Bite Me!

News out of Hollywood today that Kate Beckinsale won’t be returning to star in the next Underworld film titled Underworld: Rise of the Lycans due next year. This one is an origins story centered on the centuries-old feud between the the race of aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers, and their onetime slaves, the Lycans.

Beckinsale revealed today on a press junket for her new film Snow Angels, that she won’t be returning to don the leather and corset that helped make her famous. She did however say that one day she might pull a “Bruce Willis” and return to the character of Selene when she’s 50. I think I speak for all the geeks out there when I say, “Come on Kate, hit just one more for the team!”. I’m not ashamed to admit the only reason why I eventually watched Underworld: Evolution was because of you-know-who.

The producers have chosen actress Rhona Mitra to replace Beckinsale, but is there really a point? I mean, Mitra may be pretty, and maybe, just maybe she can act, but she’s no Kate Beckinsale. I might be beating a dead vamp, but given the way the box office returns have been sinking for the franchise, I’d think they’d pay Beckinsale whatever she wanted to squeeze into her Death Dealer garb and kick some fuzzy werewolf ass just one more time. Oh well. As they say, all good fangs must come to an end.

Non Sequitur

It always makes me chuckle to look over my Mint logs from time to time and see how people are finding my blog. I threw up a tweet earlier today with some of the more off-beat search terms people used to find me, and Sebastiaan de With suggested it might make a good community post. Who am I to argue with logic like that? If you were making “teh google” for any of the search terms below, evidently gedblog was the place to be! Who knew?

giada having a baby

airport signal strength is crap

obama issues

sexy penny robinson

airport extreme drops signal 5 feet away

brad & britt’s blog

notable behaviors of leopards

sub sandwiches

bed sheets blowing

sinead o’connor

And the most popular search term (naturally):

big boobs

No One’s Minding the Store

Late last week I purchased the audio book of Julia Sweeney’s one woman show “Letting Go of God”. You may know Julia best from her comedic performance of “Pat”, the androgynous character from Saturday Night Live circa 1990-1994. After Sweeney left SNL, she was hit with a series of family traumas. Her brother Michael was diagnosed and eventually died of lymphoma, and soon after she herself was also diagnosed with cancer. She battled through the disease and came through the ordeal resolved and creatively infused.

The result was a series of monologues that she honed into one-woman shows. Her most recent first premiered in October of 2004 and ran with both popular and critical success for ten months in Los Angeles. Letting Go of God is a funny and moving autobiographical account of how Sweeney explored her traditional Catholic upbringing and eventually found it wanting. She tells the tale, with typical Julia flair and wit, of how she found no comfort in either the Old or New testaments, roamed the globe as she explored other religions and eventually turned to atheism.

There is a great deal in Letting Go of God that I can relate to, both as a Catholic and as one who has survived an ordeal with cancer. I find it fascinating how Julia wrestled with the notion of God in relation to her life and illness and came out Godless on the other side. Unlike her however, there were many times while I was undergoing chemotherapy that I thought I wouldn’t make it through the day without knowing that God was somehow watching over me. That being said, like Julia, I don’t subscribe to the literal notion of Adam and Eve or Noah and the flood. In Letting Go, Julia explains that these tales are not myths, but more “myth-ish” – stories that never actually happened, but were told to help us shape our behavior and our spiritual beliefs. Sometimes this was for the better, and sometimes unfortunately, for the worse.

If you enjoy critical thinking and are prepared to listen with an open mind, then I highly recommend Letting Go of God. I don’t agree with Julia’s ultimate conclusions, but her spiritual journey from wide-eyed “nun-lover” to full-blown atheist is funny, poignant and satisfying. It also cleverly casts light on some hypocritical notions from Catholicism and religion in general. You can get a taste for Letting Go of God over at YouTube and if you enjoy it enough to want more, check out the audio book on iTunes.

No Win Scenario

Back in November of 2004, I was riding high. Bush’s first term as President of the United States was winding down and John Kerry seemed to be poised to dethrone King George. Finally, I thought, the American people had had enough of the war in Iraq, fear mongering and the loss of civil liberties that had begun slipping away following 9/11. How wrong I was. Bush went onto beat Kerry and plunged us into four more years of an ill-conceived war, poorly run government disaster responses and turning a blind eye to the problems we faced then and now.

I was so upset after the loss that the very next day I worked up Bush Bingo. I drew up the board based on all of the outrageous things I could think of that might be in store for us over the next four years, printed it out and hung it on my wall. I’ve been keeping score ever since and now I present it to you. If you’d like to play along at home, just download the PDF version and keep score as I have here. I pray that no more spaces get filled, but with so much time left in his second term, he just might pull it off. The saddest part is that even if we win, we really lose. Tune in here from time to time to see how much closer we get to calling out “Bush-O!”. The best chance for a “win” is obviously O 1-5, but given Bush’s track record, anything is possible.

B-3: Oil Reaches $60 a barrel (6/23/05) – This rather quaint milestone didn’t take long to tick off. When I drew up the board and added this space and S-1 I never in my wildest dreams would have thought oil would pass $100 a barrel as it did on February 20th, 2008. America’s dependency on foreign oil has only grown in the 8 years Bush has been President.

B-4: 2nd Conservative Supreme Court Judge Appointed (1/24/06) – After Bush’s failed attempt to nominate his friend and crony, Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court, he instead picked Samuel Alito. Alito was considered so right wing that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) formally opposed his nomination. The ACLU has only taken this step two other times in its entire history, the last time being the nomination of Robert Bork who was rejected by a 58-42 Senate vote.

U-2: 1st Conservative Supreme Court Judge Appointed (9/29/05) – Bush nominates John G. Roberts, Jr., a former Supreme Court litigator and conservative judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

S-1: Oil Reaches $75 a barrel (5/27/07) – This is the highest price for oil in Bush Bingo. When I created the board, I honestly thought it would never get this high in his second term. Another false assumption on my part.

S-4: # of U.S. Forces killed in Iraq passes 2,000 (10/26/05) – This sad milestone was just the first of many for Iraq. At this point in the conflict, there were also some 15,000 U.S. soldiers wounded.

H-3: Patriot Act Renewed Intact (3/6/06) – This highly controversial piece of legislation was passed hurriedly in the days after 9/11 and proved to be the start of erosion of civil liberties in the United States. Many of the provisions of the Patriot Act were considered by many to be unconstitutional, and Democrats and even some Republicans fought hard to repeal certain parts of the code. Finally, after two extensions Bush signed the Patriot Act back into law for at least another 10 years. Although some small changes were made, including the ability to challenge gag orders in court, the bulk of the Patriot Act remained unchanged.

O-1: # of U.S. Forces killed in Iraq passes 3,000 (12/31/06) – I never would have believed that the United States would still be fighting and dying in Iraq in 2008 when I drew up Bush Bingo. If I had, I might have included a space for 4,000 killed or even 5,000. This number was so beyond what I thought was possible, that I didn’t think to include it. As of 2/21/08 the total number of U.S. forces killed in Iraq is 3,969.

O-2: U.S. Economy enters new recession (2/08) – Depending on who you talk to, you might get conflicting answers about this one, but most economists generally agree that the U.S. economy entered a “downturn” in February of 2008. From CNN: “Economist Bob Brusca of FAO Economics said he doubted that the U.S. was in recession a week ago, but now he believes there’s about a 75% chance that a recession began in January.”

O-4: Tony Blair ousted from office (6/27/07) – When I drew up the board for Bush Bingo, this was one of those spaces that totally came off the cuff. I jotted it down although I didn’t seriously believe it would happen. I might have some Nostradamus blood in my veins however. Pressure from factions within his own government over his support and handling of Iraq as well as growing anger from the general populace forced Blair from office in June of 2007.

