Tag Archives: Ridley Scott

Renaissance of cinema

When did you have that feeling, if you ever had it at all? I think it is part of the ageing process, you have to be over 50 to get it. You see, we see Netflix and we often see Bluray’s (or DVD’s) of the old master, but in both cases, at present I still cannot get the real masters. Claude Lelouch’s ‘Les uns et let autres’, the bluray of Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton), or even ‘My little Buddha’ with Keanu Reeves. They are all masters, all in their own right they brought an amazing story to the screen. I was there at the premiere in the Hague when Les uns et les autres made everyone jump to their feet at the end giving a wide applause, it as the first time I saw that happen, it was the first time I experienced it. Not merely the music by Francis Lai and Michel Legrand. The cast which included James Caan, Geraldine Chaplin, Robert Hossein, Jean-Claud Brialy and so many others, a story for the ages. Tim Burton gave new live and a much stronger life to Sleepy Hollow, yes Johny Depp played the big role, but he was surrounded by others and when you see Christopher Lee play the small part of the judge, a small role by a giant, you should figure out that you are hading to something amazing. I have more reasons for this, apart from seeing it 3-4 times on the big screen when it came. It also introduced me to the teaser trailer to the first Harry Potter film, a name I had not heard before that day, but the crowd went insane that night. Sleepy Hollow, with amazing music brought to life Washington Irving and his Legend of Sleepy Hollow. These to giants are not alone. In all the need to reinvent the wheel the streamers are all forgetting the originals, or perhaps the originals as I remember them, Keanu Reeves as Siddhartha, a story of Buddhism, a religion I knew then, and optionally still now know very little about. Yet the movie showed more, it opened a door (for me) and that part is important, to all. When a movie, or a story makes for an open door in your mind, you get to peak at what is out there. Me? I am a pranking person. So I would like to go into the office of Jean-François Mirigay of Monaco and introduce myself as police commissioner Ludovic Cruchot of the St. Tropez police department to inspect the troops no less (fake papers required, and fluent French knowledge too). Why? Because Louis de Funes was that funny, we forgot about him did we not? The old masters are almost forgotten, but I will not let that happen whilst I still live. It is also the need to see Belmondo in Flic ou voyou (or Le guignolo) again. Yet there are no discs, there is no Netflix version. One would hope it will be remastered, perhaps a new version of those movies, but these movies are about the not so PC 70’s, 60’s and in some cases 80’s. 30 years of cinema almost forgotten, mainly because Hollywood does not care about what passed, it cares about the next quarter. Yes, it does and in the Covid age, I get that, I do not oppose it, but is that enough of a reason to forget the greats? When we see ‘French’ and movies, some will revert to Emmanuelle and Silvia Kristel, but French movies had so much more. There was Catherine Deneuve with Indochine (1993) about the age before Vietnam became a reality. Cinema has so much to offer, but I fear that too many have forgotten how we got there and that is such a shame, because I have not even scratched the surface of what was. Even in my native Netherlands, I was (until I moved to Australia) unaware of Rutger Hauer’s Bride Flight. That made sense as it is a 2008 movie, but the movie told me a lot that was not taught in the schools. I knew about the 1953 London to Christchurch air race, all Dutch kids hear the story of the race, but the race was merely the beginning and we get to see more, also how the Dutch moved and took their values with them, some never embracing the local values and cultures. And I am not asking you or telling you to embrace it all, I merely offer the idea that you consider the old master, old masters of cinema. A group of people that are too soon to be forgotten as we see another batch of Netflix and Disney plus releases. So when we see names like Timothy Spall, we tend to grasp straight to the Harry Potter series, yet we forget that he stood out in Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise (aptly renamed by me as death of a vacuum cleaner salesman), it is actually there that I saw in him an optional Lucius Malfoy (I had just read the third book), a stage that is not set against Jason Isaacs (who did a brilliant job), it is merely the thoughts that we entertain when reading a book is much wider than the cinema offers, the cinema offers the view of the director (optionally filtered by the producers), the book let the mind work it all out and the filtered views of the past still matters, especially when experts in their own field like Louis de Funes, Derek Jacobi or Jean Paul Belmondo give their view for us to see. I feel that players like Netflix and Disney are forgetting that, when we merely focus on the spreadsheet and what needs to be achieved, the past is lost and that is never a good thing. The funny part is that this impacts games and movies to a similar degree, which is an odd revelation, but there you have it. So whilst we are all debating how precise Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven really was, we forget that, or perhaps never knew that Balian of Ibelin (c. 1143 – 1193), also known as Barisan the Younger was a real person who surrendered Jerusalem to Saladin on October 2, 1187. Until the movie was made, I wonder how many knew what the setting of Jerusalem in those days were. Books are not merely the foundation of movies, movies are a source to investigate what was and in this Les uns et les autres stands out, it is pure fiction, but the story touches on real musical icons. People like Édith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Herbert von Karajan, Glenn Miller, Rudolf Nureyev and a few more are given life in this story in the most eloquent way, the old masters have so much to teach us, lets make sure that we do not lose these lessons before it is too late, a spoonful of Alain Delon anyone?

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Franchise to the left

And legend to the right, we all have been in that setting; we all have had grander then life dreams and imaginations. For me it started when some British bloke brought a new level of fear to the cinema (Alien), it could be the American that made us afraid to go swimming (Jaws), yet for the most we all have had that moment. For some reason that feeling got awake again with the setting of Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel, directed by William Eubank. I am talking about the movie Underwater. I am trying to make sure that I am not giving away the plot, because the movie is well worth watching. We all have made fun of Kristen Steward, not because of the girl, but because of the franchise. I have nothing against the franchise and even as I have never read the works of the writer, I get the feeling that she is well worth reading, I got that sense when I saw the movie the Host. Anyway, I got the limited Twilight edition of Charlie’s Angels (one additional romantic scene, ha ha ha) and that was that. But she shines like a well cut diamond in Underwater, the cast is awesome and the movie is a lot better then anyone realises, because in my case Underwater took me back to the original feeling of unease that Jaws and Alien instilled, I actually missed that feeling and it got me thinking. We all look at the Middle East, we all saw Aladdin, but there is a lot more than the proverbial Argo. What if we dispense with the musical dreaded scene of the room in the dark, what if the dark becomes a much larger stage, a stage where you will not sleep, never ever again with the lights off?

