Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What the ?

YouTube - Toei Spider-Man: Miyauchi Hiroshi

E Muzeki

E Muzeki will be at the Mucky Duck here in Houston this Sunday evening.

Stolen from one of the bayoucitybrowncoats -
If you didn't hear E Muzeki perform at Texas Renaissance Festival this year, they play a mix of Celtic, Gypsy and Middle Eastern music. It sounds a LOT like Firefly! They will be playing the Mucky Duck on Super Bowl Sunday. The crowd might not be too big, as many will be watching the game or otherwise staying home. Only $5 per person, and the usual food and drink at the Duck. Please come out! Their acoustic version of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" is enough to make it worthwhile!

Hear music clips of the group here.

Happy Birthday

Happy 59th Birthday Nolan Ryan. You were hell!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Addicting Games - Free Flash and Java Games

Addicting Games - Free Flash and Java Games

Mini Putt

Dangit! I shot a 58 the first (and only) time I played it.
Nice game.
Hole 8 got me, 3 over par. Hole 17, 2 over.
Hole 18, kicked my butt. 7 over par.
I had one hole-in-one.
Mini Putt - Presented by Addicting Games


Still have your entire music collection on vinyl?
Gadget Review: ION ITTUSB: USB Turntable

JamMate UG-1: USB Guitar

Throw away that amp because all you need to do now is plug your guitar into your computer.
Gadget Review: JamMate UG-1: USB Guitar

Games you keep coming back to

By Keith Stuart / The Friday question 11:49am

Like airport novels and the movies of Adam Sandler, there are some games you only ever want to experience once. They may be littered with specious devices to add 'replay value' - the odd easter egg, a few hidden rooms, the chance to play again as the same character but in a goose outfit - but sometimes, you just can't go back. Even if you enjoyed it the first time round.

Then there are others that call at you from the shelf, that just won't let you go - they may not have been your favourites first time round, but they offer something that bears repeated viewing. It could be great characters, stunning sand box game design, enormous levels... whatever. You just know that on those big videogame clean out days, when all your old stuff ends up on eBay or the pre-owned shelves at Game, you just can't bear to part with this one.

Today's question - what is the game that just keeps giving to you? Let's stay away from mulitplayer-focused titles, which have replayability built-in thanks to the social element. I'm talking single player experiences. I'm talking:

Super Mario 64
The Bible, the Complete Works of Shakespeare, of open-ended game design. Frankly, I just like coming back to check out what a perfect 3D camera system and character control set-up should be like, when I've had to experience the exact opposite. The music is weirdly soothing, too.
Good game, I agree!

The dramatic build-up is so perfect with this game, so unapologetically cinematic, playing it again is like revisiting a really well-constrcuted blockbuster movie. Sometimes, I just like running through the first chapter, enjoying the opening sequence on the monorail, watching the scientists scampering around, worrying out loud about their jobs, their clothes... giving them a playful tap with the crowbar... Never played.

I don't know why, but I can't leave this masterpiece of 8bit coding alone. It is, perhaps, the sheer genius of the robot mind-control sub-challenges, or maybe it's the sparse figurative majesty of the level design, or the discordant computer noise of the soundtrack. Or perhaps it's because I never completed it. Never played.

Silent Hill 2
Multiple endings fiendishly hidden behind layers of incomprehensible spookiness. Plus, you don't need so many changes of underwear the second or third times you play. Never played.

Sim City 3000
Of all the supposed examples of 'sand box' game design this is the most pure. It really shares more similarities with Lego, or even with architectural planning software, than with other videogames. Every time you load up, it'll happily indulge any crazy planning scheme you concoct - well, until your city goes into economic meltdown because you put the nuclear power plant in the centre of town as a tourist attraction... Played SC2000 but not SC3000.

Civilization 2
Don't get me started. Own it, never played it.

It was either this or Sega Rally, but I opted for Yu Suzuki's 1986 legend. When it came out, it seemed to perfectly capture the Californian dream as imagined - in my case - from a scruffy arcade beneath a viaduct in Stockport. It still has a certain magic, I don't know if that's amazing game design or nostalgia. I'm sure I played this one, I remember it as OK.

House of the Dead
Another Sega title, this time on Dreamcast. I'm not sure actually, if I've played this more than another lightgun blaster of the period, Confidential Mission, but I expect I have as I can pretty much play out the whole game in my head. This ability is absolutely certainly going to come in handy one day. Never played.

C'mon folks, leave some comments!
Games you keep coming back to from Guardian Unlimited: Gamesblog

'Star Trek' plans to beam up new games

New titles to be timed for 40th anniversary of the franchise

DALLAS - The "Star Trek" series, now relegated to video rentals and television reruns, plans to beam up some new video games later this year.

In an exclusive licensing deal announced this week with CBS Corp.'s CBS Communications Group, Bethesda Softworks LLC will publish Trek games for consoles, handheld systems and personal computers. Terms weren't disclosed.

Rockville, Md.-based Bethesda's first title will be "Star Trek: Legacy," where gamers can orchestrate space battles as a Starfleet admiral. A second game for handheld systems will let players control either Federation or Klingon forces.

Both are scheduled for release in September to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the franchise that introduced pointy-eared Vulcans and photon torpedoes.

It's been a rough time lately for the venerable sci-fi series, which hasn't had a new show since the "Star Trek: Enterprise" was canceled last year.
'Star Trek' plans to beam up new games - Games - MSNBC.com

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Brand new, never cooked or eaten. Kept in the fridge since purchased. No sign of rot or mold. Will keep for a long time. Looks Like Darth Vadar(my wife says)

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Planetwide Comics

How to make your own t-shirt folder thing


Flash / How to Fold a Shirt

Flash / How to Fold a Shirt

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Channel4.com - IT Crowd

The high-rise towers of Reynholm Industries are full of go-getters, success stories, and winners... apart from in the basement.

While their beautiful colleagues work in fantastic surroundings, Jen, Roy and Moss lurk below ground, scorned and mocked by their co-workers as geeky losers, doomed never to make it back into normal society.

Welcome to the IT Crowd!
Channel4.com - IT Crowd

Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs

Downloadable and very printable, I find these PDFs extremely useful.
Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Sarah McLachlan. 38, nice age. Mmmm.

And to my brother! He's 50 today. Old fart. :-)

Ummm huh?

Nerdy, clever idea. Sorry I didn't think of it first. :-)
If you donate to this site, I'll have to hurt you just on general principal.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Will Firefly Season Two Fly?

A spokesman for Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly and its spinoff movie, Serenity, told SCI FI Wire that Whedon hasn't heard of Ace Underhill, an entrepreneur who said he is trying to acquire the rights to the SF TV franchise for purposes of mounting a second season to be distributed in alternative media. "Joss doesn't really know anything about that guy, and I don't really think he has a comment," Whedon's spokesman said in response to questions about Underhill's efforts.

For his part, Underhill told SCI FI Wire that he has contacted Whedon's representatives about starting up a new season of Firefly, which the Fox broadcast network canceled after a single season in 2003, but hadn't spoken with Whedon directly. Whedon previously told USA Today that he still hopes to tell more stories set in Serenity's futuristic universe, though Firefly as it was is dead. He later told Empire Online that he remains open to doing another TV series.

In response, Underhill said in an interview: "If he contacts me and says, 'Hey, we're not interested in Firefly anymore' or 'I'm not interested in Firefly anymore,' then I will abandon the project, and essentially it's over at that point. I'm not looking to create a cheap knockoff of the series without Joss' input. So that's not going to happen. ... If he's not going to be involved, then there is no project. There's no point."

Underhill said that he wants to acquire the rights to produce a second season of Firefly and has gone on the Web to solicit fans' support, though not their money. "We're looking at actually doing a direct pay-per- ... view model for this series, where the consumer could choose, if they wanted to, [to] view it on their computer, on their iPod, on direct-to-DVD sent to their house or on demand through their cable or satellite operator," Underhill said in a telephone interview. "That would be the first run of the series. And then the second run, obviously, you would go to the off-net cable channels. ... We're looking at giving choices to the audience."

Underhill said that he is also speaking with Jamie McCabe, senior vice president of worldwide pay-per-view and video-on-demand services for 20th Century Fox Television, which holds the TV rights to Firefly. SCI FI Wire calls to McCabe's office and Fox public relations representatives were not returned by press time. Underhill added that he has contacted members of the Firefly/Serenity cast and had received a few rate quotes from agents, but he declined to say who. He acknowledged that he had not yet heard from Firefly/Serenity star Nathan Fillion.

Underhill said that he works with Brilliant Screen Entertainment, an Arizona-based company that, according to its Web site, provides TV and film production services, studio recording and DVD and CD project design. Underhill also said that he works with Cine Support International, which provides logistics and planning for film and television productions, and is on the film advisory board for the government of Costa Rica.

Firefly/Serenity fans, who call themselves Browncoats, are suspicious of Underhill's motives and methods, and the entrepreneur has gone on a Browncoat fan forum to answer questions.

Underhill admitted that his effort is a long shot: He even revealed that a bookmaker had contacted him to gauge the odds of his success for purposes of wagering. (He had no idea.) "Anything can be a long shot, and projects can be shut down at any time," he said. "But I'm hopeful and I'm keeping on it, and I'll put my perseverance on it and try to stay with it for the long haul. I understand it's not an overnight process, and I don't expect it to be, and I'm prepared for the long haul. ... At this point, I would say it's a long shot, but the chance exists."
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and
point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want
fries with that.

4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "IN".

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has
gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for smuggling

7. Finish all your sentences with "in accordance with the prophecy".

8. Don't use any punctuation.

9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat - with a
serious face.

11. Specify that your drive-through order is "to go".

12. Sing along at the opera.

13. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play
tropical sounds all day at work.

14. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend
their party because you're not in the mood.

16. Have your coworkers address you by your wrestling name,
Rock Bottom.

17. When the money comes out the ATM, scream "I won! I won!"

18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot
"run for your lives, they're loose!!"

19. Tell your children over dinner "due to the economy, we are
going to have to let one of you go."

American Idol 5 - San Francisco auditions

OK, I know I will be writing about the American Idol this season but I know I won't be taking notes like this during the mass audition stage of the game. So, I am totally ripping off Sara Cress' blog from the Chronicle. Thank you Sara. My comments are in another color. - Marc

American Idol, Season Five
Jan. 25, 2006

I'm eating meat and potatoes and drinking something called an Alabama Slammer. I'm feeling incredibly American and I'm ready to find someone to idolize.

Ryan "Hair" Seacrest says, "It's season five and the stakes are even higher!" I feel compelled to point out that the stakes are not, in fact, any higher than any other season, folks. Everyone keep calm.

Heidi Fairbanks looks like Jessica Simpson. She's from Hawaii. She's an opera singer, but she's not much of a good pop singer. True that.

Shawn Vasquez has been singing forever. Opera lessons, he says. He sings Gladys Knight. He sings like a girl. He wails like a girl. He has one of the worst voices Simon's ever heard. That line is getting so old. Agreed.

As the show goes to commercial, we get the teaser of the night: Simon walking out and Randy saying, "let's just get through it." Oh no, I hope there's not any judge drama this season.

Note to anyone trying to sell me anything: Do NOT use the song My Humps.

Ahem. Back to the show.

Jose Penala. "People call me Sway." He's pretty good. He convinces me that I could write a pop song: "Baby, baby, baby, baby. Baby. I love you. Baby." He's the first person from San Francisco to go on to Hollywood.

John Williams is a military guy who started voice lessons six weeks ago when he got back from the desert. After singing his song, he does this: "Uh, hold up. Remix." Puts on sunglasses and takes off his shirt and does some kind of Michael Jackson something or other. Simon: It was a little bit over the top. Paula says yes. Randy says yes. I'm happy for him, I can't help it. If this is the person I am thinking of, he won't last long.

Katharine McPhee's mom is a voice teacher. She's a bit of a crazy stage mother. Pretty voice, but no Paris Bennett. Simon: Absolutely fantastic. Randy: Best voice I've heard this season. WHAT?! What about Paris? Paris! Simon: You're very current. Oh, whatever, Katharine. You're no Paris. This girl was good.

Shelesia recently discovered that she can sing. She quit her job to be on American Idol. She says, "It's the best voice in the world." She keeps pulling on her hair and then breaks into slam poetry. She's not even good at that. Simon: "It wasn't the best career move in the world, I think." So Simon calls her boss and gets her job back. He does these things, you see, so he won't be seen as completely one-dimensional. It's all pretend. I bet Simon's real name is Bob and he's from Iowa.

Shawna White is a small-town kid. Dad's in a rock band. She's got a sweet voice. Simon thought her first song was annoying. Randy: "I don't know what's going on with his ears today." She's going to Hollywood.

Randy: "What's going on with you today, dawg?" The camera shakes a little. Oh, this is so Mexican soap opera.

Marcus Phillips is an "all-terrain entertainer." He talks way too fast and he's an embarrassing singer. This was wtf?

Jayne Santayana is all right. Not my style. Simon: "I thought the song was way too big for you." Randy and Paula love her. Judges are fighting. Paula pulls out a compact. Yeah she did OK.

Debra Dawn Tilley. She says she's 27, but this woman looks about 20 years older than me. She reminds me of Molly Shannon. Simon: "You're kind of like somebody's mother who is told to dress up like Cher and sing for a party." It's up to Simon. Simon needs to hear Debra Dawn with his eyes closed. Paula and Simon argue about whether or not Paula was there when Simon told Clay that he needed to hear him sing with his eyes closed. Simon walks off. He's on his phone. Ryan has a smirk on his face and tells us that Simon is leaving. Simon goes to his hotel.

Finally, we're down to the last contestant, Manuel Viramontes. He's drinking Tabasco. Manuel takes a moment, kisses his saint. He's bad. Oh, he's breaking his saint's heart. God's crying. Randy: "I feel like we've landed on another planet." Manuel keeps singing. He pulls out Bohemian Rhapsody. It's horrible.

Next week: Presumably, Simon returns dramatically. Paula and Randy make out. Simon gets jealous. Randy kills a man. Simon grows a luxurious mustache.
Oh, and Idol hits Vegas.
Tubular: The judges start fighting

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

American Idol 5 - Greensboro NC auditions

OK, I know I will be writing about the American Idol this season but I know I won't be taking notes like this during the mass audition stage of the game. So, I am totally ripping off Sara Cress' blog from the Chronicle. Thank you Sara. My comments are in another color. - Marc

American Idol, episode 3
Jan. 24, 2006

Here we are in sunny...Greensboro?

Yes, American Idol lands in North Carolina. You know what I'd love to see? American Idol landing in Alaska. The blubber jokes alone would fill an hour! Ha! Whales are FAT!

Let's get on with this:

Sabrina Oakley wins lots of karaoke contests, she says. But without the words in front her, she's getting the words all wrong: "Lean on me 'til you're not strong...You don't need somebody to lean on."

Randy: "I'm sure when everyone's had a couple, you sound amazing."

Kellie Pickler (who is already generating a lot of interest on the 'net) is a waitress at Sonic. She lives with her grandfather, who says, "I wouldn't mind having a sandwich," which is usually how I feel about life. Kellie's a hard-luck story: Mom ran off, dad in jail. So when you hear her sing and sing well, you're all right with that. She will be beloved. Yeah, I liked her.

