Saturday, December 31, 2005

Romeo+Juliet

Why was I afraid to watch this movie? Perhaps I was not ready. In any case, I love it.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Truly Madly Deeply

Juliet Stevenson acts her brains out to curious effect. Not as much Alan Rickman as one might hope for. Not not enough Alan Rickman at all.

Plunkett and Macleane

Attractive drivel.

Nausicaa

I saw this originally ages ago in the depths of the VHS era. I love it.

Princess Mononoke

Originally saw it on the big screen in the American version. It seems better acted in Japanese.

Bad Santa

Bad Santa is not a classic. Amusing if you are in the mood for pointless and crude. Farewell, John Ritter.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie

SBSP: The Movie is not as delightful as the show. The fourth wall segments were especially weak in spite of reminding me of Seafair piracy. "I rode the Hasselhoff!"

A Piraka Explores a Strange Cavern

20051230_Piraka_explore

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Contempt

Great big compositions. Photography unlikely to be dated. But I was checking my watch.

Planes in trouble become staple of US cable TV

Not again! People! Media is not a verb!

"We live such a mediated existence anyway, it's refreshing to experience an event unmediated, especially if you don't have to leave your house,' McBride said."

The Ladykillers

Not as hilarious as I remembered. Reasonably hilarious. All the characters , with the exception of "Missus Lopsided" and "Professor Marcus" come off much in the dinner theater mold. Very good dinner theater but they don't quite click. Alec Guinness isn't immune from this directorial effect but soldiers through to good results. Katie Johnson, however, seems to exist in a separate directorial realm of utter plausibility.

The Lavender Hill Mob

Great stuff. Even the bittiest of bit players in this are good.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Zamor Balls


zamor balls
  Posted by Picasa

Piraka Skull

 
There is a word for giant-jawism but I can't remember it. Posted by Picasa

Piraka on the Right

 

They are big compared to the original figures. Posted by Picasa

Piraka Have Arrived

The most striking feature of the figure is a rubbery spine and face that branches out onto the upper arms. These rubber appendages are visciously and variously spined. The face wraps snugly around its hideous jaw and light-up brain.
The faces are very cartoony in comparison to the previous toys in the line. I am reminded of the characters from Small Soldiers.
The green marbles are hollow plastic spheres called zamor in the Bionicle nomenclature. They are ammo for a clever shooter (in the right hand).
The smaller figure on the left is one of the original Bionicle characters. The toys have become progressively larger and more articulated.

Judge rules against Pa. biology curriculum

This is good news but the job isn't done until the Bush hegemony is tossed on the trash heap of history. (Who used that phrase first?)

hegemony_

Viggo Viggo Viggo!

Viggo Mortensen is clarifying some of his recent political commentary in an interview with Progressive magazine. The actor recently came under fire after criticizing some of President George W. Bush's policies. So, what did Mortensen have to say for himself?

"I'm not anti-Bush; I'm anti-Bush behavior," said the History of Violence star. "In other words, I'm against cheating, greed, cruelty, racism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, treason and the seemingly limitless capacity for hypocrisy shown by Bush and his administration." Good Lord -- we're actually swooning."

hegemony_

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush vows domestic surveillance to continue

Please, please, please let this be the straw that breaks the camel's back!

He's coming for you next.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Curse of the Were Rabbit

The onslaught of visual puns will create healthy DVD sales, I gauge. Not as sweet as the previous W&G outings but a little smarter. Shrek 2 had a similar sight-gag density.
Music supervised by Hans Zimmer. Harumph!

Lava Lamp Operational Oddity

The metal spiraled torus that may function as a heat dissipator is askew.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Virginia Slim - The Hours is a depressive closet case. By David Edelstein

The Hours

I wasn't as annoyed by Philip Glass's score as was David Edelstein, but I agree that it does not serve the movie well. Others have rhapsodized on Kidman's rhinoprosthesis which is indeed an amazing thing. However, compare the ineffective age makeup on Julianne Moore.

This movie could also be called Virginia and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Destructive Suicide Meme.

Why? Oh, why?


There is no justice in this world. How else to explain the crack that has rendered this DVD of The Ladykillers (the good one with Alec Guinness not the 2005 remake that has already been forgotten) from Netflix unplayable? O, woe! Posted by Picasa

Throne of Blood

The last ime I saw this was in the theater, probably the Egyptian. On DVD, the effect is not as great, although it certainly is gripping.

