Apr. 23rd, 2006

oneirophrenia: (Brain Surgery)
Slept a lot. Then I tried to move my old stove out in order to get the new one in, and my friend's dad and I almost died when the fucking old stove fell apart in our hands as we were hercing it toward the kitchen door. (Don't ask me what happened to it: it just kind of came apart into two pieces.) I twisted my back up something awful--even Vicodin can barely touch the pain. But it's all just muscle strain, I can tell. Hurts like a bitch, but shouldn't last more than a day or two. Lynn's fine, though: the stoves weight fell on me, not him.

Anyway, last night, I saw Silent Hill for free thanks to some homies with the free-pass action. It was...good. Not great. Not as good as I was expecting it to be, but still enjoyable. The story was damnear incoherent and the acting just awful--my boner is less wooden than some of the performances--but...remember, folks: atmosphere is what makes a good horror flick. And Silent Hill has it. The visual direction in the film is flatout amazing: the ash falling from the sky, the blood- and rust-soaked "darkside" scenes, and the character design are all topnotch. The thing is...if the film would've focused more on visuals and kept the story to a bare minimum--or even didn't attempt to explain anything that was happening--the visuals would've stood entirely on their own without being hampered by an otherwise flat and unexceptional revenge narrative. It could've been a few hundred times bloodier, too. Blood n' guts does not a horror film make, but with something like this, I was frankly expecting more brutality. Getting shredded by barbwire is close, but the film just needed more to contrast with the otherwise creepy, sedate, and almost Lovecraftian scenes set in the ash-covered town. Balance, people. Balance. It certainly gave me some ideas to work out for a story I'm currently developing, though.

Then today while I could barely move I watched Hostel--the unrated version, of course. I had a few bucks left so I rented it on Thursday before going to Pittsburgh, but just got around to watching it today. MUST. OWN. This is the most brutal film I've seen in ages. Not so much in terms of being graphic--though it has a few extremely graphic moments--but in terms of concept alone. An outfit in Slovakia that captures tourists and then lets anyone willing to pony up $25K torture and slaughter them? You think this doesn't happen? THAT's what made it so goddamned unnerving. This isn't The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes, which are realistic yet still, fundamentally, kind of improbable. This movie is about humanity at its absolute limit of depravity, and that's why it's so disturbing. It takes a LOT these days to unnerve me, and this film did it. Hence the reason it's now right at the top of my list of alltime favorite horror flicks. It' alsos full of wonderful atmospheric sounds and lots of surgical/medical comments that, naturally, will be sampled very soon.

Ugh. My back is killing me and I can't type anymore. I'm gonna go to bed and read.
oneirophrenia: (Relax Bear Music)
Put your iTunes/Winamp/WMP/whatever on shuffle. (or your j river media center, heh)
Say the following questions aloud, and press play.
Use the song title as the answer to the question.

1. How does the world see you?
A: Iron & Wine, "Sodom, South Georgia." Got me. I never liked this song, so I guess that means the world doesn't particularly like me, either? *shrug*

2. Will I have a happy life?
A: Manowar, "Death Tone." That's pretty obvious.

3. What do my friends think of me?
A: Morrissey, "He Cried." Yeah...I can be a sentimental schmuck at times. Everyone I know is aware of this.

4. Do people secretly lust after me?
A: Ultravox, "Passing Strangers." Heh. I guess come I'm so goddamned hot, anyone walking past me on the street would wanna hit this.

5. How can I make myself happy?
A: Mo' Horizons, "Prince Charles' Latest Affair." I will be happy if I poke Prince Charles? No thank you--I'd rather me miserable.

6. What should I do with my life?
A: Click Click, "Zf10." I need to start an oldskool industrial band?

7. Will I ever have children?
A: Talking Heads, "I Zimbra." I WILL MATE WITH DAVID BYRNE!!!

8. What is some good advice for me?
A: Isaac Hayes, "Walk On By." A very sad, if soulful song...but, yeah, that title is definitely good advice to me. Just walk on by, Pegritz. Walk on by.

9. How will I be remembered?
A: Pernice Brothers, "Shaken Baby." Yep. Explains a lot about me.

10. What's my signature dancing song?
A: DMX Krew, "The Glass Room." Oh, FUCK yeah! Oldskool New Wave synthpop all up in my booty-bone.

11. What's my current theme song?
A: Blancmange, "22339." God, I love Blancmange.

12. What do others think is my current theme song?
A: Grant Miller, "Tracks in the Snow." One of the gayest synthpop/eurodisco songs ever. Yep. That makes sense.

