This Film is Dated™ – 11.11.11

•November 11, 2011 • 3 Comments

Its back, baby!

I started to do this one and then realized that all the shots would be from the 11th minute.  Ah well…let’s see how it goes. 🙂

The 11th Minute

The 11th Minute

The 11th Minute

 Can you name the film…?

A Walk in the Cemetery

•October 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Taken from my writing journal for my Introductory Composition class:

October 17, 2011

A Walk in the Cemetery

This evening I returned home from work and begrudgingly engaged in a well-worn routine: walking our dog, Penny.  A queen among dogs (and she know it), Penny’s only shortcoming is her inability to understand that human beings aren’t disposed to constantly petting, scratching, or otherwise obsessing over our canine companions–that, and howl volume control.  Opening the door after a long day at work, one is met by a gale-force, high-pitched howling wall of sound.  Penny means well and is truly a wonderful companion, but she can be insistently demanding of human attention.  Failing to organically gain this attention, she will remind you of your place by flopping a paw on your forearm or knee, as if to say, “You and I both know what has to happen, so let’s not beat around the bush.”

As is her natural tendency, Penny was overjoyed to be out of the house and trotting along beside me yesterday.  With her nose angled toward the sky and a moderate breeze, her face was awash with a wealth of urinary perfumeries.  The two of us made our way to one of our usual haunts – the local cemetery.  We entered through the main gates and I removed her leash to let her work off some excess energy.  Penny attempted to keep up only to be distracted by the many pockets of nasal treasures littering the pathway.   I pulled out her whistling ball–it whistles as it hurtles through the air–and showed it to her.  Her focus on me was unflinching; I had come prepared.  Mouth open, tongue dangling and tail wagging, Penny bowed down on to her front legs, indicating that she wanted me to throw the ball.  I can only assume this gesture didn’t illicit a quick enough response since Penny began immediately howling more and more stridently until I finally whipped the ball down the path ahead of us.  She darted off at breakneck speed, belying her normally lethargic personality.  Penny caught the ball, tossed it up into the air and caught it again.  Slowly she began her reluctant walk back to me with the ball in her mouth.  Midway through her journey however, Penny appeared to forget about the ball: unceremoniously dropping it in favour of burying her nose in the grass.  I picked up the abandoned ball and again showed it to her with feigned gusto.  Her attention was again mine, although less enthusiastic this time.  I threw the ball again and she was off.

We continued in this way for ten or fifteen minutes.  I would toss the ball and Penny would nab it, only then electing whether to return it to me or speed off after an unsuspecting squirrel. Ball in mouth, she seemed to weigh which option was in her best interest–she would almost unanimously choose the latter.  Although excited at the prospect of chasing whistling balls, Penny is at her heart a lackadaisical girl.  The last section of our walk was punctuated by my continual attempts to motivate her to move a bit quicker.  Slowing to nearly a crawl, the two of us finally emerged from the cemetery and made our way home.

After a mournful look out towards the sidewalk, Penny seemed to say goodbye to the scents of the outside world and entered our foyer under silent protest.  I removed the leash and she made her way up to the landing–her usual waiting spot.  Looking over as I took my coat off, I noticed that she was licking her front right paw.  I took a closer look attempting to hold the paw gently in case she was cut.  Penny yelped in pain.  Only then did I notice that her dew claw (the claw that dogs have higher up on their forelegs) was broken in half and bleeding.  I have often read about the need to be extremely careful when trimming a dog’s claws because of the risk of pain and infection to the animal.  Penny’s dew claw was snapped well below the quick so I was immediately concerned.  I put my coat back on, reattached her leash and the two of us headed toward the veterinarian.

I think I was more worried than Penny was–her biggest concern seemed to be that she couldn’t lie down comfortably because of her inclination to lay with her front legs under her chest.  The two veterinary assistants manning the front desk were very friendly–they’re big fans of Penny’s–and one of them even recounted a recent dew claw incident with her own dog.  She said that it was a good idea to bring Penny in just to be sure.  After a short wait, the vet examined  her and explained to me the particulars of what he needed to do.  He took an increasingly nervous Penny into the back and I grabbed a chair in the waiting room and well, waited.   About ten minutes later, one of the vet assistants brought Penny out, her leg freshly bandaged in a blazingly hot pink gauze, a purple heart sticker placed right in the middle.  A nearby woman– who was waiting to have her uncooperative cat’s claws clipped–audibly gasped in delight.  The vet assistant praised Penny on her excellent behaviour; her counterpart behind the front desk remarked at how pretty the bandage looked.  A relatively small fee later, the two of us made our way back home.