O-5: # of U.S. Forces wounded in Iraq passes 10,000 (1/5/05) – This stunning figure pales in comparison to how many of our brave men and women have been wounded to date. As of 2/21/08 the total number of soldiers wounded is 29,080. I wonder how many more there will be before George W. Bush leaves office.

Obama on the Issues

Both the Clinton and McCain campaigns have decided to attack Barack Obama on his seemingly “empty” speeches. They say he speaks eloquently, but actually says very little. I heard the same canard tonight on Alan Handelman’s show from FM Talk 101.1 radio. Both of these factions are desperate, I’ll say that again, desperate to find some point of weakness regarding Barack Obama. He has inspired young and old, has momentum, new ideas, independent voters and is raising piles of donations even as we speak. But if we don’t nip this myth that no one knows where Obama stands on the issues right now, it might gain a foothold.

So in order to help Alan, Hillary, McCain and all those GOP lovers out there who are too lazy to actually do a Google search, I provide you with this hyperlink:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

Barack’s issues page is even broken down into small, easily digestible chunks perfect for today’s fast paced world. Wondering what Obama’s take on the economy is? Look no futher than his, get this, economy page:

• Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief Trade
• Technology, Innovation and Creating Jobs Labor
• Protect Homeownership and Crack Down on Mortgage Fraud
• Address Predatory Credit Card Practices
• Reform Bankruptcy Laws
• Work/Family Balance

But Ged, what about the environment? I don’t know where to find Obama’s stance on global warming or our dependency on foreign oil? You’re in luck my friend because Barack has another page called energy & environment:

• Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief Trade
• Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
• Invest in a Clean Energy Future
• Support Next Generation Biofuels
• Set America on Path to Oil Independence
• Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
• Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change

I know it sounds silly, but his official website goes on like this for pages and pages. Answers to all those burning questions you had about things like Barack’s faith, healthcare, social security, immigration and a whole host of other things I’m sure you’re very interested in. Some of his positions are even aligned with that man from Texas you love so much. So please don’t give into the fear, uncertainty and doubt being generated by a man that is running under the credo who seems to be aligning himself as George W. Bush’s third term, or the wife of a former President who thought she had Super Tuesday sewn up. Next time try doing your own homework and spare us the grief.

Solving Airport’s Mystery Dropouts

Ever since Christmas of 2007, I’ve had a problem. Sudden, seemingly random Airport signal dropouts. These frustrating gaps can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes or even hours. When this happens, the internet connection in our second story bonus room is lost completely. Sometimes it comes back on its own but lately we’ve had to turn Airport off and then on again to re-acquire the wi-fi signal. The problem has been so bad that I’ve even considered calling an electrician to hard wire the bonus room for CAT-5 cable. A costly and extreme solution to be sure. After two solid months of vexing investigation, I think I’ve solved the mystery. If you’ve been experiencing sudden wi-fi dropouts on your airport enabled Mac, read on.

The Usual Suspects

I’ve been reading about Leopard wi-fi problems for weeks but since our Macbook Pro is still running Tiger, these reports didn’t make sense. Perhaps it was one of the three Airport base stations we have in our home. The Airport Extreme in our home office acts as the router, and there is a second Extreme in the upstairs bonus room itself. When we first moved into the house four years ago, I set up an Airport network with an original UFO base station and an Airport Express in the hallway of the second floor. This served well for years, and when the new Airport Extremes were released, we upgraded but left the Express to boost signal.

All seemed fine until around Christmas when the dropouts started. At first I thought it was a hardware failure and tried swapping the Extremes, changing their location in our home, altering the configuration of the network from b/g compatible to just g, then to n. I tried closing the network, removing the Express completely, etc, etc. Despite all of this, the network dropouts persisted.

Next I tried removing the other Wi-Fi enabled devices in our home. Through a process of elimination I removed our Nintendo Wii, my wi-fi enabled iPhone and even my TiVO from the Airport network. I had suspected the TiVO for a long time since the dropouts seemed to come at set 5 or 6 hour intervals (when the TiVO was downloading program info?) and was disheartened to discover that after dissconnecting the TiVO for a full 2 days, drop outs were still the rule and not the exception.

