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King Kong Lives!
Stephen King writes like a schizophrenic
Silent Hill movie teaser
Astoria Food Review
Lost is back
Polaris is a triple
Winter Garden Holiday
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Yes, that's right. I've finally sprung a few bucks from my wallet and gone and got me some honest-to-goodness webhosting.
My new site is: http://www.kenvsthecity.com. So head on over there.
It's just my blog for now, but I'm working on a new site design that will also display my entire writing portfolio, photos, resume, projects, and anything else I happen to be up to.
I've moved from Blogger to Wordpress, and it's taking me a little time to learn how to design a Wordpress template. (it's a little different from Blogger) But the same content that's here is there now.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I finally went to the movies and saw Peter Jackson's King Kong. I must say, I was touched. King Kong, King of the jungle; misunderstood, in love, and put down by machine gun bullets. Love hurts.
What man hasn't felt so deeply for a woman that, despite all his strength, he is brought low? There are few things in life, other than a woman, that will cause a man to do great things. And you can take the beast out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the beast.
While I actually find the idea that a beautiful blonde could fall in love with a giant gorilla (and vice-versa) kind of absurd, I didn't mind because it was fantasy. One of the things I believe that defines good fantasy is not its alienation from reality (escapism), but its connection to it. Good fantasy personifies something in human nature that's present in the real world, and makes you see it in a brand new way. In that way, it's similar to a philosophical allegory, except that philosophical allegories are usually boring, and I doubt anyone would pay $10.75 admission to see Plato's Cave on the silver screen.
As fantasy, Kong was brilliant. The movie has everything: action, adventure, romance, and a 900 lb. gorilla who sits pretty much wherever he wants to. 2/3rds of the movie takes place on Skull Island and features dinosaurs, giant bugs, savage natives, human sacrifice, sailors with tommy guns, and of course Kong. The action here is intense, but it didn't feel drawn out at all. This part of the movie is also filled with discovery. It feels like your right there with the characters, exploring the remains of an ancient jungle civilization that has fallen into savagery and decay.
The second part of the movie takes place back in civilization, and features a breathtaking view of 1920's New York. Digital effects are awesome. I've been reading some short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald and this is his New York. If I get the movie on DVD, I'm going to have to watch it in black and white to see if it looks resembles movies from the period.
It was a very modernistic move, done with 21st century action and digital effects. In addition to the 1920's setting, King Kong explored period themes of society and nature, and classic themes of love and loss.
Actually, I felt the movie was way too long. However, the story is so intreaguing, and the action so non-stop, that I have no idea where in the world where Peter Jackson should cut things out. I hear he actually cut out a whole 45 minutes that will doubtless re-appear in the DVD version.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
This morning at 4:30AM I went to the American Museum of Natural History for their live coverage of the return of NASA's Stardust mission. Stardust was launched in 1999, and then passed by a comet, collecting cometary particles. Scientists hope the that by analyzing the dust they'll be able to find out more about what lies in the outer edge solar system, called the Kuiper Belt. It's the first mission to bring back extra-planetary samples since the Apollo moon landings.
The landing went off without a hitch, and through the fuzzy resolution of the infrared cameras, you could sort of see the return capsule touch down in the Utah desert. It took them a while to find it with the helicopters after it landed, and there was no live video of the actual recovery, but it was interesting to watch. It became one of the brightest objects in the night sky for those on the west coast as it streaked across the sky at 29,000 miles per hour. You got to watch the control room as everyone applauded each successful part of the recovery. The capsule entered the atmosphere on time, and the parachutes deployed properly.The capsule touched down at a lazy 10 miles per hour.
Afterwards we went to the planetarium to experience the museum's very cool Virtual Universe presentation. With the stars overhead, I promptly took a nap.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
He makes up square details and then hammers them into a round story with a ball peen hammer until they fit. He's extremely long-winded, which explains the length of some of his novels.
For the last year or so I've been reading through Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Currently I'm reading the Song of Susannah. His stories are fun and engaging, and I can see why people like them. But why, oh why, can't he just stick with the story at-hand?
The overarching story in the Dark Tower series chronicles the journey of Gunslinger Roland Deschain and his companions Eddie, Susannah, and Jake of New York on their quest through a wierd fantasy land that's half-western, half-sci-fi, half-Mad Max, and half-horror to a place where all worlds meet called the Dark Tower.
It's a straightforward storyline; the Journey has been the main plot element in hundreds of great stories from the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien to On The Road by Jack Kerouac to the Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. But for some reason, King seems to wander off on random tangents, taking his characters on adventures that have nothing to do with the quest for the Dark Tower. It's extremely annoying. In fact, if it wasn't for his friggin awesome characters, his books would be sitting there, rotting on my shelf.
For instance, 90% of book 4, Wizard and Glass, was a flashback. The flashback would've made an excellent story by itself, but since it was part of a book that was supposed to be part of the search for the Dark Tower, it really got in the way. Wizard and Glass is an 800 page tome. That's a lot of superfluous information. As I read it, I kept yelling at the characters in my mind to get the backstory over-with so they could focus on the journey at-hand.
The Song of Susannah started directly where the last book, the Wolves of the Calla, left off. Susannah had become posessed by one of her multiple personalities, and run away somewhere. I really could've cared less. Where's the forward progress? I just keep wanting them to hurry up, bring her back, and keep journeying towards that tower. That is the gist of the story, isn't it?
It also seems like they keep on finding random mysitcal symbols and magical artifacts that have just been laying around. It's a way to expand the story and keep it moving, but I'm not so sure it's one I like. It's good to make stuff up as you go, but some of the things that King is creating seem to have no relationship with anything that has previously been in the story.
For example, the number 19 suddenly appeared one or two books ago Its presented in such a way that it should have some sort of significance. However, nothing in any of the previous books even mentions that number in any particular way. And also, all of a sudden, every character in the story seemed to have some sort of reverence for the number, but no one has explained to the reader why. The characters seem to get it. Why don't they let me in on the gag?
Luckily (I'm in the middle of the book right now), the characters seem to have gotten their act back together again (it took them three whole books to do it) and regained the path that will lead them to the Tower. Roland Deschain is all hardcore and shooting people again, so that's good. Stephen King just really really needs a good editor to cut some of the fat.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Sony has just released a new teaser for their movie adaptation of the Japanese survival horror game Silent Hill. Could this actually be a video game movie that doesn't suck? How hard could it be to make something better than Doom: the movie?
All I know is Silent Hill 2 was one of the few games that made me nearly jump out of my skin. I was so affected by the amazing presentation at one point that whenever I would play it I had to turn on all the lights in the house.
Now if they could put that experience into a movie, it would truly be something worth paying $10.75 to see in a dark theater.
tanechigai: Astoria Food Review
My friend Amanda has briefly reviewed some places to eat near where she lives in Astoria, Queens. I haven't spent much time wandering around Astoria, but it's always good to know where to fill my belly in case I ever do.
Yay! Lost is back.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Hubble takes a closer look at the North Star, revealing Polaris A's 2nd companion. Now that's what I call a telescope.
Scientists are going to use the motion of Polaris A's companion stars to calculate its mass.