Friday, 24 October 2014

Cthulhu Dissected

A while ago I picked up a copy of Dissecting Cthulhu from the YSDC store, and just recently read it. And it was quite good.

This is a collection of previously published essays about Lovecraft and his work, and other people who picked it up. There are many essays pointing out that the "Cthulhu Mythos" was created by August Derleth, which is a nail hammered many times.

Another point is Lovecraft's inspiring places. There's one article that points out the many bad things Will Murray does.. and this is followed with a Will Murray article about some other place!

Fortunately, there are a few articles talking about Lovecraft's work and ethos. There are also articles treating the mythos entities as researchable things, which goes against the ethos.

This is an interesting read, but the conflicting essays are a little annoying. That said, that is what happens when you are dissecting Cthulhu...


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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Open and Out

Okay, I probably need to take a break because I spend far too much time trying to catch up with current shows that get around to writing up blog entries, so we gets simple posts like this, which is basically a youtube vid with commentary.

Supernatural had a rocky start, and then, it has been pointed out, that it's been treading the same plot for the past few seasons. But I like it and will continue to watch it.

One aspect I particularly like is the opening credits. They change every season, and they fit the theme of the season. But the best part... they are only around five seconds. With lots of long opening sequences, with shots of various actors and panning shots to show off effects and... nope, not with Supernatural. Quick shock shot, then back to the show.

Usually others only have short openings when they are under a time squeeze, but we could do with more shows that actually care about getting to the content.


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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Reign of Winter

A convenient raven turns up with a 5,000gp diamond in its claw. After some bargaining, it is swapped for various items the party has, and now they have a nice diamond... which they eventually get around to casting on a Raise Dead.

Nanoc is back! [I like to play my characters "all the way down", and since Nanoc wasn't completely gone, back he is!]

After spending some days resting and recuperating, we get back into it and try to find where the bad guys are. This leads us to looking down the passageway with all the runes that nearly killed us before (and did kill Liddac!). Mage and Felgard decide to head down... and we split the party!

They go down the runes, Mage nearly dies, but they make it to the end and re-enter the field with the old crone, who tells them off for returning. And they find the chap from the previous encounter who invisibled and ran away. Pressing on, they go exploring more.

Meanwhile, the rest of us go the other way, and find ourselves back in a room not that far from the entrance. We sit a while, then go through a room with a petrified forest before ending up back in the room.

After poking around, Mage and the Bard find a room with two Frost Giants guarding a door. Bravely they attack using fire, then run away.

We go down another passage, to find a Frost Giant and a young pregnant maiden in flagrante delicto. That doesn't stop us attacking, and the three of us take down the Giant without too much of a problem. And then the maiden touches Nanoc and makes him go weak [Losing Strength is my new Being Cursed]. So then they bravely and nobly kill the pregnant woman... who turns into a hag creature thing, but still. Without wanting to wander around more, we settle in for the night.

Mage and the bard do hit and run tactics to kill the giants, and that works well. But where will they go next, and will the party ever regather?


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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Melody of Berlin

It was a two-fer this week!

Melody of the World (1929): This is an assembled film of images from around the world, in black and white with sound! The music is well set to the images, and the images themselves are paired up to show off how similar some human (and animal) activities are. Although some of the moment were, I thought, a stretch, for example elephants picking things up and people picking up a canoe. This is more likely an example of convergent evolution than common ancestor (although there's probably some of that too). I was also reminded of the Qatsi trilogy in the blending of themes and images, and I should get around to watching that again sometime. Still, well done.

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927): Another film by Walter Ruttmann (as the above one was), and again we have the mixture of images (although this is a silent film with later composed score) giving us the impression of music as the images play off either other. There's a nice flow and beat as we start with the waking of the city, following people through the day, and then the night life. It's nicely done, and I kind of wish there was natural sound in it, but we have the above film for that.


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Monday, 20 October 2014

DW 8.09

Does this count as a Doctor-less episode? Not really, although it would have been a fairly simple day for Peter Capaldi. Overall, I liked it.

We start with an interesting premise of people sucked into the walls, and of the TARDIS shrinking. (Easier prop management? Although I'm sure Jenna wasn't particularly excited about hiding in it.) And then the Doctor is trapped... which, while potential, doesn't really impact on him not being around. It's more of an opportunity to get Clara to experience what it means to be the Doctor. And yet... we don't really get a full sense of what it means to be the Doctor as Clara doesn't really have a lot of tough decisions to make.

Decent performances all around, I liked Chris Fairbank's prickliness. Good performances from our two leads as well, and we'll see where the Clara / Danny relationship goes.

Although I only just watched it, I can't say there is anything more amazing I want to talk about. High rating episode, but could easily be seen as filler. And yes, I spotted the Pixar reference. (Not sure if the other train is a reference to something.)

Next week: Oh, school trip gone wrong. That's never happened before.


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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Why so Serial?

We all like Batman, so who doesn't want to see more Batman? Batman, Batman, Batman.

In particular, the 1949 15 part serial Batman and Robin, as screened in theatres. So this meant that each episode, around 17 minutes each, ended with a dramatic cliff hanger, often involving actual cliffs! Only to resolved by finding out the heroes escaped just before the dramatic explosion seen last week. Ah, the 'get 'em in again next week' ol' cinema serials.

This particular adventure involves a character known as The Wizard. Who can remotely control cars. And he has his own gang. Against them are Batman and Robin, two people clearly dressing up in costumes with no gadgets to speak of. And with the fighting ability of a stunned koala. Also featured daring reporter Vicki Vale. It's a basic story, but definitely set up for a serial, and for the times, and would only pause current day Batman for about five minutes.

But I didn't watch it by myself, as such. Instead I saw all the episodes with the aid of Rifftrax. They just recently finished the series, as part of their once-a-week Riffs. (Shorts are a lot easier than full movies.) If they are sensible, they'll offer a package deal, but the whole lot is easy enough to get. Go for it!


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Saturday, 18 October 2014


Mudbloods is a movie about Quidditch that's just been released... and I forgot I had a copy of this ready for me to watch because I Kickstartered this.

This movie mainly follows the Quidditch team at UCLA and their team performance of the year (of 2011) and their action at the New York Quidditch Cup. Outside of the context of this being a game from a fantasy series, this is actually fairly full on contact sport (with one particular nasty injury happening), and co-ed, unlike a lot of other sports out there. Actually, I'm reminded a lot of touch rugby, except these people are running around one handed.

Okay, let's talk about a large aspect. They are running around on brooms, basically holding them between their legs, giving them only one had free. And yes, that does look rather silly. And phallic. And the Snitch is a guy who has a ball in a sock around his waist that the Seekers have to grab. This is what happens when you need to adapt a fantasy game. And admittedly, after a while, you do just see people running around, scoring goals and throws balls at each other, not too dissimilar to other sports.

The main characters we follow are Alex, the man who put the Quidditch competition together. Tom, the captain of the UCLA team. And Katie, a Harry Potter fan who has a lot of HP merchandise. They are nice people, and realistic about this. These people aren't going to be superstars of the world, but neither are they unhappy with their place in life.

Aside from it being Quidditch, this could be many other sport movies. But it is Quidditch, so there's that.


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