The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Movie Review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty bares little resemblance to it's 1947 counterpart staring Danny Kaye, and that is a good thing. I vaguely remember watching the 1947 adaptation - probably as a Saturday or Sunday afternoon television movie as a child. I probably enjoyed it too as I watched a lot of Danny Kaye's movies in my youth. They were always funny and entertaining.

Ben Stiller's new adaptation of the story, both of which are inspired by the short story by James Thurber, not only updates the story for today's world but also turns it into much more of a funny, feel-good, inspirational journey. Stiller and the movie's writer, Steve Conrad, have elevated the idea to a whole other level.

2013's Walter Mitty movie is a commentary on life, that can be taken as just an entertaining, cinematic journey or it can move you to thinking about doing more to experience and live a real life yourself. Step away from the computer, stop experiencing life through a camera phone and start being in and creating real life memories.

I've never been a huge fan of Ben Stiller movies and I don't really know why. They can be a bit hit or miss with the humor, sometimes going into completely silly premises that cross some imaginary line in my brain that says "I can't believe you're watching this?". Of the Ben Stiller movies I've seen I can't say any were all bad and I think his humor is growing on me.

However, it was the trailer to Walter Mitty that really hooked me in. The epic leap Walter does from the railway station platform into the building window moments before the apartment explodes in a ball of fire, racing several levels down to the door, revealing Walter's exit, having saved the life of a dog owned by a very pretty woman... and then back to reality, where Walter zones back in having missed his train.

If you're not a Ben Stiller fan then this is the Ben Stiller movie for you. If you are, you don't need me to say go and see it.

I totally bought into Ben as Walter Mitty, from the very beginning, where he's struggling with the idea of whether or not to send a wink on an internet dating site. For anyone who lives in their head, that kind of thing can be a big deal. It may be a slow start to the film but that really sets up how uneventful Walter's life has been to this point.

Walter's journey throughout the film seems a little bit contrived as he attempts to track down a missing photograph negative, needed for the cover of the last edition of Life Magazine. However it's easy to forgive that because it's just great to see Walter having all these experiences that highlight how exhilarating real life can be.

I really don't need to talk up this movie at all. All you need to know is in the trailer. It's got a great supporting cast and Adam Scott's beard should be up for a best supporting actor nomination (I've never seen a manicured beard that screams 'BEARD!!' at you before).

Worth seeing in the cinema for both the special effects and the cinematography on location. This is a grown up Ben Stiller film, with some silly and childish moments that are well within the context of the overall story.

I enjoyed it a lot.

TET Wishes You a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I'm writing this post on Christmas Eve, staying up late so I can see Santa deliver our presents. Thus far he's a no show but there's still plenty of time yet.

Whilst I'm waiting I thought I'd take the time to wish all my readers, followers and supporters of my work a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I know this year hasn't been particularly productive in generating new content for you. Also I still haven't gotten the Frog Van fixed entirely as promised last year (thanks again to those of you that donated money to at least get it back on the road) so I could blog more about traveling.

On the plus side my animation 4 business site has received a steady flow of work almost all year. Which means I'll be able to get the brake pads replaced on the van some time early in the new year I hope. Then I'll plan a series of travel vlogs/blogs featuring the van as my transportation.

I've also bought a whole bunch of animation software and hope to bring you more of my own animation, with my own artwork rather than all the pre-animated, drag'n'drop GoAnimations you've seen for the last few years.

I'll continue to write for this blog and my Animation and Video Blog. I also hope to revive at least one of my Youtube channels in 2014 with more regular programming.

I'll leave it at that for now as this is starting to sound like a bunch of New Years Resolutions. If I list everything I hope to do in 2014 you can bet I'll have done none of it by the end of the next year just because I said it as a resolution.

Santa is still not here. Perhaps it's still a little early? It's only 11:12pm. Not to worry, I'll be ready for him...


Machine Rising Update: Google Buys Skynet / NASA Unveils Not-Quite-Superhero Robot

Google Buys Skynet


Cylon Prototype as seen in Caprica.
Well okay, not Skynet, but the next closest thing that you know some tech-nerd-sci-fi-movie-fan future CEO is going to rename because 'Boston Dynamics' just doesn't fulfill the prophecy outlined in The Terminator series of documentaries sent to us from the future.

Google buys out Boston Dynamics the company responsible for developing some pretty sophisticated robots for the US military.  The world's biggest Search Engine/data company teamed with one of the world's most advanced experimental robot companies...

I just started watching the TV series Caprica - a prequel to the recent Battlestar Galactica series - and in that show the Cylons begin when an A.I. created from the accumulated data of big brother like search engine/database is placed in the mechanical body of what would evolve into the Cylons that become hell bent on destroying human kind...

Wait? Maybe James Cameron's Terminator movies got it wrong? Maybe we should be looking out for the creation of the first Cylon? The Earth's destiny could be in the hands of the Final Five.

Google's motto maybe 'Don't be Evil' but hopefully someone will inform the first Cylon before escorting it to the bean bag relaxation room of Googleplex.

NASA Unveils Not-Quite-Superhero Robot


Nicolaus Radford with 'Valkyrie'
NASA recently unveiled its new human like robot, 'Valkyrie', which they're talking up as a 'Superhero' robot. It certainly looks cool with its Iron Man like glowing chest disc.

Whilst I'm confident it can probably do all the things NASA claims, including driving a car by its-self, if you're going to call a robot a 'Superhero robot' you really need to create a more impressive demonstration video.

In the only demonstration video I've seen of Valkyrie (see below), it spends most of it standing motionless and most likely switched off (I reckon that chest light indicates stand by mode). When it does finally move, we see it slowly turning the steering wheel of a simulated car (I presume) and then stepping over a single piece of what looks to be a 4 by 2 length of wood more carefully than your eighty year old grandma with a Zimmer frame.

Not exactly 'Superhero' league is it?

Especially not compared to some of the robots created by Boston Dynamics for DARPA that can not only handle rough terrain but can also recover from being kicked off balance before they completely fall over.

I know NASA probably doesn't want to get it's shiny new robot dirty but how am I supposed to maintain the level of fearful concern for a machine uprising with a robot that's completely absorbed by stepping over something that isn't even as high as a curb?

Book: TET' Art Business Advice Blog Book

Buy my Book!
Some of my regular readers may know that I used to post regularly to a blog called TET's Art Business Advice. The blog began because, when I was painting and selling art on Ebay on a weekly basis, I used to get asked a lot of questions ranging from how to price your art through to how to sell on Ebay and more.

