Sunday, June 15, 2003
From the I Dream of Geney Dept.: Scientists say they ID depression gene, gene told it's being a whiney baby and doesn't know how good its got it.
Note: Sorry I haven't been posting anything of substance since... well... ever. Right. Like you come here for substance. I've been incredibly busy, tired and while I have been keeping personal journals - the kind kept in spiral-bound "Monk"-themed notepads - I've found a certain liberation in writing free of anyone else's eyes but my own. I haven't had the major need for an audience to my thoughts and experiences and my guess is you all have been just fine during the absence of them. There have been many things in the last several months I've felt like sharing, but chose not to for various reasons. Things both poignant and profound. To me at least.
As always, I've been learning and sometimes relearning old lessons. Deepening my understanding of things, hopefully to the ends of being more understanding.
This weblog is going on hiatus indefinitely. Just thought I'd announce it all official like. In the meantime, go check out my brother Russ' news/editorial weblog, Working Drafts. Or possibly Mickie's livejournal - he's on tour right now and blogging on the road. Or better still, Angry Asian Man's 6/13 entry on some horrid shop called Saigoniste.
Thursday, May 29, 2003
Monday, May 26, 2003
From the Beer as folk Dept.: Beer for the homeless.
Friday, May 16, 2003
From the Art imitating hack Dept.: Finally, an accurate depiction of a hack in Matrix Reloaded. The brief scene they speak of in this article was quick and to the point, as opposed to the overblown craziness in Hackers.
Thursday, May 15, 2003
...And Burly Brawl For All
Matrix Reloaded has opened up in theaters across the country and guess what? You're probably going to go see it. And by all means, go for it. I won't warn you against or encourage you on to go see it, but I'll say this: shift your perspective from what you came up with upon seeing the first film.
A funny thing happened a few days ago. I get the Cartoon Network and as I'm prone to doing late at night, I was flicking through the array of channels the vaste wasteland of uber-basic cable provides -- I found myself resting on whatever was playing on the Cartoon Network. As near as I could figure, the anime-styled assault on my senses was about some gunslinging guy named Trigun... or that was simply the name of the cartoon. Or the main guy's enemy... or some vague philosophical concept that eluded me in the fifteen minutes I could tolerate. At any rate, I found the dialogue vapid and the plot incomprehensible. Remember this well: not all asian guys get anime. I suppose I get it, but in the end I find the way things are stated in anime to be overly-complex to the point of excluding a large portion of people on the point. The teachers, the best communicators, the best philosophers I've known in my lifetime were not the ones who talked in complex verbose terms to describe the simple; they were the ones who spoke in simple terms to reveal the way to the complex. Whatever. I came to a brief and minor opinion: all anime looks cool and then goes on to take itself to actually be important and crucial in the grand scheme of things.
Matrix Reloaded looked cool. Still, it was a bit too talky for my tastes. At one point during the movie, I felt like yelling, "Shut your pie hole and go do what your mommy spent nine months to make you for: kick some ass you highly paid pieces of meat!"
That, of course, is an ugly, ugly sentiment both pugilistic and simplistic and yet... I don't care. Go ahead and call me shallow.
Strangely, most of the major ideas put forth in Reloaded, I pondered over with friends about... oh say... ten years ago. And a couple old friends (one of which I went to see Reloaded with -- thanks, Milk!), I palavered at length about the nature of choice, roles within a defined set of parameters and consequences, causality and blah, blah blah. At the center of most of those discussions was my own version of the Matrix, a comicstrip called Cog -- it's available for reading in the State Hornet newspaper archives at the CSU of Sacramento library from 1992-1994, if you're interested. You may find some... strange similarities. Take in mind that Cog pre-dates the Matrix by a good six or so years. But even when I made Cog, the ideas put forth were nothing new. I was, in fact, simply making a serialized comic homage to Brazil, the Terry Gilliam masterpiece that everyone worth their insurgent salt should see. So, these ideas of an almighty System, of choices within and outside of it, and of the destiny or fate of lives and life as a whole are nothing new. Brazil was a funnier 1984.
Reloaded. Well, it's something I'll have to see again, though I don't know if I'll have much patience for the long-winded dialogue. It reaffirmed some old beliefs and helped resurface some old thoughts but well... it was handled rather awkwardly. The concepts put forth, I mean. Pretentious, almost. But wait. Watch this movie as you would a fun sci-fi flick. For the first Matrix, depth of thought (or the nearest facsimile of it) was a bonus to an otherwise straightup anime action adventure committed to film in a live-action form. With Reloaded, it's the converse. The action (and yes, my friends and neighbors, there is action -- the kind of action that will... do things to your pants, if you're anything like me) is the bonus to an otherwise philosophical jibber-jabber ladened piece of cinema. Ah, and the philosophy is all over the map. They cover everything... everything... for... some... reason.
A related sidenote: A couple nights ago, I caught a Charlie Rose show in which he interviewed the lead cast of Matrix Reloaded and devoted a whole fricking hour to all things Matrix. Strange to say, but Reeves, Fishburne and Moss all came across as devotees to the writer/director team of the Wutabi Brothers in a way I generally associate with members of cults who really love their leader. I'm not saying anything. But I might be on to something.
But it is what it is. Hm... that almost sounds like a line from Reloaded. Here's how I approach movies: I forked out the fucking nine dollars and I will not only finish the fucking movie, I shall fucking enjoy the movie on some fucking level. And that I did. The inexplicable "Multiple Smith versus Neo" scene (having nothing to do with the "Multiple Santa" from Ben Edlund's The Tick... or does it? I smell lawsuit!) was pretty frelling amazing -- forget that it seemed to sort of come out of freaking nowhere. The inexplicable 101 freeway chase/karate/guns-a-blazin'/sword/explosion/whatever scene was very, very expensive. It was fun too. The Twins were pretty fricking cool. Oh, and we come to understand why you just don't want to EVER go on a freeway in the Matrix... or Los Angeles. Did I mention there are lot of crazy people of color in this movie? That's right. We're freakin' everywhere in the universe of the Matrix. The Mud People have their way in the future, apparently. Get this: All the main bad guys are either white or quasi-French. I like that.
The question you need to go into this film asking is, "Does Agent Smith kick ass?" Yes. Yes he does. And he's quick about it, mincing few words. In his simple, single-minded purpose, he comes across in the story as a powerful and very present character. All the other characters, especially "The One", are perpetually wrestling with heavy hearts and big questions while all Agent Smith wants to do is wrestle. I like that. Oh, and he'll be back in Revolutions to wreak some more renegade havoc. In more ways than one. My guess is that in the end when all is said and done in the enigmatic Ignitowski Brothers universe (Warshawski...Wachowski... Leb... whatever), Matrix, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions will all neatly lend themselves to each other. Reloaded will be sort of the middle child, needing the balance of the other two.
A minor amendment
On second viewing, Matrix Reloaded actually offers a lot more. I went again with some other friends and had a considerably different viewing experience. All's I gotta say is all the shit they set up in Reloaded (I caught a whole lot more this time around, much of which I'm still pondering over) had better be paid off in Revolutions.
Just caught Angry Asian Man's mercilessly brief words on Matrix Reloaded (he was a blogger I was really curious as to reaction on this heavily manga influenced film). Go check out his recent entry on it. By the way, I've started playing the Enter The Matrix videogame. Fun so far, since it's in the Matrix universe. While you can do much more in the action department, I still look very fondly back to Max Payne, the game that beat the Wachowskis to the videogame market with 'bullet time' available and integral to gameplay.
Monday, May 12, 2003
From the Police state your name for the record Dept.: Secret Service Questions Students. (thanks to Ed for the link)