A guy named Shawn brought an exhibit with him about his mission to revive standards. I don't think he realizes that they've already been revived to death. When Rod Stewart beats you to a phenomenon, you're a little late. Even Paul Anka is so over standards that he's singing Nirvana. Shawn would be great in a barbershop quartet. Randy and Simon riff on the poor guy looking like a waiter. Luckily, he's got a great little brother who doesn't care what American Idol thinks, Shawn is the greatest.

Richard Garland is only worth mentioning because he brought a ventriloquist dummy named Scotty. Moving on.

Sergeant Stephen Davis, Jr., is a member of the Air National Guard. He wants Paula to dance with him and she says, "I'm not allowed to." Oh, Paula, forget the rules! Throw caution to the wind! Stephen sings Let's Get It On and, man, does he do it well. Simon and Randy drag Paula out to dance with him. Simon: "Don't get too close." Which one is he talking to? This was kinda fun to watch.

Oh, all the forgettable people! It's becoming a blur! Could we possibly not do two hours of this next week?

My boyfriend, drifting in and out of the room, weighs in: "They should take the most pathetic person on this show and send them to that extreme home makeover show. Perk them up a bit."

Kenneth "Chase" Bush has a nice voice but overpronounces every word. Simon: "I almost imagine you in a dress when you sing." Chase offers to wear one if it means he could go to Hollywood. Chase! Don't stoop to their level! He's going to Hollywood, but I don't see him lasting long.

Chonna Clepper's mother is a stripper who buys Chonna's clothes. Well, "clothes" maybe isn't the right word. She's wearing some sort of pink leopard-print stripper, uh, dress with a sheer black cape. But she's got a really nice voice, so it breaks my heart when they don't send her on, probably because of the outfit. Yeah, she should have been passed on to Hollywood.

Nearing the end of the first hour and I've got a terrible headache. Probably unrelated to American Idol, but if you also had a headache around 7:55 p.m. while watching AI, let me know. Maybe we can sue. I watched the 2nd hour only during commercial breaks on Scrubs.

Next up is Paris Bennett, granddaughter of Ann Nesby. She has a beautiful voice! I adore her. Paula says, "Will you bless us with another song?" She sings Billie Holiday and she's amazing. She just won this whole season. Mark my words. She's the one. I barely got to see her. :-(

Day 2 begins. Randy's wearing those white shoes again. It's Simon's birthday, but I don't care. Do you?

Marcus Behling gets high praise from me for wearing orange, because orange is my favorite color. But when he opens his mouth, this inexplicable sound comes out. He appears to be in a meditative state, mouth agape. And he sort of looks like he needs to pee. He explains that he learned to sing from Randy and Paula's DVD and Simon rejoices. After being rejected, Marcus smashes the DVD with a hammer. That's fair, I think. This was hilarious. Simon really enjoyed it.

Jimmy Crabtree is really depressing and looks like Eminem. He goes to karaoke bars every night of the week. Whoa, he sounds like marble-mouthed Ralph Stanley. Simon: "You have the personality of a hippo when you sing." Does Simon have someone writing these lines?

Sammy Neighbors is certifiable. He says, "I'm so rah." Or was that "raw"? Or "Ra"? It doesn't matter, none of it makes sense. He looks like Rosie O'Donnell. Maybe prettier? Is it wrong for me to say that? He's horrible and knows he's horrible, I suspect he just wanted the opportunity to shake his butt on national television.

Tyra Schwartz's hard-luck story is that she just found out that her boyfriend is cheating on her. Yeah, doesn't really compare with the girl who grew up in foster care and lived in 41 different homes. She's got a lovely voice, though.

Seth Strickland is dressed as Michael Jackson and tries to sing like Michael Jackson. I love the way he fades off, forgets the words and says, "oh crap." This is the first time I've genuinely laughed tonight. Yep, I had to laugh at this too.

So finally, we get to tonight's big payoff: Rhonetta. We've gotten a million teasers of Rhonetta, the crazy girl in the silver tube top, white miniskirt and silver boots. Rhonetta kicking the camera, Rhonetta mooning the camera (did I mention Rhonetta's not wearing underwear?), Rhonetta yelling about how washed-up Paula Abdul is, Rhonetta, Rhonetta, Rhonetta.
I'm really dreading this. I almost want to gouge my eyes out. I want to die. I really want to die. She's not telling them her name, she's a horrible singer, she's rubbing herself, she keeps stopping and starting over. I feel like I'm watching someone's nervous breakdown. The cats are hiding their faces.

Oh, it's over. I'm so glad it's over.
Tubular: Paris Bennett is the next American Idol


We've all seen it happen: you or someone you know has downloaded something from the internet that seemed harmless enough at the time. Next thing you know, the computer has slowed to a crawl. Pop-up advertising starts to appear out of nowhere. Private information gets sent to some company you've never heard of. And the worst part? Trying to uninstall the software might only make the problem worse.
Google, Sun, others band to fight spyware, adware
Anti-spyware Coalition

MSN's favorite vampire flicks

"With the arrival of 'Underworld: Evolution,' we fondly remember our favorite vampires on DVD"
MSN Movies -- MSN's DVD Guide

Start investing with just $100

Investing isn’t as difficult or as expensive as most people think. Most of us just don't do it well. Here's what we do wrong and how to start doing it right -- with just $100.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Free parking may end along Bolivar beaches

Beachgoers this summer likely will see something new — signs saying there's a $10 annual permit fee for parking at water's edge.

The fee, estimated conservatively to raise $300,000 the first year to help finance beach cleaning, portable toilets and security, would mean an end to decades of unfettered vehicular access to all but about 2.5 miles of the approximately 30-mile-long peninsula shoreline.
Chron.com Free parking may end along Bolivar beaches


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Sunday, January 22, 2006


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Friday, January 20, 2006

Purcell Reveals Doe's Secret

Dominic Purcell, whose SF series John Doe will begin rerunning on SCI FI Channel Jan. 20, told SCI FI Wire that he knows the show's big secret. John Doe will air Fridays at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"I think it's an amazing premise," Purcell said in an interview at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, where he was promoting his current Fox series, Prison Break. "I think it's a really cool premise."

In the series, Purcell plays a man who awakes naked on an island near Seattle, possessing all of the knowledge in the world except his own identity. He bears strange marks on his body and can only see in black and white. A group of nefarious strangers, meanwhile, is pursuing him for reasons that are not clear. They call themselves the Phoenix group.

But Purcell revealed the show's secret, which creators Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson never had a chance to unveil before Fox canceled it in 2003.

Ready? (Major spoilers ahead!)

"Apparently I was the messiah returned," Purcell said, confirming an earlier report in Entertainment Weekly. As for the Phoenix group? "They were working for the Vatican. ... The Catholics. They didn't want it to be revealed that the true Christ had returned."

Purcell's character had actually either died or come near death, when all knowledge is revealed, then returned with no memory of his past life.

The one secret Purcell didn't reveal: John Doe's real name. As for whether he'd like to have continued with the short-lived show, Purcell said: "I don't know. I'm pretty f--king happy with [Prison Break's] Lincoln right now."
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel


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Thursday, January 19, 2006

American Idol 5 - Denver auditions

OK, I know I will be writing about the American Idol this season but I know I won't be taking notes like this during the mass audition stage of the game. So, I am totally ripping off Sara Cress' blog from the Chronicle. Thank you Sara. My comments are in another color. - Marc

American Idol Season Five
Jan. 18, 2005

I guess Denver doesn't have many talented people. Where the masterminds of American Idol were able to stretch two hours of programming out of Chicago's auditions, Denver's spanned only an hour. But I'm not complaining. Any more American Idol this week would have made me irritable and sleepless.

