Monday, March 29, 2010

This Settles It...Maybe

I somehow missed this last month, but the "Clash" filmmakers have confirmed that Bubo has a cameo in the new movie.

This was posted on the FilmSchool Rejects site:
I had a chance to speak with Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay — the screenwriters behind the Clash of the Titans remake — and they allayed that nagging concern by relaying to me that there would be a “loving cameo” made by the owl.

Unless it ends up on the cutting room floor.

Apparently the scene has been back and forth – in the print, on the floor, back in the reel, and then back in the dustbin. For now, according to the screenwriting pair, the owl stays in the picture.

So I guess we'll see if Bubo isn't edited out again. For a film that was hastily converted to 3-D at the last minute, anything's possible.

In this same post, they say that Bubo has been compared to Jar Jar Binks. Huh? I'm not sure what ethnic stereotype Bubo was designed to mimic, other than R2s-D2s.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Menace to Society?

We can debate the merits of San Francisco's proposed "sit/lie" law, which would restrict sitting or lying down on the sidewalk during business hours.

But one thing is certain: This law would do wonders for Elliot's street cred.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Release the Kraken: Part Two

The "Release the Kraken!" craze has now spawned videos.

There was this one on the Gawker site (couldn't figure out how to embed it).

I also saw this one on BuzzFeed.

By the time I manage to make a "Release the Kraken!" video with Elliot, I'm pretty sure this trend will be over.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

Elliot has become obsessed with flying objects.

I really don't blame him. I mean, the poor guy is just getting a sense for how the world works and then he looks up in the sky and sees that there are THINGS FLYING UP THERE. LIKE HOW THE F*** DID THAT HAPPEN??

Elliot is most excited by helicopters, followed by airplanes, followed by birds. That seems about right, really, in terms of how inherently awesome all those things are.

When he sees a helicopter fly by, he tugs his ear to show that he HEARS the thing. Then he points at it fervently. Then when it's gone, he gets frustrated at me and says, "More." As if I could make it come back. Maybe he needs to find a more powerful Dada.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Release the Kraken!

As with all Internet "memes," I only catch wind of them after they're already well under way (thanks for the heads-up to this one, BuboBlog NoPa correspondent John).

Apparently the "Release the Kraken!" line from the new "Clash of the Titans" trailer has inspired fans to recreate the scene using their own Krakens of choice. You can see a bunch of them here.

I've discussed the Kraken before, which is featured in the original "Clash" as well as the remake — despite having nothing to do with Greek mythology.

Anyway, a few examples...

And finally, my own contribution to the trend...starring Elliot.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Binge and Purge?

SoMa denizens are getting some confusing messages from Coca-Cola's marketing department.

I noted recently how SoMa was filled with billboards encouraging people to drink 100 ounces of coke as "their meal."

Now new billboards are going up in the neighborhood promoting Coke Mini — a tiny can with only 90 calories. Why, it would take more than 13 cans just to reach the "enough for your meal" threshold.

Dear Coca-Cola Co.: I can't handle swinging between these extremes. I feel like Oprah's waistline in the 1990s.

Next thing you'll tell me it's not cool to drive a Hummer anymore either.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not So Wise?

I'm pretty sure this sentence I found on a package of Wise potato chips was not written by an English major.

In addition to the non sequitur, "Deli" is capitalized for some reason.

(I probably shouldn't pick on a fine Pennsylvania company.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Catching 3-D Fever

As you know, this blog has been closely watching news of the "Clash of the Titans" movie — mainly to see if the cherished Bubo character will make an appearance.

The film is catching some flak for its quickie conversion to 3-D. In an effort to capitalize on the success of "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland," the filmmakers turned the 2-D action sequences into 3-D after the fact. And the result is said to be of questionable quality.

In solidarity with "Clash of the Titans," I've decided to retrofit BuboBlog as a 3-D site.

To get the full effect, please send $30 to BuboBlog Enterprises LLC and we'll ship you the glasses.

That chicken is truly terrifying with the glasses.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Playground Etiquette Quiz

Since I'm still relatively new to the world of playgrounds, I often wonder about the rules and etiquette.

Obviously, the No. 1 priority is to keep the kids safe and to keep dangerous people out. But sometimes there's gray area as to what's acceptable.

Here are a few recent scenarios that I've witnessed in San Francisco parks. Is the following behavior (a) cool, (b) uncool or (c) creepy?