A Break In the Case

The clue to the solution came when I made the connection between when the problems started and the time of year. I said earlier that the dropouts began shortly after Christmas of 2007, just when other families in the neighborhood would be getting wireless routers and hooking them up. Further clues were provided by my friend Craig Hockenberry that told me he has had similar problems due to interference from his neighbors. From Craig’s home, some 12-18 wireless networks are available. Being at the end of a dead-end street, I always assumed we were pretty isolated from interference from other networks. When we first moved in, my Airport network was alone in the neighborhood. But sure enough, a quick check with AP Grapher this week revealed between 6-8 other wi-fi networks. After a walk around the development, and chatting with neighbors, I was able to create a rough map of the wireless networks that surround our home.

Advances in 802.11 technology have dramatically increased the strength and range of home wi-fi networks. Unfortunately this also increases the potential for interference from one source to the next. You can see in the map to the right that although the house in pink is hundreds of feet away from mine, I still get a 42% signal from their wi-fi router. Craig turned me onto a few articles that talk about potential interference from sources like cordless 2.4 GHz phones, microwaves and especially other 802.11 devices. Suspecting one of these was the culprit, I watched AP Grapher like a hawk and noticed that our Airport channel would sometimes overlap those of our neighbors. When this happened, sure enough, a dropout occurred. In Mac OS X, I have Airport set to select channels automatically, and this turned out to be the root of the problem.

Book ‘em Dano!

When Airport is set to automatic, it quickly “scans” across the entire channel range and selects the one with the least interference to use. At the time of the scan, channel 11 may be relatively clear and so all is well. If however, a competing wi-fi network on the same channel turns on, or increases signal strength due to atmospheric conditions, that channel becomes cluttered with radio noise. The protocol for 802.11 is designed in such a way that when this happens, base stations can hold off broadcasting until the interfering signal goes completely away, which could be minutes, hours, or even days. This also accounts for the apparent randomness of the original problem.

Thanks to AP Grapher/Scanner, I can easily see the channels that all my neighbors are using for their networks. Since most wireless routers are set to channel 6 out of the box, avoiding this channel as well as two channels to either side is best. I’ve now set our Airport network to broadcast on channel 9 and I’m very pleased to report that so far, the dropouts that have plagued us low these many weeks, have ended. If you are able to manually set your wireless network channel to something that avoids the channels of those around you, this should do the trick. I foresee a time in the very near future however when the 11 channels currently used by wi-fi in the United States just won’t be enough. Hopefully, refinements in 802.11 technology (or something completely new) will stay one step ahead of the problem and keep us all up and running. Case closed baby!

Evangelion Rebuilds with Mac OS X

Back in March of 2007 I first wrote about the Rebuild of Evangelion project that was being produced by Studio Khara in partnership with Gainax. Part 1 of Rebuild was released September 1st, 2007 in Japan and will hopefully make it’s way to American audiences on DVD soon. Through the magic of the Internets, we’re now getting our first glimpses of this re-imagining and re-editing of the cult-hit anime.

Evidently those industrious techno-nerds at NERV have been busy upgrading the Magi’s defense software to the latest versions of Mac OS X. The screen grab in question clearly shows Misato presiding over a giant OS X loading cursor while Shinji’s reserve battery power dwindles in his battle with Shamshel. I always knew Misato was at the top of her game, and this proves it! All kidding aside, the new version looks very slick and compelling.

It’s easy to see from this simple clip that the entire look of the series has been improved tremendously. With luck, the new visuals, faster pace and re-worked ending could make Rebuild worthy of the original Evangelion and introduce this classic anime series to a whole new legion of fans.

Major hat tip to David Lanham for this post!

Digg It!

