Abyss of Silence

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Human Kind is DOOMED!

Yes I know how tedious I am, thank you very much. I just like making lists. SUE ME! I have a weakness for disaster movies of numerous varieties. Some of these movies I'm not proud of but I enjoy them. Here ya go...
The Mod Future Movies or
the Not-Quite-So-Utopian Future
I don't know if "mod" is an accurate description, it just feels right. These movies are futuristic. But they aren't what we would now consider futuristic, they are what we used to think the future would look like (you know, silver suits, bubble cities and ray guns) and generally depict doom of some sort. Bliss!
Logan's Run
If you can look past the fashions (some people can't) and gadgets you'll find a very good movie. This is one of my favorite movies. It is 2274 and a seemingly ideal society inside an enclosed (bubble) city run entirely by computers leaving humans a life of leisure. The catch is upon turning 30, you must die under the guise of "renewal" or their idea of reincarnation. Logon is a Sandman, an officer who enforces the 30 age limit by hunting "runners". Upon one of the runners, Logon finds an object which the main computer sends him on a mission to investigate which brings Logon to the realization of what their society actually is and what humans used to be. Terrific performances by Michael York, Richard Jordan, Jenny Agutter and Peter Ustinov. They are remaking the movie and I cannot think why. Rerelease it to the movie theatres! I'd go! But no, they're going to make it slick and CG, lowering the kill age to 21 so that they can have a younger lead and probably suck any meaning out of the new script. Sigh.
Fahrenheit 451
This is one of those movies that I don't have a huge reaction to but if it comes on, I'm there! We've all read the book in school and the movie is not a bad adaptation. This is another one that is being remade. WHY!?
THX 1138
This was George Lucas' first film for which he later name his sound system, "THX". This is one of those turning everyone into identity-less drones future where everyone is controlled by computers, drugs, and big brother. It's a little rough around the edges but quite excellent. One drone (Robert Duval) decides to break out and he makes it when the price of his capture hits it's budget. How frickin' genius is that? It's hilarious as the cops are chasing him the money it's costing is scrolling like a count down, once it hit it's limit the cops break off pursuit. You got to love it. However try to see the original version. Lucas, years later, decided to "fix" things with CG and by all accounts screwed it up. There comes a point when the artist must not be allowed to screw with the piece of work otherwise they'll tinker until it's crap. Just look at what Spielberg did to E.T.! If you haven't seen it lately don't bother. He CGd out the guns the cops carry while pursuing ET & the gang and he CGd E.T.'s face with more "expression". Why should an alien's face show emotion similar to a human's? STUPID! He fucked it up royally. It's embarrassing to watch and turns a couple of moving scenes into lame sap.
The Time Machine
Oh this one is just fun and I've liked it since I was a little kid (or maybe I just liked Rod Taylor). This is very loosely based on H.G. Well's short story of a time traveler from around 1900 traveling into the far far distant future. In the short story the traveler ended up in the same time as Rod Taylor in the movie where society had utterly collapsed and the human race had broken off into two different groups. One that resides underground while the other (more vapid) group lives on the surface. In typical 60s fashion however the collapse of society is attributed to nuclear weaponry and war, he even stops off in the 60s and hears air raid sirens going off and people going underground. Obviously Wells had not foreseen the atomic age so this is where the story and the movie veer off in different directions. In the story after fighting with the Morlocks, he goes even further in the future where there are no humans left, the movie ends on somewhat a more positive note. But heck, it's just a fun flick. Another great take on this story (and much more imaginative) was a little film called Time After Time. That's a great one too. Check it out!

The Truly Bizzare (and Utterly Doomed) Future
What freak thought this up!? I mean seriously! This is set in an undetermined post-apocalyptic future where most of humanity has either been killed or has gone feral and they go around beating eachother up or raping women. One of these brutes (and our central brute) is played by Sean Connery. He ends up traveling to a place where a seemingly idyllic society of humans exists, hitching a lift in a giant flying rock head I might add. Don't ask. Anyway things are far from idyllic, strange forces, immortality, boredom and suicidal tendencies abound. Weird as shit but damned interesting!
The Quiet Earth
This was a really interesting concept. A man wakes up one morning to find that he is the only person on earth. No one. Everyone is gone; there aren't even bodies left behind. He later finds two other people still there and together they discover what happened to everyone. Very interesting, and an ending you'll never see coming.

