Sunday, November 29, 2009

"i may have made a social blunder. i showed them how to destroy the world."

a few passing thoughts for your sunday morning on the first episodes of the second season of the sarah jane adventures.

you will definitely need to have watched the first season to be au courant with events since the season opener doesn't even bother with a brief "detective exposition and sergeant plotpoint" sort of recap. (i did some desultory searching for a first season trailer to post here and had no luck; no time to search further! try the bbc america website if you're really keen.)

the adventures, for those of you not in the octopus-like grip of russell t. davies, is his third reboot of the doctor who series and the second successful spinoff -- torchwood being the other one. i can only say that if you're not watching torchwood you're missing something very special. but i say that a lot when it comes to doctor who-related things.

sarah jane herself -- the eponymous character of the adventures -- is an old-school companion; she travelled with the 3rd (jon pertwee) and 4th (tom baker) doctors back in the 1970s-1980s. she's one of the absolute all-time knock-down drag-out top ten best companions ever and they tried to give her her own show before in the mid-'80s with k9 and company:

that's the first nine minutes or so of the one episode it got. if you want the rest, it seems to be mostly present between google video/youtube and dailymotion. it isn't a bad way to spend an hour or so but you can pretty much see -- with doctor who at the time still going strong -- why the show didn't go too far. if nothing else, k9 was something of a sensitive point with fans; a lot of people -- including some of the crew of the show! -- hated him and wanted to see him thrown into the nearest collapsing star. presumably this is why, in the new adventures, k9 is barely present, being busily occupied repairing the damage done by a runaway physics experiment and only accessible when he spins past earth every few weeks. i hear rumours that he will get a spin-off of a spin-off of his own, based out of australia? but i think that might be too spin-off-y even for me.

regardless of all that, the new adventures is a blast. elisabeth sladen (if you watch the new who, you saw her in "school reunion") is clearly having one hell of a time playing sarah jane but with some of the doctor's best tricks up her sleeve (sonic lipstick!). her companions are three young teenagers: her adopted son luke, and two schoolfriends of his, clyde and maria. maria's dad, alan, also gets in on the show in the later episodes of the first season; his ex-wife and maria's mum, chrissie, has a disturbing habit of waltzing in at odd minutes and anna and i took to shouting at her to go away because she's just dreadful. but the first episodes of the second season seem to hint that perhaps, just perhaps, she will improve.

i thought that, with doctor who as the angst-fest of the millennium and featuring some remarkably angry, violent, and difficult episodes with torchwood not far behind in tormenting its fans by doing awful things to their favorite characters (russell, you and i still need to talk about that season 2 closer!), that the adventures would be more aimed directly at little kids -- originally doctor who's target audience! and it is noticeably gentler than the davies's other two series, but i can't say he pulls a lot of punches to gather in a younger audience. the first season features episodes where parents are possessed and try to harm their children; a rearrangement of the space-time continuum such that people are randomly plucked out of their proper time and forgotten by everyone except one or two people; and some gripping depictions of the consequences of childhood actions in later life. (not to mention a great guest star turn by phyllida law playing a woman suffering from the effects of age-related memory loss who has forgotten the importance of a piece of critical alien tech she has hidden among her jewelry.) while the adventures aren't, for example, doctor who's "turn left" or "midnight" or torchwood's "meat" or "countrycide," they're not dumbed down fare to make kids feel happy. some of this stuff would have scared me stiff as a child; i would've watched anyway, probably with my mouth hanging open, but the prospect of your parents being taken over and controlled by something you can't see and them coming after you? not okay!

and, while i couldn't find teaser trailers for either season, i did find the first section of the first episode, invasion of the bane from season one which may, if you're into this sort of thing, make your netflix queue longer by a few discs (the rest of bane, at least, also seems to be up on youtube in 9-10 minute chunks if you're into watching things that way):

Friday, November 27, 2009

"are you fucking kidding me!"

