Tuesday, March 22, 2011 Wednesdays of the Living Dead: They Shall Pay

Radiation Schmadiation

I've been excited about an upcoming trip to Tokyo for a couple of months, so the earthquakes and tsunamis and meltdowns should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about me and my relationship with the universe. We're still planning on going, of course. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Tokyo wasn't badly hit by the natural disasters, and I'm sure they can use the tourist dollars.

Still, the combination of massive radiation leaks and thousands of unrecovered bodies can only mean one thing to a paranoid geek: Zombie Apocalypse. I was prepared to deal with yakuza and do battle with ninja (preferably on the roof of a speeding bullet train), but radioactive undead is pretty much a deal-killer for me.

Fortunately, this chart from the ever-lovely XKCD shows that the fear over the Fukushima leaks may be slightly overblown. As the chart shows, levels at the nuclear plants in question are nowhere near that at Chernobyl. A person spending two days at Fukushima takes less rads than she receives over the course of a year under ordinary conditions. Now, picking up a dose of radiation in one go is a much different (mutated) animal than absorbing it over time, and no meltdown is ever good, but I don't think we need worry about Japan being overrun by ravening undead just yet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Wednesdays of the Living Dead: PLAGUE

Monday, March 14, 2011 Costumed Propaganda, Wave 3

March Modok Madness! submission by the ever-awesome Paul Sizer.

Beautiful work by Tim Fisher

by Laura Pittman

by Francesco Francavilla
(likely inspired by the BBC's piece for Doctor Who's fifth season.

Unknown photoshopper from the intrawebs

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 Wednesdays of the Living Dead: Salty Dogs

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 Shanghai Blues

I've only seen Shanghai Blues once, but it made a great impression. It was back when I was just discovering HK cinema, making regular trips into Chinatown to rent VHS tapes from an herbalist's shop. I had also stumbled across the Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago's annual Hong Kong festival just in time for their Jackie Chan season. I can't describe how incredible it was to experience all this eye-popping, mind-blending cinema for the first time on the big screen - and then have the man himself turn up to shake hands and answer questions from the audience. Freaking bliss.

My memory is hazy, but I believe the following year was the Film Center's Tsui Hark season. I was eagerly devouring each offering and got turned on to such classics as Zu and Swordsman II. But it was a romantic comedy called Shanghai Blues that really showed me there was more to Hong Kong cinema than just crazy stunts and hopping vampires. Twenty years and countless films later, I don't recall much about the movie other than I really enjoyed it.

I never got a chance to revisit Shanghai Blues, as it has never received an English-friendly DVD release. But thanks to a heads-up on the Mobius Home Video forum and the generosity of some nameless web denizen, I finally have the opportunity to watch a decent copy of this film. It's an mp4 rip of the old laser disc and it is available via the link below:

Hark's other works get a lot of love in HK fandom, especially Peking Opera Blues, but I almost never see Shanghai Blues get a shout-out. I think that's down to the film's scarcity than it's actual merits, and this is borne out by recent discussion thread on the Mobius forum sparked by the movie's "web release". It's great to see that others enjoyed this film as much as I did and I can't wait to watch it again after all these years.

If you are a fan of Tsui Hark or 80's HK cinema, don't miss this chance. Grab your copy while you can.

Monday, March 7, 2011 Mental Organism Design Only for KUDDLING!

Ah, springtime! When a young man's fancy turns to rabbits and supervillains with giant heads.

It's March Modok Madness time again! I have always been a huge "fan" of Modok - I even dressed as him for Halloween a couple years back - and I love seeing the tributes, variants, and just plain goofy fun that Brendan Tobin's blog turns out every year at this time. Above is my favorite illo so far (although g.Webber's entry is a close second) and I'm looking forward to checking out the rest of the month's offering.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 Beware the Time Capsules!

From the BBC:
NZ quake unearths 'time capsules'

1 March 2011 Last updated at 05:20 ET

Two objects believed to be time capsules have been discovered in the aftermath of last week's ruinous earthquake in New Zealand.

A glass bottle with a parchment inside and a metal cylinder were found by rescuers searching the grounds of the cathedral in the city of Christchurch.

They were in the base of a statue of John Robert Godley, the Irishman credited with founding Christchurch.

Mayor Bob Parker called the timing of the find "inspirational".

The items were uncovered almost exactly a week after the 6.3-magnitude quake struck.

The bodies of 154 people have been recovered, but it is feared that the death toll could eventually reach 240.

The bronze statue had toppled off its stone plinth outside the cathedral, and a crane operator's discovery of the two objects inside the plinth caused immediate excitement, said reports.

Two words were visible on the rolled-up parchment inside the glass bottle - "by" and "erected" - but it will only be opened and examined in detail by experts in a humidity-controlled environment.

The contents of the metal cylinder remain a complete mystery.

The items have been handed over to Canterbury Museum.

Godley led the colonial settlement that founded Christchurch in 1850.

There were several times when the objects could have been placed inside the plinth - when Godley's statue was erected in 1867, moved in 1918, or returned to its original site in 1933, reported The Press.

Mayor Parker suggested the capsules could contain documents which gave an insight into the "vision" of the settlers.

"It seems almost providential that they have come to light now to provide the inspiration we need in this most difficult time," he was quoted as saying.

Canterbury Museum director Anthony Wright said it was "poignant" that the items had been found exactly a week after the quake.

There are also reports that a third mysterious item has been found in the ruins of the cathedral - this time in the cross of the spire, which was toppled by the quake - but these remain unconfirmed.

Time capsules, nothing. Obviously, these objects were buried on holy ground to keep their evil contents safe. Looks like the djinn has already escaped from the glass bottle, so let's hope the parchment inside contains the instructions on how to deal with him. Lord only knows what's in the metal canister.

And the last paragraph of the news story is too beautifully weird to be true. It's the perfect beginning to a good horror yarn. Let's just hope we're not in it.

Wednesdays of the Living Dead: DRAG