Frozen is the word because:

  • It describes this site, to which I made only two posts in 2013.
  • It describes the DC area, which has been below freezing point for a while.
  • I loved the movie of that name.

frozen-flowerHere’s Olaf the snowman enjoying a flower, and the prospect of warmer weather.

It’s due to get warmer round here too. I may well take the kids to Whitetail for skiiing on Sunday. I expect higher temperatures than we’ve had recently (>40 F, not many in C, but at least >0). I also expect lower numbers of people than usual on a weekend (I think that some sports event is taking place that day).

This site will come out of hibernation, or whatever it was. Unfrozen sounds like a good title for tomorrow’s post.

Netflix: Streaming Beats Discs, But Loses to Downtime

Netflix is now a digital video streaming company first that happens to also offer DVDs by mail, observes Forrester’s James McQuivey at Paid Content (via RWW). Netflix is starting to deliver more content by streaming than my mail.

That’s mostly good news, although it does rely on Netflix being able to stream. It was down a few minutes ago (but is back up right now). Netflix does downtime less gracefully than a certain whale-watching site I could mention: it blamed my computers, got stuck on at the license stage. It didn’t own up to having problems, and it didn’t show me a cute animal. Then again, Twitter has had more practice with downtime than has Netflix.

That suggests a couple of games. The first is to come up with a mascot for Netflix downtime. I suggest the Netflix narwhal, but will leave the artwork/implementation to others. Then there’s the Netflix version of rock-paper-scissors. Downtime beats streaming, which beats discs, which beat downtime. I hope that streaming wins…

Without the Family, I Stop Making Sense

For the first time since we moved down to Maryland, I have the house to myself for an evening. I put on Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads performance movie.

Although I miss the family (who will be back tomorrow), it’s great to have the place to myself, to choose a movie, to choose this movie, to play it loud, to start it at just the right time so that it’s getting dark as the show gets under way. Here’s the first song with the full augmented band (FAB?). I note that the still features guitarist Alex Weir, perhaps my favorite “character” from the movie.

I love so much about Stop Making Sense. It famously starts with David Byrne alone, then adds the other Talking Heads one at a time. “Heaven,” the second track, is my favorite from this four-song sequence (here’s a link to video).

There is some cheating: although only David Byrne and Tina Weymouth are on stage, Lynn Mabry sings from the wings, as the movie’s Wikipedia entry points out. Her singing, and Tina’s wonderful bassline, really make this track, setting the tone for a show that’s about a lot more than the genius of David Byrne. Byrne recognized that, introducing the band by name, and bringing the crew on to be acknowledged, during the last songs.

If I had to choose one movie to own for myself, it would be Stop Making Sense. That’s not the same as declaring it the best movie ever (although I wouldn’t argue with you if you declared it so), or saying that it would be a great choice for family movie night with the kids being 6 and 3.

Ink, the movie

I’ve just watched the movie Ink. I’ll embed one of the trailers. As you can see, it won’t be to everybody’s liking, but if the trailer appeals, the movie probably will too.

It was written and directed by Jamin Winans, whose short movie Spin you may have seen: it was much blogged about a year or two back. He and his wife/producer Kiowa run Double Edge Films, and sell the movie direct from that site. You can also buy it at Amazon, where Ink [Blu-ray] is only $14 right now.

There are numerous cool and/or interesting things about the movie and its web presence. Jamin and Kiowa thank the people who have BitTorrented Ink. Kiowa is doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit.

The couple have a blog. Here’s Kiowa’s fascinating post about the release strategy. She quotes an earlier post from Jamin: “the battle we all fight is against obscurity.”

This post is my small contribution to Jamin and Kiowa’s side of that battle. I’d say they’re winning it. It’s too early to tell whether this will translate into financial success. There is a button on their site for PayPal contributions. I just made one, since I don’t think they get much money from my viewing. But no, I didn’t BitTorrent it.

I watched Ink at Netflix, where it is available for streaming. I don’t think that a stream sends much money to the makers, though.

