Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Southfield Police Citizen Observer Crime Bulletin August 11-24, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 25, 2014 Southfield City Council Meeting



Southfield Council Meeting held August 25, 2014

Topics Discussed Include

  • Flooding in the City After the August 11th Rain Event
  • A Public Hearing Regarding A Lot for Online Vehicle Sales
  • Lawrence Technological University Students Who Aided With The August Election

An agenda and related documents can be found here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks




Oh the levels of meta. The film is about how real life events inspired and permeated a fictional story and it's adaptation, while being a flawed adaptation of real life events. Oh and in case you haven't figured out it's the fictionalized making of story behind Mary Poppins.



 How much you can enjoy the film is will largely be based on how much you can get over the fact that this is the mouse house blatantly rewriting its own history.  In real life the Mary Poppins film adaptation went down how you would expect a Hollywood "creative differences" battle to go especially in the 1950's, and by most accounts P.L. Travers hated the movie, though she mellowed with time.

See here is the thing. I'm a grown man who likes revisiting and enjoying the stuff I got a kick out of as a kid, but because as a grown man I understand, to a point anyway, things like economic competition, trademarks, fiduciary duty, corporate organizational structure, contract law and copyright. I realize that a good chunk of my childhood joy was probably built on a lot of broken promises and crushed dreams.



And that's something I have to come to terms with. My favorite animated feature is Titan A.E. Do you know how many people lost their jobs over that film?

And the movie comes close to hitting that by trying, to describe the transition between a personal literary project and a collaborative film project.  But every time it looks like Disney is going to have to buckle down and do the sort of shaddy stuff we all know he had to do as a businessman the movie backs away to cast him in a better light because in a mouse house picture Disney might as well be God, even in death Disney might as well be God.

I'm not saying Disney was a bad guy or even wasn't genuine in attempting to bring joy and whimsy to millions. Part of him was everyone's fun uncle, but dude was also a grade-a capitalist who could squeeze a dollar out of a nickle even if he had to kick a guy to do it.

To steal a line from P.L. Travers.

"The movie is very glamorous if you take it on its own. But it has very little to do with the books (reality)."

It's a good engaging movie. It makes clear what its conflict is and what the emotional stakes are. To (Movie) Travers Mary Poppins was born as a way to help her make piece with real life events and she doesn't want Disney to make light of that. And Disney wants to take a story he cherishes and bring it to the world in a way they can accept.

It's very interesting and engaging, and also enlightening in regards to the collaborative creative process... if you get beyond the idea that Disney didn't really care what Travers thought one way or the other in real life. He had the rights and was going to make that picture with or without her.



The movie has a lot of interesting characters and a lot of heart warming moments.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Movie Review: The Wolverine



You know the franchise has a lot to answer for after X-men 3, the only movie I truly hated. I can excuse almost anything. "At least it was fun." "It wasn't made for me." "It funds a better movie the director and writer want to do." "It was decent idea that didn't stick the landing" I will defend Twilight. I will shrug off Transformers. I'll even give a giggle at Pluto Nash but X-men 3, that one, that one hurt.

But between this and First Class, they still have me.  The story, especially at the end is the sort of weird wacky science fiction I get a real kick out of and while some of the twists are predictable the movie has so much going on that you forget you saw it coming.

That said while the real villain is complicated he doesn't show up until the last five minutes and the villains we do get until that point are pretty much one note ciphers.

The individual action scenes are a little subpar as well but they're so short and they're so many of them that in the moment you never think about it.  And that's more or less the saving grace of the movie. It moves so fast that it never gives you a chance to think about its individual elements and instead comes together as a pretty fun whole.

It's not the greatest movie ever or even the greatest comic book movie ever but killed two hours in a way that didn't leave me pissed.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Movie Review: The Rise of Catherine the Great

I have a problem watching old old movies. They aren't bad but they almost always have a few quirks. And this is the most frustrating movie I've seen in a long time. Catherine the Great is one of the most fascinating historical figures I can think of. While since she was a royal I can't call her self-made she became what she was largely through sheer force of will. She ain't inherit Peter's epithet for nothin'.

