Friday, June 29, 2007

another year older...

... another year closer to Rapture...
Crappy birthday, jerko.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"The robot's in this, guys!"

They're already here...

Does anyone have/make/sell your basic Decepticon and Autobot tags as magnets? Cuz... I want one!

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"It is harmful to the body," said Daisy to naughty Latawnya.

"... I also heard some horses talking about getting high. I didn't know what they were talking about, so I asked them what getting high meant. They told me it meant using all kinds of drugs. Mother and Father, I think they have their words mixed up. They should say getting low means using all kinds of drugs. I felt so bad, and low, after I used drugs. Mother and Father, I am glad you explained drugs to me."
Never mind their opposable thumblessness, these horses like to get their smoke on... Dude!
For more details/backstory on the rise of Latawnya online, check out this thread at somethingawful. Apparently, the somethingawfulites cleaned out Amazon's inventory of the book (in hardcover!)...

Thanks (I think) to Paris Jen for pointing me to this work of southern fried children's lit. =)

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How would you read this...?

(Specifically, the "0 mg Cholesterol" bit.)

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


site | trailer
I got to catch this yesterday at a Black Carpet preview. I don't quite understand the team-up of miceSpace and Pixar, but I can't argue with a free screening to an excellent film =) Captain Keri was kind enough to play advance scout and save me a spot in line over an hour before showtime.

Honestly, I can't say I'm surprised, but how else to put it? — PIXAR does it again! Freakin' genius! A beautiful Paris full of loveable rats! And some pretty okay rodents, too! All voiced by talented actors (including Patton Oswalt, Will Arnett, Janeane Garofulo, Ian Holm, and Peter O'Toole) and animated with style, personality, and brilliant timing. A clever and wonderful follow-thru on a sweetly improbable premise. In case you're not familiar with the set-up already, the film is about a young rodent named Remy. He's an outsider among his own family because his tastes lead him to want more than a simple rat's life of foraging in garbage for sustenance. Instead, Remy wishes to cook, create, and enjoy culinary delicacies! When he finds himself in Paris, in the kitchen of the restaurant of the chef he idolizes, he teams up with a clueless cook and, in an odd foodie's Cyrano de Berge-rat scenario, finally has an opportunity to realize his dream.

Kooky, no? Pfah, I don't do it justice. Please see the trailer for a better summary and taste of the story.

And, for those who care about cg 3-d imaging, you will be knocked out, not only *gorgeous* water, fire, and fur, and a Paris with all the right atmosphere and cinematic beauty and appeal of every Paris you've seen on film, but remarkably delicious-looking FOOD!

A heartwarming story populated with entertaining characters and full of laughs and visual treats for all ages.

One note on a funny from the film. Me being me, perhaps I'm too quick to go to the gutter with humor, particularly entendre material, but MAN, that dirty old O'Toole gets to drop a pretty adult joke in there!

Don't dare show up late or you'll miss the pre-show short, the simple comic genius of "Lifted!" Thank you, Pixar, for doing what you do, and do best, once again marrying most excellent characters and storytelling with such *animated* animation!

A note about the Black Carpet screening. While there was a line of miceSpacers forming almost two hours before showtime, once in the theater, after at least a 40 minute delay past showtime, the room was still NOT "sold out." There were still dozens of seats available. Apparently, the draw of a free screening of RATATOUILLE promoted by/via miceSpace wasn't able to fill the theater. Pearls before swine? (oink oink) Just bad timing? If you check Black Carpet's ms page, you'll see videos from previous multi-city screenings, of the likes of RENO 911 and JACKASS 2, reinforcing the apparent ubiquity of the network and its power to promote. Alas, it seems that the channel just didn't do as much and couldn't generate as much participation for RATATOUILLE as it did for AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE.

As long as I'm the beneficiary of such offers, I'm certainly not gonna complain. I'm just, y'know... sayin'

July 3, 2007. Hrmm... Somewhen in the last few weeks "Black Carpet" changed their name to "Black Curtain..."

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

dance dance dance

A little digital gem that CesareB brought back to my attention...
Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, June 10, 2007

LOST: timeline cobbling...

Okay, so there's the Dharma Initiative. They discover the island, by luck, accidental rip in spacetime, electromagnetic survey, however, they discover it. Maybe a founder had connections to the Black Rock, or recovered Black Rock castaway, lost at sea many years ago. Anyhow, Dharma moves in in the decades following WW2. They build their hatches, set up their experiments, settle into their village. On the mainland, some Dharma hippies play good Samaritan to Ben's parents-to-be, getting his mother to the hospital so that Ben can be born. His mother dies in childbirth... I think that's right, no? Yeah, cuz Roger refers to Ben's birthday as the day he killed his mother... It's hard to celebrate. Anyhow, pops Roger has fallen on hard times, but lucky for him his new Dharma buddies offer him a job on their island, as a janitor, aka "workman."

