Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear UbiSoft

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Mike Portnoy leaving Dream Theater

Listen, I know it sucks. My favorite drummer leaving one of my favorite bands (the others being Iron Maiden and Sonata Arctica) is horrible. But people need to learn to read between the lines a bit to get the real story.

Being mad at Dream Theater - Come on. Portnoy basically asked four other guys to put their careers on hold while he goes out and makes a shitload of money with a band that has a number one album. They did what anyone would do it that position. Sorry, mate, but we need to make money too. Congrats on your new gig, see you later.

Portnoy on being burned out - Bullshit. He's bitching about Dream Theater's schedule, but meanwhile adds on tour after tour in between Dream Theater tours. He wanted Dream Theater to go on hiatus so that he could make money with Avenged Sevenfold, plain and simple. His story on the press release is just that: A story. It's designed to make him appear in a good light.

On Dream Theater not being Dream Theater without him: Bullshit. If Steve Harris left Iron Maiden, that would end Maiden, because Steve writes most of their stuff and has a large hand in even the stuff he doesn't write. Historically, Petrucci has written the lion's share of the lyrics, and the music is usually split evenly among Petrucci, Myung, Portnoy, and the current keyboardist. (Rudess now, but Moore and Sherinian wrote on their albums as well.) And let's face it, there are so many drummers out there who idolized Portnoy and grew up trying to play like him that replacing him won't really affect their sound to much. I can list of dozens of prog-metal bands with amazing drummers that could fill in for Portnoy with no problem.

So, I can see why Portnoy would want to leave/take a break, but I can't sympathize with him one bit. I think Dream Theater did the right thing.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Baby Robins - Followup

The bird that refused to fly finally did this morning. He spent the night on my window AC unit downstairs, and then early this morning woke up hungry. I fed him part of a blackberry from our bush, and then he gathered his courage and fluttered off to a nearby branch. He chirped for quite a while trying to attract his parents attention, and by the time I woke up this afternoon he was gone.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Baby Robins

These are the two remaining baby robins that were on our porch nest two days ago. (There were four. Number four disappeared overnight one night a week ago, number three was the biggest and jumped out a couple of days ago.)




I was awakened from an after-dinner nap on my couch this afternoon by a weird screeching sound from the porch. It seems both remaining birds decided to leave the nest this afternoon. One bird was gone, but one was being attacked by a stray cat on my porch. I scared the cat away, but the remaining bird just could not seem to fly. He kept trying to fly into my big living room window, but was smacking into the siding below the window. Eventually I got tired of seeing him brain himself on my house, coaxed him onto a paint-stirrer, and put him back in his nest.

His brother (or her sister, too young for me to tell) was sitting on my back porch, and migrated to my Jeep when I came outside.




A short while later, my wife informed me that the house-crashing robin was now sitting at my front door staring into the screen and chirping. *sigh* I went out to check him out and make sure the cat wasn't around. He waited until I was watching him and then chirped "Look at me! I can fly!" and then proceeded WHAM WHAM WHAM to repeatedly launch himself against the side of my porch. (I think the other fledgelings got all the brains.)

OK, I get it, you don't want to stay in the nest. I also think that you are cat food if you stay on the porch. Let's try moving you to the backyard where your brother was and see if you can perch in a bush or something high enough to stay safe.

Nope, halfway to the backyard the robin decided that it was going to sleep on the paint stirrer. (Just like my baby, it apparently likes to fall asleep to a nice rocking motion.) Grrrr. I put the robin - stick and all - on my Jeep, hoping he would flutter off to a bush or something. Nope. Not wanting to leave the sleeping moron where the cat could come back and munch on him, I decided that he should sleep somewhere safer.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Delta Children’s Products Eclipse Double Dresser - Black Cherry


One starHorrible quality, horrible company, July 16, 2010
Reviewer: J. Star "Agent.X7" (Endicott, NY 13760) - See all my reviews
Real Name
My in-laws ordered this for us 2 months before our baby was due. It's now 3 months after our baby was born, and this dresser is still in pieces in the baby's closet.

When we got the dresser, all of the wheels on the drawer tracks were broken, and the sides had big gouges in the wood. Target did not have this in stock, and we really wanted to finish putting it together, so we called Delta. Big mistake.

