Sunday, December 19, 2004

Too Hot For Court

It's the case that has become synonymous with greedy lawyers, the poster child for frivilous lawsuits in America, the case so famous that Seinfeld devoted a whole episode to making fun of's the case of the hot coffee burns. Of course, we all know the story. A woman spills coffee on herself, sues McDonald's, and wins millions of dollars. And the cry of protest is always the same..."coffee is supposed to be hot!"

I think I'll call them "true urban legends," stories that go around that seem to illustrate what's right or wrong in society. Lots of people have heard of them...the woman who leaves a homeless man embedded in her windshield, for example...and have strong opinions, but few know the actual facts. For example, how old was the woman who got burned? Why didn't McDonald's just settle the case out of court? And why would 12 sane people decide she deserved all that money.

So here are the facts, once and for all, from an article in the Wall Street Journal. Are there crazy lawsuits? Yes. But I don't think this is one of them.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Conspiracy Is Out There

There are those who believe aliens don't exist. There are those who believe aliens do exist. And then there are those who not only believe aliens exist, but spend every waking moment collecting information trying to prove it.

I've found many places over the years that claimed to reveal "the truth," and combine all the conspiracy theories into one alternate history of the world via aliens. Here's a good one called "Majestic 12 and the Secret Government." It really is amazing how people can tie a wide variety of theories, paranoid delusions, and actual facts into a coherent narrative. Might make a good movie or something.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Alien Hominid

Back in 2002, two guys who longed for the good old days of 2D shooters like Contra and Gunstar Heroes created a Flash game called Alien Hominid. It quickly became a smash hit online, leading to a contract that led to a revamped version of the game released on consoles. Now that's a true underdog story. You can still play the original game for free on Warning: contains extreme violence.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Missing Since January

Once upon a time, there was a game called Majestic which promised to take the gaming world by storm. It was an online game that the creators based on the movie "The Game." It would plunge the player into a dark conspiracy that would be based on your personality, involve fictional and real websites, send you email, talk to you in IM, and even call you on the phone.

I subscribed to it and was massively underwhelmed. The "conspiracy" was lame, the puzzles were too easy, it didn't feel real or convincing, and it all just felt thin. It was like they worked so hard on the mechanism of the game that the actual story was an afterthought. Many other players agreed with me and the game went down in flames, taking with it the dream of a new era in computer games.

Last week, I was browsing the computer store and stumbled across a plain white box in the Adventure section that read "Missing Since January." It looked like the back of a milk carton with two photos on the front. On the back, it explained the premise: two people have been kidnapped, and the kidnapper has sent a CD of puzzles that will lead to their whereabouts. It looked interesting, so I checked out some reviews, and finally bought it.

I am now addicted.

The game opens with a chilling video taken by a handheld camcorder chasing after a screaming woman running through an empty house (or basement?). You immediately recognize her as the missing woman on the box. The woman finally reaches a dead end, faces the camera with horror...and then the video ends.

Missing is very immersive with gothic visuals sprinkled with ancient words and images. The kidnapper (or killer?) nicknamed Phoenix taunts you with text messages throughout the game. As an example, the very first screen just has an open hand next to a knife while the words "Give it to me" flash across the screen. The solution is to drag the knife into the hand, which grasps the knife and the screen fades to black. Try that without feeling a little squeamish.

The puzzles themselves are not that bold or innovative, but the idea that the lives of two people depend on your solving it adds real tension. A simple jigsaw puzzle feels like a race against time.
Each puzzle takes you a step closer, often unlocking video clips taken by the missing reporters. They aren't very bold, but are supposed to be taken by amateurs, and so they feel right. They have a feel of quiet dread knowing where they lead.

Plus, I'm now at a point in the game where I need to search the Internet to find clues. To go on Google, type in the name of a character in the game, and sift across dozens of sites makes it all more real. I found myself wandering websites, all wondering "Is this part of the game or just another site?" When I finally stumbled across a webpage that had the character's photo on it, I couldn't hold back a smile. It takes it beyond just a deadly version of Myst. This is where it succeeds where Majestic failed. Whereas Majestic felt unrealistic and over-the-top, Missing feels only slightly beyond reality. Check out the website of the fictional company that the missing people worked for, SKL

One tip, though: typing in the keywords into the regular Google engine is a lost cause. More often than not, I'll get links to game reviews or guides for Missing. But I discovered the Google search box on the game's website has been tweaked so that it brings the relevant links to the top of the page. I don't know how they did that, but thank goodness...I'd still be struggling if it wasn't for that. Nice job there.

All in all, a very good game. It's a little more frustrating than I would like, but hopefully I'll get through it. And hopefully, Missing sells a million copies and I'll find more games like it.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

National Treasure

There's a Nicholas Cage movie coming out that looks interesting called "National Treasure." Basically, it claims that the Founding Fathers hid a fabulous treasure and planted clues in American Revolution-era artifacts like the Liberty Bell, the dollar bill, and the Declaration of Independence. Extremely far-fetched, but I think it could work in a conspiracy-theory, "The Da Vinci Code" kind of way. It could also be a ludirously lame attempt at a history class crossed with Indiana Jones. I might check it out. But Benjamin Franklin Gates? What the heck kinda name is that?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Bud Light Presents...

For years, Bud Light has been running a series of commercials saluting the unsung heroes and anti-heroes of American males. At first, it was called "Real American Heroes," but they changed it to "Real Men of Genius" after 9/11. I prefer "Heroes..." I mean it's a joke, people. Anyway, I found a website that has collection of mp3s of them. Act fast, Budweiser's been shutting other sites down for some reason. Among my favorites is still "Mr. Hawaiian Shirt Pattern Designer."

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Randomlynx: Virtual Deathtrap

The first military submarine to sink a ship in wartime was the CSS Hunley. Created in the American Civil War, I think the Hunley is the essence of steampunk, only in real-life. The darn thing killed two of its crews, including it's inventor, so it's no surprise it didn't trigger a wave of popularity for submarines. Surprisingly, I found a very cool online virtual simulation of the CSS Hunley at the Sun-Sentinel. The feeling it creates in running it really does capture how terrifying and awkward it must have been inside the original Hunley.

ST: Enterprise - Even Worse

I didn't see the season premiere of "Star Trek: Enterprise," and it's likely (based on the ratings) that you didn't either. But I did read a review of the episode in the Seattle Times, and it sounds like I didn't miss much. What's surprising is that it seems this already weak show has taken a turn for the worse. Worse visual effects, lower budget, and a cheesy story. So much for the hopes of reviving the Star Trek franchise.

I still think the problem is simply one of variety. Once upon a time, Star Trek was the 500-pound gorilla of sci-fi entertainment. You could either watch Star Trek or Time Trax, and that was it. As a result, everything Star Trek did was bold and new, the cutting edge of scifi, and it pretty much threw a wide net. It was the only place to see new and interesting aliens, the paradoxes of time travel, and futuristic technology. Remember the stir that the nanites caused in the Next Generation, the first exploration of nanotechnology in pop culture. Now, you've got Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, Andromeda, and a slew of other scifi shows that explore themes that Star Trek can only handle in the broadest sense. In other words, Star Trek is a victim of its own success. By making scifi mainstream, it opened the door to so much competition that it can't compete. Plus, the name Star Trek is now synonymous with nerd. I think it's time we accept the fact that we've simply outgrown Star Trek. Or at least I have.

Bonus: Check out what Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) had to say about her role in the last season and the new season...and it's not good. Darn good points, if you ask me.

Monday, October 04, 2004

It's Like Living In Space: Spaceship One

Well, the future has finally arrived. SpaceshipOne has completed two successful flights into outer space within five days, granting them the X-Prize and opening the frontier for private commercial spaceflight. Amazing. Virgin has already announced that they'll license the technology and offer space tourism for $200,000 a seat. Is it just me or is that really cheap? More than I can afford, but better than the $20 million Dennis Tito paid. Frankly, I always thought the X-Prize was a stupid idea. I figured anyone who could afford to build a spaceship wouldn't cross the street for $10 million, but I guess they were right. I think it was the goal that was important, the parameters set forth to win the money, not the money that made it work. Kudos to SpaceshipOne and take that, NASA. I still think SpaceshipOne is a stupid name for such an important vessel, though.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Flashback Friday: Mr. Merlin

The classic Arthurian legend has lived for centuries, inspiring and enduring as the symbol of royalty, adventure, and chivalry. It has inspired countless movies and novels, and in the eighties, the legend spawned the ultimate tribute: Mr. Merlin. Somebody saw the character of Merlin and decided to update him for a new generation. But what could a wise old wizard be in our time? Of course, an auto mechanic named Max. The series revolved around him training a teenager as his apprentice and wackiness ensued. Needless to say, this wasn't exactly classic television, but I did dream of having that magic book and doing cool stuff. And check out that cool staircase. Not much out there on this show, but this one is good. You can even hear the opening theme song. The only dedicated Mr Merlin site I found is in French, which isn't that bad thanks to Google's translation. So the French love Jerry Lewis and Mr. Merlin.

