Sunday, February 27, 2011

Downfall... Not a happy film, but a darn good one

I just finished watching the movie “Downfall” for the second time. A powerful movie that trys to show the audience what the last moments of theThird Reich were like. I can not recommend this movie enough ...but be warned, it is not a happy movie.

What makes this movie so powerful to me are two books that I have read several times, “Soldering” by Siegfried Knappe and “The Last Battle” by Cornelius Ryan.

Siegfried Knappe’s book is a biography of his war years, very interesting, as he seems to attract shrapnel everywhere he went ( I think he was wounded three times). How the book intertwines with the movie is... Knappe was General Weidling’s ( Who Command the defense of Berlin) Chief of staff. That portion of the book is amazing, describing how Knappe and Weidling would have to run through the rubble of Berlin to attend meetings with Hitler and above all illustrated the almost Palpable curtain that existed between the realty of the Battle in the streets and the Illusionary world of the Bunker. Knappe was captured by the Russians and held for some years before he moved to the Untied States.

“The Last Battle” By Ryan, one of my Favorite authors, a man that in my opinion wrote three of

the best and easiest to read books on WWII ( “The Longest Day” and “A Bridge To Far” were the other two) is a amazing work, not only covering the Battle of Berlin itself but the run up , The decision of Eisenhower not to go after Berlin because it had no Military importance and Stalin’s game of assigning not one, but two commanders to attack Berlin and pitting them against each other. The sheer weight of

the soviet forces, the numbers and equipment, astounds you as you read about Division’s of artillery hammering German lines. The price the soviets are willing to pay to take the city amazes you as they take their vengeance on Germany. Ryan’s books are’nt thin, but they are so captivating that they seem shorter then they are.

Still watching Downfall, all the madness of the bunker (Weidling himself was ordered to be shot at one point), The one moment that always gets me is the death of the Goebbels Children... I pray for someone to prevent it each time I see it... how could they.

If your a history nerd, and haven't seen “Downfall”, do so, its has high production value and magnificent performances that, even though it is in german, have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Keep (1983)

For some reason I was thinking about the movie “The Keep”. It was a 1983 horror flick with Scott Glenn, Jurgen Prochnow, Ian mckellan and Gabriel Byrne that was directed by Michael Mann. The story is basically, a group of german soldiers gets sent to defend a small pass, there is old keep that seems to be constructed inside out. Well as things go, soldiers start die, a special ( read: ultracruel) SS unit is sent in to straighten things out. Come to find out there is some sort of ancient demon imprisoned in the keep and he is freed by a Jewish Dr. who is tricked by the creature. Enter Scott Glenn, some sort of guardian Angel who apparently crosses the world and a eye for da ladies, to keep the baddy in his place.

I didn't see this in the theaters and I think a friend recommended it to me. I loved the beginning, but thought it lost some steam in the middle. I have watched this movie about a dozen times which is strange because I wouldn't list it as one of my favorites, but it does have some eye catching visuals. I wasn't a fan of the somewhat modern sound track for the movie which I believe may have been composed by Tangerine Dream.

I looked for this film “on demand” and was surprised they didnt have it, I used to watch this on VHS (ask your parents) and I am not sure if it is out on DVD but I would suggest that if you like more “off the wall” stuff, not the norm, you may want to try to find it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Super Heroes.....

I was trying to think of a name for a Super Hero, one that hasnt been used. You may think that its a easy thing... but with over 70 years of pop culture the well has been getting a bit low.

Back in our “Champions” days I had Kid Rocket and Ambush... and I wouldn't be surprised if they had both been used by now. I remember Manta Man, Cerberus, Shadow Warrior (who was a Ninja...go figure) and Chiron ( Also Tron and Bladerunner... but those were the least original and I was responsible for one) from our old game. We would spend hours trying to think of names.

I was thinking “The Rebel”, yes I know it carries a certain Redneck quality but it also means someone who stands apart from the crowd who won’t just bow his head and go with the herd. I’m not sure if the name has been used but a a quick google didnt show anything.

The Rebel would be a man with no memory, he would now how to do things but have no memory of ever learning them... He is not a Amnesiac per say... but everything prior to him waking up in a Lab simply does not exist in his brain.

His powers would be the result of Genetic Manipulation and not “Mutant”, the result of a experiment. All other test subjects were either A. horribly disfigured or B. driven stark raving bonkers by the process. The Rebel is the soul survivor ( out of 237), who was ordered “Disposed of” but was saved by a Dr. who recognized a difference in his readouts. for 10 years, the tube containing The Rebel sat humming away on a island off the coast of New York while what or who ever he was before, transformed into The Rebel.

or something like that...

I wish we still played champions every now and then, I miss the banter between the “Blast Them” Heroes and the “ We have to take them in alive” Heroes. Those were fun times, fueled by Frito’s and Jalopano cheese dip. My god did we use to roll some dice in that game.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old Cowboy Advice... Never were truer words spoken

* Keep your fences horse-high, pig-tight & bull-strong.
* Keep skunks & bankers & lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Don't corner something that would normally run from you.
* It doesn't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about is never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* Sometimes you get, & sometimes you get got.
* Don't fix it if it ain't broke.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, & a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

RIFT.... A Clockwinder Perspective and opinion.

I believe the first MMORPG I ever played was “Star Wars Galaxies”, I was there on day one. I have played allot since, EQII, WOW,LOTROL,DDO and a few others I tried a free play of and didn't like. There are things I liked about each and I wish I could take those things and ball them up into a Uber game... Bur alas I can’t.

With “Galaxies” I would bring the Crafting and the Player housing. It was cool to be able to drop and furnish a house on some secluded mountain top that you could retreat to and drop your stuff. As for the crafting, in “Galaxies” player crafting was everything, any cool item was produced by a player and sold on his vender or one of the vender terminals on one of the many planets, Health stims, uber weapons and super cool clothes all made by player craftsmen from.

From DDO, I would definitely bring the Character playability, and Dungeon experience, To me it is one of the best Dungeoning games out there... it was everything else it missed the boat on. Thieves could disarm traps, pick locks and stealth ahead while wizards dropped walls of fire in door ways to prevent enemies from coming through and warriors... well... did the whole war thing. In the dungeons, you solved puzzles, climbed walls of pipes and located secret doors... everything a dungeon should be.

WOW and EQII have something I strongly believe in for a MMORPG, A whole world concept. You could ride from one end of the continent to the other, unlike DDO or some other games. I love a sense of world exploration, climbing mountains and finding hidden stuff that designers have gone out of their way to spice up the “world”.

One of my pet peeves are games that don’t have a mechanic for opening a Gord Dram Door!! In my opinion, if there is a building, the door should be able to be opened and I should be able to go inside... even if the toon there in only says “get out!” or “Please don’t kill me!” I should be able to do that. The idea of a huge city, that consists of hundreds of buildings I cant interact with is a waist.

We recently took part in Two Beta’s for the new game “Rift”, there is allot I like about the game but some things I don’t. On a Clockwinder scale of 0 to 5, I give it a 3.5. The whole concept of the Rifts, that open up and spew out enemies is actually cool as you fight them and receive special awards but It does suffer from the “cant go in there” thing, as there are countless doors that can not be opened.

We decided to try a Dungeon, just to experience one. There were 3 players, we were significantly higher level as dungeons are meant to be handled by large groups. We went into a Fae Dungeon and I was a little disappointed as it seemed that the only thing we were doing was walking through a shrubbery maze hacking down enemies. No secret doors, no traps nothing to really challenge anything but your ability to click a button on your mouse... until

The saving grace for this dungeon was the final section... the “Winter” area on top of the mountain. Seldom have I come across so neat a scene in a game. as you ascended snow started blowing across the path then you entered a blinding blizzard... the further away a party member went the more obscured he became. The last shrine to be cleansed was a huge giants sword thrust into a rock outcropping... very dramatic. This whole last part saved the Dungeon for me.

Rifts also has some hidden away gems, like the Burial mound located at the top of a secluded mountain... that actually had a amazing weapon in it. It has a continuity of world that I enjoyed and some neat creatures to fight (Rift born and wondering).

Rift allows you to play Guardians or Defiant, We played Guardians in Beta so when we switch to Defiant for “Go Live” the game still holds some surprises for us. It allows a moderate amount of Character modification and each side gets to chose from 3 “normalish” looking races. The real Gem is the Character system, you chose from Warior, Mage, Rouge and Cleric, but within each of those you get a number of “souls that enables you to modify your character countless ways, for instance I was a Rouge... within rouge I had Marksman, Ranger and Saboteur. Each level you receive a certain number of points that can go into each “Soul” to unlock new skills and abilities... It works well.

