The Doodle Pad

Some Random Comments About Upcoming Films

Four upcoming films I want to comment on. In no particular order:



Cinema Fusion posted a trailer for Coraline (IMDB page), a movie based on Neil Gaiman's book of the same name.

Gaiman has a knack for creating atmosphere, and Coraline the book has a wonderful creepy in-a-good-way vibe and a charming story. If the trailer is anything to go on the movie might, as well. The movie is directed by Henry Selick, who also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas. Voice talent includes Ian McShane, Jennifer Saunders, and Dawn French. Saunders and French as Miss Forcible and Miss Spink, brilliant!

Gaiman has been keeping tabs on the process and writing about it. He likes it, this is a good thing! I'm very much looking forward to the final result.

Coraline isn't set for release until February 2009.

The Last Starfighter Sequel: Starfighter

Last Starfighter PosterVia the Movie Blog, Cinema Blend reports in two web articles: Son Of The Last Starfighter! and More On The Last Starfighter Sequel that a Last Starfighter (IMDB page/Wikipedia page) sequel is in the works.

I loved this movie when it was released back in 1984! Though it isn't high art and is a product of the 80's, it has a certain wide eyed, optimistic charm I enjoy. The video gamer saving the galaxy storyline is cool, too! I'm not sure I'd call it a classic but there's a lot of people who do. I am sure it's nice to watch every now and then.

It's so early in the development process who's to say how the sequel will turn out. Initial involvement of a lot of the original players is a good sign. Let's hope they don't mess it up!

If you're interested, check out the Cinema Blend articles.

Continue reading Some Random Comments About Upcoming Films

Vancouver Freeze

Vancouver Freeze

At the beginning of the month I posted a YouTube vid of a people freezing in Grand Central Station. Marina discovered a Vancouver version captured in this photo by Mark Klotz. Head over to her site for the video, and some other hijinks involving computers and Starbucks.

Instructions for New Telephones

Oh my God, this is amazing! Instructions from 1927 on how to use the "new" dial telephones. I've clipped some screen shots to wet your appetite, head over to Don't Jiggle the Switch Hook at to see the entire 7 minutes of historical educational goodness.

Dialing a phone screen shot 1 Dialing a phone screen shot 3 Dialing a phone screen shot 2

Direct dial telephones are so ubiquitous it's hard to imagine a time when someone didn't know how to use them. But of course there would have been a time when you'd need to describe the difference between a ring tone and busy signal, or that you don't dial the dash (-)! And I wonder how many of today's teenagers would know how to use a dial phone? My sister said my niece was confused when confronted with one. How many of us clue into the weirdness of "dialing" a push button phone?

What I'm marveling is how gloriously simple the concept of a telephone is. We've replaced the dial with buttons, shrunk it, and made it wireless, but it's still basically the same device . . . except for the ring tones, directories, instant messaging, downloadable games, hamburger/Elivis/Starship Enterprise motifs . . . never mind.

Northern Voice Awesomeness

Northern Voice basco5 Poster

As most of you know I have two website, the "techie" site at and this one for my non-techie/personal stuff. Some things are hard to categorize, and one of them is Northern Voice. I'm working on a Northern Voice post appropriate for Digital Doodles, but life is getting in the way. So in the meantime, I'll point out the posting I made at Group 42: Northern Voice Wrap Up. It's not technical, I promise!

The poster is by local artist basco5. The last couple of years he's been a great friend to Northern Voice, providing us visual style!

Nacho Vigalondo

Flagged via IO9, an interview with director Nacho Vigalondo (IMDB page, Wikipedia page) at Timecrimes: Writer-Director Nacho Vigalondo. Horror isn't typically my thing so I don't read, but I just couldn't help finding out if Nacho Vigalondo was a real person or Jack Black making a sequel to Nacho Libre!