1. A guy in his 40s or 50s comes alone to the playground every morning. He faces the wall and starts doing Tai Chi-style exercises, some of which seem to be focused on his crotch area.

2. A dad comes to the playground with his 3- or 4-year-old son and watches him while drinking a beer. It's barely noon.

3. A kind Indian woman (who speaks little English) likes to pick up your child without asking and send him down the slide.

4. At a crowded playground, a guy is videotaping the action from a park bench. Then he packs up and leaves without any kids.

1. I'd say (c) creepy. I have nothing against Tai Chi crotch exercises, but there's plenty of room to do this elsewhere in the park. There's no reason to come inside the enclosed playground area, which requires you to be accompanied by a child.

2. (a) cool. I was going to call this "uncool," but I have to admire that the dad at least waited until noon. Let's not dwell on the fact that daylight saving time gave him an hour's headstart on his drinking.

3. Definitely (a) cool by my standards, but I could see some parents objecting.

4. (c) creepy. Not much debate on this one, unless possibly he was a documentary filmmaker.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Odd Combination

Saw this place on Solano Ave. in Albany — in case you want dungarees with your two-bedroom bungalow.

(I guess the family's name is "Jeans"? Maybe they need to invest in an apostrophe.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day from BuboBlog

The big day isn't until Wednesday, but San Francisco held its parade yesterday.

One thing I learned from this Chronicle photo: It's always a bad idea to follow the horses.

The parade concluded with a festival at Civic Center.

I'm not Irish, so I didn't get to be in this photo with Kelly and Elliot.

I'm pretty sure Elliot is drinking milk, but you never know with those Paddies. (Wait, am I allowed to make Irish ethnic jokes again?)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Case of Clueless Competence

Remember when I was too cheap to buy a new television, then later discovered our old set was ideal for child safety?

Well, now I've learned that it's dangerous to go down a slide with your toddler in your lap.

Apparently some parents do this in an effort to keep their kids safe. But if the child's leg gets stuck, the weight of the parent can snap the toddler's tibia like a dry twig.

Fortunately, it never occurred to us to do this. We've been letting Elliot go down the slide by himself for months — even on the big kids' slide. And I thought we were just bad parents!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Taxicabs and Unintended Consequences

I was in New York for work this week and mostly relied on taxis to get around.

I got into one cab, and the driver asked if it was okay if he talked. What a polite gentleman, I thought. "Of course, we can talk!" I said.

It turns out he meant he wanted to talk on his cell phone to someone else. He asked my permission because cabbies in New York aren't allowed to talk on cell phones while they drive — even with a hands-free headset. So it was basically him saying, "Are you going to object if I break the law and possibly put your life in danger?"

I said it was fine by me, though it would be safer if he used a headset instead of putting his phone to his ear. But he said that anytime police see a cab driver with a headset, they automatically cite the person. And it's a hefty fine.

The result is drivers are more likely to NOT use a headset because they don't want evidence that they're using a phone. If they just hold their phone to their ear, it's easier to drop the phone and pretend they weren't talking.

The lesson? This is what happens when you have total prohibitions: People ignore the law and end up doing things that are even more dangerous.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One Man's Trash Is Elliot's Treasure

When I was Elliot's age, I lived in the backwoods of Western Massachusetts. So even though I'm now fully citified, I have no idea what it's like to be a young kid growing up in an urban area.

He loves playing in front of our apartment, and I don't want to discourage him. But there's often a lot of really gross stuff lying on the street — and he makes a point of trying to touch all of it. We're desperately trying to clue him into the concept of "trash."

His favorite activity is to play with the rocks that the city puts around trees on our sidewalk.

In the best-case scenario, these rocks are continually showered with dog urine. Worst case, they might be home to feces, empty beer bottles and discarded prophylactics.

After he gathers up the rocks, he likes to leave them on neighbors' doorsteps. They probably think they're the victims of some bizarre gang initiation rite.

I don't allow him to pick up cigarette butts, though I guess you could argue they're pretty sterile. I mean, they were lit on fire, which would kill the germs, right?

He was very excited about finding these raver glow sticks on the sidewalk. I didn't let him touch them, since they would probably test positive for methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

In a sign that he's already well adapted to street life, Elliot knows how to use a shiv.

To give him a different experience, we took him to a farm near Santa Cruz a few weeks ago.

He enjoyed himself — until he got bitten by a chicken. (This shot was taken briefly before the incident.)

