Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 and Back

2008 has largely been a time of transition: finishing graduate school, successfully finding and loving my new librarian job, moving to Sacramento, and being the scourge of librarian conferences (and multiple beer festivals) in Portland and Seattle. 2009 looks to be a great settling in period and becoming a contributing citizen, rather than a vagrant sucking life force from all passer-bys.

2008 also has a best of list composed by yours truly! Who'd have thunk it? Cristina can fill in any details I leave out or call out the lies I leave in, as she has access to my brainwaves at all times. If I didn't include something just ask and I'll mull it over.

---------

THE BEST (that can't get better) OF 2008 : A Selection by Philippe For America

Best Movie: The Dark Knight

Best TV Program: Star Wars Clone Wars

Best Album: Radiohead's In Rainbows (released last week of 2007 but who the heck had the time to evaluate it in 2007?)

Best let down on film: Indiana Jones and the who cares about aliens

Best Comic Book: None (I just started reading new comics a couple months ago... but Hitman was the best new for me read in 2008)

Best Restaurant: Melting Pot (Cristina and I have gone here a couple of times and have ventured into fondue cookery-land thanks to it)

Best Book: None (again, haven't read contemporary releases but I did read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time and it is darn good)

Best Videogame: Fable 2 (this was hard but the amount of hours I put into this beast, including an all-nighter, gives it the title)

Best Software: New Xbox live experience (netflix streaming FTW (for the win))

Best Hardware: Griffin Technology 1200-ITSPKR Amplifi Home Music System for iPod (not sure when it came out, but I picked it up in 2008 and it fills my heart and abode with tremendous bass and sound)

Best Brews: Rubicon Brewing Co.

Best at being Funny: Tina Fey

Best Dessert: Olive Garden's Pumpkin Cheesecake

------------

And there you have it. So long '08 HELLOOOO '09.

Technical Difficulties

My hope and dream to deliver THE ORIGIN! of Magic Boy has hit a snag. In short, I don't have access to a scanner until the first Friday of 2009. This is a tremendous upset to third world countries and widowers alike, but stay tuned for an even better issue than originally planned!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, December 29, 2008

Videos

A few treats for a lazy week:



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More Star Wars Holiday Special


There is nothing like Internets at the airport, except free Internets at the airport teamed up with the Star Wars Holiday Special. Not that I need Internet for it, because I downloaded it. About 10 minutes in I had to stop. I was ready to burst out laughing in the hardiest way. Wookie dialogue and actions have this comedic effect on me. Maybe because the Wookie scene is between a runt, an old timer, and a housewife. Watching and listening to the special with headphones on is an experience like no other, needing complete and total dedication.

I took my headphones off and I could still hear the circus music. A commercial in the background sounded startlingly like the SWHS tunes. Happy Life Day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Recovery

After crashing like a fiend in need, the Star Wars Holiday Special still flashes in my mind and continues to puzzle me. However, I've been able to pull myself away from the void and continue to do things: laugh, love, smile, shower, etc.

With that I am now able to realize that Christmas is upon us, not Life day! Boy did I have myself fooled. Enjoy this Kinks song that'll rock you into the Christmas mood:

Friday, December 19, 2008

George Lucas Melts Brains

I just watched the late 70s holiday Star Wars special and am now absolutely warped in the brain. I've waited a long time to watch this monstrosity and in no way could have imagined that this would be the result.

Let me give you an example. See the dude below, he has some weird volcano hair and a whole on top of it. As I watched I wondered what the heck was that all about? Then the barmaid, on the right (a.k.a. some lady from the Golden Girls), gave the dude a drink and he poured his cup of brew into his hair hole. This looked cheesy and fake- the pour lasted about a second. I imagine he had some fluid on his head so they could only film so much. Then the Golden Girl lady commenced to pour a pitcher of stuff into his head hole. Except you could tell the pitcher was empty and they added water flowing sounds to make it seem like there was some alcohol or something being poured into his mouth-head. If you haven't watched this then you are probably really confused, if you have seen this then you know that this isn't even the worst of it.




