Ok so Scrubs hasn’t been good in recent years. That we knew. The last two, maybe three, have been really bad and what was once a show that I’d take time to go see, in recent years has turned into a show that we have watched reality TV over. The show was great in its day, but like many shows just became too weird in recent years. I think of The Drew Carrey Show, News Radio, and Northern Exposure in particular which had phenomenal episodes the first few years and then swiftly went into the “over the edge” area in the later years (for News Radio this I think largely had to do with the death of Phil Hartman). I think this is always a danger for quirky shows like these, and Scrubs suffered from it as well.
You may have noticed something new in the sidebar. I joined up with twitter because I think it is a cool idea, and it is complimentary to my blog anyway. I plan on adding new twitter posts via my mobile phone from time to time to update what I’m up to while I’m away from the computer.
That isn’t the only change though. I’m also now trying out posting on a new firefox add on called scribefire which allows me to make posts without visiting the sites. This is to just make it easier for me to make posts on the site and at the very least is kind of interesting to do.
On the underbelly, I’ve updated my theme to work with wordpress 2.5. So if you were having problems accessing parts of the site before, this should be fixed. I’m also looking into a few more features to really fill out the site. But hopefully everyone enjoys these additions at the very least.
Yesterday The Nintendo Channel finally hit the US. This channel has been in Japan for some time and many Americans have been clamoring for it, though I think it is funny that some are disappointed by it now. But let me remind others that it is what it is, basically it is an advertising opportunity. They could easily have called this channel The Advertisement Channel, which would be fairly accurate.
The channel is essentially a way for Nintendo to promote current and upcoming products. It includes commercials, tour videos, and interviews detailing many products from newer games like Mario Kart, Upcoming games like Wii Fit, and past games like Brain Age 2.
While these are the meat of the channel, there are a couple of other interesting features. First you can recommend games you’ve played for at least an hour. There are no comments allowed which is both nice and bad (it is nice to have in depth reviews, while sometimes it is a pain to look through them). But has a few questions including gender, age, rating, group/alone, hardcore/casual, etc. And then it takes this info and puts it into charts and recommendations based on your previous choices and other players with similar choices. I think this particular feature of the channel is the real value. It is a little useless right now as it is so new that any recommendations wouldn’t be quite accurate yet, but I can see this being as a great way to allow you to figure out which games are right for you. Especially when you start looking at old VC games.
The next best feature is the DS demo service. This allows you to download demos to your DS to play. This service has been available to retail for about a year and I’ve always kind of liked when I could find it there. I actually hope they eventually add demos to all the previous games they’ve done, but I have a feeling that they will leave it at about a choice of 6 current or important games and cycle the older ones out. Still I really like having the ability to not look like an idiot bringing my DS into target (as EB’s never worked or was always missing somehow).
There are a bunch of other minor features. There is a supposed list of all games, including those upcoming on the Wii, DS, WiiWare, and VC. However, many of the descriptions in it are lacking to say the least and the list as it is right now is fairly unhelpful. Some though are. For instance, Nintendo has for quite some time now offered videos on the various VC games on their website. Now you can go to the VC section in this list, and choose the video to watch within the channel. This makes the process much easier. Other nice touches include the purchase feature which take you straight to the VC or Wiiware game in Wii Shop Channel, or to an online store via the Internet Channel.
Overall, it is a welcome addition to help wade through the crap of video games especially on the VC… and I assume eventually the WiiWare channel. Sometimes those games in particular are quite difficult getting decent reviews on even online. (Many try to compare these games to current games, which they just aren’t and is unfair to the game. You got to take VC games for what they are, not what games are now….)
Showtime recently put this show on its OnDemand selection because it is entering its second season and it offered me the chance to check it out. The show is essentially a series of documentaries based on a Public Radio program in Chicago. Each week they take a theme and then give 1-3 short documentaries that somehow fit the theme.
The documentaries themselves are of high quality, and the narration from Ira Glass is nothing short of stellar. Mr. Glass seems to have a voice made for radio as he somehow pulls off an intelligent yet fun narration that is very difficult to accomplish. I found the show to be interesting and thought provoking, and offering what isn’t really news, but somehow fills the news buffer better than CNN and Fox News does.
The various documentaries has ranged from an old man who visits his wife’s mausoleum every day years after she had passed to a story of city teens riding and taking care of horses through the streets to attempt to impress women. Some are funny, but in all honesty, many are quite depressing. The series promises that this upcoming season is more uplifting and humorous, though the first episode has still been a little on the depressing side.
Of course this show has made me discover the radio program which I have found to be also quite interesting to listen to, although I don’t like it nearly as much as the television broadcast. It is a rarity that I think the new version is truly better than the old one. That is to take nothing away from the radio broadcast, it is equally stellar. But images bring so much more to the story that just narration cannot provide and for this reason the television broadcast is better.