The Depressive-Throw Up Your Arms and Just Quit- Future
I cannot express how much I love this movie. It is set in Los Angeles in the year 2019. Buildings have taken over the landscape, everything is an advertisement and I think it's raining during the entire story due (no doubt) to man's rape of the environment. It's a sad story, set in a bleak world, asking moral questions without answering them and it's simply captivating. No one is completely bad or wrong, it's all in shades of grey. Heck I cry for the bad guy at the end. It also has one of the best film scores ever written. If you have not seen this do so! This is mandatory! I don't care whether it's the Director's Cut or not.

This too is set in a bleak and hopeless future but happens to also be funny. This is a fantastic black comedy, which probably is not for everyone. I'm not sure what year it is supposed to be set in but man has let suspicion, ill-functioning technology, and horrific bureaucracy take over. In it is Sam Lowry who abstractly dreams of heroically breaking free of the system and escaping with the woman of his dreams. One day a bug falls into a machine, leading to a spelling error in an arrest warrant. This small event drives the entire action for the rest of the movie bringing Sam in contact with the woman of whom he's been dreaming, a rogue heating system repairman, and a major problem. I think it's one of Terry Gilliam's best films.

The Holy-Shit-Something-from-Outer-Space-is-Trying-to-Kill-Us! Movies
The Day the Earth Stood Still
A classic! If you don't know what this movie is about, shame on you!
Underrated I feel. The story is interesting and understandable. If you loved 2001, you'll probably hate 2010. I didn't hate 2001 but it drives me NUTS! And yet, about once every four or five years I get the urge to see it again and let it drive me NUTS. 2010 has a very specific and understandable plot, with no freak out draw your own conclusion moments. I don't like everything being handed to me but I enjoyed the plot of 2010. It's not demanding of it's audience, nor is it a perfect movie, but I still like it.
Yes! I admit it. I love this movie. It's is my guilty pleasure movie. Well this and...
Independence Day
Yes I admit it's not a great flick either but I enjoy the hell out of it. Oh, don't give me that, there are some really terrible movies that you enjoy too!
The Fifth Element
Pure fun! Oh and Gary Oldman is hilarious!
More fun fighting aliens (bugs this time) and Paul Verhoeven's special brand of humor. Don't fight the illogic of some of the military tactics (and believe me if I notice them, they are blatant) just have fun.
Biohazard/Natural Disaster
Once again at the hands of man, we cause our own doom when a super-virus is leaked from a bioresearch facility killing most of humanity. Then things get a little wackadoo with religion and such. Some people like it because of the Good/Evil religious battle but if you examine what happens all it shows is that God's a big cheat. The ending is vomit-making and by the end you want to slap the shit out of Molly Ringwald's character. Still, it's enjoyable.
Oh, how I enjoy this movie! Military conspiracies, science and disaster. I'm in nerd heaven! I think also, and oddly enough, that this is one of Dustin Hoffman's most endearing roles.
Once again science and disaster! Squeal!! Ok, so it's not the greatest movie ever made (far from it) still I'm in heaven!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

To Blog or Not To Blog...

Doesn't it make you sick sometimes the words that have been turned into verbs?

Text messaging
I am guilty of the first.
The second I've never done in my life and hopefully never will. But since I don't have children I don't think I run the risk of endeavoring to bore people later on with the banal minutiae of their early years.
And I do text message people generally when I don't want to talk to them or because I HATE talking on the telephone.
But I digress; my question is whether to carry on with this blog. Don't worry, I don't expect an outpouring of protestations or encouragement. I just don't know if I want to continue.
Another blogger recently deleted her blog and when I asked why she answered that she thought it was "shite". I actually enjoyed her blog and told her so and explained that my blog was truly lame but that I didn't care because I enjoyed it. But then it occurred to me...
Seriously, why? There is a self-indulgence about the whole thing that troubles me mainly because I'm not a writer. I read some blogs and they are really well written and thought provoking and here I am making my silly little lists. So why am I doing this? Why do I consider this fun? Am I just another fat girl looking for attention? I honestly don't know.
Aside from not writing anything truly meaningful, it has totally distracted me from emailing (ooh, another one of those "verbs") with my friends. I used to be a very good correspondent and now I throw a bunch of energy into this silly thing instead.
But then again, maybe I will indulge myself for a while longer. I do enjoy doing it. Maybe I shouldn't examine it too closely. After all, I'm not hurting anyone.
I just don't know.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Berkeley Daily Planet enjoyed the show!


