My new blog
It is well known that for every measurable human trait, there exists a bell curve. This bell curve is precisely what creates the average. The vast majority of the human population lies in the "average" measurement, and for every person that deviates from the average, there is one other person whose deviation is equal, and opposite, and averages out the first. The standard method of classifying and measuring traits uses percentiles, measured between 1 and 100. The 50th percentile represents the average. So for every individual in the 40th percentile, there is another individual in the 60th percentile. On a more extreme end, for every individual in the 2nd percentile, there is another individual in the 98th percentile.|
This pattern can be observed in several human traits. In intelligence, for example, there are those whose IQs are below average, even developmentally disabled. There are a roughly equal number of people with IQs above the average, even extremely above average, those we call geniuses.
Similarly, and on the more physical side of things, is weight, or more accurately, body fat percentage. Some people are simply born with a higher fat percentage, what we call the "fat gene". On the other end of the scale, some people are born with a lower fat percentage.
If such bell curves are known to exist for both mental and physical traits such as these, why not others? It has been shown that some people can be naturally "forgetful". Their brains simply do not retain and recall information as well, or as efficiently, as others. For whatever reason, that part of their brain is simply underdeveloped. Yet despite this, many scientists are reluctant to concede that true "Perfect Recall"--the ability of the brain to remember everything, and in perfect detail--exists naturally. They say that those who claim to possess Perfect Recall simply use memory techniques, or train their brains. Yet if natural forgetfulness can exist, if a person's brain can be underdeveloped in such a way as to hinder memory retention and recall, why can't the opposite exist? Why isn't it possible for a person's brain to be overdeveloped, in such a way as to allow greater retention and recall?
On the physical side, a rare condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, colloquially known as "Brittle Bone Disease", is known to exist. True to its colloquial name, it is a condition which inhibits the proper growth of bones, making them more likely to break. If such a condition exists, why couldn't there be a similar "condition" with the opposite effect, causing one's bones to be LESS likely to break?
Similarly, some children are known to be born sickly, and immuno-compromised. Their immune systems don't work as well as they should. It stands to reason, therefore, that there should also be children born with a stronger immune system than normal. It makes no sense that there should be individuals on one side of the immunity bell curve, but none on the other side.
It's possible, and, I believe, probable, that there are, in fact, individuals on the other side of the bell curve. It is a near-mathematical-certainty, in fact, that they exist for those traits mentioned above--memory, bone strength, and immunity--and others--muscle mass, sensory input, and reflexes, to name but a few. We do not recognize these qualities as abnormal or extraordinary, mostly because we don't even notice them. Nobody notices if a person doesn't get sick. If a person is in an accident that should injure them, but doesn't, we attribute it to good luck, not good genes. These are the traits that are often depicted in comic books as superhuman powers. They are exaggerated in comic books, of course, and some comic book powers--flight, for example--are not possible for humans, but some certainly are.
Take, for example, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who at the age of four could play, flawlessly, minuets taught to him by his father, and was composing his own pieces at five. Take Leonardo Da Vinci, for another example. Sketches have been found, drawn by Da Vinci, of birds in flight. No photographic technology existed in that day, and therefore no photographic images taken of the birds in flight. And yet, Da Vinci was able to draw their wing beats with astonishing accuracy. It is believed by many historians that Da Vinci possessed what you might call a "high-speed eye"; he could see minute details, even at high speeds.
Those who speak of humanity's arrogance would be shocked when they thought about humanity's low self-esteem. We readily accept and believe that we are imperfect and flawed, even searching out the "down side" to positive traits we possess. Yet we are reluctant to accept, and even refuse to believe, in spite of logic, that we can be, and sometimes are, quite extraordinary. When we don't get sick, despite being surrounded by contagious people, we say we are lucky. When we survive a horrible accident, we say it's a miracle, and we thank God. We fail to consider the possibility that the miracle doesn't come from God, but is, instead, inside ourselves.
|Anybody who knows me knows that I am not one of those kinds of people that immediately pooh-poohs any remake, adaptation, or any decision going in to one. I withhold judgement until seeing the product. But there is one thing that always irritates me.
As you may or may not know (what a completely useless and meaningless phrase), the movie version of the comic book Watchmen is due out next month. I for one am extremely excited. I can't wait. Now, to the gripes.
Anybody who has read the book may remember that one of the chapters ends with a quote from a Bob Dylan song, "Desolation Row". I have said from the very beginning that if I were the director, I would put the song on the soundtrack, and even time it so that the line in question plays right when it would in the book.
I should have been more specific.
Indeed, "Desolation Row" IS going to be on the soundtrack to the movie.
Covered by My Chemical Romance.
Now, God only knows why Zack Snyder didn't want to use the original version. If my memory serves me, that part of the book was set in the right time period that it would make sense, and it's not like Bob Dylan is fucking Led Zeppelin or something...he's always cool with people using his songs. And it's not like it's a bad song. It's an awesome song. It's fucking BOB DYLAN!! The only thing I can figure is that he didn't think the original would play with "young people today". Fuck that. I feel confident in saying that readers of the comic would prefer the original, and anybody who is watching the movie that have never read the comic...well, they can just deal with it, and learn to love Dylan.
I don't understand this trend of putting covers of great songs on films, especially adaptations and remakes. Why, because it's a new version of the movie, you need a new version of the song? I don't get it. What's wrong with the original?
But if Zack Snyder...for whatever reason...didn't want to use the original version of the song...why My Chemical Romance? I'm not judging My Chemical Romance. I watched the video for their Desolation Row cover, and so far that makes a grand total of...one My Chemical Romance song I've ever heard. They may be good. I don't know. It's irrelevant, because getting them to cover Bob Dylan is like getting KISS to cover Bobby Darin. It's just all wrong. From what I could see of their style, My Chemical Romance could make a serviceable cover of, say, The Ramones. But the great thing about Bob Dylan is his lyrics. They are, literally, poetry. You must be able to appreciate the lyrics. That is, after all, the entire reason Alan Moore included the line in the book. When I watched the video for MCR's cover, the music was this loud, pounding, driving music, which wasn't terrible, but it wasn't Bob Dylan's music...and the real tragedy of it is that the music completely drowned out the lyrics. I couldn't hear a single goddamn lyric. You can't hear Dylan's lyrics, and the music sure as hell doesn't sound like Dylan's, so...it's not even the same song. If you absolutely must get someone young and "hip" to cover Dylan's song, at least get someone who fits his style.
Also, let us not forget, Dude, let us NOT forget...MCR is popular with teenagers. That is to say, people who are TOO FUCKING YOUNG TO SEE R-RATED MOVIES.
I'm not saying that it ruins the movie for me. I'm still going to see the movie, and I'm still withholding judgement until seeing the movie. After all, who knows? Maybe the real song is in the movie, and the cover is just over the credits. But what I WILL say, is that all along, I've said that I wish Terry Gilliam didn't pass on the project. I do think he would have made a better director for it. And he would have included the real fucking song.
|So, my older sister has been pregnant for a while now, and they scheduled a C-section for today (the day after my sister's birthday). And a few hours ago, my first Niece was born. Her name is Avalee Apryl, and weighs 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and is 19 1/2 inches long.
::passes out cigars::
|So, first of all, Cracked said it a whole lot better than I could:
I think the one that bothers me most is #3...a particular branch of which is "feed a child with just a click!"
This is a group I actually found. Now, admittedly, the group just gives a list of links to websites where you can donate with "just a click", but the problem here is that websites like that turn feeding starving children into some kind of laboratory experiment. Presumably there is some person out there, who set up such a website, who has the means to feed millions of starving children. But he will ONLY DO SO IF YOU CLICK A LINK!
You are forced to imagine Batman breaking down his door and exclaiming (or rasping, if you're a Christian Bale fan) "what are you really up to?"
Why the hell can't this guy just SEND THE FUCKING FOOD??
You really have to wonder what these starving children were to think if they saw the website.
"Hey, umm...I get that you're trying to make people aware and everything, but...can't you find a way to raise awareness that DOESN'T serve as a condition on our being fed? I mean, if I had the internet, I'd be clicking those damn links like nobody's business. I mean, you could just brag to the whole world every day about how you feed starving children, and shame them into doing so, too. You'd be a big ol' douchebag, but...well...you kind of are, anyway."
Honestly, the more I think about things like this, the more I imagine them as some strange supervillain plot, like the old chestnut of forcing the hero to choose who he saves. Or like telling two possible mothers of a child that you're going to cut the kid in half and give a half to each of them, tricking them into revealing who the real mother is.
What's that? That wasn't a supervillain? It was a biblical king renowned for his wisdom?
Really reveals something about how we judge wisdom. But I digress.
For every comment that I receive, I will feed a hungry person.
*EDIT FOR ASININITY*
I recently discovered another Facebook group: Light a million candles (anti-child-porn)
Well it's about time somebody finally said "I don't give a damn how unpopular it makes me, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that child porn is bad!"
|I was at work the other day when some kids came through the snack bar (while I was in there, obviously). I say "kids" but I should specify, they were teenagers. One of them, out of nowhere, asked me "do you believe in God?"
I simply responded "hey, I just work here."
I try not to even answer that question unless I have some time. The reason is because I don't think a question like that should have an answer as simple as "yes" or "no"...because I don't see how you can so confidently state whether or not you believe in something you don't understand, and by the very nature of God and Man, we will never, can never, understand God.
We can't even fully understand the CONCEPT of God. The concept of God is that of an entity that is infinitely more advanced than we are. And I mean "infinitely" literally. Think of the concept of seeing everything, knowing everything, and being able to do everything. How can we possibly wrap our brains around that?
Furthermore, the concept of God is that of an entity that created the entire universe. Now, we have only begun having an understanding of our own solar system, but the rest of the universe eludes our understanding. If we can't even understand the creation, how are we to understand the Creator?
So, here's the problem with a simple answer: if you answer "no"...that's astronomically presumptuous. How can you possibly know that? To quote Shakespeare, "there are more things in Heaven and Earth...then are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Similarly, if you answer "yes", you are committing to something that you do not fully understand. And I'm not just talking about faith, believing in something with no tangible proof, I'm talking about believing in something that you cannot even define.
I think the only way I could answer a question like that in a minimum of words would be to quote Socrates:
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
That sands-through-the-hourglass one is good, too, but not very applicable.
|Ah, I feel the familiar, loving breath of Antisociality softly caressing the back of my neck, welcoming me back to Her. She's never sad or angry when I occasionally dabble in a social life, She just waits for me to return to Her warm embrace, knowing that I always will. She is my friend and lover, my sweet, dear Anna Social.
Most of you already know this of me, but I am, by nature, a recluse. A bit of a misanthrope, really. You may recognize the title of this entry. Kind of a theme song of mine, only with less of the emo sentiment of "I'll shut people out so they don't hurt me," and more "I'll shut people out so that I don't hurt them."
