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Last update: 29 Oct 2008 -- 8:27pm
    29 Oct 2008
    Squee! Beatles on Rock Band!

    19 Oct 2008
    Hatchet (IMDB 5.9|Rot 49%)
    College kids go on a haunted boat ride on the New Orleans bayou and are brutally dismembered by a monster. Hatchet makes the cliche fun by not taking itself too seriously. It's not gruesome uncomfortable terror-gore like the Saw films. It's bad-guy-pulling-off-latex-arms-and-legs kind of gore. The writing is in the "Buffy/Angel" vein (in fact, one of the actors was in Buffy/Angel) and is a step above typical horror fare.

    It's worth adding it to your Netflix queue (if horror is your thing).

    18 Oct 2008
    Max Payne (IMDB 7.3|Rot 18%)
    Even with Rotten Tomatoes giving this an 18%, we went to see Max Payne. It wasn't all bad. In fact, I rather liked the first 2/3 of the movie or so. Detective Max Payne is looking for the person who killed his wife and kid three years previously. (And, of course, breaking some heads along the way.) He finally gets a solid lead and begins a vengeance campaign. Which is where the wheels start to come off the movie.

    There's a character who quips "You know what I do for a living, don't you?" Well, I don't, actually. She shows up later on during the climax for no apparent reason, doesn't do anything particularly important, and then just vanishes again. There are couple things like this in the third act which unhinge the movie. I suspect that important plot elements were cut to get the movie down to a PG-13 (or shorten it).

    I liked the overall style of the movie, though, and the more "supernatural" things Max sees are done well. It hit the pitch that Constantine failed at.

    I'd be hard-pressed to recommend even a matinee. If you're at the theater looking for something to watch, it's not an awful choice.

    16 Oct 2008
    Updated the Atom feed so that it provides permalinks to each article. Which means it'll operate correctly as a Firefox Live Bookmark. Yay?

    14 Oct 2008
    Foam Totem hast an Atom feed. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

    Rich has waited in patient contemplation for several years now. He poked me again today and I decided this syndication silliness wasn't just a fad. A couple hours hours of angry validation failures later, and here it is.

    I chose Atom since RSS looked nearly impenetrable. The "WTF" sort of impenetrable. Since I still write my own code for this site, simpler is better.

    Two things were vexing. One, all these syndication formats require a title for each entry, which I do not have. So, the code makes a best guess by using the first sentence or line in the entry.

    Second, the validator (and Firefox) really want clean XML. On the whole, I'm pretty good with my HTML, but sometimes I don't quote attribute values, which is now very naughty. Apparently. So now there's a handful of special cases in there to XHTML-ify my hand-written HTML. Blah blah blah, you don't care.

    13 Oct 2008
    Yes, that's an self-indulgent twitter feed in the upper right.

    12 Oct 2008
    Quarantine (IMDB 5.7|Rot 65%)
    The movie opens with a perky TV person and her cameraman shadowing a fire department for a human interest story. She proves to be very cute and flirty, as are the two firemen she's following around. (Well, one is cute. The other sports a pornstache that Iwan would be proud of.) They are called to an old apartment building, where they find a badly infected woman foaming at the mouth. She suddenly attacks a cop and nearly rips his throat out. They carry the cop to the front door of the apartment and find that everyone is locked in. Surprise! You've been quarantined. The remainder of this plot is left as an exercise to anyone who has watched The Thing.

    It's done well, though. The Shakey-Cam(tm) isn't so bad that I had to avoid watching because I was getting nauseous (I'm looking at you, Cloverfield-- er actually, I'm not). It's tense and moody and you get to see a bad guy killed in a way that I have never seen in a movie before. Close up. So ++ for that.

    The movie, however, is almost entirely RUINED by the trailer. It isn't that the trailer gives any particular fact or twist away. The problem is that it shows a scene that you're waiting for throughout the movie. When it finally happens, you expect it to happen and it's very ho hum. Why do they do that?

    So, I'd say that it's worth Netflix unless you're keen to go out for a matinee.

    There was a preview for the next Bond film before the showing, which somehow made me not excited to see it. That's an astonishing feat. Somehow, the trailer drains everything that is stylish, cosmopolitan, and sexy about Bond and replaces it with gritty action shots. Yes, Bond means action. And I love the new grittier, angrier Bond. But Bond can also chase down a bad guy out the smashed front windshield of an airplane, land in an exploding sewage treatment plant and look sharp and together the whole time. It's about style, baby, style.

    9 Oct 2008
    As I expected the bailout has done absolutely nothing to stem the market's hemorrhaging. I am watching my portfolio's market value dwindle. It's down around 27% since I re-did my positions two years ago. Yay me.

    Right, so is now the time to panic? Actually, January was the time to panic. I knew by then that the housing bubble was going to be ugly. But noooooo, I left my money there. Genius!

    I wonder: will my generation be the first to never see the magic of compound interest? Interest rates have been so low for so long that it has long felt wasteful to keep money in a savings account. Inflation (though low) has still been higher than the return on a savings account. So, what have many people done? Plow it into the market.

    So, is it time to yank it all out of the market? I could buy guns and ammo instead. If my weapons are better than yours, I can TAKE your gold bricks. And water. And gasoline. Which I'll need shortly when we are all living in some hellish post-apocalyptic wasteland caused by the collapse of western civilization.

    Who will rule Bartertown?

    5 Oct 2008
    Today was the San Jose Rock and Roll Half-Marathon. I had trained a bit for it. I was running farther for my usual runs (6 or 7 miles) and also tossed in some long runs to make sure that I could actually run for more than two hours straight. I tapered down the last week and did some fast 3 miles runs and yesterday I did a slow 6 miler to get stretched out.

    I'm not into races for the speed thing, really. When I run I don't wear a watch and I only vaguely know how fast I run. When I registered they asked for my estimated finish time. I guessed that I could do ten minute miles for the whole way, but it was a huge stab in the dark. I guessed I'd finish in about 2 hours and 10 minutes.

    The auguries were not good for this race. On Tuesday, I had some how sliced open the back of my right foot at the spot which rubs on the shoe. By Friday I had gotten it to the point that it wouldn't bleed all over the place or hurt, so that was nice. However, on that same Friday, I got a minor blister on the ball of the same foot near the big toe on the outside. It rained for the first time since March or something yesterday as well. Heedless to these signs, I got my stuff together Saturday night for the race.

    It is dark at 6:30am, I learned. Got my stuff together and Kat drove me to the race. Kat came to cheer me along and answer any potential phone calls from EMTs. The day was beautiful and cool. Couldn't ask for better weather, really. Saying farewell to Kat, I dropped my bag off at the check and retied my shoes for the fourth time. I was feeling pretty good, actually. I was afraid that I'd be cold as I waited but it wasn't that bad.

    The people who run SJ R&R race have the stuff together. It's a really well-run race. There's "street signs" telling you where the various gear check, start line, medical tents, and so on are located. The good signage continued through the race and even the post-race fairground. These signs were useful because I had forgotten to protect my manly nipples before leaving home. The medical tent gave me some band-aids which I tore apart to make very manly pasties. They also had bananas and water, which was very welcome. I had half a banana and maybe three swallows of water.

    I found "Corral 6" (which divides runners by approximately how fast they run) and did some final minor stretching. I didn't have to wait long before the race started and we began walking towards the start. There are a lot of people at this race and anything more than walking would have been dangerous. The streets in San Jose are pretty wide, though, and at the start it was open enough to run reasonably.

    I took off at a slowish, comfortable pace. I need about a mile to really get in the groove. There were a few bands (a pep band from a school, a jazzy band, a band with mariachis) along the way to the 5k mark. I had started slow and then I noticed I started going a bit too fast due to the excitement. By the 5k mark I had settled down and was running what I felt was a comfortable and sustainable pace. I was very surprised to see the official time at the 5k: I was running faster than 10 minute miles for sure. I wasn't sure how much faster since I crossed the line some minutes after the official time started. But I felt good and just kept going.

    But the internet knows what I did not. 5k split: 29:33 which is a pace of 9:31.

    Things were uneventful (people cheering-- I often cheer back, a band here and there) until mile 5 when I saw Kat and surprised her with a big sweaty hug.

    I walked every water stop (there was one every two-ish miles) and had a swallow of Cytomax (Gatorade-ish stuff) and a couple rinses and/or swallows of water. If I don't walk these, I end up drowning myself. The weather was still great. Never got too hot but I was worried I'd underhydrate so I forced myself to stop and at least put the water in my mouth.

    Around the 10k mark the race front runners crossed our path and we cheered them on. Holy crap I couldn't believe they are that far ahead. Jerks. The internet provides. 10K time: 58:45. That's a 9:28 pace for the section.

    My right gluteous was complaining a bit by now. I have had problems with it off and on since early in the year. I just ran through it and tried to focus on keeping my back relaxed which seems to help. At the 10k clock I could see that my pace wasn't changing too much. It was just annoying.

    Everything was uneventful until around mile 10. Around there, my right knee started complaining a bit. It was feeling really tight. I changed my cadence some, switched sides of the street, and did other stuff to try and loosen it up. I was worried that it might lock or something. At 11.5 miles or so there was a water stop where I walked as always. I stopped at the end and did some quick stretches for that knee. This helped quite a bit and I took off again.

    At mile 12 (which was across the street from 5, basically) Kat was there cheering for me. So I gave a big sweaty hug. Enjoy! With a mile and a bit to go, I knew that I had enough to go a bit faster. So, I stepped it up a bit. I was worried after a bit that I went to fast, but the crowd was cheering and I crossed the 13 mark and could see the finish line. I kept it up and crossed the line at that pace. Probably couldn't have done that too much longer. The official clock said 2:09 something. Woo Hoooo! My real finish time: 2:02:26, a pace of 9:21 over the last section.

    My last purposeful half-marathon was 2:24. A 22 minute improvement!

    OK, time for my next dose of Ibuprofen...

    6703 Shannon Posniewski M 40-44
    Half Marathon Start: Gun 8:02:03 Chip 8:05:45
    Splits:5 Km10 Km10 MiFinishO'AllSexDiv

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