Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best of the Year 2008: Songs

Annually StevePrutz.com reviews some pop culture and ranks a best in categories like film, music and television. This year is expanded to include critiques. This.... is.... 2008!
(2007 songs)


Beck: "Orphans"
Danger Mouse's beatnik vibe introduces Modern Guilt with this little tune about meeting your maker, complete with acoustic strums, piano twinkles, xylophone accents and ambient sounds. It's the only one on the disc that doesn't sound like an outtake or B-side.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: "Wicked Wanda"
Feedback fuzz, echo choruses and crawling guitar solos just work here. Combined with Malkmus' weirdo lyrics, they create an indie oasis that quenches a thirst for some beautiful noise. The intro makes me think I'm playing the opening of Metroid.

Nine Inch Nails: "Echoplex"
This is track is the centerpiece of an album thrown together, as an eventual means to put on one juggernaut of a tour. Sounds of an erratic 80's drum machine perfectly compliment Reznor's imagining of studio claustrophobia (and the industry's agoraphobia of free music). The instrumental outro (especially in concert) shows how plex these sounds can be.

TV on the Radio: "Stork and Owl"
What was lacking from TVOTR's Dear Science was the gloom and glum of their previous album. The industrial-strength coldness of Cookie Mountain showed the world how this Brooklyn band could channel solemn times in America. "Stork and Owl" comes closest to that high water mark, via quivering spoken lines and howls to the moon.

Coldplay: "Yes/Chinese Sleep Chant"
"Where's an Arabic violin break when you need one?" Will Hermes said it best when he compared this song's bridge to the rest of the bunch from the predictable Viva la Vida. The guitar and drums hypnotize in the verses, and the lyrics on consenting make the chorus internationally arousing. The hidden ending of a sleep chant is just cool... I don't know what's so Chinese about it.

***** 2008 BEST SONG *****
Guns N' Roses: "Catcher in the Rye"
Many people forget they've had to wait LONGER for albums to shape up: the music world had to wait 24 years for the Who to release an album; and Peter Gabriel's Big Blue Ball project took 15 years from recording to release. So, give Axl some slack. Maybe he was busy! I'd like to think that the last few years of the Chinese Democracy journey were spent crafting and executing this (relatively short for GNR) song about insanity and assassins. Of all the goodies on the album, this one symbolizes Axl's id and the current band (are they the same thing?)

  1. OTHER BEST OF THE YEAR 2008 SELECTIONS

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best of the Year 2008: Music Videos

Annually StevePrutz.com reviews some pop culture and ranks a best in categories like film, music and television. This year is expanded to include critiques. This.... is.... 2008!

Last year was rich with artistic and unique music videos, many by new contestants. But in 2008, the perennial favorites have come back. With the launch of mtvmusic.com, there is a sense of nostalgia in the air. Old bands that make good video art are back for one more round. And, it seems that Grindhouse is more inspirational than critics originally thought! No Rickrolls here!


Coldplay: "Viva la Vida" (Version 2) [dir. Anton Corbijn]
If you don't know already, this is a tribute to the original video of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence", a concept that that band hated. But, Corbijn's idea of a "king who is looking for a quiet place to sit" was brilliant. Instead of a beach chair this time around, the King is toting a painting and a sad expression.
Killer scene: Now he's got a boombox??? (1:53)
Yawn moment: I don't want to see the band ooh-ing the outro. (3:53)



Beck: "Youthless" [dir. Kris Moyes]
This music video shows that there are about 100 ways to depict Beck Hansen's head using art. We get stop-motion animation of stuff that looks like it came from the Neverending Story or Nightmare Before Christmas. All interesting.
Killer scene: Leatherface Beck! (2:08)
Yawn moment: That ghost looks nothing like him! (2:11)



