Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bad Religion Rock the Hi-Fi

Through the wind and the rain we ran, Lucy and I, towards Moore Park and into the Entertainment Quarter, heading towards the Hi-Fi. We were already late, due mostly in part to leaving later than expected, but also to ridiculously increased traffic as a result of the rain and the fact that rain seems to make the city completely shut down.

"We might miss both Street Dogs and Strung Out," I said. "But we should be there in time to catch Bad Religion start."

"We will," Lucy said. "If the timing's right, we might not even miss Strung Out. If there's three bands, then Bad Religion shouldn't go up before," she checks my watch, "nine fifteen or so."


This was to be her first punk show.

We get off the bus and arrive at the venue, changed from our original destination of the Big Top at Luna Park for unknown reasons. I'd never been to the Hi-Fi, but it's proximity to the Hordern Pavilion made it an easy find.

When we got there, the line didn't seem so long. It jutted out from the venue, loud bass drums and grungy guitars - from what I thought was Strung Out - audible and blaring from inside.

"I think this is the place," I said.

"Y'think?" Lucy smiled and elbowed me in the ribs.

We went to join the queue and that's when we saw that it extended around the corner of the place.

"God damnit," I said. "Brilliant."

It took twenty minutes of standing in the rain to finally get into the place, wrist stamped and position gained. The band we had heard from outside was finished. I went straight to the merch stall and got a t-shirt.

"Jesus riding a nuke down to the ground like from Strangelove," I said to Lucy, "or pig-headed priest leading the blind choir?"

Lucy stared for a moment. She used to be religious. "I know why you'd want the Jesus-nuke, but I think the pig-priest looks better. Either way, don't wear them in front of my parents."


I bought pig-priest. Lucy pointed at a list on the merch table. It was the band list. I checked my watch.

"We haven't even missed the Street Dogs," I said. "We missed the Menzingers. Oh, well there you go. Bad Religion don't come on til ten forty-five."

Lucy smiled. We staked out a place in the middle of the pit and waited. The lights dimmed after a quarter hour and the Boston boys, the Street Dogs, began to play. All in all, they weren't bad. A traditional punk band with Dropkick Murphys-like elements. A young band earning their stripes, really. The singer had not yet piqued our interest, so his many attempts to get us shouting and dancing were often to no avail, but they were not a bad band and definitely had potential.

When they had finished I squeezed through the throng back towards the bar to get water, making Lucy promise not to move or I'd never find her again. She's a small girl and it was a big crowd. I stumbled through and got a cup of water and came back just as Strung Out were starting.

I was just as equally unimpressed with Strung Out as I was the last time I saw them open for Bad Religion in 2007 for the New Maps of Hell Tour. They are a bland, loud band that is more like a wall of same-sounding noise without any particular style. Sufficed to say, I was bored. But the crowd seemed to like them, so I guess that counts for something.

At one point during a song the singer looked right at me and said, "Don't just stand there looking at me, move!" To which I softly replied, "nope".

They finished, mercifully, in the allotted time and left. It was time for the main event. The big cheeses of punk rock. With over 30 years experience and a 300+ song library to choose from, these guys were always amazing. I had seen them live. I had listened to the live albums. I had even watched live DVDs and clips from concerts uploaded online. I was pumped to see them again. We made our way right up to the front and waited.

And then the lights dimmed.

A roar of joy and anticipation exploded from the crowd as Jay Bentley came onstage and picked up his base. Brooks Wackerman sat down at his kit and Greg Hetson picked up his guitar, blind in the mild dark. Then Jay started to play, busting out the thudding baseline to "Fuck Armageddon...this is Hell". The crowd cheered as loud bellow. Brian Baker came on with his axe and finally, the kind, the commanding master of punk, the professor, Mr. Greg Graffin stepped onstage in his unabashedly and unashamedly uncool outfit of flannel shirt and jeans, pointed at us and then it started.

The crowd crushed forward and we were crushed. The bodies flailed around. Lucy could hardly believe her eyes at the crushing smashes of the pit and the circles. She moved along with them.

After the first three songs, we decided to make our way back and get to a safer distance. To do so, we had to pass through the pit, but we had to get out. We made it back. We could still see the band and could actually hear better from here anyway. I was shouting those lyrics like no one's business.

"Hear it", "Anesthesia", "You Are the Government", "Modern Man", "Generator", "You", "Sanity", all the old classics were there. "Wrong Way Kids" off of the latest alum, Dissent of Man, was there too. The group bantered on stage in their unassuming and experienced way, mostly from Graffin and Bentley.

Then they played the one song from The Empire Strikes First I so desperately wanted to hear, "God's Love".

"Some of you might know the set list already if you looked on the internet," Graffin said before "God's Love", "but no amount of sleuthing will have gotten you this song on there because we just added it to the set list backstage. We haven't even rehearsed it."

"See where your PC has gotten you now?" he sneered with a smile. "I'm sorry, I mean your Mac."

"No!" Bentley cried.

"Right," Graffin meandered around stage. "The innovator is dead so we have to respect him now. Write a 3000 page book about him."

And into the song they went.

The set was hard, fast and excellent.

 I slammed myself into the pit for "I Wanna Conquer the World" and got knocked around something fierce, but it was worth it. It's a community in those shows. A strange, bedraggled brotherhood.

"We're trying to release a new album this year," Graffin said. "Even though all you guys like is the old stuff."

"We're going for our first platinum record in 2013."

The group laughed. Pretty much an unachievable goal for a punk band and they knew it. At least, a punk band that wasn't in the style of Green Day or The Offspring.

The main set finished and the crowd began baying for the expected encore.

"We know you're not done yet!"

They weren't.

"You want one more song?" Jay Bentley said. "Well we're gonna play you four!"

And of course, of those four, one was "21st Century Digital Boy" and the grand finale, the great masterpiece, "American Jesus". The crowd - including me - went nuts for that final ten minutes.

Just as abruptly as it had begun, it was over. The lights went up and the people began to file out. Lucy and I grabbed some water and headed back out into the rain.

"That was fantastic," Lucy said as we walked, drenched, along Cleveland Street towards home. "My god, they're the best I've ever seen. Especially in that genre! How have no other bands cottoned on how to do it like that yet?"

"That's what makes them the best," I said. "They've got it going on. And they're so goddamn smart!"

Through the wind and the rain we went back, finally getting a cab back home and collapsing into bed at one thirty a.m. Worth it on a work night? You bet your arse.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Storm Warning

it's like a FLASH
of the burning purple lightning
that brightens the night sky
for a moment in time
and makes the world
an unnatural colour
at the oddest time while
the trees blow in the gale-force
wind and rain.

the streets are a river
and cars can't keep a grip
that's what it feels like
while you're in it.

you're waiting for that bough to break
come crashing down and
smashing in your front
the roof of your home
but it stays
keeps steady
hanging on despite it all
because it's stronger than you think -
like the bough -
this thing called love.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It Ain't Easy Being Green

I think it's safe to say that, generally, we don't think about colours. I don't mean in the fashion way, but more in the "why do we attribute so  much meaning to them" way. For example, science says that both men[1] and women[2] are more likely to go after people who are wearing red. The study showed that even pictures of the same people were rated as hotter if they were wearing red. The reasoning seems to be that men find red on women sexier, taking the colour as an implicit tendency towards sexuality, whereas women were apprently turned on by red because it represents power. Go figure - science, supporting cultural stereotypes!

But, alas, I'm not here to talk to you about the colour red. I'm here to talk about the colour green, in all of its multi-faceted confusion.

What do you think of when I say green?

Spring and renewal? Decay and sickness? With envy? Maybe you think of "being green" or environmentally friendly (thanks Green Party and Greepeace). Or maybe of wealth, "I'm in the green!" (thanks, American dollar). Also, green is the sign of being in the clear (stoplights, stock-market, etc.) as opposed to "being in the red" (bad). But, again, I'm not here to talk about red.
None of you would be wrong. It turns out that green, from what I can tell, is by far the most confusing colour ever. It represents, in some cases, complete, fundamental opposites.

It may be pretty obvious to you why green is associated with renewal and cleanliness - and if it isn't obvious, let me explain. In spring, things (RE: plants) turn green again, becoming fresh and new. That's it. Glad I could clear that up for you.

