Friday, May 22, 2009

Acid Burns (Rips, Actually)

So I was trying to rip my Big Bang Theory Season 1 DVDs, making each episode an individual file in .avi format using AcidRip. But for some reason, I could not get any audio from the completed files. I searched Ubuntu forums where the prevailing recommendation was to choose the audio language specifically- even though the default is English, I should select 1: English. So I did that, and still no go. I also tried choosing a different codec for the audio encoding, and still nada.

Well, I finally noticed that there is a Gain selector under the audio Language list. It is, by default, set to 0. I set it to 1 and, sure enough, got audio on the new file after encoding it again. So, if you have the same trouble with no audio in AcidRip, try setting the audio gain to between 1 and 40 (40 = x1000). Just posting this because alot of people were asking on the forums, but the threads are all closed for replies for some reason.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stinking Thinking


So my second semester as a college student has ended, and I managed to sink from a 4.0 GPA to a 3.6 GPA. Great. I simply have not been studying enough. It's difficult when you are employed full time as well as enrolled full time, but still. I should just do better, because I am better. The problem is, I cannot study unless I'm totally alone, relaxed, and have music playing. So all the time I'm sitting here at work with absolutely nothing to do, I try to study, but end up giving up after being distracted by all the noise and occasional duties. What's worse, I think my boss wants me to do poorly. Every time he has seen me studying, he has gone out of his way to either choose that time to try chatting with me or to assign me some useless, mindless task to perform. Dude, it's called Work-Study for a reason. Part of it is supposed to involve study. Meh. Anyways, that's my rant for today. Poor rant, I know. I am losing brain cells here. I'm honestly surprised that I can manage to write anything.


What else? Oh! I saw Star Trek on opening night, of course. It freaking r0XX0rz! I honestly have a problem with the whole time-travel thing that they've been pulling since The Voyage Home in order to make the story work, but with this movie, it is necessary. The fact is, the original crew and the Next Generation crew needed to be completely phased out and the 'new' original crew given an almost completely new history in order for this movie to appeal to a new audience. For too long have writers, directors and producers been pandering to the now aged uber geeks who bitch and cry whenever something in one of the movies is not as it was in the original series. For Star Trek to be successful again, it had to be completely made over for a new generation. This movie certainly did so, and I'm confident the franchise will continue to live on thanks to that bold choice.
As for the film itself। It begins and ends with action, just like a Star Trek movie should। There is a ten-minute space battle before the credits, during which we are shown the circumstances of Kirk's birth. Minutes after Kirk's father orders the evacuation of the USS Kelvin, his wife gives birth aboard a shuttle craft. A quick scene after the credits introduces us to a young man of about twelve, driving a stolen classic car and running from a police officer in an awesomely Orwellian uniform. The ballsy kid, who ends up almost killing himself, is obviously Kirk. After this we are treated to a scene at a seedy bar which introduces Uhura, played by the stunningly beautiful Zoe Saldana. Kirk happens to be there, and his attempts at wooing Uhura, a Starfleet cadet, land him in hot water with a group of Starfleet hefties, who proceed to beat the bejesus out of him. This brings in Captain Pike, played by Bruce Greenwood, who informs Kirk of the circumstances of his birth and the heroic actions of his father, challenging him to live up to his father's example by joining Starfleet.