I look forward to go live for RIFT... it should be a fun game, I worry that Rift fighting will get old fast but so far it has only increased game play. I have been underwhelmed by the cities so far but I haven't seen them all yet. It was perhaps technically the smoothest beta I have ever seen, yes the servers would be brought down now and then but Loading the launcher and playing the game required no tweeking and the game ran well on my box that hasn't been upgraded in awhile. There was not much lagging in the Huge battles with what seemed like hundreds of players fighting 25 or so invading monsters, yes spell effects were lost and some other eye candy but all ran really well.

The Clockwinder recommends “Rift” but is still hoping for the perfect game.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

“Thank god I brought my....” A heroes guide to Equipment.

At a get together with fellow chaps who share my Nerdly leanings, amongst other topics, We happened upon the subject of Equipment and how encumbering it would be to a Adventurer. This got me thinking about Movies, TV Shows and Books and how heroes port their goods... and soon the fury was ragging!

BECAUSE THEY DON’T!!!! Sure you may see a pathetic excuse for a backpack, or a quiver with maybe 5 arrows ( Which pisses me off because in the next scene the hero fires like 100 arrows) but you’ll never see them humping some huge pack up to the wizards tower or even so much as put a box or two of shells in their pocket.

Why? They have the miracle of Plotronic intervention, “Hey its dark in here, thank god there is this old bone, a length of cloth and petrol bubbling from the ground so I can make torches”, everything goes their way, they are heroes. Authors and Directors don’t want to bog us down in the minutia of real world logistics. Nothing pisses me off more then to see a guy running around Blasting away with a tommy gun and he isnt even carrying pouches for Magazines so we can kid ourselves that he has reloaded at some point.

Food and Water, Heroes in Movies and books just leap out a window and go running off on quests and adventurers without so much as a thought to consumables. Animals just drop dead at their feet, or better yet, in some form a bizarre naturalistic ritual suicide, they pluck their feathers, impale them self on a spit and cut their heads off.... all because the hero is so damn good. Having had to carry food and water in packs... Its a Bitch.

I guess Games go the exact opposite direction, for some reason, when you play a hero in a MMORPG or RPG you now have to worry about every fricking contingency. You should not be alarmed though, because your hero not only carries A backpack, he can carry 5, full of suits of armor, dozens of weapons, countless glass viles of potions, tons of loot and a amazing array of treasure... without even making the pack straps strain nor explaining just how someone carries 5 backpacks.

One thing that decades of Fake war have taught me, I don't want to be carrying one rifle let alone 5 or 6 and the accompanying ammo. Yet in any game you can have dozens of weapons secured to your body to use at anytime, or worse, a plasma cannon shoved into your trouser pocket (after all, a siege tower takes up as much backpack space as a squirrels tooth.

I realize that in one instance, that of Movies and TV... it is for entertainment value, The script writer will just conjure something if it is important. I am sure in books some authors, afforded the luxury of space and time may describe or explain the heroes burden and I am sure in gaming, its money value, people are going to pay to play games that allow them to Uber themselves out, to switch from their leather jacket to Mk VII power armor ( held in their belt pouch) in 0.2 seconds instead of one that says “ Well thats the weapon you have on your belt... good luck friend”.

Two extremes, the north and south of it all, I wonder if real life is the happy median.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Musings on Stormtroopers.... Thoughts of a fanboy

Since the first time I saw Episode IV in 1977 I have been a colossal Star Wars Fan. As I have stated before... If there were ever any prequels made... which there were’nt... I would not be a fan. ANH, ESB and ROTJ hold a place in my heart and a permanent hunk of my imagination. Since that day over 30 years ago, I have also been a fan of what I consider to be the #1 best conceived and visualized bad guy foot soldier in all of SciFidom.... The Stormtrooper.

The Zenith, to me, for those white armored servants of the empire, was Star Wars ( or as it is known now to the kids... Star Wars: A New Hope). I could tell the gentle reader about the subtle changes in the armor making process over the movies and that in Star Wars the armor actually had more pieces then the other movies those making it appear more articulate... but I shall refrain. To the Clockwinder it just appeared that the stormtrooper was more real then in the other films of the series.

