We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, March 3. 2013
Of the plethora of super-hero movies that have spilled out of Hollywood over the past few years, I've thought most of them went from 'pretty bad' to 'barely okay'. Green Lantern was a slight cut above, and Thor was terrific. It was so good it got its own review.
Add Watchmen to the A List. This engaging little number is intriguing from beginning to end. It deals with a banned group of (mostly) masked crimefighters and the story that unravels after one of them is killed. The ending poses the classic philosophical question; isn't it better that nine million people die, rather than nine billion?
As usual, click on the little symbol on the player bar to expand it to full-screen mode.
Here's a small snippet from the opening. Dig the 'real-time slo-mo' effect. I believe that's Donovan singing in the background.
Hot chicks, bullets, kissing, hot chicks kissing — this movie's got it all!
And then there's Rorschach, the narrator of the story and winner of the coveted 'Mr. Congenial' award in high school. This badass has such a good line at the end that I put it on my Great One-Liners page.
Check out the spy drone at the beginning listening in on your every word.
Likable old cuss, isn't he?
It's hard to put into words, but there's just something about this movie that's...
I'll review the quite-intriguing Bunraku below the fold.
Bunraku is the Japanese art of puppetry. The movie is aptly named, as the ancient struggle between Good and Evil is once against played out, this time upon a most stylized stage danced upon by the tethered minions.
Until one day.
If you didn't recognize Josh Hartnett as the guy on the train, immediately rent Lucky Number Slevin and this movie. Hartnett has a terrific screen presence, only a glimmer of which you saw here. The movie also features the indomitable Woody Harrelson, a fine performance by Demi Moore, and Ron Perlman (in the above pic) playing the heavy to the nth.
It's hard to put into words, but there's just something about this movie that's...
Doc gives both movies '8 up-twinkles', or '4 stars' by the old rating system.
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"I believe that's Donovan singing in the background."
I believe not. You're going to get in trouble with that comment on this blog... But the D is correct.
Oh, those folk singers all sound the same! Who can tell the difference? Besides, with a raspy, out-of-tune voice like that, it's obvious the guy isn't going anywhere.
Oh, those folk singers all sound the same!
I was actually trying to decide between Donovan and the Mamas & Papas. But, like I said, whoever it is singing the tune in that off-key, scratchy voice obviously isn't going anywhere. I mean, Perry Como, he ain't.
That was fascinating! I never knew how the Mamas & Papas got started. I suppose Mama Cass and Michelle came along not long afterwards.
Maybe that's why Mamma Cass put on sooo much wait...lol.
Doc - Totally agree, "Watchmen" was fabulous. I bet I've seen it five times at this point. I've added "Bunraku" to my Netflix list (and "Slevin"), along with the THIRTY-FIVE movies I added to it after spending a few hours in your Bag O' Clips section the other day. Damn, that was fun.
One question - why are the clips in "Bag" a different format than the ones everywhere else, like the "Web Vids" and here? As sharp as the above clips are, the ones in "Bag" looked like actual DVD quality. What's the story?
Good eyes, bucky. The Bag clips are done in WMV format because FLV always loses a little something in the render. The reason I usually put things in FLV format is so all computer types can see them. The WMV clips are Windows-only unless the Mac user has a special program installed, but it's the only way I could maintain the DVD-like quality, which I was determined to do for that particular section.
If you're curious, I use Media Encoder to render to FLV, Flash 8 to render to FLV, and the 'transitions' between scenes are done in VideoStudio. I use VirtualDub for editing and cutting and SoundForge to 'normalize' the audio tracks. Busy, busy, busy!
I had good eyes -- and didn't even know it! That was all very interesting and thanks for the clarification. Video looks kind of complicated. Is it?
Well, yes and no. It's like plumbing -- 90% of it is real easy. It's that other 10% that can be a real bitch. It mainly depends on the source file you're working with. If it's a DVD or other commercial souce, no problem. It's when you get into dealing with downloads that things can get crazy.
For example, I had a download yesterday that I wanted to take a snippet out of. Tried loading it into the editor, black screen. Try converting it with one program, it's all gray and crazy looking. Tried a second converter and it looked fine but the audio/video was out of sync. I go back to the editor, which allows me to 'demux' the audio track and save it as a separate file. I take the output of the second converter, dump it in the editor and replace the out-of-sync audio track with the extracted one. Worked perfectly -- and it only took ten years of expertise to pull it off!
That was one of those "10%" cases you read so much about in Time magazine. And that was an easy problem. If one wants to get into video, one has to be ready to bite the bullet and go on a learning curve.
I did it for 14 years, does that count? The funny thing is, when I started my handyman biz, I figured I'd mainly be fixing lamps and toasters and such. At the time, I viewed water as one of Earth's Great Friends, along with fire and soil.
