Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Amazon's Lord of the Rings Store

December 14th is the new exciting day when Return of the King extended version comes out. Plus, lots of other extended goodies. The three movies are simply the best - and I am sure everyone agrees with me on it. The actors, the sets, the music are absolutely amazing. I am looking forward to December 14th and seeing the added parts of Return of the King.

Out today is Spiderman 2 on DVD (special edition). I can't decide if I like the 1st one or the 2nd one best. There were good parts in both. I think I liked the 2nd one slightly better - mainly the story and the action sequences. The first one was more emotional and less action. So run out to your local store and grab a copy (or order it off the internet and never actually set foot outside of your home) today!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Sorry for the lack of updates. Grad school is keeping me busy. Now I have to get back to homework and stuff like that. Until next time.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Program to Help Older Foster Kids

I think this article is wonderful news. It is about time they tried to help these children more. I can hardly imagine at 18 being out on my own with no help from my parents. Anyway, it is a wonderful article that makes you think.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Remember the Muppets? This kid friendly site is a great place to hang out in. Not all of the components are working yet. It is different than it was last year (which is kind of cool - not to many places update their sites very often). Anyway, it is an interesting site and I highly recommend you checking it out.

Wow, a newspaper article on games I agree with

Finally, an article that doesn't put video games down. The article points out that the gaming industy is doing what it is suppose to and is putting the ratings on games. I agree with the article - parents should pay attention to what their children are playing. Also, that the gaming industry shouldn't stop making violent games. It also pointed out that the average video gamer's age is 24 who can purchase the game themselves.

Although I don't play a lot of viiolent video games I do like Halo and Return of the King. I am surprised sometimes at the high rating. OK, so back in the early 90's when games were in there earlier stages the realism was not the same as today. However, as another geek explained to me "so where is the enter key on the gun?" In responce to past about video game violence and how it teaching kids how to use guns.

So where was I? Right, this article is a must read. It is actually on the side of gamers and the game industry! The St. Paul Pioneer Press should get a big pat on the back for their wonderful article.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Quotes from Mona Lisa Smile

Here are two great quotes from the movie Mona Lisa Smile:

Betty Warren: [in Betty's last editorial] Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition beyond definition beyond the image.

Charlie Stewart: My parents say my future is right on the horizon.
Connie Baker: Tell them that the horizon is an imaginary line that recedes as you approach it.

I think both quotes are great. The first has a lot of meaning. It is important to see beyond what you see. Really look at the whole picture (and the frame). That is how good chess players win. They look steps beyond the move they are making at the moment. Being very successful is about looking a few steps in front of everyone else and see what others don't see.

The second quote is more funny in nature. If you don't understand the deeper meaning read it again. The future keeps stretching out as we reach for it. Also, as we reach goals there are always more and better goals out there. To be successful you have to continually reach and go forth into the future. We can not back up. People have try, but it does work out for them. Don't live in the past, live in the present.

Hmm...sounds like some current events. There are those who want us to return to the 1950s. I don't. I am not against the clothes - I like the dresses and the purses of the period. I diagree with the views of so called "family values" these people want to enforce. I have what I believe is the best for me. I don't think others should have to follow my ideas and I don't think I should have to change because someone else doesn't agree with mine. Open you mind to the possibilities. The future continues to come. Lets move forward, not back.

With these quotes and thoughts, I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! It began to snow in Michigan recently - yikes snow already? It wasn't much snow, just a bunch of little flakes that melt right away, but still.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Tomorrow Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban comes out on DVD (Nov 23)! I really enjoyed this movie as I have the other two movies. In my opinion they are all good. They stick to the books and only leave out a little bit.

Check out Amazon's Harry Potter Store to get Harry Potter products. I hope to watch the movie over the Thanksgiving break (which is coming up soon) - yippee. Don't get me wrong, I like school. I think it is nice to have a day off every once in a while. It gives me a chance to catch up on sleep. Plus, the day after Thanksgiving shopping is always fun.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The West Wing Season 3

On Novermber 2, 2004 The West Wing Season 3 came out on DVD. I have been slowly watching the DVDs and I am about 1/2 way through. Season 3 begins with a great cliff-hanger (although the season 1 to season 2 was very powerful). The West Wing on a whole has great cliff-hangers between season. They really make you want the next season to hurry up and start.

Season 2 ends with the death of Mrs. Landingham and the President Bartlets announcement about his MS. The third season starts with Bartlet announcing that he is going to run for re-election and the investigations into the MS matter begins. Also, it begins Bartlet's campaign for re-election (about 10 episodes or so in to the third season).

