Fri, 28 December 2012
The Human Echoes Podcast wraps up 2012 with a look at at Nazi zombie flick, Dead Snow. Then the guys talk about how you get what you don't pay for when it comes to anti-virus software, and Tony discusses rewriting his brain's software through the power of hobbits. (Or was it habit? No, I'm pretty sure it was hobbits. Apparently those guys can to pretty much anything if you can work them loose from their godless nihilism carefree pastoral lifestyle.)
Link Dump Waste Management Facility:
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (Seriously, that's the guys name. Duhigg. Checked it twice. What the heck kind of name is Duhigg?)
Next week we'll be taking a look at Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Don't miss it!
Fri, 21 December 2012
On this episode of the Human Echoes Podcast the Christmas cheer continues as the guys delve into the book The Fat Man: a Tale of North Pole Noir by Ken Harmon. Also, Albert reads a horror themed Christmas short story, and Tony admits he's never seen It's a Wonderful Life.
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The Greatest Gift by Phillip Van Doren Stern (The short story that inspired It's a Wonderful Life. Also possibly an early appearance of The Doctor. Think about it: strange man, shows up exactly when he's needed, starts mucking about with timelines just to prove a point? Makes way more sense than "an angel did it" in my not-so-humble opinion.)
Next week follow along as we finish out the year with Nazi zombie movie Dead Snow. (Nazi zombies have their own genre now. Whodathunkit?)
Fri, 21 December 2012
In the first edition of our Short Echoes series, Albert gives us a story about the Krumpus. Listen to the audio, and the text is below.
Of Teeth and Claus
by Albert Berg
The fat man stepped quietly into the room, nearly gagging on the overpowering stench of sulfur that hung in the air. An iron-posted bed with yellowing sheets and a sagging mattress sat against the far wall, and under the sheets lay a contorted figure, still as stone, the rasping of breath the only testament to the fact that it was alive. The fat man sank into a wooden chair that sat near the bed with a sigh, and dropped the bag he carried with a thump. Strange that it seemed so heavy now when it was nearly empty, now when there was only one delivery left to make. For a long time the fat man sat in silence. It was only after several minutes had passed and he was considering getting up to go that the thing in the bed finally spoke. "You don't have to keep coming here," it said in a low growl of a voice that sounded like nothing so much as the voice of some demoniac hound. "It seems only right," the fat man replied. "We rode together all those years. Some might say that you're a part of what I am." "Was," growled the thing in the bed. "I was a part of you. And you me. All that's past now." "Times have changed." "Yes, yes they have. But that's not the problem. The problem is that people think they've changed." "Perhaps they have." "NO!" The word was a snarl. "They're the same. Underneath they're the same as they've always been. They still need me just as much as they need you." The thing under the sheets ended the sentence with a long fit of hacking wheezing coughs that tapered off into a gasp for air. "I didn't come here to argue." "No, of course now. Not you. Not Mr. Nice. You wouldn't let the stench of conflict foul your eternal air of joviality." "It doesn't matter what I think anyway. It's not my doing. It was not I who brought you to this place." The thing in the bed did not speak for a long time, and when it did it's voice was gentler, the growl offset by a tone of tenderness. "I do not blame you old friend. We are their servants. We do what we were created to do. And when they have no more need of us... But therein lies the tragedy. Because they do have a need of us. Of both of us." "I do the best I can." "I'm sure. With your lumps of coal? And how has that worked out?" The fat man coughed and did not answer. "I see. So you've abandoned even the pretext of punishment." "It isn't me. I didn't ask for any of this." "It's killing them. Or it's going to." "That remains to be seen." "Yes. And you will remain to see it. Because it will come back to haunt them. They're trying to enjoy light without darkness, pleasure without pain, joy without fear. But they're living a fantasy. Because life doesn't work that way. Sooner or later, life has teeth." The thing in the bed turned then, drawing back the covers with one gnarled hand to reveal a hideous face, pocked and pitted with sores, some oozing yellow-green puss. One horn sprouted crookedly from a grey skinned head, while a festering bleeding stump marked the spot where it's twin once stood. In place of a nose there was a rotting hole in the center of the creature's face, and beneath it withered lips parted to reveal two rows of of teeth, blackened and rotting with age, but still razor-sharp and deadly. But worst of all were the eyes, not because they were monstrous, but because they were human, filled with bitterness and loss. The fat man winced, but forced himself not to look away. "Some of them still remember you," he said. "They keep your name alive." The thing in the bed waved its hand dismissively. "Hipsters. They don't mean it. There is no fear in their hearts. And even they do not speak of me as I was: ripping claws, piercing teeth, a howl that could curdle the blood of an ox. I'm nothing more than an amusement to them. They do not believe. They do not fear. Only children have the capacity for that kind of pure faith." "Is the fear so necessary? Is the form not enough?" "The fear is everything. The fear of punishment has power that the promise of reward can never hope to match. You have been there. You know their hearts. You see what they do. Tell me I am wrong. Tell me the hearts of children no longer give place to the seed of wickedness as they once did. Tell me that has changed, and...and I can pass on happily from this world." The fat man slowly shook his head. "They are as they always were. Some are still good. But others... The worst of it is that their wickedness is excused, explained away by a people unwilling to see the truth. They have blinded themselves. They are like lepers who have put out their own eyes and convinced themselves that they have been healed because they can no longer see their sores. And it seems the more they convince themselves of their own goodness the worse they become. If they were punished as they once were, you my friend would feast for a year of Christmases." The thing in the bed ran a forked tongue over its shriveled lips. "Oh to be out there again. To hunt as we once did. Do you remember the lad from Bavaria? Round about 1593 if memory serves." "He had dropped his baby sister into a well," the fat man said. "He laughed about it. And no one knew." "No one but us." "He screamed for such a long time." "Not nearly long enough. But when it was over I feasted on his heart and sucked the sweet marrow from the hollows of his bones. Tell me you regret that. Tell me you would take if back if you could." The fat man opened his mouth as if to reply, but before he could speak the bag on the floor shifted slightly and a moan escaped from within. The thing in the bed leaned slowly forward, a grin spreading across its face, pointed ears pricking up at the sound. "Oh, Claus, you really shouldn't have." The fat man stood and tipped the bag forward, spilling his final gift out onto the floor. The child stared up at him with wild uncomprehending eyes, but when his gaze lighted on the Krampus he screamed into the gag wedged in his mouth and began to fight against his bonds. The Krampus leaped down from the bed and looked into the child's eyes with terrible fascination. "I know what you did," he said. "I can smell it. And because you showed no mercy, none will be shown to you. Tonight you're going to learn what really happens to naughty children." The fat man stooped to gather his finally empty bag and trudged wearily from the room. He shut the door against the screams, and took the elevator to the roof.
