Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Monday, December 31, 2007


It is official. I am ill. At first I was hoping my voice getting deeper
was a subconscious career move, but sadly it is a badly sore throat.

I'm watching Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Did you know they made five
movies in that series
? And two television series. That isn't including the
2001 remake
. And from the looks of this sequel, they just get more and
more absurd. In this one, a stand-in for Charlton Heston (he plays the
exact same kind of character under a different name) discovers that not
only are there a race of evolved apes dominating the surface of the
planet, but there is a race of psychic humans living underneath the apes
in the rubble of NY City. And the Psychics worship a Nuclear bomb. And
they look like zombies, but wear pretty masks. Ya, I didn't make that

Can't wait to see the next three in the series (sarcasm). My brother in
law tells me each one got a smaller and smaller budget till by the last
one the makeup was simply plastic Halloween masks. They put a pretty
in here, though, clearly for scenery sake. She doesn't even talk. Oh, wait...they just
shot her.

It's an AMC Ape Marathon. They're playing the "classics". That's a big,
BIG stretch to call these classics.

Next is Escape from the Planet of the Apes. To be honest, I'll probably
watch that too.

Alright. I'm watching it.

My goodness, they all speak perfect English. This is ridiculous. Now the
apes are traveling back in time, and meeting the president, and becoming

Maybe I'll watch Teen Wolf next.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I am a visitor here. I am not permanent.

I am at church at the MTC with my parents. My dad serves in a branch
presidency here. It probably would have been wise to find whatever
student ward is meeting in Provo, but I didn't want to hunt one down and
go by myself.

The meeting schedule is unusual here. My dad is in some kind of meeting,
branch presidency things or district meeting or something, and my mom is
in Relief Society. I'm just in the front lobby waiting for Elders'

They haven't replaced the pictures of Elder Faust or Elder Eyring yet.
There are 11 apostles lined up on the wall, across from a presidency of
2. There is a first edition Book of Mormon on display (I've handled one
of those before
), as well as the old stone inscription that president
McKay spoke about. "What E'er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part."

It's funny being here. Brings back some memories. Everybody so formal,
speaking badly broken second languages, always on a schedule, memorizing
scriptures and trying to catch the spirit like it was some dove that
flew in the building and got lost. It's funny. But at the same time I
feel a bit like a fraud, here with no companion, nametag, or even a

We do get to have lunch after meetings, though. I'm looking forward to

Informal Poll

What does everybody have planned for New Years Eve? Right now my plans
include absolutely nothing, and that is just not acceptable. I need to
know what my options are, here, people.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Clean Getaway

Dave and I went to the Car Wash. We brought the camera.

Don't expect anything special from this video. It's just a plain car wash.
Background music:
I Gotcha, Daydream, both by Lupe Fiasco.

Final Night of Bowling League

We lost. I couldn't hit a thing.

Papa Craig, In the Closet, with the Hip Hop

I deleted a picture I'd scanned on my dad's computer, and thought, "You know, he probably never clears out the recycle bin." So I looked. There were a lot of files in there, but not as many as I had thought there would be. However, there were a few suspect tunes. In the recycle bin were a variety of songs by Justin Timberlake, Akon, The Black Eyed Peas, Destiny's Child, Kanye West, Timberland, Rihanna, Beyonce, Outkast, 50 cent, and Usher. Also in the mix, The Killers, Fallout Boy, Blink 182, The Fray, Lifehouse, Evanescence, and Linkin Park. There were more.

I know it's from somebody else using the computer. He's had it for almost three years, and in that time a wide variety of people have been at the keyboard.

But I'm not sure you can fully grasp how funny it would be if my dad was a closet rap/hip-hop/rock/punk fan. He just puts them in the recycle bin to hide them, like an alcoholic puts a flask of gin in the back of the toilet tank. Nobody will look there.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Facts of Blogging: or, Give me an Award or an Intervention

There comes a point in a young bloggers life, when he starts to feel strange things he can't explain, desires that were never there before. It may happen when he sees another blog that was always there, but now he can't look away. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal. Everybody goes through it. You know you've hit blogger puberty when you start regularly reading the blogs of people you don't actually know.

Here are a few who aren't really my friends, having never met them, but I like to read their blogs.

-Hizook likes robots. So do I. He finds neat robots that I don't see anywhere else. I can't stand it when a blog will start playing music as soon as I go there, and his does that, so if I'm willing to put up with that, I must really like his blog.

-Daniel Wilson is somebody I would really like to be friends with. I have his first two books, and haven't bought the third one yet. It's about two of my favorite things. I've mentioned his stuff on here before. His career thus far has been enviable, to say the least.

-Ironic Sans is a funny man. I wouldn't mind modeling my blog after his, or at least gaining inspiration from it. I recommend his -S.T. Lewis lives somewhere nearby. I like his drawings. I think you will too.
P.S. - For those of you who've had the pleasure of hearing about the "Birds and the Bees" chat with my dad when I was a kid, the top picture is the cover to the fabled book. It still sits on the top shelf of his home office.

Feeling Blue?

