amethyst73: (tazz)

Here are my slight MST3K-ish thoughts about The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey.  They're pretty much in order as I thought them, and I kept the original thoughts without regard to later information.  And they're not all snarky, even.

Spoilery spoiler warning! )

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My husband and I are considering signing up for streaming Netflix.  I've poked a little bit at their selections and am impressed, but slightly skeptical.  While looking for a different film (which they don't seem to have), _The Pirates! Band of Misfits_ came up... which is still playing at my local theater, having only opened a month ago.

I note that there isn't any indication as to _when_ it will be available on Netflix, nor yet whether it'll be available as a stream, disc, or both.  WTH? 

How far can I trust the not-yet-a-member browsing feature?  What's your experience with streaming Netflix and its catalog?
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I rented the movie 9 (not Nine) and watched it on my phone this weekend while flying to Michigan. In it, Elijah Wood plays a cross between a Gatherer and a Sackboy who stumbles across the One Ring in the first five minutes of the film and, having no concept of its importance, brings it to Barad-Dur and uses it to activate Sauron in Big Evil Badass Robot form. Most of the rest of the film is spent running away from Big Evil Badass Robot and its hordes of slightly less badass robots. Near the end, Elijah Wood discovers that he and his Sackboy buddies are all effectively Horcruxes, in that each of them is animated by a piece of one human's soul. Once Sauron is defeated and the One Ring is removed from him, the soul-bits of the Sackboys it ate are free to go up to Heaven and make it rain. The remaining Sackboys are left to inherit a postapocalyptic and blasted world, to make of it what they can.

Conclusion:
Pretty animation, lousy dialog and story. There are plenty of other movies you can rent for $2.99 off the Android marketplace that will kill 80 minutes of airplane time much more engagingly.
amethyst73: (mii)
There's hints that a movie is being made based on my beloved Phoenix Wright series of video games. 

If they do it right, it could be really cool.  If they do it wrong, it could be... really wrong.  Hence the "I think?" in the title post.

(Meanwhile, when is Miles Edgeworth 2 getting an English translation?  Huh?)

Enjoying Professor Layton.  I tend to play it in bits; I'll load up a puzzle, and if I can't solve it quickly, I'll put the system aside (sometimes still running, sometimes not) and think about the puzzle for a while.  I learned last night that this playing it right before bed is an EXCELLENT way to give me something that's engaging, distracting, and not emotionally loaded to think about as I fall asleep (or alternately, ponder if I wake up in the middle of the night).  Must remember that.  :)

And still enjoying Okamiden, now roughly 20 hours in and ready to go back to the plot for a while.  Still only ~1/2 way through the game plotwise, I think!
amethyst73: (Default)
Busy last few weekends, these.

Easter weekend started a bit early, with a midday service sung by our choir in a FREEZING COLD!!! church.  (Easter weekend was cold.)  Easter day, we sang a whole lotta music, because, well, Easter!  And we went over to my in-laws for lunch and afternoon hanging out.

The following weekend - last weekend, our bishop visited our parish.  This meant whole lotta additional music, because, well, Bishop!  Bishop Marc Andrus is a really cool guy who likes good modern music, and who preaches a really excellent, clear sermon. 

This weekend went like this:
Saturday morning: go to skating class as usual.  Fail to understand why our frame is going completely out the window after the mohawk turn in the Fiesta Tango.  Come home, shower.
Saturday afternoon: Sing for a while at home, to clear throat of gook.
A little later Saturday afternoon: Go be part of recital, in which I demonstrate to those present that I own a high D.  :)
Saturday night: Watch some more of "My Left Foot."  Get completely discouraged by how grim it is, and turn it off at the attempted suicide.  As Huz puts it, one moral of the story appears to be, "Don't be born Irish."

