Trivial Opinions

My weekly trivial opinions on life, sports, movies and more!

Archive for April, 2007

Back to School…

Posted by Jack Deus on April 25, 2007

I had a meeting with an academic advisor yesterday, so I can restart the path of getting an Architectural Engineering degree. For the past 36 hours I have had the following scene from Billy Madison playing in my head.

I am not exactly setting myself up for success by taking Differential Equations and Advanced Statistics on alternating nights and hopefully one other class 3 days a week, all while working full-time, but I think I can do it. Hopefully I don’t burn myself out the first semester of my comeback tour. Wish me luck and if I get enough I should graduate with a Master’s degree in AE in 3 years.


Posted in It happened to me | 1 Comment »

Movie Review-Hot Fuzz

Posted by Jack Deus on April 21, 2007

“Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn,” is a phrase I use a lot. At least in America, where most of the population doesn’t like (understand?) British comedies, I think this phrase applies perfectly. Hot Fuzz is the British comedy/blind squirrel in this case and the fact that it is an absolutely hilarious movie and would be enjoyed by most of the American population is the acorn.

Perhaps one of the reasons British comedies aren’t appreciated in the US is the language barrier. Yes we both speak English, but the vocab and even the syntax sometimes is so different that it makes transposing jokes from British English to American English difficult (and vice verse for that matter). While this movie does have some dialogue American will find quirky, the meaning of most of it isn’t lost.

In fact, one of the running gags in the movie pokes fun at the language barrier. One of the “policemen officers” in the movie speaks with such a thick country British accent that the main character from London, Sgt. Nicholas Angel, (and the audience for that matter) has to have his partner Danny Butterman translate for him. They take it one step further when Nick and Danny drive out to a farm house and have to bring the mumbling officer to translate for the farmer and Danny has to translate for the mumbling officer.

This movie reminded me a lot of the spoof movies that have come out in recent years-Scary Movie (all of them), Date Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, etc.- except that in those movies it seemed like the writers thought up as many movies from that genre as possible and loosely threw a plot around different scenes making fun of the movies. Hot Fuzz, on the other hand, seems to have a plot that was written and then rewritten to include spoofs of other action movies, most notably Point Break and Bad Boys II. What’s even better is that early in the movie they show Nick and Danny watching both of these movies at Danny’s house and focus in on specific scenes and then basically recreate them in the context of this movie.

Since the movie seems to have had the script written before it started adding the spoofs you can take it as an actual movie, instead of a bunch of scenes thrown together. As we were driving back to his house after the movie, Skid and I were talking about it and this is practically word for word our conversation. Me, “I thought it was great how the movie moved along in such a way that you started treating it as a serious action movie and then all of a sudden…” Skid, “grandma gets drop-kicked in the nose.” That exchange best sums up the comedy of the movie. The writers of the movie did such a good job in keeping you engrossed with the plot and characters that the almost constant humor was an added bonus.

Overall this was a very entertaining movie and if you have a sense of humor at all you should like it. If you have seen Shaun of the Dead (by the same writers and starring the same two main characters) you will love this movie. I definitely will be buying it on DVD.

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I hate the wind

Posted by Jack Deus on April 19, 2007

I really don’t like the wind. It dries my mouth, chaps my lips, hurts my ears, and makes it hard to talk or listen. It’s loud and obnoxious and I wish it would disappear.

Tonight we had our weekly volleyball game at Digz and as you probably guessed by my first statement, it was windy. The court we played on faced such a way that the wind blew towards the back right corner from the side we started on. When we first got there the wind was blowing directly across the courts. As we were warming up the wind stopped completely. As soon as the game started the wind picked up again and started blowing across us and in our face.

We have 3 new people on the team so I’m not expecting great things for our season, but we are all at least decent and we try hard, so most of the games should be close and we should win our fair share. The score of the first game tonight, where the wind was blowing from left to right and into our face ended 15-2. We got smoked. Needless to say we weren’t too happy, but I never thought what happened next would happen.

We switched sides for the second game so the wind was at our back, blowing right to left, and we won 15-1. Obviously the wind played a bigger part in the game than I realized. When we were breaking between the second and third game we asked the team if we could have the same sides, jokingly, but they seriously said no.

We started off pretty well. I was the second person on our team to serve and when I was done we had a 5-1 lead, so I thought maybe we had figured out how to overcome the wind. I was wrong. By the time the next person on our team got to serve it was 10-5 and we ended up losing 15-7. Not too bad considering the wind, but not a pleasing result either.

For the season we are 2-4 after losing 15-13, 12-15, 15-11 last week. Since it has been so cold and we haven’t been able to practice at all with our new teammates, I am rather pleased with the effort we are putting forth so far. We could easily be 5-1 (we would have lost at least one game this week with the wind), but we show signs of promise and if we stay together and practice for a few seasons we should be a force to be reckoned with.

Posted in It happened to me, Sports | Leave a Comment »

Movie Review-TMNT

Posted by Jack Deus on April 15, 2007

I saw TMNT recently with a few of my buddies/former CompUSA coworkers, and was pleasantly surprised. If you go into this movie knowing it was made for younger people, you can wax nostalgia (if you grew up with the Turtles like I did) and not be disappointed. In today’s
Hollywood, action movies seem to have the following requirements, in this order: really cool fight scenes, in your face special effects, 1-dimentional characters, funny 1-liners, and a plot to tie all of the other things together (most often really hastily). Let’s address the pros and cons of each one.

