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Posted by james on Feb. 12, 2008

(post.rating: 8)

IMDB   Apple Trailers

You've probably seen the teaser/trailer. If you haven't, you should. The minute I saw the preview (in the theater, no less), I really wanted to see this movie. I knew that these kinds of movies have a tendency to look great, but be incredibly awful and painful movies once them come out; but I had to see it anyway. I love disaster movies, especially ones that focus on the realism of what it would be like to actually be there, as opposed to an intense but distant big picture film. Most people compared the gimick of hand-held camcorder found footage to the Blair Witch Project, which I've never seen (probably for the best).

I really liked this film. It wasn't the most amazing film, and it borrowed pretty heavily from the monster-film/disaster-film genre, but it was still great and certain parts were simply unique. I imagine if this had been made into a typical monster movie (ala the Mathew-Broderick-featuring Godzilla) it would have really stunk and been mired in cliche, rehashed plot elements. But the amateur quality of the filming (which made Lauren completely motion sick) was only half of the gimmick I would have expected. The surprise was the choice in what to show, what to expand on, and what to leave out. There were plenty of tense moments in the film, lots of cuts and dropped conversations, but also there were times where I was just left wishing for more (like when the camera man is running with the camera pointed straight down). But that's part of the genius; if the movie showed everything, it'd just be a gimmicky monster film. But they way they shot it, annoying as it is, makes the movie better (just getting to see glimpses of the monster, or explosions at point blank range, or the kneeling leg of a soldier firing a gun 3 feet away).

Overall, I had very high hopes for this film (even though I tried to tell myself going in that it was probably just another boring monster flick). I have to say I'm not disappointed. I'm sure the novelty will wear off, and the extreme shake in the camera work means I probably wont want to watch it too many times at home. But I really do want to watch this one again, at least one more time. I'm sure Lauren wont, especially if she's had anything to eat just prior.

Downtime, plus a unique challenge for February

Posted by james on Jan. 31, 2008

Yes, the site was down. Yes, it's because of my host, <a href="http://www.hostmonster.com/">HostMonster</a>. They've been incredibly unreliable since I started, and it's only my own laziness that keeps me here. I didn't even bother calling in this time; usually it goes like this:

<span style="color:blue;">them:</span> Hi, I'm mike. What seems to be the problem.
<span style="color:red;">me:</span> My site, rocketmonkeys.com, is down.
<span style="color:blue;">them:</span> Ok, what's the host name?
<span style="color:red;">me:</span> rocketmonkeys.com
<em>*2 minute pause*</em>
<span style="color:blue;">them:</span> there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the server, please double check your code
<span style="color:red;">me:</span> my site is still not up. nothing has changed in the past month, it just went down a couple hours ago and it's still down
<em>*5 minute pause*</em>
<span style="color:blue;">them:</span> it looks like an administrator is performing some maintenance on that server right now, please check it again later
<em>*me fuming*</em>
<span style="color:red;">me:</span> if this was planned maintenance, don't you guys have a way to notify people when it's happening??
<span style="color:blue;">them:</span> no, we don't currently have that
<em>*end of conversation*</em>

And so on. This time, a custom php.ini file that I had to previously edit months ago due to their changing servers config is now causing the whole site to crash. Problem? They've changed their servers around again without notifying *anyone*. So I have to go back in, edit the files again, and hope that this works for a while.

Ok, now on to more fun stuff; the <a href="http://www.rpmchallenge.com/">RPM Challenge</a>. The gist is that you record an album of your own music in February, from the first to the 29th (go leap year!), and put it online with everyone else's. The target is 10 songs or 35 minutes. Yes, that means 10 x 1 minute songs counts. That also means one 35 minute song counts. I probably wont be doing either.

Can I even do this? Who knows. I haven't written in years, so we'll see how far I get this time. If you have any ideas for songs, post them up and I'll seriously consider doing them. If you have any good stories, anecdotes, etc, those make good song fodder. Countdown, 22 hours, 5 minutes...

A look back: the Cardboard Computer Case

Posted by james on Dec. 21, 2007

27 pictures.

I just saw an article online titled "Worst case mod ever" about someone who made a <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21627831@N05/">computer case out of cardboard</a>. It brought to mind a similar project I did a long while back, when I first got to Hawaii. Below are the pictures for your viewing pleasure. I'm proud of this one; even though it had no ventilation (and so had to be dismantled), I did use it for quite a while and it worked well (with the exception of the non-vertical friendly dvd burner).

For the curious, it was an Athlon XP 2800+, 512mb PC2700, 80gb + 160gb, ATI Radeon 8500 LE. My current setup, for reference, is a Sempron 3100+, 1gb PC2700, 74gb Raptor + 200gb + 160gb, NVidia 6600 (this time in a more "professional" and boring case). Not much different, and it's 2 years later. Next step, Core 2 Duo...

Take me back to.... 2005!

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