zustifer: (comics: creeper)
So, the new Scott Pilgrim.
I... actually am not as enamored of it as I was of the earlier three. The visual stylistic changes are mostly fine, although I think they have contributed a bit to all of the female characters looking more similar than ever. But tonally, it's just not as... happy-go-lucky? Everyone is a little meaner, and the background details are a little darker. And, this is the big one, Scott and Ramona's relationship? It's not a good relationship. It's actually sort of awful (so is Stephen Stills' and Julie's, but that's less central). Maybe this is intentional; maybe this new slight-depressingness is part of the trek toward adulthood and responsibility, but somehow it's beginning to strike me as the tale of a partially functional boy in a world of unhappy people.
(Definitely worth reading, though. I did like it.)
zustifer: (comics: creeper)
Hi internet! We are back from our little DC trip. It was nice.
SPX was interesting; next time, though, I will do my research beforehand. It's not a venue (at least for me) for finding out about new things. I don't have the fortitude to go up and leaf through people's work in front of their faces, while they're trying to convince me that I want it, or even to connect with me at all, personally. I don't want people to try to sell me things. Anyway, only one component (the art) is ascertainable as good or bad at a glance; things like pacing and writing are invisible at first. Subtle stuff fares the most poorly, and that stuff is often my favorite. So essentially, you (I) have to know what you want going in, or at least know your creators and what they're likely to have. I realise now that I failed to bring myself up to the minimum level of conversantness with the work/people in question. (This is why I only ended up buying a t-shirt, which is a goddamn excellent t-shirt, but probably I could have tried harder.)

The rest of the time was more overtly and effortlessly fun, though, since we got to go to museums and hang out with people. Everything worked out. So, here are some pictures.

zustifer: (why can't monsters get along)
Can I just complain a little about something inconsequential, internet?
So, it used to be that I would break my moratorium on setting foot in Old Navy at Halloween, because it used to be that they had some great stuff. I remember back when I was in Seattle, the big terrible store had its whole front quarter filled with orange and black stuff, up to and including bath fizzy things with bats printed on them, seven or eight differently themed pajama pants styles, different t-shirts with different methods of design and material, and the like. Now they have scaled everything down abominably, such that the Halloween stuff takes up about ten square feet of space, all the t-shirts have rhinestones on them, and the most thought is put into baby costumes made of plushy stuff that are supposed to make your baby look like a giant hot dog. It's just goddamn sad.

Also Target's decorations this year are really phoned-in.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: no feet)
Okay, so I installed the del.icio.us plugin like everyone else, so as to have the whole aggregated bookmarks functionality thing, and the freaking beasts hijacked my 'save file as' right click menu position. God! I was USING that spatial location. You assholes.


May. 25th, 2007 11:25 am
zustifer: (1 of 11)
"Causing entries and comments to fail when posting" indeed.
I must be on a different server from chmmr, since he can post any length he wants.
Fie! This is weirdly frustrating. I guess I'm talking TO people, so it's annoying to be shut up. I suppose I could make a whole lot of tiny posts.
zustifer: (czech mouse)
LJ is doing that thing where it won't let me post a long entry, so instead of reading (or not) my writeup of the battered-wife movie we saw last night, you can look at a picture of a mouse.


Mar. 28th, 2007 03:42 pm
zustifer: (Puutan)
One of my students the other day was looking up Mitch Hedberg performances, and one of the clips that came up was one of the Dr. Katz episodes I worked on. At about 03:35 on this one (this is just the Mitch Hedberg parts; definitely worth watching all the way through), that's my background (Wallet World was a real actual store my family and I saw once (it was scarring), and I also jammed in an ad for crab juice (Mountain Dew or crab juice?)). I can't tell what sort of fish is on the leftmost sign, and I completely can't remember what I put there. Yay, though, my handwriting is on youtube (Oh, low barrier to entry!). I probably animated that sequence, too, what there is of it. The next gag was mine too, with the pink hair, but I had originally drawn all new people who were really weird-looking, and my boss decided they were too weird. But the important cotton-candy-haired meaninglessness survived, at least. This next part of the episode, where Mitch is playing soccer and the Mitch-foosball-guys is mine. Probably the most animated sequence ever on Dr. Katz, which I'm proud of in a sick way.
This one, at 02:53 may have been mine too; I think I came up with the Pork Parade. Maybe not.
I'm disappointed to find no hits for the other Mitch Hedberg one, the Smacky the Frog one, which had a really cute bear-mauling by Young Rich. Or indeed any of the other episodes I worked on. Oh wells.

