Five last flicks I saw

It’s been a while since I did this, so here are the last five flicks I saw.

World War Z (2013)WWZ
This. This is what we’ve been waiting for. Not a zombie movie. But THIS zombie movie. The albeit cheesy title made me think that this was just another fundraiser for some Jewish wedding in Hollywood, but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s not a good zombie movie, it’s a great movie. It has story and depth, and comes across as the exception to the rule of zombie movies necessarily having to be superficial.

Without going into much detail, I found that WWZ had intriguing plot twists that I couldn’t predict, which is getting harder and harder to come by in the average film industry. It had a solid variation of pace, which really made the experience enjoyable. You got your cheap thrills, awe, teh funny and edge-of-the-seat shit scary. The pacing of this film really drew me into it. I laughed out loud (along with a couple of other nerds) when there was a recognizable Left 4 Dead moment towards the end, and it was also nice to see Gollum back in the game:

Mireille Enos and Gollum
Mireille Enos in WWZ and Gollum

What’s up with all the skinny chicks in Hollywood at the moment? Have a burger, already!

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)Star Trek Into Darkness
We caught this movie in 3D, because every time you see a movie poster these days you’re confronted with serious doubt; “if I see the 2D version, how much am I missing out on?”

In this film, not that much. There’s one scene the first five minutes that is worthwhile in 3D, where an arrow literally hits you in the face. Apart from that, you’re just struggling to find out where the camera man wants you to focus at any given moment. I sincerely feel this is taking something away from the art of cinema, when you cannot even “look around” to get a feel of the atmosphere from the surroundings. Instead you’re continuously looking for the focus spot in all shots, making it more of a chore and less entertainment. There’s the hospital scene where the camera is composing a classic foreground, focus, background shot that does not work at all in the 3D version, because the blurry blob in the foreground is visually pushed into your face. Of course you are entitled to a different opinion. Just don’t be a fucking moron, is all I’m saying. 3D is a fad.

Apart from that I never really got the same sense of Star Trek-ness that I did with the first chapter of this reboot, which is a whole lot better. This film can be a Star Trek movie, and it does have an intriguing story, but I felt it was more like a sci-fi/action movie in general than a Star Trek movie in particular. Walking out of the theatre I was sort of dazed, and felt I was missing the story. Perhaps the 3D just made me exhausted. It’s worth watching if you’re into Star Trek or J.J. Abrams! Other than that, you can do better.

Man of Steel (2013)Man of Steel
When we first saw the trailer for this film in, I believe, the screening of the above Star Trek flick, we immediately decided to get tickets for it. Lady C is a fan of the Smallville and the two penultimate films, while I’m more nostalgic and think the modern renditions are pretty lame. I somehow feel that Superman belongs in the nuclear age, circa 1950-60, when Americans were proud Americans and rightly so in the eyes of the (western) world. Putting that Superman into our world is just cheesy and sort of childish. While the Smallville franchise is more like watching Friends. Might as well just watch Friends, then.

But the trailer to Man of Steel promised more. It promised to take away the gloss of the 1950 super hero and get real dark about it, similar to the promise (and execution) of HBO’s Mad Men. Great, I love that shit. Put it on!

And this film delivered. I walked out of the theatre feeling that I could believe in Superman again. That there is hope (they won’t fuck this up). I have two nitpicky points to make though. The death scene of his father is totally wrong. Nobody bought it. In fact, taking that shit out of the movie and not mentioning anything more about his death would make it a lot better. “But Americans are fat and dumb” you say, “and need everything explained IN CAPITAL LETTERS.” I don’t know.

The second and more pressing point is this: When you are rebooting this series, with a Superman/Batman movie on the horizon, why on God’s green earth would you still include the love story? WHICH DOES NOT WORK with the above realism at all. We have just watched how Superman isn’t just from another planet, he is an alien, and the Lane/Superman coupling is taking the term interracial to a whole new level. She might as well just marry an orangutan, which is much much closer to her own species than her extraterrestrial Superbuns. Also, wouldn’t the movie be cooler if they just had a professional relationship?

But Lois Lane is from the 1950s, and comes across as an easy lay.

What’s up with the CGI cape, people? I mean, come on! And finally, Lady C adds; What is the meaning of making a huge point that 1 little soldier is saved from the bad guys, when some 150 million people died in the making of this movie? While they are all fair points, I find that it doesn’t detract from the entertainment value and interesting reboot of this great genre of films. And I can’t wait to see more! (Note: We saw the 2D version and was pleased that it offered a sane viewing experience. Get off my lawn!)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)Hansel and Gretel
As you can imagine, this is another one of Lady C‘s recommendations. Coming from the sick mind of Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow (2009), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Good thing I didn’t expect too much, then.

Because it is exactly like Red Riding Hood, Van Helsing and every other placid, shitty rape of genuinely good stories. This movie tries to be a supernatural Firefly, and fails completely, because it its production screams “make us money” and lacks any charm whatsoever. If you’re into this shit, you will learn the error of your ways once you grow a little older. Say, after you’ve finished Junior High.

Enemy of the State (1998)flick-enstate
I don’t think I have written about this movie ever, even though it is a long time favourite of mine. I have it on VHS, DVD and Bluray, and last night we happened to watch it on television. This movie is better than most people think. It doesn’t try to make technology godlike, as in the intellectual abortion of J.J. Abrams in Person of Interest, while not dumbing it down to Schwarzenegger-level either (the keyboard has a backdoor so you can wipe the hard drive and implode the city). It simply shows some existing technology and focuses on its implications, not its fancy tricks. Story-telling, people. What happened to it?

It doesn’t require that much great acting (though Will Smith and Gene Hackman are cool) since it is a thriller, but it is a great thriller from beginning to end, and I’ll watch it again when I have the time. I’ve probably seen it more than 30 times already.

What’s more, you won’t find a big American title like this after 9/11. Since USA and most European govts went all 1984 with public opinion’s reluctant approval, an intelligent film about the matter won’t reappear until the political winds have changed and people start thinking again. Give it a decade. I find this circumstance makes this movie even more entertaining, it is a really good production on an intelligent subject, with a captivating story. Well done!
(It’s quite obvious now that I wrote this post BEFORE Snowden and the NSA revelations. It just got even more current, which is exactly what this film deserves. It’s a nice Saturday night film if you’re staying in.)

Since I was away at the time he died, I just wanted to add R.I.P. James Gandolfini. The Tony Soprano character really re-created the mobster genre in the long wake after the Godfather trilogy, and was and still is a great inspiration to me. The thought of Antony Sopranos not being a part of my life is not something I can really imagine. Thank you, Jimmy!

Well, that was interesting!

Well, that was interesting! We spent 2 weeks in the North alone with the dog and the VW Golf this summer. Having spent the first few days cutting grass, I got really ill. Then it slowly cleared up, and the second week Lady C got ill. After the two weeks we had to return to Oslo to get back to work.

But I must say it was a relaxing vacation, for once. No hassle, we could go wherever we wanted to, we heard a lot of podcasts and had a few beers. Just what the doctor ordered. Except for the viral infection, of course.

I’m just writing this to announce that we’re both very much alive. It’s just been real hell working two weeks proper, then starting studies and volunteer work, two new clients on the side, and of course all the regular odd jobs that has to be done around here.

I was supposed to create a new theme for the website this summer, but instead I carried on one of my pet projects coded in BASH. Didn’t have the creative drive to visualize and experiment, so I ended up solving programmatic puzzles instead.

But I’m getting there! I promise.

Where is the love? It’s headin’ North!

Bollicks to this, we’re off to the North of Norway!

www fags

The Internet will have to wait while we pack our stuff and climb into Lady C’s VW Golf 1.6 TDI feat. Highline sports seats and the Game of Thrones audio books blaring from the ghettoblastahs… sort of like a perverse, sadistic KITT.. while we head North. Damn this bloody good weather, we want to see clouds, give us some rain goddammit! Nothing makes you feel so alive as weather depression and cold front frustrations in close quarters with your loved ones. Which is why we brought a tent. To get even closer to each other.

