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[Today's entry's music can be found here, from the soundtrack for Zivot je cudo, aka Life is a Miracle]

Everyone knows about Ratatouille and Flushed Away, but I'd not heard of One Rat Short before. Do watch the trailer - if you're in the mood for a realistic, and strikingly atmospheric, CG portrayal of rats, this is it. Unfortunately, it's still on the cinema circuit, and only on a few screens at that - next up are two showings in LA, then SIGGRAPH 2006's Electronic Theater. (Reminds me, I need to post those CG virtual imagings of DNA replication sometime. So very cool to see how it actually occurs)


dronon photographed one Vancouver otter's answer of "because we can" to that age-old question.

What's the received wisdom on Luxology's wares, compared to Maya, Blender, and friends?

From the Nifty Hacks Department comes ShadowBook, which can send an event to the VirtueDesktops multiple desktop manager. So, just wave your palm over the left speaker, and you can switch desktops. ^_^

ibneko noticed there's going to be a spinoff movie of Shrek's Puss in Boots. Might be enjoyable, given how wasted he was in Shrek II - Antonio Banderas has such potential, sorely ignored then.

Perhaps fairly obvious, but this AP story notes that the immune systems of wild rats are much more active than those raised in the lab, with "as much as four times higher levels of immunoglobulins, yet weren't sick, showing an immune system tuned to fight crucial germs, but not minor irritants, Parker said." It also quotes one doctor as saying that "challenged immune systems - such as kids who grow up with two or more pets - don't tend to develop as many allergies." Does this tally with your own experiences? (I grew up with big dogs; I had hayfever from about 10 to 13, and that's about it)

Love & Monsters.. as bad as Boom Town? Sadly, much worse. As the sage once said, "And let us never speak of this again."

Via fairybear, Lookin' Cute, a fun, very silly music video from the Gay Pimp. (Any recommendations for exporting the WMV downloadable version of Soccer Practice to something more portable? Under OS X ideally, XP workable as well. VLC and Mplayer try, but there's plenty of corruption)

And if you're driving back from AC, a friend suggests you could do a lot worse than Vincent's for some memorable pizza. He notes it's "located on Ardmore Blvd, way out in Forrest Hills (on the way to Monroeville). Take the US 30 exit off the Penn-Lincoln Parkway, for a couple of miles, and you're there (or have blown right by and not noticed it; -it's not exactly prominent, but people do know it's there -if indeed it still is)." "This is Vincent's Pizza. It ain't Burger King.
You get it OUR WAY, or you don't get the son-of-a-bitch at all!"

If you should make your way there, and Vince is actually still around, he asks you let him know that "Shoop" still remembers him and his pizza very fondly. ^_^

*glee at rat movies*
But there aren't any bunnies! A movie isn't complete without bunnies. ^_^
But the ratties would eat the bunnies :3
I grew up with pets, cats and dogs, and I still have hella hay fever. XD
Eep! Maybe you're a mutant. =:)

It was strange how mine left - I'd taken some pills for one or two summers, and then one year, I just didn't need them any more. Think that happened while I was even living at the same place, too. Strange things, organic bodies. But they can be fun. =:)
The imune system thing doesn't surprise me at all. My friend is a top virologist and never uses anti-bacterial anything. Lets his kids get dirty and play in the mud. Myself? I live in a barn where mice and voles regularly climb into bed with me (cute eh?) and I never get ill. We're only training the bacteria to be more rugged and fit by using all this crap. Stay away from the preservatives and crap chemicals. Eat REAL food, that's a big one.

Puss in Boots movie? I'm THERE!

*sigh* I'm so jealous of that otter.
Hm, shadowbook, eh? Spiffy. Wonder if my dad would object if I installed that on his system to try it out...

About the increased immune systems: I've seen other reports of that (in Science News, I believe)... :: makes a note to get his kids pets when they're young if he ever has kids...::
Oh, it's just a plain app - nothing to install, per se. And he might even like it. ^_^ By itself, it only serves as a demo, flashing the keyboard when you pass your hand over the left speaker, but there's a prefs option for sending an event to that external desktop manager, so you'd probably want to fetch that as well.

makes a note to get his kids pets when they're young

Myself, I'd just leave it with the pets. ^_^ Bunnies are so much quieter than human babies, and a whole lot less hassle. Far cuter, too. And nobody minds if you put a bunny in a cage. =:)
Heh. Babies in cages ^^; That's what cribs are, with the exception that there's no top~ I dunno though... I'd get kinda bored with bunnies after some time. The bunny we had didn't... really do much. Maybe I'll go for cats instead of babies. Granted, I'm nowhere close to getting married and making babies anyhow . . .
There's more to one's immune system than environment. I grew up with multiple cats, and one that slept in my bed every night (usually next to my face), and I have a horrible immune system. Why? Because I inherited one. Same with my brother. My mom grew up on a farm, and she's got a terrible immune system. It's genetic.

Now, if one has a normal immune system there may be help, but I think there's enough genetic variables they'd need to do some serious study before drawing any conclusions.
Oh, undoubtedly there'll be multiple factors at play, some trumping others in certain cases. Still, it's interesting to see some confirmation of the original hypothesis, with additional experimentation planned. (Thankfully, I'm pretty well set on the immune front. Even that can't stop something like food poisoning, though - our own fault[1], but no less painful for that. Took about two days before I wanted to leave the bed.. and we were only there for a week in total)

[1] If you see raw kebabs on display in an unrefrigerated street vendor's cart, on a nice warm day, my advice would be to give them a miss. ^_^;;
There was a fascinating discussion on The Straight Dope forums about proper manners in foreign countries when presented with food. People went on and on how horrible it would be to refuse food, and as a guest it's your responsibility to eat whatever is presented, regardless of what it is so as to not "cause offense". One guy even described drinking warm goat milk from a street vendor that smelled funny and had stuff in it. Was violently sick, but he "didn't cause offense".

Lesson for all: grow a thicker skin. If I'm visiting, and you serve something I don't want, I will politely refuse it. Deal.

Especially if they're raw kebabs on display in an unrefrigerated street vendor's cart, on a nice warm day.
From what I've heard of Love & Monsters, it was purely a vehicle for the abzorbaloff, a creation of a Blue Peter viewer. That said, having Peter Kay as the lead didn't help things. He's just a bit too.. amateurish to make a good episode of Doctor Who.

That said, it was nice to see Bella Emberg get a cameo.
The monster actually wasn't too bad - quite a nicely creepy idea, though horribly mangled by Kay slipping into cliched Northern slob mode, as if trying to be some kind of evil Lancashire version of Lister. (Heh. Noticed his IMDb bio says he "was taught metal work at school by the actor Steve Coogan's dad") Up to that point, he'd been vaguely plausible, if not exactly exuding gravitas in the role. (Hm. Stephen Fry, though..)

I was particularly disappointed in the episode as it sought to trivialise the Doctor - I'm surprised, given how much of a fan of the show RTD plainly is, and how well that showed in the opening episode, as well as the simple sense of wonder that shone through in The End of the World. But WTF was up with that Scooby Doo chase at the start? (And as someone pointed out, why is everyone remembering him as Tennant, not Eccles, as they last saw the Doctor?)
Agreed about the Northern Slob stereo type. I'm so glad they didn't kill him off by feeding him Pie and Chips. Stephen Fry, though? I can't quite see him as the "revealed" Abzorbaloff. The thing is, Abzorbaloff's appear to be generally quite gluttonous beings, and the refined gent was just a cover.

The Scooby-Doo chase was, admittedly, quite silly, but I think the series does vary between silly and serious. The Ood two-parter was quite a heavy set of episodes, so things lightened up with L&M. Hopefully, that means that next week's episode should be good (probably not a corker of an episode, but perhaps up there with New Earth).

And as for seeing Tennant not Eccles? Remember that the Doctor is a timelord. His visitation at that house could have been just last week in the Doctor's timeline. Though, this isn't a new phenomenon. Do you remember back at the start of Eccles' Doctor, there was a guy trawling the net who'd found his image scattered all across history? Why did he not spot that there's also a McCoy-faced visitor, a Hartnell-faced visitor and even a couple of Baker-faced visitors who also crop up throughout history without seeming to age (or did William Hartnell's incarnation manage to clock in some aging before regenerating?)?

In individual cases, seeing the current doctor is actually more likely. If Patrick Troughton showed up when you were 4 and then you met Paul McGann when you were 24, you'd not make any connection. Only if you see the current doctor at an earlier time (and therefore with the same appearance), can you make that connection that causes suspicion.
wrt Shadowbook, a scenario:

You are at work, tippy-tapping away at your powerbook and, as people are wont to do, you get bored. So up comes Safari and you start browsing for pictures of bunnies doing what bunnies do. Especially the kind that are hung like mules.

There is a cough from the doorway. It's your boss.

With an enigmatic wave of your hand, the rutting bunnies disappear and the spreadsheet you should be working on reappears.

"These aren't the figures you're looking for," you intone. "You don't need to see the purchase orders..."
You know, for a non-rat, you really are a suspiciously good resource for rat-related information. Sadly, I don't hold out a lot of hope at seeing this in the cinemas in Australia. I might need to order it online when it comes out on DVD.
*chuckle* There does seem to be plenty to relay lately. ^_^

One method that'll definitely be available in a few months (actually, maybe not - I think they've sometimes only included excerpts of longer works in the past, exceeding 5-10 mins or so. Probably all at the discretion of the studio/institution/company in question) is picking up the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater DVD, which appears a couple months after the shindig itself, though as I recall, they're not terribly cheap.