Oh the weekend, how you wear me down so. How I look forward to Monday when I go back to work again and I can relax, decompress, and generally wind down from the weekend.
After a relatively disappointing grocery shop Saturday morning I returned home to find Emma waiting and wanting… to renovate her workspace. Lucky me. Unlike the last three rejigs this one involved quite a bit more coordination, and didn’t just involve the front room, but the bedroom, the basement and the storage room also. I was tired enough after Friday, but the reno took it right out of me… lucky I had a nice relaxing evening of … oh shit… bowling ahead of me.
Emm and I chowed down on some Subway before hitting the subway, but my dehydration had my belly feeling a bit awkward just in time for some GTA-BBB (the extra B is for bargain, and the extra extra B is for “bowling”). Downing a bottle of water I was still feeling a little off, a little antisocial, and ungodly tired.
My 5-pin game was shite and got progressively worse from the first ball out. It got to the point where I couldn’t stand and I couldn’t throw the ball… but I suffered through.
The gang were good company despite the fact that I wasn’t. Doug and Leah were good bowling partners, Carrie, Eva, Natalie, and Maria were all around to chat to. Jeremy and his evil twin, Jay and his daughter all helped me actually enjoy my exhausted evening it the Danforth Bowl, which was an awesome mom & pop operation in the basement of a tango studio… very cool atmosphere… it’s like having an alley in your basement or something.
Afterwards Jeremy gave Emm and I a lift home with a diversion to the ice cream shoppe which made everything all better.
Sleep started not long after 11pm, and continued until 11 the next day (plus an hour for Daylight savings time… so, like, 13 hours! Crap, havn’t done that in ages).
Emma’s dad was loaning us his van-driving services so that we could make our way to the home reno slums (Rona, Home Depot and Canadian Tire all in the same block at St.Claire and Keele).
There we grabbed two sheets of 4′x8′ plywood and had them cut to size by the helpful Rona people (and they didn’t charge us for the cuts like they do at Home Depot). We grabbed some hinges, latches and wire and headed for the check out.
What’s our plan?
Well, isn’t it obvious?
We’re making a bunny hutch.
We had to do some trimming at home to make sure it would all fit together, and with glue and nailes we created two 4′ x 2′ caskets, the first for the bunny, the second for storage. They are gigantic beasts creating a large 4′x4′x2′ almost-cube for the front room… yup, that takes up a bit of space. We still have to make the doors for the front of the cabinet/hutch combo, but we’re almost there. Emm wants to stain or paint the thing, perhaps when she has the motivation it will happen, but we ran out of daylight today (we had to finish up the second crate inside).
Once again another insanely active weekend. I’m exhusted and will likely have another early night. I’ll watch another episode of Desperate Housewives, perhaps polish off some more Arrested Development, and a little Brak Show, and that’ll be the weekend…
Oh the weekend, how you wear me down so. How I look forward to Monday when I go back to work again and I can relax, decompress, and generally wind down from the weekend.
It’s been an insane week at work, it being end of quarter and all, and with the sex-in-the-window aside, I’ve been thoroughly exhausted mentally - and with all the up and down 6 flights of stairs at work, and the daily two-way bike ride - also physically as well.
Despite the perk-me-up that was “sex in the window” (previous post), it was a rough day, and I could have fallen asleep at my desk at the snap of the fingers at any point during the day. Even lunch from the Burrito Boys and subsequent ingestion of massive quantities of sugar from the candy dispenserie that is the co-worker beside me didn’t perque me up (not for long at least).
So by the time I finished the very taxing-of-patience day and the follow-up bike ride home, I was cooked. Stick a fork in me Jerry, I’m done. But I couldn’t call it a day just yet at 6pm, my cousin and her girlfriend from Holland were in town and they were coming over… my cousin whom I hadn’t seen in almost four years and wasn’t sure I’d have much in common with, seeing as she has a masters degree, lives in Holland, is a lesbian, and is 7 years older than I am… but my mom had said that she has been bookbinding, and that loose thread that connected her and Emma, along with the loose thread of family that connected her and I was a good enough start.
But as the evening progressed, I found that, out of my entire family, I can probably relate to Kelly the most… we’re both anti-suburbanite, we’ve got the same viewpoint as one another about our home life in Northwestern Ontario, and we’ve got an equal affinity for alcohol (hey, we’re from the north afterall), although she’s naturally far more cultured in spirits and apertifs. While she’s more educated and better travelled (I just got my passport on Wednesday!!) she’s not snobby or pretentious in the least and she turned out to be really great fun once we all relaxed into each other’s company.
Plus we’re all book people, Kelly and Emma are bookbinders, Irena is in publishing, and I’m a writer (apparently). And we all have need for copious amounts of shelving.
After a light but filling dinner at the Butler’s Pantry, we headed over to the multipurpose Gate 403, which is part restaruant, part martini bar, part jazz bar, and part sports bar. It’s a wonderful place to hang out and have a tootsie roll martini or a few green apple martinis like the delightful waitress suggests. We had a great time, although Irena’s jetlag had set in and she also had a business meeting to prepare for Saturday morning so we called the evening a night after a pair of drinks each.
With the promise of future visits in tow, and perhaps a trip to the Japanese Paper Place tomorrow morning, we bid our familiar friends adieu. And I can’t say I’ve ever been more pleased.
One of the horribly beautiful side effects of working on the sixth floor of an open concept building is you can see out the windows in almost every direction. Straight ahead I see the Canada Life building with it’s indiscernible weather forecasting light-up scale thingy. To my right I can see all the tall 5, 6 and 10+ story buildings that blossom along Queen Street. To my left is levels of housing building up towards taller buidings on College and hospitals on Univeristy.
