New J.J. Abrams movie →

This awesome teaser trailer is sometimes running in front of screenings of Transformers in the States. Now, as good as Transformers was, it would be hard to keep my attention after that trailer.

It's probably a movie codenamed "Cloverfield", which J.J. Abrams is supposed to have been working on for a while now. No real details exist except that it's a big, dumb monster movie. Hooray! 'Round these parts, we loves us some big, dumb monster movies. Even the Godzilla remake, but only for that one scene where Jean Reno's does his Elvis impression.

Cute thing - the official site, which isn't referenced anywhere in that trailer, or on any other official sources, is tracking visitors using Google Analytics. This word-of-mouth campaign is being dissected, one visitor at a time.

Update: High-res trailer on apple.com (including HD)

Collecting or clutter?

DVDs, books and games, post-purge

An article over on Unclutterer caught my eye - Is collecting a form of creative hoarding?

As I type this, virtually all of my worldly possessions are sitting in a storage container, waiting for me to pick them up. This includes my DVD collection. I've always thought of it as a 'DVD collection', never as 'clutter'. H. has always thought the opposite. Now, I'm beginning to wonder - who's right here?

For two months now, I've been getting by with the stuff I brought with me in my suitcases. And the only thing that I miss is my Xbox 360. I really wish I'd brought that instead of my PlayStation 2. I could be playing Forza 2 and boosting my achievement score right now instead of playing through Kingdom Hearts 2 and hanging out with Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Which, let's be honest, is pretty fucking fruity.

I tell you what I don't miss though: my DVDs. I brought a handful in a CD folder -- things like 2001, Idiocracy, Spaced -- things I could watch again and again. And I'd say I would miss those if I hadn't brought them with me, but what about the other 1,175?

Let's pick an extreme example: The Tao of Steve. Will I ever watch it again? I seriously doubt it. It was a bad movie and I didn't enjoy it when I watched it. I think the only reason I hold onto it is because I had myself convinced that my DVD collection was like some shiny communist state and every disc was equal. So I would no sooner get rid of 'The Tao of Steve' than my three-disc Criterion Collection edition of 'Brazil'.

But they're not equal. Not even close.

Filling in the insurance forms for the moving company was also pretty eye-opening. Averaging a value of €10 per disc, the insurance on the DVDs alone came to €12,000. And considering the final value of everything was under €15,000, it got me thinking - is this still a collection? Or did it cease to be a collection the minute I started buying things like The Tao of Steve, or Jack Frost, owning them just to own them?

Of the DVDs I own, I reckon there are about 200 that I love. Really love. And I'd be upset if I didn't have these. That leaves, what... 1,000 DVDs I could afford to let go of?

Anyway, it's left me with this food for thought. Would I rather: **A: ** keep convincing myself that it's worth holding onto films like The Tao of Steve, just in case Donal Logue dies a tragic death and its value suddenly skyrockets and I can retire early. or **B: ** sell the cruft on eBay and use the proceeds to buy myself a Macbook Pro and maybe even a nice new Cinema Display.

So - any offers on 1,000 DVDs?

Manhunt 2 and Censorship

I've been pretty busy for the past few days and I'm still catching up with the stuff that happened last week. Like the Manhunt 2 furore.

For those of you that don't know/care, last week, the Irish Film Censor's Office decided to make a prohibition order against the upcoming game, Manhunt 2, making it the first videogame ever banned in Ireland. A moot point, since over in the US, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board gave Manhunt 2 an Adults Only (AO) rating and the three console manufacturers have said that they will not allow AO-rated games to be released for their systems.

”Civil Liberties”

Anyway, you can can imagine the the reactions the the IFCO's decision. An anonymous commenter on IT Law Ireland:

So lets ban any story, film, news report which contains violence and go about life in ignorance, as they want us to. God help us all, next thing banned will be the great sculpture of David done by Michelangelo because it contains nudity.

. And naturally, boards.ie went into hysterics. My favourite quote from the 7-page long Manhunt 2 thread being:

Personally, I think the idea of completely banning any game from a country is an outrage, and a blatant infringement of civil liberty.

That still makes me giggle.

