Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When it rains, it pours. When it pours you get tons of mushrooms

This has to be the most bizarre June in New Jersey ever. Usually I will have my air conditioning blasting by now. Not this year, this year I has rained I think for 20 days straight and it is not warm at all. Weather like that is not untypical in Holland where I grew up. But I left Holland; one of the reasons was that the weather sucks in Holland. April and May are actually quite nice but the rest of the year it is more miss than hit. You will get that nasty drizzle that will last for days or it will just rain cats and dogs for a day straight.

When it rains a lot you will see that suddenly mushrooms pop out of the ground everywhere. The last couple of days I have taken a couple of pics. Click on the picture to get to the flickr page and you can leave a comment or look at the bigger size (if you are into that kind of thing)

The first mushroom is the bizarre looking Stinkhorn. Some people might think they look like some alien penises. I think this variety is the Mutinus caninus.


According to Wikipedia some parts are edible
The Dog Stinkhorn is probably edible at the ‘egg’ stage, but it is not recommended. At least one report from West Virginia in the eastern United States strongly recommends the 'eggs' peeled and fried as a tasty dish

Stinkhorn Detail
No thank you.

Next up is the Amanita muscaria. This is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus.


From wikipedia
Amanita muscaria is now primarily famed for its hallucinogenic properties with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures.


Some late day sun gives the mushroom some 'warmth'


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Into the wild a great movie

I was flipping channels on the tv (this is something every man should do to annoy his wife) and saw that into the wild just started on showtime. I read the brief description and decided to watch 10 minutes or so to see if it is any good. My wife and I loved this movie; we were not going to watch the whole thing because it was getting late but of course we couldn’t just go to bed without watching the end. Of course we paid the price the next morning when the kids got up before 6.

The movie has a 8.2 rating on IMDB so that is pretty good.This movie is based on the book Into the Wild written by the author of Into Thin Air John Krakauer

Here is what the movie is about, I made only the first sentence visible because I don’t want to spoil it for you, you can highlight the text to make it visible.

After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, apparently stranded by an injury and slowly starving. They also reflect the posturing of a confused young man, raised in affluent Annandale, Va., who self-consciously adopted a Tolstoyan renunciation of wealth and return to nature. Krakauer, a contributing editor to Outside and Men's Journal, retraces McCandless's ill-fated antagonism toward his father, Walt, an eminent aerospace engineer. Krakauer also draws parallels to his own reckless youthful exploit in 1977 when he climbed Devils Thumb, a mountain on the Alaska-British Columbia border, partly as a symbolic act of rebellion against his autocratic father. In a moving narrative, Krakauer probes the mystery of McCandless's death, which he attributes to logistical blunders and to accidental poisoning from eating toxic seed pods

Now that I saw the movie I want to read the book……don’t tell my wife I know, but something tells me that I will get the book as part of my father’s day gift this Sunday.

If you have showtime you can see when it will be on again here

Friday, June 12, 2009

Remember! True Blood starts in 2 days

One of my favorite shows in the last couple of years

Here is the coundown clock

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Xbox 360 Project Natal: Full-Body Motion Control

Microsoft announced Xbox 360 Project Natal at this year's E3

Here is the press release

The future of home entertainment has a new name: Xbox 360. Today, Microsoft Corp. opened the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) with a historic Xbox 360 briefing that rocked, tweeted, revved and awakened the world to a new era of fun and entertainment. In addition to premiering 10 exclusive new games, revolutionizing the way we watch TV, and making it easier than ever to connect to friends, Xbox also welcomed visionary filmmaker Steven Spielberg to introduce “Project Natal” and controller-free gaming.

“Today with cultural visionaries at our side and controller-free gaming on our horizon, Xbox 360 authored a new page in home entertainment history,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

“For us, this E3 is about breaking down barriers — between generations, between games and entertainment, and most important, between video game players and everyone else — in a way that only Xbox 360 can.”
During its briefing, Microsoft showed why Xbox 360 continues to defy industry sales trends. First: A lineup of blockbuster games to ignite every passion, including “Forza Motorsport 3,” “Alan Wake,” “Halo 3: ODST” and “The Beatles: Rock Band.” Next? A host of groundbreaking Xbox LIVE services, from instant on 1080p HD streaming movies and television to Facebook and tailor-made for your TV. And rounding it all out, “Project Natal,” a whole new way to play, no controller required.

“Project Natal”: No Strings (or Controllers) Attached
Unveiled for the first time to the public was “Project Natal,” pronounced “nuh-tall” and a code name for a revolutionary new way to play, no controller required. See a ball? Kick it, hit it, trap it or catch it. If you know how to move your hands, shake your hips or speak, you and your friends can jump into the fun. The only experience needed is life experience.

Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the “Project Natal” sensor is the world’s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, “Project Natal” tracks your full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in your voice.

In addition, unlike other devices, the “Project Natal” sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognize you just by looking at your face, and it doesn’t just react to key words but understands what you’re saying. Call a play in a football game, and players will actually respond. Want to log onto Xbox LIVE? Simply step in front of the sensor.

“The next step in interactive entertainment is to make the controller disappear,” said Steven Spielberg, visionary director and producer. “With ‘Project Natal,’ we’ll see games that bring everyone together through technology that actually recognizes us.”

