January 2008


While Brad (a coworker) was over in my office reviewing some code with me, I got an e-mail. From Brad. From the future. It was to remind him to get a coffee after the code review. I guess one version of the Future-Brad skipped the coffee and fell asleep during an important meeting, then had to invent a time machine (or at least a time-travel-capable e-mail program) to change the course of history.

Well, that’s one theory. The other theory is that Brad uses features already present in Outlook to send himself helpful reminders and generally freak-out coworkers.

How does he do it? Simple: Brad creates a rule (in “Rules and Alerts”) that effects every outbound message and defers delivery by 5 minutes. He calls it the “Stupid Message Rule”, meaning that from the point he pushes Send, he still has 5 minutes to reconsider what he wrote or cancel the message entirely, avoiding that awkward moment after an unintended Reply-All.

While we’re on the topic of Outlook features, here’s a curious one: restart your computer by sending yourself an e-mail. It’s fairly simple, really: start a new rule that runs on received e-mails, and that if the e-mail if addressed to you and the subject contain a certain secret phrase, an application should be started. For the application, create a batch file that calls “C:\WINDOWS\system32\shutdown.exe” with the parameter “/r” to restart the computer (or “/s” to shut down). Of course since you are launching a batch file, you can do pretty much anything, from launching Winamp to play your favorite playlist to starting a reformat of the entire hard drive. Although I need to remind you that you are launching potentially harmful scripts from Outlook, so be very careful when coming up with those rules. Don’t want to have your computer restart every 5 minutes just because you suck at picking a secret phrase.

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[From ComedyCentral RSS joke feed, though iGoogle]

Two goldfish were in their tank. One turns to the other and says, ‘You man the guns, I’ll drive.’

A Jumper video game? Oh, man. Now I will know how those Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Golden Compass, etc. fans feel when their beloved story is sucked dry by the entertainment industry to create a crappy game.

Here’s the Kotaku story and trailer that made me weep.

That video looks horrible! I don’t think I’ve seen worse game graphics in quite a long time. And it’s one thing that the movie take a different direction that the book, I’ve come to accept that already, but the game seems to be really taking things too far. In the trailer, the teleporter kills people in a variety of ways that just weren’t in the original novels: one guy is dropped into a shark tank, another character is left at the mercy of a polar bear, and, this is a bit odd, that same character seems to be left in the shockwave of an atomic blast. Huh?

Anyway. While I don’t think I’ll be buying this game, I’ll probably try to rent it from Blockbuster, just to see what those bastards are doing with the story.

How bad was the 10th season of ‘The Simpsons’? Well, let’s put it this way: I’ve had it since August and just now finished watching it. That’s saying a lot, considering that the other seasons usually lasted me a few days, certainly less than a week, after the time of purchase. Season 10 really sucked. I seriously couldn’t finish watching it because each episode was so horrendous. After watching one, I would decide that I had other, more interesting things to do, like clean the shower or alphabetize my book collection.

Why does the 10th season suck? It’s at this point that ‘The Simpsons’ stopped having “normal” episodes and began doing those ridiculous, Homer-fueled, guest-star-filled crap-o-ramas that now dominate the show. Let’s see if we can use a bullet list to mention a few horrific examples:

  • The very first episode of the season opens up with Lisa Kudrow joining the school as some yuppie girl who forces Lisa to wear a cocktail dress and heels. WTF?! Completely out of character! In the same episode Homer and Bart start an unsuccessful lard business. Here’s a question: are the Simpsons so boring that we need superfluous guest stars and brand-new professions every single week? Homer works in a nuclear power plant! The first few seasons managed to keep us entertained with simple things like meltdowns, safety issues and strikes, so why does Homer need to sell lard or drive trucks (coming soon)?
  • The fifth episode takes the term “superfluous guest stars” to an all-new level with Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger and Ron Howard. The family is ignored, but Homer gets to shop for fancy mushrooms, so that about evens things out, right? Ha.
  • Ninth episode combines guest-stars and odd-jobs with Homer being hired as a bodyguard for Mayor Quimby and later Mark Hammil. The story is horrendous and once again the family gets little to no play.
  • The tenth episode goes beyond out-of-character and strange-new-locales by seeing Homer and Ned getting married (to two women) in Las Vegas. Ech!
  • The twelfth (boy, I had trouble remembering how to spell that) episode is the Super Bowl episode. This is just about the epitome of the now-common “women stay at home while the men have adventures” theme.
  • The thirteenth episode starts off simple enough, with Homer gaining popularity when a suave TV character is also named Homer Simpson, but things quickly deteriorate as Homer tries to fit in with a group of yuppie tree-huggers. It’s so odd to see the Simpsons try and exist on-screen with real people (that Ed Begley Jr just looks weird), while at their roots (or at least in the first few seasons) the Simpsons lived in a world almost completely separate from our own. Does that make sense? I feel that what “The Simpsons” turned into… well, imagine ‘I Love Lucy’ updated for the 21st century, complete with Pilates, one-night-stands and YouTube.
  • Episode fourteen sees Apu organizing an all-out Valentine’s Day, complete with a message in the sky and Elton John. The episode is not bad, but it’s just one more example of popular culture being imposed on something that was once a wonderful show.
  • I could go on and on, but I’d rather not, so here’s the list of absurdities in the remaining episodes (and one of my first instances of list-within-a-list):
    • Guest stars: Isabella Rossellini, Jasper Johns, Jack LaLanne, Richard Branson, Stephen Hawking, George Takei, Gedde Watanabe.
    • Odd jobs: Homer works as a truck driver, Homer becomes an artist, Homer becomes a Loch Ness Monster-hunter.
    • Strange locales: New age store and sensory deprivation tanks, Loch Ness, Japan.
    • Just plain weird situations or out-of-character instances: Marge’s road rage, the Olympics are coming to Springfield, Mensa takes over the town, Homer beats up the Emperor of Japan, the Simpsons compete for tickets on a Japanese TV show.

And why did I buy the 10th season when the 9th sucked almost as much? As I predicted, the reason is the collectible box sets: seasons 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 all have character-shaped boxes, so once you purchase one box, you have to get the others for a complete collection. Thankfully, there are no more character-themed boxes, so I’m all done.

This is a quick, couple-paragraph review of ‘Cloverfield’. I just saw the film today, so I haven’t had much time to digest it, but here is my immediate reaction…

Umm, right after the jump. Because of the spoilers.

(more…)

This has been a long time coming: I must apologize for much of what I said during an “argument” following a post two months ago. I didn’t think things through, used idiotic and often times wrong examples and generally behaved like an ass. The fact that I behaved like an ass is really nothing new, but I should have been more respectful of my “opponent” and readers. I’m sorry for that. I must also apologize for straying so far from factual arguments. A lot of what I said was emotionally motivated and completely devoid of facts. As it was confirmed by my reader, this was “not my finest moment.” I strive to do better in the future.

I still believe in some of the points I made during the “debate” (I keep putting it into quotations because I turned a debate into something abhorrent), but I took a very bad approach to stating and supporting those points. It is something that most days (whenever I think about it) I want to forget, but it is from painful mistakes such as these that we learn and become something more.

That’s all for today. Good night.

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