Beowulf

Beowulf

Evil breeds pain.

20071 h 55 min
Overview

An epic tale concerning a 6th-century Scandinavian warrior named Beowulf and his mission to slay the manlike ogre Grendel, a descendant of Cain.

Metadata
Director Robert Zemeckis
Runtime 1 h 55 min
Release Date 5 November 2007
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Very good
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

         A very well made movie combining good story telling, nice visuals, good characters, and an awesome          soundtrack

Years ago – back in the early 90’s – I had a goal to direct the first fully computerized movie with famous celebrities. I wanted the film to be done in such a way that the viewer could not tell that the images were computer generated. Beowulf is the closest I have seen come to my dream.

The story of Beowulf is a classic, much like the Iliad. I remember reading it as a teenager and being mesmerized by the monster, Grendel, and the battles between him and Beowulf. The late night attacks on the mead hall, the carnage, and the courage where all visualized over and over again in my head, especially late at night as I lay staring at the ceiling. I vaguely recall some of the poem but the movie brought it all back to life.

Beowulf was originally an old poem written by an anonymous person sometime in the early 8th – 11th century. It revolves around the warrior Beowulf and his fighting of monsters, particularly Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon at the end of his life. The movie, as usual, embellishes a bit on the story line but, I must admit, I liked the bend they put to it. I think they fudged a bit by making Beowulf’s return to Geatland not really an issue in the film but other than that I think this is a fine movie about bravery and mistakes.

I watched this movie with my remote headphones on which I just got new batteries for. I have not used my headphones in about a year and a half so that might have something to do with what I have to say next. The soundtrack is awesome. Not that it is something that you would play in your car or anything but it fit so well with the epic battles that it gave the movie a life of it’s own.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

Imagine a world where nothing is impossible.

20152 h 10 min
Overview

Bound by a shared destiny, a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor jaded by disillusionment embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as "Tomorrowland."

Metadata
Director Brad Bird
Runtime 2 h 10 min
Release Date 22 May 2015
Details
Movie Media Other
Movie Status
Movie Rating Bad
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

Ugh. If I sum this movie up in one word it would be “Ugh”. It is rare if I do not finish watching a movie because I always feel obligated to the artists and myself. I mean, can you imagine if you would have stopped watching The Sixth Sense before the finale? But here lately, I have caught myself missing the endings to more and more movies because there seem to be so many crappy movies out there. I feel like I am wasting my time. Continue reading

Farmville bots

I am trying to compile a list of bots for Farmville that help automate the whole process. Reviews will be coming shortly for all of them once I have done thorough testing with them. To me, these programs are invaluable for the game. I was going to write one myself but these seem to do the job pretty well. As a word of caution, though I am linking to these sites I cannot guarantee the validity of the programs or sites involved. At this time, the only ones I know of for sure that are safe programs are Farmbot, Bot for Farmville, and Gridclicker.

Edit 11.21.09: Farmville is becoming notorious for updating their game so it is causing some of the bots to have to be updated frequently as well. With the addition of Farmville plots up to 22×22 it is causing havoc on a few of the bots. Some of them are becoming unstable or just not working. I will try and keep this list up to date.

Farmbot – Pros: Easy to use, easy to install, cheap, soybean/exp method feature, help neighbours feature
Cons:Spotty on performance, difficult to stop once started, no ability to harvest animals, is not free (costs $5), no support forum. Seems to not work now with plots 22×22.
Gridclicker

Farm Helper

Farmville Bot

Farmville Extreme Manager

Farmville Magic Tools– Pros:Very fast and stable. They seem to keep the bot updated frequently. Does not get hung up on items like your avatar. Has an xp method. Harvest animals with one click on each animal. Simple and nice gui.
– Cons:I am spoiled with the non auto clickers so I see these auto clicker programs as cons. However, this one is by far the best of the bunch. It does not get hung up on items like some of the others and works very fast. Does not automatically harvest animals or trees. It does harvest them with one click though which cuts down the clicks by 50%.

Bot for FarmvillePros: Free, extremely fast, uses commands to the server instead of on your computer, more configurable, ability to control seperate actions such as harvest crop, plant, harvest animals. Can control the amount of seeds to plant, active support forum, plants grow in half the time (start at 55% when planted)
Cons: No help neighbour feature, no soybean/exp method, gui not pretty. Appears to not be working now with the new Farmville updates as of 11.19.09

Farmshark
Cool name and good idea but I could not get it to work. It appears to be very well laid out and I must admit that I did not spend much time trying to get it to work as I was in a rush. I was contacted by the developer (which I believe is an incredibly good sign) and will give it a thorough review when I get more of a chance to play around with it.

Farmville Clicker
Easy grid auto clicker. However, it runs into the same problems as all the grid auto clickers do in that it does not handle items in the way. If it hits your avatar it will cause havoc. It does, unlike most of them, have a hotkey you can hit that will exit the program and quit it before it moves a fence or opens 30 windows by accident.

Remember you are mortal

In ancient Rome, whenever an army general won a great battle, a fantastic parade throughout the city was held called a triumph.  These parades were vastly huge events with all the dignitaries and important people from around the empire present as well as millions of common people as many as could attend.  There was much pomp and circumstance with the general being the center of all the attention.  However, standing behind the general during the whole procession was a slave.  This slave’s job was to constantly whisper into the ear of the general the phrase “Memento mori”, which translated means “Remember that you are mortal”.

While Barack Obama may not be a military leader he is entering into a position of great influence and power.  His inauguration is tomorrow and I am very interested to see the course the American citizens are going to take.  Most people have an overwhelming desire to be underneath the power of a leader figure.  In psychoanalysis it is called dependency.  All throughout our lives we seek people of higher status to protect, lead, and praise us.  It usually starts with our parents who give or withhold food, affection, praise, and security.  As adults we usually transfer that need to bosses, police, politicians, and religious leaders.

The problem with this is that it is all made up. People are people plain and simple.  There is nobody who is any greater than anybody else on this planet.  We tend to forget that our “leaders” are simply people too.  They are governed by the same emotions that we are; jealousy, love, envy, pride, approval seeking, etc.  Placing too much power into the hands of an authority figure is very very very dangerous.  Most people in authority do not have either the training to handle the accolades nor do they have someone constantly whispering in their ear “Remember that you are mortal”.  Our last president, George W. Bush was a perfect example of how such a disaster can unfold.

George W. Bush thought that he was invincible, righteous, and had God on his side leading his way.  As a result, the most atrocious terrorist act in history was committed during his presidency, he led us into two useless wars which have killed tens of thousands of people and cost billions of dollars, ruined America’s moral standing with our blatant use of preemptive strikes, imprisonment and torture, fired people for having a dissenting point of view, ignored natural disasters at the peril of thousands of American lives, created a very sharp political divide in America, and ignorantly allowed the economy to tailspin downward on the backs of greedy capitalists.  Now, George W. Bush is not an evil man.  He did not do these things intentionally.  I believe that his intentions in all of them were honorable.  He actually believed he was doing what was right.  But simply believing something does not make it so. His administration followed the classic examples of how to do everything wrong.  He was given almost cart blanche authority and told that he was above reproach.  He was idolized by his followers.  Compliance with his beliefs was mandatory for anyone wishing to stay in his or his group’s good favor.  If you dissented or disagreed, you were quickly relieved of your duties and pushed out of the group.  If you were not in the group, you did not have access to all the goings on within the group.  They were very secretive.  The administration quickly created an “Us vs Them” mentality even bringing it up in a state of the union address.  Either you are with us or against us.  Anyone who was not part of their group was considered an outsider and less than human.  Not worthy.  Usually labeled a terrorist or unpatriotic.  Both punishable by any form deemed necessary by the ruling party.  With all of these ingredients in place, disaster was bound to follow any plan of action.

Dependence on a leader.
Compliance with a group.
Devaluing the Outsider.
Avoiding Dissent.

These things are anathema for progress and are disastrous for the individual.  Another perfect example is the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Both events happened during the presidency of John F. Kennedy.  The first, the Bay of Pigs, was a mission to overthrow Cuban’s Fidel Castro.  It resulted in a disastrous failure that ruined America’s image and killed many loyal American supporters.  Extensive studies were done on exactly why the attempt failed so badly.  The conclusion was that everyone had put too much faith in John F. Kennedy and believed that everything he did was right.  He had the midas touch.  He was the golden child.  All of the above factors had come into play: Dependence on a leader, Compliance with a group, Devaluing the Outsider, and Avoiding Dissent.  The Bay of Pigs failure was a shock to the whole nation and the administration.  Shortly thereafter, the Cuban Missile Crisis took place.  The same people who advised president Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs also advised him on the missile crisis.  However, things were done quite differently.  Whereas during the Bay of Pigs everyone got together and came to an agreement they knew would please president Kennedy, not allowing for any outside opinion or any dissent whatsoever to manifest, they advised him on his own fantasy, only further emboldening his god complex.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis these same people did the exact opposite.  They broke off into groups who separately worked on the same problems and compared notes.  They encouraged dissent and disagreement.  They welcomed people from outside the group to come into meetings and give their opinions, some of which became foundations to the plan.  Nobody was held to be above anyone else and therefore active solutions could be expressed without fear of scorn or retribution.  The result: the problem was solved in the most diplomatic and violent free way.  It was more than anyone could have imagined.

