Delighted for Cartoon Saloon. They're quietly pumping out some of the loveliest animations I've seen in a long time -- like Ghibli at their finest. If you don't believe me, check out Puffin Rock on Netflix, which is a genuinely great children's cartoon that's full of charm and wit and visual inventiveness and it tells stories about friendship and intelligence that have none of the normal moralising one traditionally associates with children's tv.
Anil Dash recently took the step of unfollowing everyone he was following on Twitter. This line in particular stood out to me:
... when something terrible happens in the news, I don't see an endless, repetitive stream of dozens of people reacting to it in succession. It turns out, I don't mind knowing about current events, but it _hurts_ to see lots of people I care about going through anguish or pain when bad news happens. I want to optimize for being aware, but not emotionally overwhelmed.
That's entirely it. I've got a private list of maybe 20 people I follow because they're the ones that are the least outraged about The Thing That People Are Outraged About Today, and it's recently become my main view for Twitter because I'm too exhausted (emotionally, spiritually) for the main timeline.
Today, we’re announcing that Pinterest has entered into an agreement to transfer ownership of Instapaper to Instant Paper, Inc., a new company owned and operated by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper since it was sold to betaworks by Marco Arment in 2013. The ownership transfer will occur after a 21 day waiting period designed to give our users fair notice about the change of control with respect to their personal information.
Worth noting that today, almost two months since GDPR came into effect, Instapaper is still unavailable for users in Europe. GDPR isn't a particularly hard thing to enforce unless your entire business model is built around doing shady things with your customer's data.
One good thing to come out of the heatwave Ireland is currently enjoying: the sun is basically X-raying the ground for underground monuments. Take a look at the rest of the pictures on Mythical Ireland's Facebook Page - they're genuinely stunning.
(I try to post reviews of all the films I watch over on letterboxd. Here are the most recent reviews I’ve written)
A Quiet Place - 2018 - ★★★★
Since my daughter was born, certain films hit me way harder than they otherwise should. Anything involving a child in peril is danger territory for me. Throw in a father trying to protect the child-in-peril and I'm completely screwed. I'll be a wreck. For example, War for the Planet of the Apes had me absolutely sobbing in the cinema.
A Quiet Place is exactly the kind of film that hits me harder than it probably should, what with John Krasinski's kind-faced father bringing the pathos like a doe-eyed hammer. Throw in a nihilistic pre-credits sequence to establish the stakes and, yeah, I hadn't a fuckin hope.
Some late-game rule-changing to score a cheap emotional hit kinda ruins it a little, but it's still a tight, tight film.
Super Troopers 2 - 2018 - ★★½
The only thing really missing from this film was a Rodney Dangerfield cameo where he comes out and tells the cops and the mounties to lighten up before turning on really cheesy hair rock music and starting an impromptu dance party.
As light and nutritionally void as the first film, but slightly shorter on charm.
Pitbull. New Order - 2016 - ★½
My continuing education in the less-"worthy" Polish film canon continues with this, a sub-Love/Hate gangster film set in Warsaw. The writer-director, Patryk Vega, is described as the Polish Guy Ritchie. And from what I've seen of his films so far, maybe people mean Revolver-era Guy Ritchie? I dunno.
The film itself is a regressive, homophobic and insecure piece of filmmaking. The main character, "Miami", is a quote-unquote "tough" quote-unquote "sexy" quote-unquote "cop". No woman can look at him without wanting to fuck him. No man can look at him without wanting to fuck him. "That was the best sex I've ever had" says one of his lays. "Coffee?" a detective offers him. "I bet you take it black." Yes, he's a hard-fuckin, hard-drinkin cop. Oh, and when the suits in internal affairs take away his badge, he tells them to give it back or he'll kick the shit out of them. And they do.
It's that kind of film. The kind we haven't really seen since Joel Silver cut down on his cocaine intake.
I've read a lot of reviews saying that based on this film, it won't be long before Hollywood comes knocking at Patryk Vega's door. And I don't doubt that's true, but only because they just need any new blood. But the real person who should be tapped for better things is the cinematographer. This film is total garbage, but at least it's handsome garbage.
Supersonic - 2016 - ★★★½
I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Oasis. Their music does nothing for me and their personalities are so ugh (although I love reading interviews with Noel Gallagher). So why am I giving three-and-a-half stars to an Oasis documentary? Well, because it's not a documentary about Oasis. I mean, not really. It's really a documentary about a period in time. It's a documentary about success. It's a documentary about regret.
The music is just helpful context.
Blockers - 2018 - ★½
Why does everyone keep saying what a great comedian John Cena is? Or even Leslie Mann, for that matter? All these huge comedy stars playing the parents and they got DEMOLISHED by the kids in this film. Very weak.
Sneakers - 1992 - ★★★★★
I fucking LOVE this film. It's my ultimate comfort film.
