Wonder if our neighbor would let us mount a projector on their roof for next Halloween. The effect is most amazing when it’s subtle and plays off of the shadows and lighting.
I wonder how otherwise intelligent people can honestly say things like “Look at all this fucking snow! Where’s your ‘global warming’, Al Gore! So full of shit!” I know it may be in jest sometimes, but most of the time it seems to be just a way to take a pot shot at people whose politics they don’t agree with and that’s just ignorant.
You can agree with or disagree with whoever you want. But in all things, try to be fair. Evaluate the message separate from the messenger and test for validity.
Back to Global Warming. For those of you who don’t know, the idea behind Global Warming aka Global Climate Change (even though, if they’re right, Global Warming *is* a valid and descriptive term) is that the average temperate of the ENTIRE Earth (not just the formerly snow laden East Coast, USA) has been warming dramatically and, over time, this can cause the melting of the polar ice caps, sea levels rise, dramatic weather changes, etc. All of this stuff could potentially make things very uncomfortable for all the little creatures, including humans, living on this bid mud ball of a planet.
Further, the idea behind the call to arms against Global Warming is that regardless of whether the Earth naturally gets hotter and colder over millennia, we humans may be pushing it further, contributing to the problem, or we may be completely fucked either way because it’s just what Earth naturally does, but maybe we can help not make it worse than it already is.
Look, I’m not an Al Gore lover. I don’t know if Global Warming/Global Climate Change/etc is real or just someone overzealous Powerpoint presentation full of skewed numbers, but I’m pretty sure everyone I’ve heard saying ignorant things against the idea don’t know either. They have a feeling and an opinion, and that’s fine, but they just sound so goddamn ignorant when they try to use the excessive snow and cold as ‘evidence’ that Global Warming is a myth. I’m not going to run around all summer going “Shit, 98 degrees and 100% humidity.. see?! Global Warming is TRUE!” because THAT would be retarded. It’s the same exact thing.
One thing I do believe is that cleaner air, better emissions control, all sound like pretty good things to me. I know it costs money, but it also creates research jobs and ultimately, healthier cities. What’s the real harm in pushing for better, cleaner sources of energy and safer chemical processing?
So who cares if Global Warming exists. Just stop making stupid assertions about topics you’re not qualified to speak on and let’s work on that whole ‘working together for a better world’ motif.
I watched a lot of movies in 2009. Not all of them were released in 2009 (most weren’t), but if they’re good movies that hold up over time, they’re worth mentioning again.
- Some of the animated ones are just too impressive not to enjoy just watching, regardless of storyline and such. Up, Bolt, 9, Coraline, Wall-E, Beowolf (realistic cgi still counts as animated right?) all look great.
- For serious animated fare, Waltz with Bashir and Persepolis are actually serious works about the 1982 war in Lebanon (Waltz) and growing up as a teenage girl in Iran (Persepolis)
- Burn After Reading had some great performances. I think I like Clooney as a deranged paranoid. Also great in Men Who Stare At Goats for the same reasons.
- Couple of guilty pleasures: Crank 2 and Transporter 2. Jason Statham in two completely ridiculous roles. Especially Crank 2 where the characters are essentially treated like they’re in a video game with constant powerups and extra lives. The whole Transporter series has this odd supernatural thing with his car. Other people’s cars he ‘borrows’ get destroyed, but HIS car is almost always completely untouchable. Especially in Transporter 3. And I’m totally gay for Jason Statham.. except in Dungeon Siege. Even he couldn’t save a Uwe Boll production.
- Flash of Genius – Who knew a story about the guy who invented the intermittent windshield wiper would be so interesting?
- Moon – It’s a shame it’s getting passed over for awards, it was a really cool movie.
- Paranormal Activity – Even though it didn’t scare me at all, I thought it was a cool movie for what it was and what it accomplished on such a small budget. It was well paced and timed and was really creepy even if it didn’t give me nightmares or make me wet myself
- Star Trek (2009) – JJ Abrams and crew did a great job with this reboot of an old franchise. Much more accessible to non-nerds. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great action flick and added something interesting to an old favorite.
- There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day Lewis was amazing. Not sure I’ve been this riveted to the screen since No Country for Old Men. Drink your milkshake right up, indeed!
- Vexille – One more animated flick to mention. Anyone who likes good futuristic/cyberpunk type animation.. along the lines of Ghost in the Shell… should check this out. Definitely a random movie choice that turned out for the best (especially since anime tends to be kind of weird/crappy/etc.. this is a rare gem).
- Wristcutters: A Love Story – One of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen. If you’re a fan of Terry Gilliam or things like Repo Man, Donnie Darko, etc… well, this isn’t really like any of those, but it’s close enough to the same mindset that you should check it out.
- World’s Greatest Dad – Robin Williams in an awkward but well made movie written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. What’s not to like?
- Yojimbo (1961, Kurosawa) – I’ve seen my share of Samurai Champloo and Afro Samurai, which have both taken cues from some of the classic samurai movies (and added a new, hip, urban spin to them) and after going back and watching this Kurosawa classic (which holds up well even today.. it was actually interesting to watch), you see how those old influences are really captured in some of the new samurai anime series. Little things amazed me too, like the fact that the buildings seemed like rundown hovels, but they had such interesting and intricate engineering for their windows and such. It’s like the building was an old puzzle box. Complicated but functional. Anyway, fans of things like Samurai Champloo or Afro Samurai would enjoy this one.
- Battlefield Earth – And old stinker. The book was amazing, the movie was horrible
- Funny Games – Lots of reviews said “if you didn’t like this masterpiece, you just don’t GET IT”. I like to think I can see good filmmaking even if it disturbs me or I don’t personally like it. I think this american adaptation was 100% garbage.
- S. Darko – Donnie Darko hit so many notes perfectly. It was this great, weird, awkward, WEIRD (again) story with great execution and musical score. S. Darko is the ill fated attempt at a sequel that tries entirely too hard not just to copy DD, but to link itself directly to every major plot point in DD to the point of trying WAY too hard. Fail. But everyone, except the people who made it, knew that you shouldn’t even try to make a sequel to Donnie Darko. And if you DID need to make a sequel, it really should have been weird in a different way. Wristcutters: A Love Story could have been a fitting sequel to Donnie Darko, or something similar. Not a direct copy of DD with a few situations changed.
- Transformers 2 – I thought the first one was bad. I didn’t think it kept to the spirit of the series I grew up with, I think Shia LaBeouf is one of the biggest douches on the planet, and I think it’s crap that they didn’t let the the guy who did the voice of the original Megatron do it for these movies. But putting all that aside, Transformers 2 was just this overindulgent piece of shit that Michael Bay thought would fly if he slapped a popular franchise name onto. Please see Topless Robot’s Transformers 2 FAQ and this “exclusive preview” of Tranny2 that about sums it all up.
- Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – Way to take the title of the movie and stretch a basic concept into 2 hours of filler. This movie doesn’t seem to add any kind of value to the franchise at all. The Lycans exist. They rise up against the vampires. End of movie. There’s absolutely nothing interesting about how the story progresses or is told.
- War Wolves – I was really hoping for another Dog Soldiers type movie, but not so much. It quickly turned into a cheap (bad) T&A/crappy blood and gore flick that shouldn’t even have been worthy of a SyFy channel mid-day showing
There were other movies I saw that were good, but I didn’t necessarily enjoy. The Wrestler was well made and heartfelt and deserves all the awards and accolades it got, but I’m just not that into wrestling or drama and it struck deep with both of those. In the end, it was just ‘ok’ to me.
I’m always impressed by the amazing coordination it takes for some people’s projects. I don’t care if it took 100 takes, the final product is still loads of fun. Not only did Sour manage to choreograph 64 of their fans to produce some great scenes, but if you watch close, you’ll see some extra fancy crossover action with people ‘moving’ from one webcam to another to further enhance the effect. Really, watch this video a couple times to see all the cool stuff they did. Fun times!
Thanks to Jonathan Coulton for tweeting this!
For the many who don’t know what it is, Auto-Tune is a software package that’s used to try to correct the pitch of vocals or instruments in a music track. Maybe you hit one sour note or are just slightly off key, and not in a charming way, Auto-Tune could maybe tweak it a little for you.
Well, what happens if what you’re ‘correcting’ isn’t music or vocals? And what if you have a history of some rather creative songwriting of your own. Well, then you get something like the what The Gregory Brothers (plus one wife) have put together with their rather interesting revision of current and past history, with a little help from Auto-Tune (on their newer videos at least).
Here are the gems that are currently available. I recommend subscribing to their YouTube channel to keep up with the latest releases. Brilliant, infectious and just lots of fun. I dare you to watch and not get the tunes stuck in your head.
Auto-Tune the News #1: march madness. economic woes. pentagon budget cuts
Auto-Tune the News #2: pirates. drugs. gay marriage
Auto-Tune the News #3: cuba. afghan friendship. 2-party woes
Auto-Tune the News #4: spa regulation. serbians. sotomayor
I can’t even describe how amazing and creative this is. Both guys (and the two together) are well worth watching the whole 18 minute clip, so just do it.
Just a few words about music.. art.. junk like that.
Music, for me, is a conduit for emotions that I want to feel, but I don’t want to express, necessarily.
I’m a pretty laid back guy, but we all have times when we’re angry, frustrated, sad, wahtever. Push the right buttons, and I’ll get angry, but in general I subscribe to the “duck’s back” philosophy and just take things in stride. But I think we need to *feel* these emotions from time to time, even if we haven’t had cause. I think it’s healthy to be angry, sad, etc from time to time. This is where music comes into play.
There’s music I remember fondly from my youth that evokes memories of when I genuinely felt such emotions. There are other tunes I’ve discovered since then that really help me bleed the emotion out of me so it doesn’t jump out at inopportune times.
I guess some examples are in order.
These days, I mostly need to bleed out some frustration from time to time. It used to be that I’d turn to some Nine Inch Nails for that. Pineful tunes like “Hurt” are quiety self destructive. Remember, the idea, for me, is to feel the emotion without it coming out on it’s own. So when I say it’s self destructive, don’t think I want to actually hurt myself, but there’s a bit of catharsis involved in channeling such feelings so you don’t ever have to feel them in a “real” capacity.
Then there’s more energetic NiN fare such as “Mr Self Destruct” (which really goes great after a “Pinion” build-up). But I’ve also found some great solace in Mindless Self Indulgence. Man, what great noise and energy. There’s a certain maniacal insanity involved here. A total lack of control or reason.. just a raw unleashing of emotional power akin to some crazy Japanese cartoon character powering his proverbial lazerz.
So what’s on the other end of the spectrum? Well, there was a period in my life (in high school, of course) when I found myself in love, heartbroken, infatuated, intoxicated, etc over and over again. Damn hormones. hah. During this time, I was really becoming musically aware so music meant even more to me then than any other time in my life. I think you really get locked into the music of that period of your life. For me, the ‘love’ music that really suck in and still tugs a little at the heartstrings are things like Matthew Sweet‘s “Girlfriend” album (where he sung about a different woman every other song) and maybe Material Issue‘s “International Pop Overthrow“.
Man, I really loved music back then. Very few bands really tickle my fancy these days. Sometimes someone will come along that I really appreciate, but nothing like back then. I just don’t have the emotions I used to have. Or maybe it’s the emotional instability that I used to have. Maybe I should give emotional instability a try again, just to find that passion (even if it comes along with some insanity hah).
Not so much on the heartache/loveache but I have to mention that around the same time, I really fell in love with bands like Too Much Joy, Cracker, MC 900ft Jesus and some others. I love you all for what you gave me back then.
But whatever does it for you, I think it’s important to find your muse. Find what really strikes a chord with you, and you’ve really got something good.
This comes to my point about art in general: just find what you enjoy and enjoy it. It doesn’t matter why you enjoy it, as long as you do. Whatever joy or emotional outlet you can find in life is a good thing. I know that not everyone enjoys music the same way I do, but whatever capacity you enjoy music or any other art form, is a good thing.
I know this is only my second non-greeting post, but I think it’s already time for a word from our sponsor. Today’s sponsor is Guiness. I just saw this video and was marveling in the hypnotic beauty.
And yes, Guiness really looks like that when you get it on tap or pour from one of those home versions with the nitrogen bullets in them.
So.. sounds interesting, looms promising. Warren Ellis apparently wrote a GI Joe series that’s starting to air in 5 minute segments on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim adult programming block with a 10 minute finale to be aired along with all episodes in one big block. Some YouTube links and embeds follow that are probably going to disappear once Cartoon Network notices them. I don’t feel too bad linking them since Warren Ellis did it first.
Someone on Twitter just shot me this link about GI JOE: RESOLUTE, what I wrote:
Hasbro announced today that G.I. Joe: Resolute, an adult fan oriented animated mini-series, will be broadcast via Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim on television as well as online. Based on the classic G.I. JOE brand, Hasbro created 60 minutes of total content for this new story which will be presented as 11 episodes.
Beginning on April 17, fans will be able to see the first five minutes of the brand new, stand-alone animated mini-series on AdultSwim.com. These episodes are broken down to ten 5-minute episodes and one 10-minute finale. Following the first episode on April 17, subsequent installments will be posted on the Adult Swim website leading up to a full presentation of the entire series. This finale will be broadcast on Adult Swim April 25 at midnight. This televised event will not only feature all episodes seen online, but will be the first time fans can watch the final 10 minutes of the G.I. Joe: Resolute saga. All episodes, including the finale, will be available to view online after this airing.
Some more stuff at the link.
Obviously, I’ll have the links to the episodes every day as they go live.
(alt: http://drop.io/gijoepreview/asset/adult-swim-video2-flv )
(alt2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gsq73Xvcwc&feature=player_embedded )
Official – http://www.adultswim.com/video/?episodeID=8a25059520b3d89e0120b49221340025 (no embed)
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmahUDrswxY
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FS9-bYAsNU
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16neqpiuxSo
… I’d pretend to be one of those attention whore asshole multi-bloggers who really doesn’t have anything to say but wants to make sure everyone knows that I have nothing to say.
It’s possible that someone out there may find my thoughts entertaining, amusing, or hell.. maybe enlightening. Most of what I think is significant within my own mind, but who knows how valuable it can be outside.
Just like with the billion other blogs, thousand TV stations, hundreds of radio stations, etc.. if what I have to say isn’t interesting, you’re welcome to turn the dial. But I welcome anyone who wants to comment, debate, refute or enlighten. I love learning new things and am well aware that I don’t know everything and I’m very fallible.
So, that’s it for now. Lots of tweaking to do to this new blog and all the little DWTs (doojy-washy-thingies) to get installed and configured. Thanks for reading!
Art referenced, slandered and harmed in this post: Catcher in the Rye via the Laughing Man in Ghost in the Shell: SAC. Yes, I have a copy on the bookshelf and yes, one day I plan on reading it. But my first exposure to that line was from Ghost in the Shell: SAC.