Friday, October 27, 2006

Dave Strom's Nov 2006 vote endorsements (Say you love it! Say it!)

Vote. And use paper, lest your electronic vote be changed to Republicans only (blech).

Here is the main page for my November 2006 Election Endorsements. For more direct links, see below.

Here are links to my picks for the California Propositions. Or you can just scroll down to read them sequentially.

Here are links to my picks for the California Politicos. This time, I have a lot to choose from.

Here are links to my picks for the San Mateo politicos. Or you can just scroll past the California Propositions to read the San Mateo stuff sequentially.

To make up my mind, I read my voter guide. I read (the San Mateo page) to find more information on local candidates and issues. I also used the San Francisco Bay Guardian for more information about the state propositions and the California politicos. As usual for the local non-partisan candidates, I also googled some local newspaper articles and included the links.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The War at Home: Blow-by-blow account of TV that blows

I am watching "The War at Home." I want to see how bad TV can get.

The show starts with the father saying, "What?" And the audience laughs. Dumb audience laughs at what? I am guessing that the experimental CIA mind control gas is in beta-testing there.

The son has his father take him to a comic book convention. Wow, lotsa easy laughs coming right up!

Then the two kids in the hotel room stretch their voices into nerd. That joke is really tired. And they are wearing costumes? It might have worked if the costumes were more elaborate: these look like stuff from the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.

Whadda ya mean, kid, "ya can't go if you don't wear a costume?" MOST PEOPLE DON'T DRESS UP! Sure, some do. I go to comic cons, and most of the costumes look like the nerds put some work into them. Some guys actually fill out the Superman or Batman or Spider-Man costumes well. In fact, some chicks look pretty hot in their Power Girl / Supergirl / Wonder Woman costumes. And comic con costumers love having their picture taken. Woulda been a good gag. But the ignorant writers put NO CAMERAS in this show. The writers could have gotten a good gag with, for example, fans whose costumes do not fit the character; I will never forget the comic con where I saw a 350 pound Captain America running across a street. But these writers do not research. I bet this show is too cheap to show real comic book stuff cuz they would have to pay a few cents for the rights. The Simpsons would not cheap out! But these cheapo writers use "Zoltar." ("Fairly Odd Parents" made up The Crimson Chin, hired Jay Leno for the voice, and they mined gold with it!) I bet these writers got "Zoltar" off a shampoo bottle.

Look, trying to have the two kids act like geeks is not working. The writers have never been to a comic con. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said about horse races, their ignorance screams to the heavens. They can't write geek. In fact, they can't write, PERIOD!

Why is the mother saying about her daughter: "I want her to like me"? She should be a mom, not a teen. Not funny, not smart, just lazy writing.

The dad took a toy out of its box. I have never seen a more boring take on the NRFB * gag than this. Take a tip from the Joker: if you have to explain the joke, you don’t do it!


The kids missed Zoltar cuz daddy watched the football game (how original). Hey, the dad actually said "Captain America?" You mean they put in a real comic book reference, but not a real costume? Note: I have never been to a San Diego Comic Con without seeing Star Wars Storm Troopers and Klingons. How hard would that have been? And the set looks like it cost $1.95!

The kid sez, "you are a worse father than Darth Vader!" Sorry, The Simpsons coulda made that funny. Not these losers.

I am actually grateful for the commercial break.

Oh no, the show is about to start. Shoot me now.

You know, if the mom could bend over more in front of the camera, I could at least see her cleavage. I'd be entertained by SOMETHING.

OK, let me guess. The father is seeing Zoltar in the bathroom (at the urinal, ho ho!), and I am right, Zoltar is a jerk. Boy, I am so surprised. Now I bet the son will stand up for daddy when fans attack him. Yep, I am right again. Oh man, the kids says, "Haven't you ever been at a baseball game and yelled touchdown?" NOBODY IS THAT DUMB! NOBODY!!!! I am not a sports guy, I don't even like the concept of competitive sports (why does someone ALWAYS have to lose for ANYONE to win?!?!?!). I am a nerd. And I was never that dumb. But the writers of this show think I am. I notice that line did not get a laugh. I guess the CIA mind control gas ran out by then.

