On aging

Oh hey, a blog post.

I'm getting older. I know, I know, that's obvious and a non-statement. But I've reached that magical time in one's life when your age becomes an undeniable and constant factor in everything.  I don't heal as quickly. I have persistent aches and pains. My hair is turning salt and pepper at an ever increasing rate. 

Getting older is fine. A lot of people seem scared of it or try to stop it, but I think it's kind of cool. I already was a teenager, it sucked. 

Going to school and going through job training is a constant checkmark-based sort of progress in life. Now that I'm out of school it's sometimes hard to tell if I'm making progress or not. School is like leveling up in a game, and then when that's done, your career is like loot-grinding for the end game raids. Hey, I managed to work in something related to Monster Hunter, go figure.

The lines in my face show that I spent a lot of time laughing. The white hair proves that I've learned some stuff that's worth passing on to my nieces and nephews. The aches and pains remind me of a life spent carrying on and having a good time. Slower healing means not living my life with reckless abandon, but rather taking time to map out a stable future. 

Getting older is pretty cool if you embrace it. Life changes. It'll be okay.

Caleb's Cloverfield Paradox Bitch-Rant

The Cloverfield Paradox is a movie that will mildly entertain you while you're watching it, but confuse and infuriate you the more you think about it after the fact. (Disclaimer: It's been about a week since I watched it, and my opinions have changed a lot from what was in my recorded review.)

Following the juggernaut of awesomeness that was 2016's 10 Cloverfield Lane, Paradox seems to follow a similar path from page to screen: take an already existing script, change a few things to make it fit into the "Cloververse", generate hype, and print money. Unfortunately, their latest effort in this series falls short in several key areas, including script, direction, and pacing. 

The general story revolves around a crisis on Earth the can only be rectified by building a particle accelerator in space, I guess. What follows is a fairly standard Event Horizon type movie. High concept sci-fi rigmarole gives way to 2spooky4u weirdness gives way to climactic showdown, but the result is so poorly paced and structured it makes it feel like about 4 different movies collided and made one mediocre-adjacent bad movie.

I'm going to invoke another podcast that I like called The Arbitrary Archive, because their review gave me the words for a few things that were bugging me about Paradox. The conceit of Arbitrary Archive is that the two hosts, DJ and Travis, have taken part-time jobs as janitors at a scientific laboratory where they discovered the sentient artificial intelligence J.E.F.F., who tasks them with creating an archive of human culture to survive an impending apocalypse, with each episode's theme following a one-word prompt the AI gives them. The show is basically an intellectual version of our Dic Picks segment, and usually the hosts will bash something you love until they over-analyze it to oblivion. That doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but the show is really very good and worth at least a cursory listen.

Anyway, their most recent episode featured a review of Paradox that brought up three big points I wanted to reiterate here, because they do a good job of summing up what's wrong with the movie.

1. There's no tension to a lot of scenes that should be dramatic because of poor editing and script work. The biggest offending scene is when the crew of the space station "lose" the Earth and someone raises the idea that maybe they've inadvertently destroyed the world, and then it immediately cuts to the main character's husband on Earth, so you know that really everything is fine.

2. The main character's backstory is revealed in a way that feels shoehorned as fuck, and is only revealed immediately as it's about to become relevant to the "plot". The protagonist's plan following that reveal is one of the dumbest things I think I've seen a character try to do in a movie.

3. The whole plot of the movie is terribly nihilistic, and it sucks any fun that could be had here right out of the movie. In something like Event Horizon, the characters are reaching for forbidden knowledge or tampering with things they shouldn't and bad stuff befalls them because they overreach their station. In Paradox, bad stuff happens to the characters because they're trying to do the only thing they can do to save everyone in the world. It has the same tone and feel as a movie about someone offering bacon to a dog, only to slap them away when they try to take it.

There's potentially a lot more I could get into if I really wanted to pick this thing apart, but these are probably the most egregious sins this movie commits from where I stand. Try to avoid this one.

A Very One-Star Review - Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On The Moon?

These are some notes I wrote for what I watched as a Dic Pick in episode 78 of Netflix n Swill. Apologies for any spelling and grammar issues, I typed this out quickly while watching the show and just thought it would be fun to have here as well.

 

Conspiracy Theory: Did we land on the moon?

Yes. Yes, we did. Set to the most dramatic music available in the public domain, this relic of aspect ratios of the past is a never-ending deluge of quote expert unquote interviews with such prominent figures as some guy who worked at a company that built rockets and a former astronaut who looks like he’s been on the same acid trip since 1973.

This is 44 minutes long. It begins with a screen with text saying this quote documentary unquote is about a quote highly controversial topic unquote, and that the viewer is urged to make up their own mind based on all available evidence. What follows is a stream of consciousness style diatribe of bullshit containing exactly zero instances of evidence. The first several minutes consist of people saying meaningless things like “it’s entirely possible that NASA faked the moon landing.” It’s also entirely possible that my dog will learn to walk upright and get a job teaching trigonometry at MIT, but I haven’t been presented with any evidence to support the notion.

