ThanksgivingWhere Icarus Flies, Episode 5 is flying high and tight!

WhereIF – Episode 5 Contents

This week’s show was a bit more free form than previous shows. I almost succumbed to my laziness and didn’t record a podcast this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. How could I do that and let my listeners down? Well, you know I couldn’t! I planned on this week’s show being a short show, targeting 20-25 minutes. Turns out that I am just too damn long winded and we hit the 47 minute mark! I did have a little help from Joey!

I switched back this week to having the enhanced version of the podcast in my main RSS feed and on iTunes. This should be the last week of switching back-and-forth. Next week, I should have enough data that I can commit to making one format my primary format.

Sun-maid Raisin Bread vs. Cinnabon Cinnamon Bread

I love raisin bread and nothing is better than Sun-maid raisin bread. Cinnabon makes cinnamon bread. Could it be better? Find out what I think in this week’s podcast.

Thanksgiving

Here in the USA we are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. A day that has lots of different meanings. In this week’s show I talk about what Thanksgiving means to me and give you some memories that I have from my childhood. Before walking down memory lane, I talk about my top three favorite books of all time!

The Hoover Report

Joey shows his Thanksgiving flair during the Hoover Report this week. Find out what Suuuuuucks this week.

Podcast File Info – Episode 5

The last two weeks, I have made the enhanced version of the podcast (the .mp4 version) the default in my RSS feed. I am going to change it to the .mp3 version to see if it makes a difference in the number of downloads. You can still get the .mp4 version from my website and from my Atom feed.

  • Running time: 47 minutes
  • MP3 file size: 45MB
  • M4A file size: 47MB

All show ideas, comments and questions can be sent to feedback@whereicarusflies.com

Bill

Einstein: His Life and UniverseI had put off reading this for a long time. Einstein is someone I am interested in, but enough to read an entire biography? WOW was I surprised how good this book was! If you think this book is all about physics and relativity, you are wrong.

Einstein was a complex, loving, flawed, amazing individual. From his boyhood in Germany through his struggles in Switzerland back to Germany to his eventual residence in America at Princeton University, Walter Isaacson brings us on an incredible journey into the life and mind of a seminal character in our human evolution. We learn of his politics, faith, cultural impact, philosophy of science, lustrous affairs, powers of abstraction, secret daughter and how he helped shape science for the rest of human history. All while dealing with rockstar fame in the second half of his life!

Seriously, I really didn’t think I would get drawn into this book as much as I did. Einstein’s personal life was fascinating. Did you know he was asked to be President of Israel? For those who are interested in his science and theories, that is in the book as well. The book takes us through Einstein’s major thought experiments, his Theory of GEneral Relativity, Theory of Special Relativity and more. Isaacson has the ability to give us Einstein’s science in a manageable and understandable way. You will not get lost in Physics while reading this book.

Einstein: His Life and Universe should not be missed. Learning about the humanity of one of the foremost minds the Earth has produced is worth the time.

WhereIF Rating: 5 sets of wings out of 5, our highest possible rating.

5 of 5

Stargate UniverseWhere Icarus Flies Episode 4 has left the building!

WhereIF – Episode 4 Contents

Well, I think we are slowly settling into our format. A couple small topics, our main discussion, The Hoover Report, Masterworks Theater and possibly a few other bits thrown in. I don’t want to get stagnant, so I’ll still look to mix it up from time to time, but for now a good rhythm is important.

Stargate Universe (SGU)

For Science Fiction fans, this is an excellent new show on SyFy (formally the SciFi Network). I am late in jumping on the bandwagon, and still 5 episodes behind, but after watching the 3 part intro I am happy to report that it is a good show! The acting and writing are good and the plot it a good one (they give a new spin to an oldie but goodie storyline).

V: The Reboot – Episode 3

I spend a couple of minutes giving my impressions of the 3rd episode in the new V:The Reboot series on ABC. I don’t want to spoil the podcast for you, so you’ll just have to listen in to hear what I think! 😉

Website Report

I talk very briefly about WhereIcarusFlies.com and the future of HooverReport.com, a website my good buddy Joey Hoover is planning to launch after the holidays.

