insidious_plots
aka christopher, aka zane
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Name:insidious_plots
Location:Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Saturday, May 29
  horror night

seems every time we meet someone that actually has a real interest in movies, it is always horror... usually cheap, sleazy, b-grade horror... we try to be open-minded and go with the idea that maybe there is just something we don't know and perhaps it is simply a matter of broadening our horizons, so, we decided to try a couple of horror classics to see what might be there that we never saw in horror before...

so, we have the criterion laserdisc of halloween and a standard laser release of the omen and we watched them both the other night...

first up was halloween, the film credited with starting the "slasher" genre...
and, it was not long until we were wishing it would hurry up and end...
of course, after starman, the thing, escape from new york, and now this, i think we are ready to really and truly give up on john carpenter...

the only good thing i have to say about it is that the music was very good...

one interesting device i noticed was that, as the movie built up to the climax, it seemed to me that the director was intentionally using a lot of shots to show the time of day... no indoor shots without plenty of windows and most shots prominently showed the placement of the sun, like a ticking countdown to nightfall... in fact, at one point, it is suddenly and abruptly night, which gave me a feeling of "it's night already!? they're out of time!"...
while this kept me (almost unconsciously) estimating how much time was left, i really could not care less if these people were actually going to survive or not... we were hardly told anything about them, so, they really did not seem like real people, just actors doing what the director told them to...
and, as is always the case, the characters seemed to behave in very unbelievable ways... i know this is a staple of the genre, but, that is one of the things that alienates me from the genre... too much of having to give up reason to follow the story... not that there is usually much of a story... i often hear horror described as a sub-genre of sci-fi, but, to me it seems more a sub-genre of action... any film where you can relate pretty much everything it covers as just "this happened, then that happened, etc." is an action movie... no concepts to ponder, no characters to get to know better, no reason to care WHY things are happening, most of the time... all of that comes in scarce tidbits, which is why, to be totally coherent, you need a whole series of films... maybe by die hard 3, i might care what happens to john maclaine, maybe by halloween 9 i might know why michael myers killed his sister and all these others...

if they were better movies, i might take that journey...

or maybe i will listen to the commentary on halloween and see if john carpenter can reveal to me the subtle intricacies...


then, with a bad taste in our mouths, we took a chance on the omen...
this one was much better, but, there was very little action, just lots of dialogue and concepts... it was more like a mystery to be solved...
now, i must say i thought the dialogue was very weak... it got the point across, but, there was no personality, no cadence, no art... with good dialogue, you can take a line out of context and, if you know the characters, you can usually deduce who said it... and this is true of life as well... the omen is one of countless movies where you could have mixed and matched the dialogue between characters... the characters were definitely not defined by how they said what they said, they were just telling us what we needed to know to advance the plot... in a movie filled with dialogue, you need more personalized speech to really carry it, or at least to keep it interesting... (cf. david mamet, btw...)
but still, it was a good movie... pacing was good, i was never really bored, the material was great, and the music was superb, even though it was mono... the actors were varied; the kid was great (not that it was a demanding part), the various clergy were good, and the nannies were great, but, too many other parts seemed totally interchangable...

we liked it... it does not go on "the shelf", but, i will definitely watch it again sometime to look for other nuances... i just don't expect much from donner in that area...

i just have a hard time calling it "horror"... it was more of a mystery, as i said above... yes, there were horrific IDEAS, but, again, that makes it a movie of IDEAS, not actions...


as far as "horror" goes, we have only really seen a few and disliked most of them... (btw, remember, we pretty much only count what we have seen since we started into the world of dvd and home theater, since we now "see" movies differently than we used to... i have seen literally thousands of movies, but, i know a lot more about movies now and feel i need to give them all another chance...)
i will briefly touch on a few and try to avoid sci-fi horror, like alien, forbidden planet, or event horizon, just to try to prove we are capable of contemplating another genre...

we have seen a nightmare on elm street and wes craven's new nightmare and only new nightmare was any good to us... i guess because it was likeable even if you scoffed at the genre... hell, it scoffed with you... but, even new nightmare is in "the pile", not on "the shelf"... it was good once, may be again, but, we are not in any hurry... the next viewing would probably be for the commentary...

poltergeist IS on the shelf... now that is one creepy film... the chair-stacking scene chills me every time... in fact, there is so much good about that movie, i will not even get started lest i go three paragraphs...

then, there is that "m. night" dude or whatever... we have seen both signs and sixth sense and disliked both of them... and there was very little that we found disturbing, creepy, and very very little that was anything like scary... sure, a few disturbing concepts, no action movies here, but, still, they are old concepts and the films really brought very little, if anything, to the genre that we had not seen before...
and, btw, we generally despise surprise endings... in fight club, it explained a lot, in sixth sense, it seemed just a gimmick... (iow, with the former, you want to watch it again more to understand the symptoms better now that you know the cause, in the latter you want to watch again to see if the film is internally consistent with the ending...)
[must've re-written the last two sentences twenty times to ensure it was spoiler free :P]

now, one horror movie we really liked was the others (and, no, not because it had our beloved nicole in it, though that doesn't hurt it any)...
that was one SCARY frickin' movie!
i mean, it was disturbing!
and, one of the best uses of surround that we have ever heard...
we were jumping, cringing, hoping that what we knew must happen next would not happen; i think the others, so far, is the only movie to actually put a fright in us...
it was just plain well-directed... the kids, the rules of the house, the cinematography, including the overall look, the time setting, it just starts pulling you in to an alternate reality, so, you already have no idea what to expect and it unhinges your mind from the everyday, emptying it, so it can fill it up with what the director chooses, hopefully freeing you from expectations of normality... like misdirection... and the unfamiliarity
means it will be more unpredictable, which means it has the potential to be scarier... and the director did not disappoint, though, admittedly, the first half of the movie is much much better than the second half...
it is a dvd, not a laserdisc, so there is no "shelf vs. pile" issue (all our dvd's are in one place), but, if there was a choice to be made, it would go on the shelf...


so, anyway, next in our horror education will probably be clive barker... we have nice laserdiscs of the serpent and the rainbow, hellraiser, and lord of illusions (or is it the frighteners? can't remember)... i read the great and secret show and loved it (though, more fantasy than horror)... i found it to be very original, creative, and interesting, so i figure i will like more of his stuff... having seen some clive barker long ago, i think it is safe to assume it will be truly horrifying stuff, with more in common with event horizon than the other stuff i have been covering here...
hopefully in a good way...


