I remember my first “Lost Weekend.” It was Thanksgiving 2005 and all my family was out of town for the holiday. My roommate drove trucks during the night and I used his PS2, and rented the game, God of War. I remember one of the nights he walked back in from work and I asked, “Why are you home?” He looked at me and said, “Dude, it’s 4 a.m.! What are you doing up?!” I finished it that weekend.
Granted, it was a long weekend.
As a business owner, I gave up regular video gaming back in 1999 because I know I tend to play a game until I’ve beaten it. The weird thing is creating video games is what I originally wanted to do when I went to college, but there weren’t any educational programs at that time. I have always kept watch, however.
So when online gaming became popular, and I watched and listened to friends, family and media talk about how absorbed people became with the games, I avoided them at all costs. Luckily, I do most of my work on a Mac. At that time, most online games were for PCs.
While I don’t feel the need to lose a weekend, I have been feeling the ‘call’ to game. I even bought a PS3 a few years ago with the intention of occasional, ‘recreational,’ usage.
Now, I’m not one for military games or games that involve shooting lots of other people. Strangely, I have no problem slaying ogres, dragons, or zombies. They are, obviously, fictional.
Keep in mind, that when I first started playing video games, a player’s character was no more than a square on a screen. In fact, the Odyssey game system I used had colored, transparent, static cling game fields you’d overlay on your television. So, the Pong game appeared on a green tinted court.
Knowing the above information, and without wasting more time, I give you 3 Ways to Lose a Weekend.
3. Drink Lots of Alcohol.
Not the most recommended way to lose a weekend, and I can’t say I’ve ever done it. But I hear it’s effective. Remember, drinking alone is not recommended. And you’ll want to pick your drinking friends very carefully. I also recommend finding someone else’s blog to get real recommendations, because I’ve never done this over an entire weekend. You may also need counseling or join a group if you’ve used this method recently and have already graduated from college.
2. Sleep and/or Read a Good Book
Now, I can speak from experience, this is glorious. I actually got in over 31 hours of sleep from Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. until Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. I might have stayed in bed all weekend (since I wasn’t feeling well anyway), but there were household and parenting duties to attend to. I have, done this particular method for losing a weekend from time to time. It often has to be done if you tend to be a work-a-holic as well.
And this is the crux of the article. We rented this game for our teen this weekend. He was begging for it on 11/11/11 when it was released (AND because his birthday is coming up). Thanks to Redbox, we were able to try it out for our PS3 for only $2.00. And thanks to a power outage that effected part of the town Saturday night, he was limited to just an hour and a half of game play.
Now…back to the point of starting video games when your character was just a square. This game is AMAZING! Not only the quality, resolution, and fantasy setting (which in itself is enough), the creators at Bethesda Softworks have come up with a gaming engine that, literally, has an unlimited amount of game time. This is due to a huge combination of factors like randomization, reactions based on character action, and an incredible 16 square mile ‘world’ to explore. When you look up from the flowers on the ground you just picked to the mountain peak in the distance, you can actually travel to that peak and explore.
The game was played in our house for a total of 6:15 (according to the game clock) with all of us, at one time or another, trying to help from the sidelines. Puzzles, battles, and even learning how to tan leather and sharpen a sword at a local blacksmith shop are things you can do in the game. And, one of the most amazing things is how unique you can make your character. We didn’t try it, but I bet you could almost design one of the Navi from Avatar (or get pretty close).
It’s taken a day for the awesomeness to sink in. And I didn’t even play the game…yet. But I believe I feel a ‘lost weekend’ coming up for me…if I can wrestle control away from the teenager in the house. (Game is rated M for Mature…mostly due to the violence). Check out their ‘documentary’ about how they built it and all the hand drawn details they obsessed over.
As a last comment about gaming (and not really the Top 3 Ways to Lose a Weekend), here’s an image I put together to show the difference in old games and new, specifically in the game Resistance where aliens are attacking the earth.
What other great ideas do you have for Losing a Weekend? And…have you played Skyrim yet?
I’m sitting here, writing this post on my MacBook while listening to some music from iTunes on my iPod headphones with sadness and gratitude in my heart.
