Random Notes 4-1-09

-It moments like this, I thank the Giant Spaghetti Monster that I’m a Mac daddy!

The Conficker worm is scheduled to activate on April 1, and the unanswered question is: Will it prove to be the world’s biggest April Fool’s joke or is it the information age equivalent of Herman Kahn’s legendary 1962 treatise about nuclear war, “Thinking About the Unthinkable”?

Conficker is a program that is spread by exploiting several weaknesses in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Various versions of the software have spread widely around the globe since October, mostly outside the United States because there are more computers overseas running unpatched, pirated Windows. (The program does not infect Macintosh or Linux-based computers.)


Given the sophisticated nature of the worm, the question remains: What is the purpose of Conficker, which could possibly become the world’s most powerful parallel computer on April 1? That is when the worm will generate 50,000 domain names and systematically try to communicate with each one. The authors then only need to register one of the domain names in order to take control of the millions of zombie computers that have been created. Speculation about Conficker’s purpose ranges from the benign — an April Fool’s Day prank — to far darker notions. One likely possibility is that the program will be used in the “rent-a-computer-crook” business, something that has been tried previously by the computer underground. Just like Amazon.com offers computing time on its network for rent, the Conficker team might rent access to its “network” for nefarious purposes like spamming.

Again, thank the GSM I switched. But let’s see how long my smugness lasts when these fuckers start targeting Macs.

-Via Jeffrey Wells’ “Hollywood Elsewhere” comes word that former United Artists Executive turned author Steven Bach has passed on from cancer.

At United Artists, where he became senior vice president in charge of worldwide production in 1978, Mr. Bach had the misfortune to be associated with one of the greatest cinematic disasters in Hollywood history, the 1980 film “Heaven’s Gate,” a sprawling historical drama about range wars in Wyoming in the 1890s. Under the direction of Michael Cimino, whose film “The Deer Hunter” had recently won five Academy Awards, the film grew to enormous length — the first version screened in New York ran three and a half hours — and ended up costing $36 million, five times the budget of an average studio film at the time.


In the aftermath Mr. Bach was fired. He turned around and documented his experience in “Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of ‘Heaven’s Gate’ ” (1985), regarded as a classic insider account of Hollywood.

“It is the best book ever written about the making of a movie,” the film critic David Thomson said. “It gives you an understanding of the battles, the egos, and how a film like that could come about. It’s all the more remarkable because he’s one of the stooges in the story: he let it happen, and he admits that.”

I remember seeing “Heaven’s Gate” years ago on VHS (Yes, I am that old. Let’s move on.) and I clearly remember it boring my ass off. And I was not the sort of teenager who was bored by arty movies. Hell, it was the same year I fell in love with Bergman and “The Seventh Seal”. But this, was long and very hazy looking. Although, I’m willing to chalk that up to the Home Video tech at the time. But as bored as I was by “Heaven’s Gate”, I loved “Final Cut” which is a hell of a good read. And was also turned into a documentary that available on YouTube. As a matter of fact…

It’s a good companion piece to the book but by dint of it’s length, doesn’t even scratch the surface. The book is not just about the slow motion train wreck that was the HG shoot. It’s also about the history and last days of the only movie studio (Before Dreamworks.) ever created by filmmakers. There are some wonderful vignettes in the book. The attempts by UA to keep Woody Allen after members of the previous regime left to form Orion Pictures. Francis Coppola’s showing of a rough version of “Apocalypse Now” followed by a wild party at a greek restaurant. A meeting with Scorsese and DeNiro about “Raging Bull” that turned tense when an executive calls Jake LaMotta “A cockroach”. And at the center, there’s this great story about how Michael Cimino single handed managed to both take down a studio and close the book on director driven film making of the seventies.
There’s a wealth of great stories in this thing. If HBO ever asked me to do an eight hour mini-series about any subject of my choosing, this book would go on the top of my pile for consideration.
Pass on, Mr Bach. Pass on lightly.

-Saw this on Maddow tonight and I must share.

I know I always say “Respect the hotness” but geez!

-Holy shit, kiddies. Sam Raimi is back and it looks like he’s determined to turn your bowels into a crap free zone.


I actually tweeted Drew McWeeney after he posted about seeing the flick at SWSX and he said it was “Pure Pleasure”. Which warms the cockles of my heart. As much as I dig the Spider man movies (Although, the third one…not so much.) the idea of Raimi getting old school spooky on us makes me all kinds of unmanely giddy.

More later.


About theragingcelt

Actor/Writer/Homegrown Pundit/Cranky Progressive/Sometimes Filmmaker. talesofthegeeknation.com
This entry was posted in Apple Tech, Michael Cimino, Sam Raimi, seventies filmmaking, The Geekness, The Hotness. Bookmark the permalink.

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