Archive for July 2011

It’s an easy one, Hamlet: 3D not for me

July 24, 2011

Most movie blockbusters come with the option of viewing the film in 3D. Not once, and not just because it is the more expensive alternative, have I watched a 3D picture. 2D still works for me today.

Defenders of 3D tell me it is a magical experience of stereophonic depth perspectives with the intensity of a thousand surrealistic paintings. This wasn’t music to my ears as I imagined my watch melting in the heat. My only close encounter with the third dimensional kind was a TV demonstration in-store that you could test for yourself. A kind of try before you buy experiment.

First off I didn’t like the glasses. I was looking forward to donning the two-toned blue and red whizz from bizz font colour scheme sparkling eye-pieces. I found out they’ve been replaced by bland jet black Top Gun shades instead. Progress, my uneducated left foot. During long films on occasion, because of my goldfish attention span my eyes have wandered from the drama which is not a problem with my 20/12 vision. With these spectacles on however, apart from the screen the surroundings are devoid of definition.

Nausea and disorientation also set in after a short time as my head wasn’t used to this alien environment. Now the five minute 3D attractions at fairgrounds where you fly a Naboo space ship or plunge into the ocean avoiding giant piranhas are exciting. That’s a five minute ride and you are the star not a three hour extravaganza full of funny nosed Avatar humanoids.

3D is not new. I can recall my mum telling me she saw House of Wax (1953) starring Vincent Price in 3D. She said before the main feature an advertisement in 3D for cigarettes ended with the actor throwing ciggies into the audience. The crowd were agog and ducked or tried to catch the tobacco missiles. For the time this was cutting room edge technology. Unfortunately, the novelty of the effects soon wore off on customers and the original 3D had a small shelf life.

Producers are trying again. Their influence has even spilled onto other medium. My sub-editor suggested we should do this blog in 3D to set a trend. To be frank I wasn’t happy with him and this week he’s been wearing dark glasses after the disciplinary meeting I had with him.

This 2G 3D will also run its course and then be consigned to the dustbin alongside other scientific nightmares: Betamax, DeLorean supercar, Concorde, Vuvuzela, New Coke…


Three men in a pool (not forgetting the beautiful mermaid)

July 16, 2011

It was time for my annual learn to swim escapade. Tutoring me were my sons. After last year’s disappointment they felt confident this time of turning their pupil into the Man from Atlantis. SAS techniques were to be adopted beginning with me being thrown into the pool.

“Not so fast.” I said. I picked up my knife, clenching it between my teeth.
“What are you doing?” they chimed.
“Weeess..rRthhcrroccc…oh.” I took the knife out of mouth. “I need this in case I see any crocodiles. Johnny Weissmuller never left home without a blade.”
“Who’s Johnny Weissmuller?” they piped.

I refused to answer not even giving them a clue by yodelling. Without a Google at hand they were all at sea. Google has a lot to answer for including killing the pub quiz. With great satisfaction my sons threw the non-swimmer into the pool.

My instructors joined me giving me a lecture before the next lesson. One of them said.
“You live on an island. You are surrounded by water. For survival you must learn to swim.”
I wished I lived in land-locked Bolivia. In the film version, Butch Cassidy took the kid to Bolivia where the terra-firma loving Sundance didn’t need to swim. Knowing my luck, though, I’d be drafted into Bolivia’s navy. You heard that right. The land-lubbing Bolivians have a navy.

The teaching continued. “The human body has natural buoyancy which allows you to float.”
My sons held me horizontally on the water’s surface. One boy was holding my stomach the other my legs. This was my first planking experience.
“When we let go, you will float.” They let go and I sank. Buoy, oh buoy.

While all the lessons were going on Mrs W was effortlessly doing lap after lap of the pool. She knew I was a lost cause. My sons were determined to prove her wrong. The next part of the training involved holding my breath while placing my head under water. I asked them to demonstrate and they both submerged.
In the distance my sensory analysis picked up something radiant. A rush of pleasure overtook me and I walked through the shallow end in a magnetic trance all the way to the pool bar.

Now I could happily drown myself here all day. Anchored on a high stool I enjoyed an array of bright coloured drinks while over there, go compare, the family swam, played volleyball and had a splashing time in the water. They gave me a wave now and then; it was the best of times for everyone.