Shameless Plug

Posted by under *like, Food | Join The Discussion |

This is long overdue.  Pete and I started a 365 blog, and then a few days later some new cookbooks arrived.  I immediately started focussing on my new treasures.  In 2010, I have been trying to cook as often as possible.  Pictures of the food were ending up on the 365 blog, and it had clearly become a huge distraction.  The more I cooked, the more it became clear that I need a better way to organize everything.  No recipe program is going to cut it for me.  I considered building a database….but that is a lot of work and a lot of time.  The biggest problem is that a database is just for me.  Clearly, I wanted to share these kitchen adventures with others.  Pete kept telling me I should do a food post for MLD since that has clearly been a huge distraction for me.  I wanted to, but I wasn’t sure exactly what to post about for the MLD audience.  With how often I have been in the kitchen trying something new, I could completely overtake MLD with food posts.  So…I started a separate blog.  Just for food.  Well, not just for food, it will cover all of my food love….cooking, baking, restaurants, gadgets, and everything in between.  So that explains my lack of posting here.  I have been barefoot in the kitchen.  Check out my food adventures at NotJustTakeOut.com!


We’re All Going Streaking! Bring Your Green Hat!

Posted by under *like, Sports, Technology | Join The Discussion |

As if I wasn’t already addicted to my iPhone (my wife wants to throw it against the wall), ESPN released their Streak for Cash iPhone app late last year and I can’t seem to put it down.

ESPN Streak for Cash is a game that originated on the ESPN website. Each day, they post of series of scenarios in sports ranging anywhere from who will win a certain soccer match to which player will score the most first-half points in an NBA basketball game. I even saw a curling matchup the other day. You choose who will win the scenario and your goal is to put together the longest winning streak possible. There are around 7 scenarios posted each day. You are able to choose as many or as few matchups as you want, but you can only choose one scenario at a time. You are locked into your choice when the game starts and you have to wait until your first game is over before you can choose your next matchup.

Seems fairly easy, but this is probably one of the most difficult sports-related games that I’ve ever played. For the entire month of January, I had a record of 60-42-1 with my longest win streak going 8 matchups. The participant with the longest streak for the month scored $100,000 for a 20 wins in a row. So far this month, I’m 18-28-1 with a 3 win streak. The leader has 21 wins in a row.

No matter what kind of strategy I employ or how much research I do on certain matchups, I can’t seem to find a system that works for me. That’s what is so great about this game. I don’t think that any person, no matter how knowledgeable, has an advantage. It’s a guessing game. You can look up every wacky statistic in the book, but the simple fact is that anything can happen in sports.

I recommend this game for everyone that loves sports. It is so addicting. The iPhone app is extremely buggy and crashes quite often, but I am able to look past that simply because I enjoy playing the game so much. If the app becomes frustrating, take a look at the version on ESPN’s website.


Spoilers are Fun: Brightest Day

Posted by under *dislike, Comics | Join The Discussion |

No sooner do I criticize Marvel for revealing members of their upcoming Avengers team and as a result cutting the legs off any suspense contained in their current epic story Siege which is basically leading up to the formation of that team than DC decides to get in on the action. DC via their official blog the Source is unveiling their post-Blackest Night plans starting with the return of Aquaman in Brightest Day.

Aquaman is currently one of the major Black Lanterns terrorizing his former friends. Why is it necessary to reveal now that he’ll be back from the dead and no longer a zombie-like thing come Brightest Day #1. This reveal of course suggests that other Black Lanterns will be returning to life as well… Granted this was assumed by most readers to be one of the end results of Blackest Night, but now any questions about an upcoming mass resurrection have been put to rest.

And how does spoiling Aquaman’s return help DC sell more comics? Because that’s the only excuse for the ruining part of the ending of possibly the company’s most popular mega-event of at least the last decade. Time and again, Aquaman has been relaunched and failed to sell books. Almost no one is going to buy Brightest Day on the strength of an Aquaman appearance. In fact, Aquaman and his talking to fish gimmick may drive some readers away.

