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Eddie Elmore over at BetaNews has been corresponding back and forth with me for a while now about my submissions of new releases of Blog and was kind enough to suggest that they would mirror a Blog download from BetaNews. So I've added a special BetaNews Blog mirror link on the side-bar.
I watched "Nurse Betty" yesterday. The movie began really well - the nice, low key yet somehow persistent theme that set the tone, Morgan Freeman - that voice which sounds like thick syrup oozing down and need I even mention his acting? -, Chris Rock being his usual, brash and loud self and of course, Rene Zellweger being so wholly natural and sweet :-) It was a really great beginning for a movie ... then it becomes like what Sam Weller in "The Pickwick Papers" says about the parson's egg - good in places <g> Rene Zellweger was great as Betty - she was sweet, gentle, sometimes confused but always determined ... in fact, Betty to a T :-) But while I think Morgan Freeman is a great actor and loved most of his moments with others in the movie, almost all of his scenes with Chris Rock grated on me. While the two were needed to move the plot along, I almost wished that the scenes with the two of them had not been there since they seemed to interrupt the flow of the movie as a whole. In fact, when Chris Rock's character gets killed towards the end of the movie, I was ecstatic :p Overall, it was a great movie - none of the bodily function, sexual innuendo stuff that insults the viewer's intelligence or reflects the writer's lack thereof. A good, straight story that you can enjoy!
I've been doing some looking around and though I didn't find an exact forum/message board system that I wanted (I wanted the ability to create a new discussion or thread simply via a hyperlink), I decided to go with the system provided by World Crossing for the moment till I can find a better alternative. So now you have both discussion forums and a chat option - link's on the side bar ... So talk back and let me know what you think :p
Today is going to be an interesting day :-) The company I work for changed their dress-code a couple of days ago and asked us to wear a jacket and tie on Fridays since they have certain of their representatives coming in every Friday for training (or should I call it indoctrination? <vbg>) While I think the change in policy is kinda stupid, I wouldn't have had any problems complying except for the wording of the "request" - it basically stated that if we weren't properly dressed, we would be sent back home to get dressed properly and come back and the hours we were away would be unpaid time. That to me sounds a lot like saying "you are our serfs and we will tell you what to do and if you don't comply, we have a big stick!". Now, that kind of thing to me is like waving a red flag in front of a bull (and you needn't bother telling me that the bull is color-blind and it's the motion - I know that but it sounds better :p) and so I've come to work dressed as I normally do. I'm waiting to see what happens and if I do indeed get asked to go home, I won't be coming back and they'll be getting my resignation letter. Of course, that would mean that I'd have to leave the US and go back to Sri Lanka as well but hey, you've gotta do what you've gotta do :-) Am I crazy? I probably am but at least I'm a crazy individual not a drone :p
Watched parts three and four of "RoboCop: Prime Directives" last night - one was recorded on DVR and the other was live. Excellent! I really enjoyed the series even though the ending was kind of predictable :-) When the movie ended, I got up feeling kind of warm and tingly with this feeling of needing to go forth and do some good and to me, that means a good movie <g>
Tyran Ormond wrote in with a suggestion for Blog that actually completed a thought that had been at the back of my mind and set of a whole series of things in motion. His suggestion was simple enough - to have sort of a Blog tag to uniquely identify each journal entry. I had been thinking the same thing from the perspective of linking to older entries but Tyran wanted it so that comments could be added for each entry. The unique ID along with automatic archiving of older entries would be good enough to serve as the basis for Blog 3.0 and so I'll probably be working on that though I'd hoped to do a final of Scope 2.0 before that ... Oh well ... I need to do the final of Blog 2.5 before that though <g>
Tyran's comments about comments set me to thinking about adding a comments feature to my own journal. Of course, I don't want to mess with PHP and mySQL since I host on several different servers - the best option for me would be a free service which allows me to somehow add links for each journal entry. I have been looking at a few message board systems but nothing seems to do what I want. Anybody have any suggestions? If I do add the comments (and I don't get kicked out of the US <vbg>), I'll probably also add a webcam to the site while I'm at it :-) I had been thinking about that for a while but really had no motivation to go ahead and do so but adding comments makes it somehow a little bit more personal and gives it a sort of a community feeling and so I feel the webcam would fit in too ... of course, considering that you'll be seeing my ugly mug a lot, that might not be a good idea :p
Just wanted to mention something really nice that KuhnDog did since it is very rare to find people doing something for others ... sinesolis (who also helps me out a lot by doing something for nothing ...) was looking for a place to host his online story which is currently here. KuhnDog had been nice enough to give me space to host a mirror of my site and when I told him about sinesolis, he immediately said that he'd offer him a subdomain. I find it really refreshing that somebody would just do something like that for somebody they didn't even know and it kinda makes me feel that we as a race are perhaps not without redeeming qualities after all :-)
I very much wanted to watch the third part in the new RoboCop mini-series, "RoboCop: Prime Directives - Resurrection" yesterday but I fell asleep while watching John C. Dvorak discuss Mac OS X on Silicon Spin :p Hmm .. I wonder whether that's a reflection on the show, the host or the subject matter? <vbg> I'm kidding ... I like Silicon Spin though sometimes it feels like the tech version of Jerry Springer <g> and I certainly don't like the way they skim over the topics instead of concentrating on any particular aspect for too long ... but I still like the subject choices they make.
