PS3 Problem

So I did end up getting a shiny new PlayStation 3 for Christmas (yay!). And on the day I also received ‘Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destructions.’ I was happy, as I loved this series on the PS2, and had all the games. As this was the only game I received I decided I would play that game first. Well after setting up everything on the PS3 (fairly efficient and easy), I inserted the game to see a message saying there was insufficient space on the HDD for this game (just 400 or so MB). What?!
Well it appears that this version of Ratchet and Clank has a bug in the disk, a glitch if you will, where if there is nothing on the HDD then it reads it as being over full (thanks Google!). But with no other games on that day I had to resort to downloading demos (500 MB’s worth) before being able to play my very first PS3 game.
From Insomniac:
"We recently discovered a bug on the US version of Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction that some of you may encounter the first time you boot the game. With specific amounts of free space on your drive, you may see a screen that tells you [you] have insufficient space to create game data even though there is plenty of free space on your drive."
-Insomniac Games community manager James Stevenson

I can only image the frustrations for all those first time PS3 users when Ratchet and Clank first came out, and this information was not available on the web.

Best of 2008: Songs


Another year over (or almost over, depending on when you read this), so its time to look back on the year that was 2008. This post is dedicated to the songs of 2008, the ones that made you want to sing along, the ones that got stuck in your head (good or bad), or the ones that were played so much you had to like them. So without anything further, the top 20 songs from 2008:

20. Duffy – Mercy
This girl burst onto the scene in 2008, and now is a Grammy nominee.
19. Metro Station -Shake It
I originally got into this song in Australia, only to discover it was big in the U.S. too.
18. Lady Gaga- Just Dance
Another song that debuted in AUS, and on returning finding it had a gained an audience on the other side of the pacific.
17. the Killers – Human
Kick-starting their third studio album, the killers released this song mimicking the days of Hot Fuss, and mixing it with Sam’s Town.
16. Britney Spears – Womanizer
“Womanizer, woman-womanizer, you’re a womanizer, oh, womanizer, oh, you’re a womanizer, baby”…Brit’s back?
15. We the Kings -Check Yes Juliet
Originally downloaded at iTunes free single, then it got big.
14. Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
This X-Factor winner crossed the pond to give us this song you just want to belt out.
13. Katy Perry - Hot N Cold
A strong song that almost makes us forget she kissed a girl and she liked it…
12. Panic at the Disco -the Green Gentleman
They dropped the exclamation mark and this great single too.
11. Fall Out Boy - I Don't Care
Eyeliner and all, Fall Out Boy is back with songs more catchier than the plague.
10. Rihanna – Disturbia
The strongest showing from Rhianna who dished a fairly good helping of songs this year, she ‘Don’t Stop the Music.’
09. The Fratellis - Mistress Mabel
Slamming keys, hard hitting beats and staccato guitar strokes bring this first single to life and define the second Fratellis album.
08. The Living End - White Noise
This Aussy band jumped into the (Aussy) spotlight with this song that makes you want to jump along.
07. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Admittedly, I’m one of those Coldplay fans who liked this album and single.
06. Daughtry - What About Now
Daughtry, like Rhianna, has done well for himself getting 5 charting singles out of one album, all of which are good.
05. Gavin Degraw - In Love With A Girl
A melody that just begs to be sung along with.
04. David Cook - Light On
I might have missed this songs limelight in Australia, but I couldn’t help but not get into it on my return. From the latest, and probably my favourite, American Idol this song gets us into the mood for a full album from him.
03. Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Overplayed? Sure, but still a god damn good song. Get up, clap, sing, harmonize, scat along because this song makes you happy and want to. I can’t say the same about the rest of the album though.
02. P!nk - So What
She just lost her husband, but she hasn’t lost the spunk that giver here the ‘!’ in her name. Amazingly P!nk manages to fit all into one song the angry part of a break up and the sad part. But it’s for the badass, rock star part that I love this song and can’t wait to get the album.
01. It's Not My Time - 3 Doors Down
For their fourth album, 3 Doors Down came back strong with this catchy and punchy song. As those first 3 power chords to hit the scene is set for a strong single. And as the chorus comes we embrace the melody. It’s a song you just want to turn up and sing along with the full vocals. Not only that but it starts a very strong album from the group.




(In creating this list i did mistakenly get 1 too many songs, so if anyone wants to know: 21. Vampire Weekend- A-Punk)

Time for a NEW christmas song

Geraldine McQueen (aka british comedian Peter Kay) thinks its time for a new Christmas song. One that "you'll be singing this over and over and over again..."
'Once Upon a Christmas Song'


Happy Christmas Everyone!


"...over and over and over again..."

bloHG goes widescreen

I've just been playing with some of the CSS backbone to this bloHG to go along with some of the site-wide changes for the redesign (version 6). Look for the widescreen-ness of the bloHG now, fit for the 1024 browser window. Also i added in some spacing to the lines of the blog post--something that has been bugging me for a while now. That spacing includes modifications to the spacing of dates, blog titles and the paragraphs of the bloHG content. Finally, the header has been changed to coincide with the universal header for the mercury studios. In a last round of modifications to the bloHG i will hopefully add in links to the other site content like the rest of the site appears.

Repetitive Radio

I’m kind of annoyed at New York’s z100 (“ny’s hit music station”) right now. Their playlist seems to comprise of only seven songs: two by Beyonce (the mechanical one and the one where she’s a boy), two by Rhianna (disturbia and the numa-numa one), two by Britney Spears (womanizer and her new one ‘circus’) and Jason Mraz’s im yours. Now I like z100, it has good current music and at least one good show—Elvis Duran and the z100 morning zoo. But I swear EVERY TIME I’ve gotten in my car for the past two weeks it’s been one of these seven songs (or commercials followed by one of these seven songs). Throw a little variety in there z100, because these songs have been worn out beyond repair.