Delta sent us 2 replacement sides. Great, except that the sides they sent us did not fit the top of the dresser. Apparently they have 2 or three factories in Asia, AND THEY ALL MAKE THE PARTS A DIFFERENT WAY. So a dresser made in Thailand has parts that do not fit a dresser made in Vietnam. I guess corporate communication doesn't exist in Asia? Anyway, these replacement sides took weeks to get to us. Once we got them and realized they did not fit, we called Delta again. They promised to send us a new top, but it was back-ordered. And back-ordered. And after weeks of being on back-order, Delta finally promised to just send us a new Dresser. Meanwhile the baby had been born, and we still don’t have a place to put her clothes.

Finally a package arrived from Delta, 2 MONTHS LATER. Guess what? Yeah, it’s not a new dresser, but the top that had been on back-order. Guess what else? Yeah, it is THE SAME TOP WE ALREADY HAVE. It doesn’t fit the new sides either. After calling Delta for a week, we finally got them to send a new dresser. They refused to have it shipped to us by a faster means, so now we’re looking at 2 more weeks of waiting. I have zero hope that it will not be broken, or that it will actually fit together. I have very little hope that the Delta rep. isn’t lying to us again about sending a new dresser altogether.

Bottom line, Delta is a God-awful company and I will never purchase anything from them again, and will return gifts manufactured by them.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Well played, trolls, well played.

Blizzard officially backed down on using real names in their forums today. Congratulations, trolls, you can now go back to calling everyone niggers, fags, kikes, and chinks without fear of anyone in your life knowing what a prick you really are.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Disclaimer

Yes, I play World of Warcraft. No, I don't plan on buying Starcraft II. (Not a fan of RTS games.) Yes, I do plan on buying Diablo 3. Yes, I do use Real ID in WoW now. Yes, I own stock in Activision-Blizzard. (Why would you not, if you give them so much money?) No, I do not agree with everything they do.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

RealID

Blizzard has begun a new "thing" in World of Warcraft (and soon Starcraft II) that requires you to use your real first and last name to "friend" people cross-game, or so that you can always chat with your friend no matter what character they are playing. Soon they will require that people use their real first and last names to post in the forums.

The reaction to this, of course, is outrage. I won't go into the myriad of ridiculous reasons why people think this is bad, I will simply translate them all for you in one sentence: I'm worried about using my real name because I am ignorant of real world security issues, or I am worried about using my real name because I am - in fact - a giant fucking asshole to everyone online when I think I am anonymous and now everyone will know who that giant fucking asshole really is.

I think it's a great idea. It may cut down on the retards who feel the need to post bullshit and clog up the forums with useless posts.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Some slogan suggestions

You know, I think some people could benefit from some news slogans.

The Brady Campaign - Spreading hatred for law abiding gun owners since 1974.

The Brady Campaign - Trying to make rape and murder easier since 1974.

Too much truth in that advertising?

The Brady Campaign - A hate group?

Inspired by this article:
http://www.peoplespresscollective.org/2010/06/brady-campaign-is-newest-hate-group/

As discussed on the NY Firearms forum by myself and others.


i think its funny that people are saying all of this... but i also think its a cheap shot on an opponent which im not a fan of. The brady group isnt a hate group as much as MADD isnt a hate group against alcohol consumption... they are however a group of poorly informed, closed minded... dare i say elitists?


My Response:

No, they really are a hate group. The difference is this: MADD is Mother's Against Drunk Driving. Drunk driving has been illegal for a long time, and before that it was frowned upon as something jackasses did. MADD spreads awareness of this illegal activity in the hopes to persuade people not to do it by showing the consequences of breaking this law.

The Brady Campaign spreads ill will towards a group of law abiding citizens enjoying their God given right to keep and bear arms as provisioned for in the Constitution of this United States. How often do they also mock and insult lawful citizens? They promote hatred towards gun owners. Hence, Hate Group. The NRA makes mock of them, yes, but the NRA isn't asking us to outlaw non-gun owners, or harass them with nonsense lawsuits, or blame them for every evil thing that happens to us. Brady promotes hate, and that is a fact.




I never really thought about it until I read that article, but it really does make sense. I read news articles all the time where the Brady folks try to paint every gun owner as a destructive beast who willingly brings society to the brink of destruction, and it brings to mind the Nazi's painting the Jews as the bad guys, or racist people in the US calling other people unintelligent beasts simply because of their skin color. The Brady Campaign seeks to spread hatred of gun owners. They are, in fact, a hate group. Sure, sometimes they try to hide it behind flowery BS - in the same way that religious zealots spread hatred of gays by "hating the sin but loving the sinner" - but they are, in fact, a hate group.


EDIT: I have been informed that MADD is, indeed, fairly wacky now and is calling for prohibition and other such nonsense.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Top 5 Musicians

For music lovers and musicians:
Top 5
Vocalist:
1- Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
2- Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica)
3- James LaBrie (Dream Theater)
4- Ray Alder (Fates Warning, Redemption)
5- Geoff Tate (Queensryche)

Drummer:
1- Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)
2- Uli Kusch (ex-Helloween, ex-Masterplan)
3- Nikko McBrain (Iron Maiden)
4- The Rev (RIP - Avenged Sevenfold)
5- David Charlesworth (Dead Air Radio)

Bassist:
1- Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
2- Geddy Lee (Rush)
3- John Myung (Dream Theater)
4- Flea (RHCP)
5- Justin Chancellor (Tool)

Keyboards/Piano:
1- Kevin Moore (ex_Dream Theater)
2- Heinrik Klingenberg (Sonata Arctica)
3- Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater)
4- Elton John
5- Derek Sherinian (Planet X, ex-Dream Theater)

Guitarist:
1- Janick Gers, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray (Iron Maiden)
2- John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
3- Eddie Van Halen
4- Mark Tremonti (Creed, Alter Bridge)
5- Jani Liimatainen (ex-Sonata Arctica)

Band:
1- Dream Theater
2- Sonata Arctica
3- Iron Maiden
4- Redemption
5- Masterplan

These are mine. What are yours?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Palestine, for the ill-educated masses

Helen Thomas, I think, represents the majority of Americans in their ignorance about the "state" of Palestine and the Jewish "occupation." Scratch that Americans part, since the rest of the world seems bent on saving the "Palestinians" from the evils of Israel, as evidenced by the strange "peace" missions to Gaza. (During which the "peaceful" protesters attacked Israeli military forces.)

Dear Helen and other morons: Jews have been living in that area for, oh, pretty much ever. Jews and Arabs have been getting along well since..Oh, wait. They have NEVER fucking gotten along well. When, after WWII, the UN decided to separate the Arabs and the Jews into two areas, there was massive violence from both the Jews and the Arabs that had BOTH been fucking living in the same areas.

So, telling the Jews to get out and go home is FUCKING STUPID and IGNORANT. They ARE home. After WWII, the US pushed for relocation of Holocaust survivors to the area to join their brethren who already lived there. They didn't invent a Jewish population, they just added displaced people who no longer wished to live in Europe.

Telling Jewish people to get out of Israel is akin to having asked black people to get out of South Africa, or Irish people to leave Northern Ireland.

Guess what? The Arabs were given their chances to form a state and failed to do so. They instead chose to be in a constant state of conflict with Israel, and now they are reaping the benefits of their choice.

Writer Larry Miller sums it up best:

"A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you Really need.

Here we go:

The Palestinians want their own country.

There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians.

It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years.
Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, and there were no "Palestinians" then, and the West Bank Was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians" then. As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the Palestinians," weeping for Their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation."

So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our Deaths until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are: "Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death."

I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters." Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing: No, they don't.

They could 've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, Especially two years ago at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to Figure out some way to make a living. That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region Want: Israel.

They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course -- that's where the real fun is -- but mostly they want Israel.

Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel - or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it -- for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth, you know that's really saying something.

It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about. The great history and culture of the Muslim Mideast. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews.
Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, Everyone will be pals.

Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the Numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it.

Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not. Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting. No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the Worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that with vital operations in Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a Roomful of supermodels who've just had their drugs taken away.

However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of Losing moral weight.

We've already lost some. After September 11 our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the Countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we Did, and we tell them to show restraint.

