Sunday, July 27, 2008

Google Maps

I live close to a river, and while looking at google maps it occured to me that if I had the power of flight, just across the river is a mini-mall which, with the power of flight, would only be about a minute away. Thats fucking awesome, and if you need proof that there is no God, it's because flight is impossible, and thats not fair!

I wish I could fly, at least for like 5 minutes or so like the princess or luigi in Mario 2. I mean not the same way, I don't want to wear a dress like the princess or have really stupid feet like luigi, but to be able to hover and float in the air for a certain distance would be good enough for me. Not like Mario in Mario 3 or world though, because you have to run and build up speed to fly, and that's just too much effort.

And you could say "oh, Reed, you could just get a boat. You'd get across the river fast". But then you have to maintain the boat, tie it up when you're not using it, watch for boat thieves at all times of the night, and worry about sharks. With flight, all you have to worry about is birds pecking out your eyes, and if you're flying, you're bigger than a bird, so they're not stupid enough to attack you if you're just going to the mall to get toothpaste, which is what I would go for because I ran out and its sunday night and nothing nearby is open.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Joss Whedon is a motherfucking motherfucker

Yes he is.

He puts out this web based video called Dr Horrible, which was enjoyable enough in the first two parts, but first of all was originally blocked except to US accounts (which is bullshit), then when people protested it was unblocked. So I watched part 1 and 2 which were available at the time, and they make you wait for part III. OK, fine.

So part III comes out on a friday. That's fine. I'm busy friday. I'll watch it on monday. ITS ALREADY OFFLINE ON MONDAY. What kind of bullshit marketing is this? They want to sell me a DVD? I might have been on board after the first fuck up with the region bullshit, but after they take down part III after only 3 days, a weekend no less when people have no time for browsing shit on the web? Fuck you. I don't care how it ends. I don't care to buy it on itunes or on DVD because I don't care to be fucked around with at this level.

Fuck you Joss Whedon. That was pathetic and insulting. like I'm going to adjust my schedule to fit your little release time frame. Guess what, the world doesn't work that way anymore. Thats why Tivos exist. You could have done things fairly, but you jerked me around. It's a shame too because if you hadn't jerked me around, I probably would have bought it on DVD in support of the actors involved who I generally like. But now I cannot.

Joss Whedon, you have become that which you hated. You have become the Fox execs who cancelled Firefly and the rest. Your concept of time is warped, as is your concept of internet marketing. Will you make money? Maybe you have enough dedicated fans. But you failed to convince me, and that is a grave failure that will lead ultimately to your downfall.

Oh and also I pirated it. Fuck you.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Winnipeger's review of My Winnipeg

'My Winnipeg', a movie by a guy named Guy Maddin, was playing at the Polo Park Silver City. Having some free time I decided, what the hey, I'm from Winnipeg, lets see what kind of archival footage Mr Maddin would find. Lets see what sort of movie he has created. I mean, its playing at Polo Park Silver City, it can't be THAT bad. Then again, the Happening is playing there too. But probably had less seats filled. (oddly enough, as they have sympathetic plotlines)

My Winnipeg is about Guy Maddin. My Winnipeg is also about Guy Maddin's mother issues. My Winnipeg is also about this town of 700,000 people who would rather spend the 5-6 month long winters complaining about them rather than moving away. Winnipeg is basically a city of people with the type of personality that would theoretically be bloggers if they all had access to computers.

Interspersed with the storyline of Guy trying to recreate his life in order to find the means to escape the magnetic pull of this city, are little anecdotes about the city of Winnipeg. I was amazed to realise I knew of most if not all of them. Probably because I grew up in West Kildonan, close to the north end, where people tell these tales. I wonder where I picked them up though. Perhaps its just something that is ingrained in the Winnipeg consciousness. Still, none of them are lies. There are half truths, of course, but all of the anecdotes about Winnipeg that don't have anything to do with the Guy Maddin and his Mother storyline are generally true. Even the story of ledgeman, the only obviously fabricated story in the movie, is based on a personal truth of Guy Maddins life, embellished with memories of Winnipeg public access television, to create something that is .. not necessarily true, but full to the brim with truthiness.

I disagreed with his premise that the demise of Eatons and its replacement with the MTS Centre arena was a negative thing. Eatons was - in my opinion - a valueless fire trap. A lot of stuff involved in the Eatons destruction ended up being recycled anyways.

I was sad to see the Winnipeg Arena go, but while it was great for hockey games, it had outlived its purpose and was sitting on prime real estate. Also some guy ended up buying the urine trough, so its in some Winnipeger's basement right now. Again, there are a number of Winnipegers who purchased their seats from the Winnipeg Arena and have built small shrines to the Jets, and what could have been if it were not for the obviously insane Gary Bettman.

As a Winnipeger, I did like seeing the city on the screen. As a Winnipeger who sleepwalks around Winnipeg on occasion, having a movie that essentially does it for me is a time saver. It will probably sell big on DVD, and I encourage Guy Maddin, who I believe googles his own name obsessively, to throw in a lot of extras and commentaries. Do an "Ex-Mayors of Winnipeg" commentary or "people who have left Winnipeg" commentary or do a commentary with people who have escaped winnipeg or historians. Or do a "Selkirk insane asylum commentary" I love commentaries, if you haven't figured it out. It really is an opportunity to show off this insane city.