Football on FOX

Come on FOX. Seriously now, its 44- zero (3rd and 1:36). Even the commentators are asking for something else to cover. It’s obvious the Patriots have won this game with the Cardinals, yet you continue to cover it. Sure the Patriots are in the run off for some divisional championship…but there is another game playing right now that is also going for that title. The Miami Dolphins, playing the Kansas Chiefs. Their game is tied 31-31 (3rd and 3:40). Since when is a game that is a complete blowout better than a nail-bitter of a tied game going into the third quarter. I don’t care that this happens to be the north east, and they’re the New England Patriots…all I care about its good football. That is, not football where the cardinals can’t get a first down and cant keep their feet on defense. And not playing in the snow for 25 years is not an acceptable excuse for the cardinals.
Alls I’m saying is there should be some sort of limit/rules to when they change the game to something more interesting.

What are you trying to say Amazon?

I don't ever recall buying something child-related in amazon.com. Usually amazon is pretty good with recommendations, but this is one interest categorically not expressed.

FOTM: Fisherman? By Jack (Neo-uk)


Fisherman? By Jack (Neo-uk)

This elongated short is reminiscent of Adam Phillips work in art and humor. In a somewhat slow pickup to the big punch line, the plot pitches fisherman verse passer-bye. With comedy along the way, this animation is really working to the final gag but is eased along by some awesome animation. Water is probably one of the hardest effects to get right in Flash, but this Flash accomplishes this—essential to a Flash based at the riverside.

Snow is Falling, All Around Me…

It’s a snow storm MSNBC was calling a ‘Monster of a Storm’ this morning, with forecasted snowfalls of 4 to 12 inches for my area. Now I’m not so good at estimating inches, but I think we had at least 4 inches when I went out with the snow blower to clear it. And that was 2 ½ hours ago with more snow and ice falling for that time. I like snow, but this post isn’t about how much and where it’s about Schadenfreude.
Defined it’s the “pleasure taken from observing the misery of another” (Wikipedia). Well as I write this right now the neighbours across the street are struggling to dig out their car to go god knows where. Shovels and snow blowers, scrappers and brushes; outside in the cold, where it’s still snowing and the sun is setting. Now I know the feeling, hell I was out there snow blowing areas only to turn around to see snow on them again, but being inside in the warm next to a warm fire while they’re out in the cold makes this the perfect case of Schadenfreude.

in the news today

I don't know who was in charge of guests and reported on this mornings MSNBC, but they were all highly retarded.
Firstly was a women commenting on President Bush's visit to Iraq. Casually she stated that the war in Iraq had been going for 8 years now. 8 years?!! does she know what year it is? or, what does she know that the rest of us don't. as far as my mathematical skills go, that would mean the war started in 2000...before the event that started all the U.S involvement in the middle east (September 11, 2001). The worst part was that no one checked or challenged her on it. whats the news come to when anything that's said goes...
secondly, the weather guy was describing the blizzard like conditions in North and South Dakota today. Roughly quoting he said, 'with visibility at or below zero.'
...
at what point does visibility decrease below zero? i don't even have words or sarcasm to comment on this with the due diligence it deserves.
Finally on MSNBC this morning i saw them using Google Earth for their imaging. In case you didn't know, or couldn't figure (perhaps your visibility is below zero?) MSNBC is a joint venture between Microsoft Corp and NBC Universal. Microsoft has its own satilite imaging software, Virtual Earth...so why is MSNBC using Google software?

I'm usually a fan of MSNBC, but the news this morning was baffeling and confusing...so i watched a rerun of Mythbusters instead.

the newest WMD...

President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq today. One could expect that any area in Iraq that the president is there would be a considerably high level of security. That's why i couldn't help but laugh when i saw this:
Introducing the newest Weapon of Mass Destruction (and this one exists)

"who throws a shoe...honestly" (sorry couldn't help but quote Austin Powers here...and im sure a lot of you jumped to it too)
CNN seriously spent 5 minutes analyzing the footage and the Secret Service agents, drawing on the screen like they're football defensive backs.
...got to give Bush credit though for his mad-quick reflex's...

SOTM: ‘Talking to Myself’ by Readymade Breakup

This first Song of the Moment is especially pertinent because it was the band I went to see last week. My mate Harris got an invite to go see them at ‘The Space’ in Hamden, CT. So while I was up in Connecticut we decided to go, hearing them on Myspace and them sounding fairly good. Long story short, overall they sound better live than recorded, but their sound and songs are both really good.
Readymade Breakup is a band from Asbury Park, New Jersey made up of 4 members all of whom are male. The lead singer/guitarist has a really good quality voice that really projects (even if he has to dance like a dinosaur to get it out there). Overall the sound of the songs is carried by the melodies of acoustic guitar and piano—both of which played by the lead singer. Their tempo can be related to the killer’s second album, slow yet somehow upbeat…but they sound nothing alike. Running something like KT Tunstall in the feeling of the songs, especially the song ‘Talking to Myself,’ the songs are lead by the steady drums, accented by short riffs from the electric guitar and carried by the vocals of the lead singer. Overall the melodies are something that you can get along with, while not feeling that you’re putting up with it.
My only complaint of the band is that the majority of the band (save the lead vocal-dinosaur) seam dead, tired or bored on stage—just not with it.

…of the Moment

Knowing what a disaster a weekly type update would be, I’ve opted to start something slightly different with the same core values. The ‘… of the Moment’ series will be things that a pertinent or prominent in the time that I chose to right about them. Much like a ‘song of the week’ operates, ‘Song of the Moment’ will describe a song, why I like it and what makes it special. ‘Flash of the Moment’ will operate in much the same way, when I find a Flash movie or game that is worthy of recognition I will mention it in one of these segments. The beauty of this is that I’m not tied to a schedule for updates. I can do them when and how I choose without having to worry that today is Friday which is song of the week day.
Here’s to hoping that this lives past its infancy, and the very first Song of the Moment will follow this post.
You can also catch a listing of all the SOTM and FOTM by clicking on those respective links thanks to Blogger’s labels system.

Fighting with Funny

So I heard this morning on the radio that today was ‘Call in Gay Day.’ The point was to show exactly what influence the gay community has on the world. So in light of this I thought I’d point out some of the interesting videos I’ve see around.
Two or so weeks ago I saw this on Will Ferrel’s / Adam Mckay’s website FunnieorDie.com. Dealing with proposition 8 when it was prominent in the news and what the Obama-nation means (featuring some big name actor/comedians).

While comedians can make jokes at the expense of this issue, there is one comedian out there who I saw yesterday take the issue more seriously than any other. When John Stewart interviewed former republican presidential nominee mike Huckabee on Tuesday he took the second part of the interview to press Huckabee on gay marriage. During the first part of his campaign I liked the idea of Huckabee. While not a republican myself, he seemed a wholesome guy. But when I dug deeper I saw some of his more outrageous values. In this segment, John Stewart’s eloquently puts his argument to Mike Huckabee in support of gay marriage and Huckabee responds—an interesting and intellectual dialog.


"Please chose LOVE instead of HATE, besides your nation was built on separation of church and state"

Prime Time with Leno?

Yesterday the announcement was made to stop packing. That’s right Jay Leno is staying at NBC…“but how can that be? Conan’s taking his seat and Conan’s is replaced by Jimmy Fallon (who’s house band I’m skeptical off). And besides leno is past his prime” you yell (ok so maybe the last part was my input). But the execs at NBC have decided to keep Leno at the Network at a five night a week 10pm slot. With that you can pretty much kiss your bubble shows goodbye—with Lipstick Jungle and My Own Worst Enemy already in the can. What does that mean for the 10 hours of prime time left to be scheduled? Well we’ll still have comedy Thursdays, then geek Mondays (chuck and heroes), a double dose of Law and Order, medium and life might make it through alive, which combined adds up to 6 to 8 programming hours. Shows like Friday Night Lights and Knight Rider though will probably see their end. With ER gone after this season, NBC probably did the right thing by filling their lame duck of 10pm slot with easily produced (and cost effective) duck shit.
But I’ve held the long opinion that late night is dead. I’m sorry, but there are only so many times you can photoshop advertisements, or use the same joke about a unpleasant dog or Abraham Lincoln. The writers strike really spelled it out for me, Conan unscripted was great and unpredictable, but the first week back they slipped right back into a dumb and pointless joke about canoeing.
Do I think he’s going to do well? Only if he can bring his 1130 audience to the 10 o’clock time. Will I watch it? No.

Back to Ba6 – Mercury Studios v6

I’m back for my excursion in Australia (read the blog, visit the site) and while ignoring my duties to finish updating the mini site I’ve been working on another new version of Mercury Studios (version 6 as far as I can count if you start from the very beginning). Yes, in what seems to becoming a yearly tradition the sixth version of Mercury Studios comes 5 years after the beginning of my life as a web and flash developer, 1 years and 3 months after the conception of Mercury Studios (what I call v4), and 1 year after Mercury Studios V5. With Version 6, I went widescreen and simplified the whole layout, giving each element its space. From what stats I caught from viewers, the majority of users had screens equal to or wider that 1024. I took advantage of this space and expanded my pages (as many others have done in recent months). Ill also be changing the way content is viewed. The news page is gone, with bloHG now taking center stage as the news and blog section. Flash was renamed to animation because, after all, interactive is also flash. Advertisements have also been incorporated in the pages other than the home page. That’s the bulk of the changes for this update, and you can see it right now on the homepage only. The other pages will follow for the beginning of 2009. If you have any comments, shoot an email to david@mercury-studios.com.
Also I was thinking of entering the Newgrounds Winter Flash-Off, but ill have to see what time this redesign takes and if I get any good ideas as well as completing my Australia Mini-site.

Gmail

I dont know why (probably because ive been reading these past days about gmail's new Video Chat, and this article), but i decided i wanted to make a gmail acount for myself. And now im really confused. basically i was expecting a big hassle because i have blogs under one blogger sign in and then would have this gmail account (google owns blogger), so i would have to sign in multiple times to different places with different logins. im confused because not only did it automatically take control of the blogs i was posting under the account for my mercury studios website, it also found a blog i had started about two years ago for a website i had since forgotten about and deleted...

im not sure exactly whats going on, or why im even alowed to post this...but here goes!

oh and my gmail account is: britishboy973@gmail.com  ...unsuprisingly any variations on davidhitchings@gmail.com were already gone.

NY’s Latest Fad…

climbing the New York Times building. And who wouldn’t want to? It’s like a giant ladder—a giant, four sided, 52 story ladder. When you step out of port authority it’s the first thing you see in the city, and I think from the time I first saw it I thought about its climb-ability—not that I would ever EVER consider EVER being up that high clinging to the side of a building with nothing but my hands and feet. So I guess I was surprised that it took over a year and a half for someone to do it (sorry, for two people to do it). I commute into the city everyday and I work about a block and a half from port authority/New York Times building. I didn’t really know about the first person (you tend to zone out the sirens), but it was mentioned after the fact. The second person though came to our attention because of the media coverage (the helicopters). We watched it online first—thank you video streaming—then realized we could see the New York Times building from our building (in fact we have a REALLY good view). It should also be mentioned that there was nothing stopping these climbers hitting the concrete pavement pretty hard if they had fallen. Now I really just need to carry my camera around more that I do, then I would have some pretty awesome pictures.

Spring Sweeps 2: American Idol

“The winner by 12 million votes of American Idol 2008 is David….Cook.” what? Wait what?...that’s probably the thought that went through everyone’s head. Whether you’re an Archuleta fan who was certain it was him to be the idol, or you’re a Cook fan (like myself) who thought Archuleta would be the idol that’s probably surprise in everyone’s living room. Cue sparklers and confetti and idol-winning song and bring American Idol 2008 to an end. I can’t say I really enjoyed this year’s song, except for the fact that Cook was singing it. So it was not in my eyes the greatest season of American idol ever, but I do believe they ended up with the best top 3 that they had in the top 10 and in my eyes the best as their American Idol. In the end, congrats to David Cook and David Archuleta I’m sure, like the other idol seasons, both will end up with record deals.

