Saturday, December 13, 2008

Webcam

Tutorial: Create a Stop-Motion Animation Movie using Digital Camera or WebCam

Blog that explain it simply... The reader comments are worth checking out too.

How do I Record-Film Stop Motion? Check out this site's other links too.

Cool Things to do with a webcam (or two)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Retone a Photograph with GIMP

Have you ever looked at old, very subtly sepia-toned black and white photographs and wondered how you can get the same effect with your own photographs? It is easy and fun to copy black and white tones from one photograph to another with GIMP, the renowned free and open source image editor. Here's how.

How to Make a Portrait Style Photo in GIMP

If you have a photo that isn't very interesting, then you can easily make it into a soft-focused, dreamy-looking portrait-style photo. Here's how to do it in The GIMP.

How to Make a Simple Animation in GIMP or Photoshop

Have you ever wanted to make a little animation without learning Flash or even getting it? Well, now you can!

All you need is a program that can control the layers. "The Gimp" is recommended because it's free and easy!

How to Animate Clay

Clay animation is an obscure yet amazing art form. In the following ten steps, you will learn how to turn a ball of clay into a figure of your choice. Then you will animate the figure and create a short clay animation video of your own. This form of animation is most often called "Stop-motion animation" because that is what it is. You are animating something that can't move.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 12:02 am

A little rain. And we still have power! I think the eye has reached Galveston.

Chron.com now reports 550,000 without power.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 10:47 pm

Still no rain. Still have power. Will we be lucky enough to not lose it?!

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 9:53 pm

Conditions about the same here. No rain yet. Still have power obviously.

Gusting to 38 mph.

I can see lightning off in the distance.

315,000 now without power.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 8:15 pm

Dark now and the winds have picked up.

Weather.com says it is gusting to 35 mph in my zip. If that is true, it is going to be a very long night. The trees are really whipping around. If the wind doubles or triples or if tornadoes pop up, it won't be pretty.

I expect to lose power by midnight. If I don't post for more than a couple of hours, you know that I lost power.

Also, they just announced that they wouldn't even try to start restoring power until the storm passes so we're looking at Sunday at the earliest. If we're lucky we'll have power back in a week.

164,000 folks are already without power.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 7:30 pm

Just stepped outside, I actually see some blue sky and the sun shining on the upper clouds.

No rain. Winds are about the same.

I fear though this is going to be a very costly storm and possibly very deadly.

I admit I am starting to get abit scared.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 5:39 pm

Not much to report, it is cloudy outside and the wind is steady, no rain yet.

Wind is gusting to 25 mph.

I took a little nap. I can foresee staying up through the night. I really don't want to be asleep when a tree comes crashing into the house.

I could take some video but there is nothing of interest to show you.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 3:56 pm

I'm finished with stuff outside and I've showered.

It's hot, 91 with a feels like of 96.

Weather.com has the wind at NNE at 20 mph but I can tell that it is gusting at times much harder than that.

Did you see this? -

The latest Hurricane Local Statement from the Galveston National Weather Service office puts things in pretty stark perspective:

All neighborhoods... and possibly entire coastal communities... will be inundated during high tide. Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one or two story homes will face certain death. Many residences of average construction directly on the coast will be destroyed. Widespread and devastating personal property damage is likely elsewhere. Vehicles left behind will likely be swept away. Numerous roads will be swamped... some may be washed away by the water. Entire flood prone coastal communities will be cutoff. Water levels may exceed 9 feet for more than a mile inland. Coastal residents in multi-story facilities risk being cutoff. Conditions will be worsened by battering waves. Such waves will exacerbate property damage... with massive destruction of homes... including those of block construction. Damage from beach erosion could take years to repair.

Pretty rough stuff.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 1:28 pm

OK, I'm done outside (finally).

It's cloudy now, no rain. 88 degrees, feels like 92. Winds from the NE at 12 mph gusting to 21 mph.

I don't want to lose power and that's probably a certainty.

This person is blogging about Ike too from NW Houston - Do I have to spell it out?

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 11:06 am

Still working outside.

84 degrees with a feels like of 90.

Wind from the NE at 15 mph gusting to 21 mph.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 10:05 am

Things are about the same, it is hot outside, 84 degrees with a feels like of 89. Wind is NE at 15 mph according to weather.com for my zip, 77040.

I've got the east side of the house picked up, put more water in the above ground pool.

I need to go move our patio table next and pick up in the backyard.

Hurricane Ike - NW Houston - 8:59 am

I'll try to make updates when I can and as long as I have power and an internet connection.

Sunny, breezy and partly cloudy now.

I'm about to go pick up stuff in the yard and make other preparations.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cloning Star Wars: Nine Best Spoofs

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is in theaters, with some critics carping that it is almost a parody of the original live-action films. Which led us to think: Are there better parodies of George Lucas' influential saga out there?

Yes the answer is, as Yoda himself might say. Herewith a list of the top nine Star Wars spoofs from film, television and other media.

1. Clerks, film, available on DVD. Perhaps the most eloquent Star Wars geek on record, director Kevin Smith crafted dialogue about the issue of contract labor on the second Death Star in Star Wars: Episode VI--Return of the Jedi. Collateral damage or deserving collaborators? The debate rages on.

2. Spaceballs, film, available on DVD. Mel Brooks aimed his blaster at the first Star Wars and other SF films. Spaceballs mimics famous scenes and characters in extreme and ridiculous ways, making fun of merchandising and the famous plot twists of the series. (This story continues below the image.)

3. "Stephen Colbert's Green Screen Challenge," featured on The Colbert Report. In 2006, Colbert filmed a segment of himself mimicking the lightsaber moves of disgraced high schooler Ghyslain Raza--the infamous YouTube "Star Wars kid"--then invited his fans to improve it. Creative fans placed Colbert in battles with Darth Maul, opening a door for George W. Bush and dancing in silhouette in an iPod ad parody. Lucasfilm itself eventually contributed an entry in which Colbert destroys all the droids from the opening of Revenge of the Sith. The winner turned Colbert into a video game.

4. Family Guy: Blue Harvest, available on DVD. The Fox animated show has managed to insert a Star Wars joke in almost every episode. But in 2007, it finally went one better, with an hourlong episode dedicated to the movie. A follow-up, based on Star Wars: Episode V--The Empire Strikes Back, is already on track for next season.

5. Troops, short film, available at TheForce.net. Animator Kevin Rubio's short film melds Fox's reality series Cops with Imperial stormtroopers on Tatooine. The film's deadpan accurate take on both franchises raises disturbing questions: What if Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, and not the stormtroopers, had destroyed themselves? Setting a Jawa's head on fire was pretty sweet, too.

6. "Jedi Knights Sex Scandal," Chappelle's Show sketch. Comedian Dave Chappelle's sketch featured a 60 Minutes-style news crew investigating a sex scandal among the Jedi knights. Poor Darth Vader, shown in silhouette to protect his identity, admitted being molested. The piece was a knowing satire of both Lucas and the Catholic Church sex scandals.

7. The Star Wars Gangsta Rap. Internet animated music video, available on Atom.com. The first winner of the Audience Choice Award in the Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards, this video used the hip-hop idiom to retell the saga's story, changing up the rap and melody as needed. The animation is adorable, especially in the "Special Edition" enhanced version, and the tune is just catchy. Try not to sing, "I'm your father, I'm your father" in rhythm after you hear this.

8. "Star Wars Auditions," Saturday Night Live sketch, first aired Jan. 11, 1997. Kevin Spacey as Christopher Walken reading for the role of Han Solo. Darrell Hammond as Richard Dreyfuss in C-3PO's gold armor. Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds as Darth Vader and Ana Gasteyer as Barbra Streisand as Princess Leia. 'Nuff said.

9. Robot Chicken: Star Wars. TV special. A collection of Star Wars-themed sketches from the stop-motion-animated show featured Emperor Palpatine mocking Darth Vader after the destruction of the Death Star and Lucas riding a nerd through a convention crowd. And that's really Lucas' voice. --Fred Topel

Sunday, August 17, 2008

SpaceWeather.com

http://www.spaceweather.com/

News and information about meteor showers, solar flares,
auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

Monday, August 11, 2008

Congrats Paul!



Paul Stanley, the legendary co-founder and frontman for KISS, and his wife, Erin, are expecting their second child together, PEOPLE has learned exclusively.

Erin, 36, an attorney, is due this winter.

