28.feb.2005 - Last night's Oscars: too many commercials, too many songs. Did you see Sean Penn chastise Chris Rock for his belittling his fellow actors (like Jude Law)? Doubt that was scripted.
My buddy the Dog has some actor-friends in New York. He says it kills them to lose jobs to people who can't act, like rappers & comedians. Echoing Sean's comments, he says there are many gifted actors you never hear about, cuz there are only so many roles to go around.
And CR wasn't that funny. Even his Bush-bashing, which was clever ("imagine you work at the gap"), seemed out of place and inappropriate. Bring back Billy Crystal.
Next film on my "to-see" list was nominated for Best Foreign Film: Downfall, from Germany. About Hitler's last days in his underground bunker. Story supposedly taken from actual historical documents. Strong reviews.
Opens locally this Friday in Newport Beach at the Lido .. one of the last remaining old-fashioned theater houses not crushed by the mega-plexes. I go there whenever I can, to help support them.
Even tho I hate subtitles, it will be interesting to see how a German presents the story. I enjoy perspectives from other cultures. Helps stretch my mind and form a broader picture. Usually, the story is more accurate the closer you get to the source. Usually. You want to know what's happening in the ditch? Ask the guy who's digging it, not his foreman.
27.feb.2005 - Oscars air tonight. I saw every film nominated for Best Picture except Finding Neverland. Rumor has it Million Dollar Baby will win. (See entry below for 14.feb). I predict the The Aviator will win, even tho Scorsese is an outsider, based in New York (not Hollywood, where the Academy is based). But I'm usually wrong.
Some people have a knack for picking the winners. Not me. I actually enjoyed Ray the most, for pure entertainment value. But I suspect it may be cuz I had such low expectations going into see that film. I truly feel it's the best made film of the bunch, artistically-speaking. But I can't imagine them awarding it Best Picture.
If you go by critic-ratings at Rotten Tomatoes, Sideways would win (with 96%).
It'll be fun to hear what jokes Chris Rock comes up with. He usually says things few others would dare. I have my Pop Secret ready to go. I just hope they don't get carried away with commercials this year.
21.feb.2005 - If you're a regular RAD reader, you know about my buddy, Battman, who sold all his worldly possessions to travel the globe. I received another update from him today. Seems he's been making his way thru Lebanon & Egypt, before heading deeper into Africa.
Well, I should let him tell you about it his-own-bad-self. He included a few photos. See here:> Battman Continues His World Tour - Part IV
In case you missed his earlier updates, see the entry made on 30.december here for his previous (3rd) installment. And here is the blogged entry for:> Part II. I can't seem to find where I posted Part I. Maybe I never got around to posting his initial letter.
19.feb.2005 - Bernard "the Executioner" Hopkins defends his middle-weight crown tonight for a history-making 20th title defense. The fight airs on HBO. Here on the Left coast, things get underway at 6:45.
Like Rocky himself, Bernard is also from Philly, fighting some no-name chump named Howard Eastman. (Howard who?)
My favorite part is when Michael Buffer makes the introductions. I turn up the TV real loud. "Let's get ready to rumble ... and in this corner .. weighing in at .. he is the universally recognized, undisputed, reigning and defending ... " Might have to get some pizza for this one. Could be history in the making.
18.feb.2005 - Suggestion: tape over the slot to your floppy drive. Over time, case ventilation can draw dust inside, where accumulation can prevent the drive from reading your floppies. We rarely use floppies any more, but when you need one, it can be a major hassle if the thing won't work.
It's best to use opaque tape, since you might (like me) forget about the tape & try to cram the floppy into a taped-over slot. I also keep a spare floppy drive (or two) handy, in case the one I'm using kraps out. They can be had for cheap.
On a more personal note, a big happy rad-birthday to Maria. Another photo of Maria is posted here. Isn't she photogenic?
17.feb.2005 - While coming out of Wild Oats grocery store here in Laguna this afternoon, I passed a lady who was walking in. It surprised me to see her donning a gas mask. Having worked in the nuclear industry, I've spent untold hours in a "respirator" (both filtered & forced-air types). We called them face pumps and wearing them suks.
You could tell this lady was comfortable with her respirator. I mean, she never broke stride while donning the thing. While walking thru the electrically-opened doors, she was cinching up the chin straps. I badly wanted to ask, "Lady, what the heck are you wearing that thing for?" But I was too surprised. And it's hard to hear somebody who's wearing one. Their words sound muffled.
I can only guess it has something to do with the "cold & flu season". Lots of people we know are sick with the crud. The doctor made a big deal about warning us to keep the little guy out of enclosed public places. But being the curious type, I regret not asking. It was just so weird to see. I tried not to stare.
