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Happy birthday sir
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Back again.
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Happy Birthday Sir!!!

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Best wishes, sir!

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NOTE: SPOILERS IN THIS COMMENTARY, but I will shove them into the back of the file, and warn you to stop reading before I start spoiling. Or, spoiling the movie, I’m not spoiled… Okay, sometimes I buy myself ice cream when I haven’t done my chores, but… I digress.


Now, on to the show.  

I have always wanted to make myself a Godzilla costume. I love Halloween and Cosplay. (Even though I never got to go to a Sci-Fi Con in costume. I blame my ex.) I tend to go all out, though, when I do a suit. So my Frankenstein’s Monster costume consistently won awards. My evil clown would freak zombies out and make them shamble to the other side of the street to avoid me during the annual zombie crawl, and my sons’ costumes would rock too.

I research my costumes. My Frankenstein (note: the monster, not the doc, but you get it) had to have bolts in the neck, not in the forehead or something else lame. My son’s Solomon Grundy had the poem carved on his tombstone…details…

So when, in a fit of insanity, I made it a bucket list goal to build a Godzilla suit, I wanted it to be AUTHENTIC. Something immediately recognizable as the big G. And using the same slow research I did when I built my MAME arcade cabinet (which is awesome and plays thousands of games), I ended up watching a LOT of Godzilla movies. I may have missed one, but I think I have seen them all. (Shudder).

What? A G-Fan shudders!?

Okay, let’s be honest here. This is not Shakespeare. This is rarely A-list material. Some of it is verifiably awful. (it’s even been MST3k’d, if that can be used as a verb). And through the Showa, Heisei, Millennium series, the amount of screen time, the costume, and certain details have CHANGED. And don’t get me started on the cartoon and American “Zilla”. Heights change. The Atomic Breath changed. The face, the spines on its back, even its attitude changed.  

BUT! Like the old SCOTUS Justice Potter Stewart said referring to something completely unrelated, “I know it when I see it…” That means, that even though they kept rebuilding the suit for each new movie, resulting in a different variation on the theme, you knew it was Godzilla when you saw it.   (And you sir, are no Godzilla, so take that beast and Ferris Bueller and leave our sight).  

The Legendary 2014 Godzilla is the real deal. Yes, it is shaped differently than the last rubber suit iteration, and it is worlds better than the original. It has a reptilian head, three rows of spines, four claws on its front arms, and a wicked long tail.   It is sufficiently massive, and has the trademarked blue atomic breath weapon. The movie pays proper homage to its origins, and keeps the “force of nature” vibe that made the big G a nigh-indestructible god-like creature of the depths.

NOTE: Next part of this commentary contains stuff that was either shown in the trailer or the promotional materials.    If you haven’t seen the movie, or the trailers, or shopped at TOYS-R-Expensive, stop reading now and go see the movie unspoiled.

I mean it, stop reading now.

I will probably slip in some real juicy spoilers from here on out so STOP READING.

There is a monster at the end of this book. Bonus Points if you get the reference.




Ha! Fooled you. That’s the spoiler of another movie.


Okay, the movie follows Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who, after KickAss 1&2, used his money to attend the Clint Eastwood School of acting, but with less squinting. A mysterious nuclear reactor accident in Japan takes the life of his mother, Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche), and a lot of the rationality of his dad. In a truly poignant scene, Joe Brody (Brian Cranston) is forced to slam the security hatch shut before Sandra can get to safety. Joe then watches through the porthole as the radiation mutates her into SHE-HULK!

No, wait, that’s not right…

Oh yeah, she died.

But the expressions on her face, and the few lines she had, really spoke volumes. Great acting.

Flash forward to now, and Ford is returning to be with his family after EOD deployment. Being a bomb guy requires nerves of steel and the ability to stay calm in a crisis, so perhaps we can forgive Aaron for being a bit wooden. No sooner is he home, than he has to fly to Japan to bail Joe out of jail. Joe has been pursuing his conspiracy theories (complete with walls of news clippings, photos, colored yarn, etc) about the reactor disaster, and convinces his son to (TRON REFERENCE) accompany him back in the dead zone so he can find his data! (small sub-note here… the guy has a PHD and he couldn’t put it all neatly on a laptop he regularly backs up? No… tack it all over his wall… that makes sense. And an active duty soldier on leave is NOT going to go out knowing breaking laws in a foreign country…so much for his security clearance).

They make it back to their old home in Japan, but no radiation, no mutates, happy birthday banner still hanging. (Hi Mothra easter egg) They find the Iomega Zip Disks (geek points for me being able to identify the media, and points to the movie for NOT making the computers do stuff that was not reasonable). And immediately get captured. (Sorry, I guess Ford was distracted; but I would half expect him to be able to take them down, non-lethally even, but that wouldn’t move the plot along so….)

Joe’s research provides a key confirming point, and then the plot went on without him and he dies.

Ford, having been surrounded by death in active duty, doesn’t react much when his dad bites it. I guess he was more concerned about the giant monster that now was looking for its mate, when his own mate is thousands of miles away. Good news! Both females are going to be in the same relative area pretty soon, so catching a ride from Japan to San Francisco by way of Hawaii should be pretty easy.

Finally, after some more teases, we get the first reveal of Godzilla. And hoooo boy! If you saw the movie on premiere night like I did (twice!) You had some serious G-fans cheering!


Now we have Godzilla apparently chasing after the male flying MUTO, swimming in the Pacific, surrounded by naval vessels with no understanding of personal space.   Okay, it’s a cool shot, but really, those carriers would have kept a more respectful distance of a giant monster.    Meanwhile mama MUTO is hiking across country from her weekend in Vegas, to settle down in Chinatown and make lots of little MUTO babies.   Along the way, Ford pops in, catching a ride on the train of death, to help deliver a nuclear warhead (hereafter listed as the plot device) that has been retrofitted with an older clockwork detonator that is immune to the EMP pulses the MUTO generate. It was supposed to be bait to lure the MUTO couple out to sea where the raw power of a modern nuke warhead would destroy them.   Unfortunately the nuke gets hijacked by papa MUTO and taken directly into the city that Elle Brody and their son Sam both live in, so Ford must save the day.   So while the MUTO family prepares to confront Godzilla, the Brody family (note to self, if I ever meet someone with that last name, I am running away. Giant Sharks, Giant Monsters, they are just trouble magnets) is trying to escape them.

Ford, in a shining moment of clarity, remembers that third reel scene from Aliens and sets off a gasoline explosion to wipe out the baby MUTO eggs. Then tries to catch up to the rest of the team that is shuffling a damaged nuke onto a ferry boat (Whale Tours, now with deluxe EMP proof GPS navigation!) (Yes I get the double reference… Whale being part of the Gojira name, and the Brody vessel the Orca (whale)(yes another Jaws egg …they need a bigger boat). Then Ford collapses, (why) and lays helpless in the boat. (Okay, either he is trying to pilot it, or if he knows its on autopilot (WTF) then why isn’t he grabbing a life jacket and getting away from the TICKING NUKE! (This isn’t Dark Knight Rises, how is a slow tour boat going to reach minimum safe distance for a nuke! What is the minimum safe distance for a nuke with a yield that dwarfs the original 1954 nukes?)

Wait a minute…

Why am I worried about any of that?

This is a GODZILLA movie. None of the science has to make sense.

So, let’s get to the good stuff. The fight between Godzilla and the MUTO monsters!

This, my friends, is the payoff, the part that makes all the illogic worthwhile. Big wrestling, crushing buildings, then, THE BLUE GLOW.    That glow that makes the G-fans in the theater start hooting like excited apes near the monolith, as the glow starts at Godzilla’s tail and runs up his spine, and we all know that the MUTO gonna get it! The fights did not disappoint the fans. The male MUTO gets slammed to death by a full on tail swipe into a building. THAT, my friends, was how Showa Godzilla got it done! That tail was used as a real weapon. And in a moment of irony, that same tail swipe triggered a building to land on Godzilla, knocking him down for a bit. But true to the Godzilla series, it would take far more than that to take down the Big G. The final climatic fight scene with Godzilla literally blasting his atomic breath down the throat of the female MUTO was a crowd pleaser.

The only non-monster character needed in the sequel is Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe). Rumors suggest that along with Godzilla, Mothra may be the next classic monster brought back for Monster Island.   Then again, maybe a MUTO survived.

Seeing the movie made me glad I decided to model my GODZILLA COSTUME PROJECT (see my facebook page of that name) after the Legendary Godzilla. I am building a suit, with internal cooling, sound effects, led lights for the spines and nitrous dump valve port for the atomic breath. I am going to control the effects from inside the suit, but unlike any other G-suit on record, I am using an Oculus Rift headset inside to see and control all the effects. No peeking through mesh or tiny eyeholes in the chest. Total ridiculous overkill.

But hey, its Godzilla, y’all.

-Lawrence Brown

Basementarcade at gmail

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My oldest son is out on his own.  Are there any books on coping when you stop helping him and let him fail?
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Originally posted by ursulav at A Dark Elf Solstice
Our D&D campaign has a tradition of doing a holiday story every year (or in the case of some of our members, holiday art--Lizardbeth made us AWESOME icons, and Natasha drew the entire party as reindeer.) Since I had this small saga of how the party's dark elf butler spent the holidays, I figured I'd share, for the possibly vague amusement of those of you who follow our D&D campaign.

If you don't have at least a passing knowledge of the Forgotten Realms setting, this is probably somewhat nonsensical, but most of it can be explained by saying that the books about drow were largely written for teenagers in the darkest throes of Angsty Angstness.

