Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween.

"Vampires Do Exist."  -Abraham Von Helsing
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person/being. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures, and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania. This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.
While even folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe had a wide range of appearance ranging from nearly human to bloated rotting corpses, it was interpretation of the vampire by the Christian Church and the success of vampire literature, namely John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre that established the archetype of charismatic and sophisticated vampire; it is arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century, inspiring such works as Varney the Vampire and eventually Dracula. The Vampyre was itself based on Lord Byron's unfinished story "Fragment of a Novel", also known as "The Burial: A Fragment", published in 1819.
However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and which provided the basis of modern vampire fiction. Dracula drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar legendary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy". The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, video games, and television shows. The vampire is such a dominant figure in the horror and supernatural genres that literary historian Susan Sellers places the current vampire myth in the "comparative safety of nightmare fantasy". (taken from www.wikipedia.org)
I hope that everyone had a lovely Halloween. Aside from being a very busy little bee, I went trick-or-treating with my sister, nephew and brother in-law; ironically, my nephew was the Wolfman, which I watched last night. He got a ton of candy, and everyone loved his costume, even I have to admit that it was pretty rad. I was thinking of watching Saw but then decided that a more fitting film for Halloween would be Bram Stoker's Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola and stars Gary Oldman (Dracula), Keanu Reeves (Mr. Harker), Anthony Hopkins (Van Helsing), and Winnona Ryder (Mina Harker). It is unfortunately a very dated film but still classic. I have not seen another film where Gothic style Dracula is done better on screen, but there are times when the film and story don't make a whole lot of sense, but visually it was done very, very well. The acting wasn't too bad, but Gary Oldman as Dracula was superb; I think it may be one of the best performances of the fictional character I've ever seen represented on film. It's definitely a classic, but nothing will ever be able to replace Bela Lugosi. The music by Wojciech Kilar was fantastic and memorable; creepy, powerful, emotional, and possessing an ancient feel to, definitely a score to listen to. The last day of October is almost gone and November will soon be here. Don't forget about daylight savings time this weekend. Goodnight everyone, and God be with all of us.

Bram Stoker's Dracula trailer

Documentary on Vampires

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lycanthropy.

A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope (from the Greek λυκάνθρωπος: λύκος, lykos, "wolf", and ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos, "man"), is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or a therianthropic hybrid wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction (e.g. via a bite or scratch from another werewolf). Early sources for belief in lycanthropy are Petronius and Gervase of Tilbury.
The werewolf is a widespread concept in European folklore, existing in many variants which are related by a common development of a Christian interpretation of underlying Indo-European mythology which developed during the medieval period. From the early modern period, werewolf beliefs also spread to the New World with colonialism. Belief in werewolf develops parallel to the belief in witches, in the course of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. Like the witchcraft trials as a whole, the trial of supposed werewolves emerges in what is now Switzerland (especially the Valais and Vaud) in the early 15th century and spreads throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century. The persecution of werewolves and the associated folklore is an integral part of the "witch-hunt" phenomenon, albeit a marginal one, accusations of werewolfery being involved in only a small fraction of witchcraft trials.[1] During the early period, accusations of lycanthropy (transformation into a wolf) were mixed with accusations of wolf-riding or wolf-charming. The case of Peter Stumpp (1589) led to a significant peak in both interest in and persecution of supposed werewolves, primarily in French-speaking and German-speaking Europe. The phenomenon persisted longest in Bavaria and Austria, with persecution of wolf-charmers recorded until well after 1650, the final cases taking place in the early 18th century in Carinthia and Styria.[2]

After the end of the witch-trials, the werewolf became of interest in folklore studies and in the emerging Gothic horror genre; werewolf fiction as a genre has pre-modern precedents in medieval romances (e.g. Bisclavret and Guillaume de Palerme) and develops in the 18th century out of the "semi-fictional" chap book tradition. The trappings of horror literature in the 20th century became part of the horror and fantasy genre of modern pop culture. (taken from www.wikipedia.org)

I thought that aside from vampires, you don't get more "Halloweenish" than that. I decided to watch The Wolfman starring Benicio del Toro, Hugo Weaving, Anthony Hopkins, and Emily Blunt. Granted it isn't the greatest film in the world, or even of the horror genre, but it is entertaining at least, and has enough gore for the average enthusiast. If they would have fleshed out the story and characters it would have been much better, but the director, Joe Johnston, doesn't really work that way; he's more a visual guy, kind of like George Lucas. I don't really know how genuine lycanthropy is, but I do know a young man who wanted to become an owl and meet his owl father one day. Granted he was psychotic, but he believed it through and through. Who knows what is out there. Regardless of what people may perceive, it is still a very large world that we live in, and I believe much of the surface area has yet to be explored. November is almost here, thank God. October has been long enough, and I'm hoping that November is far better despite the fact that there will be snow eventually. It was a busy and productive day, and I will leave it at that. Be careful though when you are out and about during a full moon; apparently statistics suggest that bites from wild animals surge on such nights.