Let's get to it:

Marlows Davis is first up. He's not nervous, he says, just excited because he's not performing for judges, he's performing for fans. Oh, he's so bad. Oh, he's going to cry. He came such a long way, he whines. They ask where he's from. He's from Denver.

It's at this point that I offer a tip for livening up AI: Allow Simon to carry a gun and cull the sad ones from the herd. OK, maybe that's harsh. How about a paintgun? You can't deny the entertainment value in emotionally fragile kids getting pounded with balls of paint. And holding a gun allows Simon to flex the muscles in his tight muscle shirts, which I suspect is the only reason he does this show anyway.

Next memorable character is David Horning, who wears an American flag as a bandana and a hideous tropical shirt. He sings the line "come on baby, run with me" a few times. Randy says: "Uh, dude? Naw." And this is Randy's second "naw" of the night. Is "naw" the new "dawg"?

And finally we get someone who can actually sing. Lisa Tucker gives me shivers even as she sings an abominable Whitney Houston song. Turns out Lisa's a pro, having appeared on the revived-then-killed-again Star Search in 2003. I'm wary, though. She's clearly been groomed for this sort of competition and I can't stand kids who have been groomed. She's got so much confidence that I sort of hate her. But that's just my own issues talking, don't listen to me. She'll go far, I'm sure. This girl is 16, she can sing.

Brett "Ace" Young is a rocker dude from Los Angeles who sings a song by Westlife. He's all right. Is he wearing blush?

Now we have our first hard-luck story of the night. Rochelle has been evicted from homes left and right. But she's a good singer, so maybe she won't be evicted from another home? I'm not sure how going to Hollywood solves her problems, but she's going.

Cheap shot of the night: Before every commercial the viewer sees teasers of an audition by what is clearly a cross-dressing young man. I guess if you're a 13-year-old girl, you find this sort of thing hilarious.

Next up is a montage of the rock dudes that show up, inspired by Bo and Constantine. Now, tell me, what self-respecting rocker shows up for an American Idol audition? And yet they do and they're horrible and an embarrassment to rock dudes everywhere.

One of them even says: "American Idol rocks!" while flashing some metal. Embarrassing.
The next feel-good story is Chris Daughtry. He has a rock band, and kids and a weepy wife who just wants him to LIVE HIS DREAM. Sob, sob. He sings Joe Cocker's The Letter as my boyfriend sings along in the kitchen: "My baby knit me a sweater." Chris is pretty good, but Simon says, "I'm not sure I'm seeing charisma here." The judges argue and the wife waits outside the door crying and he finally comes out and screams and there's hugging and more crying.

Something you may have missed: I noticed that Randy was wearing white patent-leather shoes. To which I say: Naw, dawg.

The final feel-good story is Garet Johnson. A sweetie-pie kid from Wyoming who has known nothing in his life but bein' a cowboy. He's only ever performed for his turkey. His turkey, people! Before the audition, dad says, "Garet, git-r-done." As much as I abhor that phrase, I loved hearing it in this context.

Garet sings Can You Feel the Love Tonight and there are moments that actually sound rich and deep, like old, fat Elton. And you can hear that he's putting his heart into it and he really means it. He quietly tells the judges, "I only sing in front of a turkey." The judges show concern. Could he get lessons somewhere? Would he have the money for them? Because he's got potential. But you know this kid isn't going to have money for lessons and isn't going to have another chance like this so, shockingly, Simon says yes and so does Randy. Oh, Garet! You are my new hero!

Day two brings us a couple of dumb weirdos. A guy who calls himself "Flawless" and wears these pajama outfits that match from head to toe. He calls himself an entrepreneur (well, the actual word was something like "orange-te-pre-te-newer") because he cleans houses. He's a bad singer and off he goes.

Next there's Ben Hausbach, who wants you to believe he's some kind of genius. He's invented a coaster on which your drink floats, he says, but it doesn't really. He's also horrible and when they try to get him to leave, he says, "You haven't given me a chance to evolve!" Ummm huh?

Imagine it: A paintball rings through the air, Simon's biceps glistening. Coaster Guy gets pelted in the gut with neon orange and falls over, yelling, "but I'm a genius!"

Afterward, "Flawless" tells the camera that he did what he needed to do and Coaster Guy says, "kiss my butt, guys. Kiss my butt."

Mercifully, we're nearing the end. April Walsh, a darling redhead, announces she's going to sing Bjork's It's Oh So Quiet. Randy, for some reason, laughs at this idea. But she's awesome. Simon, of course, dimisses her immediately because she's overweight. Randy and Paula save the day and send her to Hollywood. She has potential.

Oh, and now the big payoff to all those teases. It's Zachary, who is not only confusing but seems rather confused himself. He says people confuse him for a girl all the time and he thinks that's just crazy. But he's wearing girl clothes (in fact, he wore the very shirt I was wearing at the time of watching the show. I got it at Express, if you'd like to know where I shop), so now I'm confused. He sings Whitney Houston's Queen of the Night and I start to wonder if this is a joke, but he cries when they tell him he's terrible. He walks away calling them racists, which is also confusing because he's white. His family is there to comfort him, so I think he'll be OK. I don't know if I will. I'm biting my nails for him. Damn shame.

It left a lingering weirdness over what was an otherwise lovey-dovey show.


A Star Trek/sci-fi blog.


This is pretty cool, check it out! - Marc

Ever want to find a photo you've seen on Flickr but forgot to bookmark? This search engine, called retrievr, claims to look for photos based on drawings you make with your cursor.


A blog.

WB Eager For Spike Film

David Janollari, president of entertainment at The WB, told reporters that the network is eager to air a movie based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer character of Spike (James Marsters), if only creator Joss Whedon were available.

"We'd ... love to do a Spike movie with Joss Whedon," Janollari said in a news conference at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

But, Janollari added, "Joss Whedon is busy, fast becoming a kind of a big feature filmmaker. He's currently working on an adaptation of Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers. He's simply not available to us. But he knows, and you guys all know, the door is open any time that he wants to do that, for us to do that movie."

In the meantime, Marsters, who played the vampire character in both Buffy and its WB spinoff series, Angel, has a recurring role on The WB's Superman series Smallville.

Whedon has been tapped to write and direct a Wonder Woman movie and is also developing a supernatural movie, Goners. He last helmed the SF movie Serenity. But he has also said that he's interested in returning to the Buffyverse with a TV movie at some point.

For his part, Marsters has expressed interest if the film can come together before he's too old to play the supposedly ageless vampire.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Joke time - for the ladies

These are pretty good so I'm posting them -

One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his Sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?"
"It depends," I replied.
"What does it say on your shirt?"
He yelled back, "University of Oklahoma."
And they say blondes are dumb...

A couple is lying in bed. The man says, "I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world." The woman replies, "I'll miss you..."

"It's just too hot to wear clothes today," Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, "honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?" "Probably that I married you for your money," she replied.

He said - Shall we try swapping positions tonight? She said - That's a good idea... you stand by the ironing board while I sit on the sofa and fart.

Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?
A: A rumor

A man and his wife, now in their 60's, were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. On their special day a good fairy came to them and said that because they had been so good that each one of them could have one wish. The wife wished for a trip around the world with her husband. Whoosh! Immediately she had airline/cruise tickets in her hands. The man wished for a female companion 30 years younger... Whoosh ... immediately he turned ninety!!! Gotta love that fairy!

Dear Lord,
I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
Love to forgive him;
And Patience for his moods.
Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength,
I'll beat him to death.

