Premiere: Burn Notice

This new series on USA is about a burned spy. What amazes me is that if something like this was on a hundred years ago, the first question would be what is this flickering box we are watching? The second question would probably have to do with where the signal comes from, since television jumped moved from black and white to color pictures to over-the-air to cable back to over-the-air in the form of dish broadcasting in relatively short order. But eventually the discussion would come around to what the heck is a burned spy?

And to that, everyone would just accept that it's someone who was kicked out of some organization for no apparent reason, and get on with watching the show. Years ago, however, they would probably get caught up in the fact that there is no good reason that we should know anything about such organizations even existing. How far we have come.

It's not often that I use new software. Of course, new releases mean that I have to do so from time to time, but it's fairly rare that I will actually use entirely new software - it's just that I'm fairly set in what I use, and I barely have enough time to keep up with what I do now (no comments on posting frequency, please), so installing new software just to play doesn't happen often.

But every once in a while, I will come across something that I need to do, and at that point, I have to find a tool that becomes a bit of a lesson in just how difficult it is to find something that works and works right to do the job. These days, it seems like everyone wants to put every bell and whistle possible into their applications. Witness the growth of software over the years to see what I mean. That's why it's a pleasure to find two simple applications that do their jobs - and do their jobs exceedingly well - that I'd like to tell you about: FastStone Capture and FastStone Photo Resizer.

I have enjoyed Will Smith for quite a while. He's had a few flubs, such as Wild, Wild West, but generally even in those, he can be entertaining to watch.

This time around, Smith plays Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, matchmaker extraordinaire. He doesn't advertise, and won't even talk to you if your plan is just to get the girl for one night. For Hitch, it's all about the long ball.

According to the Simple English Wikipedia, Asperger Syndrome is a term that is used when a person has a hard time talking with other people in the usual way. Doctors see Asperger syndrome as a mild form of autism. It is sometimes called "high-functioning autism". This means somebody with autism who looks like they do not have autism, but their brains still works differently than that of other people. Doctors often make mistakes about whether someone has Asperger syndrome, and they often believe by mistake that the person has schizophrenia, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, or mental retardation instead.

What does this have to do with anything? We have frequently been told to have our youngest son should be treated for ADHD, and we don't really subscribe to the idea. So we went looking for some alternate explanations. One of the best descriptions we came upon was Asperger Syndrome.

I'm a bit of a sucker for any apocalyptic tale. Perhaps the fact is that I just know we're done for one of these days anyway, or maybe I'd like to hear the tale of the underdog who manages to scrape through in such circumstances. Then again, maybe I feel like I'll never have the chance to experience the Old West, and it's about as close as I might get - though it would be at the expense of a great deal of our society to get there. Not saying that I'm the one who'd be able to save the world or anything. I just find the stories more interesting than a Utopian future is all.

Casino Royale is interesting in a number of ways.  It is the twenty-first film in the James Bond series.  It is the third time that the novel by the same name has been adapted into a film (though the first as a "real" Bond film).  It is the first time Daniel Craig took on the mantle of the superspy.  But it's also important for one other reason.  It's a significant restart of the franchise.

Though I have often been called a geek, it's usually because I like computers and such.  I did collect comics when I was younger (okay, when I was older too), but not as much as some other people I knew.  I've always been more of a technical geek than a hidden-away-geek.  Not that there's anything wrong with either.

The Sopranos Recap: Made in America

We finally made it - the series finale!

The main issue to resolve is the war between the two families started in the last episode. For now, Tony and his family are living in separate safe houses while they try and figure out where Phil is located so that they can take him out. Until then, it seems that no one will be safe on either side.

In something of an unlikely series of events, there were actually a couple of events happening on the same weekend that we wanted to try out. So after the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Regional Qualifier, we headed to the Charlotte Dragonboat Festival. Unfortunately, by the time we finally got through at the qualifier, it was getting on a bit in the afternoon.

There were multiple problems with this. First and foremost, it gets hotter towards that part of the day. Naturally, we were thinking that boats have to have water, so we were going to be okay. Not necessarily a good idea, because (of course) we weren't on the boats. Perhaps we should have been. Second, the capacity planning coordinator should have been shot.

In 1916, two Polish immigrants started Nathan's Famous, and over 100 years later, the idea is still going strong. Legend has it that on July 4, 1916, four immigrants held a hot-dog eating contest outside the original stand on Coney Island to see who who was the most patriotic. There is no word on why eating the most dogs in the shortest amount of time makes you the most patriotic, but 90-odd years later, the contest is still going strong.

Among the competitive eaters, there is no shortage of events. As recently as one week ago, someone consumed almost 60 hot dogs and buns (HDBs for short) in just 12 minutes (update: this record itself fell in the official event on July 4, 2007 - the record now stands at a whopping 66 HDBs!). The record for spam is 6 pounds in 12 minutes. Butter? 7 quarter-pound sticks in 5 minutes. French fries? 4.46 pounds in 6 minutes. You get the idea. But Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest may well be the oldest event there is, so when a regional qualifying event came to Charlotte, we had to check it out.

The Riches Recap: Waiting for Dogot

Poor Pete. It seems that he is onto the Riches. Er, the Malloys. And just as it seems that they is going to get caught, out comes a new lie. This time, Wayne tells Pete - at gunpoint, in the woods - that Doug is in hiding. With a little help from Cael, who texts Pete a corroborating story, it looks like they might get away with it.

At least until Pete realizes that he is being held up by a guy with a water pistol. Then Wayne has to knock Pete out because he needs time to come up with a new plan.