a rainy, grey, chilly post-thanksgiving friday in boston and, honestly, i'm not feeling wildly inspired to produce grand blog posts. i seem to have created a completely overwhelming "to do" list for myself for this weekend and i'm feeling totally...well, overwhelmed by the whole thing and i've yet to come to that point in the being overwhelmed process when inertia becomes unbearable; at the minute, i'm still busy being staggered by the amount of work i still have left to do.

fortunately, a friend has come to my rescue. diana posted a vlogbrothers video a few days ago on twitter and because twitter is what it is and my memory is what it is, i totally forgot about watching it until this morning when anna reminded me.

but it is very funny and i'm with him on 89% of the stuff:

i'm not sure why a giant turkey head is the default still for this one.

only other update is that supernatural -- the next 4 episodes -- continues good. there are even a couple of exceptionally good episodes: "faith" being the outstanding entry despite the startling appearance of the actress who played darla in buffy. "scarecrow" and "asylum" are also solid. there are some very obvious nods to preceeding entries in the genre, particularly jeepers creepers and house on haunted hill (original and remakes) but if you're gonna steal, steal. and make it good. and they do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"i'm agent ford and he's...uh...agent hamill."

working on the first few posts for the paper not included ebooks blog -- my second one accidentally turned into a 2-parter -- and reading frantically to figure out what happened to the ira between partition in the '20s and sean mcstiofain in the '60s didn't leave me with any brain left to come up with a post for this morning, but i do have a couple of things to throw out there.

1. gillian flynn's dark places. i tried. it looked like a promising kind of dark murder thriller and then just went boring by about chapter 4. the narrator was a compelling voice -- the grown-up survivor of the in cold blood-style murder of her family by her elder brother (she thinks) -- but it quickly became apparent, to me at least, that the only way i was going to be happy with the book was going to be if the narrator turned out to be the killer and flynn clearly wasn't going to take it in that direction. the writing was good; the voices of the characters very clear and distinct; but i was looking for something a little more twisted and this wasn't going to do it. sorry, ms. flynn.

2. supernatural. i've been drifting in and out of wanting to sit down and actually watch this show for quite a while; i keep channel-flipping through random episodes and, whenever i do, i tend to sit and watch the rest of the show which means i have a really weird view of what's going on. i then got put off the idea of netflixing the early seasons by the fact that every story i saw about the show for awhile referenced the fact that the two lead actors are really hot and therefore girls obviously loved the show. uh-huh. yeah, 'cause that's clearly the only-- oh, why bother. moving on.

two things -- technically three, i guess -- got me back into the idea of watching it again. one was the episode i flicked into last week which was a very clever self-parody featuring the two main characters, dean and sam winchester, being invited to a fan conference for themselves. supernatural has been turned into a popular book and comic series in their universe and guess what? they have fan boys. lots of them.

the second was a post on scifiwire -- has anyone else noticed that the wire has gone kinda weird since the sci-fi/syfy (shudder) rebranding? -- about the colt. now, i have no idea what this is meant to mean other than a prop colt pistol which probably has some uber-nifty demon-killing and/or spirit-banishing significance. but they happened to mention that the gun had only 13 bullets. :) this probably has absolutely nothing at all to do with david wellington's 13 bullets, but the mere possibility made me happy. and then, last but not least, there was a sale at best buy -- the first full season of the show was only $15.

so far, it's a not badly spent $15. i've watched the first eight episodes -- the first four back to back last saturday afternoon in a desperate attempt at decompressing after a stressful morning. i can say with some certainty that:
a) i like their car:

and b) i like dean's jacket.

i think i'm going to start calling it dean's amazing indestructible self-cleaning jacket, in fact. and i'm hoping that the necklace he wears so prominently turns out to be important in some way. i'd take either important to the character or the actor.

