Thursday, June 30, 2005 Weber's babylon or just babble

[Grant] Ashley's "Weber Babylon" appears to be a response to criticism he received after his earlier research led him to speculate that [Stockon founder Charles] Weber owned slaves. He failed to prove his inflammatory assertion.

His critic in that instance, the director of The Haggin Museum, Tod Ruhstaller, again faulted Ashley for omitting historical fact and context.

PAX TV to change name to "i"

The new "i" brand reflects the Company's new network programming strategy - to provide an independent broadcast platform for producers and syndicators who desire to reach a national audience. The Company will begin using the "i" brand name on July 1, 2005, and during a transition period, will run on-screen identities featuring both the new and existing brands and on-air promotional spots informing viewers of the change.
Hmmm, a lowercase 'i' ... I hope Apple's lawyers don't get the scent.

I'd say a TV network with a single letter for its name is weird, but there is E! (although I doubt PAX would want to make its viewers think of that network).

Sunday, June 26, 2005 Project stages worthy edition of 'Front Page'

Gary Armanac (sic) directed with a sure hand this pessimistic comedy of political and journalistic manners that, though somewhat dated, still carries a powerful cautionary message.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

[ All Too Queasy: Virgin Airlines' Unique Collectibles ]All Too Queasy: Virgin Airlines' Unique Collectibles

In collaboration with Virgin Airlines and Activision, LucasArts has released limited-edition airsickness bags to promote the Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith Video Game
This has got to be the craziest Star Wars collectible I've ever heard of. Of particular note is that the 'Art of Jedi Combat' bag notes "Force lightning, although often associated with the dark side, is one of the deadliest and disabling Force powers." Interesting, I've never seen or read of force lightning being used by a Jedi, only Sith (or Dark Jedi).

Sharing the message via comic books

Creating comics is a delicate balance for Christian artists and writers using a medium sometimes viewed as frivolous or tawdry. But Schwartzrock says comics are like movies: They can spread an uplifting message as easily as an immoral one.
One thumb up for covering this topic, but one thumb down for using Zap! Pow! in the lead. How stereotypical and unimaginative.

Entertainment Weekly: Five things you need to know about 'Superman Returns'

2. 'Superman Returns' Should Have Been 'Superman 3'
While technically not a sequel, director Bryan Singer's film picks up five years after the events of Superman 2. (Consider those embarrassing Supermans 3 and 4 forgotten.) ''It puts the first two films in a vague sense of history,'' says Singer, whose respect for the first Superman film is such, he sought director Richard Donner's blessing before taking the job of relaunching the franchise. He even plans to incorporate unused footage of Marlon Brando's performance as Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian daddy.
This was nice news to read, considering one of the previously-named directors had badmouthed that classic. And then there was this quote
"I want to make a movie that in the future, someone can pop in a disc — or a crystal or something — and not go, 'Wow! This must have been really interesting back in the early aughts!'"
Yes! Published reference to this decade's unofficial title! I'm not alone!

Hawaii photos (page 3 of 3)

The third and final page of photos from our weeklong vacation to Hawaii last month is now up on our .Mac HomePage.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Rock star Bono urges EU to open wallets for Africa

Barroso quoted a Bono song to explain why the EU should rise to the development aid challenge ...

"Don't worry baby. It's gonna be alright. Uncertainty can be a guiding light," the Commission chief said.
It's not often I get to see those lyrics (some of my favorite) published by Reuters. Who can name the song?! Oh, and I would call it a U2 song, not a Bono song, but the words are certainly his.

Hawaii Photos (page 2 of 3)

The second page of photos from our weeklong vacation to Hawaii last month is now up on our .Mac HomePage (The trilogy will soon be complete). All the photos on this page are of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We first trekked through it on the ground via car and feet. A couple of days later we got an aerial view via a helicopter tour.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Revenge of the Sith Collectors Cups

These special edition collector's cups tell a part of the climactic Episode III story. Each comes with a poseable action figure and accessory that mirrors the action depicted on the cup.

Megan and I found one of these Target-exclusive cups when the Episode III merchandise first went on sale. The artwork has the same style as Burger King's Return of the Jedi glasses, giving them a nice nostalgic feel. They are plastic, however, not glass, so they shouldn't crack or break as easily.

Hawaii Photos (page 1 of 3)

The first page of photos from our weeklong vacation to Hawaii last month is now up on our .Mac HomePage where all our other vacation photos are located. They are in chronological order and only cover the first few days. The following two pages will be posted shortly.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

U2 Singles

CD Singles are often hard to find in the United States and are usually quite expensive when they can be found (due to their being imported from the UK). And since they only have 1-3 unique songs on them, the total price per song can be as high as $6.

So I was quite happy when U2 published The Complete U2 at the iTunes Music Store. This meant that most of those hard-to-find b-sides were available for purchase at the reasonable price of 99¢.

Unfortunately, they have continued to release multiple CD singles for individual songs (All Because Of You, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, City of Blinding Lights) that are import-only in the U.S. and are not available on the iTMS.

Wake Up Dead Man Record Labels! End this!

Now Playing

Since we have a networked TiVo, I was interested in the Now Playing widget for Tiger's Dashboard. Unfortunately, I was never able to get it to work. So I was a bit surprised to see it listed in's list of The Best Mac Dashboard Widgets. Until I read why they picked it:

I don't have a TiVo, and so I wasn't able to test this widget myself, but if I did, I think I'd use it.
That's how they determine 'The Best'? Boy, I can't wait to read Forbes' list of The Best Companies To Invest In: 'I don't have money or know what to do with it, but if I did, I'd pick this company.'

Oh, and if anyone can tell me why I can't get the widget to work, that'd be great. It just sits and spins while saying XML Downloaded. I'm not expecting you to answer, though, Forbes.

7/23/05 Update: I'm now using version 1.1 of the widget and it works great.

A memorable quote by Rob Enderle

This story has actually been sitting in my blog queue for more than a month now, but the quote still cracks me up.

It's No Party -

But analyst Rob Enderle, head of California-based The Enderle Group, says the so-called 'halo effect' around the iPod is really just a myth. "From what I'm seeing, the iPod simply drives people into the stores, and the foot traffic helps move product," Enderle says. "The iPod benefits the entire Apple product line, but Apple could have done the same thing by having Paris Hilton, or some other celebrity, visit the Apple stores."
I don't know about the rest of you, but having Paris Hilton visit the Apple retail stores would actually make me avoid them. And would it really inspire folks to purchase hundreds of dollars of computer equipment?

Oh, and it's always worth mentioning that The Enderle "Group" consists of two people: Rob and his wife. The guy's been wrong so many times it's not funny. Paris Hilton? Really, Rob? That's what you come up with?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A new logo for DC Comics

A note from the publisher

We've decided this is the moment to do something we've debated for the last few years and introduce a new DC logo. The symbol ... will be spinning onto the whole line in June, and as fast as we can, onto all our films, TV shows, video games, licensed products ... Look for the launch of the film version on "Batman Begins," and keep your eyes peeled to play art detective as you watch.

New logos are tough to pull off, but I think DC did pretty well with this one. The blue may be a default color, but it is not set in stone, as I've seen it on multiple comics now with different color schemes, much like the previous logo (otherwise known as the bullet).

Newsarama has an excellent analysis of how major this actually is at a New DC?, noting how DC must have been chafing at how Marvel was putting their logo prominently in front of all the movies (and even trailers) bearing their characters.

The Front Page

While I was still in rehearsals for "Man of La Mancha," I auditioned for the Stockton Theatre Project's production of "The Front Page." Since the first week of rehearsals were going to take place while Megan and I were in Hawaii, I figured I wouldn't be able to get a part. However, I did get cast as Mike Endicott, a poker-playing reporter for the Chicago Post, who has a tendency to complain about the job. Hmm... It's a comedy set in a newsroom during the 1920s and is (supposed to be) very fast-paced. At the time it was first produced it was considered quite profane ("For God's Sake!") and one of my first lines is a profanity (you know you want to come see it now!)

Astute observers of the cast list will note some other actors from "Man of La Mancha" in the production: Chris Hayhurst (the barber), Parker Cushing (Pedro), Chris McAdams (Captain of the Inquisition), and Jerly Her (prisoner).

Performances are one weekend only: Thursday, June 23-25 at 8 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m.

And yes, this is why I haven't been blogging or writing columns/reviews for the past few weeks.

TV appearance

When Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs opened, we had lined up some television coverage. Unfortunately, the pope died and a small tornado touched down in Sacramento, so the stations recalled their crews. Fortunately, some of them returned the next week and produced some reports. I had the fun duty of doing some on-camera interviews for both, although I only made the final cut of KOVR's broadcast. I actually thought KCRA's story was better (less clich├ęd), though it was shorter.

I've finally been able to convert the recorded clips from our TiVo into QuickTime movies thanks to iMovie and our camcorder's AV->DV pass-through mode. (No thanks to TiVoToGo, grrr) Click on the images below to view those clips. (Tiger users, if you want to save them, you'll have to pay Apple $30, grrr)

KOVR 13 News
2:10 length
2.2MB file size
(5-1/2 minute download via dial-up modem)

KCRA 3 Reports
1:01 length
936KB file size
(2-1/4 minute download via dial-up modem)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Apple to ditch IBM, switch to Intel chips

Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it's scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel's microprocessors, CNET has learned.
Believe it or don't. We'll know on Monday.