Online Information & Your Safety

Should you use online banking? Are you better of never buying items from an online merchant? Is Facebook safe? I talk about information in our online world and how, despite your best efforts, your information is already out there for the taking! In my discussion I mention a good website to look at for tips on keeping your information safe. Although there are many good website that can educate you on this subject, a good place to start is http://www.onguardonline.gov/. I am working on a blog post to go into this topic in more detail, but I don’t expect it to be posted for a few weeks.

Mailbag!

Where Icarus Flies has been receiving feedback from real listeners from all over the globe! Who woulda thunk??? Joey Hoover and I read through some feedback that we received about the show. Remember if you would like to contact us with your thoughts, ideas or anything else, send it to feedback@whereicarusflies.com. Maybe next time we will read your note on the show!

The Hoover Report

After the first installment of The Hoover Report last week, the feedback was extremely positive! Andy from Massachusetts writes, “Who the heck is Hoover?  I was laughing out loud!” Well, we were ecstatic! Joey is back at it again this week with more things “That Suuuuuuck!”

Masterworks Theater

We have a guest performance for Masterworks Theater this week. Listen in and find out who!

Podcast File Info – Episode 4

The last two weeks, I have made the enhanced version of the podcast (the .mp4 version) the default in my RSS feed. I am going to change it to the .mp3 version to see if it makes a difference in the number of downloads. You can still get the .mp4 version from my website and from my Atom feed.

  • Running time: 42 minutes
  • MP3 file size: 40MB
  • M4A file size: 42MB

All show ideas, comments and questions can be sent to feedback@whereicarusflies.com

Bill

16

Nov

by WhereIF

Twilight PosterAs we approach the release of the next movie in the Twilight saga, let me post a review I wrote and posted on Facebook back in August after I finally watched the Twilight movie with my wife. I have updated and added some content to my original review.

First let me start by stating three things:

  • I have not read the books, remember this is just a review of the movie, not the books
  • I understand I am not the target audience
  • The book is normally better than the movie (not always, just read the abysmal Chronicles of Narnia series and you’ll see how much better the movies have been)

This was a horrible movie from start to finish. I am not interested in hearing about how much better the books were. I will concede that the books are probably really good. One day I’ll take a stab at them, but I have other books on my list first.

Given #3 above, there have been movies that have been pretty darn good based on really good books. Where did Twilight go wrong? I think we could spend all day picking the movie apart, so here is my list of the big problems with this movie:

1. The Cast

I did not like he casting at all. Bella (Kristen Stewart) was awful. I will say that over the course of the movie she grew on me. By the end she was not annoying me as much as in the beginning.

Edward (Robert Pattinson) was abysmal. Not only was he an awful actor, but he is not good looking. He had some kind of Johnny Depp 21 Jumpstreet wannabe kind of look going on. I don’t have a problem going with no-name actors, but he was the best they could find?

The rest of the cast was mainly just as bad. James (Cam Gigandet) cold have been a great character in the movie, but he was wasted (he was Twilight’s Darth Maul). Jessica (Anna Kendrick) was the only other character in the movie I liked. She played her part well, although that is not saying much.

2. The Acting (see the cast, above)

3. The Screenplay/Directing/Editing

The books may be great, but the writing for the movie was terrible. The plot didn’t move along it was just pushed along by various scene cuts. This Perfect Storm of bad Screenplay/Directing/Editing is probably to blame for a lot of the poor acting, let’s face it, the actors didn’t have much to work with. That being said, it was still poor casting (Edward).

I understand that it is all but impossible to capture the book completely without making a 6 hour opus, but the screenplay really missed the mark. How do I know this without reading the book? My wife made sure to tell me while we were watching the movie! Every 10-15 minutes she gave a groan and said something like, “That is not how it happened” or “They messed that part up.” This was the 3rd time my wife watched the movie and she has read the complete series of books three times as well (including the version of Twilight written from Edward’s point of view).

A good comparison to give us some context: Look at the DaVinci Code. For my money, a decent movie. Did it do the book justice? No. The first 15 minutes of the movie took 20+ chapters to tell in the book. Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings are some recent examples of really good book adaptations for the silver screen. It can be done.

