Thursday, March 30, 2006

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, 1951 or 1952

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

DVD Tuesday

They didn't monkey around with this DVD. It is filled with bonus material!

Plus it is a pretty decent film!

Check it out.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Movie Friday

Whilst getting my brakes checked at the mall, I stopped in the local theater to see Inside Man. The new Denzel Washington movie. Or is it the new Clive Owen movie? Or wait! The new Jodie Foster movie? I'm so confused. And not just because of the cast.

The plot was long and boring. It is a movie about a bank robbery, but don't worry because no money was taken. (Except for mine at the ticket window!). In fact its a movie about nothing. Because nothing happens! I kept waiting for suspense. Not there. Drama! Not there. Clever plot? Nope.

There are no dead bodies and no sex scene. Boring. Oh sure there's a few times you wonder where the mysterious plot is going, and there are a few pithy lines and scenes that make you crack a smile or two, and a tidy happy wrap up at the end, but not enough to save this bore fest.

I had hoped for a thrilling cat and mouse game between Clive Owen's character, Dalton Russel and Denzel as Detective Keith Frazier (That's Frazier with a Z), reminiscent of the banter between Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman as the terrorist/thief Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

Instead I got something as exiting as watching paint dry. Clive's character pulls the wool over Denzels eyes the whole movie even to the end, which is surprising since its a Spike Lee (Malcom X) movie.

Whatever you do, DO NOT check out this movie.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Who needs a Cashier?

Pick Taco Bell or KFC, place your order, swipe your card, and viola after a few minutes a tray appears on the counter with your order.

It's like Star Trek where they would say "Chicken Soup" and it would magically appear.

New kiosks are appearng that replace the cashier. Check it out.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hallsdale-Powell Utility District

I try to keep my blog lite. Funny and trivially informative. I try to steer clear of religion, politics, and social issues. They are boring for the most part anyway. I am not saying they are not important or relevant because they are important and relevant to us all. The discussion of such issues is what I generally find boring and there are plenty of better forums for those issues than my blog.

However today whilst paying the bills, I noticed something that has me incensed and I must speak to it if for no other reason than to vent my anger and rant. First let me say that I have never not paid a bill owed by me. I have never incurred a late fee of any kind. (no not even at Blockbuster!) Nor have I ever bounced a check, or reported any fraudulent information on my taxes. I always pay off my loans ahead of schedule. Not that I am without sin, I seem to be signing my checks with a pen that somehow managed to migrate from the desk at my office to my desk at home. And if I fall to hard times and get laid off from my current job, I may indeed begin to bounce checks left and right and perhaps fall behind on payments, but for now I remain ever diligent toward my responsibilities and obligations.

Do I say all this to boast? To brag? To insinuate that I am somehow better than those who open new credit card accounts to pay off old ones? Not at all, I simply build the case that I am a responsible and contributing member of society and that I pay what I owe when I owe it.

It is because of this that I find myself vilified by the company in charge of supplying fresh, crisp, sparkling clean H2O to my place of residence. I was preparing to pay them this month's accord, a sum of thirty-four American dollars and twenty-six cents. An average water bill by any account and finding no fault in their service am happy to pay it. It was then I noticed something I had not realized they added this year. This year they redesigned their bill as companies oft do in an effort to make it more readable for their CUSTOMERS.

I saw the usual late fee penalty listed there for your convenience. While this alone is a bit stand-offish and causes my nose to crinkle I can understand having a system that encourages prompt payment. (apparently this was not enough incentive do read on). Currently were my check to reach their coffers on April 2, rather than the due date of April 1, I would be assessed a penalty of three American dollars and forty-three cents. Bringing my total bill to thirty seven dollars and sixty-nine cents. A sum I plan not to pay as my check should arrive on time if any faith can be placed in the United States Postal Service.

Then I noticed a new item that I had missed on the previous two bills. An item listed as the DISCONNECT DATE. Yes, if the earth rotates six times and I have failed to send them any form of acceptable payment Hallsdale-Powell Utility District will promptly and without further notice, shut off my water! No showers, no flushing toilets, no baths for my children, much less their Koolaide. No candle lit bubble baths for hiding from aforementioned offspring while reading David Baldacci's Split Second and listening to Antonio Vivaldi!

These callous Mafia wannabees have the audacity to assess a service charge of forty bucks (yes I said bucks) on the day they chose to cut you off from the life giving agua. A fee that must be paid in addition to the bill in question that allegedly hasn't been paid. And don't forget the almighty late fee that would surely be applied to a delinquent account. Extortionists!

I am certainly not naive enough not to know there are plenty of people "out there" that when facing the decision to buy crack, methane, another month of Everquest, a Bud Light, or pay the water bill, they often chose from the former list. These people have the right to chose their fates and in these cases I cannot fault the Utility for being harsh.

What infuriates me however, is that Hallsdale-Powell would just simply place me on equal footing with them. (Didn't I say earlier in the post that I wasn't saying I was better than those who can't seem to pay on time? I lied). I pay my bills every month on time and in full! I deserve some respect as a paying customer. The only way they can get by with running their company like a Nazi concentration camp (yes it really happened President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you moron) is that I have no choice in whom I get my water from. Short of digging a well in my back yard, they are the only supplier of liquid life to my house. My only hope is that the city will annex my neighborhood and I can pay KUB for my drinking water and not have to give another penny to the tyrants. There is no disconnect date on KUB's water bill.

What happens if I go off for a two week or like my boss, a month's vacation. The day I leave the bill arrives and is buried in a stack of papers and bills which I try to attend to promptly on my return but due to circumstances beyond my control, gasp and horror, I miss the disconnect date by an hour and four minutes! What if there's a death in the family? What if I, the chief accountant and payer of all things labeled bill (who came up with that term btw?), die? What if there's a wedding? My lord and heaven forbid what if the unthinkable happens and the bill is....LOST in the MAIL?!?!?!?!

Well they have a little fine print to address that as well. And I quote: "Failure to receive a bill will not release customer from payment obligation." Aren't these compassionate and charming people? If once in my entire and impeccable business affairs with this company, I am overly tardy in my remittance will they kindly pick up the phone as to inquire as to the state of my affairs? NO. Will they perhaps send a small note as to remind me that my account has fallen past due and that I should take corrective action so as to not experience any disruption in my service? Not a chance. I will simply wake up, have my morning constitution, not noticing it has failed to submerge to the sewers below, turn on the shower and watch in wonder as it belches out a cold last breath. At that moment I will scratch my head in puzzlement, and then realization will slowly creep over me at the same rate the stench from my toilet crawls up my nose.

"If bill is not paid on or before due date, your service is subject to disconnection without further notice."

Book I'm Reading

She had that essential trait of a polished killer: she possessed no conscience.

-Split Second

Friday, March 17, 2006

Movie Friday

V is for Vantastic. My friend and I chose V for Vendetta for our Friday afternoon distraction. Starring Natalie Portman and some guy that wears a fawkes mask the entire film.

The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name – V for Vendetta first appeared in Warrior, an independent monthly comic magazine published in 1981, quickly capturing a cult following.

Vendetta is set slightly in the future, where modern day London is still very recognizable.

It was a strong film, filled with figurative "V" symbolism (Sesame Street would be proud). Even though "V" is a terrorist, he is railing against an oppressive government that seeks to stamp out the fears of its people by controlling them. It uses the fear of counter culture (ala the Wachowskis bros.), disease like bird flu and bio terror, and of course everyone's favorite WAR.

Natalie Portman has come along way since Star Wars, she does an excellent job portraying a confused and scared girl trying to decide if she should side with the terrorist/hero "V" or run away from it all.

As for "V" he has a couple of dazzling fight scenes with big flashing knives, but the best part of his character is his high brow intellectual dialogue and taste in music. His opening scene is a soliloquy where he nearly uses every word in the dictionary that begins with the letter V. (Grover would be very proud). V is on a very personal mission to wreak vengeance on those who imprisoned and tortured him, and in doing so, created a monster

Although I rolled my eyes at the social issues the film tried to cram down my throat and at the premise that people would follow the inane dictates of a government like sheep, the story and characters were compelling enough to keep my interest. You should rush directly to the theater, pass Ultraviolet, and go see the letter "V"! Check it out.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

DVD Tuesday

What's Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) been up to since Lord of the Rings? Well ridding a horse through the desert in Hildalgo, and now smashing up and shooting bad guys like Chuck Norris in A History of Violence.

Viggo plays mild mannered Tom Stall. A friendly restaurant owner in a small town. Some bad guys roll into town and into Tom's coffee shop. When they threaten violence on his patrons, Tom takes them out. The story gets national attention and before long organized crime comes to the small own looking for Tom. Is it mistaken identity or is Tom's past coming back to haunt him?

Viggo of course makes a great hero, but I was surprised by the casting of the bad guys, Ed Harris plays a mob strong man with an over the top scar on his face. The ultimate bad guy is played by the soft spoken William Hurt. Hurting for parts these days Bill? (pun intended).

Despite miscast bad guys and a fairly predictable ending, the story is strong and keeps you guessing. I enjoyed watching Viggo in a new role and I hope he will continue to be successful. Check out A History of Violence!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ghost Recon

No movie for me today. I picked up a new XBOX 360 game: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. So I played that. If you saw the new CBS show, The Unit, that is what Ghost Recon is like. The Unit is a good show by the way.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Look Out Google!

There is a new kid on the block. Windows released their new search engine for testing today.

It has a new interface and you can do some customization of the start page if you like.

Will it change the way we search the web?

You tell me, check it out.

Windows Live

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

DVD Tuesday

Welcome to the SUCK. Being in the army may suck, but Jarhead doesn't. Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx give stellar performances.

But this isn't your typical war flick with lots of killing and explosions. It's more about the life of a grunt during Operation Desert Sheild.

You'll love it. Scouts honor. Check it out!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Movie Friday

Ultraviolet. "Park it right here! Don't make me say it again!" - Violet. She learns the rules of parenting rather quickly as she takes a child under her protection. The child carries a virus that has the potential to wipe out the human race in this near future film.

Like Aeon Flux, two factions are fighting for ultimate control of the planet and Ultraviolet and her ultra-violent arsenal of weapons stands in the way of both sides.

With a dizzying body count that increases exponentially and mind boggling computer graphics, the movie is a series of unimaginative fight scenes with pauses of introspection by Violet as she tries to sort out what her life is and means. I agree with the opening statement she makes. "Mine is a world you may not understand." I barely understood the film. Is a hot chick, Milla Jovoich, and lots of butt kicking worth the $5.50? Maybe, but I should have seen 16 Blocks.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


How cool is this? Inflatable Screen Pro 28165. The viewing screen size is 28' wide by 16.5' high (16:9 widescreen format) . The Inflatable frame places the screen 5 feet high off the ground.This is the optimum size for an Outdoor Theater Setup. This summer I will have a Lord of the Rings Trilogy Marathon...In my backyard! You can find these godzilla sized screens on ebay for 5-12 grand. Won't the neighbors love me!