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Children of Men

Posted by james on April 14, 2007

(post.rating: 9)

IMDB   Apple Trailers

I just saw this at the dollar movie theater. It looked very interesting in the trailers (though that's often misleading), but rotten tomatoes gave it a <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/children_of_men/">high 90% score</a>, so I figured it would be good. It was pretty amazing. It has a good amount of excitement, but never indulges in the "one man against an army" kind of guerrilla warfare bit. The movie struck a good balance between suspense, an incredibly immersive Orwellian world, and the impact of the plot. There are moments where the movie slows down and it's almost sad/beautiful.

In the midst of a lot of really bad movies (and it always seems that things are getting worse), I was surprised how solid this movie was. Definitely worth viewing, though it wont be the action-fest that some might expect. All the actors seem just fit for their roles, no one sticks out (not even red-head Julianne Moore in the midst of a bunch of brits). At a few points it seems like Clive Owens is speaking with half his jaw tied behind his back (he has a unique accent), but it's decent for the rest of the movie.

The man... Chiwetel Ejiofor. I knew I'd seen him somewhere before! Serenity, the crazy philosopher/killer. Gotta love that guy. Claire-Hope Ashitey does a really good job, I love hearing those kinds of accents (don't even know what they are, really) and she never pulls a pity card in the movie, just makes it believable. Also, I think I now know where babies come from... that was about the most graphic birth scene ever.

Hostmonster hosting problems; downtime fun!

Posted by james on April 8, 2007

A while back I was up for renewal at my much loved older host (<a href="http://www.e-rice.net/">e-rice</a>, cheap and can't beat the service). I really loved their service; on average a few hours turnaround for email support, most issues fixed right away. They had some downtime, and a pretty firm no-upgrade rule (which is why I left... needed newer versions of PHP), but overall I still really like them. If you're just starting out, really look at those guys.

So I decided to upgrade to a bigger host. I ended up deciding on one of those too-good-to-be-true overseller hosts, <a href="http://www.hostmonster.com/">Hostmonster</a>. They offer ridiculous amounts of space (200gigs??) and lots of features (Ruby on Rails, in case I want to play with it... not many others had it). I knew it was a risk, but I decided to try anyway. They seemed really quick on service, offering phone, IM, and email support. It's been going good until the last month. I've had about a week of downtime, and I've had to contact tech support 4 times. The first time I was told that there was regular maintenance going on and that I should check back. "Can I get an email back when it's done?" "No." "Is there a way to get emailed when this is supposed to happen?" "You should have already gotten an email." Hmm .... So a few days later when my site is still down, I IM them again. I spend 20 minutes waiting for the guy to figure out the problem, and then give up. Next day, I contact them and they say it must be my site, my code. Yeah, right. I convince them to take another look, and they then escalate my problem to "level 2" support. Finally, I find out what was going on. They tried to upgrade the server, botched it up, then tried to downgrade back to what it was out. And botched that too. So now the site is back up, although they did say that they're still working on the server. I don't know if that is true.

What gets me is that they have a 99.9% uptime guarantee. That works out to 8.5 hours a year of downtime. 4 days (at a minimum!) of downtime is 11 times the "guaranteed" downtime. So now I wonder, how do I invoke that guarantee? How will I be compensated? And more to the point, how can I ensure that this wont be a regular occurrence?

If this does happen again, I'll most likely switch to my number 2 choice; <a href="http://www.godaddy.com/">GoDaddy</a>. They offer less space and features, but still a lot for the same price as Hostmonster, and I have more belief that they can actually support the numbers they claim (instead ofHostmonster's obvious overselling). I have my domain with GoDaddy which has worked out well (I used to register through <a href="http://www.registerfly.com/">RegisterFly</a> , which if you've ready anything lately would be a bad place to still do business with...). And now they have a few more features that seem to make it more worthwhile. The only bad thing would be that Hostmonster has near unlimited email size, while almost all other hosts have a 10mb limit. I really don't understand why they can't offer a bit more, especially in this age of big attachments. But with most things flowing through GMail (yes, I'm slowly becoming more of a fan), I suppose it doesn't matter.

We'll see where things go. But score: E-Rice 1, Hostmonster 0, GoDaddy TBD.

Green disgusting broccoli soup

Posted by james on March 25, 2007

4 pictures.

I subsist on mostly on meat and frozen products, which is not good. I know I need vegetables and other green things, but I really just don't find them appetizing most of the time. So I've had this idea for a while that I could just blend everything up into veggie-paste and scarf that down, and not waste time on food I don't enjoy.

This was further inspired by the oh-so-awesome vitamix blender demo at my local Costco, which actually produced <a href="http://vitamix.ahoy.com/recipe/recipe.cgi/0/274/">really good soup.</a> Ok, I thought, I can try this at home. So I put together some broccoli, milk, salt, and pepper, and blended. Apparently I need a better recipe.

I actually did drink half a full cup of that stuff. After that I lost appetite (and stomach strength), and actually felt bad for a half hour. I will try again, but hopefully with a better recipe.

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