Penny Arcade PCGamer Gam Trailer


Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together Cover


More Brothers Bloom


Danny Boyle Piece From 3QuarksDaily

From 3Quarks Daily:

Grab Bag: Danny Boyle

If the legacy of Patricia Highsmith could be said to live on through the work of any contemporary artist, it would surely be the British filmmaker Danny Boyle. Boyle, who has worked in a range of genres—from 2002’s zombie flick 28 Days Later to Millions, a wondrous children’s fable directed two years later—is a director with a vision. Much like Highsmith, he rarely treads lightly. His touch is definitive and recognizable to anyone acquainted with his work. However, his isn’t the first name you associate with the modern-day auteur. He, like Highsmith, is more an artist-craftsman than a flashy star—rarely do their personalities overwhelm their work—a director whose work appeals to those uninterested in film’s form but whose fan’s immediately recognize his narrative and visual style.

Through this interplay Boyle’s films bridge the gap between mainstream and independent movies. When they came out, his Shallow Grave (1994) and Trainspotting (1996) catered for a very different audience than The Beach (2000), as Boyle temporary abandoned the gritty Brit genre in favor of a glossy Leonardo DiCaprio blockbuster which, ultimately, earned him the most critical derision. Unlike many of his peers, Boyle traverses genre and thus creates two parallel audiences for his movies: the genre audience likely to only see one of his movies and uninterested in him as a filmmaker, and the audience comprising his fans. Typically, the former group tends to be more disappointed with his films than the latter, who have come to expect of the director certain key successes: a solid soundtrack, engaging story, and generally beautiful photography.

Boyle, it seems, falls just short of winning over the adulation of genre audiences. Like Highsmith, he suffers from a certain kind of carelessness with regard to narrative, requiring audience members to abandon logic (even that curious kind of movie-logic that allows us suspend belief and accept the undead and star wars alike). Perhaps this comes from fact that Boyle’s films try and establish practical explanations for unworldly situations: Sunshine sets out a long explanation regarding the looming death of the sun and the mechanics for our salvation. 28 Days Later doesn’t proffer a world in which zombies exist, but rather tries to explain their origin; begging more questions than it answers.

Boyle thus tries to weave a certain kind of drama out of extraordinary situations that relate to believable experiences and pedestrian concerns. Like Highsmith before him, Boyle is concerned with revealing threat in the quotidian. Both Boyle and Highsmith set out stories in recognizable worlds floating on an undercurrent of seething tension. Small gestures and brief moments disrupt the tension, causing dramatic action that is both shocking and, strangely, unsurprising. They share in Alfred Hitchcock’s fascination with ordinary accidentally implicated into worlds of horror and intrigue. Highsmith, whose work has been adapted for film countless times and has produced both Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951) and Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), and Boyle, who has collaborated extensively with novelist Alex Garland on Sunshine, 28 Days Later, and The Beach, are both figures whose work is both literary and filmic, rooted across media.

Each, however, is bound to their medium of choice through their formal sensibilities. Highsmith’s style is unmistakably literary and Boyle rather unabashedly exploits (cheap) film techniques. Somehow, he employs an MTV-pop-cum-Baz Luhrmann aesthetic with a surprising degree of grace—a signature style that unites his movies. The scenes in which the brilliant Christopher Eccleston loses his marbles in Shallow Grave; DiCaprio’s descent into his hyper-aware hunter state in The Beach; Cillian Murphy’s salvation of the human colony in 28 Days Later; and the dramatic final scene as Cillian Murphy once again comes to humanity’s salvation in Sunshine all share in a set of what have become Boyle’s signature trademark for narrative climax. These scenes feature blurry focusing, wildly mobile camerawork, rapid editing, and confused perspectives to achieve what can only be described as a frenetic environment. Boyle has maintained these techniques across a diverse group of cinematographers, from Alwin Kuchler (who shot Lynne Ramsay’s stunning Morvern Callar and Ratcatcher) to the superlative Anthony Dod Mantle (the preferred photographer of Dogme founders Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg), and while the films at large are totally different visually, Boyle’s style prevails over these moments.

The transformation of his protagonists reveals Boyle’s fascination with the Nietzschean übermensch. His themes of nihilism and the abandonment of traditional moral systems all parallel the philosopher’s own interests, and are a extension of the same narratives crafted by Highsmith decades earlier. Like Tom Ripley or the hundreds of protagonists of Highsmith’s short stories, Boyle’s characters transcend their humanity during narrative climax to confront not only adversity, but the traditional worlds in which the narrative itself is grounded. Nietzsche’s influences over Boyle shouldn’t be passed off as merely an afterthought and the comparison isn’t meant to be heavy-handed, but it would be remiss not to at least acknowledge the commonality.

I also don’t mean to gush over Boyle by aligning him with figures as illustrious as Nietzsche or Patricia Highsmith. I mean only to explain why he warrants attention as a director and not the sum of his products. Highsmith, for example, has a remarkable ability to keep her verbal cool when describing horrific scenes. Her descent into violence isn’t marked stylistically or structurally, as is Boyle’s. Hers instead is a world whose very consistency renders its violence all the more terrifying. She doesn’t seek to disaggregate the horror from the tension nor the bloody from the quotidian. They are the same, and they are simultaneous. Boyle, on the other hand, creates a dichotomous world of climax and latency. His threat underlies both, yet he literalizes the expression “to break into chaos.” This is a choice, of course, yet in my mind one that detracts from the potential power of his carefully constructed situations. Ultimately, Boyle and Highsmith create worlds both pedestrian and accessible, that is until they reach the tipping point and our empathetic ties carry us through their terrifying descent.

Posted by Jaffer Kolb at 12:00 AM



Mr "I'll Do Anything For the Company" Guy


The Home Front Short Story

Books in 2007, brutal

Basket Case
Skinny Dip
The Quick Red Fox
Deadly Shade of Gold
Roving Mars
The Road

At one point I almost did the crying and the sad. In public no less. Just a brutal fucking book.



Flash Theme

Armageddon Budget Quote

President: We didn't see this thing coming?
Dan: Well, our object collision budget's about a million dollars. That allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and beg'n your pardon sir, but it's a big-ass sky.

That quote can apply to a lot of government projects, such as rebuilding levees.

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Bruce Campbell - Old Spice Hungry Like a Wolf

This proves why 2.5 hours of Bruce Campbell would have been better than the reast of Spider-Man 3 (his French waiter scene is straight out of the 30's and is the best part of a shitty movie). This is also to make up for the gay Kiss porn down below:

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John From Cincinnati

Matt Fraction has described it as "Milch doing Twin Peaks as surf noir."

I might have to order HBO now.


Bubba Mahne - YouTube Idol



Moriarty on Darabont Directing The Shield

I like the fact Darabont found he could change:

Hey, guys. "Moriarty" here. Something to keep in mind as you watch tonight's episode.

It was directed by Frank Darabont. Yep. Mr. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. And this episode is the reason you're going to see the version of THE MIST that you'll see this fall. I hope you've read Quint's amazing set reports. One of the things he discussed at length is the way Frank's changed his visual style for this film. He's always been a guy who went to great lengths to control every bit of his frame, to compose his films in a very classical style.

And if you're a fan of THE SHIELD, you know that's not the visual style of this show. Not at all. And when Frank agreed to direct this, it completely changed him. He had to adapt, and I think it set something free in him. In TV, you have to keep things moving. When we shot our MASTERS episodes, they were incredibly fast schedules. Doing this directly led to him realizing how he could make a monster movie with a pulse, something that would energize King's story.

So check out tonight's episode with that in mind. Just a cool something extra, as if you weren't already planning to watch since this season is kicking such serious ass so far. Viva la Shane.



The Brothers Bloom - AICN

Set visit from/by Quint of AintItCoolNews.

Also, while searching for maybe a hidden trailer out there, came across this:



Wally Schira Heads Out

Astronaut Walter Schirra dies at 84

By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer

SAN DIEGO - Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr., who as one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts combined the Right Stuff — textbook-perfect flying ability and steely nerves — with a pronounced rebellious streak, died Thursday at 84.

