Archive for July, 2015

#TeachAlexa

July 26, 2015

#TeachAlexa

I’ve just started a new hashtag to make suggestion for things for the

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

to know.

You use that hashtag (there have already been thousands of impressions) and give your suggestions. Then, hopefully, Amazon will see it (I have alerted them). Also, it would be nice if other people asked the question to their own Echoes…that will help Amazon see which ones would be worth developing.

Here are some I’ve already done: I’ll list more.

Q.”Who was that masked man?” A.”The Lone Ranger”

Q.”Who know what evil lurks within the hearts of men?” A.”The Shadow knows hahahahaha”

Q.”Are you ready?” A.”I was born ready”

Q.”What are the three rules of Gremlins?” A.”No bright light, don’t get him wet, and never feed him after midnight”

Q.”Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” A.”I’m not a witch at all.”

Q.”No matter where you go…” A.”There you are.” They don’t all have to be questions. ūüôā

Look for more Echo coverage in this blog in the future.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Ooh, you little shrinker! 10 character “small stars” besides Ant-Man

July 18, 2015

Ooh, you little shrinker! 10 character “small stars” besides Ant-Man

Marvel’s

Ant-Man

is opening in the USA this weekend.

To much of the mainstream audience, the titular character’s ability to shrink may seem like a novelty.

To geeks, though, shrinking characters are, so to speak, no small part of our world.

Here’s a list of ten other characters (and groups of characters) who shrink (or are otherwise small in a large world):

Jack
Jack and the Beanstalk
First appeared in print in 1807

When Jack is in the giant’s home, it’s a matter of scale.

Alice
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
1865

Alice did a lot to establish how someone who has become a tiny version of themselves finds that what had been normal household items are suddenly mighty obstacles.

Homonculi
The Bride of Frankenstein
1935

These are the creations of Doctor Pretorius…they weren’t big and made small, but were made as tiny versions of stereotypes, including a king and a mermaid. It’s quite a creepy scene…an example of the very small being exploited by the “normal” sized.

Dr. Cyclops’ victims
1940

A mad scientist shrinks people. The effects were nominated for an Oscar.

The (Incredible) Shrinking Man
Book: 1956 | Movie: 1957

This isn’t just a simple adventure story, but perhaps surprisingly philosophical. From the boundless imagination of Richard Matheson.

Ray Palmer (The Atom)
1961

A shrinking superhero from D.C.. Marvel’s Ant-Man was introduced the following year…

Fantastic Voyage(rs)
1966

These are humans shrunk to be heroes…but not as superheroes. They are a medical team, performing an operation inside a human body.

Tom of T.H.U.M.B.
1966

A sideshow cartoon of The King Kong Show. A janitor and a friend are accidentally shrunk, and become the Tiny Human Underground Military Bureau.

Land of the Giants
1968

Technically, the crew and passengers of the Spindrift didn’t shrink…they landed on a planet that was remarkably like ours…but where the humans were vastly larger.

Dr. El Lincoln
Misfits of Science
1985

This comedy superhero show included a character played by seven-foot plus tall Kevin Peter Hall (who played both the Predator and Harry of Harry and the Hendersons) and could shrink to under a foot tall.

That’s only a few of them! Jeannie of I Dream of Jeannie would become small to get into her bottle…but at other times, too. Speaking of bottles, there was an entire miniaturized city in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in he Arctic Circle. The villain Brainiac shrunk it (and other cities) before Krypton exploded. It was actually a place where Superman could feel “normal”, by being shrunk and visiting it (well, not quite normal…even though he didn’t have his superpowers there, he was quite a celebrity). Oh, and by the way, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids…paging Dr. Shrinker! Maybe Shrinking Violet can save us!

So, ¬†enjoy Ant-Man…and let the movie be a small introduction to the world of micro-characters.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Beach Blanket Buns-o: is Magic Mike XXL a Beach Party movie…with stripping?

July 8, 2015

Beach Blanket Buns-o: is Magic Mike XXL a Beach Party movie…with stripping?

My Significant Other and I recently saw Magic Mike XXL, and we both enjoyed it.

Honestly, I thought it was fun. I like to look at what a movie tried to do and how well it did it. A movie can fail by trying to be significant or meaningful (or funny or scary), and not achieving that goal. On the other hand, a movie can succeed by setting a less lofty goal, and solidly achieving it.

We wanted to see the new movie because we are fans of So You Think You Can Dance, and more specifically, tWitch. tWitch has a big role in this film, and we wanted to support him and to see him dance.

In preparation, we watched the first movie. We thought that one was okay…it had some dark elements, and was a bit mumblecore…for us, it set a high bar which it didn’t quite reach.

The second one?

It’s a cartoon, or perhaps more appropriately, a movie musical. It’s not supposed to be real: it’s a fantasy.

More specifically, it’s like one of the AIP (American International Pictures) of the 1960s.

That might seem like an odd parallel, but let’s look at it a bit more deeply. I’ll give you a spoiler alert here, but really, this movie is not about the plot. ūüôā

First, we’ll just swap out male stripping for surfing.

Second, we say that Channing Tatum’s Mike character is Frankie Avalon’s Frankie.

So, Frankie/Mike used to be a surfer/stripper with a bunch of friends. They were good, but not famous…just well-known locally.

It’s not considered a “respectable life”, though, and Frankie/Mike has left it…opened a custom furniture business.

Frankie/Mike gets a call from one of his old friends. They are going to a big surfing/stripping convention for one last time, and trick Frankie/Mike into joining them.

Among the friends are Deadhead/Big Dick Ritchie (Jody¬†McRae/Joe Manganiello), a lovable lunkhead with some confidence issues. Also there: an¬†entrepreneur who isn’t part of the performing group (but does the announcing). Big Drip/Tobias (Don Rickles/Gabriel Iglesias) owns an Ice Cream Truck/Frozen Yogurt Truck, which they are using to make the trip.

Frankie/Mike wants them to try some new things in their performance. Deadhead/BDR isn’t comfortable with changing, but Frankie/Mike encourages him, and is successful in getting him to perform in a new way.

While on the way, they are having a bonding moment, and the Ice Cream Truck/FroYo Truck crashes, putting Big Drip/Tobias in the hospital. Since Big Drip/Tobias is normally the emcee for their performing, they may not be able to have their grand good-bye. Fortunately, Frankie/Mike can go to an old flame to possibly emcee.

The old flame, Dee Dee/Rome (Annette Funicello/Jada Pinkett Smith) gives Frankie/Mike a hard time, and requires him to have a competition with her best surfer/stripper (Deborah Walley/tWitch). Frankie/Mike proves his worth, and Dee Dee/Rome goes with them and they have a great performance.

It’s not quite a perfect analogy…a Beach Party movie would have had Eric Von Zipper and his Rats & Mice trying to prevent their success in some way (and failing), but outside of that, I’d say the feel of it is pretty similar.

You know, except for the stripping… ¬†ūüėČ

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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