M. Night Shyamalan has made a number of good films. One of which, I'm betting you've never seen.
This unknown film is called Wide Awake, and a quick google search for reviews will turn up a number of people waxing rhapsodic about how wonderful this film is, and how sad it is that no one has ever heard of it, let alone seen it. The film was made pre-The Sixth Sense, and when that movie exploded, video copies of Wide Awake were re-released with a big blurb about how this film is from the creator of The Sixth Sense, but that didn't really help. And why didn't it help? Because this is the cover of said film:
Would you pick that film up off the shelf at your local video shop? Neither would I. The trouble is, this cover completely misleads the viewer about the content, tone, and POINT of the movie. Yes, Rosie O'Donnell is in the film, (And, I have to admit that she's actually darn good in it as well) but she is not the focal character of the film. Yes, there was something in there about baseball, but once again: that has nothing to do with the film. What looks like a cheeseball Rosie O'Donnell comedy is, in actuality, a remarkably wonderful film about a young boy coming to terms with the things he believes. It is incredibly touching, and everyone in the film gives stellar performances. Dennis Leary is particularly good in it. Sure, there are some funny moments, but to call the film a comedy would be greatly under-selling it.
I think whoever designed that cover did us film viewers a great disservice -- not to mention doing a disservice to M. Night himself; in my opinion this is the best of his films, and it's a shame he hasn't been paid its worth. In an effort to try to encourage other people to see this fine film, I decided to make a better cover for it. Now, I'm neither a marketer nor a designer, but seeing this cover on a shelf would make me pick it up. Hopefully it'll do the same for you:
Bonus points to anyone who prints it out and tapes it onto the disc at their local rental shop.
(This poster contains Creative Commons-licensed material from kadj, frankloohuis, and danwk71 and is licensed under a Creative Commons "do whatever you want as long as it doesn't make money" license, because that's how some of its parts are licensed.)
While reading a story about elevators I was reminded of something subtly amusing from the Australia trip that I had forgotten to share with you.
1) In the United States, a company called Otis controls the elevator/escalator market. If you've ridden an elevator in the United States in the last decade, it is almost certainly one of Otis's. Next time you're in one, look around. I'll bet you a dollar you'll see the placard equivalent of an "Otis's Elevator" sign.
2) In Australia, much like most other parts of the world, what Americans refer to as "elevators" are known as "lifts."
3) Since learning about Otis's monopoly on elevators, I've always kept a lookout whilst riding in them for one made by someone else. I've never seen another elevator manufacturer in the 10 years I've been looking. Until visiting Australia, that is. There, a company called Schindler has the market cornered. I rode in five or six lifts in Australia, all of which were made by Schindler.
I'll leave the '1 + 2 + 3 = comedy <strike>gold</strike> oil' math as an exercise for the reader, but suffice to say that it cracked me up way more than it ought-to've.
Portland Oregon's Museum of Science and Industry has one of those IMAX dome screens that they use to play IMAX films upon. If you've never seen one of these, think of a laser light show or a planetarium; you lie back and stare at the ceiling, completely surrounded by the film.
This allows for these magnificent films of staggering scope and clarity to be distorted to the point of unwatchability on the inside of a large dome. Unless you manage to score the two seats in the house directly under the projector, the film will be crooked in addition to horribly distorted by the dome, and the epic swoops and pans IMAX films are known for are pretty much guaranteed to make you nauseated. In fact, part of the "preflight briefing" even includes instructions to help minimize nausea. And yet people still go.
People eat this crap up, and I have no idea why. "Hey, want to go watch a distorted, crooked, nauseating movie?" "COUNT ME IN!"
(They also occasionally play actual films that have been upscaled for IMAX release. <i>Transformers</i>, <i>Batman Begins</i> and <i>Harry Potter</i> played there. And people went. The fast action and explosive explosions in <i>Transformers</i> were nigh-unwatchable on the flat screen; I can't even imagine what it must've been like on the dome. But I digress.)
The reason for all this explanation is that I just heard an ad for the latest IMAX epic that is playing on the dome. It's some Grand Canyon movie, which virtually assures that the sort of epic swoopiness and zoominess that makes people nauseated will be well-represented -- but now they've kicked it up to the next level. The film's music is provided by the Dave Matthews Band.
Having just been introduced to the dubious legality of muxtape.com, I decided to see if I could make it a bit more useful. I've been meaning to play around with greasemonkey again since it'd been a couple years since I had, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I found a script at userscripts.org that generates 'download' links for each of the songs on any muxtape page, then added to it the ability to generate an m3u (playlist file) which you can click to stream all the songs in your audio player of choice. No more having to leave a browser page open just to listen to muxtapes. No more having Flash take down your browser. Awesome.
If you'd like to add this functionality to your muxtape experience, simply install Greasemonkey (or whatever IE/Opera plugin does the same thing) and head over and install muxtape downloader / m3u enabler from UserScripts.org.
If you've not seen muxtape before, head on over and listen to my first attempt at online mixtapery: nyquildotorg.muxtape.com
(Is there any interest in enabling 'podcast' functionality to your muxtapes, allowing people to subscribe to them in iTunes/whatever and have them auto-download?)
It's me again. Since our last conversation, I've realized something else you could do to make our time together in Reader more productive and less angrifying. Know how I share lots of stuff in my "Shared Items," despite only like 4 people seeing them? Well, it'd be really helpful if I didn't have to be subscribed to my own Shared Items. I mean, I shared them. I don't need you showing them to me again. (Despite that one time that I accidentally saw something cool in there that I forgot had gotten there because of me, and went ahead and shared it again. Sharing an item from my shared items... that's classy.) At the very least, could you make sure they actually get marked as read after I read them? I perpetually have 11-or-so "new" items in there that I've seen a hundred times.
Seriously, Google. I'm beginning to think this conversation is one-sided. Don't make me start writing to SkyNet instead.
The internet is a truly strange beast, causing all manner of surreal happenings. Lately many these happenings have been made aware to me via Twitter.
One such example:
The other day I myself was wondering aloud at what strange times these are in which we are living; that I can now see real-time thoughts from cool people that I dig pouring through my computer (and/or hand-held port-o-phone device) mere milliseconds after said cool person typed them. I mean, I'm sitting here at the computer bored... and so, apparently, is Henry Rollins. And Stephen Colbert. Crazy. At the time that I was musing about the surreality of it all, Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith were sending humorous in-jokes back and forth betwixt themselves, when lo and behold, from out of the blue, I see Wil Wheaton proclaiming the wonder of these times that allow for him to be in line at a comic shop purchasing Fell #9 and seeing real-time quips between the afore-mentioned creators of said comic book. His mind being blown added extra force to my own mind's blowal.
Then the other day Ben Templesmith boggled my mind by announcing that he'd finished the trade paperback of a book that hasn't even finished its run in floppies yet. I mean, I KNOW that that's how the publishing world works, but to hear Ben himself commenting upon it between the caffeine pills and and the jar of faux-urine is mind-bending.
Know what else is mind-bending? Having Warren Ellis respond personally to something you asked. -- Oh! just now Wil Wheaton declared that everyone needs to stop, for it is Hammer Time, but was shut down when Warren Ellis declared that it is NEVER Hammer Time. Ouch.
And thus ends this installment of "what are the nerds that I love up to on Twitter today?" I still don't understand Twitter, but I'm apparently addicted to it.
The Bush administration is likely to move its research on one of the
most contagious animal diseases from an isolated island laboratory to
the U.S. mainland near herds of livestock, raising concerns about a
The creatureâ€™s organs were also perfectly preserved, and its heart
could be clearly seen with the help of computer scanning techniques. Some experts hope that the perfect condition in which the body of the
mammoth was found could allow extricate intact DNA from his cells, and,
as a result, clone the animal in future.
The new Geneva collider will re-create the rapidly changing conditions in
the universe a split second after the Big Bang. It will be the closest
that scientists have come to the event that they theorize was the
beginning of the universe. They hope the new equipment will enable them
to study particles and forces yet unobserved.
ARTIFICIAL human sperm could come to the aid of infertile men, according to a team of scientists who have used lab-grown sperm to inseminate female mice. Dr Engel said if sperm could be grown in the lab, it would be possible to take early germ cells from one woman, turn them into sperm cells, and use those to fertilise the egg of another woman.
Cloning long-dead species, recreating the Big Bang, making cattle viruses easier for cattle to catch, creating a man-less utopia -- what could go wrong? I mean, it's not like these scenarios haven't all been done TO HORRIBLE EFFECT in movies, right?
For those of you not a part of the usual points of aggregation who are wondering just what Dick Cheney is actually looking at in that photo on whitehouse.gov, I'd like to share the solution. If you've not yet seen the picture, you ought to click over and check it out. And then make sure it's really whitehouse.gov, because you can't believe such a picture would be on the real whitehouse.gov.
Neat huh? Funny how your brain jumped away from the obvious to the COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL, isn't it? (I thought it was interesting, anyway. I've dubbed this phenomenon "the Dick Cheney Rorschach test," because it very clearly illustrates the inner perv in each and every one of us.)
Man with suicide victim's heart kills self
It is a well-documented fact that if you put part of a killer inside an otherwise-normal person who happens to need that part, he will become a killer as well. I mean, duh.
From now on I'm keeping my eye open for this type of story in hopes to make this a continuing series. There is just so much that the movies teach us about the world that's completely ignored; maybe I can make a small difference, possibly preventing this type of thing in the future.
Free Pornography From a Dead Guy? (Vancouver, WA)
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 2008-04-07, 2:53PM PDT
My dad died at the end of last September. I loved my dad a lot. We didn't really see that much of each other, but when we did it was always pleasant. I was positively crushed by stress and anxiety while dealing with the whole ordeal. I'm sure you understand.
Anyway, while going through his effects, I came across a surprising stash of porn DVDs, which, judging by his checking account ledger, he got from Adam and Eve through mail-order. At first I was like, "Hey! Free porn!" but then I got kind of creeped out about learning of the preferences my dad may or may not have had in the bedroom. What if they're weird? What If I like them? Could I live with learning about exciting new fetishes from my dead father?
I decided that -- free porn or no -- I really don't want to go there.
So, my devastating loss is your gain! If you'd like a small plastic bag full of 8-10 pornographic DVD films (and to have a description of your appearance appear on my blog when I write about this transaction) drop me a line at email@example.com to arrange a time to come pick them up.
I will not be listing titles or anything, as I've spent the last 6 months forgetting what it was that I saw when I briefly went through them. You will be required to take the whole bag; no picking and choosing. You also will be required to say "I'm sorry for your loss, but thank you for the porn." I hope this isn't a problem.
You must also provide a proof of age that is at least believable enough to fool the guy who runs the 7-11 where you purchase your Smirnoff Ice. I don't want to get busted for contributing to the delinquency of minors, you know. Now that I think of it, if you wanted to bring me some Smirnoff Ice in exchange for the porn, I sure wouldn't pass it up.
In any case, if you're in the market for a free bag-o-dead-guy-porn (and understand that it is porn that once belonged to a guy who is now dead, not FEATURING a dead guy. Heck, if it was, I might keep them myself) drop me a line and come get them.
firstname.lastname@example.org in Vancouver
Well crap. Apparently pornography is not permitted to be sold on craigslist.
After several months of being told by people that I trust that it's a really funny show, and also several months of me explaining just why the jokes aren't funny (my rebuttals sounded hilarious even to me), I decided that perhaps as a geek myself, I may just be too close to the subject matter to see it objectively. After all, I DO carry a man-purse, I DO have conversations about fiction as if they were real, I DO have difficulty with OCD things like always sitting in the same spot, and I do exhibit most of the social awkwardness that the characters on the show do. I began to wonder if it would be possible to:
a) objectively view the show with all those things in mind
b) find it funny?
It was with this in mind that D and I sat down to once-and-for-all determine whether the show does, in fact, suck ass as much as it seemed to upon viewing the pilot. We've now watched every episode, and I'm here to report to you that... I was wrong. I actually like that show quite a bit. (I stand by my review of the pilot, though, it's still terrible.)
I'm not sure you realize how much it pains me to not only think this way, but to also publish the thoughts on the internet, but it's completely true. Viewed outside the context of a show that I thought should be trying to APPEAL to geeks, it does an excellent job of making FUN OF geeks in a way that geeks like me can totally appreciate. It's funny because it's TRUE. You just have to get past being insulted by it. One of my biggest complaints was that it doesn't accurately reflect geek culture, but now I see that it actually does. Sure, some things are exaggerated, but it's very funny, appealing to the primarily non-geek viewers are much as it can to the geek ones.
I hereby have to revoke my completely negative criticism of this show and apologize to the people involved with it. <i>The Big Bang Theory</i> does have quite a bit of exceptionally funny stuff in it, and would be what I would call a "perfect show" if they'd just get rid of that damned laugh track. Despite the laugh track, I have to say I like it quite a lot, putting it just a bit under <i>The IT Crowd</i> on my "shows that I actually like" graph.
I know we're not the bestest of friends, but you may have noticed that we spend a rather large amount of time together. I've been thinking: I'd like for you to do something for me to make that time just a little bit more pleasant.
You know how I use <a href="http://reader.google.com">your Reader</a> to read all the blogs and stuff to which I subscribe? (Of course you do. You know EVERYTHING about me.) Anyway, I frequently find that, after reading an article in
I've been experimenting a bit with pancakes lately and have some findings to report.
I've been substituting some of the water in my pancakes for applesauce, both for flavor reasons and texture reasons. See, applesauce functions rather well as an emulsifier, kind of holding everything together. It will perform much the same function as eggs or oil in pretty much any recipe, while reducing the calories/fat/cholesterol/whatever added by those things, and adding a subtle sweetness component to your food at the same time. [For a healthy treat, try replacing all the oil from brownie mixes with applesauce; far less bad-for-you-stuff, same (or even "improved") brownie texture. Or, try adding applesauce to your French toast batter for the moistest French toast ever.]
The first time I substituted half a cup of the required 1.5 cups water for applesauce and found the cakes an improvement. They don't really taste "appley," per se, but the texture is a little bit more "chewey" despite the pancakes being extremely thick and airy. It came out so well that today I decided to kick it up a notch and substitute a whole cup of the required cup and a half water. The result was pancakes that were even better than the prior batch. The only thing you need to watch out for is that the applesauce adds quite a lot of sugar to the cakes (but it's "natural-found-in-fruit"-type sugar), which causes extra browning. You can compensate for this by turning the heat down a little; they'll cook a tad more slowly, but they'll come out wonderfully. I've got quite a sweet tooth, usually preferring to drown my pancakes in syrup, but I found these to be darn tasty all by themselves. They're still not really "appley" in flavor, but they're excellent, and not really dry like thick fluffy cakes usually are.
This applies primarily to "instant" or "just add water" style commercial pancake mixes, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work equally well if you are making your pancakes from scratch. The batter may seem alarmingly thick, and you will have to kind of "coax" it into pancake shapes on your griddle, but resist the temptation to add more liquid. Your faith will both be rewarded.
Be sure to let me know your results if you try it -- especially if I ruin your breakfast.