Press your spaceface close to mine

My Own Private Blade Runner

Posted by Sunday on Jul 7, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I am an enigma.

On one hand, I despise the presence of people, loathe the crush of more than a handful of human beings in visible proximity to myself. I long for silence.

On the other hand I am terrified of spiders and need at least one other person on call to crush them for me at a moment’s notice. I need sushi, prepared by aloof, masterful chefs who don’t roll their eyes or say “Que?” when you say omakase onegaishimasu. I need Super Target.

Back to the first hand, I need a cave, a nest, a quiet abode both spacious and well-lit during the day and quiet, dark and well-protected at night. Surrounded by trees. And puppies.

And then to the second hand again – I need to not feel like I’m an extra in a hillbilly slasher flick when I go out for a hamburger. To not have someone gape and say “Why’d ya wanna go and move away from Seattle for?” when I tell them where I’m from (dear ignorant, blissful hillbillies: your rents here are one third what a person might hope to pay in other parts of the country, so try to enjoy it).

But mostly, both hands won with the following: I am just not getting enough apocalypse adrenaline in my life. Also, we just got evicted from our apartment so a “young professional” couple can move into a brand new condo in a few months.

To the Los Angeles pod, navigator – set a course!

Because I don’t have cable TV, and because my primary source of news is GalacticMu’s engineer Leesa, I missed this whole flap over an apparent image of a post-apocalyptic event Washington DC being used by Al Qaeda as a motivational incentive.

At which point a bunch of bloggers noticed that it was actually concept art for a video game called Fallout 3.


My first reaction is of course total batshit paranoia: the powers that be are using it as a combination fear-mongering manipulation and anti-gaming propaganda!   Sort of brilliant actually.  Pointing out the anarchistic depravity of these gamers who delight in images of America’s failure – the very same delight that terrorists take!  The very same!  Right down to the concept art!

My second reaction is not unlike Anne Frank’s; if my computer were named Kitty, the comparison would be uncanny.    But I am in hiding for fear of being sent to some kind of camp somewhere where human rights are as reliable as Amy Winehouse is sober.  And my reaction is not without a measure of horror, but still: apocalypse!  What a thrill!  If this is motivational to terrorists, then I suppose I am a terrorist too.  Looking at the concept art, I think, yes, yes, let’s pay $6 a gallon for gas!  More!  $8 a gallon!  And be told by analysts that paying an hours’ wage for a single gallon of gasoline is beneficial to the world economy!  And while we are at it, let’s pay double, triple for food staples.   Let’s ensure that there is absolutely no health care at all, and that the old myth of being able to just show up at an emergency room and at least get physically cared for (while going into debt) is just that: a myth!  If you can’t provide payment, upfront and in total, you get to die in the street like everyone else.   I guess what I’m saying is, would I rather human misery was represented by a burned-out husk of our once-democratic society, or would I rather it was obfuscated behind another season of American Idol?

Jesus, someone put some loony tunes in my cornflakes this morning.  Just kidding, I ate cookies for breakfast.

The entertaining Fallout home page (which wisely fails to acknowledge their Al Qaeda fan base).

The Fallout 3 blog (which wisely pokes a great big stick-o’-fun at their Al Qaeda fan base). 

3 Posted in Apocalypse, Games

Movie Review: Casshern (2004)

Posted by Sunday on Apr 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Remember the first time you saw Akira and loved it, and it was fucking awesome, and when it was over you had no idea what the hell happened?

Welcome to Casshern! There are no spoiler warnings for this review because I can’t explain anything that occurs in the movie.


Casshern is based on a 70′s Japanese anime series (Shinzō Ningen Kyashān), but seeing the show won’t help you make any sense of what you’re watching. By the time it was over I felt like I’d been beaten senseless by a robot with a bejeweled peppermint stick and then shocked back into reality with bucket of ice cold whiskey poured over my head.

It helps if you know that the movie was filmed entirely on a green screen, making for what are mostly real actors moving through some very realistic anime. Now add some Cold War propaganda. And some Blade Runner. And some Brazil. And a healthy shake of beautiful Japanese people. And an equal part of battle-bots. Sprinkle with classic anime movement, framing and sound effects. Now, carefully, skim off any non-chaotic character motivation.


In the event that you think it would be ‘cool’ to smoke some Old Took and watch Casshern I say NO. It would be like eating some acid and then going to a clown festival. They are two diametrically opposed events. Be sober during the movie and then drink four gallons of beer after. This is the approved method.