All I'm saying is the woman lived an interesting life. And the movie is telling the story wrong. It doesn't lie..much  it just takes really interesting events, and robs them of context and emotion.

My main problem is it's a movie about a royal court that doesn't feel like a royal court. It all plays more like a social club. With the love hate relationship between Peter III and Catherine the great as the most interesting topic of conversation.  But those aren't the stakes and everybody knows it.

It's the game of thrones. You play to win or you die. And Peter died. History casts the two of them as Cersei and Robert but with Cersei being cast in the role of the victorious hero of her nation's golden age, keep in mind golden ages are relative and almost all of them involve some blasted war of "glory" with a lot of bodies and Catherine was no stranger to bayonet.  Beyond that though I know the story can be told in a compelling way.

I want to forgive it because this was in an age before a lot of the editing tricks we use to tell the audience, something is awesome were invented. But it feels like a dry stage play. The it conveys too much information to the audience via dialogue. It was the 30's budgets were limited. I want to forgive it for that but damn is the story of Catherine the Great deserving of something better than this.

I've seen stories come close in theme and tone.



I like stories about old fashioned power struggles largely because the figures who tend find themselves involved in one tend to be engaging.


Movie Catherine just isn't.

Let me lay some history on you.


  1.  This Catherine is one of the few monarchs history is chill with in the age of revolution.
  2. In a lot of ways she finished what Peter The Great started, the modernization of Russia. Meaning her reign was a time of great transformation with all the blowback it implies
  3. She was a military boss. She hung around (among other things) generals and knew how to talk their language. It's unclear how much of Russia's military victories at the time were on them or her. 
  4. Like I said before she came out victorious in an epic power struggle with her husband she came out because she understood the politics of Russia better than he did and keep in mind she was an outsider.
  5. Her and Elizabeth of Russia are known for being incredibly strong willed to rule in the courts they did with the authority they did. This is my major beef with the film. That iron will is seen only in opposition the misogyny but both these women were leading their countries into and through wars at a time when because of their sex a lot of folks would have written their commands off as obedience to an unknown puppet master or worse the fancies of a woman. But they handled it like a boss. There is a good movie in there. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Southfield August 11, 2014 City Council Meeting


City Council Meeting held in Southfield, Michigan

Topics Include


  • Authorization For the Language of the Road Mileage Authorization Put on The November Ballot
  • The Confirmation of Robin Dillard-Russaw as Magistrate
  • Maintenance Contract For the Police E911 System with AT&T
  • Various Road Projects

An agenda and related documents can be found here.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Why I Stopped Playing Gameboy

So a couple days ago I made an offhand comment that the reason why I'm not so much into Pokemon is because I don't have the disposable cash to buy a Nintendo Gameboy 3DS and even if I did there are a million things that I need more than a Gameboy.

Then I realized. I still had my Gameboy Advance and knew more or less where it was. Seriously the great search took about all of 20 minutes.  So now the question I have to ask myself is why hell did I stop playing Gameboy in the first place.

Well there are a couple of reasons. Older retro gamers are going to slap me for saying this but my golden age is the PS2/Dreamcast/Xbox/Gamecube era. And at the time Gameboy couldn't compete for my attention and funds.

Okay I was a spoiled brat but when I was a young child let's call it 9 I negotiated a formula with my parents for determining my allowance size. Grade Level * Level of School= Allowance. When I was a young child it was pretty small. 5 bucks starting. It was enough so that on Fridays after school I could buy a soda and a slice of pizza from the corner store before TGIF.



Good times, good times. (Everything I love is closed now, though something else might have moved in.)

But after a while that grade level multiplier kicked in, right around 2000 in fact. The trade off was that it was expected that I would mostly buy my own goodies with that cash. And between DVD's, PS2 and Xbox games, anime, and fantasy novels. Gameboy just got edged out.

Today Gameboy has a reputation for probably being the most diverse of the "devoted" gaming consoles, and in retrospect that was probably true even back then, but at the time I viewed it as a nerfed system that had the advantage of being portable (My same beef with laptops now. Spend the money on a faster processor and larger harddrive people. It'll last longer too.).

I lost my original advance but eventually bought an S.P. and found it had rechargeable batteries.  Now I see the advantage of that. Batteries are a money sink but back then it was a pain.

Like I said the primary reason I had it was because it was portable. I could sneak Gameboy Color into my backpack and play it during lunch and on the school bus. And if it died I just kept a few spare batteries on me. But with Advanced S.P if the battery died it died. And even if I found an outlet it meant I couldn't move for like two hours taking away the whole portable handheld thing it had going for it.

The way I saw it if I was going to stay on my rump I might as well get "the full experience".



So rather than spend money on Gameboy games I spent it on other stuff.






Right now I don't game so much because I don't have the type of money I had back then but I think I eventually will so I still keep up with things. It looks like the Gameboy 3DS might actually be the best of the last generation if you look at things a certain way.

I'm going to sound like an old man but there was something for everybody in my day. And the promos I'm looking at seem more and more samey. Even the games I've played I like seem like they have had their controls nerfed to appeal to more and more systems.

GTA V's controls in particular are a clunky mess as the game tries to be about 15 different smaller games. In Crimson Skies flying was awesome. In GTA it makes me want to throw the controller at the screen.

I don't know. These are just thoughts that went through my head as I was searching for Metroid Fusion.

Election Clean-Up

Okay most of the election results can be found at the Oakland County Clerk's site, the Secretary of State's Site, The Oakland Press or The Detroit Free Press but for some quick hits that stuck out to me. .

Southfield Councilman Jeremy Moss won the Democratic Michigan House 35th district primary, Mayor Brenda Lawrence won her primary for the 14th Michigan District U.S. Congress seat  (boy did I call that wrong) and State Senator Vincent Gregory won the 11th Michigan Senate primary by only 117 votes.

Those were most of the races I was paying attention to but the SMART millage passed in Oakland County and Prop 1 won throughout the state.

The more interesting question that I'm wondering is, if Moss goes to Lansing and Lawrence is goes Washington neither of which are foregone conclusions since this was a primary but still very likely, what's going to happen here. I would have to check the city charter, but my guess is there will either be a special election or some sort of appointment and in either case I have no clue who are on those short lists.

Council will probably discuss it next Monday. At least I hope they do.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Form of Media

So with my top 10 mainstream anime list I think I hit on a larger media idea. The idea of media representation. Okay I'm a black guy so I've heard and on some occasions made another angle of this argument but that's not where I'm going.

Nope. This is not about racial diversity in pop culture.

Going somewhere completely different. Ready.

I love media. I love reading it, watching it, playing it, and listening to it. I LOVE MEDIA. But I can't experience every piece of media out there. So the bits I do experience color the my view of what their respective medium is.  For instance while I played and liked video games the first game I really loved and had at my disposal to fully take apart. was Soul Caliber the Dreamcast. I had Sonic 2. I liked Sonic 2, I never beat Sonic 2. Damn Aquatic Zone.


But I played the hell out of, challenged my friends to, beat, and re-beat Soul Caliber and it colors my perception of other games because it was one of the games most economically but more importantly experientially accessible to me.  It has become entrenched my archetype of game. And my perception of what is a game is largely effected by that.

But the concept of game is artificial. It's something that is determined by the games that are available which in turn is determined by the games people create.

My point is that the games people are exposed to...Extra Credits did it better.  The games people are exposed to affect the games they create and affects what people consider a game.

But its not just games.  I'm a movie guy. And I've only really been exposed to about maybe 15 plays independent of film adaptation. Reading a script, or going to the theater.  And because of that my idea of what is a play is basically amounts to Shakespeare. I know that's a shame. And I should dive head first into Tennessee Williams. But it is what it is.

And if I on a lark were to try to write a script for better or worse by the shear draw of the medium I would be trying to emulate Shakespeare more than anybody else merely because he's what I had the most access to.

I'm not saying its good or bad but its a media phenomena worth studying, worth thought. How does access affect the form, the intrinsic charactaristics of media.

