Crowd Control


You know what really just bugs me?! A lot of things. It’s true. I’m easily annoyed. However, in this particular case, I am speaking of overly excited supporters of varying sport oriented teams and players. Yes. Those “fans” as we call them. They annoy me. They make sporting events nearly un-enjoyable, as they are constantly yelling things out.

Many of the things they yell are not constructive. Lets be honest. The athletes are professionals. They practice for hours a day, and get paid a lot. (Probably more then I’ll ever see in my lifetime…) Do you really think little Mr. sports fan’s advice to fake left is really going to make them win the championship game? No. Little Mr. Sports fan is just trying to look cool by “knowing” what he is talking about… It might even make him feel like he’s part of the team. In either event, it’s a selfish thing to do, and benefits no-one. Please don’t do that.

This brings me to the next point; The anger and competition that so often goes along with team sports’ spectators. So often people will root for their team and shun the other, even ridicule them and their fans. And for what? When the team wins, all of the respective fans celebrate as though they have accomplished some great feat! It’s really amazing that they were able to sit on those stands for a whole hour and watch professional athletes work very hard. Those spectators really earned that victory and the bragging rights to go with it. No.

Even the really notable feats of athletic ability are lost by competitive fan bases. A person rooting for one team is not inclined to acknowledge the accomplishments of athletes from the opposing team. I think that a lot of sports (thinking to the Olympics) were to showcase the physical abilities of athletes and teams. By so single-sightedly focusing on and rooting for one team, a lot of the admiration for perseverance and ability is lost, in my opinion. The team you may not be rooting for can be good, and can be respected and acknowledged by you. Is this not so?

So, this is why I don’t like watching sports. Honestly. It’s annoying. Thanks for listening to my rant.

I Am Legend



I liked this movie in some ways, but in others it just didn’t quite do it for me. The overall storyline was good for me. It did what any good movie does. It made me sympathize with the protagonist, it made me contemplate living in that reality, it made me think. It also was scary when appropriate and wasn’t too lame.

The problem I had was that the infected humans didn’t look real enough to take seriously. In scenes where they swarmed, or were in the dark, it looked good. Or at least unnoticeable. In the ending scene however, the graphics kept me from being able to believe the story.

There are two different endings on the DVD. The original ending, which is more of a crowd-pleaser, and the alternate ending, which was more of a contemplative ending which caused me to think and rehash the contents of the movie. I must admit that psychologically, I preferred the alternate ending, and all of its implications. It was much harder to take seriously though because there was more screen time with the infected humans, and it just didn’t look realistic.

Over-all, it was a really good film, and pretty well done. I was thoroughly entertained.

Portal


For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, Portal is a puzzle/first person shooter where your only weapon is a gun which can make portals on surfaces through which you can travel. The game-play is pretty straight forward and simple, which is one of the things that appeals to me in a game. I don’t like convoluted controls. Throughout the entire game, there is much humor in various fashions ranging from the GlaDos computer and her whimsical lines to the hidden writing on the wall about the cake and the lovable companion cube. There is a lot of detail that one should appreciate when playing the game.

The concept is fresh. Instead of using a gun with bullets or lasers as in most games, your only means of surviving is finding creative uses for the portal gun. It keeps you thinking and trying. The puzzles are challenging, but at the same time not overwhelming. I felt like it was the perfect balance.

The game did have two shortcomings as far as I’m concerned though; it wasn’t long enough, and it isn’t available on the mac (and probably never will be. Bummer) I passed it in a day. I think just over a couple hours. At any rate, it kept me riveted throughout and had a delightful surprise at the end.

Firefox


I have always had a battle between Firefox and Safari. Ask anyone who knows me. About every month I switch from one to the other. I love the usability, look, and interface of Safari. It’s clean, uncluttered, and simple. It appeals to my Apple-lover side too. Firefox though is much faster, and seemingly more multi-threaded. Often in Safari, I find myself unable to use other tabs because one page is loading (and taking its sweet time) rendering the entire browser unusable. I never have this problem with Firefox. It is so stable and so fast, but I do find the interface to be somewhat cluttered and lacking in niceties. I decided to compile a list of the tweaks that I find make Firefox usable.

    About:Config tweaks

  • browser.urlbar.autoFill;True
    This allows for the address bar to auto-complete, enabling the user to press enter for a given URL without having to type the whole thing, or down-arrow in order to select the URL guess.

  • extensions.checkCompatibility;false
    This setting allows the user to utilize add-ons which may not be compatible with the currently installed copy of firefox.

  • browser.tabs.closeButtons;3
    This places a single close button for your tabs at the right. I’m not sure if I like it better than having close buttons on each tab, but I do like knowing where to find it each time I’m looking for it.
    Add-ons

  • Adblock Plus
    Most people are already aware of this add-on. It blocks advertisements on websites. I hate visiting a website and having the whole thing cluttered with ads.

  • Flashblock
    Similar to adblock, Flashblock replaces flash elements with a play button. This gets rid of annoying auto playing music and flash elements that can be so annoying.

  • Stop-or-Reload
    This is just a simple UI tweak which makes the stop and reload buttons function as in Safari where the buttons are combined, thus if the page is loading, a stop button is displayed, and if it is loaded, then the reload button is displayed. It makes for a less cluttered UI, and I just like it.

  • Fission
    Fission merges the progress bar with the address bar, like Safari. This is once again an aesthetic tweak. I don’t like having the progress bar at the bottom of the window where my attention is usually not. In the address bar, it is more prominent and in my opinion less cluttered. PS: I like putting this picture as the background of the progress bar.

Wait… Didn’t I see this movie before?


I was watching Galaxy Quest at work the other day, and I asked myself, “Wait a minute, haven’t I seen this movie before?” The next day I was watching ¡Three Amigos!, (again at work), and made the connection that somehow the very same plot traversed space and time to create two seemingly different movies as far as location and period, but both stuck to essentially the same storyline and motivation of characters.

Don’t believe me? Look at this. So, here is the basic plot:

  • Out of work actors are in need of a job or gigs
  • A helpless society finds recordings of their shows
  • The society calls for the actors mistaking them for real heroes
  • The actors mistake the invitation for help for a gig
  • The actors realize that they are in a real situation, and not a show
  • The actors suffer an initial defeat against the antagonist
  • The actors toughen up, and combat
  • Tactics are used from their prior shows/movies
  • The actors and helpless society pull together and win
  • Everyone is happy! The actors become better people

Anyways, I thought this was interesting. I must confess that I like both of these movies a lot, and this connection doesn’t effect that at all. It was just something interesting to be noted…