Thursday, March 27, 2003

Just Lost Peoria

Perplexing slogan on a jar of huckleberry jam in my fridge: "Huckleberry Delights: Everything huckleberry... and more!"

The Far Side of the Creative Subconscious

So I have a dream in which I had this weird epiphany: the force we call creativity is the ability certain people have to see parallel dimension, some of which are pretty abstract and resemble ours in no apparent way, and some of which are much like ours with silght variations. When people create anything, they're merely recycling what they see when their minds drift into other dimensions.

And then I woke up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Bleep Blorp

A musing on the significance of sound in video games:

Sound plays a great deal more into video games than a lot of people realize, I think. Unlike the cinematic score in movies — music that punctuates the mood and tells the viewer how to feel — the music in video games is usually inconsequential to gameplay. That is, it just loops with the same melody onward to infinity, providing of course your character stays in the same area and there's no time limit. In spite of — or because of — this tendency, you hear the same music over and over again. I’d wager just about anybody kid under 25 and over 15 could hum the original Super Mario Bros. tune in an instance if you asked them to. But while the music and memory of it is just kind of a by-product of playing video games, the sound effects are very crucial, necessitating the player’s memorization and instant recognition of a whole vocabulary of sound effects to succeed in the game.

For instance, going back to Super Mario Bros., every noise has a distinct meaning: one for when Mario snags a coin, one for when he slides down a pipe, and one for when a Koopa shell ricochets off something, whether that be Mario’s foot or a wall or a warp pipe or whatever. Thus, in order to do well, the player would have to hear the noise of a recently-kicked shell bouncing off an upcoming obstacle and then prepare to have Mario jump over it as it comes sliding back. Or take a hit. Whatever.

And Super Mario Bros. is just a simple game, too. Newer games that have for complex sonic capabilities have hundreds of sound effects that people still learn to translate instantly. Funny that.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Creature From the San Andreas Fault

I finally got the pictures from my "Creature from the San Andreas Fault" packet on my computer. These accompanied some text I put together for the final project in Dr. Loftus' Writing 109VA class: "mix text and image and make it not suck." That may or may not have been the assignment per se, but that was the basic idea, for sure. What appears below depict scenes from the fictional low-budget slasher movie, "Creature from the San Andreas Fault."

Here's Kristen as Vivian Lynn Pfefferman, the actress playing the film's main, Patsy Pickett, as she's being stalked in the backyard by Nate, as the Creature.

Patsy's chesty and newly dead best friend Ginny, as played by Jill.

Me, as the director Simon Diamond, trying to teach Kristen to scream.


Kristen doing her best Marion Crane. Also, Kristen holding her chest in such a way so as to make her boobs appear smashed.

Patsy's impending death by chopping.

You wouldn't think you'd try to avoid an axe-wielding maniac by climbing a tree, but nonetheless...

I was so happy the way Brent, who took all these pictures, totally got this to look like the scene from Scream with Neve Campbell and Rose MacGowan. Fucking awesome.

Scary window. I like to call this one "Mommy, When Will I Die?"

EDIT 6.5.2006: I later added some of the text from the packet in "The Mysterious Death of Vivian Pfefferman," a post that went up a few days later. My Flickr gallery ended up hosting all the photos I could find.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Presenting Ducto, the Chair of Tomorrow!