Arriving at the front door, Penny was much more excited about getting inside this second time–we had been out of the house for nearly two hours.  The second her leash was detached, she bolted upstairs and headed straight for her water bowl.  I watched her like a hawk to make sure she didn’t chew at the bandage.  A couple of scoldings later, she seemed quite amenable to the prospect of wearing the stylish hot pink wrist band with a purple heart on it.  The longer I sat with her, the more I imbued her with emotions she likely didn’t have; combining her exhaustion and minor discomfort into an imagined, all-encompassing and general malaise.  Heartbroken, I bent the cardinal rule of the house–that no four-legged creature shall get up onto the human furniture–and allowed the poor girl one night’s indulgence: laying in the lap of luxury in the biggest armchair in the room.

Tumblr Blog

•October 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hi all,

So I caved and opened a tumblr blog. It just seemed easier and I feel less pressure to write something substantial in that format. I’ll keep this and the Split Diopter open, but if you wish to follow (hopefully) more regular posts, please head to thefortressofsolitude.tumblr.

The Best Obnoxious Responses to Misspellings on Facebook

•September 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

More here via Happy Place.

Thundercats (2011) – Review

•August 23, 2011 • 1 Comment

Season 1, Episode 1 (“The Sword of Omens”) and Episode 2 (“Ancient Spirits of Evil”)

The new “reboot” of Thundercats is, without question, not the same show that aired in the mid-80s.  Although it remains true to the spirit of the original and has numerous references to it, the new version definitely stands on its own.  The changes to the 80s Thundercats are mostly welcome and interesting.

Rankin-Bass’ original “Thundercats” revolved a band of exiles from the doomed planet of Thundera: the Thundercats – a group pseudo-nobles occupying the upper echelons of the Thunderian caste system.  Pursued by the mutants of Plun-darr, they manage to escape to the relative safety of another planet they christen “Third Earth.”  The Thundercats, led by the inexperienced Lion-O (the Lord of the Thundercats by blood), attempt to rebuild their civilization on Third Earth while they thwart the schemes of the Mutants of Plun-darr, the Lunataks and the ever-living form of Mummra, a malevolent demi-god who can call on “Ancient Spirits of Evil” to imbue him with incredible powers and dominance over a large portion of the planet.

Claudus, Lord of the Thundercats, battles his son and heir, Lion-O

The revamped Thundercats series opens on Thundera with Claudus, the Lord of the Thundercats (voiced by Larry Kenny, the original Lion-O), ruling his people and attempting to mould his youngest son, Lion-O, into the great leader he is destined to become.  Lion-O’s adopted brother, Tygra, has been skipped over as heir – a fact that irks him constantly as he see himself as more intelligent, experienced and skilled at combat than his upstart kid brother.


Prince Lion-O makes questionable choices along the way, disguising himself as a commoner and getting involved in a scrap with street thugs.  He is assisted by a female stranger who, after throttling the assailants, introduces herself as Cheetara.  The two set off together after Lion-O reveals to Cheetara that is he seeking a particular piece of technology.  The Thunderians don’t use technology – they’re sort of a bad-ass group of Amish settlers.  They have built great cities but they have done it without the use of technological advancements.  Technology is something of a myth to the Thunderians; a taboo subject that keeps back street merchants in business, selling fake bits of the stuff to anyone who will buy it.  Lion-O and Cheetara visit one such merchant, but Lion-O is convinced the piece of technology that’s he’s purchased is real.

Cheetara, holding what looks suspiciously like a Robear Berbil paw...

Later on, Lion-O is tested by Claudus who commands him to wield the Sword of Omens (looking exactly as it did in the 80s) in order to prove his nobility.  The weapon is brought in with great reverence by a group of clerics, one of whom Lion-O recognizes as Cheetara in ceremonial gear.  The exercise ultimately fails as Lion-O, attempting to harness the clairvoyant powers of the sword, is frightened by the vision he sees.  In an effort to save face he makes a joke of it (much to his father’s annoyance).


