Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Top 10 Science Fiction Movies - #10 Back to the Future

I am in the process of watching all of the Top 10 Science Fiction movies according to AFI and reviewing them for my list (http://www.dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html#SciFi).

The current film I just watched is Back to the Future. 

Having grown up on Back to the Future, it is rather difficult to look at the movie objectively. However, sitting down to watch it again on the actual date in Back to the Future Part II (October 21, 2015), I find that I am as enthralled with the movie as I ever have been. I love everything about it, from the actors, to the settings, and nothing can beat the music. The script is so tight that some things are almost impossible to catch unless you are either paying very close attention or having someone point them out to you (for instance the change of Twin Pines Mall to Lone Pine Mall, or Huey Louis being the one to say that Marty's music was too loud). I still get the goosebumps when George McFly takes out Biff at the end of the movie (I even get them just thinking about it), and no matter how cheesy it is, I love Marty's guitar solo at the end. All in all, I can not over state how perfect a movie I feel this is. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 11 Update

11 months in. Last one left.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5
Month 6 - 177.5
Month 7 - 179.4
Month 8 - 178.3
Month 9 - 177.2
Month 10 - 174.9
Month 11 - 177.0

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.
Month 6 - Finished Don Quixote. 4 books to go.
Month 8 - Finished The Grapes of Wrath. 3 books to go.
Month 9 - Finished Moll Flanders. 2 books to go.
Month 10 - Finished To Kill a Mockingbird. 1 to go.
Month 11 - In the middle of The World as Will and Idea. Not sure if I will be able to finish it by the end of the month.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.
Month 6 - 18 done. 32 to go.
Month 7 - 28 done. 22 to go.
Month 8 - 31 done. 19 to go.
Month 9 - 35 done. 15 to go.
Month 11 - 37 done. 13 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.
Month 6 - 2 more projects done. Redid bricks in the backyard and added landscape lighting. 5 to go.
Month 7 - 1 more project done. Replace back sliding door. 4 to go.
Month 8 - 1 more project done. Added baseboards to bedroom. 3 to go.
Month 9 - In the middle of a major home renovation which will take care of at least 2 items on the list.
Month 10 - Still on major home renovation.
Month 11 - Still in middle of major home renovation, however it currently knocked off 2 with 1 on the way. 1 item left to go.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.
Month 7 - Added the upper skirt attach strips.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.
Month 6 - I have about 30 comics left to get before I have completed my collection.
Month 7 - Winding down. I have ~15 left to go on the main collection.
Month 8 - Finished Box #5.
Month 9 - Finished Box #7. 5 comics left to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.
Month 7 - Have been prepping to get this finished.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

And the kitchen remodel continues. We are definitely on the downward slope now but there are still quite a few big projects to complete.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The 306 Greatest Books - #132 To Kill a Mockingbird

The next up on my reading of the 305 greatest books is To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee. This book can be found on the Sybervision, Observer, BBC, and My Personal Book Lists.



Typically, when I am reading one of the books on this list, I am usually thinking of what I am going to say as a review, at least during the last quarter of the book. However, for To Kill a Mockingbird, I had to wait a couple of days until after I finished the book. I had burned through it so quickly, and I'm still having a hard time putting together by thoughts. The book follows the life of a young girl, Scout Finch, living during the depression in a small town in Alabama. As is true with most children, she is inquisitive and playful and the book follows her through her games and exploration of the world around her. She has a mysterious neighbor, who the children are bent on tormenting, even though they have never seen him. An interesting story point that does come to fruition by the end of the story. The main point of the book however is regarded as background material throughout the first portion of the book. This story element, like many in the book, slowly reveals itself through the natural course of storytelling. Scout's father, Atticus, is a lawyer and is charged with defending an African American man accused of raping another man's daughter. How the story manifests itself through the eyes of Scout is truly remarkable. Several times throughout the book I felt myself well up at the sheer impact of the story. I'm not sure if it is because I am father of a young girl and I can place myself in Atticus's shoes at times, or not. But this is truly an emotional novel about race relations during the Great Depression, and how far we had to go at the time. The writing couldn't have been easier to follow, and the descriptions were truly outstanding. Harper Lee's descriptions would often flow through the story, not being placed at any particular point, but would appear as natural eddies in the narrative.This resulted in me flying through the novel, reading half of it in one day.  This novel has easily ascended to become one of my favorite books of all time, well within my Top 5 favorites.

Friday, November 6, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 10 Update

10 months in. Only 2 to go.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5
Month 6 - 177.5
Month 7 - 179.4
Month 8 - 178.3
Month 9 - 177.2
Month 10 - 174.9

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.
Month 6 - Finished Don Quixote. 4 books to go.
Month 8 - Finished The Grapes of Wrath. 3 books to go.
Month 9 - Finished Moll Flanders. 2 books to go.
Month 10 - Finished To Kill a Mockingbird. 1 to go.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.
Month 6 - 18 done. 32 to go.
Month 7 - 28 done. 22 to go.
Month 8 - 31 done. 19 to go.
Month 9 - 35 done. 15 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.
Month 6 - 2 more projects done. Redid bricks in the backyard and added landscape lighting. 5 to go.
Month 7 - 1 more project done. Replace back sliding door. 4 to go.
Month 8 - 1 more project done. Added baseboards to bedroom. 3 to go.
Month 9 - In the middle of a major home renovation which will take care of at least 2 items on the list.
Month 10 - Still on major home renovation.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.
Month 7 - Added the upper skirt attach strips.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.
Month 6 - I have about 30 comics left to get before I have completed my collection.
Month 7 - Winding down. I have ~15 left to go on the main collection.
Month 8 - Finished Box #5.
Month 9 - Finished Box #7. 5 comics left to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.
Month 7 - Have been prepping to get this finished.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

We continue to spend almost all of our "free" time on the kitchen renovation. I also spent a good chunk of time resubmitting a manuscript and subsequently getting it accepted for publication. The kitchen renovation still on track to have the majority of it done by Thanksgiving. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 9 Update

9 months in.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5
Month 6 - 177.5
Month 7 - 179.4
Month 8 - 178.3
Month 9 - 177.2

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.
Month 6 - Finished Don Quixote. 4 books to go.
Month 8 - Finished The Grapes of Wrath. 3 books to go.
Month 9 - Finished Moll Flanders. 2 books to go.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.
Month 6 - 18 done. 32 to go.
Month 7 - 28 done. 22 to go.
Month 8 - 31 done. 19 to go.
Month 9 - 35 done. 15 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.
Month 6 - 2 more projects done. Redid bricks in the backyard and added landscape lighting. 5 to go.
Month 7 - 1 more project done. Replace back sliding door. 4 to go.
Month 8 - 1 more project done. Added baseboards to bedroom. 3 to go.
Month 9 - In the middle of a major home renovation which will take care of at least 2 items on the list.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.
Month 7 - Added the upper skirt attach strips.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.
Month 6 - I have about 30 comics left to get before I have completed my collection.
Month 7 - Winding down. I have ~15 left to go on the main collection.
Month 8 - Finished Box #5.
Month 9 - Finished Box #7. 5 comics left to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.
Month 7 - Have been prepping to get this finished.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

The entire month was mostly spent working on the kitchen/dining room. This involved ripping almost everything out of the kitchen including a wall, the floor, and all of the cabinets. Still in the middle of this project that we plan on finishing by Thanksgiving. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The 306 Greatest Books - #131 Moll Flanders

The next up on my reading of the 305 greatest books is Moll Flanders  by Daniel Defoe. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.



I was hesitant to start reading Moll Flanders because Defoe's other work on the list, Robinson Crusoe, didn't really strike my fancy. I found Robinson Crusoe to be overly dragging and not that upbeat. Well, now we come to Moll Flanders and I have several of the same criticisms. Although the book is only 340ish pages long, it seemed to drag on forever. I could be reading twenty minutes and it felt like an hour. Defoe is often very repetitive, not only with small portions of text, saying almost the same bunch of sentences verbatim a few paragraphs later, but the plot itself was on a never-ending cycle of repeat. The story follows a woman who was raised as a cast off from a prisoner. The first third of the novel deals with her repeated marriages, which needless to say, got old really quickly. The second third of the novel actually got me back into the book. Although, this was also a bunch of the same, over and over again, I actually became interested in the character for once in the story. The character herself claims in the book this was because of people enjoy reading about her wickedness. I'm not sure if that was the case or if the author actually made the character interesting for once. The problems resurface again in the last portion, where the character is "redeemed". Even though she is redeemed, I never, ever, get the impression she is ever sorry for what she did and even remotely changed her ways. She was lying and manipulating people right up through the last page of the text. Overall, I am often harsh on books where it is difficult to get into a book because of the writing style. Defoe's writing style is fine, it's just his plots are overly redundant and slow paced. I can't recommend this story to anyone, sorry.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 8 Update