And don’t confuse my blustering with negativity – I adore Casshern. It was fantastic. Poking around the internet, anyone with a single geek hair on their backs was gushing eternal confused love to this movie, and for good reason – sometimes you want someone to put every single great scifi trope into one bowl, stir it all up, and then cook it to see what happens. Out the other end comes a baffling fruitcake, delicious, strange, and impossible to describe. Done without pretense, it can be transformative. Done wrong, you get unwatchable Matrix sequels.

Link to one of many fantastically ridiculous action sequences delivered in classically awful YouTube quality. Note that the video’s poster says “the rest of the movie is pretty boring.” This person has clearly blacked out during major segments of the film.

0 Posted in Apocalypse, Movies

In Hollywood, No One Can Hear You Care

Posted by Sunday on Apr 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm

You’re at an upscale restaurant. You’ve ordered an appetizer of steamed mussels in fennel and new timothy hay shoots. It seems to be taking an exceptionally long time to arrive, but your waiter is attentive, refills your water glasses and gets you another free basket of warm, fresh bread. When the mussels finally appear he sincerely apologizes for how long it took. That’s okay, you gush, because the mussels smell like heaven and you drank your wine too fast and on an empty stomach. It’s turning out to be a nice evening.

Around this time, you notice that the couple recently seated next to you is looking grumpy. They’re older, stiff, and barely speaking to each other. You feel a surge of appreciation for your partner – at least the two of you can make an entire conversation out of the merits of generic Froot Loops. But you’re distracted by the older couple, their overt wealth paired with their obvious disgruntlement. The man says something rude about the kind waiter and you feel a prickly thrill of indignancy. You’re still a little drunk, now from the second glass of wine, and you fall into a temporary fantasy where you are going to say something scathing to the man.

The waiter returns with a gratinéed oyster platter for the couple much faster than youd received your mussels. Before the couple has a chance to say anything, the waiter insists that the oysters are on the house, and can he get them anything else graits? A bottle of champagne, perhaps? The couple sullenly agrees to a bottle of champagne.

Wait a fucking minute! You sit upright. Wait a goddamn fucking minute – is that how this works? Your understanding and tolerance goes unrewarded? Your lack of hideous diamond Rolexes? The waiter is instantly transformed from a harried but capable food intermediary to a pandering, greedy and despicable shit. From that point on your meal is tainted. Part of you is embarrassed at your own reaction and dreads and hopes in equal parts that the waiter is going to make it up to you in a quieter, more bonding way later, but by the time the interminable meal is over you aren’t even making eye contact with him anymore and he drops the check to the table without a word. You go over the check and find that you’ve been overcharged for the wine. Miserably, rather than spend another minute feeling terrible and watching the hideous monster couple next to you wordlessly shovel crème brûlée into their gobs, you pay the bill and leave. But not before guiltily making sure the tip was slightly less than 15%.

Okay! Now you’re in the mood to understand what I’m about to tell you!

This may or may not feel like a spoiler to you. Continue reading at your own peril.

rec_poster.jpgIn 2007 a Spanish zombie movie called [●REC] was made, filmed “reality” style (think Cloverfield). A television reporter and her cameraman accompany an emergency services crew on the night shift as a part of a planned and ostensibly normal feature. They answer a call regarding an elderly woman trapped in an apartment building, only to find the building dark and other tenants apparently gone. Zombies! Hooray!

When the crew tries to leave the building they find they are trapped inside by a government quarantine, at which point they argue the possibilities of escape. So. What could be bad, right?

Well, in a apparently never-before done move, the movie [●REC] was optioned simultaneously for what some people are calling a “remake,” a term I find misleading and inaccurate. Simultaneous filming? Doppel-filmed? While technically a remake since the Spanish [●REC] was made and released first, certain elements keep me from committing. For starters, the American version of the film, Quarantine, is an almost word-for-word, shot-for-shot redo. The American actress wears the same outfit and screams in the same parts. Jaume Balagueró wrote and directed both films. Much of the crew was the same.

Then there is the subject of availability and intention. From what I am reading, there is no North American release of a subtitled [●REC] scheduled yet. This doesn’t mean it won’t be released, but confirms that there was a clear, intentional split between the two films: one is intended for Spain and Europe, and the other is intended for America. Americans will be able to get copies of the Spanish DVD, but there may never be an American release. For those that are new to this dimension: DVDs are released in regions. Read all about it, if you’re bored.

What does this all have to do with a fancy dinner, you ask? Calm, my dumplings. Calm.

