December Sun – A Web Comic

January 29, 2009

December Sun #1 – Page 14B

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December Sun #1 - Page 14B

December Sun #1 - Page 14B

January 28, 2009

December Sun #1 – Page 14A

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December Sun #1 - Page 14A

December Sun #1 - Page 14A

January 27, 2009

December Sun #1 – Page 13D

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December Sun #1 - Page 13D

December Sun #1 - Page 13D

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, John Williams, and Reused Music

Filed under: 3,indiana jones,john williams,movies,music — admin @ 8:52 am

Once again, following in the tradition of “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith”, George Lucas has again produced a film, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, in which a good chunk of the musical soundtrack is comprised of reused music from other Indiana Jones films. I sortof knew that this would happen going into the film, as this seems to be Lucas’ operational style these days: take music from other films and cut-n-paste them in, and no one will be the wiser, or will notice the reused music in the film. Well, that is, except for fans of John Williams who know most of his music by heart.

But what’s troubling this time is, part of the music sounds like it was taken and reworked by Williams himself (namely, the “flight from Peru” music) that’s heard briefly in the film. Now I’m left wondering if this cut and pasting was all Lucas to blame, or if Williams willingly had a part in this as well?

Regardless, the new music (not the cut-n-pasted music) was an absolute disappointment in “Crystal Skull” and sadly was completely unmemorable. The brief reappearance of Marion’s theme was a nice touch, but was just too brief throughout the film (and why wouldn’t we hear Marion’s theme when she first reappears in the film? During that sequence, all we hear is awkward musical silence?) More of this, and more variation thereof, would have been great.

Also, throwing in the “Ark of the Covenant” theme at the warehouse sequence made no sense to me. I remember hearing the music in the theater and thinking, “The Russians are going after the ark! That’s…. sortof strange, since this film is supposedly about a crystal skull.” But no, now, apparently, the “Ark of the covenant” theme is now just “the Warehouse” theme. The logic there escapes me.

As for the rest of the film score, I’ve tried to listen to it isolated from the film repeatedly, and try as I might, I just can’t get into it. It doesn’t have the emotional appeal that the other Indy scores had (even awful films like “Temple of Doom” have absolutely remarkable segments of music to them.)

What’s puzzling to me is that Steven Spielberg, who I thought was a fan of Williams’ music, would watch the final cut of this film and not notice, “hey, that’s the same music from ‘Last Crusade’! [the sequence when Indy picks his hat up off the CGI anthill was taken from the boat sequence at the beginning of Last Crusade]“. I mean, didn’t I read once that Spielberg collected Williams’ music and was a fan of it? Wouldn’t he be just a little puzzled to have directed a NEW film, but with rehashed music in it?

Whatever. The glory days of John Williams, the greatest composer ever, are gone, and I’ll always be a huge fan of his music, but this last outing of Indiana Jones was, musically, a huge disappointment.

January 26, 2009

December Sun #1 – Page 13C

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December Sun #1 - Page 13C

December Sun #1 - Page 13C

January 23, 2009

December Sun #1 – Page 13B

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January 22, 2009

December Sun #1 – Page 13A

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December Sun #1 - Page 13A Radio

Filed under: 3,music — admin @ 11:50 am

I found out recently that AT&T is discontinuing their Launchcast radio service, which I was something of a fan of (I had rated 80K+ artists and songs and listened to this faithfully) and I thought it was a great system. What is more, I was part of the unlimited plan with my AT&T service that I signed up for nearly 4 years ago. So now I find out they are dropping Launchcast, and they AREN’T BOTHERING to grandfather their “loyal customers” (e.g. people who drop $100 a month for service) into a new option for free music. No, instead, it’s just a perk taken away. Crummy AT&T.

Ah, well. Launchcast, like Pandora, was a free radio service that I really got a kick out of. Pandora is great in that would can build individual stations build around the “sound” certain artists, songs, etc, so you can pursue more granular directions of musical sound. I’ve found some great new artists this way. But the gimmick of Launchcast that I really liked was that you basically had one primary station of your own, and you’d basically have EVERYTHING you rated appearing potentially at any point in the lineup (you can do something like this as well with Pandora too, actually, and have one station that “plays all”.) I get a kick out of this, as the music could jump from John Williams’ film scores to one second, to a Queen rock ballad, to a funk tune, to a jazz song, to an Oompa-Loompa tune, etc. I always found the segue’s illogical and often hilarious.

Well, all that is gone now, so I’m left with Pandora, which I still enjoy, but recently I started toying around with radio. Initial thoughts, speaking as a software QA, is that there are a LOT of bugs to work out of this system, but it is in beta, so I *guess* this is ok. But in the time I wrote the last two paragraphs, I’ve been WAITING for a song to load on the station, and I know it’s not my internet connection.

I like some of the customizations that the user can have, such as an option to “go deep” (or listen to more obscure works of an artist as opposed to just “hits”. That’s actually pretty cool.) Also, offering the user an easy to use interface for finding artists and related, similar artists is a nice feature as well. However, offering an option to “don’t play” and “suppress influence” of an artist, while good, should still give the user a way to move the banned artist OFF of the main target screen. Instead, I’ve got a big blob of banned artists (sorry, no Billy Joel on my station) in the upper right corner.

please test this

Clocking and freezing do seem to be a problem though, and enough of a problem to test my patience, but I’m hoping they work some of these glitches out because it looks like it could be a great configurable radio station for users. Here’s the station : a work in progress so far.

January 21, 2009

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – part #2

Filed under: 3,indiana jones,movies — Tags: — admin @ 3:29 pm

If indeed alien life exists, I truly hope that the aliens aren’t cheesy-looking CGI creatures. Nothing could be more disappointing to me than meeting an alien and thinking, “Oh, you look like something animated in a computer!”

cheesy alien

There have been countless films that come to mind where the alien characters, being animated by computer, just don’t work. They don’t look like tangible, living, shadow-casting, light-reflecting occupants of the real world, but they look like artificially-inserted “Roger Rabbit”-universe beings.

The odd thing is, I could have sworn I read an interview once with Spielberg where he said that he personally avoided using CGI characters because they didn’t have any soul. Yet here we are at the big finale of Crystal Skull, and the skull animates (via computer) into a cheesily-animated computer-character. Spielberg did the same thing in A.I, I believe, at the end of the film. Computer animated fakeness that RUINS the reality established by human actors. Again, it’s like Bob Hoskins talking to an animated cartoon rabbit.

If December Sun were ever to see the big screen (as I can only hope, but, realistically, doubt) then I would beg of the producers to go as LIGHTLY on the CG as possible. CGI just seems to work to RUIN so many pictures (watch ‘Attack of the Clones’ and count all of the cut-n-paste clone troopers…. or the SAME exact flying ship design that darts across the sky in Coruscant.) And yet I look back at pre-computer sfx, and for all the cheesiness of puppets, wires, blue screens, models, etc…. that stuff just looks so REAL! Real light, real shadows, real occupation of space and time.

I’m living in the past I guess.

December Sun #1 – Page 12D

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December Sun #1 - Page 12D

December Sun #1 - Page 12D

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