Ffffth Kkkolock: Prologue

I woke up. It was too hot. I went back to bed. These are three sentences about life in the 21st Century posted to a social media site. They will be analyzed in binary code by a distant alien race many centuries from now. The first scientist to examine the note is curious what a "bed" is. He/she -- for it's anatomy is not gender specific -- cross-references the word "bed" with other relevances and decides incorrectly that it means "bobsled." This creates a minor debate between another colleague -- for the sake of this tale let's call it M. -- who believes that a "bobsled" is actually "bobsled," because M accessed some more code and pieced together snippets of the Disney film "Cool Runnings" as proof.
         Now, our original scientist -- let's call he/she Proletariat #1, believed that "bed" was "bobsled" because of a hidden hope that the original message did indeed involve bobsleds. Proletariat #1, unbeknownst to M, had seen his/her assemblage of snippets of "Cool Runnings" and liked the image of an unknown entity waking up and going back to sleep in a bobsled. This was considered amusing.
            M did not find this type of scientific data misalignment to be humorous. In fact, such jokes were not part of the cultural make-up of their species. Most -- let's call them Khadaffis - Khadiffis were absolutely no fun and spent most of their adult lives studying scientific data or having intercourse with one another. The latter was considered a job, so no enjoyment was ever derived. Also, since each Khadiffi had both male and female organs intercourse between other Khadiffis was redundant, so most acts took place between data collection to conserve time and energy for additional data collection.
            Naturally, the Khadiffi population was sizable. There were over a trillion Khadiffis living on a series of planets closest to what human scientists would call the Andromeda Strain, but have not been identified by name, so let's make things easy and use the Khadiffi term for the word "planet," which can be roughly pronounced as "Ffffth Kkkolock" just to throw in an actual word once in a while into this story to confuse future Khadiffis who might be reading this and offer them a moment's pause as they decipher...
            The Khadiffi on Ffffth Kkkolock had discovered Google by accident during a data mining experiment with a sonar device that was supposed to obtain information on mountain ranges in the American Midwest. They were quite surprised by the vast stores of code -- miles upon miles of it. Once M's ancestors had pieced together Google as a number, they had made it a population goal along with a data collection aspiration. It was actually offered as a type of proverb that can be translated roughly as: "Khadiffis need to procreate to reach a Google population, as they decipher all of Google to be considered true scientists."
            This is all based on my rough approximation, so the proverb doesn't necessarily make sense to us, but it made absolute sense to Khadiffis. You see, it was a mathematical game: if X is the number of aliens produced, as well as the size and name of the data translated, then the production of aliens to match the production of translation would make Khadiffis "successful" and "better than other" living beings throughout this and other galaxies.
            I know what you're thinking, "Why would anyone want such a marker of success?" Well, every culture is different. Here, in the 21st Century, many human beings consider "success" to be earning a certain amount of wealth or being seen by others on television or online videos. This would be preposterous to a Khadiffi, and naturally, they would be just as dumbfounded as you might be as what is considered "successful" in their culture. If you spent some time on Ffffth Kkkkolock, you may or may not agree with what the Khadiffi deemed as a goal for their species, but if you wanted to live alongside them, you had to actually go along with success as a concept, because, otherwise the system would collapse.
            Likewise, the human system needs its believers for consumer culture. This is also why many of you might be wondering why one of our own would attempt to travel to Ffffth Kkkkolock and retrieve any of this information in this first place. I, for one, am with you. I have no idea why anyone would care about distant alien cultures. I, myself, am consumed by human trappings, because I have been raised so well to love all things human. I love Big Macs, Kentucky Fried Chicken, women, strollers, headphones, Apple and apples, clotheslines, and other things human.
            I am, in essence, much like other humans on Earth. However, there is a slight difference -- and this is where our tale may receives its twist -- I am not entirely human. I was placed here by the Khadiffi people as an experiment close to 38 Earth years ago. My main objective, which was programmed into me around the age of 12 years old, was to radically oppose the social systems in which I operated, until I would be able to achieve "success" in Earth terms for my resistance but also my existence, and ultimately fulfill a Khadiffi prophecy that there would be one genetically engineered "human" who would be "human successful," but also achieve the ultimate "Khadiffi success" by creating his own code that would then be translated many thousands of years later on Ffffth Kkkkolock and reveal the ultimate truth of all existence for all things -- inanimate and animate -- everywhere.
            This is that starry-eyed story. It shall be told in approximately 300 pages and include drawings, videos, hyperlinks, strange translations, Khadiffi history and poetry, and eventually, and, most importantly, lead, when pieced together, to the ultimate truth to existence, so that Khadiffis can once again rejoice and find another pastime besides data collection, or likewise, humans can give up "success" for something less successful.