Santogold: "LES Artistes" [dir. Nima Nourizadeh]
This is some surreal blood and guts. Basically this is all the violence an American could hope for, with no real bloodshed. The opening shot of the video (pictured) is just marvelous.
Killer scene: Stomping the melon-head (2:06)
Yawn moment: Stop crying that you're wet! More violence! (2:37)



MGMT: "Time to Pretend" [dir. Ray Tintori]
Every new band should wish for a video like this: something that perfectly describes their sound and theme. The special effects here are cheap, but do their job. Psychedelic!
Killer scene: The zebra feast. (1:33)
Yawn moment: Does the dolphin explosion really need to be in this vid? (3:40)


***** 2008 BEST VIDEO *****

Metallica: "All Nightmare Long" [dir. Roboshobo]
Twelve years after their last notable video, the old guard of speed metal return with a Soviet-zombie documentary. In metal, there are lots of music videos that try to mix horror and cool imagery with a song, but only Metallica has the budget to pull it off right.

The band is missing from the set (thank god) and replaced by a Russian scientist recalling the (oft-discussed-in-paranormal-circles) Tunguska event in Siberia. In this alternate history, it seems the Soviets have found something that could help them destroy capitalism once and for all. Animation and live action both help the plot. There's also this excerpt about chemtrails from a man in Stamps, Arkansas, which is pointless but intriguing.
Killer scene: at the crescendo of the song, the Commie robots appear! (7:08)
Yawn moment: the bad cat CGI (3:12)


****HONORABLE MENTIONS****
Bjork: "Wanderlust" [dir. Encyclopedia Pictura]
This took 9 months of post-production to get the special effects just right. The water is cool, but I wouldn't ride a buffalo down it with a haunted backpack.

Oasis: "Shock of the Lightning" [dir. Julian House and Julian Gibbs]
This stock footage interspersed with album art video is surprisingly good.

Sammy Hagar: "Cosmic Universal Fashion" [dir. Todd Gallopo and Zan Passante]
Trying to re-capitalize on 1992's "Right Now" video, Hagar gives viewers updates on current affairs and new (but cheap looking) stock footage.

Yeasayer: "Wait for the Summer" [dir. Mixtape Club]
The effects are super, but why such an obsession with the apple?

The Blizzards: "The Reason" [dir. Chris Sayer and Jason Arber]
Reminiscent of the effects of Muse's "Invincible", the story is about a 90-ft-tall female monster babe and the man who can't take his eyes off her.

ANJ: "Gorbachov" [dir. Tom Stern]
This international entry comes from Mother Russia (and it took me a few viewings to realize it was sung in English). But, the song is secondary to the video, which depicts buxom babes being attacked by undead communists! The protagonist, a shirtless, axe-wielding Mikhail Gorbachev runs in to save the day, just like in real life!

Flying Lotus: "Parisian Goldfish" [dir. Eric Wareheim]
Simple, tasteless; flashing lights.

  1. OTHER BEST OF THE YEAR 2008 SELECTIONS

Friday, December 5, 2008

Excel saved my life & Sorting issues

(For the Excel sorting "bug", scroll down...)

Personal Tasks
I have been using Excel 2007 as a personal planner for about six months, and I love it. For some reason, this little XLS has made me efficient, and helped reinforce my often-forgotten priorities. I put almost everything on here--the stuff I want to put off, the stuff I won't remember and the stuff that is really important. I don't keep it as specific as "brush teeth today" or "put clothes on", but do put stuff such as "clean house for party" and "vacuum car" that aren't really once-a-week kind of things. When I do a task, I simply place an "X" in the Done column, and then Sort. Here is a screenshot.

You can't understand how this has greatly improved my efficiency. But this is not why we're here.

Sort data problem
I want to discuss something that is common for those spreadsheet movers and shakers: SORTING. Sorting is beautiful for a user, when it works. It took me six months to figure this issue out, so I want to help those in need on this "feature". By default, Excel is supposed to memorize your sorting options from previous saves. It also remembers sort settings on a new instance or a computer restart! This is not new to version 2007, and I think this has been a mainstay since Office 97.

