Until Thursday, I will be camping at a beautiful park. Sadly, this means I will not be able to make any blog posts until then. However, I am going to bring my digital camera and will come back with both pictures of a beautiful beach + barrier forest, and a review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Thanks in advance, followers/viewers alike!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I followed through to watch all of the sequels to the Planet of the Apes. The second sequel achieved some success, with an overall rating of 78% (compare to Planet of the Apes' 89%), yet the other "classic" sequels barely crowned 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even the 2001 remake of the original only got 45%. Why did these movies perform so horribly when the original was so great?
My theory is that the feel of the films proceeding the original Planet of the Apes were significantly different. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was the first sequel, and in addition to the hard to believe mutants which in addition to being quite non-complex, starred as some of the main characters, there was no "exploration". The explored areas had already been explored; it feels kind of like a replay of the original movie until the mutants are met, and then it fails to improve.
Escape from the Planet of the Apes did better in theatre, though. Once again, the curtain of belief is restored somewhat, with most of the movie taking place after one deus ex machina, and being realistic at that. Escape explored the reaction to the converse premise to the original movie; apes coming back in time to meet 1970s human society. It all happens with a spirit of exploration similar to that of the original. By recapturing the charm of the original, it acts far more as a true sequel than Beneath.
Conquest of and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, following a bit off of Escape, picked up the trend of ridiculous premises and unremarkability. The beginning of Conquest depicts not only the killing off of specifically, ALL cats and dogs, but the adoption of apes as pets, and then slippery slopes its way into a culture based off of ape slave labor. I believe it was the satirical movie C.S.A, one in which it is supposed that the Confederates won the Civil War as opposed to the North, that made the point that modern-day slavery becomes a burden on economies, carried for the sake of culture. How in the hell would the upkeep of apes become economically viable compared to that of industrial machines? How the hell would the environmentalist movement become lobotomized to the point of allowing such animal abuse? It's ridiculous to the point of ruining the rest of the movie, the basis, and the movie quality once again fails to improve. It's obvious that these last two, at least, give a bad taste to all the sequels, even the good one.
Next blog post, I will be talking about the actual new movie. It's a long journey, the Planet of the Apes movies, but a worthwhile one.
Friday, August 12, 2011
The Planet of the Apes series started with the original 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes. This was prior to even Star Wars, before science fiction became truly as mainstream and notable as they are today. The original Star Trek had premiered on TV several years earlier and had met with success; could Planet of the Apes do the same on the silver screen?
Planet of the Apes stepped into new territory with its release, popularizing the speculative side of science fiction as opposed to just the technological side. Rather than Star Trek's focus on the dealings between multiple space-capable species, and the technology of each along with the interactions between each species' technology (i.e. phaser fights, starship battles), Planet of the Apes instead created a speculative atmosphere, where a significantly more advanced 1970s Earth sends a sleeper ship to the stars, resembling more of a Twilight Zone scenario than a science fiction typical scenario. No phasers, no warp drives. The ship arrives on Earth due to relatively unknown physical phenomena, the crew preserved by the suspended animation, and... crashes. The crew begin the movie thusly, with emergency packs not much more advanced than technology available to us. The movie then proceeds to create a civilization of apes in the medieval period, which remains the setting throughout. Science in this case is not used as a plot device throughout the film; it is the kickstarter, a portal allowing us to see 2000 years into the future.