*Warning-plot spoilers ahead*

1. Really cool fight scenes.

Pro: Probably half of this movie was fight scenes. Leonardo fighting the guerillas in South America, the Turtles fighting monsters, the Foot Clan fighting monsters, the Generals fighting monsters, the Turtles fighting the Foot Clan, the Turtles fighting the Generals, Raphael fighting criminals, Raphael fighting one of the monsters, Raphael fighting Leonardo. I’m sure I’ve left out some of the groups fighting, but you get the idea. There were so many different groups fighting, each where there different style, that you couldn’t have asked for more.

Con: One of the scenes has the Foot Clan and the Turtles trying to fight a monster and the Turtles, at best, fought to a draw with it. The 4 Generals come in and annihilate the monster with one fell swoop. Later in the movie the four Turtles are fighting the 4 Generals and you don’t need me to tell you who won.

2. In your face special effects. I won’t go into the pros and cons of this one, because the movie was animated and it would be comparing apples to oranges if I compared this to a live action movie with CGI. I will say, though, that the overall film style of the movie seemed to be planned out, and didn’t seem to be thrown together, which was good.

3. 1-Dimensional characters.

Pro: If you remember the song from the original cartoon, all 4 Turtles are the basic definition of 1-dimensional and this movie didn’t deviate from that. Leonardo was the leader, Donatello was the braniac, Raphael was the hothead, and Michelangelo was the partier. Also, Splinter was the wise master, Casey Jones was the not-too-bright musclehead, the Generals were pure warriors, the Foot Clan were the mindless drone fighters. The only multidimensional characters in the movie were April O’Neil and Winters.

Con: The movie focused on Leonardo and Raphael a lot and basically relegated Donatello and Michelangelo to the back burner. When I was growing up, Donatello was my favorite Turtle because I was a nerd and he was the nerd of the group. I was very perturbed that they didn’t focus more on him.

4. 1-liners

Pro: There were at least 5 or 6 1-liners that made the theatre crack up, which was expected if you watched the cartoon.

Con: Splinter didn’t get one 1-liner. How can you expect us to believe that he lives with 4 wise-cracking teenagers and doesn’t ever joke around with them? How does he get them to listen to him if he can’t relate to them?

5. Plot.

Pro: If you go into this movie knowing it was made for younger people (hence the PG rating), you can wax nostalgia (if you grew up with the Turtles like I did) and not be disappointed. The plot was as deep as Citizen Kane or Psycho, or even Die Hard, but it wasn’t as simple as Barney or Teletubbies either. I feel the depth of the plot was just enough to balance out the two intended audiences, my generation who grew up on it and the new generation they are trying to get into it.

Con: There were a few holes in the plot that could have been better planned out, most notably the Turtles/Generals fight mentioned earlier.

All of the cons mentioned above didn’t bother me too much, but there was one thing that stood out that drove me crazy and was the first thing mentioned by all of us when the movie was over: Splinter’s voice I thought he sounded like Harry Caray, the former broadcaster, most notably for the Chicago Cubs, and that is not a compliment. I kept expecting Splinter to say “And thhere’s a shhallow pop flly to shecontbaash, Shandberg shettles undernease it, and the shide is retired.” I realize I am making fun of two dead guys (Caray and Mako, the guy who did the voice of Splinter) but seriously, it sounded like Slinter was being voiced by a drunken white guy doing a poor impression of an old Japanese Sensei.

Overall I thought the movie was pretty good and it easily met my expectation for what it was going to be. I give it solid B grade, but I’m not sure if I will buy it on DVD.

Posted in Reviews-Movies | 1 Comment »

Google Directions for…Driving?

Posted by Jack Deus on April 13, 2007

I’m sure some of you have already heard about this and tried it out, but for those of you who haven’t, swallow your coffee or other beverage of choice because I don’t want to be responsible if you choke when you laugh. How do I know you will laugh? I suppose I don’t, but dead people usually don’t read and if you don’t find this at least a little bit humorous you must be dead.

Here are the instructions in step by step order.

1. Go to

2. Click on the “Maps” link above the search bar.

3. Click on “Get directions” under the search bar.

4. In the “Start address” search bar type in a city in the U.S.-when I first tried it I put Omaha, NE.

5. In the “End address” search bar type in London, England.

6. Read through the directions line by line. You will know when you get to the funny part. If you don’t like reading and don’t want to read line by line, first of all what are you doing here?, and second use Omaha as a starting point and go to line 26.

This appears to work with any starting city in the U.S. (the funny step will obviously be in a different place) and any ending city (I tried the capitals) of any country in Europe. I’m sure the empty suits at Google know about this and I’m sure it was a prank by a bored coder, so why haven’t they taken it off the website? My guess would be the old addage word of mouth is the best kind of advertising and if people are talking about this then they are obviously trying it out and will probably think of Google Maps next time they need directions somewhere.

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