So busy lately…I’m very much behind on these dispatches. A little restitution tonight I suppose.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition
A superb documentary about the 1914-1916 journey to Antarctica by Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of two dozen. Their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in ice floes and they spent more than a year surviving in the arctic before escaping–and every man returned alive. It’s a harrowing ordeal. This documentary benefits from the trip being so well-documented: several crew members kept journals, which are quoted extensively, and actual motion-picture footage shot by a crew member–as well as numerous photographs–adds greatly to the project. Solid work, with an exceptional subject. (Also look for The Forbidden Quest, a superbly creepy fictional documentary about a Lovecraftian expedition to the south pole that enters a mystical realm–it uses footage from the Shackleton expedition as part of the film.)
We convened the Bad Movie Club to go check out this gold-plated turkey, and sure enough it was terrible. Not delightfully terrible, though. It’s no Battlefield Earth or Mission to Mars. Still, it had its moments of sublime stupidity. The devil dog that projectile-vomited maggots in a fire-hose volume was a real standout, as were the wisecracking severed heads. Crud-dee.
Bleh. Uninspired Ripper flick that methodically sands off all the sharp edges from the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. At every turn, the film embraces convention and mediocrity where the source material demands anything but. I recall enjoying the Hughes brothers’ last film, Dead Presidents, and this was a disappointment.
Last Friday Karen and I went to a pretty interesting art exhibit. It was called Seclusion. We arrived at the gallery at about 7pm with a tent, sleeping bags, etc., and were loaded onto vans with the windows blacked out. They then drove us for about an hour to the proverbial undisclosed location, which proved to be a little house in the woods. We pitched tents and then were ready for the exhibit proper.
The organizers marked trails through the woods with long strings of Christmas lights. Along the trails were various art installations. The night was pitch black, and as a special bonus it rained the entire time. It was also rather cold.
But the effect was terrific: stumbling through the wet and the dark, in the muck and the tree roots and the vines, following a pulsing, dotted line of light into the gloom, and occasionally some bizarre display emerging from the shadows.
In a normal gallery, little of the art would have really impressed me. But the environment made it all worthwhile.
The next morning, we emerged to still more rain. The organizers made us all breakfast, and then we packed our sodden selves back into the vans and returned to civilization. All told, it was a pretty fantastic event and a real pleasure.
Lots of stuff going on, and the result is that I’m just stupid busy. The X-Box videogame I’m working on has gotten back on track, after several months where the development team was sidetracked on another game in the same studio. These guys are Bungie Studios, now owned by Microsoft. The game I’m writing for hasn’t been announced yet, so I can’t say anything about it. But work on it has resumed now that their game Halo has wrapped up, and I’m back writing stuff for them.
At the same time, I’m trying to finish laying out the Godlike roleplaying game. It’s not quite as big as Delta Green: Countdown, but it’s big–360 pages.
My movie-review work for Tablet continues, though somewhat slowly given that it’s a bi-weekly paper. I wrote the first installment of my new monthly column recently, and it’ll be out sometime soon. I’ll link to the online version when the paper is published. Today I went to a press screening of Endurance, and tomorrow I’m picking up a video screener of a new film called The American Astronaut. I know nothing about this latter film except for what I just saw on IMDB, which is that it’s apparently a sci-fi musical comedy. Hot dang! That should be curious. Anyway, I’ll be writing reviews of both films for Tablet later this week.
Finally, I’m talking with a small computer-game studio in town about a project and spent some time this week working on the proposal. It’s something I’m pretty enthused about…we’ll see what happens.
Karen and I went to a pumpkin-carving party recently. I carved my pumpkin with a large heart and the word “LOVE”. Why? I dunno. It just seemed like the thing to do. I’ve always had a streak of perverse defiance in me, and I guess this is how it manifested for the season. Peculiar.
Tomorrow night is Halloween, a holiday I usually enjoy and look forward to. Last year was fantastic–the Pagan Publishing 10th Anniversary Party was a smashing success. But this year, the HPL Film Festival was so close to Halloween, and I’ve been so damn busy this month, that I just don’t have any enthusiasm. Karen is in the same boat, very busy with a book illustration project. I think we’re just going to curl up and watch a scary movie–I’m thinking of showing her the original version of The Haunting.
I’m pretty consistently broke these days, which is difficult. This year I’ve taken on auto insurance, a work studio rental, and a laptop lease, with the result being that my monthly expenses have tripled. But given that they were almost non-existent before, that’s not saying much. It’s a good lesson for me–I need to get used to finding ways to earn more money. Living at the poverty level for years on end can be comfortable, in a weird sort of way, but at some point you realize that you aren’t getting any younger and you need to change your life around.