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wiredweird "wiredweird" RSS Feed (Earth, or somewhere nearby)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Off to a great start, April 23, 2014
... then fizzles out. The premise, storing a human mind in computers, has promise. Then the "runaway technology" theme gives this a familiar feel even when the specific technology is not one of the usual suspects. People lining up to have their flaws and ailments fixed - and, incidentally, to be turned into loyal minions - adds a strong element. After all, don't people grasp at the flimsiest straws when faced with death or illness, consequences be damned?

Then there was that sudden jump, where Evelyn's loyalties shifted abruptly, a magical virus, and a few other bits that seemed thrown together, just so the story would wind down. Great effects, strong beginning, then not much.

-- wiredweird

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
DVD ~ Lauren Cuthbertson
Price: $27.98
28 used & new from $22.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful production!, April 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Please understand that I'm not a "dance person." I really can't comment on this production in classical ballet terms.

That said, I do appreciate the elegance and athleticism of the dancers, and especially the physical humor that both the Alice and Red Queen players brought to their roles - something I don't associate with ballet, and very much enjoyed. The Inchworm character had some great scenes as well, and I liked the interplay between cleaver-wielding Cook and the executioner. The Duchess came off well too, bringing to mind Leo McKern's role in my favorite Alice to date. Stagecraft was exceptional, including a clever set for Alice's "eat me" change of scale. To top it all off, the music worked beautifully with the story - those nails-on-blackboard chords for the Red Queen couldn't have been better.

As a dance outsider, I found the choreography much more approachable and narrative than in another ballet Alice I've seen. So, for many reasons, it all came together for me: fidelity to the original story, sets and delightful play of costuming, physical storytelling (and jokes), and pageantry. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed this immensely.

-- wiredweird

Paint Brush Set & FREE Zipper Storage Case/Display Stand ***Lifetime Quality Guarantee*** Acrylic, Oil & Watercolour Paintbrush Kit 12-Piece. Wood Handle, Synthetic Brushes. Art Kits for Kids, Beginner, Student and Professional Artist by Chameleon Art Supplies.
Paint Brush Set & FREE Zipper Storage Case/Display Stand ***Lifetime Quality Guarantee*** Acrylic, Oil & Watercolour Paintbrush Kit 12-Piece. Wood Handle, Synthetic Brushes. Art Kits for Kids, Beginner, Student and Professional Artist by Chameleon Art Supplies.
Offered by Chameleon Art Supplies
Price: $29.99
2 used & new from $21.45

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great set, April 20, 2014
These brushes represent a great choice for a wide range of painting tasks and styles. The soft bristles seem to hold their shapes well, and come in a very useful assortment of sizes and shapes. The zippered case helps protect them from damage and environmental crud, and opens out into a stand that makes every brush visible and easy to grab. These brushes don't go down to the smallest sizes, so I need others for some of my more delicate work. Also, I found the largest somewhat oddly shaped - the bristles form almost a U shape, longer at the sides than in the middle. An ordinary straight or angled shape would have worked better for me.

One thing to keep in mind is the size of this set - about 1.25x5.5x15" (for brushes 11.25" to 13.5"). Although the case works well to protect the brushes, it's big. My studio space meets a lot of different needs, shelf space is at a premium. And, if you're planning to travel with your brushes, this won't be the set to pack up smallest.

I can't comment on these brushes' longevity, but so far so good. And, it's hardly "the last set I'll ever buy," despite the ad copy. I often want brushes that are larger, smaller, stiffer (these are quite soft), or just different, to match habits I've built up with other tools, and I sometimes have more than one brush of a size going with different colors. But, for the range they cover, these seem like great tools.

-- wiredweird

Spectrum 8: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art
Spectrum 8: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art
by Cathy Fenner
Edition: Paperback
38 used & new from $8.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Maintaining the highest standards, April 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Year after year (we're into the twentieth as this is written), the Spectrum collections present the finest in that year's new fantasy and science fiction artwork. Familiar artists appear here, including Shaun Tan, Dave McKean, Ashley Wood, Brom, Charles Vess, and a pantheon of other names, familiar and not. The moods of the pieces differ as much as the artists themselves, Pollack's heroic "Country of the Blind" appears on the cover, but there's humor of "Aliens Among Us", the charm of "A Day at the Farmers' Market", or the eerie sensibility of Royo's "The Announcement." Whether you're looking for inspiration or simply enjoying the masterworks for themselves, you'll find plenty to like.

-- wiredweird

The Erotic Review's Photographer Of The Year Prize 2009 - The Book
The Erotic Review's Photographer Of The Year Prize 2009 - The Book
by Jamie Maclean
Edition: Paperback
39 used & new from $33.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed, April 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Given the dozens of photographers here, each with their own style, there are bound to be some that I like more - or less - than others. I my case, tastes tend toward the simple beauty native to the human animal. Bill Connolley, for example, poses faceless figures against textured landscapes, contrasting smooth curves planes against the complex patterns of plants and soil. Gregory Prescott portrays loving couples in a range of skin tones. Weisenbarger and Mitchell celebrate the basic elegance of women's figures. Babylon, the cover artist, plays with dimly-lit figures and fluorescent highlights. Chan captures a more athletic kind of vision, and a few others appeal to be for similar reasons.

They're a minority, though. Most of the photos tend toward fetish elements of various kinds, from elaborate lingerie to elaborately staged scenes of fantasies that don't match my interests at all. Despite the photographers whose work I enjoy, the collection as a whole does little for me.