it's funny that i watched the first episode or two thinking, 'wow, this really looks like it was filmed in x-files country' and then noticed that, in fact, john shiban is one of the writers/executive producers for the show. i used to have a better grip on who the various x-files writers were and whether they produced reasonably coherent shows -- within chris carter's somewhat...shall we say flexible universe rules -- or whether they just came out with incoherent crap. there are a couple of supernatural episodes that are very x-files: "wendigo" and "skin" particularly. "skin" reminds me so much of an old x-files that i've been tempted to go back and figure out which one but, really, it's one of the weaker of the eight episodes i've seen, so i'm letting it just fade into distant memory.

if the show has an overarching weakness so far, it's that all the female character are the same. they're either motherly and null or teenaged, hot, and damaged. and they all wear too much lipgloss. i mean, really. every woman in this show is addicted to collagen lip injections and revlon gloss. but i have hope this will improve; i mean, you can't run a show for 5 seasons, keep a solid fanbase, and fairly good critical reception entirely with the same two guys in a car. no matter how good the leather is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"i'm taking you home."

to wake you up this monday morning, we have another five-minute book review! oh, and when you're looking for a way to procrastinate later, why not head over to the paper not included blog and check out our first posts? i'm one of the five writers in the project which will, of course, be awesome. :)

but to return to the subject of the moment which is christopher ransom's the birthing house. it's mr. ransom's first novel which makes it respectable in and of itself. while i have written novel-length files -- go, nanowrimo! -- i can't say any of them are wildly coherent or meaningful to anyone other than myself.

and the birthing house isn't bad. but it's not one of those first novels that's going to make you want to go out and buttonhole people on the street and insist that they read it. the set-up is the classic horror trope: bright young couple moves into house with (possibly) twisted past. weird shit begins to happen. weird shit continues to happen and gets worse. bright young couple descend into weird shit and emerge/don't emerge/emerge in a different dimension on the other side. tah-dah.

in this case, the bright young couple isn't all that bright or young -- in fact, the husband of the pair makes the house purchase on his own with money received from the estate of a recently deceased estranged father. the wife isn't consulted and, when told, isn't entirely wild about the idea of moving from l.a. to the wilds of the midwest. but the move is accomplished; the first conversations about neighbors that feature dialogue like, "so how do you like your house? y'know, the last people who lived there--- well, i really shouldn't say--" happen; the family pets start to behave in freaky ways and so on.

the dark secret in the house's past is that it was a birthing house -- a phrase that ransom throws around unexplained for most of the book. i guess, largely from what i gathered through the novel itself, that it was some kind of home for unwed mothers run by a single male doctor and -- maybe? -- staffed by a couple of permanent female nurses. i think that's what he was getting at anyway. a little more explanation and detailed historical background would not have gone amiss.

there are a lot of first novel mistakes made here; one of the worst is that, for no good reason, about 2/3rds of the way through the book, one chapter is written in first person singular while the rest of the book is written either in straightforward third person or from an omniscient point of view. the one chapter is a clanger; a wrench straight onto the foot of the unsuspecting, trusting reader. i assume its effect was meant to be to make the narrator more untrustworthy than he already was and it sort of works, but it's mostly just annoying and feels like an author who suddenly lost confidence in himself and resorted to a hack trick to get out of what he thought was a bad corner. kage baker -- an author i absolutely adore -- has a similar slip in her first novel, garden of iden; there's this one weird section towards the end of the book that, in order to make the action work, changes point of view abruptly in the middle of the action. it makes the last bit of the book run smoothly, yeah, but it's also really annoying.

to be fair, there are also some genuinely creepy moments: the chapters that are flashback or waking dreams explaining the haunting of the house by an abused daughter of one of the unwed mothers are really unsettling and twisted. there's the sense of the narrator tracking the ghosts -- there may be only one, there may be many, he isn't really sure although by the end it's made mindbogglingly clear -- through the house to try and figure out what's going wrong. there's a moment about halfway through the book where our narrator, the husband, isn't sure if he's looking at and talking to his semi-estranged wife or the ghost of one of the house's old inhabitants which is quite frightening, not least because the woman in question opens the conversation with, "the baby is dead." oooh-kay. we'll just be leaving you alone to have that moment, then.

there are probably whole shelves of books out there written about the use of pregnancy and birth metaphors -- and real pregnancies and births -- in horror fiction and i'm not going to try to make some sort of wild intellectual argument here without really knowing what i'm talking about. i'll just borrow a phrase one of my college friends used as her sig file for a long time: "get pregnant? i saw alien. i ain't doin' that."

the book is creepy; the birthing house concept veers from the mildly unsettling to the deeply disgusting; and, in the end, there's a kind of tommyknockers-style conclusion. it works -- but a second novel will probably be better.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"you want to play with me now?"

every friday the guardian does a film trailer dump on its culture website which -- trust me -- is a black hole for time under normal circumstances and, with this additional load of youtubery, becomes just about irresistible.

and who, when procrastinating on job application cover letters, can really walk away from the juicy goodness of 2-3 minute film trailers? not me! certainly not when they're describing things involving "viral pandemics" and "fleeing" and "darkness"!

not that it looks wildly original, mind you. 28 days later meets quarantine with a tad bit of doomsday mixed in and some mad max just for kicks but you never know. if done with enough gusto, that could be a really good time.

and, no, i didn't see the new star trek movie. it may go on the netflix queue; it may not. it looks like it might be fun but -- on the other hand, iron man also looked like it might be fun and mostly turned out to be 2 hours worth of frustrating!

and because the above reminded me of the following:

i have no particular faith in ethan hawke, but i have a lot of faith in willem dafoe and sam neill. and does anyone recognize the song being played at the end of the trailer? i should know it and it's driving me nuts that i can't identify it. it sounds very much like one of the main themes from 30 days of night -- but possibly it was also just played in an episode of bones!

Friday, November 20, 2009


my aim this month -- more or less because i can -- has been to post every 2-3 days. so far, i haven't quite hit that. but i have found time -- mostly on the t -- to read some really good books i can tell you about! more five-minute book reviews: everyone's favorite, right?

so today we have philippe claudel's brodeck.

i read this in one sitting; it took about 3-4 hours; and it was entirely motivated by shame. i picked the book up at the brookline public library about -- a month and a half ago, renewed it something like four times and was finally faced with having to return it the next day without ever having read it. like the man said, "not good! not good!"

so i read it and i returned it and so i don't have a copy on hand from which i can quote excerpts that might convince you without me having to go on about it that reading this book is a really good idea.

be warned, though: it isn't fun, but it is deceptively easy. i don't know what claudel is like to read in french -- i could do it, but it would take me way the hell longer than 4 hours! -- but in english he reads something like a cross between primo levi and aleksander solzhenitsyn, and...something i can't quite put my finger on. if i track it down, i'll get back to you.

without spoilering anything too badly for you -- and you really don't want me to do that because claudel has spent a lot of time putting together some really delicate rakes in some really long grass and it would be a disservice to his effort for me to point them out -- the story centers around and is told by brodeck, a returned prisoner from 'the camps' which were set up during 'the war' who has come back to his home village somewhere in what is probably eastern europe and is now faced with a demand from his fellow villagers: tell the story of their interaction with a stranger who came to town and is no now longer in town and do it right. what 'right' might be, brodeck isn't exactly sure, but he's pretty sure he knows and he's even more sure he doesn't like it, but he's not sure what to do about it.

brodeck isn't always a sympathetic narrator; sometimes he's quite frustrating, doubling back on his own story, revising it, continually apologising to us for not being a real writer, for doubting himself, for repeating himself, for not being a stronger, cleverer, better writer or man. but despite his evasions and his own stated desire not to return to his own past, he ends up telling his story and the stranger's inasmuch as he knows them. he's not entirely sure of large sections of either one, having to make them up out of what other people have told him -- voluntarily or inadvertently or through omission -- or what he can guess for himself.

