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About Deviant Member Michael Andrew BaldelliMale/United States Recent Activity
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A Couch Potato's Review of The Anomaly (2014)
    When it came to this particular movie, I heard nothing about it.  No previews, no reviews, nothing in the newspapers, not even word of mouth from friends or Usenetters into Science Fiction.  And if it's enough to pique my interest to pick it up, it usually means it's some sort of bomb that would make even the most casual and easily entertained of movie-goers groan in horror and eye-roll themselves into an epileptic seizure.  Think movies like Battle Beyond the Stars, or Starcrash, or even Mutant Chronicles bad.  

    What can I say?  One of the habits I picked up from my step-father is the ability to home in on the worst possible movies to watch while I idle away a few hours between the various other virtues (and vices) I have.  The only difference between my step-father and I is I don't try to entice others by saying things like "…I heard this was a good movie…" and hope they're going to come along for the ride.  No, these stinkers are only for me as I only subject myself to these sort of celluloid nightmares.

    Surprisingly though, this wasn't quite a stinker as I was expecting.  Quite the opposite really.  It was good.  It was entertaining.  While there were some glitches with the story telling, they were minor enough for me to ignore as I continued to figure out what was going on with the story
    The story opens up with Ryan (played by Noel Clarke) as he finds himself unconscious on the floor in the back of an armoured car and wondering where he was and what was going on.  In the back of this armoured car is also a young boy, chained up against the wall with his head covered with some sort of fabric bag.  Ryan looks at his watch and realizes that he's lost time, he's not where he's supposed to be and the boy's name is Alex (played by Art Parkinson).  The two of them escape from the armoured car and after a chase end up in a cemetery where Alex twists his ankle, the two of them hide from their captors.  The driver of the truck catches up with them and after a surprising fight (to the audience as it’s not entirely leaked that Ryan’s ex-military), Noel beats his captor to the ground and returns to Alex hiding behind a tombstone.  The boy explains that he had been abducted from his mother (who had been killed) by men in red masks and didn't know where he was going.  While Noel and Alex are trying to sort out what happened and why they were there to each of them, another of the accomplices (played by Ian Somerhalder) shows up near to them and dialing a mobile phone (this movie is clearly in the future as the phone looks like a simple piece of clear plastic), calls Noel and asks him where he is.  After hanging up and putting the phone away, he begins picking through his coat pockets, first pulling out a pistol from one side, and then a red mask from the other.  Alex realizes that he's talking to one of his abductors and begins screaming blue murder.  Noel begins pressing against the area just behind the ears and he (through the use of special effects) blacks out.  

    The story pretty much goes like this from beginning to end.  You learn that Ryan is ex-military -- which clearly explains his fighting prowess in certain scenes.  You learn that he was being treated for PTSD for some reason (that unfolds later on in the movie).  You learn that this movie is in some undisclosed future based on the buildings, the Blade Runner-esque billboard advertising floating up in the story along with the general technology used by the characters.  You learn that there the villains are a father (played by Brian Cox) and son (Somerhalder) team.  You learn that Ryan gets help from one of the unlikeliest places (although typical of Hollywood and only moderately typical of UK Production Companies) -- a prostitute that he rescues during his "lucid" moments named Dana (played by Alexis Knapp).  Finally you learn how he overcomes these black-outs which ties the story up rather nicely.  And Ryan does this all within the 10 minutes each time he recovers his personality.
    It's pretty amazing all the things he learns within those 10 minutes and how much of it he remembers again when he regains lucidity.  It's also pretty amazing in the time between these moments, he finds himself in various places in the world:  London, New York City, even Shanghai I think, some unspecified building with its windows boarded up, a secret lab, a secret location where he confronts who's causing him these problems, out in the middle of a field in what feels like the middle of nowhere, a brothel with peep windows, and on and on.  Even finding himself in an interrogation room on an airplane.  It’s the sort of scenery choosing that lends an air of confusion when the protagonist is suddenly recovering his memory.

    A sort of downside I found watching this is that while it’s good that there’s compressed time through editing, the impact of how much time that passes between these lucid moments is pretty much lessened by everything else going on.  It took me a second run through of the movie for me to put together the amount of days and weeks that passed between the first occurrence and the last.  There were even times you didn’t know when it was.  While this isn’t too much of a detractor, it’s enough for me to pause a few moments to put it together in my head for without that timeline, it felt like a jumble between time and location.  

    The fight choreography in this movie is certainly better than its Hollywood counterparts (this movie was produced in the UK).  None of this shaky-cam or CGI nonsense covering up the movements of the actors.  And though I understand how such fight choreography works in the Western World -- I really got the impression that the blows exchanged by the actors were connecting a lot harder than they actually were.  There were a couple of scenes where the camera moved to odd angles in order to cover up the choreography (to maintain the illusion of realism), these change of camera angles weren't bad enough to detract from the enjoyment of certain people getting the snot beaten out of them for being the assorted minor villains in the story (like the pimp Sergio (played by Michael Bisping) or his henchmen).  

    Storytelling was solid and flowed from scene to scene making it believable enough to keep me entertained without breaking the suspension of disbelief needed to make this story believable,  Although I did find myself surfacing (back to reality) toward the end when I realized that the diabolical plan launched by the father and son team was a little too far-fetched for just one person to control the world in the way that they were proposing, at least the plot didn't get far enough along for this aspect to detract from the story.  I remembered when I started questioning my ability to suspend my disbelief it's not as though the science for this diabolical plan hadn't been introduced in the past -- I remember stories dating back to the 60s that introduced something similar, so that didn't completely distract me from the entertainment value of this film.  

    Looking at the credits and information on IMDB, I realized I caught that one of the piece of trivia:  the picture of Ryan and his wife (shown later in the film) were of Clarke and Freema Agyeman which was used as a prop in an episode of Doctor Who where his character from that series was married to her character in an alternative timeline.  No doubt Mr. Clarke was given that as a gift for the work he had done in Doctor Who and contributed it to this movie.  
Bottom Line:  Seeing that it had been released to US theaters, this had to have been a sleeper.  One that I highly recommend to watch if you're into science fiction and world-engulfing conspiracies.  It's entertaining, albeit a bit trite in some places (like the ending), but at least it's not the typical insipid nonsense Hollywood grinds out ad nausea.  And leaves the audience wondering, "What would you do if you were in the protagonist's place?"
A Couch Potato's Review of The Maze Runner (2014)

I can't remember when the teasers for this movie came out, but I do remember when I saw it, I added it to my queue of “To Watch” once it came out on DVD.  Having seen it come up on the list as available – I decided to go pick it up.  I can't remember when precisely in the movie that it changed from intrigued to apathetic, but I can tell you I became disgusted with it about the time when the protagonist ended up in the maze during the night.  But then again I'm getting ahead of myself, like I always do.  

The story is simple enough.  You have a maze.  You have teenagers that are brought to the surface and according to near the introduction of the protagonist only seems to happens when they lose one – though they get a monthly dole of food and what not to supplement what they grow.  You have teenagers that have amnesia of their lives prior to coming to the surface.  You have them trying to figure out how to get out of the maze that seems to change nightly.  And....  blah....  at this point, I lost interest in this yet another young-adult book turned into a Hollywood Blockbuster.

I admitted on Twitter with friends and perhaps a few followers that I wanted the almost two hours of my sitting there trying to watch this movie back, but after watching a reviewer on YouTube (that called the movie part Lord of the Flies, part Labyrinth and The Shining without the humour), I realized the reason why I didn't like the beginning of the film had more to do with the nightmares I was feeling as this movie was retreading a book that brought me horror in high school: Lord of the Flies.  Yeah, that book brought me the sort of anxiety not because of the social commentary that my English Teacher was supposed to be educating us about the dangers talked about within the book – but instead seemed to remind me too keenly that being at the bottom of the social pyramid (by being a Nerd and a Geek the first ten years of my school life) was not a good thing.  

With that aside, the actors while teenagers and twenty-somethings might have identified many of the actors in this – I could only recognize one from the one and only episode that I watched of Game of Thrones: Thomas Brodie-Sangster.  While that's not necessarily a distraction, I sure wish it was given that the plot itself was ill-thought out (at best) to the same sort of trite bullshit that seems to be the product of this generations attempt at educating “young-adults” to the world around them...  

I admit that my perception for this batch of young-adult-turned-movies was permanently marred by my curiosity with the Divergent trilogy.  While the movie Divergent didn't cause me to raise the sort of questions that the books had, having plowed through the trilogy in about a week I realized that (Veronica) Roth while having a sub-adequate understanding of character development had zero understanding of world-building.  Because of this, it had – for lack of better words – warped my perception of this movie.  It made it hard for me to accept that it took three years and a “special” character introduced to lead the movie: Thomas to change the dynamics (of the groups surviving in the center of the maze) of going into the maze at night and even to fight the Grievers that patrolled the maze then.  That for the last three years none of the teens in the middle had the gonads to even try...  

While the plot leading them inside the installation where the grievers were held and later to be discovered where the lot of them came from was pedantic at best,  the revelations once they had reached the laboratory portion of the maze were both lackluster and lacking any basic understanding of science.  Having read the wiki information on the book, I realize that the part where the sun scorched the Earth was added by Hollywood trying to create some sort of panic through FUD for the entertainment of the movie – the real reason remains intact:  a virus called FLARE is the reason for this  experiment and some unseen scientists are trying to find a cure.

