I don't know what the hell happened, but Google seems to be placing my blog much higher than it did before for all sorts of subjects. Like, for example, if you remember when I wrote about the time I suspected that Rushmore's Sara Tanaka found this blog doing a vanity search for herself
(not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with "vanity searches"... I do it for myself once a month or so) based on a single mention of her on this pafe from back in 2003, this blog showed up in the 400s somewhere, but, when I did the same search a few minutes ago, I'm now at #27 (though part of the higher search ranking would be because of that entry I wrote that I just linked to). Hits to this blog have been spiking the past couple of days, and there's no discernable trend with the search terms, I've just been getting more hits on random subjects than I ever remember getting before.
As for the cat... nope. Still nothing. I went to Blockbuster last night, and rented Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex
volume 3 and Van Helsing
(which a lot of people in the RottenTomatoes.com forum hated, but they have a tendency to look down upon "popcorn movies" in general, and I liked both of Stephen Sommers' Mummy
films and Chris in Massachusetts liked it, so I thought I'd give it a whirl). On the way back home, I decided to try walking around unfamilar streets in the neighbourhood roughly parallel to the main road. I didn't have a map, but I had my GPS device so I wouldn't get too lost. It's not one of those fancy, more recent ones, with the built in maps and such, but it shows the distance and direction to the selected waypoint (my house), so it sufficed. Didn't see much of anything, though, I heard this weird screeching noise that I suspect was one of those grey owls my mother was talking about the other day. Then, once I got within two tenths of a mile or so within my house, I recognized the streets I was on and I decided, since Late Night with Conan O'Brien
was a rerun anyway, I might as well walk around my whole "block", since I'm still skeptical that Ember would have crossed the street. It's just, because of the way the streets around my house are arranged, my "block" kind of snakes around a bit and is the best part of a kilometer long, unbroken by cross streets, giving her a million places to hide. The complete circuit around my block is well over a mile long, which I could probably walk at normal speed in about 15 to 20 minutes, but, since I was stopping every few feet to see if I could see my cat, it took me a full hour. And it's still very disorienting for me because, while the houses immediately surrounding my own are typical suburban bungalows, meaning, if I look in most directions other than north, where there is a medium-rise apartment building, I can still pretend I'm in a place like Pincourt. However, once you get about halfway down my road, the bungalows give way to duplexes and low-rise apartment buildings, and the other end of my block has a school and a high traffic road complete with traffic lights and it feels like I'm in one of Montreal's inner suburbs, like Lachine or Montreal West, and it's pretty bloody disorienting even for me, so I can't imagine how strange it is for a cat. Maybe I'll try searching with my half-Labrador dog, Sam, since he's pretty good at finding hidden cats
I did watch a bit of Stephen Harper's keynote address at the Conservative Party convention in Montreal
, but I think I'd have to watch it again, or read a full transcript, to offer anything intelligent. Perhaps the speech would have been energizing to me if my life hadn't changed so much over the past year, but I'm still very disoriented after moving, even after three months, and find it difficult to maintain the level of interest in such things that I once did. I hope the interest comes back, but I think it will take time.
Anyway, I'm off to the anime club.
CANADA SEARCHES FOR EMBER: Day Two.
My parents went over to the animal shelter, but Ember wasn't there, though they did tell us that no dead cats have been found in the neighbourhood, which, I suppose, is positive news.
My father printed out a lot of handouts that were meant to be posters, but we aren't sure if we'd get in trouble posting them on telephone poles, so I went around several streets in the immediate vicinity of my house, folding them and putting them in mailboxes, which is an easy enough job except that some people seem not to care about scraping their driveways and pathways, making walking rather treacherous. I didn't slip, but there were a lot of places where I had to walk in tiny babysteps. We got one phone call from a guy who says he saw a cat who looks like her at the other end of our street (a medium-length residential street), but my mother drove around there and didn't see her.
Here's the real poster we're using
, not that joke one I did yesterday. I mosaic-ed the contact info, but, in the infinitessimally small chance that someone who reads this blog is in my general neighbourhood (Merivale-ish) and has seen my cat, please contact me through one of my many e-mail addresses at the side of this blog.
I somewhat enjoyed the Pixar
before The Incredibles
I take it for what it is, a short parable about being happy with who you are and how you are, nothing too complicated. Some other people at RottenTomatoes have suggested that it's really about Disney
, gay self-acceptance
, and I think I remember some other thread somewhere that claimed that the short was really about the black experience in America over the past century and a half (though I can't find the thread), and I think there was one guy somewhere who claimed that the Jackalope represented Jesus. Believe what you want about the "message", that's neither here nor there, though, for these sorts of simple stories, unless the creator states categorically what the message is, I usually apply Ockham's Razor and think that the simplest interpretation is the correct one, and I think it's about self-acceptance, just in general.