From that first shoot out at the beginning of the film to the explosion of the Deathstar I buy the fact that these guys are the empires badasses. The Stormtroopers on Tatooine ( Sandtrooper was actually a latter term, the original script and novelization by Lucas referred to them as Stormtroopers) were a incredible work of the costuming art, the dirt and grime, the rank paldrons and backpacks made them so believable. The use of old equipment such as German SMG Magazine pouches and the imaginative use of real world weapons and items, for example those Rank Paldrons were actually Motocross Chest Protectors, gave them a unsurpassed Realism. I will still watch those scenes over and over again, “Look Sir Droids”, “How long have you had these Droids” and “Stop that Ship” are like alert words for me to stop what Im doing and look up at the TV.

To me, the Tatooine Stormtroopers show us what these baddies look like on campaign, covered with dirt, burdened with equipment. They are “Salty”, they are hardened veterans who can spot replacements by the shine of there clean armor.... but thats me :o).

In ANH, the weapons of the Stormtroopers were actual dressed up Sterling l2a3 SMG’s with some of the other heavier weapons being played by MG34’s, MG15’s and Lewis Guns that gave them a real non-plastic look and feel. The Sterlings actually fired blanks and in some scenes you can see the spent casings ejecting from some weapons. This gave them a kick and flash that was a hallmark of ANH and ESB ( After ESB they decided to go to Replica Sterlings and resin casts).

I know its a Fanboy nerdling thing, but it always amazes me how we have lost the ability to replicate the realism of the 1977 film. When I watch the Special edition and I see the added Stormtroopers in the “Look Sir, Droids” scene... I am Appalled by the lack of Artistry. They look like some one took a pant brush and just splotched on some brown paint, their backpacks look like they were made by Kenner and their paldrons out of felt... its like the difference between night and day. It is strange that perhaps the best trooper costuming since ESB has been accomplished by fans and maybe that says a little about the difference between Love and a Job.

In ESB we were introduced to Snowtroopers and it wasnt until Bespin that the ol Stormies showed up in any numbers. In ROTJ with the time and cost saving measures the Stormtrooper didnt seem as “Real” as he had in the past and the sillines of the great Ewok war only compounded the downward slide... but they were still there and still cool, not some CGI generated Piece of bantha crap like Clonetroopers that in 2 movies and numerous cartoons, have never been a 16th as cool as the Stormtrooper.

Here I sit, 45 years old, writing a blog post about fictitious bad guys from a movie over 30 years ago. Yes, I will place my “Loser” crown on my troubled brow and wear it proudly, because even after 3 decades I still enjoy watching those movies and I still think that the Imperial Stormtrooper was the best conceived and executed Baddy in all of Scifi and Fantasydom.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Big Trouble.... Big fun

In the last post I talked about the movie “The Fifth Element”, in one of the responses, Aravan, mentioned the movie “Big Trouble in Little China”.... to me both movies share some of the same qualities and then some. BTLC is another movie that its hard to find haters of and a gem that the Clockwinder will watch time and time again.

Made in 1986 and starring Kurt Russell as the hero Jack Burton, the movie is a zany mix of Kung-fu, action and super-natural thriller that is sprinkled generously with clever comedy that works on a incredible level.

One of the things I love is the fact that the hero often thinks he is more of a hero then he actually is... He isnt the best fighter, he isnt the cleverest but he sure as hell has cornered the market on Heroic Attitude. From the movies opening lines to the credits he delivers cock sure quips and monologs even though he is usually wrong and often is bested.... But you love him. He has a hero’s heart... even though sometimes other attributes may be found lacking.

The Story centers around David Lo Pan ( who is actually a ancient cursed 2000 year old chinese mystic) and his search for a Green eyed girl to lift his curse. Toss into this The street gangs the evil Wing Kong and the Chang Sing along with the “Three Stoms” your in for a treat.

Its the dialog that is the real gem in this movie, at times it seems that every line russell delivers will be quoted by geekdom for eternity. One of his lines is “ Everybody relax, I’m Here” is a example of the unwarranted cocksurness that is Jack Burton. I have to say, the master piece of dialog in this movie is when Jack comes face to face with Lo Pan and cliche villain monologging meets Jack Burton’s not so inner voice, where he calls the villian “Dave” and asked him “Are you Crazy... Is that your problem?”.

This movie is Kurt Russell, one of his greatest performances and I like him as a actor. If you have never seen this movie... Stop everything... Stop Breathing until you see this this film. You will find your self quoting Jack Burton for months and remember one thing....” The check is in the mail”.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Fifth Element.... something we all can agree on.

