Rambo, go home!

Just when I thought Sylvester Stallone’s career was finally over, he pulls out another wretched plot outta’ his boot to stab me in the back.

His last movie attempt to salvage any redeeming value out of his long actor hiatus, Rocky Balboa was a horrid exercise in futility. Upon hearing of his latest incarnation to return another one of his minimalist speaking buff characters, Rambo.. I was intrigued, why bother?

Much to my dismay, the plot involves John Rambo in all places, Burma!

His mission? To rescue a group of Christian missionaries who are kidnapped while helping the persecuted Karen villagers of Burma.¹

What motive does Stallone have for choosing the plight of the Karen and Burmese for a backdrop that most Americans have never heard of? Is he sincerely trying to shed light on the political and ethnic struggle that has been raging there for so long?

This movie has the potential to undermind the seriousness of the situation there while promoting more baseless good/evil stereotypes.

Looking at his past Rambo movies, it is safe to expect a superficial story with a plethora of inaccuracies and idiotic mind-numbing explosions galore.

At a time when the people of Burma need real help from the Western world, a bullet-laden film such as this will do absolutely no good.

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Reality defined?

When I first saw Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in 2001, I was floored how fluid and realistic the characters looked. The skin textures and body behavior were spot on. Only the eyes seemed “dead” and not alive, preventing a once convincing fabrication. Apparently, the natural stare, eye movement, and blinking are difficult to reproduce even with the best models. Now take a look at this picture below of Korean actress Song Hye Kyo.

It’s all done using Autodesk 3ds Max!

Amazingly, we have reached the point where the naked eye cannot discern what is real and fictional. However, it does beg the question of what the implications will be for replicating faces and people. I have a bad intuition, we will see a torrent of commercialized goods in every corner of programming, whether it be TV, movies, and internet…

That cute little baby wearing Huggies crawling on the floor was in fact an impostor, and you won’t even know it!

Credit: Max Edwin Wahyudi, Indonesia – Making of the Korean Actress “Song Hye Kyo”

Happy Grease!

Now, there’s even more reason to get that double Kingburger with eggs and chili on top.. Fatburger has gone trans-fat free! Not all places have switched so I guess its best to ask. Rejoice in prolonging the hardening of your arteries!

On January 1st, Fatburger began eliminating trans fat from its menu items. The plan includes transitioning to trans-fat free frying oil in all 83 locations. The new soy bean-based oil will be used to prepare fried offerings, including Fat and Skinny Fries and homemade onion rings.

Just a few restaurants have yet to transition. “They are just finishing their existing supplies,” explained Elaine Patel. It is expected that all Fatburger locations will be trans-fat free by the end of the first quarter.¹

I still prefer an In-N-Out double-double which is non-existent here in Seattle, but this will suffice as a replacement.

King Naresuan

If you have seen and enjoyed the 2001 Thai movie, The Legend of Suriyothai, you will be pleased to know the same director Chatrichalerm Yukol has created a followup trilogy: King Naresuan

Part 1 was released January 18, 2007 grossing over 120 million baht (US $3.3 million). The latter parts will open this month and ending in December celebrating King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday.

The film has been met with great excitement for its historical depiction of the Thai-Burmese war in the 15th century:

Compared to previous Thais films, this one would be very much appreciated by Burmese,” said Naw Hkam, a Burmese activist living in Chiang Mai. “Previously, films about Thai-Burmese history aroused anti-Burmese hostility among young Thai moviegoers. The script of this film has something to teach every society¹.

Looks great, but now where can I find a subbed copy?

Trailer 1

My bold peasantry friends

In these troubling times, I am reminded from Oliver Goldsmith:

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay;
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

Source: The Deserted Village (1770)

Vista Impressions

After a week of using Vista Ultimate, I am relatively pleased with the upgrade from XP. No crashes yet!

The Good:

+ Appears to run apps just as fast if not faster than XP. Firefox 2.0 with 15-20 extensions still lags a bit. I don’t use IE 7.