Spring Sweeps 1: The Office

In this, the end of the most complex TV season in my memory (with the writers strike), I plan on just commented on some of my favorite shows and their finale’s as I watch them. The office ended last week, in a one hour show (ending the way it began—with two hour-long episodes) that saw the departure of one character *SPOILER ALERT* Toby. Toby never had that big of a part in the office but his biggest part was his rivalry of sorts with boss Michael Scott. Michael was, needless to say, overjoyed by the fact that Toby was leaving leading to a classic interview that just exemplifies the awkward tones to the show. I am happy to see that Toby’s actor Paul Lieberstein will be returning next season as a writer (a position he’s held since the offices inception). To the shows credit they’ve left numerous storylines open and primed for the next season especially the Dwight, Angela and Andy triangle. I do feel though that the Jim and Pam storyline is getting slightly old, and hopefully will appreciate their new developments (Pam studying in the city), and already am thankful for the end of the Toby/Pam thing. Going back to Michael, it was nice to see him interacting with someone other than Jan and doing fairly well at it. It’s not very often that you see Michael in a truly happy state, and I can’t actually believe he’s staying with Jan again. Finally, Ryan’s been arrested?

News Anchors F**king Up

(Contains adult language). Now I’ve been watching Sue Simmons for years now on WNBC 4’s 11pm news and am sad to report…that I didn’t see her drop the F-bomb on television. I’m very sad. Anyway I just wanted to share the video, and also the Bill O’Reilly F-bomb from years (and years) back, shown on the Colbert Report this past Monday (the reason I missed Sue’s remarks).



I can’t say I agree with all the hype (media or otherwise) given to one of these FCC incidents, and cant really believed that its news. In fact I kind of feel bad for Sue that its spread so fast (thanks youTube!!!), to air even on respectable news networks like MSNBC and CNN. Now one might argue that I’m adding to the hype by posting it in my blog, but the fact is I don’t care that she said what she said, I think it’s incredibly funny—I’m not someone looking for her head over it, a fine or anything. I think it’s ridiculous that Americans can’t act like a responsible adults and just accept that things happen, slips occur and then move on.

Spring Fling

UHA’s spring fling is one of the last highlights of the school year, a time to unwind, to hang out with friends and to have your own personal universities concert. After last years disaster (Common), it wouldn’t have been hard to beat it, but in my eyes they blew it out of the water. They got both T-pain and Gym Class Heroes. Id seen Gym Class before and they were really good, and they lived up to that. I hadn’t seen T-pain before though, nor had I been to a real hippity-hop concert, so this was an experience to say the least. It sounded good, I can give them that.My problems were threefold: what was actually done by the performers on stage as apposed the dj seemed to be little, songs lasted at a maximum a minute and ended with an explosion, and they talked for a good 5 minutes between each song. We had wondered what songs exactly T-pain would do, being known for being ‘featured’, but he had a good set of songs.

Gym class heroes like I said before were amazing, and it was definetly a plus to see them with lots of people from your age group…not, say, the average age of a fall out boy show. Having them on campus was a experience too, they were riding razors and bikes around the parking lots, and bought fishing poles from wal*mart (other discount stores are available) to fish in our pond.Now for some pictures (some taken by my friend who had a backstage pass).

Forgetting Sarah Who?

I actually saw this movie (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) a couple of weeks ago now, but was reminded of it while listening to Russell Brand’s radio 2 podcast the other day. (Now, since i don’t have much time to listen to podcasts, Russell is stuck back in march 2007, so at this point he’s still auditioning for the movie in Hawaii). The overall movie was really pretty decent, not as good as some of the classics that have come out in recent years past, but substantial enough for a semi-consistent laugh through its entirety. I was pretty excited to see Brand in his first feature film, --and oh god, he really did name his book ‘my booky wook’, and it was released. Forgetting Sarah Marshal now, let’s talk about Russell. He’s such an interesting character that I can’t help myself, I saw him first during one summer while he was doing a big brother show for channel 4. There were little other words to described him other than eccentric, enthusiastic and completely nuts. I left England that summer, and would eventually return to him on his (then named) Radio 6 podcast, where general shenanigans ensued (‘Eat your fudge Trevor’). Now I listen to him (as much as I can) on his radio 2 podcast. His shows are so full of vibrance, and hilarity its hard not to laugh and I often find myself laughing out loud without meaning to. So now that I’ve found out that his books been published (having heard about it the other day on the same podcast) ill have to go find it, though it could prove difficult being in America and all. Hopefully American will begin to love this recklessly funny man too.

IRONMAN, more like AWESOMEMAN

(Just realized I haven’t written one of these in an age and a half). So last week I saw an advanced screening of IRONMAN (last Tuesday to be specific) once again courtesy of the ROCK WCCC 106.9 Hartford Connecticut etc. I have to be honest and say I wasn’t exactly looking for much going into this movie; I probably wouldn’t have paid for it unless I was absolutely bored out of my mind and in need of something to do. Regardless of my preconceptions (that this would be terrible movie, like Spiderman 3 or the most recent hulk—bad story, bad acting, bad graphics) I was severely blown away by how awesome this movie was, it met and exceeded my expectations. To recap the story quickly, man is genius, man is tony stark, man is captured by bin laden, man makes metal suit to escape, man saves day from own weapons. The story was a solid one, retold to fit with the generation, including the war in Iraq as apposed to the Vietnam war which I believe the original comic book was from(don’t quote me on that). The acting was great on some people’s part; I have to say Robert Downey Jr. pulled off IRONMAN/Tony Stark character with impeccable charm and likability—he was a complete badass. Finally the graphics for ironman were top of the line, the ‘suit-up’ scenes serious sent chills down my arms, and it was really a beautiful thing. I have to add there’s got to be a part of it due to the fact that this wasn’t produced by a major motion picture, rather my the people at marvel, that gave it a very realistic (i.e. not absurd) view of this classic superhero. Soild movie, 9/10.