Two days ago we visited Lady C’s grandmother in the nursing home, and when we told her about the trip, she related her story of the summer she and her husband and Lady C’s father spent 7 weeks in the tent while it poured non-stop outside.. Her eyes glazed over and you can see that a piece of her soul was still there, trapped in the rain in the tent there. 7 weeks. She just kept repeating "It just wouldn’t stop raining", after which we just had to leave in order to let her rest.

Since we’re driving our own Lady C’s car this year, we don’t have to cover that much ground each day, instead we’ll enjoy the Norwegian summer tradition of eeking around the countryside 20 Kph below the limit trailing German caravans. German tourists all like: «They zee us rollink, they hatink, ja?»

But it’s all good. I spent yesterday finding some thirty tracks for driving music, in addition to Game of Thrones audio, and when we finally get there we’ll have the HBO adaptations, 3 seasons of Arrested Development and lots more. I plan to get a little writing done, and then I have a lot of stuff that needs to be done with the website, first and foremost the themes; so I’ll be reading up on responsive design, HTML5 and brushing off my 1337 CSS skillZ. If that wasn’t enough there’s the novel still waiting to be finished, and Lady C is really enthusiastic about seeing as much of the North as humanly possible.

Since I am using WordPress I might find it tempting to find an Android app and do some posts while on the road. We will see. We have few plans for the tour, just a stop in Lillehammer and Lady C wants to see the Cathedral of Trondheim. Not that I think anyone is bothering with my blog atm, unless you’re trapped in the rain somewhere… 7 weeks! Anyway, I will have online access when we get to our base camp in the North, so if you get 500 Internal Error or 404 File Not Founds, it is probably me turning the wrong knobs. Cheers!

UPGRADE: Video embeds are back!

Today I noticed that all the videos were missing. It turns out that an import filter in WordPress 3.5 and newer skips all iframe and object embeds, and since manually going through 1500 posts finding their long forgotten youtube, vimeo or google video links is a major PITA I decided to clear out the database and re-install from scratch.

And now, finally, the videos are working again and we’re back to the same config I had a couple of hours ago. But I’d rather do that than lose all of that information. Especially since it turns out WordPress’ built-in youtube tags does NOT work.

Anyway, this is why the posts since the install have weird timestamps:)

Remind me to disable the annoying notification e-mails I’m sending to myself. Every time I change something I get two e-mails about it "from the Team @ Sigg3.net". It’s nice to have a team, though. We have identical T-shirts, a Nespresso coffee machine operated by George Clooney, a golden retriever that’s trained to fetch beer in the fridge and a midget that only works half-time. In fact, this post was brought to you by the Team @ Sigg3.net!
And the videos and stuff.
Better not mess with the Team @ Sigg3.net… rebel scum!

UPGRADE: Crescent and other old sites are up!

I found my home.no.net pages on a USB hard disk drive laying around here. That was a close call, since my former host had deleted their backups of my stuff. Anyway, these old pages include notably:

I’ll re-up the two KIM tracks when I finally get around to putting the Crescent recordings online. But now I have to let that sweet, tender BBQ meat Lady C made for us sink in first.

UPGRADE: Images are back!

After a couple of hours pulling my hair out over some loops in my .htaccess file, I was able to restore old functionality to Sigg3.net again. This means that the following links should work:

Yes, they are horrible sites I KNOW, but I’ll keep ’em around for legacy. Why not just keep em where they were? Because my web root directory was getting really cluttered. Now it’s all safe and sound in sigg3.net/site/legacy/. There might still be a loop somewhere, but for now I’m gonna need some breakfast!

I had to write a quick shell script to search and replace some PHP 4.0 coding with PHP 5 compatible alternatives. That old image script is rendered absolute by WordPress’ media uploader, but it has served me well since I wanted something quick and dirty (or quicker and dirtier than FTP) to up images back in 2010.

