thesilversiren: (Default)

Not the literal kind. We had a birthday party on Sunday and I didn’t get much sleep the night before hand, so I was drained yesterday. The boys were wound up as only children with brand new toys can be.

Just in time for Halloween, Kate Beaton of Hark, a Vagrant has her take on Dracula. Hilarious stuff. Dracula was always one of my favorite books and I wish for a movie that accurately captures the story. A play, too. Most do strange things to the plot.

Back to the birthday party- this was for the little guy, and had been delayed a week since last weekend I was laid up with a migraine. When I’d bought ingredients to make gluten-free desserts for the little guy, I was missing one component for my flour mix. And because the little guy usually turns up his nose at anything I’ve baked, we bought a cake for the rest of us and I put a candle in something that I knew he’d love. A bowl of sticky, white rice.

He wasn’t very happy when it came time to blow out the candle- not because of the candle (which used to be the case with his big brother), but because he’d been happily playing in the dirt in the backyard. So while the adults served themselves dessert, we opened up presents and voila! he was a happy child again. He even oooh-ed and aaahh-ed over each gift.

He got some new toy horses, some new Thomas the Tank engine cars, a Hot Wheels set and a Disney’s Cars playset. The real winner seems to be the Hot Wheels track which is all about crashing cars. But we’ve spent (we being the adults) a fair amount of time trying to set it up so they won’t crash right away and testing which cars stay in the longest.

Of the cars we own, the winner is… the Mach 5! From the Speed Racer line of cars. So glad that we wound up with a ton of those, because everyone wanted to put in their own Mach 5 to the race. So, Go Speed Racer Go!

Which reminds me- I have a habit of falling in love with movies that didn’t do all that well in the box office. Like, Speed Racer. No, it isn’t the original cartoon. Yes, it’s bright. But you know what? It is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen in awhile- beautiful in a way that just doesn’t apply to most movies.

The Wakowskis wanted to create a movie that seemed like a comic book come to life, and they did! You can practically feel the panels moving right in front of you. Not only that, they fully visualized what a world would be like that revolved around automobile racing- and it’s fun! So if you passed on it when it was in the theaters, try it out! Just have a pair of sunglasses handy- if you’re not prepared, it’s awfully bright. (And if your kids really love it, don’t mention that there was a line of cars- otherwise, you’ll be scouring eBay and Amazon for the cars like I did)

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

Ping.

Sep. 5th, 2010 12:05 pm
thesilversiren: (Default)

This week, Apple released Ping. It’s a music social network built into iTunes. Given the number of social networks out there, I knew plenty of people who wanted to know if it was even worth signing up for it and giving it a shot.

For those of you, I tried it out, and here are my thoughts.

What the heck is Ping, anyway?

Ping is a social network built into iTunes. You create a profile- show off 10 songs or albums that represent you, and let it show off the reviews you write on iTunes, the purchases you make, or even songs you like. You can follow friends and artists and comment on their updates. The artist profiles seem to integrate their Twitter accounts, but for everyone else- what shows up is based on how you use iTunes and the comments you leave.

Privacy and you

It asks you to use your name, but you can set your profile to three settings- public, private and leave me alone (well, that’s what I dubbed it). Essentially, you can have it so that everyone can see your actions, only those you approve can see your actions… or you can sorta play with Ping, but nobody can follow you.

My Thoughts

Ping seems like it has a lot of potential. But because they’re only concerned with what you do in the iTunes store- purchases, rating, etc… there’s not much to do. I just rated my Scott Pilgrim vs The World soundtrack, but it doesn’t show up on Ping. Unless I go into the iTunes store itself and start making notations there- it won’t show up. (Equally annoying, when you set up your profile, it chooses 10 tracks from those you’ve purchased as representative of your taste. You can set them yourself, but be forewarned, it’ll only let you pick from tracks on iTunes. So as of right now, you can’t show that you’re the #1 Beatles fan)

But it does let you comment on your friend’s profiles- on items they’ve purchased, commenting on their reviews.

However, there is one BIG problem. All you need to do to play around on Bing is have an iTunes account. All you need to get an iTunes account is an email address and password, you don’t even have to click an authorization link. So as of right now? It’s a spammers paradise. On nearly every public artist, there are tons of links for winning free iPads or iPhone 4′s.

If you’re looking for some place to check in now and then and see what your friends are buying, it’s great. If you want to follow along artists (keep in mind, there aren’t a bunch of artist profiles yet), I’d wait. Not just because of the limited selection of artists- but because of the spam issue.

To sum up? Neat idea, but it seems like the execution wasn’t really thought through.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

I just saw The Time Traveler’s Wife on HBO. TheBoy and I had both read it, and were eager to see it- but the reviews were so middling that we decided not to see it in theaters.

One thing we were agreed on was that it was a really difficult book to adapt. The pacing of the book relied on being able to switch between Claire and Henry’s lives, jumping through his life and hers to weave the story. The movie itself chose to follow Henry’s life from start to finish- when the book mostly followed Claire’s chronologically. (If you click to read more, I’m assuming you saw the movie)

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

I remember ABC promoting JJ Abrams new show. About a plane crash on an island. It seemed like an odd premise, like a dramatic Gilligan’s Island or less scripted Survivor. But I watched it, and was hooked. Never once did my belief in the show falter. I played the ARGs, I watched the shows and mused about where it was all headed. I acknowledged that some seasons weren’t as interesting as the others (sorry Tailies, I really could have cared less about you, except that it meant we got Mr. Eko, Bernard and Libby).

But all through it, there was an interesting story. For all the polar bears, smoke monster and Dharma stations, it was the story about the people. How the Island changed them, and how they grew closer and further apart. They were real people, who reminded me of people that I’ve met in the real world. The snarky guy who uses humor to keep people at arm’s length. The cuddly big buy with the heart of gold. The sneaky weasel who’s in it only for himself. And the eternal optimist, who believes that everything has a meaning.

And I cared. I cried when Boone died on Jack’s makeshift operating table. I cried when Shannon died in Sayid’s arms, and when Charlie drowned in the hopes that it would save Claire. It hurt to see Locke so shaken in his faith in the Island. (Though I admit, I laughed with Nikki and Paolo’s death. I didn’t like them, but temporary paralysis and them being buried alive? That was harsh)

As the final season progressed, I reminded myself not to try to expect answers. The producers were pretty clear about saying that the show wasn’t about the mythology, but that we’d get some answers.

So what did I think? Non-spoiler review: I liked it. Just as the producers had said, the show wasn’t about the mythology at all. It took place on this mysterious island, but it was ultimately about the people. I thought that they found a very smart and yes, sentimental way to conclude the show, and didn’t feel shortchanged in the answer department.

Spoilers behind the cut.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at Whitney Drake. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (abstract fire)
It's rare that I do a movie review for something that's been out on DVD for a few years. But Meet the Robinsons is one of those rare movies that was so poorly advertised that it was in theaters very briefly, and came out on DVD with little more than a blip in advertising.

The movie itself is based on William Joyce's "A Day with Wilbur Robinson," a children's book about a boy who spends a day with Wilbur Robinson and his crazy family. The movie itself has a much more involved plot about Lewis (an orphaned inventor who wants nothing more than to be wanted)and his run in with Wilbur Robinson (a strange boy from the future), who claims to be protecting him from the evil Bowler Hat Guy.

The movie was advertised as a time travel movie (it is) with a dinosaur (in one scene, basically) and talking frogs (in a couple scenes). It's a surprisingly heartfelt movie about love, acceptance, and not dwelling in the past.

It's very cleverly written, and makes the time travel genre understandable for children. Because of this, hardcore fans of time travel movies (like Back to the Future) might have to put their thinking caps aside.

My only quibble- I hope they fired the agency that convinced Disney that following the box office failure of Chicken Little, that they needed to play up a dinosaur who talked and talking frogs. As great as those were, they completely failed to advertise what was really interesting- a boy looking for who he is.

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