Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson died today

I found out about Michael Jackson's death at about 6:10 PM Central Time today. An old friend called me, and I was shocked. I read the quick online blurb about MJ being rushed to the hospital after a cardiac arrest incident, and turned off my computer earlier in the afternoon.

Almost exactly a year ago, I was having a discussion on the legacy of the man, and how he would be remembered. A French acquaintance (and the only person who had an opinion at the table on the subject that day), said that the best thing for Michael would be to die. I disliked the guy, but I think he was right. At this moment, I don't know how to feel. Maybe it was for the best long term, but who is going to handle the estate, the kids? I have two days off, and I don't know if I should mourn the loss with an onslaught of his loud music or film.

Snicker all you want, but this is a man who brought much more happiness to the world than most ever will. Think about the uncounted millions in charity. The word altruism comes to mind. For any man who casts a great shadow, there will always be a bit of darkness. He had a crazy life, but so did Elvis or any of the Beatles. Who knows what went down behind closed doors with those legends, and nowadays who cares?

I also heard on the radio about a month ago that Lou Ferrigno was MJ's personal trainer. Jackson wanted to get some stamina back before the 50-date tour, and he was probably
getting some bad advice from Lou. I hold him partially responsible.

I don't know what else to say... I feel like ordering every piece of medium Michael Jackson ever released, before it gets repackaged and strewn with death-art.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

This is the part where I bash Transformers

[Taking a break from music videos for a short, short time.]

I just rented Transformers, and feel I implored to comment on it before the sequel comes out. For a start, I am repulsed by this film. I mean, I liked Transformers when I was a kid. I liked them because they were brilliantly designed by some Japanese engineer who probably barely made minimum wage. I mean making solid pieces of plastic turn from one shape into something like a handgun just blows my mind. I can't do something like that. That takes brains. Michael Bay does not have brains. This film franchise is a half-baked idea. It's like making a live-action Lego movie. Or worse, a live-action G.I. Joe movie (zing!)

Shia LeBouf. I bet you can't pronounce the name. I don't know who likes this guy other than Steve Spielberg. My friends all think he is a prick. He played a part in ruining Indiana Jones 4, and for that he must be banished from Hollywood credibility. Does anyone else cringe when you see these guys staking all of their credibility on this kid?

OK men: Megan Fox = wildly overrated. Yes, she may be a "bad girl" with tattoos and have made pro-lesbian comments, but get real. It's a joke. Look at her. She's not that elegant. The ability to wear a metric ton of makeup on your face does not make you gorgeous. Yes, her brunette hair and complexion are marvelous, but bodies like that are not that uncommon. If you don't see someone on the street with a figure like that at least once a week, you need to move out of the sticks.

And what about the supporting actors. A fat black guy hacker? Give me a break, Mike Bay! A blond with an Australian accent that would even make Aussies wonder where she was from? Grr. And can Jon Voight only play politicians now? I swear he plays the President (or close to it) in like 8 recent films. You could remove any of these characters and still have the same exact plot.

Let's talk about the CGI. The visual team went out of their way to give Optimus Prime (and the other bots) a working mouth and lips. To me, this is totally wrong and unnecessary. I thought the ninja mask/shield thing was cool when I was a kid, and I still do now. I do not need to see a robot's lips move to know he's a character in the movie.

I'll stop there. Now 1987's Masters of the Universe... THAT was a REAL cartoon-to-live-action movie. Feel the Dolph Lundgren love!!!! Screw the G.I. Joe film, too. I pre-ordain it to be godawful.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quake and Quake II on a modern system

[Taking a break from music videos for a short, short time.]

I may go into how awesome Quake 1 is someday, I want to address a common problem with newer video cards and graphics chipsets: GLQuake won't work!

The fix:
  1. Delete (or rename or move) opengl32.dll from the Quake directory.
  2. Play!
Some great console commands for GLQuake are:
  • r_wateralpha .8 will make the water slightly transparent
  • r_mirroralpha .8 will make slipgates kinda transparent
  • +mlook will make the mouse work better

Also, I wanted to recommend FitzQuake as a good engine for today's needs. So is JoeQuake (gives Quake 3 looks to stuff), but I don't think it's being developed. They're nice and bright (cough, cough IDGamma). Another useful article is here.

Speaking of brightness, what about Quake II? Sure, it wasn't that spectacular of a sequel. It was a departure alright. But, with modern systems the game may be too dark. Here's what you do:
  1. Access the configuration file at \%Quake2%\baseq2\config.cfg
  2. Look for gl_modulate and change the number to 2.5
  3. Look for gl_shadows and change the number to 0
  4. Save and play!
If you are doing some testing in-game (ad hoc) in console (~ key), make sure to type: "disconnect" to apply the changes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Green Day -- a music video retrospective (Pt. 2)

The dust is nearly settled from 21st Century Breakdown. Many people have written about it, critics and die-hards alike. I'm going to avoid that quagmire for the most part, and talk about the past. I feel like the pre-American Idiot days are a kind of "Act I" for the trio. They're more concept and metaphors now, and less... angry.

In the 2000s, GD embarked on a handful of side projects. Some of 21st Century Breakdown sounds a tad like The Network (circa 2003). Some of it may be a cousin to Foxboro Hot Tubs. But, in the past the Green Day stuck with simple lyrics and catchy hooks. I'm finishing with three more quality releases from Billie, Mike and Tre.

Dir: Mark Kohr

This is one of those cyclical, watch-three-times-to-get-everything vids. Somewhat of a weak single from the band, but the artistic merit of the visual side definitely jibes.

Dir: Francis Lawrence

Another great concept that only a group like Green Day could pull off without people scoffing. Really hilarious how many anti-common sense nuggets they fit into this 3-minute clip. From staring directly into the sun, to eating raw chicken to taking candy from a earring-wearing creepy stranger... you would think they would have reached the bottom of the barrel, but the fooleries keep coming.

"Jesus of Suburbia"
Dir: Samuel Bayer

"Jesus" is a great track, and an integral piece to the Idiot rock opera. Clocking in at over 9 minutes, it is for sure this punk act's longest video. And, the actors in this video just seem so genuine. The band is barely in this one, which is somewhat of a departure. It's as if the St. Jimmy saga actually happened to these kids. Enjoy the three-act-long song!


Movies watched in 2020

Here's my annual list. I beat 2019 by about 60 . I stopped tracking TV series, too. The only films I saw in theaters were: Star Wars IX,...