So Vigalondo is legit and has an award winning and Academy Award nominated short film named 7:35 de la manana (7:35 in the Morning). It's clear from the interview Vigalondo likes sci-fi, gets jazzed on ideas, goes in offbeat directions, but is still concerned about the details. Throw in the foreign perspective and he could be a director worth watching. And after reading the IMDB Timecrimes comments I'm intrigued, and curious enough to see the movie if it comes around.

Here's his short film, 7:35 in the Morning. Just when you think you're looking at something to top Tom Cruise singing Loving Feeling to Kelly McGillis in Top Gun, things go in a very different direction . . .

Happy Birthday Peace Sign!

According to this On the Media peace piece, Sign Of The Times, the peace symbol is 50 years old today!

Peace Symbol

I had always thought the symbol was abstract, but apparently it's a stylization of the semaphore signals for N and D:

Semaphore N Semaphore D

The ND stood for nuclear disarmament and the symbol was adopted by a British anti-nuke group. The interview guest gives an interesting little history of the symbol and its move across the Atlantic.

So happy birthday to a 20th century icon!

Oh My God, He's 19!


Ladies and gentleman keep your daughters indoors, my nephew is 19!

Yes, he's the handsome devil pictured to right in his graduation duds. Of the things I heard he did today, his folks helped him celebrate that time honoured ritual of the first drink without having to sneak into a pub (Not that he's ever admitted to me that he's snuck into a pub, but he's in university now so I take it as a given). And he got free chicken wings to boot!

Happy Birthday Eric!

Say Goodbye to Niggardly

While the movie gang was enjoying a pizza slice after Days of Darkness the word niggardly came up in conversation. Used in the movie, some people thought it might be a variation of the "N" word (which is what the movie played on). It's not! Niggard is actually a Scandinavian word meaning a stingy or miserly person and the root of niggling.

Now that you know about them, use them at your own risk. For better or for worse, niggard and niggardly are likely doomed words. Niggardly's use has already caused problems for a number of people: Controversies about the word "niggardly". Given neither word is commonly used, I suspect few will care one way or another. But now you have factoid for your next trivia contest . . . or blog post.

L'Âge des ténèbres/Days of Darkness

Days of Darkness

Last Friday at the movies was a real treat with Denys Arcand's L'Âge des ténèbres (Days of Darkness). It's a wicked social satire about getting lost in middle age, and the story of one Jean-Marc Leblanc, a Quebec civil servant with a soulless, mind-numbing job, emotionally remote family, and penchant for escapist fantasies.

The humour, especially in the first half, really hits the mark. The entire theatre was laughing out loud. The fantasy scenes are genius at revealing Leblanc's character and inner dialog. Far from just sexual, his fantasy relationships also contain an emotional intimacy he can't find in his real world relationships. We're also treated to the lampooning of bureaucracy run amuck with Leblanc's day job.

Although Days of Darkness does an excellent job of capturing the human condition the story had pretensions to a deeper meaning it didn't deliver on. With few exceptions we've all been in a rut, known we're in the rut, but haven't known how to get out of said rut, so there we've unhappily remained. I felt the movie promising me some deep insight about crawling out of ruts, but it didn't deliver. The ending worked, but somehow wasn't satisfying.

And the story ended too early for me! I'd have gladly given up some of the setup, which seemed to go on too long anyway, for a chance to explore Leblanc's family relationships at end. There were hints of things I wanted explored in more detail.

Days of Darkness probably won't hit a theatre near you but check it on DVD if you spot it. Although the story isn't perfect you'll laugh and hopefully enjoy the characters as much as I did.

Summoner Geeks

This video has been around for a long time, now, and it still comes up in conversation at least once a year! Just the other day someday dropped a quote ("I cast a spell") in IM, prompting a barrage of other quotes involving Mountain Dew, Cheetos and attacking the darkness. I had to re-watch the video for old times sake. Rather than locate it on my hard drive I checked to see if it had been loaded to YouTube (What does that say?). To my delight, it had.

For anyone that's played D&D, this usually brings back some great memories. If you're interested in its history, check out this Wikipedia entry: Dead Alewives - Dungeons and Dragons Sketch. Behold the greatness of the Summoner Geek video.

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