Friday, February 23, 2007

Angry Kid

This is HIGH-LARIOUS. I gotta admit, I know just how he feels. When I was a kid we were going to be out (OUT - no, seriously OUT) of oil by 1985. I think there was famine and disease in there somewhere. Famine, that was it. Too many people. Everyone starving to death by the 90's. (I weigh 80 pounds MORE than I did in the 90's).

50 years? Are those the projections? Are they really? I head 1,750 today. But ok, 50. Oh, and life will change in "ways you can't imagine". Well, that WOULD describe growing up in the 70's and 80's. Do you have a cell phone, kid? A computer? Heck, you just made a commercial for all of about two bucks, right? "Ways you can't imagine."

Hey (and I always have to ask this) how much plastic and petroleum and energy (CARBON FOOTPRINT is the trendy new term, right?) did it take to get your message out? How much of the planet was killed developing the (really amazing) infrastructure that you depend on to fume at us?

And not to be too unfair about it, but, what are you going to do about it, kid? You sound violent. (Not cute, I know.) Does that mean weaponry? Violent overthrow? And we're all going to be dead, but you won't? We're not all Dick Cheney, kid. I'll be around for a lot if not all of that 50.

You're, what? 10? 15? (It's hard to tell. Nothing bad, I'm just not good at gauging ages sometimes.) Well, YOUR future (not THE future - where we're all going to spend the rest of our lives!) is coming up very very quickly. Of that 50 years? Heck, you can run for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and still have 30 years of fish left. You can certainly find yourself in positions of power and influence in that time. You can certainly find yourself worrying about a job, and how to get to work, and how to feed you and your kids. So make it eco-friendly. And don't you dare depend on anybody who isn't - that just isn't fair. And - most importantly - no private jets! Ever!

Good luck, kid. See you in 50.

Monday, February 19, 2007

BSG Monday - A Day in the Life

I read the news today, oh boy. Wow. That was an almost fantastic episode. My only quarrel would be Non-Fat-Lee's rather over the top performance about his mother. Kind of came out of no-where. Not as bad as Wild Bill's secret past in "Hero", but he went from reserved and hesitant to full on "YOU were the good one Dad, YOU!" in nothing flat. Not sure if I blame the writing or Bamber, but up until the meltdown it was the kind of Bill and Lee scene that we've been missing since season 1. Unfortunately it took me out of it a bit.

Otherwise, what a great ep. (Minimal Helo. Yay! BAD Helo.) Something about the hum-drum people stuff that this show used to be so good at. (Is there anyone on Galactica who DOESN'T have an imaginary person in their head? No wonder no-one noticed Baltar.)

The explosive decompression got a lot more right than any sci-fi since 2001, so bully for them. They did break the blood vessels in Cally's eyes, so that was cool. Nice story for the Not-So-Fighting Tyrols. (Here's a good artcle on space exposure.)

It was nice seeing the married couples being somewhat ordinary. No hyper-drama this week. I almost thought ADA wasn't going to be in the ep.

Starbuck raising her hand in the boom boom booms made SWIMW and I laugh out loud.

I like that Mary McDonnell is playing Airlock so giddy around Wild Bill. It's cute. But Bill's going to have none of it. Also good. When WB was telling airlock how she was always welcome I wanted her to say "I just got Starbuck to mutiny again. That ok?"

EyeTigh - What a sweetheart. Seriously. HE remembers the annual date that Wild Bill tortures himself, but NFL doesn't. Awwwww. What timeline are we looking at here? How long has it been since New Caprica? Since the holocaust? I'm trying to figure out how many anniversary's Wild Bill has been through since The Big Day. One? Two? Before New Cap? After?

BTW, The Fetching Mrs. Tallguy (sorry Hugh) and I took the BSG quiz on Sci-Fi. We missed one question. (How many raptors flew back to Caprica? Hey, the pressure maintenance hatch on the trash compactor in Star Wars was 3263827. Cut me some slack.) The categories are Simple, Easy, Tricky, and Hard. They are represented by Tyrol, Kara, Lee, and Bill, respectively. Those Sci-Fi folk are just mean. But funny.

Next weeks ep: Tyrol's going to get shot, but Helo walks free? FRAUD!

From Nemo to Poppins and More

A week late, sorry. Just heard.

Peter Ellenshaw, the Oscar®-winning visual effects pioneer and matte artist who worked his magic on such classic Disney live-action films as “Mary Poppins,” 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” “Treasure Island,” and “The Black Hole,” passed away at his home in Santa Barbara on Monday (2/12) at the age of 93. As a hand-picked member of Walt Disney’s creative team, Ellenshaw was called upon to create a wide variety of visual effects for the Studio’s films, and even painted the iconic first map of Disneyland that was featured on all the early postcards and souvenir booklets. Ellenshaw began his association with Walt Disney in 1947, when he was tapped to work on the Studio’s first live-action film, “Treasure Island” (1950), and continued working there until his retirement in 1979 following “The Black Hole.”

