Monday, July 31, 2006

I spent a lot of time at the Comic-Con watching anime. In the east wing of the convention centre, on the second floor, there was a row of movie theatres set up showing anime television series episodes all day long. They're never shown in any particular sequence, and there were never any two episodes of one series shown together, although there were several episodes of Piano shown throughout the Con. I'm not sure why--I saw one episode and found it to be an agonisingly banal teen melodrama. Some of the character designs were pretty, reminding me of Ah! My Goddess (I'm pretty sure it's the same guy doing the designs), though the main character's improbable hair-cut is distracting and awkwardly animated.

The best stuff I saw was related to Rumiko Takahashi. The first day of the Con, I was there very early, and managed to be the only one in the theatre where Maison Ikkoku was rolling. I would've caught the whole episode, except Convention Security was making everyone take a strange detour to get to the theatres Thursday morning for reasons no-one was ever able to explain. But I've read the entire manga series, so I was able to jump right into an episode about Godai and Mitaka trying to have a fight, but having their efforts thwarted by a nosy cop. Getting my hands on the anime has proved difficult and it was nice to finally see a regular episode (I'd seen one OAV episode) and find it was a good and faithful adaptation.

I saw an episode of another elusive Takahashi series on Friday; Rumiko Takahashi Theatre, a series based on a number of the woman's short stories. It was an episode called "The House of Garbage", which was a great story about a young family whose house is mysteriously taken for a garbage dump. Although I mostly hate children, it was rather refreshing to see anime centred on a couple with kids, instead of yet another focused on teenagers.

Before that, I sat through a fascinatingly awful episode of a series called Dan Doh, the titular character being a very young golf caddie whose strange wisdom about the course has brought success for Japan's champion. The characters somewhat resemble Dragon Ball Z people, with their spiky hair and trapezoidal eyes, and they regard the game with the same, er, intensity. It was really strange to see a series that took golf so seriously, while still relying on ridiculous plot contrivances to create tension--in the episode I saw, Dan Doh was not there to help his master because, having been up all night preparing for the match, he was found fast asleep the next morning, and it was deemed rude to awaken him for the actual match.

I also sat through a few terrible Magic Princess-style shows whose titles I didn't bother to notice. I saw a decent series called Risky Safety, a rather funny series called Leave it to Piyoko, and, when Tim was with me on Saturday, we both decided to walk out on an excruciatingly dull series called Nanka 6/17.

Good or bad, though, it was nice to see this year that everything was in Japanese with subtitles.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I saw Clerks II last night and liked it. I think maybe I'm really jaded because I wasn't grossed out at all by it, contrary to what Joel Siegel, Roger Ebert, and a number of other critics experienced. And I thought the gross stuff was funny. In fact, the movie only stumbles a couple times when it tries to be soft, particularly during musical montages that use light, classic rock or R&B. Smith just doesn't know enough songs of that sort. I noticed the same problem with Jersey Girl--both movies use songs in scenes where you've just recently heard the same song used in a similar situation in another movie. In this case, it was Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, which I'd just heard in Spider-Man 2.

But there are plenty of things I like about the movie. Rosario Dawson next to Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson reminds us why we like beautiful people in movies. Which is not to say O'Halloran or Anderson do poorly--they do very well, as does Jason Mewes and Trevor Fehrman, who plays an awkward Christian geek with just the right amount of sincerity.

Roger Ebert referred to the movie's philosophy as shallow. I won't tell you what it is, as finding it out is essentially the movie's climax, but I don't think it's shallow. Maybe simple. And probably, I think, something a lot of young people might need to hear.

The movie lacks some of the realistic feel of the first film, but it's not nearly as cartoonish as the animated series, existing somewhere in between. But it was good. I certainly hope Smith makes more of these instead of more Jersey Girls--though I must say I kind of liked Jersey Girl.

I saw a trailer for that Pathfinder movie the Fox people were plugging at the Comic-Con. It looks lamer now. I feel a real loathing fermenting inside me for its cinematography. It's like watching a movie through a camouflage blindfold. And whenever I see the title, I feel like there ought to be a tagline; "1300 years before it was an SUV, Pathfinder was . . . a movie!"