The rumor is that Quarantine is the ugly stepchild. The filming is sloppier, the screams louder, the camera shaking more pronounced, the costs higher – in other words, a big fat American horror film. Somehow Americans – who are horror connoisseurs in that adolescent way in that we’ll watch anything no matter how awful – are getting stuck with a kindly, special-made piece of crap. Is it because our standards are lower? Most certainly. We’d be dragged to a zombie movie kicking and screaming if it meant having to read fucking subtitles. But make a shittier version in God’s English? HELL YES.

Here’s your dinner film. You’d paid full price for the exact same thing done better elsewhere. Enjoy.

Slated for release in October of 2008, the upside is that Quarantine stars a favorite young actress of mine, Jennifer Carpenter, who stole the show as a demonic/terrified teen in The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Spanish trailer for [●REC]

English trailer for [●REC]

Trailer for Quarantine (allow page to sit for 10 seconds and trailer will automatically start)

1 Posted in Apocalypse, Movies

Real Fairy Tales

Posted by Sunday on Mar 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I have this mental thing, see. No, not the one where I fear we are secretly being controlled by a race of brain-washing skull-like aliens. The one where I feel like certain events are Real Fairy Tales.

“Fairy tales” might not be the right words, but it’s the one I’ve been working with for about a decade now. The first time I had the Real Fairy Tale realization was when golf pro Payne Stewart (who, according to The New York Times, was “known (…) for his traditional knickers and tam-o’-shanter,” a sentence that made me snort with Bender-like derision) and five people of lesser importance died in a bizarre plane crash.

The story was weird, and upon hearing it I was overcome with a sensation similar to déjà vu – except, instead of having a feeling that it had happened before, I had a feeling that it was important. The feeling scared me: this is how people go crazy, I thought. This is what happens to the nut jobs that they find in apartments full of garbage, rocking and muttering to themselves about Crystal Pepsi. Wait no, that’s programmers. ANYWAY. Despite my nagging fears of impending insanity, I explored the feeling, and to my sort of comfort, it stayed. I suppose I rationalized that if insanity was truly at my doorstep, it might behave like schizophrenia and come on in little fits and hiccups before unleashing its full fury. I clearly don’t know what I am talking about.

Instead, what I came up with was this: there are consistent themes to parables and myths, and these usually involve characters of high stature or unbeatable skill who then learn something. I mean, thematically, a parable is supposed to involve humans (unlike a fable, which involves animals or inanimate objects) who make a decision of some kind (usually a complicated moral one cloaked as a simple, day-to-day decision) and then suffer consequences.

Now: fairy tales. Fairy tales are parables + magic (and often substitute moral lessons with chaos). And this is where my brain slots the event like the Payne Stewart crash. This is where the crazy feelings come in: it is bizarre – almost too bizarre. Bizarre in a way where I feel some kind of cypher hanging over the whole event, like a pattern. And I fear when I use the words “fairy tale,” you think I mean those cute pink dragonfly-winged little people. I don’t. I mean the things that steal your babies in the night and replace them with hateful homunculi.

Here are just a few of the events that I feel have been a part of the Real Fairy Tales so far:

4 Posted in Apocalypse

What A Twist!

Posted by Sunday on Feb 22, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Think what you will of M. Night Shyamalan, but the trailer for his most recent endeavor gave me delighted chills (Quicktime is required).

Starring Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel, The Happening is about a final, worldwide apocalypse triggered by the environment. The trailer corroborates rumors that the movie is presented as a confused unfurling, where people are given only fragments of information and society breaks under the strain of an unseen, unknowable foe. This is where my apocalypse boner says hello. Hello! Additional rumor claims the movie will be rated R due to it being a movie about the apocalypse, which I pray involves a lot of people dying. A PG-13 apocalypse movie is sadder than a kitten with no front legs.

I should put on record that Shyamalan’s Signs scared the holy motherloving shit out of me (until the end, when the everpresent questions of faith were subjected to a dose of unbelievable optimism). It used each of my major fears/obsessions against me:

  • apocalypse
  • alien invasion
  • bunkering down
  • home video (I’ll believe anything on home video, especially supernatural things)
  • weird noises

Update: Worst. Movie. Ever.

4 Posted in Apocalypse, Movies

Day After Wallpaper

Posted by Leesa on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:55 pm

My current apocalyptic desktop is courtesy of Social Wallpapering They’ve got some terrific spacey ones too.
New York Ruins
full of stars desktop

0 Posted in Apocalypse, Techie