Monday, April 28, 2008

Guillermo Del Toro to Direct the Hobbit

I've been very impressed with his other movies. He apparently wants to use as much puppetry as possible, reducing the dependence on CGI for everything.

Monday Morning Poll: Will the Seas be Smooth for Del Toro's 'Hobbit'? - Cinematical

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kikkoman Shoyu


Per request, here's where this came from.

I was playing Shiren the Wanderer on the DS, which is a Rogue-like game. I decided to research Rogue-like games to find out their origin, the programming methods, etc. I ended up on the page of one of the first two programmers of Rogue. His articles led me to a sentence along the lines of "you'll think twice about this once you hit a shoyu". I looked up shoyu, and this video was one of the results. Apparently shoyu is a type of soy sauce. Never found out its relationship with Rogue.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Camping Nightmare

I like to camp. I'll do whatever kind of camping everyone's up to. Usually that means car camping. We (my wife and our friends) found ourselves without children for a night, so we decided to go camping. Unfortunately the only place we could get at at 5:00 in the afternoon same day was the campground at Stone Mountain.

We split up, gathered up just enough to camp for one night, hooked back up, zipped to the grocery store, then headed to the park. We had just enough daylight left to get the tent set up (it's a huge tent that requires two, but really needs four, to put up).

The big huge tent seen from its not-so-big side.

I know that looks like a sidewalk, but that's actually just sand with a straight tree that fell close by, with the other dog's runner crossing under Z's leash.

We had a wonderful dinner of assorted chicken products from the Publix deli. We had an excellent spot with a beautiful view. We chose a primitive camping site because we wanted to have a nice quiet 'back to nature' type of camping experience. Unfortunately, the primitive camping site at this park is a 'bargain basement' area with too many campsites placed too close together. However, we had a lakeside spot so we could imagine we were the onle ones there while we ate and tried to get our fire started. There were lots of lakeside spots left, and it was otherwise crowded, so I assume many of the campers were camping at the cheapest site they could find (it was $5 more for a lakeside site).

Awesome view. Will have to Photoshop to bring out the colors so they look like how our eyes saw them that night.

Right before the laser light show a few other campers quickly set up their tents, then almost everyone around us disappeared. After the light show's finale (fireworks could be seen from our site) the campers trickled back in, so I assume most went to the show because the weather was nice. It was apparently the 25th anniversary of the show, and this was the third night of the new production, so seeing it is a big deal. Everyone seemed nice, and some were a little noisy, but nothing bad. I'm sure we were a little loud a couple of times too.

We tried over and over to start a fire but our pathetic attempts over a two hour period never had wood burning on its own. We did, however, have a nice paper plate fire for a little while. We went to bed around 11:00, not sure of the exact time. We were tired and, since the fire would not stay lit, cold. We retired to the beds to warm up and wait for the morning.

By 1:00 AM we were all up, disturbed by a loud, obnoxious, drunk lady. One of us asked her to keep it down (very nicely, I might add, one of her skills) but the lady took it as an insult, saying she wasn't doing anything wrong, then proceeded to talk louder, and sometimes about us, for another thirty minutes. My wife was frustrated to the point that she went to the ranger station to get them to shut up. Meanwhile, a few minutes later, I stuck out my head and asked them when they were going to bed. She got all upset, and her daughter's boyfriend bowed up, walked over to our campsite, and threatened to punch me in the face because he said that's how he settles things (remember, all of this was because we asked her nicely to keep it down). I made some smart-ass comment about not being able to believe that he actually said he was going to do that. For some reason, he backed off and went back to his site. Maybe its because he thought I was younger, but realized I was an adult when he got closer. I know it wasn't because of my huge muscles.

The cops showed up around 1:30. My wife, unable to find a ranger, called the police to get them to settle it. By now, the kids realized that this was not a good situation and went into the tent. The mom was sitting outside loudly discussing how she should be able to talk all she wants. Right away she stood up to them and said she wasn't doing anything wrong. They told her that there were complaints about the noise, and she fingered us as the complainers. They assured her that there were many complaints and that we were not the ones that called the cops (we were, but maybe he didn't know our site number). They asked her to keep it down, then left. She continued to make phone calls to people asking them to come over and party with her, and that she was probably going to get taken off to jail. She joked about peeing so that it trickled down to our tent. This lady was in her 40's at least, so this just made no sense.

By 2:00 she ran out of people that wanted to talk with her on the phone, and her family had long gone to sleep, so she finally shut up and went to bed. There was another group of kids, apparently back from a prom, that were occasionally noisy but they were far enough away that we could ignore them and get to sleep.

We finally awoke around 7:30, tired from the lack of sleep. We ate a quick crappy breakfast and packed up the tent and the stuff. Three of the kids were sitting at their table, quitely chatting, laughing occasionally. We walked right by their table on our way to the van several times while we loaded up and they never said anything. I looked at the kid that threatened me the night before and wished him a good morning. He told the other guy in our party 'have a nice day' as he made his last trip to the van.

We never saw the mother that morning, nor the other guy. Apparently she was there with her two daughers, her son, and one of her daughter's boyfriends (this was gathered from one of her phone calls). They were all crammed in a three person dome tent.

