When I don't roast my own coffee, I buy it from The Coffee Tree Roasters, which is just ``CTR'' for those of us in the 'Burgh. Their coffees are remarkably good. (CTR's ``Espresso Classico'' is what I use as a measuring stick for my own espresso roasts and blends. It's often better than my own. Or maybe it's more precise to say that mine often isn't as good as theirs. Yeah, that's it.)
Right now, I'm drinking CTR's Indian Monsooned Malabar. When I first saw the beans (years ago), the roast was so light that I thought their roaster had made a mistake. But, nope, it was fabulous. And, having since roasted monsooned Malabar myself, I agree that lighter is better. Live and learn.
Statistics, R, and ESS
I wrote about this stuff on the community projects site, so I won't repeat it here. If you're curious, R is responsible for the pretty pictures of IMDB's database stats, below.
More IMDB database fun
To play around with R, I have been taking a closer look at data from the Internet Movie Database. Using R's charting capabilities, it's easy to pick out interesting characteristics of data sets. For example, look at this series of histograms that shows the distribution of movie ratings (average of votes) by genre:
Note: The genre titles are on top of the corresponding histograms.
Compare Film-Noir's tight, right distribution to Horror's widespread, low lump. Can we say that, as a genre, film-noir movies tend to be more reliably ``better'' than horror flicks? It does look that way, doesn't it?
What other interesting things can you see? Share your thoughts in a comment.
Here's another telling chart. This time, we compare movie ratings by approximate year of release:
It looks like movies have been getting progressively worse since the early 1900's. The nadir appears to be the early 1990's, no doubt attributable to brilliant Hollywood fare like Mannequin: On the Move, Problem Child 2, and Vanilla Ice's glorious Cool As Ice.
But in the mid 1990's the situation reversed: Movies started getting better. (Or at least audiences started liking movies more.)
Now take a look at 2004. We're three quarters through the year, and it looks like we're bucking the improvement trend. Yes, in 2004 we've taken a big step backward in movie quality. Surely, Catwoman can't explain all of the backsliding, can it? Perhaps SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 is lending a harming hand?
Fascinating stuff. Grab a copy of IMDB's database and start digging.
This is a movie to see on the big screen. The visuals are impressive (though at times the CGI fails to carry the vision). The use of color is uncommonly powerful.
The plot, too, is good. I especially like how the story used my cynicism against me. Just when I thought I had uncovered the Hollywood formula behind the seemingly too-shallow story, the plot proved me wrong by revealing hidden depth.
Naturally, the martial arts sequences were very good.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, as did my wife. The filmmakers were reaching for a higher plane of art and occasionally reached it. Where they failed (and it is an imperfect film), I can forgive them – for having tried in the first place.
Darn. I finished my coffee.
The empty cup mocks me.
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