As a film, Planet of the Apes was great. Even by today's standards, it is a great film. The opening scene has a great monologue, a serene scene, then suddenly, action! The film's habit of using the American Southwest to film desert scenes works great; they even press the advantage, including great works of geology which seem to extend the sojourn into a modern-day Oregon Trail to some kind of greenery. A few good monologues happen along the trail, giving an austere atmosphere, as though the movie were in actuality, a play. The scenery begins to progress into greenery, another small detail which heightens the reality of the movie. The movie continues to expound and slowly explain the conditions of the apes, of the humans' cells, of the use of humans and of the scientific environment. I couldn't help but feel an immense desire for a renaissance of ape culture and understanding. Ape culture and understanding! Even the fact that I am using this phrase much demonstrate the empathy I feel, that these apes are so much like the humans of our pre-Renaissance era as to be exactly them! Also, it is a nice touch that this state is reached in time surprisingly similar to our own (sacred scrolls written ~2673, making ape civilization 1300-1400 years old), not counting the BC years of course. The movie continues its play-like atmosphere throughout the hearing and trial with the scientific establishment of the apes, raising a debate which seems to rage on in the US despite it having been beat down several times due to the available evidence. It almost makes you wish there was some way to jump in with a fossil record and tell the apes to fornicate with themselves. The sympathetic apes soon aid an escape, and the play/movie comes to a close when they reach the archaeological site, realize that not only had Dr. Zaius known about humanity's early dominance and the site, but that the site is going to be closed by way of explosives, as Taylor rides off with Nova. At the very end of the movie, is one of the most famous, great, yet parodied shock twist scenes: Taylor realizes that the planet he was on had been Earth the whole time, this WAS the future of the species, and shouts into the air these immortal words: You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
The unlikely hit ended up making over five times its production cost, becoming a great seller and spawning several sequels (with varying degress of success), a topic to be covered next blog post.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
What is anticipation? It could be defined as the anxiety experienced by one prior to the occurance of an event. Oxford defines it as
the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction:begging the question of how to define anticipate, which from the same source is
regard as probable; expect or predict:I suppose these are all valid definitions. Anticipate can mean to regard as probable, or to expect or predict, when used as a verb. However, I am talking about the emotion anticipation. The feelings that are evoked by the word, as opposed to the mechanical definition thereof.
Anticipation is the driver of life. Anticipation is the sight of the future over the distant horizon; the captain using his spyglass to see just what lies over the horizon. With the distant horizon comes a realization, that the captain must arrive to this horizon in order to pass it to the bountiful land abroad. And thus he does not sulk in his labors, nor does he refuse to take part in life aboard, assuming that the horizon will come soon. It is only by the masterful handling of the rigging and sails as directed by the captain that the ship can move to the goal and beyond. The captain must work towards his goal, or else his anticipation will be unfulfilled. Such is anticipation the driver of life. Anticipation gives you a constant sight of your goal, to drive you in your efforts, to reassure you that if you are met with success, your goal is guaranteed to come.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
After the last post, I decided that I had served my words wrong. I had used the phrase galleon to describe ships which are maybe brigantines or sloops at best. To avenge the honor of the mighty galleon, I set out to make a ship truly worthy of the title galleon.
Without further ado, I present, the Great Galleon.
This ship, for all intents and purposes, is MASSIVE. Compare its stern to the entire mass of the SS Chibi.
It possesses exactly 62 guns, 31 pointing to either side of the ship. This ship, were it real, would have been able to challenge even the ships-of-the-line which were so popular during the Age of Piracy. Compare to the SS Matey-9's 16 guns.
It carries them on three levels, two of which are gun decks which double as holds.
The ship even has a recreation room near the stern. Feel free to play poker during your off-duty hours, scallywags.
Construction of The Great Galleon
I spent about four and a half hours building this ship. As usual, I used a layer method, constructing the ship's hull in layers in an attempt to achieve a realistic result. I think the hull ended up a bit too wide, but that's probably just alright as it allows for more flavor to be added to the ship. The placement of the masts is one thing I could have done better I suppose, and the sails proved challenging to design once again. The decision to make this ship more or less a warship came partially from the idea that I needed to follow the theme I had set beforehand, and partially because I didn't have any ideas that seemed interesting/made sense for an Age of Sail boat. Yes, I intentionally put it at a broadside position from the SS Matey-9. I think it looks bad-ass, like the Galleon is about to blow it to pieces, while the smaller Chibi is trying to run away.
What should I build next?
Having achieved this grand feat of wooden ship architecture, I've come to wonder; what should I build next in this game? I'm not really in the mood for wooden ships, seeing as I kind of reached the maximum potential there. Do you guys have any ideas? Post them and there's a good chance they'll be the next thing I build, when I decide to make a Minecraft for PSP post.
On a similar note, I'll post the save files for the ship trio here if anyone specifically asks for it. Fellow Lamecrafters UNITE~! :P
Monday, August 8, 2011
So one of the things I have been doing in my spare time when not blogging has been Lamecraft, aka Minecraft for PSP (available here). Sadly it's only available to those PSP users who have, erm, enabled their PSPs for homebrew. However, it is a blast. It's very much like Minecraft Classic, great since I have not a computer capable of running Minecraft itself.
I started out by building nothing really- literally mud huts, which I have long since deleted. Then I built a few spacecraft, but now the major construction projects have been... Galleons!
What is a galleon? To save time, it is a ship from the Age of Sail (think pirates, Britain owning every foreign country, cannons and so on). In reality galleons were very large, and owing to their name being descended from galley, sometimes even capable of being rowed. However, I use the term to describe my ships, which are significantly smaller, but far cubier.