the thing this felt most like to me -- apart from levi and maus -- was deadwood. there's a scene with pigs at the end of the second or third chapter that just shrieked al swearengen to me. not that brodeck himself is in anyway like everyone's favorite saloonkeeper; if he was going to be compared to anyone in the town, it would have to be doc, still continually caught in the aftermath of civil war battles.

and then for no particularly good reason except that it's friday and i can, here's another mst3k short i found resurrected on google videos:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"...or we can be lycans!"

five minute book-review!

1. jonathan maberry, bad moon rising. the third in the trilogy with ghost road blues and dead man's song. not the greatest last volume in a trilogy you'll ever read. i think maberry could have told this story much more effectively in two volumes. reading rising, i kept feeling like the characters were just repeating information among themselves; each set of characters -- good guys, bad guys, good guys over here without knowledge of the good guys over there, ditto bad guys, and null guys -- had to learn the same piece of information, discuss it, chew it to death, and then move on to the next shred of evidence. all this in spite of the fact that the reader, being a clever person and, possibly, well-versed in this kind of horror novel, figured it out pages ago and has been patiently waiting for the progressively dumber characters to figure it the f&%k out. i really enjoyed blues and song precisely because maberry didn't treat the reader as though s/he were stupid but he slipped up pretty badly in rising.

the pace goes all to hell -- the first two-thirds dragged and then the last third shot by so fast that, had it been a movie, i'd've been thinking, 'wow, the fight choreography/special effects/acting must really suck here 'cause they're moving too fast for me to see it!' there are some shocking, terrifying sequences -- i reference particularly a scene in the last third of the book where two of our protagonists fall into the basement of the house of our big bad guy. you really don't want to know what he keeps in the cellar. really. you don't. but you're going to find out anyway. maberry does occasionally get confused between blood/gore/squick and what is actually frightening but that's so often a matter of taste and he does both well that i don't want to complain about it too much. what's slightly more frustrating is his habit of stepping out of the action of the action scenes -- which he writes really well with a great eye for an unusual detail that pulls the whole scene into focus -- to tell you what the characters are feeling or thinking. in the middle of a fight scene, we don't really need to know that our "hero" is feeling cold and sick and nauseated. it's okay. we'll take it as read and you can catch us up on it later. right now, we're worried about the fanged nasty that's going to fall on him from the ceiling...

maberry also falls prey to making the whole thing unnecessarily complicated. by the end of song, we're fairly sure we've got a reasonably straightforward set of supernatural baddies: vampires and werewolves. some of the vamps are smarter than others; some are basically mindless killers; and we've got one clearly over-arching uber-bad guy. okay, good. we've got the right idea. and then by half-way through rising, we've got psychic vampires, psychic werewolves, dhampyrs, ancient vampires, 'fangheads,' vampire kings, evil gods, possession, demonic spirits, ghosts, and a whole range of other issues i won't even go into. all of which turn out to be almost completely unnecessary. while i often have issues with stephen king -- having hated him cordially for most of my life and only really started to read his stuff in the last three or four years thanks to a friend who swore up and down that the dark tower series really was that awesome (and it is) -- at least in salem's lot, which maberry's trilogy is absolutely a child of, he kept it simple. master vampire; spawn. there we go. end of story. simple, threatening, murderous. all done.

the only other thing i wanted to note is that the female characters in the book are, by the end, totally pathetic. if the main woman had said, "but i'm pregnant!" one more time, i was going to vote for the lead vampire to rip her throat out on the spot. it was a terrible excuse for not putting her into play as an actual, y'know, character. and there's a scene in the beginning that is just a total rip from dracula in the most painfully bad way where all the men silently realise they are willing to die for this one woman (better you than me) and all i could think was, 'mina was more kick-ass than you. any day of the week.'

