Universal WILL Produce The Dark Tower

09/09/2010

Illustration: Michael Whelan

Now that it’s official that Universal will produce three films, interspersed with two seasons of a television series on NBC, and that this will be helmed by Ron Howard and scripted by Akiva Goldsman, I must first of all breath a sigh of relief. And that is, of course, followed by a shriek of WTF. Hopefully, this is the project that will return the Grazer/Howard/Goldsman team to its true potential, but they will have to travel the Wastelands and more to prove it.

I’m glad this recipe of film/tv/film/tv/film was concocted, as it seems the best way to do it. Even Lord of the Rings was supposedly impossible to bring to cinema, but Peter Jackson managed it with three long films (and a lot of commitment from production). Mr. Howard and Mr. Grazer are not without huge obstacles in their quest, either.

For one thing, the part of Jake needs to be especially tended to in the planning, writing, and shooting stages. If this project is to go on for many years, Jake needs to be someone who doesn’t age/change much physically during that time. Even if he does during the last phase, Jake is key to the entire Gunslinger theme, and needs to be a solid child actor. Eddie and Susannah are also key roles, and while many will speculate on casting of those two, I wish those two to be unknowns.

As for the Gunslinger, there may be hoots and hollers for Josh Brolin or some other marquee star, but for my money, the one actor I see fitting the bill as a badass with a heart of stone, but a scrap of compassion, and who has proved himself in a successful TV series with a Stephen King fanbase… is Josh Holloway.

Bad Robot

Amiright?

He has the potential to pull off all of Roland’s traits, from stoicism to sarcasm to dancing the rice dance. And looking like a hardcase the whole time.


“Even Space Cowboys Need Travel Agents”

08/09/2010

From Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live:

I insist on taking rock lyrics literally. For example, it occurs to me that whoever organized tour itineraries for the Steve Miller Band must have been a dolt: Miller says he went from Phoenix, Arizona, all the way to Tacoma, then to Philadelphia, down to Atlanta, and then crossed back to L.A. (before finally concluding with some one-off dates in Northern California, where the girls were said to be “warm”). This is terribly inefficient.


Yep, That’s How I Imagine Nessus

07/19/2010

Having the world of art at your fingertips is awesome, and it’s such a bonus to be enjoyed when it’s useful. I’ve recently, finally gotten around to reading Larry Niven’s Ringworld. I was wondering if my visions of the characters described were close to what others had depicted, so I searched.

Nessus looks nice here in this illustration by John C. Atkeson & Mark Woolrich, and it’s pretty much what I got from Niven’s descriptions. The kzin, Speaker to Animals was close, but I pictured him looking more like Hoverball Cat.


Father’s Day

06/20/2010

My Dad wrote a great piece, part poem, part statement, about his Father. I was supposed to post it today, but it is actually stored on another computer. I’ll update this post tomorrow, since I promised him I would. [Update 6/21: see below.]

He’s the best Dad. Like Atticus Finch.

_________________________________________________

My Father—A Life Unique!!

It’s as if he were woven — as fabric from the community in which he was reared.

Only the choicest threads were used, each one carefully selected and inserted with extreme skill.

Through the lean — hard years — the material was tested and proved —Strong —– Resilient—–Honest.

His fortune grew with time and great effort but it was exceeded by his humanity.

His education was limited, but his knowledge was great —and soon recognized.

For all he had received — He gave!

To his Wife — Love   Honor    Respect

To his Children — Lessons  Opportunities  Discipline To his Relativ,es — Generosity Tolerance History

He did  not wait for life to give him shape

Rather — the strength and quality of the fabric shaped his life.

  • It allowed him to see the needs of his community — Honest Service
  • It caused him to perform  With — Integrity
    • It guided him among us in dealings — that when finished there was  never cause for him to lower his gaze or apology make.

We may not know the Weaver —

Nor truly comprehend the process that placed him with us — Exposed us to him.

