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Let Me Tell You About Homestuck

5 years.
7,000 pages.
13,000 panels.
700,000 words. [Approximately the length of the Bible.]
Over 3 hours of animation.
Over 23 hours of soundtrack.
15 separate games, in 3 unique styles.

PBS once called Homestuck the "Ulysses of the Internet". Its author, Andrew Hussie — who resembles Joyce in his impishness, stylistic maximalism, and fondness for disturbing smut — calls it "a story I've tried to make as much a pure expression of its medium as possible". It has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring proms and dominating Amazon makeup reviews. But most importantly, it's a rollicking good read, equal parts slapstick and epic, bildungsroman and cultural commentary.

What on earth about it makes its fans so overly zealous? And how the hell does one start the daunting process of reading Homestuck? If you're even the remotest bit curious about this Internet phenomenon, the following is a teensy-weensy introduction to just what makes Homestuck so terrific. [more inside]
posted by rorgy on Oct 16, 2014 - 231 comments

"That wasn't any act of God. That was an act of pure human fuckery."

Things That Don't Suck, Some Notes on The Stand
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.

I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.

[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 19, 2014 - 162 comments

story of your life

My Cousin is Not a Hero: "But it’s not fiction, it’s real life. It’s the night of his dad’s funeral and we’re standing there together, and neither of us is a hero. Neither of us is on an epic journey... Our plot points are weird ones, and our stories don’t add up to some amazing narrative of personal growth and enlightenment — but they do matter, because they’re ours." [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 1, 2014 - 16 comments

Math, myths, and Vikings: storytelling and social networks

"An unusual article recently appeared in the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association. It featured web-like diagrams of lines connecting nodes, a hallmark of research that analyzes networks. But each node, rather than being a plain dot, was the head of a burly, red-bearded Viking sporting a horned hat, his tresses blowing in the wind." [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer on Jul 18, 2014 - 11 comments

Down she, from the fort, came bravely like a lion

The Story of Gordafarid (dir. Hadi Afarideh, 2008, 34 mins.) is a brief, poignant documentary about Fatemeh Habibizad, a.k.a. Gordafarid, a woman in Iran performing as a solo narrator of Persian classics. Gordafarid is also an inspirational character from Ferdowsi's 10th Century epic, the Shahnameh. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on May 6, 2014 - 3 comments

"How can I stay silent, how can I be still!"

Lessons From A Demigod
The Epic of Gilgamesh has been read in the modern world for a little longer than a century, and, in that time, this oldest of stories has become a classic college text. In my own courses on ancient literature and mythology, it is the book I always begin with. But why should a tale whose origins stretch back more than four thousand years draw such attention in an age of genetic engineering and text messaging? The answer I have given to hundreds of students is that almost every joy and sorrow they will face in life was revealed in Gilgamesh millennia before they were born. Reading Gilgamesh will not only teach them to face the challenges that lie ahead, but also give them an appreciation for the idea that no matter how much our modern world might seem different from earlier times, the essence of the human experience remains the same.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 23, 2014 - 36 comments

Make checks payable to Potomac Computer Systems

Zack Hiwiller has the last ZZT disk.
posted by curious nu on Nov 20, 2013 - 25 comments

Epic Conway's Game of Life

Epic Conway's Game of Life. Sure, there's been lots of Conway's Life stuff on MeFi previously [1 2 3], but this squeezes a lot of awesome stuff into a short video.
posted by Wolfdog on Nov 5, 2013 - 27 comments

Science for the epic motherfreaking win

"I’m going to buy this sick t-shirt I found online that says I Fucking Love Science on it. I’m going to literally pay money for that shirt."
posted by escabeche on Oct 21, 2013 - 143 comments

Epic Chick Fight

Stunt women Jessie Graff and Tree O'Toole recreate an epic live-action version of Family Guy's original epic chicken fight. (SLYT)
posted by Room 641-A on Aug 16, 2013 - 18 comments

"That's when Han DROPS CHEWBACCA'S SEVERED HEAD onto the floor! Yes!"