This whole enterprise is to make sure old posts don’t end up like heroin addicts or politicians.. all empty inside.. Instead, they’re filled with crap like this or this or even this.

I also need to start using the tags. If you’ve got good eyes, you’ll see them at the bottom of this post.. If you don’t, here’s my TRAKTO.BMP from 1996:
TRAKTOR!

I seriously need food. Almost time for dinner and still no breakfast.

EDIT: Since my previous host changed their systems during my stay, I’ve managed to drop some files from my backup, including the old Crescent site backup (available at archive.org). I am confident I have them in a backup somewhere, I just need to filter through them. Add it to my ever-growing TODO list.

UPGRADE: Just in time for another trip

I’m back from a full week of rain in a South Norwegian forest, yay! And as you can see, Sigg3.net is back on track too. Or at least, we’ve got the posts back, the permanent links function again, all the comments and comment authors are preserved and we’re ready to take it from here to where we need to go. What’s missing you say?

It’s like, pretty obvious.

All my pictures are missing at the moment. I used a PHP based picture uploading tool to avoid too many FTP logins (FTP is completely insecure), that I have yet to setup. So until I’ve got that sorted, it’s gonna look a little empty around here. In the meantime, enjoy yourself with this WWII colour photograph of a hot Nazi sympathiser shooting a rifle at a Luftwaffe cabin, recently discovered by museum leader William Hakvaag. Guns with girls are hot, regardless of sympathies. And I just had a tab open that needed talking about but didn’t have a reasonable association.. Anyway.

Priority two is the theme or layout. I have had many different layouts on Sigg3.net over the years, but the last one with the top gradient stayed put for quite a few years while I was lacking ideas for anything newer.

Third, I will have to start using the categories and tags for better SEO and usability.

But all of this will have to wait because tomorrow afternoon me, Lady C, Elvis (our puppy) and my brother Koew and our cousin Arni will be driving down south again to the cabin I just left! We’re gonna spend a couple of days there marinating in boardgames and beer, before we’re joining the rest of the family tree to celebrate my mother’s birthday. We’ll be back at the end of the weekend, so until then, enjoy the sun!

UPGRADE: Reload db table after messin with Permalinks

Note to self: Since you installed WP as a network site (you dolt!) you will have to hack around the WordPress permalink bug that adds a /blog/ to the URL by default.

Follow these steps from Lobo as admin:

  1. Setup Permalinks in Dashboard->Settings->Permalinks and Save 
  2. Now go Network admin->Sites click Edit by Sigg3.net 
  3. Scroll down to Permalink structure and edit as needed 
  4. Head back to the page in 1) but do NOT change or click save.

Apparently, it’s the last step that updates the db table to make any changes to the .htaccess take effect. This is a bug, gentlemen. But it has the same familiar air to it that the early and, to be honest, later days of b2 had. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes.

"What goes around comes around"

YES! I’ve finally handed in my last exam for this semester!

May 14th I created this timeline to get an overview of what to come:
Timeline of exams spring 2013

As you can see, I had shit to do every, single day. Today at five to eight p.m. I uploaded my hopefully final edition of my work on Hobbes’ Leviathan and Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right to the school network. I barely had a print-out fresh in hand when they closed. I’m gonna have to read through it just in case, but unless there’s something huge I need to deal with, it’s SUMMAH TIME!

Edit: 6th of June 2013
Couldn’t help myself. I just had to correct some grammatical errors and make my own conclusions a little more pointed; but today, 24 minutes before deadline, I FINALLY FINISHED! Got home and said: I’M DONE! and Lady C was all like:
– GREAT!
– YEAH!
– So that means you can shower now?
– ..umm, yeah?
– And shave?
– uhuh
– Cut your hair?
– Alright! STFU & GTFO, IT’S SUMMA TIME BEYBEY!

Averting crime by way of Hegel

These past three days there’s been construction work going on at basement level at the opposite side of the street, they’re carving out a couple of window squares in the old wall to create a new ground floor flat, and yesterday they got them done and boarded them up while waiting for the windows to arrive. If you’ve seen Grand Designs, you know the windows are always late.

