Saturday, May 30, 2009

WHAT'S WITH THE TINY EDITING SPACE IN BLOGGER!!?

Since I've already got your attention, allow me to validate my feelings.

As shown in the screen shot below, the space to edit a post in Blogger makes up about 1/4 of the screen . . .

After searching out this issue on Google for about two minutes and having found nothing, I now throw my hands up in the air to ask, "WHY?"

Is it a matter of volume?

Is the big G trying to limit the number of posts there are out there in cyberspace (the Internet knows I've got far too many of them)?

Being an individual who posts too much (although not over-often) and tries too hard to post the contextually perfect pictures, this problem is akin to Tom Brady playing football in a leg cast. (Not to say I'm necessarily the Tom Brady of blogging or anything.)

I welcome your relevant feedback on this mind-boggling dysfunction.

Hairless & The Goblet of Fire: Now That's More Like It!

Continuing our tradition of awesome times at the Orem Public Library, my wife and I scored The Goblet of Fire last night for a buck, having placed it on hold (and having waited for some punk, miscreant, to turn it in late).

I won't put you to sleep with all kinds of details on this one, but let me just say that GoF was loads better than PoA.

No more tripped out cinematography just for the sake of cinematography (and so the genius critics will say, "Hey, bromide, sweet cinematography!!!")

This one just felt so much crisper than PLEASE, send ME to Azkaban! did.

The characters were, for the most part improved, aside from a few major gripes:

V-Mart (as the F-Word has christened him) was pretty cool in this, except for, why couldn't they have done the raspy-almost-dead voice?

Victor Crumb: He's not a stone-faced American Gladiator, he's an awkward wall flower.

Fleur Delacour: She's supposed to be a self-assured, snooty, "Whiff-whiff," part-Veela, not an uncertain Canadian (okay, whatever she looks like, she just doesn't fit the part, no offense intended to my literal or figurative Canadian cousins).

Ron: What's with the movies making this kid a pale faced pansy?

Hermoine: Why is she obnoxious (still) rather than quick-witted and almost always instrumental to Harry's success?

Snape: This is one of the movies' biggest let downs, if you ask me (which you would, of course). In the books, Snape is such a compelling, rich, and loathsome figure. We can't help but want to hold his hands behind his back while Harry punches him in the stomach. In the movies, the terrorist actor guy who plays him does a great job, it's just that his character is so limited and meaningless. He's pretty much the epitome of a crotchety librarian whose sole purpose is to shushh noisy students . . . sigh.

Dumbledore: For me, this is the Fluberworm that breaks the Ronald's back. Rowling's Dumbledore, in my limited knowledge of writing, is simply a masterpiece. In regards to the movie Dumbledore, as my body-odor-free role model Charles Barkley would say, "Terrible, just terrible." Once more, history's greatest wizard is presented as bumbling, hot-tempered, and, most disturbingly, unknowing. YES, I GET IT, HE'S HUMAN!! So what? Can't I just have a fantasy character who embodies stalwart wisdom, patience, and stern self-control!!? Stop pleasing the "I'm so deep and intellectual" critics and just give us the real Dumbledore (or at least one as stoic and majestic as Rowling presents him).

Finally, Harry: Much improved in GoF. Major gripe? He's not a I-show-off-when-the-moment-presents-itself sybarite, he's a class act. (No, sybarite's not an every-day part of my vernacular, I just saw it in my Gmail Web clips the other day and just loved it too much to not start using it.)

Oh well, when it comes down to it, I suppose I must resign myself to the fact that 95% of movies will never ever come even close to being as good as the novels they try to reformulate.

Give me Jim Dale, or give me death! (The narrator of the audio books, in case you haven't experienced Nirvana for yourself just yet).

SLEEP


THE BEST THING EITHER OF US COULD EVER HOPE FOR . . .

Piling Insult On Top of Injury: Burying Me Deeper in Fair-Weatherdom

GUHMMMMPF!!

That's pretty much the noise I made last night when, after feeding an upset infant and having her spitup/vomit all over my shoulder and her front, I went to ESPN.com with the hopes of a Denver Nuggets game six victory . . .

TWENTY SEVEN POINTS? The best team we've had in a quarter of a century gets thumped by nearly thirty points to exit the playoffs!?

Well, this is just another convincing punch in the stomach of why I should be a fair-weather fan.

This loss is up there with the Avs' game 7 give-away-in-overtime-to-end-Roy's-career.

Seeing as I didn't watch this game or even five seconds of the whole series, I won't be going nearly as postal after I did after that gut wrencher.

For a more appreciative perspective on the biggest elimination beat-down in memory (next to my Junior year in high school football against our arch rivals . . .) see the F-Word's post on the matter: http://fletchword.blogspot.com/2009/05/yes-noooooooooooo.html

As for me, I can say I'm glad I didn't invest hours upon hours, dollars upon Benjamins, or any kind of serious emotional stock into this year's unprecedented (well, except for 24 years ago) run.

The following images and quote detail why I can never be a truly "die hard" sports fan ever again . . .



















































AND FINALLY:

In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yesterday's Spiritual Message: Things as They Really Are

I'm so happy to have a three day weekend! Going to work everyday, it's always a joy to be home with my wife and sweet daughter as often as I can.

This morning, my wife was wiped out and implored me, with a half-asleep gaze, "Can you take care of our daughter?"

And so I did. While feeding the princess, I put on a CES (Church Educational System) Fireside (or talk) given by Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on May 3.

The talk is entitled, Things as They Really Are and can be found here.

The essence of the message was that we should not idle away our time on counterfeit realities such as SecondLife (and to much expected outrage, I would add, FaceBook . . .) and online video games when such "virtual" realities can often be so dangerous.

Indeed, it is truly a blessing to be with a real wife and a real daughter whom I can love and hold on a daily basis.

What is truth? Amazingly enough, after watching this discourse, I set about my daily scripture study in the Book of Mormon and read over the following verse in Jacob 4. Preaching about the far distant (over 500 years) coming of Jesus Christ, Jacob said:
Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old.
In other words, Jacob knew of the coming of Christ so many hundreds of years prior to His coming, because the Spirit testified of what would really be. In like manner, Jacob notes, countless other prophets had learned of Christ before him.

What an intriguing connection. The Truth of life is that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. This is "the Truth, the Life, and the Way" and "there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God" (this link contains both).

Yesterday afternoon, I was reading an article (which a friend highly recommend and insisted that I read all of what felt like 500 pages) in the Atlantic entitled What Makes Us Happy?. To be short in writing, and to save you the hours of reading it . . . I'll just say it's really depressing and essentially leaves the reader feeling like there is no true "formula" or answer and that life is really just a meaningless waste.

Whatever.

For me, this was a clear example of a scripture that reads, "Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost" (click here for three more citations).

There is so much in "science" and the knowledge of man which explains so little and, ultimately, cannot explain the simple truths of God.

Instead of complicated ink blots and 80-year-long, indeterminate studies, the Lord gives us plain and simple truths. While I do not disapprove of science and reason, I know they will never produce such concise statements of reality as the following.

"For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy" (2 Ne. 2: 25).

I'll tell you the secret to happiness in a few short words: Believe in (which means follow Him and do what He teaches) Jesus Christ. That's it.

We are here to become like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, if we will but keep their commandments, we shall become like them and "the truth shall make [us] free" (John 8: 32).

"And this is life eternal [or living and becoming like God], that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17: 3).

This has been a marvelous discussion for me on Memorial Day, a day in which to rejoice in the sacrifice of others for our freedom.

Let us remember that the truth (or things as they really are) is that Jesus Christ was and is the ultimate Sacrifice for the freedom of all men. As Elder Holland taught so beautifully just two months ago (text video), only He could walk that road, and He did it alone!

I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the source of all happiness, light, and truth. I encourage you to find true happiness in and through Him, by keeping His commandments.

Find more at Mormon Messages on YouTube.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ruling the Galaxy with Custom Chrome Search Engines

If you love Chrome, shortcuts, and speed as much as the C.A. does, then you'll surely have had your own run in with Chrome's custom search engines.

Yes, blog fans, it's time for another post about your host's favorite browser.

The latest episode is that for the longest time, I couldn't find out why in the world some of my search engines in Chrome just weren't cutting the mustard.

However, after much (and believe me, when I say "much," I mean a lot of) snooping and searching of my own feelings, I stumbled upon the simple answer: I wasn't adding a required "s" to some engine URLs!

So if you've been searching the Web asking, "Why won't my Chrome search engines work?!" You may want to try adding an s to your %.

What?

Time for a little Web lesson courtesy of the C.A.

When you go to www.google.com to perform a search for "Cougar Abogado" your search will actually look like this: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=active&q=cougar+abogado&btnG=Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=. Amazing, isn't it?

Another example is that to search for a translation on SpanishDict.com, the query syntax goes as follows: http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/

Seeing as this is the code to tell SpanishDict to make a search, to search for the word "food," as seen in the image to the left, I would have entered http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/food into the search bar.

Now, since I can add SpanishDict as a custom search engine, I just add the same URL . . ./translate/ but this time I add "%s" to the end to tell Spanish Dict to replace the "%s" with whatever I enter as my search term(s).

(Mind you, I'm alluding to when I right click the address bar in Chrome and select "Edit Search Engines," then "Add," and finally I paste the search URL right into the text box that says "URL:" Make sense?)

Thus, if I were to type in playlist.com and then the Tab key in Chrome, it will turn into this, "Search Playlist:" I simply add my search term and voila! I have my search results, straight from the address bar.

Yes, together with Google, Chrome, and a little %s, we can rule the galaxy as search engine and Web users. (Search your feelings, you know it to be true!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mummifying Our Daughter

Okay, one more post for good measure.

video

Not much commentary here.

Just enjoy.

Have We Seen the End of the OS?

Since I'm on such a blogging role, I figured I couldn't stop with the Thuggets.

Why this post title?

Yesterday at the office, we lost our connection to the internet and were consequently incapacitated for like 20-40 minutes . . .

Literally, I don't know about you, but I don't really do hardly anything using desktop programs anymore. It's all about the Web.

If Microsoft's going to stay relevant, it will have to catch up to big G and the other early adapters who are making waves in the online platform.

Xerox had its chance to position itself as the first computer maker with a GUI and handed it over to Steve Jobs.

IBM owned the box, the chip, and the OS, and divested itself of everything but the box . . .

Need I mention Netscape, AOL, or the Seattle Supersonics?

Yes, I do think we're seeing the fall of the MS empire and the rise of a Big Brother who's motto is "Don't be evil." Will big G have more fun in the sun than its behemoth predecessor? Only time will tell.

To the THUGGETZ!























My main man, the F-Word, has already crafted a tremendously awesome post on this topic, found here, but I had to share my thoughts as well.

It's been 24 very long years since YOUR Denver Nuggets made it to the NBA Western Conference finals.

To put that in perspective, I'm turning 25 in September (again, I take cash, checks, credit cards, PayPal, and wampum) . . . So in other words, the last time the Nuggets went to the penultimate dance, I was sporting some sic-dizzles diapers and a pacifier (most likely).

I'm truly proud (in my fair-weather way) and just hope that, now that they've made it this far, they don't pull a "Cinderella Rockies" and get swept in four games straight.

The HOTTEST Hang Outs in Orem:

In O-town, we be crazalackin, baby!

You know it, baby. Yeeeah. We got mad hizzle dizzles such as:

THE OREM PUBLIC LIBRARY

I'm not even joking on this one.

My wife and I went there last night to pick up a few books and bust out (what I then hoped would be a good) a Hairless flick and even wounded up scoring Revenge of the Sith (hey, haven't seen it in like three years, so I was due for a little SW action).

Yes, the librarian in the picture on the right truly personifies the pure and uncontrolled energy at Orem's Public Library. (Make sure you click on the image to get a life-sized and uproarious version. I especially love the contrast on the faces of the two boys, front and center.)

Seriously, though, when we went to the check out, there were like 15 kids running around and at least six baggy-eyed-looking parents. Quite the digs.

And if all of this wasn't enough, right after my wife got our stuff checked out, she motioned for me to follow her somewhere. Where are we going? I thought. We headed toward some music in a back corner and I was presented with a scene full of children, young families, and a band of bro-nameths that looked something like a younger version of this brawg, who's dude-dawgin to the right.

To top it all off, this library has like four different areas all connected by Zelda Forest Temple-esque walkways in an outside atmosphere furnished with trees, bricks, and greenery.

If you're not going bar hopping next Friday night, you may want to try kickin it at the Orem Public Libary.

Finally, the second most bangin partay in Orem is:

THE MACEY'S SIXTY-CENT ICE CREAM LINE

I kid you not, the line to get $.60 ice cream at the local Macey's in Orem on Friday night is at least 15 people long. (I know because I've walked past it with my wife, buying groceries.)

Yes, the ice cream is good . . . but it's not 15-people-in-a-line good.

Why then do so many Oremites line up for a little soft-serve? I presume it can only be one of three things:

1. People in Orem (like me) have nothing better to do.

2. People in Orem are cheap (like me).

3. People in Orem are impoverished (also like me).



Hairless Potter & Holding ME Prisoner

All right, I'll confess that for me, when it comes to Hairless Potter, the books are simply untouchable.

With that said, my wife and I just watched Hairless Monstrosity & the Over-Cinematography of Crapaban last night.

I'm pretty sure the last time I saw this episode in the series was around five years ago, so my memory was pretty fresh and untarnished going in. (Although, I guess recently listening to the whole series on audio book could be considered at least somewhat of a bias . . .)

This movie was terrible.

Simply awful.

It's drawn out for almost two and a half hours and yet, at the end, I felt like I just left one of those photo booths where they snap a few, quick pictures and call it good.

I felt like I had the rug ripped out from underneath me.

As F-Word will very much appreciate, my emotions were stripped away and I felt like an uncomfortably disrobed Daniel Radcliffe, all shame and dignity left off stage and out of sight.

So why did this movie leave such a filthy taste in my mouth (you know, like in 7th grade when you used to drink Hawaiian Punch?) and why am I wasting my time ranting about it?

To answer the second question first, I've simply been smitten by the skill, rhythm, and charm of J.K. Rowling's immaculate series. I loved every single book. With that love in mind, I would have liked to have had at least some kind of qualitative continuity in the movies . . .

To answer the first question, let me try and list a few major gripes, in no particular order.

1. What's with the cinematography!



I get it, this Cauron guy, or whatever his name is, thinks that he is an arteest! For the love of my sanity, can we move on from the random (and out of place) whomping willow shots? And what's with the constant, "I'm staring out into nowhere and yet it's so very gripping" pauses? They felt so unnecessary and a wkward, the best comparison I can make is when Anakin gets super uncomfortable (at least for the non-brain dead audience) with Padme on Naboo, sputtering on about how soft it is there (and next to him) compared to Tatooine . . . barf.

2. Unnecessary crap replaces essential details

Many people will argue that, "Come on, Brawg," the movies simply can't replicate everything in the books. Although I wish they would and could, I certainly agree. However, when we start throwing out crucial moments, like when Crookshanks bounds in to turn off the whomping willow so Harry and Hermoine can hop into it, with the wisping willow which eventually tosses them right in, is when we start getting absurd.

Another poignant example is the scene where Sirius is rescued by H&H. Cauron totally changes the feel of the scene and yet wisps us away with loads of over-dramatized footage which equates to a lot of boredom and a disgruntled Yours Truly demanding, "How can ya have any pudding if ya don't eat yer meat!"

One more quick example is Harry's patronous charm. For some reason, in the movie, he figures the spell out in like five seconds, and yet we sit around watching him and Reemus kickin' it for like ten minutes while random metallic orbs float around. Three words: What the crap? (And BTW, why is the patronous some kind of overdone-sound-bite-force-field instead of a charging Stag? Argh!)

3. The true nature of key characters is maligned and defaced
Take Ron, for example. Cauron clearly wants us to think this red-head is a useless panty-waste whose sole purpose is to whimper and complain. The real Ron has his moments of insecurity, but he's predominantly a witty and pragmatic (not pansy) figure.

Dumbledore. It makes me want to, as my late maternal grandmother would say, "toss my cookies," just thinking about this one. Dumbledore is not a cooky weirdo! He's not so unobservant as to pound Ron's injured leg with a glazed look that says, "I don't know who the heck I'm supposed to be, but I'm clearly not dignified and sagacious." The real Dumbledore is commanding, serene, and almost omniscient. Gag.
Finally, Hermoine. When did she get so annoying? The real Hermoine is a know-it-all, but she's not a "Let's punch her in the face" (instead of Malfoy) type of character.
Enough said.

4. Over-dramatization

Perhaps this topic belongs as a subgroup in one of the previous three, but I just can't get over how much I was bothered by how the movie (and previous movies, for that matter) overdid the minor details.

Two immediate examples come to mind. a) The (now) wisping willow scene alluded to earlier. What's with the tree grabbing H&H for like five minutes, only to ever so conveniently toss them right where they were trying to get in the first place? It's almost as if the tree were an unwelcome Uncle Rico figure who's just there to take up time (although in ND it's humorous).

b) The Werewolf scene. In the book, this is like five words. Lupin turns into a Werewolf, Sirius fends him off as a dog, and the Werewolf leaves . . . there's no false Hermoine mating call and we don't even know why he leaves, it's not relevant to the plot!

