Posts Tagged ‘space

15
Dec
15

WordPress Post Interstates?

*****

What sense does this make?

You see a post you care to examine.  But, when you click on it, you get a one or two line blurb and a link that tells you to click it for the “full post.”

I would think you clicked the initial “link” to see the full post.  So, why the extra page?  Is this some means of saving data-load speed?  Reducing traffic by eliminating those with the attention span of gnats who may only read the first line of a post and drift off in thought?

Seriously.  Who comes up with these notions?

 

…And, while I am at it.  Again, why did the old Comments I Made option disappear from my menu and get replaced with “what’s trending” and “new posts you might like?”  Where did the Explore Tags option go?  Now I am limited to tags I insert into the search bar and add to my list of “favorites?

28
Jul
14

The Art of Excess

 

On a milestone birthday in the depths of space, a budding artist (with a face full of bubbling, molten craters) opened her eyes and marveled at the new tools provided by her parents. The intense, singeing light of her father and the softer, enchanting glow of her mother came together to wish their daughter well in pursuit of happy growth and enhancement. Vowing to make them proud, the young orb took a deep breath and went to work.

Her early efforts produced a multitude of lifeforms both stationary and mobile. The former consistently worshipped her parents while the latter were free to experiment, giving all who watched a source of amusement. Father and mother were indeed pleased. Their smiles burst with a brilliant energy which could be seen from galaxies away.
“Go on, my child!” said the father. “Create more! It gives your mother and I such joy to see you paint your surface with these colors! One day you shall be the crown jewel of our domain!”

So, the child continued to create and age. But, every now and then, her father and mother would drift apart, leaving her in the cold of deep space to wonder if what she created was still worthy of praise. In a fit of sadness and frustration, she struck herself with a large rock, hoping to free some promising ideas from her already cracked skull. Instead, it erased her vision temporarily, wiping a large portion of the art from her surface. When her parents returned, a new motif had taken over their daughter.

“What’s this?!” gasped the father. “Such a drastic change! What has made you tear down what you already made and replace it with something new?!”

“Father, each time I turned around, you and Mother left me alone,” said the young artist with a sigh. “I did not feel your warmth at my back. I thought you no longer approved of my work.”

“Look how they behave differently when I draw closer in your father’s absence,” said Mother with her cheeks aglow as she separated from her mate. “You honor us with your talents, daughter. Go on. Continue creating. You are just beginning to grow.”

Despite her concern and flickering confidence, the artist did as she was told. Nothing she made gave her the joy she had seen in her parents’ faces. Again and again, she changed her canvas while expending her vital energy (which, at the time of her youth, seemed infinite), each time hoping the next visit of her parents would be happier than the last.

When they did return for her birthday, she had yet another surprise waiting for them. Gazing upon the new creation, Father blew flames to the far reaches of space and withdrew. His color paled from an ardent red-orange to a weaker yellow. “What in the great cosmos are those?! And, what are they doing to each other?!”

Tilting her head ever so slightly, his daughter said, “I have not decided what to call them, yet, as they keep changing on me. I am leaning toward naming them Humanity. What do you think, Mother?”

Though her mate was dismayed, mildly cross and tempted to scorch the young artist’s hide, Mother, impressed with the new lifeforms (which could adapt themselves more readily than any other), showed enthusiasm. “They are certainly unique and interactive.” She paused to look away when one fierce band of the fleshy rebels destroyed another, leaving a gruesome stain on the daughter’s cheek. Refraining from preaching about cleanliness, Mother added, “Keep at it, my child. But, do not be so hasty to destroy what you have made. Let it mature with you. You continue to grow in wisdom though experience. Some day, you will shine as bright as your mother or–maybe–your father.”

With those encouraging words, the still youthful artist returned to her labors, working with her latest creation to “enhance” her appearance. [Meanwhile, her parents ventured off in mounting disagreement.] As the years rolled by, the ever-mutable clay of “Humanity” grew in quantity and violence, gradually wiping away portions of her previous work. Just when it seemed like the restless, pale and balding creatures might destroy themselves and everything remaining with them, a new crop would appear to start a revolution. But, the lifeless remnants of the previous batch never seemed to fully disappear. The cosmic strength to absorb injury and clear away the messes made diminished. Eventually, after several expansive conflicts, the bewildering competition amassed heaps of debris on the heavenly creator’s face.

At the dawn of her next birthday, her parents displayed looks of horror. Lakes of toxic sludge and smoking mountains of heavy filth nearly covered every inch of their daughter’s skin. They could barely see her worrisome expression and hear her trailing voice as she pleaded, “Father! Mother! Help me! I have lost control! I am falling apart from within! Help me!”

But, they could do nothing short of wiping her from the cosmos. Reflecting upon her own potentially misguided wisdom, Mother wept. Father slapped himself for being so hasty and persistent in the pursuit of pride. In search of other worlds to litter and ravage, some of the daughter’s tiny parasites ventured deep into space with the ships she provided. Following the errant paths of the wasteful machines over their shoulders, the parents retraced the eons of their previous attempts at raising children and wondered how their neighbors, the Andromeda family, fared so well. [What did they truly know about their neighbors? And, did they need to snoop?]

                                                                           *******

“Surprise!” cheered her parents, stirring the young artist from her slumber. The latter rubbed her eyes and followed the visual cues of the former along the curves of her weathered frame. Though she had found herself drowning in darkness and despair only a moment ago, she was now glowing with a renewed sense of peace and a vigor. Gone were the mounds of death and destruction. Those tiny pests she had created were now working together as one happy community, no longer fighting over materials or each other. And, the older forms once thought doomed to extinction were now given their fair share of space to live as Humanity did.

“Happy birthday, my daughter,” said Mother with an earnest smile. “Just look at you, now. So grown-up. So mature. And, to think, a few eons ago, you were ready to throw yourself into the black hole because of some hideous eruption on your face.”

Her father, showing his age with the faintest tint of red in his thinning cheeks and forehead, added, “You have never looked lovelier than you do today, my child. You honor us both. And, look, our neighbors have brought you presents.”

The woozy artist squinted over her parents’ shoulders to see the handful of colorful visitors in the distance, each with tiny surprises headed her way. Neglecting to mention the former identity of the rock chosen as a meeting place, Mother and Father cleared the asteroid field to welcome the guests. Everyone had such a joyous time at the birthday party…

…Except for one tiny solar-powered ship carrying a lone green explorer who steered clear of all the commotion. He didn’t dare venture closer to those he could not yet understand. Instead, he continued his journey through space, watching the universe drift by as he decided what to do with the rest of his life.

 

 

~Writingbolt, 7-26-2014

10
Jul
14

What Is Human Nature? We May Never Know

The human being is so complex. After thousands of years, we still do not know its limits or greatest potential. And, yet, man continues to taint and tamper with nature–including the environment and the body itself–with countless pollutants. How can we ever grasp human nature when it’s perpetually contaminated?

In pursuit of science, like the temptation for girls to strip down their dress-up dolls and smear them with graffiti instead of appreciating the creation as it is made, humans spoil the opportunity to understand each other and themselves. And yet, even when it’s not considered scientific research/testing, humans take chances with what surrounds/appears before them, like a school kid in a cold winter city daring to stick his tongue to a flag pole in the middle of a deep freeze. Are we no better now than the cavemen or natives who had to determine which berries were safe to eat?

What if all our “advancements” are nothing more than alternative routes to the same malfunction under a different trending name? What if we could do better by buying into less, not relying on products and services to pamper us and simply observing our surroundings and instincts (not our impulses/temptations) more often? What if we are wasting SO much time, energy and resources on experiments that all ultimately fail to do anything more than temporarily alter our outlook on what is inevitable? [Meanwhile, buyers fill the pockets they do not possess with seemingly (the previous being the key word) endless money and/or power. And, countless others either starve or squander their souls to cheat someone for their hasty, short-sighted benefit, simply because humans fail to work together.]

If you were to imagine yourself as an alien/outsider (saving the expense of crafting and sending some gizmo into deep space to reach out to the unknown which may only end up as more space garbage), employed to survey and sum up the nature of human beings, which of the following would you choose to voice your opinion?

