Well, this is what blogs originally were, right? I'm just being old school. Of course, blogs have changed...

Folksongs are your Friends - an absolutely hi-larious list of lessons you can learn from folksongs. If you're a folksong fan (i.e. you know what the Child collection is, who Barbara Allen was, or have ever sung, for any reason, the words "whack-fol-de-diddle") read not only the post but the comments.
You Knit What? - the dark side of knitting.
Mammatus Clouds - I miss seeing all the sky.
Knitted Art - by Freddie Robins. I want this.

The last one brings up something I was pondering. I would very much like to have that in my home (no, I don't know what I'd do with it. That's not the point. Did you see it? How could you not want that?). I could make it, fairly easily.

Is this legal? Is this ethical? It's different, I think, from a painting where even if you try to reproduce it yourself, it's probably going to be different. The pattern for making this is much more reproducible. Is it more like music, where you can easily play the same tune? Should there be a mechanical license to allow a "cover" (an unfortunately ambiguous term when it comes to knitting, but there you are)? Does the fact that I'd make only one, for me, make a difference? If I fully credit Ms. Robins at all stages, does that make a difference?

I suppose I could alter enough about it to make it mine, like cooks do recipies, but I want it just as it is. There would be differences; that picture gives no idea of scale, for example, but that's like me transposing "Yesterday" to a different key and calling it mine. Isn't it?

I also suppose I could just do some reading on knitters' copyrights but most of what I've found concerns written patterns. Techniques and ideas can't be copyrighted, apparently, and that's what I'd be using from that piece. But if it's a "copyrightable work of artistic craftsmanship" (and I'd definitely call it art, rather than something utilitarian) then I'd be doing something illegal. Maybe I should just ask Ms. Robins.

We had a lot of people recommend "Napoleon Dynamite" to us. Good friends, intelligent friends, friends with impeccable (or at least roughly parallel) taste in movies. Last night, we borrowed it (from one of these friends) and watched it.

What a piece of crap.

It's been a really really long time since I've seen a movie that I disliked so strongly. Not because of any intention on the part of the creators (like, I probably wouldn't enjoy watching "Hotel Rwanda," but I'm not supposed to) but out of anger that there is an hour and a half of my life that I'm not going to get back.

Am I missing something? Was there some deep message that passed me by? I am not ordinarily insensitive to nuance; I am no stranger to irony, to deadpan humour, to satire, to black comedy. This was none of those things. It was just a waste of time and film (note that I am not saying talent). There were about 20 seconds of the show that I didn't dislike, and that was only because they featured an alpaca. Alpacas make everything better.

Afterwards, when we could speak again, R:tAG staggered to our video shelf and weakly grabbed the first DVD to hand, just to try to clear our mental palates and let us sleep that night. This cinema sorbet turned out to be Spiderman 2, and it seemed like freakin' Casablanca, let me tell you. Even the preview, for some piece of fluff called "Hitch," seemed like a brilliant masterpiece.


As usual, an update consisting of random stuff to show people that a) I'm still alive b) I haven't forgotten about blogging and c) I can still work a keyboard.

First, some links that made me laugh out loud...
Partially Clips
Diesel Sweeties
License Plate

Now some links that made me go hmm...
Checkershadow Illusion
How to Disappear in America

And links that are just really interesting (have you gone to see Mirrormask yet? Go see Mirrormask!)
Interview with Neil Gaiman and one with Dave McKean

And if you know Cenobyte and The Captain, be sure to wish The Captain a happy birthday today! I can't believe it's been six years since the fateful day with the aromatherapy, the heroin and the toilet.

(if you don't know the story, ask me, Cenobyte or Road Rage sometime. It's evolved into a half hour performance with full orchestration and five-part harmony.)

I've seen three movies in as many days. Well, technically, two movies in three days, one twice. Still, I'm movied-out.

I saw Serenity twice, of course. I should have known that no movie would live up to my expectations, though. The second time, I kept clarifying the points that had aroused vague dissatisfaction in me the first time 'round. Hm. Can I do this without ruining it for those what haven't seen it yet? Is there anyone who reads this that hasn't seen it yet? OK, I'll try to be vague, but if you haven't seen it yet and you want to remain untarnished, drop everything and go see the damn movie now. This'll be here when you come back.

OK. I mean, I did like the movie, I'm glad it was made. But...

1) Of the two deaths, one fit and one didn't. I mean, if this were a game, and these were your characters, which death would you be happy with? One was lacking story-juice, to use a friend's lovely phrase. There're movies where bad things happen to good people and life is unfair and arbitrary and generally bleak. Then there are movies where 90-lb girls kick the shit out of ravening hordes and still get to dramatically pose, unscratched, against a backdrop of explosions. Mixing those two genres leads to dissonance.

2) For some reason, the "future-hick" dialog style seemed jarring instead of unfamiliar but natural.

3) After hearing from people who saw the movie without seeing the series, it seems that the movie didn't provide enough background to stand alone, while at the same time changing some stuff that the series had established. Examples off the top of my head: a) Simon's confrontation with Mal seemed not to fit with how things had been going by the time of "Objects in Space." b) You needed to have seen the series to understand Zoe at the end. Without that context, it seemed like she didn't care. c) What happened to the hands-of-blue guys? The series didn't give the impression that they were after River for something she knew, but because of what she was. But in the movie, when The Big Secret came out, she's of no interest to them any more.
In fairness, I don't know what could be done to totally fix this, and it's hard to deal with that many characters in a relatively short movie and make you care about them all.

4) The whole idea of important information existing in only one instantiation is getting obsolete even today. The initial recording, sure, you can see why. Afterwards? Why not blanket the solar system with copies? Leave them in caches. Broadcast it to whoever you can... why is reaching everyone at once such a goal? Again, even today people are pretty inclined to not believe media, or at least believe that it can be altered (if The Operative were such a fanatic, wouldn't that be his first reaction at least?). Hell, you find people still believing that the moon landing was faked. And while the Alliance is supposed to be a democracy (at least, they talk about Parliament and representatives), they've certainly played it as a less than ideal one. So, as in the current time, the real powers are probably almost scandal-immune. Also, some idea of public reaction would have been nice, some idea of consequences apart from The Operative saying "Yeah, it sort of worked." Well, I guess that's what sequels are for.

4) Corpses wouldn't remain intact through ablation. OK, this is minor.


But onto the other movie I saw, which was a complete and utter delight. My face hurt from maintaining a delighted grin for two hours. Go see Mirrormask. Not so much for the story, which is Labyrinth, or Wizard of Oz, or any other variation on the dream-quest archetype (though of course, Gaiman retelling myths is never a bad thing) but for the visuals. And for possibly The Best Line in Any Movie Ever, which I won't repeat because I don't want to spoil it for you plus its impact relies somewhat on the buildup. I loved this movie.

(and part of it was set in Brighton and in the scenes on the balcony I think you can see the corner of the flat block where I lived for a year!)


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