Armie Hammer - New Batman for Justice League

According to this report, Holy Double Take, Batman! Here Comes a New Caped Crusader by Marc Malkin of E! Online, Armie Hammer is not only set to play Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie but he's already tried on the suit!

I'm very surprised that Batman on Film hasn't reported this as yet (or if they have I can't find it). Seems to me they're spending too much time reporting on every other superhero comic movie and have taken their eye off the ball of late - it's BATMAN ON FILM Jett!. (Seriously. After all the hype leading up to The Dark Knight there's very little post TDK commentary to speak of).

Anyhow, BOF has posted a lot of discussion about the proposed Justice League film, most of which suggests the project is still very much an idea that hasn't really even been properly committed to paper. They've speculated about the appearance of Batman in this film and whether the likelihood of two big screen Batman's in cinemas at about the same time could be a very bad (or good) thing.

However, according to Marc's report, not only is Justice League a go ahead but the principle cast members spent time in Australia going through a very intensive, physical, work out routine in preparation.

As well, Armie says this about trying on the Bat suit:
"I was looking down, and I was thinking, This is the best. Then I stood up, and they turned me around, and I faced a mirror—there was Batman. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks—it's not just Batman, it's me!"
That, to me, sounds a lot like, the Justice League has a script, costumes and are getting ready to start filming.

Personally, I've never been a big fan of the Justice League, even though I watched the cartoon on TV when I was younger. The idea of superheros getting together, whilst a very valid and natural thing to occur, if they did exist, just seems a bit gimmicky and is more about money than a really great script. Too many characters and not nearly enough screen time for your favorites. But who knows, it worked for X-Men.

That aside, a new interpretation of Batman is always something to look forward to. As much as Christian Bale's Batman has been great, by the time we see him in a third movie I think it's going to be hard for Bale to maintain the 'rage' without becoming tired. Christian is a great actor who needs to challenge himself with different roles. He's more than set the benchmark for what Batman can be. He doesn't need to keep repeating himself.

Batman is continually reinterpreted and reinvented in the comics by many artists and story writers so there's no reason why the same can't happen on film. If nothing else it gives us Batman fans a wider range of choices for picking our favorite version of the caped crusader.

It will be interesting to see what Armie brings to Batman in Justice League.

Time Wasting New Look Facebook Protestors

Being a Mashable subscriber it has been hard to avoid the stories of protest about the new look Facebook. Apparently a hoard of screaming masses didn't like the new look and were widely drumming up support for the old look to at least remain available.

I didn't voluntarily change my Facebook account to the new look since I read it would eventually be changed over for me (why do something yourself if you don't have to). Today I logged into my Facebook account to be presented with the new look profile page and here is my perfectly blunt, no holds barred reaction...

All you protesting, squealing, whiny hoards are a bunch of dumb ass, change strangling, time wasters who should remove yourself from the internet immediately as progress and change are obviously too confronting for your nice little comfort bubbles.

Seriously. Are you all kidding me? A new, better organised and easier to navigate page is what you were all up in arms about?

Facebook profiles were a confusing mess. How anyone could actually prefer the old look is beyond me? The new, tabbed layout means you can cram a whole lot more into your profile whilst making it easier and quicker for people to find the content they're looking for.

Good on you Facebook. Your social network is still a boring, time wasting, useless distraction that I grudgingly spend as little time as I can on but at least it looks a little better than it used to. More importantly, we all can be thankful it's not Myspace!

The Traveling Painting

The Traveling Painting is a project started by YouTube user, DaliGoddess. It's a fairly simple idea. A single painting is sent around the world, from artist to artist, with each artist adding and filming their contribution then posting their video as a response to the original 'Bon Voyage' to the painting video.

A year since the painting began its journey it arrived on my doorstep here in Australia after being sent by a fellow Aussie and expatriate from Norway.

Below is my contribution to the project, which I'm posting here because I think it's one of the better videos I've made in recent times. Largely helped by a great old song which I've been itching to use ever since I came across it in the public domain quite some time ago.


If you'd like to know more about the Traveling Painting project then these are the all important links to follow:

Blu-ray Should Die

I want to see Blu-ray die or at least see no other newer digital video/storage format succeed Blu-ray. It's time the consumer spoke and said the current format is more than enough capacity and delivers more than enough video quality.

Blu-ray, like regular DVD, is a digital format, this means, in its self, it doesn't deliver any better quality. The use of a blue-violet laser, as opposed to a red laser, enables data to be packed more tightly onto the disk giving anywhere up to 500GB of storage capacity. Very attractive when you consider regular DVD have a maximum capacity of 8.54GB. (Both format capacities are achieved via 'layering').

High Definition (HD) video is the format delivered on Blu-ray disks. Currently DVD delivers Standard Definition (SD). HD offers five times the definition of SD making the picture incredibly sharp with vivid colors. It also offers access to substantially better audio than SD.

Blu-ray offers quite a few other enhancements for video but these are mostly benefits of the increased storage capacity (such as more interactive menu systems and an increased amount of extra content).

So, why would I want Blu-ray to die? It sounds fantastic doesn't it. Indeed it is. In fact now that I've reached this point in the article (having done all the research as I go) maybe Blu-ray shouldn't die. Perhaps it should become immortal.

When I started this article the point I wanted to make is 'enough is enough'. Do we really need better video quality? Better audio? More content? Interactive menus?

To be honest, I'm quite happy with what DVD, SD video delivers. It does the job. It looks and sounds great. It works. Sure Blu-ray is better but after the initial experience wears off I'm just going to think, 'meah'. It's not like seeing a movie on an IMAX screen where the experience blows you away nearly every time - and never gets old. At the end of the day it's just a new STANDARD.

Standard is exactly that, standard. It's what we expect and take for granted. Let's stop trying to improve on things that work far better than they need to. Let Blu-ray become immortal. The final standard.

Put some of those research and development dollars into something movie related that actually does need improving - like getting George Lucas to re-imagine the Star Wars franchise for an adult audience.

I'm a Top Six Video Producer on TubeMogul

I don't expect the honor of being a top 40 video producer on TubeMogul to last long but being number six on the list, even briefly, is nice.

TubeMogul.com is where I and other far more viewed video producers upload our videos for distribution to multiple video sites across the web. They've just added a new feature called Market Place which is described as a dating site for video producers. Essentially it gives you a TubeMogul profile page complete with your viewership stats across all the sites you distribute to.

Anyhow for a brief second I was the number six video producer on the site but in the space of half an hour had slipped to eight. My total views across all my video sites is still well under the one million mark so I'll be falling like a brick off the bottom of this list.

However, momentarily, I was number six all time - which is kind of cool.

Google Alerts - Do I Need This Lert?

Remember the humorous saying; stay alert, the world needs more lerts? I recently started using Google Alerts and I'm beginning to think this is one lert the world (or at least me) can do without.

The purpose of Google Alerts is to enter any word, words or phrases into the alert box and Google Alerts will inform you every time the words appear somewhere new on the internet. I have two alerts set up. One is meant to inform me everytime my real name, David Arandle, is used online whilst the other informs me everytime the phrase, The Extraordinary Tourist, is used.

The idea being that I can be alerted when people online write about me (because as a professional artist knowing who's writing about you can be a very valuable marketing tool).

The problem being that, ever since I set these alerts up, Google Alert has set about informing me of things that, not only did I already know about but also things that I actually set up and wrote myself. For example, recently Google Alerts informed me of my Artwanted portfolio that I set up several years ago and have a link to from my own web site.

I can understand that Google Alerts might pick up a lot of old references when you first set them up. I can also understand that there's no real way to tell if it was me or someone else that created the references that Google is alerting me to. However the latest alert that I received just this morning really brings the service into question. Allow me to explain...

I got up this morning to discover that Australian Artist, Hazel Dooney, had written about me in her blog, Self vs Self, in a post titled Google-eyed (I'm going to have to stop mentioning Hazel but I didn't pick this chain of events). Her post, in the first paragraph, contains both my Google Alerts i.e. David Arandle and The Extraordinary Tourist. No alert from Google despite Hazel's blog being on blogger.com (which is owned by Google).

I then write a post, Artists Obituaries - What Will Yours Say?, which links to the above mentioned Dooney post but does not contain either of my names. Within the hour, sitting in my email, is a Google Alert informing me of a reference to The Extraordinary Tourist with a link to my blog posts individual page which has The Extraordinary Tourist written just above the post (true - follow the link to see for yourself. The Extraordinary Tourist is written at the top of all my blog's sub pages).

That's like putting a shirt on in the morning and then having someone later in the day inform you you're wearing a shirt. Like you didn't know?

Hazel actually wrote her post some time Thursday night (September 4th). As of Friday at 5:30pm central Aussie time I still haven't received a Google Alert about it. (In case you were wondering how I found out about Hazel's post, I'm subscribed to her blog feed). Not that I need to be alerted now but, when you know about a definite and very recent reference to yourself, and Google Alerts doesn't tell you, well you have to question how useful the service is.

You especially have to question it when Google Alerts alerts you to an even more recent reference to your name that you created yourself.

It would not surprise me if I got a Google Alert about this post before I got one about Hazel's.

Artist Obituaries - What Will Yours Say?

The final paragraph, about artist obituaries, in a recent blog post, Google-eyed, by Hazel Dooney in her Self vs Self blog set my mind to thinking in the warped way that it does. First the paragraph in question:
As anyone who reads Self Vs. Self regularly would know, I'm a total media tart. I embrace any opportunity to promote my art and myself. Barney writes: "I subscribe to Brendan Behan’s view. He famously said, 'There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary'." I wouldn't even draw the line there.
I can imagine the obituary of some poor starving artist including a paragraph along the lines of:
"In loving memory of __________. If you had just bought his art while he was alive he might have been able to afford the expensive, life saving, medical attention that he urgently required. Unfortunately it was not to be and he died penniless. Buy his art you bastards so we can afford to pay the funeral bills!!"
More fun than obituaries is the statements people choose to have written on their tombstones. Perhaps an appropriate one for our starving artist is:
"This will increase the value of my art!"
Or even more appropriately:
"Now's the time to buy my art!"