            That is the end of the prologue. Our story will begin in six Earth minutes and is often written as 00:06:00 in digital time on watches and Khadiffis' favorite Earth program "The Blacklist."

Mark White interviews Darrah Belle, Hannah Elizabeth Pierce, and myself about Zombie Bounty Hunter M.D. Then Whodini entertains us all by letting himself get stapled by the ladies. Click the link to listen and watch the podcast.

LINK: http://www.skidrowstudios.com/darkmark/2014-10-03/38198/dark-mark-show-zombie-sideshow-pirooz-kalayeh-darrah-dejour-hannah-elizabeth-pierce-whodini-1692

Loren Goodman's Top 500 Songs: 301-310

Loren Goodman began curating his top 500 songs in 2008. This installment includes Al Green, Dolly Parton, 2NE1, and more.


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Loren Goodman's Top 500 Song: 311-320

Loren Goodman began curating his top 500 songs in 2008. He offers an installment here on Shikow when he feels it's right.

To learn more about Loren's work, you can visit here or here.

311. 

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Viral Leak: Possibly H7N9!!

This is real! I repeat REAL!! I know all you haters think we made this shit up, but there are real mutations happening near Palmdale. We were driving up to shoot some stuff for another company when we heard about this sewage leak up near 14 North right before Lancaster.

From what we've found on the Internet, this is real. You can look here and here. Both have journal reports about how Avian Influenza A may have started the condition.

Some are saying that it is associated with the virus in the frost those scientists found. Personally, I think it has to do with fracking. The Earth has a way of fighting back, ya know?

We're going to head up there again to get more footage. I'll post videos here.

OSCARS: Predictions 2014


The Oscars are part of a long and financially costly campaign for Hollywood. Each studio rallyies behind the films in their roster with the biggest star power/chance to win. This can often change over the year as box office sales and critical reviews shift the popular vote.

To put the race in the proper perspective, let's look at the financial earnings and studio pedigree of this year's nominees before we begin:
  1. "Gravity," Warner Bros., $256,314,185, 10 nominations, released Oct. 3, 2013.
  2.  “Captain Phillips," Sony, $105,010,295, six nominations, released Oct. 10, 2013.
  3. “American Hustle," Sony, $103,565,129, 10 nominations, released Dec. 12, 2013.
  4. "The Wolf of Wall Street," Paramount, $80,741,968, five nominations, released Dec. 25, 2013.
  5. "12 Years a Slave," Fox Searchlight, $39,002,295, nine nominations, released Oct. 17, 2013.
  6. "Philomena," Weinstein Co., $22,324,543, four nominations, released Nov. 22, 2013.
  7. "Dallas Buyers Club," Focus, $16,769,169, six nominations, released Nov. 1, 2013.
  8. "Her," Warner Bros., $9,900,985, five nominations, released Dec. 18, 2013.
  9. "Nebraska," Paramount, $8,477,367, six nominations, released. Nov. 15, 2013.
  Obviously, Warner Brothers and Sony need to make a choice between their two contenders. Based on the latest polls, HER is not going to be a breadwinner over GRAVITY, so don't expect it to win anything other than a screenwriting award. It may also be clear to some that AMERICAN HUSTLE has been Sony's major push over CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, so bear this in mind as you compile your predictions.
So, without further ado, here are my Oscar predictions based on financial earnings, popularity, and intuition:

BEST PICTURE: GRAVITY, AMERICAN HUSTLE, or 12 YEARS

My family watched a screener of GRAVITY this past Christmas, while I read articles on the Internet in the other room. I could tell from about ten minutes of hearing the film that it wasn't for me, but that it would be appealing to audiences for its tight-wire act and CGI wonder. The music was constantly crescendoing and then there would be worried muffles from Bullock's character that went the whole 90 minutes--eh, gad!

It also had a huge campaign with two huge stars and the perfect director to get you there.

Still not convinced? What made the most money this year? 