The first ship I built is the SS Chibi!
Normally I wouldn't post a test subject for an idea of construction, but I couldn't help but find the ship so goddamn adorable!
This is most of the main deck looking into the forecastle. That log in the middle? It's a mast. That block with a torch on it to the left? That's a cannon.
I figured that the sideways blocks kind of looked like a barrel, and the larger block looked like the main part where you load it in. As for the torch? What better fuse could there be?
The view up the relatively short mast, and the ladder to the crow's nest.
Nothing too special in the hold. Everything's so cutesy and small, though!
But that's not all. What kind of post would this be if I only included the small test subject? A stupid one, THAT'S what kind. So now, presenting... the SS Matey-9! *horrible pun*
Pretty damn big, eh? The first ship took about 15 minutes of concerted effort. The Matey-9 is the result of about two hours of on and off gameplay, applying many lessons learned from the construction of the Chibi. Let's take a tour, shall we?
Pretty expansive deck, and a sizable forecastle too. The masts are each 3x3, as opposed to the 1x1 Chibi masts, and like the Chibi they go through each hull as well. I could seriously picture a swashbuckler brawl taking place on the deck of this ship.
The hardest part of the ship's design was the decision of the configurations of the sails. I tried to achieve something that not only appealed to the blocky nature of Minecraft, but also looked fairly realistic for a slowly moving ship.
The interior of the forecastle. Sweet, sweet barred windows. I was sad that I couldn't fit a captain's cabin in there, but there's always next ship...
When I figured out that the cannons could be placed so perfectly to allow 8 cannons on each side, I was honestly surprised. I was not expecting such symmetry. The ship has 16 cannons peeking out of the cannonports, ready to fire at enemies far and near.
Thus are my first two true "epic" minecraft building projects, the SS Chibi and SS Matey-9. I'd like to hear your thoughts, fellow Minecraft/Lamecraft architects! How do you manage to squeeze personality and beauty out of increasingly smaller space? How'd I do?
So browsing the internets today, I found this odd infopic relating to a breakfast creation known as Breakfast Sludge. What's breakfast sludge, you might ask? Well, to save you the trouble of reading through the infopic, it is more or less cereal, followed by coffee, tea, sugar and hot chocolate.
Take cereal, put in mucho instant coffee, mucho hot chocolate, mucho sugar, teabag, milk, hot water.
Making it is very simple, provided you have the materials. I had a little trouble getting it all to dissolve in the water: even after several minutes of constant stirring, it still has small lumps. I could not get my hands on an appropriate cereal, sadly.
But what flavor! The breakfast sludge does not taste like coffee, hot chocolate, tea, nor milk: instead, it has a unique, delicious taste, like... tea with coffee. The hot chocolate is not as noticeable; however, I think I may have made it a tad strong on the coffee. It's ridiculously smooth (probably not so with additional bulk!) and very strong, not just from coffee but from its unique flavor.
This sludge is pretty damn good, probably even better with cereal bulk. The way I made the unlikely delicious drink was as follows:
- 2.5 spoonfuls of instant coffee
- 2.5 spoonfuls of sugar
- a splash of milk
- one 2 tbsp. scoop of hot chocolate
- one teabag, allowed to brew 2 minutes
- boiling water
My method has produced a drink with about 230-240 mg for a 12 oz. mug, including the hot chocolate. Pretty bad-ass for some quick energy. I arrived at the drink feeling tired after 16 hours of activity, and by finishing half of it, felt quite energetic.
I must concede that this may not be the drink for everyone, but it strikes gold for my pallet. Please, try this delicious beverage yourself. And be sure to read the infopic, it's quite an entertaining read.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
It is often recommended that people should get at least eight hours of sleep per night to live to their healthiest, tomorrow. Eight? Why such a ridiculous number as eight? Eight hours of sleep personally has had varying effects, from me being so tired as to fall asleep during the day, to being completely and totally alive. Most Americans disregard this anyway, choosing to get a lower number of hours of sleep.
Also, what is the point of sleeping eight hours as opposed to more or less? One only remembers the dream that they had in the last 20-45 minutes anyhow, and for each person a truly optimal amount of sleep can vary. Some people can do just fine on four to six hours, some need ten to twelve. Why eight then?
