Sunday, February 6, 2011

MY QUICK UPDATE (2/6/2011) OR: Are you ready for some football?! ...I'm not.

In case you are new to this blog or just don't remember what the "My Quick Update" posts are about, they are essentially a way for me to blog about things that have happened in the last week that were big enough for me to care about, but not enough for me to write a long blog post on. So, here we go:

As most of you know, today is Super Bowl Sunday. I neither care, nor wish to pretend to care, about football. What I have always found funny is that most people who watch the Super Bowl do not watch it for the football portion. Everyone knows this because if you took all of the Nielsen viewers who watch every Monday Night Football showcase, then doubled it, you would not equal one-tenth of the viewers that the Super Bowl brings in. I don't know if it is the commercials, the movie trailers that are promised to premiere, or the hope that Fergie's nipple will make an appearance, but most of America will be glued to their television sets, watching one team of pituitary cases bash into the more hated pituitary case clan. There may be even more people tuning in, waiting for the new "Glee" episode to come on!
Unfortunately, while I've been managing to avoid it post-high school, I have a friend who now throws a Super Bowl Party at his house annually. So, I will be bringing a bottle of Southern Comfort and drowning my hatred for the sport. It may just be easier to lose this friend.

Despite the Comic-Con International/TicketLeap team-up being an internet travesty to all us geeks on Saturday (2/5/2011), I managed to get my badge for the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con! It took 3+ hours of me hitting refresh on the site and ignoring the TicketLeap site saying that all of the 4-day passes were sold out [Comic-Con International's Twitter page continued insisting that there were plenty of passes left] but I did finally get them around 3:06pm EST (tickets went on sale at noon).
Comic-Con International has been trying to get its proverbial shit together since the site first crashed a few months ago in November 2010. They tried again a couple weeks later, the site crashed. They did a test where they only sold 1,000 passes in January (using a new system), and the tickets all sold within 60 seconds. With all of this happening, they should have prepared to have many extra servers on deck just to handle all of the traffic that they had to know would be coming to TicketLeap's site. It genuinely is not difficult to prepare your hosting service for the flood of internet-enabled geeks, clicking furiously, credit card in hand. Granted, the site would probably still crash a number of times, but it would not take one person 186 minutes just to purchase one 4-day pass.
Next year, Comic-Con should drop TicketLeap for dropping the ball on such an important task. While I do not wish for them to start using a service like TicketMaster (who would charge an extra $15 to your passes as a service charge), they need to find a company who is willing to go the extra 7 miles to guarantee satisfaction on the one day that probably brings them more than 10% of their annual revenue. And I feel that that is a generously low number. After all, has anyone ever purchased tickets to an event using TicketLeap?

I started re-watching "Battlestar Galactica" with my father, who has never seen the show. So far, obviously, he is enjoying the frak out of it! He used to watch the original series, but never liked it, citing that it was trying too hard to be Star Wars. When watching a few early season one episodes last night, my father mentioned how much he liked Billy, President Roslin's aide. I didn't have the heart to tell him not to get too attached.

My friend, Danny, posted this New Yorker profile on Guillermo del Toro on Twitter. It is a long, but great read. I always thought the man to be brilliant and this is a great insight into the mind of one of cinema's wildest imaginations. Give it a good read.

On Monday, January 24th, for the Xbox 360 Kinect, I bought Your Shape Fitness Evolved. One thing that I enjoyed about it was that it really did work! However, the one and only thing that I did not enjoy about it was that it really did work. I was sore for days! I used it for three days straight and could barely walk. Then when I had to crouch down, I had to hold onto things to balance and ease myself down. And getting up from said crouch was no picnic either. I decided to stop using it until my muscled relaxed again. After about five days, they were relaxed, but I was afraid to start using it again. What I will probably do from now on is use it every other day.
When I was beta testing the Kinect for Microsoft a few months before it came out, My one big complaint was that it had no software support behind it. That is still my big complaint with the device now. I have met with a Microsoft representative at work and he tells me that in the coming months, there will be more games coming out for it. But, in a country full of obese children who grow up to be obese adults, the Kinect is a good device to fight that. I quite enjoy both Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports, and Dance Central may be a game that I won't play if anyone else is in the room, but I will still play it. And while I don't like my video game console tricking me into exercising, it may very well be the only form of exercise that I will actively take part in. After all, I started playing video games as a way of avoiding exercise as a child. That young lad is now 22 and his metabolism is now realizing that a bad diet should cause some form of bad features. Plus, since I was diagnosed as a Type-1 diabetic at 17, every doctor told me that I should exercise. It's been five years, maybe I should give them a listen...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Does One Start Doing This Again?