How Greg Got His Swerve Back

No matter how hard I try I can't just kick it out my head so let me just write it out.

For the past 2 months I've been hinting that something has been bugging me. Here it is.

I had the ephiany that certain elements of my life were making me feel like I did circa 1999. I don't hate that guy but I hate the experience of being that guy. I like to think that I grew up. Sure I still get pissed thinking about all that stuff but life, the universe, and people are all better than I thought they were when I was 12.

I was miserable because I thought my life sucked and I didn't see a way to fix it so I just had to take it all in the hope that God or the universe or whatever would eventually balance things out.

FUCK THAT.

Part of what made a miserable living potato sack was judging myself by a rule book that I was ill suited for. And my evolution as a human being has been about me throwing out that rule book and figuring out what's important to me, not what's important to everybody else, but what are the big things important to me and spending my time and energy on obtaining them.

I don't have a lot of money. I honestly do think that if I keep doing what I'm doing my life will get better in that regard but to me money isn't as important as other stuff. When I graduated college I realized I was going out into a bum economy so I consciously or decided I wasn't going to play that game. No matter what I wasn't going to make the money I wanted.

As far as a career went I wanted four things. Those are what's important to me and if I judge by that measure I'm not doing to bad for myself.
  • The opportunity to learn new skills and gain knowledge.
  • The opportunity publicly demonstrate those skills.
  • The opportunity to effect change in the world around me
  • And an exponential growth of the others 
Those things are opportunity and that will eventually lead to funds but even if they don't they provide one hell of a wild ride that's worth it. My thoughts might change if I hit rock bottom but all the same that's what's important to me. And why should I judge my self-worth on somebody else's scale. 

And as far as being that other guy. 


I am who I am. I like who I am. I don't like who I was. I am not going to be who I was. I will not let ANYBODY force me to go back to that.

And Gurren Lagann summed up the sentiment quite well.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Top Ten Mainstream Anime

Okay so it's Sunday morning and I'm bored. I surf YouTube and find Misty Chonexia's top ten list of mainstream anime.  And I'm not one of those assholes who troll about you didn't put my favorite anime on the list.

Well I am one of those assholes but.

I felt the title of the list was misleading. I think what Chronexia meant was anime that people new to anime would be comfortable with largely using popular anime as a reference. And that works. But what I went in thinking was that it would be a list of anime that people outside of the anime community would have reference for. Anime that had somehow made it to mainstream pop culture.

And the idea of that still kind of interests me. I still feel that anime fandom is still a subculture and examining these titles could help bridge the gap between people familiar with the medium and those who aren't. And it would also let me figure how the medium evolved by studying its heaviest hitters.

 So let's go.

10. Sailor Moon

I need to talk about Sailor Moon. For a brief period of time Madoka Magika deconstructed the magical girl genre that Sailor Moon had more or less codified. So part of me wants to revisit it post-that and see if Madoka not only deconstructed it but reconstructed it. I want to see how Madoka changes how I would engage with the show. Also they've just rebooted the series so I need to watch that as well. And it might be a good idea to take a referesher on the original before I dive into that.



But even without these. Sailor moon managed to explode just before the Toonami boom. Where I hail it aired right along side Power Rangers and a similar enough premise and cultural background to feed into and from that.

My point is if you're a pop culture nerd and devote a decent amount of brain space to Billy you have to give credence to the idea thought that Amy was fulfilling the same role in her xx counterpart series.

But that's neither here nor there. My point is that until toonami Sailor Moon was probably one of the biggest if not the biggest anime properties in the States during the early 90's. And it shows. Almost every anime convention says "Fuck it. Sailor Moon Cosplay contest"  Not just a general cosplay contest no. There are too many Usagis running around for that.

9. Dragon Ball Z

Once Toonami did take off Dragon Ball Z quickly supplanted Sailor Moon as the face of anime. If you are not a 90's kid you don't know.

A lot of people have said that anime is to my generation what kung fu flicks were to our parents and if any one show could be called responsible for that. It's Dragon Ball Z (or Fist of the North Star... No it was Dragon Ball Z.)

Now a days Dragon Ball Z has had a bit of a back lash but it still worth study. Because of it's massive popularity its a good reference point when discussing anime tropes and because some of the polish has warn off its easier to discuss flaws caused by production limitations than something people univerally laud.  The show is flawed but entertaining enough to be engaged with.

8. Naruto


A lot of people hate Naruto but I don't. I've been through this dog and pony show before. Naruto has basically supplanted Dragon Ball Z and has more or less the exact same place in the culture. And for I time I was there. Rock Lee kicking Gaara's ass was kind of badass. But Naruto still has a lot of the production limitations of DBZ which means when it's good it's great but god oh god when it's bad.

But a lot of younger fans don't care. They just want a fun show with a bunch of thunderous action scenes staged with boisterous melodrama. They watch it for the same reasons I watched DBZ and even Smackdown as a kid. Was it stupid. Sure, but it was fun.


But right now a lot of the larger anime community takes issue with the idea that people on the outside feel that Naruto IS anime.  I'll admit the show has its merits but I don't think it represents the best anime has to offer and that debate is tarnishing what for a sizable portion of this generation of fans was their show.

Love it or hate it. You have to talk about it.

7. Pokemon


I have a love/hate relationship with Pokemon. Mostly because I really want to go a nostalgia trip but can't afford a DS like the cool kids. Remember the days when you could get a Gameboy for $80. The 90's.

And that sums up how I feel about the modern Pokemon movement. While each of the individual elements are good enough to warrant a look back what made it ... was it was a pop culture phenomenon. At the time everybody was into Pokemon. The cards, the games, the merch and yes the show.

And that's not so much the case anymore. The world has moved on. People know what Pokemon is but right now it's not the juggernaut it was.

And Nintendo it would take one move to change that. RELEASE A DAMN COUNSEL VERSION ON WII. I'm still pissed that Pokemon Stadium wasn't a 3D version of the original. Do you know how much ass kissing I had to do to get that N64? Do you!?  Majora's Mask made up for it but still there is a principle here.  Heck it doesn't even have to be the Wii. You could probably do it on the DS., which is basically a portable N64 itself. Come on. People would pay out the ass for that.

What was my point again. Right you just couldn't ignore Pikachu back in the day and now you can. Don't get me wrong rock on Pokepeople. But part of the fun was being a part of this big giant pop cultural thing that was happening and the moment is gone.

6. Miyazaki Just Miyazaki


Before Crunchyroll, before Funimation, before Adult Swim, before Toonami, there was Nausicaรค of the Valley of the Wind, My Friend Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service. To this day this is what anime is to people and it ain't exactly a bad representation.

But Miyazaki has his quirks. You can always tell you're watching a Miyazaki film, and some of those quirks are not essential to the medium.

All the same the man has been able to consistently create films with nearly universal themes over the course of his career. There are very few bad Miyazaki films and that has allowed him to not only become Japan's Disney but the closest thing my generation has had Walt period. And while Don Bluth comes close if I'm being truly honest most of his better movies came out before I was born. Miyazaki is my Walt Disney.

5. Akira/Ghost in the Shell

The original dub of Akira is not a good movie. There is a good movie in there and later dubs fixed some of the problems but it's not a good movie. The story is all over the place and characters make no sense. But damn it if doesn't look badass.

And well that was enough. Akira set the minds of a whole generation of animators and film makers ablaze by expanding the language of the image. There is stuff in there that we've been trying recreate for decades.


Furthermore it is one of the pantheon of movies recognized striving against and mostly coming out victorious over the notion that animation is soley kids. Teenagers maybe, but unless I'm being a bastard and deliberately trying to give kids nightmares (I'm evil.) I ain't showing them Akira.

It expanded the types of stories and visuals animation could incorporate and is widely recognized for that.

Also everything I just said goes for Ghost in the Shell for the same reasons.



Except it has the added bonus of being intellectually mature. This is a movie that requires you do homework to enjoy it. And that makes it flawed but still overall pretty important and worth watching.

4. Cowboy Bebop


Cowboy Bebop is often touted as being the best anime ever. You can debate whether it deserves that title but because of that it often serves as people's gateway into the medium. If a friend asked me. Hey I know you like anime, but I know nothing about it, whats a good example. "BALLAD OF FALLING ANGELS".

And I'm not the only one. Heck outside of kid cartoons Cowboy Bebop was my introduction to anime and also animation as a medium. Lighting, color, hue. Visually it's amazing. The writing is brilliant. And Yoko Kanno's soundtrack is the soundtrack by which all anime music is judged. 

It's good show is all I'm saying.

But beyond that because it's a good show its also the show the fandom choose to represent the medium for a long time. And as I get older and get a little distance I wonder if that's the right way to go. Anime is really diverse and for a time in the mid 2000's it felt like everything was trying to be the next Bebop.

That's not a knock on the shows. But it is what it is.

3. Gundam

I'm late to the Gundam party so most of the versions I've seen aren't the classics. All the same  for a good while the giant robot genre was synonymous with anime. Even now how much of the new line up features a big ass robot. Yeah you can't talk about anime without talking Gundam. And since the franchise has been around and going strong for about 35 years for anybody over 25 this IS anime.


2. Full Metal Alchemist

You know adult swim back in the day was responsible for introducing a lot of people to anime. Full Metal Alchemist is not my favorite show of that era. But it seems to be the most institutionalized. Cowboy Bebop had 26 episodes and a movie. Alchemist had a 50 episode run, another 50 episode run, and I think right now about 3 movies oh and that OVA that came out a while back.

If you're into anime you can't escape it. That said I really like it. And as a show it holds up pretty well. Both the first one and the reboot.  They're both still fresh enough so that its hard to examine their place in the culture except to say they are a big part of it.

 1. Attack on Titan

The phenomenon that is Attack on Titan is interesting to me. The show had massive buzz outside the community even before being dubbed in English and that is weird. I just want take a knife and disect how the hell that happened.

Short answer the internet. Long answer is a lot fandom trends most of which but not all of have to deal with the internet converged at the right time. People who saw the show and were excited about it cosplayed and made fan art to their hearts' content. Sites like Devart and YouTube, which recently came into their own, gave a place where those pieces of artwork could be displayed to people who were curious but not as enthused who then justifiably felt that if the show as good enough for someone to spend 6 months of their life reanimating the title with Nintendo characters it must be good.

We're still seeing this play out but I'm curious how Attack on Titan will affect the perception of anime in the future. Most of the stuff on this list was targeted towards kids and gained that notoriety because parents had to buy merch.

And that's not the case with Attack on Titan.

P.S. I misspelled Miyazaki's name so many times. I am so sorry.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Second Chances

Well this isn't going away.

My assertion is that Pluto Nash is the victim of bad timing being released at time when audiences weren't willing to handwave some of its stupider elements and plot holes in the name of pulpy sci-fi goodness. I honestly do believe that this one deserves a revisiting and we are in a weird time.

Due to Netflix and the internet a lot of older movies are becoming cult classics, and here is my list of movies that deserve that. These aren't movies that people are already talking about or at least I'm going to try not to go that way. This is just a list of movies that I think people should give a second chance.

Also keep in mind these have to have been movies I've seen so most of them are going to be from my childhood.

Dude Where's My Car

The point of this list is to look at movies that for whatever reason didn't work in the context of thier time and I think Dude Where's My Car fits. It's been said by people smarter than me that this is basically The Hangover but more self aware and if that thing can get two sequels Dude at least deserves a special 2 disk re-release.


Tape

Well since I did the stupid I should probably go highbrow. The movie has an interesting challenging premise. There is an emotional event in the past and three characters can't agree on how it went down. Your reaction to the film is almost entirely based on who you believe and nobody is completely reliable. The movie does not hold your hand.

In a lot of ways this is a writer's movie. It doesn't really on a lot of flashy gimmicks just a good script and good actors and is a testament to how far that will take you.

