My verdict on the Tintin movie

Look! It’s Tintin on a bus…
Tintin on a bus

And here’s Tintin on a tram (and a tram in Tintin)…
Tintin on a tram / a tram in Tintin

So anyway, we went to the Tintin movie yesterday — in 2D, as 3D doesn’t work on me. I enjoyed it a lot. They did a good job of recreating the look of Herge, and there were plenty of references to keep Tintin nerds like me entertained.

The first half of the movie had a lot of bits of Tintin stories all mushed together, and it was a bit like watching a rock concert, recognising the start of a scene, but being keen to see how they used the material.

[Limited spoilers ahead]
Continue reading

A coupla things

The Slap

I finished reading The Slap. Great book, provided you don’t mind a little fruity language and adult themes in your novels. Looking forward now to the TV adaption.Thumbs up!

Possums

I was just thinking the other day that despite seeing a lot of possums around the neighbourhood, I never heard them in the roof.

Then when I was taking a look in the roof over the Easter break, I noticed a small hole, near the front of the house.

And the other night, I heard a possum scampering around up there. D’oh.

I told you so

I meant to post this a while back, but better late than never.

I reckon these guys have a good point.

We told you so

FORMULA one boss Bernie Ecclestone has said that he and Ron Walker now agree that the grand prix “should not have been run at the Albert Park street circuit”, and that “Melbourne should have constructed a purpose-built track for the race years ago” (Sport, 17/3).

Save Albert Park has maintained exactly that since 1994. A key slogan was ”Relocate (to a permanent track), don’t desecrate (Albert Park Reserve)”. If our group had been listened to rather than being maligned or ignored by successive Victorian governments, the state would now have a profitable permanent track and associated facilities given year-round use for motor sport activities, driver training, and testing of automotive products.

The state would have saved the hundreds of million of dollars now wasted on set-up and take-down of the temporary Albert Park circuit, and we would have a circuit capable of being modified to meet the changing requirements of F1 racing, such as increased overtaking opportunities.

Peter Goad, Save Albert Park, Middle Park

Age letters, 18/3/2011

In the wild

There’s a few thousand “More trains/trams/buses = less traffic” stickers out there, but it’s not that common to see them “in the wild”. By “in the wild” I mean stuck to cars that are not owned by PTUA committee members or their friends and family.

I don’t know who owns this little white car, but I was thrilled to see it had a “More trains = less traffic” sticker on the back of it.

PTUA sticker in the wild

It’s a bit hard to read the sticker… here’s a better picture of one (on my car):

PTUA bumper sticker

You might think it odd, but the stickers were designed to go on cars. The implicit message to following motorists is that if PT were better, that car (and lots of others of course) might well not be on the road.

Also observed in the world of promotion yesterday — it seems Penguin Books are jumping on the bandwagon of bill posters, more commonly promoting concerts.

Publishers advertising via bill post?!

Quick reviews

A few quick reviews of things I’ve read or watched recently…

(The DVDs fall into the category of “I’ve been meaning to watch that; I’ll buy that if it’s less than $10. Ooh, there it is!” One book was borrowed, the other I got for Christmas.)

A Hard Day’s Night — got this cheap on Amazon, and thought the kids would enjoy it, which they did. Occasionally the accents are a tad hard to follow, but the antics of the Beatles, together with Paul’s “very clean” grandfather got some laughs. And because it’s based loosely on the real life experiences of The Beatles, it’s also a view into life in 1960s Britain.Thumbs up!

Tron — found this cheap in JB Hifi. It smells a bit of 80s computer-age wonder cash-in, with users having real beings inside the computer who run all their jobs. But it was quite enjoyable, and very interesting graphics for a 1982 film.Thumbs up!

A Nest of Occasionals, Tony Martin — very funny stuff, particularly the tales of writing radio adverts, which had me in stitches at one point. I’m going to have to check out his other book, Lolly Scramble.Thumbs up!

Jasper Jones (by Craig Silvey)– Superb, a real page turner, really enjoyed it. And again, fully intending to get hold of his other novel, Rhubarb.Thumbs up!

(Currently reading Shane Maloney: “Stiff”.)

The mathematics of school textbooks

It’s all easy in primary school. You send the money in, you get a box of goodies. There’s few textbooks, and almost all are kept at and owned by the school.

It gets more complicated and expensive in secondary school.

So here’s the scenario: Two kids, two years apart. The school has a secondhand book scheme.

At the end of the year, books are sold for two-thirds the retail price, with the seller getting three-quarters of that. So basically for cashing in your books, you get half the money back — assuming you bought them new in the first place.

So with two kids going through, I’m trying to work out if it’s worth selling them through the scheme, or holding onto them unused for a year before using them again.

If you bought $100 of books new at the start of year 1, you’d get $50 back for selling them at the end. If you bought them back again for year 3, it’d cost you $66, and you’d sell them again for $50. Total cost $100 – $50 + $66 – $50 = $66.

If you bought them secondhand originally, the cost is $66 – $50 + $66 – $50 = $32.

If you bought them new, and held onto them until the end of year 3, it’s $100 – $50 = $50.

If you bought them secondhand, and held onto them until the end of year 3, it’s $66 – $50 = $16.

The big unknown here is whether or not the school decides to changes the textbooks along the way, as new editions and better texts are published. If they change them before year 1, you can’t buy them secondhand in the first place, but must buy new. If they change them for year 2, you can’t sell them in the first place. If they change them for year 3, and you held onto them, you have to buy new ones anyway, and you missed your opportunity to sell.

I wonder how fast the turnover is. Perhaps it pays to sit down and be selective, holding onto things which are recent editions.

And just when I thought I’d figured out what to do, my sister mentioned she can get publisher discounts through her work.

NASA to prove Herge right?

Tintin and friends landed on the moon in 1952, some 17 years before Apollo 11 got there.

Tintin and friends greet Armstrong

While writing the story, Herge and his team researched what the moon would look like on the surface, and as anybody who’s read the book would know, it’s uncannily accurate.

After Apollo 11 made it to the Moon, it seemed that Herge had got only one thing wrong: in the story, Tintin and Haddock observed stalactites and stalagmites in a lunar cave, and then after falling down a crevice found ice.

…the existence of ice on the moon came about at the insistence of [adviser] Dr Bernard Heuvelmans. Herge had agonised about the question, not at all sure if he agreed with the prevalent scientific evidence that the moon was an icy place, but Heuvelmans’ advice won the day.

– “Tintin — Herge and his creation”, Harry Thompson, p146

Tintin discovers water on the moon

Now NASA have sent a probe to the Moon which may prove Herge (and Heuvelmans) right after all — they’re looking for the presence of water and ice. It seems a rather unsubtle method — crashing the probe into the Moon’s south pole — but the expected debris cloud hasn’t been seen, and it may be a little while until they know if water has been detected or not.

The Example

The Example, by Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson (published by Gestalt Books), might be the first graphic novel to be set entirely within the confines of Flinders Street Station.

The Example - graphic novel cover

It’s a short but thought-provoking read, combining a most-of-Western-world issue — paranoia over terrorism — with a more decidedly local Melbourne issue: the trains.Thumbs up!

Speaking of terrorism and paranoia, the other book I’ve read recently is Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, which was a terrific, if chilling, account of a man who stayed behind to help after Katrina, and got locked-up for it with no charge, no lawyer, no phone call.Thumbs up!