The miscellaneous ramblings and thoughts of Dan G. Switzer, II

The Dark Knight High Quality Trailer Online

Warner Brothers has finally released a high quality trailer of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. I'm a big fan of Nolan's work and Batman Begins might be the best actual movie that was based on a comic book character. Batman Begins doesn't feel like a typical "superhero" movie, it's much more driven by story and character development than we've seen in the past.

While I was really impressed with the way Michael Keaton's ability transform himself into Batman (which I admit, I was very skeptical of the casting) Christian Bale I think captures Batman better. Keaton was certainly the best of the Batmans in the original series of movies, but Bale was perfect casting for Nolan's vision of the film.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the new trailer.


Spinal Tap to Reunites!!!

Spinal Tap has decided to re-unite for Live Earth Concert. Marty DeBergi is back with a new online documentary which is approximately 15 minutes long.

Spinal Tap is back, and this time the band wants to help save the world from global warming.

qForms Video - Creating A Selectable Checkbox Range

Ok, I actually did this work last week, but was waiting to ship the code to the client before posting the video. I recently had a qForms user ask if qForms could do selecting of a range of checkboxes—liked Google does in GMail (where you can click on a checkbox and then hold [SHIFT] and click on another checkbox to select the entire range.

Well, qForms doesn't offer this "out of the box," but it's really not that difficult to add custom hooks into the API. So, the user ask me to build an add-on library. After spending last Friday night messing around, this is what I came up with.

qForms Video - Creating A Selectable Checkbox Range

Entire Tech TV Cast Fired...

I came across a post on Gizmodo about the firing of the entire staff of Tech TV. When the merger with G4, owned by Comcast, was announced, I tried to be optimistic about union. G4 really sucks—they just don't have any interesting programming and I just can't get in to any of their programming. I was hoping they combine the programming of the two stations and end up with a better product than just Tech TV only could produce—afterall, there's not much of a need for two computer-related stations. Anyway, it sounds like the majority of the Tech TV programming will go away after this announcement. I hope I'm wrong and that Comcast doesn't screw this up like they're apparently doing. If they can keep The Screen Savers, Tech Live and Fresh Gear groups together, I'd be happy. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll happen—especially if all the employees have to relocate to L.A.

TechTV told 285 San Francisco employees on Thursday that their jobs are being eliminated, a move that was widely feared by workers after Comcast announced in March that it would acquire the technology cable channel.

Comcast will merge TechTV, owned by Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures, with its own G4 video game network when the buyout is finalized next week. David Shone, a spokesman for G4 TV, said the company plans to hire 80 people from the San Francisco office to work at the game channel's Los Angeles headquarters. Employees were given two months notice and various severance packages, he said.

Apparently there are two online petitions you can sign:
Reverse G4 / Comcast Decision to Fire Entire Staff of TechTV
Save TechTV


Sgt. Peppers & The Lonely Movies Of The 80s...

I'm sitting here watching Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on DVD—it's one of those movies I love, even though it is completely campy. I remember seeing this as small child and loved it then too. Anyway, I figured I'd read some of the user reviews on the Amazon's web site—which is where I purchased the DVD. After reading through the reviews, I noticed a link the another flick from the past I loved, The Pirate Movie starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins. Realize, I was under the age of 10 when I saw all these movies for the first time. I think these movies both struck home with me as a kid because of my love of music—and the fact that I thought Kristy McNichol was hot.

Anyway, I was prompted to google the net for the phrase "'the pirate movie' dvd" and came across a really cool site The 80's Movie Rewind which is a site completely geared towards movies released in the 80s. There's lost of really indepth information on each site and it includes a search engine to try to find the films on DVD. Just figured I'd share the link. Here are some of my favorite more obscure flicks from the 80s:

  • 3 'O Clock High
  • Amazon Women On The Moon
  • Can't Buy Me Love
  • Eddie & The Cruisers
  • Fright Night
  • Happy Together
  • House
  • The Hitcher
  • The Last Starfighter
  • My Bodyguard
  • Night Of The Comet
  • Savannah Smiles
  • Spinal Tap
  • Summer School
  • They Call Me Bruce


Penn & Teller say "Bullshit!"

