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  • Archive for March, 2012

    That’s why we have Canada


    2012 - 03.25

    I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone, that’s why we have Canada.” – Bill Maher

    Made me laugh.  Which he then followed up with a bit about Mitt Romney being the “least interesting man in the world” a counterpoint to Dos Equis advertising campaign featuring “the most interesting man in the world”.  The quote is at about the 2:12 mark of the video:

    John Carter


    2012 - 03.21

    David wrote a post for Abandoned Towers about John Carter and its source material. Since then, Disney has announced that it is going to be the biggest flop ever.  I’ve been wandering around the internet and found some links to various thoughts and articles about it.

    John Carter may set Guinness record for biggest box-office flop of all time: National Post
    Thought on the whole John Carter ad campaign debacle: Bamboo Killers
    John Carter Flop Shows Disney Too Big to Fail: Chicago Tribune
    The biggest movie turkey of them all?: Mail Online
    Why did Disney’s ‘John Carter’ flop?: LA Times

    Some Twitter reactions that amused me:

    @brubaker John Carter is a flop when it makes 31 million opening weekend, 21 Jump St is a hit at the same number. I know why but its still interesting

    @mattbuchanan does somebody want to go see john carter 200 million times with me this weekend?

    @brendankoerner There are nine nations with GDPs smaller than what “John Carter” is projected to lose:

    We’re still planning to go see it. Anyone want to come with us 200 million times?

    Safe House


    2012 - 03.18

    After trying for a couple of days to make it to the movie we final were able to shake our tail and caught a matinee in one of the VIP theatres courtesy of a free pass we received for Christmas.

    We were predisposed to liking the movie as we’re fans of Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington.  We quite enjoyed the movie, it maintained a high degree of plausibility and the characters consistently acted rationally.  The trailers did a good job of getting us to want to go and see Safe House, but they didn’t really explain the actual title.

    Unlike the David Fincher movie Panic Room the entire movie doesn’t take place in a safe house, rather it’s a good action/spy movie which features a safe house.

    I don’t know if this actually reflects the way they actually do it in the intelligence community, but in the movie there are Safe Houses spread around the world and they are manned by a CIA agent, who’s whole raise d’etre is to babysit the house for the landlord in case they have a house guest.

    In the movie there’s a house guest and things go very very wrong.

    Enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to those who enjoy the genre, solid movie.

    Hunger Games (the book)


    2012 - 03.15

    So a while back I asked whether I should read the book before I watched the movie or not.  This decision was partly made for me as the book materialized on the nightstand.  It took me all of a day to read the book, which is related to the pacing and the relative size of the font in the book.

    Overall I enjoyed the book although I found some of the writing style employed to be odd, particularly around the dialogue where we would be in the midst of a section of dialogue and then we would be told that additional things were said as narration.  Whatever, threw me a few times because I needed to see where the quotation marks were, but otherwise it worked well enough.

    The story didn’t seem totally original too me, although it blended sufficiently many elements from other stories I was familiar with to make an original story.  The characters were well developed, had unique voices and were sufficiently compelling that you cared what happened to them.  So it worked.

    Worth reading, but the mature content warning on the cover is appropriate.

    I wonder what they are going to do in the movie, given that there’s a lot of nudity in the book, and although it may not be deemed inappropriate in a book for 16 year olds to be naked, or for younger children to read about them being naked (and it certainly isn’t inappropriate in the setting of the story itself), it is not the case that it would be deemed appropriate by the people who rate movies…

    I guess it’s likely that in most cases the story could be changed for the movie in such a way that you wouldn’t notice unless you had read the book.  Which is probably fine except for all the teenage boys who read the story and are hoping to see Katniss naked… (what are the odds we get some weird search engine traffic because of that phrase?)

    Labyrinth next Monday


    2012 - 03.12

    So Labyrinth is playing at Colossus in Langley or Scotia Bank Theatre downtown next Monday at 7pm.  Who wants to go with us?

    Cherry Lime Flip


    2012 - 03.11

    I used to go Red Robin on a fairly regular basis. My usual go-to drink has changed a couple of times. Originally it was a Cookie Magic: a boozy Oreo milkshake or a Rookie Magic: a non-boozy Oreo milkshake. I quite like their Freckled Lemonade: sweetened frozen strawberries in lemonade, and when they started offering it as a bottomless drink, that was pretty freaking awesome. They have a couple other bottomless mocktails and on Friday (as a reward for working on my classroom) Dave and I went to Red Robin for a dinner break. I tried the Cherry Lime Flip and it was pretty tasty.

    We had some of the ingredients already (grenadine and maraschino cherries in juice) and picked up the others today (limes for juice and Sprite or 7Up). I’m drinking it now, while watching some Alcatraz and my concoction is pretty tasty! (ooh…that was kinda gruesome…and I’m drinking a red drink. Glad I’m not that squeamish!)

    20120311-211755.jpg

    Busy Day


    2012 - 03.09

    We both had quite the full day today.  I met Karin after school and we did some organizing of her classroom so that it’ll be more pleasant to come back to after spring break!  Karin did most of the work, but I got most of the checkmarks (maintaining the to do list has it’s advantages).  We dealt with a lot of stuff, and I think that she’s going to be really happy when she walks in on that Monday morning 17 days from now.  I think we dealt with 5 boxes and two aquariums.

    We took a break and had dinner at Red Robin, dinner was nice although they seemed a little understaffed.

    We then made a quick trip over to Ikea to see if we could pick up some extra shelf pins for the Ivar shelves that Karin has in her classroom.  They didn’t have any in the spare parts vending machine, so we looked around a bit then took a number to ask if they had any extra ones that we could buy.  They gave us the 20 pins that we needed no charge.  So that was nice.  Thanks to the nice lady at the returns/exchanges desk.

    Back to the school to finish putting the shelves together and deal with a few more things.  Then finally heading home.

    Oh, also finished the first phase of the eSub System for Abandoned Towers (subject to Karin’s final acceptance testing) which allows for contest submissions.

    John Carter [of Mars]


    2012 - 03.08

    “John Carter” opens tomorrow, and I’m interested in seeing it.  When I saw the first trailer for it my reaction was: “That looks interesting, dumb title though”.  I read in the paper the other day that the producers weren’t impressed either, but that they didn’t have control over it.

    It turns out the the movie is based on a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs (he also wrote Tarzan).  The market research showed that all movies with Mars in the title had done poorly, which is why the movie is not called “John Carter of Mars” or something along those lines, which would have been much more informative (but still isn’t a good title).  I’d have preferred something like “Edgar Rice Burroughs’: John Carter”, and I may have numerous other suggestions after seeing the movie.

    I’d also like to point out that the problem with movies with Mars in the title doing poorly has in my experience a lot more to do with the quality of those movies and a lot less to do with the word “Mars” (or the planet for that matter).  That said, I don’t think they’ll rename the upcoming remake of Total Recall to “Total Recall: Mars”… then again is it possible to improve upon an Arnie movie?  Can anyone else get away with the what Arnie did and have it work?  I doubt it.

    Bottom line, titles matter, but content is still king.

     

    Wireless Access


    2012 - 03.06

    Last week we had a bit of an internet outage, called in to troubleshoot it, and just after they had me do the factory reset it came up that there was a network outage on there end.  Lucky me, I got to reconfigure our wireless network.

    On the bright side I got to reconfigure our wireless network, so I changed a bunch of things.  So if you’ve got a wireless device that was previously paired with our wireless network, you’ll need to set it up again next time you’re over, just an FYI.

    Do they even watch their own shows?


    2012 - 03.05

    One of the recent TV additions which Karin quite likes is Alcatraz, which is fitting since we were both fans of J.J. Abrams first major TV success: Alias (with Jennifer Garner).  Last week Fox which airs the show pre-empted the show because of a very much rain delayed Daytona 500.

    On some level I can understand that, it’s a famous race… and it was supposed to have run on the weekend but was delayed due to weather.  Still it comes as a surprise to people who care nothing at all about the race that the show they thought they were going to have on their PVR was something completely different, and there wasn’t even a courtesy explanation when the regularly scheduled programming would have aired to tell us what was going on or why.

    In the case of Alcatraz, it was supposed to be Episode 8 which aired.  This week they aired (as originally scheduled) a “2 hour event” which was actually Episodes 9 and 10.  So I don’t know when they will air Episode 8.  It’s hard to know at this point (not having seen Episodes 8-10 yet) whether there will be a major continuity issue because of it.  But really who makes these decisions?  Do they actually watch the shows they air?  It doesn’t seem like it.

    Sometimes it feels like TV scheduling is being legislated… who knew that so many locals moonlight as TV executives…

    This is further emphasized with things like weather warnings with annoying audio which are broadcast out of region.  I don’t know if I’d be interested in them if I actually lived in Detroit or Chicago, but I’m definitely not interested in them since I don’t.  Not only that, but they put them in intrusive locations on the screen and interfere with the programming.  They really should work on the technology (which I can only hope somehow doesn’t exist, rather than that they are choosing not to use it) which allows them to remove these things regionally.  Further, they should make it so that the information is not captured by my PVR, I really don’t need a storm warning from thousands of kilometers away and months old interfering with my watching a show.  But I guess for the executives it’s not about the quality of the watching experience… because if they believe it is, they are doing a terrible job.

    It’s not just the weather warnings though, it’s the station promos and other show promos which pop-up and cover significant portions of the screen.  I understand why they do that, and to some degree they are effective, I can’t help but notice them.  But they clearly either do not actually watch the shows, or they don’t care.  Entirely too often do I see a promo overlayed and covering show credits or show content, or the worst: subtitles.  It just really goes to show that they aren’t paying attention.

    There was a time when the live TV experience was the best, but when they continue to add these “features” which realistically are only features in their minds, they continue to degrade the experience, and drive their audience crazy.  So many of these new “innovations” are realistically the equivalent of someone taking a phone call during a movie… very disrespectful and detrimental to your enjoyment.

    So a little advice to the TV executives out there, actually watch the shows from time to time, in the broadcast format, and imagine yourself as someone who actually wants to watch the show… and see how you feel.