The Wolfman trailer

Documentary on Werewolves (or rather "are they real?"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Decapitated.

Apparently the man who knew too little is actually a reality. The USA executive branch has been having quite the showdown with the world lately. You would think that the only way a US president would allow his spy agencies to spy on world leaders would be if they didn't get caught. Kind of makes you wonder what else President Obama's cabinet is hiding; think Edward Snowden and Julian Assange being the tip of the iceberg. What else is the government doing that they do not want the world, let alone their own citizens knowing that they are in fact doing? I know I talk a lot about freedom for people across the world, but let us take a look in the American backyard. In the past ten years the executive branch of the US government has begun to wield and accrue too much singular power; there needs to be more oversight and accountability by the House and the Senate, not too mention the federal government just needs to have a lot of power stripped away and handed to the states. Dictators always start out as men and women who mean well but along the way think he or she alone have the answers to all of the problems, and they are not willing to negotiate or listen to anyone else's ideas, thoughts and opinions. The United States has some of the most incredible freedom and protections in the world (just think of Russia at the moment), so I would like to see it remain that way. I have to say it should be interesting to see how all of this turns out for the President; he hasn't even gotten through year one of his reelection yet, yet it seems like he is halfway through his 2nd four year term. Anyways. Classes for grad school started yesterday and all I have to say so far is, yuck! It is either just me (which is quite possible) or I have some of the worst graduate professors ever as they have difficulty clarifying and explaining projects, what they want in a paper, and how to do what they want in a paper. I swear that has been my entire graduate experience so far, and it isn't helping to motivate me very well whatsoever. But if I can push through this and get my Masters degree, I'll be in a far better place, at least I hope; who knows anymore these days. So I thought a good Halloween film to watch would be Sleepy Hallow starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci along with a fantastic British supporting cast (the best kind ever). Tim Burton's work was great in the film, but I will always think of Danny Elfman's amazing score from the film; possibly one of my favorites of all time. A few more days and Halloween will be here. If you've ever studied the holiday, where it came from and what it means I think you would be very interested, or repulsed depending on your point of view. Well good night everyone, and don't forget to cherish that freedom (if you have it) which other people do not possess.

Sleepy Hollow film clip

X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer (I have no clue what is going, but it does look interesting).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Push Until You Find Where it Hurts."

Be very careful when you elect to get a flu shot. I got one this morning, and wow, I was in so much bloody pain that I couldn't focus on work. I was with a Client when I was getting shooting pain in my shoulder, and boy was that intense. God only knows what the heck that dead virus was doing to my muscle tissue, but whatever was going on inside was not pleasant. Eventually I went home and did nothing but sit and watch television and tried not to move my arm and it felt better, that is until I moved it, even now it still really hurts when I start cranking it around. It's hard to believe that October is so close to being over; the weather is getting ridiculously cold here, and I do believe it was snowing yesterday, but fortunately none of it stuck. I played the most hilarious game with my nephew, sister and brother in-law last night; "Would You Rather." So you get a choice of two things and you have to choose which one you'd rather do, and people have to guess which one you chose. There were some ones that really cracked me up, but none was so hilarious than one I got which was would you rather play backgammon with Genghis Khan or would you rather do popsicle stick crafts with Christopher Columbus. You may not think that is funny, but it so struck me for a number of reasons; I as laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe, and my abs were....worn out from the intensity of laughing. It was a great fun time. Speaking of a fun time, I started watching this show called Suits which I heard about over the summer, and I remember being struck by the suits the actors wore. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I do enjoy dressing up nice, and especially in nice suits like Tom Ford, Armani, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana to name a few. Anyways, the show is about two high powered lawyers who work at a prestigious firm making deals and stroking their own egos, in a humorous way though. It is very funny and quite witty; something I definitely recommend. The week is almost over, although for some it has already begun I suppose. Goodnight and good luck everyone.

Suits Season 1 preview

Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Blunt the Knives and Bend the Spoons."

