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Archive for June, 2007

Thanks for the advice.

I love clicking advice links from the MSN homepage.  Especially if they involve dieting or dating.  The ‘advice’ is always so brilliant as to make one go practically comatose with joy.

Today, though, we might have an unbeatable example – the shining glory of all ‘advice’ columns.

In an MSN column on reducing the fat content in meals one might order, the first suggestion is this:

 – Cut off about one-third of the 6-ounce patty.

That’s right, people.  His actual advice, in the column that he was paid to write, was ‘if you’d like less fat intake, you should probably eat less.’  Forgive me for being awestruck but…   That….is….brilliant!!!!

But you’re forgetting one thing.  I believe the point is…

I want to eat the damn burger!

Moron.

I’m absolutely positive that this person is a highly trained and registered dietician, or my name’s not the Very Reverend Doctor Sir JwadeG Esquire.

If he’s not, I’ll eat my hat.

Well, I’ll eat 2/3rds of my hat.  I wouldn’t want to negatively impact my diet.

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Have you never watched Doctor Who before?

The Master DOESN’T go through major personality changes.  That’s one of his defining traits.  We’ve seen him in four different incarnations, and he is always a dark dressing, deathly serious, slightly pretentious, truly SCARY loon.  He is most definitely NOT a perky, jolly psychotic.  (He also doesn’t eat jelly-babies, by the way, you twit!)

It is the Doctor who goes through personality shifts.  (And who eats the jelly babies.)  Perhaps because that’s the healthy thing to do for a Time Lord; the Master perhaps is more consistent in personality because he is crazy.

This young, fun loving, Thom-Yorke-acting-like-Simon-Pegg version of the Master that you’ve created is going to be a source of irritation for years….

If this is the character you wanted, why did he have to be called ‘The Master’ at all?  If you’re going to reject the entirety of the character as he was written anyway, then don’t steal the flippin’ name….  At least have the common sense to slowly transition him from the original form to something new, like you did with the Daleks; don’t just throw him out there, history of the program be damned.

For the love of God, Russell…

—–

Kudos on being courageous enough to retain the old Time Lord robes though.

—–

Series three of Doctor Who can officially go straight to hell.  The only good episodes were 8, 9, and 10.  And 8 and 9 sort of cheated as they were Paul Cornell’s own adaptation of his own ‘New Adventures’ novel “Human Nature (pretty well universally considered the best book in the line).  And 10 was written by Steven Moffat, author of all of the best episodes so far (“The Empty Child,” “The Doctor Dances,” and “The Girl in the Fireplace”), so we knew it would be good.

Absolutely everything else is abysmal shit.

Go away, Mr. Davies.

Seriously, if this season ends with “The Master” (if such he must be called) getting eaten by a Dalek and becoming the Master/Dalek, I’m going to hit someone.

————-

Addendum:

On further reflection, perhaps the most irritating thing about the major change in the Master’s character is that this new one is completely consistent with Davies’ recent ethos of making the new series nothing but histrionics and running around.

The old Master was thoughtful and calculating.  This one is rapid fire and over-the-top…exactly like David Tennant’s Doctor, I might add.

Whither goest the show’s dignity, Russell?

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After seven episodes of almost complete and utter unrepentant shit, episode 8 of the 3rd season of ‘Doctor Who,’ “Human Nature,” is an almost pure lump of gold.  Brilliantly acted, impeccably cast, and directed with polish and occasional flair (like the ever so slight fish-eye lens on one of the villains), the episode is unceasingly entertaining.  It is also positively dripping with intentional evocations of the history of the program, a history which has unfortunately been kept quite distant up to this point.  From a notebook full of sketches of the previous nine Doctors, to naming his fabricated parents Sydney (Newman – main creator of the show) and Verity (Lambert – initial producer).  From classically intelligent yet out-of-her-depth companion work to villains that are literally just men with bags over their heads.  From all interiors in houses to all exteriors in empty fields.  Everything about this screams classic ‘Who.’

Granted, the plot is based on the rather trite concept of amnesia, another concept is included that is a little unnecessarily over-the-top (how can the Doctor just make himself human), and there are two plot holes you could drive a truck through (ummm…we opened the watch like you said…now what?; and…when did you make that video, by the way?).  But despite all that, this is really quite good entertainment.  Scary but silly.  Adult yet childlike.  This is exactly what the new series has always tried to be and failed so miserably to achieve this season.

A short list of other things that I love.

– casting Jessica Stevenson.

– the evil boy and his rant-without-pauses.  (shades of Lethbridge-Stewart.)

– the slightly Zygon-esque (reminiscent of skimping on the effects budget) non-effects use of human body possession.

– the simple use of colored lights to indicate alien communication. (again with the zero-budget style.)

– Bessie…almost.

– the drawing of Sylv.

– fast forwarding and rewinding a single bit of advice from the Doctor, as though all the answers to every question you could have might be found there.

– and the girl with the little red balloon….complete with ridiculous music…priceless.

Even the non-stop ‘love story’ thing that they’ve been cramming into the new series was well handled in this episode. 

