Wednesday, April 30, 2008

At last! The full Indy trailer!

Remember that "Indiana Jones" TV spot I posted yesterday? Forget about it. This is better.

I suppose my biggest disappointment about "Iron Man" was that I thought for sure there would be a new "Indiana Jones" trailer attached to the front of it (they're both being released by Paramount).

Alas, there was no new Indy trailer on the big screen last night, but there is one on the Internet today. It's pretty poor quality -- obviously a bootleg. But it's cool nonetheless. I'm sure there will be an official version coming in the next the few days...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iron-clad hit

I saw a sneak preview of “Iron Man” tonight, which I thought was an absolutely great superhero flick.

They did a really great job updating the story. Tony Stark’s company is the leading weapons contractor for the U.S. military. But during a trip to Afghanistan he’s captured by terrorists using weapons he designed. While in captivity he builds his first suit of armor to help him escape.

Upon returning home, Stark – who once reveled in being nicknamed “the merchant of death” – seeks a new direction for himself and his company. Privately he begins to perfect his armor suit to help him protect the little guy, while publicly announcing his company is getting out of the war business.

But in the process, Stark develops enemies left and right who try to co-opt his inventions for their own devious purposes.

“Iron Man” ranks right up there with the “Spider-Man” movies (at least the first two). The Spidey films benefited from the fact that director Sam Raimi is a lifelong Spider-Man fan. I think it shows in “Iron Man” that director Jon Favreau is great big comic book geek at heart too with a real appreciation for the source material.

I can’t say enough about the cast. Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect Tony Stark. He owns the character. Gwyneth Paltrow is enjoyable as well as Stark’s loyal assistant Pepper Potts. Rounding out the cast is Terrence Howard as Stark’s close friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes and Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane.

Also worth noting is the fact that this is the first movie released under the new Marvel Studios banner. Now that Marvel is producing their own movies, that opens up the possibility for potential character crossovers down the road – and it appears some seeds are being planted this summer. Look for S.H.I.E.L.D. to play a key role in the storyline, references to the Avengers’ butler Jarvis and a brief nod toward “Iron Man” spin-off “War Machine.” Meanwhile, there is word Robert Downey Jr. will making a cameo as Tony Stark next month in “The Incredible Hulk,” which is said to also feature S.H.I.E.L.D. and a possible reference to Capitan America’s super soldier serum.

It’s been a great run for Marvel Comics fans at the movies. “Iron Man” keeps it going and shows that there is still more to come. They can’t make a sequel fast enough!

Sky high...

...the price of gas that is. The Stewart's in Rexford was asking for $3.75 for a gallon of regular unleaded this morning. Most of the other stations I saw in my travels this morning were only a few cents cheaper. The cheapest I saw was $3.71.

A few weeks ago I made the conscious effort to start driving the speed limit. It was quite uncomfortable at first, as I was used to driving five to 10 mph over the limit at most times. But driving a little slower is starting come easier.

And it works too. Since I started slowing down, I've definitely noticed that I'm stretching the time between fill-ups. That's a good thing, because every time pass a gas station a little wave of depression washes over me.

So what are some of the things you're doing to ease the pain at the pump?

The Indy countdown continues

As I look forward to attending a sneak preview of "Iron Man" tonight, I thought I'd pass along this new "Indiana Jones" TV spot that I just saw for the first time. It offers a few glimpses at some new material we haven't seen before.

Way cool!

Monday, April 28, 2008

At the movies

As promised, here is a list of the Summer 2008 movies I’m most looking forward to seeing.

Realize that I’ll probably actually get to see very few of these, and those I do see will likely be on DVD, VOD or regular old TV. Heck, I still haven’t seen all of the movies from last year that I wanted to see!