I was sort of constantly upset while I was working there, because the style was so anti-animation, but I did get to do a lot of weird things that got on television, so I expect it evened out.
zustifer: (1 of 11)
Curse you, livejournal, I just want a light-on-dark attractive theme that's fukken legible and wherein the colors are non-mutually-aggressive.
I also am not much liking the default line spacing in the vox themes, or the body-text-to-post-title size ratio. I really don't want to make my own; I'm on livejournal, for goodness' sake. But arial is not what I want out of a body font, and warm blue and cool blue aren't fungible.
I guess maybe I DO want to make my own. Damn it.
zustifer: (Forget Jones)
These guys have missed out on the opportunity to totally condescend to us with an infographic. Past peak, indeed. I want 'Foliage Notably Absent' or 'Foliage Under Snow or Ice'. And in spring, 'Foliage Still Forming. Please check back in six months.'
zustifer: (elephant shrew)
This article mostly makes me sick. This is the movie industry, guys. What the game industry aspires to be. You can't tell, can you? 'Rats must not be hot, because Dreamworks/Aardman's thing didn't do well. The rat content is obviously the only factor worth looking at here.'

I'm not a fan of the Pixar rat character designs, incidentally; I don't see why with Steve Purcell on the team this was the best they could come up with. They're a poor compromise between 'realism' and 'less scary,' I think. People who are scared of rats/mice are scared of
1. fast motion
2. naked tails and paws
3. yellow gnawing teeth
4. beady shark eyes
(And then maybe disease-carrying or whatever, but I'm concerned with visual stuff.) So Pixar removed most of those things (installing white human teeth; did we learn nothing from Stuart Little?), but left a big one, naked appendages. Also, I don't see why all the character designs out of them nowadays have this huge freaking white eye area with a relatively small iris/pupil. Can't we balance this out a little? The feeling of beadiness isn't really alleviated with this approach, either.

Side note: I don't remember the Cars trailers very well at all. I remember having a pretty negative reaction to them, though, but that was in regards to the character designs. Especially in the context of whatever television surrounded the trailer, the characters took a while to even parse, as I recall.

Parting shot: Christ. What did we as a people do to deserve this webpage?
zustifer: (leilei)
Sometime last week, someone in one of my classes brought in Cars, the newish Pixar movie. So I put it on, for us to look at while they worked and while I went around to help people out. My students seemed to generally think it was cute, but my constant complaints of 'What the crap was that?!' and 'Are we supposed to think this is funny?' and 'Who came up with this premise, a four-year-old?' and 'What makes the tractors non-sentient?' eventually started to crack their complacent exteriors.
'Maybe,' one of them posited, in an effort to resolve the lack of coherent worldbuilding, 'all humans were transformed into cars. They just turned into whatever car they were most like.' I agreed that this was possible, but then what about the inanimate cars that already existed? No one was willing to go any further with it. I sort of didn't blame them, since it was making me unreasonably angry, but I let it go.

So yesterday, I forced this movie on chmmr and unpleasant and 343. The time had come for Deep Hurting.

We all agreed that it was appallingly bad. I think the best thing about it was the great-looking environments, in which I see Steve Purcell's hand pretty strongly. Nice lighting, nice production design, nice-looking dust and FX.

Everything else worked much less well. The characters were amazingly flat (to the point of some scary stereotypes: the one (stereotyped) black character was married to the one (stereotyped, voiced by Cheech Marin) hispanic character. What is this, Plato's Stepchildren?), and too numerous. There was some love interest no one could possibly care about, and some older mentor figure who never actually did much, and a bunch of other tertiary characters that sat around being 'colorful' (alarmingly stereotypical). Oh, and The Hick. Sigh.

The protagonist's character arc proceeded from Unmotivatedly Jerkfaced Arrogant Car to Car who has LEARNED THE MEANING OF FRIENDSHIP. He seemed to make this change for no real reason; he just sort of eventually developed Stockholm Syndrome or something (originally he was being held forcibly in a run-down town because he did some damage to it). One moment he's being rude to all the cardboard cutouts of townspeople-characters, and the next he's all, heyy, Love Interest! Lemme just flip my switch from 'asshole' to 'awkward!' And you're my friend now, Hick! Even though I never really seem to actually warm up to you, and in fact seem uncomfortable around you most of the time! Aww, it's a treat for all ages.

Really though, the thing that just made me quiver with rage is the universe-building. Okay, we've got a human-free universe, populated instead by cars. The very first thing I wonder about, when hearing such a thing, is okay, how did this come about? [answer: No idea.] How do the cars, not exactly known for their dexterity, manipulate the objects around them? [answer: they don't, unless specially equipped. Once I saw a car use its antenna, which is a pretty serious hack.] What are cars doing with human accoutrements like desks, flowerpots, and flagpoles? Did they build them? How? [answer: uhh...] Why are there farms? Who or what is food being grown for? The cow-painted tractors, which are supposed to be essentially animals (but whose faces are not significantly different from the sentient cars), who owns them? Why is farm machinery less 'human' than road vehicles? [answer: AAGH] I think that there is still something about ever-racheting-up fidelity that demands more thought than the alternative. If there'd been vagueness in the realisation visually, maybe I would have been more forgiving. But I don't think you can have perfectly rendered dust and grime and just expect people to not to have their expectations raised for a cohesive world. I mean, maybe I'm the only one who looked at the car-shaped land formations and said, 'what the heck? Were those created? Is this just some sort of unsettling coincidence?' and I'm reasonably sure I'm in a small group with people who asked 'was this planet seeded with/by car-shaped aliens, eradicating all human life in the process?'

Sincerely, it's like a four-year-old's version of a fairy tale. Once upon a time, there was a place where there weren't any people, just cars. And the cars drove around a lot, and they drank gas, and when they broke they would repair one another. Okay, I'm bored, let's go play with legos.

In the supplemental material on the DVD, Lasseter said that he made this movie for his young children, whom he'd neglected while working on the Toy Stories. They liked cars, he liked cars, and he totally wanted to do this for them. And he did, and somehow he got everyone to go along with this.
zustifer: (Nivlem says See Here)
One try, suckers!
I guess all those dog cognition classes have FINALLY PAID OFF.

(actually, this is true, although it is way more convenient to refer to dogs by breed than to be all 'my dog is a floppy-eared long-muzzled type with piebald coat, standing about two feet high. He has herding tendencies, but no retrieving tendencies.')

I will also go on record saying that this new posting format is not that great. Arial is too narrow, and LJ, like so many others, has failed to specify font color for the subject input field where they've specified the background color, leaving me with a fun cream-on-white experience (my color scheme is light on dark).
zustifer: (Scientific)
Evo vs. devo! (Um, sort of.) Thread at retrospectacle in which no one (until my intrusion) brings up that the old Attractive/Smart slider is in large part cultural. People don't seem to realise that they're creating the stupid hot people and smart ugly people with their strong preference for hotness. People who are hot do not have to do anything else, since they're rewarded so much for just being hot. Therefore they often don't do anything else, regardless of intelligence level. And more unattractive people feel they have to compensate.
zustifer: (Jim Jarmusch)
How can you attack American Beauty for the completely wrong reasons? It wasn't the surface detail that was annoying, it's the fact that the layer underneath it was only marginally more thought-out. Seriously, buying a sports car is character development? The plastic bag, though, I could watch a whole movie of that.
And sincerely. I will fight anyone who says 2001 is incomprehensible or boring. FIGHT. Unless your excuse involves never having seen a movie before and not really getting what this strange too-long jokeless sitcom thing that's shot in 70mm is all about.
(Not one of the Overrated Movies, but we just watched Barry Lyndon, finally, and it hasn't got a dull frame in it. It did however make me realise that Shelly Duvall is the true form of any leading woman in a Kubrick movie.)
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Delia looks significantly a)
Boy, it sure is great that Cartoon Network's programming is branching out to include such 'live-action' gems as Cats & Dogs. I really appreciate the thought and strategy behind the backing of one of 2001's finest films. I mean, even the movie's website is just glowing with skill and dignity.

