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Golden Snitch Ornament Tutorial

Love this. A bit late for this year, but I've already bookmarked it and set a reminder for next year.

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In a recent interview with The Nerdist podcast, J.J. Abrams (who, incidentally, comes across as an incredibly friendly and yet completely joyless person) suggested that cinemas wouldn't suffer the same level of decline as traditional book and record shops. His reasoning? He reckons the experience of going to the cinema can't be properly reproduced, even by the most tricked-out and elaborate TV and surround-sound setups. For him, the collective experience of watching a film in the dark with a group of strangers is so singular that it will always have a place in our lives.

I'm not sure I buy it. This year alone, I had two wildly differing experiences at the cinema that make me question what he's saying.

First, there was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At the dramatic high-point point of the movie, the moment at which -- spoiler alert! -- an ape speaks for the first time, the audience started tittering. This is supposed to be a powerful scene, but let's face it: it's a fucking ape talking, so it's also a little silly. I don't really blame the audience for laughing. At the same time, this didn't stop it from completely breaking the illusion and tearing me out of the film. It made me feel stupid for having been so caught up in the movie that I was fully buying it before the laughter made me realise I was invested in a fucking ape talking. If I'm honest, I still resent that audience for doing that to me. If I had been watching it at home, I'd probably have fonder memories of that film.

A few weeks later, I went along to Melancholia, an incredibly powerful movie that I still haven't fully processed, even months after seeing it. For the most part, this is a small, personal film. It's a glimpse at someone suffering from depression. The film feels so voyeuristic that projecting it twenty feet tall seems sort of wrong. Maybe that's also part of the 'message' of that film (haven't worked this out yet - like I said, still processing it). But the film is book-ended by beautiful shots that completely justify being shown on a huge screen, and where the soundtrack deserves an amazing sound-system. The bombastic final shot deserves to be experienced as part of an audience, as people start looking around at each other, slightly dazed and giving each other a full-on Keanu "Whoa". For me, the ending makes me incredibly happy, almost boastful, that I saw that film in the cinema. No matter what way you cut it, it just wouldn't have been the same at home. In fact, I think the whole film will be less powerful outside of the cinema.

These are the outliers, though; the most extreme examples of my recent experiences of watching a film with an audience. But for most people, the average cinema-going experience -- and I'd question how 'average' J.J. Abrams' cinema-going experiences are these days -- ranges from 'dreadful' to 'OH MY FUCKING CHRIST, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!'. Talking, rustling, texting, irresponsible parenting: all of these things appear to be accepted, almost expected parts of a trip to the cinema. As much a cost of entry as the extortionate ticket price. I'd argue that this is one of the main reasons cinema attendance is down 20% compared to last year. People are staying home to watch their movies.

Let's face facts. Part of the reason for the decline of high-street book and music shops, particularly the larger franchise-type shops, is that the experience of using these shops became so impersonal and unfriendly -- in some cases, downright hostile -- towards the customers, that people were willing to trade the tangible benefits of the traditional shopping experience for one they can control. Online shopping is often impersonal and unfriendly (although rarely hostile), but it at least has the added benefit of being convenient. What it lacks in humanity, it makes up for in choice. And price. With cinema, we're seeing the same thing - people are willing to sacrifice the singular experience of seeing a film with an audience for a slightly more mundane experience they control.

And, you know what? I don't blame them.

Has Randy Bachman Solved a Decades-Old Guitar Mystery? →

I have spent an embarrassing amount of time and almost crippled myself trying to contort my fingers into a shape that sounds like a passable version of the first chord of A Hard Day's Night. Couldn't figure it out. Randy Bachman has the answer, and it's beautiful.

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minimalmac:

Yet another rare and touching photo of a contemplative Steve Jobs on a park bench in Palo Alto. The photo was taken by Ryan Katsanes in 2007.

(via Edible Apple)

From a Vauxhall Velox

Her mother read her mail

And her Dad was a Policeman

Which I must say worried me

But some things have just got to be

So we passed very fast like ships in the night

Or cars in a contraflow system

-- Billy Bragg, From a Vauxhall Velox

Not only is this a perfect simile, it's goddamned ballsy to drop a term like "contraflow system" into a pop song.

Who's Afraid Of Lana Del Rey? - The Awl →

If you're as baffled by the whole Lana Del Rey as I am, this is a good place to start. I just wish the author had expanded it a bit more - five lengthy paragraphs about the ways in which people are hating her, barely a mention of why.

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tonymayer:

“I have dreams of a rose, and a long flight of stairs. Incidentally, who is this Damien you speak of?”

If I could have one wish, it would be that Blatty got the chance to assemble his original cut of Legion, the way he envisioned it before studio meddling turned it into The Exorcist III. Despite the final versions flaws, it’s still one of my favorite movies.

It might be a hot mess, but Exorcist III is still one of the most terrifically creepy movies I've ever seen. It gets under your skin and stays there. There are scenes -- single shots, even -- that still manage to give me shivers when I think of them. It's criminally underrated/overlooked as a horror film.

This is a much better cover than the nonsense they ended up going with.

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Dean Martin: Total mutt.

Although, you just know he boned both of those girls. And probably that girl in the background too.

Yes, I've started listening to Christmas songs. And this weekend I fully intend to watch Scrooged and maybe Elf. And there's nothing anyone can do to stop me.

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As an Irishman, I just want to say thank fuck for Romania.

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Leonardo di Caprio as Jay Gatsby.

Jeez, Leo's starting to look old.

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Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Unicorn (by Avanaut)