Archive for June 2011

A New Harry Potter Trailer And An Epic Case of Untapped Potential   4 comments

Every time I see a new trailer for the last Harry Potter movie I get SO EXCITED!!! The trailer below is a hodge podge of scenes from the movie, behind the scenes action, and cast and crew interviews. It’s shaping up to be a ripper of a movie. I think I might have to watch the 7th movie again before I go see this one.

When I was a child, my mum read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series to my brother and me. It was some of my favorite bed time stories to hear! I decided to read the books again before the L.O.T.R. movies came out. I made sure I’d read each book before I saw each movie. I’d heard that the movies stuck perfectly with the plot in the books, and I wanted to see if it was true. It was true, and it made me very happy (and also feel like one of those nerds who reads the book before the movie and then feels all superior and stuff).

But with these Harry Potter books, it’s a different story. I guess I was too old to get excited about a silly wizarding book for kids, so I didn’t read any of the Potter series. But I went to the movies and LOVED them! They are so…enjoyable. I really want to have magic powers. Badly. After about the 5th movie, I started picking up the Potter books at 2nd hand book stores. It’s 2011 now, and I’ve only read three of the books. Don’t get me wrong, they’re amazingly good reads for people of all ages, and I don’t understand why I took this long to get into them. I guess I’m in no rush to read the whole series yet – I’d rather soak up the amazing audio and visual special effects at the movie theater first, then fill in the gaps of the story with the books later. I’m also really enjoying the anticipation of waiting for the movie to hit theaters.

What about you? Did you rush to buy each new Harry Potter book as it hit the shelves? Did you pre-order any of the books? Or are you a normal late-adapter like me – happy to wait for a cheaper paperback?

As a final thought, let’s review the use of the time turner device from Harry Potter and the Prisoner or Azkaban…

An epic case of untapped potential

~C

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Aussie Slang Word Of The Day   Leave a comment

Word: To “chuck a wobbly”

Pronunciation: As it sounds

Meaning: I don’t know anyone who hasn’t chucked a wobbly at some point in their life. Children are very fond of wobbly chucking, as are the more fragile-natured among us. There is no age limit for chucking a wobbly. Chucking a wobbly means to throw a fit or have a tantrum about some trifling matter, hopefully in front of one or more people. The more people, the better.

Typically, wobblys are at their best when caught on video and uploaded to the Interwebs. Wobbly chucking is often motivated by a one-sided unfair or unjust situation that the wobbler can’t do anything about. It’s like that time when my dad video taped me and my brother having a pillow fight in the back yard. Circa 1993, I was (and actually still am) older than my brother, I was about a foot taller, in a different weight-class, and stronger than he (that all changed ca. 2000). I’m also highly competitive, so when dad persuaded me and my bro to go at it for a few rounds with the pillows, I thought it was a terrific idea! 2 minutes and some flying goose down later, I was strutting around like Oscar De La Hoya and my poor little brother was crying, mouthing off to dad, and giving the camera his best one finger salute. It was family video, wobbly-chucking GOLD! I really need to get that VHS dubbed to DVD, stat.

Here’s one of my favorite funny commercials that really epitomizes chucking a wobbly in all of it’s public glory:

~C

Tiny Vegetables   Leave a comment

I’ve been waiting patiently for my tomatoes to grow this year, but they have failed pretty miserably. Only 3 of the plants have sprouted, and of those plants, just one has produced a solitary tomato. I’ve been watching it patiently ripen over the past couple of weeks – it’s gone from bean to green, to a mix of greenish red, and finally to red. Here it is in all it’s tiny little glory! I put it next to a sewing bobbin and some oregano for reference.

Tiny tomato and friends

I was going to chop it up and add it to the lasagna I’m making for dinner tonight, but I’ve realized I will never be able to tell what it tastes like if I do that. So instead, I’m going to chop it up and add it to some guacamole I’m planning on making to eat while I make the lasagna. OM NOM!

