Useful Consumer Review

When buying electronics, the range of products available is vastly superior in the US compared to any European country. Fortunately, power adapters are now almost all “universal”; that is, they accept 110V-230V. So the only problem is the physical interface.

I’ve been using these teensy adapters for a while, but the problem is…

.. that they’re extremely rickety. They neither have a solid grip on the Euro side, and the US side isn’t satisfactory, either, so it just feel… bad.

So I went looking for other variations, and I found these somewhere in Europe. They are totes unrickety, but they’re huge. For something that does nothing but accept one plug and plug into another plug (there’s no voltage adaptering), is silly. So the other day I wondered… surely something smaller has to exist? I mean, something that’s just flush with the Euro “Schuko” plug? I mean, it should fit in there? Why doesn’t it exist?

Behold! It does exist!

It’s not totally flush, which is weird, because the US plug is shallower than the Euro er hole, but still, not. But it’s almost there! And the grip on both ends is very satisfactory. Nothing rickety about these.

They’re called “OREI American USA To European Schuko Germany Plug Adapters CE Certified Heavy Duty” *phew* and they’re about $1 each.

And they’ve been working for several hours now, so they must be perfect.

You have to wonder what the people who made that huge adapter were thinking… “This will do”? No, it won’t.

Innovations in Balcony Furniture

It’s been a very pleasant summer here (I’m not even wearing a sweater now), so I’ve been spending a lot of time out on the balcony in the evening.

I’ve had this chair for yonks, but it has two problems: 1) it’s not that comfy, and 2) it’s too high. The house I’m in is on a hill, and somehow it’s always windy here no matter what. Which is pleasant in one way, but having your head buffeted by winds all the time is wearying.

So I got a Royal Botania Beacher chair, because it looked like it was going to get my head below the level of the tarpaulin, and it was super-comfy in the store. Kinda like a rocking chair beach chair. And it’s heavy, so the winds won’t blow it off of the balcony.

So I assembled the blue sitting surface, and that… er… looks very low indeed.

I gave it a trial sit anyway, and I ALMOST DIED! TRAPPED! Getting out of the chair took me like five minutes. It’s the most dramatic thing that’s ever happened to me!

Perhaps I should have read the instructions first. Over and around, over and around…

There!

I’m a genius! And it is, indeed, very comfy. And very easy to get out of due to a pretty construction.

Now, back to the balcony…

Century 2018: Black Panther

Black Panther. Ryan Coogler. 2018.

This started off really well and I was like “wow! this is like a real movie or something!” but then soon got bogged down in really bad acting (like the challengers in the coronation scene (and where they should have had thousands of people watching the fight, not dozens CGId up that wall)).

Still, it’s not without its charms. It’s funny at times, and the 007 references are amusing. The action scenes are fun. But it should have had a bigger budget or something: Some of the effects look a bit pokey. And all the crowd scenes look so puny! There should be hundreds of extras pasted all over the place!

And it’s an hour too long, but then again, all super-hero movies are.

I am disappoint. I was all ready for this to be a great movie, but it’s a snoozefest.

This blog post is part of the Century series.

Century 2017: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Rian Johnson. 2017.

OK, I’ve seen the other new Star Wars films… I think… And I saw the original ones back in the 80s. And I saw the first of the prequels.

In short, I’m not really a Star Wars fan, but I though the previous one was pretty entertaining and the makeup film was even better.

But I’m having some problems trying to remember who all these characters are. We don’t really get any “as you know Bob, you’re the evil emperor of the Empire” stuff, which is great! But also bewildering.

So I’m reduced to a state of watching a bunch of people I can vaguely remember seeing having a lot of dramatic moments and wondering whether they mean anything.

There’s a lot of portentous stuff here, but the director goes for the laughs in basically any scene. It’s an approach I would guess really freaks out the most deranged Star Wars fans, but it does make for a pretty amusing film.

That said, it’s also a supremely stupid film, and when it’s this stupid, it makes scenes that would otherwise be fun tend towards the tedious. But imdb-ing the director’s career it all makes sense: He did all those risible Breaking Bad episodes that were hailed as the best thing ever in the history of anything. So the sheer stupidity of the film is understandable, but that it’s this amusing is a surprise.

This blog post is part of the Century series.

Century 2016: Tickled

The parrot is fascinated by all the bokeh.

Tickled. David Farrier. 2016.

Last year, I bought all the films John Waters said were the best of 2016. Well, at least all the ones that were available at the time…

There were a couple that were totally “er, no”, like Cattle Towards Glow, but in general they were an interesting bunch. This is the only one I haven’t seen yet.

It’s allegedly a documentary (it says “HBO Documentaries”) from New Zealand (it says so) about competitive tickling, so I’m assuming this is more of a mockumentary. It’s a New Zealand speciality.

But if it is a mockumentary… it’s not that funny. I guess I should probably google the film; I mean, it might be a real documentary, even if that doesn’t seem very likely.

Perhaps it’s not a mockumentary but a fake documentary? Oh, I guess it’ll reveal itself after a while… Some of the American people have a kinda fake dialect.

But the problem is: If this is a real thing, then it’s not a very good documentary. It’s really exciting when they get D’Amato on camera, but that’s basically it.

OK, now the film is over and I can google it.

WTF? It’s a real thing? Geez. That’s horrifying and too weird.

It just goes to show: You can be too sceptical.

Or… have they just edited Wikipedia as a followup to their prank? THIS CONSPICARY GOES DEEP&gt>;

This blog post is part of the Century series.

Century 2015: Louder Than Bombs

Louder Than Bombs. Joachim Trier. 2015.

Hey! A Norwegian film! And it’s co-written by the guy who did a movie in my apartment.

Er… small world?

This, weirdly enough, is filmed in the US, with English language actors and a mostly American crew, I guess? And it’s weird seeing Joachim Trier’s usual directorial touches that work were well with a Norwegian cast and… not… that much with these American actors? I just see them doing their normal American “natural” acting thing and I’m like “er no”.

Isabelle Huppert is the only one who plays her character in a believable way, but she’s dead for most of the film. On the other hand, there are these touches of Eskil Vogt’s flights of fancy we get here and there that are super-compelling. Very Rashomon. Very funny.

And the cinematography? So much bokeh.

This blog post is part of the Century series.

Century 2014: Retour à Ithaque

Retour à Ithaque. Laurent Cantet. 2014.

Quite a few of the DVDs I have I can’t really remember why I bought. I do remember this one: I thought it was a Cuban film, so I got it for my World of Films and Cocktails blog series. And it is filmed in Cuba, but it’s really a French film.

What an interesting film, though. The premise is a reunion of friends who haven’t seen each other in years (perhaps decades). That’s a pretty common premise, but these are Cuban characters, so all the titbits they drop about their youth is more fascinating than these things usually are, and the director places the reunion on a rooftop balcony on a high building in the middle of a city (I totally want that), so you get all these vistas no matter where they point the cameras.

It’s very Ibsen. The people do the “judgement day over themselves” thing. But it loses tension as it progresses, unfortunately. The huge revelations towards the end doesn’t seem that shocking.

This blog post is part of the Century series.