He was the only astronaut to fly in all three of
NASA's original manned spaceflight programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. Although he never walked on the moon, Schirra laid some of the groundwork that made the lunar landings possible and won the space race for the United States.

Schirra died of a heart attack at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, said Ruth Chandler Varonfakis, a family friend and spokeswoman for the San Diego Aerospace Museum.

In 1962, the former Navy test pilot became the fifth American in space — behind Alan Shepard, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, John Glenn and Scott Carpenter — and the third American to orbit the Earth, circling the globe six times in a flight that lasted more than nine hours.

Schirra returned to space in 1965 as commander of Gemini 6. Some 185 miles above Earth, he guided his two-man capsule to within a few feet of Gemini 7 in the first rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit.

On his third and final flight, aboard Apollo 7 in 1968, he helped set the stage for the landing of men on moon during the summer of 1969.

An inveterate prankster, he could be grumpy and recalcitrant in space, most famously during his Apollo mission.

But "on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, he flew all three and did not make a mistake," said Christopher Kraft, who was Schirra's Mercury and Gemini flight director and later head of NASA's Johnson Space Center. "He was a consummate test pilot. The job he did on all three was superb."

Of the Mercury Seven, only Glenn and Carpenter are still alive.

Schirra was named one of the Mercury Seven in 1959. Supremely confident, he sailed through rigorous astronaut training with what one reporter called "the ease of preparing for a family picnic."

"He was a practical joker, but he was a fine fellow and a fine aviator," Carpenter recalled Thursday. "He will be sorely missed in our group."

Roger Launius, a space historian at the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said Schirra "had a personality that was fun and effervescent. He had the gift of gab. He was able to take complex engineering and scientific ideas and translate that to something that was understandable."

Launius recalled that Schirra smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto his Gemini flight and also reported seeing a UFO: Santa Claus.

"At times he gave us a hard time during his flight; technically what he did was superb," Kraft said.

Schirra blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Oct. 3, 1962, aboard the Sigma 7 Mercury spacecraft. "I'm having a ball up here drifting," Schirra said from space before making a perfect splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

His Gemini mission represented a major step forward in the nation's space race with the Soviet Union, proving that two ships could dock in space.

Kraft said Schirra showed great poise during his Gemini flight when a problem on the launch pad cropped up. Schirra would have been warranted in triggering a launch ejection, but instead, he held steady, and the launch went off OK, Kraft said.

Schirra's Apollo mission in October 1968 restored the nation's confidence in the space program, which had been shaken a year earlier when three astronauts, including Grissom, were killed in a fire on the launch pad.

The Apollo 7 crew shot into space atop a Saturn rocket, a version of which would later carry men to the moon. But Schirra and his two fellow crewmembers were grumpy for most of the 11-day trip. All three developed bad colds that proved to be a major nuisance in zero gravity.

The following year, Schirra left NASA and retired from the Navy with the rank of captain, having logged 295 hours 154 minutes in space. He became a commentator with CBS.

"Mostly it's lousy out there," Schirra said in 1981 on the occasion of the first space shuttle flight. "It's a hostile environment, and it's trying to kill you. The outside temperature goes from a minus 450 degrees to a plus 300 degrees. You sit in a flying Thermos bottle."

A native of Hackensack, N.J., Schirra was practically born to fly. His father was a fighter pilot during World War I and later barnstormed at county fairs with Schirra's mother, who sometimes stood on the wing of a biplane during flights.

Schirra took his first flight with his father at age 13 and already knew how to fly when he left home for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Schirra flew 90 combat missions during the Korean War. He was credited with shooting down one Soviet MiG-15 and possibly a second. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals.

In 1984, he moved to the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe, serving on corporate boards and as an independent consultant. His favorite craft became the Windchime, a 36-foot sailboat.

In one of his last interviews, last month with The Associated Press, Schirra said he was struck by the fragility of Earth and the lack of borders.

"I left Earth three times. I found no place else to go. Please take care of Spaceship Earth," he said.

Survivors include his wife, Josephine, daughter Suzanne and son Walter Schirra III.


Associated Press writers Mike Schneider in Orlando, Fla., Seth Borenstein in Washington and Rasha Madkour in Houston contributed to this report.


On the Net:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov

Astronaut Hall of Fame: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/visitKSC/attractions/fame.asp


Webcomic labeled "terroristic"

From Diesel Sweeties:

Webcomics = Terrorism? Whaa?
Posted by rstevens on May 3rd, 2007

I’ve been meaning to post about Three Panel Soul, the new comic by Ian and Matt of MacHall fame- unfortunately I’ve got to do so under less-than-wonderful circumstances. I love this new strip because I’m finding it a lot more minimalist and relatable… also ridiculously funny.

Matt was working as a contractor for a branch of the government. He made the mistake of being interested in the hobby of paper target shooting at about the same time as the VA Tech shootings and talking to someone about this hobby at work. Keep in mind he wasn’t even talking about those shootings, in fact he was discussing how he wanted a gun which would make it difficult to kill someone.

He was promptly fired and not allowed back to work because people were scared of him.

To top it all off, he was later visited by police detectives for making a comic about his experience, because it was a “borderline terroristic threat.” (Is “terroristic” even a word? Did they get that from the Colbert report?)

I’m not a lawyer or a reporter or anything, but I would recommend anyone who was one of those things to contact Matt. ( machallboyd ATZORS gmail.com ) If you’re a cartoonist or a webcomics fan, spread his story around. The more people who know about this, the better. He’s a good dude who deserves your support.

Please feel free to spread this post any way you like, including via Digg.

And from Matt Boyd

Well, it's time to post the story of my untimely separation from the company. I really wanted to tell the whole event through comics, because that's more my thing. But I'm told the story is about to get some public attention, so I'm writing it all out.

Continued from Three Panel Soul.

A few weeks ago, I got interested in buying a rifle. Nothing much, just a .22 for shooting targets. I'm not a gun person, and a I didn't mention it to my parents because they'd be aghast, but it seemed like fun. Guns are neat!

I'd been doing IT work since August for a Navy project. One Friday, I mentioned it to my co-worker. I don't remember how it came up, exactly. My roommate works in the same office, so we'd been talking about it earlier, and she probably overheard and got in on the conversation. The point is, she heard about it, and the three of us talked about some gun stuff. They're both ex-Army, so they knew a fair amount.

So the next Monday afternoon. she asks if I'd bought the gun over the weekend. I hadn't, actually. I'd gone by the local fishing and hunting place to see what they had in stock, and they had plenty of .22s, but I wanted to check some reviews online first. Plus there was the question of where to actually shoot the thing. The local gun club has a long, long waiting list since it's the only game in town. There's a state park with a public range, but it's an hour's drive away.

So I told her I hadn't, but I'd decided on a bolt-action instead of a semi-automatic. They generally have the same magazine capacity, but are more accurate. My roommate wandered over from his cube, and we chewed the fat some more about gun stuff.

I was explaining why I'd chosen a .22. As I said, I wanted it to shoot paper targets. A .22 is a tiny round, and is pretty useless for "home defense." (Read: killing a guy.) "You'd practically have to put it in someone's face and pull the trigger," I said. "And even then pull the trigger a few more times to make sure the job is done."

As it turned out, this was the same day as the VT shootings.

Now, I'd read about it in online by then, but it hadn't occurred to me yet that it would be a thing. Not that it makes it any more tolerable, but people dying in large groups is a pretty common news feature. It didn't occur to me that someone would connect the Virginia Tech massacre to my admittedly colorful example demonstrating the relative non-lethality of the .22 round.

I don't know much about what happened after that. What I gather is that some people overheard me over the tops of the cubicles. They went home, watched it the news and mulled it over. I gather word started to spread about me in the office, but all I really know is that a group of people went to the civilian management the next day to say they didn't feel safe.

It went up the office chain of command to the military officer in charge of the project, and he made the decision to take me off the project.