And right behind me I can see an apartment building across the street on Spadina.
And right behind me I can see a large group of my coworkers huddled together staring out the window.
And right behind me, my coworkers are watching people having sex in the window on the 5th floor of apartment building across Spadina… the street isn’t that wide so it’s almost like being there… asses poking out behind curtains to slap you in the face… pasty white and hairy legs kicking about. Goddamn, sex is an ugly ugly act (when you’re not in it). I feel ill.
Coworkers say “it’s repulsive, but utterly captivating. I can’t not look.” Mercifully, I can.
d: Trey Parker
w: Pam Brady, Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Team America has two levels it performs on. One is a big, dumb, action movie spoof, the other is a political farce. It works in the former, but fails pitifully in the latter.
It riffs off the exact formula that any Jerry Bruckheimer film uses, only, in this case, it’s puppets doing all the acting… erm, actually, they’re Supermarionets, you know, like Thunderbirds, or Fireball XL5. I’ve never been big on Supermarionets… muppets were always my thing, but Parker and Stone know exactly what they’re doing with their puppets here. Unlike most, the whole joke of the film is the fact that they’re puppets, the fact that their mobility sucks, the fact that their strings get in the way, the fact that everything is oddly miniaturized. It’s totally the point, highlighted by the hysterical and/or disturbing “explicit” sex scene.
by Jeff Smith
Stephen King’s done 1000+ page novels. So has John Irving, Norman Mailer, Neal Stephenson and dostoyevsky… none of them can hold a candle to the Jeff Smith and his amazing Bone 1300+ page epic. Not only did he write it, but he drew it all himself with an illustrative style that resembles great cel animation. He even lettered and published the majority of it on his own. Can Dostoyevsky say that?
Didn’t think so.
It’s a new classic, the comics equivalent to juggernauts like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (just give it a decade and this most kids will have grown up with Bone… if a recent publishing deal with Scholastic Books has anything to do with it). It’s going to become part of pop culture folklore, and it has lasting power.
It’s set in a unearthly “Middle Earth” style realm, so there’s no modern trappings that will hold it down, it contains classic themes, truly laugh-out-loud humour, and an amazingly tight continuity that will hold up to repeat readings. It’s truly a marvel, and every home should have one… it’s non-denominational afterall.
Tonight, the Parkas are playing the Rivoli, and I was going to go, alas, it is 10pm and I’m not there. Why?
The Parkas are one of my favourite bands especially live, so what sucked out my motivation like Louie Anderson sucks the cream out of a Twinkie (ooh, a Louie Anderson joke… how.. third-tier celebrity-referenced)?
Well, if probably started with a handfull of phonecalls at 6am. We let the voice mail get them, but the persistence of the calls had us worried that it was familial related… or worse, business related. Ugh, if work starts calling me at home…
Turns out it was fax spam trying to bugger up our system, but my mind was no longer at ease and comfortable sleep did not return.
Waking up and walking out of the house, I still had an empty belly, as we’re out of toasty things and we’re out of milk for cereals… and no fruits due to allergies. So I biked to work with quickly depleting waking-up energy, and the soul sucker that is “end of quarter” took every last ounce of “oompa-loompa” I had, and by noon I could feel a stress headache coming on. I staved it off with Whoppers (the candy not the burger) and Goodies (aka. Smarties for the constipated) for a little bit, but the sugar crash didn’t help at all.
I finished up with unroutine work-like tasks around 6:15, and decided that if I was going to hit the Parkas gig, I’d need to kill a goodly 3 hours at minimum around work, especially considering work is about two minutes walking distance from the Rivoli.
What kills time like nothing else? Shopping and movie watching. Downtown, with its prevailent cd, comic book, and book stores is a real easy place to butcher your time, however, knowing myself all too well, it’s also all too easy to murder your pocketbook (does anyone still carry a “pocketbook” these days? Do pockets even fit books anymore - or vice versa? Maybe I should get Emma to make me a pocketbook). I noted as I withdrew money from the bank machine that I had a Famous Players “Admit One” cupon that my sister had given me (waitasecond, was that my birthday present? A lousy freebie movie? Well, it came in handy anyway) and so off I went to the Paramount to see what it had to offer.
Turns out that there was a special screening of the new indie horror film Saw which is getting equal amounts of raves and panders. The trailer had me intrigued but it started at 9:15 and I was already trying to kill time so that was out. I opted against my normal solo watching fare like “Shall We Dance” and “Taxi” and chose instead for the high brow art of puppetry. Yes, I saw Team America: World Police, an amusing film, if not a classy one. I realized half way through the film that I was fucking exhausted, and that I was actually going to fall asleep. I kept running the refrain “Americuh-uh, FUCK YEAH!” through my head to keep me awake.
After the show ended I trapsed back to the office trying to figure out if I should kill another half hour and head to the Rivoli or head on home. I noticed the billboard passing by the Riv that the Parkas were headlining meaning a late late night if I selected option 1.
So I decided to go home and presented myself with two more options… bike home or TTC. I checked my change and noted that $1.25 does not a TTC fare make so a nightride home it would be.
Traffic was calm, the breeze was weak, and my legs were holding up. All in all, it felt like the right decision. I feel sad about missing the Parkas, but this is what happens when your gig buddy leaves you for new adventures in the United Kingdom.
