The Emotional Pumpkin


Monday, April 25, 2005

Well, it's day 4 of

the 48th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival, and I am irritated. Not with the movies, of course. Just the organization of (some parts of) the festival. Now, seeing as this year was the 5th year that I went to the Sundance Film Festival, the 2nd that I went to the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival, and also the 2nd that I'm going to SFIFF, I consider myself a seasoned film festival goer. And in my informed opinion, the organizers of all these festivals should get together and take lessons from one another, because not one of them gets it right completely. There are too many small annoyances to count, but the focus of my wrath today is the audience award ballot used by SFIFF. It is incredibly poorly designed. Let's take a look:

SFIFF Audience Award Ballot

So, what's wrong with it? A better question would be: what isn't? You have to write on the ballot; you need to fill in the film's name, as well as circle your rating. You need a writing utensil. This means that either you need to carry a pen with you, or the festival needs to provide pencils for you to write with. This is a pain for you as the film goer and an unnecessary expense for the festival organizers. What they should do is follow the Sundance balloting method:
  • Use tear-through ballots: print the 5 numbers in a large font, well spaced from each other. Then the viewers can just tear through the rating number; no writing implements required.
  • Print the category of award the film is competing for on the ballot.
  • Finally, make a bunch of ballot boxes, each labeled with the name of the film; this means that the viewer doesn't have to write in the name of the film on the ballot, again obviating the need for a writing implement as well as making it easier for the organizers to organize and count the votes later.
Oh, and one more thing; this is not related to the ballot design per se, but they shouldn't hand out ballots for shorts programs. How the hell do you give one rating to a collection of films? I mean, what would you be rating? The ability of the programming team to put together shorts that complement each other? Come on. You'd think they'd been running this festival for 48 hours, not 48 years.

(More rants to follow.)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Temptation strikes back

I am so jealous. I was talking to my little (8th grade) cousin a couple of days ago, and he told me he got a PSP. I want one. I might even go so far as to say: waaaahh!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

So I went to get a haircut

on Friday, and as I was waiting for my hairdresser (stylist?) to finish with her previous client, I was flipping through the magazines they had there. Now, as you might imagine, the normal fare at a salon is of the Vogue or Cosmopolitan variety, so I wasn't expecting to find anything interesting. Then I found the latest issue of Soma magazine. I had not seen nor heard of the magazine before (still don't know much about it, actually), but I was impressed by its sharp, minimalist design. The latest issue, which happened to focus on fashion1, had a little section talking about cool fashion-oriented blogs. Two of the four mentioned struck me as especially interesting:
  • Tokyo Street Style, a photoblog showcasing the latest in Tokyo fashion, which is arguably the most bleeding-edge, if strange, streetwear around these days; most of it seems to make its way over to the US eventually, which is sometimes unfortunate.
  • Manolo's Shoe Blog2 - This is just...great! Hilarious and stylish at the same time. Plus, Manolo talks about himself in the third person. Beat that.
1 Evidently each issue focuses on some theme or other, e.g. film, music, or sports. As far as I can tell, it seems to be the official fashionista magazine. It seems to cover all the latest so-cutting-edge-they're-not-even-trends-yet, and the one word that comes to mind when you see it is hip. Regardless, it is remarkably well-written and, if you can say such a thing without getting struck by lightning, unpretentious.

2 No, not that Manolo.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Temptation revisited

So I spent most of last weekend in San Francisco. While I was there, I did two really cool things:
  1. I went and saw this gallery showing by Ronnie del Carmen and Enrico Casarosa, two artists who work for Pixar. Both of them are exceptionally talented, and I was sorely tempted to buy Fragments, their jointly-published book of their sketches. Practicality eventually won out over temptation, but I am sort of regretting it now.
  2. I went to the Metreon and gave the PSP a test drive. With Wipeout Pure, naturally. For the most part, I agree with the reviewers: the screen is simply a thing of beauty--sharp, crisp and saturated, with a great response time. The analog joystick (it's actually more of a sliding button) is in an awkward position, and the d-pad is much easier to use, at least at first. As for the game, it is just gorgeous. A bit slow, but it gets faster as you unlock higher levels. I am still tempted to buy it, but that $300 price tag is a hefty deterrent. I guess I'll just wait a bit, which is easy to do, since it seems to be out of stock at most if not all of the online retailers.

20% more free!

In my ongoing quest to make my webpages more user-friendly, I've just added a FAQ to my blog templates site.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Mark Steyn on

John Bolton's appointment as US ambassador to the UN:
Sending John Bolton to be ambassador to the U.N. is like ... putting Sudan and Zimbabwe on the Human Rights Commission. Or letting Saddam's Iraq chair the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. Or sending a bunch of child-sex fiends to man U.N. operations in the Congo. And the Central African Republic. And Sierra Leone, and Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, Kosovo, and pretty much everywhere else.

All of the above happened without the U.N. fetishists running around shrieking hysterically. Why should America be the only country not to enjoy an uproarious joke at the U.N.'s expense?
Steyn is, as usual, brutally sarcastic, heartlessly honest, and...absolutely right. Read. The. Whole. Thing. (Via VodkaPundit)

Sin City update

I saw it Friday, and liked it. It wasn't quite what I expected, but very stylish film noir, just the same. 3 stars.