Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Few Late Night Observations

  1. GI Joe is even worse than I expected. The special effects are uneven (with some just being ridiculously bad), the story is laughably dumb, the acting is exactly what you would expect from a summertime explodapalooza, and the script is horrible. I’m glad I didn’t pay to see this thing in the theaters. Maybe I could have forgiven some of those sins if the movie looked good, but it doesn’t.
  2. But Netflix streaming over wifi gives me a better picture on the giant screen TV than I get with my cable. Much better resolution, color, everything. This is the kind of thing that makes me think that I might be happy if I killed my cable and got an Apple TV. Then I remember that I really like to watch sports. If it weren’t for that, I would probably get the Apple TV, subscribe to the handful of TV shows I actually enjoy watching, and call it a good day.
  3. Speaking of Apple, how about Apple’s new line-up of products?
  4. Apple TV still isn’t what I really want it to be, but at just $99 I might pick it up anyway. If I kill off the Blockbuster monthly membership, I would probably realize a savings by renting videos through Apple--and do so with a tremendous measure of convenience. It would also be the third product hooked to my TV that could stream video from my Netflix account--which, that just seems like overkill.
  5. The new iPod Shuffle is a step (back) in the right direction. As a reward for sitting through a sales pitch from a company that wanted to sell me marketing services, I was given a free, last generation iPod Shuffle. It’s an amazingly small bit of kit, but it is one of the worst Apple products I’ve ever owned. It’s a pain to control and it has absolutely none of the user-friendliness that I’ve come to expect from the company. If I had bought it, I would have been pretty cranky. The new Shuffle gives it back a normal set of controls at the expense of a little bit of its compact size. That seems like a good idea to me.
  6. The new iPod Nano is a different story, though. I think the last gen version is the one that I would want if I were in the market. While the new Nano has a nifty touch screen, a nifty OS, and looks like quite a nice little media player, it would have made more sense as a iPod Shuffle HD. To change the form, the Nano ditched the video, uses a smaller screen, and loses video playback. Yes, it gained a bit, but I actually liked the idea of using the Nano as an easy replacement for a Flip-class video player. I’m left a little cold by it.
  7. The iPod Touch is a great little beast, though. I have zero need for it in my life, of course, but if I didn’t have the iPhone, I would consider getting a Touch.
  8. Ping is the really confusing product for me, though. I’m not sure if the world really needs another social media site and, if it did, I’m not sure it needs that site to be built into iTunes. I have no idea if it will be successful, but, if it is, then it will probably be the final, welcome death of MySpace. MySpace already feels like a relic from another era (dog years have nothing on Internet years) and it’s just waiting for the final push to send it to the grave.
  9. None of which changes the fact that Britney Spears’ former body guard’s lawsuit sounds like so much bunk to me. The situations he describes as offensive and disgusting--well, let’s just say that I don’t buy his story.
  10. None of which makes me feel better about the fact that I don’t have nearly enough incandescent lights in the pantry. Not sure where to pick them up anymore, either--the stores around us only seem to stock the fluorescent bulbs now. Now, I don’t have a huge issue with the CFL lights except these little issues: I haven’t seen anywhere near the three to five year lifespan I was told that they would give me, they don’t work on dimmer switches, they often take too long to warm up, I’m still iffy on what I’m supposed to do to the pile of dead bulbs that I have in a bag in the closet, and I hate the fact that my choice has been slowly legislated away. Which is precisely why you should read what Lileks has to say on the subject.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Just a Little Random

12 is the Magic Number.
The Avs won the series 4-2 after scoring first in every game and only giving up a first period goal in one game. The Wild were often more aggressive--they pushed the play, the got shots on goal, they hit hard and often. But the Avs had better goaltending, made more of their scoring opportunities, blocked more shots, and never seemed to lose their composure--something that the Wild couldn’t say after racking up over 100 minutes of penalty time in game 4.

Great series. I hope the next one is just as exciting (and blessed with the same happy ending for Avs fans).

Congratulations to Danica.
It’s nice to see that she is both hot and talented. I’d been wondering a little about the talented part.

Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history Sunday, taking the Indy Japan 300 after the top contenders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps.

Patrick finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval after leader Scott Dixon pitted with five laps left and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan came in a lap later.

MacUpdate Promo looks pretty good.
For Mac OS X users, the MacUpdate promo looks like a better bundle of applications than the current MacHeist Bundle. Of course, that’s assuming that they reach the target sales goal and actually release all of the applications to they buyers. There are a few useful applications in it that I’d been thinking about buying, so I’ll be ponying up for the bundle.

Oprah is a pusher.
I try to stay nice on the subject of Oprah since there is much to admire. Her charities have done real good in the world, she’s risen to become one of the most powerful people in American entertainment, and the girl likes her enough to subscribe to her magazine. For that matter, she’s got all the business savvy that Donald Trump wishes he had--and he has the bankruptcy filings to prove it.

Anyway, where my admiration stops is right at the edge of her social and political commentary--commentary that leans less on thinking and more on feeling. That is doubly so when she’s pushing a self-help title of the nature of The Secret. Her new business venture with Eckhart Tolle, though, makes her seem more like a huckster than a reputable businessperson.

Disappointing isn’t a big enough word.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Colorado Avalanche v/ Minnesota Wild: Game 5

Three of five games have gone into overtime. Colorado has scored the first goal in every game. Four out of five games ended with a 3-2 score. The Wild’s poor showing in game 4 notwithstanding--the only game where one team has really pushed around the other, and the only game where one team has almost completely lost its composure--the series between the Wild and the Avalanche has been a tremendously even match.

And Colorado is winning the series against the higher ranked Wild by 3-2 with the next game coming up here in Denver on Saturday. For fans of hockey, this has got to be the best series going right now.

The Wild seem to have a slightly stronger, slightly faster team, and most certainly a more physical style of play. The Avs have had outstanding goaltending from Jose Theodore, they’ve shown amazing depth in talent, and a gritty resilience that has served them well when the puck isn’t going their way. The players have made big plays when they need to with Sakic, Forsberg, Wolski, and Brunett all scoring 5 points in five games--and Milan Hejduk isn’t far behind with four points in those games. The Wild are proving to be a damned good team; the Avs are proving to be just a little bit better.

And I would love to know how many shots have been blocked by Avs defensemen.

That isn’t to say that the Avs will win the series. With games this tight, it could still go Minnesota’s way. What I can say, though, is that the moves that the Avs made in the last off-season and at the trade deadline this year have paid big dividends.

Darling girl still isn’t feeling the excitement, but for me this is one of the best times of the year. Especially when the Colorado Avalanche are making a return to the post-season form that made them such a powerful team in the nineties.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wild v/ Avalanche, Game 2: Just an Observation

I have no idea who will win this game or this series. These teams are remarkably well matched.


Given the Christmasy red and green uniforms, does anyone else look at the Wild and see a bunch of angry elves on ice? Or is that just me?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Go Avs!

Game 1 of the Wild - Avalanche series was a monster. It had big hits, amazing goaltending, beautiful shots, fast skating, a late penalty shot, and overtime. It also had, most importantly, a victory by the Colorado Avalanche in a very unfriendly building. Joe Sakic hit the game winner in overtime--which is about as right as a game can end.

Credit Jose Theodore for keeping the Avs in the game early--and to the whole team for playing an intense, exhilarating game.

It was physical, fast, and exciting as hell. This is going to be a great series. The Avs got the first win, but the Wild were solid all year and aren’t the kind of team that’s going to roll over and play dead.

The only bad part of the night was the injury--it looked like a concussion--to Wild player Mark Parrish who went hard into the boards and never got back into the game. Hope he’s okay and hope he’s back to play in the next game.

If you’re a hockey fan, this was amazing; if you’re not a hockey fan, this is the stuff that could convert you.

Little Break for the National Anthem

Suddenly, for no real reason whatsoever, I’m in the mood for the national anthem.

Long, long ago, I wrote of the amazing version of Opie Gone Bad’s Jake Schroeder singing the national anthem before the Colorado Avalanche home games. Now, through the magic of YouTube, here’s Jake.

Unfortunately, the sound isn’t the best, but it gives a good idea of his voice--and maybe a good idea of why I get a little misty when he sings it. I’ve heard him do it quite a few times and there wasn’t once where I doubted the depth of his respect for the song, his belief in its words.

A little Opie Gone Bad in the extended entry for the curious--and the sound is significantly better.

Read the Rest...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Colorado Avalanche: It’s Like a Freakin’ Reunion

Coming up on the trade deadline, the Avs traded away Skrastins (a solid player who has done well for the Avs in his tenure here) in exchange for Salei. A bit of a surprise to me, and I’m sort of sad to see Skrastins go, but hopefully Salei will give the Avs a good, disruptive defensive player.

More surprising than that is the return of Adam Foote, acquired from Columbus for a draft pick or two (Columbus will get a first round pick and might get a fourth round pick). No complaints from me; Foote, at 36, is still a top notch player and seeing him come back is a thrill. He will be much more immediately valuable than Forsberg and, barring injury, a solid player from his first shift on the ice.

The Avs have loaded up for their playoff run and given themselves a wild card in Forsberg that could dramatically impact their Stanley Cup chances.

This is a pretty exciting development.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome Home, Forsberg! We Missed You.

Peter Forsberg--one of the most exciting and skilled players to ever wear the Avalanche jersey will be coming back to Denver. He may be the spark that the Avs need while they mount a playoff run, or he may be a sentimental favorite who is too far past his prime to make much of a difference.

I’m voting for option one.

“We’re proud to announce to our fans that Peter Forsberg has decided to come back and play with our franchise where he’s enjoyed so much success early in his career,” Giguere said. “His addition should complement our roster and will bring our team to an even higher competitive level.”

Forsberg, 34, spent nine seasons with the Avalanche and won two Stanley Cups, an NHL scoring championship and the Hart Trophy as league’s most valuable player along the way.

But the oft-injured center has been battling foot, ankle and skate problems, and as recently as a week ago advised teams through his agent, Don Baizley, that he was unlikely to return to the NHL this season.

“Over the last several months, I have worked extremely hard in order for this to be possible,” said Forsberg, who has been skating with his former Modo team in Sweden. “I am looking forward to putting this jersey on again.

“I have so many great memories of my playing days in Denver. I’m excited about helping my new teammates and former teammates in the coming weeks, and hopefully I am able to do that in the very near future.”

The truth is that he hasn’t played much over the last few years and his injury problems are well-documented. But coming in at the tail end of the season, playing in essence a shortened season, might work well for an Avs who have struggled this year and for Forsberg to get a better idea of what he can expect from his surgically repaired ankles next year. As experiments go, this one might not pay big dividends for either party.

On the other hand, there are few players that had the strength, speed, puck handling skills, and aggressiveness of Forsberg. Paired earlier in his career with the great Joe Sakic, Forsberg was about as fun to watch as any player in the league.

With Joe Sakic coming back from injury (along with the young, brilliant Stasny), Jose Theodore playing well, and the return of Forsberg, the rest of the Avs season is sure to be interesting.

Read the story.


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