September 30, 2005


State of the art bang-bang!

I'm pretty sure this weapon fires bullets of pure Slack. When I take over the world, it'll be standard-issue for all my commandoes.

posted by Gar @ 12:21 AM

September 29, 2005



Amusing, but I look forward more to a re-editted trailer from one of any number of the kind of saccharine flicks, made into a trailer the horror movies they really deserve to be.

On unrelated topics, it's come to my attention that some theories of the Rapture state that all the children will be hoovered into the sky along with the righteous (which brings up the question, what did the kids do to deserve that?). If that's the case, having an educational reform policy as Antichrist is really sort of silly. Oh, I suppose there'll be teenagers left, but I might need to secure my initial post-Raptured popularity by having them shot, or perhaps put through a Battle Royale situation. (A mediocre flick, by the way. The premise really deserved better. The highlight was the instructional video explaining the rules of the game, but the rest of the film let it down.)

Still a good thing to have on contingency basis.

posted by Gar @ 2:08 PM

Brain-stapling for the masses.

I've written before about edicts I intend to issue should I become supreme dictator of Earth. Or, more humbly, simply supreme dictator of a chunk of it. I still figure the most likely way that course of events would come about would be to find out I'm the Antichrist and be made the head of the UN following the Rapture, but there are probably other avenues to supreme power. Either way, I want to be prepared. No one likes a lame-duck dictator.

The earlier edicts on language reform would of course still stand. They're actually a subset of the Peoples' Democratic Republic-Commonwealth of Our Dear Leader Gar Drastic, Overlord, Overman, and Jolly Good Fellow educational policy. Further educational reforms:

I don't need a full syllabus broken down by ages for any of this, by dint of the position I'll be dictating them from. That's part of the beauty of it.

At higher levels there will of course be Mad Science classes and similar, but they'll mostly be electives. Good fundamentals first.

posted by Gar @ 11:40 AM

September 22, 2005


Ice-9 moments in screenwriting.

This entry may be taken as an example of how my brain works pretty much all the time.

I was watching "The Fast and the Furious" earlier, and it certainly delivered what I was prepared for--big, loud, dumb. But it was more than that, in a sort of way that requires a small field trip of an analogy to really explain. If you're like me, and you're watching a really stupid film starring Vin Diesel (I know that's redundant; it's really part of his charm--he's really sort of a Napoleon Dynamite who works out a lot), you think of Kurt Vonnegut.

I've found that apparently not many people are like me. Vin Diesel<->Vonnegut isn't a connection their brains make easily. But it's a connection that, in this instance, seems perfectly obvious to me. It's like I'm a Tralfamadorian shocked and curious--as I have always been and always will be at that moment--at the zoo specimens' weird tunnel-vision effect that makes them blind to time except in pathetically small swaths.

The preceding paragraph is a more run-of-the-mill mental connection of Vonnegut<->Vonnegut. But the Vonnegut I'm on about in this entry isn't Slaughterhouse Five, it's Cat's Cradle. In Cat's Cradle, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb is Dr. Hoenikker, who's one of those crazy-focused Asperger's savant templates. His greatest invention was, of course, not the A-bomb itself, but ice-9, which was simply a form of water whose phase transition between solid and liquid was something like a hundred degrees. The secret of how to make the initial seed crystal died with him, but luckily his spectacularly dysfunctional kids preserved chunks of it, and, as the Bokononist suicide-catechism goes, "Now I will destroy the entire world."

It's a great book. I like Slaughterhouse more on balance.

But I'm digressing. The analogy!

Stupid writing is a staple of dumb cinema. It's an integral part, really. But for the most part, the dumb writing in bad movies is very banal; like the oceans, it covers the vast majority of the planetary surface, if you can dig the simile thus far. What this movie made me realize is that the really enjoyable bad movies have a different form of stupid writing. It's the same essential stuff, mind you. Ice-9 is simply water, but it's water where the molecules just happen to have learned, via a mysterious seed crystal propagating itself, into a truly special form of itself.

The exact moment the seed crystal forms in "The Fast and the Furious" is a short distance in, when it's revealed (gasp! surprise!) that the hero of our flick is actually an undercover cop. (Oh my God, it's a mirage; he's gonna shut the illegal street racers/electronics trucking hijackers down with sabotage.) Various of his law enforcement contacts are introduced. The comic-relief boss. The milling extras. The FBI contact who--and this is the seed crystal moment I'm talking about--establishes himself as being from the FBI by stressing, with verbal italicized bolded blinking phonemes, that he's with the FBI in--this is the really brilliant stupid-9 genesis--about four times in only two lines of dialogue.

