Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Minnestota Emergency!

I was always taught that 911 was for emergencies. And just to make things clear the same people taught me that emergencies were life or death situations. Not bees in your house, or a mattress that's too heavy to lift. Maybe I'm still experiencing a bit of culture shock, but to me the billboard on the 35W that suggests people call 911 if they see somebody painting graffiti is a waste of an important resource.

Perhaps Twin Cities 911 operators have a lot of free time on their hands. What else would explain the ad in the pro-police state Minneapolis Defender that suggests vigilant neighbors call 911 to rat out "alley trawlers" who swipe recyclables from trash bins. Didn't this town just experience a record murder rate just last year?

People need hobbies, I suppose. Sue me for believing that the kid with the can of spray paint is being more productive that the narc with binoculars and emergency services on speed dial.

Partial Eclipse of the Ass?

Okay, at the risk of having my guy card revoked, I've always had a soft spot for bonnie tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart. I happened to bump into this version, and I thought you guys might appreciate this one, even if you aren't secure enough in your masculinity to admit liking the other one.

Sweet Zombie Jesus!

What you're seeing is the first new Futurama footage in God knows how long. What a dark time its been. Word is that the dialog recording for the new episodes is done and they're looking a (dare I hope?) December release.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

For Gus.

Who has this kind of time? ~And talent?

My name is Shigeru Miyamoto

and I am teh coolest.

This month TIME featured Mr. Miyamoto in their 10 Questions series. You can get the podcast of it here. You can see how edited what makes it into the article is. (that stuff is just interesting to me) Anyway, there was a question asked by a local guy named Lucas Ross from Shoreview. Minnesota!

What one game has revolutionized the industry?
Space Invaders. Before I saw it, I was never particularly interested in video games and certainly never thought I would make the games.

I think, because he has the chops as far as I am concerned, that he is saying in a nice way that he is the actual answer to the question. If it wasn't for Space Invaders I wouldn't have showed up and started taking names. If he won't say it I will. That guy is awesome. Influential.

I am still jealous of that kid that got to play Wii Tennis with him at E3 2006. As far as I am concerned the prize wasn't being the first consumer to play the Wii. The prize was playing with Mr. Miyamoto.

The New Sports

Tomorrow, for the first time ever on network TV, competitive video gaming will air as televised sports. The New York Times has a story about the World Series of Video Games programming. These guys are paying one of my many freelance checks, so try tuning in to CBS today to catch some of the show. They should be airing Guitar Hero II, World of Warcraft: Arena and Fight Night matches.

According to WCCO's schedule the hour-long show airs at 11:00 AM.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Roy Wilkins Where Art Thou?

I just picked up a pair of tickets for the Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem show in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on September 30th. Anybody seen a show at this venue? Is it super big? How does the joint sound?

I grabbed general admission tickets this time around since the last time we saw Arcade Fire we were too far off to really feel the show. It doesn't help that when you see music from the cheap seats at the Hollywood Bowl there's a quarter mile of wine-drinking, cheese eating, loud-chatting NPR-listening yuppies between you and the band you love. I am fortunate enough to have seen Arcade Fire in the Troubador (the same place they held the Rock Band party at E3) but Alexis hasn't really experienced the band properly. That's why we'll be down on the floor elbowing our way towards the stage come September.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Can I say it?

Pikachu, I choose you!
No, not it.
Go Voltron Force!
All your base,

Oh Hells Yeah!
There we go.

Check out the great looking game.

Star Trek XI

Were any of you guys aware of a new Star Trek movie coming out next Christmas?
Were any of you aware that Leonard Nimoy played Samuel in the Emmy nominated TV movie David? Yes, the prophet.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Smaller than average

No matter how much I pad my numers I keep coming up short. My family's carbon footprint comes out to about 5.5 tons a year max. 7.5 being average. Lets see who's is bigger. Interesting to note that Chevy is sponsering this page. I drive 2 GM(chevy) products. I wonder if the results are different for say a comparable Ford product? Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Me = Deku Tree

NeoGaf user Tedtropy pointed out today that I bear a striking resemblance to a character from The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. And all this time I thought I looked like the MCP.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Wes Anderson

The trailer for Darjeeling Limited is up at the Apple trailers website. Maybe Jason Schwartzman's stylish facial hair will stop folks from giving me grief about my mustache.


