30 March 2010

If I Could Travel Through Time...

I'd probably go see this.

Okay, it's nerd-gasmic. But probably only to me. It's also a little gay. And you wonder why I'm bitter I didn't get to attend the Torchwood/Doctor Who panels at Comic Con. Sigh.

29 March 2010

Something Horrific This Way Comes...

And all for the low, low price of Indie.

Salt Lake City will soon be hopping up on zombies, blood, and all sorts of torture-porn. That's right, move over Sundance with all your arty films in which death must be meaningful and poignant. No, we're talking about a new festival for the independent filmmaker that (theoretically) is debuting this October:

The Salty Film Horror Festival

Now technically this festival is open to horror and sci-fi submissions, and from the sound of it, favoring the independent artist (read: staggering differences in quality of submissions). But then, that's what makes it fun, isn't it? I love Sundance but it gets extremely pretentious, and listening to d-bags in enormous fur coats argue over whether the movie made sense or not and let's go because there's just enough time to down a $200 bottle of wine before we have dinner reservations followed by some celebrity-studded party...

Well its time to get back to basics. And you can't get more basic than horror films. I've discoursed on horror films before, because they hold a special place in my heart. And truthfully, a grassroots (a term I loathe by the way, as its thrown around like so much germinating seed that I'm surprised every artistic industry isn't buried in a tangle of un-mown lawn) horror film festival in the land of the Mo's seems like a fantastic idea. There is no doubt that you'll see some of the worst cinematic attempts, and one can hope, a gem or two. Regardless, it is exciting to see some more cultural opportunities arise in our conservative state. It's a cause for celebration, for me at least, and will definitely be an enjoyable experience for anyone who likes independent films and people getting mutilated.

One of the exciting features is that they'll have many categories of entry, but tentatively two different 72-hour filmmaking contests within the festival, in which you'll get three days to create a horror film to be shown. At present they are scheduled early April and in August of this year. If you're at all interested it promises to be a fun opportunity and fairly inexpensive opportunity.

I know this will be of interest to a few of you that read this blog, and I encourage everyone to consider either a) submitting -you have several months and can submit all the way up until mid-September, for a rather nominal fee; or b) putting it on their calendar to attend and support, lest the festival die in its first year attempt. Check out their site and enjoy.

On a couple of horrifying side notes...

1. If you were hoping for a chance to run for the title of Miss Salty Horror ("the face of the Salty Horror Film Festival"), the ship has sailed. But maybe next year.

2. In another epic horror event, I attended the 70's Japanese fantasy-horror film House at the Tower theater this weekend. In an incredible display of blue-screening, soft focus, green-eyed cats and flowing scarves, this movie was an incredible and amusing experience. It runs until Thursday, so you have very little time to see it, but I highly recommend a viewing. My compadre Brady indicated that this was the first screening of the film since it's initial release, and I'm proud to have been privy to it.

So naturally I was bothered by some woman (one of the six of us in the screening) who complained rather loudly how little sense the film made. It still irritates me now, because whatever else you may say about death-by-mattress and travel-via-refrigerator, the movie was hardly incoherent. In fact it made plenty of sense with its visual if weak story line of girls vacationing at their spooky Aunt's home. Some people just have no taste. And if her palette found this incomprehensible, I can only imagine what other, more avant garde films might do to her digestion.

Here's a teaser in case you're hoping for a fear too beautiful to resist...

28 March 2010

Silence for my Headspace

Is it possible to live tending to only the things you enjoy without the constructs other people placed upon you? On one hand, the automatic answer is an emphatic "no." No matter what you choose to pursue in your life there are always other people to keep happy, deals to make and compromises to strike. You take the good with the bad, and hope the good ultimately outweighs the other.

But another part of me whispers that's not true, not really. This idea is propagated because everyone else has been subjugated to this mentality, and if you look away from it, you're ridiculed as foolish and a n'ere-do-well spending their time unwisely. It is plausible to think outside the box and do whatever the hell you want, whatever makes you happy.

I feel this may be true too. Don't we limit ourselves? Isn't our potential usually capped by our own mental frailties? But what is most frightening to me is what that course of action embraces as a philosophy. If I turn my back on the system that we deem necessary, that means I feel it is beyond hope, even as a framework to build within. And if that's true, then all the individuals tied to it are simply extensions of that ideological prison. And hence, my motives become purely selfish, uninterested in providing something meaningful to anyone except myself. And that provides all sorts of conundrums, theoretically speaking. From the introduction of my actions being in a vacuum to existential questions like defining oneself without external parameters to measure by.

