We have the technology!
Wednesday, July 28, 2004 "...Fully Operational Battle Station"
The much-blogged Cassini probe has evidently found the Death Star. The world-destroying orb has been masquerading as Saturn's moon, Mimas. I sure hope they didn't fix the problem with the exhaust-port shielding, or else we are all fucked.
Sunday, July 25, 2004 "Mother... Shitter... Sonofa... Ass!!!"
Sat down to work on the ol' script only to discover the back-up of the most recent draft was a friggin .PDF and therefore uneditable. The last workable file I had was a full 5 weeks earlier than my most recent draft (and some 11 pages shorter.) So insted of the quick fixes that I was going to make and basically have to rewrite my re-write. SO frustrating and disheartening... But at least all wasn't lost and I had SOMETHING to go on. I'll be happy when I'm done with this revision and can move on to a new peoject. I've now officially spent a year on this story and I am more than ready to devote some energy to any one of the 3 or 4 ideas that are next-in-line.
I watched "Office Space" on Friday night, and I can think of few better remedies for a long and tiresom week at the office than a couple of stiff drinks and that film. It really puts things into perspective. And speaking of persective, after Office Space, I cought the last third of Kurosawa's Yojimbo, which I hadn't seen since my early days in filmschool. (OH Bonus question of the week: can you name the two films, one American and one Italian, that were based on Yojimbo?) They just don't make films like that anymore and watching even a few scenes of that it is akin to reading Shakespeare's best sonnets. The camera-work in Yojimbo is absolutly stunning. Kurosawa uses the longshot better than any other filmmaker before or since, and then he combines them with takes that go on FOREVER. The film is stunning (and it is far from his best film.) If you are even a casual fan of Cinema do yourself a favor and revisit Kurosawa's catalog. It is a salve for a psyche bruised by too many quick-cut, CGI, Effects drivin, star-vehical, summer movies.posted by JMV | 7/25/2004 11:30:00 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Friday, July 16, 2004 "I Pooped a Hammer..."
Finally got to see "Anchorman: The Ledgend of Ron Burgandy" lastnight, and let me say it was really dumb. That said, I laughed my friggin ass off. Easily the funniest film I've seen in quite a while. it is destined to become one of those comedy classics that is quoted for years to come. I don't think I'll spoil anything by mentioning that the giant news-man melee in the second act is alone worth the price of admision. Steven Carell, like he did in "Bruce Almighty," totally sold the show and had many of the funniest lines. Between his character, the aforementioned melee, and the insane and surreal ending, I can confidently recomend the film to those who want to laugh, and don't mind a little absurdity. Unfortunatly we didn't have time to get a beer or three before the film, but I would highly sugest a little boozing before the feature presentation.
posted by JMV | 7/16/2004 11:23:00 AM
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
This is the 500th post on Octopushat. It has been 18 months and some 80,000 words after I started this endeavor, and I'm pretty happy with the way things have gone. Sure, I wish I updated a little more regularly (but it could be worse) and I wish my readership, google-juice, and blogoriety was greater, but all-in-all I think I can safely call the site a success. After all my #1 reason I started my adventure in micro-publishing was to exercise my writing muscles, and I certainly feel that I'm a stronger writer than I was 18 months ago (even if it isn't always evident in my posts.)
I've learned quite a bit through the act of keeping this public journal, and even though I originally envisioned the site as a portal of cool techy stuff I'm very happy with the direction the site has settled into.
I think that I just said blogging has made me a better person.
I had set out to make this a kind of retrospective post highlighting some of the highlights of the past 18 months, but I'm really too tired for that. So, I will end with this thought instead: From the first spark of flame to the most advanced nano-genetic-laser-computers, TECHNOLOGY has been a double edged sword. For every life it has bettered the juggernaut of progress has crushed another. For every plowshare there has been a sword. For every time a new mother has placed a phone-call to her distant husband there has been a soldier calling down artillery fire. Technology is not inherently good or evil, technology is not inherently anything. We have the technology, lets all agree to use it for good, and not for evil. So make something. Craft something. Create art. Make love, not war man! Take a stroll with more music than our ancestors had heard during their entire lifetimes. Snap some photographs and beam them across the globe. Send some instant written communication to your mother (or better transport your very voice directly to her ears.) Take your hover-car to the space port and buy a martian a drink. Oh wait, you may have to wait until tomorrow to do that...posted by JMV | 7/13/2004 05:57:00 PM
Monday, July 12, 2004 It is, after all, the CITY of angels
Over the weekend I was reminded that LA, for all its sprawling sprawl and well distributed population centers, is a metropolis. The City is home to some 4 million humans, and differs greatly from the typical suburban landscape (and believe you me I KNOW suburban landscape in the way only one native to Orange County can.)
On Saturday we took the Metro into the heart of the beast, "downtown" (the financial district to be more specific,) to checkout the opening of the first US exhibition of phonecamera photography: SENT.
SENT is being held in a conference room in the Standard Hotel Downtown (I'd link, but the sight is an annoying FLASH train-wreak,) which I've been wanting to visit for quite sometime. We arrived early enough to checkout the roof-top bar/lounge and get a $9 cocktail. There are not too many places that I can accept paying $20 for a pair of drinks, but it turns out that this place is worth it. It was seriously one of the best G&Ts I've ever had, and coupled with the awe-some view and absolutely beautiful afternoon I ended up not minding the wallet-ding. The hotel is the essence of swank, though I lack the architectural vocab to properly describe the setting. Suffice to say the decor and ambiance is like a technicolor martini mixed by SHAG and served up in a tall glass of retro-futurism.
The show itself was interesting in the way that a single hors-d'oeuvre snagged from a passing starch-shirted actess/model-who-is-working-as-a-waitress-for-a-catering-company-until-her-big-break is. That is to say, it was small, quick, and it held the mysterious promise of beauty and a future that may-or-may-not be. The Public-submitted worked were, as expected, as mixed bag of quality photography, seemingly random snapshots, and pics taken by people trying way too hard to look "arty." The featured work was pretty cool, but really small (640x480@300dpi=like a 2x3" print.) And like the hors-d'oeuvre it was over too quickly.
One of the highlights of the show was getting to have a full-on conversation with Wil. Beau was too chicken-shit to ask him for a photo, so I had to step up, and we ended up talking to him for a good ten or fifteen minuets. I admire Wil's accomplishments as a blogger and a writer, and it was cool to chat with him about blogging and poker, and he is a really nice, really cool guy.
The night continued on in (quite fittingly) Little Tokyo. Yakaitori is like my new favorite food. What can I say, I love food-on-sticks... And I seriously intend on revisiting the nameless (to me at least) joint again! And after a brief, if sketchy, ride back into H'Wood on the train (we didn't have change for the tickets and so decided to take our chances and ride w/o a return ticket,) the evening drew to a close.posted by JMV | 7/12/2004 09:31:00 PM
Saturday, July 03, 2004 Elvis v. Mummy
My venerable powerbook is back home after a much-quicker-than-expected turnaround from my local autherized Mac service center. Melrose Mac did a great job on the repair and I highly recomend the shop to LAites who need some Apple-goodies but don't want to brave the Grove or 3rd Street. So, I've spent the past few hours re-setting everything up and performing the countless subtle UI tweaks that make my Mac MY Mac, and I'm almost there now.
We finally got around to watching "Bubba Ho-Tep" last night, and it was quite a treat. The Horror/comedy/drama revolves around a run-down old-folks home in east Texas (the scariest part of Texas in deed) where an elderly and cancer-struck Elvis has wound up, and where he must now make a final stand against a soul-sucking Egyptian/redneck mummy. The film does a good job of juggling its multiple genres, and while it has some laugh-out-loud moments (quite a few actually) as well as all the necessary elements of a shlock-horror film, its real strength is the drama of the old-folks struggling with their mortality and second-class-citizenship.
For all its sublime indie-cinema moments and clever writing, Bubba Ho-Tep is really held together by Bruce Campbell's performance. He gets to show his acting chops as he steps into The Kings skin and battles Undead, and he absolutely nails the role. The film also serves as Ossie Davis', who plays an elderly JFK far better than any other actor could (let alone any white actor,) swan song.
And this was perhaps my favorite element of the film: as the audience, we WANT to believe that it really IS Elvis, and not just an elderly man reveling in his senility. And, if you are the least bit romantic, you CAN get behind an old and bitter Elvis. But then the writer/director throws a black JFK at you, and that is MUCH harder to swallow. But there is just as much evidence (more actually) in the mise-en-scene to support Kennedy's claim of authenticity as there is evidence in-favor of a living Elvis. And that is the point. Either you believe they are BOTH who they say they are, or you believe they are BOTH nuts. But you can't really take one without the other and still leave your disbelief suspended. Either reading is completely viable and valid and they filter the message of the film in very different ways. But the film is never ABOUT the choice, it is simple there to be made (and I'm sure made unconsciously by many.)
But I've babbled on too long, so if you are a fan of slightly twisted and off-the-wall indie-fare give Bubba Ho-Tep a spin.