December 16, 2005
Spazio Rossana Orlandi — A novel homepage
I found it a delight.
It's a tricked–out newpaper classified page from New Delhi, India with the display ads linked to various designers and works carried by Ms. Orlandi's Milan (Italy) store.
She features the works of young, little–known designers from around the world in such areas as furniture, glass, tableware, clothing and accessories such as handbags.
Her website is quite original, very creative and thought–provoking for me as I ponder bookofjoe's future look when it contains links to joeTV and whatnot.
Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Via Matteo Bandello 14-16, 20123 Milan; 003902-467 4471.
American Airlines to eliminate free soda
Starting next month, reported Keith Alexander in his Tuesday "Business Class" column in the Washington Post, American Eagle, American Airlines' regional carrier, is going to charge $1 for a glass of soda on all flights in and out of Los Angeles.
If successful, they may allow the new charge to become standard on all American flights.
We've all watched the airlines steadily stop with free stuff and start to charge for even the smallest amenities.
I noted some time ago that it would be better to just stop the slow attrition and remove all the seats, replacing them with metal benches like troop transports, or simply have people sit on the floor.
They could then charge you to rent a seat cushion and scale the prices according to thickness.
It would appear I'm not the only one watching the disappearing act of all that once was included in the price of a plane ticket, and extrapolating about things to come.
Wrote Alexander, "Terry Trippler, a travel analyst with Cheapseats.com, said he expects airlines one day to begin charging premiums for carry–on bags and aisle seats."
Tell you what: after watching that sensational TV commercial where the passenger with a giant backpack mows down aisle seat passengers as she makes her way to her seat, I'd recommend charging a premium for window seats.
But I digress.
Alexander continued, "Washington frequent flyer Anne Seymour jokingly said that her biggest fear these days is going to the lavatory and having to insert money before the door opens."
American Airlines needs to hire Ms. Seymour posthaste so she can generate more great money–making ideas.
Jeez, it was only three weeks ago that I thought it remarkable that Air Canada was instituting a $2 charge to rent a pillow.
As if I'd use an airline pillow even if they paid me: you don't know where it's been, as mom used to say.
My Top 10 Songs
Yesterday I was sitting here doing something close to nothing (but different from the day before) when it occurred to me that I could take a few moments to go through my iTunes song list and clean it up a bit, what with songs I don’t like occasionally coming on.
Anyhow, a few moments became a few hours as I whittled my playlist of 723 songs down to 594, after getting rid of stuff I didn’t like and lots of duplicate titles.
Then I decided to go through the list again to correct the titles and spellings of songs and artists.
That took a couple more hours.
But now I’ve got a lean, mean iTunes machine that serves up nothing but wonderful music.
Fiddling around with the various settings and all, I saw that I could rank songs by Play Count.
So, without further ado, here are my top 10 songs, as measured by how many times I’ve played them (in parentheses):
1. Whenever You’re On My Mind — Marshall Crenshaw (858)
2. Jump — Van Halen (804)
3. Crazy in Love — Beyoncé (777)
4. You Make Me Feel Good — Zombies (632)
5. I Love You — Zombies (606)
6. Every Breath You Take — Police (597)
7. Little Red Corvette — Prince (553)
8. Femme Fatale — Duran Duran (467)
9. Zombie — Cranberries (446)
10. MMMBop — Hanson (404)
Personalized Billiard Ball Set and Rack
Up to 20 characters/spaces of your choice on each and every pool ball and the included rack.
'King Kong: Peter Jackson’s Production Diaries'
At three hours and 46 minutes, it's longer than the film (three hours and 7 minutes) itself.
Michael O’Sullivan wrote in today's Washington Post about this companion DVD set, released this past Tuesday, December 13 and available for $28.96 on Amazon.
The material was "originally shot for the Web site kingkongisking.net as a series of short, behind–the–scenes peeks at the filming of 'King Kong'...," wrote O'Sullivan.
However, it turned out to be an insightful look into the kind of fanatic attention to detail and superhuman effort required to direct a major Hollywood film and succeed, as "Kong" has clearly appeared to have done judging by the mostly rave reviews it’s garnered.
The crew making the DVD appear to have driven everyone else on the set crazy with their invasive, "Big Brother" style of putting their cameras and microphones anywhere and everywhere.
Along with the two DVDs, packaged in a limited edition gift box, come "4 exclusive production art prints, a letter of authenticity, and a 52–page scrapbook of drawings, photographs, images and notes from Peter Jackson" (top).
Lots of fun for the true Kong and/or Jackson buff.
Here's the Post story.
- The King Kong of All Production Featurettes
Call it the King Kong of making-of featurettes.
At three hours and 46 minutes, it's longer than the finished film itself.
Originally shot for the Web site http://kongisking.net/ as a series of short, behind-the-scenes peeks at the filming of "King Kong," the video snippets comprising "King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries" (Unrated, Universal, $39.98) are not just a fanboy's dream -- though they are that -- but a fairly serious examination of the art and science of big-budget moviemaking, circa 2005.
By now, everybody knows what a stickler for detail director Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) is.
Unless you watch this DVD, however, you have no idea just how much of a stickler.
In an episode focusing on the art and props department, we watch as crew members fashion an array of unappetizingly realistic (and painstakingly researched) animal poo for a brief zoo sequence.
Later, set dressers from the miniature unit, tasked with shooting the film's many reduced-scale scenes, are shown attaching tiny lead weights the size of buckshot to itty bitty fern fronds that will ultimately double as jungle trees on Skull Island, and whose movements will have to be slowed down -- both mechanically and in the camera -- to maintain the illusion of enormous size.
One special effect conspicuously absent from "Production Diaries," of course, is the big ape himself.
That's because Kong is largely a computer-generated creation, inserted into scenes digitally during postproduction.
The closest we get here is a green, doughnut-shaped harness mounted on a hydraulic platform, standing in for Kong's hand, or actor Andy Serkis wearing a padded suit that makes him look, as co-star Naomi Watts says, like "a ballet dancer on steroids."
As he did for the role of Gollum in the "LOTR" films, Serkis spent much of the "Kong" shoot in a high-tech motion-capture getup (when he isn't playing Lumpy, the ship's cook) that enabled the film's team of several hundred digital animators to visualize Kong's movements and facial expressions.
There's almost no aspect of "Kong" left unexamined, from sets (all of which, including an ersatz New York City, were built in New Zealand), to costumes, makeup, cameras, lighting, sound, continuity, catering and the job of "plane spotter."
FYI, that plum spot entailed standing on a hill above the Wellington airport, radioing in whenever an airplane was about to disrupt a shot.
There's plenty of cheeky humor, too.
How can there not be when Jack Black is on the set?
One tongue-in-cheek installment concerns the efforts of the crew to hunt down an on-set spy, dressed as Gandalf, who has been posting unauthorized photos on the Internet.
The other revolves around an increasingly exhausted (and ever gaunter-looking) Jackson's efforts, during the last week of shooting, to recruit eleventh-hour replacements for himself -- in the form of filmmakers Bryan "X-Men" Singer and Frank "The Green Mile" Darabont -- just so Jackson can catch up on sleep.
Funny, and often astonishing, stuff.
Is it a bit much for anyone except diehard movie fans?
Then again, in this day and age of reality TV, and cameras in every cell phone, maybe not.
As Serkis mock-complains, during an episode in which the cast and crew turn the tables on the "invasive" DVD crew: "These days, you can't just sign on and get a job. You can't just get a part, get offered a role and then actually go and carry it out. Oh, no, you have to do this thing called 'B-roll' and 'behind-the-scenes' and 'DVD footage,' and it's like living in 'Big Brother' all the time, you know, to the point where it drives you absolutely insane. People can't leave you alone. You just can't even go to the toilet, you can't even pick your nose, you can't go anywhere. People just following you. It drives you nuts, it drives you crazy. But no, no, no! They keep going, they keep going, and they think it's all really interesting, every single living, breathing thing that you do."
Not at all seedy.
Tie–dye; 100% cotton.
Now that's what I call some serious cleavage.
'American journalism is obviously just entertainment now' — Robert Young Pelton
Pelton burst on the scene in 1995 with the publication of his remarkable book, "The World's Most Dangerous Places."
It was filled with insider tips such as how, before you left home, to arrange to have your body transported back for burial.
Since that debut Pelton has continued his travels to the world's most frightening places.
Just this past January he was kidnapped by right-wing Columbian paramilitaries in the Darién Gap (a jungle along the Panama–Columbian border regarded as a no–man's land).
He and his two hiking companions were released unharmed after ten days.
That's him waving in the photo above, taken just after his release.
National Geographic Adventure's Nicole Davis interviewed Pelton shortly after he'd returned from that near–miss.
The quote headlining this post is from the current issue of Vice magazine, which I'm somehow subscribed to even though I never asked for it.
But it's free so why would I cause a kerfuffle?
The magazine's bizarre and surprising, often dumb, and occasionally has something of interest I hadn't seen anywhere else.
In the current issue a little feature entitled "Pelton Says..." adorns the bottom portion of a number of pages in the first part of the magazine.
Here's what he had to say on page 40:
- American entertainment is obviously just entertainment now.
If you look at the basic ownership of the large groups, they're all owned by entertainment conglomerates that rely on advertising and ratings.
But there is this whole new world of democratization of information, so you can look at blogs, or even email bulletins if you want to.
If you're very selective, you can generate your own personal news coverage.
But it's actually good to make a distinction between news and information sources.
News is: "Plane Crashes, 50 Dead."
Information is: "Ten Alive: Here Are Their Phone Numbers."
Here's a link to Vice's interview with Pelton.
Tell you what: if you decide to read Pelton's book, make yourself really cozy and comfortable and get a nice cuppa and your favorite blankie.
You will feel so happy being safe and warm as you accompany him into unspeakably bad places that you will not be able to help feeling blessed as you look around at your surroundings.
I sure did.
Slice–O–Rama Vegetable Table Saw
Tired of shredding your vegetables when you're attempting to produce paper–thin, gossamer slices Daniel Boulud would be proud of?
No more frustration and bloody fingertips once you have this impressive device, designed by Oliver Beckert of Elseware.
"Cast removal technology makes this blade safe to use as it won't cut your fingers but will cut harder materials."