wombat_socho: Wombat (Happy)

(Lileks)

RED

Jul. 19th, 2011 09:50 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
This was a fun flick, every bit as violent and funny as the trailer led me to believe. Of course, given that Bruce Willis was the main character, the violent part was a given, but the funny parts, which mostly revolve around his romance with a federal pensions clerk (who has NO IDEA what his old job was) were a pleasant surprise. John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren (to say nothing of Brian Cox as Ivan) do great work as retired agents for the CIA/MI6/KGB suddenly forced to fall back on their old skills to avoid death at the hands of CIA officer karl Urban and his small army of cops, soldiers, hit men, etc. Mary-Louis Parker is good as Frank's beloved, Sara, Richard Dreyfus and Rebecca Pidgeon are appropriately vile in their roles - basically everyone in the movie does a good job. The reason why the CIA is trying to off our aged heroes (and heroine, and Sara, who's just in the wrong relationship with the wrong guy at the wrong time) is typical hackneyed Hollywood conspiracy theorist horse shit, but I don't watch these movies for the plot, tbqh. Recommended.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
This was sparked by [livejournal.com profile] morenasangre' s post here, which probably says all the stuff I'm going to say a lot better...
cut for emo blathering )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
This was one of those weekends which reminded me how lucky I am to have such a wide range of friends and also prodded me out of my near-agoraphobic basement-dwelling existence, both of which are Good Things. I mean, I get along well with all kinds of people, including people you'd think would be slowly backing away from me and making warding gestures as they did so, and every so often I get to go out and hang with a bunch of people who apparently have next to nothing in common with me. Yet, it somehow winds up being a good time.

Saturday wasn't like that; I went up to Reston to hang out with my old friend Mark, watch movies (about which more later) burn steaks, and talk about stuff. We wound up seeing several classic movies: Night of the Hunter (downright WEIRD), the original Cat People (AWESOME), and Curse of the Cat People, which latter was bitterly disappointing since it has all the elements for a bloody revenge filled sequel to the first movie, but instead wound up being this sappy and only occasionally creepy movie about a little girl's invisible friend who JUST HAPPENS to be the ghost of Daddy's ex-wife. You know, the one who used to turn into a panther and stalk Mommy in order to claw her to ribbons? But the ghostly invisible friend doesn't do that, so unlike the original it is Not Recommended. We also watched episodes 4&5 of Game of Thrones, which is just getting more hardcore and awesome as it progresses. So much treachery and brutal awesomeness. I am definitely going to have to drop by the library and pick up the original books now, because I'm positive there's a lot of additional stuff I'm missing.

Now Sunday was interesting. Old classmate Tish Hall, who when last seen was going into the bread-baking business in a big way, was throwing a fundraiser for her daughter Sara, who is having legal difficulties that I can't go into here, and so I got into the Toaster and motored forth into the trackless wastes of Northwest Washington. It was good to see Tish again; the interesting thing is that while we agree on very little when it comes to religion and politics, we nonetheless get along extremely well. It was also good to see her husband Gavin and their boys again, meet her daughter Sara (who has great taste in music) and Tish's sister Celeste, and hang out with a bunch of Sara's friends. There was too much good food, and I'm afraid I ate too much of it, but the conversation was good and I stayed maybe longer than I should have, considering that I needed to take care of things online.

The next two days are going to be pretty quiet around here; I'll be laying low until I get my unemployment on Wednesday, at which time I'll be shelling out money for my Intermediate Accounting text and starting the clock on that course. Further down the timeline, won't be going to Balticon but a trip up to [livejournal.com profile] brian_edminster's place is a distinct possibility.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
My review is up at The Other McCain.