Direct download: HEP_-_Short_Echoes_1_-_Of_Teeth_and_Claus_by_Albert_Berg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09am EST
Fri, 14 December 2012
The guys journey to Discworld for this edition of the Human Echoes Podcast and unwrap the gift that is Hogfather. Along the way they discuss the strengths of the various mobile operating systems and again highlight how Colorado is superior to Florida in pretty much every way imaginable.
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Next week we'll be discussing The Fat Man by Ken Harmon. It is a book with words. Also elves that solve mysteries, sentient toys, carnivorous mistletoe and...look just tune in next week okay?
Direct download: HEP_-_14_-_Death_Takes_a_Totally_Inappropriate_Holiday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45am EST
Fri, 7 December 2012
This week the Al and Tony ride shotgun with some Norwegian rednecks in their review of the improbably delicious Christmas flick Rare Exports. Later the guys solve all some none of the problems with college football, and get brutally honest about bad writing and trunk novels. Also, Albert has apparently not taken enough internet abuse about his taste in movies, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
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Rare Exports on Netflix
Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
The Fat Man by Ken Harmon (also available as an audiobook from our fine sponsors at Audible.)
Next week we'll be taking a look at Sky One's adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather (in which the Grim Reaper is compelled to step into the role of Santa). Don't miss it!
If you feel that somehow our egos aren't over-inflated enough, you can follow us on Twitter @tsouthcotte and @Albert_Berg, or you can subscribe to the podcast's twitter feed at @HEPodcast. Our blogs are also available to the right of this message on the sidebar.
Fri, 30 November 2012
This week Tony and Al drink from the suspiciously hydrodynamic goat skull that is Ti West's House of the Devil. Tony tells the story of the demonic bird-deity that lives in his chimney and is likely to kill any day now, just you wait and see. And later the guys discuss old-school gaming, authorial wagon ruts, Christmas music and the bitter-sweet tug of nostalgia.
Don't miss the podcast that's filled with action*, drama*, and two guys talking about stuff!
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House of the Devil (on Netflix)
Anchorhead (that interactive fiction game Albert mentioned he was really getting into.)
The Raw Shark Texts by Stephen Hall
Next week we're kicking off December with a feel-good Christmas flick about how Santa Claus used to be some kind of demon-monster thing. Check out Rare Exports on Netflix.
Thu, 22 November 2012
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles Review - HEP - 11 - Arnold Toynbee is Alive and Well on Jupiter
This week, Tony and Al philosophize about the fountain of youth as they unpack the documentary Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles; then Al talks about why it wasn't worth it to go and see Skyfall while beleaguered by mononucleosis. Also, the guys reveal that the thing they're really thankful for is not having to experience the Russian front of World War II.
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Blindsight by Peter Watts (a free download!)
Next week, we'll be discussing House of the Devil.
(If you get the reference made in the title of this podcast you are one of the awesome).
Direct download: HEP_-_11_-_Arnold_Toynbee_is_Alive_and_Well_on_Jupiter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18pm EST
Fri, 16 November 2012
This week Al and Tony munch on the sweet sweet eye candy that is The Fall with a completely unnecessary side course of post-presidential election commentary. Then the guys delve into the mysteries of nostalgia, and wonder which of the movies of our era will endure, and which will have our children scratching their heads asking themselves, "They thought this was good?" All this, PLUS, musings on the conceptual nature of reality and how stories are the fundamental building blocks that make up our world.
Somewhat Related Links:
Completely Unrelated Links:
Also, check out next week's movie before we talk about it. Watch Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles and help spread the message of alien zombies from Jupiter. Or something.
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Fri, 9 November 2012
Self sacrifice may be noble, but so is knowing what you are getting out of the deal. This week, we review the horror flick Absentia, which is available on Netflix. It's a pretty damn grim movie, so the weak of heart should beware.
After that, Al and Tony drop into the distant past and talk about historical arson. We learn why you never kill one of Ghengis Khan's messengers, and what Julius Ceasar used to conquer the known world and finish off the waning republic.
Fri, 2 November 2012
This week, Tony and Al dig into The Innkeepers, a character-driven scare-filled horror film with deep echoes of missed connections and unrequited love. Then, the guys geek out about some of their favourite books, from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to the oeuvre of Chuck Wendig with a minor detour through the world of Harry Potter. Finally Al tries to explain why he enjoyed The Lair of White Worm more than Dracula, and wonders which of the books of our day will be best remembered by history.
A few links:
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