"Erin and I are thrilled and can't wait to meet our newest addition," Stanley, 56, said in a statement to PEOPLE. "We've been extremely blessed and we're excited to see what the future holds. I often joke that I've traded the Viper Room for the diaper room, and it looks like my tour's been extended!"

The couple, who married in 2005, live in Beverly Hills with their son Colin, who turns 2 in September, and Paul’s 14-year-old son, Evan, from a previous marriage.

News of the pregnancy comes as Stanley recently completed the European leg of The Kiss Alive/35 World Tour, which encompassed 30 sold-out shows in seven weeks.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wire's Top 10 Brilliant But Canceled

It's the sad fate of every science fiction fan to fall in love with amazing, creative television shows only to see them struggle in the ratings and eventually disappear into the land of repeats and DVD box sets ("Own the complete series for just $24.95!").

It happened just this spring for Jericho fans, who got a mini-reprieve of seven episodes thanks to a whole lot of nuts (the kind you eat, not the fans themselves), but they too would eventually see their show ride off into the sunset like so many others before it. For too many of these on-the-bubble shows, the bubble popped before the rest of the world caught on to the genius that went into them. Fortunately, they live on in the memories of fans, including those of us here at SCI FI Wire.

We now present a list of the top 10 brilliant-but-canceled SF&F shows, as determined by SCI FI Wire's news editor and contributors. For the purposes of this list, the selections were made based on quality network shows that were not renewed after their first season. Bonus fan points (and sympathy hugs) if you remember them all.

1. Firefly, created by Joss Whedon. Fox. Original run: September 2002 to August 2003. Number of episodes produced: 14

Joss Whedon's high-concept space western was a difficult sell to mainstream audiences, television critics and even its own network, but it inspired a group of dedicated fans (called Browncoats, after the show's rebel fighters), who are still active today (as evidenced by their booth at this year's Comic-Con). Through their active campaigning, the Browncoats got more than some fans do. The 2005 feature film Serenity brought back the characters, resolved the relationships and tied up loose narrative ends. And it continues to live on in comic books, novels and games. Still, we can only imagine where the crew would have gone, say, in season six or seven.

2. Wonderfalls, created by Bryan Fuller and Todd Holland. Fox. Original run: March 2004 to December 2004. Number of episodes produced: 14

Before Pushing Daisies on ABC, Bryan Fuller teamed up with Todd Holland (Malcolm in the Middle) and Tim Minear (Angel, Firefly) to create this quirky series, about a cynical twentysomething souvenir-store clerk (Caroline Dhavernas) in Niagara Falls. When she begins hearing the voices of talking animal figures, she finds herself forced to actually care about helping others. The show expertly blended dry wit, unpredictable plots, a sharp cast and an unsentimental approach to sentimental material. Unfortunately, it got lost in a season of shows with similar concepts (like Joan of Arcadia, which lasted one season longer). Considering the network never really had any idea what it had, let alone how to properly promote it, the writing was probably on the wall from the beginning for this lost gem.

3. Now and Again, created by Glenn Gordon Caron. CBS. Original run: September 1999 to May 2000. Number of episodes produced: 22

Why CBS chose not to renew this inventive, funny, sad, well-cast, newfangled take on The Six Million Dollar Man is no mystery. Despite the intriguing concept of a man who is hit by a subway train and wakes up in a perfect, government-built body, the ratings for this show were not exactly stellar. Stars Eric Close (Without a Trace) and Dennis Haysbert (24) have since gone on to more high-profile gigs, but once upon a time they had great chemistry together as the restless, super-powered secret agent and his by-the-book handler.

4. Alien Nation, created by Kenneth Johnson. Fox. Original run: September 1989 to May 1990. Number of episodes: 22

The not-so-subtle pun in the title gives some indication of the allegorical themes at work in this series, based on the film of the same name. Picking up where the film left off, the show is set in a world where an alien slave ship has crashed on Earth and left its passengers stranded. Forced to assimilate into human society, they encounter the same kinds of struggles as any every other immigrant group throughout history. Except that they get drunk on sour milk and require three partners to procreate. Through the mixed-species partnership of a pair of police detectives--one human, one alien--the show explored issues of immigration, racism and cultural identity. Although it was canceled after one season due to budgetary pressures, Fox did bring it back in a series of five television movies.

5. Space: Above and Beyond, created by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Fox. Original run: September 1995 to June 1996. Number of episodes: 24

This futuristic war drama followed a squadron of marines known as the Wildcards aboard the USS Saratoga, the space-faring equivalent of an aircraft carrier. In addition to an alien threat and rebel AI mercenaries, the soldiers also faced conflicts closer to home, with the introduction of artificially bred humans and a potential government conspiracy. The show's dark tone, desaturated look, military backdrop and exploration of complex topics such as the moral ambiguity of war make this a predecessor of sorts to the more successful Battlestar Galactica. But back in 1995, the public wasn't quite ready for this kind of series, and the show failed to attract an audience wide enough to justify renewal.

6. The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., created by Jeffrey Boam and Carlton Cuse. Fox. Original run: August 1993 to May 1994. Number of episodes: 27

Clever writing, great production values and a brilliant turn in the title role by the one and only Bruce Campbell made this genre-bending SF-western-comedy a pleasure for those who were hip to its self-referential humor, witty dialogue and memorable performances. Unfortunately, that didn't include most of the viewing audience. Fox scheduled the show on Friday nights, a timeslot notorious for low ratings, with the exception of The X-Files, which just happened to premiere the same year. Seems that the network could only afford to take a chance on one low-rated show, and we all know how that turned out, so they're probably not regretting their decision (though they may be regretting that second movie right about now).

7. American Gothic, created by Shaun Cassidy. CBS. Original run: September 1995 to July 1996. Number of episodes: 22

Moody, atmospheric and sinister, this show from creator Cassidy and executive producer Sam Raimi was the epitome of subtle, character-driven horror. Featuring career-making performances by Gary Cole and Lucas Black, the series centered on a boy (Black) whose soul is desperately sought by the competing forces of good--represented by a small-town doctor and the ghost of the boy's dead sister--and evil--represented by Cole as the demonic Sheriff Buck. Notable veterans of this promising, terminated-before-its-time show also include Battlestar Galactica's David Eick and Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic).

8. Jake 2.0, created by Silvio Horta. UPN. Original run: September 2003 to February 2003. Number of episodes produced: 16

NBC seems to have a hit on its hands with Chuck, but it's a safe bet that few of the show's viewers realize that the exact premise was already done in a little-seen show called Jake 2.0. Like its successor, Jake dealt with an affable, lovelorn geek (Ugly Betty's Christopher Gorham) who receives a computer upgrade to his brain (thanks to nanobots, in this case) and is recruited by the government as a spy. This was back in the early days of UPN, when the network was still trying to find its identity and looking for a breakout hit to complement Star Trek: Voyager. This didn't turn out to be it.

9. Nowhere Man, created by Lawrence Hertzog. UPN. Original run: August 1995 to May 1996. Number of episodes: 25

One of the most frustrating things that can happen when a show is yanked before its time is a denial of answers to a big, overarching mystery. That's what happened in the case of Nowhere Man, about a photographer (played by Bruce Greenwood) who takes a controversial picture in a South American war zone and suddenly finds his identity erased by a covert, possibly governmental, organization. Nowhere Man incorporated elements of The Fugitive and The Prisoner, but unlike those shows, it never got an epic final episode, leaving fans (dozens of them) to wonder forever (or for a few weeks, at least) about the significance of that fateful photograph.

10. Eerie, Indiana, created by Jose Rivera and Karl Schaefer. NBC. Original run: September 1991 to April 1992. Number of episodes: 19

Although it may not have featured big-name stars, this semi-anthology series engaged the few viewers it attracted with the story of a boy (Omri Kats) who moves to the titular town and becomes best friends with the only other normal kid on his block (Justin Shenkarow). Together, they investigate a series of strange phenomena in their neighborhood, including a Tupperware lady who seals her kids up in large tubs every night to keep them immortal and a pack of intelligent dogs who scheme to take over the world. The show's bizarre plots and offbeat tone helped keep it in the public consciousness, inspiring the creators to continue the storyline in a series of books. --Cindy White

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

27 years ago today

Harry Chapin, folk vocalist (Taxi), dies in car crash at 38

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Whedon: Dr. Horrible A Rush

Joss Whedon told SCI FI Wire that he created Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, a loony Internet musical, in a "mad rush of joy and ridiculousness." The first of three parts debuts on the official Web site on July 15.

"Dude. Why would I do anything else?" Whedon said in an interview in Santa Monica, Calif., on July 14, part of the Television Critics' Association's summer press tour.

The quickie project was a counterweight to Whedon's other major project, the upcoming Fox TV series Dollhouse, he said.

"Dollhouse is something that has taken an enormous amount of crafting, and we're still in the process of working out what the show is while we're about to film the second episode," Whedon said.

By contrast, "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog just fell out of us in a mad rush of joy and ridiculousness. And they're two completely different kinds of art that lead to the same thing, which is me having a happy. And the one helps the other. The fact that I could throw out Dr. Horrible as quickly as we did--and we did our best; I'm not saying that we tossed it off like it didn't matter: We worked our asses off--but the ability to do something that fast gives you the sort of patience to do the fine-tuning and the crafting on the other thing that you need to do."

Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) wrote the musical series during last year's writers' strike. Co-writers for the Internet feature are Whedon's brothers, Zack and Jed, and Jed's fiancee, Maurissa Tancharoen. The story centers on a low-rent supervillain (Neil Patrick Harris), the hero who keeps beating him up (Nathan Fillion) and the cute girl from the laundromat he's too shy to talk to (Felicia Day).

Act two goes live on July 17 and act three on July 19. All three parts will remain on the site until midnight July 20. After that, the series will be made available for paid download in some format and will ultimately end up on DVD, with extras. Whedon promised more information at Comic-Con International in San Diego in July.

Whedon was OK if the small project ends up as something bigger. "If something turns into something bigger than you intended it to, and it's not your ass, you're doing fine," he said.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Second season of Burn Notice starts tonight!

If you aren't watching this, you are missing something pretty entertaining! - Marc

Season 2 is as gorgeous as the first: Miami waters glistening, blue skies glowing, Gabrielle Anwar doing anything. But the drama jogs in place in its first two episodes, with spy Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) trapped working for the entity that burned him, headed by the purring Carla (Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer). Judging from the pacing, this little mystery will be drawn out, which is fine if the show regains more of its sexy, snappy humor. Right now, it's relying too much on Michael's chain-smoking mom (Sharon Gless) as hammy comic relief. —Gillian Flynn

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

The Official Fan site

During the WGA strike Joss Whedon started writing a three part musical series for the internet. Each of the three episodes will be approximately ten minutes each.

Co-writers for the internet feature are Joss’ brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s FiancĂ© Maurissa Tancharoen . The writing and shooting have been completed and the series is now in post-production.

“It’s the story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to.” says Whedon.

“Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” will star Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer, Felicia Day as Penny and a cast of dozens.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fox Unveils New SF Strategy

Fringe and Dollhouse, the two new genre shows that Fox will add to its schedule during the 2008-'09 season, will be the beneficiaries of an experimental strategy called "Remote-Free TV," the network announced during its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York on May 15.

Fringe, the J.J. Abrams-produced series set to kick off with a two-hour premiere on Aug. 26, and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, which will debut in midseason, will both air with fewer commercials and fewer promotional spots for other Fox shows.

"It's a simple concept and potentially revolutionary," Fox entertainment chairman Peter Liguori said during the presentation. "We're going to have less commercials, less promotional time and less reason for viewers to use the remote. We're going to redefine the viewing experience."

Liguori added: "Some people might think this is a scary financial prospect. We really see it as an investment. We need to give viewers a new reason to come to broadcast TV.?

Additionally, Fox revealed that Fringe will be filmed in New York and announced that it will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following House, in the fall. In early 2009, it will follow the juggernaut American Idol.

Also on the fall schedule is the returning SF series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which will air on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. When it premieres early next year, Dollhouse will take over the Terminator timeslot.

The network briefly mentioned Boldly Going Nowhere, an SF sitcom spoof that is in development by the team behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. No pilot has been filmed yet.

The network made no mention of Virtuality, an SF pilot that Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor (SCI FI Channel's Battlestar Galactica) are developing. --Ian Spelling

CBS Slays Moonlight

CBS has decided not to renew the freshman vampire drama Moonlight for a second season, Variety reported. Despite confidence among the show's cast and crew and a core audience of dedicated fans, declining ratings and creative upheaval behind the scenes did not impress CBS. The show has had five different show runners during its first year, and budgetary issues have been a source of conflict between the studio and the network.

The final episode, "Sonata," finds lovesick vampire Mick St. John (Alex O'Loughlin) joining with his fellow vampires when they are threatened with exposure. It airs Friday, May 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rockets' McGrady undergoes surgery on shoulder, knee

Rockets guard Tracy McGrady on Tuesday underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and left knee with the removal of loose material from both.

McGrady is expected to need three months to be fully recovered. He can begin rehabilitation on both in the next week or two.

Rockets team physician Dr. Tom Clanton said no structural damage was found in the ligament or cartilage of McGrady’s left knee and that the loose bodies were in a non weight-bearing part of the knee.

Dr. Hussein Elkousy repaired a slight labrum tear in McGrady’s left shoulder while removing loose particles there.

Rockets guard Rafer Alston and forward Shane Battier are scheduled for arthroscopic surgeries on Friday, with Alston’s surgery to repair his right hamstring. Battier needs the removal of loose particles in his left ankle.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Rockets to build on Yao-Tracy foundation after latest playoff defeat

By JONATHAN FEIGEN
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle


Rockets owner Leslie Alexander did not hesitate before offering his typical direct, concise response.

The Rockets' loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday ended an eleventh-11th consecutive season before it could reach the playoffs second round of the playoffs. Alexander, as always, was taking the loss hard.

Asked then if the Rockets would continue to build around their foundation of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, veteran All-Stars who have never won a first-round series, Alexander was clear.

"Definitely,'' he said simply. "Definitely.''

When pressed further, he acknowledged that nothing in sports is definite. The plan, however, is.

"We're going to build on the Yao-Tracy foundation,'' Alexander said. "I want to say you never know in this league. We're never going to stand still. We never, never know. Obviously, we have two superstars. We want to build around them. I think if we had them both now, we would have won this series.''

As they often have in recent years, injuries defined and limited much of the Rockets' season. McGrady did not miss a game with the back issues that plagued his first three seasons, but he still missed 16 games, most with a left knee problem that flared up in the playoffs and could require minor surgery.

Yao missed the last 26 regular-season games with a stress fracture in his left foot. Rafer Alston, reliably durable in his first two seasons in Houston, went out with three injuries (a pulled hamstring, pulled groin and sprained ankle) in the last month, including his ankle injury in Friday's loss.

Alston indispensable

Still, the series seemed to reveal or underline several issues. Alston, whom the Rockets worked to replace last offseason, became indispensable, with the Rockets losing the three playoff games he missed or left with injuries. They will have four point guards under contract — Alston, Bobby Jackson, Aaron Brooks and Steve Francis.

The backups at the shooting guard/small forward positions have been undersized or unreliable, with Rick Adelman hesitant or unwilling to play Steve Novak or Luther Head and with Head struggling badly through a second consecutive playoff series.

Backup center Dikembe Mutombo, though a surprising success after Yao's injury, is 41, much more limited offensively than in his prime and again considering retirement.

The Rockets do have young players, particularly rookies Carl Landry and Brooks, whom they believe will grow, and they have always thought the team will be more effective running Adelman's offense in year 2.

"We have players who will continue to grow under coach Adelman," Morey said. "When building around Yao and Tracy, we'll either improve the players we have or have the ability to improve through free agency and trades."

Well over the salary cap, the Rockets can offer free agents all or part of their midlevel exception, expected to start at about $5.6 million per year. They also have a $2.4 million trade exception after the trade-deadline maneuvering. For the first time this decade, the roster is not swelled with bloated, long-term contracts.

With a first-round pick and signing Landry, a restricted free agent, the Rockets would exceed the luxury tax if they spend all the midlevel exception. But for the right player, Morey said, Alexander would permit that move, as he did last summer to sign Francis.

The free-agent market is unclear, with many coveted players such as Gilbert Arenas, Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Corey Maggette and Shawn Marion holding the right to opt out of contracts and become free agents, joining a deep group of restricted free agents. All would expect much more than midlevel contracts, but few teams have much spending room.

"It's going to be a very interesting offseason free agency-wise," Morey said. "This may be the first year there are more players than money. We will look closely at players that might fall into midlevel range and ones that are strategic fits for any amount up to full midlevel line."

Things to come?

Until then, the Rockets believe the accomplishments of the season are signs of hope greater than after many of the previous first-round losses.

"What we really had to overcome throughout the season, losing me for probably about a month of the season, losing Yao for the time we lost him, we really hung in there and had a magnificent year," McGrady said.

Morey said the season that just ended could be the start of something better.

"I'm just really proud of the team and the coaching staff for the incredible effort put in," he said. "We came up a little short, but the future looks bright."

As Alexander would say, "definitely," even if he has learned "you never know."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Time to take a look at roster

COMMENTARY


Rockets need thorough review of team after another first round exit

SALT LAKE CITY — Another embarrassing finish, another long offseason. Will the Rockets ever get it right?

They had legitimate excuses for failing again. Don't they always? Yes, they were short-handed. No Yao Ming, etc.

It's a bottom-line business, and the bottom line is that the Rockets didn't show up for start of the game that ended their season.

They were outworked by the Utah Jazz from the beginning, and there's no excuse for that.

Maybe they were going to lose anyway, but the way they went down should force general manager Daryl Morey to take a hard look at his roster.

The Rockets did the basic things as well as any team in the NBA while winning 22 in a row during the regular season. Those are the things that failed them Friday night.

Rebounding. Defense. Turnovers. They were out of the game almost before it began, falling behind by 19 in the first half. They don't have that many injuries. They don't have that much youth. They're not that small.

They rallied to get within four at halftime but had nothing left for the second half and were smoked 113-91 in Game 6 of a first-round series.

"We just didn't have enough answers for them," Rick Adelman said.

Tracy McGrady? He was magnificent with 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He scored 24 of those points in the first half, making play after play when no one else was doing a thing.

"He didn't have much help," Shane Battier said. "He kept us in the game. He was a one-man wrecking ball out there."

No matter what you think of the Rockets this morning, don't put this defeat on McGrady.

He did go scoreless in the third quarter and got his final 16 points after the thing had been decided.

By that time, the Jazz were running at least two defenders at him on every possession. Their defense was geared to stop one man because that's what the Rockets were down to.

The Rockets lost because they had nothing for the start of the game, and because Rafer Alston left in the first half with an ankle injury.

"We're a different ball club when he's not in our lineup," McGrady said.

They lost because Dikembe Mutombo drew two fouls in the opening three minutes of the game, because they were a step slow defensively and because they lost almost every individual match-up.

Mehmet Okur had his way with Luis Scola. Deron Williams beat up both Alston and Bobby Jackson. Carlos Boozer outplayed Chuck Hayes.

The Jazz got double-figure scoring from seven players. The Rockets had McGrady and little else.

"Their better players stepped up," Adelman said.

Adelman went up and down his bench looking for a combination that worked. He never found it.

The lack of offense that worried him before the series all turned out to be insurmountable. Players not named McGrady shot 33 percent from the field.

Here's the requisite excuse. No team should be expected to win without its center and point guard, but trailing by 19 in the first half and 26 in the second is inexcusable.

Perceptions can be cruel. Perceptions can be false. Which brings us to McGrady.

There'll be one national story line.

McGrady fails again.

His teams have been to the playoffs seven times and failed to get out of the first round seven times. The Rockets haven't advanced since 1997, but that's another story.

This will be the third time in four years the Rockets lost in the first round. This is the second time in four years they were blown out in the deciding game. Is it all on McGrady?

Of course not.

"It is what it is," McGrady said. "Out of the seven years, I've probably been favored one time. I'm eager to get out (of the first round). That's for damn sure. I'm not going to let it hold me back."

McGrady's scoring average has gone up in the playoffs in six of the seven years he has made it. His career scoring average is seven points a game higher than the regular season.

That said, stats mean nothing. Star players are judged only by the bottom line, and the bottom line hasn't been kind to McGrady. No one is going to stop and read the fine print.

You're tired of reading about it by now, aren't you? You just want results.

Amid the disappointment, the Rockets would like you to know they're also proud.

They're proud of what they accomplished in a season in which the parts were constantly changed.

To lose McGrady for a time and Yao for a longer time and to still win 55 games speaks volumes about the character and professionalism of the group.

"We have a bright future," McGrady said. "We were out there competing with three rookies, with an undersized team, with a 41-year-old playing center. I'm proud of what we accomplished."

Listen to Richard Justice weekdays from 10 a.m.-noon on 1560 AM.

Friday, May 02, 2008

SF Series Likely This Fall

As the TV networks prepare for scaled-back upfront presentations to advertisers in New York next month, Variety speculated on which SF&F series will make the fall schedule, including Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and J.J. Abrams' Fringe on Fox.

Dollhouse, starring Whedon's former Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast member Eliza Dushku, already has an episodic order, as does Fringe, which has a series commitment, the trade paper reported.

Fox is also reportedly fond of the SF spoof comedy Boldly Going Nowhere, but a pilot won't be shot until long after the upfront.

Hot projects at CBS are said to include the psychic drama The Mentalist and Jerry Bruckheimer's SF series 11th Hour, which is already hiring staff writers.

At ABC, David E. Kelley's reboot of the U.K. time-travel drama Life on Mars is a contender for a 2008-'09 slot.

Rockets lose Game 6 to end their season

But that's OK, I still love my Rockets. It was an incredible season and they played very well without Yao.

I'm looking forward to next year.

Go Rockets!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NES casemod

This awesome NES casemod manages to squeeze a fully-functional Nintendo 8-bit console into the body of one of the system’s own game cartridges.

SNES9X 1.43 WiiMote Edition 0.1.1a - Snes Emulator for Nintendo Wii

RobertFC has released an unnoficial version of the Snes Emulator for the Wii With Wiimote Support
Version 0.1.1a [20080419]
+[Robert] (www.friendcodes.com)
- Added wiimote support. Classic controller, multiple controllers, and remapping will come later.
Download and Give Feedback and Compatability Reports Via Comments

For users of Engadget theres been a ton of releases today for the Wii Homebrew Scene

Heres whats been released along with the posted item;

New Snes emu with Classic Controller Support
New Genesis /Sega CD Emu for Wii
New Master System /Game Gear Emu for Wii
New PC Engine Emu for Wii
Rin Gameboy Channel for Wii
Emuloader for Wii
Wii Paint

All at Wii News (DCEmu Wii Site) - http://wii-news.dcemu.co.uk/

Nintendo Wii gets SNES Emulator

RobertFC has recently rolled out an unnoficial version of the SNES Emulator for the Wii, complete with Wiimote support that many people will certainly appreciate. Support for the classic controller, multiple controllers and remapping will be made available at a later period of time. Guess it is time to start waving those Wiimotes around - I wonder whether Super Mario Kart will be as fun as Mario Kart Wii with the Wiimote?

From Ubergizmo.com

Sunday, April 20, 2008

ROCKETS-JAZZ PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Utah leads series, 1-0
Game 1 - Sat. Uta 93, Hou 82

Game 2 - Mon. @ Houston 8:30PM TNT
Game 3 - Thu. @ Utah 9:30PM TNT
Game 4 - Apr. 26 @ Utah 9:30PM ESPN
Game 5 * Apr. 29 @ Houston TBD
Game 6 * May 2 @ Utah TBD
Game 7 * May 4 @ Houston TBD
* = If necessary | Home games in bold

TRACKMANIA NATIONS FOREVER - FULL GAME, FREE AND FOR ALL

TrackMania Nations Forever is now available as a free download!
TrackMania Nations Forever offers a new complete "Forever" version of the Stadium environment, a complete solo mode and 65 brand new, progressively difficult tracks...

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Monday, April 07, 2008

Charlton Heston Has Passed

Charlton Heston--the Oscar winner best known to SF fans for starring in the original Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and The Omega Man--has died, the Associated Press reported. He was 84.

Heston died April 5 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., with his wife, Lydia, at his side, family spokesman Bill Powers told the AP. He declined to comment on the cause of death or provide further details.

Heston revealed in 2002 that he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.

The actor, a Medal of Freedom winner who was also known for championing conservative causes, lent his strong presence to some of the most acclaimed and successful films of the last century. Ben-Hur, in which he played the title role, won 11 Academy Awards. Heston's other hits included The Ten Commandments and Earthquake.

Planet of the Apes, released in 1968, marked his first science fiction role and was a huge hit. He had a cameo role in Tim Burton's 2001 remake of the film.

1971's The Omega Man was the second major feature-film version of Richard Matheson's post-apocalyptic novel I Am Legend; Heston played the role of Robert Neville, the last survivor of a viral epidemic that wiped out humanity.

Soylent Green, released in 1973, starred Heston as a homicide detective in a dystopian future New York ravaged by environmental disasters. It was notable for marking the final performance of Edward G. Robinson and for Heston's final line, "Soylent Green is people!", which became a catch phrase.

