Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mac ads from other Countries

As Mac computers are sold everywhere, they make commercials for a worldwide audience. Worldwide Mac campaigns typically have the same look and feel to maximize their brand image and identification. Here is the same commercial from three sales markets.

The Original:

From Japan:

From the UK:

Note the difference in comedic timing between each version. Write 50 words as to why the UK guy used a telescoping indicator and the other versions used laser pointers. Bonus points will be given to those who can explain why one can't do "podcasts" on a PC. Extra super credit for naming the last year any brand of computer was limited to doing greyscale graphics.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Silent Penultimate Panel Watch

Matt Gill has taken on the task of cataloguing every comic strip that "abuses the use of the silent second-to-last panel."

Buy doing so, he hopes to rid the world of a weak comedic device, and encourage more variation to the format. He posts a list of the daily offenders to his blog " The Silent Penultimate Panel Watch" along with a composite image of the panels in question. The silent collage makes for an interesting dadaesque tableaux of awkwardness.

Not all strips that contain a silent panel are deemed offenders, and these strips are often re-printed in full and an explanation is given as to why it is spared. In Matt's words:
A true SPP is part of a standard rhythm of joke telling in a daily comic. In the first panel or two says someone something preposterous or otherwise worth reacting to, then we have a silent panel while everyone reacts to what was said (at this point, you would see a bad comic actor saying "beat, beat, beat" to himself) and then you get the punchline in the last panel.

This level of commitment and attention to detail is commendable.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cat on the head

There's a cat on my head IMG_5570
Originally uploaded by -Andrew-.

It's Sunday again, so here is another picture from my flickr favourites. Andrew's cat loves to get on his head during shower time.

Andrew is just as confused as to the reason why as we are. The whole set can be seen here http://www.flickr.com/photos/americanidle/sets/1742479/

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Erotic Robot Pictures

I don't know what sort of commentary I can make on an image such as this one here. A nude woman hugging a Dalek? What is its origin? Who is the woman pictured? Where can I find more just like it?

My source is the foreign language blog (or Flog) "Fogonazos," where the author has compiled an extensive collection of photographs featuring robots and pinup girls. Explore for yourself and come up with your own jokes.

Atomic girls away!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Many Faces of John Hodgman

John Hodgman, author of "The Areas of My Expertise" and generally interesting fellow, has a feature interview in the February issue of wired magazine. LiveJournal user nudnudnud converted the "interview response photos" into Livejournal "mood" images, and posted them to the John Hodgman Fan Community.Since only 8 pictures were provided, he had to get a little creative with the mood assignment, and I think he did a great job.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Star Wars Hands

Minimalistic re-imagining of the trench run from "Star Wars: A New Hope" by puppeteers.

Monday, January 22, 2007

R2-D2 and Chewbacca: True Heroes of the Rebellion

Keith Martin's 2005 essay "A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope: Reconsidering Star Wars IV in the light of I-III" reconstructs and theorizes some of the characters and plot points of "A New Hope" given what we know from the prequels.

With the amount of insight and knowledge about of the rise of the Empire, and the need for a well executed rebellion, Keith postulates that R2-D2 and Chewbacca are key field agents who keep the rebellion moving in the right direction.
"Wherever 3PO goes, being as loud and obvious as he always is, his unobtrusive little counterpart goes with him. 3PO is R2's front man. Wherever they land, R2 is passing messages between rebel sympathisers and sizing up governments as potential rebel recruits - both by personal contact and by hacking into their networks. He passes his recommendations on to Organa."
The behaviour of Obi-Wan and Yodo is also best explained by their fear of what Luke might become.
"On first seeing R2, Obi-Wan has a twinkle in his eye and calls him "my little friend". Well, he is. However, when Luke wakes up and says that R2 claimed to be owned by an Obi-Wan Kenobi, he blandly says "I don't seem to remember ever owning a droid." Ben has in fact owned several but the remark is aimed at R2 and translates as "You keep quiet. I'm not about to tell him everything just yet." Obi-Wan thinks fast and tells Luke a version of his past that does not involve a father who became a dark lord of the Sith. He wants to examine Luke a lot more closely before he risks telling him the real truth"
It makes for a very compelling read, and fits into the "R2-D2" as "Samwise Gamgee" theory I've heard before.

[Link] via Boing Boing.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pi on a Sunday

coolest tattoo!
Originally uploaded by {Pamphile}.

Sunday Flickr Favourites brings you a cool Pi tattoo. I think he has a ways to go before it is finished.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bruce Campbell: Man's Man

I will be away for a week, so to tide you over until I return, I offer this commercial featuring Bruce Campbell in an unlikely room talking about "it"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic in Las Vegas

While on the prowl for Atomic Tiki drinks and cinema for laughingmagpie's annual luau, I found that there is an honest to goodness Tiki/Lounge convention in Las Vegas the weekend of January 26-28 2007.
"Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic is the Ultimate Retro Party and Conference. The event is themed around the lifestyle and culture of America from 1957 to 1963 & will bring together fans of Retro Fashion, Tiki, Exotica Music, Car Culture, Bachelor Pad Living, Pin-Ups, Swing Scene, Vintage Las Vegas Rat Pack era"
I will be unable to attend this event with only two week's notice. I think some of us MUST go down next year, should the event be repeated. There is a Friday night pyjama party, Bongo jam session and a Fez contest. Hold me down!

