Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Movie Review: Duck Soup

I just watched the Marx Bros "Duck Soup" (1933) again. This is probably the best comedy I've ever seen. It is absolutely hilarious, humor that is so invariably Jewish in nature and some not-so thinly veiled political commentary of the growing Nazi threat in the world at the time of the film's release.

A stunningly well-done movie.

It's interesting to read the reviews of this now. The film came out in the height of the great depression (1933) and was not nearly as successful as other Marx Bros ventures. Apparently there was some public distaste due to the highly cynical portrayal of government and nationalism... I think it's downright impressive that they could pull off a film like this at that time. There were some pretty hilarious jabs at the censorship movement too- the part with the horse shoes at the end of the bed was hilarious.

The biggest winner here for me is Groucho's performance and delivery as well as the constant barrage of beautifully written gags, double entendres, and puns. This is SO FUNNY. I could watch it 1000 more times.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011


Wow! There are 4 bars of Verizon service in the BART tunnel under the Bay! And full 3G service. Impressive!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011


Well this sure seems pretty awesome. I haven't spent much time fiddling with operating system installs lately since I installed Win7 64-bit about a year ago and life has been smooth and easy-going ever since - quite seriously, this OS is pretty awesome. On my old Dell Laptop I used to have a dual-boot setup with Ubuntu Linux and Win XP SP3. It was nice to have a Linux option once in a while if you really needed it but it was always a pain to have to reboot the machine into Linux if you wanted to use it - the result was it didn't get much use.

Enter, VirtualBox. So I've heard a bazillion things about VMWare and Virtualized machines in general over the years and it always sounded cool but I figured my sound card wouldn't work, or my internet would be terrible at best, or some other host of issues would come up that would make the process not worthwhile. As it turns out, VirtualBox is INCREDIBLY easy to use, and did I mention... FREE?!?! Apparently it's an Open Source effort between Sun and Oracle, and I'm pretty darn impressed already.

Another issue I've heard is that Virtualization can be suuuuuper slow. We'll see how my machine copes, but I do have a 64-bit Quad Core with 4 Gb RAM. Really kicking myself now that I didn't buy 8 Gb RAM at purchase time, but hopefully this'll be good enough. This is going to be pretty fun to set up and the cool thing is, if it doesn't work or you decide you no longer want a given operating system, you just delete the virtual disk and uninstall VirtualBox. Pretty amazing. Another cool thing is that the disks are expanding - so if you end up needing a larger "virtual partition" for your given operating system, then it will expand the virtual disk (just a biiiiig file) as needed. Fancy!

More info: http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Best-of" Photogallery in the works

I've decided to spend a bunch of time in Picasa "starring" my favourite photos from over the last few years. When this is done I'll whittle them down even further and then post a "best-of" gallery at some point. Probably just post to Facebook to start, but ultimately these will go on a fancy new photogallery when I (at some point) re-design my website.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

iPhone Sleeve

I've been trying for a while to figure out what kind of iPhone case to get. The iPhone 4 design is so sleek and fantastic that I want to keep the case as minimal as possible. This is really just for the times when I am going somewhere and not carrying my phone directly in my pocket - and if it's bouncing around in my shoulder bag with my keys thrown in there carelessly (which they surely will be!) I need some sort of cover/sleeve.

Rather than go for the boring leather sleeves that the Apple store had, I wanted to get an "iPod Sock" but they don't seem to be selling those anymore. So I went onto Etsy (cool store) and found a bunch of homemade sleeves which were hilarious, awesome, and unique. I ended up going with this one from a company called SeaSideSew in LA. Very cool. http://www.etsy.com/shop/SeaSideSew

New haircut!

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Movie Review: A Clockwork Orange

I just saw A Clockwork Orange for the first time. I've seen a few of the iconic scenes before but never watched the movie in full. Holy moly! Crazy movie. The style is so iconic and I'm starting to think I better watch Dr. Strangelove again now that I've had more of an introduction to Kubrick's style (I just saw 2001 last week too). The main actor who plays Alex is astoundingly good, and the cockney Britishy dialect the gang speaks is ultra-weird and fun.

It has an interesting 1984-ish feel too it and exhibits some great dark humour. Some of the particularly violent scenes must have been *very* graphic by 1971 standards. (Apparently this has since been "downgraded" to an R rating...)

Like Requiem For A Dream, this is by no means a pleasant cinematic romp - it throws some brutal questions at you about society and takes an incredibly cynical view of family, government, relationships.... but the intensity of the message is so strong and the style of the film is so iconic (there, I used that word again!) that it's clear why it has landed comfortably in the "film classics" department.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

New Blog Style

Hello trusty readers,

Welcome to my new blog style! Please send me any comments you have by email, I'd love to hear them. I figured it was about time for a little re-jiggering of the vibe on this site and also I wanted to make a few changes.

First, a look at old vs. new:

Old site:

New site:

Here are the major changes:
  • Background changed to use a picture I took myself. This is a temple in South Korea on a chilly winter's day in 2009 as I was backpacking through the area. I loved the bright paint and exciting architecture against the drab, chilly sky. Good times. :)
  • Colour scheme is now different to blend with the background.
  • Post typeface is now Calibri instead of Arial. Microsoft Word made the switch, so I thought I ought to as well. I think it looks sharper.
  • Google AdSense ads are GONE! This wasn't financially worth keeping for the minimal revenue given the amount of screen real-estate it took up.
  • Posts are now re-postable with Blogger's new fancy buttons. Feel free to re-post any of my posts to Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, etc.
  • Blog Topics are now sorted Alphabetically instead of by Total post count.
  • And perhaps the most important... the main post area is now JUST wide enough to handle a 640x390 HD wide screen video post from YouTube. Since switching to the previous blog layout, YouTube started supporting HD resolution video, and I bought an SLR which films in 720p! So now I can post these videos in (most of) their glory rather than everyone having to click through to YouTube to see them at a large enough resolution.
If you have any thoughts on the changes or further suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for reading!

Mike :)
P.S. I have also started testing out some mobile blogging features now that I have a fancy new iPhone 4. This is going to be a good year for blogging! :)

Mobile blog test

Helloooooo world :)

This is a test of these autoblogging features from my iPhone which also post the photos to Picasa Web Albums and the videos to YouTube! Fancy pants.

Clint visiting and us rocking the old school "computational breakdancing" stance.

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Just got the awesomest swim trunks EVER

This freakin' rocks.

When I was backpacking in France in 2007 I saw this pair of bright, freakin' amazing SUNFLOWER BOARDSHORTS from a company called "Pull-in Underwear". It is a French company and man they have some amazing stuff. I really loved the boardshorts but they were something like 120 Euros or 80 Euros or something. Ouch. At that time it was $150 or something for a pair of boardshorts, and I was a poor student.

Now, to my surprise, Pull-in now has an Online Store in the US. AMAZING. They have some fantastic stuff. Magically, I found the boardshorts and they are cheaper in USD now, sweet. But, they didn't have my size. Thankfully, they did have something called "Sun" shorts in my size, which are basically swim trunks. They also have a lining, so this is pretty sweet. I guess the swim trunks are actually a bit more useful than boardshorts as I can wear them everytime I go swimming. Also, they are AWESOME.

Check this out:

The boardshorts would have been sick but I'm psyched they had the bathing suit in my size. This pattern is so cool and I'm REALLY psyched for this. I am gonna rock these so hard in Iceland!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sistene Chapel in 360 view

Wow this is amazing. Thanks Orion for the link!


The section with Adam is so amazing - awesome high resolution.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Another test with other picasa web album

Testing mobile blogging... 1, 2, 3...

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Test blog from BlogPress

This is a test blog from wordpress! Testing to see how the autoblogging features work. Coooolll stuff:)

Here's a pic from our last visit to Pixar:

Pixar lamp

Pretty cool blog app!
Mike :)

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NBC News profiles 826 NYC and 826 Valencia

This is the awesome organization where Matt and I are teaching our Digital Storytelling class!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy