Friday, December 26, 2008

Not So Almost Breaking News

So Fox won it's lawsuit with Warner Bros. over the distribution of Watchmen. Or Warner Bros lost more like. The story goes that, what must now be over 20 years ago, Fox had a vested interest in the production and distribution of their own Watchmen film. They abandoned it and it was shopped around to other studios and, (did I mention, like a gap of almost 20 years?) in 2007 WB began production on their own version of the most ambitious and anticipated comic book movie ever.

Now in a move that smacks of "money-grubbing-johnny-come-lately-ness" Fox has come knocking to say that they never rescinded their rights and have a claim in the profits from whats going to be a truly truly awesome film and a judge has deemed that they are right!!!

This kind of thing is truly crap,...
Like being set up for adoption and (again) almost 20 years later after your adoptive parents have made you truly awesome and successful person, your deadbeat birth parents rock up wanting to claim some of the credit for making you truly awesome.

Fuck off Fox. Don't be a pouty bitch just because Bugs Bunny's pals have gone and done what you couldn't.

Anyhoo, more substantial and less opinionated journalistic coverage at Splashpage.

and check out this awesome sneak peek,...

The Sheep Market

This is cool. This collection of 10,000 hand-drawn sheep has to be seen to be believed. It was created by 10,000 workers using Amazon's Mechanical Turk . Scroll your mouse over the little blips on the webpage (that's right they're all sheep) and you'll get a little enlarged version of the sheep in question. Awesome.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Crumpets. Mmmm, Crumpets.

I lurrrve crumpets. Crumpets are something of a recurring leitmotif for us here at the Lab - more often than not smothered in butter and treacle, accompanied by a big glass of chocolate soymilk, in bed on a Saturday morning with a hilariously trashy movie or two (see below). Usually we just buy crumpets at the supermarket, as they're quite fiddly and take a long time to prepare, and I have other things to do (see again, trashy movies). But sometimes - like today - I just get the urge to nest, and then I make crumpets.

I took this recipe from The Foppish Baker years ago and have modified it to my own tastes. This quantity makes around a dozen crumpets. Yum.

1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon tartaric acid
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
1/3 cup lukewarm milk

Dissolve the sugar in the water and whisk in the yeast, and give it 5 minutes or so to foam up. Sift together the flour and tartaric acid, and mix in the yeast mix. It'll be really thick. Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it somewhere warm to rise for an hour.
Mix in the salt and beat it hard (teeheehee) for a minute or two, cover it up and let it rest for another half an hour.
Dissolve the sodium bicarbonate in the milk and mix that in too, and you're ready to go.

OK, the next bit is a wee bit tricky but after some trial and error this is the best way I've found to do it. Heat up a heavy cast-iron frying pan with some peanut oil 'til it's really hot, then wipe out all the oil with paper towel and turn the heat right down. You'll have to repeat this process after every few crumpets - it's fiddly, but worth it. Use an egg ring and pour in around 1/4 cup of the mix. It should start to bubble up almost straight away and then the bubbles pop, giving it that amazing crumpet texture. If you don't get bubbles the mixture's too thick; add lukewarm water a tiny bit at a time.
When it looks like they're drying out on top (it's hard to explain, but you'll totally see what I mean) they're cooked, let them cool on a paper towel or a rack. When they're cold they're ready to be toasted like "normal"crumpets, but they'll taste SO much better. Honestly, they're amazing. I recommend treacle or golden syrup, or super crunchy peanut butter, and off course lashings of butter. Mmmm, tasty tasty cholesterol!

So, I made a batch today, and we'll have them freshly toasted for breakfast tomorrow. Can't wait....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Turkish Star Wars

Sometimes a friend will make you watch a film and it will take you a few days before you even believe that you actually fucking saw it in the first place.

One of those films is The Turkish Star Wars (AKA Dünyayi kurtaran adam AKA The Man Who Saves the World).

OK. Trash film lore goes like this; In Turkey, in 1982, the copyright laws were so lax that it wasn't uncommon for big budget movies to be excised of all their big budget special effects and have a completely new plotline and story written around those special effects.

So watch out when in 1982 (5 years after its release) the film Star Wars reaches the Balkan Region.

This wondrous piece of cult ephemera just has to be seen to be believed, if not only just for the amazingly liberal use of George Lucas original film footage (the strange twist here being that the X-Wings are the Bad Guys and the Tie Fighters are the good guys), but the sets, costumes and especially the dialogue are all so deliciously bad.