  • Barnard Hughes played Merlin, and also performed in such classic roles as the I/O Port in Tron.
  • Clark Brandon played Zachary Rogers. He continued to act for nine more years and was never seen again.
  • Merlin's superior Alexandra was played by Elaine Joyce, who also hosted the Dating Game and stuff.
  • Instead of a sword in a stone, Zachary had to pull out a crowbar from cement.
  • The French version of the theme song is completely different and totally lame.

Paris Brands Herself

For all those rushing out to use the name "Paris Hilton," you're too late. Paris Hilton has copyrighted her name and even developed a logo. A tiara? Could she be more pretenious? Here are my top six logos for Paris Hilton...feel free to add your own.

6. A big bag of money
5. Paris stepping on a pile of homeless people to get into her limosuine
4. The words "talent and wisdom" with a line running across it
3. A four-leaf clover
2. Paris standing on the coattails of her parents
1. A white garbage bag with her face on it

Never Eat Cod Again

The story about worms in cod fish are indeed true. In fact, I found an industry article on the little critters and how to remove them. Fascinating and repulsive.

End of the State

Found a good article on the end of The State, written by a writer who wrote for the failed State CBS Special. Fascinating look into the genius and not-so-funny life of the famed comedy troupe.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Don't Panic...2000!

I've been re-reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series again for the billionth time, and started thinking about how there would never be another book now that Douglas Adams is dead. I even thought about writing my own new version. Turns out it's not an entirely original idea. Much like everything else in the media, people have been writing original fan fiction for Hitchhiker's. And much like everything else in fan fiction, most of it sucks. But some of it is pretty good.

Here now is your dose of new Hitchhiker's fiction. First of all, read Young Zaphod Plays It Safe, a short story by Douglas Adams written in the nineties. Might also want to pick up Salmon of Doubt, a collection of chapters from Adams' unfinished sixth novel. I haven't read them, but I plan to.

Now for the fan fiction. There's The Complete and Utter Truth, which incorporates some of the unreleased stories with some new work that is very in keeping with the original. You might also try The Whole Sort of General Mishmash, which is so much like reading a Douglas Adams story that it's creepy. I haven't read all of those stories, but plan to. It's exciting, almost like Adams never left us.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Home of the Whopper

As much as I hate to admit it, it's time for a Paris Hilton update...(brrrddddd-WAM!)...apparently, Paris has been going around saying she's going to be the spokeswoman for Burger King. Burger King, thankfully, has denied it and said they have no plans to hire her. I'm so relieved. If I saw her on a commercial eating a Whopper, I don't think I could ever eat there again. The woman makes me ill. I mean, give the spokesperson contract to a homeless person, somebody who actually needs the money. And the food, for that matter. As for Paris, it's amazing that she's not satisfied with the level of undeserved fame and popularity she's already gained, she has to go around making up new stuff.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Brother From Another Planet

There's apparently a trailer for the new Hitchhiker's Guide movie out, which I want to see (but haven't downloaded yet), but there's a more pressing issue...Mos Def is playing Ford Prefect?! When did that happen? Did someone tell me this and I forgot? Mos Def, the black rapper from "The Italian Job," is going to be the wacky British alien in Hitchhiker's? I mean, I applaud them for not being racist, but couldn't they have found someone a little more experienced, like the black comedian who played "Chef?" I dunno. This could be a brilliant miscast like John Leguizamo as Clown in "Spawn" or just a miscast. First, they made Marvin a midget with a Ping Pong ball for a head, and now they made Ford Prefect a black rapper. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, but this might be too much.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Mchael Jackson Is A Big, Fat Liar

It's time for a long overdue Michael Jackson update...(brrrddddd-WAM!) you probably know, during a 60 Minutes interview, Michael Jackson accused police of manhandling him during custody. I saw the interview and it was truly bizarre. He claimed he was handcuffed so tightly that it disclocated his arm and bruised his wrists, that he was locked in a bathroom "covered in feces" for forty-five minutes, and that they cursed at him.

At the time, I didn't believe him. For one thing, the sheriff's office denied it and said they had videotaped the entire proceeeding. Another thing, he was shown cheerfully bouncing his arms while being taken to jail, and held up his arm in a "V" sign while being led out. And for another thing, Michael won't even admit he'd had plastic surgery. Why should we believe anything he says?

Well, along comes the report that Michael Jackson was not manhandled during custody. Case closed, as far as I'm concerned. Speaking of the lies about plastic surgery, there's a funny overview of Michael's face at Anomalies Unlimited and a more serious look by a plastic surgeon at ABC News.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Flashback Friday: Doctor Morgus

Let's face it. Mad scientists are cool. Why are they cool? Because they do things no sane scientist would do, but every sane scientist wants to do. I mean, who wouldn't want to create a fearsome monster that would do your bidding or build a giant laser that would threaten the world? Plus, mad scientists always get things done. Ever seen an unsuccessful mad scientist in a movie? I'm sure there are scientists trying to re-animate the dead or hypnotize world leaders who fail, but we just call those guys crazy. No, you can't be a mad scientist unless you're really good at it.

That's why Doctor Morgus rocked.

In case you don't remember (and not many people do), Doctor Morgus was an evil mad scientist who hosted bad science fiction movies. He was part of a long line of scifi television hosts like Elvira, where we would watch the movie just for the funny bits before and after the commercial breaks. Every episode, Morgus would be building a nuclear reactor or a teleporter, and it would go horribly wrong. One thing about Morgus was that he was very, very creepy with his fright wig, bad teeth, and evil laugh. But he had that kinda normal voice. It was a good mix of horror and scifi. You didn't know if you wanted to root for him or be afraid of him. Then there was his sidekick, the giant mute in the executioner's outfit, Chopsley. Classic routine. I don't remember Morgus being particularly funny, but he was such a prototypical mad scientist that I loved him.

I'm not sure if Morgus is still on the air, but he does have at least two fansites ( and the Old IceHouse) and a movie that was released in the sixties. I had no idea Morgus had been around that long. I wonder if he was in reruns when I watched him?

Two Dollars a Gallon

Since everyone is predicting that gas prices are going to go up again, this is a good time to introduce Gas Buddy, a website where people submit gas stations with the cheapest prices. The local branch for Phoenix is It's pretty good. Last time, I discovered the third lowest gas price five minutes from my apartment.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Alien vs Predator Redux

Just out of curiosity, I checked metacritic's opinion of Alien vs Predator. I was surprised that it got a 26%, but the naysayers made some darn good points. I thought this one nailed the vague discomfort I felt well. And this one pointed out some of the continuity errors I noticed, but thought I was wrong about. I do think it's a bit underrated, though. Was still cool to see the Aliens and the Predators again.

One question I had from the beginning...if there's an Alien nest on Antarctica in 2004, why did the Predators go to South America and Manhattan to hunt in the early nineties? And if the pyramid was buried in Antarctica for thousands of years, how did somebody get to it in 1904 (as they implied)?And since when is Cambodia one of the great civilizations like Egypt and Aztec, anyway? And what was the point of outfitting the heroine with an alien head and tail (very cool), when she pretty much threw it away a few minutes later after stabbing the queen in the neck? And if the temple was built for people willing to sacrifice themselves, then why did they design it to trap people? And why did they leave those laser guns locked up in there? So many questions, so few answers.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Evil Orko

I don't know if you've seen the new Masters of the Universe action figures, but they are quite impressive. I saw them down at Kay-Bee and the re-design is pretty inspired. I won't go into He-Man and Skeletor too much, because I found a great article on them at Skyografix with lots of cool pictures. Wait'll you see the new Skeletor.

What I will focus on is Orko. As we all know, Orko was never anything more than comedy relief on the original series. He came in, tried to cast a useful spell, and ended up encasing himself in a bubble or drowning himself or setting himself on fire, everyone would laugh at him for being a moron, and that would be the end of the episode.

The new Orko is very different. It was only when I saw it that I realized how much times how changed. Once, the occult was a joke. Orko was a wizard, but that just meant he carried a wand and pulled rabbits out of his hat. The new Orko is an obvious nod to Harry Potter in that he looks like he's somebody who would be dabbling in dark forces.

I found some poor photos on eBay, but they don't give a really good look. Basically, he looks the same with the red robe and the pointy hat pulled over his eyes, but they stretched him out to a normal size, so he's not the cute little guy he was on the series. He's really thin with green slender hands, making his faceless eyes look that much more ominous - like you might not want to know what he looks like under there. He also comes with a plastic thing that looks like a splash of water if it was made out of purple, grainy crud. You can stand him on the crud with his hand stretched out over a green orb that you can fire out of it. It doesn't make too much sense, but the effect is to make it seem like he's astride a wave of dark slime, commanding this ball of energy(?) to shoot out of it. And the orb is big enough that it looks like it could do some damage. In other words, Orko looks like he could kick butt.

Needless to say, it was disturbing. They almost made Orko look evil. No, I take that back. They made Orko look evil, period. I guess they don't make wacky sidekicks like they used to.

Every Day?!

Okay, I've had enough of McDonald's. I saw "Supersize Me," and McDonald's defense of that movie was basically, "Well, everybody knows our food is unhealthy. You're not supposed to eat it at every meal."

But I just heard two radio commercials in a row for McDonald's new "I'm Lovin' It" campaign (by the way, somebody should tell McDonald's that if I didn't like their song in its original form, playing it in reggae, country, and hip-hop doesn't make it better). In both commercials, they portrayed people praising how they eat McD's sausage McMuffins every single day. In fact, the opening of the second commercial literally started "every single morning..." And both pointed out how the McMuffins are only a dollar, implying that everyone can afford to eat them every day. So they are trying to get us to eat their food every day, despite the fact that in their own internal documents, they say eating their food more than once a week would be considered excessive or "heavy use."

I'm going to have to start an anti-McDonald's blog if this keeps up.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Randomlynx: Babylon 5 Gag-reels

Here's a site that has funny gag-reels from Babylon 5, proving they really did have a good time behind the scenes, and that the actor who plays Garibaldi has a filthy mouth.

What Color is the Sky in Halle Berry's World?

As of today, Catwoman has grossed $37 million, a fraction of its $135 million-dollar cost. It's been almost universally panned by critics. And yet, Halle Berry is hoping to do a sequel. Unbelievable. Her ego must be made of titanium.

They Really Wanted To Play "Halo"

A quadruple homicide was discovered in Florida, four people beaten to death with baseball bats. When they found the culprits, they discovered the motivation for the crime...the four people stole the killer's X-Box, so he rounded up his friends and took it back the hard way. What a world we live in. I mean, I want to play Chronicles of Riddick, too, but not that bad. And they say videogames don't induce violent behavior. I'd hate to see what this guy would do to someone who stole his car.

Playing a Heavy: Fat Actress

I always wondered where Kirstie Alley went after Victoria's Closet, and it turns out she went to Kristy Kreme. She's back, weighs over 200 pounds, and has a new series. It's called Fat Actress, an improvisitional show about an overweight actress in Hollywood. Far be it from me to insult people who are overweight, but I think flaunting her weight, indeed making her career about her weight, seems a bit much. Can't you just be yourself and move on? Is Paris Hilton going to make a show called Skinny Actress?
Categories: entertainment

Music Piracy For Dummies

After carrying a bag full of my CDs to work a couple times, I decided to rip the music into digital formats to make them more portable. But after all the hype about digital piracy and illegal music, I found myself with a basic do I do it?

First, I tried Windows Media Player which has an option for saving digital tracks. I tried a couple of songs which it put into the WMA format, and liked it. Until I tried to move it. Turns out the WMA automatically makes a license that's required to play it. I was willing to try it to stay on the legal end of things. I made copies at work and thought it was cool, then made more copies at home and took them to my computer at work, which refused to play them because I needed to copy the licenses. Too much like iTunes for me.

I tried Winamp, which also has an option to save music, but you have to pay for an upgrade to save in mP3 format. I knew there were lots of programs that do that for sale, but I needed a free version. So I tried RealPlayer. Turns out the free version of Realplayer rips CDs onto mP3 with the push of a button. Heck, I put in my CD and it brought up a prompt that basically said, "Hey, you don't have this in digital format. Want it?" I clicked "yes," selected the tracks, hit "save," and within minutes had all my music in a portable, license-free, technically-illegal format.

If I'd known it was this easy to make illegal copies of my music, I would've done it years ago.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


After owning the Daredevil movie DVD for months, I finally got around to checking the special features. I couldn't believe it. That DVD is jam-packed with stuff I didn't even know about. I realized I never even looked at the second DVD included with the package.

I'd heard that "Daredevil" has a great documentary, and it's true. I was expecting the usual whitewash - "It was great working with the director," "It was great working with the actor," "This is going to be unlike any movie ever made / the greatest movie ever made." Instead, it was a remarkably candid look behind the scenes. They discussed how scared everyone was about the director's inexperience, showed the arguments over Daredevil's costume, showed the CGI team complaining that they weren't given enough time and money to make good special effects, etc. It really gave a sense of how chaotic the movie's production was and how much it was a labor of love with acknowledged flaws. And that was just the documentary. Check out the full list of additional material.

What really blew me away was a music video for Evanescence's "Bring Me Back To Life." It drove me crazy thinking of how hard I tried to find that video online when I literally had it sitting next to me for months.

Bottomline: Great DVD, okay movie (at least, I liked it).

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Spiderman 2 - The Lego Edition

There's a scene from Spiderman 2 rendered in Legos at Yahoo Movies. I haven't seen all of it (thanks to dial-up), but it sounds cool.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

507 Channels and Nothing On

Here's a simple question...why can't we just buy the cable channels we want to watch instead of buying 50 channels for the one we want? Why do I have to have the Golf Channel if I want the Scifi Channel? Couldn't I just buy the Scifi Channel and HBO for a dollar a channel and leave it at that instead of scrolling through a hundred channels I never watch to get to them?
As with everything involving profit, it's a simple problem with a simple solution with massive opposition to the solution. The truth is that the cable companies known darn well that 99% of their audience will not buy lame channels like the Grass-Growing Channel unless it's forced upon them, so they use popular channels like ESPN to subsidize them. People like the women's channel Oxygen defend the system as a way of building an audience. Personally, I think if your channel couldn't survive without that system, then there's no point in airing it. Just because you make a channel doesn't mean we have to watch it. Read about the current hearings on the issue going on at the FCC and then send a nasty email to your cable company.


Not really...but ever hear news reports about postings or videos on "al-Qaeda's website?" Well, I found myself wondering, where exactly is the official website of Osama bin Laden? It turns out the story is more interesting than I expected, and Wired did a good piece on al Neda, the official website of al-Qaeda. The interesting thing is that, obviously, there is no set location for the site, since the US and other governments keep shutting it down. It functions like a virus; its owners hack into other legitimate websites and upload the files, then announce its new location on bulletin boards and mailing lists. When it gets shut down, they just move it to a new location. Just like the organization, the al-Qaeda website is decentralized. And they say terrorists are stupid.

Friday, July 30, 2004

That Babe From "The Transporter": Shu Qi

I rented a movie called So Close, a martial arts movie from Hong Kong about these two sisters who are tech-savvy assassins. The plot was really complicated and I didn't understand most of it until I read the summary on the official website. Nice action sequences, though, and the women were very easy on the eyes. But imagine my surprise when I recognized one of them as that Chinese babe from The Transporter.

Turns out it's the current Hollywood tradition of giving small bit parts in American movies to huge foreign mega-stars (see Monica Belucci in Matrix: Reloaded). Her name is Shu Qi, and she is one of the biggest actresses in Hong Kong cinema. She is also, in my opinion, the second most beautiful female celebrity in the world next to Angelina Jolie, but I digress. What surprised me most about So Close is that she played a hardcore assassin, completely unrecognizable compared to her mousy role in Transporter. I found a great article in Time Asia about her that made me understand her more and like her less, but there's no doubt she's a hottie. And it's nice to know beautiful women with screwed-up careers aren't just a Hollywood phenomenon.

McDonalds Suffocates Children...For Safety

I picked up a flier at my local McDonalds about their "community service." Usual PR stuff but I noticed a reference to a high-tech safety device they designed called McBaby, which I had to investigate. It turns out they created a multi-million dollar mannequin called McBaby that simulates the breathing system of a child. It's supposed to allow toy manufacturers to test to see if their toys are a choking hazard.

I'll be the first to say this is a great idea and will help save lives...but am I the only one who thinks it's a little creepy for Ronald McDonald to hand scientists a lifelife child and say "Go ahead, stuff whatever you want down its throat! Just try and kill it!" Watch the video clips of scientists working with McBaby. If it doesn't make you at least a little queasy, you're a stronger man than I am.

