Thursday, January 22

The user reviews of the "Playmobil Security Check Point" on Amazon are pretty awesome.

I like the basic idea. I applaud Playmobile for attempting to provide us with the tools we need to teach our children to unquestioningly obey the commands of the State Security Apparatus, but unfortunately, this product falls short of doing that. There's no brown figure for little Josh to profile, taser, and detain? Where are all the frightened plastic Heartlanders pointing at the brown figure as they whisper "terrorist?" Where are the hippy couple figures being denied boarding passes? And shouldn't someone be forcing a mother figure to drink her own breast milk?
(via Boing Boing)

Root of Satan's Awkward Gropings

I've been spending some time readying up on the western traditions of magic (gnostic in particular). A lot of it is about relationships of names and word and such.  This chart is nicely evocative of all that.  But applied to heavy metal band names.

Go here for the full thing.

NBS. March 11th, 1970.

I have so many hesitations about the Watchmen movie, but it is stuff like this that get me excited.

(via Bozarth)

Ghostbusters / Great hair

(via Kotaku)

Wednesday, January 21

Lost Again

The new season of Lost starts in just a few hours.  I thought I would be watching it alone but I was invited to a viewing party/pot luck this morning.  Mmmm.  What to bring to a Lost party...

Well, definitely candy...

When visiting someone's home, it is always a good idea to bring wine...

But wine and candy aren't really food.  So I decided to go with frozen foods I good heat up when I got there.

I actually made the sauce from scratch.  Total scratch.  Yes, today I learned to make mayo.
And yes.  I am a huge nerd who with a copy of Illustrator and rubber cement.

Barack and Michelle, very open with their "love"


(via Claspy)

Where is Matt? (video game version)

I previsously posted about the dancing video that I found so charming.

This version also appeals to me.

(via Boing Boing)

Tuesday, January 20

Matrix Reloaded

...but with a cat and puppies...

(via Crystal)

12-Year-Old Makes Zombie Feature

Emily is twelve.  She's making a zombie movie.  There is a documentary, Zombie Girl, about the making of the movie.  Go watch the trailer.

(via io9)

Beyond my snarky comments...

I'm proud of us.

Obama's inauguration speech via speech-to-text software

"the loss of the wall from a worsening from the was those in a doc the wasn.t the is the's room of the room fo war: a in a 100 100 and onger as well as 31 Arsen along with wall version when all 100 and what we had loss of a lay fro English through 100 and are to the sure for the shores will the longer it up in is 100 they are also the Lewis of the loss her her the e also the whom is looking for the little 2 mil loss: 1 whose the report was a so as a little of the bu what a wall in a than the tour having this is a flock of th 000 illusion had mor at at the those with the room was a the 0 will all this one little lose the number of our way we is is in a was careless 001 tho England and was one with the organs was 20" used his laptop and a microphone help up to the tv.

Comments I couldn't post live during the inauguaration because the internet went down in the coffeeshop because too many people were live blogging

John Cusack in a suit just makes me think of his character in Grosse Pointe Blank.  Which makes me think he is there to assassinate someone.

Cheney is in wheel chair because he "hurt his back" moving "boxes" out of his office.  (1) It may have been corpses and not boxes. (2) He looks more and more like James Bond villain.

Oh come on people.  Stop booing W..  He's done.  Move on.  (Kucinich just announced that he is still going to try to impeach Bush... from anywhere he can.  Next attempt - impeach Bush from Netflicks.)

John Williams composed the piece played just before Obama takes the oath.  The next four years will be score liked a Spielberg film.

Wait.  They just said that Obama official became president at noon.  That for 5 minutes he could have done whatever the hell he wanted.

Obama fumbles over the oath.  Is it still valid?  Do we now have a president how hasn't taken the oath?  Oh my god.  He is above the law now!  So no change from the last eight years.

The gun shots of the salute freak me out a bit.  I scan the stage for Cusack.

"I stand here humble the fact I stumbled over the oath."

"Forty-four president have now spoken the word oft he oath of office ...actually just forty-three.  I found it kind of tricky."  (Okay, I'll let it go.)  Edit: As was pointed out by rubysneakers - Glover Cleveland.  Was Obama already can't get his facts straight.
Serious note:  Obama starts right into how difficult thinks will be.  He asks for people to sacrifice... something we haven't been asked of in the last seven years.  Post-9/11, we were told that the way to "win" was to just go on and not change our lives.  Finally!