4. The Romance

So, I was told the romance should have carried the story. Due to #1, #2 and #3 above, there was no believable romance for me. I am a sappy, romance movie liker. It wasn’t there. My wife told me that the scene in the movie where they lie down in the field was a huge, awesome part of the book. In the move it just plain missed. Bella and Edward did not connect on screen. EVER!

Conclusion

So, all-in-all, it was a pretty poor movie. Given that it has vampires in it, it should be inherently cool. If the books had not been a phenomenon this movie would have flopped and no talk of a second one would be out there. I am also not a tweener or a Gen X mom, so this movie was not targeting me, so it wasn’t likely to resonate well with me anyway.

Another possibility I still have to keep in mind… When I finally do ready the books someday, I may find that they really weren’t that good either. That is a review for another time. Until then , I will go with the assumption that they were as good as people (the Gen X moms I know) say.

Now, I noticed they canned the director of the first movie and hired someone else for New Moon, which comes out this weekend. I have to say, the previews seem decent. New Moon has the potential to shed the stink of Twilight. I’ll let my wife watch it two or three times before I give it a go. 🙂

Twilight did give me the opportunity to insert a new phrase into my repertoire, “Wow, that was Twilight bad!”

Where Icarus Flies Review: 1/2 of a set of wings out of 5 (our lowest rating possible)

angel-wings-half

Zero ToleranceWhere Icarus Flies podcast episode 3 is large and in-charge! Due to Veteran’s Day the podcast is a day late, but not a dollar short! 😉

WhereIF – Episode 3 Contents

So I thought I would try to keep my podcasts to under 30 minutes. Turns out, I just have too much to say! I think 45min or under will be my new goal. We debut a new segment today with guest host Joey Hoover, a longtime buddy of mine. I want to give Joey a big thanks for stopping by, I know his schedule is a busy one.

First San Jose Sharks Game!

This past Tuesday, I took my young son to his first NHL hockey game. It was the San Jose Sharks vs. the Nashville Predators. Although I am a Boston Bruins fan at heart, I have come to adopt the San Jose Sharks as my new hometown team. My boys root for the Bruins and the Sharks and there is little chance of them meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals. If that were to happen, we would be in a no-lose situation! 🙂 I talk a little bit about the game and the wonders of youth.

V: The Reboot

Although I posted a review of the blog earlier this week, I spend a few minutes talking about the new ABC series, V:The Reboot. I add some additional thoughts after having watched the second episode. I also noticed that David Richmond-Peck, one of the new series regulars began following @WhereIF on Twitter. Thanks for following David. As I say in my podcast, although I slammed the pilot episode, I do have hope for the series. Face it, it can really only get better at this point.

Zero Tolerance Policies

I spend some time discussing Zero Tolerance Policies in schools. To sum it up quickly, I am not a fan. In fact, I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies! I site some examples and give my opinions. I would love to hear your feedback and will read some email on an upcoming podcast. Down the line I will play around with a live broadcast where I can take “callers” and discuss topics in real time. I am not ready for that yet. For now, you can send feedback to feedback@whereicarusflies.com

The Hoover Report

My longtime pal, Joey Hoover, stops by to give his take on some current events and other topics. This is the debut of the segment and Joey and I would love to hear what you think. I have asked Joey if he would like to guest write for the blog, but he is still mulling it over. Drop him a line via our feedback address and help me nudge him into giving it a try!

Masterworks Theatre

This week, it is back to my Norton Anthology of Poetry to give you a dramatic reading of one of my favorite poems of all time! What is it? You’ll just have to listen in and find out. 🙂

Podcast File Info – Episode 3

  • Running time: 44 minutes
  • MP3 file size: 43MB
  • M4A file size: 44MB

All show ideas, comments and questions can be sent to feedback@whereicarusflies.com

Bill

V RebootIt has almost been a week since ABC broadcast the reboot pilot for V (for those not in the know, that is an uppercase letter V not the roman numeral 5). This has given me time to digest the pilot episode and give a fair review. Before I get there, let me give some very brief background on the various V series. I do not intend to write plot summaries, except a brief one for the first mini-series, in order to set the stage.