These days Netflix and Youtube gives indie films like this a home.

Mirror Mask



 Okay so the children of the 80's gush over Labyrinth and The Dark Chrystal, but there was a period where The Creature Shop was experimenting with computer graphics. And I would argue the visuals are just as imaginative.

But since it wasn't able to ride the good will of the Muppets it was kind of forgotten. I SAY NO MORE! Mirror Mask is awesome. Especially since feels like a proto-Coraline which was also written by Neil Gaiman.

The chronology is a little weird since the book was written before this movie but still if you're interested in the evolution of ideas, this is a good one to check out.

Fortress

I love Deadman Wonderland. I love the fights. I love the gore. I love the powers. I love the characters. I love the satire. I love Deadman Wonderland! I was and still am still skeptical of New Toonami, but Deadman Wonderland makes it all worth it. As much shit as I talk that one show justifies the entire endeavor.


Yep. Fortress is Deadman Wonderland in 2 hours with the fucking Highlander. WHY THE HELL ISN'T THIS ON NETFLIX?! What got me onto it was late night showings on Cinemax. It's the sort of B-movie shlock perfect for Netflix, or even Crackle. Come on. How many Chris Lambert fans would dig making a late night marathon out of this, Highlander and, Mortal Kombat. Do it! Do it! Do it!

The Final Countdown

Best time travel rules evarz. Oh and F-15's blowin' shit up. Considering this is in the days before Top Gun all the stuff they pull is pretty damn impressive. If you are a Top Gun fan this is one worth looking at.

The truth of the matter is that this feels like an old school 1950's Twilight Zone flavored sci-fi movie but it was made in the same age as Star Wars and Back to the Future. Seriously give it a B&W filter and you would swear it was made 20 years earlier but with better acting and an effects budget. While this thing has spectacle its not thes same sort of spectacle as those films. Furthermore while it has that B-movie feel it takes itself mostly seriously. Not angsty but it is a lot less interested in Zemeckis style humor or sentimentality than you would think it would be.

The Abyss



 Almost everything James Cameron touches turns to cinematic gold.  And it's not like this movie tanked. But I feel like its the red headed step-child of his canon. True Lies gets more ink. Seriously! True Lies. It was made in that period where Cameron still had some grit in him and as far as technical stuff and themes go Judgement Day borrowed a lot.


 Again I'm facinated by the evolution of ideas. And if you consider Judgement Day to be his creative peak (Don't troll Miles Avatar was okay, and while being more conventional Titanic was pretty impressive), this movie is worth studying.

Damn It I Want A Pluto Nash Remake

Okay I'm still on this and I haven't watched it in a long time, but you know what I think the reason why people didn't like Pluto Nash is because it's the sort of goofy, campy, science fiction that was just starting make its way into (well back into the mainstream) in the mid 2000's and is definitely niche.

It's one of those types of movies where audiences wouldn't have a grasp on the genre rule book it was working with, namely late 60's early 70's pulp sci-fi. That weird period between The Day The Earth Stood Still, and Star Wars. Heck I don't even think the actors might have got that.

But in this age of nerdvana think what they could do if they got a bunch of writers and actors who dig that stuff and just went nuts with it.



And without the ironic wink wink nudge nudge we know it sucks sort of crap. I mean playing the concept of Sammy Davis Jr. in space absolutely straight. Space mafia. Oh man that would be awesome. Like dudes in zoot suits in space. Ah Ah god. And they would interrupt some weird space band all Cagney like with their laser tommy guns.

"Nuck see. We're taken ova dis here bar. Anybody got a problem with that."

"Yeah. PWEW PWEW PWEW. "

Aw that would be awesome. Man.  And Rosario's character would be Mae Westing it up with the one liners while Pluto was driving a hover car. Ah god. EH or if you want to make a subtle statement about those types of characters you could even gender swap Pluto. Yeah make it so he's like Rin in the first episode.



Well I just found out why I'm so fascinated with Rin.

It's basically Pluto Nash if you replaced space with THE FUTURE but good and with a brain.

