31 October 2007

Whedon to return to TV

Of course, the strike would get in the way of the best TV news this season.

Joss Whedon has a seven-episode commitment from FOX to do Dollhouse, starring Eliza Dushku.

The series, according to FOX, is about "Echo (Eliza Dushku), a young woman who is literally everybody's fantasy. She is one of a group of men and women who can be imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language—even muscle memory—for different assignments. The assignments can be romantic, adventurous, outlandish, uplifting, sexual and/or very illegal. When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the 'Dollhouse', with no memory of their assignments—or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo's burgeoning self-awareness, and her desire to know who she was before, a desire that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse."
That's after the strike of course. Fuckin' studios.

The most awful day of the year

I hate July 4th. It's big and loud and puts too much blasting powder into too many hands of too many drunken rednecks. It scares the dog and keeps me locked in by dark to keep her from freaking out (and to be ready to put out any accidental fires caused by Jethro and Cletus.) Oh, and there's the over-zealous displays of nationalistic fervor bordering on the pathological.

But as much as I hate that national day of rockets, Red Bull and vodka, I'd rather it be July 4 every day if it meant never putting up with Halloween again.

  • Gotta get home early. Don't be on the road when the precious little uns are out tramping and mooching.
  • Gotta get home early. Don't be late to pay tithe to the little imps parading to my door like Mormons and Witnesses.
  • Gotta get home early. Don't want to risk leaving the house unguarded.
  • Gotta stock up on candy. No matter I'd rather give food to the hungry, I've got to feed the progeny of the middle-class.
  • The poor dog goes batty, the doorbell rings endlessly, and did I mention the hoard of children?
I don't like children. I don't have children. I don't want children. I think children are better not seen and not heard. And yet I'll have dozens at my door this lovely autumn evening.

Little fuckers.

I do like a nicely carved pumpkin, however.

30 October 2007

Review: Raising Sand

There's an adlink above, FeedReader. And yes, that's right. I'm a goddamn moneychanger. I'm going to review my blog-buddy's pop's album and try to make a buck. Actually, it'd be about 8¢.

Amazon was a bit slow getting this CD out to me, especially on a week where I had like two or three other orders show up lickety split (thank you, Amazon Prime.) It finally showed up today, and after making a small effort at catching up with the last two weeks' worth of TV - "my cousin Tim fixes NBA games" - reading a few of last week's comics, and writing three whopping lines of a short play I'm working on for a friend, I finally popped in the disc. I'm not disappointed.

I'm still on the first listen, but I've already been struck by a few things: Allison Krauss has a jazz singer's knack for sliding around her notes perfectly; Robert Plant's voice sounds sweeter than it should for a rock star rapidly closing in on three score years; and Beckylooo's pop can do more with a ¿mandolin? and muted bongos than most producers can with a wall of dead starlets.

I'm no damn good at reviewing music, so there's no way I can do this disc any justice. I can sing okay, know a smattering of theory, and can slowly pick my way around a piano and bass. Very slowly. I haven't the patience or drive to study harder and my appreciation of music suffers for it. Really hurt the couple times I've read GEB (practically a requirement for any serious software engineer) because I get Gödel and Escher, but Bach is just pretty music to me. I never have heard the super-clever recursions and patterns in him. I just don't have a critical enough ear and I'm not an active enough listener.

Okay, that's enough of me whingeing about my inadequacies. Let me try to say something substantive.

Because of the spareness of the arrangements and the subdued way in which the instruments are woven through the songs, I actually can pick out some of the more interesting musical statements. When Krauss and Plant harmonize, their subtle timing imperfections enhance rather than detract from the songs. T Bone Burnett is generally gentle with the board, rarely doing much (that my ear can pick up) to the natural qualities of the instruments, but when he does - applying a heavy dose of reverb to the Everly Brothers' "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)" for example - it serves to remind me I'm listening to a rock song instead of folk.

I'm skimming through the disc a second time now, trying to pick a favorite song (I can't; they're all good) and note some exceptional passages. The aforementioned version of "Gone Gone Gone" is a good place to start. Then again, so is the amazing cover of Plant's "Please Read the Letter". It's one of the few places I hear Robert Plant: Rock God singing. "Your Long Journey" could almost make me believe in a higher power, the same way the best gospel and choir music can. It's as simple as a song can be, but heartrending, nonetheless. "Trampled Rose" is a Krauss solo song that feels like...a spaghetti western. I could point to the features of the song that make it feel that way to me, but it wouldn't make sense. Just go listen to it.

You're back, good. Did you notice how Krauss made her voice sound like a violin throughout that song? Damn, that's control.

Alright. I'm done. You've got a link to listen to the album; you've got a link to buy the album. What are you waiting for?

A man so extraordinaire

There's video above, FeedReader

Good-bye, Lancelot.

What's your backstory?

There's video above, FeedReader

  1. About half the sites I read will probably have a link to this video up by the end of the day
  2. Curiously, I'm beating all of those but one, Jim Henshaw's The Legion of Decency
  3. In case you're unaware, Jim's is based in Canada. That's right...not only are they ahead of us in Universal Health Care, improvisational comedy, and higher proof beer, they've beaten the top American bloggers/writers to the punch on putting a link to this vid
  4. I'm laughing through the tears
  5. I will avoid making (but not intimating) snarky comments about the Deuce and Deuce 2 writers

Save the Cheerleader. Save the...OW! Get off me!

There's video above, FeedReader

I swear, the sports guy at KOMO cut this video knowing it was going to become a YouTube phenomenon. I'm pretty sure he uploaded it right after the broadcast.

I do not believe I can watch it enough.

In my high school, we didn't knock down cheerleaders. We knocked up cheerleaders.

