Speaking of killing things...

Please Tell Me You Didn't Kill That Yourself
entry, Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

At Autumncon last month I met a guy who specializes in "taxidermy of the strange and unnatural." He had several mounted heads on display there in the dealers' room, including, to my inestimable delight, a Unicorn. Some of these heads appeared to be... fresh.

Well, he emailed me a few days ago and it turns out that he has a website. You can't TOUCH the icky bits, because they're just pictures (stupid web protocols... where's my feedback glove?), but these are here just in time for Christmas. Do you have a gamer on your list who plays Alliance in World of Warcraft? Perhaps this individual needs to get out more? Why bother getting him/her a gift he/she will never use, shut up in his/her basement pretending to be an elf? These heads are the perfect wall-hanging for even the most discerning battle-hardened Alliance thug.

No, I don't make a dime off of that plug. But it occurs to me that these are selling for LESS than my marker art is (even including shipping!), and they're much better conversation pieces.

Speaking of killing things... the Summer Movie Season is upon us... on DVD. Lots of great (ahem) films, the same great (errr) films that made this summer's movie season so spectacular (guhhh), are ready for you to rent. In the last week I've rented two of them.

Kingdom of Heaven has been out for a while, now. I was leery of seeing it this summer because I was a little put off by the whole "Muslisms vs Christians" thing, and it didn't seem like the story of a Christian crusader could be told without, you know, GOING THERE.

It was a far better movie than I expected. Christianity takes one on the chin, but it's not MODERN Christianity -- it's the eleventh-century crusading version, which seems to have been more about land and power than anything else. I liked the film's message, and the recurring theme of what it means to be "noble" was very appropriate (if unsubtle).

The biggest problem with the film is that Orlando Bloom's character development seems to be accomplished via chance encounters with people who try to kill him, or give him advice, or both. The most interesting characters in the movie are pretty much everyone else. Oh, and there's also the fact that these crusaders and their Muslim adversaries get each others' blood EVERYWHERE.

What else... oh, just last night we rented Stealth. Here's a movie that was too long by at least 20 minutes, but that thankfully threw in a plot-twist so that there was more too it than the "man vs. robot" bit we got in the trailers. The one part that both Sandra and I commented on was that FINALLY we've got a female lead in an action movie who is built like she made it through Basic Training.

Mostly, though, the movie was about beautiful people flying science-fiction airplanes. Map that onto a reworking of the "Frankenstein" archetype, add a solar-powered automated refueling dirigible, terrorists, and communists, and you're there.

Madagascar just released on DVD this week, but that one I actually saw in the theaters. I don't think it quite cleared the bar raised by Pixar, but it's still well worth seeing, if only for the jokes about monkeys throwing poop. Oh, and the penguins. And Jada Pinkett Smith's voice on a hippopotomus. I could go on. Heck, this one's worth owning.

I'm told a certain sci-fantasy film, the third (and oddly final) installment in a series of six films, is also out on DVD. I'm being very careful not to drop any potential keywords, let alone mention it by name because I'd hate to see Google send y'all off to buy it. Not when you can be buying the heads of dead orcs.

Some of you STILL haven't switched...
entry Addendum, Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Most of you have already read about Google's "switch to Firefox" promotion, and how, if you switch from IE to Firefox-plus-the-Google-Toolbar using the button on my site, I get a dollar. Well, the button has a tendency to go AWOL from time to time, so I'm not inlining the image with the blog here. See, even if only 1% of you get the missing button error, and only 1% of THOSE decide to email me, I get too much email about it.

I'll leave it up, and if you can see it down there at the bottom of this page (below my convention schedule), feel free to use it to switch from IE to Firefox. I'll spare you my plug -- suffice it to say that I switched to Firefox a year ago, and am using the Google Toolbar, Firefox skins, and even experimenting with RSS bookmarks now. I'm not recommending it because I'm being paid to recommend it. I'm recommending it because I'm being paid to recommend it AND because I use it myself. I may be a mercenary, but I've got principles.