Once again, a phone conversation with Brandon Jones has brought out something I failed to notice previously.
In years past, we as a PCR community would start our grumblings about the Academy Awards weeks beforehand. Now, except for Michael Smith's chronicling in the Movie Review and the Rant, nary a whisper among fandom assembled (but thanks, Mike, for carrying the torch!).
Is it that no one cares anymore? Or no one saw enough movies? Mike brought up a good point, usually overlooked, that with increasing frequency, Hollywood tends to release its intellectual/feel-good movies after the Fall, and the Academy seems to support that with its nominations. Even last summer's The Dark Knight barely gets a mention and even then it's for the late Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker (well-earned, nonetheless).
With the currently dreadful economy, I can see where consumers are paring way back on theater attendance, and probably also their DVD purchases reserving impulse-buying for really big deals....like, well, Iron Man or The Dark Knight.
How many of you actually saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Reader or Slumdog Millionaire? These are some of the serious contenders.
I was shocked to discover -- or re-discover -- that it's been two years since Mike and I did a Nolan Radio about the Oscars (or a Nolan Radio about anything). This can and must change. Mike, if you're game, let's schedule a Nolan Radio episode about the 81st Academy Awards for next week.
I haven't been posting nearly enough paranormal/UFO/weird/ news the last couple years as I used to previously, and that's a shame, because the last two years have been noteworthy to say the least. I did recap some of the weirdness of 2008 in the December year-end issue (remember the "alien-in-the-window" video and the found Bigfoot carcass just to name two cases).
Well, when they're not obsessing over the latest episode of The View, AOL News can occasionally scare up a juicy topic-of-the-weird that makes me smile (not that The View isn't weird....or makes me smile, which it does not.
Recently, some helicopter pilots flying over a remote region of Borneo were taking some pictures from the air for the purpose of monitoring flood regions, when they spotted the following anamoly.
In the pictures below, what you're looking at, according to the pilots, is a photo of a 100-foot-long snake the villagers of the region refer to as "Nabau" as it trolls down the Baleh River! Another picture was taken from nearer the village, but critics say both pictures are suspect, and what we're looking at is a doctored photo, the wake of a boat, or a strange log.
I am prone to believe the "doctored photo" explanation. In the original helipcopter shot at left, the banks of the river seem unnaturally sharp and clear. Plus, I'm not an expert on Borneo, but I'd think the topography of the region would show a little more diversity than the carpet-like appearance of the tree-top canopy pictured.
I took the liberty of enhancing the detail in question, shown at right. Obviously not a log or the wake of a boat. Additionally, the beast's head seems to be poking out of the water. If it's real, it's an enormous animal to be sure.
Just recently, paleontologists announced the discovery of an ancient 40-foot long snake that weighed 2,500 pounds when it was alive. Could this be its decendant?
Growing up fanboy (sorry, Chris) as I did, I was a rabid believer in cryptozoology (e.g., Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster) and UFOs. It was disillusioning, to say the least, as one sighting or photo after another would be discredited.
The frame from the legendary "Patterson film" of Bigfoot (left) sustained serious conjecture for decades until evidence for a hoax mounted ever higher (Roger Patterson's notorious rep as a huckster/documentarian is just the tip of the iceberg). Despite that, I am still hopeful that someday something will emerge to prove the creature's existence.
More discouragingly, the most famous picture of the Loch Ness Monster, labeled the "surgeon's photo" (seen at right, named after the doctor who took the shot), and hailed as incontrovertible evidence for decades, turned out to be...er...controvertible ...after all. After 60 years, a dying man's confession revealed the monster was a toy submarine with putty affixed to its periscope to simulate a head and neck. While the usual image shown in publications is severely cropped (as is the one pictured), the un-cropped shot, if you can find one somewhere, shows enormous ripples in the water around the beast. Compelling evidence that the object shown is indeed quite tiny.
I'm not going to get into any UFO stuff or hauntings this issue, and it's off-topic anyway. Even though I'm officially a "skeptic" where the paranormal is concerned, I remain deeply fascinated by people's stories and sightings, and all photographic evidence. **Cliché alert**: The Truth is Out There.
I confess I got the idea for this week's headline out of a conversation I had with former Splash Page columnist Brandon Jones earlier today. While I've always been extremely proud of the high standards the PCR staff established as a writing team, from about 2004 on, Crazed Fanboy has also been about interaction with its readers and stirring debate. I was complaining to Brandon how the traffic on the Message Board had slowed dramatically in recent months, the topics narrowing, and that even accounting for the cyclical nature of the message board's ebb and flow, for the first time, I'd felt like the board had outlived its usefulness.
There are many speculations as to why the board has foundered, some obvious (especially to long-time readers), some not so obvious, but repeatedly I've been talked out of discontinuing it altogether.
Combine that with a few other distressing factors related to revenue-generation, the increasingly unpredictable nature of many of our writers' availability any given week (not all that unique to these times, but whatever), the current national political and economic climate that could be influencing this, and Brandon opined we might be going through a "Fanboy Recession".
A later conversation with Schlock contributor John Miller revealed ours is far from the only site that has experienced some traffic downturns, and that people's moods may have soured on activities not directly related to surviving our current national financial crisis.
I had to then ask myself if I might be over-reacting on things like the message board situation, and that if the economy recovers, so would our reader interaction? And if so, when?
Not to worry, folks, I have no immediate plans on any drastic format changes as a knee-jerk reaction to this; I don't see anything "broke" that needs fixing yet, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't open to options and a different direction for the goal of readership expansion and interaction.
This marks the first week ED Tucker's Retrorama was completed using the PCR Content Management System, and I'm delighted to say it was a complete success.
This was ED's first experience using the System on anything of this magnitude (I have to count 2007's "Top 10 Horror Movies" as an entry-level taste of it), and after some first-time jitters were conquered, Ed seized the moment and even improvised some. Well done, Mr. Tucker!
Now for some good old-fashioned fanboy talk. Anyone catch the X-Men Origins: Wolverine TV spots broadcast over the past few days? Thanks to an alert from Drew Reiber, I was able to see two of the three on YouTube before they were yanked by FOX. Exciting in that it looks like they're sticking pretty close to the comic on this one. Reactions?