I went over to my friends' house last Saturday night, and when I arrived there, they said that they'd rented the movie Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers on DVD. They'd seen it before, but they were very eager to see it again. And as for me, I hadn't seen it at all. So we settled down on couches and in bean-bags to watch this movie. There were a lot of snacks on hand like chips, popcorn, crackers, dip, and snake-lollies – so much food, that there was enough for everyone.
The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers is a film about this bunch of people who travel across the land, through forests and swamps, across bridges and mountains, and along the way they find lots of evil people who try to kill them, and good people, and some other people who are sort of halfway-good and halfway-evil. Towards the end of the movie, the plot is concerned with this big army of monsters who are trying to kill a whole city of people, and there doesn't seem to be any hope for the people who are shut inside a castle, trying to fight off the monsters who are beating down the doors and climbing the walls. They don't have guns in this movie, so they fight with bows and arrows and stuff like that. I don't know exactly where the "Two Towers" in the title fit into it.
This film was very exciting and extremely entertaining. As well as all the large-scale fight-scenes there were a lot of beautiful moments with the landscapes and the lighting effects – some of it was done on computers. There was this one character, named "Gollum", who was amazing to look at – he was like a human-figure but they put the special-effects on him to make him look very strange, like a little elf. Also, they had these trees which could walk around and talk to eachother, and they didn't look stupid, like guys in costumes, they looked massive and powerful. So the little men talked to the big trees, and at first I thought they were the same little men who made friends with Gollum, then I figured out that they were two other guys. And then, at the end of the movie, we saw a little twelve minute documentary about the making of the film and a preview of the next sequel – it was interesting, and you get some idea of how much effort they went to on this movie.
Spring is in the air and already I'm noticing that the weather is better – like, today, when I went down to the beach and sat on the sand, I didn't need a jumper. When I was sitting on a chair outside the shops, taking pictures of passers-by, some guy came up to me and asked me what I was doing. When he realised I was taking photos, he was very interested and he said "Can I have a look at that camera? I like looking at cameras and stuff like that." So I said yes. He stared at the camera for a few seconds and then he went away. That's the end of that story.
It'll be Fathers Day on Sunday so I figured it would be nice if I make a card for Dad. So I designed a Fathers Day card on my computer. I don't have a printer, but I figured I could print it out at the Swinburne University Library which is nearby. They just recently installed a colour printer there, and it's only about sixty-six cents per page. I put the greeting-card images on floppy-disk and carried them to the computer-lab in the university library.
Normally, when I go to the computer-lab, I type in my user-name and my password to log on to the network. But this time, when I tried it, it didn't work. It said "Invalid User-Name" or something. I tried it a few times, on a several different computers, but it was always the same error-message.
I thought to myself, "Darn! I knew this would happen sooner or later, because I'm not really a student at this university – but why did it have to happen now, when they've just installed that colour printer? And how am I going to print my card? I don't have much time left before Fathers Day."
One option was to take the digital-files to a photo-lab or a colour photocopying shop, and have them printed that way. But instead, I decided to buy a new colour ink-jet printer. So I went to the computer-shop that I always go to, where they know me by name because I've been going there for so many years. I said to them, "I'd like to buy a printer – some sort of colour ink-jet in the mid range."
So the salesman picked one out for me and he said, "This one is good."
And I said, "Okay, I'll have that one then."
I took the printer home and set it up. I didn't have much room so I put it on top of my amplifier. I inserted the colour ink cartridge and the black ink cartridge, in accordance with the instructions on the screen. Then I turned it on and tried to print a sample page of black text and colour images – it worked very well. Then I printed the Father's Day card in high quality mode on the glossy paper which was provided. It looked very nice, just like a photo. I bet I'll be able to print lots of different greeting cards on this printer. It says on the box that it can do 5760 dots-per-inch. You know, printing technology sure has come a long way in the past few years. I hear coloured ink is very expensive, though – I probably won't use this printer very often. Just on special occasions.
A few days ago I was playing with this very difficult puzzle – it's called a "Rubik's Cube" and it's like a cube that has lots of coloured squares and you have to get all the colours together. I can't solve it. It was very frustrating so I decided to take the puzzle apart and re-assemble the cubes so that they were in the correct order. So that way, it looked like I had solved it, but there was no satisfaction in it because I had cheated. Anyway, a few minutes later I messed it up again, thinking "It's no fun having a solved puzzle – I want to fiddle with it some more." Maybe I should look up a solution on the net or something – that would be cheating too, in a way, but not as much.
This week I worked on my painting a little, concentrating especially on the tiger's face and neck. On Tuesday I spent some time learning how to play the song "Learning To Fly" by Pink Floyd. I was all ready to play it at a practice with the Pink Floyd Tribute band that I'm in, but the practice was cancelled at the last minute. The leader of the band says that we'll practise twice next week, to make up for lost time.
Flash animation – move your mouse over it to make the weightless people slow down and speed up
This Wednesday I went to the karaoke and I sat down the back – then this girl came up to me and said maybe I should come over and sit with her. She was with a group of friends. So I sat with her while the first few karaoke acts performed. She asked me what I do, and I told her that I'm an artist and photographer and stuff. She said that she does graphic design, and she showed me a magazine that she designed, it was like a student periodical for a university. And then she said some things about Australian Idol. She was a nice girl, but she was sitting up the back so I didn't stick with her – I wanted to be up the front where the action and dancing was. So I left her behind. And later I sang the song "All the Small Things" by Blink 182 – it was very fun because it was a "punk" song and the crowd liked it. I wanted to sing another song after that but the MC didn't announce me, even though I stayed late enough to catch the late tram – I could've sworn he skipped over my name on the list.
Historical photo of the week:
Stephen Clark, 24 years old.
This week I read the book "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" – it's one of those books that's hard to put down. Don't read this bit if you haven't read the book, 'cause I'm going to give away the ending. It's about this guy who's a fugitive on the run, and everyone's scared of him because they think he's a killer, but it turns out that he's innocent and he's trying to clear his name. It's like in that film, The Fugitive, but in this book there's wizards and stuff. At the beginning I thought he might be innocent, because of the way Harry Potter's uncle reacted to the news report about him. But I was misdirected later when I heard about how there were so many witnesses to the murders that he supposedly committed. J.K. Rowling, the author, is the master of this kind of misdirection in her plot-lines. There was a bit of time-travel in this book, too – that part of the plot didn't really make sense but it was still cool. Future Harry saved past Harry's life by stopping the evil prison guards from giving him the "kiss of death". How can a future person save their own life, in the past? And why did the prison guards try to give Harry the "kiss of death", anyway – that was never really explained.
That show Six Feet Under is very well-written and well acted. It's all about this family who are in the business of arranging funerals. I especially like that cute girl actress in it, Lauren Ambrose – she's amazing. And it deals with all sorts of issues about people's attitudes to life and death. At the start of each episode someone dies – I try to predict who's going to die and how it's going to happen, but somehow they always surprise me. This is a high quality show which I try to never miss.