Wednesday, May 7, 2008
that was pretty much it.
this line popped in my head the other day: the revolution will not be televised. i feel like i've heard this line everywhere from the time i was little and such. i did a google search of it, and such is not the case. every reference to this line is something that i know nothing about. and yet, it's something i feel confident in saying we all know. apparently it was some poem/song by a guy in the 70s, who was probably a dirty hippy, and that was probably the only thing he said of any cleverness. it was also the name of a documentary about a revolt in bolivia or something. a movie made for hipsters and faux hippies to watch, and then feel good about themselves because they know something about world events, and now they can feel superior about it without actually doing anything. not that i'm any different, but let's be honest: documentaries suck. they're god awful boring (at least the ones that get put in theaters), and the only real reason to watch them is so that you can feel superior to those that choose to spend their money watching things that are actually fun to watch.
i can actually understand, however, why this guy would say this. it makes sense. TV is the grand addiction of americans. it's probably replaced God as the opiate of the people. it drives me nuts. not because i actually think TV is evil. at least not directly. but because people who watch it religiously won't shut the hell up about it. same with people who attend church religiously, or attack church religiously, or really, do anything religiously. i get it. monk, and baseball, and the news, and the cheerleader. fantastic.
anyways, i guess i just wanted to say that the revolution will not be blogged.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
At any rate, that's the score. In four hours, all my freedoms are belong to her.
A word on blogging: for awhile I did it, and I really enjoyed it, and I did it a lot. One of the big reasons is that I felt like I had things that I wanted to say. Really, it was conversations that I wanted to engage in, and had they been engaged in the real world, I wouldn't have turned to the virtual one. So, when people quit commenting and the conversation I sought dies away, I really don't want to keep doing. More importantly, I met my Shannon, and I'm engaging in all the conversations I wanted to engage in, plus a few that I hadn't thought of. That's one of the big reasons why I snatched her up so quickly. Girls are everywhere. Smart girls are rare. But a smart girl that you can have good conversations with (who aren't taken)? It's rare enough that you're a fool not to take it.
I certainly hope my wedding goes better than my bachelor party. Let me show you those stats:
15 people invited (excluding dad and brother, who were going to be there regardless)
6 people showed
1 person stayed after dinner
2 people actually contacted me and told me why they couldn't come. Also, that 15 was the number of invited who said they'd come.
.0625% stayed after dinner
.125% had a good excuse
So, that's that. I don't know if I'll continue blogging anymore/ever. If I do, I'll probably start on a different blog.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
So, I don't necessarily understand some things about evolution. Mostly, it seems as though “hardcore” evolutionists turn a blind eye to a lot of stuff that seem to be “go to jail” cards. Things that kind of deliver the proverbial baseball bat to the proverbial skater's knee. Not to say that Christians, or religious people in general for that matter don't also do this, but I'm not talking about them. And many of them actively struggle with the things they don't get.
My first problem is that we suck in small groups. In small groups, we'd be doomed. Which means that in order for men to have any hope of getting out of the wild, a whole damn bunch of us would have had to appear at once, which is unlikely because:
Male primates are known to eat their young. Eat them for any variety of reason. Because they're hungry and the kid's weak, because they suspect it's not theirs, because it looks foreign. How then do we anticipate that a larval human (or half human) sliding out of a woman monkey wouldn't get eaten? It seems unlikely that enough male primates would let a freak of nature like this freakish tale less-thing walk around for very long.
I had a boss defend evolution saying that the reason man had risen to the top was because of our intellect and technology. The problem with this is that those two things take lots of time to cultivate. Mostly, humankind is kind of characterized by a whole bunch of pigs eating in a slop tank, and once a generation, if we're lucky, one or two will happen to look up, and then receive a revelation of some kind. Unfortunately for us human folk, intellect and revelation are semi-sparse for us. So, in order for man to have conquered animals using his intellect, that means he would have had to have come furnished with an intellect, and enough other man animals to be able to use that intellect properly. Sure, one man could make a sling and a spear, but he uses it on a monkey, all he's done is piss that monkey off, which pisses other monkeys off, now he's monkey dinner.
