Friday, April 30, 2010

friday fun times

and yet more youtube goodness inspired by the election in britain.

just think: in a few weeks, the general election will be over and then i will no longer be able to recycle '70s british sitcoms for friday content! what will i do!

in case you've never seen it, yes, minister was one of the best of the '70s/'80s british sitcoms. it was said to be margaret thatcher's favorite tv show; she even visited the set once, if i remember rightly. i try not to hold this against any of the actors concerned.

the plot focussed around a dithering minister, james hacker (paul eddington), and sir humphrey appleby (nigel hawthorne -- rip) who is permanent secretary of hacker's department and bernard woolley (derek fowlds), his personal private secretary.

much hilarity ensues if you like verbal jousting, clever wordplay, and political humor.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

digging with which foot again...?

so after the last couple days -- not counting fridays -- which have been pretty horror-heavy, this wednesday i need to put on the historian hat again and talk about marianne elliott's recent (-ish; i'm a bit behind the curve, really) tome, the catholics of ulster.

first: it's giant. seriously: don't plan on lugging this book around a lot if you have a bad back or stiff shoulders.

second: there are holes. i started to write that they were "significant" -- but i'm not quite sure they are really.

elliott's whole point here is to debunk a very catholic-centric, nationalist-centric, increasingly-over-the-course-of-the-20th-century-republican-centric style of irish history, and so i'm sure she knows perfectly well what she's left out and has left it out (or minimized it) for a reason.

the thumbnail "plot summary" might run something like: a history of catholics in ulster from prehistory to the good friday agreement.

there's a lot of time spent on the early years -- the prehistory through, say, the late eighteenth century bit -- and then, to my mind, ever-less time as the book ratchets on towards the end of the twentieth century. which is a shame from my point of view, because that's the bit i'm interested in. still, there is enough provocative material here to make me leave my pencil in the book as a bookmark because i was making that many marginal notes. who knows if i'll never use them for anything, but they made me feel better.

my chief argument with the book might be that as time goes by and elliott gets closer and closer to the present day and -- in all fairness -- as the republican nationalist movement gets more and more catholic and nastier and nastier with it (not that i'm implying these two things are vitally linked or inextricable or anything because that would obviously be very foolish), she gets closer and closer to being dismissive of things which i think are very important.

of course, this could just be me thinking, "but i think it's interesting! talk more about what i think is interesting!" and there are plenty of books out there that talk about nothing but the things i think are interesting -- still, i think elliott comes close to sounding rather patronizing as she tries to describe the effects that something that happened over 200 years ago can have on the present day. the historical narrative started to become a bit clogged with elliott's own personal memories of growing up in northern ireland and, while i understand that she's doing this in order to make her own potential biases and point-of-view absolutely clear, it also starts to feel that maybe what she wanted to do was write a history up to about 1950 and then write a memoir.

in fact, the more i think about it, the more i wish she had done just that: written the history through...oh, say, partition, ended that, and then written a memoir. as it was, in the final chapters, i kept wanting to say, "but, wait -- if the people in question think that's really important -- aren't you being a bit dismissive by saying it isn't? shouldn't you take into account the fact that they -- being your subject under discussion here! -- think it is?"

i apologise for not having a more coherent argument to make about the text right now; due to bad weather and a long day at work, i'm more than a little out of it. but the summing up of all this would probably read: marianne elliott. new-ish book. go forth and read it if you are interested in a) things catholic; b) things irish; c) things irish catholic.

if nothing else, her bibliography is absolutely eye-wateringly wonderful.

~ ~ ~

and since this post is (marginally) concerned with things academic and scholastic, here's something else, too.

as you may or may not know, i live in boston. as you also may or may not know, the boston public library system is facing some "economic hardship." the latest iteration of this hardship is what seems like a serious threat to close the main branch's microtext department.

when my boss told me this last friday, i squawked at her for two minutes straight about how awful this was and how "they" couldn't do this before realising: a) she isn't my old boss and wouldn't either think i was funny or sympathise; and b) "they" might very well do just that.

it is fair to say that, without the microtext room at the bpl, i could not have written the history thesis i did. without the access to the historical irish newspapers collection they house, i would have had to cut my topic in half, redirect it radically, or give up on it entirely. i'm sure there are other people out there with similar stories.

i have spent a lot of time in the microtext room and i was never the only one there even when i was there at 9 a.m. on a saturday morning or 5 p.m. on a tuesday night. patrons ranged from professional genealogists to amateur family historians; college undergraduates; other graduate students like myself; and the average run of people looking for someplace to burn a few hours because they had nowhere else to be. the room needs a new carpet; the microfilm machines need repairing; the printers need upgrading; the librarians need some new reference materials. what they do not need is to be shut down or have a huge, incredibly valuable collection doled out piecemeal among the other branches of the library.

so, as this is the biggest public soapbox i have, i'm putting it out there: please. if you have half an hour of free time and you give a damn about this amazing, marvellous, free resource in boston, send a letter; send an email; make a phone call.
SUGGESTED ACTION: We are asking all concerned individuals to write to the following contacts and let them know that the resources and staff of the Microtext Department and the Newspaper Room should not be eliminated or dispersed. If you are a Massachusetts resident or Boston Public Library patron, please indicate that in your email/letter. The Boston Public Library Annual Meeting will be held Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 8:30am, at the Copley Square Library. Let's let our voices be heard and make an impact now before that important meeting.
Amy Ryan, President of the Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St., Boston MA 02116

Mr. Jamie McGlone, Clerk to the Board of Trustees
700 Boylston St., Boston MA 02116

Mayor Thomas Menino
1 City Hall Square, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02201-2013
Photograph by Gretchichi

Monday, April 26, 2010

"to all the ships at sea..."

i have a quest.

it's a very minor quest and not one which i ever imagine myself completing, but it's rather fun to pursue now and then when i have nothing better to do with my time -- or my netflix queue.

to answer the obvious: the quest is to fill in the gaps in my horror/genre/fsf movie education which are large and numerous.

now, there are some gaps i'm never going to fill. i'm not into slasher movies, so i can't see myself ever sitting down to watch (with any pleasure, anyway, or without a lot of alcohol) the hills have eyes (any version), texas chainsaw massacre (ditto), poltergeist (any one), the exorcist (ditto), saw (ditto), or any of the jason, freddy, or michael myers movies. i know they're classics and i know they're great films, some of them, anyway, but i don't like blood for the sake of blood and i don't deal well with that type of mangled flesh. zombies, now -- we can talk about zombies all freakin' day long if you like, but knives through eyes? not my style. and this is all beyond the fact that most of these movies have endless sequels, remakes, or, my new favorite euphemism for "remake": reboots. i only have so much time on my hands!

and this is all a long lead-up to talking about john carpenter's 1980 the fog which i watched over the weekend. (mild spoilers ahead, by the way, both for the fog and the thing.) i've watched carpenter's starman (which kind of doesn't fit with the theme of this post but if you haven't seen it, go watch it now and then come back; i'll wait) and the thing which is weirdly compelling and does fit the theme.

the beastie in the thing is a waste of time. really: it's awful. it's completely unbelievable; you can see the wires that make the bits of the big models work; the blood doesn't look real; the prosthetics on the humans are really obvious; and the whole thing is just a huge amount of...well...bad stuff. i can't imagine that it ever looked particularly realistic but perhaps it was more striking on a big screen.

but the movie works. for some reason, it's freakin' creepy. why? i don't quite know. it has something to do with the lack of soundtrack; it has something to do with the fact that kurt russell seems totally off the wall for most of the time; it has something to do with the isolation of the team from the rest of the world in the middle of an antarctic waste of snow and ice; and it has quite a lot to do with the ending which is one of my favorite kinds of ending. it's sort of a "choose your own adventure" thing. do you want to think the two men survive the arctic night and are rescued in the morning? great! go to it. do you want to think one of them is infected, mutates, kills the other, and starts on its way back to the world? there's room for that. do you want to think one of them's infected, but the other realises and kills him before the final transformation? sure -- we can do that! and there are other options, but i'm sure you get the idea.

the fog isn't quite that open-ended, although it does have something of the same kind of nebulous quality in the ending. the set-up is pretty basic: a group of children are listening to a story being told by the classic horror figure, the grizzled old sailor. (see dracula for one of the great uses of this character.) he tells them about a ship, broken up on the rocks near the beach where they are sitting, lured to its destruction in a sudden thick fog by a fire lit on the beach. the ship was sunk a century before the night on which he is telling the story and as the camera leaves the children on the beach, it pans through the town of antonio bay, showing us quiet streets, deserted sidewalks, and dark houses -- and sudden strange things happening all over town as midnight hits and the anniversary of the ship's destruction begins.

this opening sequence -- which is really significantly more than an opener, since it takes the best part of half an hour -- sets up the other events in the movie pretty well and is almost more scary than most of them. car alarms start to blare; the sign in a grocery store snaps its chain and nearly falls, scaring the hell out of a late-night clerk; gas pumps fall off their handles and begin to spout petrol across the pavement; radios turn on and off; televisions lose signal. what makes it effective, i feel, is the lack of soundtrack and the lack of histrionic reaction on the part of the people who witness what's going on. they're puzzled, maybe a little disturbed -- but no-one freaks out and goes shrieking out into the night yelping about "vampire ghosts come back to murder us" which might be more usual in a modern movie since we need to get the action moving and the blood on the walls.

the rest of the plot set-up/story explanation is done through the device of an old diary (rather suspiciously new-looking to my mind!) discovered by the town priest when part of his wall falls in and the diary drops onto his desk. the diary eventually reveals the cause for the original ship's destruction and the guilt of certain city fathers in the lighting of the fire on the beach a hundred years before. apparently the sailors on the century-old ship are really pissed.

the movie builds more on everyday weirdness than on huge gory confrontations. yes, the crew of a fishing smack is killed and a corpse does collapse out of a closet onto one of the people who arrives to investigate the boat. but there are also long, slow sequences which build to much more effective fright, such as the local radio host bringing a piece of driftwood discovered by her son on the beach into her broadcast studio which is also a lighthouse. as she turns her back to speak on the phone, leaving the wood on top of a stack of cassettes, the letters on the wood suddenly run with water, revealing the word "dane," and leaking down to run over her tapes and a tape player, altering the tape to a ghostly, warped voice. oh, and did i mention that the radio host is adrienne barbeau? who is just awesome? and was in carnivale? well, i have now. :)

the fog itself is a great secondary character. it glows; it moves really fast; and creepy things lurk around in it.

the fog works in much the same way that the thing does: a slow, ordinary build-up to a couple of big shocker scenes at the end. the slow build is really effective, making the cheesiness of the reveals at the end (by modern standards anyway) worth it. and you also get to watch adrienne barbeau and jamie lee curtis do a pretty fantastic job of not being scream queens. there's very little screaming on the whole and most of the characters don't behave like idiots simply for the sake of making the story run along smooth rails.

so here's some youtube fun for you: the original 1980s trailers for the fog and the thing (they're both meant to be serious (i think), but they come across as being very funny!) and the opening scene from the fog.

Friday, April 23, 2010

friday fun times

in celebration (?) of the fact that there's an election on in britain right now -- a fascinating prospect, really, given that each of the three candidates is more or less indistinguishable from any of the others except by height and weight -- i present you with the ever-classic monty python's flying circus sketch: "election night special"!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"it won't make any difference."

you know what happens if you don't check your reader feeds over a long weekend? you get to the computer on tuesday morning and google reader is there ahead of you, shrieking about how it has "1000+" stories and you must do something, right away, to fix this horrible situation.

it's terrible to be guilt-tripped by one's rss feeds.

still, had i not done some in-depth sifting through the day, i would not have found a long-term meme from arbogast's eponymous arbogast on film blog which i just can't resist: who would you save? in case you're feeling lazy today and don't want to be bothered with all that clicking, i'll summarize: what doomed character from a horror movie would you save, assuming that you could?

i've clicked through some of the old entries to see who other people have chosen; i'm a fan of stacie ponder (aka final girl)'s choice and while i don't know either of the movies in the kindertrauma post, i always enjoy seeing what aunt john and unkle lancifer have to say. 

and then i realised i might have a problem in choice of character. there is, of course, the eternal question of who to pick -- there are so many options, really. while i was pondering, i saw that someone in comments on stacie's post had mentioned frank from 28 days later who is a totally great choice -- but i wouldn't save him. adore brendan gleeson; love the character; still willing to let him go down to the rage virus. he has to, or the end of the movie would go "phut." there's robert carlyle's don from 28 weeks later -- but is he really worth saving? he's a pretty unsympathetic character, given that he abandons his wife to the infected. there's officer cybil bennett in silent hill -- i never understand why rose can't show up two minutes earlier and save her from being a charcoal briquette. and what about carolyn fry in pitch black? another fine turn from radha mitchell -- but if she's saved, what does that mean for riddick?

so instead, i started worrying about whether or not the movies i wanted to pick my character from were really "horror" movies or not. and then i decided not to worry about it because, honestly, who cares? the labels are pretty arbitrary after a certain point and i figure a film franchise that spans 20 years and really starts its ball rolling with an alien embryo bursting its way through a well-respected british actor's chest, thus totally ruining his plans for later that afternoon, has pretty much got to be horror.

as eddie izzard said, "good. i'm glad you're all coming with me on that."

so who would i save? 


hands down, i would rescue poor old newt from aliens and, briefly, alien3.

i watched through the whole alien series with my father some summer during high school. we'd watch the movies my mom didn't want to see while she was out teaching. the list pretty much included anything seriously gory or "not nice" -- the parameters for this stretch from night of the living dead to nightmare before christmas, just to give you an idea of the depth of field here.

alien is the best of the series; the more times i watch it, the more convinced i become of this. alien: resurrection is, arguably, the worst (although i have a serious soft spot for ron perlman and for brad dourif as the creepy doctor who gets deservedly destroyed) and, if you're going to extend to the avp series films, then avp: requiem just blows resurrection right out of the water for sheer awful. aliens is a lot of fun as a sequel, although it loses most of the serious scare factor that makes the first so great. instead of seeing next to nothing of the alien, you pretty much see it all the time -- which makes it much less frightening, thus the need to ramp up to the alien queen. not that the alien queen isn't spiffy-on-a-stick because she is. the staring contest between ripley and the queen is one of my all-time favorite sequences; i love ripley's head-tilt that, without words, manages to convey a whole world of "oh. you fucked up right there."

but newt. i nearly wrote 'poor old newt' again except she isn't which is what makes her so cool. she survives -- she is the only survivor of the whole damned base on LV 426. 

let me just say that again: this barely pre-adolescent kid is the only survivor

she makes it for weeks on her own, having to scavenge what she needs without the luxury of weapons, armor, or anything other than her own observations of the aliens to tell her what, where, or when she might be safe. her family is killed around her; her friends are gone; the people who were meant to keep her safe are gone. if this isn't the secret nightmare of every little kid -- and, hell, a whole lot of adults, too -- then i don't know what is. the people who are supposed to keep you safe can't. there is something so ghastly and awful out there that the grown-ups can't help. no-one is there to help you; nowhere is safe. does everyone need a teddy bear and a hug now?

but newt survives. and doesn't go insane. these have got to be major accomplishments under the circumstances.

what has she learned? quiet is good. dark is good. under is good. small, hidden, and quick is good. of course, the marines with ripley pretty much universally ignore every lesson they could have learned from the kid. even ripley doesn't take her as seriously as she might, being rather more preoccupied with her own survivor trauma, burke, and hicks.

but newt continues to survive. she doesn't anticipate that the marines will be able to help -- she even tells ripley that their arrival won't change anything. she doesn't depend on them; she doesn't immediately become a whimpery ball of needy kid insisting on having her hand held. she pretty much demands autonomy and a certain amount of respect. and she is clearly making decisions between which adults she is willing to trust (ripley, hicks) and which she thinks are less useful (hudson, burke). and she really only freaks out when directly confronted with a facehugger she isn't in a position to escape. even then, she doesn't lose it entirely: she keeps fighting it and keeps it pinned until hudson can kill it. even when captured by an alien drone and taken back for implantation, she keeps fighting, struggling to break free from the hardened goo web even as the facehugger is crawling out towards her. 

this is a damn kickass little kid.

and so instead of getting to watch such an awesome little kid through the third movie -- newt is killed in the name of isolating ripley again. in fact, pretty much everyone sympathetic in the third movie is killed as soon as they stop being directly antagonistic to ripley. makes for damn unsatisfactory character development.

worse, newt isn't even given the (marginal) dignity of an on-screen death. no, she and hicks (who i'd probably save second or third) are killed off-screen; we're only told about their deaths in a sketchy partial flashback over the opening credits. her corpse gets a role as ripley forces herself to examine the body for signs of alien infection -- but that's it. so long, fighting kid who outlasted a whole building-ful of aliens -- it was nice to know you!

what a rotten exit.

so, yes, out of all the possibilities, i'm picking rebecca "newt" jordan.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

perhaps lucy needed a wizard?

after attending the new england historical association conference on saturday, i got a chance on sunday afternoon to finish up the second volume of patricia wrede and caroline stevermer's young adult fantasy series which started with the enchanted chocolate pot, the grand tour.

(the cover art for this series, by the way, is really delightful. i love the details on the girls' clothes and the spark of color on each one with an otherwise black-and-white or sepia-tone background is really effective. and good use of font in the title, too.)

only minor spoilers ahead; if you haven't read the first volume and plan to, you may wish to skip this until you have if you're an absolute plot purist. otherwise, read on.

at the end of the first volume, both girls, kate and cecy, were quite happily engaged to be married to their respective beaux james and thomas (i honestly i have a very hard time keeping track of which goes with which -- the two young men have very similar characters and wrede and stevermer have spent much less time, to my mind, making them distinct than the girls. which is fine, but somewhat troublesome when describing the book to someone else!) as a wedding trip, the two couples, after a double ceremony, take off for the continent to take part in "the grand tour," which was a reasonably common feature of upper-class english life between...oh, roughly, the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, in terms of giving people a glimpse of the continent. young men could be sent off after university if there was nothing better for them to do; young women could accompany their brothers or husbands or, if necessary, be chaperoned. there are actual histories written about the grand tour as a cultural experience: what people saw, where they went, what they wrote as a result, and so forth. e.m. forster's lucy honeychurch in a room with a view is on a later version of the tour when it is so abruptly derailed by her chaperone in florence.

in any case, as soon as the girls and their husbands set foot in europe, they're caught up in what may (or may not) be another mystery with magical trimmings: an unknown lady descends upon them, leaves them with a mysterious flask, and vanishes. highwaymen set upon them; they have to learn revolutionary-era codes to communicate; and someone may (or may not) be trying to re-crown napoleon as emperor of europe. and in the middle of all this, kate and cecy have to navigate their wedding nights, purchase gloves for kate's ever-diminishing stock, hire maids, and find time to go shopping.

i realise that this is kind of the cheap 'n cheesy description of the book and i did it for a reason which is that this book is fluff. it is pure, enjoyable, tasty popcorn. i didn't enjoy it quite as much as i did the first one -- there wasn't the same sense of real danger; there wasn't an enemy as good as the first one; and i'm sure there were giant potholes in the story i just kind of floated over because i read it so quickly. it doesn't really matter; it's still charming, kate and cecy are readable, sympathetic, enjoyable characters despite the difficulty i have in keeping their husbands apart!

wrede and stevermer kind of dodge around the more explicit relationships between each girl and her husband while managing to make it quite clear that everything is proceeding to the satisfaction of each individual which is really very sweet.

the grand tour isn't epistolary; i know in the original review i read, this was brought up as something of a weakness and i have to admit, i missed the letter format. i understand that wrede and stevermer go back to using that in the third volume, and i'm looking forward to that when i can find it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

friday fun times

i love lipstick.

it's a minor habit that i can kick any time but, really, i don't want to. there's something so pleasing about the containers, the colors, the scent (of nice ones; not so much with el cheapos), the whole nine yards, really.

and this video on "how to apply red lipstick" is very sweet -- i love her enthusiasm about cracking open the new tube:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

baking > jobhunting

so coping with new medications, doctor's visits, and miscellaneous other issues has eaten my time this week -- before i've even had it which seems unfair -- so therefore all i have for you on this lovely wednesday are links to three cooking blogs.

lately, i've been baking on the weekends as a de-stressor from work and job-searching and all that kind of fun stuff. yeast bread doesn't ask you to fill out resume forms when you've already uploaded your resume to the job sites. chocolate cookies are not known for being critical of your professional development experience. and i have never yet found a quick bread which requires a cover letter.

joy the baker is the newest, courtesy of my friend diana, and i want to make pretty much everything on this site. the photography is appetite-inducingly good, too, which doesn't hurt at all.

sprinkle bakes has equally great photography and some nice recipes -- more useful, i find, for ideas for what to do with recipes i already have or decoration ideas or the like.

the british larder sounds like it should be one long list of recipes for fish 'n chips or fry-ups but it isn't. there is my current favorite recipe -- hot cross buns with golden sultanas and cardamom -- on here and i can vouch for the fact that not only does the recipe produce awesome hot cross buns, but the dough is perfectly amenable to being turned into loaf form and makes the most wonderful, tender, toast-worthy spice raisin bread.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"...better than chocolate..."

i remember reading an essay by patrick mcmanus once in one of his earlier collections -- they shoot canoes, don't they? or maybe the grasshopper trap? -- about reading habits, winter vs. summer. when winter came around again, you would be back reading the heavy thinkers: "jacqueline susann, erma bombeck..." and so forth. likewise, terry pratchett in the last continent, mentions that there is a rule that any book taken onto a beach for long enough and brought into contact with enough suntan lotion and coconut oil will inevitably morph into a tome with a title like the omega precedent or the alpha adventure and be almost entirely filled with weapons specifications.

i can't say that this has happened to my reading list of late, but i did find it was a little tough lugging around marianne elliot's latest tome on the history of catholics in ulster -- it weighs as much as my water bottle! -- and so, based largely on a recommendation from jo walton on, i went and found patricia wrede and caroline stevermer's epistolary historical fantasy, sorcery & cecelia at the brookline public library.

spoiler warning: none, really. it's too cute to spoiler for you and really too much fun to tear apart.

sorcery is a sweet, charming, fast read -- you could get through it easily in an afternoon. the only real issue i had with it was the similarity of some of the names -- the men all seemed to have the same number of syllables in their names and, until about half-way through the book, i didn't feel their characters were distinct enough for me to keep them apart based on name alone. i solved this by memorizing which man was where -- london or essex -- and going by that!

the story is straightforward: the two narrator characters, both young women, are swapping letters from london and essex, describing the progress of one's london season and the other's adventures in the countryside. in this universe, magic is a real and socially acceptable phenomenon; one of the girls comments early on in the story about an academic and magically minded neighbor going up to london to be inducted into the royal college of wizards. (one is reminded, somehow, of the reclusive mr. norrell in jonathan strange & mr. norrell.) there are complications with attractive and surly young men, repressive aunts, difficult cousins, and the impossibility of persuading one's relatives to shell out for the right kind of dresses. it's sort of like jane austen with spellbooks. (definitely minus zombies, though.)

quite a lot of this book is like susannah clarke's later fantasy -- the time period (napeolonic wars); story elements (the wizardly neighbor who loves his books); the involvement with political affairs (magicians campaigning with wellington). but the similiarity doesn't make this book boring and doesn't make it seem as though clarke ripped her idea from wrede and stevermer.

it isn't all light fluff and chat about dresses, although there is quite a bit of that. there's a real sense of darkness and danger here; the consequences for messing about with little-understood magic or irritating a higher-level magician are made to feel quite real. i'd say the freakiness really gets going on page 21 when kate, in london, writes to her cousin of a woman she has stumbled upon:
Her skin was smooth and carefully painted, her eyes were dark and very hard. She smiled kindly at me and asked if I would take chocolate with her.
You and I often played at dolls' tea party together, Cecy. I will never again remember such games with pleasure.
anyone who has read neil gaiman's short story "don't ask jack" should be totally aware that children's toys are not great in pretty much any way, shape, or form -- particularly when they show up in genre fiction like this!

there are two more books in the series -- really! there are! i checked and doublechecked and they're both published and available! -- and i'm planning to track them down via library as soon as i can.

Friday, April 9, 2010

friday fun times

because this week has been something like youtube/video overload, i decided to go with something not a video for friday.

so, instead, i suggest you visit the photographic dictionary. i think the project is more or less entirely self-explanatory from the url, but in case you need convincing for the clickthrough....

"injury," jimi franklin


"zazen," nicholas gottlund

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

probably more well-balanced than the master. maybe.

and since john simm did, to my mind, such a fantastic job as the master -- particularly in end of time -- and more than made good any doubts i had about his ability to walk in the footsteps of roger delgado and anthony ainley, anna and i decided to check out the other series we knew him to have been in, a time-travelling police procedural called life on mars.

i know there's a u.s. remake of this starring, i think, harvey keitel. which only goes to show that american networks will rip anything and convert it to a u.s. cast to try and make ratings. which is sad, really, when you think about it, because then a lot of people miss the really good original versions of shows like cracker. (really. if you've only seen the u.s. remake -- just -- forgive yourself and then go watch the robbie coltrane original.)

so, yes, anyway, john simm, life on mars:


Monday, April 5, 2010

the lazy blogger's friend

short posts this week, guys -- no time or, really, energy to write this weekend when it was solidly 70 and sunny out. after a winter of cold, rain, wind and assorted other fun wintry weather, who really wants to sit at a computer when there are other options which involved iced coffee, walking by the river, and used bookstores?

right, i didn't think so.

anyway, a week that makes you glad youtube exists:


i shrank the width a bit on this video to make it look more proportional to everything else going on and, if you're a die-hard resident evil fan and haven't got this memorized yet, you probably want to click through to youtube and watch the regular size version.

i have to say, i wish it wasn't going to be in 3d because i wear glasses and propping those stupid little 3d glasses over my regular ones invariably gives me a headache and a faint sense of loss of balance, but i'll risk it for this.

Friday, April 2, 2010

friday fun times

and some sweetness and light after all that panning i had to do this week.

okay, not exactly sweetness and light -- but clever catness, how's that?

starting with my personal favorite, "cat man do":

and "let me in":

and, last but not least, "snow business":