Thursday, December 27, 2007

THE DARK KNIGHT: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE -- JULY 18, 2008

THE DARK KNIGHT: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE, from Warner Bros. Pictures, will feature four sequences filmed with IMAX® cameras. This marks the first time ever that a major feature film has been even partially shot using IMAX cameras, marking a revolutionary integration of the two film formats.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays, Star Wars style



30 Years of Star Wars Holiday Cards from Lucasfilm

starwars.com is taking a look back at the last 30 years of Lucasfilm's holiday company cards and pulling out those examples which include a Star Wars theme.
It seems like a great pair of ornaments could be made based on the image above.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 22

This is probably the last podcast with Noah and I for this year...

Year in Review

If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping, be sure to listen to the SkyMall Selection at the beginning.

Then it's on to the Year in Review: iPhone, Vista, Nintendo Wii, unprotected music... What's the verdict at the end of 2007?

The Lamest of the Year are revealed and neither will surprise you if you listened to just two previous episodes. Also, the Picks of the Year. Do you really want this description to give it all away?
Episode 22.m4a (55:57)
The Lame Show on iTunes

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Harry Potter is the new Star Wars

Parallels Between Star Wars and Harry Potter

To the casual viewer, Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter hail from vastly different realities. Whereas Harry's is a hidden Earth community in which the Renaissance never ended and magical creatures abound, Luke's story is set in a galaxy far, far away, filled with spaceships, aliens and other trappings traditional to science fiction.

A keen eye, however, will notice a surprising number of similarities between the mythos, in terms of theme, plot, characterization and even nomenclature.
I noticed quite a few similarities between the most recent Harry Potter film (now available on DVD!) and The Empire Strikes Back (excuse me, Episode V). Great films each.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

10 Unlikely Unleashed Figures

The extremely-detailed Star Wars Unleashed collection from Hasbro shows compelling characters of the saga at their most electrifying moments.

But what about the unsung heroes of the saga -- the bartenders, the clumsy power droids, the fruit stand vendors and librarians -- where are their Unleashed tributes?

This is hilarious stuff if you recognize any of these characters. And it will reward those who have seen The Battle for Endor and (shudder!) the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cox Across America

John C. Reilly to tour as Dewey Cox character from film

Actor John C. Reilly will blur the lines between reality and Hollywood fantasy when he takes his alter-ego, mythical rock icon Dewey Cox, out on the road this month.

In a star turn worthy of fake British heavy metal superstars Spinal Tap, Reilly will perform live in seven cities over the next few weeks as his movie character Cox, as featured in the upcoming Judd Apatow-produced comedy "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."
Don't bother clicking the Buy Tickets links, as it appears that all seven concerts are already sold out.

The Lame Show: Episode 21

This episode is a bit later than planned, but I think it was worth the wait. We are continuing to make small improvements based on feedback and our own expectations.

Duty Free

After an extended break, Eddie takes over the Mexico Moment and presides over the return of the SkyMall Selection.

Then it's off to the big topics: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Amazon's new electronic book device, Kindle. GarageBand and Adobe are nominated to the Lame List. And Vector Magic and Mad Men are commended as Picks of the Week.

The truly burning questions are asked: Should James Patterson paperbacks be duty free? Was the Mac Plus attractive or ugly? Is a Roomba necessary or just cool? Is Adobe more famous as a software company or a building material?
Episode 21.m4a (55:15)
The Lame Show on iTunes

Saturday, December 01, 2007

macCompanion December 2007 review

SimpleDrive Deluxe

With the introduction of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and its spiffy new automated backup feature, Time Machine, external hard drives are even more important than ever. And SimpleTech has an attractive line in the SimpleDrive, ranging in capacity from 250GB to 1000GB (1 terabyte!).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Return of Goofy shorts

Goofy Hooks Up with National Treasure Sequel

Instead of opening with Enchanted on Nov. 21, the new 2D Goofy short from Walt Disney Animation Studios, How to Hook Up your Home Theater, will make its theatrical debut with National Treasure: Book of Secrets on Dec. 21.
It's disappointing this didn't screen with Enchanted for a number of reasons. First, it seems a much better fit. I imagine the children I saw it with would've enjoyed it more than the audience for National Treasure 2 might, especially if the latter is as long as I think it'll be. Second, Enchanted performed spectacularly at the box office during the Thanksgiving weekend. And if Disney is as passionate about bringing back animated shorts as they say they are, that was a big opportunity missed.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Parrot

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious, and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music, and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up, and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot, and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird, and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes, the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said to John, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. Just as he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Marathon 2 on the XBox 360


