Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Damnit

I so wish I was in New Orleans tonight.

I am watching the BourboCAM as I type this. Those folks are having alot of fun.

My profile pic was taken by the BourboCAM two years ago. I sure hope I can get back there soon for Mardi Gras.

Ah, I see folks drinking grenades! :-) And yes I am seeing other things as well. :-D

I'm glad to see so many folks there, I hope they are spending lots of money to help that great city back on its feet.

Fish School

"Train your pet fish to perform cool tricks!
Swim through hoops, jump, limbo, eat from your hand - even play soccer.
Guaranteed fun for you AND your fish. This is NOT a joke."
Fish School

Thursday, February 23, 2006

American Idol 5 - Becky, Bobby, Stevie and Patrick

Sara Cress writing again here
Feb. 23, 2006

After the judges fight, the group sings the Eagles' Take It Easy. AI is so cutting edge. I have a really bad habit of laughing when people break out into song like this, as a group. I can't watch musical theater.

Montage, montage, montage.

Ryan gets chatty with the girls. Brenna is a duck. Paris has a dream. Heather eats tiny muffins.
Becky, Kinnik and Brenna are called up. Lowest number of votes? Hmm. Becky's pretty. Kinnik was boring. Brenna was obnoxious. I'm going to say Kinnik.

Well, I'm wrong. It's Becky. Pretty doesn't win it. It must be horrendous to be told you're the worst singer and then have to sing. She's still pretty bad. Good job, America.

Ryan chats with the guys: Elliott is humble. Elliott won't stop talking. Kevin says getting his cheeks pinched was a highlight of his life.

It's Sway and Bobby. Oh dear, you know it's going to be Bobby. Don't ever sing Copa Cabana in public, even if it is your grandma's dying wish. Yep, it's Bobby. He knew it. I knew it. You knew it.

They've got fifteen minutes to get rid of two more people.

Another girl has to go. I feel pretty confident that it will be Stevie. Yesss! I'm right. Thumbs up again, America.

Now, another boy. It's between Bucky and Patrick. It's totally Patrick. Right again! America, you rule.

Pretty predictable stuff tonight. When it gets down to American girls everywhere having to choose between Ace and Chris, that will be the nailbiter.

American Idol 5 - The 12 guys

Thanks yet again Sara for letting me post this (without your permission).
I did not get to watch most of this. 1) Cub Scout den meeting 2) Cable was out from 6:20 pm - 8:30 pm. I'll post my comments soon.
February 22, 2006

I don't have high hopes for the "guys" (aren't they really just boys? Well, except for Old Man Taylor). They're just too dang dorky.

Patrick Hall is going to "bring it," predictably. Dork factor is 6 out of 10 (10 being pocket protector/sniffly nose weirdo). Skinny men shouldn't swagger. He's no pop star. He would be fine on contemporary Christian radio. Ooh, Patrick has wierd friends in the audience.

Randy: "I kinda dug it, man." Paula: "You're awesome." Simon: "It was a terrible song."

David Radford is a crooner. I am so, so tired of crooners. Dork factor: 5. Singing Sinatra as a 17-year-old is inherently uncool. And he looks really strange when he sings. At least his clothes and hair aren't working against him. Crazy Little Thing Called Love isn't really a stretch, kiddo.

Randy: "I thought that was terrible. There was no originality." Paula: "I didn't think it was horrible." Simon: "I have a feeling the audience at home will like you."

Bucky Covington. Dork factor: 4. An awkward hick! A rare, rare breed. Oh, geez, he's singing Skynyrd's Simple Man. I'm struggling to understand his voice. It's far too growly, but it's also kinda sweet.

Randy: "You have a nice tone." Paula: "It's like a whole journey for you." Simon: "I like the fact that you're very raw."

Ryan: "This is a real guy, here. Soon your hair will be spiked." I love Bucky's blank, blinking stare.

Will Makar. Dork factor: 7. He's a scrawny kid in a blazer. Someone needs to go to town on those eyebrows. He's singing I Want You Back. I have absolutely no feeling about this performance.

Randy: "You did your thing. I was entertained." Paula: "You are adorable." Simon: "Reality check. Vocally, it was completely and utterly average."

Jose Penala. Dork factor: 0. He's stylish. This song is all over the place. Weak falsetto. He's an entertainer, but still not nearly as interesting as the best girls.

Randy: "We got a hot one tonight!" Paula: "That was truly amazing." Simon: "I thought it was a really pimpy, fur-draped Earth, Wind and Fire."

Chris Daughtery. Dork factor: 1. He's rocker stylish, but the super-stylized facial hair is overdoing it. Singing Wanted Dead or Alive. BON JOVI! RAWK! Heck, he does a pretty great Jon Bon Jovi impersonation. All right, he won me over. Or maybe I'm hypnotized by those flames behind him.

Randy: "That was really, really good." Paula: "I am so wowed by you." Simon: "Now I'm hearing somebody with potential. That was superb."

Kevin Covais. Dork factor: 9. He's lovable, so I won't give him a 10. But he's a baby and he has a very visible lisp and he refers to himself as a "fellow." The performance was cute, like a dog wearing a cape.

Randy: "Dude, that was the bomb, man." Paula: "You make me feel proud." Simon: "I like you, but vocally, it was bordering on excrutiating."

Whoa, Babydoll Kevin just got fondled by all the girls! Looks like I'll have to take two points off that dork factor.

Gedeon McKinney. Dork factor: 2. It's the way he overpronounces every word. But he's a pretty fabulous singer.

Randy: "That was good." Paula: "It was a great surprise." Simon: "It was as if I was watching the warm-up act for the Chippendales. Your smile bothers me."

As stupid as he is, I usually agree with Simon's blunt judgments. This time, I think he was just being controversial to be controversial.

Elliott Yamin. Dork factor: I'm at a loss. He reminds me of Mitch Hedberg for some reason. But he's wearing a cassette tape belt buckle! That's dorky! I'm giving him a 3. He's not a pretty man. His singing? I guess it's all right.

Randy: "You sounded brilliant, man." Paula: "Great performance from beginning to end." Simon: "Out of five seasons, I think potentially you are the best male vocalist we've ever had."
Whoa. That's a big freakin' deal.

Bobby Bennett. Dork factor: 8. He's goofy, awkward and singing Copa Cabana because his late grandma wanted him to. Oh, this is horrifying. You can't help but sound like a lounge singer when singing Barry Manilow. Even the girls, who have been so supportive thus far, look a little less perky. Except for Kellie Pickler, who, if you haven't noticed, is mugging in every shot that comes her way.

Randy: "It's like I'm watching someone from a whole different era." Paula: "We have all enjoyed your showmanship." Simon: "That was a complete nightmare."

Ace Young. I don't like Ace. I can't explain it. Oh, anyway, dork factor: 0. He's got the looks, he's got a voice, but he's just too much for me. Too perfect, too pretty, and still appears to be wearing blush.

Randy: "You definitely are a star." Paula: "You're a star; God bless you." Simon: "Not the best vocals we've heard tonight."

Old Man Taylor Hicks is the last guy. Dork factor: Unchartable. He's on a completely different plane. He's singing Levon, which is a great, great song. I have high hopes and he did a really great job. Wouldn't it be awesome if he won the whole thing?

Randy: "You got it going on." Paula: "You have a powerful passion. You love what you do." Simon: "I said I didn't think you should make the finals. I was wrong."

Tomorrow night, the unthinkable happens: four people will die.

Oh wait. They will be voted off, anyway. I make no predictions, except that Stevie Scott is totally, completely and utterly gone.

American Idol 5 - The girls battle it out in cute tops

Yeah! Sara is back! Thank you Sara.
I did watch all of this show tonight, my comments will be posted soon.
Tubular: The girls battle it out in cute tops:
Feb. 21, 2006

First thought tonight: What kind of world does the AI set exist in? All shiny and hard and circular and dark. It's like a gleaming dungeon where future pop stars die before they can be made.

Ryan says: 'No more crying cowboys. No more Britnam twins.' Then he announces the girls, who walk as if on a beauty pageant, which I guess this is, but the talent competition counts a bit more.

Mandisa starts things off. 'I wanna show that sistas can rock, too,' she says. She sings Heart's Never. The cheesy synth is overwhelming and the sound mix is awful, but I can't deny that she's got a voice. I don't know how interesting that voice is...

Randy: 'That was hot, man.' Paula: 'Magnificent.: Simon: 'You have an unbelievable personality and I think we're going to see you all the way through to the finals.'

Kellie Pickler is CRYING AGAIN. I thought that was cute before, but now, I don't know. She's got an animal print bedspread, which is never cute. She's singing How Far by Martina McBride. 'I don't really have a loove life, she says in her long drawl, so she's singing this for her daddy, who is in jail, if you didn't catch that the first million times. Still, she's got the magic.

