Archive for the 'by dino' Category

This week’s mega-blockbuster

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Ah… how fondly I remember the year Iron Man came out. Wait… that was this year! With a new blockbuster arriving each week I had a (very likely unoriginal) thought: I want to see well-respected actors playing ridiculous parts.

Of course, it turns out that this is already happening. Robert Downey Jnr as an action star? I wouldn’t have believed it 5 years ago (although at that time I probably believed he would be either dead, in prison or a washed-up drug addict). It’s not that I didn’t think he could do it – quite the opposite – he’s such a fantastic actor I bet he could play the part of a black male by undergoing a controversial skin-darkening operation, or better yet, play the part of an actor who does it, which he does in this week’s blockbuster movie opening.

I want to take it a step further: get famous but wimpy-looking actors playing tough roles. For example, Hugh Grant as a boxer, Reese Witherspoon as a ninja assassin, Jim Carey as a female ice truck driver. Let’s see how good they really are.

Part of me worries that this will eventually be an unavoidable reality. We’ll get 50 blockbusters opening each year and “quality” actors will chase the money into bad roles. In fact, I assume that is what Tropic Thunder parodies (I haven’t seen it yet), as well as the opposite: action movie stars taking on dramatic roles in search of critical acclaim (the fake movie in Tropic Thunder is offending the retards who are offended by the word retard).

This is a blog post, and blog posts must be worthless, so I don’t feel bad about having neither a point nor a conclusion. Instead I’ll just make a list.

  • Tom Cruise’s next movie will have him play a (good) Nazi with an eye-patch
  • Keira Knightley, who is so skinny she has to jump around in the shower to get wet (cha-ching!), has played a few non-wimpy roles: as a warrior princess Guinevere in King Arthur, the real-life bounty hunter Domino and as whats-her-face in the Pirates movies. Although, in the latter she’s starring next to Orlando Bloom, who’s super sexy but not exactly throbbing with toughness.
  • Christian Bale lost 63 pounds to be in The Machinist, then followed it up with his first action role in Batman Begins. With The Dark Knight he’s probably the biggest star in the world at the moment, in a film that follows the other big trend in movies today: a sequel, or in this case a sequel to the reboot of a sequel to a sequel to a sequel of a reboot of a tv series (that was also a film) based on the reboot of a comic story that’s had many sequels.
  • I sometimes wonder what will follow the trend of constant blockbusters. It can’t last forever. Will it be hundreds of Disney-like movies? Camp Rock, HSM3? If you don’t know what HSM is, then you are definitely not cool.
  • I’m flying from USA to Australia tonight. I leave on Wednesday and arrive on Friday. My birthday is Thursday, but it doesn’t exist!!! Will this give me super powers? You’ll find out in next year’s blockbusters.
  • Blockbusters is a fantastic word. Busting blocks.

If any of the three people out there that read this crap feel like commenting, don’t bother. I won’t read it. You’d be better off doing something more useful, such as watching the international pharmaceutical convention that’s currently being broadcast from Beijing, where you are a complete disappointment if you somehow don’t break a world record. As I said to Max today, they’ll have to start filling the pool with honey soon. No super suit will help there! Also, all these medals… only rappers should wear that much bling.

[The author returns to edit the post. I’m back because I had this nagging suspicion that some random person would accidentally stumble across this page by googling for the Jonas Brothers and think “Jim Carey is not a respected actor”. Dear random person, The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind and The Man on the Moon. Subtracting one for the whole talking out of his bum act still leaves two.]

Things I saw today: Country-line worshipping

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

On the way to the shops today I walked past a church. The windows and doors were open, giving me a good view inside, but also allowing the extremely loud music to escape.

What I saw was about 50 church-goers country-line dancing to the Scissor Sisters “I don’t feel like dancing”.

It’s obviously a progressive church that would dance to a band with openly gay members, named after a lesbian sex position, and with songs that worship hedonism and drug use. I wonder many of the dancers knew, or cared. As a Scissor Sisters fan, I hope they all did.

Not really related, but my current favourite TV show, Friday Night Lights, has a character who forms a religious death metal band called Crucifictorious. Evidently they were thinking of naming it Stigmatalingus. Awesome.

Doctor, I think I have a problem with premature castling.

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

The queens of chess

There apparently is a lot more to international competitive chess than I had realised. Chess Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk and Almira Skripchenko show they are not just enormous brains in this photoshoot. I don’t know why I assumed there were no attractive chess masters, male or female. I now stand corrected.

Doing a little more research on Almira Skripchenko turns up some interesting facts, other than she has a name that wouldn’t look out of place in a James Bond movie. Almira was born in Moldavia (not to be confused with Molvania ;) with a mother who is also a Grandmaster. She has won the French National Chess Championship a number of times and entered the men’s competition in 2002 and 2003, the only woman to have done so. She migrated to France, but they still love her in Molvania, naming her “best sportsman in 2001” and giving her the Order of National Merit. Outside chess, she competed, unsuccessfully, in the Ladies World Championship of Poker and she is the official poster girl of a German first division football team. I didn’t know Chess opened so many career doors.

A record of Almira’s games is available. Buried within the many serious chess comments are Whitehat1963 with “very hot!” and Runemaster with “I’ll admit that I agree with Acirce about that photo of Almira in the CCCP t-shirt: I want to embraced to the bosom of the motherland!”. It seems Almira Skripchenko is the Maria Sharapova of Chess.


Back to the photoshoot. You can buy autographed copies of the photos from $6-$36. You can also describe what you’d like the signed message to be, as long as it is a reasonable request. Within seconds we had excluded “I’ll take your bishop any day”, “please be my check mate”, “I am forever your pawn”, “it was a pleasure to handle your rook” and “I’d love to ride your knight”. I’m sure there are many others.

All this raises the question: who is the Almira of the male chess world? Garry “Gazza” Kasparov? Anatoly Karpov (now there is a face only a grandmaster could love)? Bobby Fischer? Without doubt, it’s Deep Blue who gets me hot!

I think I have now filled my chess-champion-stalking quota for the week. Next episode: monster truck minxes and ping pong pretties.

The slow decline of American positivism?

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

[crikey! a serious post from dino]

I’ve noticed a gradual but distinct change in America since I started visiting it often, around 2000. American people used to be unimaginably positive, especially when talking about anything related to America. They had the best, biggest, fastest, mostest and happiest of everything. Many people took it to be American arrogance, but I never thought of it like that. I don’t mean this to be insulting in any way: it is one of the most endearing things about a culture I love.

However, I’ve noticed this has started to change. I’m certainly neither a sociologist nor anything qualified that would give any credibility to what I say – it’s just a feeling I have. I sense that America is losing its positive attitude.

Here are some photos I took this week.

Sign on a church reading: The worst kind of religion is no religion at all.

The first, taken in Central Square, Cambridge, is a sign on a church that reads “The Worst Kind of Religion is no Religion at all”. I can’t help but read this as “Religion: better than nothing”. As a strictly non-religious person I appreciate the lack of strong messaging. However, it still puzzles me that one of the most religious countries in the World, a country whose government is basically chosen by the religious majority, has started to soften.

Sign on a school in Roslindale that reads: Students please do your best

The next is a sign in front of a school in Roslindale, MA that reads “Students please do your best”. It makes no mention of inspiration, achievement, goals, self-worth or encouragement of any kind. Instead it sounds like a desperate plea to the students to at least try for the minimum. I wonder what type of environment this school provides.

Of course these are only two minor examples. But I’m not hearing the positive statements I used to hear from my American friends. Instead they seem almost resigned to a lack of achievement.

I wonder if it is the way the American Government has broadcast the message of fear for the last 5 years: that America needs to be afraid of the rest of the World, of unseen, unstoppable terrorists that could strike at the heart of the country at any moment. It’s probably hard to be positive in that environment.

