Modern Movie Zombies Suck

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A dorky cutesy zombie.

Leave it to Generation-Y2K to take something that was once cool, convert it into a stupid Internet meme, and ruin it for everyone. They are doing it to zombies just like they did it to Rick Astley, bacon and pirates. Well, pirates were never cool, and that whole “talk like a pirate day” crap was never even mildly funny, but you get where I am coming from. It’s been thirty-plus years since George Romero defined the zombie genre in film with Night of the Living Dead and what do we have? People dressing up in rags and pancake makeup and running 4K zombie fun runs, zombie themed weddings, zombie themed cakes, zombie themed wedding cakes, zombies in cereal commercials, Hello Kitty zombies, hip blocky “designer” zombie toy figurines, and don’t get me started on the reams of spiral notebook paper dedicated to inane ‘tude rife b-boy style art:

Ha ha! Zombies are cute! Lolz!!

Without even having to resort to a Google search, you can bet some jackasses are busy making preparations for a rival “Talk like a zombie day.”

Okay, I guess I’m glad that there are people out there being creative in showing their love for the zombie, but, as a result of all this pop culture saturation, people are losing sight of what was so great about zombies of the past. Compare the crappy illustrations above with this awesome clip from the third-rate Italian zombie movie, Burial Ground:

Burial Ground: Nights of Terror

The makeup is cheap but effective. No CGI. Just a couple of lumps of clay, some maggots and old burlap convey a sense of stinking death, decay and supernatural dread that is mostly absent in modern takes on the genre. Modern filmmakers are always trying to give us a rational explaination behind the existence of the zombies’it’s a highly contagious virus that makes everyone super aggressive  (Zombieland and 28 Days Later). I’m sorry, but if that monster isn’t a reanimated corpse and just some dude with a really bad 24-hour flu, it’s not a zombie. Personally, I have always thought that Fulci’s notion that the zombies are the result of a more biblical apocalypse worked best. Woe be on to him who opens one of the seven doorways to Hell! I miss those iconic images of a rotted corpse digging itself out of the ground for no good reason at all. I gather that the real purpose for all these contemporary “zombies” being extreme cold-sufferers is that the producers need to have fast-moving zombies. Zombies lurch, stagger, scratch and crawl. They don’t run! Their power comes from their numbers and not their totally rad parkour skillz.  And since when were zombies all about brain-eating? It was a cute joke in Return of the Living Dead, but I thought zombies weren’t that particular about what cut of meat they ate. Okay, now I’m just making myself so upset that I am forgetting to add paragraph breaks…

Ah, that’s better. I should just chill and watch a little Burial Ground: Nights of Terror. It’ll relax me.

Copyright and YouTube

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I just noticed today that a video I had posted in YouTube was just blocked in the U.S. because of some music I used in the background. Specifically, they blocked my PC Transporter video that I used to demo some hardware I was selling on eBay. The video is pretty mundane, but I used a Señor Coconut track in the background along with various beeps and noises from the Apple ][gs. Come on, who is going to download the song with all sorts of disk drive noises on top of it? WMG thinks people will do this, so now only people outside the U.S. can view the video. But, get this, if you can view the video in your region, it gives you direct links to download the song on iTunes or Amazon! That is a brilliant business move, but apparently using user created videos as a promo tool in the U.S. is beyond the pea brains at WMG. So, for my sake, please steal Señor Coconut’s record off the Internet (search for it on Google, you’ll find it for download from Rapidshare or similar site) and don’t buy the record if you live in the U.S.A.! I will find a way around YouTube’s blocker soon and repost the video here as soon as I can.

Adobe Contribute Is No Longer My Friend

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I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Adobe. Some of their products are great’Photoshop is a verb these days for good reason’but, they have also released some of the most disappointing software I have ever used. Encore, their DVD authoring program, will crash anytime you try to do anything with even a moderate degree of complexity. Dreamweaver will give you cryptic JavaScript errors out of the blue, when you are not actively editing anything. Heck, everyone knows Acrobat is a bloated resource hog.

Back in the early 00’s, Macromedia Contribute was a great idea. Give web developers a cheap (Contribute 1 & 2 sold for around $60-$80 bucks) WYSIWYG web editor to give to their clients who may not be comfortable with the destructive power of Dreamweaver. Sure, it didn’t quite render CSS right, but nothing really did at the time. Contribute just worked and filled a niche.