Here's some gameplay from Metal Gear Solid 4 with narration by the game's creator, Hideo Kojima. I'm still not entirely convinced that the series is as great as fans say. For me the amount of stuff that doesn't work still outweighs the stuff that does. And you can tell that part of the reason the game looks so cool is that Kojima is really good at the game. Failure could transform this bad-ass sequence to a nightmare of repetition. But Kojima's still thinking miles ahead of everybody else and I think that's why a certain element so ravenously consume the stuff he makes.

The 1UP Show podcast recently posted this round table conversation between Kojima, Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) and Suda 51 (Killer 7). I admire all three, but sometimes feel that each is 1/3 genius. Their games, at their best, still feel like they need one more push to really be something special.

Resident Evil 5 Trailer
No More Heroes Trailer

Monday, July 23, 2007

Daft Punk's Encore

From the live show in Los Angeles this weekend. The sound isn't too great, but man, what a stage show. There's some cool lighting stuff going on at around five minutes.

Here's another alternate angle:

You can better see the cool imagery on the side of their pyramid. My friend Jason says they're still opening their shows with notes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Both White Meats

A new Latin/Caribbean-flavored rotisserie joint called Brasa just opened on East Hennepin, about a block East of the Central intersection. The building looks like an old garage with a fresh coat of paint and outdoor seating. On nice days like today they've got the garage door open, creating an open-air vibe inside the restaurant.

The two main dishes are a succulent roast pork and a roasted chicken -- both were great. Alexis ordered the quarter-chicken and they gave her white meat by default, so if you ditch the crispy, mildly seasoned skin you're getting a fairly healthy meal. I ordered the large plate of pork, which closely resembled the dishes you'd get at better Cuban restaurants.

The side dishes, though, are the reason to sit down. The fried plantains were perfectly prepared and, though the fried yucca was a little mushy, I'm just pleased that someplace in NE is serving it. They also offer beans and rice, collard greens and chick peas -- pretty much everything but black beans and rice. I'm sorta glad they don't have frijoles negros, because I'd probably order them sight unseen, not trying the other dishes.

It was lunch-time, so I passed on the beer and wine. But I'm fairly confident I'll be drinking some of Brasa's Negro Modelo and Red Stripe. Mexican soft drinks are also available, so those craving the old-school sugar cane flavor can order the soda by the bottle.

Friday, July 20, 2007

For Harry and BumbleBee!

Before all you left of center guys assume I am anything more than right of center let me cut you off. Cut you off and say you don't know where I am going with this. So just listen for a spell. Please.

I am mad.

I am mad about torture having to make it's way into movies this summer; movies geared mostly toward my kids. I am trying to let them be kids for a bit longer and not have to deal with the, insert swear word of choice here, world that we live in. I am not mad at the movies, Transformers and Harry Potter 5, for putting a social comment in themselves. I am mad at 'the administration', insert swear word of choice in there too, for bringing us to the place where we have to fight back against torture in my childrens entertainment time.

I want to say unbelieveable. But it isn't.

Between the govt. organization that doesn't really exist in Transformers and the much ammended wall of rules in Harry Potter 5 I think everything has been covered. (So far atleast.) I have been telling you guys we just need to hold on a little bit longer. I think I have really been saying it to myself.

The Future of the Internet

Here are a couple links which might be of interest to some regarding the spectrum auction being held by our government next year. The winner of this auction may have a large hand in shaping how we will wirelessly access the Internet in the near future. The stories are about Google getting into the game, and the conditions they have proposed for the auction.