(This is when the internet totally went.  I assume the middle was where all the funny bits were.)

Okay.  The first 100 seconds.  Is everyone better off?  Seems like Obama has spent his entire time in office standing there and just talking.  Where is all this "vhange" I keep hearing about?

Monday, January 19

B(a)rick Obama

(via Big Picture Blog via Bozarth)


On the morning news today, they were giving the five day forecast.  You know the one: five vertical rectangles with the temperature and pithy description and then cartoon drawing of a sun or clouds or clouds hiding behind the sun.  The pithy description caught my eye today.
Say it all, doesn't it?

Relational Visual Dictionary with 80,000,000 Tiny Tiny Images


From the site:
Each of the tiles in the mosaic is an arithmetic average of images relating to one of 53,464 nouns. The images for each word were obtained using Google's Image Search and other engines. A total of 7,527,697 images were used, each tile being the average of 140 images. The average reveals the dominant visual characteristics of each word. For some, the average turns out to be a recognizable image; for others the average is a colored blob. The list of nouns was obtained from Wordnet, a database compiled by lexicographers which records the semantic relationship between words. Using this database, we extract a tree-structured semantic hierarchy which we use to arrange tiles within the poster. We tessellate the poster using the hierarchy so that the proximity of two tiles is given by their semantic distance. Thus the poster explores the relationship between visual and semantic similarity. For a large part of our language the two are closely correlated as shown by the extent of visual clustering within the poster.
I'm not 100% sure what any of that means but its cool.

(via Good Morning Silcon Valley via PapaSix)

Sunday, January 18

Joaquin Phoenix, Lumber Jack Rapper

Movies of 2009, second 6 months

A continuation of the earlier post.   The 2nd half of the year is a bit more interesting...

This has a good cast and I dig '30s gangster stuff but it's directed by Micheal Mann.  Why does the film industry tease me so?

2012 (July 10)
Big ol' end of the world disaster flick by the same people who brought you Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow.  I would think they were getting bored.  I do appreciate that at the end of the teaser trailer they tell you to google 2012 and not just go to the movie website.  There are info out there to freak people out.  (Freaking out about this is like seeing that your daily planner has no more pages after December.)

Yes, another one.  They don't get that much better or that much worse.  While I read all of the books with joy, watching the films now feels like something I have to do just to complete the set.

G-Force (July 24)
Gerbils has government special agents.  'Nough said.

A movie I will see just because I sort of watched the cartoon.  I am mostly curious about how one balances the goofiness with making it exciting.  I mean, one villain wears a cobra helmet and the other has a head of metal.  Also, C.O.B.R.A. of the Idiotarod took its design inspiration and some of its attitude from Cobra.

Shorts (Aug 7)
I fully appreciate Robert Rodriguez do it yourself ethic and his interesting eye.  And this is a movie about a rock that grants wishes.  If I had a wish he'd direct another horror film.

I know someone in it.  That's pretty much it.

I just like the ridiculousness of the title.  Actually, I enjoyed the first one.  Or at least the concept.  You know, with all of these 3D films that have been coming out, I have yet to see one.  I should do that.  Somehow I am guessing it will not be FD:DT3D.

Since Pulp Fiction I've been waiting for QT (I like calling him "QT) to direct something out of genre.  At the time, I wanted him to do a cyberpunk movie.  (Yeah, this was when cyperpunk was cool.)  I am uber-curious as to what he does with a WWII film.  (Insert joke about guys in a foxhole talking about what Ella Fitzgerald meant by "Ain't Misbehavin'.")

Game (Sept 4)
Seems like there are a lot of sci-fi films coming out now.   Curious.  "In the near-future, mind-control technology has taken society by storm and a multiplayer on-line game called "Slayers" allows humans control other humans in mass-scale. Kable is the on-line champion of the game, and with his every move tracked by millions, his ultimate challenge becomes regaining his identity and launching an attack on the system that has imprisoned him."  Now that I actually see that, it sounds stupid.  I'll still see it.

Pandorum (Sept 4)
"A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities."  There as a weird roleplaying game that I bought and never played that was this story.  Except everyone was also crazy and kept popping from one 'reality' to another, each a metaphor for what as really happening on the spaceship.  I've bought my share of games I've never played.

9 (Sept 9)
This is awesome.

Daybreakers (Sept 11)
Vampires.  Do they ever get old?  I think I saw his when it was called 30 Nights.