I've just recently started trying to catch Penn & Teller: Bullshit! which airs on Thursday nights at 10pm on Showtime. It's Penn & Teller's version of Dateline or 20/20. To quote the show's website, "Penn & Teller's mission is to expose the truth to an otherwise desperate and gullible public."

The episode that Showtime just aired was their episode on Recycling. They brought up some very interesting points. The thing I like best about the site is that they do provide experts from both sides of the story—of course their object is to reveal the "truth" behind the "myths."

Check this show out if you get a chance, or at least check out Topics Archive for video previews and clips of the shows.

Shyamalan's "The Village" Trailer Now Online...

The trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's new movie The Village is now online. I'm a huge fan of the work he's been doing. He's the closest thing there's been to a modern day Hitchcock. His films all have a distinct personality and are driven by the characters and the story. He doesn't need to scare you with dramatic onscreen visuals, he does that through setting mood through dialog. I'm looking forward to this movie, probably not as much as I did Signs, but this is a film I really want to see. Welp, seems like the trailer's done downloading, I'm off to watch it!

Monster House & American Chopper

Two shows that I've really begun to enjoy watching are Monster House and American Chopper—both of which run on Discovery Channel on Monday nights.

Discovery Channel has several shows that carry the "Monster" title. These shows concentrate on doing something extreme that aren't normally seen every day. On "Monster House" they take a normal house and turn it in to something extreme. I've seen theme turn a couple's house into a Vegas-style casino/hotel, a house into a retro sci-fi house (complete w/crashed flying saucer,) and Medival house, a Icelandic/Nordic Viking house and many, many other interesting things. Each show features a new set of "builders". These are 5 local contractors who will have fie days to complete the transformation into a "monster" house. They're just normal everyday contractors. I'm not sure how you apply to be a contractor, 'cause they've had some really bad ones in the past. The bottom line is it's pretty fascinating what these folks will do with a house in just 5 days. Make sure to check out their best of gallery for pictures of some of the transformations.

On American Chopper, the show follows the Teutul family of Orange County Choppers (of Orange County, New York,) I think part of the reason I really enjoy the show is it reminds me at times of working for my family when I was younger. It's also pretty amazing how these guys fabricate these bikes. My favorites bikes were probably the NY Firefighters bike, Jet bike and the Snap-on Tool bike. Make sure to check out the photo gallery for pictures of all the bikes they've built on the show.


Leo Leoport's Sudden Exit From Tech TV...

It appears that Leo Leoport has left Tech TV indefinitely. I tend to watch the show The Screen Savers in the evening, as they do a pretty good job covering the world of tech in a nice casual way. Even Jenn finds the show tolerable—which I'm happy for. She was the first to notice Leo's sudden disappearance. I first assumed he simply had gone on vacation. I didn't recall hearing anything about him going away or anything, but then found it odd they were talking about Leo at all on the show.

During last night's episode, I noticed that they had a new intro—one that looked pretty hastily put together and one that was lacking Leo. That made me very curious. That's when I went to Leo's blog and found out what was going on. Hopefully when Comcast takes over, they'll find a way to bring him back. It's very unfortunate the way things went down. Leo's a big part of the success of Tech TV.

Freaks & Geeks DVD Review...

A while back I blogged about the complete Freaks & Geeks episodes coming to DVD. Well I got my package last Monday in the mail. I decided to go ahead and flip the bill for The Freaks & Geeks Limited Edition Set because I am such a fan of this series. They really did an outstanding job on the packaging. The DVD set arrives as a 1980-81 McKinley High yearbook, with the majority of the pages being behind the scenes photos and stories from the writers and actors and the DVDs are neatly tucked away in the last few pages. They even went to the extent of having what look to be handwritten notes on the front and back covers of the yearbook. When my girlfriend came home from work and saw it, she thought it was one of my high school yearbooks.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it really was one of the best written shows I've seen in a long time. I recommmend anyone who grew up in the 80s (or even late 70s) in to check out this series. There are so many instances of show that could have been written as moments out of my own life, it's just scary. Paul Feig is really a great writer. (After Freaks & Geeks ended, he did another great short-lived sitcom called Undeclared for FOX.) I probably relate with the show even more because I was somewhere between the Freaks (or what we called "hoods") and the Geeks (aka D&D playing, sci-fi, comedy loving kids.) Growing up I played D&D, listened to heavy metal, played guitar for awhile, hung out with my friend's garage bands, drove around time looking for stuff to do, read fantasy novels, etc. So, I relate with both sides of the show.