Seldom in life is there something that nearly everyone agree’s on... one of the exceptions seems to be the Luc Beeson’s “The Fifth Element”. In looking over my friends favorite movies list and in talking with them, I was shocked by how many of them listed the movie as one of there favorites.

I loved the movie ( and I am obviously not the only one), though I sometimes find my self at a loss to explain why, its special effects werent eye popping and some of the casting was... well... odd ( the federation president.), but I do love this film.

The film stars Bruce Willis as a ex-special forces cab driver and Milla Jovovich as the universes supreme being... the fifth element. <--- you see, just writing that sentence you sit there and say “w..t ... Cap F” but for some reason it works. Chris Tucker as the inexplicable Ruby Rod... might even have been this movies Jar-Jar binks but for some reason his character works.

The movie is not Shakespeare... its not the art in its highest form, it is however a amazing example of what hollywood sometimes forgets.... A fun movie. From start to finish my mind was never caught up in trying to figure out sublime plots or Machiavellian manipulations... the movie practically spells out everything you need to know in the first 20 minutes and Just takes you on a fun ride from there.

If I were to explain some of the scenes here... in black and white, you would probably think I was kidding, for instance, the head general of the federation shows up at the heroes apartment, which is the size of a closet, to recruit him for a super vital mission, in the middle of the meeting, the super-hawt Milla shows up at his door so he hides the military people in his refrigerator... But some how, it works.

I guess it helps that Milla Jovovich is so easy on the eyes, and she actually manages to bring something to her character, a certain naive frailty balanced with super badass. I still quote her “Lilo Dallas... Multipass” line whenever I have to produce my Driver license.

The film is full of scenes that I love, one of them is the performance of the Diva Piavalaguna, for some reason I find that alien singing on stage 100% more believable then any of Lucas’s CGI mess at Jabba’s Palace. I also love the scenes with Ian Holm as Father Vito Cornielus, its all just flat out fun.

Then there is Corbin Dallas... who hasn’t wanted to be the cocksure wise crackin hero and nobody plays it better then Bruce Willis. His negotiations with the Mangalores aboard the “Cruise Ship”... who hasnt wanted to be that cool.... and get the super hawt girl to boot.

Allot of the production, sets and costumes, struck me as very Heavy Metalish(the magazine not the movie) and I understand Moebius and several other artist help with the design work.

In writing this, I sit her and wonder why? Its one of those movies that if Im channel surfing and stumble on it, I have to watch... Why? I think the answer FOR ME is, that it IS a great, fun movie

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Vampires.... Meh!

I was trying to figure out why I have never gotten into the whole Vampire craze. From the White Wolf game to the insanely popular novels I have always been sort of “Meh” over these lusty walking dead ticks.

I did love the first two “Underworld” movies and I will point out that Kate Beckensale as Selene is welcome in my escape pod any day, but I have never been flat out crazy about most anything else that relates to them.

I did watch that show on HBO “True Blood” and did find it entertaining but still it would be something I would miss if anything else was on. God did I hate Twilight with its disco ball Vamps and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” by Coppola sucked.

Here is the thing, I actually liked Bram Stoker’s Book, I read it on a whim back in my Arcade days and thought it was great. Dracula in the book, was almost a background character, and the chase and fight at the end was a thrill. So why do I hate all other Vampire fiction? I hardly a purest, I don’t belong to the Stokerites or the like... why?

The best I can figure out is that, to me, Vampires equate to evil, Tales of victorious vampire hunters may appeal to me more then the angst ridden blood suckers whining about how horrible their lives are or how sad it is they can’t love a mortal blah blah blah ( sit out and watch the sun rise if your cursed life sucks so bad).

I know... I probably dont grasp all the subtle nuances of the genre, but I always get annoyed that there are so man Vampfic books and shows about Vampires out there. I will say, as long as Kate B squeezes into that black outfit though.... I won’t say its entirely without its merits.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Children's Theatre....

It was one of those “Daisy Chain” kind of thoughts, something got me thinking of something that made me remember my days working at Delaware Children’s theatre. Not a unpleasant bunch of memories, I can’t believe it was so long ago.

It was the first year they had moved to the new building ( the old “New Century Club”) on Delaware Avenue, my friend Amocay had talked me into volunteering to help on a production of “Wizard of Oz” and I ended up staying for years.

It is cliche to say, but to me there was a certain magic to that theatre, specially in the new building. It had a balcony, a beautiful (but smallish) stage and dressing rooms and a band balcony above the stage... very victorian (and at night, somewhat scary). The shows had a certain “little Rascals” feel about them, undoubtedly something was always left to the last second but the curtain always went up on time.

I still remember the cursed production of “Hedi”, during one show, the light board ( a ancient Dr Frankenstein like panel from the turn of the prior century) caught on fire and I ended up lighting the entire show with my spot from the balcony.

When I started to help there I was all of 18 or 19, all I wanted to do was work my light. I would always have been up late the night before, watching movies or gaming or something. I think the first time I got “The call” from Mrs S was on a production of “pinocchio”. She walked up to me, a few days before opening and told me that the guy playing the coachman had dropped out and asked me if I would fill in. Being a trooper I said yes... but with the stipulation that I didnt have to sing... this was agreed to and sure enough a few days latter on opening day I WAS singing on stage ( “The wonderful land of the toys” probably never sounded so bad).

I remember stepping in at the last minute to be the Huntsman in snow white and probably my greatest roll... that of Homer Zuckerman, the farmer from Charlottes web. I was asked to play Homer a few weeks before opening so I should have guessed that another shoe had to fall to truly make it a Clockwinder role... the shoe falling was the guy playing Lurvey dropping out like the day before we opened. Why is this a issue you ask... well almost all my lines were to Lurvey and I was given the “Brian take care of it wink”. I ended up delivering lines to Lurvey as if he was off stage and repeating the important parts of his lines like I was clarifying them “ Whys this pig so special?” sort of thing ( “SOME PIG”).

There were some truly magical moments and performances at the theatre, I still know almost every song in “Alice in wonderland” and the “Fabulous Fable Factory”. They usually had a fundraiser every year, a play geared to a adult audience, one year it was “The Sound Of Music” and I was not only stage Manager but Herr Zeller as well, all my exits were followed by a mad dash to a curtain or backdrop line.... but it was fabulous.

The kids... OMG... every show had dozens of kids as chorus, munchkins, cursed swiss alps people or mindless zombies... at least thats how I remember it. They were fantastic, just sitting around clowning with the kids was worth every second of my time there. I meet so many talented people there even some of the younger stars had more talent then you could imagine.

It was fun being a Techie in those days, there was always a line that a lead would have trouble with...time and time again and you would all be on the headsets routing for them “OW So close!”. Or those heads up moments when a actor would suddenly skip ahead 4 pages of script... believe it or not... it was fun.

Children's Theatre, when I worked there had a vibe, almost a reverence, to this day I swear if you cussed in that place the god lord’s foot would descend through the roof and kick your butt... I still remember one late night working on sets when Mr. H. hit his hand with a hammer and uttered “the” cuss word and everyone just froze waiting for judgement day.

In the end I think it was Children’s theatre that grew up, not me... it was getting more and more professional and I wasn’t. We parted ways, DCT still entertains children on weekends and gives young actors a place to grow and I still remember my time there is something magical, cherishing my memories of those days. I’m shore I owe some of my better qualities to those hectic productions and fantastic people.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

My Super Bowl Victory....

Yes, I like the Packers and Yes.... Yes they won, but that is not my super bowl victory. My Victory came in the form of of a 30 second spot during the 2nd quarter.

Yes it was the first Trailer for the up coming movie “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Its no surprise to those who know me that I am a big Captain America fan. I have been waiting for some footage from this movie since they first announced it. The stills have been great, I have loved what they did with Cap’s costume and Chris Evans I think, has really stepped up and looks the part.

The Trailer was ... IMO... Fantastic, It showed Cap as a scrawny teenager, then him as a scrawny soldier ( I believe in the original books he was actually 4F and unable to enlist but thats ok). They show him receive the Super Soldier Serum and BAM!! Buff Chris Evans.

Another thing I noticed (In fact like a good geek I ran home to my computer and frame by framed it) Were Members of the Howling Commandos in some scenes... the Derby Wearing “Dum-Dum” Dugan and someone who appears to be “Pinky” Pinkerton ( The Beret wearing limey) can be seen as well as what appears to be a oriental fellow??

Now I am still very upset that Samuel L Jackson is Nick Fury, that still bugs me... but the addition of these characters is nothing but more icing on a already iced cake. The Red Skull looks good as well and Hydra is in evidence through out the clip.

And the Shield...oh yes, they even showed the shield, both in it painted and unpainted form. I probably would have like a more dramatic reveal of the the shield... but I am happy with what they showed.

Someone did mention that there weren't going to be Nazi’s and just Hydra... and that would bother me. Why bother to show Cap in his original setting if you weren’t going to have him go toe to toe with those goose stepping bums, But we’ll have to see.

You may have enjoyed your car commercials... your Soda can Slinging, cell phone hawking dorito selling spots, hell you may have even enjoyed the game.... but for me, the victory was seeing that first Trailer for Captain America.

The link to the trailer is

Note: In the picture above, that is supposedly Bucky standing to Caps right (our right).

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Sorry Clockwork world....

I missed a few days didn't I. Well yesterday was a utter nightmare... me and the world were just a little off kilter. I also got into a beta test for a new MMORPG called "Rift" that doesn't appear to be half bad. I'm having some fun with that.

I did some gun work the other day and have to say everything went together fine, I did receive a washer "to take up some play" in between some parts but as it turns out, There was only play when I used the washer.

Another Rainy winters day... truth be told, I wouldn't have minded some rain but it is what it is.

Sorry I let you go so long Blog... I'll try to keep up.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Create your own Hero.... Just add water.

I wonder what our individual concept of a “hero” says about us? I mean, If you ask some one to create a hero... not one that has, like a Mother Teresa or a Audie Murphy, existed, but one created from their imagination, would any two peoples “hero’s” be alike?

I guess for the exercise I’d put the stipulation that the hero must exist in a “Fantasy” setting, not historical, not Science Fiction and does not live in the Modern world. No other restrictions, they need not be human, even bipedal or have a spine.

My hero... I believe... would be human, a man who shows the miles of travels and the hardship of his adventures in the weariness of his eyes. He would have just returned from a crusade or campaign that few others had, one that tested his beliefs to the core of his being. Even in the hardest of circumstances he would have comported himself to his simple Moral code when abandoning it would have been the easiest path. My hero would have conquered great hardships to return to his simple life, A farm or mill, where he would try to forget about his past, locking away his weapons in a attic like he trys to lock away the memories in the darkest recesses of his mind.

He would be a swordsman of unparalleled ability, but his style would be simple no waisted motions, the method of a man who has learned his art from the battles he has fought and not from teachers who have not.

The hero would not be knowledgeable in refine learning, but a genius in the now useless skills learned by years living on the edge of the razor, perhaps even mocked for not knowing the latest fashions or song.

He would go on his quest reluctantly, but it is through the completion of his quest that he would redeem some portion of his soul that was all but lost before... his reward would not be treasure, not be magic... but inner peace and when offered power he would refuse.

There are so many types of heroes in the history of the planet, I imagine some go in and out of vogue as the years pass and sensibilities change. Why do some people like one type and others another?

Now this is just off the cuff, perhaps all this sort of thing says about a person is that they have a over active imagination or perhaps it says something about the person they wish they could be, I certainly don’t know I am just wondering out loud but take a moment and think, what type of Hero would you Create and why?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Ivan Rietman's Heavy Metal

I was thinking of the Movie “Heavy Metal” tonight. I can’t believe it was released way back in 1981. For a animated movie it had some really great segments.

I think my favorites were “Harry Canyon”, The Taxi driver segment, “Den”, about the geek teleported to a far off planet where he is a huge warrior and of course “Taarna”, the warrior woman who battles against the odds as hordes of Locknar infected beings try to stop her.

1981, I remember going to see it in the theatre, all of 15 years old. Ralph Bakshi had released some adult oriented animated features (thank god for the State theatre... where i saw them) but nothing like Heavy metal. It was probably the first animated film I saw with gore and nudity.

It was a Teens dream, rock-n-roll, violence and Nudity... it seemed fashioned for the 16 to 22 year old market. The Segment “Den” really talked to me, who didnt want to be the Mighty Warrior, who didn't want to have the Hawt women at his feet while he hacked and shot his way to victory.

I think the b-17 segment was the one I disliked the most... I didn't hate it, but for some reason It didn't do anything for me. All the others were the funny ones, many we still quote today (“Steerrrrnnnn”).

“Heavy Metal” was a testosterone and adrenaline powered ride wrapped in surprising animation styles. It was my introduction to Heavy Metal Magazine and to some artists like Corben and Moebius. I still enjoy watching Heavy Metal now and then, yes, with my introduction to Anime, some of the animation has lost its luster... but its still a fun movie to watch.