Guy Maddin does tell a lot of tall tales. He mentions Lorette as a hermaphrodite street. There are actually a fair amount of hermaphrodite streets in Winnipeg, not just Lorette. Sure we don't speak of them either, but if you do, you can't speak of one as if it were the only one. Of course, Winnipegs street system is confusing at the best of times. Though as a Winnipeger, I'm shocked to learn that other cities don't have a back lane layout as we do. Also, the Taxi thing is true, they are legally allowed only in the back lanes or the front lanes, but when have you ever seen a cab driver follow the rules of the road? They break it all the time these days.

The scary thing really is, Guy Maddin barely touched the tip of the iceberg on the strange and weird that Winnipeg embodies. He mentions a few anecdotes in passing, like If Day, the Arlington Bridge (ALL TRUE!), yet so much was probably left on the cutting room floor. Which is a shame because I think the seance scene went on a little too long. I get what he was going for, but it just got pedantic.

One thing I got out of the movie is, even though I disagree with the concept that winnipeg demolishes everything, is that there does seem to be a bit of a growth spurt in the city, as if all those years stuck frozen in the past are finally catching up to us and we're being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Possibly because of Global Warming. So I too am worried for the paddelwheel restaurant. At the same time, you cannot save old buildings without creating a positive environment for them to be reclaimed from the homeless.

The cast was superb as well. Ann Savage was superb as Guy's real.. I mean.. reel mother. But the real breakout star of the movie was Spanky the pug as Toby the chihuahua. Not only did he transcend breed typecasting, but he stole every scene of the movie he was in. A lesser director would have cast a chihuahua that looked like Spanky, but Guy Maddin knew acting talent when he saw it, and it paid off with Spanky. Hopefully Spanky gets a piece of the gross, not the net. Or at least an extra doggie treat. Also, there sure seemed to be a lot of dogs named Toby in this city. I wonder what the reason for that was.

Well would you look at that, I must have liked the movie because I can still think of things to say about it. But, in the end, aside from the nudity that could probably have been skipped over, I'd recommend it as an amusing film to see. I laughed at a few of Maddins jokes, I enjoyed the movie well enough. So I give this movie a rating of 9001 Vegetas out of a possible 9000.

Coming soon, an audio commentary on this blog post by Roger Ebert. Not really. But he did do an audio commentary on the movie Dark City.. and that city was totally based on Winnipeg.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A WebComic world minus Minus.

While perusing Dinosaur Comics, by Canadian genius comic strip writer extraordinare, Ryan North, I noticed a little blurb mentioning the end of a webcomic series called Minus. Its beautifully drawn in watercolours, about a little girl named Minus with powers akin to the kid in the Twilight Zone episode "A Good Life". (which was later referenced through the second season Simpsons halloween episode where Bart turns Homer into a Jack in the box - "Bart's Nightmare"). Only Minus is relatively more benign. Usually. I never heard of this comic series before, though after reading all of them, I realised I had seen some of them posted on the occasional web forum. Anyways, it was a good read, relatively short too. But the writer clearly did as much as he creatively wanted, and it was generally pretty unique and clever. A lot of subtle influences, some Japanese manga influences were readily apparent.. there might have been a little Calvin and Hobbes thrown in. But again, it was very unique. (copyright Ryan Armand, aka rezo/copyrezo

In any case, there were a series of 3 strips that hit me on another level. As shown above, In them, a girl asks Minus to send her back in time, though before saying when she wants to go back, is instantly sent back to the 1800's (I think -- its never specified) She obviously has no way back but to live her life. Falling into a wormhole and ending up in another time or dimension is a constant fear of mine, something I suffer to put in the back of my conscious mind every day, and this webcomic storyline completely got to me.

I probably would have ended it differently, maybe with the old woman having a granddaughter who looked exactly like she did with the exact same name, then everything continues as if nothing happened. I didn't buy the idea that someone wouldn't want their youth back if they could get it. But otherwise it was really well done.

Other strips in the series were funny, but that one really brings home that while you may be enjoying your 21st century life, if you're not careful, bam, you can be sent back in time to the 1800's or the time of the dinosaurs just by walking in the wrong place.

That's probably why the golden compass trilogy was interesting to me. Heck, I watched the TV series Sliders. And the whole biff tannen alternate universe in back to the future gave me the creeps. Perhaps I'm just sensitive to time paradoxes and parallel earths because of how important I am to every single universe that exists in the time-space continuum. That must be it.

Falling into another time or dimension is a real problem. that affects millions of people every year. There needs to be more awareness. I read about this stuff in Time-Life's mysteries of the unknown once so its real.

I also like xkcd and Perry Bible Fellowship.. but who doesn't? I should look for some other webcomics. I despise comics in newspapers these days. Bravo to creativity! Hurrah for the internet! Beware of timeslips!