Postmortem: Freeverse's Marathon 2: Durandal

In the golden days of the mid-90’s, there was only one word worth speaking about games on the Macintosh, and it was "Marathon". Practically everyone who worked extensively with Macs or in an environment with a good number of them on a network knew and loved the game -- a category which includes most Freeverse personnel. When we landed it, we were excited not just for the chance to revisit an old favorite, and not just to port it, but for the chance to truly bring it into the modern era.
How sad is it that this may be the most compelling reason for me to want an XBox 360?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Puffy AmiYumi at Slim's

Three long years after their performance at the Fillmore in San Francisco, Japanese duo Puffy AmiYumi were scheduled to return to the Fillmore during a brief U.S. tour promoting their new album Honeycreeper. And by brief, I mean their tour consisted of five total venues (Puffy AmiYumi creeps around the West). Strangely enough, the venue changed after tickets went on sale and the group instead performed at Slim's, which I've never been to before (although Zoo Station plays there occasionally). It's a much smaller venue than the Fillmore, which meant it was much easier to get close to the stage. I was less than 10 people back from the edge of the stage and I didn't even get there when the doors opened, having driven over from Stockton after work.

American fans are also unlucky because the new album has not been made available for sale here yet. Fortunately, they were selling copies at the show (which were also signed by the duo!). Unfortunately, all of them were sold within 5-10 minutes of the doors opening. If a record label doesn't want to sell the album in the U.S. due to the cost of pressing CDs, at least make it available on the iTunes Store. Sheesh.

As with their previous S.F. show, they rocked. Hard. Even though they're considered a pop group, they rock harder than any American pop stars (and shame most of them). Yet they also played their 'cartoon hits,' like the Teen Titans and Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi themes (which both also rock live). The two took occasional breaks to talk with the audience using English they'd written out on little steno pads; asking if we'd seen their photo in the current GAP campaign and noting how much warmer it was here than in the last two venues (Vancouver and Seattle). The show was a little short for my tastes (only one song in the encore?), especially considering they didn't play a few of my favorites ("Your Love Is A Drug," "Friends Forever," "That's The Way It Is") but they did play a number of songs from Splurge, released last year. But a surprising treat was a blistering cover of Green Day's "Basket Case," with certain song character's genders changed from 'she' to 'he.'

Hopefully they'll be back in the area before another three years goes by. And hopefully I can get a copy of their new album before then.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Guy Named Joel

Joel Hodgson has spent the past decade behind-the-scenes developing a variety of entertainment projects, but he will soon be returning to the silhouetted spotlight when he and the original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 debut an all-new video project, Cinematic Titanic. In preparation for this new venture, Hodgson visited the offices of Lucasfilm, and StarWars.com was granted an exclusive interview.
If you're like me, and remember MST3K with fondness, you'll find this Q&A very interesting. And why isn't Comedy Central or Sci-Fi airing reruns?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mexi-CO!

Although I uploaded the photos the day after I got back, I just now had the chance to write captions for most of them. Unfortunately, there were quite a few things I didn't get pictures of, such as kayaking, the Día de los Muertos political/musical performance, Santo Coyote restaurant, the boutique hotel and the podcast room. It was a great four days. Gracias, Noah & Megan!

Mexico

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Earthquake!

After living down here for nearly five years, I've felt my first California earthquake.

5.6 Earthquake Hits Northern California

A magnitude-5.6 earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay area Tuesday night.

The moderate temblor struck shortly after 8 p.m., about 9 miles northeast of San Jose, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Residents reported feeling the quake, which lasted about a minute, as far east as Sacramento and as far north as Sonoma.
I felt it in Stockton for, oh, about 30-60 seconds. But it seemed like a few minutes at the time.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Joshua Tree 2007

http://joshuatree.u2.com/

Twenty years after its original release, The Joshua Tree has been remastered for release in a series of special formats. As well as a fourteen track bonus-CD of b-sides and rarities, the 2007 release features a live concert DVD from Paris in 1987, liner notes from band and producers and previously unseen photos in a limited edition booklet.
I'm too new of a U2 fan to remember this album's original release. But its songs are undiminished and the album is worth the special treatment. This remastered anniversary release will have to tide me over until they release a new album (2008?) and then I can look forward to the remastered Achtung Baby! in 2011.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wallace and Gromit news

A new Wallace and Gromit short film is now in the works (think "The Wrong Trousers and "A Close Shave"). Visit www.wallaceandgromit.com to watch a video interview of Nick Park talking about the new film. Plus, you can enter a contest to win 2 tickets to the premiere.

