Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A more innocent time

I was talking to my sister a couple of weeks ago and she recalled a time when I was about 6 or 7, and my parents were talking politics and I piped up "I would have voted for Reagan!" and my parents just about died.

The first Presidential election I really remember noticing was Bush/Dukakis. I can't recall who I was pulling for, but I remember it always seemed so obvious that Dukakis was going to lose that there wasn't much point in caring.

Emory rented The Hunting of the President the other night. I only watched part of it, but remember when the greatest threat facing our nation was a blowjob? I miss those days. Clinton, too, goober that he was.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

First salvo

I promised myself I wouldn't link to McKenna's blog, mostly because he openly declared war on this blog in his first post, but poor Frank would never see it if I didn't link to it, because Frank is too lazy to actually find out the address for himself. Or remember it when he hears it. Perhaps it is senility because, as we established last post, Frank is sixty years old.

Also, I do not actually declare war on McKenna's blog. He's a big-time TV writer and stuff. It would be folly to do so.

Sometimes thinking of a title is too much bother

Yes, I have neglected updating for a few days simply to spite you.

Saturday was the type of day you have where you can look back and say "Well, I didn't waste that day!" I went out and played ultimate frisbee in the early afternoon with Liz, Asa, Quin, Brian, Kenneth, and Alan. Believe me when I tell you that I am out of shape. I ran myself ragged in roughly a minute and a half. Thank God we had an odd number of people so that we could switch out if we needed to (fortunately for my pride, I was not the only one who needed to do that). But I seriously need to start jogging or something. Soon. Like right now. I'm a mess.

After frisbee we went and saw the new Jeunet film A Very Long Engagement, which was quite good for what it was, but is not personally my cup of tea. But it's worth seeing. The best part was when Audrey Tautout goes to talk to this widow of someone who served with her husband, and she's walking up to the widow and I'm like, "That lady looks familiar. Why on earth would I think someone looks familiar in a French-language film? Oh, that's because it's two-time Oscar-winner JODIE FOSTER. Speaking FLUENT FRENCH." So that was hilarious. But she was good! Just like the movie. Meanwhile I still didn't see I Heart Huckabees or Sideways or any movies that I've actually been looking forward to.

After the movie we went back to Hollywood House and I wandered over to Frank's, where we drank a bit and talked and watched Angel season 2 episodes until Frank fell asleep at like 11:45 because he is apparently sixty years old. But yeah, all in all that was a good day.

Then today Emory and I spent the whole day beating X-Men Legends.

I'm going to start jogging this week, I swear.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Perhaps you would like to hear me sing

Or perhaps you wouldn't, in which case move along.

I'm part of two different singing groups, one of which, Los Angeles Vocal Artists, is a smaller offshoot of the bigger group, the Occidental Chorale. I recently discovered that our conductor put several mp3 files of stuff we did earlier this year up at our official website. You can go here to find the files. May I recommend "Beati Quorum Via" or "My Spirit Sang All Day?" Anyway, the Vocal Artists have some holiday gigs coming up. I'll let you know when and where they are as the dates get closer. And yes, I know that Los Angeles Vocal Artists makes a really easy acronym. Let's not talk about it. Just... let's not.

Poking around on these websites maintained by our conductor, Jeffrey Bernstein, I also came across this hidden gem. It's an a cappella choral arrangement of Ace of Base's mid-90's classic, "The Sign," written for and performed in the abysmal film Slackers. I know most of the kids singing it in the movie. I also, to my unending shame, saw that movie in the theater. To my credit, it starred Jason Schwartzman, Jason Segal (of Freaks and Geeks fame), and the elder Pete from The Adventures of Pete and Pete, who are all funny people, so how was I to know going in?

Turkey Day

I spent Thanksgiving over at Frank's, surrounded mostly by people I had met at parties Frank had invited me to, but hadn't really gotten to know. Laurel and Feeney were the only people I really knew, although Emory was there for awhile, but then he went off to see Arch Enemy at the House of Blues. It turned out to be a really good time. I'm always pretty paranoid about getting along with Frank's friends from college, or Santa Monica, or whatever (last night was a mixture of the two), so it was really cool to sit around and eat and talk and have a genuinely good time. Also, Frank, Laurel and I totally won at Pictionary. I hesitate to use the term "domination," but that's really the best description. But overall it was a really fun night. This Thanksgiving weekend is doing quite well, so far.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Leslie, helpful soul that she is, found a link to the opening movie sequence of the aforementioned Katamari Damacy. Even if you're not enthused about the game, I recommend you watch it, because it's good fun. Then again, I suppose it's very similar to many other spazzy animated shorts you can find on the internet these days, but this is the only one that you can play as a videogame. It's like jumping head-first into the deep end of the crazy pool.

Leslie's rat Orson was looking a little peaky recently, so she had to take him to the vet yesterday. I believe she mentioned something about anitbiotics, but I didn't get a full report before heading off to choir rehearsal, and she was asleep when I got back. Don't die, Orson! You're my favorite rat on earth!

Leslie-centric post that this is, I'll also take this opportunity to plug her friend Erika's work. Erika's a damn fine artist, and she had some stuff in the first Flight anthology, and we all know how swell that was. She'll be contributing art to the second volume, on a story written by a boyfriend/girlfriend writing team whose names escape me. Perhaps I should ask the boyfriend/girlfriend writing team who lives with me.

That's way more links than I'm used to. I am fatigued. Go about your business.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tee Vee

Frank and I finally caught up on Veronica Mars the other night. Yet again the A-plot wasn't half as interesting as the B-plot (in this case, Weevil and Logan bond in detention). Right after the flashback where Duncan breaks up with Veronica, I turned to Frank and asked "So do you think he found out they were really brother and sister?" Frank responded with "I think this show could stand to be more John Sayles-y." (I would have gone with "Sam Shepard-y," but to each his own.) It would explain a lot, wouldn't it? Jake and Veronica's mom's relationship (past and present) as well as Celeste's open contempt for Veronica. Then again, that doesn't explain Lilly's murder in the slightest. Anyway, I thought I was a total genius detective, figuring I had finally gotten ahead of this show, but then towards they end they hammered the brother/sister possibility to obviously that it has to be a red herring. I am also hoping that Weevil and Lilly's relationship is a red herring, because I just couldn't take it if Weevil was the killer. My money is still on Celeste, thus far. But then, I am a lousy detective. It's why Emory is Batman and I'm just the Flash. Perhaps I've said too much.

Veronica Mars is the best new show this season in a walk. It's not startilingly brilliant television, but the mystery is really involving, and I like the show's focus on class boundries in the high school setting. If the mysteries-of-the-week were just a little more compelling, then the show could easily achieve greatness.