In his later years, Heston appeared in several smaller SF and genre movies.

Williams Joins Whedon's Dollhouse

Olivia Williams (X-Men: The Last Stand) has been added to the cast of Fox's highly anticipated Dollhouse, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, Variety reported.

Williams will play the beautiful but ruthless woman in charge of the venue where drones are programmed to perform various missions in the real world. Eliza Dushku stars as Echo, one of the "dolls" who starts to become self-aware.

Monday, March 31, 2008

April Fool's Joke? I hope so - GBAtemp.net acquired by CNET Networks

If true, this sucks. - Marc

OK, I'm thinking that I got pranked for about 30 minutes.

Dear members, GBAtemp is now over five years old and is continuously growing in both size and popularity in ways we would never have expected in the past. As you can imagine, keeping such a popular website running smoothly and without hiccups is both an expensive and tedious task.

Up until now the sites hosting has been funded by the staff and more recently our affiliates whom we thank very much. Unfortunately we have reached a point in our GBAtemp's life where it's impossible to keep the site running by ourselves; we don't have the time or funds to keep this community online 24/7 -- a huge task for such a small group of staff members who have day jobs to attend to.

You may have heard rumours in the past few weeks or months that GBAtemp was considering an offer from an interested party. These rumours are true. Today we become an official CNET Networks channel partner and the site becomes full property of GameSpot.

As you may have noticed, we have recently been experiencing a lot of down-time, this is completely due to the transferral of the site to a CNET Networks owned server and this move is nearing completion.

This is no reason to be alarmed; the community here at GBAtemp you know and love will remain, the site will remain basically the same but a few small changes here and there will need to be made to fall in line with CNET Networks partner site policies.

Please understand that this move is the best move to insure we keep GBAtemp alive. We are simply not able to keep on maintaining a site of this size by ourselves, nor fund it, so with help from our good new friends at CNET Networks and GameSpot a large weight has been lifted from our shoulders.

You will notice a few new staff members have joined the site today; Ryan, Adam, Liam, Peter and Ian. Please welcome them aboard. I'm certain they'll do a great job and have already moderated forums very well at both CNET and GameSpot.

Now I'd like to fill you in on a small few changes that must be made in order for us to continue, some aren't ideal but we will soon be making more new changes that should please everyone.

- Adverts on the portal - This helps us to fund the site. Adverts will NOT be placed inside threads, as to keep the community happy -- discussion will go uninterrupted.

- 'Testing Area' to close - By request of CNET Networks we are unfortunately having to close the 'Testing Area' sub-forum. This is out of our hands.

- Censoring - Profanities will be censored out in discussion to make the forum more family-friendly. Posts will be more heavily moderated in order to insure no illegal discussion takes place.

- Latest ROM Information and News under discussion with CNET Networks - We are trying our best to keep GBA, Nintendo DS and Wii "scene" release information on the site, we are currently under negotiation with CNET Networks and will let you know its fate as soon as we do.

Some changes will take immediate effect, others will be gradual, and more will be made in the future. As has always been the case with GBAtemp, we are always striving to be the best Nintendo console related discussion forums and will stop at nothing to insure that continues to be the case.

So to wrap up, GBAtemp is now the property of CNET Networks, Inc and their partner site; GameSpot. Big changes are underway with more to come in the future.

Thanks for your co-operation and loyalty,
Thanks from all the GBAtemp Staff - new & old,

Signed,
- The GBAtemp Forum team,
- CNET Networks, Inc.

Sorry, been busy, I'll get around to posting again soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008


21

Tracy McGrady, alone on the midcourt "R," leaned over, hands on knees, unable to muster or simply unwilling to expend the energy needed to move any longer.

So he stood motionless as the Toyota Center crowd rose around him in roaring salute.

He and the Rockets had been pushed hard, tested as they rarely have been in their winning streak, before surging through the fourth quarter to an 89-80 win over the Charlotte Bobcats that took the Rockets winning streak to 21 games, the second-longest in NBA history.

By the time they left the floor with their 14th consecutive home win, they were headed to Sunday’s showdown with the Lakers tied with Los Angeles for first place in the Western Conference.

The latest win was one of the most difficult.

From McGrady needing to carry the Rockets offense with 30 points to rookie Mike Harris providing a vital lift off the bench to Dikembe Mutombo slamming the door with two blocked shots in the last minute, the Rockets needed all they could find to outlast Charlotte.

Luis Scola added 13 points with Shane Battier and Harris, less than a week into a 10-day contract, each getting 12 points.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Continuum More Casual

Former Stargate SG-1 star Ben Browder told SCI FI Wire that Stargate: Continuum, the second of two straight-to-DVD spinoff movies, will be accessible to the casual fan. In that it differs from the first film, Stargate: The Ark of Truth, which wraps up the Ori storyline of SG-1 and ties up the series' various bits of mythology.

"I think Ark of Truth is more tied to the last couple years of the series," Browder said in an interview. "Continuum is more stand-alone. That's probably the most concise way of saying it."

Few details have been released about Continuum, though cast and crew are known to have flown to the arctic for some location shooting.

By contrast, Ark of Truth deals with much of the SG-1 storylines, and writer/director Robert C. Cooper wanted to satisfy the fans, Browder said.

"They were thinking of the fans when they did Ark of Truth, it's so dense with the mythology of the show, and it's wrapping up storylines," Browder said. "The producers of Stargate are very appreciative of their audience, and they're aware of the audience. And Cooper's been with the show from the very beginning. He probably ... knows the audience quite well."

Can a newcomer drop into Stargate late? "Look, you can drop into the third season of something without knowing all the backstory and go, 'Wow, this is really interesting. I like this,'" Browder said. " And, yeah, look, Ark is riddled with Stargate mythology, and there's no question about that. I would imagine a reasonably intelligent, discerning audience member would be able to follow the story, though."

If not, look for Continuum, which is expected to be released in July. Ark of Truth is in stores now.

SF&F TV Shows On The Bubble

The Hollywood Reporter has handicapped the SF&F TV shows currently "on the bubble" for renewal or cancellation.

For starters, the trade paper was confident that Fox would renew Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, in part because the finale's ratings performance last week was solid and because a fourth Terminator movie comes out in 2009, offering promotional opportunities.

NBC's Knight Rider, meanwhile, performed well for NBC as a two-hour movie, and sources told the trade paper that the network is in talks with a show runner, suggesting that a regular series order is likely.

As for CBS' vampire drama Moonlight, the trade paper reported that CBS is playing wait-and-see. The network will watch to see if fans return once the show comes back from its strike-induced hiatus.

CBS' Jericho has only two episodes left in its short second season, and the network is expected to make a decision quickly so that producers can use one of two endings: A series finale or a season-ending cliffhanger. CBS notes that the show gains from DVR viewership and online viewing, but after its performance the past two weeks, most doubt that the show will get another reprieve.

The CW's Reaper has reportedly lost its way creatively after a strong pilot, leaving its future in doubt.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Effing Liberals

Congress endorses higher taxes in budget proposals


WASHINGTON — Democrats in both House and Senate pressed ahead with budget plans that would saddle millions of Americans with higher tax bills in three years by allowing some or all of President Bush's reductions to die after he leaves office.

All three major presidential candidates interrupted their campaigns to cast votes on the budget plan, which is nonbinding but highlights the difficult choices on taxes and spending facing the next president and Congress. Binding votes on the expiring Bush tax cuts will be left to his successor and the Congress that's elected in November.

The candidates also wanted a chance to vote for a one-year ban on pork-barrel projects, though that late-night Senate effort seemed doomed to defeat. The practice of inserting "earmarked" spending into legislation is seen as a birthright by lawmakers in both parties — and a right under the power of the purse awarded to Congress by the Founding Fathers.

As for the $3 trillion federal budget plans, the House version would provide generous increases to domestic programs but bring the government's ledger back into the black by letting all of Bush's tax cuts expire at the end of 2010 as scheduled. That five-year plan passed the House on a 212-207 vote, with Republicans unanimously opposing it over what they argued was $683 billion in tax increases.

In the Senate, John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, voted to extend the full roster of tax cuts, which he opposed seven years ago as being tilted in favor of the wealthy. Democratic rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois both voted against them.

Clinton and Obama did vote for $340 billion in tax cuts over five years for middle- and higher-income taxpayers, investors and people inheriting businesses and big estates.

But they joined with Democrats and a couple of maverick Republicans in rejecting, 52-47, an additional $376 billion in extensions of income tax rate cuts, more generous estate tax cuts and relief from the alternative minimum tax.

Republicans hope to use the votes as fodder for the heated presidential campaign and for congressional races. Lawmakers in both parties also were put on record for when the tax cuts actually expire in three years.

Said Republican Rep. Jim McCrery of Louisiana, "Democrats are quietly but very assuredly paving the way for a massive, economy-choking, tax increase."

Democrats said the plans would reverse years of deficits that have piled up during Bush's tenure. They said he squandered trillions of dollars in projected surpluses that were projected when he took office.

'American Idol': Chris Sligh on Top 12 Week

'American Idol': Chris Sligh on Top 12 Week

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hulu

Hulu's ambitious and never-ending mission is to help you find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how you want it. We hope to provide you with the web's most comprehensive selection from more than 50 content providers including FOX, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and more to deliver premium programming across all genres and formats, television shows, feature films, and clips. Watch full-length episodes of current primetime TV shows such as The Simpsons and The Office the morning after they air, classics like Miami Vice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and clips from Saturday Night Live, Nip/Tuck, and others. Hulu also offers full-length feature films like The Usual Suspects, Ice Age, Three Amigos!, and The Big Lebowski as well as clips from films such as Napoleon Dynamite, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Devil Wears Prada and many more. Hulu is free and ad-supported — available anytime in the U.S.

I think you probably want to check this one out!!

HOW SWEET IT IS

It wasn't easy, but the Rockets won their 20th straight game, becoming only the third team in NBA history to reach that level.

I'm loving it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Despite Yao's injury, Rockets' season far from lost

By RICHARD JUSTICE
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle


YAO Ming kept pausing to gather his emotions, as if he didn't want us to know how much he was hurting or how much he cared. The thing is, we knew.

"It's very disappointing," he kept saying.

Sometimes a city is lucky enough to have a professional athlete who's a role model in every sense of the word.

That's what Yao Ming has been during these six seasons with the Rockets.

It's hard to imagine anyone in sports caring more, working harder or being more admired by his teammates and coaches. Yao also was smart and funny, a people person in every sense of the word.

Those things are among the many reasons Tuesday was so difficult for everyone who cares about the Rockets. Yao's season-ending injury isn't just about basketball.

The Rockets will be competitive and interesting because general manager Daryl Morey has done a tremendous job of building a solid roster around the two superstars.

That 94-69 victory over Washington was built on heart and pride and professionalism, and those are things that can carry a franchise through the low times.

"It gets back to the same thing — the respect you have for each other," coach Rick Adelman said. "This team has really been building. Losing Yao is shocking, but we can continue to win. We're not stepping away."

Take two steps back and look at the Rockets without Yao. Luis Scola and Carl Landry have emerged as impact players and will split time at power forward and center.

Shane Battier is playing the best basketball of his career. Rafer Alston and Bobby Jackson are a nice tandem at point guard.

And there's Dikembe Mutombo, 41. After riding the bench much of the season, he stepped back into the starting lineup and set a tone from the beginning with his shot-blocking and rebounding.

"Just watch how he affected the game on the defensive end," Adelman said.

In the end, the Rockets will go only as far as Tracy McGrady takes them, but anyone that thinks this season is over is dead wrong.

"This team has responded all year long and hopefully, will do it again," Adelman said. "We have enough people to go out and win games. Our challenge is still the same."

Nothing could've been done

Tuesday was about something else. When Adelman informed his players of Yao's injury, there was stunned silence.

That silence had nothing to do with the Rockets suddenly being less capable of beating San Antonio or Phoenix. It was because the other players know how much all of this means to Yao.

There are those morning runs and the weightlifting sessions and the jump-rope drills and then those endless sessions with Carroll Dawson to refine a hook shot and protect the ball and all the rest.

One of the first things Yao asked Dr. Tom Clanton was if there was something he could have done to prevent the injury that ended his season.

"No," he was told.

After all the heartbreak the past few years, the Rockets just knew they were going to write a different ending this time. They'd been expertly assembled and smartly coached.

They're smart and unselfish and capable of playing with any NBA team.

That's what makes Yao's injury so incomprehensibly disappointing. It's not just the crushing disappointment of losing him for the remainder of this season.

It's more questions about his durability. He has missed an average of 29 games the past three seasons.

Now just when acquiring Jackson seemed to be a perfect addition, just when people around the country were beginning to believe in the Rockets, they'll be forced to play the remainder of this season without Yao's 22 points and 11 rebounds.

He did more than those numbers indicate. He anchored the defense. Every player knew they had help behind them. He also set a tone with the way he practiced and how hard he worked. He's what we'd like every professional athlete to be.

When Yao was injured last season, coach Jeff Van Gundy pulled McGrady aside and said: "This will be your finest hour."

In T-Mac's capable hands

The Rockets went 20-12 without Yao, and it indeed was McGrady's finest hour. Now they're forced to try again.

"We're more equipped, more prepared this time," Alston said.

As for Yao, he admitted that he was discouraged by missing significant time for a third straight season.

"Maybe I'm an unlucky guy," he said.

He also said he believed the Rockets would do fine without him and that he would dedicate himself to being prepared for the Olympics and next season.

Not that anyone expected otherwise.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What the ? Paramount, you suck!

Trek Moved To '09

Paramount on Feb. 13 pushed its highly anticipated Star Trek movie to May 8, 2009, from an original Christmas 2008 release, to take advantage of the summer box-office season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Star Trek is moving to summer because its has so much box-office potential," Paramount spokesman Michael Vollman told the trade paper. "It does not need any script tweaks. They're two-thirds of the way through shooting, and we would have delivered a great movie at Christmas."

Trek is one of several films the studio has shuffled to new dates now that the writers' strike has ended. Trek's shift is reportedly unrelated to script or cast considerations.

Replacing Trek on Paramount's holiday 2008 schedule is the Brad Pitt-Cate Blanchett fantasy film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which moves to Dec. 19 from Nov. 26.

Case 39, meanwhile, moves to April 10, 2009, from Aug. 22 of this year. And Nowhereland, an Eddie Murphy fantasy comedy previously set for Sept. 26, now will bow June 12, 2009.

Indy Jones IV Trailer

Indy Jones IV Trailer

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Huckabee wins all 18 W.Va. delegates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Mike Huckabee won the first contest declared on Super Tuesday, picking up all 18 national delegates awarded at West Virginia's state GOP convention. Huckabee bested Mitt Romney, who entered the Mountain State event with the largest bloc of pledged convention-goers.


Both men and Ron Paul made in-person appeals to the more than 1,100 convention delegates attending Tuesday's convention. But the former Arkansas governor beat his Massachusetts counterpart after delegates for John McCain defected to his side.

The first round of voting at the state convention produced no winner, but eliminated Paul after his fourth-place finish.

The results are the first from the 21 states with GOP primaries or caucuses Tuesday.

Sweet! - Marc

LEGOs

Steampunk LEGO Jabba Barge, Slave I and Other Amazing Steam Wars Models

LEGO Star Wars

Using Hundreds of LEGO Star Wars Mini-Spaceships to Create Huge Battles

Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain for President?

Not if you want another psuedo Republican president like W has turned into.

Just look at who is now endorsing McCain - Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, and Texas governer Rick Perry, all psuedo Republicans.

Please do not give your support to McCain.

Now that Fred is out, give your support to Mike Huckabee.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Barrowman Sticks With Torchwood

John Barrowman, who stars in the Doctor Who spinoff series Torchwood, told SCI FI Wire that he's open to playing omnisexual time traveler Capt. Jack Harkness for years to come.

"If I was asked to do Jack for the next five or six years I would do it with a big smile on my face, because I absolutely love playing him," Barrowman said in an interview. "When the time comes for us to close the page on Torchwood and Jack Harkness, I'm also then happy to do that when that decision is made. But I think it's got a bit of a life out there. Let's hope we get [season] three, [season] four and, hopefully, [season] five."

BBC Video released the first season of Torchwood on DVD earlier this week, and BBC America will kick off season two this weekend. Barrowman said that the season opener is indicative of "more character-based stories" to come.

"You're going to learn an awful lot more about Toshiko [Naoko Mori], Owen [Burn Gorman], Ianto [Gareth David-Lloyd] and Gwen [Eve Myles]," Barrowman said. "You're going to also see much more of Jack's history. Our time travel in Torchwood is different. [In] Doctor Who, the Doctor gets in a TARDIS and travels. Our time travel is done through memory. So you're going to go back in time with Jack through his memory. You're going to see the future through what he's seen in his memory."

