Frankenstein Essays

Jennifer Howard's The Birth of Frankenstein:

Nobody shouts "It's alive!" in the novel that gave birth to Frankenstein's monster. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, does not feature mad scientists messing around with beakers in laboratories, nor does it deliver any bug-eyed assistants named Igor. Hollywood has given us those stock images, but the story of the monster and his maker owes its essential power to the imagination of an 18-year-old woman and the waking nightmare she had by the shores of Lake Geneva one rainy summer almost 200 years ago.

If, that is, you believe that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley really was the genius behind one of our most enduring tales of existential horror. Almost from the moment that it was published anonymously on New Year's Day 1818, Frankenstein had readers and critics arguing over its origins. Early rumor held that it wasn't Mary Shelley but her husband, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who deserved the credit. (Or the blame; some early readers were outraged by the novel's idea that a man could play God and create life.) Even after the couple confirmed Mary's authorship and her name appeared on new editions in 1823 and 1831, some critics held on to the idea that Percy was the guiding spirit behind Frankenstein.

Lynda Pratt's Who Wrote the Original Frankenstein?:
Frankenstein – that most resonant and enduring of early nineteenth-century fictions – was born in the febrile atmosphere of the Villa Diodati in the summer of 1816. Bored by the unseasonably cold, wet weather, the Villa’s residents, Byron, John Polidori, Percy Shelley and the eighteen-year-old Mary Godwin, amused themselves by writing ghost stories. The other female member of the party – the pregnant Claire Clairmont – did not take part. Surrounded by three competitive males to whose conversations on “the nature of the principle of life” she was a “devout but nearly silent listener”, frustrated by her inability to “think of a story” (and perhaps also by her future husband’s determination that she should “obtain literary reputation”), one night Mary had a dreadful “waking dream”.

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then . . . show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion . . . . I opened mine [eyes] in terror. The idea so possessed my mind, that a thrill of fear ran through me . . . . On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story. I began that day with the words, It was on a dreary night of November, making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream.


TS Eliot MP3's


Illustrated James Bond


Staring at the Sun - TV On The Radio/Entourage

cross the street from your storefront cemetary
hear me hailing from inside and realize

i am the conscience clear
in pain or ecstacy
and we were all weaned my dear
upon the same fatigue

staring at the sun
oh my own voice
cannot save me now
standing in the sea
it's just
one more breath
and then
down i go

your mouth is open wide
the lover is inside
and all the tumults done
collided with the sign
you're staring at the sun
you're standing in the sea
your body's over me

note the trees because
the dirt is temporary
more to mine than fact face
name and monetary

be what you will
and then thrown down your life
oh it's a damned fine game
and we can play all night

beat the skins and let the
loose lips kiss you clean
quietly pour out like light
like light, like answering the sun

you're staring at the sun
you're standing in the sea
your mouth is open wide
you're trying hard to breathe
the water's at your neck
there's lightning in your teeth
your body's over me

From Motel De Moka:

This song is all about the sexual tension. Tunde filling up space with sex metaphors while an expanding wall of sound keeps building up as a promise of a trembling, suffocating orgasm, and just when you think it’s finally at the door, the actual climax never arrives. It’s all dry sex, oscillating on a plateau. I find it exquisitely frustrating, and oddly enough, satisfying.

Labels: ,

Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead/Entourage

The green plastic watering can
For a fake chinese rubberplant
In the fake plastic earth
That she bought from a rubber man
In a town full of rubber plans
To get rid of itself

It wears her out
It wears her out
It wears her out
It wears her out

She lives with a broken man
A cracked polystyrene man
Who just crumbles and burns
He used to do surgery for girls in the eighties
But gravity always wins

And it wears him out
And it wears him out
And it wears him out

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love
But I can't help the feeling
I could blow through the ceiling
if I just turned and ran

And it wears me out
It wears me out
It wears me out

If I could be who you wanted
if I could be who you wanted all the time

Entry from the official Radiohead site.

Entry from Wikipedia.

Labels: ,

DMZ The Island Preview

Sunday Morning Thought Line

Kevin Rose on why now is the time to start a tech company:

Why to start a new startup in a bad economywww.kevinrose.com

The piece which inspired his post:

The economic situation is apparently so grim that some experts fear we may be in for a stretch as bad as the mid seventies.

When Microsoft and Apple were founded.

As those examples suggest, a recession may not be such a bad time to start a startup. I'm not claiming it's a particularly good time either. The truth is more boring: the state of the economy doesn't matter much either way.

If we've learned one thing from funding so many startups, it's that they succeed or fail based on the qualities of the founders. The economy has some effect, certainly, but as a predictor of success it's rounding error compared to the founders.

Which means that what matters is who you are, not when you do it. If you're the right sort of person, you'll win even in a bad economy. And if you're not, a good economy won't save you. Someone who thinks "I better not start a startup now, because the economy is so bad" is making the same mistake as the people who thought during the Bubble "all I have to do is start a startup, and I'll be rich."

So if you want to improve your chances, you should think far more about who you can recruit as a cofounder than the state of the economy. And if you're worried about threats to the survival of your company, don't look for them in the news. Look in the mirror.

Saw V's director who started as a production designer. I don't really care for the franchise but just thought it was a small, interesting piece.

Last Red Bull air race of the season is coming up. You will be able to watch it live online.

Recovering from touring Heiner Brau Brewery and Abita Brewery. Heiner Brau was a cool place and very laid back. Abita had a lot of free beer, but rude employees and felt very impersonal.

"We spend all day getting sober
Just hiding from daylight
Watching TV
We just look a lot better in the blue light"

- Counting Crows "Hanginaround"

Labels: ,

More Dr Who Comic Art

Found this one through Wired, from the 90's:

Something about looking at Dr Who art inspires me. Not sure why. Everything I am writing right now is more grounded. Maybe that is why, maybe my mind needs to see the fantastic as a release from the ordinary/real/gritty/dirty.

Grant Morrison talking about Dr Who:

If I was going to do it, I’d probably do the television version,” Morrison said. “That would be the thing to see. ‘Doctor Who’ for me was always about drama. It was about actually watching it on the television, and the fact that in Britain it was kind of a Saturday night ritual thing was a very primitive, sitting-around-the-campfire kind of feeling. I think that’s the aspect that I always liked: the fact that kids would be terrified, but at the same time, parents would watch it, and they would be able explain to the kids what it was they were terrified about. It was about the communal experience, and it’s become that again, since Russell T. Davies took over.”

“I love the character,” Morrison added. “Jon Pertwee [the Third Doctor], was my favorite, I was really fond of Colin Baker [Sixth Doctor], he was a great actor, a great Doctor, but he had a terrible storyline, which kind of killed that one. I like Christopher Eccleston [Ninth Doctor] as well. He didn’t get enough of a shot at it. But I’ve kinda grown fond of David Tennant [Tenth Doctor] now.

Labels: , ,


Leonard Cohen Songs

Eureka Comic Coming


Ben Templesmith Dr Who Cover

Not sure why I am on such a Doctor Who kick lately. I was never a real fan when I was younger (I was more a fan of The Prisoner), and I know it is essentially a kid's show. But something about it has really clicked with me since it returned:

Labels: ,


Today's Thread

Books stacked for me or what I am reading right now:

Around the World in 80 Days
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
In The Blink of An Eye
Sailing Alone Around the World

Saw a pic in Vanity Fair of some of the cast from RockNRolla in Victorian era garb. Cool pic, but I can't find a copy online.

Watch The Great Train Robbery last night:

Doctor Who on the brain today. First thing I saw that I really paid attention to this morning. Here are some images from the new comic:

Re-read Gotham by Gaslight last night. Good story, but it definately good have been longer. Makes me really want to read From Hell.

The book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore's best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It's hard to describe just how much better the book is. It's like, "If the movie was an episode of Battlestar Galactica with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is Citizen Kane with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end." That's how much better it is.

- Warren Ellis

Paul Pope also on the mind a lot lately. His artwork is pretty great. For some reason lately that messy, fuzzy line work comic art is really sticking with me a lot more than the traditional comic art. Doubt I could fit into any of his new Diesel line of clothes, but still love his work:

Labels: , , , ,


More Library Porn


The Riches Cancelled

I worked on the pilot. The actors were good people. Here is the story from Variety:

FX cancels 'The Riches'
Network blames falling ratings for decision

by Stuart Levine

After much deliberation, FX has canceled "The Riches."

The net took several months to make a decision but finally came to the conclusion that falling ratings were too much to overcome. Viewer totals for the series, which ran for two seasons, dropped substantially in year two, falling 44% in the 18-49 demo.

Premiering in March 2007, "The Riches" got off to a somewhat healthy start with a 1.9 rating/5 share in the demo, and 3.84 million viewers overall, but slipped after that. Due to the writers strike, the second season was shortened from 13 episodes to seven and ended in April.

The series starred Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard as the parents of a family of gypsies who move into a wealthy suburban Louisiana neighborhood under a new identity. Critical acceptance of the show was mixed, but Driver did earn Emmy and Golden Globe noms.

On Monday, FX reupped its newest drama series, "Sons of Anarchy," for a second season, and recently launched the fourth season of comedy skein "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Newest laffer "Testees," about a pair of human guinea pigs, premieres Thursday.

FX is in the final year of "The Shield," which closes its seven-season run Nov. 25. The high costs of marketing and producing all its series -- including "Damages," which returns in 2009 -- played into the equation in canceling "The Riches."

"The Riches" was produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Prods.

Showrunner Dmitry Lipkin is attached to HBO's dark comedy "Hung," about a well-endowed man.



Jonny Quest

Some of the coolest opening and closing credits ever:

If a movie version is ever made of this show, it really need to look to the Speed Racer movie for inspiration and tone.


Books in 2008

In the Blink of an Eye
In Harm's Way
One Fearful Yellow Eye
Pale Grey for the Guilt
Little Brother
Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper
High Fidelity
The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Film Editing

Also finished re-reading Watchmen this weekend.


Rian Johnson on Red Camera Pt 3

Rian Johnson posted this last bit on the Red Camera:

Hey all - this is going to be (I promise) my last post on this board regarding the Red camera. I appreciate the amount of discussion it's caused, and I think the back and forth can only be a healthy thing, but responding to posts and emails regarding the article has just started to eat up an inordinate amount of my and (more importantly) my friends' time, and I think it's time to just let what we've written so far speak for itself and disengage from the fray.

For the Red supporters: Look guys, as a filmmaker, I'm not going to question anyone's choice of a camera format. Red is a spectacular camera considering its cost, and I'm sure it has been and will be a great tool for indie filmmakers. Let me repeat that: Red is an excellent camera. The point of the article, the singular, only, entire point, was that you can prefer whatever you like aesthetically, of course, but it is incorrect to say (as some people are doing) that Red technically beats or matches F23/Genesis/F35 at gathering and storing IMAGE DATA THAT IS IMPORTANT FOR CINEMA.

Just to put this in perspective - the Red camera costs, what, around 20 grand? High end HD cameras can cost several hundred. The fact that there's even a comparison to be made is quite impressive.

For those still considering their format choices: Read our article. Read Red's literature. Talk to the most knowledgeable, unbiased people you can find. And if you can, test test test the equipment under real world circumstances. Our article is one more piece of information for you to use in the decision making process, but at the end of the day there is no wrong choice. Red, 35mm, pixel-vision, HD, super 8 - pick what's right for your project and go for it. Happy shooting.



Counterfeiting Holograms

More research for Twenties:

Foiling counterfeiters

John Wallace, Senior Editor

Take any major credit card, hold it in the light, and tip it back and forth. There, on a patch of metallized plastic, a small image will shimmer and float, its eye-catching presence the salesclerk`s assurance--as well as the cardholder`s--that the card is not a fake. Similar holograms, durable and cheaply produced, are being used in increasing numbers throughout the world for security purposes, all based on the premise that holograms are hard to counterfeit. They are found on everything from whiskey bottles to ID cards, from concert tickets to price tags, from textile labels to government documents to money. Of all the security features added to credit cards over the years, holograms are what have best withstood the wiles of tamperers and forgers. But do they guarantee authenticity?

No, according to Steven McGrew, president of New Light Industries Ltd. (Spokane, WA), a company developing hologram anticounterfeiting technology. Although even the most-sophisticated hologram can be reproduced given enough time, money, and effort, the standard mass-produced hologram is, he says, rather easy to counterfeit. He reports that the Secret Service presented [at Holo-pakHolo-print 97, a conference on holographic security held in November 1997 in Orlando, FL] actual counterfeits of the dove found on the VISA card. "Most of them were bad, but some were very good, enough to fool some holographers," he says, adding that the better ones would easily fool any salesclerk.

The credit-card hologram is considered an optical variable device (OVD), a class of devices used for security and authentication that include gratings, conventional image-based holograms, and stereograms (which, as the observation point is shifted, can show action in the manner of a movie). At its simplest, an OVD is no more than a grating that gives rise to a colorful patch of light. In a more complex form, it may be made up of hundreds of two-dimensional computer-generated images, each viewable from a slightly different angle, the sum of which depicts a three-dimensional object created entirely in software.

Most mass-produced holograms are embossed on plastic, then back-coated with a reflective metallic layer (see Fig. 1, p. S23). Small embossed holograms can be produced for no more than a fraction of a cent each.

There is one characteristic that all OVDs share: they cannot be duplicated using conventional printing technology. The ubiquitous ink-jet printer, capable of counterfeiting currency and checks, is useless to the potential counterfeiter of OVDs. But although the equipment needed to forge an OVD is not offered at local computer stores, someone with enough knowledge and persistence can put together a setup good enough to be in business.

Labels: ,


Lucky Number Slevin - Bond

Great scene. Trying to find the other one. More women could learn from this scene:

Labels: ,

Random Bond Thought

With Quantum of Solace we get three Bond movies this year, the other two being Iron Man and The Dark Knight.

Labels: , ,