Categories
FILM

CLASSIC REVIEW: The Bridge on the River Kwai

If you’ve never seen or heard of this film it maybe because it was released in 1957. The only person you are likely to recognize is Obi-Wan Kenobi himself or a 42-year-old Alec Guinness.

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How good are your Roman numerals reading skills? I remember being bored to death as a kid during Catholic Mass looking at these strange ancient numbers and self-taught myself how to read them. MCMLVII is 1957.

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This is a fictional story based on true events. The Japanese had allied prisoners they put to work connecting Thailand to Burma. Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson refuses to put his officers to work based on the international laws of the Geneva Convention while Colonel Saito has his Japanese honor at stake and a deadline to finish the bridge.

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Colonel Nicholson is a true British soldier through and through. He stands tall in defiance of his Japanese captors even when about to be shot down with a machine gun.

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Lieutenant Commander Shears is the only American in the film. I love what Colonel Nicholson says about him, “Queer bird… even for an American.”

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They called it the Death Railway because so many POWs died working on it. You can visit the bridge today in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The graves are still there and they have a museum to commemorate the poor soldiers who died there.

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The British send a special team of soldiers to find and blow up the bridge. The Japanese took all of the Siamese men from the village so they use local women to carry the gear.

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I know they are going on a secret mission and need to camouflage themselves, but did they need to use blackface?

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This is still a great film six decades later. I saw it the first time in 1999 on VHS and never forgot about it. It won 8 Academy Awards including best picture. I embedded the Amazon link below, but you can easily find it on torrent sites too. Amazon will sell anything to make a buck, but if people feel that this needs to be shared on torrents even today, it’s a sign that it’s a quality film.

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I can still do the whistling of the British soldiers as they marched. It’s a catchy tune. Thanks for looking back at this classic film with me today. Remember that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

RETRO GAMING: Doom

My friend Mike and I agreed that this was the greatest game to ever be made and there would never be anything better than this after clearing it our first time. We were both 15 in 1995, but he was way more grown up than me. Some kids at 15 look like they’re in their twenties while some look 12. I was the later and really looked up to Mike. He had already had many girlfriends and gave me my first hit of the reefer. I usually forget who I’ve watched movies with, but I’ll always remember who I cleared epic games with.

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This digital art may look crude today, but we thought it was awesome back then. This game was released in 1993, so this was probably done on Microsoft Paint or a very early Photoshop. I spent so many hours attempting to draw on Microsoft Paint that it’s still the easiest for me to use today.

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A few people played Doom‘s daddy, Wolfenstein 3D, but Doom was the first 3D game that EVERYONE played. You had to shut down Windows and boot this game from DOS. Not all PCs had speakers so a lot of us played without sound.

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I was lucky and went to good public schools which always bought new IBM PCs and Macs so we could sneak install Doom onto some of the school’s computers. I think it was Doomand Mortal Kombat that started to give gaming a bad name blaming it on youth violence and our academic failures.

The Map

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Doom was the first time I remember using a map. It was very difficult for me to remember the 3D game in my mind while reading a 2D map. I developed the, Always Turn Left, technique in Wolfenstein 3D whenever I got lost and brought the same lazy minded bad habbit to Doom, but it didn’t always work because it was a complex 3D world with stairs and different floors.

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The demons in Doom got scarier as you progressed. Luckily for the player, the weapons got better as well.

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By the end of the game you’ll have the BFG. We never did figure out what that acronym meant.

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Gaming History

Doom will be remembered as a grandfather of many things…

  • 3D gaming techniques
  • online sales
  • online gaming
  • modding
  • FPS horror
  • expansion packs
  • turning games into movies

Thanks for looking back on this 3D and FPS granddaddy with me today. Have you tried the modern Doom games? I think this will be a great VR game and the Doom franchise will continue to scare and amaze us.

RETRO GAMING: Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards

Things were very different three decades ago. We were easily entertained. It may seem funny now, but seeing this was very exciting for us when we were kids playing this in the 1990’s when our parents were gone. Larry was released in 1987, but it wasn’t until later that I got to play this naughty game.

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I remember hiding the disk from my mom inside of a Playboy magazine in my vent hiding spot. I don’t remember seeing the old school large floppies. The game must have shipped with both types for maximum playability. I also remember the class laughing at an older teacher who still used the big floppy disk in the mid 1990’s. It was way harder to be a teacher back then because the kids were mean and would even bully teachers.

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I just had a disk, so I never saw this cover of the game until today when I was reading about it on Wikipedia.

