Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Musicals that Need to Be Made

Someone needs to make this movie RIGHT FUCKING NOW. From howardstern.com;


Inspired by the new cast of 'Dancing with the Stars,' Howard imagined an Afghani remake of 'Footloose' called 'Footless,' in which the “godless” dancers are punished with amputations. Howard said he'd film a stoning for the opening scene, stunt-cast Kevin Bacon as General Petraeus and envisioned a scene in which a worried father turns in his children: "You did the right thing! Your daughter's out of control. We will remove her uterus."

Howard also hoped to cast Lindsay Lohan as an ill-fated drifter: "She could play an epileptic woman. She could come to town and have an epileptic fit and they'd accidentally cut her feet off." His cast included Jennifer Lopez as a dancer ("They cut off her ass!") and Mel Gibson as an Afghani-sympathetic beekeeper: "Here in Afghanistan we train our bees to hate women and Jews!"

Can You Paint with All the Colours of Radiation?

Watching a clip from "The Crusade" to-day, a Doctor Who serial, half of the episodes of which are lost, I found myself marvelling at what a gigantic person Barbara is. And I had to remind myself that after Barbara's departure, the worlds of Doctor Who tend to feature only very tiny women.

"Colony in Space", the serial I finished watching to-day, introduced two female characters in the titular colony, a tiny one and one who got killed in the first episode. I guess I can't really complain, though, especially as Jo Grant was radiantly cute in her Disney Cheshire Cat shirt.

I really liked this particularly serial, first of all because it featured the Doctor travelling somewhere in his TARDIS. It was good, old fashioned Who. It wasn't until the second episode that the serial had me thinking to myself, "Wait . . . Humans mining for a substance essential for Earth's survival on an alien world, inhabited by 'primitives', telepathic blue/green spear wielding natives? This is Avatar!"

To be fair, "Colony in Space" is a more complex story than Avatar--which isn't saying much. Though it's not the simplicity or well tread nature of Avatar's essential story that bothers me about it. "Colony in Space" is superior for me just by having the Doctor in it. The Master helps, too--even though I generally haven't liked the Master so far, I do think Robert Delgado's performances as the character were good, and here I like that he and the Doctor have their own motives while all this other shit's going on around them.

But the main thing is, I didn't find the story as abrasive as Avatar because the natives in this case weren't portrayed as saints. I hate two dimensional characters in any case, but perfectly good people annoy me a lot faster than perfectly bad people, as one could point out are the Master and the impressively evil looking Morris Perry as the guy in charge of the mining operation.

The aliens help the protagonists sometimes, sometimes they hinder them, all depending on their own needs. Some of the decisions they make seem good from a human moral perspective, some seem wrong.

The serial also featured a character played by Bernard Kay, looking a bit like Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York. Apparently this was the last of four Doctor Who serials he'd been in, but two of those were ones I'd skipped over due to missing episodes. I remembered him very well from "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" where he easily stood out from four or five other guys, all playing human rebels. Kay was distinguished there entirely by his performance--he has that thing genuinely good actors have, where they give you the impression that they're acting inside their minds, too. The look in his eyes says he's really thinking about what he's going to say regarding the Daleks or about the rights of the colonists. He seems kind of Harrison Ford-ish to me, and I'd have liked to have seen him play Allan Quatermain or some other rugged English adventurer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Insulation for the Galaxy

Twitter Sonnet #177

Sad spaghetti speaks of useless walking.
Too much cheese barrages a Taco Bell.
Curdled cherubs rocket through line kicking.
Drive-through windows have taught demons too well.
Sun's rubber wrap crushes a minivan.
Mormon tunnel punctures a burger place.
Thousand hooks stop the fall of Peter Pan.
Calico cad's caught by a spray of mace.
No enterprise eclipses egg shell blue.
Pastel metal holds a house together.
Discount a chocolate bunny's derring-do.
Risk takes row boats down in liquid weather.
Blank graffiti grabs for a good mind's throat.
Pink lemonade dyes the luminous moat.

When did Penn Jillette get to be so damn boring? I followed a link on his twitter to this video which is over ten minutes of Jillette discussing whether or not Finland is a Scandinavian country.

My comic has some Finnish readers, from the pictures I've seen it looks like a lovely country, I like Nightwish's Wishmaster album, and I can even say the question of whether or not Finland is a Scandinavian country is mildly interesting to me. But not stretched out over ten comedy-free minutes. It's true, I only watched half of the video, so maybe it does get funny at some point, but the guy lost me.

But I remember liking Penn Jillette, so I clicked on another of his videos, called "Fuck You Seth MacFarlane! - The Tea Party is Racist?". I know Jillette's a libertarian, so I was hoping the video would at least get me angry with him--you know, that it would provoke me. Something. But, first of all, his argument that in order for an organisation to be racist it must call itself racist is so off as to be bizarre. The Nazi party was racist, but they considered themselves to be about saving Germany. Personally, I don't think the Tea Party actually has much of a philosophy, just a lot of complaints, many of those having to do with a vague umbrella about how it's the government's fault for fucking things up. A lot of racists happen to be anti-government, and anti-left, people, so naturally there would be a lot of racists in the tea party, which accounts for Rand Paul.

Then I watched the Larry King segment Jillette was talking about and I saw MacFarlane never even actually called the Tea Party racist. Rachel Harris, another panellist, did, and MacFarlane did not appear to disagree, so maybe Jillette just didn't consider her name big enough to use for the title of his video. And an argument that Jillette finds particularly offensive, an argument he attributes to MacFarlane, the argument that the tea party are an illegitimate organisation because they have backing from extremely rich politically partisan individuals, isn't even an argument MacFarlane actually made. Jillette stresses that MacFarlane called the tea partiers "puppets" when in fact MacFarlane had only called the rich political backers "puppeteers". And there is an important difference between saying someone is trying to control a group of people and saying a group of people are essentially mindless zombies. MacFarlane also at no point says that the Tea Party is "not a real movement" as Jillette quotes him as saying. Jillette goes on with a completely fabricated argument which he attributes to MacFarlane, that the Tea Party is illegitimate because it argues against it's own self-interest, universal healthcare. Jillette holds forth about how a group of people can believe in a fundamental idea that might not lead to them being comfortable, how that's actually virtuous.

So, the point of Jillette's big, rambling, impassioned video is that in some circumstances an aspect of a phenomenon MacFarlane is putting down is good.

I actually watched a clip of Jillette on Glenn Beck after this. Both of them seem like guys who haven't slept in days and have been drinking a lot so that really meaningless, superficial arguments sound extremely important and profound.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Knights in Bottles

Every time I think I'm conveying an adequate level of brutality for a story set in the Middle Ages, I read about something absolutely terrible that happened that I simply wouldn't have thought of. For example, yesterday I was reading Joseph and Frances Gies' Life in a Medieval Castle and came across this;

In the First Crusade, when the Turks besieged the Crusaders in the castle of Xerigordo near Nicaea and cut off their water supply, the beleaguered Christians suffered terrific hardships, drinking their horses' blood and each other's urine, and burying themselves in damp earth in hope of absorbing the moisture. After eight days without water the Christians surrendered, and were killed or sold as slaves.

It always amazes me how people still have relatively idyllic impressions of the Middle Ages, but then, I suspect a lot of people in this country have no real grasp of how horrible things are for a lot of people in the world even now.

By the way, this is the chess game shown in the latest Venia's Travels on my cheap glass chess board;

The last move was the transparent rook to the square next to the opaque king. The tipped over pawn is a queen.

I played against myself using old rules, which are, according to Wikipedia;

In early chess the moves of the pieces were:

* King: as now.
* Queen: one square diagonally, only.
* Bishop:
o In the version that went into Persia: two squares diagonally (no more or less), but could jump over a piece between
o In a version sometimes found in India in former times: two squares sideways or front-and-back (no more or less), but could jump over a piece between.
o In versions found in Southeast Asia: one square diagonally, or one square forwards.
* Knight: as now.
* Rook: as now.
* Pawn: one square forwards (not two), capturing one square diagonally forward; promoted to queen only.

I went with the first of the three types of bishop, which made the piece a lot like the knight. All together, the main difference with the game was that it went a lot slower. Even after victory was sure for the transparent side, it took forever to get checkmate. One can see the newer rules simply streamlined the game.

I've been playing chess almost nightly lately, but I haven't won a game in weeks. Though about half the time I lose because of the timer running out. I simply don't understand the point of blitz games--to me, the whole point of chess is the two opponents pitting strategy against one another. If one person makes a wrong decision because of time pressure, to me that's like getting a diminished version of a game. I know, I've complained about this before, so it's probably sounding like sour grapes, which is pretty much the reason I continue to agree to playing with a timer.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lesbian Visions

A couple weeks ago, Howard Stern mentioned his infamous visit to The To-night Show that caused Jay Leno to walk off the stage. Watching the clips yesterday, it's amazing to see how tame it is by to-day's standards, and I actually felt for once that our society has progressed in the 15 years since, at least enough to where a lesbian kiss--or even play-lesbian kiss--isn't a big deal on television.

It's funny how Leno feebly defends his reticence by saying the spanking would need a premise around it--he doesn't get it, what makes the bit funny is how uncomfortable he is. The most fascinating part for me, though, is when Leno's literally waving a bible at Stern, saying of the book, "Suddenly all this is making perfect sense to me." He says it with a little twinkle, like he's making a joke, but it has enough sincerity you know it's meant to be a little coded message to his homophobic viewers, "Don't stop watching my show, I'm on your side." Not that I think he's actually sincere about either stance, he's just a pandering weasel.

I'm about halfway through "The Claws of Axos", the first Doctor Who serial to feature companion Jo Grant in a miniskirt. I actually kind of liked the pants and sweaters Jo was wearing in the previous serial--she's so androgynous, she's like a little David Bowie or Mick Jagger tagging along with the Doctor. He's not nearly as flirtatious with her, though, which is one of the things that makes Liz Shaw a bit more exciting to me, though I think the Doctor might somewhat reluctantly sleep with Jo at some point.

The sexual dynamics on the show are really striking by modern standards--Jo's one extraordinarily tiny girl among a number of curiously large men and, jeez, is she passive.

I do long for a female companion with a bit more spit and fire. So far, my dream team consists of Liz, Vicki, Jamie, and the third Doctor. Yes, in spite of the problems I have with the show so far during his tenure, I have to admit Pertwee's my favourite of the first three Doctors. He's a lot more versatile than Hartnell and a lot subtler than Troughton. I also kind of like the moments where Pertwee demonstrates the Doctor's martial arts prowess. And the bit in "Mind of Evil" where he flips over a table on the Master was as excellent an action scene as one could want from the show, especially with the Doctor's cute ruse about spilling water.

I've been less than impressed by the Master so far--for one thing, I don't buy the Doctor, Jo, and the Brigadier calling him "The Master". I think they'd invent another name for him, like "Mr. Droopy Pants" or something.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dressing Properly

Twitter Sonnet #176

Disney's dagger draws an inky liquid.
Bad water bubbles from the goblin frog.
The Lampshade's shouts are always insipid.
Blinding bulbs crack the criminal lost dog.
Contaminated green eyes see bright grey.
Strange olive oil salesmen garrotte God.
Voyeur drops leap from dramatic sea spray.
So salt streams send aloft a frenzied cod.
Golden faerie fish find fermenting corn.
Weak bourbon weeps for the want of water.
Fake angles defy geometry's scorn.
Biangle married the merman's daughter.
Venus invites violent screens of milk shake.
Icy sheets of nourishment wash cheap steak.

I watched Viridiana last night, a 1961 Luis Brunuel film, a very pessimistic and insightful film about human nature.

I kept trying to think of who Francisco Rabal, who played the character called Jorge in the movie, reminded me of;

Finally I realised it was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Obviously the movie was made long before anyone heard of Ahmadinejad, but apart from some physical resemblance, Jorge has the similar style and manner of a rich, powerful, self-serving and secular gentleman, which is fitting as his character is set up as a contrast to the title character, Viridiana, his deeply religious cousin who's about to become a nun at the beginning of the movie.

I have a feeling Jorge may have been inspired by another dictator, Francisco Franco, the dictator whose rise to power had prompted Brunuel to flee Spain. But the movie doesn't quite break down into a right versus left mentality, rather it seems intent on showing how inappropriate it is to put human beings in either mould. Classes are clearly portrayed by the film--the family to which Viridiana and Jorge belong is very rich, and the patriarch, Don Jaime, Jorge's father and Viridiana's uncle, is a man shown to have been driven somewhat mad by the isolation caused by his wealth, position, and death of his wife. The pious Viridiana works somewhat as the audience avatar as Jaime's wretched behaviour seems partially responsible for her idea to open his large house to beggars after Jaime's suicide. Jorge moves in as well, and his insensitive and cool behaviour immediately makes him less sympathetic that the physically and mentally ill poor that Viridiana takes in.