Some questions came up again and again so, when I gave a complete answer to that person, I would then edit my response to a more general audience and post it in my Art Business Advice Blog. That way I could refer people to posts where I'd already answered their question before, and people looking for information online could access my experience as an actual artist selling online.

In July of 2012 I made my final post to that blog, explaining that I'd moved on from selling my art online and feeling that I was speaking less and less from current experience. I now earn far more from freelancing in business animation than I ever did selling my paintings.

Don't get me wrong though, for a while there my painting sales were the most profitable part of my freelancing business over everything else I was doing including web design (I hadn't re-discovered animation at that point).

I've since deleted my Art Business Advice Blog, having not posted anything to it in over a year, however before I did that, I compiled the best articles into a book.

Some of the articles will date, particularly some of the links and references to websites but the majority of it will hold true as worthwhile information to know if you're planning to sell your own art online.

Although much of what I've learnt you can find from other sources the book differs in that you get my own personal experience of each issue. I'm not some academic, professional art dealer or gallery owner. I'm a real, largely unknown artist, who has successfully and consistently sold art online for a two year period... no gallery representation, just me selling my art.

The book answers that age old question all new artists face - How do I price my Art? It does this by showing you a number of options and even includes a section just for digital artists.

Other subjects include, how to promote your art, finding a market, creating a regular income with 'bread and butter' art, ways to sell your art online, photographing your art and more.

There's also an entire series of articles outlining my personal experience with selling art on Ebay including a 'what not to do' case study of Ebay artist Marina Orlova - better known as YouTube celebrity, HotForWords - and why she can get away with doing all the things you shouldn't.

Ultimately, the book reveals my business model and everything I've tried, to sell my art online. If it's in there I've probably tried it and you can get my personal opinion of the experience.

The book is available as a 107 page, full color, soft cover edition. The cost of this version is unfortunately quite expensive (but the quality is great) so I've also made it available at a great price as a downloadable PDF book.

For a preview of some of the content head over to the book section of this site.

Man of Steel 2 - Justice League Origin Story?

Gal Gadot
With the recent announcement that Gal Godot will be Wonder Woman in Superman's follow up film and rumors that everyone from Dick Grayson to the Flash may also make appearances alongside the confirmed Ben Affleck Batman, I'm calling it... Man of Steel 2 will be a Justice League Origin story.

It has to be doesn't it? If you've got the three key members of the Justice League in your film and you're flat out saying Gal Gadot WILL be Wonder Woman, rather than saying she isn't for a secret reveal plot twist in the film, then, by the end of this movie we have to be seeing the beginnings of the Justice League?

That said, I don't know anything about the script other than Superman's in the movie and an older, more experienced and battle weary Batman will show up at some point. There's a football match. There may be a fight between Bats and Supes and, I'm guessing, Wonder Woman may be the peacemaker... so Batman and Superman can maintain a healthy dislike but mutual respect for each other.

I'm not going into detail with what I think the story will be beyond what I've said. I've had people write whole essays in my comments on what they think the plot to an upcoming film will be only to be totally wrong. I don't want to be like that. I'm just throwing the idea out there. Man of Steel 2 is most likely a Justice League origin story (call it a 'World's Finest' origin if you like).

Having written my thoughts on why Wonder Woman doesn't need an origin movie and my thoughts on Ben's casting as Batman, here are my thoughts on Gal being cast as Wonder Woman...

Meh... and I mean that as positively as I can.

Honestly, I've never seen her act in anything. Her most high profile work seems to be the Fast and the Furious Franchise, none of which I've seen beyond trailers.

She looks the part and her real life background in the Israeli Military will no doubt be an asset to the role. Some people say she's too skinny but it's really not about that. It's all about whether she can project confidence and an attitude that says 'I'm very approachable but don't mess with me.'

From the few clips of Gal in Fast and the Furious trailers I've seen she seems like she'll have the 'don't mess with me' part down. Whether she can do 'classy and approachable' as well will be the challenge.

I have no preference for any of the names put forward for the Wonder Woman role so I'm not disappointed by Gal's casting.

Perhaps the only observation that's keeping me interested in Man of Steel 2 at the moment is that the general mood by fans following the film's development is one of increasing doubt that they're not watching a train wreck happening before their eyes in slow motion.

I'm still optimistic though. Almost everyone had their doubts about Marvel's strategy for building to an Avengers movie. I remember when the idea of a Thor solo movie sounded like the most ridiculous idea ever to a lot of people - even I had my doubts on that one - yet Thor's doing better than both Hulk solo films which you would think would have been box office gold.

Maybe WB, DC and Zack Snyder have a different strategy that will equally pay off in the end?

People have been shouting out for WB to 'just do a Wonder Woman film already!' after so many years of false starts and fumbling around.

Now you've got a movie with a fairly successful Superman, the new Batman and Wonder Woman in it... tell me, if you're a fan of Superhero movies, that you're not at least interested in going to see it.

I'll be seeing it.

Thor: The Dark World - Movie Review

It's good to see that Thor's second solo film has performed not only well but even better than his first film - which I enjoyed quite a bit (more so with subsequent viewings).

Thor: The Dark World takes place after The Avengers movie and sees Thor up against a new villain who is threatening to destroy the nine realms.

I won't bog you down with details of the plot and cast lists etc. if you want all that click the link to the movie above which will take you to the Internet Movie Data Base. Instead I'll give you my impressions of the film without giving too much away in the way of spoilers.

Overall I did enjoy this movie. If you're a fan of the first Thor film then this one has everything you'd hope to see only with more detail.

In particular Asgard is a more fleshed out and believable world, looking a little less shiny and a little more lived in with actual people going about their daily lives.

We didn't see a whole lot of sci-fi tech in the first movie but here you get a firm reminder all the way through that Thor and everyone not residing on Earth all come from space and aren't just magical beings living in some magical fantasy realm. They use actual technology too.

Most importantly, the humor is still there, delivered naturally as the story unfolds, particularly by intern, Darcy played by Kat Dennings, whose own TV show, Two Broke Girls, could learn a thing or two about natural humor over continuous, cheap one liners. I so much like Kat better when she's delivering genuinely funny lines in Thor's movies.

I do think the first movie was more laugh out loud funny than The Dark World but this offering has a lot of very subtle humor that's easy to miss on first viewing.

One thing that I did miss, which isn't really a spoiler, is the lack of any presence of SHIELD in this movie. If memory serves me correctly SHIELD weren't that present in Iron Man 3 either. SHIELD was such a big part of Marvel's phase 1 films that they should continue to be present in phase 2 and beyond. Any business of Superheroes is SHIELD's business - it's what they do.