The chapter in Cat's Cradle where ice-9 finally falls into the sea is, again, a great bit of writing, where Vonnegut's choppy simple prose was firing on all cylinders (with like, dual NOS injectors). One of the great bits is, after the rolling surf simply turned to glimmering glass, the sky simply filled with writhing white worms, and the worms were tornadoes. The tornadoes carried the ice-9 inland; general armageddon; good stuff. (Now I will destroy the whole world.)

Precisely the same sort of effect happened when whatshisname made damn sure that even the members of the test-screening audience who watched the entire film with paper bags full of paint held up to their faces (probably about two-thirds of them) would understand that whatshisname was there from the FBI. The script just glazed over into solidity, and spawned whirlwinds of stupidity-9 that carried the apocalypse to the very ending page.

And that's how an enjoyably terrible film happens. I don't think anyone involved in the process ever is quite aware of what they're doing in producing stupid-9, just like the good Dr. Hoenikker. It just sort of happens, and what would otherwise simply be a banal ocean of dumb like most bad films becomes instead a beautiful frozen moment of time; probably with a mountaintop where the narrator suicides so that he'll be giving the finger to God until the sun engulfs the earth.


posted by Gar @ 9:59 PM

September 17, 2005


Civillian aviation repairs.

The dudes in this video are my shordurpersavs for today. See also this article for a picture of what a person looks like after they've just done something like that. It looks pretty much exactly like you expect it would.

But then I looked back upon the runway, and saw only one set of tiretracks, and I said, Lord, why did you leave me in my time of greatest need? And Jesus said, dude, what the fuck, that's when I fixed your landing gear with a stick at eighty miles per hour.

posted by Gar @ 7:17 AM

September 14, 2005


cymothoa exigua

Parasites are interesting little critters; each one a nice exhibit of a facet of nature's harmony that, for some reason, just never gets waxed rhapsodically about in Sierra Club cards. That facet being that nature is just plain disgusting.

For a rather long time, my favorite parasite was the guinea worm. Most parasitical worms are pretty meek things--they hide out in the gut and just sort of hang out while producing thousands and thousands of eggs. (Again: nature==teeming death-engine.) Not the guinea worm. Diagnosis of it is when it pops its head right out of the weeping sore. It'd only be more impressive if it would actually rear up and hiss whenever you got too near it.

Learning should never cease, because the world is full of wonders. Like this little guy. I'd no idea. That life cycle is just amazing. We need more parasites that remove portions of the host's anatomy and take over its functions. Bonus points if they can talk to you while they do it.

Nature is truly beautiful.

posted by Gar @ 2:44 PM

Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades

Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades.

What's that? You didn't hear me? I said, FUCK EVERYTHING, WE'RE DOING FIVE BLADES!

You're taking the "safety" part of "safety razor" too literally, grandma. Cut the strings and soar. Let's hit it. Let's roll. This is our chance to make razor history. Let's dream big. All you have to do is say that five blades can happen, and it will happen. If you aren't on board, then fuck you. And if you're on the board, then fuck you and your father. Hey, if I'm the only one who'll take risks, I'm sure as hell happy to hog all the glory when the five-blade razor becomes the shaving tool for the U.S. of "this is how we shave now" A.

Except it's even cooler than that, it's five blades PLUS a blade jammed onto the backside of the head. You could connect two of them together with a chain at the base of the handle and use them as a whirling pair of nunchuks, with lubricating chi strips. Hardcore.

posted by Gar @ 11:56 AM

September 13, 2005


A purely hypothetical movie review.

The review is hypothetical, based solely on my imagination, because of course it isn't out in any domestic form yet. So there's no way I could've seen it, and I have no recollection, senator, of having done so. But I do have eerily accurate dreams sometimes.

Anyway, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Plot--mostly a giant "Huh???" for anyone who's never played the actual pre-colon titular game, because that's where all the backstory is, and before the colon in the movie title is the only place the actual movie has it. It's years since I played it, so I would still--hypothetically!--be rusty on who the hell some of the cameos were.

But the plot's largely irrelevant. Mostly it's an excuse for some just plain gorgeous rendered animation of technomagical demigods beating the crap out of one another and their surroundings while not so much thumbing their noses at or even breaking but actually raping the laws of physics; in the course of fighting, they grasp the elegant equations of the universe and take great pleasure in thoroughly violating them. The fight scenes comprise the vast majority of the running length, and that was a wise editting choice.