Barrowman said to expect new shocks and more tears. "We have one episode--and Eve and I always laugh about this--where there's a wedding, a typical family wedding, where everything just goes wrong," he said. The second season premiere of Torchwood, featuring guest star James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) airs Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Astro Boy Gets New Director

David Bowers (Flushed Away) has been hired to direct the computer-animated film Astro Boy, based on the Japanese character of the same name, Variety reported. He replaces Colin Brady, who was previously announced as the director of the $50 million project.

The film, centered around a lonely robot, was adapted from the original Japanese manga and 1960s TV series created by Osamu Tezuka.

Bowers started as an animator on Who Framed Roger Rabbit at British studio Cosgrove Hall before joining Steven Spielberg's Amblimation in London. His credits include The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Chicken Run, Shark Tale and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Astro Boy is set for release in 2009.

Gorman Glad U.S. Gets Torchwood

Burn Gorman, who plays Dr. Owen Harper on the Doctor Who spinoff series Torchwood, told SCI FI Wire that he's pleased to see how the show has managed to emerge from the shadow of its predecessor, especially among American audiences.

"Personally, I find that really refreshing, that, basically, it's accepted as a stand-alone series," Gorman said in a phone interview. "It's certainly very different in tone. It still uses references to Doctor Who, but I think it's really good that it's being appreciated for what it is. Although I am a Doctor Who fan myself, so I always enjoy when there are references. When Jack goes off and disappears, it's kind of nice to have a mothership."

Torchwood stars John Barrowman as Capt. Jack Harkness, the leader of a secret organization charged with protecting Earth from alien threats. The character of Capt. Jack was originally introduced in the first season of the revitalized Doctor Who series in an episode titled "The Empty Child." He recently returned to that series in a three-episode arc culminating in the third-season finale.

As the second season of Torchwood begins, Jack is reunited with his team, who were left in the dark following his abrupt departure to be with the Doctor.

"Back to Cardiff, where he belongs," Gorman said. "He's a really fun guy to work with, John. He brings a hundred percent commitment. And I think one of the reasons we wanted to do it again is because we all genuinely get on and are able to spark off each other. The scripts are always very different as well. They're never pedestrian. Sometimes they're kind of really out there, but that's kind of what you want as an actor, isn't it? It's a sort of challenge, really."

When it premiered in the United States last September on BBC America, Torchwood became the highest-rated series in the history of that network. Gorman said that the cast and crew were heartened to see that the show has such universal appeal.

"We're really, really pleased about that," Gorman said. "In England, it started off as a kind of cult show, really. And then I think it's just like any show. Word of mouth. We just finished filming season two, and we're hoping it's kind of even better than the first. It's all you can hope for, really."

The second season premiere of Torchwood, featuring guest star James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), airs Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

185

Last Saturday I hit my goal of 185. I'm thinking I'd still like to lose 5 - 10 more pounds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fred Thompson pulls out of Republican presidential race

NAPLES, Fla. — Republican Fred Thompson, the actor-politician who attracted more attention as a potential presidential candidate than as a real one, quit the race for the White House today after a string of poor finishes in early primary and caucus states.

"Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort," the former Tennessee senator said in a brief statement.

Thompson's fate was sealed last Saturday in the South Carolina primary, when he finished third in a state that he had said he needed to win.

In the statement, Thompson did not say whether he would endorse any of his former rivals. He was one of a handful of members of Congress who supported Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2000 in his unsuccessful race against George W. Bush for the party nomination.

Thompson, best known as the gruff district attorney on NBC's Law & Order, placed third in Iowa and South Carolina, two states seemingly in line with his right-leaning pitch and laid-back style, and fared even worse in the four other states that have held contests thus far. Money already tight, he ran out of it altogether as the losses piled up.

Thompson, 65, exits the most wide open Republican race in half a century; three candidates each having won in the six states that have voted.

In Florida, McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are battling for the lead ahead of its Jan. 29 primary, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee evaluates his next steps amid money troubles.

In an interview today, Huckabee suggested he would have beaten McCain in South Carolina if Thompson had dropped out earlier.

"The votes that he took essentially were votes that I would have most likely had, according to the exit polls and every other analysis," Huckabee said on MSNBC.

Despite initial impressions that Thompson could garner strong conservative support, it never materialized. He never won backing from more than one in five conservatives in any of the earliest primaries and caucuses, including the 19 percent who exit polls for The Associated Press and television networks showed supported him in South Carolina. His showings were similarly weak with white born-again and evangelical Christians.

In a statement, Romney commended Thompson's candidacy.

"Throughout this campaign, Fred Thompson brought a laudable focus to the challenges confronting our country and the solutions necessary to meet them," Romney said in a statement. "He stood for strong conservative ideas and believed strongly in the need to keep our conservative coalition together."

Thompson's withdrawal capped a turbulent 10 months that saw him go from hot to not in short order.

He began toying with a presidential run last March, emboldened by a fluid Republican nomination fight and a restive conservative GOP base. He also was charmed by resounding calls for him to get into the race — and his meteoric springtime rise to the top of national and state polls.

Fans trying to draft him as a candidate launched an online effort, seizing on his conservative Senate voting record as well as his lumbering 6-foot-5 frame and deep baritone as they argued that he was right out of central casting. They painted him as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and the would-be savior of a Republican Party demoralized after electoral losses in 2006 at all levels of government.

Expectations rose higher — and his standing in polls started to fall as he failed to meet them.

Thompson played coy about his intentions all the while taking steps to prepare for a formal entrance into the race with a flourish. He cut ties with NBC, visited early voting states and delivered high-profile speeches. And, he started raising money and set up a preliminary campaign organization.

He delayed his expected summertime entrance in the race until fall, perhaps missing an opening created by McCain's near campaign implosion.

As he prepared to officially join the race, Thompson was plagued by lackluster fundraising; high-profile staff departures, including some prompted by his wife Jeri's involvement in the campaign, and less-than-stellar performances on the stump. Thompson also endured repeated questions about his career as a lobbyist and his thin Senate record.

Thompson formally announced his bid in early September, but hit a rocky patch from the get-go. He skipped a Republican debate in New Hampshire, annoying some in the state, to announce his candidacy on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

His easygoing style and reputation for laziness translated into a light campaign schedule that raised questions about his desire to be president. A spate of inartful answers to campaign-trail questions — on everything from the Terri Schiavo case to Osama bin Laden — didn't help matters.

Though his star had faded, Thompson earned positive reviews for a series of debate performances last fall and earned an endorsement by the National Right to Life Committee.

Thompson first made a name in Washington politics three decades ago when he served as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee. Thompson, who was 30 at the time, was appointed to the high-profile job by his political mentor, then-Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee, who was the top Republican on the committee. Thompson had managed Baker's re-election campaign and had been an assistant U.S. attorney in Nashville.

Thompson asked one of the key questions of the Watergate hearings: "Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?"

Butterfield's reply was the first time the public learned that President Nixon had been secretly taping his conversations. But Thompson, who knew the answer before he asked his famous question, had tipped off the White House before the hearing that the committee had discovered the existence of the tapes.

Several years later while practicing law in Tennessee, Thompson represented Marie Ragghianti, the head of the Tennessee Parole Board who was fired after exposing a pardon-selling scheme involving aides for then-Gov. Ray Blanton. Thompson played himself in the 1985 movie "Marie" based on the episode and got generally positive reviews.

The film launched Thompson's acting career. Among his many characters, he played President Ulysses S. Grant in this year's made-for-TV movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and the fictional President Charles Ross in the 2005 film Last Best Chance.

Thompson was elected in 1994 to the Senate to fill the unexpired term of Al Gore, who had been elected vice president. He easily won re-election in 1996.

During his eight years in the Senate, Thompson was considered a reliably conservative vote.

A couple of months after his 38-year-old daughter died of a heart attack, Thompson announced he would not run for re-election in 2002.

In April of last year, Thompson disclosed that he was diagnosed in 2004 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a highly treatable form of cancer.

No 3D in 'U2 3D' without binocular vision

After months of hearing about it, I finally went to see the new film, U2 3D today, full of anticipation that for the first time in my life, I would be able to actually see the 3D effects in a film.

A little background: I have strabismus, better known to some as "lazy eye," a condition that, among other things, means that I don't have normal, binocular vision, like most people.