Anyway, here we go…

    “Iron Man” (May 2) – I’ve written a lot about this movie already here on the blog. As I’ve said before, in my comic book collecting days I was never a big Iron Man fan per se. But I was a huge Marvel Comics fan, and Iron Man is a major player in the Marvel Universe. It looks like they’ve done a great job with this movie and I’m very anxious to see it.
    “Speed Racer” (May 9) – I wasn’t a huge fan of the cartoon, but I do remember watching it a few times as a youngster and I appreciate it for it’s pop culture status and the role it played in introducing Japanese anime to the United States. Plus, it looks cool and the kids are dying to see it. I’m pleased to see Hollywood actually releasing a live action PG movie that it looks like kids and adults can both enjoy. As a parent, I’m still peeved that “Transformers” was PG-13.
    “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (May 22) – ‘Nuff said. This one is the big enchilada. My must-see movie event of the year (or should that be decade?).
    “The Incredible Hulk” (June 13) – Up until recently, there hasn’t been nearly as much written about this movie compared to “Iron Man” and I don’t think I’ve even mentioned it here yet. There was a trailer released a few weeks ago and I really wasn’t sure what to make of it. Parts of it seemed good, but the CGI looked a little goofy. But there is a lot about this movie that I find intriguing – mainly the notion of it essentially being a “do-over” after 2003’s disappointing “Hulk” movie. And as mentioned, I’m a Marvel fan so it’s my duty to want to see any Marvel movie.
    “Get Smart” (June 20) – I loved the old TV show. The new movie has a great cast (Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin, The Rock). Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.
    “Wall-E” (June 27) – I’ve never seen a Pixar movie I didn’t like. They’re always fun for the whole family.
    “The Dark Knight” (July 18) – I didn’t see “Batman Begins” until long after it was released on DVD, but I thought it was fantastic. I’m a Tim Burton fan, but this was better than his take on Batman. It’s become one of those movies I have to stop and watch whenever I stumble upon it while flipping channels. I can’t wait to see the next installment.
    “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” (July 25) – I’m not sure if they can pull it off, but I hope this movie is great if only so it can erase the bad taste the last episode (make that the last several episodes) left in my mouth.

Looking a little further down the road, here are some movies from later in 2008 that are also on my want to see list…

    “Quantum of Solace” (Nov. 7) – See what I wrote above for “The Dark Knight” and substitute “James Bond” for “Batman.” I actually enojyed the Pierce Brosnan movies for the most part, but there is no disputing “Casino Royale” was the best Bond flick in ages.

    “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (Nov. 21) – We just got around to watching “Order of the Phoenix” last week, which was decent, although not my favorite Harry Potter movie. “Half-Blood Prince” was one of the most important books in the series, but arguably had the least action. Still, I’m really anxious to see how it translates to the screen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Club Mom

Chris and I had an interesting conversation yesterday that seemed blog-worthy. Normally I comment on our All Aboard the Rooney Train site, but people seem more opinionated here. And I'm curious what everybody might think of this idea.

It seems like kids today are in a gizzillion clubs or sports or whatever. It is really easy to over-schedule your kids. I think Chris and I are in the minority when we try to limit the amount our kids do so we have more family time, or time for them just to be kids. Gone are the days when neighborhood kids just gather together to play and moms whistle them home. We have to schedule play dates or enroll them in something for them to see their friends.

The funny thing is, it feels like this is applying to the parents now too! Nobody just stops over at our house to say hi. I was talking to a friend yesterday (at a schedule play date) that I've been a hermit lately and miss talking to other grown-ups (except poor Chris--I talk his ear off). So she asked me if I wanted to go to her book group (ugh-another night out to talk about books I don't want to read) or if I wanted to come back to the running group (which meets at 5:30am. Who voluntarily wants to get up at that hour??). Again, I have to join a group so I can have friends? What is up with that?

Is it just me or is this an epidemic? There's no time to talk on the phone so we email (or blog). It's no longer socially correct to just pop in to someone's house, and odds are that they aren't home because they're with their "group" anyway. Can't friends just get together anymore? Please let me know-is it just me?

This is also our invitation--we welcome people that just drop by. Our house might be a mess and the dog might run you over, but you are always welcome.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

IndyFest rides again?

Since the release of the "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" trailer back in February, a few people have asked me if there would be another IndyFest. I honestly had not planned on it, but since it's come up a few times, should I consider it?

I don't think there will be another IndyFest (as if there ever could be) for a variety of reasons. But it's nice to know that people still have fond memories of it 19 years later.

I dug this picture up in a photo album at mom's house a few weeks ago. Don't see yourself? Check out the other pictures I uploaded to Facebook.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MILF Island: the T-shirt!

The must-have T-shirt of the summer of 2008 is now on sale at the NBC store.

Show how much you love the newest (un)reality TV sensation: "MILF Island: 25 super-hot moms, 50 eighth grade boys and no rules..."

Green ice cream

In honor of our recent trip to the Ben & Jerry's Factory and Earth Day, here's an Eco Biz report on Ben & Jerry's...

I also post this because I dig Alison Stewart and miss her show on MSNBC.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Way to go, Tim!

Congrats to my brother Tim, who ran his (I think) 10th Boston Marathon today. His official time was 3:27:51 -- well under the 3:35:00 he needed to qualify for next year.

Great job, Tim!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coming soon

I know I'm guilty of getting a little too excited over movie trailers (for films I often don't even get to see). Fortunately, the Onion is here to remind us all about the "big picture..."

Wildly Popular 'Iron Man' Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film

Good luck charm

Yankees Bury Bernie Williams Under New Stadium For Good Luck

The Onion

Yankees Bury Bernie Williams Under New Stadium For Good Luck

NEW YORK—Citing a need for physical and spiritual cleansing after a Boston Red Sox fan entombed a David Ortiz jersey in the floor of the new facility, the New York Yankees buried former centerfielder Bernie Williams under 4,650 pounds of...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back from Burlington

We're catching our breath after a whirlwind of family activity.

It started last week with Thomas' birthday, which we celebrated twice. The first was on Thursday, the day of his actual birthday. We had family over dinner -- including my mom, my sister Annie and her family, and my sister Mary Ellen who was up visiting from Kentucky. Then on Saturday we had his kid party with some of his pre-school classmates.

I still can't believe he's 5 years old. In a lot of ways he's still a little pipsqueek, but the time is going by fast!

Sunday we left for Burlington. As Kris pointed out, we were probably the only ones who went north for spring break. We visited the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory and the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.

Yeah, I know...that's a lot of factories. We didn't set out for our mini-vacation to be one big factory tour -- it just sort of worked out that way.

Besides all the factories (and one museum) we also took the ferry across the lake on our way home.

The scenery was beautiful. It's been a long time since I was last in Burlington, and I forgot what a spectacular view they have of the Adirondacks from the other side of the lake. Staring at the mountainous horizon was one of my favorite parts of the trip -- that and the chocolate!

Below is a slide show of photos from our trip. And you can read a lot more details about the birthday activities and our Burlington adventures over on the Rooney Train.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Presidential chit chat

MSNBC has been harping all day about "unconventional campaigning," showing clips of the presidential candidates on various talk shows and last night on "American Idol."

I wish they would let this go. I submit that there is no longer anything unconventional about this. After all it's been 16 years since Bill Clinton played the sax on "Arsenio" for crying out loud!

Every presedential cycle since then, candidates have been popping up on late night and daytime TV and the mainstream media (ugh, I can't believe I just used that phrase) keeps going on about how new and unusual this crazy trend is.

It is neither new nor unusual. Get over it.

Silly superstitions

We had a lively discussion about sports superstitions the other day over at my friend Sionna's new blog Don't Mention the War.

So it seemed eerily appropriate that I stumbled upon this article. Apparently a couple of construction workers buried a Red Sox T-shirt under the new Yankee Stadium. It's in a slab of concrete beneath the visitors clubhouse. Now the fear is that this will somehow hex the Bronx Bombers by providing a good luck charm to the Sox and any other visiting team.

