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Location: New Brunswick, Canada

I am nothing more than a crossroads of arbitrary signifiers. Just like you.

Blogs I Enjoy Reading

Life-Altering Links
Homestarrunner
My Home Page
RPGnet
Feed the Hungry

ENGL 3621 Blogs
Postscript
Abby
Ants on a Blog
Deanna
Jannainspa
A Blog of One's Own
A Magic Missile in the Dark
Martha's Place
Muddled Musings
Not So Domestic Goddess
Perspectives
Readings from Last Class
Simone
Small but Mighty
Who's Write
Words from the Wise
Yelhsa
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Someday, maybe I'll be an Adorable Rodent... Someday...




Movie Reviews:

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Times, They Are a-Changin'

Sorta. At least, time seems to be changing. For me, it seems to go more slowly the closer it gets to labour day. I suppose I should be grateful, but I can't help but think this shift in my temporal perspective is somehow related to my current lack of energy.

Anyway, thanks to this lack of energy I give you, in lieu of an insightful post, some links that caught my eye.

First, a useful lesson for everyday life. What happens when Batman arrives at your house unexpectedly? You give him cake and hope he goes away.

Elsewhere, foolish scientists have forgotten the lessons taught by horror movies and decided that it would be a good idea to genetically engineer psychotic mice. My guess is they rule the planet by year 2644.

Last, but not least, Scotty's putting down the phaser for the last time. He's beamed up his last crewmate. He's given 'er all 'e's got, and has nothing left to give.

Personally, I hope he enjoys the rest during his final years. He's earned it, in my mind.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 3:40 PM
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+++++


Saturday, August 28, 2004

Prob'ly My Favourite Quiz So Far

Brought to my attention courtesy of Scribblingwoman, for which I offer my thanks.

You're Alice!
You're Alice.


Which Alice in Wonderland Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 9:46 AM
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+++++


Friday, August 27, 2004

This Isn't Just Any Filler...

...this is Tree Conspiracy filler.

Allow me to explain. You see, it seems I've run out of things to talk about. At least, I've run out of things to talk about that strike me as being particularly interesting, or that I have the energy to actually write out properly. Sure, I could talk about a not-quite-epiphany that I had about myself during some recent introspection, or about all the creepy Welshling-related jokes that have been sent in my direction lately... I could even talk about my pets, and the sorry state Socrates is currently in (not too terribly serious, just kind of sad). But all of these things are either unfit for internet consumption, or they're things I just don't feel like getting into right now. Particularly considering I'm currently counting down the days before I have to face university once again. Ug.

Nevertheless, my blog has been pretty dry the last few days, so I'm overdue for an entry. I need to put something up. Thus, I'm putting up filler.

Specifically, I'm putting up my old, tried-and-true essay on the Tree Conspiracy up on this here blog. It's pretty old, and it's been available on my web site for some time... However, few enough of my blog readers have seen it before, I expect, that putting it up here is still worthwhile.

The truth must be known.

***

Long, long ago...

The earth was the way it was intended. It's pristine perfection was there for all to see -- the air was over ninety percent carbon, the land was rocky and lifeless. It was a glorious time, just as the Creator (or Mother Nature, or whatever higher power you may or may not believe in) intended it to be. Things were at peace.

But, alas, this was not to remain for too long. After but a few million years, somehow, in some way, something changed. What caused the change can be attributed to many things; the powers of darkness, improper planning, a bored Creator, or even just plain bad luck.

Regardless of the reason, it happened. There was life, in the form of the first plant. Now, at first, it isn't hard to imagine that the Creator was quite pleased with the result. After all, here was something new to watch... Something different than the boiling lava and the rough rocky landscapes, the winds and the rain. So, the Creator waited, and watched, intent to see what would become of this new thing.

And the plant grew into a tree. And then it made more trees. These other trees grew, too. And they made more.

The lava and the rocks and the weather... They all tried to get rid of the plants. But it didn't work. The trees were just too good at staying alive, at least as a species. Eventually, things were getting out of hand... The carbon in the air was disappearing, being snatched away by the trees and stored deep beneath the earth for their own evil purposes. The landscapes were slowly being filled with colorful life, greens and yellows and blues... When the trees found a place they couldn't get to, the leaders would look to their underlings and say, "Adapt, my minions... Change to inhabit this new land, so that our collective green claw of evil power shall spread across the earth." (The tree-leaders are very meladramatic fellows) And they did. And it did.

The Creator realized that things were not as they should be. This experiment, this fluke, had gone awry. But now the perplexing question... How to get rid of the trees? Well, the Creator proposed to himself, if life was the problem that needed to be fixed, why not create a new form of life, one that is capable of destroying these bothersome trees?

