Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Everybody Out Of The Pool!

Spent some time surfing the net today, and decided to check up on a group of people I haven't thought much about since college; the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, or VHEMT(pronounced Vehement). When I first stumbled upon their home page a few years back, I was amused and took it for a joke, but in actuality they seem like intelligent, nice enough people. They just dont want humans around, and have banded together to find like minded people willing to vow never to breed. It's a cause I can relate to.
Now, that probably sounded callous, seeing as how I have a lovely two year old daughter, and just because I can relate doesn't mean I wish I had never had kids. Far from it, my daughter is the most important thing in the world to me, and the time I spend at home with her is always the highlight of my day. And I don't really want the human race to become extinct, I don't think that's going to solve anything any more than the path we're going on. That being said, I just want other people to stop having kids. Seriously, enough already.
According to the International Programs Center of the US Census Bureau, there's an estimated 6,506,534,698 people living today, with another 6 million being added each month(yes, that factors in mortality). Compare that to the figures for 1930 which figured the world population to be only 2 billion. That means that in 76 years, well within the average lifetime, the human population has more than tripled. In the entire 100 years before the population had only doubled, which means as more people are born, our rate of reproduction increases. You hear figures like that, and you begin to wonder if it's too late to turn around all the damage we've done to this planet. I don't want to hear any whining about not being able to prove global warming; of course we can! 6 and a half billion people on the world, and look at how much trash YOU alone throw out in one week.
Now, I've never been one to believe that the world is going to end in one fiery ball of nuclear radiation. I may be proven wrong, but I think the changes will be more gradual than that, which only makes them more dangerous. If we're not being slapped in the face immediately with the repercussions of our actions, than we tend to forget about them. Which is why my daughter is going to be inheriting a world that I can't help but believe will be more difficult than mine.


The reason I like the VHEMT, I think, is that all important V in the front. Voluntary. I don't condone mandatory birth control, or any of those dystopian ideas, instead I'd like everyone to think about it. I know everyone wants pride in continuing their genetic line, but really, whats the point? Just go ahead and adopt if you really want kids, their just going to rebel and become your opposite anyway.
And so, I support the VHEMT, and although I've already broken their one and only rule, I raise my voice with theirs: May we live long and die out!

Or at least slow down.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random Musings

So I'm short on time today, and this bastard library computer's space bar is broken, so this is going to be very short. Basically I'm forcing you to read through me keeping my fingers limber.

As you've seen through the past couple posts, I'm trying to shift the format of this blog to a quicker, shorter stream-of-consciousness kind of thing. I started this blog as an outlet for all these little thoughts and ideas I find no use for in the real world, and mainly as a way to sharpen my writing skills. Time was, I used to fancy myself a pretty good writer. Well, a couple years of neglecting that talent have left it rusty and covered in cobwebs. I tried initially writing long expository posts, things that had "messages", and I've discovered that doesn't quite work for me. I was always a bit underwhelmed by the results, my frustration increasing because of the amount of work I put into a lackluster result. And so, I've decided not to overthink things, just let fly with whatever I want to talk about.
You can thank one person in particular for this change; Warren Ellis. Observant readers will notice I've included his website on my links list. He's a comics writer I'm becoming quite a fan of, but he's also one of the most prolific guys out there. I think only Brian Michael Bendis would challenge him in the contest of who's writing the most current comic books, and his aren't nearly as good. Bendis is more consistent, but he never gets close to the sheer insanity and genius put into every panel of a Warren Ellis book. It struck me after reading a few of Ellis' books, and reading his email column for a couple weeks, that he has no filter. Not that he's vulgar or offensive(although he is, often), but that he doesn't filter anything that he puts on page. If he has an idea, he writes it down and puts it out there. This leads to some interesting stuff, but also has a few problems. Sometimes he has a great idea, but doesn't take the time to explore it, and sometimes he has a bad idea and doesn't think about tossing it aside. I'm pretty sure that if he doesn't have a keyboard in his hands he'd be holding a gun and using that just as often.
For those of you unfamiliar with his work, it should be pretty easy to track down. His most famous series, Transmetropolitan, is available in paperback form, and at most libraries. It's pretty good, even if the main character is obviously Hunter S. Thompson blasted a few hundred years into the future.
Fell is currently ongoing, up to issue 4, and conveniently priced at 1.99 for those not able to buy lots of expensive comics. Each issue is a self contained story, free of advertisements. A bit shorter than most mass market comics, but very dense, giving you a sense of a complete world. It's apparently sold out, but entering second printings. It shouldn't be too hard to find, and the shop I work at still has a few copies of each issue hanging around.
He's also writing some more mainstream comics over at Marvel. The Ultimate Galactus trilogy is amazing, but probably not so interesting to people who don't normally read comics(true fanboys will already know what the story entails by the title). Nextwave, though, is a comic with so many D-List characters that it should only be funny to truly hardcore fanboys, but it's amazingly accessible. The humor might not be for everyone, but I urge everyone reading this who likes comics to go out and buy it. It's up to issue 3, and completely entertaining. It's amazing to me how much Ellis is able to get away with at Marvel. None his titles are too out there, but they do head farther away from the superhero stereotypes than the company usually goes.