Then there is the fact that their armed forces, the bulging bicep of the World’s Greatest Democracy, has been unable to ‘finish’ in Iraq. Despite ending the reign of Saddam Hussain, something that I think of as a success, the current situation appears to be considered hopeless by my American friends. Maybe because it isn’t a loss? Americans can bounce back from a loss, they way they did from September 11, but an ambiguous and difficult situation like Iraq seems to be more upsetting in the long term.

Meanwhile we’ve seen the increasing rise in popularity of programs like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” which clearly point out the inadequacies of the government and much of American industry. I love these shows, as do many of the Americans I know, but they are successful because they make fun of the negatives in American life, or more accurately, the negatives that really should be (or used to be) considered positives.

Another fact: their obviously (to me) smart President acts like a moron. Sure, a minority of America can be happy in thinking that they don’t need to be the smartest in the world because they have it better than everyone in the world. But I see a huge amount of intellectual pride in cultures like France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Australia and England. I’m sure Americans had more of that pride while they had an intelligent President. The current government looks like they chose a type of messaging that would get them elected at the cost of their nation’s self belief.

[wow, I’m really getting into this blogging thing now!]

I don’t want to see America lose its positive attitude. America, please don’t change any more. Please elect a government that will keep you they way you used to be. I liked it.


Monday, September 25th, 2006

Today I learnt that the well-known default alert tone when you receive a message on a Nokia phone, da da da daaah daaah da da da, is Morse code for “SMS”.

Also, my hotel in Prague has the best implementation of the “Do Not Disturb” sign I’ve seen. The sign has one completely green side with the word “YES” in huge letters and one completely red side with the word “NO”. Simple and clear, even for those people who don’t understand the words (unless they are either red-green colour blind or don’t understand traffic lights).

Another Temperament Test Result

Monday, April 24th, 2006

***You Have a Psychopathic Temperament***

Introspective and reflective, you think about killing everything and anything. You are a soft-hearted time bomb. You long for the end of this ideal life. You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you, and that is why you must destroy it all.

Given enough time alone, it’s easy for you to lose your mind. You tend to be spiritual, in that you’ll torture the religious first. Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times, by chopping them into little pieces or attacking them with a golf club.

At your worst, you brood then maim. Your negative thoughts can trap you, just the way you like it. You are reserved and withdrawn and terrifying. This makes it hard to connect to others. That and the fact that you often kill them first. You tend to over think small things, and over think, and over think until you explode in a rage so pure that you are lost in the river of blood that flows from the bodies of the undeserving.

Magazine subscriptions

Friday, March 24th, 2006

The next gripping installment in my series of stupid lists.

Fake magazines I’m glad not to subscribe to:

  • Autopsy World
  • Dental Plaque Digest
  • Crash Victim Photo Journal
  • Ultimate Ulcers
  • Toilet Mould Monthly
  • Sanitation Examiner

Scandinavian bedding

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

I really have to hand it to the Scandinavians for their quality manchester. They use these fairly thin quilts that are especially light and deliciously toasty. Honestly, it’s a pure delight to hop into a Scandinavian hotel bed and look forward to a lovely night of sleep.

If I were to criticise anything, it would be that they have the typical European tendency for huge pillows. But that’s ok because I carry my own pillow.

I should really buy one of those quilts.

Seven Less Deadly, But Still Harmful, Sins

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006
  1. Eating Apple Pie with anything extra, such as ice cream.
  2. Saying “I’m gonna move to Canada if X” where X is something political, and then not following through
  3. Using hand slapping greetings as if you grew up in the ghetto
  4. Watching “Desperate Housewives”
  5. Dropping French phrases into English sentences
  6. SUV, Hummer or any pink car ownership
  7. iPod envy

4 Fruits that nearly convince me there is a God

Monday, December 19th, 2005
  • Mango
  • Kiwi
  • Peach
  • Nectarine