And yet, every so often, for periods ranging sometimes up to a couple months, I will tend to be really rather social, interacting with many people. At the end of this bout of madness, I invariably am reminded of why I rarely interact with people.
See, most people are idiots, and/or douchebags. Douchebags, by the way, are arrogant pricks...who are also idiots. So really, most people are idiots, and many of those people are also arrogant pricks.
Now, I have nothing against arrogance inherently. If I did, I would be a hypocrite, because...well...this may come as a shock to you all, but I can be rather arrogant at times, myself. I know, I know, it's hard to believe, as humble as I am. But it's true. But I like to think that I have the intelligence to back up my arrogance. Of course, I WOULD think that, because otherwise...well...it wouldn't be arrogance. However, most people whom I consider intelligent continue to interact with me, so they seem to think I'm intelligent enough to make up for it. But I digress.
Most arrogant people I've met do not have the intelligence to back it up. They are both arrogant and quite stupid. These people frustrate me even more than just ordinary stupid people. I can learn to like having stupid people around me, as long as they are mild-mannered stupid people. They make me look smarter by comparison, and don't get on my nerves too much. But the arrogant stupid people...they can go autofellate.
Of course, really, even people who are both intelligent and mild-mannered irritate me. Pretty much everybody irritates me. You may remember a blog post about this very topic. Pretty much the only personality that I am entirely satisfied with is...my own.
Where I work now, the company has two locations, and for the first little while, we were required to work both locations. We have now, however, gotten permanent locations, one in Hollywood, and the other in Sherman Oaks. Most people were passionately, adamantly against being stationed in Sherman Oaks, because it's a rich neighborhood, and the customers tend to be obnoxious and have a sense of entitlement. And that is true. But the people in Hollywood are no better. They're just annoying in an entirely different way. So when people at work bitch about the people in Sherman Oaks, I always say "well, I don't like anybody, so it doesn't really matter that much to me". This always gets a big laugh. I'm not sure why.
And I was just talking to a girl in IM who said this to me: "You're like me if I didn't like people"
I could only laugh. It was so succinct a way to describe me.
So, what was the point of this blog entry? I'm not sure...maybe I just wanted an excuse to personify Antisociality in a vaguely erotic way. Who knows? All I know is that I probably won't be talking to many people for a while.
Because a rock feels no aggravation, and an island never grits its teeth and rolls its eyes.
|If you heard the title of this blog entry spoken out loud, would you expect anything afterwards to make any logical sense?
If you said yes, congratulations! You may be one of the many people who criticize Burn After Reading.
I hate to be one of those people who say that if you didn't like a movie it means you didn't "get it", but the fact is, in this case, you probably didn't get it.
See, Burn After Reading, like most Coen brothers' comedies, can best be described as a very long joke. And if a person takes the premise of a joke too seriously, too literally, they will likely respond by saying "I don't get it".
In the case of Burn After Reading, however, it's probably best to think about it from the perspective of its genre...or presumed genre. It sets itself up as a satire of a spy thriller, and it is that, but it's more than just that. It's a satire of spy thrillers in the same sense that The Big Lebowski is a satire of film noirs. In most spy thrillers, there is something of great importance that everybody wants their hands on--what Hitchcock called the MacGuffin--and everybody is killing everybody else to get it. But in Burn After Reading, the supposed MacGuffin--a CD containing the memoirs of an ousted CIA analyst--is of no importance whatsoever, and only two people really care about it. It's a spy movie without anything for spies to go after, just like The Big Lebowski is a crime noir without a crime. It's a genre movie without the defining feature of the genre. Essentially, it's like telling a story that has no reason to be told, except because it's funny. And a large part of why it's funny is because there is no reason why any of the events should ever have occurred. So many absurd things happen that are completely unnecessary, and only happened because some people were stupid. The absurdity of the situations are funny simply because they are absurd, but then comes the punchline: it was all arbitrary and unnecessary...that makes all those things even more absurd. Ergo, laughter. Now you laugh at the characters out of pure schadenfreude, "so in the end, you didn't even need to go to all that trouble? You dumb bastard."
It's kind of like one of those things where you get a decoder ring and a secret coded message, and you spend an hour decoding the message, only to find out that it says..."go outside and play".
So that's where the humor lies in Burn After Reading. Of course, if I have to explain why a joke is funny, then you obviously didn't get it, and my explanation won't make any difference. Which means this whole entry was pointless and a waste of my time.
|I hope you don't have Mental Herpes, because I'm about to BLOW YOUR MIND!!
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition:
1) To adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly
2) To divide by or as if by a cutting blow : SPLIT
The word "Cleave" is an antonym of itself.
So, I, sadly, missed out on Waltz is Great Day, so unless he compromises his integrity and makes a sham of the whole thing, I have missed out on any prizes.
But the fact is, Waltz IS great! Sure, his stories make James Ellroy look like Dr. Seuss, but that's all part of his charm. To tell you the truth, in some ways, he's a better person than I am. That says a lot about one of us, but I'm not sure who or what.
Seriously, though. Waltz is a great guy. I'd raise a drink to him, if I weren't afraid he would snatch it out of my hand.
So I like to watch movie trailers online. Apple Trailers is a wonderful place. Admittedly, there haven't been many good ones, but I still love it. I would like to share with you, gentle readers, one such trailer. I wonder if it puts as bad a taste in your mouth as it does mine:
No? Does it help if I tell you that two-thirds of the movie was filmed in, and therefore presumably takes place in, Germany?