That was the setting I contemplated, but it never gave me the idea, the idea was already there, yet in this case the idea altered a little. I am talking about the concept of the Ifrit. Then today (yesterday as well) when I was replaying AC Origins, I stumbled upon the idea again, it was when (in the game) I entered the city of Letopolis (and the story behind it) and it gave me the idea in more degrees. Yet I was contemplating the city of Per-Amun and the Battle of Pelusium (525 BC). A stage where we see the confrontation of Egypt and the Achaemenid Empire. Now consider that an Ifrit was held captive in Per-Anum, it was taken and moved to the western province of their domain in the city of Gerrha, in a secret tomb under houses the prison of the Ifrit was kept and lost when the caretakers fell ill and it was forgotten, that prison is found after 2500 years by a western teacher exploring his connection to Islam and he is filled with the rage of a demon held captive for 3000 years. We now have a stage where Islamic doctrine might hold a solution, but the wielder is in doubt of his faith and in the mean time the rage of the Ifrit takes on a turn of another nature. When we consider that the larger stage of the Achaemenid Empire is now Iran, Gerrha is (now) in Saudi Arabia and we are confronted with a demon, not merely in thirst of blood, but also a stage of intrigue setting up a war of Saudi Arabia against Iran we get a new stage, one never seen (as far as I know). We look at horror, but what if horror is set (drenched) in political settings, as well as religious ones? Especially when we consider “In the latter account, the “ifrit among the jinn” threatens Muhammad with a fiery presence, whereupon the archangel Gabriel taught Muhammad a Du’a (Islamic prayer) to defeat it.” A stage which we get from ‘Heavenly Journeys, Earthly Concerns: The Legacy of the Mi’raj in the Formation of Islam Routledge, 2004’ by Brooke Olson Vuckovic. We have all the markings of what could be an awesome franchise, yet as far as I can tell, no one looked in that directions, I wonder why. 

5 large streaming houses, a dozen large studio’s and no one looked or contemplated this direction of ideas? I merely watch movies, I am not (and never really had the notion of becoming) a movie director, I am for the most a storyteller and an analyst. Yet the idea of creating something totally new (not the first time) is both appealing and overwhelming. So as I (and others too) consider looking to the left hoping we have created a new franchise, we also look towards the right hoping to see the shimmer of the ‘legendary label’ in this all storytellers are the same, we love the idea of any new story we create, but to create one that becomes legendary as other great storyteller did before us is always in the back of all our minds, we all want to become the next Rowling, Tolkien, Hubbart, Sheckley or Clarke. We always want to measure how close we got to our idols, as far as I can tell, there is no exception to that rule and every storyteller has his or her own idol, the achieved person that drives us. All that and the thought of knowing the person who overhauled the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis and whatever they found under there is always the wink towards the unknown. Some merely see the “outstanding example of an ancient Roman burial ground”, yet what if this happened before and what if we ignore the old saying to keep buried what was buried? What happens when you open the door to someone who can traverse the seven stages of the Jahannam? And what happens when someone figures out that there is more to The Remorse of Orestes?

The Remorse of Orestes

We see overlaps and connections in Islamic stories that connects to Christianity (Gabriel) and Greek (Furies), what if this is not a casual link? You see most film makers never seemingly looked deeper into that side of things, why not? If they are more becoming about streaming and franchises, I think the Middle East has a whole range of stories that open up more and optionally also a larger audience. 

#JustSaying

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Changing perspectives

As I was about to lose sleep again, the BBC helped me out with an article in a very different direction. The headline ‘Actor Riz Ahmed wants to stop Hollywood’s ‘toxic portrayals’ of Muslims’. And he is right, for the most there has been too much toxic portrayals. When I try to find an alternative direction, my mind comes up with a title like Traitor, an amazing piece of work by Don Cheadle, I do not believe that to be a toxic movie, it stands out as a Muslim finds a way to stop bloodshed in a very innovative way, the end is to be seen again and again. I came up with ‘How to assassinate a politician’ which might be toxic, but I saw it as a response to ultra right discrimination and unacceptable levels of anti Muslim actions. Yet it is about Riz Ahmed, and when we see “The progress that’s being made by a few of us doesn’t paint an overall picture of progress if most of the portrayals of Muslims on screen are still either non-existent or entrenched in those stereotypical toxic two-dimensional portrayals” (at https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-57438750), he is right, there is another side given to us by Ali-Baab Khan “Muslims live all over the world, but film audiences only see a narrow portrait of this community, rather than viewing Muslims as they are: business owners, friends and neighbours whose presence is part of modern life”, there I see nothing new.

I have friends who are business owners, friends who were neighbours and still friends who live far away, they are Muslim and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet it is not merely about the narrow portrait, you see I have always considered myself well educated (three University degrees) and a whole range of experience all over the field, yet until a little after the Charlie Hedbo event I learned that the image if Mohammed was never to be displayed, it was a massive no-no in Islam, I never knew that, my schools never told me that. Now the era was out there that until I went to high school, I had never met a Muslim and even then I did not notice him for the fact that he was by himself a lot and I was in high school. Yet the knowledge behind Charlie Hedbo gave light to my version of ‘How to assassinate a politician. Yet the stage was that I did not meet any Muslims until 1982 when I entered the Middle East, and in all that the teachings of the Catholic Church that was given to us in nearly all schools was about the evil saracens and us the good christians saving Jerusalem. So was it when Ridley Scott made Kingdom of Heaven (2005) that we woke up? Some woke up a little early, but a lot of us still haven’t woken up and those who rely on Lawrence of Arabia (1962) to give us the real news we will be up for a rude awakening. So as some give us “The film is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. In 1991, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry” we need to recognise that it comes with the added “Most of the film’s characters are based on actual people to varying degrees. Some scenes were heavily fictionalised, such as the attack on Aqaba, and those dealing with the Arab Council were inaccurate since the council remained more or less in power in Syria until France deposed Faisal in 1920”, and as we take notice that there is no real actual and factual representation and this was until way deep past 1991, we see that not only does Riz Ahmed have a case, it is a much larger case than anyone can fathom, even if he is that one Muslim downing the Empire (a Rogue One joke). For me the massive filtering by the media gave me the clue that things are not right for almost a decade, but that means that for the longest time I was not aware of the party that was playing and that bothers me a lot. Does that not bother you? If you are in a small village like Hilversum (Netherlands) and you lived there all your life and you never looked around you might miss it too and you would be forgiven, I take it harder because I am supposed to be intelligent enough to see things, but there too is the crux, the media is a much larger problem in all this and they are banking on people staying asleep for as long as possible, and that gives light to the movie Syriana, a movie with 5 stages and the more you know the more brilliant that movie comes across. Does this help Riz? No, I do not think it does, but it does show that his claim is a lot more solid than we would have given it credit, and that matters too.

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Brain what?

Today I stopped (via YouTube) to watch one movie that I had not seen for some time. Who could pass up the chance to watch Natalie Wood again, in this movie with Louise Fletcher and Christoper Walken it is all about recording the brain. The movie Brainstorm (1983) is all about what is not possible and it is done well, the story takes a little dip when the military gets involved (like it was in the 80’s) but overall still an entertaining movie. I wondered what would happen if some young upstart (new director) gets to talk to a decently financed producer and makes this into a mini series for whatever streaming service takes it. A friend of mine (yes, I actually have those) wondered why I am not going that distance myself. Well, I turned 59, I am not a director, I do not feel that I would make a decent director and starting a new career as well as getting schooling at 59 is not my idea of retirement preparations. 

So as I was pondering that field we were not meant for show business, apart from the optional new anime by Ridley Scott where I am considering to do the Dutch voice over, there is no real flame to go that distance. Yet, in that same setting I was wondering the advances that Electroencephalography has made (if any), you see that is still an important part, if there is to be any real AI in computing, a better recollection and parsing systems is required and Electroencephalography might be the only technology that gives (at some point in time) a more human (or is that humane) setting towards AI. That drive could be part of the brainstorm mini series. It is not the weirdest idea, the writer Bruce Joel Rubin did make a real good script, he was also behind Ghost, Jacob’s Ladder, and Deep Impact (and a few more), as such this man has earned his stripes. But the nagging feeling that the movie left behind beckons exploring. The 80’s was a great era for loopy ideas, but not one for deeply thought through options. I reckon that these movies are all under investigation by the streaming houses as remaking IP tends to be a lot cheaper than making new IP. The fact that this movie is almost 40 years old gives it the forgotten tender group.

Yet in all this we need to wonder if this all we are, are new IP settings (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) so rare that remaking is all we can do? There are almost 130 million books out in the open, is finding new IP that hard? The producers seem to clamp down on the bestseller lists and when the going gets tough they fold (example: Percy Jackson series), yet in all this the world has so much more to offer. It had one additional thing to offer, because my mind got the better of me. It started with me reading a part wrong ‘One idiot abroad’, this was accentuated with the slightly ‘psycho’ look of Stephen Merchant. It showed two additional people and the thought came ‘One won’t make it out alive’ and I giggled. That is a popcorn moment, it is reality TV that I would watch, especially when death becomes a factor. Consider all these celebrity survival games. We all get it, there needs to be a winner, but let’s be honest, should the losers survive? 

There is no way that you haven’t had  similar thought at some point. It is almost as corny (and perhaps essential) as letting an anti-vaxxer Twitter influencer die of Covid-19, some things are just meant to be and should that person be allowed to deprive actual victims of essential oxygen? We are setting the stage that the makers have given us and we twist that setting a little more. It is almost like walking into a bookshop and placing some of the Stephen King books ‘the Stand’ in the non-fictional section, there is a little demon on our shoulder whispering “You can do that, do not be the pussy you usually are”, and at some point we just give in.

If we are out thinking patterns, is it not equally so that intelligence will be shaped by the quirks we give into? Yet what is the stage where we record these impulses and can they actually be recorded at present? If electroencephalography is the way to that, is it not also the way towards an actual AI? If a biochemical computer can be mapped and truly be understood, is that not a first step in creating a silicon version to do something similar? Yes, I understand that they are not the same, but to get the other version working, it needs to be able or an effort needs to be made to mimic the other version, that has been true for the longest time. You see, mimicking also shows what goes wrong and when we understand, truly understand why it is going wrong, we can work towards new levels of innovation.

The path to innovation is never a straight line, only according to some person with a business degree and basic knowledge of Excel, they think it is a simple formula, but the rest, those treading innovation will tell you it is something different entirely, perhaps a new Brainstorm might reveal a lot more scientific paths than we give the art credit for.

Speaking of credits, those who follow me, let it be known that a certain counter is at 21,447, as such certain revelations will not take much longer.

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Mapping insanity

OK, this is a weird one, and it could even apply to me. I was day dreaming a moment ago, and it is not one I had ever before. First let set the situation, in this setting I was acting, my co-players were Matt Damon and Arnold Vosloo, the director was Ridley Scott. I was given very direct orders, I had to yank Matt’s chains as much as possible. In one setting I was teaching  Matt’s character South African, I told him to replace ‘th’ with double f, and asked him to speak ‘When I was at school I thought a lot’, we get ‘When I was at school I fought a lot’ and heaven behold Arnold Vosloo loses his cool and laughs out loud, Matt’s character has a fit, a loud one, then it was Arnold’s turn. He makes mention on the daily events and I hear that Elon Must will be visiting the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I say “that makes no sense, oh, perhaps he is trying to buy the competitor, there are rumours that the New Zealand party has come up with a cheaper electrical car, $NZ 20,000, which is about $15,000. This might be making Elon Musk Nervous”, ‘really?’ Matt’s Character says. My response is “Yep, it amounts to $10,000 for the car and $5,000 for the extension cord”, more laughter except from Matt. 

Yet the reality is different. The story is about a shuttle that is set on a long trajectory because of a defect, it will take the shuttle another 5 months to get back to earth orbit, 3 months have already passed, and as we see into the shuttle, that has no flickering lights, but part of the shuttle is damaged we see Matt Damon in his chair, and when the camera turns to us, we see to dead bodies, Vosloo’s and my character are dead and Matt is dealing with isolation and a lack of resources, we see that this is a movie about insanity through isolation, we were the window dressing, Matt is there to show just how insane a man can come through isolation in a place where you cannot move to conserve oxygen, left with two dead co workers for month and the setting of a malfunctioning shuttle. All whilst the oxygen supply is not completely kosher. 

It is a psychological movie and I saw part of what could be an interesting journey into the mind of an Astronaut who lost it completely all whilst he is yet to learn that the DOD did this to test the Astronaut because of what is about to come and as we see the end titles, we see a much larger shuttle, with the cockpit looking just like the delusions that Matt’s character faced.

Well, that is it for now, anyway it is less upsetting than the actions of a US President who shall presently not be named (to make the accusation deniable).

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Tripped by a thought

Yup, this happens. We watch things, we read things and it mixes into an idea. The first element in this was the movie Kingdom of Heaven (by Ridley Scott). I love this movie, for some reason it feels more real than any of the other movies that are founded on the crusades are. There are a few other reasons, there is always a good reason to watch any movie with Orlando Bloom and Alexander Siddig and the fact that it also had Liam Neeson, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons and several others did not hurt that cause either. I was struck by the charisma that Ghassan Massoud brought to the screen in Kingdom of Heaven. That movie is pretty much forever in the back of my mind. The second element was something I read. The quote “An ifrit can further be bound to a sorcerer, if summoned”, as well as “In the latter account, the “ifrit among the jinn” threatens Muhammad with a fiery presence, whereupon the archangel Gabriel taught Muhammad a Du’a (Islamic prayer) to defeat it”, this struck a chord as it is the only reference I have seen at present where Christian faith and Islamic faith crosses (perhaps there are more). But it got me thinking. What happens if an Afreet, a dweller of the sands is confronted by the invasion armies of the west? The Crusaders, the Templars, the Teutons, and some of these organisations still exist today. So what happens when an Afreet goes on a quest to understand the enemy of its sands? The idea is not entirely new, the Afreet made an appearance in True Blood and in American gods, but in both cases it is less seen from the view of the Afreet, and as a demon they are part immortal, or at least can exist for thousands of years, anyone with that level of timespan has a different view on matters. As such the Afreet can be in the past and the present giving us a very different stage.

We have been so obsessed with the western folklore, that we forget that there is a large area of folklore that has almost never been tapped into and when we consider that Netflix is present in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, I wonder why we get this oversight. Of course they can also go for the other movie I came up with ‘How to kill a politician’ which optionally might be a big hit in the Islamic world, it might not be something that a person like Geert Wilders likes, but it is a door he opened himself and France added spice to that soup. 

All options I did in mere hours, as such I wonder what is keeping some so called creators in creating actual new stuff (instead of a new version of old stuff). It is as I personally see it the difference between iterative and innovative. A stage that America is shifting in, they are moving more and more towards iterative because they can no longer find the innovative people. A sad state of affairs as I personally see it.