While at Wild Oats, I bought (among other things) a pint of St. Peter's English Ale .. cuz the bottle is so pretty. You can't tell from the photo, but the bottle is oval-shaped, not round. And the ingredients are all organic. I've never heard of organic beer before.
Actually, after reviewing their website, I don't see an English ale listed. But this is one tasty brew. Good enough to add to my official recommended list. Na zdorovje. Saluté. Prost. L'chaim. Kampai. À votre santé. Cheers. Hau weg den scheiss. (More)
16.feb.2005 - Charlie Rose hosted a discussion last night about blogging. It included four popular bloggers: Glenn Reynolds from Instapundit, Ana Marie Cox from Wonkette, Andrew Sullivan & Joe Trippi, the campaign manager for former presidential candidate Howard Dean.
Even tho these blogs are all politically-orientated, their impressions rang true with me. The first point they made was that blogs (via the Internet) allow contact with people much smarter than yourself.
The remainder of today's drivel is blogged here:> Blogging.
14.feb.2005 - Saw Millon Dollar Baby last night. God, what a depressing movie. Makes ya feel like slitting your wrists. Strong reviews, tho.
I saw it is cuz it's nominated for Best Picture, and I like to see all the nominated films, so I can gripe with authority when the Academy picks the wrong film, like they do so often. The only nominated film I haven't seen yet is Finding Neverland.
The Oscars are scheduled to air Feb 27th, with Chris Rock bringing his edgy humor to the hosting job. Living here in the shadow of the Hollywood sign makes the Oscars a big deal. I've quit trying to pick the most deserving awards, and instead try to pick who the Academy will give the award to.
This year, I think they'll give Best Picture to Scorsese for Aviator, since they robbed him two years ago when he released Gangs of New York. That seems to be how they work. Anyway, excuse me while I go bandage my wrists. Oh, and happy Valentine's day.
10.feb.2005 - Been getting mail about Neotrace Express (regarding previous day's entry). After launching the program, you will get a Registration window containing three buttons, labeled Register, Order & Cancel. Simply click the Cancel button and you're good to go. No need to register or order. Freeware page updated accordingly.
08.feb.2005 - A reader (Heinz) sent a link to Neotrace Express, which is the freeware version of Neotrace Pro. The freeware version dropped off the face of the planet after Neoworx (the company who made Neotrace) was purchased by McAfee.
Great little program. I use my copy all the time. Back from oblivion. Actually, for the average home user, the freeware version is better than the pro version, cuz it doesn't have all the extra bloat you don't really need/want/use anyway.
I updated the Freeware page. Better grab a copy before it disappears again. More about tracing here.
07.feb.2005 - Today I ordered some books online, thru Amazon.com. I've ordered plenty of books thru Amazon before, but this time I looked at the *used* books section, and was surprised to find some of the titles I sought being offered for one penny: $0.01.
I don't understand how resellers can profit by selling a book for one cent. Shipping was $3.49. Maybe they're able to ship the book for less than the cost of shipping and pocket the difference.
There were many resellers offering the same titles for a penny. I ordered books with conditions described as either "like new" or "very good". Altho my orders were processed without a hitch, I'll be impressed if these penny-books actually arrive as ordered. Buying used books makes me feel lke I saved a tree today.
03.feb.2005 - A reminder for those of you who live locally that today is the First Thursday Art Walk, here in Laguna Beach. Maybe we'll see you out on the town tonight.
02.feb.2005 - We played tourist yesterday and went to the Crystal Cathedral .. Robert Schuller's church, located ~30 minutes up the road in Garden Grove. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary, which began back in 1955 as a "drive-in" church.
Most people know Robert Schuller, and his Crystal Cathedral, from his weekly (international) broadcasts: the Hour of Power. They claim the distinction of being the longest running show on television. I like Schuller cuz he has a calming, grandfatherly voice, and always seems to have a positive message. (I don't care much for fire & brimestone.)
I was impressed. There is much more to see than the famous cathedral (designed by renowned architect Phillip Johnson, who, ironically, was an atheist). The site is large, comprising some 40 acres.
They also host, every year, two elaborate productions: the Glory of Easter and the Glory of Christmas. Each show runs for ~a month and features live animals and angels flying thru the air, attached to wires from the ceiling. It's supposed to be spectacular. Unfortunately, I have never been.
Anyway, we took a tour, which took a few hours. Our guide was entertaining. Impressive place. Read about the cathedral's history here. Easy to recommend, even if you're not particularly religious. Peaceful, calming place. Nice people. Spectacular architecture, which you can see from a distance.
01.feb.2005 - RADIFIED set another new site record last month, with nearly 2.2 million hits. See here: Site usage stats. Indeed, all metrics scored new monthly highs as the numbers continue to grow.