Charlie the Unicorn 2

The Pop phenomenon from way back at the end of 2005 is back with a sequel that’s even more absurdly random. The problem: when compared to its predecessor its just not as good. Sure he kept the basic build to the storyline (intro [where Charlie is force into an adventure], walking scene, random scene 1, random scene 2, bizarre song, and conclusion) that made the first one so popular, and added a load more randomness but the overall outcome is slightly less meaningful than the first. The song, for one, feels forced—think of a random item and do a meaningless song to it—and until the very last second the of the movie it seemed like it was going to be a major letdown (good job at reviving it at the end). Finally, the events/scenes don’t string together well, while being hilariously random (‘z’, the ‘choo-choo shoe’, and my favorite ‘loploploo-loo-loop’) they just don’t connect. Its an adventure to the banana king, lets see something that relates to that. Despite its downfalls, it’s a sequel to a movie I saw pretty close to the first day it was released and have watched it explode since then. I have to give the creator props for bringing back the characters (in their original style and form), because they ARE unbelievably funny, and the situations are drop-dead hilarious. Comedy: 9/10, Excecution: 6/10, and Animation 8/10.

If you haven't seen it yet, go see it on its original home at Newgrounds.com: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/435202

Or if you can’t wait for a load time that long, watch it streamed at its official location on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=QFCSXr6qnv4

Your First Album

I’m pretty sure this has been going around for a while now, but I thought this was a neat concept:

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit "random article".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random

The first random Wikipedia article name you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to random quotations:
http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3

The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on "explore the last seven days"
http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/

Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or MS Paint to mix them up.

Now debuting: GSG, like a bureaucrat scorned.

Layer Cake

Two things are assured about this movie, 1) its awesome, 2) its Daniel Craig’s definitive audition for James Bond. In detail: 1) the movie centers on one guy, never named, who lives in the world of drug dealing, playing by the rules and leading a fairly secret life. When he’s brought into a drug deal gone wrong he must bend and, in some points, break the rules. It’s suspenseful, shocking, full of action and double turns at every corner. I admit, at some points its hard to follow (especially for my American friends who sometimes couldn’t understand the English accents) but it really pays off in the end. Ends are tied up neatly; well save for one which is pretty killer. I also have to say the use of the camera was pretty creative too, a couple of weird shots that add some dynamics to the movie. Overall, the movie really portrays the shadiness of the drug world and the people who live and operate within it fairly reasonably and believably with a story that’s plausible too. And 2) there a quite a few scenes within this movie where the pacing and movement is straight from any Bond film, making it the perfect casting opportunity for Daniel Craig. Exciting, thrilling and intricate (many layers), definitively worth a second look 9/10.

21

21 is a perversion of the rags to riches story, the exasperation of not having wealth and the troubles with having it all. Based on a non fiction book, the movie focuses on college students leading double lives in Boston and Las Vegas, organized counting cards in games of black jack, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars and led by a former card-counter turned professor. The beginning of the movie and the majority of the middle and systematic, pulled together and kept light by strings of narration by the main character, for without it the story would unwind completely and get unbearably heavy. The ending, plausibly the better/best part of the movie really helps to assure its average status. It’s a game-changer of sorts that adds a little more suspense and complexity to a mostly plain storyline. Enjoyable for the most part but nothing I’d be excited to see again, 6.5/10.

Altar Boyz

So, about a week ago I went to see the off-Broadway musical Altar Boyz with one of my friends. Here’s a little thing in two parts: summary and review.

Old Testament: “We are the Altar Boyz, We love the wafers and the wine…”

The musical is set as if it was taking place in a concert, a concert for the latest Christian pop sensation the Altar Boyz. Consisting of 5 guys, Mathew (the leader), Mark (the *shh* gay), Luke (the gangsta), Juan (the …spanish?), and Abraham (the, well, Jew). They’re mission during the show is to purify all the burdened/bad souls who have attended the concert with the help of good music, faith and the "Soul Sensor DX-12."—a machine that counts the number of souls in need of help. The show also reveals some of the secrets of the Altar Boyz, Mark’s love for Mathew, Luke’s battle with ‘exahstion’, Juan’s search for his parents, and another secret revealed closer to the end of the show.
“Were going to altar your mind”

New Testament: “God put the rhythm in me...”
Not altering from the pop-minded theme, the songs echo those of the great boy bands; Catchy, uplifting, fast tempoed, with lyrics that you can’t help but get suck in your head. Apart from the music itself, the choreography also mimics that of pop sensations; Fast and furious, snappy and sometimes over the top. The overall choreography at some points really kinds of blows your mind, wondering how they are keeping up with themselves. Humor plays a leading role in this musical, woven in between the lyrics and into the choreography as well. The humor comes in two forms Firstly, humor in the satire of faith, secondly the use of lyrics to ‘tell’ untold stories through clever rhyme schemes, and thirdly in the sometimes bizarre dance moves. For its small-stage feel, Altar Boyz make a big impression; for its well rounded story, dance, music and lyrical genius I would give this an 9/10.
“PUT IT IN ME!”