This week's Lost was also a big improvement, and no wonder, since David Fury wrote it again. They so clearly gave him all the episodes that actually develop the mystery of the island. The flashbacks are still kinda dumb, but Sayid's was better than usual (at least danger and intrigue fit in with his established soldierly background) and again, this episode actually addressed the island, which goes a loooooong way to holding my interest. I guess the next episode will focus on the pregnant girl, and I'm just hoping whoever knocked her up wasn't a spy or a gangster. I'm also hoping her baby isn't some sort of genetically-engineered superbaby or whatever. But we'll see.

Meanwhile, The Wire and Arrested Development continue to kick great, big, monster ass. "That's George-Michael's girlfriend? What, is she funny or something?" Oh, Will Arnett, I love you. I'm sorry your wife came on to me.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Tales from the Weekend

I've been in a poor mood for like a week and a half, and this weekend was no exception, save for Friday night, when Frank and I went to the Hollywood house and watched the shitty early-90's Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie. We got rather drunk (or at least Frank and I did) and after the movie played some X-Men Legends and then talked about comics with Asa, Alan, and Liz until like 3 in the morning. Along the way we learned that Dr. Doom acts with his hands, the Human Torch is the most powerful being who ever existed, and that Frank has the hots for Zatanna. Asa and I exchanged some comics and then Frank and I went on our merry way. That was a good night.

Oh, and Frank wouldn't stop singing the theme from the X-Men Animated Series. Like I said, we were drunk. But good times!

The Incredible Ubermensch

I possibly spelled that wrong. I don't know any German. I should ask Kim.

I was going to wait until I saw The Incredibles again before writing a response to those critics who believe the movie to be some sort of Randian parable, but Long Story, Short Pier beat me to it, and I'm quite certain it's better than anything I could have offered up, as well as many, many links, to boot.

Among those links is a decent issue-by-issue discussion of Planetary, my favorite not-monthly-in-the-slightest comic.

UPDATE: Oh! Something else to contribute that wasn't mentioned in the post I linked to. I think it's also important that Syndrome goes down the rather demented path he takes because of Mr. Incredible's flat-out refusal to acknowledge "Incrediboy's" existance as anything other than a nuisance. Mr. Incredible doesn't see Buddy's gifts, significant as they are, and Buddy decides to steal the spotlight so that EVERYONE will see his powers and acknowledge him as the genius he knows himself to be. If Mr. Incredible weren't so self-concerned in the opening scenes, perhaps the whole mess could have been avoided. Someone said something about power and responsibility at some point. Mr. Incredible should have taken heed.

UPDATE AGAIN: And yes, I know Syndrome is just ultimately a big homicidal nutty nut. He should have tried to use his genius to achieve fame on his own, rather than piggybacking on Mr. Incredible's reputation. Maybe he could have been some boy inventor/Reed Richards type. But no, he just wants the glory, and the fastest way to that glory is to ape the superhero who has already achieved it through altruistic means. Syndrome only wants to help people so that they'll worship him for it.

Odd day

There was a pacifier and a pack of Newports just sitting at the corner of Brand and Broadway today, in front of the Border's. They were right next to each other. Did they have the same owner?

Then I just got back from lunch and I have some new friend request on Friendster from a girl I've never heard of, and when I try to look at her profile it says it's an invalid user ID. So I can only assume I'm being contacted by the Ghost in the Machine. Why have you picked me, you digital messenger of doom?

These omens do not bode well for the rest of the week.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Last night I dreamt that I met Amy Poehler and she was really into me and gave me her phone number. "Aren't you married?" I asked. Apparently it didn't matter. I woke up really depressed.

Friday, November 19, 2004

He can punch through a mountain!

It's been a long day and a long week, folks. Please indulge me whilst I geek the hell out.

As I said below, Cyclops has become my favorite character to play as in X-Men Legends. Which has led to jokes like this one: "Follow me, everyone! I don't know if you've heard, but I'm one of the most powerful X-Men!" This has been a fairly long-standing joke between me, Emory, and Frank, and I'm having trouble remembering where it originated. I think Frank was reading all of Emory's Essential X-Men collections and wondered why the overblown Claremont narration kept insisting how powerful Cyclops was. But don't quote me. Frank, feel free to elaborate if you remember where it started. The joke is that Frank and Emory both thought the idea of Cyclops being one of the most powerful X-Men was ridiculous. I mean, all he can do is shoot laser beams out of his eyes! ("It's not a laser beam! It's a powerful concussion blast!" is another part of the joke.) Since we do a lot of Legends playing, this joke springs up more and more often and never fails to get a laugh. But it's also got me thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that it's actually true. I would say Phoenix is definitely more powerful (and Prof. X and Emma Frost both have the telepathy cheat, as well, but neither have Phoenix's telekinesis) and Storm is, too. But Storm is bullshit on every level (as John always says, "What possible twist in your DNA could ever allow you to control the weather?"). And really, those are the only two who I'd say were more powerful. I guess Rogue, but her powers are highjacked from a more powerful superhero. I have to call bullshit on them. The other night I described to Frank that great issue in "From the Ashes" where Mastermind makes the X-Men think Cyclops is Dark Phoenix so Cyclops has to single-handedly fight the whole team. And he wins! Emory suggested Havok, and while he can indeed channel more energy, he can't control it. Plus, Cyclops can take him hand-to-hand easy, as has been proven several times in the past. So yeah, Cyclops really IS one of the most powerful X-Men.

So, um, how was your day?

Where did the hours go?

Last night I got home and played videogames more or less non-stop until I went to sleep. I ate some pizza and Frank and I ran and got some soda, but otherwise I just played and played, from 5:30 to midnight.

First thing I did was beat Katamari Damacy, the delightful and extremely Japanese game of rolling various objects up into a giant ball of crap. Your father, the King of the Cosmos, went on a tear and accidentally destroyed all the stars in the sky, so you've got to recreate them by rolling up a bunch of garbage. And, eventually, people. On the final level you grow so large that you consume buildings, bridges, Godzilla, and finally entire islands. Sure, countless people are probably dying, but you've got to recreate the moon, man! Sacrifices must be made. Words can't really describe how bizarre your conversations with the King of the Cosmos are, except to say if there really were a King of the Cosmos, he would probably talk much like that. It's only 20 bucks, so if you have a Playstation 2 then you should purchase it immediately. It also has one of the most infectious soundtracks I've ever heard on a videogame.