SHIELD is name dropped in the Dark World and that's about it. Even if the events of this movie takes place in the space of a day I think SHIELD is equipped to make quick responses. They're not a small organization and they have some of the most advanced tech on the planet... oh... and they have the internet too right? Look how fast the average person responds to any breaking news on the internet. SHIELD could do better than that I would've thought?

Since we know Agent Coulson is alive it might have been nice to see him, or even his replacement, looking up at whatever that craft is that attacks Earth in Dark World with some kind of acknowledgement that "It's definitely not something of Starks!".

Hopefully Marvel make up for the lack of SHIELD in Captain America's next outing, The Winter Soldier.

Those are all the things that stood out for me. If I were to go into more detail about what I did or didn't like I'd have to spoil much of the film. It's not all great, there are some questionable moments, but overall, the film is a lot of fun.

Well worth seeing and a film that I will add to my own DVD collection for sure.

George Clooney and Matt Damon on Ben Affleck as Batman

George Clooney as Batman
As reported in Empire Magazine via Hollywood Backwash George Clooney was asked to comment on Ben Affleck's casting as Batman saying...

"I am the least qualified person to comment on anyone playing the role of Batman since I so terribly destroyed the part. I tend to look at it like this — let’s just see what the movie is before everyone starts beating him up, he is a smart man, he knows what he is doing."

Anyone who own's the DVD of Batman and Robin will have seen the included documentary, with George's humorously self depreciating reflections on how he ruined the Batman franchise, however, in my opinion, of all the things wrong with the film, George really wasn't one of them.

In a 2011 interview with Total Film Clooney had this to say about his turn as the Batman...

"Batman is still the biggest break I ever had and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it. It was a difficult film to be good in. I don’t know what I could have done differently. But if I am going to be Batman in the film Batman & Robin, I can’t say it didn’t work and then not take some of the blame for that."

I'd have to agree with him (except about him being weak in the movie). His career certainly didn't tank after doing the film. If I remember rightly it was a real stepping stone for him from TV fame to Movie Star fame. Not to mention, after years of Christian Bale's Batman, it's so nice to revisit a Batman who you don't need a translator to understand what he's saying.

Also according to his Total Film interview George was really excited to land the role of Batman. It's kind of a shame the film's legacy means he's remembered as the worst Batman when really he wasn't. Kind of like how Ryan Reynolds gets a bad rap for Green Lantern even though he wasn't the reason for that movie's failure.

Ben Affleck's long time friend Matt Damon some time ago also commented about Ben's casting to the Times of India saying: 

"I think it will be great. It will be terrific. I know there are a lot of people grousing on the internet. I just think it’s kind of funny. You know, he’s not playing King Lear. It’s Batman! [That's] certainly within his skill set. If anybody saw ‘Argo’ or ‘The Town,’ and all the work he’s been doing lately, it’s way more nuanced and interesting and way more difficult than Batman! Batman just sits there with his cowl over his head and whispers in a kinda gruff voice at people. Bruce Wayne is the more challenging part of the role, and Ben will be great at that."

One thing that puzzles me is that many die hard Batman fans also share the same sentiment... Bruce Wayne is the more challenging part of the role. I have to disagree.

What's difficult about playing a millionaire playboy with a tragic upbringing and a dark secret? I'm not saying it's a walk in the park to play but it's hardly the stretch from reality that Batman is.

Not only do you have to convince everyone that dressing as a giant bat is a valid crime fighting outfit that's going to scare criminals, you then have to come across as a force of nature and a brilliant detective... brains and the brawn all in one person.

On top of that, no one is going to see the movie to see how Ben play's Bruce Wayne. Something as inconsequential as 'nipples on the Batsuit', or a gravelly, almost unintelligible voice can kill anything else that was really good about that version of Batman.

You know, the first time Ben's on screen as Batman everyone is going to be dialed right in waiting to hear him speak. I really hope he's been getting advice from Kevin Conroy, a fan favorite Batman voice from many animated incarnations of Batman. Listen to what Kevin had to say about Christian Bale's Batman voice in the video below.



Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith recently commented in one of his podcasts that he'd seen the Bat suit that Ben will be wearing (with Ben in it) and, knowing what a Batman fan he is, praised it highly saying it's like nothing you've ever seen in a movie yet.

It's said that Kevin elaborated further by saying the suit was inspired by comic book artist, Jim Lee's version of the suit (however this was bleeped out on the podcast recording). Which I take to mean it's probably a grey and black suit more like the comics and not likely the blue and grey suit (which looks great in a comic but a little cheesy in live action).

Anyway, getting back on track, if the suit's as good as Kevin says it is, all the pressure on Ben will be for the voice. Get that right and it'll all be down to the script and Ben's acting ability.

I suspect this article has become something of a ramble that's lost much of it's focus so I'll finish with this...

I liked George Clooney's Batman. Of all the Batman films so far, Batman and Robin is the one that is most friendly to a younger audience who didn't get to grow up with Adam West's Batman like I did. It's silly and over the top but it's also a lot of fun. However it's still not Batman.

Christian Bale wasn't even my Batman, though everything around him was very much how a Batman movie should be in my head.

After a few months of absorbing Ben's casting as Batman I'm no longer nervously optimistic. I'm just looking forward to seeing a new Batman that hopefully is different to any on screen Batman I've seen thus far.

Movie: Battle Los Angeles (2011)

Battle Los Angeles is one of those sci-fi movies I would have liked to see on a big screen when it was released but didn't really inspire me to make sure I did.

Plus it stars Aaron Eckhart, who irritates me for some reason in most movies. I don't know why? I wasn't his biggest fan in The Dark Knight. He's actually a very good actor in the right film and Battle Los Angeles definitely agrees with him. At least I wasn't irritated by him when I caught the movie on free to air TV tonight.

Being a long time sci-fi fan what caught my eye about this film is that it's an alien invasion movie. Sure you've probably seen it all before but the design of the aliens and their spacecraft seemed fairly unique to anything I'd seen before. In that department it didn't disappoint.

Although the actual aliens reminded me a lot of those from the Alien Movies their armor, space craft and other tech was all pretty impressive.

The movies plot is fairly straight forward. A unit of soldiers are pitted against the entire alien force (well the Los Angeles chapter at least) and must work out how to save the planet. Along the way the troops learn a thing or two about trust and loyalty, whilst the staff sergeant (Eckhart) earns redemption from his tragic past.

This movie's biggest strength is also something of a weakness. It deals with the whole situation in a very realistic way that makes the film seem like a typical war movie where the enemy just happens to be aliens. You never see the battle from the alien's point of view or learn anything about them that the soldiers don't learn for themselves. It's pretty fast paced with lots of shaky cam that must have made cinema goers a little bit nauseous.

