Friday, October 29, 2004

A mad, roller-coaster existence what my life will be this weekend, so I'm just warning you in advance to expect light posting for the next couple of days. I promise everything on Monday will be super-interesting. Of course, readership always drops off over the weekend, anyway, so I'm not sure why I'm telling you this. But fair warning, all the same.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Low Point of the Week...

...would be developing a hopeless crush on some random Friendster girl who's too young for me (not, like, illegal, but still too young). I am dirty.

This weekend should prove interesting, in the very least. Ali's in town, Glee Club Homecoming concert is tomorrow night, there are several parties to choose from on both Saturday and Sunday...

I'm hoping to make it past the next three days with a minimum of embarassment, drunken or otherwise. I do not particularly like my chances.

That Grant Morrison quote

Here we go. From Arthur magazine. A question regarding that super-strong German toddler led to speculation about the emerging supermen, and what Grant tried to accomplish on X-Men.
"And when supermen do come along, what are they gonna want to find? A role model. Like everyone else on the planet. We all want to find people who've trod our path before, who can suggest some ways to help us feel significant. So the idea behind a lot of what I was doing in X-Men and really all of my comics is to give these future supermen a template, to say 'Okay you're a superhuman, and maybe it feels a little like this. I've tried really hard as one of the last of the human beings to think what it might be like in your world.' Rather than bring them to us, which is what a lot of superhero fiction in the past has tried to do, I've tried to go into their world and to understand what's going on in the space of the comics, and to try and find a way to make that into a morality, almost, or a creed, or an aesthetic, that might make sense to someone who has yet to be born with powers beyond those of mortal man. I think we have to give them images of rescue and ambition and cosmic potency, rather than images of control and fascist perfection."
That's completely awesome. It is also not how I really remembered that quote, so it doesn't quite fit in with what I was planning to say in regards to Spurgeon's essay. He asserts,
I feel compelled to mention the reason Morrison's work on New X-Men may have felt to Dirk like Claremont "without all the stupid bits" (a funny line, admittedly) is because Morrison was in part writing an overarching commentary on Chris Claremont's original Uncanny X-Men run in the guise of new adventures. The result was a savvy pop-culture do-over sampled from old comics riffs, a self-aware re-hash as helpless before nostalgia as any back to basics movement, a deep look inwards disguised as outreach. The underlying joke of Morrison's run is that the X-Men always ends up in the same place no matter how shiny the uniforms or how many throw-away lines referring to character sexuality.
Morrison made no secret that Claremont and Byrne's seminal early-80's run was the launching point for his take on the X-Men. Look, there's the Phoenix! Look, there's a "Days of Future Past" pastiche! Look, there's the melodramatic soap opera romance that we've all known and loved for years! Yes, it was all there. But then, in the background, Morrison made important fundamental shifts in the X-Men's entire approach and philosophy. Rather than remain a shadowy team of vigilantes, the X-Men went public, opening their school to actual students, and opening a chain of X-Corporations around the world, so that they could address mutant concerns on a global scale. The mutant population grew exponentially, just as Beast discovered an "extinction trigger" in the human genome. While mutants were still subjects of persecution, they were also subjects of admiration, the hip new thing among the youth culture. And in the end Morrison took down both Magneto and Charles Xavier, arguing that their notions of human/mutant relations were too archaic to function in the new status quo Morrison created. (That quote ties in a bit more than I thought.)

Now granted, if you're not into superheroes, a shift in the X-Men status quo is not going to do much for you, but if you grew up reading X-Men during the comic book nadir of the 1990's like I did, wondering where all the excitement and suspense had gone from those early Claremont days, Morrison's run was like a godsend. Morrison's primary ode to Claremont and Byrne was to re-introduce the thought that anything could (and would) happen in X-Men.

Of course, the moment Morrison left the books attempted as best they could to go back to business as usual. Only Joss Whedon seems even remotely concerned with the ideas Morrison set forth, merging the editorially-mandated return to costumes with the idea that the X-Men are now public figures concerned with public relations. Claremont introduced the promising concept of his team as the XSE Mutant Police, but it should surprised no one familiar with Claremont's recent work that he has barely touched on that concept over the eight issues he's written of Uncanny X-Men so far.

One last quote from Spurgeon:
I fail to see why we should spend a lot of energy bemoaning the loss of slightly more clever X-Men comics in a period of growing excellence through the art form entire.
Let's keep in mind that he didn't really like Morrison's run. Then why spend a lot of energy bemoaning the bemoaning? Granted, Spurgeon does put a disclaimer at the top of his piece, saying that he declined to send it to The Comics Journal and instead put it up on his site for discussion's sake, but one can't help but get the feeling that he feels Deppey's efforts were a waste of time, considering all the actual comic art happening at the same time. To which I have only to say: lighten up, man. It's just X-Men.

Bizarro! I love you! Bizarro!

Hurry over to Mastodon City to catch "Bizarro Day", where Asa turns conservative, Alex turns liberal and EVERYTHING'S mixed up!

It's great. And sort of terrifying. They sound a lot like the genuine article.

And I thought I was cynical

Well, I've got nothing on Tom Spurgeon, who recently started a website called The Comics Reporter. In one of his first commentaries, he issues an open letter responding to Dirk Deppey's recent articles on NuMarvel, which I referred to you earlier, so you'll pardon me if I don't link to them again. Sorry, but I'm lazy.

He makes some good points, not the least of which is how Marvel editorial is shaping its line to be more marketable to Hollywood, which certainly accounts for the rather heinous immediate retcon of Magneto's death in New X-Men just a few months later in Excalibur. And he does point out the rather glaring error Deppey makes in painting Morrison as some crazy Vertigo outsider when he took over X-Men, without mentioning Morrison's run on JLA.

I actually want to get into this a bit more, but there's some Morrison quotes I want to look up and they're not online and the magazine's at home. Later, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

This week's comics

Write it down, because today I only bought DC books. They were all Vertigo or Wildstorm books, mind you, but still. I would have bought Astonishing X-Men and Avengers, but I guess they're not coming until next week.

We3 #2 - The series gets even better in its second installment, which is really saying something, considering how much I loved the first chapter. The army has found our cybernetic animal friends, and the proceed to do what they do, which is killing every damn thing in sight. Quitely packs the fight scenes with big splash pages depicting the major actions, along with dozens of tiny panels depicting closeups of the carnage that is being wrought (the neatly-split fingernail is particularly disturbing). Meanwhile, there's dissention in the ranks as 2 (the cat) challenges 1's (the dog) authority, and 3 (the rabbit) makes an unwise decision. Fortunately, a horde of cybernetically-enhanced rats is just the rallying point our heroes need to get them working together again. The art is just spectacular. I love the choice to show the humans' faces as little as possible, with the exception of Roseanne, the animals' only ally. Even the father and son at the end of this issue are heavily backlit to obscure their features. I love this series. I can't believe I have to wait until fucking January for issue #3.

Planetary #21 - Hey, it's my favorite not-monthly-in-the-slightest comic! I'll take what I can get. I'm just glad new issues are coming out at all. This issue, like all the others before, does not fail to disappoint. There doesn't seem to be any specific pastiche here that I recognize, unless it's just Dr. Strange crossed with some of Grant Morrison's trippier experiments. Basically, Snow goes to visit a magician friends of his, and she takes the opportunity to give Snow some perspective on his war against the Four. This issue also gives another hint as to the true nature of the Century Babies, Ellis' primary contribution to the Wildstorm mythos (other that, you know, The Authority). Cassady's art looks a bit sketchier than normal this issue. Looks like even just putting out Planetary as a quarterly is getting to him. This series only has six issues or so to go before in concludes, so I'll savor it while I can.

The Authority: Revolution #1 - Well, here's something I'd never thought I'd see again: an Authority book I was interested in reading. It's fair to say that the original series fizzled before Millar's run ended, and the relaunced Volume 2 didn't seem interesting in the slightest. Now along comes yet another volume, this time penned by Ed Brubaker, and I admit they've got me intrigued. Intrigued enough to buy the first issue, anyway. In the line-wide "Coup D'Etat" crossover, the Authority overthrew a corrupt presidency and took over governing the United States. The first issue sees the various Authority team members trying to deal with bureaucratic red tape and debating whether they should just become benevolent dictators (oooh, pick that!). Meanwhile, some superpeople pop up in Philadelphia and start inciting riots, looking to start a revolution and overthrow the Authority. It's in interesting enough premise, and Brubaker has fun with scenes where the sadistic Midnighter has to sit in meetings and take crap from the Majority Whip. But there's not much else that grabs me. The superpower revolutionaries all seem pretty generic right off the bat, although I'm sure there's more to them than meets the eye. I might be tempted to check out the trade down the line, but I doubt I'll pick up any more single issues. And Dustin Nguyen's artwork is good, but doesn't seem to fit the material. This political stuff seems to call for a much stronger line, you know? Oh, and I haven't read Authority since it became a mature readers book, but let me say it sounds natural for the team to all swear like sailors.

Good week, overall. And Astonishing to look forward to for next week. Woot.

Calling Miss Manners

At what point do you just bite the bullet and admit you don't know the last name of somone you've known for months and months?

My favorite comic writer

Grant Morrison has become my favorite comic writer. I may as well admit it. It's not just that his comics kick ass (they do), or that he wrote conceivably the best X-Men run ever (it was), but he gives great interviews. I mean, in conventional terms, Morrison is completely batshit crazy. But how can you not love a man who says things like this?
I've spoken to everyone else I used to admire only to discover that the majority of them are graceless, bitter horrors, who hate everyone younger than they are. I've discovered to my cost that it's best to choose your heroes carefully. Luckily for my own readers, I'm an excellent role model - fit, healthy, intelligent, well-adjusted, well-hung, and always open to new ideas.

He's also one of the few writers out there willing to create challenging comic books, but what can I say? The man's a charmer.

Sorry, folks

I actually meant to update more yesterday, but Blogger wouldn't let me log in once I got home from work. Thanks, Blogger, you ass. (I bet they read all the blogs looking for just this type of outburst. If this blog is gone tomorrow, you'll know why.)

I'm planning to write up a little trip down memory lane where I try to find out how I became such an irrascible curmudgeon when it comes to comics. Alex said I was "ridiculously contrarian," which is pretty much exactly what I'm going for. I am hoping that post proves at least a little interesting. In the very least you'll see what an X-title whore I was back in 1996 or so.

And that was really all I was going to write yesterday. Not much else to tell. Last night's Veronica Mars was not up to the quality of previous episodes, which of course meant it was the episode that Emory opted to watch. It did get rid of an annoying supporting character, though, so that was nice. And we got to see more about Veronica's mom. But overall, it was underwhelming.

Potentially awkward conversation #2 took place, and proved to be not awkward at all. I know, anti-climax. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I am becoming a hobo

Right before your very eyes!

My clothes are disentegrating. In the case of the shirt I am wearing, that is a literal truth. Earlier today I noticed that there were several blotches of discoloration down near the bottom of my shirt. They weren't stains, really. It looked like the dark green of my shirt had lost its pigmentation and had turned into this sort of washed-out gray. And where it had lost its color, several small tears had opened up. While I was inspecting them, I noticed that the cloth had cocome very brittle and easy to tear. I opened up another small hole in my shirt with the minimum of pressure. Whatever stained my shirt also weakened the material so that the slightest contact rips the affected spots to shreds. I have now returned from lunch and the biggest spot has mostly become frayed threads.

To top it all off, while I was at lunch I noticed my zip-up sweatshirt also had a large hole in it. Normal wear-and-tear seems to be the culprit, rather than some unkown corrosive.

I don't have an explanation for what's going on with my shirt. Although just yesterday it was in the back seat of the car, right by the old car battery I'm keeping back there until I find the will to return it to Auto Zone.

The very old car battery. Full of HORRIBLE ACID.

I think I'm going to go wash my hands...

Monday, October 25, 2004

I am incapable of learning

So we watched Super Size Me over the weekend, where the guy eats McDonald's and then gains a bunch of weight, vomits, generally ruins his health, etc.

So where do you think I went to eat for lunch today?

At the end of that movie I was thinking "Wow, how sobering. Maybe I should make a serious effort to change my diet for the better," and then this afternoon I was like "Mmmm, fries." It was like that Simpsons episode where Bart keeps grabbing the electrified cupcake. I know it's bad for me, but I must possess it.

At lunch today I also saw this girl walking through the mall who had obviously just ended her shift at Hot Dog on a Stick. You know, that mall chain that makes its employees dress in these hideous, brightly-colored, striped outfits with big doofy hats, as if it wasn't humiliating enough to work for a place called "Hot Dog on a Stick?" Anyway, this girl was walking through the mall, and had covered her hideous outfit with this big jacket, but she had left on the hat. So it just looked like she was wearing the hat deliberately, as a fashion statement. That is so punk.

If it were me, I would have taken the hat off, is what I'm saying.

I'm lousy with kids

Here's the conversation I had a few hours ago when I went into the break room to find that there was a kid in there, just sitting by himself, who couldn't have been older than ten. I was just getting some water when he piped up.

“Do you know who my mom is?”
“Who is your mom?”
“Guess who my mom is.”
“Uh, I don’t know. Who?”
“I’m bad at guessing games.”
“It starts with a ‘C’.”
“Is it… Crystal?”
“How did you know that?”
(I'm not a genius, I assure you. It's just that the kid was black, and there’s only two black women that I know of who work here, and I know Crystal has kids, and I banked on the kid not being adopted. I’m the World’s Greatest Detective.)
"It was a lucky guess."
“I bet I know what PSI stands for.”
“Oh yeah? What?”
“Psychological Services Inc.”
“Nice one. What are you eating?”
“I’m not EATING!”
(He was eating hot chocolate with a spoon.)
“Well, I’ve gotta get back to work.”
“Guess what? My foot is on the chair.”
“So it is.”

Annnnnd away I went. I'm going to be a hell of a dad someday, I can tell. Or perhaps I'll just be the subject of a film in which I am forced to adopt three adorable moppets who melt my ice-cold heart. You never know.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tales from the weekend

Not much to tell, really. The Mayday 24-hour Filmfest went off without a hitch, with the film I was in picking up some stuff. And by "some stuff," I mean Trumbo was one of the best actor winners. But the movie was well-received, it seemed, so that's good. I was really pleased how it turned out, even though we had to cut the Philosobees for time. Poor bees. But hey, at least the film made a certain amount of sense. Sort of.

Um, not much else happened. One potentially awkward dialogue turned out quite well, I think. And the other one still hasn't taken place, so we all have that to look forward to. Ian and Jessica (of all people) called me a few hours ago, encouraging me to come to this girl Courtney's birthday party tonight. These are all kids I was in that play with awhile ago, and Courtney was the one who couldn't remember my name after four weeks of rehearsal. Keep in mind that there were only five cast members. So no, I wasn't particularly chomping at the bit to go to an expensive bar full of mostly people I don't know, and the few people I do know I don't know particularly well.

