December 2007 Archives

Movie Review: Serenity

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Next up in the (HD)DVD player was Serenity, Joss Whedon's followup movie to his Firefly series. I am not familiar with the series at all, but the movie proved to be an excellent, if slightly derivative, sci-fi action flick.

The movie takes place six months after the last episode of Firefly, where Mal and his crew are getting desperate. After a nearly botched robbery where telepath River Tam nearly gets killed by the Reavers (mad, cannibalistic humans), River and her brother try to strike out on her own. But River leads them all on a wild chase across known space, to try and uncover a desperate Alliance secret.

A solid entry in the space adventure science fiction genre, Serenity suffers some from too much of the "same old, same old". There were a few spots where I'd say, "Okay, next comes..." and sure enough it would happen. Not often enough to detract measurably from the final enjoyment, but enough to keep it nothing more than a fun couple of hours. There were some great quotes, that's for sure! I enjoyed the wry, self-deprecating humor and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Hoban 'Wash' Washburn: This landing is gonna get pretty interesting.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Define "interesting".
Hoban 'Wash' Washburn: [deadpan] Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die?

The movie was also dragged down by the video quality, which was nothing more than average for a normal DVD,  never mind an HD-DVD. I guess it was Universal's first HD-DVD, and it shows, unfortunately. The sound was good and there were plenty of extras (which I explored only a little bit). So I would recommend this movie if you enjoy a good sci-fi yarn.



Human Camera

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Too wild - Stephen Wiltshire flies over Rome in a 45 minute helicopter ride and then spends three days drawing a 15 foot replica of all he sees. The Coliseum is so accurate, the filmmakers can do a fade from the video of it to his drawing and you can't see any difference. It looks like there are several more of his remarkable skill, made even more unbelievable because Stephen is autistic. Or maybe it makes more sense in that context?



My Shelfari

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Thanks to BadMojo I've joined Yet Another Social Bookmark site, this time called Shelfari. Maybe Vox will add something to coordinate the two, because I have a hard enough time keeping Vox up to date on my reading habits. But lets see what happens:



2007 Year in Review - Books

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A followup to my Year in Music, here is my Year in Books, along with a top ten (more or less). I read a pretty good sampling of genres, from sci-fi, non-fiction, history, fantasy, mysteries and "literature". Some good, some bad, some I never finished.

According to my 2007 Books collection, I read about 30 books this year, an average of a little more than two per month. I probably started another ten or so books, either giving up due to lack of interest (Lord Foul's Bane), lack of time (Das Boot, The One From The Other), disgust (The Looming Tower) or ones I knew I'd be buying (The God Delusion). I did a pretty good job of reading in 2007, although my greatest disappointment was falling down on my quest to read War and Peace. I got sidetracked and haven't returned to it. My first vow for 2008 will be to finish it.

My ten favorite books of the year were:

  • World War Z: An Oral History ( review) is a brilliantly realized "history" of the upcoming war against zombies. Great job done of interviewing the main subjects after the war was won. Really clever and I enjoyed this a lot!
  •  
  • Trials of the Monkey (review) is a funny and at the same time scary book about traveling through the Bible Belt, by an ancestor of Darwin himself
  •  
  • Homage to Catalonia (review), a brutally realistic true eyewitness account of the ugly Spanish Civil War, written by one of the Internationals, George Orwell.
  •  
  • The End of Faith (review) is where a philosopher jumped to the forefront of today's freethinkers with this scathing expose of apocalyptic religious dogma. Harris' follow up, Letter to a Christian Nation (review) was equally entertaining, enlightening and scary.
  •  
  • The Blonde (review) and The Wheel Man (review) were two great little terse mysteries. Funny, entertaining and tautly written, I really enjoyed these.
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  • Fiasco : The American Military Adventure in Iraq (review) lays bare just how morally corrupt and visually bankrupt the entire disaster in Iraq is and was. From an unbelievably rosy plan to having absolutely no idea what to do once we got there, Fiasco really lays low the entire administration.