Wanda Sykes Should Have Been In Pluto Nash

I LIKE PLUTO NASH!


Yeah, I said it. It was fun. And I like movies that are fun. Almost every sci-fi thing these days is grim and gritty. I want my movie about a happenin' night club on the moon. Of course I don't happen to own a copy... but when I saw it as a kid I liked it.

And even as an adult I still think the basic premise and tone of the movie could work. Murphy was more or less reprising his role from Harlem Nights except not trying as hard as he had written and directed that and was visibly more invested. But yeah Nash is basically Sugar Ray Quick ten years later IN SPACE!




Harlem Nights is underrated.

Anyway if your going to put something in space why not a kickass night club.

I think what killed it was people had so little faith in the premise and that Rosario Dawson was miscast. I love her. She's awesome, but Nash himself was a jaded snarky straight man. I know I'm crossing the movie streams but what he needed was a Jerry Lewis.

I still like the idea of the character being a woman, but it have needed to be somebody who could bring the wacky with a straight face. Okay times have gone by and the moment has passed but I wonder what Pluto Nash would have looked like with Wanda Sykes.


Let's Treat It Like A Company



So I had a good long talk with Mom about that last thing and she thinks I'm nuts. But I really do feel I'm on to something here so let's go.

Same disclaimers apply. When I'm bored I do thought experiments and because, independent of that what's on my mind is the family reunion, those thought experiments are going to be devoted to it because oddly enough rather than trying to pretend like I'm not going until I'm physically on a plane I'm actually pretty jazzed about it and don't mind having it on my brain.

Okay so there was a lot of stuff she didn't like and most of it felt like that since this was stuff she wouldn't be into why spend the money on it when ticket prices could be lowered. And that's a valid concern and balancing act that would need to be done even if I kept my yap shut. How much cool stuff should the committee plan verses how do you keep costs down but there were a few things that wouldn't leave my brain.

She made me aware that some of what I was proposing would require a huge shift in how the family thinks about the family reunion.

Each year is more or less run independently, a small ragtag group doing whatever they have to do to get the thing to function. And the gist of a lot of my proposals is to was to build up infrastructure and accountability around the institution of the reunion itself.

In other words run it like a company with a rotating board of directors. And that's a major paradigm change. Right now each reunion is "owned" by the host family. And what I'm proposing would take some of that ownership away in the name of strengthening the institution itself.

While I'm going to make a bunch of smaller arguments let me make the big one. As it is right now the success or failure of the reunions is almost entirely dependent on the reputation of whoever we find to host them. I'm not saying they're bad people. On the contrary most of the time they try their damnedest to make it work, but again I'VE LIVED THROUGH THIS, if the reunion is taken up by someone younger or less well known they'll have a hard time getting money for it because, as it is people have to just trust that they'll get a reunion they'll like for the money, and for all the lip service we give there are some times when we don't put our money where are mouths are on that one.

Speaking of the money this would require changing how specifically the host family funds it. Yes almost everybody uses their own cash to prime the pump early on, but we would need to be comfortable saying that once that cash is in the reunion fund it no longer belongs to us. If you pumped 5 grand into it and there is some left over that money would go to the next one unless you specifically declared it a loan at the outset on the balance sheet. And the same goes for every expenditure. Rather than just paying for things out of pocket as we go make recorded loans or donations to keep track of exactly how much money is in the pot and make budgeting easier.

EVERYTHING SHOULD BE RECORDED!

I don't care if someone went to CVS to buy napkins.  It goes on the ledger.

Like I said sometimes the family doesn't know the host branch well enough to fund things the best way possible but you do know what people trust? Numbers. And every year we posted the ledger it would build up trust that no matter who was running things the money would get spent right.

And like I pointed out before the documents could act as sort of a guide to whoever took it next regarding the physical stuff they would need and maybe even a suggestion on how to organize things, exactly what sub-committees to create, what type of budgets they would need, that sort of thing.   It would even clue people into the unexpected expenses that come up out of nowhere. There is no good reason not to do it other than it would take a bit of effort.

And I still want to play Pluto Nash.

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