Hypocrite, Thy Name Is McCain

An absolutely stunning, and quite frankly, sickening display put on by GOP front runner John McCain today. I’ve said publicly that if Hillary got the nomination instead of Obama, I’d vote for McCain, but not after today. I’ve lost all respect for the man after this affair and I hope he loses badly. Crooks and Liars says it best (my emphasis added):

“The Senate voted today to ban the CIA from using torture on suspected terrorists and the most famous POW in the Senate voted against the bill. The Maverick is now most assuredly dead and the betrayal is complete. In other words, the Senator who himself was tortured for years and has previously spoken out against it, voted to allow the use of torture on others to save his political hide and pander to a party base that despises him. Shame on you, Senator. Is this the sort of weakness you want from your Commander in Chief?”

I used to think McCain was unique because from time to time he stood on principals to defy the Republican party when he knew what he was doing was right. Now I know he’s scared and is desperately pandering to the base in order to become the next President of the United States. If he can’t hold fast to his principals on the issue of torture, an issue with which he is painfully familiar, how can any of us trust him to stick to his guns on anything?

The New Face of Barbarella?

In the “could be interesting” category this week, comes news that Rose McGowan has landed the lead role of the infamous space babe Barbarella in a remake due out next year. It seems that director Robert Rodriguez fell head over heels for Rose during the filming of Planet Terror and has asked her to don the space fur, translucent bodices and mile-high hair that Jane Fonda wore back in 1968.

With remakes all the rage these days, it was probably inevitable that someone would eventually get to do Barbarella (no pun intended I swear), but is there really a place for this sensual siren in today’s movie theaters? I can’t remember the last time a mainstream movie was released that built its plot around sex. In the original Barbarella, Fonda got her groove on with just about every inhabitant from here to Orion. Although the Fonda version really teased more than shocked, I have a hard time believing that today’s audiences are looking for anything wilder than what Roger Vadim originally delivered.

Given the fact that Rodriguez as made one of favorite movies of all time, Desperado, I’ll reserve judgement until we get to see the trailer. Then again, he also made Spy Kids, uugh. I just hope he gets Duran Duran to do the soundtrack. That would be strangely prophetic.

Name That Show!

Growing up, one of the things my friends and I did to keep ourselves amused was hold mock game shows. Our favorite was a play on Name that Tune called Name that Show. Each week, a different kid in the neighborhood was in charge of taping theme music from anywhere from 10-30 TV shows. We’d then get together on Saturday afternoon and see if we could stump each other with our selections. We even gave bonus points out for quick answers.

So now I’m pleased to present Name that Show, in blog format! Were you a TV junkie growing up? Grab a pencil and paper and get ready for a romp down memory lane. For extra fun, grab your significant other and see who scores best!

How to score: For each one of these TV theme shows you guess correctly, give yourself 10 points. Some shows are more difficult than others and have 5 additional bonus points if you guess before the time indicated (or just at all). When you’ve finished all ten shows, check the inviso-text answer key at the end and tally your points. Then post your total in the comment thread (unless it’s too embarrassing to share) for the rest of the world to see. Have fun and let me know what you think (too hard? too easy?).

• • •

Action/Adventure
1974-1978

Of course you knew this one, right? But did you guess within the first 35 seconds? If so, give yourself +5 bonus points for being a major geek of the 70′s. But before you vacuum the shag carpet, invite the friends over, bust out the fondue and get all cocky, you better think again. They only get harder from here.

• • •

Comedy
1968-1970

I’ll admit I didn’t watch this show in first run since I wasn’t alive then, but I came to know and love it in re-run heaven. Anyone from New England might have a slight advantage here, but I suspect the humor from this beloved show based on a hit film of the same name is universal. Give yourself +5 points if you guessed it at all. Yeah, it’s that hard.

• • •

Documentary
1976-1982

One of my favorite TV shows of all time, and if you know me, then that’s enough of a hint already. Even if you never watched this show first hand as a kid, I’m willing to bet you still know what it is thanks to the distinctive theme music. The track includes a bit of narration at the end that might help those in the dark.