Well, I've decided to start this blog up again. Mainly for two reasons:
  1. Finally got a new laptop. An Asus K52N-BGR5. Fairly happy with it. It was a mere $549 at Best Buy and has a 500GB hybrid hard drive, 6GB DDR3 RAM, 15.6-inch LED screen, ATi HD graphics, and an on-board Altec Lansing speaker set. I say all these things as a computer geek, and yet, I bought the computer so I could get back to writing.
  2. Because one of my favorite comic book writers, James Robinson, had tweeted that my blog was a good read and "witty" after I had put him in one of my few and far between "Follow Friday" posts.
After things like that (especially the latter!), one must continue blathering to absolutely no one while hoping that maybe just one person actually reads this and feels that it was not a complete waste of their time. As they say, it's the little things that matter.
Since I moved back home to Miami, I've been doing things a lot differently than when I was in Gainesville. For now, I'm working. Not currently in school due to a strong lack of funds. I am currently considering my further educational options. I may just go a normal secondary educational institution or see if I can gather enough student loans to go to a film school for my BA. I have also been volunteering for the Florida SuperCon since the 2009 Animation SuperCon in October of that year. I spent the entire weekend being David X. Cohen's (co-developer/executive producer/head writer of "Futurama") assistant. I also got to hang out with the entire male voice cast of "Futurama" and drive Billy West (voice of Fry/Zapp Brannigan on "Futurama" as well as many voices from some of everyone's favorite '90s cartoons) to the airport. I've done pretty well at these events. I'll most likely be a staff member for the upcoming 2011 Florida SuperCon in July, taking care of media guests. Honestly, even if they don't pay me, I still have way too much fun at the cons.
But, between work, conventions, and not having a computer after my last laptop finally died (it was on its last legs and was referred to as a steam powered laptop by my good friend, Shaun Spalding, because of the terrible sounds the fan made), I have neglected my writing. I kept having ideas and writing them all down in my Moleskine notepad, but never really had a chance to turn any of them into something. Most recently, I started getting frustrated and just took what little money I had and bought the best laptop I could for it. So, in addition to starting to write some stories again, I thought this blog should be given a chance to live on. While I enjoy Twitter, micro-blogging is not as good an outlet as a nice, LONG blog post.
I am going to try to post movie reviews for whatever film I see that I feel is worth writing about - whether it be new, old, or something recently rediscovered - as well as some of my general What's Happening? posts that I used to do called "MY QUICK UPDATE". I may also do the occasional video game review (since I now work in the video game section of a very large toy store chain and it has rehashed on old addiction), tech news, comic book review, or whatever geeky thing that I feel is either relevant to myself or what I feel should be relevant to us all. In other words, this will be a blog. But not just a blog, this will be The Nick B-Log.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Happy (belated) Festivus, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year to you all!

Back in Gainesville after spending the last 2 weeks back home in Miami. Did not get to see any new movies to cross off my pending 2008 list while I was there.

Did not receive anything from my family for Christmas. I did, however, get my father the special edition set of one of his favorite films, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and bought my sister two t-shirts that she loved from Threadless. The word from both of them: "I will get you a gift later." I'll believe it when I see it.
Luckily, I did receive $250 cash from 4 of my various aunts and uncles.

