By now you might have heard that JJ Abrams, the “mastermind” (/me rolls eyes) behind Alias, Lost and MI:3, is working on a remake of Star Trek and by now you might have realised that I don’t particularly like JJ Abrams. Yes, he does a pretty good job in creating interesting series (Alias, Lost), but his status as “mastermind” has launched a fervent following, blindly going to anything JJ has created (even though it sucks), and causing JJ to think he can do anything, which he can’t (MI:3 was okay, but not great). Instead of sticking with his creations, after a while he seems to get bored with them and jumps to another project, while those creations completely go under the moment he leaves.

Okay, so I’m not that big of a JJ Abrams fan, but the casting of Star Trek has got me more and more intrigued. First, it was reported a couple of months ago that Zachary Quinto (serial-killer power stealing Sylar in Heroes) would play Spock, but that Leonard Nimoy would aslo be coming back for that role. A couple weeks later Anton Yelchin was cast as the Russian Chekhov. Then it was announced that Zoe Saldana would play Uhura. Since then it remained remarkably silent, until two days ago. It was then revealed that Chris Pine would fill the gigantic shoes of William Shatner, taking on the role of Captain Kirk.


Apart from the Zachary Quinto casting, most of that news just left me cold (I don’t even know those actors). But looking at the pictures I understand why they where cast; all of them seem to have that same air as their predecessors.

Now with this next little bit of casting news that I heard this morning, my interest has really piqued: Simon Pegg has been cast as Scotty. Hmm, interesting and potentially brilliant. The thought of casting Pegg (Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz) hadn’t even crossed my mind and I find it surprising that they even considered this. Wait a minute, I just realized I forgot Pegg was in MI:3, which (drumroll please!)… was directed by JJ Abrams. Okay, now the casting makes a bit more sense.


I’m still not sure how this movie is going to turn out, but casting-wise it’s seems on the right track. I’m hoping it’s not going to be the complete disaster my mind thinks it’s going to be. [Via FirstShowing and AICN]

Update: AICN just reported that John Cho from Harold and Kumar, Kitchen Confidential of Off Centre has been cast as Mr Sulu. I loved him in Kitchen Confidential!

Just follow these simple steps:


Loving Daisies

October 10th, 2007

Pushing Daisies
Just a quick post to let you know how much I’m loving Pushing Daisies. I saw the second episode and I have to say it’s as good as the first one, maybe even better. It’s so quirky, silly, fairy tale like, that I still can’t believe people are actually liking it. It has that same atmosphere/vibe/whatever-you-want-to-call-it as Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls (no wonder, same creator), yet where those series failed miserably to garner a big following, Pushing Daisies seem to attract much more people. I can’t wait for next week’s episode!

Tags: TV Series

Just Zapping

October 9th, 2007

House: Wow, House is back and it’s good! After last season’s slump, I was seriously considering throwing this series off my To-Watch list. So far though this season has been great (4×01 and 4×02). I loved the kidnapping of the guitar and the patient in the first episode. Also all the new doctors add this whole new dimension to the show. I wonder which of them are going to stay and for how long? I’m guessing Kal Penn and “Thirteen”. Does anybody else here think that “Thirteen” is somebody’s sister? I’m guessing Cameron’s.

Chuck: I’m still undecided on this series. It’s geeky, funny, but yet…I’m not really sure where it’s going. I also find it quite weird that the creators chose to name the character “Chuck” because there wasn’t any character on TV called Chuck so far, while now this season we suddenly have 3 Chucks (this Chuck, Gossip Girl rape guy and Pushing Daisies dead girl).


Journeyman: I wasn’t expecting to like this series as much as I do. It’s time travel, which most of the time means plots with gaping holes in it (too irritating for my logical mind; I hate it when they don’t think things through properly). Here though I’m not minding it that much and I think it’s to do with acting of the main guy. He somehow makes it less ridiculous then it actually is and I mean this in a good way!