Randy: 'Eh.' Paula: 'You're unpretentious.' Simon: 'You have the likability factor. It felt sincere.'

When Ryan walks up to the girls to speak with them about their performances, he stands rigid and his body says, 'don't you dare touch me or my hair.'

'Pick Pickler!' she says, abandoning all former tragedy. Anyone else reminded of Election?

Becky O'Donohue is next, singing Because the Night, which isn't a good song for anyone. This is a stinky performance. She has turned it into a hair band rock song. I feel like we're watching someone do karaoke. The judges are going to SLAY her.

Randy: "You don't have to have the best voice, necessarily." Paula: "There were notes that were off throughout the song." Simon: "Visually, you are a ten. But the voice is a six and a half. I don't think 'quite good' is good enough anymore."

Perfect Girl Ayla Brown is next, singing Reflection by Christina Aguilera. She talks about all she's had to overcome. I'm embarrassed for her. I mean, she does realize she's a healthy, pretty, American, right? There are hardships harder than a girl on a boy's football team. Her voice is good, but just doesn't sound like anything new.

Randy: "I was pleasantly surprised." Paula: "You made it your own song." Simon: "I saw some emotion, which was very important."

Ayla keeps saying how great she feels after singing the song. She's acting like she's just cured cancer. Perspective, please!

Paris Bennett is next! She's singing Midnight Train to Georgia. Her hair is adorable. She owns that stage. Her voice is getting a little lost in the cheesy synth, but when she belts out, you feel it.

Randy: "We got a hot one, America." Paula: "You're my idol." Simon: "It's a performance everyone's going to remember."

Stevie Scott is next. This name isn't jogging anything in my memory. She's singing To Where You Are by Josh Groban, her "inspiration." She strives to be "the girl version." Does she know how much I despise Josh Groban? Does she know?! Is she even singing? This is horrid. The judges should be embarrassed that she got this far. Go back to opera, Lady Josh Groban.
Randy: "Dude, I found myself daydreaming while you were singing." Paula: "It was very brave of you." Simon: "I think you utterly messed that up."

Stevie (pouting): "I know I can bring it. I will bring it, I will." She is so gone.

Brenna Gethers is always posing. She's singing You Are the Sunshine of my Life. Bad song. Her voice is completely lost. Did they pack the first hour with the standouts?

Randy: "I was like, yo, man, this performance did not get me." Paula: "There was a sensitive side." Simon: "You're like a wild little cat and you've had gloves put on you and a coat and a hat."
I gotta tell you, I love cats wearing clothes, but Brenna is exhausting.

Heather Cox is next singing When You Tell Me That You Love Me. Again, I don't hear her voice. Eh. Average.

Randy: "It was kind of really boring, man." Paula: "This was not a great performance." Simon: "It was forgettable."

Melissa McGhee, a pageant veteran, sings When the Lights Go Down by Faith Hill. The MUSIC IS TOO LOUD, guys. I can't tell what her voice sounds like at all.

Randy: "You said, like, 'yo, I'm gonna lay it out right here.'" Paula: "I think this was a shining moment for you." Simon: "You're a bit lifeless when you sing."

Lisa Tucker, Girl Wonder is next, singing I Am Changing by Jennifer Holliday. Obviously, she's going to be one of the final contestants, but why choose a total non-pop song? You can' be an American Idol singing a feel-good ballad. She made a lot of pitch errors in this song, I'm surprised. If you think she's going to beat Paris, you're crazy.

Randy: "I was very impressed." Paula: "You are this precious little gift. You light this fire inside my heart." (Whaaat?) Simon: "This is the night we'll remember Lisa Tucker."
All this sloppy sentimentalism! I'm so anti-Lisa. I'm so, so anti.

Kinnik Sky is singing Get Here by Oleta Adams. Yawn. Soft rock radio. At least I can hear her voice. Still, it's nothing new.

Randy: "The dawg didn't get it." (I'm starting to love Randy's stoner cadence.) Paula: "Your performance was powerful." Simon: "It was a very cabaret performance. We've seen it a million times."

Finally, Katharine McPhee, the stage mother's daughter, singing Since I Fell For You. STREISAND! I love Streisand. McPhee has one of the better voices, but she's got to stop stomping and shaking. She looks goofy.

Randy: "You've got it going on, man." Paula: "This is the greatest show on earth. It taps into the human spirit." (Ok, but what about her singing?) Simon: "There were four very good vocalists tonight and you were the best."

I disagree.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Twenty, twenty, twenty-four Idols to go


Who are the villains, the veterans, and the teachers’ pets?
Twenty, twenty, twenty-four Idols to go - American Idol - MSNBC.com

February 21 Birthdays in History

William L Petersen, 1953, actor, Return to Lonesome Dove, CSI
Alan Rickman, 1946, actor, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
Tyne Daly, 1946, actress, Cagney and Lacey
David Geffin, 1943, Geffin, Asylum
Barbara Jordan, 1936, born in Houston, Texas, Rep-D-Tx, 1972-78
Larry Hagman, 1931, TV actor, I Dream of Jeannie, Dallas
Erma Bombeck, 1927, humorist, Grass is Always Greener...
Sam Peckinpah, 1925, film director, Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs
Lisa, 1983, my neice
Yours Truly, 1962
February 21 Birthdays in History

Smart ways to start investing

MSN Money - Start investing

Sunday, February 19, 2006

TruTech TT1620 review

GLOAMING.us - Blogs: "As it happens, they had a DVD recorder at Target for a decent price: the Trutech TT1620 DVD recorder for around $100. I picked it up and trotted home with it.

Let me say this: this recorder is not perfect, but it's definitely not bad. I'm actually pretty impressed by what I got for the price. In addition to DVDs, the thing plays CDs, MP3s, MPEG video, and (most) Windows media files. For the most part, it seems to work really well.

But there are some glitches. According to the documentation, you can record at six different quality levels, with the higher quality taking more disk space. In reality, it only has four functional quality levels; the bottom two are too horrible to even consider using. In fact, they don't even work reliably: I tape a Monty Python special using the 'SLP' setting, which allows 6 hours of video to be recorded on a single DVD and which the documentation says is the same quality as videotape. I don't know what videotape they're using, but I have videos I recorded on ow quality videotape in 1985 that look better than this did. Not only that, but halfway through the show, the video inexplicably starts running in fast forward while the audio stays at the normal speed. This makes anything past this point unwatchable. This problem happened consistently with every show I taped at that quality level. I never even tried the lowest quality setting. The 'EP' setting (which allows for four hours, and which the documentation claims is 'better than videotape') is about the same quality as low-quality videotape but is watchable and seems to work. The three highest quality settings work more or less flawlessly.

Not all DVDs from the thing want to work in all DVD players. I can't get any of them to play back reliably on my Orbitron surround sound"

TRUTECH™ DVD RECORDER


Target has these on sale this week for $88.00. Not bad. Do you have one? Is it worth the it?

"Features one-touch recording. Transfer your home movies to DVD directly from your camcorder or VCR.
No. TT1620."

This site has reviews on it. Folks have given it a 7.8 with 21 votes.

Target Weekly Ad

Saturday, February 18, 2006

OMGWTF? 9700 a day!

WASHINGTON — More bags were lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered by U.S. airlines last year than in at least eight years, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Reports of mishandled bags on domestic flights rose 23 percent in 2005, from 4.91 per 1,000 passengers in 2004 to 6.04 per 1,000. That's an average of about 9,700 lost or damaged bags per day.

Last year, airlines were cutting jobs as the number of domestic passengers surged to the pre-Sept. 11 level of 590 million.
Of the 20 carriers that reported to the Transportation Department, Atlantic Southeast Airlines had the highest rate of baggage complaints — 17.41 per 1,000 passengers — and Hawaiian Airlines had the lowest, at 2.95 per 1,000.

Every checked bag must now be screened for explosives. According to a recent federal report, the Transportation Security Administration screens about 75 million bags a month.
Chron.com Lost or damaged airline bags increased last year to 9,700 a day

Motivational Posters



Motivational Posters

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ameican Idol 5 - 44 AI hopefuls become 24

(Thanks Joey)
Tonight, there are no dreary time-killers, no stretched-out comic skits, no cheesy narrations. (Well, there are some of those. After all, we are talking about Ryan Seacrest.)

American Idol is unveling its top 24, and it's all business from the beginning.

We get a quick look at the Pasadena Civic Center in Calfornia, where the 44 remaining contestants are huddled together in a holding room. After a final review from the judges, they are sent up, one by one, to hear their fate.

Yes or no. It's just a matter of time. In minutes, a barrage of "no's" are handed out to Jessica Santos, Nick Whitten and Crystal Stark. Even Brooke Barrettsmith, the remaining of two talented sisters, gets the axe. One true talent is gone.

