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Jul. 10th, 2007

Stegosaurus

'A good video on YouTube...what is it?'

'It's a Web 2.0 site with an emphasis on sharing video content, but that's not important right now...'

If you caught that reference, you might know that I'm talking about the classic comedy Airplane!. Well, today the folks over at the IMDb posted a link to a YouTube video comparing Airplane! with Zero Hour, the film it most obviously parodied. I've never seen Zero Hour, though I'd heard that Airplane borrowed from it quite heavily. Now, thanks to the wonders of teh Intertuboweb, we can ALL see a well-put-together comparison of the two, gaining a new perspective on a comedy many of us grew up watching. Enjoy!

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Jul. 9th, 2007

Tyger

Dude...wait, what?

I've recently come to realize what is, perhaps, my least favorite cliche in children's entertainment. Ever since the media decided to start selling different programs to different demographics, something that took place far more recently than you'd think (1950s or so, really), one of the responsibilities taken on by creators of children's entertainment is trying to make films and programs enjoyable for children yet bearable for the adults who are forced to watch as well.

One way that they do this is by including a number of jokes, gags, and references that are intended to go over the heads of children, yet be perfectly comprehensible to adults. For a more scholarly analysis of a similar phenomenon (how classical Hollywood coded films with multiple layers of meaning), I refer you to Richard Maltby's piece, ‘A Brief Romantic Interlude’: Dick and Jane go to 3 ½ seconds of the Classic Hollywood Cinema' in Bordwell and Carroll's Post Theory. Maltby's concept of 'innocent' vs. 'sophisticated' spectators is of importance here. The 'innocent' children either miss these 'sophisticated' gags or characters entirely or interpret them variously as silly, nonsensical, or (occasionally) beyond their reach.

More under here, bro...Collapse )

Jul. 7th, 2007

Stegosaurus

Friday Fighting #1

Well, here's another new recurring feature: Despite the fact that no one seemed to care about the comic I posted a couple entries ago, I had a lot of fun making it. As I said then, I've already made a few more, and they're easy enough to do that I think I'll make/post one each week on Friday**.

So, for the first edition of Friday Fighting, featuring a semi-obscure and pointless Everlast reference, I invite you to look:

Under the cut...Collapse )

**Yes, I realize that this entry's posting date technically makes this 'Saturday Fighting,' but most of you are reading this from the US, where it's still Friday for nearly another five hours. So...THERE.

Jul. 6th, 2007

Tyger

Mmm...that's good politicking!

After my post about Rudy Giuliani, which was admittedly quite negative, I thought it might be nice for me to post about one of the GOOD things to come out of all this pre-election hoopla:

The awesome barrel of crazy that is Mike Gravel.

Now, I realize that his campaign videos have been making the rounds lately, appearing over at Dvorak Uncensored and Reason's Hit and Run blog, but I want to get in on the action and post them here as well.

First, we have 'Rock,' the shorter and better of the two:


There's just something so utterly pleasant about this video, despite it's high creep-out factor and potential pretentiousness. Perhaps this pleasure stems from the fact that I've secretly been waiting my whole life for a legitimately, yet harmlessly, crazy mainstream presidential candidate. Honestly, haven't you? And nothing says crazy like a video of a grumpy old man staring at you for over a minute, then randomly picking up a large rock and heaving it into a pond before slowly walking away with his back to the camera. At some point, after watching the clip for the third or so time, with Gravel's disgruntled, squinting eyes glaring back at me, I was compelled to call my family and weep. Is that strange?

Next we have 'Fire':


Now, see, while the last clip might have FELT excruciatingly long and slow, 'Fire' actually IS excruciatingly long and slow. However, 'Rock' is comprised of a single take (no doubt owing a debt to the great Andrei Tarkovsky's technique of 'sculpting in time'). 'Fire,' showcasing a new awareness of cinematic style, features a few cuts. The first takes us from a shot of Gravel gathering firewood to a close-up of Gravel, sitting opposite us across the campfire. The next cut, interstingly, brings us to a point-of-view shot from Gravel's perspective. Now, we're looking down at the campfire as it crackles and burns. And we CONTINUE looking down at the campfire, from Gravel's point-of-view, for the next 7+ minutes. My theory is that, by allowing us to share his gaze as he stares, unblinking, into this fire, Gravel is communicating to us that he is, in fact, the type of crazy S.O.B. who stares, unblinking, at fires for long periods of time. Honestly, he could be a pyromaniac, which would certainly be an interesting quality in a Commander-In-Chief.

The only other possibility of which I can conceive, after watching these two clips, is that Mike Gravel has become a performance artist and is merely performing an installation, not actually running for president. And, in all seriousness, that's just as good in my opinion. I'm only disappointed that he can't use the corpse of Marcel Duchamp as a running mate, since Duchamp was born outside of the US. Also, as a corpse, he may not qualify; I'll have to check the Constitution. Edit: No dice

Be sure to take a look at the various parodies and video responses to these Gravel clips, particularly 'Rock.' I'm half motivated to make one myself, although my idea would involve tossing the rock into the water, watching it for a moment, then calmly walking out into the water, submerging completely and remaining under the water until it's safe to assume I've drowned. Given the generally filthy state of the bodies of water near me, and my own personal aversion to coming down with bizarre water-borne diseases, I'll probably have to give that a pass.

Jul. 5th, 2007

Darwin

A comic diversion

The other night, as sometimes happens to me, a random bad joke popped into my head nearly fully formed. This particular bad joke could, in my estimation, only be told in comic format. The problem is that I'm no artist, have no scanner, and little to no skill drawing in the GIMP. But that didn't stop me, so peek under the cut if you'd like to see the results of my little experiment in bad webcomic humor.

Superhero Comics?Collapse )

Jul. 4th, 2007

Stegosaurus

A Mediocre "Third"

This summer, perhaps more than any other that comes readily to mind, has been filled with sequels, many of which are the third (or later) film in a franchise. Some people tend to bemoan this lack of originality, and perhaps rightly so, though I hardly blame the studios for attempting to ensure a return on their investments by giving 'the people' what they think we want. Some of these 'threequels' improved on less entertaining second acts (Ocean's, Pirates) while others have been big let downs (Spider-Man). Into this mix rides Shrek the Third, the next installment in Dreamworks' MASSIVELY successful not-just-for-children franchise. Unfortunately, what was a fresh and funny take on fairy tales the first time around in 2001 feels like one-too-many trips to the well six years later.

Review under the cutCollapse )
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Jul. 3rd, 2007

Raven

MST3K EOTW #2: Space Mutiny

For the second installment of my new feature, "The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode of the Whenever," I've decided to present what is quite possibly my favorite episode of the series, Space Mutiny.

Lengthy expository remarks under the cutCollapse )

Anyway, this episode features above-average host segments for the Sci-Fi Era MST3K, and much hilarious riffing throughout the film. Some of the best moments include the running joke of re-christening Ryder various generic action-hero names (Smoke Manmuscle, Flint Ironstag, etc), and all of the railing kills. So sit back, relax, and enjoy Space Mutiny, and feel free to let me know what you think and post any favorite bits in the comments section.

Jul. 2nd, 2007

FACE

Guh...no...more...laundry

Today was the second in my 3x yearly series of suddenly realizing that I have to launder ALL of my clothes at once. This occurs when, despite my normally thorough rotation system, I inevitably forget when I last wore and/or washed each individual item. The whole thing is compounded by my habit of lazily piling clothes up someplace at the end of the day, convinced that I'll hang them up in the morning when it NEVER happens.

Basically, when I'm living somewhere that has its own washer and dryer that cost me no additional money, this isn't a big deal and can be spread out over a couple of days. But here in London, the nearest usable washer and dryer are far off and cost quite a bit (£2/wash, £1 per dry). That means a ton of lugging back and forth and typically a full day spent working on it (depending on w&d availability), an effort I like to concentrate into one day if at all possible.

Today was just such a day, and I have washed EVERY piece of clothing I own that I'm likely to wear in the two months I've got left here. The issue, now, is that I'm so sick and tired of laundering that I am hesitant to wear any of my freshly-cleaned clothes or sleep on my freshly-cleaned sheets/pillows. Not to mention my shellshock at the UNGODLY amount of money I spent on the whole affair.

Therefore, be it resolved immediately that for the remainder of my time in London I shall go naked at all times, no longer spend money, and sleep hanging upside down like Batman.

I've got a couple of posts in mind for today/tomorrow/whenever I get over all the exertions of walking/lugging/climbing/folding, so stay tuned :)

Jul. 1st, 2007

Tyger

Why I'm not for Giuliani (and subsequent ranting)

While Rudy Giuliani and I may share a similar heritage and have extremely similar last names, neither thing is sufficient for me to want him in charge of my country. Nor is anything else he has ever done.

For starters, he's a strong leader...autocratic, some might say. For someone like me who, speaking generally, does not ever want too much power in the hands of one person, an autocratic streak is a big warning bell.

Secondly, his main qualifications seem to be the following:
1) He was a hard-ass prosecutor
2) He was the mayor of a city that got attacked
Neither is particularly compelling. And though he may have the most agreeable views on abortion and gay rights of any Republican candidate whose name is not Ron Paul***, is that really a suitable reason to vote for someone?

No, I've never been terribly pro-Rudy. But the reason I'm posting this today as opposed to any other point during this campaign is a certain headline I pulled off of the CNN ticker:
Giuliani cites Glasgow attack in call for immigration policy

It gets a bit ranty belowCollapse )

Jun. 28th, 2007

Atheism

Two decadent dabs of woo for you

#1 - From the BBC: Japan speed-eater's jaw arthritis

I know you're all just as sad as I am to hear that Kobayashi has opened his mouth for so many wieners, he's gone arthritic. Honestly, I don't quite comprehend competitive eating and really do see it as emblematic of all of the things the poorer and/or snootier parts of the world hate about the rest of us. The fact that this guy has done something to his jaw in 29 years of living that most senior citizens don't even manage, well, that's an achievement.

But of course, I mentioned some woo in the title, and I'd hate to leave you hanging (emphasis mine):

Already I can't open my jaws more than just a little bit," he wrote. "There's no pain only if I open my mouth about enough for one finger. More than that is painful and I can't open it."

A specialist had diagnosed him with arthritis of the jaw, said Kobayashi, from Nagoya in Japan.

"To tell the truth, I'm desperate about healing completely before the 4 July contest," he said, adding that he had begun receiving treatment at a hospital and from a chiropractor.

Yes...a chiropractor. Because CLEARLY a subluxation in his back is blocking the flow of innate intelligence and causing distress and swelling in one of the joints of his jaw. That's practical, reasonable medicine. Make sure you get back out there and keep on downing those dogs, Kobayashi! The repetitive hyperextension of your temporomandibular joint's probably got NOTHING to do with it.

#2 - From CNN: Hilton opens up on drugs, jail and God

I don't usually talk about Paris Hilton here, mainly because there's not really a very good reason for anyone to talk about Paris Hilton, pretty much ever. And even if there were, the guys from South Park said just about all that needed to be said.

But this story was too much for me to pass up. It's not just that she claims to have never done drugs, though that's reason enough to be skeptical. It's not just that she states that being strip searched was the most humiliating experience of her life (the percentage of people who HAVEN'T seen Paris nude in one form or another is actually smaller than the percentage of people who HAVE seen ME naked). It's not even that she STILL doesn't believe she belonged in prison, according to the current law.

No, what amuses me most is here:

[...] and although she feels her incarceration was unwarranted, God had a reason for putting her there.

"Don't serve the time; let the time serve you," Hilton said. "I have a new outlook on life."

Oh, I'm sorry... GOD put you in prison, Ms. Hilton? Sheesh, I'd like to believe that, if there were a creator of all things, he/she/it would have more important matters to attend to than ensuring that a nasty, spoiled Earth-skank spends less than a month in a prison not quite as dismal as most college dorm rooms.

But the best part of the story is here (emphasis mine):

During her 23 days in jail, she said she meditated, read letters from fans, talked to other inmates through the vents, wrote in her journal and read the Bible, though she couldn't cite a favorite passage when asked.

Such dedication! A REAL new outlook, and a real commitment to religion. I don't know what's worse, attempting to placate the sky-father by FINDING him when you're in prison, or invoking him superficially, solely to make it seem like you're not as unredeemable a piece of human waste as you seem. Considering, of course, certain records of HIS deeds, he may not be the best source to use as proof of your own newfound rectitude.

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