The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


About that frame

I gave it some thought, and the best and quickest way I can see making a frame is to somehow get all four pieces together into a single block that can be cut at once. If there was only some way of strapping the four pieces together …

[The Gang of Four in a “Group Pattern” …]

Well yes, blue masking tape will work just fine to hold the pieces together while we cut the ends …


Of course, it's still not quite that simple, because you have to make sure the blade is at a precise 45° angle, and that took a few tries to pin down, so to speak.

[A frame and a bunch of shims]

Granted, the frame is now a few inches shorter than originally, but hey, not as misaligned as previously.

If only I had thought of doing that first

Kung Fu Panda

Spring wanted to take us all to see Kung Fu Panda and asked if I wanted to go along. Normally, I'm not one to see films and I usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming, but the one commercial I saw for the film, involving Po the Panda fighting his master with chop sticks over some food, intrigued me enough to relent.

And I must say, it was a very enjoyable film. Sure, predictable enough, but the action sequences were incredible—the prison escape scene (which isn't a spoiler, because without it, there isn't a film), the aforementioned chop stick fight, the bridge fight (can nothing stop the bad guy?) up through the final fight (“skadoosh”) are all very well choreographed.

It was also quite funny, and yet without a ton of pop cultural references that have plagued Disney and Pixar movies for years. That alone made it quite refreshing.

The artwork during the opening sequence and closing credits was also incredible; I almost wish the entire film was done in that style (as we adults were sitting at the end of the film, watching the gorgeous art work, as The Older was trying to get us to leave, because “the ushers were cleaning up the theater”—heh).

Well worth watching (especially through the credits—there's a small bit at the very end).

One thing about the film bugs me, and it's not about the film per se but the genre in general. Not the kung fu genre but the whole “complete newbie who gains complete fighting mastery through a training montage” genre (which again, isn't spoiling anything since that's the point of the film). Except for Po, the Panda, all the other major characters have been training all their life in kung fu, yet it's Po, who never fought in his life, that needs to save the day, after a very short training regimen (it's not made clear in the film exactly how long he trains for, but it comes across as a few days, maybe a week or two at best).

I have to wonder what type of message is being sent with this film—train all your life for one single purpose, and lose out to an earnest, yet bumbling, amateur. No wonder just about every other character in the film is upset (both good and bad).

It's not even in the “It's so bad it was well worth the price” category …

M. Night Shyamalan's latest movie, The Happening, is not merely bad. It is an astonishment, so idiotic in conception and inept in execution that, after seeing it, one almost wonders whether it was real or imagined. It's the kind of movie you want to laugh about with friends, swapping favorite moments of inanity: “Do you remember the part when Mark Wahlberg … ?” “God, yes. And what about that scene where the wind … ?”

The problem, of course, is that to have such a conversation, you'd normally have to see the movie, which I believe is an unreasonably high price to pay just to make fun of it. So rather than write a conventional review explaining why you should or shouldn't see The Happening (trust me, you shouldn't), I'm offering an alternative: A dozen and a half of the most mind-bendingly ridiculous elements of the film, which will enable you to marvel at its anti-genius without sacrificing (and I don't use that term lightly) 90 minutes of your life. As this is intended to be an alternative to seeing the actual film it is, of course, overflowing with spoilers. Those who still intend to see the film despite my warnings should probably stop reading now; those looking for a more typical review should stop by and take their pick. For the rest, onward:

Via Instapundit, The Movie Review: ‘The Happening’

And now a movie I really don't want to see—“The Happening”. After reading the spoiler-laden review (because I'm like that—I don't mind spoilers) I have a few comments about the film, but because someone out there might want to see this sans spoilers, I'm putting my comments about The Happening on a separate page.

Update on Monday, June 16th, 2008

In fact, it's worse than I thought (link via Columbina).

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