Katharine McPhee (21-years-old) is like a younger, vocally stronger Norah Jones and one of this season's most talented contestants. I have high hopes for her.

Big duh -- she gets a yes after a bit of a fake-out from the judges. She also plants a kiss on each of the three judges. Um, eww. Eww? She can kiss me.


Future heartthrob Ace Young (25-years-old), with his messy mop of hair, has gotten lots of screen time thus far. We see a snippet of his final audition song, Michael Jackson's tender She's Out Of My Life. Young's voice is bland, thin and unspectacular, but -- big surprise -- he makes it. Teenage girls across the country breathe a sigh of relief.





On the other end of the spectrum is Robert Bennett, Jr. (19-years-old), who has gotten little screen time. Nevertheless, he also makes it through. "This is not for fat people," he jokes. I wonder what his voice sounds like.





Diva extraordinaire Mandisa Hundley (29-tears-old), one of my personal favorites, is up next. Simon made rude comments about her weight during the first auditions, and she calls him on it.

"You hurt me, and I cried, and it was painful," she tells the caustic judge. In a rare moment, Simon seems sincerely humbled, and he also tells Mandisa that she makes it through. Good for her! She's likable and talented and sassy. I hope she goes far.

Lisa Tucker has been polished and professional from the beginning. The immensely talented 16-year-old, who we find out performed in The Lion King, gets a yes. Not a big surprise, but well-deserved nonetheless.





Crooner David Radford (17-years-old) is also on to the top 24. Get ready for the next John Stevens. Imagine Radford -- with his weird arm swing -- on a disco tune. Or a country tune. Or anything from this era. Yikes!






Jose "Sway" Penala is celebrating his birthday, and his only wish is a ticket through to the next round. He gets his wish.






Elliott Yamin (27-years-old), who was part of the same group performance, also gets a yes. Both guys have strong, distinct voices.






The demure Stephanie Scott is sweet and endearing. She is safe for now, and I get a little misty-eyed. Shut up.






On the other hand, senator's daughter and basketball star Ayla Brown (17-years-old) is a bit cocky for my taste. She doesn't seem to have to struggle for much, which the judges have noticed. She gets a yes. Mmmm.






Bald-headed rocker Chris Daughtry is, of course, put through to the top 24. He's practically guaranteed a top-five slot, with all the coverage he's received.





But, April Walsh, the red-headed throwback who reminds me of Bette Midler, gets a no. She's colorful and cute -- maybe a little too much so.

Another 16-year-old, Kevin Covay, heads upstairs. This is a guy in need of a serious makeover, but he makes it. His parents are thrilled. It's a sweet moment.





The awfully cute and majorly talented Paris Bennett (17-years-old) is sent up, and she has been keeping track of the score so far. Another big surprise -- she makes it. "I gotta go tell my mommy," she says.





Terrible Twosome update: Seacrest tells us that the duo has been disqualified because of criminal charges. Old news. We've known this for weeks. YES!!!!

Back to the show. Kellie Pickler (19-years-old) is saved for near the end, but it's hardly a surprise. She makes it through, amid endless tears. Enough already! This girl has milked more emotion that Jasmine Trias and Vonzell Solomon combined. MmmmMMMMmm






Gray-haired soul singer Taylor Hicks' fate is next revealed. He makes it, and celerates by playing his harmonica. What a goofball. I like this guy maybe because I am a goofball too.





Woodlands teen William Makar is one of the final four left wondering about his fate. He is sent up alongside Syd Harcourt, with only one male slot remaning. Oh, the drama!

Makar is given the go-ahead. H-town, representing! (Sort of.)




Now, it's up to you, us, me. You can see the top 24 here. Voting for the top 12 starts next week! Get your dialing fingers ready.
Tubular: 44 AI hopefuls become 24

The Thing About My Folks

Has anyone seen this movie? The folks on IMDB didn't care for it too much.
The Thing About My Folks Official Movie Site Picturehouse

NBA.com: ALL-STAR 2006

I love the Houston Rockets. I love the NBA All-Star game. I hope you watch the stuff going on this weekend. And it all takes place in Houston this year.
NBA.com: ALL-STAR 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Birthday Calculator

OK, I'll do this too Thomas. It is kinda neat.

You entered: 2/21/1962

Your date of conception was on or about 31 May 1961 which was a Wednesday.

You were born on a Wednesday under the astrological sign Pisces. Your Life path number is 5.

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2437716.5.
The golden number for 1962 is 6.
The epact number for 1962 is 24.
The year 1962 was not a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 2/5/1962 and ending 1/24/1963.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Tiger.

As of 2/15/2006 11:37:06 PM EST
You are 43 years old.
You are 528 months old.
You are 2,295 weeks old.
You are 16,065 days old.
You are 385,583 hours old.
You are 23,135,017 minutes old.
You are 1,388,101,026 seconds old.

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 6.28767123287671 years old. (You're still chasing cats!)

There are 6 days till your next birthdayon which your cake will have 44 candles.

In 1962 there were approximately 4.2 million births in the US.

Your birthstone is Amethyst
Birthday Calculator

American Idol 5 - Alot left

(What happened to Sara?! I'm stealing from Joey Guerra now. Thanks Joey. I should be writing my own soon, well maybe not until they get to 12.)
It's official: The Brittenum twins are the most irritating twosome on television. Agreed. I hate them.

It seemed like more than half of Idol's Valentine's night episode was dedicated to the dastardly duo, who cried, complained and criticized with dramatic abandon. And, oh yeah, they sang some, too. Agreed. I hate them.

Don't they remember that, if they make the top 24, the public will eventually be asked to vote for them based on, among other things, likability? They love themselves, what makes you think they don't think that everyone loves them? I hate them.

The 99 remaining contestants splintered into self-formed trios and quartets, with the usual dosages of conflict and nerves.

At 2 a.m., robotic host Ryan Seacrest told us some hopefuls were already in bed, some were diligently practicing tunes and dance moves.

At 3 a.m., Terrell Brittenum begins making nasty calls to get his group together, adding that he "DON'T DO GROUPS." Yes, he said it in all caps. I hate him.

At 7 a.m., Terrell is still complaining and over-enunciating every syllable of every word, much he like he does when he is singing. Still hate him.

To be fair, most of the contestants are full of clumsy metaphors and showcase lots of unnecessary attitude. Lighten up, people. You're not in the top 12 yet. The drama makes me ill.

During the group rounds, Paris Bennett sounds shaky on the soulful ballad Emotion, and Stephanie Scott offers a chirpy vocal style. Simon calls it all "fairly pitiful," but both are safe. Paris still looks like a safe bet for the top 12.

Terrell's group is up next, and said twin forgets the words. He also feels the need to trash his groupmates to the juges. And yes, Jose "Sway" Penala sounds nervous, but Elliott Yamin lets his rich, mature vocals do the, um, talking. F'ing tattletale Terrell, I hate you.

All three are safe. Sigh.

Kevin Covais, the 16-year-old who looks like he's 12, also sticks around. Ditto for William Makar, the supple-voiced teenager from The Woodlands.

Unfortunately, Josh Jordan and David Radford are also safe, despite visions of another John Stevens episode. Shudder.

Derrell Brittenum is more comfortable onstage than his twin, but he is equally as idiotic. He decides to self-eliminate himself from the show after mistakenly thinking his brother had been cut earlier. Oops. He is later allowed to beg and plead with the judges to stay, and Simon says he's fed up with his "hissy attitude." Agreed, these guys are idiots. I agree with Simon. I hate them.

I, along with several contestants sitting in the audience, applaud loudly. Nevertheless, he is allowed to stay.

Mandisa Hundley, one of my faves, is full of charisma and confidence. Another favorite, Brooke Barrettsmith, sounds fresh and focused. Both are safe.

The same can't be said for Leah Barrettsmith, who mangles the lyrics to Band of Gold. She's got a great voice, but she is sent home. Brooke is understandably in tears, and the camera follows them into the bathroom. It's a truly intrusive moment. What was up with the camera in the bathroom?

In the end, 44 contestants are left standing, including, Paris Bennett, Woodlands boy William Makar, Kellie Pickler Mmmmm and Ace Young (big surprises there), Katharine McPhee, Miss Mandisa, Chris Daughtry and -- say it ain't so -- the Brittenum twins.