Anyway, the reason I fell asleep was because I'd been staying up the previous two days to watch the first two parts of the RoboCop mini-series. Fortunately, my DVR/PVR (Digital Video Recorder/Personal Video Recorder) that comes with DishNetwork was on the job and was already recording the show when I woke up from my slumbers and so I just decided to let the recording continue and just go to bed :-) I guess I'll just have to catch up on the show today ...
I managed to solve the problem with the toolbar cusomizations by moving the Journal selection stuff to the left-hand side of the Blog window and since that was about the only thing which was preventing me from doing the Beta 2 release, we're all set now :-) I found some time during lunch to package together the release and so here it is - download it from the sidebar and enjoy! And of course, let me know whether you like the new look or not - I certainly do :p
My computer at work went on the blink yesterday and so I had some spare time on my hand - so I decided to integrate the spiffy new icons that sinesolis had whipped up into Blog. It started off simply enough as just a project to change the exsiting Blog icons but then I thought, "Hey, I should make the toolbars customizable so that the user can add or remove buttons from the toolbar!" I started on that for the new Edit toolbar (not the main toolbar) but once I got that done, I wanted to modify the main toolbar as well. So I did that too and then I thought of adding the functionality to make the changes persistent - so I did :p It went on and on like that with me expanding on the toolbar functionality till I ended up with a pretty different Blog than I'd started with <vbg> Of course there are some problems - the main toolbar does not resize if you add captions to the buttons and so you can't see the full toolbar and I'm not sure whether I'll find the time to fix that or whether I'll simply release Beta 2 of Blog 2.5 and then try to fix it by Beta 3. I guess you'll just have to wait and see :p
Spent the evening watching the second part of "RoboCop: Prime Directives" and verily it was good :p The story is still progressing well though there are quite a few new characters and I actually had a couple of villains that I was able to actively dislike :-) Seems as if that hasn't happened in a long while <g>
One final thing I realized while driving to work today that I hadn't done my usual pitch about smiling in a while since the GroupHug mailing list has been dormant for a couple of months :-) So here goes - please smile at at least one person today and you just might be rewarded with a smile in return - who knows, maybe we'll start a domino reaction of smiles that will make everybody's day a little bit brighter :-)
Did some work on both Blog and Scope yesterday. I finally implemented the automatic new window blocking button and a StartUp option to specify whether to have it enabled or disabled on Scope start up. I also did some changes to the way Scope is registered as the default browser to ensure that paths with spaces in them will be handled correctly. Of course, this is not enough to warrant a new build and I do have to do some further bug fixes and so don't expect a new beta build yet :p On the Blog side, I fixed something I should have a long time ago - the date selection for the archival dialog. I was using a component where the date drop downs were very sensitive and would usually jump about two months when you click a forward or backward arrow - it's now fixed. I also received the nifty new icons from sinesolis for Blog yesterday and I need to add them to the UI and then add the file upload manager to Blog so that basically Blog will combine the features of Blog and BOB :-)
Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if I'll be doing much coding in the evenings this week. The Sci Fi Channel has got a great new RoboCop series the whole week - it's four episodes each two hours long running from Monday to Thursday. I watched the first part yesterday and it really looks good. The feel of the story and setting seems really close to the original movie and they take up some of the loose threads from the original story such as introducing Murphy's son now all grown up since this storyline takes place 10 years later. I found the first episode really interesting and so will probably be glued to the TV the rest of the week - I know, I'm really sad but that's how it is when you have no life <vbg>
I watched "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" on DVD yesterday evening and all I can say is "Wow!!!!" Three great movies in a row - when's this streak gonna end? :-) (I hope never ...) What can I say about Crouching Tiger? It's a poetic, liquid, fantastical movie with great characters, brilliant swordplay and a haunting score. I usually never take notice of the score for a movie - sure I know that it's there but it never registers conciously on my mind. But the score by Tan Dun for Crouching Tiger has a life of it's own - the cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma seem to have a haunting, sorrowful note at times that seems to breathe a life of it's own to the movie. I've often heard that Ang Lee's movies are about strong women and while I have not seen any of his other movies, that is certainly the case when it comes to Crouching Tiger - while the character of Li Mu Bai (played to perfection by Chow Yun-Fat) is central to the story and seems to directly or indirectly affect all the events of the story, it is three women who are connected to Li Mu Bai who really move things along and directly affect events. There's Shu Lien - the woman Li Mu Bai loves but cannot be with due to circumstances - , Jade Fox - the woman who killed Li Mu Bai's master and whom Li Mu Bai wants to kill in order to avenge his master's death - and Jen (though I believe her name in Chinese is different and I hate it when they change names for English :p) - the woman whom Li Mu Bai wants to make his disciple because she has such mastery of wudan -. It is a beautiful story and though I don't agree with the ending (which I won't reveal because I hate people who spoil a movie by revealing the ending <vbg>) because I think that particular character was much stronger than the ending gave him/her credit for and wouldn't really have taken that particular course of action, it is a movie which left me feeling uplifted.
I'm not sure whether everybody would like the movie as much as I did because to understand the characters and their actions, you probably need to understand a bit about the time and the society they lived in and since this is set in ancient China, even I might be deluding myself in thinking that I understand any of it :p But I think the movie is worth it just for the fantastic swordplay and the martial arts. Now if you are into total realism, don't go see this movie because it is not about reality - it is about a magical world that we know isn't real but yet we would very much love to see become a reality if possible. Anybody want a dedicated disciple who wants to be taught wudan? (And I'm not kidding there ...)
Heard from sinesolis early in the morning and he's worked his magic again! He's done some more icons for Blog and let me tell you, when I saw those icons I wanted to use Blog just so that I could look at those icons :-) And while I might be exaggerating, I'm not exaggerating much <g> Thos icons look pretty darn good and I can't wait to get the next release of Blog done so that I (and anybody else who wants to for that matter) can use Blog with these beautiful icons:
I'd bought quite a few DVD's yesterday (including the "Die Hard Absolute Collection" - which I absolutely love <vbg> - for $52 at Sam's ... you've gotta go get it since it's cheaper at Sam's than online though jugg who went to CostCo after he talked to me says it's only $49 at CostCo) and so was determined not to go to the movies today. But the words Di Nero, Brando & Norton (Edward not Peter or Andre :p) kept going through my mind and I finally gave in and went to see "The Score" and I'm glad I did :-) It's a great heist movie and the story, the pacing, the acting - everything's top notch! Well, maybe the story is not absolutely tops but the rest is great :-) Edward Norton in particular gives a brilliant Adam Sandleresque performance as Brian - one of the two characters he plays - or rather the character that he plays plays - don't ask, watch the movie <vbg> I expected a few more twists to the ending but other than that, it was great - go see it :-)
In addition to the movie itself, the previews yielded a hopeful, a possible and one definite good movie :-) The hopeful is "Summer Catch" - a movie starring Freddie Prinz Jr. and Jessica Biel (Mary Camden from TV's "Seventh Heaven"). It seems as if it might be giving into the current trend of adolescent humour and sexual innuendo with nothing substantial in the way of story but I'm hopeful that there is a good romantic comedy underneath it all (hey, I like a good romantic comedy, so sue me :p) The possible is "Rat Race" - God knows it's got enough talent in there to make it good (actors of the caliber of Whoopi Goldber, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Lovitz, Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese are but some of the people involved) and what I saw of the movie looked really funny without it stooping to the level of sophomoric humour that I've been seeing a lot of lately :p I think it's gonna be good but it's hard to say sometimes just based on the previews because that might be all the good bits from the movie <vbg> The definite is "Hardball" starring Keanu Reeves. It's one of those feel-good movies that make you just want to cry or to jump up and pump your arms in excitement or just go out and do some real good in the world. The sound-track sounded good as well and the only thing I regret is that I'll have to wait till September to see the movie - oh well ...
Did I mention that I heard from sinesolis recently? His online story at NobodySpecial.com had not been updated for a while and I was beginning to think he'd dropped off the face of the earth when he suddenly reappeared. He'd moved and so I guess was offline for a bit but now he's back and he's already done a new button for Scope to support the new No New Window toggle button I was talking about. I asked him if he would do some new buttons for Blog and today I received a conceptual screenshot from him which I personally think is great :-) It gives a completely new and exciting look to Blog than the old, drab buttons I had put in did <vbg> In case you are wondering what the new buttons look like, here they are:
I watched "Unbreakable" yesterday - it's M. Night Shyamalan's next movie after "The Sixth Sense" and he still retains the same brilliant touch. Reviews that I had read seemed to suggest that "Unbreakable" was much slower paced than "The Sixth Sense" but I really didn't notice it because the story moves along rapidly. In fact, I was so engrossed by the story that I watched it in one sitting on DVD! The last time I recall doing that was when I watched "Magnolia" and that was a great story too!! In fact, I was beginning to think that I was becoming jaded and that the fact that I wasn't enjoying new movies was my fault but "Unbreakable" proved that it wasn't so - I just hadn't seen any good movies lately :p I won't say anything much about the story itself in case I spoil it for somebody else but it is a darn good movie - the only thing I didn't like was the fact that it seemed to end a bit abruptly. Night Shymalan says on the DVD that it was actually a first act that played out as a full feature but I see it more like a pretty good first and second act but a very brief third act which leaves us wanting a longer conclusion or at least a sequel so that we will know what happened next ...
Copyright (c) 2001 Fahim A. Farook