QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded
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The Boxtrolls

This is a charming but simple tale of a boy raised by trolls that like to wear, and when alarmed hide in, cardboard boxes. These "boxtrolls" live under the streets of a town called Cheesebridge, where the elite are highly focused on cheese, to the detriment of all else. The trolls are misunderstood by the people up top, the boy doesn't know he's not a troll, and the exterminator has put ambition ahead of morals.

The conversation between Mr Trout and Mr Pickles will likely not register as amusing with kids, but even some of the kids jokes will be amusing to adults.

Winnie Portley-Rind: Did they kill your parents and let you watch? I mean make you watch?

Some gripes: all of the trolls have simple names, like "shoe", and "fish", and some of the humans do (Mr Trout and Mr Pickles), but not all of the humans. I think that would have been fitting to do. The movie is stop-motion animated, but the animation is so slick it is hard to tell that it is not just a CG version of stop-motion animation. There is a sequence in the end credits, featuring a conversation between Mr Trout and Mr Pickles, that shows an animator at work, with a relevant topic of conversation.

It probably does not pass the Bechdel Test. I can only think of two named "women" (does a ten year old girl count?), does conversation about an apparently male boxtroll count as "not about men"? There's no reason it couldn't have had clearly female boxtrolls, but they didn't.

Seven face-sucking leeches out of ten.

Final thought: and whatever you were promised, there are no rivers of blood.

99 More Unuseless Japanese Inventions

By Kenja Kawakami (original 1997, American edition 1998)

From the author's introduction:

I introduced the term Chindogu in Japan in 1985. Coind from "Chin" meaning unusual and "dogu" meaning tool, it refers to a most universal concept: a gadget that appears to be useful, but on closer examination isn't. These inventions must exist, but they cannot serve a reasonable function. Inheritant in the premise of Chindogu is this fundamental contradiction.

Real products shown in this book:

Page 14, Rotating Spaghetti Fork, much like this: twirling spaghetti fork Looks like an Archie Mcphee product, though, not a serious tool.

Page 147, Umbrella Hat Plenty available at Amazon: page 1 of search results

Page 35, Cranium Camera Very similar to this one designed for smart phones: universal mount (And oddly categorized at amazon: "Cell Phones & Accessories > Accessories > Car Accessories > Car Cradles & Mounts > Car Mounts")

And the real king: Page 104-5, Self-Portrait Camera Stick keywords = selfie stick Like the other remote cameras in the book, it is shown with a bulb control instead of wireless, but hey, can't anticipate everything.

I had heard on the internet about that last one and when I saw the book for sale used (for a quarter), I decided to risk some money on it.

The Internet book photo going around: image at imgur

Maybe I'll scan a better one tomorrow from my "new" book.

Book at Amazon

The Fall — follow-up

Finished with The Fall so returning to it.

Open questions: will Ex-Girlfriend be killed? Will Babysitter tell the police what she's figured out? Will Babysitter be killed? Will The Killer be caught alive or killed? If alive, will he have a weepy apology to his Daughter? Will Spineless Gerry Adams suffer for his moral lapses?

There was an apology for "spending time on his projects" instead of with her. To avoid spoilers, I won't reveal the other answers.

Pretty much certain: Lesbian will not sleep with Uberwoman. (Uberwoman's loins will itch for the rest of the story.) Wife will not be killed and will not get an explanation or apology. There will be an overhead shot of The Killer after the resolution, either his body, or him being escorted by police.

Uberwoman's loins got scratched with a character introduced after I wrote that. Otherwise, these were all correct.

Possible bonus: having referenced Nietzsche and the Inferno already, there will be one more high literature reference just before the resolution. Maybe Faust?

No, at least not obvious enough that I could notice.

Rating unchanged: "I'm going with a rating of 25 tropes out of 50."

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water


I needed to do something kid-friendly outside of the house for a few hours on Friday night. I've watched the show from time to time, admittedly not recently or often. The show is tolerable, so I thought the movie might be okay.

It was a total lack of funny. Throughout the movie there are references to many other films. I saw them and recognized them, but they didn't make the flim more enjoyable. The selling point of the film is the out-of-water three dimensional rendering with live action people part. But that's a very small part of the runtime. (I know this is the selling point because I heard kids say so and complain about the lack of fulfillment of that advertising promise.)

I'm going to rate this as a buck and a quarter out of a pirated buck crabby patty. (I did not watch it in the 3-D version.)