Tomorrow, those 44 will be whittled down to 24 -- 12 boys and 12 girls. Expect to see the above-mentioned group -- and pray the twins are given a slow, painful axe.
OK, I really don't hate them, I try not to hate anybody. I certainly do not like them. I could never be friends with them.
Tubular: American Idol's terrible twosome

Cardboard Domes

Cardboard Domes - Homepage: Constructing Cardboard Geodesic Domes That Will Survive Burning Man and the Black Rock Desert: "How to Build a Geodesic Dome out of Cardboard"

SI.com - Swimsuit 2006


:-D
SI.com - 2006 Swimsuit##

SF Toys Get Retro


Classic SF franchises such as Doctor Who, Space: 1999 and Lost in Space are still very much alive in 2006, with new collectible lines based on the classic shows debuting at the American International Toy Fair in New York this week. Product Enterprise, Ltd., a British-based toy manufacturer specializing in cult TV and films, showed off an expansive line of new products coming to stores this year. Company designer Graham Humphreys told SCI FI Wire that the company will offer a 12-inch talking Doctor Who, based on actor Tom Baker's 1974–81 version of the immortal character, as well as a Talking Cyberman from the 1975 story "Revenge of the Cybermen."

"We've had the classic license for six years, and there's always been a huge market for [Doctor Who]," Humphreys said. "The new items are coming out in October. We also have Micro-action Daleks, radio-control Daleks and the inflatable Daleks available now." Another British classic, Gerry Anderson's Space: 1999, will have a studio-scale replica of the Eagle Transporter released this year. With a limited edition run of 1,500 pieces worldwide, the replica is based on the actual prop from the original series. "It comes with a hand-signed certificate of authenticity," Humphreys said. "We have a really good relationship with Gerry. He loves everything we do, and he gets involved helping to promote it."

Classic American SF properties will also be represented for the first time though the company, with a line of toys based on Irwin Allen's fantasy series. "We picked up Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants," Humphreys said. "These are all die-cast collectible models and will be available around October of this year." From Voyage, the company will produce the Flying Sub and Seaview Sub; from Land of the Giants, the Spindrift ship; and from Lost in Space, a talking B-9 Robot, with actual dialogue from the original series.

For the first time, Product Enterprise, Ltd., is also launching an original product line called "Space Vixens of Galaxy Vega." The detailed 12-inch action-figure line launches with Capt. Peggy Rider, who is dressed in a retro-designed '50s spacesuit and helmet. "This is our very own, first solo product," Humphreys said. "We thought it would be really fantastic to do these cool, fancy female, retro figures. It's not from anything; it just looks like it's from the '40s or '50s. I did the designs: We aren't a very big company, so we do it all. If she's successful, we will produce a whole range of various different figures in different outfits. She will be available in September of this year." Product Enterprise, Ltd., can be found on the Web.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Willie Nelson croons gay cowboy tune

Ummm OK "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

DALLAS, TX, United States (UPI) -- Willie Nelson`s latest tribute to the range is 'Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other.'

Nelson released a statement on Valentine`s Day, the same day the song became available for download at the iTunes music store, saying the song has 'been in the closet for 20 years,' The Dallas Morning News reported.

'The timing`s right' for the song written by Ned Sublette to emerge, 'I`m just opening in the door,' Nelson said.

Nelson said his longtime friend and tour manager, David Anderson, told him he was gay two years and when he was going through a bunch of old material last March looking for songs to record for iTunes, Sublette`s tune struck a chord.

Anderson said Nelson`s recording of 'Cowboys Are Frequently Fond of Each Other' was his way of giving him a thumbs up.

Nelson, by the way, recorded 'He Was a Friend of Mine' for the soundtrack of 'Brokeback Mountain,' Ang Lee`s Oscar-nominated film about gay cowboys.
Willie Nelson croons gay cowboy tune

The Story Girl

A blog that visited mine.
The Story Girl

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

For lunch today...


Ok, since you folks seemed to love what I told you I had for lunch yesterday, I thought I'd tell you what I had today. Do you feel the sarcasm there? You folks NEVER leave comments. I know you stop by.

OK, so maybe my posts are lame and most don't deserve a comment. OK, so maybe I don't use my blog the way alot of folks do and tell you personal stuff about myself. Maybe that's just the way I am.

I'm a listener not a talker. Ask My Wife, or my best friend, or anyone who knows me just a little. I generally don't have much to say. I think I can listen well though. Well, My Wife might debate me on that saying I never listen to anything she says. I think it is just selective hearing.

I had one of Progresso's Microwavable soups, the Chicken Noodle. It was very good. They were on sale at Kroger for 2 for three bucks. I would definitely have this again. Oh, on the website there is also a coupon you can print out, one buck off when you buy two. I also had a Mountain Dew and a 3 pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (it is of the fundraising variety).

I also bought the Chicken Fried Rice from Timmy Chan's. I don't plan on eating any of it. My wife is sick and I thought I would bring it home for her tonight so that she doesn't have to cook. And it is another thing I can do for her since it is Valentine's Day. We wouldn't be going out anyway since she is sick and we have a Cub Scout meeting tonight.
Progresso Microwavable Soups

Kissing on Times Square

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Hope Round and Tatianna Duero, kiss on a bed in Times Square in a Valentine's Day public display of affection to show that "Vegetarians Make Better Lovers". PETA is holding a week long "East Coast Live Make-Out Tour".

The Sexy Name Decoder


Man Administering Rapturous Caresses


The Sexy Name Decoder

Students embracing virtual sex

TORONTO (Reuters) - Call it a sexual revolution of the virtual kind -- young Canadians are practicing a new style of safe sex and the only touching required involves a keyboard.

Of more than 2,500 university and college students polled across Canada, 87 percent of them are having sex over instant messenger, webcams or the telephone, according to results of a national survey released on Monday.

"We were very surprised," Noah Gurza, a founder of Toronto-based CampusKiss.com, an online dating community for students, which commissioned a Canadian CampusKiss & Tell Survey.

"We did realize that new technologies are always embraced by younger individuals, but we didn't think it would've reached such a high number."

Gurza said most post-secondary school students grew up using computer technology, and their lives currently revolve around technology, so it makes sense that it would extend to their sex lives.

"It's now extended within their sexual world, whether it be as a social lubricant as a means to then engage in something that's more real, in more real time, or if it's just a means in itself of pleasuring here and there," he said.

Some 2,684 students from more than 150 university and college campuses across Canada took part in the survey. Fifty-one percent of the participates were female and 49 percent were male.

Of those surveyed, 53 percent of students enjoyed sex over instant messenger, while 44 percent did the deed using a webcam and over the phone.

When it comes to having actual sex, eighty-seven percent of those polled claimed to be sober at the time. Ninety percent of students who responded said their campus promotes and supports safe-sex practices.
Oddly Enough News Article Reuters.com

I didn't know this... Interesting.

Target sets sights on hard-to-crack cases

I got an unusual assignment this week -- Target's crime lab. Yes, I'm talking about that Target, the national "upscale discounter," as they style themselves in the information package the company hands out to reporters.

Turns out Target has one of the most advanced crime labs in the country at its headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was initially set up to deal with things like theft, fraud, and personal injury cases in their stores. Now, Target also helps law enforcement agencies nationwide solve crimes, even murders. Target has worked with the Secret Service, the ATF, and the FBI, to name a few.

Target does the work for free, seeing it as a kind of community service. It doesn't advertise its crime lab services, but word started spreading and law enforcement agencies started asking for help. Some government agency labs aren't as well-equipped as Target's. In other cases, Target can get results faster because of logjams in agency labs.

Target's lab is run by an ex-FBI agent and boasts a staff of forensic experts. They spend a lot of time analyzing video from surveillance cameras in their own stores.

The day we visited we looked at how they helped crack a murder case using video from a convenience store security camera in Minneapolis. The Target team cleaned up the image of the shooting suspect, but that wasn't enough to identify him. Then they figured out what kind of car he was driving, even though you could barely see the vehicle through the store's window on the surveillance tape. It was the stuff of CSI.

Police put these pieces together to help identify the murderer. He's now serving a life sentence in prison.
CNN.com - Anderson Cooper 360� Blog

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winter Olympics 2006

I love the Olympics, winter and summer. I hope you are watching!
NBCOlympics.com - Home

Beanee Weenee - What?

My friend Thomas often tells me that he has a can of Beanee Weenee for dinner. What the hell are Beanee Weenees?

You mean there is something actually called that? I've never seen them or had any.

Bought me a can Sunday night. The large can was only a buck thirty-nine.

Brought it to work today. My plan was to microwave them. Oh crap. I need a microwave safe dish. I ended up using a a big ass cup that I had full of pistachios on my desk. I poured the pistachios into a styrofoam cup. Went to open it. Oh crap. I need a can opener. I planned this well eh? I went to the main office across the yard and found a can opener in the kitchen there and bought me a can of Mountain Dew.

Opened the can, poured them in the cup. Put it in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

They were OK. And I didn't end up having the gas that I thought I might. :-)

I'd have them again. I might definitely plan on having them at the next campout.

Snowstorm? Blizzard? Not in Houston.

The high forecast for this Thursday is 82.

SerenityMovie.org is back!

The Browncoats—fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly TV show and its spinoff film, Serenity—have relaunched thier official Web site, SerenityMovie.org.

