Fairly Symmetrical

May 2005 Archives

10:44 PM by Eric: Some kind of update Personal

Okay, since my adoring fans are clamoring for an update, here's a sorta kinda stream of consciousness covering whatever I remember of the last month (while the cat does a square dance on my lap), in rough reverse chronological order.

Today I passed the Microsoft Developing Web Applications with C# certification test, leaving me one test (Solution Architecture) shy of my full MCSD. There are fewer than 13,000 MCSD's worldwide, although I confess that I'm still not quite as cool as the 9-year old Pakistani girl who became the youngest ever Microsoft Certified Professional. :-P

At work I've been getting comfortable with Virtual PC. Right now on my computer at work I have three virtual computers running: Windows 2000 (US), Windows XP (England), and Windows XP (French). This is the awesomest thing ever, especially if you are responsible for making sure your company's software works on international versions of Windows--which, coincidentally, I am. Seeing the familiar Windows UI in French is pretty cool.

Speaking of internationalization, I want to hunt down whoever wrote the Date object for Javascript and beat them with a copy of some large, heavy tract on internationalization. I realize that way back in like 1995 when Javascript was invented we never expected people in those <sarcasm>tiny, useless third world countries</sarcasm> to ever actually get computers, but it's been 10 years, people. Get in on the damn global village already.

I saw Revenge of the Sith Tuesday (my company paid for all us programming geeks to go see the noon showing at the Alamo Drafthouse, which was nice). They showed an hour of various things before the movie, including clips from the Clone Wars animated series, a takeoff on COPS called TROOPS (imagine Stormtroopers getting called in to break up a domestic disturbance, their eventual solution being to shoot both husband and wife and burn down their house), and, believe it or not, the first 10 minutes of the honest to goodness 1978 Star Wars Christmas Special, which was so bad that Lucas stated in an interview that if he had a time machine and a sledgehammer, he would use them to make sure nobody ever saw that film. And frankly, given the first 10 minutes, I say give the man a time machine. ROTS itself was good (not great, but good). It didn't redeem the first two movies; ROTS is the only one I feel any impetus to purchase. Still, it was very pretty, and reasonably minimal on the terrible dialog. Apparently Jar Jar actually does have a single, solitary line in the movie; he says "excuse me" when someone bumps into him. Admirable restraint on Lucas' part; I was expecting some kind of vaudeville show or tap dance or something.

The previews before ROTS were all very interesting. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe looks very pretty (and the trailer at least was cinematically quite similar to LOTR, surprise surprise), and if the story is done well it could be an excellent film. Batman Begins looks at least passable, though the Batmobile kind of makes me want to retch. But hey! Katie Holmes! :) Stealth looks like the perfect summer blockbuster: fighter jets, explosions, etc etc.

Geico is currently my hero, since some pleasant fellow rubbed up against our Passat in a parking lot, denting the wheel well, and neglected to leave a note or insurance information. $1700 damage, plus car rental, of which we will only pay $250. Of course, we'll see if they're still my hero in September when we renew our policy, and unfortunately they weren't willing to pay for the oil change and torn CV boot (~$400 total). Sigh.

My grandma (dad's mom) was just here for a week-long visit. It is still rather shocking to me that she's 83. I don't know why, though. I guess I always felt like it was other people's grandmas that were old. :-P

I finally started playing ice hockey. Well, not "playing" so much as "taking lessons", but same thing. Every Sunday I suit up and get out on the ice for a thoroughly exhausting hour. I am having an absolute blast. I'm starting to actually get the hang of stopping. It's not at all like stopping on roller blades. For one thing, if you fall down on roller blades, you stop. Not so much on ice though; you just spin into the wall like a moron. :) Hopefully by the time the next season starts up I'll be in decent playing shape. If nothing else I should have massive leg muscles, at least if the instructor and his damn suicide drills have anything to do with it. Incidentally, I wasn't sure whether to be comforted or worried when I learned he was qualified in Combat Life Saving by the military. Currently I'm going with comforted. :-P

Okay, I think that's pretty much popped the stack. If anything else comes to me you all will be... well, okay, not the first to know, but definitely in the top 10. :)

Edit: Added link to the TROOPS short film.

10:06 AM by Eric: Don't Panic Movies and TV

Yesterday Jen and I and several of Jen's compatriots from UT went to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the Alamo Drafthouse. It was one of those movies where you enjoy it while you're watching, but the minute you get out and start actually thinking about it, it becomes a disappointment (at least for me). There were huge subplots that never got resolved and seemed entirely pointless, whole facets of characters (e.g. Trillian) that got removed for no apparent reason, and a lot of slapstick humor that really missed the point of DA's writing (ironic, since DA helped write the screenplay). I didn't mind that some of the jokes were removed, but I definitely minded that some of the jokes were bizarrely truncated. Either do it or don't, but don't tease me.

Some of the movie was really good (Allen Rickman was genius as Marvin, and the Magrathean planet factory was brilliantly beautiful), and the rest of it was fine for a light afternoon movie. I did like the cameo by the original (from the BBC series) Marvin.

In other movie news, my company is taking all of us to see Episode III later this month. It's sad, at this point I'm violently cynical about it, but the trailer (which they showed before HHGTTG) still perceptibly raised my heart rate. Ah well; I'll watch it for the pretty fight choreography and the starships. At least I'm not footing the bill for this one. ;)

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