This morning: go to choir and do somewhat spiffy music because a good friend of our choir conductor, who is a really excellent composer and organist, is in town and is playing with us.  Sit and listen to some of his short recital afterwards.
Early this afternoon: go home, change into street clothes.  Pick up Huz, retrace steps and overshoot church to end up at in-laws' for Mother's Day lunch and hanging out.
Late this afternoon: go home, do an errand.
This evening: go south a few towns to meet a friend who's temporarily in the neighborhood for dinner.  Good times were had.  Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] haamel  - see you soon!

Fun!  But tiring.  Ready to have a quiet evening at home now.

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Just watched Monsters, Inc.  *happy sigh*  What a brilliant, funny, and exceptionally sweet film.
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For two whole weeks, thanks to my employer's shutdown (and the fact that I'm employed by the University, not HHMI).  Two WEEKS!  In which I hope to see buddies, movies, and a great deal of sleep and good health.  Started by cleaning the house in preparation for hoshikage and haamel, who are spending a couple of nights with us tomorrow, and going and seeing the Harry Potter movie.  The theater was full, which surprised me, until the movie got going.  It was good!  Really good, not just Sherlock-Holmes-Movie-Is-Fun good.  Completely lost track of time (except briefly, while the kids were wandering in the wilderness) in the same way I did during Avatar.  Good thing for vacation.
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I should have posted about this ages ago, but haven't. 

Christopher Salmon is a fan of Neil Gaiman's work.  In particular, he's fallen in love with Gaiman's short story "The Price", enough that he wants to make a movie of it.  (You can see this post in Gaiman's blog for a bit more detail.)

Here's the lowdown and dirty: Salmon is asking for funding from fellow fans and artists to make his movie over on kickstarter, which allows individuals to make donations, large or small, through Amazon (weirdly enough).  Here's the thing: with kickstarter, if the entire amount requested does not get raised, no money is given by ANY of the sponsors.  For Salmon, that's $150,000 or nothing. 

His deadline is the end of November (which is why I ought to have posted much earlier!).   He's about $27,000 away from his goal, and he's got some nice goodies for donors who sign up now.  Please consider making a small donation to this neat project!



------
EDITED to add: He did it!  Wow!
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Cats and an owl do the Harry Potter thing!  The top picture of the white cat in the costume is surprisingly attractive.

And the Megamind movie is a fair amount of fun, we discovered this evening.  It gets a number of its ideas from Dr. Horrible, but the ending is (unsurprisingly, for a kids' animated film) rather different.  The trailers for almost all the upcoming 3D movies made them look appallingly bad - Smurf'd and the Yogi Bear movie are particularly unfortunate, while the trailer for Disney's upcoming 3D film Tangled continues to look and feel like a Shrek remake without the green (and maybe without the bodily noises as well; one can always hope).  The only trailer that caught my interest is for a new film version of The Nutcracker (trailer here).  Maybe it was the live action with some pretty visuals in amidst all the frenetic cartoons, but I have to admit I'm vaguely curious about something that looks kind of like the director saw the Narnia films and decided to take away the lion and add some steampunk. 

More serious stuff tomorrow.  Don't want to escape my pleasantly-distracted mood just at present.
amethyst73: (Default)
Hmm, I don't seem to be posting all that much...

I've been busy!  Work continues to be very busy - I'm in the middle of a spin-off project from the interactome that should be really interesting if the results come out cleanly.  I'm also working on The Interactome Part II/III: working on extracellular proteins that have LRRs, FnIIIs, and other interesting domains.  I haven't started cloning yet (waiting for our collaborators to do primer design and synthesis), but I've been toiling away looking at domain boundaries for some of those 'other' domains - there's a quite large list of the things - and determining whether our collaborator has usable clones.  Yeah, I know it sounds like technobabble; sorry 'bout that.

The past weekend was really nice (apart from the &^#!&%! California poplar tree in our neighbor's yard, which goes into bloom about now every year and which produces copious amount of pollen to which I am horrendously allergic).  We had skating class for the first time in about three weeks on Saturday, and did things both useful and pleasant the rest of the day, including getting the rear driver door of my car fixed such that it locks along with the rest of the doors when it's supposed to.  (Metroid Prime ice beam, you are mine now!)  Sunday we went to the early bird showing of Toy Story 3-3D.  We really enjoyed it - I want more of the hedgehog! - though, like [livejournal.com profile] ladybird97 , I would be very cautious about what small children to bring to it, for the same almost-incredibly-traumatic scene near the end.  I have to admit, I'd really wondered whether Pixar would find anything new to say or do in this world... and, well, they did.  They're brilliant.  It was a little weird coming out of the movie at 1 PM and realizing we had the entire rest of the day to do with as we liked/needed.

What else?  I've started a new solo project over at Librivox.  It feels great to FINALLY  be recording again, after literally months of not doing so.  (I think the last time I'd made a recording before this past weekend was back in very early March, before the whole recent series of adventures started.)   We have an upcoming D&D game with [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin  and co. this weekend.  I'm almost finished writing thank-you notes for Important People who came to Mom's memorial service last month.  There's still buckets of things I need to take care of that got shoved into the "After June" category: dentist appt, doctor's appt (annual checkup), calling United to get into my electronic account info, learning to drive a stick shift, calling a lawyer to formally put wills together... 

But it doesn't all have to be done today.  'Specially since it's our 14th wedding anniversary.  No, we're not doing anything much special today; the New Zealand trip was our anniversary gift this year.  But as noted, I am eternally grateful to and in love with my Huz, for everything he does and everything he is for me.  <3
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• The trailer for Voyage of the Dawn treader is out!  Youtube link here - can't seem to find the embed code.  Puzzled by some bits - clearly they've added some stuff.  Special effects look straight out of Harry Potter.  Speaking of which...

• Universal Studios has opened a "World of Harry Potter" area that sounds pretty neat.  A lovingly detailed recreation of DiagonAlley and chunks of Hogwarts, with a couple of random rollercoaster rides thrown in for those who Must Have Rides.  NYTimes articles here and here.  Want to go, can't anytime in the vaguely foreseeable future due to (1) way too much travel this year already, and (2) need to keep "leisure" trips in Boston.

• I have the next book in Tad Williams' "Shadow" series in hand!  (I actually got it out of the library a bit over a week ago, but it was way too big and heavy to lug to Boston and back.)
amethyst73: (Default)
...is that Viking adult males speak in a kind of Highland brogue.  Huh??!?

I saw How to Train Your Dragon with a good friend last night.  It was just the thing as distraction and entertainment from what I've been dealing with for the last week or so.  Furthermore, Mom would have approved of the whole thing start to finish:

- We went to a late (9:20 PM) showing
- We bought movie junk food (which I NEVER do, EVER)
- The movie was really quite charming - she would have liked the film itself
- Oh yah, and she really liked the person I went to see it with, so bonus there too.

It's a pleasant diversion.  In general, you should probably see the matinee rather than the full-price, but you should also see it in 3D, which is nicely done.  Or you can wait and it will generally stand up to DVD home viewing, it just won't look quite as impressive.
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Extremely violent from about a third of the way in onwards.  Kind of confusing, but deliberately so.  Very well done.  But very very violent! 
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• This has been a pretty busy work week-and-a-bit.  After some initial kerfuffle with the cells we needed to transfect, we started The Transfection Part only a few days later than originally scheduled.  With one person being responsible for maintaining, splitting, and aliquoting cells, and two of us doing the transfections, we got through all 264 transfections in the projected time.  And early Western results show that we're getting good expression of the proteins we're trying to make.  Yay!  We will be able to embark on the actual screen for novel binding partners within the Ig superfamily (IgSF) within Drosophila sometime next week.

• Huz is on the last section of Metroid Prime, having defeated Meta Ridley with the help of a walkthrough.  I am nowhere near done, being just about ready to get the Heat Visor.

• Tried out the demo for Miles Edgeworth last night.  Walking around to examine things feels kind of klunky - at least using the interface they had in the demo.  But the story and characters look to be their usual crazy, marvelous selves.  (Who knew Edgeworth was a fanboy of the Steel Samurai?)  Will keep my eyes open for a used copy.

• Speaking of which, someone thought it would be a good idea to write a musical using the characters and concepts of the Phoenix Wright games.  Youtube of the first segment of the musical is here.  Weirdness: all the characters seem to be played by females -- eh, whatever.  From the little bit that I've seen (the equivalent of the 'intro' section of one of the cases), I can't tell whether it's any good or not.

• Our New Zealand trip is coming right up!  I went and got new sneakers today. At least I have that concern out of my mind now.

• We have a bunch of Meyer lemons, thanks to a labmate of mine.  Meyer lemon bars for D&D tomorrow!
amethyst73: (D&D)
I will try to keep this short, in the interests of not taking the rest of this week to write up one post.  But we had a really nice 3-day-weekend.

Saturday, we played with our D&D group.  We finished mopping up the goblin caves, and Lady Karen accidentally got pulled into a mystical pool that a wizard had asked us to check out.  Stuff happened; mostly through luck, I ended up doing what needed to be done.  Because other members of the group may see this entry before we play again next weekend, that's about all I can safely say about it, excepting that the blue tattoo-like mark on Lady Karen's arm was a result of doing stuff in the pool.  Oh, and Lady Karen likes the tattoo mark - her eyes can flash blue now!

Sunday, we went to see Avatar 3D.  I have not been so completely enthralled by a nearly 3-hour movie in a long long time.  (I think the last time was probably when I went to see Fellowship of the Ring.)  And it's similarly rare for me to want to go back in and watch a movie a second time immediately after seeing it.  Sure, the story has been done and the biology is more than a little silly.  But that doesn't get in the way of (1) the visual pretties, and (2) the sweep of the story.  I got completely caught up in it, never paying any attention to my water bottle or granola bar. 

Monday, we went to see the King Tutankhamun exhibit.  Stuff about the exhibit. )

Monday evening, I played with Inkwell Ideas' free online version Coat of Arms Design Studio to implement a coat of arms for Lady Karen, heir-apparent to the March of Schwartzburg.  I'd had a moderately clear idea of what I wanted ever since our GM [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin  told me I could design it myself, but had to make allowances for the label of heir (the upturned crown up top).  Anyway, the userpic today is the result, which I'm really pretty pleased with. 

Off to a busy work week!
amethyst73: (Default)
We've had a great last few days.  It started with my younger brother arriving Friday night after a work conference the previous few days in San Francisco.  We picked up [livejournal.com profile] nezumiko  and went for Japanese/sushi for dinner, then came back to our place and hung out for a while.  Kiddo spent the night on the futon with a couple of our indoor cats. 

Saturday was - amazingly - bright and sunny and fairly warm.  He took a look at our can't-be-turned-on lawnmower, replaced the spark plug, and exhorted me to get a new container of fuel plus some fuel stabilizer.  We went for a walk around the neighborhood so he could enjoy the lovely January sun and warmth, had lunch, and then went to see Sherlock Holmes with [livejournal.com profile] nezumiko , which was fun.  I found the plot kind of silly but pretty well constructed, and really enjoyed the interplay among Holmes, Watson, and Irene.  Any chemists out there who could tell me whether the science-ish explanation of How It Was All Done made sense?  (I do know that Holmes must have gotten his hands on a Rod of Lightning Bolt, 'cuz ain't no way you're getting three zaps out of a standard piece of metal after only one charge!)  We went back, chilled, had dinner, and I took Kiddo to the airport for his overnight flight.

Today I went to church in the morning, and then our D&D group met at our house.  The session was remarkably streamlined, as we had four (count 'em, four) combat encounters, where we've normally had two at best.  And boy, did we whup some goblin backside!  We've recovered the bulk of the gold that the goblins had, plus a handful more, and a handful of magic items.  Now we need someone short who can wear nice magicked chainmail (better than 'standard' +1 stuff), and someone who can use a nice magicked battleaxe (also nicer than +1).  And we killed a lot of goblins, including getting the goblin king to surrender (after whacking on him for a while) and the goblin high priest (whom the king was willing to trick into the room, allowing us to kill him, in exchange for his and his favorites' freedom). 

After the session, we went out to dinner with our GM [livejournal.com profile] cerebralpaladin , his wife [livejournal.com profile] orichalcum , and their two boys, which was also pleasant.  We are now, however, entirely ready to be quiet for a while and then head to bed.  Yay weekend!
amethyst73: (Default)
One of the nice things about having been on vacation for the last several days has been the opportunity to see a couple of movies while they're still in the theaters.  On Wednesday, we saw Nine; we'd wanted to see it anyway, and the showtime made it a quite acceptable substitution for The Princess and The Frog, which was - astonishingly - sold out.  We then caught Princess and Frog on Friday.  While I have thoughts about Princess and Frogl, I've written sufficiently about Nine to call this an entry on its own.  (It's rather longer than [livejournal.com profile] jab2 's concise summary of the film, I'm afraid.)

About Nine )
amethyst73: (Default)
I haven't seen it.  I don't quite dare, somehow.  But hopefully those of you who saw 2012 (and even those who didn't) will enjoy The Editing Room's abridged script for 2012.
amethyst73: (Default)
Like [livejournal.com profile] ladybird97 , I haven't posted anything of substance in a while.  So, I post!

Work has been going along in a mixed-to-reasonable fashion.  We've got positive expression for enough of our genes to make it worthwhile to start on The Big Interactome Project.  One thing stands in our way: the ELISA that we're figuring on using to detect interactions isn't working.  Again.  We plan to work on the problem next week.  But meantime, just about everything else is ready for launch.

We had a fantastic time over the holiday weekend at the giant gaming party hosted by cerebralpaladin and orichalcum.  We saw a number of people that we hadn't seen in quite some time, and met some new - and of course cool - people.  I played two D&D games: one set in ancient Babylon, in which my thief character helped figure out why it was raining on the Jewish Quarter and nowhere else (everyone else in town was blaming the Jews for stealing their rain - turns out that basically, they were right!), and one in which all the PCs were members of a theatrical troupe.  The troupe put on plays of heroic adventures, and in this one-shot, we had to basically *become* adventurers to get our hands on a kidnapped playwright who'd promised he'd write us a play.  The last game that I played was in a system called "Dogs in the Vineyard," in which the PCs were essentially lawgivers of the One True Faith in something like mid-1800s Mormon Utah.  You can get a sense of the mechanics of conflict resolution from this Wikipedia article and the character creation and gameplay from this review.  It is significantly more freewheeling than any game system than I've ever played before (not that that's very many).  The traits and relationships that you use to define your character have essentially no limits on them in terms of their definitions: "sense truth", "skeptic", "healer", and "joyful celebration" were some of the traits in our group.  Having played a session, I can pretty definitely say that the more vague you can be in your traits and relationships, the better - it means that you can more easily bring the die values of those traits and relationships into conflicts.  It was fun, and I wouldn't at all mind playing in the system again.

We had our first choir rehearsal of the season a couple of nights ago.  We have two new people: a strong bass and a strong soprano.  Having two whole basses to our name makes a huge difference, as does having a soprano who can actually generate volume on Wednesday nights.  I'm really excited about choir this year - we're gonna be goooooooood...... :D

And next weekend we're going to see Spamalot and Yellow Face, both should be good pieces of theater.  I'll be interested in hearing what y'all think of the movie 9; it's on my 'hmm, could be interesting' list.
amethyst73: (Default)
You know how I mentioned that we were thinking of seeing HP:HBP this weekend?  Scratch that.  Harry will be around for at least another week.

What's changed our plans, you may ask?

PONYO!!!!! Ponyo ponyo ponyo ponyo ponyo!  Miyazake's latest shows up in town this weekend!  And since we don't know how long it will be in theaters, we're figuring we'd better see it quick.  :)

Ponyo!!!!!!!!!!

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