The Annual Christmas Night Movie: 2008

December 26, 2008

bedtime_storiesI told the story last year about my family’s annual Christmas tradition of going to the movies. This year, the choice was Bedtime Stories. I was not thrilled, but the rest of the gang (my brother, our cousin-in-law, and her two sons) enjoyed it.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Investing in Movies

December 9, 2008

For nearly 10 years, I’ve been playing the Hollywood Stock Exchange. Basically it’s a prediction market based on the box office returns of movies. It’s been a pretty good indicator over the years, but the income model was based nearly totally on ad revenue. A few months ago, they announced a complete site overhaul, ostensibly to “update” to the Web 2.0 model. It must not have been very successful, given its short life and eventual reversion to the “old” site.

Anyway, the 2.0 idea has been abandoned in favor of an even more major step forward: the Cantor Exchange. Named after HSX’s parent company Cantor Fitzgerald, it will be similar to the game format except you’ll be able to invest with real money. Details are sketchy as to the actual implementation, but I expect I’ll be playing around with it a little.

Michigan’s Robotic War Bat vs. Georgia Tech’s Cyborg Moths

April 7, 2008

In an article that is somehow evocative of a certain movie franchise (whose bloggers unfortunately met a grisly, Cloverfield-esque end late last February), the University of Michigan has received $10 million from the army for a “Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology, or COM-BAT.” The robotic bat produced by this group apparently will have a “gargoyle mode” that involves perching on a building and lurking. Since there already is a Michigan Gargoyle, I suggest changing the name to “hunter-killer” mode (good luck with James Cameron’s lawyers). Even worse (or better!), another article in The Register speculates that the RADAR of the Michigan war bat would allow it to easily destroy Georgia Tech’s “cyborg infiltrator machines [that wear] living creatures like fleshy cloaks.” Apparently Prof. Robert Michelson’s group plans to scoop out the entrails of moths and replace them with remote-controls and sensors.

Also in the article, The Register describes DARPA as “the Pentagon asylum for usefully-insane scientists” which can’t be entirely true since our own Andy (who is still pretty sane despite his defense coming up this Friday) was partly funded by DARPA.


April 2, 2008

I was just going through my forgotten and nearly dead post drafts and found this doozy. Since many of us went and sat through the amazing-looking, albeit fascist 300 together, I figure many of you might also enjoy Robot Chicken’s 300-inspired take on the American revolution:

I especially enjoy the crossing of the Delaware. Robot Chicken really captures the movie for me — I remember longing for the sophistication of Starship Troopers.

And while on the topic of the founding fathers, I can’t help but find HBO’s John Adams to be completely unnecessary. I don’t really think it’s any fault of it’s own (except maybe for casting overused Paul Giamatti) but I can’t help but giggle at the oh-so-serious looking promos that popped up seemingly everywhere a few weeks ago. I don’t know if it’s possible to have year-long movie-watching moods, but I feel like I wouldn’t be in the mood for something like this until at least next year…

Innotech, er… EniTech

March 24, 2008

I spent Saturday through Friday last week in Seattle at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting. Seattle is awesome and I had a lot more time to explore than my previous, three day trip. The weather was actually pretty decent — it was often rainy but not raining. In fact, it only rained the two times I didn’t take my umbrella with me.

Anyhow, I need to get back into the blogging habit, and as a big Terminator fan (apparently one of the few that prefers the original) I think that the website for Enitech is pretty entertaining. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Did These Guys Learn to do Business?

February 12, 2008

Word on the the streets is that the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien has now had to sue New Line Cinemas in order to receive what they claim was 7.5% of the $6 billion that Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy made.  Allegedly they only received a $62,500 up front fee and have been trying to negotiate for the rest ever since.  Apparently, New Line won’t let them see the books to verify how much money was made.  This is exactly the probablem that Peter Jackson had with the company and already delayed the making of The Hobbit for three years.  It also reminds me somewhat of the way the producers handled negotiations with the writer’s guild, in that they claimed that they weren’t sure if new media (the internet) would be profitable, so they’d rather pay a small fixed fee to the writers than a percentage.  Isn’t a percentage of nothing still nothing?  Apparently not in Hollywood producer math.  I don’t know how much involvement fellow Gargoyle alumnus Bob Shaye has had in this, but if it’s not his fault he really needs to clean house.

Recidivistic Development?

February 2, 2008

Arrested Development Kristin from E! Online—who I think would fit in with our group just fine—reports that an Arrested Development movie may be in the works. It was definitely a love-it-or-hate-it show, and many of us loved it immensely.