Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Offbeat


Apple Posted by Picasa

Here is an off-beat picture of an apple outside.

The Beach Boys are still the best


A few days ago, I was watching a Beach Boys concert on Good Morning, America. Though only two of the original five Beach Boys were there, they sounded as good as on my two Beach Boys tapes that are beginning to were down a bit by almost constant usage.
Some bands deteriorate or disapear by the death of one or more members, but not the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys are multi-generational, as reflected by both the band members and their fans. One thing is still sure, people from West Africa to Kokomo are rockin' to Beach Boys' music, and will continue to do so for a long time. I just wish I had a Little Deuce Coupe...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

My older brother and I went fifty-fifty on a game we thought might be interesting. As soon as we began playing it in earnest, we realized our money had been well spent. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic takes place long before the Star Wars movies. You have almost total control of your character, deciding on their class (soldier, scoundrel or scout), their Jedi class (guardian, sentinel or consular), their skills, feats, Force powers, and even the ability to make them go to the light side of the Force, or to "fall" to the dark side. Both dark side and light side have different advantages and require different strategies. Don't expect to beat it quickly though, the first time through took us well over thirty hours. Filled with unique characters, diverse items, and a great plot, Knights of the Old Republic is one of the best RPG's I've ever played. For a more detailed review, visit GameSpy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Amazing Movies: Galaxy Quest


As a Star Trek fan, I appreciate movies such as Galaxy Quest, a sci-fi comedy. In this hilarious movie, Tim Allen plays Jason Nesmith, an actor in the cancelled TV show "Galaxy Quest". While going from convention to convention with his former colleagues, he is approached by a group of "fans". He is surprised to find out that they are actually aliens (called Thermians) who have seen the show, and have modeled their whole civilization after it. The ship in the show has actually been constructed and has been brought to Earth in the hopes that the crew will help them fight their enemy, the genocidal general Sarris. Captain Peter Quincy Taggart/Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), Lt. Tawny Madison/Gwen DeMarco (Sigourner Weaver), Dr. Lazarus/Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman), Tech Sgt. Chen/Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub), Lt. Laredo/Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell), and a slightly paranoid actor who always plays crewmen with no name (Sam Rockwell). The actors learn the ropes around their own ship resulting in many hilarious situations. This movie successfully spoofs the sci-fi genre. With the help of the Thermians, and a few obsessed fans, the crew of the Protector manage to save the day. This movie will be funny to anyone, but especially to Star Trek fans. The cast is great and the story is excellent.

Guy Fleegman: I'm not even supposed to be here. I'm just "Crewman Number Six." I'm expendable. I'm the guy in the episode who dies to prove how serious the situation is. I've gotta get outta here.

Brandon's Mom: Where are you going with those fireworks?
Brandon: Well, the Protector got super-accelerated coming out of the black hole, and it, like, nailed the atmosphere at Mach 15, which, you guys know, is pretty unstable, obviously, so we're gonna help Laredo guide it on the vox ultra-frequency carrier and use Roman candles for visual confirmation.
Brandon's Mom: Uh, all right, dinner's at seven.
[Brandon exits. Mom turns to a dubious Dad]
Brandon's Mom: Well, he's outside.

[Reading a tactical display]
Guy Fleegman: Hey guys, there's a red-thingy moving toward the green-thingy.
Jason Nesmith: What?
Guy Fleegman: Red-thingy moving toward the green-thingy. I think we're the green-thingy.

For more quotes, click here.
For information about this great sci-fi comedy, visit IMDB.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Three Big "Star"s


For many years, humans have dreamed of exploring space. Much time and money has gone into reaching it. There are many different ideas of what space could be like. These are three ideas that, though fictional, are very interesting:

Stargate SG-1: Planets are connected through rings called
"stargates". These were created by an ancient race
called the "Ancients". Humans (more accurately
Americans), whose technology is equal to our,
explore space by putting in different combinations
of seven chevrons. The main villains are the
Goa'uld, a race of worm-like beings that take over
humans hosts, and the Replicators, a group of
incredibly complex machines that can use metal they
find to replicate themselves. The humans explore
space, trying to protect Earth by finding new allies
and new technologies. Earth is fighting for
survival. Click here for more information.

Star Trek: In this fictional universe, Earth is part of a
cooperation of planets called "The United Federation of
Planets". In this universe, Earth is free of greed,
poverty and crime. The Federation has many enemies
however. The Borg are a powerful group that conquer
other races and add artificial components to the races
organic bodies, then connect them to the Collective. The
Borg speak and control their ships as one. The Dominion,
a group from a different quadrant whose soldiers are
ruthless and efficient and whose leaders are
shape-shifters, capable of taking any form, including
human leaders, making them extremely good infiltrators.
These are just two of the more powerful groups. The Star
Trek universe is an idealistic one, where Earth is
finally united. The TV shows, "Star Trek", "Star Trek:
The Next Generation", "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine",
"Star Trek: Voyager", and "Enterprise", show a very
interesting universe that is explored even further in
the many books. For more information, click here.

