Monthly Archives: September 2003

Cthulhu Mansion

I just watched Cthulhu Mansion, which falls nicely into the category of ‘good bad movie’. The biggest dissappointment I had was that the entire movie had absolutely nothing to do with Cthulhu. Sure, the story was vaguely Lovecraftish, in a generic sort of way, but I’m dissappointed nonetheless. This movie was based on the Lovecraft mythos in the same way that the PC game Alone in the Dark was- barely. They didn’t even call the book the ‘Necronomicon’ for cripe’s sake, the cover (of the stapled paper pamphlet) was adorned with the simple title ‘CTHULHU’. Sounds catchy, right?

The movie opens to the backdrop of a Halloween Sounds CD playing as the opening credits roll, which gives you a remarkably good taste of things to come. The general plot is that a gang of murderous, lecherous druggies harrass a carnival magician (who has predictably dabbled in powers beyond his control in the typical Lovecraft manner), his lovely assistant daughter, and their mute houseboy. The house is your typical creepy mansion, complete with your typical ‘forbidden door that must not, under any circumstances whatsoever, ever, ever be opened, under penalty of really bad nasty things possibly including the end of the world’. Of course, whenever a door like that is featured, it’s a given that it will be opened as quickly as possible, whether it makes sense to open it or not. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have bothered writing it in at all now, would they?

As can be expected, hilarity ensues. Unfortunately, no elder gods make any appearances. The ‘horror’ is simply a mesh of generic ‘scary stuff’.

Other than that, the movie had ok effects (when you couldn’t see the strings), mediocre-bad acting (on average), and a ton of camp (but that’s what I was looking for). The biggest surprise was seeing that one of the main characters was played by William Shatner‘s daughter, Melanie. Amazingly, her acting was some of the best in the movie, and she looks just like Winona Ryder. So much so, in fact, that she could probably take over Winona‘s acting roles if she has any more, er…. police troubles in the near future.

Anyway, if you are looking for a good bad movie, this might be right up your alley. If you are looking for Lovecraft on the other hand, read a book!

Blockbuster sucks more than before

Tonight I had a few friends over, and we wanted to watch a movie. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. What follows is a tale of murder and deception…. well, maybe not the murder… or the deception, really. It was really just a tale of supreme incompetence.

First off, we couldn’t decide what to watch. I asked for suggestions in the #RUSLUG IRC channel for “bad or classic sci-fi,” something along the lines of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, or Dr. Strangelove. After receiving a few good suggestions (but not quite what I was looking for) and a few bad (Lost in Space?!?) we decided to venture forth into the unknown and see what we could find.

Mistake #1: We went to Blockbuster. If you read my blog with any regularity, you are probably at least slightly familiar with my long-standing hatred of Blockbuster. Since they don’t have a sci-fi section we wandered the action and horror section until we found about 5 possibilities. Of them, we chose one to watch as a group (Rollerball), and I chose two more to watch on my own (Battlefield Earth and Cthulhu Mansion). We paid, and proceeded on or temporarily merry way….

….Only to arrive home and find that the careless clerk has neglected to remove the security devices from the DVD cases. Curses! Which brings us to…..

Mistake #2: The device looked simple enough to remove, and being the geek that I am (and owning a Leatherman), and being way too lazy to trek back to the store, we I decided to try and remove it myself.

Well, it was quite an adventure to say the least. After one hour, and the use of:

  • leatherman, pocket: 1
  • screwdriver, flat head: 1
  • needle-nose pliars: one set
  • ruler: 1
  • protractor: 1
  • towel, small: 1
  • pencils, sharpened: 2
  • duct tape, sliver: one piece

I finally managed to remove both offending devices.

Of course, there were casualties. Both DVD cases will probably need replacing (they have been slightly mangled, but still close and are otherwise functional, sans security). I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about this, as it was Blockbuster’s fault in the first place, and they probably have this happen all the time (every time an employee screws up). A much more disturbing effect was the damage my leatherman sustained- within the first 30 seconds of trying to defy the security the file broke in half (I was trying to pry up the plastic security, using the file as a lever). Luckily for me, all leatherman products are guaranteed for 25 years. So all I lose is the (approx.) $4.00 for shipping and a little over a week without my favorite accessory. Oh well….

As for Rollerball, which is the only movie I have watched so far, I liked it. It was an interesting dystopia, though their ‘extreme violence’ wasn’t very extreme. That’s probably a result of how the movie has aged (and how it has become closer to reality now than then) more than anything, the whole thing reeks of the 70’s. The best part of the movie was the idea that “The game was created to show the futility of individual effort“- seems highly pertinent to today’s society and the way people are raised/trained.

Canon? Defenestrated!

I just watched the Escaflowne Movie, almost immediately after watching the end of the series.

