Wednesday, December 31, 2008


As 2008 draws to a close, I just want to thank everyone who has been reading over the past few years. I enjoy writing this blog, but what's even more gratifying is knowing that there are actually people checking in to read what I'm writing! I've never lost sight of the fact that it is a privilege to have a readership at all, and I'm tremendously thankful to everyone who has enjoyed what I've written here -- especially those who have left comments and participated in discussions around my posts.

Using the power of Google Analytics, I've found that over the past year (as far back as the data goes, anyway), this site has had visitors from no less than 29 individual countries and territories around the globe -- ranging from the United States to the United Arab Emirates, from Germany to Guam. This is, needless to say, tremendously exciting, especially since I've only really been back to writing on this site for the past two months.

I'm excited to see what 2009 brings, and I hope you are, too. Thank you again for reading, and I hope you all have a wonderful start to the new year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Oh snap

Judge Gary A. Feess has ruled in favor of 20th Century Fox in its case against Warner Bros. to assert its legal rights to a film adaptation of Watchmen. While the issue is far from settled, the ruling seems to have taken many by surprise, and Judge Feess is encouraging both sides to find a way to settle the case or appeal it, as it now will not be going to trial in January as originally intended.

So what does this mean? The excitement around Zack Snyder's upcoming film adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel has only been building over the past year in particular, and there is a lot of concern from fans who anticipate this case delaying the release of the film, if not changing its content or cancelling it altogether. As of right now, there has been no official word on the tangible impact this ruling will have on the film or its release, but I'm confident that WB is going to do everything it can to protect the investment it's already made in the film's production, and the payoff they're expecting to receive from the hype it's generating around the world.

Indeed, while the judge's ruling shows that Fox does have legal claim to the property and the distribution of its motion picture adaptations, the timing of their case seems unfair to say the least. Why did they wait until the film was in post-production to push their legal rights? If they were sincerely concerned about preserving their claim to a film adaptation, it seems disingenuous to wait until the film was almost finished before opposing it. After all, the hype around the film has been building for the past two years -- it's not like its production was a secret.

In any case, it will be interesting to see where the case goes from here, and specifically, how it will impact the film. I, for one, hope the integrity of its content isn't touched by this lawsuit, and that the release date isn't significantly compromised -- the wait has been too long already!

Monday, December 22, 2008

This is weird . . . but there is an explanation

Fans of ABC's LOST will find this both intriguing and very strange:

Some (of the many) questions in response to this might be:
  1. What is happening to Sayid?!
  2. Where is he?
  3. What are those numbers?
  4. What season is this from?
  5. Is that a pink smoke monster?
Luckily (or not, depending how badly you're craving answers to the show's many actual unanswered questions), there is an easy explanation for all this, albeit a strange one. As commenters on the YouTube video have pointed out, along with several other sites, the three clips contained in the video are actually special promotions for Britain's Sky1, Sky2, and Sky3 television networks (which, it would appear, are or will be broadcasting LOST).

So while it may not help solve any mysteries or burning questions raised by the show, at least we can feel like we had a LOST-related mystery to solve, and we found a solution. Well, maybe. Or maybe I'm just trying to compensate for how badly I want the show to return . . . January 21, 2008 can't come soon enough!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Phonetic Punctuation

Victor Borge, the great one-of-a-kind musician-comedian, has been a favorite of mine for many years. With the anniversary of his passing coming up next week, it seems fitting to share one of his most popular -- and one of my favorite -- bits: "Phonetic Punctuation". This video of it seems to have been edited slightly in the beginning, but jumpiness aside, the good stuff is all still there. Enjoy!

Borge had also adapted this routine for music, with Dean Martin. You can watch that here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Flight of the Conchords: The Second Season

It's official -- there will indeed be a second season of the HBO musical comedy series. There had been all sorts of rumors, after the season didn't premiere as expected during the summer of 2008, that the series had been cancelled. A trip to the official site, however, shows the above banner announcing the show's triumphant return on Sunday, January 18, 2009.

Since the first twelve episodes were nowhere near enough to satisfy my craving for more Conchords, I'm delighted to hear of their return. I wonder what amazing new music we're going to hear this season, since they used up most of their pre-existing material in the first season . . . maybe we'll finally see a studio-produced version of Jenny?

UPDATE: Readers have brought to my attention the fact that the first episode of the second season is currently available for free viewing, both through the FotC podcast on iTunes, and streaming via Funny Or Die. Thanks for the tips!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Duel of the Fates, animated

Something fun for today: this is a great little bit of computer animation, covering all of the climactic Darth Maul/Qui-Gon Jinn/Obi-Wan Kenobi lightsaber duel from the end of The Phantom Menace. It's amazingly accurate to the film and the duel's choreography -- which I (sadly?) know from having watched the original so many times.

Of course, now a new adjective can be attributed to this epic duel: adorable. (Just look at those cute little hands and feet, without any arms or legs! Awwwwww.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I found this after someone posted about it on a forum I frequent; the basic idea is to redirect a stream of particles to flow through sound meters to create music. That sounds a whole lot less simple and elegant than this game actually is -- it is a great concept, beautifully executed and enjoyable to experience.

You can play the game (for free!) on its website. It's easy to dive right in and try, so go ahead and do it -- and bring along headphones or some speakers, because you'll want to be able to hear this game as you play it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

New "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" Trailer

A new trailer for the sixth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, has been released. I like this one a lot more than the first -- everything from the presentation of the story, to the humor (the interactions between Ron and Harry, and Hermione and Harry, are hilarious and well-done), to the effects (the smokiness of the memories is beautifully done, and looks even better in motion than it does in the frame below), to the almost-triumphant and engaging new rendition of the main theme at the end. I'm looking forward to this film a lot more after this trailer than I was before.

As has been the progression with the series, this film looks even darker (both in content and in color palette) than the its predecessors.

-- Mild SPOILER ALERT for those who haven't read the books --

There are a number of scenes included in the trailer, some of them short enough that one has to go frame-by-frame to really appreciate them. Especially of note (for awesomeness) is the Inferi scene:

And . . . could this be . . . ?

On a side note, does anyone know what these smokey things are? It's been a year and a half since I last read the book, so I may just be forgetting, but they're pictured a number of times throughout the trailer:

I'd love to hear your thoughts, so leave them in the comments!

The Unrepentant Terrorist speaks

The New York Times has had some great editorial contributors in the past, and yesterday was no exception.

William Ayers, the individual originally brought up by Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary campaign, and later used to damn Obama in the general election by the McCain campaign (sparking great debate after Gov. Palin's "pal around with terrorists" remark), used the Times as a platform to tell his side of the great Obama-the-terrorist debacle. Included is his explanation of why he didn't comment during the campaign, the nature of his notorious work in the 60s and 70s, and his relationship with Obama. He goes on to comment on the nature of politics today.

The dishonesty of the narrative about Mr. Obama during the campaign went a step further with its assumption that if you can place two people in the same room at the same time, or if you can show that they held a conversation, shared a cup of coffee, took the bus downtown together or had any of a thousand other associations, then you have demonstrated that they share ideas, policies, outlook, influences and, especially, responsibility for each other’s behavior. There is a long and sad history of guilt by association in our political culture, and at crucial times we’ve been unable to rise above it.

His piece can be read here, where hearing the story from his perspective, in his own words, is gripping.

TDK Re-release

I had heard whispers of this earlier in the fall, but it looks now like it's actually happening -- Christopher Nolan's excellent film, The Dark Knight, is being re-released in both regular and IMAX theaters on January 23, 2009. This is significant not only because it will give people the chance to see it again on the big screen, but also because it will give them that chance after the DVD has been released (which is happening this Tuesday, December 9, 2008).

This is fantastic, and not just because it is The Dark Knight. I'm hoping that this will encourage other studios to re-release films that are meant to be seen on the big screen -- maybe someday, we'll get to re-watch Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and other films like them in the theaters once again. Who's down for a Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition run in the theaters (I should note that when Return of the King was released, I heard of some special marathon showings at its premiere, of the Extended Editions of the first two leading up to the midnight release of the third -- which I thought was a great idea)?

Also -- if you haven't seen The Dark Knight yet in IMAX, I highly recommend seeing it when it's re-released. It's an amazing experience, between the power of the sound and the expanded resolution of the special IMAX-shot scenes. It's the only way I've seen the film thusfar (and I saw it three times), and I can attest that it was worth every penny (though with the prices of general admission at regular theaters, the IMAX tickets are often only a dollar more, for an exponentially better experience).

Friday, December 05, 2008

Al Gore's Plan

It was published almost a month ago, but Al Gore's recent
editorial in the New York Times, "The Climate For Change", is an interesting read that, in a short piece, clearly outlines where we are at this point with regards to the climate crisis, and some direct steps we can take now to deal not only with the present, but with the future.

Al Gore is so cool. Give this a read -- it's not very long, but is packed full of good ideas.