Altar Boyz is an off-Broadway production at the New World Stages (340 West 50th Street (between 8th & 9th Ave). http://www.altarboyz.com/

Beatles x2: American Idol

This is the first time I’ve actually seen any of the top twelve performances, so I thought I’d take the liberty and do a little review of the performers and their songs on this, the Beatles night. Acts one and two, like the judges rightly said were forgettable; I don’t even care enough to look up their names. Off melody, some pitch problems, off tempo, just bad (5/10 and 4/10 respectively). Act three: David Archuleta, I saw clips of his ‘performance’ last week and laughed; I was, truthfully, expecting much the same this week, but he really did his song (‘the Long and Winding Road’) proud, good job (8.5/10). [Side note: really Seacrest? iphone and AT&T plug, lol…and coke]. Act four: Michael Johns, love this song (‘A Day in the Life’), there’s something wrong with the performance, I don’t know what it is, good but not great (7/10). Act five: Brooke White, (I wish I saw last week’s performance) she did it good (‘Here Comes the Sun’) adding her own little touches to it, disagreeing with the judges a bit (8/10). Act six: David Cook, I like this guy’s voice, good rendition of the song (‘Day Tripper’) that really matches him as a performer, solid performance, though not sure about the voice-box thingy (8.5/10). Act seven: Carly Smithson (she’s Irish?), probably my favorite Beatles song (‘Blackbird’), she was pretty good but she tried to do a bit too much and lost the song in places (7/10). [Side note: cooliocious? ©Randy Jackson]. Act eight: Jason Castro (‘Michelle’), good voice, but looked, at times when he was singing French that he didn’t know exactly what he was saying, Paula’s got it right, a “distinct charm”, again good but not great (7/10). Act nine: Syesha Mercado, she sung it well; the song (‘Yesterday’) is well suited for acoustic accompaniment, very good performance (9/10). Act ten: Chikezie, suitable song to begin with, then it got kind of weird, cant say I liked the harmonica, but he’s got a lot of character (6.5/10). Act 11: Ramiele Malubay, not great at the beginning but got better towards the end (6.5/10). Looking back at tonight’s performances, I hope Simon was right about the boat of performers picking the wrong songs, because otherwise I’m not entirely impressed by this year’s contestants; this weeks winners: David Archuleta and Syesha Mercado.

Beatles x2: Heather Mills

So, as you’ve probably read, the judge finalized the divorce agreement of Heather Mills and Paul McCartney for close to $50 million. What I have to say on this whole situation has to do with the publication of the agreement and Ms Mills position on it. She claims to protect the privacy of herself and her daughter, but I ask you this: if she’s so concerned about her privacy and her image in the public eye why did she go through with a high-publicity divorce with the most famous performer in recent history? I saw on the news the other day an video clip of her saying, roughly, I don’t know why people don’t like me, I’ve spent 20 years of my life dedicated to charity. Well, my love, it’s because you’ve created this whole debacle of a divorce, you’ve put yourself in this situation. Now take your $50M and go live in your privacy, because I personally have had enough of you.

Happy St. Patricks Day!

that is all.

XD.

SNL: Bad Writing or Acting?

So I’m sitting here watching Saturday Night Live right now, and while I’m chuckling at the segment on right now (John McCain: Old), the past couple of skits have been pretty awful. Now I can’t put my finger on it, is it the acting that’s bad or is it the writing. Here’s what I know: the previous skit was a Target skit and the main character, a bizarre cashier, could not stop staring at the teleprompter, it’s offsetting, throwing off the pace. This is not to mention it feels like the tempo (the back and forth between characters) is stuck at an amazingly high speed—like they’re trying to get as many bad jokes as they can in. This might be due to acting or it might be that the writing is bad. With no good writers like Will Ferrell or Tina Fey left in the writing staff has certainly gone down hill but is it the sole cause of SNL’s deterioration. I would still say that some of the writing is good, the opener this week (a musical ‘classy’ number), the SNL digital short, and the aforementioned John McCain sketch have been pretty good. If I had to say SNL’s waning quality is due in large part to bad actors (Kenan), and small part to the writers and another small part to NBC’s failing support for the long term show. Now to one of the consistently good parts of the show, the musical act.

ISBS

Spring break is here, and like my English teacher, Professor William Stull, aptly put Impending Spring Break Syndrome (ISBS) has been running rampant. There’s something about the week before spring break that means everything is due, and no one wants to do it. I thought I’d do something very cliché for this bloHG and post a poem. Well, it was an assignment for the final English class before spring break…create a ‘baaaad’ poem about how you cant write a poem today (a creative thought, so here goes):

I cant write a poem today,
because all my thought have run away.
6 more classes left in line,
another one falls, the hands of time,
slacking, tiring, slowing down
spring break is here, back to my old town
I go, I run, I jump, I flee,
till a week is over and I come back to thee.


Meh. Its 10 minutes of ‘baaad’ poetry, lol.

Insane Rain

Generally I like rain, I like its sound, and I like its smell just as it starts, I even like being out in it for a while. What I don’t like is a lot of rain, the kind of rain that lasts all day and all night and all day again, the kind of rain that raises flood levels to 10+ feet, the kind of rain that makes everything unreasonably wet. This weekend was one of these ridiculous rainfall periods. I think my main reason for hating the rain comes from the University of Hartford; you see the university was supposedly built on a pig farm which supposedly affects the drainage in some way. Regardless of its causes, the University of Hartford doesn’t have good drainage. One would think being postulated on a river it wouldn’t be hard but whenever big rain events come the puddles rise and you have to wade back and forth to class. This past weekend wasn’t bad, but there have been days where boats were needed just to get to the academic side. Earlier this year, for example, there was an ice storm which, when plowed, created little barriers that held the water that followed, leaving puddles that rose to the top of you ankles in places. There are numerous things one could complain about on the U of H campus but their rain management has got to be one of their worst problems. Perhaps it’s not the rain I hate, maybe its how it’s dealt with.

No Country for Old Men

With little other movies blowing open the box offices right now, we decided that perhaps we should see an ‘Oscar-worthy’ and perhaps Oscar-winner of a movie. After some failures of Oscar films I was, undoubtedly, a little skeptical (cough—Brokeback Mountain—cough), but was slightly reassured after actually taking the time to watch the trailer. Well, my friends, I might have to retract some of my comments from my bloHG earlier about the Oscars and Oscar films because this was a REALLY great movie. Congratulations Coen brothers, you’ve actually succeeded in not only keeping me entertained but also in bringing something philosophically outstanding to the screen. As the title states, the movie is about the turning times, about the old men (a brilliant performance by Tommy Lee Jones, probably one of the best I’ve seen him in) who can’t stand up to the reckless nature of the younger men. Javier Bardem’s performance was definitely worth the best supporting actor award, adding to the movies already extensive suspense. In the end the story isn’t about the drug deal gone bad, the chase from Texas town to another Texas town, the psychopath or the guy on the run; it’s about who we are and about what were doing, it’s about how we act and how the generation before us acted, and it’s about how we see the world.