• • •

Action/Crime
1975-1976

This short-lived TV show of the 70′s spawned a bunch of siblings and its music might initially be confusing to the uninitiated. However, if you’re quick on the draw and guess this one before the main theme starts at the 20 second mark, you’ve well earned those +5 bonus points.

• • •

Adventure
1978-1979

I just love the funk that oozes from this groovy 70′s theme song. This one will probably be either instantly recognizable or you won’t guess it at all. For those who manage to snag the solution, there’s an extra 5 points in it for you if you guessed correctly within the first 10 seconds. A tall order perhaps, but not for fans of this classic show.

• • •

Mystery
1977-1979

This childhood favorite aired on ABC and had a memorable opening credits sequence. Chances are the name of this one is right on the tip of your tongue, so give yourself an extra 5 bonus points if you managed to uncover the clues and identified this riddle correctly.

• • •

Adventure/Sci-Fi
1983-1984

Quite possibly the hardest show on the list, it aired for only one season on ABC. You know those shows that TV executives decide rip-off from popular movies? Yeah, this is one of those. If you know what movies were blowing away audiences in 1982, then it might not be game over (no Googling!). Five bonus points await you for guessing this one correctly.

• • •

Mystery/Thriller
1970-1973

This spooky show aired for three seasons in the 70′s and managed to walk away with two prime-time Emmy awards in the process. It was so scary, I wasn’t even allowed to watch it as a kid, which was just fine with me. The bit of narration at the end might help you identify it, but perhaps not.

• • •

Sci-Fi
1970-1971

I told you these would be difficult didn’t I? And you thought this was gonna be a cake walk. A full 5 extra points await you if you correctly name the British import with the swinging theme music heard here.

• • •

Drama/Crime
1977-1983

I shouldn’t even award bonus points for this one it’s so easy. If you don’t know the name of this show, then chances are you’re too young to remember a time before remote controls, CDs and cheesy cop shows. You’ll need to be quick to get these 5 bonus points though, keep an eye on the second hand!

• • •

The Amazing Inviso-Answer Key

Got all your guesses written down and bonus points ready to tally? Then roll your cursor over the block of text below for the answers to this edition of Name That Show. It’s like magic!

• Show 1 – The Six Million Dollar Man
• Show 2 – The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
• Show 3 – In Search Of…
• Show 4 – S.W.A.T.
• Show 5 – The Amazing Spiderman
• Show 6 – The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
• Show 7 – Automan
• Show 8 – Rod Serling’s Night Gallery
• Show 9 – UFO
• Show 10 – CHiP’s

How Did You Score?

145 TV Junkie / You know all the words to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
120 – 140 Couch Potato / You can name all six Charlie’s Angels
80 – 115 Armchair Warrior / You probably remember who shot J.R.
30 – 70 Average Joe / “Porkchops & applesauce” is just what’s for dinner
0 – 20 Bookworm / You don’t even know how many castaways there were

‘The Ultimate Computer’ Remastered

Being the huge Trek geek that I am, I’ve been eagerly awaiting two Original Series episodes in the newly remastered HD format. The first one, The Enterprise Incident has yet to air and should be impressive when it finally does. The second episode is a fan favorite through and through and it makes its debut this weekend.

The Ultimate Computer is noteworthy for its many action sequences and edge-of-your-seat drama centered around a computer that is put in control of the Enterprise during war game exercises. Some Trek Remastered episodes have been more successful than others. I have high hopes for The Ultimate Computer, and judging from these images released from Ain’t It Cool News, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.







Blue Tuesday

Not much was decided this past Tuesday, but from the numbers reported by CNN and other media outlets, one thing seems quite clear. Democrats are more motivated this election cycle than Republicans. It should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying even half attention, but the race between Hillary and Barack has generated the most excitement, gotten more people donating and focused the media’s attention like a laser beam. I also have no doubt that the hate-radio backlash against McCain is also playing a part and keeping GOP’ers at home.

