Archive for January 2004

 
 

3-D Football and James Cameron

The NY Times (free registration required) has a story about one man’s attempt to film football games in high def 3-D for an IMAX project. The article talks a bit about NFL films and the tech behind the camera rig. It also mentions a rival 3-D system being tested out courtesy of FOX with James Cameron’s people.

Mother of reality television passes

Early weekend shocker: Mary-Ellis Bunim, who co-created MTV’s REAL WORLD and ROAD RULES to help set the stage for modern reality television, has died of breast cancert at the age of 57.

REAL WORLD is a bit of an odd show to me. It’s stayed relatively the same as I’ve grown up, and it’s become a barometer to show me just how much I’ve matured in the past ten years. While I used to be able to identify with the show and sympathize with certain “characters” on the series, nowadays I look at the cast with a certain disdain. They’re all a bunch of immature idiots to me now.

But there’s no doubt that the show is the pre-cursor of all modern reality television series, from SURVIVOR to BIG BROTHER and more. And for that Bunim’s influence will be felt for a long time.

MST3K: It’s dead, Nelson

MST3K CrewLet’s have a moment of silence now, please, for Mystery Science Theater 3000. As of this morning (11 a.m. EST), it no longer airs on cable television for the first time in more than a decade.

I fell in love with the show when my cable provider first offered up Comedy Central. I remember seeing an episode of WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? in the morning and falling in love with it, and then MST3K: ALIEN FROM L.A. later that day and finding a new favorite show.

While I have to admit that I don’t have the patience often required to sit through a full episode in one sitting that I used to have, I still think of the show as one of the greats of the 1990s. Skewering pop culture and bad movies all at the same time, MST3K gave us new one-liners and appreciation for the artform of movies. (“Ooh, they established the hell out of that shot.” “Dull surprise!” “Mitchell!”)

Fare thee well, crew of the Satellite of Love.

Final words come from the show’s participants here.

Return of the Friday Links Round-Up

  • Frank Darabont is reported to have finished writing INDIANA JONES 4. So now it’s down to the last 5 teams of rewriters to punch up the dialogue, add inexplicable and pointless action scenes with large explosions, and a couple more dialogue polishes before being put into production. (2:1 odds on Joss Whedon being involved.) Then, the director and the actors will rewrite it as they go, ad libbing over most of it and sucking the soul out of Darabont’s original scripts. Or perhaps I’m far too cynical about the way Hollywood works. . .

  • More rumors on the inevitable STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE shakeup that’s coming.

  • The Calvin and Hobbes Snow Art Gallery. (Special thanks to Journalista for the link.)

  • Cool pic of the day: Bullet through apple.

  • A map of the universe, starting from the earth’s core.

  • Still no updates on “Calling Augie”, the smash movie due out any year now.

Saved by the sword

I think the headline pretty much says it all:

Teen Uses Sword to Capture Prison Escapee

Afterwards, Mom took him bowling. Makes you wonder about the older brother and his sword collection, doesn’t it? Is this finally a good use for those Dungeons and Dragons collectibles?

My credit is this good

I stopped at my credit card company’s web site to check out the damage for this month on my account. Imagine how great my credit rating must be to be offered this from the fine folks at the credit card company:

“Pay only $15.00 by 02/10/2004 instead of your normal amount of $0.00.”

Wow, whatta deal!

Ping-Pong Ball Avalanche Home Page

More ball dropping fun. Yes, there is video of hundreds of thousands of ping pong balls falling downhill.

Again, we have to ask, “Why?”

Again, they answer, “Because.”

Can’t say as I disagree with ‘em.

Lego Master Builders named

I linked to a LiveJournal of someone who was competing to become a Lego Master Builder here not too long ago.

Sadly, he didn’t make it. LEGO took three others, and you can read all about the competition at Wired News.

Pixar Dumps Disney

Do you think losing PIXAR will be enough to wake up the suits at Disney, who have done nothing but suck the life out of the company for the past decade?

Yeah, I doubt it, too. Still, it’ll be fun to see them writhe in agony for a little bit over this headline:

Pixar ends Disney distribution deal, saying time to move on – Jan. 29, 2004

Good for Lasseter and his crew!

Postcard from Penguin Land

ZDNet had a reporter at LinuxWorld in NYC last week, and he filed this story about it.

Two things about the event for people not interested in Linux:

  1. It’s a classic move on my part. I didn’t go. LinuxWorld is held at the Jacob Javits Center across the river from me every year. There’s always next year, right? Nope. Next year, the convention is in Boston. I doubt there’s any big scandal on this. It’s probably just the high cost of dealing with NYC Unions driving them out. But it means I may not be so close to the con ever again. Will I never learn?

  2. My favorite quote of the article comes from Bruce Perens. To put it simply, he’s a big Open Source Advocate. He said:

“Imagine what it took for Microsoft to piss off so many people that they’re all willing to work night and day without pay just to bring that company down.”

Buffy correction

I just visited a BUFFY episode guide. Imagine my surprise to discover that I had given up on the series at the beginning of the FOURTH season, and not the third. I even saw the first half dozen episodes of the 4th season before falling behind on it and giving up. I just didn’t like the down-and-out Buffy as much as the more relatively upbeat Buffy of the earlier seasons.

So maybe that will help explain to some people why I became disenchanted with the series.

Judge says R. Kelly must avoid Jackson

You can’t make this stuff up. I triple-checked to make sure it wasn’t an early April Fools joke or something. But, nope, the judge has ordered R. Kelly to avoid Jackson. What a country.

Check out Leno tonight for the inevitable easy jokes.

Keeping up with DVDs

Thanks for all your great comments and thoughts on yesterday’s ANGEL thread. In the end, I’ve decided to pass. Some of the negative comments made a lot of sense to me, but in the end it was something else:

I watched the first two episodes of MI-5 Season One on DVD today. Amazing show. My heart is still in my throat from the second episode. Holy crap. I’ll do a full write-up of it after I get through the next four episodes. I’m glad I didn’t push it back any further to watch ANGEL.

I see the backlog of DVDs sitting around here I have to watch, and I realize I don’t need to add to that any more. COUPLING Season 3 was just announced today to be in the spring sometime. HOMICIDE Season 4 is coming in April. I still have only barely touched BABYLON 5, which I’d love to watch all over again. Ditto X-FILES, which I have about four unwatched boxed sets of. Then there’s ULTRAVIOLET, FUTURAMA, FAMILY GUY, MR. BEAN, RED DWARF, DILBERT, and a plethora of movies. I’m going to be a good boy and not add to that. I’ve managed to get myself into a groove of watching these things. I’m going to keep at it.

Maybe I’ll come back to ANGEL or even give BUFFY a serious second chance again someday.

Give it a week and watch me change my mind again, though. ;-)

(And belated special thanks to Mike E. for prompting these past couple of posts, to begin with.)

In defense of the iPod Mini

ArsTechnica does its best job in defending Apple’s atrocious iPod Mini, citing the market it’s after and the comparitive value it has there.

I’m still not buying it. If I were interested in buying it, I’d still go with a full-on iPod. But in the interests of equal time, I give you the article to chew over.

Angel, Season One

Best Buy has the first season of ANGEL on sale for a decent price. I’m grooving on FIREFLY right now and I hate that I have no further Joss Whedon/Tim Minear television to watch after I’m finished with it. (Two more commentaries to go, and I’ve seen everything.)

I gave up on BUFFY after the second season, but I’ve always heard nice things about ANGEL. Is the first season good? Is it worth picking up? Is it worth giving a chance? Should I bother?

The comment thread is open. Tell me what you think. Convince me, one way or the other.