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Apr. 22nd, 2006 @ 02:07 pm Empowering ME through sucking at YOUR job.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
I saw "Silent Hill" last night, and it was one of those instances where, upon exiting the theater, I strongly felt that I could have done such a better job at adapting that game that the film-makers should feel the kind of shame that causes people to lose themselves in bottles of cheap dramboui in a dive somewhere in the seedy part of Manila. (I feel a similar shame in seeing how run-on that last sentence was, but that's the way it goes, I suppose).

So here's the list of gripes, or the "poop-shoot", if your a Kevin Smith-o-phile:

Roger Ebert mentioned, in his one and a half star review of the flick, how great the visuals are. I disagree. There are very good visuals, but they weren't that great by current movie standards, and they... corrupted, I guess... the very thing that really makes the games scary: Darkness. I realize that you can only have so many "pitch darkness pierced by cones of halogen light" shots in a given movie before the audience gets up and leaves, but the filmmakers' solution didn't do it for me. Making things very dim with fire in the distance isn't the answer. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm still convinced I could have done a better job.

They blended the first two games. I haven't played 3 or 4, so maybe some of the more outlandish elements of the film aren't really inexplicable and merely have their origins in my ignorance, but I do know the first two games fairly well. Well enough to realize that they are, thematically, kind of incompatable. You have the demon plot from the first game, but you also have PyramidHead from the second. The demon plot from game 1 is sort of a standard evil-villain screwing with the hero, deal. The PyramidHead, and indeed the second game as a whole, follows the interpretation that Silent Hill and its monsters are expressions of the hero's psyche, rather than actual places/beasts (which seems to be the case in the first game) Anyway, the point is, they take two opposed theories of Silent Hill and jams them together. And poorly. PyramidHead is a pretty significant villain in the second game. You see him(them) only at key moments, and you don't really find out that they are not the big baddie only until the very end of the game. Conversely, there are hints and clues pointing to Sammael and a showdown with him all throughout the first game. In each game, each guy (the Demon and PyramidHead) are set up to be the main villain for the character and your main concern, as a gamer. Not in the movie. It seems to follow the theory that two good things combined is better than two good things taken separately, which is not always the case.

My thoughts on the matter are kind of scattershot, but suffice to say, not only did the movie miss the mark by not being that scary and being kind of cheesy, but by also being conceptually bad. That's something recent videogame based movies have down pat.
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Mar. 23rd, 2006 @ 04:58 pm Been a little while.
So I don't have much to say. Primarily I'm writing this because right now, not three feet to my left, the film "Blow Out" is playing. This is noteworthy because junior year my roommate Jesse and I watched it, and marveled at the sheer crap that was the ending. It's one of those movies that just sort of stops. Plus, you get to see John Travolta over-acting with his "Yeah, a good scream *WINCE* Good scream." Trust me. If you ever get to watch it, you'll know what I'm talking about.

So yeah, this is a bit of a worthless post. But that's all right.
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Mar. 9th, 2006 @ 11:10 pm Just one more thing...
Current Mood: weirdweird
Current Music: Mood music from Night of the Living Dead
If you don't know about this website, you have to check it out. Even if you don't know anything about baseball, you should be able to puzzle out enough to realize that this site is genius made flesh. Especially anything from Jim "Wordupthome" (that's pronounced "toe-mee" for you baseball non-enthusiasts).

Here's the address: http://www.progressiveboink.com/dugout
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Mar. 9th, 2006 @ 08:45 pm Sunuvagun.
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
Current Music: OAR Love and memories
So, as has been mentioned in this space before, my dog Ozzie chewed up my old glasses a week or so ago. When I was letting Pookie out for her morning "evacuations," Ozzie jumped up, grabbed my specs off the table and chewed the hell out of the right frame.

I went to Sears Optical, courtesy of my Da, and picked out some frames that I thought were pretty sweet. Then I waited for 10 days while, apparently, the order was sent off to master elvish craftsmen to be constructed lovingly and in a most un-hurried manner. But I've got them now.

And they're purple.

Well, not really purple. I didn't want solid black frames, and while I think silvery frames are cool in theory, I also think it's possible that eventually they could provide a glare distraction, to say nothing of the fact that I think mirror shining rims would look gaudy on me. My solution was to settle for darkish metal frames that still have some shine, but not too much. For any who read this and think that I put too much thought into this, fuck you, I wear them all the time and I have to be comfortable with them.

Except that, in the right light, the "darkish metal" looks like the most delicate shade of violet.

And let me tell you, it... is... FABULOUS!