Google announces intent to bid on 700MHz spectrum auction

Google Blog

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Move Away From the Mic To Breathe In

"Chocolate Rain" is like one of those worms that burrows into your brain and doesn't leave until you've been driven completely mad. Tay Zonday, creator of said worm, was kind enough to provide a mp3 of the track on his Youtube page. Can't wait to hear the remixes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Don't Eat The Curry Fries

Me and Alexis spent last weekend in Chicago rocking out in Union Park to a diverse bunch of bands at the Pitchfork Music Festival. The weather was way better than last year, but the show was a tad too crowded for our liking. The 2006 event had an intimate vibe, now Pitchfork is on the verge of becoming another Lollapalooza and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Anyway, the show's highlights were Jamie Lidell , Of Montreal and The Clipse. Lidell's one man show transformed his soul revival vocals into glitchy, layered loops. Costumes, showmanship and great tracks from their album Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? made Of Montreal's set memorable. The Clipse were straight fire -- there aren't two more razor sharp MCs working today. Deerhunter's experimental show opening set on Sunday was a great reminder that Pitchfork is as much about challenging listeners as entertaining. I also dug Mastodon, Nomo, Battles, Stephen Malkmus (he played two Pavement songs <3), GZA and Sonic Youth (who I've seen too many times to count at this point).

My biggest disappointment were the massive crowds and poor sound that made Dan Deacon and Girl Talk unwatchable. Nobody knew, apparently, but these cats are not long for indiedom. Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis is a safe bet for the next Danger Mouse.

My Pitchfork Flickr set.
Pitchfork Friday
Pitchfork Saturday
Pitchfork Sunday

Something Wicked

Remember that fight in Attack of the Clones that was supposed to be the most awesome, knock-down-drag-out Jedi fight ever committed to celluloid? It turned out to be pretty weak (and it wasn't *NSYNC's fault either). Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix doesn't aim quite so high, but the movie's climactic battle royale is the best filmed magical brawl since Gandalf and Saruman went mano-a-mano in the tower of Orthanc.

It's not the combat that makes this the most watchable Harry Potter flick since Alfonso Cuaron's stab at the series. Like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban it takes the time to treat the Hogwart's crew as living, breathing people. Here, perhaps for the first time in the series, you really feel the oppressive teenage angst that comes from being left out, ignored and talked down to by adults. Both films also better delve into the creepiness of the dark arts. Lucas made the mistake with his second trilogy of letting the gloom and doom overpower everything. In Phoenix and Azkaban the arcane chills make for awesome, frequently frightening wallpaper, but don't suck every last ounce of life out of the party.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Dublab Show is Up

Listen to the dublab stream this week to hear the show I recorded while I was in Los Angeles. Go here to see the stream schedule and playlist -- I DJ as Flynn. I've got a CD of the show so I can burn a copy for those of you who have difficulty streaming audio.

This link should launch the stream to iTunes.
You can also find dublab under the iTunes radio > electronic heading.

EDIT: I uploaded an mp3 of the live show. I didn't feel like reassembling the individual tracks. Still, I implore you to listen to the dublab stream. There's so much good music there.

Here's the playlist:

FLYNN - EMULATION - 07.09.07

Boris - Ano Onna No Onryou - Akuma No Uta - Southern Lord

Tarantula A.D. - Who Took Berlin Pt. 1 - Book of Sand - Kemado

SAND - Bug Chaser - Still Born Alive - Satellite

Battles - Atlas - Atlas - Warp

Partsb & Labor - Don't Just Fucking Stand There - Rise, Rise, Rise - Narnack

Wizardzz - Diamond Mirror - Hidden City of Taurmond - Load

Dan Deacon - The Crystal Cat - Spiderman of the Rings - Car Park

Crystal Castles - Alice Practice - Alice Practice - Merok

DIVAG - Rocker Loverz - Atari Tunes - Self Released

Gil Mantera's Party Dream - Emotion Road - Blood Songs - Fat Possum

Kavinsky - Testarosa Overdrive (Sebastian Remix) - 1986 - Ed Banger

Mr. Oizo - Nazis (Justice Remix) - Nazis - F Communication

Simian Mobile Disco - It's the Beat (Luke Vibert Mix) - It's the Beat EP- Universal / Witchita

Justice - B.E.A.T. Extended Version - D.A.N.C.E. - Ed Banger

The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health (Ratatat Remix) - We Share Our Mother's Health - Brille

Jurgen Paape - Fruity Loops 1 - SPEICHER 47 – Kompakt

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Cloverfield Trailer

Filed under 11-18-08 on the Apple trailer page.