Outside the castle, an army of lizard slaves are slowly advancing to the gate.  They are transporting a huge crystalline structure, atop of which stands Grune, a Thunderian general who is returning from a mission.  Claudus greets the general warmly, but is saddened to learn that Panthro, Grune’s colleague on this particular quest, has died.  With heavy hearts, Claudus welcomes Grune into the castle.

Mummra, The Ever Living

This sets into motion the real plot of the pilot episode, as Grune’s army of lizard slaves are revealed to not be slaves at all, but under the military command of Grune.  The huge crystal is full of more lizard soldiers, including their leader, Slythe.  Grune and Slythe, with the help of devastatingly powerful military technology, begin a massive attack on the Thunderian kingdom.

Slythe, Leader of the Lizard Army

The pilot episode definitely takes several steps away from the original.  The eliminating of the science-fiction element, at least from the Thunderian perspective, is an interesting one.  A large part of the original show was the technology, the Thundertank and the various other vehicles (including those capable of space-travel) were very much on display.  Interestingly, by eliminating the scope of inter-planetary travel from the concept, they’ve actually increased the scope of the show within its limited playing field.  The seemingly xenophobic and insular Thunderian society has largely left their home planet unexplored which leaves the entire planet to mined for story ideas.  The political and technological conflicts are also very intriguing.  I definitely want to see more.

Wily-Kit and Wily-Kat

Silly characters like Snarf and Wily-Kit and Wily-Kat are all treated more seriously in this version.  Snarf doesn’t talk, which is a stroke of genius.  Wily-Kit and Wily-Kat are street urchins who pick-pocket to survive.  The Thundercats introduced so far, Lion-O, Cheetara, Tygra and Jaga are all well fleshed out and more multi-facted than their original counterparts.  The villains, Slythe, Grune and Mummra are all more dark and sinister than previously envisioned.  Mummra especially has a mad quality to his performance that harkens back to the 80s version, but also makes him more menacing to the heroes.  The real Panthro is only talked about in the pilot, so we’ll have to see how they introduce his character.  Lynx-O, the blind “New Thundercat” added in Season 2 of the original show is shown in a cameo manning The Tower of Omens, in a nice, if fleeting, nod to the original show.
More akin to Lord of the Rings than to the original Thundercats – the battles, the locations and the design of the new show are incredible.  Dark and violent, but also light-hearted in spots, the show definitely hits the mark.

Cheetara, Lion-O and Tygra - the Thundercats

NYC – July 2011 – Superman: The Movie Shooting Locations

•August 22, 2011 • 2 Comments

On our recent (maybe not so recent) trip to NYC, the top “to-do” on my list was to visit some of the filming locations for my favourite movie of all time – Superman: The Movie.  Here are some pics!

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station 2 - Lex Luthor's Sidekick, Otis (Ned Beatty), walks through Grand Central on his way to Luthor's underground lair.

From "Superman: The Movie"

The Daily Planet

The Daily Planet Exterior - unfortunately, it was covered by scaffolding.

The Daily Planet Exterior 2

The Daily Planet - this is the facade over which Lois Lane plummeted from the Daily Planet helicopter.

The Daily Planet - Detail - Clark Kent jumps out of one of these windows near the end of Superman the Movie. These are also the windows that General Zod and the Kryptonians blast through near the end of Superman II.

From "Superman: The Movie"

From "Superman II"

From "Superman: The Movie"

From "Superman: The Movie"

From "Superman II"

From "Superman II"

The Daily Planet Lobby

The Daily Planet Lobby 2

The Daily Planet Lobby - Globe Close-Up

From "Superman: The Movie"

From "Superman: The Movie"

The Daily Planet Elevator Bank - Clark and Lois exit these elevators.

From "Superman: The Movie"

Lois Lane’s Apartment Building

Lois Lane's Apartment (Penthouse)

Lois Lane's Apartment (Penthouse)

From "Superman II" (very dark shot of Lois' Penthouse Apartment)

This Film is Dated™ – 10.8.11

•August 10, 2011 • 3 Comments

The 10th Minute

The 8th Minute

The 11th Minute

Can you name the film?