Heh. Just kidding. But it is a little annoying. I already made my concessions to aesthetic awareness by not picking sterling silver frames for my pasty pale mottled with red blemishes skin. But now I have purple frames instead of dark brown/grey frames, and I have to adjust my wardrobe to match, and it becomes this big thing that I was trying to avoid, which means I have to travel even further into the realm of fashion, where I'm a complete stranger, and I just KNOW this is gonna end up with me wearing a cravat. That's the way these things work, in my experience.

Hence the title: Sunuvagun!
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Mar. 8th, 2006 @ 10:53 pm Scattershot thoughts
Current Mood: exanimateexanimate
So, I like to write. I'm not especially good at it, but better than some. I've heard you should write at least a little bit everyday, just to keep sharp. Or to sharpen. Or to prevent literary thermal decay from turning you into bAd BOi flaMING da NOOBs!!!1 As I have nothing to really write about, here's some random thoughts.

I read a lot of fantasy novels. That's about all I read. Currently, I'm re-reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series (AKA, Robert Jordan's Frankenstein), because I read Knife of Dreams when it came out in Nov/Dec, and while I liked it a bunch, I couldn't remember who half these bastards are, so I decided to start afresh. That was in mid-december, and I've finally gotten back to Knife of Dreams. The circle is complete. But there is one problem: I'm on only slightly more solid ground now, having read the first ten books over the course of two months, than I was when I read KOD the first time around, when I hadn't touched the series in two years. I have no idea how Robert Jordan does it. When I think about him and his series, I'm reminded of Jonah and the Whale. Robert Jordan is Jonah, of course, and the Wheel of Time is the whale that swallowed him whole. It's a fairly appropriate analogy, I think. Whales spend much of their time in the crushing depths only to surface briefly for air. Much like RJ and his whale, spending all his time down in the darkness, only to emerge every couple of years when a new book is finished to grab a few clean breaths, and then get dragged screaming down into the abyss. Why does anybody want to be a writer?

The Avis commercial with the old people and "Ruff Ryders" is a thing of beauty.

I just got new glasses, because Ozzie, the profiteer, chewed the old ones up a week and a half ago. He's totally like a spoiled hot chick. Does whatever he wants, growls when you try to stop him, gets all lovey dovey and intimate when you call him out on it, and skips away without punishment after he slobbers all over you face, because really, who can stay angry at a yellow lab puppy?

POLITICS! I know I'm about a month late, but something President Bush said several weeks ago sticks in my craw. It was at the speech he gave at Kansas State or some other bull shit great plains state University whose highest topographical point is the unusually tall water fountain at the south end of the quad (sorry)... anyway, this was the speech where, afterwards, a student asked him if he had seen "Brokeback Mountain", and he hemmed and hawwed and shit his pants (really, the clip was on the news for a couple days after, so maybe you've heard of the speech I'm talking about). Anyway, in response to all the negative press about the domestic spying/surveillance, the Prez had the following to say (paraphrased, since its been awhile), "The 9/11 commission's greatest criticism of pre-9/11 intelligence was the failure of the various agencies to share information and connect the dots. This program helps them connect the dots," he said, flashing the patented President Bush slightly-queasy-smile-that-is-supposed-to-disarm-you-and-make-you-see-the-simple-genius-of-position-but-really-only-creeps-you-out-and-drains-all-confidence-in-him.
Now, I haven't read this piece of legislation, so I'm hesitant to comment on it. But as it was explained to me, this program doesn't allow intelligence agencies to share info and "connect the dots" so much as it allows said agencies to collect more "dots" in a potentially illegal manner. Maybe I'm wrong. Like I said, I haven't read the letter of the law. But no one seems to be making the "solves inter-agency communications problem" argument other than the Prez. I'm so confused! Won't somebody just come along and do my thinking and decision making for me? Oh, hello Vice President Cheney... No, put the gun down! No, NOOOOOO!!!!!

(Purile, uninformed political commentary. So very, very satisfying.)
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Mar. 5th, 2006 @ 12:34 pm Say it ain't so.
Current Music: Journey-Separate Ways (in my head)
8-4-170 Masking in public.
It shall be unlawful for any person with the city to appear in public in any mask, cap, cowl, hood or other thing concealing the identity of the wearer; provided, that the provision of this section shall not apply to persons attending or taking part in carnivals, mask balls, public shows, entertainments, or celebrations in the city, or under permission of the proper authorities of said city, nor to any person holding a written permit issued by the mayor. (Prior code 193-9)

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I saw this last night. I think this is indicative of the death of innocence in our times, an example of our cynicism murdering our dreams.

It is illegal to be a superhero in Chicago.
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Mar. 5th, 2006 @ 12:04 pm Strictly for the Dogs...
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Theology by Todd Rundgren
This is for Ozzie, and Robin, and to a lesser extent, Kelly (AKA Pookie the Hut).

(AHEM)

Puppies, puppies, everywhere
Crapping on the floor.
Puppies, puppies, on my nerves,
But still my Dad wants more?

Surely he jests!
They're out of hand!
How could he want another?

My only conclusion is
My Dad's been replaced,
By a long lost Evil Twin Brother.

My evidence is, the other day,
He was in the bathroom shaving.
Getting rid of the evidence
To make his face smooth as paving (stones. Shut up, I'm not Keats)

Without a goatee, how would we know
That Gary's been replaced by Harry?
Harry who, in times of need,
Can act like villains scary.

His dire plan, with puppies legion
is to take over the world.
Or failing that, this urban region
About the Lake's south shore curl'd (SHUT UP! I'm not Keats! What of it? You have beef? Fine, Chicago. Are you happy now?)

Ozzie, Robin, Pookadoo
The mighty Vanguard three.
With urine and doo,
You commit acts of fearful villainy.

And so I hide, in my room,
pretending that I'm napping.
Please, please, I'm begging you.
STOP THAT FRIGGIN' YAPPING!



Thank you very much.
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Mar. 5th, 2006 @ 12:27 am Something that I've been thinking about
Everybody accuses Americans of being sloppy intellectually and physically.

I am the proof to be found in the pudding. A ME pudding.

But, like some Asimovian couch potato, I am aware of it. I see our imperialism and our laziness. However, being lazy myself, I am not terribly worried by it. But from time to time it does get me thinking.

Take for example, eastern philosophy. I am about to display my American intellectual laziness by painting in very broad strokes, but that should make it easy for you to follow. We Americans pride ourselves on our Puritanical work ethic. At least that has historically been the case. Wake up and sneer at the rooster for sleeping late, get the worm, and then till the earth until we pass out, smiling in the assurance that our loving God will give us an Eternal Sunday once we die. Like (and I'm terribly sorry for the reference) the Auschwitz "Arbeit Macht Frei." Yes, this was a sick joke on the part of some unforgivable Nazi fucks, but the sentiment is at the heart of our cultural heritage. Like a drummer in the slave galleys of our minds, it urges us to go faster, farther, to accomplish more.

And then there's yoga. And Tai Chi. And Meditation. While old world Monks and hermits have a reputation for the isolation/contemplation that is functionally similar to Meditation, there are no yuppies signing up Contemplation classes at the local Y. But slap a YIN/YANG and a stick figure in the lotus position on the flyer, and soon enought the class will be full to brimming.

Because it's not the essence of Meditation, or Yoga, or Tai Chi. It's the cultural cache, the sense that those mystical asians really have their shit together, and if we go to yoga or tai chi, we'll get our shit together too. But we don't want to be like asians, because we're racist, so instead of going the full bore and trying to see if there's any message more codified than "breath deep and increase flexibility," we just go through the motions. Which is okay, I guess. In addition to being fat, we're also a nation of stiff mouth-breathers, so we could use the help. But as soon as it's done we go get some Starbucks and dish about Desperate Housewives (Shut up. You know you do.)

Synthesis takes two dissimilar elements and combines them to form a new element that is in some ways similar to the originals, but is ultimately dissimilar from both. That's the American way. Kill it's uniqueness by making it like us.

I guess what gets me going about this is the question of where will it stop? The smaller the world gets, the more of America's incoming population will hail from regions that are traditionally alien to our European heritage. Not that I'm complaining. I'm not the most cosmopolitan of individuals, but if a culture can produce even one uber-attractive woman, that culture is AOK in my book. (Japan, Koreas, China, Vietnam, Phillipines, India, you're all right. Pakistan, Mongolia and Micronesia, I'm waiting for your submissions.)

I have an amusing nightmare where in the future, we will become so enamored of eastern philosophy that the resource we fight wars over will not be Oil, but picturesque locales for us to migrate to so we can commune en masse with Brahman. As there are only so many miles of white sandy coastlines and only so many temples with megalithic buddhas (buddhae?), I can just see future generations reading about the Battle of Phuket and the 82nd Airborne jumping into Cambodia and Laos to seize strategically important shrines and setting up shop like so many Kurtzes.

That's the future, kiddies. Yuppie Poseur Militantism
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