  • The Time Traveler's Wife (review) was a really interesting exercise in a time travel novel. Touching and well written, if a tad long, this novel had romance, laughs, tension and mystery.
  •  
  • Freethinkers (review) is an excellent history of rational thinking since the founding of the United States. Really opened my eyes about some true pioneers of the movement, like Ingersoll and Lucretia Mott.
  •  
  • The Man Who Would Be King (review) retold the story of Josiah Harland, explorer of Afghanistan. A colorful book of a forgotten niche of history.

I'm not quite done with it, but Kristine Smith's Code of Conduct will almost certainly make this list. An excellent sci-fi mystery featuring an interesting protagonist, I'm really enjoying it and am looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

I also enjoyed The Ghost Map, Middle World, Bangkok 8, A Place of Execution, Flood, "Negro President" and High Fidelity. And, of course, War and Peace, which is just a wonderful book.

Movie Review : The Wild Bunch

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I watched The Wild Bunch, Sam Peckinpah's elegiac to the end of the Wild West, starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Peckinpah regular Warren Oates a few weeks ago. This long Western epic, featuring the gang lead by Holden and Borgnine, looking to make one last score, really ages well, having come out nearly 40 years ago.

The film opens with a long bank robbery sequence, as the Wild Bunch step into an ambush. They blaze their way out and then head to Mexico, where they plan another big robbery; one last big one before retiring (yeah, right). But things get hairy again, and they have to blast their way out of the "Battle of Bloody Porch" - a typical Peckinpah bloodbath.

The acting was good, the music solid and the story melancholy. The picture was superb - they did a real good job transferring this classic to HD. While it wasn't as great as I had hoped, it was still a solid entry in the canon of Westerns. John Wayne called said it destroyed the myth of the Old West - probably a good thing. I was surprised to read that this movie was the only Oscar nomination Peckinpah ever received - and that was for co-screenwriting credits (the original screenwriter even complained that he didn't do enough to deserve credit!).


Sci-Fi Geekness

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I did pretty well. I think I got three wrong. Be sure to watch for the 'right' or 'wrong' just after the "Question # of 14" prompt at the top after you answer a question.

Take the Sci fi sounds quizI received 63 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quizdigital camera ratings


All Ski!

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I just set up some ski lessons at Nashoba Valley tomorrow morning for the girls. R (8) is gung ho, but A (7) is fighting it. I'll have to try and bribe her. It's been a great winter for snow so far (heck, winter isn't even officially here yet and I can barely see out my driveway), so I have been dying to get them on the slopes. My wife doesn't ski, but maybe we can work on her next.

I'm looking forward to trying out my stuff for the first time. I skied a bunch growing up, living just down the road from the now defunct Mt. Watatic Ski area in Ashby, MA. Night skiing in mousetrap bindings, how exciting!

I continued to ski into my early 20s, but it got to be too much hassle. Getting all the gear ready to go skiing is a pain, although I have always loved it when I was on the slopes. So I let it slide for about 20 years.

But most of the folks I work with are skiers and we had a company meeting in Vail Colorado (yup, pretty nice!). Because it had been so long since I'd been on skis, I figured I might as well take advantage of the free snowboarding lessons offered by the niece of one of the directors.

By the end of the third day, I could do it pretty well. It was a long hard process though, and I found it especially difficult if you got stuck on flat terrain. And the lifts were a little more complicated in snowboards than in skis. But I had fun nonetheless.

But when it came time for the annual development ski party in upstate New York, I decided to try skis again. And I was amazed at just how quickly I picked it up. Before too long, I was blasting down the trails like I had never gotten off skis. I guess that was just a reflection of how much I had skied growing up.

Last spring, during the development ski trip, I rented a pair of skis that the owner ended up selling to me for cheap. I liked the skis but still didn't have boots. So last month I went to the annual ski sale at the convention center and picked up a pair of boots and some poles.

So now I'm ready to try the slopes again, this time in my own equipment. And hopefully, I can get the girls interested in skiing, as if you are going to live in this area with all the white stuff, you might as well take advantage of it.


 
 


Hallelujah!

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As befits its status as my most played song of 2007 (at least at my computer anyway), I figured I'd gather together all the versions of Hallelujah on YouTube. Let's start off with an excellent version by Leonard Cohen (which shouldn't be too much of a surprise, as he wrote the damn thing:-)

Leonard Cohen Hallelujah
And here's a version from the singer of my favorite cover, although it isn't the one that I'm most fond of. The version from the Scrubs soundtrack is just John Cale on the piano, while this one has him accompanied by some strings.
John Cale - Hallelujah
And here's the version with him just on the piano. There's a certain clarity and strength to this version that really shines through, with his deep emotional voice and vibrant piano playing.
Tribute to John Cale - Hallelujah

Here's a fine version from some "famous" Norwegian folk singers. It's funny how many versions are labeled "Shrek song" (which John Cale sings on the soundtrack).
HALLELUJAH , (shrek song)
This is a spectacular live version by Alison Crowe at the piano.
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) - Allison Crowe live performance
And Miss Snarktastic recommended this wonderful guitar version by Jeff Buckley:
Jeff Buckley-Hallelujah
And here's a nice cover by Rufus Wainwritght:
"Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright (Irish performance)
And kd lang emotes a good cover too:
k.d. lang sings 'Hallelujah'








Year in Review - Music

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It's that time of year, when we can look back over the past twelve months and remember what we've heard, read and watched. Today, I'm going to cover my 2007 music listening, as there were lots of great stuff to show. This isn't necessarily music that came out in 2007, as I'm not often on the breaking edge of music, but rather music that was new to me in 2007.

My new music discoveries started rather late this year. One day during the spring, I hit play on my 5 disc CD player and a disc began playing that I just didn't remember. This isn't the first time it has happened (a The Cruel Sea CD in my car surprised me), but this CD was really good, hooking me right from the start. Turns out, it was a loaner from a friend (Hi, Mark!). The singer was Rhett Miller, a member of The Old '97s, who has done a few solo albums. Th Believer is a wonderful collection of solid pop-rock/alt-country songs. Singular Girl immediately jumped onto my collection of 2007's Greatest Hits.

Singular Girl
Rhett Miller
Then another loaner from Mark (no surprise that our last.fm Taste-o-meter compatibility is Super) rocked my world. Rodrigo y Gabriela's passion, artistry and vision just blast through their eponymous CD, with its included DVD. Every song is a uproarious example of virtuoso guitar playing. Just remarkable stuff and I am really kicking myself for not going to see them when they were in town.
Ixtapa
Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Next up was the wonderful We♥Music compilation, where every song was a winner. Two, however were so good as to make me immediately run out and pick up the associated CD.

Getting the 23 song by Blonde Redhead was easy, as their 23 (two-three) CD had just come out from 4AD. And that song was only the tip of the iceberg, as the entire CD showcased a remarkable variation on sounds. Every song has a different personality and each was good in its own way. I was also particularly struck by Silently. They are going to be coming to town next month, and I hope to catch them.

Silently
Blonde Redhead
The other high water mark in a sea of great stuff on that compilation was Worship by Halflight and that proved to be a bit more trouble to track down, as Halflight hadn't yet actually released a CD. Lucky for me, their first one was soon to come and, after ordering it from their MySpace page, I finally got it. And it to was full of great songs, including the title track My Disguise and Lose the Lasso. The sound from the CD was also much better than the MP3 I had, which is something I usually don't notice.
Worship
Halflight
One day I was surfing the music available in HD on my cable box and I came across a really cool song by a group called Goldfrapp (actually, the lead singer's last name). I just loved the beat of Fly Me Away and was glad to pick up their latest CD, Supernature. Other good songs from that CD include Oh La La and Ride a White Horse. It was cool that it came with a DVD version of the album, recorded in glorious DTS 5.1.
Fly Me Away
Goldfrapp
Two of my favorite 2007 CD purchases came on a lark, when I took a 40% off coupon to Borders and grabbed Collected by Massive Attack and Blown To Smithereens : The Best of The Smithereens. Massive Attack instantly became a fav, and I just recently picked up Mezzanine, their third CD, which contained two of the best from the Collected CD, Inertia Creeps and Teardrop, and added another great song in Dissolved Girl. The Smithereens CD just reinforced what I already knew but had never bought - they are a great rock 'n' roll band!
Inertia Creeps
Massive Attack
Dissolved Girl
Massive Attack
A song from yet another Mark loaner also jumps into my top ten, albeit not initially. I listened to the Scrubs Soundtrack CD here at home and thought it pretty good, but nothing popped out at me. So I was driving up to his house and I had it in the car CD player, intending to return it. Then John Cale's cover of the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah came on and, for whatever reason, I became fixated on it. The CD didn't get returned that night and it is, according to my last.fm profile, my most played song, by a long shot!
Winterpills, whose debut album impressed me, came out with their second CD, the light divides and, while it didn't contain any real standouts like their first did, it was still a solid effort, topped by Lay Your Heartbreak.

