Mr. Bill George Presents

Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

(Real) Life On The Farm

In Video Games on July 27, 2009 at 11:34 PM

These days it seems like every new video game on the market is playing a game of “can you top this,” with a million possible story lines and insanely realistic graphics. Sure, for uber nerds gamers that want to devote the time, these developments in gaming technology are fantastic.

But what about the regular people who don’t feel like scouring the internet to discover the correct code to unlock Vault 9 in such-and-such game? (OK, Fallout.) I don’t need to see a character’s pumping veins or the gruesome details of a chemical spill to be impressed by the “realness” of a game. You want to see real? I suggest you pick up a Game Boy Advance SP and play a little Harvest Moon.

Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town was developed in 2005 by Natsume Inc., and is one of many versions of the RPG. While each model of Harvest Moon is slightly different, the premise of the story remains the same: Your character inherits a farm for X amount of time, and must make it profitable while also building a life for his or herself.

In the 2005 version the lead character is female (a blonde which I have some issues with), but there’s certainly no gender discrimination in Mineral Town. Clearing land, tilling, planting and harvesting crops are all a must to survive in the game, and, if you want to survive past your first winter, you’ll need to purchase livestock, learn how to fish, and collect logs to make home improvements with. If you can find any free time in between all that intensive labor than you’d better take a walk through the neighborhood, because in this game you’re also expected to socialize with the residents of Mineral Town (something that may be traumatic for the agoraphobic gamers out there).

Me, or my character Angie-Poo, has been living on Jaded Field Farm (I started playing the game after a breakup) for almost a year, and I have three chickens (all named Minski), one cow and one sheep. And a horse that was given to me by the mayor, but I think he might be lame because he’s legitimately been with me for a ten months and hasn’t grown at all, or maybe I should remember to feed him more. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so distracted if one of the game’s biggest features wasn’t to get married and have kids. That’s right folks, just like life, if you don’t get a mate during your time on the farm everyone in the town will think you’re a big fat loser, and you’ll probably die alone while everybody else couples off and then you’ll be the only person in North Adams– uhh, I mean Mineral Town, to not have a boyfriend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Radio Edit: Censoring The Competition

In Music on July 26, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Whoa! Have you heard the new song “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas? It is a pretty catchy dance/pop song this year. Wait… I have a question though. Have you noticed what I have noticed? No? You must have heard the song on terrestrial radio then. You might not have noticed what I noticed unless you have the album or you are a Sirius XM Satellite Radio subscriber. Many of the radio stations nationwide have decided to censor “satellite” from the following lyrics:

… here we go, here we go / satellite radio / ya’ll getting hit with (boom boom) / beats so big I’m steppin’ on leprechauns …

That is right! They censored the word “satellite”. That is pathetic. I have to be honest… this legitimately blows my mind. Radio stations have decided to bleep out the word “satellite” due to the fact that satellite radio is competition. They have treated the word like a curse word. Would you bolt to your closest Best Buy and purchase yourself a plug-and-play satellite radio due to one word in a song? It is not an advertisement, it is a song for crying out loud.

On the other hand, I slightly understand that it would be bad marketing to “advertise” a competitors service by allowing the word to be played but it just seems immature in my book. Now, I have to admit that I am a loyal Sirius XM Satellite Radio subscriber and love it for many reasons including no censorship and no advertisements during music but I am paying for the service. If satellite radio was not that great, I would just listen to the free alternative… terrestrial radio.

However, I need to know something. Is terrestrial radio starting to struggle enough as a “free” means of music to prevent competition to be named in a song being played on their station? I think this is just a ridiculous move by terrestrial radio. In my opinion, this creates more of a reason to become a satellite radio subscriber.

I just needed to get this off my chest here, as The Corporate Tree is more business related. Ummm… I don’t know if I crossed this line like the Black Eyed Peas… are the three words The Corporate Tree going to get censored from this post? What do you think of this type of censorship? Please leave comments and express your opinions. Until next time…