Q: Why do little boys whine?
A: They are practicing to be men.

Q: What do you call a handcuffed man?
A: Trustworthy.

Q: What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name?
A: You did not hold the pillow down long enough.

Q: Why do female black widow spiders kill their males after mating?
A: To stop the snoring before it starts.

Q: Why do men whistle when they are sitting on the toilet?
A: It helps them remember which end they need to wipe.

Q: What is the difference between men and women?
A: A woman wants one man to satisfy her every need. A man wants every woman to satisfy his one need.

Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?
A: Rename the mail folder "Instruction Manuals

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

American Idol 5 - Chicago auditions

OK, I know I will be writing about the American Idol this season but I know I won't be taking notes like this during the mass audition stage of the game. So, I am totally ripping off Sara Cress' blog from the Chronicle. Thank you Sara. My comments are in another color. - Marc

American Idol Season Five
Jan. 17, 2005

The only thing American Idol has been good for is discovering Kelly Clarkson. The rest of the winners haven't found anything quite as golden as she has and the rest of AI's contributions to pop culture include Simon Cowell impressions and jokes about Ryan Seacrest's hair.

The question at the start of the show's fifth season: Is there anything this show can do to remain fresh?

To open the season, Ryan "Don't Touch the Hair" Seacrest talks about how becoming the next American Idol is the new American Dream. Really? Funny, I thought the American Dream was being able to support yourself and your family and maybe have a swingset in the backyard. And then Seacrest says auditioning has become an American "rite of passage," like getting a car or graduating high school. I laughed.

There were no Kelly Clarksons on the season premiere. Nor were there any outright William Hungs. Just a lot of 'eh's and 'ok's and 'yeah, that's all right's. Without further ado, here's a rundown of what happened during the auditions in Chicago:

There's Derek Dupree. He says, "I'm so passionate that...I often get turned on by myself." That's a pretty good indication that he's bad. Toward the beginning of his lame song medley, he inexplicably wipes his forehead with a dollar bill. He manages to convince the judges that he should be able to come back an hour later to audition again. This was bad.

There's Justin: He can sing anything "from Elvis to Queen," he says, but makes the unfortunate choice of singing Meat Loaf. Oh no! Not Meat Loaf! He sings for a moment before being told to stop and he looks so sad. Like a puppy. After you've beaten it. For giving you flowers! What's wrong with you?

There's Derrell and Terrell Brittenum: They're twins and they make it to Hollywood by singing My Girl, but they had to beg, so I don't expect them to stick around long. Jail birds too.

There's Gina: She likes Simon (riiight) and says he's "the hottest thing I've ever seen." She's wearing Hot Topic punkwear and sings a Celine Dion song. I'm reminded of Sarah Vowell and the "pink of Goth," but somehow I don't think Gina thinks that Celine Dion is so non-punk that she's punk. Nah. Anyway, she's going to Hollywood, mostly because she sucked up to Simon. So ladies, I hope you've learned your lesson: Talent isn't important here.

There's Mandisa: Just Mandisa. She sings Alicia Keys' Fallin' and does a bang-up job. An easy in. Simon doesn't have the guts to say to her face, "Do we have a bigger stage this year? Forget Frenchie, she's like France," because Mandisa would have likely decked Simon. Rightly so. How does a guy that ugly have the nerve to criticize someone else's appearance? Jerk.

It's 7:40 p.m. and I'm starting to fear that this is going to go for two hours. I sort of can't believe I'm giving up Gilmore Girls for this.

There's Kevin Brenneman: He's a very small man. He sings The Weight by the Band. Not bad, but somehow bad. Simon: "You remind me of a wasp." Paula adds that Kevin could make a good living doing a voice for Rugrats. Ooh, burn.

There's Charles Berry: An AI lifer, apparently, having been to auditions for two previous seasons. He says he followed the judges' instructions and took lessons and everything. Then he goes and sings a lame original song about American Idol. Bad idea. Simon: "He should shave off the beard and wear a dress because he'd be a great female impersonator." Which leads to the only honest moment of the show:

Paula (to Simon): "You're an ass."

There's Sheriff Brandon Groves: He sings I Shot the Sheriff, singing the same line over and over and over and over again, which prompts the first "dawg" of the evening when Randy says, "that's a no, dawg." Incredibly and unbelievably bad.

Near the end of the hour, Derek returns, singing a song that includes the phrases "Susan in the bathroom stall," and "Constance will fulfill your needs." He's not sure of the title (I'm as lost as he is) and, after the judges express their disbelief, says, "Maybe I'm not the music type that I thought I was."

This is definitely going two hours.

Hour two starts (didn't watch hour 2 :-( although I still have it available digitally to watch) with Eric Lawhon, who sounds like a girl. More like a girl than me, even. Like Liza Minnelli, maybe. Simon says: "You sing like an auntie." Poor girl. Eric's mother says, "He makes me cry when he sings," and Eric's grandmother accosts Simon with, "Why are you so rude? I think he's unique." This makes me feel really good about Eric. I know that poor girl's gonna make it with the help of his family.

There's Jessica: She sings a song with two bleep-able offenses, gets rejected, then walks out cursing. Walks away cursing. Walks outside cursing. I love her! Someone give her a mic and a stage.

My boyfriend walks into the room, pats me on the head and says, "you're doing God's work, honey."

There's David Radford: He's singing with his family outside in their car and it's adorable. He praises his off-key mother for being "one of the most talented singers I've heard." I love this kid. Paula says, "the package is great." Heh heh. She said "package." He's off to Hollywood.

There's Crystal Parizanski: She's deeply tan and deeply dumb. Simon asks about the tan, she tells him what she's going to sing. Simon asks about the tan again and she tells him what she's going to sing. He asks again and she giggles and says, "I go tanning." She sings her song off-key, makes some awful horking noises and says, "You need me to explain anything?" Simon brings in her mother, basically to embarrass them both on national television.

Remember: this is an American rite of passage these days.

It's 8:30 p.m. and my cat Dapple shows up. She says that there will never be another contestant like Clay Aiken and there's no use watching this show ever again. Can you believe it? My cat's a Claymate.

I never, ever take my cat's advice, so let's get through this last half-hour, shall we?

There's Stuart Bennyman: He's Assyrian. He wears a hat with a feather that reaches two feet off his head. He says his father is the Assyrian Elvis, but that's not enough to get him through to the next round.

There's Yuliya Matus: She's a Ukranian gal. She performs a stripper routine to Bohemian Rhapsody. She says she's hoping for a performer visa, but she's going to be shipped back to the Ukraine for being rather bad. She's crying.

I shudder at the thought of people in other countries believing that American Idol really is the American Dream.

Finally (oh, thank goodness), there's David Hoover, the barefoot, crazy guy who says animals started talking to him when was 16. He's not a very good singer, but Randy says he can go to Hollywood if he promises to talk to animals in Randy's presence. Seems to me that they're trying to create another William Hung.

Hillary Clinton; 'Bush Administration Worst In History' - January 18, 2006

New York, New York (AHN) - Speaking during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, Hillary Cllinton lashed out at the Bush administration calling it "one of the worst" in history.
Oh my. Her memory must be worse than mine! Has she already forgotten about the previous administration?!
She also blasted the Republican controlled House of Representiatives, comparing it to a plantation where those with a contary view cannot be heard.
"We have a culture of corruption, we have cronyism, we have incompetence," she says. What does she expect of politicians whether they be Republican or Democrat? And in that one sentence, she just described herself to a tee! "I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country."
Only if she writes the history books! I have said the same thing about her husband's administration for years.
Clinton gave an apology to a group of Hurricane Katrina survivors "on behalf of a government that left you behind, that turned its back on you."
A government that she is part of. I wouldn't go so far as to make that statement.
She was generously applauded by the audience gathered at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem.
All Headline News - Hillary Clinton; 'Bush Administration Worst In History' - January 18, 2006

Bye-bye 'That '70s Show'

Fox's veteran comedy "Malcolm in the Middle" will end its seven-season run May 14, while "That '70s Show," now in its eighth season, will bow out four days later, the network said Tuesday.

