Archive for August, 2004


August 27, 2004

Age and Perspective
For my birthday, Sara’s given me a subscription to Archaeology magazine, perhaps to keep my head on straight during this alarmingly adult-like span of weeks in which I age, wed, and widen my sphere of travel by a thousand or so miles. In the spirit of all that stuff, here’s a delightful internet relic (using QuickTime 3!) with a simple and wonderful VR tour of the Minoan palace at Knossos, on the isle of Crete. It’s where the Minotaur lived. Should remind us all of our youth. Also, it’s nice to look at.

Meanwhile–though I’ve no desire to become the fella who finds you alligator stories–here’s one about a knife-wielding dog-lover battling a prehistoric reptile to save a bloodhound named Sugar. (CNN) I’ve pretty much just told you the whole story, though.

This weekend begins all sorts of final wedding stuff that makes me realize (in horror, he implied) how much I have to do in the next few weeks. I’m now thoroughly relieved there’ll be no bachelor party to distract me. Who the hell’s got the time?!

What’s good about getting married, though, is the gifts. Like this one from Robin. Thank you, sir!

Noise: “The Loyaliser,” Fatima Mansions; courtesy of Leucosia the iPod.


August 25, 2004

Gen Con In Pictures
Back from Gen Con. The big delight, as usual, was all the people I got to see and meet, eat and drink with. Attention all of you: Nice seeing you; let’s do it again some time soon.

A lot of the pictures I took don’t amount to much more than inside jokes, so these are all I have to share. Enjoy.

Don’t you believe it. See Jeff for more.

Alex and Mart are in a gang. They think it’s high-larious.

Fred’s amazing, hypnotizing shirt.

The White Wolf party for the release of I forget what. Something valuable enough to be guarded by snipers. Note the green laser sight.

Cheap Moving Pictures
Went out to buy a couple of Kill Bill movies, because the Feng Shui games I ran at Gen Con put me in the mood to see both films again, and found excellent prices on two movies I’ve been putting off purchasing. I assumed I’d get these movies when the price finally dictated it was time. It’s time. The movies: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (now showing) and Ghostbusters, which screens thrice daily in my head.

For your records, Terminator 2 is still excellent and marvelous. Yes, the 16 additional minutes make the movie more obvious above all else (as they did back when I first caught them on giant laserdiscs), though I do love the bit where Sarah and John crack open Arnold’s skull. How I wish I’d been able to see this movie once as it was intended: without any previous knowledge of who the two naked men (terminators?) were from the future. Oh my, that would’ve been a thrill.

Finally, I’ve also recently received a free copy of Reservoir Dogs on DVD (thanks Alex!). It sure did hit the spot.

Noise: JOHN: Police are here.
SARAH: How many?
JOHN: Uh… all of ’em, I think.


August 16, 2004

Wedding Data
For those of you who care about such things, our wedding website is up. If you’ve been there already, it was the old site. This is the real one, haphazard though it is. I just don’t have any time remaining to rewrite anything. Now: on to Gen Con!


August 11, 2004

Alien vs. Predator
I’ve taken down the movie poster because I don’t feel like advertising for it. I don’t want to pick on anyone here, but Jeff Mackintosh said “It’ll be a good movie.” Here’s why you’re wrong, Jeff, even if you’re joking:

Alien and its principle sequels (Aliens and Alien 3) is about a world that might be, a future grown out of the present. Predator, while less meaningful and devoid of speculative futurism, is about a tangible crisis made worse by a more advanced hostile force from outside our little spot in the universe. They’re both frightening or thrilling in whatever way they are (and they are) because the sci-fi monster in each operates in an environment made realistic through details. Each operates on a very personal stage. They’re about people, at the same time that they’re about catastrophic aliens striking out from a hostile and unknowable cosmos.

Paul WS Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator, on the other hand, yanks the whole foundation out from the universes both of the existing franchises took place in. It doesn’t respect what’s come before. For example, in the Predator films, the menacing alien killer comes to Earth in areas of extreme heat (a sweltering jungle in one and LA during a killer heat-wave in the other)–giving us both a hint of information about the alien and a nice, viceral detail–but in Anderson’s carnival, the Predators make their home in the coldest environment on the planet. Did Anderson read that the existential terror of the Alien and Predator films was vaguely Lovecraftian and decide that they must also, therefore, be like At the Mountains of Madness?

Worse still, with its alternate alien-influenced history and transforming ancient temples, Alien vs. Predator takes place in a world that’s complete fantasy, with no foundation in reality or futurism. It doesn’t relate to us, the audience, in any way. Rather than being about the fate of ordinary people, as in the Alien franchise, or the failure of a culture’s best warriors in the face of an advanced enemy, as in Predator, Anderson’s characters seem to be from the liquidation section of the Crichton catalog: people with specialized knowledge we can’t relate to making decisions we can’t believe. The movie, by focusing on the alien vs. the Predator, doesn’t sound like it has any room for us humans in it. Doesn’t sound like it has much interest in us either.

No, I haven’t seen Alien vs. Predator, so I might be way off base here. Going off of Paul WS Anderson’s own interviews and the many reviews made available (despite an apparant shortage of press screenings) to me, though, it sounds like my instincts are right: Paul WS Anderson doesn’t get it. He’s just a second-rate circus organizer making money off of old stars who could use the work. I’ll bet the Predator’s got alimony to pay.

At least I can take comfort in the fact that Alien vs. Predator‘s disregard for the films that came before it may mean it is officially ignored by any talented filmmakers who choose to pursue works in those franchises. If I’m lucky, 20th Century Fox will just use the money of teenage ticket-buyers to make an Alien or Predator film I want to see.

In the meantime, I feel comfortable standing by my judgment of this movie even though I haven’t seen it. (If you know me, you know that’s against type.) The simple reason is this: I paid money to see Soldier and I won’t make a mistake like that again.


August 9, 2004

Please Stay On the Line, Your Comment Is Important to Us
The hours in each day are insufficient. I dare say this is the busiest I have ever been. Would I the time, I’d write to you of life, love, and the new iPod (Leucosia–points to you if you know what her name means). Can’t do it now.

So, I’ve been plugging odd little things into blogger, to be ready in a clutch to give you something to do when you should be working or sleeping or whatever. Here’s one:

Based on this tiger and the last tiger, we may have to incorporate something into our training. [New York City]Police have no special training on how to deal with tigers,” Durkin said.