Don’t Stop Believin’

The cast of Glee did it.  Hundreds of hopefuls on musical reality television shows do it.  Thousands of drunkards in karaoke bars on Friday night do it.  So now…I’m doing it.

That’s right…I’m finally using Don’t Stop Believin’ as a post title.  Go ahead.  You can touch me.

I know you’re wondering why I would do such a thing.  Well, I’m about to let you in on the reason.  So gather round kids…let me tell you a little something…

I’ve noticed on a lot of the blogs that I read that people are all about the bucket list.  People have 30 before 30s and 40 before 40s, etc.  There are lots of things that people want to do before a particular deadline.  I might have the ambition, but I don’t necessarily have the resources to put together such a list of must-have experiences before I die.  I also have this little problem of lack of focus sometimes, so it makes things like writing priority lists of experiences a little difficult to come up with.  What I might consider to be important one day, would not necessarily be so the next.

Regardless, the other night I was watching television, and it occurred to me that I had witnessed something on the show I was watching that I really wanted to experience.  Unfortunately, without connections, a lot of money to bribe someone, or some fairy godmother to sweep in to grant me my one wish, there’s no way, no how that I’ll get to experience what I saw.  But, that doesn’t stop me from putting together a list of the unreachable dreams and goals that I would love to accomplish in my lifetime (but probably won’t if Richard Branson is not my benefactor – cuz he can make anything possible).

I present to you…

The Ultimate Bucket List (with a hole in the side)

  1. Have my own theme music – seriously.  Who doesn’t want this?  It’s like Shaft or Black Dynamite.  Walk into a room and be greeted with a solid bass line?  I can’t think of anything better.
  2. Run down the ramp and fly into the ring at a professional wrestling event – yes.  I’m that girl.  I see those wrestlers get to make spectacular entrances every week…with loud music and pyrotechnics.  I want that.  I want to be able to do this.  It goes hand in hand with my theme music.
  3. Wax poetic with Christian Bale – does anyone really need a reason behind this?  It’s Christian Bale.  I’m fairly sure that the chat would be fairly one-sided, but I wouldn’t want to interrupt that Welsh accent, now would I?
  4. Walk the hobbit sets of Lord of the Rings – I think this one is all but a pipe dream now.  The sets have long been removed, and unless they have been securely stored in perfect condition, not even Richard Branson can help me with this one.
  5. Time travel – cuz it’d be awesome.
  6. Survive and flourish through a zombie apocalypse – I’m always working on my zombie plan.  Now to just wait for the zombies…
  7. Follow Massive Attack on their next world tour – I finally got to see this band in May of 2009 after about 14 years of being a fan.  Well worth the wait.  Their next world tour may just be their last…it would be phenomenal to witness that nightly…
  8. Build a completely self-sustained, off the grid home with its own natural water filtration system, waste management system, etc., etc., etc…. – I’m not talking a compound here.  I’m just talking about a completely environmentally sustainable home in a natural environment.  Dreams can come true!
  9. Finish playing all of the Silent Hill games – I own them all.  I have started them all.  I am too scared to finish them all.
  10. Write The Jolie Adventures.  Oh, okay, this is one on the list that WILL actually happen…soon!  It’s coming…I promise!

How To Make a Monster

I don’t like Nicholas Cage.  I don’t think he’s particularly talented in the art of acting.  However, I found myself intrigued in watching the last five minutes or so of Knowing.  And in watching the end credits of the movie, I may have discovered why – the company in charge of  visual effects for the “strangers and chariot” was Tatopoulos Studios.  While I’m not certain if Patrick Tatopoulos himself was involved in the creation of the effects, I’ve been noticing as of late that when I appreciate a really good creature special effect, it’s likely Tatopoulos behind it.

I personally first started to take notice of him and his designs in 2006 when he was involved in the production of Silent Hill.  Touted as one of the most faithful and best video game to movie adaptations at the time (and I think still is), Silent Hill owes some of that credit to Patrick.  The creature effects are incredible.  They along with the atmospheric effects combine to give viewers the sense that they are in the world of Silent Hill.  Creepy. 

In addition to Silent Hill and Knowing, Patrick Tatopoulos Designs and Tatopoulos Studios have been creating organic effects and creatures in loads of movies:  Independence Day; Godzilla (1998); Pitch Black; They; Underworld; I, Robot; The Messengers; I Am Legend; 10,000 BC; The Ruins; Trick ‘r Treat; among others.  Some of these movies aren’t the most stellar examples of storyline, plot or acting, but there’s no doubt that the creatures and effects are brilliant.  On top of his creature designs, Tatopoulos has recently begun a foray into the world of directing with Underworld 3:  Rise of the Lycans.  He is currently working on I, Frankenstein, and has also been tapped to direct upcoming eco-horror The Colony.  To be honest, I’m not sure of his directorial skills, as I’ve not seen the Underworld sequels.  However, it takes a great imagination and vision to create believable film, and I’m certain Tatopoulos has both.  I look forward to his future design work – particularly the Stan Winston produced Speed Demon, scheduled for a 2012 release. 

Below are a few comparisons between the Silent Hill catalogue of games creatures and those created by Tatopoulos.  Copyright for the images goes to Konami, Sony, Alliance Atlantis, etc.  

Top two images are nurses from the game (Silent Hill 2 from the looks of it); third image is a still from the movie. I don't recall the nurses looking like this when I've been in the hospital...though I suppose that's a good thing.


Mumblers from Silent Hill (left); Grey Child from movie (right) - played by dancer Yvonne Ng with digital effects to burn her up. I feel like this some mornings before work...


The lying man from the game (top); armless man from the movie (bottom). Either way, you're not going to have a good day.


Mannequin from Silent Hill 2 (top); janitor from the movie (bottom). The mannequins didn't make an appearance in the movie, and the janitor wasn't in the game, but I wouldn't want to run into either in a dark alley or bathroom stall.


Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2 (top); the live(?) incarnation in the movie (bottom). Arguably the most badass being in the Silent Hill universe, if only for its first appearance in the game - a "how'd he do that?" exploit of a four-legged, no-torsoed mannequin (similar to the one posted a few pictures above). Fantastic.