It's worth pointing out that the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is a nice place to see a movie. Comfortable leather seats, a good menu and drinks list, and plenty of free parking. The afternoon matinee I saw yesterday was packed with people, and one of the staffers said it's been like that for the entire run of the film. They might could have an Objectivist version of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on their hands if they play this right, except of course without all the cosplay and audience participation. Though that would be interesting, if somewhat mundane.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
So, I went out to see Sucker Punch at the AMC Hoffman tonight.
Howard Tayler's review at Schlock Mercenary gave me a heads-up on what to expect, but still...
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Happy)


Apparently the trailer had its premiere at CPAC today.
I'm damn sure buying a ticket. Maybe two.
(Small Dead Animals)

Not going to CPAC tonight; too tired after the pre-work running around and work, and besides I wouldn't have actually gotten down there before 2100 or so - by which time I would have had to turn around and come home, since I'm working 9-5 tomorrow. :(
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Well, I apparently did quite well on the Intermediate Accounting final: there's a B posted for the course. :)

Don't expect to do that well on the Cost Accounting final tonight, but that's okay. I'll settle for a C in that one, and hope I never see any of that stuff ever again.

Another example of two things I don't care much for individually, but combined...well, I think I'd pay money to see The Brothers Mario.

UPDATE: They closed the college at 3 PM today, so no final exam tonight. WTF?
School closes out the fall term next Thursday, so I wonder when we're going to be able to take the final.

UPDATE UPDATE: All classes/tests scheduled for today rescheduled until tomorrow. Okay, then.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Stacie Collins' CD "Sometimes You Gotta" is now available, and if you like your country with rock all over it you should get this CD. I personally am getting it for cut #7, which I first heard during her sound check with the Scorchers at the Iota in Arlington last month. If you don't, you are obviously a commie pinko subversive who hates America. ;)

Related but very different: Aaron Static's November 2010 Power Hour is out, and you should download it if you like electronica.

Spent some time yesterday studying for my Intermediate Accounting test while watching The Hurt Locker. Man, that is one hardcore movie. Granted, about 90% of it is bullshit, but it's an entertaining war movie if you're not overly concerned about realism and accuracy. :/

I'm increasingly confident in my ability to bend Block's TPS software to my will. While messed up on Dayquils yesterday morning, I nailed a return to the wall - did it straight from the book to TPS, no runs no drips no errors. So I'm pretty sure I've got this down and will be able to do a bang-up job for most of my friends who may need tax work done.

The Intermediate Accounting test also went well, I think, although I was also on the Dayquils and may be completely wrong - but I don't think I am. One thing I do know: I need to find the manual for my HP calculator and work on getting familiar with PV and FV problems because it's not intuitive and I wound up having to resort to the tables instead of just being able to punch keys. Welp.

Time to shave and head out to Ashburn for wings and face time with P. Aloha.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
At the rate I'm getting caught up on my list of "I really ought to see this" movies, I'll probably not make any great progress on the list until I'm retired...and since retirement really isn't in my plans any more, well, you can see where this is going.

In place of Othello with Fishburne and Branagh, which I couldn't find in a quick perusal of the Chantilly Blockbuster, I wound up coming home with Remember The Titans. Now, I'm not a big fan of football movies in general, any more than I am of football itself, but this isn't primarily a football movie. That's because it's set right here in Alexandria, Virginia, in the year 1971. As some of you may have heard, there was some race relations difficulty at the time. The Alexandria City School Board tackled this head-on by closing the black high school, George Washington, along with one of the two white high schools (F.C. Hammond) and consolidating both colors of students at T.C. Williams, ironically named after the superintendent of city schools who had spearheaded the policy of Massive Resistance to racial integration in the 1950s. Adding more gasoline to the fire, the ACSB hired a black coach, Herman Boone, to replace the highly-regarded white coach, Bill Yoast, who had been nominated for the state Football Hall of Fame. Boone's hardcore, Spartan approach to breaking down the race prejudice on his team and preparing the team for battle on the gridiron doesn't sit well with Yoast, his football-obsessed daughter, or many of the players either, for that matter. There's quite a bit of drama throughout the movie as personalities, races, and situations clash, often violently, and unfortunately the football field is no haven of fair play either. Great movie, great acting, A+++++, would definitely watch again.
wombat_socho: Wombat (FGSFDS - Technoviking)
The antisocial movie « BuzzMachine:
The Social Network is the anti-geek movie. It is the story that those who resist the change society is undergoing want to see. It says the internet is not a revolution but only the creation of a few odd, machine-men, the boys we didn’t like in college. The Social Network is the revenge on the revenge of the nerds.

I know my risk here. I’m putting myself again in the position of defending the internet, just as David Kirkpatrick is making himself Facebook’s apologist. Maybe we’re both hypnotized by the Zuckerberg charisma Sorkin cannot see. Maybe we’ve been hanging out with business people so long we cannot see the Greek tragedy in it. Maybe. Though if all you want is a tale of hard-nosed business leading to human drama among geeks, you could film the story of Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, or—coming soon to a theater near you—Larry Page and Sergey Brin.


The really telling line, for my money:
For The Social Network, geeks and entrepreneurs are as mysterious and frightening as witches. Its writer, Aaron Sorkin, admits as much in New York Magazine. “He says unapologetically that he knows almost nothing about the 2010 iteration of Facebook, adding that his interest in computer-aided communication goes only as far as emailing his friends.” Sorkin himself says, “I don’t want my fidelity to be to the truth; I want it to be to storytelling.” Making shit up.


That's actually a pretty good summary of Sorkin's career. Making shit up about people he doesn't know from Adam's off ox. Sucking up to the ones he knows and likes. And people wondered why I didn't want to waste my time watching The West Wing? YGBSM.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
Good news: The Centurions is finally back in print.

Bad news: It's a $59.95 hardback. I loved the book, but not $60 worth. Here's hoping they release a Kindle version as well, to say nothing of one for The Praetorians, the sequel. You can't even get the books in their original French editions on amazon.fr, which actually doesn't surprise me too much. I can't imagine too many French care to be reminded of the long, bloody wars in Indochina and Algeria or the mutiny among their elite troops that followed when DeGaulle pulled out of Algeria.

Bizarrely, the Anthony Quinn movie Lost Command, made by eliding both books together into one screenplay, is still available, and on DVD to boot.
wombat_socho: Curly W (baseball)
Maybe a month is too early to make a decision like this, just like a month is too early to panic & make roster moves in real or fantasy baseball, but I'm not happy with the (lack of) response Beltway Baseball's been getting. I suspect a big part of it is that I'm a latecomer to the Natosphere, as the local collection of Nationals baseball blogs is called* and there are dozens of local/regional blogs already covering the same ground I am. Also, many of those blogs are already networked, and just as in any other business, it's hard for a latecomer to break in...especially if they really don't have anything new & interesting to add. Which, to be honest, except for my inclusion of the two local Orioles farm clubs and the local Atlantic League team, I really don't.

So I think I'm going to go back to what I knew best when I first started writing about baseball, and that's the independent minor leagues. The Blue Crabs are a 45-minute drive away, the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League are a day trip away, and I also have a team from the collegiate wood-bat Cal Ripken League in my city. Plus, of course, the internet makes collecting information on the independent minor leagues and their players a lot easier than it used to be. I'll continue posting about road trips to the local parks, of course, but I think the daily Nats linkagery is going to die a quiet and unremarked death. Somebody's already been doing something like it on the Federal Baseball blog anyway, except without the minor league stuff.

I'm about 2/3rds of the way through the Wesley Snipes Ultraviolence Triple Feature; Art of War was pretty good, and so was Blade II - though I was kinda hoping the hot vampire chick would survive. Welp. Going to watch Afro Samurai tonight and Blade Trinity before I leave for Hagerstown tomorrow.

And speaking of baseball, uberphenom Stephen Strasburg got out-pitched by oft-rejected knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, but the Nationals came back against Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez and scored 3 in the bottom of the ninth to win it 6-5. Another Curly W in the book against the Mets. :)

*Not to be confused with the NATOsphere, which would be a group of blogs talking about military & political stuff within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
Cut for possible spoilers )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
This post contains nothing about politics or baseball. :)

Cut to spare the f-list )
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Solid Snake's Voice Actor On Collapse of Metal Gear Movie:
Sources close to the project previously told Kotaku that reason for the movie not happening was money. Sony Pictures was willing to finance somewhere between $40 million ~ $80 million for the film; however, Kojima Productions and Konami balked, believing that the figure was not enough to create a proper cinematic version of the game. By today's standard, the budget would have put Metal Gear Solid at the lower end of the production scale. For comparison's sake, Sony Pictures film Spider-Man 3 had a $300 million budget.