I did appreciate all the realism and fast pace but it comes at the expense of never really getting to know any of the characters very well. You get glimpses here and there into each soldiers life but it's not enough to get you to care about them.


It's not really a spoiler to tell you that some of the troops don't make it in a war film. The thing is I never cared about those that didn't make it. In fact I wasn't even sure who it was that died in some scenes. If the script had managed to get me to care about every soldier in the unit, in the same way that Eckhart's character did, it could have been a great movie instead of just a good film.

The ending is a little bit of a let down for how the whole alien invasion is resolved but it really couldn't be helped, in a movie about one military unit's involvement in a worldwide alien invasion.

I can't really fault this movie other than it wasn't able to get me caring about the characters on anything but a surface level. Aside from that, it's well worth a look in, and I'd buy it for my DVD collection too.

Griff the Invisible - an Aussie Superhero Film

Griff the Invisible (2010) is an Australian, comedic, superhero movie that follows in the tradition of Kick Ass and Super (coincidentally released in the same year as those movies) in that it features a hero with no real super powers. Griff is just an unassuming, meek, office worker by day and a fairly awesome crime fighter by night... or is he?

I discovered this movie on free to air TV a couple of nights ago and was surprised to see such a well thought out superhero movie, made in Australia on an obviously modest budget.

It's not your typical action packed superhero film with a big finale face off against the main villain at the end. This movie has a heart, showing that it's okay to be who we really are when we're in our own private head space.

It then takes that idea and brings love into the equation. Exploring the dynamic of letting someone into that world that you keep hidden from everyone else.

Griff is played superbly by Ryan Kwanten, who American audiences may know from the television series True Blood, but Australian audiences may also recognize him from Aussie soap Home & Away. (At least that's where I last saw him - and it took me a long time to place him because he's playing a very different character to Vinnie Paterson).

I don't want to tell you too much about this film so as not to spoil the story. The story is an engaging but slow burn kind of script where you're not always sure where reality ends and fantasy begins but it becomes clearer as the film progresses.

Griff the Protector, Griff's alter ego, is not the straight forward superhero with no powers that he seems. Melody, played by Maeve Dermody, sees a kindred spirit in Griff as she learns more about him. We follow along as she falls for his eccentric ideas and attempts to merge her own peculiarities with his, frustrating Griff's older, more conventional brother, Tim (Patrick Brammall) along the way.

I really enjoyed Griff the Invisible. It did seem to be a little slow in places but overall, for me it was a fresh take on the everyday person attempting to be a superhero. Funny and thought provoking, I'd highly recommend it if that's a theme that interests you.

Batman Ben Affleck - Nervously Optimistic


As the internet hate begins to flow for the announcement that Ben Affleck has been cast to play Batman in the yet untitled Man of Steel sequel I'm just taking the announcement in (and quietly celebrating Ryan Gosling or Orlando Bloom weren't cast).

The obvious comparison for how Ben might play Batman is his run in the title role of the movie Dare Devil. I've seen that film and, whilst it wasn't the train wreck many people describe, Ben's performance doesn't really give any insight into what his Batman might be like.

I've seen Ben in many other movies too and I disagree with those who say he has limited acting range or isn't a very good actor. He definitely has enough range to play a character like Batman who, let's face it, isn't the kind of character that's going to win any actor an academy award for their portrayal - no matter how good. Especially if an actor like Christian Bale can't get a nomination for the role.

At the same time there were many other names floating around the internet as contenders for the role, some of which would have really got me excited for what they might have done with it, but none who I could say was a clear favorite. Though Jeffery Dean Morgan, who played The Comedian in Watchmen, would have really piqued my interest.

Ben's casting is kind of out of left field. No one really saw it coming. His name certainly wasn't on any list that I saw. That may be a good thing.

I'm nervous about what Ben's take on the character will be because I'm finding it hard to picture him either as Bruce Wayne or Batman. However I'm confident and optimistic he has the creativity and experience to do something different with the role. Especially at this point in his career where he has really clawed his way back to being taken seriously within the industry.

Arkham Asylum Batman.
Whilst I'm struggling to visualize what Ben might be like, I do hope director, Zack Snyder, considers a redesign of the Bat Suit. I'd really like to see the grey and black suit back on screen - similar to the design used in the Batman, Arkham Asylum video game. I've never really liked the motorcycle padding Bat suit of Bale's Batman.

To those of you hating on Ben as Batman, give the guy a chance. Michael Keaton wasn't a popular choice either and neither was Heath Ledger for the Joker. Both actors delivered great performances despite everyone's criticism.

Update [24 Aug 2013]: Screen Rant's Andrew Dyce has posted a great article on why Ben Affleck could work as Batman. Even if you're still not on board with Ben it does make his casting seem a little more rational and a little less WTF.

Movie Web's B. Alan Orange also makes a great case in his article, Ben Affleck as Batman: Why he's the perfect Dark Knight.

Why Even Bother Stopping the Boats?

A hot issue in Australian politics right now is stopping the influx of 'boat people', refugees/asylum-seekers coming into the country via profiteering people smugglers. The pretense is an issue of safety, with several boats having recently capsized causing the loss of life, some of which were children.

Then there's the secondary concerns like whether these people are even genuine refugees and just the fact that they've 'jumped the queue' to get into this country (suggesting that refugees have access to a formal process of leaving their own country).

If these boat people do actually make it to Australia we spend thousands (millions?) of dollars putting them into detention centres on neighbouring islands, spend months processing refugee status claims and, now, ship them off to Papua New Guinea for resettlement.

What the hell, Australia?

Why not turn this problem to our advantage and put the onus back onto the countries these people are fleeing from to secure their own damn borders. Get them to stop their own boats.

Perhaps we could offer people smugglers a big fat bonus if their boats are approved to a certain level of sea worthiness and not overcrowded when they arrive here?

Lets stop spending on detention centres and start building refugee towns/communities near where the boats are arriving - why not even build ports for the boats?

Why not make these communities 'halfway communities'. The intention being that they are a pleasant place to stay and learn about Australian culture/lifestyle whilst each person's refugee application is being processed. Hire the refugee's themselves to maintain the community. Get them started on earning money for themselves and their families. Once their application is approved give them choices about where to resettle so they can put their knowledge into practice and really start a new life in the lucky country.

At the end of the day a refugee has just as much of a chance of creating new business and jobs as they do becoming reliant on welfare. There's no absolutes. There are plenty of stories of refugees becoming successful business people in our history. Since we're processing applications anyway, why not direct skilled refugees into locations that need those skills?