The Original Mini-Series

In 1983, NBC release a two night mini-series, V (for simplicity, I will call this V:The Original for the remainder of this post). V:The Original was the brainchild of writer, producer and director Kenneth Johnson. It is about an alien race, which call themselves “The Visitors,” who come to Earth pretending to be our friends and who need our help to revive their ailing homeworld, but who ultimately want to enslave humanity and take over the planet. Humans are mostly a food source for The Visitors. A news journalist camera man, Mike Donovan (who is played by none other than The Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer) discovers The Visitor’s secret and with others, tries to warn the world. In the meantime, The Visitors turn the world into a Nazi Germany type place, turing family against family and using the children to start a Nazi like Visitor Youth squad.

Were the special effects cheese? Yes (by our current standards, anyway). Was it more like a Soap Opera? Yes. Was it wonderful? Hell yes!

The Final Battle

V:The Original was very popular. According to Joe Flint and the Los Angeles Times, V:The Original posted a 25.4 Nielsen Rating. Although that does not crack the top 100 ratings of all time, it is still a very good rating. To put that into perspective, TV’s current #1 Show, NCIS, generally gets a 10-12 Nielsen rating each week. Due to this popularity, Kenneth Johnson produced V:The Final Battle in 1984. It was set a few months after V:The Original and had all the main stars back in their roles for the three night event. After searching hi and low, I could not find information on ratings for this, but I remember it to have not been awesome but also not embarrassing. In my memory it was decent and most folks thought the same.

The TV Series

Due to the popularity of V:The Original and V:The Final Battle, NBC decided to make a TV series in 1984-1985. Although I personally enjoyed the series, I will admit it was ill-concieved and was ultimately cancelled. Kenneth Johnson was not involved with the weekly series and it was a shock to the producers that the show was cancelled. Instead of trying to wrap-up the show quickly for the fan’s sake, the season ended in a cliff hanger, which was never resolved.

On a side note, in 2008 Kenneth Johnson released the novel V:The Second Generation. Set 20 years after V:The Original, it disregards both V:The Final Battle and the original V:The Series.

ABC’s Reboot

Although some reboots have been successful, the new Battlestar Galactica and J.J. Abrhams’ Star Trek come to mind as recent examples. Far more remakes and reboots have been awful, The Bionic Woman and Knight Rider jump out as present-day failures. I won’t get started on the parade of horrific movies made from old TV series.

So, what about ABC’s offering (which I will call V:The Reboot)? Let me start with a couple of quotes from friends of mine. Chris Shannon says, “I’m not sure how I’m going to scrub the stink off my TV. Sooooo bad. If you missed it, don’t worry, just watch last week’s commercial and I think you got everything of importance, except the bad pacing.” While Brian Olsen adds, “It was rapid-fire plot point to plot point, with no depth. It felt like an hour-long ‘Last week on V…'” My own feelings echo theirs. Watching V:The Reboot made my television bleed Velveeta!

I think both Chris and Brian nailed it. The entire episode was running from plot point to plot point with no story in between. It was like they were told that they had to get to a certain point by the end of the pilot, plot be damned! The cinematography was bad and I do not like the casting choices that they made. I don’t mind them rewriting the story a bit and making the main character a woman FBI agent instead of a male TV cameraman (among other changes). I just don’t think that Elizabeth Mitchel (from ABC’s Lost) can pull of that character. Joel Gretsch (USA’s The 4400) could not sell the role of Father Jack Landry, a Catholic Priest who does not believe in The Visitor’s motives. For some reason I just can’t take Scott Wolf (ABC’s Party of Five) seriously as a TV news anchor. As Anna, leader of The Visitors, Morena Baccarin (Firefly, but who I remember more as Adria from Stargate: SG-1), lacks the charm crossed sinister with an added dash of sultry that Jane Badler had as the original Diana, leader of The Visitors.