I would really, really like to go see the Blue Man Group in concert. They are touring, and coming to Salt Lake in February. I've wanted to go for a long time. They came a couple years ago, but I couldn't bring myself to drop $70.00 or more to see them. We'll see if I go this time around. Probably not, though.

Makes me feel...blue.

Death of DT

Stopped by my old dorm today. I made the visit because when I was in the neighborhood, I noticed that they were putting the wrecking ball into my bedroom. Literally. No, seriously, I think if you look close, that's about where the wrecking ball is. Fifth floor, R Hall, facing the basketball court. I was there Summer, 2001.

Goodbye, Deseret Towers. I know it's your time to go, but you were young once. I started my college career with you. Those were good times. Sorry to see you go.

Old Reviews

As long as I'm developing a habit of reviewing movies here, I might as well direct you to a couple reviews I did a while back on my old apartment blog. That glorious ol' repository is currently inactive, but if you were wondering my thoughts on the following films, here they are (or what they were two years ago).

Grizzly Man, The Fantastic Four, and The Island
Turns out I've been watching movies over Christmas break for a few years.

King Kong
I stand by this post, though ironically, I would probably be a little more lengthy if I wrote it today.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
This was also the first time I ever saw Youtube.

Saw this one before the preceding series. Before I knew the series existed. Probably better to see the series first, if you want to appreciate the full length feature.

I can't say this is my best review work. I've made a study of film since then and my viewing (and writing) habits have changed substantially. But there they are.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Review: National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Did you like the first National Treasure movie? You did? Then you shouldn't be disappointed by the second one. Wait till it's at the dollars, but go see it. You'll like it.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets continues the story of Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) searching for, you guessed it, treasure. Only this time it's personal, as a rival historian has slandered the name of the Gates family by producing evidence to implicate Ben Gates' great-great grand-daddy in the Lincoln assassination. The only way to exonerate the name is by finding, you guessed it, the treasure.

It plays out like any classic adventure tale would. I'm tempted to call Cage a swashbuckler. He takes two and half hours in getting there, but he gets the girl, the treasure, and maybe a third addition to the franchise.

All in all, it's a pretty fantastic, far out tale. Where did the image of the scholarly adventurer come from? Book of Secrets is like all the Indiana Jones movies rolled up in one, only now he has a technophile along to help in the hunt. And Nic Cage is no whip-wielding Jones.

These dumb movies always make me want to go out and find treasure somewhere. So that's an addition to my New Year's resolutions. I'm going to hunt (and hopefully find) some treasure. I'll keep you posted.

P.S. One of the best parts was the Disney animated short before the feature. I felt stupid but couldn't help but laugh through the whole thing.

In a Full Theater by Myself

I am so bored, I'm going to see National Treasure 2. By myself. I'm
that bored.

Upcoming Movies

A while back I did a rundown on movies I'd recently seen and movies I had yet to see. An update on those:

Rescue Dawn: See recent review.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Fun. Not any surprises, or complaints for that matter. About what you'd expect. The director is already signed on to do the final two films in the series.
The Simpsons Movie: About like three episodes of the show, strung together. Had it's moments, but nothing to scream about.
The Flying Scotsman: Still haven't seen it.
Ratatouille: I always love Pixar movies, they're everything a family film should be. This one is no different.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Still haven't seen it, still not expecting much.
Eagle vs. Shark: Somehow still haven't seen this one, which is almost certainly very funny.
1408: Never saw it, quickly forgotten.
Bourne Ultimatum: See review here.
Stardust: A fun fairy tale, don't take it for more than that. It did have a surprisingly overt message about sexual liberty, though.
Hot Rod: See review here.
Hot Fuzz: Very funny, very gory. I saw it edited, and it was still almost too much. But it was remarkably clever, and well put together. Those guys manage to take low-brow material and turn it into high brow comedy. Maybe it's the accents.

There are always more movies coming out. So without further adieu, here are the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Movies I DO want to see in 2008:

Be Kind, Rewind: The main reason I am writing this post. Jack Black is funny, Mos Def is good in everything I've seen him in, and I am a big fan of almost everything Michel Gondry does. Watch the trailer, looks to be very promising.

Hancock: I pretty much just want to see this because A) I like Will Smith (seems like a decent person, unlike many in Hollywood) and B) I saw him on set for this movie last summer.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: I'm so glad they're doing another one of these. I love the books, and couldn't help but like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, even though it had some real problems.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: But I'll have to read the book before it comes out.

Batman: the Dark Knight: Have you seen the trailers? There was a great one before I Am Legend. Batman Begins isn't even my favorite Christopher Nolan film, not by a longshot, and it was still really good. I don't know whose idea it was to give a Chelsea smile to the Joker, but that was a stroke of genius. I had my doubts about Heath Ledger, but if he at all lives up the how sick he is in the trailer, it should be good. They've also done some very extensive alternate reality viral marketing sites, lots of them. Lots. More than I can link to. Somebody over at Warner has it figured out. I have mentioned these kinds of sites before.

Ironman: Can't wait. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is inspired casting.

The Incredible Hulk: How are they revisiting this story so soon after the last one flopped? Isn't there a grace period after the death of a franchise before you're allowed to resurrect it? I mean, this one has Edward Norton in it, so hopefully it will be as good a movie as he is an actor. See previous post for further comments.