It's a mess. The plain fact is that I'm exhausted listening to others tell me how my life ought to be unfolding; family, teachers, friends, mentors, bosses, corporations, and media... all of it letting me know whether I'm wasting my time and on track for failure. Basically that's the crux of it, this Sunday afternoon. How are you?

25 March 2010

Chainsaw Warrior Victorious

As promised, here's a picture we took of Julie's triumphant hour.

This end-game photo shows exactly how it went down, too. Exactly. Note the rest of us cowering and perishing to her evil 4,5, or 6 whims.

19 March 2010

Today's Special

A few thoughts for the day.

1. It is surprisingly easy to hit enter and publish a blog post with absolutely nothing in it. If anyone would take me seriously, I'd call it art and have them hang it in the MOMA.

2. One of the fun things about alcohol is that it can be an experience. Not, just the inebriation part, but the entire culture and mythos that surrounds it. My fellow bartenders at work generally agree with me that making alcoholic drinks is far more fun than their virgin brethren, although this is perhaps true of of people too. Ha, just kidding. I love learning about wine because there is so much to look for. I enjoy trying vintage cocktails to see what people in ye olde days enjoyed, when a drink took skill and was really a drink (the clubs here could learn a thing or too; something besides a long island would be nice), Satan's Whiskers for example. I guarantee you'll get blank stares if you ask for this one, and yet it is a gem. Anyway, there's something about the associated history that makes it an enjoyable subject.

3. I have been pouring over selections for a board game group. One that consists of Capree and I so far. Now taking reservations. Oh, and I've been planning and drafting (I'm a dork) a card holder tower for Talisman. Because frankly, with all the cards now sleeved, they are three times the height, and slide if you look at them wrong. Sigh.

4. I think I'm at my best when I don't have to deal with other people.

And there are my thoughts for this Friday afternoon. Aside from, do you remember Today's Special?

Or Zoobilee Zoo, for that matter? Kinda terrifying to think back upon what made up my childhood.

16 March 2010

On Occasion

Sometimes, just sometimes, I get tired. And bored. And quiet.

And resentful.

And I just want to be left alone in my own personal world. Sometimes.

Those are times to have a stiff drink. Maybe one on fire.

12 March 2010

Popular Culture Growths

Do you love popular culture? Do you want to find out about the exciting happenings, projects, collaborations, retrospectives and coming attractions in comics, film, television, books, video games and entertainment retail? Would you like to meet all your favorite celebrities, authors, artists, and so on?

Then attend Comic Con 2010 this coming July!

Except you can't. Because it's sold out.

I first attended Comic Con four years ago, basically on a whim. We literally decided a couple weeks before hand we were going to go, and threw together the trip. Fortunately, we were able to buy our tickets at the door and thoroughly enjoyed running around the showroom floor, attending panels and geeking out. The presentations at the Con have the capacity to be truly impressive. Guests and panels can be fascinating insights into things upcoming or into territory you already love. Naturally they have the potential to be terrible as well, despite good billing, but that became less of a problem in later years where, in order to get into a panel you needed to attend the two panels prior to it in order to obtain a seat. They stopped clearing rooms out after a presentation, and then admitted as many new people to the room as empty seats based upon who left. What this meant was that instead of determining which conflicting panel you wanted to see more, you had to determine if you were also willing to block out three hours to get into it. The nice part was that you'd see panels you'd never have chosen to attend and might end up with some true gems, even if the one you were actually waiting for was a dud.

I do have to add that we got into one or two panels thanks to Will, who will be going to hell, for lying us in with some story about having to leave the discussion early so we could take somebody to the medic area. It worked though and we enjoyed a really crowded Marvel presentation followed by the even more insane Sarah Silverman and friends. Totally worth it.

Each year the Con has gotten more ridiculous. The next year we attended, you had to buy your tickets online, and they filled mostly to capacity. Oh, and forget about getting a hotel near the convention center. That fills up ages beforehand. The third year we went, it sold out a couple months in advance. We skipped a year since I was frolicking in Japan, and in rolls 2010: Will and I think, hey, maybe we'll go again this year and take Chase. He's old enough now that the worries of him getting lost are lessened, and at an age to enjoy it.

Except that the passes sold out in November.

November! In a way, it's easier to accept that they're already sold out. The crowds can be and are overwhelming, a great deal of time is spent in lines, or searching for food that isn't overpriced or miles from the building, it grows more and more mainstream commercial each time, and frankly, there are some weird people (I guess we count in that...). Last year's attendance was somewhere around 140,000. I do enjoy Comic Con, a lot, but frankly that's just too many nerd in one place.

