Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Less than meets the eye

I was pretty miffed when the last "Transformers" movie came out in 2007. It seemed pretty obvious that the movie was made for guys in the their 20s or 30s who played with the toys or watched the cartoon when they were kids.

But director Michael Bay and the rest of the people involved with the film seemed to lose sight of the fact that there were still kids playing with the toys today. Nolan and Thomas were 7 and 4 at the time. They both had Transformer toys and kept seeing ads for the movie on Nickelodeon and commercials for Burger King kids meals and tie-in toys in the store.

We skipped the PG-13 movie in theater. Some time later we found it on HBO while visiting Kris' parents and started watching it. It wasn't long before we saw that our first instinct was right -- it wasn't for kids and we flipped the channel.

Now the sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," is coming out and we're facing the same issues all over again. So far I've seen nothing but negative reviews. This one from Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool News really jumped out at me:
The filmmakers, studio and toymakers behind this film should be ashamed. To spend this type of money to bring this sort of hurtful and repugnant work to screen - it is an insult to every DREAM that so many have WORKed for, for years.

I'd like to ask you not to support this film, but those of you with young boys, I know there isn't a chance. But realize you'll be taking them to see a film with the lowest forms of humor, stereotypes and racism around. Not only that, but its packaged for our children. Which makes it all the more offensive.

Not only did Harry think "Revenge of the Fallen" was an offensive movie marketed to kids, he also just didn't think it was a very good movie period.

I can't say I'm surprised. After Nolan went to bed that night at Grandma and Grandpa's, I watched a good chunk of the "Transformers," figuring it would be fun to watch giant robots duke it out. I can't say I was impressed. I honestly had no idea what the hell was going on in that movie. It sounds like the sequel is a lot more of the same.

I hate to sound like a square, but it is possible to make an action movie that the whole family can enjoy. It doesn't have to be too kiddified or too full of violence and sexual innuendo. There is a happy medium. Maybe you've heard of a little movie called "Star Wars?"

Fortunately, our kids don't seem to have any expectation of seeing the movie. But how many other parents aren't so lucky. I mean, seriously, what business does Megan Fox have being in any sort of movie for kids?

Yet another disappointment from Hollywood. And the most frustrating kind -- the kind that will probably rake in millions at the box office.
Okay. Old man Rooney is done shaking his fist.

Father's Day fun

So in the end, on Father's Day I did not get around to claiming my free juicy hamburger or having a free 8x10 printed up.

However, we did take advantage of the waived entry fee at the Saratoga Battlefield.

It made for a great Father's Day. I enjoy history and touring sites like the battlefield. So it was fun to get to do something that I enjoy with the whole family. We all had a good time and learned a little bit along the way.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This social media thing is catching on

I attended the first Social Media Breakfast - Tech Valley this morning. It was a gathering of people from all walks of life and all sorts of professional fields to talk about all things social networking-related.

I went partially for business reasons – looking for ways to improve WNYT’s social media standing – and partially for fun as an amateur consumer/producer of blogs, tweets and pointless Facebook junk.

There were certain names I’ve come to recognize from following them on Twitter or reading local blogs and I was looking forward to meeting some of these folks face-to-face.

Much to my surprise, people seemed just as interested in meeting little ol’ me! When I walked into the room, the event organizer, Amy Mengel, spotted me and said, “It’s nice to see more than just the top of your head.” Mary Darcy, one of the people behind All Over Albany, introduced herself to me, saying she follows me on Twitter.

There was another person, Kristen Campbell, who recently started following WNYT’s Twitter feed. When she did, she publicly asked who was doing the tweeting for the station. So I announced who I was to all of our followers. It turns out she was at the event today and upon spotting my name tag, she introduced herself.

Not to go all narcissistic and “yeah, me,” but it really took me aback that anyone would actually know and/or care who I was. I work in a business with people who are easily recognized. I’m not used to being one of them.