Commenting on Ellenshaw’s passing, Roy E. Disney said, “Peter was a Disney legend in every sense of the word and played a vital role in the creation of many of the Studio’s greatest live-action films from the very beginning. He was a brilliant and innovative visual effects pioneer who was able to consistently please my Uncle Walt, and push the boundaries of the medium to fantastic new heights. From his incredibly beautiful and effective matte paintings for films like ‘Mary Poppins,’ ‘Treasure Island,’ and ’20,000 Leagues...,’ to his landmark painting of the iconic Disneyland map, he was a true master of his art. Outside of the Studio, he was a fantastic painter in his own right, and I always loved his Irish paintings and felt that he did the best seascapes in the world.”

Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin added, “Long before the era of modern special effects, Peter was working his magic in Disney films. People never knew how he accomplished his visual feats. ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’ remains one of the most amazing, eye-popping achievements in all of film history. And when you think that ‘Mary Poppins’ was made without anyone ever setting foot outside a soundstage – let alone visiting London – you get some idea of what he was able to pull off.”

Craig Barron, president of Matte World Digital and co-author of the book The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Paintings, observed, “Ellenshaw’s matte work was truly the stuff that movie magic dreams were made of. He took audiences on cinematic journeys to the most incredible places like Captain Nemo’s volcanic island from ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,’ or the fairy mountain cave of ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People,’ or a tour of London’s magical rooftops for ‘Mary Poppins.’ His matte painting work belongs to that unsung craft that's now virtually disappeared. With only a small crew, he created, almost single-handedly, incredible movie making locations with just the sublime artistry of brush strokes -- literally the ‘art’ in movies that generations of audiences have appreciated unawares, thanks to the skill of this great-departed movie artist.”

Born in Great Britain in 1913, Ellenshaw began his film career in the early 1930s, when he apprenticed for visual effects pioneer W. Percy (Pop) Day, O.B.E. He worked on such productions as “Things to Come,” “Rembrandt,” “Elephant Boy,” “Sixty Glorious Years,” “A Matter of Life and Death,” and the Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger classic “Black Narcissus.”

After a stint as a pilot in the RAF during World War II, Ellenshaw created matte paintings for MGM’s “Quo Vadis.” In 1947, his work caught the attention of an art director for the Walt Disney Studios. Disney was in the pre-planning stages of his very first live-action film, “Treasure Island,” which would be produced in Great Britain, and the art director inquired if Ellenshaw would be interested in the project. Thus began a professional collaboration and friendship with Walt Disney that would span over 30 years and 34 films.
Ellenshaw regarded Walt Disney as a source of inspiration, a wonderful executive, and over the years, a good friend. “Walt had the ability to communicate with artists,” observed Ellenshaw. “He’d talk to you on your level – artist to artist. He used to say, ‘I can’t draw, Peter.’ But he had the soul of an artist, and he had a wonderful way of transferring his enthusiasm to you.”

Among his many projects at Disney, Ellenshaw made major artistic contributions to the television shows “Davy Crockett” and “Zorro,” and such classic feature films as “The Sword in the Rose,” “The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men,” “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” “Third Man on the Mountain,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” “The Love Bug,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” and “The Black Hole.” He officially retired from the Studio in 1979 but returned years later to paint several matte paintings for the 1990 film, “Dick Tracy.” He was designated a “Disney Legend” in 1993.
In addition to his career in the motion picture industry, Ellenshaw became known as one of the finest marine artists of the past century known not only for his dramatic seascapes but his elegant Irish landscapes and vivid oils of the Himalayas and Monet’s garden at Giverny.

Ellenshaw’s beloved wife of 58 years, Bobbie, passed away in 2000. He is survived by his two children, Lynda Ellenshaw Thompson (an industry veteran visual effects producer), and Harrison Ellenshaw (a visual effects artist who was an Oscar® nominee for “The Black Hole," matte supervisor on “Star Wars: Episodes IV and V” and visual effects supervisor for "Tron"), as well as his two grandchildren, Michael and Hilary.

Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Direct Relief International, Santa Barbara, California.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A la Peanut Butter Sandwiches!

This weekend we watched The Illusionist with Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti. (The film included them, they did not watch the film with us.) We are now the only people I have met that have watched both The Illusionist AND The Prestige. Both are turn of the century (19th/20th) movies about stage magic. Both are moody and stylish. Both contain a SECRET.

I will have to say that I like The Prestige better. Not just because I saw it first, although that can't be totally dismissed. TP just seemed like it had a little bit more depth that TI. TP seemed a little more interested at winking at the audience and saying "allll of this can be explained" and taking the audience through a good magic trick. TI kind of wanted it both ways. On the one hand it was magic and a good magician never explains his tricks. But on the other hand since it's a movie, and you can do ANYTHING, there was no real difference between a stage trick they don't explain and just plain magic. There was nothing that really established WHY Eisenhiem was such a good magician. He just was because the movie said he was. TP showed you EXACTLY why Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman were great magicians.

She Who Is My Wife liked TI better for reasons of plot and story. Heh.