Google Chrome - You had me at Hello

I've just installed Google's new browser, Google Chrome, and I can safely say that this is a browser that had me converted at 'Hello'. To be more specific I was hooked as soon as I fired up the browser for the first time and saw the simple, clean design - before I'd even used it.

I decided to write this blog post about 15-20 minutes into my exploring Chrome's features because I'm convinced that Chrome is a better browser than Firefox 3 (the browser I was previously using) which positively looks so 'last year' now. The transition from Firefox to Chrome was almost seamless too. Other than having to relogin to various sites, all my bookmarks, passwords etc. have been imported into Chrome.

I'm not going to do any kind of review on all the features of Chrome other than to say, finally, someone's realized that the internet is all about the content and not the browser. A browser should be fast and intuitive. Chrome is both.

If you need to know more about Chrome visit the Chrome web site or watch the two videos below.

10 Features of Google Chrome


The Story Behind Google Chrome

The Gawler Show, August 2008

Promoted as the largest rural and agricultural show in South Australia the Gawler Show is always worthy of an afternoon of wandering around - perhaps a full day if you and/or the kids are into sideshow rides and games too.

Gawler is my home town, this is my local show. It's run over two days on a weekend (this year August 30-31). There are three things that attract me to these kinds of shows:

  1. The art, craft, and other judged competitions

  2. The On Stage Entertainment

  3. The fireworks.

I've never been that big a fan of amusement rides and games largely because they seem over priced and I succumb easily to motion sickness (particularly on things that go round and around).

I'm not much into the animals either, cows, sheep, horses etc. though these are a big part of why the show even exists in the first place. (if they had sheep dog trials I'd add them to my must see list - working dogs are just incredible).

Winning the art competition is more about the glory than the prizes which is reflected in the quality of art the Gawler show attracts. There are still one or two gems entered and generally the art is okay but you won't see any professional artists here (seeking the prestige of winning for their resume).

The craft side of things is completely different - perhaps craft is far more of a rural pass time than art? Anyway, you can see some really great quilts, tapestries, dolls, models and more. All of which make up for whatever it is that's lacking in the art section.

In with the art and craft is all the more agricultural competitions where it seems like you can win a prize for almost anything. Being a fan of Rowan Atkinson's, The Black Adder TV series, I can't help but think that Baldrick would be salivating at the thought of a prize winning turnip.

I'm sure people who grow turnips and other produce take these things very seriously but I wonder what kind of prestige the Gawler Show gives to a prize winning side of bacon?

The on stage entertainment is often a real highlight if you're at the show at the right time. In the case of the Gawler show that's Saturday afternoon and evening.

My partner and I got to the main stage just as local band the Rockin' Sox were getting started. They're a three piece rock trio of boys whose combined ages make them as old as me. The lead singer and rhythm guitarist is 12 years old whilst the drums and base players are both 13.

The Rockin' Sox played mostly covers of popular songs that they really had no business to be playing. For example a 12 year old in 2008 singing Bryan Adams Summer of 69 lacks credibility on every level. How can a 12 year old look back to a time that even I've never seen and sing 'those were the best days of my life'?

They continued in this vein with covers of AC/DC's Jailbreak and Long Way to the Top, Chuck Berry's Johnny Be Good and the Beatles, Hard Days Night (come on - a 12 year old singing 'Hard Days Night').

Despite their song choice, I have to say they played really well to a tough and some what sparse crowd (rain meant that numbers were probably down at the show this year). They were overly optimistic (but undeterred) with their lack of success in their numerous attempts to start some audience participation on various songs.

The highlight of their set was a cover of Lenny Kravitz, Are you gonna go my way. I thought their original song sounded great too even though the main line I could hear said something about 'feeling so alone' (arrgghhh - teenage angst from newbie teens - you shouldn't be depressed and lonely until you're at least fourteen!).

After that there was a puppet show with Funtime puppets which was your traditional Punch and Judy story. It was definitely aimed at the knee high set so we took the opportunity to get some dinner and come back for the main event - The Australian Elvis Show.

Performed by Joe Bikic and his backing band it was loud but good. I wouldn't say it was the ultimate Elvis tribute (as it's promoted) but if you're an Elvis fan I'm sure you'd love it.

Joe is kind of leaning towards the early, few too many cheese burgers Elvis in appearance which kind of reminds you it was all starting to go down hill from there for the great man himself.

It would have been nice to see a version of A Little Less Conversation as part of a tribute show - since it was such a big, recent hit that we'll never see Elvis perform live.

The evening ends on Saturday with the fireworks display. What can be said about fireworks. They're always fun to watch and they never go for long enough. That's very true of Gawler's firework display. It's a short display but a nice way to finish off the night.
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