Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Film Review: The Tingler

     “The Tingler, the Tingler is loose in the theater! Scream, scream for your lives!”
     The first time I heard this was, oddly enough, on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Then again, that show was very strange. I did know that was Vincent Price’s voice I heard, and I finally decided we needed more Vincent Price around here, and checked out “The Tingler”.
     “The Tingler” is a 1959 horror movie, right during the time that horror movies were getting quite cheesy. But this is no run-of-the-mill Attack of the Giant Whatever-It-Is movie, as fun as those are.
     Our opening scene introduces us to Dr. Vincent Price (Warren Chapin, but it’s Vincent Price being Vincent Price), a pathologist for the city, but also a scientist conducting side experiments of his own. As he looks over the body of an electrocuted criminal, he finds that his death did not come from the shock, but from the fact his spine is cracked in half. He tells his new friend Higgins (whose brother-in-law is the dead man) that he has seen cases like these before, always happening from people who seemed to have died in great fear. He speculates that it’s some being that feeds off fear, which he calls the Tingler, and eventually grows too big and shatters the spine if a person cannot release their stress in time. This is usually done by screaming; but Higgins’ wife is a deaf-mute, and regularly passes out after being too frightened. One night, after several strange events leaves her utterly terrified, she dies. And when Chapin does the autopsy…
     This was, actually, a decent movie for its time. It’s a nice mash-up between the “monster” movies and the psychological horror that was coming in to vogue, partly thanks to Robert Bloch-1959 was the same year he published Psycho and he was, of course, part of Lovecraft’s crew. One thing you can say about Vincent Price and his movies-they may have been occasionally cheesy, but they did an amazing job at building suspense. There were times I got the creepy crawlies all down my back, which makes this movie Pure Paranoia Fuel. It must have been even more so for audiences in the theaters-many theaters fitted up their seats so that the seats started vibrating when the Tingler came on screen. The theater scene is fourth-wall breaking: you had better start screaming too.
     The downside is the effects. This was the 50’s, and the Tingler, when actually shown, was…well…it’s an evil muppet.
     But apart from that, this really was a good movie, which I always expect from Vincent Price. And using creepy Vincent Price gave us a nice little twist at the end.

     Now, we must convince Guillermo del Toro to remake this. Because I’m pretty sure he could make a nightmare-inducing Tingler if he wanted to.

Or we could just hand it over to Straczynski. The hack.

We see what you do there J Straz.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

So there's this movie out there...

No seriously someone hold me I don't want to go to sleep tonight

Friday, February 15, 2013


Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Marble Hornets update on the same day?

I'm going to blame the meteor that exploded over Russia for this mad phenomenon, but for now...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: Accusations by Lois Tilton

     During a routine day on Babylon 5, Ivanova gets an urgent message from her old flight instructor, J. D. Ortega, asking to meet with her in the Alpha Wing ready room. However, when Ivanova arrives, she only sees one person leaving, and waits two hours before checking to see Ortega’s status on B5. To her horror, she discovers that he is a suspected terrorist. Then, while Ivanova is out responding to a distress signal from a transport being attacked by raiders, they find Ortega’s body stuffed into one of the flight lockers, poisoned, and a hastily scribbled note hidden within the ready room addressed to Ivanova: “hardwir”. Ivanova can’t puzzle out what this means; but she does discover a motive behind the increased raider attacks. Each transport was from Marsport, and was carrying morbidium, a metal used for plasma weapons.
     Ivanova sends out a report, but the next day a group of special investigators arrive from Earthforce, taking over the investigation into Ortega’s death. After interrogating Ivanova they order that Sheridan either have her arrested or placed on restricted duties, due to having contact with a terrorist. The investigators Wallace, Miyoshi, and Khatib continue to push their agenda further and further, forcing Talia to constantly scan their suspects, while Garibaldi tries to surreptitiously investigate the connection between Ortega and another suspicious death, and Ivanova puts all her effort into stopping the raiders before they can act again.
     This was a decent side story for Babylon 5. It was the type of storyline one would see in the series itself, and the characters acted like themselves (except for one bit where Ivanova gets drunk and nearly goes home with some random stranger, and is saved by Garibaldi’s Angry Big Brother act-I can’t see Ivanova actually doing this, frankly). This is set early in season 2, so Garibaldi is still a little on edge around Sheridan; and, whether deliberate or not, their interactions take on some of the tone that they had in season 4. If it was deliberate, it was good foreshadowing. We also got some tantalizing scraps for the main story arc with mentions of direct human interface with ships. *coughspiderscough*
     Overall, it was a good book and fit well into the series storyline.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: Clark's Law by Jim Mortimore

     “Clark’s Law” begins with four lies that shape the events of the Babylon 5 universe. The first is the captain that opened fired on the Minbari, claiming they fired first, and setting off the Earth-Minbari war and sparking the racism (speciesism?) that becomes a major plotpoint in the story arc. The second is Clark insisting that the reinstated capital punishment will apply to humans as well as aliens; he himself takes part in the racism of such groups as the Home Guard. The third is by G’Kar himself, after the Narns have used Centauri technology to bomb the homeworld of the Tuchanq race, promising that the Narns are only there to help the Tuchanq. The fourth lie is by the Tuchanq themselves. One of their own kills the last of the Narn with implied authorization, but the other Tuchanq insist that they will not acknowledge it happened.
     When we come to present day, we see the Tuchanq have suffered under the Narn much as the Narn suffered under the Centauri, and thanks to the machinations of Londo and his spidery friends, have thrown off their persecutors and are ready to ask the League of Non-Aligned Worlds for aid in rebuilding their planet. However, among the group that arrives on Babylon 5 is the killer known as D’Arc, responsible for the murder of the last Narns. The Tuchanq arrive and begin a ritual, but are interrupted by some Home Guard types. Ivanova is forced to stun them all, only to discover something terrible. The Tuchanq do not sleep, as that interrupts their “Song of Being”. As a result, those that were stunned will awake psychotic (sort of the opposite of how sleep affects us). D’Arc does indeed awake, more psychotic than she already was, and promptly goes to kill a human to “steal” his “Song of Being”. But during the fight she receives brain damage that leaves her with the mind of a child. With that, Babylon 5 becomes the center of a political fight over capital punishment.
     I felt that this novel was much closer to the flavor of the TV series. We are given a conundrum that has no particularly right answer (although the author gets a bit anvilicious on his own opinion, but as I’ve said before, it ain’t B5 without a few anvils), and see how this conundrum is being used by Our Villains, who, by the way, are wandering Babylon 5 and stealing changeling nets from unwitting minions and trolling Sheridan. (No, really. Sheridan, who’s been brooding over the Shadows, turns his back on his scalding soup for two seconds and when he turns back it’s cold. You tell me that isn’t the Shadows trolling.) Kosh also trolls a bit and gives Sheridan cryptically helpful advice. Lyta shows up briefly, and the author curiously decided she was deaf, although she isn’t. Ah, well. We also get a side story with Londo and G’Kar sniping at each other as usual, and a glimpse of the future Penitent!G’Kar. Overall, this was one of the better novels, well-written and riveting, with an ambiguous ending that hints at the greater story arc. Well done.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Meme Validity; or, The Effects of Logic and Redband Beer on the Intellect

Many times this image has been used to derail a particularly odd argument. It utilizes intentional silliness and alleged lack of logic to accomplish this goal. However, I have found out the truth, via truth tables no less.