The Average Catwoman Movie Review

"Catwoman" is a tail that is less than "purr-fect!" The fur flies when Berry and her "cat-star," Sharon Stone, get into a catfight over beauty products. Soon, Berry is shaking her tail as the superhero Catwoman! Did the director expect us to take this seriously? They must be "kitten!" While Halle Berry might be catnip to her fans, she would have "tabby" Garfield to save this pile of kitty litter. With special effects that are more like a hairball, there's nothing that keeps this one out of the doghouse! Berry should have paws-ed before she took this project or at least put an escape "claws" in her contract. This "meow-vie" is a "cat-astrophe!" Cat, cat, cat, cat. Cat.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Glare

Finally found some great pictures of Maria Sharapova's glare at Imagine being on the receiving end of this, this or this right before she rears back to hit the ball.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I, Hollywood

NPR's Weekend Edition did a good overview of the new "I, Robot," why it stinks as a tribute to Asimov's stories, and a bit of history about Harlan Ellison's infamous script. I personally thought Ellison's version was pretty good, but I agree it would have been really complicated.

NetFlix Redux

Remember that rant I gave a while back? Well, I should have read the FAQ:

Q: Why are the expected arrival dates different for movies shipped on the same day?
A: We try to ship you movies from your closest shipping center. If a particular movie is not available at your closest shipping center, we will ship it to you from another location. This can increase delivery time, and therefore, it may have a different expected arrival date.

Ahem...I take it all back.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Randomlynx: Free Kungfu

Earthlink's newsletter is surprisingly good. They included a link to this website with a Flash Kungfu fighting game. Looks like it's made by a guy who just wanted to put himself and his friends into an online Street Fighter II.

The Next Steven Wright?

NPR did a profile on Demitri Martin, a truly unique and very funny comic who also writes for Conan O'Brien. They have some bits in his interview and on their website, and he's really funny. Reminds me of Steven Wright in that he's a comedian who lives in our world, but sees things in a completely different way.

Beer Wars

I don't know if you've seen or heard the latest Miller or Budweiser ads, but if you have you might have noticed something strange. They're less about beer and more about insulting each other. It's true, Miller and Budweiser have been launching attack ads against each other. Adrag has a good overview of the conflict. It's very unusual, since advertisers have had an unwritten pact against mentioning each other in their ads. I think it's rather petty myself. Remember when Jack-in-the-Box launched a campaign challenging Burger King over microwaving its meat? I didn't see Burger King responding with "their spokesman is a guy with a plastic bubble on his head!"

Solo's No Good To Me Dead, Mate

Why won't George Lucas leave his movies alone?! Now is reporting rumors that on the new DVD, Boba Fett's voice will be changed to have a New Zealander's accent, like the actor in the new movies. This is not a good sign.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


There was a very interesting show on NPR last week about group-thinking (I forget the official term they used). Basically, it's the fact that groups of people can often make decisions better than individuals, especially in a betting situation. For instance, Las Vegas odds often predict the winners of sporting events, and the audience almost always gets the right answers in "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." This is one reason the U.S. government wanted to set up a betting pool on terrorist attacks.

I decided to test the theory with the Hollywood Stock Exchange, one of the most popular prediction markets. My subject is Catwoman. It's kind of hard to read, because it's not set up as a predictor, but I decided to use other superhero movies as a baseline. Spiderman 2's stock price is at $326, Batman Begins is up to $190, and Catwoman is at $47. Not good, but still abstract. But there's a handy feature that lists upcoming movie weekend releases in a group. By their ratings, Bourne Supremacy will beat the pants off Catwoman on their opening weekend. Bourne has a price of $92. I'm still not sure if I'm reading this right, but hopefully I'll figure it out.

On a personal note, I admit that the Catwoman trailer makes Halle Berry look really sexy, but that's what bothers me. Take Halle Berry out of this movie, and it looks like it would go straight to video. Can she carry the movie? We'll see. But check out her career bond...I wish it was detailed enough to see what caused that huge nosedive. I'm guessing Swordfish.

And is it just me, or is Catwoman Barbie just plain wrong?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Trouble With NetFlix

Okay, I'm on the verge of taking back all the good things I said about Netflix. That's because I think I've discovered their little secret. For the first two weeks, they've established a pattern. I mail them a DVD, it takes a day to get there and for them to process and ship out the new DVD, and a day to get it back. That was a three-day turnaround.

The two-week trial period has expired, and lo and behold, things have changed. Stay with me. I mailed out one DVD on Saturday morning and two more on Sunday. The first one should have gotten there Monday and the other two today. I check my email to find out when I get my next DVDs. For some reason, the next DVD in my queue isn't coming until Saturday, four days from now, a week after I mailed it. And if you think that's normal, then explain why the second and third DVDs in my queue are coming on Thursday, two days before the first one, even though they arrived at Netflix later.

What's it all mean? Call it a conspiracy theory, but I think they have a secret way of cutting costs. How do they stop people from getting too many DVDs per month and costing them in postage and DVDs? Just ship out DVDs at a slower pace. I think they saw how quickly I was getting DVDs and something kicked in to slow me down. I don't think there's anything in my contract with them that says how quickly they send me stuff. I'll check. But I think technically, they don't have to send me another DVD all month if they feel like it. It's up to them, and I'm very upset. I had big plans for those DVDs.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Resistance is Futile

Star has produced an awesome documentary on the Borg called (surprisingly enough) "The Borg." I've only seen the first part, but it's impressive stuff. Nice overview of their greatest villain ever.

Phantom of the Movies

Did you know they were making Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" into a movie? I sure didn't, until I saw this trailer for it. It looks awesome. Reserve your tickets now.

Anna Kourni-Who?

With one stroke of the racket, Maria Sharapova became the winner of Wimbledon two weeks ago. She also made everyone forget about Anna Kournikova. In fact, to me, she makes me wonder why Kournikova was ever popular. Sure, Anna was cute, but she rarely won her tennis matches. It was more about her appearance, not her skills. With Sharapova, not only is she beautiful but she has the Wimbledon trophy to prove her skill. She's the whole package, and I have a huge thing for her now. The only downside is that Sharapova was raised in America, so she doesn't have a Russian accent. Just as well. That might've been too much for me.

I saw her beat Serena Williams and it was a thing of beauty. Truly one of the great matches of all time. The idea of this hardcore American tennis pro like Serena being beaten by a relatively unknown Russian teenager was epic. Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova...that was a match not only for the eyes, but the senses. The fact that I hate Serena Williams added to the flavor.

I'll never forget the cold, narrow-eyed glare that Sharapova gave Serena right before the hit the ball on her serves. It was a look of "I'm gonna get you," as if Sharapova were about to punch Serena instead of whack a ball at her. I wish I could get a picture of that. But contrast this photo of her on the court with this photo of her at a fancy dress ball, and you'll see the amazing combination of beauty and drive that she has.

I liked this combination gallery and profile of Sharapova best.

Mr Six

I'm guessing you've seen the new Six Flags commercials with the old, bald guy on it. Turns out his name is Mr. Six, according to the official website. But have you seen the very first one? I saw it when I taped Century City one time and thought it was the funniest thing I'd seen in a long time. Turns out it's on the Six Flags website, along with all the others.

In a side note, I don't know why more companies don't put their commercials on their websites. They should be grateful someone actually wants to see them, instead of just putting up with them. In that sense, Burger King's Subservient Chicken website is a step in the right direction. Who needs television ads when people download them themselves?

Friday, July 02, 2004

Cosby Goes "Barbershop"

It seems like Bill Cosby is tired of being the genial black comic, because he's taken on a new people. He did this in the past, but now he's making people mad. Check out his comments at the commemoration of Brown vs. Board of Education on how some African-Americans talk, raise their kids, make crude music, etc. Personally, I think it's hysterical, almost like a comedy routine. But I also admit that if these things were said by a white comedian, they would be absolutely racist.

So Close, and Yet So Far

I think this is the definition of least according to Alanis Morrisette...I have to go to the Arizona Republic to look at pictures of Avril Lavigne's performance at Fiesta Mall, despite the fact that I was literally inches away from seeing her in real-life. I don't think I'll ever get the fact that a horde of screaming teenage girls were the only thing stopping me from seeing her live for free. As if that wasn't enough salt in the wounds, she looks so cute in the photos. She's playing here in November, I may try to get tickets for real.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Randomlynx: Mr T vs. Everything

Once upon a time, someone said "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if we made a cartoon out of photographs from the A-Team called Mr. T vs..." Years later, the torch has been carried until we have Mr. T versus Everything, a collection of over 300 Mr. T comics. Why Mr. T? Probably because he's the quintessential bad-A. You could imagine him taking on everything from O.J. Simpson to the Paperclip from Office, and people have. Plus, his dialogue is so unique that it's funny to read by itself. This is a great collection, but with a lot of dead links. I guess the only thing that can stop Mr. T is the cost of web hosting.

