Things that I wonder About: Mike Teavee

Mike TeaveeRemember Mike Teavee from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory“? The boy that was completely TV crazy?

Well, in the book and both film adaptations Mike was so incredibly excited about TV and being the first person broadcast by Wonka-Vision that he idiotically threw himself in front of the equipment and ended up getting shrunk down to action-figure size.  Despite his size he’s ecstatically happy about being sent by television. In 1971’s “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory“, he shouts, “I’m famous, I’m a TV Star!” He’s thrilled as a pig in slop to be on TV.

But (in the book and both films) when he wins the Golden Ticket and a horde of reporters show up to actually put him on TV, as the star, for the first time in his life he… annoyed, mostly ignores them and just wishes they’d just go away.

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Stupid Arguments for Pedantic People: America

American FlagThere are certain causes, certain arguments, that certain people hold very deeply, very truly.  Causes that every single other person on earth simply can’t bring themselves to care about.  It’s not that other people are ill-equipped or unable to understand the issue.  It’s specifically that the issue simply doesn’t have a single valid impact on… anything.

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Initial Thoughts on the Steam Controller

steamcontroller-640x542The Steam Controller was recently unveiled as part of the larger set of Steam Machine announcements. The Steam Machine is an open specification for console-like PCs allowing for easy integration of PC games into your living room. While boxes can vary in power and capacity – and so in cost – the Steam Controller is an attempt to normalize the interface.

The controller represents a significant evolution of what’s become a relatively stagnant controller design. While this is a pre-release design that may change it’s unlikely that the core features will change drastically. It shares the two lobed, split-surface design first popularized by the original PlayStation controller but with significant differences.

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Stupid Arguments for Pedantic People: One or Two Spaces after a Period

KeyboardThere are certain arguments that attract certain people. Arguments that sane people ignore for the simple reason that none of the positions raised actually matter in any way. This series will explore some of them.  Here’s one.

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Instructions for My Porch

I wanted to both spend some time with Visio 2013 and formalize my feelings about people wandering onto my porch. This is the result.

You're on my Porch

My wife, unfortunately, has vetoed the actual display of the sign but I still thought somebody else may find it useful.

RiffTrax Live: Starship Troopers!

RiffTrax Live: Starship Troopers

We’re huge RiffTrax fans here and when they did their first KickStarter campaign back in February we backed them.  Backed them hard!  They were trying to earn enough to Riff “Twilight”.  Apparently, since the movie is still busy printing money like Guttenberg on Meth, there isn’t enough for that.  So they did “Starship Troopers” instead.

Broadcast by Fathom Events to hundreds of theaters (and, for the first time, Canada) this is the fifth live RiffTrax event and the first using a major studio film.  The prior events, “Plan Nine from Outer Space”, “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. “Reefer Madness” and the modern turkey classic, “Birdemic”, were some of the best times we’ve had in a theater and this one didn’t disappoint.

“Starship Troopers” is actually a decent film on its own.  Campy, clichéd and over-the-top, but also fun, well-paced and visually impressive.  I prefer it when the guys riff truly terrible films so I can’t say this was my favorite live event.  It was still worlds better than any of the comedies I’ve seen this year.

RiffTrax never disappoints!

Pants make Earth Special

I recently caught the end of “Cowboys & Aliens” on cable again and as I watched the climatic battle I remembered the bit of my original review about how Hollywood was getting in a rut with its aliens:

Grey, hairless, oddly-bent knees, big teeth, covered in mucus  and dripping with drool.  It started with “Aliens” of course but then we got “Battle L.A.”, “Super 8″, “Independence Day”, “Skyline”, “Pitch Black” and everything from “Avatar” that you weren’t supposed to want to bang.

As I watched the sequence again I was struck by something that solidified my problem with all of these designs.  The one thing that neatly represents all my complaints and frustrations.

Where are all the pants?

These are advanced civilizations.  They’ve perfected space travel, energy weaponry and (I assume) fiscal accounting policies and practices.  Don’t any of them wear pants?  Togas?  Kilts?  Uniforms of any kind?  Even if only to tell the grey, backwards-kneed space janitors from the grey, backward-kneed space generals?  Do aliens really not have a bikini area?