The bottom line is that the majority of people, from Dems to Independents to moderate conservatives have had enough of Bush’s policies these past eight years. They are ready, willing and able to hand the reigns of control over to the left and are chomping at the bit to do it. Let’s just hope they hand them to the right person.

Bright Lights, Poor Britney

Every night during dinner, my wife and I flip channels during the commercials of Wheel of Fortune to TMZ. I got a good laugh tonight as they lamented the fact that with Britney in the hospital, they had nothing new to report on the infamous Ms. Spears. Turns out, I laughed too soon.

News from CNN today that since she’s not a “legal danger to herself or others” they couldn’t hold her any longer and were forced to release her back out into the cruel jungle that is the savage home of the Los Angeles paparazzi. Her father still holds conservatorship over her estate for the time being and should continue to help her focus on getting better, but I consider this a major setback. This bit from the CNN piece explains why:

“Spears left the facility in her black Mercedes-Benz and drove to a hotel with television helicopters tracking her every move. A crowd of photographers swarmed around her when she arrived.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as long as Britney is within arms reach of the media, she’ll never really be able to get help. She adores being the center of attention, to the exclusion of her family, friends and even her children. She’d rather be seen running out for an espresso in the middle of the night than staying home and taking care of her boys.

Fellow blogger Sam Spagnola seems to think that Britney has mental health problems such as a bi-polar disease. This very well may be, and if so, her need for treatment becomes even more imperative. But she’s now been released from medical care prematurely at least 3 times for one reason or another and her time is running out. If her father doesn’t take immediate and decisive action, I fear the 8-ball’s prediction may come true much sooner than originally thought. The media won’t leave her alone, and unless someone gets her the hell out of Dodge, she ain’t got a prayer.

Flash Mob Freezes Time

A flash mob is basically performance art, but on a grand scale. Large groups of people quickly assemble, perform a particular action and then disperse. Large population centers like New York and Stockholm are great spots for flash mobs since so many people are out and about. Those who participate receive a call or text message on their cell phones to show up somewhere and then they are told what they’ll be performing. The first flash mob was a giant pillow fight, but they’ve also invaded an Apple Store as zombies and danced silently in London’s Victoria Station.

Of all the flash mob events I’ve seen, this one in New York’s Grand Central Station has to be the best. Over 200 people walk in, and freeze solid for about five minutes. Check it out:

I love the expressions of the observers as they walk around stunned by this odd sight. The participants did a great job of finding poses that make them seem totally caught in time. The one woman eating a banana, the guy who dropped the papers. Somehow none of them crack a smile or break character while frozen and the crowd is fascinated.

My favorite line is the one onlooker who says near the end “I thought it was only me.” Like a scene out of Clockstoppers, hundreds of people managed to bend the perceptions of strangers for a brief moment. Reality is called into question and art is born. Pure Internet gold.

Maximum Zen

You have to hand it to the people at PopCap. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so addictive. I mean the player strategy behind their hugely successful game, Peggle Deluxe, amounts to little more than a digital coin toss. Despite this, the game is immensely satisfying and keeps players coming back for more. One of the reasons is the sheer joy you get when you pull off shots like this:

In many ways, Peggle has a lot of the same visceral qualities that made games like Ambrosia Software’s Malestrom and Apeiron so great. These noteworthy creations from Ambrosia Software helped to inspire my love of Mac gaming and provided a great deal of inspiration when it came time to bring the user interface and general feel of Frenzic to life. Ambrosia has gotten away from these types of straight forward, fun as hell, games lately (with the possible exception of Sketch Fighter) and it’s too bad. I would kill for an updated OS X version of Malestrom. One that combines the simple fun of Peggle with the classic sensibilities of Ambrosia and the power of Mac OS X.

In the meantime, my hat goes off to the folks at PopCap for creating Peggle. I think it’s almost as addictive as Frenzic… almost ;-) If you have videos of your favorite shot replays, post links to them in the comments and help spread the Extreme Fever. Tally ho!