There's even a site that tells how to make your own Mr. T comic. The only question is...what hasn't he already taken on?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

More Like "Chronicle"...

Well, thanks to Box Office Mojo, I think we can safely say the grand experiment of "Chronicles of Riddick" has come to an end. It cost $140 million to make, and as of now grossed $50 million worldwide. Its attendance dropped 61% in the second weekend. It's been panned by critics. I'm doubting there will ever be a sequel, so Riddick's character will never return. That's a shame, because I still think Riddick was the character Vin Diesel was born to play, and he was awesome. Too bad about all the evil. On the plus side, rumors are floating about Vin Diesel playing Lex Luthor in the next Superman movie, which (to me) would be a dream cast on the level of Patrick Stewart playing Professor X.

Also check out this interview in USA Today with Vin Diesel. It's got a more complex picture of the guy than I've heard before.

Please Standby

I heard a bit on NPR about how computers cost billions in wasted electricity because they're left on. The guy was advocating that everyone use the standby/sleep feature on their computers, because (as he put it) a lot of people put a lot of effort into implementing that feature, and users rarely use it. So set your computers to automatically going on standby, people.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Wikipedia: Sifl and Olly

Watching the Sifl and Olly Show on Wimamp drove me to wonder...where the heck did it come from? I did the research and wrote up an article for Wikipedia. Wish I could get some of those on video.

"This is Precious Roy! And I like the nice, hot donuts!"
-Precious Roy

Friday, June 25, 2004

Not-So-Simple Test

I was all set to buy AlamDV, that special-effects program I mentioned, based on "The Test." I figured if that guy could do an amazing movie like that in one afternoon with AlamDV, then I'm there. But then I found the guy's website where he explained how he did some of the effects. First of all, it's great stuff, very informative. Second, I couldn't help noticing he did almost none of the effects with AlamDV. He mainly did it with Adobe Premeire, which is very expensive. Sigh...back to the drawing board. This guy has some good links to moviemaking stuff, too, by the way.

Trouble Already?

Quicker than I thought we would, we have to do an Olsen Twins update...(brrrddddd-WAM!)...just days after their 18th birthday, one of the Olsen twins has caused her first scandal. She checked into a clinic for treatment of an eating disorder, anorexia.

Now besides the shock of how quickly the Olsens managed to rip off their veil of purity, I think this story also illustrates why I listen to gossip. I've been reading stories about Mary-Kate Olsen having an eating disorder for months. People have expressed shock at how bone-thin she is. And of course, as in this People Magazine article, the Olsens denied it for months. Now, surprise, it's true. Stuff like this makes the National Enquirer look like the New York Times.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Toning Up

One of the most compelling parts about that GQ article profiling a guy who went from tubby to hardbody in three months was his first interview with a trainer. He said, "I want a beach body." So the trainer said "Okay, we'll do whole body workouts." That surprised the author, because he grew up on individual part training (aka. tricep curls, leg lifts, etc.). His trainer said whole-body exercises like dead lifts would do the job better.

I've been trying to research that theory and found a great article at that explains why you can do hundreds of bicep curls for years and never see any muscle pop up. It's called "Can You Really Tone Your Body," and it has some really good points. Also a good article at about how to carry out aerobic exercises to burn fat. There's also a good one called "7 Easy Steps To Weight Loss" and "Bodybuilding for Beginners" with some great tips on increasing your diet. I really want to try that, but first I need money to buy food.

Batman Beginning

There's a great article on MSNBC about the "Batman Begins" production. It's basically "The last Batman movies sucked. We're sorry about that. These guys are trying to fix it." Seems like they've made some bold moves, like giving the movie to an inexperienced director, scrapping everything including the Tim Burton version, and making it a drama. And Morgan Freeman is Lucius Fox! This movie just screams "Watch me." But I'm confused. Last I heard, the villain was Ras Al-Ghul played by Ken Watanabe, and he's still in the cast list on IMDB. But this article says the villain is the Scarecrow, yet there's no listing for Scarecrow or Crane (Scarecrow's alter ego) on IMDB. Is it Scarecrow, Ras al-Ghul, or both? Very strange. But never mind. Check out a video of the unveiling of the new Batmobile in all its glory.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

How to Fight Yourself

I stumbled across this site by a guy who makes short films with homemade CGI FX. There's one called "The Test," which is basically a kick-butt action movie with a cast of one...himself. It's incredible as a short film in its own right (really epic feel), but the fact that he did it all by himself is amazing. And he says he did it in one afternoon. If I only had that kinda technology, imagination, and time.

Behind the Chronicles

There's a great interview with David Twohy, the guy who created, wrote, and directed "Chronicles of Riddick" at Not only is it interesting as to how the process came about, but also that there are virtually no spoilers. I really want to see this movie, just so I can find out what the heck they're talking about. Did they really create an original scifi vision as they intended or is it just a "Star Wars" knock-off as others claim. Given that "Pitch Black" was considered an "Aliens" knock-off, I can only hope that "Chronicles" does for SW rip-offs what "Pitch" did for Alien-ripoffs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Driv3r Movie

To promote the third version of "Driver," known as "Driv3r," they created a short film on the official website that can only be described as "Gone in 60 Seconds Lite." It's pretty awesome, considering it's just a promo for a videogame. My only question is, how do you pronounce "driv3r?" "Drive-Three-Er?" Everyone just calls it "Driver 3," anyway. That's what happens when marketing people get too much power.

Fan Edits

Dweeby D. told me his re-edit of "Kill Bill" got him thinking about distributing it, and I did a little research to find out how. It turns out there's a small but growing number of these. Of course, the most famous is the Phantom Edit of "Phantom Menace." By the way, did you know they found the guy who did it? And it wasn't Kevin Smith. Anyway, there's also a fan edit of "A.I." that sounds good, and a fan edit of "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier." And of course, there's the fan-made trailers.

Anyway, I still don't know how Dweeby's going to release his version. There's no "fan edit central" than I can see. I think posting anonymously on forums and letting people download it off the P2P networks might work. But I realized Dweeby's going to have to go back and make the editing cleaner if he wants to release his version. The jumps and static won't cut it among the big boys.

Here's a more comprehensive series on the whole fan edit phenomenon at Zap2It.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Ungrateful Life

You know, there was a time when I thought "The Simple Life" could teach two spoiled brats a lesson in manners or at least the real world. Now I know that some people are just rotten to the core. Of course, I refer to Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. I watched all season how the Leding family took in these total strangers, gave them a home and food, protected them, gave them jobs and love, and put their reputations on the line for these two lovely ladies. And how do Paris and Nicole repay the Ledings? With these amazingly cruel comments about them. Life is just not fair.

Realistic Skintones

Found this pretty good tutorial on how to match skintones and stuff using Paint Shop Pro...stay tuned.

Olsen Twins: Barely Legal

At last, the day has arrived. D-Day of the Olsen Twins Countdown has come and they officially turn eighteen. Yesterday, I would've been arrested for saying this, but now I can say it. I think the Olsen Twins are freakin' sexy. They are the hottest kind of hot there is, that "I don't know I'm hot" hotness that Britney used to have until she went the Madonna route. And twins...say no more. So here's that Rolling Stone photo spread that we can now legally enjoy, brought to us by the same people who put Britney in hot pants before she was eighteen. That's disgusting...they should've waited until she was legal, like the rest of us. Or maybe they perform a valuable service outing unspeakable male desire.

In a serious note, I think the Olsen Twins are doomed to failure. Their current popularity comes from their preteen wholesomeness which won't translate into adulthood. As long as they have that "Full House" innocence, they'll be a punchline not taken seriously. Most likely, one or both will try to go the Dirty Girl route, which (while enjoyable) will send them down the Elizabeth Berkley path of becoming a slut (one word: "Showgirls").

Besides that, they want to be taken seriously as individuals, which can't work. They've built their entire career around being twins. It's ninety percent of their fame. They can't just flip a switch and turn that off. Either they go through every twin-movie script in Hollywood or one will inevitably become more famous than the other, which will tear them apart or they'll both fail. I'm voting for the latter myself. But who thought they could have a career beyond "Full House" in the first place? They have had incredible success so far. If they succeed, it would be a miracle. I wonder who their agent is?

