Monthly Archives: June 2012

Treasure Island (2012)

I don’t think anyone really needs a plot breakdown for a movie called Treasure Island.

This reincarnation is pathetic. I gave it a try mainly cause Donald Sutherland is listed in the credits, who most people would consider an excellent actor. But he has only a brief cameo in this turd of a film. It turns out this version is a British made for TV, two parter. It’s poorly acted, incredibly boring, not the least bit scenic, confusing, and the whole movie looks dirty like it’s been shot through a greasy lens or just slightly out of focus. Perhaps it was someone’s brilliant idea to make it seem rustic.

I’ve seen better films made by the CBC here in Canada, and that isn’t saying much. So in the realm of government sponsored history films made by the British Colonies, this one ranks up there with some of the worst. So it’s in good company.

Needless to say, do not press record, do not rent, do not download. If possible, press delete.



Note: The frame of the map was the most appealing image I could find to share from the movie.

Journey 2 – The Mysterious Island (2012)

Roll several Jules Verne novel concepts into a single modern day plot, make it elementary level and G-rated, and you have The Mysterious Island.

The movie is juvenile and ridiculously unbelievable even for a kids fantasy show. The images, like the fake jungle, are pristine, so it’s pretty and colourful to look at, and entertaining on a fairly low level. I would say it’s intended for 3 to 12 year olds.

It’s a 5 and easy to watch. So if you like fantasy films, have low expectations, and want something totally mindless to watch and maybe snooze to, this is up your alley. All that being said, it’s well done for what it is.



21 Jump Street (2012)

For the younger crowd, or the people not paying attention, this is a movie remake of the 80’s pop TV series that kicked off Johnny Depp‘s career. The original TV series was a serial “drama” of young looking cops that infiltrate schools. This is an offbeat comedy based on the same plot, including a cameo from Depp, and that other guy that also starred in the series, but had much less success. Okay the “other guy” is Peter DeLuise, who’s most notable role (for me) since was on the short lived and underrated TV series Seaquest.

Our comedy remake Jump Street is quite entertaining, especially for those that saw or enjoyed the original. You can’t really appreciate a satire when you aren’t familiar with what they are making fun of. But the bumbling humour should be easily appreciated by newcomers alike.



Prometheus (2012)

Ridley Scott did right by Alien fans with this prequel. If you’ve seen the Alien movies and enjoyed them, you will certainly appreciate this. Even if you haven’t seen the others, the movie is written like a good novel in a series, where it can be read out of sequence and still enjoyed on it’s own.

I have to say that it is not better than Aliens, which is a Sci-Fi classic. And no one in this movie can hold a candle to Sigourney Weaver. So not the best of all the series, but a definite second.

No spoilers here, but you may or may not guess the events as they unfold, unless someone has ruined it for you. Few movies are even the least unpredictable these days, but Ridley pulls it off. A Sci-Fi must see.



The Smurfs (2011)

The Smurfs movie brought back childhood memories, and was fun to watch. If you don’t know what the Smurfs are, or didn’t like them as a child, you won’t appreciate this movie on any level. But they do briefly explain Smurf history in the show, in story terms.

It’s extremely well done animation wise, good acting, and a storyline good enough to hold our attention – at least on a Smurf level.

The best part of the movie by far is the Gargamel character played in person by Frank Azaria, an amazing comedic actor. He and his character makes the show and worth watching. Without him this movie would be preschool dribble.




The Good Witch’s Family (2011)

If a movie could be compared to a meal, this one would be a plate of candy floss with a glass of honey, and maybe a bowl of sugar for dessert. Yes, The Good Witch’s Family is icky sticky sweet. Made for TV, it’s a cross between an old Disney movie and an after-school special, but much sweeter.

It was somewhat painful to watch, as the low budget grade acting is quite bad other than the female lead. As far as witchcraft goes, it’s almost nonexistent, it’s more like spells of wishful thinking, nice thoughts and glossy smiles. The only magic here is the sincerity in the smiles and good nature that Catherine Bell exudes throughout the movie, making it hard not to stare at her in…puzzlement perhaps, wondering who could possibly be that nice. But she makes us believe she could be. She’s a decent actor and very pretty, but her wardrobe (I suppose intended to give her a witchy/mysterious aura) was a tad weird in some scenes.



How to Stop Dog Tags from Jingling

I had to add another tag to our dog’s collar recently, and found the ringing bell sound of multiple tags annoying. So I did a quick search online, and found solutions like using elastic bands, tape, little doggie collar purses, leaving the collar off indoors, and custom rubber tag edging. None of which were to my liking.

So I came up with my own solution, simply using a rubber “O-Ring” to separate each tag. If you aren’t familiar with an O-ring, it’s a round dense rubber ring that is used as a seal in various types of machinery, and can be purchased at most hardware stores.

Separating each tag with an O-ring will not completely silence the dog collar/tag noise, but it brings you close to the sound you’d experience with a single dog tag, and not the x-mas sleigh-bells noise. I would suggest using a size around 1″ (25mm), something a little smaller than the tags itself.

The big advantage I see by using this type of solution is that you can still easily handle and see both sides of the tags, without having to undo elastic bands, tape, purses, or forgetting to put the collar back on.

Here are some example pics:



Boy Toy (2011)

A light hearted low budget movie about an out of work loveable loser that has no goals in life. His one talent is for having a big wang. So his friends encourage him to become an escort.

There is very little in the way of eye candy in this rump, male or female, which is odd for an escort style tale. One of the highlights is Morgan Fairchild. Who doesn’t love the prettiest bitchy character-actor around? She is always enjoyable to watch. Other than that it’s an okay light comedy. It’s just too bad there are so many unattractive people in the same show.



Arduino Custom Case Mounting Issues

If you are an Arduino hobbiest like myself, you may have also come across the issue of wanting to mount the Uno or Mega boards in something other than the drab grey plastic boxes, like you can buy from RobotShop.


Don’t get me wrong, these are ideal enclosures for an Uno or Mega with none or one shield, even the Ethernet shield. But it’s not designed for the Ethernet shield with a PoE add-on, as it won’t fit. Or possibly even a single shield and then wires plugged into the shield’s headers. So a very basic and limiting case.

I have yet to come across any other cost effective Arduino enclosure that is available on the market. If they are out there, they are very hard to find. All I’ve found other than the case mentioned above, are expensive custom made cases that claim to be for the Arduino. And even so, how exactly will you mount them in your custom or generic case?

A larger issue with mounting an Arduino in custom case (regardless of cutting the openings) is the mounting hardware? There seems to be no one on selling standoffs and screws that will work in the limited space allowed for on the cramped circuit board, as actual Arduino mounting hardware. Common screw heads and mounting posts are typically too large for the Arduino boards, and will not fit or will make contact with circuit traces on the board.

So my post today is about the items I have sourced that seem to work well, to easily mount an Arduino board in a custom or generic enclosure. I have finally found screws with small enough heads to fit without grinding them down, and slightly smaller than typical standoffs mounts.

Here is what seems to work well for me, and were commonly in stock:

M2.5x5mm SS Pan Head Machine Screw #10079

4.5MM HEX FEMALE STANDOFF-AL; Overall Length:6mm; Thread Size – Metric:M2.5; Spacer Material:Aluminium; External Width:4.5mm; Overall Length:6mm Part# 27T7781

Plastic Washers 6mm x 1.5mm from Canadian Tire (Part# 61-8086-2)
*** In-store purchase only it seems, but either supplier above should have similar.

The plastic washers I find help insulate the aluminum standoff from the bottom circuit traces, as they are still rather close to the 4.5mm standoffs. But if you are careful when you tighten them up, you may be able to get away with no plastic washers, but it’s more risky.



Weber 300 BBQ Review

I ended up replacing a large stainless steel BBQ with side burner and rotisserie with a Weber 300 from Home Depot.

I looked again at the STOK Gridiron Portable that really interested me, and realized it had no tank rack, and only a small hand held tank style connection under the side table. So it looks like it’s only intended for a small cylinder to screw on vertically. You’d have to find or make an adapter hose to use a 20 lb tank with it.

The Weber 300 went together a little easier than a SS BBQ and is pretty sturdy, though the frame is almost all moulded plastic. So carting it any distance or over a lawn would require removing the tank, but once you do so it’s somewhat portable in nature. I’d only want to move it a short distance on a flat surface with a full tank. Thought it’s far lighter than your average SS BBQ, which is good.

On first use the 300 got really hot and cooked well, we were impressed using it. We realized we never use the rotisseries and side burners like is standard on large BBQ’s, or even need 2 larger side tables than what is on the Webber. So for us, I think we finally have found the right kind of BBQ.

It cooks your meat, doesn’t waste a lot of room, looks good, and you can move it without breaking off an overly small caster (which seems to be typical on most BBQ’s these days.)


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