I'd recommend both, but I plan on watching The Prestige a couple more times.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

BSG Twofer Tuesday

The Return of BSG (or: Why I Still Don't Like Helo)

Ok, "Taking a Break From All Your Worries", the short version. Dark. Incredibly well edited. Dark. Not funny. (It was meant to be The Funny One. Then they gave it to Eddie "Laugh Riot" Olmos to direct.) Good for Lee. Bad for Kara. I love Dualla's speech on why she married Lee. Stick with the mostly sane one, Lee. Just don't remember how she played with Billy's head until it killed him. Other than that she's very sweet. Poor Kara. We love you, but you're crazy. It'll be interesting to see where they go with Anders. If they remember him. (You brought THE Six on BOARD and couldn't remember to do more than a DELETED SCENE? Come ON guys!)

So... This week. "The Woman King". Or: "Why Helo is a Pain in the Butt".

Helo's a great guy. If it was about being a great guy, Helo would be my favorite. He's nice. He's... Well, he's nice. Really nice. I mean SOOOOO nice. And this week he saved a lot of lives and got to be the big strapping hero. Helo Hero Hera. Hoo hoo. But nice (nice nice) doesn't DO much if you can't trust him. And we still can't trust him. His scenes with EyeTigh rocked much. "Have the Doc see about that hand." Hee! Nice to see the Fighting Agathons have GMBS (Galactica Marital Bliss Syndrome). I would like to have known what Wild Bill would have done in the deleted scene where Helo says "I screwed the human race over because I'm nice."

Speaking of GMBS, Non-fat-Lee and ADA (Anastasia Dualla Adama) are getting along nicely, so that's good. And it's pissing off Starbuck. Also good. "Hey! YOU can't be happy without ME!" Heh, go have another one Chosen One.

THE RETURN OF THE BALTAR THAT LIVES IN SIX'S HEAD! My personal favorite. Huzzah. So are they giving the Real GB a shave? It would be so cool if they could make TBTLI6H have his old short hair as well as his Caprica suit, because that was Six's Ideal Gaius. Of course, we didn't see the "real" GB, 'cause he's still supposed to be swarthy and unkempt. Has anyone noticed that GB is having similar "conversations" with himself?

This was a Who-dunnit with an already known Who. It would have been more exciting if we didn't know from frame one that Helo Was Right and that Senator Kelly was Evil. (Or even better if Helo was really WRONG.) I mean, cast someone who is NOT known to the geek pop. for playing The Bad Guy. *yawn*. Hey, it can't always be The Sixth Sense.

Next Week: The Tyrol Family! In DAAAAAANGER! Yaaaay!

Friday, February 09, 2007


You know, it's bad enough that Star Wars is turning 30 this year (last week was the 10th anniversary of the SPECIAL EDITIONS, aka The Madness Begins), but Star Trek: The Next Generation turns TWENTY this year. You know? The NEW guys? Hand me my walker, Dr. McCoy. Oh, right, he's dead, Jim.

Music of the Toasters

Bear McCreary, the composer for BSG, has a blog. And lately he's been doing a nice series of pieces on "The Themes of Battlestar Galactica".

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.
Part 4. (This last probably doesn't work yet, but it's the latest entry on his blog.)

I'll get to my review of "Taking a Break From All Your Worries" (aka, the FUNNY episode) over the weekend. Really.

Global Not So Warm

Here's a fun little article.

"Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl has written: These people are openly declaring that they are going to commit scientific misconduct that will be paid for by the United Nations. If they find an error in the summary, they won’t fix it. Instead, they will ‘adjust’ the technical report so that it looks consistent."
Ahhhh, my FAVORITE people. The United Nations. Nothing wrong can come from thier involvement.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Whoa. Wrong bus.

Y'know, I got on the wrong bus once. We went to downtown Phoenix. Then we got home.

Not this lady.

Happy Birthday Mr. Williams!

John Towner Williams, born February 8th, 1932. 75 years old today, and no doubt getting ready to do Indy IV.

"There IS no third planet!"

Duel of the Nerds

This weekend will see not ONE re-do of Star Trek's The Doomsday Machine (aka The Cornucopia of DOOM) but TWO. Somewhere on your local dial (Sunday at 3pm here) will be the official CBS/Paramount Star Trek: Remastered. This will have startling new FX and be missing 10-15 unnecessary minutes (*cough*). (The full version will be on DVD in 2008.)


In the competing corner will be FX genius Darren Dochterman. Darren, in many people's minds, kind of got the ball rolling on the whole "remastered" idea by pitching the idea of updated FX with a demo reel of The Doomsday Machine. Then CBS went with another team. Well now Darren is doing the "put up or shut up" routine by getting his complete version posted before the CBS one airs. (A much more concise and accurate version of these events is on his page.)

Here's Darren's trailer.

It'll be a good weekend.

(CBS' "Journey to Babel" was pretty darn good last week. Butchered for time, but that's not the FX team's fault.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mal Loves Fred

Latest casting news for Tim (Firefly, Angel) Minear's new show, Drive. Nathan "Mal Reynolds" Fillion's missing wife will be played by Amy "Fred Burkle" Acker. Hey it's a Minear show, so watch it while you can!