Sex, Books, and Movies

Describe Your Sex Life With A Movie Title is a currently popular topic on Reddit (and, I believe, elsewhere). Among the comments I’ve upvoted are:

  • Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.
  • Alone in the Dark.
  • 28 Weeks Later. For us, it was more than 30 weeks later, but not as near to 40 as we were expecting. But things worked out well for our early baby, as I hope that they did for the 28-week baby.

There was an earlier topic, Describe Your Sex Life With A Book Title. My comment there referred to Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion. I strongly recommend the novel.

There is a movie, which I recommend less heartily. It is sometimes referred to by the same title as the book, and sometimes as Never Give an Inch. As someone remarked on Reddit, once you start thinking about these topics, almost anything seems to fit. Perhaps I should rephrase that. Or perhaps I should just top typing now…

Kung Fu Widgets and the Noodle Soup Web

One of the turning points in Kung Fu Panda comes in a conversation between Po, the panda who becomes the Dragon Warrior, and his father, Mr Ping, the goose who makes noodle soup. Ping tells Po something he should have told him a long time ago. No, it isn’t what you might assume from what I’ve just told you.

Anyway, just before that turning point for Po, Ping identifies a turning point for noodle soup: “the future of noodles is dice cut vegetables, no longer slices.” Meanwhile, on the web, the booming widget economy shows the promise of small content that can go anywhere.

Yes, I am using the metaphor of noodle soup for the web. And, in choosing that particular quote/link, I am casting Steve Rubel in the role of the old goose. I hope that Steve won’t be offended, especially given the importance of the Ping role, and the incredible resume of James Hong, who provides the voice in the movie.

If the web is noodle soup, then widgets are its dice-cut vegetables. Widgets are microchunks of content that can go anywhere on the web. If you want to see a one-minute movie illustrating widgets, I offer the biased recommendation of The Clearspring Chronicles, Volume 1. Clearspring is a particular widget platform, but not much in the video is really specific to that platform.

I’ve already offered an implicit recommendation for Kung Fu Panda, which just came out on DVD. I intend to make that recommendation explicit in a further post.

30-Second Bunnies Movie Theatre

How could I have lived this long without finding the site at which a troupe of bunnies parodies a collection of movies by re-enacting them in 30 seconds? Perhaps it’s because I never found the excellently-named Applefoot before.

You might be able to guess what eminently parody-ready movie the icon represents. As an additional clue, I hear that it has recently been parodied, unintentionally and at full length, by its most recent sequel.

Totoro: There’s a Movie Too?

I just watched My Neighbor Totoro for the first time. That’s ridiculous, for a number of reasons: I’ve seen, and loved, other movies by Hayao Miyazaki; this is one of a number of Totoroesque posts here, although the previous ones refer to the Totoro Forest Project.

I watched it with my kids: Maddie, who is 4 (and three quarters) and Max, who is 2. They were entranced, although Maddie was also upset. The mother of the two little girls in the movie is in hospital. Maddie’s mother was at work, in the Longwood medical center. But when you’re 4, and watching a movie in which a 4-yo gets lost on the way to the hospital where her mother is… Next time we watch Totoro, we should do so all together.

Anyway, come with me to a rainy bus stop, where two girls waiting for their father are joined by Big Totoro, see the bus that Totoro catches, and stay until the end of the clip for a little context.

By the way, even in this 6-minute scene, I notice differences between the subtitles in this version, and the soundtrack of the DVD. The DVD in question is the 2006 Disney version; there’s some debate (e.g., among the reviewers at Amazon) about the (de)merits of the different DVD editions.

Mamma Mia!

I just went to see Mamma Mia!! Yes, I did mean to use two exclamation marks, the first of which is part of the movie title/link. A few observations:

  • I doubt that I will ever recover. Clarification, added later: the movie is as dreadful as I expected without being quite as bad as I feared.
  • I only actually saw the first hour, after which my daughter pronounced herself bored.
  • It includes a rather likable performance from Meryl Streep. This is worthy of note because she usually seems to me to be acting very hard, and in a way that distracts from the character she is trying to portray.
  • The star of the movie, Amanda Seyfried, grew up about an hour from where we’re spending the weekend (she in Allentown, PA, we in Blue Bell).
  • Update: I forgot to add, since it seems so obvious, that the movie is dreadful.