Archive for March, 2008

Garfield of Dreams

March 28, 2008

“The Assasination of James A. Garfield” aka “I Hate Mondays”

In case you hadn’t noticed, we are currently in the midst of a “Garfield” renaissance.  Despite the best (worst?) efforts of Bill Murray in two recent feature film abominations and Jim Davis himself (or at least the staff of anonymous artists that he chains to easels each week while he sips mai tais and screams “When in doubt, lasagna!”) in the still active comic strip the ole’ orange feline is seeing a pop cultural resurgence. 

I, like many who grew up in the ‘80’s, once loved the character without the slightest bit of irony.  I thought he was hilarious.  (To my credit, I never found “Beetle Bailey” funny though.  Not once.)  I bought the books (up through “Garfield Eats More Stuff: His 27th Book!”), read the strip in the Sunday paper, and even got a not-too-cuddly, yet beloved stuffed Garfield in my stocking when I was eight which I have to this day.   

And, speaking of dolls, I remember how thrilling it was just to see a stuffed Odie attached to the bow of John Cusack’s sailboat in the classic “One Crazy Summer” and also how subsequently infuriating it was to watch with horror as the evil Teddy Beckersted’s cohorts cut off his tongue.  

But, we all get older and wiser.  One day a “Far Side” or a “Calvin & Hobbes” comes along and suddenly renders your once beloved strip as obsolete.  And suddenly, you find yourself walking right past the Garfield books in the “Humor” aisle of Waldenbooks to pick up a “Bloom County” collection instead.  It happens.  It’s how it goes. 

That said, there are two locations currently making waves on the intertube that have rekindled the deadened embers of my affection for Garfield, Jon Arbuckle, Odie and the rest of the gang;  Two websites independent of each other which equally and obsessively chronicle the sublime and, dare I say it, metaphysical underpinnings of Jim Davis’ life’s work. 

And, if you’ve got nothing else to do (which, clearly, you do), I’d like to share them with you quickly… 

LASAGNACAT:  Beautiful in its simplicity.  Lasagnacat.com contains a treasure trove of live action recreations of “classic” Garfield strips, each followed by a musical tribute.  Take a look at a sample of their earth-shattering genius right here…   

If you’re going to head over to their site after this I’d recommend getting yourself a nice, snug pair of Depends ‘cause if you’re like me you’ll be sitting in front of your computer screen for a long time enjoying it.  And you also probably have some issues with leakage.  Here’s a helpful hint on that:  Creatine is great for building lean muscle mass, but you’re just tempting fate by following it up with the Olestra-laden chips.  Come on now.  Use some sense!

GARFIELD MINUS GARFIELD:    I think it best if I let this website set it’s own premise up through the magic of cut & paste.  Here’s how they describe what they do – 

“Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.” 

And here’s a sample… 

And the link where you can find a host of much better examples of this brilliant mix of tragedy and comedy that is hidden in every one of Davis’ strips:  http://garfieldminusgarfield.tumblr.com/ 

I, for one, won’t look at the Sunday paper the same way again.  For instance, what would happen if you took everyone else out of each “Cathy” strip except for Cathy?  Oh, wait, I guess you get the same thing. 

So, there you go.  Let the Garfield revolution begin!  

And, if you just haven’t gotten your fill, here are a couple more pieces of Garfield internet oddity… 

Some place called cheesebikini.com has posted a truly remarkable series of late 80’s Garfield strips in which Jim Davis put aside the comedy for a few weeks (not too hard to do) to tell a strange, Twilight Zone type story of Garfield waking to a world in which he never existed.  Seriously strange.   Witness now, Garfield’s crisis of existential dread: 

Finally, we have perhaps my favorite Garfield destination simply because it proves that Garfield is just as funny in Hungary as he is here.  Here’s a sample from the world-famous website www.hungarfield.freeblog.hu …

Man, that was a good one, right?  Ahh…Hungarian Garfield never disappoints.

Well until next week…

Viva Lasagna!

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My Great Shame, Part 2: The Shamening

March 24, 2008

“Something tells us that Freejack won’t be making your list.”

And, the shame train keeps chug-chug-chugging along. 

On Thursday I embarrassed myself enough that I really should be banished from the internet for quite a while.  But, here it is Monday and I’m back for even more.  This time I’m talking about the sci-fi films that I’m most ashamed that I haven’t seen.  (I would say “sci-fi/fantasy” but fantasy is still scant enough that I think I’ve seen all the one’s worth seeing.  Oh, sorry “Legend,” did I hurt your feelings?)   

Now, I like to think of myself as a film buff and when it comes to sci-fi I really thought I was doing pretty well.  I knew there were about 5 films that I needed to see, but I didn’t think the shame would really be too great this time around.

Boy was I wrong because now I’m more red-faced than ever.  As I delved into this, I found myself wincing and groaning with each title that I came across or thought of.  So, if you thought the book list was bad.  Get a load of this… 

THE TOP 20 (Yes, I said 20!!?!?!) SCI-FI FILMS I HAVEN’T SEEN (to my even greater shame): 

In alphabetical order, they are… 

Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, The, Dir. W.D. Richter:  I am nutty for “cult” movies of all stripes.  If the choice is between some polished, high-budget, big studio money grab or a late night viewing of “Plan 9 From Outer Space” then you will find me comfortably seated in my living room with Mr. Edward D. Wood Jr. and a big bowl of popcorn every single time.  (Okay, not every time.  I do wish I had stayed home with Tor Johnson and the gang the night I subjected myself to Michael Bay’s “The Island.”  Ugh.)  But, I wear my cult movie love as a badge of honor; which is why it’s appropriate that this film should find itself at the top of this list because it’s probably the one I’m most ashamed of for not having seen.  Everything I know about it screams “THIS IS A MOVIE FOR ME.”  Frankly, the presence Peter “Robocop” Weller should really be enough all on its own. 

Akira, Dir. Katsuhiro Otomo:  Anime.  Manga.  Many pasty white guys my age go absolutely bananas for the stuff.  Frankly, I just don’t get it.  I’ve watched “Ninja Scroll” and “Nausicaa of the Wind” with a shrug and a “huh?”  I’ve read, well, okay, I haven’t actually read any Manga.  But, I’ve flipped through some.  Well, that’s not even true.  I’ve passed them by at Borders while stepping over the legions of anti-social, aisle-sitting, punk kids that always crowd that section as if blocking an entire shelf from view is a perfectly acceptable practice.  Seriously, what gives?  I guess I should be happy the kids are reading comics and the art form won’t die the long promised death that cultural observers have been predicting since the 60’s.  But, I’m not.  Get out of the way you little jerks!  Anyway, my point is, I don’t get the stuff.  I’m glad there are people that do and don’t want it to go away.  But, it just doesn’t seem to connect for me.  That said, I do realize that any sci-fi fan worth his salt should at least see “Akira” before completely turning his back on the genre.  The question is – if I don’t get around to ever seeing this, do I still get some credit for loving Voltron?  Or, does that even count?   

Alphaville, Dir. Jean-Luc Godard:  Alphaville (and a couple other titles below) is where the genre-loving, pop culture consuming half of me is supposed to meet up with my pretentious film snob side and grow to love and embrace him instead of engaging in the never-ending civil war that has caused fits of uncertainty for a long time now.  I mean, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve shifted “Zardoz” and “The 400 Blows” back and forth on my Netflix queue.  Still, I have a nagging suspicion that “Alphaville” will probably only satisfy the film snob in me, but I’m hopeful that it will have enough for my other side too.  

Barbarella, Dir. Roger Vadim:  Again, I love the cult movies and a good dose of campiness.  So, goofball 60’s space movies are certainly right up my alley.  So, what gives, right?  There is one reason and one reason only that this film has not made it from the video store to my entertainment center lo these many years and it’s pretty simple:  JANE FONDA.  I can’t explain my distaste for the woman.  I mean, I’m a mealy-mouthed, limp-wristed liberal and love almost everything that Henry Fonda ever made.  Hanoi Jane easily satisfies both of those categories.  But, despite it all, the woman grates on me.   To echo Kahn, “She tasks me!”  But, as a sci-fi artifact of that era, Barbarella is pretty indispensible and the completist in me really needs to give it a watch. 

