The X-Files – I Want To Believe

January 1, 2009

The X-Files - I Want To Believe
I was an after-the-fact X-Files fan. I didn’t drag out the nine seasons, instead, I caught them in syndication, and watched them all over the course of a month or two. I have no idea if that made my expectations for the new movie any different, but I finally got a chance to watch it the other night.

(potential spoilers ahead)

All things considered, not bad.

Our agents’ post-FBI trajectory had been about what we’d have expected. There was a little something for the Mulder and Scully shippers, and having Skinner pull Mulder’s chestnuts out of the fire one last time gave it a sense of old home week.

It would have been fun if they’d have given us an alien takeover plot of some kind, instead of organ theft and odd ex-Soviet block medical experiments, but in the end, it was about what The X-Files was always about — the nature of belief.

Billy Connolly was good as a defrocked priest turned psychic, and Amanda Peet did well as an FBI agent who was a closet Mulder fan. It would have been nice if Xzibit had stretched a bit beyond being the designated wet-blanket skeptic.

If you weren’t an X-Files fan, there’s not much here for you, but if you were, it was a nice reunion, and far better than the first movie.

The X-Files – I Want To Believe – DVD
The X-Files – I Want To Believe – BluRay

Repo! The Genetic Opera

January 1, 2009

Repo! The Genetic Opera
I got out to one of the local art house theaters today and saw Repo! The Genetic Opera.

It was God-awful.

Strike that. It wasn’t that bad — it might have made a nice direct-to-video piece. It had plenty of problems, but I’d have overlooked them if it had actually been the movie I wanted to see.

From a distance, it’s looked good for months — I love the clip for Zydrate Anatomy (below), but what I wanted to see was more of that; something a bit more camp, more Rocky Horror.

What we got instead was indeed opera, of the fairly dreary variety, which could have about as well been subtitled “Hey. Having kids sucks.”

There were some bright spots. Anthony Head can still do a pretty credible job of belting out a tune, and was arguably the male lead, instead of Paul Sorvino (who himself wasn’t terrible). Alexa Vega did well in the lead. Paris Hilton did not manage to stink up the film any more than it was otherwise stunk up.

Everybody else was just sketched in, tho. Why would you have Sarah Brightman in a musical and only let her do a miniscule amount of singing? Mosley and Ogre were intriguing as Luigi and Pavi Largo, but their characters weren’t allowed enough exposure to do anything with them. Zdunich’s “Grave Robber” from the Zydrate Anatomy scene barely got another five minutes beyond that.

The movie also layed an ungodly amount of “pipe” — I swear 2/3 of it was exposition trying to set the stage for a story that they didn’t have enough time remaining to tell.

This could have been so much more, if it had been done differently.

Here’s the three and a half minute highlight of the movie, if you’d rather not spend the $10 —

Belkin BZ103050vTVL Mini Surge Protector w/ USB

May 23, 2008

Belkin BZ103050vTVL Mini Surge Protector w/ USB
I had this conversation in chat this morning…

He wouldn’t shut up about it, but I couldn’t get him to bother to write it all up for a review, either.

So, by the miracle of chat transcripts, here’s more-or-less a guest review — the hard way…

heh… just got this…

dude. it’s sweet

3 surge protected outlets and 2 usb ports

i shoulda bought two… 1 for travel and 1 for the imac

this belkin surge protector is brilliant… the 3 prongs can rotate 360 degrees to get you into pretty much any wall outlet configuration

bbiam. gotta shut this off so i can plug the protector in

absolutely brilliant… a usb charging hub and a surge protector…. with a lifetime warranty and will cover up to $75000 if it fails.

i shoulda bought 3… 2 for me, 1 for you

this is blog-able.

there are a number of belkin products i don’t like, but this one seems hard to **** up and if it does it’s job… i’ll be very happy.

damn. i am going to have to get another one.

just thinking back to that last trip and how much of a pain in the ass it was just to find an outlet… let alone find one where i could plug my phone and laptop and the cradle in all at once

i like the 2 usb ports… b/c i won’t have to carry around a usb brick for the phone or an ipod

Sounds pretty nifty, actually. Who knows, maybe he’ll actually get me one…

Belkin BZ103050vTVL Mini Surge Protector w/ USB

Proporta Laptop Sleeve Review

March 18, 2008

Proporta Laptop Sleeve
It seems like I’m always looking around for a better laptop sleeve. I’ve been rocking a Brenthaven Eclipse II sleeve for my 15″ Macbook Pro for awhile, and it’s a great sleeve, but for day-to-day stuff, I’d prefer something a bit more lightweight and “portfolio-like”.

Enter the new Proporta sleeve.
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iHome iH6 iPod Clock Radio (Review)

March 7, 2007

iHome iH6 iPod Clock Radio(iSwear iM getting sick of the whole iProduct naming thing…)

Oh well; lack of originality in a name never hurt anything, iSuppose.

In any event…

I got my first iHome iPod clock radio (the iH5) for Christmas, 2005.

It was exceedingly cool, and then pretty cool, and then mostly cool, and then (just recently) it sucked enormously.

The concept was great — wake up to your playlist, keep your iPod handy and charged, and it doubled as a damn good iPod speaker dock.

Unfortunately, the execution lacked a bit — the display was hard to read (there were very few brightness settings that were readable during full light that didn’t try to give you a fluorescent tan while you slept), and the clock had a tendency to lose a minute or two each month.

Annoying, but livable.

Lately however, it started making a horrid noise during iPod play if the iPod wasn’t in the dock just “so”. Then it started making it regardless of how the carefully the iPod was placed in the dock. At the same time, the iPod or radio buttons would turn on the associated function (or noise, as the case may be), but not turn it off.

At which point it got kicked to the curb.

All in all, not overly terrible — while fifteen months isn’t a tremendous life span for an under $100 piece of consumer electronics, it isn’t completely unreasonable, either.

Still, I decided I’d give the iHome another shot, with the iH6. Since the original product has been on the ground for well over a year, hopefully they’ve had an opportunity to sort out some of the issues.

So far, so good…
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Capresso CoffeeTEC Digital Coffee Maker – Review

October 11, 2005

Capresso CoffeeTEC Digital Coffee MakerAre you looking for all the bells and whistles? Do you want a machine that not only makes coffee correctly, it does it with style? Do you like steamed and frothed milk in your coffee, but not quite enough to go to an espresso machine? If so, then the Capresso CoffeeTEC may well be your dream machine.

Weighing in at 12 lbs, complete with stainless steel thermal carafe, goldtone filter, a milk steamer and a digital timer, the CoffeeTEC is probably the Cadillac of the drip brewing stable.
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HotTop Coffee Roaster Review

October 2, 2005

HotTop Coffee RoasterThere comes a time when you get serious about coffee roasting… Or more accurately, there came a time when I got serious about my coffee roasting.

The Hearthware i-Roast was a lot of fun, and did a nice job, but it had a couple of critical limits. First, it could only roast a small amount of coffee at a time (about five ounces, if I pushed the limits a little), and it has to be allowed to cool for a good long time (ideally, several hours) before roasting again.

Since I like playing with different blends, and occasionally roast coffee to give away to friends as well as for myself, these limits got fairly annoying.
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CoffeeCuppers – New independent review site

June 19, 2005

Since I’ve been getting into home roasting so much lately, I was pleased to run across CoffeeCuppers — a site for cupping notes on different coffees that’s not directly associated with a specific green coffee seller.

CoffeeCuppers is the brainchild of Bob Yellin and Jim Schulman — I’m not familiar with Jim, but I’ve been enjoying Bob’s cupping notes on several sites, and it’s nice to find that they’ve got a home of their own.

Here’s what they’re up to, in their own words:

This web site, will cater to home roasters and other customers of green coffee suppliers. Here, they will be able to read reviews of the coffees we cup, but only those that we enjoy. The reviews will be as objective, independent and honest and as we can make them.

We will identify our reviews, so people who prefer one reviewer over another will know who wrote what. Joint reviews by both of us may also appear.

Proporta Alu-Leather Treo 650 Flip Case Review

June 13, 2005

imageThe kind folks at Proporta gave me the opportunity recently to look at a couple of their new cases for the Treo 650.

The first one up is their Alu-Leather Flip Case for the Treo 600/650.

The Alu-Leather is a rather odd duck of a case—it’s a leather flip case, with an inner sheet of heavy aluminum for added protection right over the display.  It’s kind of like having a bit of the protection of an aluminum case, without all of the clanking.

I’ve never been terribly fond of flip-cases for phones—I can’t see who is calling without opening it, and when I’m talking, the flip cover is usually flapping around in my way.

So, I started out a little prejudiced against this style of case, but I wanted to give it an honest try.  I’m suprised at how much I ended up liking it.
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Voodoo Epic HTPC m:112i Review

May 13, 2005

Looking for a quiet, fanless HTPC system that delivers good (if not great) gaming performance, dual tuner (standard definition) PVR and MCE 2005. Is $3500 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, the new Epic HTPC m:112i from Voodoo might be just up your alley.

PC Magazine has a brief review here.

The Epic HTPC m:112i comes with an nVidia GeForce 6800GT graphics card, and this helps the system achieve very good 3D gaming scores on the 1,024-by-768 Doom 3 test and on our Halo test at both this resolution and at 1,600-by-1,200. Like all high-end, single-card graphics solutions we’ve seen, the Epic HTPC m:112i stutters a little on the Doom 3 test at the higher resolution. So far, only dual-card SLI systems can break 60 frames per second at 1,600-by-1,200. That said, the Epic HTPC m:112i will be able to handle strenuous gaming duties silently. The system’s Pentium M 725 provides plenty of power for day-to-day activities like Web surfing and checking e-mail.

The system comes with a built-in stereo amp, so you can power your speakers without yet another device.

Offhand, it sounds like a box that does a lot well, but nothing exceptional, for a pretty substantial fee. On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy off-the-rack and this is in your budget range, it may be worth a look.

(Via Engadget)

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