Dream from 6/8/2010

Dream from the night of Wednesday June 8th 2010

It's modern day, as far as it seems, on Earth. I'm in with a large group of people, at least 20, possibly more. We all look mildly ragged, with somewhat banged up clothes, and traces of dirt. Even so, we also seem to be well stocked with resources.

The group of us seem to be abandoned, though it's not apparent where. It's like a rundown city combined with a jungle or forest. It's apparent something bad has happened, but no telling what. We all travel from building to building picking up "survivors," while also "testing" them.

Everyone is becoming infected with something. In some instances it's referenced as a virus. In other instances it's referenced as an alien (like chestburster). The tests are inaccurate, but the infection is always fatal. People are dying constantly, and have to be disposed of.

I seem to be some sort of leader type to the group. I keep people focused, try to treat the infected, and generally manage everything from supplies to looking for survivors. Others seem genuinely better at being a leader, but still they look to me.

I'm a doctor or researcher or something like that. It's never made clear, but I definitely have experience with infections, and seem to be desperately trying to cure that which is slowly wiping us out. Every death I'm shown to take in a deeply personal way, as though with each death I'm failing everyone. With each passing scene I look more exhausted and stressed. Each death makes it worse.

Meanwhile, I'm repeatedly shown testing myself for the infection. Sometimes I test positive, other times negative, other times inconclusive. These inconsistent results are causing me to be moody, even privately violent (crying hysterically, throwing something) I conceal these results and behaviors from everyone else, for fear that they'll stop listening to me, or give up on me.

Even so, people are starting to pick up that something is going on with me, but they'd rather keep me than lose a leader. Still, people keep dying, hopes keep falling, and i keep working in broken down labs, hoping to find the solutions. Either we/I find the answers, or we all die.

Very interesting dream.

(Yes, I haven't posted in months.)
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Who do I look like?

So, I tried that My Heritage thing on two photos. A lot of unusual matches came up, but the one I thought was closest was Alexis Denisof. I actually really like this a lot, mainly cuz I think he was a tremendous bad ass on Angel, and overall I just find him a decent actor. The likeness isn't bad either...

Sorry for the awesomely small pictures....


Kitty Dispenser

A conversation with myself.

(Man, it's been forever!)
Yeah, it's been a while huh?
(I mean, like forever forever!)
I know I know, ya miss me. I've been busy, I'm sorry.
(What's been going on?!)
Well, let's see, I recently got hired on full time at work...
(That's wonderful!)
Yeah, it's pretty awesome, I love working in San Rafael.
(San Rafael? Where are you working at?)
I'm an assistant at Red Hill Studios, but the company is really small, so I'm involved in a lot.
(That's great!)
It's friggin awesome! I also moved last weekend...
(Oh my god, really?)
Really! I finally wound up in Berkeley, just like I've always wanted.
(That's sweet!)
Yes, yes it is. My commute is so awesome now. I'm also closer to everyone. Lee, John, and a bunch of others.
(How's Lee doing by the way?)
Lee and I are doing great. We're not living together - I know that's your next question.
(It was...)
I want to live on my own for a while, without a parent or significant other. We'll live together eventually, but are in no rush.
(That makes sense.)
We have a lot of fun though, and I'm much closer to him now, though purely by luck. So now that's easier too.
(My goodness, you have been busy!)
Yeah, and I'll probably get busier still. My new location means I can be more sociable, and it'll be easier to do so too.
(That'll be nice)
You have no idea. Well, it's been great catching up with you. I hope you're doing well, and I'll talk to you later.
(Okay, see you later)
That you will
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Coming to Terms with Orson Scott Card

That's quite a title huh?

Orson Scott Card, in case you don't know, is a world famous sci-fi writer, who wrote the astoundingly popular Ender's Game series, and has essentially been involved in most forms of science fiction for over 25 years. He's arguably one of my most favorite writers, and Ender's Game is one of my all-time favorite book series.

Anywho.... I learned something today that is not only more then a bit upsetting, but has also put me in a bit of an ethical bind. I learned that Orson Scott Card is not only ragingly homophobic, but also Mormon, AND as if it can't get better, is also a chairperson on a committee against gay marriage.

This is a lot to process.....

How does one reasonably, or even effectively respond, when they find out that someone they admire and look up to essentially hates them for even existing? How may I to process such information? Can I in good conscience buy books, or media in general, from a man like that? Furthermore, how am I able to admire someone like that? I CAN compartmentalize things, separating out his work, his books, etc away from his ideals and beliefs. It'd be easy in fact. Still, would it be okay? Would I basically be backhanding myself every time I buy one of his books? Would I be hypocritical, even delusional, to say that me buying his books doesn't in some way support his beliefs?