Today, when I was formulating an introduction to Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right in my written exam, I noticed a couple of gals standing there, one of whom had her arm between the boarding, and fished something out. It looked like a cellphone, so I just guessed she had taken a picture on the inside of the boards, dropped her cellphone and then retrieved it. Then they walked away while, curiously, looking at her wallet.

People are weird and do weird stuff. I always assume this before foul play.

Then, about forty minutes later, I noticed the girls were back at the window! One of them were conspicuously inconspicuously tying her shoelace at a tree next to the window, while the other gal dropped something back in. Then they left, sort of hurriedly. Huh.

Plus five minutes and one of the familiar faces working there came out looking through his wallet and talking to his colleague, pointing at the window, when I realized that the gals had seen his wallet through the boards and decided to steal it!

I grabbed my furious Boston Terrier side-kick Elvis and headed out to talk with them. By then the guy in the grey shirt, whose shit had been stolen, was gone but his coworker was left. I got him out of the flat-to-be (the dust is terrible) and told him what I’d seen; a couple of young, Spanish-looking girls, who’d reached in and grabbed something! I couldn’t see them around, but IF they were Spanish, then perhaps they go to the Norwegian-classes at the nearby school and had decided to do some mischief during a break or something. We exchanged numbers just in case.

While he tried to get hold of grey-shirt, I decided to head up to the school and look for them. This is when I met my furious Homo Sapiens side-kick Lady C, coming home from work carrying the groceries, and got her up to speed. I suggested we headed for the school and she reluctantly agreed.

Elvis decided that crime-fighting aside, it was time to pee, so he jumped into a hedge running around a small park outside a nearby apartment complex doing his thing. I was talking about how shitty thing it is to steal from the immigrant workers who work here for pennies, when I noticed a couple of gals sitting on a table there in the shade smoking a cigarette. "Look! Perhaps it’s them?".
– It’s them?
Lady C was not intrigued. If this was the case, they had moved a mere 150 yards from the scene of the crime. Then again, they had thought that nobody had noticed. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the nerds at home WATCHING YOUR EVERY MOVE!

We casually walked around the park, C put down the groceries, so I could properly identify them. Elvis farted. It was them, I was sure. I nonchalantly took out my phone and called the other guy’s number, but got a busy-signal. So we circled the park properly, sat down in the grass on a slope behind them, so we could keep an eye on them while I tried to call again.

Then the girls stood up to leave, and Lady C was like: "No fucking way I’m gonna let them get away with it!" headed for an intercept, while Elvis was squealing like a little girl and me following close thereafter (sans the squeals). Must have made some impression.

We caught up with them, and it turned out to be a couple of 17 year old Norwegian biatches. Lady C promptly said: "Hey Girls! We saw that you stole some shit from the window down there, and if you hand it over immediately we don’t need to call the cops."
Their face shone up in the brilliant light of BUSTED! (Jean-Paul Sartre has written extensively about this exact moment.)
The blonde girl just said: "OK!" pulling stuff out of her purse.
Lady C added: "And you don’t do that again!"
"OK!"
And they swiftly left.

I tried calling the other guy but still busy, so we just took the stolen goods (a digital camera and a VISA card) and headed homewards. Luckily enough, the other guy was still there, smoking a cigarette. We told him that we got the girls, and gave him the stuff.
He was dumbfounded, thanked us and said he had to get a hold of grey-shirt.

At this point we just headed home to get the groceries into the fridge, and were chatting about it, and when I got back into the study to continue my introduction I noticed the car was back and grey-shirt was waving at us.

I opened the window only to get showered in gratefulness. Grey-shirt was so happy, because he had a lot of pictures on the camera and this was his only bank account (typical for immigrant workers) with all his money. And do we like beer or wine?

I didn’t feel like doing so much out of it, but we opted for a red wine, because grey-shirt clearly would like to give us something in return. And they were off. It’s in moments like these you realize you just experienced a whole range of concepts in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.