In this week's "Postal Apocalypse," we reveal the incredible secret excretory systems of vampires, figure out what you need to be watching on Netflix, and discover a war that's also a paradox... a paradox of death. Read on, but don’t forget to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org!
While watching Being Human the other night, a question began to plague me: After having my fair share of booze, I have to hit the men's room for a pit stop more often. Do vampires have this same issue of breaking the seal? Do they piss red? Do they defecate coagulated blood? Also, does making out with a vampire taste like pennies? These are the things that confound me at the end of a bottle of Jameson's. I'll pour another & let you answer. Love theses posts, btw.
Excellent question! And impressive, because when I reach the end of a bottle of whiskey, I generally just fall asleep.
The first question we need to ask is why do vampires drink blood. Some say it’s to replace their own blood, either to supply oxygen to their body (since vampires don’t breathe), some say it's used in its entirety as fuel for vampiric powers, and others think it’s the vampire equivalent of food.
I don’t think we need to worry about the oxygen theory, because if vampires really needed to drink blood to oxygenate their bodies, they’d be drinking blood ceaselessly, and they don’t. And if they use all the blood as fuel, then it all gets used, and there’s nothing to excrete.
So what if blood is just vampire food? Then it’s possible they don’t use all of the blood they eat, just like our bodies don’t use all the food we eat. Of blood’s four components — red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma — plasma is most definitely a vampire’s snack source because it contains the most nutrients and proteins.
But I can see vampires using the other parts, too. Vampires could probably benefit from the iron found in red blood cells. There are still plenty of things white blood cells could fight off in a vampire’s body, like bacteria, parasites, whatever. Platelets… well, vampires need to heal too, and platelets are what help coagulate blood and close up wounds — indeed, when vampires are wounded they generally need to drink blood to heal, implying that the platelets are very necessary.
But if vampires don’t use all the blood, then they would need to excrete it. If they didn’t need the red blood cells, yes, they would piss red (I don’t think blood would coagulate in a vampire’s body, just like blood doesn’t coagulate in our bodies, so no pooping, sorry). If the red blood cells are used (or at least the iron-filled hemoglobin that gives blood its red color) then whatever isn’t used would look a milky, semi-clear white, which would be very awkward at a bathroom stall.
Last but not least, if you kissed a vampire immediately after he/she drank blood, yes, they would taste like pennies (again, thanks to hemoglobin), just like you would taste like blue cheese immediately after eating blue cheese. Which is why vampires should keep breath mints on hand and brush regularly. Just because you’re undead doesn’t mean you can’t have manners.
S Nothing But Net(flix)
My wife and I had to cancel our cable to save money, but we still have Netflix. I'm currently at the tail end of having been subjected to every episode of Gossip Girl, which means it's my turn to pick the next show we watch. I need suggestions for shows on Netflix that are suitably nerdy, but that I can also get my wife to watch. And I'm not looking for Dr. Who as a suggestion. I want shows that I haven't necessarily heard of because they've been a bit under the radar. And just so you know, I got her to watch most of BSG, all of Firefly, and all of Lost Girl that's currently streaming. Oh, and if there's a good looking guy on the show, she's more likely to be into it.
Understood. Well, Supernatural is probably your best bet for nerdiness and attractive dudes. The Vampire Diaries is another CW show which I’ve had recommended to me by a lot of people I trust, which again is high up on the attractive dude scale.
Other options: Eureka, Dollhouse (it gets pretty good after about episode 8), either the American or the original Being Humans. Did she enjoy BSG enough she’d give Caprica a chance? You could watch the first season of Heroes (don’t, for any reason, watch a minute of seasons 2, 3 or 4). Stephen Moffitt’s Jekyll is short but plenty awesome.
I don’t know how you or she feels about comedies, but if you haven’t seen Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Spaced, you need to do so immediately, as well as The IT Crowd. Any chance either of you are into cartoons? I’ll always recommend Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to anyone who will listen, but I can see how it wouldn’t be a non-nerd’s tea. But if you started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, I bet you’d both be hook in about four episodes.
Mainly you just need to wait until seasons one of Arrow hits Netflix Instant, currently one of my favorite shows on TV, and one of the best superhero shows period, starring the insanely dreamy Stephen Amell. I’m not gay, but I would consider it an honor and a privilege to have sex with that man.
The Postman Only Rings Once
You said that your theory of movie remakes is that they should only be attempted if the people making said attempt think they can do better or at least do something new. So what about The Postman?
I don't think it's a bad movie, exactly, when judged purely on its own merits. A little bit self-indulgent, perhaps, but that's not a huge crime in a Hollywood film.
The problem is that it ignored all of the science fiction elements from the book, and even changed the moral of the story to its exact opposite. I would love to know whether this was all Kevin Costner's fault or whether some (other) studio executive is to blame.
But mostly I want to know if maybe there's someone out there that would be willing to remake The Postman, perhaps including the great sci-fi elements (cyborg super-soldiers, hippy martial artists, artificial intelligence, etc.) and philosophy (the benefits of sharing resources rather than hoarding them, the importance of guilt trips as a social motivator, the dangers of glorifying war, environmentalism) that made the book an instant classic.
Do you think it's possible? Or has Kevin Costner screwed us out of something beautiful?
Possible, yes. Likely? No. Most of the remakes Hollywood is making are movies that have had some kind of cult success in that they're nostalgically viewed with some positivity: Red Dawn, Carrie, Clash of the Titans, Fright Night, etc., and The Postman doesn’t have that kind of cultural cache. No one talks about it. Hell, I run a weekly mail column based on the movie and I still almost never talk about it.
There is also the fact that The Postman (according to good ol’ Box Office Mojo) had a budget of $80 million, and made less than $18 million during its entire domestic run. That’s…. that’s probably gonna scare off Hollywood movie executives for the rest of time.
However, The Postman is exactly the kind of thing that some executive at SyFy might order a more book-accurate miniseries of in a drunken rampage. Whether that makes you feel any better, I don’t know.
Augmented Reality Bites
How long after Google Glasses come out do you think we'll start seeing Augmented Reality stuff "in the real world"? Like that futuristic holographic Jaws in Back to the Future Part II (it came out of the theater marquee to advertise Jaws XIV, I think) ? Or, like, holographic Ronald McDonalds clowning it up outside of Mickey D's everywhere? Heck, how long do you reckon it'll be before someone figures out how to commit crimes with the technology, a la 'The Laughing Man' in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex?
For those who don't know, "The Laughing Man" was a cyber terrorist in the first season of Ghost in the Shell: SAC. He committed crimes by hacking people's eye implants, so that whenever they tried to look at him, they only saw a smiley face emoticon. The only people who could actually see him were homeless people, because in this future, EVERYONE has eye implants. And homeless people were too drunk to be reliable witnesses. It was a REALLY interesting idea; more anime should be that smart.
First of all, thank you for explaining The Laughing Man so I didn’t have to. Second, it really depends on how fast the Google Glasses and their ilk become prevalent, which… I don’t know. I feel like a grumpy old man even typing this out, but I don’t feel that Google Glasses are going to reach the same kind of popularity as, say, tablets like the iPad. I guess it’s less the idea of the tech that’s the problem than my worries than the tech won’t be good enough to make tablets obsolete, i.e. it’ll be easier for people to check the Internet on an iPad than it will Google Glasses.
If less than a third of the population has them, it’s probably not worth the time and expense for companies to advertise specifically for them with Augmented Reality ads like holographic Jaws in Back to the Future II. Oh, there’ll be some, I’m sure, but not cluttering the sky or anything.
Of course, when everyone gets their bionic eyes and pretty much everyone can see AR, yeah, AR ads will be everywhere. And thanks to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, someone — probably lots of someones — wont rest until they’ve hacked eye-ternet of whatever it’ll be called in the exact same fashion, having been inspired specifically by the anime. Admittedly, that’s a lot that needs to happen, but I think GitS:SAC has it pretty correct — look for the Laughing Man in the 2030s.
War Without End
Hi Rob, big fan from Colombia. Sorry for my English, it’s not my mother language, feel free to edit the text to make it readable. So here is my question: the Empire and the Federation are fighting against each other. In normal conditions I think the Federation would win easily but, what if the army of the Federation is conformed only by Red Shirts and the army of the Empire is conformed only by Original Trilogy Stormtroopers? Or Federation in full power vs. Prequels Empire + Jedis?
Any anyone who has seen my typing can attest, you have absolutely no need to apologize for your English, Rafael.
You can apologize for your extremely hard question, though. An army of Stormtroopers who can’t shoot worth a damn against an army of Red Shirts who die constantly? Would the Stormtroopers’ inability to aim allow the Red Shirts to live? Or would the Red-shirts tendency to die help the Stormtroopers aim? That’s like some paradox shit there. Honestly, I can’t imagine a scenario that doesn’t end with a massive pile of Stormtrooper and Red Shirt bodies littering the landscape (FYI, the pic above comes from a shirt available over at Tshirt Laundry, if you're interested).
As for the full Federation vs. the Republic and Jedis… well, let’s assume this is a ground-battle, because Wars Vs. Trek ships is its own argument. You have the reasonably skilled Jango Fett clones and the Jedi on one side, then all the officers of the Federation on the other… I have to give this to the Wars team, because it’s an actual army trained for battle, while the Federation is made up of countless officers who have nothing to do with physical aggression. Sure, the Federation does its share of fighting, but mostly they do it ship to ship; and while there are definitely some trained soldiers in there, every single Clone Trooper is cloned to kill.
And the Jedi would help too… I guess. I mean, I’m sure lightsabers can block phasers, because of course they can, but I don’t think they’d be gods of death on the battlefield or anything. I mean, most of them were taken out by a handful of clones in Revenge of the Sith. But I look forward to hearing everyone’s enraged, profanity-filled arguments to the contrary in the comments!
Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Emailpostman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb!