The Sixth Estate
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Won't You Send Me A Nursery Rhyme?

You sign your place and calling, in full seeming,
With meekness and humility; but your heart
Is cramm'd with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.

And so it is Reading Week. A time when University students all over Canada should be reading and studying, but are more likely drinking to excess in tropical places. I'm not in a tropical paradise like many people I know, but I have been drinking to excess... Though not as often as I would have liked to.

Probably not the greatest mind set to have. But I'm 22, I enjoy beer and good times. That's the long and the short of it. If its consolation to anyone concerned about my social alcoholism, I have an extremely high tolerance for alcohol and I rarely drink enough to make myself stupefyingly drunk. So the moral of this story is...Drink To Responsible Excess.

Responsibility: It's why I'm blogging right now and not out drinking.

Oh well, I still have the rest of the week to catch up. As for "Reading" I'm ahead of the game, so there should be no need to do any real work(aside from finding a job) this week.
C'est la vie.

And now what you came here to read: GEEKY DIATRIBE!

Star Wars Episode III Snubbed By Oscars

Being snubbed makes Yoda pissed.

Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog knows I am a Star Wars fan. That is why I was very sad to see that the final Star Wars movie ever, Revenge of the Sith was not nominated in the Best Visual Effects category for the upcoming Academy Awards. The nominees for the Oscar were The Chronicles of Narnia, War of the Worlds and King Kong. All of these movies are worthy of a Best Visual Effects nomination, but surely ANYONE who has seen Episode III can agree that many of the effects in it were on par or better than the nominated films.

As an internet acquaintance of mine has pointed out, all bets should be on King Kong to win the award. Partly due to how damn good King Kong looked, and also because Peter Jackson is doing a tribute to Willis O'Brien. O'Brien was a special effects pioneer who specialized in stop-motion animation AND you guessed it; animated the original King Kong. We should be honest though, Kong himself did look great, but many of the other effects in the film were just OKAY. As for Star Wars, the effects were solid throughout, and the film featured more than one photo-realistic CGI character. Can King Kong claim as much?

Ironically, O'Brien's protege Ray Harryhausen in turn had his own protege by the name of Phil Tippett. Tippett would become a Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic(The effects studio owned by George Lucas) and work on both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Everyone in the VFX industry seems to be connected somehow. If you want to see visual effects at their best just check out any movies O'Brien, Harryhausen or Tippett worked on. (Note: Blogger is god damn retarded and won't let me put the e with accents on them for the word protege. Won't somebody please think of the French around here?!)

But I digress. For whatever reason Star Wars was snubbed for an Oscar nomination. Whether it was political, or just the Academy voters being dicks is unclear. What is clear is that something is definitely up, as the following article informs us.

Sci-Tech guests address the "Star Wars" snub
This year's Oscar nominations may have been short on surprises, but they did include one real shocker in the category of visual effects. Going in, the sentimental favorite (not necessarily to win, but certainly to get a nomination) had to be George Lucas' "Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith," the final installment in the series that revolutionized the look of visual effects.

But when the branch members voted after their Jan. 25 "bake-off," the nominees were "King Kong," "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "The War of the Worlds." The sentimental favorite had been unsentimentally dismissed.

Even Richard Edlund, a longtime visual effects governor and the moderator of the bake-off, admitted during last week's nominees luncheon that he was stunned by the snub. "I thought it was a sure nominee," he said.
Read the full article here to find out what could have happened.
Thanks to MrNeutron for the link and enlightening look into the Visual Effects industry.

And now for some fun links.

Classic Video Games Reenacted In Lego


If you're like me you played with LEGO when you were a kid. You also played on your amazing Nintendo Entertainment System. If you didn't, well you're not like me... And I don't like your kind. The point is LEGO kicks ass, and so does Nintendo.

A few good gents over at The New Gamer have brought together my two favourite childhood pastimes. Classic games brought to life through the magic of small plastic building blocks. Represented are classics like Metal Gear, Bionic Commando, Duck Hunt and ExciteBike... Hell they even threw in Katamari Damacy. It's a PS2 game, but still just as cool in LEGO form. Go take a gander. LEGO and NINTENDO UNITE!


Think you've got what it takes to be an assassin?
StreetWars is a 3 week long, 24/7, watergun assassination tournament that has already taken place in New York City, Vancouver, Vienna, San Francisco and is now coming to Los Angeles.

At the start of the game you will receive a manila envelope containing the following:

* A picture of your intended target(s)
* The home address of your intended target(s)
* The work address of your intended target(s)
* The name of your intended target(s)
* Contact information of your intended target(s)

Upon receipt of these items, your (or your team's) mission is to find and kill (by way of water gun, water balloon or super soaker) your target(s).

You can hunt your target down any way you see fit; you can pose as a delivery person and jack them when they open the door, disguise yourself and take them out on the street, etc.

If you are successful in your assassination attempt, the person you killed will give you their envelope and the person they were supposed to kill becomes your new target. This continues until you work yourself through all the players and retrieve the envelope with your (or your team's) picture(s) and name(s). Then you win. Cash; but first live in fear.
Let me be the first to say that if they bring this to Toronto I will win. This type of thing is right up my alley, so watch out potential Toronto StreetWars competitors. I'm ready to bring the pain(of a watergun), are you?!
Learn more at the official StreetWars Website

Huge Cave Discovered in South America

There's something terribly Georgia O'Keefe about this picture.

A cave so huge helicopters can fly into it has just been discovered deep in the hills of a South American jungle paradise.

Actually, "Cueva del Fantasma" ; Spanish for "Cave of the Ghost" ;is so vast that two helicopters can comfortably fly into it and land next to a towering waterfall.

It was found in the slopes of Aprada tepui in southern Venezuela, one of the most inaccessible and unexplored regions of the world. The area, known as the Venezuelan Guayana, is one of the most biologically rich, geologically ancient and unspoiled parts of the world.

This is the first geographic report and photographic evidence of such an immense cave. However, researchers say, it isn't really a cave, but a huge, collapsed, steep gorge.
Apparently they also discovered a new species of frog in the cave. Win-Win!
Full article over at

Chocolate Russian Roulette

Willy Wonka meets the Deer Hunter!

A British company have come up with the whacky idea of combining delicious chocolate with terrible fear. Chocolate Russian Roulette.
Seated in individual compartments, twelve chocolate bullets lay waiting to be bitten into. Although eleven of the sweet little slugs contain delicious praline centres, one conceals a seriously red hot chilli that's guaranteed to blow your head off - metaphorically, at least.
Check it out AND Buy it at

And last but not least, an interesting newspaper article. Clearly I'm onto something...

Better Living Through Video Games?

Playstation: A Recipe for Success.
Before you assume gadgets and video games fry the minds of the future, consider this: Canadian researchers are finding evidence that the high-speed, multitasking of the young and wireless can help protect their brains from aging.

A body of research suggests that playing video games provides benefits similar to bilingualism in exercising the mind. Just as people fluent in two languages learn to suppress one language while speaking the other, so too are gamers adept at shutting out distractions to swiftly switch attention between different tasks.

A new study of 100 university undergraduates in Toronto has found that video gamers consistently outperform their non-playing peers in a series of tricky mental tests. If they also happened to be bilingual, they were unbeatable.
Full article at The Globe and Mail. Better get out and buy those Xbox 360's.

The fat lady has sung.

- Will


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