1) “The human being is a constantly changing and viciously circling chemical trip, similar to what they call a roller coaster, a ride intended for amusement which goes in a loop, stirring emotions while risking bouts with hysteria and/or nausea. They change the shape of the track, affecting the range and pattern of reaction, but it’s still just a loop.”

2) “The human being is the bud of the (yet unknown name) flower, like a tadpole precedes a frog. Given time, the evolved form will earn the ego the human perceives to be deserved and become the rightful dominant species of the planet Earth without any capacity for war, experimentation, disease and/or segregation.”

01
Jul
14

We Come in Peace-suit of Taking Your Planet

We’re pursuing space exploration and migration…er, domination of other worlds (like the very aliens we’re told to fear in movies) yet we don’t have ideal control of/peace on our own present home world. What sense does this make?

When we think of air travel these days, we run into little warnings of immunizations and all sorts of other concerns we should take before venturing even on what is supposed to be a pleasant but temporary holiday/vacation. Why do I get the feeling there are far less concerns about venturing into deep space and recreating the Native American massacre and/or African enslavement just for the satisfaction of some restless humans with a closet case of claustrophobia? I’m not entirely content with what’s going on here on Earth, myself. But, I don’t think it’s at all wise or sensible to just start pouring all this money and resources into chasing a hoop dream on some other planet which is surely occupied by those content to have a planet without invaders.

Most importantly we must NOT repeat our past mistakes (as mentioned above if you missed them). Otherwise, our disgusting aspects won’t just be an Earth problem/bad memory. They’ll be a galactic one. I, for one, have no desire to live out the clone wars, the dawn of the terminator/machine or any number of dystopian/bleak/frightening possibilities our strange minds invent. And, I’d rather interact with other species peacefully. But, presently, humanity is unable to do that as the dominant species of this world.

Let’s clean up our mess and make what we have liveable. When that happens, I’m sure other space travelers who aren’t hampered by past vices will be happy to greet and interact with us. Or, we’ll avoid bringing our diseases–hopefully–to other worlds.

What about you, reader? What’s your take on this?

24
Jun
14

If I Created Everything That Entered My Imagination…

 

 

…I’d quickly run out of space and run the risk of exhausting the world’s resources. 

 

I have countless “seed” ideas for movies, books/stories, cartoons, bird houses….you name it.  Give me a niche that needs filling, and I’ll likely fill the gap with something refreshing/mind-blowing (provided you like what I invent).  But, I can’t see how I’d ever complete every project I think of all by myself…nor where I’d store them all.

I see plenty of talents creating larger and larger portfolios/galleries of work.  And, I can’t help wondering where they put it all.  How much it costs them.  And, who lovingly supports/accepts them and all their “clutter.”  What a different world that seems to be from what I’ve had to contend with…and how I now look at crafting/creating anything.  I look in a direction more practical and beneficial than I once did as a kid.  Yet, so many others seem free to be kids and create as they please without any fear of consequence or making the errors they consistently make.

Am I “old,” “wise” or something worse?

06
May
14

Put It on EBay!

“Put it on eBay!” he says. “You’re not enjoying it. Get rid of it!”

That’s my father’s (and, generally, my family’s) final and echoing word on anything sitting somewhere and not being put to use…when it’s not their own stuff sitting somewhere and not being put to use. It only adds weight to the weight I already carry for having indulged a whim and brought something “home” though I don’t get to use it as often as I could (if ever). [And, if I never use it, it’s because I wanted to share it with someone special and don’t presently have that someone. And, that just drives me crazy, too. Why keep buying stuff that I WISH to use with someone (else)?] As negative as I get labelled for “pissing” on this and complaining about that, I can’t find it in me to point out every little item or question someone’s collection to the point that I tell them to get rid of it promptly. But, my family does this (particularly) with me.

[For any of you warped by current TV trends thinking this is a potential “hoarding” situation, don’t even go there because it’s far from it. And, if I ever became even close to being unable to getting around/through a room, I’d go mad like Donald Duck and pitch the lot to the curb. I refuse to box myself in anywhere.]

