Sunday, December 30, 2007

Simon On The Silver Screen?

Well its by no sure a done deal, but there is a possibility. I reviewed a couple of books by an Irish author earlier this year, actually he is a London Times bestseller list author, he just hasn't broken into the North American market yet.

One of the books was optioned for a movie a while ago. And it looks like it is going to move into production pretty soon.

The author contacted me, and has offered me a 'walk on' on the movie! Now the chances of this happening are about zero, but I am flattered. Jan is already out shopping for her Oscar dress!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Brussel Sprout Update

The good news is that Christmas Day came and went. We had our 'way too big' turkey, hell there are only two of us, and by my calculation this monster meant that Jan and I had about 10lbs of turkey each!

My treat though was Brussel Sprouts. On Christmas eve I got off work early and headed straight to Safeway (my local Megamart) in search of these little delicacies. On a previous foray I had noted there exact location in the freezer department. You can imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that someone had bought every last package or them! My first thought was that Jan was responsible, she had snuck in and bought them all!

To say I was disappointed does not cover it, I was devastated. I had set my heart on Brussel Sprouts!

All was not lost though. I checked out the fresh produce, and whoopie, they has the wonderful little critters! And lets face it, fresh is better than frozen everytime.

They were delicious!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Man From Earth

I couldn't resist getting a review copy of this movie. I don't generally go for sci-fi but the story behind this indy movie was too good not to get involved. Man From Earth went straight to DVD, as indeed a lot of indy movies do. What sets this one apart from the rest is what happened a week before release. Some enterprising pirate got hold of a prerelease copy and stuck it on bittorrent.

Overnight it became the #6 sci-fi hit on iMDB. Not bad when you conside it was something like #2500 a couple of days earlier. The film maker then did something that no major studio would do, he didn't sue the pirates, or even ask them to take the movie down. Instead he posted a 'thank you' on his web site. His rational was that if people were watching the rather poor quality bootleg, they may be driven to buy the real thing!

In my opinion this was a great choice, and one that more film makers should consider.

As it happens, Man From Earth is a dynamite movie, so I suspect that this story is going to have a very happy ending.

Reviewing - You Never Know What Will Happen Next

One of the great things about reviewing is the unpredictability, you just never know what is going to happen next! A good example was yesterday. I recently reviewed an interesting and very funny indy documentary The Gods Of Times Square. Film maker Richard Sandler took a fairly irreverent look at the street preachers and kooks that use New Yorks Times Square as their pulpit to preach whatever nonsense they are into.

Yesterday I received an email from Richard Sandler, he had found my review on google and dropped me a line to say thank you. So of course this has led to an interview with him. Never a dull moment!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Multi Million Dollar Court Case Avoided

Dateline Calgary - In a last minute move the Brussel sprout controversy has been resolved. Moments before the court appearance to get a restraining order against Simon Barrett preventing him from polluting the atmosphere with the smell of brussel sprouts, a compromise was worked out. Simon has agreed to eating Corn Bread Dressing, and in return Jan says it is ok for him to have brussel sprouts!

Another Merry Christmas!

Changing Routers, 9 Gazzilion Reasons Not To

As I wrote earlier, my damn router finaly gave up the battle and decided to go into meltdown mode. My daughter came to the rescue with a $5 one she found at a yard sale.

My elation over getting our primary computers back online unfortunately was short lived. The BeerBox was screwed. And that meant no Web Server. Changing the bloody router had resulted in a new local area network IP addressing scheme. And of course my ISP decided to assign a new IP at the same time.

This was a double whammy! The hurdles in fixing this problem were huge. I had to use trial and error to even log on to the damn Linux box, then an hour wandering aimlessly around the cavernous file system to even find the Web Server.

The good news it that after much fiddling and use of the 'F' word it is mostly back in action. The infamous Bartender bot though is still AWOL. I'll tackle him later!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Great (Fire) Wall Of China

Being in the media biz I shouldn't be surprised. Every large media outlet has run a story or twenty five about China employing a huge firewall on Internet traffic to prevent the Chinese people from access to controversial political sites. Bloggers have been thrown in jail for criticism of the ruling regime, and in what seems to be a day to day situation sites like CNN are blocked.