I've never bought into the idea that refugees will take our jobs. If that was really a concern, then stop letting people immigrate here through conventional channels, those people are taking our jobs too.

Let's start treating refugees like people. Let's show we actually care about giving them a new life and recognize their potential as a resource for economic growth. Let's stop wasting everyone's time with 'stopping the boats'.

If those countries don't appreciate their biggest resource enough to keep them from leaving then it's their loss and our gain.

Why Wonder Woman Doesn't Need an Origin Movie

Rileah Vanderbilt as Wonder Woman.
Rainfall films.
In the wake of the recent announcement at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con that the sequel to Man of Steel will feature Batman I've kind of got superhero movies on the brain.

Consensus among comic film watchers is that a Superman/Batman movie is definitely another step towards the Justice League film that Warner Bros has been trying to get off the ground - since before anyone believed an Avengers film would even work, let alone make more than a billion at the box office.

Inevitably that leads to questions about the introduction of other Justice League members, particularly Wonder Woman, who is arguably the most iconic superhero on the planet to not yet have a modern make-over, kick ass film for today's generation. Not through lack of trying. Even Avengers mastermind, Joss Whedon, had a Wonder Woman script ready to go before moving to Marvel.

If you're like me, you may be getting a bit tired of superhero origin films. Especially for iconic characters like Wonder Woman (Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Hulk) who already have mainstream familiarity. Most mainstream audiences even have some idea who the Flash is through his TV series but may not be as familiar with his alter ego(s).

Main stream audiences, if they do know Wonder Woman's origin story are more likely to know the the seventies TV show version. I've tried to follow the origin story of the latest incarnation of the character in DC comic's New 52 universe and, quite frankly, it's a dog's breakfast of ideas linked to Greek Gods and mythology, with no explanation of her first contact with the modern world and how that all went down.

Getting around to the point of this article (finally), until recently (after doing research as I don't read comics at all), I didn't have clue about Wonder Woman's origin story but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the character or wanting to see her finally get her own big screen, live action film. Which leads me to wonder, why does her first film need to be a detailed origin story? Especially when it has been shown that they're not essential.

If you look at past DC films, Batman  '89 wasn't a Batman origin story even though it was the first live action Batman on film since Adam West and was a complete redesign of the live action version of the character.

At most it was a year one story, as Batman seemed to be just at the beginning of spreading the word about himself. His origin was addressed in flashbacks and through other characters investigations, but they weren't the focus of the film.

If anything it was a Joker origin story. Batman was pretty well established with his suit, car, tech and cave. All that was left was to introduce himself as a crime fighter to Gotham.

Coincidentally, the Joker, who is a hugely iconic Batman villain, was given no origin story at all in The Dark Knight. Everything you needed to know about him was told by his cohorts in the film's opening scene. Everything else you learned from the Joker himself as the movie progresses.

Even when you think you're learning the back story of his scars, the Joker later retells it differently, and you realize the first story is probably not how he got them either. By the end of the film you know as much about the Joker's origin as you did at the beginning of the film.

I'm not saying Wonder Woman's origin should not be addressed. I just don't see why that has to be such a big part of the movie? Can't Wonder Woman just show up to some major crisis, wow the socks off everybody, then we gradually get to learn about her origin as the movie progresses.

Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy both were far more interesting films when they started to explore how the military, government, local law and wider community reacted to having to deal with the introduction of a superhero into those worlds. Why not use that angle with Wonder Woman right from the get go, whilst she deals with whatever the wider threat is that brought her to the public's attention in the first place?

By the time Wonder Woman is introduced into the DC cinematic universe, people in that universe will have started to come to terms with superheroes, particularly one as powerful as Superman. The appearance of Wonder Woman would still be major news and potentially still one for government concern. However just like the end of Man of Steel, there's no reason why Wonder Woman couldn't be welcomed into that uneasy alliance Earth has already established with Superman.

There's also quite a lot of potential future plot lines in that alliance for future movies. Yes we treat superheroes as allies but that doesn't stop the military and other organisations from keeping a wary eye on their activities should they become a threat.

All of these superhero movies are intended to be franchise films. This means that we could be learning about their origins over multiple films.

How about a plot line where Wonder Woman doesn't actually reveal her origin? If you go with her original origin she probably wouldn't want to disclose the existence of an undiscovered island of female Amazon warriors on Earth. There could be a character (Lois Lane perhaps?) that spends their time trying to discover the origins of such a fantastical being over several movies.

There's so many ways to introduce mainstream audiences to superhero characters without starting with an origin story. Why do we need to know everything about them before they save the planet? When you make a new friend it can take years to discover their history and even then you'll probably never know all of it.

That's actually why I think Wonder Woman doesn't need an origin movie. She would be a much more intriguing character if you didn't know her back story. People are always saying Wonder Woman needs to be sexy. What's sexier than a woman who's a total mystery to begin with?

That's why Wonder Woman doesn't need an origin movie. There's already precedent for other iconic DC characters not to be given an origin story as their first film. It means you can get right into putting the character on screen sooner and allows the audience to discover the origin as the main story is told.

The Resident Attacks Crowd Funding - I Say She's Wrong.

Ever since Video Producer and Youtube Ranter Lori Harfenist, better known as The Resident, produced her video Kickstart My Fart (embeded below), a rant against crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter that basically accuses people of begging and fostering a culture of entitlement, I've found her rants increasingly harder to stomach. Which is a shame since I've been subscribed to her Youtube channel as far back as 2006, when she first started posting to the site.



My problem with this video, and Lori's general delivery of many of her videos, is that she puts up a proposition and then proceeds to ram that proposition home as if it is a fact.

In this particular video she does highlight some of the positives of Kickstarter but when she states something that supports her proposition she'll shout it louder and with more energy, giving that thought more weight and thus making it more memorable for the viewer.

I thought I'd take a page out of her book and not be a 'sheeple', as she sometimes calls people who don't take an active role in understanding, government, big business, current events etc. and question her point of view.

Lori's proposition is that Kickstarter and sites like it could be seen in another way...

"They could be seen as proof of, or the impudence behind, the fact that we have become a nation of self entitled beggars who think that we all should get money for nothing!"

She immediately follows this statement by pointing out several different crowdfunding projects of supposedly dubious nature - millionaire actors funding their films, faux journalists raising money to buy incriminating videos and kickstarters that simply pay people to travel around and post to Facebook. All true (yes I looked them up).

But are they dubious really or is Lori just imposing her moral judgement on projects that you can choose to invest in or not? Is she glossing over the fact the the study she's about to reference notes that quality projects tend to me more successful in achieving their funding goals?