"Video game companies are very protective of their property and there are certain things a studio requires freedom-wise to market and distribute a movie effectively in a global marketplace and sometimes getting those two things to match up is really hard," says producer Michael De Luca, who was slated to produce the film. "And in the case of Metal Gear Solid, the agendas just….not because the parties weren't amicable, it was just kind of impossible to get the agendas to match up."


I think we've seen this happen enough times by now to say there's a trend at work. The Mario Brothers movie was pretty awful, as was Doom, and this is the second big-name video game movie that's crashed and burned in as many years. Aside from the money, I think there's a couple of other things at work here that people aren't mentioning for fear of torpedoing the concept of video game-to-movie conversions once and for all. Since I don't give a rat's ass whether I ever see the Command and Conquer movie though, I'll take a stab at it.

The best video games immerse you in the experience of being the main character, or allow you to operate at a level that most of us will never get to be on IRL. You get to choose what happens, not some scriptwriter, and this makes all the difference. And you can do it as often as you want without having to pay $8 for a ticket. Immersion and choice. The first is something you don't often get from Hollywood any more, and the second is flat-out impossible with current movie technology.

Finally, it's a fallacy to think that because comic books have made a largely successful (i.e. profitable) transition to the big screen, that the same can be done with video games. Wrong. Comic books are short stories, profusely illustrated and relatively easy to convert to live-action spectaculars, especially now that CGI has become cheap enough to make all kinds of FX easy to do and credible to watch. The best video games are novels, interactive novels with lush backgrounds and story lines that suck you into the plot. I firmly believe that we're more likely to see a movie or TV adaptation of Megatokyo or Erfworld before we see HALO or any other video game on the big screen, because it'll be a lot easier to do even an insanely complicated plot on screen than it would be to make something accurately reproducing the Master Chief experience.

Kick-Ass.

May. 2nd, 2010 02:41 am
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
It's pretty good, especially if you keep in mind it's a comic book movie and not the second coming of Citizen Kane.
[livejournal.com profile] digex and I saw it Saturday night at the Uptown, which is really the only place you should see it because only the humungous wraparound screen doe it justice.
Spoilers behind the cut.
Would you like to know more? )
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Pedobear becomes official symbol of the Winter Olympics. Good going, eh? For those of you mercifully unaware of 4chan memes like this, Steven den Beste explains it all. (Ace)

Even more stupid, verging on evil: chic LA restauranteur succeeds in suckering California schools into mandatory school gardening curriculum for children of Chicano farm workers. (Little Miss Attila)

As a palate cleanser, try this Finnish war movie. No English subtitles, unfortunately. (Ace)

bah humbug

Dec. 18th, 2009 04:07 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Haven't felt much like writing or doing anything else these last couple of days; even playing internet spaceships has been :effort: Thus the lack of posting.

This Lileks story about the police cruiser parked in front of the drop-off boxes doesn't really surprise me. Police tend to park anywhere they want in their cruisers, regardless of the signage; I will grant that I've never seen one parked in a handicap spot. Still, it's one of those things that ought to be drilled into young cadets' heads: the law applies to you, too. Including the parking regulations. People understand if you're blocking traffic so that they don't drive through an accident scene or into the middle of a shootout, but parking in front of drop-off boxes at the Post Office, not so much.

Speaking of the mail, it doesn't look like I'm going to get Christmas cards out this year. First, I have no idea where the box of cards went to during the massive cleaning & purging earlier this year, and second, I can't afford postage for them anyway. Maybe next year.

On a completely unrelated topic )

In other news, the trailer for Iron Man 2 is out, and it looks to be 50% violence, 50% coolness, and 50% awesome.

Iron Man

Dec. 9th, 2009 08:52 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Did Robert Downey nail this role, or what? I've always had a soft spot for Iron Man; it was one of the few comics that I got a chance to read as a kid, although I never quite got around to getting a subscription to it later. Anyhow, the movie was very well done, FX well done but not obtrusive, and from what I gather on Wikipedia, they actually stuck fairly close to the original continuity. Also, kudos to the scriptwriters for keeping Pepper Potts a 1940s-style Girl Friday. (Her put-down of the trashy Vanity Fair reporter is priceless.) Highly recommended, though most of you have probably already seen it. #^_^#

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