Ray Harryhausen, Pathetic Geek Stories, WarTuning

Episode #5018


This Just In
Has Van Halen Heard of This? Now you can buy your very own M&M Sorter!

Bill Gates Gate: Were these doodles planted by Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum to potentially embarrass British Prime Minister Tony Blair?!

Well, If You’re Flying on Delta...: You may want to read the Budget Traveler’s Guide to Sleeping in Airports.

The Beast Master
When it comes to giant creatures wreaking havoc across the Earth, one name stands apart: Ray Harryhausen. The special effects pioneer picked up where Willis O’Brien left off with King Kong, taking stop-motion animation to a new level with such films as 20 Million Miles to Earth, Jason and the Argonauts, and his final feature, Clash of the Titans. His work directly influenced current megabuck filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

You can now watch Harryhausen’s earliest works on DVD with the newly released, Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection. “My producer and I raided my mother s garage and found old films I forgot I’d even made,” he said. Among the rarities collected for the first time for home viewing are a series of surreal Mother Goose fairy tales, which he started producing after World War II because he salvaged a bunch of expired film that the Army had dumped: “I had a thousand fee of expired Kodachrome that I didn’t know what to do with.”

One of them, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” lay unfinished for 50 years. “I started it in 1952, and shot four minutes of it but then I got my start in feature films,” Ray explained. But a minute of the episode was aired on TV in 2000, inspiring a pair of animation fans to ask Ray if he’d allow them to complete it. He collaborated with them and finally finished the short, which is included on the DVD

We’ll have our own web-exclusive interview with Ray Harryhausen tomorrow. Until then, here are some web destinations for more info:

Sci-Fi Station’s profile of Ray Harryhausen

IMDB's entry on Ray Harryhausen

Wikipedia's bio of Ray Harryhausen

Let’s Not Go WarTuning!
You’ve heard of WarDriving -- and now you can explore the exciting, new world of WarTuning! Or not. Because it’s not terribly fun driving around in circles trying to tap into somebody wirelessly streaming their iTunes collection. But the two Kevins gave it a try with decidedly mixed results.

“That was a big waste of time,” Kevin R. summed up.

Nevertheless, if you want to delve further into WarTuning, check out Scott Moschella’s plasticbugs.com.

Sarah’s Damn Good Download
Dig this groovy networked screensaver of fractal animations at http://electricsheep.org/ 

Hooray! It’s DVDuesday
DVDTalk.com’s Kim Morgan dropped by with her rundown of this week’s hottest DVD releases:

The Grudge: “It’s a direct remake of Ju-On, the Japanese film. It’s sort of like The Ring, but not as good as The Ring,” Kim said. “I thought it was so artistically done, I’m glad to see this – but it’s not my favorite.” The DVD itself is just okay, the highlights being a commentary track by Sam and Ted Raimi, and a five-part making of featurette “that’s the best thing about the disc.”

Sealab 2021: Season Two: “I really like this,” Kim said of this Adult Swim series that tweaks a 1972 Hanna Barbera cartoon. “It has a faithful audience that’s probably doing chemicals while they’re watching it.” Here’s a review of Season One.

Ghost in the Shell Special Edition: “It’s not so special,” Kim said. “The movie is – it’s a cult hit.” But she felt the new extras aren’t special enough to warrant a two-disc edition, and didn’t recommend buying it “unless you’re a stickler for the quality of the picture and sound, because it’s only slightly better."

You can read more of Kim’s writing at http://sunsetgun.typepad.com 

The Feed
In tech topics…

No Xbox 2 For You: Alas, gamers, Microsoft will not be unveiling its next-generation console at the Games Developer Conference.

Does That Mean Daikatana 2 is Out? Video game developer Ion Storm, creator of the acclaimed Dues Ex series, may be closing its doors.

Your Helpful Host: Google may be going into the domain registration , which could mean web hosting.

Spam Unstoppable: Spam has actually increased since the CAN-SPAM act went into effect.

It Came From eBay!
Ah, what will those crazy humans sell next on the world’s premier auction site?

More Human Billboards: Cleavage and an innocent baby.

Erotic Carved Walnut

Mizzelphug Does Not Feel the Love 

Geek Tragedy
Scarred for life by a horrifically embarrassing childhood event? Get over it by letting the world laugh with you at PatheticGeekStories.com. Comic artist and Onion staff writer Maria Schneider illustrates the most cringe-worthy stories sent to her by pathetic geeks and posts them at her site. The result is a collection of anecdotes unmatched in their ability to simultaneously inspire sympathetic queasiness and laughter.

“I guess I’m pretty close to the subject,” said Maria. “I empathize with them and that’s how I do the strip -- it’s not meant to mock them, it’s meant for people who have persistent awkward moments in life.”

Just like you and me. Want to submit your own pathetic story for consideration? First, you should read this “How to Submit a PGS” comic. Then write up your (hopefully really personal and embarrassing) story and send it to submit@patheticgeekstories.com.

We'll have a web-exclusive interview with Maria tomorrow.

Live Calls
Melissa of New York City asked Kevin R. how to protect herself from WarDriving ne’er-do-wells such as himself once she goes wireless.

Kevin R. said a good start would be to turn on WPA or WEP encryption, which will give you a key for access. Read the manual that came with your wireless hub for more info.

Jacob Ripon, Wis. got rid of laptop, so he was wondering if he could go WarDriving with a PDA.

Kevin R. said to download MiniStumbler at http://stumbler.net.

ray harryhausen


maria schneider
Ten Minutes with Maria Schneider

The illustrator of "Pathetic Geek Stories" shares your pain.

Ray Harryhausen
Ten Minutes with Ray Harryhausen

The special effects pioneer talks about the beastly craft of stop-motion animation.