Blade Runner, Dir. Ridley Scott:  Forget what I said about Buckaroo Banzai.  This is clearly the one to be most ashamed of.  I know this.  I can’t even look you in the face right now as I talk about it.  Please stop groaning.  It only makes this worse.  What can I say, really?  I’ve tried a handful of times and maybe because I’ve always attempted it late at night and because that opening shot going into the city is about ten very slow minutes long or something I’ve never stayed awake into the main part of the movie.  Add to that that there is about sixteen different edits of it out there and that Sean Young makes me want to jump off a five story building onto a bike with no seat and maybe you can start to understand.  Anyway, the FINAL CUT has been at the top of my Netflix queue since it came out and still says there is a “very long wait.”  I’m gonna try this one more time for the sake of all credibility.  I’ll let you know how it turns out. 

Capricorn One, Dir. Peter Hyams:  The plot description puts this one fairly easily into my wheel house.  I love a good conspiracy theory and I know for a fact the moon landing was shot on a soundstage in Burbank, so it’s just a matter of time before I get my eyeballs on this one.   

Dark Star, Dir. John Carpenter:  Carpenter, for all his later day sins (Vampire$, Ghosts of Mars, Memoirs from an Invisible Man, etc.), is still very much the “Man” in my book.  I will easily slap the masterpiece label on at least five of his films (and yes, before you ask, that absolutely does include “Big Trouble In Little China”).  I’ve avoided this one for a while because I’m generally disappointed by the first films of my heroes and have always assumed the worst.  But, I’ve heard “Dark Star’s” praises sung in various places and am definitely encouraged by the name Dan O’Bannon on the co-scripting credit.    

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Dir. Fred F. Sears:  I’ve probably seen most of the best footage from this film since they seem to be the go-to shots in any movie that calls for a 50’s B-movie playing in the background.  But, I’d really like to see all the stuff in between those shots.  Plus, I’m a huge fan of any film whose title also serves as a plot description.   

Flash Gordon, Dir. Mike Hodges:  Apparently, this one is a seminal film for many from my generation.  It managed to slip through the cracks for me though despite the fact that its theme song has found its way onto my iPod.  Seriously, I don’t know how it happened but I had it on shuffle one day and the song came on.  I don’t own any albums with the song on it and I’ve not intentionally downloaded it.  Weird.   

Forbidden Planet, Dir. Fred M. Wilcox:  I think I gave this one a chance back in college and turned it off only a few minutes in.  When your only exposure to Leslie Neilsen has been the Naked Gun movies it can be a little off-putting to see him in a “straight” role.  I do recognize that this is the antecedent to a lot of stuff I love and also happens to be an adaptation of sorts of my favorite work by Billy Shakespeare – “The Tempest.”  So, I’ll give it another shot.  But, if OJ or George Kennedy show up half way through I won’t be able to handle it. 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Dir. Don Siegel:  I have no good excuse.  I’ve seen the 70’s remake.  I’ve seen the early 90’s remake.  I very nearly saw the Nicole Kidman remake.  And, this original version was even recorded on my DVR for about a month until it shamefully got deleted in favor of an episode of “The O.C.”  Something is wrong with me.  

La Jetee, Dir. Chris Marker:  I am absolutely kooky for “12 Monkeys.”  I love it just short of getting the poster image tattooed on my back.  Until recently, the French short film it was based off of was not readily available.  Now that it is I should really give it a watch.  I guess I have a little trouble renting a “short” film.  Kind of want to get as much bang for my buck, ya know.  But, still, as a fan of Gilliam’s adaptation, I owe old “La Jetee” a watch.  (By the way, I know for a fact that EG skipped right down to the next entry after reading the words “French short film.”) 

Logan’s Run, Dir. Michael Anderson:  This will be a treat when ere I finally see it.  It’s a rare sci-fi film that I know absolutely zero about.  Seriously.  The title is the only thing I know.  I think it might take place in the future.  But, that’s it.  Don’t know even the sketchiest of plot descriptions.  So, that’s kind of fun to come to something with no preconceptions.  

Seconds, Dir. John Frankenheimer:  I’m not certain this one qualifies as straight-up sci-fi, but a secret organization that specializes in giving rich folks someone else’s identity fits the bill enough for me.  “Island of Dr. Moreau” withstanding, I love Frankenheimer.  Heck, I love just saying that name.  Frankenheimer.  Ahh.  

Silent Running, Dir. Douglas Turnbull:  Similar to “Logan’s Run,” I don’t really know all that much about this one.  The one thing I do know gives me great hope for it though:  BRUCE DERN.  Give me that cranky, world-weary face any day and I’m a happy man.  As a quick aside, I really love “The ‘Burbs” and I don’t care what you say.  And, Bruce Dern’s scene-stealing performance as the ex-military, conspiracy theorist neighbor is one of the primary reasons.   

Solaris (1972), Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky:  I know that a 3-hour Russian film most often described by critics as “meditative” firmly ensconces this one in the aforementioned “pretentious film snob” category of this list.  But, putting that aside, there’s a sentient planet in this movie and as big a fan of both Mogo and Ego as I am I’d like to add a third planet to that very exclusive list.  I guess I could cheat and watch the much shorter Clooney version, but where’s the fun in that?  I’m just not happy with a sentient planet movie unless my buttox has completely fallen asleep by the end.   

THX-1138, Dir. George Lucas:  I always said I’d give this one a gander before my patience with Lucas had completely run out.  Well, my patience ran out a few years ago.  Should I still watch this?  Honestly, could “experimental” filmmaking by the early Lucas be much worse than the mainstream filmmaking by the late Lucas?   

V: The Miniseries, Dir. Kenneth Johnson:  In many American homes (mine included) the eldest male holds complete control over the television remote.  However, this wasn’t the case in my house as a child.  My Mother had both the best seat (the La-Z-Boy) and the remote at all times that she was in the living room.  Somehow, I had convinced her that we should watch the first night of this miniseries when it came on and went to bed in a trance that evening after it was over, so excited for the next installment.  Well, turns out Mom wasn’t as eager to find out what happened next and that, despite my heavy tears, was the end for me and V.    

Videodrome, Dir. David Cronenberg:  I’m sorry Mr. Cronenberg.  I don’t know how I let this one slip by me.  You know I love you.  Heck, I even watched Jason X because you were in it.  And Nightbreed.  Come to think of it, I do owe “Videodrome” a viewing.  But, what do you owe me for what I lost watching “Nightbreed?”  Street goes both ways pal.   

X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, Dir. Roger Corman:  Ray Milland in a film by Roger Corman.  As if not seeing the above 19 titles wasn’t shame enough.  I don’t have enough shame to contain this one too.  One of the true, sort of forgotten greats of film acting in a Corman film with perhaps the greatest title in cinema history.  Geez.  Where do I get off? 

Okay, that’s all the shame this little nerd can handle.  I’m going to go back into my corner for a little until the urge to bash my head in passes you by. 

And, EG, you are more than welcome to make some disapproving comments below, but if you choose to do so I will also require you to write an essay for this blog in which you defend your love for the 90’s film adaptation of “Lost in Space” starring Joey from “Friends.” 

MY GREAT SHAME, Part 1

March 20, 2008

Hey there good people of Blogveria!  How art thou? 

So, there’s been plenty of big comic book news out there in the wake of Wizard World LA, but none that really floats my proverbial boat.  I mean, Matt Fraction is one of my favorite current comic book writer’s, but the excitement of him joining with Brubaker as co-writer of “Uncanny X-Men” was immediately urinated on with the addition of these four words:  “New artist, Greg Land.”  And to think, they almost had me considering buying that title. 

No, none of that news was as exciting to me as the word from Stephen King (an not news from a con, mind you, but from NPR.  What’s that?  A comic story on NPR?  What happened?  Did they run out of stories about wheat harvesting?) that Marvel comics is going to be putting out a graphic novel adaptation of his epic novel “The Stand.”  

Here’s a link to the story:   http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=150380 

I am a big fan of the King.  I’ve liked pretty much every book I’ve ever read of his and have been reading since I could get my hands on the stuff.  But, and this is a cause of great shame for me, I have somehow never made the time in all these many years to read “The Stand.”  I’ve read plenty of long books in my day, but for some reason the page count of this particular book has just always been too daunting to me.   

And, I suppose the fact that I’ve gotten so excited about this adaptation full of purdy pictures and all (ya know, so’s I can easily understand it) should also be shameful to me.  And, well, it is.  Just shameful.  And, It’s sad that my first encounter with the book that, outside of the Dark Tower series, is supposed to be the signature work of an author I adore might be in comic form due to my own bestial laziness.   

Well, this shame got me to thinking of all of the other books that I really should have read by now.  In fact, that list is a good part of what motivated me to start this blog in the first place. 

So, in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I’d share the top 15 sci-fi and fantasy novels that I’m most ashamed to have never read.   

I hope and assume you’re sitting down.  It’s not pretty people.  Here they are in alphabetical order: 

THE TOP 15 SCI-FI/FANTASY BOOKS I HAVEN’T READ (to my great shame): 

1984 by George Orwell:  Seems like everyone but me had to read this one in high school.  It’s one of those rare books (like “Catch-22”) that I haven’t read but that I make reference to on a regular basis. 

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle:  I can’t even tell you how many times I must have picked this one up in the library of my junior high school, carried it around for twenty minutes, and then saw something I wanted to read more and put this back.  Not sure what held me back each time but I have a good feeling I’ve been missing out every year since. 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:  Another of those quintessential texts you find referenced on a regular basis in pop culture but one that many folks, I’ve found, haven’t actually taken the time to read.   

At The Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft:  I wrote this Lovecraft off early in life as a “poor man’s Poe” and, having now read many of his stories in the past few years, I can say that I was mostly right to do so.  But, I think before I finally write him off completely and for all time I should read this signature work since I understand everything else I’ve read only nibbles at the periphery of the themes and concepts that this one explores.   

Brave New World by Aldos Huxley:  I’ve been told to read this one so many times and in the most finger-waving, shame-on-you sort of terms that I fear it’ll be like taking cough syrup.  I guess it makes me a bit of a blockhead, but I really just want a novel to be fun.  I’m always nervous when a book is supposed to be “good for me.”   

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke:  A big RIP to this old gent this week.  As big a fan of “2001: A Space Odyssey” as I am, it’s downright uncool that I haven’t read a single one of Clarke’s novels.  This is the one I’ve always known about as THE BOOK of his to read but I could just as easily add “Rendezvous With Rama” to this list.   

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:  Another title from the high school reading list that I somehow avoided and, from what I understand, another one like “Brave New World” that I need to read not just for its merits as a novel but for my betterment as a human.  Well, as I said, that kind of “good for you” crap is certainly not going to get me to read it any faster.  What will do it for me, though, is the fact that I really like Bradbury.  “Martian Chronicles” is one of my old school favorites and I remember many frightened nights in the thrall of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”    

Foundation (series) by Issac Asimov:  By the way, I didn’t just miss these “Foundation” books.  I never read the “I, Robot” stuff either.  So, just tell me where I turn in my “Geek Credibility Card” and I’ll get to it right away and never bother you again.   

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:  Not just a horror classic, but one of the granddaddy’s of sci-fi.  This one’s even on my book shelf, so what exactly am I waiting for?  Of course, I haven’t read “Dracula” either.  