America is interesting when the most widespread medical "knowledge" is a fact that for most people, not optimal. Instead of learning how to judge something about oneself for oneself, sheeple are given the "fact" that "they" "need" eight hours of sleep to remain healthy. Not the deadliest American common sense, but a damned annoying one. If I look tired, it's not because I didn't get eight hours of sleep, it's because I'm tired. So until you magically figure out my optimal sleep per night, shut the fuck up and go on about your business.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Cowboys vs. Aliens is not a dramatic tragedy. It is not a romantic comedy. It is exactly what it sounds like. Take some cowboys and throw some aliens in. It watches like a fourth-wall-shattering masterpiece in which aliens interrupt some epic western movie, then everyone teams up to fight it. It does this greatly so- the battle scenes are well done, and the special effects are absolutely phenomenal. The story is kind of generic but entertaining and well-suited as its purpose in a movie of this sort is to transport the viewer between action scenes.
There's a great series of subtle statements in the movie as well, such as that later on, spears and Indian weapons which the cowboys often regarded as worthless are the most effective against the aliens. Then, there's a series of cinematographic choices which make an interesting parallel between the weapons and methods of the Indians being easily adaptable to and similar to those used by the medieval fighters of the past, in the example of a spear being used as a lance effectively.
There's also a callback to the old westerns in the use of Harrison Ford as Woodrow Dolarhyde. It's reminiscent, seeing him in a western, although kind of odd that he wasn't starring in it. It was for the best I suppose.
There's a lot of fridge logic questions that arise from this movie though. For example, why didn't Alice ever change her cloaking? It would make sense, for example, to change into one of the aliens to disguise herself when she was in the core at the end, as she would have been both more agile and less noticeable as a target. Also, when pistols proved to be almost completely useless against the aliens, while rifles did have an effect, why didn't any of the cowboys switch weapons to better effect?
Overall, I'd recommend this movie. Watch it if you haven't.
Friday, August 5, 2011
So I decided to change the blog's appearance. I had to make several aesthetic choices in this.
I could go for one of several ways: to change little or even remove much, adding a minimalist feel to the blog; to overload it with various stylized components to add style, to make it look standardized and normal, or maybe even to change nothing at all. In the end, I decided to set several goals for the appearance of the blog.
- Make the blog easy on the eyes to read.
- Add some small form of style if it did not conflict with the first objective.
I thought then of a classic website whose website I admired: Maddox. That's right, the greatest website in the world. He used a black background with a darkened text on most pages. I had always found that very easy on the eyes as opposed to the high contrast black on white (or worse, white on black!) layout which is the basic norm across the internet. So I... shamelessly took it, I suppose. Hmph.
Either way, I soon was faced with the decision of a background. Leaving it blank would be distasteful, I thought. I decided on a stylized match lighting, but I don't think that's very well at all. Anyone have any suggestions for background? And do you all like the style?
Drawing inspiration can be quite difficult. Sometimes it can be done from intense emotions, vivid feelings or great scenery. In the end everyone can suggest all the ways in which they believe inspiration to work, but there is ultimately something that, for reasons that are only understood by each person, and which in ways unique to that person, provoke great bursts of creativity. This may be as simple as a familiar smell, sight, sound, taste, or touch.
Personally, I draw my inspiration via a concept. I draw my inspiration from the concept, lack of inspiration. This is often what I draw inspiration from. My lack of focus, lack of desire to do much, lack of inspiration, can lead to great bounds of inspiration, and the focus to do great things... only to finish a considerable apart of the project so derived to leave it hanging, unfinished, undesired. My ex nihilo creativity is destroyed by the presence of that creativity.
Sometimes, however, I do not desire creativity. Many people have felt creativity sprung upon them, and I do not differ. I can sometimes draw inspiration from broad concepts that may approach me. This particular post was, in fact, based off of inspiration gained from an internet discussion on the technological advancement of botany. Botany! Of all subjects to inspire a blog post about inspiration, with an inspiration-related subject as one of the possible choices, botany is it. Although really, that sparks a completely different post about the inspirational quality of flowers.
How do you get inspired? For that matter, can you get inspired or does it just happen?
Thursday, August 4, 2011
The number Eighty Nine is of course the number preceding Ninety by one, and proceeding Eighty by nine. This has some implications regarding the use of the number. The fact that it's close to ninety means that estimation regarding ninety may sometimes use the number eighty nine, while the proximity from eighty regards it as a distant cousin than a brother.
However, no one ever uses the number eighty nine. It's too much of a freak. Ninety is used plenty as it is not only a multiple of ten by the closest one to a hundred. Why the arse is this? Eighty nine is only 1.111% away from ninety, yet is used not even close to as much?
In summary, numerology sucks.