Well, it turns out that BNN is amongst the sites that the Chinese government has taken umbrage at. Now exactly what we have done to the Chinese I am not sure, but apparently we are banned!

Well screw em I say, I am going to boycott Chinese stuff as a result. No more take-aways, no fortune cookies, in fact I am not even going to use my Wok! I'll teach the little bastards!

If a recipe calls for Soy sauce, I'll use BBQ sauce instead!

This is war!

Router Hell

The Barrett data center took another hit yesterday. I knew it had to be something serious when Jan called me at work, as soon as I heard her voice on the phone a million things flashed through my mind. Had someone died, was the house on fire? Jan never calls! No-one had died, but, something equally catastrophic had happened, she could not get on the internet! This is trouble indeed.

Some quick technical support later, it seemed like the router had finally given up the ghost, no lights on it! No problem, and after much cable reagangement we had Jan's puter hooked directly to the modem. Alas it was still a no go. A quick call to the ISP had the problem resolved, damn mac addy!

So, I got home last night, and no sooner had I walked through the door than my daughter came to visit. I explained the network meltdown and she said 'well if you need a router I have a spare'. I said, nah, I have a spare. Well of course my spare, was a router that I have never tested, and guess what, it was dead on arrival!

So a quick call to Laura and she was over again with her spare router. Of course there was a catch, she hands it to me and says "Oh, I have no clue if it works, I bought it at a garage sale for $5". Eek me thinks.

Anyway, it did power up! That was a good start. A little (actually a lot) of fiddling with Mac addresses, DNS's, gateways, and IP's later it is 10:30pm and the data center is restored to its pristine glory!

Ya just got to love computers! Jan of course has a theory about the router going bad, we had worn it out! All those articles on BNN had finally taken their toll!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Battle Of The Brussel Sprout - 2007

Apart from Politics, Economics, Religion, Gun Laws, Abortion, and Velveeta Cheese, Jan and I pretty much agree on everything.

Well everything except the lowly brussel sprout. Jan has some pretty fixed ideas when it comes to vegetables, and when I stray from the Straight and Narrow vegetable road she lets me know.

I am a big fan of brussel sprouts, teeny weeny little cabbage like critters. Boiled, drained, then served with lashings of 'real' butter (no stinking margarine for this kid), this is one of natures gifts at Christmas time. I have resisted the urge to have these fabulous vegetable nuggets for almost 2 years. The last time, I bought a small bag of frozen ones. My theory was that while Jan might not like them, I could on occasion dip into this secret stash. It was a small bag, and it took up almost no room in the freezer!

I got to sample them exactly once, Christmas 2005, it was a banner day, Turkey, roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, gravy, and those oh so good brussel sprouts! I guess it was my lucky day, Jan allowed me to use one of her pots, and even the stove in the kitchen! I had been half expecting that she would make me go out and buy a pan just for the event, oh and a butane camping stove so that it could all be done outside in the snow!

I had not heard the end of the brussel sprout saga. I still had a few left, they were minding their own business in a dark corner of the freezer, but not hidden from Jan's gaze. Every time we returned from a grocery shopping trip she would groan about having no space in the freezer, and point an accusing finger at my harmless brussel sprouts! This went on for over a year, twice a month I would have to deal with the Brussel Sprout problem.

Eventually I caved in, I let her throw them out, it was a sad day indeed!

Anyway, Christmas is two weeks away, and I think its time! So I am going to sneak a small bag of them into the frezzer for Christmas day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Post For Outer Mongolian Mark!

Well today I got something wonderful in the mail. A review copy of a new book. Now that in itself is hardly a surprising occurrence. Jan who fields most of the deliveries is on first name terms with all of the drivers from Fed-Ex, UPS, Purolater, Canada Post, etc.

But today we scored a great find, when I first read the press release I knew I had to have it, if only to make Outer Mongolian Mark green with envy, 'The Book Of Spam'! Yes folks some one has written a book all about that delectable canned meat product. Better yet, no expense has been spared in this books production, on heavy weigh glossy paper, each page (200) contains pictures and interesting facts about Spam.