When my "personal tasks.xls" started to get huge, I started sorting. I could prioritize the list and push the finished tasks away from the main list:


This was all good and fine, until I began to sort constantly, sometimes 20 times in a day. To boot, I would often open and close Excel in the process, and that's when I stumbled upon this hair-pulling problem: it would not remember any of my sorting options! So without moaning and groaning, here is the solution:


How it happened

It was my own fault. I love noodling with column titles, and I renamed a few of them over time. Excel does not adapt the sorting tool when you rename the headers! This could be considered a bug, but I doubt Microsoft would flag it as a high priority. And that fricking "My data has headers" really has no purpose, other than cosmetic. In the meantime, you may want to try my personal tasks spreadsheet idea. Who knows, you may be thanking me in a few months (hopefully with cash)!

And another thing...
One more great, great organizing application I discovered a few years ago is Desktop Calendar. It just plain rocks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Observations (November-December)

  • ESPN, I hate your website. I know you have the best coverage and everything, but I cannot stand auto-loading videos that play loudly while I'm reading an article. Screw you.
  • Dear rock bands, PLEASE STOP WRITING SONGS ABOUT SUPERMAN. Yes, he is a great symbol, but so is Batman. There are so many freaking songs with Clark Kent in them, and that means your new song idea is immediately irrelevant.
  • The same goes for new mascots. Please, lets retire Tiger. Maybe, perhaps we could use something more local? Panther is more local, so are bears and pronghorn sheep, which scare me. If you're going for scary, why not Tiger Shark?
  • Every time Architecture in Helsinki is/are mentioned, it sends me into a blind rage. Maybe it's because they're not from Helsinki. Maybe it's because it would embarrass the hell out of me if I were Australian. Maybe it's because they have five band members (four would be overkill). Maybe it's because they make the kind of music that Paul Simon would be into.
  • Carrie Fisher's autobiography (Wishful Drinking) is remarkably well-written. I always knew George Lucas was an ass...
  • The Spirit and Benjamin Button are coming out in December, and I will probably crown them the best two films of the year. Plus, they're both from stories more than 50 years old. Yes, the world did exist 50 years ago, Hollywood.
  • I had my fill of Simon Pegg about 10 seconds after I heard his accent. Anyone else want on the hate bandwagon?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Upcoming!

I will be taking a break for the holidays, but expect many new entries on the following:

* David Lee Roth, Madonna and music video virginity
* Myths that most older people believe
* The Who
* Michael Jackson
* Quake/Counter-Strike/EverQuest/World of Warcraft
* Gene Simmons
* Australia
* The dangers of classical music

Also, stay alert for the 2008 review in music, film, music video and gaming (around New Year's). And, there is a wikiproject you can jump in on if you're bored.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Five Awful NON-SCI-FI, NON-HORROR Films

Making fun of terrible movies is like shooting fish in a barrel: it's easy, fun and there are lots of barrels of fish to kill. But, when you remove sci-fi and fantasy from the equation of flops and bombs, it gets a little tougher. When you add the horror genre, it's slim pickings. Just then you remember all the movies you saw as a kid--about sports, war and comedies with Ernest. Wait, Ernest was and is somewhat cool. Here is a short list of those bad non-sci fi, non-horror movies.

Ground Rules:

a) movie cannot be hinged upon science fiction/futuristic/horror concepts
b) movie must be released in 1980 or later
c) movie must have some star power and a decent budget

Rocky V
This one is pretty easy to berate, so I will get it out of the way. Firstly, this film should not have been made. A book or a TV miniseries would have been better for god's sake. Basically, the story is about the downfall of Rocky's career and family (which I never wanted to see), only to have new life shot into Balboa's life by Tommy "the Machine" Gunn (get it?). I bet you can guess the rest of the story. Although it is riddled with flashback scenes from the previous sequels, not once does Rocky put on boxing gloves. Even worse, Stallone himself later said that this film deserves a 0 out of 10.
Bottom line: No film franchise is immune to the sequel kiss-of-death.