Based on my research people have more faith in millionaire actors and faux journalists than they do people who simply wish to travel and post to Facebook (didn't spot too many of those successfully reaching their funding goals).

Next Lori points to that research I mentioned saying that:

"75% of products funded through Kickstarter are delivered late, if at all."

Proving that Lori is not above skewing the data to support her own proposition - yes question everything, even The Resident.

If you follow the link given in the video you'll discover that's not actually what the research is saying. It says that 25% of projects studied (from a sample size of just 381 products) were delivered on time and only 3.6% of projects failed to deliver at all. That's actually 96.4% of products delivered, albeit 71.4% were delivered late - but still delivered.

If you look into the report even further the potential for fraud, whilst quite high, has been rare. In this study, 3 products issued refunds and 11 had stopped responding to backers (this is actually where the 3.6% figure mentioned above comes from).

Yes the potential for fraud is there with Lori quoting from Wired Magazine (like they're some kind stalwart for factual and balanced reporting). The article she cites is talking about businesses using crowd funding to raise capital and the need for them to be transparent about raising money this way.

Everything is susceptible to fraud, that's not unique to crowd funding (as someone who's managed to be caught out by an auction fraudster on a now defunct auction site, I'd rather be defrauded out of my $20 kickstarter donation than the $300.00 I paid for a Laptop I never received).

Next we get to listen to Lori debunk four reasons, pulled from the study, that people invest in kickstarters with her opinion. The four reasons are:
  1. Access to investment opportunities.
  2. Early access to new products.
  3. Community participation.
  4. Formalization of contracts.
Lori quickly dismisses item 1 by linking it to equity. Since Kickstarter isn't about equity at all, and the study was about Kickstarter, clearly that's not the kind of investment opportunity it refers to. In my opinion the 'investment opportunities' here are in the more general sense, where you invest in a kickstarter to earn one of the projects rewards and/or to see the project succeed.

Item 2, Lori dismisses right away because "since products aren't always delivered or are available anywhere on the web... ...that's a bit of a stretch". What the? I don't even know how she reached that conclusion? Products that need funding to even be built are available anywhere on the web?

I know of at least one relatively prominent Youtuber that has contributed funding to kickstarter projects to get them early and has even reviewed kickstarter products on his channel.

Item 3 she dismisses because "the entire web is community participation!" Which is like saying participation in the web can be discounted since people are already participating in life on planet Earth. Obviously community participation refers to the community developed around specific projects and is extremely relevant if the members of that community are all excited to see their specific project/product succeed.

Lori thinks, then, that it all comes down to formalization of contracts. She then spouts that crowdfunding sites "legitimize our own projects making our pretend time real." Again WTF. What the hell is 'pretend time' and what is wrong with wanting to legitimize something that you care about?

Then she goes on, complaining that "we're living in this culture where everyone wants to be the boss and no one wants to work for anyone, or work at all in general". Implying that all Kickstarter projects are created by unemployed people who don't want to work and that there is something wrong with wanting to work for yourself.

She continues that people just want to work on their "Personal brands... whatever that means?" as if she isn't aware that she's been working on her own personal brand since 2000 according to her own website. She claims social media has turned us all into "micro stars with brands, so why shouldn't we get paid for whatever we want?"

Here's the real kicker. Lori includes this statement towards the end of her video:

"It's true that a kickstarter campaign is only as stupid as the people who invest in it"... did you notice the source on this 'fact'... "source: Me. Just now"... so not actually true then, just Lori's opinion. What if every investor is a Mensa Genius?

Finally, her bottom line is that "not everybody deserves to get paid for doing whatever they want". Implying that posting a project on any crowdfunding site is a surefire guarantee to getting paid for every little whim of an idea you had today. Even though the study that she references notes that people tend to back projects that they perceive to be of quality. Many kickstarter projects, worthwhile or not, simply fail to reach their funding goals and receive no money at all.

In the end she pretty much tells you to go out and get a job and earn your own damn money. Stop 'begging' because eventually your social media friends are going to get sick of you mooching off them all the time.

My bottom line is, she's entitled to her opinion but her superficial view point lacks vision or understanding. She assumes the people putting money into crowd funded projects don't weigh up the value of the project they're supporting before donating their 'hard earned dollars'. She also assumes that the people starting kickstarter campaigns do have a sense of entitlement and no work ethic.

There will always be negative aspects to crowd funding but Kickstarters can achieve amazing things that actually do require hard work, don't necessarily give a big return on investment or can be funded by a weekly pay cheque... like human powered flight... it's one way to spend your 'pretend time'.

Movie Opinion: Super (2010) - Be careful what you ask for.

Having listened to a lot of commentary about Man of Steel and the fact that it didn't really give much realistic attention to the supposedly millions of civilian casualties in the climactic fight scenes I was prompted to think about a 2010 superhero flick called Super staring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page.

More about that in a moment - including a very gruesome image at the bottom of this post. Scroll slowly if you don't wish to see it.

One thing that I found odd about criticisms of Man of Steel was that the same commentators that criticize the film for its lack of realism with casualties, in the same breath, criticized the film for being too realistic with scenes reminiscent of 911. People being covered in rubble dust and fleeing plumes of dust and debris. Make up your mind people!

Back to 2010's Super which is best described as a black comedy, along the lines of Kick Ass (also released in 2010) where the film's main character, Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson),  is inspired to become a Super Hero to fight crime and, more importantly, save his wife from local drug dealer, Jacques (Kevin Bacon).

Unlike Kick Ass, Super is 'R' Rated (age 18+) due to some fairly extreme graphic violence. Frank Darbo's super hero persona, The Crimson Bolt and his side kick, Boltie, definitely don't draw the line at no killing.

Super is one of my favorite super hero films because Frank is probably the most unlikely super hero you're ever likely to come across. He means well but his use of excessive force to fight crime isn't always appropriate. Such as when he bashes a couple with a pipe wrench simply for cutting ahead in a line for the cinema. It's a little bit of a defining moment for the Crimson Bolt.

The graphic violence means the film is not for everyone. Even when I watch it I come to the end of the movie having gone through more of a harrowing experience rather than a sense of having been entertained. However it's thought provoking with it's realism of what it might be like to be a self made super hero with very few resources.

Which brings me back to Man of Steel. If you want to see real people getting hurt in a superhero movie then Super is one way to sample what that experience might be like. Is that something you really want to go through when you see a super hero film? Civilians actually dying, losing limbs etc.in graphic detail.

Regardless of what your expectations are of who Superman is, one thing we can all agree on is, he can't save everyone, even if he tries. It's one of the core internal conflicts of the character.