I bought The Incredibles
DVD yesterday, and was going over the extensive extras on the far-above-average disk two last night. For Boundin'
, if you listen with the commentary track on, you learn some minor interesting animation, like how much they recycled from other Pixar productions: the hand of the otherwise unseen shearer is actually the dentist's hand from Finding Nemo
, the Model T Ford is from the upcoming Cars
, and the owl is really just one of the gophers from this very short with a different texture and feathers.
Then I watched the profile of Boundin'
director Bud Luckey
, not knowing much of anything about the guy. Apparently, I've known some other things he's done all along: over three decades ago, the guy was an animator for Sesame Street
who animated and sang "(Ladybugs Twelve at the) Ladybugs Picnic", which is one of the songs I have a looping mental tape of in my "earworm"
library in my head, "Alligator King"
, another earworm of mine, though not one that gets played quite as often, and "That's About the Size of It", whose official name seems to be "Infinity". I wish I could find clips of these on the Internet, but Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop/CTW) is pretty strict when it comes to unauthorized uses of its intellectual property.
So, if you're watching Boundin'
and you recognize the voice from somewhere but can't place it, it's probably because you heard it before, a long time ago (or more recently, if you watch as much children's television as I do), on Sesame Street
. And that's about the size of it.Here's a great interview with Bud Luckey.An article about him and Boundin'.Another excellent article.
IF I LOOKING FOR
(Yes, if you clicked on that link, the address and phone number are fake and are in-jokes. It's a parody of this
, see also here
Our nine year old tabby cat, Ember, went outside yesterday evening and, as of 6:45 p.m. this evening, hasn't returned. She's been in this house long enough that it's properly imprinted on her and she won't likely try looking for our old house in Pincourt, but, still, I don't know how much of the neighbourhood she has mapped mentally. Hell, I'm an adult human and I don't know much of my own neighbourhood beyond the streets immediately surrounding my house and the the nearby main streets like Meadowlands, Merivale, and Baseline yet.
My mother called the Humane Society this morning, but she took our car in for maintenance today and she won't be able to visit them until at least tomorrow to see if they have her. I never got around to writing my ultimate moving post since I was just too fatigued and discombobulated when the move was still "fresh" to me to write an entry that long, but, the day after we moved in, we got our dogs from the kennels and made the mistake of letting our bigger dog, Luke, a half-golden retriever, quarter-husky, quarter-miscellaneous, run in the backyard without a rope, thinking that the backyard was completely surrounded by fencing and he wouldn't be able to escape, but there was a hole in the bushes large enough for him to get through and we spent a frantic evening searching for him. The next morning, we called the Humane Society and they had indeed picked him up, though we had to get him the next day as it was a Sunday and they aren't open for visitors on Sundays. But Luke's a damn big dogwho is kind of hard to ignore, and, if you see him wandering around, you'd call Animal Control because, while Luke is very good natured (though easily intimidated), most people wouldn't know that nd he could potentially be a threat. Ember, on the other hand, while she is almost Garfield-level fat, is still a normal household tabby, and one who avoids people except for those very close to her, so I'm skeptical anyone would call Animal Control if they saw her. And, unfortunately, Ember is a cat who hates wearing collars, so we don't have her wearing one, meaning she'd be difficult to trace.
Another thing about my cat when we were moving is that, as they were moving the furniture out, she was very frightened by their presence and sought shelter under beds, and, when the last bed was gone, she kind of screamed because she had no idea what was happening (and it was very disturbing to me seeing the house I had lived in for nearly 24 years with no furniture left inside, and I knew what was going on), so I had to put her in her carrier and comfort her as well as I could considering I wasn't exactly too comfortable with what was happening either.
My mother's hoping that she hasn't been taken by a grey owl, as they are large enough to snatch housecats.
I hope anyone who finds her, if they do find her, realizes that she is loved, but I think her weight will probably be a good indication that she does have a loving home who feeds her perhaps too much. It's probably completely pointless describing her on the Internet, but she's grey with a few stripes towards her front shoulders, though the bulk of her fur on the sides is kind of a blend between lighter and dark grey without distinctive stripes, and her belly is white with a turtle-type pattern. EDIT:
I forgot to say, the only canned food she will eat is Purina-brand Fancy Feast, Trout Feast flavour.
She could still show up at the back door. I hope she does.
GHOSTS AND GOBLINS ON THE NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM? NO, JUST GHOSTS... well, "A" ghost, as in one...
And I thought it was spooky when my brother and I discovered, in the days long before we could look up video game "Easter Eggs" on the Internet, the unadvertised built-in maze game with the snail on the Sega Master System, where you'd turn on the system without a cartridge inside, wait for the error message, and do something with the controller (I think you pressed UP). Well, it seemed spooky to me, because it was a game that ought not to have existed, since nothing was in the cartridge slot, yet it DID exist somehow. I can't believe I still thought like that at the age of 13...
However, do you want to possess a possessed Nintendo Entertaiment System?
If you do, eBay has just what you want!
(Sorry, I'll have to use a smaller font so this doesn't stretch out the page too much.)
"eBay Staff: This auction is not a 'joke' and is intended to be completely serious in nature, as far as my personal experiences are concerned.
I've been an eBay seller in the field of vintage games for close to a year.
I've exchanged hundreds of video game related items, new and used, and still do till this day, but I have never experienced anything like this or even remotely similar.
I don't feel threatened by this, supernatural or whatever it may be, but I do not feel exactly comfortable with it either.
Up for auction is what I would call a haunted, Vintage, Video Game System, The Nintendo NES.
I don't really like using the word 'haunted' when describing this, considering the first thing you would think about is something from a horror movie, but I really can't come up with another way to explain it.
There is a local thrift store here in Brooklyn, NYC, that I've been doing business with for some years now.
About a month and a half ago I made one of my visits to the shop and found this '80s Nintendo System.
When I purchased this Unit I asked the owner of the shop about who brought the System in, and what he actually told me was that a gentleman had donated it that same morning and said "It was just sitting in his attic", and according to him, it supposedly belonged to his son who passed away years ago.
At first I thought the guy was just joking with me like he usually does, so I really didn't think much about it at the time.
Unfortunately, that's all I know about the background of this system. I do not know any specifics about anything else as far as the previous owner is concerned.
I went back there about 2 weeks ago to try to find out more since what has been happening, but he doesn't know anything else.
But I do know something is not so right with this.
As far as technical functioning, the Nintendo System has its occasional 'blinking' screen if a game is dirty, like any other Nintendo System, but for the most part it functions pretty well.
However, that's not what I mean about something not being right with this...
I brought this System home, and on the first night of playing, about 10 minutes into the game, I began hearing sounds similar to human voices, mumbling to the background music of the television.
Naturally I thought it may have been static or something to that effect, or maybe it somehow interfered with a truck driver's CB Radio System, so I didn't pay much attention to it.
But it continued through-out the entire time I was playing, stop for a minute or two, then start again. It got to the point where I went really close to the TV, I paused the game to try to hear it a little better, but then it would get silent. When I would unpause it, there it would go again.
I know it sounded like there was a conversation going on but I couldn't make out any of the words.
I have my beliefs but I've never really been one into believing so much about Spirits and Crossover-Communication, but repeating the conversation I had with the guy in the shop wasn't helping at all. And until this day, I go back there and this man still sticks to the same exact story.
To my knowledge, there is no technical problem with any vintage Nintendo Gaming System that causes any of these 'symptoms'.
Since owning this System, I've experienced hearing sounds of mumbling and laughing in the background music of different games (all sounding Exactly the same and all on numerous occasions).
On 3 separate occasions I've had the game 'Pause' by itself, without having my finger anywhere near the 'Start' button of the controller, and the really suspicious thing about it was the fact the timing of the Pause always happened to be during an intense moment of a game, as if the intentions were made for me to lose.
I even tried different controllers, which I've sold on eBay, thinking it may have been some type of controller glitch with the originals... and yet still have the same exact things happen.
Every time I power this unit on is like getting ready for something new to happen.
And not only with me. I've invited close friends and family members over, and some but not all have witnessed something strange happen, like the one time the 'Arrow icon' on the Main Options screen of a game actually moved down to 2 Player Mode, all while the controller was out of my hand.
I've had some of my friends accuse me of purchasing this Unit from a Novelty store for the sake of pulling pranks, which I doubt even exists in the first place.
It has gotten to the point where my Fiance never lets me turn the System on when she's in the house and I have friends that refuse to even play a game with me.
Even my cat won't go anywhere near this System, unless she's 5 feet away and hesitating to sniff at it, and not only that, she's been running back and forth through the house in the middle of the night during the past few weeks, and that's something she's never done in the entire 8 years that I've owned her.
I sincerely believe there may be some form of strong connection or attachment between this system and its previous owner.
The reason I am listing this... to be honest it's starting to freak me out, as well as the people around me. I don't feel threatened, I just don't understand it and I'm not exactly comfortable with keeping this in my home.
