Deep within the bowels of the foundry
The great living engine sleeps
Skin a crust of black coal
Innards glowing magma
Its senses alien but keen
It does not see, hear, smell, taste, feel us
But it knows us nonetheless
And it shrieks silent hate to the world above
And we all know deep down
Someday it will come for us
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Deep within the bowels of the foundry
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Monday, April 19, 2021
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Saturday, April 17, 2021
It is just before midnight, and after long hours of restlessness I am finally drifting off to sleep. Suddenly, curled next to me, Sylvia shrieks, her scream reverberating through the moonlit night. Startled, I jerk back to wakefulness.
"What's wrong?" I ask.
"I was dreaming of peanut butter!" Sylvia answers, and instantly falls back into slumber. I am left to wonder what's so scary about peanut butter...
Friday, April 16, 2021
You may have surmised that I opened the candy after all. I realized that the wrapper would fit perfectly into this 28mm sign. This'll be a nice little pop culture touch in my modern 28mm-scale city.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Many years ago, almost certainly in Leaf Rapids, I bought this issue of Charlton's The Six Million Dollar Man magazine. Published in black and white, the magazine included comic stories and photo essays.
The story descriptions on the table of contents provide a decent preview of the writing style used for the scripts. It's a very strange style; dry, with sudden jolts of emphasis. The art inside is quite decent, although the male gaze was definitely heavily in play when it comes to the women characters.
If I still had the cover, I might have considered keeping this. But I lost it so many years ago I honestly don't remember what the cover looked like. And so the one and only issue of this magazine I ever read slipped into the recycling yesterday as part of my merciless quest to create space.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Monday, April 12, 2021
Above, you'll see the ten films I rated more highly than the site average. I rated some films highly because of perceived technical excellence, hence the high ratings for controversial films like Triumph of the Will and The Birth of a Nation. Others I rated highly for entertainment value, such as Enter the Ninja, Bad Taste, The Phantom, and Snakes on a Plane. The rest I rated highly because I thought they were good stories competently told.
Please consider that these ratings are all snapshots of my feelings at the time. Looking back, I'd probably rate Chariots of Fire, Absence of Malice, Snakes on a Plane, Them, Bad Taste, Enter the Ninja, and Black Belt Jones a star or half-star lower. On the other hand, I can't see changing any of my ratings in the "lower than average" tier.
Sunday, April 11, 2021
In January, I read five books.
In February, I read five books.
In March, I read five books.
In April, I have read no books so far.
This is much slower than my normal reading pace. I can't blame the pandemic, because I wound up reading slightly more books in 2020 than I did in 2019.
Am I just getting old? Is this what cognitive decline feels like? I love reading as much as I ever have, but my focus is really impaired when I try to read for pleasure.
Oddly enough, I find that I can read with the speed and focus I'm used to if I'm sitting in the car waiting for someone. A few days ago I read over half a novel that way in about 40 minutes. But I haven't touched it since.
Maybe I just need a change in scenery or routine?
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Friday, April 09, 2021
Here's yet another dune buggy, but it represents a new personal milestone: this is the first time I've used a stencil and weathering pencils. The stencil, of course, was used to create the radioactivity symbol on the hood. I used some sand and rust weathering pencils to add, well, sand and rust to the vehicle. My models still don't look as realistic as I'd like, but I think they're getting a bit better, inch by inch.
The driver's arms are raised up off the steering wheel not because he's panicking, but because I glued them at an angle too high to give him the ability to grip the wheel. So he'll probably play the role of "terrified passenger" more often than "driver."
Thursday, April 08, 2021
Wednesday, April 07, 2021
Tuesday, April 06, 2021
Monday, April 05, 2021
Sunday, April 04, 2021
Happy Birthday, Sean, and here's to many more.
Saturday, April 03, 2021
Friday, April 02, 2021
Thursday, April 01, 2021
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Monday, March 29, 2021
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Here we have a globe. Sean gave me this for my birthday, among other minis! I should have included a 28mm miniature with the photo, because then you could see that this is supposed to be a very large globe at that scale; I'd estimate it would be three or four metres tall.
In any event, I painted it black with red crosshairs to suggest this is the sort of globe that might be found in the hidden underground lair of a maniacal supervillain bent on world domination. Alternatively, you might see such a globe on the bridge of an invading starship.
I wish the crosses were more uniform, but given that I painted them by hand, I think they look okay.
Friday, March 26, 2021
Here we have The Daily Grind, a 28mm-scale model from Marvel's Crisis Protocol game. I painted it in tones of brown and green, partly as a knockoff of Starbucks, partly because, well, coffee is brown, and I like mint chocolate chip frappuccinos, hence the green.
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Monday, March 22, 2021
Sunday, March 21, 2021
I knew that this month I`d see my ten thousandth movie, and I`ve been carefully considering which film to watch for that particular milestone. Unfortunately, earlier tonight I got carried away watching some shorts and accidentally went over the line. Argh! But counting backwards, I now retroactively recognize The First Shot (Brandon Hicks, 2021) as Film 10,000.