Strangely, I find myself agreeing with the censor. In their statement regarding the prohibition order, they said

IFCO recognizes that in certain films, DVDs and video games, strong graphic violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the work. However, in the case of Manhunt 2, IFCO believes that there is no such context, and the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence is unacceptable.

And you know what? This all sounds perfectly reasonable to me. John Kelleher has proven himself to be an extremely liberal censor, and prohibition orders are typically reserved for the most hardcore porno. Think about it like this - this is the film censor that let Hostel through. This means that Hostel, one of the most brutal exercises in Gorenography I have ever seen, has more of a context for its violence than Manhunt 2. (For reference, here is their ruling - 'strong' across the board.)

I also agree with the censor because I am not convinced that, on its own, classification of movies or games is an effective way of preventing children from being exposed to indecent material - I just don't think it actually works. As someone who was exposed to a ridiculous amount of horror films as a child (thanks, Gar, for letting me watch the Exorcist at age 5), I believe that if you don't want children being exposed to something, you should make it as difficult as possible for them to get their hands on it. In most cases, by banning it.

This goes double for videogames, where lazy parents often dismiss the graphic content of games simply because they are 'games' and will happily buy Grand Theft Auto for their 10-year old just to keep him quiet for a few hours.

Hardware Solution

The big “however” at the end of all this is that all this could be easily avoided if the rating system was used in conjunction with parental controls. These days, most media-playing devices (including modern games consoles) have parental controls built in. If you want to watch a movie or play a game above a certain age-rating, you have to enter a password. But the problem here is that hardly anyone uses these parental controls because hardly anyone knows about them.

Maybe it's time they were turned on by default, and bugger the inconvenience?

Italian Music

When I moaned about Italian music before, I admitted I hadn't looked very hard to find something good. And, in my defence, it's easy to be a little dismayed when you're bombarded by Michael fuckin' Buble in all the shops. But things are picking up! Here are two songs I like right now.

Tiziano Ferro - E Raffaella è Mia

This guy seems to be like the Italian Robbie Williams, back before Robbie Williams turned into an enormous, pulsating cock. The song is about Raffaella Carrà, an Italian actress and TV host, and its lyrics are really easy to understand ("And Raffaella sings in my house / And Raffaella dances in my house"), so I like that too.

But I'm actually having trouble with the song. Is it catchy in the CSS kind of way, or is it catchy in the Ketchup Song kind of way? Whatever. I'm not ashamed of what I like.

AntiAnti feat. CapaRezza - Picciotti della Benavita

Caparezza (the dude with the giant 'fro) is an Italian rapper. His solo stuff is kinda like System of a Down, which is no bad thing. We've had a hell of a time trying to buy this album on iTunes (which I'm sure I'll blog about soon). Fuckin' twenty-first century my arse.

Interesting comparison: 'Caparezza' on English Wikipedia (18K) 'Caparezza' on Italian Wikipedia (47K)

I'm sure someone with better language skills than me could easily bump their Wikipedia karma by simply translating the Italian page to English.

New World's Ugliest Dog →

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The King is dead. Long live the King!

Quigley said she rescued Elwood two years ago. "The breeder was going to euthanize him because she thought he was too ugly to sell," said Quigley.

"So ha ha, now Elwood's all over the Internet and people love him and adore him."

Well, let's not get carried away...

what happens next? →

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"I suppose it is funny when you realize you will always be known throughout your life as that bloke in that car where the cheetah pooped through the roof hatch."

Airport Leprechauns

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Just before the real summer hits and people start heading off to somewhere nice for their holidays, I thought I better give a little shout-out to the Airport Leprechauns on Flickr, which cheers me right up every time I look at it. If you want to join, just take a snap of yourself wearing a leprechaun hat or beard the next time you're in the airport and and put it in the group!

Happy Bloomsday! →

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STATELY, PLUMP BUCK MULLIGAN CAME FROM THE STAIRHEAD, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: ...

Oh, fuck it. Read the rest on Project Gutenberg.

I've never read Ulysses, and at this rate, I probably never will. Still though, as Sean Hughes says, "Great preface".