It didn't take long to realize that, from a fix-it perspective, it's actually Public Enemy #1. I'd say that 90% of the repairs I did over the years were water-related, from drippy faucets to leaky traps that caused the place to rot out all the way to the subflooring.
And I never did fix a toaster!
I hated the comic book. It was plodding and dull, the plot was riddled with giant holes, and the consistent references fo Freudian psychology left the reader wanting an author who knows something about the real world.
I haven't seen GL. Thor was alright. But Avengers... Avengers rocked like a Costa Rican earthquake!
PS I'm a huge Donovan fan. Actually heard Hurdy Gurdy man in a McDonalds last month. I was shocked. Shocked I tell you.
I played 'Sand and Foam' on my 12-string just last night. A remarkably haunting little melody.
A 1968 Guild F-212. About a year after I bought it, I started putting a capo across the first fret. I lost a lot of volume, but it made the action much quicker. Once I decided to make it permanent, I painted over the old neck dots with black paint, drilled new holes and filled them with white paint, just so the fret markers would remain correct.
What makes the guitar almost unique is that the body is much closer to a normal 6-string body, so it's not 'huge' like most 12-strings are, and the neck is a 6-string neck. So, with the strings being closer together, it's harder to learn to play than a regular wide-necked 12-string, but, once you do, it plays much quicker.
One other tweak I make is to double up the two bass strings, the E and A, rather than using an octave string.
It's sitting here three feet from me.
It says 'hi'.
"Hi" back. I haven't found a capo that works well on a 12-string. I've got a "Jim Dunlop" for my Washburn "Monterey 12" and that's as close as I've gotten. Great action so I don't use it much.
Says "Hi" right back...btw.
Hope all is well.
You finally got around to viewing "Watchmen"? Really?
"Watchmen" has a long history of development as a movie - it is amazing how many iterations it went through before it finally settled down into a narrative voiced by Walter Joseph Kovacs aka Rorschach. While Rorschach wasn't a main protagonist in the novel series (12 comics - Rorschach dies in the fourth comic), this adaptation made him the central character and it worked very nicely. Alan Moore who wrote the original hated it which means the adaptation was successful (Moore is a jerk).
Rorschach was probably one of the most successful of Moore's super heroes even though he killed him off rather quickly. Rorschach saw life through a prism of black-and-white values that takes many shapes but never mix into shades of gray. Those values are reflected in the various shapes reflected on his mask. He is the one character in Watchmen that drives the movie as compared to the comics.
Of note, Rorschach was played by Jackie Earl Haley who also played Kelly Leak in Bad News Bears. Jackie Earl Haley is from San Antonio, TX and makes custom furniture between acting gigs.
He was also Moocher in "Breaking Away" (another great pic). The funny thing is after "Breaking Away", I kind've wondered what happened to him. Turns out he's been pretty busy, but his parts have never been very big.
He was in Will Ferrell's "Semi-Pro" as a street loser who wins $50k in a half-court pop-a-shot during an ABA game. When I saw that, I remembered him as Moocher, and looked him up. I was stunned to find out he played Rorschach.
Pretty versatile guy.
I think you're misremembering. The graphic novel is (partly) told in Rorschach's voice, and he survives to the end. The movie is pretty faithful to the events of the graphic novel (except for the nature of Ozymandias's plot -- in the comic it's a giant fake alien).
I love "Lucky Number slevin." Lucy Liu has never been cuter. and would somebody please explain the wallpaper patterns in that flick. Whoa! There's never any lysergic acid around when you need some.
You mean when she first showed up in that short skirt and knee socks? You call that cute? You sure have some 'broad' standards, buddy. What really makes that film unique is, where else do you find Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley playing secondary roles so some young actor can have his day? Pretty cool of them, actually.
What do you think of this?
"Ghostery is a cost free privacy browser extension for Internet Explorer, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome owned by the privacy technology company Evidon. It enables its users to easily detect and control web bugs which are objects embedded in a web page, invisible to the user, that allow the collection of data on the user's browsing habits.
Ghostery blocks HTTP requests according to their source address in two ways: Cookie Blocking and Cookie Protection, which is experimental. When Cookie Protection is enabled, if a cookie is selected from Ghostery's list, it is not accessible to anyone but the user and thus unable to be read when called upon.
In Internet Explorer, Ghostery can detect elements that are not in the page source, such as redirects and iframe contents, but these are detected after execution and cannot be blocked."
Sorry I didn't get back to you on this before now. Been offline for a few days.
Well, the question is, is Ghostery doing anything that an A-grade anti-malware program isn't doing? That is, my ZoneAlarm scans web pages and warns me if it detects anything fishy, but maybe it's not catching everything, compared to a program devoted solely to that?
Otherwise, it certainly sounds like it comes under the heading "No such thing as too much of a good thing" and as long as the price is reasonable, it wouldn't hurt anything and might very well save your bacon. Lemme know if you pursue it.