Due to my weird work schedule, most of the people I can actually boost with aren't in my own time zone, but the UK.
They speak English. We North Americans speak something similar, but clearly a variant requiring translation. So, here to help, American Scott Walters:
"AN AMERICAN VISITED THE UK AND THIS IS HIS DESCRIPTION OF BRITISH LIFE
If you're from Britain it's quite easy to often forget how great this place is. If you're not from Britain, however, we probably seem like quite an odd bunch at times. The following Facebook post, written by 66-year-old American Scott Waters, pretty much fits both of the above. Penned following a visit to the UK this summer (most of which appears to have been in Cornwall, England), Waters wrote up the various cultural differences and posted them to the world of social media. The post promptly went viral and has been shared almost 50,000 times. Here's what he had to say about us:
I was in England again a few weeks ago, mostly in small towns, but here's some of what I learned:
* Almost everyone is very polite.
* There are no guns.
* There are too many narrow stairs.
* The pubs close too early.
* The reason they drive on the left is because all their cars are built backwards.
* Pubs are not bars, they are community living rooms.
* You'd better like peas, potatoes and sausage.
* Refrigerators and washing machines are very small.
* Everything is generally older, smaller and shorter.
* People don't seem to be afraid of their neighbors or the government.
* Their paper money makes sense, the coins don't.
* Everyone has a washing machine but driers are rare.
* Hot and cold water faucets. Remember them?
* Pants are called "trousers", underwear are "pants" and sweaters are "jumpers".
* The bathroom light is a string hanging from the ceiling.
* "Fanny" is a naughty word, as is "shag".
* All the signs are well designed with beautiful typography and written in full sentences with proper grammar.
* There's no dress code.
* Doors close by themselves, but they don't always open.
* They eat with their forks upside down.
* The English are as crazy about their gardens as Americans are about cars.
* They don't seem to use facecloths or napkins or maybe they’re just neater than we are.
* The wall outlets all have switches, some don't do anything.
* There are hardly any cops or police cars.
* 5,000 year ago, someone arranged a lot of rocks all over, but no one is sure why.
* When you do see police they seem to be in male & female pairs and often smiling.
* Black people are just people: they didn't quite do slavery here.
* Everything comes with chips, which are French fries. You put vinegar on them.
* Cookies are "biscuits" and potato chips are "crisps".
* HP sauce is better then catsup.
* Obama is considered a hero, Bush is considered an idiot.
* After fish and chips, curry is the most popular food.
* The water controls in showers need detailed instructions.
* They can boil anything.
* Folks don't always lock their bikes.
* It's not unusual to see people dressed differently and speaking different languages.
* Your electronic devices will work fine with just a plug adapter.
* Nearly everyone is better educated than we are.
* If someone buys you a drink you must do the same.
* Look right, walk left. Again; look right, walk left. You're welcome.
* Avoid British wine and French beer.
* It's not that hard to eat with the fork in your left hand with a little practice. If you don't, everyone knows you're an American.
* Many of the roads are the size of our sidewalks.
* There's no AC.
* Instead of turning the heat up, you put on a jumper.
* Gas is "petrol", it costs about $6 a gallon and is sold by the liter.
* If you speed on a motorway, you get a ticket. Period. Always.
* You don't have to tip, really!
* There are no guns.
* Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall really are different countries.
* Only 14% of Americans have a passport, everyone in the UK does.
* You pay the price marked on products because the taxes (VAT) are built in.
* Walking is the national pastime.
* Their TV looks and sounds much better than ours.
* They took the street signs down during WWII, but haven't put them all back up yet.
* Everyone enjoys a good joke.
* Dogs are very well behaved and welcome everywhere.
* There are no window screens.
* You can get on a bus and end up in Paris.
* Everyone knows more about our history than we do.
* Radio is still a big deal. The BBC is quite good.
* The newspapers can be awful.
* Everything costs the same but our money is worth less so you have to add 50% to the price to figure what you're paying.
* Beer comes in large, completely filled, actual pint glasses and the closer the brewery the better the beer.
* Butter and eggs aren't refrigerated.
* The beer isn't warm, each style is served at the proper temperature.
* Cider (alcoholic) is quite good.
* Excess cider consumption can be very painful.
* The universal greeting is "Cheers" (pronounced "cheeahz" unless you are from Cornwall, then it's "chairz")
* The money is easy to understand: 1-2-5-10-20-50 pence, then-£1-£2-£5-£10, etc bills. There are no quarters.
* Their cash makes ours look like Monopoly money.
* Cars don't have bumper stickers.
* Many doorknobs, buildings and tools are older than America.
* By law, there are no crappy, old cars.
* When the sign says something was built in 456, they didn't lose the "1".
* Cake is pudding, ice cream is pudding, anything served for dessert is pudding, even pudding.
* Everything closes by 1800 (6pm)
* Very few people smoke, those who do often roll their own.
* You're defined by your accent.
* No one in Cornwall knows what the hell a Cornish Game Hen is.
* Soccer is a religion, religion is a sport.
* Europeans dress better than the British, we dress worse.
* The trains work: a three minute delay is regrettable.
* Drinks don't come with ice.
* There are far fewer fat English people.
* There are a lot of healthy old folks around participating in life instead of hiding at home watching tv.
* If you're over 60, you get free TV and bus and rail passes.
* They don't use Bose anything anywhere
* Displaying your political or religious affiliation is considered very bad taste
* Every pub has a pet drunk
* Their healthcare works, but they still bitch about it
* Cake is one of the major food groups
* Their coffee is mediocre but their tea is wonderful
* There are still no guns
They have towel warmers!"
Back to Evil Toast: most of these, I knew or have had explained to me by my m8's. But what on earth is a towel warmer???
Posted by Evil Toast
on 20 February 16 at 20:26
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Good 3D, Bad 3D part 1
Let's get it out of the way: if you wear glasses, or have a problem in 1 eye, you won't get to truly experience the difference between eye-straining poorly done stereoscopic imaging, and the truly stunning opposite end of the spectrum. Which sucks.
Best 3D I've experienced in a film was so good, you could actually see which surfaces were bump-mapped and textured, and which were simply flat textured. Beowulf. Photorealistic CGI coupled with really well thought out stereoscopic rendering, I wish I could find a copy of this in 3d, but I only saw it once in theatres. Naked Angelina Jolie didn't hurt.
2nd best, Avatar. The story was identical to Ferngully, Dances with Wolves, Pocohintas, very derivative... It's pretty clear the focus was the 3D, and it shows.
How to Train Your Dragon, Frozen, both Avengers Films, clearly we're directed with 3D in mind. All really good examples of 3D tech, and totally worth watching in 3D if you've only watched them 'flat'.
Worst 3D in films:
Ice Age 3D was clearly a film they finished first, and then thought "Hey let's make more money by converting it to 3D and charging the higher ticket price". When rendering a 3D movie in flat non stereoscopic imaging, it doesn't matter how far you place the farthest plane, representing the sky / backdrop.
But when you force that rendered image into a stereoscopic image, you have to render it at the appropriate plane depth. The sky and horizon are *not* 3 feet away from you.
The result? there were scenes where they had foreground rendered trees, then drawn flat 2d trees on the far plane, along with a painted sky... Instead of looking like the Ice Age characters were walking in a desolate frozen forest, it instead looked like they were walking in a tiny shoebox, with trees and sky painted on the back wall. Terrible.
Iron Man 3 actually suffered from this as well: there's a fireworks scene at the beginning, where everything else is in 3D but the fireworks were exploding in a single 2D plane, rather than in a swelling spherical pattern. Considering how well the 3D was handled in both Avengers films, this was a let down (the film was entertaining though, and *most* of the film has properly handled 3D)
Despicable Me: great film, but suffers from the 2 perspective points being too close together, the end result being that nothing really pops out from the film at all. It might was well be non-stereoscopic.
Similar criticism for Monsters vs Aliens, nothing really popped out at you.
Captain EO: on the other end of the 3D spectrum, when films move the 2 perspective points too far away, you get eye strain, as well as image ghosting... All for a messy 3D result. Yes this Disney ride film starring Michal Jackson is 25 years old, and currently only available at Tokyo Disney (it was showing at Disney World no Disney Land in the late 80's and early 90's) and was one of the first examples of the current polarized lens 3D instead of the old horrible blue and red method.
It was also a collaboration between Spielberg, Scorcese, and Lucas.. Go figure.
I was going to include stereoscopic games as well here, but this is long enough; I'll make a separate follow up blog soon.
*spoiler: Air Conflict Secret Wars is the worst stereoscopic video gaming ever. I don't think it can be topped.
Posted by Evil Toast
on 16 September 15 at 06:49
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100 movies in the last 6 months...
ok, 99% of these were on the flights to and from our last vacation, and on the cruise itself. (in previous years we hit the theatres about 10 times each summer, this year all of once). And of course most were re-watches for me.
But still: (and no I don't remember them all)
Guardians of the Galaxy, as I'd probably already mentioned, was my favourite film of 2014. Somewhat unexpectedly. Pure comedy gold. 9.5/10 (A) Bradly Cooper nailed the voice of Rocket, exactly how I'd read the comic as a kid.
Lego Movie (Also starring Chris Pratt) was a pretty sweet film: Pratt being the star of the top 2 grossing films of 2014 is incredible luck. Being in the top grossing film of 2015 as well... wow.
Despicable Me 2: Unbelievably improved upon the original. 8.5/10 (A-/B+)
Watched all 3 Back to the Futures again. 10/10 (A++), 7.5/10 (B-), and 7/10 (C+) respectively. The roles that Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd were born to play (oh, and Thomas F Wilson)
Which of course means I also had to re-watch Star Wars IV, V, VI.
Lucy: Luc Besson. Interesting concept, stupid movie. And seriously French-centric... Interpol and the KGB couldn't keep up with the woman with the mind powers to literally warp space, time and matter... but the French police could. 5/10 (D+)
Police Story 3: Jackie Chan's Police Story 1 stands as one of his best films, especially in the original (non-translated) Cantonese. The 2nd one was ok, but this 3rd one was just terrible. 1/10 (F-). His now adult daughter inexplicably turns on him for being an absentee dad, and he basically surivies a Bruce Willis beating of taking down an entire evil syndicate... for no thanks whatsoever. The entire movie was miserable, and lacked the action comedy that Jackie Chan is known for. I hadn't been this disappointed in a movie since Robin Williams awful "Toys"
Re-Watched the 1st episode of The Walking dead; which was basically a tv movie. 8/10 (B)You know what, that 1st season was brilliant. 2nd nearly killed it for me though.
Begin Again I'd commented on before, but surprisingly good small budget film (but starring Mark Rufallo and Kiera Knightly) 7.5/10
Was *so* looking forward to X-Men: Days of Future past; loved the original reboot (9/10). Unfortunately DOFP was a complete letdown... too many characters to develop any, and the future scenes felt like a small stage rather than the entire world. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were both awesome, but that was it. 6.5/10. It all just felt anticlimactic.
Penguins of Madagascar was fantastic. Crazy how they've improved with each subsequent Madagascar film (this being the 4th). The original I gave 7/10 to, this one 9/10. Foregoing any sort of real plot and character development, and turning this into an Abrams (comedic) take on a Mission Impossible film, was a very good choice indeed. Although for some reason the character of "Private" kept reminding me of Andystructable.
Speaking of which, also rewatched the 4th MI movie. Still a fun ride, with a lot of heart and laughs thrown in. Although the car elevator parkade scene at the end was still totally ridiculous. still, 9/10 (A-)
Amazing Spider Man was pretty good (the leads were great) right up until the Lizard part, where it took a noticeable dip in quality but still a 7.5/10. Amazing Spider Man 2 sucked donkey ass. The dialogue was laughable, the big twist they were trying to hide was blatantly obvious even to those who didn't know, thanks to unbelievably clumsy and overt 'foreshadowing'. 4.5/10 (D)
Cinderella (remake): a literal translation of the Disney classic into live-action. Ok, but not the twist that Maleficent was; well executed, Haley Atwell was perfect as usual. Stellan Skaarsgard can't do an English accent to save his life :p 7/10 (C+)
Cinderella (Disney classic): of course, had to go re-watch the original to see how it compared. Some minor changes for the updated film, but the classic mostly holds up as remembered. 7/10
Snow White (Disney classic) was actually unbearable to rewatch, due to the absolutely horrid singing voice they chose for her. It was like auditory torture for me. And evertyhing somehow felt over-acted. 4/10. If you think I'm being harsh, go back and rewatch it: Nostalgia painted it a whole lot better.
Avengers 2: mile a minute action, almost to the detriment of the film. The first 1 had a more light-hearted feel, not so much on this one. Had me on the edge of my seat, just wish I laughed more. 9/10 (A-) (I liked Cap 2, Avengers 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy more)
Pocahontas: hadn't seen in it 20 years; did anyone notice that none of the Natives, including Pocahontas, spoke English... but "Mother Willow" sings "Listen to your heart, and you will understand" while John Smith is trying to teach her English by speaking slower and more loudly to her, and *instantly* she speaks English after that song.. as does the rest of her tribe. Loved Aladdin, Mulan, the Pixar stuff... but this was just silly on revisiting. Still, decent 90's soundtrack. 6.5/10 (C)
Little Mermaid: similarly, I hadn't watched this in decades... didn't remember that Ariel was basically a spoiled brat; however Alan Menkein's soundtrack lifts the entire film. 7.5 (B-)
Transformers 4: Age of extinction. Started off pretty well, but lost me with the whole "Transformium" theory of lego brick rearrangement of Transformers, as well as Marky Mark's characters inexplicable sniping abilities, given that the character was a failed inventor. (Yes I realize he played a sniper in another movie, but this wasn't supposed to be the same character). 7/10 (C+) based on explosions alone.
Big Hero 6 was the big surprise; I expected it to be good, but as far as CGI animated films go it's now my 3rd favourite after "The Incedibles" and "How to Train Your Dragon". 10/10 (A+) The only knock I could really give it is the protagonist was a bit whiny, and they really didn't flesh out the supporting cast. But Baymax was the focal point. And it had the *best* after-credits of any film I've seen to date.
Oh, and the short film that preceeds it was also brilliant, 10/10 (A+). I think it was called "Feast"; basically a romantic comedy from the point of view of a Boston Terrier pup. Pure awesomeness.
Alice in Wonderland (original). Weird and nonsensical (I think Lewis Carroll was on an acid trip); I don't understand the love for the original Disney classic; I kept waiting for it to end, and when it did... they imply it was all just a dream. Exactly what they tell you not to do in writing 101. 4/10 (D-)
Alice (Tim Burton Sequel). Actually they tease you about whether it's a sequel or a remake, until Alice asks what was the answer to the Mad Hatter's riddle from the Disney original, confirming it's actually a sequel. I know I'm in the minority (wife didn't like it) but I loved it. 8/10 (B). Very fitting Danny Elfman score, despite being slightly inspired by John Barry's James Bond theme. Don't normally like Helena Bonham Carter, but it was well cast and acted.
Which segues nicely into rewatching Harry Potter 7 pt 2. (pt 1 is too boring to rewatch, sorry). HBC was pretty darn good in those films as well.
Can't go on a Disney cruise without watching Frozen again. Not for most people on TA, but as a musician, I can't help but admire the soundtrack. 8/10 (B)
And ditto watching The Incredibles for the umpteenth time. 10/10 (A+) still my fav animated classic. And Mulan 9.5/10 (A)
Surrogates was really good: Bruce Willis action flick with an typical sci fi warning (we might abuse technology) but an overall plot that tied together well, and great production and acting all around. 8/10.
Planes: surprisingly a *lot* better than Cars... which put my wife to sleep 10 minnutes in. 6.7/10
Robocop remake: none of the humour of the original, very cool effects and action scenes though. 7.3/10
Rewatched Star Trek (XI) and ST:XII into Darkness, as well as Dark Knight on the way back. 8.5/10, 9/10 (despite being really silly in spots). 10/10. Dark Knight is still the best super hero movie to date, and unbelievably packed: not a moment of wasted screen time. (Dark Knight Returns was a horrible let down, 6.5/10. Have only seen that once, and have no desire to watch it again. I gave the original 8.5/10 for it's slow but deliberate pacing and setup.)
I couldn't get into the Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies, mostly because of the awful and abrupt ending of Desolation of Smaug. But at least the battle scenes at the end were more entertaining to watch than the endings of the 2 previous. Loved the LOTR trilogy, but 1 book split into 3 movies is just too slow a pacing for me.
Into the woods: the non-melodious music drove my wife to walk out halfway through, and even though it's a free film on a cruise, she refused to go back and finish watching, so I never finished watching it either. What I saw was not great, and yes, somewhat grating.
Also couldn't finish watching Annie's reboot. Just felt so cheesy.
And I finally got to watch John Carter for free (the Box Office made it clear it wasn't worth paying for). The setup was actually alright; as were the production values (would've been really easy to end up having the movie look cheap and cheesy). But the acting wasn't good, and OMG what a stupid ending. *spoiler alert if you haven't seen it* (look away now): after saving the girl, uniting the planet, and generally being a great guy the movie should've ended there. Instead it goes back to Earth where he tries to get back to 'the life' for another TEN years. You'll have to watch it to see how unbelievably convoluted it was.
Saw Wreck it Ralph again; best John Reily film for me. 8.3/10 (B/B+)
Also rewatched Up (decent Disney film, but with the best opening 15 minutes ever 7.5/10) and Wall-e (slow paced at the start, but a lot of heart) 8.5/10
Oh, and Watty and I agreed to download Thomas was Alone for GTASC. I wasn't sure, because it looks stupid: literally every screen shot is a bunch of rectangles.
You know what? It's brilliant. Acerbic British humour at its best.
Still haven't seen, but can't wait to watch: Ex Machina, Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, Minions, and Inside out.
*edit forgot that we watched "Home". In theatres. Very telling that I forgot it. Bland, juvenile cartoon, actually ok plot but poorly executed (also annoying & bland) 5.8/10. Unlike Lucy (went downhill at airplane scene) and John Carter (some silly dialog, but the ending really took the piss), which both started off good, this one is mind numbing throughout.
Posted by Evil Toast
on 22 July 15 at 06:25
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