Monday, December 19, 2005

Why Blog Posts Have Been Sparse Lately:

H521 Modern European History

15 Textbooks


Book Review 1 A 100 92.18 10%
Book Review 2 A 100 93.86 10%
Book Review 3 A 100 94.06 10%
Book Review 4 A 100 93.5 10%
Book Review 5 A 100 94.44 10%
Comparative Essay A 100 93.89 15%
Historiographical Essay A 100 94.21 25%
Discussion A 100 92.39 10%



(EDIT: Added Material)


WOAH



I now present to you an installment of REALLY WEIRD THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE.


I just got my grades back today from this last graduate semester - I got a 4.0. A's in everything. Obviously, I was pretty jazzed, so I started to call up some concerned friends and family about the grades.

I was about 4/5ths of the way down the relevant phone list when I accidentally misdialed a number:


(unfamiliar voice) "Hello?"

Me: "I just got my grades in, and... wait a second, I think I got a wrong number."

Voice: "Um, this is Gary."

Me: "Hi, Gary - yeah, I think it might be a wrong number - um, Gary what?"

Him: "Gary Gygax."

MOMENT OF SILENCE

Me: "Wait a second... Gary... Gygax?"

Gary: "Yes, from D&D."

MOMENT OF SILENCE

Me: "Wow, well, um, Merry Christmas! This is quite a wrong number."

Gary: *laughs* "Merry Christmas to you, too!"

Me: "Wow, I hadn't expected that. Well, sorry about the wrong number, and have a good week!"

Gary: "You too!" *laughs more*

CALL ENDED.




I checked, and it WAS a wrong number I dialed, not some friend playing a trick on me. I also checked the wonderful internet phone directories, and the number that I dialed belongs to a Gygax, Gary in Wisconsin.





Now, how's THAT for a coincidence?



In case you don't know, Gary Gygax and David Arneson are the guys who invented Dungeons & Dragons.

(EDIT) PROOF! -Gary Gygax acknowledged the phone call on an internet message forum.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

KING KONG




I just saw the movie this morning....


...Understand, the 1933 King Kong is one of my absolute favorite films EVER, and the 1972 movie is one of my absolute LEAST favorite films. We don't discuss "The Mighty Kong," either. So, I was a little bit apprehensive going into this movie.

I was blown away. I left the theater speechless. The movie was.... wow. Just wow. Now, for some specifics.

"They used CGI! CGI is soulless!"

Not true. It's not the medium, but HOW you use it. I've seen some pretty soulless animatronics, stop-motion, and men in suits before. While I agree that the original King Kong was fantastic, stop-motion would NOT have worked in this new movie. CGI has now reached the point where it can be seamless - the graphics for Kong were so good that I honestly couldn't tell that it was CGI most of the time. The few times that I did, it didn't detract from the experience - after all, you can REALLY tell that the 1933 Kong was a stop-motion model. CGI was used in such a way in this movie that I could feel the same heartfelt breath of life that was in the original movie.

"But they're differing too much form the original movie! Why is it inaccurate?"

If you really think that a remake should be frame by frame, look at the 1998 remake of Psycho. See how bad it was? Okay. This movie is different form the original. what this movie is NOT is the preachy, dated, tereotypical, stupid 1972 movie. This film captures the SPIRIT of the original - captures the adventure movie, the commentary on society, the tragedy, the ape-meets-girl love story, the depth of the characters... it was really fantastic. Peter Jackson has come a long way since The Frighteners.

"But Jack Black's not a serious actor! He's a comedian!"

Right. Tom Hanks is a comedian, why are they casting him in serious roles? And what's with putting Robin Williams in serious movies? Come ON!
*ahem*
Actually, Jack Black impresed me beyond all measure. He turned Carl Denham into a three-dimensional character hwo you cared about - he wasn't a pale stareotype or a caricature, he was a flawed human being who went through some genuine character development by the end of the film.

"There's too much action. The old movie had a T-Rex fight, so peter Jackson made THREE?!?! Come on, that's silly!"

It was also a very good, riveting scene that wasn't unbelievable or "in your face EXTREEEEEEME." Remember the Cave Troll in LOTR? Similarly, Peter Jackson made this an excellent scene.

"Why didn't they follow the same monsters as the original? Why make up things like that stampede or the bugs?"

Well, do you really want to see a carnivorous brontosaurus and stegosaurus? I thought not. The roaches, leeches, etc. were in a way in the original print (as spiders, lizards, and ants), but that footage was cut. I'm surprised not everyone here has heard of it.

"What the heck did they do to the natives?"

They were realistic, that's what. Not every primitive society is a noble Savage utoipia of love, peace, and happiness. The nativdes on Skull island live in an environment of death and blood. Likewise, their religion seems to be about as vicious as the Aztec religions. All they know is killing, so it's no surprise that they act the way they do.

"But you can't recreate the original!"

Exactly. That is why this is not a frame-by-frame remake of the original.



Sure, there were a few tiny flaws, but there was nothing that I had to apologize for. It's simply amazing. Amazing.

And that's my two cents.

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