I need to find something more exclusive and elitist.

One Note Soliloquy

Okay, I'm just gonna come out and say it:

I want to start a board game group. Or club. Or coterie.

Although it can certainly involve card games too. Though not poker. I'm just not a poker player. We played a H.P. Lovecraft inspired board game, Arkham Horror the other night, (much to the chagrin of Brady, who gave up half way through and left us to die to the dark forces of Yig, though I'm not bitter) (although, I should mention that we did eventually defeat Yig. Go us.) I learned two things from this experience.

1) I really do just like games. Even though I force everyone to play Talisman on a semi-regular basis, it is by no means the end-all-be-all. I am open to playing all manner of board games and would like to play them more often. In fact I'd like other people to suggest, bring and teach us new games.

2) Arkham Horror, and others no doubt, require upkeep. Despite being ridiculously overcomplicated (monsters, horrific dimensions and bank loans, oh my!) it was actually quite fun. But now that we've taken the 2 hours or so to obtain a rough working knowledge of the game's rules, we need to play it again lest it all drains out of our pea-brains.

Oh the Horror! Do you see the number of pieces to this game?!?

Hence, I am led to the this conclusion: Monthly, or bi-monthly, if I could get my way, a select group (read: pretty much anyone who is willing, which seems to fluctuate) will gather to play a game. Likely this would be a Sunday, since that seems easiest for most people. The game could be selected by one member of the Coterie, and really doesn't have a limit, although time constructs ought to be discussed. Bring anything from Apples to Apples to Descent Into Darkness. We'll try it all!

Sound fun? Sound intriguing? Wish you were a part of this still-to-be-officially-named gaming group? Well, all you need is a bit of patience, an enjoyment of social board games, a penchant for trying new things, and a willingness to die for your country. Actually, that last part probably isn't necessary unless you're joining the Marines. On a random note, the Marines did petition me recently, via postcard. "Congrats, you're graduating! Now do some real learning and joing the military!" Um, no thanks. Especially not after I've graduated and you're not going to pay for my schooling.

Right, so... let me know if you're interested. Honestly, I don't know if there are enough people who read this/would be intrigued enough to consider making game night a regular thing. But if so, speak up. If nothing else, there's always a lot of terrible-for-you snack foods to enjoy and plenty of inebriation, which seems to work out as an advantage for the non-drinkers.

Our Board Game Group

Or at least what I picture our group looking like. Maybe with more men. And fewer bikinis. And cowboy hats. Although if you wanna wear your cowboy hat, feel free. I don't judge. Much. Of course, if I mandate that we all dress up like our Talisman characters, who knows, we really could come out looking like these tramps. And doesn't that look fun?

07 March 2010

Addendum to an Obsession

I had to tack on a couple of projects that I ran across in my continued search for ways to get more from Talisman. These images are yet another testament that I am not that hardcore about this game. At least not while there's people out there who create 3D game boards of it. At least not yet. I will be out of school and aimless in a couple of months... who knows, I just might end up creating something like one of these:

Oh, and this will undoubtedly not be the last thing I post about Talisman. And I'm sorry for that, for your sake. But images like the Chainsaw Warrior winning are still forthcoming.

06 March 2010

A Question, Doctor

Well folks, the rumor mill is a-churning. This time it's about an interview in which Warner Bros. has reportedly asked Christopher Nolan, director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (amongst other great films) to oversee and mentor the re-launch of Superman. Apparently Superman Returns wasn't doing it for them, and since the hastening of Marvel comic-book to film characters brought about by Disney's acquisition of the brand, WB is feeling the pressure to have some successful competition in the Superhero vein. Coupled with the suggestion that WB also stand to lose the rights to Superman within a few years, there actually might be something to this rumor. However, this is not all that is being thrown around. There is rumor Nolan will have something to do with Wonder Woman, and more importantly, it has been slipped twice now that Goyer and Nolan are working on a script for a third Batman film. An official announcement is expected shortly.