By the time I was demolishing all of Japan, Frank had come over, so once I restored balance to the cosmos we switched to the X-Box and X-Men Legends. It's been too long since I've played a multi-player smash-'em-up, not to mention one particularly suited to my geek sensibilites. Think of me what you will, but one of the greatest joys I've experienced recently is smashing through walls in the Morlock tunnels with a well-placed optic blast from Cyclops' ruby quartz visor. Cyclops has become my number one go-to guy. Last night Frank and I were basically just replaying levels Emory and I had already completed, and I was amazed how much easier the Morlock tunnels were with Cyclops handily blasting everything and everyone in sight while Wolverine (controlled by Frank) tore apart the rest of our enemies. (For the record, our other two team members were Beast and Jean. Beast for some extra brute force, and Jean for her patented and invalueable telepathic whammy. This team was no less than devestating and I saw no reason to change it for the remainder of the level. It should also be noted that we never lost a man.) I couldn't believe how difficult I had found the level the first time through. Obviously Emory and I's affection for Iceman was woefully misplaced. Sure, he can freeze dudes and put out fires, but you can knock him over with a feather. And a frozen dude does not equal an unconscious dude. I'll stick with Cyclops, thanks. For the next level on the USS Arbiter (where Emory and I are now), I see no reason to change this team combination, other than to replace Jean with Storm, given how many Sentinels populate the landscape. Nothing drops a Sentitnel faster than a managing a Storm/Cyclops mutant power combo.

I'd say the real drawback to the game is that the new characters you get aren't particularly useful, and are occasionally really crappy. I have yet to find any reason to ever use Jubilee. And playing as Nightcrawler or Gambit is awesome, but I can't pretend that there aren't other potential party members that do what they do, only better. Perhaps later levels will reveal their usefullness, but right now it seems that diversifying your team serves as a serious handicap. I cannot wait, however, until we get Colossus and Emma Frost.

Wow, I went on a bit there. But what can I say? That's what I did yesterday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"Don't talk about her like that!"

On a somewhat demoralizing day*, this still makes me laugh and laugh. It's funny because it's true.

Also, I don't know if you've heard, but Cyclops is one of the most powerful X-Men, you know.

*Slow, monotonous day at work, coupled with the fact that Kim and I won't be seeing each other any more, coupled (tripled?) with the fact that it's only Wednesday, the weekend is far away over the horizon, and Lost has been sucking recently, so Wednesday's one bright spot is dimming considerably with each passing week. Ugh.

All Star

One of the reasons I like All Star is that it's the only bar I know of where you and your friends can be the only customers left in the building by 11 o'clock.

However, they've turned these blinding lights on over the bar for some reason. I think Alan said it was because they had installed a camera or something. The bartender was not pleased. She was wearing sunglasses and a scowl all night. But we had a good time, regardless.

In other news, Kim and I won't be seeing each other anymore. We've parted on amicable terms. Just to keep you up on your gossip.

UPDATE: What the hell? I thought Blogger ate this post several hours ago. And yet now it's reappeared since I republished again. Well, there you go. Now you can read about All Star. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Childlike anticipation

Man, I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this.

Yes, please.

TV Update

Okay, I'll admit it. Lost is losing me. The flashbacks are getting really hackneyed and they refuse to develop things on the island any more. We haven't seen the monster since the Locke episode. Granted, this past week's Sawyer-centric episode was better than the Charlie episode, but it was still dumb. "And that's when I became that which I hated the most." Ugh, shut up. When is the pol-bo-saur going to start eating some of these extras? Locke's subplot about possibly destroying Sayid's equipment so they don't escape is cool, but was only like two minutes of an hour long episode. This show needs to pull an episode off as good as the Locke episode right quick. Clearly they should let my main man David Fury write more. But right now, since every character has some damn convoluted backstory, it's getting more and more obvious that they're all on the island for a reason, or that they're dead the whole time, or something. McKenna said he heard they were in Purgatory. I could believe that. Or maybe they're all the same person. But then, why the polar bear? Then again, that was like six episodes ago, and my attention is beginning to wane.

I mean, the show isn't terrible. My standards for TV have just risen to near-impossible-to-match levels. You can blame Buffy and HBO for that, I think.

You know what Veronica Mars does that Lost doesn't? If you guessed "develop the interesting mystery backstory every episode," you'd be right! Again, not a perfect show, but one that sets its sights a little lower than Lost, and almost always delivers a decent night's entertainment. I still haven't seen this past week's episode, but I just caught the school election episode, and it was pretty great. Plus, post-pre-Crisis Sidney Portier got to do something! And we learned more about class creep Logan! And it looks like the guy who's on death row for Lilly's murder might have been framed! Gasp! Anyway, the show's been ordered for a full season, and series creator Rob Thomas has promised that the mystery will be solved by season's end. Right now my money's on Mrs. Kane. Although Jake Kane may be a little too saintly. But then they'd be ripping off Twin Peaks.

Arrested Development is back, thank the Lord.

What can I say about The Wire that I haven't said already? It's the best show on TV. This week's episode kicked ass. The scene between Avon and Stringer? Hardcore.

Supreme Power and "realistic" superheroes

This post is LONG. And about comics. So for my four readers who are into that sort of thing, enjoy.

So, Supreme Power. Finally read the first trade is Border's the other day. And hey, I really liked it! Those who know me well know I have a deep, deep hatred for J. Michael Stracynzski's earlier, similarly-themed work Rising Stars. Poor Liz especially. One night I got really drunk, cornered her, and ranted about Rising Stars for like three hours. So much so that once Liz left the party, Alan and Doug called her just to say "Hey, Liz. Rising Stars." I get a little worked up sometimes.

Supreme Power is JMS's attempt to do a "realistic" take on superheroes and how their existence would affect us and the world around them. His characters are the Squadron Supreme, Marvel's thinly-veiled pastiche of DC's Justice League. So basically it's JMS writing a realistic take on the JLA, set in a self-contained universe, with a beginning, middle, and end, and a mature readers label. Oh, and Gary Frank's on art. If that's a recipe to honk Jeff's hooter, I don't know what is. Sorry I just talked in the third person there.

An alien baby crash lands on earth, and is immediately seized by the government and raised by two agents who pretend to be the baby's parents as he grows up and develops strange and wonderous powers. Once the boy is old enough, the President begins drafting him on top secret missions for the government, such as ensuring an easy victory in the first Iraq war. Meanwhile, all across the United States, other individuals are displaying unusual powers, and strange phenomena are beginning to appear...

The first six issue focus primarily on Hyperion (the Superman surrogate), as he grows up under the government's watchful eye. There are brief references made to the Whiz and Nighthawk (Flash and Batman, respectively), but the thrust of the story are the developing years of Hyperion. I especially liked the detail that his "parents" are really deep cover agents. When Hyperion is old enough, the government fakes their deaths, and as they depart their secret plane to Europe, the mother tells the father, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope I never see you again." Ha!

These are hardly new ideas. If you want superheroes in the "real" world, you're probably never going to do better than Watchmen. And hell, even the original 80's Squadron Supreme series was a radically realistic take, depicting the Squadron taking over America as benign dictators for what they perceived to be the country's own good. The recent Authority relaunch springs to mind.

But for what Supreme Power does, it does very well. This is basically JMS's chance for a "do-over" on the extremely similar Rising Stars, and this time it's looking like he's going to make good. Man, I could go on and on about how Rising Stars blew it, but I won't bore you. Let's just say that every incorrect decision about plot, character, and conflict were made, and leave it at that.

Honestly, the thing that pissed me off the most about Rising Stars was how terribly it wasted its obvious potential. Realistic takes on superheroes is the kind of stuff I eat with a spoon. Bendis' outing of Daredevil's secret identity, or how Peter Parker keeps blowing it in Ultimate Spider-Man; that stuff rings true to me. There's been quite a lot of noise on the messageboards about how Identity Crisis is a good story, but doesn't belong in the DC Universe proper because of how dark and gritty it is. That kind of story doesn't suit those characters, the arguement goes. Hell, that's what I like about it. I don't read comics for mindless escapism. If I wanted that, Chris Claremont is still plenty prolific. Is it so wrong to want that dash of added realism? There's only so much disbelief I can suspend, here.

I'm not saying that I can't accept a straight superhero story. Geoff Johns' Teen Titans and Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men are both proof that you don't need to go grim and gritty to get my adulation. Sure, Whedon brought back Colossus. But he did it in the midst of one of the best X-Men runs ever, so who am I to complain? If the story's good, do what you want. That goes for resurrecting Colossus and killing Sue Dibny. I'm going to talk about Astonishing much more extensively in a later post.

I guess that's why I've always been more drawn to Marvel. Icons don't interest me, characters do. Secret Identity works because it puts a character in the shoes of an icon. It's a nice little story. I'm enjoying Rucka's work on Adventures of Superman, but I still don't give a rat's ass about Superman as a character. Meanwhile, his work on Wonder Woman is playing with her icon status, as she is a goddess among mortals, somewhat alien, but still warm and loving. They didn't name the first collection of his run "Down to Earth" for nothing. Icons just don't have a lot of breathing room for change, is what it seems to me. Meanwhile, there was a great moment in Bendis' Daredevil a few months back. The issue was sort of a "Untold Tales of Bendis' Daredevil" story, focusing on smaller moments over the course of Bendis' run thus far, giving us a better picture of what happened to Matt Murdock after his secret identity was revealed. In one scene, he visits Dr. Strange, and after a bit of conversation asks him, "Can you undo it? Can you use your magic to take my secret identity back?" The Doc's reaction? And I'm paraphrasing here: "What? No! Are you crazy? Change reality like that? No. God, no." I don't know if it was a deliberate dig at Geoff Johns' reclamation of Wally West's secret identity over in Flash, but it gave me a chuckle just the same.

At the end of the day, be it in the self-contained, shades-of-gray universe of Supreme Power, or the "proper" Marvel and DC Universes, I'll take my characters complex, thanks.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Come and follow me

Remember in Short Circuit, when Steve Guttenberg refuses to believe that Number 5 is alive, until the glorious moment when he discovers the robot is an anti-Semite, thus removing all doubt?

That's one of those moments that just flies over your head as a kid. Like 75% of the jokes in Spaceballs.

The In Crowd

Josh Marshall weighs in on the CIA purge mandated by the White House.

Perhaps someone else can frame this news in terms more comforting than they first appear.

In other news, CNN is saying Condi will most likely replace Powell. Ohhhh, good.*

*To be read in a "Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force" voice.

They'd never convict me

My co-worker who sits directly behind me uses two exclamations constantly: "Yikes!" and "Ay yi yi..." Every error she comes across, big or small, devestating or miniscule, she has to let loose with one phrase or the other. Keep in mind that she is primarily a proofreader, so finding mistakes is her job. Suffice to say, some days hardly a minute goes by without a "Yikes!" She also uses the same inflection for both every time. I'm a tolerant man, but there's only so long I can go until I completely lose it. My one ray of hope is that I won't be sitting quite so close to her when we move to our new offices in February. I'll have my own giant cubicle of wonderment.

Stuff like this makes me wonder if people I know harbor secret resentment to certain habits I have. I know I'm prone to whistling, humming, and giggling nervously. Also, my laugh has developed into a terrifying, high-pitched cackle which I despise but can't really help. So let this be an open forum for any of you to voice your displeasure about any of my habits. Let loose. Feel free.

UNRELATED NEWS: I forgot a funny detail about Megan's birthday; there were no girls there. Megan and Liz comprised 1/3 of the female population of their party all on their own. The number of females topped out at seven. Strange, tipsy men came up to Kim for hugs, because they had nowhere else to go. It was pretty funny. Liz said it was because several of their girl friends had just moved to New York. Fair enough. It was still a pretty good time.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Late weekend wrap-up

I abandoned you all weekend. I'm sorry. I still love you, though. Come here, baby. Kiss me.

Yes, well. My weekend was not half as busy as my absence would suggest. Friday I went to Kim's and hung out with Marie, Paul, Kim S., and Frank. Then Saturday I went to Megan's birthday party. Emory and I played a lot of X-Men: Legends. I promise to lead a more interesting life in the future.

It was Leslie's birthday this weekend. I missed the Le Tigre concert she and her friends went to because I tried to get tickets too late, but today we went and had din sum and had a grand old time. Emory thought he found the entire series of Cowboy Bebop for cheap, but it turned out to be a shitty bootleg. Guess I'll keep getting the individual disks, then. Lunch was good. Liz had her baby there. That baby will put anything in its mouth. Then Emory and I played more X-Men. That game rules.

Updated the sidebar a bit. Added Tom Spurgeon's site, and gave a seperate listing for "The Basement Tapes," since they're a cut above the usual stuff at Comic Book Resources.

The lesson I learned this past week? I should avoid message boards about comic books. They just make me mad.

I promised Liz I would talk about Supreme Power, but I'm too damn lazy to do so right now. I enjoyed it very much, though.

Friday, November 12, 2004

It's just common sense

I was just in the bathroom at work here, sitting on the john (where are you going?) and someone else comes into the bathroom. He walks straight up to the closed stall door and tries to open it. When it doesn't open (since I locked it), he then tries to pry it open, pulling on it with gusto. He only stops when I say "Ummm," walking away with a mumbled "Oh, sorry."

I don't know about you, but when I see a closed stall door, I don't assume the stall is empty. And, should I find a stall door locked, I do not think "Oh, this door must have simply closed and locked itself. I should pull this thing with all my might!"

No, I think "There's someone crapping in there!"

Is that so radical a leap in logic?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Avengers Finale

So I went ahead and talked about "Avengers: Disassembled" without remembering that there was one more chapter, the Avengers Finale due out this week. So I'll talk about it now.

It's a few months after the last chapter of "Disassembled" and the remaining Avengers have gathered at the ruined mansion to take stock of their lives. Several members depart, and Tony Stark admits that he can no longer personally fund the Avengers, since his private fund has been bankrupted by the damage incurred during "Disassembled." The remaining Avengers reminisce about their greatest moments at a team, then head outside to greet a candlelight vigil held in their honor.

Much like "Disassembled," Finale is a mixed bag. It's a neat idea for Tony to have the ruined mansion left as it is as a memorial, but I'm unclear how Tony can say he's been able to "put the genie back in the bottle" as far as his secret identity is concerned. Then again, I didn't know Iron Man's secret identity status going in, so maybe there's a detail I'm missing. But it's certainly unclear to those of us who are just coming in for this storyline.

The "greatest moments" montage consists of a beautiful series of two-page spreads by a variety of artists who you wouldn't necessarily associate with Avengers (Gary Frank has at least done superheroes before, but Eric Powell, of The Goon fame?) All of the spreads are very well done. Bendis stumbles, however, in who's narrating which scene. Several Avengers pick moments when they weren't even on the team, which seems unlikely. Falcon even admits he's surprised that Hank Pym didn't pick the moment Pym finally defeated his rogue creation Ultron. So why not write it that way? I suppose Bendis might have been going for a "even the Avengers are awed by the Avengers" idea, but it falls flat.

What does ring true is the final few pages (drawn by the peerless George Perez), where the Avengers toast all of their members who have fallen in service to the team, then head outside to greet the crowd of mourners. It's affecting without going to far over the top.

As I've said, "Disassembled," as a whole, is a mixed bag. I know it was just a deck-clearing exercise, but I think a little more thought and care could have been put into it, to even out the rough spots. The Avengers team probably deserved a better send-off. New Avengers could still go either way. Let's hope Bendis can pull it off.


Emory and Leslie belatedly gave me this for my birthday.

It's just beautiful.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It's hard not to like her

Keep in mind I'm parphrasing a bit. At karaoke last night:

Kim: "You're a dork."

Jeff: "I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you are also a bit of a dork."

Kim: (gasp) "I am not!"

Jeff: "Kim, you own the box set of the complete Mighty Ducks trilogy."

Kim: "That's because it's the greates movie triolgy of ALL TIME!"

Swinging hipster lingo

One of my co-workers just said "So far, so cool?" Did I miss that phrase's introduction into the lexicon, or is he just full of makesum upsies? Regardless, I'm going to start saying it ALL THE TIME. Be warned!

Secret holiday

My boss emailed me today asking if I had taken my floating holiday for this year yet. Just like last year, I had completely forgotten.

"Well why don't you take tomorrow (Veterans' Day) off, then?"

Yes, ma'am, I think I will go ahead and do that. Secret holidays rule.

Expect delays

There will most likely be light posting today. I was busier than I thought I would be last night, and today I am dog-ass tired.

In other news, Kim's not dead, she was just deathly ill. Um, hooray for not being dead. No hooray for you, Sickness.

The next few posts, whenever they see fit to grace us with their presence, will deal with what I thought of Supreme Power and "realism" in modern superhero comics. I'm sure three of you will be at least mildly interested.

I'm starting to feel that my promising to write something is like the "Next times" on Arrested Development. But I'll get to it eventually. Maybe.

In the meantime, feel free to wander through the vast archives, or leave a comment, or something. I'll be over here, in a coma.

P.S. I was watching cable the other day and the original Austing Powers was on, and I was actually enjoying myself while watching it, and thought "Whoa, remember when this idea was charming?

A P.S.? What the hell?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I should be working...

...but I can't stop wondering where the phrase "pardon my French" originated, in regards to swearing.

Help me out, people.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The numbers

Wow, nearly 100 pageloads today. Two more and this will be the most successful day in the site's brief history. (Hurry, everyone!) Threads about making out sure are a boon to readership.

Statcounter is both fascinating and kind of frightening. Most of the people that show up here are friends of mine, but then there are those anamolies that I can't possibly explain. Like who do I know at Loyola Marymount University? That's a level of detective work I'm not really willing to pursue.

My room is a goddamn mess. I should whip it into shape before Leslie's birthday on Saturday. Not that any of her friends are coming into my room, but we've been cleaning the whole apartment over the last few days and my room should be no exception. You know, for symmetry.

I think at this point I'm just writing to write. Time for bed.

Singin' and such

At Chorale practice tonight we spent half and hour on four bars.

Half. An. Hour. On FOUR BARS!

It was a little frustrating, is what I'm saying. That's like two minutes for every second of music in that bit. If it was anything but the 9th Symphony, I would have thrown up my hands and left in exasperation. Well, I probably wouldn't have done that if it were the Brahms Requiem, either. Maybe.

Chorale is a weird part of my life because it's the thing I do that I don't share with anyone else. It's like a bizarre parallel dimension where everyone I know and spend time with normally does not exist. This season, almost everyone I knew in the group left. Corinne, Jenna, Rachel, Adam, Charlotte, all gone. Ann's still around, but I don't talk to her too much. I know some other people like Jenni and Vasil, but I'm not too close with them. I spend most of my breaks talking to Mabby, who I met through Jenna last season. Mabby has rapidly become one of my favorite people. Tonight she confessed that she was hopped up on allergy medication and that she probably wouldn't remember our conversation. And everything she said ignored most basic rules of grammar. She's a pip. And my ONLY FRIEND. At least in Parallel Chorale Dimension.

We're doing Beethoven's 9th with the Pasadena Symphony in December. If you're into that sort of thing, you should check it out.

Oh yeah, Halloween

Remember when I said I was going to write about Halloween like 500 times? Even though it's been over a week, I'm still going to write a little something. For posterity.

Daisy and I went over to Liz's house, which served as home base for our eventual assault on west Hollywood. Liz's costume kicked total ass, by the way. I wore my button proudly.

I went as The Prisoner (as played by Patrick Magoohan) from the 60's British series of the same name. I can count on one hand the number of people who got the reference. That's okay, though, it was easy to make and it was still a costume, which still puts me ahead of last year.

Asa was Clark Kent/Superman, except every other dude in west Hollywood was dressed as the same damn thing. If that doesn't call for a cage match, I don't know what does.

Trumbo was Ali G, and while there were indeed several other Ali Gs in WoHo, I think Trumbo took the cake. On Halloween, Trumbo turns Method. He WAS Ali G, goofy accent and poor grammer and everything, from the moment he got to Liz's. He even did the accent when I called him on my cell phone after the bazillionith time we lost track of him on Santa Monica Blvd. He was popular with everyone, though, so it didn't really get exasperating until the end of the night. But still, the man has cajones.

Um, I guess Doug and I lucked out and got Annyong T-shirts from these two burly NeverNudes. If you have to ask, you'll never know.

Some other stuff happened, I guess. Nothing really interesting springs to mind, though.

Talking about Halloween a week after the fact is like talking about the embarassing things you did at the party last night when you were sooooo wasted.

The current reading list

The next several posts will be comic book-centric, just to warn you all. Those interested in whose tongue I touched to mine over the weekend will have to content yourselves with the "What the hell?" thread a few posts down.

Meanwhile, here's an idea of what I'm reading right now, comic-wise. This list is really for my own sake rather than yours, so feel free to move along.

Astonishing X-Men
Ex Machina

In trades:
Ultimate Spider-Man
The Pulse
Teen Titans
The Ultimates

Issue-by-issue, bought by Leslie:
Ultimate X-Men
Ultimate Fantastic Four
Y: The Last Man
Wonder Woman
Adventures of Superman

In trades, bought by Emory:
Fantastic Four
Incredible Hulk
100 Bullets

Wow, I'm reading more titles now than I did during my halcyon days of youth. Then again, Emory and Leslie buying a bunch of stuff helps immensely.

Best line from "Roger Dodger"

Roger: "What time is it?"
Nick: "Um, it's seven-oh-five..."
Roger: "Are you wearing a medic alert bracelet?"
Nick: "No, it's instructions. If I die I'm having my body cryogenically frozen, so..."
Roger: "...Okay, leave it on. That's just spastic enough to be charming."

Roger Dodger is far from a perfect movie, but it's one I'll eagerly watch whenever I happen upon it on cable. Campbell Scott rules.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Star Wars

We got the new Star Wars teaser in front of The Incredibles. Meh.

Those who didn't like the first two prequels yet still retain hope for this one baffle me. It's like if you came up to a vicious-looking dog, reached out to pet it, and it bit off your whole hand. Then you stare at the bloody stump, but still reach out to pet it again. Only this time it bites off your whole arm. Yet still you lean in to nuzzle the dog, and it awaits you hungrily, eyeing your head.

Enh, I'm over it. Don't expect me to talk about Star Wars again until I actually see Episode III, which will most likely be whenever it makes it to HBO.

What the hell?

There are some times when I have to wonder if I am some sort of "spin the bottle" magnet, born to inspire the suggestion in others while never offering it up myself. There's been too many parties comprised of completely differnt people where this has happened for it to be a coincidence.

I mean, not that I'm complaining.

Why yes, I am a little drunk. Thank you for asking.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Old schoolboy crush

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was just on Showtime. In widescreen, no less.

I would still soooooooo totally make out with Glenne Headly.

No "Disassemble!"

Do you like my EW headline up there? Me, too.

So, "Avengers: Disassembled." If one were to believe the message boards, most every long-time Avengers reader is throwing their hands up in disgust and running into the hills. All 1,000 of them. Zing! I mean seriously, who reads Avengers? In the halcyon days of Jemas, the Avengers line was the major Marvel title that didn't get a distinct overhaul. Overhaul is the wrong word. "Distinct bump up in quality" is probably better. Not that they didn't try. Geoff Johns was brought on to the core Avengers title to spice things up. He did three lackluster storylines and then left for a DC exclusive. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor remained under-the-radar embarassments. (That's not really fair. I've heard very good things about Dan Jurgens' Thor. But I don't like Dan Jurgens, so I doubt I would have liked it. It is totally fair to say that John Rey Neiber's Captain America was utterly reprehensible in its politics. What a waste of John Cassady's art talents when he could have been doing more Planetary. But I digress.) What's funny is that now, as Marvel does its best to erase any trace of Grant Morrison's touch on the X-Men, as they glut the market with new titles just like the dark days of the 90's, as everything new is old again, now is the time that Marvel decides that Avengers was the title that was long overdue for a major overhaul.

That decision actually makes sense in the new, "we gotta license every character" attitude at Marvel. They saw the Avengers was full of mostly nobodies (who would ever see an Ant-Man movie?) and decided to fill it with somebodies. Specifically, Spider-Man and Wolverine. Captain America and Iron Man get to stick around, too. All the other current Avengers, however, were fair game for Brian Bendis. And he took that mandate seriously, as he takes the team apart over four issues in "Disassembled."

Taken as individual issues, "Disassembled" varies wildly in quality from one chapter to the next. Read all at once, the storyline remains a bit of a mess, but the strong bits outweight the crap bits. Essentially, the plot is that the Avengers wake up one day, and then all goddamn hell breaks loose. Jack of Hearts, thought dead during Johns' run, lands in front of Avengers mansion and explodes, killing Scott Lang, the third Ant Man (allowing Bendis to finish the job he started on Lang in Alias). Meanwhile, at the UN, Iron Man loses his cool in front of the UN, threatening the Latverian ambassador and losing his position as Secretary of Defense (yeah, I don't know when that happened, either). Back at the mansion, the Avengers send out code white, their highest alarm, and the Vision shows up to plow a Quinjet into what's left of the mansion. He informs the Avengers that he's no longer in control of his actions and that "our time is over." He then partially desintegrates, releasing five Ultron robots into the Avengers' midst. The Avengers defeat the Ultrons, but She-Hulk completely loses her cool, ripping what's left of the Vision in half. Captain America tries to calm her down, but she completely Hulks out, putting Wasp into a coma and severely injuring the new Captain Britain.

And that's just the first issue! In subsequent chapters the Avengers have to fend off a full-scale Kree invasion (at the cost of losing longtime member Hawkeye) and taking on the one responsible for all the sudden, deadly chaos that has befallen the team, who turns out to be one of their own.

Like I said, the story's a mixed bag. The first chapter is great, building a genuine sense of dread as Avenger after Avenger is taken out. The problem with starting off so strongly is that Bendis has dispatched most of the team by the middle of the second chapter which leaves Cap, Falcon, Iron Man, and Hawkeye just standing around discussing how this could have happened to them. The Kree attack seems tacked on, and the Hawkeye scene is awkward. He's shot in the back by a Kree warrior, then, realizing he's about to buy it, grabs a nearby Kree, activates his jetpack, and flies them both into the mothership's engines, destroying it. The problem is that Hawkeye doesn't look injured in the slightest, and if his arrow pack was full of explosives, then the art or the script should have made that much clearer. The Kree teleport away after Hawkeye takes out their ship, but it's unclear that it was Hawkeye's attack that drove them off. It's all a bit muddled. If I were a 35 year-old shut-in obsessed with Hawkeye, I'd probably post my disatisfaction on a message board, too.

The script improves immensely when dealing with the traitor. I mean, it's Scarlet Witch, of course. I had a feeling it was her just a few pages into part 2, and I hardly ever read Avengers before now. Dr Strange shows up to let the heroes know that it's Wanda, and the explanation he offers makes perfect sense. Apparently some time ago in Avengers continuity, Wanda gave birth to two children, who were later revealed to have been created with her powers. She willed these two people into being. When the Avengers found out, they had Agatha Harkness erase Wanda's memory, as well as the two fictional children. Only now Wanda's found out, and she is pissed. And more than a little crazy. Dr. Strange eventually bests her, but leaves her in a catatonic state. This part of the story feels much more earned than Hawkeye's superfluous death. And there's a great moment where Dr. Strange shows up to tell the heroes that it's Wanda who's doing this, and they're all confused and shocked and don't believe him, except Captain America, who just stands in silence as he tears up, because he just knows. Because he's smart, you see, and can read the writing on the wall.

Then there's a massive continuity fuck-up as Magneto appears out of nowhere to claim his daughter. And the Avengers just stand there and let him take her. Even though a year ago he killed hundreds of people in New York. And that he's still supposed to be dead to the rest of the world. I mean, Excalibur is a terrible title, but this sort of continuity glitch is just damn sloppy. It really detracts from a really strong finish.

So all in all, "Disassembled" has a really strong opening and closing, but a pretty sloppy middle. And whoever gave the thumbs up to Magneto showing up should be fired. I can understand why long-time fans of Avengers are mad about this storyline, but I can also understand why Marvel doesn't care about the feelings of the scant number of readers Avengers had before this event. Avengers is actually selling now, and love it or hate it, that's really all Marvel's looking for.

There's no reason to think that New Avengers won't have potential. The lineup as I understand it is Cap, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Jessica Drew, and the Sentry. Bendis has had great success with Spidey and Wolverine in the past, and did nice stuff with Cage and Jessica Drew over in Alias. And I'm really intrigued with the addition of the Sentry, who hasn't been heard from since Paul Jenkins' miniseries. I'm going to check it out. So I guess I'll be a new regular reader of Avengers. Guess the stunt worked.

The Incredibles!

What a rare thing to be excited about a movie and then to have it surpass even your wildest expectations.

It's one part James Bond, two parts Lee/Kriby Fantastic Four, with the best animation and voicework available. It's design concepts are an ode to the swinging 60's the way Batman: The Animated Series took its design cues from the 40's, creating a present that strongly resembles the past. Retro chic with a moder polish. But I'm blathering.

I can't think of another American animated film that was more paced like an actual movie. Most American cartoons have breakneck paces, as if they're scared they'll lost their potential audience. Toy Story 2, for all its qualities, is a well-oiled plot machine, chugging along without a moment's hesitation or contemplation. The Incredibles, meanwhile, takes its time and has stretches of quiet amidst the mayhem, and it's all the richer for it. It also features some of the best action sequences I've seen in some time. Why don't they make more animated action moives? It's a medium that's only beholden to the director's imagination. You can do anything without having to worry about actors or special effect or what have you. Maybe I just want more decent American animation out there. The Incredibles is a hell of a step.

God, I just loved it. It's Pixar's best movie, and that's saying quite a bit.

Friday, November 05, 2004


I said, some time ago (I'd look up the link, but who cares?), that it was Leslie who introduced me to Sleater-Kinney. Now, at the risk of looking stupid, as well as losing Frank's friendship by publically posting what he believed to be private correspondence, I give you Frank's rebuttal to my Sleater-Kinney assertion, in his own words:
"Casually browsing your blog, I couldn't help but notice that on October 5th you credit Leslie with introducing you to the Sleighter-Kinney album "One Beat." I'm pretty sure that I introduced you to that album, and that in fact doing so was my first act upon arriving in Los Angeles, since it had been released a week previous and I'd bought it to listen to on the road trip out here.

I'm fairly certain, actually, that I introduced Leslie to that album, who was already a fan but had not yet heard the new CD. In any case, I'm relatively positive that it was my copy of the CD that you burned for yourself."
He's right, of course. It was his copy. It just seems like a band Leslie would be into, right? With the grrl power and all. And the Canada. Oh, well. There you have it, folks. I have a poor memory.

Existence: validated

Apparently this blog comes up if you google the phrase "no looking at dudes". Why someone googled that is beyond me, but I'm what they got.

Oh, Google. You are the V-8 engine of narcissim.

Of birthdays and witty jests

I swear, I was going to update last night. Then I remembered it was Frank's birthday. Because he called me. So I had to go out to dinner and drink sangria and laugh and talk into the night. I had to. Then I went over to Kim's. I know you're salivating at the very thought of what I have to say about "Avengers: Disassembled," but you're probably going to have to wait until Saturday. Tonight is dedicated to The Incredibles.

McKenna wishes he were mentioned in this blog more. I sat next to him at dinner last night and he was heard to expound the wittiest jest I had heard in a fortnight. That McKenna's a witty guy. And so smart! Makes a good living, too. Keep that in mind, ladies.

Oh, I was going to post what I did at Halloween at some point, wasn't I? Expect a busy weekend of posting.

And yes, after making that last statement and knowing my track record, I am currently trying to unhinge my jaw so that my entire foot will fit into my mouth.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Nice try, Smallville

You almost tricked me into watching last week when you did a body switching episode (between Clark and Lionel Luthor, for those who don't know), knowing that I can't resist a good body switch. You are indeed a worthy foe, full of cunning and guile. But I resisted, and now I've learned that last night's episode featured some sort of Smallvillian version of Mr. Mxyzptlk ("Ultimate" Mxyzptlk?) and I realized I had done the right thing.

'Scuse me a moment whilst I GEEK OUT.

Man, I love body switching episodes. Farscape did it the funniest way, with everyone on the ship switching bodies with everyone else, and then doing it again, so the actors all got to play not just two, but three different characters. It was great when Crichton was in Aeryn's body and she suddenly developed an American accent. And Ben Browder does a great Rygel impression.

But what is my favorite body switching episode, you may ask? Well, of course it's on Buffy, specifically the season 4 episode "Who Are You?" written and directed by Joss Whedon. Faith switches bodies with Buffy using a magical doo-dad and runs rampant, while Buffy, in Faith's body, is pursued by a black ops splinter cell of the Watchers. Faith's experiences as Buffy are at first hilarious (as all body switching is), but it's clear that the time spent as Buffy changes Faith's outlook, putting on her path to redemption that she carries out over on Angel so she can return to be Buffy's second-in-command during the big climactic battle in Buffy's seventh season. So yes, it would probably make my top ten favorite Buffy episodes, a list which I will dutifully lay out for you once season 7 hits DVD. I know you can't wait.

I'll tackle "Avengers: Disassembled" tonight. Promise.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A brief burst of hilarity

Better stuff is on the way

Now is a time for healing. Comic book healing.

Rather than just do a summation of the comics I bought this week, I'm working on three bigger pieces; one on Joss Whedon's entire first arc of Astonishing X-Men, one on the "Carnage" arc in Ultimate Spider-Man that just got collected, and finally a close look at the much-maligned "Avengers: Disassembled."

For now, I leave you with the money quote from tonight's Lost.

Emory: "I'm going to be really scared when the pol-bo-geists show up."

Me, too, friend. Me, too.

Casey interviews Spurgeon

I ragged on Tom Spurgeon several posts back, mainly because he didn't like Grant Morrison's New X-Men as much as I did.

So in the issue of fairness, I'd like to link to this recent interview that Joe Casey conducted with Spurgeon over at Newsarama. I'm always glad to have more genuine comic book critics out there, no matter how much they didn't care for New X-Men.

Bright spots...

...on an otherwise dismal night.


Stem cell research in CA (and I helped!).

Daily Show coverage. "Mississippi has passed a law saying you can't look at dudes. No looking at dudes in Mississippi."

New comics today, including sweet, sweet Astonishing X-Men.

Let the grudging acceptance commence.

So that happened

I guess Kerry's conceded. Yuck.

Last night Frank, Matt, and Kim came over to watch election results and we were having a pretty good time for a while there. Then as the last few states were left but they kept skewing for Bush, it sort of turned into a grim death march, punctuated by the occasional "I can't believe this is happening!" Drinking for enjoyment became drinking to dull the pain. Emory and Leslie finally went to bed in disgust. Matt went back downstairs, and Frank passed out on our floor (poor guy hadn't had a day off in three weeks). That left just me and Kim to watch CNN until about 12:30 AM or so, until I was barely keeping my eyes open. I think Kim was still fueled by youthful exuberance and blind rage, but she noticed I was fading and took off.

I have to give credit to CNN. They flatly refused to call Ohio. Wolf Blitzer was saying "We know other organizations have called Ohio, but we will not do it until we're certain. We've learned from last time." I thought that was nice. And it was like 2:30 in the morning for them. As of this morning they still haven't called Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico.

I guess I'll just say this. I can't think of an administration that more openly flaunted its own vast incompetence in practically every matter facing the nation. And the voters have spoken, and that's who they want to stick with, it looks like. I am super disappointed in the American people right now, let me tell you.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Right now the statcounter stats for today are exactly the same as last Tuesday's stats in every category. Weird.

Mostly I'm posting this to keep from screaming in mad, impotent rage.

Yup, sure if funny about that statcounter.


Nice, deep breaths

Okay, ELECTION PANIC is starting to overtake me. I've resisted it most of the day, but now that some states are closing I'm having trouble concentrating on my work. Good thing I'm pretty much done for the day. In about 15 minutes I'll head off to join Emory at the polls, where we will no doubt tip the state of California in favor of the Democrats.

Now I just need to keep ELECTION PANIC from giving me a massive coronary before the end of the evening.

"I have a lot of love to give. I just don't know where to put it."

I was putting off going to sleep, so I checked the DVD shelf for movies I hadn't seen in awhile, and ended up putting in Magnolia. I didn't watch all of it, just certain scenes. I've owned it a long time, but I think I've only watched it all the way through twice. It's a bit of a sit-through, but man, is it impressive. A case could certainly be made against the movie, but you've got to admit that it's ballsy. Paul Thomas Anderson is many things, but he is not timid. To use a labored sports metaphor, he swings for the fences. And I'd pick an uneven, ballsy movie over one that's solid but takes no chances. Of course, it helps that the acting in Magnolia is uniformly excellent.

And God, is it heartbreaking. Constantly heartbreaking. When Stanley wets his pants on the game show? Or William H. Macy proclaims his love for the bartender? Or when John C. Reily loses his gun and starts begging God to help him find it? Augh! Yeah, it's a hell of a movie.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A call from the governor!

A true story miniature play by Jeff.

The place: Our apartment.

The time: Earlier this evening.

(phone rings, Leslie answers)

Leslie: "Hello?"

"Oh, hello governor!"

"Why, that IS interesting!"

Emory: "Is that Arnold? Let me talk to him!"

(Leslie hands the phone to Emory. Emory listens.)

Emory: "Ahahahahaaaa!"

Jeff: "Let me see it!"

(Emory hands the phone to Jeff. Jeff listens to Arnold blather about prop 66.)

Jeff: "Ha! This is fantastic! 'Cohaagen! Give these people air!'"

Emory: "Which proposition is he talking about?"

Leslie: "Three strikes."

Emory: "Oh, yeah. I'm totally voting for THAT shit."


"The penis is evil! Go forth and kill!"

Man, it's hard to keep from laughing out loud at work when you've got quotes from Zardoz running through your head.

If you have not seen Zardoz, (and I assume that's most of you), then you are missing out on a fantastic evening of comedy disguised as some trippy sci-fi parable starring Sean Connery. Yes, Mr. Connery himself, worshipping a giant floating stone head that shoots guns from its mouth. Ha!

Oh boy, oh boy!

Excuse me while I gad about like a gradeschooler, but there's only a few more days until The Incredibles opens. I'm expecting the usual Pixar quality, but with the dramatic weight that director Brad Bird will most likely bring. I am, as a rule, a sucker for animation, but this movie in particular seems built to my specifications. It's puported to be Pixar's darkest movie yet (or most mature, if you consider the mid-life crisis aspects), with a PG rating and a nearly two-hour running time. Plus, y'know, superheroes.

I honestly can't remember the last time I was truly excited about a movie coming out. I guess it was Kill Bill Vol. 2, which was too damn long ago. I just hope Incredibles is good. The last movie I enjoyed unequivocably was Shaun of the Dead, and before that... um, it might be Kill Bill again. When was my love of movies throttled out of me?

To be fair, I also very much want to see I Heart Huckabees and Sideways, since both David O. Russel and Alexander Payne each have yet to make a bad film, but neither of those movies fills me with the anticipation that I have for The Incredibles. Because I like the pretty cartoons.

I told you so

See? I really was busy the whole weekend. And what a weekend it was. Ex-girlfriends in town, Glee Club shenanigans, Halloween... busy, busy. Highlights! (for children... remember Goofus and Gallant? And the Timberwoods?)

- Got back together with my ex-girlfriend (that being Kim, not the one that history would suggest, before you get any ideas).

- Picked up other ex-girlfriend (Ali) from the airport and had dinner with her. Hadn't seen her for about two years.

- Went to Glee Club Homecoming concert and sat with roughly two rows' worth of Oxy alums who stormed the stage at the end of the concert, tore Thorne Hall apart, and burned roughly 25% of the campus to the ground before being subdued by the authorities.

- Escaped in the confusion and went to Glee Club Jenni's birthday party, where she hialriously yelled at Vasil, "Vasil! You need to eat a doughnut! You're the DOUGHNUT MAN!" She's a funny drunk.

- Slept until 2:30 PM on Saturday, in order to make up for the mere 2 hours I had gotten on Thursday night.

- Opted for a quiet Saturday over at Kim's watching movies. Cruel Intentions is actually pretty great until the last twenty minutes or so. And Hugh Grant's good in everything.

- Went to Liz's on Sunday for Halloween partyness, then wandered down to West Hollywood. I think there was enough amusement in that afternoon and evening to warrant its own post later.

- Went home, fell into a deep, coma-like sleep borne of utter exhaustion. Slept in my own bed for the first time all weekend. I had begun to miss it.

Hmmm, that doesn't really read as if I were as busy as I felt. Just take my word for it.