So, at the request of friends and loved ones, I'll be going my separate ways with this system, regardless if it's an actual supernatural presence or everyone is just being paranoid. I'll be putting this unit up for 1 Penny without a reserve price, if you're the high bidder, the Unit and everything with it will be yours
It comes with its 2 original controllers, the original Zapper Gun, a copy of the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt game, along with its original AC-adaptor which came with black electric tape wrapped around it, but works without any problems, and a naki Rf-switch, which is everything needed to power-up and play.
Zoinks, Scoob! G-G-G-G-Ghosts!
Basically, it all sounds like a variation of EVP, good ol' Electronic Voice Phenomena
, which might be a way to communicate with the great beyond... if I didn't think it was all cross-modulation
, hearing bits-and-pieces of interference from other TV stations, or, sometimes, airline pilots, truck drivers, taxi dispatchers, and police officers. Remember that, in the NES era, games usually weren't connected to televisions with the red, white, and yellow A/V cables, as most televisions didn't yet have the A/V ports and "INPUT SELECT". Most average people connected the NES to an R/F switch, which plugged into the antenna port on the television and which was the worst way to connect stuff to a television since you frequently got interference from whatever was hooked up to the other port on the switch, be it an outdoor aerial, cable, or the VCR (which would be the conduit through which the signal from cable or the antenna passed through). I could easily imagine that the voices heard on this NES are just voices from the slight interference from television programming, and people fill in the blanks mentally and believe that they hear voices from the dearly departed, when the actual explanation is a lot less supernatural and a lot more mundane then the believers make it out to be.
Bidding is at $202 and rising. Read some of the comments for this auction at the bottom of the screen while you are there.
Since there was no meeting of the anime club on Saturday, I decided to see Robots
, the new CGI flick from Ice Age
's Chris Wedge, at the Cineplex Odeon cinemas over in the World Exchange Plaza, the theatre complex whose stairwells and escalators never fail to give me vertigo, for whatever reason. (I can't explain it; you're only looking three storeys down whilst at the Famous Players theatre in the Centre Eaton in Montreal has windows looking down six or seven storeys, all of the way down to the "Tunnel" level. My best guess is that the openings in the middle of the floors in the Centre Eaton are a lot more even than those in the World Exchange Plaza, where some of the escalators have nothing below them until the bottom floor.)
Since everyone and his mother was making variations of this joke over the past weekend, I guess I have no choice but to join the bandwagon:
Because, absolutely everyone is aware of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
(Yokohama Shopping Log
) and knows that Alpha Hatsuseno is a A7M2 android who loves drinking coffee, even, in one scene, taking literally all day to brew and drink the perfect cup of coffee (in an infamous six minute sequence that bores the pants off a lot of people, though I love that part, since YKK
is about atmosphere, not story). Well, that makes two movie-related Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou Photoshops
Anyway, Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) is a robot inventor (meaning a robot who happens to be an inventor, though an inventor who makes robots) who takes his flying coffeepot thing invention, the Wonderbot, to Robot City to show to Big Weld, a showboat industrialist who's like Howard Hughes meets Walt Disney who has his own television programme, The Big Weld Show
, who promises to open the giant smiling gates of his company, Big Weld Industries, one of those gigantic uber-companies that they always seem to have in movies that make everything important in the world à la
Omni Consumer Products in Robocop
, to any entrepeneurial young inventor who has something to show him. But, when Rodney actually arrives in town, he learns Robot City isn't everything the television promised; he meets a shady character named Bender... I mean, Fender (Robin Williams) who's an affiable enough fellow who likes to chat but who also always tries to sell Rodney stuff, and, once he's determined that Rodney has little in the way of money, has one eye on Rodney's "parts", as Fender's one of those robots who is one gasket away from breaking down completely. Then, when Rodney tries to see Big Weld, he discovers that Big Weld has secretly gone missing or gone into hiding and the company is now being run by the ruthless capitalist Phineas T. Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) who decides that, to maximize profits, Big Weld Industries should do away with selling replacement parts completely and instead sell complete body upgrades, with the slogan "Why be you when you can be new?" And what happens to the robots who can't afford upgrades? They are captured by ghastly-looking sweeping machines and condemned to destruction on an underworld conveyor belt (that reminded me a bit of Futurama
's "Robot Hell", only not as developed) leading to a firey furnace wherein the robots are melted down to be used to make the upgrades. So Rodney has to enlist the help of Fender and his ragtag band of misfit relatives, as well as Cappy (Halle Berry), a pretty young executive with a sense of righteousness who doesn't care for the direction the company is headed, to find Bigweld and then deal with Ratchet and his mother, Madame Gasket (Jim Broadbent), the ruler of the underworld and the dominant force behind her son's machinations.
Like Ice Age
, this film is perfect late-winter entertainment that is fun to watch but is not nearly as filling as Pixar's works like The Incredibles
(which I will finally get on DVD tomorrow), but that's why they release it during a relatively slow time of year for children's movies, when we're not asking for so much, just a good time. There were plenty of things I did like about this film, mostly in the first half of the film, including a few rather clever jokes about what it's like "making a baby" when you're a robot. (Think Ikea.) The one thing about this film I think most people will remember the best involves a very elaborate cross-town transportation system that puts Rodney and Fender into a ball and then sends them rolling, spinning, and flying at breakneck speed through all sorts of Rube Goldberg
-esque contraptions, almost like it's a giant Sonic the Hedgehog
pinball level come to life. There's an IMAX version of this film, but this scene is so kinetic, I think that, if you watch it on a giant-sized screen, you'll invariably wind up with motion sickness. I also really liked Rodney's failed attempts to get through the gate, thwarted by the squeaky-voiced Tim the Gate Guard who was, very surprisingly, voiced by Sideways
' Paul Giamatti, who sounds like he's channeling the spirit of the puppet, Casey, from Mr. Dressup
(though that's surely unintentional). And there's an imaginative scene involving a heckuva lot of dominoes.
However, the climax of the film was much too busy with a simulated shaky HandiCam, so, at points, it got really hard to follow what was happening onscreen. And there were so many celebrities providing voices that too many of the supporting characters, particularly Fender's siblings, didn't get satisfactorily fleshed out to the point that you really care. And, if Ratchet's supposed to be a "straw man" capitalist, he's not a particularly good one, because pricing non-luxury good beyond the public's ability to buy it is very short-sighted. Though it's hard to take any anti-capitalist, or, at least, anti-corporate subtexts present in this film too seriously since Twentieth Century Fox is selling all sorts of merchandise to cash in on this film, which has been moderately successful, pulling in $37 milllion on its opening weekend.
The Ottawa Citizen
review had a moderatly-but-unintentionally funny part where the critic was complaining that who built the robots and the world was never explained. Do we really need a backstory? Sometimes outlandish plot devices in films are best left unexplained. I think too much explanation for "high concept" ideas is kind of an insult to the intelligence of the audience as origin stories are usually lamer than what you can imagine yourself. I mean, they never explained who created Cybertron
on The Transformers
... oh, wait, they did. It was Primus
. Well, who created Primus then, hmm?
All in all, I don't regret spending my money on Robots
, but I don't know if it's anything I'd feel like watching it again, unless someone gives me the DVD as a birthday present or something, like with Ice Age
ANIMATION FANS IN CANADA, TAKE NOTE!
(I don't have a good preamble, but, if I don't put a pre-picture sentence here, it will make Blogger very sluggish for the next few entries.)
(Another one, just to be safe.)
Please don't forget, the Canadian premiere of The Venture Bros.
, the Cartoon Network Adult Swim production that is a loose parody of adventure shows like Johnny Quest
with two dim-witted boys who act like they're from forty years ago and their rich scientist father who can hardly stand them, is at 10:30 p.m. tonight (Eastern and Pacific) on Teletoon's Detour
(it will be repeated at 1 a.m.). Alright! We're getting a popular "Adult Swim original" cartoon only two years late! Is this a new record? Thank you, CRTC
, for your bureaucratic regulations against Canadians being able to watch Cartoon Network directly, so we only have to wait 1/50th
of a century to laugh at the same cartoon antics animation fans south of the border already laughed at two years ago. I honestly don't know much about The Venture Bros.
I don't know of a site that lets you direct download the episodes in bandwidth-economical RealVideo format
my "American friend" who tells me everything about the latest episodes of South Park
doesn't seem to watch Venture Brothers
.EDIT: Jesse Betteridge
tells me that it was only the pilot that aired in February 2003, the actual series started in August 2004. Well, still, a seven month wait is kind of a pisser.
Also, Sony has released the theatre list for Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy
(click on "Theater Listings"). In Canada, Steamboy
shall be released this Friday... in Toronto and Vancouver only (in the Toronto Paramount and Vancouver Tinseltown cinemas). Well, at least this is one case where I didn't lose out by moving to Ottawa; if I was still living in Montreal, I wouldn't be able to see it either. I presume Montreal and Ottawa will be among the Canadian cities getting the film the following weekend, though I'm pretty sure Ottawa would only get the dubbed version, which has been edited by 20 minutes for pacing purposes, and not the intact subtitled print.