My hair is a bird. This argument is valid.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Book Review: The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross

     Once again, Charles Stross manages to take something completely serious and make it…odd. Not so much hilarious, but odd.
     We find Our Hero, Bob Howard, on his way to what he thought was a typical board meeting. Instead, he finds himself put in an entanglement spell with a beautiful and deadly agent from the States, who happens to have a succubus possessing her. Suddenly Bob is thrown into a whirlwind spy adventure, given a tux, special gadgets from his genius friends, and told to get aboard an evil mastermind’s yacht. He can’t help but think there’s something oddly familiar about all this...
     Stross does an excellent job of parodying the James Bond genre, while still somehow managing to tell a completely original and compelling tale. He also manages to pull out several twists right at the end that completely reverses the James Bond stereotype, and it is magnificent. The end is also rather touching, which was surprising. Stross usually writes with his tongue firmly planted in cheek, so that bit of sentiment left the book on a rather warmer note than expected.
     Again, some of the technobabble went over my head, but again Stross explained the effects enough that it wasn’t too distracting. If you like the James Bond films or books, you’ll enjoy this.

     “Pimpf” was the short story contained with The Jennifer Morgue. Bob finds himself in charge of training an intern, only to have the intern get sucked into his MMORPG (designed for finding others like himself who like to play around with eldritch stuff too much and accidentally summon things). Bob goes virtual to save his intern, but finds that the Big Bad of his game seems to have developed a mind of her own…
     This one was really hilarious. It was short, light, and contained a cross-dressing orc. (It’s a long story.) If you’re up for some sheer nonsense then go for it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dear Ravens,

Look, just like I told the others, I'll tell you. I don't really like the 49ers, and if you screw this up for us, I

Well, I mean, I was just...joking...


Stupid eldritch horrors...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wait, What Does A Groundhog Have To Do With Christ's Presentation At The Temple?

I'm glad you asked that, blog title! Luckily I have found out that very thing. A member of the Orthodox Christian Transformations team on SparkPeople kindly posted this:

February 2 is a forgotten Christian holiday. It comes exactly 39 days after Christmas -- or the “40th day of Christmas.” If Jesus had been born on December 25 (we don’t know the exact date of His birth, but Dec. 25 is when we celebrate it), then February 2 would have been the day that Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple. (See story in Luke 2:22-38) February 2 is also known in the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church as the “Meeting of our Lord in the Temple.” 
Originally everyone in the west knew February 2 as “Candlemas Day” – the day Jesus “the light of the world” was brought in to the temple to be blessed. Thus, the years’ supply of candles for the church was blessed on that day. This holiday has been celebrated since at least the 4th century AD. "For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home.” (From http://www.stormfax.com/ghogday.htm) 
Since February 2 is at the half-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, superstitions began to arise about predicting the weather on that date:
According to an old English saying:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,Winter has another flight.If Candlemas brings clouds and rainWinter will not come again.
And from Scotland:
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,There'll be two winters in the year.
Also from Germany:
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,So far will the snow swirl until May.For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,So far will the sun shine before May.
(From http://www.stormfax.com/ghogday.htm) 
In other words, if it were a nice sunny day, that would "jinx" the weather, and it would be wintry for the next six weeks until the spring equinox. If it was bad weather and the sky was overcast, then the weather would be good thereafter until spring.
Of course, if it were a nice sunny day, a burrowing animal could come out on Candlemas (Or "The Meeting of our Lord") and see his shadow -- in Germany they said it was a badger, and in England and Ireland they said it was a hedgehog. When the settlers came to America from England, they didn't find any hedge hogs, but there were lots of Groundhogs, and so Ground Hog Day was born! (From http://www.web-holidays.com/candle/ ) 
“Let heaven’s gate be opened today. For He who is without beginning, the Word of the Father, taking a beginning in time, yet not abandoning His Godhead, is being willingly brought into the temple of the law as a babe of forty days by a Virgin Mother, and the Elder receives Him in his arms. The servant cries to the Master, ‘Release me, for my eyes have seen Your salvation’. You have come into the world to save the human race. Lord, glory to You!” ~ Menaion reading for February 2: 

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.