A dramatic shift in tone

Wow, that review of Arrested Development down there is kind of stilted, isn't it? (The first one, not the follow-up.) I just don't want to sound too much like "Hey, and then THIS funny thing happens!" And maybe someone out there really doesn't know anything about Arrested Development. I guess I'm still trying to find a balance between "newspaper TV critic" and that old "The Chris Farley Show" sketch on SNL.

I heard SNL's gotten funnier. Maybe I should start watching it again. If only it weren't on the one night I'm usually out conducting my minimal social life. We'll see!

Best voiceover ever

Remember how I said Ron Howard's Arrested Development voiceover was helpful and enjoyable? On the second disc of the first season it moved up to hilarious. When Jessie the Evil Publicist calls Michael's son "Opie," the action freezes and the voiceover cuts in, noting "Jessie has crossed the line, and had better watch her mouth." Ha! The best part is that he says like he does all the narration, with an even, matter-of-fact voice. It's just gold.

I could honestly see some of these scripts working as Simpsons episodes. You know, if the Simpsons were even remotely funny anymore. That's right, I said it.

Man, and then Carl Weathers shows up for a few episodes playing himself, and he won't shut up about stew..."We're just two adults getting our stew on!" It's the funniest show in a zillion years. Or whenever UCB went off the air.

Arrested Development

TV on DVD is the single greatest achievement in the history of entertainment.

Okay, perhaps that's a bit overboard, but how else would I be able to see the first season of Arrested Development before the second season starts in just a few short weeks? Emory and I watched the first six episodes yesterday, and I was surprised to find that the series more than lives up to its hype.

The plot concerns the wealty Bluth clan, who use their company as a personal piggybank until the SEC catches on and places their father (Jeffrey Tambor) in prison. Unpopular son Michael (Jason Bateman) is left to run the struggling company, since he is the only Bluth with anything resembling a work ethic. The rest of the family (inlcuding Portia Di Rossi, Dave Cross, Will Arnett, and Jessica Walter as the Bluth matriarch) struggle with their new-found financial limiations. Also, Michael's son George-Michael must deal with his developing crush on his cousin Maeby in a one-joke sub-plot that still somehow manages to be funny in episode after episode.

I honestly can't remember the last laugh-out-loud funny sitcom I've seen. Newsradio maybe? I never watched that show as much as Emory did. AD reminds me more of Sports Night, with its one-camera, on-location shooting, but AD always undercuts whatever sticom drama it musters with its completely loopy sense of humor. Here's one of my favorite bits:

Michael's mother: (yelling at her maid) Lupe! Be careful with that coat! That costs more than your entire house!
(Michael looks at her harshly.)
Michael's mother: Oh, that's just our little joke. She doesn't even have a house.

The show has a consistently great running gag of revealing jokes through slow pans. A touching moment between mother and son turns out to have been conducted in front of the entire board of directors. Michael and his father seriously discuss the mental limitations of Michael's younger brother Buster, and the camera slowly pans out to reveal that Buster is sitting at the table with them. It's a nice signature bit.

I've discussed voiceovers in several series this season already, and Arrested Development is no exception, with a wry narration from executive producer Ron Howard. AD's voiceover, unlike, say, Desperate Housewives', does not hinder enjoyment of the series, but rather keeps the plot bouncing along with a minimum of setup, allowing the maximum amount of humor inside its brief 22 minutes.

Now that I think about it, the best comparison show to Arrested Development on the air right now would be Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. They both share an affinity for convoluted, interlocking plots in which everything seems to go wrong.

So, long story short, I'll have a new show to watch when the new season starts in November. Man, I haven't watched this much television since before college.

Friday, October 22, 2004


...c'est moi.

Emory, Leslie, and I watched Super Size Me tonight, which was both entertaining and interesting. Hey, corporate greed seems to figure in with our current health crisis. See my face? My face is shocked.

The rest of my body is like "Five lunches? Me like much, much!"

Um, that bit is funnier if you picture my body speaking in a low bass register, preferably voiced by Jon Lovitz.

Yeah, so my point is, between my metabolism slowing down and my simply wretched diet, I have developed a gut. Sadly, it is not a beer gut, but a soda gut. I need to drink less soda, which would be simple were it not my VERY LIFE'S BLOOD. So I'm trying to cut back on the soda. It is not easy, to say the least. One might say I am "completely failing" at cutting back on soda. So here my gut remains. I am becoming my father. God help me.

So line up, ladies! I look bad and I feel bad! Thanks goodness I don't have any ex-girlfriends coming into town next weekend who haven't seen me in a couple of years!



News on the march!

Readership is up! Sidebar has been expanded! Actual content may actually be forthcoming!

Seriously, I'm working on more reviews and essays and the like. In the meantime, please content yourselves with some scant details from my largely boring life. Seriously, I'm trying to keep the diary stuff to a minimum, since I find my day-to-day living tedious to the extreme. Like for example, here's what I did today:

"Got up. Went to work. Received assignment to re-reference hundres of items (our term for "test questions") from OSHA 2003 standards to OSHA 2004 standards. Did that for about 75% of the day. Faxed the reviews out to Marty. Only got about halfway through the items I was assigned because I spent way too much time dicking around on the internet but that doesn't really matter because I have a minimum of supervision. Went home."

I know, FUCKING BORING. So rest assured there will most likely be more about what comics I read this week or what TV shows I watch than stuff like what I had for dinner or how cute the intern at my work is. Not that I'll ever phase that stuff out completely, mind you, since, as I noted in my very first post, I am self-absorbed.

Just giving you all a heads up.


Oh, Hipster Girl

Oh, Hipster Girl in front of Border's. Why don't you leave your hipster boyfriend and come over to my place? You can show me where you buy all of your hipster clothes so I can walk the hipster walk and talk the hipster talk.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Of sharks and Kentucky

McKenna asked me why the hell my blog URL was Old Kentucky Shark. Fair question. I will provide an answer. Although I bet 90% of the people who read this understand the reference perfectly. But for the two of you who don't, here it is!

Um, it's a Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode, you see, where Space Ghost start promoting a whiskey called Old Kentucky Shark, and there's a big shark flopped out in front of his desk...

You kind of have to see it. It's really funny, I promise. One of the best-ever Space Ghosts.

So why didn't I name my blog after me real name or some cute nickname I have? Well, first of all, I don't have any nicknames, unless you coun't people using my last name, like "Stone," or "Stoney," or "Stoner," or, if you want me to punch you in the junk, "Stoner Boner." BO-RING! Plus I bet all those names have already been used. By like, stoners. Or boners.

I guess I do have some nicknames. This kid Ian calls me Stretch. He's a bit of a dick, though. One of my co-workers calls me Sparky. She's a woman in her late 30s, early 40s and one day she just started calling me Sparky. Dont' look at me. I can't explain it.

Um, where was I?

FUN FACT! (See: desperation at realization that post was neither funny nor interesting) I tried to have my hotmail account be, but apparently there were already a jillion people using it, considering the length of the number they suggested I use instead. So I decided to have my email be about ninjas.

Man, that wasn't fun at all! It was factual, though. True story. True, boring story.

I promise I'll come up with something better soon.

This week's TV

Through the miracle of video on demand, Emory and I watched last Sunday's episode of The Wire tonight. The thrust of this season is politics, focusing on Stringer's moves towards legitimacy, Carcetti's bid for mayor, and Major Colvin's new theory about fighting the drug war. What I perceived to be a lackluster second season is much improved by what I now perceive to be the series' focus; it wishes to focus not on the drug trade exclusively, but on the city of Baltimore and what makes it tick. The first season was drugs, the second season was unions, and now we're moving on to politics. An interview I read with co-creator David Simon quoted his as saying The Wire is "a visual novel," and I'm inclined to agree. It can't be taken on an epsidoe-by-episode basis, but must be perceived as a whole. I mean hell, it's got so damn many major characters that HBO had to put up a chart on their official website. Check it out. Netflix the first season now that it's out on DVD. You won't be sorry.

I just have to admit that I have simply become a sucker for long-form visual storytelling. But more on that later.

Through the miracle of Matt taping every damn show on every damn network every week (shit, man, just get Tivo) I saw this week's Veronica Mars once the Wire viewing was over. This show has totally hit its stride. This episode was paced to within an inch of its life but never actually felt rushed, plus the ongoing murder subplot was fleshed out with a series of really well-done flashbacks depicting Veronica with her old friends. This episode, above all the others thus far, shows how Lilly's death has completely fucked up most of the major characters' lives. Please watch this show. It's not too late. Plus, there was almost no voiceover. It's so nice when a series follows the basic 'show, don't tell' rule. I'm looking at you, Desperate Housewives.

Why you'd hate watching Lost with us

Emory and I can't keep our fucking traps shut during Lost. From last night:

Emory: Maybe Jack's dad is a robot.
Jeff: I hope they grab him and his head opens up and there's a little pol-bo-saur driving him.
Emory: He's a pol-bo-saur replicant. A pol-bo-cant, if you will.

Emory and I are also insisting, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that Jack is secretly a spy.

Jack's Mom: You have to go get your father.
Jack: Where is he?
Jeff: Afghanistan. Where he has been captured by other spies. You'll need all your spy tricks to get him out.

You get the idea.

Meanwhile, I think it's safe to say that yesterday's Penny Arcade totally rips us off. That's right, anyone who talks about robot dinosaurs in the context of Lost is ripping us off and will not be tolerated.

Slow news day

Sorry about the lack of updates yesterday (I know you all were begging and pleading for yet another comic book-related diatribe), but Blogger wouldn't let me log on last night or earlier this morning. Blogger is my enemy.

But I also didn't have much to say yesterday because my birthday was pretty boring. Really dull day at work, talked to my parents, talked to my sister, ordered a pizza, went over to Sam's and hung out with the Northwestern kids. Made a potentially embarassing phone call which turned into a potentially-less-embarassing message leaving.

I'm pleased to report that I can go to a function consisting solely of Frank's friends and not sit in sullen silence in the corner like I did at the first few parties he took me to. I actually feel comfortable around them! Awwww, togetherness.

Bizarre connection of the night: Frank's friend Ben (I am now panicking that Ben is not his name) went to high school with my old college chum Morgan Matson. Ha! Morgan was my old fake-arch-nemesis until she left and was replaced by Morgan Price. Why is it all my fake-arch-nemeses are named Morgan? How Arthurian of me.

Not a bad birthday, all told.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

And yet I'm fine

I woke up this morning and felt just dandy. My reluctance to get out of bed was exclusively sleep-related, rather than the hangover-related I had anticipated. What the hell? I'm invincible. I've turned into I-Man. Nothing can stop me except for the dark!

God, I hope I'm not still drunk.

Happy Birthday to me

Okay, so I'm goddamn drunk right now.

But thanks to all who came to what was apparently my birthday party. I'd have thanked you personally, but you motherfuckers got me tanked. Assholes. And by assholes, I mean "enablers." Thanks!

Did I mention that I'm drunk? Because, y'know, I am. Drunk. God, I've got to get up in less than six hours. Damn it. Damn you, alcohol!

Aw, alcohol. Come back. I didn't mean it. I love you. Far more than I should.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The good old days

Dirk Deppey, in his Journalista! column, recently wrote two great pieces about the rise and fall of "NuMarvel." Jemas certainly made a large number of extremely dumb decisions, but he did pull Marvel out of debt and supported some great, creative ideas during his tenure. I certainly do miss him and his jerk-off antics.

I also heartily recommend Deppey's review of the opening issues of the X-Men Reload "event." Like me, his primary conclusion is that Astonishing X-Men is the only X-title left that's worth a damn. Oh, here's my favorite quote from the article, regarding one of my favorite punching bags, Chris Claremont:

Don't get me wrong: If you're fourteen years old and susceptable to the combination of high adventure and turgid soap opera in which Claremont excels, his X-Men stories are almost guaranteed to be your cup of tea, at least until you discover dating, adult responsibilities and better writing. The fact remains, however, that there are distinct limits to Chris Claremont's abilities as a writer, and a sustained exposure to his work, month after month after month, will eventually rub your nose in them.

Yes, Claremont is the father of modern comic writing. He made one-dimensional characters into two-dimensional characters. But his peak passed quite a few years ago. It's been time to move on for quite some time now. Anyway, read the whole article.

Ah, hell. I'll just go ahead and recommend The Comics Journal website as a whole. They're not half the elitist assholes they used to be.

Marvel vs. DC and The Flash

"The Basement Tapes" is always an interesting read, and this week Casey and Fraction tackle the old-timey argument of Marvel vs. DC, but from a writer's prespective. The column highlights many of the differences I perceive between the two companies and its characters. Particularly intresting is how Casey's interest in DC's heroes pretty much ends at their origin. It's a good piece.

This reminds me of when Emory was reading Geoff Johns' run on Flash. His big complaint was "Who wants to read about a superhero whose life is perfect?" It's a valid complaint with the run. Until "Blitz," there never seems to be any real danger. Even as the Rogues took over Central City at the same time the Thinker was taking over Keystone, I was thinking "yawn." He's the Flash! He can run at the speed of sound! I think he can handle it.

Which is why "Blitz" works so damn well. I recently re-read the entire Johns run up to and including "Blitz." Then I re-read "Blitz" again. And again. It's just fantastic. Here's Flash, with three years worth of build-up, overcoming all obstacles and leading, as Emory said, the perfect life. Beautiful wife, city that loves and supports him, and twins on the way. Then Zoom comes along to teach him a thing or two about tragedy. Through the story I was rooting for Zoom. Wally West did indeed need to face tragedy, because he's damn boring without it. And the consequences of Zoom's actions allowed Johns to completely overhaul the status quo of the series. Nice one. Can you imagine how cool it would have been if Casey and co. had been allowed to similarly overhaul Superman? I think that would have worked out quite well.

In the end, I'm with Casey. I prefer characters over icons. And I think the reason why "Blitz" works so well for me is that it brings a person who was rapidly becoming an untouchable icon into back to being a character.

The Peacekeeper Wars

Ha HA! Correct answer!

I just finished watching the Farscape miniseries and I must say it exceeded expectations. Oh, it was wonderous.

It wasn't absolutely perfect. I think Sikozu's subplot was given short shrift, but that's just because I'm in love with her. I mean, for the miniseries they punked out her hair and dressed her in black leather. It was almost too much hot to take in. As Patton Oswald once said, "Which god did I please?" And that's it for Jeff's Hormonal Overdrive Minute.

But yeah, the ending was great. Between this and Angel, that's two near-perfect series finales in one year. And that's also two finales that nearly made me cry deep, heartfelt nerd tears. Almost.

I'd get into plot details, but I know Frank reads this, and by God he will one day see every last minute of Farscape, and I don't want to ruin anything for him.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Tales from the Weekend

Not much went on, really. Kind of quiet. No big news or anything. Except, of course, the CAR.

