Thus Far Seen In 2007

When I first started this blog I intended on movie reviews being a big part of the content. For reasons I'm not sure of, I've posted hardly any reviews this year, even though I've seen quite a few films in theatres, as well as on DVD this first 1/3rd of 2007. Anyway, here are the films I've seen this year, with my letter grade.

Zodiac (A)
Breach (A)
Fracture (A-)
Reign Over Me (B+)
The Good Shepherd (B+)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres (B)
Night At The Museum (B)
Rocky Balboa (B-)
Dreamgirls (B-)

Here are the DVD's I've seen this year, with their year of release, and my letter grade:

Babel (2006) A
Transamerica (2005) A
V for Vendetta (2006) A-
Sarah Silverman - Jesus is Magic (2005) A-
Half Nelson (2006) A-
Capturing The Friedmans (2003) A-
Word Wars (2004) B-
Patriot Act (2005) C-
The Terminal (2004) D
Suicide Kings (1997) D
Seems Like Old Times (1980) D
Rock School (?) D
Breasts: A Documentary (?)F

Maybe I'll get back on the review horse going forward...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fast Food: Ads Vs. Reality

Found this link on kottke:

Someone bought a bunch of fast food items, photographed them, and compared them to the way they were presented in ads. KFC's Famous Bowl is about as disgusting looking as it gets.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cool Photography

During our weekend gaunt through New York, we had a chance to visit some photography galleries. Photography, like birding, is one of those things I have a lot of interest in but know virtually nothing about. I'm one of those people who goes all in or not at all when it comes to an interest, so since I haven't taken the time to learn virtually everything about the craft, I have had to be content with learning virtually nothing. When I finally finish my MBA my plan is to buy an SLR and take that photography class I've always wanted to. And I want to learn Spanish too.

Anyway, I had bought New York magazine at Raleigh airport and leafed through it on our flight to into JFK. I usually like to fly into LaGuardia so I can catch a glimpse of my church, but I digress... New York had a listing of photography exhibits and I noticed that we could visit over 20 exhibits in a 10 block area. So, we decided to spend our Friday afternoon doing just that. Most of the exhibits one of us liked and the other didn't, and a few we both didn't like at all, but we were both impressed by the work of Abelardo Morell.

Morell's most notable works are camera obscura, where an entire room is essentially turned into a giant pinhole camera, with an upside down image of the outside world reflected onto the walls floors and ceilings of a room though a small opening of a blacked out window. The image is then captured on film with a camera using very long exposure times (8 hours or more). It's more interesting to see than explain:


Tower Bridge

A print of Morell's work will cost you between $3,000 and $20,000 but you can buy a book of his work here for $40 or you can gaze at them online for free here, or here. Visit these prints in person at one of these galleries. As for me, I'm going to borrow a book from the library on the technique and learn how to do it myself.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hybrid Update - 499.3 Miles On A Single Tank!

OK, my goal was actually 500 miles, but I chickened out as I rolled up to the Texaco Station at 499.3 miles. When it took 10.25 gallons to fill up I was embarrassed to realize I had chickened out with another 2 gallons left in reserve. Still, I had averaged 48.7 miles per gallon on this tank!

After reading about hypermiling on kottke.org, and a guy who has managed 59MPG in a regular Honda Accord and 189 MPG in a hybrid insight, I was inspired to see how much gas mileage I could achieve in my 2006 Civic Hybrid. Now, I didn't go drafting tractor trailers or any of the other insane tricks Wayne Gerdes undergoes, but was just extremely conscious about throwing away gas. My goal is to top 50 miles per gallon.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Finally, A Reason To Watch American Idol

I don't have Sirius service, and I don't watch American Idol, but I do know who Sanjaya Malakar is because we watched the first few episodes this season to see all the lousy contestants. Once the "real" competition starts, we bail on the show. The reason I don't watch American Idol is simple: I've never seen anyone on the show whose music I'd actually want to buy, so why should I care who wins? I remember seeing Sanjaya audition though, mostly because I thought his sister was hot. I remember they both went "on to Hollywood," but I don't know what happened to her since. We watched The Soup this weekend and Joel McHale was making fun of Sanjaya and how he was so bad, yet somehow he kept getting advanced week to week.

Well, last night at a party a friend was telling me the real reason this clown Sanjaya Malakar keeps getting voted through. There's a website called Vote For The Worst that encourages people to keep voting for Sanjaya. Their reasoning is sound: except for the awful singers that Simon Cowell makes fun of, the show is unwatchable. So, keep the worst contestant on and keep the show entertaining. And it seems Howard Stern has gotten on the website's bandwagon and telling his legions of fans to vote for Sanjaya too.

I intend to cast a vote this week for Sanjaya, the first time I've ever cast a vote for anyone on the show. I might even tune in to watch the show this week. So much for this idiot's theory that Vote For The Worst is destroying the program!

Anyway, if American Idol really wants to kill this campaign, there's a very simple solution: only allow one vote per phone. Allowing people to vote as many times as they want is part of the reason the show is so lousy. It's not whomever the best talent is that gets through; it's whomever inspires enough little idiots to stay up all night on the phone. So, restrict the votes to one per telephone number, make the competition more fair, and at the same time negate the sabotage attempt. In the meantime, I'm all over this Sanjaya campaign. Maybe they'll talk to his hot sister this week too.