Super Tuesday part II

Once again super Tuesday failed to do the job, the primary day to end all primaries has put us right back to where Super Tuesday One left us (in terms of democrats anyway). So John McCain is now the presumptive nominee for GOP, being the best of the worst. I have to say, though, that I thought Huckabee was a great guy, he was really likable, funny and interesting, he could have been a man republicans could have got behind…except for the fact that’s he was too conservative. Back to the best of the best, we find ourselves still stuck between two formidable candidates, Clinton and Obama, who both have logical plans for the country, great strengths and examples of leadership. Could we be heading to the so called ‘dream ballet’? If so who will headline it? Will one nominee actually reach the 2025 number? And will it involve Michigan and Florida? It’s impossible to call at this point, and what the country is seeing is that they are two very suitable candidates for a president. Also, Ralph Nader stay out of this, and Ron Paul get out of this.

A Vantage Point on Vantage Point

I saw vantage point the other day and I have to say I thought it was pretty good overall. I have to admit this is one of the films I’d been waiting to be released after seeing the trailer, it looked like a good concept and a good story and some good actors. I saw the movie with two other people and they had mixed reviews of it, and both for stupid/silly reasons, but I did take them to heart. Here’s my vantage point on why I think this movie was really good: 1) the story, it’s plausible, just proving that you don’t have to have a far out or really complicated story for a movie to work. 2) The concept, pretty original, I have to applaud the makers of the film for pulling this off reasonably well. While the reverse to the start did get a bit laughable near the last of them they continually produced something new, and made sure to leave a cliff hanger of sorts to be resolved. 3) The twists, so-so but made better with the concept, the creation of the movie and plot from A to B including the concept-defining vantage points really helped to exaggerate the turning points and revelations. I have to say this was a generally good movie, one that I would watch again without a second hesitation.

This Day Doesnt Exist.

Forget what happened today, this day doesn't exist. it hasn't existed for the past 3 years, and wont exist for the next 3 years, so what right does it have existing this year!

Most Tedious Award Show

And the Oscar goes to…well, the Oscars. Yes, Sunday evening the Oscars took home the award for most tedious award show and show to feature the most films no ones ever heard off. There’s a reason I don’t like to watch the Oscars, and the thing is I forget it every year, hoping that it will be a good one, that something generally good would happen, and that I would be entertained. But it never does. Not even John Stewart can save it. Every year we, the audience, face the same awkward ceremony, that is, the biggest load of self-appreciative crap out there. I don’t care if Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for La Vie en Rose, I’ve never heard of her before, and for that matter the film. Despite the fact that the content and awardees are unfamiliar, the procession of the show really brings it to a whole new level of dreariness. There’s nothing exciting planned (just award, awkward speech, pathetic joke, commercial and repeat). This is one thing that the Grammys have really stepped up to the plate on, providing something other than the monotony of award after award. So there it is, note to self: I don’t care if John Stewart is hosting, avoid the Oscars.

BBC 2.0

Last December the BBC introduced a beta of what would be its redesign of its homepage, after 2 months and some slight tweaks the template debuted this morning…to very mixed reviews. Looking at the first blog on the BBC Internet blog debuting the new design there are some pretty key words in the responses, ‘awful’, ‘childish’, ‘disappointed’, ‘under-utilization of space’, ‘chunky’. As a web designer (in training), I have some thoughts I would like to say, some along the lines of those reviews but some highest approval. The customization, which I believe the BBCrew were going for is brilliant, I spent first thing this morning moving all the boxes around and adjusting the lengths (moving the weather and blogs to the bottom, getting rid of children and TV, adding economy, switching news from the left to the right), it really is a job well done and its really an impressive system. I have two criticisms and 1 complaint, the 2 criticisms are that it might be a little spacey, and along with that, that its only for a 1020 screen (I understand that screens are now at this size, but for those that do have small screens will have problems, msn deals with this very well, having two sizes). My criticism is that there is no global navigation. To me global navigation is one of the biggest things about a site, something that you can get familiar with and will reduce the stress of navigating a site (particularly like the BBC). Other than that it looks really attractive, really usable and a good indicator of what makes the BBC. Here's to looking forward to the layout across all of the BBC.

A+ A Cappella

A cappella, its part choreography, part comedy, and most importantly the creation of music with just the voice. Here at the University of Hartford its one of the more forefront accomplishments of both students in the Hartt School and even students not within it. Yesterday was the regional ICCA competition, encompassing a cappella groups from New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut including L’Shir from Hartford. The acts were varied including an enthusiastic and almost-soulful 3 songs from NYU’s N’Harmonics, an all guys group, the Fordham Ramblers, which like most guys groups substituted a little bit of talent for comedy, and an all girls group, the Wheaton whims, that almost echoed barbershop, and a three song medley of sorts from Hartford’s L’shir. The top two teams to advance to the next round, exactly like last year, were N’Harmonics and L’shir. I love a cappella when it’s done right, and these two teams really showed the judges what it’s all about. Congratulations to the two of them, and good luck to L’shir in the next round.

Twofer: Where’s our social life gone?

Facebook’s been down for about 13 hours now. Not Facebook as a whole, but the Hartford chapter (hartford.facebook.com), whether that’s a problem on Facebooks end or on the campus’ internet I don’t know, what I do know, and have come to realize is how much I click on that bookmark. It’s only when something’s gone that you miss it, right; well I couldn’t be truer than with Facebook. I have two obsessions on the web, that’s checking my email and checking Facebook and I’m sure it’s true with many other college students around the world. To have instant connection to every person you are personally connected with is an immense thing, a power that has evolved the way we communicate as a campus-society and a world society. By not having this connection its throwing the balance of the universe up in the air, and it’s a slightly disconcerting feeling. Where’s our social life gone?