Laurel gave me her car on Saturday, because she just bought a new one and is apparently making mad money at her job. I just needed to buy a new battery for it. So, a perfectly fine car for about 80 dollars. Glories! So thank you, Laurel. Should you come to your senses, please don't call.

I was driving home on Saturday (Driving! Home!) and I thought to myself "Self, though you may now have a motor vehicle, you should do the minimum required driving until you get insurance and all that jazz." Cut to that evening, and I'm on the phone with Frank.

Frank: That's so great about the car. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities! You should come to this party in Santa Monica tonight.

Jeff: I'm gonna!

Okay, so I drove to Santa Monica for this party. Didn't quite fall under the "minimum required driving" mandate I set for myself, but still, it was worth it. I regret nothing. And now the car can stay safely put for the rest of this week while I work out the details.

The party was really fun, too. I like those kids from Frank's play. They're all quite friendly. Except for Sam, of course. That kid's a dick. I spent a good deal of the evening talking to Frank, Matt McKenna, and this girl Nell, who bore an uncanny resemblance to my friend Sarah Candler. Weird.

Oh, and I met another one of Jennie's friends from college. It's always strange when that happens, because I have to be "Oh, you're friends with Jennie from college? I've known her since kindergarten." That throws people off.

Other than that, the weekend was largely dedicated to making it through the fourth season of Farscape before the miniseries on Sunday night. Ah, Farscape. Truly you are the greatest sci-fi show ever.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Farscape Season 4

Oh, my heart is aflutter for the Farscape miniseries that starts in a mere fifteen minutes. We just finished off season 4 on DVD.

Season 4 started off shakily, recycling old ideas from past seasons, but really picked up for its second half. I particularly enjoyed the episodes concerning Moya's arrival on earth. The episode that was primarily a news program regarding the alien visitors was particularly inspired. The remainder of the season, though never on par with season 3, offered plenty to recommend it.

Quite simply, Sikozu is my new girlfriend. Particularly after her late-seaon revelations. She's not just a willful, hyper-intelligent, redhead. She's a willful, hyper-intelligent redhead who's also a genetically engineered super-soldier. Yes, please.

Okay, I must away. It starts momentarily.

Team America

Team America: World of Diminishing Returns!

Oh, I wanted to love you, Team America, but you seemed insistent on not being very funny. Don't get me wrong, the movie starts out brilliantly, with a great Bruckheimer parody immediately followed by a Rent parody featuring the song "Everyone Has AIDS!" which perfectly lampoons Rent's tendency to repeat the word "rent" in its lyrics about fifty times too many.

Honestly, the movie's biggest misstep is to try and tackle those Hollywood actors it seems so intent on dismembering. The movie shifts from parodying action movies to calling Alec Baldwin and friends fags. The comedy's just not as smart. Like the bloodbath at the end. A puppet getting shot isn't itself funny, there has to be something funny about the shooting. A great example is elsewhere in the film, when puppet hero Gary drinks to much and starts puking. And puking and puking. At first, it's not that funny, but then the puke starts spraying out of him like a high pressure hose, and the joke starts working. His vomiting isn't funny, but the way he vomits is. I'd be less critical of this if the last 20 minutes of the film weren't dedicated to shooting puppets over and over.

Which isn't to say there isn't anything funny in the movie. Some of the best moments come from the characters' puppetness. At one point the female lead reaches to touch the hero's heart, but can't quite reach. She then looks at her arm, as if she can't understand why it can't go any further. Then there are the deadly panthers, which are just black house cats. Nice. It's a shame the movie's so dedicated to unfunny material like the fact that Kim Jong Il switches his r's and l's. The movie acts like that's the be-all end-all of comedy. Uh, it's not.

Friday, October 15, 2004

My Faith in Frankie

So, here I am again. 9:45 on a Friday and I am sitting at home, waiting for Matt and Frank to finish their respective commitments so we can get together and write. I could be off seeing Team America with Kim and those dudes from The Insanities, but nooooooo. Stupid creative process.

Dear Creative Process,

You suck balls.

Love, Jeff

So let me tell you about the best comic I read this week. It was the collection of the Vertigo miniseries My Faith in Frankie by Mike Carey and Sonny Liew.

The story revolves around seventeen year-old Frankie and her personal god, Jeriven. Jeriven has looked after Frankie all her life, since she's the only mortal who can see him, but now that Frankie's old enough to be dating, Jeriven's "protection" is starting to interfere with her sex life. The story opens with Frankie putting the moves on her latest date, only to be interrupted by a plague of bunnies that Jeriven has sent.

Jeriven figures he can handle any boys Frankie might come across until Dean, a childhood friend of Frankie's, blows back into town, looking mighty good for a guy who died back in grade school.

The book is simply a delight. Carey balances the romance and humor to fine effect, creating a plausible romantic quadrangle (the fourth corner is Frankie's best friend, Kay, whose feelings for Frankie may go deeper than friendship). Carey uses a swell technique of breaking down the story into tiny mini-chapters that alternate from the present to Frankie's grade school days, filling us in on important backstory where appropriate. Liew's art is fantastic. I especially like the adorable cartoony style he adopts for the flashbacks.

The collection has all four issues of the miniseries, and is printed in the manga-size digest format for a mere seven dollars. The main drawback to the book is that the once-color art has been changed to black and white for the collection. Why the hell did they do that? Marvel's Runaways collections are six issues long and in color and only cost eight dollars. DC can't do a damn thing right when it comes to trades.

Anyway, the transition to black and white doesn't hurt the art one bit, and the story is more than worth it for the price. Go buy it. Go! Shoo!


Oh, grad student intern at my company who always looks at me with contempt, let's run away together. Since you're working late tonight, perhaps we can go out to dinner? You can stare at me icily from across the table. Please, pour your misery down on me.

It's geek o'clock

Only two more days 'til the Farscape mini-series! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Of course, Emory, Leslie, and I still have six episodes of the fourth season to get through on DVD before then. I'm pleased to report that fourth season is climbing out of its hole. The trip to earth was one of the series' best single episodes, and the most recent episode we watched, "Bringing Home the Beacon," was completely awesome. There's no way this season will ever reach the greatness of season three, but things are looking up.

They grow up so fast

I was talking to Kim last night and she was complaining about how cynical she has become about relationships. Since her time at college is rapidly ending, she's concerned about her dating prospects once she is thrust into the real world. She theorized that her time at college is her only window in which to find someone she wouldn't necessarily mind spending the rest of her life with, and marrying him. I was of course reminded of Frank and I's joke upon our own graduation. "Well, time to decide which of our female friends to marry." It's a prospect I still sort of endorse, as spiteful as I am about forging my way in the dating scene.

I told Kim she better get cracking, since she hasn't found anyone yet. I suggested scoping out the freshman boys. Her response? "Ew! They're all so young!" I immediately screamed "NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS!" You can't imagine the amount of crap she gave me for bemoaning how old I felt when we were dating. Of course, the bemoaning probably got tiresome more or less instantly, so I can't really blame her. It's just that when she was 19 and I was 23, that felt like a chasm a million miles wide. I remember Trumbo expressing a similar sentiment after he had dated Devon, so at least I'm not crazy.

Kim also has my problem of having potential suitors that she is unfortunately not interested in, but more on that later.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

So nice to have decent TV

Both Lost and Veronica Mars had strong episodes this week. Lost was particularly intriguing, inserting a new element into the drama that could best be described as... supernatural? Magical? Or, as the hapless yet loveable Locke notes, "a miracle?" After last week's kind of bullshit flashbacks, it was nice to see a character's backstory fully explained, and the twist was unexpected and totally awesome. Props to my main man, David Fury. You done me proud, boy.

Speaking of twists, the solution to this week's Veronica Mars mystery also came as a surprise, which was nice, considering the last episode's was so damn obvious. The less said about Kristen Bell, the better, because I will simply embarass myself. Oh, I just want to take her out for ice cream and then go walk on the beach holding hands! Ugh, you see? Moving on...

At the other end of the spectrum, Desperate Housewives' second episode was less than stellar. While Veronica Mars has largely scaled back its irritating voiceover, the Magic Omnicient Narrtor of Housewives seemed to have every other line this week. Which would be fine if the voiceover provided new information, or told us things we couldn't possibly discern for ourselves, but it just narrates the damn action. It's like the creators never heard the old adage, "Show, don't tell." It's a visual medium, folks. As it is now it's like Chris Claremont wrote it. Ew. On the other hand, Felicity Huffman remains as great as ever and Teri Hatcher is surprisingly charming. So there's that.

You can, and should, read about all three of these series over at Television Without Pity, but I am too lazy too link all three series with their respective pages at that site.

Oh, and The Wire this season? C'est magnifique.


So it seems Ali will be coming up (down? I still don't know CA geography) for the weekend of Halloween. I'm excited, since I haven't laid eyes on her in over two years. But there's also a weirdness. Like I'm not sure how I'm going to act around her, or she around me. I mean, it'll be very friendly. We talk on the phone every few weeks. But it still might be a little weird, you know? We'll see.


This blog will never become overly political in nature. I tend to leave that sort of things to those who are more well-informed than I am. However, here's my one big general observation after watching all the debates.

I have my doubts about the man, but Kerry's just more presidential. All three debates he stayed calm and on-message. Meanwhile Bush's performance varied from debate to debate, but he always seemed irritated and petulant. And making goofy faces while Kerry was talking didn't really help, either, in my opinion. It bordered on disrespectful, but mostly just seemed immature. Grow up, George. I can't wait 'til you're gone, be it November or four years hence.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

As if I didn't love them enough already

If you know me well, you know I love The Wire more than most everything else on television.

If you know me really well, then you know I am a pretty big fan of The Pogues.

So imagine my endless delight when, during the most recent episode, McNulty, Bunk, and Lester go to the wake of this cop who died recently and the bartender puts on The Pogues' "The Body of an American" and then there's an absurdly long sequence where everyone at the wake sings along. They sang up through the first chorus. Up to the first chant of "I'm a free born man of the USA!" Even Bunk and Lester! They're not even Irish!

Ah, The Wire. You are endless joy.

EDIT: Okay, I've fixed the links. Link away, kids.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Why we are going to hell

Sunday night Frank, Emory, Matt and I were hanging around the apartment. Matt had just gone down to his apartment to check on something, and entered our front door with the news that Christopher Reeve had died. We all were shocked and saddened and hung our heads low.

Then about two minutes later we came up with our website idea.

It would be a public service announcement informing the public about the four NEW Christopher Reeves that had sprung up after the original's death. While Cyborg Christopher Reeve, Suit-of-armor Christopher Reeve, Vigilante Christopher Reeve and Teenage Christopher Reeve did indeed seem to resemble the one true Christopher Reeve in appearance and/or deed, we would urge the public to not jump to any conclustions until all the facts were in. It was Emory who suggested that Cyborg Christopher Reeve's first act would be to dig up the corpse of the horse who threw him and hurl it into space. Our info site would be called

If there's a hell for geeks, we're going there. Although I like to think our little jest was born from the deeply-held belief that as far as film and television were concerned, Reeve was the One True Superman.

If you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, try clicking here.


Alan just called from All Star wondering where we all were. Apparently he hadn't checked Begum all day. Aw, I feel like a jerk. Sorry, Alan!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Tales from the Weekend Part the Second

Also known as "Dinner with the Creature."

On Saturday night a merry band of us went so see Frank's current show, Monster. It was a good show, nicely written and very well acted. I think I preferred One Flea Spare a bit more, but that's only because I think Frankenstein's been done to death. But it was a good adaptation, with just enough changes to keep you on your toes. I especially ejoyed the conversation between Victor and his cat (played by Frank). Because, you know, Victor Frankenstein can talk to animals in this version. You see what I mean about keeping on your toes. It's good. Check it out.

Afterwards a massive group of us headed to Swingers for a late dinner, and poor Clark, who plays the Creature, still had all his horrific stitch-makeup on, so he looked a bit of a mess. Then we went back to Frank's house and sat around and drank. When I started this post I thought these events would be more interesting or funny but I think we can all see how that turned out.

This has been possibly the most interesting weekend I've had in a month. Sometimes my life is stupid.

Tales from the Weekend, Part the First

There was a baby in my apartment this weekend.

Leslie's old high school chum Liz lives up in Claremont, and came down to spend the night on Saturday. And she brought her five-month-old baby, Sam. It's weird enough that someone I sort of know who is younger than I am has a baby. That's just weird. To actually see said baby in the flesh is even weirder. But to have said baby be physically present in your swinging, mid-20s bachelor pad is like if a dinosaur emerged from your bathroom with a top hat and cane, and did a little soft-shoe. It is something simply so alien that the mind cannot process it.

When I was awakened on Saturday morning by the baby's cries of attention after a mere four hours of sleep, I was so unnerved by the sound that I may as well have been awoken by a poltergeist. I spent the next couple of hours in a delerium, as I fell back to sleep several times, only to once again be ripped from slumber by the horrible Baby Wailing. I mean, it's a cute baby. I'm sure I'd have a good time if I ever spent more than 30 seconds in its presence, but it was obvious that introducing a baby into my normal weekend routine was like throwing a monkeywrench into the proverbial works. I know I've been throwing a lot of metaphors at you, but shit, man, it was weird!

I guess what I'm saying is that I won't be having kids anytime soon.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

"Say hello to man's new best friends..."

Emory just got the first collection of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, and reading that reminded me that I wanted to re-read the first issue of We3.

This is just how it's done, people. It's simply mesmerizing. While Morrison is often critisized, occasionally correctly, for writing stories that make no sense, We3 is very straight-forward. Simply, a dog, a cat and a rabbit who have been turned into weapons of war by the government escape their imprisonment before they are dismantled, and the army sets forth to hunt them down. Easy peasy. Oh, and awesome.

This is probably my favorite art Quitely's ever done. The expression on Bandit's (the dog) face as he speaks to the Senator are just heartbreaking. He looks so sad that the Senator won't answer his greeting. (The Senator is naturally horrified by a cybernetic talking dog.) Then there is the escape sequence. Six straight pages of eighteen panels each. Tight, constricted. Many close-ups. The animals patiently waiting. The scientists closing in for the kill. The animals racing through the halls of the lab, destroying almost everything in their path. And then freedom as they hit the outdoors in a gorgeous two-page spread depicting our heroes sailing into the night sky. Bring me a comic released this month that's been half as visually daring. I dare you.

So, y'know, I'm looking forward to issue 2.

Oh, and Doom Patrol is great, too. Can't wait to read the second volume of that, either. Watch out for those Scissormen!

I hate both sides

So apparently this week over in Amazing Spider-Man, J. Michael Straczynski revealed that, before she died, Gwen Stacy had sex with Norman Osborn, aka The Green Goblin, and ended up giving birth to twins. Oh, and Mary Jane's known this the whole time.

Yes, it's as stupid as it sounds. Shut up, J. Michael Straczynski.

And at the other end of the spectrum, shut up Scott Tipton.

Now to be fair, I agree with almost all of Tipton's essay. I think JMS's tale is poor storytelling, and it really does diminish the impact of the original death of Gwen Stacy story. In the original, Gwen Stacy died because the Green Goblin wanted to hurt Spider-Man, not Gwen. Now instead of Peter's loved ones being targeted because he's Spider-Man, Peter's loved ones are targeted because they were dumb enough to have sex with the super-villain.

It's where Tipton starts comparing this turn of events with things like Identity Crisis and Avengers that I start to see red. I simply can't stand the "You can't kill/change this character! I luuuuuuurve them!" If you can't stand a change in the status quo of a comic, then I have no choice but to declare you an enemy of narrative fiction. Listen, if you're going to insist that comics last forever and ever into infinity, you're going to have to accept that sooner or later Hawkeye will die, Sue Dibney will be raped, Chuck Austen will start writing your favorite book, etc. If you hate the changes just drop the book. Which, to his credit, Tipton appears to be doing. Like I said, I agree with nearly all of his essay, it's just the fact that he seemed to take the story personally that really bugs me. Grow up, man. (Should you be interested, I posted a long, knee-jerk rant to Tipton's essay over at Mastodon City, but I can't figure out their permanent links so you'll just have to scroll down to the "What? Really?" topic and click on the comments to read it. I'm sure you'll get right on it.)

Through serendipitous timing, I happened upon this interview with Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada right before I wrote this post. And he has things to say along these lines. Here are some choice bits.

There are so many characters that no one really cares about until something happens to change them or to defame them, in those cases I say, go for broke. I think DC is experiencing a bit of this with Identity Crisis. Suddenly, Sue Dibny is a much beloved character. Who the heck ever cared about Sue Dibny in that kind of way before the Doctor Light incident?

And as for the subject of those who would bash Marvel online (Tipton was civil so he's mostly exempt):

They come to the defense of their beloved two dimensional, fictitious characters as though they were real people, with feelings and family, yet treat the people who create, write and draw these characters as though they were fictitious and two dimensional without any regard for their feelings and family.

I'm pretty sure he meant "two dimensional" as in on the printed page, but it'd be funnier to interpret it as "two-dimensional characters," particularly considering the uproar after Milligan and Allred took over X-Force. "What about these characters I LOVE, like Boom Boom and Shatterstar!" Ha!

I mean, I love comic books. LOVE THEM. But they're just made up, people. Try not to get carried away. If Hawkeye dying is the worst thing to happen to you all year, then you are one lucky son of a bitch.

*To all out there who hate "Avengers: Disassembled," was it really worse than Chuck Austen's run? Was it? I'll tell you. It wasn't.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Okay, X-Factor essay is finally up. I considered abandoning it several times, but figured I should just put the damn thing up. Check it out if you're into that sort of thing. It's a bit of a mess. But it's done, damn it. I'm planning to do more of these review-y types of essays. Hopefully one a week from now on. I'm definitely going to address Spider-Man 2099 and The Ray (the one DC book I've ever loved) in future installments.

I briefly considered doing essays entitled "Comics I Have Loathed." I would review stuff like Liefeld's X-Force or "Maximum Carnage" in the Spider-Man books. One would most certainly have been Chuck Austen's run on Uncanny X-Men, but then I realized I could never best Paul O'Brien's reviews in critisizing Austen. The best line:

"Imagine a terrifying window into a dark world of anti-talent."

That's just pure gold, people. Seriously, if you want to be amused, just scroll through O'Brien's reviews of Austen's Uncanny issues, particularly the "She Lies With Angels" arc. The reviews of those five issues are some kind of masterpiece.

More fall TV

We've already covered my enthusiasm for Veronica Mars, so let's see what else there is, shall we?

Well, of course there's always Lost. The two-part pilot was incredible, and last night's episode was decent, if not excellent. The next episode teaser indicated we would see more monster action, which is great. Emory noted this week that it's good that the show doesn't have a big credit sequence, or else you could tell who was going to be eaten by the horrible monster. Emory, Leslie and I's current theory is that it's an intelligence-enhanced polar bear driving a robot dinosaur. A pol-bo-saur, if you will.

You'd hate watching Lost with us. All we do is talk about robosaurs. Here's a brief exchange during last night's episode.

Me: Ooh, dark clouds. There's a storm coming.
Emory: A storm of robosaurs.
Me: They're probably robo-dactyls.

I love that crap. And while the big reveal of what's on the island with them could indeed prove stupid, I'll be around to see it. Plus it'll be interesting to see how David Fury does on a show that's not Buffy or Angel.

We also watched Despearte Housewives this past weekend, primarily because Emory is borderline-obsessed with Teri Hatcher. I don't know why, I can't explain it. But I watched the show because I'm a big Felicity Huffman fan. It's pretty amusing, but has too much voiceover, although I guess it's a little bit excused because it's a dead woman observing the action. It's Sally, from Sports Night, actually, so the pilot was like a brief Sports Night reunion, at least before Sally blew her brains out and became Magic Omniscient Voice.

So the show deals with the women and their stifled lives with the mystery of why Sally killed herself simmers in the background. Felicity Huffman's character seems the most promising; a woman who gave up a promising career to raise her three boys who she seems to now secretly despise. When she asks her husband to wear a condom and he refuses, she slaps him. Funny. Teri Hatcher seems relegated to mooning over the new guy in the neighborhood (he's more than he appears, oooh) while trading barbs with her too-worldly-for-her-age daughter. But it's not a bad start. I'm in for a few more episodes.

We also stuck around after Housewives to watch Boston Legal, and while Spader and Shatner are brilliant, all the female characters are vacant lots, which means David E. Kelly continues to be par for the course. But BOY, do I love Spader!

And on that slightly homoerotic note, I'll take my leave.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

More Mayday

As promised.

24-hour filmaking is a punishing business.

Trumbo and I were talking at karaoke last night and we realized we hadn't acted together since Angel City, which I believe was the first thing Trumbo did at Oxy. How'd that happen? Frank was quick to point out that we had Acting for the Camera together, which is true, but doesn't really count. Quit remembering more about my college experience than I can, Frank.

I enjoy working with Asa, Doug, Alan, and Kenneth, so it's a shame that next time I'll be forced to utterly destroy them when Frank, Paul, Matt, Emory and I form a team. I am bringing it well in advance.

What can I say about running down dank, piss-stained alleys in Chinatown at 5 in the morning other than it fucking sucks? It fucking sucks. Don't do it unless absolutely necessary.

Poor Minnie had to be in Santa Monica at 10 AM the next day. What a trooper.

My and Trumbo's favorite bit had to be cut out due to time constraints. I kind of figured it would happen, but it's still a shame. "Man, those bees are smart."

Should be interesting to watch the final product come October 23rd.

See what I mean?

So tonight I sang "Photograph" at karaoke. I can't get enough of it. I'm listening to it as we speak. It is arguably the catchiest song ever recorded. I am a sucker for songs with a) claps, b) "oooh-oooh-ooohs" and c) the phrase "shooting from the stars above."

I had roughly a million drinks tonight but barely got tipsy. What the hell? Clearly I've become some sort of alcoholic ubermensch. I possibly didn't spell that right.

What does it say about my life that I find myself in a bar surrounded by beautiful women who for one reason or another I am not allowed to touch? Answer me that.

That's not fair. I had ample opportunity to touch at least one of them, and voluntarily chose not to. Thus negating any bitching and moaning I shall ever do on the subject of lonliness.

Another one broke up with me, for the record. That was my fault, too. But we've been over that. (Not here on this blog. I mean the girl and me, over and over, for a long period of time, whenver we got drunk. We'd just gab and gab about our long-finished relationship. I have no idea what that says about either of us.)

Clearly I am at least a little drunk, since I'm going on and on about this "dear diary" crap I usually despise. We shall blame any spelling errors on my six Jack and Cokes, I think.

This girl (who was having a birthday) and a friend of hers wanted to sing along with me on "Dancing with Myself" tonight, which filled me with unheralded seething resentment. They kind of dropped out after a little while, though, so it was clearly no big deal. Plus the birthday girl was easy on the eyes. Her and all her hipster gal pals.

And on that note, I bid you all adieu. (That I spelled right.)

"'Cause everbody wants some love..." ... DAMMIT!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I am behind the times

Musically speaking, that is.

As unadventurous as I am, I am the least unadventurous when it comes to listening to new music. I only listened to modern popular music from 1993-1998, when my mother finally relinquished control of the radio to me, thus ending the tyranny of oldies* I had faced my entire life until then. Then I got my own car and the popular music times, they did roll. Then I realized the radio was crap, but it didn't matter because I didn't have a car when I went to college. Then I got a car but only listened to mixes of my or others' design. The only new CDs I bought in college were Soul Coughing and Tenacious D. Then my car got stolen, so even if I wanted to listen to the radio again (nah), it really wasn't convenient.

So I've been well behind the curve, musically, for most of my life. This has proven rather embarassing when good, popular pop songs finally gain my attention and I only start listening to "Hey Ya!" about a year after the rest of world has grown weary of it. I'm just not exposed to pop music. MTV and VH1 are almost uniformly odious, and almost never play music, anyway. My roomates are no help, considering Emory listens exclusively to metal and Leslie's tastes don't differ much from Emory's. (Although to be fair Leslie did introduce me to Sleater-Kinney's "One Beat," for which I am eternally grateful.) Fortunately, I've entered a new era of digital technology and high school friends moving in downstairs, so I can liberally sample Matt's music collection and blantantly steal whatever I deem appropriate. (Here come the Feds!)

This is really just a really long way of saying I ripped Matt's Weezer albums and have been listening to them all day at work. I actually own a Weezer album, I should say. I bought Maladroit about a year ago, since I came to the realization that I had very much enjoyed every Weezer song I had ever heard. Despite loving the album, I didn't buy another one. Thank God for CD burning! Now I can revel in the joys of "El Scorcho" or "Photograph" whenever I want! Of course now that I am so full of Weezer adoration I worry that I will put off everyone I know who listened to their first album ten years ago and who have long since gotten over their initial enthusiasm.

I guess what I'm saying is if you see me and I'm humming "My Name Is Jonas" with a faraway look in my eyes, feel free to give me a pinch or something so I'll stop vocalizing and go back to living in a very special 1994 of my mind. It just rocks so hard!

*Not that I have anything against oldies, mind you. In fact, I love them. But that's all I listened to until I was 13. I honestly did not know the difference between Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson until "Janet" came out. But I have a soft spot for the oldies. "The Great Pretender" was my favorite song when I was 11, and I love it to this day.

Monday, October 04, 2004

LA's the smallest place on earth

I mean, seriously.

So this past weekend was the big Mayday 24-hour Filmfest, and since my team disentegrated at the last minute (we were only held together by Elmer's and scotch tape) I wound up starring in Team Lower Gatsby's interpretation of The Richter Agenda. The female lead was played by this girl Minnie, who is Kenneth's cousin. Over the course of the loooooong shoot Trumbo and I discovered that she is roomates with the girl who was in the latest production of Leopold and Loeb along with all those Oxy theater alum kids we know. If that don't beat all. This kind of stuff just keeps coming up more and more as I meet more and more LA actors.

More on Mayday later.

Credit where it's due

Sure, I give Smallville a hard time (because, y'know, it's bad) but I will say that, after seeing the second episode of this season, the woman playing Lois Lane is pretty charming and engaging. She is lightyears ahead of Tom Welling and Kristen Karunkadunk. That does not, however, make her particularly great. But I don't hate her, which is a start. Or it would be, if I ever planned on watching the show on a regular basis.

The episode also featured Michael Ironside, which is always a plus. Then it blew all the goodwill I had built-up for it by having Clark fight a T-1000 rip-off and then dispose of him the same way they disposed of Robert Patrick at the end of Terminator 2. Boo.

Friday, October 01, 2004

"Time for go to bed!"

So it's 11 PM and all my friends have gone to bed. What the fuck? When did I move into a retirement home?

Technically, Frank has not gone to bed. But he's far away in Santa Monica, hitting on beautiful, Santa Monican women who have just seen him act and now want to have sex with him. It is important to note that I am not bitter.

I think I'll call Kim. I can't accept that my social life has become this barren wasteland.

"Doing you was like doing the Dew"

A mere two episodes in and I'm already madly in love with Veronica Mars. Let me clarify a bit. I am in love with Kristen Bell, and I like the show a whole lot. But just as a friend.

The show concerns a 17-year old girl who has recently found herself ceremoniously dumped from the popular clique at her high school. Typical, you say? What if I said Veronica's rift with her old friends springs from her best friend's murder, an event that led her Sheriff father to lose his job and his wife? Then it gets a bit more interesting. Veronica, using the resources of her dad's new private detective agency, is determined to solve the murder, as well as find out who date-raped her at her last party with the popular crowd. Her only allies are a put-upon yet plucky social outcast and the leader of a local motorcycle gang who has a heart of, well, not quite gold, exactly. It's a Twins Peak-esque hook, to be sure.

The show has an irritating voiceover which was particularly dire in the pilot, which mostly served to set up the elaborate backstory. It was much less prominent in the second episode, fortunately. The second episode's mystery isn't particularly compelling, but the acting, dialogue, and tone (quirky with more than a hint of darkness) more than carry the day. Plus there's some progress made in the over-arching mystery plot. Seriously, even the presence of Paris Hilton couldn't derail the episode, considering they did have the good sense to cast her more or less as herself. To balance out the odious casting, they added post pre-crisis Sidney Portier to the ensemble. Yes!

Seriously, check it out. It's on Tuesday nights on UPN.

Worst plan ever

Why do I do this to myself? Alternately, why must the most fun activities of my week fall on weeknights?

Last night I went and saw a sketch comedy show (The Insanities, for the record) and then went over to Kevin's apartment to play poker. Then I drank a six-pack of Heineken and stayed up until 3 in the morning. So, as you can imagine, getting up at 7:30 this morning was HEINOUS. I didn't get up on time. I called my boss and told her I would be late (she's cool about things like that) and slept for another half-hour. Suffice to say, the first few hours of my day were not extremely productive. Clearly, I am a moron.

The Insanities put on a pretty good show. It was kind of tough to tell how good, because I think they were goofing around a bit more than usual, but I can't be certain. But it was consistently funny, with some bits that bordered on brilliance. Dave's dramatic performance of a scene from First Blood springs immediately to mind. And who can resist the tomfoolery of the Farting Ninja? My one complaint is that the show ends with two sketches that are too long and aren't really funny enough to justify the length. It seemed like a bad plan to put what seemed to be the two longest sketches at the end of the show. But overall, thumbs up, most definitely.

After fleecing everyone last time, I lost quite spectacularly at poker this time around. I was up by a wide margin at one point, but Kevin devestated me with a Queen kicker to his trip 10s while I only had a nine kicker for mine. I never recovered from that debilitating blow. Joel ended up being the big winner, pocketing over a hundred dollars. At least I only bought in once. Maybe I shouldn't drink so much next time.

I'm feeling much better now, thanks for asking.