Faithful Webcam to the Rescue!


My trusty webcam came to the rescue when my better digital camera ran out of battery. This picture is completely awful, but the scene was striking: heavy frost on everything in sight with the full moon not far above the roofs of the houses across the street. The sky was a deep watery uninterrupted blue. None of that is visible but perhaps this snapshot can serve as a reminder of the scene. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Let it Snow!

Flakes!

Fwd: Google Alert - bionicle

As weird (and fab!) as the show being discussed may be, it can not be weirder than the state inside the reviewer's head that concatenated 'tranny' and 'Bionicle.'

Although there is the unsubtle dominatrix aspect of " Roodaka."


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Google Alerts
Date: Dec 14, 2005 1:23 PM
Subject: Google Alert - bionicle
To:

Google Alert for: bionicle

Going Dutch
San Francisco Bay Guardian - San Francisco,CA,USA
...
She looked like a tranny-Bionicle supermodel, or what you'd get if half of Paris Hilton's face suddenly peeled away to reveal the glowering cyborg within. ...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Goofs for Catch Me If You Can (2002)

I spotted a few anachronisms in Catch Me If You Can, but the good people of the internet are way ahead of me.:

The front-loading washers in the Coin Laundry, were not introduced in that style until the mid-'80s. They are Wascomat W74 Front Loading washing machines and the square door handle and rotary temperature control knob was a design change made in the '80s.

Mercy! Is there such a thing as Laundromat-spotting?

Catch Me If You Can

Watchable. Glib. But it has no movie magic. All the pieces in the right place, but there is no life in the body.

Living Well: Years of boosting kids' self-esteem may have backfired

This meaningless phrase stopped me cold: "fully mediated culture". Judging by the context, Gloria DeGaetano meant something like "media-centered culture". The PI would have done us all a favor by rendering this phrase, barely passable in a casual conversation, into standard English.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rashomon

Movie magic! The rain was tinted with ink to show up on film. Nothing is as it seems ...

Dr. Seuss's The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

What's all the hub-bub? The costumes and set design are certainly striking, but just about every performance is 268° off-kilter. The deadpan kid was amusing at first and then became progressively more creepy. The hero-dad, although a talented fellow no doubt, is also a charisma-free zone. Even the redoubtable Hans Conreid who should have been perfectly at home in Dr Suess's universes seemed befuddled most of the time. A curio, nothing more or less.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Not a feel-good story, but you knew that already. Fine performances all around. The script was not especially good drama but the subject matter makes that moot. Comparisons to Schindler's List are inevitable. Hotel Rwanda not nearly as good a drama as Schindler's List but that works in its favor, removing a few layers of artifice and letting it be more immediate. To that end, the musical score, sparse but distracting, could be dispensed with.

re: Hotel Rwanda

A more thoughtful, informed review.

Whale Rider

Even better than I thought it would be. Performances were great. the role of the understanding grandmother/confidante is a hoary chestnut but Vicky Naughton's extreme charisma overcame that small hurdle.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Kind Hearts and Coronets

I forgot how much Dennis Price is on screen. It's all very droll. A lot of the British sterotypes on display are all but extinct now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The newest Bionicle action figures. They are, apparently, "extreme." Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Kahab and the blue spider

Kahab

Blue Spider

Blue Spider

Kahab

As is usual when building the combiners of Bionicle sets, there are many pieces left over. The blue spider made from three of the Matoran of Voya Nui is no exception. Using the remnants, I was able to make most of another Matoran. There were not enough pieces to make his right leg, so he stumps around on a Hordika's forelimb.
He is searching for the blue spider that took away his leg.

New Matoran (Voyar)

I just received the new Matoran sets. They are all acceptable except for Kazi, whose design is just not good. The fixed-gear portion of the Hordika arm makes an OK torso, but the legs are useless. In appearance, his legs are far too short and their articulation is about nil.

Garan and Velika are identical in construction except for colors, tools and masks. Dalu uses Bohrok limbs and so seems heftier than the others.

I was disappointed enough with Kazi that I built the canonical combiner of Kazi, Garan and Dalu, a spider with a bulbous blue body, instead. Not a problem really since Garan is the same as Velika, Kazi is a dead loss from the outset, and Dalu doesn't quite fit in anyway.

It's been said many times in forums already but having the figures in hand really validates the point: new masks would have been better. Failing that, different colors for the masks would have been a step in the right direction. The "Hordika skulls" will be really useful for MOCs.

The figures are far more posable than the so-called Metruans (the worst design by far) and are the most diverse morphologically of any of the sets-of-six. Both combiners are worthy of building.

In the story, they are not residents of Mata Nui, but of Voya Nui. Confusingly enough, the residents of both are referred to as Matorans. It might be construed that the Matorans are not named after the island of Mata Nui, but instead after the mystical entity Mata Nui. There has not been any indication who or what 'Voya' might be other than 'not Mata.'

Monday, November 21, 2005

Because you asked

My recipe for pumpkin pie:

To prepare.
Go to the grocery. This step is unavoidable.
Find pumpkin in the can. Not that premixed stuff, just plain can of pumpkin.
Using the list of ingredients invariably printed on the label of the can of pumpkin, continue to wander the aisles until you find everything. Note: be clear on the difference between condensed and evaporated milk. Not the same thing, apparently.
Try to remember if there are spices left over from last year - they keep, right? Adjust shopping list accordingly. Do not use something called "pumpkin pie spice." You may as well just buy a ready made pie. (Which isn't a terrible thing. Most of the ready made pies are not bad at all.) You are already making something dead simple, leave a little room for variation.
An ingredient not always on the can of pumpkin: pie shells. These are in the frozen foods section. On the bottom toward the back. Wherever the less sexy frozen foods are. I believe that it is theoretically possible to make a pumpkin pie without the crust.
To bake.
Once home, follow the instructions on the can of pumpkin slavishly except use more spice than indicated. Nutmeg ("Need more nutmeg, Peggy Hill") and ginger in particular. Beware of ground cloves, very strong stuff.
Use big eggs. There is always pie filling left over so cook it in a custard cup or two. Don't eat it from the bowl, there's raw egg in there!
Wrap the crimped part of the crust in tinfoil if you think people will eat the crust. They won't, they never do.
Like tofu, there is a continuum of pumpkin pie firmness. Avoid the soft tofu effect. But don't bake too long or there will be a leathery skin on top. It's done when a knife slipped into the center of the pie comes out clean.
To serve.
Whipped cream is often used as a topping to balance out the fat and sugar with more sugar and fat. This strikes me as excessive but it is traditional. Eschew pumpkin pie cheesecake. There is a reason that first cousins shouldn't marry. Do not serve pumpkin pie with egg nog as nature herself will violently rebel. This is the holiday desert version of Egon Spengler's exhortation, "Don't Cross the Streams."

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Chaotic Cranium Coffee

 
The crew at Cranium was a bit overwhelmed. I saw no progress on the remodel. Unhappy-making, that is.
 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pic taken by phone in the dark. Posted by Picasa

New Webcam Server Software

Logisphere is software from Switzerland. It's built with Logitech's Orbit (aka "Sphere") camera in mind. It will be linked from here soon enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Webcams Are Back Up

There is just as little to see as always but they are back up. The current hardware is a pair of USB webcams from Intel, CS630. Very dependable. Very handy. No Apple support. Blue and white. Untetherable. Higher quality than the usual webcam.

The disappointing Logitech Orbit is in a drawer. Mac supported, though.

The impressive yet disused iSight is also in a drawer. There is an ancient eyeball cam somewhere around as well as a couple of X10 2gH radio cams and the very very wee so-called security cam with the horrific quality. But it's wee!

Handspring eyemodule used recently but only as an historic oddity.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Also laid off four years ago.

It's been just over four years since I posted these pictures of a melee between the then-new Toa, backed up by the the then-Tohunga, and the Throwbots with an assist from the Roboriders. I have stitched the grainy dark pictures together and this is the result:

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Lovely Rose or Evil Eye?

Barista at Cranium was going for rose but did not convince himself.

picture.jpg
Originally uploaded by kyle_beatty.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Usagi?

The MOC from the earlier post had a protodermis incident (Bioniclese for parts bin) and came out rather the better for it.

Usagi?
Originally uploaded by kyle_beatty.


More pictures here.

Mask of Destiny forum.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Alien Hunter Samurai Robot Thingie

With the exception of the Toa Maiden, I avoid creating Bionicle characters because they never quite seem to fit into the universe smoothly enough. I found myself with a lot of spare parts (thanks Voporak!) and eventually this stout fellow emerged while I was watching Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail. It comes across as equal parts Predator, samurai and linebacker. Posted by Picasa


More pics

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