Under the Dome: not going anywhere

Under the Dome (the TV series, haven’t read the Stephen King book yet) seemed a pretty fascinating show when I knew it was a limited-run series, i.e., it was slated to end after one season. That meant we were going somewhere with the story. There’d be a beginning, a middle and an end. I was hooked from the first hour.

Right off the bat the show was a surprise success, and a big one for CBS. So immediately there was talk of continuing it — and now the show has been renewed for a 2nd season.

As good as the show is now, the premise — already a claustrophobic one — is going to get old. Now that the producers know they’ve got to stretch out the storyline, the “padding” will soon become visible.

I wish the TV and movie industry understood how to let something be awesome by itself, without squeezing every possible ounce out until it becomes a tired, old, boring empty shell of itself. But they’re always blinded by the lure of easy franchise dollars where they don’t have to create anything new, and they can ride a tired horse into the ground.

Heck, I’m still surprised they didn’t try to make a continuing TV series out of James Cameron’s Titanic.

Heaven

Sometimes people are shocked to discover that I don’t believe in an afterlife. I really do believe that when we’re gone, we’re gone.

That seems to horrify them. They say they simply can’t imagine not being, so because they can’t imagine it, therefore we must continue on in some kind of heavenly – or hellish (if you failed to believe in the proper stories) – afterlife.

But it’s not really so hard to imagine. Here, try this: Do you have any personal memories of the year 1524?

No? None at all? It’s because you didn’t exist then, right?

I imagine not existing after you die will be a lot like that. It’ll be just like 1524. Okay, make it 1523, because the winter that year was a lot milder.

I don’t remember having a problem with the billions of years I didn’t exist before I was born, so I’ll probably do just fine after I’m gone. It’ll go by in literally no time at all.

But sometimes I wonder, what if I could design a heaven for myself? If some divine being came down and said, “Look, after you die, you get to live on in another plane of existence forever, but you have to tell me what it should be,” I’d have to think about that.

Of course, I’d be wary of the “monkey’s paw” effect – that what I wished for would turn out to be hell.

But I’ve come up with a kind of heaven I think I would like very much.

Eternity, continuing on and on forever and ever from minute to nonstop minute strikes me as boring. At some point after 5000 years or so your brain just couldn’t come up with anything new anymore.

So instead, I’d like to shrink all of eternity down, all the way down… to just one moment. One breathtakingly beautiful moment, a moment that I could experience forever, with no diminution because the blissful moment would never pass. It would linger, along with all the feelings of bliss that came along with it, forever and ever.

And then I’d have to pick that moment. Gosh, there are a few. Maybe that moment when I first fell in love and knew that she had fallen in love with me too. We were young and the future, as they say, was wide open. There was that one moment we looked at each other and just knew.

Or that moment I walked out onto a beach in the middle of the night, after a day in which I thought I’d lost everything, but suddenly realized, no, I was going to live and I was going to be okay. The night breeze sounded in my ears and the ocean waves seemed to be saying, “Don’t worry, you’ll be back with us soon enough, and until then you are where you’re supposed to be.”

Or maybe even the moment that I first heard Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, especially the final few minutes.

Magical moments. I’m sure you could think of a few too.

So pick one. Remember it. Remember how you felt in that one, shining moment. And then imagine what it would be like to have that moment, not frozen in time, but lingering forever, along with all the feelings that came with it.

Yeah, that’s a heaven I could sign up for.

Then again, not existing doesn’t sound too bad either. Not being? I think I could do that standing on my head. But I’ll say this: I’m going to try like hell to walk into it having lived as much as I could.

And who knows? Maybe not being will be pretty cool. I won’t have to worry about taxes or bills again, I’ll never get headaches or have to suffer through another Michael Bay movie. Hey, that sounds like heaven.

Here’s what it was like to ride the boosters up and down

When I lived in Florida, both central and south, I was able to see the launches at the Cape, especially when the big shuttles went up. I stopped and watched every time I had the chance. The space nerd kid in me never grew up.

Here’s terrific video footage taken from cameras mounted on the solid boosters that lifted the shuttles into orbit. You ride up with the shuttle and then back down to earth when the boosters are jettisoned.

The footage is a combination of two different shuttle launches, edited together to create a seamless bit of video magic – but the footage is all real.

The best part of the video is the sound — turn it up, especially the spooky sounds on the way back down. The sound is enhanced so you can hear it better, but it’s actual sound recorded from the launches. And no, there’s no sound in space, but you can still hear at the top of the arc because the boosters don’t leave the atmosphere completely.

 

I’m just glad to be alive

Days like this don’t come along often. A day where everything, every little event, just seems to work together and fit like so many puzzle pieces, and you feel so good and so proud of yourself for seeing the pieces fit.

Today is that kind of day.

New Anthony Weiner wiener-pics surface… on National Hot Dog day! On a day to celebrate wieners we’re celebrating, er, weiners.

Just a note to TheDirty.com, who broke today’s weinerriffic scandal: your timing is impeccable.

And “Carlos Danger”? Oh, Anthony, you scoundrel! Thank you for giving me the name of my next band.

I may be a little sleepy tomorrow. I’ll be up all night working on my script for the sequel to Sharknado… a little something I call… WEINERNADO!

Just imagine what’s coming out of the sky this time.

"Hard" science fiction and the future of movies

There’s a science fiction movie called Europa Report, and when I say “science fiction,” I mean real sci-fi, not an action thriller, franchise or horror crossover special effects extravaganza summer blockbuster blowout.

This movie uses real science to back up its tale of space travel. At least, that’s what I’m hearing, and I hope it’s true, because I miss this kind of science fiction. We sure don’t get a lot of it at the box office these days. I plan to see it as soon as I find a theater showing it.

The reason we don’t see a lot of this is simple: It doesn’t draw big audiences. It’s those summer blockbusters that get sweaty butts in the seats, and this is indicative of a huge shift we’re seeing in the movie industry.

I predict over the next five years most theater movies will be huge, big-budget action and special-effects thrillers. The more story-centered, “smaller” films will stop showing up in theaters and be released through HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. In the next few years, not even Spielberg would be able to get a “Lincoln” into theaters.

Ticket prices will go up, and the big budget movies (which will increasingly be franchise pictures because the studios will take fewer chances on products that don’t guarantee a return) will have much longer runs, and there will be fewer of them.

Meanwhile, we’ll be staying home more.

This may not be a bad thing — I think we’ll see even more good movies, more stories, maybe even more “hard’ science fiction on screen, because even though they have smaller audiences, the home networks are able to get more return on investment. They’ll take more chances, like the cable networks are taking more chances on TV series like Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, that the broadcast networks won’t touch.

I just hope some of those might be the classic space travel “hard” science fiction I grew up on. If a network decides to take a chance on a serious miniseries based on Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” books — I’ll die a happy man.

Here’s the trailer for Europa Report:

Slutnado: Sex-crazed Zombie Sluts of Hollywood

I can’t believe Hollywood made a movie like Sharknado after turning down MY pitch: Untalented Hollywood starlets turn into zombies and stalk reality show contestants, which it turns out is a sizable portion of the population of Los Angeles. They can only be stopped if a washed-up concert promoter on the California sex offender registry can convince the world’s top 3 boy bands to join forces, whose collective virginity gives them the power to kill the starlet zombies, but only if they can manage to not be seduced by them for sex tapes.

I call it “Slutnado: Sex-crazed Zombie Sluts of Hollywood.” Beat that, Sharknado hashtag! Bow before #Slutnado !