Great damn book.  If done well this could be an amazing kids The Day After Tomorrow.  But actually good.  And fun cast.  Please, whoever was responsible for the Cat In The Hat movie, stay way from this.

Fame (Sept 25)
Thank you, High School Musical 1-3, for making this remake seeming like a good idea.

The Surrogates (Sept 25)
Another sci-fi flick.  Has the potential of being a Philip K. Dickian yarn.  (I just wanted to write "Dickian" and "yarn.")

Toy Story (Oct 2)
Still Toy Story but... now in 3D!  I want to see this with my friend Matt because I expect him to jump up and down in his seat.  And now he can do it in 3D!

Zombieland (Oct 9)
Zombies.  I love zombies.  And this one is so up front with its title.  Might just be a Shaun of the Dead rip off though.  But it's zombies so who cares?

Directed by Spike Jonez who I love.  This was supposed to come out this year but the studio balked.  Too dark.  Max wasn't likable enough.  It's about giant monsters!  Max is an ass!  That's the point.  Well, it is finally coming out (in 9 months from now).  And look at that shot at the top of this post.  Seriously.

The Box (Nov 6)
"A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a troubled married couple, who open it and become instantly wealthy. Little do they realize that opening the box also kills someone they do not know."  I have an irrational fear that every time I realize something unexpected from UPS, this is exactly what will happen.

Wes Anderson's long awaited animated project.  Rohl Dahl story.  I am so curious what this end up like.  (Expect the color yellow.)

The Wolfman (Nov 6)
Werewolf movies are up there with zombie movies for me.  And it should be fun to watch Del Toro go all hairy and angry and stuff.

Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes... Yes!  Directed by Guy Richie... no.

Planet 51 (Nov 20)
I am waiting for other production houses to figure out what makes Pixar movies good.  Hint: Story.  Another hint: STORY!  (Trailer here.)  This reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where the old lady in a shack gets attacked by what looks like tiny toy robots.  And she doesn't speak the entire time.  And then at the end she finds a small flying saucer in the backyard and attacks it with her broom.  And then you discover that the ship was from Earth and the old woman was a giant alien!  That was  a good one!  Also, the bit with the pet Alien is cute.

Nine (Nov 25)
Not 9, but Nine.  Here's a case where the non-animated movie is the musical.

Come on, Mr. Jackson.  Show was what you can do.  Heavenly Creatures was a great film so I'm glad he's getting back to something non-fantasy.

Avatar (Dec 18)
James Cameron's massive pet sci-fi project.  I am guessing this will be a case of too much money handed to too large an ego.  Cameron needs someone around him to say "no."  I'll do it.  Cameron, no.  There.  Now pay me $15,000.

I am sure there are films I've missed and new ones that will pop up.

Xbox Taco Assailant

Teen charged assaulting mom with taco. (FoxNew, Orlando)

From Kotaku's post on the subject:
This reminds me of The Untouchables: "You wanna know how to get Zachary? He pulls a taco, you get a chalupa; He throws a mexi-melt, you grab a seven-layer burrito. That's the Orlando way!"

Movies of 2009, first 6 months

If you know me, you know I'm a movie junkie.  It's not just that I like film, but I enjoy the whole shebang: the gossip, the hype, great movie, bad movies, art films, blockbusters.  I especially enjoy the anticipation (which is a bit sick and wrong).

'08 was a pretty good year.   Not great.  Not many surprises (except perhaps for the fact that Iron Man was better than it had any right to be... I just rewatched it and it has an incredibly tight script).

'09 has some a few films I'm excited about.  Some less so.

Okay, this is already out in limited release.  I have never heard of it before but as I was scanning the '09 release schedule it jumped out at me.  Because I immediately thought it was a sequel the M. Night's The Village and Ice Cube's Barbershop.  I am unclear why that film hasn't been made yet.

Killshot (Jan. 23)
I saw a screening of this over two years ago.  It was pretty god damn awful.  Maybe it was re-edited or re-shot, but I can't even see how that would help.  My guess is that it is getting a release finally ONLY because Micky Rouke has gotten praise for is performance in The Wrestler.  Killshot is not going to help him but might be worth seeing for the horrible Native American makeup they put on him.

Coraline (Feb. 6)
I love many things.  Neil Gaiman and stop-motion animation are near the tops of my list.  Gaiman's book upon which this is based is a beautiful and dark story.  Dream/horror/adventure.  Other world parents with buttons for eyes.  Looks gorgeous.

