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Archive for March, 2007

Had our builder’s meeting

Friday, March 30th, 2007

We had our builder’s meeting this morning.  It went well.  We had a nice surprise too.  Take a look.

House Framing beginning

TMNT

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

We went to see TMNT tonight.  I made sure to keep my expectations low.  The fact that it was going to be animated had me disappointed, because I really liked the live action films that came before it.  Also, I read a brief review of it by a syndicated review (seems like it was from the AP).  Having seen the film, I think they didn’t.  It’s actually pretty good.  It’s not a “great” film or something I’d put on a level with The Last Mimzy, but it was good.  The CGI was well done.  It had a consistent style and worked well portraying old characters in a new way.  It certainly allowed for some aspects of the characters to be more comic book and the wide array of creatures to be more easily brought to life.  Monsters really seemed to be rehashes of things seen in a million different films.  Voice casting was fairly good.  I don’t agree with Ziyi Zhang being the voice of the female leader of the foot.  I mean, she’s not exactly known for her great English readings, much less voice acting.  It was obvious she struggled to get any decent bits of dialog out.  The fact that it is the first film to beat 300 since it’s release says something.  If you are an old fan of the series definitely go see it.

Always where you least expect…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

I found this article a couple days after it happened and I just hadn’t gotten around to posting it (buried in a a few hundred open Firefox tabs).  It just goes to show one needs to be prepared anywhere.  This happened literally at one of the intersections that defines the border of our “campus” at work.  I haven’t heard it mentioned by anyone either.  We’re in a “safe” area, but that’s simply a misnomer in a place like this.  The latest statistics I’ve seen say that the murder count for Memphis for 2007 up to March 14 was 30 (up 7.1% for the same period in 2006).  Hopefully that’s just a statistical anomaly.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/article/0,2845,MCA_25340_5402238,00.html

The Last Mimzy

Monday, March 26th, 2007

We went to see The Last Mimzy tonight.  I loved this film.  It was basically nothing like what I expected.  Had the trailers more accurately portrayed the film and it would have topped my “to see” list.  This is probably the first PG film in a *long* time that I would say that about.  The casting was perfect, the dialog was great, the story was wonderful.  I am already thinking about having this on DVD with a big screen to watch in the house when it’s finished.  I’m pretty sure I’ll own a copy of it.  This really isn’t a little kid’s movie, though.  I imagine that below about age 7 or 8 would be a total non-starter.  Depends on the kids, of course.  The audience we were in had 2 kids, probably about 8 years old.  Everyone else I’d say was at least 20 and many were senior citizens.  I don’t want to give away anything, just go see it!

We have a slab!

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I’m working on a place to put this (look at the New House Stuff link on the right nav bar), but we’ve got progress on the house — we have a slab!  Actually, we saw (and I don’t know the correct nomenclature for this) the wood framework started last weekend in preparation for pouring the foundation, but I just hadn’t posted anything.  Well, they worked quick.  We couldn’t wait to see if there was any progress and went down again on Wednesday and Friday this week to see what changes my have happened and on Wednesday they were digging around and had pipes sticking out of the ground.  On Friday they had the slab poured, and on Sunday it looks to be more cured (much lighter surface color).  I don’t know what the cure time is supposed to be before they start working on the main construction.  Here’s a pic:

Slab curing

Bought a new vacuum cleaner

Monday, March 26th, 2007

As a part of getting a new house one has to have the major appliances that go along with it. We’ve started the research into what to get. It’s not coming along quickly as there are a lot of choices and (naturally) few unified opinions. To start with, we went and bought a new vacuum cleaner on Saturday. I have read some postings from some homeowners that have bought houses from our builder stating that the final product we close on can be a real mess. That’s to say that the construction crews supposedly don’t clean up when they are done. I’m hoping this isn’t the case, but a good vacuum will be in order even if they do clean up.

