"Tangled": Cool Read

To be honest I wasn't interested in seeing Tangled until I read this article.

It's at the $1 theater right now, and can't be any worse than "Yogi Bear"...

Rome 2011

I finally got around to posting my Rome photos. (I was in Rome 1-18 January 2011.) If you like street-level photography with almost no tourist content, give them a look. You can find them, plus other new stuff, on my Flickr page.


How fucked up is that Akira live action remake? It's set in "rebuilt New Manhattan." Not even Neo-Manhattan. Also a cast of twentysomething white guys? Really? How does that make you feel?


Hat tip to Darius Washington

Mars Needs Euthanasia

Did anybody see Mars Needs Moms besides me? Sweet suffering Hayley Mills, what a disaster. Here's Zemeckis' formula for kid-movie success: first, make a movie for kids that's about a kid who's mom is abducted, sedated, and subjected to torturous experiments by aliens -- because, you know, kids are totally secure and could never be scared by the thought of their mother being kidnapped by monsters. Second, people the story with completely unlikeable characters -- a spoiled, asshole tweener "hero" whom you'll have an instant urge to slap stupid; the whining, nagging helicopter mom-slash-victim; a sweaty fat guy with Asperger's as a "good guy"; and a planet full of dirty, dangerous-looking Afro-Rastafarian Martians. Third, create a plot so convoluted and incomprehensible that Thomas fucking Pynchon couldn't figure it out. And finally, "animate" it using that creepy mo-cap process that makes every face look like that of a soulless, reanimated corpse (no pun intended). Put it all together and you get the biggest box office bomb in the history of movies. GG Disney!

This movie isn't just bad -- it's literally so bad it's scary. The characters' horrible, dead-eyed faces, the scenes of the kid's unconscious mom being brain-drained by aliens, the aforementioned sweaty fat guy with Asperger's -- it's pure nightmare fuel. My normally-unflappable four-year-old boy held my hand in a death-grip of terror the entire time we were in front of the screen; after about twenty minutes, I asked him if he wanted to leave, and he was more than ready. "Too scary, Papa." Yeah, that's what I like to hear after spending $26 on tickets and popcorn! GG Zemeckis!

Showbiz is so effed. Hollywood (etc.) is full of hyper-talented, hyper-creative types who could make the world happy with their films and so forth, yet who toil away for years in go-nowhere jobs on the cubicle floors until they give up on the dream. Meanwhile, two floors up on the Executive Level, there are other people who are getting paid fortunes to make big decisions, yet who are completely incompetent to make those decisions. And yet they get paid anyway! Think about it: the Mouse dropped a cool hundred  and fifty million bucks on this sinker. That's one hundred and fifty million buckadingdongs. It'll earn back maybe -- maybe! -- a tenth of that. Yet some guy in a suit who makes more in a year than I'll net in my entire lifetime signed off on it -- and they'll keep paying him that fortune even though he was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now you tell me there's any justice in this world.

Oh, well, at least they shuttered Zemeckis' "animation" studio for good. Thanks for wasting my money and scaring my kid shitless, Disney! WTG!

Fukushima explained in a way that really speaks to me.

Disney Kids Gone Wild

First Britney Spears and then... all the rest, so it should come as no surprise that it'd happen to Vanessa Hudgens as well.

My significant other absolutely loves Disney, but we've yet to see the pop-fest that is the High School Musical series. Thanks to these not-so-squeaky clean pics I have no doubt that we'll give them a wide berth.

P.S. For those of you who had to Google Hudgens' name, she played Tintin in Jonathan Frakes' very mediocre re-visioning of Thunderbirds.


Cat Survives Tsunami On A Wall.

Fry channels Jones

ABC was/is pretty lightweight stuff by any standard, exactly the sort of stuff I needed all this weekend. Something to relieve the overwhelming feeling of helplessness...



By now you all know the story. The video has to be seen to be believed. Sendai looks like a G--d---- nuclear bomb hit it -- unbelievable devastation. Our family and friends in Japan are all accounted for and safe, thank God, but as a survivor of a major earthquake myself (Northridge '94, 6.6) I can guarantee you they are scared. (Our Yuki is here in the USA, in Orlando, so she's safe.)

For continuous live steaming video, open NHK in a window and let it run. The shibō/fumei counter inset into the video image is bone-chilling, like Hell's scoreboard. As you monitor, keep an ear open for the phrase genshiryoko hatsuden-sho [原子力発電所, "nuclear power plant"]. They lost coolant pressure at the big plant near Sendai today. I'm a  former nuclear power worker, and let me tell you that's a sphincter-clenchingly scary situation. For a reactor that big (1100 MW) to lose all coolant pressure to the core is a nightmare scenario. Fortunately it's an BWR (boiling water) type reactor, so even if the core runs dry it can't melt down Chernobyl-style; without water in the core to thermalize (slow down) the neutron flux from the rods, the reaction stops (steam being more or less neutron-transparent, stopping criticality in the core).

Unfortunately, if coolant flow stops, whatever is left in the reactor core is going to flash to hot steam at high pressure (about 500°F @ 1100 PSI) and it's gotta go somewhere. I guarantee you that they will vent the core to secondary containment (the reactor building and control areas, basically) to save the core and pipes from rupturing, and that building isn't airtight; some radioactive steam will get out (if it hasn't already). Result: the control room and everybody and everything in it are going to end up being contaminated.

And they are going to have to dump the steam in the containment building sooner or later Radioactive steam on top of the Hiroshima-level destruction... not pretty.

Give money to relief organizations if you can. Otherwise, please pray for the folks in Japan who are hurting tonight. There's really nothing else to do.

Not coming to Anime Network this fall

"Little Gaza and the Seven Sparrows of Sorrow"

I wonder if they'll get Kasim's Grendaizer, too . . .

My Cup of Tea

I am a tea novice, but this is a Japanese style and brand that I like*, and I recently found this very same 90-count package for $4.99 at Cub Foods -- whoo hoo!

*The mild flavor of Genmai pairs well with a wide variety of cuisine. Of course, it also makes me think of sushi and a certain Korean buffet . . .


More coverage of the Telenoid / Elfoid. These people are nuts...

"Brewery Death"

Interesting article at Slate.

I've never been to Germany, but by the time I get there I wonder how many of the original regional breweries will be left . . .

Electric Rolls-Royce

Worth watching this video just to hear the accent of the Austrian guy...

Spam of the Month! Noiseless in the Oblivion

Our comment policy here at Psychommu Gaijin has always been to encourage comments. And as we've used and abused pen names to print anything and everything without fear we extend that freedom to anybody who sent us angry screeds and hate mail. If you wanted to remain anonymous you could. We've let anybody comment anonymously to the PG blog, something you can't do on Facebook. Instead of encouraging debate, we mostly get spam. So, every couple of days I clean out the spam filters, and today I found this gem:

"Oh my god!!! This is so exceedingly incredibly amazing. Couldn't thought that something as riveting as this was noiseless in the oblivion. Your in smithereens of ascend is good astounding. buy v__gr_ pills Congo dude!!!" - Posted by Anonymous.

"Good astounding," indeed.

Get yer fresh, hot Remakes!

Robocop and Blade Runner.

Yo, Hollywood! Buy a clue -- the ideas emanating from your immediate zipcode suck, and there's talent coming up in the world with fresh takes on alien/monster/robot invasion flicks, along with some of the best (and low-budget at that) execution.

Bankroll a few of these and you might be able to get your profitability back. Until then, there's a reason why BluRay and DVD sales are tanking.


2011 Movie Previews... yawn

Not that I'm looking forward to anything, but...

Real Steel. Hollywood rips off ideas from Anime yet again! Sunrise and the author of Prawres Sanshiro should sue~!

Thoughts on some other upcoming flickers:


Sensitive types like my S.O. might find it a little racy for PG-13, but it otherwise looks like a somewhat endearing film with hip, Indie cache.

Certified Copy
A foreign film (but in the English language) with chick flick written all-over it. This year's "Bread and Tulips".


Released last year, good luck finding this in your local Stadium-style theater. Looks smarter-than-average for a low-budget SF/monster invasion flick, of which there have been a lot of bigger-budget stinkers lately (Skyline, Battle: L.A., and the upcoming "Super 8" from the overly-praised crew of Bad Robot studio.)

A.k.a. "Disney's Prom". This one looks funny and rather harmless, but we know what Disney's like these days, so it'll probably suck big-time.