This Day In History: 05/21

Friday, May 21, 2004

We saw Shrek 2 on opening night. Though not as cohesive a movie as the first, it was still very funny and hit all the right notes. The animation and graphics were improved, but for every bumpy bitmapped surface with warts, there was a scene where the models didn't quite gel as being in the same environment (such as a cat on Shrek's shoulder that looked like it was cut and pasted Southpark style).

One of the characters in the movie, the Fairy God Mother, had a business called FGM, Inc.

Weapons from Mordor caught by airport security
Woman calls police three times to buy crack
Woman tries to gas unwanted houseguests

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sequel Injection

This summer, the theatres have been, or will be, graced with such works of art as Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Harry Potter 5, Shrek 3, The Bourne Ultimatum, and (I'm not kidding about this one) "Live Free or Die Hard" starring a 52-year-old Bruce Willis. Just last week, Blizzard Entertainment announced that their new blockbuster game would be Starcraft II -- not Diablo 3 as some people expected (or Warcraft IV or World of Warcraft II for that matter).

There's something very comforting about a sequel: people are happy that they can return to a world or story that they loved without too much heavy thinking, and studios are assured that they can break even on their investment, even if the entire movie is a grainy cell phone movie starring a drunk hobo named Hal who happened to be sleeping behind the sound stage one night.

Although sequelitis has had an iron grasp on the movies and games industry for many years now (see also, the upcoming Police Academy 8), there seems to be a few other areas of life where sequels could find a welcome home.

Board Games: In the sequel to Candyland, Gloppy the Molasses Monster is suicidal and threatening to leap from Gum Drop Mountain. The six coloured cards are now various Crayola shades of red and green (to emphasize to young children that the world cannot easily be split into absolutes): burnt sienna, raw umber, brink pink, fuzzy wuzzy brown, mahogany, and beaver.

Music: If the movie studios are allowed to release a third Weekend at Bernie's movie, then I should be allowed to take one of my musical compositions, add a countermelody, and call it a sequel. Why struggle and slave for five seconds of new, usable material when you already have a proven score? Tchaikovsky's 1813 Overture, now with more cannons!

Religion: Have you read and reread the Bible to the point where you could tell Paul from John, or a Corinthian from a Doric with your eyes closed? Ever wondered what the lives of Oreb and Zeeb might have been like had they not been beheaded? Then try the New New Testament, now on CD so you can listen to it in your car (your choice of narrators: James Earl Jones, Patrick Stewart, or Kathy Griffin). "Noah's back, and now he's pissed!"

Politics: Actually, I think someone already beat me to this.

A bad case of summer movies
Shipwreck yields $500M haul
Power station to harness the sun's rays

tagged as random, mock mock | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wireless Day

A wireless router and a set of wireless adaptors for the four computers in my house should be arriving sometime today, eliminating the need for a wired home network with Ethernet cables snaking everywhere like a giant squid with a very fast metabolism and not enough to eat. Converting my home into a wireless hotspot is the first step my plan to sell coffee and newspapers out of my basement, and soon I will rival both Starbucks and McDonald's in Wi-Fi popularity. I also plan on installing Internet access points in all of my bathrooms for added novelty -- my commercial slogan will be "Surf and Poop: It's Not Just For the Wave Pool Anymore".

As a kid, I only went to the Cameron Run Wave Pool one time, and it was an unmemorable experience. Fake waves really don't enhance the swimming experience, and with the ever-expanding number of obese children these days, every pool is a wave pool. But I digress.

There were three major reasons that I upgraded to wireless:

  1. I play MP3s all over the house, and got tired of sync'ing up the MP3 collections on all the computers anytime I download the latest Fun Lovin' Criminals album off of Amazon. With wireless, I can put all the songs on one computer and play them from anywhere in a four mile radius.
  2. Rebecca has one of those amazing new mini computers with the keyboard and monitor all in one package that you put on top of your lap. It doesn't know how to deal with my antiquated wires.
  3. Florida-Mike's latest addiction is Mario Kart on the Wii (because it comes with a steering wheel adapter called a Wiilee) and he wants me to join in the daily Mario Kart games with Texas-Marty and Florida-Chris. The Wii only connects via wireless as well.

