Saturday, May 17, 2008

Patti LuPone in Gypsy

WOW. Just WOW.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anyone do Accomplice?

This one is for my NYC readers. I was wondering if any one has taken part in the Accomplice show. It looks like a lot of fun, but $65 is a little steep for me to try it blind. Has anyone done it? Is it worth it?

International Idiocy: May the Force be with You Edition

May the Force be with You

This story is just too funny. Nothing I can say could possibly do it justice. Box of it.

FDot breaks down "Speed Racer"

Directed by: Larry and Andy Wachowski

Written by: Larry and Andy Wachowski

Starring: Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, an annoying monkey

The Short of it:
Good beginning, good ending, bloated middle

The Long of it:
Full disclosure here: My friend knows the night manager of a local theatre, so I've been seeing a number of movies recently for free, Speed Racer included. I believe that when one sees a movie for free, it does alter slightly one's perception of a movie. I'm a bit more forgiving of a movie when I don't have to shell out $11 to see it.

Speed Racer actually starts off quite well, quickly setting up the main character and his motivations. Much has already been said about the visuals of the movie, so I can't add much to that discussion. However, while they certainly are something to behold, by the end they just become part of the movie; there's no more WOW factor about the visuals at the end. The first 40 minutes zip by quite quickly, as the rest of the Racer family is introduced and the character arcs are set up. At the 40 minute mark, however, is when the movie takes a turn for the worse.

Speed has been approached by a large corporation about racing for them. Speed wants to maintain his Independence and chooses not to sign. This is where the villain of the piece launches into a large discussion about racing and how it's always operated and how certain races affect the stock prices of companies and the machinations that went into certain racer to enable takeover bids god I got lost listening to this. If this movie was rated PG-13, I might buy into a more complex description, but this is quite obviously a PG movie aimed at 10 year old, and what 10year old is interested in a minutes long discussion about the stock market?

That scene was just the precursor to an incredibly bloated middle section. The audience is treated to about 40 minutes of screen time on a cross country race only to serve a plot point that could have been wrapped up in 5. This was the main issue I had with the film. Slice off 45 minutes and Speed Racer would have been a great film, but it looks like the editor fell asleep. 135 minutes for a children's movie not about Harry Potter is a dicey proposition. The other main bloat issue was Spirtle and his monkey. I am aware that in the TV show these 2 served virtually the same purpose, but here they just detract from the story. While Speed is hearing about stock takeover bids, Spirtle and the monkey go on a candy eating spree at the company's headquarters, then take a joyride around on a cart until they are finally caught. What does that scene have to do with the movie. Nothing. It's just total filler, no doubt included to make young people laugh. Maybe it does, but it's scenes like this that just added to the running time. At least have Spirtle spot something or perform some task that will actually assist Speed Racer later on, but instead, he and the monkey are just comic relief that serve no purpose to the overall story.

At least Speed Racer does pick back up at the end. The final race and especially its finish is done quite well. Even I couldn't help getting excited watching it, even though I knew what the outcome would be. Obviously, everyone got exactly what was coming to them, good or bad.

The Sum Up: The visuals are fantastic, but don't WOW throughout the entire film. The story is needlessly convoluted and contains way too much filler, but the beginning and end of the film shine through and it's an enjoyable enough movie to sit through.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FDot receives a proposal!

It appears that I must exude some amount of sexiness I'm unaware of; for today, I received my first proposal from a total stranger on Myspace. I must admit that on one side it is a touch flattering to receive some attention as its been quite a while since I've had any. Quite a while. However, on the other side, it's a bit creepy. Let's see what I received. My comments will be in italics, plus the names have been changed, though as you'll see, he did a good job of that himself.

Subject: hiya [Hmmm...not technically a word, but OK]

Hey FDot, how's it going? I'm Bill from the North Bronx---and occasionally Hartsdale. [Two nearby areas, sounds plausible enough]

I was just browsing thru [not correct spelling] profiles of people who live around my area, and I came across yours. I liked what I saw! [How charming. Out of the many random profiles that were looked at, supposedly I'm the one who stood out. Not that he sent similar notes to many others.]

I know its [no apostrophe] strange enough receiving an e-mail from someone you dont [no apostrophe] know, so not having a pic in my profile can't make things any better. [You think? The profile has nothing; supposedly Bill here went to two high schools 23 years apart and had no information about himself listed]

It's just that I'm not "out", so that's why there's no pic. [Um, ??? I know this is a personal decision, but I doubt a picture of yourself on myspace automatically makes you gay.]

If you'd like, I'd send you my pic or i'd [not capitalized] go on webcam for you "live" so you can see me. [Wow, that's inviting. No doubt I'd need my credit card too.]

