Friday, October 29, 2010

Crazy Good Cinema

Turner Classic Movies is one of my favorite channels. They seem to never waiver from a level of excellence in presenting to the viewer exactly what they expect from a network so named. The movies shown are a cut above, always. Unlike the similarly named American Movie Classics channel they stay focused acutely on their genre. Not that AMC is not quality, but they diverge in an effort to reach a broader audience, I guess, offering original series programming as well as just theatrical movies, like the acclaimed series Mad Men, of course. TCM though, stays the course. Perhaps this means a lower viewership but the programming doesn't suffer for it.

Case in point, I just got done watching one of my all time favorites, "The Other", a sublime psychological thriller from the early 70's.

I'm not sure if its broadcast was scheduled because of the upcoming Halloween holiday or the recent passing of its star, former child actor Chris Udvarnoky but it was a happy find as I channel surfed and recognised it immediately. This was probably my 7th or 8th viewing.

I read this following excerpt on a movie buff blog and thought it summed up the shocking ending of this film perfectly:

The final shot of The Other is absolutely horrifying: Mulligan’s camera tracks up to the bedroom window of the Perry house, where an unscathed Niles is staring down below at the ruins of the burned barn. “Niles!” Aunt Vee calls. “Wash up, now! Time for lunch!” We hear the echoing whistle of Holland over the soundtrack, and then Mulligan freezes the frame on Niles’ evil, ensnaring face. He is not the innocent child he once was. He never will be, ever again. The boy coming down to eat lunch at the Perry table is not a boy any longer, but a monster.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Patrolling The Wasteland Again

Even though I'm spending every spare minute playing "Civ 5", I couldn't pass up the opportunity to grab a copy of the newly-released "Fallout: New Vegas".

So now I'm dividing my time between the two games and allotting time for little else.

With my unemployment checks running out next week (gulp), I really should be spending at least some time looking for a job. But through my slick money management wizardry, I've stepped out a budget that only requires additional income after mid-December. So, at least according to plans, I don't need to start work until late November or so.

Money doesn't buy happiness. Freedom from needing money does. And even though computer games like the two new ones I'm devoting all my time to cost about $50 a pop, it's a one-time fee. After that, life is just the low cost heaven of mearly paying rent and buying just enough groceries and sundries. Everything else is superflouous.

Many would call my lifestyle a waste. But I say being a mindless drone day after day toiling away at a despised job only to be constantly living in fear of not being able to "get ahead" and failing to "make ends meet".

Here in the Wasteland, the ends always meet...

When I log off the computer at 5 am, catch a few hours of z's and prepare to do it all over again when I wake up. Thus is the life of a super slacker like me. Fighting through virtual battle after virtual battle, struggling to accumulate wealth, status and honor. But only in a video game.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shootin' For 2017

I recently found out that in 2017 the US will experience its first total solar eclipse in decades. What's more, it'll traverse the span of the country from Oregon to South Carolina providing ample opportunity to chose whatever vantage point you'd like throughout the various states it'll affect.

Man, I want to see this.

Much more dramatic than a partial eclipse, a total eclipse is when the moon totally obscures the sun, allowing for a 2 minute viewing of the darkened disk that was the sun, surrounded by its glowing corona, visible with the naked eye. The temperature is affected, dropping as much as 35 degrees, and the surrounding landscape is thrown suddenly into night. Photo-sensor lights come on, street lights illuminate, even the stars come out and the world is turned on its head, if only for a minute or two, in the middle of what is otherwise an ordinary day.

Oh, yes, I want to experience this.

It seems to me that the best viewing area would be Nashville, Tennessee.

So I'll mark my calendar for that date and location.

I guess I'll start saving now for this vacation. It may take that long to save up enough.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

FLASHBACK SPECIAL: Rhymetime Time Machine

2003

Down By The Riverside

The shit-colored Mississippi flows by.
Down by the riverside.
Is that cum on my shoes? Or just soap scum?
Down by the riverside.
Slick-talking buskers, like the president, con us.
Down by the riverside.
Tankers crawl slowly upstream; their bellies laden with Black Gold.
Down by the riverside.
Oh, My Precious...Come to Uncle Sam, Liquid Crack. We need our fix.
Down by the riverside.
Missile cruisers rush downstream; their decks laden with White Meat Deadmen.
Down by the riverside.
Oh, Mighty Ares...we offer up a Sacrifice to you. Our own WMDs.
Down by the riverside.


1993

Waterbed

Waves of smooth Poly-Rayon satin.
Drifting. Drifting. Oh, look at the pattern.
Bouncing to the erotic rhythm of the hot waters below.
Ahoy! The paisley Mandelbrots grow.
Oh, rub the goosebumps...that's it.
Oh shit...oh shit!
Phenyl. Propan. Alamine.
Good old friend o'mine.
Swim, my children, as if at sea...
Swim, my children and forever be free!

1983

Time To Grow Your Mind

Tick. Tock. Tick.
Like a ticking clock I hear the electronic toy.
Toy? Nay, psychic energy bio-power source, I say.
Say what you like, I know it works...just look at the yield!
Yield now unto the Lord thy bounty, er, thy board, my son.
Sun! That's why my crop is so lame. Down here in the dark cellar.
Sell her when she sprouts buds. Mother and father need the cash.
Cache of good shit running low, I should restock, I think.
Think you know how it all fits together, eh?
A little more time is what we need.
Tick. Tock. Tick.


1973

Alphabetical Order

A Better CHAULK? Don't ever!
Fucking gay homos in John's kitchen.
Leaving Michael Newlander out?
Please quit. Retard! Shit, that's ugly.
Very well...X-friend.
Yearning zeal.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just One More Turn

My eyes are sore. My fingers are sore. My back is sore. My ass is sore. Hell, everything is sore.

Friday while leisurely checking out some of my fave web sites, I read about one gaming blogger's opinion of his new copy of Civ 5.

What!? It's out?

Sure enough after I quickly clicked over to the official Civ 5 website, it had been out for over two weeks!

Oh I knew it was due out this "fall" but I assumed like before it would be delayed 'till near Holiday time.

Well before you could say Run Geek Run!, I got dressed, made my way to Walmart and bought me a copy.

So now I sit here at the computer every waking hour, usually 'till the sun comes up, playing it. It didn't help that I was racked with a nasty cold (rare for me, but I'd visited Ric last Wednesday night and he was sick so I must have caught it from him) and felt miserable. But I endured.

Public opinion on the discussion boards seems split down the middle. Half love it, the other half hates it. Well, maybe not that harsh on the hate it side. Many of them just want things "fixed". I think it's fine as it is. Its the same Civilization I've loved for decades now, but different in many ways. For the better, I feel.

A lot of the useless pick-a-ninny things I hated in previous versions are happily 'no more' like corruption in Civ III and religion in CIV IV. Espionage is gone too...good riddance. The AI used spies way too frequently in CIV IV to sabotage shit. Just a nuisance but like a little gnat a pesky thing that is better off gone.

Its shining accomplishments are the things that I get choked up about the most...stunning visuals, intuitive and powerful interface and gorgeous atmospheric music.

I'm ending my game tonite before dawn. I'm starting to feel better and I want to somewhat re-adjust my sleep schedule to something more normal.

But it was hard telling my self to put the mouse down and step away from the computer.

Now I'll likely do like I did yesterday when I went to bed. I'll be dreaming that I'm still playing.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Holy Grilled Cheesus!

I was a latecomer to the allure of "Glee" but now I'm a Gleeaholic. I love this show.

Tonite's episode, which has yet to finish is pure genius.

I read in a recent article that the show's writers are trying to introduce some socially relevant issues to the episodes, ala Norman Lear shows of the 70s.

Glee is such a popular show and being able to use the musical show format in a high school setting is just perfect for bringing up subjects that are at the forefront of contemporary controversy.

Hurray to the producers and creators of the show.

I "pray" that the Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky shines favorably down on us all for coming up with this gem.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Monkey Shines

As I finished my shower today I was staring at the frosted glass shower cabinet door and I saw the image of a laughing monkey staring at me. It was simply a Rorschach-test-like arrangement of some water droplets on the glass surface which my mind read as a monkey face. Kinda like when people see the image of Jesus on their breakfast toast.

If you blend science and religion in a somewhat cavalier fashion one could argue that a monkey-like face may well be the image of God. If God created man in his image, as the Bible states, and science assumes "man" may have started as early as a million and a half years ago with Homo erectus who probably looked much more simian than modern humans, well then, the leap isn't that great, is it? Perhaps Dr. Zaius wasn't that far off?

The human mind is a complex thing. It's extremely difficult to absolutely objectively analyse its workings since, anyone who is doing the analysis is, themselves, using their own human mind. It's hard to use scientific methodology with no viable control subject.

When one tries to evaluate the functionality of their own mind, the task becomes near, if not completely, impossible. Never mind the biases that can be restrained by a well-trained objective observer like pre-conceptions and affirmed fixations but throw in quantum physics and well-documented phenomenon regarding perception such as the Schrödinger's cat paradox and, well, you soon see that the task becomes futile. Those saying otherwise are full of it.

Almond Joy, Defarge Crisis, Embarqing, Koyaanisqatsi. Call it what you will but it is what it is.

I quit my job today.

Like some B-movie thriller, or something right out of an S.K. book, I can't seem to avoid my monkey. He sits there, forever beaming his evil, twisted grin. Dammed him!

If I could play an accordian I might be inclined to dress him up like a bellboy, put a tin cup in his hand and head for the nearest street corner.