Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Opinions, Everybody's Got'em...

Deal with it.  

People are going to like different things.  Just because you do not like something does not mean other people should not.  People are allowed to disagree with each other.  Again, as I have said in the past it is part of something that makes us human.  It would be a boring world if we all liked the same stuff.  If everyone was the same, most of the creativity in the world would be gone.  

If people like to watch romance movies, that's fine.  It's not my thing, but if that is what they enjoy more power to them.  If you hate romance movies, and thing they are the stupidest thing in the world, that's fine to.  

Now the crucial thing to understand is that just because you think romance movies are stupid, does not mean that people that like romance movies are stupid.  They are just different then you.  You still should respect people with differing opinions.

Now a big problem with my whole argument here is that, if you think people who like romance movies are stupid, that's your opinion and you are entitled to it.  However, you should still show respect for that person despite their differing opinion.  You can argue with them, and try to convince them of your point of view.  But you should not get vulgar or insulting about it (calling them stupid or a dork is not likely to convince them to take your side).  

The only place where I can really see having conflict over differing opinions is when someones opinion is harmful to others.  If it is your opinion that beating up old people is cool, there are likely to be issues (although if you really think that, but do not really act on it, you won't face the legal consequences of said opinion).

I guess my main point here is that it is good to have likes and dislikes.  Yours will not always line up with other peoples.  That is fine, that is normal.  Now if you are friends with that person, then that just may be something you don't do together.  If you are not friends with that person, then you really do not have to hang out with them or deal with the fact that they hold whatever opinion it is that you disagree with.  

If you really care for a person that has differing opinions then you, then you really have to learn to deal with the fact that people are going to disagree.  It might be you decide not to discuss that topic because it will only lead to bad arguments.  It may be you have to do things separately from time to time.  If it is something really as trivial as they like movies, or books, or games, or collecting something that you think is dumb, if you really care for that person you should encourage it anyway.  Maybe you do not understand it but it makes them happy.  If you care for them, you should want to see them happy.  

Opinions.  Everybody has them, and that is OK.   

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, from Continental Airlines

I have been a fairly steadfast customer with Continental airlines over the last two years. As I search for an airline ticket for the upcoming holiday season I get to see how "wonderful" a company they are. If I want to travel on the weekends around Thanksgiving, I need to be willing to put up almost $500 more then I normally would for a ticket.

I am glad they really feel the need to screw people for the holidays. Last year at the onset of winter I could typically find tickets for around $250 for a non-stop round trip flight. Now even looking two months in advance the cheapest ticket I can find for the Thanksgiving weekends is $708.

So I hope you all live close to your loved ones, because business could really care less about the holiday spirit.

YAY! Price Gouging

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is this the year?

The NHL has unveiled its new ad campaign, and I can't say its a real winner.  The campaign focuses on photos that have been taken over the past year and having the players in them step out and talk about the moment and how they feel.  While in an artistic endeavour this is a clever idea, I do not think that is what is going to appeal to people about hockey.  

The sport is all about its explosiveness and speed.  That is what they keep preaching each year.   This is not something that is highlighted well by still photography.  A hit doesn't look as brutal or bone crunching in still frame.  A break away or amazing save is not as exciting with no motion.  It steals the excitement from the game.  The commercials are too quite and lack energy, which is what hockey is all about.

These commercials do not leave me hyped to start watching hockey.  Show the dazzling plays, goals, saves, hits that the players make everyday when they play.  That is what people watch the game for.  Not to hear Sidney Crosby whine about not winning the Stanley Cup.  

I can watch video highlights of hockey all night.  Make commercials with those.  Show the game.  

I will admit this is a cool shot though.  Although not in the ad campaign as it is a little dated.  

Monday, September 29, 2008

Big Step for Space Industry

The Space industry took a large step forward yesterday with the first ever successful commercial launch to reach orbit with a liquid powered rocket. Elon Musk's company SpaceX launched their Falcon I rocket at 4:15 PDT and made orbit roughly nine minutes later.

This was the fourth attempt of to prove their Falcon I rocket. SpaceX is one of the competitors in the COTS (commercial Orbital Transportation Services) program that could be used to resupply the International Space Station after the retirement of the space shuttle.

In Early August SpaceX had a successful test of their Falcon 9 engines. These two tests are a big step forward for the company as it develops its Dragon launch vehicle. The fact that commercial industry has finally make orbit is a major step in the forward progression of space exploration.

It will be companies that are attempting to make a profit that will starting cutting back the massive infrastructure that currently surrounds all the government funded space programs. The Falcon 1 rocket costs 7.9 million a piece. This price is minuscule compared the vehicles we are using now If we are ever to truly be a space faring people we need to cut the cost drastically and we cannot have thousands of people observing every single flight.

