Yahoo! News – Blast, Mushroom Cloud Reported in N. Korea

The news is reporting that a large blast and mushroom cloud has been sighted over North Korea. Apparently the explosion was large enough to have been noticed by satellites. Speculation is that the Koreans may have been engaged in some kind of nuclear testing or that the explosion may have been accidental.

Scary stuff.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Resident Evil: ApocalypseWell, today’s weekend movie extravaganza was the long awaited (at least in the VandeWettering house) Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

For those of you who have been living in a hole for the last decade, the Resident Evil franchise began as a popular videogame series on the Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation. I must admit that I have spent a few dozen hours myself trying to shoot and evade zombies, so I was already a fan. This movie is the second installment of the burgeoning movie franchise, and pretty much takes up where the previous movie left off.

Alice (played by super model Milla Jovovich) returns in the state she ended the previous movie: wearing only a flimsy hospital gown and carrying a shotgun in the middle of Racoon City. The infamous T-Virus has escaped the Umbrella Corporation’s underground bioweapons lab, and zombies are walking the earth.

Cool.

This movie is pretty much a cliché, but it’s one that the videogames helped popularize and promote. We have the evil Umbrella Corporation, willing to test bioweapons on innocent civilians and ultimately to kill them. We have the former security officer for Umbrella who now is trying to take down the corporation. We have the scientist whose daughter is caught inside the perimeter of the infectious zone, who tries to make a bargain with a band of rag tag survivors to get them out. And we have zombies: lots of ’em, with lots of chomping of various minor characters.

Let’s face it, if you are going to see this movie, you know what to expect and what you want to see, and I suspect you’ll agree that this movie delivers. It isn’t destined to be the classic that Night of the Living Dead is, but it’s a good, solid, exciting and at times even scary story. The one major drawback is the cliffhanger ending, which no doubt sets up the already planned-for Resident Evil: Battle Beyond the Stars or whatever they are going to call the third installment.

I rank it a good 8/10. I had a great time, jumped in my seat on at least two occasions, and generally enjoyed the flesh-chomping action. If this is the genre that floats your boat, go see it. If you aren’t thrilled by zombie movies, don’t bother going, because I won’t be interested in hearing you complain about the lack of character development or emotional growth on the part of the main characters.

Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11I must admit, it snuck up on me a bit. Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the terrible events in New York, at the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania where nearly 3000 lost their lives.

On that morning, I was in my car driving my son and my wife to school and work respectively. As I always did, I turned on the radio to get the traffic news, and immediately found news that one tower of the World Trade Center had collapsed. I was dumbfounded, but still dropped my son off, and then went on to drop my wife at her place of work in downtown Oakland. When I had reached Pixar, the gate guard said that people could consider work optional, and could go home if they wished. I went in for just a brief time, checking the news with the few others who where there, but then got a call from my wife. Her building was close to the federal building downtown, and they were being evacuated. I decided to call it a day, and went to go pick her up. As I arrived, police were busy erecting barricades and closing the roads surrounding those buildings.

For the next several hours, I remember watching the second tower crash, the discussions of the possible death toll, and just feeling bludgeoned by the loss of life, especially among the brave fire and police crews who responded to the disaster.

About 2:00pm in the afternoon, I was overwhelmed, and turned the TV off for the rest of the day. I remember how quiet it seemed, and then realized there were no airplanes in the sky.

My continued sympathies go to anyone who lost someone close to you on that day.

That’s what I was doing that day. There are of course a huge number of websites describing the events from others perspectives. Many of the best ones are linked and archived at 911digitalarchive.org.