Right now, my eyes hurt looking at the screen… good thing I can watch either my hands or the screen while I type and not rally woory abut speelin mistaks, you know?
I’m polishing off some laundry and maybe I’ll knock back a couple pages of a graphic novel before Morpheus puts me down for the night.
Americuh-uh… FUCK YEAH!
“I am, the Batman”
This “first look” comes from JoBlo.com
(click for frikkin huge picture)
Is it just me or is Bale’s head too small for, well, his head?
d: Alexander Proyas
w: Jeff Vintar
The trailers made this movie out to be “Will Smith hip-hop persona #2 in futuristic cyborg conspiracy movie plot #5″, and honestly I was surprised when it didn’t come out nearly as formularic, cheesy, and crappy-looking as expected. Yeah, it doesn’t really go very far… the charcters are thin, the story is decent, and the ideas are meaty but the script doesn’t make any use of the topics it brings up.
The best idea is the notion that a robot with free will is still a machine, and if it kills a human for murder it cannot be put to trial as murder is defined as a human on human crime. The script touches upon this notion but doesn’t explor it at all and I think a courtroom drama exploring this would have been much better.
d: Edward Zwick
w: John Logan
Tom Cruise, a samurai?
But, well, he pulls it off admirably.
The film is surprisingly a good one, devoid of a great many Hollywood cliches you would expect of a movie of this sort (that’s not to say it’s without them). The team involved seems to understand turn-or-the-century Japan, both visually and culturally and the film does well in portraying that… however, the liberties it takes in portraying Cruise as the samurai’s great white hope is a little distasteful.
Chock full of gorgeous action sequences, a great cast of Japanese actors, and, well, ninjas, it was a surprise to be sure, and the vilification of the American style of war was a nice touch acting as a good allegory for the modern U.S. vs. anyone wars.
Well, the weekend wasn’t as big a wash as I made it out to be.
Okay, yes, Friday was indeed a wash as was most of Saturday afternoon as I buried my nose in Bone ploughing through the remaining 1000 pages and enjoying myself to no end.
Saturday evening I took the lovely Emma out on a date. You know, people, once they get together and, well, stay together, don’t date anymore. I know, there really isn’t any reason to, but it’s kind of nice to say you’re taking someone out for no reason other than you’d love to be with them.
We had planned on dinner-and-a-movie, but the dinner part consumed more time than I thought, so the and-a-movie part was out. But the 1/2 hour trip up to Eglinton (which consisted of watching a college guy try and pick up a similarly-aged and obviously a tourist girl on the subway) and the 15-20 minute wait at DiPamos BBQ was totally worth it. I forgot how crazy Saturday evenings were at DiPamos, not to mention that before us was an annoyingly pompous party of 9 that showed up late for their reservation and couldn’t understand why their table wasn’t waiting for them… only to later accuse the head waiter that he had lied to them and that they were indeed there before their table was given away.
People like that piss me off… you fucked up kids, accept it and wait patiently.
When we finished our meal of sweet meats, spice rubs, sauces, potatoes and corn breads (plus the complimentary parting fudgscicle) we took a stroll back to Young and Eligible (which is more now Young children and middle “Eg” parents, but I digress) and hit the grand store of treasures BMV (Books Music Videos… though I’m not sure they do the music part anymore). I scored two trade paperbacks collecting the classic Marvel Star Wars series (before Lucas tightened the reins on his enterprise. and even before there was a sequel, Roy Thomas and Archie Goodwin wrote tales illustrated by Howard Chayken and Carmen Infantino which featured tonnes of silly looking creatures in un-Star Wars, 70’s-style “futuristic” clothing and crappy looking tech. This shit is so far removed from Star Wars, Luke, Leia, Han and the rest are barely recognizable. Everyone runs around with lightsabres, and there’s a fucking rabbit-man. It is so great!) and the compendium series to Bone, “Rose” (written by Jeff Smith, illustrated by Charles Vess).
The return home was uneventful, and we remained in a vegetative state for about three hours afront of highly romantic home renovation television-Saturday Night, courtesy of TLC.
Yeah, I’ve really got to work on my date-planning skills.
The Photojunkie took Emma and I out to High Park for some drizzly day photography fun. Rannie had generously donated his time and craftmanship to produce our engagement photos. We strolled around the park while Rannie composed his shots, and as his models for the day he would bark commands at us, and as we were falling all over ourselves it was hard not to be goofy.
We did a few “kissy-face” shots, which at the same time are really sweet and kinda tacky, but hell, they were fun to do, although making out in front of Rannie (or anyone for that matter) was kinda weird.
Emma was sporting her newly hand-knitted shawl, while I had on my vintage leather jacket with the tear in the arm that my mother hates so we took great pains to ensure the tear did not show up in the photos… and I also had on a turtleneck with a paisley shirt underneath. Put it all together and it looked rather 70’s-ish.
When we got home and Rannie was downloading the pictures, I saw this one and laughed, insisting that he fuzz it out, give it that cheesy 70’s Sears Catalogue cover look… damn and it works! Could be worse, though… we could be wearing that rabbit’s costume…
You can see the full gallery of photos here.
Later that evening, we had a non-date dinner-and-a-movie as we ate at our neighbourhood Thai restaurant (where we’ve eaten at least twice a month since we moved onto Roncesvalles back in April). We made our way to the Revue (our local Rep theatre) and caught “I, Robot”, a decent film which wasn’t nearly as bad as the trailers made it out to be, but it wasn’t anywhere near as deep or intelligent as the original Isaac Asimov premise allows. They copped out of making a thought-provoking film opting instead for an ambiguous mystery-action film. 2hours of mild entertainment. Nothing bad, nothing overly great either.
Returned home just in time to catch Desperate Housewives which is by far the only entertaining new show on tv this year… not that I’m really watching anything else but there you go.
We’ve also watched a lot of Invader Zim over the weekend mainly to obtain more Gir quotes to bandy about to each other, like “your head smells like puppies”, “hello floor, MAKE ME A SAMMICH!”, “It was meeeeeee. I was the turkey all along…. MEEEEEEE! I was the turkey!”, “I made mashed potatoes” (to which one replies “hmmm, yes, and MUFFINS!”)
And apparently I’m not the only one addicted to Arrested Development… Emma can’t stop watching… and Carl Weathers’ stint on the show as a thrift-fast version of himself is too funny (”You’re not gonna throw that out are you? Look at the meat left on the bone. You take that, stick it in a pot, add some carrots and onions and you got yourself a stew going”)
Season 2 premiers on Fox November 7th at 8:30… (with AD on at 8:30 and Housewives on at 9, Sunday’s finally looking good again).
From the Parkas’ mailing list-thang.
On Thursday, October 28th, the Parkas will be in Toronto at the Rivoli playing with their labelmate Aaron Booth, and Finnish rockstars Treeball. It’ll be tastier than pancakes at the Hoito (their joke, not mine sadly…)
Fresh from their recording stint at The House of Miracles in Guelph, the Parkas will be showing off their new songs and their new blood (the new lads in the band). The last I saw of the band, they were quite literally testing out their two newbies (after the departur of one of the founding members) and the show, actually, went quite smashingly (read the review/see the pictures).
Come out, it’ll be a show. Plus, Finns! And MOSES is sure to show.
My weekend is a complete wash out, to be spent catching up on reading, movies, television and music… and also getting my writing going into high gear…
I actually continued work on the new book last night, and I forgot how much research plays into the part of writing a book… what’s the process supposed to be when you don’t know something? Are you supposed to stop writing and go and find out or are you supposed to just plug away and look it up later. I’m sure more experienced writers have their methodologies down but I’ve never gotten the hang of the research part yet (which is normally why I write speculative fiction, because you can speculate it all and just make it up as you go along using only the thin facts you gleaned from watching a few hours of the Discovery channel over the past year).
This book is basically my life circa 2000-2001 following the dissolution of my relationship at the time, returning home, working at a megaconglomorate retail store that rhymes with Ball-Fart, and trying to get my shit together at 25 years old, ending with my leaving home once again on a new journey and a new focus on life.
Coming-of-age triteness… well, naturally, but it’s my triteness and therefore it’s good… I’m bridging the gap between Joe Meno’s “Hairstyles of the Damned” and Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity”… only a bit of a deemphasis on the whole “mixed tape thing” (but it still comes up). It’s also inspired, at least structurally, by Bukowski’s “Post Office”… not a wholly enjoyable book but it had a pace I quite liked.
Of course, details of life are going to be changed… names and places will be different and there will be much exaggeration of actual events, but it’s a personal story, which the last still-waiting-for-a-final-edit book certainly wasn’t.
Maybe I’ll get to working on that too.
But threatening to steal all my time is a large pile of reading material amassed beside my bed, mostly stemming from a recent delivery of graphic novels and comic books.
I’m currently in the process of reading the complete Bone… a massive tome of the entire run of the Bone series. It’s 1300+ pages, through which I’ve made it around 350 pages into. It’s a brilliant read. Jeff Smith is an amazing cartoonist but also a great writer. The series is funny, charming, sweet, engaging and there’s a mystery going on. It’s great for kids and great for adults. It’s the best thing to happen to comics since Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman, and perhaps it’s even better (no, it’s not as studious, but its accessablility makes it that much greater an achievement).
Apparently the trades will soon being distributed by Scholastic books (and in COLOUR!… I just may have to buy them again), so I only hope that they’ll appear at grade school book sales and be loved and adored by a whole new generation of comic book fans.
Also beside my bedtable are four trade paperbacks consisting of Geoff Johns‘ run (no pun intended) on the Flash, starting with his first issue through to issue 200.
Johns’ work on JSA has been consistantly good and his Teen Titans is pretty decent, and I hear his run on the Flash has been as good as the Mark Waid years which is really saying something, so I bought all four trades in one cash grab and we’ll see how it goes.
Speaking of JSA, I also have the JLA/JSA crossover OGN called “Virtue and Vice” which was cowritten by Johns and scriptwriter (of Blade trilogy and the new Batman movie) and director (ZigZag, Blade 3) David Goyer.
The Fallen Angel trade paperback… it’s a relatively new series by Peter David whom I’ve got to respect as a writer. He may not be as innovative or boundary pushing as Gaiman, Mark Millar, Grant Morrisson, or Warren Ellis, but the guy has been a solid storyteller for over 15 years without putting out much crap… and if the notorious curmudgeon Harlan Ellison sees fit to lend his words to an introduction there must be something to the series.
I also have three Queen and Country trades to dig into (a great series for any fan of espionage/spy/government drama stuff… think the West Wing meets Alias and that’s sort of what you get… only it’s set in Britain) and I have two more Lucifer trades to dig into… it’s not pretty stuff so it takes me a while to get into it, but once I’m into it I can’t stop reading.
I just polished off the second volume of the Ultimates last night (an interview with writer Mark Millar on the series here) and as much as I enjoyed volume one, v2 just amped it up to 11 and blew the speakers. I’ve not read a comic this insanely action packed since Morrison’s “Marvel Boy”. I’m not sure it’s better than Marvel Boy, but it made me like Thor, and I fucking hate Thor… except when Walt Simonson turned him into a frog… that was fun. It’s a mature book, in terms of content, but it’s really accessible to new readers, people who don’t know the characters, which is what I like about it the most, because generally I’m not a Marvel Comics reader… but some stuff is just worth it.
And if you’re looking for a new monthly to pick up, I have to say the new Firestorm is freaking awesome. It’s about this kid Jason from Detroit who’s saving up to go to college but he runs low on cash and does a job for an unsavoury character. While doing the job, he gets hit by a bolt of energy which messes everything up and soon he discovers he has the powers of Firestorm…
If you remember, of if you don’t, the old Firestorm was Ronnie Raymond, college kid, whom in an accident merged with his physics Professor and became Firestorm. While Ronnie controlled the host, he could carry on conversations with the Professor (as they shared the brain), who would use his knowledge to help Ronnie better utilize his abilities which allowed him to change the molecules of one thing and change them into another.
In the new Firestorm Jason doesn’t have a mentor as co-host, but instead he can randomly abduct someone and use them… however the co-host can only survive so long in the Firestorm persona or they will basically get eaten alive… and since there’s not a lot of physics professors out there, this new guy is going to have a rough, rough time… especially since in the first four issues his powers have gotten out of hand and he’s killed a few people, which is a heavy burden for him to carry.
And to the mix Jason’s father is abusive, his financial situation is bleak, and he’s starting to become addicted to his powers… it’s fun, fresh and exciting with fantasic art and lots of exciting potential.
I’ve said that writer Dan Jolly’s “Bloodhound” is a surprisingly good series, well, his take on Firestorm is surpisingly even better.
I’ve also got sitting beside my bed America: The Book by Jon Stewart and the Daily Show staff. I was a little disappointed to see that this wasn’t a full textualized examination of the Bush presidency years and the resultant chaos which you’ve gt to either laugh or cry at (or, in many Americans’ situations, ignor)… but it is instead a faux -textbook/The Onion newspaper combination with insane graphics and pie charts and a whole load of whimsey. It actually reminds me of my student newspaper from University, with some serious scathing commentary on the history of the neighbours to the South, and some stupid-silly toilet humour. Like any textbook it’ll take a semester’s worth of irregular reading to complete but, well, there you go.
It’s almost a bathroom reader, which reminds me I should get a magazine rack or something for beside the toilet.
An Amazon.ca order arrived yesterday baring gifts, including Season 1 of Arrested Development, Volume 3 of Invader Zim and Season 1 of Corner Gas.
I’ve been watching Corner Gas since episode 3 and was surprised at exactly how damn funny it was. This set is for my friend in NYC but I’ll be getting my own copy some time as well.
Invader Zim was a twisted little Nickelodeon cartoon from goth-humour-comicbookguy Jhonen Vasquez. The series lasted a year and a half but has developed a devoted cult following, for good reason. It’s subversive and strange, funny both in a laugh-out-loud sense and a disgusting/peculiar sense, and Emma’s become a little Gir obsessed (Gir is an insane little robot who dresses in a zip-up dog suit and says stuff like “Hello ground… MAKE ME A SAMMICH!”). Not for everyone but if you’re a little weird, you’ll love it.
And finally, Arrested Development… I watched three episodes last night and this has got to be the funniest TV show out there right now… the characters are great, the situations are crazy, and the actors are wonderful. Hell, it’s got Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross, how can you go wrong?
Jason Bateman holds the grounded center of the show as the level headed second child (of four) of a prominent Orange County family. His older brother is a failed magician, and his younger brother is quite dim. His younger sister is a bit of a primadonna, and her husband is a failed psychiatrist. Their daughter is a shit disturber, and Bateman’s son is a good seed who has a disturbing crush on his cousin. Mom is “withholding” and domineering, and Dad’s in jail for fraud (and having the time of his life, thank you). The whole show is narrated perfectly by Ron Howard, who is also executive producer.
It sounds difficult, but it’s not. It’s smart humour (which doesn’t really last on television in most cases because you have to pay attention as there’s no laugh track to tell you what’s funny), a comedy, not a sit-com.
A true sign of it’s brilliance, cramped up from laughing. I should really support the episodes on tv… on Global, not on Fox.
And finally, I have the Clerks 10th anniversary DVD to plough through. I’ve watched the special features disk (with the documentary movie “The Snowball Effect” (a Clerks retrospective which really highlighted how DIY it was… and was really really good. Not just for fans of the film, but for anyone interested in filmmaking it’s a good watch, and, honestly, quite inspiring.) My love affair with Kevin Smith is a rocky one, and it’s on the up and up again…
And then there’s music… lots and lots of music… and a few packages to deliver… whoops.
My good friend GAK is an old-school internet surfer… where as I have my blogroll/bookmarks of regularly trolled places and rarely deviate from those (I’m not much of a link clicker anymore) GAK still has the oompah-loompah curiousity in him that allows him to see where one link will take him, hopefully into some chain reaction of coolness.
Remember the old days, in the middle-later 1990’s before blogs were really “blogs” and people just created personal webpages with HTML and flash and php and java were but a glimmer in the eye of the near future, and die-hard fans of things that - until then - had no outlet save maybe a 200 circulation ‘zine to get the word out on their favourite tv show, movie or musician.
Information back then was a new discovery… before IMDB really took hold and before TV Tome started catalogging television… you would do random searches in Yahoo or Hotbot for your favourite celebrity, looking for .wav files from some movie (before movies went digital) for your Windows start up, and somebody somewhere had an almost complete list of all the various international releases and eps that your favourite musician released.
You could troll the net for hours, ingesting and digesting, each click taking you to a new and magical place… someone would take the effort to track all the news of the making of a new film, and you could see if that author has written another book yet… and hey, someone did something funky to their webpage over here, maybe you should rip off their background image. Hey, look what’s going on in that town! Don’t you wish you were there, to see that thing in person…
The web was bringing us together… and well, it still does, with popular websites and popular blogs taking the burden of tracking down information away from the everyman. Everything you could ever want to know should be on three or four websites… updated regularly. But where’s the fun, where’s the clicking adventure that takes you from one ad-free space to the next… somewhere I lost that.
But GAK’s still got it, and it is thanks to him that I bring to you these overly built up links.
The Last Starfighter: The Musical!
I would see this in an instant but unfortunately it’s run ends in October and I’m in NY in November…
(an old-school HTML review for those that want to know what it’s all about)
Kevin Smith goes back to the well… again… but this well is on DeGrassi street.
Yup… old Smitty is dragging Jason Mewes to our favourite Canadian melodrama school where he’s filming “Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, EH?” (in the show not in real life… no in real life he’s going back to a different well for “The Passion of the Clerks”, a live-action - not animated as I had hoped - sequel which I hope to god he changes the name of. Riffing off other films titles is so… lazy.)
As an aside… I like Kevin Smith and I was glad he broke away from the Jay and SB universe with Jersey Girl (because Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back sucked hard) and it makes me sad that he’s exploiting his biggest successors once again (even if it is on Canadian television and in a fictitional manner). I picked up the Clerks X 10th Anniversary DVD, and really, it’s only for the die-hard GEEKIEST fans out there, because even I found it annoying and self fellating. The look and sound of the film has been remastered though and has never been better… still rough but rough in Dolby 5.1 baby.
A plane crashed blowed up real good
A scientific experiment of what can happen in a plane crash, conducted by NASA and a federal regulation agency of some sort on deserted airstrip. There’s also a freaky video of the crash-test dummies on the inside (it’s a huge file… best to right click and download).
Scrabble doesn’t dominate my life, but it is a great test of strategy, mental dexterity, and luck… The movie Word Wars and the book Word Freak, both about the world of competitive Scrabble players are surprisingly fascinating, entertaining and even somewhat educational works (either from the language side of things, or from the psychological side of things)…
Craziest is a flash animate video that is a logical epansion of the world that these works have exposed… it’s more personal and a little intense… and perhaps fictional? It’s fun though, and reminded me of, for some reason, Pi (the Darren Aronofski film).. in tone and mood mostly.
And then there’s this interview with (GI)Joel Sherman, Scrabble Pro and one of the focal personalities in both Word Wars and Word Freak. The article, to my surprise, was written by More Than Donuts whose been on my blogroll for over two years. Good for her.
As Emm and I are going to NYC to visit GAK soon, he said we should brush up on our vocab before coming down… he gave us this handy guide on what’s a bodega versus what’s a deli versus what’s a grocery etc.
New York sounds kind of pompous and complicated… and their baseball players don’t know how to swallow their food (ie. they choke… ha! This joke expired forty minutes ago.)
New Massive Attack Album Samples (soundtrack to “Danny the Dog” out now… apparently… does anyone even care about trip-hop anymore?)
Sick of all the glitchy shit REALplayer does to your computer?… and do you want to convert REAL audio streams into mp3s?… all that and more REALmusic tricks are discussed and linked to here… bless you.
You don’t realize how well Chris Reeve filled out that Superman suit until you see all these fat old men at the Metropolis, Il Superman festival in spandex. Ew.
Stefan Krikl pays tribute to WWII… with action figures… it’s actually quite ernest and tasteful.
Big words for petty people (substitutes for petty = “small”, “pompous”, “pedantic”, “Scrabble”, “logophilic”)(logophilic not a real word)
“Baby, these spices are goin’ ta my head, and you know what that does to me…”
The surreal life but not…
A visual guide to the length of film credits over the decades… puts things into perspective. (Compare “Modern Times” to “Casablanca” to “On The Waterfront” to “The Graduate” to “Star Wars” to “The Return of the King”… I guess it’s good that everyone’s getting credit now… but dayum…
The intro to the Adam West show that never was: Lookwell (created by Robert Smigel and Conan O’Brien)… okay, it’s not really anything but … *sigh*… West is easily on par with Shatner, why’s he not getting his due?
Baby Got Back translated into latin… no, not an mp3, just a weird bit of text translation…and back again.
(this process involved combing through a year’s worth of GAK’s emails sitting in my inbox and filing them appropriately)
I went Dr. Optometrist today to see if he could shed a bright white light into the back of my cornea with regards to what’s going on with my eye.
I first had my glaucoma NCT test (Non -Contact Tonometry) where the machine sends an unanticipatable (I make up words good!) burst of air into the I testing the pressure or some such. Each burst made my head jump up off the chin strap (yeah, jumped, with those little legs that grow out of my chin, right).