So, the first animal was created. It might have been fuzzy, or perhaps scaly or even slimy, it's hard to say, but what is certain is that it was designed with one sole purpose in mind: to defeat the sinister trees and foil their evil plans.

Unfortunately, the Creator is not perfect. Though tailored to eat the trees and hopefully, over a long period of time, rid their foul presence so as to return the earth to the way it was meant to be, the animals were slow. They'd consume trees, true, but then they'd simply shit and make other trees grow faster. And then there were the lesser plants that found ways of keeping animals away... The poisonous plants, the cacti, and other such monstrosities. They are a very organized group, really... And all this time, more carbon was removed from the air, bringing the trees closer to their sinister goals.

Things were looking very bleak (or rather, weren't, which was of course the problem). Something had to be done. Luckily, the Creator is a persistent fellow, and he went back to the drawing board. For a long time he tinkered and toiled... Much effort was put into a new anti-tree plan. When all was said and done, the Creator had made human kind.

Human kind differed from the animals in many important ways; we were a long-term investment. At first, we wouldn't do much more than the other animals. But human kind had the gift of creation, the power to adapt as much as the trees themselves, to grow and learn and find new methods of bringing the plants to justice. Human kind developed tools... Fire to burn down trees, axes to cut down trees, levers to tear up roots and other ingenuitive methods of tree removal. As time passed, the methods became more complex and more effective. We even built rituals of destroying and torturing trees, taking them into our homes once a year, dressing them up as clowns as they starve to death without water, only to eventually be thrown out with the trash or burned when the ritual was over.

Today, human kind has figured out how to poison the air, water, and earth so that the trees are unable to grow. We stand at the brink of victory. Some of us have forgotten our noble purpose, and seek to save the evil trees from the lot that the creator has chosen for the abberations... Others have, I have no doubt, been corrupted and twisted to protect the trees (even in some cases with violent means). Mind control is not above the trees, nor is kidnapping and blackmail. The evil of the trees knows no bounds, and one must never underestimate their intelligence network. After all, trees are practically everywhere.

Still, despite overwhelming odds, human kind persists. We continue to work towards our noble goal and perhaps, by continuing to perfect our methods of tree-destruction, through determination and hard work, we will be able to set the earth on a course to a return to its former, pristine, lifeless glory!

So in summary, please stop whining about deforestation. Those logging companies are just doing their job.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 7:39 PM
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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Victorian Links

I've a couple links to share this time around. First, courtesy of Scribblingwoman, the Jabberwock Poem by Lewis Carol written completely in ActionScript. Considering I'm going to be doing my honours thesis this year on Nonsense Verse, I'm thinking I've gotta get me one of those T-Shirts. Soon as my student loan arrives.

Also, here's a Victorian Sex Cry Generator. Not entirely work-safe, by the by, but a great source for such quotes as:

"Quickly, my love! These bonds excite me to a fever's pitch but I fear me that the Lady will soon be wanting her petticoats back!"

and...

"You darling, darling! You wield that cane as if to the manor born!"

and...

"What now, have you enough of my red-headed champion? I say nay, let me lay him on again in such wondrous battle with your own red-center'd cleft of flesh!"

Those wacky, wacky Victorians.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 6:20 AM
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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Bold New Look; Same Great Taste!

You'll probably notice a major difference in the look of my blog. This is the result of a great deal of html-wrestling, drastic blogskin-editing, and more-hours-of-effort-than-I'd-care-to-think-about. Other than minor tinkering to fix any mistakes I may have missed, this is probably going to be the look for a while.

Unless it turns out to be absolutely horrid, in which case my sense of shame will probably prompt me to changing it again.

If you have any comments/criticisms/questions, or if something doesn't look right on your monitor, please let me know via the comments button. Thanks.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 7:51 PM
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Saturday, August 21, 2004

A Far Cry from Hippocrates.

According to the Lancet and the Associated Press, it seems that the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal took place with the collaboration of U.S. military doctors.

To put this in the proper context, the Lancet is arguably the most prestigious medical magazine out there. When the Lancet makes this kind of claim, you know something's gone very wrong.

But don't worry, it was just a few bad apples. Really.

EDIT: It appears I may have overstated just how prestigious a medical journal the Lancet is. My apologies for the hyperbole. Nevertheless, I stand by the essential message of the statement -- a quick google search will show that, while not the top dog in the medical magazine community, the Lancet is nevertheless held in extremely high regard.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 11:48 PM
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+++++


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Am I Missing Something, Here?