Joss posted this on Whedonesque;

Seriously, what up? I'm pounding the keys (as opposed to staring at them, thank God) on my Amazon movie (which is totally my own idea and not somebody else's from a comic) called Wondrous Lady. Problem: third act. Solution: Cooking class! Yep, I've still got it.

Roll call:

Spike movie! Still trying.

Buffy comics! Wrote ish one, fun fun fun. Looking for a penciller.

Serenity comics: Brett and I have been very very busy and it's rude of you to bring it up. But it's gonna be tight!

Serenity sequel! My phone is silent and withdrawn.

Wondy Gal! It's all about momentum, baby. And cooking class.

Goners! Ready to polish after WW is complete. LOVED the speculation on the character Mia's name. Can't wait to hear what you all say about Violet. (Besides the fact that she is not in any way ultra.)

How I Met Your Mother! I'm truly addicted. "Don't be a hero, Sherbotsky!" Come ON, people!

Jack Green! He shot my two favorite movies last year. Crazy props!

Cheese! Why won't it stop flirting with me?

Okay, bastard people, I'm gone like a thing that's not so much here as elsewhere. Remember me.

--joss

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Multi-Touch Interaction Research

Very very cool. Check out this video.
YouTube - Multi-Touch Interaction Research

"Vampire Birds" of the Galapagos Islands

Some harmless-looking birds on the Gal├ípagos Islands off the coast of South America have developed a surprising technique for surviving the dry season—drinking the blood of other, larger birds. Watch the "vampire birds" in action.
Video: "Vampire Birds" of the Galapagos Islands

Friday, February 10, 2006

Are you kidding me?

A blog I ran into.
Are you kidding me?

Wight Wing Wadical

A blog.
Wight Wing Wadical

Worldofdeb

A fellow Houstonians blog. Looks to be OK.
Worldofdeb

ACME Heart Maker


Just in time for Valentine's Day
ACME Heart Maker

Secret Diaries from FOTR

:-D
~*~ Secret Diaries ~*~

Top Gun Brokeback Squadron

Not the greatest quality. Still funny.
Top Gun Brokeback Squadron - Google Video

Brokeback to the Future

Funny and well done.
YouTube - Brokeback to the Future

American Idol 5 - First round of eliminations

(Stealing from Sara again and again and again...)
One hundred and seventy five singers were chosen from those often-painful moments, and most of them will hardly be able to unpack their bags before they're sent home.

Half of the hopefuls are sent on a sightseeing trip, while the others prepare to sing onstage at the Orpheum Theater.

Each performer chooses one song from a list of 12. Most of the girls seem to have chosen Olivia Newton-John's Hopelessy Devoted to You. What, no There Are Worse Things I Could Do? Rizzo gets no respect.

Surprise, we're given extended time with Kellie Pickler, who producers may as well reseve a slot for in the top five. She's all over commercials and promos and on the web.

Kellie, with her country accent and sad backstory (her dad is a jailbird), is awfully sweet. But she's also a little more experienced than she pretends to be. She nervously admits that she has never sang with a band or had voice lessons. That may be true, but she failed to mention that she advanced to the finals on Gimme the Mike! Charlotte and is a beauty-pageant regular.
Amateur? Hardly.

Nevertheless, the judges love her, despite a thin and rangy version of said Olivia song. Don't get me wrong, I dig Kelly's voice, but I hate to be told who to vote for. (Remember Carrie Underwood?) Just crown her already.

Paula Abdul looks smitten with Patrick Hall, who has a nice, but unassuming, voice. It's the same droopy look she gave Constantine Maroulis. Simon says Patrick is "like Clay Aiken, but likable." He makes it to the next round.

Ronnie Norman from Tyler and Steven David from who-knows-where are two of this season's most arrogant, obnoxious contestants. They both sing Shai's And If I Ever Fall in Love. And the judge's don't. Both -- YES! -- are sent home. I'm glad they are gone too.

Sixteen-year-old Lisa Tucker looks great and had one of the best early auditions. This time, she seems a little below pitch, but her voice is mature and supple. She moves on and stands as a true testament to pure talent. You don't need flirty posturing or high-pitched drama to make a mark. Just a great voice.

We're now up to Paris Bennet, the chirpy niece of gospel/soul singer Ann Nesby. Paris is awfully cute and sings LeAnn Rimes' Can't Fight the Moonlight. It's good, but not the best song choice for her. Of course, she makes it. I hope she doesn't win it all. Sounds too much like Fantasia to me at this point and I didn't like her voice either. Latoya London should have won that year.

Gray-haired soulster Taylor Hicks sings The First Cut is the Deepest, and Simon says he looks like someone's dad. I have to agree. He's talented, but I can't see young viewers falling in love with him.

At the end of day one, 41 contestants move on.

Day two: Megan Zieger is incredibly nervous because she says she has laryngitis. It shows in her off-key and cracked vocals. The judges cut her some slack, and she advances to the next round.

The Britnam twins, who made headlines after they were recently arrested, sound nice but are a bit cocky and overbearing. And those beards have got to go. I hate them.

Derrell and Terrell are also a bit too cutesy onstage. Too many hand movements and bug-eyed moments, but they're safe for now. The same can't be said for twins Joshua and Jarrett Simmons, who are sent home. Boo hoo.

One of my faves, Gina Glocksen, gets a quick plug. She has a clean, warm voice that would sound great on disc. She's safe.

The littlest cowboy, Garet Johnson, is up next. He's sweet and shy and awfully sincere. He cries when he arrives in Hollywood. He cries when he sees the ocean. His audition is just OK, but he makes it. I'm tired of this poor kid.

The Britnam twins mouth off about some of the advancing contestants. Who really cares? Not me. Did I mention that I hate these guys?

The rest of the show is a scattershot montage of colorful auditions. Chris Daughtry, the psuedo-rocker with the shaved head, puts all his Scott Stapp-edness into it, and the crowd goes wild. The word "poser" comes to mind, as does the name "Constantine."

Ace Young, the show's likeliest heartthrob, already has a fan site. He has an average voice -- at best -- but he breezes through. Must be the great hair. And those puppy-dog eyes. And the way the girls sigh. Expect him to make the Top 12 -- and likely the top five.

On the other hand, Mandisa Hundley works it out with a natural, charismatic showing. She has one of the biggest, best voices of the bunch. My fingers are crossed for her.

Katharine McPhee, an early fave, gets her turn on a Dionne Warwick tune. She has a lovely voice, but she's nervous. Still, she makes it and remains a strong contender.

Finally, we get to Dave Hoover, the crazy guy from Chicago. We've been teased all hour with his audition, and it's a predictable mess. He doesn't make it, thank goodness. Next!

In the end, 66 singers have been cut and 99 are left for the next round: group songs. You think tonight was dramatic? You ain't seen nothing yet. Hmmm not so many comments from me, that's what happens if I wait 48 hours, I have already forgotten some of this. :-)
Tubular: Hopelessly devoted, but to whom?

The Secret Life Of Lauren

A blog I ran across.
The Secret Life Of Lauren

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

American Idol 5 - Boston auditions

(Stolen yet again, will I steal anymore? Probably. At least until it gets down to the final 12 or so.)
James Yokley says his nickname is "Goats." Oh, wait, that's "Ghost." He's dressed in Patriot gear and cannot say the world "melodious." He does a patriotic rap and it's as bad as you might imagine. Bad.

Ayla Brown's dad is a senator and her mom is on TV and she's tall and skinny and has sung the national anthem at some big game of some sort and she's a basketball star. You hate her, I hate her. She's a good singer, but she's so confident. Simon says: "I think it's all a bit robotic. Like you've come out of this perfect school, but there's something empty about it all." I can't believe I agree with him. Ah, but of course, Paula and Randy like her. She's pretty and can sing. I liked her OK.

Irada Jafarova is an immigrant. From where, I don't know. She sings at open mics. She starts unbuttoning her sweater while singing. But you can't blame her; I can see how she'd think stripping is how you become an American Idol. Britney. Xtina. X-cetera. But she's horrible and embarrassing and can't get the flower out of her hair, it just dangles lifelessly as she sings Chain of Fools, which is a song I don't think I've ever heard the whole way through. Horrible.

After a bad singer montage, Simon goes off the deep end, apparently. He makes a boy cry. He makes another boy cry.

The O'Donohue twins have the same job, share a car, had the same major. OMG! One had a cyst on her vocal chords, so she's not singing. The other one, Rebecca, sings. Simon: "I think because of the way you look, your life is going to be a breeze. But based on your singing, it's a no." Once again, I'm with Simon. Randy and Paula give her another chance. But, but, but they were incredibly hot! Hot twins. *Lets head drop back, mouth fly open and does the Homer drool* I thought her singing was OK. Her looks got her through to Hollywood.

