2018-05-27

“Glamorous” Monaco

One thing that was tossed off in passing during the pre-race show for Monaco this year was the comment that “Monaco was losing its shine as Formula One’s crown jewel event”. To me, this is a ridiculous thing to say — for one, I’ve been watching F1 since the late ‘90s and even back then there was commentary that F1 cars had no business winding their way through that narrow cattlepath. Subsequent changes to both the track and the formula have done absolutely nothing to improve this state of affairs, and in fact at the front of the pack today all the passes were done under pit conditions — and even with that there wasn’t any change in position one to five from the beginning of the race to the end.

If Monaco is “glamorous” it is only so for the participants — for those of us watching on TV around the world, it is a boring processional race and always has been.

2018-05-24

Deadpool II

Not bad. The cameos were good. The film carried the weight of a non-origin-story quite well. The usual time-travel bullshit problems. I’m still not convinced that this movie had to be made, though.

2018-05-12

Netflix Re View -- Minions

I stand by my "solidly ok" view from last time. It was actually easier to watch for a second time than I thought it would be.

(Previously.)

2018-05-10

That was fast

I got a reply:


Neat.

2018-05-09

Dear Vote Compass People -- Decline Your Ballot

An email I sent to info@voxpoplabs.com. I was looking for a CBC email or twitter to send it to but couldn't find anything obvious. I'd already tweeted about this to @cbcottawa but that's probably not the right place.
Greetings 

I participated in the Vote Compass exercise today. I noticed that in your "how would you vote if the election was held today" and "how did you vote last time" you omitted the option of declining your ballot. 
Declining the ballot is different from a spoiled or blank ballot, in that in a spoiled ballot the voter's intention is unclear. Alternatively, a declined ballot is a way that a voter can say to all parties that they are engaged enough to come out and participate in the process, but none of the options offered are acceptable. 
In 2014, more than 22000 Ontarians declined their ballot (source: https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/06/19/ontario_election_sees_highest_number_of_declined_ballots_since_1975.html). While not a statistically significant number, the article notes that this is a high-point of declined ballots for Ontario which was probably related to increased voter awareness of this being an option. 
One could argue in an extreme case, an elected official (or, indeed, a government) that was elected with more declined ballots than properly filed ballots would have serious questions of having a legitimate mandate from the voters. 
Beyond me having to explain to the polling official what they needed to do, my personal experience with declining the ballot went smoothly in 2014. If more widely exercised, I would want changes made to the process in that 
A) I had to verbally decline my ballot; and 
B) a written notation was made on my name in the voters list used by the polling officials, creating a permanent record that I had declined my ballot. 
Both of these requirements would seem to defeat my right to a secret ballot. 
My hope is that if enough ballots are declined, the political parties will observe that there is a constituency that is both engaged and demonstrably willing to vote, and will adjust their platforms to capture these votes. 
In conclusion, I encourage you to adjust the Vote Compass application for future provincial elections, and also note that I find that the word "ballot" looks funny after you type it out a bunch of times in an email. 
Sincerely,
David Mackintosh
Kanata-Carleton

2018-05-06

Planes 2: Fire & Rescue

Disney's Cars was so successful at spinning out a line at toys that they thought "why not try to duplicate that with a slightly different premise so we can sell different toys?" Well sure, why not. The story is perfunctory and functional, the internal world-building only inconsistent if you make the mistake of thinking about it, and the characterizations bland and stereotypical. Frankly I knew who was going to rebuild what just as soon as something was declared as being "better than new!" So a solid whynot out of ten, but nothing unmissable.

(Note: in researching this movie for this article, I learned that it was actually Planes 2, and I'd not seen the original. Which sort of made sense since as an "origin story" it was very weak. It makes more sense as  "a flabby sequel that doesn't really have any plans for where the franchise is going" though.)

2018-04-29

Avengers: Infinity War

Frankly I didn't like it.

There's a way to build tension, to make it seem like things are going someplace, while still leaving your characters behind the metaphorical 8-ball. And then there's kicking your characters in the teeth, over and over and over. And I don't like that. And Infinity War doesn't even do it particularly well.

This was always going to be a part one of two -- when the movies were originally announced, Avengers 4 was called Infinity War Part 2.

Multipart movies are always judged by the whole, and we have not seen the whole yet. Tune in this time next year for the (undoubtedly) thrilling conclusion.