Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan’s Labyrinth

I recently had the distinct pleasure of watching Pan’s Labyrinth, a colossal movie by director Guillermo del Toro. If you’re at all into good cinema, check it out. At metacritic, it’s the only movie I’ve ever known to get a 98, and it got a 96% at Rotten Tomatoes.

When we went to go see Volver, another truly amazing movie by Almodovar, who hasn’t directed a movie I haven’t liked, I saw the poster for Pan’s, thought it looked amazing, and then promptly thought about it, until…

Thanks to BIG Images’ involvement with the SLO International Film Festival, which also resulted in me getting to hang out with Morgan Freeman last year, I got two tickets to the pre-screening of it at the Palm. It was a big hubbub too: the effects house that did all of the visual effects for it, Cafe FX, is located thirty miles south of here in Santa Maria and they came to talk about their work on the film and to show a special effects reel about how they really did a lot of the effects work. We also got to go to the pre-party, drink some wine, and generally act like a film snob.

It was fantastic.

Matt Costa and Satisfaction

This Sunday, if anybody would like to join me, I’ll be attending the Matt Costa and Satisfaction show at Downtown Brew at 7pm. It’s $15.

I’ve seen Satisfaction before when they opened for Sherwood, about two years ago. They reminded me of… well, they reminded me of good music. So, Brian and I have been looking out to see them again since then, and tomorrow night they’re opening for Matt Costa, whom we had never heard of before. Well, turns out Matt Costa did a duet with Jack Johnson for the Curious George movie, so if you’re into that, you’d be wise to come with us. His latest album, Songs We Sing, is pretty great too.

And check out his video for Sunshine. It’s awesome.

Fighting Spam on the Homefront

Frequent reader Andrea asked in a comment recently why there are comments on this blog that make no sense… Well, I suppose if you’re not running a blog on your own website (meaning, if you’re using Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, or whatever), you probably don’t often run into yet another scourge of the internet: blog spam.

Blog spam and email spam are essentially the same problem. Some malicious program out there figured out your address, and how to automatically send you links they hope you’ll click on. They typically do this by spouting either grandiose claims (“You are the rightful heir to an instant-microwaveable girl-on-girl viagra fortune off the coast of Idaho. SEND US MONEY!”) or complete gibberish (“Your copy of Windows XP is completely safe to use.”).

Luckily, my installation of WordPress came with a great spam-management application, called Akismet. At the time of this writing, Akismet has caught 6,032 spam comments. Sometimes, though, spam gets through. I try to deal with it as soon as possible, but I am but one man.

So, hope that answered your question. Good heavens, I… need… a martini.

The Cord

The Cord
Leanne O’Sullivan

I used to lie on the floor for hours after
school with the phone cradled between
my shoulder and my ear, a plate of cold
rice to my left, my school books to my right.
Twirling the cord between my fingers
I spoke to friends who recognized the
language of our realm. Throats and lungs
swollen, we talked into the heart of the night,
toying with the idea of hair dye and suicide,
about the boys who didn’t love us,
who we loved too much, the pang
of the nights. Each sentence was
new territory, like a door someone was
rushing into, the glass shattering
with delirium, with knowledge and fear.
My Mother never complained about the phone bill,
what it cost for her daughter to disappear
behind a door, watching the cord
stretching its muscle away from her.
Perhaps she thought it was the only way
she could reach me, sending me away
to speak in the underworld.
As long as I was speaking
she could put my ear to the tenuous earth
and allow me to listen, to decipher.
And these were the elements of my Mother,
the earthed wire, the burning cable,
as if she flowed into the room with
me to somehow say, Stay where I can reach you,
the dim room, the dark earth. Speak of this
and when you feel removed from it
I will pull the cord and take you
back towards me.

Oh! Gravity! ROCKS!

Okay, so I’ve been a huge fan of Switchfoot for a long time, ever since I’ve seen the music video of “New Way to Be Human” a long long time ago. That album is one of my favorite albums of all time. It’s seriously that good. There’s just something about the pop sensibilities and touching lyrics of that second album of theirs.

Skip forward an album, and we’ve got The Beautiful Letdown, which was good, but definitely started them down the path to harder, guitar-driven tracks like “Meant to Live,” which is also amazing, but seriously, it’s tracks on that album like “The Beautiful Letdown” and “24” that save that album from mediocrity.

Unfortunately, mediocre is definitely what their follow up, Nothing is Sound, was. I mean, “Stars” is amazing, but I just can’t get into the album past that. I’ve heard a lot of people give it two thumbs up, and I just felt like it wasn’t different sounding enough. Just not awesome enough.

Well, have no fear, because Oh! Gravity is almost as good as New Way to Be Human. Seriously. Download tracks like “4:12” or “Awakening” or “Yesterdays,” and weep, for you will discover, just as I have, that beauty can once again return to the world. It’s the trumpets. Gotta be.

By the way, if you’re only going to click on one link, click on 4:12, you’ll love it.

* Update: I fixed the 4:12 links. Thanks for pointing that out, Mom!

There is another?!??!!

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, this isn’t the only blog I post to. That’s right, dear friends, my blog-love is shared with another.

Now, don’t be mad. It’s strictly business. Strictly business.

At BIG Images, we’ve started rolling out this monthly e-mail newsletter, which links to blog posts on the BIG Images website. I just started a series of articles about effectively designing for large format posters and banners and the like.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t shared this with you yet, but it’s pretty cool: A few months ago, I designed a logo for Banner-Works, and Jon wrote up a little something-something about it.

Slicing Ginger

Slicing Ginger
by Ralph Black

Not sex. Not sex,
but sexual: the way
the weather hangs
at the edges of sight,
the way the paring knife,
pressed and warm as any
lover to my hand, slides
just under the soaked
brown skin, opening
the earth of it, opening
the undiscovered white-
fleshed seam in the scarred
and sacred earth: the
lemon-sweet, lemon-
sweet ringing of bodies
through the room.
Plumes of longing bleed
in my hand as the small
blade pares into the
mole-blind, uprooted,
incantatory fruit — the
slices hitting the
hot oiled iron with
a singing of fire on
wet wood, and the tiny
suns exploding there:
huge and redolent and
almost human.

Food for thought

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.
    — Scottish mountain climber W.H. Murray

Either that, or you could be attacked by Snakes, on a Plane. For most people, that pretty much nullifies any good that might have come from your decision. This doesn’t apply if you’re Samuel L. Jackson, Chuck Norris, or Hitler.

On another note, I’d love to see a fighting game that pitted those three against one another. Or a drinking game.