Well… here we go, here we go… satellite radio…

Censored Sirius

SQUlifeARED

In Technology on July 24, 2009 at 12:04 AM
The square. What a perfect shape. Four equal sides and a perfect receptacle for information to be contained. Confused? Allow me to enlighten you.
My digitized life is now really all contained inside of squares. I bought a Nintendo Wii seven months or so ago, and really loved the “Channel” concept it had to offer. All my favorite things kept nice at neat in little squares just a quick little point away. (Yes Bill, I know the Wii channels are slightly rectangular and have rounded edges but roll with me here.) Then one day as I was surfing the internet a little Google at popped up asking me if I wanted to try Google Chrome. I like Google. Chrome is shiny. Where could it go wrong? So as began the download I began to wonder what this “Chrome” was really all about.
If you haven’t tried Google Chrome. Try it. Now. It’s stripped down, it’s quick and it doesn’t try to kid itself with what it is. A browser. A smart browser that when opened is eerily reminiscent of the Wii Channels. Except the little squares contain not Super Mario World and Sonic, but 9 of my most visited websites. I happen to really love Wikipedia and YouTube, so Chrome has search bars for both sites built in so you don’t need to go to the actual site. Genius.
Is this a review for Google Chrome? Kind of. You see, Chrome isn’t just a browser, it’s a way of life. It says I’m busy, but I’ll make busy cool.  The way I see it there’s a Big 3 of Web Browsers. Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
Firefox: Firefox users are usually tech-saavy, Mac loving types who, at least in my experience will defend Firefox until the point of coming to blows. I know this post has to yield at least one angry comment for a user. FIIRRREEEFOOOXXXXX!!! It could be our generations FREEEEBBBIIIRRRRRDDDD!!!!
Internet Explorer: Usually people who are not very internet centered. Facebook is usually their homepage and They keep updating Internet Explorer only because its friendly and familiar, like that animated paper clip that Microsoft used to have.
Chrome: I’m not going to fill this one out. Try Chrome for yourself and join us. (I think this might have been what Lennon was talking about in ‘Imagine’) I’ve converted at least 20 people now, and hopefully a few more after this post.
So flame away, do your worst TIAW readers. I can handle it. And damn it I’ll say it, its just so hip to be a square.

The square. What a perfect shape. Four equal sides and a perfect receptacle for information to be contained. Confused? Allow me to enlighten you.

My digitized life is now really all contained inside of squares. I bought a Nintendo Wii seven months or so ago and really loved the “Channel” concept it had to offer. All my favorite things kept nice and neat in little squares just a quick little point away. (Yes Bill, I know the Wii channels are slightly rectangular and have rounded edges but roll with me here.)

Then one day as I was surfing the internet a little Google ad popped up asking me if I wanted to try Google Chrome. I like Google. Chrome is shiny. Where could it go wrong? So as began the download I began to wonder what this “Chrome” was really all about.

If you haven’t tried Google Chrome: try it. Now. It’s stripped down, quick and doesn’t try to kid itself with what it is – a browser. A smart browser that when opened is eerily reminiscent of the Wii Channels. Except the little squares contain not Super Mario World and Sonic, but 9 of my most visited websites. I happen to really love Wikipedia and YouTube, so Chrome has search bars for both sites built in so you don’t need to go to the actual site. Genius.

Is this a review for Google Chrome? Kind of. You see, Chrome isn’t just a browser, it’s a way of life. It says, “I’m busy, but I’ll make busy cool.”  The way I see it there’s a Big 3 in the world of Web Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Firefox: Firefox users are usually tech-saavy, Mac loving types who (at least in my experience) will defend Firefox until the point of coming to blows. I know this post has to yield at least one angry comment from a user saying, “FIIRRREEEFOOOXXXXX!!! It could be our generations FREEEEBBBIIIRRRRRDDDD!!!!”

Internet Explorer: Usually people who are not very internet centered. Facebook is usually their homepage and they keep updating Internet Explorer only because it’s friendly and familiar, like that animated paper clip that Microsoft Office used to have.

Chrome: I’m not going to fill this one out. Try Chrome for yourself and join us. (I think this might have been what Lennon was talking about in ‘Imagine.’) I’ve converted at least 20 people now and hopefully a few more after this post.

So flame away! Do your worst TIAW readers. I can handle it. And dammit I’ll say it: it’s just so hip to be a square.

Chrome Logo

Clint Eastwood Ruined My Life

In Film on July 20, 2009 at 8:26 PM

America lost (yet another) icon recently in the form of Mr. Walter Cronkite, who passed away just a few days ago. The legendary anchorman of the CBS Evening News was considered the “most trusted man in America.” I grew up watching clips of his show and hearing about him through my parents and through references within popular culture. I very much admired and looked up to this man.