DC has actually now gone further and announced that the underrated Tony Bedard will be taking over as writer of their Green Lantern Corps title. This is good news in my opinion. The book will follow the adventures of Green Lanterns John Stewart, Kyle Raynor, and Ganthet. Yep. That’s three more main characters that we now know will survive the war of light! And Ganthet is going to remain a Green Lantern? Who saw that coming? Why are you telling us this DC? Why?

This would suggest that the only major Green Lantern character who could face any peril in the final issues of Blackest Night would be the currently rage consumed Red Lantern Guy Gardner. But DC has further announced he’ll be starring in the new monthly Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors title.

And I guess no one should feel stupid continuing to pay $3-$4 an issue to find out how this story concludes? I feel like I’m screaming at a wall, but really it’s why things like HTML Comics exist.

Marvel had it right when they were refusing to release any solicitation information except basically titles and prices for post-Civil War and Secret Invasion books… Captain America 25 which was spoiled by national newspapers aside… But since they’re releasing spoilers now too maybe that policy hurt sales.

Who knows.

More on the series can be found at our Brightest Day hub.


Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes!

Posted by under *like, Technology | Join The Discussion |

While the vast majority of Facebook users are up in arms about the new layout, I’m finding it to be a pleasant upgrade.  All of the portions of the site that I use are now in the same general area.  Previously, I would have to venture all over the place to get where I needed to go.  I like the fact that notifications for posts, friend requests and messages have been separated into 3 small icons in the top-left corner.  There’s easier access to your groups and applications now that they’ve been posted on the main page.  I’m also finding portions of the site that I never used before because they’ve been uncovered by the new layout.  Twitter integration is still horribly slow, but can you really blame them for making it difficult for you to use a competitor’s product?  Overall, it’s a faster, cleaner interface.

All that I’ve been seeing are complaints for the last 2 weeks about the site, but no one can seem to elaborate on what their issue is with the new Facebook.  From where I sit, the only explanation that makes sense is that it is different from the last version.  Having a strong background in technology and working in the field that I do, you are forced to embrace change.  If you can’t find the benefits of an upgrade and learn to adapt to new technology, you become as obsolete as the last version of the product you were working with.

The masses seem to fear change when it comes to technology.  If something is in a different place or a certain function is not exactly as it was the day before, it automatically “sucks”.  Change means having to learn something new and most people refuse to take the time to do so, even if the end result will benefit them.  I originally thought that the fear of technology itself was partly to blame for the fear of change in technology.  However, disgust in new versions of things seems to span generational gaps.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to upgrading my user base to Windows 7 and Office 2007.  My phone will be ringing off the hook!!


Oscar Night in America, week one

Posted by under *mixed, Movies | Leave a Comment |

Over the next three weeks, I will be doing a little bit of an Oscar preview for MLD, posted every Friday.  The Oscars will be televised on March 7 at 8pm on ABC.  I do not know who will be hosting, but I am sure it will be someone hilarious.  This year the Academy decided to change the number of Oscar nominees for Best Picture from five to ten, since every year we have so many great movies.  Each of the ten movies will be discussed at length (I’m sure at too much length for some people’s attention span).  The third week will have Oscar Predictions along with several other movies that will be remembered from 2009.

And to the list:

Everyone loves Avatar. It is beautifully shot, well directed, but too long. Netflix tells me if I like this movie I’d like Aliens (Liked), Alien (Liked), Battle for Terra (Never Saw), and The Fifth Element (Liked). Since I liked three of the four recommendations, it is clear that I probably should like Avatar. The truth is the Alien movies are tightly constructed pieces of sci-fi horror. The Fifth Element is campy sci fi, through and through. They know what they are and executed it well. Avatar, on the other hand, tries to be everything to everybody. It really is just a bloated mess with a lot of shiny objects.

Avatar should win all of the technical achievement Oscars, though it may not deserve it. I always thought Cameron’s underwater documentaries created the 3D tech for Avatar, but this may be overlooked come voting time. It has a shot at Best Director, even if the movie has a weak script. Best Picture: Probably not. You need a great writing. The other action-oriented epics that won Best Picture had better writing. See: Brave Heart, Gladiator. Yes, Gladiator is a better film. Pitch Black is a better film, but that is another discussion for another day.

An Education
I never saw An Education. Hopefully it is great and I will be blown away when it comes around on Lifetime three years from now.  I know nothing about it, so I will relay the synopsis: A girl is in school (high school, I think) and meets an older guy.  They have a relationship of some sort and it may be bad for her.  It sounds like garbage and I will not watch it unless they sneak it into a Saturday marathon of Top Chef.

Netflix tells me that the movies like this are Almost Famous (Liked), Lady Jane (Never saw), Big (Liked), and American Graffiti (Mixed). That can’t be right. I want to refresh this list and try another, but I cant. This movie cannot be as funny as Almost Famous or Big. After reading the description, I’m starting to wonder whether Netflix knows anything about movies.

An Education will not win Best Picture. The lead in this movie is some girl named Carey Mulligan. She has no shot at winning Best Actress. She’s up against Sandra Bullock and her fake blonde hair, Helen Mirren, Gabourney Sibide from Precious, and Meryl Streep. Actually, I hope Carey Mulligan wins after reading the list of nominees. The Best Actress nominees are getting as bad as baseball’s Gold Glove winners: It is the same people every year regardless of how good they are. I’m officially on Team Carey.

Inglourious Basterds
This is the best all around movie of the year. It was a Tarantino film, which means it could be bloated and talky for some people’s tastes. For the first time, though, this QT movie had a well-constructed central plot. The dialogue built character, rather than reinforced a level of “cool” that permeates other QT pictures. It may be his best movie. Not his most influential. Not his most quotable. His best.

It will win Best Supporting Actor, Christoph Waltz. It is a strong contender for Best Picture, along with The Hurt Locker and Avatar. With three strong contenders, this could become one of those Give-Everyone-An-Award Years. Cameron could get Director, Hurt Locker could win Best Picture, and QT would walk away with Original Screenplay and Cinematography. Kathryn Bigelow, from The Hurt Locker, may win Best Director, which would be the first time a woman has ever won the award. The Academy likes first time-things. It shows they are progressive. Anyway, we will see if this ends up being a spread-the-wealth year.

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
I never will see this movie. Okay. Maybe I will come around to it. It’s about some girl that had a rough life. One of the problems with movies like this one is that they always try to one up each other. In a few years there will be a movie about a person with a more fucked up life than Precious, or whoever the worst-life-ever “it” boy/girl is at the time. That is why I will not watch it. I know I have seen it before, but with a life a notch less crappy.

Mo’Nique should be the only Oscar winner. The rest of the categories appear out of reach. This seems like a movie that may have a Best Song or something. I wouldn’t know. I am not even going to check. This could win Best Song.  I think Mariah Carey is in it.  She has to sing something.  Netflix names similar movies as Milk (Never Saw), A Walk on the Moon (Never Saw, though I probably should… Diane Lane), Quinceanera (What?), and The Kite Runner (Never Saw). All of these movies smell like awards garbage. Precious seems terrible by association.

Up! was great. There really is nothing bad to say about this movie. It is sad at the beginning, it is very funny in the middle, and it is touching at the end. I hate the term “life affirming” because I am only 28 and nothing bad has ever happened to me, but this movie seems like it fits the term.

Up! should not have worked. Talking dogs should have been corny. Quirky colorful birds should have been cheesy. The fat kid should have been annoying. The old cranky guy should have been cliché. None of this should have worked, but it did. It all did. It was great.

Up! should win best Animated Feature. It has no shot at Best Picture, though I would rank it either #2 or #3 behind Inglourious Basterds. If it won, which it wont, then no film should feel slighted.

Go to Oscar Night In America, week two.