Interesting Comment

You probably missed this interesting comment because it was posted on Oct. 10 to an entry dated July 7 (thus long gone from the main page)

I am one of 200 volunteers who appeared in the winning Springfield Vermont video. After we helped our local Chamber of Commerce win the contest, they turned their backs on us. We should have been the first in town to be invited to view the world premiere of The Simpsons Movie but instead we were kept off the invitation list so the more elite members of the community could all be invited instead. And then not even a word of thanks or mention of us in the public ceremony outside the theater. Read more and view our famous winning video now at our new website: The Simpsons Springfield Vermont

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Speak, Optimus!

Create and send a personalized message from Optimus Prime by visiting
optimus.transformersmovie.com

And by 'from Optimus Prime,' that means it is spoken by Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime. Yes, it's all to promote sales of the Transformers DVD (and HD-DVD) but it's pretty darn fun. Here, listen...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Annie Lennox at Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium

We had a very enjoyable evening last night on San Francisco's Nob Hill. Yeah, it was expensive, what with the $40 for parking, but it was worth it to not park 10 blocks away and walk uphill there and back. And though our seats were only a few rows from the back, we were probably only 50 feet away from the front of the stage. So it was a very intimate, classy venue.

She opened the show with "No More I Love You's," which is not a favorite of mine and, frankly, from her least interesting album. But I recognize it was a pretty big hit for her. I still hear it occasionally in malls and such. Thankfully, it was the only song from that album she performed that night.

She followed it with a few more hits from past albums ("Little Bird," "Walking on Broken Glass," "Pavement Cracks"). Hmmm, four songs into the concert and nothing from the newest album, Songs of Mass Destruction? Maybe the biggest surprise of the show was that she only performed three songs from her just-released effort ("Dark Road," "Smithereens," "Sing"). With most artists, listening to less of their newest work is preferable, but her new album is quite good.

Competing for biggest surprise of the show was how many Eurythmics songs she performed ("Here Comes The Rain Again," "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves," "There Must Be An Angel," "Thorn in My Side," "Sweet Dreams"). A welcome surprise. Clips from the old videos (which I was largely unfamiliar with) played in slow motion on a large screen in the back.

That video screen was also used to play a short movie about her trip to Africa two years ago and the efforts she is involved with now to prevent HIV transmission from mothers to children. (For more information, visit annielennoxsing.com) That type of thing can be preachy and uncomfortable, but the mission can't be disputed and the audience was supportive. Despite that, she was largely unable to get the crowd to sing along with "Sing" directly following that. Bono makes this stuff look easier than it is.

The highlight of the show for me was hearing my favorites from her original solo effort, Diva, such as "Why" and "Cold." It only took me 15 years.

Monday, October 08, 2007

And now for news on another solo artist from a popular '80s band who only releases new albums once in a long while...

Gabriel juggling new album with array of projects

Peter Gabriel has resumed work on his next studio album while juggling an array of other projects.

"There are some (new) things," he told Billboard last Friday in New York. "I've been very good at distraction with some charitable things and some Internet things. But I'm now back in writing mode and I'm very much enjoying that."

The Shins and Shaky Hands


Megan and I saw The Shins Friday at UC Berkeley's cool (figuratively and literally) Greek Theatre. It was a good concert, but they somehow managed to not play the one song from their latest album that is my favorite ("Red Rabbits").


The opening act was the band Shaky Hands, also from Portland. I've been surprised at how good the opening acts have been at most of the concerts we've seen in the past year (with the exception of the Morrissey concert).

Now that Blogger supports embedded video, here's a (very) short movie clip I captured with our digital camera:

video

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 20

It's probably the best-sounding episode of the podcast we've ever done, thanks to Noah's new headset microphone.

Sounds Good

Music takes center stage in this episode, as Eddie & Noah (with his spiffy, new mic) discuss Microsoft's new Zune models, Amazon's new MP3 downloads, and the first person to take the record companies all the way to trial over illegal music downloading.

Plus, UC Berkeley puts lectures on YouTube, Ask makes new TV commercials and eBay admits its purchase of Skype was a big waste of money.

Lame List nominations include those complaining about the latest iPhone update and the price cut. Picks of the Week include new albums from Annie Lennox and Radiohead.

The truly burning questions are asked: Will those who download music for free be willing to help pay someone else's legal bills? What products could be advertised during online physics lectures? Can owning an iPhone help you get a date?
Episode 20.m4a (1:07:01)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Kidz Bop their way into live arena

The Kidz Bop World Tour will feature six kids and two young adult lead singers performing with a four-piece rock band in theaters and small arenas. The concerts will also spotlight local talent in each town and offer contests, song-voting and other interactive events, according to a press release.
Surely this is the second sign of the apocalypse. I noticed that most of the tour locations so far are in Iowa, Michigan and Ohio. Does that say something about those states? I'm not certain, just asking.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Radiohead fans can pick their price for new album

Radiohead will release a new studio album Oct. 10, and allow fans to pick their own price when ordering the digital-download version of the album, which will be titled "In Rainbows."
But will the digital download be MP3 or some proprietary format like Windows Media?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Transformers IMAX

After a big movie summer, there aren't a lot of good movies released in September. To be more blunt, it's been a real suckfest of a month at the theater. So in our desperation to see a movie, Megan and I saw Transformers again, but the IMAX version. Although I mostly enjoyed the movie originally, and I'm a big fan of the IMAX format, I was wary about spending $30+ on this combination. So imagine my surprise to discover that I actually enjoyed it more than the regular theatrical release. We both agreed that the battle sequences, which were often visually indecipherable in the regular version, were much clearer and enjoyable. And we noticed additional scenes were added. They were all quite brief (only a couple of minutes extra in total), but still fun. And the sound quality was (as always with IMAX) awesome. So if you're just as unexcited with the Sept.-Oct. movies, live near an IMAX theater and don't mind spending a little extra, check it out.

Foreclosures

Stockton is either the No. 1 or No. 2 foreclosure leader of the nation. But a picture is worth a thousand words and I think this picture of the foreclosure listings in our newspaper is just that (literally?)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cutting-room floor

Although Fighting Port: Stockton in WWII was a very well-made documentary and featured The Haggin Museum prominently, it was missing one thing: my voiceover! Although most people don't recognize their own voice when they hear it played back, I can assure you that it was someone else reading the letters I read. I got positive feedback from the producers, so I will choose to believe that my recordings were misplaced and they were then too embarrassed by the oversight to inform me.

The Lame Show: Episode 19

If you'd like your questions answered on an upcoming episode of The Lame Show, post a comment to this blog or send an e-mail. Hey, it's worked for the latest episode...

Ring Us Up


Eddie defends his opinion from more reader mail. Noah takes issue with David Maynor and ringtones. In other news, SpiralFrog has launched and Palm is struggling.

On the Lame List this week is Apple's new ringtone policy and the fact that Windows 'thinks it knows better' than you do. Picks of the Week include Beck's new single "Timebomb" and the Doves older album "The Last Broadcast."

The truly burning questions are asked: Do radio DJs understand iTunes? Have you had Spanish hot chocolate lately?
Episode 19.m4a (59:28)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stockton in WWII

A while ago, I performed some voicover work for the following documentary, which was produced as a complement to Ken Burns' much-anticipated "The War." Both myself and museum coworker Lisa Cooperman read personal WWII letters. Other museum staff members contributing on-camera work are Director Tod Ruhstaller and Curator of Archival Collections Kimberly Bowden. The completed documentary will air this Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. on local PBS affiliate KVIE.

Fighting Port: Stockton in WWII

This documentary features Stockton's contribution to the war effort with a look at the Stockton Warbird Group, the shipyard, and the Stockton Jeep Project. We take an emotional look at a series of letters written between Stockton soldiers and their loved ones back home, those who kept the city going while many of its residents were away at war.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

'Across the Universe' with Bono

I learned this week that Julie Taymor's long-delayed film "Across the Universe," a love story set in the sixties and inspired by Beatles' songs, features Bono as the character Dr. Robert. He performs "I Am The Walrus" with The Secret Machines. You can catch a short clip here at the official web site. The Deluxe Edition of the soundtrack also includes a version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" performed by Bono. The film will (finally) open nationwide on Sept. 21. It could definitely be a mess, but probably a good-looking mess. Don't forget that Taymor is writing and directing that Spider-Man Broadway musical with music by ... Bono and The Edge.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Annie Lennox brings 'Songs of Mass Destruction' to US

Veteran musician Annie Lennox has mapped a North American tour that will support her forthcoming album, "Songs of Mass Destruction," ... her follow-up to 2003's "Bare." The singer recorded the set in London, Los Angeles and Miami with super-producer Glen Ballard.
On the off-chance you don't know, I'm excited about this. She will be coming to San Francisco in October and I've never seen her perform live, so my fingers are crossed on getting tickets. I always find it amusing how Ticketmaster's page will tell me "You currently do not have any tickets for upcoming events. We can fix that."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007



During the (dreadful) MTV Video Music Awards, Shia LaBeouf revealed the name of the new film as being "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." So ignore anything that talks about 'the City of the Gods' and get the official info from IndianaJones.com.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 18

If you'd like your questions answered on an upcoming episode of The Lame Show, post a comment to this blog or send an e-mail.

We've Got Mail!