If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and East of the Jordan.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

OMG! Who should we blame for this?

http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/109701/placing-the-blame-as-students-are-buried-in-debt

A whole NY Times article about a student wanting to place blame other than where it belongs: squarely on her shoulders. Personal responsibility, bitch. Did you really think four years at NYU with a degree in religion and women's studies would get you any sort of decent job that would allow you to pay back over $100 grand in loans?

Monday, May 24, 2010

More LOST explanations, for the slow.

The Polar Bears - Seriously, stop asking about the damn polar bears. They explained them. The bear cages that Sawyer and Kate were locked in? Yeah, those were for the polar bears. Somehow they escaped when the Others drove out the Dharma Initiative. Dharma was running experiments on them.

The Hostiles - People that Jacob dragged to the Island before Dharma got there. Why were they hostile? They were protecting the Light for Jacob. And possibly killing people at the behest of the Smoke Monster. Otherwise known as the Others.

The Smoke Monster - Jacob created him when he threw his brother down into the heart of the Island. How? Who knows? It was never explained why the brother became a monster while Jack and Desmond did not. Maybe it's because he was evil at heart? Maybe Jacob willed it?

Many of the strange happenings are connected to the strange electromagnetic energy of the Island. It was never explained. That's the kind of show LOST was. It wasn't about giving the answers to every strange event, it was about the characters. Besides, just about any explanation they could give would disappoint some portion of the viewers. Life is better with a little mystery.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

LOST series finale - explained

Already seeing massive complaints from people that do not get it.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!



















They did not all die when the plane crashed. Everything that happened, happened. The "flash sideways" is a sort of limbo that they go to when they die. Christian Shepard explained it: Not everybody gets there at the same time, but we all die. Jack died next to Vincent in the bamboo after he saved the Island. Hurley and Ben and Desmond are all left on the Island, and Sawyer, Miles, Lapidus, Richard, Claire, and Kate all leave on the plane. They all live after the show ends, but eventually they all find each other in the church when they die and move on together to the afterlife.

No, the whole show wasn't a dream. No they weren't all dead in the beginning. No, the Island wasn't really hell.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Still working on the nursery...

Three quarters of this thing is done now. Just waiting on spring break next week to finish up.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

OBAMA SENSE

I'm coining a new phrase: OBAMA SENSE.

It's like common sense, except it is actually the diametric opposite.

For example - spending a shitload of money when you actually have no money, and in fact are in debt up to your eyeballs: it's just OBAMA SENSE, duh!

Or - Having the government take over health care to better manage the nation's welfare, like the massive success we've had with Social Security and Medicaid: It's OBAMA SENSE!

You can use it so many ways. It's just OBAMA SENSE to wear a t-shirt and shorts in a blizzard! Don't stop at a gas station when the fuel light is on! Duh, use some OBAMA SENSE!

Maybe I can get the FUBO guys to buy this idea. :D

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health-care, et. al.

From my response to a forum post elsewhere:

Washington himself cautioned against having political parties for this very reason. My party, your party. It's all BS. They're not your party, they get fed by big business and in turn feed big business. You don't mean squat to them except as a source of income from taxes and a way to get to power. Politicians are swindlers, and you have been swindled if you swallow their Kool-Aid. Democrats and Republicans are Pepsi and Coke. Two similar flavors that are super bad for you that hide behind superb marketing.

If you throw words around like they do in Washington, you have swallowed the bait hook, line, and sinker. Democracy. My ass. This nation has never been, is not now, and will never be a democracy. That's a bullshit, feelgood buzzword the government has been feeding the world.

This healthcare reform isn't about taking care of Americans. This is about controlling things, power, and money.

The war on {INSERT CAUSE HERE} is exactly what Orwell predicted it would be. Rally the nation to our cause! Drugs! Alcohol! Guns! Terrorists! FEAR! The war isn't meant to be won. It's meant to be continuous. And it is.

Bah. Words are worthless at this point. The sheep have long since covered their eyes and ears and started humming the Star Spangled Banner over common sense.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nursery Work

Before:



After:

It's not really noticeable in the pictures, but the wall is actually a different color now. (Sand instead of off white)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quick FYI

Calling someone's workplace and leaving a message that implies that they do no work is slander. Should you actually cause that someone to lose their job, you can be sued for slander. That doesn't scare you? Well, think of it this way: If someone is 40, and you cause them to lose a job paying a measly $25k a year that they may have stayed at until retirement at 65, that is a base (25k x 15 years) actual damages suit of $1,125,000. It'll probably be more, assuming the plaintiff's lawyer isn't sleeping through the case, and assuming the judge will also slap you with a nice punitive damage award as well.

Don't have a million bucks sitting around? Don't worry, the court can force you to liquidate most of your assets to pay; including your house, your business, your car, etc.

Maybe you should think about that before acting like a psycho.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New to me Taurus PT92


If this type of gun looks familiar, it's probably because you watch movies. Or TV. Or don't live under a rock. The Taurus PT92 has been featured in numerous screen roles, as has its older brother, the Beretta 92. (John McClane's gun in Die Hard was a Beretta 92) The difference is that the Beretta has a slide-mounted safety lever, and the Taurus has a frame mounted one. Sometimes you will see them actually interchanged between scenes in movies. In one shot the character is holding a Beretta, and the next angle shows them holding a gun that looks exactly the same except the safety moved.

The Beretta 92 is also known as the US Military M9 pistol. If you know anybody in the military, chances are they fired this gun at some point in their career, even if just to qualify in basic.

I owned a nice stainless Taurus snub nose revolver that I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with, so I basically traded it in for a semi-auto that I could shoot a little better. It doesn't hurt that the Taurus PT92 has been around forever, so that there are plenty of pre-ban magazines floating around for it. Here in NY, we can't have magazines manufactured after Sept, 1994 that hold more than 10 rounds. The PT92 has pre-ban magazines that hold 15 rounds of 9mm ammo.

Yippee Ki Yay, Motherfucker!

Taurus PT92 w/rail Horizontal Shoulder Holster

I just wanted to post this up in case anybody else in the US is looking for a leather horizontal shoulder holster that fits the Taurus PT92 w/rail. I just spent the last week searching out, emailing, and calling leather holster makers looking for one, and I wouldn't wish this frustration on anybody. (That's not exactly true. Governor Patterson, I am looking at you...)

After trying Bianchi, Galco, Mitch Rosen, and a couple dozen other holster makers, I finally found one that makes the type of shoulder holster I was looking for: High Noon Holsters. Their model "Under Taker" and "Under Armor" both have holsters that can fit the PT92 and PT99 with rails. Of course, they aren't listed as such. You'll have to pick Beretta 92FS Vertec to get the right fit. (I asked them just to make sure.)

If you aren't as picky as I am, Bianchi makes a soft nylon horizontal shoulder holster called the Tuxedo that fits the PT92 w/rail. I just don't like generic nylon holsters.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amazon vs Macmillan

Look, when I was a kid, a brand new hardcover cost $15. Then it went up to $20, $25, and now a lot of them are close to $30. The whole time the publishing companies cried cost of publishing increases and inflation.

Now that they are fighting with Amazon, some publishers claim that the printing cost of the book is only 8 - 10%. Wait, why did the cost of books skyrocket if the printing prices didn't really skyrocket? Oh, right, convenient excuse to raise prices and increase profits.

Look, I'm not ignorant. I know publishers pay to advertise (some books) and have other assorted costs. But, I also know how businesses operate. Any excuse to drive that bottom line as high as it can go. Macmillan is skirting the issue that for e-books, they are really just a middle man. So sorry that you can't grab fistfuls of cash for each book sold on Kindle, but you didn't really do much to earn it. Welcome to the future. You can now join the RIAA in trying to extort people since you can't sell them overpriced product like you used to.

And Amazon? They're not completely innocent. Obviously they are in it to make money as well. But, as a consumer, Amazon's $9.99 price point looks a LOT better for a few KB of information than almost the same price as a hardcover. Why would publishers think that you would spend $25 for a Kindle version of a book that costs $27 in a book store? Oh, wait. They don't. They want you to buy the real book, because they make more money from you that way. Sure, Amazon makes more money than the publisher from Kindle book sales. Duh. They marketed it, sold it, sent it to you on a cell signal they pay for, and let you read it on a device they paid to develop and market.

