Obviously Losing

Location: Los Angeles, California

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cockroach Controlled Mobile Robot

Keeping with today's cockroach theme, someone has created a mechanism that uses a living Madagascan hissing cockroach and a modified trackball to control a three-wheeled robot. If the cockroach moves left, the robot moves left.

This seems like a bad idea. Cockroaches have been around for 350 million years. They can live without food for a month. They can survive headless for up to a week and can hold their breath for 45 minutes. Most impressive of all is their high resistance to radiation, which allows them to survive a thermonuclear explosion.

And now we're giving them the ability to control robots? Like in "2001: A Space Odyssey," we are giving the cockroaches the evolutionary monolith of tools. Bad move.

Shriek! The 4 AM Scare!

So, at 4 AM I am awoken by some weird crawling and hissing noise. I look over at my desk chair, and I see it rocking. Then I see some largish creature jump from my chair to the wall.

I thought it was perhaps a mouse, so I turned on the light, and Doug and I embarked on a 20-minute quest to destroy whatever it was.

Turns out it was two cockroaches mating on my chair. Apparently cockroaches mate by turning rear to rear and attaching to each other, thus creating a 6-inch double-headed cockroach. Of course, we didn't know this cockroach mating fact at the time, so we thought we were dealing with some monstrous mutant cockroach. When Doug hit the thing with a shoe, it split perfectly in half, thus separating male from female.

Since this will probably be my last memory of being roommates with Doug, I thought it was significant enough to share. And it was a bizarre way to waste time at 4 AM.

Here's photographic evidence of them separated:

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Thief and the Cobbler

In animation circles, "The Thief and the Cobbler" is pretty much considered the Holy Grail. A project of love for animator Richard Williams (the 3-time Oscar winner who created the animation for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"), the film was in production off and on for 23 years (the longest production time ever for a movie).

Yet, when Williams missed his 1991 deadline, Warner Bros. snatched the film away from him. This was done partly because Disney was working on a similarly-themed movie called "Aladdin." Warner Bros. had animators in Korea finish Williams' film. Original scenes were cut, new song sequences were inserted, and a narration was added (all without Williams' approval). The film was then sold to Disney, who made further revisions and barely released the film in 1995.

I recall seeing the film in 1995, and while it underwhelmed on a story level, the animation was some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. You could clearly tell which scenes were animated by Williams' team, and which were quickly added in by the overseas production crew.

I bring this all up because now a guy named Garrett Gilchrist is attempting to piece "The Thief and the Cobbler" back together, trying to get it to match Williams' original vision. This is a testament to the passion of internet fans, who have been bootlegging lost films, adding fan subtitles to anime shows, and reediting butchered films for the past decade.

Here's the trailer (click Free and wait 30 seconds).

Zero Gravity

This makes the toys I had as a kid look like shit.

C for Cookie


At Criticker, you rate all the films you've seen on a 100-points scale. The site then 1) predicts how you would rate films you haven't seen, 2) tells you which critics and users have similar tastes, and 3) organizes all your films into lists based on genres, decades, etc.

So, without further ado, here are some of my Top 5 lists based on my ratings at Criticker:

Top 5 of the 90s
1. Pulp Fiction
2. Goodfellas
3. Underground
4. American Beauty
5. Edward Scissorhands

Top 5 of the 80s
1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
2. Grave of the Fireflies
3. Raging Bull
4. The Shining
5. Back to the Future

Top 5 Science-Fiction Films
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. Star Wars
3. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
4. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
5. Gattaca

Top 5 Documentary Films
1. Murderball
2. Capturing the Friedmans
3. Touching the Void
4. Grizzly Man
5. Winged Migration

Top 5 Muscial Films
1. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
3. The Wizard of Oz
4. Beauty and the Beast
5. This is Spinal Tap

Top 5 War Films
1. Apocalypse Now
2. Grave of the Fireflies
3. Grand Illusion
4. Downfall
5. Dr. Strangelove

Top 5 Horror Films
1. The Shining
2. Psycho
3. Alien
4. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
5. The Fall of the House of Usher

Top 5 Mystery Films
1. Citizen Kane
2. Vertigo
3. JFK
4. Witness for the Prosecution
5. Stalker

Top 5 Animation Films
1. Grave of the Fireflies
2. Howl's Moving Castle
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
4. Beauty and the Beast
5. Fantasia

Friday, April 28, 2006

United 93

All I can say is go see it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I've neglected writing about music lately as "Obviously Losing" has turned into a sort of humor blog. To rectify this fact, here are two recent albums that I really recommend:

Friday, April 21, 2006

101 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Jim Emerson, the highly-respected editor of RogerEbert.com, has posted a list of the 101 movies a person should see in order to be considered "movie-literate." Lists like these always fascinate me, and Emerson's list is an excellent one.