Still no? Perhaps if I point out that the movie is about a massive, international conspiracy, involving banks, to either fund terrorism or perhaps take over the world? And even the government is involved in it, so you can't go through normal, legal channels, you just have to go shoot them all?
Perhaps if I express my feeling that I wouldn't be surprised to find out that in this movie, among the other various illegal activities, the heads of the bank are also drinking the blood of blonde children? And that they are in league with Hollywood to spread their agenda?
Starting to get the picture?
I dunno, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but somehow I get the feeling that these banks in the movie take their cue from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I'm a little surprised that Clive Owen's character isn't named Turner.
|No, the title is not a discovery. It is, rather, an assurance.
You see, five or six times now, I've gone to a restaurant with a female or two, and the host(ess) said "Hi, ladies!"
And today, I went to work, changed into my uniform in a men's room stall, and after I exited the stall, another guy in the restroom said "oh, for a second I thought you were a chick"
What the hell?!
So let me ask y'all, does THIS...
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
...look AT ALL like a woman?!
Let me also remind you that I worked today, and that picture was just taken a few moments ago. Half of the time, I'm less clean-shaven than that.
What the hell kind of unfortunate woman do these people think I am?! Do they think I have some sort of hormonal imbalance?
On top of that, at least two of the times, I was wearing a wifebeater...allowing full view of my decidedly non-feminine shoulders and, to top it all off, a patch of chest hair!
I mean, what the hell?!
Can anybody explain this to me? It can't just be the long hair, I've known plenty of guys with long hair...besides which, aside from the long hair, I am quite clearly full of testosterone!
|I wound up in a debate with someone over politics.
They are a libertarian, and are supporting Bob Barr for president.
Now, let me first say that I admire the spirit of the Libertarian. Having said that, after examining the tenets of libertarianism, I can't help but find the whole concept of a Libertarian running for president laughably ironic.
Libertarianism, in the purest sense of the word, believes in complete personal freedom and as little control from the government as possible. The Libertarian party compromises by emphasizing state control over federal control.
Get the joke yet?
It seems to me that the goal of the libertarian presidential candidate is to say "let the states decide" to nearly every question.
Hence the title of this blog. That should be the campaign slogan for every Libertarian presidential candidate.
If any of you are libertarians...sorry. Maybe you can explain it to me, 'cause I'm just not getting it.
|To be honest, it's not entirely clear to me why this survey is supposed to be controversial, but I need something to put in this thing, so here goes:
1. Do you have the guts to answer these questions and repost as The Controversial Survey?
2. Would you do meth if it was legalized?
No way; I've seen the people who get into that shit. I'm not exactly People's Sexiest Man of the Year NOW, I have no desire to make myself uglier for a little high.
3. Abortion: for or against?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm in favor of 300th trimester abortions. I know some adults who I think should still be aborted.
4. Would our country fall with a woman president?
No quicker than it would with a male president, and it would probably fare a little bit better with a woman than with some men. All in all, I think the president being anything other than the usual COWM (Crusty Old White Man) could only be beneficial for the country.
5. Do you believe in the death penalty?
I can honestly say that I'm one of the few people who does not have an opinion on the matter. I do not intend to ever become a candidate for the death penalty, and while I do feel that there are certain people, certain circumstances under which a person deserves to die, the law seems to disagree about the specific circumstances under which it is warranted. For instance, I think that to give the death penalty for murder is like Wonderland Logic. But if we abolished the death penalty, I honestly wouldn't care. Having said all that, the one opinion I do firmly have is that if we ARE going to have the death penalty, we should go the whole nine yards and not pussy out. We are, after all, killing a person. We are committing one of the cardinal acts of savagery. At such a point, why be concerned about "humane" and "cruel and unusual"?
6. Do you wish marijuana would be legalized already?
Yes, I really do. Although, I live in California, where it's practically legal anyway. All you need is a prescription, and there's a whole section of the newspaper devoted to crooked doctors who will give you a prescription, so virtually anybody can get it legally anyway.
7. Are you for or against premarital sex?
I am in favor of sex whenever you want to have it. I would just advise you to be prepared for any and all repercussions.
8. Do you believe in God?
9. Do you think same sex marriage should be legalized?
Yes, I do. I should say, as long as marriage is overseen by the government, then I think you should be allowed to marry whoever you want. Kudos to the writer of the survey, by the way, for specifically saying "same sex marriage" and not "gay marriage". It is a subtle, but important distinction. The thing to keep in mind about the issue is that Gay people ARE allowed to get married, just not to someone of the same sex as them, ie, not to the people they WANT to marry. So the law, as it stands, is that everybody is allowed to get married, but only if they get married according to heterosexual relationship conventions. Furthermore, the law as it stands does, technically, effect heterosexual people as well...the reason being that if, for whatever reason (the reason doesn't really matter, only the effect), a heterosexual person wants to get married to someone of the same sex, they are not allowed to. The law, as it stands, states that NOBODY is allowed to marry whoever they want. We are all only allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex.
10. Do you think it's wrong that so many Hispanics are moving to the USA?
The vast majority of America is descended from people who were, technically, illegal immigrants. Why was it OK for your ancestors to just waltz in and set up shop, and not for hispanics. Furthermore, hispanic people are people who are descended from the indigenous peoples of North America, and there were no borders here 600 years ago, so, technically speaking, they have more right to be here than most American citizens do.
