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What I'm Watching: Unfriended: Dark Web

  • Unfriended: Dark Web: Written and first-time-directed by Stephen Susco, the writer of the American Grudge remakes (which utterly missed the point: The Japanese films were cursed hauntings of familiar, safe places; the American ones set in Japan are hauntings of a person who's already alienated and scared, not to mention that Sarah Michelle Gellar's range doesn't extend this much beyond stabby cheerleader). And it's a Blumhouse film, which is to quality cinema what pickled pigs feet are to cuisine. BUT I DIGRESS.

Do you want to watch 90 minutes of a doofus with terrible hair using Facebook® and Skype® on a stolen MacBook? Because that's what this is. It never takes the camera out of the screen, which is an interesting choice; everyone has a giant selfie-cam in Skype, right? I will say, this may be the only movie I've ever seen use Terminal on a Mac. Also the "Papaya" app for translating speech to text to personally-recorded American Sign Language videos (because the doofus's girlfriend is deaf, and he's too much of an asshole programmer to practice ASL without writing code for it) is unique. Awful, but unique.

But then it goes into discovering the previous owner made torture porn/snuff films for an obscene amount of bitcoin on a darkweb site named "The River", populated by "Charon 68" ("they never made it to 69"), a figure who projects static into all cameras appears, and things get more and more desperate.

A film of just finding the snuff films and chasing down the perpetrator online would be interesting. But the squeamish characters stop the doofus from playing any of the videos for more than a few seconds, eliminating the only actual horror in this "horror" movie.

Then it goes from a slightly fantastical computer horror show, to a secret society of utterly impossible killers and l33t h4xx0rz, and cops that show up in 2 minutes. The last half ruins a perfectly good premise.

I watched the "Extended Edition", which has a bad ending for everyone, but given the super-powered secret society, it's the only consistent ending. There's also an incredibly stupid "Charons vote and think he's enough of a bastard to live" happy ending on the regular edition.

End credits are live-edited into what looks like SSL source code; ironically if anyone had been using SSL, drive encryption, and secured their computers with more than 1-letter passwords this entire script would be impossible. I assure you I keep my snuff flicks (no.) and darkweb bitcoin lockers (also no.) in an encrypted volume with a long password written nowhere else.

This is a sequel/remake of Unfriended, which I have not seen but is apparently an actual ghost haunting Facebook®, which might be more plausible than what I just watched.

★★☆☆☆ — not bad enough to be good, but stupid enough to be funny at times.

What I'm Watching: Mothra vs Godzilla, end of Watchmen, cartoons

  • Mothra vs Godzilla (1964): Environmental destruction, in this case draining wetlands to make an industrial zone, exposes radioactive material. An egg floats near land, and is brought ashore. The twin fairies and Mothra herself show up asking "please give our egg back", but a greedy land developer, backed by even greedier billionaire, puts the egg at the center of a theme park. None of this can end well.

    I'm fairly displeased by the green screen/rear projection tricks in this one. It was early days for color, but it wasn't a technology ready for this time.

    The reporter and sidekick cameragirl are fine, kind of a Howard Hawks-like situation, and they're not stupid, and not unreasonably competent; there's only so much the press can do against a developer who doesn't care. Eggman, the reporter who loves eggs, would be annoying comic relief except he's not onscreen all that long.

    There's a visit and multiple visions of the natives of Infant Island, who've been nuked and struggle to survive in a barren wasteland. They're implausible primitive, but Japan has a long imperialist history of its own to deal with here. The fairies sing a song every scene they're in, which is somewhere between charming, mystical, and "oh shit I hate musicals".

    The monsters appear after half an hour. Godzilla as the walking force of destruction, Mothra as the ancient mother ready to protect her egg, and sacrifice to help the Japanese who have done her people so much wrong, and later the gross Mothra babies as the cycle of life. Their squeaking really gets on my nerves.

    The military/JSDF is portrayed unusually competent here. In most Godzilla movies, they are baffled, they try to fight, and die, and are utterly pointless. But this time they have competent plans, and are not doing too bad. They can't win but they can fight Godzilla to a standstill while evacuations take place.

    The ending isn't reasonable. 10 children and a teacher vs thousands dying on the mainland is a small price to pay. Godzilla hates squeaky little bugs like the Mothra larva, but they aren't actually harming it, and their secret power takes forever, during which time Big G should nuke them into oblivion. Hmn, in 1968, Star Trek had the Tholian Web episode, which has some similarities.