Star Wars: The Galaxy also has many planets, each ruled by either
the Hutts, or the Republic (the most powerful), or later
the Empire, or some smaller group (a divided universe).
This takes place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far
away." The galactic "police" are the Jedi, a group of
people attuned to the Force who subsequently can see
some things ahead of time, have some degree of mind
control, and can use their weapons, called lightsabers
(a beam of focused energy that can cut through almost
anything) very effectively against almost any weapons.
The six Star Wars movies are excellent, and the Star
Wars universe very interesting. Visit the official site
for more information.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Amazing Movies: The Incredibles

2004 saw the theater release of one of the best superhero movies ever. "The Incredibles" follow the Parr family, a superhero family living undercover because the public began to sue superheroes for injuries they suffered because of the supers' actions. The father, Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson), is a superhero who has never gotten used to civilian life and is trying to help people using his powers (incredible toughness and strength). The mother, Helen Parr/Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter), is adjusting to civilian life, not because of choice but because of necessity. She is trying to keep her family from giving up their cover. The kids, Violet(voiced by Sarah Vowell, Dash (voiced by Spencer Fox), and baby Jack-Jack are just having problems trying to fit in. When the world is threatened by a man who wanted to be considered a superhero for destroying a huge, powerful robot (which he created), only the Parr family, the "Incredibles", are the only one's who can save the day.
Complete with action, comedy, and great animation, this movie is as good as Pixar's previous releases ("Finding Nemo" and "A Bug's Life" are two good examples). Pixar was able to create a movie that, though animated, was just as good and action-packed as the recent Spider-Man movies.

Lucius: [Bob and Lucius are sitting in a parked car, reminiscing] So now I'm in deep trouble. I mean, one more jolt of this death ray and I'm an epitaph. Somehow I manage to find cover and what does Baron von Ruthless do?
Bob: [laughing] He starts monologuing.
Lucius: He starts monologuing! He starts like, this prepared speech about how *feeble* I am compared to him, how *inevitable* my defeat is, how *the world* *will soon* *be his*, yadda yadda yadda.
Bob: Yammering.
Lucius: Yammering! I mean, the guy has me on a platter and he won't shut up!

For more information about "The Incredibles", visit IMDB.
For more quotes from "The Incredibles", visit this link.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Amazing Movies: "The Inspector General"

In this 1949 comedy, Danny Kaye stars as Georgi, an illiterate helper to a ruthless peddler named Yakov (Walter Slezak). The two are quickly run out of town when it is discovered that their medicine is bogus. Yakov blames Georgi for the incident and leaves Georgi to make his own future. He wanders into a town where the town council has been warned of the Inspector General, the man sent by Napoleon himself to rid towns of corruption. After being arrested, he is set free when the council thinks he is the Inspector General himself. While Georgi sees this as an opportunity to help the town that is suffering under a corrupt council, Yakov sees it as a chance to make a fortune. Hilarity ensues, as Yakov tries to make money, the council members try to save their own necks, and Georgi falls in love with a maid, tries to help the town, and begins to fill the role and use the power of "The Inspector General."
This is a great, light-hearted comedy showing Danny Kaye at his best. Danny Kayes' Georgi is kind, but also slightly naive. Walter Slezak's Yakov is cunning, and is convicing as a peddler and as the Inspector General's servant. The supporting cast is also hilarious. This is a great movie for any age, and probably one of my two favorite Danny Kaye movies (the other being "The Court Jester").

Kovatch: Oh, I love my family, but I'd give my six kids to get rid of my wife.

For more information about "The Inspector General," visit IMDB.

Friday, August 05, 2005

PSP: The New "It"

On August 12 Sony Entertainment will release a download from the computer that can let all PSPs have internet on themin the USA. They've already been out in Japan for a couple of days and it works perfectly fine on the American PSPs.

This means that everyone can chat, download music and movies (although it takes up a lot of memory, you'll need at least a 128MB MSD) and surf the internet. Meaning that this in the future could possibly replace even your laptop computer. Sony has even anounced on update that will let you have an external keyboard and possibly a webcam. Which will then allow you to picture chat!

I am assuming that sometime in the near future Sony will have an update so that you can type reports for classes and work. Then, after that, I assume that they will have updates for all your other basic computer needs (powerpoint, frontpage, ETC.).