Thursday, May 27
  mp3 blogs

ok, i am posting this here for my own future reference, i would like to check these out, since i am flirting with the whole mp3 thing...

i got this list from here, and he got it from somewhere else, so, i will leave his credit intact, since this is just a c/p anyway... (so, on that note, remember that any comments about each one are his, not mine, as i post this, i have not visited a single one of them, nor have i edited this list...)


btw, he has invited people to post more mp3 blog links in the post's comments thread...





via nevercamehome


now that i think of it, i saw one earlier, somewhere, A Million Love Songs...


  How Film Is Transferred to Video

How Film Is Transferred to Video

i dug this up since it covers the whole original aspect ratio vs. pan&scan thing covered the previous post...

some damn good info and pretty much covers all one needs to know, though, as usual, i am not sure it adequetly explains the point of anamorphic video...

in a nutshell, your tv only has a certain number of scan lines to display the image... and those scan lines cannot come anywhere close to matching the resolution of a frame of film...
widescreen films on video have black bars at the top and bottom, taking up sometimes as much as half of your screen and thus half of those precious scan lines that weren't enough to properly show film even when you were using all of them...
now, you COULD ditch the bars and use all the scan lines, but, then you lose the shape of the image... in other words, you basically zoom in on the image, but then, of course, you either have to cut off the sides or distort the image, stretching it vertcally...
hence widescreen tv's and "anamorphic squeeze" buttons on standard tv's... the proper shape is kept, with little to no scan lines wasted on nothing but black bars...


meh, it might make more sense if you read it again after you read the article at the link... it is not the easiest thing to explain without examples...


  the end of whining about "those black bars"?

i doubt it...

this article is much more optimistic than i am, though, i agree that a large part of the battle is educating the cinematically ignorant...


Last year, something remarkable happened in the world of cinema. Blockbuster Video, the country's dominant rental chain, announced that from that point on it officially preferred widescreen DVDs to pan-and-scan (also known as "full screen"). For those movie buffs who had been eagerly watching this battle, the news came as a shock. In the fight for the hearts and minds of viewers, widescreen and its film-geek adherents had won an unexpected and glorious victory. Just a few years earlier, Blockbuster had discouraged widescreen DVDs, on the grounds that customers confused by the letterbox format thought they were defective. Now, the chain was conceding what cinephiles had argued for years: that widescreen was the superior way to watch a movie at home, even if it left black bars at the top and bottom of your television screen.

Anyone who scrounged for widescreen tapes during the VHS era will understand the historic nature of the announcement. Back then, widescreen tapes were tucked in obscure corners of the video store. When film buffs advanced the moral argument against pan-and-scan—that it butchered the filmmaker's vision and cut out as much as half of the picture—they were met by a blank stare from store clerk and casual fan alike.


the rest is here...
How Widescreen Won - The way we watch movies at home has changed. What happened? By Bryan Curtis

(it even mentions laserdiscs and Criterion, properly crediting the format and company with the initial victories in the original-aspect-ratio-vs.-"foolscreen" war...)


Tuesday, May 25
  Dallas once again No. 1 big city for crime

HoustonChronicle.com - Dallas once again No. 1 big city for crime

Associated Press

DALLAS - As expected, FBI statistics for 2003 show Dallas has the highest overall crime rate among the country's largest cities for the sixth year in a row.

City and police officials have known since last summer that Dallas was on track to keep the top crime spot. Since then, they have instituted new crime initiatives, fired the police chief and replaced him with a proven crime fighter, former Arlington Police Chief David Kunkle.


incidentally, arlington is the suburb where we lived...


more info at the link...


  virtual worlds, virtual drugs

http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,63578,00.html
damn fascinating...


here are some excerpts...

The world of massively multiplayer online games is often a dangerous place, what with constant threats from bloodthirsty monsters and murderous non-player characters. But now players have even more peril to contend with: addictive drugs that can incapacitate or kill their characters.

The designers of Achaea, one of the biggest online text-based games, have recently introduced a virtual addictive drug -- known as gleam -- as part of a story line in which a crime ring has been attempting to infiltrate the game's cities. And some players can't take it fast enough.

Achaea characters who take gleam get hooked quickly -- suffering typical addiction symptoms: violent vomiting, shivering, irrational sobbing, begging for the drug and even overdoses resulting in death. Some of the game's players are angry about gleam's introduction into their world.


and then, there are virtual performance-enhancing virtual drugs...

In A Tale in the Desert, players discovered that by dosing their characters with a potion called Speed of the Serpent, they could gain extra waypoints, a valuable attribute allowing for instant travel across the game's wide three-dimensional globe.

Speed of the Serpent was poisonous, though, and required the ingestion of an antidote within 30 days, or the character would die. If a player took the potion a second time, the antidote was needed within 29 days; a third use meant 28 days and so on.

Eventually, as players succumbed to their desire for the extra waypoints, the interval between potion and antidote was short enough that even the hard-core couldn't keep up. According to Andy Tepper, the game's lead designer, 18 players' characters have died from addiction to Speed of the Serpent, more than from any other cause in the game's history. Unlike in many multiplayer online games, where death means little, in A Tale in the Desert, a character's death is final. It means starting over from the beginning, no small price for dabbling in a little performance-enhancing potion.


meanwhile, elsewhere in the virtual multiverse...

