Cabin in the Woods

Finally, I managed to see this yesterday, after a lot of interesting comments and reviews from others.  There are going to be SPOILERS so be warned.  First off: I really enjoyed it.  It’s always a pleasure watching Sigourney Weaver beating the cr*p out of somebody.  It was a good mix of horror with a twist, and there were some fun concepts based around the idea of a corporate sacrifice factory designed to prevent/delay the end of the world.

Joss Whedon’s touch was evident in the camp larger than life gratuitousness of some of the characters and scenes.  A squad of troops being slaughtered in a nightmarish lift-foyer massacre.  An office party with a silent and ignored backdrop of a brutal undead assault.  Person catching a friend’s severed head.

The points I found thought-provoking were these:

1. Given the need to appease the BBG (Big Bad God) with the sacrifices, where is the moral compass on this one? I’ll refer to the sacrifices as the ‘victims’

2. How realistic was the portrayal of the corporation employees?

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Call me Cassandra

Gods can be cruel. For those of you who don’t know the tale of Cassandra, see here. In short, the sun god Apollo gifted Cassandra with the ability to see the future, but when this act of generosity failed to open her legs, he spitefully twisted the gift into a curse. Cassandra was left with the knowledge of future events, but could neither alter these events nor convince others of the validity of her predictions.

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A Taste of Love

Hot sun kisses

A daffodil waves

Recollections steal me

Rock hard shower

Yet another tune

Each breath sings

Aromatic skin dances

Resting in light

Lying next to

Ecstasies of friction

Merry washing bubbles

Unkempt bed hair

Delicious indiscretions blossom

I’m glowing brightly

Lovely cookie monster

 

 

 

 

Off Road

Around Halloween, when the shops fill up with plastic fangs and pumpkins, I am led to wonder what the point of it all is nowadays.  What is the role of horror in modern life? One aspect of it is, for me, being reminded that no matter how much we feel safe and in control with all our gadgetry and sophistication, the dark is just outside.  I find powerful horror stories to be the ones which remind me of just how fragile this sense of control is, by offering up scenarios that believably transform mundane life into a nightmare.

Here is one such scenario that came to me through real life inspiration, with a small added embellishment for effect!

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Memes

I was chatting to a young fencer whilst waiting for a class to start, and we had a go at designing a pervasive 1 minute meme. The result is the lovely ‘Treeni’, as displayed in the Meme Factory here.

Double Take

I have highlighted some sections in bold if you want a quick read. The rest just provides some background for anyone looking a little deeper… This is a quick reflection on the importance of perception, touching on a few issues with a hint of magic for good measure.

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It’s the little things…

Apologies – I have not posted for a while and this is more of an observation, but my website, my rules :-p

The other day I bought a DVD from a charity shop. If you must know, it was the film for Joss Whedon’s Firefly series: Serenity. It has been sat on my desk for months now, but not forgotten. It’s status is somewhat peculiar – it’s a promise. In my mind I mean to watch it, or rewatch it as I have seen it all before(!), but I’m not sure if I’m ever going to do so. It persists on the edge of my awareness as a motivational reward, something to look forward to, but I honestly can’t say if it’s ever going to happen.

I think it is important to remain sensitive to these little tricks of the mind, and hopefully make sure they work for you rather than against. The reason I mention this is because I was recently introduced to an anime series called xxxHolic which is based around a Japanese student plagued by visions of the spirit world who finds his way drawn to a magical shop where wishes are granted. The owner, Yuuko, takes him on as a part-time ?slave? in exchange for helping him. Frankly, she spends most of her time drinking, so she might just be a crazy alcoholic, but there are a lot of discussions based around superstition, myths and psychology. Some things are a little dubious, but there are a lot of interesting observations in there. One episode that springs to mind is about a lady who seems to keep sabotaging her life with bad choices, but it emphasises that one needs to accept good things in to your life just as much as bad things. For instance, this lady in the story did not destroy her life, but would not actually accept good ‘luck’ – she rejected it through suspicion, guilt, and the inability to see herself as ‘worthy’ of good things.

This episode was quite clearly not about the supernatural, and yet most or all of the others can be read similarly, teaching about quirks and traits of the human mind and experience although the story couches them in the language of magic and spirits. Arthur C. Clarke’s 3rd law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic (ref: see wiki). I would also remind the reader that we often forget just how ‘magical’ technology and science – and the mind – can be.

I recommend paying attention to the little things in life that matter, whether they be gifts, handshakes, smiles or whatever, and try to cultivate a sensitivity for them. If it helps, try couching them in a language you understand, which is why I often resort to using the language of magic and the supernatural myself to explain and remember things. In my Aikido practice there is much discussion about ‘Qi’, a pretty abstract concept initially which has very magical effects given the power of Aikido when applied to the human body. However, as you progress in the martial art you start to appreciate just why such abstract and ‘magical’ language is used: Because it fits.

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My hacked site pageApologies – the site was hacked recently, and I have only just resolved the issue. As always, impressed by the techie skills of the hacker, but disappointed by their application.

 

Details of the wp-hack (for anyone who cares):

Seems to have been attempting to masquerade as the commonly used wp-cache plugin files. Thing is, I don’t use that plugin! 😉

Telltale odd files in the content directory.
– advanced-cache file looks like link but is a dubious symlink
– wp-cache-config file seems dubious
– dodgy additions to plugin directory (false wp-cache folder)
– hacked config file: removed false ‘WP-CACHE’ declaration near database name declaration line

– the only corrupted file in the theme was the index file thankfully, so a password reset was all that was left to regain site control

Following handy http://www.solostream.com/blog/tutorials/how-to-fix-your-wordpress-site-if-it-gets-hacked-part-one/ I was able to restore site functionality. I hope I have secured the site against a repeat, by changing passwords and strengthening permissions on the config file, but will need to make sure of this! Some help from http://ocaoimh.ie/2008/06/08/did-your-wordpress-site-get-hacked/

Service resumed as normal! Bed time…