This is all rather troubling. It pains me right now to look at the 5 books I have by him. It pains me to feel like one of my most cherished hobbies has been directly tainted. Perhaps I'm simply being dramatic. Nonetheless, I'm just not sure how to take this all in.


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Master Chief

Amish Ginger Cookies

SO, today I made a batch of Ginger Cookies (healthy-ized) from a Mennonite Amish recipe. They turned out INCREDIBLE! Look at how pretty they are!

And, like always, they're pretty darn healthy too. What's really nice is they turned out FAR better then I had expected. The last time i attempted to make Ginger Cookies, they turned out more like muffin tops. Yummy, but not cookies. These though were perfect.

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Michael Bay's Transformers...

... Was an undeniably bad movie, but nonetheless a lot of fun.

Now, let it be said that I'm not quite sure what people were hoping for with this movie. Let's make something very clear: The Transformers movies are based on an 80's cartoon series, based on a 30 second commercial for a transforming robotic toy, based on a series of toys call Diaclone, which was a sub-series of Micronauts. My how far we've come! Transformers are not high-brow literature, they are meant to entertain. So please critics and naysayers, stop and think about what you want from a movie whose origins are a commercial.

So who are the Transformers? Well, they're a race of sentient transforming robots locked in a civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Along the way they wind up on Earth and all hell breaks loose. In this sequel to the wildly successful 1st movie, we find the autobots in a race to naturally save the human race, just like the 80's cartoon did every episode.

Indeed, the movie's 80's roots show like a bad dye job. The writing is far from spectacular, with most of the characters spouting out constant streams of archetypal dribble the coincides with the caricatures they represent. Every character is quite simple, with all the depth and gravitas of a teaspoon. Granted, for what it is, it does it well, and it is a lot of fun. All the characters are expanded stereotypes, be it the sacrificial leader, the black hip-hop, the Nazi scientist, etc etc. Some have expressed offense at this, to which I say: get over it!

Much like the 80's toon, the movie is chock full of inconsistencies, and plot holes so big Optimus Prime could walk through them. It's best not to really dwell on them, and instead just accept them when they come, or ask a nearby fanboy to clunkily explain the holes away. I will say the story in this movie is far more episodic feeling then the first, with fairly typical "Villain of the Day" motifs, and allowing for an easy ride into a sequel. The episodic nature really starts to show glaringly near the climax, with a 40 minute climax that goes on for far too long. Once more, this is just another example of 80's in action.

Now, if there's one thing Transformers does exceptionally well is being gob-smackingly gorgeous, big, loud, and dynamite action packed. Not only do the transformers look absolutely stunning (and far more watery this time) they're just a marvel to see in action. They really are digital actors, and they perform beautifully. Also, as per the Michael Bay check list, there's very few boring moments to be had in Transformers. Everything in the Michael Bay world seems to be made of Explodium, and will erupt into a glorious fire ball if anyone so much as coughs. Furthermore, there's so much gunfire, missiles, and ordnance zooming about that the soundtrack is basically an orgy of orchestral music overlaid with the gigantic sounds of war.

There's not much that can be said about the human actors and actresses. They blissfully waltz through their parts, almost smirkingly aware that this movie isn't meant to be an Oscar performance. This does somewhat take away from even the most earnest attempts at serious scenes, but in the end I didn't find it that detrimental to the movie. Some of the characters are admittedly terribly annoying, including Sam's parents, and his college roommate. Thankfully they aren't around that much. Really, the humans are kind of forgettable, as they should be in a movie about giant war machine robots.

All-in-all Transformers does nothing exceptional or even that well, except for it's special effects, and seems perfectly content in that knowledge. Even for all it scattered mess of problems it does set out to entertain both casual viewers and fanboys alike, and in that case it succeeds. Don't go in expecting much, and you'll enjoy it
Master Chief

The Proposal...

.... Was an extremely adorable, if somewhat cliché romantic comedy.

I'll admit that I went into The Proposal already predisposed to love it. I think Sandra Bullock is awesome, Ryan Reynolds is hot, and god sake it has Betty White! Even so, the movie didn't disappoint me.

The base story is somewhat unconventional so I won't go into it, other then to say what should already know: Ryan Reynolds plays an assistant to Sandra Bullock's Hard-boiled executive, and have wound up quirkily engaged to be married. Now they must visit Ryan Reynolds eccentric family to inform them of the engagement. Naturally hilarity, drama, and self-actualization eventually occurs. As stated before, outside of the slightly unconventional beginning, the rest of the movie is romantic comedy paint-by-numbers, but due to a solid cast, and clever writing, it manages to stay beautifully within the lines.

The cast in The Proposal really helps elevate the movie above the typical dreck, and that's largely due to the chemistry of everyone involved. The like/loathe tension between Bullock and Reynolds is both believable and a lot of fun. They poke, quip, and smirk at each other in wonderful ways throughout the movie, and it never grows tiresome. They also grow in enjoyable, even a little surprising ways that one doesn’t always see within the genre. This in of itself is a miracle. Then there's Betty White who is crass, forward, and positively the most lovable old lady anyone could ever hope for. She’s definitively the major scene stealer, and she’s in many many scenes. In fact, no character is really dislikeable, if only because most of them are fairly typical. We have the concerned yet loving parents, the oafish friend, the old flame, etc etc. Thankfully none of them really overstay their welcome, and only stick around long enough to propel the story. This really helps keep the plot relatively tight, focused, and moving along in the general direction it needs to go.

And what a well written tale it turned out to be. It hits all the standard beats, highs and lows that a viewer has come to expect from the genre. It’s all quite insubstantial, but what there is has been polished into a shiny pearl of a product. Oh sure it's boiling in clichés but at least they're well executed clichés, right? Granted, it’s all very cleverly handled, but nonetheless the entire script IS rife with cliché. There are a few adorable surprises (almost all involving either Betty White or Sandra Bullock) but all-in-all the movie is fairly predictable. This romantic comedy also suffers from the same problem that most sitcoms, comedies, and buddy films suffer from: Surreal timing. You know that feeling while watching a comedy, that feeling of “Man, I wish life could actually be that well timed, witty, and perfectly executed.” Yup, The Proposal has that feeling too. Real life will never be capable of the expertly scripted one-liners of the comedic universe. I suppose that’s okay though, cuz that is sort of the whole point of comedies.

Overall, as I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed The Proposal. It’s a great movie for just about anything, be it a date movie (cuz it is romantic), a day out with friends (cuz it’s fun), even a day out with the guys (cuz it’s not overly sappy). It’s not the most memorable movie ever, and it certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but it does it well, and I highly recommend it to everyone.


I'm telling you, this movie just screams of the highest production values, writing, and overall concept.

I for one look forward to this..... masterpiece......
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What are your verbal tics?

I'm curious what people's verbal tics are. That's to say, anything you frequently say, or even type when talking to someone. Be a bit introspective, and try to think of the things that commonly crop up when you talk.

The ones I could come up with are as follows:

good sir - (typically after a greeting)
These things happen. - (In response to pretty much anything)
Okay, let’s see what we got. - (When searching for, researching, or checking something)
Faith and Begorrah! - (Sarcastic/cynical feign of surprise)
Oh Christ. - (Another cynical reaction)
Gal - (cuz I dislike girl)
…and yeah. - (A common way I trail off my sentences)
Basically/essentially/typically - (buffers / softeners, especially when typing)
Well that's no good. - (Response to bad news. Somewhat cynical)

So, how bout you good sir? What're your tics?
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The Hangover...

... Was actually far far better then I expected it to be!

Seriously! When I first saw trailers for this movie, I was unimpressed, but after numerous glowing reviews I decided to give it a chance. Boy was I glad I did. It’s a fun, humor packed, delightfully vulgar piece of summer. Now, you may notice that this review will be somewhat vague throughout. The reason is simple: this movie is best viewed with as many surprises as possible, and I'm hoping to preserve that.

At it's core The Hangover is a buddy-adventure film. The basic plot is actually very simple. 3 friends decide to celebrate their best friend getting married by throwing him a bachelor party in Las Vegas. Hilarity then ensues. This is by no means a new film concept, but in this case it's executed extremely well, and there are two important reasons why.

If there's one thing that makes or breaks a buddy flick, it's pacing and timing. The audience will quickly lose interest if the dialogue is poorly written, unnatural, or the pacing is too erratic. The Hangover is astonishingly well written, and almost perfectly well paced. While the movie does sprint along at a decidedly manic place, it never loses sight of it's main story. What is so surprising about this is that the movie feels incredibly well focused even when it's jumping through side stories, and changing narratives. The dialogue is also an endless treat. A nearly bottomless supply of quirky one liners, snappy exchanges, and humorous plays overall.

Of course this all wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the incomparable chemistry between our three heroic buddies. Each of the 3 sorta represents basic story archetypes (the fool, the straight shooter, the charmer) and even with such simple beginnings, the actors manage to spice up their characters in fun and nuanced ways. All 3 have specific gestures, speech patterns, etc that add an extra level of depth to an otherwise simple buddy story. They aren't the only ones who deserve praise, as the plentiful side characters are colorful, and smirkingly delightful. Also be ready for a few surprise cameos that add to the overall fun. Even better, the side characters cycle practically on a revolving door, thereby never outstaying their welcome. All in all, everyone will find a character that they'll really like. (I for one liked the teacher)

I really do heartily recommend this movie. It's fun, snappy, and will probably hold up to multiple viewing.

Now, go run out and see The Hangover.

Due Note: This is a rated R movie, and is really not appropriate for the kids. Most of it will go right over their heads anyway.