I Once Was Lost

January 31, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After 8 months on hiatus ABC’s Lost returns to TV tonight!

So set those TiVos:  8pm for the 1 hour 3-season recap, and 9pm for the premier that I’ve heard will blow our mind-holes.

It’s the best show left on TV, so don’t miss it.



January 24, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Media | 15 Comments

A friend’s 16-year-old brother recently called Cloverfield the best movie he has ever seen, which of course is not true for me, but I can certainly see where he is coming from. It is refreshing for a film that is as hyped, as slickly marketed, as talked about, and that opens as big as Cloverfield did to not end up a disappointing work devoid of all merit beyond being a pop cultural phenomena. It is a visceral and exciting bit of filmmaking that leverages the culture of young Americans (youtube, melodrama, the angst and confusion of post-9/11 life) to tell a monster-eats-Manhattan story in a fresh way. The films verite style works really well and does not feel gimmicky or contrived but rather genuinely increases the tension and creepiness of the story. It certainly is one of the better examples of 1st person perspective working in cinema that I can think of. I’ve also heard the film called a “one trick pony,” and to be fair it does feel that way at times but when the trick works as well as the obfuscating camera-work in Cloverfield does how many more tricks do you need? But there are a few others up Cloverfield’s sleeves, perhaps not tricks as much as conventions and gotchyas, be enough to keep you huddled in your seat and ready to jump.

The films flaws, first in mind being the horror-film stupid characters, were down-played enough to not impact my enjoyment of the legitimate scares which come, more often than not, through the films reference to one of the most horrifying moments of our real lives. I speak, of course, of 9/11. Not including the Hollywood pictures about 9-11, none of which I have seen, Cloverfield deals with the horror and anxiety of the attacks more directly and better than any film in recent memory. I can only imagine the impact it has on the teenaged populace that the film was marketed so heavily towards. My friend’s brother was 8 or 9 when the towers fell. Certainly old enough to realize that a momentous evens had occurred that would change his life, but I don’t know how much understanding a 9-year-old could have as to why zealots flew planes into our buildings or how exactly things were going to change. Hell, it is hard enough for adults to understand, as the war in Iraq will attest to. Then to spend nearly half your life living in “post 9-11 society” only to be confronted by a monster movie that frames that tragedy in a way that is both cinematically novel, as well as in your own generation’s visual language (again: DV, Youtube, etc,) must have been extremely powerful. And clearly it has resonated very strongly with the teens that I’ve talked to about it.

And that is obviously the true strength of the film. Not the ‘cheep’ scares, rare gory moment (though those were all extremely effective,) or even impressive VFX monster but the perspective it offers on such a culturally significant event. Monster Movies have always been about our fears as any Essay on Godzilla will tell you. It is important to note that Cloverfield doesn’t “play off” of 9-11 or “subconsciously evoke” it, as I’ve read in other review, but rather trades in the fears, horror, insecurity and confusion of 9-11. While the monsters origins are clearly stated in Godzilla, the ‘whys and hows’ of the giant and horrible monster that rises from the sea in Cloverfield are hardly touched on, and frankly don’t really matter. It is the destruction and sorrow left in its wake that is important. A direct reflection of our paranoia that amorphous and poorly defined terrorists could strike anywhere, at anytime, using any one of a number of horrible weapons that the media shows us at every opportunity. This allusion to the millennium’s defining event is Cloverfield’s greatest strength and what will set it apart from the scads of monster blockbusters that will inevitably get produced once the WGA strike ends, as well as the best reason to go out and see it.

Now We’re Cookin!

January 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Spicy Pork and Chili-Pepper Goulash”
Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

Julie and I worked on a few goals for the new year (resolution sounds too bureaucratic) this weekend, and ended up with a metric shit-ton of Spicy Pork and Chile-pepper goulash in the fridge. You can read all about it in my flickr set.

One of our aforementioned goals for the year is to cook a large/complex/long meal on Sundays that will feed us for at least the first part of the week, I am going to do my best to document them on flickr and/or here.  I’ve started a “collection” on flickr for all the meals, and we will see how long Jules and I can keep it up.   We are already planning a ribs and sausage stew using Julie’s Grandfathers homemade Hungarian Sausage, Chili for the super-bowl, and a couple other meals that will take advantage of the new enameled cast-iron dutch oven that we picked up on deep discount over the weekend.