However, the movie puts together a series of events, not unlikely in themselves but perhaps implausibly unlucky cumulatively, that show the lower class to be at least as vile as Jorge's class, with Jorge having the advantage of social refinement and tact. The end of the film is sexy, funny, and bleakly insightful in its implications about the mode of living required by human need. That's not a combination you find in movies very often, and it's one of the things that makes this one quite brilliant.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Venia and Games

The new Venia's Travels is online. At four hundred sixty four pages, it's now as long as Boschen and Nesuko. And there are still at least four chapters to go. I'm particularly proud of this chapter, so please check it out.

I haven't had time for much else to-day, although I wasn't particularly behind on the chapter. I had a lunch of taquitos and a quesadilla I made with corn tortillas and jalapeƱos. I couldn't eat anything spicy when I had the UTI and I'm still kind of reintroducing myself to flavour--I used to be all about jalapeƱos. They taste sweet now.

I heard Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" at the grocery store last night after hearing "Stay Up Late" at the coffee shop. "Stay Up Late" is off Little Creatures and is such an unlikely song to hear on one of the mixes piped into stores--there aren't many popular songs about making your infant stay up all night. And it was just odd hearing so much Talking Heads in one day.

Then I remembered Jennifer Aniston mentioning Talking Heads in passing on The Daily Show a little while ago and I wondered if I'd gotten a little peek into how the pop programming mind works.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Right Ten

After a peculiarly cool summer so far, we've been visited the past few days by some proper internal organ boiling weather. You start to feel nauseous if you stand outside for three minutes around noon. I'm not used to it--I guess I've been doing the daytime schedule for about a month now and it's almost like living in another city. It's hotter and everywhere I go is more crowded now. It occurred to me I slept through most of the 00s. I think I remember hearing about the planes hitting the World Trade Centre on 9/11 at around 10am, just after I got up. Still, hard to believe I got up at 6am in high school.

I wonder if people who are anal about acknowledging the proper ends and beginnings of decades mean to include 1980 when they say, "the seventies". Because if you say, "seventies", wouldn't you be specifically talking about the years with a seven for the tens digit? So therefore if people who are anal about the exact meaning of the word "decade" say nineties, eighties, seventies, sixties, and so on, they're referring to something different than proper decades.

Ah, I see Wikipedia has something to say about this;

Although any period of ten years is a decade, a convenient and frequently referenced interval is based on the tens digit of the calendar year, as in using "1960s" to represent the decade from 1960 to 1969. Often, for brevity, only the tens part is mentioned (60s or sixties), although this may leave it uncertain which century is meant. These references are frequently used to encapsulate popular culture or other widespread phenomena that dominated such a decade, as in The Great Depression of the 1930s.

Some writers like to point out that since the common calendar starts from the year 1, its first full decade contained the years from 1 to 10, the second decade from 11 to 20, and so on. So while the "1960s" comprises the years 1960 to 1969, the "197th decade" spans 1961 to 1970.

In addition to the interpretations noted above, a decade may refer to an arbitrary span of 10 years. For example, the statement "during his last decade, Mozart explored chromatic harmony to a degree rare at the time," merely refers to the last 10 years of Mozart's life without regard to which calendar years are encompassed.

Thus, an unqualified reference to, for example, "the decade" or "this decade" may have multiple interpretations depending on the context.

The animals were certainly acting nutty outside to-day. I only went out briefly to pick up something from the store, figured I didn't need my camera, and as always happens when I don't bring my camera, I saw something cool--in this case a bright orange and grey moth that seemed to be trying to attack me the moment I went outside. It flew circles around me and made as if to ram me a few times before settling on the door.

I did get some pictures of the ducks I fed yesterday, but I think I've milked those ducks for all the photos I can. Yet still they want bread!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Won't Stop Hobbits Shaving Their Feet

This new thing where people are calling vaginas "va-jay-jay" kills me. I wonder if it'd put people off their sandwiches too much if I started calling my penis "panini."

At the grocery store to-day I saw the cover of Cosmopolitan had the caption, "Untamed Va-Jay-Jay; Guess What Sexy Style is Back!" They just outright lie to their readers, don't they? When I hear guys talk about vaginas--most notably Howard Stern--it's fully shaved that's clearly in favour, at least in the U.S., and whenever a celebrity's vagina is photographed as they're getting out of a car or something, it's always shaved or even has something like one of those weird "V" designs, like the girl's a superhero or something.

Personally, I can kind of dig a full bush for the same reason I hate tattoos (though I do not have a preference)--I hate when people try to express themselves through body modification of any kind. I know this is directly contrary to the point of view of practically all my friends, but I say, don't date yourself. Unless you have gender dysphoria or a missing limb, permanent modifications usually just say to me, "I'm uncomfortable being naked, my ego needs attention at all times." Which is fair, but why broadcast it?

I'm such an asshole. I like the personalities that typically get body modifications. I sort of wish I could get on board. I'm just too into nudity. Please, I assure everyone I don't feel superior because of this. Okay, maybe a little.

To-day I saw someone walking down the street dressed as Han Solo. I'm hoping my dream of year around Comic-Con may one day be realised.

Last night I watched the Rankin/Bass adaptation of The Hobbit. I don't think I've seen it since I was a kid, when it was one of those things that was frequently on The Disney Channel in the days when kids had a lot less wiggle room on what was put on the glowing screens for their entertainment. I wasn't sure if I remember liking it or just bonding to it as part of my landscape. Last night, I found it to be a frustrating mix of really good and really bad. Visually, it's often amazing, with designs influenced beautifully by Arthur Rackham.

A lot of the voice actors were good--John Huston as Gandalf was nice, though Orson Bean as Bilbo was completely dreadful. Bean maintains a monotone of emotion throughout the film, sounding like a slightly buzzed uncle you barely know at a party, all the time, which contrasts kind of hilariously with the stupid folk music going on constantly.

The main problem, though, is simply in the fact that it's so short. All the fun of Bilbo's first meeting with the dwarves is drained, and the battle at the end, trying to be a commentary on the terror of war, is utterly ridiculous. Partly because of the rush, and partly because apparently the people doing this had no idea how to draw a huge medieval battle on a low budget. What we get is a fucking dust cloud.

I'm surprised there weren't stock pots and pans noises and people shouting, "Why you!"

I was fascinated by the presence of John Huston and Otto Preminger, director of Laura. It was like a film noir directors convention. And it was kind of cool hearing Huston, director of Treasure of Sierra Madre, laying out a scheme for the dwarves and hobbit to burgle treasure.