By the way, when did YouTube become "America's Funniest Home Videos" + camgirls?

via Deadspin

Shane Smith: Academaesthetics

Shane Smith is working on an honors project at the University of Canberra where he...I don't know how to say this. Let me think...

He's written an academic essay

He's drawn a comic book

He's produced something new-but-not-new, by using the medium of a comic to vitalize an academic essay discussing the forms and functions of both comics and essays in which he finds both to be oddly constrained because of their open, infinite definitions. His contention is that "certain general social assumptions have cropped up: the essay is boring, and the comic is childish" partly because neither medium has a better, formal definition.

I really can't do justice to it with mere words and strongly suggest that anyone with an academic bent, an interest in communication in general, or in formal constructions of communication in particular check this out.

Here's the link.

via Dirk Deppey

29 October 2007

Bobbling Bobblehead

Just in time for All Hallows Eve...

The Dwight Schrute bobblehead costume!

I won't deprive you the pleasure of watching Rob Cockerham build yet another amazing costume by posting any photos. Go click. Go!

28 October 2007

RSS Memory

Occasionally, someone posts something they wish they hadn't - too personal, too melodramatic, too typo-ridden, too-too. The sensible thing to do is delete it. Gone. No longer on the blog. A dead post.

Except for those pesky RSS feeds. The RSS feeds are like fjords and those deleted posts just keep pinin' for 'em.

(Damn. That is one crap-fest of a joke there. Some days you get the parrot and some days the parrot gets you.)

Now, *I* have not done this, but someone whose blog I read recently did. Thought I'd give said person a heads up. So here it is. Or here. Personally, I prefer Anka's sweet swingin' style to MFP, but either will serve.

And let's be clear: I like the *covers*, not the shite original by that shite band. "Bigger than the Beatles" my ass.

Must get me some comment cards...


It's always refreshing to see people nearly as crotchety and hateful as I. Oh, they may think they're as hateful. But you and I dear reader, we know differently.

But someone should let Trixie know that assholes aren't a waste of carbon. They're carbon sinks. That's why I can drive a gas guzzling sports car, because some d-bag is storing my carbon credits in his fat ass.

Whene'er a ricer races me
A Twinkie, fat boy eats
His gaping maw he stuffs with cream
And sundry other treats

A carbon sink's not hard to find
At Denny's ev'ry meal
At NASCAR tracks on Sundays too
(Though not behind the wheel)

It's fine to keep your SUV
Don't have a guilt attack
Go find a fat boy hungry 'nough
And offer him a snack

via Warren Ellis

ID comments shifted

Hey all, on the off chance you take a look at an old post to see what comments might have accrued, I have to warn you that we've had a little problem here at Acme labs. Comments, in some cases, have shifted from the post with which they were originally associated to the post that came chronologically after. Uh, sorry. This doesn't appear to impact any new comments.

This is what makes beta testing software "fun"! :)

As much as it sucks, those guys at ID are fast and responsive, so hopefully it'll all be worked out by the time you read this (or sometime shortly thereafter.) And if not, well...I think the mobs of people who visit here regularly can deal with a small problem like this.

27 October 2007

Look! Up in the sky! It's a...CENTURION!

Holy Frak!

After the bad news the other day about the BSG delay, I needed this. Webisode 4: Bill Adama and a Centurion fight to the death in freefall!!!

At this point, it's like Ron Moore has hired Dennis Quaid to enter my dreams!!!

I only have one quibble with the clip: how useful is it for an astronaut to wear a parachute? Really? A parachute? In a Viper? After that, I expect Adama has a Batman-style utility belt. Maybe next time he can pull out some Bat-Shark repellent!*

I'm also contemplating doing something stupid. Being stuck in the desert sucks in oh so many ways, not the least of which is I miss out on all the cool stuff. The problem is, as Beckylooo pointed out, that these screenings are in the damn boonies. Rough enough to do the double flight on a Monday evening; much worse to add a crazy-long drive on top of it. Which leaves (gulp) flying into John Wayne and seeing the show in the OC. I guess that wouldn't be the end of the world. I mean, I live in PHX, so I'm used to being immersed in a sea of crazy, rabid right-wingers. Not sure I'd see the difference. Except...ugh.

Mind you, all of this is to see Razor 12 days early. So like I said...stupid.

* Note: I think that would be cool.

26 October 2007

Are you sad about the fires, Admiral?

Smoove. We've gotten a lot better at managing our federal emergencies. No more pesky questions. Too busy to coordinate or help out, but not too busy to put on daddy's fedora and mommy's pearls and play a little game of Newspaper Reporter. Tuesday in DC, FEMA held a press conference on fifteen minutes notice. Shocked that no one could make it during lunchtime traffic inside the Beltway to the "impromptu" tête-a-journos, FEMA drafted some of its own best and brightest to ask the tough questions. Like explaining "what it means to have an emergency declaration as opposed to a major disaster declaration" signed by the President.

Watch out there, Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson! That fastball almost caught your chin!

"I'm very happy with FEMA's response so far," Johnson said, hailing "a very smoothly, very efficiently performing team."

"And so I think what you're really seeing here is the benefit of experience, the benefit of good leadership and the benefit of good partnership," Johnson said, "none of which were present in Katrina." (Wasn't Michael Chertoff DHS chief then?) Very smooth, very professional. But something didn't seem right. The reporters were lobbing too many softballs. No one asked about trailers with formaldehyde for those made homeless by the fires. And the media seemed to be giving Johnson all day to wax on and on about FEMA's greatness.
The West Wing took notes. Expect Dana Perino's mom to ask about her bridesmaid's dresses at the next WH Press Conference.

25 October 2007

Special Agent Mars

There's an ad above, FeedReader

You'd think if I wanted to pimp something, it'd be better than the final, super-weak season of Veronica Mars, right? Well, you should be, but I have earned 64¢ so far this year from Amazon and I want to keep that filthy lucre coming in!!!