8 months in. Time is ticking down.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5
Month 6 - 177.5
Month 7 - 179.4
Month 8 - 178.3

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.
Month 6 - Finished Don Quixote. 4 books to go.
Month 8 - Finished The Grapes of Wrath. 3 books to go.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.
Month 6 - 18 done. 32 to go.
Month 7 - 28 done. 22 to go.
Month 8 - 31 done. 19 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.
Month 6 - 2 more projects done. Redid bricks in the backyard and added landscape lighting. 5 to go.
Month 7 - 1 more project done. Replace back sliding door. 4 to go.
Month 8 - 1 more project done. Added baseboards to bedroom. 3 to go.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.
Month 7 - Added the upper skirt attach strips.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.
Month 6 - I have about 30 comics left to get before I have completed my collection.
Month 7 - Winding down. I have ~15 left to go on the main collection.
Month 8 - Finished Box #5.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.
Month 7 - Have been prepping to get this finished.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

Mostly worked on various tasks around the house. The biggest item of note was taking about a week to completely destroy the bedroom to put in new baseboards. Following that I scrubbed down all the furniture in the bedroom and we ended up having a yard sale with most of the house cleaned out. Getting ready to start the big project of working on the kitchen.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The 306 Greatest Books - #130 The Grapes of Wrath

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This book can be found on the SybervisionBBC, and My Personal Book Lists.




Often when I start out reading a book I set goals for myself, such as 10 pages a day, or a chapter a day. The purpose for this is to keep me on pace and finish in a reasonable amount of time. I had done that with The Grapes of Wrath as well, setting my pace at 20 pages per day. One of the first things I noticed about the book, though was how easy it was to read. Twenty pages would fly by and I would keep on going, partially due to the ease of reading the story but also because I had become enraptured with the characters and the story. My page goal almost became a moot point, with the story drawing me along. The story is about a family from Oklahoma during the 1930's dust bowl, who believe they will find better fortune in California after being run off their land due to unpayable debts. And that is it. The family moves around during the Great Depression trying to find work and dealing with the situations that are happening all around them. This story became a cultural and political wake up call to the US government about how bad conditions had become in the country. I don't believe Steinbeck set out to write a social commentary, mostly because the worst things that happened to many of the migrants happened to only to the auxiliary characters, or were isolated to portions of the text not following the main plot. In many instances the main characters thrived in situations where a normal person would have been dealt a bad blow. They managed to get into camps that just happened to have an opening, or find ideal jobs when others are getting half the pay they get. I feel Steinbeck played it safe with his primary characters in instances that today an author wouldn't. It was the ending that really got to me though. Reading through this whole novel, I started to wonder where it was going. I felt that the characters could go on in this fashion for a long time, but clearly the novel is drawing to a close. It is when I hit the final two pages that I realized where Steinbeck was going. The ending provides the quintessential essence that the new generation must support the old, because they have become unable to do it themselves. The layout of the story was interesting, with every other chapter focusing on the main characters and the other chapters giving a parallel story not focused on the main characters, but written as a commentary on the social problems at the time. Overall, I felt the writing was fantastic, which produced a smooth read through of a fantastically well written story. A high recommend. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 7 Update

7 months in. On the down slide.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5
Month 6 - 177.5
Month 7 - 179.4

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.
Month 6 - Finished Don Quixote. 4 books to go.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.
Month 6 - 18 done. 32 to go.
Month 7 - 28 done. 22 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.
Month 6 - 2 more projects done. Redid bricks in the backyard and added landscape lighting. 5 to go.
Month 7 - 1 more project done. Replace back sliding door. 4 to go.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.
Month 7 - Added the upper skirt attach strips.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.
Month 6 - I have about 30 comics left to get before I have completed my collection.
Month 7 - Winding down. I have ~15 left to go on the main collection.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.
Month 7 - Have been prepping to get this finished.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

I was able to catch up on a bunch of reading and some blog posts this month. Had a much easier time at work and it has been nice. Starting to get ramped up on some major home remodeling projects so that will take a significant amount of work when that gets fully underway.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Top 25 Musicals - #6 Mary Poppins

I am in the process of watching all of the Top 25 Musicals according to AFI and reviewing them for my list (http://www.dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/Musicals.html).

