Thursday, 18 March 2010

Random Stuff

First of all, I'm happy to share Felicia Day's news on Facebook yesterday:
As a fan of the series, I know I'll end up buying the comics for sure, further increasing my to-read book list.

I also felt like showing a video from Penguin's YouTube channel, originally prepared by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books on the future of publishing: 

And now another video, this one I learned about at Pharyngula, and I almost "rolled on the floor laughing" when I first saw it:

Will be checking NonStampCollector's YouTube channel later!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I should start by saying I (at least to this day) like all things Tim Burton and I also have very good memories of all those classic Disney films as Alice in Wonderland. So, even having never read Lewis Carroll's original story, I couldn't help myself but go watch Tim Burton's 3D take on the Wonderland. I wasn't disappointed. It is visually compelling, entertaining, and has a very good argument.
This is a sequel to Alice's first trip to the (after all called) Underland. She's now 19-years-old, has been having the same dream about that trip since she was a little girl and believes to be dreaming once more. As had happened for the first time, Alice meets the usual characters: the White Rabbit, Absolem the Blue Caterpillar, Chessur the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the March hare, etc... and eventually comes to meet the Red Queen again playing cricket. While she can't remember her first trip almost to the end, Alice comes to find out this dream seems quite real and that she has an important part to play on the destiny of this land. She saves Underland, allowing the crown to be returned to the White Queen and the exile of the mad Red Queen and then decides to leave to her own world. She comes back a different Alice (the old Alice, as Absolem would put it) much more decided and sure of herself, says no to a marriage proposal, sends some advices and warnings to all those trying to control her life, and sets of to follow her deceased father's footsteps working with her "almost father-in-law to be".
Alice in Wonderland is a good film from almost any point of view, congratulations Mr. Tim Burton. The visual effects are marvellous, the 3D in well achieved and it all adds to what could otherwise be only just a sequel. The argument is also very nice, clear but still maintaining some of the mystery behind the land and its characters. The one thing I can criticize is the haste in the last scene, when Alice talks to the oppressing people in the party, and the unnatural lack of answers to what she says. The story progresses at a very nice pace and kept my attention for the whole 108 minutes film. And last, but not even the slightest least, there is the acting issue. Johnny Depp's Hatter is astonishing and another unique character creation out of the renowned genius. Helena Bonham Carter is as amazing as I'm used to, she becomes the perfect big-headed lunatic Red Queen. There are others that can't be forgotten, Alan Rickman does great voicing the smoking caterpillar Absolem, and then there are those characters that we still owe Lewis Carroll a lot for coming up with them as the Cheshire Cat that is still uncanny or the March Hare who can always get a good laugh out of me. I also enjoyed Anne Hathaway's White Queen with her eccentric marionette pose. Mia Wasikowska ended up being the least sparkling character in the Underland, though I can't say she did bad. How could she call attention to her being the normal little girl, as special as Alice may be, in a land of impossible wonders?
I do recommend this film to all who enjoy fantasy, specially those who have seen and liked the Disney animation from 1951 and mostly for Tim Burton's, Johnny Depp's and Helena Bonham Carter's fans.

   Style - 8
   Creativity - 8
   Entertainment - 8
   Relevance - 5

   Overall - 8

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Date: 05/11/2007
Camera: Casio EX-Z70
Photoshop: edited contrast, levels and added frame

This is a path by the river Odra in Wrocław, Poland, near the student resident I stayed during my 6-months Erasmus Program in 2007. Of all photos I've taken myself, this is definitely a favourite. I was in a dark, thinking mood.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-men: Utopia HC

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-men: Utopia is probably one of the best built Marvel HC collections I've read. It includes Utopia by Matt Fraction and Dark Reign: The Cabal, Dark X-men: The Beginning and two numbers of X-men Legacy. 
Even for one who knew nothing about the "Dark Reign", this was a very good start, being a great take on the theme, showing the X-men's role and Norman Osborn's scheme to take care of the mutants. It allows the reader to peek into Osborn's mind, to understand his behaviour and his plans for the humanity he somewhat and somehow leads. I was amazed by Emma Frost's part on the whole creation of the Dark X-men, her secrets from everyone, even the reader, her aims and preparations, and with how it all connects with Cyclops' program for the mutants he leads. 
Matt Fraction's Utopia is, in my opinion, the best written and the most engaging part of the book and Dark X-men: The Beginning was probably the least integrated part (unavoidably, given it consists of small takes on the recruiting of different characters), although still very important to understand some motivations behind those mutants that seem to follow Osborn and to see how he comes to surround himself with so many powerful people. 
I recommend this for any X-men fan and for all that enjoy reading about the Dark Reign arc, mainly for those who are curious to understand how the mutants came to be where, who and how they are now.

   Style - 6
   Creativity - 8
   Entertainment - 7
   Relevance - 4

   Overall - 7

I'm now planning to follow the Avengers and the X-men as much as possible, and I'll keep an eye on what Matt Fractions writes, he seems to know what he's doing quite well. And I expect this new turn on the X-men's destiny doesn't come to be another "history repeats itself" moment. I've read Mighty Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Premiere to get me started on the Avengers though I didn't enjoy it as much as Utopia.

Monday, 8 March 2010

New blogs and new books

While surfing the web earlier today, I came across 2 blogs I plan on following hereafter.
One of them is Pharyngula, a science blog consisting of "evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal" as stated by the author, PZ Myers, a biologist, associate professor and a "militant atheist". The first post I read, Sunday Sacrilege: It rhymes with reflex, convinced me to keep an eye on the blog and to share it in my own. I seem to have some views in common with him, but he does look much more assertive than me (and perhaps even radical) defending those views. But even though he may have a somewhat radical speech, it still amazes and disgusts me that people send him porn by mail trying to offend him.
The other one, Thoughts Arguments and Rants, I'll have more to say after I read for a while longer. I have already downloaded his paper/post on Easy Knowledge and Other Epistemic Virtues and plan to read it this week.

I have also ordered a 18 of books from, 12 of them for myself, from Marvel comics to Seven Days in the Art World, Utilitarianism by Mill and Bentham and even The Book With No Name.
For now, I'm reading and really liking a Portuguese translation of Camus' The Outsider.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Ethereal labyrinth

Ethereal labyrinth by ~Feantur on deviantART

A reminiscence from the past, when I used to experiment with fractal software. I had just read this tutorial on disk fractals by Joel Faber. This was one of my favourites, made me quite proud of myself by then even though it is not nearly as elaborated as I would like it to be (alas, I was/am just a beginner). 

(don't ask me about this: UGGBEUVJTU2W)