I described to Dr. Optometrist what had been going on with my eye and all my wild speculations surrounding the affliction. He first tried to see how strong my 5-year old galsses were (not very), then he tried to evaluate my fluctuating prescription which was a chore indeed. You know the “better or worst”, “a or b” test where he flips different layers of lenses in fron of your eye with different degrees of curvature and whatnot, he was actually surprised at one point… and I said, more then once “it was better, but then I blinked, and now it’s all fuzzy again”)
He asked how long I wear my contacts (from morning to bedtime usually) which I guess you’re not supposed to do, but he didn’t say anything.. he’s a good guy that Dr. Optometrist. He then began inspecting them with the bright light, which hurt my good eye, but my fucked up eye could take it like a man.
After puting some dilation drops in (”oh, you are so dialated baby”) he used a softer blue light to look around.
In the end he said “Hmm… have you had a cold recently?”
“Yes!” I proclaimed.
“When did you get it?”
“The week of Thanksgiving. I’ve been around so many sick people since then.”
“That’s it!” he proclaimed, almost cutting me off.
“Your eye has a cold virus.”
“Really,” I said.
“Yup. And there’s not much we can do about it except wait for it to go away… and it will go away. But no wearing contacts.”
“I’m out anyway!” I said, laughing, which made him chuckle.
“Well, good,” he said, “because contacts only stop the moisture from reaching the proper parts, and it’s the virus that is making the eye fluctuate like that. So we need to keep your eye moist.”
“I’ve been forcing myself to tear as much as possible…”
He laughed “I’ll give you some drops. You should take them… well, whenever you want, but definitely before you go to sleep. Otherwise, there’s not much to do but wait it out, but I want to see you back here in two weeks. And we won’t give you a perscription for new glasses…”
“Because they wouldn’t be right anyways…”
“Two weeks,” he said again, and we shook hands and I left the room and I’m sure he anti-bacterialized/sanitized his hands immediately after.
I tried looking it up, and it seems somewhat similar but not exactly like Conjunctivitis (warning, grody pictures at that link)… a lot of similar symptoms but not the massive amounts of swelling and gross pussy stuff… thankfully.
So that’s that… not my environment and not my dentist. Speaking of which, that tooth they filled recently, well, it feels fucked up again and it hurts when I chew things.
Here we go again.
I was standing at the wicket at the passport office today looking over my info (this following a 15 minute line up to take a number and a 45 minute wait to hand in my papers) I have to wonder, how do they measure the hight of someone who’s wheelchair bound… either someone with no legs, or some sort of spinal cord injury that will never permit them to walk again.
Do they measure your length (ie. sprawled across a table?) or do they measure you sitting in your wheelchair? Or do they have a special height measuring chair that people have to sit on… or perhaps just from the bottom of your butt to the top of your head… or maybe your armspan from tip to tip (which rumour has it is supposed to equal your height) at which point what if you’re missing your fingers too?
Anyway… I wait ten days for passport to come in mail. I’m good to go New York bound!
My eye has started to repair itself, somewhat at least. The blurryness and lack of focus has receded to about arm’s length now so I can actually look at the computer screen without getting nose smudges all over it (not to mention I’m no longer irradiating my brain… but that’s a different story for another time).
I began to wonder though, if the eye troubles weren’t a result of my recent dental visit, like maybe the dentist poked and froke the wrong nerve and it’s only now that it’s starting to heal… or not. Wildly speculum…speculative! that is.
Speculum sounds like a dirty, dirty word, but it’s not although they are often used in gynecological exams for looking into the naughty bits of a female… male naughty bits are inspected with rubber gloves, and if unlucky, a very long handled q-tip.
This is getting unseemingly random.
Anyway, I’m off to the optometrist tomorrow afternoon to see what he has to say about my withered and deflated eye (it’s like someone poked a baloon!) and see if he can’t recommend some TLC for it (them?)… I need new glasses, but I’m going to have to go back for another appointment to get a prescription especially if my eyes aren’t at their proper strength right now.
Head care is fun!
the SIMple life
Methinks Eva is having waaaay too much fun with the new SIMs game (with pictures and videos requiring the latest DIVX codec). That girl is too hilarious.
w:Reginald Hudlin; Aaron McGruder
a: Kyle Baker
Political and social satire is easy to do but hard to get right. Sketch comedy can do it easy because exploiting one idea or one facet of a character is an easy thing to do in the span of five minutes… you can get all of your ideas out in one shot and it will work. Aaron McGruder has had a few years of success providing satire of the like to the masses through his daily comic strip “The Boondocks” and with the help of scriptwriter Reginald Hudlin (Boomerang, House Party) and gifted cartoon satirist Kyle Baker (King David, Why I Hate Saturn) puts forth a very scathing and pointed satire.
And it’s pointed not just at G.W. Bush but the whole system that got him elected, and the whole system that has kept him in power for the past four years. Tearing the idea right from actual incidences during the 2000 election, the story begins with a number of voters in the mostly black and mostly downtrodden (and all too real) city of East St. Louis being turned away from the polls because, well, the registry states that they’re all convicted criminals (or at least share the same name as them, and therefore must be restricted from voting). It actually happened in Florida and elsewhere, restricitng the black vote (most of which would naturally go to Gore, the opponent of governor of Florida Jeb Bush’s brother) and stripping honest citizens of their civil rights.
In the story the mayor of East St. Louis is included amonst these people.
d, w: Kerry Conran
This film is retro to the point of it being a fault, apparently, according to the rather disappointing box-office results. To date (Oct. 17) it’s scored a paltry (compared to most action blockbusters) $36 million. Critical response has been positive if a little dismissive, and people just aren’t talking about it.
Expectations weren’t high, as it’s an unknown character (even if someone’s never read a Spiderman comic book, most people have at least heard of him), the director is likewise and unknown, and the cast, while A-list, aren’t exactly proven bankable celebrities… not in the action adventure format at least.
There are many barriers to the film… style chiefly, but subject as well. Visually Sky Captain borrows from the oxymoronic classical-futuristic visions of “Metropolis” and a classic 1920’s Art Deco feel, and a 1930’s serialized cinematic esthetique. Likewise, the subject and storyline evoke that same highly-melodramatic and naive outlook on the future capabilities of technology.
But people just don’t get it, and that’s too bad, because it’s a truly wonderous film.
Here’s a great article on Wal-Marts and the first unionized store in Quebec. I’ve recently said that unions aren’t really a valid and positive force in today’s society, but then again neither is Wal-Mart, so the two really deserve each other.
But I have to say, Wallyworld is quickly going to cut down the Union in this new store with one simple step…. shutting the store down (hey it worked for McDonalds).
What I found most interesting about the article is that the international figures for the megacorp for last year was 9 billion profit off of 256Billion sales. Yes, sure factor in overhead and employees, but still that’s only 0.035% of sales as profit… Wal-Mart undercuts it’s competition to the point that they are actually selling things at below cost (aka. loss leaders). Some items have a fair markup, but most items are being bought and sold for partial percentage increases. Yeah, the savings are the the benefit of the consumer, but it’s to the detriment of the surrounding community of retailers, and it’s to the detriment of the employees (as keeping the costs low means keeping the pay low), and it’s to the detriment of factories (as Wal-Mart strong-arms them into producing items at lower costs and which means cheaper quality parts and is the reason why factories close and move to cheaper labour markets). I’m not even sure how sustainable it is for Wal-Mart to keep costs as low as they are… but as the divide between rich and poor grows in the so-called First World countries, and the poor become more and more dependant on the ever cheapening products Wal-Mart sells, the cycle is only going to get worse… and, I imagine, as soon as Wal-Mart decides it’s going to start its own credit line, that will be the end of modern civilization, and we will return to empiracle rule, where only the rich can lead and the rich can regulate… because the opressed, as we’ve seen, are only interested in killing each other.
Wow. What a odd tangent.
In related news—erm, of unions— and as a follow up, the dang Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) strike is still hanging on, meaning insane border delays, no passports being granted, and me being nervous about a cancelled trip to NYC. *sigh*
In other “news”
Chromewaves alerts me to this brilliant bit of television chutzpa on the behalf of Jon Stewart on a recent appearance on the annoying CNN politalkshow “Cossfire” where JS chews the hosts a new rectum and gives an honest inditement of the negative impact of America’s journalism (aka “partisan hackery”). Stewart was trying to instigate a debate about the lack of debating on shows such as this one and “Hardball” but, of course, Tucker Carlson was more into saying where’s the funny and well, what kind of journalist are you, huh… as example:
STEWART: It’s not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.
CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you’re accusing us of partisan hackery?
CARLSON: You’ve got to be kidding me. He comes on and you…
STEWART: You’re on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.
STEWART: What is wrong with you?
(APPLAUSE) CARLSON: Well, I’m just saying, there’s no reason for you — when you have this marvelous opportunity not to be the guy’s butt boy, to go ahead and be his butt boy. Come on. It’s embarrassing.
STEWART: I was absolutely his butt boy. I was so far — you would not believe what he ate two weeks ago.
STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.
STEWART: You need to go to one.
He plays it completely ernest and straight and is not working the funny angle as normal (although people in their audience didn’t seem to get that at first). It’s stunning and wonderful and Jon Stewart is a smart and quick witted man and deserves more respect than any pundant show out there.
Video link and the transcript (you can read it, but listening to it is better… you don’t need to watch it, just toss the headphones on at work).
It’s A MADHOUSE!
Johnny Depp as Frank Einstein, aka. Mike Allred’s psych-pop comic creation Madman?
Could be and apparently is as Robert Rodriguez and Depp reunite
My eyes are still bothering me to no end, and I’m really not sure what to do about it. I have an optometrists appointment next Wednesday but I’m not sure it’s soon enough…
I’ve noticed though that my left eye lopez is the one that’s really bugging me, as it’s out of focus most of the time. I think I might have strained it and that it’s not just typical degredation of the eye. Every now and again the eye comes into focus (when I have my glasses on, there’s nothing going to correct my normally awful vision save for the majic lazic at this point) but it’s only for a few seconds, or if it tries to stay sharp longer it begins to fade more and more with every blink.
What’s more is I had terrible headaches right above my left eye last night and the thing was tearing quite frequently. In total the thing has me pretty freaked out though…
As I said, I think I may have strained it… but I can’t tell if it’s when I concentrate hard that it comes into focus or if its when I concentrate hard on relaxing it that it comes into focus… is it too tight or too losse… goddamn whatever it is it’s annoying.
I’m to the point where I put on a makeshift patch (and ever so delicately too… so innocuous that noone will ever know) just so I can read and look at the computer and watch tv without going completely cukkoo.
Of course, this difference in eyeballs is giving me some insane pains in the head, so I’ve been taking asparin frequently (not that frequently though) and I slept with some severe discomfort last night and this morning. It all took its toll (plus some minor biking and walking exertion this afternoon) as I was somewhat dehydrated and my lunch didn’t want to …umm.. be disposed of in the solid way… rhymes (kinda) with logorrhea (a condition which I get more often actually). It was painful, now just uncomfortable and I really don’t want to be social… sorry Kelly.
I don’t know how Slade Wilson can be the deadliest assassin in the DC Universe with only one eye, ’cause I sure don’t have any depth perception