Only the good die young.
A portion of my childhood summers was spent with my Dad's cousins, my uncles and aunts who were so close to him. Tito June and Tito Joel used to quiz me about my Hardy Boys books. Tito Joel in particular, had a genius rep as he used to join quiz contests on TV. I think he became my inspiration to learn a lot of trivia, though the only contests I joined were school-centric. When they both joined the US Navy, I was very impressed.
I had the good fortune of meeting Tito June again back in 2004, and he took me on a quick tour of the US Naval base in San Diego. I never say Tito Joel again as a naval man, but spoke to him again briefly on the phone about 3 or 4 years ago. He was inviting me to their home in Jacksonville at that time. Unfortunately, I never did get to go.
Life is short, and there doesn't seem to be enough time to put in all the things you want to do. But if I look at Tito Joel, he seems to be the exception - I am sure he would still want to be with us, and there's probably a lot more he wanted to do - but he accomplished so much in his career, in his life, that I hope it serves as further inspiration to everyone he has touched.
Goodbye, Tito Joel. Please say hello to my Dad for all of us.
The Fall TV season is upon us, and as such, I won't be able to catch up again on the other series which have been waiting to be watched in marathon fashion. If you are a new dad like myself, you know what I mean (hey, my Borderlands 2 copy is still sitting there unwrapped). So we'll just wing it as we go along. On my plate are two poli-centric semi-military dramas, one of which I finished its outstanding first season (and won those deserved Emmys) and the other is a new one that has some promise.
Let's tackle the new kid first. Last Resort, whose poster I mistook weeks ago to be a maskless Captain America holding Old Glory while wading in water, is about a US nuclear submarine crew dodging their own government because they've been branded as traitors for not obeying orders. The obvious inspiration is Crimson Tide and the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan series. The curveball is they commandeer a tropical island and dig in, daring their superiors to attack them. But this is no simple thriller - within the pilot episode, we've seen all parties go up against each other. Trust is an element that will be highly coveted and rarely found here. Given the military culture of not questioning orders, you'd be hard-pressed to take a side. Well, not really because the protagonists are clearly presented (the ones with a conscience), and the whole thing looks like a setup. Then again, there's a part of you that might question how crazy can Captain Marcus Chaplin can get, to prove a point. His closing monologue is, for me, an instant classic. I can see Andre Braugher channeling James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Samuel Jackson through his words.
Making a case for its inclusion in modern classic TV shows that are critically and popularly acclaimed is Homeland, entering its second season with lead character Carrie Mathison getting dragged back into the game (did you have a doubt?). Back to teaching immigrants at a community college, Carrie is sent for by David Estes and Saul Berenson to uncover a new threat against the United States. Meanwhile, Sergeant Brody is now Congressman Brody, and pretty soon, maybe Vice President Brody - but he still believes in changing the system from within, despite the fact that his loyalties are being pulled here and there. The writing is solid - I love the ripple effects on his family (his daughter Dana might join his cause soon enough). The beauty of Homeland is that you are faced with questions on what to do if confronted with these situations - will you be a patriot or will you be a human being? The world is gray, for better or worse, and its best bet is a bipolar ex-CIA agent who may take a little too much glee in being back doing what she does best - unraveling terrorist plots.
OK, let me just bang out a few words on my Nexus 7 experience, for posterity’s sake and also for those who may want to dive into a non-iPad tablet.
Once they announced N7 months ago, I had a feeling it was just something I would find very useful. My 1st generation iPad (full disclosure: it was a gift) was getting long in the tooth - I jailbroke it twice to be able to get out of Apple’s restrictive ecosystem, but it comes to a point where you’re kind of tired doing that whenever a new OS came out. Sure, I paid for a fair share of apps (Fruit Ninja! World of Goo! AVPlayer HD!) and it’ll still be working hopefully by the time when we can’t hold back our son anymore and give in to letting him use a tablet. You can’t deny that parenting today seems to let babies use it as a crutch as early as possible, and I can’t say for sure if its a good or bad thing, eventually.
So if the iPad was a desktop replacement (to a degree), now I was in the market for an iPad replacement (briefly considered Asus’ Transformer Pad). Something lighter, and something with enough competency in the design that it’ll be usable for awhile. The price point was also a factor (briefly considered a Kindle Fire). I loathed lugging the iPad in the subway (note that something so small and amazing in 2010 can already be described as something to be “lugged” in 2012) and I hated going thru iTunes all the time just to load media into it. I only have one great use for iTunes and that’s to maintain my 3-year old iPod (yes, its not even a Touch).