Granted the next episode of The Hobbit isn't due out until December of this year, but I felt like watching the first one. I have a feeling that I am going to end up liking this trilogy more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy; to me it seems to have a more real fantasy feel to it than the other trilogy, if that makes any sense. Kind of like how I write that 80's fantasy film seem more realistic, at least in a magical/fantasy way than most recent film tend to. I really do not know what they are going to do in the 3rd film since I am assuming that Smaug meets his end at the end of the second film, just a guess though. I am more intrigued to see where Sauron, aka the Necromancer, ends up at the end of the trilogy, aside from returning to Barad-dur (the place where all of the dark clouds and lava are). Yes I am just a little bit of a Lord of the Rings geek, but I know far more about Star Wars. Anyways. I had the day off because I am working this Saturday, which was very lovely; I think it will be a fantastic way to break up the week, and after all I am used to working on the weekend. Having a day off during the week will be just lovely. I didn't do much, or rather I didn't get as much done as I was hoping for, but I suppose I am taking all of this week in since I have no classes until next week if I am correct. It's amazing how much extra time I have when not having to worry about homework or school, even though it is all online. I finished watching season 1 of Continuum and boy was that awesome! I really, really enjoyed all of the different plot turns and ideas. The characters are good and compelling, and I do have to say that the politics makes for an interesting thought thinker. If you like science fiction, then I highly recommend this series. I've made some comments about the U.S. government shutdown, and I would like to clarify my position a little further; why do I say that the shutdown was good, because America's heritage is and always will be "I pick myself up by own boostraps" culture and I firmly believe in that perspective. American culture and ideology is that of the Cowboy who survives and makes his own way; it wasn't the government that tamed the West, it was simple, everyday men and women who fought and worked hard to create better lives for themselves and their families. It wasn't until President Franklin D. Roosevelt started believing that the government should start taking care of people, then President Johnson carried it on with "The Great Society," and several presidents since then have continued expanding the "federal" government's role in taking care of the American people. This is why I say the shutdown was a good thing; it should remind people that before a forceful and intrusive federal government, state governments were able to take care of themselves and the people who lived there. Good, solid state governments are important, but I don't trust an even stronger and more powerful centralized/federal government. Just something to consider. I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about Saudi Arabia. I don't know how many of you keep track of world politics, or how much you know about how the U.N. functions, but the short of it is that Saudi Arabia turned down a seat on the U.N. Security Council to protest the organization's tepid response to the butchery occurring in Syria by Bashar al Assad. It is one of the most prestigious and powerful councils to be a part of on the U.N. and them turning it down has shocked the world's elite cutthroats. Another reason that they cited for turning down the position is to protest China and Russia's threat to veto any measure to force Assad out of Syria, or to impose military intervention (both China and Russia are permanent members on the Security Council and are amongst the few who carry veto power, Saudi Arabia would have been only given a 2 year period on the Council). Saudi Arabia is an oppressive Islamic state that severely limits the freedom of its people, and they govern oftentimes mercilessly, but I was impressed by this statement of their's. Hopefully more nations will join suit in saying that China and Russia do not yet rule the world or dictate what is to be done in it. If all of that seemed like a another language to you, then I suggest reading a newspaper or watching the news; unknowledgeable people soon become easily fooled people. There I am done with my soap box for tonight. Have an excellent week everyone!

Desolation of Smaug latest trailer

Frozen trailer (looks fairly humorous, especially the snowman)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Hey there, Old Sport."

This has been a spectacular weekend. Now homework, and really no work in general whatsoever. Now I get to enjoy a full week of no school, and it really does feel quite.....relieving. I finally gave in and watched The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway), Joel Edgerton (Tom Buchanan), and Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan) directed and written by Baz Luhrman. I actually do not care very much for Mr. Luhrman's work; I have seen almost all of his major motion pictures and didn't like a single one of them. I am kind of on the fence with this film. I think it has something to with Tobey Maguire and how much I don't care for him as an actor, and then how wonderful Leonardo DiCaprio performed, and he continues to grow more and more talented as his career advances. I have a feeling he's going to be one of the greats in 20 years. The film follows the narrative of Tobey Maguire's character who comes off as this youthful hopeful in 1922 in New York City and finds himself on the rich and powerful party scene. His neighbor, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, invites him into his spectacular life and enlists his help to woo an old love of his. What kind of a man is Gatsby, and who is he really? Nick endeavors to find out, and do others though their motives are less pure. It's difficult for me to summarize this film story and plot; the book it is based off of written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a book I've never read nor do I know much about it. Based solely on the film, I know Leonardo DiCaprio delivered an incredible performance; he really made the character as endearing as he was made out to me in the film. The rest of the cast was engaging and believable, but Tobey Maguire came off as awkward and in the way, and honestly most of the time the film was quite boring. The ending was great, and when Gatsby was first introduced seemed to be the best parts of the film. I suppose I would see it again. Visually it was lovely and at times breathtaking, the music was done very....interestingly, and I would have gone a completely different way, but it didn't detract too much. There wasn't anything really impressive about the screenplay written by Luhrman and Craig Pearce, but when Tobey Maguire was reading what I perceive as direct quotes from the book, Fitzgerald's words were eloquent yet gripping. I'm giving it an "Admirable Ability," but this is one film that I am neither going to recommend people to see or not see, that is how much on the fence I am about it. I would probably feel entirely different about it if Maguire would not have been in it (that is how much I didn't care for his performance). Here comes the week, but I think that it will be a good one; it will be much more broken up me, which should loosen the amount of stress, at least I hope. May the Force be with us all.