    ★★★½☆

  • Watchmen: Finished up. Happily this isn't getting a second season. Big time spoilers, but don't worry about it, you're not missing anything by keeping it secret.

    In the comics, Dr Manhattan's first action as a superhuman was to reassemble himself from nothing, after disintegration. When Ozymandias… inconveniences… him, he pulls himself back together in very little time. So it's utterly ludicrous that the whole plot of the series was to disassemble Manhattan again, and then "absorb" his "powers". His power is that his nervous system constantly reassembles matter to stay existing, a magic booster shot of Manhattan won't make someone else into a superhuman; maybe disassembling them in the right conditions would.

    So the hillbilly Senator, and Lady Trieu's entire plan, and the egg scene at the end, are just nonsense.

    Adrian's escape plan is dumb but amusingly portrayed, Jeremy Irons does occasionally wake up and play Ozymandias instead of just sleep-walking across the set in some tired English country drama. That's about the only part of this entire 9 episodes of bullshit that I enjoyed.

    Later, Adrian using frozen baby squid as an orbital Project Thor system is fun, but the actual effects would be rather more catastrophic, even with frozen organics from high atmosphere instead of tungsten rods from orbit, they're probably impacting at 3 km/s, ~1 Rick (Robinson, not Sanchez) each, so equivalent to 0.25 kg of TNT per squid, and there's thousands of squid. Holding a box over your head won't help. The area impacted would look like a giant cheese-grater had run across it to a few meters depth. And this is why we shouldn't let psychopaths have teleporters or spaceships!

    Fake delayed tension is all through this shitshow, but most notably in the minutes of "run!" "what?" "take shelter!" "who is this?" "you're gonna die!" "uh..." vamping when they would clearly already be dead. Again, I hate Damon Lindelof and hope he gets cancer of the fingers and tongue so the world will not again be plagued by his writing.

    Angela Abar (Regina King) is OK, decent action-hero chick, but she plays a detective very poorly; just hits her marks and says lines she clearly doesn't believe. As Laurie/Silk Spectre, I preferred the dumb but very fit Laurie (Malin Akerman) from the Zak Snyder Watchmen to this one (Jean Smart) who couldn't do a pushup let alone plausibly be an aging costumed vigilante G-woman.

    Hillbilly conspiracy theory cop Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) is amusing, maybe not good, but funny. Very ancient Louis Gossett, Jr as Grampa Will is kind of sad, I didn't even recognize him, but I can't hate on Lou even if the role is badly written. Everyone else is a cypher or a walking meatstick.

    They couldn't even get Robert Redford to do a cameo as himself. Incompetent Lindelof wrote him a letter, and he wouldn't even respond.

    ★½☆☆☆ — I appreciate Irons' Adrian enough to not completely savage this, but don't watch it.

  • Adventure Time, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Rick & Morty, etc.: There's a lot of amusing cartoons for both kids and drunk/stoned adults on here.

What I'm Playing: Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

What I'm Playing: Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

I loved the version on the DS, so I got this the moment it was released on Switch.

You start by picking from a set of little human pieces, which you can recolor their skin & hair, but not their appalling clothes. I almost went with Dad there, but in the end Cool Bro looks better. Looking at the random other players later, I see a lot of them chose that or Suit Guy. As I've noted before, Nintendo has Mii avatars, and then doesn't use them in games even where it'd make sense. You see a little face photo of your Mii in some games, but it should use your Mii in the world! Nintendo is so frustrating and anti-social.

Then you go to a globe UI, with figures representing "guides" that give you a menu of a few games. Or you can just pick any game from a preposterously long line menu, or you can hit X (up button) to switch to a grid which is more reasonable. UX is very confused, always a couple extra button presses or spinning the cursor around a too-large area to get to anywhere you want. You unlock more guides by playing games, earning trophies.

Your piece has up to 5 "recommendations", but you can't set them from in the game, you have to go all the way back out to the globe, find your piece, and add them from a list. And these don't help you jump back to a game fast, you have to find it in the grid every time.

Like almost all Nintendo software now, there's no settings for audio, and the "music" is driving me insane, but I need the sound to play some of these, so I'm constantly muting and unmuting. At least in the old days, Nintendo's music had complete scores, but they've apparently fired all their musicians, this is just beep-doo-beep-de-beep, over and over until I stab someone.

Each game starts with couple figures playing the game with often amusing commentary—the kids narrating Connect Four as a samurai duel is fantastic—often enough tutorial for anyone, but it immediately comes up to a menu with "How to Play" and Play, and hitting + in game usually gets a help menu. They're trying to teach you games you may be unfamiliar with. However, showing the tutorial EVERY time you start a game until you hit X (up) is insipid.

There are medals for winning against the AI and playing at least 2-4 times depending on the game, so there's a little grind possible if you're into that.

Nintendo History guide gives you: Hanafuda, Gomoku, President, Shogi, and Riichi Mahjong, which Nintendo made for a century before going into the videogames business.

Many of the games have local and Internet multiplayer, which I haven't yet tried. I expect the usual Nintendo® Quality™ networking, which is to say everything will drop out constantly. I'd rather play against AIs.

Current playlist of 11 good, 16 bad, 25 unplayed doesn't seem all that positive, but the good games are usually very good, and you can just ignore the stupid ones. The constant terrible music is the only strong negative.

I'll keep updating this post as I play more of them.

★★★★☆

bold is good, italic is bad, plain is I haven't bothered to play it yet.

  1. Mancala: aka Awari. Anyone who's typed in games from Basic Computer Games is intimately familiar with Awari. It's a weird little game, but fast and fun, and there's just enough strategy against a smart player (not the AI) to make it hard to win.
  2. Dots and Boxes: "Boxing" is also very familiar from school. The first player (default to you) is at a severe disadvantage, but it's possible to only give up a few boxes to the second player, and then clean up the rest.
  3. Yacht Dice: aka Yahtzee, Poker Dice. Nice enough, but I found the controls a little finnicky, it should not use the "do stuff" button for both pick and reroll. Slaughtered the AI, as one would expect.
  4. Four in a Row: aka Connect Four. Pretty dull, aside from the tutorial.
  5. Hit and Blow: aka Mastermind, Bagels, etc. with an unfortunate translation name. But I dislike the color-matching version, I'm a numbers person.
  6. Nine Men's Morris: I don't understand this game. You start playing while setting up, and it just screws anyone who loses one piece. Also obviously should have been #9.
  7. Hex: Again, should've been #6. It's a road-building game, dumb low-challenge game.
  8. Checkers
  9. Hare and Hounds
  10. Gomoku
  11. Dominoes
  12. Chinese Checkers: aka Pegboard. Not Chinese, sort of checkers except nothing is captured.
  13. Ludo: aka Parcheesi, Sorry!, Trouble, etc. I switch to the 3 dice to come out rule, rather than automatic/on 6, otherwise it's Parcheesi (not quite Indian Pachesi), a good being-dicks-to-each-other race game.
  14. Backgammon: An ancient dice game, a good fun game. I dislike the joycon controls, cursor-moving by spike around the track instead of selecting individual pieces left/right.
  15. Renegade: aka Othello, Reversi, etc., pretty standard. I lost really badly the first round, and then eked out a win, I've always been bad at this game, or anything that requires me to do deep analysis of simple positions (go, checkers, etc.), I'm a broad strategy for complex positions (wargames) thinker.
  16. Chess: There's a sort of lesson program, but the starter AI is incredibly suicidal, so it's not even interesting. Probably it gets harder, but I'm not that interested yet. I dislike the set design, it's very hard to tell the pawns apart from bishops, queen from king, and there's no alternate set option. Still, it's Chess.
  17. Shogi
  18. Mini Shogi
  19. Hanafuda: Very pretty cards, but I've never learned the sets, and visual association like this is harder for me. AI let me win 3/3 on this, which is crazy since I was just clearing chaff, I never saw more than 2 cards of a good set. However, after winning the guide "gave me a gift" of Mario-themed Hanafuda cards, so that might be easier for me. I think this might be worth practicing at.
  20. Riichi Mahjong
  21. Last Card: aka Uno, Crazy Eights. The card branding is almost but not quite infringing on Uno, so it hits that uncanny valley effect, and I kinda hate looking at it. AI didn't stand a chance, I don't know what they were even doing, picking cards at random? There isn't much strategy to Uno, but no strategy means you lose.
  22. Blackjack: Gives a limited number of rounds, and chips but you can go into debt. Does not have Split, which is kind of amateurish, and it doesn't have the dealer check their down card on A or 10 up, so you might play a round and find out they have Blackjack. It's bizarre beyond belief that they didn't make Blackjack be game #21, but #22. But I can always play a few hands of Blackjack.
  23. Texas Hold 'em: aka Poker.
  24. President: aka Asshole, Daifugo, etc. Kind of an annoying party game, giant hand of cards to manage at start. I hate the rich-get-richer mechanic, which is why it's sometimes called Capitalism, but it's more like Monarchy.
  25. Sevens
  26. Speed
  27. Matching
  28. War:

