Via William Gibson.
Friday, December 31, 2010
The latest excellent movie analysis from Red Letter Media. This time, it's more than 100 minutes on exactly why Revenge of the Sith is such a bad movie. The third segment makes the most interesting observations. (If you've never watched one of these, be forewarned, there's some very macabre humor.)
He also thanks Lucas for not ruining Han Solo by shoe-horning him into the film (like poor Chewbacca). And then he imagines what the young Han Solo action figure would have been:
(The babies are Luke and Leia.)
I would say the most disappointing aspect of Revenge of the Sith was that the design was so weak. I can't think of a single vehicle, character, or setting introduced in that movie that was special. In fact, Grievous was a tremendous disappointment after being so interesting in the Tartakovsky cartoons.
*Buy Polish Star Wars posters art eBay.
1. PETA's right, Polar Bear Payback is a very fun game.
2. The Nissan Leaf has a built-in game which ranks your energy efficiency against other owners.
3. "A 28-year-old police officer in the Mexican border town of Guadalupe, Erika Gándara, has been missing since gunmen stormed her home last Thursday. She was the last remaining cop in the town after her colleagues had resigned or been killed."
1. This seems like a short story waiting to happen. Or maybe the start of the article is a short story all by itself:
In a small, windowless room in the bowels of the Westin St. Francis hotel on Union Square, Rob Holsen washes the hotel's money.Via.
Every penny, nickel, dime and quarter.
2. The Chinese respect the Jews:
Last year’s Google Zeitgeist China rankings listed “why are Jews excellent?” in fourth place in the “why” questions category, just behind “why should I enter the party” and above “why should I get married?” (Google didn’t publish a "why" category in Mandarin this year.) And the apparent affection for Jewishness has led to a surprising trend in publishing over the last few years: books purporting to reveal the business secrets of the Talmud that capitalize on the widespread impression among Chinese that attributes of Judaism lead to success in the financial arts.Via.
3. The Wall Street Journal's list of the best economics blogs.
Four more outstanding entries in this month's art contest, which has a huge prize. I'm not sure why I originally picked midnight tonight as the deadline. So, I'm giving everyone until 8:00 p.m. California time this Sunday, January 2.
*Buy Yellow Submarine toys at eBay.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
In the 1800's, mothers would take photos with their children, cover themselves with fabric, and then be cropped out of the photos with mattes or frames. But remove the matte and frame, and you get some very creepy photos. Via these sites.
*Buy old yearbooks at eBay.
Posted by John at 9:07 PM
The first thing I notice when I’m playing the second time is that interactions aren’t decisions — they’re social monsters that need to be killed to pass quests. When they die, you get experience toward paragon or renegade levels, which allow access to higher level conversations, which are basically social dungeons. The second thing I notice is, once you know, for certain, that someone won’t add any interesting new information to their initial, perfectly clear summary statement of their role in the story and your expectations regarding them, the game gets alot shorter. Except for when these people are expositing about some shoehorned summary that seems completely out of context, unless you pumped them for redundant information, earlier.3. Hang Ken is an enormous cave in Vietnam: "There’s a jungle inside Vietnam’s mammoth cavern. A skyscraper could fit too. And the end is out of sight."
*Buy Mass Effect toys at Amazon.
On February 3rd, over a Billion people will be celebrating the Chinese New Year! To commemorate the event and to help usher in a year of prosperity, we got together with our Asia distributor to create a new special edition Asia exclusive Android mini figure. Meet Cai Shen, the god of wealth!Enter here.
Unless you are lucky enough to work for Google, Inc in Beijing, or live in China or Taiwan, these little guys will be a bit tough to get. However, I managed to snag 200 for sale over on this side of the pond.
Because there are so few, we're going to a lottery system. If you live in Americas (North and South) or Europe, you can enter for the chance to purchase one. Despite the extra accessories, they'll still be $10 like the other special editions (plus shipping).
*Buy toys by Andrew Bell at eBay.
It's looking like our ancestors would jump anything vaguely hominid. Kind of great, really.3. Gordon Ramsay reaps some karmic rewards.
*Buy board games at eBay.
