Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Congratulations to Kevin and Charla!

Cathy and I spent this past weekend in Chicago. Cathy was a bridesmaid in Charla Johnson and Kevin Treanor's wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, with Charla's Dad performing part of the service. Unfortunately, the weather in the Windy City was nearly unbearable, reaching a high of 105 degrees. This week the newlyweds will travel to Austria for their honeymoon. If you know the Treanors, be sure to wish them congratulations and safe travels! You can reach Charla at charla23 AT hotmail DOT com

Monday, June 27, 2005

Jay Bennett and John Popper?

Jay Bennett, former Wilco multi-instrumentalist and Jeff Tweedy antagonist, has just finished producing the new Blues Traveler album, "!Bastardos!" Hum, I'll be interested to hear this. Let's hope Jay remembered that a circle can only have one center.

The Brown Cow: Home, Home on the Web

Matt and Connie Brown's ice cream parlor, The Brown Cow, in Forest Park, Illinois, has a new web site. Check them out on the web at www.browncowicecream.com.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mazel Tov!

Cathy and I have had a busy couple of weekends!

  • Last weekend, Cathy went to Chicago for a bachelorette party. They went to see Tony n' Tina's Wedding. Only women would go to a play about a wedding two weeks before an actual wedding. They had a great time, but I've been to other weddings where I didn't know anyone there I can't say I enjoyed myself.
  • While Cathy was out of town, I stayed home. On my way to a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, I had a flat tire on my '88 Chevy Corsica. The kind folks at Tire Barn helped me fix it. They get Jim's 5 star rating! As if flat tires and Bat Mitzvahs aren't already unusual things for me, on the way to pick up my fixed tire, I had a second flat tire! It hit a pot hole with my spare! Oy Vey!
  • It was actually a good thing I had the flats when I did, because Saturday evening I took the Corisca out of Bloomington for the first time in more than 2 years. And on my way to the Yoder family picnic in Westfield I stopped by the new Fry's Electronics in Fishers. Holy cow, this place is incredible. Imagine a store that combined together a Best Buy, Radio Shack, CompUSA, HH Gregg, Staples, Starbucks and the electronics section of Amazon.com under one roof. It's in the old Incredible Universe store, north of 96th Street. it's now on my must visit list for every time I visit the north side of Indy.
  • Sunday, I saw Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in the theater for the 2nd time. Because I could!
  • This past week, our niece Laura stayed with us while her brother Neil was at the IU Summer Music Clinic. While she was in town we took her to the "Roots" vegetarian restaurant on the square in Bloomington. Friday, she and Cathy celebrated their own Hillary Duff day. They saw her perform on the Today Show concert series, be interviewed on Live with Regis and Kelly and went to see the first showing of her new movie, The Perfect Man. We capped off the night by renting Cheaper by the Dozen. We also got to see the final concert for Neil's camp on Saturday.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Pac-Man!

Pac-Man, everyone's favorite pill popping, ghost chasing, big yellow guy is turning 25 this year. Pac-Man was not the first arcade video game, that distinction falls to 1971's Computer Space, although many people believe it was 1972's Pong. Both of which were created by Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari.

Pac-Man was created in Japan by Namco's Toru Iwatani. He was inspired by a pizza that was missing a slice. The original name of the game was Puck-Man, but was changed when it came to America because arcade owners were afraid of vandalism to machines by kids trying to spell a familiar four-letter profanity.

I fondly remember the Pac-man cartoon, but missed out on the Buckner & Garcia "Pac-Man Fever" craze of 1982. Pac-man and his "wife," the feminist Ms. Pac-Man are still going strong with versions of the games available for PC, TVs, Game Cube, Playstation 2, PDAs, XBOX and Cell Phones!

So, the next time you pass a Pac-Man machine, drop a quarter in for a true pioneer. Or better yet, play a free Java version on-line! Wacca-Wacca!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Uncle Tupelo Reunion?

Lawrence.com, a blog concerning nightlife in Lawrence Kansas has a funny post about the upcoming Wakarusa Music Festival. Apparently, both Jeff Tweedy's Wilco and Jay Farrar's new line-up of Son Volt with be performing. The internet has been awash with speculation of an Uncle Tupelo reunion. While up until this week, this seemed as likely as a Pink Floyd reunion, Lawrence.com has sweetened the pot by offering Jeff and Jay the hefty sum of $75 for a reunion set! Hilarious.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

GIS for the people

I wrote a few weeks ago about the new Google Maps service. I read an Assosiated Press story on Yahoo News today about individuals and organizations "hacking" the mapping service. They either create their own database or link to an existing third party database and then llink this data to Google to create a spatial representation of data. A psuedo geographic information system for the people! Very cool.

Here's the full story: "Google Maps Make Demographics Come Alive"

And some of the sites mentioned:
Crime locations: www.chicagocrime.org
Sex predators: www.floridasexualpredators.com
Cheap gas: www.ahding.com/cheapgas
Great apartments: www.housingmaps.com

Monday, June 06, 2005

Warning: Spoilers!

Ok, so I haven't shared my thought on the latest Star Wars movie yet. Cathy and I saw Revenge of the Sith on opening weekend and were very entertained. I have to say it was the best of the Star Wars "prequels" by far. We got to see things that had only been hinted at in the other movies. Finally, the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker is complete. And I just noticed that the recently released DVD Editions of the original trilogy have an interesting change. Hayden Christensen has replaced Sebastian Shaw as the "ghost" of Anakin Skywalker in the final scene of The Return of the Jedi! What a strange change......If Lucas was going to do that, I think he should have added in Liam Neeson as the "ghost" of Qui-Gon Jinn also. Oh well.

Click below to read some more comments about the film. Warning, this contains several spoilers about the plot.

  • Anakin turned to the dark side way too quickly for my liking. Sure, we've seen hints of his ambition, attachment, fear and hate since Attack of the Clones, but he seems to do it so effortlessly. One minute he wants Palpatine arrested, the next minute he is obeying his every order, including the order to kill all the Jedi.

  • Why didn't Anakin question the lighting bolts coming out of Palpatine's hands? He's like "Oh, Mace Windu is attacking the Chancellor?! Wait, the Chancellor is fighting back with a form of the force that I've never seen before. This must prove the Jedi are treasonous!" It seemed that Anakin didn't second guess anything. Were we supposed to think he was blinded by love and driven by a desire to keep Padme alive? I guess so.

  • Do they not have pre-natal care in the Star Wars universe? Why didn't anyone know Padme was having twins till they were born? And why did she have names ready for both of them? Did she know and just wasn't telling anyone? Including Anakin? That seems unlikely. Did she keep her pregnancy secret from everyone? Including her doctors? This doesn't seem likely for a bright educated former Queen like her.
  • I felt Anakin killed Count Dooku way too quickly. I understand that the novelization of the film includes Dooku pleading with Palpatine. "But we had a bargain!" he yells. This troubles and confused Anakin, but Palatine eventually persuades him to kills Dooku. Yes, he had a past with Dooku and yes he thought Dooku's death would stop the war, but he barely questions his actions.

  • Why does Anakin think he can turn to the Dark Side and immediately possess great new powers on Mustofa? Wouldn’t Palpatine/Sideous have to train him? Or is this just him showing is arrogance?

  • I wish Lucas had shown more of the start of the Rebel Alliance. We see Bail Organa and know that he is distrusting of Palpatine. Finally toward the end we know that Padme distrusts Palpatine ("So this is how freedom ends; with thunderous applause."). And in A New Hope we see that Alderaan and Princess Leia Organa leading the rebellion, but I would have liked to see more descent. Maybe other star systems or senators that were questioning the formation of the Empire.

  • I wish we had seen Guin-Gon's ghost in ROTS. We hear his voice in AOTC and he's talked about in ROTS. We know that Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi train with his spirit after ROTS and before their respective exiles on Dagobah and Tatooine. We don't see his ghost in ATOC, ROTS or the end of ROTJ. Obi-Wan had a powerful presence as a ghost, but his master just has a voice? And how did Anakin/Vader learn how to merge with the force? Did he learn this some time after he decided to save Luke's life and when he died minutes later?

  • We needed more background on General Greivous. He was a really cool character, but lost in all of the plot around Anakin. Why the heck was he coughing in the beginning og the movie? I had an idea because of the final scene from the Clone Wars animated series, but if you hadn't seen that, it would have just been dumb. It would have been nice to clarify that Grevious was a CYBORG (half living, half machine) and not a droid.

  • And finally, the last spoken words in the movie, Vader's scream after learning of Padme's death, was downright cheesy! And him breaking his restraints and stumbling off of the operating table was right out of Frankenstein!

A toast to Mr. and Mrs. Sweaty B!

Cathy and I had dinner with Ryan "Sweaty B" Williams and Jennifer Hughes on Saturday night. For one, the view of Indianapolis from their 9th floor corner apartment in the historic Marrot building is incredible. For two, Ryan shocked me by asking me to be in the best man at his wedding. He and Jennifer are getting married on Sunday, October 2nd at the historic Athenaeum on Mass. Ave.

Oh man, it'll be a busy fall! Sept. 13th, Cathy's due date; Oct. 2nd, Hughes-Williams wedding; Oct. 22nd Giddings-Stark wedding Plus all the associated showers and parties. I'm going to have to plan a bachelor party and toast! I better get cracking on that.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Question everything

Here's a great website that I've refered to several times over the last few years. BreakTheChain.org

From their home page:

Question everything! E-mail is an unreliable medium for sharing information. It is unreliable, cannot be tracked and no company uses it to give away money or products. It's an ineffective tool for political activism and won't make you a millionaire overnight.

Don't want the junk! If you forward chain letters, stop! If others send them to you, stop them! The more junk you send, the more you will get. Sending or receiving chain letters increases your exposure to spam, scams and other junk mail.