First off, my take on the the series– great series, typical shitty anime ending. I’m really getting sick of stuff like this (some games come to mind as well as other anime) and being utterly and completely let down by a subpar ending. My final opinion: great until the denouement, but if you watch that you’ll be left thinking what was the point? Bah.

As for the movie, I am pretty disappointed by the complete disregard of established canon. Histories, family ties, alliances, all of these are corrupted into some strange parallel universe version of the story from the series. I suppose if you haven’t seen the series, it is good enough- providing you ignore the character development and growth, both of which are stupid. And WTF is up with Folken’s metamorphasis into the Goblin King? Silly people get a big budget and go and waste it on 80’s fashion and bad story changes. Oh well, no matter- I’ll just pretend the story never happened and enjoy the pretty pictures.

Updates Galore! *falls over*

I’ve been hacking away at stuff for about 15 hours now…… first there was a ton of work on the site redesigns for Zirius (Coming soon! Maybe next week!) and then there was the XHTML conversion/general update process on my own site. You can see the extensive list of stuff I did here today in the updates, if you want.

Yeah, I know I stink because some pages don’t validate, but at least I’m honest and made the W3C banner go away on those pages. Besides, it’s not really my fault with the FFAF pages– silly people using things like &s and IRC colors in quotes (yeah, the &s are easy to fix in PHP- no problem there. It’s the control codes for the colors that makes it a huge pain). And as for the blog pages, well- the only reason they don’t validate is because robots see the PHPSESSID variable and complain. Anyone have any suggestions to fix that?

Oh, and during a brief respite from my own coding endeavors, I went and made Peter’s site XHTML compliant as well. I’m really not as nice as that make me sound though- he has basically no content and my code wasn’t that far off in the first place so it took all of 35 seconds :)

Other than that, I also got a chance to watch Videodrome and a couple of episodes of Escaflowne today.

Escaflowne was great, as always. I’m drawing near the end of the series, and getting ahead of Peter (we’re supposed to be watching it as a group with Mike, who owns it, but Peter keeps falling asleep). No matter, I’m looking forward to watching these eps again in higher quality anyway :)

As for Videodrome…. well, what can I say? It was an interesting movie….. and I think it had a point about people becoming too dependent on TV…… or something. I dunno, it had potential, but I feel like it fell a bit short. It was still enjoyable though., and I’ll probably watch it again after hearing other people’s ideas on it. I really like the imagery, and the ending, and the uncertainty you feel about what is real….. but I’m not really sure what the point was :)

Niftiness

I’ve discovered at least two (possibly more) cool things within the past 24 hours:

1. Swaret – it’s like apt for Slackware! I know, you’re probably saying “But that ruins the point!” but, it really doesn’t. It does optional dependency matching, and optionally prompts you before every step it makes. Hence, you still have full control over what goes on your system. I used it to upgrade from Slack 9.0 to Slack current, and after tidying a few things, everything seems to be working perfectly :D

2. Square is releasing a theatrical sequel to FFVII and two new Kingdom Hearts games!

Final Fantasy Advent Children

/me effervesces

Wow, lobbying works, sorta

Software patents are soon going to be a reality in Europe.

It’s not as bad as it could be though- only “true inventions” can be patented, not general ideas (like one-click shopping, for instance); Embedded software can’t be patented; There are provisions for ensuring interoperability, which is good for the Open Source people.

So it’s not the best thing in the world, but it is still pretty good. It’s a compromise, afterall, and you can’t please everyone, but these are much better results than I expected anyway (I’m such a pessimist).

My IT Career Horoscope

Horoscopes are entertaining, if a bit pointless :)

Libra September 24 – October 23
Budget cuts and unexpected expenditures (the bane of your existence) require creative solutions. The answer you are seeking will come from an unexpected source, so keep your mind open. Responsibility and ambition are good, but lately you’ve had a tendency to be a bit cold and overly analytical in your approach to work. If you beta test a more friendly operating system of your own, you’ll have better access to decision-makers. Don’t feel one bit guilty about stealing a little “me” time whenever you can. Doing so will help you prepare for the busy professional and personal period to come.

Personal keyword: on-demand computing
Related Reading: Business Process Outsourcing: Two models that work

A bit cold and overly analytical is a pretty big understatement (cynical and hopeless might fit better). And everyone/thing says it will get better, but I really don’t think it ever will. Of course, that is a self-fulfilling prophecy…..

Anyway, this was an interesting way to advertise articles on a website, if nothing else.

Cards!

I discovered something wonderful and new today!

…… the trading card machine at the grocery store. I dripped a few bucks in and got some Garbage Pail Kids cards, and some cards from a Hyborian game I’ve never heard of before.

Anyway, this prompted me to pull out (a) my vintage Garbage Pail Kids collection (several hundred cards), and (b) my baseball card collection (which Chris finds impressive). Now I have more cards, and less room to fit them in :)