The good thing about this movie is that it gets the background stories out of the way quickly without leaving the viewer confused. After this, Kirk of course joins Starfleet Academy, where we meet the characters "Bones" McCoy and Hikaru Sulu, played by Karl Urban and John Cho. Karl Urban makes an excellent McCoy, accurately portraying the good Doctor's gruff negativity without seeming like he's trying to imitate Deforest Kelly. Sulu, as usual, gets very little screen time. We also see Spock as a child, struggling to control his human emotions among the strictly logical Vulcans. Zachary Quinto is the real star of this film, in my opinion. He gets more screen time than Kirk, and it is obvious that he is the more capable officer. The main focus of the movie is on Spock and his relationship with Kirk, who absolutely despises him. The rest of the movie focuses on the cadets' involvement in an emergency battle against the Romulan Nero, played by Eric Bana (am I the only one who's tired of bad guys having tatooed faces to make them look like bad guys?)। The cadets all end up aboard the newly commissioned USS Enterprise, commanded by Captain Pike. Now we are introduced to the seventeen year old wunderkind Pavel Chekov, played very well by Anton Yelchin, whose heavily accented English provides some comic relief, but who also turns out to be a key player in the movie. We don't meet Scotty until close to the end of the movie, and I'm honestly thankful. His is the only character who is obviously there for comedic value and not much else. Though Simon Pegg is always funny, he doesn't fit as Scotty. He sounds more like Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons, for one thing, and he doesn't actually do anything worthwhile for the film.

The plot is almost ruined by the whole time-travel thing, like I said earlier. We are re-introduced to the original Spock (Spock Prime, as he is called on IMDB) played, of course, by seventy-eight year old Leonard Nimoy. Spock reveals why Nero is bent on destroying the Federation, and turns out to be completely instrumental to the film's plot. However, they could have just as easily skipped the time-travel thing and just started from scratch, the aged uber geeks be damned. But it just wouldn't make the movie work, even for those of us who aren't that concerned with whether the movie stays true to the fictional history. But oh well. Still, best movie of the year! You should go see it if you haven't already.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

UN Still Can't Get It Up

Die with love.

Yours,
Israeli Kids

I like Jews. Really I do. As a Christian, I consider them cousins. As a humanitarian, I consider them people just like any others, worthy of respect and freedom, no more and no less than anyone else.

However, I despise Israel. I know, it's something you really cannot say without being labeled an anti-Semite, but people who try to justify their feelings of superiority will always claim to be unfairly persecuted when their actions are judged. The fact is, not all Jews are Israeli. The fact also is that Israel is one of the biggest obstacles to peace in the middle east. They are a hateful, violent nation whose methods and beliefs are no different than those of Hamas or any other terrorist organization. They grow fat off the insane amount of money, weapons (most likely including nuclear), and support given to them by America, for the simple fact that American Jews believe they owe something to Israel, when in fact they owe it nothing. When they are criticised by the United Nations, they simply bomb United Nations school buildings and kill more innocent civilians, claiming later that they were fired upon by "terrorists"- you know, the type of people who bomb schools.

Worse, Israeli children are forced to become hateful, violent religious extremists as well. Nobody who knows children can say that the young girls in the picture above came up with their twisted, hateful messages and wrote them on the bombs that kill other children, all by themselves. The propaganda Israeli children are submitted to is as bad as the propaganda Palestinian children are submitted to. Indeed, with the photographer who took the picture and the photographer behind the girls, it's obvious that the girls are being used as propaganda, and were probably coached on which messages to write. This is digusting.

I really hope the UN grows the stones it had back in the days of Dag Hammarskjold and eventually stops cowering every time Israel stomps its feet. Or we will eventually have no middle east, at least not one that is not too radioactive to live in.



Friday, May 1, 2009

UNA-USA

I've been interested in the UN for years now. The United States was instrumental in organizing the United Nations, and has always been an influential and respected leader among the UN member nations. However, during the Dark Years (2000-2008), our Nation's reputation was besmirched by greedy, arrogant men, who spat in the face of the rule of law and repeatedly disrespected and defied the resolutions of the very organization our fathers and grandfathers, the memory of war still lingering strong in their hearts, formed in cooperation with the other great nations, and resolved to make a commitment to work together in peace with each other and the rest of the world.
With that in mind, here is a good site I recently found which explains how we can repair America's damaged reputation with the world by showing our commitment to world peace and prosperity. Take the time to read it and pass the link on to someone else.


http://www.unausa.org/Page.aspx?pid=751