Here are some good articles on this topic:
CBS News piece on how they became megastars, also asking them the "are you sexy" question
"When Aren't They Hot" - Beldarblog
Olsen Twins Grace Cover of Rolling Stone - Adrants
Jaboobie's Olsen Twins Countdown
Olsen Twins Coming of Age - This one makes the point that, in some states, the legal age is 16, so this is all a moot point. Fun while it lasted, though.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Behind the Restaurant Curtain

Here's the link to the search engine for Phoenix's restaurant health inspection reports. Read them...if you dare.

Flashback: Brain Drain

But you remember "Braindrain," an HBO series of short animated films based on educational issues. It's intimately associated with "Fraggle Rock" to me, because those two were the only thing I really watched on HBO. I remember segments based on memory, where they showed scenes and you had to find the things missing, and mathematical games. The opening was cool, a series of people whispering "braindrain" with increasingly loud voices until it became one guy yelling "Brain Drain!" It was loads of fun.

This was a tough one, because HBO's "Brain Drain" seems to be the only TV show in the universe that doesn't have a hardcore fan following. The only article I could find on it was a review of the videotapes. Turns out there were only six episodes, chopped up and reformed into different episodes. I remember more than that, but also remember a lot of repeats. I'm surprised that "SuperGran" got more attention than "Brain Drain," a truly great educational series before Bill Nye came along.

Randomlynx: The Critic Makes Waves

Found this pretty cool archive of Wav files featuring the Critic's greatest parodies. I'd forgotten some of them, like "Planet of the Dogs" and Iraq's "Brown Acres."

Going McCommando

We've got a naked drive-through update...(brrrddddd-WAM!)...police in North Carolina have sent out an APB for a man who went through a fast-food drive-through completely naked. Yes, they're searching for a man described as a "hairy, big-bellied man in his 30s" who went through a restaurant drive-through lane last week. When he stepped out of his car to get his food, they discovered he wasn't wearing anything. Apparently, this guy has been showing up at the restaurant before wearing only underwear, but found even that too constricting. (click here) They need to put up one of those "no shirt, no shoes, no underwear, no service signs."
Categories: news

Friday, June 04, 2004

Wikipedia: Operation Fortitude

I looked up an article on D-Day at Wikipedia, because the anniversary is tomorrow and found this article about a secret operation called Operation Fortitude to convince the Germans the attack would take place at a coast other than Normandy. They basically had a team create a fake army, complete with papier-mache airplanes and artificial troop movements. I need to read more about this, cause that's cool.


And now for a McDonald's update...(brrrddddd-WAM!)...I got a book from the library called McLibel, about a libel suit in Britain that started with McDonald's trying to shut up two environmentalists, and turned into a lawsuit that last years and dragged all the company's dirty laundry into the public eye. It spawned a great website called McSpotlight, dedicated to trashing McDonald's 24/7. Some of it is over the top, but it does make you think.

"Eating responsibly at McDonald's is like going to a strip club for the iced tea."
- Roger Ebert

Randomlynx: Virtual Trading Cards

Check out these fan-made virtual trading cards for Battlestar Galactica and Justice League, etc. Wish I could make some virtual Sliders cards. I may do that.

My Big, Fat, Geek Movie Critic

Just in case you missed it, here's a Harry Knowles update...(brrrddddd-WAM!)'s the link to the article that turned me against Harry Knowles. Hardly unbiased, but I thought he made some good points. Warning: Some language may be unsuitable for children and Christians.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Don't Call It A Comeback

And now for a Prince update...(brrrddddd-WAM!)...don't call it a comeback, he's been here for years. CNN has an interview with Prince where he talks about being one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I dunno, he doesn't sound too good to me...he has no regrets about what he did when he was younger? Guess I'll have to wait and see. If I see him in the New System, I'll have lunch with him.

P.S. Visit

Wikipedia: Alan King

I wrote a biography for Wikipedia on Alan King, who died last month. Actually, it was more like I expanded a very short article on King into a real biography. It's not that I care so much about Alan King, but I couldn't stand the thought of someone going to Wikipedia for information on Alan King and not finding it. The research was pretty interesting, though.

Black Mesa PC

Thanks for the link to Pinwire, it's a pretty good website over all. Found this link on there, pics of a Half-Life 2-inspired PC mod. Freakin' awesome.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Star Sagae

I finally found it, the penultimate satire of the production of "Star Wars" that I ran into months ago and lost. Well, maybe it's not penultimate, but it's very funny. You can find the history of "Star Saga" at

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Where's the Booty

And one final Beyonce's booty update...(brrrddddd-WAM!)...the new wax figure of Beyonce has been unveiled, and it looks great. Just like her. But where's the mechanical wiggling booty we reported a while back? The articles just talk about the "diva-o-meter," which seems to be a glorified karoke machine. Maybe they just don't have the technology yet to duplicate Beyonce's booty. Or maybe it was all a gag to begin with. What a tease.

Slap-Happy Simmons

It's time for a Richard Simmons update...(brrddddd-WAM!) As you know, Richard Simmons was being sued by a 250-pound cage wrestler for slapping him in a Phoenix airport. Well, the suit's been dropped. There's no reason given, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's a 250-pound cage wrestler and he's accusing Richard Simmons of assault. That wrestler would never live that trial down. You know his next opponent would be coming into the ring playing "Sweatin' to the Oldies" and wearing an afro.

Milk and Cereal?

I was at the dollar store last week and they had some of those milk and cereal bars, Frosted Flakes flavor. I admit, I've been curious about them, although I've been equally offended. Have we gotten so lazy and rushed in American society that we can't even bother to pour cereal into a bowl? But I was curious (that whole "pouring cereal into a bowl" thing is kind of tedious), so I bought some.

I took one bite and my first thought was "amazing." Not because it was that good, but because I realized the people who designed them are marketing geniuses. That's because "milk and cereal" bars are Rice Krispies squares. Well, Frosted Flakes squares, but you know what I mean. The "milk" is really just marshmallow, which is made from milk, I think. Or at least some kind of dairy product. Anyway, the point is that it's just candy, but it's being packaged as a breakfast alternative, even a health food. That's brilliant, if not devious.

Everybody's Kung-fu Fighting

Here's that link I mentioned to the site that shows how to make your own kung-fu movie special effects. It's called the Kung-Fu Konstruction Kit. Even has sound effects. I'll try them out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Sliders Reborn

Think the Sliders online community withered away once the Scifi Channel pulled the plug? I thought so, too, until I stumbled across one of the old sites. Not only has it continued, it's prospered. Check out the staggering depth of the original fansite, EarthPrime, just to start with. And the DVDs are coming in August! Sweet!

Secret Window, Secret Ending

I ran into a copy of "Four Past Midnight," the anthology by Stephen King that contained "Secret Window, Secret Garden" which inspired the movie of the shorter name. I just had to flip through it to find the answer to something that's been bugging me since I saw it: was that the original ending?

Answer: No. In the short story, the "hero" is indeed John Shooter, the product of his deranged imagination. But in the original ending, he is killed and his wife is the one who figures out and explains the twisted origin of Shooter. Which leads me to the question, why the heck did they change it? I had a huge problem with turning the hero into a villain who gets away with a grisly and unnecessary murder. They even seemed to be apologizing for it by establishing that he didn't get away with it, that the sheriff and everyone in town knows he's done it. So why not just leave it the way it was? And what was the obsession with corn from?

Screenwriters...they just can't leave well-enough alone.

Randomlynx: Fake Ads

Some funny fake ad banners by Valley of the Geeks. My favorite is the one for X-10.

CelebrityWatch: Michael Jackson Sucks

We've got a Michael Jackson update (bddddd-WAM!)...Macaulay Culkin's father says he walked in on Michael Jackson sucking on a baby bottle. And it wasn't Culkin's bottle. Oddly enough, this seems like the least weird thing Jackson's done.

Related Posts:
Michael Jackson is a Child Molester
Michael Jackson is a Big, Fat Liar
Michael Jackson: 2045

Monday, May 24, 2004

Update Sound

One thing I love about the Tony Bruno Show is that they always present wacky news, calling it an "update." And when they do, they play the sound effect from "A Current Affair." So they'll say "We have a Michael Jackson update..." (brrrrrddd-WAM!) So I'll do that too. We're going multimedia on ya.

CelebrityWatch: Jewel Cracks

I've got a Jewel update(brrrrrddd-WAM!)...It looks like Jewel is showing her true colors. There's an article about how Jewel did a concert where she basically insulted and yelled at her audience more than sing. That'll win her some new fans.
Dear Sir,

It always disturbing when musicians go crazy in public. At least I had the decency to do it on the Internet.