5. This is a FANTASY, not a normal people at a cool school adventure

One of the things that the "critics" loved the most about this movie is how the characters and flow received much less emphasis on everything being magical and much more time on everything being practical. While I will agree that Rowling does a tremendous job of this feat in the books, the movie has it all backward. The "wizards" are almost always dressed up in muggle attire and acting like idiots. Yet, and ironically, the "pragmatism" notwithstanding, details which Rowling portrays as natural and routine in the book are treated with HUGE sound-bites and "special" effects.

My one example on the irony portion is Professor Tralawney (or however it's spelled) and her hugely booming voice when she makes the prophecy to Harry. It's like she's turned into a glorified zombie with a megaphone . . . Just plain overdone.

In summary

This movie glosses over key details like the prophecy and how Harry relates it to Dumbledore, etc. and tools around with overdone effects (both in the footage, sounds, and, occasionally, even the music) and superfluous scenes.

I have no idea how this movie got such "good" reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. My best guess is that all the movie critics out there like to see some yipee cinematography and a few bangs here and there.

For the rest of us who appreciate plot, substance, and substantiality, I say, GIVE ME MY TWO AND A HALF HOURS BACK!!

(And don't even bother mentioning the amount of time you think it might have taken me to write this rambling rant.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Many Faces of Our Daughter

Many of you have chafed because some prior (well, at least one in particular) posts were not exactly authentic photography.

So as to avoid an untimely and ignominious death, I present you with a smorgasbord of home-grown and old fashioned photos that just might save my neck.

In case you were wondering, not only am I my daughter's sole and lucrative agent, but I am also the proprietary source of all her classic poses. So if you're even thinking of making some GeorgeWashingtons off of these pictures, just know that I take cash, checks, credit cards, Pay-Pal, and most recently, wampum on the 75% royalties I will demand.

Enjoy.





I personally love the first shot. ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

Mattress Graffiti?

Believe it or not, but I've stumbled upon a fresh and new definition of sick and appalling: MATTRESS GRAFFITI!

F-Word, your break-into-a-car punks have nothing on these thugs.

Honestly, who could be so cunning, so audacious, so, dare I say it, juvenile?

Yes, I can only surmise that a couple of thirteen-year-olds, with perhaps, a little too much time on their hands and maybe an extra can of spray paint lying around, did the deed you now see before you.

Mischievous enough to spray paint an old, discarded mattress, and yet chivalrous enough to spare my commuting carriage and leave it and my front door unscathed. Hey, I certainly can't complain.

I can't decide which aspect of this miscreant tale makes me laugh the most: the fact that the mattress lay next to the dumpster for about three months, or the thrilling adventure wherewith a handful of thuggets proved their mettle (how hardcore they are) . . . by spray painting an abandoned mattress . . .

(I offer you my video commentary, should it peke interest.)



video

Sunday, May 3, 2009

To the Nuggets

I'll be the first person to tell you, in a New York minute, "I'm a fair-weather fan."

I'll be the first bloke to confess, "I probably don't know the names of more than four guys on my home-town roster."

I'll be the first realist to say (for those of you who know me, I mean this in the sense of anymore), when my beloved home team loses, "that's life."

I'll be the first pessimist to point out, "You do realize the Denver basketball Nuggets haven't won a playoff series since, like, 15 years ago?"

But, I'll also be among the first to say, now that they've finally done it again, "Well done."

May I have the opportunity to say the same thing after three more victories this round.

Today's Spiritual Message: Learning Patience

If you've ever been the parent of a three-week-old, then you probably know what the word "fussy" means.

You've probably had some moments in those three weeks where you wanted to throw your child out the window in the hopes that the "stork" would quickly swoop through the same orifice, a new bundle of joy securely in its beak.

However, I would submit that our Heavenly Father allows us to take these precious little ones into our lives to learn patience.

I'm fairly confident that 99.5% of newborns have occasional crying fits and fussiness that drive their parents bonkers.

We might often ask ourselves, "Why?" Why does my child scream so much? Why can't she just calm down?

Yet, don't we have the same reactions as adults? When we don't get what we want, we cry and we moan and we fuss. Often, we don't even know what we want and in a lot of instances, we blame God.

Therefore, as the great and eternal Parent of us all, He wishes us to learn a small portion of what it feels like to experience what He experiences. We learn in Moses 1: 39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." In other words, His greatest wish is for us to become as He is.

To become as He is, we must become better parents, and, obviously, we must learn patience!