New trailer for The Ring

The American adaptation of the Japanese horror classic--Quicktime trailer in high res. I have a hard time believing this adaption will match the original in creepiness, but it does star the talented Naomi Watts. If it's successful, prepare for a wave of adaptations because there's an entire library of good, low-budget Japanese horror films for Hollywood to mine (and ruin).

For the love of *&^$%#

Okay, it's the 21st century. Can someone please invent a vending machine that dispenses the item you selected successfully 100% of the time? You reach in your pocket, miraculously cobble together a half pound of nickels and dimes that just adds up perfectly to the cost of a bag of pretzels or chips or cookies, and then you press the button and the metal coils turn, and your bag is pushed forward from with a mechanical whir, and hovers there in space, like a bag of Doritos trying to commit suicide by jumping from the 8th story of its vending apartment.
I'm not sure what burns me more, not getting my chips or the thought of someone else getting two bags of chips. I want a tax deduction.

9 minutes

I think I read this in a Sports Guy mailbag column, and it came to mind this morning. I've been getting up at 5:30 am every morning this week--I'm still on French time. My alarm goes off at 6 am, and I hit the snooze button.
9 minute later, the alarm is back on. Some ensemble morning talk show hosts babbling on with energy and enthusiasm that is superhuman considering the time of day. Inevitably, once a week, the host has to chew out a caller who's dying to hear himself live, "Please turn off the radio, Bob." Where was I? Oh yeah. 9 minutes. Why are all alarm clock snoozes set at 9 minutes? Someone has to tell me. Is there some scientific axiom that 9 minutes is just enough time for you to pass out again, but not deeply enough to achieve REM sleep? Maybe one company in the world has a monopoly on making the snooze chip for alarm clocks globally, and they're too stingy to change their production process to accomodate alternate snooze intervals.
I should have tried it with the hotel alarm clocks in France. They still measure time in minutes, but maybe the metric system means you have to multiply the 9 minutes by 1.67 or something like that so their snoozes are 15 minutes. Actually, they probably have 30 minute snooze increments considering dinner out in Europe lasts about 4 hours. How can you have faith in the European economy if they don't understand that the more people you cycle through a restaurant, the more money you make?
The damn Air France air baggage handlers were on strike in Paris when I flew over for my Tour de France camp, so my bags were stranded there for days as I flew on to Marseilles. Then on the way home, the KLM pilots were on strike so I was stranded a day in Amsterdam. They have laws limiting work weeks to 35 hours in France, and they still strike. And they complain about Lance Armstrong, an American, winning their race year after year. They should stop striking and get to work.


RealOne trailer for the new movie adaptation of the musical Chicago. Click on the link that reads "haute resolution" for the high-res version, or "moyenne resolution" for you lower bandwidth users. Catherine Zeta Jones is barely recognizable in costume. Of course, so was Michael Douglas when she fell for him (there's no other explanation), and then BAM! He stops using makeup and ages 50 years on her in a day. Yikes, that must have been a tough morning when she woke up to that. Talk about scary morning faces.

Airline security in Europe

European airports do their carry-on baggage security x-ray screening at each gate, rather than en masse before you enter the terminal. It's a superior system. Costs more because you have to buy more of those x-ray machines and hire more security staff, but it means less time in line for passengers, and if there's a security breach or delay, only a subset of passengers is affected.

Schizo TIVO

My hacked Tivo device (it has two giant hard drives patched into it for 305 hours of recording time) has some algorithm for selecting random programs to record as suggested viewing. I think it's supposed to be based on other programs I've instructed it to record, but the algorithm isn't very good. Much to my horror, one of the shows it selected was Nash Bridges.