I respect Christopher Nolan as a storyteller; he's done something with the Batman franchise I had thought never to see: legitimize it. No more Schwarzenegger ice puns, or one dimensional Tommy Lee Jones. For a lover of all things Bat, this has been truly phenomenal. I could only hope for at least one more (and perhaps that at the most; a trilogy rounds things out nicely, succinctly finished before it can collapse into a camp fest a la Forever and Returns), though Nolan seemed initially hesitant about returning despite Dark Knight's ending. I seriously hope that the director will be getting back in the driver's seat one last time and complete the fantastic tale he's been spinning. As for Wonder Woman or Superman, I highly doubt Nolan will be too actively involved. Consider the reality he's grounded the Batman mythos in. It is a dark and gritty world that might be highly imaginative, but constantly mulls over the accomplishments and tribulations of men as men. He might dole out advice on Superman, but amazonian women with magic lassos and greatly overpowered aliens with a weakness to rocks doesn't sound like his cup of tea.

In any event, there is no official confirmation of any of these things, yet that doesn't stop people feeding off the information and creating all manner of entertaining gossip. For example, did you know that while there isn't a script or official confirmation on a film at all, Johnny Depp has definitely been cast as the Riddler?

May I take a moment to say I am so over Johnny Depp and his fan club. Lord, I'm tired of people thinking he's the perfect end-all solution to any character with odd personality traits. At the midnight showing of Alice in Wonderland the other night, I couldn't believe how many people showed up in white face (which doesn't accurately reflect the look of the film's Mad Hatter at all, by the way) and let out many a cheer anytime he did anything on camera. You can just imagine how the audience went up at his stupid dance in the end of that film. What's that? You have a part for somebody slightly offbeat and possibly culturally iconic? Johnny Depp could do it! Johnny Depp can do anything!!

I, for one, would not be excited to see Johnny Depp play the Riddler. Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin is more wishful thinking, but one I could probably get behind, as I respect the actor. I should note that several people have commented that they can't imagine how the Penguin would fit into this world Nolan has built. Rest assured, most of them only draw upon the Danny Devito... experience. Sourced from the current comic trend, Penguin is much less a bird-loving freak and now a posh nightclub owner who moves and shakes the underworld of Gotham, supplying information (and much more) while keeping his own hands clean. Easily inducted.

No, we don't have any idea who the characters would be in this potential film, but I found these and had to post these as it seems the Riddler is a favorite. Never mind that they eschew the Dark Knight style and tone for something notably more Schumacher-esque, I'll still give whoever made these cheesy posters props for their casting selections. Enjoy, and salivate over the possibility of more Batman.

Neil Patrick Harris would make for quite a villain. I mean it's not like he doesn't have experience. But the next is my favorite. I couldn't resist him as the Doctor, and could anyone better play Edward Nigma? No. The answer is no. Although I should hope the costume designer wouldn't put him in THAT outfit.

02 March 2010

Reasons I'm Not an Astronaut

Today's thoughts:

I was considering random fears this morning, for no apparent reason. Most fears are born out of something. Perhaps they're constructed ideas from media, or maybe past childhood traumas, but regardless, our psyche glances at our world around us and creates personal scenarios that become frightening to us.

And sometimes that process creates completely irrational things to be afraid of. I suspect we all have a few ridiculous fears. I'm not talking the slightly legitimate things like a fear of spiders, which theoretically could really bite you and cause some trauma. Or snakes. I've both been bitten by spiders and on occasion encountered snakes, so I don't consider those completely irrational. No, I'm talking about things which are either impossible, or extremely unlikely.

Here are a few I've developed over the years.

1. Floating into space.

The idea of being in space, floating away from the ship, let's say to do routine maintenance on a solar panel, and having my tether be cut... makes my chest constrict just thinking about it. I mean, let's be honest, how likely is it that I'll ever be in space and have my tether cut? But the very thought of floating helplessly away, knowing I'll run out of oxygen or freeze to death eventually, but being so helpless is kinda horrifying to me. On the other hand, you would have quite a view before you eventually died. I suppose there are worse ways to go.

2. Being crushed in a submarine.

If the fear of floating away into complete openness is freaky, then so is the opposite: being immersed in crushing blue-black water at the bottom of the ocean is another fear that plagues me. Which is unfortunate, given my interest in shipwrecks. There's something about the color of the water at that depth, where even light can't filter through, and you know you're surrounded on all sides by so much pressure you'd be dead in an instant if anything goes wrong... yeah, that's just no good.

3. Driving beneath a collapsing overpass.

This one is a possibility, but the chances of me finding myself under an overpass at the moment an earthquake hits or shoddy workmanship gives way to a collapse, is extraordinarily minute. And yet, I can't help but think about it every time I drive under one, and for a moment, hold my breath, just in case tons upon tons of cement are about to rain down on my head.

Don't look at me like I'm crazy. Like you don't have your own ridiculous fears. And frankly, I encourage you to expound on yours, now that you know mine.