The Batman preview was pretty good, and the end credits used a font I really liked.
Archive for the ‘Random Musings’ Category
I could try to explain why there’s been a 7 month lapse in posting, or I could launch into a review of the movie I saw last night.
I read His Dark Materials trilogy after seeing the preview for what looked, judging by all the pretty colors and the relative cuteness of polar bears, to be an excellent fantasy movie of the first installment. Surely this would surpass The Chronicles of Narnia which I found, despite the relative cuteness of talking woodland creatures, to be rather costumey and short on logic. And while I had complaints with the book (mostly with POV) I thought there was enough stuff–namely talking polar bears–to warrant an excellent film. Lyra, the main character, was not particularly well rendered in the novel, but I believed a good director would be able to smooth her out–or at least make her consistent. Mystery and bad guys and witches and flying mechanical contraptions abounded. And when you didn’t have a talking polar bear on screen, there would be more than enough talking other critters.
Hopeful, and dare I say enthusiastic, my friends and I went to the 10:10 PM showing of The Golden Compass. The best way to put our experience is with a quote from one Alex Lumans who said, “I don’t need an alethiometer to know that’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”
Another way to put it would be to say that in the great ranking of fantasy films, Eragon is no longer at the bottom.
Nor are the Star Wars prequels.
First off, the story had no pacing. In essence it felt like one really long trailer. Scene after scene of ominous foretelling and exposition. But the reason we go to movies and not trailers is so that we can, occasionally, and if it’s not too much trouble, get some development. Sections from the book that offered the best chance for this were skimmed. Characters appeared out of thin air–literally–to give crucial information that wasn’t that crucial just so that when the same character randomly showed up in the nick of time, we wouldn’t be too surprised.
Second, the script. How these actors managed to say their lines with straight faces, I’ll never understand. According to the trivia page from IMDB Tom Stoppard wrote a draft which Weitz, the director, rejected so he could adapt it himself. Idiot. I think the worst line was, “You mean to ride me?” But it was mostly bad in context.
Third, the logic. Or lack thereof. At one point in the film the giant talking polar bear claims that his armor is his “soul”. He becomes an alcoholic when the people of a certain town trick him and steal it from him. So what does he do as soon as he gets it back? Leaves it behind every chance he gets in order to carry Lyra to some random location. Right. And if Lyra is this ultra-special child for whom lots of bad guys are hunting, why is she left on her own so often? Apparently every adult character graduated from the Britney Spears House of Daycare.
Oh well, maybe the sequel will be better.
Sometimes the movie is better than the book. The Godfather, The Princess Bride, The Neverending Story, and, dare I say it, Lord of the Rings.
And so it is for Eragon.
First off, the dragon is just about the cutest damn thing ever created with computer graphics. Seriously. If you see her, you will want her. Trust me.
Jeremy Irons is the best Obi-Wan since Alec Guiness, and the boys who play Eragon and Eragon’s cousin (whose name is odd and therefore I can’t remember) could be Heath Ledger’s younger brothers.
The first half hour of this movie was shaping into a damn fine film. Then they ran into a little bit of a logistical problem. The plot from the book.
In the novel, Christopher Paloneyfancypants (as I have renamed him), sends his D&D group down the river of self-discovery and necessary swordsmanship lessons, has them stop in some random city on a quest for accounting books on trade routes (or something else equally boring), and then some stuff happens. They rescue an elven princess. Some more stuff happens. Obi-Wan dies. They reach some the rebel base, and there’s a big battle. The end.
There were a lot of things in the book the writers needed to cut because the book was stupid but that doesn’t mean that they needed to rush to end of the film like Peter Jackson and George Lucas were chasing them with fiery lightsabers. 30 more minutes of development establishing the characters of Murtagh and Gallbatorix (a name, which as one reviewer put it, sounds more like a drain cleaner than an evil King), the plight of the Varden, and other general world building matters would have gone a long way.
The movie and the book relied on the same basic premise: once a dragon enters the room, you don’t give a flying rat’s ass about anything else. While this may be true, it doesn’t make for a memorable film.
So instead of a really, really great movie… we’re left with pretty good one. It’s entertaining and fun and did I mention how cute the dragon is yet? Hopefully it’ll make enough money to justify the two sequels and the director and writers will remember that thanks to Peter Jackson, fantasy films can run longer than 90 minutes.
Mike Allen has updated the Mythic Delirium site with more info on Mythic II. It includes samples from the anthology and a direct link to pay pal to purchase the book from Mike.
This evening ABC showed a special on how teenage girls are using cell phones and computers and other technological gadgets to destroy the lives of their schoolmates.
I’ve been preaching the meanness of girls for a while so this is nothing new to me. Hell I’ve done it. My cousin Ellen and I used to call our little cousin Caroline ’step cousin’. No reason. We just did. She didn’t like it; we did it more.
Neither of those cousins read this blog, so I’ll just apologize to the universe. It was cruel and wrong and what can I say. I’m a girl.
I’ve always said it’s because we’re socialized to be non-violent. If a guy gets mad, he’ll hit you and move on with his life. If a girl gets mad, she destroys you. Strips you of your friends, your self esteem, and sometimes gets you to switch schools. If women ruled the world, there would be no wars. Because there would be no people. We’d have killed ourselves off or we’d be so busy crying all the time we’d forget to populate the planet.
Another problem is parenting. (Not you, Mom) At a certain school that shall remain nameless, there was a clique of girls known as the Elite 5 (even though there were 7 of them… don’t ask). They didn’t like a particular girl in their grade, so somehow they managed to get the rest of the entire class to stop speaking to her. Now what I heard from friends, and some adults, the girls acted in a manner similar to their mothers. The same pettiness. The same tendency towards exclusion. The same attitude.
Not every upper middleclass woman acts as if she walked staight off the set of ‘Desperate Housewives’. But some do. So is it any surprise that there’s a generation of their clones going through school right now? Just watch an episode or two of ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen’ or ‘Laguna Beach’ (If you can stomach it. I suggest painkillers. Strong ones). Watch the teenager. Then watch the mother try to live vicariously through her daughter. Sad.
Fortunately my mother does not act this foolishly. Probably because quite frankly, a poet’s life is not that interesting. How many action flicks have you seen entitled ‘Poet Wars: Revenge of the Sestina’?
Anyway, back to girls. Are they evil because of society? Their mothers? MTV? Innate corruptibility of the double X Chromosome?
And in other news (wherein Hel completely ignores the need to conclude her thoughts), Stephen Colbert had the Ambassador from Hungary to the United States on his show regarding the vote (which he won… twice) to name a new bridge in Budapest. My life is officially complete.
In my defense I went on vacation for a couple of weeks. Then I had to spend a week or two getting my life back in order once I returned to Carbondale. Then I had to get ready for the new school year.
I can’t even use the excuse of ‘Well nothing happened so I didn’t have anything about which to write.’ LOTS happened.
I went to Trinoc Con with Oliver where I finally got to meet Lee Kontis, Steve Savile, James Maxey all of whom I have previously only known through Codex. I got to see Ed and congragulate him in person for taking over as Editor for Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show–and I think I deserve extra points for not bursting into green flames of jealousy.
I took Oliver to the Sound where he witnessed the carnage of mullet fishing. He gets extra points for meeting my entire family and seeming to enjoy himself.
Oh and I sold a poem to
Oh and today my poem went up at Strange Horizons with a new title (some people were thrown by the phrase ‘Lower Schoolers’):
Also today I started the semester. I teach at 8 AM Monday thru Friday. I ordered my students to bring caffeine with them to class. Diet coke, coffee, or vivarin. I don’t care what it is so long as it’s legal. They seem bright, and enthusiastic, and they laughed at my dumb jokes. I’m excited about the class. For now.
8 AM. Dammit.
I was going to do a nice long update about tons of random stuff… but I don’t feel like it. Instead, I’ll just ask that you send happy thoughts in the general direction of Greenville, NC where Oliver is completing a schload of physics problems. He posted one in an IM to me. It did not look like fun.
…to stop making me hate being a girl.
If you’ve ever seen the show “Super Sweet 16″, you’ll know where I’m going with this. If you haven’t, let’s review.
