Archive for March, 2005

Puma Mongolian Shoe BBQ

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Puma mongolian grillJosh Rubin got to try out the Puma Mongolian Shoe BBQ. Many companies have added “build-your-own” capabilities to their websites (Timbuk2 being my favorite). Puma decided to take it a step further by allowing customers to select their shoe parts in store. Now you can handle the the different fabrics and compare the patterns side-by-side. At $130 it even seems to be reasonably priced for what you get. I just enjoy that now consumers can be held entirely responsible for their ugly ass shoes.

Jell-O Salsa

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

Jello bannerYou know what they say about idle hands… well, idle engineers’ hands are much, much, worse. A couple of years ago my current roommate (Frosty) and I were brainstorming/drinking and decided that gelatinizing salsa would be a grand gift to humanity. Actually we were hellbent on gelatinizing anything at that point. So we ran to the store and grabbed a box of unflavored gelatin, a jug of salsa, and a bag of Fritos Scoops. The process was simple enough, just replace the water in the recipe with salsa. We didn’t thin the salsa at all. With the salsa boiling the gelatin dissolved easily. An equal amount of cold salsa was added and the mix poured into a 9×13″ plan. Placed into the refridgerator the salsa set up much faster than regular gelatin. So, how did it go? Great! It actually worked. I think a lot of the enjoyment rests in the choice of a structurally sound chip; otherwise, it would be impossible to carve the salsa out of the pan. We’ve yet to move on plans to gelatinize other semi-solid foods, but they’re definitely in the pipe. Frosty did attempt to gelatinize Mountain Dew, but failed. I believe Mountain Dew is already a barely stable mix of caustic liquids and won’t tolerate modification. So, try out the salsa recipe, there’s no harm and it cleans up easier than regular salsa which is probably the only legitimate reason to attempt this.

Casshern

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

CasshernCasshern (torrent) is another “digital backlot” movie. Head over to IMDB to get the plot summary. I didn’t read it till afterwords; I did try to explain it to my roommate using words like: stem cells, primordial Kool-Aid, Castle Greyskull, and Cobra Commander. Seriously, it is that bizarre. If you have a high tolerance for anime action, sci-fi weirdness, and lessons for all humanity go ahead and check out this movie. For everyone else you should check out something fun like Sky Captain… and leave this depressing movie to the fetishists who enjoy gratuitous use cogs and propellers. That heavy plot isn’t hard to follow, but I think not having to read subtitles would probably make the melodrama a lot more bearable. As one review put it: this 140 minute film is “exhausting”.

Adult Swim Announcements

Monday, March 28th, 2005

Venture Bros. LogoAdult Swim made several announcements last week. Here are some of my favorites:

They announced a lot of other crap, but it looks like it should be an interesting year anyway. For Adult Swim and Comedy Central torrents check out My Spleen.

Immortel (ad vitam)

Monday, March 28th, 2005

Immortel box artImmortel (ad vitam) (torrent) is one of four films shot entirely on a “digital backlot”. All of the actors are filmed in front of a green screen and then digital backgrounds are added later. The other three films featuring this are: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sin City, and Casshern (torrent). Immortel is based on a comic series by Enki Bilal, who is also the director. The movie is beautiful to look at with flying cars and an aggressively vertical New York City to match. The cast includes very few human actors and the computer generated actors can be quite jarring with their low level of detail. In the movie’s world everyone is sporting some sort of artifical organ or other enhancement which may explain the generic looking CG actors. There is a lot going on in this movie, but the plot boils down to this: Horus is about to be exiled and is allowed to return to earth for his final seven days. His itinerary:

  1. Find suitable male host body — implants give him gas
  2. Impregnate a specific female
  3. ?

Yep, this movie is crap. Granted it looks great and is obviously based on something substanstial, but it is so poorly excuted that I can’t recommend anyone watch this for reasons other than the design/novelty of it. I will be buying the graphic novel since I was intrigued by the setting and the storylines they attempted to tell, so I guess some good will come of this. I’ll let you know about Casshern when I get a chance and I plan on catching Sin City this weekend.

Death Race 3000

Monday, March 28th, 2005

Death Race 2000 screen capWell, it seems like Paul W.S. Anderson plans on remaking Death Race 2000. The original Death Race 2000 was a cult classic. Released in 1975, it starred David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. The movie featured a cross-country race that awarded points for killing pedestrians and it’s the inspiration for the videogame Carmageddon. My favorite scene is when a competitor backs over his own pit-crew to take an early lead in the points. What’s Anderson going to do with the franchise? He’s going to Rollerball it. I’ve enjoyed a couple of Anderson’s bad movies (AVP and Resident Evil), and he does seem to get large enough budgets to make a good looking movie. All of that withstanding, this movie is still going to be a pile of shit. It would take a lot of skill to produce a good remake of this movie and even if it did happen we’d still be wondering why they even bothered. I’m dreading the arrival of “heavily armed Escalades” and Anderson’s dialog which has prompted me to yell at the TV on occasion.