The X Files 2: A full decade after the first one. Should be interesting.

The Day the Earth Stood Still
: Loved the classic, ever since my roommates and I watched it MST3K style. Interested in the remake.

Where the Wild Things Are: Very little info on this one. I've only gotten one look at anything. But it's Spike Jonze, it'll be good.

Juno: I have heard only good things about this movie, and will likely see it before the Christmas break is over.

The Bucket List: Looks like a fun, happy movie.

Awake: With the recent resurgence of awful slasher movies, this looks like an innovative take on what terror really means.

Terror's Advocate: Watch the trailer and tell me that doesn't look intriguing. Sounds like something a clever writer would come up with, but it's a documentary.

The Counterfeiters: True story, prisoners in a Catch 22. Looks really cool.

King Corn: I'm always in the market for some entertaining, informative material. Looks to be in the same vein as Fast Food Nation (the book, never saw the movie) or Super Size Me. I loved both of those, and would like to see more of their kind.

And When Did you Last See your Father?: I think it just looks good.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Come on, how could I not see this one? Though the originals look campy by modern standards.

WALLE: I love Pixar. I love robots. I don't know where this could go wrong.

Persepolis: Originality, that's what I keep looking for. This doesn't look like anything I've ever seen before, and simultaneously educational.

Strange Wilderness: I probably won't see this, but man, it looks SO funny. I love Steve Zahn. Watch the trailer, I couldn't stop laughing at the end. I'm still laughing at the end. UPDATE: Dec 28, 2007: I am still laughing at this trailer. Hard.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets: Looks absurd, I imagine it's like the second one, only more ridiculous. But it would probably be fun.

Sleuth: Michael Caine and Jude Law are the only two in the movie. Thats it. They're enough to hold my attention (with a good story). The preview reminds me of Deathtrap, another good Michael Caine flick.

Youth Without Youth: Francis Ford Coppola hasn't directed anything big for a long time. And it just looks interesting.

Jumper: Looks like a lot of fun, and from the same director of The Bourne Identity (my favorite of the series) and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Expect lots of action.

Man in the Chair: For a film fan like me, how could I pass up the dream of working with old pros?

The Band's Visit: Culture clash, always a good topic.

Starting Out in the Evening
: Looks great, Frank Langella is a wonderful actor, and A.O. Scott really liked it.

The Mist: Why do I want to see this? I don't really like Stephen King. But I do. I want to see this. See my statements about 1408 in previous upcoming movie post.

City of Men: I've always heard a lot about City of God. If I see City of God, I might check out City of Men.

Valkyrie: As much as I think fame and fortune have made Tom Cruise a raving lunatic, he is a great actor. And the story is one that deserves telling.

Cloverfield: See previous post. I will ad this. After further viewing of the trailer and whatever footage I can find online, I appears that the camera is canted to the right in most of the shots. That might get annoying really fast.

NOTE: I am 99% positive I won't see all of these, just that I'd like to.

Movies I DON'T want to see:

Semi Pro
: Honestly, do not watch the preview. Will Ferrell is just so sick. I never saw Talladega Nights, I only saw part of Anchorman as an in-flight movie (despite being a broadcast journalism major), and I don't intend on starting in on his humor with this one. One positive thing; Jason wrote an ad for Will, and said he was really nice and very funny.

The Great Debaters: Also known as, Remember When the Titans Debated? Not to be confused with Remember When the Titans Played Basketball?, Remember When the Titans Went Swimming? See also Meet the (Black) Parents.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: Uwe Boll is a sad excuse for a director, and anything he touches will become instantly more stupid and offensive. He is largely the reason the video-game-gone-movie genre can't go anywhere. I have more to say on that topic, but will hold it till a later post.

RAMBO: Looks gratuitous and mindless. There are action movies, and there is this.

Revolver: Don't know why this is listed as a new release on Apple. It was made two years ago. I saw part of it a few weeks ago, and it wasn't even coherent. Guy Ritchie has done some impressive, stylish stuff before, but this was just a dumb movie.

Horton Hears a Who: There isn't really any part of me that wants to see this.

No Country for Old Men: I love the Cohen Brothers. I feel like most of what they do is brilliant. I'd love to see this one too, but don't think I can stomach the violence.

There Will Be Blood: See comments from previous film, No Country for Old Men.

Look: Not interested in the story, but very interested in how the story is told. See Post on Home Video perspective.

There are several films that I don't want to see so badly, that I won't even mention them, because I don't want to contribute to their hype.

In a Handbasket

What do you do with countries that refuse to have peace?

Sorry, Jon Favreau.

While Ironman looks pretty awesome, Thundercats might just be stupid. And now they're making a G.I. Joe movie? And if Cloverfield is just another Godzilla, I don't mean to be a naysayer, but maybe it's time for some originality.

Floods and Flights

Dreamt that I went to the Carribean for study abroad somehow affiliated
with the Discovery Channel, and was on one of the islands there when an
extremely rare natural occurrence took place. A giant, GIANT sea slug
surfaced right next to the island. It looked like Jabba the Hut, and was
so big, so monstrously large that it flooded much of the island with the
incoming waves. I had been snorkeling when it happened, and quickly
swam back to the shore and jumped on a helicopter that was taking off.
In no time, I was (back) in New York, not where I had intended on going.
I think I had jumped out of the helicopter as it approached the coast. I
swam to shore and needed to locate the Discovery Channel offices, so
they could get me back to the islands. I asked somebody who was walking
out of a shopping center or an office complex, and they told me those
offices were further south. I headed that way, but stopped to pull out
my braces. I had gotten braces again as part of the trip, but they were
bothering me so bad, I stopped by a trashcan and started pulling them
out, and they just kept coming, this seemingly eternal string of wire
and brackets that took up my whole mouth. I finally got them out, and
woke with my mouth wide open.

Analysis: Last night right before bed, I blogged about Cloverfield and
mentioned the NY Times article about decimating NY in film. That
explains a monstrous sea creature, flooding, and NY. My mouth was agape
and dry when I was asleep, so there enters the braces sensation. But
what about snorkeling, swimming, flying, and islands? Beats me. Maybe
I'm deep down really sick of the snow outside.

Like I said in my previous post, I need to put my mental ability to
better use. If I did scripture study before I went to bed, maybe I'd
have a vision or something.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I'd like to point out that, as of this writing, robots and zombies are in a dead heat for which silly sci-fi entity gets mentioned more in my blog. Distant runners up, who should be credited for their participation in this race, are Star Wars characters, monsters, and Smurfs.

I really should put my mental capacity to better use.

Home Videos: Coming to a Theater Near You

I will almost certainly be seeing Cloverfield opening night. Apparently, the whole movie is done from the perspective of a home video camera, a la The Blair Witch Project. Really interesting move, especially when you're doing special effects on what isn't meant to look like professional photography. They've also launched an intense alternate reality online presence, with fake profiles of individuals and organizations, which is a lot of fun to explore (if you, like me, are excited for the movie). There are whole communities devoted to piecing together the clues. That's what I call effective advertising.

Click here for the full Trailer.

UPDATE JAN 10, 2007: A recently released television spot.

And here is some more footage from the beginning of the flick.

As for what the monster is, well, that's the big question, now isn't it? There is obviously the Godzilla speculation, and I imagine it will be something like Godzilla, but I don't think J.J. Abrams would disappoint us with something so canned as that. He is much too original. Maybe he'll pull a Jaws and wait till the end to show it, or not show it at all.

UPDATE DEC 28, 2007:
It is definitively NOT Godzilla. Toho INC, the owner of the Godzilla franchise, has retired all Godzilla related productions till 2013.

However, the beast does show up for a few frames of the preview. Here is a stabilized version, indicating that it is in fact some large, probably reptilian monster.
UPDATE: It's directed by Matt Reeves? Who in the world is Matt Reeves? How do these guys get such a huge gigs, when most of your resume is Felicity? True, I'd never heard of Peter Jackson when LoTR was announced. He had previously done blood and guts flicks with his buddies on the weekends and an adults only muppets perversion. He somehow managed to be a decent director. But man, there must be some nepotism going on here. Methinks King J.J. is giving the big jobs to his friends.

As for the diegetic perspective, expect to see more of this kind of thing as our society becomes more multimedia inundated. Very cheap video cameras and common video sharing via YouTube and the like have made the perspective of an amateur videographer so familiar. Storytellers will take advantage of that.

And the alternate reality aspect of marketing will also become more and more commonplace in our increasingly ever wired world. It's already played a role in the success of a recent hit video game, and is about to play into the hit success of a major motion picture.

The upcoming addition to George Romero's Dead franchise, Diary of the Dead, makes a similar narrative point of view. The film is told largely from the perspective of some kids who were making a zombie movie, when an actual zombie invasion starts happening in front of them. I mentioned it briefly in an earlier post.

I know of one more example of this kind of thing happening. An old employer of mine will be making a movie this coming year, and he mentioned the ad campaign he plans on using. I don't want to give the story away, but I'll say that he plans on using similar alternate reality viral marketing to Cloverfield. However, instead of using one video camera, he plans on releasing several videos to the web that come from various perspectives. Think of all the cameras that surround us day by day. He plans on using webcams, department store security cameras, ATM cameras, traffic cameras, and of course, the home video camera. I thought it was a great idea, I'll explain more as the details become more available.

NOTE: After my recent raving about I Am Legend, and now Cloverfield, I thought the focus of this NY Times article was an interesting and accurate observation.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Review: Rescue Dawn

If you don't know anything about Werner Herzog, you may be a little surprised by what you find in Rescue Dawn. He is a German director, and not of the same school as the Hollywood breed. I've mentioned him here before. He does nothing stylized (besides shot composition), nothing glorified, nothing even dramatized in the sense of enhancement or melodrama. It is simply a reenactment. He just tells the story, almost as though it were a documentary. He relies on the strength of the story itself, which is a move I can respect.

That style is especially interesting for Rescue Dawn, as this is a story Herzog has done before. It tells about Lt. Dieter Dengler, who was a real POW during (arguably before) the Vietnam war. In 1997, Herzog released a documentary about Dengler's capture, imprisonment, and escape. Christian Bale does an excellent job as Dengler for Dawn.