So that's it for me. Thanks for reading through another meaningless message. I promise to balance my timewasting with actual informative stuff. Also, I've noticed a real lack of response to these things. I've had one or two responses, but I'm not even sure if outside those 2 people anyone is reading this. So, drop me a line sometime, either personal or on the comments section.

Friday, March 24, 2006

American Wasteland

I was channel surfing the other night and stumbled across the forbidden channel; Fox. Not for any puritanical reasons is it forbidden, but because every brilliant show they produce gets cancelled for more reality tv knockoffs. After King of the Hill got cancelled I decidedI really didn't need to see anything on Fox anymore. Anyway, Fox caught my eye, and it was American Idol that was on. It's a show I'm familiar enough with, but have absolutely no feelings towards. All in all I'm pretty ambivalent to entertainment I might find offensive. I mean, I don't have to watch it, do I?
Normally I would have skipped right on by, but I recognized the song that they were practising and wanted to see what happened to it. I was awestruck; after some generic reality TV confessionals of childhood dreams and inspirations, I was rewarded with a full blown, balls-to-the-wall suckass rendition of Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly, all under the watchful eye of Barry Manilow. Stephen Hawkings voice box would have done the job just as well. Hitting all the right words but missing the emotion completely.
I thought I was immune to it, this great race to mediocrity in pop culture. In a society where a song about cocaine addiction is used to sell family vacations, Jimmy Page sells his soul to P. Diddy for a spot on the Godzilla soundtrack, and Roger Daltry of the Who(The WHO, GODAMMIT!) shills time life record collections on cheesy half hour infomercials. I mean, after that, what more could happen, right? Wrong. The sight of prime time TV sucking the life out a truly great song(and musician) bothered me more than I thought it would after all the heresies that came before.
And so, for all you stuid Gen-X, hipster losers out there: Stop it! Enough with the ironic patronizing of crap media. Do what you love, read what you love, listen to what you love, and watch what you love. Don't sponsor these crap shows just so you can fell superior because no one else 'gets it' the way you do, your only adding to the problem.
Remember, the beast doesn't care if you love it, only that you keep feeding it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Gods of Hollywood

It occured to me the other day that Josh Lucas is like the cosmos' response to the wasted celebrity of Matthew McConaughey. Like when the movie Powder failed to make any money, so the Gods of Hollywood got John Travolta and tried again with Phenomenon. A duplicate that seems less like crass marketing, and more like some karmic second attempt. Remember when McConaughay seemed like he could be the next big thing? He started off with some fun roles in low profile movies, and then seemed poised to break big with A Time to Kill, but then squandered it with cheesy, sub Meg Ryan dramedies and brainless action flicks. The best thing he's done since A Time to Kill was an absolutely gonzo performance in the otherwise useless Reign of Fire(watch it again, I think he actually BELIEVED he was fighting dragons). And so the cosmos got Josh Lucas, who has everything that McConaughey has except for the oily creepiness. He's been garnering some attention, appearing in a string of movies scientifically formulated to be as inoffensive as green peppers. Even if you don't like it, it's not about to leave a lasting negative impression.
The same thing happened about ten years ago when it seemed Johnny Depp would languish in the world of high quality/low profile films. Remember Skeet Ulrich? Any time Johnny Depp had a headache, Skeet Ulrich took an aspirin. But then, Johnny Depp started to rise in popularity, and now Skeet Ulrich is chained up in Jack Valenti's attic, eating a steady diet of fish heads and moldy bread.