Reaction to Real Time with Bill Maher, New Rule

Sometimes I watch Real Time With Bill Maher, and often times I am even entertained by it. Bill is funny, and he does have some interesting and strong points to make, but he does a lot of shouting and is sometimes a little too over the top for me. Still, I would have to say that I am entertained for at least some of every show, which to me proves that Mr. Maher knows what he’s doing since his biggest purpose is to entertain and earn money, which he does.


At the end of every show he has a segment called New Rule in which he bitches and makes jokes about the trivial (fast v slow zombies) and the not so trivial (politics and how they are played). On Friday’s show (October 29, for those of you REALLY interested) Bill flashed the rule addressing fast zombies vs. slow zombies, saying something like zombies in zombie movies have to be fast so that he can’t just walk past them and go about his day. I understand the visceral fear induced by a fast zombie–they’re faster so they’ll catch you easier–they strike quick like the flash–these are scary thoughts, but are they really any more frightening than having a horde of relentless shambling corpses slow but surely moving in on you, oppressing you and taking away whatever free space you have centimeter by centimeter.

I am willing to admit that the idea of slow (literally–they are slow zombies after all, and I don’t mean that in the sense that they should be riding the short bus, but I suppose it could have a double meaning) moving zombies is more effective when there has been some pandemic of walking rotting animated dead bodies aimlessly roaming the earth searching for flesh upon which to feed and letting loose with their hollow and anguish filled moans, which is what 99.9 percent (statistic made up, but probably pretty accurate) of all zombie movies are so the point is inconsequential. Slow zombies are the death we always know is coming, but never really expect, a point which Bill Maher illustrated perfectly for me when he made that crack about being able to outrun zombies doesn’t make them scary. It’s precisely because the slow ones seem so non-threatening that they are scary and should be considered highly hostile and dangerous at all times.

Fast zombies are scary because they move fast. They are harder to escape, or at least outrun, but they’re still zombies so they’re not all that intelligent (unless the terms fast or quick can be applied to their mental capacity–but I am not going to go that far because fast or not, I still think that all zombies have the intelligence quotient of a moth). Their speed, combined with their lackluster mental capacity could actually be a large advantage to humans, what with trip wires and other kinds of traps. A slow zombie might not trigger such a trap due to jerky and slow ambulation, but a fast zombie would just run, setting off traps left and right.

Okay, I admit, that last bit about fast zombies and traps and whatever didn’t really make sense, but I’m leaving it in any way because this is my blog and I can do what I want with it, even if that means leaving in nonsensical and possibly contradictory statements. And digressions, those stay too. I don’t know where this blog would be if I didn’t allow myself to digress….

Fast zombies may not be more likely to set off traps, and the chances of actually successfully setting a trap for fast zombies is very slim, due to their quick nature. A faster zombie means less time to set up defenses such as pitfalls and dead-falls. However, a fast zombie is easier to hear, not only because they moan and groan like their slower moving cousins but because they move fast, and things that move fast generally make more noise than those that go slow, and being able to hear something dangerous before it gets too close is a big advantage humans have over fast zombies, thereby decreasing their risk factor slightly, or at the very least attempting to demonstrate that running zombies are really no more frightening than those that amble and mosey.

I think the fast zombie is quickly becoming a staple of zombie cinema is simply because of the movies that brought the idea of the fast zombie into the modern version of the sub-genre. Movies like this:

The 28 Days/Weeks later series gave us fast-moving, ghoul type things (It can be argued if the 28 D/W monster are truly zombies are not, but I am not going to do that here, because this blog totally already did it, and I kind of “borrowed” the above picture from them.) and the Dawn of the Dead remake gave us flat-out fast zombies. Both of these movies are thrilling and have their share of scares and jumps, and convey the deep feeling of dread that a good zombie/ghoul movie should. However, I think those scares and jumps come from the way the films are shot and edited. The zombies in the Dawn remake are no scarier, truly, than the ones in the original. They just move a bit faster, but they seem just as easy to avoid. They are more startling, to be sure, especially with Snyder’s slow-fast-slow motion style of shooting motion pictures. They seem more menacing and horrific because of how they are presented to the viewer.