It's not like this is my first experience with wireless though -- my telephone handsets, my girlfriend, and my cats are all wireless, and have been for many years.

Wii Fit criticized for calling kid fat
Flying penis disrupts speech
Huge sturgeon ball a mystery

permalink | 6 comments

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Previously on LOST

This post may contain spoilers from the previously aired season finale of LOST.


Geometry has always played a role in LOST -- here we learn that the submarine cannot leave the island unless it travels at a bearing of 310 degrees, with its passengers sitting in the shape of a love triangle. After ten minutes aboard the sub, the characters change their minds and go back to the island, seriously pissing off the set guys who spent all that time making a submarine.


From "Hydrogen Bombs for Dummies", Sayid learns how to delicately remove the explosive core of the twenty-year-old H-bomb, after which he delicately tosses it in a knapsack and delicately throws it over his shoulder.

Sun dons the thankless mantle of the "They Took My Boy!" Plot Device character and spends a good third of the episode walking along the beaches asking people about her husband and eliciting exposition.


Another quarter of the episode is spent on brand new characters who we have zero investment in.

Sayid and Jack try to disguise themselves in Dharma outfits, but unfortunately they fail to realize that there were no Iraqis on the island in the 70s. Sayid is delicately shot while trying to protect his backpack bomb from the shooting. Jack is happy, because he now has someone else to fix. Alternately, he's thinking back to the halcyon days when there was only one gun on the island and it mattered.


While attempting to flee from the violent Dharma folks, Jack delicately throws Sayid into a van on his back.

Sawyer discovers that Rose and Bernard have spent the past three years acting out the entire plot of Lord of the Rings. Bernard, who wanted to be Frodo, felt he was typecast.

In flashbacks, it is revealed that Jacob has been present in every main character's life. In this stunning reveal, we learn that he gave Jack a candy bar! This was originally supposed to be Hurley's scene, but the writers felt that it would be unbelievable to make Jacob a tattoo artist.


Sawyer channels the rage of the audience after learning that Jack's prime motivation for wanting to change everything that's ever happened is that "Kate doesn't like me".


The writers have discovered that with a properly-placed flashback, any character can have a change of heart to support the desired plotline, and it can be attributed to deep character motivations rather than lazy writers. Here, we learn that Juliette is just as much a pansy as Jack, and they should go off and have little pansy kids together.


When the dig site becomes magnetized, a chain-link plot twist wraps around Juliette's legs (though surprisingly, it misses her shelving cleavage) and she gets sucked into a mineshaft.


Here we learn that the core of a hydrogen bomb will survive gunfire, getting crushed in a van under Sayid, and a quarter mile drop down a mineshaft, but it will not survive a dying chick with a rock.

Thanks to LOST-Media for the screen captures.

LOST Season Finale analysis
Bodybuilders flee competition after drug testers arrive
Pfizer offers free drugs to the jobless

tagged as media | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, May 21, 2010

No Update Day

I've been busy all week preparing for a briefing which I'll be giving before a myriad of initials inside the Beltway this morning, so I haven't had time to write today's Fragments column. Have a great weekend!

Doomsday haven available in Mojave Desert
Wisconsin court gives inmate gift: 4 bikini photos
Lasers and iPods for the funeral of a lifetime

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trending Day

May 18, 2012: The first day when more Google searchers are interested in video game key bindings than how to cheat at various ear training programs. Cue the infamy.

tagged as website, searches | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

List Day: 10 Least Favourite Things with "Star" in the Name

  • Dancing With the Stars

  • Star Trek

  • Starbursts candy

  • Star Wars

  • Starcraft II, Part II

  • "When You Wish Upon a Star"

  • Homestar Runner

  • Starship Troopers

  • Star Fox (SNES)

  • Gospel renditions of the "Star-Spangled Banner"

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken ten years ago in the early iterations of Poker Night. I had only lived in this house for about three months, so it was still poorly furnished. There was no pool table, and the only art on the basement walls were Anna's prints from Michael's.

Here is a very rare video of Evil Mike losing (yet again) to Vu while not recognizing the full house. Note the random construction materials stacked against the wall in the background, and the cheap plastic chips we're using.

tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Shield, Season Three:
We waited too long to finish The Shield for free on Amazon Prime, but the good news is that you can now get the entire series on DVD for $25. The third season is a solid continuation of the Money Train storyline, other than the abrupt introduction of a new character that apparently came onto the scene during the gap between seasons, and then spends the whole season being annoying.

Final Grade: B

The Shield, Season Four:
The fourth season of The Shield continues to build organically upon the plot threads to date, and was entertaining throughout. Glenn Close had a great supporting role, but she was nowhere near as impressive as Forest Whitaker in Season Five.

Final Grade: B+

Hit the Floor by Breakestra:
This album feels like a revival of classic 70s funk with a clean and consistent polish. It might feel a little too sterile to some, but it's right up my alley. You Don't Need to Dance is one of the catchier tunes on the album.

Final Grade: A-

Rayman Legends: Original Game Soundtrack by Cristophe Heral:
The soundtrack from Rayman Origins remains one of my favourite game soundtracks, and I purchased this sequel soundtrack without ever having played the game it accompanies. In spite of a couple tracks that sound very derivative of John William's Harry Potter soundtrack, this is another successful mix. It features just the right balance of thematic reuse and organic development without falling into the Super Mario trap of sounding exactly like the previous iteration. This soundtrack makes me want to play the game, were it not for the fact that I'd also have to buy a Wii U and then wait ten minutes for it to boot up every time.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekend Wrap-up

On Saturday morning, I dipped my toe back into the world of cloud certifications by passing the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam with a 970/1000. This is the beginner cloud cert so it would have been embarassing had I not passed, but I wanted to start easy before renewing all of the actually hard ones.

In the afternoon, we had a barbeque of PTAs (Katie and Hannah) and neighbours (James and Patty, and Aaron and Vanessa) where I grilled my seasoned steaks recipe. It finally stopped raining midday, but was still too damp to do anything outside during the BBQ. Maia enjoyed playing with 3 other kids (2, 1, and newish) and the plastic kitchen we inherited from Kathy was a hit.

On Sunday, we tried hiking to Bear's Den on the Appalachian Trail. While we did make it, we faced flooded trails, overzealous poison ivy, and thick, pasty, humidity. Rebecca carried Maia in her crazy kid backpack while I gingerly traversed the mudslides to minimize getting dirty.

In the afternoon, we gorged on BBQ leftovers and stayed in the nice air-conditioned house watching Game of Thrones, the new John Mulaney special, and playing Forbidden Island.

How was your weekend?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, May 21, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Shadow and Bone, Season One (Netflix):
Based on young adult fantasy books by Leigh Bardugo, this series is mostly successful in setting up an interesting world that can be easily understood without exposition dumps. The two main characters, Alina and Mal, are easily the weakest links, lacking much in the way of personality, but the supporting "Crow" characters cover the deficit. I liked this less than His Dark Materials and more than The Witcher.

Final Grade: B-

Blackfinn Ameripub - Ashburn:
This restaurant popped up on GrubHub in our ongoing search for ways to use all of the GrubHub gift cards Ian received for being born. It's more pricey (like Burton's) but has a varied menu with lots of food that sounds exciting (unlike Burton's). Rebecca and I were both satisfied with our order -- I never expected a delivered French Dip to taste as good as it did! We'll have to try eating here in person when restaurants are more normalized.

Final Grade: B+, so far

Infinite Things by Paloma Faith:
Paloma's music continues to get less interesting the more she moves away from here original 70s sound. This album is good if you ever want to sit in the basement and pretend you're in a bookstore.

Final Grade: C

Grim Dawn:
I originally reviewed Grim Dawn in 2019. It took the place of Overwatch as a baby-friendly game that I could pause and play in spurts of 10 - 20 minutes while feeling like I had made progress. I picked it back up last month to find that it had continued to receive regular content patches. Even though the core experience is exactly the same, there are several new zones to explore and random monster encounters that make uncovering the whole map fun again. The only downside -- there is so much content in the game now that you'll probably outlevel the 2nd Elite difficulty level. This results in a brain-dead slog to get to Ultimate, which is still very fun and challenging. Thank goodness for the Grim Internals add-on which let me zoom through Elite at 3x speed. More things in life should have speed controls.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

 

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