How many I've seen: 57
Biggest omission: "Apocalypse Now"

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) Stanley Kubrick
"The 400 Blows" (1959) Francois Truffaut
"8 1/2" (1963) Federico Fellini
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972) Werner Herzog
"Alien" (1979) Ridley Scott
"All About Eve" (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
"Annie Hall" (1977) Woody Allen
"Bambi" (1942) Disney
"Battleship Potemkin" (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
"The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) William Wyler
"The Big Red One" (1980) Samuel Fuller
"The Bicycle Thief" (1949) Vittorio De Sica
"The Big Sleep" (1946) Howard Hawks
"Blade Runner" (1982) Ridley Scott
"Blowup" (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
"Blue Velvet" (1986) David Lynch
"Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) Arthur Penn
"Breathless" (1959) Jean-Luc Godard
"Bringing Up Baby" (1938) Howard Hawks
"Carrie" (1975) Brian DePalma
"Casablanca" (1942) Michael Curtiz
"Un Chien Andalou" (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
"Children of Paradise" / "Les Enfants du Paradis" (1945) Marcel Carne
"Chinatown" (1974) Roman Polanski
"Citizen Kane" (1941) Orson Welles
"A Clockwork Orange" (1971) Stanley Kubrick
"The Crying Game" (1992) Neil Jordan
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) Robert Wise
"Days of Heaven" (1978) Terence Malick
"Dirty Harry" (1971) Don Siegel
"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (1972) Luis Bunuel
"Do the Right Thing" (1989) Spike Lee
"La Dolce Vita" (1960) Federico Fellini
"Double Indemnity" (1944) Billy Wilder
"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964) Stanley Kubrick
"Duck Soup" (1933) Leo McCarey
"E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) Steven Spielberg
"Easy Rider" (1969) Dennis Hopper
"The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) Irvin Kershner
"The Exorcist" (1973) William Friedkin
"Fargo" (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
"Fight Club" (1999) David Fincher
"Frankenstein" (1931) James Whale
"The General" (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
"The Godfather," "The Godfather, Part II" (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
"Gone With the Wind" (1939) Victor Fleming
"GoodFellas" (1990) Martin Scorsese
"The Graduate" (1967) Mike Nichols
"Halloween" (1978) John Carpenter
"A Hard Day's Night" (1964) Richard Lester
"Intolerance" (1916) D.W. Griffith
"It's A Gift" (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) Frank Capra
"Jaws" (1975) Steven Spielberg
"The Lady Eve" (1941) Preston Sturges
"Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) David Lean
"M" (1931) Fritz Lang
"Mad Max 2" / "The Road Warrior" (1981) George Miller
"The Maltese Falcon" (1941) John Huston
"The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) John Frankenheimer
"Metropolis" (1926) Fritz Lang
"Modern Times" (1936) Charles Chaplin
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
"Nashville" (1975) Robert Altman
"The Night of the Hunter" (1955) Charles Laughton
"Night of the Living Dead" (1968) George Romero
"North by Northwest" (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
"Nosferatu" (1922) F.W. Murnau
"On the Waterfront" (1954) Elia Kazan
"Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) Sergio Leone
"Out of the Past" (1947) Jacques Tournier
"Persona" (1966) Ingmar Bergman
"Pink Flamingos" (1972) John Waters
"Psycho" (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
"Pulp Fiction" (1994) Quentin Tarantino
"Rashomon" (1950) Akira Kurosawa
"Rear Window" (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) Nicholas Ray
"Red River" (1948) Howard Hawks
"Repulsion" (1965) Roman Polanski
"Rules of the Game" (1939) Jean Renoir
"Scarface" (1932) Howard Hawks
"The Scarlet Empress" (1934) Josef von Sternberg
"Schindler's List" (1993) Steven Spielberg
"The Searchers" (1956) John Ford
"The Seven Samurai" (1954) Akira Kurosawa
"Singin' in the Rain" (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
"Some Like It Hot" (1959) Billy Wilder
"A Star Is Born" (1954) George Cukor
"A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) Elia Kazan
"Sunset Boulevard" (1950) Billy Wilder
"Taxi Driver" (1976) Martin Scorsese
"The Third Man" (1949) Carol Reed
"Tokyo Story" (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
"Touch of Evil" (1958) Orson Welles
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) John Huston
"Trouble in Paradise" (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
"Vertigo" (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
"West Side Story" (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
"The Wild Bunch" (1969) Sam Peckinpah
"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) Victor Fleming

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Learn How to Speak Sexy English!

Here's a Japanese instructional video on how to speak "Sexy English." Warning: R-rated language.

The Story of Vin

It's a known fact that in an average living room there are 1,242 objects Vin Diesel could use to kill you, including the room itself.

On the other hand, he may just want to share a story about his new movie - click here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Vinny's Car

Bad way to end your day

I'm not quite sure what happens here.


I tried FireFox a long time ago and wasn't that impressed, but this commercial may convince me to give it another shot.

Microsoft's attempt to make your life harder

If you've downloaded the newest Windows Update, you've probably already noticed this. In the update, Microsoft changed the way Internet Explorer handles any ActiveX content. Now if you want to watch a video on my blog you have to first "activate" it by clicking it, and then you'll be allowed to play, stop, pause, rewind, etc.

I guess it's not a huge deal - just one extra click. But still, it's damn annoying.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Animated Map of Iraq War Casualties

This animated map shows the coalition military fatalities ten frames per second - each frame represents one day. Of course, this doesn't include the Iraqi civilian deaths, which is currently reported to be 34,000-38,000.

Click here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Jack Black

If this doesn't make you smile, nothing will.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Rube Goldberg

These machines are awesome - click here.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Like you really wanted to know

Amazingly enough, a few people have asked for my own "Greatest Films of All Time" list. Well, if you insist...

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2. Apocalypse Now (1979)
3. The Godfather (1972)
4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
5. Star Wars (1977)
6. 8 1/2 (1963)
7. City of God (2002)
8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
9. Goodfellas (1990)
10. Citizen Kane (1941)
11. The Producers (1968)
12. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
13. The Bicycle Thief (1948)
14. Underground (1995)
15. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
16. Vertigo (1958)
17. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
18. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
19. Raging Bull (1980)
20. Grand Illusion (1937)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Not So Lucky

"Lucky Number Slevin"
Review by John Young

It takes considerable talent to make a film as atrocious as “Lucky Number Slevin,” and look at the talent involved: Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, and Lucy Liu. How did all these accomplished actors sign up for such manipulative dreck?

Hartnett: Well, I was excited by the opportunity to play a completely obnoxious prick named Slevin. My character is quite the unlucky fellow. Not only is his nose broken twice, but he also gets accidentally involved in a NYC mob war between two crime bosses, The Boss and The Rabbi.

Freeman: I’m The Boss, the leader of a black gang. I believe my son was murdered by The Rabbi’s minions, and for retaliation, I’m going to force a completely innocent guy named Slevin to shoot The Rabbi’s son. When my character is not killing people, he takes pleasure in playing chess and reciting philosophical dissertations.

Kingsley: My character, The Rabbi, just so happens to be a rabbi. Talk about a coincidence! The whole script it stuffed with wonderful little self-conscious jokes like that.

Freeman: Oh, I definitely agree Sir Ben. I particularly enjoyed my character’s monologue about the “Shmoo.” You know, that loveable cartoon creature shaped like a bowling pin.

Hartnett: Honestly, Morgan, I had no idea what you were talking about when you delivered that speech.

Freeman: Neither did I. But did it ever sound witty!

Willis: I joined the cast because I viewed the character of Mr. Goodkat as an opportunity to stretch my acting range. I mean, I’ve never had the chance to play an assassin before.

Liu: As Lindsey, the inquisitive yet attractive girl next door, I get to fall in love with Josh Hartnett’s character. I mean, who would have seen that coming? Speaking of surprises, this film’s twist-ending will blow your mind!

Hartnett: Oh definitely. The film continuously deceives the audience by having its characters do completely illogical things. I love how the ending makes sense for about thirty seconds. After that, you start realizing how many plot holes the script contained.

Kingsley: And don’t forget the social commentary! Not only does the film contain an offensive portrayal of Jews, but it also paints African Americans and gays in a negative light. That’s spreading the love, if you ask me.

Freeman: Visually, the film is a wonder. Paul McGuigan, the director, uses jarring colors that come across as being stolen from a 1970s game show.

Hartnett: I think his stylistic control has drastically improved since his last magnum opus, “Wicker Park.”

Liu: And those special effects! There’s this one CGI shot where the camera pans across a street from one building’s window to another. McGuigan loved the effect so much that he decided to use it twice!

Willis: I adore the sequence shot in black-and-white with a markedly low shutter speed. The result looks like something that went through a cheese grater.

Hartnett: Bruce, since when did you start using the word “adore?”

Freeman: Perhaps he has been bitten by the “Shmoo.”

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Do the Bartman

This clip brings back many childhood memories.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

FOX News at its Best

Click here.

Saber... Fight!

You gotta love it when two high school kids can make a lightsaber battle that's more thrilling than anything found in the Star Wars prequels.