It’s not that I don’t want to update this page, it’s that I just have nothing much to say.
    Yes, we’re near the end of the Holiday Eating season, but still in the middle of its biggest week. Everything is going nicely — too nicely in fact, since I’m surrounded by rich leftovers and sweet desserts. (Those cloning idiots have nothing on me! I duplicated myself the natural way: by doubling my body mass!)
    I’ve piled on so many pounds I can barely leave my chair. I feel like the prize turkey in Dickens’s Christmas Carol: “He never could have stood upon his legs, that bird. He would have snapped ’em short off in a minute, like sticks of sealing wax.” In fact, it appears others have noticed this weakness in my cracking, arthritic knees and are trying to take an advantage of it. I spotted this image in the message board of some rival website, where it appears some kind of attack is imminent! I’d send over inspectors, but actually I can just browse the site from here.   [1:59 PM]
    Update: I guess the opening salvos have already begun. I’ve received nine e-mail viruses already today. True, they could be from idiots trying out their new and unprotected Christmas computers, but I’m betting it was all her. My Norton AntiVirus nipped those viruses in the bud, so obviously she’s underestimating me. Nice try, Redhead; better luck next time.

I can’t believe how quickly the holiday week has flown by. I’ve had an uncommon amount of days off this week, so much that I seem to have gotten lost in them. The days have flitted by so fast I can barely register what day it is. The calendar says it’s Saturday, and it doesn’t help that it feels like Monday for some reason (I’m not sure why it does, either, since for instance I’m not at work). We’re near the end of the year though, I’m certain, so, like all major publications it’s time to waste space on a list of the Best of 2002. Here are some of the short fat highlights I remember:

  • January 29: Taco Bell launches the steak quesadilla.
  • February 3: Mike hosts Super Bowl party with plenty of snacks and appetizers.
  • June 18: Taco Bell’s Border Bowl line is unveiled.
  • August 2: KFC celebrates 50th birthday.
  • September 1: A big steak cookout for Labor Day.
  • September 5: New Cheese Extreme Quesadilla sold at Taco Bell.
  • December 24: Had a really tasty chicken parmigiana meal at Olive Garden.
  • December 25: Christmas dinner was really very good this year.

I read somewhere that a white Christmas is a sign of prosperity for the New Year. It seemed forebodingly familiar that Christmas looked like it would most certainly not be white, since the snows had been washed away and the forecasts were for temperatures above freezing.
    But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a steady snowfall starting around 11 PM on Christmas Eve and lasting through much of Christmas Day itself!

The place has been decorated; the lights have been hung, taken down, repaired, and then hung up again; and, in typical fashion, the rain washed away all the Thanksgiving snow. It’s Christmas in Michigan! Well, usually it rains on Christmas in Michigan, so I guess we’re doing better than usual, with it just being cold and dry.
    I have a small Christmas TV-movie in the works. All my presents have been bought, but one has yet to arrive. Today is the last day it can show up, so I’m wondering if some Christmas magic will give me that “Festivus miracle” I’m hoping for, or if I’ll just be handing my mom an IOU tomorrow.
    We shall see…

    P.S. Here’s the latest E-mail of the Week, from “Christmas anal defloration for mr Mickey”! Aw, guys, you shouldn’t have.

    Update: I’ve been so distracted by work that I completely forgot to change my blog colors for the new season. I was busy doing this today when the UPS person came by and dropped off my last present. Yes, SFG, there is a Santa Claus.
    Just have to wrap the gift, get dressed up and go to church, and then, that most pleasant of activities, the celebration of Christmas…

Geek Week continues.
    Why bother updating my Two Towers review when others have done better? Here are some links to others’ reactions:

One of the best reviews so far, from Ain’t It Cool News
Why Faramir should not have been rewritten
Why the Osgiliath scene makes no sense
A blog about the Wellington premiere, with photos and interviews
Interview with Peter Jackson & Phillipa Boyens where they discuss Faramir

It worked out nicely. JFathers wanted to see The Two Towers at the midnight showing, Tuesday night, and I offered to work his morning shift so he’d be able to sleep in. This in turn allowed me to get out earlier than normal so I could see the 4 PM showing Wednesday. Here are some quick review notes:

JFathers complained the movie was even longer since they started showing all the previews right at midnight. I was bragging how the Star Taylor starts the movies on time but shows the previews in between. But then, dang it, I go there today, sit for 45-minutes listening to Star’s stupid in-house radio station, and then, at four, they started showing twenty minutes of previews. Is this some new fashion trend? It stinks!