“Super Sweet 16″ is a reality TV show where cameras follow various Jessica Simpson clones in Christina Aguilera outfits with Paris Hilton attitudes while they bitchslap their parents into throwing them a party all for the bargain price of a 4 bedroom home. On the river. In the historic district.
Occasionally you’ll see the mothers try to reign in their daughters. “No dear, you can’t make NSync reunite for your party. No, you can’t go dressed like a hooker. Yes those $5,000 tennis bracelets are too expensive for a party favor.”
Undaunted, the girls flip their hair, roll their eyes, and go running to Daddy. Because, as one girl says, “I’m the Princess. I get whatever I want. He tries to say no to me, but he can’t. Or I do it anyway.” On a recent episode, one girl received 2 cars from her father. Because, as he said, “She needs something to drive on the weekends…” Frankly I’m impressed he didn’t buy her 5 more. Because anyone who drives to school in the same car she drove yesterday is obviously a freak.
Anyway, I suppose there’s a shortage of ridiculously spoiled (and wealthy) girls who crave their 15 minutes of ridicule on the station that killed the radio star, the music video, and the self respect of an entire generation… because MTV has a new show.
Tiara Girls. A reality show devoted to beauty pageant contestants and the seedy lives they lead. Two girls destroy a friendship over the “Queen of Hope” title (which neither of them win). An ambitious mother tells her daughter she needs liposuction. A Louisiana girl doesn’t watch the news and declares that Kennedy is the current Vice President.
Geez Mom, why didn’t you love me enough to sign me up?
This show has one redeeming factor: its theme song. Sure it’s bubblegum-pop with imitation “punk” lyrics a la Avril Lavigne… but get this… the song is about how much the speaker hates the Homecoming Queen/perfect skin/cheerleader type. So either the folks over at MTV didn’t realize that by having this theme song they are in effect ridiculing the girls on the show, or I have new found respect for their cynicism.
Most members of the SFPA have probably already made their Rhysling nominations. I haven’t. Why? Is it because I have not yet read all the batches of eligible poems sent to me by people on the listserv? Is it because I have not yet gone through the missed weeks in Strange Horizons, Chizine, Star*Line, and Dreams and Nightmares? No. It’s because I’m lazy and indecisive.
Well all those other things are a factor too… but mainly it’s because I’m lazy. And indecisive. No, definitely lazy. Or that other thing…
Anyway. Over the past year I’ve come across a couple of poems that have really stood out. The form poems by Joanne Merriam come to mind. But should I nominate the poem that just happened to stick with me for months on end, or should I scour through all the poems I can find until I find the absolute best?
My hope is that my favorite poems have already been nominated by other members… in which case should I try to find the poem that I think might be overlooked?
And then there are the January/February/March poems… the ones that came out so long ago that maybe people have forgotten about them. Should I nominate one of those lest they wither away and die before their time?
Should I try to find a poet I think is particularly grand, one who though lacking a single poem that I worship above all others, has produced a volume of work that I find extraordinary?
…Someone just walked by with a camera… like a TV News Station ‘Back at 11 with news that could kill you’ camera. Wtf.
And Rodney just came in and said that my poem from last week was wonderful.
And apparently the newscamera is here filming a 3rd year poet who just got a book published. Good for him.
And I’ve just come up with another reason as to why I haven’t nominated any poems yet…
Shiny object syndrome.
Plus I’m lazy.
But I wrote a poem that Rodney liked, so all is well in the world…
That my site helps people in their question to “detect evil gazebo”. It’s amazing what bizarre search strings will lead people to one site or another. Some other favorites from the past couple of months:
“course nobody go crazy when i’m banging all my boogie” - I actually know where this comes from. It’s part of the lyrics to ‘Bongo Bong’ which I am VERY sad to say, is no longer available on Real Rhapsody. At any rate, I posted the lyrics a while back. Actually quite a few of the searches that leads people to my corner of the universe have to do with that particular blog entry.
“cliff pasta” - Wtf
“psychological deviancies” - Should I feel insulted?
“the great depression dialague” - Nice spelling there anonymous internet browser
“amateur crackwhores” - What do you have to do to turn pro?
“god thinks” - that I am an amateur crackwhore apparently.