all of this is not to say that wasn't fun to read. it was. it's just that, by the end of the third book, i wished there was a little less to read. it's sad when the trilogy is a slow downward slide when there is clearly the talent in place that could have made it a great upward rollercoaster ride.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"we're smarter than this!"

having had a somewhat frustrating day which involved a): waking up from a lovely dream in which i had found this great job that wanted to hire me on sight; b) waking up from said dream; c) realizing that it was, in fact, just a dream; d) having to work on an assignment where i'm basically guessing at what the professor wants because he isn't the greatest at instructions; and e) coming home from work -- after lovely walk home -- to find a letter from doctor's office saying, "gosh, we're sorry but the lab was unable to process your test results. please call our office to find a convenient time for you to return so you can undergo time-consuming, painful, and humiliating processes all over again."

gee, really? me? thanks ever so!


but i only threw my socks across the room, not anything else, so i'm counting that as a minor victory and now, having been duly calmed (at least a little bit) by a hot shower and girlfriend-provided tea and chips, i decided what i really should do is put up an amusing post here because that way i could feel at least that i was making someone else's day more fun.

so here you go.

one of my all-time favorite pixar shorts, "for the birds:"

and from the mst3k crew, a charming short about always being yourself:

and a couple of my all-time favorite fan videos.

first off, evanescence and "bring me to life" used as background for shoujo kakumei utena:

same band, "going under," same anime:

same band, "hello," doctor who -- elegy for donna noble:

and, finally, a fantastic 10th doctor video:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"this is how you remind me..."

through a post from arts & letters daily i discovered this marvellous and more than slightly strange blog called killing the buddha. through them, i discovered this video:

for the charter for compassion which is rolling out or going live or unveiling or whatever they call it today. first of all it made me think of my friend douglas who probably knew about this months ago. i have to admit, i think the video is a tad bit creepy -- the drum beats are a little too nouveau horror movie trailer for me but that could be just because i watch too many trailers for horror movies -- but i've spent some time poking around the website and looking at the people they've worked with and, even for someone as cynical as myself, it all looks reasonably genuine and well-thought-out. and i can get on board with people who are basically arguing that if you want people to behave well towards you, maybe behaving well towards them isn't a bad start.

i thought of this yesterday when i was sitting on a bench outside kupel's in brookline waiting for anna to come out with bagels and cream cheese; one of the local homeless women (unless she's a really dedicated performance artist) passed by, pushing this giant cart loaded down with what i'm guessing is all her stuff. she saw me sitting on the bench and smiled at me, so i smiled back, and she called over to ask if i had any spare change for a cup of coffee. i said i hadn't which was true and interactions like this are why i don't carry cash with me a lot of the time; at least this way i'm not lying. she shrugged and moved on. there was a guy standing near me waiting for his dog to finish with a nearby tree and he turned to me and asked with this expression of total horror on his face: "what did she say?" i explained what had gone on. the woman heard us talking and called out to him -- very politely -- to explain what she had asked me and to ask him the same question. he gave her this look of total disbelief that seemed to translate as "what is it doing talking to me!" and hurried off with his dog, muttering something that i couldn't really hear.

and because i'm not very good at writing about this kind of thing, i can't tell you what i thought next except that i remember thinking that the man over-reacted just a little. even if he didn't have anything, what was the harm in telling her so -- ideally nicely -- to her face rather than flinching back as though she had thrown something at him?

and then, because i'm absolutely incapable of leaving a post alone without putting something silly in it -- if you want a really neat-sounding explanation for why laughing at things is a good idea, the dailyom makes it sound very cool with their most recent post:

probably safe for work; it is a little risque but if you have an understanding boss or a boss with a sound sense of humor you should be fine. and you will need sound, definitely. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"if mine's mines, what's yours?"