My review. I’ve heard all about how the second one is better than the first, so I’ll probably be contrary in saying I like the first one. There was more “adventure” in the first one. Anyway, the movie starts with a bang, skids to a halt for a while, and then starts building momentum to a tremendous finish.

Just as I expected, the deviations from the book really bother me. Frodo is such a puss in the movie; Treebeard does little but wander aimlessly; Faramir is a much stronger and nobler character in the book; the invention of Aragorn’s watery scenic-route “detour” does little more than waste time; and Gollum sounds too much like Donald Duck. Plus, I thought it almost funny how many scenes there are where characters need to be reminded of their names and past lives. (And I can’t resist getting really nitpicky: Tolkien went to such pains to make sure all the actions and maneuvers fit to a realistic calendar. So, why is it always full moon?)

In short: much like in the first movie, Peter Jackson’s inventions do nothing to improve the movie and the storytelling would’ve been better if they’d stuck to the book. (At three hours apiece it’s not like they need to condense anything.) And with less invented scenes they wouldn’t need to put all the book’s cool scenes into the third movie (which, hint-hint, would also allow them to retain The Scouring of the Shire!).

That said, the look of the movie is just as good as the first one (of course). The costumes, the sets, the landscapes are all wonderful. The final battle is just as cool as you’ve read. The siege of Isengard is even cooler. But more amazing yet will be the Battle of Pelennor Fields in next year’s movie. And Éowyn is a babe.

Another new trend is the bum’s rush after the show. Following two different showings at the Star, as soon as the credits started to roll the house lights came on and the projector was shut off. It stinks too!

    Contributor Frolixo adds: “I think this was the hardest of the books to be made into the film. In the first one, you have a direct story line following the fellowship on their adventure. In the Two Towers, everybody is scattered. This movie really needed to be 4 hours to do it justice (omg Directors cut will kick ass).
    “Gollum was great. I actully felt pity for him just by his facial expressions. Combined with the Ents and the Helms deep, this is the best CGI so far.
    “Overall it gets a 9.5/10”

The proposed changes are done, for the most part. I kind of compromised on archiving entries. I only worked on the pre-pMachine ones (prior to July 2002). With those, I removed them from PHP and converted them to plain HTML pages. I’d hoped that pruning away PHP entries might make the homepage load faster, but […]

No, not me! (That probably won’t be till January…and then only for a day or two). What I mean is that these monthly outages and the fact this page is loading so slowly have me thinking it’s about time to start cutting back on my archives and entries again. So, over the weekend I’m going to be doing some pruning, which hopefully will not (but probably will) be noticeable. Even though one or two entries might show up missing in the interim, all should be present and accounted for by the time I’m done.

In what is evidently a monthly ritual, the SFG site went down again last night. Instead of getting the usual errors about a crashed site, visitor(s) were greeted with:


You don’t have permission to access /weblog.php on this server.
Apache/1.3.26 Server at Port 80

This was quite the unexpected sight, especially for yours truly The Webmaster. I was eager to find out why I couldn’t even see my own site, but the only information I got was that technicians were working on it and that several sites on that server were down.
    This evening, when I got home, I got an e-mail from my host which read “The Copyrighted UR concert needs to be taken offline immediately.” Having never recorded a concert in Uruguay, I could only assume he meant the 2001 U2 concert from the Palace of Auburn Hills, which I’d been offering in my U2 section. It was funny that this concert was singled out, since U2 lets fans openly record and share concerts. As Bono himself says “My feeling is that it is cool for people to share our music — as long as no one is making money from the process. We tell people who come to our concerts that they can tape the shows if they want. I think it is cool that people are so passionate about our music.”
    Despite that, I was not only asked to remove the MP3 files, I found that the files — and my entire U2 directory — have been removed FOR me! Not just the audio files but all my photos and HTML pages!
    Hopefully all who were interested in the show already have it and hopefully you can continue to share it. I intend to move the files to another server; and after this kind of shitty treatment, I’ll probably be doing the same with my entire site.

Sounding much like the embarrassment that plagued me two months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that “Americans have gotten so fat that many doctors have difficulty using stethoscopes to listen to patients’ hearts.”