11. A twelve-year-old girl has a baby...should she keep it?
12. Should the alcohol age be lowered to eighteen?
Yeah, I think so.
13. Should the war in Iraq be called off?
It wasn't entirely clear that there should have been one in the first place...now that there is, who knows how easily we can just get out? It's interesting the vocabulary that Bush and the republicans use: "Cut and Run" is a type of purse-snatching crime in which a snatcher cuts the purse strap and runs away with it. I'm not sure they realize how right they are when they use the phrase. We've already "cut", we've already committed the crime...how easy is it to back off and say "sorry, our bad".
14. Assisted suicide is illegal...do you agree?
15. Do you believe in spanking your children?
I was spanked as a child...not often, and never with anything more than a hand...and I think I turned out alright. Having said that, I think there are other methods of discipline that are equally, if not more, effective.
16. Would you burn an American flag for a million dollars?
I would do it for less than that. I would only do it if I had a real, genuine reason to, though (and to shock and offend people is not a reason). The American flag holds no value to me, symbolic or otherwise, so I would no sooner burn it than salute it. It would be like burning (or saluting) a beach towel. I would burn it if somebody gave me money or reward to do so, or if I was trapped someplace and had exhausted all my other campfire fuel.
17. A mother is declared innocent after murdering her five children in a temporary insanity case.
Really? I hadn't heard about that. I'm sorry, was that a question? I assume you mean how would I feel about that? Well, she better have truly been temporarily insane, because unless you are insane, temporarily or otherwise, murdering your own children is one of the most despicable acts in the world.
18. It's between you and a person who is being kept alive by life support, which one dies?
So in other words, I am being asked to sacrifice my life for somebody on life support. Well, in general I would agree with Elisa, it would depend on how likely they are to recover...but it would also depend on who they are. The importance of a person's life to me depends greatly on how close I am to them. My family and loved ones come first, followed closely by myself. To protect my family and loved ones, I would die, if necessary (though I would prefer to find a solution that involved my loved one's survival as well as my own). If it's someone I've never met...sorry, you're out of luck. Once again, the ideal situation is to find a solution that ensures both our survival.
19. Are you afraid others will judge you from reading some of your answers?
If anybody reading my blog was ever going to judge me for my opinions, they would have done it before now. I'm generally not too concerned about people judging me anyway, unless they get in my face about it.
|Hey everybody! Just wanted to remind y'all that I'm still looking for something that I can make into a movie. So far only Robert has sent me a story to use, and while it's an excellent story, and I may yet decide to make it, I would at least like some more options.
So send those stories, people! I want to make a movie, and I promise you, if I like the story enough to make it, I intend to be very faithful to it.
|So, where I work now, one of my coworkers has a degree in film from Columbia University's film school. I know another guy who also went to film school. Both of these guys have caused me to realize something.
I am glad I never went to film school.
I've found that film school guys irritate the living hell out of me. Because they paid tens of thousands of dollars to go to a building to learn the things that I myself learned out of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies, Flicks, and Film, they are absolutely convinced that they know more about film and filmmaking than you do. Furthermore, and perhaps even more insufferably, they love to remind you of things like "you have better odds of winning the lottery than becoming a successful film director"...and although they don't say anything more than that, you could swear you can hear them say "unless you went to film school, like me". They are also convinced that they have a better chance than you of becoming a successful filmmaker. They refuse to acknowledge that a degree in film is as useful as a degree in philosophy. Tell somebody you have a degree in film and they say "oh, that's neat". Tell that to a producer and they'll say "oh, well, I can probably find you some PA work, I guess."
Let me tell you what unique opportunities film school gives you...are you ready?
Film school gives you access to equipment.
And especially in these days, when the things professionals use is easily accessible by anybody, film school is completely useless. Sure, it was helpful back when Spielberg was starting out, when film equipment was not available to the average person, but that's no longer the case. The majority of indie films now are made on Mini-DV cameras, and edited on Final Cut Pro...both of which can be bought by you or me. Oh, they're not cheap, but they're a Stimulus Package away.
Want to be a filmmaker? There are three things you need to do:
Read About Film
Make a Film
And even the second item in that list is optional, in case you want to know history and theory.
Film School education is becoming more and more a waste of money.
In fact, it could be argued that with the state of the educational system in America, and the easy availability of information, that formal education in general is becoming more and more a waste of money.
Formal Education is therefore the process of paying certain amounts of money for certain pieces of paper. Those pieces of paper henceforth determine what kind of job you get, and how good it is. That job then determines your quality of life and social standing.
Formal Education, therefore, is the process of determining, via family financial standing, and validating, via a degree, whether one is a lord, a serf, or any caste in between.
Whoops, got off topic there for a moment.
The point is, your film school education makes you neither more knowledgeable about film, nor more likely to be a successful filmmaker, than me.
And Darkness and Decay and Silver held illimitable dominion over all.
|So as you may or may not know, I recently got a new job, at a movie theater. The theater is called Arclight Cinemas, and it's a pretty fancy place. They have no commercials before movies, and...one of the biggest selling points...reserved seating. When you buy the ticket, you pick out your seats right then. That way, no matter what, you always have a seat, and nobody can take it.
But that is not what I'm talking about tonight.
Today I was working at the snack bar...a fast-paced task, especially now that Dark Knight is out...and who should come through my line--to buy non-buttered popcorn and a large root beer--but Kevin McDonald.
To those of you who don't have your fingers on the pulse of the comedy world, McDonald is possibly the funniest member of one of the funniest comedy troupes ever: The Kids in the Hall.
I'm going to slightly digress...see, mere minutes before, one of my coworkers came to me and said "I've never gotten star-struck ever, but I was just now...I served Bruce McCulloch!" (Bruce McCulloch is also one of the Kids in the Hall)
I'm not sure if they were seeing a movie together, or if it was just a weird coincidence, but it was pretty effing awesome for both of us.
So, anyway...I sold root beer to a Kid in the Hall.
Later that night, I also served Shannyn Sossamon, a gorgeous actress whose face you'd probably recognize, but whose name you're unlikely to know unless you're as hardcore a movie geek as...well...me.
"Here's your coffee, your bottled water, and can I interest you in a large tub...of me?"
I gotta say it. I love my job.
Have a good day, and enjoy your show.
|Today is a good day I think for revealing my ambitions!
(first person who can tell me what my opening line is referencing gets 1000 gps for awesome awareness)
So anyway, everybody knows that my ambitions lie in the field of filmmaking, but once I've started making films (and presumably become successful at it), what then?
Well, the fame, wealth, and popularity that comes with being a successful director is certainly a factor, but mostly, I want prestige, awards, recognition for artistic contribution.
I would love to win a People's Choice Award, for obvious reasons. And yes, I want to win an Oscar, I don't care how political it is.
The Palme D'or is about the best thing indie filmmakers can win (and what most non-indies wish they could win).
BUT...the best thing that could happen to a film of mine...and my highest ambition...is to be selected for the National Film Registry.
For those unfamiliar with it, the National Film Registry is a registry of films selected by the US National Film Preservation Board for preservation in none other than the Library of Congress. Every year, the board selects up to twenty-five films for the registry on the basis of their being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
I can't think of any higher honor. To have something you created deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Well, hell, to have something you created on the shelves in the effing Library of Congress!
Now I just need to make a movie.
*stares at the screen*
|So I found a link in Robert Waltz 's blog, to a movie: http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/main.htm
The first part of it is an examination of the narrative of Jesus in comparison to other figures from other mythologies and religions...basically all adding up to the big reveal where they say that Jesus didn't really exist, historically, and that his life is an allegory for astrology.
Specifically, it says that many details of Jesus' life (you may note the one word that I conspicuously always omit when talking about Jesus. Here's a hint: it begins with C) are, in fact, mythological motifs that spring up in many other "Sun Deities".
They start with the Egyptian Sun-God Horus, and list the following facts about Horus:
Was born of a Virgin (Isis-Mary, they called her) on December 25th
His birth was signaled by a star in the east
He was adored by three kings,
became a teacher at 12,
was baptized and started a ministry at 30,
had 12 disciples,
healed the sick, walked on water
He was called "The Truth," "The Light," "God's Anointed Son," "The Good Shepherd," and "The Lamb of God"
He was betrayed by Typhon (presumably one of his disciples),
buried for three days,
and then resurrected.
Holy Crap! That sounds exactly like Jesus! Jesus' whole life was plagiarized!
Upon performing some of the simplest research on the internet, this doesn't appear to bear out. Let's start with some of the facts about which I, regardless of how many sources I search, can find neither confirmation nor refutation of, regarding Horus:
1) Born on December 25th: These guys must have read some pretty obscure books, because no source I found ANYWHERE says ANYTHING about the date Horus was born. Furthermore, it seems awfully strange to me that they could even determine that it was exactly December 25th, given that "December 25th" is a reference to a calendar that didn't exist 5000 years ago, especially not in Egypt. I would imagine the best you could do would be to approximate that it was sometime in what would become the month of December, and if Horus was born on December 5, that makes the similarities between their birth dates considerably less impressive. Also, it is actually quite well known, even among Christians, that December 25th is only the HOLIDAY, the CELEBRATION of Jesus' birth. Even Christians acknowledge that this is not reflective of Jesus' actual birth date, and that the date was chosen for the holiday in order to coincide with the holidays of other religions.
2) Horus' birth was signaled by a star in the East: once again, I don't know what books they're reading, but somebody (undoubtedly somebody involved in the vast conspiracy) must be keeping this information off the internet, because I can't find anything about any stars heralding his birth. THE MAN strikes again!
Oh the heck with specific analyses, they'll all say the same thing anyway! None of these things ever turned up in my research of Horus (if anybody can tell me where to find this information, other than the film I'm talking about, please let me know):
Any reference to three kings
Anything regarding becoming a 12 year old teacher, being baptized, and starting a ministry
Any reference to any number of disciples (though a great many subjects)
Any references to healing the sick or walking on water
Any epithets other than "The Falcon" "Son of Isis" "Horus the Elder" "Horus the younger" (oh yeah, there were more than one. In fact, there were a lot of Horuses. Or...Hori, maybe, if you prefer) "The Distant One" "The Great Black One" "He Who Has No Eyes" "He Who Has Eyes" "Lord of the Djeba ('perch/finger')" "Horus of Two Eyes"...okay, a lot of epithets, but none of the ones listed in the film...odd...
Any references to betrayal, crucifixion, or resurrection
- In ancient Egyptian mythology, ALL kings WERE, in fact, Horus...Earthly incarnations, anyway. Therefore, it would be absurd for him to have been "adored by three kings"...because it would essentially mean being adored by three different incarnations of himself.
