If, upon learning that there's an R-rated Christian horror film in theaters, you feel that you just HAVE to experience it for yourself, I very strongly suggest you fight the urge.
I didn't, and thus had the extreme displeasure of sitting through what is quite possibly the worst movie I've ever seen -- and I saw both MASTER OF DISGUISE and MIMIC while they were in cinemas. The film in question is HOUSE, a low-budget adaptation of Frank Peretti & Ted Dekker's novel that somehow got released to theaters.
I've been trying to write this post for a couple weeks now, intending to summarize the film and give an idea of how truly awful it is, but it's just too awful. The film depicts a couple going through their own personal Hell, but I think the true intent of the film was to put ME through an hour and a half of Hell. I'm still not certain that Hell is a physical place, but I ain't takin' any chances... I almost didn't survive the screening, so an eternity of that is unfathomable. I'm catching up on back-tithings as we speak.
In any case, lest you're curious, this movie in no way deserved an R-rating. There's virtually no blood, no on-screen violence, and it's about as scary as a Very Special Episode of TV's BLOSSOM. The producers purportedly fought with the MPAA over the R-rating, but I find that highly suspect. I think instead that they asked Mabel to give it an R so as to trick hapless heathens into seeing it. Just now, while trying to find a copy of the poster of the film, I stumbled across Ted Dekker himself talking about the film, and I find that what he said completely backs up my impressions regarding the theatrical release of this film:
“This is still essentially the same story from the book. It’s the story of four lost souls entering their own hell, mistaking their one hope of rescue as something evil, and in the end either living or dying.
But the marketing has changed. The message is now going out to the millions who would never be caught dead watching a movie like ‘Left Behind,’ no pun intended. "
Indeed, it appears that some well-intentioned zealot put a lot of money into getting this stinker into theaters in order to turn some people's lives around. I'm all for trying to make people's lives better, but by tricking them into seeing a horrible movie?
Spent today's meager amount of free time on IRC conspiring with several of the best minds in the game when it comes to the sort of cat-and-mouse activities we seem to revel in playing.
We're a strange breed, us mice; for most people a new phone means freedom and mobility. When people like US get new phones, however, the first thing we do is spend days online in chatrooms, our USB cables running betwixt handsets and computers, ideas, schemes and crazy things to try typed furiously to the mice on the other side of the chat window. Hours and days spent so that we can do things from our phones that we are already at home doing from our computers.
This irony is something that I'm perfectly OK with.
So Android isn't QUITE the magical open platform i had imagined. As it turns out, T-Mobile and Google are doing all they can to ensure that the specific types of things I want to do with it stay impossible. It's early in the game yet, but it could easily be characterized as "cat-and-mouse." Unfortunately for them, these mice are always a few steps ahead of the cat. Plus, the fact that the cat made some really stupid mistakes out of the gate makes things a bit nicer for us mice.
MY Android phone is completely open to all the sorts of things that I want to do now, with some particular clever mice having compromised Google's latest update and used thier own security against them, but if you've got a T-Mobile G1 and want to have the opportunity to do some of the more awesome stuff we mice are working on, it's extremely important that you don't update to the RC30 update. There's nothing new and exciting in the update anyway.
I heartily recommend that you're watching "Stephen Fry in America", one of the finest television programs about the great country of America that this American has ever seen.
Mr. Fry travels around the country in his London taxi cab, talking to interesting people and learning about life in our country. As one who has spent almost all his time in a very limited area of this country, the things Stephen sees are pretty fascinating to me, as are the people he talks to -- almost all of which are the types of people one wouldn't expect a traveler from another country to want to talk to. Four of the six episodes have aired, and thus far Mr. Fry has visited whiskey factories and corpse farms, been forced to endure riding a horse, seen a deactivated Cold War missile silo, designed his own flavor of ice cream with Ben & Jerry, had a deep-fried southern Thanksgiving and done heaps of traveling and even more monologuing.
Unsurprisingly, this fantastic look at each state of America comes not from American television, but from those nice blokes at the BBC, meaning that if you don't happen to live within broadcast range of the BBC, you'll have to resort to the usual sneakiness involved in watching television from another country. It'll be well worth your time, I promise.
Also, I fully expect Jim Dale to go traipsing around London in his NYC Yellow Cab ANY DAY NOW.
After discovering that the G1 had a hidden proxy configuration that allowed all internet traffic to be routed through a proxy of your choosing, I decided to dust off the old Internet Junkbuster, an Adblock predecessor from 1996 or so.
Like Adblock, Junkbuster allows one to specify via regular expressions a list of URL conditions to treat as advertisements, replacing them with 1-pixel transparent gifs before they get to your browser, effectively blocking any sort of unwanted intrusion into your web experience.
I tracked it down, compiled it from source, and got it running on my Dreamhost account. After configuring the G1 to use it, I found that it worked amazingly well. I fed it the current snapshot of the community-maintained "filterset.G" blocking rules, and banished ads virtually entirely from my phone. Awesome.
Until, that is, Deamhost's Abuse Department dropped me a line asking if I was aware that copious amounts of spam were being sent by my account, and notifying me that they were able to track all of the spam messages to my running Junkbuster installation.
I haven't yet investigated to determine whether Junkbuster itself has been compromised by spammers or whether it's just badly coded so as to allow this sort of abuse, but the discovery of my active installation and subsequent spam messages that were resultant from it happened within hours of me turning it on. Startlingly fast, in fact. I'm not sure there's really any explanation other than Junkbuster itself now containing malicious code, but I'll be looking into that shortly.
Either way, finding that the tool you're using to remove the spam from your web surfing is, in fact, resulting in spam showing up in the email of strangers is delightfully ironic.
I don't have much to say lately, but I need to say this:
Google's Android mobile phone platform is freakin' AMAZING. T-Mobile's "G1" handset -- which is the first of the commercially available Android phones -- is very nearly as awesome a device as is the underlying platform.
Imagine the offspring resultant from a drunken one-night-stand between a Sidekick/Hiptop and an iPhone. That pretty much describes the G1; it is fully touch-enabled and has a wealth of downloadable applications ala iPhone, but boasts the flip-out keyboard and actual navigation buttons which are the hallmark of a Sidekick for those times you don't feel like looking like a total tool rubbing your fingers all over your phone.
Best yet, you don't need to deal with any of the iTunes bullcrap that every iPhone owner has to admit to disliking dealing with. If you want to put mp3s (or oggs, w00t!) on it, you simply plug a NORMAL USB CABLE into it and it shows up as a removable drive. Copy your music over and you're good to go. Same with photos and videos. Software updates come automatically over the air, so no dealing with the endless cycle of backing up and restoring when iTunes makes a mess of things. (Or, if you're a nerd like me, you can manually download the firmware update and apply it yourself.)
Unlike with iPhone, users can install applications that modify very nearly any aspect of the device, and are not at the whims of Apple as to whether the app will be "allowed" or not. For instance: I have an app installed that can turn on and off features when certain criteria are met. When the GPS finds that I've arrived at home, it automatically enables wifi. When I leave it turns it off again to preserve battery. If my battery drops below a certain point I've got it set to turn off GPS as well to further save battery. Try doing that with iPhone :).
Want to set an mp3, m4a or ogg file as a ringtone? No problem, support for that is built in.
All-in-all, Android has far exceeded my expectations, and is quite the anti-iPhone platform that I'd envisioned. I highly recommend it.