I Love Sarah Jane

It amazes me sometimes that things can exist that I am not aware of.  Especially when they are things that if I had known of them I would have loved.  So now that I know about it, I’m a little annoyed that I’ve missed out on three years of loving it.  But what can you do?

Well, you can watch this…

Movie Round-Up: February 5th, 2010

It’s communications week at the cinema…

Dear John:

Nicholas Sparks strikes again!  He showed up for a Q&A at another screening I attended once and talked about how he wrote most of his books in around eleven weeks each.  The man has found his niche and he knows how to tug the heartstrings.  That said, of all his books turned to films, this one has got to be the weakest.  After seeing a screening of this, I felt the leads just don’t have much chemistry.  I found that I really didn’t care whether their love survived or not.  On the other hand, the relationship between the titular John and his father was very well done.  Richard Jenkins is a fantastic actor, and the movie is almost worth paying to see just for him.  Almost, but not quite.

From Paris With Love:

I saw the trailer for this film a while back.  Travolta with a shaved head, big earring and that goatee just looked too weird.  And the movie itself just seemed odd.  The only thing that piqued my interest at all was it being the same team that brought us Taken.  I saw a screening of this film last week.  It was far better than I expected.  The first few moments were slow, but once Travolta arrived the movie kicked into high gear and never let up.  This movie was so exciting and so fun, I’d absolutely say it is worth the price of admission.  Buy a ticket, take a seat and hold on.

Real Guitar Hero

As much as I love playing Rock Band and potentially playing Guitar Hero (when they stop being dicks and let me use the Rock Band Guitar), I’ve been toying with real guitars for much longer.  Its a love/hate relationship.  I love the idea of playing the guitar, but I hate the idea of spending a lot of time at it.  I can play a few songs, and my fingers know where they are supposed to go for most of the chords even if they don’t always find the exact position without me looking down at the fretboard, but overall I’m never really disappointed in myself because I know my lack of ability comes from my lack of dedication.

That just might change, though…

I present to you, dear readers, Guitar Rising.


P.S. I Love You

13 out of 13 nots
for making me weep little man tears

Unlike other reviews, this one won’t be a two parter, there will be nothing after the break, there will be no break. The story is this: a man and a woman love each other, but they also fight a lot, until he gets a brain tumor and dies, and somehow through a myriad different ways he has arranged for his widow to receive letters he has written, about one a month, each as a step in a plan to make sure she continues her life now that he’s gone.

This is the first perfect 13 out of 13 I’ve given and its because I really do feel that this movie is that extraordinary. It is funny, and loving, and heart warming, and it hurts. Everyone in the movie gives an outstanding performance and for something that I thought would be another throwaway chick flick my wife would drag me to, I am simply floored at how it managed to move me.

The only drawback to this film is that now if I go first, my wife will expect her series of letters… better get to work then. 🙂

And wife, if you read this… P.S. I love you.

A Few Good Men

“You can’t handle the truth!”
-Col. Nathan R. Jessep, A Few Good Men

It’s sad, but it’s true… there are a great many people who simply can’t handle the truth. And I mean simple truth, not ‘being brutally honest’ (which is more often a disguise for being honest, brutally). I had the misfortune of having a coworker ask about her own performance… Okay, let me back up.

I’m working on a program. And as I finish parts of it, I turn it over for requirements testing. The people who are testing it are also the people who gave me the requirements. More often than not, when they test, they complain about things the program doesn’t do, all of which are things they didn’t tell me it needed to do. As a result, I’m constantly rewriting my programs to include things after the fact. We have marathon email back-and-forths where we argue over the value of certain items. Their most common defense of a stupid business practice is “We’ve always done it that way.” And my most common attack is “We are writing a new program, so let’s take this opportunity to change the way its done and make it better.” And its not like its an alien idea… these are things they think SHOULD change, but they want the new program to work exactly like the old program and THEN change it. More work for everyone.

Anyway… so it comes that we are on the phone, and after we solve the latest fire she asks me how she’s been doing on the requirements and testing. I ask if she really wants to know and she says, “I want the truth.” I give her the truth, as kindly as I can. I don’t accuse her of giving me bad requirements, I instead explain that when working on requiements it would work better if she worked with the existing system for a couple or three weeks and documented every task she performed and later reviewed that log for missed steps or details to avoid the situation we have where daily tasks weren’t in the requirements. I explain that her testing should be testing of the requirements as written and not of desired features, and that things not in the requirements are enhancements for the next version, and if its discovered that essential requirements were missed they shouldn’t be reported as bugs, but should be brought up as requirements revisions. I explain that her testing is testing of my programming of the requirements as written, and when we move to phase two of testing, the user testing, her users will point out the missing details and at that point new requirements or revisions will need to be made. And lastly I say, that all this is for her sanity and mine, because if she’s constantly checking for items that weren’t in the requirements, then she’s going to be very unhappy; while on my end, if I spend every day rewriting my work for items that I wasn’t told about instead of working on remaining items or other projects, I get very unhappy.

In my opinion, I laid things out very clearly and kindly. I never yelled or accused, I just simply pointed out issues with the process she was using and how everyone would be happier if she did things differently. Well… except the users, but they’ll never be happy until we invent the “Do My Job” button so they spend their days like George Jetson or Homer Simpson, pushing one button when its needed.

So later that day I got pulled aside by my boss and told that I should never yell at anyone about how they do their job because its not within my authority as a contract programmer. I tried to defend myself, but he didn’t want to hear it. He only wanted to hear that I would never do it again (despite not having done it in the first place).

That’s my story… people, especially at work, can’t handle the truth… Now I will present you with a bastardized quote of my own:

“Work like you only need money. Love like you’ll never be happy. Dance like everyone’s got score cards. Sing only when nobody’s listening. And lie like your job depends on it.”

I don’t really mean that… but seriously, when someone asks for the truth, try to be sure they really want to hear it. And never ask for the truth unless you can’t handle it. And by “handle” I don’t mean “make them pay for telling it to you”.

50 First Dates

On Valentine’s Day, Jodi and I went out to see 50 First Dates, the new Adam Sandler movie.

The story is that Adam plays a guy who lives in Hawaii and dates only tourists so that he doesn’t have to commit. Drew Barymore plays a woman who was in an accident and has problems with her short term memory, she forgets the day when she sleeps. Adam meets Drew and they fall in love. Then every day Adam has to get her to fall in love with him again.

Its funny, really funny. And it cute, and romantic. Its a good movie. Two thumbs up.