If you are looking for a good show to watch I recommend The West Wing. Season 6 is currently being show on NBC on Wednesday nights at 9 PM. And I will end this review with a quote from the show:

Sam Seaborn: You're gonna get asked if you're supporting my campaign.
President Josiah Bartlet: Are you running?
Sam Seaborn: No.
President Josiah Bartlet: Then you have my full support.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Alex and Emma

Basic Plot: A writer Alex (played by Luke Wilson) owes loan sharks a bunch of money is trying to finish a novel so he gets paid (and get the loan sharks off his back). He calls for a stenographer and ends up with Emma (played by Kate Hudson). The movie has a lot of really funny parts. Especially, watching Kate Hudson play characters from the book with different accents throughout the movie and questions plot lines as the book is written.

I watched this movie several weeks back and remembered about it when I wrote my last blog for another movie with Kate Hudson in it. Alex and Emma is an excellent movie. It is very light and funny movie. The mixture of the story being acted out and the book writing it is very entertaining.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Le Divorce

Recently, I began watching the movie Le Divorce. It has an interesting cast - Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts, Stockard Channing, and Glenn Close. Stockard Channing is very interesting in this 2003 movie. She plays the mother of the Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts characters.

Overall, the movie is kind of weird. It makes more sense as you get part way through. Kate Hudson is wonderful in the movie. So is Naomi Watts and Glenn Close. Clenn Close plays a very different character than we often see her doing.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Geek Meets Style

If you have not heard - Burberry is going to start selling iPod cases. Of course they are not available on Burberry's site yet. $195 for a case seems high. You have to keep in mind that a Burberry scaves cost $225 - Burberry is expensive. However, Burberry is the latest "in" brand. So if you are looking to add a little style in your life this might just be what you have been looking for.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams

As I mentioned earlier in my blog a new Crystal Clear book was published in October. I order the book from Amazon. I read the book over the weekend. It is absolutely wonderful! Alistair Cockburn did an excellent job. I am really beginning to understand what Crystal is and how it can be used - which is a good thing because I have to give a presentation with another student at the end of November.

I totally recommend you getting this book - the only one specifically on Crystal Clear.

Crystal Clear is designed to be used with small teams. There are a lot of similarities to XP but it is less strict. Teams can decide what practises work and which don't. They are not required to follow as many rules. There are only two rules - less than 4 month iterations and the methodology is adapting. Don't get me wrong - I like XP. However, there are times were Crystal Clear might be a better method. I think both are better than the traditional waterfall method taught in software engineering courses. However, this is just my opinion. I have done projects both ways - I personally like agile methods better than traditional methods.

Monday, November 15, 2004

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters is an organization located in Washington DC that premotes getting people involved with politics at the state, federal, and local levels. The organization was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in the 1920's under the name National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The League of Women Voters has an interesting history that I highly recommend that you read. There are also some great pictures you might want to take a look at.

The organization even offers interships! I was surprised to find this out. I guess a lot of organizations do - I just didn't know that the League of Women Voters did. I bet that would be a very interesting intereship.

Thanks for stopping by today and reading my blog! Hope you have been enjoying this blogs. I am thinking about starting a new "theme" soon. I figure it is about time - now I just have to find some kind of topic.

Votes for Women 2004

Votes for Women 2004 is an organization that tracks the gender gap in voting and the power of the women's vote. Interesting information if you ask me. According to the site this year there was a 7% gender gap in the recent Presidental elections. The next questions is - is 7% better or worse? According to this site the gender gap was 10% in the 2000 presidental election.

Also, on this site is a great list of other sites on both current and historical issues regarding women voting. The list includes some great resources as well (Iron Jawed Angels movie and a book available at Amazon).

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Louise Green Milinery Co.

Louise Green Milinery Co., sells hats. I saw the ad in a magazine. Hats are making a come back (or atleast I think they are). You are either a hat person or your not. I know a lot of people who don't like wearing hats. I think hats are really nifty and fun - especially in the summer. I am not sure about winter hats. They are really fancy and a lot of fun. Anyway, check out this site for some interesting and pretty hats.

Sewall-Belmont House

I know you are asking - "What is the Sewall-Belmont House?" and "Why link to it in your blog?". Both are reasonable questions that have reasonable answers. So, in order to explain, I will simply start at the beginning. I am continuing my blog theme of blog topics relating to woman's suffrage. The Sewall-Belmont House was used as the National Woman's Party's headquarters. The Sewall-Belmont House is now a museum and education center for both suffrage and equal rights.

I highly recommend that you take a look at the IBM Project. There are interesting photos on several pages in the site. (Site navigation is a little bit tricky with Firefox or Safari - but if you find links within the page you can easily more around within the site or by viewing source). There is an interesting history associated with the house - that I also recommend taking a look at. There is even a library - which contains many feminist resources. The house and grounds are being restored this year and there is information about that as well. If you are looking to donate there is information regarding that as well.