Heroes: Did anyone else notice that the last episode (2×03) should have been called “Blue Screen” instead of “Kindred”? Last seasons special effects were always very subtle; this was just cringe-worthy. Shouldn’t a bigger budget mean “less crappy effects”? And the Maja/Alejandro storyline…zzzzzzzzzz. Get on with the cool stuff already.


Rewind: Brimstone

October 8th, 2007

In the next couple of days I’ll be introducing some returning blog topics to (hopefully) get me more motivated to write more regularly. The first of these new topics is Rewind where I’ll reminisce about some old obscure cancelled tv-serie. I’m starting with a series that I’ve mentioned before on this blog: Brimstone (I compared Reaper to it here).

Number of Episodes: 13
Original Run: October 23, 1998 – February 12, 1999
Original Channel: Fox
You Might Know Them Now: Peter Horton (producer and director for Dirty Sexy Money and Grey’s Anatomy), John Glover (Lionel Luthor in Smallville)


Brimstone was about Ezekiel “Zeke” Stone (Horton), an undead ex-New York City Police detective who tracks down escapees of Hell. Fifteen years ago when his wife was raped and the rapist was cleared of all charges, Stone tracked the rapist down and murdered him. A couple of months after that, Stone died in an unrelated incident and was sent to Hell for killing the rapist. Now, though, 113 spirits have escaped from Hell and, because the Devil (Glover) has no power on earth, he makes a deal with Stone: Stone must hunt down all 113 spirits and will get a second chance on earth, if he succeeds and survives.


If you thought Michael Scolfield (Prison Break) was the first to have tattoos all over his body, you’re seriously mistaken. Stone is covered with tattoos, one for every escapee. Every time he kills an escapee (and thus sending it back to hell), the corresponding tattoo burns itself off. He also can’t just kill the spirit in any manner; no, he has to take out the eyes, cause “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. Every episode Stone would track the spirit down, who in most cases was stirring up quite some trouble, there would be a boss-battle and Stone would send the spirit back to Hell. Add to that, his wife that thinks he’s been dead for 15 years and you’ve got the basis of the whole show.


How I described it, the show doesn’t really sound that good, but there were a couple of things working for them. It certainly didn’t deserve the cancellation at that time, but then again we’re talking about the notorious Fox here. For starters, Peter Horton was good as the tortured, brooding hero. The series was in my opinion quite dark for that time, especially because the protagonists were (albeit in various degrees) basically evil. Which brings me to the next good element of the show: the Devil. John Glover had some brilliant one-liners and his portrayal as the Devil will always stick with me.


I’m not in any means saying this was a great show, but it’s certainly one that was original and funny. So does anybody else remember this show? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Last week I managed to get tickets to a free screening of Daywatch (Dnevnoy Dozor), the sequel to the Russian cult movie Nightwatch (Nochnoy Dozor). Both movies are based on the books by Sergei Lukyanenko and that was the main reason why I hadn’t seen the first film yet. If possible, I always like to read book adaptations, before seeing the film, because you’re otherwise stuck with the film version in your mind, every time you read the book. In most cases once I create my own interpretation of the book, it won’t be affected by watching the movie.

With Nightwatch and Daywatch, however, I still hadn’t taken the time to read the books and a part of me is still regretting that decision. The world and mythology of the series seem quite complex and I think you’ll only grasp the whole idea of that world if you read the books.


So, first up: Nightwatch. After watching it, I did a little googling and wikipediaing to find out there are actually 2 versions. You have the original and the international version, and there are quite some notable adjustments in the international one to make the story clearer for a foreign audience. I watched the original and I really understand why there was the need for an international cut. The version I saw was at times extremely confusing, moving from one storyline to another without any clear indication. There were also subplots that only added to the confusion and I was glad to hear they had been cut from the international adaption.


