March 31st, 2008

krazy koati

There are no rules, anything goes

After some none-too-careful consideration I've decided to put an edited form of my essay about peanut butter being turned into diamonds into the Robert Benchley Society competition. I think that gets the Benchley tone most effectively, with maybe the ancient one about hand-washing next-best. I'm surprised to see on reflection that I'm not so imitative as I feel while writing, which is probably a good thing. (If there's an overwhelming feeling I should enter something else, well, let me know within the next 24 hours, please.)

More details regarding Mazes and Monsters: When one of the characters in the titular roleplaying game is killed by doing a supremely stupid move -- the other players point out how stupid it was -- IQ 190 kid has the greatest idea ever and so independently reinvents Live-Action Roleplaying, using the caves just outside of town in which a third of all Voyager episodes take place. And everyone agrees it's a great time, although Hanks's character starts seeing monsters in it -- including an actual if slow-moving rubber-suited monster.

Interestingly, to me, the monster is shown in pretty good light with a long camera take, so you can really see it. Normally directors use darkness and quick cuts to make the monster more suggestive and let the viewer's mind build up something more plausible, but in this case it works. First, since everybody knows why directors use dark lighting and quick cuts, the illusion isn't so effective anymore. Second, the monster doesn't honestly look real, but since it's the point of view of a person who's not got a very good grasp on reality that ``just what am I looking at?'' feeling enhances empathy for Hanks's persona.

Anyway, onward as Hanks's character gets further hallucinations, seeing a wizard at the end of the tunnel that opens up James Bond Movie credits, and his role-play character starts leaking into his real-life character, and finally he goes missing. Then it's a hunt among the police, ably portrayed by that guy who looks like he always plays police officers, and the Mazes and Monsters gang to find him without admitting clearly to what they'd been doing in the caves (which would get them expelled and maybe prosecuted). As I say, it's an endearing combination.

Trivia: UNIVAC became operational in March 1951. Source: Eniac, Scott McCartney.

Currently Reading: Imperial Earth, Arthur C Clarke.