Saturday, August 01, 2009

31 Days of Delight


As longtime members of my vast reading audience (all three of you) will recall, September First will be my 38th birthday. Should you want to get me a little something, have no fear that I'm too proud: I direct you to the Wishlist to your right (just reorganized, BTW).

This upcoming observation of my birth is also from whence the future purchase of an MP3 player is coming, if you hadn't guessed. So I moved a lot of the CDs way down my preferences on Amazon, and even deleted a couple (do I really need a whole CD's worth of Robbie Williams?)

Maybe with an MP3 player I can finally put together, track-by-track, that Heaven 17 compilation I've been looking for a very long time...

Anyway, you may also remember that for the past couple of years or so I've liked to do a little "countdown" on my blog or blogs, a daily series, as'twere. Last year it was things that make me happy, the year before, "Women My Own Age."

(Not that women my own age don't make me happy, of course)

This year I've decided to go after a variant of last year's "happiness" theme. For each day in August, I will name, and try to illustrate, a person, place, or thing that I find to be delightful.

Just to make it interesting (for me if no one else), I'm also going to try to keep these relatively fresh, meaning no naming favorite images from Star Wars, Beatles or Kirsty MacColl songs, or Amber Benson.

Still, today I think I'll start with something simple, and that is Coraline on DVD. I saw the movie in the theater and thought it was awesome. Having recently re-viewed it on DVD, I can say that it definitely stands up, and the special features are some of the best I've ever seen.

My mind boggles at the scale of the work involved. I've said this before: Even thought I understand how animators "do" it--the series of sequential pictures "flipped" together to create the illusion of life--I still don't really understand how they do it...

Also worth noting in the behind-the-scenes interviews, just as being evidence of how quickly people change at some ages, is Dakota Fanning, who of course voiced Coraline.

In footage shot for Coraline publicity no more than a year or two ago, she was still a girl. We see pictures of her now and she's clearly growing up into a charming young lady.

(To be perfectly fair, in this particular picture she's in character for Runaways...but I think my point still holds).

Once again, we see the limits of my Saw obsession

Word is (via ONTD) that Saw VII is to be in 3-D. This is a terrible idea. It's a terrible idea (unlike Tron: Legacy in 3D, which is a great idea) because the claustrophobia of the Saw movies--most of them are even filmed in the exact same building--is a lot of what makes them especially compelling but also disturbing.

Originally uploaded by

You feel that the "players" of the games are really trapped in a tight space, and forced to make choices about what they'll risk to survive.

(For example: Will you puncture a hole through your own throat to avoid drowning?)

This (along with the low budgets) also allows the best of the films to be, when looked at evenhandedly, honest-to-god character studies.

Tobin Bell's never going to be overshadowed by CGI hamsters waving magic wands and changing a sloth into a dinosaur. And so, he's been able to create a figure that actually has something at his core. There is, if you will, something behind the mask.

That something is quite peculiar, but it's still more than just being the film equivalent of a big dumb dog that jumps out and bites you every so many minutes.

If it becomes that, if it becomes just about "interesting" traps splattering 3-D gore over an audience, then it might as well be

Oh, sweetie...sweetie, sweetie, sweetie, no...

Scarlett Johansson's troubles continue as she attends a recent event dressed as a spinster kindergarten teacher.

Fucking finally.

...that Tron 2 visual FX test footage, that had all of us nerds saying "I'll be a son of a bitch...I never thought I'd see the day..." when a shitty bootleg leaked after last year's Comic Con, is finally available in a hi-res form.

It's going to be 3D, yet...

Friday, July 31, 2009

MP3 Players

Thought I'd throw this open to those of you that have one, which I don't (yet). Any recommendations? What I want is something (and forgive any ignorance in what follows):

Easy to use

With good quality sound (I don't care about any video applications--I'll either watch videos online, or--gasp--on television. That's right, I'm old school.).

Where I can take all my CDs and transfer them

And if there's any special hookup where I can play it in my car, too, that would be cool.

Photos would be nice but are in no way a "dealbreaker."

I feel much the same about "shuffle." I know many people like it and I assume most come with it, but if I found one that did everything else, I wouldn't hesitate if it didn't do that.

The design isn't a big deal either, but if I can find one in my favorite color, great.

I'm gonna wanna sign up for an internet radio station (almost certainly, which seems to turn up 99 times out of 100 when I go looking for favorite songs or groups)


Far be it from me to tar them all with one brush...

...but I think we can safely say now (as if we couldn't before): Most Republicans are either racist, stupid, or both. Check this out.

A whopping 58 percent of Republicans either think Barack Obama wasn't born in the US (28 percent) or aren't sure (30 percent). A mere 42 percent think he was.

That means a majority of Republicans polled either don't know about -- or don't believe the seemingly incontrovertible evidence Obama's camp has presented over and over and over that he was born in Hawaii in '61.

The above by Glenn Thrush, who also asks an important next question:

When do we start a serious dialog about the Birther movement being a proxy for racism that is unacceptable to articulate in more direct terms?

Well yes, exactly. I think it's painfully obvious that all this "Obama wasn't born in the US!" malarky really means "OMG, the President of the United States is a big, scary black man! Aieee!"

But as he says, this is unacceptable to articulate in more direct terms.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Even I can't help thinking that Patrick may've had just a bit too much sugar at the comic-con

At the San Diego Comic-Con, Saw VI coauthor Patrick Melton sez...
“We definitely want all the critics to see this one; we’re actually excited for them to. I would like to go on record to say that this is how confident we are in Saw VI: I am willing to stake my entire reputation on this movie.”

Bear in mind, the average critical ranking of the Saw franchise, (using Rotten Tomatoes as a yardstick, as I like to do), is about 28%. As far as critics are concerned, there seems to be little or no difference between this franchise and the Friday the 13th series (Trust me: There's more.)

We all know I love them, but it'd be purest denial to claim that they're critical favorites. So I'm left thinking: Faith in yourself is a wonderful thing, Patrick, but...

Least newsworthy headlines 2

Slain pregnant woman's uncle pleased baby is alive

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Least newsworthy headlines

AP source: Michael Jackson's inner sanctum chaotic

I can't wait to see the AP's next stories:

Water Wet, Sources Say

Few Real Lesbian Characters On Network Television, Compared To Straight Girls Who Will "Experiment" For Ratings

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hope you still enjoy playing with your Dolls, Whedon

GLAAD's Third Annual survey of gay people on TV has been released.

Basically, it says if you to see any, you better pay for cable, and if you want something more than just gay'd better be good at finding needles in haystacks.

HBO received a Good rating and scored the highest rating of the 15 networks evaluated with LGBT characters on shows including True Blood, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Entourage that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of the LGBT community. Of HBO’s 14 original series, 10 included LGBT content and 42 percent of the network’s total programming hours included LGBT representation. However, representation of the lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities was minimal.

Times like this I can understand why The L Word, which I think was creatively a failure (to say the very, very least), lasted.

Doesn't make me any happier about it...but I can understand.

...and so does this promo shot

I have no idea whether or not this new Vampire Diaries thing is going to be any good or not. I never watched any of Kevin Williamson's other series (like Dawson's Creek). Although I do like the first two Scream movies and think the first one is especially underrated.

I probably won't watch this one. Especially after seeing this:



No, no she's not

The accompanying story for this photo of Scarlett Johannson says:

Scarlett Johannson is looking good!

I beg to differ (I'm a differ begger). I'm afraid she's reached "What did you do?" status.

ETA: Or as Heather at Fug put it,
I don't know, somehow the whole feh-ness of this ensemble makes me dislike it even more strongly than if it had been made of, say, linoleum and a My Little Pony.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Charles Manson -- a third-rate musician before he turned homicidal cult leader -- still has twisted delusions about becoming a pop star and wants to consult with fellow jailbird Phil Spector.

Rachelle Spector says her legendary music-producer hubby, now serving 19 years to life for the fatal shooting of actress Lara Clarkson, was recently transferred to Corcoran State Prison in central California, where Manson -- who masterminded the savage Tate/LaBianca killings 40 years ago -- is housed in a separate wing.

"I think Manson wants to glean some musical advice from Phil, who was a '60s music god with his 'Wall of Sound,' " Spector publicist Hal Lifson told us. "But Phil's like, 'I used to pick up the phone and it was John Lennon or Celine Dion or Tina Turner, and now Charles Manson is trying to get a hold of me!'