28 Days Later is another example of the idea that it’s the presentation of the creature, not the creature itself, that is creepy (not a profound statement I know, but I think at this point I am just writing to write and ramble. I apologize if I’ve stopped making sense, but I thank you for hanging on this long if you are still here). In 28 Days the beasts are fast and smart and single-minded, and they are shown at all angles and in quick confusing cuts. The viewer is disoriented within the film, causing confusion, which gets the fear reflex going, and soon their hearts are pounding and adrenaline is soaring through their systems. Sure, the monsters are creepy, they puke blood and move really fast, but if they were shot in a way that allowed us to watch them move and attack their victims, they wouldn’t be nearly as effective because they would just be some kind of pseudo zombie that doesn’t even need to have its brain destroyed in order to be killed.

To me, slower zombies will always be more frightening because they were the first, and because they represent the inevitable. We will die, and we will join the ranks of these other dead people, and there is nothing we can do to stop that. The slow-moving zombie, more than the fast one, preys on our primal fear, but also threatens to lure us into a false hope, Slower = easier to avoid = complacency = zombie biting your ass. The slow mover encourages complacency–Hey, it’s no problem, I’ll just outrun all these dead things that want to rip the flesh from my body and chow down on my insides–and then punishes it mercilessly. If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is.

I have to respectfully disagree with Bill Maher about his New Rule that Zombies have to be fast if they want to be scary. What Mr. Maher forgets when he says that zombies in zombie movies have to be fast in order to be scary is that zombie movies are not scary because of how fast or slow the creatures move, they are scary because of the human characters. In every zombie movie ever (and I discount Zombieland here because while it is technically a zombie movie, it’s really just an action movie with zombies, and no real danger for any of the characters–well except for Bill Murray but cameos don’t count) the real danger to the survivors comes from other survivors, whether they are traveling companions or other groups out to take whatever they can get. We are always more dangerous to each other than the zombies, and that is what makes zombie movies effective. It has nothing to do with the speed of the zombie.

With all that being said, I prefer slower zombies because as indicated earlier in the post, they were the originals and as such they will always hold a higher position in my zombie hierarchy than any other ghoul type creature. And I guess that’s the end of this rant, crazy talk, nonsense. If you were able to make it all the way here, thanks for reading. If you weren’t then you can go suck shit through a tube (hey I can say it because if they didn’t make it this far then they’ll never read it).

Happy Halloween everybody.

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Sharks v Ducks

The Ducks stop here (here being San Jose), or it’s all over but the quacking.

So yeah, the Sharks play the Ducks tonight and the Giants go for a 3-0 lead in the World Series.
Am I the only one who would love it if the team who wears Orange and Black wins the World Series on October 31st, Halloween? Not only would it be color coordinated, but it would also mean that baseball could once again finish in October instead of early November, a change necessitated by the unthinkable events on that tragic morning in September 2001. If baseball can once again finish in the 10th month of the year, we will all be that much closer to getting back to normal.

As for the Sharks game, I would love to watch it. I want to see if the Big three can continue the style and speed of play they showed in their awesome dismantling of the New Jersey Devils–Thornton had a hat trick and combined with Marleau and Healtey for 13 points in a 5-2 win over the Devils. Heatley took a stupid penalty near the end and the boys from Jersey made the Sharks pay, and that’s why it was 5-2 instead of 5-1.

I want to watch the game and I want to see the Sharks defeather some Ducks, but I am utterly exhausted and so will have to rely on hope and highlights.

Go Tiburones!

Cool video

I found this on another blog, though I do not recall which one, and thought I would share it here because it is most excellent. Whoever animated this did a stellar job, and it is also a mighty fine example of how to tell a story using only visuals. There is no music and there are no words, and yet there is no denying the power of the video.

I was impressed by the skill, intrigued by the concept, and, by the end, a little sad. Watch it and tell me it’s not just a little bit tragic. I dare you.

It kind of reminds me of this one, but just in tone and method, not in style (obviously, I suppose):

Eat my poo, Calgary

Remember when I said that the 6-1 game against Edmonton, while awesome for the Sharks, was not a true indication of where the team actually stands because the Oilers are still in their “we suck right now but we are rebuilding so get back to us in two or three years” mode and while they are a professional hockey team, they just aren’t that difficult to compete against. I also said that Calgary would be a better indicator especially because they always play the Sharks hard. Well, last night’s game was no exception.

