December 29, 2005

TV shows in December

For the third week in a row ALL of my TV shows were pre-empted this week! While episodes are never new between Christmas and New Year's, I think this is the first time ever that everything was a repeat the week before, let alone the week before that. Man, the analysts aren't kidding when they say that broadcast TV has gone downhill in the last few years....

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:22 AM

December 26, 2005

holiday crime

The last few days have been rough in my old Longfellow neighborhood: on Thursday (the 22nd) the Wendy's on Lake Street was shot up in a drive-by, and then yesterday -- Christmas Day! -- some fool capped a worker at the Family Foods (a corner store I used to frequently patronize). Where's the holiday love, people?!

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:37 AM

December 21, 2005

digital vs. analog TV

There are a lot of great things about digital TVs, such as picture and sound quality, and -- for flat panel models -- they can be easily mounted on a wall. One thing that advertisers of one of this year's "hot products" fail to mention, though, is that one can waste hours playing with all of the various available video/audio settings, like I have this week with a new set for the bedroom. For instance, should I go with a "pro" picture with "clear voice" sound and "noise reduction" at "medium," or a "vivid" picture with "dynamic" sound and the "backlight" at "low"!?! I think that at times this week I'll miss the old 13" analog set with everything set to "standard"....

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:57 AM

December 15, 2005

snow emergency towing

A snow emergency is in effect here in Minneapolis, which means that there are restrictions on where/when one can engage in on-street parking. I was surprised when a tow truck pulled up next door 30 minutes ago and hauled off a late-model VW Passat, as I'd only seen a tow truck in the hood once...for a stalled car. I was also surprised that it took two dudes 8 minutes to get the car loaded; when I lived on 15th St. swarms of trucks would descend a few minutes after 9:00 PM (when emergencies go into effect) and the longest hook-up time I ever clocked was 5 minutes. Maybe these guys just got back from a lunch break and were not yet back to full operating speed....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:04 PM

December 12, 2005

internal communication

Why can't different departments within large corporations effectively communicate with each other? Today, I got not one, but two requests that would never had been made if the requesting unit had access to info given to another unit within the company. I would think that a shareable database would be easy to implement, but maybe both companies that contacted me today are using Microsoft products....

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:51 PM

December 9, 2005

return from Narnia

This morning I saw The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and rate it 4 out of 5 stars on the Netflix scale. I can't go to a 5 'cause some of the dialogue was changed and/or given to different characters. You wouldn't notice if you hadn't read the book several times, but it was a bit jarring for one who has. [STOP HERE if you don't want to read spoilers.] For example, when Aslan goes to the Stone Table, Jadis (the White Witch) says something like "Behold, the King of Narnia," whereas the book has her saying "The fool! The fool has come!" Now that I think about it, Jadis says "fool" on several ocassions in the book but not once in the movie, if my memory's right. Hhhhmmm. OK, another example: in the book a bull says "Come and take him then!" when Jadis says that Edmund is her lawful prey, but Peter says it in the movie. Huh?

On the other hand, some dialogue was changed for the better. Take Father Christmas' speech to the girls as he presents The Gifts: "battles are ugly when women fight," is in the book (p. 105), but the "when women fight" part is dropped from the movie. The movie also nicely empowers Susan: the book's "it [the bow] does not easily miss" is changed to "you will not easily miss, I'm sure." Nice.

I had high expectations for Tilda Swinton as Jadis, and for the most part she delivered. In both book and movie pride is always in the mix of emotions Jadis radiates. When the combo is pride and fear -- like when she first realizes that there are 4 humans, or when Aslan roars at her when she asks for assurances that he'll keep his word -- Swinton doesn't quite pull it off. I'll blame the director for that, though. Also, she blows the audience away in the climatic battle scene!

In sum, although the movie has a few flaws, it's well worth the price of admission. I can hardly wait for Prince Caspian....

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:28 PM

December 8, 2005

going to Narnia

Tomorrow one of my favorite books of all time opens as a movie. I'm a little worried that The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe will be a big disappointment, but a review by a dude I like is positive (4 out of 4 stars!), so I'll go 'head and take a chance....

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:05 PM

December 5, 2005

bball on the radio

On Saturday I listened to part of the U of Minnesota women's basketball game on Jazz 88. This was my first time listening to a radio broadcast of a bball game, and it will probably be the last, as it seems that I need the visual element to make sense of what's going on. How do radio sports junkies get into it!?!

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:20 AM

December 2, 2005

back door of the bus

As a teen in the ATL (Atlanta, GA) my primary mode of transportation was the bus. A favorite activity was to yell "Back do'! Yo bus driver, open da back do'!" when s/he did not open the rear door fast enough for a rider's exit. Yesterday a guy used it on Minneapolis' #50 bus...well, the Minnesota Nice version anyway: "Back door! Open the back door, please."

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:51 AM