So when I saw a tribute special yesterday on CBS, I cried on at least three separate occasions. And sitting alone in my apartment wiping away my tears caused me to reflect. When did this start happening to me?

There was a time in my life when I had never cried at a movie or TV show or documentary or anything. No form of media had made me cry. And I prided myself on that fact. It made me feel more together and I actually bragged about it. “Nothing has ever made me cry,” I’d say. But I’ve changed dramatically since then. So I thought to myself: when did this happen? How?

Answer: Clint Eastwood‘s Academy Award Winning drama, Million Dollar Baby.

Yes, I can pinpoint the exact film that did it to me. Something happened to me in that theater back in 2004. A switch was flipped. And it’s one that can never be turned off.

I sat in that theater, literally sobbing, trying to hold the tears back as much as possible to save face in front of my sister and father. They may have been crying as well, I don’t know. I didn’t have the courage to turn and look for fear they’d see me in my horrific state.

For some reason it was that film alone that caused me to finally internalize trauma that I see on the screen and make it my own. And ever since then, frankly, I’ve been a mess.

Now, I bawl at almost anything. There are certain things that are guaranteed to do it though: 9/11. JFK assassination. Moments of heroism and self-sacrifice (especially during WWII). Underdogs overcoming unthinkable odds. Great speeches (especially listening to MLK). Anything tragic or unjust. If somebody else starts to break down while talking about something, I’ll break down with them.

[I still am unaffected in general by pure romance. A couple finally getting together at the end of a movie after all they’ve been through – nothing. I’m happy for them and all, but it doesn’t bring it out of me.]

What I’m wondering is if this has happened to anyone else. Shouldn’t emotional maturation be more gradual? I had an instant transformation that I can pinpoint with certainty. Is that weird? Am I alone? Share your experiences in the comments and please speak freely.

Million Dollar Baby Poster

The Case Against Fantasies

In Film on July 18, 2009 at 8:53 AM

In my previous post I fully admitted I have a bias against the fantasy genre, which I would explain later. Well, here we are and I believe I owe you all an explanation. (Keep in mind that I in no way am arrogant enough to pretend I know every single fantasy text in existence or have seen every movie in history. I’m basing my knowledge purely on what I’ve seen and what most frequently appears in popular culture.)

At the very root of my prejudice is a major, internal factor: I don’t find fantasies interesting. Keep in mind this is not something I have control over. For the same reason I don’t like the taste of tomatoes or cringe when I hear certain sounds, whenever I see a movie involving wizards or talking animals or magical potions my brain sends me a signal asking, “is there anything else on?”

However, this hasn’t been the case is every instance and some films have been compelling enough to break through this barrier. Namely, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I still consider that film, the first in the trilogy, to be a masterpiece. Unfortunately, the second film is a bore and the third falls victim to my biggest criticism of the genre: anything goes.

Put simply, a fantasy author has too much power. They can write any absurdity they want and if, God forbid, I try to raise a logistical concern or address a plothole, I am immediately lambasted with, “it’s fantasy Bill. Relax!” Which is tantamount to the old saying, “it’s just a movie!”

But that doesn’t cut it for me. A writer should create the characters and set up the story but once it is underway it should feel as though it resolves itself naturally. The better the writer, the more it seems to flow. The worse the writer, the more you can feel their hand involved, manually arranging and forcing plot developments. And no where is this more apparent than the fantasy genre.

I have two perfect examples that put me in a rage every time I consider them (warning, these do include LOTR and HP spoilers):

First, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It’s the second to last (if I remember correctly) battle. The evil army is destroying the good guys. I mean really beating the hell out of them. They are outnumbered to the point of lunacy as the camera flies over the CGI battlefield, showing there is no possible way our heroes can win this battle.

Which is now a problem for our screenwriters. They have written themselves into a corner. The bad guys are about to win, but the good guys have to pull out a victory for the story’s sake. Luckily, this is fantasy, so anything goes.

Out of nowhere (fine, out of one brief scene penciled in earlier to cover themselves) comes an invincible army of ghost pirates! Convenient! Do these extra hands on deck help turn the momentum of the battle? No, they simply win the battle… immediately.

Because they are ghosts, of course, these pirates cannot be struck down by conventional weapons, but luckily for our heroes, they can still strike their enemies. Allowing them to flow over the battlefield like a giant, ectoplasmic tidal wave and single handedly win the battle instantaneously.