The Flames came out fast and strong, scoring 3 goals on 5 shots against Anti Niemi (you know, the guy who won the cup in Chicago and stonewalled the Sharks in the Western Conference finals) in like the first three or four minutes (that might be an exaggeration, but it is not much of one).

Sure Niemi seemed to be letting everything in, but he got absolutely no help from the rest of the team. The forwards were playing even more lackluster defense than they usually do (and Patrick Marleu has all but disappeared in the first six games of the season for the Sharks–come on Patty, come back and start kicking ass again, please) and the actual defense was slow, turnover prone, and not reacting to the speed or physicality of a Flames team that has set out to once again be dominant on home ice–which they totally were as indicated by the 4-0 final score. So the problem isn’t just Niemi, though it is clear that he is struggling and needs to vastly improve if he wants to see more playing time. (I miss Brian Boucher, even though this is the second season since left the team).

After the three quick goals Niemi was pulled and replaced by Niittymaki. Niitty saved the first shot he faced, but then allowed the second one in. It was a soft one, and maybe it took a strange path or bounce or something, but Niitty should still have had it. After allowing that one goal, though, he hunkered down and made 23 consecutive saves for a grand total of 24 out of 25 shots stopped. I am not saying that things would have been different had Niitty started the game–the Flames came out strong and dictated the game from the very beginning. It is possible that things would have gone differently if Niittymaki had gotten the start, but there is no guarantee, and the Sharks just couldn’t maintain possession of the puck, which limited their scoring chances and potential immensely, and you have to score goals to win games. So, Niitty probably would have allowed at least one goal had he started, and since the Sharks didn’t score a single goal the whole game, the overall outcome would not have been so different–they still would have lost.

The only thing is that they might not be feeling as bad if they lost 1-0 rather than 4-0. Still, it might be a good thing that the Sharks took such a shellacking. Why? Well because it could be seen as a wake up call. To fail so miserably against a long time division rival will hopefully wake the Sharks up and teach them the value of smart hockey play. Of course, with an old and slow and all around lackluster defensive corps, playing smart hockey might just be something that is out of reach for this team this season, though I hope not. It is still early in the season, they haven’t even played ten games, but it would be nice to see them play with some positive consistency, rather than the negative consistency they have shown thus far in the season.

Oh, and one final thought, Dany Heatley HAS to stop taking stupid penalties. I he “only” took two penalties last night, which is probably two too many, but is definitely one too many. The man is there to score goals and be a force on offense. He can’t do that while sitting in the penalty box. If it was just last night’s game where he took stupid penalties that would be one thing, but it wasn’t just last night. It seems like he has taken ill-advised penalties in almost every game this season, and I know he took some real stinkers in the series against Chicago. Heatley needs to get his head in the game and start playing smarter. I appreciate his attempts to get physical, but I would much rather have him on the ice shooting the puck and skating around the offensive zone than wasting time in the penalty box.

The Sharks play the Devils on Wednesday in what should be an interesting game. I wonder which Sharks team will show up, the one that smeared the Oilers, or the one that got smeared by the Flames.

Go Sharks.

Hockey

I know, I know, I’ve been writing a lot about hockey lately (which probably isn’t very interesting for any of my 4, readers, except Adrienne because she’s from Canada (though she hates the Sharks, so…), but I promise that soon I will find something else to write about.

I don’t know what exactly. If I did, then I would write about it, and not just writing about how I will write about it.

Anyway, I guess that’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by and putting up with more hockey than you probably want to.

Sharks school Edmonton

The Sharks got their second consecutive road win last night against the Edmonton Oilers, and with the exception of the first few minutes of the game, they completely dominated their inferior opponent.
Things started of looking good for the Sharkies as they were awarded with a power play only a few minutes into the game. It did not, however, take long for the joy of the power play to turn to frustration because see… there was a turnover and that turnover led to a short handed goal by one of the Oilers. I cannot remember the guys name, but I do remember that the shorty was this guy’s second goal of the season (both of them scored while short handed).

This turnover while on the power play that led the to the bad guys scoring is indicative of what I was talking about in the previous post–the Sharks really have to focus on not making silly mistakes and controlling the puck, both when it is on their sticks as well as when they are moving it. Six games into the season, the Sharks have allowed at least three shorthanded goals, but I think that number is actually four or five. This is unacceptable, especially if the Sharks hope to make it all the way through the playoffs and hoist the Stanley Cup.

It is true that last night the Sharks were able to minimize mistakes (after allowing the shorty–the third one allowed in four games or something like that, I haven’t been able to find the stats, but I did find this, which mentions short handed goals allowed by the Sharks), and it is also true that they made some strides in the team defense arena and played an all around excellent game. The problem, of course, is that they played an excellent game against a terrible team. Edmonton gave the Sharks 5 power play opportunities, and Los Tiberones capitalized on 3 of them. Edmonton, on the other hand, was unable to score a power play goal, though the Sharks gave them 5 opportunities on the PP (but the Oilers only managed to get off four shots).

My point is that I am glad the Sharks won, and this game should give them some confidence–plus they scored three even strength goals–an area that has been of some concern so far in the early goings of the season–but they are going to have to play better and smarter if they want to be successful this season. Edmonton is a professional hockey team, but they are hardly a challenge, and it would have been terrible if the Sharks were unable to beat them. However, they did beat them, by a score of 6-1, but come on, it’s Edmonton, anything other than a victory would have been unacceptable.

Niittymaki played another strong game, saving 21 of 22 shots. At times he looked a little shaky while handling the puck, but thankfully there were no mishandles like the one the other night that led to an easy goal.
The Sharks play Calgary tonight, which I think will be a much more challenging game than the one against Edmonton. Sure, Calgary is not as good as they used to be, but they have always given the Sharks trouble, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so, but I also have no doubt that Sharks will be able to overcome the adversity and go home with the win, especially if they play smart and don’t allow any more short handed goals.

Oh, and one final thing–Joe Pavelski finished the night with three points–1 goal and two assists, and Joe Thornton finished with 3 assists. Keep it up boys.

Go Sharks!

Sharks defeate Avalanche. Thanks Pavelski.

I know it’s old news by now, but I was exhausted yesterday because I watched the game Thursday night/Friday morning and didn’t get to sleep until around 640 am. Since I don’t have Friday classes this semester I chose to sleep a lot of the day away, but day sleep is no substitute for night sleep.

Anyway, the Sharks finally won their second game of the season , and The Playmaker as I call him (or the Big Pavelski as he is better known), Joe Pavelski, continued his domination of the Colorado Avalanche while on the power play. Pavs scored two consecutive power play goals on two shots, from almost the exact same position. It was quite a sight to behold. I wish there was a video of it on Youtube, but alas, there is not.

The final score was 4-2 Sharks. Scott Nichol got the first goal of the game for the Sharks, which also happened to be his first goal of the season, and Logan Couture picked up an empty netter.

So yay the Sharks won, and they did it against a good team–Colorado is young and quick and dangerous. It doesn’t make up for the losses against Atlanta and Carolina, but it does go a long way to restoring confidence in the team. Not that my confidence was completely shaken–sure it sucks that the Sharks have only won two games out of 5, but they do have five points, thanks to taking Columbus to overtime, but it is still early in the season and the Sharks are still (somehow) readjusting to the rigors of professional NHL hockey. In the two games I have actually watched this season the Sharks have looked slow and out of sorts for part, if not most of, the game. Thursday night’s game is a prime example of this as it seemed to me that for most of the first period the Sharks were sluggish and careless, affording Colorado some chances, one of which went it. It was a softy and probably could have been stopped, but it never should have happened in the first place.

The goal was scored off of a misplay by Antero Niitymaki. Carelessness leading to a goal–an area of concern for this Sharks team in the early season happenings. However, they were able to overcome these mental and physical lapses and take control of the game. Colorado still got their chances, but the Sharks played well as a team, both on offense and on the blue line. There is still more work to be done, but this game was a really strong first step.

And speaking of Niittymaki, I thought he put in a good performance. He looked confident for the most part (with the exception of the mishandled puck, of course), and he made some amazing saves, especially in the second period and the Avalanche were making a push after Pavelski’s goals. I was happy to get a chance to see Niittymaki in action, and that the team got the win. The jury is still out on the Sharks starting goalie should be, but I think Niittymaki should start tonight in order to give him a chance to build his confidence and skills and prove whether or not he has what it takes to be a starting goalie for the San Jose Sharks. Start Niittymaki tonight and see how he does, and then tomorrow, when the Sharks play their second game in two days, start Niemi and hope that he can be a wall and that the Sharks can win their first three road games of a season for the first time ever.

Go Sharks.