A friend asked me if I was just trying to compare the new series with my childhood memory of the original. Although that may be true to some extent, I was open to liking this new telling. As I stated above, I really WANTED to like the new version. As a corollary, I really WANTED to hate the new Battlestar Galactica, but I couldn’t. It was blow-you-away awesome from the get-go. So it wasn’t that V:The Reboot could not compare to the old. It just isn’t well done. The writing, acting and visuals were very sub-par. The new V pilot was just not good. At one point I thought that they may have hired the ABC After-School Special writers!

Is there hope?

There were a few spots that made me think there *could* be hope. A former student of mine pointed out that a great many times the pilot is much worse than the rest of the series. Thinking about it, there have been many times I cringe when watching the pilot, but the series turned out okay. Also, some series just need time to develop. Star Trek:The Next Generation is an excellent example. Most of season 1 is trash. Regurgitated TOS plots (Star Trek:The Original Series, for those not in the know), poor writing, embarrassing sets and more. Oh, I’ll get hate mail for saying that, but you know that I am right! I am a HUGE Star Trek fan. Some of the TNG episodes are examples of Science Fiction at its best, so I don’t dump on the first season lightly. Although, I never questioned the casting in TNG, like I do for V:The Reboot.

Final Rating

I will keep watching, because I have hope that things will gel and a better product will emerge. The ratings for the pilot were decent, but there was also a lot of buzz around the reboot. I am predicting a huge drop-off this week. Unless they find their groove and raise the bar for quality, it won’t finish the season. So for now, I can only give V:The Reboot 1.5 sets of wings out of 5.

1.5 sets of wings out of 5— Bill


MoviesAs I mentioned on the show the other day, I absolutely had a ball with the #unseenprequels hashtag that ran rampant for a few days. What was it? Folks were coming up with names of prequels that do not exist. It turned into mostly puns and silliness. Hey, at 1am reading through Twitter posts, it was high comedy! 🙂

My list of the best, worst and a few in-between are below. I will add the #unseenprequel titles that I came up with as well. My own comments are in parenthesis next to the title. I try to give credit to the best unseen prequel titles where I can. Although it is true that for most titles, there were likely ten, hundreds or even thousands of people that came up with the same or similar titles, I give credit to the authors that either I saw first or I saw retweeted the most.

Worst #unseenprequel Titles

Some of these titles are too obvious to be worthy of any praise, but most are just plain bad. Some are so bad that the authors should be banned from the internet! Bans are noted in red.

  • Smoldering Saddles (Banned!)
  • The Normal Lebowski (No ban, but close…)
  • Star Trek: The Previous Generation (Banned!)
  • Star Peace (Banned!)
  • Evening of the Night Before of the Dead (Banned!)
  • W-Men (Banned!)
  • W-Files (No ban, the “W” almost works for me here. Still, this is in the bottom of the pile.)
  • 299 (No ban, just too obvious to rate well.)
  • Thursday the 12th (No ban, same as above, too obvious.)
  • 10,001 BC (Too obvious, but you do need to understand how BC dates work.)

Best #unseenprequels Titles

  • @Idanders: The Construction Site on the River Kwai
  • @Bryce1984: The Lambs That Wouldn’t Shut Up
  • @blogdiva: Second-Base and The City
  • @KagroX: Still Plenty of Mohicans
  • @defconqueso: Conceived on the 4th of October  (I thought this was super clever!)
  • @StevenE_8: Everyone gets along on The Bounty
  • @weaselbacon: The Bourne Penultimatum
  • @ZenDeHoag: Zack and Miri Take a Polaroid of a Clumsy Backseat Handjob (My personal favorite)

My list of #unseenprequel Titles

  • Indiana Jones and the Diaper of Doom (Banned!Yes, I would get banned for this awful attempt.)
  • Salem’s Unincorporated Land (I do not think a ban is in order, but this is still a lame attempt.)
  • Apocalypse Any Time Now… (I really liked this one.)
  • We Have a Few Starfighters Left (This is a top notch attempt, if I do say so myself!)
  • Has Anyone Seen Red October? (This is worthy of a retweet!)

Bill

The Graveyard BookWhere Icarus Flies podcast episode 2 is in the books! This episode is extra holiday length!