Roger and Ben don't quite get along so well, with Dharma or with one another. When Ben gets past the sonic fence and runs away, he encounters one of the Hostiles, up close and personal. Richard Alpert. He seems to size Ben up instantly, maybe even expected him? They talk, Ben reveals he'd rather be with the Hostiles than living and working for Dharma, and they end up cutting a deal that's realized years later, when workman, Jr. Ben betrays Dharma to the Hostiles, kills his own father, and eventually (or quickly?) earns, or perhaps takes his rightful destined place as, leader of the Hostiles. His ability to communicate with Jacob seems like it would secure that position, eh? Who spoke to Jacob before Ben arrived?

Dharma types know of the Hostiles and periodically successfully defend against Hostile attacks. They seem to be the closest things to "natives" of the island. Their origins? Descendants of the crew (and manifest?) of the Black Rock? Or, given the longevity of the island's denizens, and the complications surrounding fertility and childbirth, the original crew of the wrecked ship?

Having killed all of Dharma's personnel on the island, at least, all of them whom they can get to (Kelvin's left alone in the Swan), the Hostiles then proceed to assume the identity of Dharma in dealings with the outside world. How long does it take for Dharma to learn that their people have been killed? What can they do about it? They continue to regularly/automatically drop supplies onto the island. This seems to indicate that some of the legit Dharma types (Mikhail?) were converted/defected to the Hostiles, unless on his own workman Ben was able to learn enough about Dharma's ways, communications, and protocol to fool real-world-Dharma into believe that island-Dharma was functioning within normal parameters... Perhaps... At least until something catastrophic, like perhaps the implosion of the Swan. I think some of the Others must be converted old school Dharma personnel.

That makes sense. That Ben and the Hostiles assume the identity of Dharma's island contingent, keeping up appearances so that from the outside, all seems to be well. Maintaining that illusion would allow them to operate in the real world as apparently legit agents of Dharma, using real-world-Dharma's resources and clout to conduct operations and even recruit new agents, such as Juliet, as recently as 2001 (she's been on the island for three years, right?).

Or... Did Dharma always want the Hostiles to come into technological power on the island?

Or... Does Dharma not care who runs their island operations, but just that certain goals are reached, regardless of the means?

I'll put aside those two ors for now...

Why do the Hostiles, now Others, care to bring more people to the island at all? Seems like they've got two ongoing priority projects... One, collecting Good people. And two, solving the dangerous fertility issues connected to the island. Oh, I guess there's also the third one of abducting and testing those with possible extrasensory/paranormal abilities and/or a connection to the island, i.e. Walt and Locke.

So, Ben wacks his dad sometime in the 70s. You can tell cuz he snuffs him in the Dharma VW mystery machine. Ben and Richard and company move into the Dharma village. They apparently eliminate the occupants of many of the hatches/stations and abandon the projects and experiments that are of no interest to them. It seems that it may have taken some time to get into the Pearl, the monitoring station, as we see that a pyramid of pneumatic tubed notebooks has accumulated since the Hostile's attack. They free the polar bears (the Einsteins of the bear community) from their pens, if only to make room in the cages for prisoners. They continue to put on a show in front of the cameras as the raggedy Hostiles for the benefit of the stations they can't infiltrate.

Sometime around 1988, a pregnant Danielle Rousseau, on a research vessel of some sort, along with her husband and a team of scientists, are drawn to the island by the broadcast of the Numbers. They end up shipwrecked, and every member of their crew and team is either abducted or killed by the Hostiles, or maybe died from an as yet unidentified/unconfirmed virus. One or more of them might have been done in by Rousseau herself (she spoke as if she killed her husband, and her child, Alex, was "lost" to her, somehow). Eventually, she locates the radio tower that transmits the Numbers and replaces the recording with her automated looping "iteration" distress call. She then proceeds to go native, living in the jungles of the island on her own, and sometimes at odds with the Hostiles, aka the Others. Rousseau believes, or wants to believe, that Alex is dead, when in fact, she's been abducted and then adopted by Ben.

Why were the Numbers being broadcast in the first place? Was it a beacon or guide of some sort for Dharma operatives? Was it part of one of Dharma's experiments that the Hostiles didn't bother to shut down? Was it something the Hostiles initiated to draw new blood to the island? Ordered by Jacob? And the power of the Numbers? Does anyone know how these numbers can influence reality? Were they discovered by accident? No one but Hurley and Danielle have had any direct experience with them.

Allright, dropping the Numbers for now...

Sometime in the 90s, back when Eko was still a crimelord in Nigeria, a small plane carrying the body of Eko's priest brother and one of his soldiers crashes on the island. There are no survivors and the plane is left undisturbed by islanders for years.

Sometime else, an eccentric (wealthy?) adventurer-type, Henry Gale, and his wife set out to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Their journey ends on the island. I can't remember if the exchange between Sayid, Anna Lucia, and Ben reveals anything about whether the Others had an explicit hand in their deaths. They do find both of their bodies buried, tho, right? Someone had to bury them.

Can anyone remember how long Desmond's been on the island? Well, however long ago that was, Desmond is sucked into the island by a freak storm. He's welcomed by Kelvin, who's hoping that he's there to relieve him ("What did one snowman say to the other?"), and then pressed into button-pushing duty.

Did the Hostiles intercept and kill or abduct and convert Kelvin's assigned Dharma relief personnel? Are any of Ben's current Others converted or brainwashed Dharma agents?

In 2001, Richard Alpert and Ethan successfully recruit Juliet. I can't recall if they ever use the name Dharma in any of their discussions. They seem to have all the trappings of representatives of Dharma in their dealings, and they have access to some resource which can cause a bus to kill a tyrannous ex-husband.

In 2004, Desmond kills Kelvin. He lets the clock run down to zero, tilting the Swan and knocking Oceanic 815 out of the sky. On one side of the island, the 815 survivors encounter the black smoke monster, which has apparently roamed the island since the original Dharma people arrived (they built a sonic fence for protection). On the other side, the tailies are quickly thinned out by abductions by Ben's Others.

Juliet knows enough to be afraid of the Monster when she and Kate are handcuffed together. I don't know that any other member of the Others has acknowledged the creature. Did the Hostiles coexist w the Monster peacefully? Is it because they are all "Good?"

In the season finale, Ben explains to Jack that Naomi, the woman who parachuted to the island from a helicopter, is *not* the rescuer that she claims to be. She is not part of Penny Widmore's search for Desmond. In fact, she's working for Dharma, who apparently is intent on reclaiming the island and killing off the Hostiles, and anyone else who doesn't belong to the Initiative. Or so Ben would says.

Naomi is not surprised to be on the same island as Desmond, but she *is* surprised to find the survivors of Oceanic 815. This leads me to believe that the faked airplane wreckage and bodies were conjured up by the Others. That would keep the outside world from launching any search and rescue action for the missing passengers. They might have come up with a story/body for Desmond as well, except they didn't know he was on the island (he was taken in by Kelvin and his boat was somehow never spotted by the Others). If Dharma knew about the 815 survivors, they would have given Naomi a cover story that included the search for them, right?

With Dharma not knowing about the 815 survivors, they may not necessarily wish to do them in. Although, if they prove to be unwanted complications, it would be no big whup PR-wise, as the rest of the world already believes them to be dead.

I like the idea that Dharma may be the greater evil when compared to the Hostiles/Others. Sure the average Dharma scientist type seems like a hippie, but there's big money weapons makers and industrialist moguls backing it all, right? Evil, no? One which would force the survivors and the Others to cooperate. A team-up, or series of team-ups, will make for some fun episodes next season. With Locke being a possible island/Jacob oracle, at least as connected as Ben, you've gotta wonder who the island might choose to support in some way. Maybe it's a fickle god type of ancient mythology, y'know? Throwing its weight behind whatever city-state or people happen to amuse or honor it in a pleasing way at a particular moment...

Right. I know I missed some things I wanted to ramble out, but I'm just about tapped out for the late night...

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, June 07, 2007

google maps' "streets view"

Joe and I sampled Google's "streets view" maps feature last week, and after a few minutes came up with all kinds "Y'know what's gonna happen"s... One big one of course, was the inadvertant capture of everyday people engaged in, umm... compromising behavior. You could capture anything by chance, y'know? From nose picks to arguments to clandestine rendezvouses to muggings. WIRED magazine started taking submissions of some such finds, probably on the day of street view's release. There's probably hundreds of sites or blogs collecting similar material by now.

I stumbled across a link to one that I saw featured on THE DAILY SHOW. Too funny. =)

* June 10, 2007. Wow! "This image is no longer available." It was of a man taking a whiz on a speed limit sign along the highway. Here's the link to the WIRED collection of interesting street views. Not all that scandalous a selection.

* June 11, 2007. Found a post at The Consumerist that includes the sign-whizzing image... The post refers to an interview at Freakonomics with Google's Streets View product manager.

A little disappointing that Boston hasn't been assimilated yet. Seems like it's just San Fran and Manhattan so far.

* June 9, 2007. Besides Boston, NY and SF were the only locations that I tried. Today I see that they've got Vegas, Denver, and Miami street viewed as well.

I hazily recall a laserdisc project from the 80s being dubbed the first, or an early, example of interactive multimedia. It was a photographic survey of all the streets in the downtown of a city. Laserdisc tech allowed a viewer to jump to any location at will, or play back the sequence of snaps that connected one location to another. I was hoping for that option thru street view, but alas, not (yet) happening.

* June 12, 2007. Wack! Found an entry at Wikipedia for the (sorry, it's called) HYPERmedia project with the laserdisc of city street photography. The city was Aspen. Thank you, interweb!

It's a little sad how this one turn of a phrase from the article makes me feel so... well, old, I guess: "... transferred to laserdisc, the analog-video precursor to DVD technology..." The writer felt that an appellative was necessary to explain the term "laserdisc" to readers! *sigh*

Keep on peekin on~

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

YOU KILL ME: fun romantic dark comedy

site | trailerCaught YOU KILL ME tonight at an advance screening at Kendall Square—a lot of light and dark laughs! Although, to be honest, there wasn't a lot that *felt* all that dark. Perhaps that's just me, tho, right? The "dark" seems to be a label that fits more by definition than mood.

First off, THANKS, IFFB! It was the peeps at the Independent Film Festival of Boston who alerted me to the screening last night and I got my sister and Rowan into it. Today I forwarded the link on to a mess of other people, but apparently couldn't lure anyone else out. Boo. O well.

A wonderful, simple, and okay, kinda dark, premise—a professional killer with a drinking problem—leads to some sweet romantic and comic moments. It helps, of course, that Frank the killer is played by Sir Ben Kingsley, and Lauren, the romantic interest, is Tea Leoni. I do love a sexy girl who can bring the funny with an earnest performance and timing, without having to be bungling and tee-hee-ing.

When his drinking interferes with the quality of his work, his Family stages an intervention. They give him an ultimatum—he needs to dry out and *ahem* shoot straight. So he's sent from gangland Buffalo into hiding in San Francisco, ordered to join AA, and as part of his rehab, pressed into part time legit service as a mortician's assistant at a funeral home. When an alcoholic killer who appreciates precise and professional work starts the twelve steps, takes stock, examines his life, well, it makes for some unusual meetings and measures.

It's not a non-stop laugh-riot, and I think the script could actually be pushed further for more fun and funny, but it's a good balance, and a well played follow-thru on the fish-out-of-water scenario. It plays as a story that is populated by characters who are funny and witty, and when laughs come from situations, they're not forced set-ups, but arise matter-of-factly, driven by the characters.

Kingsley plays menacing straight man perfectly. Opposite Leoni, his nervousness is touching. In his moments alone, or in the company of the recently deceased at the funeral home, he's a typical clueless single guy, could be someone you know. Gotta say, Bill Pullman pulls a rabbit out of his hat with his portrayal of Frank's sleazy San Francisco "handler," Dave. I don't want to give any details of his character away here, as they're so much better experienced firsthand in the film, but I will say that he plays an excellent scumbag.

The clever characters make for some very fun dialogue and verbal jousting, dipping into saucy punnery (think double entendre for "shortcomings") and rising to ironic euphemism (Frank describing his work as being "in personnel"). The story also allows for one of the funnest courtships with a killer I've seen on screen since THE PROFESSIONAL. I'm not saying that it *rivals* the Leon + Mathilda dynamic. It sort of shares its spirit, tho. Only, y'know, without the statutory factor.

YOU KILL ME should be in wide release later this month. If you like the bits in the trailer, the movie delivers more of the same, and wish some great understated and character performances. Check it out for a great cool date flick. =)

I mentioned to my sister after the movie that I thought that this subgenre of dark comedy—put a professional killer in an everyday/nonexotic situation—almost writes itself. It's "easy." The director, John Dahl (RED ROCK WEST, LAST SEDUCTION, ROUNDERS) was present at the screening and afterwards held a Q&A session. He said that the script for the film had been written years ago, by the writing team that has been penning the screenplays for the NARNIA movies. The writers had abandoned hope of it ever being produced, though, and Dahl put it something like this: "Who wants to make a dark comedy about a contract killer?"

Does that sound wrong to anyone else? Maybe it's my warped brain. Because the question that my mind formulates is rather: "Who DOESN'T want to make a dark comedy about a contract killer?" There's so much material there. Easy, sure, but when crafted just right, damn entertaining. GROSS POINT BLANK, anyone? MATADOR? COLD BLOODED, even! But maybe that's a Hollywood insider attitude or trend. Perhaps box office numbers are historically bad for this material...? *sigh*

Well, I suppose it may be better that it's a rarity, or a Hollywood long shot. I wouldn't want the genre flooded with mainstream schlock.

Keep on keepin on~