June 26, 2008


Good lord. I just noticed that the ever-dwindling stock of A.H. Hirsch bourbon has driven the price of a 750ml bottle of the 16-year-old whiskey up north of $200. I think that means that I'm officially out of the race to drink up the last of this miraculous stuff; I'll hug my last unopened bottle, save it for a special occasion, and find a new whiskey to take its place on my sideboard.

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June 23, 2008

A moment to recite the Seven Words.

Rest well, George.

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June 19, 2008

Ice, ice, bab...no, I can't.

Still, WOOHOO IT'S ICE! The Phoenix Mars Lander reports finding ice (and, funny enough, not by baking it) on Mars. Just to be modern about it, the lander 'reports' this via Twitter.

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June 18, 2008


I just get scheduled to go to Texas for business July 1-3, and I find out that Alabama 3 are playing New York City on July 1st. No, worse; they're playing two blocks from my office.


/me starts trying to shove travel and tickets around...

By the way, this reviewer pleases me when describing Alabama 3: "They swing like the devil’s own dick."

Damn right they do, bitches.

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Stupid record industry.

You know what's really damn annoying? That every online lyrics database I've checked has the Hank Williams song lyrics under the much more important (to me) Alabama 3 version.


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June 13, 2008


Halal Bastirma and a small Challah loaf = lunch yummy.

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Damn subconscious.

In the year I've had my iPhone, I'd dropped it (like, really dropped it a decent distance onto a hard surface) maybe three times. I don't use a case, just keep it in my pocket; I like the phone's sturdy-yet-slim form factor, and cases ruin that. Most also make it harder to get to the phone's controls. Finally, when carrying a bag, I have a phone holster on the strap with a closing cover - and phone cases make the phone too big and/or 'grippy' to slide into the holster properly.

Anyway. My point actually has little to do with that. What's annoying me is that since I wrote my blog post explaining how I'm not going to buy a new iPhone, I've dropped the thing four times.

Subconscious wish-fulfillment is such a bitch. I'm NOT buying a new iPhone, self. Not until there's a 32GB+ storage option. GET IT STRAIGHT.

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June 9, 2008

3G iPhone, yada, yada.

Of course I was drooling over the liveblogs of WWDC today. I'm pleased to say that what was announced was almost precisely what I predicted a few days ago to a friend of mine, but I won't insist you believe me because it was in conversation and not date-able print. Not that it matters.

Three of my friends have asked me, the well-known Apple Early Adopter (*cough*SUCKER*cough*) if I'm going to get one, and when.

You know, I don't think I am.

I have an 8GB iPhone that I bought the day of release. I've been keeping it in my right pants pocket for a year, with no protection other than my trying to remember to not put my keys in that pocket. It (knock wood) works fine, and has no visible screen blemishes at all - and few on the case, either. I've gone through a pair of V-Moda headphones, but V-Moda replaced them cheerfully under warranty, so good on them.

What does the new phone (not the new firmware, the new phone) have that I might want? Let's see.

  • A-GPS
  • 3G cellular connection
  • ...um...a non-recessed headphone jack, woo
  • ...yeah, nothing else.

I really don't care about waiting 45 seconds versus 22 seconds to get my pages to load when on EDGE (rather than HSPDA or whatever '3G' is). I do care that the new phone's data plan appears to involve an *additional* $10/month (for what? That 20-second difference, meaningless when on Wi-Fi? Pshaw). I also care that I'd have to restart my two-year AT&T clock to get one.

Could Apple have sealed the deal with me? Yeah, they could have. In a simple way, and one that no doubt they'll do within months. The most limiting thing about the current iPhone I have? 8GB of storage. If they'd announced a 32GB version for $300, or even maybe $399, I'd have thought about it very very carefully. I have to manage what's on my phone sort of constantly to fit new podcasts and new video onto it. While I would probably fill a 32GB phone immediately, it would most likely all be with video content both transient and permanent, making the phone a much more usable movie player - which I enjoy about it a lot. Also app data space - although EBooks don't take up too much.

All the other stuff I really want - Exchange functionality, MobileMe, app store, SDK-and-resulting games - all of these will be available to me free via the 2.0 firmware update.

Also, suck on Apple if (as reports indicate may be the case) you'll no longer be able to buy the iPhone and then activate it at home. That was one of the little things that made me feel like I was finally achieving some independence from the cell phone scumpond that is the industry (I know, locking it to AT&T more than made up for this slight bright light). It's possible that they're only promising it in stores because the initial production run all went to retail; it's possible that they just aren't sure enough about ship dates etc. to promise its availability via the Apple Store online. But still.