Fun trivia. Cloverfield Blvd. is road that runs East-to-West through Santa Monica. Could some facet of the film's production be located on these six or seven blocks?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Geek? yes! WOW baddass? maybe!

I now consider my character, Yellerbeard, to be a World of Warcraft Baddass, even though I have been know to noob stuff up on a semi-regular basis. Here is a picture of him and his shiny new gun and epic armor, and the loyal sidekick ShereKhan.
And no, I didn't skip Wolf's game night to raid....I got bumped, I was just too beat from work and was going to grab a quick nap but woke up at 8 pm. We have 4 hunters and 3 slots, so basically every other thursday will be no conflict, and based on what the activities are (as in, not AGOT) I can always skip all thursdays

Here is a sideshot of my brand new gun, and yes, that is one of the reasons I chose a dwarven hunter.
Many times I find the posting of blogs to be quit frustrating. I had to post the bottom pic first and then the top oic second. I couldn't get the first and second text blurbs to stay seperate, so I put some . . . there and just turned them white.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Los Angeles Diary #4 - Hands on With Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band

Since I'm ditching E3 a day early I made a point to get my grubby mitts on Rock Band and Guitar Hero III. I already dig Rock Band better and not because they threw such a fresh party. It just feels like they "get it" much better than Guitar Hero's new keepers. That said, Guitar Hero III was perfectly adequate. I played the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" and "My Name is Jonas" by Weezer. Both were reasonably fun to play.

Rock Band, on the other hand kicked my ass. I started out with the drums. We tried to play "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, but the upbeat rhythm was a bit tough to grasp for a first-timer. The monitor was also on the ground and to the left of me. I'm not making excuses, really. Just saying. The second song, Nirvana's "In Bloom" was a little easier to handle. I nailed the two left drums pretty frequently, but was sloppy with the right side cymbals. I'm not exactly sure if I was landing the kick drum hits properly. I only scored in 60% range, but it was tons of fun. Playing this set is way harder than Taiko Drum Master, but it's also much more satisfying. Finally, I agreed to sing in front of a room full of game journalists, public relations folks and game developers. Most were busy with their own business, but that didn't stop be from getting the shakes. I picked "Dead or Alive" because I've howled the Bon Jovi song at least a dozen times at Karaoke. Afterwards they said I nailed it, but they had to be lying. I've got the death sentence in 12 systems for my tone-deaf crooning.

Los Angeles Diary #3

Lots of press conferences today, but not much in the way of big news. The gaming press barely batted an eye at Nintendo's new step aerobics peripheral, but I suspect it's going to be one hell of a seller. Perhaps the coolest quote to come from a Nintendo exec's mouth was "the best game design lets players of all skill levels play on a level playing field." I suppose that makes the Wii a Care Bear console.

Sony was turning away journos. They were the only of the three console manufacturers to do so, which I find highly suspect when you're trying to claw your way out of third place. They did have the best snacks, though. So maybe they know what they're doing. Some thoughts on Sony:

  • The new, 33% smaller PSP looks exactly like the old one. How do you sell that to uniformed buyers? The Nintendo DS was radically changed. No matter how slick the PSP looks, do they honestly think the form factor can't be improved?
  • Chewbacca joined Sony exec Jack Tretton onstage to hawk the Star Wars-themed PSP and nobody had the wisdom to feed him the line, "let the Wookie win."
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 may be the most bizarre, pseudo-mainstream game ever made. The new trailer's final fight sequence played like a mash up of scenes from Brokeback Mountain, Kung Fu Hustle and Riverdance.
  • Sony made no mention of Final Fantasy XIII, which leads me to believe that we won't see the game until Holiday 2008...in Japan.
  • Sony also didn't bombard us with news of HD movie downloads. The fact that I can't watch Casino Royale on my PS3 hard drive is apalling. Where's that $599 of synergy I bought?
In other news, I sat through the Fallout 3 demo, which looked mostly promising. The setting is cool, the humor is there and the quests look like you can tackle them from multiple angles. I still got the feeling that the game could produce option fatigue. It also seemed like the twitch shooting was a more convenient option than the turn-based targeting. Bethesda's still got a year to work out those details. I saw tons of other stuff, but not much else is worth bending your ear over besides the Rock Band party.