They bleeped out the father using the F word. Twice. The audience giggled. Not a sophisticated crowd here. Look, "Repo Man" knew how to use the F word, and you guys don't! Stop trying until you know what to do with it!

I have no idea why The War At Home was renewed. Maybe Rupert Murdoch likes the mother's cleavage.

* OK, I'll tell you. NRFB means Never Removed From Box. These writers are NRFH: Never Removed From Hollywood. Hack writing at its hackiest. Thank god "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" came on later. It is a rerun, but it is mending my brain nicely.

Hmm, was it a real audience, or only a laugh box? Either way, they needed more CIA mind control gas.

Friday, September 15, 2006

About the writer for the Fantastic Four Movies

I think that they are hiring the same writer (which is what counts the most for movie quality) for Fantastic Four 2 as for the first movie. Zak Penn. (That sounds like a name the studio made up to hide a stable of hack writers!)

Here is Zak Penn's track record on and my opinion of it.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): Only fair. Enjoyable due to the performances and the special effects, but the story did not feel as good as X-Men 1 and 2.

Fantastic Four (2005): Sucks and blows, he dissed Doctor Doom for no good reason whatsoever (making him an American yuppie was not an improvement), and what's with the 20-foot-high Jiffy-Pop lid?

Elektra (2005): Sucks, sucks, and a cute little girl to rescue does not add heart if the story sucks. Read the damn comic book, and take out the dumb CGI ninjas (bleh)! Electra is the world's most feared assassin who would make Hitler, Stalin, and bin Ladin wet their pants if they knew she was on their trail; she's not a CGI slicer. Saw it on Cousin Ben's TiVo, so I did not pay any $$$, and I still feel ripped off.

X2 (2003): X-Men 2. Pretty decent story. But he had help with this script. Maybe he only added a little suck.

Inspector Gadget (1999): Crummy. Dumbed down for little kids, with about 20 seconds of almost PG-13, half-assed, cutesy adult jokes, but no adult brains. Watched most of it on the Disney Channel. I said that considering the source cartoon, they had nowhere to go but up. Looks like they are afraid of heights.

Last Action Hero (1993): I liked it better than the critics. But without Arnold, it would have been lots worse.

Suspect Zero, Incident at Loch Ness, Behind Enemy Lines, PCU: did not see them. I am not rushing to Blockbuster.

My verdict is that FF 2, if this guy heads the script, will BLACK HOLE SUCK.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Anti-American Duck

As a fifty-year-old comic book reader, I am telling Mallard Fillmore (July 8 comics) that gay comic book characters (like the new Batwoman) are nothing new. Just ask Northstar, Pied Piper, the couple Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass, the Rawhide Kid, or Rainmaker (lipstick lesbian, yow!). I'll believe you are an "actual conservative journalist" when you do some research.

And you are not a conservative either. Your dress code is Cartoon-first, America-a-distant-second: No pants! Think of the children! Batwoman wears a tight outfit, but she has the decency to cover up!

Mallard, stop sitting on the couch with your feet pointed towards me. Yuk!

And DC Comics, hire a good writer. Batwoman locking lips with Catwoman could be hot, but it won't sustain a story.

(Sent this to the Mercury News also. And I put it here so it won't go to waste.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Liberals are hogs too.

The July 5 Mallard Fillmore comic says that "(liberals) are calling for federal legislation requiring that liberal books be more popular" because Ann Coulter is "hogging" the New York Times best-seller list.

Unlike that duck, I googled for a few minutes and found liberal books that hogged said list:

Mark R. Levin's "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America"
Glenn Greenwald's "How Would a Patriot Act?"
Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right"
Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men"
Jim Hightower's "Thieves in High Places"
Joe Conason's "Big Lies"
Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose's "Bushwhacked"

Seems that a duck, having a brain the size of a marble, won't do research.