Is it me? Am I tripped by a thought, or am I seeing it correctly that we are missing out on true innovation in both movies and TV series? I am not ignoring the stage where we are told that there are “In 2019, the number of original scripted television series in the United States hit 532”, I am not doubting that, I am merely noticing that other places in the world, these series are missing, or not shown. And to be honest, I have my doubt on all 532 series being actual innovative series. There is nothing wrong with iterative series, but they are a prolongation of something else. Another CSI, another NCIS, another Star Trek, another Superman. I will agree that there are plenty of fans for them, but at times we need to offer something so new people gasp at the notion of difference. I get the setting that this does not always ends up being positive (Firefly, Dollhouse) but they were true innovations, they were different and they have scores of fans, but it was not meant to be. I get it and perhaps my ideas will never become reality either, but I remain innovative in my thinking, it did lead to several 5G IP parts and I expect a few more in the coming year. 

Yet in this I do not pursue a path, I let it was over me just like the Afreet did, just like the soon to be dead politician (in the Movie) and the stage of being between two universes (Keno Diastima), a stage I found in mere hours, yes I agree they are not finished, yet I did most of the work by myself in mere hours. So I wonder what others are capable of making, even if we do not see these results on Netflix, Stan, Youtube or TV. I wonder what became of the 532 series, because so far what we get to see is “Find Out Which Series Will Return for Another Season”, a stage that we accept, but there is more then returning series, they are an accepted and essential part of TV (and streaming), but where is all the new stuff? 

It is a thought that is tripping me and making me trip (to coin a phrase).

And all this is happening whilst I am trying to find a new and original way of levelling up a character in the RPG I have been writing about. We tend to see RPG’s in missions, kills and achievements. I want the levelling to be different, but I am still seeking a way, perhaps I will return to the mission stage of levelling up, but I am trying to avoid it, an RPG can only stand on its feet when it offers more and different stages, not merely more of the same, we have all seen that and as such I am considering other methods, yet the thought of how is not clicking into the frame of mind and the frame of gaming, yet I hope that to be a temporary thing for now.

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Behold the truth on a console

It was a setting my mind went into when I was looking at the PS5 presentation at 06:00. It suddenly hit me, a new IP, one that has never been done before. So what if the game is not a game, what it is a story about the truth. A setting where we get to be different people, unlocking christian history. The early days, the treaty of Claremont, the Malleus Malificarus, the Ghibellines papers, the list is near endless and for the most, Christians are unaware on a lot of this. Let’s face it, when was the last time you got the truth served as a game (well, sort of a game anyway). Walking through the Vatican, unlocking art, unlocking the history of artists. A setting of papers, paintings and sculptures. In all this, did the Vatican Apostolic Archives ever considered that their in-house digitisation project would be a stage of informing the people? Even as they attempted to both make the documents more available to researchers, so why only researchers?  Why not inform us all? And in this way preserving ageing physical documents will be preserved all over the world. In this way we can serve up the history of religion in many ways, on many grounds and in a playful way. I remember (when I was young) getting late to a sermon. I asked the man sitting next to me ‘How long has he been speaking’, the answer was ‘about half an hour’, when I asked him what it was about, I got ‘He hasn’t told us yet’. 

You might laugh, but if we look at this neutrally, when was the last time we got the real goods on what happened? Who has ever liked at the treaty of Claremont? When we see “Pope Urban’s speech on November 27 included the call to arms that would result in the First Crusade, and eventually the capture of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In this, Urban reacted to the request by Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus who had sent envoys to the Council of Piacenza requesting military assistance against the Seljuk Turks”, I wonder how many people had any clue on what the crusades were about. It was about greed, not religion (well less about religion). The movie Kingdom of Heaven (by Ridley Scott) touches on it, but for those with a larger interest in RPG and not killing things (optionally not killing things) we could have an option. There is of course the option, that you unlock a character that can actually go into Jerusalem, it is an idea. I just got the idea less than an hour ago, so it is still evolving in my mind, even whilst I am writing this. If the Vatican wants to reach the youth of today, the 5 consoles embrace close to 638,000,000 people, as such, is it such a bad idea?

And it is not merely about the documents and the Vatican, if you are not French, there is a decent hand the you are not aware of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims, so why not? There are a whole range of churches and cathedral who have had a larger push in nations and I think the it is time to give the people the low down on these places. 

Is it a crazy idea? Yup, I will be the first one to admit that, is it a bad idea? There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, there are 638 million console gamers, there is a really good chance that these groups overlap. Skyrim is one of the most successful games ever made and it only has 20 million copies, when you see the other two numbers, does it make sense to take that walk? I believe it does and there is every chance that this game could make it on all of the 5 consoles, optionally PC and MAC too. 

So will we behold the truth or merely bash the ‘x’ button on Devil may Cry 5? Well the is up to you to decide, but consider Minecraft, everyone laughed initially, yet now there are well over 100 million people playing that game (most on PC), so whilst this idea is bouncing in my head, I will consider ordering my PS5 and I await a shop calling me back with the explanation what I have been waiting for my iPad since May, and it better come with more than a ‘there is a new model arriving in 2 weeks’.

Hasta Lasagna and Auf Wiener Schnitzel!

 

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We’ve seen it all before

That was the thought I got stuck with when I was looking at The Disappointments Room, a movie with Kate Beckinsale, shortly after I stopped watching it. Now, this was not the fault of anyone, not her (watching her is as pleasing to the eye as watching a Rembrandt), not the director, the lighting, the camera work, it was all high end good, yet the issue for me remains, I have seen at least 15,000 movies, so there is an issue with me watching more movies. Lately I have been taking notice of that, and with Kate who made her debut in Much Ado about Nothing (1993), a small part I had actually forgotten about, I remember the movie well. Implies that there is a sliding scale ahead for me and I am not happy.

There are still happy moments too, I loved Earthquake bird and was amazed that Alicia Vikander was so great at Japanese pronunciation, apart from that (and the fact that Lara married a Ubisoft character, LOL) made it an interesting ride, that is all before that the movie is one hell of a psychological drama, that includes some level of triangle relationship is pretty awesome, the fact that it plays in Japan is merely a plus for many (including me). That entire movie was an interesting one, we had all seen it before, but as we experience the setting, we see a movie, one that is for the most totally new, and there is a point where I wonder how the makers Wash Westmoreland and Susanna Jones pulled it off.

Was it all about Japan, was it Alicia in Japanese surrounding, or was it that for the most the movie was not laced in a sexual setting, there are 1-2 screens, but they seem to make sense as this was the relationship between two people. Yet in all that, the entire Japanese setting is overwhelming and we look around as we notice more and more differences, but what set it off? I believe that the script was a big part of it, but all movies have to face that, so what made this movie different, why did I not have the ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ feeling? I think it is important, as we are all running to the next Marvel movie, a remake of Charlie’s Angels or a Ford v Ferrari movie, I wonder what we will get next year, because it is becoming slim pickings for anyone who grew up being a movie fan. There are movie makers who are a given, people like Ridley Scott, who seem to be answering questions in the movies as they make the movies, a lot has been done before and some movie makers seem to distinguish themselves in that way, but the scary question for me remains, what comes next? Oh, I believe that we will see plenty of fine productions, but the overwhelming feeling that I have is that the ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ will return and that saddens me a little because it will not be the fault of the maker, or the actors or the actresses. It resides in me and all the movies I have already seen, that is the part that saddens me and it is laced in another part as well.