When I think of how the scene of the volcano head and the Golden Girl Tatooine barmaid was even presented in the first place I start to get the shakes and forget my name. A regular story contains a beginning, middle, and end. The bar scene I described doesn't fit into any of those categories. It's something that was put in there non sequitur. I can't say completely non sequitur; see some Storm Troopers were in Chewbacca's house and the Imperial Army had to send them an important information feed, so they used their home TV. And this important information was about Tatooine and that bar scene. It makes perfect sense when you don't think about it.

Any who, my buddy Dan has a great post on his watching experience:

http://www.perpetualmemoryloss.com/?p=764

Don't want to watch the whole thing, here's a TVLand worst of synopsis (copy/paste into URL):

http://www.starwarsholidayspecial.com/multimedia/tvland_top100-divx.avi

George Bush - Breaking NEWS!


Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No More Music For Me!

Ok, the title is meant to be deceiving. Today I traded in my physical CDs (what they would take) for instore credit at the local Vegas music shoppe. With that I bought the physical media which is still near and dear to me: blu-ray discs and vinyl. I was able to pick up the Criterion edition of Botttle Rocket , There Will Be Blood, and The Beach Boys' Endless Summer.

Bottle Rocket has been a favorite Wes Anderson film of mine for years and years. Prior to this full length film a 15 minutes short was done. I have yet to see it and have had a yearning for it for some 3-5 years. I've scourged forums and databases but never found it. Now it is available on the new Criterion edition... yay for me!

There Will Be Blood has added value now for 3 additional reasons. #1 : I've been reading "Oil!" (of which the movie is based) and have developed an even more profound interest in the characters, themes, motifs, settings, etc. #2: My netflix rental had a hairline crack in it and about half through it skipped a ton of scenes, now I own it and will guard against crackages. #3: Property, a good capitalist owns property.

Endless Summer- My buddy, BRR, will be happy for this one. I talked trash about The Beach Boys for some time, finding them to be repetitive and too Californian for me. Heck who was I kidding, they are awesome and I'm a Californian. Thanks to my girlfriend too for interesting me in all things Beach Boys.

So there you have it. I still have a bag full of CDs that they may buy later, so until then ... buy property, commodities, precious stones, and the like!

A Tale of Two Blogs

It may be or not be well known that I maintain two blogs. In theory this allows me to talk library and information shop as The LiS Kid and prattle on about nothing as Philippe for America. In practice it is mostly prattling on in both forums. For some, this may be a disturbance in their blog reading routines. Why should I have to check out two blogs for one dude? If you are the kind of person who favorites or remembers all the blogs you read then I am sorry. I am not sorry for my having two blogs, but am sorry because you don't use RSS. Don't go to the Internet and blogs, make them come to you. RSS is REALLY SIMPLE (haha get it? no, then learn about RSS). With RSS you can read my blogs and all the others you choose from the comfort of a single browser or reader program. In no time you'll be screaming, "I got 99 problems but a blog ain't one".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tips for the Holidays

Left 4 Dead on the xbox 360 has primed me for possible Zombie attacks. However, the real world zombie situation would be a bit different. Luckily, useful tips do exist. [via geekanerd]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Magic Boy - UPDATE

The Magical Adventures of Magic Boy is a bit delayed due to my world travels, giving conferences on our hero and the future of the comic. Not too mention trying to collect my royalties from blogger has been a nightmare. However, my fair readers I hope that this little update can tide you over till the 2009 season. I present The Magic Boy Rogues Gallery:




magicboyroguesgallery.pdf


The Sleeper - A robot whose looks are deceiving. The immense power that this skinny robot possesses hasn't been measured but it is able to crush concrete walls and pulverize steel. The Sleeper is also incredibly quick and agile.

Tiny Tim- He is an engineering genius and master conniver. Tiny Tim created The Sleeper and controls it for devious missions. Given his short stature and physical handicap Tiny Tim has sought to create works that overpowered and towered over others.