I could easily fight them off with a stick and scream, “Mine! I keep it!” But, as I think this over one more time–in my attempt to be fair–I begin to question the value of so many things. What am I NOT enjoying? Oh, there’s a long list.

So, if I am not enjoying my parents/family…can I put them up for sale/auction? How about my life in general? Do I set a high or low minimum bid? Who would ever (click) Buy It Now?

[I say this and then realize or decide there must be someone worse off who’s saying they’d trade right away. So, don’t speak too quickly. But, this is just another passing thought that sort of made me laugh. And, I hope it gives you who choose to read this a chuckle, too.]

11
Feb
14

Dragon Inn Theater and Dragon Tattoo, Too–My Recent DVD Views Review

Among the lot from my most recent stop to rent DVDs, I just finished watching “G.I. Joe:  Retaliation”, “Goodbye, Dragon Inn” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (the original Swedish version).  Here are my thoughts:

G.I. Joe:  Retaliation

Synopsis:  The Joe team gets ambushed after locking away Cobra Commander and Destro, and the remaining members of both teams duke it out over a nuclear weapons scare.  New faces abound with some new nifty technology tricks (namely Firefly’s homing explosives which look like…wait for it…fireflies).

The gritty combat action and Cobra plots were better than in the first film.  [However, the fight scenes with Snake Eyes were not any better.]  Though relieved not to see so much goofy computer animation, cinematography didn’t impress me as much this time.  I still don’t quite understand the need to wipe out the G.I. Joe team, change CC and oust Destro (supposedly the original cast who apparently did not care to do another film in the series?).  But then, film makers did the same thing with Mortal Kombat, and we all know how that went.  No third movie was made.

Bruce Willis (Joe) was amusing.  Adrianne P. (Lady Jaye) and Elodie Y. (Jinx) were beautiful.  And, Firefly was brilliant (aside from the corny boat chase near the end).  But, considering the cast changes and the sad end? to Zartan, the poo quickly piled up on this one.  I can only hope–if there is a third movie–it’s a major improvement with some of the original cast.  [I’m looking at you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the original CC) and Sienna Miller (a great Baroness minus the earrings).]

TGI a rental.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn

Synopsis:  In case you’re completely clueless (as I was until I stumbled upon it), this looks like an independent/film festival (small screen) film about a small movie theater running a martial arts film on its closing night (before demolition or reconstruction due to its crumbling condition and lack of staff).  Only a limping female ticket clerk and a young male projectionist (who doesn’t appear until the last third of the 80 minute movie) manage the theater.  A tourist escapes the rain outside and discovers an assortment of fellow wanderers who seem less interested in the movie and lost in themselves.  In the end, there is a hint of unfulfilled romance and a fitting song.

I get the feeling the creator/s of this film wanted to capture a favorite theater the way they experienced it before the place was shut down and took advantage of permitted access to film the various corridors and mysterious storage areas (which are never explained).  I did a similar take on the closing of a place I previously worked.  My camera wasn’t of the same quality, but my footage amounted to as much without the cast of characters supplied quietly into this film.  And, when I composed a montage/music video with my footage, I did some editing to make it more interesting.  This, on the other hand, is more like raw footage on quality film and a virtual movie theater experience.  You can sit behind someone for a few minutes and see what that feels like.  And, the moments are quite random (without much continuity).

There is very little dialogue.  In fact, the majority of talk is handled by the film within the film which provides subtitles.  And, while the camera shots and angles are decent, there are long, lagging clips that could easily put some to sleep.  This is beyond a “sleeper” yet it inspired me to write something and think about working with the crew to re-create the film with more content.  It’s a good concept.  But, unless my DVD player was missing some special features, the overall product was significantly lacking.

Definitely a late night rental you watch with that special someone when you can’t get to the theater and want to drift asleep together.

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009 Swedish original film)

Synopsis:  A reporter loses his job and gets a minor prison sentence after digging up dirt on a corrupt wealthy businessman.  In his hiatus from work, he is hired by another wealthy man to solve the mystery of his missing “daughter” (Harriet)…but not solve the mystery (as Mr. Vanger says).  Meanwhile, a 24 year-old, unorthodox (punk) computer hacker working for another publication digs into the reporter’s case and ends up working with him (in more ways than one) to resolve Harriet’s disappearance.  Rated R for good reason.

In short, the story is decent–but not very unique–with its share of dramatic cuts and music.  The characters are abundant and fairly interesting…but their development is lacking.  [This may just be another “You need to read the book” thing about another one of these book-to-film projects.]  The key moment that triggered this negative thought is when the reporter and his young hacker assistant decide to have a spontaneous sex scene.  Like other “murder” mysteries I’ve been reading as of late, these sex scenes are the worst kind of surprises completely misplaced (unless you consider the young woman’s actions from a therapist’s point-of-view).  Other than the intimate exchanges, the hacker and reporter DO make a somewhat refreshing team.  But, their lack of depth makes them less valued than the average RPG  video game characters.

Also, the usual suspects–a large enough family seeking money from their elders–are almost glazed over and diminished by a few graphic (though not quite graphic enough for the next letter rating, X) scenes which seem included purely for “realistic” shock value.  Justice is not exactly served.  [Even jail seems…WiFi pleasant?]  And, we are left wondering what the sequels could possibly entail (while I think leaving Harriet missing until the next “chapter” would have been a smarter ending).  [I fast forwarded through most of the violent sex which would have been discomforting to watch in the theater.  And, in my personal opinion, the girl should have stopped when she played the video for the cops to find.]

Is it poor writing if I figure out who the killer within the first few minutes he/she is mentioned?  Or, am I just a great detective/guesser?

I will likewise view the sequels and skim through/over the American version of the first film in time.  But, save the ticket price and rent/borrow these for popcorn thrillers with someone you trust to sit next to you.

 

The Girl Who Played with Fire (TGWTDT part 2)

Synopsis:  After solving a missing person’s case as a dynamic, intimate and yet distanced personally duo, Lisbeth and Mikael must work together to clear her name from a murder charge tied to her former guardian (who she cannot leave alone after he assaulted her).  The murder leads to ghosts from Lisbeth’s past which drag her friends into the fire before the girl (technically a woman in her twenties) gets some (more) revenge.

The second installment of the story is slightly less disturbing than the first.  In this one, the sex is purely consensual.  Yet, is it necessary?  Not really.  Even if Miriam Wu (Yasmine) is an attractive nude, the nudity is not key to the story.  Thus I think it could be veiled.  The fire comes into play as we learn a bit of Lisbeth’s personal history and uncover some faces from the past who surprisingly reappear.

In the first movie, there was extensive PC hacking and (internet) research as well as active interaction between (main) characters (even if they were far apart).  There was also a large family that briefly appeared as suspects.  The sequel lacks some of the active “enjoyment” of the research/investigation and involves friends of Lisbeth in perils that remind me of a cheesy 80’s martial arts film.  It didn’t really grab me until the last twenty or thirty minutes when Lisbeth’s family came into the picture.  Her friend, the reporter from Millenium, seemed of less significance until the end, too.

In short, you could see this one and skip the first if you want to avoid the most graphic violence/sex (though the DVD Lisbeth makes reappears in every segment/film).  But, you might miss a few small details and introductions.

 

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (TGWTDT part 3)

Synopsis:  Lisbeth’s past leaves her battered in a hospital with her father not far away and looking to rub her out.  Instead, someone from his secret organization kills him and misses a shot at Lisbeth before a major investigation into that organization and the crimes committed with/against Lisbeth unfolds.  Mikael must make some “tough” choices to protect those he values.  And, Lisbeth must decide, once more, how far she will take her thirst for vengeance while clearing her name in court.

I’d almost give the same advice for the third film that I gave for the second if not for the key details about Lisbeth’s father and family in that previous sequel.  The last quarter of that film sets us up for this film.  [The part played by Lisbeth’s friends in part two seems to have no impact whatsoever on this third chapter.]  And, here we have a hospital scene that turns into a lengthy court trial injected with Mikael action until Lisbeth is free to do as she pleases in the final minutes.  As with the first film, the “rap up” disappoints me a bit.  This sequel was meatier (had more content/research) than the last but wasn’t much more entertaining.  At least, it was void of sexual abuse/content (aside from the brief reappearance of the rape DVD) and thus could have dropped the R rating if not for a few other odd bits of violence (one of which was a bit silly/unbelievable near the end).