Hamburger Hill
War films can be terrific. Sometimes, they are just rip-offs of a movie that came out less than a year before. Now I know that Hamburger Hill is a "true story", but I can't get past Courtney B. Vance's fake glasses (there are tons of films that use fake plastic lenses instead of real prescriptions, but those horn-rimmed frames make the reflection worse!) This movie is an absolute cliche-fest. Mad black people, new recruits "learning the hard way", sobbing platoon leaders. And historically, this picture boils down to two things: cashing in on the Vietnam craze, and have some developing talents act (yell) with each other. Thank god Nicolas Cage wasn't in it...
Bottom line: There are only a few classic war movies post-1979.

Windtalkers

Oh, but I spoke too soon. WWII isn't safe from the (plasticized) face of The Cage. There are lots of untold stories in wartime, and Hollywood decided the Navajo needed a nod. Unfortunately, this movie slaps the Native Americans in the face because it focuses on Cage's character most of the time. I feel sorry for the people that saw this in the theaters, expecting a war drama and then watching Cage's character apeshit and samurai-style on hundreds of dimwitted Japanese soldiers.
Bottom line: There are only a few classic war movies post-1979.

Made
I had no idea what the amateur boxing match was about at the beginning until I read the Wikipedia synopsis. What is the point of this movie? Even Vince Vaughn (let alone P. Diddy) can save this soporific script. What am I supposed to do with this? Is this a buddy movie? Is this a road trip movie?
Bottom line: Don't ever try to be a quasi-sequel to Swingers.

Drillbit Taylor
The story goes something like this: a hobo (the cool-in-real-life Owen Wilson) is hired to beat up some super-bullies for some geeks. It's a real drag. Unfortunately, Wilson has no Vince Vaughn-esque sidekick to feed off, and therefore this comedy becomes one of those weird romantic, be-yourself yawn fests that you see in the bargain bin.
Bottom line: Owen Wilson without a sidekick is like Jesus without disciples--no buddies to hang out with.

BONUS!
Never Say Never Again
Bond films may be sci-fi, but most people ignore that fact, so I will too. Amazingly, 1983's Never Say Never Again is a remake of Thunderball (and it came out the same year as Roger Moore's Octopussy). Like Thunderball, it featured a (now aging) Sean Connery, whose former Bond film was 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. So what the hell... why did he come back? Personally, I don't want to see 007 with Great Looking Gray in his hair. Kim Basinger and a semi-video game are also featured, but neither the woman or the medium would reach their prime until 1989.


Similar blogs:
http://www.avclub.com/content/fttf
http://videogum.com/the-worst-movie-of-all-time

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama: a future Lame Duck prospect

Before everyone starts talking about President George W. Bush as a scary lame duck, I want to explore what Barack Obama might do with his almost unlimited power, in four (or probably eight) years.

Brief note: Bill Clinton did a few things during his last few weeks in office. For one, he fully pardoned 141 criminals (including his brother). He also setup a marine protected area around most of the Hawaiian Islands, to the dismay of the government and fishing barons. This was a big deal, but almost forgotten by the press now. They call him Slick Willy.

Obama being a Democrat, might follow Clinton's suit and bail out a few people in American jails. I don't think Michael Vick will have a chance, but OJ might (pending his verdict). Wesley Snipes will be out of prison by then (for tax evasion), but some of those "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo Bay, who really shouldn't be there, might be freed. I would also say that Roman Polanski has a good chance of coming back from exile, and finally accepting some awards in-person.

Obama in 2008 will be quite different from Obama after a few years. Knowing this, I can reasonably say that he will be a) more conservative (if something disastrous happens), or b) more liberal (if all goes well). If all goes well, we Americans may see something about marriage and gays, which might bury that question forever. Maybe the PATRIOT Act will be eliminated! Or, No Child Left Behind!