Pulling all Macmillan stock from sale was a pretty douchey move overall, but I get where Amazon is coming from. Hi. We're Amazon. We'd like it to go this way, and if it doesn't, well, we'll see how you like losing sales from the largest online market in the world for a few days. I'm sure that will press home the point. We'll see how it actually works out.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why I liked Pandorum

I usually don't read reviews of movies before I watch them. I find that reviews tend to bias my watching of a film, and I'd rather make up my own mind. It's after I watch the film that I like to casually browse some reviews and just see what others think.

Avatar was interesting because it is so popular and so huge that there seems to be a big chunk of people out there that hate the film just because it is popular. (See my previous blog about the story originality complaints as well...) I had seen the previews, and since I try to keep abreast of upcoming movie news, I had known about Avatar for a while. But I didn't read any of the press before going to see the movie, because I only wanted my own prejudices to effect my viewing. Therefore, unsurprisingly, I loved Avatar. I figured that I would like it just because I like pretty much everything James Cameron has ever done. Reading the reviews after seeing it, I was shocked at the number of people that cannot seem to get past the "lack of originality" or who just seem to hate it because it is popular.

Pandorum was different because I have only seen previews of the movie. Sci-fi? Check. Looks interesting? Check. OK, I want to see this. I have never heard of the director. I like Dennis Quaid, but - let's face it - he's been in some pretty shitty movies in the past. I vaguely remembered seeing Ben Foster in something, but I couldn't recall what it was or if he was any good, so that added no baggage. I watched Pandorum with only the hope that it would be a decent sci-fi movie. I loved it. Reading the reviews after watching Pandorum, I had to laugh. Still a high percentage of people who think it is unoriginal - GASP! OH EMM GEE! The plot has been done before? No way! Surely not in our thousands of years of history! - but there were a lot of people who didn't like other things. Things - for the most part - that were reasons I loved the movie.

Thing number one: The movie doesn't explain everything!

You have no idea how much I like this. This is probably the one thing that absolutely sold me on this movie. I love when a film assumes that the audience is smart enough to make the connections on their own and doesn't need to be hand-held through long exposition scenes just to know what is going on. Pandorum gives you exactly as much information as you need to put together what is going on in the main plot, and leaves hints and clues all over for you to pick up on about why this is all happening and how. Why does the agricultural crew member not speak English? Where do the monsters come from, how does the Corporal figure out who was who at the end, and where did the crew go? The film never directly answers these questions, but they give you enough bits of information to figure out an explanation on your own.

Thing two: Originality.

I know, I discuss this ad-nauseum. Here's the thing with unoriginality: EVERYTHING is unoriginal if you want to look at it that way. Yes, everything is derivative. Somebody already used all the elements separately in something else. Great, have a field day hating anything and everything because it has all been done before.

To me, the B (and sometimes even A) movies that pretty much copy every element from another movie and think that you won't notice if they add a twist or two are unoriginal. Hey, let's make Aliens, but we'll make our beasts look different. And, instead of a reactor going critical, it'll be the planet is going to explode because the core is unstable! And they won't be space marines, they'll be, uh... space paratroopers! Yeah!

I liked the story behind Pandorum. I liked that although they may have borrowed elements from many different places - and everybody does this, so no complaints there - they put them together in a way that made sense and pushed the story along.

Thing three: The acting.

I'm going to keep this short. I thought the acting was good. Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster were totally believable as crew members who woke up to a nightmare and had to figure out a way to fix it. The rest of the cast was spot on as well.

Thing 4: The special and visual effects.

A lot of people complained about these, but I thought they were well done and not overused. Actually, if I had to use one word to describe them, it would be reserved. Enough to convey what needed to be conveyed, but not overblown and ridiculous. Nothing exploded for the sake of a cool explosion, nothing threw lens flare all over the screen in every other scene. In fact, I think the filmmakers should give Michael Bay some lessons.

So aside from being well done sci-fi (something that is rare enough to be a treat when it comes along), Pandorum was also just a good movie. I'm not sure how well it did in the theater, but hopefully - like Pitch Black - this will find a big audience now that it is out on DVD and BD. I know I would love to see more stories in this setting.