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Friday, September 24, 2010

Fiction from the news

Here's an article about a recent medical study that determined a previously unstudied optical illusion. Apparently if you stare at your own face in a mirror in a dimly-lit room, 100% of people will see at least some distortion of their face, if not a full-blown hallucination. This is probably the basis of the Bloody Mary urban myth*, but it still sounds creepy as heck. Maybe it's the horror fan in me, but reading this article just got all sorts of crazy fiction gears turning in my brain. I'll post any story sent to me about this phenomenon. It seems ripe for a Hollywoodish horror flick to me.

You can read the article here.


*Which, to be honest, is about 110% responsible for the fact that I refuse to look in a mirror if the lights are off.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Picks of the Week

So, I had another drop off in percentage last week, mainly because I went out on a limb with the UT-UF and MSU-ND games, and was completely blind-sided by Arizona's turning out to actually be good. With my three whiffs this week, my totals fall to 22 out of 27 (81%).

This week is a lot like last week. There aren't a lot of good games, but what there are should be interesting.

No. 19 Miami at Pittsburgh
After Miami's "interesting" performance against Ohio State and Pitt's OT loss to Utah in Week One, much of the luster has certainly worn off this game. But both of these teams are good and with Fall starting to turn in the North, this should be a good test for Miami. I think that Jacory Harris will have a good night and send the Hurricanes to another W.
Miami 28 Pittsburgh 21

Bowling Green at No. 21 Michigan
I have no explanation for what happened to Michigan's defense last week against UMass, but the offense was reliable and Denard Robinson kept his unbelievable numbers going with a 100 yd game rushing and 200+ yard game in the air. Bowling Green is no UMass, though, and I expect my Wolverines to get their act together. Plus I will be at this game live and in person, so they know to step it up. I suspect this could be a blood bath.
Bowling Green 17 Michigan 52

No. 1 Alabama at No. 10 Arkansas
Most of this week's marquee games come courtesy of the SEC, and none are more important than this doozie. Ostensibly this game is the SEC West Divisional title game (unless Auburn or LSU pull out the upset against 'Bama) and Arkansas got some of their heebie jeebies out against UGA last weekend. Despite the high-powered offenses featured, this is gonna be an old-school defensive romp. 'Bama's got more talent but Arkansas might have home-field advantage on their side. I'm torn. Here's me, out on a limb.
Alabama 24 Arkansas 27

No. 16 Stanford at Notre Dame
Hmmm, the last two weeks tell me that this could be a very bad night for the Fighting Irish, yet God does not forsake Notre Dame for very long, and Brian Kelly seems to have racked up a lot of bad juju these last two weeks. It's very possible that the UM and MSU games were just the gasp before God starts blowing up the Pac 10. I dunno, or maybe Notre Dame just isn't all that good this year.
Stanford 35 Notre Dame 30

No. 12 South Carolina at No. 17 Auburn
Auburn was lucky to escape last week's game against Clemson with a win. South Carolina took a while to get warmed up but then dismantled Furman. Though these two teams are not in the same division, they both could use a quality win in the SEC to launch their Divisional title campaigns. I think South Carolina is the real deal and will have a little better luck than Clemson. For the second week in a row Auburn hosts a team from South Carolina, but this time they bite the curb.
South Carolina 28 Auburn 17

No. 24 Oregon State at No. 3 Boise State
Boise State took a serious hit to their reputation when Virginia Tech dropped an easy one against James Madison in Week Two, so they will be especially eager to pounce on the Beavers on the Blue Turf in Boise. This is BSU's last chance to prove their BCS mettle before heading into the doldrums purgatory of their WAC schedule, where they will drift alone and unaided unless one (or more) of the BCS conference teams fall waaaay off a cliff in the next few months. The Broncos have way more to play for here and it's at home. I give this one to them.
Oregon State 21 Boise State 35

No. 22 West Virginia at No. 15 LSU
This is the third of the big SEC games going on this week. LSU has managed to pull out of the dive they appeared to be in after barely scraping passed a depleted UNC team. West Virginia are trying to prove they are better than their Big East pedigree would suggest. The Mountaineers don't have a lot of opportunity to prove themselves, and Week Two's near-miss against Marshall didn't win much confidence, but going into Louisiana and coming out with a W over a good LSU team will sure help with the voters. They won't do it, but it would be cool if they did.
West Virginia 13 LSU 21

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The political significance of 28 Days Later

Christian Thorne, an English professor at Williams College, has a freaking incredible four part essay on the politics of Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. It's nothing new that zombies are inherently political metaphors, but I've never read anything that breaks it down so thoroughly and so brilliantly. This is must read for genre lovers, for movie lovers, for lover lovers.

You can read Part One of the essay here and then just follow the links through to the end. Also, when you're done, stick around and read all the other truly interestingt hings Mr. Thorne has to say about pop culture.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Homeric Epic, Exit no. 3

So, when Oblivion went into the studio to craft what would become The Garden in the Machine, we felt that we'd learned quite a few things about making good records, and creating a solid aural experience. The year+ grind of making Ellipsis, and the ultimate shoddiness of that record taught us that you have to have a plan before you start to record or you will easily lose your way on the many-forked road that is album creation*. You must remember that at the time we were only working part time jobs and finishing up our Bachelors, so we had a crap ton of time to think about this sort of stuff.

At the same time that we were beginning to write the songs that would be on TGitM, we were beginning to revisit, or discover, classic albums that all featured exquisite sequencing and tone. I was listening to a lot of psychedelic-era Beatles, Ben was diving back into Pink Floyd, and the whole group was collectively digging Tool's magnum opus Lateralus and a little-known, but absolutely brilliant, album by Toronto-based Change of Heart titled Tummysuckle. Despite the various genres of rock, these albums had many things in common: they all start off with strong openers and finish with languid, sizzling closers; most songs flowed one to the other without any breaks; they all feature a variety of styles within the albums themselves.