Monday, August 31, 2009
Enough with the Disney and Marvel Comics deal - Bon Appétit magazine has named Portland "America's Foodiest Small Town 2009"!

Let's eat!
posted by Josh at 3:39 PM | 0 comments
So I've been all over the internet today trying to find out how long a license for Marvel Super Heros Universal Studios signed for the Islands of Adventure park. Can't find anything.

I have put together a good list of outstanding movies and TV shows, though. Might not be complete but hey, it's something ...

Feature Films

Iron Man 2 (2010) - self-produced, dist. by Paramount
Spider-Man 4 (2011) - Columbia Pictures
X-Men Origins: Magneto (2011) - 20th Century Fox
X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 (2011) - 20th Century Fox
Thor (2011) - self-produced, dist. by Paramount
The First Avenger: Captain America (2011) - self-prod, dist. by Paramount
Avengers (2012) - self-produced, dist. by Paramount
Spider-Man 5 (tbd) - Columbia Pictures
Spider-Man 6 (tbd) - Columbia Pictures
Deadpool (tbd) - 20th Century Fox
X-Men: First Class (tbd) - 20th Century Fox
Venom (tbd) - Columbia Pictures
Namor (tbd) - Marvel Studios
Runaways (tbd) - Marvel Studios
Ant-Man (tbd) - Marvel Studios
Iron Man 3 (tbd) - self-produced, dist. by Paramount

Animated DVDs

Planet Hulk (2010) - Lionsgate
Thor: Tales of Asgard (2011) - Lionsgate

Animated Series

Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) - Nicktoons
Iron Man: Armored Adventures (2009) - Nicktoons

The Super Hero Squad Show (September 19, 2009) - Cartoon Network
Black Panther Animated Series (Summer 2009) - BET Networks
Thor: The Animated Series (Fall 2010) - ?
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (Fall 2011) - ?
posted by Josh at 3:29 PM | 0 comments
20090831_marvel.pngHoly cow! That's unexpected!

If you haven't seen it yet, check out this press release.

Pretty much the gist is Mickey has paid $4 billion dollars for the X-Men, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Thor, etc. Approximately 5000 characters in all.

Of course, this brings up sticky subjects like the Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal's Islands of Adventure, the various movie studio deals (ironically I think Disney is the only studio who hasn't released a Marvel Comics movie ...)

Is it a good fit? Not sure. Although it certainly brings the teen boys market to the table. Much more than Disney XD does ...
posted by Josh at 10:57 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, August 30, 2009
20090830_williams.pngHey, today would have been Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams' 91st birthday.

Williams, as you probably know, was the last player to bat over .400 in a single season.

And actually Williams is not "biologically dead" - he's only "legally dead" - his body is frozen in Scottsdale, Arizona.
posted by Josh at 10:31 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, August 29, 2009
20090829_ikea.pngHave you seen this yet? Swedish furniture chain Ikea has changed its font (well, technically it's a typeface but we lost that battle long ago).

Anyway, check out "The Font War: Ikea Fans Fume over Verdana" at TIME.
posted by Josh at 8:30 AM | 0 comments
(Okay, that's by far the most horrible title I've ever written.)

But did you see that Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain author Michael Crichton's second-to-final book (he passed away last autumn) Pirate Latitudes is going to be released on November 24, 2009?

And it's about pirates (hence the title)?


Then Crichton's final final novel will come out next year. Check it:

In Fall 2010, HarperCollins will publish his latest techno thriller which explores the outer edges of new science and technology in the way that only Michael Crichton knew how. The new novel will be based on the development of Crichton's narrative on notes and files. "It is some consolation to the millions of Crichton fans out there that two or possibly more works are in the offing, and that the amazing legacy he has left behind him will be reinvigorated by these new novels" says Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Harper.
posted by Josh at 8:25 AM | 2 comments
Friday, August 28, 2009
This is odd - I've been taken aback by two stories about Islam recently.

The first is about a soccer player in Italy who was benched for fasting during Ramadan.

On the one hand, it makes sense, but it's a terribly touchy subject.

The second story is even weirder - Muslims in Malaysia have been barred from attending a Black Eyed Peas concert. I guess the show is sponsored by Guinness, and Muslims are not allowed to consume alcohol.

That's a little more reactionary - just because one attends an event sponsored by a company doesn't mean that they believe in that company.

Because if they did, that would mean that all American football fans like drinking beer and driving big trucks.

Oh, wait ...
posted by Josh at 7:13 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Um, how did I not hear about this until today? "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare".

Lucky for me we're too broke to shop at the Whole Foods in Portland.


Still, if Maine had a Trader Joe's they'd be printing their own money right now ...
posted by Josh at 5:02 PM | 0 comments
20090825_diana_01.pngIn this day and age to covet a film camera is a rare thing. A $60 jokey camera at that?

I must be insane.

But check out the Diana Mini.

I know, the half-frame thing is a gimmick, and one can make square photos of rectangles in Photoshop (or at the very least, with a pair of scissors).

But still, it's very cool.