Then there's the physical limitations. Humans suck donkey nuts in comparison to almost every other animal. Are claws are tiny and fragile, our fangs break easily, we can't run that fast, or swim, we can't see that well, or hear stuff, we're not that strong (at least practically), and our piss is weak. No animal would be afraid of our wee wee.
I had a friend say that the only reason I could claim we were so weak was because I'd never seen a person in the wild, where they could shine. I don't care. You can take our best fighter and place it against the most humdrum of baboons or laziest of gazelles, and we still lose in fisticuffs. Muhammad Ali vs. a tiger, Bruce Lee vs. a chimp. No matter what, we just lose. We suck. Our hardware is not up to par with the most average of predators.
Along the lines of hardware is the fact that we lost things that would have been wicked handy. Apart from the sense of smell, fangs, and claws, we also have tales, feet thumbs, and the longer forearms that allow us to lope if we want to. It makes no sense that our ancestors at any point would have quit using things like that. At no point do they cease becoming useful. You would make shoes to accommodate your feet, sheathes to keep your tail warm. Or better yet, fur has served every other mammal just fine for thousands of years, why would prehistoric man buck tradition like that? Why would we ever have lost our fur? It's a complete non sequitur.
And it's not like I feel like I have a complete image of what God is. I don't. I used to feel like I did, but the more I learn, the less I know, but the more I feel convinced that it has to be God (or whatever that ultimate reality is). Evolution just seems like such hope in folly.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
So, mostly, I just wanted to talk about a few movies I'd seen as of late in lieu of real substantial material, of which I've the substantialest of materials planned. But not yet. First...
Oh. And as always, when I talk about movies, I'll assume you've seen it, so there may be spoilers. Sounds like a personal problem.
Charlotte's Web – The live action one. First, let me state that I've never read the book. I've had it read to me, but probably not for 13 years or more. Every year, the teacher would cry when Charlotte died, which left me thinking, “didn't you see this one coming? I did.” I watched the cartoon like a fiend when I was a kid, but I've not been exposed to others in some time. Having said that, the live action one wasn't too bad. Really, my complaints with it are few.
First, I thought they would try to make it all relevant, which blows. Relevant things suck ass. When you take something that's timeless and classic and memorable (Wizard of Oz, Chicken Little, all the Dr. Seuss books) and make them hip and relevant (The Tin Man, Chicken Little, all the Dr. Seuss abominations), you completely sterilize the source material making it lose not only its original charm, but making it uninteresting in general. That's what I thought would happen, through and through, but it only happened in small amounts. Too much focus on Templeton's antics (which were a very small part of the book and the cartoon) and his wisecracking responses. The geese are now wisecracking black stereotypes, and the sheep are now self aware of what a sheep is, and concepts of following, instead of just being a cranky old sheep like in the book. I don't understand why they put self aware self expounding characters in stuff that's targeted for kids. Kids certainly miss it, and adults might only enjoy it as a novelty.
Second, because it's so incredibly not cartoony (which is such a detriment to cartoons), Charlotte is actually a little bit scary in her bulbous eight legged glory. She's gross. Doesn't at all look whimsical like cartoon Charlotte. She was cute. I would like to have her back, k? Thx, bai.
I understand that it's a children's book and such, and a pig makes a much more attractive protagonist than some stupid fly, but the flagrant double standard has always always bugged me.
The last thing is really more a criticism of book, cartoon, and movie. It's something I've never liked and always kind of balked at (yes, even as a small tater Cuyler), and that's the fact that Fern, who is very much the initiating protagonist (she might not be the ultimate protagonist or the heroine, but she gets the whole ball rolling) protests the killing of Wilbur because it's wrong. It's wrong to kill him just because he's small. Then later, it's wrong to kill him and eat him for all of his sweet pork meats (pork is gross. No me gusta), but then later, when Wilbur freaks out because Charlotte eats the fly, he gets scolded saying, “That's just the way things are. You live, and then you die.” The double standard in the book's philosophy has always bugged me. In farm life, the farmer would have been doing the runt pig a mercy. Sure, it's not pretty, and it's not nice, but it's better than letting him slowly starve to death, and then later, of course the farmer will want to kill the pig. That's the whole purpose for having pigs: food. But it's wrong for Wilbur to die because, well, Fern likes him. But flies? Fuck flies. No one cares about them. Also, no one gives a damn about all the other pigs that we can assume got slaughtered, or sold and then slaughtered.
I Am Legend – I've never read the book. My lovely fiancé has, and from what I've heard, it sounds a. gay, b. ridiculous, and c. like they performed a better adaptation of the idea in the movie... mostly.
Let me start off by saying that I Am Legend was a good time. I feel like I got what I paid for. I feel like I saw what I was expecting to see.
Next, let me say that CG “vampires” (really, these things were much more like zombies) look dumb. Why do studios insist on using CG when it looks fake and cartoon like in comparison to real life, when makeup is so much cheaper, convincing, and unsettling to look at. The movie was genuinely scary when I just saw small snippets and hints of zombies. When the random zombie through itself at a speeding car, or you knew they were there because you could hear their breathing. As soon as I saw the actual zombies, the movie just quit being scary.
Second, I hate when people take mysterious things and try to completely explain them scientifically. It goes a long way in cutting short the fantastic, whether that fantastic be wonderful or terrifying. In this movie, the “vampires” (again, wouldn't have guessed they were vampires if someone hadn't told me. I would have said “zombies”) are the product of a cancer cure gone wrong, and they end up developing rabies gone wrong symptoms: fear of water, deadly reaction to sunlight, and of course, they want brains. Er, blood. I meant blood (brains). They are complete animals, just running around snorting, snarling, scratching, biting, want food eat now fire bad. This guy has completely killed all the wonder of vampires by making them this thing. Gone are the legends about virgins, and allowed entry, and garlic, and mirrors. No. They're just animals. Somehow this virus abrogates reason completely, and they just run around like naked wild children.
So, the movie opens up with Will Smith having lived in this dilly of a pickle for three years, which raises a lot of questions in my mind. Since these zombies are essentially just feral people, they show absolutely no recognition of things like conservation of food or storing or agriculture. They just hide during the day, and then eat during the night. They wouldn't last three years. They would have eaten all the brains that were available, human and otherwise, and then been left with the option of eat each other or just die. That doesn't happen. I suppose I should mention that when you become a zombie, you become the owner of superior strength, agility, and speed, despite the fact that you are undoubtedly under nourished.
Another thing is that they're metabolism runs at speeds that shoot through the roof. All the time. Will Smith heavily heavily heavily sedates one of the zombies, and she still breathes as if she just ran a 100 yard dash. If the body is essentially human, just modified by a crazy virus, they wouldn't be able to live like that. Their bodies would have crapped out either from stroke or heart attack, and the zombie problem would be gone.
I guess I just hate how we innately know, whether we believe in such things or not, that things like vampires are supposed to be these supernatural entities, and then when someone tries to curtail it like this author has, it bugs me. It bugs me even more when he doesn't complete the curtailing and take into account common sense things like food and over exertion.
Apparently, in the book, the virus evolves and the “vampires” become intelligent and try to strategically take down Willy. Well, rather, they send one girl to do it. That strikes me as gay on ice. The book sounds so stupid.
So that's pretty much it. I didn't care for the part when the girl showed up, because it became an entirely different movie. Instead of “ol' Willy tries to save humans from vampires,” it becomes (out of left field), “ol' Willy has to rediscover his faith in God, and then things will fix themselves.” Really jarring. Just as jarring as seeing cartoon zombies.
I read somewhere that in one of the initial drafts, Willy comes to the realization that the antidote he's looking for can only come from himself. Some homogenization of vampire blood and regular dude blood. But, he must inject himself with the cure and then allow himself to be ingested by the zombie folk, and then the anti virus spreads in reverse fashion of the initial virus. That sounds bitchin. That's creepy, visceral, and gross. The kind of stuff I would pay to see in a horror/thriller movie. But, wait, it's PG13. Weak.
So, before I move on to the substantialest material, I wanted to talk about The Transformers, finally (despite being 6 months late) and Sweeny Todd. But I'll do that next time. I need to do productive things now.
Monday, December 31, 2007
until then, please enjoy some humor joke movies.
conversation with elvis
jesus video #1
jesus video #2
jesus video #3
jesus video #4
should auld acquaintance be forgot, keep your eye on that grand old flag (or, "have yourself a big old pig" would also be acceptable lyrics)!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
American cartoons have been plagued with the problem of pumping these lame “you can do it” and “small people can do big things too!” and “you're special messages,” and it's really obnoxious. I mean, honestly, who are these for? Are the kids who see these so afflicted with low self esteem that they need a disgruntled chicken and an effeminate pig to boost their spirits? I highly doubt it. When do you see kids play and see them mimic those self esteem affirming little morals? I haven't. Ever, really. In the movie with the hero who has a wise cracking effeminate marmot as a side kick, and they try to save the princess from the villain with the slow witted henchman, kids will mimic the characters and not the values put forth in the movie. That's what I observe. So, like I said, I'm always scratching my head wondering, “who, besides the movie execs, gets their rocks off on these messages?” Kids don't, and parents will if they're as much fun as going to church (not much fun).
Some cartoons do weave their message in subtly and cleverly. Spend any time around me and you'll learn that I'm a big ol' sucker for The Iron Giant. That 'toon rocks some serious balls. It doesn't take its moral and beat you in the face with it over and over. It's subtle and realistic. Mostly, it's just a buddy movie. A boy and his bot. It's Old Yeller, except the dog is 50 feet tall and a former military weapon. It's that formula right there.
I'm bringing all this up because Pixar, for as lauded as they are, falls right into (and in many ways promotes) this cheese ball of crap way of making cartoons. Why not make cartoons that are simply an assload of fun to watch, funny as hell, and really bizarre? Why do we need to preached at through them? And why do we need to sneak our political agendas into them? Gay. Gay on ice at the retard fest.
Sorry about that. Pixar. It's true that I at one time would have said I loved them. If I honestly analyze myself, however, I discover 2 things. 1. I love their shorts (most of them. All of them except for that braindead alien abduction short they played before ratatouille). The shorts are funny, cartoony, and free from hamfisted movie exec morals. 2. I love The Incredibles, which isn't that shocking seeing as how it's the same director as The Iron Giant. The Incredibles sort of tainted my vision, however. It's a mostly complex movie that, in addition to messages (most of which are subtle), it's exciting, it's fun, and it has an impressive body count. SYNDROME GETS SUCKED INTO THE FUGGIN' JET ENGINE! You dont' see that in cartoons anymore. And that's weaksauce.
The Incredibles tainted my vision. It was complex (which is what a movie has to be if it's going to preach at you), and fun, and creative, and stylish. Complex except for the part where Mr. Incredible shouts the whole, “I can't do it!” monologue. That part was like putting the box on the table and saying, “here's your moral, folks, because right after this, they're going to learn to fight as a team!” Apart from that one little moment of retardation, it's good. The rest of their movies? Stereotypical cheesy kidpreach shlock ripped right from Disney (who graced us with this wonderful gift. Thanks, Walt). Everyone of their movies is “you can do big things too!” and “teamwork rocks, lol!” It's depressing. Makes me yearn for the days of yore, ye olde 1991 when I could flip to Nickelodeon and zone out to Rocko's Modern Life and Ren And Stimpy and never have a fear that they're going to try to convince me that God's a woman, and that I'll get to know her by letting my lisping crocodile friend make cookies with me and sharing them with the orphaned spongecakes down the street.
But Wall-E here. This looks cool. Although I doubt it's in Pixar's power to do, this looks like they might just simply tell a quirky and enjoyable sci-fi story. Probably not. They'll probably have Wall-E discover that trash robots can do clean things too! Or something equally lame that you'd learn on a felt board. But I hope not, because look at it!
The trailer is wow. I just hope that the story and the rest of the movie is also wow, and that they haven't just put the parts in here that will appeal to boys to sell tickets.
We'll see. If nothing else, it's a bitchin' trailer.