But even the larger games have elements some consider akin to addictive substances. For example, in Galaxies, smuggler-class players traffic in spices, spells that increase characters' skills.

In an article in RPG Expert called "Life of a Smuggler," the author wrote that spices can offer terrific benefits, such as increased strength. Yet there are also side effects, like lowered strength and vomiting, that last as long as the high.

Given the side effects, though, one might ask why the risk is worthwhile. [the eternal addict question, eh? -i_p] The author's answer sounds just like it came from a real-world drug dealer.

"OK, who will buy and use your spices? Almost everyone that tries them a few times gets hooked," the article read. "Free samples are good for business!!"


  damn, missed towel day again

http://towelday.org/
the site explains it for all strags out there...


and, since it is a classic quote and it partially explains it, here is something from the site...



To quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,


A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine soredly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a brush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.


Sunday, May 23
  Albuquerque weather rocks!

i just have to publically say how much i love the weather here...

for something like two weeks now, we have had every window and this huge sliding glass door open from the time we get up to the time we go to bed and, aside from times it gets too windy to have them all open (we live on a mesa on the edge of town), it has been more than perfectly comfortable...
we sometimes close the sliding glass door and blinds in the afternoon because it faces west and the sun shines right in and it can be a bit too warm, but, even that is not necessary every day...

and, even on the warmest days, once that sun goes down, the temperature starts dramatically dropping...


and, btw, if someone wants to ask how something like good weather can be so exciting, it is because that back in dallas, i bet it is 212 degrees and 115% humidity already... for 4 months or more, you have to stay in all the time, even at night, with everything closed tight, no sun, no fresh air, with the a/c cranked... and that is no fun...


it's great to be back in the desert...


Friday, May 21
  (bump!)

and with that, the huge pics post is knocked off the front page...
(i ran out of things i had been meaning to post...)


  My LJ Feeds Link


i would just like to call attention to this link, since i get a daily kick out
of it...
over there on the menu on the left of this page, under "Links", is a link that
says "My LJ Feeds"...
this is part of the "Friends Page" features on LiveJournal...

for those not familiar with the concept of feeds, it is a way to gather
content from a site, without going there... this blog of mine has an atom xml
feed, so, you could get my posts in your favorite "feed aggregator" (along
side feeds from other sites), rather than stopping by to see if i've posted
anything new or signing up for the email notification...
at livejournal, people set up xml/rss/etc. feeds for various sites, or use
feeds already offered and you can add those feeds to your lj friends page for
a public online aggregator... there are hundreds of choices, everything from
daily comics like garfield and dilbert, to news, weather, movie reviews, all
sorts of stuff...
you just have to see it to appreciate the sheer coolness of it...
since i have few lj friends, i fill it up with these feeds and then i get
stuff from sites i would not otherwise go to everyday, in one convenient
trip... so, you can see the stuff i am interested in and, if you share those
interests, it can make for a good daily visit...

here are the feeds i have on there currently...

some post several items a day, some once a day, some once a week or once a
month, some post rarely, which makes it even handier to have it appear on my
feeds page... and some may be broken, so, i am still waiting for them to post
something...


firstly, i get posts at "syn_promo", where people publicize cool feeds they
have found or have made...

astronomy photo of the day

ask yahoo
answering trivia and imponderables, using yahoo

blog of death
sort of a big, far-reaching obits page

boingboing blog

coming soon
a movie news site

dictionary.com's word of the day

engadget
gadget news, reviews, etc.

filmadd
news of movies added to the Internet Archive

filmtease
an unusual movie trailer review site

found magazine's find of the week
unusual objects people find

aaron swartz's googleblog
a blog about google

googleblog
the official blog of google.com

penniphile
the writings of penn jillette, mostly new entries to "road penn"

word spy
dealing with new terms, slang, etc. as they enter the language

quote of the day
not as good as refdesk.com's quotes of the day, but, they have more than one
per day, so it sort of balances out

snopesrecentadd
one of my favorites, posting urban legends as they are added to snopes.com

thinkgeek
various merchandise of interest to those involved in modern technology

and wordsmith's word of the day

oh, and almost forgot, i also get "ljnifty" where people post various fun
things you can do with livejournal, such as adding feeds to your friends
page...


and i add cool new ones as i find them... and occasionally remove the ones
that get annoying or boring...

anyway, if that sounds interesting to you, as i said, the link is on the menu
on the left side of this page... "My LJ Feeds"
i stop by at least once a day and it is a pretty good collection at this
point, after some tweaking...


now if only i could get scifi.com's "today in sci-fi history" on there, which
is almost always interesting to sci-fi buffs... (there is a link to this, as
well, over there on the left...)
i would add the fark.com feed, but, it does not have comments links and the
comments threads are at least half the fun of fark...


btw, geez, it seems today is list day on my blog...
admittedly, i am trying to come up with posts to make so i can knock that huge
"april pics" post off the front page...


  250 or so movies we have seen


that is, the movies we have seen since we entered the world of home theater
(or, RE-entered, in my case)...
this is another list i was mentioning to someone the other day, so, wanted to
post...


ok, so, the story is something like this...

may 25th, 2002, we got a free dvd player... at this time, our tv was mainly
only used for video games and nasatv during shuttle missions, we had a vcr but
didn't use it for much...
coincidentally, this is also the day we got our first dreameye, so, the dvd
player was ignored...

then, some time in november 2002, someone loaned us three dvd's (reservoir
dogs, a beautiful mind, zoolander)... we decided to see what all the fuss was
about...
eventually, we bought a couple of our own (fight club, the matrix, wargames,
which is also the first commentary we listened to), later on, we got a
"ht-in-a-box", then in june of 2003, we started seriously building a home
theater...

just on a whim, back in the first days of all this, we started actually
jotting down each movie we watched... we have continued to add to this list,
every movie we watch, then, at some point, we started dating each entry...
this is all kept in a database that we each have a copy of on our psion...

so, here is the list... there are about 250, a little less or a lot less,
depending on how you choose to count them (different versions of the same
movie, etc.)...

and, btw, i will refrain from adding other comments in the database this list
came from, such as what we thought of the movie, why we saw wanted to see it,
what format and aspect ratio it was in, which ones we own, etc.... you will
also occasionally see one labelled [him] or [her], which means we did not
watch it together... and there are one or two marked with the name of a movie
theater in brackets, which means we actually went out to see it...

the dated entries come first and the rest are alphabetically listed...