Now, while it may also seem obvious about green being associated with death, decay and sickness, not all of it is as clear as you might think. The obvious parts are that a decaying anything turns green in some way - old fruit goes green (and fuzzy), etc. When someone is sick, they take on a greenish pallor. Seems straightforward, right? Well, here is where things take a turn for the creepy and weird.
One of the reasons green is associated with death isn't just because of the sickness pallor or mould, but because of graveyards. 

Back in the days before proper embalming practices and sealed coffin burial were introduced, you were pretty much just thrown into a hole in the ground unless you were rich. Sure, you got a nice pine box or some such, but it wasn't exactly high quality wood - not like the Caddilac coffins we get now. Snazzy. Anyway, the biggest side effect of throwing numerous decomposing bodies into holes in and around the same area were the gasses. Sure, the smell was gone - that's why they bury you six feet down, so your body-stink doesn't infest the rest of the graveyard - but the gases still pile up. These gases would seep through the soil to the top.
Have you ever seen a horror film with a scene set in graveyard and it's all misty? Well picture that, but in the moonlight, it was green. I'm not kidding. The light reflected off of the stink-gases were literally cause a greenish glow around the graveyard. Thus, green was forever associated with death, decay, sickness and technically, the occult.

So, I hear you cry, from whence does the term "green with envy" come? Well, now that you know all that stuff above, it's relatively simple. There are a few explanations for the use of green's association with envy, some biblical, some Shakespearian. All pretty much the same. 

In the Bible, they're pretty clear that envy (or "coveting") is a pretty bad thing. In the Middle Eastern region, stemming from ancient times, given that light-coloured eyed people were quite rare, they were said to carry the Evil Eye[3]. So, anyone with green or blue eyes was bad luck. There was also an original Hebrew term that spawned the modern "green with envy" and that was horik panav ke-neged which meant "to be green with anger at someone"[4]. The Greeks believed envy was a result of an overproduction of bile, leading to a greenish pallor in the skin during sickness and interchanged the words "green" and "pale" to mean sickly[5]. The European medical idea of the Humours didn't differ much from this. Seeing as envy was seen as a sickness, they associated it with the same colour. Shakespeare even anthropomorphised it in Othello, “O! Beware my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on". And in Anthony and Cleopatra, "…and Lepidus, since Pompey's feast, as Menas says, is troubled with the green sickness".  And in The Merchant of Venice, "How all the other passions fleet to air, as doubtful thoughts and rash embraced despair and shuddering fear and green-eyed jealousy".

There you have it. green represents life and death, wellness and sickness, renewal and decay. And envy. See, I even did research. There. Everything you (n)ever wanted to learn about green, but were too afraid to ask.

[1] "Red Enhances Men's Attraction To Women, Psychological Study Reveals", October 28, 2008 and "Wearing Red 'Boosts Attraction'",, October 28, 2008. Referencing a study from the University of Rochester published October 28, 2008 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[2] "Women Prefer Men in Red, Study Shows", August 6, 2010 and "Women Attracted Men in Red, Research Shows", August 3, 2010. Referencing a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General on August 2, 2010 by the University of Rochester.
[3] Cora Lynn Daniels, et al., covers this in Encyclopædia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World (Volume III), p. 1273, University Press of the Pacific, Honolulu.
[4] "Color: The Kaleidoscope of Human Emotion", Jewish Heritage Online Magazine, referencing Judges 5:30.
[5] Feldman, David Who Put the Butter in Butterfly?, HarperPerennial; 1st Perennial Library Edition February 19, 1990.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Memorium: A Quiet Eulogy

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas

There is a death permeating, slowly - over the course of the past year especially - that
hasn't really been spoken about and, unless you're in the business, you wouldn't really know to think about it. Really, to a lot of you, this kind of death seems like an obvious transition, something that of course makes sense in our modern times but there is something distinctly sad about this death, this passing.

I speak, in no uncertain terms, about 35mm film projectors.

In cinemas.

Back in high school, I used to work at the Cinemas in Chatswood. It was a pretty good job for  someone my age, with a decent wage ($10.50p/hour) and the staff benefit of two free movie tickets every day. They didn't stack, but still, it was pretty great for dating.

At the bottom of the food chain were people like me - snacks salespeople, ticket tearers, cinema cleaners - and then supervisors and managers. But somewhere in the middle, were the mysterious folk known as Projectionists. These guys got to dress in black polo shirts and spent the whole day up in the Projection Room where they would stick the reels of film onto the projector and click on, making sure to change the reel at the right time. For every film. In every cinema.

I had only ever seen the Projection Room once, on my tour of the cinema when I first got my job. It was at the top of the fire stairs. It was the goal of almost every popcorn monkey on staff to become a Projectionist.

You worked with the films.

You were the bringer of magic to the masses!

And, more importantly, you worked on your own.

Away from other staff.

Away from the managers.

Away. From. The. Public.

It was basically Hoyts' version of Living the Dream.

Movies are such a big part of who I am that this job was perfect for me. Unfortunately, I ended up leaving Hoyts before I got to Projectionist, but that's a story for another day.

I remember being awed by the dark, musty room at the top of the fire stairs, above all the cinemas. It smelled like film varnish and sticky tape. The loud "click-click-clicking" and shuttering of the projectors echoed throughout the cement walls of it. It was the tiny, magic place where dreams spewed forth in a stream of light, onto the screen and into my brain.

There was something inherently - again, for lack of better words - magical about seeing the reels change, sticking the different parts of film together to make sure the film was snipped together right. There was also a joy in keeping tiny, discarded pieces of snipped off film as a memento from whatever film - it was usually the "3, 2, beep" from the start of the film, but still, it was a part of the film and it was yours.

A friend of mine - we'll call her Emily - still works as a Hoyts Projectionist. Recently, she told me something upsetting.

"We're getting rid of all the old projectors," she said. "They're replacing them with digital versions."

"What?" I could hardly believe it.

"Yeah, it's all going onto hard drives. We even called our distributors to tell them not to send us anymore film."

It was impossible. Replace the Projectionist?

"They have me working candy bar now," she said, taking a sip of her drink. "I get to wear a manager's uniform and boss the underlings around, but still."

"But you still have to go up and press the play button, right?" I edged closer. "Right?"

"Nope," she sighed here. "It's all on an automated schedule. We just sometimes have to go up and make sure it's all running okay."

She said she wanted to show me, and that she had something to give me. We left the bar and we walked to the cinema. I hadn't been in the building in years but I remembered the smell of the trash room elevator. She swiped her card and we went up. Magical Projection Level 3A.

I got a small nervous excitement - I was going to see the Projection Room again! The elevator doors opened onto the cold. I remembered the constant air conditioning to keep the projectors cool and to prevent the film from burning or catching alight. But this was a different cool. I knew this cool.

This was Server Room cool - the air conditioned sanctity of the IT guy's domain. Emily switched the light on and where there were once rows of these huge, classical behemoths stood boxes with flashing lights and a small screen, shooting out the film onto the screen. Next to it stood another giant black box that I recognized as a hard drive hub.

"Oh, geez," I said, looking at it. "It's so cold."

"Yeah, doesn't have the same mystique, does it?"

"Not at all."

I turned and Emily fetched something out from her locker. An bright, orange wheel wrapped in dark brown.

"Here," she said, handing the weighty thing over to me. "I found it in the garbage and I just couldn't leave it there. I saw it and thought of you and knew you want it."

What I held in my hands, dear readers, was a reel of 35mm film.

"What's on it?" I didn't take my eyes off it.

"Nothing," she said, closing her locker. "It's a dud reel, nothing on it, a tester or whatever. We always get at least one. And they always have that lady in the first 3 frames."

I looked at it in the light and, sure enough, a lady in a red blazer smiled back at me and then an endless nothing of varnished brown.

"It's heavy, but it's yours if you want it."

I couldn't thank her enough. 

I rode home on the train with it in my lap, smiling. Scrawled on the side was, "STOP! Do not put BLUE FILM on here." And I smiled. I didn't know what blue film was, but I didn't care. There was something about it all that made me smile.

So, goodnight, I say, to you Projectors and Projectionists and 35mm film. Rest easy. No more are the days of cigarette burns at the top of the screen to indicate the change of reel; no more are the days of scratches and burns and character in the film print; no more can Tyler Durden splice into you single frames of pornography to shock the movie-goers and their children.

It may seem like a little thing to you, dear readers, but to me, it's everything.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Link for the Podcast!

Some of you may have noticed a new look off the right over here in the same vicinity as my Travel Blog and my Twitter Feed. It is the link where you can download - if you are so inclined to hear me talk for about an hour - the Podcast I do with Hell is Other People creator, writer and director Luke Sheehan, founder of Compound Fiasco Productions.

We pretty much sit down, talk about whatever comes to mind, have a few laughs and generally have fun. And, if you tweet at us (#FiascoCast), comment on Facebook for us or any such thing, we will give you a shout out! We are always looking for listener interaction so if there is ANYTHING you want us to talk about, PLEASE feel free to let us know!

I will keep you all posted as to when we are recording via either here or on my Twitter, so don't be afraid to comment or tweet!

Especially for our favourite segment: #BadMovieLines! This week's topic, if you want to participate, are the films Monopoly and Battleship. Some we have so far are:
- "Don't piss off the banker."


- "You can't sink America's battleship."

Go! Think of the WORST lines possible! ESPECIALLY if they're puns! They WILL get mentioned on the show!



The Day Has Come (Closer)!

Hallelujah friends, for this is a joyous day!

In case you haven't heard, a bill has finally been introduced into Australian parliament to allow the classification of R18+ on games!

Years! Years we have been fighting for this - over ten years according to the article in the technology section of - and finally it's happening.

It is an actively foolish thing that this country, wherein there is an R18+ rating for film and television, has no such rating for video games - a landscape which contains just as much if not more violence and mature content, especially within the last decade. In the words of IGN's Luke Reilly, “This has been such a tiresome issue for so many years; it’s great to finally have some real light at the end of the tunnel".

Yes, Luke, it is nice.

The main issue seemed to be that people thought young players would "have more access" to R18+ material if the rating were to be introduced, but this concept is ludicrous. They have the same exposure to R18+ films and television, but we still have them. And kids will find a way to sneak in to watch them, too. But for some reason, that is acceptable behaviour for film and TV and not for games. Why?

It seems that the government, and those lobbying against the rating change, see video games as something that only young people do. Something that is juvenile. Something that is not R18+ material. Well, they are wrong. Those people who were young gamers when gaming first came around? They're adults now. They want to play games that are adjusted to their level of maturity. And yes, you can be mature and still play games.

And parents, if you do not want your children playing these games (just like you didn't want them watching those films or TV series) then it's simple: do not buy it for them. Pay attention to what your children are playing or, better yet, pay attention to what you are buying them. Don't just give in when they want Hack and Slash 4: The Bloodening, if that game has an R18+ rating, it is not suitable for them. If you buy it for them and you don't like it when you discover what it is months later, it's your own fault.

There, I said it.

I'm glad to finally see the government seeing reason on this topic and I hope that this bill passes. Because, honestly, I like to do things legally. I don't want to live in a place where if I want to play the original Left 4 Dead 2  - with all its bloody, gory glory - I'd either have to buy a copy from America, or download an illegal, hacked version. And I don't really want to do either of those things. I want to support the Australian businesses who sell them.

Come on, guys. Let's get this one right.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Gaming Loses One of Its Own

Though you may not know who he was - and it is likely that a lot of you didn't - Adam Adamowicz designed gaming worlds that most gamers know and fell in love with. Most notably those of Fallout 3 and the new worldwide time-consumer Skyrim.

Yesterday, he lost a fight to cancer and passed away. The gaming community has lost a truly great talent and I would like to extend my greatest sympathies to his friends, family and coworkers at this difficult time. To quote TechPowerUp:
The industry and the world has truly lost a great visionary and no matter what the next Fallout or Oblivion game will be, it will be a little less wonderful because of it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Search Terms

That awkward moment when some traffic comes to your blog from the search terms "screw my wife" and "the best screw of all time".


Maybe I should consider a name change? Yay or nay?


