Annie will never stoop so low as to call that watered down version of rugby us Yankees seem to like as “football”.
Well Yesterday was a busy day indeed. Starting with helping with set up and working in the kitchen at University Friend’s Meeting in the morning to help prepare for their annual potluck. Afterwards to a friend’s in Capitol Hill for their feast. And finally ending it all watching the Seahawks humiliate the San Francisco.
All in all a good holiday and I slept well.
Well my morning biking regime has been going fairly well. For the most part I think I hit a plateau keeping it under 4o minutes but rarely going bellow my average of 38 minutes. To make matters worse there are the occasional extenuating circumstance like being slowed down by heavy wind or traffic or stopped by traffic lights most notably my personal nemesis 65th and Ravenna which is right next to the park and ride and has busy traffic as early as 6:15.
But today was especially frustrating. It was raining (which by itself was unpleasant) and I had no intention of trying to break any speed records on treacherous roads and while I was doing all right the need to watch where I was going and large puddles on the road were definitely slowing me down.
What was the most frustrating was what the rain was doing to my iPhone a wet screen is always a nuisance but the way it was effecting the Runkeeper app was nothing short of a nuisance. It was telling me my progress about every minute (sometimes every thirty seconds) until it finally paused at the home stretch. I managed to get it going again in a way that wouldn’t screw up my time too much but that was only the beginning of things. When I finished the loop Runkeeper was congratulating me on my new record of 33 minutes. This I knew was nonsense as according to Runkeeper I’d been ridding 33 minutes for the five minutes. Reluctantly I deleted the workout. Tempting as keeping it would be I have no desire for my progress to be regarded as irrelevant because Runkeeper was holding something impossible (or at least bloody difficult) over my head. It would be like when it said I burned 666 calories on Halloween.
The first, At the Earth’s Core, is extremely loosely based on the first of Burroughs’ Pellucidar novels of the same name. It is a cheesy piece of fluff that somehow remains entertainng. The plot can be boiled down to “hero and absent minded inventor take a rocket drill to an underground kingdom, get captured by psychic pterodons, rescue a beautiful princess who falls in love with the hero, escape, lead natives in rebellion against the psychic pterodons and go home.
Really. That’s it.
But somehow this all stays fun. The effects are completely fake, with split screen, hand puppets and monster suits but strangely while being completely unconvincing I found a lot of this in an aesthetically pleasing in a theatrical sort of way. (Though I seriously doubt this was done on purpose.}
On a side note, Peter Cushing is hilarious playing blatantly against type as the absent-minded inventor.
For the second film we the first of many adaptations of Journey to the Center of the Earth. I first remember being aware of the adaption (I was already aware of the book.) from watching the Filmation cartoon based on the film. (I knew it was based on the film and not the book because of the duck.)
For the most part, all it kept from the book was the general outline fleshing things out by adding a villain and a larger cast (and the Gertrude the Duck for comic relief)
I have a sneaking suspicion that this was mad to cash in on the success of Walt Disney’s 20,00 Leagues under the Sea, right down to the songs, but even so it was fun with some spectacular sets and matte painting. The main downside was some of the special effects. Near the climax the expedition is attacked by “dimetrodons” which consisted of Rock Iguanas (and I could have sworn I saw one Monitor Lizard) with fins strapped to their backs. I’ve been aware of this “technique” for years but I’m pretty sure this is the first time I ever actually seen it. And with this week’s marathon of cheesy effects I’m at a loss to decide which is more egregious, the costumes or the lizards.
Okay I confess… I kind of cheated this week. Instead of doing a proper double feature I did an Anime Marathon.
Durara is a show that I’d enjoyed in bits and pieces for some time and I finally decided to sit down and watch it. (technically I had access to it on Hulu but they only have the subtitled version and Durarara is one of those shows with enough little details I figured I needed to pick up the dub to properly take everything in.
I’m not sure just how to describe Durarara, It’s kind of present day magical realism with lots of action. It’s all about life in the Tokyo district of Ikebukuro with all attractions, highschool students, internet gangs, berserker bartenders, headless motorcyclists, demonic swords that posses their victims… It’s that kind of show.
Beyond the eccentricities it’s the kind of show I like. It slowly and methodically takes it’s time adding in all the little details and then turns around and rewards you for paying attention. Some people may complain that this makes the first quarter of the show but I say that’s just letting one’s short attention span get the better of them.
There are so many little details I like. The bets thing is the way that background characters are colored gray as if we are not even noticing them. However once someone is “noticed” say in a flash mob triggered by… well this is what makes watching these things so much fun, they suddenly light up into a normal palate.
Unfortunatly I find the second half of the series isn’t quite as riveting as the first and it feels like three separate stories. (consIdering it’s based on a series of light novels it probably is) and it leaves several plot points hanging, with any luck these will be dealt with in the second season I am told is coming later this year. However despite all this I think Durarara is well worth anyone’s time.