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Friday, March 19, 2021
Thursday, March 18, 2021
To my utter surprise - and maybe it's because my expectations were so low - I did not hate Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021). In fact, I can honestly say that I even enjoyed it, with reservations. This version of the film has more natural humour (though only in sparse doses), Cyborg and Flash are far better developed Batman gets a little more dignity, the action sequences are more effective overall, and the final battle in particular offers genuine jeopardy and suspense--it feels like there are real stakes. The plot actually makes sense now, for the most part. Even Steppenwolf's story is fleshed out, enough to make him an actual villain instead of just CG animation. And we get to see more of Jeremy Irons' Alfred and J.K. Simmons' Commissioner Gordon; both are treats. Amy Adams' Lois Lane doesn't fare quite as well, but she's still more important to the film than she was in the original theatrical release.
On the downside, the score is terrible except when it includes snippets of Zimmer's themes from past movies. There are still moments that feel out of character for our heroes. There's way too much slow motion. The big new character cameo is welcome to fans, but still feels tacked on. Some sequences could be cut without hurting the film at all. Some of the humanizing moments from the theatrical cut are gone and I miss them, but on the other hand, those cuts make this version more tonally coherent - even if I'm not a fan of Snyder's portentous, somber take on the genre.
As a bonus, comparing this version of Justice League to the theatrical release is a great way to discover the importance of editing.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Monday, March 15, 2021
Sunday, March 14, 2021
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Having seen all the films that Charlie Chaplin has directed, I suppose it's no surprise that he's also my most-seen writer, too, given the amount of control and involvement Chaplin had in his films.
The next three names in the list--Maltese, Foster, and Pierce--all wrote a bunch of Looney Tunes shorts.
Ben Hecht, next on the list, has a fascinating filmography, writing superb films like Notorious, Spellbound, Scarface, Design for Living, Stagecoach, The Thing, and Strangers on a Train, but also z-grade stuff like Queen of Outer Space, the 1967 version of Casino Royale, and Switching Channels.
Felix Adler wrote Three Stooges shorts.
Ian Fleming makes the list thanks to James Bond and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.
David Lynch, of course, writes or co-writes most of the material he directs.
Clyde Bruckman is another writer of Three Stooges shorts, but also features from comedy greats such as Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.
Woody Allen, like Chaplin and Lynch, writes much of his own material.
Stephen King makes the list, I suspect, because of "story by..." credits for the many adaptations of his novels and short stories.
Laurent Bouzereau produces short documentary "making-of" subjects that appear as special features on many of my discs.
Orson Welles, again, is another film polymath.
George Lucas makes the list thanks to Star Wars, Indiana Jones, American Graffiti, etc.
Sylvester Stallone, I suspect, is here thanks to the Rocky and Rambo franchises.
Elwood Ullman is another Three Stooges writer. What a fun job that would have been...
Richard Matheson is a well-regarded prose fantasist, SF author, and contributor of teleplays to The Twilight Zone, among other shows. Here for adaptations, much like King, I suspect.
Ethan Coen is of course one-half of the famous Coen Brothers writing-directing team.
And finally, David Cronenberg is another director who writes much of his own material.
Friday, March 12, 2021
If I were to guess which list I'll finish last, it'll probably be 1,001 to See Before You Die.
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Tuesday, March 09, 2021
This monument looks like it's been more recently maintained than that of The Valiant Four. Perhaps it's of a more recent vintage.
Monday, March 08, 2021
It's International Women's Day, so I'll just salute the many incredible women I've known over the course of my life--women who have changed the world through their words, actions, and being. Your accomplishments are building the more just world that the women of tomorrow will inhabit.
Sunday, March 07, 2021
. . . I'd buy some robots from Fred Barton Productions. Barton's custom 1:1-scale replicas cost up to tens of thousands of dollars each, and boy howdy would I love to have one (or a few) in my theatre room.
In order of preference:
Mr. Barton also creates other replica props, including a 44" C-57D cruiser model and a 1:1 time machine from The Time Machine.
Saturday, March 06, 2021
Strange New Worlds started filming not long ago, so here's my pie-in-the-stars wishlist for the show:
1. Be true to the title. Show us the wonders of the universe, inspired both by Star Trek continuity but also by real-world science. The first episode of For All Mankind season two demonstrated how to do this effectively. Maybe even start with our own solar system, even if it's just the Enterprise picking up some crew from human colonies on Venus or the Moon, Mars, Titan, etc. before the ship embarks on its five-year mission.
2. Return to the tried-and-true episodic format, the one that gave us classic episodes such as "City on the Edge of Forever," "The Trouble with Tribbles," "The Inner Light," and "Who Watches the Watchers?" If you must include a season arc, make the stakes relatable at a human scale. Let's not save the entire multiverse again, like Star Trek: Discovery, or even just the galaxy, like Star Trek: Picard. How about an arc that saves a work of art, or a relationship, or the soul of just one person?
4. Hire some real SF writers to contribute verisimilitude and a sense of wonder to the stories.
5. Build an interesting ensemble cast and develop those characters almost as much as the leads.
6. As with the original series, run still frames of previous episodes over the end credits.
7. Have Captain Pike do some variation of the "Space...the final frontier" intro in the opening titles.
8. Let's have an Andorian, a Tellarite, or an Alpha Centauran in the cast. Or all three, better yet.
9. Have the protagonists lose once in a while, and grow from that experience.
10. When the series ends, let's have a big series penultimate episode followed by a more introspective epilogue episode in which Pike, knowing his destiny, hands over the keys to Kirk. Then do a Kirk: Year One limited series leading into the events of "Where No Man Has Gone Before."