Twitter Sonnet #175

Rusty clouds of minds resonate madness.
Steaming skillets refuse old yellow fruit.
Miniskirt parachutes hold each harness.
Used tissue and knives are stashed in the boot.
Wet Cat glares before the great garage door.
Lines of liquorice shoes freeze strange limp steps.
Impostor concrete covers the shade floor.
A mute surgeon has here lost his forceps.
Utility cigarettes thread the nurse.
Destroyed bread reappears in a stomach.
Hard honey's stashed in a bee's stolen purse.
Alien butterflies scorch the tarmac.
Red yoghurt spills on holy styrofoam.
Rabid raven crushed cranberries at home.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Killing to Kill

I'd just parked at the bank to-day when I looked over and saw this bee on my purse. Apparently it had ridden with me from home.

I brought my purse out of the car and the bee started to try to fly, but only fell to the ground, turned over onto its back. It died. The bee hive I'd seen a few days ago had been quiet lately, and Tim told me that he thought the green lynx spider I'd posted video of had looked like it was effected by pesticide, which, he said, tends to fuck up spiders neurologically. I'm guessing some asshole sprayed the bee hive and the spider had been a peripheral victim. Fucking people--the bees weren't hurting anyone, I'd gotten on a step ladder to take pictures under their hive of a black widow, which also probably wouldn't have hurt anyone.

I checked on the big orange spiders last night and it looks like they're okay, including the largest one who's been moving its web to slightly different positions each week;

It's kind of nice knowing I can go out there any time at night and see it. It seems to have gotten even bigger, I think it could pretty easily hug a quarter.

A couple weeks ago, Fred Norris on The Howard Stern Show was talking about how the theme to True Blood reminded him of Chris Isaak's "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing." Norris played a bit of the song on the air, and I immediately wanted to watch Eyes Wide Shut again. I've never been really clear on why David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick loved Chris Isaak so much--I think he's got a few decent songs, but mostly he just seems like a watered down version of Morrissey to me. Anyway, I realised I'd never seen the video for "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing", so I checked it out and found it reminded me more of a Lynch movie than a Kubrick movie. Somehow it's not on YouTube, so I went to the wild west of video posting, Daily Motion;

Chris Isaak - Baby did a bad bad thing
Uploaded by tblogosphere. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

It's weird how much emotion Isaak can display while singing yet all his acting performances are eerily flat.

Anyway, it's sites like Daily Motion that keep me from worrying too much about YouTube or Google going straight.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Squeezing Bourbon from a Stone

I just watched a bit of The Father of the Bride part II with my sister--the one with Steve Martin, not the Spencer Tracy movie (which is actually called Father's Little Dividend). It was the end of the movie, a scene where Steve Martin is bidding goodbye to his daughter, his son-in-law, and his grandchild and I was fascinated by the emptiness. I think Martin's daughter, talking about his new kid, said something like, "She's an aunt, but my little sister, too." Every bit of dialogue was just eerie, plainly stated facts while the soundtrack really worked the strings. There were really ordinary compositions, too--sunset in front of a standard, upscale north eastern house, and there were actually bits of slow motion on Steve Martin, limply trying to squeeze some emotion from the scene. As I said to my sister, it all felt like part of something, and weird to be taken as a whole. Like, okay, we're establishing themes of birth and parenthood or something so now there needs to be murder--my sister said maybe their pet is resurrected at the pet cemetery--something. I imagine the people digging this movie--their thought processes must just have a certain barrier. It's really creepy, actually.

I couldn't help thinking of the Artie Lange clips I was watching this morning, and Artie's "Guy Who Laughs at Everything";

I can't believe Artie's been gone since December. It's so weird how he's just utterly gone not only from the Stern Show but from the public eye entirely. There's been nothing except the restrained updates on him on the show since the New York Post wrote about him checking out of the hospital in January. I guess it's pretty selfish wishing he'd come back to work after a suicide attempt, but damn, listening to five hours at a time of a guy talking, having that voice suddenly silenced, possibly forever, it's really sad.

Last night I watched the last three episodes of the Doctor Who serial "Inferno", first with some really shitty sake, then with Wild Turkey as I decided I wouldn't stand for two bit inebriation I was getting on my Saturday night. I discovered any and all faults I might see in Doctor Who dissolve rapidly in alcohol. I loved everything I already loved, and I stopped noticing how Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart reminds me of Graham Chapman's military characters on Monty Python, and felt genuinely overjoyed when the Doctor was reunited with his good friends at the end of the serial.

I'm a little surprised to learn there were people in real life named Lethbridge.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ask Space a Question

Twitter Sonnet 174

Block's rolling against the THAC0 of Death.
A board collapsed in green halves on a fly.
Card houses confine Queen Elizabeth.
Heavy bishops nibble pawns on the sly.
A spinning timer lands on a hard egg.
Black and grey weapons pore over white space.
Mi-go investors callously renege.
Yeast is writ all over a wino's face.
Hesitant bugs ponder a white wine web.
Questions cluster on the filmy cup cusp.
Confused frigates show up late to Deneb.
Space apples picked and peeled by peon lust.
Robot gold pinches the small geisha's flesh.
Slaves strive in the shadow of some John Tesh.

As it may have been read by character actor Ronald Allen;

I was excited to see Mr. Allen in "The Ambassadors of Death", the Doctor Who serial, after I'd been introduced to him and his demands that energy be conserved in "The Dominators". In "The Ambassadors of Death" he seems to be playing the English version of Gregory Peck in Marooned. Though Gregory Peck didn't seem to do as much acting purely with his jaw the way Ronald Allen did.

I'm up to "The Inferno" now and I'm liking Jon Pertwee more and more, even though his run so far hasn't even quite felt like Doctor Who. I was toying with the idea of skipping ahead to the end of the Doctor's exile on earth--although I'm actually liking "The Inferno" so far, it was cruel hearing the TARDIS sound effect when the Doctor was experimenting with the console, knowing that the TARDIS was still going to be sidelined by the end of the serial. But "The Inferno" is still the most Doctor Who-ish serial so far of the Pertwee era as it features the Doctor trying to overcome obstacles in a strange dimension. And I love the dizzying layering of plot going on--first we're introduced to some kind of story about a government drilling operation using nuclear power, and then we're introduced to it again in an alternate dimension.