After I'd finished my review of AVP, I decided to check my Sitemeter stats, purely out of curiousity. I noticed that I'd had 44 hits tonight (well, technically, last night, though it was only a little over an hour ago), which is the most I think I've ever had in a single day, but I wondered just how many of those were from me (since I've still been working the kinks out of my template-fiddling, which requires me to reload the page several times). So, I brought up the details, looking for how many hits were from my server.

Not as many as I'd expected, but that wasn't the interesting part. No, the interesting part is when, looking down the list, I noticed that one person was reading my site from a NASA server.

Which is really neat, in a way, but also fairly confusing. I guess I just can't see how my blog would have much appeal for someone surfing from a NASA server.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 1:07 AM
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+++++


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Whoever Wins, the Audience Loses



I went and saw AVP the other night. Immediately after seeing it, I realized that I would have to do a review. It's just one of those movies that needs to be critiqued, because that's where the majority of the fun comes from.

Two caveats, however: First, I've been looking forward to this movie for a very long time. I remember hearing the first rumours about this movie, a good fifteen years ago, back when I read comic books regularly. Dark Horse came out with the series, which to my eyes at the time kicked at least seven different kinds of ass (the comic was put out in 1990, though I didn't actually get a chance to read any of it until '95 or so). So you may feel that my following review is a little biased.

However, the second caveat is a refutation of the first. My expectations of this movie were very, very low. I know Hollywood. I have very little faith in it, and I certainly wasn't expecting something of the calibre of Citizen Kane. I was just expecting something that was fun to watch.

In many ways, it delivered. I certainly enjoyed the parts without any story or dialogue. And... well... yeah, I guess that's it.

The story involves an ancient pyramid found deep beneath the ice of Antarctica. The dying Charles Bishop Weyland, wanting to make a mark on the world before he passes, funds an expedition to excavate and explore this significant acheological find. A superbad mountain-climber/environmental activist by the name of Alexa Woods is hired to guide the expedition. Unfortunately, nobody bothered mentioning that the pyramid had been built by the Predators as a sort of intergalactic hunting lodge, where the prey of choice is the Xenomorphs of the Alien series, and soon the would-be archeologists start dropping off like flies.

Some may wonder exactly how good the movie could have been. The short answer is very. Like I said, the comic series kicked a lot of booty, so all they really would have had to do to improve the story is take a few pages out of the comic. Of course, that would mean paying royalties, so that idea was right out. And if I'm being fair, I must point out to myself that comics are not movies, and it takes a certain kind of talent to properly translate even an amazing comic book into a good movie (exactly the opposite kind of eye that attempted to translate Daredevil onto the silver screen.) Still, I think the potential was there to make a very good movie involving such powerful 80's sci-fi monster icons. Somebody just dropped the ball, I guess.

Thematically, it felt a lot to me like Alien: Resurrection, which is a film I really hated. Instead of trying to be cohesive, logical, scary, or even fun, the movie desperately wants to be cool. Indeed, it's convinced of itself that it is cool. And like most movies that are convinced of their own coolness, it isn't.

In fact, the movie borrows a whole lot. The most obvious sources are from the previous Alien and Predator movies, of course, and this much is inevitable and thus entirely excusable. But really, there's not a whole lot of anything new to the movie... Even the high points to the movie (the Predator/Alien battle scenes) seemed to fall kind of flat most of the time. And the battle against the Alien Queen? Straight out of Jurassic Park. No lie.

The movie makes a few other serious mistakes. One is an alteration of aspects of the Alien mythos. In the previous Alien movies, for instance, it takes the face-huggers many hours of gestation to become a full-fledged chest-burster, and after that it still takes a while before it becomes a full-grown Xenomorph. This movie appears to shorten the time involved in each stage to about ten minutes. No explanation is ever given.

The other serious mistake that sticks in my mind is less damaging to the movie, though no more forgivable, and it falls on the other half of the spectrum. In the original Predator movies, the role of the Predator was played by Kevin Peter Hall. Hall was a very tall fellow, almost lanky, with dance and theatre training. (He was also the guy behind Harry in Harry and the Hendersons.) Beneath the suit, Hall was able to make the Predator really come alive, making the monster move like it was real.

This time around, instead of hiring someone like the late Hall, they hired some very large bodybuilders to play the Predators. So you have large, heavily-muscled men who aren't particularly flexible to begin with, and then you put these huge, bulky costumes on them to make them appear even less flexible. They looked pretty impressive as long as they were standing still or fighting with the benefit of an overly-shaky cam that prevented the audience from getting a good look at anything, but otherwise they just seemed rather cardboardy.

Credit where it is due. While the director failed at his attempt to make the characters the same sort of quirky, enjoyable cast that helped make Aliens such a successful movie, at the very least he was able to keep any of them from being too horribly annoying. In the end, they're just mostly forgettable. And we finally have a film that goes back to decent-looking special effects that don't involve CGI. That's right, the majority of the shots of the big baddies are depicted without cheesy computer animation. As a fan of "old-fashioned" special effects, that's worth half a CWR right there.

Also, to avoid laying more blame than there should necessarily be at the foot of the director, it should be pointed out that this was originally an R-rated film. The good people at Fox, however, later decided that they wanted to milk this movie for every penny it's worth, and pushed the rating down to PG-13 (or A for my fellow Soviet Canuckistani). Thus the movie required a lot of editing, and it shows; the movie feels a little bit short when you walk out of the theatre. Personally I couldn't care less about the blood and gore in a film -- I think it's perfectly possible to make a scary/fun/exciting/whatever movie without resorting to close-ups of revolting chunks of flesh and torn sinew -- but I have to wonder just how much more sense the film might have made prior to its second, producer-driven trip through the editing room. We may never know.

At least, not until the overpriced Special Edition DVD becomes available.

The movie isn't all bad. Just mostly bad. It could be worth a rental if you're looking for something really cheesy some Saturday night. It's inoffensive and non-challenging, and let's face it... The inner geek within all of us is just dying to see who will come out on top in this kind of clash, no matter how badly filmed the movie is.

Still... the idea that they turned this film into a buddy cop story just kind of makes me sad.

She's the last survivor of an archeological dig gone horribly wrong, desperate to make it back to safety...

He's a rookie from an alien warrior race out to prove himself to his elders...

And together... They Fight Crime!


Anyway, I give this one two CWRs on my Cute White Rat scale.



Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 9:36 PM
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+++++


That Seems a Bit Better

I just spent an hour and a half playing around with my blog template settings. It's now closer to where I had it prior to the side-bar crisis of last month, particularly in terms of colour scheme. Still not entirely happy with it, but it's getting better.

I widened the blog a bit, too. Let me know if you have any problems seeing anything, or if something doesn't fit on your screen.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 1:26 AM
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+++++


Monday, August 16, 2004

You Did Read My Blog, Didn't You?

So. I get this e-mail last night. It's written by a fellow by the name Jeff Blanco, a self-titled "Louisiana Conservative" (also the name of his blog). He was just writing to let me know that he was blog-hopping and, in doing so, came across my blog. Curious, I checked out his own blog, which he conveniently provided a link for in his own. Immediately I noticed that politically and culturally, he and I are veritable opposites. Not that there's anything wrong with someone who disagrees with me reading my blog or anything, I just found it odd that he'd feel the need to write in considering I'm sure I must have said *something* on my front page to turn him off.

Well, okay. I write him back, thanking him for writing me, and I make a comment about how my blog seems to be getting more traffic than usual lately and I'm not entirely sure why.

He writes me again, only this e-mail is sent to not a single individual, but rather dozens and dozens of e-mail addresses, of which my own is but one. Now, if you look at his blog and scroll down the sidebar, you'll notice that he has a list of so-called "Freedom Blogs" (translation: wildly right-leaning blogs) by State. This second e-mail that he sent me basically asked me (and all the other recipients) to provide our state locations so we could be listed in the appropriate section.

Even now, I find it hard to figure out how to describe, in words, the utter confusion I felt at receiving this e-mail. I'm left to wonder... Did he even bother reading my blog before he decided that I must be a conservative American blogger?

So allow me to clarify a few things, in the interest of preventing any future confusion:
-I'm not an American. Rather, I'm a resident of Soviet Canuckistan, and my politics are left-leaning even by Canadian standards. I'd probably be considered a centrist in Switzerland.
-I dislike both extremes of Capitalism and extremes of Socialism, though I tend to favour the latter more than the former. I believe that it's impossible for any society which advocates the success of the few at the expense of the well-being of the many to be considered "great."
-I have an admiration for Marx, and for his ideas on economics and politics, that would make most Republicans very uncomfortable.
-I'm not a complete pacifist, but I'm pretty damn close, and I feel that war is not something that should be undertaken lightly. Certainly not for lies, half-truths, and faulty intelligence.
-I have a huge bone to pick with the US for its treatment of Latin America over the last hundred years. If the world worked the way I want it to, there would have been many US leaders (and at least one Canadian leader, for that matter) who would have spent several years in jail. For example, when Reagan passed away, and some American friends were visiting, I said to one of them, "Dying after suffering from Alzheimer's for so many years is a horrible way to go, and I wouldn't wish it on any one. If I had my way, he would have died a perfectly healthy man, of entirely natural causes, one night in his prison cell."
-I disagree with the death penalty. I find it barbaric, particularly when one considers how regularly courts make huge mistakes. Unlike a long prison sentence, state-sponsored murder isn't something that can be undone when new evidence comes to light.
-I favour strong gun control, even by Canadian standards. And I say this as a member of a family with a long tradition of hunting.
-As far as religion goes, I consider myself a Taoist Christian. I don't really want to go into to much detail, but basically this means I believe in much of the same things most Christians do (although I'm a little bit more careful to get alternate translations of the original greek and hebrew texts, rather than simply accept any given version of the Christian bible at face value), but I put a much stronger focus on personal (rather than communal or aggressive) spirituality, and sprinkle it all with a healthy dose of Eastern philosophy. It's not for everyone, but it works for me, and that's all I really care about.
-I'm very accepting of other religions. I have a few issues with Mormonism, though considering one of the most important relationships of my life was with a Mormon woman from Detroit, they're obviously extremely minor and easily overcome. I don't think there's a religion out there that I can't respect on at least some level... The only exception to this would probably be Scientology.
-I believe in equal rights for pretty much every minority out there. This includes supporting gay marriage. I believe that social programs designed to help marginalized minorities are not only a good idea, but necessary for a truly progressive society.
-I feel it's far more important in making sure the world has breathable air and drinkable water in a hundred years than it is to have cheap gas for your SUV.
-I think Ann Coulter is a scary, scary woman who should probably be institutionalized.
-I oppose demagogues of pretty much any party out of instinct. Similarly, I belong to no party at all.
-I find the very idea of taking anything showed on NewsMax, Fox News, and even for a large part CNN seriously to be laughable. As far as mainstream news sources go, about the only one I trust to any extent is BBC.
-I have a strong dislike of the current US Administration. Very strong. In fact, I think that either Bush, or whichever entity has its hand up his puppethole, borders on dangerously insane, and I fear for the world should Bush win another four years.

There you have it; my political, cultural, and religious leanings in a nutshell. And just to reiterate that last point...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Image by Patrick Y and Valandil of RPG.net. You can buy the t-shirt here.

Also, for the benefit of my American readers (I know I've got at least two, not including Jeff Blanco, who I don't think has actually read my blog to any extent), I also want to be perfectly clear on something... I have no beef with Americans. There's plenty about American culture that I dislike or even find offensive, but there's also a lot that I admire. I also believe that Americans are, by and large, perfectly intelligent, reasonable people who just want to do the right thing. It's just that... Well, you guys seem to make a habit of picking really bad leaders. I mean really, really bad, and I really wish you'd stop doing that.

We Soviet Canuckistani can get away with picking really lousy leaders much easier (and we do, on a regular basis) because we lack as much power as our cousins to the south, so it's harder for us to screw up the world at large with our bad decisions. Our blunders come with much smaller stakes.

I just wanted to be clear on this; I don't want to offend or alienate anyone with what I've said here. As I said, I'm just listing all this to prevent anyone from trying to put me on Texas Republican Web Rings or anything like that because, to put it mildly, it would make for a very poor fit.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 11:01 PM
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Blogging News, Etc.

Sadly, it seems that Zhengshu's New Book has reached its final page. This is particularly depressing for me since Jason, Andrea and I all started our blogs at the same time, as part of Dr. Jones's Science Fiction Literature course, and we were the only ones (as far as I know) to actually keep our blogs alive after the end of the class. Now, I guess there's only two of us left. While I acknowledge that his reasons for ending his blog are sound and certainly can't blame him for making his decision, I'm still sorry to see his blog come to an end.

OrangeSkidoo of Dried Lean Meat fame has completed her web page project, prism-perfect.net. Although it's still fairly bare-bones, she displays web-building skills that far outstrip my own (not that that's particularly hard), and her music is definitely worth the download.

Also thanks to OrangeSkidoo's blog, I've been given my Smurf Name: Doctor Smurf. This is particularly amusing since many of my friends have, in recent years, taken to calling me "Doc."

Finally, I've decided to remove my hell-weather predictor from my sidebar, since it doesn't seem to work.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 5:29 AM
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+++++


Thursday, August 12, 2004

You Mean to Tell Me There's Dishonesty in Hollywood?!

A while ago, I went out and watched a back-to-back viewing of the Village and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. You can find my review here. Sort of. For comedic effect, I blended the two movies together for the purpose of my review.

I enjoyed the Village, however, I found it to be fairly sub-par compared to other Shyamalan movies (I absolutely adored both The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable). One of my big beefs about it was that the twist wasn't so much a twist, but more of the culimation of a number of fake-outs to give the viewer the impression that there is some sort of plot twist at the end. This irritated me because I felt the movie really didn't need such a twist, and that Shyamalan included it simply because... well, that's what he does, just like putting himself in his movies (another habit that I detest.)