Of course in the long run this means putting myself out of a job, but that is the cost of progress.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Tragedy of Remakes

I was driving to the book store today and it struck me that there is something wrong with the movie and music industry.  Every year we are constantly dealing with remakes of older movies and older songs (yeah, yeah this isn't really a stroke of genius on my part, I'll get to my point shortly).  People seem to have lost there ability to think of an original idea to make into a movie.  Or they just try to make a spoof of good movies that have been made.  How many stupid spoofs can you make?

Really?  Aside from Disaster movie even the covers are identical.  

I guess they have figured out a formula that is guaranteed to make them money, but it is seriously getting lame. 

Now I know people have been saying this for years, but the one thing that struck me as I drove to the bookstore is that people don't make remakes of books.  If they do I haven't heard about it.  I haven't seen a Lord of the Rings Trilogy by John Doe.  

Is it because it is unacceptable to rewrite someone's exact story with your words?  If this is the case, why is it such a great idea with movies and music?  Maybe I can start making money by taking other peoples genius and rewriting great books.  Something I'll have to look into.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wings Exhibition Loss

The Red Wings lost the exhibition opener tonight to the Montreal Canadians, 3-2 in a shootout.  The loss of the game is not really as worrying as the opening events of the third period.  Three minutes and five seconds into the period the Red Wings Captain Nicklas Lidstrom had a shot deflect off his stick and into his face.  He fell to the ice and a pool of blood was seen quickly forming.  The puck hit just above his eye and he had to receive stitches.  He did not return to the game but was taken to the hospital for precautionary x-rays.  

Lidstrom has been the Captain of the team since Steve Yzerman retired after the 2005-2006 season.  In 2004 Steve Yzerman was similarly hit in the eye by a deflected shot.  It required surgery to fix due to the multiple broken bones in his face.  While this shot to Lidstrom does not appear to be as serious, it is always scary to see this kind of thing happen to anyone.  Particularly to such a leader, and such an outstanding player.  Nicklas Lidstrom has lead the Wings for two years now and including to a Stanley Cup Championship last year.  Lidstrom has also won the Norris Trophy for best defenseman in six out of seven of the last active NHL seasons.  

His loss for any extended period of time would be a major hit to the Red Wings.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hockey is back!

With the preseason starting up, I am pumped about the upcoming season. It was a long three months without hockey. Things slow down way too much in the hockey world after the draft. All in all it was a good summer being able to bask in the glory of another Detroit Red Wings Stanley cup. However, it just makes me more anxious to see them start the defense of the their title. Especially after making the brilliant signing of Marian Hossa during the off-season.

The other great part about the new season is another season of fantasy hockey. I have been
playing for three years now, just using the free Yahoo Fantasy Sports website. It was great when I started off with a win my first year, but I have steadily declined over the past few years taking second and third this past season. However, Team Grrrrr! will rise again.

Fantasy sports are fun because it is a way to stay in touch with the game. If you are interested in a sport, it is one of the easiest ways I know to learn the ins and outs of the game, the teams, and the players (that is if you are actually trying to be competitive).
The first Red Wings preseason game is tonight. It will good to see Hossa and Datsyuk together on the ice, and whether or not they work well together. I unfortunately am not able to actually watch or listen to preseason games. The live scoreboard will have to do (if I have Internet back after the hurricane).
Red Wings season opens officially October 9, 2008.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricanes and Evacuation

So I am starting to understand why people refuse to leave their homes during times of catastrophes such as hurricanes and what not. I have been in away from Houston as hurricane Ike rolled through. Not because I evacuated, but because I was already on vacation. Let me tell you, it is no fun to have no insight into what is going on at my home.

All I can do is sit around and look at news reports trying to figure out what it is I have to go back to. Will my apartment be damaged? Will my things be destroyed? Will insurance cover any of it? I can't tell because my electronic documents don't have the correct information and my paper document is at my home. Or is it? For me I have no idea. All I know is that buildings around my home have suffered severe wind damage. Windows broken, flooding in neighboring areas. I don't really fear the flooding, due to my apartment being on the third floor of its building. Did the windows survive the storm? The ones at the nearby Hilton didn't.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Meaningful Sci-fi - Gattaca and Genetic Engineering

I recently caught the end of a show on the History Channel called Evolve. The episode that was on was talking about the evolution of sex through the ages. The part I saw was discussing how humans are now to a point where we are taking our evolution into our own hands. We no longer require sex to procreate. We can start life in a lab. On top of that, we are getting close to a time where we could even engineer the genes of our children so as to have them exemplify only the traits we want.

