Soylent Green is… Healthy?

In the iconic 1973 sci-fi movie Soylent Green starring Charlton Heston, the poor (the 99%) live off of this cheap food stuff called “Soylent.” Made from plankton, soylent comes in several varieties: red, yellow, and the titular green. And if you ever want to taste it in real life, here’s your chance:


No, seriously, Soylent is a real product.

If you haven’t seen Soylent Green by now starring Charlton Heston, you should at least know the most brain-bashingly famous line/spoiler that this film gifted to pop culture. If you don’t, that’s too bad and I think we’ve passed the spoiler safety deadline.

Soylent Green is people.

So I reiterate: Soylent is a real product. If this doesn’t give you pause and make you screw your face up a little, you’re a sick bastard. Either that or you’ve been on the Internet too long and nothing fazes you anymore. I’ll just remember not to invite you to dinner parties, Dr. Lecter.

When I first saw the video above, I had no suspicions that the “ad” was referring to a real product until I looked down in their description, which provided the link to the Soylent website. And even then, I was skeptical. It’s so easy to set up a legitimate-looking website these days and even this site gives up jokey vibes – but maybe that’s because I have been jaded by the interwebs. But after doing a little research, I can assure you that it is an actual product, something that will be made available for human consumption in 2014.

According to the “Soylent” Wikipedia article, the creator named it after the soylent food from the novel Make Room! Make Room!… which is what the movie Soylent Green was loosely based on. To be fair, Make Room! Make Room! did not have the twist of soylent being made of people. That was purely the movie. However, the novel and movie areinterlocked in history now and the movie is far more famous.

You cannot tell me the people behind this product did not think of the connection between the name of their product and the cannibal’s delight “soylent green.” That would be stupid to think that those people are so stupid. The world is capable of some pretty stupid stuff, but these people made a very conscious decision to name their nutritional paste “Soylent.” So why knowingly name your supposedly nutritional pasty stuff “Soylent?” Well, for one, it certainly has piqued my interest and was impetus enough for me to scribble away a little blog post about it. I won’t buy it or eat it. Well, if an acquaintance of mine ever got some, I wouldn’t be opposed to giving it a taste.

I mean, it wouldn’t actually be made of people… would it?

[And actually, it seems the creator himself tried it in the initial stages and experienced some noticeable side effects. Huh.]

Soylent, the food of the future for those of us too lazy to cook or eat off a plate. Who needs flavor when you’ve got more time to do all the other things you need to do like watching cat videos and reading up on the Kardashians? Actually there’s a whole demographic they should hand this out to: college students.

What do you think of the idea of Soylent? Would you eat it? What fictional futuristic product would you like to see made into reality? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

For more on Soylent, read on:

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The Call: What to Do When You Get Caught by a Mentally Unstable Dude

This isn’t so much a movie review as it is a hypothetical thought pot. In any case, spoilers may abound. Just a head’s up.

I just recently saw the movie The Call to take a break from the stress of finals and it surprisingly didn’t suck (I mean the movie, not finals. Finals just suck period.) It’s no Silence of the Lambs or Seven in the psychological depth and storytelling, but it was still surprisingly intense. Perhaps it was the setting of being in a largely empty movie theater in front of a 20′ by 30′ screen with chesticle-shaking surround sound – maybe that contributed to a lot of it. I’m sure some impact would be lost on a smaller screen with a lesser quality speaker system because a lot of this movie relies on sound; it’s called The Call. 

The Call Movie Poster

The movie revolves around a 911 emergency call center in California (don’t remember which city). The crying, breathing, emotion and panic are of the 911 caller are mostly captured through voice alone – through the speaker of a cell phone into the 911 operator’s ear. It’s pretty intense, if only in a cheap thrills kind of way. And the ending (semi-spoiler) is kind of like the ending of Saw. If you see this movie and have seen Saw, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen either, don’t worry – everyone gets to keep their limbs.

In summation about the movie itself, it surprisingly didn’t suck, so I’d say go see it if you like 90 minutes of basic emotional intensity. And Halle Berry’s pretty good in this. Her performance is very emotional, but not too overwrought and helps you really appreciate the stressful work of a 911 operator.