2004.05.06 - caddyshack
2004.05.06 - vacation
2004.03.30 - AI
2004.03.29 - the big lebowski
2004.03.29 - mixed nuts
2004.03.26 - better off dead...
2004.02.22 - hard eight (aka Sydney)
2004.02.15 - lost in translation
2004.02.15 - love liza
2004.02.09 - raising arizona
2004.02.09 - star trek 7 - generations
2004.02.09 - time after time
2004.02.08 - back to the future
2004.02.08 - back to the future 2
2004.02.08 - back to the future 3
2004.02.06 - jerry macguire [her]
2004.02.05 - a few good men
2004.02.05 - rush
2004.02.05 - true romance
2004.02.01 - biloxi blues
2004.01.25 - fargo
2004.01.25 - pirates of silicon valley
2004.01.20 - arthur
2004.01.20 - fletch
2004.01.11 - hook
2004.01.08 - the apostle
2004.01.06 - seven
2004.01.05 - the life of david gale
2004.01.04 - alien 3
2003.12.27 - the american president
2003.12.25 - a christmas story
2003.12.23 - it's a wonderful life
2003.12.21 - lord of the rings 2 - the two towers
2003.12.20 - star trek 10 - nemesis
2003.12.17 - braveheart
2003.12.16 - 28 days later
2003.12.16 - frequency
2003.12.14 - scrooged
2003.11.13 - conspiracy theory
2003.11.09 - alien - director's cut [amc grand, dallas, theater 8]
2003.11.08 - truman show
2003.11.05 - shanghai knights
2003.11.02 - ed wood
2003.11.01 - matrix reloaded
2003.10.18 - spaceship
2003.10.16 - galaxy quest
2003.10.16 - trekkies
2003.10.13 - Magnolia
2003.10.11 - The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
2003.10.10 - spawn - director's cut
2003.10.05 - book of shadows - blair witch 2
2003.10.04 - addams family
2003.09.28 - shock treatment
2003.09.27 - event horizon
2003.09.23 - city of lost children
2003.09.12 - the jerk
2003.09.11 - blair witch project
2003.09.11 - stargate - director's cut
2003.09.10 - 12 monkeys
2003.09.10 - outland
2003.09.10 - psycho
2003.09.08 - from dusk til dawn
2003.09.07 - leviathan
2001: a space odyssey
2010
9/11
the abyss - special edition
Addams Family Values
Akira
alien
aliens - director's cut
almost famous
almost famous - untitled director's cut
Amelie
american beauty
apollo 13
as good as it gets
backdraft
basketball diaries
batman
beauty and the beast
being john malkovich
the black hole
blade runner - "director's cut"
boogie nights
boyz in the hood
brazil
a bronx tale
buckaroo banzai
a bug's life
the cell
Chicago
chicken run
Citizen Kane
close encounters of the third kind
close encounters of the third kind, collector's edition
close encounters of the third kind, special edition
clueless
contact
dances with wolves
Dark City
the dark crystal
Darkman
the doors
dr. strangelove
dune
e.t. - the extra terrestrial
escape from new york [him]
eyes wide shut
finding nemo [parks mall amc]
far and away
fear and loathing in las vegas
the fifth element
fight club
final fantasy: the spirits within
a fish called wanda
flatliners
forbidden planet
Forrest Gump
friday
full metal jacket
get shorty
the game
gattaca
ghostbusters
glengarry glenross
the godfather [him]
the godfather - part two [him]
Goodfellas [him]
the grifters
Grosse Pointe Blank [her]
harry potter 1
house
the hudsucker proxy
the hunt for red october
i spit on your grave
independence day - director's cut
Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Iron Giant
It
jackie brown
Jacob's Ladder
Jaws
jfk
k-pax
krull
L.A. Confidential
l.a. story
labyrinth
ladyhawke
the lawnmower man - director's cut
leap of faith
legend of drunken master
Little Shop of Horrors
Logan's Run
lolita
lord of the rings - fellowship of the ring
mars attacks!
memento
men in black
minority report
monsters inc
monty python and the holy grail
the mosquito coast
Moulin Rouge
mulholland drive
murder by death
natural born killers
night of the living dead
nightmare before christmas
a nightmare on elm street
the one
oscar
the others
phantasm
pi
pink floyd - the wall
poltergeist
the princess bride
pulp fiction
Punch-Drunk Love
Quiz Show
red dawn
requiem for a dream - director's cut
reservoir dogs
the rocky horror picture show
Romeo + juliet
the royal tenenbaums
rushmore
say anything
secret of nimh
the seven samurai [him]
Shadowlands
Shanghai Noon
signs
silence of the lambs
Silverado
the sixth sense
Sneakers
south park movie
Spaceballs
the spanish prisoner
Sphere
spiderman
spirited away
The Stand
star trek - the motion picture - director's cut
star trek 2 - the wrath of khan - director's cut
star trek 3 - the search for spock
star trek 4 - the voyage home
star trek 5 - the final frontier
star trek 6 - the undiscovered country
star trek 8 - first contact
star wars
star wars 2 - empire strikes back
star wars 2 - empire strikes back - special edition
star wars 3 - return of the jedi
star wars 4 - phantom menace
star wars 5 - attack of the clones
Starman
Strange Days
suicide kings
Taxi Driver
terminator
terminator 2
the thing
this is spinal tap
three colors - white
three colors - red
time bandits
titan a.e.
titanic
Toy Story
Toy Story 2
trainspotting
tron
uhf
unforgiven
wag the dog
the War of the Roses
wargames
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
what dreams may come
who framed roger rabbit



