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Month: February 2008

Graphing Box Office

This is the coolest graph I’ve seen in a while. It’s a picture of box office grosses per movie over time, from 1986 to the present day. Very clever. You can see the evolution of the summer blockbuster, not to mention the winter blockbuster trend.

There Will Be Blood

It’s harder reviewing the really, really good movies. What more are you going to say about There Will Be Blood? Yeah, Daniel Day-Lewis was awesome, and Paul Dano was too. The soundtrack was terribly cool — I didn’t read it as a horror movie soundtrack so much as I took it to be a parallel narrative of the industrialization of the United States. It groaned and crashed and squealed like machinery. Lovely.

The movie is the awesome achievement everyone’s saying it is. 2007 was an insanely good year for Americana movies, what with this plus No Country for Old Men. P. T. Anderson has pretty much come into his own.

Hm, one interesting aspect of the movie, which is not exactly a surprise if you’ve seen anything else Anderson’s made: there’s about zero narrative thrust. Most of the big pivotal events aren’t foreshadowed, and have no build up. There’s a distinct arc of degradation as Daniel Plainview descends into the depths of misanthropy, but there’s not exactly a story there. It’s simply people being people.

See it. Love it.

The Inquisitor's Library

Dark Heresy. You are the retinue of Inquisitor Lord Zane Castis, the oldest Inquisitor in the Calixis Sector. His purview is heretical documents, which — for centuries — he has collected from the hands of those who would misuse them. Generally not peacefully.

All such documents are stored in the vast ship Tabularium Bibluvio, which also serves as Inquisitor Lord Castis’ headquarters. It is a sphere, dwarfing lesser ships. The heretical archive is contained in the featureless top half of the sphere; below that, the sphere is hollow for half of the bottom hemisphere, with four mighty black pylons connecting the archive to the living quarters which make up the bottom quarter of the sphere. Shuttles and other such less important spacecraft dock on the top of the living quarters.

Over the centuries, the weight of such a convocation of Chaos and lies has literally warped the space around it. It is deeply unsafe to venture into the archive; at present, Inquisitor Lord Castis affords no other person that right. He himself communes with the texts therein on a regular basis, in order “to keep them under control.” From time to time, horrendous monsters rage down the pylons to assault the remainder of the ship. One of your duties is defense against these unfortunate but inevitable results of the ship’s mission.

Your second duty is to assist your Inquisitor in confiscating more documents. The flow is never ending. Vigilance is paramount. This duty takes you to the foulest slums of the Sector, and also to the most lovely nests of corruption. Chaos knows well how to wear a harmless face. Inquisitor Lord Castis is known for his lack of mercy towards nobility who hope to conceal their heretical studies from him.

Your third and final duty, as given to you a few months ago when you were sent to serve Inquisitor Lord Castis, is to watch him. Eventually, he will bend and break under the strain of the archive. You cannot, of course, hope to defeat an Imperial Inquisitor: the Calixis Conclave merely hopes that, in the event of a catastrophe, you will be able to get out word before your death.

Best of luck.

Strike’s Over

And the WGA more or less won. It’s been really interesting to watch; this is the first US strike I’m aware of in which the PR battle was fought on blogs. And when you get right down to it, the writers make a living writing persuasive prose, so it’s not entirely surprising that the PR went well. On the other hand, it’s also the case that this strike didn’t affect the majority of the public in the way that, say, a garbage collection strike does. That helped PR too.

Still, the next time the Teamsters strike, they ought to get the WGA to help out with their PR work. It’d be interesting to see if the same PR strategy works. You get so much mileage in this sort of struggle when people see you as a human being.