I suspect that, come a future time when it will be possible to do a non-hypothetical review, that it will look much the same. That is all.

posted by Gar @ 5:32 AM

September 11, 2005


And one more for good measure

Movie review, that is. This one on the side of media that I haven't enjoyed lately, in order to provide fair and balanced coverage. I decide, then report.

Casshern - Uh, yeah. Some really nice visuals. Unfortunately, they're really nice visuals overlaid on a deeply muddled mess. I was daring to hope the insanity would at least be entertaining at the start, when some neo-sapien refugees, born out of neo-cell redlight pudding (fuck, why not? go with it!) wander into a big abandoned castle that just happens to be a repository of an ARMY OF NUCLEAR ROBOTS!...but then that kind of thing stopped in favor of approximately thirteen hours of the kind of philosophical musings that moderately bright fourth-graders, or microcephalic college students who aren't even high but pretending (badly) to be what they imagine being high is like would probably be disappointed by. I didn't time it exactly, it might have only been twelve hours. There was a giant goddamn robot blowing the holy hell out of an army at the end, but then there was another eight hours of idiot philosophy.

I wouldn't recommend avoiding it, per se, but rather muting it and holding the fast forward button through any part where things aren't making pretty explosions. Or, yeah, just avoiding it. That would be easier.


posted by Gar @ 2:00 AM

September 10, 2005


Batanga Batanga Batanga!

Bits on various media (no, not "the" media, just media) that I've enjoyed lately:

Aguirre: the Wrath of God; I jumped this up to the top(ish) of my netflix queue a couple weeks back due to a rather positive review over on Ruthless, and afterwards had to seed other Herzog films throughout my queue. The bit of the review that really sold me was an in-passing note of the fellow having a quote about the so-called harmony of nature really being the harmony of mass-murder. Now there's a kindred soul--what's always bugged me most about treehugging types isn't the tree-hugging itself--trees are amazing things when you stop and really think about it--but the saccharine veneer that "nature" tends to get painted with. You know it, cliches about man being the only animal that takes more than he needs from the environment, the only animal that kills for pleasure, and other assorted bullshit. Nature is indeed beautiful, but it's also intensely prodigal; the entire biosphere's something of a giant death-engine constantly eating itself, and there's a damn good reason that human progress can be modeled fairly well as a desperate effort to get out of the engine's way and start steering the damn thing--if not perfectly, at least away from us. (I firmly support tampering in God's domain.) The inherent ugliness in nature is, paradoxically, part of its beauty. This makes for lousy protest slogans, so it's a factor that doesn't get much popular press.

But anyway, it's a flick that definitely shows it was made by a bloke who understood that. Also, the lead actor has a terrific crazy-eyed intensity--apparently because he literally was completely batshit insane in real life, and Herzog just liked harnessing him. I hear tell both actor and director fully intended and planned to murder one another. If that sort of thing makes for good film, I'm all for it.

Nochnoy Dozor, aka the Night Watch. Apparently this is going to get some sort of limited American release at some point, but I ended up using a time-traveling Atlantean bubble-car to view it. Good stuff in the not-art sense; the story goes there's forces of Light and Dark--old hat stuff--who met in battle, and it became clear they were so completely evenly matched that if they kept fighting every single one of them would die. So they struck a truce; the Night Watch keeps an eye on the Darkside, while there's a Day Watch who does the same for the Light folks. There's a prophecy about a one who will choose one side or the other, and, like I say, definitively not-art. But I liked the general aesthetic of the whole thing, which was a sort of low-rent grunge affair--a Hollywood film on the same thing would have made everything glossy and a matrix ripoff. It reminded me somewhat of some of the writings of Tim Powers--the "Others" are usually invisible to normal folks, have various inhuman powers, etc., but rather than portrayed as cool and so forth, most of them are barely functional. The quick-response arm of the Night Watch doesn't tear around town in the souped-up classic sports cars they would in an American version, but a city utility truck. The protagonist barely has one outfit to his name which is more goodwill than thousand-dollar trenchcoat, and so on.

The effects are a mixed bag of cheapish cgi and stop-motion practical effects here and there, but effective as part of the aforementioned low-rent grungy feel. I'm looking forward to seeing the sequel if it gets made.

Ong Bak: one of the best martial arts flicks I've seen in quite awhile. Tony Jaa has the physical prowess of a younger Jackie Chan but doesn't play it for wacky propfight laughs--while the fights are impressively impractical, they're that in a downright brutal way. The Chan comparison also holds by the stunts basically being wire-free and most likely rather injurious to life and limb. I look forward to the fellow continuing to try to kill himself through action film for my viewing pleasure.

posted by Gar @ 5:19 PM

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