The AMAZING Spider-Man

So I just had my second film nerdgasm of the week. Hopefully those of you keeping track of the upcoming superhero films are aware of the new Spiderman adaptation, The Amazing Spider-Man directed by the aptly named Marc Webb. If you are not then you must immediately check out the trailer.

Webb is a fairly unknown director, but you'd recognize his name if you've seen (500) Days of Summer or the video clip to Green Day's "Waiting".

Now, when I first heard tell of a new Spiderman film being made, I was skeptical. Skeptical because we had had three mediocre films prior to this in an attempt at a reboot of the franchise. Now, director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) did a pretty good job with the first film - the origin story, of course - and Tobey Maguire did a fairly good job as nerd Peter Parker. Strangely, this does not equate to a great Spiderman.

The second film was sub-par and the third was an insult - especially to those legion of us who couldn't wait to see Venom finally on screen.

Because of all of this and more I was wary of the (gritty) rebooting of a franchise that was barely a decade old. Of course, it didn't help that there were rumours that Twilight star Robert Pattinson would be taking over Maguire's role as Peter Parker.

With the new trailer, however, there is hope. The Social Network's Andrew Garfield is playing the titular character, with Emma Stone playing his first love - not redhead Mary-Jane but blonde Gwen Stacy. That's right, folks, they're sticking to the comics!

The film seems to be taking its source material very seriously, and I couldn't be happier. And yes, they are making the web-slinging a result of the Parker-made web shooters - not from glands on his wrists! Hurray! Accuracy!

Finally, I am looking forward to Spiderman again!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Robert Kirkman vs. Tony Moore Over Walking Dead

So here it is, the newest insanity to come out of the film news press; artist Tony Moore is suing former collaborator and childhood friend Robert Kirkman over proceeds and royalties for The Walking Dead. Moore is claiming that he was "swindled" by Kirkman into signing over his interest in The Walking Dead TV series and now isn't receiving any royalties.

Let's ignore the fact that Moore didn't believe that the TV series would take off and so willingly put forward the contract he is now in to give Kirkman the rights to the show and its proceeds. Moore also stopped drawing, inking and grey-toning the comic book series after issue SIX, being replaced by artist Charlie Adlard (who continues to do the series). Sure, Moore continues to do the covers and is owed for this work, but he has not been "swindled" out of anything.

Kirkman told the Hollywood Reporter:

The lawsuit is ridiculous, we each had legal representation seven years ago and now he is violating the same contract he initiated and approved and he wants to misrepresent the fees he was paid and continues to be paid for the work he was hired to do. Tony regularly receives payment for the work he did as penciler, inker and for gray tones on the first six issues of The Walking Dead comic series and he receives royalties for the TV show, to assert otherwise is simply incorrect.
Kirkman is also, let's not forget, the creator of the series - as all the inside comic-book credits point out - and Moore as responsible for "penciler, inker, gray tones".

So, the story seems to be that the creator of the franchise was approached about making a TV show out of his comic book. The artist and collaborator didn't believe in the project and put forward the contract within which they are currently bound - in which he does receive royalties from the TV show. The show then becomes a sensation and the creator is shot forward into fame and fortune and the artist feels he was swindled.

I'm sorry, but that is simply ridiculous. I cannot believe someone with Moore's talent and reputation would have the gall to put forward such a lawsuit and damage himself and Kirkman with the claims he is making. Face it, Moore, you signed away your rights - with legal council present for both you and Kirkman, on a contract you agreed on - and now that it's popular, you want your piece of the pie. Grow up.


OK GO - New Undisputed Masters of the Video Clip

It's likely that a lot of you have not heard of the band OK GO. What is likely, however, is that you have seen their video clips. No, really. Trust me, you have seen this video clip for their song "Here it Goes Again". I'll give you a hint, it has treadmills in it.

If you haven't seen that one, odds are you've probably seen this one for the song "This too Shall Pass" with the Rube Goldberg machine. Or maybe you've even seen their version of the Muppet Show theme!

If you haven't seen any of those, it's still possible that you've seen this clip, for their new song "Needing/Getting".

And really, if you haven't seen any of those, where have you been the past few years? Clearly not on YouTube.