I can't see Pres. Obama doing anything about the (foolhardy) drug war or illegal immigration during his term, so I doubt anything will come of it until the next president. But, I think Obama will want to have a legacy, and maybe with a stellar career he will coast those last months, and just ride it out. If that legacy (which seems inevitable) persists, Americans won't care if he frees some small-time crooks anyway...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Random Observations (October-November)

  • Does anyone else hate Wolf Blitzer? Seriously, he is not even a journalist... more a robot. He won't even banter with his coworkers on-air.
  • I predict that the anticipated James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace is going to suck, but everyone will think it's good until about one week later (much like Indiana Jones 4).
  • Is anyone else bored with the NFL this year? When the Bills and the Titans are the best teams, and the two most famous quarterbacks are down and out, there isn't much left.
  • Roland Martin and Rachel Maddow get an A+ for becoming the anti-Bill O'Reillys. Keep it up!
  • Dear Hollywood: STOP MAKING VAMPIRE MOVIES AND TELEVISION SHOWS. It is beaten to death (and undeath). Sincerely, Original Film Ideas.
  • It should be mandatory for every American citizen to watch at least 3 hours of the People's Court. I promise you will learn something about common law and how to get things in writing.
  • Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy is going to be murdered by the critics when it finally appears. Personally, I miss the non-indie music and the big rock acts of old. Remember Nirvana and David Bowie? They're still awesome.
  • I think we need another Great Depression for good measure. Wall Street did not get the message when the stocks plummeted, because they still have central heating and air in their penthouses.
  • Penn State better go to the championship game, or else.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Startup directory: Stupid

One thing that's been around since the early days of Microsoft Windows is the Startup directory. You probably don't know about it unless you've had one of those moments, feverishly deleting anything that booted with Windows.

Basically, if you plop any executable (or shortcut to executable) in the folder, it will magically start after Windows has booted up. Right now, I have over 10 applications starting up with Windows (you probably have more than I do). But none of these are in the designated Startup folder!

Basically, software writers thought that the \Startup\ directory was too out in the open. They thought (wrongly) that users would see the startup folder in the Start Menu and go apeshit. Programmers started writing directly to the registry, into \CurrentVersion\Run\, burying the true startup programs. Fast-forward to Windows XP and the commonality of the internet. Malware goes hogwild, and utilizes the same registry trick to hide. Even those who know about msconfig still have a huge job of cleaning up cryptic startup programs.

So, what does Microsoft learn? Nothing. They have yet to close the loophole. The registry folder is still there in Vista!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Entry #0004

Look at those cunts on MTV
with cars and cribs and rings and shit.
Is that what being a celebrity means?
Look boys and girls, here's BBC.
See corpses, rapes and amputees.
What do you think now of the American dream?

And our soccer moms and dads
who raised us brats on those TV ads
I know that they sleep at night.
Their conscience is intact
they've convinced themselves of that.
Giving money to Jesus fucking H. Christ.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

American Education Reform

I was watching the final 2008 presidental debate, and had to weigh in about the final question: education problems. Both candidates gave dubious responses. OK, let's break this down a tad. For years and years, international surveys (look up Programme for International Student Assessment) have been throwing stats at public schools about how we're ranked below this country and that dictatorship. Here is why: our schools are unfocused; theirs are more focused. Do you think public schools in India have marching bands or tennis teams? Let me elaborate.

The "three R's": reading, writing, arithmetic. These are the basic, fundamental skills that all humans need to know to exist in any society or culture. Many, many of our public schoolteachers are absolutely obsessed with throwing out the traditional curriculum and teaching kids things such as rap music, computer games, Armenian culture, fashion, politics (and the list continues). Basically putting "fun" into school. These topics are not bad, but are they necessary to exist in any society or culture? And, is school supposed to be fun for the teacher?

I remember when I moved from primary school (K-3rd) to elementary school (4th-6th), and my 3-year-younger sister was taking PE with the same teacher I did previously. She got to go swimming at the local university pool with the rest of her class. I was upset. I never did anythingthat fun in PE, other than once using a traffic cone as a megaphone. There were zero PE field trips in my day. Would you rather see your kid in a pool, or accepting a Nobel prize?

One can say that reading is the most important skill that can be taught (other than listening, of course). If you can read, you can crack open any goddamned book and learn about things like quantum mechanics, linguistics, sports, art and geometry. Basically, learning to read well is the key to everything else. So, why are schoolteachers spending time on those secondary skills, like cooking and horsemanship? Don't get me started on music (which has no place in schools, because it exists everywhere else).

To get back to the stats about other countries dominating our 300-million-strong nation of idiots, these stats do have merit. We are ignorant because we lack focus on the fundamentals. While I am not a fundamentalist, and more obsessed with football than finding pi, I know that I could not appreciate or comprehend life without the bare necessities. More time must be spent on the basics (e.g. maybe showing teachers how to make reading more fun?). When the basics are there, the secondary skills fall into place. America has at least 300 million people. Name another country with any number near that, with better schools.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Reasons to vote against John McCain

I do not endorse Democrats or Obama, but here are some reasons NOT to vote for John McCain and his administration:

1. [Unlike other First Ladies,] Cindy McCain won't accomplish anything during the term.
2. [Unlike other VP's,] Sarah Palin won't accomplish anything during the term.
3. McCain is an isolationist that is too stubborn to revive friendships with allied or enemy states.
4. John is ultimately a pro-life, pro-rich, pro-gun, pro-war old person (aka a Republican).
5. (Do you really need another goddamned reason?)

Voting isn't really that hard. You can even skip the lines by doing an early vote starting October 20.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Entry #0003

Boredom's in the bathroom shaking out the loose teeth
Sally's in the stirrups claiming her own destiny
And nobody nowhere understands anything
About me and all my dreams
Lost at sea

Jack it up Judy, set your heart alight
Mayfair mistress of the satellites
Misspent youth - faking up a rampage
To hold off the real slaves
Paid off and staid

Friday, September 19, 2008

Program Files: Stupid

There are a lot of problems that get under your skin with Microsoft Windows. Let me be clear at the beginning: I do not have Linux installed on any of my machines. As one of my friends once said, "Windows is a good product", and it is. When Windows 98 came out, I thought it was the apex. I slowly and begrudgingly moved to XP (I finally figured out how to turn the Start Menu back to Classic Gray). Now, I am 90% content with my OS.

But there is something that became the norm with Windows 95 (and all subsequent sequels) that all software companies seemed to adopt. I am talking about \Program Files\. Let's break down the old way, first.

Typically, when you installed a game or a piece of software, it needed a new folder. The old way was to type something simple, so it could be quickly typed in command line. Games would be installed in C:\Quake\, so they could be accessed in DOS (via "cd quake", then "quake.exe").

Microsoft decided that the root directory (C:\) had become too cluttered (C:\Windows\ is where the OS is seated). So, they developed a solution (albiet a bad one): Program Files. The horrible thing is that everyone and their dog default installs to Program Files. Without looking I probably have 40 goddamn subfolders in there. They just moved the clutter into an a different closet! Video games, chatting applications and even Microsoft products now have a place in C:\Program Files\i-cant-type-this-right-in-command-line-or-find-it-when-searching\.

Now not all honorable programs want to be in the Prog Files club. mIRC used to be good at this, but they finally caved in. Let me ask two questions: why do you need a separate folder to house third-party (and first-party) apps; and why does it have to use case-sensitive, redundant words?

Let me suggest something for anyone that has more than Solitaire on their systems: C:\games\. I have everything gaming-related here (even oldschool game files). It's easy to type and easy to find. Also, make sure you have a place for downloads (the Desktop is for rookies). I use C:\tasks\, which is easy to find and type. C:\setupfiles\ is where offline copies of all my app installs are.