  Movies i have seen countless times growing up


actually, seen/heard/overheard since we often put on a well-known movie as
background noise and did not sit and watch it...
also, a couple of these are due to my growing up in something of an in-home
daycare, being surrounded by a half dozen kids at all times and sometimes as
many as a full dozen, and everyone's name went on a list and, when their name
came up, they got to select what will be on the tv next (not that they usually
spent much time sitting quietly in front of it)...

i know i am still missing a few off this list, maybe quite a few, but, this is
something i was mentioning to someone the other day and wanted to put this
list up, even if it is not totally compete...
i still know most of these movies by heart, could probably quote most of them
beginning to end, and the images and sounds are an indelible part of my
subconscious to this day... (darth vader is still in my nightmares to this
day!)

growing up in a house of hardcore movie interest is an interesting
experience... in our house, movie quotes were almost non-stop, life was
constantly compared to movies... in fact, the staff noticed this when i was
at the hospital with my parents... mom said to one nurse something to the
effect of "we are a movie family. we use them to teach lessons of life." by
which she means, for instance, i was talking about how magnolia inspired me,
both phil parma and the change t.j. mackey made in his attitude toward his
father were things going through my mind non-stop in the hospital... they
were the inspiration that helped me to keep a better frame of mind through it
all... so, if i want to explain to my mom how i saw my responsibility in that
situation, she would have to watch magnolia...
in fact, my mom's online handle, for as long as i can remember, is "Ripley",
the heroine of Alien... and i am sure she would relate ripley as the
embodiment of a strong woman...

my childhood heros were not historical figures or otherwise "real" people,
they were movie characters...


but now, i am straying way off the topic of this post...
back to the list...


btw, very important...
THIS IS *NOT* A LIST OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES...
more than a few of them are movies i cannot stand today...
these are also in no order, except maybe the order in which i thought of
them...
i would also add that it is best to take most of what i said above as not
relating much to the list... most of the "background movies" around the house
were not the deep ones, those demanded too much attention...


and now, a partial list of movies i saw/heard/overheard COUNTLESS times
growing up...

close encounters of the third kind (special edition)

btw, ce3k reigns supreme TO THIS DAY as the one i have seen/heard/overheard
more than any other...

better off dead
ghostbusters
star trek 1-4
star wars
caddyshack
vacation
2010
aliens
raiders of the lost ark
murder by death
wargames
secret of nimh
spaceballs
time after time
the money pit
spaceship
pete's dragon
cloak and dagger
romancing the stone
fletch



  Fw: widescreen techniques - The Straight Dope


The Straight Dope -- By Cecil Adams
http://www.straightdope.com

THE STRAIGHT DOPE 05/21/2004

[snip]

STRAIGHT DOPE CLASSIC #1 - 06/26/1981

Dear Cecil:

Here is a matter that has not been on my mind for qu
ite a while now, that isn't a matter of life or deat
h, and that doesn't have 50 bucks riding on it: tell
me, what are the differences between Cinerama, Pana
vision, and Super Panavision? Are any of these simpl
y trade names for ordinary 70mm film?
--Bruce Lund, Western Springs, Illinois

Dear Bruce:

You might have mentioned CinemaScope, Metroscope, Ul
tra Panavision, or any of about a dozen other cinema
tic breakthroughs while you were at it, Bruce; the m
ovie industry has never been at a loss for grandiose
titles for its dubious products. All of the above r
efer to various widescreen techniques intended to he
lp Hollywood meet the TV challenge of the 50s.
The earliest, Cinerama (1952), required three projec
tors flashing onto a huge curved screen to give the
illusion of depth. 1953 saw the debut of CinemaScope
, which was the first of several processes to use an
anamorphic lens. Such lenses squeezed the unusually
wide screen image like an accordion so that it woul
d fit onto an ordinary 35mm negative--i.e., everythi
ng got skinnier. When projected, a reverse anamorphi
c lense stretched the compacted image back out to it
s original width. In some instances, the stretching
was done in the lab, meaning you used a 35mm negativ
e to make a 70mm print, which was then projected wit
h an ordinary 70mm lens. Panavision appeared on the
scene a year or two after CinemaScope, and eventuall
y offered three techniques: ordinary Panavision, whi
ch uses a 2.35:1 anamorphic lens to squeeze a wide i
mage onto a 35mm negative; Ultra Panavision, with 1.
25:1 lens and a 65mm negative; and Super Panavision,
with an ordinary 1:1 lens and a 65mm negative. 65mm
, incidentally, is the size of the film used in the
camera. When the film is processed, a 5mm sound stri
pe is added and what the movie houses get is 70mm wi
de.

For more, see:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_366c.html

[snip]
____________________________________________
Here's how you can get your OWN FREE Subscription:
Send a blank mailto:join-straightdope-list@jokeaday.
com
____________________________________________
Copyright 1995 - 2004 Chicago Reader, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
You may forward this document by email ONLY if you i
nclude the entire document INCLUDING the information
at the bottom of this publication
____________________________________________
Visit our good friends at Joke A Day http://www.joke
aday.com
They're kind enough to mail THE STRAIGHT DOPE for us
.
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insidious_plots...
http://insidiousplots.com


Tuesday, May 18
  April pics

ok, yeah, we took a little while getting these posted...

this batch is from the trip we took in the middle of april, going from albuquerque to alamogordo to visit my parents, then through el paso to d/fw (to go to her dentist, which was the reason for all of this), then back via amarillo... also, a few pics of the apt...

(btw, if you just want to see the pics and skip the story, they are in the usual place... though, this is an interesting one...)


as i said, there are a few pics of the apt, so, let's get those out of the way first...

the drawings and pics of us over the fireplace...




and three pics of the bar as it is now...
(having had a fairly respectable bar when we lived in vegas, it hardly seems accurate to call this a bar, but, it will have to do until we think of a better name for it...)




ok, so, the trip...

as i said, first was alamo...
and i had miss mary take a couple pics of me and my father in "the pit", his corner of the house... too bad they came out so dark... we are in the market for a proper digital camera so these things won't be a problem anymore...




while we were there, we went up to the space hall of fame thingy... pretty much the same as when i was growing up there, but, they had this fascinating new thing called a "whisper dish"...



two dishes, like 10, 15 yards or so apart, facing each other, with a pole standing in front of each, with a ring on top of the pole... the first pic is the dish i stood at, the second, the dish she was at, taken from where i was standing (wish i had had her stand in front of it for scale)...
the instructions say to have one person stand in front of one and whisper into the ring while the other holds their ear to their ring...
amazing is not too strong a word for it...
she sounded like she was right next to me, or rather, like her mouth was at the ring i had my ear to...

trippy...


ok, no pics of d/fw, plenty of those in the previous directories, so, we now skip straight to amarillo...

firstly, there was the hotel she found...
i basically laugh at little tourist coupon books, maybe that is why i don't get cool deals like this...
she found this one that, with the coupon, was only going to be like $23... i did not expect much... boy was i wrong...
i cannot remember the name of it, since it was over a month ago, but, this place was huge and had this massive courtyard with a translucent ceiling over it, with a pool, jacuzzi, a whole convention space sort of thing, and even a raised platform with video games and a pool table... this was all surrounded by the rooms on three floors... and the rooms were huge, too... we have stayed at a nice hotel or two and i liked this one better... front door of our room went to the courtyard, back door went to parking...
anyway, here are the pics...



then, get this... talk about modern amenities... they had this by-the-minute internet station that had a keyboard and all, or you could just connect wirelessly and it had some nifty software onboard...
alas, memory also fails me on the pricing for it...




ok, now the weird story...

we were going down what i think was 2nd street when i noticed an odd sign... like a diamond-shaped traffic sign... odder still, it was in someone's yard... what was odd about the sign was what it said...


"his movements are dull and graceless
he reminds me of a factory machine"


huh?

then a bit later, i saw another in someone else's yard...
and then another...

i have a note in my psion that we saw most of them in the mcmasters/amarillo road area...

enough talk, here are some pics of a few of them...



is that weird or what?

ok, then, we were going down amarillo road, headed out of town, satisfied we had gotten pics of some of the more interesting ones (once we started driving around and looking, we found there were dozens of them, no two exactly alike, yet only in this one part of the town), when we saw one on the side of the road, so we stopped and got this pic of it...



as i am standing there, i happened to see something off in the distance...
on sort of a hill quite a ways out, among quite a few trees on the hill, i noticed that what i at first thought were more trees were actually black letters that must have been at least six feet tall...
i took a pic, you may see what i mean and perhaps get an idea of the scale, but, you will not be able to read them... (again, we need a real cam, one with ZOOM!)



the letters say "ACTUAL SIZE"...

curiouser and curiouser, as alice was wont to say...


we were very tempted to hang out a while and maybe ask around to see what the deal with all these bizarre signs was, but, we were already running late, with a ways to drive still, and figured it was probably nowhere near as interesting as it appeared, so, we figured we would just take our pics and look it up on the web when we got home...
of course, we found no info...

if anyone knows anything about this or has any theories, we are all ears... click on the comment link below or use the chatterbox on the left menu... (dk/dp users need the "new window" bookmarklet for the chatterbox post button to work...)


ok, anyway, we have lived in texas for four or five years and hated most of it (except for the amazing laserdisc market the metroplex has going), and we knew this was the last trip into texas we will probably ever have to take, so, we marked the exact time we could say we left texas the last time (2:30pm, local time, april 15th 2004) and took pics of "the crossing", as it were...




and that is pretty much it...


oh, except one more pic...

i used to love travel, but, i don't anymore, it seems... too long and boring, not to mention my little motion sickness issues... so, for this trip, i interrupted my day-counting and success record and acquired the one and only thing that has ever worked for me to alleviate those issues...

which required a "pacifier", as i called it in the last couple years of my full-time indulgence, which ended two years previous to this trip, almost to the day...

this particular pacifier even sort of looks like a pacifier, and it is exactly like the one i had back in the road trip with my brother many years ago...




and if you don't know what i mean, it doesn't matter anyway...


well, that is it... there are no may pics yet, but, when there are, i think i will do another entry like this... and i am going to link to this entry from the ALLPICS.html page that i always make up for the batches of pics...


Saturday, May 15

this is an audio post - click to play


Friday, May 14
  dammit dammit dammit

well, i just cannot make haloscan work right...
and i am tired of trying, since they do not even offer mail notification when someone posts anyway...

blogger comments also has some real problems, most importantly not being able to post on any device i use, and having to go four clicks from a post to comment (five if you count having to click "preview" before you can post it), and then only being able to post as "anonymous" if you don't have a blogger account...

(and, on top of everything else, after the first couple problem-free days of using blogger, i am now getting errors every other time i try to republish and sometimes the eror results in my homepage here missing large portions...)

so, i have no idea what i am going to do...
for now, i am leaving the blogger comments on, taking off the haloscan comments and probably go offline for awhile and find a wall to repeatedly bang my head on...


  trying haloscan

the posts now have haloscan comment links... the blogger comment links may or may not also show up, not confident of what i am doing yet...

i am still having one probelm, though... they all say zero comments... the post before this one has two comments at the moment i am writing this, yet, it still says zero... i must be doing something wrong because over at my testing ground, it is working right...
problem is that the coding for all of this is so jumbled, from all my c/p'ing parts and tweaking things here and there, that it is just one confusing mess, a few parts of which i don't even understand, and so it is making finding the problem harder...

it is pissing me off, but, i will keep tinkering with it...

btw, thanks to the anonymous commenter, ruins my day, but, at least i finally have my answer about it...


