News

T-virus Now Available to the General Public

Avon is now marketing a wrinkle busting product called "Avon Derma-Full" that looks remarkably similar to the fictional Umbrella Corporation's zombie creating T-virus. The best side-by-side comparison can be seen at io9.

The effective impact this will have on our lives? Zombies will now politely knock on your front door with a pleasant "Avon calling!" before busting in and proceeding to sell you skin rejuvenating products while feasting on your brains.

I hear the one who eats the most brains will win a tricked out Escalade.

Notes and Thoughts on Seville, Part 2

AmpitheatreAmpitheatreMost of this next batch of photos is from our little trip to Santiponce where the Roman city Italica is located. I found all of this to be extremely cool. I like old places. Places with real history, and except for driving by Stonehenge, this is the oldest man made thing I've been around. I think. The ampitheatre was the most intact structure in the city. We could walk through and around much of it, though large sections were off limits. I found a video on YouTube that is supposed to be a 3D rendered recreation of the ampitheatre. I also recorded some video while I was there, so if you like, check out part 1, part 2, and part 3. You might notice a pattern when looking through the videos, I like tunnels. I took pictures down tunnels and into sewers. I'm actually not sure why I like these settings, especially considering I am the slightest bit claustrophobic. Something about the a tunnel, though, just makes it feel older. I can't explain it.


Road to townMosaicFrom the ampitheatre we walked up the road pictured to the left and found (discovered!) what basically amounts to the foundations of several buildings in the city. Several of these buildings featured mosaics like the one seen here. I was extremely impressed by these mosaics. I mean, I had heard about Roman mosaics, sure, but there really is an enormous amount of detail and craftsmanship that went into these, and when I think of them just being in people's houses... It's amazing stuff.


Plaza de EspanaPlaza de EspanaFrom Italica we went back to Seville and once again visited the Plaza de Espana in an attempt to catch it during daylight hours. Unfortunately, it was more like dusk by this time, but there were still opportunities for some very nice photos, right Sander? In the second picture here you'll notice the ceramics. This sort of stuff was everywhere. There were tiles set into the walls that gave the buildings a feeling of extremely ornate carvings (that weren't) and the railings all around the entire plaza were made of this ceramic and tile. The building itself was pretty much a facade, made only more apparent when I tried to sneak peaks through the windows on the main floor. Inside it looked just like ordinary offices and cubicles and the like. I was very disappointed.There were also these very ornate little alcove things all around the inner wall of the plaza. It looks like they memorialize various Spanish victories by providing a map of where the battle took place and some heroic scene or something or other. There are benches and little shelves for I don't know what, but it's very nice. There were also kitties, both at Italica and at the Plaza.


There are a lot of pictures in the full set, but most of them are of the same sorts of things, so I don't feel a need to explain them here individually. Enjoy!

What does this feel like?

I'm catching up on my Battlestar Galactica backlog and just started watching the episode "Island in a Stream of Stars" and I suddenly felt like I had seen something like this already... So does this feel like the whole "Bad Wolf" thing in Doctor Who to anyone else?

The SK6ers Take Britain!

For those who haven't heard me rave about this band, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers are my favorite band to see live. They may not play my favorite type of music, but hands down, they put on the best shows. Period. Lately they've been putting together little video blogs while touring and this latest one is probably one of their more entertaining. It features The Goose providing fascinating and utterly false statements about various sights in the UK. True story.

Bryan Fuller Bringing Trek Back to TV?

I found this article on Slashdot explaining that Bryan Fuller, the creator of Pushing Daisies and a writer on other shows such as Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and Heroes, to say nothing of his experience as a writer on twenty one episodes of various Star Trek incarnations is said to be gearing up for an old-style Star Trek TV program.

I think this sounds pretty cool, and I especially wonder if it's possible for Trek to incorporate the humor and intelligence of shows like Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me with the intensity and story depth of programs like Fringe and Lost. There's real possibility for something special in that mix...

Notes and Thoughts on Seville, Part 1

From the hotelThis first picture is the view through our first hotel room window. I say "first" because there was a slight problem with the room reservation in that we explicitly requested a room with three beds (being as there were three of us guys rooming together) and they gave us a room with a double and a single. We temporarily worked that out by getting Sander into his own single and Chris and I roomed together the first night. By this time I was beginning to understand that hotel rooms in Europe are smaller than what I have become used to in the States. And yes, based on my exposure to two hotel rooms I am judging all the hotel rooms in Europe. When we eventually did get our three person room it was still quite tiny. In fact, I would say with some confidence that my own bedroom is larger than this room in which we were squeezing three men together. Almost literally given the bed configuration. The hotel itself was actually quite small by the standards I am accustomed to; more of a villa than a real hotel in the traditional sense. It was basically just one of the buildings in this alley, maybe three or four stories, built around a sort of enclosed atrium with an enclosed garden in the back. It was pretty. I know Sander's favorite feature was the massive shower head, but mine was this curious feature whereby a light outside the room door would go on to let you know the room is occupied. This is because, in order to turn the lights on in the room you have to insert your keycard into a slot above the lightswitch. Clever.


AlcazarInside the AlcazarOn our first morning out we wandered through the twisting, narrow, and completely incomprehensible maze of alleys to a central square in which lived the Alcazar. We only walked around the courtyard for a few minutes, so we didn't see anything represented by the pictures in that Wikipedia article, but it was still quite impressive. The Alcazar was originally a Moorish fort, and you can see that in the progression of the stonework to brickwork. I always find it fascinating when you can distinguish the age and shape of the various modifications and enhancements to a structure through careful or even simple observation. Another note I found fascinating while walking about Seville is the number of orange trees that line the streets. There were also small orange groves (orchards?) in the building insides, like the trees pictured here inside the Alcazar courtyard.


Catedral y GiraldaCatedral y GiraldaLike many things, this Cathedral has many names, I suppose the most common of which is the Seville Cathedral. I didn't know until just now, but this is considered to be the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Impressive! It's also really big. I loved walking around it and gazing at the intricate stonework and carvings and the brickwork and all those buttresses and towers and the dome and that really big tower (called the Giralda) that seems to be prominent in all the pictures. It's a beautiful thing. Even for a church.


He's a Dangerous Church GuyOrganI took a lot of pictures while strolling around the cavernous interior of the cathedral, so the pictures I'm showing here are only a couple I found really interesting. First is the pope-looking figure. If you look closely in his right hand you'll notice what appears to be a large kitchen knife being brandished in a possibly threatening manner. In his left hand you'll notice a distinct lack of fingers. I'm just saying... The second picture is an attempt to capture a very large pipe organ. Glancing over the little pamphlet he got when he walked in... Oh look, the tomb of Christopher Columbus is here. Yeah, maybe I should have paid attention to that while I was there. Damn. Also of note, there is a "Chapel of Sorrows," that's pretty cool, and something called "The Lizard" which I photographed (badly), but have not posted because it is bad (terrible). It's basically a peculiar wooden alligator hanging from the ceiling just inside the courtyard. It really wasn't nearly as interesting as a name like "The Lizard" would lead you to believe.


Hairy gargoyleReal men ride mopedsAlright, just a few more quick notes for this first installment. There were some really cool gargoyles around the cathedral, this little guy with the hairy back is probably one of my favorites. Second, there were lots of mopeds in Seville. And this is something that should be noted about Europe in general (because I love insane generalizations), they know how to get around. They drive small cars, and mopeds, occasionally motorcycles, and bikes. Other than the occasional larger luxury SUV, I could not find any vehicles I would consider large by American standards. Most of the cars were tiny and European or Japanese. Oh yes, and they all drive/bike/scooter like complete nutjobs. I was ascared.

Random Goth Clockwork Dance Performance

Glancing through my BoingBoing feed I came across a post about a rather peculiar slash interesting dance performance from Gothla, which is some sort of gothic bellydance event...

Besides the inventive choreography and costume, what I found interesting about this was the music. At approximately the 4:40 mark there's a real song with lyrics in there. I thought it sounded an awful lot like Joanna Newsom, so in my search for something Newsom to show off here for comparison, I actually found the exact song, Peach Plum Pear, featured in the Clockwork Couture performance.

He's Just Not That Into You

3339555850_2cc1fec4da_m.jpgSince I haven't really been posting reviews like this up till now, I should make it clear that yes, I do like these sorts of movies. Romantic comedies and dramas and tug-at-the-heartstrings sob-fests. I love it all. I recognize they aren't necessarily good for me and give me all sorts of crazy unrealistic ideas of what love is and how it (should) work in the real world. So, fair warning...

In terms of quality, the movie was fine. There weren't any really glaring issues. The writing was decent and the pacing wasn't problematic. Acting was good and that's pretty much all I have to say regarding the technical side.

So was it an entertaining movie? Well, I did feel entertained at times. I laughed and a few times I felt my emotions being very distantly influenced. I usually look for a bit more emotional response, but you know, this was a big cast and lots of different intertwining stories were swirling around, so maybe it didn't hit every note, but I'll give it a little credit given the scope of it all.

The perspective is very clearly from the female side of things. It's about women trying to understand the "signs" that men put out there. This seems odd to me, you know, I'm a guy and the signals are all pretty obvious, but I suppose women could use some education there, so it's all good.

I won't be giving anything away by stating the big messages you are supposed to walk away with. First, if a guy is into a woman, he will do everything he can to spend time with her. I would really like to think this applies to men and women alike, but I suppose women might be a litle more complex here? Either way, I would agree. You aren't going to avoid someone you want to spend time with. You will find some way to talk with the person or see them or whatever. Second big message, there's always hope. This is, of course, one of those "magical" messages like believing in fairies and Santa Claus, but it is something I try to hold on to myself. I'm not saying I don't fail to keep hope alive now and then, but I do tend to come back to it eventually.

Alright, this review has strayed from the movie to broader life outlooks, and while I love the subject, it's probably a bit further off track than I need to be right now.

3/5

Watchmen

Watchmen stubBig movie, lots of hype, and a blue naked guy. How could this possibly go wrong? In short, it's too good. It reproduces the graphic novel so well as to make you question what you're getting out of the movie that you wouldn't get from the graphic novel. Well obviously there's the moving pictures part, that's always nice. There's also lots of slow motion effects, which segues nicely into the other issue I have with this movie: pacing. Get some. Admittedly it's been a long time since I've ready the GN, but I suspect the pacing is probably pretty well reproduced in the movie, which is to say, the GN is probably poorly paced as well. But that's fine, you know. With a book you can always put it down and come back later and it'll seem fresh again... When you're sitting in the theater for 2 hours and 43 minutes you really have to wonder when we'll be getting to the "good parts."

All that said, this really isn't as big an issue as it sounds. I still enjoyed the movie and except for some slow moments I didn't find myself bored or wondering how much time had passed. So should you see it in the theater? Well, if you have any interest at all in comic superheroes and the gritty lives they might lead then you're likely to enjoy the full experience in the theater. Otherwise, catch it on DVD and you'll be able to pause for those bathroom breaks.

4/5

You have to appreciate...

This fictional professor's interest in promoting good old (elder?) fashioned madness in our school curriculums:

"Charles sure likes to bang on that madness drum," fellow school board member Danielle Kolker said. "I'm not totally sold on his plan to let gibbering, half-formed creatures dripping with ichor feed off the flesh and fear of our students. But he is always on time to help set up for our spaghetti suppers, and his bake sale goods are among the most popular."