-- wiredweird

Mister Dog: The Dog Who Belonged to Himself (A Little Golden Book)
Mister Dog: The Dog Who Belonged to Himself (A Little Golden Book)
by Margaret Wise Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $3.59
188 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful memories, April 18, 2014
I admit, I haven't actually seen this book in half-a-hundred years, give or take. Even so, I remember it as a favorite "read to me" book, and would love to see how my adult mind compares it to my childhood memories.

What I remember most fondly I could never have put into words at the time. There's the basic theme of independence and competence - dog and boy are each well able to live their own lives - and the boy can cook! But friendship matters too, and does not need to conflict with independence. Really, I've lived much of my adult life in that same pattern.

However I might see the book if I saw it again today, I give it highest marks for my memory of it.

-- wiredwierd

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland
DVD ~ Peter Sellers
Offered by Marions Music
Price: $9.00
33 used & new from $2.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly, my favorite, April 18, 2014
This review is from: Alice in Wonderland (DVD)
This is the most complex movie rendering of Carroll's classic, and one of the stranger ones. It's a 1966 BBC production in black and white, and done on a shoestring budget. As a result, there's just about nothing in the way of special effects - and certainly no animal-shaped costumes for the dormouse, white rabbit, and all the others. Instead, the characters simply dress in a deliberately over-done Victorian style, probably put together by raiding the stock BBC costume closet.

But what characters! Peter Sellers (who played in other Alice movies as well) is the King of Hearts, Peter Cook is the Mad Hatter, Leo McKern is the Duchess(!), and that's just the start of this star-driven production. Ravi Shankar composed the music and performs much of it, giving an other-worldly sense that fits Carroll's dreamscape perfectly. It's a kind of dream continually on the edge of nightmare without ever quite crossing the line, the same feeling you get when watching "The Prisoner" TV series.

But Alice truly makes the story. Ann-Marie Mallik, in what may be her only acting role, was the perfect choice. She moves through the dream with all the reserve you'd expect of a browbeaten Victorian child, but with all the presence and a little insolence of a woman-child entering her teens. Although she's more observer than participant in most scenes, she conveys a quiet sense of being fully engaged in it all.

This isn't a disneyfied, silly production for children. Nor is it a surreal exaggeration like Jan Svankmajer's (which I also enjoyed). It's a serious and baffling work. In that sense, it's more true to Dodgson's original work than any other Alice I've seen. This one has my highest recommendation.


The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel
DVD ~ Willem Dafoe
Price: $14.99
37 used & new from $9.86

11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meandering story, April 16, 2014
This review is from: The Grand Budapest Hotel (DVD)
Take some very fine actors: Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Ralph Fiennes, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, and more. Add in a huge inheritance, murderous heirs with hitman on retainer, war encroaching on civilian life, and a hotelier seemingly living in the previous century. It might seem impossible to make such a film seem ordinary - but somehow, the director succeeded.

The good parts included humorous throw-away lines, and lengths to which M. Gustave would go to please his guests (and his descriptions of them!). Apprenticeship of the young Zero took on surreal moments more than once, and starting from when we first saw him: drawn-on moustache askew, and never quite the same twice.

I guess the biggest disappointment lay in all those big names. I've seen movies under-use very good actors before, but never so many of such ability, and never so completely. Only Tony Revolori, playing the young Mr. Moustafa, really seemed to stretch in his role. This waste of human material could be a special disappointment to anyone who saw Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton in Moonrise Kingdom, where the two individually and together contributed to a truly memorable film.

It was OK, I enjoyed it to some extent, but this movie could have been so much more given the players it had.

-- wiredweird, reviewing the release to theaters

Hitachi C10FCH2 10-Inch Miter Saw with Laser
Hitachi C10FCH2 10-Inch Miter Saw with Laser
Price: $145.25
35 used & new from $104.30

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my work-horses, April 15, 2014
I'm just a DIY-er, not someone whose livelihood depends on their tools. But, for my needs, this is everything I want. Even the factory blade gives clean cuts in almost everything I've put through it. The alignment laser is easy to adjust, holds its adjustment, and allows very precise measurement. Angle measurements (side-to-side ant tilt) are precise. The fence isn't my favorite part of the design, and the dust-catcher, even with dust collection hooked up, misses a fair bit of sawdust. But, for the price, it's hard to imagine a better tool.

-- wiredweird

Tin Man (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Tin Man (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Zooey Deschanel
Price: $8.10
70 used & new from $1.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy entertainment, April 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I suspect this came from the same team that created the Alice mini-series. It has all the same characteristics I liked so much in that one. It honors the original without trying to redefine the characters, or wedge new story into the old plots, or capitalize on the name to suck viewers into an unrelated plot. Instead, it follows a parallel path, brushing closely at times, adamantly its own creature while maintaining respect for the beloved stories and movie that begot it.

Taken by itself, it's a more-than-passable modern kind of fantasy - gritty, noir at times, boiling with unresolved tensions and unexplored strengths that give plenty of room for each character to expand. Visuals are strong, even if they tend to rely on icons more than new imagery, but that's a fair way to get time-bounded story telling up and running. And, there's plenty here to echo today's headlines: harsh interrogation, deep-cover agents, S/M overtones in the Evil Sorceress and her corsetry. But, when you line it up against the classic rendering, that's where it really stands out. Old and new at the same time - riffing on the old as a jazz guitarist might, but respecting it.

-- wiredweird

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