If you're into it maybe we can chat further on here or on the phone or instant messenger (mine is [redacted] on aim) or something. [Between the offer of chatting on Myspace, the phone and AIM, what is left for something to cover? That sounds ominous.]

I'm a nice guy, goodlooking, I workout 4x/week. [How would I know? You have no picture.]

I'm just a little iddy [iddy?] bit older than u----41. [Ugh. u? Really...YOU was too hard to type. No comment on the age, 41 is ok for me]

I play and teach tennis and I love basketball. I'm a [redacted] too. I saw on ur profile that ur an unemployed [redacted]. Was thay [typo] by choice? [ur...sigh. I redacted the job description just as a caution. No, my unemployment was not by choice, though that's an entirely different story.]

I'm sorry to bother you bother you if ur not interested, but if you are I hope to hear from you real soon man! [How cute, a stutter! At least he calls me a man.]

Joe [Here's where he lost me. If I was really desperate, I might play along and send a response back; but at the beginning of the letter, he said his name was Bill, and suddenly now it's Joe? You don't accidentally type your name incorrectly, I'm not sure what this is, but it's not something I'm going to respond to.]

So it looks like for the time being.....I will remain single.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gravatar help needed

Does anyone reading this use Gravatar? I've been wanting to change the avatar I use for over 2 weeks. However, the Gravatar site has been down for me since I made that decision. I type in the address and the cursor just spins until the request times out. Same thing if I pull up a cached page from Google and click on a link. Nothing. Does anyone know a way to get into the site; or at least a way to override the Gravatar avatar with an avatar from another site?

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Greatest Worst Comic

A thank you to, of all things, Cracked Magazine for tuning me into this comic strip.

Mark Trail is a comic strip that has been around for just over 60 years. The strip revolves around it's title character, a photojournalist and erstwhile conservationist. He also helps people solve injustices against animals. He has also been in his early 30's for many decades (even Charles Schultz allowed his characters to age a few years).

The strip tends to suffer from a few glaring flaws. First, the humans aren't drawn terribly well. There are some body ratio issues. In addition, every evil human in the strip is given sideburns and long hair. Secondly, while the strip follows a story line, every Sunday is devoted to some wonder of nature, effectively killing the momentum of the story. Finally, as it is a nature strip, there are some beautiful drawings of animals, however, the animals are drawn in instead of the humans, causing one to believe that either the humans have transmorgified or that the animals are suddenly capable of speech.

Allow me to show a few examples from the most recent storyline, which involves a pet kidnapping ring.

Here are the kidnappers planning the kidnapping of a puppy. Note the sideburns and ponytail (how evil!) Oddly, the kidnappers appear to be in cahoots with a local sparrow:

The next day shows that perhaps it's the sparrow who is the brains of the outfit:

Here's a Friday strip, where the plan to kidnap the puppy is set in motion:

Here's the Saturday strip, where it looks like the plan might work:

Oh no! Will the puppy fall for the ruse? Quick, let's find out on Sunday, where all comic strips have more room to tell a story:

Yay! The puppy.....uh....what the hell? A MONKEY EATING EAGLE? BAD HAIR DAY? What does this have to do with anything? Did I tune into that show with the Crocodile Hunter's scary looking daughter? Oh well, it turns out that the puppy is indeed kidnapped, so now it's Mark Trail to the rescue! Though for some reason, he lets a wild rabbit do the questioning for him:

And those hands in the final panel? What can he do with those tiny little things?
Notice how in this final example his hands have grown back to a more normal size, but HORRORS, the poor girl's mother has transformed into a goose!

Will Mark Trail be able to find the kidnapped puppy and return him safely? How many more animals are involved with this scheme? Will the girl's mother return from going south for the winter in time to continue being a mother? (At least you could make a nice down pillow from her.) Time will answer all these questions, and I will be happy to bring you the answers to them, provided you don't actually get the comic strip in your newspaper.


A thank you to Cracked Magazine for tuning me into this comic strip.

Mark Trail is a comic strip that has been around for over 60 years. The focus of the strip is on the character of Mark Trail, a photojournalist and erswhile conservationist. The stories revolve around animals and the dangers they face. Recently, the strip has been running a story about a pet theft ring, where pets are kidnapped then ransomed back to their owners at high cost. However, the strip suffers from a few flaws.

1. There is no Sunday strip. Excuse me, there is no Sunday strip that forwards the story. Every Sunday strip is a dissertation on some aspect of the animal kingdom, while the story takes a one day break.

2. The drawings of the humans stink. They look about as generic as a humna can be. A sketch artists nightmare.

3. The animals look beautiful, which is good for a comic strip that revolves around animals; however, the animals are sometimes randomly given the foreground in a panel, leading to what appears to be either the transmorgification of the human characters, or animals spouting off random thoughts about a subject.

First, in the midst of the kidnapping sotryline, here is a Sunday strip apropos to nothing.