I’m sure I’m only one of hundreds, if not thousands, of people writing about Steve Jobs passing today. And I found out about it from a text message on my iPhone from my sweetie who, in turn, received the news from a text message from her youngest son’s friend (we figured he knew she had an iPhone and would want to know.)
As with any blog post, I’m simply relaying my thoughts and feelings. You see, while I don’t believe I feel any more strongly than the next person, I have experienced the loss of someone close (my mother in ’97). Of course, I didn’t personally know Steve Jobs, but he was a part of my life. An inspiration in many ways. And while I didn’t like some of the things he’d done in the past, his creations have allowed me to tap into creativity I never knew I had within me.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
I read several things about Mr. Jobs tonight. Many I already had read. Many that were moving. And finally, we all sat down to watch his 2005 Speech to the graduates of Stanford University.
Man. What an inspiration.
And what a wake-up call.
As my heart aches for how I’ve been ‘diminished’ today, I remember another quote he said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993]
Have I created something wonderful in my life? And have I shared it with others?
Sleep will be difficult tonight.
I feel the ghost of Steve Jobs watching over me telling me to get busy.
Poetry Online (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
Contrary to popular belief…and I’m willing to go out on a limb about this…the world will NOT end in 2012 when the Mayan calendar ends.
But I repeat myself, and will again. THE WORLD WILL NOT END IN 2012!
“How can you be so certain, Eric? There are signs EVERYWHERE!” people gasp and stare at me like I’m a complete idiot.
Let me just say that I’ve lived through dozens of “end-of-the-world” scenarios. So have you. From Y2K to the rogue planet Nibiru’s supposed passing in 2003 to aliens coming to take us to their planet to the flurry of ‘end-of-days’ stories from religious texts.
There are no more floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, plagues, wars, etc. this year than say…oh…1918 when there was a global pandemic killing nearly 20 million people, a World War going on, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and more.
We just have better forms of communications today. A cartoon at XKCD.com shows that twittering was faster than the seismic waves of an earthquake. We hear and share everything we see and read about without verifying it’s authenticity. Snopes.com is a good place to check for crazy rumors, stories, emails, news, and photos like this.
With movies such as 2012 that show global disaster, many people believe everything written in the script. From solar flares, to polar shifts, and crustal displacement. Poor NASA was so overwhelmed with questions they made a special site to answer questions. If you have any, you might want to check it out as well.
To wrap up, we all will die. Worrying about it happening at some specific date takes the joy out of living today. And even if I am wrong…and I’m not…shouldn’t we all use the time given to make the most of our lives and the days amazing?
What is it about the living dead?
When George Romero created Night of the Living Dead (and accidentally forgot to copyright the film, thus making the original print in the public domain), he was making a subversive statement about our society in the late 60s.
At least that’s what historians write.
I think it was just the beginnings of a terrifying genre of horror film.
Personally, as I’ve written before, I used to have terrible nightmares based on the Dawn of the Dead film by George Romero. Suffice to say that all the nightmares revolve around me being safe somewhere until some idiot lets in a horde of zombies that outnumber me and…well…they try to eat me.
I’ve figured out the cause of the nightmares; too many things going on in my life. Upon waking, I generally set about ‘eliminating’ tasks and soon..POOF!…no more nightmares.
I write all this to tell you that I’ve been having fun with zombies lately.
I have purchased from the talented artist and graphic designer, Abi Post, a painting of a Zombie Bride (it was between that and the Zombie Nude (see below), but couldn’t figure out where I would hang a painting like that…dangit. Love the toe tag and wrist band!). Plus, I helped build the site for her. MUCH fun!
Then today, I discover my girlfriend’s oldest son has been having zombie movie marathons at a friend’s house. Well… Resident Evil movie marathon’s, anyway. Not really zombie movies, but fun. Who DOESN’T like seeing Milla Jovavich kick some mutant dead? Hmm?
I told him I was a big fan and he asked me which ones he should watch.
Which brings me to the point of this blog…finally.