Another thing about the Desktop. Don't make tons of folders there. Windows buries the Desktop in the root structure, and if you change usernames or login as someone else, expect some downtime and headache.

If you are a developer, understand the KISS principle and stop putting my files into a catchall folder like Program Files!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

XP to Vista: the Upgrade saga

I have had a free copy of Windows Vista Upgrade (Home Premium Ed.) laying around since February, 2007. I had hesitated because I didn't need it. There was nothing I desired that wasn't already possible with my XP Media Center Edition 2005 (save for DirectX 10, those stupid desktop gadgets and a reorganized Control Panel). I knew Vista because my previous job had our think tank beta-test it for a month in January, 2007. Fast-forward to now, and need to format my hard drive. It has had much wear and tear, and the list of installs/uninstalls is epic. And I had a plan: multiboot XP and Vista. But, it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought...

XP Format
First, I insert my XP disc and restart. I use the old bluescreen DOS interface (it reminds me of WordPerfect in junior high) to format and do a clean install. I partitioned my hard drive into two parts: 200 GB for XP, and 30 GB for Vista. My idea was to continue using XP, but just use Vista for web surfing and little things. I knew one day I would have to take the Vista plunge, so this was a transition test. Everything went well with the XP install (on Drive C:).

Vista Format
Next, I inserted the Vista disc and restarted. I booted from the CD and expected "good old DOS blue screen", but to my surprise Microsoft overhauled the interface, and the mouse works... Maybe this Windows has something more to offer. So I use the new GUI to select D: drive, and click "Install Now". I walk away after 5 minutes and come back in about 15. I realize the hard drive and CD-ROM aren't doing anything, so I place the mouse cursor on the progress bar (use the mouse pointer to measure if there is any progress made over time). I come back 45 min later, and realize the install hadn't moved. I hit the X button to cancel install, and this doesn't help. I have to hold down the power button and start over. I decide to boot into XP and look at some Microsoft articles...

Vista Format (II)
So, I theorize that my install failed because I'm using a Dell Upgrade of Vista, instead of a retail copy. I decide to insert the disc while XP is running, and install Vista onto D: from there. This method works, and makes progress until it freezes at "Extracting files: 27%..." I watch the 27% for about 30 minutes like an ass, and realize I have to manually power off and try again. I start another theory about my wireless internet fucking things up, because it keeps searching for an access point (and I didn't take the time to disable it). I disable the wireless card and try again. At 27%, I almost shit my pants when it hit 28%. It finally finishes and I think I am out of the woods...

Internet Setup
I am using a Netgear router and a Linksys G card to get my internet fix. The connection worked masterfully for a good 3 months, but I had major, major troubles with both XP and Vista. Before you jump to conclusions, it was human error that made me have a headache for 8 hours. The setup was fine--I just forgot the 3% of the Encryption Key (which I thought I knew by heart).

Current status
Everything is great now. I am still multibooting and mostly using XP (for surfing, downloads and gaming). Vista looks OK, but I don't know how much restriction there will be when I need to do something tricky. It should be noted that boot time for both OS's is almost exactly the same. I think 3 GB of RAM blurs the line.

Tips
If you are reading this because of Windows formatting problems, here is some advice:
1. Always install the older version of Windows first.
2. Unplug all USB shit and disable your wireless connection. You may want to remove any PCI cards (modem, etc) to prevent Device Manager from going apeshit and detecting new hardware.
3. Make a Restore Point almost immediately.
4. Install Service Packs before anything else. (Note: Vista SP1 takes an hour!)
5. Make sure the dual-boot timer is >5 seconds, so you can select which OS you want to run at system startup.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The wrong choice for candidate

The question you should ask yourself is: "who will make the best president?"; not "who should be president". Many people believe BaraqObama is the Kwisatz Haderach--the superbeing. I saw people fucking bawling to Obama's speech at the DNC. Seriously they are going to be shocked when he inevitably fucks up in office. Don't get me wrong. I want to orgasm as much as you do when the votes are in. But, I am guessing he will call a Jewish leader Palestinian or something like that... Two-thirds of Americans will probably hate him by 2012. Machiavellian, maybe?