- Horus was not human, at all. He was purely a Deity. He wasn't any kind of teacher or minister. Those kinds of things are human banalities.
- Baptism does not appear to have existed in Ancient Egypt at all.
- As Horus was not a teacher or minister, but a god and a ruler, he did not have disciples, he had subjects and worshippers.
- Horus was responsible, in fact, for quite the opposite of healing the sick. He in fact was a war god, and was responsible for killing many enemies. I have found no references to healing whatsoever.
- Horus was a falcon. He could fly. Why would he walk on water?
- Typhon was a GREEK God, and had nothing to do with Egyptian mythology in general, or Horus in particular.
- There does not appear to be any evidence that ancient Egyptians practiced crucifixion.
- Horus' narrative is, in fact, absent any mention of his death, and therefore any evidence of resurrection. Possibly because there were, in fact, several deities names "Horus"
- As a bonus, I have never found any mention of the Goddess Isis with "Mary" added to it.
As for Horus being born of a virgin, Isis was hardly a virgin. If you want to get technical, Isis conceived Horus using her husband's dead body (all together now, "eeeeewwwwww!").
Whew! There were some other deities mentioned by this film as being similar to Jesus, but...quite frankly, my thorough dissection of the Horus part kind of took a lot out of me. Suffice to say that they are all equally shoddy.
Oh, my favorite one is that the Hindu god Krishna was born of a virgin. Krishna was the eight (EIGHTH!) son born to the princess Devaki and her HUSBAND. Wow, how many miracles did THAT family go through, if she was a virgin through eight straight births?
The film goes on to explain how the story of Jesus and these other deities is an allegory of the path of the Sun itself, part of which is the sun's path, through winter, to it's apparent "death", where it sits still, perceivably, for three days, before going back the other direction...resurrection.
Only...this three-day "death" occurs in late December. So why is Jesus' death by crucifixion supposed to occur in March or April?
After this whole section, full of so many holes that I was worried I might fall through, the film cuts to the one image that no conspiracy theory worth its salt should be without: The Last Supper, by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Now, look...I don't believe that Jesus was the son of God. I don't think he walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, or turned water into wine. I don't think he was the product of a virgin birth. I don't think he was resurrected. But I do believe he existed. Because every historical source says so, both religious and secular. In my opinion, he was more a political figure than a spiritual one, and his spiritual nature was tacked on to make the superstitious people follow him. After the spiritual aspect was added, was Jesus' life blended with aspects of other deities before him? Possibly. Christianity has borrowed a lot of different elements from different religions and mythologies. That doesn't mean he didn't exist.
The film actually does make some interesting observations regarding astrology and mythology in regards to history. It would make a pretty good science fiction/fantasy story.
As it is, it's just mythology about mythology. Hence, metamythology.
|I just found out from a friend that George Carlin died last night, Sunday the 22nd, of heart failure.
I'm in shock...still a little bit in denial, actually. He was 71.
Truly one of comedy's greatest minds and voices has been lost.
And now, as a tribute, HIS seven words:
shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits.
Followed by seven words of my own:
We're all going to miss you, George.
|My generation finally has a (satisfactory) name: Millenials. Millenials are those born between 1982 and 2002.
I read an article recently by a Generation X-er bitching and moaning about how the Baby Boomers treated Gen-X so horribly, and treat us millenials like we're God's gift to the world. First of all, if you think that Baby Boomers love Millenials so much, you must not remember the 90s very well. I don't mean that we were treated uncharacteristically badly in the 90s, I mean that in order to think that Boomers love Millenials, you have to have run so many drugs through your system that an entire decade has passed you by.
But more important are the details: this article alleged that we Millenials have no youth culture, nothing that we can call our own. And this is true. But that's because we're not due for it yet.
Think about it: the Boomers, who were born between '40 and '60, did not really have their own youth culture until the mid '60s. Generation X, born from '61 to '81, didn't have their own youth culture until the late '80s to early '90s. A generation does not come into its own until a few years after the NEXT generation is starting to be born.
The article further stated that what passes for Millenial culture is the sorry state of affairs that is contemporary pop culture. Hate to break it to you, Gen-X-ers, but contemporary pop culture isn't OUR fault. It's YOURS. Half of yours, anyway.
Let me explain again: the first half of the Boomers created the youth culture explosion of the mid-'60s to mid-'70s. Then what happened? Well, by the mid-'70s, those original, older boomers were in their thirties. The Vietnam war was over, civil rights movement was pretty much all taken care of, and they really had nothing more to do. They got jobs, got married, had families. For lack of a better term: they sold out. Then you had the younger, latter half of the Boomers...in the mid-'70s, they were just barely becoming teenagers. They looked at their older counterparts, and they saw a hollow, superficial representation of what they were: sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. They took that basic paradigm, and ran with it, but without any of the actual spirit behind it, and what was the result? The late '70s to '80s...a dark time, indeed.
Then the first half of Gen-X took over, and from the late '80s to mid '90s there was...well, admittedly, a time that scared the hell out of Boomers. You had the invention of Hip-Hop, alternative music. The general culture was like the dark, moody, gritty younger sibling of the hippies. Then something horrible happened.
That's right. The exact same thing that ruined the Boomers. The older Gen-X-ers grew up, got jobs, got married, had families, and the latter half of Gen-X took over. They looked at their older counterparts and thought "ok...long hair, facial hair, coffee...hip hop, punk, alternative...moody, angsty, dark."