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson:  Netflix just advised me that I should have the film version of this in my mailbox today.  Will Smith already killed my desire to read the aforementioned “I, Robot” so I’m wondering if I’ll have any appetite for this one after this weekend.  Here’s hoping.  All I know is that I should really start chipping away at this list before he adapts any more of these books.   (Ironically, the ridiculous yet sublime “Omega Man” only makes me want to read this one even more!) 

Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick:  True confessions time.  I have a blog about science fiction and I’ve never read any Phillip K. Dick.  What am I even doing here? 

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut:  True confession number two.  Never read Vonnegut either.  If it makes it better, I haven’t read any John Grisham or V.C. Andrews either.  It doesn’t make it better, does it? 

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein:  I remember reading “Have Spacesuit Will Travel” and thinking that Heinlein books were just goofy, outdated fodder for kids, but I’m told that I am very much mistaken.  This one and a few other of his books are on the very long to-do list.   

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells:  Couldn’t decide if this or “War of the Worlds” should be on this list more, but ended up picking Time Machine because of how much I’ve heard reference to the mythology of that universe.  Additionally, I really ought to read this just to scrub the memory of that terrible film that came out a few years back with Guy Pearce from my brain.  Ugh.   

Watership Down by Richard Adams:  Any “Lost” fan worth his salt is supposed to have read this one, so I guess I can’t go on much longer without doing so.  Not that “Lost” is about anthropomorphic bunny rabbits, but I hear along with “The Stand” that it’s a crucial reference point. 

And, that’s it folks.  Of course, “Dune” and “Ender’s Game” would have easily been on this list were it not for the book club, so at least that’s something.  If EG hadn’t (I think) already read most of the above I’d be adding those to the Steve Austin curriculum as well. 

Anyway, now that I’ve got that off my chest, you may commence being disgusted with me now. 

COMING SOON:  My Great Shame, Part 2: Movies  

I’m not even a Star Wars fan…

March 18, 2008

… but this picture is brilliant.

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DEATH OF THE NEW BLOGS

March 14, 2008

“This blog blows.”

You got that right, Darkseid.  Anyway, there aren’t going to be any new updates until next week.  Rest assured, both OG and EG are hard at work reading “Ender’s Game” – so that part of the blog hasn’t broken down yet.  Just everything else.

The first rule of writing a blog that is regularly read by others is to update it often. 

 Which means that this non-update, update is not being read by anyone.

And, that’s okay.  But, I have a new plan on how to pick up my game and will be executing it very soon.  I really will.

Until then, please enjoy the trailer for the wonder of 80’s cinema that was “Ice Pirates.”  A film I declared brilliant as a young boy and forced my poor, long-suffering father to take me to not once, but TWICE!  It’s a wonder that he still loves me…

 Well, he says he does. 

 Okay, see you all soon!

Some things just make me happy…

March 10, 2008

… and this is one:


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Post-Id Notes, Ep. #3

March 7, 2008

Sorry about missing last week dear reader.  I know you’re really mad at me.  But, let me just say, I’m really mad at you…for not existing.

POST ID #3

PREVIOUS EPISODE

Please. Don’t. Suck.

March 6, 2008

Getting your hopes up.

It’s a time-honored geek tradition; one in which we never, ever learn our lesson.   

And, you know, I think that’s what’s good about us.  Sure, there’s the vocal minority of folks out there who snark and snipe at every tidbit they read or see on an upcoming project; guys that can never and will never be satisfied or happy for the sole reason that their parents never really loved them.  But, for most of us, we keep hope alive.  We actually want a film/comic/tv show to succeed in meeting or even exceeding our expectations. 

So, I’m proud to keep company with those dreamers;  proud to pull myself up and put a smile on my face time and again no matter how often George Lucas molests my inner child or the Wachowski’s punch me in the heart. 

I WILL be there for opening day of the new Indiana Jones movie because I dare to believe in a world where a man can swing across a great chasm with a bullwhip and not let go of his walker in the process.   I’ve seen the stills.  I’ve watched the trailer.  I…believe…it…will…be…good. 

And, I will likely have those hopes dashed asunder as the high, tinny cackle of executives in a dark boardroom coven somewhere in Burbank rises up amidst the sounds of cash registers dinging and the shrieks of a million nerds flailing themselves off rooftops throughout the land.

So, it is with trepidation and the nervous, giggling excitement of a teenage girl that I present these three newly released images from the forthcoming “Watchmen” movie – the Holy Grail of comic book movie adaptations; perhaps the very symbol of geek hope for all time.  This is the one we’ve been waiting for and the one that has the greatest chance of ruining our lives.  (Hello, Hyperbole.  Glad to see you made it.) 

Comedian

Night Owl

Rorschach

Yeah, that’s the Comedian, Night Owl, and Rorschach right there and darned if it don’t look just like ’em. 

I know if you’re reading this site then you’ve no doubt seen these stills and a couple more at EVERY OTHER SITE IN THE UNIVERSE.  But, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to air my hopes publicly so that there was a place to go to mock them a year from now when this comes out.

Until such time as that happens I will be drooling over this images and waiting for “Iron Man” which is waiting in the wings to be the latest disappointment in my life. 

But, seriously, “Iron Man” is going to be awesome, right?

I mean, I hope it is.

This blog won’t be the last thing to fail you in life…

March 3, 2008

 

So, you might have noticed I’ve not blogged in a few days and that I also missed my Friday “Post-Id Notes” commitment.  Due to this, you are probably inclined to call me a failure.  

Well, that’s fine.  But, guess what, if you want to call me a failure you’re gonna have to get in a very long line behind most of my family members, friends, the faculty at Carson-Newman College, and the teller at my bank to do so. 

Anyway, I don’t have any long-form reviews or essays today.  Instead, I’ll just throw out a handful of things that are percolating at the top of my brain can… 

TERMINATOR:  THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES: 

I haven’t had a chance to mention this, but I was actually surprised to find that I like this show quite a bit.  I think the lead chick (Lena Headey) is quite compelling and Summer Glau as the female Terminator is playing one of the great odd-ball characters of recent sci-fi.  And, though I’m not the biggest fan of emo John Connor, I like how they’ve found a great story to tell that fills in the gaps between the film series. 

That said, I have yet to watch a single episode all the way through in one sitting.  It’s like something in the Fox transmission signal triggers this narcoleptic condition I never knew I had.   

It’s weird.  It’s not a boring show.  It’s got a good lot of action that isn’t completely mindless, interesting characters, and an automatic “IN” with me on concept alone.   

But still, tonight is the season (possibly series) finale and I’m still 3 episodes behind on my Tivo.  I can’t figure it out.  I keep trying to watch it and keep falling asleep. 

Now, to top it all off, the episode I’m stalled out on currently is the introduction of Brian Austin Green into the series.  Yeah, I’m doomed.  All they need now is for Ian Ziering to appear as a Terminator and I’m all done. 

“Even we are concerned with how boring we are.”  

YOU TUBULAR: 

I saw this clip today at Gawker.com which linked it from kottke.org which got it from You Tube.  But, I couldn’t help myself.  This was too cool and I’d hate for anyone to miss it. 

We comic fans love a good “What if?” and this is a great one.  What if Saul Bass designed the opening credits for the original Star Wars film…  Brilliant! 

THE CONSTANT: 

Last Thursday’s episode of Lost, “The Constant,” is exactly the one I would point to as exhibit A for someone who doesn’t understand my fascination with/adoration for this show. 

In said episode, one of the island-dwellers, Desmond Hume, travels back and forth in time from the present (2004 on the show) and the year 1996.  But, this time-travel isn’t done in a Delorean, a phone booth, or any physical means whatsoever.  It’s actually his consciousness that is travelling back and forth between his current and past self due to heavy exposure to a powerful electromagnetic force. 

This is a heady sci-fi concept and they don’t skirt around the science of it or the inherent paradoxes that time travel stories are typically rife with at all. 

Now, before you tune out, that stuff, while catnip for your hardcore Phillip K. Dick fan, is all very much beside the point.  If it was just about the mode of the time travel and the puzzle that the audience has to piece together to understand it then it would be alienating to most and I wouldn’t win over a single convert. 

But, in this episode, the writers have used the concept for all its metaphorical weight in order to tell a very compelling, heart-breaking love story that culminates with a simple, lump in the throat, phone conversation between two separated lovers struggling to get back to each other’s arms. 

Lost, for all its mysteries, literary references, creepy smoke monsters, and pseudo-scientific minutia is about the characters first and foremost.  It is populated with a cast of broken people who are trying to escape who they are and somehow overcome great obstacles to become who they are supposed to be. 

The greatest mystery being explored on the show is that of the human heart and how you heal it. 

Even the creators of the show have lost track of that from time to time, putting the mythology first.  But, as the strange Ms. Hawkings says in Desmond’s last time-spanning episode in season 3, the universe has a way of course-correcting. 

So too does this show and I think this episode in specific and this season in general have done just that.  It’s once again about being lost and hopefully being found. 

WHAT IN THE FREAK IS FREAK?: 

So, one of the reasons I’ve been not feverishly writing this blog is that I’ve been feverishly writing something else.  This something else is turning out to be all-encompassing to me and I’m completely obsessed with working on it lately. 

It’s a screenplay that takes place in the year 1985.  As happens with my writing, I often have a song playing in the back of my head when I’m working.  These songs usually become themes or evoke a mood for me that I’m trying to get across in the story.   

The song lately on this particular script has been Whodini’s 1984 rap classic, “Freaks Come Out At Night.”  It was mainly the chorus that was thumping in my head but due to the glories and conveniences of iTunes, I grabbed up the song for 99 cents and have been listening to it.

I shouldn’t say “listening to it.”  I should say “living in it.”  What happens is that sometimes I’ll play a song in the car when I’m with my son and if he likes it (“Someone Keeps Moving My Chair,” by They Might Be Giants was the last one) he asks me to play it over and over again until I want to throw myself out of the car window. 

As a result, I’ll venture a guess that over the course of the past weekend I listened to this song more times than it may have ever actually aired on the radio.   

I’m not out of love with it yet.  But, prolonged exposure to it has made me realize that I have no idea who the “Freaks” in this song are supposed to be.  I guess when I first heard it in the 80’s it was fresh off of the still brilliant “Thriller” video and my own Fangoria-obsessed childhood and so I naturally thought the freaks were some sort of ominous, shuffling contingent of the undead prowling the nighttime streets in search of brains.   

But, read a snippet of the lyrics and you tell me who the freaks are supposed to be because I have no idea… 

Now the party’s jumpin’, the place is packed
And when the crowd’s like this, I’m ready to rap
But before I could bust a rhyme on the mic
Freaks are all over me like white on rice
Freaks come in all shapes, sizes and colors
But what I like about ’em most is that they’re real good lovers
They do it in the park, they do it in the dark
But most freaks are known for breakin’ hearts
You could never tell what a freak was thinkin’ of
And you may never catch a freak without at least one glove
And they don’t walk, when they step, they strut
And nine times out of ten they drive you nuts
But take my advice, you don’t stand a chance
Freaks are so bad they got their own dance
So if you wanna live a nice quiet life
Do yourself a favor, don’t come out at night, ’cause
 

Now, let’s pull out a few attributes of the freaks from this.  They’re good lovers, they engage in lewd exhibitionist behavior, they break hearts, they generally wear at least one glove, they strut, they drive you nuts, they’re bad, they have their own dance, and most importantly, they come out at night. I may have been on to something with the “Thriller” connection.  But, it’s not the undead we’re talking about here.  It’s Michael Jackson, right?  I guess the big giveaway is the one glove thing.   

That being said, the song is “Freaks” plural.  Which, as terrifying as it is, means there are more than one of him, right? 

Yikes.  I guess I’m staying in at night. 

Okay, that’ll have to do it for now.  I’ll try to show up again tomorrow. 

But, if I don’t, please know that I love you and I miss you like the deserts miss the rains.