As a whole, the trilogy feels more “episodic” and could be seen on TV as part of a larger series.  It’s refreshing to see such different characters working together with modern technology.  But, the “cases” needing resolution were nothing new, and the R-rated tidbits were pointless other than to justify Lisbeth’s abuse and sexual nature/comfort.  I’d be tempted to work with someone (since the author is technically deceased) on sequels/further adventures of Lisbeth/Mikael.  But, before I judge too much, I am going to suggest reading the books (which I have not yet) to compare stories.  As I said with my review of the first film, these movies might just be “cliff notes” of a more detailed story we should be reading first.

 

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Synopsis:  Steve Carell plays a troubled, aging magician who was once a bullied boy before he became an outdated spectacle of an ever-changing craft.  He works with his long-time friend Anton (Steve Buscemi) and female assistant Jane (the lovely Olivia Wilde) who replaces countless other blonde bimbos the inconsiderate and highly waxed magician hires (and sleeps with).  And, he repeatedly clashes with a self-torture artist named Steve Gray (played by Jim Carrey).  The late James Gandolfini plays a hotel “big cheese” who seems to hold the fate of these magicians in his wealthy hands.  Down on his luck, Burt must remember why he became a magician with the help of his mentor Rance (Alan Arkin) and the reappearing Jane (Wilde) before he loses his friend (Buscemi) forever.  Meanwhile, Steve Gray (Carrey) attempts to humiliate Burt at every turn as he seeks the hotel magician throne.

Carell is a lucky man to work so closely with such lovely women (considering he’s married).  As he did with Anne Hathaway in “Get Smart”, he has some amusing intimacy with Jane (Wilde) which could have gone far worse (raunchy) than it did.  My guess is Olivia took this job to expand her unusual range of characters/roles.

In short, I laughed sufficiently and would have enjoyed this in a theater with the right company.  There are a few disturbing moments (including the ending which has that “so wrong” feeling though it strikes me as still slightly funny) and cheesy tidbits which get washed over by the sheer unsettling demeanor of Carell in character (who has never looked scarier).  Wonderstone rivals Carell’s Evan character from “Bruce Almighty” who was a stiff jerk of a news anchor, climbing the corporate ladder while stealing Bruce’s (Carrey’s) thunder.

 

Cloud Atlas

Synopsis:  A number of famous (and some not so famous) faces question the possibility of deja vu as they cross paths in past, present and futuristic lives which repeatedly test love and truth.  In each time period featured, two characters (not always who you’d expect) are soul mates, at least one person helps the soul mates and another one or more create obstacles for those soul mates to conquer.  Each loving pair tries to achieve some grand revelation of truth to satisfy their souls against all odds.  And, each achieves some measure of success as well as hardship/failure.  Throughout the series of lives and events, a piece of music–written (as we see it) by a young bisexual man–acts like a cosmic string that binds these people together.

It’s a bit difficult to grasp from the start.  The worst aspect might be how the time periods shift so often and at random.  You just about figure out what’s happening in one place and get jetted off to another with the same actors in different roles.  Certain time periods have languages that require some thought to process (particularly the far future time period).  But, after the first thirty minutes or so, you (hopefully) start to see where events are going and how these lives connect and intersect.  One connection I found particularly interesting involves Jim Broadbent playing the naive “victim” chasing an old flame in one story while playing the cunning “thief”/”villain” in another.  In the latter, we find the young pianist who writes the “Cloud Atlas Sextet” and becomes Broadbent’s victim, and, in the former, the same young man plays the wife of Broadbent’s (character’s) brother who (spoiler) foolishly slept with the other brother.  If you made sense of that much, you’re off to a good start.

Since it required watching twice to better understand some of what was being said and happening, I’d recommend this as a rental with plenty of brain food (snacks) and, ideally, some company of the opposite sex.

 




Archives