So from the mid-90s to the present, we got guys with long, perfectly coiffed hair, neatly trimmed goatees and soul patches, who hang out all day at Starbucks. We got pop punk and mad-lib hip-hop.
Not to mention this little gem: that latter half of Gen-X saw their older counterpart's contribution to television, and this is how they reacted: "The Real World...real people, from different backgrounds, cohabitating, in an unscripted scenario. We can make an entire genre out of this!"
Don't blame us for the past ten years. Blame yourselves.
I predict that sometime within the next five years, we Millenials will define ourselves. To be honest, I fear that our biggest contribution to the music industry will be Emo. But there's still time...I think our film will be good, at least. I'm thinking about the work of Seth Rogen, and while the comedy market is way, WAY oversaturated, his work is some of the best out there. And even at that, he's just a writer, thus far. I'd like to see more serious films from Millenial filmmakers. I'd like to see what our Reality Bites is going to be.
Shit, I just realized...I may be part of the creation of Millenial Film. Goddamnit, now there's even more pressure on me than before.
I gotta tell you, the music of my generation is looking grim so far, but I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of truly creative Millenials.
Don't bag on us just yet; wait until we really screw up.
Hope I die before I get old...
|Alright, all you beautiful people, I'm putting the call out.
I've decided that it's high time for me to make a film. Unfortunately, despite the obvious prowess I've displayed on this website (ehhh...), writing is not particularly my milieu.
I should say, writing on command is not my milieu. If something strikes my fancy, I can write it (though even those are few and far between), but they are generally not filmable...at least not for low/no budget (which is what I'm going to have), and I can't say "I want to make a movie, so I'm going to write something now". I have an unbelievably difficult time with this.
So, I'm sending out the feelers. If any of my readers have any interest/experience/knowledge in writing screenplays, and/or have one ready, and feel like letting me film it, let me know! Or if you have a story in your portfolio that you think would make a good film, point me in the right direction. And put the good word out to other people you know, too.
Seriously, my ten-year high school reunion is in about three years, and when that time comes, I would like to run into all the douchebags who gave me shit in high school and say "oh me? No, I haven't really done that much since graduation...just made a fuckin' MOVIE, is all. Oh, what are you doing? Working at a gas station? Oh that's great...no, seriously, that's good, HONEST work, that you can be PROUD of."
I'm never the proverbial "bigger" or "better" man. I'm a Scorpio. I'm petty and wrathful, and I hold grudges for a long time.
But in addition to settling high school baggage, I also just really, really want to make a film. Orson Welles made Citizen Kane when he was just a year older than me. Spielberg was my age when he made Duel. Scorsese was five years older when he made Mean Streets. Lucas made Star Wars, and Coppola made The Godfather, when they were 33, eight years away for me. One of my favorites, Tarantino, made Reservoir Dogs when he was 29. And all of these men had at least one feature under their belt, in varying degrees of quality and completeness, before their breakout film.
Now anybody whose seen Ed Wood is saying "that's just what Ed Wood said". And I'm never going to give up on this. If I'm 64 and retired, I'm still going to say to myself "I'm going to make a fucking movie or die trying"...to paraphrase Jurassic Park, filmmaking is an act of sheer will. Nevertheless, directors are made in their late 20s to early 30s. It's one of many characteristics they share with serial killers. I've got ten years, and it's one or the other.
Well anyway, that tangent aside...I appreciate anything you'll submit for my consideration. I can't afford to pay you (I won't even be able to pay actors), but you'll get credit, and I never forget someone who did right by me.
And that's all I've got to say about that (have I used that one already? I don't remember)
|Reading a few forums lately, varyingly arguing for evolution, against evolution, for Christianity/religion, against Christianity/religion...and I gotta say, speaking as a believer in Evolution (a strange thing to say, I think) and an ardent distruster of religion in general and Christianity in particular...I'm sick of the whole goddamn thing.
Seriously. I don't want to hear about it any more. I don't want to hear any more arguments. From EITHER side. Just shut up. Seriously. Shut. The. Hell. Up. All of you. I'm not interested in the debate any more. Both sides are obnoxious and insulting, both sides have spokespeople that are both intolerably stupid and unimaginably vocal (neither trait would be nearly as bad without the other), and both sides are narrow-minded and kind of bigoted.
Since my own people (anti-religious evolutionists) already spend much of their time telling religious creationists to shut up, I'm going to address my advice to my own ilk.
Just stop. You're not going to convince them. You will never convince them. And if you know that they will never convince you, then what does it matter if they espouse asininity?
You can quote as many people as you like, but bear in mind that quoting from the gospel of Darwin has no more effect on religious creationists than does their quoting the bible to you. Furthermore, by insulting, belittling, and humiliating them, ultimately you are just playing the role of an Intellectual Inquisitor, subjecting non-believers to verbal abuse instead of physical torture. You're no better than they are.
And, most importantly...it doesn't matter if they accept it now. Every idea that has merit will prevail. That is why ideas conceived by Archimedes, despite being hidden and all but destroyed, resurfaced centuries later as ideas by other great minds. A good idea is a good idea, and all good ideas will continue. Eventually--perhaps after we are all long dead--evolution will be accepted by all, even by the religious, and creationism will be a comic device used to illustrate the backwards, unscientific thinking of a primitive culture, the way Flat Earth is now.
So when you see a pro-creation message board post, or hear a debate about it, just smile to yourself and say nothing, and just enjoy the fact that they are a dying breed.
And in the spirit of my advice, my sign-out is this: