- An Outtake from Word Freak: The Enigmatic Nigel Richards. Possibly the world’s greatest Scrabble player…though he doesn’t take much enjoyment from the game. [via]
- Israeli Man Changes Name to Mark Zuckerberg to goad the company into suing him. I have no love for Facebook, but his company seems like a pretty clear violation of Facebook’s terms of service, and the man himself seems like an ass.
- Jon Scalzi on the “flying snowman”:
This is not to say that, when encountering fantasy work, one has to abandon all criticism. But if you’re going to complain about one specific element as being unrealistic, you should consider the work in its totality and ask whether in the context of the work, this specific thing is inconsistent with the worldbuilding.
- Zach Handlen on the TV adaptation of Bag of Bones:
A good genre story is designed in such a way as to distract you from its inner machinations. Intellectually, you can go back and say, yes, this was a scene of rising action, this was a character development moment, this was a piece of information that will become crucial later on, this was was a resolution of an earlier mystery. Everyone quotes Chekhov’s comment on a gun in act one going off in act two, and at heart, that’s all stories really are: First you load the pistol, then you aim it, then someone pulls the trigger. It’s a method of delivery for a series of stimuli designed to provoke audience response, and the better the book, movie, or TV show, the less time you spend thinking about the mechanics of the process, and the more time you spend luxuriating in the response.
I have to admit, I kind of want to see it now.
- I noted this on Twitter, but it bears repeating: if you’re offended just by the idea that some Americans are not Christian…then you are a bigot.
- Terry Gilliam continues to dream the impossible dream.
- As much as I think I’d love any movie where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy do nothing but talk to one another, I kind of hope they don’t make another Before Sunrise movie. The two, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset work so well together, and I feel like revisiting the characters would be going to the well one too many times. (They also appear in Waking Life together.) Still, I’m willing to be proven wrong.
- A gorgeous photo of the Milky Way from the top of the world [via]
- Speech Synthesizer Could ‘Resurrect’ Dead Singers. I think that sound you’re hearing is the echo along the Uncanny Valley. [via]
- And finally, some wonderful bedtime stories from Doctor Who cast members:
- “The days of aliens spouting gibberish with no grammatical structure are over…” Creating a new language for A Game of Thrones
- Along the same lines, 20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world. I particularly like
Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start” [via]
- Are we truly living in the age of fanfiction?
What’s been truly bizarre, though, is the way the mainstream has slowly headed in the same direction, and without anyone noticing it, we seem to have handed over our entire industry to the creation of fanfiction on a corporate level, and at this point, I’m not sure how we’re expecting the pendulum to ever swing back. I know people love to blame Spielberg and Lucas for creating the modern blockbuster age, but at least when they decided to pay tribute to their inspirations, they did so in interesting ways. Spielberg has talked about how his frustrations at hearing that only English filmmakers could direct James Bond movies led to the creation of Indiana Jones, and Lucas was working out his love of Flash Gordon when he created “Star Wars.” Those are healthy ways to work through your love of something, and absolutely make sense as important pieces in the creative process. What’s scary is how these days, filmmakers wouldn’t bother with that last step, the part where you take your inspirations and run them through your own filter. Now, instead, we live in an age where we are simply doing the source material again and again and again, and where original creation seems to be almost frowned upon as a “risk.” [via]
- See also: they’re re-making Starship Troopers. And The Munsters. As a “dramatic re-imagining.”
- It’s so sad to see Monty Python members fight among themselves.
- Blackwater is changing its name. This is like if the Devil started asking us to call him Gus.[via]
- David Milch to adapt William Faulkner? I am so there.
- They’re coming to crowd-fund you, Barbara… ‘Living Dead’ Fans Digging Up Funds to Keep Chapel from Going Under
- Bruce Wayne’s medical records [via]
- And finally, I haven’t seen the new Tintin movie, but this fan-made opening sequence is really quite wonderful. [via]
- PETA really doesn’t know how to pick its battles, does it?
- The feminist movie of 2011? Would you believe Thor?
- Klingon language helps man deal with dyslexia [via]
- Kevin Clash has been listening to Adele recently. Uh oh. Is Elmo going to get all maudlin now?
- And finally, literary devices. I think we could all use the Great Golden Hammer of Hyperbole from time to time.
- I put no stock whatsoever in the Tarot (beyond what the individual being “read” reads into it), but Alexander Chee’s article on it is surprisingly interesting:
Fortunetelling is easy to ridicule, frequently misunderstood, and, for some people, extremely powerful. Unfortunately, what’s very tough to predict is what reading futures will do to the person with the cards. [via]
- Terry Gilliam on the making of Brazil. [via]
- Jack The Cat Found After Two Months In JFK Airport. There’s no way the film rights to this haven’t already been bought. [via]
- 13 Punctuation Marks That You Never Knew Existed. Unless, of course, you did. Or unless, like me, you think some of these are maybe more accurately referred to as typesetting marks. But, hey, a list!
- And finally, Google lately seems bound and determined to make their products more difficult to use, don’t they?
- I don’t think I’m actually going to be using this, and not least of all because I almost never use Chrome or its extensions, but this is interesting: Jailbreak the Patriarchy, an extension that gender-swaps all the pronouns. [via]
- The YA Paranormal Drinking Game [via]
- “It has come to our attention that Ayn Rand was in fact a self-serving sociopath. We regret the error.” Copies of the Atlas Shrugged DVD pulled because they (very mistakenly) called it a “timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice” [via]
- Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home will be a musical. That’s…interesting.
- And finally, these Paranormal United States [via]