Mariah Carey

New, Un-improved Blog

Well, I've given up on holding off with updating the blog. I like the new look, but I still can't get the Haloscan comments back. Hopefully they'll fix it soon. And all my sidebar links are gone. On the plus side, Blogger has improved the new commenting system.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Wil Wheaton.Net

I mentioned this before, but if you haven't been there yet, you must visit, home of none other than the former Wesley Crusher. Now's a good time, because he's on the verge of releasing his memoirs.

I Gotta Have More Cowbell, Baby!

I saw this on SNL's "Best of Christopher Walken" last night, and I had to share. It's considered by some to be Will Ferrell's finest moment. Certainly (as one person put it) only Walken could've made the word "cowbell" this funny. It took a lot of work to find the video, but here it is. Get it while it lasts, because SNL's been trying to pull it offline. Keep an eye on what's-his-name in the lefthand background, the guy who does Weekend Update (badly). It's not too clear in this video, but he's desperately trying to hold back laughter the whole time.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Prisoners Inventions

Speaking of prisoners' resourcefulness, there was a piece on This American Life about a book called "Prisoner's Inventions." It's a collection of inventions by prisoners...hence the name. The radio piece is pretty good (check out part two of the archived version), but there's also a website with photos and descriptions that never made it into the story. See how they make chess sets and cigarette lighters in the big house. I guess they have nothing better to do.

Brad Pitt Has Bad B.O.

Is it wrong to enjoy the fact that "Troy" is doing weak business at the box office? Yeah, don't let anybody fool you. This article at Yahoo Movies breaks down the numbers and shows why "Troy" isn't the monster hit it should have been. I guess Brad Pitt in a loincloth isn't enough. But again, should I feel bad about relishing Pitt falling on his chiseled face? I personally never thought "Troy" would be good. No one ever talked about that movie, except for the usual winking, girly-girl "let's go see Brad Pitt half-naked" articles. If it had starred Steve Buscemi, it wouldn't have gotten on page fourteen of "Entertainment Weekly."

Hollywood Psycho

I don't understand why Tarantino is allowed to run rampant in Hollywood. After the gore-fest of "Kill Bill" and "From Dusk Till Dawn," he's still not satisfied. He's been quoted at Cannes as saying he wants to make the most violent, bloody movie ever, since "violence is fun." I wonder if anyone's done a psych profile on him, since he's clearly sadistic, if not deranged. There's a good article on the increase in violence in Hollywood, comparing (of all things) "Passion of the Christ" and "Kill Bill" at And in an unrelated note, Tarantino wants to direct the next Bond movie. I guess we can look forward to James Bond lopping off people's heads in the next movie.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Tell Shaq I Said...

Modern created a response to Shaq's racist Yao Ming crack called "Shaq-Fu", and I couldn't have put it better myself.

Movie Cliche Theater

A compilation of all the movie cliches, all rolled into one funny's the Movie Cliche Theater trailer. Not as funny as it could have been, but still funny.

Howard the Duck...why?

In case you're wondering, there's an interview with the guy who made the "Howard the Duck 2" trailer on Comics2Film.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Clone Wars Season One

Well, I finally finished the "Clone Wars" season one clips, and it was pretty good. I still don't like the new Anakin's voice, but that Sith babe was cool. Great fight, I'm glad they spent two episodes on it. I'm not sure what the point of the "season" was, though. Like what the heck was the Sith attack on the Jedi temple supposed to achieve? And why those episodes on Mace Windu and the undersea Jedi fights? It felt like Genndy just had cool ideas for scenes and strung them together.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Karsten's Creations

This is what I want to make...Karsten's Dream Theater, where the author has created a series of comical and wishful movie trailers. The quality varies ("Desperation" trailer is pretty good, "Mist" stinks), but I admire his enthusiasm.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Save Gas

What with gas prices hitting $2.13 on the cheap stuff, here are some important tips from on how to save gasoline. Some of them are pretty obvious, but not filling your tank all the way? That's a surprise. Also, check out an official site at

Using Your Mind For Evil

At long last, I get to be Dr. No. There's a new game coming out for the PC called Evil Genius." It's a simulation where you get to be a 1960's criminal mastermind, building a secret underground lair, stealing monuments, and plotting to take over the world. It reminds me a lot of "Dungeon Keeper," where it reverses the usual game formula and lets you be the one foiling the efforts of secret agents and soldiers trying to stop you. You can build traps to stop them or unleash your evil army. I watched the demo movie and it looks great. Hope it lives up to its hype.

Thunderbirds Are Stop...

Okay, I had only a passing interest in the new "Thunderbirds" movie until I saw the trailer. I never really watched the original show that much, anyway. But I watched the trailer and was blown away, thought it was fantastic and got excited about the movie. Then I finished the trailer and saw the twist that made me think this is gonna be a terrible movie. I daresay it's the biggest revisionist blunder since the "Mission Impossible" movie killed off Tom Cruise's team. Why can't they just leave it alone?!

Monday, May 10, 2004

Iron Man: The Fake Poster

Check out my first photo-editing project. Inspired by those fake movie posters, I made a poster for "Iron Man" starring Tom Cruise (who really is interested in the project) as Tony Stark and Ken Watanabe (he could do it) as the Mandarin. This isn't the version I wanted to make, but I got tired and threw this together, and I think it worked pretty well.

Saturday, May 08, 2004


"Coming soon from Apple...iStories! Read any book you want in the new iStories format! It's just like a regular book with the following restrictions: You can only read the book in three authorized chairs in your house. If you want to read it in a different chair, you have to de-authorize one of the three chairs and authorize the new chair. If you want to read the book outside of your house, you can, but you're limited to three times. After the third time, you will no longer be able to read the book outside of your house. Other than that, it's just like a regular book! Buy one today!"

That sums up how I feel about iTunes, which I signed up for and liked until I realized the songs I bought aren't mine to do with as I please.

Pay 4 MP3

I have an idea for a protest movement that could save MP3s. The idea came from this site which criticizes iTunes. Valid points...but his suggestion of sending money directly to the artist made me think. What if that's not such a crazy idea? Concept: people download a song over Kazaa or whatever. They like it, they send a dollar to the artist (any publicly available address will do), along with an anonymous letter that basically says "I downloaded your song. This dollar is payment for it." The concept is to show that people who download mp3s would pay for them if they could, that we're not all thieves. If enough people did this, I think it would send a powerful message to the musicians and refute the RIAA's claims that they have to put all these crappy restrictions on online music to control it. "Hey, we're paying for them and you didn't even ask!" Plus, imagine Eminem or Jewel being told they've been sent hundreds of dollars by anonymous online music fans. How could they still oppose the mp3 community? I wish I could work on this, make a site with a form letter and a database of addresses for various artists. I want to start the revolution.

Riddick has arrived

Riddick is coming...with a vengenance, as they say. There's two awesome trailers for the "Chronicles of Riddick" movie on the official website, there's a new director's cut (and renaming) of the original "Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black" and they've also gone the Matrix route with an animated DVD called "COR: Dark Fury" on its way, too. They obviously expect big things from Riddick. Also, check out this woman's site, "Reasons Why Riddick"...she's even more obsessed about Riddick then we are.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Pat Tillman Revisited

What with the love-fest everyone now seems to have for a low-level NFL player most people never heard of until he gave up a relatively small amount of money to kill innocent people and got his head shot off, I found this cartoon refreshing. Of course, everyone's upset about it. Wonder why?

Funny Sports

Sports can be pretty funny sometimes. Check out these sound clips...Joe Namath's famous "I wanna kiss you" to a female interviewer...why people hate Coach Bobby Knight...why NFL players like Carl Lewis shouldn't sing the anthem...and at last, what Allen Iverson thinks about practice...practice?!

The White Stripes

If you've never seen the White Stripes, you can download some of their performances at the official website. Try "7NA/Death Letter" for a sample. Check it's rare to see true rockers these days, and these two really get into their music. Also, Meg White (the drummer) is kinda hot in a goth sort of way.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Modern Booty Technology: Beyonce's Wax Double

The Tussauds wax museum is working on a wax statue of Beyonce Knowles, and in keeping with their recent "interactive" features (the blushing J-Lo, the squeezeable Brad Pitt butt), the statue will feature...wait for it...a mechanical wiggling booty. Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Alias: 4/25/04

Well, that was an amazing episode, but also very confusing. Maybe because I was busy doing other things while the show was going on, but I didn't understand the ending. I'll get to that.