The Great Gatsby  trailer

Endless Love trailer (boy does this look predictable and bad)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Apocalypse has been Cancelled.....!

I am essentially done with the first term of the fall semester for 2013 for grad school!!! Now I just have to survive one more term for fall before I get a nice big break, at least I hope so. I'm actually kind of amazed that I survived through work and grad school, because right there at the beginning I didn't think that I was going to make it. Work is beginning to finally slow down (knock on wood) and now I get the unpleasant tasks of attempting to fix the.....aftermath of being swamped at work. Been watching Continuum lately and it is really good; I still don't know why I was told that it was dreadful, perhaps those individuals didn't like science fiction. It has good characters and a very fascinating plot line which I think is going to get more intricate as the season goes along. Tonight I watched Pacific Rim and boy was that good. I was a little uncertain if it was going to be as good as I remember without the 3-D, but it still was pretty bloody awesome. Excellent sound, and fantastic picture quality; I didn't quite have the surround sound turned up nearly as loud as it could have been and I was getting blown away as it was. I don't really understand why it didn't do so hot in the U.S.A. as it did astoundingly well in the rest of the world. I really recommend the film; Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam are excellent. The action is superb and the effects are cool. You the weird thing about the Midwestern U.S. was that it went from really hot and humid to freezing cold; no middle ground, no transition. I almost turned on the heat last night I was so cold, and it isn't even November yet. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Anyways, I really don't have anything to genuinely whine about. It's interesting in the news that it goes from the government shutdown to Obamacare's woes; nothing about the devastation in Syria, Egypt, or Africa. The only really good thing that came from the government shutdown was that it showed that states can get along, as well as the general American public, without a strong federal government. People will argue I am certain with me on that point, but irregardless, states can function; it apparently is the federal government that can't, so perhaps the time has come to really pare it back and give a lot of that power back to the states.

Pacific Rim feature

Non-Stop trailer (it is essentially Taken but on a plane. It looks good at times, and then really bad; not sure where it will come out as.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Continuum of Reality.

We have reached the half way mark of the month, thank God! This has been the worst month of the year so far, or rather the most stressful and I cannot wait for it to be over. So what is there to report? Well not too much per se. It has been the same for me as of late; work and graduate school. The only writing I seem to do revolves around those two areas and this blog, which sucks, but then I figured that is how it would be when I got myself into this...situation. The world is in the same shape, but I will not be getting on my soap box tonight. There has been a shift in the weather towards the cooler side of things, which is nice, but at the same time I remember what winter was like and I can't say that I am eagerly looking forward to it. I am almost coming on the exact day one year ago that I left San Diego; a life changing/altering decision, and one year later I am actually in a far better situation than I have been in years. The only downside is that I live in a rather dreadful city and state with no benefits or anything really. Even though California was expensive with ridiculous legislation, at least they had the climate and the ocean view. I began watching this show called Continuum last night and I was expecting it to be dreadful based on what I was told, but so far I have been quite pleased with it. Granted it is science fiction so some of it is quite corny at times, but it is quite interesting with some good characters as of now. Time traveling is kind of old, especially when you travel from the future to 2012 to save the world from wealthy and powerful corporations; I wonder why they don't make shows about going back in time to stop terrible governments? Something to ponder. For those Star Wars fans out there season 5 of the Clone Wars was released on DVD and yes before I was writing this I was watching an episode, most likely my favorite one; Darth Maul and Savage Oppress fighting against Darth Sidious. It doesn't get better than that, although I'm sure it could one day. Also, Pacific Rim was also released on DVD, which is an amazing film and everyone should watch it and enjoy it, in my own biased opinion of course. I really need to get back to reading books, it has been such a long while since I have read anything good, but with grad school that will probably be doubtful. What I really need to do is kick myself in the backside and get writing again; I've gone too far without writing anything, but this job of mine is so not conducive to writing whatsoever. Life sucks, but then again what have I to truly complain about. Good night and good luck.

Continuum Trailer

Hercules: The Legend Begins trailer (it doesn't look that good; why is it that Hollywood can't  get Greek mythology right?)

The Clone Wars Season 5 trailer

Friday, October 11, 2013

Apotheosis.

Apotheosis (from Greek ἀποθέωσις from ἀποθεοῦν, apotheoun "to deify"; in Latin deificatio "making divine"; also called divinization and deification) is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.
In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature. In art, the term refers to the treatment of any subject (a figure, group, locale, motif, convention or melody) in a particularly grand or exalted manner.
So I finished watching the show Caprica which of course was a prequel of sorts to Battlestar Galactica and aside from the harping on about religion and "the one true god" it was a pretty good show once it got going, which I am discovering is oftentimes how science fiction shows go irritatingly enough. As for the stuff above and the title, it refers to the final episode of the show, and I believe it is also the final number for the "Sleeping Beauty" Ballet by Tchaikovsky. If you can bear and then navigate through a good deal of crap on Caprica then you will be able to get to the enjoyable parts of the show, one of which is played by Polly Walker, Clarice Willow, who is just an amazing actress (she was in Rome, and played Atia of the Junii). Eric Stolz as Daniel Graystone was another excellent choice and he did an incredible job. If you haven't watched any Battlestar Galactica then I would suggest passing on it. I began watching this miniseries called Pope Pius XII which is about the Roman Pope who was around during the reign of Hitler, and how he responded (or rather didn't) to the treatment of the Jewish population. James Cromwell plays his holiness the Pope, and does a competent job, but I think someone else could have pulled off a much more convincing performance, but so far so good. I don't know too much about what the Catholic church didn't do, aside from helping the Nazis escape and not really condemning publicly what was happening to the Jewish population of Europe at the hands of the Nazis and Adolph Hitler. Well, work was once again hell this week, but it is over for this week thank God! Trying to get on top of my caseload has been ridiculously difficult and complicated. Thank goodness I am getting my MA in I-O Psychology! The news in the world is the same old same old. I wish I had something new and good to report, but it seems greed and selfishness tend to be business as usual for today's age. Due to the press the U.S. government shut down is getting, Syria has been out of the headlines, as has Edward Snowden, and then there's the oppressive measures Vladimir Putin has been issuing in Russia. People are in general so short sighted unfortunately. May God continue to be with those who are oppressed, tortured, and forgotten; one day it will not be so.

Documentary on Pope Pius XII

I, Frankenstein trailer (looks terrible, but has a great cast; who knows)

Star Wars: Rebels teaser trailer (not much, but it's coming along)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Before The Fall....

There is no time like the present. Last week was from hell. Between work and school I thought that I was going to pull my hair out and rip off my facial hair. It was just one crisis after another at work, and we were frequently understaffed, and I was working late night and going into work early to remain compliant with my caseload. October certainly began with a bang, and that goes for the U.S. government as well, even though it wasn't quite what everyone anticipated to happen. A lot of people are saying that the shut down is bad, but I think that less federal government is a good thing; Americans need to remember that they can survive without a big, powerful and centralized federal government. "....Government should be afraid of their people...." And that is so true, and that goes for any government, not just for Americans. Syria is a huge mess and a murderous dictator will continue to rule thanks to Europe and the United States do nothing approach and attitude. Well, in other news. I watched this film Rosemary's Baby which is from the late sixties or so directed by Roman Polanski before he fled the U.S. on rape charges, and it also starred a very, very young Mia Farrow. I thought that since it was the month of Halloween that it would be good to watch a classic creepy/horror film, except it wasn't that good or that scary. I don't know what people saw in it, but I wouldn't waste my time on it if I were you. I started watching this science fiction series called Caprica since I finally, at long last finished watching all 7 seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. The first episode was a little shaky, but it has gotten better in the episodes following. Since I have watched the 4 seasons from the Battlestar Galactica it is quite fascinating to watch a bit of the pre-backstory, even thought technically it's not really the backstory, but rather a repeat of history. The writing and characters are a little hit miss, but if they would have stayed true to the core characters and made it a little more action based and interesting with technology, than they might have progressed to another couple of seasons rather than just one. But we shall see how the first and only season progresses. I also may have some news concerning Book II of my trilogy, so stay tuned. Now as the second week of October is beginning, I am hoping that it is much calmer and slower, and that people begin to moderate their children's "craziness" if I can use a non-technical psychological term. Good luck out there everyone; the world is a mad, mad, mad place, and good night.

Caprica trailer

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer (looks....entertaining, but The Hunt for the Red October will always remain my favorite, and in my opinion the best.)