December 3rd, 2005



I've Got Those Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Ep-si-lon Blu-ues

Hurricane season may be officially over, but the last tropical storm (well, the last formed during legal hurricane season) is still out there in the Atlantic and has formed Hurricane Epsilon. The last I heard the other day, they didn't think it was going to disturb anyone. Then again, they weren't thinking it would make hurricane strength, either.


Late night, flipping channels before updating a quiz solution, web pages and updating them for those of my students who might actually want to study Saturday morning. (Dr. Phil is going to sleep in.) And I ran across the opening to a new Japanese anime program on G4/TechTV's Anime Unleashed. Um... it's about panty shots? And sneaking peeks of lacy bra trimming? And cleavage? And deliberately elbowing women to brush up against... And guys running headfirst into a lamp post as they dream of girls on bicycles... WTF?

Oh. Turns out it's Colorful and yes it is unfathomable as it sounds. My copy of The Anime Encyclopedia says it comes from a manga and was originally sixteen 7 minute shorts, then released as one 110 minute DVD.

I guess the point is that terrible things happen to the guys -- it's comedy. Now before you get on your high Western horse and complain about Japanese morals and panty obsessions, need I remind you that the staid, respectable British found Benny Hill to be funny, too?

I'll turn the TV off for either. But I was surprised to see American cable TV running Colorful. G4/TechTV, having gotten rid of most of the old decent computer based TechTV programming in favor of gaming shows, is also running episodes of The Man Show. I guess a gaming network falls into the rubric of Boys Club -- No Girlz Allowed.

Dr. Phil
  • Current Mood
    hyper WTF?

Bad Players

Plays Well With Others?

We were listening to the Division II Semi-Final football game between Grand Valley State University and East Stroudsburg (Pa.), which was most of a rout by the GVSU Lakers who are now headed to Yet Another Division II National Finals for Saturday December 10th (against Northwest Missouri State), and we started getting silly.

The commentators kept talking about an "extra tight end" and that led to a "too tight ends" (two tight ends). And finally it deteriorated with Mrs. Dr. Phil wondering aloud if the "strained mussels" they were talking about were like "clam juice"? No, I replied, it must be more like creamed clams...


Sorry guys, you all did a great job, but our Saturday radio listening is a steady diet of humor -- Weekend Edition Saturday, Car Talk, Whadya Know With Michael Feldman and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me The NPR News Quiz -- so it's hard to put on a serious face when such obviously funny expressions are coming over the ether waves.

Not Playing Well With Others

The SMC Barricade WiFi Router had to be physically reset twice today -- actually pulling the power jack out of the unit and counting to twenty. (Ten wasn't enough.) Two different machines had trouble connecting with it. Odd, especially as the day started off on the wrong foot not with the router but my old Sony VAIO laptop. I upgraded Firefox and Netscape and then tried to do a LiveUpdate on Norton Anti-Virus, and then things got jammed up. NAV wouldn't start.

Four hours later and I finally got it running again. Might've been sooner, but the problems were so obviously on the laptop that I didn't think to reboot the router.

Norton keeps telling you to reinstall the software. Yeah, right. This install is 1-of-3 of a multi-install version of NAV and the CD-ROM is an hour and a half away. But once I finally got reconnected, and LiveUpdate ran, I clicked on the Turn On button, which produced an error message about being unable to check my IM -- I don't use anyone's IM. A few minutes later I noticed the NAV tray icon was there again.


Definitely a Bad Player

What annoys me about Symantec and others, is that when I went to look at an error message, which wouldn't display, I pasted the URL into Internet Explorer, because I knew that Symantec/Norton doesn't like Netscape.

If you want to run IE, then just start IE -- it's on every damned Windows machine! Don't bitch to me about it, just because I have a version of Netscape as my default browser. My choice of default browser is MY issue, not yours. It's MY damned machine, dammit! (whew)

Of course IE wanted to run to mama and update at Microsoft -- nope sorry, kill that for now -- but I couldn't display my home page either. Because I'd just installed a new version of Netscape and so that prompted Real Player to reinsert itself as the default homepage on IE. Hey, not fair!


I "love" computers...

Dr. Phil
  • Current Mood
    infuriated infuriated

A Little Taste of Christmas

Christmas Means Love Is All Around

Mrs. Dr. Phil mentioned the other day we needed to have a little bit of Love Actually, which is a lovely little Christmas movie... in part. Actually, Love Actually is a complicated little piece with a cast of characters with many convoluted relationships connecting all the disparate bits of the story. Something like another Englishman's vision of love, Andrew Lloyd Weber's Aspects of Love, we have a story investigating many kinds of love, sometimes in a ways which would not necessarily work for many American audiences and -- this is key -- avoiding the saccharin necessity that everyone ends up happily ever after.

Please note this isn't a movie for children, despite children and families taking center stage in many of the elements. I don't want anyone hate-e-mailing me saying they took my advice for a Christmas movie and (literally) exposed their kids to unsuitable entertainments. Having said that, despite its British sensibilities about certain things, it remains a sweet film and not lowest common denominator prurient. Very un-American.

Christmas season is already in full swing at the first time hack, which is like 6 weeks to go. Without the restriction of the American Thanksgiving, it looks like London gets into things earlier -- don't give American merchants any ideas!

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll Cringe

The opening is incredibly unusual, thoughtful and done with a voice over which manages to mention "love" and "9-11" in the same breath without being maudlin or creepy.

In the first five minutes we are introduced to a wide spectrum of situations as vignettes. They aren't quite the usual holiday pap. Liam Neeson is just dealing with burying a beloved wife and has to raise a step who now has A Serious Problem. Alan Rickman is married to Emma Thompson who is the sister of Hugh Grant who is the new Prime Minister -- no really! -- but he (Rickman) is try to get Laura Linney to finally go after "Karl" while he (Rickman) is is being pursued by his secretary but she (Linney) is always talking to someone special on her mobile. And it hasn't even gotten complicated yet. Bill Nighy plays an aging rock star trying to make one last comeback with a Christmas single that's "pure rubbish".

What was that about Hugh Grant being PM? Impossible? Actually, I think he does a credible job, especially considering that he is up against Billy Bob Thornton as the President. Yikes!

So many good scenes, it's hard to decide which are best, but the proposal scene in Portuguese and the scene with the little girls demanding Christmas carols... or maybe it's the gift wrapping scene... Come on, get into the Christmas spirit with us!

Besides -- Kate Winslet makes an unusual appearance in this film, and as the finest actress of her generation, any Kate sighting is welcome. (double-grin)

Bring On The Food

Afterwards, it was too late to start another movie, so I started flipping through the channels. Food Network was just starting an hour of an Italian Christmas in food, with Mario and Giada. Mario is Mario Batelli and we've certainly seen this Giada woman before, but I was struck how much Giada could be the suave older sister of Keira Knightly, whom we'd just seen in Love Actually. We sat around and commented that both seem to have too many teeth, though Keira's are more pointy, like vampire teeth (Mrs. Dr. Phil) or reptile teeth (Dr. Phil). And it was funny that in the opening segment, making holiday raviolis in Boston, that Giada was wearing a sleeveless turtleneck like Keira did in the Christmas carolers scene. (grin)

As time went on, we realized that we must've seen this or part of this before. Especially when they joined Stanley Tucci's family for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Which still requires antipasto and a pasta course before the seven fishes. Yum...

Dr. Phil
  • Current Mood
    bouncy it's christmas!