Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Love Oatmeal

Are you an Oatmeal follower? You might have seen classics such as "Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling" or my current fave, "How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell." If you aren't on top of this, you probably should be. Funny, clever web comics. Sage advice and wisdom. And fantastic quizzes like this one.

$4090.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site

My cadaver would only be worth $4090? Sigh.

Take the quiz for yourself here and start keeping tabs on the Oatmeal.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Geeky Guest Stars

When TV shows have guest stars, it's sometimes too much. Over the top. Jump the shark territory.

Other times, the guest stars are almost like a geeky inside joke. Like the writers "get" that their audience loves these inside references, almost like an Easter egg inside the show just for us. No loss if you don't know the guest star, but frosting on the cupcake if you do. Mmmmm, cupcake.

When the guest star role is done well, I love it. Yes, I am a sucker. But it's the little things that make me happy.

Season 2 of Chuck has some great guest stars. Remember how I mentioned that the show reminds me a little of Alias? Well, Carl Lumbly shows up in "Chuck vs. the Sensei." He's the 2nd Alias vet I've seen so far (Kevin Weisman also makes an appearance). I love the Alias peeps showing up in another spy show -- I can only hope that Victor Garber shows at some point.

Gary Cole is in an episode (Chuck vs. the DeLorean), with the possibility of future ones. (You'll remember him from Office Space as Lumbergh, but the dude's been in a ton of stuff.)

Dominic Monaghan (Lost, LOTR, FlashForward) appears as a rocker in "Chuck vs. the 3rd Dimension." Apparently this was the 3D episode, which clearly doesn't come through on the Amazon Unbox. On my nice but regular TV. Without 3D glasses. Oh well, I would never have known if I wasn't looking up actors on the web.

Conan's sidekick, Andy Richter is an evil spy in "Chuck vs. the Suburbs." He can't ever seem to find a break on a show (or maybe he's the curse on them all), so I enjoyed seeing him, particularly as a bad guy. (I'll mention here that Jenny McCarthy was also in this ep, though I didn't really care. Oh, and Nicole Richie was in an earlier ep; again, don't care. They have no geek cred here as far as I can tell.)

And recurring guest for multiple episodes is the incredible Tony Hale. I grew to love him as Buster over on "Arrested Development" which ended way too soon. They keep promising a movie one day; I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one! In the meantime, I love Hale as the slightly maniacal assistant store manager. (PS - in looking Tony Hale up on iMDb, I see that he co-starred with Andy Richter in the very short-lived "Andy Barker, PI." It's like playing 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon or something!)

And I'm only just through half the 2nd season.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Miramax Closes Shop

This geek loves some indie films, so it was disappointing to see that Disney is apparently closing up shop on Miramax. Perhaps the sell-off from the Weinstein's to Disney was a bad call.

It's too bad, since Miramax used to put out some great movies.

How about this gem? (I might need to watch this again; it's been too long. I mean Samuel L. Jackson is just fantastic.)

Or this one, pretty much part of the geek canon.

And this one, from the Coen Brothers and j'dore most all of their films.

Anyway, you can look over the whole Miramax catalog on iMDb and toast the end of an era.

The Passing J.D. Salinger

I was sad to see the news of J.D. Salinger's death. I was a big fan of his books as a young adult (weren't we all?). He might be the first author I tried to read every book I could find. While "Catcher in the Rye" was an obvious one for the teenager in me, I think I really enjoyed "Franny & Zooey" and "Nine Stories." I think I still have copies of all those books, somewhere in storage. It might be time to read them again and see how the hold up as an adult.

Peace out, Mr. Salinger.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One More for the Road

One more because it amused me. Especially the 3D games.

The iPad - watch more funny videos

The iPad is Here!

Whooo, what a day! The Interwebs were overrun with anticipation for today's Apple announcement. The hype around this new "game changing" (I'm so over this phrase) device has been incredible to observe. And it's clear that days like today are one of the main reasons why Twitter is so fantastic. From work, I monitored all the iPad updates, starting with that name.

