I’d been meaning to see this movie for quite some time. A big Michael Crichton fan, I was actually quite terrified whilst reading Sphere; typically Crichton it was well written with interesting characters and a detailed plot.

The movie annoyed me right at the outset, with an overly theatrical introduction piece before actually getting to anything. Blah, bad impression. Anyway, after it started, things started to pick up. Unfortunately, this movie was at a disadvantage by default, because it was trying to make something out of a book. I’m always disappointed when this happens – there’s just too much stuff that happens in books to fit in a 2 hour movie.

The actors that were chosen to play the relevant book characters were pretty decent. Samuel L. Jackson in particular was good in his role as the arrogant mathematician Harry. The development of the characters was pretty hurried, but you still got a pretty decent idea of why they were all there.

The movie was an interesting combination of “made for TV” and pretending to be a book, divided into several “chapters”. This didn’t really do anything great for it, but didn’t detract too much, so I sorta just accepted it, and moved on. A few nice underwater special effects – I was annoyed, however, at the lack of a giant squid.

To cut a long, boring story somewhat short… overall, the movie was average. It was watchable, preferably if you hadn’t read the book first. However, it did do a pretty good job of trying to cram in all the things that happened in the book. It left off the sneaky (aka, typically female) Beth bit at the end though, dammit.

Verdict: see it, if you’re bored. If you’re not that bored, get out Abyss instead, its got Michael Biehn and more guns and aliens and stuff.

Melbourne Trip

Just got back from my road trip to Melbourne. One of my good friends was moving back there, and me being a crazy person decided that I didn’t want her to have to drive back the whole way by herself, so I offered to go with her. Driving 20 hours non-stop, it was a pretty slawful journey, but we somehow managed to make it. Interesting things that happened along the way were:

  • It rained all through the night, making driving an extreme pain in the ass
  • The highbeams stopped working properly, at one point taking out all the nights together – in the middle of night, while it was pissing with rain.
  • Watching the awesome highways twisting and turning to provide the least straight route possible (the addition of a bunch of 90 degree turns in the road was also awesome)
  • Accidentally driving 70km out of the way, and having to backtrack
  • Being in a car so stuffed with stuff that the seats couldn’t be put back and made comfortable

Aside from that, it was actually a decent trip. However, the 2 hour flight back seemed, for some reason, to be a lot more bearable. Probably more so for Sandie, who didn’t have to listen to me bitch the whole time about it, hah.

I now have new respect for truck drivers and their ilk – we passed literally hundreds of trucks delivering goods up and down the east coast, presumably providing the things that we buy in shops every day. Driving those sort of distances on a regular basis would not be my idea of a stress-free job.

Neal Stephenson’s ‘In the Beginning…’

Here’s a great short piece of work by Neal Stephenson, author of some of my favourite books. The piece is called In the Beginning was the Command Line, and is a great read in Stephenson’s awesome writing style about today’s operating systems and their evolution.

If you’ve never read a Stephenson book – go and do it, now. Snow Crash will rock you world, and his latest one, Cryptonomicon, is one of the best things I’ve ever read – awesome story, excellent settings – even the cover rocks.

Pratchett’s 25th Discworld novel now out

The 25th book in Terry Pratchett’s awesome Discworld series – “The Truth” – is now available in hardcover.

William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld’s first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist’s life – people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal tendency for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humourously shaped potatoes.

Awesome book series. For those that haven’t read the, its a comedy/fantasy series set on a place called the Discworld – a giant Disc (surprisingly) carried through space on the backs of four enormous elephants, in turn surfing on the back of a giant Space Turtle.

Ok, so it sounds pretty wack, but they’re all a damn good read. RRP is $40, but if you look around you can (like I did) pick it up for $30 – hardcover only at the moment.

How to trap ants

I figured out an awesome way to trap ants. I guess its only really useful if you want to collect them dead though.

1) Have a party

2) Leave a glass with about 4-5 cm of some unidentifiable sugary-alcohol-type mixture in the bottom of it somewhere where you won’t see it

3) Wait 2 weeks

4) Follow the line of ants to the glass

5) You will see a layer of about 3-5 cm of dead ants, with more ants plunging into it lemming-style.

From there, you can do what you will with your new pile of dead ants. By the way, dead ants don’t flush all that well.