Trailers for 80's action movies Dungeonmaster and Battletruck. I remember seeing and loving Dungeonmaster in the theater. It was intended as a serious adventure right? I at least took it that way when I saw it. But this trailer makes it seem like a farce:
And Battletruck is even sillier. Like Mad Max, if it had been made by whoever created Gymkata:
*Buy Dungeonmaster posters at Amazon.
Witches by Peggy Kouroumalos, whose blog is full of fairy tale creatures.
*Buy Fairy Tale Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women at Amazon.
Posted by John at 5:00 AM
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
1. Tim Rogers makes lots of excellent and funny observations about video game designs in this post at Kotaku. In fact, there are observations about design in general and how even napkin dispensers are a sort of game:
In short, a "perfectly usable" videogame is no fun at all. If Super Mario Bros. were perfectly "usable", you would walk right from start to finish in a world free of obstacles, monsters, or any other reason to jump. That sure would suck a whole lot! Matt and I seem to be in agreement that any good software interface requires some kind of "friction", whether it's about saving princesses or moving files from one folder to another. I'm not saying that it should be as challenging as Tetris to install an application: just that it should feel and look like something cute and fun. Then again, do you really want moving files to be so fun in your computer operating system that people are tempted to sit around moving files back and forth all day? You probably don't, in the same way that you don't want people to stand there and, giggling like a heliumed gorilla, straight-blast paper-grabbing at your napkin dispenser until it's empty and they're breathing heavily and sweating all over your floor. In short, the new napkin dispensers are too fun; they are so too fun they are dangerous to restaurant productivity.2. I had lunch at Umami Burger for the first time today. Really fantastic (and it better be because a burger, fries, and 8 oz(!) soda plus tip is $20).
3. "George Clooney is financing the use of surveillance satellites to monitor violence in the Sudan in advance of an independence referendum there."
1. From a review of an biography of Pope John Paul II, a major enemy of Communism:
And resist communism through their religion the Poles surely did, one pilgrimage and feast day and power struggle at a time. Take as emblematic the episode of the Black Madonna, a treasured national icon that the dauntless Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, another Polish hero, attempted to send on a pilgrimage throughout the country. Eventually forbidden to do so by the authorities, who obviously feared its power as a rallying point, Wyszynski did something else: He sent the icon’s frame on pilgrimage instead. Such brilliant yet constructive mischief in the face of communist oppression is the stuff of which Polish history in that era was made.2. From a mock review of eReaders that picked newspapers as the winner:
The most obvious advantage of The Newspaper was the size of its display, which outclassed its rivals both in terms of size and elasticity. The Newspaper display could be read at full size or, when flipped open, twice its normal width. We also had no trouble reading copy when the display was flipped to half or even quarter size. One of our engineers even figured out how to make a hat...3. On Wikileaks:
The device's internal security system was chief among these attractions. We left one Newspaper on a park bench for six hours and, upon return, found it in the exact same place. Another we left in a bar after a thorough evening of testing. When we came back the next afternoon, The Newspaper remained untouched...
The Newspaper also has a great number of apps already downloaded onto the device, ones we have yet to see on any other e-reader. There are the previously mentioned fly-swatting, hat-making, present-wrapping, and tailing people apps. But also the "same ol' bullshit", "who's got the sports section?" and "packing material for my eBay business" apps.
The Pentagon Papers revelations dealt with a discrete topic, the ever-increasing level of duplicity of our leaders over a score of years in increasing the nation's involvement in Vietnam while denying it. It revealed official wrongdoing or, at the least, a pervasive lack of candor by the government to its people.*Buy the McSweeney's newspaper at Amazon.
WikiLeaks is different. It revels in the revelation of "secrets" simply because they are secret. It assaults the very notion of diplomacy that is not presented live on C-Span. It has sometimes served the public by its revelations but it also offers, at considerable potential price, a vast amount of material that discloses no abuses of power at all.
Posted by John at 9:00 AM
Disney has a large selection of paper toys available for download including light cycles and recognizers from Tron, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Rapunzel, and really cute Mickey and Minnies. Via.
*Buy Tron toys at eBay.