It was the single cheapest moment I’ve ever witnessed in the history of film. It forever tainted the series for me. My blood boils when I think of the audacity of the screenwriter playing God like that. But I can’t argue because, “it’s fantasy Bill. Relax!”

(Whether it is explained in more depth in the novel is beside the point because the film needs to be able to stand alone as a product for all those like me who simply watched the LOTR series.)

Another prime example of an author making his or her presence all too clear comes courtesy of the final novel in the Harry Potter series: The Deathly Hallows. This complaint is not specific to fantasies, it is more regarding bad writing in general, but this type of bad writing seems to crop up more in fantasies than anywhere else.

Much like the above example, it has to do with the author creating his or her own plot turning event out of convenience rather than natural story progression.

It occurs in the middle of The Deathly Hallows. Our leads are on the run, apparating every day to random sections of different woods all over the world. To reiterate, every day they are in a new part of a new forest that could be anywhere in the world and is totally at random in order to hide.

… And the story ends.

The book is essentially over. There is no where else to go. Nothing else to do. The characters have no leads, no direction, no forward momentum.

Obviously Rowling has made a mistake and now has to write herself out of it. But, hey, it’s fantasy so anything goes. One night the characters happen to appear in a particular part of a particular forest where a group of people happen to be. And these people happen to have information regarding what’s going on at Hogwarts and they happen to say it out loud and happen to give our heroes something to go off of for the rest of the novel.

That one scene, made purely of forced coincidence, is the fulcrum point of the entire novel and essentially the entire series. I’m sorry, but I refuse to accept that. I cannot let that pass by saying, “oh ok, that works.” My anger towards this event knows no bound. This appearance of the author as the hand of God is far too blatant to be ignored.

Another factor that doesn’t help fantasies in general is the fact that the main ambassadors for the genre, the most visible moneymakers, are some of the worst movies in recorded history. I cannot summarize just how much I hated The Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass and Eragon.

To sum it up, on one level, my dislike for the genre stems purely from the subject matter. On another it is based on the actions of the writer and could actually occur in any book or film. It just happens to occur more often in fantasies and because it uses that moniker, ‘fantasy,’ people give it a pass. But not me.

And you may note that I love superhero movies and science fiction and ask, “are those not fantasy?” No, they are not. There is a distinction. That distinction being that they still occur within the real world and that world has rules (as Morpheus says).

Superman is a fantastical character but he exists in the real world. He is the one anomaly in his otherwise normal surroundings. Science fiction is similar. The idea of bringing dinosaurs back to life is fantasy but it’s based on very real science. As opposed to fantasies where the entire world is created and controlled by the author.

Anybody out there agree? I know plenty of people probably disagree. Sound off in the comments section below!

Harry Potter And The Blah, Blah, Blah

In Film on July 15, 2009 at 3:26 PM

So this movie taught me a little something about myself: I have become completely and utterly apathetic towards this franchise. I read all the books. I’ve seen all the movies. And still nothing has occurred in any of them that has ever made me say, “wow, I have got to read/see that again.”

There are two main reasons for this. One is my bias against the fantasy genre in general (the focus of a soon to come post in which all will be explained, I assure you). The other is my tendency to cling obsessively to a subject, only to abandon it all together after. And I guess I’ve reached a point in my life where I have moved on from Harry Potter.

When the final book was set to come out (which was an atrocity, by the way) I read all the previous ones in sequence in order to catch up. But the minute I put down the trainwreck that was The Deathly Hallows, I immediately began losing interest in everything I had just invested so much time into.

Sure, I held on long to enough to be excited for the fourth (and even fifth) film, but that goodwill has waned. And going into the sixth, I was simply going through the motions.

Don’t get me wrong, I in no way actively disliked this film. In fact, I enjoyed it and chuckled at a number of moments (the humor was well-played and Alan Rickman is mesmorizing as usual) but I was never excited.

To be perfectly honest: I felt no passion whatsoever. And it seemed to me like the director didn’t either. The film rolled along not because there was a worthwhile story to tell, but because the movie had to be made.

Which makes sense, putting this film on the same level as the book it represents: It’s all set up. Its entire purpose is to build to the eventual finale. And it fulfills that purpose. It’s just not a very fruitful endeavor when put on the big screen for 2+ hours in the hope of entertaining the masses.

So back to the reason you’re here. What did I think of Warner Bros.’ new release Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Well, I sincerely thought it was good.