The selection of Steve Zahn is worth noting, given his striking resemblance to Herzog's lifelong friend and frequent collaborator, Klaus Kinski. Especially where Zahn is not playing his usual jokester role, he is Kinski incarnate. Give him a shave and conquistador garb, and he would turn into Don Lope de Aguirre, of Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God.

Both films deal with survival in the jungle, surounded by hostile natives, and slowly going mad in the process. Seems Herzog has a thing for wilderness and mania. See Grizzly Man, you'll get an idea of what I mean.

Speaking of mania, why is it that some of the most inspired artists are also some of the most insane? And successful film makers seem so singular in their ambition. They just want to make movies. Herzog is certainly a good example. He got his start making movies after he stole a camera from the Munich Film School.

If you haven't seen Aguirre, enjoy this clip. It is one of the closing scenes, when he is the sole survivor of his exploration party. His final speech is born out of madness, and includes a vow to conquer North and South America, find the city of El Dorado, and, "I, the wrath of God, will marry my own daughter and with her I'll found the purest dynasty the earth has ever seen."

Rescue Dawn is not a thrill ride, just a remarkable story. If you're in the market for one of those, enjoy. If you're not, go see She's the Man.

Merry Christmas!

I know that is late, but Merry Christmas anyway.

Monday, December 24, 2007

See Previous Post

Dreamt that I actually did modify my desktop computer to have a
touchscreen on my CRT monitor. And I moved it to be on the right side
instead of the left in my dual screen setup. Pretty lame dream.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Papa Smurf

I'll let Jake tell you about it.


I've always wished I was more technically savvy, wished I could build and fix computers and electronics and such. So far, I'm doing pretty well to not break mine, and have only learned that much by breaking things repeatedly and trying to cope with the aftermath. So understand when I say I want to try something like this, but it probably will never happen.

The Asus Eee PC wasn't a big deal to the public at large when it was released this year. Count on that to steadily change. The Eee PC is essentially the network computer of Oracle fame that never took of. Too much, too soon is my diagnosis. The Desktop PC was still making it's way into many homes for the first time. People had to get used to that beige box in their house first, before they could accept some cutting edge Internet machine.

Well, the Internet isn't such a novel idea any more, and more and more of what a person does on a computer is actually done on the network (much to the chagrin of some people). Network computer, now is your queue.

Enter the Eee PC. You might also say it's the OLPC for the non-child-non-developing country consumer. It comes with a minimal solid-state hard drive, making it a durable little guy. It's packed with an array of programs for all the most common web applications. The hardware is just what you'd need for ultra mobile, dependable, simple computing.

But, minimalism has it's drawbacks. Sometimes you want a little more hard drive space. And what if the bare-bones setup could be made simpler with a few extras?

Here is what I'd like to do. If I could have one of these to tote up to campus, that would be perfect. And if I were going to have one, I don't know if I could resist a couple modifications.

It doesn't look very hard. This guy took one and added a touchscreen for $60.00! And this guy added a USB thumb drive to up capacity (by a lot) and internal bluetooth. He added some internal USB ports so he can upgrade at any time. He just plugs them in!

Maybe someday. After I've made my millions. And I pay somebody else to do it, because I'm busy managing and growing an empire...


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Picture Time for the First Time

If you are reading this, you may know that I've been more and more interested in old cameras lately. This remarkable timepiece is the first example of a camera watch. The Kilfitt UKA 659 camera watch prototype. It is amazing. I want one. But seeing as it just sold on eBay for 29,119.00 GBP ($57,818.68) I don't think I'll be getting one any time soon. That, and it's the only one of it's kind. Literally, this was the only one made.
Thing is, this watch is so cool, and with the ever rising popularity of steampunk, I can't help but think there is a market for recreations of this kind of thing. Keep the aesthetics, make the camera digital, cram a bluetooth in there, mass produce, and I buy. Deal?
Via TechEBlog via Gizmodo via WIRED Gadgetlab via eBay.

Also, You may think this is totally pointless, but I thought it would be a lot of fun. This camera takes pictures on both sides of the device, both of what you are seeing (in front of you) and what is seeing you (and behind you).

Via TechEBlog via Gizmodo Via NONOBJECT.

P.S. TechEBlog just rips off other blogs. Especially Gizmodo.


Big news everybody! We're here at the Provo Towne Center mall, and I
just saw him. The World's Greatest Dad just walked by! I mean, right
here in Provo of all places! See, I know it was him from his shirt, it
was bright orange, and had really big bold lettering, and was tucked in.
Other than that, he looked like any normal guy, I wouldn't have even
suspected anything. Glasses, about 5'5", and two little kids with him.
Lucky kids, being the progeny of the WORLD'S GREATEST! Congratulations,
man, you did it! We're all really proud.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The High Life

Dreamt that my friend Rob threw a really big lascivious party (sorry,
Rob), and I met Peter Travers, the film critic from Rolling Stone. He was
Hawaiian, and my age. I felt pretty uncomfortable at the party, but just
wanted to talk to Peter Travers.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Review: The Golden Compass

Turns out all the controversy in the world doesn't amount to much if the movie is just stupid.

The Golden Compass had a lot of promise that was wasted on hasty development and lackluster editing. The whole thing played out more like a series premier for some new show on ABC Family. One that would be lucky to see a second season, at that.

And if you're worried about your children losing their testimony over this flick, don't. They may question the studio executives' good judgment, but not their church leaders. They might question their own use of two hours and seven dollars, but probably not the time they spend in worship or with youth groups. In fact, it'll be a sharp kid that makes the connection between the Magesterium, the story's authoritarian, repressive evil empire, and any church they've ever been to.

And for all this controversy, I think it's amazing how much some simple things have been overlooked. The author of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman, an ardent atheist, said himself that the series was about "killing god". Does that sound like a man who doesn't believe in god? If he wanted us to see the error of religious faith, he should have modeled the villain after the Great Wizard of OZ, a smoke and mirrors trickster creating an illusion. But no, the subject of such scorn in His Dark Materials is, in the story, a very real entity.
These aren't the stories of a man who doesn't believe in god, they're the stories of a man who is mad at god.
Don't ask me what happened to Pullman to make him so upset at deity as to deny His existence. His father died young. His grandfather was a clergyman, maybe something happened there.

But when all is said and done, atheists can cry all day that they don't believe in god. I might just say I don't believe in any real atheist.

It is raining dippin' dots from heaven.


I'm done. Done with finals, done with projects. Okay, so I didn't
really have much in the way of finals this semester. But what I had is
finished, and Christmas break starts NOW.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So today a friend of mine told me I looked just like the main character on this show she watches on NBC. I'm looking at the show now, and I suppose I see what she is talking about, though I wouldn't have made the comparison myself.
She isn't the first to say I look like (fill in known face here). I've gotten that for a long time, for a variety of faces. Let's hit the list, shall we?

Starting chronologically,


Minkus (Boy Meets World) - Got this one in elementary school, when the show was still on the air.

Macaulay Culkin - Right after the first Home Alone came out, about the same time as the Minkus comparison. Glad I grew out of this one. I really hope I grew out of this one.

Niles Crane (Frasier) - Again, got this in the hey-day of the show. Probably for behavior as well as looks.

Stewie Griffin (Family Guy) - Like Niles, this one is probably more deserved for behavior. I hope it isn't for a football shaped head, at least.

Jude Law
- This came mostly from the girl I kinda dated in high school. I think she was trying to flatter me. It is one of the more flattering comparisons, but probably also one of the more unfounded.

Peter Parker (Spiderman) - Mostly got this after the movies came out, especially right after my mission. In fact, I took advantage of whatever likeness there was and dressed as Peter Parker for Halloween a couple years ago.
NOTE: Clark Kent is essentially the same comparison, and I've gotten that as well, though with less frequency.


Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd from Journeyman) - This is the comparison I got earlier today. Not sure exactly how I feel about it, but it certainly could be worse (see Stewie Griffin).
By all means let me know if I'm missing any.

NOTE: This is an omission I should have noticed when first posting, but it did only happen the one time.

Update Dec. 27, 2007: This is another one I should have remembered. Oh well.

Good Advice

We watched this in one of my classes. Hysterical. Credit to Emily for finding it.

Well that was dumb.

I just kicked at the ground to emphasis a point. My toe really hurts
now. I don't even remember what I was talking about.

Paper Thin Walls Mixtape 2007

I stumbled on the Paper Thin Walls end of the year Mixtape exactly one year ago. It was a great find. Some superb songs, new and upcoming bands. I've mentioned one of those songs before, a little diddy by CSS, almost a full year before they were made mainstream by that hit iPhone commercial that some 18 year old kid made. Even today, five of my top twenty-five songs on iTunes come from that download. It's free, it's legal, it's fun, and you'll impress all the hipsters, though don't expect them to acknowledge that.

Anyway, while I haven't yet heard all of this years mixtape, I think it's worth the download if only for D.A.N.C.E. by Justice (another song I've mentioned on here before). I couldn't stop listening to this song on their myspace page when it was shown to me back in July.

Well, that is on there, and some other great ones too. Enjoy, and download before it's gone.

UPDATE: I just finished listening to the whole Mixtape. Not as good as last year, not as good. But that Justice song, that's good stuff.

OUR Tree

Dan and Justin cut this one down before I started working at the lot. It's a good little tree. Merry Christmas.

P.S. I think I'm done at the tree lot. Yesterday I helped disassemble our Provo location (the one I was working at) and my boss didn't tell me if I still had a job, even when I asked. He said he'd call and let me know. He hasn't called. It's 10:00 A.M.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Big shoutout to my kin, Angela and cousin Becca for coming to visit me
at the lot and bringing DELICIOUS HOMEMADE LUNCH FOR ME. Squash soup and
hot chocolate. It was delicious.

P.S. They wanted to pose next to the most expensive tree. It's well over $200.00


My coworker is wondering why I'm sitting outside in the cold instead of
inside our heated shed. Should I tell him?
"It's because I think you're an obnoxious sloppy idiot, and I don't like
spending time with you. I don't want to listen to your completely inane
chatter. I'd rather sit in the cold. Thanks. And throw away your stupid
smelly food when you're done with it, outside the shack.