EA filled the Troubadour and treated us to two Rock Band tunes performed by the game's developers. Then The Eagles of Death Metal and Queens of the Stone Age played loud, blistering sets. The show easily ranks at the top of my video-game related experiences. I only wish the game had been playable on the premises.

I'll try to blog about my last day of E3 early Friday morning.

Rock Band Party Flickr Set.
Square-Enix Stuff For Tim

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I am Not Responsible For Tim's Comments

I hate starting anything out with a disclaimer, but Tim's going to lose it when he gets to the special part for him at end of this.

I was doing a little research- some internet legwork for one of my many project ideas that I don't even really plan on finishing anymore- on Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, and I came across an ad for Diet 7up that I saw before a movie at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw.

That cover of "Little Red Riding Hood" is pretty cool, so I decided to try and track it down (new project...). Before I succeeded (...that I won't finish!), I ran across a moody rocker-chick doing it on YouTube! It's a rough take, but the good in it more than outweighs the bad.

When I looked through her profile I just about crapped my pants.

Because she does Karma Police too.

And, hold on to your pants Tim, she covers the Flaming Lips.

She's into good stuff. Neil Young. Mazzy Star. Sam the Sham. I hope the album project she's working on gets finished. Mine never will.

Los Angeles Diary #2

Just returned from the Microsoft press conference in Santa Monica. There were no earth-shattering announcements from this one, just a bunch of stuff we already knew and a couple tidbits that muster mostly indifference. The only really new thing we saw was footage from Resident Evil 5, which revealed the setting to be a African nation like Darfur, or maybe Haiti on a really dry day. So if the last game didn't feel mildly xenophobic to you this one ought to really drive that vibe home. I'm looking over my notebook for some other highlights:
  • A fan-band played a prog-rock rendition of the Halo theme with a Laurie Anderson-style violinist.
  • Viva Pinata has spawned a party-game spin-off that was NOT developed by Rare.
  • The pro-footballer who came onstage to demo Madden quipped
    "I know how you Microsoft dudes do, trying to cheat," as a bit of trash talk.
  • The only XBLA game I was really psyched to see in the line up was Space Giraffe
  • The live-action Halo 3 short only underlines how indebted the series is to Aliens.
  • Microsoft exec Jeff Bell said, "How about a big shout out for Golden Axe?"
  • They announced a Halo 3-themed version of the Xbox 360. Instead of displaying red rings the machine charges up a plasma pistol and blasts you in the face.
Before I dive fully into the E3 abyss I'll recap some of my for-fun excursions. I stopped by the Dublab offices to record a radio show. Later that day we hit the Moonlight Roller Rink in Glendale to celebrate Frosty's birthday. I skated up a storm only to eat it on the carpet as I was heading to grab my shoes. When I fell I racked my arm really hard on the ground and it's been aching something terrible for the past couple of days. I'm a real wimp, so it's probably just a strain. But, man, I hadn't realized how effectively I've avoided any real pain for the past several years.

Microsoft Presser Flickr set
Dublab Visit Flickr set
Frosty's Moonlight Rollerway Birthday Flickr set

Monday, July 9, 2007

Once more into the breach

- King Henry V

Subtitled: Speaking of Battletech.

Sit through the bad acting and get over the sad sets long enough to notice the few seconds of this MechCommander intro at about 2:21 through 2:53. Some of us may also have to get over watching this intro again a decade later and not remembering that it kinda sucked. Anyway, notice the touch screen and the headset that he used to command his lance? I remember noticing them the first time I played because the game would have been much easier had I had those tools. I remember blaming the game for false advertising because the game kicked my butt the first time in and I had to blame something. Something that wasn't me.

