Like, will I ever see you again?

We were watching Star Wars: Phantom Menace last night and I was again struck by how bad little Anakin’s acting was. There are child actors who can bring a tear to your eye. Lucas had his choice of any of them and he picked that kid? At least he was consistent in picking a bad actor to play him in his later years, Hayden Christensen. Maybe when picking out and directing people, Lucas is like the really good developer who makes a really bad manager….the good starship captain who makes a bad admiral…the good squad leader who makes a bad commander…I’m outta cheese here. It seems like acting is somewhat like special effects. You usually only notice it when it’s bad. When the actors are doing their jobs well, you may not even notice. It just seems natural.

"Is my name on the other side of this fortune?"

We saw King of Kong last night on Netflix Watch Instantly. (Netflix needs a better name for the service.) Amusing documentary about some dudes obsessed with breaking old videogame records. It was like professional wrestling mixed with super-nerdity. Incidentally, Billy Mitchell went on to beat Steve’s record before the movie was even released. Now Steve’s trying to beat his record. Anyway, once you’ve seen it, you are amongst the tiny audience that would get the reference on this shirt.

I ain't sure it's puddin'

We watched 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. (At least, I did…it didn’t interest Vanessa and Sean much.) Anyway, if this 50s movie were made by Disney today, all their food would be politically correct, and derived from seaweed, or kelp or something. But Captain Nemo in this movie loved to eat him some sea animals. I’d think he could have figured a better pudding than one made out of octopus.

Auwe!

In Lilo and Stitch, the Hawaiian dude says, “auwe!” (He’s voiced by Jason Lee, who played Bruce Lee in a movie…not to be confused with Brandon Lee who was Bruce Lee’s son.) Anyway, I liked the word so I looked it up. It means something like, “oh no!” or “what?!!”

Biscotti Exit Superman

Vanessa found that biscotti are so hard because they are twice (bis) baked (cotti). They seem to be targeted at dipping in coffee. I had always wondered why anyone would make such a tough cookie. Now I know.

I found Exit for PSP on sale for $9. It’s a puzzle platformer…sort of a cross between Lemmings and Super Mario Brothers. Seems pretty fun so far.

Sean and I finished watching the blu-ray version of Superman last night. I think Sean got bored with the first half of the movie with all the drama. The second half held his interest, what with the flying and the lifting, LADY! We were amused at Lois Lane…a smoking, hotdog-eating, kinda older lady…what did Clark see in her? There is a scene in the movie where Lois Lane’s beauty is “so great that it blurs the camera”. Has Superman the glaucoma? Earlier in the movie, we see a chance encounter between the young Clark Kent and the young Lois Lane. She’s about 10 years younger than him at that point. Then later in the movie, she appears about 10 years older than him. Maybe Superman ages well? To be fair, Margot Kidder was only 4 years older than Christopher Reeves.

steam bus sixaxis mocap

I tried the Steam Community program. It’s a free Xbox Live clone for the PC which is supposed to allow you to see a overlaid buddy list and do voice chat on top of any PC game. It didn’t work so well when we tried it with a few random games. I hope they get it working because so many games don’t seem to budget in a buddy list, voice chat, etc. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? I assume it’s very hard to get foreign interfaces overlaid on Direct3D. It’s amusing to see Valve muscling in on Microsoft’s plans for Vista gaming domination like this. Microsoft wanted to charge you a monthly fee for this (Windows Live) and Valve is doing it for free. (Well, I assume it gets them a foot in the door for you to buy stuff through Steam.)

Vanessa dropped Sean and I off at the mall Saturday. We rode the bus home because Sean had been wanting to do that for a while. He enjoyed sitting in the “elbow” of the bus, which rotates like a merry-go-round in turns. Have you noticed there are no longer merry-go-rounds or teeter-totters on playgrounds anymore? Look at me using these old dashed words. Next thing you know, I’ll be saying jack-o-napes. Anyway, I assume someone sued a city somewhere for a merry-go-round incident and it was all over. Sean still finds a way to make his own danger on the playground by making 5 foot jumps from the playset. He’s only 3, so that’s quite a jump for him.

I disassembled a PS3 controller because I had a sticky button problem and needed to clean it. Disassembling, not too bad. Reassembling…it makes me cry. There seemed to be something like four little pieces that all have to be carefully held together as you put it back together. In the end, Vanessa had to help me hold one half of it together as we put it back together. The inside is pretty empty without the rumble hardware, which will be put back in starting Spring 2008, they’re saying.

We saw Monster House yesterday on blu-ray. Definitely too scary for kids. It had the flavor of The Goonies (also from Amblin). The making-of videos showed how the entire movie was acted out via motion capture. I wonder if it saved time and money. I’m guessing it did. I think a lot of computer animators are up in arms because of motion capture. Pixar put an “animated by hand” disclaimer on the end of Cars. I say it seems kind of silly to hold things back like that. Motion capture gives a better end result if you ask me. Anyway, animators still have to touch things up.

The Mac of bicycles, e-blu-cation (hrrr hrrr)

It sounds like single-speed bikes are becoming popular. Like the Mac with one mouse button, it’s a bike with one gear. No shifting. I suppose my mindset is fundamentally different. When I get a gadget or device, I try to learn everything about it to use it to its maximum potential. I learn all the hotkeys and shortcuts and how to use every little feature. (I’ve been giggling like a schoolgirl as I add pictures to the contacts on my cellphone.) On the other end of the spectrum are people who just want to use the thing intuitively. They don’t want to right-click, change gears, hot key, or bother with anything that isn’t obvious. Unfortunately, it seems a very slow process for many things to advance to a state of intuitive use. So I guess the trade-off is that I can use the device more fully now, but end up with useless knowledge when it becomes easier to use. If computers get to the point where they’re voice-controlled and don’t just say “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that” to every voice command, you’ll be laughing at my shortcut key knowledge.

Speaking of unintuitive things, we’ve now watched a couple of blu-ray movies. Hoosiers and 8 Below. The quality is definitely better (of the picture, not the movies). Text is perfectly sharp. You seem to notice it most when you put in a normal DVD and see the difference. Disney is actually bothering to do a mall tour around the US to “educate” people about blu-ray. I can see see it now.
Joe Mallgoer: “Wow, that looks pretty good. How much are the players and movies?”
Disney presenter: “Players are $300-$600. Movies are $25.”
Joe Mallgoer: “Yeah, my $50 DVD player with my $15 DVDs will do just fine.”
Ironically, we’ve not bought a single game disc for our PS3 yet. I don’t even have time to play through all the demos I downloaded.