The Doodle Pad

Unexpected Trouble

Skater fallen through iceThere's been some unexpected hosting problems the last little while. Some unannounced configuration changes have left some pages broken ... then there's the lost day.

I'm working to fix things, which might cause a few more bumps. Sorry for the inconvenience.

PHP, Eclipse & Me

Good tools are gold, does Eclipse with PHP shine? Nathaniel (Nathan) S. H. Brown, a free lance web designer and programmer, gave us his opinion at the August 2004 meeting of the Vancouver PHP Association. In spite of a delay getting into the building and cranky AV equipment Nathan's presentation was worth the wait. My article on his presentation: Working with PHP and the Eclipse IDE with CVS.

Thunderbirds

The youngest son in a family of international celebrity billionaires wants very badly to join the family business. The family business happens to be International Rescue, a secret organization that rescues people using rocket ships, mini-subs, and other high-tech machinery. If you haven't caught on that this is a kids movie go to the back of the class with many of America's film critics.

Thunderbirds is based on the 1964 TV series of the same name. One memorable aspect of the TV series was its use of marionettes instead of actors. Except for the marionettes, the movie does a fantastic job of staying true to the Thunderbird TV universe. The movie is set in time before the TV series with Alan, the youngest member of the Tracy family, not yet a full-fledged member of the team. And oh is he chomping at the bit to become one. His youthful zeal causes him to make a few mistakes, but as the story unfolds he learns the importance of teamwork and friendship. In the story's background are the Thunderbirds, the rocket ships and other fantastical machines used by International Rescue.

As a kid's movie Thunderbirds was excellent, at least judging from the smiles of the kids leaving the theatre. Unlike some "kid's movies" there are no weird agendas or mixed messages. For adults, the story line is thin. There are a few bits of humour that transcend the kids, but the story is straight forward with almost no sub-plots or layers.

Continue reading Thunderbirds

The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Supremacy picks up a year after The Bourne Identity ends, but you don't have to see the first to understand the sequel.

Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, has physically recovered from the ordeal that caused his amnesia and forced him into hiding. However, he still suffers mental turmoil from half-remembered events he's struggling to understand. Forgotten by his agency masters, events in Germany bring Bourne back into the espionage game and force him to make good on his promise: To bring the fight back to the pursuers.

This is an excellent sequel. So many times the sequel's main character is liked as he or she is, so a story arc that allows the character to grow or change is very difficult. In the Bourne Supremacy we see Jason Bourne develop in a way that both rings true to the character and keeps us interested.

The writer(s) made some tough story choices that give Bourne credible motivation to fully get back into the game. Also to their credit, just when you think the story line is about to follow a cliché it takes a turn. Refreshingly, most of the characters in this story are smart. I also liked that incidental characters weren't just there to look busy or get killed, some of them actually figured stuff out.

We also get some excellent action sequences.

Everyone in this movie turned in a good performance. Of particular note are Joan Allen as Pamela Landy, CIA leader; Brian Cox, former head of Bourne's assassination squad; Karl Urban as a Russian agent; and Matt Damon as Bourne. Director Paul Greengrass did an excellent job of taking this talent and making a very enjoyable movie.

The only thing I didn't enjoy in this movie were some of the "shaky-cam" sequences. Some movies have used this to good effect, it didn't work for me in this one.

Continue reading The Bourne Supremacy

Neurotically Yours

There's nothing like a good frothing at the mouth, profanity filled, politically incorrect rant from an articulate . . . squirrel!?!

Neurotically Yours is a flash comic featuring Foamy the squirrel and his Goth owner, Germaine. Foamy is not without an opinion or the willingness to express it. His vitriolic diatribes are hilarious. I particularly like SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE (under the Toons link while it lasts in the archive). Oh, and watch out for his squirrelly wrath.

Readers with gentler sensibilities will want to take a pass. Foamy has an excellent command of the profaner words in the English language. A number of the toons feature a little cartoon gore.

I, Robot - The Movie

After seeing the trailers I was positive this movie butchered Isaac Asimov's book, I, Robot, in spite of director Alex Proyas' reassurance he had stayed true to its spirit. The book was distinctly not a Will Smith action vehicle. When the movie started pulling in positive reviews I got curious and decided to check it out. I'm happy the trailers got it wrong.

Alex Proyas is as good as his word. I, Robot the movie does the same thing as I, Robot the book: It makes us think about the issues around people, artificial intelligence and robots. Unlike the book, the movie does it wrapped in an action story!

I, Robot starts with a death. Was it murder, or was it suicide? Or was it an industrial accident? Police detective Del Spooner (played by Will Smith) thinks something is up, but he's in a minority consisting of just himself and the dead guy! Solving the mystery propels our protagonist through the story as the stakes become increasingly larger. Because this is an adventure not a murder mystery, we get to see some great action sequences as Smith's character escapes and thwarts those who would deny him the answer.

Continue reading I, Robot - The Movie

The Tiller's Folly

A Celtic reel belts across the North Vancouver Civic plaza where children dance and adults keep time to the beat. The buildings around the plaza provide refuge from the evening sun and day's heat as The Tiller's Folly treat the crowd to their unique style of pacific Celtic/roots music.

Lead singer Bruce Coughlan's voice was destined for Celtic folk music. While listening to him sing "Little Beggerman", "Water at the Bar", and "Ghosts of Read Island" I could have closed my eyes and been back in a Irish pub listening to live folk music. Nolan Murray's fiddle, Laurence Knight's base guitar, and Eric Reed's electric guitar/mandolin were all brilliant.

Given the diversity of the band members' talents the range of musical style is no surprise. While many songs were Celtic folk we were also treated to a sound very much like the Eagles and one blue grass number! Knight gave an excellent bass solo in one piece, I was left wanting more. Reed's electric guitar added a very cool rock sound to some of the less traditional numbers. Murray is a champion fiddle player and it shows, as does his mischievous streak. At one point his between song musical antics cracked up Coughlan as he was beginning a ballad.

Continue reading The Tiller's Folly

Vancouver Farmers' Markets

The director of the Your Vancouver Farmers' Market Society recently spoke at a meeting of the Slow Food Vancouver Convivium. Yours truly wrote up the details of the meeting and they're available for a read at the Slow Food Vancouver website. For a short while it's front page, but fame is fleeting . . . permanent link is here.

My Other, Other Job

Have I created expectations of regular updates, yet?

Websites can sometimes resemble crack, or Leys ("bet you can't eat just one") potato chips: they can be somewhat addictive. Or maybe this flaw is limited to my particular DNA sequencing. Regardless, I wear the webmaster hat for more than just Digital Doodles.

Most recently I've been giving some PHP lovin' to the North Shore Writers' Association (NSWA) web site. Our site now sports both events calendar and announcements pages. If you're curious, or interested in a writer's group on the North Shore, check it out at: http://www.nswriters.bc.ca.

Happy Birthday Sis!!!

A big Happy Birthday to the Sister. Wishing you an awsome day, take some time off studying and enjoy! The sister then
Flower Bouque The sister now
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