In daily life, this condition means very little. I can drive, hit a baseball, probably even fly a plane. I do see a little bit differently in each eye, but basically, it makes no difference.

Where it has always made a difference, however, is with 3D films. Historically, when I would go to such a film, I would put on those ugly glasses with the red and blue lenses, and I wouldn't be able to see the 3D effect because of my lack of binocular vision, which the 3D technology depends on.

But when I wrote a story last year about the emergence of a new era of 3D cinema technology, I was told by one of the people I interviewed for the story that there was a high degree of likelihood that this time around, I would join the masses in getting the benefit.

And that's why I was excited as I walked into San Francisco's Metreon IMAX theater this morning for a press screening of U2 3D.

Alas, for me, at least, my excitement proved unwarranted.

From the first minutes of the film--which, I must say, is quite spectacular, especially on an IMAX screen--I wondered whether I was seeing what my seatmates were seeing.

There was little question that the film was larger than life and that the imagery on the screen was big, explosive, and more lively than I'm used to seeing in films. And, to be sure, when I took off the special glasses--no, they're not red and blue--I did see double. But if I closed one eye or the other, I saw the same thing that I was seeing with both eyes open.

But I felt pretty sure I was missing something. So when the film was over, I asked my friend, who had been seated with me, if she felt she experienced 3D imagery.

Absolutely, was her unequivocal answer: No question that what she saw was 3D and that the film jumped off her screen in a way that normal films do not.

For me, I guess I got a hint of it. A few times, when something in the film was right in front of the camera, I got the sense of 3D. Some examples were shots taken right behind audience members. I will admit that it felt like they were right in front of me.

And a more visceral moment was a scene when U2 lead singer Bono stands in front of the camera, singing into it with his hand outstretched. That felt much more three-dimensional than anything else I could remember.

But that was about it. It makes me wonder why I would get these small tastes of 3D but that, for the most part, I wouldn't experience it.

Either way, I come away a little depressed and with dashed hopes. I had honestly been hoping that my condition would be made moot by the new technology and that for the first time, I would get to have the same viewing pleasure at a 3D film as everyone else.

But I guess not. I suppose I'll just have to keep waiting for the next generation. Until then, I'll just go on enjoying movies the way I always have.

And by the way, U2 3D is quite the film, 3D or no 3D. Go see it.

Gellar: Buffy Film Wouldn't Work


Sarah Michelle Gellar, who gained fame as TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, told SCI FI Wire that she doesn't think a big-screen version would work.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from creator Joss Whedon, was itself a reboot of the flop 1992 movie of the same name that starred Kristy Swanson. "We had a lot to overcome on a TV show," Gellar said in an interview. "Everyone's like, 'Why would you do that?' So then to go back [to a movie] feels kind of hard."

Still, Gellar would not rule out returning to her most iconic role: "Never say never," she said.

"One of the reasons [the original Buffy movie] didn't really work on the big screen--and people blamed Kristy, but that's not what it was--is the story was better told over a long arc," Gellar said. "And I worry about Buffy as a 'beginning, middle and end' so quickly. ... You show me a script; you show me that it works, and you show me that [the] audience can accept that, [and] I'd probably be there. Those are what my hesitations are."

Gellar said she's still recognized internationally for the show, which aired on The WB and UPN from 1997 to 2003. "I was in Bali, and I kid you not, my cab driver called me Buffy," she said. "And, actually, I know it's on in South Africa."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

GOP race turns to Florida; Thompson reconsiders

Overall, the race for the GOP nomination is remarkably wide open, so much so that the prospect of a protracted contest has appeared more likely as each state has voted. Three candidates have won contests in six states thus far, making for no clear front-runner.

Despite the situation, Thompson was expected to bow out after failing to win the states where he had hoped to perform strongly, Iowa and South Carolina. The former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" actor returned home after delivering a speech in South Carolina on Saturday that sounded like he was calling it quits. He stopped short of doing so but some supporters suspected it would only be a matter of time before Thompson withdraws.

Before South Carolina, several aides had said he probably would need to finish first or a strong second in that race to go forward. Aides didn't expect a decision from Thompson until sometime after the weekend.

With or without him, the Florida race promises to be a dog fight; the stakes are, perhaps, larger now than ever.

Damnit!! Fred seemed to be the only true conservative. The rest are all psuedo conservatives. - Marc

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Moviefone First Look at 'Star Trek'


Moviefone is pleased to boldly go where no website has gone before, providing you with an exclusive sneak peek of the all-new U.S.S. Enterprise. This is the first photo released from the eagerly anticipated 'Star Trek' film, directed by J.J. Abrams and due in theaters this December. Click here for a larger version of the image, then continue on to meet the new 'Star Trek' cast members.

Shatner Unveils Trek Tour

Original Star Trek star William Shatner waxed nostalgic about the franchise as he unveiled a multimedia touring exhibition of Trek memorabilia in Long Beach, Calif., on Jan. 17.

"I must tell you I walked in this morning and went to look at the bridge and felt this surge of nostalgia," Shatner told reporters in a news conference in the Queen Mary Dome, referring to a re-creation of the original bridge of the starship Enterprise. "It was quite incredible. I hadn't been on the bridge set ... since I made the last movie."

Shatner is the official ambassador for the exhibition, called Star Trek the Tour, which has its North American debut in the California city through Feb. 17 before moving to San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit.

It wasn't all a pleasurable trip down memory lane, Shatner joked. "I looked over at the uniform that I was supposed to have worn back 40 years ago, and I thought, 'That couldn't be me.' [It was] a little small," he said, evoking laughter from the crowd of journalists.

The tour, produced by SEE Touring Productions and presented by Metropolitan Talent, features re-creations of several Trek sets, including the bridges of the original Enterprise and The Next Generation's Enterprise D. The 50,000-square-foot exhibition includes costumes, props, ships and other items from all five Trek TV shows and 10 movies. The tour also features a multimedia theater and several flight-simulator rides.

Shatner was eventually asked about the upcoming 11th movie, a reboot of the franchise by director J.J. Abrams. Will he appear in it? "I think they're about halfway through shooting, something like that, or coming toward the end," Shatner said. "They've got another three weeks to hire me [laughs]. I don't think you'll be seeing me, unfortunately. I would love to have been in it. For some reason, I'm not. I don't know the reason why. But I'm sure it'll be a wonderful film, and I wish them all the best. I only hope that Star Trek continues." Star Trek the Tour opens Jan. 18.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Glau Is Advanced In Connor

Summer Glau, who plays a mysterious classmate in Fox's upcoming Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, offered SCI FI Wire a few spoilers about her character, who is more advanced than she appears. (Don't read ahead if you don't want to be spoiled for the pilot!)

Glau plays Cameron, a new model of cybernetic organism, who has come back from the future to protect John Connor (Thomas Dekker) and his mother, Sarah (Lena Headey). And she's an improvement on Arnold Schwarzenegger's cyborg from the Terminator movies, on which the show is based. For one thing, her character--named in homage to franchise creator James Cameron--can mimic human behavior.

"[Creator Josh Friedman's] concept is that I'm the most advanced Terminator yet, but the way I'm advanced is in my ability to almost be human," Glau said at a fan preview of the show in Los Angeles last weekend. "And there's still this fine line. You almost wonder in certain scenes, like, ... is she feeling something? I can't really put my finger on it, but it's like she's actually feeling something. And I want that to come across. But I also want people to be startled sometimes when she is absolutely a robot."

Glau, a former ballet dancer who played the warrior waif River in Serenity, added that her dance training helped in the action sequences.

"Absolutely it's helped me," Glau said. "I would say that my ballet training helped more in Serenity, because I was doing martial arts," she said, adding: "Dancing always helps, because I learn all my fight scenes like choreography, so I learn them by counts. And when you're working with a stunt guy who's twice as big as you, and you need to anticipate every swing he's going to take at you and every punch, it's important that you know exactly the timing that it's all going to play out."

Glau and stunt coordinator Joel Kramer, who also worked on the films, talked about what it is like to do fight scenes as a Terminator. Unlike the graceful River, Glau's Cameron just smashes things, Glau said. "It's completely different, because when I was playing River, I was supposed to be a small girl, just a human girl, and so I had to learn finesse, and I had to learn how to use my body weight," she said. "But when you're a Terminator, you just break things and throw things and drive over people and use bombs and use guns."

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles debuts on the Fox broadcasting network over two nights, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Jan. 14 at 9 p.m., before moving to its regular timeslot, Mondays at 8 p.m.

I watched Sunday's show tonight, I was very happy with that first hour!! - Marc