The Best of the Internet, Custom-Made for Your TV
Groove, party or connect with a friend. Xbox LIVE, the world’s largest social network on TV, today announced that Facebook and would be tailor-made for your TV, only on Xbox 360. Microsoft also announced Xbox LIVE Party for movies, which allows movie experiences to be shared — on the couch or across the country over Xbox LIVE in supported movies.

“We are always asking ourselves how to make the TV more social,” said John Schappert, corporate vice president of Interactive Entertainment LIVE, Software and Studios at Microsoft. “By bringing Facebook, and Xbox LIVE Party for movies and TV shows to Xbox LIVE, we’re not only extending the walls of your living room beyond your home to your friends in different corners of the world, we’re creating the definitive social network, uniting more than 200 million people to share status updates, pictures, thoughts on music and the world’s best online gaming experience.”

The addition of Facebook to Xbox LIVE means friends are always connected, anytime, anywhere — from virtually any couch. But updating your status and sharing photos won’t be the only things you can do. Using Facebook Connect, you can share your greatest moments in gaming by posting updates and screenshots from supported games directly to Facebook. Don’t let your moment of glory fade away — make sure everyone sees it with Facebook Connect, starting with the future version of the premier EA SPORTS golf franchise “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®.”

A first for TV,,1 part of the CBS Interactive Music Group, will give Xbox LIVE subscribers access to millions of songs streaming through Xbox 360 to the best speakers in the house. Xbox LIVE subscribers will be able to create their own free, personalized radio stations and listen to them with friends in the living room or across the country.
Xbox 360 also solidified its place as one of the leading social entertainment networks by announcing Xbox LIVE Party for movies. Go to the cinema with your friends whether you are sitting on the same couch or in living rooms across the country. Starting this year, you can share a virtual theater, see your avatar (a virtual you) on the screen, all while you listen to each other laugh and cry at the movie through voice chat on Xbox LIVE. With movie parties, the only thing you can’t share is the popcorn.

1080p HD in an Instant
Continuing a pioneering effort that began with the introduction of the industry’s first video marketplace in November 2006 and broke new ground with the announcement of the first live TV straight from a gaming console last week in the U.K., Microsoft today announced that Xbox would deliver yet another first-to-the-world: instant on 1080p movies and TV with 5.1 surround sound — direct to consoles connected to compatible HD TVs through the Xbox LIVE social entertainment network.

Starting this fall, a broad selection of movies and TV shows from Zune video on Xbox 360 will be available to start and stream instantly, in the highest video quality and at the push of a button.2 No discs, no waiting for downloads and no delays. Get the selection of a video megastore, the best video clarity available and the convenience of on-demand, only on Xbox 360.

In addition, Microsoft announced it will more than double the number of markets where Xbox LIVE offers its TV shows and movies, growing from eight to 18, by adding Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Xbox LIVE members in these markets will have access to instant on 1080p video. New Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace advancements also came for the U.S., U.K.and Ireland, specifically:

• More choices with Netflix. Watch movies instantly streamed from Netflix.3 Browse and add selections to your instant Queue — right on your TV with your Xbox 360. Plus now with Xbox LIVE Party, you can watch and share supported movies with up to seven friends on Xbox LIVE. Debating between comedy and horror? Recommend your favorites to friends and see your virtual you as an avatar on the silver screen.

• Live TV with BSkyB Ltd. The Xbox LIVE commitment to providing the best global entertainment gains momentum with its newest partner, Sky. Now, for the first time, watch live or on-demand TV from Sky on Xbox 360, including Sky Sports. Never miss a moment of your favorite live TV shows, sports, movies and family-friendly entertainment across the U.K. and Ireland on Xbox LIVE. You can even share your favorites with up to seven friends in an Xbox LIVE Party.

Games for Everyone
Get behind the steering wheel of the sleek Audi R8. Rock out with your friends to the latest music and party games. Discover a new chapter set in the iconic universe of “Halo.” Xbox 360 has the most celebrated, highly anticipated games and experiences in the industry. With more than 1,000 titles to date, there’s more than just one for you.

• Get behind the wheel. Hit the straightaway in more than 400 cars on the world’s most beautiful tracks in the definitive racing game for this console generation, “Forza Motorsport 3.” Or get your avatar in the driver’s seat as you tear up the track with your friends in “Joy Ride.”

•Adrenaline-rushing exclusives. Xbox 360 is your top destination for the biggest exclusives this year and beyond, including “Halo 3: ODST,” “Crackdown 2,” “Alan Wake,” “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction™” and “Left 4 Dead 2.”

•Tap into your inner musician. Xbox 360 continues to be the preferred venue for the music games you love. Discover the magic of music and The Beatles with “The Beatles: Rock Band” or start a spontaneous singing party with “Lips: Number One Hits.”

•The best blockbuster experiences. Third-party games play better on Xbox 360. Pairing must-have titles such as this year’s blockbuster from Infinity Ward, “Modern Warfare 2” with Xbox LIVE, Xbox 360 offers more friends to play with and an exclusive collection of Game Add-ons.

Here is a video

See also: