Thunderbirds Are… NO!

I saw Thunderbirds at the cinema last night. Jeez; was that awful. Unlike Bryn (who’s complained at length about the film already), I’m not a long-standing fan of the original TV series, and so the film didn’t ‘ruin’ it for me (although I did notice several major inconsistencies). Nonetheless, I still found the film to be quite abysmal.

The whole thing feels like a bad re-make of Spy Kids. It’s riddled with continuity errors (where did that door opening switch go?), conveniences (suddenly an electronic lock becomes a mechanical one later in the film, so that Parker can pick it), plotholes (The Hood states that he was born with his powers, then later states that he gained them after the Thunderbirds failed to rescue him), false geography (I must take that trans-Thames monorail someday), false physics (you’re landing that rocket how?), bad sound effects (reminiscent of 60s cartoons, but no, not authentic to the style of the original series), awful acting (look; I’m scared – look; I’m concerned – look… umm), characters with no common sense (let’s all leave the base undefended during this period of suspicious activity, for no reason whatsoever – and – my being a Thunderbird is a secret, so I’ll be seen to exit a disaster scene with them… in my flying car)…

The best thing about the film was the subtle and less-subtle jokes they made about the original series: “Look at him, like a puppet on a string!” says The Hood, as he uses his mind control powers on Brains. In another scene, with a close-up of a character’s hand, strings can clearly be seen supporting it (in the original series, the characters were puppets but for close-up scenes real hands were used).

It’s currently averaging 4.5 on the IMDB. I’d give it a 3, and it’s only that high because (a) I’m not a Thunderbirds fan and (b) I’ve seen a lot of awful films this last year.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Watched Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind last night with Claire and Paul. It’s an absolutely stunning film (currently ranking at #49 in the IMDB’s top 250 films list), a must-see! Go watch it! But try to know as little as you can about it before you do; it’ll only improve the expeirence.

In other news, the U.S. patent system is a joke. Seen this patent for “Method of exercising a cat”?

All Questions Answered

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

This repost was published in hindsight, on 11 March 2019.

Ruth wrote:

Today we have been…

…testing Dan. Earlier I sent in to ask how many times the big Panda said ‘nice’ in Panda Ko Panda (12, 5 times referring to bamboo). When we were getting food at the Chinese, Dan accused Bryn of having sent that in (he was logged on at the time), I might have got away with it but I burst out laughing.

Then just now, Bryn and I were wondering how many cups of coffee you could make using all the water in the pacific ocean. In case anyone wants to try it, the answer is 259 million cups, using 518 million tablespoons of ground coffee. That’s a lot of caffeine!

Bryn: “Can you imagine the size of the coffee filter?”

Being Charlie Kaufman

Just watched Adaptation with Claire and Paul. Absolutely fantastic – a post-modern marvel. Put simply, it’s an adaptation of a book entitled The Orchid Thief – a true story about the author, Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep), meeting John Laroche (Chris Cooper), a horticultural specialist who collects endangered orchids, set to the backdrop of Charlie Kaufman, the film’s writer (Nicholas Cage), trying in vain to write a screenplay version of the book, The Orchid Thief. The film spans four billion years, with particular emphasis on the last 17, and, despite the best intentions of the in-film screenwriter, manages to include guns, drugs, and a car chase… and not so many flowers.

I’d never thought that Charlie Kaufman could ever produce anything quite so mind-boggling as Being John Malkovich, but he really has. My mind boggles still. Watch it. And invite me along. <wink>

Andy’s Party And Other Happenings Up North

This is my third and final attempt to write this journal entry without something terrible happing that causes me to lose it in it’s entirety.

Spent a long weekend (Friday to Tuesday) in the North-West of England, firstly at Andy’s party, then later visiting my folks in Preston, with Claire. Details follow…

ANDY’S PARTY
The weekend started at Andy’s 21st birthday party, in Bury/Bolton/somewhere-in-that-whole-Northern-Greater-Manchester-area. It was an absolutely fantastic party, with beer flowing freely down our chins and onto the floor, interspersed only with drinking other things, including but not limited to helium from a great quantity of balloons we shouldn’t have been left near. Now that other people I know are passing the great 21-barrier, I don’t feel quite so old (at 22).

Andy’s speech was beautiful and heartbreaking. The food was great. The company was even better. It was great to see folks who I’d not seen since the end of term (and, in some cases, who I won’t see again for some time). Later, we retired to Andy’s house and lounged around drinking and talking until approaching 5am (I, sadly, fell asleep at about 3:30, as Claire had some hours before).

You can read other accounts of Andy’s party here, and here, and here too. And yes, I know it’s bad practice to make a list of links like this, but I don’t care: this is my third attempt at this entry, okay?

The following morning, we played Mario Party 4, and Claire won!!! With a hangover, no less. This is her first time as the ‘Party Star’, and she seemed glad of it: as my entries on 30th June and 7th July, among others, show, I have a bad case of winning whenever I play. This was, I believe, the first time I’ve ever not won. I came second. Barely. ;-)

MY FAMILY
After this, Claire and I continued to Preston to meet my mum, my sisters, and my gran, who’s visiting from Hartlepool. I hadn’t seen my gran in about a year, and it was good to see her again… although she still insists – most strangely, somewhat favouritistically, and at least slightly tactlessly, that of her two children and five grandchildren, I am the ‘favourite’ – the ‘special one’, as she puts it – old people, eh? [photo removed]

Played lots of Super Monkey Ball 2 and Mario Party 4. Sarah, the elder of my two younger sisters, and the self-dubbed ‘white sheep of the family’, is getting to be really good at the former. Spent a great deal of time at the pub. Watched “Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas”, a very well animated and clever cartoon feature film from Dreamworks, with an all-star voice cast. Apart from some confusion over the motivation of the evil goddess Erin, and a little over-frequency of ‘saw it coming’ (probably less of an issue for the children at whom the film is targeted), this is a very good film.

Back in Aber now, and have loads of work to do before a deadline on Friday. Better get on with it.

Team CompSci’s “The Matrix” (Aberystwyth University Student Skills Competition 2001)

Until 2006, Aberystwyth University (then The University of Wales, Aberystwyth) ran an interdisciplinary competition for 2nd year undergraduate students to showcase the skills offered by their degree, by producing an educational stand and a presentation. Employers from various industries were invited as judges, and prizes were offered for the best stand, best presentation, and best overall.

Prior to 2001, the presentation aspect had typically consisted of, at best, a handful of PowerPoint slides and students taking turns to list off some of the reasons that their department was best at producing versatile, highly-employable graduates. But in 2001’s competition, Team CompSci (from the Computer Science department) changed all that, by producing a mixed audiovisual and stage performance presentation, inspired by 1999’s hit movie The Matrix.

A film shows a young Neo, unskilled and unemployed, as he’s picked up by the crew of the Aberchadnezzar and “trained” (using a brain-jack interface) with the skills of an Aberystwyth CompSci graduate. The audience then saw a clip of Neo ascending the stairs to the theatre, before he would appear on stage and undergo a job interview with an “agent”. In this version, the interview segment was (hasily) re-filmed and inserted directly into the clip.

Also available on YouTube and on QTube.