September 2006 - petrostudio LLC
For those of you that know me well, you know that one of my favorite books ever written is Steven Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire.” Pressfield is most know for the book “The Legend of Bagger Vance” which was made into a crappy movie with Matt Damon and Will “I’ll Do Any Piece of Shit Movie for Money” Smith.
Gates of Fire is a phenomenal piece of historical fiction about the Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartan soldiers and their allies held off over a million Persian troops for 3 days in order to allow the remainder of Grece to mobilize for war. Though ultimately all killed and Greece overrun, the Hellenes eventually rallied and drove Xerxes out of Greece, effectively stopping the further advancement of the mighty Persian empire.
This is a true story.
Gates of Fire came out in August of 1999. Clooney’s company has the rights to make a movie, and I was convinced that I needed to write it. Needless to say, neither the movie nor my script has been made (though I do have a start) and I thought we might never see this story told.
Frank Miller published “300” in December of 1999, just 4 months later. Though not as historically accurate as Gates of Fire or, especially, Herodotus’ “Histories,” it tells the same, if not a similarly moving story of the same events.
And now, there is a movie.
The trailer was leaked on the internet recently, but it has since been taken down. Bastards should just release the real fucking thing already. If I’m curt with you, it’s because time is a factor. I think fast. I talk fast.
I wish the trailer was still up – the visuals are like nothing you have seen before – rich, colorful, sureal. Go read Gates of Fire. Then join me next year for this film.
By the way, nobody commented on my last post. I guess we have forgotten.
I don’t know where everyone of my friends and family were on September 11, 2001 (the day irony died… that’s ironic, Graydon, in hindsight). Over the past 5 years I have heard many stories, some sad, some glad, some moronically ignorant, some poignantly humorous. I’ve told people, even just this past weekend, the story that I know best. Mine.
It’s a good story. It’s not as tragic as others. It’s not as happy, either. But it’s mine, and I think that it’s good to keep telling it, for the simple fact that, by remembering that story, what happened that morning on individual levels, that we start to remember a little of what happened right afterwards – we cared about each other a bit more, for a bit of time.
And, even for a cynic like me, that’s a nice thing.
We’ve gotten so wrapped up over the past 5 years in forgetting how we got into this mess we are in now. We denied that it could happen to us, on our soil, we angered over it, we bargained over both sides of the issue, what to do next, and we even started, and are in the thick of, a sick depression over our loss. But we still haven’t accepted it.
Accepting loss and grief means coming to terms with it, not fighting it. And we are still fighting it: personally, professionally, politically and militarily. When will we accept it and move on?
So, to help, I share my story. And I encourage every one that reads this to share theirs, and have others come here and share theirs. I think you’ll see that it really helps us to accept things – shit happens sometimes. And shit will continue to happen. Anyone that thinks we can somehow rid the world of hate does not truly know how to love. Read your Goethe, for Christ’s sake. Or for ours.
I couldn’t find Sundi that day. As I walked to the PATH train it was, to use the cliché, really a gorgeous day. The building was on fire already – I didn’t see the impact. Some woman on the train was even complaining about the delay getting into the city. Her companion remarked, “Yeah, but think about the people in that plane.” When I got out of the station at 33rd, the second building was on fire. I walked to work on 33rd and 9th. The TV was on. Wild stories were everywhere.
Phones weren’t working. We walked to a pub on 9th and watched the first building fall. We left the pub after that, determined to go our separate ways and leave the city. I had no idea where Sundi was – she had taken the train through WTC that day, but much earlier, on her way to class. Not knowing what to do, how to reach anyone, I went to the only place I knew to go – my best friend Kevin’s apartment on 13th street.
He was there. We talked, tried to make sense of what was going on. I finally reached my mother on a pay phone. Little did we know our main cell receptors were in rubble. Not reaching Sundi, I did the only other thing I knew to do – go back to work.
She finally called around 4 o’clock or so, I think. Her boss at the ballet shop she worked at actually made her employees stay, like someone was going to go buy a fucking tutu on that day. We resolved to meet around 6:30 to head to the ferry, the only way to Jersey. We waited for about an hour and a half, and finally got on the boat. It’s funny, in a way, to remember the things you saw that you didn’t recall so vividly at the time. There were all kinds of people on the boat, all walks of life. Some people were still covered with soot and ash and, probably, in all sadness, people. There was quiet murmuring, an almost normal commute home.
Of course you could see the dust and smoke, but it was obscured by buildings. The ferry left the dock, and as soon as the smoke cloud came into full view, the boat went silent. Not quiet, but silent. You could hear the water lapping against the sides of the boat. Everyone turned to the southeast and watched. No words, nothing. Just stared, really. But we all knew what everyone was thinking – why? For what?
Here’s the point: for that one moment, that single moment, everyone on that boat, and I assume in many more places, forgot who they were. For that moment, we were all the same. And, in hindsight, we now know for what – so that we could have that moment. For a short time to forget everything unimportant and remember what was. Each other.
In that ball of fire and death, through what would eventually be the catalyst of war, was peace.
Remember “never forget?” Well, we’ve forgotten. We’ve gotten wrapped up in this shit that has nothing to do we us. We’re a country focused on the foreign while ignoring the fact that, domestically, we don’t really have a say over the foreign conflict. We need to start. We need to come together, like on that boat, and think the same thing.
Think about the power that all those people together would create. Can you imagine? Think about it this way – Let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning’s sample, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds. That’s a big Twinkie.
Never fucking forget. And share.
The cooler the work, the longer it takes. Generally. I’ve been working on a video project for a few weeks now that is kicking my ass. Basically, instead of finding and paying a HD videographer tens of thousands of dollars to shoot footage of a product, we decided to create a 3D model and light/animate it in 3D space. This way, we could do effects and camera passes to our hearts’ content.
Except that it needs to be produced in HD as a looping screensaver with music. Great project. Long time. And come to find out from the modeler, the final product will be over 4 million polygons. Do you have any idea how many polygons that is? Over 4 million! Do you have any idea what a polygon is? A closed plane figure having three or more (usually) straight sides! Christ Almighty!
What that equates to in plain English is that I’m going to be spending an awful lot of time waiting for rendering to occur. Rendering, again in plain English, is the processing of an image by the computer. This is done without human input, though generally as the result of it. Ever shot a Polaroid camera? I mean shot a picture, not actually shot the camera anywhere. That’s different. OK, so you know the time that it takes for the image to show up – you know, the time you hold the picture under your armpit? That’s rendering.
What’s another example. Oh, you know when you put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and start it up. OK, the time between you pressing “start” and the “beep” – that’s rendering. You are rendering the popcorn.
You know when you impregnate someone, and in 9 months (roughly) a baby pops out? That’s rendering. You have rendered a person.
OK – well your armpit, the microwave, the uterus and the computer are all rendering devices. And what to do whilst the rendering is occuring? Nothing. You wait. Therefore, by transitive theory, rendering = waiting. But it’s still technically working, because you can’t really do too much more whilst the rendering is taking place. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m writing this while rendering. But I couldn’t, say, play Halo and render at the same time. Computer won’t take it. It will just cry brown tears in the bed. And nobody wants that.
So I wait. I mean, you can speed it up. You can turn down the effects and therefore the realism and 3 hours can turn into 1, 15 minutes can turn into 5. But you have to wait 15 minutes for full potency. And you shouldn’t go in swimming after, for at least, what?
The pictures here below: my render to show the client camera passes and the like – took 1 minute to produce this one frame. And check the other image: it’s 2 boxes and a floor. That makes about 26 polygons total. I’m a dead man.