The beauty of OK GO's video clips is clear and I want to go so far as to say that they are the new masters of the video clip art-form, surpassing the previous masters Green Day - who kind of dropped the ball with "Wake Me Up When September Ends". Don't get me wrong, I love the band, but that clip was not very good.

OK GO have taken the video clip back to its origins as a piece of video art. There is nary a sign of the band playing their songs because we as an audience know that they have to lipsync anyway, so why bother? They have created performance pieces with their videos that eclipse most others, doing something newer instead of story clips or overly post-modern jobs.

I congratulate this band on not only some incredibly catchy and awesome tunes, but for their constant construction of intricate and fantastic video clips. Now, okay, go! Watch!


You Sunk Battleship

I don't know if you guys have seen this, but I think you should. Not because it looks good, but because it looks so damn stupid.

That is the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of the game Battleship by Hasbro. No, I'm not kidding and I wish I was. Surprisingly, no, it isn't directed by Michael Bay, but by Peter Berg - director of the unfortunately unimpressive film Hancock.

Is this really happening? And if so, why? I think Battleship is as unfilmable a game as you can get besides Monopoly, and even that has (substantiated) rumours of a film adaptation by Ridley freaking Scott. Yes, the guy who gave us Gladiator.

Looking at the trailer for Battleship, it frightens me that there are such talents as Alexander Skarsgård, Liam Neeson and Peter MacNicol. Liam Neeson doesn't need an IMDB link, you all know who he is! I mean, I know actors have to do some films for fun, but really? The Battleship movie? Come on. It just looks like a poor man's Transformers - and even those films weren't very good!


The Avengers Coming at us with A Vengeance!

It's very likely that anyone out there remotely interested in superheroes, nerd culture or film will have seen the latest trailer for the upcoming Joss Whedon production of The Avengers.

Seriously, does this movie not look fantastic? Robert Downey Jr. is beyond dreamy.

Though I was incredibly disappointed to hear that Edward Norton was being replaced by Mark Ruffalo for the role of Bruce Banner some time ago, I have to say that Ruffalo really looks like he is going to step up to the plate. I think that he'll be able to pull off the same awkward and brooding scientist that Norton produced and that original actor Eric Bana failed to do.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Background for D&D Character

The Diary of Teera von Bloodmoon

Well that’s it, my life is over. Against my better council – and my desires – Humphrey’s mission to go to the Furthest Continents has been approved. Of course, that means dutiful wife must  attend him – across the world, away from everything! And I can’t bring my gowns! He assures me everything will be fine, that nothing could happen to one of her majesty’s finest ships! I do so dislike boats.

(illegible, water-damaged entries)

I hate boats, I hate boats, I hate boats, I HATE BOATS!

Well, I was sick over the side once more. The mean laughed at me. Again. I also believe they are making crude eyes at me. Leering. Always leering, wanting. I stay in my cabin mostly. Away from the ruffians. The swordmaster, Phinnius, he’s the leeriest.

Humphrey arranged for us to have a candlelit dinner on the bough this evening. It’s the first patch of calm water we’ve had since our first week. We’ve been out here for 10 weeks!
Humphrey says we’re about a quarter of the way there!

(pages removed)

The worst finally happened! It’s been days since it happened and I’m only now able to write it down – my hands have finally ceased their trembling.
It was as if he couldn’t steer the ship anymore. It just started careening off to the side, like we’d hit a whirlpool.
“Make it stop!” I remember screaming, begging. “Bring us around!”
“I can’t!” he shouted. “It’s like she’s steering herself!”
It was then that the island came into view out of the mist. A tall, desert thing. A mountain lay off in the distance, around the other side, smoke firing up into the sky from all around it.
We crashed into it, the rocks jarring, splintering, us to a stop and sending most of the crew overboard and down onto the beach.
The natives were on them so quickly, murdering them, blood was everywhere.
It was like they were waiting for us.
They started hunting us. Humphrey stood between a group of them and I long enough for Phinnius to help me escape. I fear the worst for Humphrey. Dearest, dearest man.
I’m holed up in a cave near some fruit trees with Phinnius. There was a village with some abandoned buildings not far off, but we knew better than to stay there.
He tells me to be quiet most of the time. I’m happy to oblige.