~C

Posted June 19, 2011 by Elfawin in Random

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Ninja Bread Men, Chuck Norris   Leave a comment

Over the weekend I received a brilliant birthday present in the mail (from my brother I think) – some Ninja Bread cookie cutters! Naturally, I whipped up a batch straight away. Here’s the resulting cookies…

Don't they look delicious?

…I’d tell you what they tasted like, but I couldn’t find them after I opened the oven door. I still don’t know where they are, and I baked them 2 days ago. So weird.

If you want to get your hands on some of these action-packed badboys, —> click here <—

Today (Monday) I came home to find another belated birthday present on my doorstep. This time, from my dear friend Kates. Kates sent me a Chuck Norris Pillow! YESSSS! I’ve included two photos here – one of the pillow in all its glory. The other is a close up profile of Chuck’s mustache, so you can really get a good sense of the 3D awesomeness that now inhabits my couch. This darling pillow was made by the talented Liz Potter of Bolsa Bonita – check out her stuff, it’s brilliant!

Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad Chuck Norris never cries.

Chuck Norris stared at the sun...the sun went blind.

~C

Dangerous Remote Controls And Other Neighborhood Issues   1 comment

THIS JUST IN!

The films for the 2011 Knoxville 24 Hour Film Festival are up at Knox ivi! The screening and awards show was on June 4th at the Bijou Theater in downtown Knoxville. The caliber of films was definitely up from last year, and the competition was fierce. So many of the films were hilarious and unique, while still managing to incorporate all the necessary requirements (a remote control, the line of dialogue: “I’ll never forget the first time I went to jail,” and a shot of the Sunsphere).

I was hoping to embed the video of team Reply All’s “The Job” for your viewing pleasure, but Knox IVI’s website is giving me TECHNICAL ISSUES! GRRRRR! So here is a link instead: http://www.knoxivi.com/k24hff2011NOTE: “The Job” is the 4th video from the left. Hopefully I’ll be able to embed the actual video soon!

For their outstanding work, Elizabeth Gibson and Dale Fisher won the award for Best Screenplay, and Luke Dye won Best Editing. Great job guys! I’m already looking forward to next year’s competition!

~C

Posted June 7, 2011 by Elfawin in Random

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Apptastic: Instagram   Leave a comment

Today I downloaded a quirky little iPhone app – Instagram. I’m definitely a late-adopter of technology, so you’ve probably already heard of Instagram. If you haven’t, get excited!! Instagram is an editing app that lets you add fabulous effects to photos and images.

Photo with no filter

I started out with a photo of me and my sweets taken at the Downtown Grill & Brewery this past weekend…

The photo was taken by the amazing Dani Rose with my iPhone. It was pretty dark at DTGrill, so the exposure is a bit off, but I thought it was a pretty fabulous pic so I decided to use it. Also, I freaking LOVE that dress!

After downloading Instagram I had to go through the obligatory profile sign up & sharing options (Twitter, FBook, etc). I’m trying to encourage myself to be more web-social, so I decided to go with a public Instagram profile (although you can absolutely keep your pics private). After signing up, my home screen appeared. A “popular” button revealed a collection of the most popular recently added pics from insta-users around the world. Landscapes, flowers, buildings, people, Giraffes; whatever amateur and pro photographers think is interesting, you can find it on Instagram.

The “share” button is where it gets good. Here, I can take a photo or import one from my iPhone photo album (see pic to the left…wow, John looks like he just came from the Jersey Shore, and I almost look like a vampire. Anyone know a good melanin dealer?). After that I got to choose from a series of 16 quirky and unusual retro filters with funky names like “Lord Kelvin,” “Toaster,” “Apollo,” and “Gotham.” Some filters wash color away, while others bring out color in oversaturated but tasteful ways. Most of the filters are retro-inspired. Each filter is slightly different from the last, and no two are the same.