13. What shall they play at my funeral?
A: Sumosonic, "Everything is Wonderful." Yeah, now that I'm gone and can't appreciate it anymore!

14. What type of women do I like?
A: Warren G, "Regulate." I like gangsta bitches.

15. How's my love life?
A: John Carpenter, "Trick or Treat" (from the Halloween soundtrack). Yep. It could be either. Right now, though, it's lookin' like treat.

oneirophrenia: (Mad Scientist 1)
The new Dresden Dolls album is really, really, really good. Thank god they finally recorded a proper version of "Mrs. O."

I think I may have to cover "Mandy Goes to Med School" for the next DCFP live show, and lace it with samples of butchery from Hostel. I think that would be pretty goddamned creepy.
oneirophrenia: (Contemplative Doctor)
So I'm writing a sequel to HPL's At the Mountains of Madness that I have, at present, VERY tentatively titled "Under the Moons of Madness"--since I wanted to clearly indicate its connection to the original novella and identify it as something different, since it's set on Mars, and both Phobos and Deimos are going to play some kind of role in my novella.

Here's the basic idea:

Everything is, first and foremost, extrapolated ONLY from events as detailed in Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness and, to some degree, a few related stories ("The Call of Cthulhu", "The Whisperer in Darkness", and "The Shadow Out of Time"). In Lovecraft's novella, a geological/paleontological expedition to the Antarctic in 1931 discovers a gigantic stone city that was once inhabited by an alien species they identify as "The Elder Things" or Old Ones (names taken from the Necronomicon, of course). The Elders may or may not have created all life on earth, but they certainly came here during the Permian Age and prettymuch just remained until their civilization decayed and was eventually destroyed by an uprising of their bioneered "slaves" the shoggoths (which were, in essence, nanobiotech construction tools). They witnessed Great Cthulhu's coming to earth and may have had some contact with the Fungi from Yuggoth, a.k.a. the Mi-Go. Well...what happened afterwards?

Naturally, more expeditions to the Antarctic launched by other universities and governments eventually found the Elders' city and the world was turned on its head. The existence of alien life--alien life not only far older than humanity but, perhaps, responsible for humanity's existence--sent shockwaves around the world. But here's the deal: a lot of what the narrator of At the Mountains of Madness described having "learned" just from studying the bas-reliefs and carvings in the Elders' city is not exactly right. A LOT of uncertainty remains--after all, the carvings and illustrations in the cities are in some cases very vague, and no one to this day is 100% sure what they indicate (history? myth? sci-fi paintings? who knows!). Also, the Elders' writing is virtually impossible to translate. Humanity is not even sure if the Old Ones and the Great Old Ones are the same creatures, if the Yuggothians (whom no one has ever contacted, though it's clear they are around, in some capacity) and the Old Ones are two forms of the same species, or...really, no one can tell. A few preserved Old Ones have been removed from Antarctic ice but even though they seem to be biologically sound, no one can "wake them up." Also, of the three or four shoggoths discovered active in the Antarctic city, only one currently remains alive--in U.S. hands...possibly to be used as a biological weapon, if anyone can ever figure out how to control the goddamned thing.

Oh, yes...and there's the matter of R'Lyeh. It's there, under the South Pacific Ocean. And it's huge. And something in it does reach out and cause strange things to happen to human minds. But is it really Great Cthulhu? Or some allied species related to the Old Ones? The only "reliable" evidence comes from Elder "documents" and illustrations that no one can really read, and various hints, guesses, and outright fabrications found in the Necronomicon and various other old sources of mythology. One thing's for damn sure...the Japanese sure wanted to keep the location of R'Lyeh secret during WWII, but now that it's in American hands, we ain't letting anyone get too close, just in case Something Wakes Up.

One thing's for sure, though....The Old Ones had something going on at Mars in the early days of the Solar System, something that for billions of years they warned about. Or seemed to. This information led to the first landers and whatnot sent to Mars in the '70s--but all they found was rusty deserts and some ruins of possible Elder construction at Cydonia. Whatever the Old Ones were doing there, they'd abandoned it ages ago (literally), and seemed to shun the planet. So much so, that after numerous probes and orbiters were lost en route to Mars, it was discovered that they'd left a defense system in place to keep everyone away. Of course, said defense system has all but failed after billions of years, and it's easy to avoid. It's clear that the Elders did something on Mars that might be pretty fascinating: perhaps they'd tried to seed it with life and failed, or had originally settled there and moved to earth only after a war or something. The only real way to tell is to go there and find out.

Especially now that whatever lives in R'Lyeh looks like it might be stirring....

Misktonic University in Arkham, Mass., had enjoyed its heyday in the earlier half of the 20th Century, what with the credit due the Pabodie Expedition for discovering the Old Ones--but, by the 2020s, the University is now regarded as long past its prime. It fell from grace in the 1940s, when many of its older professors came out strongly against exploration of the Antarctic, R'Lyeh, and like ruins, citing "crazy old texts" like the Necronomicon and The Book of Eibon as warnings against "meddling with things we don't understand." However, Pabodie's great-grandson, Roger Pabodie Lukasik, is generally known as the foremost scholar on the Old Ones' ideographic images (which means he can understand about ten out of three million separate ideograms). This is good enough to earn him a seat on the International Mars Mission that is being sent to Mars to finally scour around the Old Ones' relics out there. Going with him are the usual areologists, climatologists, paleontologists, and whatnot picked from around the world...including one man, Dr. Averet Karnstein, who is an expert in the biology of the Elders and may quite possibly be utterly insane, as he was "touched" while working near R'Lyeh.

Perhaps he's become the eyes and ears of Great Cthulhu?

And why do people on board the Mars ship keep reporting sightings of a "tall, thin black man" who is clearly not a member of the crew?

Furthermore...Earth has apparently just made contact with the Yuggothians, finally. It's clear they are leaving the Solar System in droves, abandoning their base of Pluto (Yuggoth).

OK, and finally...in the ruins of the Old Ones' city at Cydonia and on Olympus Mons, it becomes apparent that the Old Ones attempted something on Mars that not only damnear wiped them out, but apparently also drew Great Cthulhu to the Solar System. Whatever it was that they were doing, they destroyed the entire biosphere they'd created just to kill it--or put it to sleep. And there's indications that whatever it was, Great Cthulhu came to earth and took refuge there to avoid it.

What the fuck can be so monstrous that a Great Old Ones wants no truck with it?

Humanity is about to find out...and find out just how small and meaningless our species truly is when confronted with the billions upon billions of years of Galactic history behind it.

Simply put, I want to carry on what HPL himself started. In his latter stories, he turned away from all things supernatural or mythological and began to explain his Mythos in completely science-fictional terms--"demythologizing" it, as Joshi puts it. Great Cthulhu was no longer an evil god, but an incredibly old and powerful extraterrestrial entity. The Old Ones were an alien species with vast lifespans and vast knowledge of biotech. The Fungi from Yuggoth were likewise aliens. HPL's followers, unfortunately, wrecked all of his own plans by taking his ideas and running with them willy-nilly all over the fictional map and producing what is today wrongly called "the Cthulhu Mythos." I think it's time I did my boy HPL the favor of continuing where he left off, and showing a little of what the world he envisioned in his later, best-developed stories would be like in our time.

But you'd better damnwell believe that, aliens or not, the Other Gods--specifically Azathoth and Nyarlathotep--are going to show up in this bitch.

Imagine a melange of Dark City, Event Horizon, One Million Miles to Earth, Caitlin Kiernan's Threshold, and John Carpenter's The Thing, and you're only about half way to what I'm doing here. Don't expect action, though: this is a "scientific romance" of the old stripe--it's all about ideas, atmosphere, and unimaginable confusion, dread, and hopelessness. Trust me, this project is going to be BIG. And it's going to take a while to do it. But I think I've finally found my "in" to the world of publishing. But I can't do it alone, so if any of you freaks have any ideas or comments, suggestions, etc., shout 'em my way. [livejournal.com profile] greygirlbeast, you know I'm going to be mining you for information concerning geology and paleontology, too, so be ready. :)

I'm going to go read At the Mountains of Madness again now so I can get this beast on the roll.

Ohyeah, and Forma Tadre's Navigator album is most definitely going to be the soundtrack to this piece. Until, of course, Nyarlathotep writes one of our own!
oneirophrenia: (Fascist Pink)
Ew. No, really, folks--EW.

Ann Coulter was briefly engaged to the wastrel son of Bob Guccione, the founder of Penthouse Magazine.

Everyone everywhere calls the fella "The Gooch."