Though we know we are richer from the acquaintance
In our deepest thoughts we still ask —
Who was this man — really?

The answers are as numerous as the fibers —

Interwoven in our experiences — With him. But one -comforting — fulfilling— sustaining awareness remains

This Man Was My Father——I Hope He Was Yours!


Darth Vader Gargoyle at Washington National Cathedral

06/18/2010

Sometimes reading a Dan Brown novel yields some pretty interesting facts. Case in point: a key part of the engaging – albiet poorly written- story involves “Luke’s Dark Father.”

At first I was like No Way. And then I was like Way. There actually is a sculpture of Darth Vader included in the construction of this neo-cathedral.

In the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.

He’s kind of difficult to spot, but there are hints at the link. Also claimed to be in the structure are stones from Mount Sinai and a moon rock.

Link


Happy Bloomsday

06/15/2010

Yeah.


Copyright Page

05/18/2010

Copyright © Stephen King 1979
All rights reserved
First published in 1979 by Viking Press
40 West 23 Street New York, N.Y. 10010
Published simultaneously in Canada by
Penguin Books Canada Limited

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA
Stephen King, 1947 -
The dead zone.
1. Title.
PZ4.K5227De {PS3561.1483} 813′.5’4 79-12785
ISBN 0-670-26077-0

Printed in the United States of America
Set in CRT Garamond

The lyrics on page 69 are from “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” words and music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Copyright © 1968 Northern Songs Ltd. All rights in the United States of America, Mexico and the Phillipines (!) are controlled by Maclen Music, Inc., c/o ATV Music Corp. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The lyrics on page 29 and 50 are from “Whole Lot-ta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by Dave Williams and Sonny David.


A Remake I Could Get Behind: Coma

04/28/2010

Image: MGM

1978′s Coma is a great story, based on bestselling author Robin Cook’s novel, and spearheaded by Michael Chrichton. Litter Box favorite Michael Douglas plays a minor leading man, and there’s tension throughout the film. The above shot is the centerpiece of this creepy tale of purposely putting people into comas to milk insurance money (or organ harvesting, or something). Thereby being a huge draw for anti-healthcare crowds and moviegoers who’d like to see bodies dangling mysteriously by wires.

I think if Hollywood wants to remake older films, this (along with previously opined Starman) should be one of them. Here, see for yourself with the entire movie online:

(YouTube Link)

Here’s the Money Sequence, complete with a convincingly comatose Tom Selleck.

(YouTube Link)

It has potential to be a really creepy update on a theme not touched on much anymore.

She didn’t like the word coma. It had a sinister, stealthy sound. Wasn’t it Latin for “sleep of death?”

-Stephen King (The Dead Zone)

Hmm, come to think of it, The Dead Zone… remake?


Proclamation: I Hate My Kindle

04/25/2010

As this image from GottaBeMobile illustrates, there’s a lot backlash in the realm of book readers.

It was almost a year ago that I jumped on the Kindle bandwagon thinking one thing, while the other thing (that which shall be explained) never crossed my mind.

Until now. Well, not just now. I admit, I’ve been slow to my remorse. The strange occurence last year of Amazon deleting books by (no joke) George Orwell, including 1984, should have been a clue. But here I simply offer a meager list of reasons I liked the Kindle when I bought it, and then a list of reasons why, frankly, it sucks.

Why It Was Awesome:

1. The Cost. Being an avid reader, I could search the world over and not find books this cheap, and that means dollars in my pocket for more important things like stromboli and skydiving. A hardcover new release like Stephen King’s Under the Dome costs 25-30 dollars. $10 on Kindle. Over time, this savings, plus the gas money to drive to the bookstores, pays for the device.

2. The Download. 3G networks and the like are cutting edge technology, and it’s ultra-convenient to be anywhere, say your garage, or being dangled from a building by a mobster, and be able to order a book. Presto! It’s there, and ready for your perusal in seconds. That’s cool. It’s almost a magic feeling to have the power to make something appear before your eyes.

