Media Rundown

Combo-post time!

Movies
Saw the new Adam Sandler flick "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" this weekend. It's stupid. It's vulgar. It's hysterical. And I can't wait to pick it up on DVD when it comes out (which might be any day now based on the reviews).

Adam Sandler is the Zohan (aka Scrappy Coco), an Israeli counter-terrorist with super-human strength, flexibility, and pubic hair. He tires of the constant fighting with the Palestinians and longs to leave Israel for America where he can pursue his life-long dream... to cut and style hair. He wants to make America "silky smooth." He finally gets his chance in a Palestinian-run beauty parlor in New York City and garners quite the fanbase due to his willingness to satisfy the elderly women who patronize the shop. That is, until he falls in love.

I'll be honest here, this movie isn't for everyone. It's pretty over the top in terms of stupidity and has a pretty high raunch factor, but those who want to laugh will certainly do so. Those looking for cinema or an art-house experience should look elsewhere. It's true that the movie does actually address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a pretty humorous way, and it's also true that there are a number of funny cameo appearances in the film. This movie is not unlike Austion Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. It's moronic to say the least, but that might be its best feature.

Videogames
Haven't been playing much lately, but I did come across something very interesting in the paper yesterday. A Bellevue vascular surgeon has developed a vest gamers can wear that uses an air compressor to, essentially, inflict the force of explosions and being hit with bullets for those playing action games.

From the Seattle Times:

Coming soon is a helmet in which players can feel head shots and a racing-game vest that simulates the g-forces felt by a Formula One driver.

Yet another model was created for military training. Ombrellaro said he's close to a deal with the Canadian military for units with wireless connections and gas cylinders that can be turned up high enough to leave bruises when soldiers are "hit" during training exercises.

The standard $169 vest includes a book-size air compressor and a USB cable. The compressor fills air bladders in the vest. When you start playing, it feels a little like getting a blood-pressure check, and the air drives eight quarter-sized actuators on the front, back and sides.

Hits are pretty gentle and don't sting. They have about 5 pounds of force, the equivalent of a roll of pennies dropped from about 6 inches above your stomach, Ombrellaro said.

But that's not enough for some early users, so TN developed an upgraded compressor with about 70 percent more pressure. It will sell for around $50 extra later this year.

The top priority for the company, however, is building relationships with game developers so that the vest activation codes are built into their games. It's also pushing hard to break into the console market.


You can read the full article and see a photo of the vest at Brier Dudley's blog. I can't help but recall a toy I had when I was a kid that tried to provide some physical pain as an incentive to not "get shot" by your friends. The guns took 4 D batteries, were connected to a helmet that you wore, and fired an infrared beam. When "hit" by one of your friends a small plastic piston would rapidly tap you in the temple over and over for several seconds. It didn't hurt, but I can tell you from experience that it sure as hell didn't feel good. Kids today have it too easy...

Oh, one other thing: Gamasutra has a pretty interesting analysis of each of the online game stores available through the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. The gist of the article is to try and show a downturn in the number of games being offered in 2008 versus 2007, but it's using the latter half of 2007 and the first half of 2008 to base the comparison on, which I think is a rather small sample size. See the graphs and read the study right here.

Books
I read Willie Weir's book Spokesongs during my weekend flying back and forth to NJ and readily enjoyed it. The book is divided into three sections with each containing over a dozen brief essays from one of his annual 5-month long bike trips. The book covers his bicycle tour of India, a trip he made throughout South Africa, and also a trip around the Balkans.

I was hoping for a bit more how-to advice or even a little bit more discussion about gear or the logistics of transporting his bike and what he packed, but the book was still enjoyable. Probably more than it would have been if he had made it a how-to book, actually. Many of his stories were entertaining or filled with some sense of dread or excitement, and nearly all of them were just 3-5 pages long so reading the book can be consumed in bite-size portions.

Willie is a fine writer and really paints the portrait well of where he is and the people he's with. And while I'm not so sure extended bicycle touring is something that truly interests me, I did enjoy reading his tales enough to pick up another book on the subject. I'll be digging into the book titled, Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents later this week hopefully. The book chronicles Jim Malusa's bicycle journeys to the lowest point on each of the major inhabited continents. Should be fun.

1 comment:

patrick said...

Adam Sandler is classic in his own way, though he tends to do his best work when he stays casual, not trying too hard to be funny or deep, etc.