Friday, July 28, 2006

The new Boschen and Nesuko's up. It feels like a victory. The Comic-Con put me so far behind on this chapter, I had to do two pages a day most days of this past week.

Did I cut any corners? Hmm, let's just say if your name happens to be Caitlín, Robyn, or Sonya, maybe I've slightly robbed your likenesses . . .

Monday, July 24, 2006

Not much was happening to-day on this, the last, day of the Comic-Con. So I took the opportunity to wander the floor and hand out dopey little cards I'd made for my web site. It was still pretty crowded, especially considering nothing much was going on. It was definitely a very crowded Con this year.

On Thursday I rode downtown with my sister, who had free valet parking at the Hilton across the street from the convention centre. This was for a job she'd gotten for the Con, handing out flyers across the street. She didn't know what the flyers were for until she got there--it was part of a promotion for the upcoming movie Accepted, starring Justin Long (the "Mac" from the new Macintosh commercials. I prefer the PC actor, myself) and Lewis Black. On Friday, there was a "kegger" held in front of the Hilton attended by the cast of the movie. My sister got a pass for it, and met Justin Long and some others. The only cast member I would have been interested in seeing was Lewis Black, whose luggage, my sister tells me, was in the middle of the room in the Hilton. Due to some mix-up, Black was not reserved a room of his own, and my sister said he spent a lot of time standing around, smoking, and looking very angry.

My sister's boss offered me a pass to the kegger, but there's something about the word "kegger" I find to be uninspiring.

I only saw one panel on Thursday--a panel of Science Fiction authors including Elizabeth Bear, Greg Bear, Josh Conviser, Karen Traviss, Kevin J. Anderson, and Vernor Vinge. Of them, I'd only read Kevin J. Anderson and Elizabeth Bear--and only some Star Wars books in high school by the former and one short story by the latter. But it seemed like it might be interesting, and I was tired of not getting into panels all day because of all the other people trying to get in. Even this one was pretty damned crowded and there were a lot of people forced to stand.

The topic for the panel to discuss was, as stated in the programme; "Is SF/Fantasy getting too bloody depressing and denying us escape from grim reality?" In the one hour allocated for the panel, it seemed no-one managed to say much on the subject. In fact, aside from words of mutual admiration, the authors seemed barely able to communicate with one another. Of course, it's, if anything, a complicated subject to tackle. So maybe that's why many of them held forth on tangential things--Kevin J. Anderson began talking about how inaccessible truly fine Science Fiction can be. Karen Traviss, who'd suggested the topic, mentioned several times that she doesn't actually read. Everyone agreed that conflict was essential to drama. Vernor Vinge mentioned how things were more innocent in the fifties, when he was growing up, and people were afraid less, while Greg Bear talked about how when he was growing up in the fifties, people were more frightened than they are to-day because of the atomic bomb, and I couldn't tell if they realised they were disagreeing with each other.

Ray Bradbury spoke rather highly of Greg Bear on his panel, so I feel I might try and check out the guy's work at some point. And I read Elizabeth Bear's blog now and then, so she's also on my ever expanding list of things I very much need to read, too.

I saw a heads up in Neil Gaiman's blog regarding how crowded panels had been this year, so I showed up to the programme in hall H scheduled before the Stardust presentation. This was the 20th Century Fox presentation, beginning with footage from the upcoming Eragon, which, according to the Fox rep., is a much beloved fantasy classic, even if the movie looks like Fox's cynical stab at the Lord of the Rings cash cow. The film's young star, Edward Speleers, came out to talk to us, looking like a pretty milksop. The movie also has Jeremy Irons and John Malcovich, and Weta's doing the special effects. Who knows? Maybe it'll be good.

Next, three stars from the upcoming Reno: 911 movie came out, in character, and were mildly amusing. Less amusing was Sacha Baron Cohen, who appeared next, also in character, to promote his new movie Borat. It looks like a cross between Yakov Smirnov and Jackass.

The director of Pathfinder came out and showed clips from his movie in which Vikings bearing a curious resemblance to orcs fight Native Americans, captured by a cinematography resembling spinach smeared on a kleenex.