Fox is in conversations with former "That '70s Show" stars Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace to return for the show's finale, Fox entertainment president Peter Liguori said during the network's portion of the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour.

"King of the Hill," which is not in production but has never been officially canceled, might come back as early as January 2007 if discussions with the series' producers are successful, Liguori said.

Meanwhile, there haven't been any active negotiations to revive "Futurama," which, much like "Family Guy" before it, is enjoying a second life on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" late-night block. But Fox executives are keeping a close eye on the series' newfound success.
CNN.com - Bye-bye 'Malcolm,' 'That '70s Show' - Jan 18, 2006


Need to convert your camera's .3gp files into an .avi format? This program is really fast and easy to use. I love it. - Marc

From the website -
"The Mobile 3GP converter is using "3GPtoRawAVI" converter to convert 3GP files (3rd Generation Partnership Project, *.3gp) to uncompressed AVI files (*.avi) in a user-friendly way. The 3GP video files must have audio in order to be converted. The program offers two modes, one for single file conversion and a second for multiple files conversion for converting many 3GP files at once. In a single file conversion you have the option to convert only the audio, only the video or both. The 3GP file format is being used by the majority of modern mobile phones that have the ability to capture video."

Miksoft also has several other programs available that you might want to check out -

MIKSOFT MovieSlave

The MovieSlave is a very simple cross-platform (Windows, Linux) movie manager. It can automatically fetch movie details from the IMDb.

MIKSOFT Mobile AMR converter

The version 1.4 of Mobile AMR converter is now available. In the new version MP3 to AMR conversion has been aded. This program uses Sony Ericsson AMR converter, to convert AMR files (*.amr) to wave files (AMR to WAVE), and vice-versa (WAVE/MP3 to AMR) The AMR format is used by mobile phones mainly for audio recording.


TaskFX is a simple and useful to-do list manager, with alarm for tasks in specific date and time and the ability to show selected tasks at the start-up of the program. Also, a birthday reminder is available.


A free DVD player with user DVD database, user selectable colour schemes, DVD decoders included and features enough for an average user.

I probably should post this on my computer blog but I think the .3gp converter belongs here easily enough.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Guys, plan now for a stress-free Valentine's Day

Guys, ignore this story at your peril

Rather than wait until Feb. 13, why not make plans now for a stress-free Valentine's Day?Sure, you laugh, it's not even February. Why should I worry about Valentine's? But you know it's coming, and she knows it's coming.

Ignore this advice if you want, fellas — let's face it, most of the burden of this holiday falls on men. But if we save even one procrastinator from sitting in a traffic jam at a grocery store waiting to buy roses on his way home Feb. 14, our mission will be a success.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

• FOUR-DAY GETAWAY: Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday. Now is the time to arrange time off from work and plan a minivacation to celebrate your love and, as a bonus, Abe Lincoln's birthday on Feb. 12.

• DINING: Make reservations now so you won't be sharing the holiday with Shaun and other undeads at Winchester pub. Kathryne Castellanos, Brennan's marketing director, says the restaurant already is booking for Valentine's Day and the Feb. 11-12 weekend. Wait till the week of Feb. 7 to make Valentine's reservations and you'll either be eating dinner at 5:30 p.m. or dining at Sonic.

• CARD: Design your own. Decorate it with photos, mementos (real or fabricated) and words that mean something to both of you. Or at least buy a card before the pickings are slim — just don't forget where you stash the card.

• FLOWERS: At many offices, the receiving of flowers is a big deal. You'll be the florist's friend if you place your order now. In addition, many florists offer discounts and guaranteed delivery times if you shop early, according to Lisa Crawford, owner of the Flower Corner shops. Or get a plant. Shop around for a decorative flower pot that fits your love's decor, whether it's unicorns, NASCAR or bunnies.

• EXTRAVAGANZA: This could be the year of the big gift. Leave a small gift — chocolates, love notes, cards — each day beginning Feb. 1, so she'll know you have something special planned for Valentine's Day. And the payoff better be good, because her friends will want to hear all the details Feb. 15.

• LOVE POEM: Write a love poem or recite one. Try memorizing Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Love. Coleridge's ode to Genevieve is very long, but you get to say: "bosom heaved," "blushed with love and virgin shame" and "wild and hoary."

• JEWELRY: Whether you want an engraved engagement ring or a name set in diamonds on a platinum chain, personalization takes extra time. Shop before the crowds jam up your favorite kiosk in the mall.

• BREAKUP: If you barely survived the holidays together and the thought of Feb. 14 makes you squeamish, break off the relationship now. It's the kind thing to do.Perhaps both of you will find someone Valentine's-Day-worthy before the big day.
Chron.com Guys, plan now for a stress-free Valentine's Day

Dead Body Guy

What the ....? What kind of slow-ass news day must it be when CNET and the New York Times and a bunch of others are reporting on this website?

OK, so I'm jealous I didn't think of it. :-)
--Dead Body Guy-- Help Me Live My Dream - Let Me Play Dead

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Mime of the song named Torn
Torn - Google Video

American Idol Sings Again

TUESDAY, JAN. 17: Paula, Randy and Simon are hoping to find the next Carrie Underwood in the fifth go-round of American Idol (Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m., FOX). Abdul predicts that female fans will be swooning over a couple of the "gorgeous" male contestants. "The one girls are gonna fall in love with is Ace. And a guy named Patrick too. They both can sing too," Abdul said.
WEEK AHEAD: American Idol Sings Again American Idol : People.com

Attacktix Tactics

This site visited my WoW blog.
My youngest enjoys these toys, thought I'd save this link for him.
Attacktix Tactics | Guide to Star Wars Attacktix Battle Figure Game

Friday, January 13, 2006

funny cats

funny cats - Google Video

Tripod performs at a Comedy Festival

Pay attention to the lyrics, any gamer can appreciate this one. :-)
Tripod perform at a Comedy Festival - Google Video

NBA All-Star Balloting 2006

Be sure to vote for Tracy McGrady (F), David Wesley (G) and Yao Ming (C). I don't care who else you vote for. :-)

In the West, the other forward could be Tim Duncan or Reggie Lewis or Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Garnett. The other guard could be Ray Allen or Steve Nash.

I have no real preferences in the East.
NBA All-Star Balloting 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

SCI FI To Air New Doctor Who

SCI FI Channel announced Jan. 12 that it will air the first season of the BBC's hit SF series Doctor Who, starting in March. The 13 episodes, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, will air as part of SCI FI Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The series, from head writer and executive producer Russell T. Davies, ran originally in the United Kingdom last year and was one of the network's biggest hits ever. An update of the classic Doctor Who show, the series continues in the U.K. with an upcoming second season that will star David Tennant as the Doctor.

"The Doctor's made all sorts of journeys in time and space, but this is one of his most exciting yet!" Davies said in a statement. "I'm a huge fan of the SCI FI Channel, and I'm delighted that Doctor Who is appearing on a channel that supports and enhances the entire genre."

"With its rich history of imaginative storytelling, Doctor Who is a true sci-fi classic," Thomas P. Vitale, SCI FI's senior vice president, programming and original movies, said in a separate statement. "We're excited to add the show to our lineup."

Meanwhile, BBC Video announced that it has moved the proposed U.S. release date of the Doctor Who first-season DVD set to July 4 from its originally planned February launch.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

You Gotta Smile

A blog (that visited mine).
You Gotta Smile

Shut up and smoke!

Although politically overactive actor Sean Penn has not stepped into battle, the country’s involvement in Iraq is going to slowly kill him.

The Oscar winner told the audience at an anti-war forum hosted by the Progressive Democrats of America in Sacramento, Calif. the other night that the stress of living under the Bush administration is making it impossible for him to quit smoking, the PDA’s Web site reported. Penn, 45, famously kicked the habit on his 40th birthday after watching his father, Leo Penn, die of lung cancer.
(Marc - Typical liberal, can't take responsibility for his own actions)

“It was time not to be a slave to this (smoking) nonsense, you know?” Penn told Guardian Unlimited Film in 2001.

Once he had broken free from the constraints of chain-smoking, the “I Am Sam” actor threw himself into political and humanitarian work, beginning in 2002 when he placed a $56,000 advertisement in the Washington Post asking President George W. Bush to end the cycle of violence in Iraq.

But it must have been his selfless efforts of 2005 that forced him to seek the solace of nicotine once again.

In June of last year, “The Interpreter” star traveled to Iran as a journalist on an assignment for the San Francisco Chronicle covering the elections. Then, only four months later, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he showed up in New Orleans — with a camera crew — to rescue stranded victims. He wasn’t too successful since he had to bail out his sinking skiff. A real smokin’ effort on his part .
(Marc - LOL)
BostonHerald.com - More Inside Track: Shut and smoke!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

HOW TO: Make a Blog Header Graphic

HOW TO: Make a Blog Header Graphic at PaulStamatiou.com

Blogger Headz

Welcome to BloggerHeadz.com, your source for free and custom BlogHeaders. We mostly do blogger headers, but can do custom headers or templates for all types of blogs.
Blogger Headz: Welcome to BloggerHeadz.com

Creative Collage

While doing this search "creating headers for blogspot blogs" on Google, I came across this blog.
Creative Collage

Beam weapons almost ready for battle

Directed energy could revolutionize warfare, expert says

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - There is a new breed of weaponry fast approaching — and at the speed of light, no less. They are labeled "directed-energy weapons," and they may well signal a revolution in military hardware — perhaps more so than the atomic bomb.

Directed-energy weapons take the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves and particle beams. Their adoption for ground, air, sea, and space warfare depends not only on using the electromagnetic spectrum, but also upon favorable political and budgetary wavelengths too.

Read more at the link below
Beam weapons almost ready for battle - Space.com - MSNBC.com

Stewart: Too Old For More Trek?

Patrick Stewart told the WENN Web site that Paramount may want him to reprise his Star Trek role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, but that he may be too old should a new Next Generation movie get off the ground.

"Weighty people in Hollywood have come up with a very interesting proposition," Stewart, 65, told the site. "But they told me it was still two, three or four years down the road, by which time I would only be able to sit in the captain's chair and not have the energy to get out of it!"

Officially, Paramount has said nothing about any future Trek films or TV projects, though several script ideas are rumored to be making the rounds.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Tuning tech catches on with guitarists

No matter how accomplished they are, musicians who play fretted instruments spend a lot of time playing out of tune.
Tuning tech catches on with guitarists CNET News.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Released today, go buy it!

Track list -
1. Sweet Darlin WM 28 WM 100 Real
2. Alone
3. Magic Man
4. One Word WM 28 WM 100 Real
5. Love Song
6. Lighter Touch WM 28 WM 100 Real
7. These Dreams
8. No Other Love
9. How Can I Refuse WM 28 WM 100 Real
10. Unchained Melody
11. Love Alive WM 28 WM 100 Real
12. What About Love

SonyMusicStore: Heart LOVE SONGS

2005 Journal of Catchy Colors

Some great photography on this blog, check it out!
2005 Journal of Catchy Colors

Naked and the Dread

Worth reading. :-)

A paragraph from this - "An hour into my first class as a nude art model, the instructor told me to get into a pose I could hold for 20 minutes. I was on a platform in the middle of the room; about 10 students, two of them male, stood around me in a semicircle. I got down on my knees, put my forearms on the floor, and rested my head on my clasped hands. One of the men called out "Great pose!" with such enthusiasm that for the first time in that session I felt really, really naked."
Naked and the Dread - I pose nude for students. Will the art world ever be the same? By Emily Yoffe

Bated Breath

A blog.
Bated Breath

In the year 2006 I resolve to:
Drink more beer.

Get your resolution here

Serenity And Beyond

Marc - I'm getting confused.

Browncoats around the world cried out in despair when, due to an underwhelming performance at the box office, Joss Whedon announced that the saga of Serenity had ended. No sequels, no follow-ups, no hope. But Whedon isn't a man to let his brain-child die; the man's already resuscitated the franchise once and there's still hope for a third coming.

"A sequel's unlikely," Whedon told Empire with a note of clear regret, "but it's amazing what permutations of something can happen." But if not a theatrical encore, that leaves... yes, you guessed it, a possible return to the smaller screen. "As long as I was able to service the characters with integrity and had enough money so that I wasn't hampered, then I would love to return Serenity to TV. I love that universe; it continues and those characters live on. There could be a series, there could be a miniseries, there could be all sorts of things. I'm not ruling anything out. I'll let it simmer for a while and see if anyone calls."

As for why the film failed to rake in the cash despite uniformly glowing reviews, according to Whedon it's all in the presentation. "It's a question of marketing ultimately. The fact that I like to dance around genres with gay abandon has worked to my disadvantage. Nobody knows exactly how to market anything I do because it usually has so much in it. It has a diffuseness because of it's origin that keeps it from being the easy sell. Some people also said that you can't call an action movie 'Serenity' but I think that's still okay. What was I going to call it? 'Big Smash Bang With Boobies'? Which was, of course my second choice."

DVD sales should, however, put Serenity back in the black and when the bucks start rolling in we can only hope that one of the suits at Universal looks at the numbers, adds the success of the Firefly DVD box set and greenlights a return for Captain Reynolds and his crew. Until that time we advise Whedon to keep his phone switched on.

Empire: Movie News

Brain, brain, what is brain?

Marc - Ummmm huh?

Brains4Zombies.com -- Your online home for Brains and Brain-Related Products

Serenity Might Fly Again?

Loni Peristere, visual-effects supervisor for the SF movie Serenity, told SCI FI Wire that there's hope for future flights of the cast and crew of the movie, which just came out on DVD. Director Joss Whedon—who also created the canceled Fox TV show Firefly, on which the movie is based—expected that the movie might draw the low numbers it did in its theatrical release, Peristere said in an interview. But he added that the movie's sales on DVD, which came out on Dec. 20, are running neck-and-neck with the hit comedy Wedding Crashers, which bodes well for a possible Serenity sequel.

"We kind of expected this from our audience," Peristere said. "We did so well on [Amazon.com] with the Firefly box set and the performance of that helped us get the movie made. We wish the audience would get up and go to the theater, but it shows that they like to keep coming back and revisiting the world Joss created." Serenity made $25 million at the domestic box office after it was released Sept. 30.

Whedon and his crew are waiting to see how well the DVD numbers go before proceeding with a Serenity sequel, Peristere said. "We really hope to return to this work," he said. "We love the characters. It's fun storytelling, and we all love using our talents. ... It all depends on Joss. He's not giving up on the characters. He had incredible writers who had a million stories to tell, and we're all just hanging out and seeing what the world has to give us, and given the opportunity we'll make more."

In the meantime, fans of both show and movie can enjoy the DVD's various extras, which include an Easter egg: a featurette about the making of the Fruity Oaty Bar commercial that appears in the film. "In the main menu, if you play around with the buttons you'll find a featurette of the Fruity Oaty Bar," Peristere revealed.

(From the main menu highlight "play," then press left, which will highlight a marker on the right side of the menu; press enter to see the featurette.)

"It's all a lot of fun," he said.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Blue eyes, baby's got blue eyes

Dear Yahoo!:

Why are all babies born with blue eyes?
San Mateo, California

Dear Ally:
We're not all knowing. To be honest, we're folks of average intelligence who happen to have an Internet connection and lots of time on our hands. So, being neither rocket scientists nor brain surgeons, we were tempted to dismiss this question as the "nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind." Good thing we didn't, because the question has merit and the answer is quite interesting.

As it turns out, most babies are born with blue eyes (perhaps this explains the phrase "baby blues"). Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine of About.com explains that the transformation has to do with the protein melanin. Melanin is a brownish pigment that adds color to your hair, eyes, and skin. At the time babies are born, melanin hasn't yet been "deposited" in the eyes' iris. Hence, they appear blue.

After about six months, eyes change color depending on the amount of melanin. If you have a lot of it, your eyes will turn brown or black. If you have little, they'll stay blue. And if you have no melanin, your eyes may appear pink. Interestingly, as the site notes, human beings aren't the only creatures with freaky color-morphing eyeballs. Kittens experience the same phenomenon.
Why are all babies born with blue eyes?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Skydivers set a record

A team of skydivers set a canopy formation world record as dusk descended on rural Florida. The team, with a record 81 people, included three Kennedy Space Center Engineers: Dave Hillebrandt of United Space Alliance, Kevin Keenan of Lockheed Martin and NASA's James Bolton. The skydives took place Nov. 25 and 26, 2005, over Lake Wales, Fla.
Photos: Skydivers set a record CNET News.com

Once Upon A Time

A blog. She's changed her header.
Once Upon A Time

Do you know?

Question: The Osborn 1a computer had three standard Input/Output ports on the front. By running setup, you could configure the CP/M DOS to support what three types of printer I/O?

U2: Vertigo//2005: Live from Chicago - DVD

Get dizzy with legendary rock outfit U2 in this release that brings the band's 2005 "Vertigo" tour to the small screen with all the hit songs and a few special surprises. Filmed live by director Hamish Hamilton during a two-night stand at Chicago's United Center, this performance offers twenty-three tunes including such classics as "New Year's Day" and "Sunday, Bloody, Sunday" mixed with such recent hits as "Vertigo", "Mysterious Ways", and "The Fly". In addition to the standard version of the concert, fans also have the option of viewing an alternate "surveillance cuts" version shot by four infra-red black and white surveillance cameras by longtime U2 show director Willie Williams as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary of the tour from filmmaker Erica Forstadt. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

$11.99 this week at Best Buy

Have you seen this? Can you recommend it? Please leave a comment.
U2: Vertigo//2005: Live from Chicago - DVD

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Jason Calacanis Weblog

Hello. My name is Jason. I'm the CEO of the blogging network Weblogs, Inc. On this blog I write about the startup experience, my life, my bulldog, and my Knicks.

The Jason Calacanis Weblog


Helping you understand how to make money on the Web

Marcshall Brain - I am best known as the founder of HowStuffWorks. I am fascinated by robots and the future. See also How to make a million dollars and Making money with web sites.


The Plural of Apocalypse

Check out this blog.

The Plural of Apocalypse

Pilcrow Text & Design

Whether it's a one-page black-and-white newspaper ad, a 16-page full-color newsletter, a business website, or a beautiful coffee-table book, Pilcrow Text & Design has the experience and ability to assist you with every detail of your desktop publishing project.
Pilcrow Text & Design

Fred's World

Nice blog.

Fred's World

VideoAddon.com - Add Video to any Webpage, Blog, or ebay listing easily

Add Video to any Web page, Blog or Ebay Auction in 3 Easy Steps!
VideoAddon.com - Add Video to any Webpage, Blog, or ebay listing easily

Castpost: Broadcast Your Video & Audio Clips

The easiest way to broadcast your personal video and audio clips.
Castpost: Broadcast Your Video & Audio Clips

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Jedi Trainer 2.0

Lost Vectors has an online time killer game called Jedi Trainer 2.0. In the game you use your light saber to kill droids by deflecting lasers in to them. You lose hit points when a non-deflected laser hits you and the game ends when you run out of hit points. You start with ten hit points. The graphics are not the best but the playability is good. Besides everyone needs a little light saber training now and then.

from GamersGame.com

Friday, January 06, 2006

World's Greatest Hobby on Tour

Model railroading show this Saturday and Sunday in Houston.
World's Greatest Hobby on Tour

A comment on The Office

Bored Housewife writes on her blog - (stolen without permission)
"I don't like to spend much time talking about TV shows on here,
because that doesn't seem terribly relevant to me,
When I watch The Office, I am so moved by Jim and Pam's painful interactions,
that I must express myself.
It is SO real.
It's something I relate to, I guess.
Unrequited love will always be my favorite subject.
It is so intense, so stark, so...
And to watch it unfolding is priceless.
Whoever writes that storyline is my sappy hero.
Cuz it's not even sappy..."

I agree 100% BH. They act it out very well.

Mardi Gras 2006!

New Orleans kicks off post-Katrina Carnival season

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - The first Carnival season since Hurricane Katrina officially began in New Orleans on Friday, despite objections from people who say it is too soon to throw a Mardi Gras party in the battered city.

Mayor Ray Nagin said the decision to proceed with Mardi Gras, although with an abbreviated parade schedule, would send a message that the city was unified in its determination to rebuild.

"New Orleans will always be around and this is one further step in demonstrating that we are all coming together," he said.

In a downtown ceremony, Nagin said the kickoff of the Carnival season marked "an incredible day" that "speaks to this city's fortitude, its dedication, its wildness."

Carnival season, which includes elaborate formal balls and dozens of parades, officially begins 12 days after Christmas. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the celebration in New Orleans, and most of the city's Carnival krewes, as the parading organizations are known, have pledged to hold parades in 2006.

The city's decision to proceed with Carnival, which culminates on Fat Tuesday, February 28, has sparked protests among many displaced residents, who say it is inappropriate to celebrate Mardi Gras while a majority of the city's pre-Katrina population is still unable to return.

Nagin acknowledged their objections but made no apologies.

"We didn't get to this day without some controversy," he said. "And we have people that are still out there questioning whether we should have Mardi Gras this season. Well, guess what. Today we officially announce the beginning of the Mardi Gras season."


Economics played a part in the decision to celebrate Mardi Gras. Hurricane Katrina brought the lucrative New Orleans tourism and convention industry, which funds roughly one-third of the city's budget, to a halt. In normal years, Mardi Gras draws hundreds of thousands of visitors during the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday and pumps an estimated $1 billion into the local economy.

Marc - I wish I could go this year! I hope it is a success!

Read more here -
US News Article Reuters.com

OnStar: People call when they're lonely

LAS VEGAS--Customers who subscribe to GM's OnStar service mostly call when they need help unlocking a car or after an accident--but some call when they are lonely, said Chet Huber, president of the company.

"They call and ask them (the OnStar phone consultants) to contact their wife," he said. The social calls, however, have been dropping since the company integrated Verizon's cellular service with hands-free driving. During Hurricane Katrina, OnStar gave customers in Louisiana free cellular service. In some places, it was the only phone.

The company will come out with a new upgrade of its hardware in a month.

On a side note, the OnStar crowd stayed, by chance, in the same hotel favored by attendees from the Adult Entertainment Expo taking place here at the same time. "There are some different people here," Huber said.
OnStar: People call when they're lonely News.blog CNET News.com