The previous two serials, "The Ambassadors of Death" and "The Silurians" had been good, and both having a lot to do with first contact diplomatic situations. The Doctor's role now seems to be liaison on earth to all things alien, even though I can see how the basic algorithm of "societies introduced at beginning of serial in conflict with subculture/other society/impending catastrophe" has been adjusted to "government/scientific/military team introduced at beginning of serial coming into conflict with alien society/villains/catastrophe." "The Inferno" seems still to be along those lines but is a little more satisfyingly weird, even if the alternate facial hair configurations to mark the parallel dimension are taken right from Star Trek.

The oddly Vladimir Lenin looking guy in charge of the drilling operation gave me occasion to notice how much Doctor Who has to do with weird, arbitrary assholes getting in the Doctor's way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Getting Out of Here

A couple days ago, I read a post by Sara Benincasa about Ray Bradbury's political opinions and she seems to have adopted a sweeter perspective on something that had kind of depressed me. It wasn't news to me--I actually have video from Comic-Con of Bradbury talking about how Ronald Reagan was the greatest president this country ever had because he lowered taxes and "gave the money back to the people." I didn't upload that portion of the video because I didn't feel like broadcasting Ray Bradbury talking like a moron, but I guess it's not like I really had an exclusive on the material.

The only possible positive spin I can give it in my mind is speculating that Bradbury has a slightly ulterior motive in being vehemently Republican. He made the comment about Reagan after talking again about how important he thought it was to colonise Mars--he made it clear he thought it was the only way for the human race to survive. Republicans seem to be better for the space programme almost by default--because one kind of has to treat problems having to do with things like healthcare and civil rights as though they don't exist in order to spend a significant amount of the budget on NASA. I wonder if the only way we'll get real space travel is by letting a lot of things go to shit. On the other hand, the world's so fucked up, and everything seems to get gridlocked when Democrats are in charge, that it's probably impossible to actually improve things. I wonder if it's actually possible that spending the insane amount of money necessary to create human Martian real estate might actually be the only way to save mankind--Republicans would be the only ones stupid enough to do it, but it seems like most of humanity's big accomplishments these days are stupid.

I have to admit, I think it would be fucking awesome if we could colonise space. I've been watching Gunbuster again lately, and one of the things I love about that series, and about Ray Bradbury, is the beautiful, passionate perspective on the human race attaining space travel.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Green Entity

To-day I've been hanging out with my new friend, the green lynx spider.

I came across it when I opened the front door this morning and found it bouncing around the front porch like a tumble weed, occasionally stopping to smash its face into the ground, as you'll see in the video;

Music is by Franz Liszt and I was rather surprised to find music so fitting--I didn't think I'd have anything to go with this spider's erratic alternating between completely still and weird frenzy. I'm not sure it knows how to walk properly. The Wikipedia entry says these spiders eat honey bees, and I did find it under the bee hive, though I marvel at how it knew to show up here. I've never seen one around before.

I got video and photos throughout the day, as it remained in the same little area for at least six hours until I was finally able to move it to an area with lower human traffic.

It's definitely one of the most beautiful spiders I've seen, and, of course, I've seen lots. Just before I saw the green lynx, I was tying my shoes when I spotted a very tiny daddy-long-legs and I thought to myself, "Ooooh! A baby daddy-long-legs!" And another part of me asked, "Wouldn't that be a long-legs who lives apart from the woman raising his child?" to which the first part of me responded, "Oh, shut up."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Feathers in a Vacuum

To-day I saw the trailer for Darren Aronofsky's upcoming film, Black Swan;

The story of an ambitious ballerina, her ballet company, with devilish supernatural elements? Sounds like Aronofsky's been watching The Red Shoes. Not that I'm complaining--if there can be more than one Star Trek movie, I don't see anything wrong with more than one psychological/supernatural expressionistic ballet movie. Though Natalie Portman isn't quite as natural an actress as Moira Shearer and not as good a dancer. I've only seen two of Aronofsky's films--I liked Pi, but I thought Requiem for a Dream was an embarrassing after school special. I've heard mixed things about The Fountain and generally positive things about The Wrestler, so I think I can still give Black Swan a try. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis making out should be worth something at least--and I suspect one of the big surprises will be that Kunis turns out to deliver a far greater performance than Portman.

Last night I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which I liked, though not as enthusiastically as most people, partly due merely to my own tastes, I think. The only other Edgar Wright movie I've seen is Shaun of the Dead and to me, Shaun of the Dead is to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as Ghostbusters is to Stripes. One film succeeds by investing in a fantasy version of reality, while the other intentionally undermines a version of something real for comedic purposes. For me, Ghostbusters and Shaun of the Dead are superior by having worlds where the main characters are bound by certain rules, where you really feel like they're endangered by the ghosts or zombies, while I guess other people might prefer Scott Pilgrim and Stripes for throwing the rules out the window, when there are even rules to begin with, so that something outrageous can happen, either a small group of goofy guys taking out a military base, in the case of Stripes, or video game-like action sequences, in the case of Scott Pilgrim, which aren't even bound by the rules of any particular video game.

The thing is, video games are more effective for me when it seems critical to achieve my goal--where hard and fast obstacles, or difficult to pin down enemies, threaten to prevent me from getting to the end of the level if I can't outwit or outmanoeuvre them. Video games use a number of tools to communicate this experience to your brain--abstract ideas like points and flashing graphics, things not necessarily organic to the action and environment simulated by the game. Scott Pilgrim introduces these things into a movie where sometimes they work for comedic purposes--as when we see a "pee meter" deplete while Scott is urinating--or serve as a pointless distraction, as when each of the Evil Exes give Scott a seemingly arbitrary amount of points when killed and turn into coins.

The fight scenes feature the sort of hyper, unrealistic choreography typical of movies trying to emulate video game action, though it's rarely done as self-consciously as it is in Scott Pilgrim. But, for me, it has the same effect of dissolving tension. It's true, in Street Fighter 2, hitting someone doesn't appear to cause injury beyond the adjustments to the life meter and movement isn't effected by environment and objects in it except in a few, very specific cases. But underneath the aesthetic, the player is aware of how close each fighter is to K.O., how effective certain manoeuvres are, how much power is in certain attacks. In a movie like Scott Pilgrim, the audience has no grasp of how critical things are at any time in a fight because it's all of the video game's superficial aesthetics without the fundamental game element.

One could argue this is appropriate as the fights in Scott Pilgrim are meant to be a sort of metaphor for Scott overcoming his girlfriend's issues and becoming more intimate with her. On a theoretical level, I can imagine this sort of story being about a validation for the modern young person, his impressive video game skills actually made relevant instead of just making him potentially endearing. But these fights have too little to do with the subtext--the exes are too hastily defined, and they reveal little about Scott's girlfriend, Romona, except causing her to observe that she used to be a bitch. So without any underlying stakes to the fights themselves, the comedy of them being like video games in an otherwise realistic world being fleeting, and the fact that they have little subtext, made them feel like a waste of time to me.

