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Showing posts from June, 2013

Movie Review: World War Z (2013)

Forget Superman. In World War Z, Brad Pitt's character doesn't have to take his shirt off. He gets things done. How refreshing to have a competent, grounded hero to counteract the empty grandiosity of DC comic book fare.

World War Z is apparently a departure from its book origin. That's fine. It stands up well as a film. The story follows Gerry, a former UN investigator who is sent to track the source of a mysterious virus in exchange for his family's safety. The virus turns people into speedy slavering zombies in twelve seconds. Gerry's mission takes him to South Korea, then Israel, then Wales.

There's plenty of tension throughout the film, starting with an outbreak in Philadelphia during a typical morning commute. The sheer numbers of the infected, and their sensitivity to noise, make it almost impossible to escape their stampedes. Gerry relies on a combination of field experience, observational skill, and of course, luck, to make it. At no point was he sassy…

How was the First Week?

It was good, until I delved deeper into the shared drive and did one of these:


Duplicate files in redundant folders! Documents in the wrong places! This is madness! This...is...SPARTAAAAHHH...!

Note: In my failed attempt to look up a word that rhymes with "Sparta," I googled "smegma." Except I forgot to do it in an incognito window. Blargh.

Happy Friday!

Book Review: Fermat's Last Theorem (1997)

This book by Simon Singh is a good summer read because it’s short, informative, and the mathematics are dumbed down. I skipped them anyway.

Fermat’s Last Theorem focuses on a theorem scribbled by 17th century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat stating that there are no whole number solutions for xn + yn = zn for n greater than 2. Fermat coyly revealed that he had proof of his theorem, which eluded others of the mathematical persuasion for centuries, until one extremely persistent Brit announced that he had solved it in 1993. He had spent seven years in isolation working exclusively on the theorem.

Simon Singh tells the stories of the great minds who set out to solve the problem before Andrew Wiles came along. Even when they failed to construct a proof, these mathematicians created new techniques and even new branches of mathematics. All paths do not lead to a solution to Fermat’s Last Theorem, but many of them converged to lead Wiles to his conclusion.

Singh emphasizes the absoluti…

Movie Review: Man of Steel (2013)

It's a good thing Kal son of El is actually stronger than Fe3C, given the utter demolishing of countless steel structures in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. This latest retelling of the Superman story starts out as a brooding contemplation of folly, isolation, and power that soon transforms into a heavy-handed Christ allegory, and then ultimately ends with mind-boggling citywide destruction that magically disappears by the end credits.

The single greatest thing about this film is a scene featuring Kevin Costner's character, Pa Kent, proving the strength of his own conviction. The next best thing is Russell Crowe. A very close third is Henry Cavill's godlike physique, insert sexually-charged joke here.

I suppose the writers had to contend with the fact that most audiences know the Superman backstory already, but that doesn't excuse the shortcuts they took to jam in more CGI action sequences. For instance, a major theme in the film is Kal-El's standing apart from hu…

Cover Letter Template

Many fields require the ability to string together words and transform them into coherent sentences. As such, a cover letter becomes important when venturing into the delightful world of the job search. A well-written cover not only introduces your magnetic personality, but also systematically lists your stunning competencies and awe-inspiring accomplishments.

Moved by the spirit of generosity, I, a new hire starting next week, share with you here the cover letter template that got me eleven (11) interviews in two (2) months. Yes, it works, and it helps you lose weight! I hope we're still talking about the same thing.

First, disclaimers:
This is a template, and must be adjusted according to the description of each desired job.I offer it for free, but you can go ahead and buy me a drink or food item as thanks. Next, suggestions:
For maximum WIN, create a separate "Skills List" document so you have your brilliant talents handy for copying and pasting into the blank spaces i…

Game Review: Tales of Innocence R (PS Vita)

Tales of Innocence R is the 2012 PS Vita remake of the 2007 Nintendo DS game. This latest version features two new characters, as well as voice acting segments. The game is the ninth in the Tales series. It is a light snack of an RPG.

Tales of Innocence R follows Luca, the young, shy scion of a successful merchant. Luca has dreams of being Asura, an ancient demon lord who aims to unite heaven and earth, because in Japan, "heaven" is populated by spirits, rather than by radiant choirs of angels chanting praise to the patriarchy the Heavenly Father. Luca's country is in the grip of war, and rumors are spreading of "inousha," or people with unusual talents. Luca's father sternly warns him not to associate with such folk, which naturally means that Luca is one of them.

Through a series of meet cute and other contrivances, Luca meets others like himself, who call themselves "tenseisha," or reincarnated beings. They all have spotty memories of the ancien…

Instant Lunch, with Pictures!

Hello, internet friend. Today's post will hopefully inspire you to consider me for the Lazy Genius Award 2013. I need another trophy, you see, for my self-esteem. Not that I have any trophies whatsoever, come to think about it. Which means...I already won the Lazy Genius Award? YES!!!!

The insta-recipe below provides 148% of your mandatory Vitamin A, 60% of your required fiber intake, 20% of the calcium you ought to have in a day, a whole bunch of protein and potassium, some sodium, and, yes, more molybdenum than you strictly need, but your body knows what to do with it, so just eat!

Today's Instant Lunch: Black Bean Taco Salad
(A lazier version of the Vegetarian Nacho Salad)

Step 1: Place chips in bowl (Garden of Eatin' corn tortilla chips, pictured).
Step 2: Chop up preferred greens (romaine lettuce, pictured) and pile on top of chips.


Step 3: Heat up bottled salsa on stovetop. Add chopped fresh tomatoes and one Thai chili, preferably the smallest one on earth. Pour on t…

Still Not Married, Despite Wedding and Honeymoon

Massachusetts regulations dictate that a couple wishing to become Smug Marrieds (Bridget Jones' Diary, anyone?) must:

a. Apply together for a marriage license at City Hall.
b. Have the wedding officiant sign the marriage license and send it back to City Hall.
c. Pick up copies of the marriage certificate.

I've gone to City Hall four times now, in the hopes of securing copies of the marriage certificate so I can get the ball rolling on getting my name changed.

(Incidentally, my decision to trade my exquisitely exotic last name for a surname that sounds like fluffy winter hand gear is based on my burning desire to finally stop having people getting it wrong ALL THE TIME. Rrrrgh.)

I assumed that, since almost a month has passed since the ceremony, and the officiant lives about 45 minutes away from us, that step (b) was complete. I was wrong. I got a big fat nothing burger all four times I made the trip to City Hall, making my failure rate an impressive 100%.

So, mothers, lock u…

Job Searching with Cats: Oscar

Oscar followed in the fine tradition of cat-blocking begun by Sheba. I suspect they both want me to stay homebound. Sheba likes having me around to pet her, while Oscar is charmed by the cheese I offer him as blood sacrifice treats.

Le sigh.

Job Searching with Cats: Sheba

This happened a couple of days ago.

I was in the middle of answering a typical interview question -- "Why do you want to work here?" -- when Sheba suddenly launched into a concert. I had petted and cuddled her beforehand to buy her silence during the call, but I guess it's never enough. She finally ran away after I made furious kicking gestures at her.

She did the same thing when I had another interview today, but this time I just kept moving around until she gave up following me and went to sleep on the couch.

Next comic: Oscar the ninja also gets in on the job-blocking action!

Movie Review: Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

Star Trek: Into Darkness deserves to be seen on IMAX. That way, space scenes can be absorbed in all their beauty, plus viewers get frequent close-ups of Zachary Quinto's face! Win-win!

Director J.J. Abrams' sequel to the 2009 reboot sees Captain James Kirk and his crew on the Enterprise performing a clumsy survey of a newly developed civilization. Before long, they are chasing down a Star Fleet intelligence officer (Benedict Cumberbatch) gone rogue. The villain goes into hiding on the Klingon planet; to avoid conflict, Admiral Marcus orders Kirk to launch photon missiles from neutral orbit.

Since Star Fleet functions more as an exploratory institution rather than a military organization, the police/military nature of the manhunt for Cumberbatch raises moral and practical questions for the crew. Why not bring the man to trial? Why risk bringing unknown torpedoes into an exploration vessel? How can the Enterprise be sure that the Klingon's won't attack anyway? Commander …

Kauai!

Kauai is the northernmost and most epic island on the great state of Hawaii. Fragrant Husband and I, both Hawaii virgins, celebrated our honeymoon there.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt down in Poipu. The best part about this seaside hotel is the constant sound of the waves breaking against the shore. We kept our balcony door open all the time (which automatically shut off the airconditioning), so we caught all the ocean breezes and the magnificent KA-BLOOSH, KA-BLOOSH of the Pacific. The ocean lulled us to sleep every night.

The worst part about the Grand Hyatt is the fact they designed its 52 acres in such a way that rooms are far, far away from the important spots: the sea, the pools, the bars, the restaurants, and the front desk. One time, I was chilling in our private cabana (free with honeymoon!) and ordered a mimosa. The lady said I needed my ID. Instead of marching the long and winding path back to my room, I decided to be a sad, sober panda. That's how far away it was.

But …