Archive for November, 2008


Encasing this argument in amber

November 25, 2008

…so’s I can find it again when I need it – from  (April 21, 2008)

straightarrow wrote:Your premise that a property owner can decide what rights you retain when surrounded by his property just will not fly. If we adhered to that policy strictly, employees would have no right to not be murdered, raped, or robbed while on that property. They may (be) denied any human right based on the owner’s property rights. That just defies logic.

My property as is yours is surrounded by the property of others. Should they then be able to decide what you may do or have on or in your property? I think not. Your automobile is no different. It is your property merely surrounded by the property of others.Further, granting the ability to deny my human and property rights because your property surrounds mine for a portion of the day extends your power to deny my rights far beyond your property.

Whereas my rights to my property do nothing to truncate your exercise of yours if I do not remove the prohibited article from my property while surrounded by yours.

Well put.


Now you can be guilty anytime, anywhere…

November 25, 2008

All some cop needs to do is stop you under any pretense, and anything found can and will be used against you in a court of law.



Review – The Halfway House (2004)

November 13, 2008


Just a quick one today: keeping it brief, Larissa Morgan (Janet Tracy Keijser), who’s lost her sister, reports it to cute cop Dick Sheen (Shawn Savage).  Richard opines that a halfway house near where Larissa’s sister disappeared may have had something to do with it, but he has no hard proof.  Spunky Larissa volunteers to go undercover at the smarmy halfway house, dealing with the pervy Father Fogarty (Joseph Tatner), creepy Sister Cecilia (Mary Woronov) and her equally creepy minion Lutkus (Cleve Hall), a bunch of grindhouse-style lesbians, and, incidentally, one of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones (whom isn’t really mentioned*).

I liked the way writer/director Kenneth J. Hall used the “women in prison” trope he learned from working for folks like Roger Corman and fused it with a LOT of sex. Seriously – this is one of the more explicit hard-R films I’ve seen. (No, they don’t show the fisting (to name one instance), but it’s absolutely clear that’s what’s going on.) He also has the best way I’ve seen to put some interest into what might be otherwise seen as boring exposition – have the principals do the exposition while making with the ficky-ficky! Genius! 

I also have to give him credit for doing the monster practical (when I heard him speak at the Madison Horror Festival, he said he had a background in creature fabrication, one of his standouts being the monster in Carnosaur).


I do think that he should have done some slow-motion of the thing to make it look bigger, but hey, hindsight’s always 20-20 right?  I’m not sure what that symbol on Woronov’s headpiece is supposed to be though – sure doesn’t feel Cthuloid to me.**


He also said he shot this with an early DVX-100 – the quality held up just fine on the DVD.

Recommended if A) you likes your Corman-era women in prison films or B) you feel like a little Lovecraft that night.

* And as an aside – why don’t they ever name the Old Ones who are appearing in a Lovecraft-inspired movie?  Hall name-checks Arkham, Miskatonic U, the Necronomicon, Lutkus’ first two names are Charles Dexter – why be shy at naming the feature attraction (after the sex of course)? Don’t get me started on “how Alhazred never wrote it, but a bunch of Sumerians did” either…

** And is “Cthuloid” a word, even?


And RED said, “Let there be light…”

November 13, 2008

red-explodedRED released their vision for new imaging systems today…

For any filmmaker right now – these are really turning out to be the best of times.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that web page but the impression I’m getting:

– HOLY CRAP! A 28K Image sensor?! 28-fucking-K?! With a still image resolution of 261 Mpixel?! What purpose does it serve? (Just found something – the word is IMAX)

– C-Mount lens capability, 1-120 fps, 3K resolution (better than HD); that’s a truly sweet camera. An Epic is totally out of my price range, but that Scarlet pretty much rocks.

– The REDmote.  I wonder why nobody ever thought of something like that before?

 – Looks like you’d be stuck with a C-Mount zoom lens and not RED’s own line of lenses for the cheapest interchangeable Scarlet. Kind of sucks, but you would be able to get RED’s line of prime lenses, it seems.

 – 3D capability is nice, but nobody on the ultra-indy level of filmmaking (me, for example) is going to be shooting it.

All-in-all, this is terrific news – but just for some perspective, here’s a bit of rant from Stu Maschwitz lest we think buying this camera is going to be the end of all our filmmaking worries…

It’s better for a film to have good audio than shallow depth of field.
It’s better to have control over your camera than to shoot in HD.
It’s better to have good lighting than raw 4K.
It’s better to put time into color correction than visual effects.
It’s not HD if it’s not in focus.
There’s no such thing as a rough cut with no sound.
Your story is told using the images you create, not the ones you intended to create.
You’re not done editing until you’ve watched your film with an audience of people who don’t care about your feelings.
Your film is still too long.

And another insightful analysis…


Won’t get fooled again…

November 7, 2008

Kim Du Toit (who’s retiring from blogging later this year as of this writing) is pissed…

To all the (large-l) Libertarians out there: fuck you.

Your no-hoper candidates like Bob Barr garnered 0.69% of the total vote, which makes you about as relevant to this process as a teaspoon during a hurricane. Your self-centered ideology sucks, and all the high-minded cant to the contrary, it’s unsurprising that the average person finds your silly Spoonerist/Randian nonsense about as interesting as a blocked sewer. Your main contribution to Election 2008 was that the candidacy of Dean Barkley (nominally “Independent”, but really a Jesse Ventura-style libertarian) may result in Al Franken (!!!!) becoming the junior U.S. Senator for Minnesota. (The final result may not be known until December, with all the recounts.)

So go back to your little usenet debate clubs and Internet websites, fret endlessly about the “tragedy of the commons” versus the “primacy of the individual”, and all the other angels-on-a-pinhead minutiae that fascinate you all so much.

Just leave us alone in future. We grownups have bigger issues to deal with.

Sorry dude.  I’ve been down the path of “let’s hold our nose and vote for the least evil” before.  I’m not doing it anymore – the last time I did that, we were presented with the PATRIOT act, illegal wiretapping, the condonement of torture (which Du Toit himself believes we can just walk away from when we’ve got what we need out of the interrogation…)

Need I say more?

It’s time I – and I suspect, a lot of other Americans too – take a stand.  And that stand is the rejection of the “lesser of two evils” approach voting.  And if that means “hard history” comes good and hard to this country I love, then that hard history has to come.


Truth in Advertising

November 7, 2008


I had heard about this site – last I tried to get there, the site had crashed due to heavy traffic.  If you’ve read SF/fantasy novels in the past 20 years, get there quick!