In the world of Nightwatch you have “Others”, humans with supernatural powers (mages, vampires, shape-shifters), living among us. Hundreds of years ago there was a great battle between the forces of Light (the Goodies) and the forces of Dark (the Baddies), that ended with both sides signing a truce. To keep a balance between Good and Evil, the forces of Light roam during the daytime and the forces of Dark during the nighttime. Both are regulated though by representatives of the other side: the Daywatch consists of Dark Others supervising the Day and the Nightwatch consists of Light Others supervising the night. The story is set in modern-day Moscow and follows Anton, a member of the Nightwatch, dealing with the problems that arise during a watch. I can’t say more without giving too much of the plot away, but that’s basically the gist of it.


I did like the movie, but as I said before it was sometimes too confusing. I regularly had moments that I was going: “Heh? Weren’t we watching another girl? When did it switch to this girl? And who’s that guy?” If you know me, I rarely loose track of the plot of a movie, but with this one I had quite some trouble. I’m hoping the international version handles it better, cause on all other fronts the movie was quite enjoyable. The actors were chosen well, the special effects were great and the atmosphere of the movie just oozed “weird”. There were a couple of great subtle effects, like this faint wisp of red mist forming when a vampire moved. I think this was one of the first movies that didn’t portray supernatural beings as just plain corny.


Next: Daywatch. I can’t say anything about the plot of this movie without giving everything of Nightwatch away. I’ll only say that it’s again about Anton (yes, he survives Nightwatch, if I’ve spoiled the movie for you, boohoo, get over it). The plot of the movie was much better to follow than it’s predecessor, but then this was the international version (I wonder if the original version of Daywatch is also hard to follow).

I loved the actors, music and special effects even more in Daywatch, but that could also be from seeing it in a cinema instead of on a small tv. The special effects used in the end sequence were just amazing. I hate it when effects are too overdone, when you can easily see that they’re not real. Here they seem quite subtle, but the effect is superb. There’s one scene with half a building in rubble and I wasn’t sure which part was real and which part CGI.


Extra kudos to the designers and artists behind the subtitles and yes, you read that right: designers and artists. The subtitles are unlike any I’ve seen before. There have been movies and tv-series that have a unique placement of the subtitles (Heroes) or show the subtitles in another colour (Kill Bill), but here the subtitles are very much a part of the whole experience. For starters, if there are two people on the screen, the subtitles will be placed under the person who it belongs to. Sometimes the words from one sentence wouldn’t appear all at the same time, but with some delay for extra effect. Another example is that words like dead or blood were coloured red. A more interesting instance was when one of the characters was drumming and one of the words in the subtitle was jumping up and down on the beat of the drum. All together, it gave a very unique experience to something as mundane as subtitles. Instead of only reading words, which sometimes causes you to miss the screen action, the subtitles are used to augment
what is seen and heard on the screen.


Both movies aren’t the typical Hollywood movie and they won’t be appreciated by every movie goer. The woman next to me, who was dragged along by her husband, actually said about halfway through the movie that she was bored! Well, I was many things during that movie, but I definitely wasn’t bored. For the guys reading this: in Daywatch there was this one shower scene kind of involving two woman and I don’t think I have to say more. There’s another great scene where a car is driven on to the side of a building (this sentence doesn’t even come close to describing what happened, you’ll just have to see it yourself).

If you like something different and are not scared off by foreign films, I really recommend this movie. This is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you like vampire/werewolf/etc movies and weird stories, you’ve got to check this movie out.


October 6th, 2007

Another batch of interesting links from the blogosphere:

What Do You Give The Person That’s Got Everything? This. Yes, that’s right; even the most boring person can now have their own action figure. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Super Accountant! [Via ChipChick]
Hero Builders

Polly Put The Kettle On: I used to be one of those girls that wore mood rings; I loved watching the ring change color according to the mood I was in, until (of course) I found out it reacted on warmth. Now, this is the grown-up version of the mood ring. [Via ChipChick]

Sneak Peeks: Take a look at the trailers for Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp and Semi-Pro with Will Ferrell. Then check out new images and posters from Astroboy (!!!) and Iron Man (if you hadn’t since this trailer yet, click here). [Via FirstShowing]


Will Won’t Travel: If any of you were following Traveler, you might have heard by now that unfortunately it’s been cancelled. One of writers though has taken the time to write a blog post to round off all the loose threads.

Felicity’s Lost Alias: Since Lost I’ve not been that impressed by anything JJ Abrams has done. However, there are quite some people that think differently: Fox has just bought the rights to Fringe, a new supernatural series described as a cross between Twilight Zone and X-Files. What?! The next show isn’t about a university girl turned spy who get’s stuck on a deserted island and isn’t allowed to cut her hair?? [Via BuzzSugar]

Tags: Links

The Future Of Web Apps

October 6th, 2007

I just got back home from the Future of Web Apps and I’m tired! (edit: by now it’s one day later; I’m a slow writer) The last 2 days have been so busy, interesting, tiring, fun and at some (rare) moments extremely boring. The event was held at ExCeL London, which I hadn’t visited before (haven’t visited much outside of central London, to be honest). The main annoyance I had with this venue was that planes regularly flew over, disrupting the sessions. For the rest, it was okay. They could have organized the hall a bit better; the two presentation areas were close to each other and the noise from the one was audible in the other. The organizers realized this though and will take it more into account with planning the next event.

I won’t talk about everything I saw and went to, cause 1) that would take ages, 2) some stuff was boring (and no, I’m also not going to complain about them), and 3) I’ve already got trouble remembering what I saw yesterday. I’m only going to touch on some of the interesting issues that were raised and that really stuck with me.

The blind Robin Christophesen had an interesting talk on how to design usable, accessible sites and showed how existing sites were experienced by people with different disabilities/impairments. I never actually stood still on how a blind person would access a website (with a screen reader) and what problems would occur when such a site is not designed that thoroughly. For instance, Amazon’s mainpage doesn’t have any ALT tags to any of the images, including all navigational buttons (like Books, DVD, etc), which results in having the screen reader to say every single very long link. It takes about forever to move beyond the main page!

From the whole talk that Matt Mullenweg from WordPress gave on how to scale every element in your application (techonology, business, etc), one thing kind of surprised me: the way they included ads. Everybody hates ads, but because they do add revenue to your site, you want to include them. What they did was focus the ads only on the people that were one-time users; those people that by accident or through a search engine wound up on the site. They beauty of this is that you don’t annoy your loyal and most probably more experienced, more tech-savvy users, yet still have a source of income.

Another interesting tidbit was raised by Jyri Engestrom from Jaiku. Now Jaiku and Twitter are not real competitors of each other, but on the other side they do some what of the same thing. Jyri likened it to the beginning of the phone networks, when if you had a number with the one provider, you could only phone people with that same provider. Yet now those networks are accessible to each other. Another example is email; even though you have different email service providers, you can still email each other. The next step for Jaiku and Twitter, but also for other types of sites offering the same type of services, is to be able to connect to people in those other networks. I’d never thought about that type of comparison and hope to see that Twitter and Jaiku are compatible one day.


For a long time I’ve wanted to have my parent’s photos printed as a hardcover photo album and surprise them with it. I was going to use iPhoto, but it’s not really that cheap if you only want to do the 1 book. Then yesterday I came across Blurb. They offer a simple app (BookSmart) to create your own book and then publish it for you. If you order more of the same book, you get a discount, but the starting price for just that one book is very reasonable. Next to that, if you want, you can add your book without any additional costs to their bookstore, asking any price for it. Now I won’t want to do that for my personal photo’s, but I can imagine creating cook books or more artistic photo albums. I also loved the possibility to create a blog book; BookSmart can import complete blogs, including the images, layout and comments. How cool is that?

Some other thought-provoking apps were meecard and FireEagle. The idea behind meecard is that you can collect all your web presences into one single website, which you then can easily share with others. Cristiano was working on something similar for his own blogs, so that he only has to put one url on his business cards. FireEagle is an “app” that collects info about your location from various sources (GPS, Plazes, Dopplr, stuff like that) and passes that location through to other applications. This will only become useful once you have enough (real-time) information about you location and once the interesting apps are available.