We currently have an old hand-me-down Hoover that works, but sometimes leaves something to be desired. So, after lots and lots and lots (and lots) of reading we picked out a Kenmore. No, it’s not the fancy Dyson, but from what we’ve found, Dysons aren’t well suited to carpet and bagless vacuums aren’t for everyone anyway. 3 of the Kenmore Progressive canisters top Consumer Report’s list of ratings. Sears had them on sale, so we splurged and got the top of the line model. Well, we ordered it anyway. It’s supposed to be available for pickup on Thursday. It’s got some gadgets that probably won’t mean much, but some others that I think will be convenient. Vacuums sure seem cheap and plasticy now, though. They are nothing like the vacuums of days gone by, but there are certainly some advantages. No, you can’t throw them down the stairs anymore, but they won’t break your back lifting them, and the noise levels are dramatically lower. We’ll get to test this thing out getting the apartment ready for us to move out. Let’s see if it removes pet hair like it says it does.

Shooter

Monday, March 26th, 2007

We went to see Shooter today (well yesterday, depending on the time zone you’re in).  I certainly enjoyed it.  It’s a summer blockbuster kinda film — lots of action, explosions, etc.  It works.  It’s not totally believable and there are certainly some elements that don’t make sense if you think about them very much.  It does contain quite a bit of the usual Hollywood dribble containing their political beliefs and the standard Hollywood firearms misconceptions and mistakes (like the 800 round M16 magazine, yet only 4 rounds in a 1911).  Also they love to pull up gadgets that don’t make sense like the mercenaries mostly carrying G36′s.  Why would anyone but the Germans be carrying G36′s?  Even they have had problems with them.

In terms of casting and the writing, I think things were right.  They meshed well.  The little clues that let you in on the bad guys at the beginning (if you haven’t seen the trailers) was done well.  Basically, if you ignore all the little details that Hollywood tends to get wrong, the other details are well done.  Despite what looks like a negative review, I recommend this film.

Flyboys

Monday, March 26th, 2007

It’s been a while since I posted. I guess I’ve just been too lazy. There’s been a decent amount of things going on, but not so much I couldn’t have posted something. Anyway…

So we rented Flyboys a couple of weeks ago. Wow what afilm! It didn’t get a lot of theater time. It wasn’t widely loved by audiences, but the aviation crowd loved it and I agree. The acting and story were just a bit short of the mark I’d hope for, but for the most part everything fell together fairly well. It covers a period rarely seen in contemporary films and a subject that is totally unseen. Not since Howard Hughes’ prolific film Hell’s Angels has WWI flying been so exciting. I highly recommend renting it. Especially if you are an “air head” like me.

Updated the “TV”

Monday, March 5th, 2007

I updated the TV this weekend.  I should first clarify a bit.  Our TV is a computer.  I use a PC with a dual TV tuner in it and Snapstream’s BeyondTV to manage them.  This basically gives us a PVR/DVR.  It’s really nice and takes TV watching to a new level.  With the dual tuners we can record 2 TV shows simultaneously (or watch one while recording another, etc).  Recording shows is as easy as looking them up in the title, keyword, and genre searchable programming guide and telling it to record.  You can even select option like only recording all new episodes of a TV series.  Anyway, we’ve had problems with the box for a couple of years now where it doesn’t like to boot.  If it goes down (crash, reboot, shutdown, power loss, etc) it doesn’t like to come back up.  I’ve suspected that it was the hard drive.  I can’t guarantee that’s it, but I’ve had enough anecdotal evidence to truly convince me.  Well, it finally bugged Shinta enough that we went and bought a new hard drive for the thing on Saturday and I went about the long, arduous process of backing up all our saved TV shows over the network, reinstalling Windows XP (from a pre SP1 disc, I was an early XP adopter), the hours and hours of running Windows Update, installing Snapstream’s software suite (I also have BeyondMedia and the Firefly Remote), and then transferring the backups back.  It took about 24 hours to complete the process.  Things are looking good.  Reboots are clean and easy.  The box works great with just a remote for control.  Now all I need is a big LCD HDTV with DVI or HDMI inputs to hook it up to.

An update on the house…nothing to update about

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Well, nothing to update about on the house.  We went to see the progress again this weekend and there was nothing.  The sales broker said a couple weeks ago that they were going to be doing our foundation “at the end of the month”, but there was nothing.  I think their *might* have been a bit of work on the lot in the form of leveling it, but I can’t say for sure.  If there was, it was so minor I’m not certain.  Oh well, maybe we’ll hear something this week.