So by around 10 a.m., the government had decided to let me go. I was called to my contracting company's office a few miles down the road with about five minutes of notice.

As a brief aside for those unfamiliar with government contract work, I should explain that I had two organizations to answer to. The Navy requests someone to do a job, and the contracting agencies provide one of their employees. I was hired by my contractor to work at this project specifically. The contractor had invested about $6,000 in training me for this work, so they had been asking me if I would like to be reassigned somewhere else when the project ended in December.

When my contractor boss asked me to come to the headquarters in five minutes "for a followup meeting with HR," I knew something big was happening. Usually all appointments are made at least a day in advance. I figured I was being fired, but I didn't know what for. (I had some guesses. My employment record isn't spotless. I slept through my alarm and was late for work several times, and that's a big deal when working for the military.)

They sat me down in a conference room with my two supervisors and two HR people, and once everyone was settled, they got down to business. Had I had a conversation with another party about shooting someone in the face?

I was relieved, since it was such an easy thing to explain, and told them about the conversation. They agreed that didn't sound like a threat to them either, but I'd already been ordered off the project by the client, and under the circumstances, it would be difficult for them to find work for me elsewhere. I was to turn in my office keys and passcards, sign my discharge papers and go home. I would get two weeks pay and a good reference if needed. Someone else would clean out my desk for me and return my belongings.

Around this time, my roommate and my other coworker were being told what had happened. They couldn't tell them in advance, of course, in case word got back to me I was being fired and I went on a shooting spree. My coworkers explained the context of the conversation, but by then the decision was made. Since all the complaints were held in anonymity and even my contracting company didn't know how many people came forward, but I got the impression it was a fairly large group.

I was stunned, naturally. They asked me how I was. I said I was angry, of course.

First, one of my coworkers was soon going to have to leave for several weeks to tend to a family health crisis. I was supposed to cover for her while she was gone, and she was already worried I wouldn't be up to the task. Now what was she going to do?

Secondly, I said, this was a Navy facility. We were in the business of killing people. Sure, we were far removed from it. We just ran a computer system for the military finances. But I felt people there went to to distance themselves from the end product. We never talked about soldiers. We talked about warfighters. We never really talked obout what we did, except on some variation of "supporting the warfighter." My running joke was that I'd worked for the command for five years, on and off, but I'd never actually learned what we did.

I'm not sure why I brought that up, exactly, but I was upset. I guess felt like I'd been "let go," another polite euphamism, for not watching what I'd said, when I'd been thinking for so long that people had been watching their words far too carefully.

I wouldn't usually bother mentioning that, but it's going to come up in part two.

So I turned in all my card keys, company IDs and vehicle tags, then stumbled out. I drove to my dad's office first, just to lay out what happened. I was pretty badly shaken. My roommate met me there (Actually they'd asked my roommate to turn in his keys as well, but just for the day. Apparently I might take them and return to the office and go on a shooting spree. I didn't find that out until later.)

Well, everyone who knew me was pretty stunned. The most common reaction was "You? A shooting spree? YOU?"

Lots of people advised me to get legal counsel, but I didn't have much of a leg to stand on. Since Maryland is an at-will employment state, anyone can be fired for any reason, unless it's age, sexual, religious or racial discrimination. It may have been unfair, but it wasn't illegal.

I got a nice letter from two of my government bosses, expressing regret that it went down the way it did.

Since I wasn't officially "fired," but rather "let go due to lack of tasking," I was eligible for unemployment insurance. I had good references if I needed them. There was no official record I was ever fired for talking about a gun in the workplace, if you don't count that unofficial letter from my bosses. The sensible thing to do would be to just to forget it, get another job and not talk about it, and it would be like it never happened.

Well, I'm not that sensible, as you can see. I posted about it a few places. I wanted to tell people what had happened.

Well, that's about the end of part one of the story. I'm gonna give Gary Tyrrell a ring back and grab something to eat. Then I'll start writing part two, which begins waking up several hours ago with four police detectives knocking on my bedroom door.