While I assume that Roth and Dashner had no idea of each other and the plots they were writing, I can't help but see the similarities between both. Both have some clandestine group experimenting on a section of humanity in order to cure the whole.  Both have too much “magic” to make their protagonists, heroic.  And most importantly, both have positively no idea how the world works because they're too busy trying to make the central point the heroes of the story-telling stand out.  

I find myself feeling bad for the next generation of humanity interested in science fiction as a vehicle for story-telling.  When I was in high school I remembering reading such writers like Asimov, Herbert, Niven, Pohl and Heinlein.  For fantasy I remember Donaldson, Anthony, Zelazny and Cherryh.  I remember when characters weren't necessarily special because of some magical earmark that the author gave them because “they're the hero” but instead had to prove to both the readers as well as the characters in the world that they were special.  More importantly, how these writers spent a great deal of time fleshing out their worlds (and even galaxy) with consistency, with understanding of the basic rules of sociology and most importantly with science.  They wrote their characters with the intent of teaching the current (and next) generation “that's what you want to be when grow up to be”; instead of what seems to be prevalent since the 90s that “everyone is special no matter what your age is”.  

Finally I have positively no interest in picking up these books to change my opinion.  Having read the synopses of the next two books from Wikipedia, I find myself continuing the same disgust with what I skimmed as I did from the Divergent trilogy.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I'd rather read McDevitt instead at least that man talks with friends and acquaintances from places like JPL to back up his understanding of physics to make them believable.  

Bottom Line: I have seen quite a bit of fervour from the “young-adults” on this film defending both this and Divergent from disparaging reviews, I remind them that my opinion doesn't negate theirs.  You like this movie and the corresponding books?  Good for you.  Enjoy them to their fullest.  Me?  I suggest you pick up Asimov and Heinlein and expand your understanding of Science Fiction.  This tripe is worse than some of the pulpy science fiction I've read from the turn of the century.  
Movie Review: The Maze Runner (2014)
The first of a few movie reviews that I've watched the last couple of days. 
Queers and Dating by mbaldelli
Queers and Dating
Just something I was inspired with talking with someone on Wordpress (and Twitter)...  This is a temporary upload for download and perusing.  It will be removed within the week. 
Biology Class is in Marble by mbaldelli
Biology Class is in Marble
Apophysis 7x (R15), Un-Retouched 

Guess the bioluminscent bacteria swirling in the glass globe and be the teacher's pet (complete with gold star) for the day! 
Four by Four Marble by mbaldelli
Four by Four Marble
Apophysis 7x (R15), Un-Retouched 

A little chaos and a little of Elizabeth Tomachek's Bag of Marbles Batch Script while I take a break from the gaming I'm doing on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 


Michael Andrew Baldelli
United States
And in case anyone wonders....

1. I drink rarely. Once a year at best.
2. I use earbuds when in video chat because they have better noise cancellation.
3. Those are the glasses that got destroyed in Entry 608.

Someone chats me up on one of the local dating boards and goes off on a random rant about how so many people seem to come visit his profile but no one ever seems to hit him up. He blames it on queerfolk wanting Superman that lives a block away...

I responded with:   

One of the biggest problems with profiles comes from the way people try to make their profiles all – for lack of a better word – hetero norm. Add to the fact that many of us here (and yes I admit I'm one of them) comes from the experience of personal ads in local rags and our inherent ability to try to read between the lines. Things end up getting translated from one thing to another and whatever charm one might have aimed for is translated to something completely different. Why do you think I wrote my profile the way I did? For people to translate the scary to terrifying and the good to bland. It would take someone of exception character to realize the truth of the paradox.

I then went on to say:

I can tell you the fact I didn't respond was because your six things you can't live without didn't include coffee. With coffee not being on the top six (or some explanation as I had) I wasn't sure whether you'd fully appreciate one of the few vices I live by. I also try to avoid people that live next door; instead looking farther away from the New England area. You see, I am a living example of, "writers – when they're alone, they're prophetic; when they're with people, they're pathetic. They're just too in their heads. " I am not in a rush to meet and have coffee. I like learning about people from their writing instead of face to face as I can learn more by what they write about than what they project.


The thing is that no sooner than he read my response, he updated his profile to include the hows and the whys. He even went so far as to accentuate the one thing I didn't bring up: his height (I might get to that in a minute). He re-wrote it to being a little less (what I call) hetero-norm. He added elements that people don't often talk about: spirituality... I mean sure I've seen plenty of people professing one form of Christianity or another, but not so much Buddhism or other spiritual paths. Of course the price for this wisdom and this change of approach with his profile is he stopped talking to me and then went to blocking me.