First of all, the thing with Vaughn being kidnapped and tortured was brutal, but also powerful. I don't understand why they thought he knew where the Passenger was. Did I miss something? As for his wife, when it turned out that she was only pretending to release him and said, "You're not as stupid as I thought," that was wild. But what happened to him? I didn't see him again after that. Did I miss something?

As for the Passenger, why in the world would Rimbaldi identify her by brainwaves? Couldn't the machine have just drawn a picture of her? And what a coincedence that they just happened to have a system to track people by brainwaves. She was pretty neat, though, and her reunion with Sloane was powerful. Which is why I didn't understand the end where he was injecting her. First of all, I don't understand how she was supposed to "contact" Rimbaldi. I also thought Sloane said he was protecting her from the Covenant who would give her too much of the elixir. So why was it such a big deal at the end with her giving her the elixir? Is it going to kill her?

Still a cool show, although you're right, it's getting way too complicated again. They'll have to do another reboot soon. They need to start coming up with simpler storylines.

Saturday, April 24, 2004


I told you about this story on This American Life, but I finally found the link to the story about Heather, the mysterious man who anybody could call, always answers the phone, answers all your questions, and solves all your problems. I have yet to hear a creepier, spookier, more tender story that was completely real. It's in Act Two, six minutes into the program.

Urban Chillers

I have an idea for a movie to make...there's a website called Urban Chillers, where they dramatize urban legends as short films, and they take submissions. I personally love urban legends, so I think it would write itself. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Friday, April 23, 2004

SD-5: Alias Dossier

Real quick, check out this fan-made "dossier," an encyclopedia for "Alias." It's not totally complete, but it's a start. Would you believe Gina Torres was on Alias in the first season as Sydney's Russian nemesis? She's in the game, but it's a terrible model...I didn't even known Anna was supposed to be black until I saw the real photos. I've got to rent the first season now. There's a cool interview with Gina from 2003 where she discusses the outcome of her character and possible return.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse Teaser

There's a teaser trailer out for Resident Evil: Apocalypse. It's not much on the new movie, except for footage from the last movie, but it continues in the fake commercial tradition like "I, Robot." Very well done.

While I was at the Sony site, I checked out the trailer for "White Chicks," which looks like a new low for the Wayans brothers. It asks the question, what if we combined two stupid disguise comedy cliches into one movie?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

We Talkin' 'Bout Practice...: Allen Iverson

I've been trying to find a sound file of this. Allen Iverson, NBA star for the Sixers, was benched in May 2002 because he skipped practice. Afterwards, he ranted about it at a press conference and this is what he said:

"I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game...not a game...not a game, but we're talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last but we're talking about practice, man. How silly is that? Now I know that I'm supposed to lead by example and all that and I'm not shoving that aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. (laughter from the media crowd) We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice."

Jim Rome plays this clip all the time. He said it's the essence of what's wrong with sports today. Translation, "I know practice is important but I'm a big star and I'm not going and you can't make me." I agree. I'll try to find the sound clip for the full effect. It's priceless.

Japan vs America: The Kidnapped Tourists

Japan is a different place...exhibit A, while in this country people felt sympathy for the Japanese citizens kidnapped in Iraq, in Japan the prisoners were held up for abuse by its highest leaders. Why? Because they shouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place. Turns out crime victims don't get much sympathy there in general. Check out this article for your daily dose of culture shock...
Categories: news

Terrorism for Dollars: The Mission Game Show

This is the state of Palestine...they even have game shows for terrorists, like "The Mission" where Arabs answer trivia about famous suicide bombers and advance on a board to get to Jerusalem. Things like this make it hard to root for those guys.
Categories: news

Games of Peace: Orisinal

Speaking of unconventional games, check out Orisinal, a collection of Shockwave games that are truly calming and beautiful. Bubble Bees is one I tried which manages to be challenging without being frustrating.
Categories: random-lynx

Kneel Before Stick!

Terrance Stamp returns! He'll be playing Stick in the new Jennifer Garner (nyugh nyugh nyugh!) movie, "Elektra." Wasn't Stick Daredevil's trainer? I didn't know he taught both of them.
Categories: entertainment

Make your Own MST3K: Prelinger Archives

Earthlink sent me this link in their latest newsletter, and it is truly worthwhile. It's the Prelinger Archives, an archive of early commercials and educational films from the 50's et al. Yes, you too can own "Duck and Cover" and "Boys Beware." Hours of fun for the broadband-inclined. The possibilities are endless. I think I'll try to make a MST3K-style soundtrack to one of them.
Categories: random-lynx

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Name's Spears...Britney Spears

Britney Spears has some juevos on. The latest buzz is that she has made approaches to be the next Bond girl. Rather than spew a fountain of venom at the concept (and I could), I think this article in the Houston Chronicle says it best.

It really does seem like Britney is on her way out, albeit slowly. For a while, her name was floated as playing Daisy Duke in the new "Dukes of Hazzard" movie. But now Jessica Simpson is being considered for the role. I personally think Jessica would be better, because she still has the innocent, "I don't know I'm sexy" quality that the original Daisy had, and Britney "Madonna-Kisser" Spears can't pull off anymore.

Amazing. They actually found someone more vapid and whitebread than Britney.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Plastic Circuits

Imagine watching music videos on the side of a Coke can or printing out a new motherboard from your printer or a monitor with the thickness of paper. Amazingly, this isn't too far off. There's an article in CNET about two companies who have created transistors out of plastic, allowing them to literally spray out circuitry. And you thought paper CDs were cool.
Categories: science

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Photoshop Hoaxes from Iraq

Someone sent me a photo of a camel spider on Monday that freaked me out. Those things are huge! Turns out they're also fake. It seems like the war in Iraq has sent people scurrying to their Photoshop programs, because one photo has actually caused a military investigation. This forum seemed to boil the whole controversy down. My conclusion? Both the original and the "real" version are fake. Neither makes much sense. Then again, that yawning boy was real.
Categories: misc

Randomlynx: One Thousand Laughs

Stumbled across this great website called Worth 1000 that hosts Photoshop contests. I only peeked at a few, like the Rejected Transformers, but I'm hooked. Personally, I think General Surgeon should have won.
Categories: random-lynx

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Patented Out-of-this-World Moon Waffles

In the spirit of Skittlebrau, I asked myself this question: Has anyone tried to make Homer Simpson's patented out-of-this-world Moon Waffles? The recipe was clearly described in "Homer the Heretic" (who could forget the liquid smoke and the stick of butter). I found some sites with the recipe, but not anyone's opinion of the taste. Maybe I didn't look in the wrong place. I did find a collection of recipes from the show (scroll to the end), but I don't think it's serious. Who would actually try Vaseline on Toast?
Categories: food

Harry Shearer's CPR: You're Fired

Here's Harry Shearer's take on Bob Edwards getting fired from NPR. He makes my BOR project look cheap...

Categories: entertainment

Choose Your Savior: The Many Faces of Jesus

This may be blasphemous, but I think it's also true. Slate published an article about how people pick and choose different versions of Jesus Christ. It's pretty funny.
Categories: misc

Friday, April 02, 2004

Randomlynx: Molvania

There's a brand-new website for the guidebook to the European nation of Molvania. Check it out, it looks nice. Pleasant, cheap, bad dentistry. I might go there some time in December.
Categories: random-lynx

Does he at least get a tote bag?: Bob Edwards Fired

It seems that NPR has gotten even more political than usual. It recently caused a storm of controversy when it announced that it's firing Bob Edwards, the host of "Morning Edition" since its inception almost 25 years ago.
Categories: news

Wikipedia Wiki-Rocks

Okay, let's revisit Wikipedia, because I think the full impact of its presence has not been appreciated. This afternoon, I logged on and checked out Condoleeza Rice's biography. I found it a bit bland, mainly a series of facts. I think it only existed to include the final paragraphy about her testimony, which I thought was given too much weight. So I set out to fix that.

I spent a couple hours researching her biographies and profiles on the Internet. Along the way, I discovered her primary influence was a professor named Josef Korbel. But when I tried to link to him, he didn't have an entry. So I made one for him. And in that way, I've made my small contribution to history.

And in case you're still not impressed, answer many regular encyclopedias would have entries for both the DC comics mini-series "Crisis on Infinite Earths", and the Carthaginians in the same site?
Categories: misc

P2P vs RIAA: Round Four

Some new data about the war between peer-to-peer filesharing networks and the music industry is increasingly making the RIAA's whining and heavy-handed tactics look more ridiculous. For instance, how about a new study that shows conclusively that P2P is not to blame for the decline in record sales? Or better yet, how about the fact that the music industry uses tracking info from P2P networks to gauge the popularity of their artists' songs and market their albums?
Categories: science