The current film I just watched is Mary Poppins. 



   Mary Poppins is a musical comedy about a magical nanny who interjects herself into a household in order to mend familial problems that abound. Although not the first movie to combine animation with live action, this was likely one of the best earlier efforts to that effect. The scenes where the characters are fully immersed in the cartoon/drawn world actually work pretty well. I love how the live action merry-go-round horses tear up the ground every time the go down as they hop up and down across the scenery. Within the cartoon world, the green screen effects also aren't that bad and the primary actors, Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews do a very good job of convincing us that they are indeed interacting with the cartoons. This leads us to the primary driving force of the movie, which is the main actors. They perform the roles perfectly, becoming almost live action cartoons themselves, with Dick Van Dyke taking the brunt of the cartoonishness. Without these two actors, I don't think this movie would have been a fraction of what it turned out to be. There isn't much else in the movie without them. The movie also contains a surprising amount of women empowerment, especially given the time when it was released. The green screen effects during other parts of the movie, especially when Mary Poppins is removing over-sized items from her bag, are dated and I'm surprised that the studio hasn't attempted to "fix" it with modern techniques. Although the movie contains many memorable songs, many of the songs are just a rehashing of the main songs, like the repetitive reuse of the Chim Chim Cher-ee song throughout the movie. The children in the movie are barely tolerable though and I would greatly appreciate it someone else had been hired. Overall, I would say that the greatest strength of the movie is the interactions of the live action and cartoons, especially given Van Dyke's cartoonish persona adopted through the movie and the often subtle humor interjected throughout. In general, the movie is enjoyable for me, though with limited rewatchability.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The 306 Greatest Books #129 - Don Quixote

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. This book can be found on the SybervisionNorwegian, Observer, and My Personal Book Lists.



Whenever I hear anyone reference Don Quixote, it is frequently in regards to his fighting windmills, or riding around on an old horse with a fat squire on a donkey. Well, that is pretty much the first 20-50 pages of a 1,000 page long story. Preconceptions of the story do not really encompass the true breadth and depth of it. The story is about a man who feels he has been tasked with restoring knight errantry back to Spain and dupes a simple minded farmer to accompany him (Sancho Panza). When I first started to read the story, I felt like this was the story for me. It was serialized television long before television even existed. There were even phrases like "when we last left our heroes...". It seemed perfect for me. The translation I was reading was awesome as well (the Everyman edition). He translated it into basically a very readable sort of Old English with all of the poetry and songs maintaining their rhymes. I assume the context and feel of the story was maintained even though the wording needed to be changed. And my version extended the feel of the novel to the translation itself. The novel is written as if it is a Spanish translation of an older text (Arabic I believe), where my English translator even had notes added on top of his translation by an editor. It definitely gives it a story handed down through time aura about it. 

The problems I have with the story started pretty early though. I felt the story started to drag on really early in the first part. Adventures seemed to take forever, there were many side stories that added little (if anything) to the overall narrative, and I just felt the pace of the story slowing down dramatically. I felt I needed to trudge through most of the middle part of the novel until hitting the second part. When I really started to enjoy the story was during the last third of the novel, when the story became self referential. The first half of the novel was apparently published earlier and characters within the second half of the story had often either read it or had heard of it. There is even parts where a real life sequel to the first book was published by a different author and the characters in the book go out of their way to prove that book to be a false sequel. It's actually pretty meta. As for the ending, it felt very very rush. The ending could have been placed at any point in the book and still have fit, there was no real build up to it during the narrative. It would have been better if certain story points (mainly Dulcinea del Toboso) were even addressed during the ending instead of just dropped as if she never even mattered. Overall, I would say the story was actually quite a bit of fun when it started to pick up during the later half but an abridged version of the story may be the way to go for many people (although I personally refuse to go abridged). 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 6 Update

6 months in. 1/2 way done with the year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5
Month 6 - 177.5

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.
Month 6 - Finished Don Quixote. 4 books to go.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.
Month 6 - 18 done. 32 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.
Month 6 - 2 more projects done. Redid bricks in the backyard and added landscape lighting. 5 to go.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.
Month 6 - I have about 30 comics left to get before I have completed my collection.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

Lately I have spent much of my time working on projects at work, not leaving much time for personal projects. Also I ran Ragnar, which took up a lot of time prepping for that. Hopefully I can use this month to get back on track.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies #4 - Fantasia

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The final film in this list is FantasiaYou can also find this on the 100 Greatest Movies List.