Fast forward to now. Imagine if we only had a video game machine capable of using a head set and a touch screen/stylus. A machine like that and a RTT game like MechCommander would be a match made in gamer Heaven. It would be a chance for me to get justice after years of living with that loss. And by justice I mean vengeance. If only . . .

Wait my Clan brethren! We do have such a machine! The greatest game console/handheld ever. The Nintendo DS.

Now if we only had the game.

Enter our savior. That's right my fellow SE groupies, all our hopes and dreams, AKA: Square-Enix, has announced a Mech game for the DS:

Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Strategy RPG
ESRB Rating: Not Yet Rated
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Discover the origins of the FRONT MISSION series in this explosive handheld saga that was never before localized for North America. Reborn exclusively on the Nintendo DS, FRONT MISSION introduces exciting new features, such as dual screen presentation and multiplayer modes, that update the classic that gave birth to seven beloved sequels. Using Touch Screen functionality, players command a squad of customizable mechs known as wanzers and direct them through turn-based skirmishes across the battlefields of the 21st century.

Yeah yeah, I read it too and I know it says turn-based but come on we are getting closer. Closer to my revenge. Although I feel a little like Hamlet at this point.

Wives of Source Dorks

I found this painful video and watched the whole thing. During the pain I thought it would be cool to do this with our wives. And then I thought no, no it wouldn't. Well, maybe.

I do find Brenna appealing.

Transformers @ The Arclight

Tranformers @ The Arclight Flickr Set.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cloverfield Has An ARG

I just realized that I didn't get to see the nifty giant monster trailer before Transformers. Anyway, here's a link to the first step in the Cloverfield alternate reality game.

L.A. Diary #1

My first couple of days back in Los Angeles have been packed. I spent most of Friday with my friend Mike at work at G4. For lunch we met up with another friend, John, and had a delicious lunch at Luna Park. The Nicoise Salad, as suggested by Paul (one of Mike's X-Play cronies), was excellent. I <3 seared Tuna.

John passed me the preview of his new comic, Sublife, which will be published by Fantagraphics later this year. There's some surprising, but intriguing subject matter in the new book. As well as some interesting characterization of animals, not anthropomorphized so much as well-considered. I'm looking seeing how this new book plays out.

That evening we met some friends for dinner at Hooters then went back to Mike's place for one of his bad movie nights. A bunch of folks turned out, some to say, "hi" to me, others to experience the deep hurting of Step Up and Ghost Rider.

Today, we drove out to Venice and visited the QuikSilver Mission for an inspiring talk from Steve Larosiliere and his youth program Stoked Mentoring. We went to Secret Headquarters to catch the last days of John's gallery show.

Mike had a family dinner, so I went to my old neighborhood and grabbed a burrito and tamale at Yuca's. Afterwards I caught Transformers at The Vista, a beautiful old theater that you may remember as the joint where Clarence catches the Sonny Chiba marathon in True Romance. I was surprised at how much I dug the movie. Giant robots kicking ass really can overcome rapists and boring hacker subplots. Michael Bay's car commercial aesthetic was genuinely appropriate. My friend Mike said it best, "Transformers was the movie Michael Bay was born to make."

I tried to grab a haircut after the movie, but Rudy's was just closing. So Mike and Chris picked me up and we grabbed some Pinkberry at one of the zillion storefronts that have sprouted up around Los Angeles in the two years since I moved away. The place serves frozen yogurt with fresh toppings -- nothing new, really, but their presentation is perfect and the food very tasty. They've re-branded frogurt with an iPod-style presentation.

Flickr photoset of Mike's movie night.
Flickr photoset of 7/7/07

Friday, July 6, 2007

/sigh 14 and 16 year olds

Police: Woman forced into sex with son

By BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press Writer

Two teenagers were accused of gang raping a woman and forcing her 12-year-old son to join in the attack, then beating him and pouring cleaning solution into his eyes.