Noah and Eddie respond to reader mail regarding Windows vs. Mac OS X and whether or not Apple's iTunes Store is consumer friendly. Then, of course, it's time to rate and debate the new iPod models.

NBC/Universal tops the Lame List, followed by the HP Blackbird (or at least the reactions to the Blackbird). Picks of the Week include "Wincing the Night Away" by The Shins and the Google Earth Flight Simulator.

The truly burning questions are asked: Should people complain when prices drop? How much should a TV episode cost to download? Why are there less Easter Eggs nowadays?
Episode 18.m4a (44:57)

The Lame Show on iTunes

San Francisco photos

Follow the linked image below to see some photos of our day trip to San Francisco (yes, we're nearly a month late uploading them). The Giants lost in less than two hours and Barry Bonds hit his record-breaking home run days earlier, so the game wasn't too great. You'll also notice that someone else took a worse photo than I did.

San Francisco 8/12/07

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

'300' director inks for Bradbury tattoo tales

"300" director Zack Snyder is sharpening his pencil for "The Illustrated Man," a project based on the Ray Bradbury collection of short stories.
Nice to see Bradbury's work will come back to the big screen, especially since Mel Gibson's long-gestating version of "Fahrenheit 451" never came to fruition. And if Snyder delivers with the adaptation of "Watchmen," he'll supplant Bryan Singer as comic fandom's favorite director.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 17

Noah's got a new computer (it's a Mac!) and it seems to have improved the quality of his audio recording considerably. We also didn't have any lag/delay during our conversation, so this episode is completely unedited! OK, fine, there's one edit...

Unedited Return

Noah and Eddie return in an unedited episode with improved audio quality to talk about all (or at least six) of the Apple events that occurred since the last episode: iPhone, iLife, iWork, iSafari for iWindows (ah, you get the picture).

Picks of the Week include Wikipedia edits from interesting organizations and a way to transform yourself into a Simpsons character.

The truly burning questions are asked: Should movies really have anything during the credits to watch? Is a transparent menubar even worth making? Is another spreadsheet application necessary? Does Engadget owe somebody money?
Episode 17.m4a (1:06:06)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Geeks to Hollywood: We Want Wonder Woman! (We Want Her Bad)

In a recent poll of 1.6 million geeks… er, subscribers, TiVo asked which comic book character and/or classic cartoon they most wanted to see given the Transformers treatment. The results: In the comic book category — with Joss Whedon on board or not — the nerds want to see Wonder Woman take flight in her invisible jet like there's no tomorrow — she won 29 percent of the vote. Shockingly, the Green Lantern (I'm sorry, who?!) came in second with 26 percent.
I'm not sure what's more telling, the result of the poll, or the condescending attitude of the writer.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's a new beginning for movie end credits

The scene fades to black, the movie is over, and the credits begin to roll. But wait! Don't leave just yet. You might miss some of the great custom-made artwork being cooked up by today's filmmakers.

Sadly, too many people are getting up and leaving the moment the first credit appears on screen. When we recently saw one of the movies referenced in this article, Superbad, some of the audience actually started getting up to leave before the credits appeared, apparently trying to beat everyone else out. Of course, when they realize there's more fun to be seen, they just s-l-o-w-l-y walk out, still drawn inexorably to the exit, trying to peer over the railing on their way out the exit hallway walking backwards. Sad, really.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

MySpace Dark Horse Presents

At the San Diego Comic-Con, Dark Horse and MySpace announced a partnership to revive one of the most celebrated comics anthologies ever with the launch of a new online comic book, "MySpace Dark Horse Presents . . . " The online series features original content by top creators and premiere artists, all available exclusively on MySpace and free of charge to users. A new installment of MySpace DHP will be made available on the first Wednesday of every month at www.myspace.com/darkhorsepresents.
If this doesn't interest you, what if I said Joss Whedon was involved? And there's a mention of GWAR?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Handlebar

For those of you who are unable to see The Music Man, here's how I look as Salesman #1:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

'Music Man' ready to ring out summer season

Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" is the final offering in the Stockton Theatre Project's third summer season. Staged at Atherton Auditorium, the show is filled with good laughs, tuneful music, touches of vintage Americana and a simple but pleasing storyline that continues to stand the test of time.
You might not be able to tell by the headline, but this is actually a review of the show, not a preview. And a good one, at that.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

'Music Man' of all seasons

Buzz Halsing prefers the complexity of modern musicals to the chestnuts of American theater, and there's no denying that "The Music Man" falls into the latter category.

Indeed, Meredith Willson's tale of Professor Harold Hill and his efforts to swindle the good people of River City, Iowa, is marking its 50th anniversary in 2007. The musical is regularly staged by everyone from professional companies to high schools and certainly qualifies as an unabashed warhorse.
In the main picture for this story you can see the intricacy of the backdrops. In the secondary picture (above) you can see me on the right.

Eddie and Megan Simpsonized

As part of the promotional blitz for The Simpsons Movie, there is a Simpsonize Me site (sponsored by Burger King) where you can upload a photo of yourself and have it transformed into a Simpsons version of yourself (tweaking is required). Megan created versions of both of us, which I think are pretty impressive.


Graphic novel captures 'Heroes'

The hit NBC series Heroes is full of characters that could be torn from the pages of a graphic novel. The odd thing is, except for artwork on the show and a series of online adaptations, there has never been a Heroes graphic novel.

That changes this fall, when DC Comics offers a hardcover collection based on a series of 43 comic-book vignettes that appeared on the Heroes website last season.

You might remember that I mentioned the online comics back in October. The weekly series is up to Chapter 43, since they keep publishing them even when the show isn't airing.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

'The Simpsons Movie' Hometown Premiere Contest

Cast your vote for the Springfield video that best represents "Simpson Spirit" and is most-deserving of hosting the hometown premiere of The Simpsons Movie, which hits theaters July 27. Voting ends July 9 at 11:59 pm PT. Please note that to view this presentation, you need a broadband Internet connection and the latest Flash plug-in (version 8 or higher).
The Springfield, Oregon video is pretty entertaining. Watch the credits, too.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Taco Bell using ripoff of Eels song?

I'm a fan of Eels (the band), and a recent Taco Bell commercial for "Fourth Meal" caught my attention because it uses music that sounds suspiciously like the song "Souljacker, Pt. 1" from the Eels album Souljacker.

First, listen to the song.


Next, listen to the commercial. It took me a while to track it down online, but you can see it if you follow these directions. Go to FourthMeal.com, then click on the "Theatre" link on the bottom. After the Theatre has loaded, click and drag off the "World Stops" ticket and it will begin playing the commercial.

You might be thinking that this is no big deal because musicians routinely license their songs or re-workings of their songs for advertisements. But the singular force behind Eels (Mark Oliver Everett, or "E") absolutely refuses to license his work for commercials (see FAQ). So either E has changed his stance or Taco Bell is doing something untoward. Because their commercial's music is way too similar for it to be an accident.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Marriage of Convenience: 7-Eleven, 'Simpsons'

After months of speculation, the convenience chain has revealed details of its "most massive and complex" monthlong promotion for the July 27 release of "The Simpsons Movie." Starting today, the marketer will remodel overnight a dozen stores in the U.S. and Canada into the Kwik-E-Marts of the cartoon family's fictional Springfield, USA hometown.

Check out this Flickr photo set of a converted store in Burbank, CA.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Big bats back dominant Lincecum

SAN FRANCISCO -- There were a lot of zeros in Sunday's game, mostly under the Diamondbacks' run column, but the biggest zero of all for starting pitcher Tim Lincecum was the one next to the number of walks issued.
We saw this game today and it was exciting despite the fact Barry Bonds didn't hit any homers. Really, how often do you see a 13-0 game? Plus, after it was over, the All-Star lineup was announced.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Guitar Riff

It's been noted by some that the central guitar riff in Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is very similar to that of Boston's "More Than A Feeling." But there are actually a couple of other songs I've noticed that use a similar riff (though it took me a long time to make the connection). Play the file below (requires QuickTime) to hear them and tell me if I'm just crazy (or if there are others I'm unaware of.

Update: It appears that due to Apple's DRM restrictions, that 23-second sound clip cannot be played by anyone else than myself. Good job protecting us all from my pirating ways, record labels!

So try this one instead:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Half Moon Bay photos

Follow the linked image below to see some photos of our weekend visit to Half Moon Bay. As an added bonus, they're the first pictures of me with my new glasses.

Half Moon Bay

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

London, How do I Hate Thee? Let me Count the Ways, 1, 2… 2012

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games ... unveiled the identity of their 2012 games ...

Designed by Wolff Olins at an expenditure of £400,000 (almost $800,000) the logo has been met with expected ambivalence, and, in some unavoidable cases, hatred — actually, so far, in 11,550 cases.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Regal Guest Response System Offered in 114 Theatres

Regal Entertainment Group theatres participating in the Guest Response System invite selected patrons to carry a paging device with them into the auditorium. One patron may participate for each of the theatre’s auditoriums and for each movie showtime. The Guest Response device is a hand-held pager with four buttons. Each button alerts local management of a different problem such as: sound, picture, piracy or other disturbance. When the patron pushes a button, a message goes to a pager worn by a manager which tells them the nature of the concern, and in which auditorium.
I SO want to be a movie narc. Check out the list of participating theatres to see if one's near you (there are five in the Portland area). The HACIENDA CROSSINGS STADIUM 20 in Dublin is one we visit pretty regularly, although the IMAX crowds there are usually quite well-behaved.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mo. man burns books as act of protest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books.

But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.
In the future world of Fahrenheit 451, no one was allowed to have books because the government burned them. But in the true world of 2007, books are being burned simply because no one is reading them.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Nation's Springfields vie for 'Simpsons Movie' premiere

"The Simpsons," the television cartoon satire that inspired cult-like loyalty among millions of viewers worldwide over its 18 years, is set in a never clearly defined but incredibly dysfunctional place called Springfield. That has led to a raging debate about which of the more than 30 U.S. towns named Springfield is the model.
Wow, there's a real Shelbyville, Ill., not far off from the real Springfield, Ill. But what about North Haverbrook?

China's Tech Generation Finds a New Chairman to Venerate

Since the passing of Chairman Mao Zedong, a new chairman has come to represent the aims and aspirations of millions of Chinese youth -- the chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates.
This is a very surreal story. And this quote is maybe the most surreal of all:
"Bill Gates deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize," said the Chinese propaganda officer.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Could Linkin Park, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails Be The Next U2?

Everyone's heard the saying A&R guys have been kicking around for decades to describe the hottest up-and-comers: "the next Beatles." While this title has been liberally conferred upon many acts since the Beatles' prime, no artist has really been as big a hit or had as profound an influence on pop culture as the Fab Four. But U2 have come pretty damn close.

So forget the Beatles — we're more interested in who's poised to become the next U2. Here are some notable candidates.
I've never liked the oft-asked question 'Is so-and-so the next so-and-so?' Why can't the former just be themselves? Why does the latter need to be replaced? The more accurate question that headlines this interesting story is: "Are some of today's rockers modeling themselves after Bono's band of Irish lads?" There are certainly worse people to emulate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

10 Biggest Apple Rumors (that never came true)

With Apple rumors getting spread further around than ever (and regular coverage from national news media), it’s important to remember that many (most?) tend to be either completely untrue or so premature they never come true. So here’s a look back at 10 of the worst offenders.
This is my latest feature-length post for The Apple Blog. I wrote it before I left for Chicago and it published this week.

HOWEVER... I did not give them numbers. The list was never intended to be in any kind of ranking order; they're not even in the order I wrote them.

After reading some comments, I would agree that the PowerBook G5 should have been on the list. I considered it a more realistic expectation and hadn't truly examined the depth of the rumors of its existence. I also smiled when I read "Dugg for pleasantly surprising me by putting the whole list on one page."

Will the third time be the charm with Disney's Muppet revival project?

Jim Hill walks us through the recent history of the Muppet Holding Company / Muppet Studios LLC. Which has blown through a trio of seasoned Disney VPs in the past three years. So now the question is: Does Lylle Breier really have what it takes to restore Jim Henson's once-beloved set of characters to their former glory?
I've seen the Muppets sporadically over the last few years (I wasn't aware of the French language show, though) and wondered exactly what was going on (Pizza Hut commercials?). Thanks to another inside dish from Jim Hill, more fully understand the behind-the-scenes politics.

If you've seen Spider-Man 3, you will probably find this interview interesting. I think it explains why the film was a little more crammed than it should've been. But even with all the new characters and villains, I don't think it suffered as much as the Batman franchise from packing in too much: starting with Batman Returns (3 villains), continuing the trend with Batman Forever (2 villains, 1 sidekick) and ultimately wrecking with Batman and Robin (3 villains, 2 sidekicks)
Talking (Spider) Sense with 'Spider-Man 3' Director Sam Raimi

Primarily, it was a story that featured the Sandman. It was really about Peter, Mary Jane, Harry and that new character. When we were done, Avi Arad, my partner and president of Marvel at the time, came to me and said "Sam, you're not paying attention to the fans enough. You need to think about them. You've made two movies now with your favorite villains and now you're about to make another one with your favorite villains. The fans love Venom. He is the fan-favorite. All Spider-Man readers love Venom. Even though you came from '70s Spider-Man, this is what the kids are thinking about. Please incorporate Venom. Listen to the fans now."
As much as I like the story of the black suit and Venom, I don't think he should've altered things based on Arad's perception of fan desires.

Chicago & Internet Access

I'm currently attending the American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Chicago. Internet access from the conference costs $10 per day. Internet access from the hotel I'm staying at costs $13 per day. This is why I haven't been online since Friday evening. I'm writing this from a cafe one block from the hotel that offers free wireless access.