Think about it.


Do you have to be a woman to get how bad of a name this is? Yeah, sure it sounds like iPod. But seriously? How can I NOT think of a feminine hygiene products every time I hear that name?

Clearly I wasn't the only one struck by this hilarious reflection, as is evidenced by, um, pretty much everyone. (If I could like to multiple sites, I would. But you get the idea.) And then there is this Mad TV ad parody from 2006 or 07 that resurfaced today. I'm glad they already did it so SNL doesn't have to do it again this weekend:

For me, today was more about the spectacle of it all then how the iPad would revolutionize/save/change the world. But, I'm not super clear on what need the iPad fills. As reported over on TechCrunch (here), the device is supposed to be:

A third computing device between a laptop and a smartphone geared towards the “key tasks” of Web browsing, email, sharing photos, watching videos, playing games, and reading digital books. All current iPhone apps will run on the device, as well as new games and digital books designed specifically for it.

However, there are several key things it apparently can't do: no multitasking (this one seems like a no brainer to me...why can't it do this?), no camera, no HDMI out, and no Flash. Also, it's still with AT&T. And starting device cost is $499. So there's that.

It will be interesting to hear more about this one as regular folk get hold of it. In the meantime, I'm going to sit here and chuckle about one of the worst gadget names I've heard in a while.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Working on Inconsistent Font Style

Argh. That's irritating. Will need to consult with other Blogger experts to figure out how to set the one and only font. Please stand by...

Update: Managed to fix all but 1 instance by, gasp, looking at HTML code. Let's just say I'm proud I didn't break the whole thing.

Tomorrow's Apple Tablet Announcement

The web has been a-flutter with rumors and hypothesizing about Apple's impending Tablet/Pad/Slate announcement. Less than 24 hours now and we'll see if the device can possibly live up to the hype.

I like Mashable's post postulating that the idea of the Tablet may be better than it could ever be in reality.

Without fact or confirmation from Apple (though we now have at least semi-official confirmation that a tablet exists), we’re free to envision a world where Apple can breathe digital life into the publishing world much the same way it changed the music space. A world where Jobs can ride in on his trusty iSteed — wearing his iconic black turtleneck — and resuscitate the healthcare, entertainment, finance, and computing industries in one heroic maneuver.

You can read the whole post

And since the State of the Union address is also tomorrow (oh, and Lost premiere! Damn, tomorrow's packed!), check out The iSlate of the Union Address, a la Steve Jobs. I think it's my favorite web find this week.

Then again, it's only Tuesday.

More on The Video On-Demand Experiment

Or "Hindsight is 20/20"

In the clear light of day, I see that I made a big mistake. While the principle of downloading video is great -- immediate gratification and no additional DVDs to store in this incredibly small apartment -- the actuality of storing all the files is not. I found non-HD versions of episodes to download, but I can still see that a whole season will fill up my available PC storage space.

Since I used a gift card to buy the season, I don't feel like this experiment is a total waste, but I am now curious to see if I'm able to "return" unviewed episodes for credit. The cynic in me says probably not.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Video On Demand - An Experiment

This post could also be titled "Why I shouldn't be left unsupervised with technology."

Alright, let me just say that I have a huge appreciation for technology. Heck, I was raised believing we would live in a Star Trek-like future with teleportation devices, communicators, non-invasive medical procedures and a holodeck. But, while I love technology, I can't say I'm totally proficient or comfortable using some forms. For instance, I still don't have a smartphone so I haven't downloaded an "app." I don't often use iTunes (though I have). And I've never bothered to download video. Until now.

I tried to find Chuck season 2 to stream online, but to no avail. Patience isn't one of my virtues, and I couldn't wait for either Netflix or ordering a DVD version. So, I'm giving Amazon's Video On Demand service a try. The set-up is easy enough; you have to download their Unbox which doesn't take long. It's almost too easy to purchase the target item using my already established 1-click checkout.

It might have been the safer/more conservative bet to buy 1-2 eps and see how it worked. But, I'm a sucker for a deal and I got a gift certificate for my birthday, so I said what the hell, let's buy the whole season. In HD. And download it to the DVR computer attached to the 42" TV.

It took forever to download one episode. Perhaps because I was also recording a live program. And using my laptop on wifi. I get it - I tax the system. But 45 minutes to download? Sigh.

And while the HD resolution is stunning (seriously, colors are gorgeous) and there aren't glitches like with streaming video, I can already see that the file sizes are too large to download all of them. This is where the "no duh" comes in, I suppose. "Of course you can't download 20+ HD files to your little DVR and have any room left! What were you thinking?" Lesson learned.

Technology-1; Kassie-0

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chuck (Season 1)

First off, h/t to whomever recommended Chuck to me. I thought it was Katie & Johnnie, they won't claim it.

I'm late to the game on this one. Not a great way to try to prove my geek cred, I know, but I can only follow so many shows at once. So, now I'm catching up via Netflix & the WB website. I've watched the first 10 eps so far, and won't try to comment on each one. (If I can catch up in time to make notes about any of the current eps, maybe then I'll torture you with individual write-ups.)

Here's the series summary (courtesy of IMDB) so I don't have to tread that ground again (plus, they do a better job than I could):

When a twenty-something computer geek inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, CIA and NSA assign two agents to protect him and exploit such knowledge, turning his life upside down.

Overall, I like this show. The cast has a couple of familiar faces (Adam Baldwin of Firefly fame; Joshua Gomez who appeared in the short lived Invasion) but most seem to be newcomers - at least to my TV/movie watching world. The stories are fast-paced, if a little Alias-like. I like the use of popular music in the show; it's clear someone thought about the right song for the scene.

In shows like this, I feel like season 1 and sometimes 2 are often the best because they can explore one-off stories without getting into overly complex continuing sagas. I mean, if the show might get axed, is there really time to get into an ongoing plotline? But I can see the potential "will she/won't she?" story inherent in the romantic tension between Chuck and Sarah being one of those that drags the show down over time.

Since I'm still on season 1 and doing a great job of ignoring spoilers on what's to come, I'll remain optimistic and just enjoy the show.

(I don't know how to embed video clips yet, so here's a link in the meantime.)

Upcoming Topics (aka my "to do" list)

Alright, the hard part's over -- I wrote the first post. Now I can get started with the fun stuff, though I need to do some thought organization first. Here are a list of topics I hope to cover soon, as either I've seen/read it recently or it's been on my mind:
  • Avatar (I think everyone on the planet has about covered this one, so I may wait a while to do anything with this one.)
  • Torchwood
  • Chuck
  • Urban fantasy/science fiction (such as Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kat Richardson, etc.)
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Fringe
  • Twitter/Facebook/other social media sites or news
  • the Internet (yep! gonna write about the WHOLE bloody thing)
  • Tech news (again, all of it! I'm ambitious.)
  • Space news (in honor of my husband)
I use Twitter to follow and comment on quite a bit of tech, social media, and research news, so I'll try to spare the 140 character one-liners here, and use this space for deeper (really? did I just say that?) thinking.

I'm sure the list will grow just as soon as I publish this post. And, of course, something will likely bump one of these. But now I've got to start somewhere and a few topics to work on. Hooray for me.

Welcome to the Nerdy Jungle

So, I've been thinking about starting this blog for a while. Not much to distract me in Mid-January in Portland (rain, rain, and yes, more rain), so now appears to be as good a time as any. Most posts will focus on pop culture and news of the geek variety (movies, TV, comics, technology, internet) but I reserve the right to post about other things that strike my fancy.

So there.

And welcome.