There were some nice people there. In the morning the other campers around the rude family were very nice to us, even though they didn't talk to each other. This indicated to me that they were grateful in some way that we at least tried to shut her up. One family brought us leftover steak for the dogs to eat, while another asked questions about some of our equipment because she thought it would be a good idea to have the same things. Later on the equipment lady and her husband met us near the van and told us that they couldn't believe that lady was so rude.

One of us talked to a person in the office about the ordeal. She felt so bad that she refunded our night and gave us a rain check for any night in the future for free. She also told us the best campsites to use to have the experience we wanted--peaceful, scenic, and near the water. We drove by those sites on the way out and were sad to see how nice they were. We weren't going to ever come back again, but the office lady was so nice that we feel we must come back to try one of her recommended sites.

What a night.

[edited for typos]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Brought the Wrong Dog Home

I guess this is possible if your dog's breed is a solid color and you don't groom the dog. Could never happen with our multi-colored, unusually groomed Cocker.

Man who claimed dog was imposter reunited with right pooch

Revoltech Evangelion Unit-01

Can't wait for this one. Neon Genesis Evangelion Revoltech Eva-01 Figure (Purple): Toys & Games

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blue Man Group

We saw the Blue Man Group in Orlando this past week. What an amazing show! You truly have to see it yourself to get the whole experience, and much of the fun is seeing how they handle situations and how they interact with the audience, so I'll try not to spoil any of that. I will say this, though: Do not be late.

As you probably know, it's basically a rhythm show. It starts with three guys with smooth blue heads and no ears beating on drums. The drums eventually get covered in paint, so beating the drum heads sprays paint into the air. That's the scene everyone sees in any BMG ads, so no spoiler there.

Painted drums would get boring after a while, so that ends quickly. The rest of the show involves a surprisingly funny sequence of skits, feats of skill, thought-provoking dialog and audience interaction. The three blue guys are not the only performers--there is an elevated stage with several musicians in fluorescent garb that keep the show moving.

Before the show started I went to the restroom. There was a kid with toilet paper wrapped on his head like a bandana. Later, after I arrived at my seat, I noticed that everyone had toilet paper somewhere on their body. It wasn't toilet paper at all, but a yard or so of long skinny paper that was handed to everyone as they sat down. I expected this to get used in some way, something involving black light, but the way it was used was simply amazing. I have never seen anything using music, flashing lights and paper that was so engrossing.

The show ended at the perfect time, so we slowly made our way out of the theatre. We all agreed that it was the best thing we had experienced in many years.

Biking in Orlando - West orange Trail

We rode parts of the West Orange Trail two different days for a total of 35 miles. Although it was not the most scenic ride we have ever done, it was really nice.

Most of the trail is a 'rails to trails' project (according to their website) which means that the trail should be about 14 feet wide with gentle slopes that a train can climb. For the most part we found that this was the case, even using an old converted train trestle to cross the Interstate! However, there were many sections that were clearly NOT railroad beds, especially the hardest section to pedal that involved two sharp bends, steep hills, and the crossing of a road that prevented the use of momentum to roll up the other side. That was really the only hard section.

There were a few long, slow climbs that made us sweat a bit, but most of the trip was pleasantly flat (this IS central Florida). Several of the miles went through quiet towns with sandy roads (the path was paved) and through tree-lined paths. A few miles went along the sides of roads, but almost all roads were of the sleepy type with very few cars. We probably crossed 30 or so roads on the path and only a couple required a complete stop to let a car pass. We SHOULD have stopped at every crossing, but it was easy to see that the way was clear and the other bikers were skipping them too.

There were a few other bikers on the trail. We encountered 60-yr-old couples, 20-something speeders and many 30- and 40-somethings getting exercise at our pace. It was rare to go more than 5 minutes without seeing another biker. There was also a big group of about 20 bikers traveling the other way.

The West 1/2 of the trail has most of the towns and stops along the trail. Most stations were about 2 miles apart. The trail also passes right through the middle of [winter town name]. The East 1/2 only has one station and just a few rest stops, and these were all at least 4 miles apart.

Both days ended in Winter Garden. We first wanted bar-b-que at one of the local restaurants, but we found that it was closed. My wife noticed the big group of 20 bikers we saw earlier at a restaurant called the Moon Cricket Grille.

We ate the fish appetizer, followed by a fish dinner. Very tasty! I also had a Guinness and a Blue Moon the first time. The first time we had the best waiter ever. He ran all over the restaurant and took care of our every need. We gave him a huge tip because he was so nice. The second time we were graced with a 'normal' waitress which seemed crappy by comparison. The restaurant had several coolers of many different beers, but I just stuck with the Guinness and Blue Moon on tap the first time. We had tea the second visit.

We encountered a big tortise our second day. I stopped to take a picture while my wife pedaled on. She was booking it because it took me a long time to catch up.

Overall it was a nice way to spend a few hours in Orlando. My wife and I agreed that this was better than the days we spent in the theme parks.

Awesome Aruba Interactive map PDF

There is a really nice interactive map of Aruba linked below. We are going there this summer. This will be a nice addition to our planning tools.

Direct link
Brochure page

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Jeff GoldBluMan Group

I can't find an image to use for this, and I'm not sure this is a direct link, but you must see the Jeff GoldBluMan Group's Funk Barn from the Innernette episode of Tim & Eric's Awesome Show Great Job.

[adult swim] Adult Swim Video