If these things do come true in the future all you need to get other than the PSP is an internet connection and you're on your way. So, could the PSP be the new "it"?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Amazing Movies: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

When I watched the animated Return of the King, I had no idea what was happening. The story was confusing because I was watching the last movie first. My mom and my brother, both fans of the Lord of the Rings books, assured me that this was not like the books. Because of this experience, when I watched Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the American Rec Center, I was blown away. The story interested me so much that I began reading the book the next day and had finished it less than 4 days later. The following movies, The Two Towers and The Return of the King were also amazing. The battle scenes were huge. The story has depth, so much so that one begins to care for each of the main characters. Although the story is of a very serious situation, there is much humor, especially during the second, third, and fourth viewings. Even though they are long (the first is 178 minutes in the theatrical version and 208 minutes in the extended version), they keep you interested from beginning to end. These movies made a Lord of the Rings fan out of me, and I am sure it has done the same for many other people too.

Pippin: Anyways, you need people of intelligence on this sort of... mission... quest... thing.
Merry: Well, that rules you out, Pip.
----------------------------------
[while being chased by Farmer Maggot]
Merry: I don't know why he's so upset. It's only a couple of carrots.
Pippin: And some cabbages. And then those three bags of potatoes we lifted last week, and... and... the mushrooms, the week before.
Merry: Yes, Pippin, my point is, he's clearly over-reacting. Run.

For more quotes, click here.
For more information on:
-The Fellowship of the Ring, click here.
-The Two Towers, click here.
-The Return of the King, click here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Amazing Movies: Pocketful of Miracles


In 1961, "Pocketful of Miracles," a Frank Capra movie, was seen onscreen. This movie tells the story of Apple Annie (played by Bette Davis), a poor, gin-drinking, apple-selling vendor in downtown New York in 1931. Dave the Dude (played by Glenn Ford), is a gangster who believes that buying Annie's apples brings him luck. It is this belief of his that makes him help Annie take on the persona of a wealthy American to impress her daughter (Ann-Margret)'s Spanish fiance (Peter Mann) and his father, Count Romero (Arthur O'Connell). My favorite characters in this movie, however, are "Judge" George Manville (Thomas Mitchell), Hutchins the butler (played by the amazing Edward Everett Horton), Joy Boy (Peter Falk), and not-so-smart Junior (Mickey Shaughnessy). Also in this is Hope Lange in the role of Elizabeth "Queenie" Martin. A great touching story with many funny moments.

Butler: Nobody arrives first, sir. They all arrive last.
----------------------
Spanish Consul: Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be proven an imbecile.
----------------------
Junior: She's like a cockroach what turned into a butterfly!

To learn more about this golden oldie, go to IMDB.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Remodeling

Today about every new show on TV has to do about remodeling a room or even your entire house. But one show that really catches my eye is Moving Up, which is about real estate.

The thing that really surprises me is how stupid some of the people are. They don't lay out a plan for what they want to do, they have an extremely small budget for the ideas that they do have, they don't have any expirience in what they're doing, and when they start a job they don't finish it. Yet in the end, after almost paying double on their budget and staying three months longer than they planned, they still come out with a $10,000 profit!

This then makes you start thinking," If they can do just about everything wrong and still get that much money out of it why can't I?" Guess what people that's what the show wants you to think.

Recently I had to take off all the paint from my kitchen cieling (three layers), which was falling off in some places, and paint a new layer on. While doing that, what would seem on TV so easy, my arms would give up me every 30 seconds and I would have to wait until my arms felt better. ANd this was only the kitchen ceiling, imagine if I would have to do every ceiling in my house, then the walls, put on new floors, new windows, new kitchens, bathrooms, and everything else day after day.

So in the end seeing what those people did on TV, while I'm saying all the things they did wrong or could've done better, I believe that they deserve that money. Still in the end I hope to get into the real estate business with all the odds against me and come out just like them.

Amazing Movies: The Music Man


Each week, I will write at least one review for a movie that is think is exceptionally good.

"The Music Man" is a wonderful musical that came out in theaters in 1962. In this hilarious movie, Robert Preston plays "Professor" Harold Hill, a con man moving west. His specialty: selling boys bands and lessons, then getting out of town as soon as he has all the money. Shirley Jones plays Marian Paroo, the town librarian, piano teacher, and the only one who sees through Hill's deception. Despite this, the two fall in love. This movie is wonderful in many aspects. It has great acting, wonderful, diverse music, and also many funny lines. Here are just a few of the lines from this movie that in my opinion make it one of the five best musicals of all time:

[in song]
Citizens of River City: So what the heck? You're welcome! Join us at the picnic! You can eat your fill of all the food you bring yourself.

[in song]
Mrs. Paroo: When a woman's got a husband, and you've got none, why should she take advice from you? Even if you can quote Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-falutin' Greeks.

Marcellus Washburn: I heard you was in steam automobiles.
Harold Hill: I was.
Marcellus Washburn: What happened?
Harold Hill: Somebody actually invented one.

To learn more about this classic, go to IMDB.