Tatiana Ward wants to impress the grandmother who disowned her family. She's pretty good. Simon says, "you remind me of a poodle," but Randy and Paula say yes. OK

Holly Corrente works in a senior center singing for people with disabilities. Oh, I like her. She has a pretty voice, but it's not big. They all pass. I didn't get this at all. She could sing. Damn shame.

So far all the people going on are girls.

Kenneth Maccarone is "wound a bit tight," Ryan says. He does Cher. Simon says, "Be a female impersonator." Kenneth: "Absolutely not. I'm a man!" Simon: "Cher, you are not going to Hollywood." :-)

Kevin Covais is a little, little boy. OK, he's 16, he looks very young. He says, "I bring youth and excitement, I think." He's got an awful haircut. But he has a sweet voice. His cheeks are bright red. Simon says, "You're a jolly nice young man, aren't you?" He's going to Hollywood! I'm excited! He could sing.

Michael Sandecki looks like Clay Aiken. "Yeah, big whoop," he says. He's bad. "Actually, I really can sing, I'm just nervous as hell and I need to pee." So they let him pee. Gee, do you think he'll still be bad after he's emptied his bladder? Uh, yeah. Scary.

The auditions are OVER. 175 go on to the next round. My money's still on Paris Bennett. We'll see.
Tubular: Boston: the feminine city

Yes!!!

Police visit Spears to ask about photos of her driving with baby

LOS ANGELES — Authorities were investigating an incident in which Britney Spears was photographed driving with her infant son on her lap, but didn't intend to pursue charges against the pop star, officials said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht said Tuesday that deputies went to Spears' home to collect information for the county Department of Family and Children Services. A DCFS spokesman wouldn't offer specifics.

"We don't say who, what or if we're investigating," department spokesman Stu Riskin said.
The sheriff's department won't pursue any charges, Deputy Luis Castro said.

"Unless a deputy saw the violation, there's nothing we can do," he said. "We don't even know if this took place in our jurisdiction."
Police visit Spears to ask about photos of her driving with baby Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

Brainbench

Aptitude Test, Employment Screening, Assessment Testing, Online Personality Test - Brainbench

Turn On Beverages


I have never had an energy drink. Never had a Red Bull or any of the new ones out on the market.

My friend Thomas has a Monster drink everyday.

Maybe he should consider switching to this one.

Maybe my wife and I should start drinking this one. :-)
Welcome to Turn On Beverages

Idol Go Home

1. You Choose. Which American Idol 5 singers are Going Home next?
2. They 'Go Home'. You score points if you are right.
3. You Win Prizes!
Idol Go Home - American Idol Fantasy Game

Britney 'Dumb@ss' Spears


This is unbelievably stupid. If someone were to hit her or if she were to hit something, the airbag would probably kill her kid. Even if the airbag didn't deploy, just her force against the kid and the steering wheel could seriously injure the kid.

I know parents used to do this crap years ago all the time, it was still very stupid back then too.

She needs a ticket for this or something, she should be punished. Slut.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A hippo and a turtle in love?

MSN Video

New Life Form Hits Our Planet

Update 2-8-06 See a video here!

Furby creator Caleb Chung has emerged from five years of developing the next advancement in robotic technology: Pleo.

Scheduled to appear tomorrow at the DEMO technology conference in Phoenix, Pleo is a "life form" made by Ugobe, a Bay Area robotic technology group. Chung's latest project is designed to resemble a one-week-old, long-neck dinosaur--a sauropod.

Pleo walks, Pleo listens, and Pleo feels--meaning Pleo has an advanced operating system that allows him to relate to humans through a wide range of emotions. If you startle Pleo, he will be surprised. If you play with Pleo, he will play back.

Equipped with 40 sensors and an advanced system of mobility, its makers say Pleo is a completely autonomous being that can interact with humans or simply react to the environment around him.

"Caleb Chung realized with the Furby that people are more fascinated with life than they were with features and functions," says Ugobe CEO Bob Christopher. "Life is a phenomenal thing to emulate."

Furby became wildly popular in tech circles after its debut in 1998, as people hacked into its system to reprogram it.

Different Formula

Pleo runs on a sophisticated operating system termed "LifeOS" by Christopher. Emotions are configured in an artificial intelligence engine using more than 50 algorithms to simulate hormones and sophisticated emotions. Christopher says Pleo has its own distinct personality--not quite dinosaur, not quite human.

"It has its own Pleo behavior," Christopher says. "It's not like a dinosaur, which you might expect to be like a grumpy old man. It's our own unique version of viewing the world around you and responding to you."

Ugobe designed the robotic companion with input from robotics experts, animators, scientists, biologists, and programmers. Although Christopher says he's in the same market with Honda's ASIMO, and the Robosapien from WowWee, he says his basic technology takes a completely different track from the rest of the robot world.

"We've been able to create a process that is mass marketable but achieves a high-level performance," he says. "It's a big part of our secret sauce."

Pleo, almost five years in the making, is the first in a series of "life forms" created by Ugobe, Christopher says. Following the DEMO conference this week, Ugobe officials will begin marketing the product through traditional media, tech blogs, and retailers followed by an international tour in the summer.

Ugobe also will present Pleo at a Friday news conference at the San Francisco Zoo. It is expected to hit store shelves in time for the holiday season and will cost $199. Christopher says Pleo already has $18 million in committed purchase orders and many more verbal commitments.

Ugobe Robot Code

The company has two target markets for Pleo, Christopher says. The first is kids ages 6 to 12 who will treat the product like a pet. The second is the 22-and-up crowd who are interested in customizing and adding to the base emotions of their Pleos.

Christopher says all the life forms made by Ugobe must obey three laws. They must feel and convey emotion, meaning they feel playful or angry and shows those emotions through either a cheerful or frustrated "squawk." They also must be aware of themselves and their environment, so they know if they're at the edge of a table and need to avoid falling. Third, they must evolve over time.

"Its voice might get deeper, it might learn new tricks on its own," says Christopher. "It will evolve and adapt itself to the pet owner, and that's where the AI [artificial intelligence] comes in."

In addition, Ugobe "life forms," such as a Pleo, will be able to interact with other life forms. Christopher left a few questions unanswered for the surprise factor, including whether Pleo will be able to recognize different voices. And there were a few questions he wasn't sure about, such as how Pleo would react to nonhuman life forms such as dogs or cats.

Ugobe says Pleo will learn and adapt to certain behaviors of its human companion, such as becoming more at ease or more used to certain repeated actions. But as time goes on, the owner can change a Pleo's personality by buying upgrades to the operating system, known as "personality modules." The upgrades can be made through an SD memory card expansion or using a USB connection to download updates from the Internet.

Christopher's ultimate hope is to invite outside software developers and robot fans to develop their own add-ons by introducing a Pleo software development kit. Building and upgrading life forms could be the next trend after PC building, he says.

"The opportunity to dream and to bring things to life is very rich here, so we want to get as many people involved as we can," Christopher says. "We're all going to find varying ways to make robots a large part of our life," Christopher says. "It's inevitable, it's going to happen, and the question is who's going to be able to lead that charge."
PCWorld.com - Ugobe's New Life Form Hits Our Planet

Denisof Joining Hannigan on 'How I Met Your Mother'


I really enjoy this show by the way - Marc

Aside from some humorous moments during his time on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," Alexis Denisof hasn't had much chance to do comedic work.

That will soon change, as Denisof is joining his wife, Alyson Hannigan, for a couple episodes of Hannigan's CBS sitcom, "How I Met Your Mother."

"He actually just did an episode of our show. It was so much fun," Hannigan told reporters last week during interviews for her film "Date Movie," which opens Friday, Feb. 17. She won't reveal who Denisof is playing on the show, but does allow that "it's very funny and actually, he's coming back for the next episode as well."

Hannigan and Denisof, who met when he joined the "Buffy" cast in the show's third season, have been married since October 2003.

"How I Met Your Mother," which airs Monday nights on CBS, is also Hannigan's first regular role in a TV comedy, although most of her movie work has been comedic. She says she's enjoying the camaraderie she shares with the cast, which also includes Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris.

"I was actively looking for a half-hour [show] because of the family aspect of television, going to work with the same people for the majority of the year and getting to do what I love to do," she says.

She's also hopeful that the series will earn another year on CBS; thus far this season, it's drawing about 10.3 million viewers per week, along with fairly positive reviews.