In 1997 a movie was made called Gattaca. The movie is a very fitting analysis of this very scenario. It follows the story of a man, Vincent Freeman, who was born by normal means. Following his birth his parents caved to the ways of the time and had a second child, Anton, genetically engineered to be as "perfect" as their genes could make him.

A doctor on the show Evolve said how important this is because who would want to have a child that was created through such a random occurrence as sperm and egg fusing in the natural process. A random occurrence? He seems to be missing out on a huge part of what it is to be human. We just don't go out and have kids with random people (when that happens it is usually accidental, and a child was not the intended purpose of the activity).

People typically spend quite a fair amount of time finding the person they want to settle down with to have family. When they do find this person it is because they have found someone they are attracted to. They like the character, looks, and various other traits that make up that other person. On a very basic level the whole concept of attraction is seeing traits in another person we want to pass on to our children. So having kids is not just a random occurrence. It is usually a pretty well thought activity. We shouldn't have to engineer our children to be happy with them.

The movie Gattaca tries to demonstrate that people should not be valued for how genetically perfect or imperfect they are. Vincent, who was born by normal means was genetically diagnosed that he was going to die before he was thirty due to a heart condition. He was looked down on in society because of how he was born. Vincent from the time he was young wanted to be able to travel into space. His only chance to do that was to work for Gattaca, a future aerospace company. However, this was a job limited to only the genetic elite. Since he was unhealthy he was allowed to take part.

However, he presses on. With the aid of one of the genetic elite, Jerome Eugene Morrow who was crippled in an accident, he strives towards his goal anyway. He takes over Jeromes identity, and uses it in an attempt to fulfill his dreams. 

This movie gives a pretty clear example of how unfair and unjust this kind of society would be. This will just create a new level of prejudice in a world that has far to much already. We should already preaching that the worth a person is not in their gender, the color of their skin, or where they are from and how they were raised. But now there are people out there preaching its important that we be able design our children to look the way we want?

I believe we already had one leader in this world who wanted to make a genetically perfect society. Did the Holocaust not make it clear how big a mistake this is?

People are different.  We have a mixture of qualities and characteristics that make up society.  That is what it is to be human.  That is not something we should try to control or mandate. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Science Fiction Kicks Ass part II

OK, so back to science fiction and why it is awesome (and also why people should not rag on it as much as they do).

One major complaint that I often hear is how unrealistic it is and how unrealistic the dates are that are thrown out in it. Yeah, 2001: A Space Odyssey was a little off. They're authors not mind readers. The fun part is what they do get right, or what they do inspire people to create.

Everyone has to remember Lt. Uhura from Star Trek, the original series. Right? Maybe not.

Does anyone else see a similar concept here?

How about this one?

The one of the right is a communicator from Star Trek, which first started filming in 1966. The second a modern cell phone. Isn't it funny how similar they are. I can keep naming several other devices that were either influenced by science fiction or predicted by it. So yeah sometimes the date is off a little as to when some "crazy" technological wonder will come out (I'm still waiting for someone to make a lightsaber myself), but they do tend to describe what that technology will be (or influence what it will be).

I was going to use the rest of this post to talk about how science fiction can be an interesting way of analyzing human society as it is, and also where it is going. It can be a way to demonstrate how actions today can lead to serious consequences in the future, or really help out in the future.

The problem is that it is a little to deep for this particular post. Instead I will finish out by saying that science fiction is just fun. Look at Star Wars. It was revolutionary to the way that movies were made. It pushed the limits of special effects at the time. It was imaginative. The score of the films were brilliant (John Williams is the man). It took these things and blended them into an movie like none other.

This is just one example of science fiction that is brilliant. People have taken this universe of Star Wars and really run with it creating some excellent stories. Some have written really bad ones as well, but as with anything you just have to take the good with the bad. If you can find a genre that has never had a badly written story please let me know.

I am still currently expanding the depth of my knowledge in the science fiction world. I was hung up on Star Wars for a long time, and it was only within the last few years I stepped outside of that to see what else the genre had to offer. Books like Frank Herbert's Dune, Orson Scott Card's Ender Series, Asimov's Foundation series, H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, Heinlein's Starship Troopers and the Moon is a Harsh Mistress to name a few of my favorites to this point.

Whether the science fiction is just telling a fun story, or actually has a deeper meaning to it, it is a genre that should be checked out. It can be inspirational. Whether you check it out via the movies, books, television, or radio (the way Orson Welles did War of the Worlds on the radio was ingenious) try it out. You just might enjoy it.

UPDATE - A Friend sent me this showing how Star Wars has really impacted the entertainment industries since its beginning.   Star Wars influence.

Why B Movies Kick Ass

Alright, B movies. Labeled as such because of the typically lower budget, poorer acting and campier story lines.