Monday, December 17, 2007
It feels weird being gone this long and coming back to blogging. It's not that I intentionally stayed away that long. It never is. Life just kind of catches up with you and can take you on some crazy roads you never really intended to go on. Not that I complain. Not at all. They can be some of the most fantastic roads.
Nevertheless I kind of feel like when you haven't seen a really good friend in a long time and the only thing you can really talk about is work even though neither of you have much interest in work, much less your work (mine is selling paper for the record).
Therefore, before I can try to get back to the meat of my personal existence, I kind of feel as though I have to warm up a forgotten but friendly and familiar car. I'll meet you half way. We won't talk about work because, really, who wants to talk about work? Not anyone. Not really. So, I will talk about what I've been reading, as I have been doing a lot of that lately and that's one of the things that have kept me away for so long.
The Planets (Dava Sobel) – So, ever since I was a kid, I've been endlessly fascinated by the stars, which is probably pretty evident throughout the course of this blog. This book is about the planets in particular, and the role they play in human society. It's incredibly fascinating. She links each planet to some concept in human existence and how this concept has effected us. For example, she links Mercury to mythology explaining how a lot of our ancestor's understanding of the planets came from their stories about the characters from which the planets are named. Jupiter is explained via astrology, citing its own zodiac symbol, and how its zodiac is shared with the man who discovered Jupiter's moon and its spot, and how the characteristics of this planet's influence in the zodiac seemed to control exactly this man's life. Names escape me, which is lame. Mars is linked with sci-fi (of course). At any rate, this book was a damn fuggin' hoot, and I didn't want to quit reading it and thought about it compulsively when I wasn't reading it.
I Am America (And so Can You!) (Stephen Colbert) – Holy crap is Steve a funny guy. This book is so bizarre and out there. Essentially, Stephen kind of creates this really impossible straw man of the “typical American's” belief. No one could actually believe this, but he draws the stereotypes of how others perceive us and draws it all the way out to fifteen. He takes different “hot button” topics and explains them from his goofy “every man” point of view. Topics such as homosexuality, religion, and sexuality and just annihilates them. This book had me laughing out loud and reading parts to everyone I could. Every chapter starts with the heading of the chapter (homosexuality for example), and says it's the biggest threat facing America currently, besides two other ridiculous concepts. Example “Homosexuality is the greatest threat facing America today, next to hippies and tight pants.” (that one's not actually in the book, but the book is way downstairs, and no way am I walking that far). A hilarious read, plus it comes with stickers.
Opus vol. 1 (Barry Windsor-Smith) – In the 70s, Marvel Comics hired a young English illustrator (Barry Windsor) and this artist became known for illustrating the Conan book. To say that his artwork is inspiring is an understatement, at the very least. The guy is a true master of his craft and is able to breath a sort of artistic life and empathy into such nerdy concepts like Conan. Anyway, that's not exactly the point of this book. Barry, in the late 90s found himself with a lot of finished but unpublished artwork, and though it sounds narcissistic, I truly get the impression that he is genuinely interested in making a good product for his fans. Anyways, he wanted to get this art to his fans, but struggled with a way to do it. Originally, he took the art and tried to write stories around them, but he complained that they felt patronizing and trite. Instead, he just released the art in a book and explained it – how he made it, symbols with in it, what prompted him to make it both commercially, personally, and creatively. Which I love. I love hearing the process that goes on behind the art (whether it be music, movie, or paper based art). Not the “how to,” not the, “I used lemon yellow and mixed with canary yellow to get this color gold,” but the, “Gold has always represented eternal life for me, which is why the hero's sword is gold,” sort of stuff. You get that. You also get some trippy LSD sounding voyages through space. Barry Windsor, in an attempt to explain himself and his art to his fans has included mind boggling accounts of cosmic experiences he promises are, at the very least, profound personal truths. Things like watching millions of universes live and die in front of him, moments of precognition, and unidentified light phenomenon. It's so... abstract that the mind almost reels at it. He promises that he's never tried drugs or mind altering substances, but these are just things that have happened to him. It sounds so unbelievable, but having no reason to doubt his earnestness, I sort of have to accept that these are in fact things he's experienced (especially since things I have experienced seem to be but shadows of his own). It's hard to reconcile with your own worldview, but it's foolish to discount them because you can't explain it. Plus, it's compelling as hell.
I've also been reading a fair deal of graphic novels. These are mostly for pure enjoyment's sake, but some of them are kind of provoking and cause you to take pause while you digest its tale. These are the ones that I've enjoyed the most in past months.
The Eternals (Neil Gaiman (writer), Joe Quesada (art)) – The Eternals is really damn cool. Essentially, life was seeded on this planet however many thousands of years ago by beings called The Cellestials. These beings are miles tall, and infinitely powerful and incomprehensible. In addition to the animals and plants, they created humans, eternals, and the deviants (I think that's their name). Humans are humans, eternals are never dying humanesque people of impressive power and intellect charged with the duty of educating and protecting humanity. The deviants are genetic roulette tables, each generation drastically different from the one before it, and no 2 ever looking alike. In our remote past, the deviants multiplied at unfathomable rates, and the eternals (of which there are only 100) took war to their front door step (mostly because the deviants were enslaving/destroying humans). The eternals, while never in danger of truly losing, are overwhelmed by their numbers and have to have the cellestials step in for them. The deviants are brought to the edge of extinction, and humanity is allowed to thrive. Fast forward to modern times, and the eternals (through a nefarious plot of one of their own) have forgotten who they are, except for a few. Those few are trying to rise the eternals up to stop an evil plan of the deviants, who seek revenge for almost being destroyed however many thousands of years ago. It was so fun to read. Just like watching good sci-fi. It's good fantasy fuel for those that want it.
The other cool thing about this particular book is that it was an idea thought up almost 40 years ago by comic legend and icon Jack Kirby. Kirby was Marvel's top do artist (and for good reason, as he rocks balls), and thought up the idea of the eternals just after reading Chariot of the Gods? He created the original tale, but said that his was only one view in what he perceived to be a complex tapestry that he created, and invited others to rework his fiction in other compelling formats. Gaiman (who would have been a boy when Kirby was active) saw that invitation for action and grabbed at it. Thus, he weaved his own enthralling tale.
Lastly, Quesada (not that this means much to people) drew the book in the signature Kirby style. Rather, he hybridized it with his own art, but everything about the book is supposed to be a massive tribute to Kirby. So much fun and it holds so much nostalgia for anyone that's bought a Marvel mag off of the newsstand or off of a comic book shop shelf.
Civil War (Marvel... again) – This one, I don't know who wrote it or who drew it. The art's really damn good, as in, in every shot of Captain America, this artist draws each individual scale in Cap's armor.
At any rate, it's not historical Civil War. Rather, in this tale, the US government (after a rogue mutant attack) decides that they need to crack down on masked vigilantes. They make them either quit, or unmask themselves and work for the government. This divides the heroes, and some play along (like Iron Man and Spider Man. Tools), and some form a resistance (led by Captain America. Badass). This was pure popcorn fun, and nothing else. Again, if anyone here has ever been a fan of Marvel, this is a book that you need to be all over like a cheap suit. Unfortunately, the Civil War spin offs are dumb as hell. Most of them have terrible art work that make them seem completely unworthy of reading, and the two I did pick up (Wolverin and the X-Men) were really lame and shallow. While the core Civil War story is pure popcorn fun, it certainly isn't shallow. It really plays off of the personalities and characters that Marvel has spent the last 50 years forging. Damn fun.
So that's pretty much it. Kind of a nice ice breaker, yeah? No? Right now, I'm reading Until We Have Faces, and The History of God. Almost done with faces, and just started God this morning. Faces is good (real good), and it's surprising because all the other fiction of Lewis's that I'd been exposed to pretty well sucked (in my mind. I know there's plenty that disagree, but whatever). And then reading the beliefs of our ancient ancestor's always feels like a disembodying sort of thing. It's interesting, and I can't wait to get into it.
I will leave on this one note of substance: it's true. I am engaged to the knitting girl (catwings.blogspot.com). I'm excited, and happy, and mildly terrified all at once. It'll be good though. Real good. I think I'll come back to that later though. I need to shower.