Authorities allege Avion Lawson, 14, and Nathan Walker, 16, were among a group of about 10 masked suspects who forced their way into the woman's apartment in a crime-ridden housing project the night of June 18.The two were being held without bail Friday on suspicion of armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrators, sexual performance by a child, armed home invasion and aggravated battery. Both were arrested this week, but formal charges had not been filed."

Any rape case is horrible but this takes it to another level, something you can't think of even in your worst dreams," police spokesman Ted White said.According to the police report, a man knocked on the woman's door at about 9 p.m. and told her he had a flat tire.

The mother and son, whom police have not identified, went outside and were ambushed by a group of gun-wielding suspects.The victims told police they were forced back into their home and beaten and sexually assaulted. According to authorities, the men raped, sodomized and beat the woman, then forced her son to participate in the assault at gunpoint, making him have sex with his mother in front of them.The boy was then beaten and had numerous household cleaning liquids poured into his eyes, according to the police report.The suspects also stole a few hundred dollars worth of cash and jewelry, White said.

White said more arrests were pending, but he would not say if authorities had identified additional suspects. The teens in custody were not cooperating, but Lawson confessed to taking part in the attack, White said. Walker has denied involvement, White said.DNA evidence in a condom found in the victims' home linked Lawson to the crime, police said. Investigators also say they found a palm print belonging to Walker at the scene.The victims did not suffer life-threatening injuries and have been released from the hospital, White said."They're going through the county victim services for counseling," he said.

Lawson lived in Dunbar Village, the hardscrabble project where the attack occurred. Walker was apparently visiting a friend there, White said.Authorities believe the suspects all knew each other from the neighborhood, but they don't think they knew the victims directly.Prosecutors have 21 days from the time a suspect is arrested to formally file charges. Lawson was arrested Tuesday. Walker was arrested Thursday.A call to Lawson's public defender was not immediately returned. It was not known if Walker has an attorney.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.(sorry I am breaking your AP rules)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Godzilla > Megatron

Gus, have you heard about a new Godzilla movie coming out in January? There was a preview that didn't explicitly show what was causing havoc through the eyes of a going away party for a guy leaving for Japan. And then they didn't even tell us the name of the movie. Well done teaser.
So we saw Transformers.
Remember way back when you were playing BATTLETECH pencil and paper style and thought, "Wouldn't this be an excellent video game?" Remember when you were playing all of the BATTLETECH video games and thought, "This would be the coolest live action movie ever!" The opening scene to Transformers is that coolest live action BATTLETECH movie ever! And then the movie is good but you are really just waiting for the next action sequence.
And Optimus saying, "Autobots, roll out!" brings tears to your eyes because it is done so well.
So it was a good movie but I can only say that beacuse I went into it expecting Transformers cannon to be messed with. And it was. Oh boy was it.

Monday, July 2, 2007

An Odd Occurrence in the Back of My Throat

Susan and I decided a while back to split our Netflix queue so we could each choose our own movies. Sometimes we like each other's choices; sometimes not so much. And sometimes the results are... disturbing.

* * *

Coming home tonight, I eat some leftover Tuna Helper (mmm... hot tuna), run a quick Auctioneer scan, putter about a bit, then head up to the bedroom to check on the wife. Nothing much happening, not in the mood for a boardgame, garbage on the tube. Should we watch the Netflick that arrived today? Sure. I glance at the cover blurb briefly, something called Eight Below. Dogs in the Antarctic... a nature film?

Previews begin: a Little Mermaid ad. Hmm... fast forward. Studio fanfare... wait a minute -- it's a Disney flick! And not Pixar.

"What are you trying to do to me?" says I.

"You suggested we watch the movie," says she.


It begins poorly, introducing us to our hunky leading man with some heinously trite dialog, then for an hour proceeds to fail to meet my (now significantly lowered) expectations.

It's a simple story: our hero is a guide at an Antarctic research base. He takes the scientists out on their missions and makes sure they come back without blackfoot. To get to the hard-to-reach places, he employs a dog sled team, each member of which we get to meet in an excruciating expository sequence wherein our hero pets each dog, names it, then drops a frozen fish at its feet.