Fast forward to 2010. Macromedia is no more. Adobe has been trying to integrate all of their products into interoperable “creative suites” of programs. In theory this seems good. I like being able to dump files from one application to another without any hassles. Unfortunately, this makes the world of Adobe a bit like Melrose Place, where you don’t know who’s sleeping with who and Acrobat has given half the cast an embarrasing, throbbing rash.

These days, my clients who are using Contribute to edit sites I created for them are plagued with cryptic errors and equally cryptic workarounds. For example, one of my sites will not allow users to center text of all things. Another site gives you errors when you try to type in a repeating region. Other users have connection issues all the time. On top of all this pain, Adobe now charges something like $190 bucks for a single license. Sorry, Contribute. But friends we can be no more.

Health Care Debate Hate

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Okay. So I am one of those evil bastards that thinks health care reform is a bad thing. Apparently, the hidden motive for my position is that I want to ruin the lives of poor people—or, at least that’s what my progressive friends have told me. Fine. If that makes it easier for you to accept that there are people with opinions other than your own, more power to you.

I get a bit  depressed when I hear folks go off like this. People have become so pot committed to their partisan positions that they assume that anyone with an incongruous opinion must be evil, stupid or both. Never mind that on an issue like health care we are not just talking about getting sick poor people to the doctor. We are toying with the idea of restructuring an entire industry, and, in the middle of a recession, adding massive (as in dwarfing “tiny” projects like World War II!) new government programs and expenditures. To me it’s obvious that these are bad choices, but I don’t for a second believe that the proponents of health care reform are deliberately out to destroy rich doctors, or worse destroy the U.S. economy, stifle innovation and make health care terrible for everyone (not just poor people). I honestly think that they believe they are doing the right thing, despite the fact that they are going to kill us all and sell our children into white slavery.

CDUniverse: My Online Shopping Woes

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Recently, I took my first foray into ordering music from a major online retailer. Normally I avoid online music vendors. Unlike books, where you can find sites offering up to 40% of the cover price, there aren’t any good discounts on CDs at the major vendors like Amazon, CDNow, or CDUniverse. Sure, they always say you are geting a 10% discount, but that’s usually off the mall-markup price where CDs tend to go for seventeen-fifty bucks a pop. I pretty much refuse to pay more than $13.50 for music, and even that’s excessive.(a good rule of thumb: never pay more than a dollar a song)

Not following my own advice, during a dry spell at work, I decided to do some music shopping online. I figured the price of the markup would be equivalent to the cost of me getting to a record store here in the city. I found a couple of CD I wanted at CDUniverse and they were actually reasonably priced, sans-shipping that is.

The ordering process was simple enough. There was, however, a cryptic Hold for 3 Days dropdown bit that wasn’t explained very well. I chose first class shipping, which was supposed to arrive in 2 to 7 days. This, I soon found out, was not to be the case.

Having ordered on a Friday, I patiently waited over the weekend, expecting my CDs to arrive on the following Monday or Tuesday. Neither of the CDs was on backorder, yet they held my order for 3 days waiting for backordered items to arrive!?! I guess that explained the Wait 3 Days dropdown I had no choice but to select. It appeared my CDs were to be shipped, rather than receive my CDs on Monday.

The bit about the whole transaction that really ticked me off was the fact that it then took 2 full weeks for the CDs to arrive. The reply to my complaint was basically that their orders don’t take 2-7 days as advertised on their site, rather, I was to allow 7 to 14 business days. If I had known it would take half a month to complete my transaction, I would have just walked to the nearest mega-music store during my lunch break and just forgot about saving a couple of bucks.

The final blow in this ordeal was that when the CDs finally arrived, the jewel cases were smashed to hell due to poor packaging by CDUniverse’s shipping department. Sure, they’ll send new jewel cases if you request them, but wouldn’t be cheaper for them just to put an extra sheet of bubble wrap around the CDs? Or how about just shipping your stuff priority mail. $3.50 would cover half a dozen CDs, and it would only take 3 days to be shipped.

CDUniverse, you SUCK! I hope you and the rest of the lame-ass e-Commerce scam artists are destroyed in the great dot com crush! If you are looking for music, support to your closest independent record shop and give the finger to all eMusic vendors.