Thursday, December 31, 2009

Enter 2010

What can one say about the first decade of the twenty-first century that has not already been said? The only thing that I can come up with at such short notice is Happy New Year, Gentle Reader. It’s time for another trip around the sun!

“God bless us, everyone.” – T. Tim

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

Let me go on the record and say the best Christmas Present that I got this year has got to be the Star Trek, Phaser Type-1 unit Hallmark ornament with three settings. I love this thing. It’s got a cool trigger mechanism and a setting dial for beam intensity. I’ve been carrying this death-ray with me wherever I go. One never knows when there will be an attack from either the Klingon or Romulan Empires. It’s wonderful. I can now annoy my kids in a variety of new and exciting ways.

“Dad, my food is cold.”

“No problem, honey.”


Man, I love that thing.

Merry Post Christmas, Gentle Reader. I hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas season and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

AVATAR the Promise of IMAX has been Fulfilled

We had tickets to see AVATAR in IMAX 3D in Atlantic City yesterday at 3:15 PM. Then the snow came. Not just snow but SNOW and record breaking SNOW at that. What to do – What to do? A Recon mission – that’s what! I took the ole SUV out onto the roads, bolstered by the driving lesson that Chick 1.0 and I did earlier in the day, and took a gander at what we may be facing on our journey. Such an expedition could either end wonderfully or very, very badly. What to do – What to do?

We went.

I’m glad we did.

Much has been said about AVATAR and I don’t wish to repackage too much of all the information that is out there concerning this film since you have probably already heard it. Just know that James Cameron took off 12 years between projects, that he wrote the script for this film 15 years ago and that he had to invent the technology (the stereoscopic 3D camera) to bring it all to life. It should also be known that his new film AVATAR was worth the wait.

There are moments when you know that everything has changed. Moments when you understand the world that you are familiar with has moved on and there can be no going back. Cinematically speaking those who were in attendance for “The Jazz Singer” must have been amazed when the actors on the screen actually started to talk & sing. And the age of the silent film came to a close. Members of the audience for “The Adoptive Child” (1911) or for “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) must have been in a state of awe at seeing color films come to pass via Kinemacolor and Technicolor. And the chapter on black and white film passed on. There have been some amazing things happen in the cinema concerning special effects; not the least of which are motion capture technology, wirework, and Computer Generated Graphics. “Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King” won every Oscar imaginable for it’s storytelling. It is an amazing powerhouse trilogy and wonderful story that Peter Jackson put together, no doubt but I wonder if he would have opted for Cameron’s Stereoscopic 3D IMAX camera after seeing AVATAR.

AVATAR is a “game changer”. I understand that not every theater is IMAX but when you see this film in its natural setting you glimpse the future. I am not kidding. Yes you can see it in a regular movie theater. You could spend the extra bucks to see it in 3D or you could spend $15.00 (at the ticket booth) and see it in IMAX, the way that it was intended to be seen. I will not bother to give you my synopsis; just know that the story is solid and you will be taken someplace that you have never been to before.



You will not be disappointed.

I am a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs “John Carter from Mars” books and I am seriously geeking out at the fact that the mighty Pixar (a company that I would LOVE to work for) is going to be making a foray into live action by bringing those books to life on the big screen. After seeing AVATAR, they have their work cut out for them. I believe this is what George Lucas was shooting for when he did Episodes I - III of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Cameron found the lightning that escaped from the bottle.


I hear that Cameron’s next project will be working on part two of his AVATAR trilogy. I cannot wait to see what he has up his sleeve for the next two installments. This film cost a LOT of money to make – and it was worth every single penny. Believe the hype.

See you at the IMAX, Gentle Reader.

Sad Songs Say So Much

All right, let me just get to the point; there are songs out there that will make me cry; do you know what I mean? They are out there. Waiting to attack. You will not see them coming but they will hit you at the most unsuspecting times. You may be driving or in line at Target or around your coffee pot at work and BANG there it is. One of those songs that just goes for the sappy gland and makes it gush.

“Evil Chicken, what are you talking about?”

What am I talking about? Gentle Reader today it happened to me. I was getting a cup of coffee in the break room and that song about that little kid buying his mother those blasted shoes for Christmas but he has to hurry because he wants her to have them if she goes to see Jesus tonight! Now I have heard the song before, in fact I believe that it’s about three of four years old but BANG there is was and then BOOM the children’s let’s sing to our dying mother chorus kicks in and I run blubbering from the room. If I was in line at Target or Wal-Mart I would have shouted, “I’ll buy the shoes – just get me to aisle 12! JUST PLEASE STOP SINGING!”

This has happened to me before. I was at a Billy Joel concert, I think it was “The River” tour and he debuted a song called, “Good Night My Angel”. I had never heard this song before but the chords and the lyrics killed me. It’s about a father singing a lullaby to his daughter who is asking about death and how their love will live forever. It’s this touching, beautiful piece of music that should NEVER EVER be played over the airwaves for the simple reason that if I hear it while driving I’m going to be a sniveling, four-lane freeway crossing mess and Gentle Reader that’s a dangerous situation.

Oh and there are others too, like Dan Fogelberg’s “Leader of the Band” and Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses”. These songs will reduce me to a puddle of goo. These sad songs are out there on the airwaves, CD collections and MP3 players of the world. Be careful out there and remember where you heard your warning.

…Gentle Reader, there ought to be a law.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

There’s No Place Like Home

Here at Rancho del Evil Chicken we LOVE being connected. That is we love our internet flowing freely and abundantly and in that spirit we have done our share of “Home Page” research. We have four (sometimes five) users in the Ole’ Chicken Coop. One uses Action News, two use as their home page and I currently use Well, Gentle Reader, I am currently feeling a wanderlust for another Home Page. It’s not that I don’t like the pictures or the coverage but Yahoo has just changed things up so that I now have to click onto a story twice to read it completely and that just complicates my whole instant gratification zeitgeist. I think it’s time to move on.

I like Channel 6 Action News in the Philadelphia area but I think their website homepage stinks on ice. Do NOT have annoying pop up commercials that can get around my security and firewall settings. It is disconcerting when one is trying to read the news and an annoying actor pops up at the bottom of the screen and starts yammering on how he is saving so much on his new car. Sorry. Inexcusable. NEXT!

Comcast has a decent home page option but it goes straight to videos instead of a news feed. That’s a check in the minus column. I think that this will change once the dust settles from the recent Comcast NBC acquisition; perhaps then it will rock my world. Currently the world rocking takes some thoughtful clicking to get into. NEXT!

The iGoogle homepage option (just do a search). Google gets a lot of flack for being THE go to search engine for just about EVERYTHING in the known universe. They are increasing their grip on information – not that that is a bad thing, it’s just that Google is an EMPIRE. On the other hand, if not Google then who – the government? Who knows? The fact is they are good at what they do… which is turning into everything from common net searches to genetic screenings; from Google Earth (which is simply amazing BTW) to the blog that you are reading right now. Sure all of the searches and emails that you send are saved in a huge central processing area of Google cyberspace but hey, Google is so gosh darn convenient. When confronted with accusations of being too invasive Google has said, “Trust Us.” Hey, you can’t argue with logic like that!

I’m going with iGoogle for the time being. Yahoo and I have had a long run of things but it’s time for us both to move on. The changes to their news feed sealed the deal for me. Yup, I’m going with iGoogle because security is an illusion these days and my instant gratifications needs are met; well… instantly. I’ll investigate Comcast / NBC once they get their collective eggs in the same basket. When that will be nobody knows.

I blog with Google (Blogger - who do a great job at what they do BTW) and, in a few keystrokes, it will become my homepage too. How about YOU Gentle Reader? Where do you call home?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Zombie Vaccine

I love WIRED Magazine. If you are or have ever thought of stepping over the line and becoming a card carrying GEEK (like yours truly) then the publication is required reading. It is humorous and insightful and it occupies itself with tech and science for the geek masses. It’s a great read. Their website is a daily stop for me. There are some absolutely wonderful blogs there including “Geek Dad”, “Underwire” and “Danger Room”. Anyhow, while perusing the “Danger Room” blog I came across an interesting article by Katie Drummond entitled, “Pentagon: Zombie Pigs First, Then Hibernating Soldiers”.

That got my attention.

As it turns out a team from Texas A&M has developed a “zombie vaccine” which is designed to save peoples lives after bodily trauma by stopping the heart (which stops people from bleeding out) and safely shutting down the brain (which stops “brain death”). The team is going to be moving to trials in pigs, which have very similar vascular system to ours (humans, that is) and, ultimately, on to humans. I’m not doing the story any justice by paraphrasing it so here is the link for you to check out for yourself:

The potential military and civilian applications for this procedure are mind blowing. That “golden hour” between injury and treatment could be extended tenfold via suspended animation. There is no such thing as science fiction anymore. As Paul Simon once sang, “These are the days of miracle and wonder…” I believe that he was onto something there.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Iron Man 2

“Iron Man 2” will be hitting theaters on May 7, 2010. It will feature characters such as Whiplash (portrayed by Mickey Rourke), War Machine (the gray armored suit with the chain gun on the shoulder, played by Don Cheadle as Rhodes) and Nick Fury (Mr. Samuel L. Jackson). Robert Downey Jr. is reprising his role as Tony Stark the brilliant inventor, billionaire industrialist / weapons manufacturer who is all too human behind that iron mask. This is great stuff and it’s a great time to be a geek.

Man, I can’t wait. I’m so there opening night… Guaranteed.

Who’s With Me?!