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Larry was controlled by the keyboard directional keys and by typing in commands. If you typed in some correct command it would respond with an OK and it would happen, but if you typed in something wrong or irrelevant it would have smart ass sarcastic replies giving the illusion the game had AI.

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The game was about a forty year old virgin looking for sex.

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There were just a few levels and women in the game, but it took a long time to figure out what to do.

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Choosing the prostitute would give Larry an STD and then he’d die. He blew up if I remember. I wonder how many kids were scared of hookers after that video game death.

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Thanks for looking back on this ancient game with me today.

Categories
FILM

CULT CLASSIC REVIEW: Army of Darkness

It’s surprising how many people have never seen this gem. It was made on a shoestring budget of 11 million dollars in 1991 and was released in theaters in 1992. It doubled its money in the theaters, but it really did well on VHS and then on DVD.

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I captured all the shots from the film by pressing the PRT SC (Print Screen) key on the keyboard. I put in the Amazon link to every picture if you want it. This was the first DVD I ever purchased so I feel it was OK for me to download this on The Pirate Bay for free since I had purchased it back in 1999. If movie ownership was stored on a blockchain then this type of thing would be normal. I know that this is off subject a bit, but why the hell should I have paid for GTA V three times? First on the PS3, the PS4, and on PC. Now I’ll have to buy it again when it’s released on PS5. This is bullshit and why people pirate stuff. We should have to purchase software, movies, and music only once then always have access to it even if it changes mediums. If the ownership of such digital rights was implemented via blockchain since the beginning, we consumers would be more likely to purchase it for life rather than use the Pirate Bay. Imagine if when you went to watch a movie in the theater then you had digital rights to that film for life. You could pay the one dollar it takes to print a DVD or you could watch it on all of your devices. This would make moviegoers feel more respected and would boost movie ticket sales.

The Necronomicon

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The Book of the Dead is bound in human flesh and inked in blood. It is the evil book that gives the Army of Darkness its power to rise from the dead. I’ve searched for a copy of this on the internet but never found one. Of course, it wouldn’t be made of dead people or printed in blood, but it would be really cool to have this on your bookshelf.

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It would be possible to make one in a DIY project. You could copy the cover using pig or cow skin and would have to hand draw all the images and write the ancient Sumerian in red ink.

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Ash isn’t perfect, but how many heroes have the intestinal fortitude to cut their own evil possessed hand off?

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If you don’t like this movie by the opening scene, then you’re never going to get it, but most people I’ve introduced this movie to get hooked by the time Ash shows everyone his BOOM Stick!

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I felt it refreshing watching a film that was done by hand and not another CGI porn all in your face.

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Ash is back in a TV show spinoff. You can watch it by clicking on this picture or you can be an evil pirate and watch it for free by searching for Ash vs Evil Dead.

EVIL MARIO: He kills turtles, mushrooms, and dinosaurs.

What if everything we learned about since we were kids was wrong? What if our hero was really the villian? How many mushrooms have you ever stomped on? Have you ever used fire to kill a dinosaur? Why would you murder a turtle? Maybe Mario is actually the bad guy…

Tools

A4 paper
pencil
eraser
ruler
cardboard
technical pen
iPad
Procreate

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Mario is easy to draw. He’s just a bunch of circles.

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Now let’s add his victims. He has stomped on countless mushrooms. He is obsessed with a princess half his age and he has tried to kill the last remaining dinosaur countless times.

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Pencil is nice, but ink always gives drawings a more defined touch.

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See?

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I’m still new to Procreate on the iPad, but it’s a great tool. I may look like a noob doing the background over the ink then redwawing over it, but I enjoyed doing so. If HIVE actually has non-whale interaction and real feedback, I would like to get some tips on how to do this faster.

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After using bucket fill, blur tool, airbrush, and the digital technical pen, this drawing started to look OK.

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I’m actually a Nintendo fanboy for life, but would still like to encourage critical thinking. Have you ever had a hero that turned out the be the bad guy?

BATMAN -vs- MIKE TYSON

The Joker had tried to trick the bat with low level thugs in the past. Not this time. Now he has recruited the hardest hitting man on the planet who also owns a tiger.

Batman put the cat to sleep with a gas explosion that he’d built up an immunity to, but it didn’t affect the champ at all. He was able to get a batarang into his chest, but Batman still has a chin and Mike knocked him out with his best uppercut and swung him around by his cape like a rag doll.

Mike asked the Joker if he wanted to take the mask off the sleeping hero, but neither of them cared. They were just happy to defeat the Batman and humiliate him on social media showing his enemies that he CAN be beat.

Tools:

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A4 paper
crappy Chinese painter’s tape
pencil
ruler
eraser
technical pen
iPad
Procreate

Inspiration:

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Mike when he was young and the heavyweight champion.

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Mike today.

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The image that showed up after Googling, “Batman gets knocked out.”

Process:

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I sketched Batman first and was afraid he took up too much of the frame, but Mike fit in nicely too.

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If I couldn’t get Mike’s face right five minutes into this sketch, I was going to quit, but he looked fine.

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I then used the technical pen for the important dark lines.

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I was watching a movie on the sofa next to my drunk friend who wouldn’t stop moving around, so I just added a bit more pencil shading before going digital. I told him, “I can’t draw with you moving around like this. Fuck it! I’ll do it digital! We’ll do it digital!”

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I copied the colors from the inspirational photos to colorize it. I then used the blur tool and some airbrushing. Thanks for reading and a great day!

GAMEBOY: The First Zombie Maker

I remember in 2011, I was feeling so sick of Thai people being glued to their crappy phones until I went back to the States and realized it was a global problem. While it may be normal to see someone hunched over zombified by a small screen today, we old school gamers were the first to ruin our posture with Nintendo’s Gameboy.

You can’t understand how cool it was to have one of these when it first came out. It would have been like the only person to have an iPhone when everyone else was still using Nokias and flip-phones. One of my wealthier friends was the first kid in our class to have it and we all huddled around him like he had just found the one ring to rule them all.

Indestructible, but Hungry:

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Did you know that a Gameboy once survived a bomb in the first Gulf War? I remember seeing this story on the news and it just made me want one even more. It was great to finally have one of my own until I realized how much power it consumed. It would drain 4 AA batteries in just a few hours.

I tried my best to destroy my Gameboy many times in fits of rage and anger, but it would still always boot up with that red LED light and signature Nintendo ding.

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It came with Tetris and that’s the game must of us will remember the original Gameboy for. What was your favorite Gameboy memory?

Resources:

Have a drink at RED BULL in Luang Prabang, LAOS

When you live in a small town like this, the bar scene seems to develop patterns. There will be a few warm up bars, then just one or two where the real drinkers will end up. This one plays by the rules and closes by the 23:30 curfew.

Whoever thought of getting this pool table deserves credit or a big bonus. It’s probably paid for itself a hundred times over. So many locals come here just for the table, but there’s a lot more to this place. Having the only pool table in town doesn’t hurt though.

The entrance is at an ideal location. It’s at the top of the hill of one of the main streets that runs along the Namkhan river.

They cook western foods right and have plenty of cheap local choices on the menu too. These lights are probably a fire hazard, but the don’t have so many crazy rules here like we do in the West. It might be more dangerous here without all the codes and regulations, but you feel way more freedom in your life.

It seems that bars that have a lot of 70s art, look, and accessories tend to do better than modern looking places here. Luang Prabang is one of the few places resistant to change and modernizing except for vehicles and smart phones. Other than that, I’ve talked with lots of old travelers that say it hasn’t changed much when compared to other cities in Southeast Asia.

The mosquitoes never where a problem for me here, but it’s nice to have these candles. They look romantic too.

If you visit Luang Prabang and wander the streets, you’ll find Red Bull naturally. I hope to see you here soon. Cheers!

Categories
TRAVEL

Welcome to the Temple of HELL

You can see this from almost everywhere in Luang Prabang because it’s on a hill looking down on the town and rivers.

It is near the police station where you have to do immigration and visa stamps in your passport.

I’ve taken photos of the outside, but this was the first time I saw that the inside was open to the public.

You can see some of the art behind the Buddhas.

This shows the reincarnation cycle. It’s the what goes around comes around wheel of suffering.

Maybe the elephant will get freaked out by the white rat after you throw it and the cobra forgets about you after you throw the black one down for it to snack on while you escape.

There are hundreds of great paintings inside. I regret now that I only snapped a few of them.

The lesson here is to not anger the dudes with trained dogs and big birds who are also a great spear chucker. Just apologize when you see him even if he’s wrong.

All the windows have beautiful green views.

This one may be saying that we shouldn’t kill animals because they could be our friends or family reincarnated to another form.

The woodwork in the windows has more positive imagery.

I like the mix of the Roman style pilar with the Siamese woodwork.

There are many trees that have flowers outside.

Thanks for checking out this place with me today. I hope that none of the horrible things depicted in the paintings become your lot.