And here we are with the Google Nexus 7. And immediately, I almost gave up on it.
Since I bought it in the Google Play store, the unit arrived with my Google account linked. I just needed to input my password, and my WiFi credentials, and boom, i’m in business! Got my apps downloaded, even had a $25 credit for the Google Play store, and already started watching my MKVs (sure, the paltry 16Gb is the best I can do for now, but I can drag the files from my laptop to the Nexus thru Windows Explorer easily, even though I’ll only be able to put 3 to 4 movies at a time). Then I made a costly mistake …
I shut it down for the night.
The next day, at boot up, it asked for my password. I entered my Google password and was promptly rejected. After an hour of head scratching, more rejections, and torment, I was aghast. Why??? I then went for the Hail Mary and tried the hard reset to go back to factory settings … only it didn’t work and I found out later that its a software bug (thanks, Nexus support - with gritted teeth). The hard reset procedure described in their site is completely worthless. Some other owners tried different methods and some did work but not for everyone. So now I ended up locked out of the tablet I wanted to work and had to RMA the damn thing.
Now here I am, typing this in Evernote on my 2nd (replacement) N7. I thoroughly enjoy the Jellybean OS, and I am slowly understanding why Google didn’t make it an option to rotate the screen landscape on demand (hardcore Android enthusiasts can always root the device and basically do whatever they want). It does make the adjustment as the apps need, but you go back to portrait all the time. It seems much more intuitive than reorienting your iPad all the time or completely locking it down. I haven’t shut the device down, for obvious reasons. The battery life seems to be decent, since this isn’t a phone and you don’t have the carrier signal and location services killing your battery on a daily basis. Even my wife navigated through it intuitively, without asking me where this or that button is.
Taking it on my commute is like the best thing as I can read my Kindle books and catch up on my movies and TV shows (the one thing I missed with having a baby is movie nights with my wife), without carrying a monstrosity. I’d have to be careful about thieves though, as they may laugh at my Gen 1 iPad, but might take interest in something that doesn’t look like an iPad.
I expect Google to do a better job updating the OS over time (my Samsung Galaxy S was the bee’s knees in 2010, and 2 years later we’re stuck with Froyo, and that thing is crrrrrrrrrrawling with 3G), so early adopters can wring a lot more life from this, and especially if they really want to challenge Apple in this arena (the latter took notice and are readying their Nexus-killing iPad Mini, which will cost probably twice than the current Nexus).
Now if I could just find a decent Android media stream player so I can just play the movies in my NAS at home …
just think, 6 years ago, this was the New York Knicks:
So it goes without saying that the whole Linsanity madness (uh, that's the same thing, dude) that engulfed New York and the whole world the last week or so was a whole bag of relief. Even much more so when they signed Amar'e and Melo.
By now, everyone knows almost everything there is to know about the Chinese-American phenom, whose success seems to have happened faster than overnight (but of course, not according to him). As for every great story. the backlash is just out there bubbling around the edges, especially when the Knicks go into a swan dive and he struggles to right the ship. With 'Melo coming back, he'll actually be a bigger target for the fans if the Knicks suddenly stumble. but Bill Simmons thinks he'll have enough pride to work with Lin on this one.
That's what every Knick fan should hope for, because I tweeted (out of impulse of course) that "the Knicks should trade Melo, Amar'e, Mike D'Antoni AND James Dolan for useful pieces AND Phil Jackson", Now D'Antoni's job is safe, his game plan gets dusted off, and he may have found a poor man's version of Steve Nash to do it. It won't be the same 7 Seconds or Less attack, but I guess all Amar'e and Melo (both black holes) needed was a capable distributor (Baron Davis is still months and quite a few pounds away). It does seem scary that when the game is on the line and the clock is counting down, it seems like you'd rather have the ball in Lin's hands than Melo's. That says a lot. But there may be some hope on the horizon, as notorious badboy shooter JR Smith, he of the Garden brawl in that same era six years ago along with Anthony, is poised to join the Knicks for a playoff run.
so ... what do we do about James Dolan (and his whispering ghost, Isiah Thomas)?