Friday, June 22, 2012

I Review "Prometheus"

            "Prometheus", or as it could be subtitled, "Why are they doing that, it seems really dangerous and stupid?"

            I saw this the weekend it came out, which is very uncharacteristic of me, as I am incredibly cheap, but it looked like a really genre defining movie.  To be honest I have never been a fan of the "Alien" franchise, it is only okay in my opinion, as the first movie is rather boring, and I actually have had no drive to see the others.

            There is nothing in this movie I did not understand.  It did not go over my head, I've read about this soon to be tired concept many times.  The only thing that escapes me is what was going on in the minds of the shitty characters.  People react to things so inconsistently with how a normal person would react (with notable exceptions) that it detaches you from the movie, and grows frustrating.  "Looks poisonous, let me have a lick." "Is that barbed?  Let me check by shoving it up my own ass."

"Jesus, I know we transported down to dangerous locations all the time, but we never had a budget for cool space suits, its not like we had them and didn't use them correctly."

            Let me go over the things I liked.  I liked the main character in spite of her "faith", which is a major point of stupidity in the movie, she openly states that she believes and acts on assumptions she makes without evidence (I can't remember the character's name).  I liked the Captain in spite of him leaving more than one crew member to die in an alien fortress so he could dip his dick in Charlize Theron, honestly she is so pretty and the characters he left to die were so annoying I can't really hold it against him (can't remember his name either). I liked Michael Fassbender's performance so much that I think he should get a best supporting actor nod (though the character does numerous things that make no sense, even in context, even after you have seen the whole movie).  And I really like Charlize Theron, she was a really cool character who was frequently the most level headed and sensible (so of course the movie tries to make her look like the bad guy through a good chunk) (SPOILER: she dies in a really stupid way).

            I very much enjoyed the look of the movie, the Alien colony/base is really creepy and alien in its appearance, because Giger knows how to make alien things look actually alien.  There are several good scenes.  And the ending I feel works, for the most part (though there is a certain cheapness to it).

I typed "Cheap Sci-fi Ending" into google, and this image from "Prometheus" was in the top 15 results.

            What I dislike is so numerous I think I will have a hard time listing it all to completion.  Chief is this: Characters don't act intelligently or with any sense of self preservation aside from those few I liked (and I primarily only liked them because of that trait).  The dialogue does not make sense with what is on the screen many times, with people wondering if the massive obvious structures, runways, and faces carved into mountains are artificial constructs.  The idea that these scientists just confirmed extraterrestrial life and they are not all ecstatic for such a discovery.  And good god: the tired stereotypes that appear that have no place in this type of film, those tropes were made fun of in "Cabin in the Woods" earlier this year.

            I dislike the way people rudely treat the Android character, David (Michael Fassbender), who is for all intents and purposes a human being with intelligence and a will of his own.  I can understand talking to him like a subordinate, he is there to assist, but it comes off so dickish.  I sympathize with the character and I just see him as a character in a movie.  The characters in the movie actually interact with him, shouldn't somebody talk to him as if he were a person using "please" and "Thank you" and asking him his opinion?  I mean, the idea of a sentient machine has existed for so long in science fiction I would like to think that if a group of forward thinking, planet hoping, diverse and adventurous super scientists met a thinking Machine they would be less obnoxious and more curious and open.  These scientists probably grew up in a world were movie making technology was hyper immersive (as evidenced by the hologram technology they used) and since these are scientists they probably are not unfamiliar with Science Fiction presented very convincingly.  These scientists would not be this thick headed... they're fucking scientists.

There is also a lot of goo in this movie.  So much so that at one point all I could  think of was that scene from "Ghostbusters 2" when Ray yells, "SLIME!  ITS A RIVER OF SLIME!"

            There are also little things that just don't make sense from a practical standpoint.  They don't take weapons with them on their initial exploration of the alien structure, and take off protective gear in situations that no sane person would do so (I said, "put your fucking helmet on" out loud in the theater, and had to stifle myself half way through the sentence).  Characters act maddeningly inconsistent (at one point the map maker, who has his own scouting robots, gets lost in the facility).  There are twists so lame, that when they were "revealed" to the audience people saw it telegraphed from a mile away (one reveal actually had a guy in the back of the theater say the word, "GASP" in the flattest tone I have heard this side of Ben Stein).

            And I would say that is my biggest complaint: this movie is dumb.  It has a consistent tone, cool realistic appearance (to a point, the last monster and space gods looked very CGI).  It is just that people make way too many objectively bad decisions for people who are trusted with representing mankind on a 100 billion dollar space exploration mission to find intelligent life.  And being a person who doesn't usually get mad at movies, this one pissed me off.  Which is a shame, the questions they meant to leave unanswered were thought provoking.  It's like a really beautiful a delicious looking cake, that someone walked in and shit on.  You shit on my Ace of Cakes.  It was something great marred by stupid and that makes it all the worse.

            I am actually thinking of more stuff to complain about, as I am sitting down to publish it, I could go on for pages.  And others have.  SHIT ON MY CAKE!

Ace of Cakes.  Like that, but with Shit on it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Poem, "Wolves"

Learn the Difference
Werewolf: a man who turns into a wolf
Ware-wolf: a wolf that buys and sells things
War-wolf: those of House Stark
Where-wolf: it might be behind you, right now
Whir-wolf: you'll hear it coming
Wear-wolf: they are snuggle conducive
Were-wolf: now it is a decorative throw rug

It Were-wolf.  It isn't anymore.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Some Stuff this Week

            The last few days have been too productive.  I hung out with friends three nights, one of which was Dungeons and Dragons, the next was getting Mexican Food, and the last was watching Anime and eating at Applebee's (it was the first time in multiple years I had eaten at an Applebee's, and it will be multiple years before I give them another chance, at one point I actually felt like throwing up on the table, not kidding).

            Of the Anime we watched I have mixed feelings about one in particular, it has double long episodes, and is a Japanese take on the sci-fi superhero genre, both too much and too little is explained many times.  It is called "Giant Robo", I liked the first episode well enough, lots of action good pacing, but the second episode we just watched, had terrible continuity, and I don't mean it went against the last episode (it did, but that is not too important) I mean that it contradicts itself several times in the final 10 minutes, so much so that the basis of the story, the motivations of the villains, and the capabilities of the heroes are all left confused and at odds with literally what just happened in the scene.  It was a mess, and it kind of ruined the series for me, because as much as I like the animation and initial impressions of the setting.  But it doesn't follow its own rules, and has some silly assertions about the world.  I can't recommend it because of those reasons.

Bit of a Shame, not going to lie.

            Yesterday (6/10) I continued with my weekly self evaluation to see if my summer gym visits are having an impact.  And I am doing alright, with almost universal improvement over last week:

Blood Pressure: 134/84 (Last week: 132/73)
            This is the only thing that did not improve and I have an explanation.  Normally I take 3 readings in 5 minutes and average them, that seems to be the better method than just taking one and done.  Even the machine says that multiple readings are necessary to get an accurate assessment of one's blood pressure.  But things were weird this time.
            I was approached by someone I knew from my study abroad trip to Istanbul, and I had the typical panicky reaction I have to social interaction that I have not been expecting, and while this doesn't manifest outwardly, aside from my usual blathering insanity, it did cause my blood pressure to spike on the first reading to 142/96, a bit of an outlier, so today I took a second to calm down, from the nerve wracking task of saying a pleasant hello to a very polite woman who I had previously talked to on a regular basis for more than a month (I am a shit head).  Then I took 5 readings, dropped the highest and the lowest, and averaged the other three.  It seemed sensible at the time to not queer my progress, though I think the impact still remains to a lesser extent (stupid public places with their people and chit chat).

Chin-ups: 6 (Last Week: 5)
            This may not be impressive in the grand scheme but I have not done this many in many, many, many months.

Leg Extensions (70lbs): 28 (Last Week: 26)
Bench (95lbs): 32 (Last Week: 28)
            Honestly I don't see this going too much higher, I have worked at this a lot and I am glad for my progress, but I doubt I will be getting beyond the upper 30's lower 40's in repetitions.

Leg Lifts: 22 (Last Week: 20)
1.5 miles: 20minutes 54seconds (Last Week: 21:30)
            This remains my weakest area and I think I will have to just try and do this exercise on a different day prior to exercising, rather than doing it as part of a larger evaluation.

Curls (25lbs): 33 (Last Week: 30)
Fly Extensions (10lbs): 40 (Last Week: 35)
Hold Breath: 56 seconds (Last Week: 52 seconds)
            This I also changed the way I take the data.  I usually average three attempts taken in 5 minutes, this time I did five attempts in 7 minutes and dropped the highest and lowest result before averaging the middle three.  I have no idea if this will have a meaningful impact on things.

Weight: 215lbs (Last Week: 216.5lbs)
            Not my best, but I am hoping it is just muscle.

Also, these are the boxes from the Cadbury Eggs I ate around Easter time.  That is three to a layer, 8 layers, equals 24 boxes.  Each box had 5 eggs, which means 120 all told.  The Cheez-it box is present for a sense of scale.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Donating Blood

            I gave blood for the first time this week, I was walking out of the Library on Wednesday and was hit by a one two punch of charity, a group selling brownies for breast cancer, and a woman asking people to give blood.  I bought two brownies, in part because I had not eaten since 5 hours prior, and that had been a spoonful of peanut butter and a tiny cup of yogurt, then had spent the rest of that morning doing homework and not thinking about food.  The brownies, I think helped with the blood donation.

            It was kind of funny the questions they ask, I think I had to confirm more than once that I was not in fact a drug user, and had never had sexual contact with a man, hopefully they are as probing with their questions to everyone and not just me, I think it would be a little rude to question me twice because I give off some sort of vibe, though what vibe a gay smack user gives off is unknown to me.

            Then there were the questions relating to going abroad, the attendant knew that Greece had some questionable cities on it, but none of the islands I had visited on my trip were on the list, and when I asked about Istanbul, the attendant stared blankly into space for a minute before deciding it was best to check.  Turns out, Turkey rings a few questionable bells, and I was in at least three places for which bells were typically rung.  London is also an issue, because of the angry cows, but they decided that you have to have been there for a certain period of time to be of issue.  During all of this they handed me crackers and juice, because brownies and yogurt was not exactly robust dinging and they thought I might get woozy without some additional calories.

This is me months ago, next to the Tigris River.  Not contracting any blood born pathogens.

            Then they pricked my finger and squeezed the bejeezus out of it to check my iron levels, which were fine.  Why they could not check that numeral by punching a hole in the back of my hand or the fleshy part of my palm so it didn't hurt as much I do not know.

            Then they laid me back, hooked up a shocking number of tubes, and stuck me.  It hurt, evidently this nurse had never been a user of intravenous drugs either because it was not the distant light stinging I had expected.  Either way I squeezed the stress ball, imbibed more juice and waited until the bag was filled, they handed me a receipt for my blood.  I relaxed for a minute watching them juggle and mix my vitals, using this little clamp thing to push the blood out of the tube that had ran to my arm, up into the sack which would be its final home, before being pumped into some poor sod who needed it.  I then was told to go home and eat and rest.

            I did, I went home, ate something, probably much smaller than I should have.  And then napped for 5 hours, it was lovely, even though I ended up having some really strange dreams as a result.

            And that was my last Wednesday.

            I also realize I have not been keeping up with updating my progress to get more in shape over the summer, so here is last Sunday (5/27) which shows a lot of improvement, though that might just be because I did the exercise after taking a day off to recuperate, where as before the battery of exercise came at the end of the week:
 Blood Pressure: 135/81
Chin-ups: 4
Leg Extensions (70lbs): 27
Bench (95lbs): 23
Leg Lifts: 21
1.5 miles: I lost count and couldn't tell you what time I was on.  This is a boring exercise.
Curls (25lbs): 30
Fly Extensions (10lbs): 30
Hold Breath: 55 seconds
Weight: 214.25lbs

And just yesterday (6/3) which had some big ups and several small downs:
Blood Pressure: 132/73
Chin-ups: 5
Leg Extensions (70lbs): 26
Bench (95lbs): 28
Leg Lifts: 20
1.5 miles: 21minutes 30seconds
Curls (25lbs): 30
Fly Extensions (10lbs): 35
Hold Breath: 52 seconds
Weight: 216.5lbs

            I am also reading a book I bought about 3-4 years ago, "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell who is my favorite non-fiction writer.  The book is about geniuses and the environmental factors that produce extreme results.  How a large IQ is helpful, but only to a point; about how 10,000 hours of practice or study very much defines a persons ability to succeed in what they are doing; and how raising children to ask questions and to be willing to engage with those around them will make them vastly better at utilizing that high IQ and those hours of practice.  It is a fascinating read, sort of makes me wonder how different my life would be if I had gone to school at a different time, or if I had focused on writing more as a hobby in middle and high school to get the 10,000 hours of practice.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Some Random History

            In 1453 the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed II conquered Constantinople and absorbed the last of the Byzantine Empire.  Mehmed was 21.

And what have you done with your life?
             The last Emperor of Constantinople was Constantine XI, the final Caesar to rule Rome, but that was not their supposed end, it is however alleged that the Emperor's niece married into the rulers of Russia, and so the word Tsar, or Caesar was taken as title of ruler ship for the leaders of that nation, who considered themselves the Third Rome.  This line was put to an end by the Bolshevik Revolution, when Nicholas II and the royal family were killed.

            One might think that Rome, being the sexually liberated place that is was would have produced a lot of Caesars, genetically if not legally, Julius was called the Bald Adulterer in addition to his title of Unconquerable God.  But truth be told there were not that many illegitimate births in Ancient Rome because the Romans had an Herbal remedy that served as a morning after pill, Silphium, which was used to the point that only the memory of it lives on, the plant had been driven to extinction.

            Even if this was only in vogue for a century or two there were other barriers to the passing of the divine lineage of Caesar, that many of them were gay or bi-sexual, driving down the number of possible accidents that might result in unwanted child support payments.  Julius Caesar for instance is known for the famous line in Shakespeare's play, "Et tu, Brute?"  Naming one of his numerous assassins, Marcus Brutus.  This line was often explained that they were friends, which is likely; alternatively that they were illegitimate Father and son, which is unlikely as Julius was only 14 or 15 when Brutus was born; and what I think is the most likely explanation, they were gay lovers, as it was said that Caesar covered his face and surrendered to the assassins when he saw that Brutus was in their number, and that level of betrayal makes sense.