(sketches of the island trees, mostly of the fruit, the bats.)

Phinnius went scouting today, to find more crew from the ship. He found the ship burned. He found the bodies gone. There was evidence of fires and cooked meat. Some of them still had their boots on, in the ash pits.

It’s been two weeks since Phinnius found the wreckage. He managed to salvage some pole arms and he’s been teaching me to use them. Just in case. I’m weak and can barely swing it, but I practice for hours when he goes scouting for food.

One came upon our camp and I murdered him!
It was exhilarating!
Phinnius made wine from fruit. Phinnius is rather handsome.

(page covered in blood. Entries long faded away)

We went scouting together. He thought I should know where the food comes from. Just in case. Him and his “just in cases”…
Yes, we found their camp.
They had heads on pikes. One of them I recognized.
Well, I recognized the necklace, tie, hat and rings that were on or around the rotting head. Poor Humphrey.

(pages covered in dirt or torn or covered in sketches)

My god, I had forgotten about this journal!
Phinnius is dead. The cannibals raided our camp and caught him.
I killed a few but I had to retreat.
I could hear his screams in the night from their camp as they ate him alive.
Poor Phinnius.
I’ve lost two men now to these inhuman bastards – brutes! Wretches! Devils!
That was 6 months ago, now.
I’m supremely good with my pole arm now. Phinnius would be proud.
Hubert might not be.
Humphrey, sorry.
Gods it’s been too long. What another life I lived.
I fashioned a tree home. If a cannibal strays by here, I murder him.
Or her.
It does not matter what they are.
They are monsters.

(entries stop here. It is obvious that this last entry is at least a year old.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TV Killed the Movie Star

At least, for the time being.

It is unlikely that it has gone completely unnoticed how much amazing television has been cropping up within the last ten years. I mean, there's always been good TV, don't get me wrong, but it seems that with increasing budgets for TV - especially HBO productions - TV has only been getting better and better.

There was a time not too long ago that being called a "television actor" was a derogatory term amongst actors. Everyone wanted to make it big on the Silver Screen, be a movie star, beloved the world over on that giant screen with those plush seats. Sure, there was a time when being a film star was disregarded by theatre actors, but that changed. And so, too, I think the time of the Television Actor as a second class citizen.

Shows like Six Feet Under seemed to mark a new trend that being in a television series was not a bad thing at all, compared to their film star counterparts. This time saw the rise of a shows that seemed more like a collection of films, a series of moments that could be more deeply explored due to their increased time frame. The medium allowed for more character development, longer and deeper plot lines and more exploration of the world these characters exist in.

It isn't hard for me to name, off the top of my head, shows that fall into this category of A Series of Films, shows like Dexter, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Castle, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, shows that you feel you must own on DVD to watch and rewatch. These shows become an obsession, something to be spoken about, speculated about. And that's not even mentioning series that have finished like Lost and Detroit 1-8-7. And, yes, Firefly, of course.

Even shows that are just starting like Boss, Luck, Homeland and, in a more pulpy sense, Spartacus and American Horror Story are taking over the airwaves and capturing us with film-like episodes.

This doesn't even speak to the quality of actor who are now taking part in these. It seemed to start in the late 90s with first Michael J. Fox and then Charlie Sheen being the leads in Spin City but then big actors becoming "TV actors" was still a fall from grace in a sense. What I truly believe was the turning point was twofold: Tim Roth on Lie to Me and shortly after Jeff Goldblum on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. With these two big-name actors moving to television, it was clear that was a revolution. And people noticed. Even Laurence Fishburne joined the cast of CSI.

Then it started becoming obvious the talent that lay in these television actors - Michael C. Hall (from both Six Feet Under and Dexter), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Nathan Fillion (Castle) and that's only naming a few.

I haven't even mentioned the household names like Steve Buschemi in Boardwalk Empire, Kelsey Grammar in Boss, Sean Bean in Game of Thrones and John Hannah in Spartacus.

It seems like the prejudice towards being a television actor is over and people are starting to realize that it's not a fate worse than dearth. In fact, it seems to be better than being a film actor seeing as how poor the quality of films have been lately. This truly is the Golden Age of Television.