It just drives home the point that…people are actually looking at this stuff! It also illustrates the power of social networking to bring people together – not only the people you already know (Facebook friends), but also the new people you don’t know yet (Twitter followers).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another Father's Day Freebie

This one comes from @amymengel on Twitter. The National Parks Service will waive entrance fees for three weekends this summer. The first will be this coming weekend.

If you can't make it this weekend, the other weekends are July 18-19 and August 15-16.

You can find a list of the parks nearest you here.

If you're a history buff living in the Capital Region and have never been to the Saratoga Battlefield, I highly recommend it.

Keep the freebies coming, folks. I'll keep posting them!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Father's Day Free Stuff

Special thanks to Mike Sussman for tipping me off to another entry in the Free Stuff Files.

It seems CVS is giving away free 8x10 photo prints. Just go to and upload your picture. Make sure you enter the promo code FREE8X10. Then head down to the store to pick up your free print.

The offer is good now through Father's Day (apparently it's already been going on for a while). So if you're still hung up on a gift idea for dad, a nice enlarged picture of the kids might just do the trick.

'In brightest day, in darkest night...'

I know this has been floating around the Internet for a while, but I just saw it again this morning on SCI FI Wire and figured it was worth posting here.

My kudos go to the whoever put this together!

UPDATE: I guess I should clarify that, yes, I realize this is a fan made trailer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Once upon a time in Albany...

I spotted this nice little recap of recent events at the state Capitol in Albany on

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cats and dogs

We have now snapped both of the streaks Nolan's baseball team had going this season. They finally got their first win last weekend -- and we got rained out tonight.

We've been lucky and have had reasonably good weather for most of his games, but the luck ran out tonight.

The sky looked pretty ominous as the kids were warming up. Then just before game time, the heavens opened up. We had thunder, lightning and hail.

Oh well. One more game to go. We wrap up the season Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Free Stuff Files: Father's Day edition

I've never heard of Juicy Burgers & More in Ballston Spa, but it certainly sounds like a great place.

I may have to check it out on Father's Day, June 21, because on that day dad's eat free with proof of "dadship" (i.e.: bring the kids). You have to register for a coupon online.

Any other great Father's Day deals I should know about?


I kind of dig that Lincoln MKZ commercial with the remake of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)" just for the music.

So I sat down and searched for a video of the song on YouTube. I found lots of versions in the original German (dig those yellow jumpsuits!) and a few in English.

But I also stumbled across this really cool remix set to images from NASA. Unfortunately, it doesn't use all of the lyrics -- just the chorus over and over. But it's still cool anyway...

By the way, the remake is by Shiny Toy Guns. You can hear their full version here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Blogger help needed

There's a crucial change I'd like to make to my blog's template, but I haven't been able to figure out how to do it.

If you look at the page for any blog post here (you know, what you see when you click on the headline or comments, not the main page with all of the current posts) at the bottom you'll see links labeled "Older Posts," "Home" and "Newer Posts." I want to move that to the top of the page instead of the bottom.

I've been staring at the template code, but I haven't had any luck making it work. Does anyone out there understand what I'm talking about and know how to pull it off?

Adventures in Cub Scouting

Here's the end of the year Cub Scout video I put together a few weeks ago...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Free Ice Cream Day

We got our free ice cream yesterday. Did you?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A little help for Big Papi

The Onion has the solution for Big Papi's batting slump:
MLB Adjusts Drug Policy To Allow David Ortiz To Take Steroids

NEW YORK—Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced a new policy on performance-enhancing substances Wednesday that is expected to help former slugger David Ortiz, currently batting a dismal .203, to come out of his slump and return as a league-leading batter. "We have amended the rules of the game to allow David [Ortiz] to use any performance enhancer he can find, as baseball is pretty boring when he's not hitting home runs," said Selig...

Read the rest here...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Join the Disqusion

As you may have noticed, I've set the blog up with a service called Disqus to handle comments.

I've seen it on a few other sites, like Lost Remote and TV Newser. I wondered if it might be a good fit for and figured I'd test it out here first.

There are four different options for how you can post your comment.

  • You can remain unregistered and enter whatever you like for your name and e-mail address (although I'll still be able to see your IP address no matter what).
  • You can create an account for yourself on and login with that when you leave your comment.  Then you can go back to to track all of your comments on any site using Disqus.
  • Use Facebook Connect to tie your activity here to your Facebook profile.  That way, whenever you post a comment here, it will also show up on your wall and in your newsfeed along with a link back to the item here.  It's essentially just like a posted link on Facebook.
  • You can login with your Twitter account.  Like with Facebook Connect, this way your comment here will also appear on Twitter as a reply to @ChrisRooney (my Twitter profile) along with a link back to here.
Of course, none of this does any good if I don't post something worth commenting on.  I'll try to get better at that.  My blogging mojo has been out of whack lately, but I think I'm getting back on track.  It's been tough to find the right balance between blogging and my other social networking (not to mention actual work, family and all the rest of life's activities). 

So please comment away and let me know what you think!

'That's no moon...'

Everyone likes to point out the similarities between today's cell phones and Star Trek's communicators and tri-corders. Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Get a load of this...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
We Have a Death Star!
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorKeyboard Cat

What piece of sci-technology would you like to see come to life? I wouldn't mind having a transporter. Although, flying cars would be cool too.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Free Stuff Files: Donut Day!

Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day – and what better way to celebrate than with a free one!

In the past, this holiday would be marked at Krispy Kreme, where they would be giving away free doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme is long gone (at least in our area), but have no fear! Dunkin’ Donuts is taking care of doughnut fans everywhere by offering a free doughy delight of any variety with the purchase of a beverage.

I have to give a shoutout to Wendalicious for bringing this bargain to my attention.

For those wondering, National Doughnut Day is a real holiday. The origins date back to World War I when the Salvation Army “Lassies” traveled to the front lines to cook homemade treats for the troops. The holiday was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army as a fundraiser during the depression and to honor the WWI Salvation Army volunteers. It’s celebrated on the first Friday of June.

Champ sighting?

Those familiar with the Lake Champlain region have certainly heard of "Champ," the mysterious sea monster many believe lives in the lake. It's New York/Vermont's version of the Loch Ness Monster.

There have been hundreds of Champ sightings over the years, perhaps going all the way back to 1609 when French explorer Samuel de Champlain reportedly spotted a "strange monster" in the lake that would bear his name.

The best photograph of champ was snapped by a woman vacationing in the region in 1977. Experts said the photo appeared to be legitimate and it was later published in the New York Times and Time Magazine.

Now there is a new wrinkle to the champ mystery. Early Sunday morning Eric Olsen of Burlington says he was shooting video of the sunrise with his cell phone when he noticed something strange moving in the water. He posted the video on YouTube, where he was reluctant to claim it was Champ. Instead, he titled the video "Strange Sighting on Lake Champlain."

The Burlington Free Press talked to some cryptozoologists -- people who make a living studying mythical creatures -- who are very interested in studying the video.

However, the newspaper also heard from a biology professor at the University of Vermont who says it could be a young moose in the water.

After hearing that, I can sort of see how it could be a moose when I watch the video. What do you think? Check out the video (embedding has been disabled) and then come back here to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Han Solo, P.I.

It's well known that Tom Selleck was the first choice for Indiana Jones, but the role ultimately went to Harrison Ford.

Now journey with me to the land of What If and we'll find out what might have happened if things went the other way and the captain of the Millennium Falcon wound up starring in Selleck's most famous TV part...

I bet you didn't realize just how good that mashup really is. Check out the side-by-side comparison with the real "Magnum, P.I." opening...

Socially awkward media

@amymengel passed this along on Twitter this morning. I thought it was just too funny not to share here.

You can get your own T-shirt here.

Run, Conan! Run!

In case you missed it, here's how Conan O'Brien opened his first "Tonight Show." I thought it was pretty funny...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I'm playing around with using a service called Disqus as a new way to handle comments on the blog. Let me know what you think.