Category Archives: Reviews

Sicko

Sicko Movie CoverWow. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Michael Moore’s movie Sicko, watch it now.

And don’t worry, it’s not some sappy-crappy story about people without health care — Moore says that in the first 5 minutes. Instead, the movie is about people who have health care but had their health care dropped the minute their health care company actually had to pay something out.

He travels to England, France, and Canada and shows how their “socialized medicine” systems work (and work well) — one country I wished he would’ve visited too is Japan. Japan’s the closest a country comes to us economically (read: they’re very, very capitalist there), yet even they seem to have free health care for everyone!

As I understand, Japan has a very good mix of private and public health care, with the only government control being that you have to be offered it by your employer (or if you don’t have an employer, by the government). Why we can’t at least have this kind of system here in America, I don’t know!

The best parts in the movie for me were just the expressions on the faces of the people in other countries when Moore asks them about how much they have to pay for their health care, or how much medicine costs, or where they go to pay their bill after they get out of a hospital — they look at him like he’s from another planet. “Why would someone make you pay if they’re trying to keep you alive?” they seem to ask.

Also, listen closely when they play back the old Oval Office tapes of Nixon — that man was a goddamn monster. He basically just comes out and says, flat out, that the goal is to keep people sick and sad.

Rifftrax

If you haven’t visited Rifftrax before, check it out!

It’s the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 doing their thing again — they’re not in space, and the two guys who did the voices of Crow and Tom Servo are just playing as themselves, now (trademarks and all that), but let me tell ya; they’re just as funny now as they ever were. They were obviously the writers and well as the actors back on MST3K, and it shows.

How their stuff works now: you get set up at Rifftrax.com, and you buy an MP3 audio track directly from them (they’re usually about 3-4 bucks). Then, you sync it up and play it along while you’re watching the movie (don’t worry, it’s easy) — just play it on anything you want: an MP3 player, your stereo system (Nina and I played it on her laptop).

And, let me tell you… they haven’t lost it, not one bit. I swear to God, I thought my sides were going to split open at times.

I don’t mind paying them the three or four bucks to download it, either — this is the world of “new” media I’ve been telling people about, and I don’t mind helping it out.

Radiohead’s New Album

It can be free; go see for yourself.

This article sums up what’s happend so far. According to a survey taken of the people who’ve downloaded the new album, about a third paid nothing at all: $0.

Some people make a big deal of that (like Fark’s headline, A third of the people offered Radiohead what their new album is worth: $0), but they’re missing the big picture — if a third of downloaders got it for free, that means that *the other two thirds paid for it, even when they _could’ve got it for free_*.

According to the survey, many paid more than $20, and the average price was $8 (I paid about $4, myself). Do the math — even with this survey not necessarily representing all people who downloaded the album, that means that at an average price of $8 times 2/3 of a million downloaders (~8*666,000), that’s like…

*5.3 MILLION DOLLARS*.

And that’s money that’s going straight to the band. No middlemen, no greedy record executives to pay, no RIAA cartel to cozy up to — just straight hard cash going to Radiohead so that they can continue to make good music.

What’s the downside of this type of purchasing system again?

Nothing, from what I can see. Everything I’ve ever heard of seen tell me that bands make very little money off of album sales when they go through a major label and an organization like the RIAA — most of the money they make is through performances and band “stuff” (you know, t-shirts, autographs, and the like).

And while $20-25 bucks (what you’ll pay in a store) for a new album is FAR too much if you ask me, paying the same amount to be 10-20 feet from my favorite band whilst screaming my head off along with thousands of other people? Now, _that’s_ worth $20. I’ve paid that amount before to see bands play in a venue (hell, I usually pay twice that), and I’ll continue to do so — but I haven’t paid for an CD in years.

Other Blogs

In case you were wondering, I’ve got some other sites that you might be interested in (this is mostly for you-know-who):

*1) http://mdm-adph[dot]blogspot[dot]com*
There’s “http://mdm-adph[dot]blogspot[dot]com” (feel free to replace the [dot]’s with periods). This is my work blog — I’m not hotlinking it here for obvious reasons (referrers can be tracked, and I’d rather not let my employers pick up on anything personal that I write).

I write about mostly tech-related subjects here, keeping firmly away from the areas of personal life or politics. I know they’re probably logging everywhere I surf to at work, so I make sure and keep this blog clean.

2) http://threshold-zero.com/blog
This will soon be a new blog of mine, or a place where I’ll put specific types of entries (movie reviews, book reviews, etc.). Really, I just wanted to use the new version of Movable Type that was recently released, because it’s finally gone free again.

3) http://threshold-zero.com
This is probably where I’m going to tie all of my sites into to — I bought this domain name about a year ago, and even though I haven’t done anything with it yet, I’ve grown rather attached to it. (There’s nothing there now, of course!)

4) http://gallery.macnahanchey.com

I’m trying to make this into a members-only photo-sharing site for members of my family, but I (and they) have been slow to get together and start putting pictures up. (By the way, if any of you are reading and need help putting some pictures here, feel free to ask for help.)

4) http://board.macnahanchey.com

This is going to be the same kinda thing, just for messages and posts instead of pictures.

And that’s about it!

Rice Review

Over the years, I’ve become quite the connoisseur of rice. Do I have a special liking to rice? No, not so much as I just appreciate being to buy 10 lbs. of food for $3!

You can’t beat it. Rice is the staple food (and for some, the only) of most of the world — this is what most of humanity eats along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner (if they get three meals a day at all).

Me — I just eat it to save money. Why eat more?

Plain white rice.
*Regular-old White Rice*
Nothin’ fancy about this rice — it’s what your mom used to cook for you. Two cups water, one cup rice, boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes. Doesn’t get much harder than that. If eaten plain (I don’t recommend it), this type of rice is utterly tasteless and has a texture that will bore you to tears.

basmati rice bag
*Basmati Rice*
Grown in the foothills of the Himalayas, Basmati rice has a naturally fragrant smell — you can really notice the first time you cook a pot. The rice has a slightly longer grain than you might be used to, and when fully cooked is slightly drier as well — this is probably due to the lesser water requirement of Basmati rice (1 ½ cups water to 1 cup rice).

I’ve only ever been able to find it in these big 10 lbs. woven bags with a whole bunch of Pakistani writing on it — a neat touch.

Jasmine Rice
*Jasmine Rice*
The particular brand of Jasmine Rice I bought was from Thailand — Jasmine Rice had a very nice flavor and texture, slightly fragrant but not too much so. Now that I think about it, there wasn’t very much special about Jasmine Rice, except for that it seemed to be of a slightly higher “quality” — I know that’s real subjective, but it was just something about the way it looked, tasted and smelled.

Botan Calrose Rice
*Botan (Calrose) Rice*
When I first opened this rice’s bag, I instantly noticed a difference — the rice’s grain was very, very small! Seriously, it’s like half the size of a “normal” grain of rice like what you’re used to.

Its requested ratio for cooking was slightly different, too — the bag requested a ratio of 1.5 cups rice to 2 cups water. The rice, when done, was very, very sticky — just how I’d expect from a type of rice used in sushi!

Saffron Rice Picture
*Saffron Rice*
The mother of all rice — a rice with such a nice natural flavor that you can just eat it plain. It’s rice flavored with a spice known as saffron — whatever the hell Saffron is, I know it’s good!

You can have this rice with a curry or a stir-fry, but just eaten plain it is a dream. It’s not spicy or overpowering, but has such a _rich_ taste that you won’t want to put down your bowl.