Fortunately, the chicken didn't break the skin. But Elliot looked at the bird with such an expression of betrayal.

No one has ever bitten him in the city.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Elliot in 'User Error'

In his latest video, Elliot demonstrates how NOT to do just about everything.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Hawaii Disses Our Weather

Have you seen this TV commercial for Hawaii that looks like a weather bulletin?

I'm wondering if they take the daily low for San Francisco, to make it seem colder than it really is. I saw this one on Wednesday night, and it definitely didn't feel that chilly outside.

In any case, it's good marketing. I think San Francisco should adopt this strategy during the summer.

How about airing a commercial in Atlanta, Miami or Phoenix in July?

Your city: 90+˚
San Francisco: 59˚

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Brushup on the Classics

I noticed an embarrassing gaffe in a letter to the Chronicle today about Muni:
Service cuts and fare hikes aside, why is it that so often a Muni bus ride feels like a river cruise on the Styx with Chiron at the helm? An abusive oarsman takes swipes at the beleaguered and meek more often than the vile and grotesque. Passengers come to blows over seats. Impudent litter and graffiti are banal scenery.

While it's probable that Chiron crossed the Styx at one time (since he died after losing his immortality), it seems unlikely that he was allowed to drive. I believe the writer of this letter meant Charon.

Maybe this BuboBlog mythology refresher can help.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

BuboBlog Reviews 'The Hurt Locker'

It's perhaps unfortunate to see "The Hurt Locker" now, after its hype machine has been churning full-speed for several months. When the movie debuted last year, it was a small independent film, starring little-known actors, that struggled to even find a U.S. distributor. Now it's on every critic's best-of-2009 list and being touted as the probable Oscar winner in multiple categories. So you come into the movie expecting to be wowed.

That's pretty hard to live up to, and "The Hurt Locker" didn't quite do it for me. Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie — and certainly the best film I've seen about the war in Iraq (not that I've seen many). But it was far from a pitch-perfect masterpiece.

First, let me say what I liked about the movie, which centers on a bomb-disposal unit. The acting was superb. The action sequences are taut and well-choreographed. And the dialogue gives depth to the characters economically.

Director Kathryn Bigelow also has a nifty way of getting around the redshirt problem (where a movie telegraphs the fact that a minor character is about to be killed). Spoiler warning: She employs the film's only famous actors in the redshirt roles, to subvert your expectations. No one would expect her to kill off Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce within a few minutes of them appearing on screen. And yet, that's what she does. (It's still hard to beat the shockingly abrupt death of Samuel L. Jackson in "Deep Blue Sea," though.)

On the down side, I thought her directing included a few odd flourishes. The film wisely relies on a documentary-style approach to put you in the middle of the action — and yet, when it comes time to show you the first big explosion, she decides to pull back and use a slow-motion effect. It actually downplays rather than heightens the explosion's power. In another scene, she punctuates a shootout with a hackneyed shot of shell casings hitting the sand, as if a John Woo effect accidentally got spliced in with her documentary footage. These are nitpicks, yes, but they're distracting — the kind of stuff you see Spike Lee do in his films that mars the experience.

The soundtrack also left much to be desired. I could put up with the grating Ministry heavy-metal songs because they're part of the character development. But the cheesy synthesizer background music felt better suited to an early-1990s made-for-TV drama. Having no music at all might have been better.

The movie consists of intense action sequences — the characters are defusing bombs, after all — but there's no sense of escalation. "The Hurt Locker" is a string of desultory scenes that reveal the characters, without building toward a climax. Since the movie is more of a character study than anything, that's probably alright. (In this sense, it's the exact opposite of "Avatar," which hit every action-movie cue precisely when it was supposed to.) But you have to wonder if there was a way to craft a film that gradually increased the stakes until the very end. Maybe that was the point — that in a war, you're just as likely to be killed on Day 1 as Day 38, and there's no rhyme or reason to it. In that case, bravo.

Finally: As an anachronism hawk, I was amused to see a character refer to YouTube in a movie set in 2004. (It didn't exist at the time.) Maybe it signifies that YouTube has become so integral a part of our lives, we can't imagine that it's such a recent invention.

BuboBlog Review: 3.5 asterisks (out of 4).

UPDATE: It's worth noting that — like "Superman 4: The Quest for Peace" — "The Hurt Locker" is NOT one of those movies where the title is mentioned. If you see the film, though, it's pretty clear what the title refers to.