Twofer: Uncommoon

Facebook’s been down for about 13 hours now. Not Facebook as a whole, but the Hartford chapter (hartford.facebook.com), whether that’s a problem on Facebooks end or on the campus’ internet I don’t know, what I do know, and have come to realize is how much I click on that bookmark. It’s only when something’s gone that you miss it, right; well I couldn’t be truer than with Facebook. I have two obsessions on the web, that’s checking my email and checking Facebook and I’m sure it’s true with many other college students around the world. To have instant connection to every person you are personally connected with is an immense thing, a power that has evolved the way we communicate as a campus-society and a world society. By not having this connection its throwing the balance of the universe up in the air, and it’s a slightly disconcerting feeling. Where’s our social life gone?

Hit finally makes sense

A quick Flash bloHG now, regarding a small revelation I made just the other day. If you’re a flash developer or have used flash in passing you might have noticed that in the Button-Symbol editing mode there are 4 special key-frames: Up, Over, Down, Hit. Now I got Up, Over and Down when I first came round to flash, easy right? But I had always assumed that Hit, was just the frame shown when the button is Hit. Of course I had doubts about my theory as I never actually saw the Hit frame shown. My error wasn’t helped by the fact that I never bothered to look up exactly what hit did, in fact a simple Google search would have suffice. My revelation was that Hit has nothing to do with what’s being shown; it’s the area that’s clickable (that makes the button click). Take a look at this quickie, the button is the rectangle with text on it, but the clickable area is actually hidden where the light purple is.


So there you go, as someone said “you learn something new everyday”, and as the Chuckle Brothers would say, “silly me!”

Premier League Intrique

For those that are fans of football around the world, you may have read about certain plans in which the English premier league would be extended and games played overseas. In the past handful of days various positions of support and disagreement have been presented by FA members, FIFA chiefs and club bosses alike. Under the new league the regular season would be extended by a 39th game, which would be played over seas. It would also be stipulated that top-level clubs would not play each other in these games. The result would be increases awareness of football and increased revenue. Today the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, has poo-pooed the idea, and the FA has come out with disagreement saying it could hurt England’s chances of hosting the 2018 world cup. I have to say I agree with those in disagreement, it would seriously distort the premier league we understand, that makes sense. I’m not against teams playing more overseas, I’ve seen my team, Manchester United, twice when they came to the USA, but doing so in a regular season would place an undetermined strain on the players. Consider international games presently, the week around them there is no regular season games, this, partially to the strain of travelling. One can also consider how the teams would play abroad; such matches would undoubtedly take on a friendly-like status, with teams playing for their fans rather than the league. Don’t misunderstand me I’m for promoting awareness of a great game and great league (more friendly’s), but not at the cost of harming and skewing what is already established.

The Return of the TV

After 3 long months, the WGA has secured a deal and has returned to work! Now, since the beginning of the strike I’ve supported the writers, as a user (and to an extent, creator) of digital content I could understand the writers discomfort at being ‘gypped’ out of their rightful money. Now I see two sides to the return of the writers, a good side and a bad side. Starting with the good side, it means a return for some of my favorite shows like Lost (5 to 6 new episodes), the Office and 30 Rock (also 5 to 6 new episodes), House (with 4 to 6 new episodes), not to mention one of the best new shows this year the Big Bang Theory (with up to 9 new episodes!). Then there’s also the good point that we wont have to suffer a completely reality line-up in the fall. The bad side of the writers return is the probable return to mediocrity of Conan (who I think has been the funniest I’ve ever seen during his return during the writers strike). In addition one of my most anticipated shows, 24, will not be returning, perhaps until January 2009! That, along with Heroes which also will have a long wait to return in the fall 08. Finally pilot season has fallen to scraps, meaning little or no new shows this fall, although that might not be all bad and might mean more thought out and generally better shows in Spring or Fall 09. Ultimately, though, the ‘props’ goes to the writers for fighting for what they believe in, for their sacrifices. Now get back to work!

(episode numbers and show return dates courtesy TVGuide.com)

Music’s Biggest Night

For the past 50 years the music industry has gathered together to honor the greatest achievements in music in the past year. This year they not only honored current artists but honored those that have contributed to music in the past. With some pretty chillingly spectacularly and amazing performances, this years Grammys looked back over the past 50 years and recognized the people that have made music what it is today—pairing past stars with current. More than before the ceremony focused on the performances rather than the awards, and while some were a little sloppy, there were some great examples of why these artists win Grammys. Here are some of the best moments (I was going to do ‘awards’, but msn beat me to it…):
Beatles Tribute: While the Cirque du Soliel portion didn’t really work on the Grammy stage (I still want to see Love though), the performance of Let it Be following it was one of two times I got chills up my spine. Very powerful, and I will definitely be seeing across the universe very soon.
Kanye West: firstly the tron-like Stronger was impressive. The white slated glasses we’ve come to associate with Graduation and electric jacket, backed with red-fringed DJ’s and blue-fringe violins. That song was then followed by the second goosebumply moment Kanye’s song dedicated to his mama. With Kanye’s emotional voice singing supplemented with a segment of strings it was a truly powerful moment
Orchestra: my favorite thing about the Grammys (and whenever and wherever they do it) is mixing orchestra pieces into current and pop songs like Kanye did in his song to his mama, and how Foo Fighters did in the Pretender.
Jazz: bringing special recognition to a music form that might have been forgotten, most prominently honoring Herbie Hancock as Album of the year but also in the performance of George Girshwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli: awesome. Great tribute for an amazing singer.
Kanye West: making the second appearance on this list for telling the music to stop. And it did, indeed he does run the Grammys and it is his house.
It was a great show with lots of great moments and awards going to mostly the musicians that deserved it, I thought.
Oh, and if you didn’t get it ALL of last night, shop at target and buy a Malibu.