Special mention should also go to their liberal use of several other soundtracks and film scores directly purloined from other Western cinematic fair, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Queen's Flash Gordon Soundtrack and an incredibly strange disco re-working of Battlestar Galactica, used to hilariously great effect in this unbelievable training montage. Note also John Williams Raiders of the Lost Ark gets a serious look in while our heroes discover some exploding rocks!!

The set design and characters and especially the monsters look like how Sesame Street would look if it were made as a "dirty money grubbing exercise" rather than entertaining and uplifting pursuit bringing joy into the hearts of children. Especially the films villian, the Darth Vader character, whose costume looks like a childs cardboard and dried macaroni collage bought to life.

This is a delightful piece of crap. A rare cinematic experience and if like me you cherish the odd and wonderfully awful, this film is a must see. Find, borrow, steal,... get thee to the bit torrent.

P.S. the very few clips i could find have no english subtitles (sorry folks) but if you got the time there is this at Google Video.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Singularity Knots

Hey there! Hello. I'm the other geek here in the lab. This is something that's making my brain fizz right now - animations of singularity knots. They show just how pretty maths can be.

Three of the Best Soundtrack and Movie Blogs on the Internerd

Vinnie Rattolle's Records

This place is great and is also one of the first sites I stumbled upon when I explored my love of soundtracks a little further. A virtual museum of PopCult movie ephemera Vinnie's site offers rare playbills and promo materials to look at, not to mention rare press kits and media from films from days gone by. Make sure you check out his current post on movie comic book adaptations.

From the Negative Zone

Sometimes you come across a blog and you just know it's put together by a real fan. Such is From The Negative Zone. This blog playfully tumbles through some of our favourite things we love about film. Still shots which leave a burning reminder of how awesome a film really is. Trailers of buried gems long forgotten and the occasional upload of a rare and out of print soundtrack.

FTNZ is an awesome Sunday stroll through some of the things which remind us why films are totally awesome

The Manchester Morgue

This is also fantastic one stop shopping for Rare Soundtrack Glee. Consistently amazing collection of links and uploads for the discerning soundtrack afficianado. Bronx Warriors 3000, The Fabulous Stains, Wolfen, Mr. T. The plethora of stuff here is by far some of the best rare-begotten "brainfizz" imaginable.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Favourite Word

I found this the other day. The My Favourite Word site. I love it. What a fantastic idea. A place where you can read up on some awesome tasting words. Words are simply the bomb!! Some words even look pretty before you even know what they mean. This little website totally attests to that.
I bet some of these words even taste good when you say them. Like Haptodysphoria. LINK


Welcome to the Lab.

Me and my girlfriend began this blog simply because we like STUFF! We like weird STUFF. We like things that make your brain go fizzy. We liked the idea that we could create a place that if you came along, and followed a link you also might find something that made your brain go fizzy.

Why 251?

Well (and here is the cheesy part), you know how most couples have a song? Well my girlfriend and I don't have a song we have a number. The number 251. On one of our very first dates, we were out with some friends and the number 251 came up randomly in a discussion about preservatives and food additives. (if you're curious 251 is Sodium Nitrate,.... yum).

She was eating a lolly pop. She does this on occasion, I have found, since knowing her. I just randomly picked the number 251 as an example of an additive you might find on a chupa chup and I said

"I'm not sure if 251 is a number you'll find in a chupa-chup and she chimed in with ,..

"But it is a prime."

Suddenly my inner maths geek heart did a little "flip flop-badunk" (you know how that happens? When someone you really like brings something to the table you've had a secret jones for all along and you thought you were the only one? Like prime numbers?)

We both looked at eachother. Laughed. High-fived and the rest is history.

Now the number has taken on a life of it's own. If we see the number on a letterbox or on a building we point it out. If one of us sees it alone we photograph and then email to each other. We no longer sign off our text messages with I Love You like normal vanilla-garden-variety-relationship-folk. Its now become a contest to see how to incorporate and re-invent that number in various mutations and additions along the way. A string of kisses is now xxXXXXXx. Another theme is 63001 to whom which the square route is 251. Another is B.E.A. the 2nd, 5th and 1st letter of the alphabet. And so on.

Don't question us about it.

We have a million of them.

We will be making them very late into this century, they will get weirder and as we get older, they will take on a life of their own and will no longer resemble the humble prime to which they have all humbly been birthed from;


so there you have it

but enough of that,

we hope you'll find some stuff here in the lab that will make your brain fizz and again,....