Useful knowledge: We acquired a dark elf butler by virtue of Rooster the paladin converting him to the worship of the Silver Weasel. Drow-Bob now runs our castle/tilapia farm. (Yes, the party has a tilapia farm. Castles don't pay for themselves. And we needed a place to put the ranger's hydra.) Ceri is our kleptomaniacal thief who cannot be left alone with anything shiny. Wilhelmina the gnome is our primary healer/brewmaster.

In this campaign, orphans are one of the always-evil races and the Order of the Silver Weasel burns orphanages whenever possible, to prevent Children of the Corn scenarios. (Don't question the logistics here. It's just that sort of campaign...)

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Ennui.  My life is really weird lately, folks.
On the one hand, I never lack for projects, I just feel so unmotivated.  Yes, some-okay-most of them are waiting as funding becomes available.  My kids are complaining that it takes me forever to complete things.

But (and I realize all explanations are excuses, so, yeah – this is me venting a bit.) My foot hurts so much lately that walking and dancing are HARD.    My butt hurts from the surgery I had this last week. The pain really can be a demotivation.   The pictures of me climbing to the top of that mountain are more significant because it took some effort to get there.

I love my sons, but I am very disappointed with the situation they are in, currently.  My oldest has to take two classes over the summer so he can graduate.  The Navy application appears to be in limbo.  He is eagerly looking for work.  But neither I nor his Mom has the money to send him to college, and so it looks like he will be living with us for the foreseeable near future.  My youngest got a hard slap of reality in the form of his grades—he will barely pass most of his classes, and he also may need to take some summer school classes to make sure he can keep up.   He is in the same boat I was,  brilliant, able to take tests and scores that are some of the best in school, but he can’t stand the day to day homework, and so his grades are abysmal.  He is considering a GED track rather than staying in school.  I have some strong misgivings about this.  Part of High School is the whole experience… I don’t want the kids’ fast forwarding thru it just so they can move on to the next phase.  However, I don’t know if I am making the right choice.  I see my sister’s kids and I am so proud of their accomplishments, they have a Dad that works, a Mom that stays home and home schools them.   Our home is the typical toxic FEMA site that happens after a divorce, with the kids shuttling back and forth, occasionally playing us off each other.   I am proud that both my sons are honest upstanding individuals; despite the crapburger life is trying to feed them.

What about me? I was having some severe doubts whether I was going to get thrown under the bus at work, or if I should stay, or should start looking for new work.   That question answered itself when I found out our Tier 3 guy just gave his notice.  So that means more responsibility for me, and opportunity, and perhaps a bit more stability.  It was sudden and unexpected, and now I am senior guy on the team, again.

I have female friends, but one is in Chile, one is in Tulsa, and another, well…  The distances make it hard to maintain anything deeper than “friends”.  I feel like until the boys are out on their own, I should not pursue anyone, because they need to be my priority.  I don’t want a live-in lady friend, because I don’t want my sons to have to compete for my attention/time/resources.  My ex chose a different path, but that is her business.   I wish we could have, somehow, kept the marriage together until the boys were gone, THEN she could have kicked me to the curb.
I have some new projects, like the FairyPunk writers group, but when I  think about writing my own stuff  again, I don’t feel any desire too, as I’m sure my stuff is crap compared to theirs, I am contributing to the team not for the money as much as to learn, and gain an insight into their worlds.   But I have to temper my friendship with some feelings that I will always be on the outside, looking in.

That’s actually how a lot of things are in my life right now.   I like EDM and Hardstyle and Trance and House music, but at the clubs I am always the oldest person there.  I befriend the DJ’s, dancers, and others in the scene, but the age difference is a barrier.  If I invite them to do something, I feel like the creeper.  So I just give their FB pages lots of likes and try to lend a hand where I can.   People in their 50s don’t like computer games, Big Bang Theory, MLPFiM, etc.  They may like the Walking Dead, but they are too busy with their family to spend any time gushing about it.    Do 50 year old Gamer Girls exist?

I missed ComiCon;  too many bills, my feet hurt too much to be standing all weekend, and I need to work on getting my boat working; even if it’s not going to be ready for my vacation it’s still a long term goal.  Another year has slipped past with no work done on the Godzilla project.  I am not giving up. I still will build a working Kaiju suit.   I’m still involved with the Mechwarrior Online beta project, and I sometimes pop in on Second Life.

I am grateful for Facebook, in that it has reintroduced me to a lot of good Okie friends; it lets me stay in touch with people from other worlds than mine, too.   I have to try harder to limit my time on FB as it can be an enormous time sink trying to keep up with everyone.  So if I invite you to do something or grab a bite, there is no ulterior motive, it’s just me wanting some face-time.
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