The day after Christmas, I decided that I would buy myself a brand new cellular phone to replace the now archaic one that I had had for over 2 ½ years, the Sony Ericsson W600. So, I went to Wal-Mart, which had the best prices for upgrades. For me, the choice was between the Samsung Blackjack II, which was FREE, and the LG Vu, for $48.88. When I had gone the week earlier, the Blackjack II was $18.88. So, when I went to Wal-Mart to buy the LG Vu, the decision became harder on whether or not I should get it.
But, it won. The new cell is the LG Vu (CU920). I LOVE this phone! Full HTML browser, 3G-enabled, one of the first phones to support AT&T TV and CV video-play, TOUCHSCREEN! Since I can afford neither the iPhone nor the plan that I would have to get along with it, this phone is a welcome substitute to it. My only complaints are its battery life - but I knew about that going in - and that, unlike the Sony Ericsson Walkman phone that I previously had, I cannot set an mp3 as my ringtone. Hopefully, there is a hack for the latter.
But it is very sexy...
Another fine Wal-Mart tale occured last Thursday night:
I read a tweet from @todd1985 (the internet's Todd Jurgess) telling of the Martin Scorsese Collection DVD set being $13 at Wal-Mart. At first, I did not believe him. After all, this set is usually $50+ at most retail stores. I had gone to Best Buy a couple days earlier and it was there for $57.99! But, I was sitting at home all day watching the SciFi Channel marathon of "The Twilight Zone" with no breaks. So, I set out to Wal-Mart to call his bluff. And, low and behold, there it was: the last Martin Scorsese Collection box set for $13! I grabbed it, sent a tweet to @todd1985 thanking him for this glorious bit of information, and continued to walk about the Electronics section of my local Wal-Mart.
So, I walk over to the $5 DVD bin to see if anything was in there that I wanted. And there was! In there lay the Zodiac 2-Disc Director's Cut DVD. I picked it up and laughed. There was only one in there. It must have been a mistake. After all, the single-disc version of Zodiac was in the $7.50 rack. I figured that someone must have picked it up from the regular DVD rack and, when they realized that they didn't want it anymore, dropped it in the $5 bin. But, I take it over to the price scanner to see how much Wal-Mart was charging fr it. Everywhere else, the DVD is $25. But, Wal-Mart usually is the first place to lower DVD prices. I was hoping it was around the $13-range as well. But the reading on the scanner displays, "DVD $5.00". I immediately ran to the cash register in the Electronics section and paid for both the Martin Scorsese Collection and the Zodiac 2-Disc Director's Cut, before Wal-Mart realized that they were grossly undercharging me.

The last bit of news is that my father got a call from the mechanic that has my car saying that even if we did get the money to pay for the replacement transmission, the car was also discovered to have a damaged frame. The $1100 that we were going to give to get the car fixed would have been more than what the car was worth. To fix the frame damage would have more than doubled that price. So, I am, for the first time ever, without a vehicle. This week, I will be taking out all of the things in my car before they deliver it to a junkyard.
2008 sucked, but 2009 ain't looking too pretty so far either...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Death of Pownce

So, yesterday (12/15/08), Pownce shut down. Pownce was a micro-blogging site, like Twitter. But, Pownce was a much better service.
First off, there was no 140 character limit to your posts. Your posts could be as lengthy as they needed to be. The idea was not to make a long blog post, but you could if you liked.
Second, the site was more built around sharing things with your followers and friends. You could upload an mp3 that you wanted everyone to hear, or upload a picture, or a video. Actually, you could upload any file up to 100mb with the free service (250mb for the $20/month service). And when you shared a YouTube link (or various other video sites), the video would automatically embed into your message.
It was a huge upgrade to the Twitter service created by Kevin Rose, Leah Culver, and Daniel Burka (all part of either the Digg or Revision3 crew). With the economy being what it was, Pownce wasn't able to remain open and free. Now, the technology is part of the SixApart system - which handles famous blogging tools like Vox and TypePad.
I was using the site from the beginning and had a Pownce way before I had a Twitter. It was a brilliant service that never got the word out too well and Twitter already had the crowd with them. Pownce was to Twitter what Facebook is to MySpace: a more technologically advanced and more Web 2.0 service that does what it predecessor/rival does, but does it much better and with more flair.
I will miss Pownce and I hope that someone else comes along and takes Twitter's userbase with them to a much better place of more usability and a much more stable environment. I like using Twitter, but I feel that I liked Pownce much more. But, again, Twitter just has all the users.

MY [Late] QUICK UPDATE (12/16/08)

These posts are supposed to be written on Saturday. The last one I wrote was on a Sunday and last Saturday, I was out the entire day and forgot to write one up. Hopefully, I'll get back to doing this thing right.

Got to see Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York on Friday! Probably may be my #1 film of the year. At least out of the films I've seen thus far. As much as I love seeing his scripts through the eyes of other visual directors, Charlie Kaufman should continue to direct his own scripts.

Been working on a list of my Top 10 Films of 2008 lately. What I found interesting is that the list of movies that I need to see is almost as long as the list of movies I have seen that I feel might belong on my Top 10. This is going to be much harder than I thought.

On Saturday, I had a cookout with a few friends over at a friend's apartment complex. It was an event I had come up with and planned for the film club that I am in, FUF, and it was a blast. I called it the "FUF End-of-the-Year Potluck/Cookout".
At first, it took us about 45 minutes to actually get the charcoal on the grill to stay lit. But, in that time, we had quite a few very large fires. I find that nothing impresses men more than more fire. THe more fire, the more we grunt, drink beer, scratch ourselves, and abuse women make sexual jokes at the expense of women.
I made a rockin' potato salad - inless all my friends were lying to me to protect my feelings - and made a few hot dog rollups. If you are unaware of the hot dog rollup, click the link. It will change your life forever, but not necessarily in a good way. There were pictures taken of me making the hot dog rollup, but I am not in possession of these photographs. Hopefully, I will get them later and post them as an update to the post.
My friend, Adam "A-Train" Isaacs, made some surf-n-turf (shrimps and steak) that were unbelievably amazing. And Todd Jurgess' wife, Stephanie, made some great cheese dip that we were all devouering throughout the night.
Great night!

Trying to trooper through Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander. I've gotten through the first two episodes, of four. The second episode made up for the first one quite a bit. The first episode mainly dealt with all of the adults in the story rather than the child characters whom the film is named after, Fanny and Alexander. I believe each of them had around 5 words each throughout the 90 minute first episode. But, the second episode really developed Alexander's character a lot. This episode was still mainly about the adults, but how their situations were seen throughout the children's eyes.
So far, it is growing into something great. I cannot wait to finish it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alternate Teaser Trailer for WATCHMEN

As anyone who knows me knows, I am NOT looking forward to Watchmen at all. I will most likely see it on opening night - maybe even at midnight - but I'm planning on it being pretty awful.
I do not think that Zack Snyder will succeed where Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, and Paul Greengrass (three of the best living directors ever) failed.
Anyway, here is the alternate teaser trailer for Zack Snyder's Watchmen. I personally think that it is better than the first. Less Snyder slo-mo shots. They are still present, but there are less. Also, a few more interesting shots, in general.
So, here goes...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Pushing Daisies" to be Brought Back to Life by the Touch of Other Mediums

"Pushing Daisies" was canceled. I am personally distraught (but not surprised) by the news. Bryan Fuller has since signed a writing deal with Universal. First, he will return to NBC's now-failing "Heroes" to finish up the third season. After that, it is not said whether he will continue with "Heroes" or if NBC will set him up with his own new show...that will be canceled most likely in its first season.
"Pushing Daisies" will, however, live on. First, in a comic book published by either DC Comics or DC's imprint, Wildstorm. Then, if all goes according to plan, Bryan Fuller will bring "Pushing Daisies" to the silver screen. I'm glad that one of Bryan Fuller's works will live on beyond cancellation. I loved "Dead Like Me" and "Wonderfalls" a lot and hope that they, or at least "Wonderfalls", gets a second chance on another medium.
Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8" and "Angel" comics have given new hope to continuing television shows. I see this becoming a new way for television show creators to continue their storylines and universes. After all, comic books are to literature what television is to film. Comic books are the best way to continue a serialized story.
The unfortunate thing is that actors Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Kristen Chenoweth, and Chi McBride cannot continue their characters in the comic. So, hopefully, a studio picks up the "Pushing Daisies" movie.
As the show's tagline goes, "life. death. and life again."