First good Pet Sematary joke wins the prize. This is making me pine for Riddick.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Lydia wedding stoic)
I never cared about James Bond, myself. Mr. Alcott speaketh for me. I hate wish-fulfilment (to me it's usually as laughable as the Beautiful and Approachable Princess of Everything episode of Venture Bros). I think the mythos is SO BORING that even a direct parody like Austin Powers isn't really very funny. I was even dubious about the (now probably defunct) Rupert Everett vehicle in which he was to play a gay James Bond type (even though I enjoy Rupert Everett and am all for gay remakes of movies).
As I recall, the only redeeming value in the movies (I haven't seen so many, though) is the overdone-cultural-meme antecedents, which are funny because I've seen them a million times elsewhere and it's entertaining to see the original (I usually like this phenomenon).

In closing, I am a big jerk who hates culture.
zustifer: (Griffy as Wolverine)
Good morning, starshine, time for a strangely crapulent SpiderHyphenMan trailer. There's a strong Raimi moment (okay, aside from the symbiont sequence) almost at the very end (Sandman's face + subway car) but apart from that I am so not interested. This isn't right, trailer! Try harder! Even making Sandman sound like Godzilla at 1:36 is not enough!

The trailer (so far as I can tell between the orchestra hits and 24-frame fades to black every two seconds) does seem to make Sandman the main villain, though, with Hobgoblin just sort of being obnoxious in the spaces between major fights, which I am behind. I'd rather not see this series fall into the Too Many Villains Per Movie trap (even though I definitely have some ambivalence about this series in general, so it's not like it'll break my little heart like X-Men 3 did).

Hey, wait a minute, the trailer says at the bottom that Spidey is supposed to 'face' Venom. I didn't see any egregious mullets, so I'm dubious. I hope they don't shoehorn his ass in at the end just for the sake of checking off the third villain on the Quantity over Quality checklist (no, seriously, I guess Eddie is the blond guy, but I still have a tiny glimmer of hope that the screenwriters will just let him be a normal guy in this movie).

Most of all I love (for no values of 'love') how the trailer commits to neither Ass-Kickery nor Personal Conflict, by holding to a constant tone throughout a Please-Everyone sort of piece. The concept of the suit being somehow addictive or destructive is solely brought up through tiny truncated chunks of dialogue, and Spidey's abilities inside it are not appreciably different (let alone better) than without. Should have been left out of this trailer entirely. Kirsten Dunst's face is ALWAYS shown when she talks, despite the fact that she's the only female in the trailer's limited universe (meaning that we know it's her without looking at her (OKAY except for Aunt May)), and every time we look at her the action (and interest) stops dead and looks around vaguely, wondering where it put its car keys.
It just smacks of 'Hey ladies, remember all the Relationship Moments in 1 & 2? We totally have those! Please do not stop buying tickets!'

Also the symbiont suit looks crap.
zustifer: (achewood: what death looks like)
Well, once again our culture's calendar system has screwed us out of an opportunity to dress up silly and eat sugar. Thanks so much, weekday. As a concession, I gothed up by about 20%, and almost immediately felt lame about it. Fortunately it fell just within my normal clothing parameters anyway, so I could sort of justify it. The job placement lady dressed up as Sally from Nightmare Before Hmas, in a homemade costume that was pretty good. She said she wasn't getting a lot of recognition, which is honestly fairly depressing.

This study has a bit of a goofy hat on, but it does display the concept that kids (before a certain developmental point) have a hard time excluding what they know from their mental models of what others know. The kids were asked if Robin is a fictional construct in Batman's mind, essentially. Their knowledge that Robin is in fact fictional interfered with their ability to mock up Batman's perspective on the subject. The kids were a range of ages, at which some children would have the ability to mentally inhabit a character's perspective, and some wouldn't. Then the researchers were smart enough to continue the study with more empirical, hard concepts: can Batman interact with Robin? And the kids knew that was possible, as well as knowing that Batman couldn't interact with Spongebob. They're from two different worlds [/comic book guy]. Good stuff, fairly clever. I wonder how young you have to go before kids lose their concepts of different character universes, and you have no reason to exclude Batman from Bikini Bottom (yuckers).

I have finally found my Achewood usericon (even though the original resolution was almost too small to read and I had to recreate it with a pretty close font). I am well pleased. The rite of passage is complete.

PS: Here's that picture of the baby next to the graves. It's not that great, really the concept is all it has going for it, but, hey.
zustifer: (Griffy as Wolverine)
Fuck you, no.

(PS: No offense to foxxtail, naturally, but this is not something I personally would ever want. I blame my lack of corporeal spandex-readiness as well as my failure to identify with female superheroes/-villains.)


zustifer: (Default)
Karla Z

February 2012

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