Side note: If you enjoy obscure movies, Orgazmo: Special Edition is being released tomorrow.

Off to the Record Store

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

Death from above 1979While listening to the SXSW torrent I stumbled upon Death from above 1979. The Toronto two-piece consisting of Jesse Keeler (bass/synth) and Sebastien Grainger (vocals/drums) is a force to be reckoned with. In my quest to pick up every bit of info on the band I discovered the video from their March 11 appearance on Conan (torrent). Half-way through the song (during the bass solo) Grainger moves from the drum kit to the mic that is standing on stage. Max Weinberg comes running in and starts playing the drums while still struggling out of his jacket. I thought this was an awesome display of respect and was glad that Grainger got to perform untethered with one of the most capable drummers around. This clip was inspiration enough to get my ass to the record store.

Death from above 1979 albumDeath From Above 1979 – You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine This is the obvious choice. The record hits hard right out ouf the gate and keeps up the pace throughout. I like the heavily distorted bass which never overwhelms the finger work. Great buy.

Blood Brothers CrimesBlood Brothers – Crimes I always consider it a good sign when the clerk is excited about what your buying. I got clued into Blood Brothers while reading Nothing Nice to Say. Back in 2003 Mitch Clem was saying “Burn Piano Island, Burn album of the year” nearly every day. So, after doing a little research I decided to buy it, even though I don’t consider myself a punk fan. I’ve never been happier. Crimes doesn’t dissappoint either. It has been described as less bombastic than the previous album, but I’d argue that this album is a lot more dynamic and experimental than the first and should be celebrated in its own right. P.S. this is a great week to start reading Nothing Nice to Say; Mitch will have four mp3s available each day to make a 20 song compilation this week.

Mars VoltaThe Mars Volta – Frances the Mute Founded after At the Drive-in broke up The Mars Volta released this, their second album, this month. This thing is epic. I thought the album had ended way to quick before I realized that I wasn’t through the first track which is over thirteen minutes long. Side note:

FBI Anti-Piracy Warning: Unauthorized copying is punishable under federal law.

That statement appears SIX times on the album packaging in contrast the FIVE times the band’s name appears. This is just getting ridiculous.

DJ DBDJ DB – Breakbeat Science: Exercise 04 I decided I couldn’t leave without buying some electronica. I was wearing this shirt and I do own every other DJ DB album. This album is just a mix of tracks on the Break Beat Science label. It’s a good mix, but left me wishing I had done some research and picked up something original. Probably just being outshined by my other purchases.

Playstation Portable Launch

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

Playstation PortableWell, the Sony PSP launched last Thursday. It seems that sales are not as high as expected. There are also rumors of large numbers of dead pixels. The PSP does look like a great device though. It can play games and videos, has wifi support, and a widescreen lcd. It also allows Sony to upgrade the device remotely to add functionality (or break someone’s hack). Hacks have already been developed: Wipeout Pure has a web browser that will access a Sony site in the future. By setting up a proxy on a local computer you can serve any page you want to the PSP. This means you can’t go surfing from wifi hotspots yet, but Sony will probably add an official browser in the future. They pushed the PSP out the door hoping to sell as many as they can before they announce at E3 that the Playstation 3 will be released this fall. Another hack lets you download video files to your PSP almost automatically. Someone has also managed to use old memory sticks in the smaller Duo memory stick slot. Which leads me to why I won’t be buying one. Sony insisted on using not one, but two nearly-proprietary storage formfactors in their device. Using UMD for games doesn’t bother me too much since I would be playing PSP games in the PSP only, although the standard CD format of Playstation games probably made backwards compatibility a no-brainer when making the Playstation 2. There is a nice touch in the fact that PSP games don’t have a region code so you will be able to play Japan only games on your US PSP. Sony’s use of memory stick duo for storage is idiotic. I don’t know why Sony attempts to force brand loyalty by using flash memory that very few others support. They had an excuse; when the memory stick format was first introduced the digital camera market was still developing, but now they’ve introduced the duo instead of going with the obvious choice, SD. There is one reason I might pick up a PSP… Ape Escape!

Links are up

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

Just wanted to direct your attention over to the right column. I’ve added links to all of the sites I read on a regular basis.

Also, if you missed it: Phil has released myGmaps a new google maps based custom map generator. I’ll be sure to play with it when I get a chance and post anything fun I come up with.

Self-assembling Machines

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

Self Assembling RobotI remember seeing computer simulation where a random group of polygons were given some intelligence so that they could teach themselves how “walk”. wmmna has the story on a set of robot buillding blocks that pull off the same trick. Each of the joints can rotate 180 degrees and the pieces are connected by magnets so the robot can rearrange itself on-the-fly. With a name like M-TRAN it also means these “tranny” robots with interchangable parts will be writing their own jokes too… because obviously I can’t.