Thursday, April 06, 2006

MY problem with faith

Disclaimer: No, that isn’t a typo. The following is MY opinion. Anyone who is happy in his/her religious beliefs and doesn’t want to hear anything to the contrary should STOP READING. This is not written for you. I’m not trying to offend you; this is MY OPINION. I have a right to my opinion as much as you have the right to believe whatever ridiculous crap you want. hee-hee! ;)

Ok, let me state right now that I am an atheist. People get all caught up in semantics and labeling. I consider myself an atheist because I don’t believe a god exists. Am I certain of this? No.

“Oh, but then that would make you an agnostic!” someone might say. Whatever! Call me what you want! I call it atheism. Since I have been completely unimpressed by what others might consider evidence of a god’s existence and see no reason to believe that any god exists, I am an atheist. But like the pope, I am not infallible. Maybe there is a god! Anyone who knows for absolute certain either way is at least partially insane. You can believe, you can't know.

Why write this? I don’t know really. I feel like it. I want to talk about why I don’t believe this and explore a bit why I don’t and maybe work though some feelings I have about people who do. If you do and you are offended easily (so many of you are), and you’re still reading at this point then don’t bitch at me! I warned you.

First of all what religion am I talking about? Given my geographical position, I’ve had the most exposure to Christianity but it sort of relates to all of them. Anything based on mysticism, but my comments will relate mostly to Christianity after all I went to a Catholic high school. Again, and this is my last warning, if any of my god-believing friends are STILL reading, don’t take any of this personally! If you do, I will be royally pissed at you. I speak in generalities and not about anyone specifically. ‘Nuff said?

Ok so someone has faith. Where did this faith come from? It was taught to them by their parents, and where did their parents, parents, parents get it? It was from some anonymously written ancient text passed down through the ages, supposedly written by god or by some dude god used to transcribe it for him. Without even opening the book, I have a problem with this already.

1. No one knows who really wrote it. The Christian bible (whichever version you want) had many authors and many editors over the years. How can I weigh the credibility of a text without knowing who wrote it let alone who rewrote it?

2. People are crazy. Some dude walks up to you on the street and tells you he’s talked to god. What do you do? You say, “Super!” and try to get away from that person as quickly as possible. Why are older wack-jobs given more credence? And even if the authors weren’t crazy…

3. People are liars. They have their own agendas. This goes back to that credibility question.

AND SO… I’m expected to believe at the get-go that god wrote this book. Why? Because it says so, in the book. Great! So already, I’m prepared to chuck the book out the window but instead I open it. Bad move! Holy crap! Have the people who put so much stock in this book ever read it? In a nutshell, here are my problems with the bible (old and new testaments):

- It’s insane. To quote David Cross, "What kind of D&D [Dungeons & Dragons] bullshit is this?"

- It’s wrong. Historically and scientifically.

- It contradicts itself. Read the four different accounts of Jesus' resurrection.

- It teaches intolerance, bigotry, playing favorites with children, subjugation of women, slavery, rape, murder, etc.

- It depicts an angry, jealous, childish, unreasonable, unforgiving god. How do you worship something when you don't even respect it? I'd think a "god" would have greater emotional stability than a human.

It's pretty much the same as every other religion. You have to put trust in a text when you don't even know who wrote it and it's full of mystical crap that doesn't exist in our state of being. And you have to put all of your love and trust into a god whom you have not met. How is this fair?

If there is a loving god somewhere and his litmus test for heaven is not the content of a person's character and deeds but instead their ability to suspend disbelief then he's actually pretty mean. It's like a cruel laboratory experiment...

Ok, so I will
1. make a sentient being with the capacity for logical thought and deductive reasoning
2. remove all evidence of my existence except for a badly written, kooky bunch of writings
3. see which still believe I exist and punish the shit out of the ones who use their BRAINS! heh heh heh!

Faith based on flimsy evidence is an unreasonable expectation from such an animal. Not only that but it's so strange a requirement. Why faith? It isn't a good judge of character and besides trust is earned, not bestowed. I'm not an omniscient being and I know that.

I realize I'm supposed to respect the beliefs of others. Or at least that's what's been hammered into my head. But I don't. I respect that everybody has the right to make up their own mind but I can't really respect something like this. And since the courtesy is rarely returned I feel much less inclined to comply.

Now I know some of these are probably just stereotypes I've invented but here are some reasons I think people "believe":

-Because it feels good: Sure heck! It would be nice to think there was all-powerful parental figure always watching your back. Gives you a warm, safe feeling.
-Because it’s old: Some people believe things because they've lasted a long time, which gives them no more credence if they haven't been examined and picked apart for validity but this is enough for some.
- Because everybody else believes it: We've got this horrible mindset that questioning things is bad or arrogant. Bullshit! If that doubting Thomas had a chance to shove his digits in Jesus' wounds, then why don't I? Why is the person who believes without seeing any better than a skeptic? Believe it because we say so! Sorry but I don't think so.
-Because it all has to mean something: This to me is the height of arrogance. Just because we're alive and possess the intellectual capacity to realize that we're alive that we must be a part of something great, a grand plan. "I" am so important, "I" am made in the image of god, and that god has a plan for "ME". Whoa Nelly!
-Because I’m scared: Nobody wants to die. It's a lot more comforting to believe that nothing bad will happen because Daddy's looking after me and after I die I go to a place where I frolic with butterflies and eat marshmallows all day! If I question it, I might not get it.
-Because it’s what I was taught and I just can’t let go of that: "Gimme that old time religion, it's good enough for me." We cling closest to the things we learned and loved as children.
- Because I'm covering my bases: Some people believe in this stuff simply because "what if it's true". If I were god, I think these people would piss me off more than anybody else.

Or quite simply (and perhaps unjustly) it may just boil down to stupidity or laziness. Some people are just stupid and will believe everything they read or are taught. Anyone who has listened to a raving zealot knows what I mean. And the laziness part comes in from people who are intelligent and believe what they were taught as children but have no interest in examining it. The latter drives me crazier. Stupid is one thing but willful ignorance is another. Again this may be a bit too simplistic and somewhat unjust.

And yet there is another classification of people who mystify me: Deists. These are the people who don’t believe in organized religion but believe in god nevertheless. My question is WHY!? I feel an overwhelming need to base beliefs on evidence and facts.

If I believed that the bible was the word of god and to be followed, I'd be one of those zealots who takes it all literally and not picking and choosing the parts I like. This is the book, the basis, for their religion written by god himself! I don't understand people who just believe the nice bits and I don't understand anyone who believes that there is this mystical being but not the one depicted in any religion. They base this belief on what? A feeling? Ugh!

I don't get it. Maybe I'm too logical. Maybe I took too many of those standardized tests as a youngster where you have to answer the IF/THEN questions. I don't hate people who believe in this stuff but it will always be in my way to really understanding them.

And besides maybe I'm wrong, but if there is a god I doubt it is a god of human understanding because they're just too silly.

By the way, I'm not really interested in debating with Christians. I've done enough of that in my life. Besides all of your arguments are based on scripture. Since I reject the bible as the word of god, you're just wasting your time. And you can dispense with your ever kind and helpful notifications that I'll "burn in hell" or that you "feel sorry for" me. If you feel like praying for me, go to town, but it's not necessary.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Greatest TV Shows of All Time

Oh, how I dearly love making lists! I admit my blog is much more facile than others and so what? I’m having fun; so give me a frickin’ break! This time I’m making a list of my favorite television shows.

Ok, so I’m not very original. These are the ones that are tried, true and widely loved. They are just as enjoyable to me now as when I first saw them. This is the true test of a classic. If you loved it as a child and can bear to watch it as an adult. Don’t believe me? Try, just try, to watch an episode of “Happy Days”. Truly painful! But on to the best…

The Andy Griffith Show
A sweet, wonderful show that makes one wistful for an ideal time that probably never truly existed. And funny as all get out to boot. Escapism at it’s best. “Poor Horatio!”

I Love Lucy
It’s true. I do love Lucy. She was a fearless performer who was never afraid of poking fun at herself. But the magic of the show was in the ensemble. Desi Arnaz, William Frawley and the tragically frumped up Vivian Vance were all fantastically funny as well. The show would have never become such a classic without them. The plots were simplistic and goofy and relied heavily on sight gags or mugs but it just worked.

