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April 13, 2007

Reaping less than they sowed.

I watched The Reaping yesterday. What could have been a good movie was made mediocre by its weak ending. I'll attempt to not spoil the ending. The movie essentially follows Katherine Winter (Hillary Swank) as she attempts to disprove what appears to be the Biblical 10 plagues by using science and observation to explain the occurrences. The movie is set in the bayous of Louisiana. Being that I grew up not too far from this location, some of the sounds involved brought back some memories. They did a great job on the locations.

Unfortunately, all of this was overshadowed by a gaping hole in the plot line and a cop-out ending. It's moving worth seeing; just don't expect a great ending.

April 23, 2007

Atra Sabbatum

I consider myself to have a rather diverse taste in music. I grew up listening to heavy metal because 1) it wasn't country and 2) I didn't know about punk rock. These were the two main categories of radio stations in Vicksburg, MS, at the time. Of course I liked Ozzy and Black Sabbath, as they were a couple of the mainstays of the genre.

As I got older, music evolved, I went to college, etc. I began to leave my metal past behind me and develop a much more eclectic taste in music. Alternative sounds were great. They Might Be Giants became a fast favorite as well as Violent Femmes.

When I heard about this CD I was intrigued. Medieval chanting of heavy metal lyrics? Really? Well, it's pretty amazing.

It's an odd amalgamation of Violent Femmes and world music, but you know at its heart, it is still pure metal.

July 30, 2007

The Simpsons: Bigger, Longer, Just as Pointless

I went to see The Simpsons Movie today, on my employer's time and money, of course. The entire Engineering department made an outing of it. Had it not been paid for, I would not have seen this movie. Unless you really like The Simpsons (And really, who does? It's only been on the air for 18 years. This fall, college freshmen will never have known a world sans Simpsons.), I would not bother with the box office experience. Oh, sure, there were some snarky jokes. There was general lampooning of the executive branch of government. There was even Fox poking itself in the eye when it not only advertised for another show during the movie, but acknowledged how lame an idea it was.

However, Homer sums up the movie before the opening credits: Anyone who would pay to see something that they can get at home for free is crazy. The overall story arc of the movie was what one would expect from a TV show gone Big Screen. It could have been done in a half an hour, possibly 45 minutes. To stretch it to nearly an hour and half required excessive ancillary story development. Or, the could have better developed some of the other story potential (Lisa's new boyfriend?) to make a more compelling movie, but that would have required The Simpsons to step out of the "funny" realm and develop a slightly more serious tone. We couldn't have that now could we?

The biggest kicker for me: the whole premise for the main conflict (rampant pollution) is not resolved, or even really addressed in the entire second half of the film. It's a problem that just quietly goes away. Isn't that part of the problem that have in this country? If we don't talk about the nasty issues, they'll just disappear. But I digress.

The Simpsons Meh-vie. Meh.

August 17, 2007

Belgian Delirium

I like beer. I think I like beer more that the average guy. And I don't mean that I like to drink the awful swill that major American breweries call beer. I like full-bodied beer. I like to try new styles by different breweries from other countries. I like to make my own beer.

Tonight, the company I work for had going away drinks for a couple of employees who are leaving on good terms. We went to a local club near our office. I got there late due to work obligations and began to peruse the beer list. I saw a bottled beer with a $21 price tag. delerium.jpg My immediate thought was "What does a $21 beer taste like?"

Fortunately for me, I was not buying drinks this evening, so I felt quite free to try this beverage. I must say that I was rather impressed. It had a nice light body, but it did not leave me wanting for taste. It had a bit of an apple cider flavor to in; just a bit acidic, but balance well by a hoppiness. At 8.5% alcohol by volume and 25 oz (Actually, it was 750 ml, but we Americans are too stupid to know how much that is.), it packed quite the punch. A co-worker was so impressed by a taste of it that they ordered second bottle.

Unfortunately I had to leave before I knew that the second bottle was empty. My bottle had quite dried up by then. But, then again, at least one other person helped themselves to at least 8 of those 25 tasty ounces.

March 25, 2008

The Modern Linux Desktop

The company I work for (sorry, no free SEO for them) is currently evaluating two new platforms for their "enterprise" personal computer deployment. Like most companies, my employer relies on Microsoft products. Not necessarily because they are good, but because they are "industry standard." We all use (and hate) Outlook. We run an Exchange server. We all use MS Office. Those are the grim realities of doing business.

But for some people in the company (many, even), Windows is an evil that we endure most begrudgingly. Half or more of the developers, QA, and Ops folks use Linux as their primary workstation. For years, it was just whatever distribution an individual wanted. There was a mix of Fedora, SUSE, Mandrakeriva, and whatever else. People had varying degrees of success with administering their own boxes, but IT was out of the loop and unable to help administer any of the developer workstations. This also meant that IT had no control over the workstations and certain aspects of the corporate infrastructure had to remain "open" in order for the outliers (geeks) to do their jobs.

A great idea was floated that IT would install and configure a "corporate vetted" Linux distribution. Everyone would get new hardware (the same hardware) and everyone would get the same Linux installation. This seemed like a compromise situation for everyone, which it was. Developers gave up absolute control over their workstations; IT could establish procedures for Linux administration; new hires would not spend a couple of days installing and configuring their machines before being able to perform simple tasks. This was deployed and it went over like the Vasa. Shortly after deploying CentOS 4.5 (a server-oriented distribution) for our (desktop) workstations, we started having issues and requesting IT to help fix them. And we were given sudo and told "don't break anything or you get to fix it."

Finally after much complaining and requesting of newer (different) distributions, we are now doing limited testing on Ubuntu 7 (Gutsy Gibon) and Mac OS X. I'm currently in the Ubuntu test pool. This "new-fangled" Linux desktop is a bit foreign to me. I have spent the last eight years almost exclusively in a WindowMaker world. I find it simple, fast, and easy. It has just enough features to be useful and not too many as to get in the way. Now I'm using Gnome. I don't have a lot to say about it other than it has more eye candy. It certainly makes finding useful applications easier, because they are built into the menu system. At the same time, I know that WindowMaker has the ability to import menu items from external sources. So the theory would be that I just need to find the right configuration magic to bring in the Gnome or KDE menu and I could get access to all of the useful menu items at no extra charge. For now, I'm trying a "modern" window manager and desktop environment. So far, I don't hate it.

Also on the horizon is my turn in the Mac test group. IT is looking at our choice of a Mac Pro desktop or a MacBook Pro laptop. I know which I look forward to. I need to confirm that doing Office-related activities are still easy through the Mac. I have some experience with this as my wife has an iBook that she got for school with Office Student/Teacher installed. Thing mostly work with that. Mostly. For some reason, her classmates managed to always build PowerPoint presentations in Window that would kill PowerPoint for Mac. I could open them fine on a Window box, but the Mac always choked. I'm sure it has something to do with incompatibilities or bugs that Redmond never found. I find it ironic that the Mac version of Office always warns you to make sure that you check that your document will be compatible with other versions of Office. This never happens in Windows and I have yet to see an Office document authored on a Mac that repeatedly crashed Office on a Windows box. But I digress. Mac Good. Me want MacBook. MMMmm. MacBook Goood!

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to I Geek, Therefore I am in the Reviews category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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