If you are interested in finding out about the show. They have a website with most of the recordings freely available to listen to or buy. I have started listening to a few and have been surprised with how well the show has stuck with their original format since 1995. And while a lot may think that it is time to change, this show is so good it doesn’t really need to. They got it right from the start.
I also would like to mention that the radio show is refreshing take back on the radio programs of old before the advent of television which I think is a format that is sorely missed. It is so much like these programs of old that they even take the show on the road for people to watch. I wish there were more of these not necessarily targeted at the 60+ crowd…
Trying to live a little more gas friendly is difficult at best. I live, like most Americans (even ones in cities like myself) live in a residential area. As such, there really isn’t that much with in walking distance, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a go out of walking to where I need to go.
What I currently have within walking distance of me is a grocery store, which is too far to actually get a trip of any decent size but close enough that I could go there for a couple small bags of groceries. An office supply store, but who needs office supplies really? Still if I need paper or pens or whatever I can go there, I do think they have candy and soda which I could get from there. A KFC, an ice cream shop (which we walked to on Sunday, it is a fairly long walk and I am sore but it was fun), a sub shop, a bar, a mini-golf course (which again is of some length enough that I likely wouldn’t walk there as I would be too tired to play!), and a couple smaller grocery stores (a deli and a mexican grocer) that I’m too afraid to enter.
That offers me some options at least but not much. I am hoping that increasing my walking though will make it so that I can get further than I currently am. I fully admit that I’m not entirely in shape. The previously mentioned trip to the ice cream store really tested my limits. But if I can get used to that distance, a little further is two strip malls with more restaurants and stores I could go to (a pizza joint and a movie theater in particular would be nice if we could walk there as that provides a form of entertainment in walking distance and the pizza joint is one of our favorites). I also hope that getting more in shape can help make me walk to these places faster.
In a way it is good and in a way it is sad that I have to do this due to the gas situation. I mean it is good in the sense that we as Americans really should have been walking to local places for years. Maybe we wouldn’t be as fat as we currently are and we wouldn’t be so dependent on gas. However, it reinforces how dependent on gas we really are as a lot of people are in even worse situations than this (and not just people who live in the country). My mother lives in a huge residential area with hundreds of other people and she isn’t in walking distance of anything other than church, parks and other houses. This country by design was meant to seperate residential from industrial, from commercial and as such we are stuck having to drive everywhere. Whereas older cities such as London and even New York didn’t have that luxury and thus most in these cities don’t have the same gas issues as us because a lot of people who live there never have been dependent on gas.
And while I’m at it, I will mention the irony in our presidency on this issue, and I hate to give Bush any credit. But Bush has done largely what Carter tried to do in the 70s. Carter had the idea that if we made gas more expensive perhaps people wouldn’t drive as much as we do and we wouldn’t be so dependent on foreign oil. This is how gas became taxed in the first place, it was a way to artificially raise the price of gas. It was a philosophy I’ve largely been a fan of, but the problem is that this country was founded on oil and being able to travel large distances in a short amount of time. It was never designed really to be able to walk or ride a bike. Carter was thought of as a bad president for this and many other reasons and thus got the axe after four years. Bush who has raised the cost of gas much more, has brought us to war for no reason, has systematically taken away American rights, has no care of the poor, but care of the rich, and has been on vacation for more than 1/3 of his presidency may not be considered a good president but at least got 8 years in office.
This does make me want to go out and buy a bike…. too bad I don’t have the money.
I saw Nim’s Island over the weekend, and obviously this movie wasn’t going to be one of the better movies of the year being a children’s movie, but I thought I’d give it a little review anyway.
The movie itself really felt like a modern re-imagining of Swiss Family Robinson with a family who lived on a deserted island in the South Pacific that wanted to be left alone and didn’t want others to taint the island. The island was complete with a nifty little tree house (at least part of it was in the tree and no where near as good as the one in SFR), and invaders from a cruise ship named the “Buccaneer” and animals that the girl talked and played with.
Jodie Foster played the role of an adventure writer which brought an often humorous aspect of the movie, but in the end turned out to be rather pointless. She spent the entire movie getting the courage to make it to the island to help Nim, only to get there the night before her dad returned. I think her part was really necessary only because the other storyline was fairly thin in content…
Overall, i did like the movie. I thought it did a great job of bringing out the imagination of children and adults alike. In the end, I do believe this was the point as using your imagination was a strong theme throughout the movie. Nim was constantly in an imaginary world thinking of what it would be like to be in this book that Alex Rover wrote, and Alex herself was also constantly imagining the world itself as well as her fictional character whom she talked to throughout the movie. It really sparked something in both me and my daughter who saw it that I really do think it was worth watching for just that reason alone. On that end I think it copied Swiss Family Robinson really well, a movie that did the same exact thing when I was a child.