WhereIF – Episode 2 Contents

I pack a lot in this week, I guess I am trying to make-up for only posting weekly at this point. As I mention in the podcast until I get the hang of this whole podcasting business, I will record a show weekly. If all goes well, before the end of the year I will record two shows a week. Here is a look at what is happening inside the podcast this week:

WhereIcarusFlies.com

I promote the website and blog. I talk about the Ad Fail and WordPress for iPhone 2 review. I also talk about the 1-5 sets of wings rating system for my reviews.

Halloween

I recap Halloween and the craziness that was going on at my house. I wanted the house to be spooky, but I hadn’t intended on terrifying little kids!

Twitter

I mentioned how to follow Where Icarus Flies on Twitter (@WhereIF). I also talk about the recent top trending topic #unseenprequels. There were some hilarious prequel titles and some really bad ones two. I’ll create a separate blog post regarding #unseenprequels and list the best, worst and some of my own.

SuperNews

I gave a plug to one of the funniest places on the web, SuperNews! If you have been following my Twitter posts, you’ll see that I forwarded out a link to SuperNew’s story of what happened on the first Halloween!

The Graveyard Book

It is only fitting that the MasterWorks Theater portion of the show have a reading from Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book! I talk about the book and Neil Gaiman a bit before reading an excerpt. I hope it whet’s your appetite to go out and either get the audio book (read by Neil Gaiman himself) or buy the hardcopy. It is a treat and winner of the 2008 John Newbery Award for “The most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children.” Basically, it was to TOP children’s book of 2008 and well deserving of the prestigious award!

If you are looking for more information regarding the The Graveyard Book or would like to purchase a copy, then visit http://www.thegraveyardbook.com/

Podcast File Info – Episode 1

  • Running time: 39 minutes
  • MP3 file size: 37MB
  • M4A file size: 40MB

All show ideas, comments and questions can be sent to feedback@whereicarusflies.com

Bill

Facebook AdI was on Facebook today and came across this advertisement in the sidebar. Is it me, or is this just plain sad? Holy destroy our self-esteem as a society and make fun of others, Batman! I hope they paid the guy who is in the picture or at least got a consent form. Is it just that I am getting to be older and beginning to see things more clearly or am I just turning into a prude? I am disgusted by this ad. I see no humor in this at all, although I understand that many will find it hilarious and that is also sad.

The ad ultimately points to Zwinky.com, which wants you to install a web browser toolbar. Total Ad Ware crap, if you ask me.

Zwinky.com is owned my IAC Search & Media and MANY users beside me also consider it adware. When looking at Zwinky.com on McAfee’s Site Advisor out of 176 people who left feedback, 6 rated the site good. The majority (140+) rated the site as “Adware, spyware, or viruses” and the rest was mixed between “Browser exploit, “This site spams,” and “Excessive popups.”

Do I think Facebook is to blame? No, but not only is this and Ad Fail, but a total Experience Fail/Company Fail.

1

Nov

by WhereIF

Wordpress LogoI just installed WordPress for iPhone 2 and have used it to write this post. It is a pretty simple interface. It let’s you manage posts, comments and pages. The functionality is pretty light, but it is a good start.

Cons so far: I have only been using it for a very short time on my iPhone 3GS and it has crashed 3 times. Not a very good track record. I would also like to have more control over pictures that I want to add to posts. It looks like pictures can only be inserted at the end of your post. I would also like to see a little more from the text editor. The ability to bold and add lists would also be nice.

When you open your WordPress blog from the app, you are connected to your blog’s comments. I’d like to be able to change this default behavior. I guess they assume most folks will want to use the app to manage their comments more than working on posts.

I don’t know how much posting that I will do from my iPhone, but it could be useful. Of course, I can use mobile Safari to edit my blog, but managing it through an iPhone app just seems more sophisticated!

Note: I moved the WordPress image to the top of my post via the browser-based editor after posting the article. I also added the ratings image using the browser editor.

Final rating on the initial release? I give it 2.5 sets of wings out of 5. I’ll stick with it to see how it improves.

2.5 out of 5 sets of wings