George V. Reilly

MythBusters: Lead Balloon

I don't watch much television. One of the few shows that I do watch is Myth­Busters, sadly now in its last season. I watched three old shows tonight, including one of my all-time favorites, making a lead balloon.

Taking on the adage "to go down like a lead balloon", Jamie and Adam set out to prove that it is possible to make a lead balloon fly. But it's not easy.

After pro­to­typ­ing a couple of designs with aluminum foil, they move on to lead foil. Lead foil is very hard to obtain and it's much weaker than aluminum foil. Jamie likens it to working with wet toilet paper, as it's so easy to continue.

Sherlock Seattle 2015

Sherlock Seattle is a convention for fans of Sherlock Holmes, in all his many in­car­na­tions. Emma and I are attending the 2015 convention this weekend at the Broadway Per­for­mance Hall. We also attended the two previous con­ven­tions, in late 2012 and late 2013. Holmes has always been popular, since Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study in Scarlet in 1886. Three recent adap­ta­tions have boosted Holmes' popularity con­sid­er­ably, the steampunk Sherlock films with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law; the BBC Sherlock in modern-day London with Benedict Cum­ber­batch and Martin Freeman; and the CBS Elementary in modern-day New York with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu.

Sherlock Seattle has, I'd guess, continue.

Shaun the Sheep

By a serendip­i­tous accident poking around on the TiVo a few weeks ago, we found that the Disney channel is broad­cast­ing Shaun the Sheep. It's a series of seven-minute shorts spun off from Wallace and Gromit.

Shaun is the one smart sheep on a small­hold­ing. His in­quis­i­tive nature leads to all kinds of mischief. The flock follow along; the sheepdog sometimes helps, sometimes hinders. All the while, the farmer is oblivious. No dialog, just slapstick. Highly rec­om­mend­ed.

I learned today that a new 30-minute Wallace and Gromit, A Matter of Loaf and Death, premieres on BBC TV at Christmas. I'm not sure when it'll be shown in the US. We'll be in Dublin continue.


Three years ago, one of our must-watch shows was Fire Within, a doc­u­men­tary on the making of Cirque du Soleil's Varekai show. It followed a set of would-be performers in the eight months leading up to the premiere of Varekai, as they train at the Cirque's school in Montreal, developing potential acts. Some of them make it, some fall by the wayside.

Varekai has been on tour ever since, and it just opened in Seattle. We saw it tonight. Very little of the original show survives; mostly, the aerial strap act with the twins, Kevin and Andrew.

I recommend it. Varekai is a visual spec­tac­u­lar, with all the familiar elements of incredible continue.

Olympics: Razor-thin Margins

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have no use for organized sports. Watching baseball or basketball bores me. I seem to be con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly incapable of being a sports fan. I'm too much of a watchful outsider to want to throw myself into rooting for a team.

I actively despise American football. It reminds me far too much of the rugby of my youth. I spent 11 years at an Irish rugger-bugger school, so I come by it honestly. The ugly jock culture that permeates football repels me. The veneration of football in small-town America annoys me. The fans are obnoxious; the players, thugs.

I exaggerate, of course. There continue.


(Originally posted to Cool Stuff at EraBlog on Sun, 09 Feb 2003 08:02:27 GMT)

Emma bought herself a TiVo Digital Video Recorder a few weeks ago. I had heard it said that TiVo changes the way you watch TV. It's true. Emma is fond of Home and Garden Television (HGTV), which has a lot of shows about re­dec­o­rat­ing and re­mod­el­ling. They're padded un­mer­ci­ful­ly, constantly recapping what they showed you before the most recent break. She can work through an ostensible 30-minute show in under 10 minutes by skipping from highlight to highlight.

Our TiVo also has a DirecTV satellite receiver built in, giving us access to far more stations than we had on continue.