That’s all I can say. It is what it is. If you’ve seen the others you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and you already know how you are going to feel about it. No surprises here.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Entourage has returned to HBO for its sixth season. I enjoyed the premiere because it gave us a chance to see the boys together again after all this time. But the series is definitely spinning its wheels. The seasons are becoming very cyclical. Something really has to happen this season that fundamentally changes the dynamic of the show and Vince’s career. Just showing his rise and fall and cheap rise again at the end of each season is not enough. (And yes, having Martin Scorsese call at random when all hope seemed lost, was very cheap.)

– After only two episodes I already expect great things from the new show that now precedes EntourageHung. Definitely worth a watch. (It is available OnDemand to those who already have HBO but may have missed it.)

– Quick reminder: Wipeout remains the best show on television. Period.

My Primary Home Screen And Why

In Technology on July 7, 2009 at 12:26 AM

1st Home Screen

Above is an image of the primary home screen on my iPhone 3GS. I recently rearranged it and have been very pleased with my current setup. So much so, I rarely check the other screens, except when searching for games. Which I consider a good thing.

So, here is the breakdown, going top to bottom, left to right.

SAFARI – Built in web browser. ‘Nuff said.

BYLINE$4.99One of the best apps The best app I’ve ever purchased. It’s an RSS reader that syncs with my Google Reader account. Anything I read on the road and mark as read, is marked as read in greader, so if I check my feeds online or through EventBox, I never get repeats. It’s perfect. I love it. (I just hope it gets push notification support so I can see a badge with the number of unread articles.)

TWEETIE$2.99 – Best twitter app I’ve found. I used Tweetsville for a long time but one day it failed to update for me and I moved on. And I found a lot more to like in Tweetie, like the ability to see people’s profiles, followers and who they follow etc. Also has a nice clean interface.

DONE$.99 – Easy to use, color coded to-do list manager. Best part: you can take a snapshot of your list and set it as your background, so every time you wake your phone you see a slick, priority sorted, color coded list of things you have to do.

AP MOBILEFree – AP Mobile is an associated press news app that utilizes push notifications, including sounds, badges or pop-over alerts. I decided to have a dedicated news app instead of flooding my greader with a CNN feed. So far it’s working out pretty well.

MAPS – Built in Google Maps, perfect for GPS and directions. Especially with the 3GS’ built in compass that will reorient the google map depending on which direction you are facing. (Except when there is ‘compass interference.’ Lame.)

PHOTOS, CAMERA – Also have my camera set to come up when I double-tap the home button. Never know when you’re going to need it quickly.

FACEBOOKFree – Of course. Although I hope it gets updated to include events. It has zero event support right now.

BANK OF AMERICAFree – A life saver. Let’s me view my accounts and transfer funds on the fly. A requirement for any BofA customer.

THE WEATHER CHANNEL MAX$2.99 – Yes, I know there is a free app that’s very similar from the same people, but it’s ad supported and the ads take up about a third of the screen! I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I spent the money and sprung for the clean one. It’s so much easier to read and use. Great forecasts, radars, severe weather alerts etc. Must have.

22 NEWSFree – Local news that you can’t find on something like AP Mobile. Gotta stay in touch with the community.

iPOD, iCAL, CLOCK, APP STORE – All built in. All essential.

And finally, the constant four:

PHONE, MESSAGES, MAIL, SETTINGS – The key things I find myself checking regardless of what home screen I may be looking at. If I’m playing a game or looking at something and I’m interrupted, it’s because I get an email or call or text or need to adjust my settings. Gotta have access to them at all times.

Alright. So that’s me. What is everyone else doing? Give a shout out for your favorite apps in the comments below!

Musical Digression

In Music on July 2, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Recently I have discovered an interesting trend in my musical tastes. And that trend, which only until recently became apparent to me, is that for some reason I no longer enjoy music unless there is the presence of some unconventional instrument such as an accordion, fiddle, or random wind instrument thrown into the mix.

I believe this started a few years ago when I became a fan of a Philadelphian band, Man Man, that utilizes a variety of instruments/noisemakers in their music which creates a distinct blend of musical chaos that suits my fancy. This was then furthered when I became a fan of gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello whom utilizes a violin in most of their tracks aside from other random instruments.

