Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Battle of the Snow Whites

Mirror, Mirror

Snow White and the Huntsman

I have already stated my clear and strong support for the repurposing of Disney Princesses.  Therefore, it is likely not surprising that I have no problem what so ever with two, that's right two, live-action reimaginings of the Snow White fairy tale.  At least in principle.  But now that the trailers for both of these endeavors have surfaced, I can resoundly say two additional takes on the costs of extreme female vanity is one too many.  

The two Snow White  movies could not have taken more different approaches to the source material.  Snow White and the Huntsman did the en vogue thing and took the whole thing to a dark place while transforming the heroine into a fully empowered warrior princess.  The whole thing looks like a high concept actioner where the princess stops wishing for the one to love and becomes the latest iteration of Buffy, the wicked witch slayer.  The only glaring negative with this version is the actress charged with bringing Snow White into the flesh.  Somehow, someone in Hollywood decided it was a good idea to give our nation's worst living actress a career outside of the Twilight series.  Just superficially, Kristen Stewart fails to live up to the standards of a beauty greater than all others in the kingdom.  A beauty worth killing for.  And that is before she opens her mouth and makes everyone in the audience wish you can have a Snow White movie without Snow White.

But the other option, Mirror, Mirror, is trying exceeding hard with its trailer to guarantee there is no audience even in the theater to question why they spent good money to see it.  This thing looks absolutely awful.  It is fine that they decided to go light hearted in this one.  It differentiates it nicely from the Batman Begins-version of Snow White the competition is selling.  But maybe if it is going to be a comedic version of the story, maybe some of it should be actually funny.  This Grantland piece does a nice job of pointing out many of the ways this trailer went horribly wrong.  Let me just add a couple more nails to the glass coffin.  The production value of this looks low rent by the standards of high school musicals.  The casting is down-right dreadful.  This Snow White not only makes Kristen Stewart look like the fairest in the land, she makes miss Stewart seem like someone two super-powered, immortal beings would fight over.  And Prince Charming is just as bad.  The Winklevoss smarm still oozes off of old Arm and Hammer.  He was born to play bad guy from the rich, snooty frat house in a college set comedy.  Not the man of virginal girls dream.  Julia Roberts, you are better than this.

Solitaire Update - Things picked up a bit after my involuntary shut out a couple of days past, included a personal best of 3 wins in a day.  I still have resisted applying any real strategy yet.  That is still to come.  But in the meantime I was also think that there needs to be some cool lingo to go along with certain events in solitaire.  This will be a critical step in setting it up the mainstream competitive sport it was always meant to be.  Just like in bowling, three consecutive strikes is called a turkey and four strikes is a hambone.  Solitaire needs its own hambone.  What do you call it when you lay out a hand and you can't make a single move.  No cards can be brought down from the stack and none of the cards below can be flipped.  This phenomenon seems like it should have a name.  For that matter, the different areas of the solitaire playing field need names. How is any one going to be able to follow all of my great insights into the practice of solitaire if they don't know if I am referring to the stacks or the triplets (my first attempt at some names)?  So, top of my list of things to do in my solitaire sojourn - develop some cool jargon.

Day 4 - 2 out of 13
Day 5 - 3 out of 12
Overall Success Rate - 7 out of 56 (12.5%)

This blog poster is sponsored by Gen Sys Research Laboratories.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All By Myself

As I have well established through this blog, I am a world-class procrastinator.  Despite the best intentions to use this as a means to practice my "writing", I have been lucky to average a single post a month.  Mainly because important tasks like sleeping, reading someone else's incredibly insightful blog, or determining that House's latest patient doesn't have lupus always gets in the way.  Most recently though, my diversion of choice (no, choice is the wrong word - it is more like unconscious compunction) is electronic solitaire.  It is quick, always accessible challenge that calls out to me the moment my attention wains from the task at hand.  Often I use it as an incentive to drive me through unpleasant tasks - if a finish this section, I can play a quick hand.  But all to often it turns into a bad case of Civilization - One more turn Syndrome.  Compulsively clicking through to the next deal in hopes that that one will bring me the proper alignment of cards to take the day.  And when I do win, that just fuels the fire to try again.  It is the same compunction that gives the success of the minimally rewarding games like Farmville and Angry Birds.  Success in it doesn't prove any particular skill or ability.  It is just a time waster that eats at your day while every so often patting you on the head and telling you that you are a good boy.

But at the same time, I have begun to think there must be a strategy to this.  A way of playing that increases your odds of winning.  That if you play closer attention to the order of the cards as they are revealed in sets of three, you can make more intelligent decisions on which cards to play.  Actively passing up options to move cards from the deck in order to get a more favorable card later.  Choosing to move the card that frees up the space for the king instead of the card from the biggest unturned column of cards.  There is in fact skill and strategy to solitaire and once I figure it out, I can increase my rate of winning.  It isn't just luck.  Why aren't their competitive solitaire tournaments out there to allow the true kings of solitaire shine?  There has to be, right?  This card game is no more luck based than poker.

So with that in mind and with the hope that I can turn my procrastination technique into a driver for posting on the blog, I will start today to track my rate of success in solitaire.  If I am right.  If there is any skill what so ever, I should get better with time (unless of course my prior work in this area has already delivered me at my peak solitaire playing ability).  Who knows, maybe I will become the greatest solitaire player of all time.

Day 1 - 1 win out of 10 hands
Day 2 - 1 win out of 10 hands
Day 3 - 0 wins out of 11 hands (the first shutout and the low point of the monitoring so far)

Be sure to check back often to see how a progress on this thrilling adventure.

This blog poster is sponsored by Better Lawn Service and Pool Cleaning.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In memorium

An incredibly important date past the world by last month with surprisingly little fanfare or ceremony  Despite it being the 30th anniversary of an event that singularly provided for the ultimate triumph of good over evil.  It was on October 31st, 1981 that a young mother and father were faced with the ultimate nightmare of many a new parent. As most of the world slept, a malevolent intruder entered their home with the sole intention of taking the life of their dear infant son.  Despite the fact that this notorious mass murderer had already left a pile of bodies in his wake, the dedicated parents did not flee the premises.  Instead their declared their homestead the Alamo, digging in to make a final stand against the reptilian sociopath that sought to claim the life of the child.  After a fierce battle that culminated at the very edge of the crib that held the young boy, the invader was successfully repelled but not before leaving the mother and father dead and the child with a disfiguring scar on his forehead that would torment him with memories of what he lost that night for the rest of his life.  Of course it would be other 17 years before the force of pure evil responsible for the systematic execution of hundreds to thousands of individuals (accurate counts are still not clear) not deemed "pure" enough to be part of his new world order was finally defeated for good.  But that defeat happened at the hands of that same boy who lived that night (after a short stop over in Heaven's Train Station and Mutant Day Care Facility).  Without the sacrifice of these two brave souls, millions of more might have died.  So, next year, when Halloween rolls around, remember these two individuals and what they did to help secure the freedom and safety we enjoy today.  Well, maybe just eulogize the mother.  The father was a bully, an entitled prat, and all around horrible individual that probably deserved to die.

The Death of James and Lily Potter - October 31, 1981 (the actual date)

This blog poster is sponsored by the Umbrella Corporation.