    War, huh!
    What is it good for? Absolutely nothin'
    Say it again, war, huh!
    What is it good for? Absolutely nothin', come on!
    —Bruce Springsteen, "War"

    I timed this, and it takes 5 seconds and one button-press for each card, and it always resets the cursor to the rightmost card, so it takes a minimum of 2.5 minutes. Was this included as a prank?

  29. Takoyaki: Ten octopus. Almost as random as War, but you get a choice when Joker is drawn, and it's much faster. Winning this nonsense unlocked a Mario-themed card deck!

  30. Pig's Tail: aka Buta no shippo. Instead of a little action game of throwing drawn cards into a pile but avoiding matches, it's a completely random War-like, with a slow "penalty cards" deck.
  31. Golf: Cute little putting game, only has 3 clubs: Driver, Iron, Putter. It's not quite a wacky golf or mini-golf, but it's not any kind of realistic golf simulator.
  32. Billiards
  33. Bowling: Has touch controls or joy-cons, but I have a Switch Lite, so I just went with touch. A little rocky start, but then I can get a strike most throws. IRL, my aim is a little too erratic, but I've played hundreds of hours of Ramp Champ and other touch-stroke games on iPhone, so this isn't hard for me.
  34. Darts
  35. Carrom: Like marbles or pogs, but without the freedom of motion, and a strange "queen" you have to take another coin after or you put it back. I don't know that I like this game, it takes too long and the controls are stupid (stick to move up/down only, L/R to aim?!), but it's competent and kind of interesting.
  36. Toy Tennis
  37. Toy Soccer
  38. Toy Curling
  39. Toy Boxing: Lightly based on Rock'em Sock'em Robots, but without the pop-up heads or movement forward/back, just button-mashing. Controls are A/B to wobble your guy's arms out to hit or up to block, which is implausibly hard to switch between, they should've used L & R shoulder buttons. Normal AI is easy, Hard AI is brutal, I assume the others are unwinnable?
  40. Toy Baseball: Accurately simulates a cheap mechanical baseball game from the '60s, with maybe the worst pitching stick control I've ever seen. Once I got the hang of it, I recovered from 0 runs to 3, while the machine that doesn't fumble with sticks got 6. Not likely to play more. There's no Toy Football, as that's not "worldwide".
  41. Air Hockey
  42. Slot Cars
  43. Fishing
  44. Battle Tanks
  45. Team Tanks
  46. Shooting Gallery
  47. 6-Ball Puzzle: A weird collapsing ball Tetris variant, not as interesting as Bejewelled or Tetris.
  48. Sliding Puzzle
  49. Mahjong Solitaire: 20 layouts each for Beginner, Standard, Advanced difficulty. Has a nice color-assist, which is good if you can't easily make out the stack depth. I can see this being a big time-killer for me.
  50. Klondike Solitaire
  51. Spider Solitaire
  52. Bonus: Piano: The piano has a single octave, the help says the buttons or shaking joycons does something, but it does nothing on the Switch Lite at least. Turning the device upside down gets you a synth with 4 octaves selectable by button, but the keys don't rotate into normal position, so it's pretty unusable. I would prefer a real "toy piano" simulator, but then you may as well buy a teaching piano toy or a proper cheap synth, they're $30 or less on the 'zon.

Science Fiction on the Archive.org

In light of asshole publishers attacking archive.org: Hachette Book Group, Inc., Harpercollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC.

Libraries are important, and we need to do everything to protect the biggest one in the world.

So here's some SF, mostly cyberpunk, mostly POC or marginalized protagonists, mostly collapsing urban environments. Plus Zeitgeist, which is an optimistic view from 1999-2000, remember when that was possible?

