Pure awesome!

Every now and again, there’s something that needs no introduction, it just needs to be seen. Enjoy.

You are now freaking out!

Thanks to Nerdcore for the image.
Be seeing you.
Brian.

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Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm  Comments (4)  

Voted Off The Island – a 200 word story.

John dropped to the ground, a red, ragged hole where his eye used to be. The host lowered his pistol, eyes and hands calm, a hint of a smile on his lips. Suddenly, we were playing a whole other reality show game than the one we had signed up for.

“You voted him off the island, but I’m afraid he’s going to be around for a little while yet. Enjoy.”

He walked away, leaving the rest of the cast shocked, terrified, and suddenly suspicious of every sound, every person. There would be no more alliances, no more tribes, no more friends. There would only be survival.

They stopped delivering food after John died. By the time anyone put two and two together, Liz, Brandon, Adam, and Michael were gone, buried in our makeshift graveyard.

“We’re not supposed to bury them,” Steven said the night Michael died. No one would look at him. We all knew the truth, and hated the fucker for saying it out loud.

The vote to send Steven “off the island” was unanimous. When the torch was extinguished, we all looked at Steven. Desperate. Haunted. Hungry. As the host raised his gun every one of us was salivating.

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 3:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Nostalgia is the new creativity

This may come as something of a shock to many of you, but I’ve been a geek for a very long time.  It’s been said by people I just made up that I was born with a pocket protector.  I don’t credit that with a lot of truth.  I mean, where would I put it?  No pockets! 

Somewhat later, I would find science fiction movies.  One of the best memories I have of my father is of him taking me to see Alien when I was 10 years old.  If it didn’t scare the crap out of me, it was only because I had all my sphincters and orifices clenched airtight so I didn’t let a chestburster inside.

Good times.

These days, nostalgia is all the rage in Hollywood, with remakes and “reimaginings” cropping up more and more.  And it always seems to be the sci-fi and horror movies that get the remake treatment.  Well, them and Shakespeare.  But Kenneth Brannagh is working on Marvel’s THOR movie, so he can’t step up this year.  Instead, we get CLASH OF THE TITANS and TRON LEGACY.  Personally, I couldn’t be more excited.

CLASH OF THE TITANS takes the darker, grittier atmosphere of movies like 300 and [insert Ridley Scott movie title here], and applies it to the old Harry Hamlin meets Ray Harryhausen’s special effects classic.  Instead of the stop-motion glory of Harryhausen, we’ll be getting bucketloads of CGI, but if the trailer is anything to go by, they seem to doing it right.  Tell me the Kraken won’t look awesome on a giant screen:

TRON LEGACY is a sequel to the 1982 classic TRON.  While I may be abusing the word “classic” a bit, it is one of my favorite movies, and one that still holds up 28 years later.  One of the first movies to use CGI extensively, it depicted the inner world of the computer programs with bursts of color and imagination.  TRON LEGACY updates that cyber world, but not as much as one might expect.  If you’ve seen the original film, or played the video game based on the movie, you’ll undoubtedly recall the giant Recognizers, and the light cycle battle arena:

Recognizer from TRON.

They both make appearances in the new film, and while they’ve been given a shiny new bitmap, they’re instantly recognizable to a TRON fan:

Recognizer from Tron LegacyLight Cycle from Tron Legacy

To me, this is how you do it right.  You honor the source, and put your own spin on it.  Too many of the remakes are just dead shells of the originals filled with crappy effects and actors who are so unconvincing, they likely couldn’t sell beer at the Super Bowl.  Admittedly, I’ve been suckered in and bitterly disappointed by an exciting trailer before (I’m looking at you, Ang Lee’s HULK movie), but the TRON LEGACY trailer made me laugh out loud with excitement.  Can we just skip straight to December so I can see this tomorrow? (Thanks to Slashfilm for the news about the trailer.)

For the record, Ridley Scott is going to direct a prequel to his original ALIEN movie.  My adult self rolls his eyes, and prepares for another tired rehash.  The kid in me, the one who’s geeking out over the new CLASH and TRON?  He just wishes he could go see it with his dad.

Be seeing you.
Brian.

Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  

The thing that should not be…

Since the dawn of mankind, when the first caveman dipped his chocolate in another one’s peanut butter, mixing things has been a time-honored tradition. We combine flavors, sounds, images, and sometimes the mixture transcends the sum of its parts. But we know, deep in our lizard brain, that some things are so fundamentally opposed to one another that the merest hint of contact between them could bring us all to our doom in a fiery, screaming cataclysm.

Had you asked me yesterday, I would have said that a cappella and heavy metal was without a doubt one of those combinations. It is a failing of mine that if someone says “this is horrific, you must not look”, then I am COMPELLED to click that link. I have to see it for myself. Because hey, if people really do win the lottery, then maybe it won’t be a mind-flaying dose of psychic horror THIS time. I’ve never won the lottery, but today, I discovered Van Canto. They’re a 6-piece German group featuring a drummer and five vocalists who do a cappella covers of heavy metal songs. And I’ll be damned if they don’t rock that shit out. It doesn’t hurt that each singer is good enough to front their own band. They cover songs by the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Nightwish and MANOWAR! Yes, they are the Kings of a cappella Metal.

Behold, Metallica’s “Battery” by Van Canto:

Be seeing you.
Brian.

ps. Because not ALL combinations are good, and because I do not really love you, there’s this:

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

The unfolding…

Okay, I was going to limit myself to one post a day, for my own sanity if nothing else, but then I found this:

art of a woman coming apart in an artful way

Click to embiggen. (opens in a new window)

I don’t know who the artist is.  If you do, tell me, please!  This is the most horrifically beautiful thing I’ve seen in quite some time.  I found it on a Russian Live Journal photoblog called мисс “пардоньте за сиськи”, which near as I can figure translates to “Miss ‘Pardon for Boobs'”.  There are some quite interesting pieces of art and photography on there.  As you can imagine from the name, a good chunk of it is NSFW.  But hey, where else are you going to find boobs on the internet?

Be seeing you.
Brian.

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

“We don’t use the ‘Z’ word” – a 200 word story

Of COURSE I had a will when I died.  Left everything to my wife.  She doesn’t want anything to do with me now.  Guess I can’t blame her.   Comets pass the Earth all the goddamn time, and don’t do anything but give cults a reason to off themselves.  How the fuck was I supposed to know this one’s different?

Shit, I’m just glad I went from a damned heart attack.  I don’t smell too pretty, but at least I’ve got an intact brain.  There’s a reason you don’t see too many accident victims or stroke patients looking to get back into the world.  A little too close to the Romero standard, y’know?

Anyway, now that the dead are back and looking for work, they’re taking all the jobs that the illegals and high school kids used to take.  Well, not fast food.  We’ve got some standards.  The guy that owns this place, his kid drowned in their pool, so he’s got some sympathy for us Post-Mortem Americans.

So that’s my story.  Now, unless you want me to eat your brains, I humbly suggest you buy your smokes and lottery tickets and get the fuck out.  Thanks for shopping at Z-Mart.

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm  Comments (1)  

Peter Watts’ BLINDSIGHT – The cure for your incessent optimism.

So-called “hard” science fiction has never been known for its emotional hooks.  A lot of hard SF reads like Tom Clancy In Space, with an almost pornographic attention to the machines, the aliens, and the science, without the annoying distractions of emotionally involving characters or a deeply moving story.  Characters are frequently whatever poly-fiber nano-weave sheets that replaced cardboard in the later stages of the AfterTheBadThing Wars.

YOUR favorite hard SF writer is, of course, a complete exception to this rule.

Peter Watts’ ‘Blindsight’ is the rare example of a hard science fiction novel that revels in its attention to scientific detail, while still evoking, in this reader at least, a surprising amount of emotional response.

Like, say, despair, ennui, and a vague existential dread.

In 2082, thousands of object surround the Earth, give off a massive radio burst, then disintegrate.  Now aware that they have been scanned by aliens, the Earth sends the Theseus, with its crew of misfits and monsters: a woman who has split her brain into four distinct segments, each with its own personality (effectively turning it into a quad-core processor), a man who has made himself into a super-synaesthetic, so that he can ‘taste x-rays and see ultrasound, an emotionally scarred ‘pacifist warrior’, a synthesist, whose job it is to make intellectual connections and understand the circumstances of their mission, and their captain, a genetically re-created vampire.  Their mission: to investigate the alien presence, whether it wants them to or not.  As the crew struggles to understand beings that are far more alien than any of them, the reader is left questioning the nature of intelligence, and whether consciousness may just be an evolutionary dead-end.

While I count it as one of my all-time favorite novels, ‘Blindsight’ is not a chipper book.  It packs a hard emotional punch, and will stick with you for days.  A blurb on Watts’ blog says “Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts.”  While I have yet to be driven to nihilistic despair by his work, I did notice a decided uptick in the amount of black that I wore.  I couldn’t sayfor certain whether this was due to Watts’ book, or whether all that heavy metal really had turned me evil like my grandma always believed it would.  Give it a try, and find out for yourself.

To buy ‘Blindsight’, click the book cover below.  Proceeds from the Amazon Affiliate go to AZASSIST, a non-profit support organization for teens and young adults on the Autism Spectrum, as well as their parents. [Disclaimer: my wife Cinder is a co-founder of AZASSIST.]

Buy ‘Blindsight’ from Amazon.com:

Also, if you are a fan of the John Carpenter version of ‘The Thing’, and how could you not be, Watts published a story called ‘The Things’, which retells the story from the alien’s (or aliens’) point(s) of view.  It made me love the movie even more.   It can be read for free online at Clarkesworld MagazineWatts also has a blog, which deals with science, technology, and his arrest and beating by American Border Patrol guards.  Damned shifty Canadians and their intolerable politeness.   So, check him out all over the place.  Tell him Brian sent you.  Even if he doesn’t ask.

Be seeing you.
Brian.

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm  Comments (4)  

Cardiacs – sideways pop for the jittery and oblique

There was a moment where I thought unremitting evil would overwhelm me, and my first real post on this blog would be an in-depth dissection of the tragically non-award-winning cinematic masterpiece that is ‘Spice World’, the Spice Girls movie.  Then I realized that there wasn’t much point in even attempting a blog if no one was going to read past the second post.  That in mind, I decided to tackle one of my favorite bands, Cardiacs.  I’ll save ‘Spice World’ for my hundredth post.  The anticipation will do you good.

The sound of Cardiacs:  there is a lorry, carrying an old calliope, hurtling down a winding road in the English countryside.  The driver has been mainlining meth for days, and his body has had altogether enough of his nonsense.  His heart fails before the brakes can, and the vehicle hurtles straight into a pub where a punk band is whipping a crowd into a frothing frenzy.  In the aftermath of the collision, aliens draw an cross-section of carnage up into their ship.  With a near-miraculous ability to reshape and repair bodies, matched by a horrific lack of knowledge of the human form, they cobble together a skittering, chaotic wall of circus-flavored punk mutant madness.

If you’d like to hear more, their entire back catalogue is available at the iTunes store.

Be seeing you,
Brian.

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 12:47 am  Comments (1)  

Greetings, programs!

Welcome to the Experience.  I’m your host, Brian McDonald.

In generations to come, men will speak of the days before the Experience as if it were myth.  Distant, hazy, and long forgotten.  They may doubt that such a time truly existed, that there was ever a time before the Hellsquids crawled into their imaginations and took hold.  But it is true, my friends, far too true that before today, the Experience was purely a glimmer in my fevered brain.

The Hellsquids are an in-joke, somehow intertwined with all the nonsense that rattles around in my headmeat on a nearly continual basis.  The Experience is my attempt at infecting you with my reality.  I’ll be posting music, art, books, comics, links, and anything else that catches my attention long enough to bookmark.  I like strange stuff, sometimes even good stuff, and hopefully you’ll like it too.  I may also post some fiction from time to time, especially my new experiment, 200 Word Stories.  You have been warned.

I hope you enjoy the Experience.  Tell your friends, your enemies, or random passersby.  Whatever gets eyes on the screen.

Be seeing you.

Brian.

Published in: on March 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment