You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

Posted in Nerd, Random on January 30th, 2008 by Tom

This entry is going to be all about fun!

Recently, I’ve been hitting the YouTube a lot harder than I would say is typical for me. I mean like… really hard. Towards the end we’ll talk about my YouTube hall of fame, but right now I just want to share a few movie-related items I found.

Speed Racer’s Hollywood Treatment:

I am SO excited for this movie. I’m really hoping that me and my dad can go see it together, because even to this day he still tries for the occasional Speed Racer joke. I never get any of them, because I saw Speed Racer for a grand total of probably… 3 episodes, but I know the characters and the story well enough to know that this film is going to be amazing.

Aside from all that: Christina Ricci is Trixie:

Wow. Have I still had a huge crush on her since Casper? Yes.
Is she the entire reason I will be seeing Speed Racer come May? Almost.

I guess I just like that America has a sortof cultural mythos building up. We take ideas that originated from a long time ago, which have long since run their course, and we paint them a different color scheme, hire some new actors, and it’s done. The entire push to movie-ize classics from the comic book medium is a really good example of this. The point is that this stuff is cool. Example: X-Men. When that comic started up in the sixties it was awesome becuase the guys had costumes and powers.

Today, costumes and powers aren’t all that “cool”. So they took the X-Men and made them more interesting people with better costumes and better powers.

I guess I wonder if I’ll live long enough to see this stuff revived again, and should that happen, will I shake my head in dismay, convinced that my generations iteration was in fact the correct one, or… perhaps… will I get really excited about seeing something cool get made cooler? Who knows.

I should ask my father. He liked the original Star Trek way back when it was first in syndication, in the sixties, and now, this!

Sure, it’s a lame teaser trailer, but this Christmas, we’re going to have a brand-new, very shiny, J.J. Abramized Trek Film, which, if successful, will probably serve as a complete reboot for the film franchise.

How old is Star Trek?! 40 years old! I’m just amazed that things can have such staying power. The Original Series (TOS, to those in the know) was so hokey; (SEE: Constantly the Enterprise crew found themselves journeying to 20th Century for god only knows what reason…) how come we still just eat it up year after year?

I suppose none of this should really come as a surprise though. People still read Homer’s Odyssey (and that’s older than Pavel Chekov’s wig), and that stupid movie about Beowulf came out a while ago. It just scares me that sometimes I feel like there are no new ideas. Everything is simply a permutation of another archetype, repackaged and resold to people who don’t understand that it’s all been done before.

Some people feel like this as well, perhaps a little too strongly. I’m sure you’ve met them before. They’re the people who saw all three Lord of the Rings films at midnight, only to complain every evening that “the book was better.” My question to such people is this: Where the hell do you get off?

But why deny them that? Why deny kids today things like Star Trek and Speed Racer simply because those stories had runs decades ago? Why would you stifle such movements to reinvent stories in different media for different audiences?! Especially, as was the case for Tolkien’s books, you can make them better?!

Tom, how could you say such a thing?! You can’t knock J.R.R.!! He’s a legend. Those books are beloved by fantasy-readers worldwide, for decades! How dare you speak such-

I know, I know. I’ll probably catch a lot of flack for saying that the film was better than the book. Whatever. To you, I say: think about all the people who will NEVER sit through a Tolkien book. I’m in the middle of my second go at the LotR set, and I had forgotten how terribly boring they were sometimes. They’re books about walking somewhere. Every so often… something minutely important to the overall plot happens.

There’s an entire chapter about getting lost in a forest. Entire paragraphs explaining how tired the hobbits were after a days walk. And the songs. Good night the songs. Why?! It’s lost on me. I am entirely unknowing of their value… Perhaps that is just a ramification of my hatred of poetry as a medium (Why? I wish I knew.), but whatever.

Case in point: It’s got a terrific plot. It’s an incredible story. However, there’s a lot of people who are far less willing than I am to simply shake their heads and shrug at the overabundance of lyrical verse in the Lord of the Rings, who will never read that behemoth of a novel. The film version does an amazing job of conveying the emotion and environment that made so much of the story what it is, partially because of the media. Ten pages about trees suddenly becomes a 15 second pan of a spooky forest. Granted, that’s a simplification, but so efficiently does it convey descriptional aspects, I’d wager it tells the story better than the written word does.

So yeah. I’m a big fan of using movies to get stories out there.

I digress though, today’s entry was supposed to be about fun!!
What’s the most fun thing I’ve heard about recently? A Veteran of a Foreign War- Voytek. He’s a Bear that fought in World War II. A Bear!!

So lesson learned Nazi Germany: Do Not Anger the Polish. They’re like Ben Kenobi: strike them down and they shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Ian and I are eagerly awaiting the film treatment of Voytek’s heartwarming story of heroism, entitled “…Like Any Man”, taken from the article quote which I find completely and entirely unbelievable:

“He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man.”

How?! I don’t understand. I can’t imagine that bears even posses that level of motor function! However, it would make hella good CGI, and John Williams could all write the score and such.

Paramount, MGM, Universal? I’m looking at you. Watch out for this summer’s breakout indie-screenplay-to-get-made-into-a-big-film, “…Like Any Man”.







[Excerpt pilfered from a forum entry on the subject; read the discussion at your own risk]

So that’s it for fun entry. Political entry to follow.

Personal Jesus

Posted in Music, Random, School on January 20th, 2008 by Tom

I took a little break (Past Three Weeks), but now I’m getting back into the swing of things. Finished my first week of the Spring Semester, which is shaping up to be quite an undertaking.

  • Modern Physics-
    We’re gearing up to pick back up where we started. Seems like things should be more applied though, which suits me more than the crazy theoretical stuff.

  • Mathematical Physics-
    By some miracle, I’ve seen everything on the first half of the syllabus for this class previously. That should help to offset the fact that we move at break-neck pace, and Taner “…likes to give hard tests.” ehhhh….

  • Ordinary Differential Equations-
    My mathematics professor from last semester’s husband is teaching my math course this semester. How odd. This stuff seems difficult, but it is probably my last hourah/foray into formal Mathematics, so I can’t help but be a little excited.

  • Intermediate German II-
    Another final surge in a given discipline, this is my last German class. Thank god. I’ve progressed too far and learned too little… eventually they’re going to figure out that I don’t belong in there. Hopefully I can keep up the charade just a little longer.

  • General Chemistry II-
    Speaking of “last time I will ever do this ever”, this is a similar case to the above. My last formal Chemistry course, and I don’t know quite enough to be in it. I have about a month’s worth of material to self-teach myself before I’ll be comfortably caught up with the class, by my estimate.

    Also I haven’t done Chemistry in seven months because I hate it.
    I like the new teacher though… Dr. Baughman makes the occasional Star Wars Joke, which I to respect, regardless of how it’s executed.

So we were eating some meal a few days ago, and I noticed some ROTC kid in his camouflage (a word I still rely on the computer to spell correctly for me…), and I noticed something that had kinda been bothering me for a while. When I was growing up, camo looked like this. It’s all big and blotchy, and in non-military settings, tacky as hell. (SEE: Every third patron of the Kirksville Wal-Mart…)

This guy though… he looked like he fell through a PhotoShop hackjob. His camo was all pixelated. Which seemed odd to me. I know the Army was all about being super high-tech (Thanks, Don Rumsfeld), but digitizing the camo seemed a little excessive to me, if purely for the sake of. However, a little research revealed that this is not entirely the case.

There’s apparently actually some advantage of looking like a blown-up thumbnail image, so good for them.
I still think camo’s ugly, but if it gets them less shot, maybe that’s an acceptable trade-off.
[I would like you to note here my support of the troops, for future political purposes]

In other news, since coming back with my guitar, Ian and I have been working on some songs. We’re putting together a pretty rockin’ Radiohead cover set that spans nearly all of their albums. I’m really excited about it. If we do a good enough job, eventually at the end of the semester, we’re going to give recording it a shot.

After that, who knows? At this point, the premise of our musical endeavor [please note the lack of the use of the word “band”] is do this Radiohead thing. If that goes well, we might pick another artist, and pick our favorite stuff from their catalog, and cover it. I’m really excited for it to work, plus it’s got me playing guitar regularly for the first time since before I left for college, which is a skill I’m glad hasn’t deteriorated too terribly. Not that I rocked that hard before, but I do enjoy playing.

Tonight was the Nevada/South Carolina double-header of the Primary season, which was pretty anti-climactic. I turned the TV on at around 8:30, and everything had already happened. Go Hillary, because I think you’re awesome, and you won! Go Huckabee because you’re a hillarious tool who almost won! Go Rudy Guliani for phoning yet another crucial primary in!

But more on that later.
I’ve got a gigantic political segment brewing, chronicling my journey to Iowa Caucus earlier this year, up through the present when I post it. It’s been tumultuous and pretty fun to watch, and I’ve got plenty to comment/complain on, so get excited.

Sorry for the delay again.
Once I get that next entry out, we should be getting a good pace started for the new year.
Or at least I’ll try.
Becuase it’s worked so damn well the past six years I’ve tried to make that a New Years Resolution thing.

[For future reference: This year’s goals were to remove a certain curse word from my vocabulary permanently (it’s a bad one I hardly ever say, but feel terrible when I do, and it never gets the hilarious reaction I’m going for, so off with it!), and to floss more, as well as previously mentioned: blogging more.]

ALSO: If my grades are really awesome by mid-terms, I’m thinking of applying for a job that I could hold through the summer when I’ll be here for additional classes. In case you were wondering: THERE ARE NO TOWER CLEANERS IN KIRKSIVLLE.

…thank heavens…