ERIC’S TOP 10 ZOMBIE MOVIES (plus some)
A quick run down and brief description of the movies in order I would suggest watching. You know? To get the full FEEL of the genre. And like a good film, break it up with a bit of humor and different tone from time to time.
At the end, I will mention a few other things for my zombie lovin’ friends and fellow graphic designers! (Hmmm….they’re ALL graphic designers now that I think about it. Weird.)
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
As described above, the granddaddy of them all. New audiences may find it a bit lame compared to the effects and gore of today’s films, but you just have to remember about what people had been exposed to at the time.
2. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
10 years past before the sequel was made. Tom Savini makes his zombie makin’ debut with this film. You might recognize him in many other movies as well. Additionally, this movie takes place in a shopping mall. And we all know, if it’s the end of the world, there would be NO better place than the free run of an entire shopping mall!
3. Day of the Dead (1985)
The last of the ‘Dead’ trilogy (at the time). This one is more bleak, taking place in an underground army bunker. However, the coolest character in the movie is Bub. Bub is dead. Well, undead. And a really ‘smart’ scientist is trying to teach him to be domesticated. Sprinkle in a handful of mindless army goons and you’ve got all the ingredients for your hidey hole to soon be an open buffet.
4. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Written by the recently deceased author, Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Total Recall, and two Heavy Metal segments), this will give marathon viewers a breather with some much needed humor. Bonus: the origin of why the common belief is held that zombies crave ‘brainzzzzzzz.’
5. Night of the Living Dead (1990)
While I like the original version better, we get a little better effects, but generally the exact same plot and dialogue. Things seem a little out of time, but going through the remakes of Romero’s films will keep the zombie enthusiast ever evolving with the genre. You MAY decide to skip this film, but be SURE to catch number 6 on the list. BONUS: Tony Todd (The Candyman) in one of his early films.
6. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
By far an excellent entry, AND quiet frankly a disturbing change in zombie behavior: running. While running zombies was sort of alluded to in another movie of this time (see #9 below), the fact that you couldn’t simply run from zombies anymore really freaked me out. Anyone else out there? Regardless, this film by Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) is a MUST see in the zombie genre. Don’t plan on sleeping tonight. And watch all the credits to remind yourself, “There ARE no happy endings when zombies are involved.”
7. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
A comedic masterpiece. One I proudly have in my collection and have watched a dozen times. The dozens of subtle jokes can only be caught with repeated viewings. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright co-wrote the movie. Pegg (Scotty on the new Star Trek) is Shaun, an average guy with an obnoxious best friend, girl trouble, and a propensity for hanging out at a local pub called the Winchester. A whole day goes by before Shaun and his friends even know something is amiss and the dead walk the streets of London. BONUS: Bill Nighy as Shaun’s step-dad.
8. 28 Days Later
While not actually a zombie movie, it injects the genre with a new twist: rage. Directed by the amazing Danny Boyle, we find poor Jim (played by Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, Dark Night, Red Eye)) waking up in a hospital completely alone in the city of London. When he finally finds someone in a pile of bodies in a church, he realizes something terrible has occurred. Here, again, are the fast moving ‘dead’ who are really people filled with a super virus that brings out rage in people and chimps, apparently. Again, while not a zombie movie, it set the tone for Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, in my humble opinion.
9. Fido (2006)
Time again for a short comedic break with this independent film starring the incredibly talented Carrie Ann Moss (Trinity from the Matrix), Billy Connelly, and Dylan Baker. It’s a world where the clothing and family life from the 50s and 60s thrive and the zombies have been domesticated with shock collars to keep them from feeding on people. Instead, they handle shopping carts, simple chores and even act as pets. They also make great company and beat out any ole collie a boy might own. A MUST see.
10. Zombieland (2009)
Why DOES Romero take zombies so seriously? While not available for home viewing yet, this film set a new standard for the ‘buddy movie’ meets ‘zombie’ genres. Did I mention Woody Harrelson is one of the stars? I can see this film having a sequel or more. Zombieland is like a video game where you figure out ways to get rid of the walking dead. If you missed it in theaters, be sure to get the dvd or blu-ray. Oh…and don’t forget to have some Purell handy.
PLUS SOME MORE
There are a few more to mention in the genre OR they are part of the heritage that has been created. I make a note of what MUST be seen, and what you can pass on if you just don’t have the time.
Day of the Dead (2008)
Okay. Really. You could skip this one. While it’s based on Romero’s Day of the Dead, I didn’t even know it existed. In fact, I think I caught part of it on a Sci-Fi Saturday night movie once and didn’t even realize what it was. Actually, it may have been direct to video. It’s a Steve Miner (House, Lake Placid) film starring Mena Suvari and, strangely Ving Rhymes who was in number 6 above in a completely different role. 4 out of 10 stars on IMDB. Just checked, and you can watch it on ‘Instant Play’ on Netflix.
Land of the Dead (2005)
Not a bad movie. However, it introduces some new ideas about zombie that I just don’t believe belong in the genre. Romero did pull off getting Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo in the film. And don’t forget Asia Argento! Rowr! Um. Oh yeah…Walled City. Rich people vs. Poor. And the new idea? That zombies just want a home to go to. Like…they migrate. BONUSES: Water doesn’t really stop a zombie AND Simon Pegg and Edger Wright cameo as the “Photobooth zombies.” Not in my top 10, but definitely worth a viewing.
Diary of the Dead (2008)
Zombies meet Cloverfield. Nuff said. Okay. I’ll say more. Shot on a video camera throughout most of the film, it does have some humorous twists. While ‘filming’ a zombie film, a group of film students discover zombies are really out to get them. Some of the same ends are met in ‘real’ life as would have happened if they had made their film. Romero wrote and directed this film. IMDB gives it 6 out of 10. Rumor mill has it that a prequel is in development for Night of the Living Dead: Origins in 3D (esplatter.com).
28 Weeks Later (2007)
This was a cool follow up to Danny Boyle’s original film. A great cast too. Six months after the virus hit, the United States is helping secure England bit by bit. Unfortunately, things go awry. SURPRISE. Again, not a zombie movie, in my opinion, but if you watched the first movie, you owe it to yourself to see this one.
We go a little retro here, but this is a cult classic. Based on the creepy H.P. Lovecraft story, a college student is obsessed with re-animating dead tissue. Humor and gore abound. Jeffrey Combs, a sci-fi favorite, heads the cast and shows up in the sequels (still being made!)
Planet Terror (2007)
Part of the Grindhouse films if Robert Rodriquiz’ Planet Terror. The film was designed to look like a “B” movie with choppy cuts, mis-spliced film and over the top effects. Things go from bad to worse as gas is released and people die only to come back to life with a craving for flesh. But the humans in Planet Terror won’t go down without a fight. Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriquez, Josh Brolin, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Bruce Willis and Naveen Andrews all star.
ERIC HASN’T SEEN, BUT I’VE HEARD THESE ARE ALSO GREAT…
Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992)
One of Peter Jackson’s (King Kong, Lord of the Rings) early films. From IMDB: A young man’s mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.
Zombie by Lucio Fulci (1979)
Apparently this movie has quite a following. There are MANY clips online for viewing and a gross movie poster. From IMDB: Strangers looking for a woman’s father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately searches for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.
This Japanese film popped up on SEVERAL other ‘Top 10’ lists I came across. I can’t tell you much about it, but on IMDB, one of the characters is listed as “Yakuza zombie in alligator-skin coat.” HOW COOL IS THAT? A MUST see, I’m thinkin.’
LAST BONUS FILM
Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2: In Shocking 2-D (1991)
Remember me mentioning that George Romero didn’t copyright the first prints of Night of the Living Dead? Well, James Riffel, decided to wipe the soundtrack clean and add his own dialog over the film. Plus a few well placed intermissions. What results seems really stupid, but after awhile you can’t help but laugh. Especially when Barbara is exploring the old farm house and Riffel adds in an unexpected sound of a duck quacking. Barbara wheels around and the new voice over says, “uh…uh…was that a …d…d…duck?” Hmmm. Have a few drinks before you start watching, or start the movie very very very late.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Please chime in on your favorites, or if I missed something glaring. And, no, as much as I’d liked to add it in, Army of Darkness doesn’t count. Even if they are and army of the undead. Where’s my boomstick?