"We're so lucky. We're having such a blast," Hannigan says. "We just hope we get to come back next year. They have to see all their pilots and make sure that, you know. It would be shocking, I think" if the show isn't renewed.
Zap2it - TV news - Denisof Joining Hannigan on 'How I Met Your Mother'

Pixar Takes Over Toy Story 3

Now that Disney has completed its takeover of Pixar, the animation studio will take over development of the long-gestating Toy Story 3, the Bloomberg news service reported. While reporting the company's first quarter earnings, Disney chief executive officer Robert Iger said that Disney would release about two Pixar films each year, an increase over Pixar's earlier goal of about one per year, and that Pixar will take over production of Toy Story 3, a sequel that Disney's in-house animators had been working on.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Lost Season To Run Long


Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who is currently a writer and supervising producer on ABC's hit SF series Lost, told SCI FI Wire that the current season will end with more than the standard 22 hours of TV. "We are doing 23 episodes, but the 23rd is a two-hour finale, so it's actually 24 hours," Grillo-Marxuach said in an interview. The co-writer of two episodes this season, "Orientation" and "Collision," Grillo-Marxuach said that he's not sure he'll write another before the season's end. "I actually don't have an assignment yet. The last one that I co-wrote was 'Collision,' and I'm waiting for the next one to come up that will be mine."
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

Monday, February 06, 2006

Don't Wait For Willow


Alyson Hannigan, who played Willow Rosenberg for seven years on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, told SCI FI Wire that she occasionally hears rumors about proposed TV movies based on Buffy or its spinoff series, Angel, but doubts that creator Joss Whedon will ever get around to realizing a telefilm based on her character. "I don't know," Hannigan said in an interview while promoting her new film, the comedy Date Movie . "Yeah, it pops up every now and then, and I just don't know. I just treasure the experience. It was such a great, long chapter of my life."

Hannigan, who also co-stars on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother , added: "I think I would just be too scared to sort of go back and possibly tarnish it in any way. Joss is too busy [to do a Willow movie]. He's not going to write it. He's not going to direct it, you know? I'm sure he would get great people, but there's nothing like the Joss touch. I think by all means they should absolutely do the Spike movie. I think that's the logical next step, but ... I don't think Willow is the next step."

It's actually yet to be determined if any kind of Buffy or Angel spinoff movie will come to pass. David Janollari, president of entertainment at what used to be The WB network, said last month that the network would welcome a movie based on James Marsters' Spike character, but echoed Hannigan's comments. At the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour, Janollari told reporters that Whedon may be too busy.

Whedon is planning to write and direct a big-screen version of Wonder Woman and is also known to be developing a supernatural film called Goners, casting further doubt on the likelihood of a Spike movie. Janollari's desire to air a Spike movie may be complicated by The WB's recently announced merger with UPN to create The CW, which came after Janollari made his comments in January.

For his part, Whedon has remained noncommittal about doing a Spike or other
Buffy spinoff movie, though he has expressed interest in doing one.

Lawless Joins Galactica Cast


SCI FI Channel announced that Lucy Lawless joins the cast of its original series Battlestar Galactica in the upcoming third season. Lawless will become a recurring cast member, reprising her role as D'Anna Biers in a 10-episode arc. The third season begins production in Vancouver, Canada, in April.

Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) first appeared on Galactica in the second-season episode "Final Cut," playing investigative journalist Biers, who arrived on the Galactica to do an expose on alleged crew misconduct that resulted in the death of four civilians. Eventually, the audience learns that Biers is actually one of the human-looking Cylon agents, who was sent to Galactica on a covert reconnaissance mission.

Lawless' second guest appearance will air on Feb. 24 in the episode "Downloaded," which gives viewers their first real glimpse into the Cylon world. (The second half of season two of Galactica premiered Jan. 6.)

Lawless joins a Galactica cast that includes Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer and Grace Park. The series is executive-produced by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, who was instrumental in originally casting Lawless in the role of Xena. Battlestar Galactica, from NBC Universal Television Studio, airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

'Grandpa Munster' Lewis Is Dead


Al Lewis, the vampire patriarch of TV's The Munsters, died Feb. 3 after years of failing health, the Associated Press reported. He was 82.

Lewis, who was most famous for playing Grandpa Munster in the 1960s monster sitcom, died with his wife at his bedside, said Bernard White, program director at WBAI-FM, where the actor hosted a weekly radio program. White made the announcement on the air during the Saturday slot where Lewis usually appeared, the AP reported.

Lewis became a pop-culture icon playing the irascible father-in-law to Fred Gwynne's ever-bumbling Herman Munster on the 1964-66 television show.

Lewis also achieved notoriety as a basketball talent scout; operated a successful Greenwich Village restaurant, Grandpa's; and even ran unsuccessfully as the Green Party candidate against incumbent New York governor George Pataki in 1998.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Money Pit

Home Improvement Radio Show
The Money Pit

Superbowl Commercials

It's the biggest day of the year for football fans. It's Super Bowl time!

But some people are more interested in the commercials than the game. It's the one time people tune in just for the ads.

I like the ads, too. In fact, I went to Superbowl-ads.com to get a sneak peek. Then I browsed through the best ads from years past. There's even a section for the best Super Bowl ads of all time.

You'll have your own opinion on which of this year's ads are the best. So after the game, visit AOL Sports. You can review the commercials and then vote on your favorite.

Okay, maybe you can't wait until the end of the game to watch the ads again. In that case, stop by Yahoo!'s video page. It promises to start making the ads available before the end of the game!

TO VISIT TODAY'S COOL SITES, GO HERE:
www.superbowl-ads.com/2006/index.html
sports.aol.com/nfl/superbowlads
video.yahoo.com

Stolen from Kim Komando's Cool Site of the Day

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Long but interesting read

Tomorrow's games, designed by players as they play

LOS ANGELES--Game budgets are skyrocketing. Development teams are swelling almost to film studio's proportions. The only way out of this trap is to enlist players to help create their own worlds, a pair of top game creators said Thursday.

Speaking at The Entertainment Gathering conference here, "Sims" creator Will Wright and Microsoft Xbox team head J. Allard both cast a spotlight on the growing role that game players will have in creating content for the biggest games.

Wright's newest game, dubbed "Spore," will populate fictional planets with animals and cities created wholly by other game players. Allard said the Xbox 360 will increasingly encourage developers to let their players add on to worlds, and even sell their creations though a central Xbox store system.

"(Gaming) is the only medium where we yield control of the protagonist. Let's yield control of the director--and the producer," said Allard, a vice president at Microsoft. "We're going to take on the Wikipedia model. We're going to take on...the open-source model, if you will, for gaming."

Indeed, the idea that consumers have a virtually infinite appetite for customized entertainment and are willing to invest both time and money in tailoring their own experience, is rippling through the media world far beyond gaming with deep financial consequences.

Record labels see the personalized ring-tone market that brought in more than $600 million in the United States alone last year, one of the most promising bright spots in years of declining revenues. TV companies have finally adapted to the idea that consumer may want on-demand versions of their shows online, and are beginning to release shows in bulk to Apple Computer's iTunes store for sale the day after they air.

But gaming has had the most experience with the power of the consumer-director, and is going much farther than any other medium in opening the process of content creation itself to its customers.

Players' eagerness to go beyond the conventional boundaries has been seen in almost every online game. In the first major massively multiplayer game, Ultima Online, developers saw their swords-and-sorcery stories expanded by players who opened taverns to host online friends and create theater groups to perform "A Christmas Carol" inside the game.

That behavior helps create new content for the game and gives players a stake in the game to keep their interest piqued longer--a critical thing for online games in which players pay a subscription fee every month.

Wright said he had learned the power of the phenomenon by watching players in his "Sim City" and "Sims" games spend hours customizing their characters and creating in-game objects that were traded online.

His new game "Spore," still under development at Electronic Arts, is built wholly around this phenomenon. Players will control a species at it evolves from single-cell organism all the way to interstellar space-traveling "Galactic God," creating the look and personality of the species and, later on, the tools, cities, and even planets they used and inhabited.

The game is created so that simple choices on the part of the consumer--mouth shape, leg placement, and so on--will be amplified by the computer's physics and behavior models to create creatures worthy of a Pixar movie, he said.

But the real secret weapon for the game is that each player's creations will be uploaded to the company and then downloaded to other player's computers. Once a species reaches space, for example, it will visit other worlds inhabited entirely by cities full of beings created inside another player's game.

"Instead of putting players in the role of Luke Skywalker, or Frodo Baggins, I'd rather put them in the role of George Lucas," Wright said.

Allard told a story of meeting a 12- or 13-year-old teen inner-city child last year and introducing him to a basketball game on the new Xbox 360. Instead of spending hours dunking or trash-talking with his friends, the boy spent two hours creating a pair of sneakers, saying that was what he wanted to do when he grew up.

Maybe that boy wasn't typical of every single game player, but he didn't need to be, Allard said.

"If only one percent of our audience that plays Halo helped construct the world around Halo, it would be more human beings than work at Microsoft corporation," Allard said. "That's how much human energy we could harness in this medium."
Tomorrow's games, designed by players as they play CNET News.com

the other Sarah's blog

A fellow Houstonian's blog. I don't remember now how I came across it. Haven't read any of it yet either.
the other Sarah's blog

American Idol 5 - Austin TX auditions

(Stealing yet again, thanks Sara)

Julian Riano is a dancer. He does the splits, but he's not a good singer.

Paula Goodspeed is our first outright embarrassment of the night. The first thing you notice is that she has braces. Full disclosure: I, too, have braces. People that have braces aren't, you know, total dorks. We can be cool. Unfortunately, Paula Goodspeed is a dork. She really likes Paula Abdul. "I make life-size drawings of Paula," she says. Ryan "I've got HAIR!" Seacrest voiceover: "Brace yourself, Paula." Hilarious pun, guys. She's awful, of course. Simon: "I don't think any artist could sing with that much metal in their mouth. How did she get through the metal detector?" She wasn't a dork, she was kinda freaky, scary.

Simon, stick to what you do best: wearing tight shirts and looking ruddy. Comedy isn't your forte.

Oh, look, zombies have crashed American Idol. Think that was a class project at UT? Pop culture class decides to have a laugh? Get back to your "studies," kids.

Jason Horn is a funeral director. "I consider myself to be a good embalmer," he says. He sings You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. Well, that's just knee-slapping hilarity. Pretty voice for church or something. Not impressing me. They like him. He's the first one to go to Hollywood. I thought he was OK.

Cierra Johnson sings O Holy Night in high drone. Simon: "For some reason, I thought you were going to be really good." She walks away without saying much because she doesn't want to embarrass herself any more than she already has. Smartest. Contestant. Ever. She was cute too. I was hoping that she could sing. She couldn't.

Allison Schoenig almost died on the flight to Austin. The good news is that she survived. The bad news is that she should have stayed in North Carolina. "Ok, you're laughing, I'll stop," she says. Simon says, "Come back in half an hour." Whatever.

Jeffrey Pollack: "I think I'm the next American Idol because... I don't know... Can I think about it? Hmm." Idiot.

Ricky Hayes is a music major from Bedford, TX. He sings my favorite Bonnie Raitt song, I Can't Make You Love Me.
Paula: "Refreshing!" He's going on to Hollywood. I love that song.

Ashley Jackson is a "fit model," whatever that means. She's from Dallas. "I'm pretty confident,' she says. She seems a little dippy to me. She sings another Bonnie Raitt song, Something to Talk About. She's all right. Simon: "I'm not crazy about your singing, but I think a lot of people would like you." She's going to Hollywood. She won't make it past the next round, trust me. Not so good.

Ronnie Norman. Everyone calls him RJ and he's completely full of himself. He's hitting on all the girls there. "I'm just gonna walk in and be me, and that's what they're gonna love." Kid, seriously, shut up. He has a decent voice. Randy doesn't like it. Simon likes him, Paula likes him. He's going on. I hate him. I liked his voice ok, he was super cocky.

Allison is back. She's still not good. Agreed.

William Makar is 16. He's so fresh faced and Fred Savage-ish. He sings nicely, but I don't think anyone could ever, ever idolize him. Simon "I think mothers would adore you." He's going to Hollywood. He can sing. I can see all the tweenie girls loving him.

Tessie Mae Reid has two braids on her face and she's big and has braces. What do you think her chances are? "Simon's gonna love me," she says. No, honey. No. She's bad. But she's 17, you know? We were all like this at 17. She comes out crying. But of course she would, she's 17! Ewww.

Twelve people made it to Hollywood.
Tubular: AI brings out the weirdos in Austin

Yahoo to feature links to Super Bowl ads

Super Bowl party so much fun you've missed some of those vaunted TV commercials? No worries: Just go online.
Yahoo to feature links to Super Bowl ads

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

This day in Music

What was No.1 on the day you were born?
This day in Music ::

anti-telemarketing

Check out the script flow chart.

"The Direct Marketing sector regards the telephone as one of its most successful tools. Consumers experience telemarketing from a completely different point of view: more than 92% perceive commercial telephone calls as a violation of privacy.

Telemarketers make use of a telescript - a guideline for a telephone conversation. This script creates an imbalance in the conversation between the marketer and the consumer. It is this imbalance, most of all, that makes telemarketing successful. The EGBG Counterscript attempts to redress that balance."
anti-telemarketing EGBG counterscript

Born Today

Born Today - Birthdays and Words of the Famous and Infamous

Sixth Annual Weblog Awards

It's now the sixth year of the world's most established weblog awards, the Bloggies™. Personal Web publishing never stops growing, and that means this year the public will have more contenders than ever to select from when choosing the year's best weblogs. 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 have their champions; now it's time for you to do your part for 2006. Read on.
Fairvue Central >> Bloggies >> Sixth Annual Weblog Awards

American Idol 5 - Las Vegas Auditions

(OK, I was gonna write this all by myself but Sara does this so well and takes such good notes. I'll leave my comments again. Thank you Sara.)

On this episode of American Idol, we get to see auditions from Vegas and they turn out to be sort of dull.

First, there's a guy with a wig and fake Jamaican accent. His name is Alexis. The fact that they're opening with this guy, who is neither awful nor outstandingly embarrassing, tells me all I need to know about this episode. The judges pass. Is he really crying? He's really crying! "I don't have to wear a wig," Alexis says. No comment.

A guy walks in dressed as a joker from a card deck. "It's a no," Simon says without letting him sing. This was kinda hard.

Bobbie May is a returning face from last season's bad auditions. This time, she's her sister's manager. They're outside the room doing vocal exercises that sound like two people just talking, really. Sister Erica sings. "You are better than your sister, however it still wasn't great," Simon says. As they walk out, he adds, "Please don't come back. Can't you just watch it next year?" I really hope we never see these folks again.

Mecca Madison is a cute, tiny bellydancer. She's quite the singer and finally we have someone going to the next round. Yep, I liked her. I liked the friend she was bellydancing with too.

Ryan Hart says, "I don't think the judges have even heard of my kind of singing," which is a bad sign. He walks into the room and says, "I'm Ryan, what's your name?" Idiot. So he does this special "sucking in while singing" metal technique. Simon says: "I'm bored with you!" Ryan says, "I'm hardcore, man!" Idiot. This was scary.

Heather Ward counsels prisoners. I totally respect that. She's doing a good thing. Simon says, "I'm normally the one who does the handcuffing." Forgive me for not believing that. Heather sings a great rendition of Redneck Woman, but Paula passes? I'm confused. They did an in-depth story on her. I liked her. I would have sent her on. I was confused by Paula passing on her as well.

Jason Andino is a gondolier in Vegas' fake Venice. He says, "Whatever happens in Vegas goes on my Web site," which is genuinely funny. And he's a pretty good singer. My boyfriend walks in and says, "this kid's ugly like mashed potatoes." I guess that's why he didn't make it to the next round. They did an in-depth on this guy too. I laughed at his Las Vegas line too. I would have passed this guy on.

Crazy-eyed J.C. Gray. He's a returning auditioner and, apparently, he grew a mullet for this season. That's a real step up. Simon says, "Sometimes you say 'no' before someone starts singing. And I did." And so J.C. walks out cursing and drives out of the parking garage dangerously. That'll show 'em! Scary.

Anthony Andolino appears to be a "collector" as they say on Animal Planet's Animal Cops. What's worse, AI wants you to understand, is that he's really, really fat. Because that's really, really funny, you see. He's singing Lately by Jodeci. Jodeci?! He's bad. Simon, predictably, says, "It's just as well, we couldn't afford the food bill." They did an in-depth story on this guy too.

Maureen and Marnelli Pearson, twins, sing Dreams by the Cranberries. The Cranberries!? Simon says, "pleasant, but dull." Paula seems tired and cranky. Everyone passes. The twins are crying. "It meant so much to our dad," they say. The 4th in-depth story of the night that the judges ended up turning away. Alot of times when they do the in-depth thing, you can usually count on them going to Hollywood. Sara, what's wrong with the Cranberries? I thought the twins were OK and didn't understand why we didn't get to see them sing seperately.

Next up is a guy named Haggai. I didn't catch where he's from, but it's not here. He's wearing a shirt with American flags on it. I guess he doesn't realize that you're not supposed to do that, but neither does Mattress Mac. He tells everyone that they have beautiful eyes. He says, "I'm going to look in the judges eyes and they're going to be excited." Of course he's singing God Bless the USA, by Lee Greenwood. The judges say no. He blames it on the judges not looking at him in the eyes. This guy had heart though.

Taylor Hicks has gray hair. He explains that he started going gray when he was 15, so you are to presume that he's younger than you think, but I'm thinking late 30s. He's going to sing some Sam Cooke. Turns out he's a really nice blues singer. He's going to Hollywood! Cool. I liked this guy, very glad they sent him on.

That's it. Only 11 people going to Hollywood from Las Vegas.
Tubular: What happens in Vegas...