MotorMouth- Not much is known about the origins of this villain. His motorized mouth and vocal chords (or gears?) allow him to project sound waves that control all listeners, human and beast alike. MotorMouth doesn't have any arms and masks this deficit with a cape. While his physicality is limited it is no issue with his mind control powers.


Tragic Gal- This villainess features negative/opposite characteristics of Magic Boy. Her face is covered by a tragic mask. Her powers however are near identical to Magic Boys. Yet her purposes and motivations are tragically different.


Prussian Trumper- Looking to raise the Prussian empire and people the overly nostalgic Prussian Trumper is a parade of sorts. His mischief involves thwarting other Governments and rioting (by himself or otherwise). Mostly, he's a disturber of the peace but a wacky handful nonetheless.

There you have it, these Rogues look to make appearances throughout 2009. LET me know which villain looks the most enticing and maybe he or she will make a good number of appearances. I look to have a special Magical Boy ORIGIN issue out for December- keep an eye out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Garbage Pail Kids

The last two days the sun had been shining bright and early. It was odd given the constant fog and coldness this time of year permits. This morning during my sunny trek to the light rail I happened upon a scene. A child was left by the dumpster. Economic times are hard but that is no reason to leave a hungry one to search for meager rations. I captured this moment for all history and leave it to my humble reader to contemplate over:


Upon noticing me the child threw her arms up in dispair and gave up searching, she was too short to reach into the dumpster. My options were to throw her in and let her forage in the safety of bags and trash or to give her a dollar to buy a cup of coffee. I decided to do nothing. Rather, I wanted to be an observer of life and I had to catch my train to work. I imagine a nice garbage man will pick her up and take her to a new home.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Life in Blu

I will stay away from technical details as much as possible and stay within the subjective experiences of multimedia quality.

Recently I picked up a blu ray player. This choice went against that which I had been a stalwart- the move to digital downloads/streams, Netflix only, and avoidance of the format war. So what made me crack? The realization that: not everything is available on digital stream and it will be awhile before that is even close, the need for Netflix purely for the physical format is overwhelming, streaming digital TrueHD movies won't be available for another 5-10 years (even then, new movies won't be available because of licensing and rights), and the reign of blu ray over HDdvd. While, HD streams are available (via my xbox 360 netflix) and look great- they are lacking; I notice the loss of data and notice slight pixelation. Also, many movies aren't available in HD. They are in lower quality streams, not unwatchable but there are some films that deserve a greater justice for viewing pleasure.

The REAL reason though is the Dark Knight. This movie is filmed and directed in an amazing way (see Wired article). I watched it last night and the viewing experience is hands down better than any movie I have seen on a television screen EVER. So I bought this for one movie? Not entirely, I bought Iron Man too and have Netflix. I probably won't buy other movies and will rely on Netflix. I already need it for digital streams so why not blu ray for the highest quality too?

The blu ray player also upgraded my DVDs. Unfortunately, the quality of DVDs on a digital LCD TV suffers under regular DVD players and xbox dvd player conversion rates. In short, a DVD can look better on an old analog television than a $1,000+ HDTV; unless you have an upconverting DVD player- as my blu ray player does. Tonight I watched Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and compared the upconverted quality to the regular. On my LCD TV the difference was dramatic. Without upconversion: darker colors, quick movements, and color differences are pixelated, overall the resolution and quality is obviously lower. With upconversion images are clear and colors more vibrant. It isn't comparable to TrueHD but I'd say it is better than streaming HD on netflix. I've watched the Iron Man DVD and Lord of the Rings on different HDTVs and the drop in quality is loudly noticeable, hindering my enjoyment of the film. Luckily, upconversion has resolved that problem. I'm serious the unconverted difference makes me think of VHS quality.

As it stands, the Dark Knight is the one film I may only be able to watch on bluray/TrueHD or in the Imax theater - other formats would leave me gasping for air.