I think I must now seriously reconsider my plans of seducing her and brainwashing her into being the spokesmodel for New Traditionalism. Ain't no WAY I'd hit anything that was engaged to somebody called "The Gooch." It is against all of my principles!
oneirophrenia: (Contemplative Doctor)
"no second thoughts the knife is nearing
you'll never hear the little pitter patter pitter patter
of this little feat of engineering
of course i love you and of course it's what's inside that matters
but i think the whole charade is ending
it seems to me to be the only way to keep from getting
caught up in a long life of regretting
the doctors said that once you get a taste for it you'll keep on cutting"

That describes every "relationship" I've ever been in.
oneirophrenia: (r0b0t)
Vernor Vinge, the "father" of the Singularity, has a new book coming out: Rainbows End--and, surprisingly enough, it is not a Singularitarian novel. It's more like a step-toward-the-Singularity novel.

Set in the 2020s, it envisions a world of ubiquitous computing, everyware, and high-tech security nightmares. It's a world of great convenience, great opportunity, and great power--for both good and evil. The novel is, quite simply, about what we are ALL going to have to face in twenty years--not up to our necks in nanotech and rampant AIs, but just before that stuff happens.

As everyone knows, I'm about as hardcore a transhumanist as you can get. But am I a technoutopian, who believes that technology will give us eternal life, eternal happiness, and fluffy cyborg bunnies everywhere forever? No. The Singularity is going to be great for some, and awful for others. That's just the way any technological or sociological progression is: some benefit, and some get screwed. The best thing you can do to avoid getting screwed, however, is to know what's coming and be ready to adapt.

I'm really, really looking forward to reading this. I'm looking forward to living it even more!
oneirophrenia: (r0b0t)
Speaking of sci-fi...I must be the only hardcore sci-fi fan on earth who truly doesn't give a shit that Stanislaw Lem passed away a few weeks ago.

Solaris was...okay. It was an okay read. Some good ideas completely buried in an unbelievably mediocre story. The movie was just what the novel should've been. I tried to read one or two other novels by him, too, but they were just ludicrous. And you can't blame translation difficulties, because the problems weren't with Lem's words (or the translations thereof), but with the fact that he couldn't write for shit. And this guy is considered one of the world's greatest sci-fi authors? Please.

The same goes for Phillip K. Dick. Do Androids Dreams of Electric Sheep? was good--but Blade Runner was a hell of a lot better. "Minority Report" was ridiculous, but Minority Report was fucking awesome (save for the dumbshit ending). In fact, films based on Dick's stories are almost always good...though the novels and stories themselves suck beyond belief. Again, just as with Lem: good ideas, poorly executed.

Really, I don't have a lot of kind words for so-called "Golden Age" sci-fi. Bradbury's Martian Chronicles were awful. Most of Isaac Asimov's stuff was absolute pulp trash. Heinlein bores me to tears or just sickens me by being so trite and juvenile. Really, the only "classic" sci-fi authors whom I even vaguely like is Samuel Delaney, and that's only because of Dhalgren, and Hal Clement--Mission of Gravity is full of inane dialogue, but it's just so cool. I'm not judging this stuff as bad because it involved, say, Martians that don't exist or other outdated scientific theories (so what if Clement's Mesklin could not possibly exist?)...but because the writing was just so abysmally poor, and the ideas incredibly juvenile (a "positronic brain"?). "Golden Age" sci-fi was silly--let's just face it. It hadn't grown up. It was as glitzy, flashy, and shallow as most anime today is. It was fun, yes, but it didn't take itself seriously...or even mock-seriously.

Thank the gods for Robert Silverberg, Hal Clement, Robert Haldeman, Gregory Benford, T. H. White, and H. P. Lovecraft. Among others. You guys did it right.

And while I'm at it: a big "FUCK YOU" to Piers Anthony and E. E. "Doc" Smith. Stick to shitty heroic fantasy, you hacks.
oneirophrenia: (El Doctor)
So, for Under the Moons of Madness, I've decided to plant an Old One/Elder Thing city in Cydonia...you know, where the Face on Mars is? The thing is, though: there isn't any Face. It's just a big mesa. But it happens to be a big mesa that, in warmer, wetter times on Mars, was close to a seashore--a perfect place for the Old Ones to build a city for their operations.

You will also notice that I have yet to decide what, exactly, the operations on Mars are or were. I don't even think I really need to, to be honest....The story's going to be all about atmosphere, creepiness, and human insignificance--I don't want the Mars mission people just walking around and figuring out exactly what happened in, like, five minutes.

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