P.S. I just sent this to the San Jose Mercury News. Maybe they won't print it, but I will.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blade the TV Series, summer colds, and bye bye iMovie

I watched the pilot of the Blade TV series. OK, but not enough to make me want to burn it to a DVD. The problem? Wesley Snipes left really big boots to fill. So I can't really fault the TV actor much for his perfomance. Maybe he needs to work a little harder to fill those big boots. However, I can fault him for using the name "Sticky Fingaz." Am I supposed to be impressed by that? Do your friends call you "Sticky?" On a hot day, do they call you "Gooey?" Or "Runny?" How about "Gummy" when the air gets dry?

Speaking of dry, I hate summer colds. They turn into dry throats that take forever to go away. Kaff, kaff. Dry throats feel worse on hot nights. Ugh.

P.S. On my iBook G4 (800Mhz, 1 gig RAM, 60 gig HD, DVD burner installed), iMovie 06 won't play my latest video project, but Final Cut Express does. Pretty ironic, huh? iMovie 06 has a playback problem (really bad stuttering) when you have a large number of audio clips. Or maybe a lot of extracted audio. Anyhow, it made editing nearly impossible. Good thing I wanted to make the switch to Final Cut Express anyhow.

Monday, June 12, 2006

New desktop PC is on the way.

2 gig RAM. Pentium D 930 (dual core, 3 GHz). 500 Gig Sata II hard drive. ATI All-in-Wonder graphics. Asus motherboard and a firewire card. Plextor DVD burner. And a floppy disk (whoopee). Dual-boot: Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux.

My friend Frank Lemmon helped me do this. I had put together all the hardware. But being of a a slightly wimpy state of mine, I went to Frank's for help and hand-holding. Plus he and his family fed me a delicious hamburger and corn. Mmm.

Here is how it went.

Overheating: solved.
When we first powered up the PC, it would only stay on for about 10 to 20 seconds. Frank (and I, I guess) determined that the CPU was likely overheating. Frank called a friend who suggested (among other things) that I check how well the CPU was seated. I took the fan off the CPU, and took the motherboard out of the case (grumbling a bit, but Frank thought it was needed). And the crazy push-pin things that Pentium uses to seat the fan on the CPU? Took a while to finally get them seated right, and I could not have done this if I had not removed the motherboard. I was pretty worried about the little square of thermal stuff between the CPU and the fan, but it help up. The PC then powered up and stayed powered up.

DVD drive IDE cable: solved.
First, I plugged it into the Secondary EIDE channel. Windows only partly installed, and then said there were fatal errors. I can't remember how we decided that we needed to change the DVD cables. Well, Frank asked for some reason, and I told him. You can't have a secondary on IDE without a primary. So we tried Primary EIDE. No go. Frank checked the motherboard manual: EIDE is for hard drives, not a DVD burner. Plugged it into Primary IDE. After we messed a little with the DVD jumpers (I think we changed it to Master), it worked. Windows began to install.
Note: Since the hard drive is SATA II, it was plugged into a SATA port, not IDE or EIDE.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 fussiness: solved.
Windows XP installed. I think at the start of the install, it asked how we would partition the hard drive. We decided to split it up into 4 partitions, but we only made the first one now: 100 Gig for Windows XP and any programs I install. Windows installed, but we had to reboot and reinsert the Windows XP CD a bit to get Service Pack 2 to install OK. Probably this was because we tried another Service Pack 2 CD the first time, when we should stuck with the original (since Windows and Service Pack 2 were on the same disk, although it was hard to read that off the shiny silver holographic CD labeling. Well, Windows finished the install just fine.

Ethernet under Windows XP did not work: solved.
Frank just messed around with this stuff until it worked. Shoulda watched what he did a bit more closely; motherboard Ethernet under Windows is always fussy. But the Ethernet, including the gigabit Ethernet, started working.

Firewire card: worked fine, no tweaking!
We checked the Firewire setting: Win XP control panel says it works fine. I will try to read a firewire drive soon to make sure. The firewire is from an Adaptec card, since the motherboard did not have any.