Don't leave it in here for me to clean up in the morning."
Man, why am I in such a bad mood? Maybe it's the no food or sleep thing.
And the cold. And manual labor. That can't help. Plus, I think he really
is an idiot.

An Open Letter to the Night Crew at the Christmas Tree Lot:

My name is Austin, and I open the lot in the mornings. It is my
responsibility to open the gate, light up the lot, get the sign lit, get
our giant inflatable snowman inflated, clean up, price the trees, fill
in display holes, and generally prepare for and serve customers. In just
a short time I've gotten good at it. That is my job.

You might think I should mind my job and you mind yours. That would work
out fine, if you would mind your job better. I know your job, I've done
it on several occasions. There are several areas where you could
improve. I thought you should know about them.

Don't leave food here when you leave. Refrozen french fries, with
ketchup, is very gross. A full cup of soda, aside from being wasteful,
will freeze, the liquid expand, and spill all over the counter. I've
noticed you let those cups pile up, night after night. You should just
throw them away.

If trees don't have a price on them, put one on. The customers like it,
and it prevents us from having to haggle.

If there is excessive foliage or ice on the ground, clean it up. It's
dirty, unsightly, and a potential hazard to our customers.

Don't leave the tree preservative outside "on display". You need to take
it in at night, or it will freeze, burst the bottle, fall off the
counter, roll across the lot, and become unsellable. And gooey. I can't
stress that one enough. Or the food thing.

Other than that, you seem to be doing a fine job. Thanks for taking the
extension cables in at night.


This is a PG-13 Holiday post. I'm kinda sorry, but not enough to get me to not post it. Enjoy.

David Smith as George Bailey
Mylee Morin as Mary Hatch Bailey
Austin Craig as Uncle Billy Bailey
David Peterson as Clarence
Dan Miller as Cabbie
Justin Anderson as Zuzu Bailey

Friday, December 14, 2007

Privileged Pathways of Love

Dave Peterson wrote and performed this song for extra credit in his BIO class. His teacher is clearly just giddy about it. I too thought it was too good to let fade out of memory. Special thanks to Dave Smith for his camera work. Enjoy.

Privileged Pathways of Love

Chorus - Well though many have tried

And many have died

I’ll be taking all my chances on swimming inside

Of your privileged pathways of love

And so I’m starting here

Where the danger is clear

But I won’t have any phagocyte fear

Because no white blood cell can ever try to take me from you

So if I stand my ground

And I don’t misbehave

And if I simply just get on that uterine wave

Then you could sing to me in Syngamy tonight and forever babe


And I’m excited for this


Because I’m sure that for the first time I’ll know just where my home is

So I won’t fear any zona block or hardening now

Darlin’ Oocyte

Tonight is the night

I’m havin; Acrosome Reaction, so conditions are right

With all this totipotential let’s make these happy little haploids dance


From here it won’t be long

Until you’re starting to show

And I’m just glad I wasn’t caught up in a Retrograde Flow

And that the acid in your Oviduct never quite did me in

Cause I was too afraid of losin’ ya

I had to reach that Zona Pellucida

I had to stay the course

And not get lost

In that hostile guard of Endometrium Walls

And if this was the cost

Well then I’m glad that I went through it all


You Win, Colonel.

After two weeks of working outside, across the street from KFC, it's
finally gotten me. I really, really want some fried chicken.


I'm about ready to be finished with this Christmas tree gig. I'm cold
when I'm here. I have to pee and I can't leave the lot. I'm hungry but,
again, can't leave the lot. I brought a grapefruit for lunch, but that
will be a little more interesting after I cut my right index finger
putting up our sign. I have to haggle with customers. It's snowing. My
lips are chapped. I smell like a forrest.
But payday is soon. That will be nice.

Review: I Am Legend

I Am Legend
, as a movie, does a fine job of fulfilling it's various
genre conventions. As a survivor story, you see the solitary regimen
that helps preserve sanity, as well as the fabrication of companionship
where there is none. As a monster movie, you get to enjoy the
(protected) terror of the inhuman horde swarm down on our protagonist,
knowing that the story lies with him, and somehow, he'll make it out. As
a post apocalyptic epic, we see the degradation of what was once a great
society, reduced now to relics. As an action movie, we see chases,
fights, and explosions to contend with any. As a genre film, you won't
be disappointed.
However, as an interpretation of the original work, you may be. The
science fiction/horror novel I Am Legend was originally published in
1954. It was innovative in a variety of ways when it was released, and
those same innovations are still impressive today. But there are some
great differences between the film and the book, and they pretty much
nullify any of the books real ingenuity.
This is the latest in a string of film adaptations, the previous of
which I now intend on seeing. Most saw their way to the final audience.
One project, with Ridley Scott and Arnold Schwarzenegger, began serious development, but was abandoned when the proposed budget bloated. One came out earlier this year, straight to video, starring none other than the chairman of Iron Chef America. Will Smith joins Chartlon
and Vincent Price in having portrayed the main character. Not bad
company, if you're in to the sci/fi-horror-post apocalyptic scene.
Like I said, it's not a bad movie. You'll probably like it. I would
have liked it more maybe if I hadn't come into it with the expectation
of fidelity to the novel. Don't know why I expected that, fidelity isn't
really Hollywood's strong point.
If you intend on reading the book, I would suggest you stop reading
this post NOW, as there will be some pretty significant SPOILERS coming
up. Be warned.


There were a number of superficial discrepancies that are perfectly
acceptable for a film adaptation. Some were to make it more visually
appealing, like setting the film in New York City rather tha Los
Angeles, as the book does. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman said, "L.A.
looks empty at three o'clock in the afternoon, [but] New York is never
empty... it was a much more interesting way of showing the windswept
emptiness of the world." And it worked. The vacant metropolis was one of
the most compelling elements of the film. Some of the changes made were
to modernize the story, such as the infection being a virus rather than
a bacterium.
But other changes replaced the roots and fundamental message of the
story. The title I Am Legend is almost glossed over in the film,
explained away in a passing closing line. In the book, Robert Neville
finds out that, just as he had dreaded the undead (vampires in the book,
zombies in the film), they had grown to fear him. He had become a legend
among them, the boogie man they told their kids about to keep them in
line. "Be good, or Robert Neville will get you!" The revelation that he
was, to them, even more of a monster than they were to him, is a much
more thought provoking concept than the film put forth. In the movie,
they flirt with that idea for just a couple short moments, and then
forget they ever had it.


Why movie makers feel the need to change (and spoil) good source
material is still a mystery to me. Maybe it's financial. You can't make
a sequel to a story that's already complete. Maybe it's a lack of faith
in the audience, thinking that we modern moviegoers need everything
spelled out, and with a lowest common denominator message to boot. Maybe
they are (mostly) right.
But I had hoped that I Am Legend would prove to be not just a good
action flick, or horror show, or survivor story. It was all of those,
and those can be good and entertaining. But sometimes I want something
that will challenge my notions, present to me questions rather than
answers, and if there are answers to share, then show, don't tell. A
good example I Am Legend could have followed was the 2006 movie Children of Men.
The story is bleak, revealing, and fantastic, but somehow
believable and hopeful. It displayed the short sightedness and misguided
greediness of man. It didn't push a message, but poignantly presented
several. I Am Legend did have a message at the end, albeit an entirely
different one than the movie. As good a message as it was, though, it
came off as heavy-handed and two dimensional. You can accept it or
reject it, because it is not on a spectrum, there is no depth to
I suppose all projects have more potential than they fulfill, and
potential for different viewing experiences. So with all of my criticism
exhausted, I'll close with this. I Am Legend was a lot of fun. You'll
like it. Go see it.

UPDATE: Here are a couple of videos from the NY Times on I Am Legend.
Video Review
"Making Of" Vignette

UPDATE DEC. 24: I went and saw it again today. Pretty much the same experience.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Does anybody want to bring me something to drink here at ye ol'
Christmas Tree lot? I'm parched.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Those Silly Broadcasters

I paused a report on CNN.com and noticed an interesting coincidence.


At the Lot, I listen to Christmas carols. All day. I'll never understand
how "Little Drummer Boy" made it's way into the canon of acceptable
Christmas music.

At Work

I'm running the lot by myself today. It's Jesus' day off. Good thing I
have this smartphone to keep me occupied, because I've got to be honest,
it gets pretty boring otherwise.

Follow your Dreams

I haven't been recording my dreams lately, and because of that haven't
remembered them as well. You might think it is the other way around, but
you'd be mistaken. Or rather, you'd be right too. I think too often we
let our logic follow the concept of "cause and effect", in a classical
Newtonian sense. Yes things are tied, and effect each other, but it
isn't always a dog on a chain, with one leading the other. More like
escaped convicts, who find themselves handcuffed together and on the

Anyway, I haven't recorded them, and I haven't remembered them, and
that's too bad. They are for me an almost infinite source of interest. I
know I'm still having them, because I remember they were still there,
fading into the sunrise as I woke.

Anyway, I'll try to be better about that, though I suppose in the end it
will be of little consequence what my subconscious mind conjures.

I don't want to move Christmas trees for a living. For once I'm glad the
Christmas season is only a month or so.

But for that matter, I don't really want to go to school anymore. There
are a thousand things I'd like to do with my time, with my life, but you
only get so much, and there are some requisites you have to take care of
first. Like taxes.

You have to get a degree, 'cause that will help you get a better job,
'cause you have to earn money, 'cause you have to get food to eat, and
something to cover your head with, like a house. I don't like that there
are so many things I have have to do, but there aren't any two ways
around it.

Things like writing, reading, painting, acting, filming, sculpting,
creativity in general, appreciating others' creativity, even excercise,
they come later.

But that all can't be later, because really, once I'm done with all the
have to's, I'm dead. The have to's prolong life and imrove life, else
it were all solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. As long as I'm
living, I'll have the have to's. And I'll be wishing I could spend more
time on other things, things I like (see previous paragraph).

So it'll have to be all together. I've thought before that I'd do all
those things when I took care of the have to's, when I was independently
wealthy I'd have more time. But as long as I'm breathing, I'll have to
pay the have to's their dues to let me keep on breathing, and I'll have
the dreams that let me want to keep breathing.