Archive for February, 2011

My name is Ryan Crutchfield and I am a system architect and application programmer with a master’s degree in archaeology that I never get to use. I am a regular contributor at weirdthings.com and my twitter stream (@rc6750) will more than likely bore you to tears.

I have a predilection for stories, usually of the cosmic horror variety, dealing with alien geometries and eldritch locations.  Alien geometry is the use of non-Euclidean geometry to describe places, buildings, artwork, or creatures that defy our very understand of the physical world. In these stories parallel lines can intersect, internal house measurements are longer than the external walls, cubes are not actually made up of right angles, and creatures manifest across multiple dimensions. Alien geometry is slightly different than the similar literary tool of sinister geometry. Sinister geometry is represented by large, perfectly made, unknown objects that leave an unnerving feeling with those who see it: think the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the sphere from…. The Sphere, or even a Borg cube. However, sinister geometry never crosses that line that bends geometry beyond our comprehension.  These objects are perfect squares, perfect circles, things whose shape, though disturbing, we recognize. It is the realm of alien geometries that crosses that line and tosses our Euclidean view of the world out the window.

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So I finally got around to seeing The Social Network and…hm. Well, Spoilers, except you already know everything that will happen in this movie (for reasons I’ll get into below).

As a film, it’s pretty solid, though its analysis of Mark Zuckerberg is about as subtle as Orson Welles’ Charles Foster Kane (in fact, I’m kind of shocked Sorkin didn’t just go ahead and name the girl from the beginning of the film “Rosebud”). Which means it becomes a good movie by also being a pretty terrible biopic, recasting people to suit certain agendas and flat out making shit up just to get a better dramatic arc going.

And while I knew going in this was hardly a documentary, I’m not sure how I feel about Sorkin honoring Truthiness while completely ignoring, y’know, reality.

Anyway. Other thoughts, one of which involves a space-laser and how I know for sure that as rich and powerful as he may be, the real Mark Zuckerberg does not have one…yet:  (more…)

That Gawker was redesigning has been known for a while, as has the new format. Denton made it public some number of months back, and people were complaining even then. But, to be honest with you, I’ve been expecting something like this for a lot longer. Undoubtedly, this is due in large part to pessimism on my behalf, but just because I expect the worst from the universe doesn’t mean I won’t get it.

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Against Canon

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Threat Quality
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I’m a recent reader of TQ, and I’ve been extremely impressed by the consistent quality and clarity of both Mr. Braak’s and Mr. Holland’s writing. The piece “Against Purity” particularly spoke to me, and thought I’d write up a response of sorts.

- Elliott Harwell

Reading the opening lines of Chris Braak’s “Against Purity,” I felt pretty certain I knew where the piece was headed. If the tags “Batman” and “Dracula” weren’t enough, the mention of Kurt Busiek’s asinine comment on continuity clinched it: Braak was going to talk about Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, using it as an example of how non-canon, “alternate universe” stories held a special and important place in the pantheon of comic genres. That reality and my expectations did not perfectly jive shouldn’t be taken as a rebuke of Braak’s work — his post was an excellent, thoughtful read, engaging one of the defining and most vexing two-part questions of nerdom: how do we judge the purity of an interpretative work? And just what does purity give us?
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Here’s where the news of the NBC-greenlit “Wonder Woman” pilot gets interesting – and by interesting I mean fairly depressing. It’s the description of the show:

Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.

Which is to say, Wonder Woman will look a lot less like most recognizable renditions of the character, and a lot more like a David E. Kelley character. Fingers crossed that at least tonally, it’s more “The Practice” than “Allie McBeal,” but…I’ve seen late-period Kelley. He is synonymous with “oppressive quirk.” Don’t believe me? Watch a single commercial for “Harry’s Law” and tell me that’s something you think you could sit through for a whole hour. (See, they’re lawyers, but in a SHOE STORE! It’s so CA-RAAAAZAAAY)

(Editor’s note: I wrote this last week, before Bleeding Cool ran this review of a draft of the pilot. Which – if, in fact, accurate – well, then…fuck.)

(Editor’s note 2: Aaaaand now we’re getting a few more details. There is an icecream-sleepover and crying over Steve Trevor. Double-fuck.)  (more…)

My name is Ryan Crutchfield and I am a system architect and application programmer with a master’s degree in archaeology that I never get to use. I am a regular contributor at weirdthings.com and my twitter stream (@rc6750) will more than likely bore you to tears.

I am a huge fan of robots. I have built my own robots, have robot-themed artwork hanging on my walls, and even celebrated the recent 90th anniversary of the creation of the word (by drinking alone in my apartment). With some exceptions, I enjoy most literature and movies involving robots. For example, despite the ABSOLUTE RIDICULOUSNESS of this movie, I am still excited (and embarrassed) to see it. So when I was recently perusing the Sci-Fi section of the local used book store it was with great excitement that I came across The Robot Brains by Sydney J. Bounds published in 1967. The cover features a giant robot with claws, clearly chasing a terrified human across a barren landscape. The text above the title ominously declares, “Monster brains dominate the Earth and destroy man’s only hope for survival”. HELL YES. I thought I was about to be treated to some late 60’s robot apocalypse fiction.

I could not have been more wrong.

I am not sure what the statute of limitations is on spoilers, but I am about to drop some 44-year-old spoilers, so consider this your warning.

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Some Thoughts On Style

Posted: February 2, 2011 in Braak, poetics
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I was looking back at the Jezebel repost of my “Problems With Representations of Women in (Mostly) Superhero Comics“.  This was for the reason of reminding the editors at Jezebel that they and I actually have a pretty good relationship, and so they should host the livecast of my newest play, which is about Emma Goldman.  (It’s called Red Emma.  You should see it.)

Anyway, I’m always struck by internet comments, because I’m amazed by how many people either can’t or just didn’t read the article.  It’s hard, but I generally am able to resist the urge to spend all my time defending myself.

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By way of explaining what may be the only reasonable way to watch “The Cape,” let me share with you a formative Holland-moment from my youth: the day I took a cleat to the crotch and learned to love “The Flash.”

It was little league soccer, the autumn of 1990, when I, a feisty young fullback, attempted to defend my goal by charging full-steam at the left winger in control of the ball. It was me or him.

Which naturally meant it was me. He took a big swing at the ball, sending it slamming into my hip and bouncing out of bounds. But on the upswing, his cleat – heel first – collided with my 10-year-old Most Important Bits. It was…unpleasant.

I lay there on the field, howling (as manfully as a 10-year-old can, I imagine) in pain, when my dad/coach came over to check on me. “How you doing?” he asked, apparently not having heard my manful cries. “You wanna…uh…sit out for a few minutes?”  (more…)