This blog post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the live filming of Diggnation. I’ve never watched an episode previously and wasn’t expecting that much of it. I definitely wasn’t expecting the rock-star-like adoration of the crowd! It was just a very weird experience; everyone was cheering and screaming and clapping and whooping. The episode was very funny though and I’ll be checking out some more episodes.

Live recording of Diggnation

To end this very, very long post it was quite an eventful 2 days and I saw a lot of interesting applications. Somehow these events always motivate me to try and implement my own ideas. Who knows, anyone can come up with the next big thing, right?

Tags: Events


September 27th, 2007

AirbrushingSome cool/interesting/weird stuff I stumbled upon this morning:

Cabbage Plastic Patch Kids: It’s already bad enough that the pictures of celebrities are airbrushed for magazine covers, but at least I can somewhere somehow see the point behind that. But to airbrush photo’s of your own children?!? They look like creepy weird plastic dolls! [Via dollymix]

The Truth Is Out There Again: According to David Duchovny an X-Files movie sequel is in the work and will start shooting in December. Do we really need more alien abduction and Big Foot stories? That is so 20th century. [Via TvSquad and my new plaid pants]

The Terminator Come With Me If You Want To Live Be Confused: Another rumoured sequel is Terminator 4, which in my mind is completely unnecessary now that The Sarah Connor Chronicles will be aired. The storyline is already confusing enough as it is; do they really want to complicate the plot even more? Plus this quote from the producer about the new hero doesn’t give me much hope:

Ben-Hur was influenced by Jesus Christ, but it was his story. Much in that way, this character will be influenced by John Connor.

[Via First Showing]

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty: As long as they don’t bring the Hoff back, this could be quite interesting. Yes, they’re talking about a remake of Knight Rider.
[Via Variety]

Tags: Links

London Girl Geek Dinner 16

September 27th, 2007

I just got back from the 16th London Girl Geek Dinner and as the previous times it was great fun. Now this is the 5th time I’ve been to a Girl Geek Dinner, but the first time I’m actually blogging about it. Why? Well, mainly because I’m too lazy or too tired when I get home from such an event. Then by the time I remember I should have blogged about it, we’re a couple of days further and the specifics are quickly fading from my memory. This time, however, I’m forcing myself to take a couple of seconds minutes to sit down and write about it.

At this evening’s event the sponsors and speakers were from Astraware and We were told beforehand to bring along any Windows Mobile or Palm OS devices to get lots of lovely free games. So, I dusted off my old Palm Zire 31 (including 6 brilliant scratched areas on the screen from playing too much TextTwist) and brought it merrily with me. Only to discover that (ofcourse) all the games they had were too “new”. In other words, the resolution of my poor old Palm was way too low. We did manage to beam one game over, so I at least got one freebie.

The speakers mostly talked about how many women were working within Astraware and how it was for a woman to work there. One of the female developers told us how she got the job and what she does within the company. They also gave away a cool VIP pass for their website (=lifetime free Astraware games) for the person with the most gadgets, which unfortunately I didn’t win, because I didn’t want to lug around a heavy bag today. FYI, the gadgets I had with me are: laptop, Palm, Nintendo DS and iPod Nano. The ones I didn’t have with me, but I usually do: 2 mobile phones (one with English Sim card, one with Dutch), external harddisk and camera.

Next to that, I met (and re-met) quite a couple of fellow girl geeks and had some great geeky discussions with them, covering social networks and programming languages to the more serious stuff as fanfiction, scifi/fantasy books, films and Doctor Who. One more thing to note: the food. There were 10 large platters of food, for “only” 40 people. Did they really think that all that food would be eaten? I’m not complaining, just observing that the amount was kind of overestimated.

As always it was great a evening and (as always) I’m looking forward to the next one. It’s planned for the 9th of October and will be sponsored by HP. If you’re interested, you can find all the details on Upcoming.