There's a bit, a plot point, where Mary McDonnell was pretending to be hooked up with Stephen Tobolowsky on a computer date to get his office access card and his voice print and stuff and she gets stung. Except they make it look like she's not stung. And then, being a pro grifter, she goes "This is the last computer date I go on" and Ben Kingsley mafia-hacker goes "A computer would never match her with him, I SMELL A RAT".
BRUH IT'S 2018 AND NETFLIX STILL KEEPS RECOMMENDING I WATCH THE BIG BANG THEORY I THINK YOUR SHITTY 1993 COBOL DATING PROGRAM IS PROBABLY NOT AS FUCKIN SOPHISTICATED AS YOU THINK IT IS.
Gotowi na wszystko. Exterminator 2018 - ★★½
My first legit Polish-language film I'm watching for language homework rather than because of 'merit' or whatever and it's about a middle-aged man-child who spends too much on old videogames and gets berated by his partner. Oops!
The film started to lose me in the middle when they suddenly turned the "plot" dial up a thousand notches. But it really lost me when a guy tried to convince his girlfriend to leave the mental hospital she was checked into. "But I need my meds! If I don't have them, I don't know what will happen!" "It's okay because we'll be together".
I think the only time I've ever actually seen Stanley Kubrick explain the ending of 2001 in such unambiguous terms.
The clip is taken from a series of interviews (mostly with Vivian Kubrick) conducted by Jun'ichi Yaoi while he visited the set of The Shining for an unaired Japanese documentary on the Paranormal. The rest of the video is fascinating.
This is a terrible precedent for the company to set, and you can see why in the reaction from the quote-unquote 'fans' on reddit: "We're literally running the company now... the moment a dev steps out of line or try to talk back to a player, guess what, they'll know we got their hands on their throat and we can squeeze any time we like".
This might be old news to other people, but I just found out that DJ Shadow has a podcast. Well, it's a limited-series podcast of a 7-episode show he ran on an L.A. radio station last year. It's basically a giant mix/unofficial new album. Two episodes out so far and they're both really great.
I knew very little about Poland before moving here. Almost nothing about Warsaw. "I hear they have good pacts", I used to dad-joke1.
Since then, we've been trying to get better. We recently went to the National Museum in Warsaw, where they have a new "Gallery of Polish Design" exhibit which is aimed squarely at dipshits like me who have a weird thing for mid-century design and electronics housed in discolouring plastic. Here's a video of what you can expect in the exhibit:
Although not exactly vintage, they also had a vintage-inspired "paper town" toy that reminded me so much of Nintendo's Labo. It's basically a box filled with sheets of cardboard that you punch out and bend and fold into various parts of a 'town'.
As we were leaving, I noticed they were selling a couple of these in the gift shop. So, of course, I bought them.
Here's the finished product from a different set that we made earlier, so you can see what they look like finally constructed:
My daughter (who's two and a half), was too young to 'get' the Labo2 but she absolutely loves these. She loved punching out the little buildings and vehicles and handing them to me to construct. The first night, she took the restaurant (the two-tiered building in the back-left of that bottom picture) to bed with her. My wife even said that if she was in need of a present for a similarly-aged toddler, she would get them one of these packs. They're cheap, extremely cute, very tactile and recyclable.
If you can't make it to the National Museum in Warsaw to buy them, you can also order them from ringoringo.pl.
One of the good things about being a dad is that you can dad-joke unironically.
Too much waiting around for not enough payoff at the end for her
You may have noticed some changes on this blog (or maybe you didn't - there's too much going on in the world for you to be concerned with my bullshit website).
The short version is that I'd been thinking a lot about what I wanted this blog to be. It's probably the primary face of my internet presence, and I wasn't really pleased with how it was representing me. Part of the problem, I realised, is that I was using a static website generator to power the website.
Don't get me wrong, static site generators are wonderful pieces of software. You didn't have to worry about backups or databases or where your content lives or extracting it from some SQL file later on. But they also mean that writing a blog post is a non-trivial task. To write a post, I had to create a file on my hard drive, open that in my editor, write the blog post, generate the site, preview it locally, then upload it to this server. I was using a fucking Makefile to streamline this process. Makefiles tickle my nerdy side deeply, but the process was so cumbersome it meant that I'd only write a blog post about something that really mattered, instead of just firing off a few posts every day. And I'm many things, but I'm not a 'once in a while, here are my thoughts on a capital-I Important capital-T Topic' kind of guy. I don't work well like that and I didn't feel like it best represented me.
(An anecdotal aside: during my migration back to Wordpress, I came across a prominent Wordpress developer who had actually left the project, citing fundamental problems with PHP as a language and the Wordpress codebase in general. He also moved to a static site generator and, just like me, his output fell off a cliff after the move. You could argue that this is probably a reflection on the general state of blogging in 2018, but like I said, this is just an anecdotal aside.)
So that was the short version of what's been happening behind the scenes. Now let's see what happens next.