July 30th, 2005

Porsupah smile by Djinni

(no subject)

Just a quickie for the moment, as I've been catching up on some anime and movies - so I'm also rather behind with LJ (as in, well over a week). Gomen. ^_^; I will, of course, be catching up with everything everyone's written, though that'll probably put me a few days behind too..

First off, some new little tidbits about the next season of Doctor Who. ^_^ Cybermen, yay! (Larger, uncropped version of the photo here)

And spidermouse sent me this link to National Geographic's mention of Futa, the standing red panda. The photo isn't the same as the one most other reports used, and is dangerously adorable. Of course. ^_^

I ♥ this car. ^_^

Pics for the day are two from Uaykan: this and this, both featuring a red panda and a polecat. Not at all safe for work, but so very cute. ^_^ (Originally linked to their FurAffinity appearances, but locally served for the moment) And "Bullhorn", by pac, for those preferring a darker, surrealistic tone.

Here's a very handy service for those times when some site insists on an email address just for a download, or accepting an online coupon: MyTrashMail.com. It's completely insecure, as you simply provide a username - that's it. It'll then show you the last few days of email for that username. So, just supply the nosy company with something like vfheregu3d@mytrashmail.com, wait for whatever validation code to be sent, then check that email address on their site.

A rather cool Flash short: How the Jones' 23rd Goldfish Narrowly Escaped Death (2.5MB). There's not much of a story (it's only a minute or so long), but just look at that gorgeous animation! And from a newly minted Flash graduate, too.

Wired takes a look at one movie I've been looking forward to for some time: Terry Giliam's The Brothers Grimm, opening on Aug 26. The trailer can be found here, or, for those with a suitably beefy system, here in high definition (up to 1080p).

And, Chicken Little's trailer is also up. ^_^ I'm going to be wanting to see this, purely because it's the latest from Mark Dindal, who previously brought us Cats Don't Dance, and The Emperor's New Groove.

When cutting lasers are discussed, all too often, discussion turns to matters of plate metals, especially steel (poor iron!). Personally, I'm more interested in the penetration power of a laser into beef. After all, if sliced at an appropriate thickness, couldn't the cutting serve to sear the meat into a deliciously medium-rare condition in the process?

Quite a special screening of Donnie Darko in London, on Aug 6: "Set in London's beautiful Royal Kensington Gardens, the film will be accompanied by a specially-commissioned live performance of the soundtrack by the National Symphony Orchestra (for which a new instrument, christened "the darkophone", has been created), and a finale performance of Mad World by the soundtrack's composer, Michael Andrews."

Laço Tayfa's Hicaz Dolap is a remarkable album, presenting traditional Turkish gypsy melodies with a modern jazz angle. Here's a sample track: Puskullu (1.8MB).

I found this story quite fascinating, about the Dalai Lama offering a talk at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in November, which is stirring up some minor controversy between philosophy, religion, and science.

Here's an enjoyable examination of the workings of Costco, not a Wall Street darling, apparently.

At long last, I have a new favorite RSS reader. ^_^ Meet Feed, for OS X. It's a simple app, reminiscent in appearance of pre-Tiger Mail - open source, too, under the BSD license (ie take it and do whatever you want with it, providing you retain acknowledgement of its origins). It's stable, seems to work reliably, handles RSS and Atom (unlike MiNews, unfortunately, which is otherwise a good app, but RSS-only), and the author's highly responsive to bug reports and feature requests. What's not to love? (Hint: get the latest beta, which includes the highly useful "mark all items in this feed as read" button, and doesn't quit the app when the window's closed)

Cinema Paradiso

This is a fun little Flash diversion: Chaos Theory. (Downloadable here, 19k) Just wait for the blue dots to arrange themselves to your liking, then click somewhere to trigger an explosion. Any caught by that then explode, and so on. Three levels, maximum of 50 points each. (130-139 results in the game being ranked "miracle", 140 gets "pro".. if anyone hits a perfect score, let me know!)

Or, there's Planarity - just drag the vertices so no edges overlap. It's dangerously puzzling. ^_^ (Not to mention a little time-consuming.. once you're around level 9 or 10, it'll take upwards of 20 minutes, let alone level 11. Unfortunately, by the time I'd completed that, I needed a break from it, and forgot that OmniWeb swaps out workspaces unused for an hour or two - so returning to it later wound up reloading it, from the start) [URL edited, as it's recently moved]

At the other end of the scale, there's this curious tale of getting cash back, and How To Return Videos.. or not. ^_^;

rabitguy pointed out this rather cool band, The Great Bamboo.