With Barack Obama coming into this powerful office of President, I worry a bit.  I worry that the American people, and the rest of the world for that matter, are going to place too much faith in him.  He is poised to be a great disaster as much as he is poised to be a great leader.  I am encouraged by his administration.  He has picked people with whom he has greatly disagreed with in the past which means he is probably trying to avoid having everyone be yes men.  He claims to welcome dissent and differing opinions, no matter where they come from.  I like that.  But as Americans, we must be wary that we do not fall into a fantasy role with him.  We cannot treat him like a Messiah.  A great phrase used often to signify leadership roles of one form or another is “A shepherd leading a flock”.  The problem with that phrase is that it implies the shepherd is human while his followers are less than human, they are in fact sheep.  The reality is that it is a sheep leading sheep.  No one is any better than anyone else.  No one has godly powers that free them from human mistakes.  Barack Obama is just another person.  I just hope that he has someone telling him to “Remember you are mortal”.

Movie review: Beowulf

Beowulf

A very well made movie combining good story telling, nice visuals, good characters, and an awesome soundtrack

Years ago – back in the early 90’s – I had a goal to direct the first fully computerized movie with famous celebrities. I wanted the film to be done in such a way that the viewer could not tell that the images were computer generated. Beowulf is the closest I have seen come to my dream.

The story of Beowulf is a classic, much like the Iliad. I remember reading it as a teenager and being mesmerized by the monster, Grendel, and the battles between him and Beowulf. The late night attacks on the mead hall, the carnage, and the courage where all visualized over and over again in my head, especially late at night as I lay staring at the ceiling. I vaguely recall some of the poem but the movie brought it all back to life.

Beowulf was originally an old poem written by an anonymous person sometime in the early 8th – 11th century. It revolves around the warrior Beowulf and his fighting of monsters, particularly Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon at the end of his life. The movie, as usual, embellishes a bit on the story line but, I must admit, I liked the bend they put to it. I think they fudged a bit by making Beowulf’s return to Geatland not really an issue in the film but other than that I think this is a fine movie about bravery and mistakes.

I watched this movie with my remote headphones on which I just got new batteries for. I have not used my headphones in about a year and a half so that might have something to do with what I have to say next. The soundtrack is awesome. Not that it is something that you would play in your car or anything but it fit so well with the epic battles that it gave the movie a life of it’s own.

My rating: 4.0 stars
****

Intersting and weird facts…

  • 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
  • If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
  • Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them use to burn their houses down – hence the expression “to be fired.”
  • Canada is an Indian word meaning “Big Village”.
  • There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.
  • Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn’t added until 5 years later.
  • “I am.” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  • The term “the whole 9 yards” came from WWII fighter pilots in the South Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got “the whole 9 yards.”
  • The word “samba” means “to rub navels together.”
  • The international telephone dialing code for Antarctica is 672.
  • The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.
  • Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots.
  • Until 1965, driving was done on the left-hand side on roads in Sweden. The conversion to right-hand was done on a weekday at 5pm. All traffic stopped as people switched sides. This time and day were chosen to prevent accidents where drivers would have gotten up in the morning and been too sleepy to realize that this was the day of the changeover.
  • The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.
  • Dr. Seuss pronounced “Seuss” such that it rhymed with “rejoice.”
  • In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart never said “Play it again, Sam.” Continue reading

Fitflop: fit or flop?

fitflops The new craze in womens fashion wear is the Fitflop, a flip-flop with a twist. The shoe, designed and sold by Brandhandling, is marketed with the slogan “It’s a flip flop with a ‘gym’ built-in”. The idea is that wearing the Fit Flop will give you longer leaner legs by increasing the work your muscles do during walking. The shoe adjusts the platform during midstride causing the wearer to use different muscles with every step. Continue reading

Crowdsourcing: the next generation of business

putting our heads togetherUsed to be that the information and data gathered by the media was filtered, edited, weighed for entertainment/newsworthiness and then disseminated to the masses. The advent of the internet has started to change that whole process. Newspapers, print media, radio, television, and all of the old school media has had to compete with the new bully on the block aka the world wide web. Continue reading

Transformers not transfixing

3star.gif
If you go to see anything other than a summer action flick in this one, you will be sorely dissapointed. The acting was okay, script was horrid (almost as bad as the writing for this review), directing was…intense?, cgi was as expected (nothing ground breaking). I am sure that this movie would have been the bomb if I was 14 years old and there is nothing wrong with that. I thought the plot lines were silly, there were so many holes in the story that it resembled swiss cheese, and the battle between optimus prime and megatron was a big letdown. Megatron only showed up in the last 30 minutes of the movie which was a shame. He was always my favorite transformer. His character for the movie, of course, was dumbed down to evil villain who sought nothing but the destruction of everything and could not shut up about how evil he was. And how did he learn english? Optimus said that the autobots had learned english by studying the internet. However, Megatron landed on Earth at the latest in 1930 according to the movie yet when he was unfrozen he spoke perfect villainese in english. Good movie if you like to watch car chases and explosions. 2.5 hours of that is too much though and I seriously gave thoughts to walking out of the movie theatre and I would have if I would have had anything else on the planet to do at the time. Saw two trailers that were pretty cool, though. One was Will Smith’s new movie I Am Legend and the other was J.J. Abrams movie codenamed Cloverfield.