Snow Crash-Neal Stephenson

Synners-Pat Cadigan

Streetlethal-Steven Barnes-cover

Eclipse-John-Shirley

Cornelius Chronicles-Michael Moorcock

Zeitgeist-Bruce Sterling

True Names-Vernor Vinge

Hacker and the Ants-Rudy Rucker

Schismatrix Plus-Bruce Sterling

What I'm Watching: Rodan, more Watchmen

  • Rodan (1956): A mining company has unexplained flooding, and miners die cut up. Suspicion falls on Goro the brawler… Engineer Sageru is sure he's not guilty, and reassures Goro's sister Kiyu—ah, Honda Ishiro's romances. Every film needs a pretty boy & girl, even if all they say to each other are their names.

It only takes 18 minutes to show the first larval monster, a record for early kaiju films. The giant mob of mine security with their poking sticks and little revolvers are ineffectual as always, but why do they have so many?

The lighting is pretty bad. It captures the darkness of the mines, but even outdoors is very dim to hide details of the larva puppet. The rear projection scenes are not as bad as previous efforts, but still obvious. The only place where lighting is good are the office & hospital sets.

Everyone at the mine and JSDF is competent, and respects science experts, unlike the Godzilla vs Mothra flick. But the scientist then blurts out some unsupported bullshit about the hydrogen bomb moving tectonic plates. The civilians are really quite dumb and deserve their deaths. Then there's an endlessly long nothing happens act.

Baby Rodan is so cute and chubby it's amazing. I've only ever seen it as a giant lean flying death, and of course I adore Pteranodon. The flying model and suit are excellent, and Rodan's wave of destruction is lovely, though they didn't find a traditional Japanese castle to destroy this time. It's a shame it's embedded in a pointless movie.

However, the tank models are preposterous, and the JSDF jingoism is eyeroll bad, lots of sound and fury inflicting no harm on Rodan, but everyone's very proud, it's a very military-focused adventure at this point. None of Godzilla's horror at war, this treats Rodan like, say, Korea, a contemporary problem to be solved by bombing the shit out of it. The end is literally 10 minutes of rockets being shot into a mountain while nothing else happens, and two demoralized Rodans die like Romeo & Juliet. Humans are the monsters.

★★½☆☆ If it wasn't for my absolute weakness for Pteranodon and Pterodactyl, this would be a spectacularly bad movie. As it is, it's merely bad.

  • Watchmen: So eventually the show tells us where Dr Manhattan is, and the nature of Ozymandias' prison, and the origin story of Sister Night. Still no answers as to why, in fact it deliberately has the plot eat its own tail, stupid people causing the problems stupid people investigate. Nothing happens at great length. Interesting ideas like the memory pills are brought up, used in a stupid way, then discarded. The whole thing is a tale told by an idiot. Which, again, Damon Lindelof, I knew it'd be incoherent nonsense made up on the spot, like talking to a toddler. But I don't understand how this fool gets anything this nonsensical and badly-written produced. Got a couple more eps to go and then I can wash my hands of this shitshow.

What I'm Watching: Godzilla Raids Again, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Player

More of my HBO Max queue. I absolutely hate that they make me choose my profile every single time. I have one profile, it's a purple cock-ring that says "Mark" in it, there is zero reason to make me choose a profile every new window! Netflix now lets you choose movie characters for your profile image, so there I'm Hup from Dark Crystal 2019, but they only make me choose my profile if I've logged out and back in.

In the old days, I watched 3 movies every night from the video store: One B-movie, one studio flick, one known-good movie (often a rewatch). And that's kinda what I did here:

  • Godzilla Raids Again (1955): On Monster Island, Godzilla is back from the dead (or a second Godzilla!) fighting a 30m-long Ankylosaur "Anguirus" (actual ones were up to 6.25m long), dated at 70-150 MYA (in reality 65-67 MYA), which is certainly better than the first Godzilla's 2 MYA dates. Dr Yamane returns to show stock footage from the first movie, without sound effects or context, and then he is never seen again (smart, take your paycheck and run from this film). They also get to use some military stock footage to show air & naval search for the kaiju. Boy this is a cheapass movie so far.

    The drama of the pilots & radio girls (the pretty one is the boss's daughter, of course) relationship is maybe a repeat of Ogata & Emiko from the first movie, but it fills the Human interest requirement fine. There's a prison break story which has fuck-all to do with Godzilla, it's just B-roll, but serves to screw up the blackout/light lure plan. Oda Motoyoshi was a terrible but prolific waste-of-film director, and in more competent hands the prison story could've been given some pathos.

    The monster fights are goofy, accelerated footage instead of more properly slowed-down to look like 50m-tall monsters, mostly wrestling instead of the more acrobatic fighting of later Godzillas (admittedly these early suits were heavy). The miniature cities, and historic Osaka Castle(!!!), are clearly empty shells inside, when the original tries to not make that visible, and later ones succeed even more. There's a flooding subway scene that's fairly effective, though we don't see the victims; presumably nobody was willing to risk their lives for Oda's filmmaking.

    The music is not great. Anything dramatic or horrifying in the original has heavy Ifukube Akira music. Here, there's a little bass line behind the monster scenes, and light "laugh now" or overbearing brass band music in every Human scene.

    A little "Human interest" goes a long way in a kaiju movie, but post fight there's just endless people talking bullshit about romance and business, corporate drinking in a circle worshipping the boss, nothing to do with the plot. Incredibly tedious, and the comic relief pilot is badly written. Please make this end.

    They really don't seem to have watched the first movie. A fire fence is supposed to keep Godzilla in place? It was born from the hydrogen bomb, breathes fire, stomped thru a burning Tokyo. It lives in the deep freezing ocean. There's no fire or ice solution that's going to stop it. The bombing runs use a mix of miniatures, stock footage, and rear projection to fake in-aircraft camera shots, and the "miniature" terrain and mattes are bad.

    I'm giving this movie way more thought than was put into making it, or has deserved for 65 years. But I'm disappointed.

    ★★☆☆☆ only because Anguirus is slightly cool, being a completely non-humanoid kaiju.

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: I haven't seen the previous Fantastic Beasts film, which is nowhere to be found, but how much context can a "wizzarding world" flick need? Unfortunately after a pretty good prison break scene with badass Grindelwald (who seems to have the right idea, magical revolution now!), the story switches to whiny, useless "Newt" as protagonist, and then nothing happens forever, and I lost all interest.

    The cinematography looks like absolute shit, it's dark and color-distorted, you can't see anything, it's all CGI cartoons and fast cuts over bad actors, almost a parody of modern terrible filmmaking. Maybe there's plot later, but after 30 minutes of reading my phone while I waited for plot to start, and it didn't, and I loathe all the "good guys" so far, I gave up.

    ☆☆☆☆☆ and may Cthulhu have mercy on their souls.

  • The Player (1992): Haven't seen this in decades. Goddamn that initial long tracking shot. Tons of movie references, I dunno I've ever seen Absolute Beginners, just heard the Bowie song; adding that to my list. The Sheltering Sky I've seen and was bored out of my skull by, all of Bertolucci's films were some mix of fantastic cinematography, pretty girls, dumb assholes, fascists, wandering aimlessly, never intersects a plot, like Last Tango in Paris; he was the original Ridley Scott (right down to the unwatchable but very pretty oriental set piece flicks). I love Fred Ward and he's good at laconic delivery of both useful and menacing lines, but he doesn't get to do any violence here, which is a shame. There's a metric fuck-ton of cameos by Old Hollywood people, before it all went to shit.

    "It's Gods Must be Crazy except the Coke bottle is now a TV actress." "Exactly, it's Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman." made me crack up completely. I can't stop giggling at these people and their awful pitches.

    Oh, I miss movies like this, with writing and characters and cinematography that isn't just cyan/orange filters. I want everyone involved in that Fantastic Beasts flick to watch this, and then blow their brains out in shame.

    "Can we talk about something other than Hollywood for a change? We're educated people." … … [laughter]

    Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is kind of too easy-going to have his job, but he steps up to crazy eventually. Vincent D'Onofrio didn't have his known career of being a crazy person yet, so his unstable writer act now looks too obvious.

    "I would hate to get the wrong person arrested." "Oh please. This is Pasadena. We do not arrest the wrong person. That's L.A., see, L.A., they kick your ass, and then they arrest you." A year after Rodney King.

    The first act is great, just a perfect storm of everything coming down on Griffin Mill. Second act develops his guilt and romance, and it's fine, but a little slow. Third act should be a massive storm of catastrophe, but instead nothing happens. Rich people get to be rich and goof around.

    ★★★★☆

Spoiler screenshot but this is the story they wrote and inserted into the paper:

player-newspaper

What I'm Watching: HoboMax

  • Hey, Beastmaster's On (seriously it was on a lot in the afternoons)
  • Hobotime (when you couldn't decide between HBO or Showtime)
  • Skinemax (ah, scrambled cable porn; to this day, static makes me horny (no not really (well, kinda)))

I was ignoring the HBO "Max" launch, but Rolling Stone ran basically an ad/listicle of great movies on it, and so I've given it another shot. Site organization is kind of terrible, it's "Netflix but with more hubs" so you have to poke around all over to see what movies they have. But they do have more older A-list movies, less TV shows.

Currently building up a giant queue by looking at the A-Z list, and then I'll work thru it, because finding anything on this site is a nightmare.

So far, quite pleased by the selection. It's not every movie; there's weird gaps and missing prequels or sequels (they have Yojimbo, but not Sanjuro?! Well, I have that on DVD, but the principle of the thing!), but it's like a pretty good video store. Not as good as mine back in the day, let alone Scarecrow Video, but you can find something besides Navy Seals.

  • Watchmen (2019 series): 3 eps in. Starts with the Tulsa Massacre and does not get more cheerful. Goes back more to the source comic, including the giant exploding squid, but has the consequences 35 years later. Rather implausibly has President Robert Redford, who would be 80+ at this time; I'm actually surprised he's still alive in reality. The masked cops are scum, the KKK using Rorschach as a model sucks (atheist anarchist vigilante, not a racist), the FBI's lead agent is a traitorous bitch, Adrian is a murderous (well, sorta) loonie. Nobody is worth saving. Protagonist cop and old man are… interesting, I guess. But I'm not sure I care. Whole thing's written by Damon Lindelof, who pisses me off with almost everything he writes and especially the dumb ending of Lost, so no shock there. Kind of a hate-watch, but I'll likely finish it.

  • Godzilla (1954): Aside from the B&W subtitles being baked in, instead of letting me choose yellow on black as I prefer, and calling it "Godzilla" instead of "Gojira", a perfectly adequate presentation. As always I sympathize entirely with the monster, Godzilla's been wronged and the Humans should be crushed under its feet. Serizawa is the real monster. It's amusing to compare this with Shin Godzilla; in the '50s, occupied Japan, the security board & Parliament are panicked, but competent at hearing advice and acting on it; in the 2010s, autonomous Japan, the government is completely paralyzed by bureaucracy, the "experts" are only used for PR and any science must be accomplished on the side, until things get close to an extinction event. ★★★★½

Morning Playlist

I don't have store/play links for these, this is all local, the playlist I listen to many mornings, pick a random start point and play forward. This'll wake you up.

Song Album Artist
Where Do I Begin (edit) Dig Your Own Hole Chemical Brothers
Neurosis Drama Bitter:Sweet
Nth Degree Morningwood Morningwood
One Too Many Mornings Exit Planet Dust Chemical Brothers
Let Forever Be Surrender Chemical Brothers
Airships Futureperfect VNV Nation
City Zen Radio 1990/2000 FM Cure For Sanity Pop Will Eat Itself
X Y & Zee [Sensory Amplification Mix] Cure For Sanity Pop Will Eat Itself
Japan Air Endless Fantasy Anamanaguchi
Life Is Sweet Exit Planet Dust Chemical Brothers
Heartbeat City Heartbeat City Cars
Waking Up Drama Bitter:Sweet
(Reach Up for The) Sunrise Astronaut Duran Duran
Let the Day Begin The Best of the Call Michael Been AKA The Call
I Want It All The Platinum Collection Queen
Sharing the World (feat. Hatsune Miku) Sharing the World - Single BIGHEAD
Streamline Automatic VNV Nation
Hit the Hi-Tech Groove Box Frenzy (Remastered) Pop Will Eat Itself
Satellite Ecstatica This Is The Day...This Is The Hour...This Is This! Pop Will Eat Itself
American Science Notorious Duran Duran
Mandelbrot Set Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow Jonathan Coulton
21st Century Digital Boy Stranger Than Fiction Bad Religion
Twenty First Century Boy 21st Century Boys - The Best Of Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Neuromancer Cyberpunk Billy Idol
The Boy In the Bubble The Essential Paul Simon (Bonus Video Version) Paul Simon
I Don't Like Monday's Emerald Rock Boomtown Rats
Tomorrow People Cyberpunk Billy Idol
Only Solutions Tron (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Journey
Too Much Information Ghost in the Machine (Message in a Box) Police
Where Would I Be Without IBM Peace and Love, Inc. Information Society
U.04/01/2003 U.B.L.U.D. Box Frenzy (Remastered) Pop Will Eat Itself
Life In the Fast Lane Eagles Live Eagles
Number One Best Of Chaz Jankel
Demolition Man Ghost in the Machine (Message in a Box) Police
Burn You Up, Burn You Down Big Blue Ball Peter Gabriel, Billy Cobham, The Holmes Brothers, Wendy Melvoin, Arona N'diaye & Jah Wobble
Standing In the Line Midnight Mission Carla Olson and the Textones
Big Time So (Remastered) Peter Gabriel
Not Dead Yet Edge Of The Century Styx
Everything's Cool Dos Dedos Mis Amigos Pop Will Eat Itself
Jesus Built My Hotrod Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs Ministry
Under The Influence Surrender Chemical Brothers
Atom Bomb Wipeout 2097 Fluke
Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex Cansei de Ser Sexy CSS
Control 1000 Fires Traci Lords
Stuck On Repeat Arecibo - EP Little Boots
So Alive Love And Rockets Love and Rockets
Joy Praise The Fallen VNV Nation
More Vision Thing Sisters Of Mercy
Standing (Still) Standing EP VNV Nation
Dream On Surrender Chemical Brothers
Where the I Divides Peace and Love, Inc. Information Society
Erotic Ontology Orbiting Cathedrals Pro-Tech
This Is Ponderous The Best of 2NU 2NU
Solitary Praise The Fallen VNV Nation
Come Sail Away (Edit) Styx: Greatest Hits Styx
Asleep From Day Surrender Chemical Brothers
Surrender Surrender Chemical Brothers
Everybody Wants to Rule the World Songs From the Big Chair Tears for Fears
Flash's Theme The Platinum Collection Queen

Death of Blogging as a Service

Via n-gate, because I no longer read and have actively blocked h4xx04 n00z, but still like to laugh at the monkeys in the cage:

  • TTTThis whines: "Blogs used to exist because there were blogging platforms."

I started to reply to this, but I think this is a troll? 90% sure. But like The Onion, Landover Baptist, or Fox News, it's indistinguishable from real stupid, crazy people.

The rest of his site is equally inane half-jokes, but not at that length. Despite the "/blog/" in the URL, he is not writing a blog, because he has no RSS feed.

Every few weeks another "DEATH OF RSS", "I MISS BLOGGING" shitpost comes across my screen, mostly from victims still on Tw*tter or F***book, who don't realize they can set up WordPress, Hugo, Ghost, or whatever and have their own fully operational Death Star of blogging to wage war on siloed fools from.

Spokes and Hubs

Firefox is extremely annoying using Hubs in fullscreen. Open a tab, type about:config as location, and set:

full-screen-api.warning.timeout: 0
pointer-lock-api.warning.timeout: 0

This time I did the tutorial for Spoke—which you should absolutely sit thru, and try out as you go—and then made a scene based on the Material Test. Well, first I tried to edit the cafe, but it turns out that's a single model with 80K polys, not editable. Pity.

So you can make a scene by adding items from a library, Architecture Kit has most of the building blocks you'd want, mostly in 1x1 to 4x4m segments, and a small palette of industrial textures.

Google Poly and Sketchfab have hundreds/thousands of items to drop in.

Unfortunately, while you can upload your own textures, you can't put them on any object, they're just images. The best I've found for now is to just lay it down like a carpet, 0.01 above a flat surface so there's no z-fighting. Works but obviously stupid. The actual workflow is apparently to clone ArchitectureKit, edit it in Blender (oh fuck), upload.

Not a bad toybox, not as good as Second Life, Garry's Mod, or Unity, but usable, and a lot cheaper (paying SL $1 per 25 images sucked giant balls until later I made it back 1000x by selling things and coding services).

The Spoke controls continue to be awkward, and often contradictory to Hub's, but I got used to them.

There doesn't seem to be any way to select or group multiple objects and apply changes to all of them, except translation, rotation, etc.; texture remapping is kind of a pain. And there's no texture offset field, so if your objects aren't full-sized and don't line up exactly, you can't make them fit. Don't use hex or tile patterns on such objects, I guess, or hide the seams under carpets.

After a bit of work, mostly changing textures but adding some trim, adding a doorknob, fixing misaligned blocks, I got a slightly better version of their demo, hit Cmd-S to save (in Spoke), then Publish to Hub. Which takes >1 minute for a tiny default scene.

mozillahubs-material1

mozillahubs-material2

So starting over from the watery caldera template, and a "forest" model from Poly, I'm building up a dark twilight castle, we'll see how that goes.