In wake of the ESRB dismay over the GTA mod, a new reference game has been produced, guaranteed entirely inoffensive: Mario Battle No. 1.

How This Old Brit Sees It is a worthwhile political weblog, from a Liverpudlian perspective.

Amongst the videostuff that's been keeping me busy, then - Zettai Shounen continues to be a quiet mystery of sorts, with our protagonist, now realising something of the origin of his new friend in the woods (I'm avoiding giving spoilers, but you can find plenty of those in the Animesuki forum thread for the series). Yakitate Japan continues to be imaginatively amusing, with the trio at the world breadmaking championships in Monte Carlo - if you like Iron Chef, you're in with a chance of enjoying YJ. Far from the same thing, but there's a similarly indomitable spirit of creativity and excellence. And, a series I've only just got around to trying, Kamichu, which has something of a whisper of Spirited Away to it.

And movies too! I was quite taken by Primer, a very low budget (but surprisingly well shot nonetheless) sci-fi puzzle. As there's no budget, there are no special effects - just plenty to think about, and more than enough to twist most minds into confusion. I'm going to have to see this again once or twice. Maybe I'll run a triple bill someday, starting with Donnie Darko (as the most straightforward - and easily the best written), then Pi, then Primer.. ^_^

Then, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, an extremely British comedy from the 60s - except this was made in 1980 - penned by Vivian Stanshall, who might, with luck, be a familiar name as the perpetrator of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Needless to say, it's dry, surrealistic humor in the vein of The Goon Show, just less grounded in reality. eg, Sir Henry's nephew, fresh from a few frames of snooker in the adjoining room, on horseback, trots through the (closed) window. "That's the trouble with these Italian aeroplanes. Too much damned hair on the wings." Some other brilliant one-liners there too:

"Sir Henry: Generally speaking, if I've eaten something I don't want to see it again.

Sir Henry: I never met a man I didn't mutilate.

Sir Henry: If I had all the money I'd spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink.

Sir Henry: If a thing is worth doing, it is worth forcing someone else to do it.

[Playing cards.]
Florrie: My dear Henry, if dirty fingers were trumps, what a splendid hand you'd have."

Speaking of the Bonzo Dog Band, they were apparently regulars on Do Not Adjust Your Set, starring "the then little-known Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin". (I did like the note about "the shows were recorded 'as live' as they were forbidden to do any editing. This, which would have involved physically cutting the videotape, meant that the tapes would no longer be worth £40.")

Next, Survive Style 5+ - a stylish Japanese dark comedy featuring Vinnie Jones as a hitman? I couldn't very well refuse. "Survive Style 5+ is without a doubt one of the most bizarre, beautiful , original and over the top films I have seen in the past few years. I couldn't help but smile throughout the entire movie. It's simply unlike anything you have ever seen before. Mindblowing decors, surreal dialog, commercial breaks, hit men & hypnotists. It really is an amazing collection of scenes that are edited and interwoven in a unique way. The oil-painting-like colors and completely insane soundtrack alone are worth it." As a brief taster, here's a clip (9.4MB) from just after the opening titles; and here are the subtitles, in SRT format. (It's visually mostly worksafe, though the opening audio might not be considered so. ^_^) Any player aware of external subs will be fine, such as VLC or Mplayer.

And, Ma Vie en Rose, which I'd been angling to see for some time.

.. and an exceptionally obscure episode of an ancient furry children's show, Animal Kwackers. Glam rock for the ultra-impressionable, yay!

In keeping with the cinematic tone of this - admittedly less miniature than originally envisaged - entry, I was intrigued by the recent British Film Institute's "top fifty films for children up to the age of 14", as worthy a collection as I've seen in some time, including Spirited Away, Toy Story, Some Like It Hot, Star Wars, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, La Belle et la Bête, The Princess Bride, Finding Nemo, Edward Scissorhands, and A Day at the Races. (The top 10 is here - the most votes apparently went to Spirited Away)

I was quite intrigued by the apparently still effective injunction against the Rolling Stones documentary, Cocksucker Blues: "The Rolling Stones were upset by this film's portrayal of them and sued to prevent its release. The film is under a court order that only allows it to be shown once a year with director Robert Frank present in person."

The joys of phone menus.

A working miniature chocolate fountain for fondue nights.. but how much for a 6' version? ^_^

mp3otwclub - MP3 of the Week Club - could be of interest to the musically inclined.

.. okay, this didn't turn out to be quite as minor an entry as I'd originally thought..