I have my own little sports superstition story. My father had two Yankee hats. One was in nice shape. That was his going out on the town hat. But the other was the hat. It was a little grubbier. But whenever dad wore it while watching a game the Yanks had a much better chance of winning (or so we liked to believe). There were times when the Yanks were in need of a rally and I'd call dad and make sure he had the hat on.

We had the hat buried with him. Although the Yankees haven't won a World Series since. So sometimes I wonder if I should have held on to the hat.

Now before Aaron flames on, of course I realize that the superstitions are silly. But that doesn't mean that they're not fun. It's just a way for fans to feel more drawn into the game -- to pretend they have some influence and ability to help their team. It's harmless (most of the time at least).

The Yankees are in Boston this weekend. Maybe I'll break out my own grubby hat for the games.

UPDATE: As Aaron reports, the offending Big Papi jersey was removed during a glorified photo op.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tech support, part 2

Thanks to some advice posted in comments to my previous plea for help, I was able to run Windows XP Repair. My PC is on the road to recovery. Thanks, leathj1!

However, I can't get SP2 to install. It gets about halfway through the installation and then I get an "Access Denied" message. Suggestions, anyone?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Confused by all of the twist and turns on "Lost?" This shouldn't clear anything up at all...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tech support

Ok, folks, I need your help. The last time my computer was acting wonky I posted something about it here and someone came forward with a solution for me. Now I’m hoping The Great Someone will come through again.

For the last month or so my computer has been acting pretty screwy. Here are some of the symptoms:
  • Windows Media Player won’t launch.
  • IE seems to think Java is not enabled even thought I know it is. As a result, some sites won’t run properly.
  • System Restore won’t launch.
  • The search feature opens to a blank window. The little dog is wagging his tail, but there is no option to enter a search term.
  • The User Account Manager opens to a blank window.

There may be other problems I haven’t discovered yet. These problems also exist when I startup in Safe Mode.

I have Norton 2008 and Spybot, but neither of them have helped.

I’ve been searching the Internet for a solution to put everything back to normal, but with no luck. I fear that at some point I’m probably going to have to re-install Windows XP.

So…anyone out there have any idea what’s wrong with my computer and, more importantly, how to fix it?

What a week

I had a crazy-busy week last week, but it was all well worth it.

It started with attending a pizza party to mark the end of Nolan’s basketball clinic. The coach called each kid up one-by-one and presented them with a T-shirt. Nolan really enjoyed it the clinic and looked pretty pleased to shake the coach’s hand and accept his shirt.

I didn’t mention before that he won a foul shot contest a few weeks ago when he sank seven out of 15 shots – more than any other second grader. He’s got another trophy on his shelf now to show for his efforts.

I was up late most nights last week editing Cub Scout videos. The first was for a report on the Cub Scouts that Nolan had to give in class (see below). I think he recruited some new members in the process. The second was the end-of-the-year video for the Pack that was shown at Sunday’s Blue & Gold Dinner (Nolan was awarded his Wolf badge and officially became a Bear).

You can read more about basketball and the Blue & Gold and see some photos on the Rooney Train.

The Blue & Gold was on Sunday. But on Saturday, I attended a dinner in Albany for alumni of the communication department at SUNY Plattsburgh (see photo above). It was great to see old friends and some old professors – although I was the sole representative of the Class of 1994. We had a good time and I hope this becomes an annual event. I've uploaded more photos from the dinner to Facebook.

Free coffee!

Starbucks is rolling out a new brew called Pike Place Roast. According to the Business Review, you can stop in today and try a free cup.

But hurry. The freebie is only available from 12-12:30 p.m. (I just found out about it now)!

UPDATE: This turned out to be an even better deal than I realized. Along with my free cup of coffee, I was presented with two gift cards. Each is good for one free cup of coffee on Wednesdays between now and the end of May.

Hooray for freebies!

Doritos at the Last Supper

I have no reason to post this other than the fact it made me chuckle when I saw it...