Well, it seems in the original version of the story, the twist actually occurs around the half-way point, and the rest of the tale is dealing with the fall-out.

The only problem is, Shyamalan didn't write that story.

Margaret Peter Haddix wrote a book, published in 1995, called Running Out of Time. According to the Globe and Mail article, "In Running Out of Time and The Village, adults in a bucolic 19th-century town keep the same secret [as in the film] from their children, and a plucky tomboy journeys through dangerous woods to get medicine."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Haddix wrote her book aimed at a young adult audience; however, apparently it utilizes the same sort of suspense as Shyamalan used in filming The Village. You're probably thinking, as I did, that this may have been an obscure book. However, it sold half a million copies, won awards, and was even nominated for the 1995 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.

"Sure," you're probably thinking (as did I, wanting to give a director I liked the benefit of the doubt), but does that mean the book would be well-known among Hollywood circles? I mean, it's not like most Execs or Directors make a habit of following young adult literature, do they?

Actually, it seems Hollywood saw a great deal of potential in Haddix's book. It was sent to a number of major producers and was optioned twice, most recently by Viacom/Nickelodeon. The options ran out in 2003. Which happened to be about the same time Shyamalan's movie went into production.

Coincidence? Yeah, maybe. I'll admit there's a possibility, sure. But it's doubtful; according to some sources, some of the movie's deleted scenes pretty much follow Haddix's book page-for-page. It smells more to me like Hollywood's wonder boy has plagiarized his latest success. Simon & Schuster, who publish Haddix's books, are currently exploring their legal options.

This also isn't the first time that this has happened. According to E! Online News, Shyamalan is currently involved in a legal battle with "with Pennsylvania screenwriter Robert McIlhinney, who claimed Signs ripped off McIlhinney's unproduced script for a film titled Lord of the Barrens: The Jersey Devil." Admittedly, I know next to nothing about this latter legal battle, so it might not have much of a basis. But as for the Village... I'm afraid the similarities and coincidences related to Running Out of Time seem a little bit too strong for my liking.

Really, this has left a sour taste in my mouth. I may have been fairly ambivalent about Signs, and found the Village to be a pretty mediocre, run-of-the-mill film (save for the excellent performance of the heroine), but as I said I loved his two prior movies. Were they really his creations? I'm not so sure anymore, and my enjoyment has been somewhat tainted as a result.

But I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. It is Hollywood, after all, and not particularly known for its creative and artistic integrity. I guess I just expected better from a director of whom I considered myself a fan.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 7:33 AM
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+++++


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A Pleasant Surprise

I guess that, last term, I made the Dean's List. I wasn't entirely sure exactly what that meant, but I've been told that it's basically the university-equivalent of a gold star.

Only this gold star comes with a $1400 scholarship, apparently.

I rock.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 11:05 PM
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This Game Doesn't Seem To Work For Me...

I've been exploring a newly-discovered blog, Dried Lean Meat (see link in sidebar), and in doing so I came across what appeared to be a fun little blog game. Basically, the rules work like this:

1. Grab the nearest CD.
2. Put it in your CD Player (or start your mp3 player, iTunes, etc.).
3. Skip to song 3 (or load the 3rd song in your 3rd playlist).
4. Post the first verse in your journal along with these instructions. Don’t name the band, nor the album title.

Normally, I listen to mp3 lists. So, I followed the alternate instructions above -- started my mp3 player and went to the third song on the third playlist. Now, it should be noted that I'm constantly creating playlists, usually to use as gaming soundtracks. Hence, the third playlist was near the top of a pretty long list.

Anyway, I start playing the third song. Hrmm... Ravel's Bolero. No lyrics. That won't work.

Sixth song? Nope, a fan-made industrial mix. Also no lyrics.

Alright, how about sixth playlist, third song. Well, this one had lyrics... but I'm not about to post them on-line for the entire world to see. Too embarassing. Plus, I haven't listened to that song in at least a year, so it shouldn't count.

Sixth song? I listen to that one a lot, but unfortunately, the lyrics are in (I'm assuming) Arabic. I doubt I could transcribe them properly.

Well, crap. By now, it's starting to look like I'm just not going to be able to participate. Still, I do own CDs.

Third song on the nearest CD: "Winds Over Neo-Tokyo," part of the Akira soundtrack. Still no lyrics. Argh!

I'm getting desperate by now, almost to the point of either giving up or actually posting the lyrics of the above-mentioned song. Back to my playlists.

I eliminated the playlists that were solely designed for gaming, narrowing my selection down to only those playlists I actually listen to on my own time. Then, I randomized the list on the third such playlist, clicked forward twice to get to the third song, and....

Blue sky to forever,
The green grass blows in the wind, dancing
It would be much better a sight with you, with me,
If you hadn't met me, I'd be fine on my own, baby,
I never felt so lonely, then you came along,


This game wasn't worth that much effort.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 3:52 AM
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+++++


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

One Hundred, Still Going Strong

Well, it's post one hundred and I've got to say... Wow. I never thought I'd make it this far.

Thankfully, the sidebar appears to be working again, and I've fixed the comments feature so that anyone (even those who aren't registered) can post. I still liked my previous format better, and I may try to get back to that eventually, but for now this will do.

I've added a link to a friend's blog (Baron's Ramblings), and I've also added a Hell-Weather Watcher.

Still, I wanted to do something to commemorate my hundredth blog entry. Thus, I've written up this handy little list of advice for would-be bloggers, based on all the mistakes I've seen others make with their blogs.

Ratboy's Top Ten List of Blog Rules

1. If the majority of your wardrobe is black, you enjoy cloves and incense, and/or you like to write poetry about the blackness of your soul, don’t start a blog. Teh intarweb is safer without you.
2. Nobody cares about what you ate for breakfast.
3. Internet quizzes are fun and all, but you have to say other stuff, too. A 1-for-1 content-to-quiz posting ratio is the bare minimum.
4. Don’t speak in 1337. Ever. If you do, I'll be forced to kill you with my brain. (Ya big 14mz0r)
5. No, you’re really not secretly a dragon.
6. Even if you were a dragon, you can still get AIDS. Also, get professional help. Seriously.
7. A blog is not the place to get validation from your parents. They probably won't even read the thing, unless you point out your blog's existence to them, in which case, why not just talk to them directly? Anything else is just kinda pathetic. And not in the classical sense of the word.
8. Think first, then write. If, after long consideration, you decide you don't want anyone reading that entry you've just thought up, just don't write the bloody thing. It's that simple.
9. If you don’t want people commenting on your blog, and you like having hissy fits just because someone decides to politely disagree with you, don’t include a comments feature on your blog. Dumbass.
10. Yes, after a fashion, when you write a blog entry you are writer, editor, and publisher, all in one. That does not mean you are God. Teh intarweb does not quake at your passing.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 4:44 AM
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+++++


Monday, August 09, 2004

The Sensational Saturn-Man!

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From Wrestling News:

Former WWE , WCW and ECW wrestler Perry Saturn will make his wrestling return after suffering a very serious injury this past April. This was a very serious, and private situation, which he did not want public until he was able to recover.

We are proud to announce that he has recovered, and will return to the wrestling ring on Sept 17th for USA Pro (Jamaica, NY @ The Amazura Concert Hall).

In April of 2004 Perry Saturn was driving his girlfriend to work when he heard what he thought was an argument next to a vehicle. When he approached the vehicle, he saw two men trying to restrain a woman as they were raping her. Without hesitation, he grabbed both men off her, and started fighting with them. As he was able to get the woman free from her attackers, he felt a burning sensation in his neck. He thought originally it was a cut stemming from a punch. However, he learned soonafter he was shot three times in the neck with a 25 caliber handgun.

Perry Saturn now has a steel plate and 3 stainless steel screws where his C-5, C-6 and C-7 vertabre in his neck were badly injured. The good news is that after a very tough and extensive amount of physical therapy and training, he is able to return to wrestling. When you think about it, it's amazing he is even alive, or even able to walk!

Unfortunately, we learned that he did not have medical insurance, and has incurred quite a bit of medical expenses. I'm sure if needed, the wrestling community will open up their arms and assist if the expenses become overwhelming.

As far as his attackers, one man was arrested for attempted murder and rape. That case is still ongoing. No word if the other individual was arrested as well.

On behalf of everyone here at Wrestling-News.com and USA Pro Wrestling, we are very proud of your actions, your determination to recover, and your instinct without thought to risk your life like you did.

He survived handgun bullets. Three of them. To the neck.

And here I thought Unbreakable was fiction.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 12:25 AM
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+++++


Sunday, August 08, 2004

He Said What

This quote was pointed out in a recent blog entry by Billmon:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
George W. Bush
Remarks by the President at the Signing of H.R. 4613
August 5, 2004

I'm beginning to wonder... Does he even bother to read the speeches he pays other people to write for him?


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 2:38 AM
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+++++


Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Incredible Trans-Atlantic Journey

Eat your heart out, Disney.

From Ananova.com:

A stray cat that was wandering the streets of Oxford was found to have been registered in the USA when rescuers did a microchip scan on it.

The RSPCA says it has no idea how the cat, nicknamed Jasper, got to Britain, says BBC Online.

And it has been unable to trace Jasper's owners in the USA.

It is now hoping someone will recognise the animal, which was found in Campbell Road in the city.

RSPCA inspector Doug Davidson said Jasper was friendly and 'a good ambassador for the USA'.

He said he had three theories on how he managed to get across the Atlantic.

"The first is that he's a strong swimmer, the second is that he belongs to Americans living in Oxford and the third would be that it was a British family in the USA who adopted him and then brought him back," he said.

I'm going with the strong swimmer theory, mainly because I think that one would be coolest.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 12:42 PM
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+++++


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Biting Back at the Beast of Bentonville

From CBC News:

SAGUENAY, QUE. - A Wal-Mart store in Quebec could become the first unionized store in the retail chain following a decision by the Quebec Labour Relations Board.

On Monday, the Board accredited the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to represent workers at the store in Jonquiere.

There are no unionized Wal-Mart stores. But some meat workers at a Wal-Mart in Texas have joined the United Food And Commercial Workers.

"We are reviewing the decision," Andrew Pelletier, spokesman for Wal-Mart Canada, told the Associated Press. "There was no vote held in the store. This appeared to be an automatic certification, and employees were not given the opportunity to vote on the issue on unionization in a democratically held election, which is of enormous concern."

I guess somebody forgot to inform the Wal-Mart high-ups about the last 40 years of Quebec labour laws. Something tells me they're going to have a tougher time with their usual union-breaking tactics this time around.

At the same time, I'm very glad that Wal-Mart is so concerned that its workers will get a fair chance to opt out of the unionization. I mean, really, if there's one thing that Wal-Mart's known for, it's concern for its cherished workforce.

Wait... No, that's not it.

Anyway, this struck me as very good news. Now, if they just lose the class action discrimination suit, I'll be... well, no, I won't be happy. But marginally closer than I was before.


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 12:45 PM
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+++++


Monday, August 02, 2004

My Evening at the Movies

Well, I'm due for another blog entry. Unfortunately, I really don't feel like ranting about politics, and I'm fresh out of interesting on-line quizzes. Luckily, I went and saw a movie tonight, so that gives me another movie-review entry.

Harold and Kumar Go to the Village is a delightful suspense-comedy written and directed by M. Night Leiner (with additional writing credits going to John Herwitz and Heyden Schlossberg). In this movie, the stressed-out pushover Harold and his medically-skilled-but-dope-obsessed best friend Kumar quest for the American Dream… meaning, in this case, a bunch of greasy fast-food.

Unfortunately for their post-toke cravings, the closest White Castle happens to be located in a backwards forest town of simple, religious folk who seem to be stuck in the late nineteenth century. These simple townsfolk live in great fear of the mysterious and varied monsters that inhabit the woods surrounding the town. A truce exists between the simple townsfolk and these strange creatures – the townsfolk don’t enter the creatures’ woods, and the creatures do what they can to keep Neil Patrick Harris out of the village. Most consider it a fair trade.

Despite such obstacles, the two likeable underdogs decide to embark on their journey to White Castle. On their journey, the various red-cloaked monsters that inhabit the woods – such as the horrifying boil-covered man, the terrifying extreme freaks, or the digustifying diarrhea sisters – all attempt to foil Harold and Kumar’s efforts, but they persist nevertheless. At one point, they must even face the dreaded Neil Patrick Harris in the flesh. But they persist, and are eventually rewarded for their efforts. They also get high a lot.

There was something about some blind girl’s boyfriend getting sick, at one point, and there was also a strange dream sequence involving a mentally challenged fellow shooting some cgi white castle burgers, not to mention some cameo appearances of a dope-addled and breast-obsessed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but I have to admit I didn’t quite fully grasp the relevance of these scenes. No, I was more fascinated by the deep character development that I could see unfolding as Harold and Kumar each, in turn, face their greatest fears, learn some important truths about themselves, and emerge as better people because of it. In Amsterdam.

I certainly didn’t understand the reason for the thirty-minute intermission right in the middle of the film – I appreciated the time to use the bathroom and refresh my snacks, but really, I could have done that in ten. Fifteen, tops. Thirty minutes seemed a little bit excessive, in my mind.

Overall, it was a highly enjoyable movie, though admittedly with some disappointing points. The parts that involve Harold and Kumar, I’ll give four cute white rats – stupid funny, but funny nevertheless. The parts without Harold and Kumar, on the other hand, I’ll only give three – not bad, but nothing to write home about, and with some aspects that left me somewhat disappointed in M. Night Leiner’s writing and/or directing (particularly when compared with his previous movies, such as Dude, Where’s My Superhero?). So, I’ll cut the difference for an average of three and a half CWRs.



Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 1:07 AM
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+++++


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