Ubuntu partition and install: worked well, but took figuring out.
It took a few tries to figure out how to make the partition for Ubuntu: a main partition (a bit less than 100 Gig) and a swap partition (4 Gig, in case I ever jack up my RAM to 4 Gig). We partitioned OK, but it took a few tries (hitting the back button a lot) to get Ubuntu install to get those partitions to show up for the Ubuntu install (no, Ubuntu, do not ask to install over the Windows partition, see the NEW partitions, c'mon, see them already!). And Ubuntu installed, but then...

Ubuntu video with lotsa fussiness and scariness: finally worked.
At first, Ubuntu said it would not work with the video. Frank and I thought that my video card--PCI-Express ATI All-In-Wonder--was not going to work with Ubuntu. But we did something. Maybe telling it to run in safe mode? But after a reboot or two, the video started working fine. At least, it looked fine. Certainly the resolution is better than 640x480.

Startup: Run Windows by default.
Frank used vi to edit the menu.lst file to make the Windows partition the default for startup. Which is what I requested.

To do over the next week or so to finish up:
Install all my drivers. Video card, maybe USB drivers for my Adapted card, any drivers I will need for Ubuntu, a firmware upgrade for my DVD burner, etc.
Update the drives and Windows.
Finish my disk partitions: one 200 Gig NTFS for data and video, and one 100 Gig FAT32 for Windows and Linux to share. I know that Ubuntu can read the NTFS partitions, but it can't write to them. We tried.
Install all my Windows software. Including OpenOffice. Since I have Microsoft Office on my Mac, I decided not to buy it for the PC. I might buy it later if I truly need it.
Make sure I get everything running on Linux. The Ethernet ran OK with no tweaking, which surprised me.

This PC seems very fast. And it is a cool black case (Antec Sonata II). I am looking forward to finally having a decent desktop for Win XP AND Linux. My next computer purchase will be replacing my iBook with a MacBook. But not for some time.

OK, I just wanted to write this tonight, since my throat was scratchy and I wanted time to fix and drink some soothing pomegranate tea. Up late again. Oh well.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Dave Aye's June 2006 Election Picks!

My June 2006 election endorsements.
Read them. Use them. Reply on my blog, or email me and I will post your reply on the blog. Knowledge is power. If I disagree with your reply, I might post something about that. But time is short cuz I am down to the wire again. I did a little video for a friend; I needed to finish that first. (And the formatting is a little screwed up on this post; too much space between lines! I will fix that later, and apologize now for the irritating appearance.)

Here are links to my picks for the California Propositions.

I have no endorsements for the partisan offices, like governor, attorney general, and other great stuff. Who do I have to choose from? Green Party people. I won't waste my time telling you how I am voting here, since no one I know would find that info useful. When, oh when, will I register as "Decline to state" to allow me to vote in any primary I want? I like that the two demo governator wanna-bes are sniping at each other. Maybe I coulda voted against a jerk, and smiled nastily when doing so. But NOOOOO, I hafta choose from clean moral boring Greens! I am gonna take care of this. I'll stay Green, but I won't tell the state.

Here are links to my picks for the San Mateo issues.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

TIme to update the blog. Desktop, Colbert, Comics

Do I really have anything worth saying right now? Well, maybe if I start typing...

To my friends and relatives: I am rebuilding my PC desktop. I put it off long enough. I do wonder how long it will take to get this thing up and running.

To the Washington Press Corp: Your reaction to Stephen Colbert's speech showed you to be (surprise, surprise) a bunch of pussies. Long may The Colbert wave!

Do you know when people are making hotel reservations for the July San Diego Comic Con? 6 months early. SIX. MONTHS. EARLY. I guess the comic book world is still doing well. Better make my reservations by Halloween.

I admit, I will buy the Civil War storyline from Marvel. DC and Marvel have to do these crossovers to keep sales up. Lately, Marvel had been smart enough to work with relevant and interesting story topics. House of M: what if the oppressed mutant minority was at the top of the social scale? Civil War: all mutants and superheroes in the USA have to register with the gubmint and git a gubmint job, and git their masks yanked off in front of cranky congressmen, and git stuffed into a database that the gubmint says will not be abused, we PROMISE, really really. A certain segment of the population being treated like potential crooks because of an accident of DNA? Sounds awfully familiar.

And what is DC's latest crossover? Infinite Earths Get Reshuffled Again, But This Time In An Even Grittier Way Cuz A Spare Superboy Goes Nutzoid! Can you say retread?

That is enough for one post. Later.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Doves creep me out.

I recently got a phone call from The Dove Foundation. The first words out of his mouth were about trying to get my help in cleaning up today's movies. Gives me a good idea of Dove's real motives. I decided to google Dove Foundation.

They don't write reviews. Instead, they write how each movie fits the "Dove Worldview." As in Kicking & Screaming: "It is Dove’s policy to not award any film with the Dove Seal if it contains a curse such as "go to hell" or "damn you" because those statements are cursing a person to hell. A movie can have a "what the hell" or "damn" and still be approved because those statements are not curses but are obscenities. "

So I say to Dove: thanks for the distinction. Now go to hell and damn you for calling me at home and blocking your phone number from my caller ID. That is breaking into my home and screaming in it. And you kept talking over me with your creepily moralistic voice when I tried to answer you. Not only are you an uninvited guest, you are a rude uninvited guest.

I admit that a lot of the stuff in the violence ratings is accurate. When a guy's, uh, organ gets ripped off, as in Brokeback Mountain, that is not kid-friendly. But is "Girl pushes girl off a pier" in Aquamarine really worth a rating?

Here are a few more Dove ratings on certain categories. Enjoy. Or squirm in fear. (My comments are in parenthesis.)


The Shaggy Dog. Kissing between husband and wife. (Really. Do you tell your kids about the stork?)
The Family Stone. Homosexual male couple adopt baby. (They should have stuck this one under a "homophobia" category, which they don't have yet but should.)
March of the Penguins: While the actual act is not shown, it is obvious by the music playing in the background that two penguins are going to consummate their relationship. (They gave this porno a Dove Seal anyway.)

(I am not kidding, that is something Dove thinks needs to be rated.)

Aquamarine. Girls jokingly pray to the gods of love and later to the god of hurricanes.
The Shaggy Dog. The Buddhist meditation in the beginning. (Kooky AND bigoted! Congrats!)
Miracle at Sage Creek. Indian singing over boy for healing. Nothing major. (This is not as scary as a Buddhist?)
Bloodrayne. Vampires vs. Humans with no mention of God or Satan. (I guess vampires can't be atheists. Or Buddhists.)
Wolf Creek. Talk of UFO's. (Wrong category. That belongs under "stupid".)
Hoodwinked. Goat has been cast with a spell so that he must sing everything he says. (Demonic karaoke! Hide the kids!)
Bewitched. Throughout the film spells are cast; witch makes things appear and disappear; witch runs time backwards; woman puts a "hex" on a man. (Is it in Deuteronomy where the reader is told to whack witches? As in Tony Soprano whack.)
King Kong. Ancient tribe dances and seem (sic) to be in voodoo-like trance. (Give them a break, it was not even hip-hop.)
Fantastic Four: References by villian (sic) of being a god. (Read
my review on my writing page. The comic book Doom is the one who can take on the devil, not this yuppie movie Doom.)
Monster-in-Law. There was use of Horescopes (sic again, would you please use a spelling and grammar checker?) and tarot cards towards the beginning of the movie.

(Dove missed a big occult rating for Because Of Winn-Dixie. The only way a dog can smile that massively creepy smile is through demonic possession.)

(the category where they stick whatever they don't stick elsewhere)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The film mocks religion through a zanny (sic, sic, sic!!!) "church service". There is talk about God and his mistakes. (OK, you explain malaria. I can't.)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Two effeminate men walk dogs; Loompas worship cocoa beans. (I told you they needed a "homophobia" category! Add the first one to that, and the second one to "occult". Dove, I offer my services as a tech writer to help you out, if you can meet my hourly rates.)


