We've found all three of M. Night Shyamalan's major studio films so far to be consistently enjoyable, which is why we've been planning on going to see The Village on opening night for about a month now, with none of the usual reluctance or hesitation; it's as close to a guarantee of non-suckage as we could ever hope to get.When I was in college, I worked at a movie theater - as far as part-time college jobs go, it was a pretty good gig. I made some pretty good friends among fellow ushers, hung out with the projectionist a lot, and of course saw a lot of free movies. Really good movies, and completely forgettable pap... when it's free, it doesn't really matter, especially to a couple of starving college students.
That free movie thing will spoil you... ever since leaving that job 8 years ago, my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) and I have been going to fewer and fewer films each year; given the choice between spending $25+ on tickets and concessions to sit in a sticky, torn seat to watch 20 minutes of previews and commercials followed by a scratched print of a shitty movie and waiting a few months to rent the DVD for $5 and watch it on my modest but perfectly capable TV and 5.1 surround sound system, the DVD option wins out just about every time. We really hate feeling like we have just wasted $25 and two or three hours of our lives watching a crap movie... and there is so much crap out there.
As a matter of fact, the last movie my wife and I saw together was Signs back in August of 2002, just a few weeks before leaving California for the east coast. I've been to a few thoroughly enjoyable films with other family since, but nothing with my wife. Few movies seem worth the investment of time, money, and logistics - living 1/2 an hour from the nearest movie theater adds some complications of its own.
We've found all three of M. Night Shyamalan's major studio films so far to be consistently enjoyable, which is why we've been planning on going to see The Village on opening night for about a month now, with none of the usual reluctance or hesitation; it's as close to a guarantee of non-suckage as we could ever hope to get.
 I don't know how many cities around the country have IATSE Projectionists' unions, but Rochester is one of them - and in most of the different theaters I went to, it showed; films in focus, prints not scratched due to improper threading, sound generally not too loud, etc. So impressed and delighted was I that I actually started getting some projection training from the union... nothing ever came of it in the end.
I've seen links and references to del.icio.us floating around my RSS reader lately, but until this morning I had not checked is out.
About a year and a half ago I put together a ColdFusion Bookmark Manager back when I was trying to impress a potential employer who happened to be migrating from ColdFusion to PHP. At the time I had the germ of an idea very much like del.icio.us; multiple user support, ability to share links, and consequently the ability to do all the neat sorts of reporting that would provide... but I probably wouldn't have come anywhere close to del.icio.us' fluidity.
I signed up for my own account this morning, and I'm still getting familiar with all the nooks and crannies... already, though, I can imagine myself wasting hours and accumulating hundreds of bookmarks just by browsing the constantly-updated home page.
I'm trying to figure out what makes del.icio.us more compelling than linkblogs like Metafilter or memepool, and I think it has something to do with the merging of a personal service (bookmark management that's not tied to one browser on one account on one computer) with the community built around the sharing of cool/useful links. This is good stuff.
I began homebrewing about six weeks ago, something I'd been wanting to do for just about as long as I've been legally able to drink beer. I've been lurking in rec.crafts.brewing for the better part of a year, but it wasn't until I had the experience of my first batch under my belt that I began to be able to read certain posts to the group with a grain of salt.
In homebrewing (and most other hobbies,) you can get as complicated and expensive as you want (all-grain brewing, complex formulas and calculations, temperature regulation, lagering, kegging, tap systems, etc.) or just buy a kit and follow the instructions (Boil water and malt extract, add hops, boil some more, put in a bucket for a couple of weeks).
It is interesting to see the different responses to newbie questions like "I pitched my yeast at 90 degrees - is that too hot?"
The typical, friendly, Type B response is something like, "You might want to wait until the wort is a bit cooler next time; you might get some fruity esters and/or diacetyl that will contribute a buttery flavor to the beer, but depending on your tastes and the style you're brewing, that may be OK. Your beer will be fine. RDWHAHB (Relax, Don't worry, Have a Home Brew)"
The Type A response goes something like, "90 degrees is much too hot to pitch your yeast. Your beer will wind up tasting like pineapple, and it there will be large amounts of diacetyl, and it will probably give you splitting headaches because of the fusels that form when fermenting at that temperature. You might as well wait until you rack to secondary to see if you've ruined your beer, but it probably won't be very good. Personally, I always make a yeast starter 3 days ahead of time, and after brewing I measure the temperature of the room where I'll be fermenting, and then use my immersion chiller to get it to that exact temperature before pitching.
Talk about discouraging! I am glad that I have a type B personality, and the benefit of my own research leading up to actually making my own beer. My own take on it is that people have been doing this for literally thousands of years, well before you could get thermemometers, hydrometers, and lab-cultured yeast. If I pitch the yeast with the wort a little too warm (which I knowingly did when brewing my second batch - I was partially worried about contamination the longer it took the wort to cool down, and partly in a hurry to get out the door to run some errands), the sky won't fall, the world won't end, and chances are my beer will be just fine. And if it doesn't, then I can use it for cooking and I'll have the benefit of personal familiarity with the characteristics of the results of pitching yeast that warm.
I'm also glad that in the half dozen times I went on that ride (a couple on my first trip to California in 1991, and the rest while living there between 1996-2002), I didn't get injured or killed.
As a kid/young adult I never subscribed to the "I'm going to live forever" school of thought to the degree that most of my peers seemed to; I was never inclined to drive my first car around really fast, consume potentially lethal amounts of alcohol, have friends throw Lawn Jarts at my head, et cetera.
But I never thought twice about going on amusement park rides. Well, I take that back - if I thought twice, it was because of the usual "oooh, that's a big drop" fear; When I was 9 or 10, the Jumbo Jet at Old Orchard Beach was a daunting prospect. The fear wasn't for my life or continued possession of all of my limbs and/or the ability to walk.
I like roller coasters, but the older I get and the more times I hear about accidents and /or fatalities on them, the less inclined I am to go on them... they're a lot of fun to ride, and probably statistically quite safe to ride, but I'd be so pissed if I managed to get on one of the exceptions to the rule and get myself maimed and/or killed, for the sake of a 60 second ride in a fast little train.
I just researched this tidbit for my Mom, and after numerous incorrect suggestions and broken Microsoft support site links, I figured I'd try to spread the knowledge a bit. To get a Euro symbol (€) in Windows 98 or XP, hold down the Alt key, type 0128 on the numeric keypad, then release the Alt key.
(I found the correct keystroke somewhere on Google groups.)