This ties into one of my other goals for the year: to reduce the amount of crap that I purchase.  This is really part of the larger major goal for the year of eliminating our consumer debt so that we can move towards other major-life-goals.  The less money spent on crap will also help us on the 2nd major goal for the year:  to kill less Polar Bears.  Sure, ‘going green’ is hip and trendy for 2008 but that is no reason to NOT try to minimize our environmental impact.  More on that later, it should be easy in comparison to the breaking of my in-grained spending habits.

One way I’ve come up with to help not buying more crap is to ask myself, “Will I still be using this in 2 years?” before making the purchase.  Julie and I will feasibly still be cooking in our new dutch oven in 10 or 20 years so I didn’t even blink at the $70 investment (plus, do you know how much a name-brand 7qt dutch oven goes for?)  I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up the crap-purchasing embargo, and I’m not sure how this rule will apply to media purchases (especially videogames,) but it has already prevented be from buying one of those mini R/C Helicopters…

Two! In One Day! ZOMG!

January 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How is this for reheating old content?

I’m going to try, on every friday (though in all honestly probbaly just today,) to post up a ‘from the archives’ post of ‘classic Octopushat.’  Basically I have too much fun reading my own archives, and now I am going to submit you to them as well.

The inagural “Octopushat Friday Flashback!” (here after OFF!) is from the heady days of 2005. Friday January 28th, 2005 to be exact:

“Almost Over
I can hardly believe that today is Friday. This week seemed to exist outside the normal flow of space-time. Or was that just me? I dunno, when the Monday morning starts off crappy, and only gets worse from there, the pressure exerted by this ever-increasing poop-mound crushes the very ability to reconcile the passage of time from whatever dark recesses of my lizard-brain are responsible those functions.

Just to recap, on my way to my car Monday morning I discovered my car had been burgled; its passenger window shattered and my stereo brutally mined from the dash. The weather men shamans foretold of more coming rains, so a replacement window had to installed ASAP. Then we discovered one downfall to my once-new job: a new and inglorious tax bracket. The bulbous and unlubricated phallus of the federal tax code erased our sugar-plum dreams of a no-stress spring jaunt to Vegas and left us wondering how to prevent this next year. That was Monday. The week continued along these lines, spiraling to a near comic level of unpleasantness. Until today where the usually bearable office chaos has escalated into something akin to a big-top circus fire mixed with a bank robbery. I would really like to just curl up in a dark corner somewhere with innumerable prescription drugs.

But I think I can finally begin to see the light at the end of 5:59.”

That was enjoyable… have a good weekend everyone!

Lets Try THIS Again, Shall We?

January 18, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’ve said it before, but I’m going to put in more of an effort to actually post to the blog. So much to say that I get overwhelmed by actually saying it and end up not posting.

So, here is a braindump:

  • Vegas was tits. An amazing and ledgendary trip.
  • Bouchon was one of the big highlights of the trip. Kobe-style pork short-ribs cooked sous-vid for 36 hours. I’m dubbed the meal “The Incredible never ending porkathon.”
  • Halo3 is far funner than I had imagined it would be. Having a designated time to play set-up w/ a group helps a lot.
  • The Xbox360 in general is a blast. The funnest system since the dreamcast.
  • Rockband is an amazing and thrilling experience. Redefines the party-game genre.
  • I’ve been sick for nearly 3 months straight and I’m really fucking tired of it. Can’t wait to be able to smoke a cigar or (my recently revisited) pipe.
  • New Years Resolutions are, in no real order: buy less shit. Cook more and eat better. Try not to kill any polar bears (mainly by minimizing my use of plastic bags).
  • The D40 is still a joy and I’m getting some great results. Lets see if I can’t make some more $$ with it this year…
  • No Country For Old Men is the best movie of 2007, JUST beating out Zodiac
  • “In Rainbows” the new radiohead Album is awesome*awesome.  It is awesome squared.
  • The ‘television renaissance’ that I posited about in past years is dead and buried. TV is a fucking wasteland that has Jules and I seriously considering shit-canning cable and the beloved TiVo.
  • only 6 months way from THIRTY. Still coming to grips with that.
  • Lost is back in 2 weeks.
  • I hope the Cloverfield monster is Cthulhu
  • That is all. Carry on.

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