Dandelions are UNSTOPPABLE!!!

It's mind-boggling how dandelions are so pertinacious. Near the center of this photo can be seen the yellow heads of two dandelions surrounded by three others which never fully opened but turned to dandelion fluff just for spite. I sent this image directly here from my phone so I didn't have opportunity to tweak it for better visibility. Anyway, a few weeks ago we had a couple of days in which the temperature reached above 50 degrees fahrenheit. Two warm days and these little yellow weeds popped their heads up as if it wasn't early January. The next couple of days saw temps drop into the teens and single digits for a few days followed by a week of never-above-freezing temps and then more single digit temperatures. The photo here was taken on the last day of single digit temperatures, which has raised a few questions in my mind.

Clearly, it was the short bit of warmish weather that inspired these plants to burst forth. I am very surprised that mid-50's temps was all it took. Until now I would have expected mid-70's to be the trigger point. So, once their heads pop up, even if they don't really open, is the dandelion life-cycle time sensitive or triggered by further weather events?

If it's time, then a blooming dandy apparently takes about 2 weeks to turn poof, regardless of conditions. If it's weather, perhaps the extreme cold froze all moisture out of the air, simulating a dry condition which caused the plants to go poofy. I don't know. I enjoy speculating but I don't really care enough to Google the correct answer.

The truth is, I'm quite awestruck by the amazing powers of plants. Plants take back what we leave behind, so long as what we leave behind doesn't kill them first. Even so, in the long run it's plants that take eventually take it back. Beware of that fern in the corner. It's plotting against you.

What's a po' boy ta do?

[I began this post on Friday night~Saturday morning, January 25~26. Little did I know that a few short days later, Monday, January 28, 2008, would mark the 50th anniversary of LEGO. Thanks Google, and thanks LEGO!]
I'm in deep entertainment trouble this year. I'm already behind schedule, having missed "Cloverfield" on opening weekend. As a kid I always preferred monsters that were genuinely terrifying, like Godzilla and other giant Japanese monsters, or "Alien" and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Werewolf, the Mummy... they just never clicked with me. I suppose there are sub-genres within the horror movie genre and the more science-fiction type creatures appeal to me best. So, here I am trying to figure out how and when I'll be able to see Cloverfield, because you have to see a giant-monster movie on the big screen. It's a rule. But what lies in store for me when the summer movie frenzy begins?

I'm also looking forward to the "Speed Racer" movie, but, to further complicate matters, Variety is reporting that Warner Brothers has licensed $80M in deals for toys and product placements and two of my favorite toy lines of all time have deals to make Speed Racer products. LEGO has signed on to make at least four playsets and Hot Wheels, who've issued an unlicensed version of Speed Racer's car, the Mach 5, many times over (see below), has official authority to produce vehicles and a themed playset or track is also likely.

LEGO is the single greatest toy brand in all of history, IMHO.
According to Wikipedia, the company began making wooden toys in 1932 but they didn't take the name LEGO until 1934. They didn't start making plastic toys until 1947 and even then they didn't make building blocks. In 1949 they began making a type of interlocking building block modeled after those made by a British company called Kiddicraft. Over the years LEGO tried different kinds of plastics and different styles of bricks. Finally, in 1963 - just in time for my lifespan, they developed the LEGO System we all know and love. Bricks made in 1963 will still work with bricks made today!
At some point in recent history LEGO began licensing popular properties such as Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, SpongeBob SquarePants, and now Indiana Jones! The combination of Star Wars and LEGO** bricks has turned out to be one of the best ideas since the plastic bricks themselves. And now, Speed Racer will be coming to LEGO*. Also, LEGO already makes Batman kits, but a new slate is due out for the release of "The Dark Knight", also this summer. LEGO sets are a bit on the pricey side. I hope I'll be able to take advantage of this rare opportunity for high quality authorized Speed Racer merchandise.

Speaking of "The Dark Knight", R.I.P. Heath Ledger.

Speaking of comic book characters, let's not forget movies for "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" are also due out this year, as well as"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and "Hellboy 2". My favorite heroes merchandised into my favorite toy lines. I'm screwed all the way through Christmas when the reboot of "Star Trek" will finally hit theaters... and then... and then... and then, what? A remake of "The Sting" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Emile Hirsch or "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" with Emile and Shia LeBeouf, or... nevermind, I'll stop. What else could there possibly be after a year like this? Perhaps new and original ideas will make a comeback. Meanwhile, I'll be over here reliving the very best parts of my childhood. :-)

*Someone has already built a Mach 5 using LEGO bricks. The pictures at this link are NOT from an official LEGO kit. They are samples of skilled brickwork by a talented fan.

**Let's not forget that LEGO and Star Wars have teamed up to release some of the best fun you can have with your favorite videogame systems! And, Indiana Jones appears in "LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga" as a teaser for the coming "LEGO Indiana Jones" videogames. AND, Speed Racer has had a videogame or two in the past so why not LEGO Speed Racer? AND, Hot Wheels is famous for videogame versions of their great cars and tracks, so why not a Hot Wheels Speed Racer videogame, or a Hot Wheels Dark Knight video game, OR a LEGO Hot Wheels team-up allowing us to build LEGO cars on those speedy Hot Wheels chassis? If I don't stop now I just might wet myself.


Big Screen Movie Theater Blues

[UPDATE (added 20080215): Link to Official Star Trek movie site]

After months and months of investigation and anticipation it looks like I won't get to see Cloverfield on opening weekend.
This also means I have to settle for this poor quality bootleg of the Star Trek teaser until an official version is placed online.
Double Fudge.

On a better note...

The online image of the new version of the original Enterprise NCC-1701 has alleviated my fears that the movie would be ruined by the mistake of updating the legendary ship. They've tweaked the look of it's hull surface, but they haven't changed it's structure.
The saucer section appears to be a circle, the domes on top seem to be about the right shape and size, the warp engine nacelles are cylinders, and the scale seems to be right. All of this comes as quite a relief after that trick pulled on us with the Jupiter 2 in the "Lost in Space" movie.
I enjoyed the "Lost in Space" movie enough to have watched it a few times on DVD. For me it's a cinematic equivalent of comfort food. But, in case you haven't seen it, when we first see the Jupiter 2 it appears much as it did on TV, a basic flying saucer with a little bubble dome on top. In the movie the trick was that the flying saucer was nothing more than some sort of launch booster which blew apart to reveal the updated spacecraft hiding underneath.
Retro Fudge.



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