Sunday, January 20, 2008

Education and entertainment

I've been a busy little bee today. Firstly, because I actually managed to do what I'd planned to do last weekend and go to … a Mac workshop!

(And before someone makes the obvious comment, no I do not mean I went to a factory to make waterproof jackets)

No - I went to the Apple Store to take part in an iPhoto workshop. Since I got my new computer, y'see, I've been determined to learn and make use of every aspect of it, and I figured this would be a good way of getting to grips with the new version of iPhoto; the last version I had was pretty basic and I just used it as somewhere to dump pictures, while the new one is a bit more, well, intricate and I want to make proper use of it.

So off I toddled to the Apple Store in Kingston, where I joined an old couple and their crazy friend in some iPhoto-based tuition. Unfortunately, the workshop actually took place in the middle of the store so I was continually jostled by young chavs desperate to find a machine on which to check their Bebo accounts. Good times ahoy, though - a bunch of them were escorted out of the store by a security guard after being a bit too raucous. Anyway, it was a rather well-spent hour; the iDude leading the, um, class took us through the basic bits (which the old lady dutifully noted down in a little notepad), then on to the more complex elements like how to split photos off into events, and how to order photo books and other stuff like calendars and cards. This latter part was actually quite awesome, because I think technically I could use this to self-publish a copy of something Grum and I work on - maybe The Nightlies? OK, it'd be a rather expensive way of doing it, but it would be nice to actually have a physical copy - kind of like a calling card, I s'pose. We'll see - I know how to use iPhoto now, so it's a possibility at the very least.

And I can *finally* organise my photos properly.


In the evening I headed back to Kingston because my bro and I went to see Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem, or AVPR as we're supposed to call it - which I refuse to because it's just a bunch of random letters and doesn't look like it actually means anything.

So, what did we think? Well, overall I enjoyed it. It is a big dumb action film, and nowhere near as good as, say, Aliens, but it killed a couple of hours quite easily, and it was fun to watch lots of pretty young people being killed by having their brains punched out by the aliens' auxiliary mouths. There were a couple of bits that totally ripped off/paid homage to moments in the older films of the respective franchises - most notably a bit where an alien sniffs a young woman, which reminded me of a similar bit in Alien 3, and a bit where a hardcore military mom drove an armoured truck through town, which was like Ripley driving an armoured truck in Aliens. Come to think of it, the hardcore military mom also had a daughter, who I was hoping would say "they mostly come at night. Mostly." Sadly she just screamed a lot.

Just a couple of gripes: firstly - and this is non-spoilerific - some hobos get totally face-huggered-up. Now, we all now that the aliens take on certain attributes of the life forms they impregnate - hence the massive-headed, faintly-ridiculous looking Pred-alien that appears in the film. That being the case, don't you think the face huggers might have taken one look at a bunch of old, drunk hobos, recoiled from the smell, and gone "d'ya know what - I think we should keep looking. Y'know, just keep our options open a bit." Surely the aliens born as a result of huggering-up those wasters would be pretty rubbish. They'd just sit there on their slimy arses, stinking of booze and poo, knocking back Special Brew and singing incoherently. 

The other thing is that part of me – and this also stretches back to the first AVP movie - is kinda troubled by the contemporary setting of these movies. I think it kind of undermines the Alien franchise, which given the choice between the two is, in my opinion,the better of the two beasts. That said, I did like seeing aliens running amok through small-town America. I'm just not quite sure how to tie everything together in my brain. The predator in this movie was a bit of a doofus, though. He turns up on his own to deal with a shitload of aliens (Duuur, take some friends along, make a weekend of it), faffs about, can't aim his guns for toffee, and generally screws things up. Oh, and he's got this little vial of blue goo that destroys all evidence of the aliens; the first time he poured it on a body my immediate thought was "well, you're gonna need a ton more of that, buddy." And what does he do later? Drops it. The tit.

Anyway, one last observation: why is it that in all the films featuring predators they have to strip naked for the final confrontation? In this one, stupid predator's in the midst of a full-on beat down with a bunch of aliens when he takes a step back, drops his guns, takes off his belt, disconnects his air-hose, and whips off his helmet. And the freakin' aliens stand there and watch him do it! Anyway, once he's down to his bra and panties he goes back to proper 'bring-it' mode again. Those two definitely love each other. Anyway, it's crazy, but as I said, entertaining enough as long as you disengage your brain.


One unexpected surprise Simon and I got while waiting for the film to start was that we got chatting to some guy sitting along from us. He basically heard me talking to Simon about the Mac workshop, and asked me an Apple-based question. Turns out he was a filthy student, and although I couldn't answer his question, he gave me a 2 for 1 voucher valid in March (turns out Odeon were giving away calendars with vouchers attached at his uni, so he grabbed a load); I'm usually quite wary of strangers talking to me, but this dude was OK. Although I kind of think that his girlfriend was a bit pissed at him for taking her to see Aliens Vs Predator. So while I'm thankful for the voucher, I would, however, maybe suggest that next time he takes her to the flicks he picks a rom-com rather than a full-on monster beat-down movie…


Inexplicable DeVice said...

I watched Alien Resurrection last night before going out - Slightly ridiculous, but very entertaining with Sigourney on top form!
So now, I can't wait to see Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (I can see why it would be easier to type AvP:R...) - I'll probably see it tomorrow or Tuesday after work, I think.

Bring on those hobo Aliens!

Tim said...

I actually wondered whether I should watch the first AVP again before seeing the second one, then I figured I could probably wing it - not quite Shakespeare!

Hobo aliens attack!

Tara said...

Now see I'd rather go to an alien vs predator movie rather than a chick flick. Not sure if I should be proud of that, but I'm going to embrace that. ;) You're right, too many initials in that movie title. Initials can be overrated.

Tim said...

High five to you, Tara! And to be honest, Alien definitely loves Predator, so I think it could totally be considered a romance film anyway.

Dinah said...

I have very little desire to see AvP:R, but I think I'm enjoying the reactions to it more than I would seeing the actual movie. I like your descriptions of the people at the iPhoto workshop.

Tim said...

Dinah - Alien and Predator are like the Noah and Luke of space. Seriously.

T-Bird said...

What? They keep trying to hook up in busy places and get interrupted?

Tim said...

Yeah, totally - they're clearly just about to have some sweet, sweet make-up sex when dudes keep going at them with uzis and wotnot!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Well, I watched AvP:R on Tuesday night.

What a stinker.

However, I held my nose and quite enjoyed it. You're right about the rip off/homages to previous films - even the music was similar when Military Mom (who's daughter is called Molly O'Brien, btw. Was someone a TNG/DS9 fan?) drove through town in the APC.
What I really liked, though, was that the kid bought it in the woods - I was all ready to walk out if he somehow escaped the facehuggers and made it back to town. Thankfully, he died horribly!

Good times!

Tim said...

Ha! It's certainly the sort of film that everyone walks out of saying "well that was a load of old tat … I loved it!"

And hark at you with your military terms - APC, eh?