Wednesday, May 12
  can't comment using dpp, web, or opera

well, i have now tried all three...
dpp and web (the default psion browser) just get a preview button, hit it, and the next page still just has a preview button... and opera doesn't even display the full page for some reason...

also tried posting to the chaterbox with opera, since it has javascript support, and, when i hit the submit button, it informs me it cannot open a new window... hard to believe that pw and dp have better handling of that problem than opera does... (to any dc users who might be reading, yes, i tried the "new window" bookmarklet that you have to use on dpp with the chatterbox, and opera didn't like it, gave an error...)


anyway, i am wondering if this comment problem is some temporary glitch... it seems hard to believe that not one of these three works... (i have yet to try pw and doubt i will...)

so, if you are reading this, please do me a quick favor and try to leave a comment... even anonymous, i just want to see an actual comment work...


  oh. my. god.

i thought i had seen it all...

SeeMeRot.com


SeeMeRot.com :: Live Coffin Cam :: Now with New image every 10 seconds!


yes, folks, a live webcam inside a coffin, pointed at a dead person...

just want to say first, the pic there is nothing, just looks like someone sleeping...

um, as of this writing, anyway...
(i was going to link to the pic to display here, then decided that might turn out bad in a few months, since i cannot edit these posts...)

and, btw, refreshes every 10 seconds???
wtf?
seems very little is likely to happen...


ok, a few things from the site...

from the source...

<meta name="keywords" content="six feet under, coffin cam, dead body, coffincam, webcams, dead, live, pictures of the dead, sick pictures, real pics, true, terror, life after death, is there a god, motorcycle, insurance, six feet under">
<meta name="ProgId" content="Live Coffin Cam - Six Feet Under and Still being seen! Six Feet Under Ground Body Cam">

and then there is this...

We hope you find SeeMeRot.com a fascinating place to visit over the coming months.

indeed...


and then, as if this needed a punch line...

Should you wish to discuss plans for your own 'Coffin Cam' for family and friends, please contact us for pricing details.


you see, the page with the image on it is called "cams.html", as in they apparently anticipate a gallery...


  E3

wanted to try this link box on the new post form...
i am watching this site for all the e3 news...


  so, we both have a homepage/blog now

more like a combination blog and homepage...
she has wanted a new homepage for a very long time... she had one that was way out of date and she didn't like it, so, her homepage just redirected to her livejournal, but, now she has a homepage and blog at http://insidiousplots.com/missmary...

i have never had a homepage of my own before, so, this will be it, and i am pretty sure i wll stick with the address i moved it to this morning, http://insidiousplots.com/him...

once we are fully satisifed and confident that we are going with these, we will change the links on our shared homepage...


in further testing news, i have found that i cannot edit these posts once they are published...
that is annoying...

and that chatterbox on the left over there seems to only work part of the time...
also annoying...


Tuesday, May 11
  post 11

just seeing id that list on the left really only posts 10...


  i am loving this

the more i tweak this thing, the more i love it...

i have been adding links over there on the left, trying to be very very discriminating, since there is also the orrl that i prefer to put links in...

i found out it is a bug that there are no comments with the posts made via email...
worse, i cannot post using dpp, and i can't with the psion browser because it cannot accept the login cookie... on livejournal, post and comment forms have name/password boxes above them...
i could probably use opera on psion and do it...
i am thinking about going with a comment service, i already have an account with one, can't remember the name... it's the big one, though...

anyway, i continue to tinker and will see if it becomes something i want to seriously go with and link to it from the hompage...


  grrr, no comments on email posts

at least, i can't find an option for it and it ain't showing up...

this post is using the web-based form... i see i have a title space now, i set an option for it...

man... i figured mail was how i was going to do it most of the time...
must look into this...


  insidiousplots.com/blog?

[moved from my LiveJournal]


Current Mood: giddy
Current Music: the end credits music from Poltergeist on my GBA mp3 player

looky what i'm playing with...
http://insidiousplots.com/him


  ah, ok...

i changed the setting so anyone can post comments...
i also confirmed that it is set to "new posts have comments by default" and it
was before, so, i don't know what is up...
maybe it just does not apply to email posts...

also, one odd thing... i keep getting bounce notices on these messages,
saying they are too big... yet, they are clearly not actually bouncing, since
they are showing up here...


  more bad news and more great news


which do you want first?

ok, the good news is that i emailed that last one an
d there it was, so, i did not have to go to the web.
..
awesome awesome awesome...

but, the bad news is that it does not seem to allow
comments on posts i make from email...
dammit...

maybe i could live without the comments?

hmmm...

well...
it is definitely not my first choice...


(ok, i set it to display 7 posts on this page, so, t
his one should bump one off...)



insidious_plots...
http://insidiousplots.com


  wow, that's bad

two bad things, actually...
(posting this from dpp email, btw...)

firstly, it says you have to have a blogger account
to comment... that really sucks...

worse, i can't even seem to comment using this brows
er...

that is two big strikes against it, i'm afraid...


must figure something out, i love this thing so far.
..
geez, everything was going so well...



(and, now, if i could only disable my sig like i can
on the psion email client...)



insidious_plots...
http://insidiousplots.com


there is no subject space here...
only this odd-shaped box...

anyway, so, i am trying out the regular submit form... i must have done this before, since there are posts there, but, i sure don't remember it...
so, i need to come up with some things to say to see how this formats it and such...
man, this thing takes quite a bit of time to get set up, but, it seems well worth it... of course, i am very partial to livejournal, it has really grown on me... i like the friends page for one, especially the various feeds for it...
i hate to think of moving again... but, i can export my entire livejournal to here, still use the friends page, and post a big message on the front of my livejournal...
this thing has some nice features and i love the post-via-email aspect, even if you do have to get on the web to hit the "publish" button... (erm, i think...)
i especially love the idea of having all this on my own host... of course, only the resulting pages are... makes me think i should look for some alternative i could buy... i am not even 100% certain what i can run with this host... i think i can do php4, perl, no mysql, though... not that i think a blog would need that, but, what do i know about it...

anyway, also a bitch is trying to make all this xhtml transitional... i started all of this with a template that someone else made that i got from blogger... i removed all the css and worked in my own design that i had recenty done for the home page... now i need to clean up the tables so this thing will validate...


ok, i think that is enough for a test post...


  so, here is an html test

let's see here...


blocked text



centered text


link

an image...


and a
javascript alert


  email test

here is the body...

i will attach a pic...



insidious_plots...
http://insidiousplots.com


Saturday, May 8
  Sasser trouble on my Psion???

[moved from my LiveJournal]

well, i am not going to type up a whole report here, but, to save some stuff i will have to explain to people, here are all the notes and screenshots i have taken, with a few comments here and there...

and it is going to be long...

firstly, here is what must be the root of the problem, as described at a PDAStreet forum...


Using a network packet generator and a bit of patience, I have found that:

- when using a modem, any connection attempt to a closed port will freeze the psion. No special nasty SYN packets are needed for that

- when the psion is listening to the port, the freezing doesn't occur

- when using a direct ppp link, no freezes ever happen, so it is not a problem in just the TCP/IP stack.

now, i have an app called Sink2, made for just this problem and it has always worked perfectly... it listens on certain ports (default is 80, 135, 445, 4444) and, when a connection is made, it accepts it, and then drops it...
but now, ever since Sasser started, i have not been able to get a solid connection... it can listen on up to seven ports, and i have set it to every port i have seen recommended to block, yet, i still have the problem...


the following will have lots of what sink2 said was happening as well as screenshots, once it occured to me to do that, rather than trying to copy them down... the screenshots do not show what the text describes, btw...


for the record, i am using a Psion 5 (not mx) and the pcmcia adaptor with an ActionTec DataLink 56k card fax modem...
it has always worked perfectly, except when i first got it, it froze a lot because of the reasons he gave up there and those problems vanished when i got sink2...


from may 2nd...


most times, when it happens, sound comes from my modem, like a hissing that sounds different from the carrier one normally hears when the modem connects...
it does not sound like the modem pissed off... it sounds like the speaker coming back on for some reason and that hiss is on the line...

and, it doesn't seem to know it is dc'd... i have to disconnnect and hard reset my modem...

sink2 listening on ports 80, 135, 445, 4444

20:21:28 Connection on port 445 from 4.228.201.193

same thing, same ip at 20:22:46

d/c and was not able to re-connect

when it switches from "initialize" to "recieving data" is when it drops... so, my browser comes online and when it tries to load a page is when it happens... and on my email client, i can download headers, but, when i try to open an email, it drops connection...

interestingly, i just sent an email (so far i cannot here on dc)...

ok, so, i close my mailbox and see if it is there...

hmm...

and now i just got disconnected... and sink2 says...

20:33:16 Connection on port 445 from 4.240.114.249

it just dc'd before it got all the email headers, though, there was one more than before... my modem light is flashing, yet, the client says "getting headers"... now i have to tell it to disconnect from internet, hard reset modem, try again...

mm-hmm... it almost had all the headers, then that odd hiss and i see the modem light is flashing again...

oh, and there is this from sink2...

20:34:57 connection on port 4445 from 4.240.114.249
grrr...

hmmm... now it won't even connect...


also the 2nd...


connection on port 135 from 4.240.162.216
connection on port 445 from 4.46.152.229

both icq and telnet were working, then, after a few minutes...

21:57:49 connection on port 135 from 0.0.0.0
and then
21:58:15 connection on port 135 from 4.240.18.137

and i heard that hiss again and was disconnected, though both apps think they are connected...
reconnect to icq, no prob, connect telnet, it works for a moment, then the hissing and disconnect...

sink2 says...
22:03:03 port 135 from same as last time, 4.240.18.137
and then 22:03:28 on port 4444 from the same ip...







from the 3rd...


connected to telnet for a minute or two and then all this, yet, i did not get disconnected until the very end...

22:36:25 port 445 from 4.240.42.10
22:37:08 port 445 from 4.240.42.10
22:37:26 port 445 from 4.240.42.10
22:37:38 port 445 from 4.240.42.10
22:38:44 port 135 from 4.240.63.82
22:38:49 port 4444 from 4.240.63.82
22:39:17 port 445 from 4.33.115.54
22:39:18 port 445 from 4.33.115.54
22:39:26 port 445 from 4.33.115.54
22:39:31 port 445 from 4.241.42.139

and then disconnected...






from the 4th...


today it is acting different...

for one, sometimes when i get dc'd, it tells me i have been disconnected and asks if i want to reconnect...

also, something just happened that was like my connection freezing or something, the modem light was on, but, i could not transfer data, such as when i would send cgaracters in telnet (i have been using telnet to try connecting, juts letting it idle once connected) and i opened icq and it would not connect...



this is sink2 on the 7th...



and now i have made a very confusing discovery...

i can use the old 14.4k modem that i used to use on my psion 3, and it works just fine, all those connection attempts are made, yet, it stays connected... when i try my 56k, it does all the above...
this means nothing to me...
one IS a pc card modem and therefore requires the adaptor, while the other is specifically made for this unit and plugs right in...

but, i don't see why that would make a difference...


any theories are welcome...



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