Two "singles" I bought include one I first heard here on Vox, with its wildly clever video featuring animated dice. Fujiya and Miyagi's Ankle Injuries is a great electronic dance tune. And The Cave Singers' Seeds of Night was a great discovery thanks to WZBC.

Fujiya & Miyagi Ankle Injuries
Seeds Of Night
The Cave Singers
So, to recap, my top ten songs from 2007, in no particular order:

  • Rhett Miller - "Singular Girl" (The Believer [2006]) 
  • Rodrigo y Gabrielle - "Ixtapa" (Rodrigo y Gabriela [2006]) 
  • Blonde Redhead - "Silently" (23 [2007]) 
  • Halflight - "Worship" (My Disguise [2007]) 
  • Goldfrapp - "Fly Me Away" (Supernature [2005]) 
  • Massive Attack - "Inertia Creeps" (Collected [2006]) 
  • Massive Attack - "Dissolved Girl" (Mezzanine [1998]) 
  • John Cale - "Hallelujah" (Music from Scrubs [2002]) 
  • Fujiya and Miyagi - "Ankle Injuries" [2006]
  • The Cave Singers - "Seeds of Night" [2007]

2007 Bowl Challenge

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Every year for about the last eight years, I've been running what I call the "Bowl Challenge". The college football bowl season goes on and on, with games that mean virtually nothing. So I came up with a pool where for US$5, you pick the winners of the 32(!) bowls and, if you are in the top four, you get some money back. The twist is that not only do you pick the winners, but you rank each bowl from 1 to 32 and, if you pick the correct winner, you get that many points. So the winner you feel most confident in, you would give 32 points, and so on down the line.

I send out updates every morning after a bowl game or games, and the competition usually goes to the last day. It's a fun way to pass the time during bowl season and I invite anyone reading this to check it out.

2007 Bowl Challenge

And sorry for the late notice, as your picks need to be in before the first bowl game, which is tomorrow (Thursday) the 20th, 9pm Eastern, when Utah faces off against Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.


Image of the Day

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You have to look closely at this image of some camels in the Sahara - which is which?

Presenting the Beatnix

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Sorry, I just have to:



Book Review: Trials of the Monkey

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Through a strange serendipity (is there any other kind?), I started reading Trials of the Monkey at about the same time as I was watching the Nova show Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. In Judgment Day, the author of Trials, is interviewed. An avowed atheist and great-great-grandson of Darwin himself, Matthew Chapman is now a successful screenwriter, living in New York City.

He was feeling closed in by the rat race that is Hollywood and began casting about for something else to do. As the annual recreation of the famous Scopes Trial was coming up, he decided to write a book about current views in that area of Tennessee. So he embarked on a bus journey there, and began writing his book.

Which quickly evolved (nyuk nyuk) into an autobiographical sketch, leading to the subtitle of the book -  An Accidental Memoir. This surprised him as much as his editor, but it leads to a very interesting description of his growing up in England as the son of a very colorful parents, including his mother, an alcoholic great granddaughter of Darwin. Through some very colorful vignettes, Chapman describes his childhood, complete with his unnatural fixation on girls from an early age, which leads to his expulsion from several schools. His is a brutally honest book, often painting himself with almost painful glee as a very warped child!

Interspersed with these autobiographical chapters are the descriptions of his first trip to Dayton, Tennessee, a few months before the trial recreation. As someone who has lived most of his life in the nearly secular (at least, relatively speaking) Northeast US, I found the description of Dayton, with its 45 churches for a population of about 6,000 and its never ending series of religious billboards, to be particularly scary. There are some pretty funny (yet eerie) chapters of him poking about into tent revivals, interviewing the head creation "scientist" at the local Bryan College and other outrageous examples of religion gone wild that I just never have to deal with here.