So to recap: the two places that require a payment of hundreds of dollars to attend ask for an additional fee for Internet access. The one place that you don't have to pay a single cent to is giving it away for free. Hmmm.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Electric Co. Spider-Man

See, this is the Spider-Man I got to enjoy watching as a kid. And nowadays people are complaining about Spider-Man 3 being not so great?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Family Guy steals from The Simpsons

I was aware of certain similarities, but I had no idea there was this much blatant stealing.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 16

Best. Episode. Ever.

OK, maybe I shouldn't oversell it, but I think this one was a ton of fun to record and hopefully will be just as fun to listen to. Ray joined Noah and I for what seemed like two hours, but somehow ended up shorter than the previous episode.

Three Tickets to Lame

Ray returns to the podcast after releasing his new album, Jessica and the Silver Eclipse. He, Noah and Eddie discuss Digg's HD DVD processing key debacle and the departure of PC Magazine's Editor over an Apple story before getting the juicy topic of Summer Movie Season 2007, where Eddie's comic book knowledge is summoned.

Only one thing is nominated to the Lame List, but Noah calls it "the best nomination I've ever heard in my life."

Picks of the Week include Pidgin & Adium, the Wii's Super Paper Mario, and Wil Wheaton's blog at TV Squad.

The truly burning questions are asked: Are Top Ten lists written by lazy authors? Can Galactus be easily explained? Should Wes Bentley's acting result in a ticket rebate? When isn't the Caddyshack theme funny?
Episode 16.m4a (55:51)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Friday, May 04, 2007

Stockton's 'Top Chef' at Asparagus Festival

Stockton chef Michael Midgley, a contestant on the second season of Bravo's Top Chef, appeared at the celebrity kitchen of Stockton's annual Asparagus Festival. I didn't get any good pictures, but I did record some video with our digital camera.

Here's the setup to this particular clip. While on the show, he had a wisdom tooth show up that needed to get pulled out. So the producers took him to a dentist in the Los Angeles area (which he had to pay for). So how cushy must that Los Angeles dentist visit have been?

100_0413.MOV (2:04, 13.1MB)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Better photos of Late Night in San Francisco

Megan's phone takes better pictures than mine (which is fitting, really) so here's a few:

This was taken just after we were given our tickets and moved from the standby line to the ticket-holder line.


We were warned by the staff to put away cell phones or we would be ejected. Megan managed to snap this one image right after we sat down. Note the screens at the right and left where we got to watch the prerecorded segments.


Megan took this one after the show was over and we no longer had any lines to wait in.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why new iPods aren’t quite as good as old iPods

By adding new features to the iPod over time (notes, photos, videos, etc.), Apple has given owners of previous models plenty of reasons to lust after the latest and greatest models. But Apple hasn’t just been adding features to the iPod, it’s also been taking some away. I own a fifth generation (5G) iPod, and compared to my original second generation (2G) iPod, there’s a lot missing nowadays.
This is my third feature-length article for The Apple Blog for April. I'm a little late posting it here because it published while we were in San Francisco. If it seems familiar, it's because it's basically an extended version of this old post from November 28, 2005. I struggled with the headline and don't think it accurately reflects the article (but it's attention-grabbing). And the comments are always, um, fun...

macCompanion May 2007 reviews

I had a couple of (relatively boring) hardware reviews in the latest edition of macCompanion:

Impact 3.5in SATA HDD Enclosure

Most modern Macs use SATA hard drives, which provide tremendous data transfer speed over regular ATA drives. But if you pull that drive out of your computer, it can be difficult to find a compatible enclosure to put it in. RadTech’s Impact line is one such enclosure, but there are some caveats.
TruePower AC Adapter
The AC Adapters that Apple shipped with its G4 PowerBooks and white iBooks are stylish, useful and (generally) superior. But what about when they break down? A replacement adapter from Apple costs $80. Or what if you just want to have an extra adapter – one for your home and one for your work. FastMac has stepped up to meet those situations with its TruePower AC Adapter.

Us on Conan O'Brien in San Francisco

The arrow shows where we were sitting on Monday's show -- the back row of the first balcony. I'm just to the left raising my arms and Megan is on my left (your right). If you click on the image, you can watch a brief QuickTime movie with arm-raising action!



Although we seem very far away from the view of the camera, we really had excellent seats and a great view of both the stage and a screen.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Conan O'Brien in San Francisco

This is probably too late a post for most of you, but be sure to catch Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight (Monday, April 30, 12:35). Megan and I were in the audience, though I doubt you'll be able to see us all the way in the back row of the first balcony level (loge?). Here are some crummy pictures from my cameraphone:







I promise a more detailed post is forthcoming.