Not on my radar at all.  Looks like a pretty run-of-the-mill thriller.  I only mention it because it is about an evil multinational bank.  Good timing.

Fired Up (Feb. 20)
"Nick Brady and Shawn Colfax, two popular high school kids, decide a two week stint at a Cheerleaders' Camp is the perfect opportunity to score tons of meaningless romantic liaisons with lonely girls in tight-tops and short-short skirts. But their plan to caress a few hundred pom-poms goes awry when Shawn falls in love with Carly."  Listed purely because of the line "plan to caress a few hundred pom-poms."

Watchmen (Mar. 6)
Okay, this is a no-brainer for me (see pretty much every post I've every made).  My expectations are pretty low.  I foresee it being over-packed and frenzied, lacking a certain amount of heart, and to miss the mark on the ending.  But the trailers look gorgeous and dead on.  So I'm going to look it not as a piece of storytelling than as a riff on the images of the comic book.  I am glad that Warner and Fox came to a deal so movie will be released on time.  (Nice deal for Fox: $5 to $10 mil up front and 5% to 8.5% of gross for basically doing nothing with the property.)

No, I'm noting to see this.  But I do have found memories of seeing the first Witch Mountain movie in the theaters.  I also have found memories of seeing The Cat From Outerspace.

I really should have written that crime-scene clean-up company movie when I thought of it in '94.

I Love You, Man (Mar. 20)
There are a bunch of folks I know through the improv world in this one.  And I have a little bit of a man crush on Paul Rudd.

Let's look at the cast - Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., John Hodgman, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, Jeffrey Tambor, Nate Corddry, Patrick Stewart, Jason Bateman, Stephanie March, Fionnula Flanagan... Enough said.

Fast and Furious (Apr. 3)
Having run out of ways to rework the title in any way that seemed even vaguely clever, they just decided to remove the "The"s.  (My script, The Vast and The Furries, about group of kids at a fat camp that escapes and hide at a convention of people you dress up as animals and have sex is still available for producers.)

Vanilla Gorilla (Apr. 24)
Great title.  It's about an albino gorilla that learns sign language.  Did you see Congo?  That was a great film.  Wish Bruce Campbell was in it more.

I still believe this will suck.  I don't want it to suck.  If it doesn't i will be a nice start to the summer movie season.  But I expect it to suck.  I could give you my arguments but why bother?

Star Trek (May 8)
I have never been a huge Star Trek fan (as relative to the rest of my geekiness).  I do love reworkings of classic material (see BSG for a fantastic example).  I like the cast.  I also love how J.J. Abrams' mind works.  He has yet to show me that he can really direct a movie (although I thought Mission Impossible 3 was under rated).

Who asked for this?  Look, I like Ron Howard and I like Tom Hanks.  Neither one has to be hard up for work, right?

The first two films were great.  The third was crap.  McG hasn't proven himself as a director with much talent and his name annoys me.  But time traveling kill robots.  And it's set (mostly at least) in the future.  So, again, my expectations are low but hopeful.  Time traveling killer robots... how can you screw that up?

Up (May 29)
Pixar, Pixar, Pixar.  Someone who saw a very early version of it said that Pixar as surpassed themselves on a deeply emotional level.  And Pixar fine tunes their stories down to the last minute.  The teaser trailer apparently doesn't come close to what this story is about. (SPOILER: Expect to cry in the first 10 minutes.)

Land of the Lost (June 5)
More childhood rape. Will probably be overly snarky. But I do appreciate that they have stuck close to the original Sleestak designs.

Imagine That (June 12)
You remember when Eddie Murphy was smart and edgy? That was awesome.  (For half a second I thought I saw improviser Paul Welsh in the trailer. It wasn't him.)

Year One (June 19)
I actually like Jack Black but this is just him doing the same old-same old (at least from the description). However you know the pitch was something along the lines of "Quest for Fire meets Slackers."

Transformer Revenge of the Fallen (June 26)
Can't say I loved the first one, but it did go bang good.  Giant space robots (although I never bought into any of the rationals behind transforming in cars and such.  And supposedly they are including Devastator.  More damn Starscream, please (and the Starscream that is whiny and manipulative. He was awesome. (After typing it twice, I realize that his name is Stars Cream. Dibs on that as band and/or improv team name.)

Catching Trains

(via Arbroath)