The comic book inspired stuff--the panelling of the image and the written sound effects on the screen--sometimes worked for me and sometimes didn't. The panelling I thought was fine--it's certainly not something new, as it worked great in Ang Lee's Hulk, though ultimately splitting up the screen is a technique decades old. The written sound effects may be good for a few chuckles, but end up really just being redundant.

There are things I liked. The almost psychic texting relationship between Scott's sister and his roommate was pretty funny. Contemplating Michael Cera for such an unprecedented long period of time led me to wonder what kind of hormones got into his food while he was growing up, and I wondered if Cera epitomises the new man, in a way. Men are generally more feminine than they used to be, but Cera with his slight frame, enormous eyes, wide hips, and voice that sounded strikingly similar to Mary Elizabeth Winstead's is like a tiny Finnish woman. In a hundred years, I wonder if Joel Grey is going to look butch.

Twitter Sonnet #173

The eyeball of truth is the grape of lies.
Skull spaghetti is a rum spectacle.
Disney dungeons grant unlimited tries.
Denim scrapes the beholder's tentacle.
Paper water wishes for a cold pen.
Brief animation parses a bright dream.
Drill Sergeant Chapman told Pertwee to win.
Tom sees space escape through his tin can's seam.
Drunk counterfeit pianos cannot hide.
Gentle graffiti kisses biplane's wake.
Coasters accept the sweat tea won't abide.
Beverages bleed on film into one take.
A game's ink coats jagged, broken, plastic.
Desert makes the hadouken acoustic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Your Bagel has Made You Valuable

I love this story about an English professor who started cursing out a barista for asking if she wanted butter or cheese on her bagel. In a follow up interview, Professor Rosenthal discussed Starbucks' "Orwellian" use of language to control people. I hate to say it, but I've known bitter, impotent, busy body college teachers like this. I can sort of understand, as it must suck going through all that schooling only to find yourself telling roomfuls of kids what they need to memorise in order to get the passing grades you need them to get. That's likely to drive a few people out of their minds. Or maybe I'm just too steeped in the filth of not having a problem saying I don't want butter or cheese on a bagel to see I've lost my soul in the process.

But these sorts of empty pissing contests are not limited to professors, of course. I hear people all the time refusing to say tall, grande, or venti with proud defiance, like the guy quoted in the second article who finds the Starbucks sizes to be "pretentious". No, you know what's pretentious? Pretending like it matters what Starbucks calls the sizes. I'd say, "Go read a book or something," except I guess the professor proves that doesn't help.

Here's some video of ducks asking questions;

Pretty tired to-day--I got up at 7am to take Amee to the airport. I went to bed at 11pm, but I couldn't get to sleep until 3am. So instead of working on my comic to-day, I just did some long overdue dusting.

By the way, instead of a lot of caterpillars lately, I've been seeing an extraordinary number of these butterflies;

Monday, August 16, 2010

Busy Skeletons

Last night I dreamt I was trapped in some kind of small dream dimension populated partly by bloodthirsty zombies, and partly by zombies who thought they were still alive, and neither group acknowledged the other--the latter group were mostly confined to a baseball stadium and Bob Hope was among them. I somehow knew it was very important to talk to Bob Hope, so I fought my way through the bloodthirsty zombies and the ballpark crowd to speak to him. He seemed a little melancholy, and I don't think I quite communicated to him what I needed to.

But in a nearby bar, where I remember there being a lot of Smirnoff vodka, I met the woman who'd created the dream zombie realm and she confessed that by speaking to Bob Hope I'd unlocked the mystery and that now she would let me go, but she would wipe all my memories of the place. She explained to me that two of her zombie assistants were in fact mentally impaired family members, and that it was only in zombie form that they could speak to her. It was then that one of the assistants, a large, bald man, suddenly, to the woman's surprise, spoke to her in easy, perfect English, saying he loved her and forgave her. She started to cry I think, and it all felt like a shallow Lifetime movie wrapping itself up neatly with a moral.

I think the dream may have been created by Doctor Who mixing in my head with the movie I watched last night, After.Life which, while not great, was not nearly as bad as the majority of reviews say it is. Throughout most of its runtime, the movie plays with the tension created by the fact that we don't know if Christina Ricci's character, Anna, is really a dead woman who can only speak with the psychically gifted funeral director Eliot, played by Liam Neeson, or if Eliot's a madman who's drugged her and convinced her that she's dead. A lot of critics take issue with the fact that this tension is never resolved (though actually, I think the truth is made quite clear at a couple points), but this didn't really bug me. It seems like a lot of movie audiences these days have been conditioned to want a magic twist ending, but I thought the movie's attempts to use the scenario to explore issues of self-motivation were far more important--Neeson's character is weird either way, and he plays it really well with an intriguing irritable sensitivity that crops up oddly at times between tenderness. He seems intent on teaching Anna a lesson about appreciating life that's no less thought provoking for the fact that he's crazy.

It is less thought provoking for being somewhat shallowly explored with otherwise poorly defined characters, namely Anna and her boyfriend, Paul, played by Justin Long. An awkward sex scene and a dinner scene doesn't do much except to establish them both as shallow douchebags, which is par for the course with a lot of horror movies, particularly where the hidden fun is asshole protagonists getting killed. But it doesn't quite suit the movie's thesis. I'd like people who need some self examination, not people who have dialogue like;

"You changed your hair."

"You don't like it?"

"I didn't say that . . . It's very red. It's not really you, is it?"

The absence of a studio audience was glaring.

I admit, I mainly watched because I'd heard Christina Ricci was naked a lot in the movie, but we never actually get full frontal nudity, which creates the sort of awkward camera gymnastics David Cronenberg was able to avoid when Viggo Mortensen agreed to full frontal in Eastern Promises. It's particularly bad when Ricci on the table in the mortuary always has one leg slightly raised like a sunbather in a magazine.

But it was nice seeing Ricci again--I don't think I've seen one of her movies since Sleepy Hollow and, incredibly, she looks younger now. She plays a first or second grade teacher, and it was kind of amazing to see that she'd actually be more believable as one of the students.

The movie has some decent visuals, but Liam Neeson's character is by far the best reason to watch it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Ain't There a Woman I can Sock on the Jaw?"

This video appears to be about a relationship between Johnny Storm and Jean Grey;

It's using Second Life I tend to get exposed to modern, popular music, as Bare Rose, my favourite clothing shop, usually has a pop music station on. That's how I first heard Eminem's "I Love the Way You Lie"--I actually assumed at first the song belonged to the woman singing and that Eminem was one of the special guest stars--Howard Stern pointed out a little while ago that nearly all of the top ten songs in the country included a "featured" artist. It was from Howard Stern I learned the woman in the song was Rihanna, and that song was by Eminem (Stern: "He sounds like a chick").

Even without it being Rihanna, the song already sounds like an endorsement of domestic violence. The chorus, sung by Rihanna;

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

doesn't really make sense unless it was written by a guy for a woman to sing melodically in order to somehow support the argument that she kind of likes being hit. Or something. The song's Wikipedia entry fascinatingly quotes a critic as saying, "This is not an autobiographical lyric [...] It's one of Eminem's flights of fancy, albeit one into a very real situation. Clearly he understands the psychology well, and can express the feelings with enormous clarity."

Hmm. Let's reflect on an example of some of the song's lyrics;

As long as the wrong feels right
It's like I'm in flight
High off of love
Drunk from the hate
It's like I'm huffing paint
And I love it the more that I suffer

Huffing paint, something we can all identify with, especially when it comes to love/hate relationships.

You ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe
When you're with 'em
You meet and neither one of you even knows what hit 'em
Got that warm fuzzy feeling
Yeah, them those chills you used to get 'em
Now you're getting fucking sick of looking at 'em

If yes, maybe you'll understand. If no, I guess Eminem isn't exactly the type to paint a picture.

You swore you'd never hit 'em; never do nothing to hurt 'em
Now you're in each other's face spewing venom in your words when you spit them
You push pull each other's hair, scratch claw hit 'em
Throw 'em down pin 'em
So lost in the moments when you're in them
It's the rage that took over it controls you both

Oh, thanks for clarifying, I was working on the theory that our protagonists had disturbed a bee hive.

Don't you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk
I told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball

And follow your nostrils, I got you some Fruit Loops. None of this quite explains why it's just so difficult to avoid hitting your girlfriend.

Anyway, putting that aside, I tried to think of an instance of someone actually loving the way someone lied. The only example I could think of were those Joe Isuzu commercials from the 80s.

Twitter Sonnet #172

Googling Gaga guffaws goopy giggles.
Goggles gaze at a galloping grape god.
A weeping white worm wrathfully wiggles.
Sugary soot saturated his sod.
Disposable spider suns sing harshly.
Opaque tears topple a tuneless tutor.
Noriko nods, knackered noticeably.
Quiet cats collect kills on computer.
SUVs seek a solid steel silkworm.
Most cannibals like a curvy corpse.
Sinister savage soups sink drang and sturm.
Tainted turtles tell of terrible torts.
Pop censored porn prevents the perceived cure.
Elastic eagles err east to endure.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Web River

Looks like I've earned enough goodwill in the spider community to receive an auspicious visit from a black widow. Some bees are building a hive in a vent on the roof, and as I was looking at it, I noticed this black widow in the window sill, the first black widow I've seen at this house, though I've seen other black widows at other houses, enough to be surprised by the rather exposed place this one chose for her web;

The reflection of my elbow's barely visible in the glass, giving some idea of scale.

Then I went to Tim's, and found the Black Widow was still in the same spot when I returned;

At Fashion Valley mall to-day, I watched while eating lunch in the food court a young pretty woman set up with guitar and microphone, performing. A pretty girl outside on a slightly windy day wearing a short sundress, cradling a big wooden guitar is inevitably hot. But I didn't catch her name and it's probably just as well, as I doubt she'd want even the small amount of negative publicity created by my blog when I say that she sucked. Really sucked. All of her songs were just three chords, over and over, the only variations being a couple dramatic pauses, and her singing, while on key at least, was utterly unremarkable, sounding sort of like that chick who sings that "Goodbye to You" song, the sort of singer who if she's very lucky will think of one catchy, superficial song.

Then I felt bad for her when she wanted people to sing along to the chorus of a cover song I'd never heard of, the repeated chorus being something like, "I'm yours, so yours, I'm yours, so yours, I'm yours . . ." There was something so teenager about it, especially coming from a woman apparently in her twenties.

I heard her say the woman at the table next to her was her mother, and her mother was handing out pamphlets about the mall and the young woman asked people to fill out a survey about the mall between songs. I realised her mother was probably one of those pageant mom types, and had made some kind of a deal with the people in charge of the mall. Fashion Valley is probably the most posh mall in San Diego, having all the high end stores, so that must have been some deal. I just couldn't help thinking about the simple, good hearted fantasyland the mother and daughter lived in, the sort of delusion fostered by disposable wealth of having a dream, going for it, and achieving it while still looking perfect and having lots of time for parties and dates. I bet it would never occur to the young woman to stay inside practicing scales eight hours a day.

With breakfast, I watched the first episode of Amagami SS, a new anime series Tim recommended to me. It's based on a dating simulation game and it shows, featuring a male POV protagonist having a series of simple, one on one encounters with beautiful girls. The target audience of shy young men is a little embarrassingly obvious, as usual, but it's not bad for what it is. It's not misogynist like High School of the Dead and is remarkably light on fan service for a modern shonen or seinen series. The girls are even characters, albeit very simple ones. Haruka, the popular girl Junichi, the male protagonist, interacts with in the first episode has a series of dialogue scenes gradually developing her personality as having an outside layer of friendliness with another layer of very firmly established boundaries without the yelling and broadcasting most anime series like this resort to.

Junichi is established as nursing a wound from being stood up by another girl on Christmas Eve, so we have the clear programme of guy who feels like a loser redeeming his self esteem by earning the love of a popular girl out of his league. It's very lightweight male wish fulfilment, and one could do a lot worse with modern anime. Though this shot

of Haruka after a moment reminded me of Senjogahara from Bakemonogatari;

And, in addition to causing me to observe how the influence of Bakemonogatari's visuals is trickling into other anime, it caused me to lament that Bakemonogatari's coupling of intelligent, psychological writing with male wish fulfilment, has not been very influential. Oh, well, I guess this is the case with all genres and media, isn't it?

Amagami SS also features one of the most embarrassingly, unintentionally funny and pathetically endearing theme songs I've seen in a while;

That's, in English, "I love you forever, from my heart, I love you forever, we do."

Yes, we do, don't we? There's nothing like getting broad, unambiguous proclamations of affection in bad English.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Corpus You're Born With

I've been in the mood for some 80s fantasy for a while now, so last night I watched The Last Unicorn.

The Last Unicorn has always to me seemed to be about self-fulfilment, with the unicorn at the beginning of the movie and King Haggard at the end representing poles of extremely abstract takes on the idea while other characters, like Schmendrick, in his quest to become a magician, and Molly Grue, in her desire for the lost purity of her youth, represent more literal, down to earth ideas of identity.

Even Mommy Fortuna, in her bid for immortality through her captive harpy, and Prince Lir, in his new attempts to define himself as a "hero" for Amalthea, are trying to carve out a solid definition of themselves in the world.

Only King Haggard, perhaps because of his age and wisdom, has realised the root of these quests is really just to be happy, but perhaps by becoming so removed from the more traditionally understood routes of self-realisation, he's become callous.

The unicorn, removed from human passions, is unable to feel regret, but she's driven almost without her ability to understand her desire to find out the fate of her fellow unicorns, uncomfortable being alone. Her motives aren't sharply defined, and in a way, her character at the beginning of the movie, for its alien quality seems like an identity forming in a nebula, brought closer to definition by the characters she meets and interacts with, culminating in Schmendrick turning her into a human.

Then her story becomes a little different, and we see a story optimistic on a sort of arch-theoretical level as we get, in contrast to the ridiculous Schmendrick's desire to "be something you're not", something grander than he is, we have the unicorn trying to define herself as a human, something less grand than she is. Since Schmendrick does end up being a powerful wizard, the idea of the story may be that people are often better than they think they are, but not giving yourself much credit is valuable, as the unicorn seems to have benefited from her experiences as a human.

Visually, two things struck me as I watched the movie this time. For one thing, I found myself noticing how similar the animation was in this Rankin/Bass cell animated film to Rankin/Bass's stop motion films, like their well known Christmas specials of the 60s and 70s. And I noticed the film's beautiful design--even this anonymous hunter at the beginning has a fabulous, curly art nouveau beard;

And the look of the film also owes a tremendous debt to Disney's Sleeping Beauty, though what The Last Unicorn lacks in budget for its animation, as compared to Sleeping Beauty, it makes up for with a more satisfying focus on its female lead--the title character of Sleeping Beauty is barely a character at all.

Though, at the same time, Aurora's animation has a great deal more life than Amalthea. It makes me think about what a great film The Last Unicorn would be if reanimated with a greater budget--actually, it wouldn't even need to be that much greater now, since computer colouring has eliminated the need to spend money on paint, a deficiency that caused the characters in The Last Unicorn to be coloured with precisely the same colours regardless of lighting.

But when it comes to voice actors, The Last Unicorn is no slouch. I was particularly admiring Christopher Lee's performance as Haggard, but everyone else is good, too, except Jeff Bridges seemed like he hadn't quite grown into himself yet. Mia Farrow's great, except when she sings. It's not so much that she has a bad voice as that she just doesn't have the right voice for the material, but then I have a sort of love/hate relationship with The Last Unicorn's music, which I think I like entirely for reasons of nostalgia, but it's hard to say.

There are great performances for minor characters, too, and I especially love Rene Auberjonois as the skeleton. Even Mommy Fortuna's Igor-like assistant, Ruhk, gets an interesting voice, comedian Brother Theodore.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Venia and the Things She Can't Control

The new Venia's Travels is online. Rather early, partly because I ended up not driving to Orange County and back yesterday as originally planned, and had gotten ahead for. Also, this new daytime schedule's partly responsible. I'm so hungry right now.

Not much else to blog about. Well, I got some new daddy-long-legs footage, but I don't want to put it on the hard drive until I've freed up some space, which I can't really do until I get a new DVD burner--I'm not sure what's wrong with the old one, but for some reason the computer refuses to acknowledge more than 600 megabytes of free space on any blank DVD. Music CDs and movie DVDs seem to work fine, though.

So, anyway. If a new Venia's Travels isn't enough to keep you kids occupied, here's this;

Twitter Sonnet #171

Secret jewels adorn Mr. T's shadow.
Belgium omissions drop dangerous waffles.
Puppet tentacles advance art nouveau.
Forgotten hats fall into fake raffles.
Trapped housefly holds tight his potato cap.
In a snake blimp beats the heart of a boy.
Odin's nostrils keep rain water on tap.
Orgies of provolone envelop soy.
Ferengi croissants collapse completely.
Anti-Semitic aliens parse pi.
Sprinkled pastries cover nipples neatly.
Every bear claw is an implicit lie.
Tiffany's breakfast is made of metal.
Swallowed poison helps a body settle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Right to Stale Bread

New spider outside to-day--at least, I've never seen one like it before, or maybe I've seen younger ones that look like different types of spiders. It's obviously a funnel weaver, I've just never seen one half the size of my hand before.

I couldn't get very close--the moment I tried to move aside some leaves, it vanished into its funnel base. The web took up half the top of the steamer trunk sized bush.

I saw the spider when I came back from feeding ducks. I only spent about half my stale hamburger buns on them--they didn't seem very interested in approaching me to-day.

It's just past 7pm, and my stomach's telling me I'm late for dinner, which is weird.

Last night I played some World of Warcraft, my now level 59 undead warrior. I kind of had a good time, even though I didn't accomplish much, maybe because I finally followed Tim's example and listened to The Howard Stern Show while playing. I think it's also partly nostalgia, since I hadn't played it very often for several months. I think I can convince myself to like anything if I spend some time with it and ignore it for several months afterwards.

I was wandering around the Eastern Plaguelands and came across a bunch of elite Scarlet Crusade humans, ranging from levels 53 to 57. I decided to fight my way through them, and managed to do so dying only a couple times, and one of those times two of them ganged up on me. I only used one potion the whole time, too. Much better than I expected to do.

I also watched the second episode of "The Silurians" Doctor Who serial. A scene where the Brigadier talks about heading a team down into dangerous tunnels and excluding Liz Shaw from the team has Ms. Shaw ask the Brigadier if he ever heard of "female emancipation". She and The Doctor exchange a knowing look but The Doctor says, "This time I think he's right." Liz proceeds to smirk and hug herself and I found myself conscious of her miniskirt in contrast to everyone else's slacks, and the fact that she's by far the youngest person in the room, that she's the only woman in Unit, and that no-one ever listens to her. Still not as bad as some of the early stuff between Ian and Barbara, but this isn't one of the show's high points in respect to gender equality. Otherwise, "The Silurians" seems to be a bit more solidly written than "The Spearhead from Space," though.