Tuesday, July 31, 2007

iPhone - I got 1!

I got an iPhone! Here's how it went down.

June 29th came and went. Apple released their iPhone to much fanfare. I have to admit that I was salivating at the idea of this new gadget. I love new gadgets and this one seemed to be one that did everything that I've been wishing for. A Video iPod, a cell phone, pda style functions, email, web surfing, etc. I was traveling around a lot in the end of June and beginning of July and missed waiting in line on day 1. To be honest though, I didn't think that I would get one right away. I mean $600 for a phone is pretty steep. But I knew I wanted one.

I went to the Apple store and watched as others took a look at these fancy new gadgets. The lines were so long, I didn't think it would ever be possible for me to get one. Plus, that price was holding me back.

My friend Mike got one and I took a look at his. It was utterly amazing. I held it in my hand and instantly knew that I had to have one. I went to the nearest AT&T store and they were taking forever to get to me, so I left. I ran some more errands and decided if I wanted to get one of these amazing machines I had to buy it from Apple. I went home and checked the website. It was a 1 - 2 week wait. I couldn't wait I told myself. I purposely hadn't upgraded my Sprint phone that I should've upgraded in January, because I was waiting to just look at the iPhone. I went to my nearest Apple store and thought let's just ask them if they have them. They did. I was shocked. What should I do now? I thought about it for like 1/4 second before I plunked down my credit card to charge $600 for the 8GB iPhone.

I haven't been disappointed. It's the coolest phone I've ever had and in my opinion, it's more like a mini computer than a phone. I use it to surf the web from anywhere. It looks great. I prefer to search the web from Wi-Fi but I can search over AT&T's EDGE network. I use it to easily check weather from the widget in the phone. The iPod functionality is killer. I just love it! I think it's one of the greatest gadgets I've ever owned. I think it even surpasses my euphoria that I had when I got my first iPod. Now, I'll be pissed if I drop it and it breaks, but this is such a cool space age kind of gadget, that I'm blown away. I can't believe that I have one. I think everyone should go and get one. Surprising since it's the first generation of this product, but it's that cool.

I'm so proud of it and excited by this gadget that I'm inspired. How often does that happen? I'm sure that you'll be hearing more about my iPhone in the future, but here's a little slideshow of me opening and activating my iPhone.

Also, if you're lucky enough to have one of these amazing gadgets, here's some video tips on CNET to check out.

iPod is the new cell phone

This is a good article about the iPod and its influence on our society.

We've lost 2 great filmmakers

Pause for a moment and remember the 2 great filmmakers that we lost in the last 2 days.

Antonioni & Bergman

Read more Antonioni

Read more Bergmann

Sabres Hockey Update: Sad Times and Looking Ahead

The Buffalo Sabres appear to have their full team signed up and ready to go for the season. We've also had a few heartbreaks into this off season time. Here's a recap of what they've been up to.

Coach Lindy Ruff & General Manager Darcy Regier both signed new mutli-year contracts. I think this is a really good move. I think this gives the club stability and they've been around for all the turmoil over the years. They've also been a big part of why the club has been very competitive the last few seasons.

Two players who have been a big part of the winning ways of the Sabres the last 2 years have now departed. It was a sad day in Buffalo when both Chris Drury and Daniel Briere were lost to free agency. This one upset me a bit, but deep down I knew that the Sabres are a team that can't afford to pay all the really high salaries and I thought that we'd lose at least one of these guys. Plus, I also think that the Sabres weren't smart enough to try to keep them. I think this was a decision high up in the organization, saying we're not paying for superstars. Why didn’t they try to sign them during the season when they were in the mood to keep playing with the team? Why wait until you don’t make it to the Stanley Cup Finals and then drag your feet to start negotiations? It came back to bite them, because I don't think anyone thought we'd lose both of these guys. Briere is moving on to Pittsburgh joining other ex-Sabres Martin Biron & Geoff Sanderson. He signed an 8 year $52 million dollar deal. WOW! Drury is moving on to the Rangers with a 5 year $35 million dollar deal. Rangers were on a buying spree lately and snapped up Scott Gomez from New Jersey too. Both the Rangers and Pittsburgh will be more competitive with these guys next year and I think Buffalo will be a little less competitive without them. It was sad time and I was in Buffalo around the time the deals were announced and no one was happy about it, but like any other hard blows in life, you have to move on.

Sabres organization got a little smarter and finally started to sign some longer term deals with a few of their guys. Just days after losing Drury and Briere, Thomas Vanek was offered a 7 year $50 million dollar deal by the Edmonton Oilers and the Sabres reacted fast by matching the offer and signing Vanek for 7 years. This was a good move overall, but he has been a tempermental player in the past and I just hope he lives up to his expectations. I think he is a solid player, especially last year, but in the past he's had his share of ups and downs. Let's hope he turns into the superstar player that he has the potential to be. Derek Roy also got a long term deal signing for 6 years worth $24 million. This was a decent deal. Roy, Vanek & Afinogenov had a stellar year as a powerhouse line and I'd like to see that continue. But Roy, is a far cry from Drury or Briere.