At about 7 minutes in, they start reminding us that the Cold War happened. Cue stock footage of nuclear explosions and other conspiracy theories like “Russia was trying to put a missile base on the moon” followed directly with “the odds of landing a man on the moon and returning him to earth safely were around .0017%” [Citation needed]. Suddenly, Russian death base doesn’t sound so intimidating. Cut back to some guy saying “What happened, in my mind, is that they said they would fake it.” and positing that the astronauts just orbited for 8 days while they filmed fake moon footage.

Some guy who made a movie about the government faking a mars landing shows up saying the government quote could have unquote faked a moon landing.

Some guy shows up saying the moon landing was filmed at area 51 because Nevada has craters. Area 51 is so heavily guarded because the set used in the moon landing is still there.

 

12 minutes. Commercial break. No pieces of evidence have been presented yet.


Holy shit, could the lunar module landing have been faked by lowering the craft down on wires? This would certainly explain why there’s no engine noise in the official NASA film, despite the fact that the cameras used on the Apollo mission didn’t record audio, and even if they did the moon has no atmosphere so sound doesn’t exist there.

How would it be possible to hear the astronaut’s voices over the roar of a rocket engine? Probably because the only sound there was recorded by the radios in their helmets, which incidentally were filled with air. Could this be evidence? Could we ask more vague and meaningless questions? We have 31 minutes to find out!

 

Cut to some shots of failed lunar lander test flight footage. How could it land on the moon if it behaved so erratically in the quote controlled unquote environment of earth? Could it have to do with the lack of air resistance and the 1/6th gravity?

 

But what about the footprints? If the lunar module landed, wouldn’t it blast away the dust and erase the footprints? Even though there’s no burning coming from the engine? The official NASA concept art showed fire coming from the lunar module’s engine, so the real one works the same way right?

Was the lunar module just a prop on a movie set? Neil Armstrong’s footprint could have easily been made at area 51. Also, bigfoot could easily just be D. B. Cooper cosplaying as Chewbacca, but I just don’t have the evidence to support such a claim.

 

Is this evidence of a conspiracy? Was the government capable of this cover-up? Why am I asking you? Cue 10 separate shots of Rocket Man saying it was faked but not being able to back it up.

 

My favorite conspiracy theory is that we actually did go to the moon, but the footage was lost or destroyed somehow, so we had to make fake moon landing footage to prove that we really did go to the moon.

 

Why were such important images so grainy and hard to see? Is it because in order to have a live (actually several minutes late) transmission from the moon in 1969 the data had to be compressed ? If you speed up the footage, it totally looks like people running on earth!

 

Suddenly rocket man remembered there’s no air on the moon just in time for his next point, which is that the flag seems to flap a bit while they’re planting it, clearly because it was a little windy that day at area 51 where they filmed it (his words, not mine). Could these questionable images simply be the result of astronauts struggling to plant the flag into the lunar surface? Is it possible for mister hypothetical to continue his career in narration after making this?

 

How were the astronauts visible in the still photographs taken on the moon when they were in a shadow if the sun was the only light source? It’s almost like the moon reflects light or something. Why do so many of the photos appear to have the same backgrounds? It’s almost like the surface of the moon is just a bunch of grey rocks. The people making this also seem to have no idea how cameras and optics in general work.

 

With 14 minutes remaining, the filmmakers decide to use the Apollo 1 tragedy to say NASA sabotaged the equipment test leading to the fire which killed American heroes Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. By shitting all over the legacy of these men, they try to make it seem that NASA was trying to keep the astronauts quiet about the space program and their intent to fake the moon landing, two years before they supposedly decided to do so. The early days of the space program were certainly dangerous. Nothin like it had ever been attempted, and at first we really were just throwing shit at the sky to see what would go up and what would come back down, but using the tragic and untimely deaths of three great men is a low blow, even for people who are predatory enough to make a film so clearly designed to exploit people’s ignorance in the first place.

 

This entire show is a series of “what if” questions, and it is mind numbing. Take it from someone who has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, saying shit like “maybe we all live in the matrix” doesn’t make us suddenly start to live in the matrix. It just doesn’t.

Now we get to the part I’ve been dreading – the god damn van allen belt. How could the astronauts have gone to the moon if they had to fly through the deadly radiation in outer space? More importantly, how do people in today’s world not know there are different types of radiation, or that they’re surrounded by radiation every second of their lives? How could astronauts survive on the moon where it gets to -250 degrees in the dark and 250 degrees in the sunlight? Isn’t it convenient that the temperature on the moon is so neatly centered around 0 degrees farenheit? It’s almost like they completely made up those numbers. Apparently according to this movie, the moon is as radioactive as the crater at Three Mile Island.

 

The evidence that NASA never landed on the moon is everywhere according to this film, however none of it seems to be present in the film itself. Instead I got treated to 44 minutes of hypothetical questions and the world’s least charismatic conspiracy nut babbling about god knows what set to some of the worst music and stock footage imaginable. Avoid this at all costs.