Another fun tool on Instagram is tiltshift. Tiltshift is the manipulation of video or photography to create what appears to be a miniature scene from an aerial view. Here’s a great tiltshift video of the outdoor music festival, Coachella 2010, for reference:

Tiltshift is pretty hot right now in the video world. Commercials and movies use it relatively frequently, and with apps like Instagram making tiltshift easy to use and widely accessible, regular peeps like you and me can dabble with it and feel like editing rockstars.

Photo with the Instagram

Getting back to Instagram, for the photo above I chose the “1977” filter, sans tiltshift, and came up with the photo to the right:

FUN, right?! Who cares if I no longer have a nose. The colors are so retro-exotic and delicious! This is what my parents used to look like!

To get these pics onto my blog, I emailed them to myself (I know, so passé) with Instagram’s photo sharing options, and voila, I was done! Normally I use dropbox to send files to myself because it’s faster (less clicks to get what I want moved from my iPhone to my laptop or iPad), but it’s not currently a sharing option with Instagram (I’d have to open my Dropbox app and select the newly-filtered photo from my iPhone’s photo album to share it with myself. Ugh. Too many clicks! But I sure do love Dropbox!).

For you young’uns that don’t know what “email” is, it’s also possible to share your Instagram photo masterpieces through Twitter, FBook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and Foursquare. Sighs of relief resound through the interwebs as oddly-spelled-words-with-not-enough-vowels are read and recognized.

My Apptastic tally for Instagram:

How fun?: 5/5. Boring photos come to life with fun filters and colors! The potential for sharing pics with other people makes it fun too.

How useful?: 3/5. It’s a novelty app for me, and I’m not a pro photographer.

How easy to use?: 4/5. Some of the button icons were new to me, so I had to play around with the app for a hot minute to figure out what each one does. But Instagram is very user-friendly.

How much?: 5/5. It’s free!

Total: 17/20 – that’s a good score, people.

Pros: Fabulous filters! Users can take any photo from dud to delicious in seconds!

Cons: I would love to see some more sharing options (like Dropbox and Reddit), and the ability to review post-filtered photo information once they’re “published” on my Instagram profile (i.e.: What filter was used).

Verdict: It’s free and very amusing. great for procrastinating too, so download Instagram if you’ve gots the techs. You’ll love it!

Here are all of the before and after photos that I messed around with today…

If you have Instagram on your smartphone or mobile tablet, let me know what you think of the app, or find me on Instagram and let’s share some visuals!

~C


Posted June 6, 2011 by Elfawin in Mobile Apps

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Aussie Slang Word Of The Day   1 comment

Word: “Granny Flat”

Pronunciation: As it sounds.

Meaning: The shed or a small, typically self-sufficient, apartment that’s on your property, but not attached to the house. A guest house, if you will. Granny Flats are where you put your Grandma/Grandpa, or Mother In-Law when she/he/they come to stay for long periods. Or if they move in with you, you can put them in the Granny Flat so they can still have their own place, but still be close by.

Granny Flat

A Granny Flat can be as simple as a garden shed with a cot set up in between the gardening tools and wellie boots. Or it can be a larger room with bedroom furniture, but no bathroom or kitchenette. Even more luxurious, the Granny Flat can be a fully-fledged guest house with all the amenities of a regular house, but on a smaller scale.

When I was growing up, mum and dad extended our garage down the drive way about 5 meters and built a Granny Flat onto the back end of it. There was a sliding door to get in from the back yard, and even a wall-mounted air conditioner! Dad and I picked out some tiles to cover the floor, which he then spent a day laying while I supervised and made inspirational comments like “Can I move in yet?” and “When can you buy me a mini fridge for in here?”

I spent my last year of high school living in my Granny Flat. It was awesome. I could come and go as I pleased, I could study in quiet and I covered the walls in random posters of boys from Cleo Magazine. When I moved to Knoxville at the end of the year to attend UTK I think it took my brother about 15.8 minutes to gather up his belongings and conquer my beloved annex. Oh well. Sharing is caring.

~C

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