Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Notes while watching Safety Not Guaranteed

WITH SPOILERS

Who names their daughter Darius?

Difficult to believe that Aubrey Plaza's character, she of the smouldering eyes, would be such a shut-in, speaking as an aspiring one myself; that kind of sarcastic, skeptical-of-life intelligence attracts the like-minded, at least to a close-knit few.

Weekend getaways, especially ones near the ocean, trigger memories of 2009, wherein I had many such trips. Quiet towns, lonely roads, quaint B&Bs, diner food.

Ugh, shooting without goggles? Running through the line of fire? C'MON!!

Not sure how I feel about the subplot, this slick guy, a self-assured jerk whom I care little for, seeking out his old flame. Is it my lot in life to be so agonized by these fellows?

Aw, he turns into a nice human and helps a virgin seduce high-school students with alcohol.

Heh, someone had a lot of fun making that thing: A combination of the classic Time Machine machine and the alien device in Contact, with lasers and a few Tesla coils thrown in.

Eh, the film was okay. Felt a bit rough in dialogue and jokes. Strange to see Plaza smile fully.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

back from Ottawa

Is it May already? Time does indeed fly, though I've little reason to let it to do so. Low, low have my thoughts, and heart, been of late. The weather has at least finally begun to turn, a gradual, teasing warming that comes and goes. On top of playing games, I have also turned to shows -- Archer, House of Cards (US), Adventure Time, Attack on Titan, Game of Thrones, The Office (US), Rick and Morty. The last of these I highly wholly recommend, and I rarely get excited about a television show.

Uhm, in local news.. turns out profits from the Green Beanery goes to a group that denies man-made climate change. That's some venti-sized greenwashing! Thankfully they are not my supplier of beans, slow as I am at consuming them.

But no, I have been busy this past week. Indeed even now, dear reader, I write to you from the comfort of the Ottawa train to Toronto, there to attend Skepticamp*. I quite enjoy the train: the separation from the fickleness of traffic, the quiet of gliding past the Ontario landscape. I was there for only 2 days and 2 nights, with my time split between seeing the talks, and walking to and enjoying Rockcliffe Park, that scenic escape. Ah, the mem'ries of my days in Ottawa came flooding back, a very fond time, though my recollection of it is riddled with wistfulness. I looked in on Auberge Des Arts, and 486 Cumberland St., that fabled dwelling. The city has changed, to be sure -- condos, those wretched lifeless boxes, are popping up like so many urban barnacles. But the cityscape is not yet too far changed and retains much of its historic small city charm.

To continue my recap of last week: Friday night I heard my friend's band (LeBaron) play at C'est What!, Thursday I saw Reg participate in a boxing match, Tuesday and Wednesday I hung out with some friends from out of town, and Monday I caught The Grand Budapest Hotel with Steve, the latest Wes Anderson film, and a most excellent one at that. A different flavour from Moonrise Kingdom; darker, a sense of saudade, of knowing that your friend is already gone.

Whew! Well I look forward to getting back to my usual procrastinating, and giving the cats some attention.

*I'll recap the Skepticamp at a later time.

Friday, May 02, 2014

podcasts i listen to

And here, ladies and gentlemen, are my most frequently listened-to podcasts. Whether it's walking to the store, doing chores or sitting on transit, these are the shows that find their way into my ear and eventually my mind.

Science & Skepticism
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
This is it, the one that started it all, the podcast that sparked my trip into the world of skepticism and critical thinking. Funny, informative, thoughtful, and just a bit nerdy, this is the science podcast by which others are judged. I have David to thank for pointing me in their direction.

The Reality Check
Consisting of members of the Ottawa Skeptics, this educational podcast has a more Canada-centric focus to the stories it covers. A bit dry at times.

Stuff You Should Know
Each episode covers a topic -- kind of a layman's reading of a wikipedia article. Entertaining and down-to-earth. Plus they've got soothing radio voices.

Inquiring Minds
In-depth interviews with scientists and writers.

Comedy
Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast
Before the show, CBB was a podcast with the host interviewing an array of characters played by actors and comedians. The zaniness is best digested in small doses, but it is consistently laugh-out-loud funny.

How Did This Get Made?
Bad movies reviewed by three very entertaining hosts. While not a requirement, the show's a lot funnier if you've seen the movie they discuss. My favorite might be Mortal Kombat.

Other
As It Happens
Classic CBC radio show that interviews the people in the news around the world. Questions are intelligent and direct, allowing one to hear the word from the source. I've been listening to AIH for years and years, even before SGU. I say classic but they are also always relevant, consistently informative.