I will stick with Dove soap instead, since that will actually clean when used as directed.

I have nothing against rating a movie on kid-friendliness. That is a good idea. But Dove bases their ratings on their version of Christianity. Non-Christians have families also. Buddhists are not grown in test tubes.

P.S. I have seen a cleaned up version of the movie Repo Man, and replacing "fuck" with "flip" sucked 90 percent of the humor out of it. Mark Twain said it best: "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."

P.P.S. For those of you who say that Repo Man and its swearing-stuffed script is not steak, I quote Yukon Cornelius from Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer: "You eat what you like and I'll eat what I like!"

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cinequest is over.

Saw lots more movies.

God and Gays: Bridging the Gap. I liked this. It is an interview type movie, without the obligatory interview with homophobes. This is good for my blood pressure, although my imagination does not get a workout when I can dream of ways to skin homophobes alive and then pour salt on them, and laugh hysterically as they scream and dissolve. Anyhow. The most interesting, and most sympathetic character, is an older woman whose lesbian daughter had died, and the older woman had not reconciled before the death. The older woman is now heading a group to help gay Christians. She has lost a lot; most of her former friends will not speak to her now that she lost her homophobia. (Where's the salt?) My only nitpick: it needs titles to show the subject matter of the interviews. I suggested that to one of the filmmakers.

Sound Man. Great! Any movie with clips of Les Paul is going to be good. And the history of sound recording, with lots of interviews with musicians? Wonderful.

The Ape. Very good. One of the writers has written for Spongebob Squarepants, and I could see some of that humor here. But this is adult, and the ending is not happy. A great study of a would-be writer.

Hard Scrambled. A wonderful surprise, about a guy working at a diner who used to break legs for a living. Starring Kurtwood Smith (remember him from Robocop?), and he was excellent. His phone conversation at the start to a guy who wants to intimidate someone is perfect. An unexpected twist at the end. Great characters. And I just happened to see it because I happened to be around. Life is nice sometimes.

Little Athens. Interesting study of several loser kids. But an unhappy ending that is not necessary at all. Random bullets are almost always gratuitous.

Shorts Program 4: Animated Worlds.
Mysterious Geographical. Excellent. Fantastic imagery done with black cutout-type figures, and a very compelling story, and a grand sacrifice at the end.
The Flooded Playground. Bored me. If I want to see a baby's view of the world, I can watch Teletubbies, and that is a more interesting program anyhow.
The Boy Who Feeds Cats. Depressing. Don't need that. And I don't need to see someone die from mouse turds either. That's just gross.
Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot. EXCELLENT!!!! A great story of taking a weakness and turning it into a strength. The creator of this said he based it on a friend who seems to actually have a bad luck foot.
Maestro. A little tedious, and I guessed the ending easily, but still got a laugh from the audience and a smile from me.
John and Michael. Ok I guess, but dead brother stories are way common, and need to be exceptional, and this was not.
Message from the Boss. Pretty good. Really classy animation. But the song went on a bit long.
Legend of the Scarecrow. This story hooked me, and I did not think it would when it started. A fable about crows and scarecrows. Great story.

Shorts Program 6: Seens.
Wood Diary. Bored me a LOT, and I HATE closeups of drool. That is not something that needs to be blown up 20 feet high.
A Lineman's Cabin. Wonderful photography of green plains. I did not think I would go for longer silent scenes, but they worked perfectly here. And a twist at the end.
Life Ride. A Twilight Zone type story with a nastily great sense of humor.
Transaction. Did not care much for it when I saw it, but the memory improves as time passes. I bet I might like it better if I saw it again. A simple transaction between a prostitute and an older man, based on interviews with an actual prostitute.
The King Hunt. Got just a little irksome for a short time, but it had a great ending of a guy picking himself up and not letting a fall hurt him.
Hiro. Great characters, great story, great laughs, great ending, great visuals. What more could one ask?

Shorts Program 5: Cineverses.
Up on the Rope. Got in late, did not see it. Might try to find it online.
Against Nature. Ugh. Some vomit, and a snotty main character who gives writers a bad name. I wanted to set him on fire.
Phantom Limb. Phantom script. Another dead brother story. Makes babies look icky. Closed my eyes during the amputation and birth scenes. Not that I can't take that, but why in the hell should I? I don't have to clean my plate anymore, especially if the food turns rancid.
Uso Justo. Funny! Best satire of pretentious experimental film ever! I hope the creator gets the rights to the footage he used for this.
Five Minutes, Mr. Welles. Went on a little bit long. But a marvelous ending! And the actor playing Orson Welles was perfect.

I also liked the forums. Picked up some business cards (sure, I have an ulterior motive, maybe I can get a tech writing gig out of this). I really hope short videos take off online. I will be exploring that, both for my tech writing career and my video hobby. Very inspiring. Although it will be some time before I can afford an HD video camera. Since I can't process that on my Mac anyhow, it does not make a lot of difference now. Eventually, I will move up to HD. I am also inspired by the discussion of distribution of independent videos/movies (hobby and career inspired). This is gonna be great stuff.

OK, I will see about trying the video downloads on, although I think I can't watch them on my Mac (lousy Windows protected media). I will find out. There is stuff out there I have not seen.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cinequest post #1

I have just started going to Cinequest (the San Jose film festival). I went to the following:

Shorts Program 1: Hit the Ground Laughing
My faves:

  • K-7: the ultimate tense job interview.
  • The Racist Brick: short , funny, to the point.

  • The Awesome Robots vs. Transformo: I do like a wacky comic book satire.

  • Zombie-American does a neat take on those personal documentaries.

  • Heck, I liked all of them.

Shorts Program: After Hours Mindbenders (and my mind did get kinda bent; this was from midnight to after 2am)
I liked:

  • Chingaso the Clown, a bad-ass homage to clown vigilantes.

  • Lucky, another short-and-to-the-point short, perfect length, perfect setup, perfect ending.

  • Phone Sex Grandma: who would think that a grandma swearing a blue streak over the phone would be so funny?

  • Home Delivery: pretty good, a tad long, good animation.

I did not like:

  • A through M (there is a scene where a guy knows he is going to bite the big one, and he has a big rack of nasty surgical instruments within easy reach, and then the mope lets guards stomp up to him and beat him up as a prelude to killing him. Sabu from The Thief of Bagdad once said "If I am going to die, then I would dare anything!" Take a lesson, dude! You are SLOW.

  • The Second Death: Night Gallery did this better, and did not use teddy bears as monsters, and did not put a guy in a dress for NO REASON AT ALL.

  • Keep It Real, Dawg: Coulda been good if it was about 1/3 the length.

  • The Marionette. I despise when the bad guys win. To slightly paraphrase Marvin the Paranoid Android (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy): "There is enough misery in the universe already. Why make up more of it?"

And I don't remember the other mindbending shorts so well that I will document them, cuz it is after 4 in the morning now (arrived home after 3am, and had to blog).

The movies:
Chalk is a great take on teachers. I hope new teacher Nephew Eric sees this. Shown with Super Power Blues. With great power...

Looking forward to more of this. This stuff inspires me. I actually sent in a short I did, but it seems I am not up to their level yet. I will get there. (Helps my skill set also; I am learning video software, a booming market).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The problem with iPod Hi-Fi

No video out. And I thought Apple was getting into video with the video iPods.

I just got back from the Stanford Newton User Group. One of our wiser and very tech-savvy members pointed out that a lot of people have crappy speakers in their TVs. The iPod Hi-Fi will give great sound for iPod songs. This member said that one cheap vieo out jack it would have provided great video for iPod videos. And the iPod Hi-Fi already costs $350. What would a video out jack have cost? A couple of bucks?

This member also pointed out that since the iPod Hi-Fi can run on batteries, it might have been nice to be able to carry it without the iPod falling out of the dock on the top.

My comment? When people get enough videos on their iPods, they will want to see them on something other than the tiny iPod display. One lousy video jack woulda done that now.

Networking Mac OS 8.6 to OS 10.4.4...

...was a bit harder than it sounds. I was doing this for a friend of my barber, who needed his business moved to a G5 iMac (OS 10.4.4) from a beige PowerMacintosh G3 (OS 8.6). (The Intel iMacs do not run Classic applications; good thing he bought the G5.) I failed the first time, although I got everything else done, like fixing his DVD player and Sony Playstation setup, and installing Classic on his iMac G5. I found that the OS 8.6 Mac had no Firewire or USB; I needed an Ethernet crossover cable.

Also, I found a very helpful document referenced on the Apple discussion board on how to connect OS 9 to OS 10.3 with Ethernet. Minor changes to this for 8.6 and 10.4.4.

Also, on the OS 8.6 Mac, I had to make Ethernet show up in the TCP/IP and Appletalk Control Panels by turning on Apple Enet in Extensions Manager.

Also, OS 10.4.4 cannot see OS 8.6, but OS 8.6 can see OS 10.4.4. I made the connection from OS 8.6. (I turned on File Sharing in Extension Manager, and then turned on File Sharing, but since I was on OS 8.6 looking at 10.4.4, I bet that I did not need 8.6 File Sharing turned on.)

Also, the password on the iMac had to be 8 characters or less, since OS 8.6 did not understand a longer password. We had to shorten that.

Also, well, then I made the connection. It felt pretty good, considering that this is a connection few people make. It was not trivial.

I installed the Classic apps he wanted and moved all his data (I believe I got all his old email data moved; he now gets email on the iMac). He had a customized version of FileMaker; it ran fine under Classic. His Quicken files run OK under the Quicken supplied with OS 10.4. I must say that Apple did a good job on the PowerPC OS X Macs to get Classic apps to run.

One chunk of data remains: his Palm desktop. His Palm III has no USB. Looks like a job for special cables; I did this with a Palm III clone. I better hurry; the power button on his Palm III is badly cracked.

Another also: He had me reduce his iMac screen resolution to 800x600 (ugh), since he likes his old apps to look big. But I showed him how to increase his resolution again.

ALSO, he will now say nice stuff about me. That's always nice.

P.S. Now he does not have to have the SCSI hard drive on his OS 8.6 Mac yanked out. Yes, that is how some places transfer old apps and data.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Changes to my videos

I just hosted my Movie Trailer video using Flash 8. I like it. Flash video buffers well, I can control the size of the video, and the audience sees a little more information about the state of the video download.

My Quicktime videos have a problem. Firefox is not showing Quicktime video. I am checking into that. The problem seems to be on Firefox's end.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I saved my barber's Mac.

I am helping people more and more with their computers. Like when I got a phone call last Saturday from my barber, Lash.

"Dave, I was trying to throw some Google Earth in the trash and then empty it." OK, press Control and then click the Trash icon. "Yeah, I did that." Now click on Empty Trash. "Dave, I get a message that says I can't empty the trash because Safari is in use." Wait, how can that be? Unless Safari is in the trash... LASH, DON'T DO ANYTHING, I AM COMING OVER!!!

Turns out he had accidentally moved his Applications folder in the trash. I untrashed it. I still don't know how that happened. That was scary.

Moral lesson: Be careful when you empty the trash on your Mac. I guess.

P.S. I will see if I learn any lessons when I move info and apps from a Power Macintosh G3 to a G5 iMac over Ethernet (there is no Firewire or USB on the Power Macintosh). Will 8.6 apps run on a 10.4 iMac under Classic? Will the Ethernet connection work? Will Dave escape being slowly lowered into the pit of giant slavering razor-toothed slugs? I will find out Tuesday, when I try to help Lash's friend move his business to his shiny new iMac. (I don't think he has a slug pit in his basement, but I have not checked.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Correction for my Christmas letter

I had mentioned that Cousin Ben was unable to build a new house due to regulations. Actually, it was due to the cost and time it was taking to do a custom modular house.

Something for me to keep in mind, if I ever try to get a modular house built for me. I should likely avoid custom.