Friday, November 30, 2007

This is what I'm not watching now

When the last TV season started, I've decided to pick up some new shows. The selected few were Back to You, Journeyman, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, and K-Ville. The only one I'm currently watching regularly (except for the last episode, is Back to You, for reasons noted earlier).

K-Ville was dropped like a fly. The few episodes that I saw were always ending in a too easy and unrealistic way.

The other three are currently recorded and put aside for a rainy day. I had too many things to do, and couldn't spare the time to watch them, but still, they were nice enough to want to watch some time. Here is my thought on them:

Journeyman - The time-travel idea is nice. Up until episode 5, the episodes were pretty standalone. There was not enough information about why this was happening to him, and I needed something more to connect me with it.

Pushing Daisies - Again, a nice idea. The episodes (the three that I saw) were also nice. That's the thing, they were no more than "nice", and the fact that each one was standing on its own, didn't give me the right incentive to keep on watching.

Reaper - Now, here is a show which I really liked. I liked Bret Harrison in "The Loop", Ray Wise is always great (he will always be remembered by me as Laura Palmers' father), and the sweet Missy Peregrym, who unfortunately lost her job on Heroes. Beside the actors, the show was funny, but after 4 episodes it was beginning to repeat itself. Again, standalone episodes don't do it to me. It is so 80s.

So, when the rainy days come, I will make use of these recordings. Unless you convince me otherwise...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Live Search - xRank

MS have a new feature for their Live Search, which is currently in Beta. It's called Celebrity xRank - they rank celebrities based on the amount of searches. You can search for your favorite celebrity, compare them to others, see trend charts, and so on.

So, I've done a little research, both in the music and TV areas. First we have a showdown between some of my favorite musicians. (drum-roll) And here are the charts:


Musician xRank
Paul McCartney 97
John Lennon 113
George Harrison 437
Ringo Starr 1027
Neil Young 119
Elvis Costello 934


So, the biggest looser here is Ringo, while the winner is Paul McCartney. But surprisingly and sadly, Costello is so near the bottom of the list.

And now, the TV showdown - tonight we have Battlestar Galactica against Lost. I searched the xRank of the main characters, but in both shows, not all of them had an xRank. Both are not running right now, so expect low results:

Actor Character xRank
Tricia Helfer Number Six 1252
Katee Sackhoff Starbuck 2157
Jamie Bamber Apollo 2467
Edward James Olmos Admiral Adama 2550
Mary McDonnell President Roslin  5222
Battlestar Galactica Average 2730
Elizabeth Mitchell Juliet 1253
Matthew Fox Jack 2706
Dominic Monaghan Charlie 4121
Daniel Dae Kim Jin 4553
Terry O'Quinn John 5517
Naveen Andrews Sayid 5884
Lost Average 4006


The winner of the two is BSG (no doubt about it!). The rating of BSGs stars is pretty clear. What is strange are the Lost results, where Juliet (sad puppy look) was ranked higher than anyone by far, followed by Jack, 1500 points away. However, the big mystery is how Juliet is only one point below BSGs favorite Cylon! Coincidence, or not...

Paul McCartney - Live at the Olympia

I just got a quick look at McCartney's show at the Olympia (Paris). Overall this looks much better than his previous DVDs, which is great! You see little of the audience, and good shots at Paul and the band. I saw House of Wax and Only Mama Knows from his last album. Both were great! Although, his voice is not as good as it used to be (on the CD he also sounds better), he still gives a good performance.

If this comes out on a DVD, it'd be on my purchase list.


Update: my full review is online.

Battlestar Galactica - Razor

Just saw Razor. What can I say? Some BSG is better than non. Overall it was as good as any standard episode. We got to see what happened to Pegasus since the attack. We got some disturbing information (or misinformation) on Starbuck. We got to hear the phrase "By your command". Overall it was nice, but it's a shame we are still so far from the last season.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Survivor 5x10

No, haven't seen it yet, and I'm wondering if I should. This is another recap episodes. I don't like those. I feel like I'm wasting my time with these episodes. Most of the times we skip this episodes, so there is a good chance that this will be true in this case. But we'll see about this later...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Should I reboot

Here is what my computer screens look like after my computer started acting a bit sluggish, and I've decided to be artistic:


The cat

This cat sat on my car. It sat there when my kids went in. It sat there when my wife came in. It sat there when I came in. When I started the car, it calmly jumped of the car, and walked away.

Either it was very brave, or very cold.


Looking danger in the eye

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Heroes 2x09

What an episode! I'll start with the nice stuff. So, Matt can now force people to do as he pleases. Also, it is clear that Adam is the one who kills the founders of the company, although it was clear even before Hiro saw him. However, the highlight of this episode is Noah, the painting of his death, and Suresh. At their first encounter we think that Noah managed to escape his fate, but then comes the showdown at the beach, and it is clear that it is going to happen. That moment is the strongest in the episode, and as a whole. It was sad saying goodbye to Mr. Bennet.

And then comes the surprising end...

This is a 9.8 in my scale.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost 2x01 and 3x01

Writing about Lost yesterday, I can't help remembering the opening episodes for both season 2 and 3. These have the best opening scenes of the best opening episodes for a TV series I have seen (well, at least in the top 5).

Season 2 starts with an unknown person doing ordinary stuff in an ordinary room (or so we think), listening to a song (the wonderful Make Your Own Kind of Music), and then you hear the blast, and Mr unknown rushes for the guns, takes a look, the camera runs through a series of mirrors, until we see our guys.

Season 3 starts with an unknown woman, doing ordinary stuff in an ordinary house (or so we think), listening to a song (the wonderful Downtown). Then the ground shakes, everyone comes out, we see Ethan (who was under the house before), and Ben, we see the plane coming apart, and we understand.

These are such great episodes, that I'm wondering how 4x01 will look. Will they follow the same theme? Well, we have quite a long wait in store for us.

BTW, what triggered this memory is of course 3x16, where there is a flashback to the famous book club scene.

Downtown, things will be great when you're
Downtown, no finer place for sure,
Downtown, everything's waiting for you


I've been an owner of a digital camera since 2003, and ever since then I've been looking for a good photo album software. The first one I had was Adobe PhotoShop Album, and I even upgraded to version 2, and later, the free V3 Starter edition. What I liked about it the most was the ability to edit an image, while automatically maintaining the original, and seeing only one version in the album (hence the name versioning). But it was slow, and the format was not compatible with anything else.

So, a year ago I've found IDimager, which has all of the qualities that I needed (including a good tagging system, and open architecture). The most important need was Versioning. True it doesn't automatically back up the picture you're editing, but you can easily "Save As" the picture, and you'll see only the edited version in the album. It also made it possible to create versions to my old pictures, which were edited with the Adobe software (although I've yet to catalog all of the pictures from that time), and it has a decent Web Album capabilities for those of you with a web site (there are other publishing methods as well).

Version 4 came out recently, with a very important change. Instead of the Access DB at the back-end (for the Personal version), the back-end is now SQLite, which is a lot more quicker and stable.

If you're looking for a similar product, I highly recommend to check this out.

Lost 3x15-16

OK, these are not new, but I'm watching Lost again from the beginning, preparing for S4 (which I hope is not lost due to the WGA strike). Anyway, I've decided to skip 3x14 (Nikki and Paulo - filler episode), and jump right to 15 and 16. What I like most about these episodes is the character of Juliet. Although her "sad puppy" look can be a bit annoying at times, she is a very interesting character, and I enjoy the episodes which focus on her, and in general, the ones showing the "others" flashbacks.

A few quick notes:

  • In episode 15, why didn't the smoke monster fly over the barrier to get Kate and Juliet?
  • In the same episode, how did Kate get into the dinar without anyone seeing here?
  • Why do the creators need to have these nice moments, where music is playing and you see the characters talking to one another and being very nice and happy?
  • Always nice to see Ethan as a nice guy.
  • The end of 16, where Juliet remembers what Ben has told her, and her lie is revealed to the audience. That is nice!

It's pure Madness!

Midtown Madness 2, a 7 year old game published by Microsoft.

Why am I writing about this one? Well, I just installed it on my machine (stumbled upon the CD), and it's a tremendous amount of fun, just like it was in 2000 (only better, my machine is stronger now of course). The graphics is a bit old, but the vast amount of space in both cities (London, and San Francisco), and the interaction with the environment (breaking down signs, lampposts, traffic lights, etc) is just as fun as it was.

And the new addition: my son loves it, and he is learning to use the joystick to crash cars around the city (he is used to crashing planes in FSX).

If anyone still has this game, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Survivor 15x9

A cliffhanger in Survivor? Now that's a first (I think)!

About the rest of the episode, the tennis ball reward challenge was nice. It's amazing how they think of new things every time.

The immunity challenge - I cannot understand how people can be so stupid as to go for the hamburgers. Haven't they seen Survivor ever? Nothing good can come out of it.

I was really hoping that Courtney would be voted out. She is really annoying. But it was obvious it wouldn't happen.

In any case, it looks like Todd is still in control over this game, but it could very easily turn against him.

This episode gets a 9 in my scale.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Naughty McCartney part 2

McCartney knows how to create music. He also knows how to perform (seen him myself in London, four years ago).

What he doesn't know is how to create concert movies. Every concert movie he is ever made (after Wings' Rockshow) have had the same basic problems:

  • You mostly see the audience singing.
  • When you see the audience singing, you usually also hear them!
  • The parts which show Paul and the band are usually very jumpy - they don't stay on one angle more than very few seconds.
  • Some of the songs have interviews over them!
  • There are interviews between the songs, which interrupt the flow of the rock show.

I've bought a concert video in the late 80s and a DVD a few years ago. I guess it only got worse!

So, the fans want to see Rockshow on DVD, but they have to settle for illegal VCDs, because it is not made available on DVD. Some of it made it on DVD for Paul's latest DVD ("The McCartney Years"), but only a few songs. I think I will wait for the full version.

Heroes 2x08

At last we find out what happened 4 months ago, and how our heroes got to where they are now. A pretty good episode which fills the gaps. Now we understand what Nathan sees in the mirror, and what happened to Niki that caused her to surrender herself to the company, and of course, what happened to Peter. BTW, anyone understand how an empty container got from the US to Ireland?

9.2 in my scale.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prison Break 3x6,7,8

Oh man, this series is so far fetched! Season 1 was great. Season 2 was also good, but the last episode was way too much. They should have ended it there. However, when you put on the correct glasses (throw logic out the window), the action is quite good!

So episode 6 ended up strangely - Michael wants to fight Whistler??? But when episode 7 starts, we see that it's actually a part of Michael's plan. Then something happens and the plan fails, and so on, and so on. The Company is trying to break Whistler out, and Michael foils that.Alex is sent back to Sona, and Michael is taken out of Sona (which was a hilarious move by the writers!).

What I do find strange, is that Sona is supposed to be so wild that the prison guards had to get out. However, the inmates are behaving so well when they come in from time to time, including in the last scene, where you see a guard, alone, in the cell areas without any protection. If this was such a bad ass prison, someone would have grabbed his rifle, wouldn't you say?

Overall, 9.5 in my scale.

Desperate Housewives 4x07

A nice one, which contains the usual mixture of comedy and drama (and a possible thriller!). Of course, you have the obvious things, such as the encounter of Victor and Gabrielle (of course there was nothing dangerous in the black bag), and Mike lying to Susan about how he is going to stop taking the pills.

And then comes a murder. A murder in the suburbs you say? This is surprising. But after 4 seasons in Wisteria Lane, this does not come as a shock to the viewers. We are used to seeing them once in a while.

But overall a nice one. 8.3 in my scale (which I've just invented by the way).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Naughty McCartney part 1

I was a huge fan of Paul McCartney when I was younger. Had all of his albums, posters on the wall, etc. Today I'm still enjoying listening to him from time to time.

Five months ago he came out with a new album, called Memory Almost Full. A very nice album. There are a few great songs, such as Only Mama Knows and Mr. Bellamy, and the album as a whole is indeed good.

There were two versions of the CD. A regular one, and a Deluxe one, which included 3 extra songs, and an interview about the songs. You can guess which version was purchased by his loyal fans (me not included).

Now, fives months after, there is another Deluxe version, with almost the same content as the previous one + DVD with videos and live recording of some of the songs. You can guess who is the target audience of this version, and what they think of this. Some examples are in the Amazon reviews.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Survivor 15x08

Well, Jean-Robert found out that his Poker strategy (being lazy...just kidding) didn't work out well for a social game such as Survivor. The most surprising thing though, was that Todd didn't realize that this could be their last chance to take out James. Not that I have something against James, it's just that it isn't likely he would loose much more challenges, and he has the two immunity idols. They could have blind-sided him without any difficulty. But, Survivor is always full of surprises. I guess no one saw how the Survivor production blind-sided Terry in Survivor Panama, when they made that last challenge a balancing challenge instead of the usual, endurance type.

Anyway, the game is far from over, but in any case I wouldn't be upset if James won.

Geni - Genealogy - Free Family Tree

Anyone interested in a free online family tree? I am! So recently I found Geni (at, which is exactly that. It has a very nice and intuitive UI, it's very easy to add people, or see the collective list of birthdays and anniversaries (did you know the the 12th wedding anniversary is also known as Silk?), and so on. I sure could have used it when I was a kid, and I had to make a family tree (mind you, it was before, or just at the beginning of the days of the PC).

However, if you do use it, you should know a few things which I found the hard way:

  1. It's not perfect - it sometimes gets stuck when you add people, so you need to close the window and log on again.
  2. You can export your family tree to the GEDCOM format (a common genealogy format), but you cannot import GEDCOM files yet.
  3. Once you invite people, there is no way you can stop them doing whatever they want in your family tree. This one caused me to dump the first family tree I was working on, and create a new one from scratch, which was kind of a bummer.
Any other tips would be welcome of course!

Favourite Hour

Figure hanging on a leather band
Pa consults the watch he cups in his hand
The jewel movement measures lost and vanished time
Pray for the boy who makes his bed in cold earth and quicklime

So stay the hands, arrest the time
'Till I am captured by your touch
Blessings that don't count
Small mercies and such
The flags may lower
As we approach the favourite hour

This is the source of my blog name, a song by Elvis Costello from the album "Brutal Youth" (the album title actually comes from this song.
He is one of the musicians I most enjoy listening to. His music is so varied, ranging from soft love songs, to rock, new wave, to other genres (some of them I don't even like so much...).

So it happened that I was listening to this song, while thinking of a name for my blog, when I came up with this. It seemed appropriate for a blog which deals with my favourite things (my most favourite and precious things have a blog of their own).

Vista - Ultimate Extras

Ultimate Extras... people purchased Vista Ultimate to get these so called "extras". Actually they got next to nothing. The most Extra I've used is the Hold 'Em game. $200 is a bit of a high price to pay for one game...
ZDNet have a nice blog entry about it:

Vista SP1 “tries to hide the Ultimate Extras shame” by ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes -- While many are waiting on Windows Vista SP1 to come along to knock off some of Vista's rough corners, it seems that some at Microsoft will welcome the release too - specifically Microsoft’s Windows Ultimate group.

The one Extra I don't get is DreamScene. For those of you who haven't seen it, DreamScene is actually a looping video background for the desktop. So you get a running waterfall, or flowers moving in the wind, all this on your desktop.
Can anyone tell me what's the deal with this? Who's sitting watching the background move? All this also has the price of CPU cycles and memory. This is one expensive extra.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Samsung Blackjack

My name is Blackjack, Samsung Blackjack. Just got this one from work on Thursday. I usually have some sort of Pocket PC machine, so that I can read mail from anywhere (lucky me!!!). Usually it is a bit big and bulky, and cannot replace my old Nokia as a phone. This one however is a dream come true. Very small and light, with all the useful features I need (activesync to my Exchange, IE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and so on and so on).

My old Nokia is currently resting in the car (used only when driving). I'll probably have some more feedback on it this coming week, as I haven't had much chance working with it.

A little bit about my A/V Equipment - part 1

I'm the proud owner of a Sharp LC32-BV8E LCD screen (HD Ready). One of the things that is connected to it is this very same computer I'm using now to write this post. It's connected via an DVI-HDMI cable (not for long, but that is a story for a different post).

The computer is my only way to watch High-Definition content, usually in the form of x264 encoded content. The result is breathtaking! Makes watching shows like BTU (see previous post) bearable.

Back To You 1x06

Why am I watching this? Two reasons: Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. I loved Frasier and I loved Raymond.

This one my friends, is neither.

But, my wife enjoys it, and I enjoy watching tv shows with my wife, so so far it is working. This episode was slightly better than the last ones, but overall, I find myself not laughing as much as the "live audience" are laughing. The jokes are very simple and obvious, the humor is slapstick, and it's just not my thing.

I'm still giving it a chance, although with the Writers Guild strike, I probably don't have too many episodes to watch...

So, what's now?

Well, you ask (those of you who have found me by mistake), what would I find here? That's a very good question! Here are some things which I thought of:
  1. Interesting gadgets I ran into (or own, lucky me).
  2. TV shows I'm currently watching.
  3. Other stuff (we'll call it misc.)

How long would it last? My last blog lasted about 2 minutes. Don't ask why. Let' see how this one goes