I have a hard time finding people my age who love this show? I watched it when I was a little kid in reruns just before “Three’s Company” (a show I can’t bear to watch now). Perhaps some find it a bit too preachy? I don’t know. I still find it funny and I don’t mind stories with a moral. I developed a crush on Hawkeye Pierce and his manic laugh back then and I suppose it still holds true.

Yes, I am a HUGE geek. As mentioned in a previous post I love science fiction and these tv shows in particular...

Red Dwarf
A sci-fi comedy? What...? It's true and one of the funniest shows ever. It's sort of the Anti-Star Trek in it's cynical humor, hopelessness and forced lack of heart. Funny as hell! It's a british show and I find a lot of people have never heard of it so I'm going to give a synopsis of the show's premise. It's originally set in the future (few hundred years or so) on a mining vessle in space. Dave Lister a grubby, lazy soup machine technician is put into suspended animation for smuggling an unquarantined cat onboard. While he is in suspended animation (called "stasis" on the show) there is a horrible nuclear accident which wipes out the crew. The computer lets Dave Lister out of stasis when the radiation reaches a safe background level which is three million years later. By now the ship is completely lost in deep space and he's probably the only human alive. The computer, Holly, has resurrected a hologramatic crew member of Arnold Rimmer, Lister's old bunk-mate in order to keep Lister sane. Lister HATES Rimmer as he is a completely officious, cowardly, ambitious, yet thoroughly incompetent wanna-be officer. They also find that the cat Lister had sealed in the cargo hold (which was pregant) had evolved into a humanoid race of cat people however only one is left. Later in the series they find a mechanoid named Kryten in a crashed space craft. The plot of the series is full of holes but you'll forgive it anything for it's biting humor.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
From the anti to the actual. I've already argued my case for this fantastic show. Please go back to that post for further elucidation. This is definitely one of the greatest shows ever made. If you don't think so argue it with Stephen Hawking! Go ahead!
Pearls before swine this was. This is the best written show in recent memory. Funny, witty, and interesting and it was cancelled for a piece of shit fast car, T&A show called "Fast Lane" which lasted a season. Jerks!
It also rang so true for a science fiction show. Rather than the idealized, squeaky-clean Star Trek world, this was set in the future after humans had left Earth to the point of "Earth that Was" has become a legend. Settlement was made in another solar system that had several habitable planets. The central planets are prosperous, the planets on the outskirts poor. A war had broken out a decade earlier that resulted in all the planets coming under one rule when those fighting for independence were defeated. The culture is a combination of American and Chinese (as is the language) and a mixture of very high-tech and a western, frontier feel on the poorer, recently colonized planets. The show centers around the crew of a "Firefly" (named so for it's shape) transport ship captained by ex-Independence Sgt. Malcolm Reynolds and the crew he picked up on the way. They each have a different, interesting, and very human story. The show is exciting and fun and amazingly touching at moments.
Battlestar Gallactica (new series)
I believe I can safely add this to my list after two fantastic seasons. The difference between this incarnation of Battlestar Gallactica and the original is that this one is actually good. It doesn't really follow my typical rules of great sci-fi but it's a hell of a lot of fun and the only television series currently running (apart from House) that I make a point to watch.
The Simpsons
How do you classify such a show? Completely ground-breaking and has been ripped off so many times since. I hardly need to explain The Simpsons to anyone. If anyone doesn't know about this show, please let me know which cave you've been living in for the last 15 years.
Apart from being a sci-fi geek, I'm also a bit of an anglophile. Can't help it. My dad is from England and so I was brought up watching Monty Python and Fawlty Towers and the like.
Black Adder Part III
I've enjoyed most of the Black Adder series but none like Part III. It is, in my opinion, the best written. Wicked, biting humor. Fantastic!
Absolutely Fabulous
Jennifer Saunders is my god. Funny, Funny Funny! Did I mention how funny that damed show was?
The Vicar of Dibley
Except for the aforementioned worship of Jennifer Saunders, I'm not a deeply religious person. Ok, I'm not religious at all but this show charms me to no end. Kooky characters in a small English village coming to grips with having a woman vicar. It has an Andy Griffith Show quality to it with the nutty locals and the hijinks and the idylic, charming setting.