12 YEARS A SLAVE I actually saw in theaters. It was a good piece that was beautifully shot and well acted. It deserves to win, but it'll take second seat to the technological wonder that is the Oscars. But, who knows? The recent racial divides on Macklemore and Kendrick Lamar at the Grammy's do point a finger at the continued issues around race in America. Academy members might react to this and choose 12 YEARS, but I doubt it. The beckoning of "space" and "CGI" will be too much for audiences. Remember, films seem better when they have technological spectacle, and DO THE RIGHT THING lost to DRIVING MISS DAISY, so why would a real racial depiction of slavery do well? It's highly unlikely.

For people that actually suffered through AMERICAN HUSTLE -- one of the most mediocre films ever made, but with an incredible marketing campaign and slew of star power to help zombies overlook it -- you may find the film winning an Oscar. It is possible. If it does, then this would be the worst outcome of this year's Oscars. That's why it just might.

No one probably saw any of the other films nominated, but let's be honest, none of the others have the campaigns these three do to take home the gold. Let's also say it again: which film made the most money?


BEST PICTURE: GRAVITY

BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron or Steve McQueen?

Las Vegas odds:

Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity") 1/2
Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") 2/1


This is the same scenario as the Best Picture category. It'll most likely go to Cuaron for his technical prowess, but it really deserves to go to Steve McQueen or Martin Scorsese, who had the best films of this year. There could be an upset, but I doubt it.

BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron

I really have nothing to say about the rest of these acting awards, so let's just give it to the people who had the best campaigns, political correctness, and whose roles make Academy voters feel more at ease with the status quo.

I have also listed Las Vegas odds (in italics below), which believe that Chiwetel and Nyong'o will win, so be ready for some upsets here and potentially for Best Picture. We'll know how things are going if Nyong'o wins early in the night.

BEST ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey


Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave") 6/5
Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club") 7/5

BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchet
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared leto
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong'o or Jennifer Lawrence


Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle") 4/5
Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave") even
 
I predict that the next categories are for the folks that should have won in all other categories and make Academy members feel better about their previous choices being so vanilla and predictable.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: HER
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: 12 YEARS A SLAVE



I doubt many Academy members have even seen any of the films in the foreign category. There's too much to do. They just watch trailers and choose based on what they hear is the right choice. THE GREAT BEAUTY won the Golden Globe, so it'll get the most votes, but there will be others who are curious about THE HUNT, since it has the guy from the James Bond films. Why not, right? It really is a crap shoot. Let's go with THE GREAT BEAUTY to be super boring because that's what the Oscars are.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: THE GREAT BEAUTY


BEST DOCUMENTARY: THE ACT OF KILLING

 I've actually seen most of the documentaries this year. They were probably the best films of this year -- much better than AMERICAN SPAM. But the Academy will choose the film with the most heat behind it, which has been THE ACT OF KILLING.

The actual best documentary of this year was CUTIE AND THE BOXER.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: FROZEN

The animated feature category should go to the best film, which will always be a Miyazaki film, but the fact that the film deals with a WWII bomber has made it an unpopular vote, so the Oscar will most likely go to another Disney film  -- FROZEN. Why? Because that's what all your kids will watch because it has good songs and is what they're supposed to watch.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: GRAVITY
 
Um, GRAVITY, because it's about space and seems pretty is a good enough reason for it to win in all choices, but it'll probably be a little bit of the film's well-publicized technological efforts of how it took more than four years to figure out how to accomplish the digital magic tricks that make it a favorite for all statues in the technical categories.

BEST EDITING: GRAVITY
BEST SOUND MIXING: GRAVITY
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: GRAVITY
BEST SOUND EDITING: GRAVITY




BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: THE GREAT GATSBY 
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: AMERICAN HUSTLE

Usually production design and costume awards go to the period piece, futuristic film, or most lavish budget.

What is the period piece this year? Probably split the award with AMERICAN SPAM. Why? The wigs, right?

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: GRAVITY

The best score goes to the most memorable film, which is usually the one that had the greatest emotional impact, so it'll most likely be GRAVITY or 12 YEARS, right?

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: FROZEN

Song always goes to Disney, doesn't it?

BEST MAKEUP: DALLAS BUYER'S CLUB

Can you believe that Jackass will win an award? Maybe. I don't think so though. It would seem out of place.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT: GET A HORSE
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: THE LADY IN NUMBER 6
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: THE VOORMAN PROBLEM

So there you have it folks. This year's Oscars. The upsets that'll get people talking at the awards parties will be Dicaprio winning over McConoughey and one of two of the other awards going to an unexpected or deserved winner, such as HER or CUTIE AND THE BOXER.