May 2007

Hello from scenic Fremont, OH. Where is it? I have no idea. But the Rutherford B. Hayes presidential library is here, so you know it’s a rockin’ place.

After a slow start—packing up my car took about an hour longer than expected—I headed out from Burlington at 10AM. I arrived here at 11:30PM. I was wiped at the end, but wanted to get past Cleveland so I wouldn’t get stuck in commuter traffic in the morning. Here’s the journey I’ve taken thus far.

Observations: The tolls in New York state are out of control. Albany to Buffalo cost me $10.60, and then it was another $2.50 to get from Buffalo to the Pennsylvania border. But it’s a pretty drive on I90.

Pennsylvania passed by in an hour or so. I’m sure it’s nice.

No one speeds in Ohio, at least until you get to Cleveland. Seriously, everyone drives the speed limit, or below it. What’s everyone’s problem?

My car is eating up the miles. Thank God I got a tune-up; I’m getting 31-36 MPG, which is about 6-7 more than I’ve ever gotten on the open road. Awesome.

I haven’t driven on these toll roads before, with their standardized exists for food and drinks. Some had Starbucks, which was a helluva lot better than the other coffee swill I sampled. (There was some truly awful Green Mountain coffee… it was way too weak.)

So, lots of coffee, some McDonald’s, a slice of pizza, three bottles of tea, four bottles of water… yeah, I may not sleep tonight.

TubesSo, it would appear I’m hitting the road for a bit. Not today, but tomorrow. Today, I need to turn in my cable modem. Unless I can find some unsecured Wi-Fi in my apartment—which is a possibility—I’ll be gonzo for a while.

No Internet for a week or more? Yikes!

Because nothing’s funnier to Americans than foreign languages, here’s a wonderfully pointless website: Stockholm’s subway map translated into literal English

Don’t forget to get off the train at Rock Star, because you don’t want to be in Gruel Village after dark. And if you get injured, you might want to avoid Awful Village Hospital.

Now this is how you do clever promotion.

I’m moving next week. My entire life—well, the parts that are in physical form, at least—is sitting in boxes.

I’m not one to bad mouth TV that much, but there are so many things wrong with this new show based on those GEICO cavemen ads that ABC is unleashing on the public. Not the least of which is the description of the show, which actually says it’s a “thought-provoking social commentary on race relations in today’s America.”

The show could turn out well, but this clip is the inverse of funny. I am looking forward to the possibility of other commercials being turned into TV shows. Who’s ready for “Head On: Apply Directly to Forehead: New York.”

So, I was supposed to fly across country today, but my flight was delayed in Burlington because of bad weather in NYC for so long that the connection was likely canceled. So they let me (and others) off the plane and I’ll try again tomorrow.

I took a cab from the airport back to my apartment, and the driver was blasting speed metal from his stereo. Rawk!

I figured this would happen. Yeah, I rarely update my blog. I suck.

I saw 28 Weeks Later, which was some “good shit,” as they say. I was initially sort of “OK” with it, but I think that on reflection, it’s better than I initially thought. Without giving anything away, if you throw out the idea that there’s some uber-zombie out there who keeps reappearing and instead sub in the kids merely seeing him everywhere (and there’s one reference to this), it works a whole lot better as there’s a wee-bit too coincidence otherwise.

I’m on the road again this week. Should have some news soon.

I have a total man-crush on Lord of the Rings Online. I wasn’t able to score a freebie copy—boy, all my industry juice evaporated overnight, sheesh—so I’m a paying customer just like all of you. (Or at least most of you.)

But man, I’m loving being a Hobbit and running around the Shire delivering mail. Seriously, I even have my “Friend of the Post” title, or whatever the hell it’s called. (It also gave me a pretty swank cape.)

I love that there’s more to do here than just “go kill 9 goats,” even if it’s pretty simplistic. (“Deliver mail while avoiding nosey Hobbits.”) And it’s gorgeous, and runs incredibly fast.

Turbine really hit one out of the park here, at least in its first X hours. I’m not sure how long it’ll hold up, but I paid for three months of play. If I’m satisfied with that, it’s worth it to me. (I’m not sure why people have expectations of playing forever in MMOs; just enjoy the thing and forget about it when you’re sick of it.)

Or to put it another way, my World of WarCraft press account ran out of time in March (and I couldn’t get Blizzard to extend it; see, no one wants to help the unemployed guy) and I don’t care. LOTRO is better than WoW… right now.

One of the nice things about being unemployed is weekday matinées. (The other nice thing? Law & Order at 2 and 3PM.)

Since I was out of town Thursday-Saturday, I checked out Spider-Man 3 today. It’s a perfect example of what happens when each sequel is expected to outdo its predecessor. The first two Spider-Man movies are terrific, with Sam Raimi bravely making them totally corny big-budget spectacles. (Seriously, what time period are they set in? It feels like Peter Parker transported in from the idealized 1950s.)

But Spider-Man 3 adds a bit to everything, and it’s a mess. There’s not one, not two, but three villains. Each has his own tragic backstory—everybody hurts in Spider-Man—and there are multiple incoherently edited set pieces. (Seriously, it’s impossible to track what the hell’s going on. Sam Raimi’s manic style is overcooked in these scenes, and the fab looking CGI renders the fights sort of meaningless.)

But the perfectly modulated corn of the first two movies has been ratcheted up to schmaltzy levels. Oh no, Peter is losing Mary Jane; Spider-Man has a new love interest. Harry is angry/sad/happy/lovesick. When the symbiote shows up to turn Spider-Man into Emo Spider-Man—replete with Peter Parker’s Fall Out Boy-style bangs—everything goes off the rails. There’s a dance number (?), and another montage of Peter showcasing his new look (in Spider-Man 2, it was funny; here, it’s… well, actually, it’s kind of funny too, since he’s trying to be all cool and everyone is looking at him like he’s a tool).

But Venom is cool. Had the movie just been about him, it would have been a lot better. (He’s a douchebag from the start.) Instead, we have Sandman and his unclear physical properties looking cool but laying it on a bit thick about his motivations. (It’s OK he’s killing people; he has a dying kid!)

I’m not sure how many of these things I’m going to post; this one in particular is sort of… underdeveloped. Maybe I’ll dig out some of my college stuff. That would be good for a few laughs.

The title for this came from some movie. I saw the name—it’s some Mexican movie I’ve never seen, nor do I know what it’s about… probably something to do with cigarettes—and the first sentence popped into my head. It also has nothing to do with the rest of the piece, so yeah… whatever. (more…)