And now that we’ve established that I’m no Roger Ebert, here’s what really got me thinking:

What would you do?

Watching movies that involve kidnapping or breaking and entering always make me wonder: What would I do? It’s easy to yell at a supposedly vapid character in a movie not to check out the strange noise upstairs, but that’s because we’re the audience. With the help of some dramatic, crescendoing violin strings, we know the character ain’t going to find something pleasant on the other side of that door. It’s Hitchcockian. It’s dramatic irony. It’s suspense. We feel somewhat superior to the character because we can see what they cannot, even though we know we have an unfair advantage of being able to see everything the director wants us to see, while the character only sees as far as what the director tells them to see (which isn’t much, if you’ve seen enough B-grade horror flicks).

In The Call, Abigail Breslin’s character – and wow, Breslin ain’t no Little Miss Sunshine anymore! – is kidnapped by a guy with a very sad obsession over his once-beautiful sister, who wasted away from cancer. She’s grabbed, chloroformed, and thrown into a truck. When she wakes up, she dials 911 and then Halle Berry gets involved and does her thing. Through out the movie, situations kept coming up that brought back the thought “What would I do?” After the fact, you can say she could’ve elbowed the side of his head, kicked and screamed a little more, should’ve seen the guy’s actions coming from a mile away. There were so many instances in which she could have gotten away from the bastard.

But she is in the moment. She’s there. We are not. As much as we can try to sympathize and step into her shoes, we simply cannot. We’re sitting in our cushy seats, while the terribly unexpected happens to her. We’ve been expecting it ever since the trailers came out.   So while I’d like to say that I could keep a clear enough head to act rationally, to use my surroundings to maximum utility, and kill the bastard when I get the chance instead of tapping him on the head and trying to run away, I doubt that it would work out that way. Indeed, characters often do frustratingly irrational things just for the sake of advancing the plot, but sometimes those frustratingly irrational things are the reality. We aren’t perfectly tuned and calculated machines. We can’t see and know all. We are human. We can learn and practice all we can, but until the time comes when we actually need to act, how reliable are we really? Fight? Flight? Or open the door with that ominous music playing in the background?

On a semi-side note: watching The Call (and The Strangersmakes me want to take self-defense lessons.

Seen The Call? What are your thoughts on movies like it? God forbid you ever do, how do you think you’d fare in a life-threatening situation?

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15 Things I Learned From Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

When life gets you down, watch Monty Python. Seriously, no one is above watching four hours of Monty Python clips on YouTube.

The other evening/early-early-morning, while brainlessly browsing the interwebs, I had a sudden maddening realization that I had never watched Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. I’m no Monty Python superfan, by any means. Sure, I quote the lines here and there (“A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat”) and hum the tunes to myself (“I’m a lumberjack and that’s okay…”) and maybe act out a bit (“NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISTION!”) on occasion. But I’m not obsessed. Really truly.

Anywho, I’ve seen Holy Grail and Life of Brian, but I had never gotten around to watching The Meaning of Life. This last movie of the troupe was definitely darker, grosser, and – ooh la la – nuder than their previous works. Coming out almost 10 years after Monty Python’s Flying Circus had ended, the guys still had their ridiculous, yet very self-aware brand of humor well in tact. However, this isn’t a review of the film; it’s simply an overview of what I took away from this engrossing piece of japing cinema. Here are 20 things I learned from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life:

1. Pirates are more noble than large corporations.

2. Not wasting sperm is difficult. It’s not like you could just get a vasectomy, you know?

3. Autumn is Nature committing suicide.

4. The Grim Reaper is no fun at dinner parties.

5. Graham Chapman was hella’ sexy in surrealist drag.

6. Read the fine print when applying to be an organ donor.

7. If you want to know what the afterlife looks like, book a stay at a corny burlesque resort during Christmas break.

8. The best way to die involves lots of naked women (who wear proper protection in all the right places).

9. Sex Ed is actually really boring (but better than playing the Masters in rugby).

10. There are tigers in Africa.

11. Always be nice to the maitre d’, especially if you’re a repulsive, gluttonous balloon of an individual.

12. We’re 30,000 lightyears from galactic central point and we go ’round it every 200 million years [Aside: Fact check shows this actually approximately true].