As much as Man of Steel tried to be more realistic, for me, it was already dark and realistic enough as it was without needing to remind me that, in all likely hood, quite a few civilians died or were severely injured (not to mention all the Kryptonians that did die). I'm quite happy to have that kind of thing implied in my escapist entertainment. It doesn't need to be spelled out for me.



Super hero casualty. Super (2010).
Do you really want to see this kind of shocking
detail in a summer super hero blockbuster?






Movie Opinion: Man of Steel (2013)

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that reading reviews and listening to other people's opinions of any superhero film will detract from your enjoyment of the film, rather than enhance it.

Too often the loudest voices are those who wish to vent that a film isn't their version of the character or even the version of a character they've read about for years in the comic book source material.

As such they denounce the entire film as nothing short of an abomination. If you actually enjoyed the film, too many of these types of rants can really make you wonder if you even watched the same film as they did.

I get that, particularly with a character like Superman, everyone has their own expectations of what the character is, what he's capable of and what moral standards guide him but lighten up.

If Man of Steel isn't your Superman, that's fine. Maybe in your opinion the film makers got it wrong but one thing is certain, the film makers hoped you'd like it. They didn't set out to to personally offend you.

By all means criticize and discuss what didn't work for you and why but don't be a baby about it. Yes there are details that should be discussed and worthy of debate but overall Man of Steel delivers a thoughtful interpretation of the character.

Personally I think Man of Steel is the best depiction of a Superhero character on the big screen since Iron Man. It's not a perfect film by any means but in terms of an epic cinema experience, and creating a Superman that I can believe could exist in our real world, I think it succeeds.

Warning! There are spoilers ahead!

I went into Man of Steel with a very cynical attitude. My first thoughts on seeing Krypton, and particularly it's wildlife was that it looked like the grunge version of Pandora from Avatar - mostly thanks to whatever that creature was that Jor-El was riding. Then we saw all the babies being incubated and my head went straight to The Matrix.

Jor-El and son.
I also raised an eyebrow at Jor-El being the only one to assist with the delivery of his own child? Advanced culture and all that (don't they have doctors etc.) but this was explained a short time later as natural child birth being a definite exception to the norm and implied that it may even be illegal.

However the new technology of Krypton with the almost liquid-like monitor screens on Jor-El's robot assistants grabbed my attention as something I hadn't seen before. This helped draw me in, along with a story that did gain momentum very quickly.

I liked Russel Crowe's Jor-El. Much less enigmatic than Marlon Brando's and much more committed to ensuring his son's survival. It was a little bit of a stretch that a scientist was also an action hero but no one ever calls Tony Stark out on his ability to fight, even though he's mostly an engineering genius.

As much as I liked Terrance Stamp's General Zod, Michael Shannon's Zod in Man of Steel has a much more defined purpose and reason for tracking down Kal-El. The fact that Zod also agrees with Jor-El's point of view on the state of Krypton is a high point too. They just have different ideas for a solution.

The Codex, that Jor-El steals, is a little like the Tesseract in The Avengers. We know it contains the blue print for the Kryptonian's DNA but how it works and why something that looks like a burnt out skull is so unique is unclear. Couldn't they just get another Kryptonian's skull? What makes this skull so special and how is it possible that it could become fused somehow with Kal-El himself so that it needed to be 'extracted'? Alien technology is mysterious like that.

I'm not going to go through the film and mention every little detail. What was important to me was that, for Superman's origin story, it pretty much had all the same key moments as 1978's Superman the Movie. Though they were fleshed out much more, and tweaked in some cases, to better serve this new Superman's need to be cautious with revealing himself before the world is ready.


Jonathon & Clark.
I particularly like the angle that Jonathon Kent (Kevin Kostner) highlights for Clarke that "you are the answer to, are we alone in the universe?"



Perry White & Lois Lane.

I liked that Lois Lane (Amy Adams), for the first time actually felt like a real, globe trotting journalist and not just a reporter. (I'm also one of the few who think Margot Kidder was miscast and is the most unlikable Louis Lane on film). You actually get to see this Lois' process of tracking down a story. A big story that required a fair amount of investigation.

The only other thing that's really important to me in a Superman film is how his power and abilities are handled. To date, every previous Superman film has forgotten that, whilst Superman is incredibly strong and seemingly indestructible, the rest of the world is still subject to the laws of physics. In my post The Trouble with Superman I wrote how mishandling his powers can really take you out of the film.

Thankfully, Henry Cavill's Superman never obviously breaks the laws of physics when interacting with his environment. Most notably demonstrated in the scene where he tries to stop an oil rig tower from falling. He's strong enough to delay the fall but ultimately the tower structure still fails and falls into the platform.

Damaged Great Wall of China,
Superman IV.
All of Superman's powers seemed to be handled really well with a fresh take. From how he flies to his super speed, strength, x-ray and heat vision. No wacky made up or unexpected powers either - like rebuilding walls with some kind of mind control in Superman IV.

The only thing that took me out of the film was Superman breaking General Zod's neck. Not because of any stupid idea that Superman doesn't kill. Though this idea may be cemented into the sequel. In this movie, it's Superman's first official day on the job and he's fighting someone hell bent on continuing the carnage indefinitely. I can give him a pass this time.

Why the neck breaking thing took me out was because, if Superman can break Zod's neck with his bare hands, then why can't he break his neck by throwing concrete blocks at Zod's head etc. Or why can't Zod break Superman's arm by snapping it over his own leg perhaps? These two are supposed to be indestructible under Earth's yellow sun. Just because they're both Kryptonian it doesn't necessarily follow that they are strong enough to damage each other.

That aside I don't have a problem with Superman killing if that seems to be his only option at the time. I also don't have a problem with a Superman that makes mistakes and doesn't always make the right choices. Like it or not he's more human than alien and even Jonathon and Martha Kent made mistakes.

Superman for me has never been about an ideal to strive for or aspire too. He may be a great protector but he's not a savior of the human race. He's not Jesus, or a God - no matter how many parallels are made to our own religious iconography. He's an immigrant from another planet, who's chosen a path for himself that enables him to put his abilities to good use for the benefit of others. It fits with the ideals and values taught to him by Jonathon and Martha Kent.

He was sent to Earth with the purpose of preserving the Kryptonian race and perhaps bringing two races together in harmony. A task which he fails to fully achieve in this film thanks to Zod throwing a spanner in the works. At best he manages to achieve one Kryptonian living in peace with the human race on Earth.

George Reeves as Clark Kent.
As with Batman, I'm not married to Superman's history. I've enjoyed the quietly confident Clark Kent of the George Reeves TV series and the Bumbling comedy of Christopher Reeve's Kent. There's enough in this film for me to know it is Superman and it will be interesting to see how the changes will inform future films.

For example, just how many people at the Daily Planet will see through Kent's deceptively simple disguise. Does Perry White know? What will the dynamic be between Lois and Clark whilst at the Daily Planet given she knows Clark is Superman?

Mixing things up provides new dynamics to explore. To me that's a good thing. When you have a character as old as Superman, you don't want to keep exploring the same tired relationships time after time between the main cast of supporting characters.

I'll leave my final words on the fight scenes within Smallville and Metropolis, particularly Metropolis, which reminded me a lot of similar fight scenes in the Superman Doomsday animated feature. Superman fights Doomsday in an epic battle in Metropolis and, unlike Man of Steel, the city hasn't made any attempt to be evacuated.

Incidentally Superman kills Doomsday in both the movie and the comic it's derived from (though it does show Doomsday survives in the comic but as far as Superman knows he killed him). It would not surprise me if the scenes of Superman and General Zod fighting in Man of Steel were inspired by Superman Doomsday.

Although I thought the final fight scene possibly went a little too long (just like they do in Superman Doomsday) ultimately I thought, it's about time! Superman being part of a proper fight and fighting back with everything he has.

I enjoyed this film and will not only be buying it on Blu-ray but will be looking forward to its sequel - and hopefully a Justice League movie sometime within my lifetime please.

You're Gonna Need Electric Bug Spray in the Future

The HAMR3 Microrobot.
Anyone who has seen any kind of spy movie will be familiar with electronic bugs. Electronic listening and tracking devices hidden out of sight of unsuspecting victims.

Robotic scientists are taking the concept to a whole new level by creating actual robotic bugs that run around much like the average cockroach and equally as small.

As reported by Mashable, Tiny Robots Act Like Bugs, these tiny bug-like critters are being developed by Scientists at Harvard, who have spent the past five years building robot bugs that can move with the same dexterity and speed as real-life insects.

The goal, according to Harvard Microbiotics Lab, is to "create high-performance aerial and ambulatory microrobots," which can perform tasks such as "search and rescue operations, assisted agriculture, environmental monitoring, and exploration of hazardous environments."

Check out Mashable's video report embeded below to see some of the microrobots (known as HAMRs - Harvard Ambulatory Microrobots) in action.



Of course I know better than to fall for these critters being developed purely to aid humanity. Any robot with a name like HAMR is destined to join the imminent robot uprising, or at least will be doing the bidding of some totalitarian future government regime like those spider-bot thingies in Minority Report.

Spider-bots in Minority Report.
Hopefully some scientist somewhere is working on Electric Bug Spray so that I don't wake up some day with little HAMRs scanning my eyeball whether I want them to or not.


A Time Machine Called Life Powered by Routine

Currently I feel like I'm in a state of constant travel. Not physical travel as such but a general feeling of travelling through time some what quicker than most people. I feel like that time machine called life is not so much passing me by as moving me forward at a faster than normal pace.

Which would be fine if I could say my life was so much bigger on the inside, like the Doctor's Tardis, but it's not, it's actually smaller and filled with a lot of mundane crap that needs to be done. It's something called a 'routine'. Mine involves dish washing, exercising, walking our two dogs, and doing work for clients. Things that need to be done but I'd quite happily rather be doing something else.

Your routine is what propels you forward through time. The more you have in your routine the faster you travel through time. Paradoxically if parts of your routine are really mundane or just downright boring they can feel like time is dragging but it's just an illusion. You'll still wonder where all your time went at the end of the week.

The problem with a routine is, if you get too much packed into it, it becomes very hard to find time for those things that can make your life bigger, more interesting and just generally more fulfilling. That's where I find myself now. I keep trying to plan to do other things but by the time I get through my routine there's usually no time left.

I suspect my feeling of travelling quicker through life is not dis-similar to anyone who has, what people some time refer to as, a 'real' job - as if what I do for a living isn't real simply because I work from home and have to manage my own routine - but that's another bitch session.

Anyone with a job knows that it's not so easy to find time to do those extra things after work and on the weekends that you want to do but are not generally part of your routine. Often it's because you just want that time to wind down and relax because the job part of your routine wears you out.

If your job is just a job then it can really feel like your life is being propelled forward through time by your routine. Before you know it, you're not as young as you used to be and you are wondering if you couldn't have spent that time doing something more worthwhile.

I really don't mind the speed at which I appear to be travelling forward through time but I do have that sense that I should really be doing something more worthwhile with my time. Something that is more meaningful to me and feels a lot less like a routine.

Time to pull this Time Machine over to the side and give my routine an overhaul I think.

The Cage Skatepark - Art and Animation by TET

The Cage Logo.
Continuing on from my last post featuring my early cat art here's some more of my work from ten years later, around 1990-91.

The Cage Skatepark, Perth Western Australia, was the result of a collaborative effort between The Riverton Skatepark Inc., my sister and our group of skate boarding friends.

My sister needed somewhere to put the Vert Ramp she had bought from The Edge Skatepark in Fremantle, that had closed down. Which is how we became involved with Riverton's efforts to set up a park for their local skaters.

As part of my involvement, which included constructing most of the park's smaller ramps and obstacles, I designed its logo.

Monkey Character
by TET
Featuring a monster like character, adapted from a monkey character that I had been drawing in many different poses onto my friends skateboards, the design was used on T-Shirts, Letterhead, the park's sign and throughout the newsletter I published.

I even created a hand drawn (or more accurately 'mouse drawn') animated version which you can see at the beginning of The Cage video below.



On the right is a closer look at the T-Shirt version (slightly distorted due to the T-Shirt stretching).

If memory serves me correctly I think we had a screen with the stencil professionally applied then myself and my sister created a bit of a production line whilst I silk screened all the shirts we printed.

The logo was printed on the back of the shirt. On the front we printed a smaller 'pocket' logo that I designed. (see the image, right)

This was an earlier idea for a logo that was used prior to the park being opened. I think 'The Cage' lettering was added later, after the park was named (it was called 'The Cage' because it was located on a disused tennis court with high fencing all the way around).

Those of you familiar with my animation and video blog may recognise the artwork below which is from the same period. The character is the monster from the logo decked out in skateboarding gear.

This particular image appeared in one of The Cage's Newsletters alongside an article I wrote commenting on skateboarding fashions of the day.

What's interesting (to me at least) about the image above is that, through illustrating the newsletter I learnt a lot about the effect of using different line thicknesses in inking my drawings. How a thicker line could make parts of the drawing stand out more than others, creating a kind of depth to the image.
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