Now I have spiraled into listening to such bands as Balkan Beat Box, BeiruitDevotchka, Ethiopian Jazzist Mulatu Astatke and other bands that have a wild undefinable sound to them. Perhaps this could be due to the fact that I lack the musical aptitude to classify these bands but I find my favorite music is the kind of music I have difficulty explaining to people. Most recently an elderly gent at my place of work asked me what kind of music Man Man was when I told him I was going to a concert and as I processed all the possible explanations of what their music entails all that came out in the end was “….rock?”

This fact is mainly why I decided to write this article at the present, first off in an attempt to try to categorize my favorite music, and second of all to provide some not-so-popular bands that people may find interesting.

First off I’d like to talk about Man Man, my favorite band at the moment and one that I will go any lengths to see live. Man Man is composed of 5 individuals who all sport ridiculous stage names such as “Honus Honus,” “Chang Wang,” and “Critter Crat.” When they play live they don white jeans, white shirts, and decorate their faces with white face paint. Their performance can best be likened to a group of talented cave men performing in a back alley London dive circa 1920.  They were one of the first bands that really defined my musical tastes and I would suggest listening to a personal favorite of mine, “10lb Mustache” over on the tube for you. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxv0qhAauAk)

Another favorite of mine, one considerably more popular than Man Man, though I do run into plenty of people who have never heard of them is Gogol Bordello. It’s a bit easier to classify them and if I had to pick one genre I’d say they are punk, though the eastern European twist they put on it makes them fantastic. I recently saw them in Boston for the first time and it was probably the best show I’ve ever seen. They played for close to three hours and the whole time I was writhing in a sea of people and sweat set at a constant 98.6 degrees while struggling to maintain the little fluids I had left and the fact that I wasn’t absolutely miserable in said conditions says something about the quality of the show. Their music is fast paced and full of energy and since I have been in a faced paced energetic mood as of late it compliments my day to day nicely. A song I’d recommend by them would have to be “Start Wearing Purple” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM1Ahn0Osjo) and I insist that you check it out.

I suppose those are the two biggies I wanted to talk about, however I would like to leave off with a song I recently came across that I am in love with by Les Claypool with Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello as a guest singer called “Bite out of Life.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nrSjfoJxn0)

And if anyone out there has some music that you feel is similar to these illustrious bands let me know, for I am constantly searching for new music.

Odds And Ends #1

In Film, Technology on July 2, 2009 at 12:08 AM

Alright, so I tacked a #1 at the end of the title of this post because I imagine this will happen again: I don’t have any one thing to discuss at length at the moment, but there are a number of subjects stirring around in my mind. So I’ll just blurt them out in no particular order.

PUBLIC ENEMIES – I just got home from seeing Michael Mann‘s latest film, Public Enemies. It stars two of the finest actors working today: Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Together they recreate the cat and mouse game between famous depression-era outlaw John Dillinger and investigator Melvin Purvis.

Mann maintains his usual style, using almost all handheld cameras to give the film a more real and gritty feel as well as putting plenty of emphasis on the frenetic and riveting gunplay. But as engaging as the action is, it is spread out across ~2.5 hours of fairly thin plotting. The story of Dillinger is an interesting one but it is done in such a matter-of-fact way that it can be underwhelming. And the unconvincing love story doesn’t help move things along.

At the end of the day it is a solid piece of filmmaking but it could have used more upbeat pacing and 15-20 minutes could have been shed easily. Which would have made for a much more enjoyable viewing experience.

THE CORPORATE TREE – A contributor and friend to TIAW has officially launched his own site! At TheCorporateTree.com you’ll find insights into the business world courtesy of the founder’s own business philosophy and those of his contributors. As well as a bevy of links to interesting articles and enterprises on the web. It has just launched and will continue to grow over time so head on over to get in on the ground level and follow him on Twitter. Good luck TCT!

GDGT LAUNCH – More news about a site launch. This time from the guys who brought you engadget. Their new site, gdgt.com, is one of those things that I wish I thought of. It’s a community driven site for gadget lovers where you set up your profile, including a list of all the gadgets you own, and then read up on tech news, review products, connect with people with the same stuff, troubleshoot etc. It’s pretty genius and I, for one, have already signed up. Check it out.

THE RAVEN – Isn’t The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, like, the greatest poem ever? Tell me I’m not alone on this one. I recently read it yet again and it’s just so good that I felt like sharing it. Especially after being on a literary kick from my last post. I’ll leave you with a taste, enjoy:

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,’ said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!’
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!’

(It’s so good that you can’t not read it out loud. Am I right?)