When we watched a movie (in a far distant past in this galaxy), my grandmother would comment on ‘How she had already seen that movie‘ whilst I was in the frame of mind that the movie was new, yet she was proven right again and again as these were remakes, it is nice to be in the first viewing of a remake, but I got old enough to have seen the original of whatever movie was re-released in the last 5 years so it is a little less fun for me now.

For me this is like watching the Female Ghostbusters, or the real live Aladdin, both movies have one setback, the original was pretty darn good, in the original Ghostbusters, we got to see special effects that until a few years ago no one surpassed, in addition to it all it was a great fun film to see, so the female version had a different ghost to fend off, and they were unable to, we kept comparing to the original, Will Smith faced that and worse in Aladdin, he had to fight of the ghost of Robin Williams, in addition Disney had taken the voice section to the next level and we all still remember Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, it is hard to fight off those ghosts, especially when the current generation still remembers them so well. It was different for Oceans 8, yes it was all female, yes it was linked to Danny Ocean (George Clooney) but that was it and the theft of a $150,000,000 necklace was truly next level shit (to coin a phrase) and I am avoiding all kinds of twists that the movie has, you have to see them for yourself, and James Corden was not a twist, the man really can act ;), and the ladies in the movie set out to plan a great heist.

To think back, I really have no idea who at Disney was stupid enough to invest and to allow the entire real live version of Aladdin to proceed decades too early. Although that is merely my thought on the matter, the movie did become a billion dollar plus movie, so there is that too. For me next year, I am worried about the Grudge, an amazing original Ju-On (2002) yet the remake 2 years later was still good, there were two reasons for that, the first is Sarah Michel Gellar, we had just admired her in Buffy for 7 years and seeing her in a different movie was well appreciated, the second and not the least important one was that it was from the original maker Takashi Shimizu, so seeing another remake next year will not be on my list to watch. I have a few reservations on Fantasy Island, yet we have seen Michael Peña in several good movies and there is every indication (from the trailer) that they are taking the sweet caramelized smell of the original TV series with Ricardo Montalban (Mr Roarke) and Herve Villechaize as his assistant Tattoo in a new direction, that I want to see because the trailer is indicating that the caramelized part is gone, it will be a liquorice cured salmon, the first time is the most powerful one because most people have never had it, it is also an acquired taste, so you’ll love it or hate it, but it will be new and that is the part that matters to me.

There is another wave coming, but not made as re-release or remake, it will be a sequel of Candyman, with Tony Todd as the murdered son of a slave, for me it means that there is every indication that I can finally replace that movie as a Blu-ray and it made me realise that it was released 25 years ago, wow, when I was half my age (extremely approximately), I remember the movie, meeting Clive Barker and a whole range of other events around it, seeing it sequel will (hopefully) be an awesome experience.

Yet overall I see that there is more behind me than in front of me and for a lot of us, when we have budgets to keep to we need to select the movies we see on the big screen, I went from a movie every week to a life where I saw no more than 6 of them on the big screen last year and that is a big difference, nowadays I see the movies that are in the libraries, and with Netflix, Disneyplus and other streaming media, on one side I wonder how much is left for the silver screen. Yet on the other side, as far as I can tell, no one ever took Ryū Murakami 1999 masterpiece Audition to the western world, now that is a movie you want to invite Harvey Weinstein to. I won’t give away anything, but if you want to see horror with a difference, that is one movie to watch, there is a whole range of movies where we seem to forget that there is a whole planet outside of Hollywood that makes good movies, and even if we want to see a re-master, or a re-launch, personally I am still hoping for Claude Leloch’s Les Uns et let Autres to make it to Blu-ray, let alone to get it re-launched (if that was even possible). The Netherlands (who got caught up in WW2) has its own views on the resistance and occupation and it resulted to amazing works, like Black Book (2006) and Riphagen (2016), most people will remember the decorated movie the Assault (1986), yet very few of the non-Dutch will have any idea about a movie called Undercover Kitty (2001), whilst the person behind this (Annie MG Schmidt) is in Dutch circles on a level that equals Walt Disney, or perhaps a little more correct the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, who created Pippi Longstocking. Yet how many remember or even know of the Swede Gunnel Linde? He wrote over 40 books and in 1973 the White Stone (Den Vita Stenen) became a TV series. I wonder how many options a place like Disneyplus would have when we see how large the collection of children’s series would be, the same when we look at Netflix in light of Audition (not really a kids movie), yet more revealing, will this become the age of ‘We’ve seen it all before‘, or will we see that like the new Fantasy Island, we end up with movies that show a surprising twist, one we never saw coming, to be honest, not unlike some movies, we will have seen it before, even if we would accept the new special effects, there is a chance that we get to see another Thing (1982) which makes for an interesting version from its original 3 decades before, yet nowadays, we are more likely to see another Insomnia (2002) which was its own perfect remake, yet when it comes to remakes, it is a wild card, because no matter how we love the Departed (2006), there is a chance that you saw the original Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (2002), at which point the timeline is too close together. I was lucky enough to have seen the original and yet Scorsese makes a magnificent movie, yet the original was made in such a way that it was brilliant in its own right and in this my mind would love to give Andrew Lau and Alan Mak the credit they deserve, yet in opposition, there are plenty of other movies that a lot might not have seen and seeing some of those works (again), in a new light is still worthy of watching. Sweden has jewels like Lilja 4 Ever (2002), we might have seen the Norwegian movie Trollhunter (2010) in a different form, yet when you see this movie, you wonder which one is the original (the other movie was released a decade before this), so there is not much call on that, yet the stories are unique, original and the stages we see are also a question ‘We’ve seen it all before‘, yet have we?

In 2015 Norway produced the Wave, like other movies we want to say ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ yet that too would be wrong, we have seen something similar, but never in this setting, that is where the feeling gets in the way, The Wave is an intelligent piece of work that takes Norwegian customs and leaves us wondering whether we choose the right place to live for the right reason yet can we avoid choices? (I am really trying hard not to give anything away here), the world is filled with movies that seem to look like a movie we had seen before, but we had not and this group of films is now going to be a central part in places like Netflix and DisneyPlus (as well as AppleTV) to set their markers for gaining a following. Sometimes remakes work really well Zatoichi (2003) is a nice example. Yet even more overwhelming are the works of fiction, the books that were released in other nations that no one thought of translating. Even known works like Swedish Sjowall and Wahloo resulted in amazing movies a decade ago when the world got to see Beck; in this Peter Haber made an amazing Beck, finally replacing the image that Sweden had through Gosta Elckman. Germany is another nation where there is an abundance of great art. We all seem to remember Das Boot, Downfall and Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex, yet how many have seen a version of Das Leben der Anderen, where we see the impact of Stasi (the East German secret police)? Perhaps you might not know it by Die Welle was based on the true story of a high school teacher in California who designed an experiment to teach his students about Nazism, when you see that in real life, you wonder what you know. We seem to believe that modern day fascism is impossible, yet the movie casts doubt on that and this was all before social media, so there is room for new versions and altered (read: different) versions.

It is hard to see the light in so many seemingly remakes and re-launches of past greats, but there is light and there is room for plenty more, as such I wonder whether it was just me when I thought ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ or was it the maker who was not aware of other versions of great stories?

I wonder about this not because of Christmas, you might think that we will get re-runs of other versions, I know that this is not the case as Netflix gave out Let it Snow (2019) which is actually a decent movie to watch, which was a nice surprise for me. As I feared that plenty of repetitions seem to be the case when it comes to Christmas, I merely chase that one side in movies, the one I had not seen before and as we get from stage to stage, that risk is increasing, yet the cameraman as he uses his instructed skills to show something different will be able to thwart that danger for all of us (one might hope).

We are about to get 6 times the releases that we have ever had before, because the large screen and Blu-ray line is gone, there is now a large screen, Netflix, Disneyplus, Stan, Amazon Prime and Foxtel release plan, even as they all end up on Blu-ray, we need to pick what we can optionally watch and they are all slamming whatever they can lay their hands on, so there is 6 times the likelihood that they hunt a similar story. Yet there in the end we get to see the issue at hand ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ and as out budgets are now a lot more defined, we all end up being in a place where we rather avoided that part of the equation.

 

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In light of faith

We all have faith to some degree, the atheist believes in himself (or herself) and believes in science, the agnostic accepts that there is something more, optionally there is a god (the dyslexic one totally believes in the existence of ‘dog’) and the believers, where do they stand?

I grew up being a Catholic, when the news from the Boston Globe reached the world, we became confused, the matter did not help when we watched the movie Spotlight and got a better view on a global scale just how corrupt the world facilitating to the Catholic Church had become. The 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott did not help the Catholic case either.

Now, we accept that the premise of the movie is not real, but the background is and there is plenty of supporting evidence. The Council of Clermont (November 1095) gives a lot to consider, the words by Pope Urban “a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient” has been accepted as a undisputed truth and for the longest of time (almost a 1000 years), we have been taught from primary school that the Saracens (Arabs) were the great evil, yet after the entire cold war and the Vietnam war, the word by government is no longer readily accepted and as the entire Catholic abuse stage has been evolving over the last decade those believing in something larger are in a internal fight of faith. Even in historic ways our place in the world is debatable. It is shown going back to the Treaty of Clermont 1095, when Georg Strack from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich gives us in his article ‘The Sermon of Urban II in Clermont and the Tradition of Papal Oratory‘ the larger issue: “Since we only have the reports of chroniclers and not the manuscript of the pope himself, each analysis of this address faces a fundamental problem: even the three writers who attended the Council of Clermont recorded three different versions, quite distinctive both in content and style, even there the scribes were all about paraphrasing giving us no clear report, a failing to be sure. Even beyond the Crusades, the Catholic Church has been the driven power to lay waste to dozens of civilisations, eradicating them all.

Fulcher of Chartres

When we look at the very first crusade we see: “a cleric who took part in the First Crusade and was probably present at the council itself. At least he asserts in his prologue that he has recorded only those events which he saw with his own eyes. Even though it has been argued that personal experience was of less importance in crusading chronicles, it is noteworthy that Fulcher explicitly mentions this topos and other sources do not“, in addition to this, we are given “he reports not only a call for the crusade but two speeches by the pope. According to this source, Pope Urban first admonished the clergy and declared the official causae of the council in an opening sermon. Probably on the first day, he addressed the gathered ecclesiastical dignitaries with an ‘eloquent address’ (adlocutio dulciflua) about the necessity of Church reform. Firstly, the pope exhorted the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities. He explained that they were called shepherds and should, therefore, ‘guard on every side of the flock entrusted to them (John 10. 12–13)’” A stage that could be seen in a few ways, but there is a call for the stage where we see the need of ‘the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities‘ and there we see the problem, the nobles pillaged the realm of Saracens to the maximum, there are indications, but no witness reports to the degree we would accept. Yet the stage between 1095 and when Jerusalem was handed to Saladin (An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub) in October 1187 (after a siege that lasted two weeks), was only the beginning, even as the Kingdom of Jerusalem shifted its capital, in the end Saladin took control of Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut, and Ascalon, with only Tyre remaining because of the arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. In all cases those fleeing the cities took whatever of worth they could carry. It also gives more on the status of Balian of Ibelin (played by Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven), even as he was nobility, the Muslims regarded him as a king.

The movie gives a background, yet remains highly fictional, what does come to the foreground is that the pillaging by Christian nobility was almost a given, and the quote: “Crusaders often pillaged as they travelled, and their leaders generally retained control of captured territory rejecting and removing Byzantine control whenever possible. Intolerance of other faiths and traditions increased, particularly with Jews and those considered heretics. Muslims were murdered in their thousands on several occasions, as were non Catholic Christians” all this is now coming to blows in a different way.

Hajj

As we witness the Muslim Pilgrimage (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2HTiOUY8Mc), we become witness to well over 2 million pilgrims, Shia and Sunni Muslims next to one another, one Quran identical for all. One source gives: “Saudi Arabia announced Saturday that the total number of pilgrims reached 2,489,406, increased 117,731 individuals than last year“, it seems to me that we should take a closer look into Islam, not to attack it, but to learn from it. Earlier this year we were able to see the Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast), you can see the event in Mecca (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs8obP4uRa0), showing me more religiously connected people than the Vatican (read Christians) ever showed.

This does not make me a Muslim, but learning more about Islam and Muslims is an essential first. When we can no longer trust the Catholic Church, when we see now over the last two years alone on how the abuse by the clergy was seemingly tolerated up to the highest level, we need to find a balance, we need to learn what faith is, and we need to learn what it is. Even as people like Charles Stanley make speeches like ‘The Stages of Our Faith‘, where we are shown what faith is, but does Charles actually know what it is? When we hear ‘It is clear in the scripture‘, yet it is not, and more precisely, which version? The Catholic and Protestant versions are not the same. When it is followed by ‘Jesus honours faith‘, we wonder if that is true. Even if some person named Jesus of Nazareth stated somewhere between 25AD- 30AD that he honours faith, I wonder how much value it has to the sexual abuse victims his preachers created (in the US way above 100,000) it does not seem to voice and show any level of honouring faith, In Europe these numbers are a lot higher giving us a mountain of victims, in all this how can any person who accepts that the protection of children is a first remain a Christian?

I do not have all the answers; I never claimed to have them. Yet it seems to me that those in doubt of faith need to find their faith. Whilst the Christian documentation has several versions and several relations in a stage of not knowing, it seems to me that a nation like Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj is visited by all Muslims nations, including Iran has something that many cannot ignore, even this year in light of the Iranian – Saudi issues we are given that ‘Iran opens mechanized catering center in Mecca‘, it is seemingly without issues, there is a clear indications that there are no acts against people who are there for their faith, something that we have not seen in the western world ever!

These steps are now more than ever essential, as we have been sold a bag of goods again and again, and as our need for the actual truth increases, we need to start showing which sources are trustworthy and which ones are not.

Two Days Later

Today, several sources give us: ‘Muslim pilgrims pray in Mecca as hajj winds down without incident‘, the quote “Senior officials said there had been no major incidents and the logistical, security and health plans had been successful, even with some heavy rainfall. Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and its organisation of the pilgrimage. It hopes to continue expanding attendance to help to build its tourism industry“, during this event that ends after a week, we find that 88,000 Iranians attended the event. A stage where Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a proxy war, a stage where the mistrust between two nations is great, the 88,000 were able to perform their Hajj without incident. There is something wrong, it is not with them, or with Islam, it is with us and it is time that we start recognising it.

The heretic burnings in the UK (1532), the Protestant & Catholic wars in Ireland (up to the late 70’s) are two of the most visible ones, then there was the Spanish Inquisition (not the Monty Python edition) and the list goes on, versions of the same faith trying to remove the other ones, this in opposition with the versions of Islam where they all use the same Quran and as we see that they all pray side by side, no fighting. We need to take example from this, in a stage where Christians are more and more regarded as the violent ones, where we see how the Catholic church was given reprieve again and again, protecting a quoted 7% of all Catholic priests being involved in the act of sexual abuse, we need to start accepting that not only can we no longer tolerate Islam phobia, we need to start learning the simple truth that the Islam is not the evil here. We see all the humanitarian shouting is out of balance, the equal silence form these people as loud outrage is absent whilst thousands of children were sodomised is equally astounding. That evidence was shown on August 8th 2019 with the headline: ‘Paul Muschick: One year after explosive Catholic Church investigation in Pennsylvania: 300 priests, 1,000 victims, no state action‘, what do you do when you wake up in the morning, only to realise that we are the evil supporters? How would an American react when he/she is woken up in 1947, only to be told that they actively supported Nazi Germany? Is that offensive? It better be, because this is worse. We have instigated and supported a form of government and jurisprudence that refuses to prosecute a criminal clergy, whilst a homosexual population in America is prosecuted and vilified without evidence.

We as a people, we as Christians have failed humanity and we need to accept that and live with the evil that we created. Yet do not take my word on this, find out yourself and consider one source (from TEDx) which discusses ‘What I Learned by Converting from Christianity to Islam‘ (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1yKKGchRcc), a small 11 minute video that might open your eyes.

 

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A night with Clio and Alecto

It started 2 days ago, I have been wondering about the news (no actual new news, just the rehash) and what to write about. I heard snippets all over the place on ‘more of the same‘ and ‘lack of originality‘, yet until yesterday (around 03:30) I had no idea what to consider when the article (at https://www.inverse.com/article/58121-google-stadia-launch-games-6-aaa-titles-to-get-in-november) hid behind ‘6 Huge Google Stadia Launch Games That Will Make You Rethink Consoles‘ to invoke interest in the Google Stadia.

It was the sight of 6 titles that had been available for some time that made me wonder if some people at Google had any idea what they are doing, so I decided now to counter it.

When we look at these games, we see a first person need, no one denies this, yet if the power is applied, we can go so much further. For example, we might see the RPG giant System Shock in a new light (it is being remade). We might look at the Citadel (Mass Effect Series) and consider it is too big (or the death star for that matter), but the situation is nice and contained. What if we set up a large space station, fill it with crew, not spawning them at certain stages, but a station with the amount of people that would ordinary fill a space station. Now the Death Star has been rumoured to contain a crew of 265,675, as well as 52,276 gunners, 607,360 troops, 30,984 storm troopers, 42,782 ship support staff, and 180,216 pilots and support crew, so too large. Yet is the idea too far-fetched? What if we scoop back to Citadel Station (System Shock version) and we have to contain a situation with 5300 people? Now the numbers start making sense. The game has difficulty settings impacting available ammunition, health food and so on and in addition, we can set the scenario to Contagion (zombie apocalypse), Competitor (sabotage), Patent run (thief) and Entity removal (assassin), each with their own issues, challenges and options. The ability to blend in, to not be seen, to steal stuff and more important to remain hidden whilst you optionally kill (or incapacitate) a specific target. Yet the station is different, the crew is completely managed by the system and in some cases it has to be done within a time frame (any except the zombie apocalypse). The option to do it alone, do it together and the fact that this location can be reused gives it all a larger replayability value on a long term premise.

To some extent System Shock had many parts, yet the original had floors and the enemy would not pass that boundary. What if that is not a constraint? What happens when a place that big becomes its complete environment? Like the station on IO in the movie Outland (excellent role by Sean Connery). What if we had a station where the ‘AI’ error of waves of people do not panic (like in AC Unity, repeated to some extent in Syndicate), what if a proper hidden body does not set off alarms immediatly, but what if a missed shift does alert security to seek for the person, a station requiring ID badges becomes a new challenge.

How is this original?

Because the template might have been used to give rise to the environment, it can be any space station. Games like Destiny, Doom, are all about trigger point, all about spawn points and all about flag points. Yet what happens when it is already all there, how do we get through the game when we set off alarms, when we alert security by giving rise to an alarm. I think that this is the part that Hitman 2 really got right. Some will raise concern, but a lot of NPC should not notice, and that is at the centre of a much larger interaction. What if we consider that the stages of Hitman 2 are too confined (not for the story they had mind you), what if an entire city is the premise; do you think that every cop known everyone? They react to the badge, the uniform (medic), the identity (clearance) beyond that they often do not. So to set the ‘futuristic’ stage, millions of gaming fans have voiced the desire to actually walk around the Death Star, On Babylon 5, on the Enterprise, on Citadel Station and so on, yet no one pushed to make it happen to the degree possible, even Mass Effect Andromeda dropped to ball to the greatest extent there, an original game that allowed for (non IP secured locations) to be addressed. Locations to be originally designed, all with the option of giving a run, a challenge and optionally a group of friends united to stop an infection ramping through thousands. We now have the technology (we have had it for 5+ years) and yet they all rehash IP that has been done before. We even see YouTube on the 32 games that are coming, yet rehashing is not a solution, yes they do have some new titles, yet all IP that is already out there, or titles that will also come to other formats. It is interesting, yet we have seen since the very first PlayStation and Nintendo 64 that their true growth was through unique IP, I wonder when Google will figure that part out. We accept that sometimes doing something over is easier and I accept that, yet when we see that these designers ignore dozens of great titles that are on My Abandonware and evolve these titles into a new stage and challenge that will captivate its Google Stadia audience is interesting to say the least. Even now some of these original creators are looking at bringing life to what was an excellent game and turn it into a new great game. I wonder why Google might have thought that this was a path that was not googley enough for them to walk on.

Dinner with Clio

There had been noise around Netflix, several sources, including the article (at https://www.barrons.com/articles/netflix-stock-has-new-worries-including-disney-and-the-loss-of-friends-51563582983) give us a view on optional issues. The article gives us: “For its second quarter, Netflix added 2.8 million net new international subscribers and lost 126,000 U.S. users, versus Wall Street expectations for 352,000 domestic additions and 4.8 million international adds“, some might state that Netflix was not on the ball; personally I believe that Wall Street was setting the stage where the insiders could profit from the backlash of “The company’s shares fell 10% on Thursday, a day after the results. They fell another 3% on Friday“, it is a personal believe, but when we see that the difference between company and Wall Street is a difference of 2.2 million subscribers, a difference of almost 50%, it implies that Wall Street remains unfamiliar with realism. In light of the growing group of streaming services (Disney, Stan, and so on) gives additional rise to the delusional view of Wall Street, especially when you consider that Disney has Marvel in its corner. Yet with the spending spree of Netflix that is set to a $15 billion budget is also a concern. Even as Netflix studios are a one-time expense, the growth needs to come from new IP and mastering innovation in stories, it is the one part that Google and Netflix have in common. I can’t comprehend that they are not considering cooperation in that regard. There is overlap, but one that could be overcome, especially if they need to push Google Stadia to a much stronger position with Microsoft and Apple biting at their heels. They have to set a stage where they can overcome that optional weakness.

As such I decided to give a little diner party, Clio and Melpomene were in attendance, Clio came with a plus one. Not only did they confirm my view of Wall Street, they gave me another example, one I did not know, a story that never made it to print ever.

There is no time, there is no date, it was late summer and in the cool breeze of night, 4800 years before Jesus of Nazareth would be born Hades met with Apollo in a temple at Gortyn. There was no reason, or none that anyone remembers. They merely crossed paths to exchange words. It was after the talk when Hades walked towards the waters at Lentas that he sensed something, he sensed the end of a life and anguish, anguish to a degree that was rare and he moved in a blink to that source. He found a young woman; she looked at him, in pain and anticipation, but not in fear. It took Hades back for a second, this young woman showed more strength and dignity than the thousands of soldiers he received from the battlefields. He gave strength to her to heal by smearing the smallest amount of ambrosia over her lips, her wounds dissipated slowly to show true beauty, her name was Anemone, she was no one special, merely the daughter of a fisherman, brutally raped and left for death. Hades picked her up and took her to a shelter. It was during that night he bedded her and she gave herself to Hades. In that shelter she felt truly happy for months, and it was not until the second week of May that she gave birth, it was not something that she would survive, to give birth to the child of an Olympian was taxing enough the power of death that was there was too strong and it claimed her. Yet Hades knew that would happen, this was now all planned. The baby was named Elissa and Hades set forth his first part, he left her in the care of Tisiphone, Megaera and Alecto. The furies would raise her until she was ready. Over the next years 7-10 Elissa grew fast and became stronger and stronger. The realm of the Furies gave her a never ending supply of cannon fodder. Yet the furies were well versed in all matters and she was not merely of steel, Alecto taught her how to be anyone, to take shape, and how to reshape form. Form was a weapon that could attack the senses, the ability to temper anger to any degree and drive her opponents utterly insane. Tisiphone took Elissa under her wing to teach her about the act of murder, to see in other ways, the ability to charm any snake instantly and make it do her bidding. Elissa learned that cutting a small lock of her hair and cast it could turn it into a snake, to merely draw some poison from it, or let the snake scout for her. She could see through its eyes and she could see the heat of people without the use of a snake, in the deepest night she could see all around her and they could never hide their warmth from her. Her reflexes honed to new heights she was able to strike in the blink of an eye, her daggers thin and short would ensure death to all requiring the veil of Hades to fall over their eyes. Finally she ended with Megaera and there thing changed, as she taught Elissa the power of envy, to see the true worth and value Megaera did something Hades never expected. You see there is an unwritten link between the Furies and the Muses, it is that link that Magaera relied on in the past to see what is true from false and there the game changed. The furies always remember the services rendered and it was at that point that Terpsichore taught Elissa the art of dance and with that skill new levels of balance and creativity were taught to Elissa, Erato taught her poetry of the heart, so that she could always see the true love from the false one, feelings from deceit, as well as truth from planned falsehood, finally there was Thalia who taught her comedy, because Magaera had seen how the jester, the funny person was often overlooked by others, by serious people driven to greed, Elissa looked deeper into poetry and learned that comedy is not merely a relaxant, it was also an interesting weapon. As the lessons ended Elissa had levels of balance never seen in any person that was not Olympian, and it was at that point that Alecto fed Elissa her dinner which put her to sleep and started the dream of what her mother faced that fateful night near Lentas and they unleashed Elissa on the world.

What exactly happened that night will never be known, yet the 4 old men that ravaged her mother were found feasting on the flesh of their sons, who had grown up to be as despicable as their fathers were. In the morning the villagers found the four elderly feasting on a broth containing the bodyparts of their sons; skulls, ligaments were visible in the cauldron, the men old, grey and turned utterly insane chanting slowly and fearful “ένα ακόμα δάγκωμα για συγχώρεση“, Elissa had completed her training and was unleashed on the world, the furies regarded her as ready for a plan of their own.

In a blazing sun

It was deep summer; the sun was relentlessly beating the streets and people. A woman was walking the streets of Heraklion; she ignored the weather and casually looked at market stalls. The street was filled with tourists and she got plenty of smiling looks, it bothered her not, over the centuries she had gotten used to it. She had not seen Heraklion for decades, so she took it all in, she was on an errant to take out a murderer, she was still every much the girl the furies trained, slowly walking towards her goal, it was a building on Evaggelistrias and as she observed the building from a distance, looking at where she needed to be, she looked back at watching the poor boy beaten to death only 2 days before, the police had no clue, but she was not the police, she looked at the building and she saw her target, the two man relaxing, smiling, laughing and drinking beer, they felt good about themselves. She waited patiently until 18:30, most people were starting their meal and she slowly and quietly walked into the building. there was no movement, no sense of anyone and she walked up to their front door, she dropped a lock of hair and quietly entered the house and moved swiftly into the house, the two men were in the kitchen fetching beer and slicing meat, she walked past them as their backs were turned so that the balcony was not a place they could flee from she knocked on the wall and as the men walked with surprise into the living room she merely stared them in the eyes, as her eyes turned deep black, they went pale and white, they over overcome by fear so intense that they dropped their beers, and rant out the door only to see the large snake on the steps, they screamed and ran up, they kept running in fear feeling the hunt of danger behind them hissing loudly, they ran onto the roof running past the water tanks until there was no roof left, they never stopped running, not even as they fell to the grass field on Anogion and the last they felt was the anguish and pain of broken bones blood leaving their bodies and the sound of hissing snakes until darkness set it. Elissa picked up the snake and softly placing the snake in her bag, she would release the snake outside the city limits, her work was done.

That was merely the beginning!

It took me 30 minutes to come up with this idea, another 30 minutes to look into ancient Greece (and a few maps) and 30 minutes to write this, so when we see the implied lack of originality, I am not sure what that was coming from. Creativity is all around us, and it only needs to right spark to set the stage to something fresh. I believe it to be just around the corner and Netflix has an advantage, Disney will not consider certain paths, they rely on families and fairy floss sugary sweetness, it is partially the weakness that Achilles showed (see Brad Pitt in Troy). I believe that the people want something darker. It might have started with an unknown British director named Ridley Scott when he made Alien in 1979; it was that feeling that I had when watching that movie and that same feeling I felt came to me again when I saw Brightburn. It might seem a little shallow, it is not overly epic, but that same feeling is what David Yarovesky left in me, he got the jackpot and if Marvel does not see that and use it (for example in Moon Knight), they will miss out soon enough, Netflix has an advantage because of the limitation that Disney keeps and even if they go via Fox, the delays they call for give Netflix an edge, they merely need to find the right spark to entice watchers, Google faces the same setting, imitation might be the path to flattery, but in this game originality and creativity are much more powerful partners, Even now decades later we still listen to Queen, watch Firefly (or Star Trek) and we watch Top Gun, again and again. Originality and creativity did that, not imitation.

So find your muse and get creative

 

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