I didn’t bother with any end-of-year ‘best of’s’ on the site last December. In fact, I barely posted here at all, and with good reason: Bee was here, so why would I waste those precious moments making silly lists for my blog?
This time round I don’t have the excuse of spending time with a beautiful woman (at least not until next month, when I jet off to South Africa for a long-awaited getaway with said beautiful woman) but it still seems as equally pointless as it did last year, compiling my own detailed list of the best 2005 had to offer, especially when the web has already been pre-surfed for me.
Maciej Ceglowski's thoroughly researched, damning indictment of the state of the US space programme. Immensely readable, even for those with less than a passing interest in things astronomical. (Be sure also to read his recent follow-up piece, Meanwhile, Back In Space.) #link
"Photographs of cities can convey something of the texture of the sidewalk, and certainly do a good job conveying skylines or monumental spaces. But it's harder to capture the flow of a city." Steven Johnson gave it a go, anyway. #link
I'm used to my one big text file for now, as it's just enough for my needs. But if I need something bigger, to cover more aspects of my life, then this system looks like it's worth a try. Endlessly resourceful, our Merlin. #link
A little over a week ago I went with Dave No Spaces to see the big Peter Jackson remake of King Kong. Dave loved it, but I wasn’t so enthused.
I mean it was alright as big action-adventure event movies go, but it’s no bar-raiser. Sure, it’s no ‘Kong Bomb’ (as some cynical critics have quipped) either, but it didn’t inspire in me anything like the kind of awe experienced by Tom Coates, and I can’t concur with Kottke’s amazement. In fact, the parts they seem to have enjoyed the most bored me after a few minutes. Also, I hate insects.
In Peter Jackson’s defense, it didn’t feel at all like a three-hour movie (I only checked my watch three times, which is a personal record), yet there were too many points where I was impatient for something to happen to propel the story, which itself fell apart for me in the final act (I had much more sympathy for Adrien Brody’s character than for that bloody monkey; somehow I don’t think that was the intention).
As for the cast? The intentionally hammy acting was a gamble that works, in my opinion, and the cast was well chosen. But in hindsight Jack Black may have been an ill fit. Not that he’s a bad actor or anything of the sort, however he’s pretty much typecast as himself. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is open to interpretation.
On the plus side, though I was disappointed by the footage in the trailer I saw in November, the CGI Kong looked surprisingly impressive (outside of the action scenes, at least). Even better was the New York cityscape that filled the screen at the film’s conclusion. The attention to detail is astounding; I could have sworn it was real. Plus, the philosophical subtext (the whole ‘giant of one world is dwarfed by another’ thing) brought some depth to what is essentially a popcorn movie, though it was kind of hard to miss.
An interview with a vocal coach for metal growlers and screamers. If I ever start that new-wave/noise-pop/grindcore band I've been planning for years, this will come in handy [c/o del.icio.us/merlinmann]. #link