The canines, however, are pretty cool: Husky sled dogs who sleep in the snow and don't dick around. They are by far the best actors in the film. They save a researcher from falling in a crevasse, then pull him out of a hole in the ice through which he has stumbled after breaking his leg. (Our hero is apparently doing a shitty job.) The dogs save them both, and now it's Act II, but I get some Jack London flashes, which are just enough to keep me from heading down to my lair to get some Un'Goro Crater questing done.

The biggest winter storm in history has rolled in, and the brass orders the research outpost evacuated posthaste. There's no room in the plane for the dogs. They leave them. "We'll be back to get you in a few hours, buddy." The storm rolls in faster than expected. No one is allowed back in. For six months. I knew it was coming a half-hour ago, but I still find myself affected by the aerial shot of the 8 dogs leashed out in the yard watching the plane leave them behind.

So you get the idea. The dogs escape from their tethers and fending for themselves through the winter. They stalk seagulls. There's a fight with a really bad CGI leopard seal over a pretty cool model of a frozen beached killer whale carcass. It's all pretty pat, and all fairly calculated. I should be done with it.

But something is happening which is, for me, and unusual occurrence. I'm starting to get a little worked up. Old Jack doesn't have the strength to break his chain and dies on the leash. A lump forms. Dewey slips off an embankment while cavorting under the aurora australis, breaks something inside, and dies while his twin brother Truman snuffles and begs him to get up. A hitch, just a little. The pack finally leaves the body behind, but Max the frolicking youngling refuses to leave him for a while, then when he, too, gives up, the rest of the pack has disappeared into the blizzard and he is left alone to wander the wasteland. The screen blurs.

So, of course, most of them survive the winter, our hero makes his way back, and all are reunited. I figure that's it -- the odd happenings in the back of my throat are a strange anomaly.

But the credits roll, and I'm suddenly awash in flashbacks of our dog Josie, a Doberman with diabetes who we had to put down last year. (It snuck up on us, and turned out to be fairly awful, involving her vomiting the contents of her bowels onto the vet's floor when she began to go into organ failure, just prior to the final injection.) I look down through a haze of tears at our two current dogs, Duke & Leia, 200-odd pounds of Rott/Dobe/Chow mix, both lying comfortably at my feet, looking up at me, and I am suddenly on the floor with them, sobbing. For Josie. For these dogs whom I love and will someday die. For the fucking dog actors in the fucking Disney film. I cradle them tightly to me, while Susan looks down from the bed and smiles softly. I'm glad they don't pull away. Leia licks my face. Duke farts.

* * *

It's been a long time. More years than I can even guess. I had forgotten how husked out you feel. How your head aches from the tension in the back of your throat. How tiring it is. But I also feel kind of relieved, because treacle or not, I had actually been touched to the core by something, which doesn't happen often. I wasn't sure if I still had the capacity to feel so deeply. My cynicism is so ingrained that I thought I might be... broken? No. That's too strong. Perhaps just rusted. Apparently not.

Whether I have this kind of empathy for humans is still an open question, I suppose, but I like to think it's possible.

So thank you, Walt Disney, for making a crappy movie, and making me cry like a little girl. I needed that.

I Welcome Our New, Monstrous Overlords

Like Tim, I too am a fan of escapism. For my dollar, I prefer outsider escape to the kind that Hollywood comes up with. Because, honestly, Godzilla should have been a slam-dunk. Maybe it's no coincidence that the writers of the movie that set giant monster movies back a decade also wrote the increasingly tiresome Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. Check out the trailer to D-War -- it's a Korean giant-monster that imagines dragons and their slayers duking it out in the modern-day. It looks quite a bit cheesier than The Host (which, I might add, was pure, unbridled awesome). Those of you with an extremely high tolerance for movie cheese should check out Godzilla Final Wars -- it's a nutso monster battle royale from the guy who directed Versus, a Evil Dead-influenced low-budget actioner that pit the yakuza against zombies.

Blog Archive