nanowrimo and new thesis chapters between them leave little time for blogging, but i did notice on one of my news feeds from england the other day that timothy bateson has died. while i realise that he was a well-respected and immensely skillful character actor with a really really really long resume with all sorts of roles in there, the first thing i thought was, "oh, binro died." and this is why:

this scene comes in about -- oh, three-quarters of the way through an episode of doctor who called the ribos operation which is the first episode in a 6-episode arc called the key to time which made up the entirety of one of tom baker season. the young man is named unstoffe; he's a conman, working with a partner named garron, and binro has been kind enough to hide him from searching guards.

the key to time arc is great doctor who, by the way; if you're looking for an intro to the original series, you could do way worse. tom baker is on top of his game; he has great companions in romanadvoratnalundar, played with great spirit by mary tamm, and k9; and the stories are just linked enough to make a decent over-arching story without being totally driven by a single element. and there's two of my favorite episodes of all time -- stones of blood and the power of kroll -- and an episode written by douglas adams, the pirate planet.

so in memory of timothy bateson and of an family friend who also died in the last week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

a sort of fly-by post...

taking a brief blogging break between writing blog post -- hah! -- for ebooks blog and working on the brandy-new context chapter for the thesis; i promised two highly intelligent professors that i could summarize approximately 200 years of irish history in something under 20-25 pages. hm. perhaps this was not a good idea? too late now!

but i have "in a nutshell" thoughts about a few recently watched/read things that i thought i'd toss up here for your amusement.

1. terry pratchett, unseen academicals. i posted a review of this earlier from the blog and i'm pleased to support pretty much everything that ms. jericho wrote. academicals is awesome. while i agree wholeheartedly with the idea that pratchett is, at his best, a whip-smart social commentator, i really don't think this is the best way to read his books. in fact, i think it might rank with the worst ways to read them -- right up there with trying to read them back-to-front or through a reversing mirror. going into a discworld novel looking for comment on earthly events is really not a good idea. the best discworld novels -- jingo, maskerade, the truth, thief of time -- are so clever and slick at making their points that, honestly, it's just better to take a deep breath, get some tea, and enjoy the lunacy. academicals is like that, too; the ending is great -- pratchett back in his proper form again after the somewhat leaden thud! and overly polemical monstrous regiment which is fun until you start to realise you've been hit over the head with the same damn joke 15 times and you're starting to get sore. my only piece of advice with academicals is keep your eye on nutt, glenda, and the patrician. keeping your eye on the patrician is always good advice, by the way. :)

2. iron man. i had a whole extra-ranty-goodness post all ready to go about the waste of space iron man turned out to be...and i just don't have the heart to go through with it. it wasn't that bad -- but it wasn't that good, either. i was thinking about it while walking to class the other day and i figure they could have done the film an immeasurable amount of good by doing a couple of simple things:
  1. fire gwyneth paltrow. the woman is a black hole and not in a fun way. she comes on screen -- and the scene turns up its toes and dies because it knows nothing is going to happen. at all. ever.
  2. give jeff bridges more to do. the man can be brilliant, but you need to give him something to work with
  3. decide who your villain is.
  4. oh, and please don't nick scenes directly from anime series (i'm thinking of vision of escaflowne here) 'cause, y'know, some of us have seen them.
3. the cave. i got this for halloween 'cause...well, i could. and it took me a minute to remember why on earth i thought it was a good idea -- it's because cole hauser is in it. and, on the whole, it wasn't a bad flick. predictable -- as all 'b' grade horror movies are -- but fun. the monster was -- okay. too obviously influenced by the alien in its first scenes but, on the whole, how is a creature designer going to step out from under that as a shadow? and the designer did go on to do the underworld films and those are really quite nice, so we'll forgive a momentary early slip. ;)

okay, back to describing the central importance of the rising of the united irishmen in 1798 to the later generations of irish republican nationalists. i'm considering setting up a macro to automatically fill in "Irish Republican nationalists" because, wow, am i tired of typing it!