+ Readyboost helps with large file copies, speeding it up a bit. Don’t have real measurable results. During bootup, I can see the USB thumb-drive being accessed extensively. This is using an Apacer 200x 2GB drive.

+ Superfetch is most beneficial after bootup into Windows. Commonly used apps are already loaded into memory. I always check email using Thunderbird first and it loads immediately with no hesitation.

+ During file copies, the status dialog box shows calculated transfer rate and time remaining. I don’t think it showed this rate before in XP.

+ Prettier interface, especially with Aero theme. Transparency effects are impressive and offloaded to GPU, freeing CPU for more important tasks.

+ Large internal database of hardware drivers. I didn’t have to install any except maybe a late to party driver by Nvidia.

+ More “secure” with prompts for user permission for any app or driver install. Can be turned off.

+ Separate volume controls for different software: one for Skype, Windows event sounds, and others. They finally added this.

+ Much better networking controls and information. I like the mapping feature of all the network devices.

+ Improved task manager with description of user and system services. Makes finding what the funciton of each service much easier.

+ Dreamscene addon allows you to use a .WMV or other video file as a Windows background. Really neat, but finding a clip that doesn’t distract you too much from your work might be a problem.

+ Wireless connection finally fixed. In XP, it would constantly disconnect and reconnect throughout session.

The Bad:

– Much larger required footprint for memory and disk space. This is expected, but even at 1GB memory, I don’t believe this is adequate for smooth operation. Recommend 2GB or more RAM.

– Slower bootup time, about 3-5 seconds more compared to XP.

– Windows Defender disrupts some startup programs I have set: Sabnzbd and Syncback

– No included anti-virus, but I use NOD32.

– Firewall still anemic, where are outgoing filters? Stick to Comodo Firewall.

– No compelling need to upgrade from XP if you are happy with it.

– Price, whats up with that? Way too expensive for what it is, and I don’t care if it has over 50 million lines of code.

– Confusing mix of Vista versions to consumer with varying levels of activation and upgrades.

The Bottom Line:

If you are having few problems with XP or even 2000, then I don’t recommend buying the upgrade. Just wait for your next PC purchase to have it already bundled.

The Host System:

Pentium 4 Dual Core 3.2Ghz
2GB RAM
250 GB SATA HD
Nvidia 7800 GTX SLI

Age = Age + 1

Today is my birthday, a cause for concern and to reflect on past year’s deeds, both good and bad. So much has changed, but also stayed the same. Am I the same person that I was 5, 10, or 20 years ago? Maybe, but it is increasing clear to me how my social environment has shaped the interests and beliefs that I foster today.

Naturally, I have become more careful in selecting the people I want to associate with and share personal events in my life. It has become a conscious habit that is somewhat distracting and has led to broken relationships. The result are many “what if” scenarios that are at most worrisome and regretful.

Birthday party with friends with me on far left

You’re only old as you think you are

I think the accumulation of the years passing has begun to noticeably affect me. My attention span has been shortened, possibly due to the bombardment of information on the Internet and in the technology field I work in. Daydreaming is not the problem, but anticipating and reacting to the next critical event is always at the forefront of my mind-field. The image of myself projected as detached, and preoccupied is not the ideal one to convey. At friendly socials, this can be a real stumble block.

Numbers read to me verbally get jumbled into an inexplicable order. “84950” is interpreted as “84905”. Once an intermittent problem has grown into a constant, disastrous un-process that stings in my head. Where attention to detail is imperative, my silent rule is double-check and triple-check it. A less than satisfactory response for an ailing mind I suppose.

Physical deterioration is abundant, but I digress. Too many to mention and some embarassingly inappropriate for my age. It may not be uncommon, but the self-destruct sequence initiated by inherited genes are now coming into vengeful fruition.

All of these annoyances can be taken in stride so to speak, as I see that I am certainly not alone in the aging mechanism. Lest I forget my participation in a research aging lab during college.

The representation of the birthday is to celebrate ones emergence into the world.

I just need to be reminded of it!