So no. I think I'll be holding on to my 2.5G version. Here's hoping it doesn't break anytime soon. Hm, maybe I should buy Applecare for it, if they'll let me...

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June 6, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - SPOILERS

Finally saw the new Indy movie. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, it would be the following: It was a perfectly good Indiana Jones movie that someone had slowed down to between 60% and 80% normal speed. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with it that a fan-based cut, a la The Phantom Edit, couldn't cure.

I give Ford full marks, because he's doing Indy just fine, with just enough of a nod to aging to be funny, and not so much that he's explaining his slowness or hamming for the cameras. All the 'slow bits' of the movie are between Indy's antics. Sequences go on too long (mine carts in Temple of Doom-style); jokes that are obvious are spun out explicitly to their detriment; and...there's these silences. I mean, seriously - there are whole seconds of the movie, sometimes up to fifteen in a stretch, where there's no musical score or explosions. I mean, Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.

Shia was just annoying enough to make sense, and not too annoying (to me, at least). It was great to see Marion. The Indy/Marion reunion fight was expected, but damn, I would have preferred if she'd hit him again. I have no idea what the 'Mack' character was supposed to be - crap, I understand Denholm Elliott's gone to the Last Crusade in the sky, but surely they could have gotten John Rhys-Davies? Or maybe him plus Marion would be too much to swallow?

Wait. This is Indiana Jones. And I just swallowed that whole movie.

So, in the end, I had fun - but it sure would have been an awesome movie if it had had all the same sequences and been 25 minutes shorter.

We won't even go into the actual main plot.

Okay, okay, I will. See, the first movie made sense there was a race between Good Guys (outnumbered and plucky) and Bad Guys (goosestepping and monolithic) to find an artifact of great and obvious power. One side wants to exploit it; the other wants to preserve it. Perfect. It changes hands several times, there are hijinks, and Indy and Marion work really well together. Nice:

The second movie...ugh, let's skip that for now. Suffice it to say that Crystal Skull, as another reviewer described it, is the third-best of four IJ movies.

The third movie - great! Another artifact of great importance and purity, and this time it's a race to find it - with the Good Guys still being chased by Bad Guys. The bad guys look like they have the upper hand - but the artifact itself is more powerful than both, and since the Good Guys have purer motives, they escape unscathed and unenriched. Great!

This movie? This is confusing. There's an artifact, except that it really points the way to a bigger set of artifacts. The Spaniards took it, then Ox took it, and now it needs to go home - where? Um, sorta hard to tell. Then the Rooskies are after it - why? Because it means 'power.' But without the easily-contextualized 'vulnerability' of the Ark or the Grail - i.e. powerful symbols of light, threatened by darkness - the tension just isn't there. We have no idea what we're looking for in this movie; we just have faith that Indy'll tell us. Even Indy seems at sea, relying on mystic brainwaves and the mumblings of his mad buddy to figure out what to do next. Wait, what? This is Henry Jones Jr., damn it, while he may make it up as he goes along, he ALWAYS knows what's up with the artifacts!

And then...ugh...the ending. I had such trouble with it. Here's why. First of all, if the Crystal Skull People (CSP hereafter) had been waiting all this time for the skull to be returned, why is their first act to destructively vamoose? They spent thousands of years teaching the inhabitants, and then somehow became separate Crystal skeletons sitting on chairs? What? And when the Spaniards showed up, they let them grab one of their heads? But when the head comes back (where it was originally) suddenly they're bad-ass and incomprehensible?

Um, makes no sense whatsoever. I didn't even understand what the KGB chick was looking for. If she doesn't know how to use one skull, what good will the others do her?

Yeah. The Roswell/aliens thing would have been an awesome Indiana Jones side-joke, wink wink, but it would have been more Indy if the 'real explanation' was something both more terrestrial and more mysterious. If the CSP had been caught up in the same quest we go on in the movie, and been beaten out by the obstacles - perfect. But no, there's a big fat McGuffin which was even sillier than the end of Fight the Future - and that movie won no prizes for making any sense at all, even in its own milieu.

Ah well.

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June 5, 2008

Rust vs. paint

Hm. I need to find data on how long a standard ship coating takes to degrade to rust. I just realized that of the ships I'm looking at, it's fairly easy to determine which are in use based on their coloration; brown is rust, and if the topside of a ship is showing lots of rust, then either a) it hasn't been painted yet (it's under construction) or b) it's laid up and nobody is maintaining it. Usually, b).

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