For a lot of people this is a turn off to the movie, however it may in fact be their saving grace as well. Because in the end no matter how serious a B movie is supposed to be, they can all become comedies.

And it is exactly what makes them less valuable that makes them priceless. Now it usually helps to have a drink or two in your system when going to watch one of the said movies because it can increase the appreciation of the humor. The humor found in ridiculousness.

The combination of bad special effects, bad acting, bad story can eventually cross a threshold. The corniness takes on a new level, and it is hilarious. Take the movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Its about an alien species that lands on earth to abduct humans. The aliens of course look like clowns and there spaceship is shaped like a circus tent. The humans they abduct are wrapped in cotton candy and suck their blood through crazy straws. The whole concept of this movie is outrageous. Did they really intend for it to be scary? Because if they were they failed (I can't imagine that was their intent, look at the tagline), but made a great comedy.

I feel horror movies, action movies, and science fiction tend to make the best B-movie. Maybe that is just because those are the types of movies I tend to watch. Thinking about it, there might be some really bad good romance movies. Let me know if there are any.

It does take a certain sense of humor to appreciate a "good" B-movie. The kind of sense of humor that makes you laugh at jokes that aren't funny, because they are so bad that they are funny.

Take this for example:

A string walks into a bar, goes up to the counter and orders and drink. The Bartender turns to the string and says,"Go away. We don't serve strings here." So the string walks outside for a moment, when an idea hits him. He ties himself up and frays out his ends. He goes back into the bar and again orders a drink. The bartender looks at him and says, "Aren't you the string that I just didn't serve?" The string replies "Nope, I'm a frayed knot!"

Now if you laughed at that, you should go get a six pack, and find a "good" B movie. Check out, a site I am not affiliated with, but it is a wonderful reference (look for the sci-fi movie with David Hasselhoff).

So this is a situation of bad equals good. Which leads to one of the best parts of B-movies, they are cheap. A friend of mine who is big into B-movies just bought eight movies for eight dollars.

They are great, they are cheap, and fun to watch with friends. And that is why B-movies kick ass.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why Science Fiction Kicks Ass

Ok, so truth be told, I am a huge science fiction fan. Usually as soon as that comes out the words like; nerd, dork, geek tend to start flying about. I use them alot from time to time because that is what is expected. But really, being a fan of science fiction is no different then being a fan of anything else. Its just certain people, certain things in the past have given science fiction a bad rap.

First and foremost among these things are those people who show up in costumes to movies. Whether it be Star Wars, Star Trek (those being the two most popular science fiction story lines), or some other movie that gathers a strong fan base. Costumes are fine for parties, or for little kids but really you are just taking things to far. Yes, those movies, shows, books, games are cool and fun. But, if you are older then twelve and haven't been invited to a costume party, you probably shouldn't be going out in public dressed like your favorite sci-fi character. For some reason however, science fiction does tend to attract a lot of folks who are a little stranger and have no problem doing so.

However, this is not just a phenomenom that is not something that is totally related to science fiction. For example, lets take something that is culturally accepted as cool, football. Yet get the crazy super fans who dress up, paint themselves and do all sorts of crazy stuff. These guys are being rediculous super fans. Being a football fan does not make you a bad ass (playing might, I guess you have to be pretty hardcore, rugby more so). Another example is one I will borrow from a friend. Basically, at a bar an OU fan and a UofT fan got in a pretty vicious fight. Turns out neither of the two even attended the schools they were fighting over. Real cool guys. The point being here is that being a fan of something is fine, but everything in moderation. Anyone can take anything to far and make it not cool.

The other point is just because some fans dress up and act funny does not make all fans of the topic nerds, geeks, dweebs, etc. In the end though, why make fun of them at all. To each their own. They like something, you like something else. The end.

Aside from the whole aspect of super fans, other things have given sci-fi a bad name. Things like Ultra Violet, Aeon Flux. Look at the "Science Fiction Channel". The name really should be changed. I saw WWE Monday night raw on a few days ago. On the Science Fiction channel. I failed to see how the two correlated. Other movies I saw on the science fiction channel were, leprechaun and the snakehead terror. Two bad horror movies. Not really science fiction. But when you put that out to the public of course people take a dislike to it.

Well this all talks about why people dislike science fiction. I'll probably throw a few more of those out next time as well. But I'll get around to the reason it kicks ass eventually just give me time.

Now while this might suck as work of science fiction, I'll have to talk later of why B movies kick ass.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I don't know what I'm talking about

So I thought it would be fun to have a place to put my thoughts down on whatever I feel like. As my interests lie in reading and hockey, thoughts on those subjects will be the main highlights of this blog. Having a strange taste in many things made me think that what I write here will be appreciated by only a few. Hense the name.

As it is this should be an interesting experiment.