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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games...and Fan Racism? Part 1


[Image Source: KatnipOnFire]
PART 1: THE MOVIE

 * * * This Review May Contain Spoilers * * *

It is rare for the spousal unit and I to see a movie at the theaters on opening weekend. I have a fear of being in the middle of a crowd when the zombie apocalypse happen to strike and Brooke vehemently dislikes fighting for good seats (and in the case of The Hunger Games, a place in the holdout line) against teenyboppers and kids too young to appreciate the movie going experience. But, it's my firm belief that certain movies are guaranteed to be the subject of many water-cooler discussion come Monday morning and I did not want people spoiling the experience for me.

I will say this: if you have the willpower to wait out the crowds then do so. I'm not saying that the movie was bad—in fact, I would give this movie a 4 out of 5—but if you think the crowds will ruin the experience for you, this movie would definitely be worth the wait. Brooke and I actually lucked out that we got to the theater early and planned our concessions/seats strategies well enough to get excellent seats long before the crowds poured in.

The movie itself stayed pretty faithful to the book. I think it is hard to find movies that stays true to the source material, so I was really glad that Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins took the time to get the story right. That is not to say that somethings weren't omitted or changed to fit the needs of the film, somethings were. However those change did not greatly alter the story as a whole.  In fact, I would venture that the things added to the film had more of an affect (for the better) than what was left out. Scene such as Haymitch's negotiations with potential sponsors and the districts' reactions to watching their children die added a dimension to the story that the novel's first-person-limited perspective could never achieve. (For a list of items left out of the film check out Meredith Woerner's article at io9.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Checking In and a Shameless Plug

Grr...I've been lazy. Hence, I did not post last week.

My motivation is shot to Hell and it did not help that it'd been a busy week. On the home front, I had a couple items due for school and I had to research the Home Affordable Refinance Program Phase 2 (HARP II) as I'm looking at refinancing our house. I still have to do my taxes and finish converting one of our bedrooms into a home office.

Coincidentally, the world has been pretty busy too. The Walking Dead had a phenomenal season two finale and my review is well past overdue. Other great shows are about to have their finales in the coming weeks as well and I want to review them all. Also overdue is an opinion post on the debacle over employers requesting people's Facebook login as part of the interview process. I hope to have the latter posted no later than this Wednesday. The Hunger Games movie premiered this past weekend and I have a review for it and the source novel on the way as well.

The iPad has been out for almost two weeks now and as people begin to talk about the ups and downs, I've began compiling material for a follow up piece to my March 3rd post. No promises though. There's a new Pinterest terms of service out and some rumored changes to the site in April. That will probably be an upcoming post as I have some hatred towards the new Pinterest profile changes.

I've purposely stayed away from Stand Your Ground Laws and the Trayvon Martin Case as well as the Kony 2012 campaign and I'm bored with the elections despite all the shenanigans. The Supreme Court will be hearing arguments over the Health Care Law this week and I'm debating whether or not to wade into that. We'll see.

Anyways. While you wait for me to get my head out of my fourth point of contact and get cracking, check out my brother-in-law James Glaze, his kid brother Michael, and the rest of the Dare Kings do stupid, possibly limb endangering, yet very funny shit for your entertainment. Their YouTube channel GlazeBros features skits and dares performed by the Dare Kings and sometimes—to my chagrin—by my kid sister. James also has a segment called "One Dude and a Review" covering mostly movies and tech that I think you all will enjoy. Below is their March 21st "Dare Redemption" Video. Daniel Tosh, you watching this?





Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bags of Wind, Money, & Punching Varieties

As I've mentioned in my last post, one of the things I like about blogger is the "Stats" tab which allows me to track the traffic that comes to this site. The other tracking service I use is Google Analytics and it has become my new toy (read: O-B-S-E-S-S-I-O-N!). I actually enjoy playing around on the service and reading articles on best practices and hacks. The spousal unit (read: enabler) laughs at me and calls me a dork and then forwards me another how-to article. Then laughs at me some more.

Anyways. The other day, I'm playing around on Google Analytics, comparing reports with those from Blogger's Stats, when I come upon the traffic source tab in Stats. Under the "Search Keyword" report I see that, within the last seven day, someone found Wibbly-wobbly using the search term "gun rack." Naturally, I assumed that this search led to my February 23 post "Troll The Dial to Eleven 2012." But I was curious. How high in the search rankings was my post? So, I typed "gun rack" into Google Search.

Although I gave up after slogging through eight pages of results, my experience was not fruitless. On the first page, I found a Huffington Post article which featured a YouTube video created by a Mr. John Dole of Atlanta. In this video, Dole shows off his brand new Chevy Volt complete with a newly installed gun rack.


Using PVC pipes and some hardware available at your favorite home improvement store, Dole—a registered Republican according to the Huffington Post—crafted this masterpiece as a pointed response to Newt Gingrich's comment about not being able to put a gun rack into a Volt, a comment that this proud Volt owner did not appreciate.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Never Gonna Give Up.

One of the things I like about blogger is the "Stats" feature which, coupled with Google Analytics, allows me to see the reach I have. However, the one thing that all the bounce rates and click-thrus doesn't tell me is whether you, my dear readers, enjoy reading my blog. So, even though I've surmounted the fear that no one is reading, I am now struck by the fear that my ramblings may be contributing to what Chad Radford, Staff Music Writer at Creative Loafing, calls the "dumbing down effect" that he says plagues the internet.

Today, a respected acquaintance whom I asked to read this blog contacted me with a very heartening critique. She put into words some of my thoughts about what I'm doing here and rightly assessed that I might not even recognize the direction I'm going. Knowing that she enjoyed my post about Pintertest really made my day. So, just in case she's reading again today, I want to just say thank you.

Radio personality Myron "Magic" Gigger, during an interview on the future of media and how to break into it, once said: "Don't give up, don't be discouraged at all. Don't lose sight of the goal inside all the hard work it takes." Now, I'm still unsure of the goal of this blog but I do know all about putting in the hard work in the hopes of making something you love a success. I do love writing but—as many writers know—writing does not always love you back. Between late nights and long weeks of trying to figure out what to write and how to put ideas into words and the paranoia that no one reads blogs anymore (as several co-works remarked), all of this can take its toll.  But knowing that someone honestly enjoyed my work makes it all worth while.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Who Wants to Buy Me the New iPad?

[Image Source: Apple.com]
Let me just start by saying that I need to branch my news sources out from Mashable.com. In my defense, however, they make it very difficult to do so with all their great articles and infographics. So when the new iPad debuted yesterday, where was the first place that I went to learn more? That's right friends and neighbors! Mashable. Check out their collection of articles [here] and tell me they aren't awesome.

Anyways. How was the iPad announcement for you yesterday? Were you disappointed like some? Blown away, like others? Or are you like me: going through a roller-coaster of emotions, one minute making a list of items to eBay so I can afford one, the next trying to justify the cost of buying one on the March 16th release date, then trying to find reasons why I shouldn't start camping out now at the local Apple Store?

When the iPad 2 came out last year, I barely batted an eye. Don't get me wrong. My wet dreams had wet dreams for an iPad. The thing is: when the original iPad came out, I could not afforded one. Then before I knew it, the iPad 2 landed on store shelves and the last of the old iPads were gone. I was impressed by the fact that the iPad 2 now had a camera (two in fact), but honestly, that was enough to rope me in. They were dismal at less than a mega-pixel. Despite the faster processor and increased RAM, both the original and the iPad 2 were virtually the same. [See chart below.]  It still was only, at most, 3G capable and the screen resolution was the same. Also, I already began to hear rumors of bugs in the operating system. I suspected that, just as the iPhone 4GS and 3GS were released to improve upon the 4G and 3G models, newer units coming off the production line would have these issues addressed. If nothing else we might get a "iPad 2s" in the near future, if not the iPad 3 outright, if we wait just a little longer. So I waited.

[Image Source: Wikipedia.org]


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Well that's [P]interesting

After years of avoiding and turning up my nose at the very thought of establishing a Twitter presence, Hell froze over the weekend and now I am one social network medium richer(?). To paraphrase Thomas Wheatley of Atanta Creative Loafing fame: I now have one more thing to water. 

Luckily, most of them are well integrated to each other so if something happens in one you should see it syndicated to at least one of the other outlets. I’m lazy like that.

This is what it's like to be on Pinterest. Really.
The thing that I am most excited about this week, however, is PinterestAs I struggle to find material for this blog, Pinterest has become a real boon of ideas for me.

The concept behind Pinterest, is that if you find something online—say a bread recipe or a scurf—you can "pin it" to any of the "boards" you've created. It's kind of like bookmarking except your pins and likes are shared publicly and your followers can see the things that interest you.

In the coming weeks, I will be cleaning up my boards as well as trying out some of the recipes and DIY arts and crafts projects that I've pinned. I want to feature my adventures in Pinteresting here at Wibbly-Wobbly at least once a month. I will also be taking project request in the near future, so stay tuned. I hear that there is a way I can make this into a contest on Pinterest.. 

Oh yeah! You can follow my Pinterest page here, by the way.

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest, then you’ve been sleeping under a rock, my friend. It's the new internet addiction. Human resource managers the world over felt a great disturbance in the Force with this one, as if millions of productive man-hours suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. That’s how addictive this thing is. Although the site continues to be an invite-only open beta, this social bookmarking site has become a internet start-up darling, not just to the individual users and investors, but also for brands such as Whole Foods and the U.S. Army.  It has been dubbed a game changer by many for the way it has driven traffic to online retailer sites

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: The American Promise: A History of the United States (Value Edition), Vol. II


The American Promise: A History of the United States (Value Edition), Vol. IIThe American Promise: A History of the United States (Value Edition), Vol. II by James L. Roark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book review was syndicated from Goodreads. Click here to view all my reviews.



With the 2012 Presidential Elections looming around the corner, I find it very helpful to know the historical context of some of the issues driving the U.S. today. American Promise, Vol. II does not disappoint in this regard. Surveying U.S. history from the Reconstruction to the end of the 2nd Bush administration, this textbook touches on the major themes and events of the last 150 years. Although this “Value Edition” (read: paperback, black & white photos, etc) does not go in depth on some of the particulars or nuances of the various eras covered within, the information that Mr. Roark et al share with the undergrad student is sufficient to whet the appetite for extracurricular edification. I definitely recommend that the reader take notes on anything that pique their interest and read up on it on their own. This book really only gives background information and history, real history, is too complex and dynamic to cover in 600 pages.

The only thing negative—if you even want to call it “negative”—that I could say about this college textbook is that it ends at the beginning of 2007 and only hints on W’s plan for the 2007/2008 troop surge. It does not cover the Great Recession or the 2008 elections or anything else that has happened since. I am left to wonder if the authors’ analysis of the last decade or three would be different than what is in this book. Otherwise this is a great and quick educational read.