While I expected most of his response to the advice I had given him (stopping the conversation and perhaps even the block), it got me to thinking about the conversation I had with @JayTheManDater over on his blog on WordPress. While I found myself relieved that the conversation didn't lead to embarrassing and potentially shallow admissions on my part (I am looking for someone taller than me, not shorter), at the same time I find myself modestly disappointed not even a “thank you” was given for what I said... After all this man was 12 years older than I was and was definitely raised to know what manners were.... It did also give me a giggle on how he had admitted that part of the reason why he moved away from Boston was because of the Non-Bostonian Hate that he would get for being from Boston. Why the giggle? Because Rhode Islanders call people from the state north of ours “Massholes” and it struck me ironic that he did precisely the thing that causes Rhode Islanders to call them that...   

It also got me thinking about how manners in the Tundras of New England have changed so much. As a world traveler, I continue to be amazed about how people around here avoid anything and everything with strangers that require manners or politeness to be used. The older people (I'm talking Octogenarian) might nod in your direction or say “hello” as you walk by... My age and younger positively avoid it. During my daily walk I've watched people ignore me, look away, sometimes even so much as cross the street in order to avoid being remotely civil.

The only response I have for queerfolk here is, “and you wonder why I look outside of the area?”

Still though, it makes this old queer proud. I might not be thanked, I might even be ignored... But at least people hear what I'm saying and making use of it. And with that, I'm off. Time for some inspirational music and to read through some of my news sites before it's time to take the Monster Child out for his afternoon walk. Until the next time.

  • Mood: Mesmerized
  • Listening to: An Unusual Chicane Playlist
  • Reading: Engines of God by Jack McDevitt
  • Drinking: Water

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cartoon-girl-2010 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2014
Hey no prob :) (I love the marbles...reminds me of my own collection I've gathered over the years...still have a favorite dark aqua shooter on my dresser from way back)
Wretched--Stare Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You were 100% correct, I contacted the Acer engineers, who replicated the same problem on a few of their A10 Richland's, both Mobile and Desktop.

They tested the temps physically and they are right where they should be. Most software is falsely recognizing  GPU and CPU as separate chip but listing the temps together on the CPU meter.  

Thanks for your input Michael . :handshake:
mbaldelli Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014
you're welcome...  The reason why I caught it as I did was the board temperatures...  the temps are normally taken near enough to the processor (but not so near as to give false positives).  when I saw the board temp as low as I did, I figured the processor was running cooler than reported in the print-screen. 

You know once the Acer tech's report more on how the processors work, you'll be seeing improvements on the programs that are falsely reporting. 

Happy computing.  :w00t:
Wretched--Stare Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
:) I hope so it seems AMD is pushing a new line of low to the high-end APU's this year. The APU cell like architecture needs to be recognized in software. 
mbaldelli Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2014
I'm of the school of "wait and see".  I'm reminded of the Cyrix chip when this sort of thing is going to be pushed.  Good for the start, but can be buried under when you least expect it.  It's not that I'm hopeful, but truthfully Intel is as dirty a player as Steve Jobs was in his day.
(1 Reply)
Wretched--Stare Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the favorite Michael. 

I got it pretty cheap it is usually $100+ but I got it for about $58.  
mbaldelli Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
:XD:  Keep in mind I'm only :+fav:'ing it because it's coffee...  Not Keurig
Wretched--Stare Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Some day Keurig WILL RULE THE WORLD Laugh ! 

I had a espresso/ coffee machine from CBTL that took its own kind of pods made in Italy but its being fazed out in favor of the company making K-cups for 
Keurig. It made a nice cup with the creamy froth from high pressure and good temperature.  I will miss it but I am in a rush in the mornings and at least this machine is reliable and I can get my fix with one push of a button while I get ready.

Depending on the brand and roast the coffee isn't that bad. I like the Gevalia 100% Colombian and Green Mountain
Special Reserve Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee myself with 100% Kona being a close third. 

What is your favorite kind of coffee 
Michael?     And for the love of God don't say Maxwell house! 
mbaldelli Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014
Gevalia actually...  before they became so commercial.  I usually gravitated towards the dark roasts as they rarely needed sugar and/or milk/creamer they were that smooth and sweet. I used to grind the beans myself.  Since then though, it's a toss-up.  When I have the money I try different sorts at local Coffee Houses or at Whole Foods, depending on the amount of energy I have to walk about the city.  

Maxwell House is just a filler if I can't get anything better..  Remember, I'm a coffee whore.  :D 
(1 Reply)
blessed-saen Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
thanks for the fav. :)
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