The Mysterious Death of Vivian Pfefferman

That last post made me entirely depressed, so I'm going to post some of the best parts of my project for Loftus' class. I had to combine images and text in an interesting way, so I decided to do a press packet for a fictional movie called "Creature from the San Andreas Fault." The pictures are the funniest part, but the writing, which I aimed to make a D-grade straight-to-video movie sound desperately salvageable, had some funny parts, too. On why "Creature" is straight-to-video:
“In fact, Sunrise Studios is so excited to present 'Creature from the San Andreas Fault' to audiences that the film is skipping a release in cold, impersonal theaters and going straight to the VCRs in the home of every movie fan in America.”
On on-set murders:
“Things took an unexpected turn on June 4, 2002, when the body of the film’s star, Vivian Pfefferman, was found in her trailer, fatally bludgeoned with her hairdryer… By mid-August, the Vancouver police Department allowed director Simon Diamond to resume filming although now with the considerable task of rewriting the last third of the movie. The revised script had Pfefferman’s character taking an unexpected trip to her Aunt Martha’s in Maine, never to be seen again.”
On Vivian’s previous work:
“Under the pseudonym Roxxxie Swallows, Pfefferman appeared in nearly thirty adult film titles, including "Nurse Nancy," "Nurse Nancy’s Nasty Neighbors," "Horny Lesbian Flight Attendants 2: Naked Boogaloo" and other titles.”
On Christine Perkins, former Valtrex girl:
“Perkins had to work twice as hard to shine as brightly as her costars, but any actress known for endorsing a popular brand of herpes suppressants knows how to tackle a difficult role… Because her dual roles were the result of the constant script rewrites throughout the film, Perkins did not realize she’d be playing both snobby head cheerleader Laura as well as Louise, her twin sister who expressed herself though dancing.”
On Peach LaGrange, former sitcom mom:
"LaGrange is presently appearing in the off-Broadway play Frottage, which was written by her companion Eve Vanderhorn."

Thursday, March 20, 2003

The Kevin Williamson High School Yearbook

Feeling to sick to leave the couch and, consequently, watching "She's All That" on cable for no defensible reason, I was struck by the sheer amount of actors and actresses in it who previously starred in works penned by Kevin Williamson, the guy who wrote "Scream."

Freddie Prinze Jr. was previously in "I Know What You Did Last Summer," the screenplay of which Williamson wrote. Rachel Leigh Cook previously appeared on "Dawson's Creek," which Williamson created, even if he may not have written the episodes her character appeared in. Matthew Lillard appeared in "Scream." Jodi Lyn O'Keefe appeared in "Halloween H20," or however you're supposed to represented the "twenty years after" sequel to "Halloween," which Williamson wrote. Usher and Clea DuVall both appeared in "The Faculty," which Williams also wrote. And that's ignoring the non-speaking cameo by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who appeared alongside Prinze in "I Know What You Did Last Summer."

Either this speaks to incestuous casting practices in mid-nineties teen entertainment or that Williamson — who's really not doing much of anything notable these days — had his had in a lot of successful, generative projects at the time.

These are things you think about when you are sick.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Chut Up!

Still movie-addled for so many reasons. While I'm on the subject: a thought on "Donnie Darko," which I just recently watched again and which has enough loose ends to keep my head busy. I have a small theory. Really, it's nothing, but it's a fun way to look at the movie. I think Cherita Chen could be important, more so than a casual viewer might think. In short, Cherita seems like a fairly minor character, but she happens to be present for a lot of key moments throughout the film. Sometimes she has lines, sometimes she's in the background, being all sad and dumpy. In one of the more interesting scenes — and one of the ones where she actually gets to do something — she drops the book that has the title character's name written on it. And though that might seem like the kind of thing a high school girl might do when she's suffering from the terrors of an unrequited crush, I can't help myself from wondering if it represents something more. Think about it: Cherita's shining moment is the odd abstract dance routine she performs late in the movie. It's bizarre. No one gets it. But it's creative in a way that a thoughtful first-time viewer might not have thought Cherita would have been capable of. My theory is that the book Cherita drops isn't just a stupid book: It's the movie itself, the movie "Donnie Darko." She's this strange, creative type who happens to be around to witness bits of a story here and there. She doesn't understand what she saw — or, especially, what caused Donnie to die — but she took the pieces she knew and used them as the foundation upon which she built a creative, bizarre story that not a lot of people initially got. I mean, what better way to describe the movie, right? Like I said, it's actually nothing, but it's nonetheless an interesting way to make Cherita Chen feel better about themselves.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I Like Ties

[see post title for more information]

Saturday, March 15, 2003

The Moon Is in My Eyes

Lyrics I like:
Downtown is like a slot machine
Shine neon signs and stoplights turn to green.
Sit down, the moon is in my hair
It shines upon the rainfall in the air.

I see you every day
I watch you as you talk away.
I often think of things to say
But I just watch you as you walk away.

Cross-town the street is like a stream
Asphalt and people driving in a dream.
Slow down, the moon is in my eyes
It shines upon the rainfall by the roadside.
The Apples couldn't have said it any better. It's fucking wet out there.