3. The Ease. I like to read while I’m eating. The Kindle was the answer to always having to find some impromptu weight to hold my book open so I can simultaneously digest Neil Gaiman while horking down a Spicy Italian. I hated getting mustard on my pages; now I’d just get a smudge on the Next Page button, and it wipes off easily!

4. The Free Stuff. Aside from having tons of free downloads available by indy writers and such, there’s the Preview feature in the Kindle Store. You can preview any book, usually the first chapter. It’s the reason I decided against buying The Lost Symbol.

Why It Sucks:

1. Well, that whole thing about them coming and taking books away from people after a sale was final… that’s messed up.

2. The Interface. Not as cool as it seems. the Off switch requires me to hold it for six seconds, the interface cursor is slow as hell, handling the tablet tends to result in inadvertent page turns, and the dictionary that’s built in doesn’t recognize the word “Facebook.” (Okay I made that last part up.)

3. Typographical Errors Galore. It’s terrible to be in the middle of a passage you really like, and then see a double “the,” or other wrenching editorial error a true publisher would hang somebody over. Most hilarious of this Kindle tendency is when I was reading Chuck Klosterman, and the whole chapter devoted to Rick Allen – of Def Leppard-  incorrectly spelled his last name as Alien.

4. The Feel of a BOOK. Yeah, one of the first people I bragged to about my purchase sang this true tune~ there’s just something about a book. The paging process that so happily engages the fingers and thumbs of millions daily. The ability to thumb back a few pages and easily find a passage you wanted to re-read. That’s like, yeah/no with a Kindle. And footnotes are a pain in the ass. If there is one thing to say about this aspect, it’s this: I can’t loan a Kindle book to a friend. Of course, I could loan my Kindle, but then I’d be without my whole library for however long it took them to read the book I loaned them.

5. The Future. I can’t imagine a young person growing up without some kind of bookshelf/collection that tells others who see it what this person’s reading. It’s a key and sublime element of our interaction. If everyone’s books were hidden behind clicks of buttons, and scrolling of wheels, that magic would be lost forever. I’d also like to defer to point #3 in the Awesome section, and call bullsh*t on myself. Reading should be enjoyable, yes, but if you put work into it, it’s even more rewarding. And I don’t mean work like trying to balance a tablet on your steering wheel while you drive.

6. Lifespan. What happens when the battery needs to be replaced? Besides, there’s another huge risk here; people drop stuff. Even the most careful and mindful people drop stuff from time to time. I made the mistake of momentarily setting my Kindle on the hood of my vehicle. It slid off, and although I was able to make a close enough grab to slow its descent, it ended up looking like this (the now-useless battery indicator is always there, taunting me.):

In Conclusion:

I’ll still use it for the freebies, and to research authors. But… sorry, trees… I’m going back to paper books for future purchases.


Avatar Now a Legitimate Target For Haters

04/09/2010

Image via SlashFilm

This is a response to my past self, who is a naive apologist for James Cameron. You, my past self should get over your old self and realize you just don’t know what is really going on. James Cameron didn’t just cut bacon on the myth story, he most ostensibly ripped off a specific author. Namely Poul Anderson and his story Call Me Joe.

io9 reports:

Many fans of Anderson suspect that the story was an important influence on Avatar, and some are calling for Anderson to be credited on the film. And it’s easy to see why.

Like AvatarCall Me Joe centers on a paraplegic — Ed Anglesey — who telepathically connects with an artificially created life form in order to explore a harsh planet (in this case, Jupiter). Anglesey, like Avatar‘s Jake Sully, revels in the freedom and strength of his artificial created body, battles predators on the surface of Jupiter, and gradually goes native as he spends more time connected to his artificial body.

Maybe, old self, I’m just raging against coincidence. Maybe not. Update: Link to story has some great debates about this in the comments.


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