Author Archives: Pixel

Goodbye Chuck

With forgotten memories, TV’s Chuck aired its final episode #GoodByeChuck. In the last few years, this show could have ended 4 times, but fortunately it kept going and with its great writing could have gone 5 more seasons. This show combined action, comedy, quirkiness, and heart like no other movie or television I’ve seen before. If you are a real nerd, you would have found a lot of familiar elements in this show. What 90’s teen geek did not want to work at gadget heaven Best Buy? In Chuck’s Buy More, the backroom steel fences brought back my old memories of the steel fenced cages in Best Buy’s stockroom where all the video games were stored. In a recent episode, Chuck featured a popular YouTuber that only geeks would know. This show was one of the few that was able to cast numerous stars from other geek TV shows and movies, including Terminator’s Linda Hamilton, Quantum Leap’s Scott Bakula, Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk, Superman’s Brandon Routh, Matrix’s Carrie-Anne Moss, and more. Heck, even Chuck’s sister (Sarah Lancaster) was from Saved by the Bell! It seems like the only well-known sci-fi actor that didn’t guest star was Firefly’s “Nathan Fillion”.

When it came to the finale, it wasn’t about the guest stars, but about Chuck. Every fan knew this was the last year. The show felt like it would end in an extremely happy note. Chuck and Sarah were married, planning to buy a house, and talking about babies. Casey finally is falling for someone, while Morgan got his girlfriend back. Captain Awesome and Ellie were ready to start new lives in Chicago. Chuck the show, has a knack for pulling your heart out, smacking it around, and make you smile again. I thought there was no way the writers can do that in the finale as most of season 5 had its main characters floating in cloud nine. I was wrong.

By the last hour of the show, Sarah Walker had lost all her memories of Chuck and the show felt like season 1 or 2 with Chuck getting emo trying to make Sarah remember their relationship. Some fans may not like the “emo” component of Chuck, but that’s part of his character and memorable stories usually are the ones that get you teary-eyed. Plus, we can’t always be the badass Driver from the movie “Drive”. Instead of ending in an extremely happy note, we got an almost indie-movie like ending with no definitive result. In Chuck, the last scene ends with the main characters kissing, but we never know if Sarah’s memories return.

At first I didn’t like the final episode, but I kept thinking about it and re-watched the episode a second time. Jeffster’s “Take on Me” cover still made me smile. It was great seeing the supporting characters moving on and we do get hints of Sarah regaining bits of her forgotten memories. The flashbacks were memorable because they are presented as Chuck tells his story to Sarah in hopes of making her remember the past. The flashbacks reminded me that in the world of Chuck, the saddest events almost always lead to happier times. The best stories end with its characters being okay and made you care to wonder what happens next in their lives. Chuck ended with its two characters smiling and being passionate. They’re obviously okay and I’m wondering what villain Nathan Fillion will play against super Spy-Intersect couple Chuck/Sarah in the future Chuck movie. I changed my mind; this was by far the best series finale I’ve seen in a long time.

Showering Puppets

I was looking through my old blog links and clicked on @KeithLango. In one of his recent posts, I was pleasantly surprised to see a live action short film he made called “My Bathroom”. For those unfamiliar, Keith Lango is an animator and when I was younger I’d study his CG shorts to figure out how to animate characters. If I remember correctly, I think he worked at “Big Idea”. Back in the day, it was an animation studio in a Chicago suburb that all CG kids were familiar with.

In any case, “My Bathroom” is about a puppet doing his thing in the bathroom. The music fits well and the cinematography is great. It’s funny, simple, and sweet. It’s pretty amazing how the puppets were hand made. More amazing is how it took only 10 hours to shoot and edit the piece. If there’s anyone out there who’s thinking about filming cuddly little creatures like, oh say an old Husky, watch this short! For everyone else press play below and enjoy.

My Bathroom from Keith Lango on Vimeo.

Demo under August Rain

The Chicago Tech Meetup (@Tech_Chicago, #chitm) hosted its August Demos on Monday, so I thought I’d check it out.  I wanted to get inspired by the cool things the Chicago techies are making. Who knows, maybe I’m planning to build something and I want to make sure I don’t steal anyone’s ideas.  Then again, maybe I just want the free food.  Yes, free food is the key to getting guys out of their high-rise condos and come to your events.

As usual, all downtown tech events, whether it’s the .Net crowd or the CGSociety folks, takes place in buildings that require magnetic ID cards or security guest lists.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the list.  Fortunately, security let me in.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the list in the second sign-up area.  Fortunately, blonde person let me in.  Apparently, RSVP and asking someone to put my name on the list last week didn’t work.

When I finally got inside the presentation room, I grabbed a seat on the 2nd/3rd row, so I could get clear view right in front of the projector screen.  I was hoping people would sit in-front/around me, but instead everyone sat behind me.  Consequently, I had to work extra hard not to yawn in front of the presenters.

As for the actual demos, I was expecting to see some funky algorithms that did something new to help people.  Maybe a new Search Engine to address Google’s highly disorganized search results or a tool that involved organizing your life that has nothing to do with social API’s.  I don’t think Steve Jobs is on Twitter, so what happens if he uses your app that relies on Twitter API?

The apps that attracted me the most were MyZeus, Goshi.me, and koaladeal.com.  The other projects are great in their own way, but I’m not in school, I don’t have a kid, and I want a deal on a Sony S1 tablet!  MyZeus is about movies and music.  If you read this blog, then you probably know we like those things.  Goshi.me helps artists sell their artwork.  Maybe I’ll try it with one of my old pencil drawings.  One thing that I don’t understand is the lack of actual web app that runs on a desktop browser.  Koaladeal’s UI looks nice and that’s enough to make me want to consider trying it.

All in all, pretty good demos.

Cavill’s Superman DOES NOT wear red underwear

Warner Bros released the first photo of Superman from the upcoming “Man of Steel” movie and he clearly is not wearing the red underwear!  Check out the brightened photo below and you can see that the colors below his belt are the same blue as the rest, but with a darker shade from the shadows.  This is in line with the new briefs-less Superman suit that DC Comics will utilize when they reboot the Superman comics this fall.  I think Superman looks BAD-ASS!

Go Watch USA’s Suits

There’s usually nothing to watch on TV during the summer. Fortunately, the USA Network brings us new shows during these hot days. This year, Suits came out. The show revolves around a young lawyer working for a super corporate lawyer on white collar cases. This is not your average boring lawyer show.

The young lawyer is Michael Ross and he’s not really a lawyer. In the first episode, he’s a jobless kid with a great gift for remembering everything he reads. Due to some bad choices in his past, he’s now forced to make money by illegally taking bar exams for law students. One day Michael meets Harvey Specter, a super lawyer with old-school-slick-back-Superman hair strutting in expensive suits. Specter was looking for a new associate and he was not satisfied with the lame Harvard Law Graduates. Michael demonstrates to Harvey that he knew everything about law since he read law books. Even though Harvey is aware Michael doesn’t have a law degree, he still hires Michael.

Each episode we have Harvey and Michael going to court helping their clients against corporate takeovers, patent infringements, and the usual expensive cases. There’s no gloomy criminal defense stuff here. Everything is bright with some comedy and drama. Harvey is a bad-ass though guy and when dumbasses gets in his face, he tells the dumbasses to back off using words as his weapon. Harvey drives fast cars and understands how the power of image can manipulate people around him. He’s James Bond and when James Bond talks, people listen. Conversely, Michael doesn’t care about his suit, is compassionate about people, and visits his grandma.

It’s the trait difference between Harvey and Michael that makes this show interesting. Then there’s the suspense of not knowing what will happen when Harvey’s law firm finds out Michael isn’t a lawyer. Let’s not forget about the hot brunette paralegal that Michael’s been goggling over since the first episode. Will she ever go out with him or more importantly, will she stab him in the back and ruin his life after she learned that he was illegally taking tests for students? The summer season finale of Suits is almost here, so go watch it now!

Real Green Lantern Please Stand Up

Warner Bros Studios has just released a new trailer of Green Lantern for Wonder-Con and it’s a surprising U-Turn from the last trailer I’ve seen. To put simply, now I want to watch this movie! The tone is more serious, the visuals are a fine spectacle, and Hal Jordan’s comedic sense is still intact. If the movie can keep a good balance of all these elements and carry on a good story, it’ll be a great movie. Story wise, I’m betting it’ll be good. The director is Martin Campbell who released the best modern day James Bond films GoldenEye and Casino Royale. The writer is Greg Berlanti and he wrote a little great show on ABC called “Eli Stone”. Whether or not you liked “GoldenEye” or “Eli Stone”, these two things had one thing in common, good stories and dialog. I’m certain the director and writer will bring the same for Green Lantern. Don’t be surprise when come this summer, you’re new motto will be: “In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, BEWARE MY POWER… Green Lantern’s Light!” Watch it Here