Thanks for stopping by and reading another entry in my blog. I am sorry for the inconsistent blog entries. I didn't enough blogs written during last weekend - which allows me to be more consistent with my blogs during the week. Anyway, maybe this week I will be more consistent. Happy Weekend Everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Michigan Simulation Users Group

Recently, I attended The Michigan Simulation Users Group's annual conference. I had a lot of fun. Although, simulation is not my direct area of interest - I find the subject to be extremely interesting. The group contains many highly experienced people in simulation - people with 20+ years of experience in industry.

Anyway, like I said I had a great time at the conference. There were a lot of great presentors. One of them even mentioned agile software development and compared it to simulation. Since I was taking a class in agile software development I thought this was most interesting. The site has some great information on it. I highly recommend you checking it out.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Alice Paul Institute

I decided to continue my previous blog topic about the real people who contributed to Women's Suffrage. The Alice Paul Institure is an organization that educates about Alice Paul's life and work. Also, the organization hopes to "educate and empower women and girls to accept leadership in their communities and workplace". I highly recommend you visiting their site.

A Little Information I found out while looking around on their site that gives you some basic facts about Alice Paul:
  • She was from New Jersey
  • She dedicated her life to securing equal rights for all women
  • Family home Paulsdale and is now the home of the Alice Paul Institute (API)

Monday, November 8, 2004

History of Woman's Suffrage in the United States

As anyone who has been following my blog will notice I have been making a large deal about voting and the movie Iron Jawed Angels (a movie about the fight for woman's suffrage). Today I decided to write a blog dedicated to the real women that worked extremely hard throughout history to get women the right to vote.

Its said that women's suffrage begun in the late 1770's when Abigail Adams wrote letters to her husband (John Adams) reminding him that women should be mentioned specifically in the early documents of the United States. During the mid 1800's the first Women's Right Convention was held. In 1866, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony started the American Equal Rights Association. The associations goal was to get everyone the right to vote. They presented a petition for the right of women to vote to Congress in 1866 (which was not ratified).

In 1869 Stanton and Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). The NWSA was consided, by most, ratical. Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe, on the other hand, organize the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). AWSA was considered more conservative and was based out of Boston. In 1872 Susan B. Anthony is arrested for attempting to vote and Sojourner Truth tried to vote in Michigan but was turned away. In 1874 the U.S. Supreme Court states that states can decide if women are allowed to vote or not.

In 1913 Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize a suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. Over 5,000 women attending the parade. Unfortunatly, the crowd got hostile and the police did not act swiftly. However, suffrage did make headlines in the newspapers. In 1916 Alice Paul decides to splits with NAWSA because of disagreements. She forms the National Woman's Party (NWP). Their purpose is to get an admendment for national suffrage. In 1917 the NWP begins to picket outside of the White House.

In 1918 - 1920 the NWP continues to picket outside the White House, eventhough World War 1 began. Many of the women picketing were arrested for obstructing traffic. Most of the women refused to pay the fine and were sent to a work house. The women then went on hunger stikes while at the work house. Adventually, stories of mistreatment made it to the newspapers and they were released.

In August of 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment is ratified. The NAWSA was no longer needed and it becomes the the League of Women Voters. In 1923 the NWP proposes the Equal Rights Amendment to eliminate gender discrmination, but it was not ratified.

*Referance: HBO's Iron Jawed Angels Site under Suffrage History

Hope you enjoyed these little bits of information. Thanks for taking time to read my blog. If you liked reading about the history of woman's suffrage there are tons of places on the web for more information just search on Google. If you liked the blog topic let me know by leaving some comments.

November 9th - Lots of new stuff comes out

As a really good friend of mind would remind me Halo 2 (the soon to be greatest video game of all time after Halo and Return of the King) is coming out tomorrow (Tuesday). I am sure that geeks around the world will be up late on Tuesday playing their pre-ordered Halo 2 and writing reviews on their websites.

Mary Higgins Clack and her daughter Carol Higgins Clark book "The Christmas Thief : A Novel" is coming to bookstores tomorrow as well. Both are excellent authors and the Christmas stories are some of my favorite. The pairing of characters from each author into one book is excellent.

The movie: "The Stepford Wives" is also coming out tomorrow. I was never able to see it - yet. The movie looks interesting and the cast is amazing (Bette Midle, Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close, and many others).

"Gone with the Wind" 4-DVD set is coming out on Tuesday as well. This movie is very amazing to watch. Especially, if you think about the fact that they didn't have the graphics and technology that we have today. Watch the part with all the injured soldiers in the field. Many of the soldiers laying there are not real. Some of the actors had strings to move the arms and legs of other fake soldiers. Yet, the scene is realistic looking. Now we would just used computer graphics - but it is interesting to look at some of the old tricks.

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Crystal Clear Book

Finally, Alistair Cockburn's book on Crystal Clear is available on Amazon. Cockburn is the creator of an agile software development methodology called Crystal. Crystal focuses on people and communication. Crystal is mentioned in several books on agile software development. However, it is a difficult methodology to really grasp fully. There are some similarities between XP (Extreme Programming) and Crystal. To read more about Crystal I highly recommend that you visit Cockburn's Crystal Main Foyer.

So run don't walk over to Amazon and order your copy of Alistair Cockburn's book on Crystal Clear today!

Quotes by Great Women of History

I really like reading quotes. Today I came across this great list of quotes mostly by women who played an important roll in women's history. There are quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Alice Paul, and Maya Angelou. So if you are looking for some great quotes I highly recommend this page.

In the coming week I will continue with more blogs about women's suffrage and related subjects. Hope you continue to visit my blog. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Hope you are having a great weekend!

The West Wing: An idea that just might work

This week on West Wing an interesting topic came up - marriage. In the show it was mentioned that maybe the government should not be involved in marriage. That marriage should be left to places of worship, department stores, and Vegas. At first one might think this to be a very odd idea. However, the more I think about it the better the idea seems.

I already believed that the government should not be deciding who should be able to get married before watching the show. I believed that it was really none of their business. By eliminating it from the government control maybe they would have more time to devote to important things - like governing the country. The writers of The West Wing (or who ever came up this that idea) should be rewarded for such a simple and realistic solution.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Largest Voter Turnout!

The world has been a mixed up place this week (in my opinion at least). Any year that there is a Presidential elections makes for an interesting week. First there is all the buzz leading up to the election. After the election there is the buzz of "who is it going to be?". Currently, we are on the analysis stage while the news media waits for the final figures to be announced. And unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the projected winner is Bush. However, this is not the main focus of this blog entry.

As I stated earlier in the week, I was interested in knowing if there had been a change in voter turnout. According to CNN there has been. I am glad to hear that all of the "get out and vote" strategies worked. My particular favorite was the TV commercial were all the young women were stating that "the rest of America was going to take care of it". I also liked the commercials were everyone stood around looking at a piece of trash and commenting on how awful it was. Both commercials made profound statements about why you should vote.

Of course, it is predicted that about 60% of registared voters actually voted - which according to CNN is the highest voter turnout since the late 1960s. Also, according to CNN many people waited in longer lines to vote that previously - a surprise to many people. I think it is great that more people were out voting this year. Many wars and battles have occured since the beginning of the United States of America to give us a say in government. Wouldn't it seem like a huge waste now not to vote? Well, that is my opinion on the matter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Music from Iron Jawed Angels

OK, so several of my previous blogs have been about this movie - but it is a really good movie. I thought I should point of again the great soundtrack. Several of the songs I purchased from iTunes the other day and I have been listening to them over and over again. Have you ever done that? Heard a song in a movie or a TV show and as soon as you get the song (CD, iTunes, etc.,) listen to it over and over again? I have done it on several occations. Iron Jawed Angels, West Wing, and Pretty Women are just a few shows/movies that have had that effect on me.

Well, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Speaking of Quotes...

I found some great quotes from the Iron Jawed Angels. I decided that I should post a link to them. I know - I have mentioned the movie in two blogs now - but well it is such a good movie and everyone should see it. Did I also mention the wonderful music in the movie. Many of the songs are available on iTunes. There is not a soundtrack released yet - but I am looking forward to that day. The music really sets the tone for movies in my mind.

A Very Funny Professor Quote

I had to add this link to my blog. I thought this was in a very funny quote and very truthful quote. I am interested in learning the results, but I think I will wait until tomorrow morning to see who wins the election. The other thing I want to learn is how many people in the 18-25 age group votes this time. From what it seems many polling stations were very busy this morning - which is an extremely postive sign. Maybe all the Rock the Vote and similar organizations have made a difference.

Hope you enjoy the quote. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Monday, November 1, 2004

Iron Jaw Angels

This evening I was looking through the movies available on HBO Demand anyway, one of the movies available was Iron Jaw Angels. I read the little information about the movie and decided that I would watch the movie. It was very good and I recommend it to almost anyone. As I watched the movie I recognized several of the cast from other movies. The cast was very impressive. The characters are excellent and the acting is excellent.

I thought this movie fit in with tomorrow being Election Day. So, make sure you go out and vote. Many people worked hard through out history to maintain our rights to be heard. So let your voice be heard - go out and vote.