The vintage fashion, Tiki and lounge trade show would also be full of one-of-a-kind finds. A tour of vintage Las Vegas? A Burlesque show? A Miss Mondo Atomic contest?

I'm a little dizzy with the thought of it all. I need a Manhattan, a well tamped pipe and a good sitdown.

2007 Convention Calender

Here are some of the interesting conventions I am planning on attending this year. Some other events have not finalized their dates, so they have not made the list.

March 25
Edmonton Collectible Toy and Comic Show - Edmonton, Alberta

This is run by Shane Turgeon of Tattoos and Toys and RebelScum.com, so you know it is a good show.

April 29
Comic and Entertainment Expo - Calgary

A new, but well run expo by Kandrix Foong. I'm really looking forward to this one, hopefully we have another good Star Wars Fanforce turnout again this year.

May 19-20
Otafest - Calgary, Anime Convention

A fun time, even if you only have a passing interest in Anime. There is lots of Japanese Cultural content as well.

May 24-28
Celebration IV - Los Angeles, Official Star Wars Convention

2007 is the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars. This convention will be a mecca for all Star Wars fans.

August 31 - September 3
Dragon*Con 2007 - Atlanta Georgia, Multi-genre Convention

If every sub-genre of fandom called a truce for four days, and had a party in three fantastic hotels, this is what you get. Pure fandom bliss.

October 27 - 28
Manitoba Comic Con & Sci Fi Expo - Winnipeg, MN

This show has David Prowse, so I think it is worth the road trip for our Star Wars Fan Club.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pop or Soda?

When speaking of carbonated soft drinks, do you say "Pop" or "Soda?" Growing up in British Columbia, Canada it was Pop. As in the phrases "fountain pop" or "non-stop pop." Judging from consuming much television, I thought Americans called it "Soda." This is only partly correct. The Pop/Soda demarcation lines are much more nuanced than the 49th parallel.

Pop vs Soda.com, is the result of a several year informal study that has given us much insight into this cultural differance. We see that "Pop" (blue) does dominate the Pacific Northwest and much of the mid-west. Soda's stronghold (tan) is the more denser populated areas of California, New England, New York and New Jersey. "Coke" (red) is the generic term for cola through most of the south. Given that Coca-cola was invented in Atlanta, Georgia, and first bottled in Mississippi, this really shouldn't be much of a surprise.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Top 5 "Dodge the Laser Beams during a Heist" scenes

As is the film tradition, when a heist has to be perpetrated, the thieves will inevitability have to navigate or disable a protective grid of laser beams. This is another lie that films need to tell. Never mind the fact that laser light is invisible to the naked eye. Forget that although airborne aerosols or powders can make the beam visible, it is only momentary, and will likely set off the alarm. Ignore the reality that infrared sensors are cheaper, easier to implement, harder to bypass and quite ubiquitous.

Our hero is stymied, and it will take some wit, cunning and dexterity to proceed. More importantly however, it will take style.

5) Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny

In the clearest farce of this convention, The Pick of Destiny has Jack Black and Kyle Gass break into a Rock and Roll museum. After the obligatory crawl through the air vent and dodging the overly inept night guards, the only thing standing between Tenacious D and the Pick is laser grid. Jack Black somewhat awkwardly shuffles and skips through the beam grid in his expected tongue in cheek style. The real bonus points come at the end when he can't reach the off switch with any traditional limb, so he has to use a more unorthodox appendage and some tremendous will-power.

Add to that a soundtrack with the self-referential song "Break In-city"
"Ninja style, samurai (Storm the gates)
Metal pole, climb that shit (Storm the gates)
Two air-vents on the roof,
thats what the guy was talkin a- Shit! Electric Eye

Infiltrate (Storm the gates)"
Not for the faint of heart, faint of butt, or easily offended.

4) Mystery Men

The second class heroes of Mystery Men (1999) have to by pass two laser based roadblocks set for them by the flamboyant Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). First is the "laser eye" that will disintegrate those who pass through to the "Disco Room." This is a job for Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell). The lad strips naked, and walks unseen towards the off switch. His job done and visible again, the snarky and lovable Bowler (Janeane Garofalo) drops the line:
"Maybe you should put some shorts on or something, if you want to keep fighting evil today."

Later another grid of lasers protects Casanova when he grabs Mr. Furious' girl. He is so evil, turning on this trap kills one of his own men, as is noted by an over-the-top and gloating Rush. This calls for the fork flinging finger of The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), who builds an alternate staircase out of embedded cutlery.

3) Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

While filming Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) , Kevin Smith clearly had a checklist of things he always wanted to do in film.
  • Orangutan buddy: Check
  • Dance with Morris Day and The Time: Check
  • Jewel heist perpetrated by pleather clad vixens: Check.

Chrissy, Sissy and Justice (can you spot the turn-coat?) run, backflip and gyrate past a hallway of danger beams to get to the diamonds.

2) Oceans 12

Initially I thought this sequel was unnecessary, but it does grow on you after a while. Oceans 12 ( 2004) is fairly charming, and a clear love letter to the kicky and fun crime films of the 60's and 70's.

It is not until the final half hour of the film to we see the laser obstacle. The entire movie is a series of misdirections and failed attempts at the big job. The grid here is a randomly moving field of visible blue movie lasers. Here we learn that evil Frenchmen only need to dance their way to victory, if he has a suitable euro-trash techno soundtrack.

1) Entrapment

The trailer for Entrapment (1999) had its offering up front for the viewer. It featured a nubile Catherine Zeta-Jones weaving her taught buttocks through yet another hallway of danger beams. A leering Sean Connery looks on in obvious delight, creeping out many a viewer.

While not the centrepiece of the film, we get to see Catherine go through these manoeuvres twice. Once in training with yarn replacing the beams, and once with the real thing.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Room full of Macguffins: A Review of "The Lost Room"

"The Lost Room" is a three episode mini-series from The Sci Fi Channel, that thankfully was picked up by the Canadian channel "Space." The series namesake is the phantom Room 10 of the long abandoned Route 66 "Sunshine Motel," that only has nine rooms. On May 4, 1961, an Event occurred which disrupted space/time erasing the room and all its contents from history. However one can still visit the room, if one should find The Key.

Sunshine Motel
Originally uploaded by Robotclaw666.

Enter the series' protagonist, detective Joe Miller (Peter Krause). Finding The Key and Room 10 he crosses the threshold between the world he is familiar with and that which he is not. He enters a room where it is always 1961. When you visit the room, the bed will always be made, the Sun will be shining through the window, anything that belongs there will be its allotted place. Anything that shouldn't be there will be gone without a trace. Joe finds this out the hard way, when his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning) is lost to the room, thus beginning his journey to bring her back.

The room was not always unoccupied. It was once filled with the accessories and ephemera of 1960's highway travel. These "Objects," as they are called, consist of roughly 100 powerful artifacts in the form of everyday items. There is a bus ticket that can instantaneously transport a person to a stretch of road outside Gallup, New Mexico. The Comb can temporarily freeze time around a person when it is run through the user's hair. These are some of the tools Joe must use in rescuing his daughter. He must navigate the previously unknown underworld of secret cabals, religious orders and desperate Object collectors who are all jostling for possession..

Knowledge of what each Object can do, both alone and in consort with others, becomes a commodity. I noticed that the information dealers and trackers refuse to handle the Objects. This seems to make them neutral parties, but beyond business sense, this aversion is based on fear. They know that those who seek the Objects tend to die, go insane, or get wiped off the face of the earth. Since the mini-series was a back-door pilot for a full season, many loose ends were left at the end of the third episode. A former forensic scientist who worked with Joe becomes so obsessed with the Objects he believes that he will become God if he can return all of the Objects to the Room. Beyond the quest for divinity, reuniting the objects seems like a logical undertaking, as the Objects seem to be at "rest" in the Room. In the outside world they are indestructible and potent, while within the room they become lower case "o" objects; mere possessions who wish to remain where they were in1961.

The basic elements of the plot are similar to Fred Saberhagen's "Books of the Swords" series, wherein a collection of powerful items are dispersed to humanity, each with a power or gift. Humanity then struggles to control them. Whether the artifact is a sword or a pair of scissors, people don't fair well when power over others is granted.

While editing an associated article on Wikipedia, I classified the Objects from the series as Macguffins because the story really is about the protagonist finding his daughter, and possibly even the nature of the God and the Universe, and not the Objects themselves. If an episode required that he get a "Tea cosy", that could turn soup to salad, he would do so. However if you replace the word "Tea cosy" with "coffee mug" the plot does not change one bit. Other wiki editors felt this diminished the position of the Objects in the series.

If the crux of the series becomes "what combination of Objects will solve the puzzle-of-the-week" the story is flat and weak, but if the story is about a father's relationship with his daughter, or the nature of God, then we have something to work with, even if The Room is full of Macguffins.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006 Year in Review

As is the fashion, I present a Slashboing 2006 year in review. As Slashboing started in April, I will have to guess at much of its pre-blog history.
What does 2007 hold?
  • Celebration IV in May
  • DragonCon will likely dominate September
  • General Star Wars references will likely pepper my posts, as it really is wicked awesome.
  • Science Fiction book, movie and TV show reviews as a regular feature
  • Flickr 365 Days project ends in September
What do you guys want to see/read here in the coming year?