If Obama gets into office, what will it mean long-term? I guarantee Obama will become clinically depressed. He will sob quietly at night in the White House. The fetal position will be his preferred sleeping pose. At least the Republicans don't to listen to thousands of agendas about saving the whales, supporting gays, preventing war--you have the give them credit for that.

Mark my words: Barack will be clotheslined by D.C. politics. One man can't move mountains in a democratic republic. It is political parties, not individuals, that have the power. Before you start raising hell about those statements, think about the last 8 years, and think about groundbreaking laws and constitutional amendments throughout history. It is mostly congress and the court doing the legwork, dipshits.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Entry #0002

I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.
Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.
I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars.
You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life Regarding Australia (Part 3 of 137)

There are a few things I will remember about my time at Adventurers Backpackers Resort. One is the noise. Two is the boredom. Three is the pain. The hostel was an old three-story motel, complete with a pool on the 3rd floor. It was sparsely populated in January (the dead part of the season), and the people who lived there were construction workers and miners who were too cheap to live in an apartment. There was a large open rec' room and a gigantic kitchen with gas pilots. All in all, not bad and basically quiet unless you were in the "inner ring" (the rooms facing the parking area). My first room there was a single (in the outer ring), facing the bus stop and the railroad.

The hostel was in the beginnings of the bad part of town. The backpackers was on trendy Palmer Street. This was not a bad street, it just *became* bad about 50 m (learn metric!) from the last fish 'n chips shop. Seedy characters, who did or did not live in the hostel were always roaming around. Resident miners and workers would get shitfaced every night, and sing anthems like soccer hooligans. Being a foreigner in a foreign land, it was kind of frightening. Sometimes it was as scary as Flinders Mall at night (I'll explain later). Palmer St. also had a "men's hostel" nearby that was unbecoming, and parallel was the Railway Estates. The construction workers felt right at home, maybe because at 6 AM they would walk next door and resume hammering and banging on a new condo project. The noise.

Basically I worked 9-5, and the rest of the time was free. I didn't make any friends (it wasn't the friendliest hostel), so I was sure glad I brought my Gameboy Advance. There was not much to do if you didn't have a car or bike. Taxis weren't cheap, and the city had a tendency to favour those with wheels. The malls were too far away. The beach was a 30-min walk, Flinders St was 10-min, the cinema was 20-min, the ferry was 30-min (explained later) and the rock pool was a solid hour. The first few days in the hostel, I walked around in my beloved Van skate shoes. Those started to hurt me, so I bought some thongs (sandals) and figured I would be good. Not so. There was a lot of fucking walking without wheels. Eventually, I got the stamina and the callouses, but in the meantime, I had to bide my time staring at cinder block walls in my room, and try to write a little and read a little. I played Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Metroid Fusion and Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap all the way through. The boredom and the pain.

(continued...)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Entry #0001

Beyond the palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life Regarding Australia (Part 1 of 137)

Tonight, before I settled down to bed with a cup of tea and a ratty novel, I told my friend that there is no such thing as nonfiction. History books, scientific journals, autobiographies--they can't be 100% truthful. We are human and we embellish; we lie to save ourselves. I'm worried about the audience on this one. I want to entertain.

Before I over-reflect on my statement, I must go on and do this before it gets replaced by new adventures. I must write about the beginning, the middle and the climax (hopefully not in that order). I must write about Life Regarding Australia. Everything from here on is "nonfiction". Where do I start?

(continued...)

MST3k Return thoughts

There used to be two camps when it comes to MSTies: Team Joel or Team Mike. I'm in the Michael J. Nelson camp (the 1997 Sci-Fi Channel ...