13. Knowing that our galaxy is only one of millions of billions in an expanding universe makes me feel insignificant. Might as well just give myself up.

14. Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

15. Always look on the bright side of life. [Shhhh… Monty Python is all one big comedy sketch anyway…]

And there you have it, the main lessons from The Meaning of Life. I’ve been so thorough you don’t even have to watch the movie now. (Except for the fact that Monty Python is the meaning of life – so watch it. Now. It’s on Netflix.)

Let me leave you with one of my favorite surrealist scenes from the movie [Warning: Do not watch while on LSD]:

What do you think of Monty Python? What’s your favorite movie/sketch/member? Any lessons I forgot? Leave them in the comments below!

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Going to the Movies Solo (No, I’m Not a Loner)

Going to the movies is a social activity – at least, that’s what I’ve always thought and practiced. Whenever I see a movie, I always have at least one other human being with me, be it mother, father, sister, friend, friend of a friend, or friend of a friend of a brother of a friend. That’s what has felt natural, enjoying a silver screen experience with someone else. The more the merrier.

But not today.

Today, I broke my solo-moviegoer virginity and saw Django Unchained. By myself.

Now, before you roll your eyes, purse your lips, and exit this perceived inanity, humor me. It does sound kind of stupid because plenty of people go to see movies by themselves. It’s a normal activity. (That sentence reminded me of Paranormal Activity and its sequels upon sequels. They create a vacuum, but I digress). However, part of me has always been afraid of it – afraid of being alone. “Autophobic” as the intellectual hoity-toitees call it. It’s like that sinking feeling of sitting alone at the lunch table in high school. You can feel the judgment and ridicule from your ever so popular peers boring holes into your already colander-like self-esteem. It’s funny, though, because I know I have a double standard about this. When I see people by themselves in a theater, I don’t find myself pitying them by any means. Why should I? If it looks like a loner, sits like a loner, chews popcorn like a loner…

Samuel Jackson as Stephen in the movie Django Unchained

The look of judgment. And badassery.

Maybe they aren’t loners.

I’m not a particularly extroverted, outgoing kind of gal, but I’m no humanity-hating hermit either. I enjoy spending time with friends, but sometimes, I haz need for “me time.” I’m not the only person on the planet with this kind of temperament. So it is a normal activity – it is self-gratifying. Even though a movie theater is a public venue, you don’t have to impress anyone. The room is dark and everyone is focused on the big screen (or they’re canoodling with their partner). No one is paying attention to you. There’s no need to worry about whether or not the person/people you’re going with are enjoying the movie. You can just enjoy the movie.

So today I learned that moviegoing can definitely be a solo sport – not just for loners and members of Homo Awkwardiensis, but also for well-adjusted individuals who need some time for themselves once in a while.

And plus, no one wanted to see it with me.

But I’m not a loner. I swear.

Late Night Internet Junk Food

Like all other college students studying for midterms…

I’m not studying for midterms. Not at the moment anyway.

Instead, I’m here. On the Internet. Typing. Reading. And not studying.

Why? Well, does it really need an explanation? It’s just past midnight here and I can’t go to sleep. It didn’t really help to turn on my computer because the sickeningly magnetic quality of Facebook trumps the just-plain-sickening half-finished essay on my Desktop. (Actually, it’s more accurately about a quarter-finished, but who’s counting pages?) So let me share a peak at the past hour of my browsing the junk foods section of the cyber information market:

  • The Giants won the World Series. And the fans got their freak on.
  • It’s Bob Ross‘ birthday.
  • Iron Man 3 trailer. Just watch it. And then crap your pants. Then watch it again. (BEN F-CKING KINGSLEY)
  • Something about Kim Kardashi- never mind, moving on.
  • Joss Whedon’s warning of the Zomney apocalypse.
  • And because I feel guilty about vegetating my mind, here’s something actually educational: Why men have nipples

And there we go. What are some interesting sites that you like to browse/play/waste your time on? Please share in the comments section!

Also, here’s a moving GIF of a puppy face down in a pool:

Puppy Pool GIF
You’re welcome.