Personally I've always had good luck with cheesy plastic caleras - my most favorite photo ever (the black and white one of Stonehenge) was taken on a $6 Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim.
posted by Josh at 4:16 PM | 0 comments
Check out the Yellowbird Camera that lets you take 360 degree video.

It's like your own personal Circle-Vision 360°!


posted by Josh at 4:01 PM | 0 comments
Friday, August 21, 2009
Today the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins.

You might remember that I talked about Ramadan, the fasting and celebrations at length on Newlywed in Dubai (see Ramadan, Ruining Ramadan, No Smoking in Dubai and Beer, Ramadan, The Hard Rock, And Dubai).

I do want to mention how, at least in Dubai, even non-Muslims cannot drink or eat in public during Ramadan. That was tough for us in September, I can't imagine doing it in August. Or soon in July.

See, because the Islamic calendar is based on lunar sightings it has ten fewer days than the Gregorian calendar, and thus the Islamic months shift a week and a half earlier each year.

By 2014 Ramadan will start in June.

Ten years after that, it'll be on my birthday, March 30.

Anyway, Ramadan Kareem everyone!
posted by Josh at 8:20 AM | 0 comments
You know what's a horrible article to read on a foggy Friday morning? Fortune's last cover story: "The next great bailout: Social Security".

Back in January I talked about how the Social Security Trust Fund was projected to run out by 2041, two years short of my being able to collect benefits (see None Too Secure).

The bad news?

Now Fortune says the fund's going to run out a few years sooner - like 2035.

See, in 2002 the Social Security Admininstration projected 2009's cash flow at $115 billion. It was revised last year down to $87 billion. It's now projected to be a tiny $19 billion.

Thanks recession!

And then the article gets into how it's actually funded by government IOUs to itself ... yikes.

Just don't read it, okay? Enjoy your morning in peace.

I'll be out back, digging a bunker.
posted by Josh at 7:22 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Did you see that Apple's iTunes sells 25% of all music in the US?

posted by Josh at 11:27 AM | 0 comments
Did you hear about this video ad they're running in NY and LA copies of Entertainment Weekly?

Check out "CBS to run video ad in magazine this fall".


the screen, which is 2.7 millimeters thick, has a 320x240 resolution. The battery lasts for about 65 to 70 minutes, and can be recharged, believe it or not, with a mini USB cord--there's a jack on the back of it. The screen, which uses thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) technology, is enforced by protective polycarbonate.

Here's a video of the technology that I can't seem to embed.

That's pretty amazing ...
posted by Josh at 10:36 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Figured I should get to this crazy-ironic joke before Letterman and Leno O'Brien do.

A baseball team in Japan that is owned by the Nippon Ham meat-packing company has the swine flu.


You might recall the Nippon Ham Fighters is where the Red Sox signed Hideki Okajima from.

You might also recall I discussed the team two-and-a-half years ago on the other site (see Red Sox Update).
posted by Josh at 10:49 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So I know I'm a little psycho about the iPhone, but the sheer number of cool apps is amazing.

I just found that there's one for the website - my father's favorite site.
posted by Josh at 5:18 PM | 0 comments
What a week to have an iPhone! You can now buy two classic games in Wolfenstein 3D and SNOOD and a pricy TomTom turn-by-turn GPS navigation application.
posted by Josh at 8:41 AM | 0 comments
Monday, August 17, 2009
Just checking in on everyone's favorite emirate this morning.

I missed this one a week and a half ago, apparently His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai has been given a six-month ban from long-distance horse racing after his horse tested positive for banned substances.

I mention this now because his son Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Executive Council Chairman, has also been banned for testing positive for horse steriods.

Well, his horse did, not him.

Of course, he blamed the "intense competition" among the horse grooms which lead to "errors of judgement by them". Because I'm sure there's no "intense competition" among the riders in a 120-kilometer endurance race.

Class act, that Hamdan.

In other news, a building collapsed in Deira, Dubai needs more drug rehab and they just opened their first robotic parking lot.

posted by Josh at 9:39 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Yeah, so this isn't good. The city of Portland is being sued for barring the use of a building as mosque.

I know there are zoning regulations that the city is sticking to, but this kind of stuff just looks bad. Last year there was a lawsuit about a Rabbi and his temple, you might recall.

Hope they settle this soon, the holy month of Ramadan kicks off next week.

UPDATE: "City's offer to allow worship in building for Ramadan fails".
posted by Josh at 7:20 AM | 0 comments
Friday, August 14, 2009
Twenty years ago today the 16-bit Sega Genesis video game console was released in North America.

posted by Josh at 8:36 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, August 13, 2009
With a color scheme like this, their first game should be on Dec. 25!

So the Portland Press Herald has confirmed my fears ... the new Maine Red Claws NBA D-League team might have the worst uniforms in professional sports.

Maine Red Claws Jersey

In case you missed it the green is for the Boston Celtics and the red is for the "Red Claws". The name is also a tribute to former Celtics head coach, Red Auerbach.

But still, it looks damn goofy.
posted by Josh at 5:15 PM | 0 comments
This'll be my last post about beer for a while, I promise. But Shipyard Pumpkinhead is out now - I found three in my "Captain's Collection" variety pack yesterday.

Shipyard pumpkinhead

Yep, this means autumn is officially here.

Too bad we didn't have much of a summer ...
posted by Josh at 2:28 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
20090812_samadams.pngIn Maine we have a fantastic number of local beers - so many that I rarely buy my old standby, Sam Adams.

It's kind of sad.

The other day, however, I had to try the new Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier.


I don't know the right lingo to review the beer properly ("medium body with a fair carbonation gives a nice balance"). But if you like a little fruit beer, especially in the summer, you should check it out.
posted by Josh at 8:05 AM | 0 comments
Aw dang! Did you see that Sid Meier’s classic video game Civilization is coming to the iPhone?
posted by Josh at 7:57 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I went to work for the LEGO Group (technically "LEGO Media Santa Monica") nine years ago this summer.

At the time we were developing several properties, the only one to see the light of day was Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension a live-action show about a 15 year old boy who could transform parts of his body into machines.

Yes, it was as lame as it sounds.

(Look for the Michael Bay feature adaptation next year).

At the time all of my Disney co-horts, heck everyone I ran into, told me we should make a movie or show about LEGO mini-figures. Makes perfect sense, right?

Well guess what they just announced in Variety today?

"Warner builds pic with Lego".

I'm so ahead of the curve on this one it's scary ...
posted by Josh at 10:53 PM | 0 comments
20090811_tahoe.pngWe're back from our mini-vacation in Lake Tahoe!

I say "mini" because from door-to-door the whole thing only took 95 1/2 hours.

Yes, on Friday at 3 am we left for Boston's Logan Airport, and we were home safely at 2:30 am on Tuesday morning.

Tahoe was fantastic, different than I expected, but fantastic. I'm actually not sure what I expected, perhaps more gangsters? (You might remember that Tahoe's where Fredo is dumped in The Godfather Part II and where Whit Sterling has a home in Out of the Past).

Also? The lake was bluer than I expected. Yes, bluer.

Back in my Los Angeles days I had a friend from Tahoe, she had a "Keep Tahoe Blue" bumpersticker on her Jeep. I never really knew what that meant, until I saw the lake:


Yes, I did nothing to alter that photo. In fact, it might not be as blue as it was in real life ...

Anyway, more photos and stories soon.

PS- what happened to the Red Sox this weekend? Cripes!!
posted by Josh at 10:08 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, August 06, 2009
20090806_shipyard_01.pngSo yesterday was not only our 3rd wedding anniversary, it was also the return of Shipyard Brewing Company's Pumpkinhead Ale.

Hello autumn!

Yes, last night at the Strange Brew Tavern in Manchester, NH was the first release party of the year. The next is August 20 at Bull Feeney's in Portland.


But this year there's a twist - a new pumpkin beer - Smashed Pumpkin, from the new Pugsley's Signature Series.


I have yet to try any of the Pugsley series beers, they're of the uber-premium sort that I just can't really afford right now. But I think I'll have to try this one.

So fire up the baseball playoffs, get those big yellow buses to the road and turn the trees all sorts of wonderful colors.

Autumn is here. And I'm going to drink it up!
posted by Josh at 6:14 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Hey, so it was three years ago today that we got married.
posted by Josh at 7:54 AM | 1 comments
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
So we're still unemployed here.

People are interesting when you're unemployed. It seems that they either want to confirm how difficult the market is, "Did you see that such-and-such local company is laying off another fifty people?" or they want to offer suggestions, "Did you think about this-and-that company?" "I hear that Amarillo, Texas is immune to this recession. Have you looked there?"

The fact is, it's awkward for everyone. In fact, as I'm thinking about it 23 hours a day, I probably don't want to talk about it when we're hanging out. (Unless, of course, you're old buddies with the VP of Human Resources at a large firm that's hiring. Then I would love to talk shop).

The worst part is, we're trying not to freak out about this. We even gave ourselves a deadline when it'll be okay to freak out. August 1.

Last Saturday.

Yep, it's time to freak out.

It's time to become concerned that everything from the bank statements to the prescription drugs are ever-dwindling, and won't likely be replenished soon.

Should we sell our stuff? Hawk our belongings? Sell our plasma? A kidney?

Are these too drastic? What defines drastic? Because, on August 1 the rules changed. Nothing is left off of the table.

Action is needed. The time for talk is over.

Unless, of course, you're buddies with the VP of Human Resources at a large firm that's hiring. Then give us a call ...
posted by Josh at 7:06 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, August 02, 2009
This says it all: "Without so much as another raindrop, 2009 boasts the fifth rainiest summer in Maine’s recorded history."

Check out proof that our summer is a mess at "One storm away".
posted by Josh at 7:40 AM | 0 comments
20090802_satc.pngAre you kidding me?!

Sometimes Hollywood is ridiculous.

Apparently some executive in Southern California had the genius idea to shoot part of the Sex And The City Sequel in Dubai.

But Dubai's not really hip to that idea.


I might suggest that the genius executive have his/her assistant do coverage (i.e. 'read') the wikipedia article on Islam for her/him. Maybe they'd all learn a thing or two.
posted by Josh at 7:10 AM | 0 comments