Needless to say, all other reviews are on hold while I 'devour' this one. With a bit of luck the review will be up tomorrow.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Week In Review(s)

Well, it has been a pretty interesting week. There is a very curious movie hitting theaters on December 14, Look is well worth a look! It tells 5 separate but intersecting stories, all seen through the eyes of surveillance cameras. It is very unique indeed. I had the opportunity to talk to filmmaker Adam Rifkin about Look, it is an interesting interview.

I recently reviewed a book by Alan Rolnick 'Landmark Status', very funny stuff indeed, and I had the opportunity to chat with him. It turned out that he is multifaceted, and is also a movie producer. He was kind enough to send me a very early copy of 'Canvas' which will be hitting the stores in late January. I can't tell you much about the movie till closer to the release date, but I will say this, look out for it in Blockbuster, it is must see!

On the book front I am putting an interview together with the Goldman family about the OJ Simpson book 'If I Did It'. I have Fred Goldman's input, and I think it would be fair to say that he hates OJ! Venomous is the word that springs to mind!

Stolen Boy by Michael Mehas also passed by my eyeballs this week. Based on the true and disturbing Jessie James Hollywood story, it explores the underbelly of the LA drug world. I'm too damn lazy to find the link, but if you go to Google News and do a search on Michael Mehas, my review should be #1

In the music world I scored a copy of the CD/DVD combo Memory Almost Full by Paul McCartney. This is a must have addition to any-ones collection. Of course I couldn't resist the dig that Paul McCartney was the only member of the Fab Four that had any talent, and true to form I received a couple of acerbic comments about my abilities to review music. Good Times!

On the software front I received a press release from the folks at linspire. That is the version of Linux that I run. About 6 weeks ago I threw stinking Windows out the door, and took the plunge with Linspire. I can honestly say that I have been pretty happy with the whole adventure. and I guess Linspire liked my reviews because they are featured on their site

Their latest adventure is something called CNR, one of the big holes in the Linux world is the whole business of installing new software, you need a PHD in astrophysics to install even the simplest program. CNR fixes that, one click installs, I am so impressed.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Who The Hell Can Sleep With This?

It is 1:30am, even by my standards it is pretty damn early to be up and around. The problem is, how the hell are you supposed to sleep with this I-pod strapped to you?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Another Health Care Adventure!

The fun just goes on and on. This morning I had to turn up at the hospital for some mysterious heart monitoring. Of course no-one ever tells you what they are actually going to do beforehand. The best example of that was the Disney World MRI wild ride from a couple of weeks ago.

I had no clue what to expect this morning, but I was pretty certain that I wouldn't like it. it seems to me that every time I go near the damn hospital they end up sticking me with damn needles and I hate needles.

Well I was quite surprised today, no needles, and I was only in there for 10 mins. They wired me up with what I can only describe as an I-pod for my heart! It is about the size of an I-Pod and there the electrodes glued to my chest, but it didn't hurt, and all I have to do now is take the unit back tomorrow.

They did point out tho that this is the worlds most expensive MP3 player, and if I lose it I am on the nut for a $3,200 bill! Ouch, and it doesn't even play videos! Oh, and I can't go swimming while I have it on!

I wonder how much I can get for it on EBay?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Simon Buys Stuff!

Oh, say its not so! Yup, I finally broke down and went to WalMart. I am not one that needs the latest and greatest, so most of the electronics (and I have bunches) are pretty old. We have more stinking computers than the average sane person needs, they are everywhere in this house. I haven't checked the bathroom, but I'll bet there is one in there somewhere!

Anyway, my problem was the Home Theater, I have an aging digital projector that cost me exactly nothing, but the bulbs don't last forever, and I know that to replace it is going to be a $400 adventure. With the amount of DVD's that I review it is only a matter of time before the projector goes dark. The only TV we have is in the bedroom, and watching DVD's in there is out of the question, one of two things happen, I fall asleep cos i'm in bed, or Jan has her French Maid outfit on, and reviews go out the window!

For $149, I got a great little player with a whopping 9 inch screen. I was actually surprised at how good the unit works, there is just Jan and me, and the 9 inch screen worked fine for us.

This certainly is way more convenient than the projector. Of course, right on queue another Clint box arrived today! Oh good, more DVD's hahahahaha.