Sunday, September 30, 2007

To Boldly Go...

Today I recorded my lines for episode one of Continuing Mission. My lines for episode one are pretty basic, not much emotional range required. So the recording went smoothly.
The interview I recorded shortly after may be a different story. I've never done a recorded interview, so I'm sure I'll come out sounding like a clueless douchebag. But that's fine as long as my acting for the show is solid.
Of course there's no way to tell that until the episode is completed, which is going to take another week or so, I'm told. But it won't be available for download until December, so you'll have to wait.

I'm not sure when the interview will be put on the site, but I'll keep you posted. We can grimace at my awkward responses together.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Inner Child

A while back I posted about a preschool class's musings on growing old.
Now the children in that class have looked within to explore their own feelings.

Again, this comes courtesy of Boing Boing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Movie Night 3

Short list this week:

1. Superthunderstingcar -
This is an hilarious sketch from the Peter Cook/Dudley Moore series Not Only...But Also (wiki) which ran intermittently in the late sixties and early seventies. It is a spoof of Thunderbirds and similar marionette shows that ran at the time (think Team America with live actors). Unfortunately it is no longer on YouTube, but I snagged it before it was removed.

2. Voices of a Distant Star (2002) -
An amazing 30-minute anime short about a young girl text messaging a boy while she battles an alien threat in deep space. Why are cell phones still prevalent during a time when interstellar travel is possible? If you need to ask this question then perhaps this movie isn't for you. The text message device is simply in place to explore the relationship between two people divided by a seemingly infinite distance. As Mikako's mission takes her further and further away from Earth, her messages take days, and then years, to reach Noboru. Never mind that he ages years while mere days pass for her. It's a simple and beautiful story.
Even more impressive is the fact that it was made almost entirely by one man, Makoto Shinkai, on his Macintosh computer.

3. The Saddest Music In The World (2003) -
This is still the only movie by Guy Maddin that I've seen (not including some short films), and it is one of my favorite movies of all time. It looks like an old silent movie, and it feels like watching someone's dream.
It's about a beer baroness during the depression in Canada. Depression, or no, alcohol is always in high demand, which has left the baroness relatively unaffected. She decides to host a publicity stunt in the form of a contest to see which country has the saddest music in the world.
It's also about a broken man trying to mend his shattered family, while attempting to win back the love of his life.
And it's about a man's quest to find the essence of sadness while simultaneously refusing to face his own tragic past.
And it's also absolutely hilarious.
Hell, I love any movie that manages to coherently combine a daydreaming nymphomaniac who receives messages from her tapeworm, beer-filled prosthetic legs, and a man who keeps the heart of his son preserved in a bottle of his own tears.
As the main character testifies early on, "Sadness is just happiness turned on its ass!"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To Boldly Go...

I recommend you take a gander at the project going on at this site.

Furthermore, I recommend you take a gander at the cast of said project.

End communication.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Carved Up A Good Book Lately?

These sculptures are amazing.

The idea is so simple I can't believe it hasn't been done before.

Shiver Me Timbers!

Avast, me hearties! Unless yer brain be addled, ye know what day this is. Of course, it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day! So unless ye want t'other Jack Tars thinkin' yer a bilge-sucking blaggard, ye best be makin' with yer best "Yo-ho's" and "Yaargh's", or ol' Jack Ketch will have ye smartly dancin' the hempen jig. Savvy?

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Do You Like Your Steak?

Just received notice that Peelander-Z will be performing tomorrow night at the Pilot Light. Fortunately, I'm off work so I will be going.
The last performance, as you may remember, was a terribly awesome camera-shattering event on my birthday.

Movie Night 2

Our second movie night more than doubled in attendance. Woo!
Unfortunately practically everyone left before the second movie.
Anyhoo, here's the rundown for those of you playing the home game:

1. Operation Kitten Calendar -
I started off this week by showing all five episodes of this daring reality show. You can view them here.

2. Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006 -
Up next was this delightful short animation by Paul Robertson, done in the style of an old school, side-scrawling, action arcade game (think Metal Slug). You can download the high quality version here. Or just watch it below:

3. V For Vendetta (2005) -
I think this is an excellent action film. We showed this by request for the two people left in the world who hadn't seen it yet. Hugo Weaving's performance as V is really impressive considering he wears a mask through the entire movie. And he manages to get through all the lines without invoking his Agent Smith "Mister Anderson" drawl (which he unfortunately does not avoid in the LOTR trilogy). Also, Natalie Portman is effing gorgeous, even with a shaved head. But most of all, I think I just love the fact that a movie came out post-9/11 that glorifies terrorism, and it was actually successful.

4. Junebug (2005) -
This was one of my favorite indie films in 2005. The performances are all excellent but Scott Wilson and Amy Adams are my favorites in this one. If you never saw the movie you probably did see all of the Oscar hype surrounding Adams for her peformance. She lost to Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener, so I can't really get too upset.
This movie does a great job of revealing the characters' inner worlds without a lot of talking. You find out a lot about them in the quiet points between dialog.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Check Me Out - I'm Evil!

An old piece I wrote for McSweeney's (they rejected it) is now up on The ISS. After some helpful criticism from Trevor the piece is much better than it was originally. Check it out. My supervillain name is, of course, Laser Sharkbear. The graphic they put together is also excellent.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 Anniversary

Today is the day we all doff our hats and solemnly remember the anniversary of a world-changing event. Of course, I'm talking about the 710th anniversary of the day brave William Wallace led his fellow Scotsmen to victory over the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Seriously though, it probably wouldn't have even occurred to me what day this is if I hadn't read this beautiful piece by John Hodgman, over at McSweeney's.

I've been thinking about our country immediately following the event, contrasted with where we are now. Regardless of how you felt about the everyone-must-have-flags-at-all-times sentimentality of that time, there was something to be said about the general feeling of brotherhood. For all his talk of being a uniter, not a divider, has ever an American president gotten such a free pass as this? I really do remember feeling a sense of unity with everyone around me, though that could be attributed to healthy doses of shock and naiveté.
But George W. Bush had the country united, his approval rating skyrocketed, and he never had to lift a finger. He could have coasted on that for quite a while. But instead he decided it would be the perfect time to abuse our trust.

Now look at us. We're stuck in a war that has no easy out, and which Bush himself has now compared to Vietnam. That in itself should be reason enough to get the hell out, except Bush thinks the problem with Vietnam was that we didn't stick with it long enough. The country is more divided than ever, and the current administration's ongoing campaign to subvert the Constitution and strip us of our fundamental liberties steamrolls ahead.

Where is the outrage from the right? You should be furious at this president. Since when did a government that wantonly spies on its own people represent the Conservative ideal? Time and again they prove themselves to be liars on almost every level. When is the last time an administration was so rife with scandals and moral shortcomings? This is the party of values? I don't think you could possibly set the bar any lower.

Monday, September 10, 2007

More Hawking Goodness

So, Stephen Hawking is a good match for children's toys. But how about children's literature?
I was very excited to discover that Hawking has written a sci-fi trilogy for kids. As he says, it's like Harry Potter, but with science taking the place of magic. We'll have to wait and see if certain people from the religious right find that more, or less, threatening to America's youth.
I, for one, can't wait to read the series.

Here's the book description from Amazon:
Stephen Hawking, author of the multi-million copy bestselling A Brief History of Time, and his daughter Lucy explain the universe to readers of all ages. George's parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos, their super-computer, he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time, and the universe. With Cosmos's help, he can travel to other planets and a black hole. But what would happen if the wrong people got their hands on Cosmos? George, Annie, and Eric aren't about to find out, and what ensues is a funny adventure that clearly explains the mysteries of science. Garry Parsons' energetic illustrations add humor and interest, and his scientific drawings add clarity; there are also eight 4-page full-color inserts of scientific photos.

Movie Night 1

Sunday night is now Movie Night at my place. But don't fret. Even if you don't live in Knoxville I'll post the movie list so you can follow along at home.

Here was the first night's lineup:

1. Death Of A Hen -
Animated short from Wholphin Vol. 1, directed by Brian Dewan. It's a humorous parody of those film strips you used to watch in high school, complete with audible boops that signal when the slide needs to be turned. A tragic story of the death of a hen, and everybody she ever knew.

2. 3-Iron (2004) -
Korean dramedy from director, Kim Ki-duk. This movie left a huge impression on me when I saw it in the theater. It's a beautiful story told almost entirely without dialog. The main character doesn't speak a single word throughout the movie, but the performance is very deep. It's about a young man who breaks into people's homes while they're away. He stays briefly, doing their laundry and fixing broken appliances. During one of his break-ins he meets a young woman who is trapped in an unhappy marriage. She leaves with him to live his vagabond lifestyle.
The third act of the movie is very different, involving the man's arrest and eventual escape from prison. This is followed by one of the most unique and satisfying endings I have ever seen in a film. I highly recommend this one. And if you enjoy it, check out Kim Ki-duk's other amazing film, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring.
Rated R: Some sexual content.

3. Wet Hot American Summer (2001) -
Hilarious comedy directed by David Wain of The State. If you are a fan of The State, or more recently Stella, then you've probably already seen this movie. If not, see it immediately. It's a surreal, yet spot-on parody of all those summer camp movies from the late seventies and early eighties. It also features Paul Rudd in one of his funniest performances ever.
Rated R: Strong sexual content, language, and a drug sequence.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

He's My Brother, My Sister, My Brother...

...He's my sister and my brother.

So, Larry Wachowski (as in the Wachowski Bros., as in "The Matrix") has reportedly gotten a sex change operation, and now goes by "Lana". I heard about it first by way of Boing Boing, but I wasn't sure about the reputability of the website they linked to. So I did a little extra surfing, and damn if it doesn't look like this may be true.
But I guess it's just a rumor until they officially announce something.

Here's "Lana" on the left: