July 28, 2007


I just watched the film Sunshine. To call this a "must-see movie" is an understatement.

The idea is that Sol, our home star, is slowly dying. Earth is trapped in a perpetual winter which will only get worse, eventually dooming mankind. The space ship Icarus was sent to reignite the sun, but was lost. Now, seven years later, "the last, best hope" Icarus II is trying to complete that mission. Just after passing the point of blackout, where communication with Earth is no longer possible, they pick up the distress beacon from Icarus I.

A science-fiction movie in the vein of 2001 A Space Odyssey and Alien, the movie is riveting on multiple levels: great special effects, interesting characters (with one exception, they are all shades of gray, not black & white), and a great story to tie it all together. Tension mounts as the film works then rushed towards climax.

The real impressive thing about this film is the sun itself, which is represented in this film as the ultimate force of nature. There is more than one scene where, when something is exposed to the full might of Sol, fiery destruction or outright vaporization is the result.

There is also an odd form of sun worship that develops in at least one character; by greater and purer exposure to the full fury of the sun, they achieve the feeling of become one with the light. But this is presented in a way that is believable for astronauts on a long, lonely space voyage with only one large, ever-dominating star as a companion.

Anyone who's an amateur astronomer (I fit this bill) should definitely see this movie. Digital graphics are now to the point where realistic views of a star's surface are possible. This, as well as the planet Mercury, provided me with great treats.

July 16, 2007


http://www.feedthehead.net/ is one of the most bizarre web sites I've ever seen.

July 10, 2007

Philadelphia Mayor John Street Apparently Has All The Time In The World

On June 29th, Philadelphia mayor John Street camped out for over 7 hours in the morning, then returned to the line later that day (a member of his security detail held his place), just so he could be the 6th person to buy an iPhone.

With the Philadelphia murder rate what it is, that alone indicates that his attentions should be elsewhere. He is the mayor, waiting on line is a job for interns, perhaps even aides. But the mayor standing on line for a new toy, it sends the wrong message. He is the human symbol of Philadelphia, he represents local government.

July 08, 2007

Michael Bay Is A Fucking Genius

I just saw Transformers. What a surprise! The film was actually pretty well done; not just an effects-driven extravaganza, it actually had more than enough story to hold it all together.

Don't get me wrong, there were one or two plot holes and at least one bit that dragged. But the holes weren't so glaring bad that you could drive Optimus Prime through.

(Incidentally, there's a teaser trailer for an unnamed movie by J. J. Abrams [Lost and Alias]. Here's a news report and what little IMDB has.)

July 07, 2007


Gamblers are going nuts today, as the casinos happily oblige with 7-themed events. An assload of people are getting married today.

All because of the belief in lucky number seven.

It's amazing what the vast majority of people will do over a number.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

I can remember, as a teenager trying to amass a collection of good fantasy and science fiction, stumbling upon old copies of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser paperbacks in my favorite trading book store.

I always liked these stories by Fritz Leiber. Fafhrd, a barbarian similar in some ways to Conan with a little less Arnold; Gray Mouser, a swave thief who can best be compared with a sober Jack Sparrow. The two have numerous adventures scamming, outwitting and outfighting various evil wizards and corrupt thieve's guilds.

Today I stumbled upon a trade paperback, collecting the stories illustrated over 10 years ago by Dark Horse Comics. Woo-hoo!

July 05, 2007

The Onion Radio News

The Onion, a weekly satirical newspaper, now posts daily radio news clips. There are a lot of funny ones, in my opinion these are the best:

Miss Teen USA Seizes Crown, Declares Self Miss Teen USA for Life
Dolph Lundgren Wins Long, Courageous Battle With Fame
Nerds Take Over Military Base With Computers, Other Nerd Shit
Pope Unveils New Christ Hammer
Single Errand Proves Too Overwhelming For Man On Day Off
Slightly Upset Woman Declared Insane
Aging God Fitted For Omni-Focals
Viking God Odin Down To Last 4 Worshippers
Afghanistan Handed Over To Robots
Woman With Amazing Rack Told She Has Beautiful Eyes
U.S. Gives Up Trying To Impress England
White House Hints At Surprise Twist Ending To Bush Presidency
Chinese Stuff Live Panda Into Time Capsule
Ashcroft Rejected By Newly Created Bride Of Ashcroft
The Onion News For Kids
President Bush Invokes Executive Super Powers
New Crispy Snack Cracker To Ease The Pain Of Modern Life
Vanquished Foe's Skull Makes Surprisingly Bad Wine Goblet
German Luftwaffle Chain Offers Waffles, Overwhelming Air Superiority
Vatican Gives Popular Jesus Character A Whole New Look
Freakish Newborn Is Half-Chinese, Half-American

July 01, 2007

FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer


This film's OK, the beginning and middle are both great but somehow the end falls flat.

But the big problem with this film, Galactus is a fucking cloud! Forget the gigantic Aztec-looking armored figure who's just about impervious to attack (so much so that he fails to notice or simply chooses not to react). In this film he's an unintelligent cloud of debris. Not very cool.