At last, there came the Stardust panel with Neil Gaiman, Jane Goldman, and Charles Vess.

The clips from Stardust looked promising. Michelle Pfeiffer comes across very well, and the young man playing Tristran seems charming and cute.

Neil Gaiman seemed extremely tired, Jane Goldman's hair was a cheerful sort of red neon, and Charles Vess just sat there, silent and smiling. Someone asked if Tori Amos is going to play the tree in the movie and both Gaiman and Goldman said they very much hope she will, though they've not yet reached the phase of production where that will be decided.

The panel, which was technically the Paramount panel, concluded with the Paramount rep. relaying a message from Optimus Prime on his cell phone, thereby revealing that Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime in the old series, will be the voice of Optimus Prime in the new movie.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I got into the Comic-Con at about 11:30am to-day, and walked into hall H where, to my surprise, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were onstage, just starting to talk about their new "double feature" movie called Grindhouse. Tarantino wasn't listed in the programme for the panel, only for a signing to take place later. This was probably wise as the audience was much smaller than it would have been.

From the clips they showed us--yeesh, what a grand fucking movie Grindhouse is gonna be. A heavy bass soundtrack with an enormous, scab-red title preceded footage of Michael Beihn as a cop talking shit, of Rose McGowan pole dancing, some "babysitter twins" beating the shit out of a car with sledgehammers, Danny Trejo mounting a mini-gun on his motorcycle, and kung fu. The crowning image was Rose McGowan's amputated leg being replaced with a huge gun--like Rodriguez's Mariachi who, robbed of his ability to play guitar, makes of his guitar case a thing of violence, so the exotic dancer's leg becomes an instrument of carnage.

After the footage, dames from the movie joined the directors on the panel; Rose McGowan, Marley Shelton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sydney Tamiia Potier, Rosario Dawson, and, the star of Tarantino's half of the double feature, playing herself, stuntwoman Zoe Bell.

A double feature it shall genuinely be, as Rodriguez and Tarantino are each filming full length movies, making for a roughly four hour experience. Tarantino's half has not yet been shot--all the clips were from Rodriguez's--but Quentin said that while Rodriguez's is a zombie film ("and so much more than that," McGowan was quick to interject), Quentin's is a slasher film with a villain played by Kurt Russell, with whom they had just made the deal last night.

So I'm pretty hyped to see Grindhouse now, a film I'd only barely heard of before this morning. But I had gone into hall H to see Kevin Smith, who was to be promoting Clerks 2--since it's been extremely hard to get into the rooms this year, I figured I'd beat the line by catching the preceding panel and just camping in the room all day.

But when Tarantino and Rodriguez were taking questions from the audience, one of the questioners, a meek-voiced bald man who turned out to be guy in charge of the Comic-Con, asked the Grindhouse panel to stay an extra thirty minutes because Kevin Smith was late ("Are you for real?" asked Rodriguez. "Yes--you can't buy these," said the administrator, holding up his black badge). Tarantino's not known for brief monologues and found no difficulty in filling another thirty minutes, chattering about his half of Grindhouse, called Deathproof, how he wants all the women from that movie in his next movie so that the trailers can say, "Those Deathproof girls are at it again!", and explaining to one beach-bum fellow that he didn't actually know Dick Dale when he decided to use his music for Pulp Fiction.

Finally, the Grindhouse panel had to leave, and the little Comic-Con administrator guy had time to fill because Kevin Smith was still stuck in traffic, twenty miles away. He said to the crowd, "Well, in room 20 upstairs, Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, and Forrest J. Ackerman are conducting a panel. We can put up the video feed of that--" A few cheers came from the crowd. "--Or, Warner Brothers has provided us with footage from their upcoming movie, Beerfest." Lots of cheers, hoots, and applause came from the audience. "Well, okay," the little man said sadly, "I guess culture loses to-day."

Beerfest seems like a very dull movie.

Anyway, afterwards, the administrator returned and again asked if we'd like the feed from the Bradbury/Harryhausen/Ackerman panel upstairs, and this time a group of people somewhere in the middle of the hall cheered as hard as they could, and the feed was given.

Mostly Bradbury talked and took questions. He told stories about meeting Marlene Dietrich and W.C. Fields, about how he walked out of a talk show in England during the moon landing because the talk show host was more interested in hearing what Englebert Humperdink thought of the event. One questioner asked what it felt like to be in the creative process, and Bradbury replied, "It's like sex. So go home and write something." Everyone laughed and Ackerman said, "None of us can top that, so that concludes this panel . . ."

Afterwards, the room was without diversion again, so I took the opportunity to change the shoestring on my left shoe, which had broken earlier in the day. After a few minutes, Rosario Dawson came back on stage. Just visibly pregnant, the actress introduced herself as Kevin Smith and managed to blather fairly charmingly for a while, answering what questions she could about Clerks 2, plugging her own comic book, and even singing a song from Rent. One questioner suggested she call Smith on her cell phone. "We're not gonna have a Joel Siegel moment, here," she said, laughing. But, taking out her cell phone, she reached the man in his car, still miles away, who said to us, when the phone was put to the mic, "Hey everyone, it's Kevin; I was just talking to Joel Siegel."

He said he couldn't get to the Con because there were, "Too many fucking people walking around dressed like Robin."

I decided not to stay for the panels after that, because I was hungry and tired, and I've been going to a Mexican place called Pokez for lunch every day of the Con and they have wonderful tofu burritos. I'm kind of sorry I didn't stay for the Ghostrider/Spider-Man 3 presentation, which, according to this CHUD article, was pretty impressive.

Anyway, I was at the Con from 7am 'til 5pm on Thursday and Friday and I have lots more to tell, but now I must sleep, because I'm going again to-morrow . . .

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm tired like I really didn't want to be to-day. To-morrow's the first day of Comic-Con, so I've been trying to get a leg up on Boschen and Nesuko. Only this script has been coming out like giant granola bars through a baby walrus oesophagus. Which is to say, it's been slow. So even though I'm getting up stupid early to-morrow, I decided to let myself sleep naturally last night, so I could bring full concentration to bear on the script to-day. I didn't know I was going to be sleeping in a fucking furnace. It is too fucking hot around here, and that's that. I heard 2006 is shaping up to be even hotter than 2005.

I bought the first two Spider-Man movies from Best Buy a couple weeks ago. They were in a pack together for 15 dollars. Hard to say no to, and I'm glad I didn't, as the movies are a lot of fun.

Watching them so close together, the difference in the look of the two movies was very stark. The first movie was shot in 1:85:1 aspect ratio, which surprised me, as all other superhero movies I've seen have been 2:35:1--from Donner's and Singer's Supermans, to Burton's and Nolan's Batmans. Spider-Man 2, though, goes to 2:35:1, according to imdb, to accommodate Doctor Octopus’s tentacles.

But the big difference was in cinematography--the lighting and the use of colour was completely different. I was struck, watching the first movie, by the rich use of colour, almost like an old Technicolor movie, especially when it came to red. You had Tobey Maguire's bright red lips, Spider-Man's costume, Mary Jane's hair and Chinese gown. All contrasting sharply with bright green for the Goblin. There was something kind of pleasantly lush about it.

The second movie, which indeed had a different cinematographer, looks almost as though it was lit for black and white film. With black shadows and light brightly reflecting off surfaces like people's foreheads, it had a sort of dour quality. I guess it was okay, and maybe it helped the cgi look a little more convincing. I love the action sequences in those movies, even when they look fake, simply because they're so well put together. I don't know what convinced Christopher Nolan to try to follow Spider-Man 2's el train sequence with one of his own in Batman Begins, but it's nowhere near as good.

I wonder how Spider-Man 3's going to look. I wonder a lot of things about that movie, especially since reading about Danny Elfman's very nasty split from the franchise.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oy, my head hurts, and I feel dim. So here's more YouTube time-employment;

P.J. Harvey, with people;


Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm in a 1970s era Bowie mood to-day. Something about what Jon Stewart referred to Thursday as "World War III"--Kim Jong Il's dangerous looniness coming to a head while Israel seems poised for war with nearly every country in its vicinity. Adding this to the troubles in Iraq, and I find it hard not to think of "Five Years" and the entire Ziggy Stardust album.

I was always quite taken with the idea of the boy in the bright blue jeans, jumping up on the stage while the world is dying around him. I guess that really wouldn't fly in the Middle East. Kim Jong Il would at least dig the hair, I think.

Speaking of our sexually ambiguous, misfit saviours, I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest yesterday. I liked it better than the first one--I thought the dialogue was better, I thought Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner were far more interesting--to the point of actually being characters contributing to the film--and I greatly preferred the concept of Davey Jones' damned crew over the lame "undead" curse from the previous film, in which the dead people weren't even actually dead.

I thought I was going to be annoyed to distraction by the new movie's slapstick, but I actually quite liked it. Instead of Jack Sparrow bouncing around like a cartoon for the sake of it, the arrangements were genuinely inventive. It reminded me of 1940s cartoons where the artists weren't amazed at the concept of making a cartoon, and had moved on to, "Okay, what would be great?" And it had a Chaplin/Keaton-esque quality, too.

Being the avid Caitlin R. Kiernan reader I am, I had to love the half pirate, half strange sea organism concept, especially as it played out in the designs.

The movie's considerable length was almost unnoticeable as the story pulled you right along. Of course, I've only seen it once so it's hard to really judge, as I found my appreciation for the first film diminished precipitously upon second viewing. But right now, I say thumbs up.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The new Boschen and Nesuko is up very early. This is because I'm seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie in the middle of the day.

Boschen and Nesuko's at four hundred pages now. Sheesh. This is getting embarrassing. I promise it's almost over. There couldn't possibly be more than four more chapters . . . I don't think . . . Maybe. Less than eighty.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Genma Saotome from Ranma 1/2;

And the title character from Jack Black's upcoming cgi movie, Kung Fu Panda;

So, what? Let's churn out another crappy cg movie, and, for the requisite 1% of creativity, let's rob a popular anime series nonetheless unknown to mainstream American movie audiences?

Bite me, Hollywood.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday was such a little day. I pushed Saturday night to 4am, watching more Tom Waits videos on YouTube. So I got up at around noon. I'm beginning to wonder if I can really keep up this daytime schedule. I slept from 2am to 9am this time, but my doubt's not quite allayed.

I find something really dispiriting about sunlight. It just seems to reveal crumbling concrete and dying plants. And it's really fucking bright. And hot. This has been an update.

I did still manage to do yesterday's Boschen and Nesuko page, and was surprised when I managed to convey more in a couple panels than I meant to but really, actually, needed to. Sometimes you just have to let things ooze through the seams by themselves.

The night before had put me in a serious Tom Waits mood, so I decided to listen to every Tom Waits album I have, in chronological order. At one time, the only Tom Waits albums I didn't have were The Heart of Saturday Night and Foreign Affairs. But I lost my copy of Heart Attack and Vine about a year ago, and yesterday I couldn't find Swordfishtrombones anywhere. Still, I've a lot of Tom Waits albums. I went from Closing Time to Rain Dogs yesterday, so I'm starting with Frank's Wild Years to-day.

Hang on, Saint Christopher . . .

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I feel like there's going to be a really nasty war with North Korea. Yesterday, Tim told me that North Korea had aimed one of its missiles at Hawaii and that the only reason it didn't get there was that it had mechanical failures over the Sea of Japan. I think Tim misread something, because I can't find any information on it online. Still, I can't imagine Kim Jong Il dying without doing something big and stupid. I'll be interested to see how the thinly stretched U.S. resources are managed when it does become an issue. Isn't it wonderful that we're spending billions of dollars a month to accomplish little or nothing? Sometimes I think George W. Bush is a spy sent in to destroy this country through bankruptcy.

I hope Japan doesn't get destroyed.

The past few nights, I've been watching Azumanga Daioh, which may be the most adorable television series ever created. Of all the anime I've seen, this is the series that reminds me most of Peanuts, maybe because the manga it's extremely faithful to is closer to the traditional newspaper comic strip. Well, and the humour's similar, only much dryer. Dry and cute--that's Azumanga Daioh.

Yep, I finally got a video player with a screen capture function. May whatever gods you worship have mercy on your soul.

(In Japan, one brings their own handkerchief to dry their hands in public restrooms).

It's a decent series. And very well apportioned--one episode a night seems to completely satisfy me.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Thursday's not so bad on this strange day schedule. But it still meant I had to be out, and there was really nothing for me to do out in the world, and I really just wanted to be back here, working on storyboards for Boschen and Nesuko. I mainly just drove around, but I also had an enormous spanakopeta for lunch at University Town Centre. A spanakopeta, if you don't know, is a Greek spinach pie.

Eventually I got back, did those storyboards, and watched Sunset Boulevard before going to Tim's and playing Oblivion, in which I had a decidedly Lovecraftian experience.

I was in the town of Chorral when a shopkeeper told me about her daughter, Dar-ma, who had not returned from a town to the south called Hackdirt, where she'd gone to acquire some trade goods. The shopkeeper begged me to go looking for her daughter.

Outside Chorral's south gate, I asked an Altmer about Hackdirt. He told me there was some kind of very bad trouble there many years ago, but he wouldn't say what exactly; maybe he didn't know. The trouble was bad enough that the Legion was called in. He said most people believed the town didn't exist anymore. It exists, he said, but it's not a nice place, certainly not a place you want to be after dark.

The shopkeeper had seemed naïve enough that I believed she didn't know any better when she sent her daughter to Hackdirt. I started going south after feeding off a boy I found sleeping in the stables--my character's a vampire, by the way. A tall Nord woman I named Ilsa. And, yes, I was thinking of Ingrid Bergman.

It was around midnight when I found Hackdirt. It was fairly enshrouded by trees, so I didn't notice it until I was confronted by blackened, burnt out husks of buildings. Only in the centre of town were there buildings that looked as they were in working order, and there weren't many--an inn, a warehouse, a couple houses, and a chapel. I found Dar-ma's horse in one of the ruined buildings behind the warehouse. So I broke into the warehouse but didn't find anything unusual, aside from the fact that it was somewhat disarrayed, with overturned furniture, cupboards, crates, and sacks. I was to find this sort of thing in every building I entered in Hackdirt, including the inn, where I went next, and which I found strangely deserted. In one of the rooms upstairs, I found Dar-ma's diary in which she mentioned a creepy innkeeper who gave her dirty looks.

I was beginning to think the town had been spontaneously abandoned a few hours earlier. But I soon after found the town's entire small population gathered inside the chapel. I learned it was something they did every midnight as part of a ritual they referred to as "the Gathering." Most of the people I talked to angrily told me to leave immediately. The innkeeper was there, a grey-haired woman, who told me in irritated tones that she didn't remember meeting anyone matching Dar-ma's description, and that the horse was her own and she'd had it for years.

Eventually one man was willing to speak to me, first leading me away from the crowd and to his house. He told me the townsfolk worshipped the Deep Ones, and that they gathered each night to summon them. Dar-ma, he told me, was being held in some caverns under the town, which could be reached via trapdoors found in nearly every building.

I found Dar-ma in the caverns, and freed her after killing a few men who came at me with clubs. I never saw any Deep Ones, but it was a pretty damned cool experience anyway. I keep meaning to go back to Hackdirt and really search.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I feel I must point out these nude photos of The Dresden Dolls. They're work safe, if you work someplace that let's you look at porn.
Damn, sleeping at night is hard. I managed it only fitfully. I think I got five hours, broken up quite a bit before I admitted defeat at around 4am.

I didn't end up doing much besides vegetate yesterday. I watched the last five episodes of School Rumble's first season. The last episode was really strange, though I think maybe I'd have preferred it be a smidgeon stranger. It was bizarre, yet made a lot of sense at the same time.

I also read an article Sonya sent me a link to. It explores the similarities between Taxi Driver and Notes from the Underground, and was quite interesting.

I'm glad July 4 is over. Though I think it was the July 4 I was in my life most insensible of. I watched anime in my dark, closed room and fell asleep as the distant thumps of fireworks began their dirge.

To-day I need to work on the new Boschen and Nesuko script, so I'm unhappy at my lack of sleep. I always have a harder time telling if I'm writing well this way.

I suppose I'll just suckle the coffee teat a little harder . . . (that's coffee, not Coffy, though I wouldn't mind the latter either).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I was up and at them at 7:30am this morning. So yesterday apparently accomplished that much (though it rendered "them" warier).

Just as I'd anticipated, I had no real sleep on Sunday night. I kind of relaxed awhile, but it never got serious. At around 4:30am, I decided to soak in the beginning of Once Upon a Time in the West, a few beautifully shot moments of waiting at a train station, and then I left to wait at the trolley station.

Apparently I was rather fortunate to choose July 3, as trials rarely begin the day before a holiday. So I was able to leave at 11am, and I don't have to go back.

Being out and about on so little sleep and on foot makes the world seem curiously big. I got out at Grossmont Centre on the return trip to eat tofu and eggplant in garlic sauce. There was a creepy business-suit guy sitting across from me on the trolley. He chewed altoids and asked me about La Mesa and El Cajon like he'd just purchased both cities.

In the Juror's lounge, I'd finished reading Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground, which was a good book, but reading so much Dostoyevsky in such a short period had left me feeling somewhat wild and giddy. I find I'm encountering the concept of alien personalities spontaneously forming in a society often these days. Notes from the Underground is told from the perspective of one seemingly at odds with everyone just by virtue of his nature, and he finds it a painful situation. It was interesting because the narrator was a flawed personality whom I couldn't nevertheless fail to recognise as being much smarter than me. But his was definitely an alien's dilemma, and I was reminded of Taxi Driver and of one of the new anime series I've been watching lately, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which is about a teenage girl who's convinced she's an alien because everyone around her is very dull. In what is both the first and second episode (the episodes are arranged peculiarly, seemingly jumbled entirely--the first episode is actually the eleventh, the second the first), Haruhi and the series' male lead, Kyon, discuss the possibility that all significant advancement in our world has been achieved by a few very unusual individuals who are possibly aliens.

Anyway. Sorry, Lou Dobbs--you cannot stop the illegal alien within.

I feel a bit dim to-day. I guess that's to be expected with the abrupt schedule flip. I may just vegetate to-day . . .

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Boy, I'm sure not looking forward to to-morrow. I have jury duty, the reporting time for which is 7:45am. I went to bed at 8am this morning, and woke up at 3:30pm. I don't know how this is gonna go. I suppose I'll try to sleep at 11pm to-night, but I don't for a moment think I'm going to be able to pull it off. Likely I'll just be sitting in the jury lounge, staring blankly at a page in my book, probably missing the call for me completely.

I find myself wondering if a brief incarceration would really be worse. At least I can sleep in a cell.

On the other hand, this would be a good time to flip my sleeping schedule for the upcoming Comic-Con. I'm sure looking forward to that thing. I just hope I'm not assigned to the trial of the century to-morrow, thereby being forced to sit in a courtroom just blocks from the convention centre.

The cruelty of the circumstance would be cemented by the fact that my sister is actually getting paid 250 dollars a day to hand out fliers at the Comic-Con. I keep telling her she oughta dress as Black Canary.

Well, I guess I'll go to Tim's now and play Oblivion for a while. My character in that game recently became a vampire, a condition improved from the previous game. Now when you drink someone's blood, your character actually leans over and puts mouth to neck. And sunlight reddens your skin whilst smoke emanates from you.

Unfortunately, sunlight doesn't seem to affect NPC vampires the same way, as the one who made my character a vampire chased me out of his tomb, across mountains and fields, all the way to the town of Chorral, in broad daylight.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

One thing I forgot to say about Superman Returns the other day;

Perry White has this line, you've probably seen it in the trailers, about Superman; "Does he still stand for truth, justice--all that stuff?"

Hmm, what's missing from that statement? Personally, I entirely understand where Singer's coming from. I can't wait for someone on Fox News to bitch about it; "What, is Superman too good for the American way, now?" Just so I can then hear the silent but emphatic "yes" coming from the whole world.

YouTube is deadly addictive. I spent hours this morning watching Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The Dresden Dolls, and Mazzy Star.

I loved this Mazzy Star appearance on Conan O'Brian. Conan looks like he's going to destroy poor little Hope Sandoval with his handshake.