Sabres also signed up a bunch of folks for 1 year including Teppo Numminen, Daniel Paille, Adam Mair (signed for 3 years), Nathan Paetsch(3 years), Michael Ryan and enforcer Andrew Peters (2 years). Sabres also signed as a backup goalie, Joceyln Thibault. He last played in Pittsburgh. Funny how Marty Biron is there now huh? Anyway, he should be a better backup than Ty Conklin. He didn't play much and when he did wasn't overly impressive. He's a free agent this summer.

Some others leaving the Sabres uniforms include Taylor Pyatt (not such a big deal - he's kind of inconsistent), Dainius Zubrus is going to the New Jersey Devils (he came in late, I figured he was gone).

There could still be some trades, but it looks like for now that the Sabres are ready for the season.

Overall, here's my take. I am hoping for the best and I am excited to see the team play. I think there are a few guys that will step it up and play even better than they did last year. I'm hoping Brian Campbell and young Drew Stafford will play a bigger role in the team this season. Anything can happen, but losing Briere and Drury makes the team a lot less stronger. I wish those 2 guys the best of luck with their new teams, but I will miss them from this team very very much. They were more than just good players, they were players with heart and they should've stayed in Buffalo because they fit in so well. It wasn't in the cards I guess.

Finally, the best news, after the NHL released the 2007-2008 schedules, I discovered that the Sabres will be out to play in Los Angeles twice this year. I'll be going to both those games hopefully. 1 in Honda Center in Anaheim and 1 in Staples Center in LA.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dark Knight teaser trailer

trailer for The Dark Knight

This played before The Simpsons Movie, but unfortunately, the AMC Burbank 16 screwed up the projection and I missed this trailer. I could only hear it. Not that great a trailer anyway, but the movie is still a year away.

no clue movie review: The Simpsons Movie

I must confess that I haven't been watching new episodes religiously like I used to, but I had to see this movie. The Simpsons tv show always delivers the laughs and makes fun of anyone and anything. I always enjoy myself when I watch an episode. And since the show is 18 years old, I have seen a lot of it over the years. I did have my reservations though to see if this would translate into a good movie or if it would feel like an overblown episode that I wished I'd stayed home and watched. I'm happy to report that this stands on its own as a fun movie.

I don't think the movie even needs for you to be a fan of the show. I think you will enjoy it more if you are. The plot is basically outrageous but involves Homer getting a pig and then getting the town encased in a dome from the government based on a pollution problem in Lake Springfield. I don't want to give it away, because there are a bunch of pretty funny scenes that lead up to it. The movie pokes fun at itself, at Hollywood, at the current state of government affairs, and many other things. I laughed quite a bit at this flick and it starts out right away. Homer and Bart deliver the biggest laughs understandably. But there are quite a few residents of Springfield in this flick that we've come to know over the years. Alas, not all make it into the flick. No Apu and some others are missing, but the show's been around a long time and they've built up a massive amount of characters, so it's hard to include them all. This movie has action, adventure, tons of laughs and the plot is definitely big enough to be made for the big screen. The 1 hour 27 minute running time don't seem to drag on at all. It moves along at a very quick pace.

What surprised me the most about this movie is just how touching and a touch of family drama it delivers. There are a few scenes that feature Marge discussing with Homer about their family life, their marriage and his constant screw-ups. I was shocked to see how nicely that fit in and made the film feel whole and not just another episode. Julie Kavner delivers some lines in such a heartfelt manner that you really believe that Marge is frustated and heartbroken all at the same time. It's more based in emotions and drama than in the normal slapstick comedy. I was thrilled to see these characters taken to a differnt place. Bart has a few scenes too where he questions Homer's ability as a father and that he doubts that Homer loves him. Homer even manages to show us that he truly loves his family and cares for them deeply even though he doesn't always show it.

Don't get me wrong, this is a funny movie. It's just that the little dramatic pauses give it an ounce of something else that make it translate into a bigger screen. They even manage to squeak in environmental issues in there for us all to chew on.

I highly recommend this movie and you will really enjoy it. If you are a fan of the series from any point in the last 18 years, you should go see it. You will not regret it. It makes you realize that these are timeless characters that were created and resonate with us for some reason. They are classics and this movie will definitely hold up to repeated viewing. Even if you're not a fan of the series, you would probably enjoy it. But I guess I have a hard understanding why you wouldn't be a fan at some point.

What are you waiting for?

for more info: visit the official website

come back soon, until then, i'll be at the movies....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

no clue movie review: summer 2007 movies: mini-reviews

Since I haven't written in awhile, that doesn't mean I haven't seen any movies. I thought I would give some mini-reviews of a bunch of the movies I've seen since Spiderman 3. Here goes. Many of these are probably still in theaters.

Shrek the Third: This movie doesn't live up to the first 2. It has many slow parts and the funny jokes just don't hold up. To me overall, it seemed like it was trying to fit into an established mode with an established formula. I didn't like that. What worked so well about the first 2 movies is that they didn't seem formulaic. Very disappointed that this movie wasn't funnier.
more info: official site

Pirates of the Carribean 3: At World's End:I liked this movie better than #2, but it still didn't live up to the fun of the first picture. I liked the overall plot this time, not overly complicated compared to Dead Man's Chest, but still not as clear as Curse of the Black Pearl. It's like they decided they needed to do too much. I don't get that. Anyway, there are some way cool special effects and it brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion while leaving room for more adventures with Captain Jack Sparrow and company.
more info: at world's end site

Ratatouille:Is Pixar capable of making a bad movie? This wasn't my favorite Pixar flick, but it's really good. Funny, cute, heartwarming. It's a good movie that you can see with people of all ages. I went with my teenage nieces, my 5 year old niece, my Mom and brother-in-law. We all had a good time and enjoyed this story of a rat who just doesn't like to eat garbage and yearns to be a chef. It shows that everyone is different and showcases the importance of family and friendship. This shouldn't be missed.
more info: disney's official site

Transformers:Micheal Bay & an old 80's toy franchise? I didn't think that this would be a good movie. I thought it would be an overhyped piece of garbage. But I knew that I wanted to see it, because it looked like a summer blockbuster movie. I was pleasantly surprised. With a few nods to the old cartoons and movie, this movie delivers big time. It's got tons of humor, tons and tons of action and giant robots fighting with the coolest special effects. This was a highly entertaining movie and I can't believe I enjoyed it so much. I also think that this is a star making performance for Shia LaBeouf. I've always liked him since I saw him on Disney Channel's Even Stevens series, but he really is a good all around actor. I think he's destined to have a Tom Hanks kind of career which includes more serious roles and these huge blockbuster roles. Maybe more like Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks combined. We'll see.
More info: official site

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: I'm a Harry Potter fan and as usual the book is way better than the movie. This movie does deliver though and works at a good pace and manages to showcase the teenage angst that Harry feels at this stage in his life. It's a darker movie, so it's not good for little kids, but its tone matches what I expected after reading the book. The special effects are dazzling especially in the last 20 minutes. The performances are good and I think that the child actors that we've been watching grow up are getting pretty good. This wasn't my favorite Potter film, but it does manage to take a book that has enough material to make 3 entertaining movies, get to the heart of it and show us a conflicted, confused and angry teenager take control of his life. I plan to see this flick again to see the IMAX 3-D edition.
more info: warner brothers site & muggle net

And now I know that this movie came out in April, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday and I thought it deserved a blog entry since it may still be in some dollar theaters. It's one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

GRINDHOUSE: This Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature was high octane non-stop in your face action. I loved this flick. The movies are bloody, high action, fast paced and just plain disgusting. They are highly entertaining and really get your attention. My favorite was Rodriguez's Planet Terror. It just rocked. The overall presentation though made this flick. Complete with fake trailers, missing frames and cheesy 70's music, I was transported to a gory broken down movie house with sticky floors and questionable patrons without having to go to a sucky old broken down disgusting movie theater. I know it wasn't extremely successful, but it is highly worth seeing and I hope you check it out.

That's all for now. More movie reviews on the horizon. I'll be back at the movies again soon.

video camera bites the dust

It finally happened. I got a good run out of the machine, but today my Canon ZR10 bit the dust. This is the camera that we shot chase: cut short with and that I used for all my personal video camera usage and editing etc. It was a tough day, but I figured it was time to move on. I hadn't been using it as much and I've been thinking of getting a new camera so I can try to do some HD work etc. I ordered a new Canon HV20, which is still mini DV, but it is capable of HD. I needed a mini DV camera, because I'm working on some new videos that I haven't transferred to my computer yet to edit. I should probably get a bigger hard drive for video too, but I'm going to wait on that for now.

Good bye ZR10. Rest in peace. Here's a few more photos. Sorry some are out of focus. I was a little distraught.

Forgive me for not posting in awhile, but I've been super busy at work, traveled to see my family a couple times, been a little lazy, my niece came to visit me and I suffered a slight case of the blahs. But I'm back and working on new video content. I know that I've said that a ton of times in the last year or maybe more for that matter, but I'm serious. I hope that you watch it and find it entertaining. It may not always be a high quality video that I churn out, but it will be something. My camera is due to arrive this week, so I hope to give it a spin and fire up Final Cut Express and see what happens.

until then, enjoy the blog. I'll be posting a bunch in the next few days.