   Fantasia is Disney's third animated theatrical release (after Snow White and Pinocchio, both on this list as well). I think it is telling, that of Disney's first five animated movies, four are on the top 10 animated movies of all time list. Nothing encapsulates that drive to create unique animated features more than Fantasia. This movie shows how Walt Disney was willing to break with normal traditions and go as far out there as he could think. This movie could in essence be considered the first music video, where eight different pieces of classical music are given animations that match the music. The themes of the animations range from nonsensical shapes and colors, through Greek Mythology, to scientific theories, to religion, and ballet. Each of the pieces has a unique style to it, but they all appear to have that "rough" animation style that was so prevalent on Pinocchio. I actually tend to prefer that style of animation, which gives the movie a more artistic feeling. And this movie definitely has an artistic feeling. At over two hours in length, it is one of the longest Disney animated movie ever made but it is broken up by a live action conductor and narrator, who introduces each of the segments to the audience. This movie also has one of the first interactions between a cartoon and a live actor, almost 50 years before Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Overall, I would say that this is an enjoyable movie, with interesting animated sequences, but it is very very long, and I definitely felt it dragging the latter half of the movie.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #2 Pinocchio

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is PinocchioYou can also find this on the 100 Most Inspirational Movies List.




Pinocchio is the second movie to be made by the Walt Disney Animation Studios, three years after Snow White. Having watched this movie immediately after Cinderella, I am amazed by the level of detail in the animation. True, the animation looks "rough", but it is immensely detailed, the humans actually have features, and the roughness actually gives it a personal feel. I would say that this movie may be even better animated than the majority of movies that have come before or after it. That being said, there is the story. Geppetto is the worst father figure imaginable, at least at the beginning of the movie. "Yay I have a son, 5 hours later you must leave to go to school though. Bye!". Jiminy Cricket is a horrible conscious, having quit the job 2 or 3 times over the length of the movie. And we haven't even gotten into the questionable content of the movie. To emphasize the bad behavior of the kids, I feel that Disney went places that no movie would go within a 100 miles of today, especially a kids animated movie. Young kids drinking and smoking? Kidnapping kids and sending them to a place called "Pleasure Island"? And the action sequences can be downright scary at times, like when the whale is chasing Geppetto and Pinocchio. And the story bounces all over the place, feeling more random than anything else. I mean really, all of the sudden Geppetto is swallowed by a whale, out of nowhere?  The songs are tolerable. The principle song, "When you wish upon a star" is one of the signature Disney songs now, so more than likely most kids would have at least heard that song without seeing the movie. Overall, this probably has some of the best animation in a movie of all time, the story line though has quite a bit to be desired.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #9 Cinderella

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is Cinderella



Unlike the other movies on this list, I have had extensive watching of this movie due to my child's adoration of the film, but I had not sat down and watched it from the beginning in I don't know how long. Even with my daughter's repeated viewings, there were still segments of the movie which I do not recall ever watching. It is possible I had not seen them since she always focuses on a few scenes and wants to watch them over and over again. In general about the movie, I am surprised that a story that is so well known actually focuses a good amount of time on the animals in the story. Perhaps half of the movie is just about the animals and their interactions with each other. This comes into play throughout the movie of course since Cinderella relies upon the animals to help her accomplish her goal of meeting the prince and then escaping from her room after her step-mother locks her in. However, the principle plot of the movie only encompasses a fairly short amount of time in the film itself. The songs are well done, much more in a musical theater type of way. However the animation appears to have stalled out by this point. Walt Disney had made may movies by 1950, and I was actually surprised to see how many when looking at the animation of the movie. I had thought it was earlier. The animals look well animated but human faces are all rather detail-less. They all have few distinguishing marks about them and their noses are pretty much just one or two lines. Some of the scenery scenes though, are absolutely picturesque, although I don't know if that is due to blu-ray remastering or if that was how the original looked. Overall, I'm not sure if it is because I know the movie so well at this point but I found myself pretty bored watching through it again for this review. Personally, I probably wouldn't include it on this list, and especially not ahead of Finding Nemo. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 4 Update