Tasked with filibustering a town hall meeting in Parks and Recreation, Patton Oswalt improvised an eight minute monologue pitch for the next Star Wars movie -- which somehow grows to include the X-Men, the Avengers, the Greek pantheon, and Chewbacca getting a robot ("I'm thinking spider") body. (SLYT)
posted by finnb on Apr 17, 2013 - 114 comments

Hwæt!

In 1731, a fire broke out in Ashburnham House, where the greatest collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, the Cottonian Library, was then being stored. Frantically, the trustees raced into the burning library and hurled priceless and unique manuscripts out the windows in order to save them. One of these was the sole manuscript of Beowulf. Today, bearing the charred edges of its brush with extinction, it's been digitized by the British Library, along with a group of other treasures including Leonardo Da Vinci's Codex Arundel and the Harley Golden Gospels.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Feb 11, 2013 - 25 comments

Walking To Mordor And Back Again

For the release of the Hobbit, Lindsay Ellis of the Nostalgia Chick (previously) has decided to look back at all the LOTR films in order to analyze how they changed genre film-making, expected movie length, extended cuts, the problems of adaptation, and why Eowyn and Merry are made for each other. (Fellowship Of The Ring, Two Towers, Return Of The King Part 1, Part 2) Still need more? Then why not watch Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais of Rooster Teeth (previously) try to walk the 120+ mile journey across New Zealand from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata to the filming location of Mount Doom, Mount Ngauruhoe in A Simple Walk Into Mordor.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 1, 2013 - 29 comments

The Solid Time of Change

Yes's Close To The Edge (quite possibly, progressive rock’s defining masterwork) has turned 40. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Sep 23, 2012 - 103 comments

Supercut: Apocalypse

The world has ended many times - a supercut of apocalyptic visions.
posted by Happy Dave on Sep 7, 2012 - 55 comments

"A continuous slaughter which could be of no avail either to the French or the Russians."

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, in which Napoleon's armies met Russian troops 75 miles east of Moscow on 7 September 1812. The huge battle, involving quarter of a million troops, was the strongest stand the Imperial Russian Army made against Napoleon's forces, and it resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. Although the Russian army withdrew, the French tactical victory in the Battle of Borodino was a Pyrrhic one, and Napoleon ultimately left Russia in defeat. The battle was reenacted at Borodino last weekend, as is done annually. A cultural symbol of Russian national courage, the Battle of Borodino has been famously commemorated in Russian literature, music, art, and poetry. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 7, 2012 - 26 comments

My name is GRiZ

GRiZ - Mad Liberation. Take a 21 year old bedroom producer from Michigan, raise them on the the internet with a near complete access to the history of modern music with a focus on electronic/dance and apparently you get this incredibly humanistic and cross-cultural album that's both homage, monument and appropriation of hundreds of influences in modern music in an incredibly dubby dubstep framework. (Free album download here.)
posted by loquacious on Sep 5, 2012 - 67 comments

Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America"

Once Upon A Time In America [auto-play audio] is the last of a string of films about the past and future of a country [Sergio Leone] knew first and best from the B-movies and yellowing paperbacks America sent abroad. For this 1984 swan song, Leone broke a directing hiatus that stretched back a decade, and turned away from Westerns toward another quintessentially American genre. His fantasia of gangland themes and images barely works by the standards of a gangster film, but succeeds brilliantly by those of epic poetry. - Keith Phipps [all links may contain spoilers] [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 25, 2012 - 19 comments

'he watched bodies floating outside the city walls ... much as the deforested trees floated down from Lebanon.'

Ross Andersen interviews Robert Pogue Harrison in the LA Review of Books: Deforestation in a Civilized World: ' In my reading of it, the epic stands for the angst or dread we have within the walls of civilization, and the hero Gilgamesh embodies that angst in many ways. In fact, Gilgamesh's first antagonist is the forest; he sets out to slay the forest demon Humbaba, the poetic stand-in for the cedar forests of faraway lands.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 26, 2012 - 3 comments

One does not simply slink into Mordor

Epic - Slinky on a Treadmill
posted by davidjmcgee on May 23, 2012 - 63 comments

Imagine life without Instagram...

The most Epic Photo Ever Taken? Quora users start adding their faourite pictures. History, awesome, pain, anger, death, it's al here. And at least one surfer.
posted by ewan on Apr 17, 2012 - 70 comments

Kid Zoom: Home

'HOME' an exhibition by Ian 'Kid Zoom' Strange In October 2011, after three years living in New York, artist Ian Strange [Kid Zoom] returned to Australia to create a major new installation work housed in Cockatoo Island's prestigious Turbine Hall. The exhibition featured a full-scale reproduction of his childhood home and a film documenting the violent destruction of three Holden commodores. This video documents what resulted.
posted by Freen on Mar 22, 2012 - 15 comments

Janet Napolitano goes Blackalicious on the interwebs

Agriculture avalanche avian bacteria border botnet carbomb China drill drug drug war earthquake execution forest fire gang gas grid hack heroin hostage interstate Islamist Jihad Juarez keylogger kidnap La Familia looting malware marijuana meth lab nationalist nuclear outbreak Pakistan pandemic pipebomb pirates power lines radicals relief resistant Ricin riot San Deigo scammers screening symptoms Tamiflu terror U.S. Consulate violence virus warning weapons grade wildfire, and Yemen. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on Mar 4, 2012 - 48 comments

Sergei Bondarchuk's "War and Peace"

An ever increasing accumulation of film stills from Sergei Bondarchuk's 8-hour long epic film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 1, 2012 - 20 comments

Space Stallions!

Space Stallions! A 2012 bachelor film project from The Animation Workshop. More epic than epic. More 80s than the 80s ever were. (slyt)
posted by jazon on Feb 1, 2012 - 36 comments

Mordor’s going about it all wrong, incidentally. Harness all that geothermal energy, sell it to the humans, LIVE LIKE KINGS.

SF author and Mefi's Own Jscalzi was alone one night during a LOTR marathon and decided to live-tweet a running commentary.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 27, 2011 - 56 comments

John: Quickly retrieve arms from drawer.

On 11/11/11, Homestuck entered Act 6 (of 7). This follows an explosive 13-minute finale to Act 5, which brought down its host Newgrounds on the day of its unveiling and was released with a fantastic companion soundtrack. In the two and a half years since it was created, Homestuck has become a full-blown epic, approaching the length of War and Peace, but with hours of accompanying animation, several interactive games, a loop machine, and a baffling 19 soundtrack albums, ranging from VG-inspired soundtrack to jazzy mood music to solo piano to parody kids TV show soundtrack. It also has an obsession with Nic Cage and Betty Crocker, and comes with a metawebcomic called Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff which is in and of itself pure gold. Intimidated? You probably should be! But it's hilarious, epic, and surprisingly addictive, so if you've got nothing else on your plate, you can either start from the beginning, or, if it seems too daunting, you can learn... [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 17, 2011 - 66 comments

Department of Terror and Graft

"Without knowing what they ought to fear, US citizens might otherwise fail to support profitable national security initiatives." - Malcolm P. Stag III, Secretary of Fear [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 7, 2011 - 39 comments

Battle of the cameras

With digital cinema on the rise, and DSLR video shooting becoming increasingly popular for low-budget and independent film making, expectations were high for Canon's big announcement at Paramount Studios today. And Canon delivered, the C300 is a DSLR-like camera that uses Canon or PL mount lenses (two different models), with no autofocus, S35mm sensor size, full HD to a 50Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 stream, shipping in January 2012 for $20,000. They also announced a new range of high-resolution affordable zoom and prime lenses for cinema use, and, as an extra bonus, they announced they were developing a similar camera that could record 4k video for release at some time in the future. It all looked like a big win for Canon... But, a few hours later, the always controversial and disruptive Red Digital Cinema, makers of the ubiquitous Red One and the relatively new 5K, 120fps EPIC, announced the EPIC's little sister, based on the same sensor, the Scarlet, a camera that also uses Canon or PL mount lenses, with an interchangeable lens mount, autofocus on Canon lenses, S35mm sensor size, 4k video (with HDR option) and 5k stills to a 400Mbps 16-bit compressed raw stream, shipping December 1st for $9,750 for the body (under $14,000 for a full, ready to shoot kit with media, card reader and 5" touchscreen, minus the lenses).
posted by Joakim Ziegler on Nov 3, 2011 - 59 comments

"In other words, Judah Maccabee, his father, and his brothers, are like the heroes of every Mel Gibson movie."

Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas have announced their latest, Warner Bros.-backed epic: a film about 'legendary Jewish warrior' Judah Maccabee. American Jewish leaders are plotzing. Rumors about a Maccabee movie were raised in 2004, but nothing ever came of them. Back then, at Christopher Hitchens' direction, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic met with Gibson to (sorta, but not really) talk him out of it. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 9, 2011 - 134 comments

You say smile I say cheese

A year after spending some time in Edinburgh, and subsequently finding his way home across Scotland, Danny MacAskill unexpectedly finds himself in an abandoned ironworks. A zen-like state of bicycling ensues. [via kottke]
posted by schmod on Aug 16, 2011 - 59 comments

RADDEST!

Epic War! [SLYT]
posted by Fizz on Jul 13, 2011 - 15 comments

Music like shattered glass

Kashiwa Daisuke is a japanese post-rock musician, (formerly in Yodaka) who specializes in gorgeous, epic, glitchy piano pieces that constantly seem on the verge of falling apart... Stella, April 02, Write Once, Run Melos are my favorites.
posted by empath on Jun 2, 2011 - 39 comments

Nikos Kazantzakis

They think of me as a scholar, an intellectual, a pen-pusher. And I am none of them. When I write, my fingers get covered not in ink but in blood. I think I am nothing more than this: an undaunted soul. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 24, 2010 - 9 comments

Epic Pop

Justin Bieber's 'U Smile', played 800 time slower. Sounds like Sigur Ros doing Vangelis covers in a cathedral being washed away by the sea. The original song.
posted by Happy Dave on Aug 17, 2010 - 177 comments

Epic Coaster

Epic Coaster. Friday Flash Fun addictive one-button game. Great sound effects, though.
posted by yhbc on Aug 6, 2010 - 24 comments

Copenhagen Spoof Shames Canada

During the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, The Yes Men put out a statement in which they purported to be the Canadian environment minister, Jim Prentice. The statement pledged to cut carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The statement was followed by a response from the Ugandan delegation, praising the statement, that was also faked. A fake statement was issued on behalf of Environment Canada celebrating the fake Ugandan statement. Another fake statement was then put out blasting the falsehoods of the original fake statement. A fake story in a European edition of the Wall Street Journal was also posted online. Jim Prentice (Canada's Environment Minister) described the hoax as "undesirable". [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Dec 15, 2009 - 90 comments

Oh dear god, the drill actually spins

Ever wanted to make a 100% accurate Big Daddy costume? Here's how. [more inside]
posted by permafrost on Sep 10, 2009 - 42 comments

These marks in printer's ink

The Táin lithographs In 1967 Louis le Brocquy was commissioned to illustrate Thomas Kinsella's translation of the great Irish prose epic the Táin Bó Cuailnge. The resulting collaborative volume is widely acknowledged as the great Irish Livre d'Artiste of the twentieth century; Le Brocquy's "brush drawings merged seamlessly with the text; stark, fluent images, they expressed with great economy of means an epic breadth, evoking the movement of vast masses of people. Individual participants in the drama were also pulled into close focus."
posted by Abiezer on Jun 6, 2009 - 19 comments

Marguerite Young

Marguerite Young - whom Kurt Vonnegut called "unquestionably a genius" - first achieved success with a study of the utopian commune at New Harmony, Indiana called Angel in the Forest. She then spent 18 years writing Miss Macintosh, My Darling - a 1,198 page novel that William Goyen praised in The New York Times Book Review as "a masterwork". She spent the last 30 years of her life writing an unfinished biography of Eugene V. Debs that was posthumously published, in heavily edited form, as Harp Song for a Radical. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on May 22, 2009 - 4 comments

Pandaemonium

Milton turns 400 today. The Morgan Library celebrates by exhibiting the last surviving pages of Paradise Lost manuscript. Just you wait for the movie! [more inside]
posted by spamguy on Dec 9, 2008 - 23 comments

Love has Enemies

Chris Dane Owens' epic medieval bluescreen journey to poprock superstardom. Video directed by academy award winning Robert Short. [more inside]
posted by Count on Dec 5, 2008 - 11 comments

Prog Rock Special - part 1

It’s been a long, weird and expensive week all over. Why not stay in tonight and watch guys (mostly) with long hair playing strange and difficult music from a long lost decade? [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Oct 3, 2008 - 47 comments

Slow Motion Punches to The Face

Slow Motion Punches to The Face
posted by phrontist on May 21, 2008 - 50 comments

God is in the details

Audience of One. Documenting one man's God-given mission to create the ultimate sci-fi religious epic, Gravity: The Shadow Of Joseph.
posted by veedubya on Apr 7, 2008 - 16 comments

Super Epic Video Game News

Super Epic Video Game News. Several Channel 101 alumni are bringing their own distinctive style to game and tech journalism. Perfect for those who love video games, but hate the people that play them. The YouTube comments are an even split between impotent rage and people who get the joke. [more inside]
posted by BartFargo on Apr 3, 2008 - 14 comments

Woe is me, my life hard-fated!

Anglo-Finnish artist Sanna Annukka's vibrant, flat design work (especially her Icons series) got me curious about her, well, iconography.

She mentioned The Kalevala previously, the Finnish national epic poem (in Finnish here), a tale of creation and heroism that arguably spurred the Finns to independence from the Russians.

Like so much else epic and awesome, it spawned a '70s prog band, with three albums.
posted by klangklangston on Feb 25, 2008 - 23 comments

Immortal Illustrated Stories

Amar Chitra Katha were the comics of my youth. Illustrated painstakingly with loving details, the immortal epics and stories of India going back over 5000 years were crystallized in these thin graphic novels. I will always remember Mirabai, for the romance between her and the god of love and war, Krishna. And Chanakya, aka Kautilya, author of the Arthashastra but better known to me for his Nitishastra - niti means political ethics. But other nitishastras include the famous Panchantra [pdf], the equivalent of Aesop's Fables for India, a textbook of 'niti' or the wise conduct of life.
posted by infini on Nov 5, 2006 - 20 comments

Romanes Eunt Domus.

After the Romans left Britain was divided into a number of Celtic kingdoms that fought with each other and, increasingly, with the Germanic invaders we know as "Anglo-Saxons." The most famous alleged defender of Celtic Britain, of course, is King Arthur, but he's more myth than history. What catches my imagination is The Gododdin (Welsh original, by Aneurin), an epic lament for the band of men who gathered at Eiddyn (Edinburgh, main town of Gododdin) around the year 600 and headed south for a last-ditch battle against the Saxons at Catraeth (probably Catterick in northern Yorkshire), where they were wiped out. One contingent was from Elmet (Elfed in the poem), a kingdom that had been holding the line against the invaders in what's now Yorkshire; once Elmet was conquered, there was no stopping them. And all of this history was basic to the poetry of David Jones, one of the best unknown poets of the previous century, and important to one of the best known, Ted Hughes (book with photos). "Men went to Catraeth, familiar with laughter. The old, the young, the strong, the weak."
posted by languagehat on Aug 31, 2006 - 31 comments

Seamus Heaney and the Soul of Antigone

Love that can't be withstood,
Love that scatters fortunes,
Love like a green fern shading
The cheek of a sleeping girl.
Seamus Heaney's search for the soul of Antigone.
(more inside, with Christopher Logue)
posted by matteo on Nov 4, 2005 - 15 comments

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