Chapman also gives an excellent overview of the Scopes Trial itself, complete with thumbnail biographies of the three main contestants - Scopes, Bryan and Darrow. He also gleefully quotes HL Mencken all over the place:

Today, with the curtain barely rung up and the worst buffooneries to come, it is obvious to even the town boomers that getting upon the map, like patriotism, is not enough... Two months ago the town was obscure and happy. Today it is a universal joke.

There is one chapter ("Spelunking with the Christians") that has to be one of the funniest chapters I have read in a very long time. I haven't laughed so hard reading a book since my first reading of A Confederacy of Dunces. I had tears running down my cheeks, as his description of the ride over to the cave in a van full of devout Christian teenagers, lead by his "favorite Creationist" was so full of acid descriptions. And the actual cave trip...

I expected a big yawning mouth with a souvenir shop to one side. I thought we'd plod dutifully within, along well-defined paths until it was almost dark - and then turn around an exit, going "Boy, was that something or what?" [ed. note- that's been my cave experiences] But clearly this is to be an experience of an altogether different order and magnitude.

It's a slit!

The entrance to the cave is a ragged horizontal slit, like a mouth clumsily hacked into a pumpkin at Halloween. Even more alarming, it's at ground level. Doughty Christians insert themselves into it with difficulty, slither down in steep descent - and disappear. This is not for tourists. This nasty, malevolent gash which at its highest is no more than three feet, can only be an invitation to something worse. There's no souvenir shop and not a single reassuring sign saying 'Mind Your Head' or 'Don't Touch The Stalactites'. It's a real cave, one of those narrow, lethal warrens into which children fall and emerge alive only when the TV movie lies about it a year later. It's a perfect cave for adrenaline deficient professional spelunkers with miners' helmets, ropes and pitons. It's not a cave for a gang of infantile Christians and a middle-aged atheist with a panic attack.

And it just gets funnier. There's a bit of a twist at the end, but it wraps up nicely and he seems to have been better off having written the book. Combined with Judgement Day (and some of the grotesque polls that have come about, like how many people still prefer creationism to evolution), it was a real eyeopener and made me quite sad for the state of education here. One thing that really struck home was the remarkable similarities between the Scopes Trial and the Dover Trial. Here it is, over 80 years later, and the evolution side still has to bring on scientists to point out just how solid and beautiful a theory evolution truly is. Nearly the exact same testimony, showing the power of evolution and how, over the intervening years, it has become even more of a bedrock theory, was brought out for the Dover Trial. And still, perhaps due in part to the guilty finding at the Scope Trial, education is so lacking in some areas they just have never been exposed to the grace of evolution. Sad and disheartening.

But read this book. Trials of the Monkey is incredibly funny and enlightening. Chapman's story is a little less so, as he seems like a odd duck (a fact of which he seems to find truly ironic, given his heredity!). But solid writing and wonderful insights have me penciled in for his next book, which is on the Dover trials.



Sports Manic Monday

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It has been quite the snowy December here in the Northeast US. Last year, we went into January before seeing any snow, but this year gave us snow early in December, which, even more surprisingly, has stuck around. And given the two solid snowstorms we've had over the past few days, there is over a foot of snow on the ground and with the temps in the 20s, it is frozen solid.

Which made for a very interesting New England Patriots game. As expected, the nor'easter made for a great equalizer, neutralizing the Pats passing attack. Also, Brady seemed to force things, trying to hit Moss for the big play when there were plenty of options underneath. At least one commentator talked about that prior to the game - even an offense as effective as the Patriots can't sustain long drives consistently, so you need to take away the big play. And also, the Patriots can get impatient when the big play is held at bay. Now, I don't think it was the Jets that contributed much to it. In prior games, it was a heavy pass rush that did it. But yesterday, it was more a pelting, freezing rain and high winds that kept the offense at bay.

But, like all great teams, they still found a way to win. An early pressure by Seymour forced the Jets QB into an ill-advise dying quail of a throw from his own end zone and forgotten man Eugene Wilson returned it for an early score. And special teams maven Kelley Washington blocked a punt, leading to the only offensive touchdown of the day by another man of mystery, Laurence Maroney, who had a solid game at running back. I still think he missed some opportunities to pop it outside, which he finally did in the fourth quarter.


But it is impossible to argue with 14-0, only the second team to ever start that way. And just think, the Patriots should have five more games, while the '72 Dolphins were finishing up their regular season after fourteen games. It has been a great season so far, and the future's so bright, we gotta wear shades!

On the fantasy front, my team somehow pulled out a win to move to the finals. We only scored 61 points, but my opponent just pulled down 42, probably the low score for both of us for the year. His QB is Tom Brady, so the season's worst performance by Brady couldn't have come at a better time for me. Of course, my team was continually mocked in the post game wrapup stories, as my main point getter, Brian Westbrook, was running untouched into the end zone at the end of the Dallas-Philadelphia game, when he sat down at the one, realizing that, without any timeouts, the Cowboys couldn't stop the clock and get the ball back if he didn't score. And all the post game shows chided Westbrook's fantasy owners for having conniptions at losing the 7 points. Glad it didn't decide the game for me!

So on to defending my league crown in the finals next week. And, like last year, it is against the team with "LT" (LaDainian Tomlinson). Like my win this week against a subpar Brady, last year I beat the LT team when he scored well under his usual average. But they are playing at home against a poor Denver running defense, so I'm going to have to hope for a big Favre game!

Finally, to wrap up sports Monday, I wanted to show my picture of the 2007 World Series trophy, taken a couple of weeks ago at the local town hall Christmas celebration. It's a really poor picture, taken with a bad cell phone camera in terrible light, but still, I was within a couple of feet of it. Pretty neat!





Our Lord, J.C.

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A blasphemous movie about JC is skewered. All Hail, John Cleese!



last.rm summary

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I had a pretty boring week at the computer, music-wise. I ripped Randy Newman's Little Criminals and Sleepy LaBeef's Strangeways Here We Come CDs and listened to a few other random tracks (including two from the Amazon MP3 - The Cave Singers Seeds of Night and Fujiya and Miyagi's Ankle Injuries). To make up for the boring list, I'll add the video of F&M's Injuries:

Fujiya & Miyagi Ankle Injuries




Top Artists for the week ending 9 Dec 2007

Randy NewmanSleepy LaBeefThe Cave Singersfujiya and miyagiThe SilencersRun OnScrubsGoannaThe ChurchJeff & Mychael Danna
11 1 Play Randy Newman
16
  2 Play Sleepy LaBeef
10
  3   The Cave Singers
4
  4   fujiya and miyagi
2
  5   The Funseekers
1
  5 Play The Silencers
1
  5 Play Run On
1
  5   Scrubs
1
  5 Play Goanna
1
  5 Play The Church
1
  5   Jeff & Mychael Danna
1
7 5 Play Laurie Anderson
1
3 5 Play Frou Frou
1

My First Time

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Listening to my favorite local college radio station (WZBC) and a song came on that I was really getting into. Scanning their playlist, I see it was a group called The Cave Singers singing Seeds of Night (although I have no idea where the title comes from). Never heard of either before.

So I popped on over to the Amazon MP3 store - DRM free and ready to go. Of course, us Linux users get short shift, because in order to buy and download an entire album, you have to have either Windows or Mac and use their downloader (why oh why?). But I was on my work machine, which is still WinXP, so I gave it a whirl. One small download and installation later, I could click a few times and, for a mere $0.99 download the song. Perfect. Sounds great too, so I'd like to share it with you:

Seeds Of Night
The Cave Singers



Fantasy Football playoffs begin

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Ross mentioned that he qualified for the playoffs in his fantasy league, which reminded me to check mine. I lost my last game, as Dante Stallworth couldn't pull out enough points last night to recover from Favre's brutal outing on Thursday:

But it still wasn't enough to pull The Thirsty Scholars down out of first place, as I won on the tiebreaker, total points. I came on fast, as I think this may be the first week I was in the top spot!


And yup, like Ross, my league too is entering the playoffs. But I get a first round bye, due to my last second snatch of first place. So I get a leg up defending my crown from last year. I don't really spend much time on this, and I have been winning despite less than stellar play from my QB position. Favre really hasn't had too many great fantasy point outings, and my other QB is Vince Young, who has been truly brutal. Anyway, here's the playoff tree for my league:




Patriots continue their winning ways

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Well, the Patriots once again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat this week, with the 27-24 win over the Ravens being an even closer run thing than last week's victory over the Eagles. And the Ravens spent the entire postgame whining about refs, who are always convenient whipping boys when you lose. My thoughts on the game:

  • The Ravens got away with murder all game, manhandling the Pats receivers all over the field. Wes Welker was especially mauled virtually every play. So don't complain when it gets called.
  • As the cold weather sets in and with 3 games in Foxboro and one in the Meadowlands, I hope last night's game isn't a harbinger for things to come. The receivers (all of whom are used to warm weather and/or playing in a dome) had a very hard time holding the ball last night in the cold, windy conditions. Moss, Watson (especially), Stallworth and even Welker each failed to catch one or more throws they should or could have had.
  • If Tom Brady says he heard the whistle and eased up after the last second timeout by Baltimore on the fourth down sneak that was snuffed out, then I believe him. Looking at the replay, it does look like he and some of his linemen eased up a bit, as the whistle was clearly blown before the ball was snapped.
  • Enough whining about the last touchdown reception by Gaffney. Jeez, it was first and ten from the eight, with 44 seconds left, when Gaffney made the catch. Even if the original TD call had been overturned, they still had plenty of time to get a TD. And the Ravens would have had less time to try and mount a comeback.
  • I noticed a huge difference between Maroney and Faulk when it came to running. While Maroney made some great catch and runs, his straight runs were ineffective. But Faulk always seemed to get 6-8 yards on his carries, with an especially important one on the last drive, where he was almost tackled in the backfield but he slithered out for a good gain.
  • Watson was definitely in line for the goat horns, especially after dropping an easy one in the end zone during the first drive. But he recovered the fumble that Faulk forced after the interception, and he made an excellent diving catch on the last drive.
  • When the Pats defense needed a stand, they got it, forcing the Ravens to two straight three-and-outs during the fourth quarter. But it is annoying that for the second straight week, they turned a pumpkin into a prince, at least until the by now expected fourth quarter interception. Did anyone else notice that Feeley threw three interceptions last weekend, after looking like a king against the Pats?
  • As I think Pittsburgh's defense is very similar to, and probably better than, the Eagles and the Ravens, it will be another test this Sunday in Foxboro. But at least it is a day game, albeit at 4pm instead of 1pm.




Most Anti-Tech

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Congratulations (insert heavy irony and dripping sarcasm here) to the following five groups for being the most anti-tech organizations in the US:

  • The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
  • The Pharmaceutical/Biotech Industry, represented by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) and Patent Attorneys
  • Big Telco Companies, Industry Group USTelecom
  • Verizon, AT&T, Progress and Freedom Foundation
  • Large Wireless Carriers and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA); TV Broadcasters and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)

Yeah, the usual set of suspects. Anyway, Mark Sullivan of PC World goes into some depth as to just why the groups are pissing on our tech parade here.

Which free song?

| 5 Comments

Which free song should I download from my Download a Free Song offer from Seagate?

Coldplay     |    Brothers & Sisters

KC & The Sunshine Band     |    Boogie Shoes
Santana     |    Evil Ways (Live At The Fillmore 1968)
Miles Davis     |    Wrinkle
The Brand New Heavies     |    Never Stop
Pulp     |    Love Is Blind
T-Bone Walker     |    Mean Old World Blues
Pink Floyd     |    A Brick In The Wall Part II (Dub Remix)
Bob Marley     |    Sun Is Shining
Soundgarden     |    All Your Lies
Ambrosia     |    How Much I Feel
Paul Oakenfold     |    Jazzy Vibe

Which free song?

| No Comments

Which free song should I download from my Download a Free Song offer from Seaget?

Coldplay     |    Brothers & Sisters

KC & The Sunshine Band     |    Boogie Shoes
Santana     |    Evil Ways (Live At The Fillmore 1968)
Miles Davis     |    Wrinkle
The Brand New Heavies     |    Never Stop
Pulp     |    Love Is Blind
T-Bone Walker     |    Mean Old World Blues
Pink Floyd     |    A Brick In The Wall Part II (Dub Remix)
Bob Marley     |    Sun Is Shining
Soundgarden     |    All Your Lies
Ambrosia     |    How Much I Feel
Paul Oakenfold     |    Jazzy Vibe

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