For anyone else out there who’s struggling through the wasteland of screaming, running, and plot rehashes that has been ‘Doctor Who’ season 3, keep going.  There is at least one good one in there.  “Human Nature” was a joy to watch.

And it’s even a 2 parter.  Here’s hoping it can maintain.

It should be able to.  After all, it was written by Paul Cornell, author of some of the very best of the ‘New Adventures’ novels released while ‘Doctor Who’ was off the air.

————

Answer: Boy, does it ever.

– children pointing guns at children on the field of battle in the shadows of World War I.

– a man facing the fact that his suicide is the only way for the mythic hero to return.

– an old man listening to the eulogy for the dead as the Doctor stands by watching, the de facto recipient of the words – “they shall not grow old as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.”  The timeless hero as tantamount to a mythologized corpse.

– and, was that the same mansion from “Pyramids of Mars”?

Thank you, Paul.  Finally a laudable effort at last…

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Rejoice.

They is risen.  (Complete with terrible clip-art covers)

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So the recent problem, alluded to in the last post, has been the living situation.  I had my doubts about moving in with Kristopher from the time it was first suggested, but I allowed myself to be talked into it.  This turned out to be a bad idea.

Spoken completely without any sense of judgment, Kristopher is a boisterous, hard-drinking, life-of-the-party, man’s man.  In most senses, anyway.  Me being me, I just can’t live in a place where I’m never quite sure when the next 96 hour drinking binge is going to be, or when I’m going to be roused from sleep (intentionally or otherwise) in the wee hours of the morning by drunk people, or whether or not there’s going to be nine total strangers there when I arrive home from work desiring nothing but solitude, or if I’m going to be able to seclude myself at all when I feel the need to wind down.  Extroverts and introverts can’t live together when the extrovert owns the house and (justifiably) has the final word on everything.

There’s something about the overly-kind ‘doormat’ type (which I certainly lean towards in most situations) that people who aren’t like that tend to either not understand or simply ignore.  It’s not that we can’t defend ourselves against the rest of the world and “need to learn to say no” or any of the other things that people tend to say about us.  On the contrary, I can say “no” just fine.  But it’s an act.  I have a ‘public persona’ and a ‘private persona’; that’s how I deal with being generally reserved and wanting to please everyone all the time in a world that is most rewarding to predators.

However, in a situation such as this house, I never get to switch over to my private persona.  I’m constantly having to keep my guard up to tell someone (possibly someone drunk) “no,” or to interact with strangers.  I never get a chance to wind down.  I never even get a chance to close the door (due to the wonderful stroke of luck that the air conditioning in the room ceases to function properly without circulation with the hallway).  The cumulative effect of which is like being at work 24 hours per day.

People need solitude sometimes.  Some more than others.  And there are circumstances under which it’s just not possible.  I hadn’t had a proper moment’s peace in quite some time…

So I went looking for a diferent place and found one today.  I’ll be staying in a older lady’s attic.  Which suits my personality pretty well, some might say.  Grandma’s attic…that’s the place for me.

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It’s always great ‘fun’ to keep up with the news-bites on the IMDB.  They can be some of the most ridiculously pandering bullshit around.

Example, another entry in their now epic ass-licking of the entertainment industry’s anti-piracy campaign:

After mentioning that Michael Moore’s new film, “Sicko,” was leaked to the internet from Canada – a move that they specifically mention may have been done in order to keep the film from being confiscated by the US government – they somehow manage to turn a logical corner and start predicting that Michael Moore and the Weinsteins must all think this is a terrible thing.  They even mention that something similar happened with Fahrenheit 9/11 with no ill effects, yet seem completely unaware that such a fact might impact what they’re saying.

However, rather than consider that it might be not only ok, but intentional that the film was leaked, they segway into a random ‘news’ bit in which Eli Roth, director of Hostel, complains about piracy by using nothing but an absolute lie.  And not only that, a lie from someone else’s mouth; classic ‘anti-piracy’ style:

“Director Eli Roth is complaining on his MySpace page that piracy did in his latest movie, Hostel Part II. Roth has written that ‘a stolen workprint’ was uploaded before the release ‘and is really hurting us.’ He predicted: ‘Piracy will be the death of the film industry, as it killed the music industry.'”

Well, you have a p….WAIT A MINUTE! Killed the music industry?!? KILLED?!? How many billions of dollars did the recording industry make last year? Just a quick search on the internet brings me to a pretty nice figure: 12 billion. Perhaps what you’re thinking, Mr. Roth, is that popular music is just plain bad. Well, that has nothing to do with downloads. It’s called a lull. You might remember the same thing happening circa 1990…just before Nirvana. The music industry just so happens to be extremely conservative, so when old pop-music dies, it takes them a while to support anything from ‘underground.’  Unfortunately, they have a newly invented scratching post – illegal downloading – to blame right now, so that they don’t have to blame slumping cd sales on typically bad, financially-conservative choices.

Again, of course, the IMDB doesn’t bother to question his comments or wonder whether or not piracy might be a good thing.  (If a leaked workprint is “hurting” Hostel 2, perhaps that’s because Hostel 2 sucks insane amounts of ass…  Never heard of ‘word of mouth marketing,’ guys?) They simply cite it and let it sit unquestioned.

Here’s a fun game to play.

Go through the IMDBs backlog of news and try to find a single time when they mention piracy in anything other that terms of portentous doom.

If you like wild goose chases, give it a try!  This is the game for you!

————

PS.  Blog posts are down for the same reason that most things are down right now.  I’m dealing with a bad situation at the moment and can’t really talk about it right now.  Talk more later as a way out is discovered.

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Whales can apparently live 200 years.

Although this poor whale suffered two gunshot wounds on the hardcore streets of the ocean.

—————

Real updates and communication will resume shortly. It’s been a long couple of days since returning from the trip. Little time for any internetting…

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I mis-hear things a lot.  The above sentence is one of my better ones.  Jennifer was asking me something about shampoo, but what I thought I heard sounds more like a desperately bad attempt at ’50s greaser slang.  I like.

So anyway, back from the many travels.  The wedding was fine, but I was only really there for the wedding part…and I don’t think that I have to tell anyone that the actual event is the least fun part of a wedding.  The fun actually happens around it, which people treat like a family vacation or reunion…or a non-stop-party.  I did get a couple of cute pictures of little Logan, but missed all the funsies, so I was kind of irritable.

And the return flight was an issue in nearly incomprehensible ways.  The check-in lady in Atlanta esssentially caused a giant problem by trying to fix a non-existent giant-problem.  Apparently United airlines didn’t bother to input the altered flight itinerary into the “ticket” section of the ticket for my return flight.  So, despite the fact that United had all the information correct, the woman at the Delta counter couldn’t see it.  Unfortunately, United’s customer service rep (in India) also had no idea what the situation was, and during our hour long conversation, he decided to alter one of the flights anyway.  So he took me off of a flight with a guaranteed seat and put me fifth on a waiting list on an earlier flight.

It all eventually turned out fine, but I spent the entire California trip having no real idea whether or not I was going to get back home to Atlanta.

After that, driving all the way to Nebraska seemed like a really good idea.

That trip went relatively well to start with.  We got rained on heavily during both days of the drive from Atlanta to Scottsbluff, but they were both relatively brief squalls.  And we made it all the way to Kansas City the first day, so we arrived in Scottsbluff earlier than I expected.  Once we were there, there was predictably nothing to do.  So we took a day and drove to Carhenge and Mt. Rushmore so Jennifer could be touristy.  And the rest of the time we spent doing relatively mundane things like playing scrabble and walking the path by the river.

The trip back home was like a Greek tragedy.  Highs and lows butting directly up against one another, making each feel more extreme.  The first day’s drive to Lincoln was windy as all hell.  (That’s Nebraska for you.)  We got to hang out with Kim and Jeff for a while, which was nice, but had to be in bed relatively early for the long drive the next day.

That next day was a disaster.  The long drive was made even longer by endless road construction in Missouri.  And St. Louis decided to screw me over for a second consecutive time.  The first time I went east through St. Louis, I was stuck under the arch in a traffic jam for an hour.  This time, they put up phantom “detour” signs, with no information about why we were being detoured, and with no particular information on where to go for said detour.  The signs went for about three blocks and then disappeared.  After that, I was wandering around Shit. Louis creek without a paddle.  Eventually I turned around and found my own way back to the road I needed.  I’m still not convinced that there really even was a detour at all, as the road looked fine when I found it again.  They may have just been screwing with me.

The rest of that day seemed to go by fine, until nightfall.  Then it was a nailbiting drive past deer standing by the side of the road, dead deer laying on the side of the road, and a number or abandoned vehicles.  It really seemed as though I was facing about a 90% chance of hitting a deer.

Topping the night off, we made it to within three miles of our exit for the hotel room we had reserved in Murfreesboro, TN, when they decided that they’d also like to get in on the road-construction action.  So they chose to practically shut down this entire stretch of interstate at eleven o’clock at night.  Eventually we decided to exit, buy a map, and find our own way.  This turned out to be a really good idea, as there were a couple other guys at the hotel checking-in when we got there who said that they’d been stuck in that traffic for over an hour and a half.

The next day, we got off to a good start.  We backtracked to Nashville to have a touristy day, and decided to go see the full-size reconstruction of the Parthenon that had been built for an expo in the late 1890s (1897, I believe).  Pretty cool stuff.  Then it started to rain.  The four hour drive home  became an absolute nightmare half the time.  After as much driving as we’d done, driving in a constant downpour on an interstate that I’m unfamiliar with was about the last thing I wanted to do.

Eventually we made it home, but were pretty well burnt from the whole thing.

Thank goodness for Weird Al Yankovic.  He was a big help during the drive.  (“Why would I wanna eat liver?  I don’t even like liver…”)

Some pictures:

1. cheshire Jeremy

2. that damned arch

3. a stroll along the collonade

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