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December 29, 2005

Great Movie Directors — A critical database

Antonioni

For anyone who wants to know more — much more – about the whats, hows and whys of the greatest movie directors, past and present, there is no better website I've found than this one, at least as a jumping–off point for further exploration.

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There are roughly 225 biographies of directors, replete with detail.

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Filmographies, links to articles, interviews, etc.

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Being a movie director is something like being a pro football coach in terms of its demands: you must have a limitless capacity for work; a need to do it, not just desire; be a gifted manager of both materiel and people; have a vision; and possess creativity under adverse conditions.

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Anything I've missed, well, movie directors and football coaches are as able as anyone else on the planet to comment or email me, then, aren't they?

December 29, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dreamseat

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Official Major League Baseball leather home theater recliner.

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For the major league fan — from those who love him or her.

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Coming soon are NFL Dreamseats, for those who prefer the prolate spheroid.

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See how smart you are?

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Everyone else calls it an oblate spheroid but you know better.

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$1,295 here.

December 29, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Blog Search

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When did this start?

I haven't read a word about it anywhere but somehow I stumbled on it just now.

Way beyond interesting.

Here's what Google has to say about it.

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w00t!

December 29, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Terminator Toothpicks

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The company selling them calls them SteakPiks or "Tooth Chisels" but we know better.

No Terminator worth his heavy metal would sit down to a meal without them.

From the website:

    I love a good 24-oz. Porterhouse.

    But I've never liked the after-dinner chore of manipulating those tiny toothpicks.

    So, when I found these SteakPiks in a drug store on a back street in New York, I had to add them to our line.

    Imported since the 1960's, they're a meat-eater's best friend.

    SteakPiks are a larger, thicker kind of toothpick made of Portuguese orange wood, a flexible, close-grained wood with a durable surface and a hygenic white appearance.

    Just the thing to help you scrape the sinew from your choppers.

    Bring on the pork ribs and corn on the cob!

About 3" long.

250 for $5.99 here.

December 29, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Demonlover'

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Ever since I read Craig Nova's little–known but powerfully prophetic 2002 novel, "Wetware," I've been very interested in the onrushing collision of the "real" world and the virtual version(s).

Nova's book made vivid what such a world might be like to live in: a world where you paid money to inhabit the life of someone whose experiences you wished to have from the comfort and safety of your own home, body and mind.

Such individuals are the equivalent of actors in our present–day world, but with the difference that they make their living by being themselves rather than impersonating someone else.

Then there are the millions of people today who, either via video games or other avenues have avatars whose actions they direct and whose identities they create.

Edward Castronova's new book, "Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games," is attracting all manner of strong reactions, from great admiration to loathing.

In it, he takes perhaps the most scholarly and penetrating look yet at the burgeoning world of on–line multiplayer games and the fact that real–world currency is being spent to purchase virtual goods — and vice versa.

Among the many interesting reviews of the book I've read — I've not yet ordered it — was one which noted that for many heavily–invested game players, the real world has become simply a place to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom — these intense gamers believe their real, meaningful lives are online.

This shift is only going to accelerate as games become ever more realistic and will truly reach an inflection point when it becomes impossible to tell if you're in a game or watching something "real."

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That's probably five or fewer years ahead.

Anyway.

I watched the 2002 film "Demonlover" last night on DVD, once again only having learned of the film's existence in one of those Friday "What's new on DVD" newspaper features.

The movie stars Connie Nielsen, Charles Berling, Chloë Sevigny and Gina Gershon; it was directed by Olivier Assayas and features a soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

Ostensibly the story is about 3-D anime and massively multiplayer games, with bleeding edge companies attempting to gain an advantage over one another in a frantic race to gain exclusive access to the most realistic imagery on the planet.

Far more interesting is the sense the film creates of uncertainty, a shifting ground on which none of the characters really has firm footing and where everything can change in a flash.

No one is loyal to anyone no matter what they say; no one can be believed; no one cares about anyone but themself and their own advancement.

This is life, says the film — but how remarkably like a game it is, in the end.

The DVD comes in a 2-disc set, with the second disc containing the usual interviews with each member of the cast, a Q&A with the director, the making of the soundtrack by Sonic Youth, etc.

I found the movie completely absorbing: an excellent checkpoint, if you will, for where things were four or five years ago, when the film was made.

The headlong plunge toward virtuality may be decried but it cannot be stopped.

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Note added after completing this post: when I visited Amazon just now and saw the fantastic cover of Castronova's book I immediately ordered it.

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Who says you can't judge a book by its cover?

December 29, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stow-N-Go Wristband Wallet

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Quite nicely done.

From the website:

    When You Don't Want To Carry A Wallet Or Purse

    Whether you're headed out on a run or walk, or making a quick trip to the store, Stow-N-Go keeps cash, credit card and keys handy with no jingling and jangling, and no purse to keep track of.

    The soft fleece wristband has an in-seam zipper and room for exactly what you need - no pockets necessary!

    One size fits all.

    Machine wash.

In Pistachio (top), Sand or Black.

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$9.95 here.

Note: if I were offering this item I'd make it reversible, such that you could have your choice of two colors to match your mood.

Wouldn't cost a penny more and it would make the wallet even better.

That's what it's all about.

December 29, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Double–Tongued Word Wrester

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What's this?

From the website:

    Double-Tongued Word Wrester records undocumented or under-documented words from the fringes of English.

    It focuses upon slang, jargon, and other niche categories which include new, foreign, hybrid, archaic, obsolete, and rare words.

    Special attention is paid to the lending and borrowing of words between the various Englishes and other languages, even where a word is not a fully naturalized citizen in its new language.

So now, when a new word pops up and then starts to worm its way into common usage, at least you'll have a fighting chance to track its progress.

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Or make up your own and see how far it gets.

December 29, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pocket Knock on Wood

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Superstitious?

From Vice magazine:

    Knocking on wood is a tradition that came from knocking on the cross for good luck.

    Then it became just any wood.

    Today it's kind of hard to find raw wood sometimes, so you can put this in your pocket or purse in case you find yourself saying something like, "I don't know anyone that's died from cancer."

    They even made sure it wasn't varnished, so your knock goes right in there.

[via Vice magazine]

December 29, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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