If you enjoy the music of the 80s, you'll love this series even more. Part of the problem with releasing this series on DVD was they wanted to use original music used in the show. It cost them a pretty penny to get the licensing to use the tunes by Van Halen, Rush, The Who, etc, etc, etc. There's so much great back music packed in these episodes.


A George R.R. Martin Non-update...

George R.R. Martin has still not finished A Feast for Crows.

Original Star Wars Trilogy To DVD!!!

Even bigger news on the DVD front. Star Wars, episodes 4-6 are finally coming to DVD!!! I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this news! Here's the press release I got in my mailbox:

The most requested films for the DVD format will finally become a reality this September as Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox present the eagerly-awaited Star Wars Trilogy for the ultimate home entertainment format. The four-disc collection will be released on September 21 in the U.S. and Canada, with international release dates following closely.

"We know how long fans have waited for this release and how much they have been looking forward to it, so everyone has been working overtime to make sure that the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD is an awesome experience," said Jim Ward, Vice President of Marketing and Distribution for Lucasfilm Ltd. and the DVD collection's Executive Producer.

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi will be available in a four-disc set that includes a bonus disc filled with all-new special features -- including the most comprehensive feature-length documentary ever produced about the Star Wars saga and never-before-seen footage from the making of all three films. Each of the three films in the Star Wars Trilogy has been digitally restored and re-mastered by THX for superior sound and picture quality.

"First and foremost, the DVDs will deliver the very best possible sound and picture and take advantage of everything the medium can offer. On top of that, we are creating added-value material that gets inside the creation of the Star Wars films in a fresh and fun way," Ward said. "We want watching this DVD collection to be as memorable as seeing the movies for the first time."

The films of the Star Wars Trilogy will be available exclusively as a collection and will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX. All three films are closed-captioned and subtitled in English, French and Spanish in the U.S. Internationally, sound and subtitling specifications will vary by territory.

Keep checking starwars.com over the coming months for more specific details about the content of this must-own DVD set.

Freaks & Geeks Coming To DVD!!!

Well, exciting news on the DVD front. The complete Freaks & Geeks episodes are being released on DVD in April. See the Freaks & Geeks website for more info.

Sample Chapter from "A Feast For Crows"

Well, George R.R. Martin is still writing "A Feast For Crows", but at least he's finally given us a little peek at what's to come. He's decided to publish a chapter about Dany titled "Daenerys." For those of you who enjoy Fantasy and haven't read it, I recommend reading his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. "A Feast For Crows" is the fourth book in the series. I normally hate reading incomplete series (because I'm impatient,) but I'm grateful for Robi and Mark for turning me on to this series. Of course, I'm frustrated with them for making me read something that I'm no so anxiously waiting the follow up books for.

Anyway, I can't say enough good things about the way that Martin writes. He has a very unique style and all of his characters are very real. This series definitely doesn't follow the "good guy always triumphs" philosophy. More often than not, doing the nobel/heroic act in these books makes you wind up dead. He definitely brings in a sense of realism that is often lacking from this genre.

One of the most unique aspects of his writing—and the part I enjoy the most—is the fact that each chapter is written from the account of one person. When he's writing in the narrative, he's writing from that person perspective—which may not always be reality of the situation. You'll often find much of you read was not necessarily the whole truth of a situation, but simply the truth as it appears to that character. I've been so conditioned in to believing that everything an author writes is true to the story, that I found this very interesting and always kept me guessing at what was going to happen next. I know this isn't unique to writing, but I've never read a series where you figure out the truth from reading different accounts of a situation from different peoples point of view.


Run Ronnie Run and go buy "Run Ronnie Run!"

Run Ronnie Run! comes out today. While it's Bob and David both agree that it's not their best work, it's still Mr. Show and I'm going to support them by buying a copy. Maybe then the New Line will remember how they messed up. Unfortunately, more likely or not they'll realize nothing other than they don't have to worry about the quality of a movie if it still sells. If you haven't bought it, go buy seasons 1 & 2 and/or season 3 of Mr. Show and treat yourself to some of the funniest TV you'll ever see. Season 3 is probably the best single season of any comedy show ever!