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Ugh, stop twitching
time travel
horror Posted 2008-03-25 23:25:20 by Jim Crawford
I watched The Mist last night. It was pretty amazing. There was one shot in particular that really dropped my jaw, and it totally made the movie for me; for all I know, maybe the rest of it was merely okay. If you've seen it, I'm curious if you know the shot I'm talking about.

I'm pretty sure the rest was good too, though. It seems like Lord of the Flies recast as an 50s-era monster movie, though set in the present, and with a Lovecraftian fear of the utterly alien thrown in. I'm really into that sort of thing, about how we become totally different people during unusual and stressful situations. It also seemed like a parable about how extreme faith and extreme rationality are both doomed, and the sanest path is in usually the middle. But I'm not positive that that still holds true when you're not a character in a Stephen King novel.

Harmonix patched Rock Band a few days ago. The patch adds an in-game music store, fixes a bunch of stuff and also inexplicably subtracts 35 milliseconds from your AV lag calibration, so that's why you're suddenly having trouble hitting notes in time. Other than that issue, the patch is great. Harmonix also recently released a six-pack of Boston songs, about half of which are amazing. “More Than a Feeling” in particular has been a long time coming; it one of the poorest imitations on Guitar Hero. Tom Scholz spent god knows how long producing that album, and I think Wave Group had like 2 days per song when rerecording the tracks for Guitar Hero.

One interesting thing about Rock Band's master tracks is that for songs where the official release fades out, Harmonix got a crack audio team to mimic the production well enough to record a real ending for it, basically just the players jamming out for about 10 seconds and then hitting a big note at the end, like in a concert performance. But they didn't do this for the master track of More Than a Feeling; it just ends, the studio recording basically stopping where the band decided it had gone on long enough to fade out during mixing. And I'm suspecting that they didn't even try because the production quality was too high and unique for them to match.

Danny:It's hard for me to be objective. I guess I've always kind of rejected the classic rock aesthetic.
Me:But it isn't really classic rock.
Me:It's, like, the start of Glam Metal, almost.
Danny:Glam Metal is a thing?
Me:A.k.a. Hair Metal!
Danny:Ah, of course.
Danny:To be honest, I usually bunch that stuff in with classic rock too.
Me:Also a.k.a. whatever you call the faggy-looking-guys-suggestively-sharing-a-microphone thing that David Bowie started.
Danny:Probably because it was all played by the “classic rock station” in El Paso.
Me:I see. I guess it is old.
Danny:It's weird how things that once weren't old become old over time!
Me:Yeah. Like me.
Danny:You're not old! You exist right now, so you're totally current.

When I was playing Boston's Peace of Mind on Rock Band drums... you know how sometimes a part of a song reliably triggers an auditory memory? Like, just due to maybe sharing some frequency characteristics, or maybe even just a coincidence of how the memory maps to your neurons, like how over time audio stored on magnetic tape sometimes bleeds into the adjacent tape on the reel, just by virtue of the incidental physical contact of the storage medium. Hearing that possibly-related audio sequence reminds you faintly of your ringtone, or the doorbell, or your instant-message alert or whatever, something you're accustomed to listening for.

Note that I'm not talking about the sudden recontextualization of audio-related memories when you hear a familiar sound in a song that really is the sound you thought it was, though that phenomenon is pretty fascinating to me too and I'll probably write about it at some point. I mean when you think you hear a sound and then realize you actually didn't.

While I was playing “Peace of Mind,” I thought I heard my ringtone. Then I remembered that that was my ringtone for my old mobile phone that I haven't used in years. Then for a split second I had a vision of me from 2005, turned evil by the same arcane process that transported him into the future, walking in the door and strangling me. I didn't know it was the song itself until the phenomenon happened again in a later iteration of the same part. So that's great. Now I'm going to have that past-me vision twice every time I play that song.

Danny:Does your evil clone have yellow eyes or a goatee?
Me:No, but his skin tone is darker.
Danny:Ah, interesting.
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