4 months in. 1/3 done with the year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

Very busy at work this month and a good chunk of time was devoted to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. The family and I headed out there for a few days. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #8 Shrek

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is Shrek





   If I had to peg Shrek down to one word, it would be "clever". Shrek manages to mock and satirize most of the fairy tales and Disney movies throughout the movie, yet none of it feels stale. The jokes are fresh and funny. I found myself laughing through most of the movie, which is a big deal on this list, since no other animated movie is really a straight up comedy. Toy Story being the only other movie close to a straight up comedy. Shrek is also the only non-Disney property on all of the Top 10 Animated Movies list (although Toy Story was not strictly a Disney production, it is generally considered a Disney movie), which may be a reason it is on the list at all. The graphics throughout Shrek are fantastic, as one would expect. With it really noticeable in the landscapes and the flowers. I found those, more than anything, really captured the level of quality that the movie was capable of. The real question is, is this worthy of being in the Top 10 Animated Movies of all time list? As one of the first Dreamworks movies, and the first of their movies to launch a multi-hundred million dollar franchise, it is very good. Perhaps at a level Dreamworks never achieved again. The problem with the Shrek franchise is that I felt the following movies sullied the Shrek name, of which I don't think I ever even got past the third one. But, as a standalone film, I think Shrek could be associated with these best of the best animated movies. It definitely is one of the best non-Disney movies ever made, however I think there are some other Pixar movies that would surpass this in my opinion. Overall, I think it is very funny and quite on point with it's satirizing of Disney movies, but I don't feel very strongly about it's placement on this list. It was likely added just so the list wasn't 100% Disney.

Friday, April 3, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 3 Update

3 months in. 1/4 done with the year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

Again mostly working on little things that are on my Blog/Website To Do list. Many are in the works along with some major projects on the house.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #7 Beauty and the Beast

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is Beauty and the Beast. You can also find this on the 100 Greatest Romances and 25 Greatest Musicals of all time lists.



Beauty and the Beast is the second movie that Disney released after they revitalized their animated movies with The Little Mermaid. When I watch Beauty and the Beast I feel the musical genera, like Phantom of the Opera, spills out of the TV screen. This movie was also one of the first movies to use computer generated scenes with traditional animation overlaid on top of it. Being one of the first movies to do this, one would expect it to be choppy and not well done, however the background is almost flawless, if not obviously computer generated, during the big dancing scene towards the end of the movie. In regards to the story, I have often heard people decry the movie as showing a weak central female character hoping the brutish man would change for her. Instead, while I watch it, I see a very strong female protagonist who stands toe-to-toe with every man in the movie, never once backing down. If anything this is almost a female empowerment movie, showing women that they don't have to take what is given to them and that they can take what they want for their lives. On top of everything is the music. The music composed for this movie is one of those that gets stuck in my head for days and I'm not all that perturbed by it. I love the music for this and Angela Lansbury has a surprising nice singing voice to boot. Overall, a highly enjoyable movie which is not a misogynistic as I think people claim it to be.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #10 Finding Nemo

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is Finding Nemo



     When I sat down to rewatch this movie after many years of not seeing it I was highly doubtful that Finding Nemo deserved it's place among the Top 10 Best Animated Movies of All Time. I mean, could it really be better than the multitude of movies that didn't make the list. Well, upon rewatching it, I have to say, Yes. Yes it does. Based on my memory, I had assumed that this was a shallow movie about a father fish trying to find his son. However, I found that it is about a group of fish trying to overcome their personal difficulties. Having a daughter with cerebral palsy, it hit very close to home as we (her parents) have been known to say almost the same things that Nemo's father says when he is being over protective of his kid. Nemo has a fin that is very much smaller than his other fin, causing him great difficulty with swimming. His father cautions him to be careful to the point of over-protection, not allowing Nemo to do anything. This sets off the chain of events where Nemo is captured and Marlin (Nemo's father) has to swim across the ocean to find him. And by the end Marlin, Nemo, and Dory all are able to get passed their own difficulties by believing in others and in believing in themselves. Not only was the animation on this movie outstanding, but the moral messages abound throughout the movie. My only qualm with it being on this list is I would have put it higher.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #4 The Lion King

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is The Lion King


Although The Lion King is not the first of the revamped Disney animated lineup, which started with The Little Mermaid, it is often considered the best animated Disney movie ever made. Looking back on this movie it is easy to see why. The basis of the movie is another timeless story, Hamlet, which is also considered one of Shakespeare's best. So it is no wonder that The Lion King stands the test of time so well. But it isn't just the story that provides the movie with staying power. The animation throughout the movie is fantastic and often looks like an artist's interpretation of a Disney movie. The songs are some of the best to ever come out of a Disney musical, and I think it says something that although they were created by Elton John and Tim Rice, Elton John doesn't perform any of the music himself (within the main movie). This is likely a fault that is found in later Disney movies, where there is music just for music's sake and none of it progresses the story along. Overall, The Lion King is a beautifully crafted story from the animation, to the music and the story. A perfect movie if there ever was one.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #3 Bambi

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is Bambi



Bambi is the 5th Disney animated motion picture and when you compare it to the first one (Snow White) it seems light years ahead. The animation feels much smoother, with the background and the characters integrating almost seemlessly. It has been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, to the point that I remember nothing about it. I was under the assumption that Bambi's mother died very quickly within the movie, but she makes it to the second half of the movie before the hunter gets her. And there is no portrayal of any humans in the entire movie. The hunter, along with any other humans who might be there, are all off screen and we only hear the guns or see evidence of their camp, nothing else. I wonder if this is because animals are much quicker and easier to animate than humans are, hence the reason Pixar didn't use many humans in their original cartoons. The story seems rather aimless at times and is just basically Bambi's life, from birth to the birth of his own children. A simple tale, but enjoyable non-the-less.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 2 Update

2 months in. Chugging along.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

Nothing really exciting has occurred during February. Mostly just working on little things here and there across my website and my To Do lists.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #1 Snow White and Seven Dwarfs

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You can also find this on the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time and the 10th Anniversary 100 Greatest Movies of all time lists.



Snow White is mostly touted because it is the first feature length animated movie ever made. And although that is a worthy accomplishment in itself, is it a good movie? First off the animation is actually pretty good. It is amazing to watch how many things are moving across the screen during many parts of the movie, especially when forest animals enter the movie and are all moving around at the same time. Often, movies would skimp out on scenes like this in order to decrease production costs, but Disney seemed to go in the opposite direction, by adding in even more animals. Just trying to imagine how many man hours it would take to make such a thing is daunting. However, the story itself is severely lacking. Snow White is scared off into the woods because the Evil Queen wants to kill her. Why? Because Snow White is the fairest in the land, not the Evil Queen. I guess vanity is a good reason for the Queen's downfall, but it's a pretty weak reason. The pacing of the movie is also all over the place. Several parts of the story seem very rushed (Snow White immediately leaves with the Prince upon being woken up?), with many parts seeming to drag on forever (i.e. the celebration/party before bedtime). Overall, I would say this is an OK movie, but not one I enjoy sitting and watching multiple times.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #6 Toy Story

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (http://dinojim.com/Cultural/Movies/10Top10.html).

The current film I am re-watching is Toy Story. You can also find this on the 10th Anniversary 100 Greatest Movies of all time list.


  Toy Story is the first of the Pixar movies, with the second (A Bug's Life) taking 3 more years to come out. Pixar has developed a reputation where you can only really judge each of their movies by comparing them to other Pixar movies because often times they far surpass any other animated features. At the time of its release, the animation for Toy Story was groundbreaking, however the animation alone isn't going to cement this in history as one of the best animated movies ever. The story is pure heart and perfect. Just watching this again recently I am amazed at how many times I laughed at the jokes and how many of them are still spot on, even after all these years. It's funny watching this though, knowing that Pixar had troubles creating human characters in the beginning. That is why many of the shots of the groups of children never show any of their faces. There are only a select few people (four I believe) who get their faces shown and they are all distorted to one degree or another. No one is normal looking. This clearly gets fixed in future Pixar movies but it's funny to watch it now, knowing the reason behind their choices. Overall this movie still holds up 20 years after it was first released and I'm sure it will hold up for another 20 years.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 1 Update

1 month in. Slowly working on things.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

Not much else going on. I ran my first half marathon and took my first trip to Disneyland. So much of my time was spent preparing for the trip and the race. Other than that nothing really exciting. Catching up on the Star Wars books which have come out in the last year and a half, which I had no time to read until now.