Okay….you can watch it. =)
Cool Zombie Santa by Phillip Blackman. If you’re late sending out Christmas Cards, he’s got the perfect “LATE” card to send out! Buy them now!
[ THIS HUMOROUS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED DUE TO THREATENED LEGAL ACTION FROM 32 DIFFERENT CORPORATIONS WHO ADVISED THAT ANY COMMENT MADE ABOUT THEM COULD BE CONSIDERED LIBEL. THEREFORE, I AM SIMPLY POSTING A DILBERT CARTOON, BECAUSE…. well… EVERY… SINGLE… WORD…. SCOTT ADAMS WRITES ABOUT CORPORATIONS IS TRUE! ]
Upon more research to hone my new passion of writing, I discovered for blogs I should:
- Write posts under 250 words
- State my real opinion to show I’m not a voice box for a corporation (see above)
- Write with PASSION!
- Make links to resources and sources
- Include bullet point lists
Done. Done. DONE. Done. Aaaaannnnnd… DONE!
Word Count? 107!
Actually, all I was going to say to everyone is…
Don’t worry. Corporations are not evil. They’re just made up of a broad range of highly talented motivated people all the way down to clock watchers who all have one thing in common: to keep their jobs.
Okay. 157 words.
Everyone begins the year with a list of “New Year’s Resolutions.” Things we say we’re going to change about ourselves, or things we’ve put off doing, in order to grow.
I have the wonderful benefit (or curse) of having been a blogger for over 2 years. Not that I’ve been regularly doing it daily, but enough that I can tell you exactly what was going on when I was writing.
Now, several years ago, I made a resolution to give up resolutions and I haven’t started them back yet. However, to my dismay, I discovered SEVERAL entries where I stated what my next intentions were to better myself. I just didn’t do them on January 1st.
I suppose I’m not truly dismayed at the one entry that jumped out at me, but I did discover I’ve been working on the same things for over two years. AND, I haven’t been doing everything possible to make those things come true. There WAS a third item, and I actually accomplished it…sorta. It was “Moving into a condo so I could focus on traveling and not working on my house.” Well…I DID get to move into the condo temporarily, and it DID lead to me getting an apartment that freed up a ton of money so I could travel. So…that kinda worked. Right?
But the other two…not so much. Except for one I have recently started. These two were:
- Begin a writing career
- Work on a movie in some capacity
Well, I’ve done some writing off and on, but as of January 1st, I will have a short column in a small local publication (with big dreams). It’s called the MOMster Chronicles. It’s basically for, you guessed it…Moms. They have a new owner who wants to branch out and give moms as much support and information as possible to make life better for their family and themselves. Not sure if it will be online anytime soon, but I believe you can register for it. I’ll post the column the month after they publish. Meanwhile, here’s what they’ve got up for now: http://www.momsterchronicles.com
I’ve also started writing for a new web site that I plan on having humor, information and communal advice when it comes to relationships. The column, I think I’ve mentioned before, will be called “The Single Guy” and be about the misadventures of a single guy trying to find love. It will be based off of many stories I’ve heard from friends as well as some of my own embellished stories. Hope to launch that VERY soon.
As for the movie making business? Well…that’s going to have to wait a bit longer. But let’s just say all the things I’m doing are moving towards giving me resources and time to go that direction as well. I’ve MET and NETWORKED with screenwriters, directors and other film folk. I’ll keep you posted on that as well.
Meanwhile, I’m off to Vegas with Christi via Interstate 40 and a 19 hour drive. We’re heading to a Chocolate business conference that starts at 10:00 a.m. in Vegas. We’re leaving on New Year’s day at 7:00. Our plan is to make it to Flagstaff, AZ by 10:00 p.m. Thursday night. We’ll keep you posted and maybe post some photos and/or video. Being the techno-geeks we are.
So, on this day when we all portend “New Beginnings” let’s start simple and just focus on “New Outlooks” and see where our visions can take us.
Mine is taking me to Vegas, baby!