A Good Day (Part 3)

As I mentioned before there were plenty of area where no camera were allowed on the tour. Included in those area we the sound recording studios. We visited two sound recording studios.

In the first, and smaller studio, we watched a audio technicians laid tracks for an upcoming episode of the TV show, “Crash“. We stood in the back very quietly watching and listening as track upon track was melded together working towards a final mix. Of course we didn’t see more than a few minutes of the work and that represented a tiny fraction of the work that would be required.

After that we were taken to the Eastwood Sound Studio. It’s named after Clint Eastwood who championed its restoration about a dozen years ago. Beyond film scores — the room will hold a 124 piece orchestra — this studio is a favorite of the music industry. It boasts superior sound qualities and design. The studio itself goes back to the 30’s and it was there that Max Steiner recorded the music for Casablanca.

Tomorrow more on my trip and more pictures, a couple of props from the Prop department and some famous cars preserved on the lot.

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A DAY OFF

Tomorrow I’m not likely to post anything. I’m taking the day off from work and heading north to Los Angeles. For the daytime hours I will be at Warner Brothers studios taking their intense five-hours tour. Then in the evening it’s off to Medieval Times for jousting and dinner, then back home.

I plan to take lots of pictures and will share any decent ones.

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I am defeated

I am conceding defeat to my muse and to A Taste of Tears and Blood. The werewolf story has kicked my ass and I and throwing it aside. For whatever reason I can not make decent progress on the short story and any more effort spent on it will simply be wasted.

In addition to that muse in my ear simply will NOT shut-up about Cawdor. My mind returns to the plots and characters like a pundit to a scandal. My mind refuses to let go and let me work on other things. So be it. I’m throwing myself fully into my next novel, Cawdor.

It’s time for Mutiny, Murder, and Madness.

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Sunday Night Movie: The Mummy (1999)

themummy3 So, Sunday night I was in the mood for adventure. After pulling out several film from my collection for consideration I settled in 1999’s remake of The Mummy. In general I am not a  fan of remakes, but there is a statute of limitations and any film over 70 years old is not automatically off the remake list. (That doesn’t mean you should remake all good movies older than 70 years, just it is something that can be considered.)

The Original The Mummy, a vehicle for rising monster star, Boris Karloff. There are no historical myths about monstrous mummies. The process of mummification was one used in ancient Egypt to preserve the body after death because the owner of said body was going to need it in the afterlife, not to hunt down tomb robbers and look up lost loves.

In the 1920s and 1930s there was a veritable mania about Egypt going on worldwide and the script for The Mummy (1932) tapped into that mania for a new monster to be played by Boris Karloff and created by Jack Pierce. The film proved popular enough to spin off a chain of sequels  Only the first film starred Karloff and the sequels grew progressively  worse. At the end of the franchise all semblance continuity had been abandoned and little remained to recommend the movies.

In the 1990’s Universal wanted to launch their monster franchises and one of the film that sought to do it with was The Mummy. The projected bounced from production team to production team but none were able to crack how to remake the classic film. Director writer Stephen Sommers cracked the beast with two insights. First that it would work best as a period film, set in the 1920’s when the craze for Egypt was high and everyone and their brother dreamt of looting tombs and getting rich. Secondly, that the original film was not about a bandage wrapped limping monsters, but about a powerful priest and a love beyond time.

Armed with these two points Sommers gave us a film that fit perfectly into our time. The outstanding digital effects from ILM created a Mummy unlike anything we had ever seen before. A cast of talented actors including Brendan Fraiser and Rachel Weisz along with just the right amount of winking at the camera gave us an adventure film that was fun, exciting, and a little scary. (The need to keep the film a PG-13 rating prevented real horror for creeping onto the screen.)

Sadly, Sommers was not so good at crafting sequels. The Mummy Returns was a bland, bored mixture of camp and stupidity.  Sommers continued to disappoint me with the horrid film, Van Helsing. Only two things redeem the production of Van Helsing, one is the performance by David Wenham, who stole every scene he was in. The other was that is helped Universal release the Legacy Collections of DVD for their classic monster films.

We’ll see if the reboot of The Wolf Man matches the reboot of The Mummy, but I doubt it.

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Birthers and Truthers

In case you were unaware there are fantastic sets of conspiracy believers running about in American politics right now. (Okay there are a lot more than two, but I’m only going talk about these two at the moment.)

Truthers – who believe that the US Government, and usually G.W. Bush specifically, was behind the attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon on September 11th 2001. That the whole idea that it was perpetrated bye arab terrorists is a lie created to justify war.

and

Birthers – people who think that Barrack Obama was born in Nigeria and not in the United States and therefore is ineligible to be president of the United States.

On the web I caught a bit of a argument between some on the right and some on the left as to whose conspiracy nuts were nuttier. Frankly this sort of argument is meaningless. It has all the validity of arguing who would win in a fight between the USS Enterprise and The Battlestar Galatica.

However I did find it amusing to see that the two sets on conspiracies meshed with the political philosophies of their believers.

People on the Left tend to think that government is an efficient capable  entity, able to solve all manner of problems with speed and practicality. (And there are many things that government should do and some that government does better than the private sector.) The Truthers, generally on the left, believe that the government is capable of such a grand conspiracy . It would be an amazing military operation to pull off such an attack and not leave clear fingers prints.

People on the right tend to think that private businesses and individuals are more capable and better problem solvers than government. It’s natural that their conspiracy – and Birthers tend to be on the right — would emphasize the power and forethought of the individual. That Obama’s parents certain that there baby would be president someday would take such diverse steps as faking a birth certificate and planting birth notices in local papers to cover baby Barrak’s true birth is simply amazing work that could only be performed by gifted individuals and never by a committee of paper-pushers.

What you believe also reveals more about yourself and your worldview than you expect it to.

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Literary Saboteur

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