I ordered season three for three reasons: my buddy Rat Boy; a sense of closure from owning the complete series; and the demo reel Rob Thomas shot for the execs at the CW in a last-ditch effort to get picked up for a fourth season. Since Jesse's only got a few lines in one episode, we've really got to toss that reason out. I've been known to stop dvds and walk out of theaters before, so it's not really about closure.1 So I dropped the cash for that demo reel. And I'm glad I did.

First off, a quick look at the cast:

  • Kristin Bell as herself, but "older"
  • The always watchable Walton Goggins as her boss
  • Perpetually smarmy and charming Adam Kaufman2 as the savvy, experienced FBI agent with whom she was clearly going to be sparring intellectually and intersexually.
  • Some nameless young pretty things to meet the necessary CW quota.
Veronica's first day. Some nice stretching and warping of time with flash- forwards and backwards. All in all? A show I'd have liked a hell of a lot more than Veronica Does College. And V could have gone *back* to high school. Her first, very quickly resolved, case was in a "federal reform school for girls". Unfortunately it was quickly resolved, so I can only fantasize about the communal showers and pillow fights. Alas.

I was left with a strange sense that something was missing, but I'm not sure what. It had great visual production values so it wasn't that. My best guess - and I'll have to watch again to confirm - is that the reel either had a more minimal score than a normal episode or just didn't get any extra audio looped so it was missing ambient sound. Not sure.

Yet again, a network made a crappy choice. Season three was weak, there's no doubt about it; however, a good chunk of that problem was the network mandate to do shorter mystery arcs. The short arcs did not work as well. But beyond the relative strength or weakness of last year, Rob Thomas put together a reel that had a ton of potential. Does anyone actually believe Veronica at the FBI would have been a weaker show than Gossip Girl or Girlfriends?

1 I should point out that the VM boxes really belong to TheWife, so her issues about closure are more relevant than mine. And since she just won't let me be free you can imagine that she's more obsessive about finishing things than I. You can also tell because she actually watched all of season two of Prison Break. At least Linc and Michael got to taste a little freedom. Lucky bastards.
2 Bastard! I used to like you, but now I realize it is you who has stolen my sweet Poppy from me!!!

FUCK! SciFi bastards...I want my BSG!

A very mad, shaky tip of the hat to Beckylooo for pointing this out. BSG delayed until April!!!!!

Shat tells us 'bout handing the women-folk

There's video above, FeedReader

Okay, what can I say about this? You've got Shatner, his shirt buttoned down to his happy trail, talk-singing "How to Handle a Woman" from Camelot. The Shat is, and always has been, the shit. He's a mightily talented actor (with a few quirks and tics that are very mockable) who early on learned to embrace the camp. Imagine if Christopher Walken had played an iconic character for three years early in his career and you've got William Shatner - talented, funny, enjoys himself, doesn't take himself too seriously. The only real difference is that Walken never got typecast (and dances well.)

So Shat can't sing. That's been long established (and if you've never heard his "Lucy..." or "Tambourine Man" I feel both sorry and envious for/of you!) But he has fun when he does it. It makes Has Been a fun album. Of course, the piano stylings and producing of Ben Folds don't hurt on that front.

This clip is classic Shat. All sizzle, baby. He doesn't put sizzle on top of his steak, he puts sizzle on top of more sizzle!!! But as cheesy as it is? As bad as it sounds? It's better than Richard Burton on the original B'way recording. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs a firm kick in the nards.

via Occasional Superheroine

24 October 2007

Isn't there a Ferragamo store in D.C. you should be headed off to?

Shut your mouth, you gap-toothed bitch. Condie wants Congress to stop picking on her buddies, the Turks. Oh please, don't vote on that Genocide resolution! It'll make the Turks cry.

'We have extremely imporant strategic interests with the Turks,' Rice said, appealing to the House as a whole not to vote on the controversial resolution.

'This was something that was a horrible event in the mass killings that took place, but at the time of the Ottoman Empire. These are not the Ottomans,' she said of the modern-day Turkish state.
Really? Well, if the present-day Turks aren't the Ottomans, than they couldn't possibly be offended by the Genocide resolution. Unless they hate the Armenians as much as their grandparents did and want the world to look away - with help from Condie - while they butcher the rest.

I won't kill your momma...but I'll make sure someone *else* does.

Fun times. It appears that the Second Circuit put up a ruling that included information intended to be kept under seal. They realized the error (or were notified of it by the FBI, more on that shortly) and redacted the offending information. However, some legal bloggers had already commented on the ruling, and when one of them - Howard Bashman of the "How Appealing" blog - posted the unexpurgated ruling, he was contacted by the head clerk of the court and requested to take it down. Bashman did not.

What's the information that needed to be redacted? What's so inflammatory that I intimated it might have been an FBI request/demand to redact from the order? What is this case about?

Abdallah Higazy was an Egyptian student staying in a hotel across from the WTC on 10 September, 2001. A student arrested and interrogated for possessing an airline transceiver. Here's the thing: it wasn't his. He's suing the FBI.

Here’s where the story gets interesting—and newsworthy. When the ruling was posted on the court’s Web site at 10:30 a.m., as they typically are, it included a detailed description of how the FBI had coerced Higazy’s false confession. According to the ruling, Higazy says his interrogator threatened to “make sure that Egyptian security gives [his] family hell.” The agent later acknowledged that he very well knew that the Egyptians operated under what he called “different” laws, especially in relation to torture and civil rights. Higazy says he knew exactly what this meant—that if he didn’t “co-operate” his family back in Egypt would be in danger, from both their government and their neighbors.
So some Jack Bauer-wannabe effectively threatened the life of this kid's family and got the info he needed. A confession. A confession that Higazy owned the transceiver. Except it really belonged to a pilot who'd left it behind. Fortunately for Higazy (and unfortunately for the FBI,) the pilot returned to pick up his belongings in January of '02.

Yep. Torture and threats of torture work great. With "enhanced techniques" you can get a subject to admit to anything. It's especially good at getting people to admit to lies in order to stop the interrogation.

Repo official trailer

There's video above, FeedReader

Here's the official trailer for Repo! The Genetic Opera! Reminds me of some of the great B-movies of the 80s, before all the indies (other than Troma, of course) became obsessed with creating the next arty, Sundance breakout hit.

I'm thrilled at the prospect! A return of cheap, pulpy, fun, bad movies!

Y'all are doomed


Mikey's trying to offer his "expertise":

Brown, who never worked in disaster preparedness before he was chosen for the FEMA job by President Bush, had this to say: “The agency has learned some hard lessons regarding the handling of mass evacuations especially in regard to the bureaucratic red tape that is involved in such a process.” He went on, “This is a tragic time for many of the people of California, and Cotton Companies is working to ensure that normalcy is restored and that businesses and organizations are back up and running as soon as possible.”

Give new meaning to "Save the Cheerleader"

I don't watch Heroes. I know that's a shock. It should be right in my wheelhouse. Unfortunately, it's got a little too much emo and a lot too much Milo. That bitch can ruin anything. Hell, I used to like GG (until ASP shot her wad and I finally realized that Alexis Bledel wasn't acting like a dim, scatterbrained teenager around the 5th season.) But when Jess showed up - all 5'1" of his broody, James Dean's younger, dumber, less attractive, midget brother - it really put a damper on the show.

That dude can suck the energy out of any scene, anywhere, anytime.

That dude can make me turn off Lauren Graham!

So no, I don't watch Heroes.

However, I'm glad someone working on that show feels the same way I do about Milo.

Check out Peter Petrelli's passport!

This! Is! America!

There's video above, FeedReader

They've always said Virginia is for Lovers. Who knew they meant our founding fathers and their homoerotic undertones and underroos. And that definitely seems a lot more like how the signing of the Declaration of Independence went down than in that other film. Though I missed Principal Feeney.

Update: it appears that fans of RC and TimeWarner are engaged in a battle of wills. I've replaced the old video above with a new one. Hopefully, it'll work for a bit.

via Comic Foundry

23 October 2007

Don't Fuck with Mr. Zero

There's video above, FeedReader
Deliciously evil. My favorite horror movie ever.
via Occasional Superheroine

22 October 2007

Pakistani Lovemaking

You know how you can tell Benazir Bhutto is coming back to Pakistan? Because someone landed on the blog with this search.

I have no idea why.

(Note: The above image may or may not be of the lovely Ms. Bhutto at some point in her life. There is a great deal of debate on the web about it, since it's possible some nutcase, hardline Muslim found a lookalike and put the picture out there to discredit her. If there's any doubt that Islam is backwards, it's the fact that a milfy shot like the one above could count against a candidate for office. Morons.)

ID Invites for the Brave and the Bold

Y'all know I've been on-again off-again beta testing the Intense Debate comment system on the blog here. They're expanding the beta and I've got some invites. If you're interested, leave a comment and request an invite. Their software is improving pretty rapidly, so if it works smoothly for everyone and the few bigger problems I know of get ironed out I'll consider staying on it. (Conversely, beckylooo will continue to have problems with that old piece of crap, hand-me-down monstrosity they gave her at FOX and I'll go back to Blogger comments.)

ID does offer some nice advantages, if you're willing to suffer with the tribulations of beta software.

All I did was add science. And a love seat.

My week ahead, like my week and -end passed, is gonna suck. But I had some seriously good laughs tonight to release some endorphins. First, there was this week's HIMYM. A return to good. I didn't have to pick one or two moments in the episode that made me laugh; I'd have to search for the moments that didn't. Fingers and toes are crossed hoping Carter and Bays have reminded Old Scratch that their souls are still forfeit. And kudos for inventing yet another Mendoza Line.

After the joy of watching my old friends getting baked on sandwiches, we watched a few first season 30 Rocks which kept the juices flowing. Finally, I cracked open Tales from the Bully Pulpit which arrived today. Now, I've been trying to get my hands on one of these since I first read about it on Chris Sims' old site (as opposed to his fresh, clean, new site.) You can't begin to know how excited I was for it to arrive.

How hard is it to find a copy of this one shot from Benito Cereno and Graeme MacDonald from *way* back in 2004? Damn near impossible. I'd bid on one a few months back and lost when I wouldn't go above $75 for it (cover price on this three-year-old Image comic: $6.95.) Two weeks ago, I had an email notifying me that another copy was available for auction. This time, I got lucky.

Question: How can you go wrong with Teddy Roosevelt, the ghost of Thomas Edison, and the ol' rail splitter hisself, Abe Lincoln, opening a can of whupass on robot Hitler on Mars?!?!?!?

Answer: you can not.

Indeed you are, Mr. President. Indeed you are.

I'm not saying this is the greatest comic ever, but it's damn close. Martians, race wars, flying elephants and giant cats. This book's got *everything*. Even science.

Running ID Beta for a few...

I'm going to run the ID beta for a day or three this week to see how it's doing. A quick comment from my few regulars as to whether you can comment or not would be awesome. Thanks.

(Yes. I know. If you can't comment you can't comment re: that fact. Send me an email, or hit another post that has old-style comments to let me know.)

21 October 2007

Just give me one more day, buddy. I'll make the payments, I swear! I can't work without my liver!!!

It's an interesting time to be a fan of movie musicals. I'm not 100% sure it's a good time, but it's certainly interesting. This December, of course, we've got Sweeney coming to the big screen. Despite my misgivings, I'll certainly be there opening weekend (partly to avoid any potential negative word.) And coming next April, Repo! The Genetic Opera!

Alright. I'm intrigued. Here we've got a film from the writer/director of Saw II, director of Saw III, and, if IMDB is to be believed, a honey wagon attendant on The X Files - Darren Lynn Bousman who went ahead and shot a short of his horror-musical to shop around the studios. Once he got financing, he put together an eclectic cast for the big screen bonanza. Let's take a few at "random":

  • Paul Sorvino - a trained and solid opera singer
  • Paris Hilton - a trained skank who knows how to keep her throat exercised
  • Anthony Stewart Head - a trained and solid stage actor/singer, still waiting for his "One Night in Bangkok" freak break-out hit
  • Sarah Brightman - I'm afraid if I say what I think of her, her legion of fans will descend upon me like a plague of locusts. Suffice it to say the less talented half of the Webber/Rice combo ended up marrying a woman right up his alley: schmaltzy; long-winded; brimming with faux-romanticism; and seriously over-rated.
  • Alexa Vega - hey! I really liked those Spy Kids movies!
Twisted Pictures put together a "special look" at the movie for Spike TV's Scream Awards and it looks like someone snuck in a camera phone. Watch here, or on Spike TV October 23.

20 October 2007

Not rude enough?

The wife and I stopped by a furniture store on our way out to run errands this afternoon. Two furniture stores, actually, but only the first is relevant. We were planning on doing a 10-15 minute walk-through, just looking for any pieces we might want to use to replace some things we're considering obsoleting. As we enter, one of the vultures pounces...

Vulture: "Can I help you?"
CoyoteSqrl: "No, we're just browsing."
V: "Is there anything I can point you to?"
CS: "No thanks, we'll just look."
V: "Let me show you this one thing."
CS: "And we're done now! I thought saying 'no' twice would suffice!"

So, the raised voice storm-off...was that enough? Afterwards, I thought I should have in fact asked for her manager and dressed her down for being an ignorant, inconsiderate little bitch in front of the manager, the other salespeople, the customers, and anyone else who happened to walk in. The desired goal, of course, being two-fold: getting her to break down and cry; and getting her fired on the spot.

I guess my mood wasn't as foul then as it is this evening, because I settled for the simpler gesture. Did I really blow that one?

Oh, and I don't care if management told the salespeople to be inconsiderate in this manner. One of a salesperson's duties is to recognize when a customer is going to become irate and work to prevent that. It should be pretty clear from the double-no (and my general misanthropic mien) that I'm going to blow on a third dunning.

Ess A Tee You Are!

Woohoo! Saturday night and home on the 'puter. Well, not home, but sitting on a crappy-soft chair in our temporary home. Yay!

Drove by the house today and peeked in the windows. It looks like all the accent stains are completed on the floor, but not the primary - a nice, chocolaty english leather. Grabbed about three bites of a crappy burger and came back here. Where I sit. Uncomfortable, unmotivated to write, with nothing to do.

The wife's already gone to bed (she might be reading, or might be trying to sleep) and here I sit, surfing the web, looking for anything with which to occupy myself until I at least make it to 11pm. See, the bed's much worse than all the rest of the furniture, so beyond the fact that I'd like not to admit my life is completely over by going to bed before 11 on a Saturday night, I really don't want to get into that torture device.

Quick bit of advice to all the single uns out there...don't get married. Seriously. It's one thing to stay in of an evening 'cause you're tired, or want to get some work done, or want to veg in front of the TV. It's wholly another when that's every night of your life because, well, you ended it by saying "I do". There are many advantages to married life, I won't deny that. But it does require you redefine, by narrowing, the word "life".

S'nuff bitchin' from me tonight.

This fraker's mine!

So much I could say about webisode #3, "Operation Raptor Talon". How about we leave it with these thoughts:

  • Adama crashed on a Cylon-controlled planet in the first war?!?
  • Beautiful use of the original BSG theme, in a minor key, winding through the score for the battle sequence.
  • Great, great visuals. They did not cut corners for the webisodes.
  • Razor can't come soon enough!!!!!

Why writers want to be paid

John Rogers, from the set of his new Dean Devlin-directed pilot for TNT, sums up his feelings on writing after hearing Timothy Dutton nail a big speech:

They don't pay me to do this. I'd do this for free. They pay me not to punch executives in the neck.

Next time, tackle instead of pointing and whining

That's right, bitches. We on top the Big East!

See, I don't watch much football anymore (and no NFL.) It's too much of a timesuck - Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays...is there even a night without football anymore? But last night we were in a bar getting dinner and the UConn-Louisville game was on. I got to watch the refs choke on their dicks on the Not-Fair catch TD and got to see the piece of shit makeup call a short while later on the Huskies recovered punt. Oh yeah, and we won the game! Suh-weet.

I still stand by my statement from what, four or five years ago now: UConn *will* be the Football National Champions no later than 2020. Hopefully on a year both my boys and girls annihilate all the basketball pretenders.


I'll accept any bets any y'all wanna make. I've been hearing the laughs for years now about how UConn can't compete with the big football schools. Interesting that the same people laughing now were laughing 20 years ago about UConn basketball. Any bets!

Ladies! Eyes down there! Please?

Hey ladies...if I wore pants with a brightly colored patch over the crotchal areas, would you maybe do me the favor of a glance from time to time? I'm gonna get a complex!

From the Online News Association conference in Toronto, two researchers displayed maps showing website eyetracking. No shock: the top right of any webpage is a deadzone. Small shock: dudes like to check out the competition's packages. Big shock: apparently we also consider dogs competition.

The revelation that the wandering eyes belonged to the males was embarrassing enough for the men in the audience, but researchers Laura Ruel and Nora Paul had a further humiliation in store. They got the same results when they repeated the experiment with pictures on the American Kennel Club site.
Crap. Seriously? It's bad enough I'm genetically hardwired to look at other dudes' johnsons (and puppy peckers,) but girls don't? Really? So why the hell did I spend all that money on that penis pump?

I guess I'll just convert it into a bong.

via Deadspin

19 October 2007

Twee(n) noir and blancmange

Uh, you know, when you've been mostly writing screenplays, your prose muscles get a bit creaky.

I broke a pulp short story a few weeks ago to submit to Astonishing Adventures. I've been tight on time lately - house crap, marriage crap, work crap - and haven't been able to put in the time to actually write the thing. Yesterday evening, finally, I put in an hour or so and got half the first scene completed. Today, another hour or two and I've finally finished the big fight scene on the docks where readers meet our dashing vigilante.

Problem the first: I've adopted some sort of semi-twee narrative voice for the story. I think it's my own natural inability to take something like this too seriously making me write tongue in cheek. I think it's perfectly acceptable to have cheesy, comic book/B-movie dialog, but I feel the narration should be straight-up noir. Instead, it feels like a cross between noir and Jim Dale's great work on Pushing Daisies. So I have to decide whether to re-tone the narration, stick with the current mode, or take it to another level. I just don't know which way to go.

Problem the second: good god it's gotten hard to write prose! For the length this piece will be - six scenes with a couple that are really short action bits - I could bang it out in maybe 15 pages of script tops. And it would go *fast*. Remember, it's a pulp story, and once my twee narrator is just doing actions and sluglines, there's not much dialog left. Instead, I've got to find the right balance between environmental description, character description, action narration, and dialog. (I'm falling quite short on the first two.) Very rusty am I.

However, at least I'm writing again (if you don't count this break to blog, or the breaks to check and write email, or the breaks to read the various blogs I follow, or any of the myriad other breaks I take.) And I promise that as soon as AA rejects the story, I'll post it here!

Yeah, I'm confident it'll be rejected. Mostly because I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep the twee narrative tone and I think that's going to be a major hurdle over there. I *should* try to make it feel more like a traditional pulp story, but I just can't. When it's not Jim Dale I hear in my head, it's the narrator from Dynomutt (not Gary Owens, who narrates the intro here, but Ron Feinberg.)

*Very* campy. Also, a little like The Evil Midnight Bomber (What Bombs at Midnight!)

Ah well, I guess I should be true to the story in my head. If they like, they like. If they don't, I can always hunt them down and smoke 'em out.

18 October 2007

Why the fuck do I bother?

I spent about an hour writing a not nice, very long post this evening. I decided to shut my mouth and bottle up yet more aggression by not posting it. Figure it'll just be easier that way. My life is shit. Why not keep piling on?

Theater of the Dead

Great post from Jim Henshaw about genius, perception, and the too-short life of Andre Bernard Bergé.

Bergé was a French Post-Existentialist writer obsessed with American cinema. He longed to write tawdry detective movies and taut thrillers in a post-war culture obsessed with Buňel, Goddard and Truffault. Unable to find producers for his screenwriting, Bergé crafted a play entitled "The Theatre of the Film Noir" which became a critical sensation when it opened in Paris in the late 1950’s.

Unfortunately, Bergé did not live to enjoy his newfound fame. The morning after his theatrical triumph, he was crushed by a Citroën, while peddling his bicycle home from retrieving his morning baguette.
Be sure to read about the critically acclaimed performance of "The Theatre of the Film Noir" at the '82 World Theatre Festival in Toronto. It's a great story for aspiring writers and directors.

Pick a Peck to Pickle Beckett

That's Danielle Peck. Cute, isn't she? I'd never heard of her before this morning, but apparently she's "a rising star in the [country music] industry". Tonight, in a big boost to her burgeoning career, she'll be singing the national anthem and "God Bless America" at the Jake.

I'll admit that I'm not up on the current crop of country stars. They're basically interchangeable mannequins with booth-sweetened voices who sing pop songs with a steel guitar. So maybe Danielle is an up-and-coming mannequin. Or maybe, she got the gig because she's Josh Beckett's ex.

Josh Beckett is starting for the Sawks tonight, you know.

As a Yankees fan, I'm predisposed to wish all sorts of plagues upon the Boston Bastards, the Southie Swine, the Chappaquid Dicks. So I'm thrilled by this turn of events. Way to go Tribe! I just wish they'd do more. Invite Manny's hairstylist to throw out the first pitch. Bring back the reliever cars and have Youkilis' rabbi drive it to the mound. Whatever it takes.

On a more serious note, I'd probably just ask Danielle (live and on the Jumbotron) how Josh *really* gets all those blisters on his finger.

via Deadspin

17 October 2007

Tricky Dick served spotted dick by Cavett, Dick

I've been really enjoying the Dick Cavett blog at the Times. The most recent posting is full of awkward silences, crickets chirping, and a comic bombing. But that's what you get for trying to do standup while waiting tables.

I guess it was out of some dumb desire to amuse the waiters that I grabbed up two menus. Approaching the famous seated pair from behind, I piped, “Our specials today include the Yorba Linda soufflé, the Whittier College clam chowder . . .” I invented a few more fictional Nixon-related specials; you get the idea. At least I self-censored any Checkers or Watergate references.
Interestingly enough, while Cavett's final joke woulda killed any other audience, I think Tricky Dick pulled an awfully funny one out on not-Tricky Dick with his "How are his knees?" line.

"We didn't free the rednecks just so they would have nothing to do."

The Assimilated Negro has a guest post on Deadspin today about Rick Clark's dream of getting some of those black and latino entertainment dollars into the hands of Miller-sippin', tabacky-chawin', left-hand-turn-makin' rednecks. Good stuff.

Also, I think about the ease with which anyone can play basketball, baseball, football. That seems natural to me. All you have to do is round up some people and a ball. NASCAR, on the other hand, is a sport that requires rounding up an army and invading another country for fuel.

Sooooo, look, I don't want to be a hater. Really! NASCAR deserves its little bit of space. We didn't free the rednecks just so they would have nothing to do. But not every dreg of American culture needs diversification. Maybe if I'm properly "edutained" and watch cars go in circles for 5 hours I might change my mind, but for now I'm going to stay working on my Jessica Biel audition tapes and advising fellow Minority-Americans (awwww, that means all of us) to hold tight and not buy their 4-year-old a race car just yet. At least wait until 2009 when we get our 2 trillion dollars. Then you'll have enough to throw some rims on that piece. Or as Mr. Clark prefer to call them, "urban hubcaps."

My reality show pitch

New idea for a reality show (co-authored with my friend The Latin Snake): The Dane Cook Show. Every week, without commercial interruption, we get to watch Dane Cook get dragged behind a different vehicle over different road surfaces.

The show is brought to us by the maker of that week's vehicle!

Tune in next week when Dane is pulled over sand dunes in a Ford F150!

Poker Cheats caught redhanded

Cheaters never prosper. Well, they do. They make a shitload of money. But eventually the truth will out. Not usually. But sometimes. When it's not a sitting government but rather an off-shore online poker site, the truth will out. Looks like some (extra, "accidental") data was crunched and cheaters were found on AbsolutePoker.

So the poker detectives turned their attention to this observer. They traced the observer’s IP address and account name to the same set of servers that host Absolute Poker, and also, apparently, to a particular individual named Scott Tom, who seems to be a part-owner of Absolute Poker! If all of this is correct, it shows exactly how the cheating would have transpired: an insider at the Web site had real-time access to all of the hole cards (it is not hard to believe that this capability would exist) and was relaying this information to an outside accomplice.
This is why online poker needs to be legalized and regulated in the US.

Bateman: Empire of the Moon

I believe this mashup needs no snarky commentary from me. Enjoy!

via Occasional Superheroine

16 October 2007

"Do we look like a bunch of zapheads to you"?

This might be the funniest McSweeney's story in months. "From the 'Forum' Section of Welding Enthusiast Magazine", by Danny Wind:

It was a beautiful summer day, and I was out in the park, surrounded by happy picnickers, welding a copper lap joint with my Lincoln CV-305/LF-72. Just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, who should walk up to me but "Dandy Don" Meredith.

"That's some nice-looking work you're doing there," Don said to me. "I used to do a bit of welding myself, back in the day. What is that, a metal inert-gas welder?"
There's a little drop off from the heights of the first entry to the third, but still good stuff.

Don't deprive yourself. Click through for the Dandy Dan payoff. You know you want to...

Maudlin Autumn

A cricket solos
Echoing summer's refrain
His symphony rests

15 October 2007

ARTC Radio Sound-pictures

I found a great site the other day: the Atlantic Radio Theater Company, which produces original, old-style radio drama. I was first excited to see they've got a production of Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth, recorded back in '04, featuring Harlan Ellison. If you've never heard Uncle Harlan do a dramatic performance you've missed out. He's got amazing presence and fantastic control over his vocal talent.

I was also intrigued to see there's a "2001 Dragon*Con performance of Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, adapted for audio by David Benedict, featuring John Rhys-Davies as Lupine Wonse." Since sme and I were indirectly discussing Pratchett in comments this weekend, I thought it quite apropos.

12 October 2007

An audience of one

Odd thing happened today. The usual light traffic through here was lighter than normal - partly attributable to pre-weekend dropoff for sure, but it stood out to me as being particularly slow. Even some of my regular visitors hadn't come by in the morning. That was before lunch. Afterwards, my traffic increased to a few hundred percent above normal.

I'd been linked from Neil Gaiman's blog. (By the way, for those who might wonder which generates more traffic - a link from Gaiman or a link from Ken Levine - Morpheus wins the kewpie doll.) What I found especially odd about the link from Gaiman (odd, but nonetheless gratifying to my ego) was that in the post in question I'd done little more than quote Gaiman!!!

Sure, I'd juxtaposed an anecdote of his about infixing "fucking" with another post that appeared only a few days later doing the same, but I'd really brought nothing new to the table. It was all very strange to me. But it led me to think a little about one of the aspects about the new media paradigm that I've never seen anyone mention before.

Frequently (*still*, shockingly) wags will discuss the power in the hands of ordinary citizens to make their voices heard through the "power of the Internet". A lone underwear-clad blogger, his fingers stained permanently orange from Cheetos - like Will Leitch1 - can challenge the authority, reputation, hegemony, and market reach of one of the most powerful media companies in history. Josh Marshall can build a new model for a media company in the flower district that regularly scoops and out-analyzes The Times, The Post, and the Weekly World News.2 Limitless distribution is available to anyone with a connection to the Internet with a price that approaches zero. It's clear the old push model has to compete mightily and only retains its built-in advantage of authority.

However, that's not why I'm writing this.

Did I mention that Neil Gaiman linked to my lil piece o' crap site? Who the hell am I?

While I'm thrilled by the fleeting uptick in readership (pretty much all those people came and went without staying around, thereby missing anything funny, profound, or interesting I might have to say3) it doesn't mean nearly as much to me as this: Neil Gaiman linked to my site. Which means he read at least one post on my site, probably more (after all, he'd want to make sure I'm not completely bat-shit before sending his readers here.) This ranks up there with Levine making two distinct compliments about our team's quality of humor after our scene was performed at the Sitcom Room and telling me he was enjoying reading my blog posts from that weekend.

Yes, I'm that needy.

But it's a little more than that in this case. The paradigmatic change I'm talking about isn't that one person can be heard by many, but that a nobody like me4 can be read by some of his idols. Honestly, at this point you get Harlan Ellison to curse me out for ripping him off and I can die happy.

I suppose the sensation I have today must be the happy inverse to the one all the sports bloggers feel every time their hard work gets stolen by the WWL. The opposite feeling political bloggers feel when the MSM fails to properly credit their sources. A man I've been reading for over twenty years read something I wrote5. The key isn't that I can publish my thoughts for everyone to see; rather, it's that those thoughts might be seen by anyone. Even a giant in his field.

1 I am, of course, kidding. I'm sure Will Leitch does his best work commando, with Dorito-stained fingers.
2 Again, kidding. TPM may have broken the USA firing scandal, but they've never beaten the WWN to the punch on a Bat Boy story.
3 If nothing else, it's funny for me to imply I'm ever interesting, interesting for me to imply I'm profound, and profoundly arrogant for me to imply I'm funny.
4 Bwahahahaha! Sorry. Me playing the humility card...now that's funny!
5 Yes, I've not forgotten it was just a post of two block quotes and some connective tissue.

11 October 2007

Too much gentle gentile sex

There's video above, FeedReader
Poor Annie. It's clear the poor dear has only ever had sex with goyim. If she'd ever been fucked by a Jew, she'd know we've already been perfected.

The Infuckingcredible infix

Nifty confluence of language posts this week. First, on Sunday Gaiman had this to say about infixing:

My favourite conversation about language and words was before we went on the air, when Ian told us not to swear (as Radio 3 is only allowed one serious swear word per show) and also not to answer any question with an enthusiastic "ABSOLUTELY!" (which is apparently what writers tend to do). And when I said that I thus presumed that "absofuckinglutely" was right out, Deborah Cameron (Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford) enthusiastically explained to me that swearing is the only example of infixing in the English language and I was happy, for I had learned something.
Then today on Mindhacks we get this aside in a post about Steven Pinker's new piece in TNR about the psychology/neuroscience of swearing:
As an aside, once, whilst drinking with a psycholinguist (say that after a few pints) I was taught a useful way of quickly working out the stressed syllable in any English word - something which is apparently called the 'fuck test'.

Simply insert the word 'fucking' into the word, as if you were using the swear word for emphasis, and the syllable that follows the 'fucking' is the stressed syllable.

For example, absolutely -> abso-fucking-lutely. The stressed syllable is the third: i.e. absolutely. It works for every multi-syllable word I've found so far.

Which just goes to show that psycholinguists are some of the coolest melonfarmers in the whole of cognitive science.
So not only is "fucking" the only word to be infixed in English, when it is we can determine the stressed syllable of the root word!

Take me out to the White House

In other news, Chris Dodd surged past the Democratic front runners' fundraising efforts in the month of October. With his new overflowing warchest, he announced plans to name Bill Simmons and "that annoying Southie who doesn't shower daily" to his campaign staff.

Startups belong in Silicon Valley, Movies in LA

Paul Graham of Y Combinator gave a talk in the UK that apparently rankled. All he'd done was state an obvious truth: "startups would do better if they moved to Silicon Valley." In this essay, Graham lays out some of the reasoning for moving to the startup hub, but mostly sticks with the investment aspect. It's easier to get money in the Valley than anywhere else, even the number two spot for startups in the world:

Boston investors will admit they're more conservative. Some want to believe this comes from the city's prudent Yankee character. But Occam's razor suggests the truth is less flattering. Boston investors are probably more conservative than Silicon Valley investors for the same reason Chicago investors are more conservative than Boston ones. They don't understand startups as well.
What Graham doesn't cover in great detail is the rest of the infrastructure that's missing in other locations. Anyone who's ever tried to hire a top-tier, cutting edge software engineer out in the hinterlands (and yes, I count the PHX metro area and its 4.5 million inhabitants as "hinterlands") knows that the pool is ridiculously shallow.

That's not the case in the SV/SF area. There, the pool is deep and the networks as dense as dendritic fibers in the corpus callosum. Add to that the networking guys, hardware guys, marketing experts, tech sales pros, lawyers, etc. who actually understand how startups and tech companies work, and you can easily see how building a startup in SV is the right thing to do.

When I read this, I was oddly reminded of a post from Jim Henshaw about Canadian TV. Apparently spurning the lessons of Hollywood, SV, and Detroit Nagoya, Canada is trying to spread out film production.
The concept of Regionalizing production may satisfy politicians who want to see their constituents tax dollars spent locally. But you can't build a viable film industry that way. In fact, it's a sure-fire recipe for making sure it never happens.

Imagine asking most of the production companies in Hollywood to relocate to Pismo Beach if they want their project green-lit. Consider what Woody Allen or Spike Lee's films would look like if they had to be shot in Newark. Take your life in your hands and tell Robert Rodriguez he's giving up Austin for Padre Island.

And maybe give some thought to the "suppliers" of the industry. The people who have no say in what gets conceived or made. They rent cameras, build props and costumes, or sustain state of the art post houses. Now imagine how their profit margins (which have always been thin) are impacted by having to serve customers who have no choice but to work in areas where such operations are not resident because they couldn't survive and everything has to be shipped in.
There's no mystery that I'm not a country mouse. I like cities. I wish I lived in one. These are some of the reasons why.
Paul Graham essay via Sam Pullara

10 October 2007

The Jarlsberg is on the table

Good golly! So far, so good. My face aches watching this show. Aches from smiling from ear to ear for a full hour. Actually, I think this episode was better than the "Pie-lette". So good, all I can do is spot check some of the greatness. And trust me, this will be incoherent unless you watched. You are watching, right??!?!

  • small cheese box
  • skeletons in the closet
  • Emerson's knit gun cozies
  • "Her information was valuable and the price was...pie."
  • "You love secrets. You want to marry secrets and have little half-secret, half-human babies."
  • Professor Landry and his batty rant about ritalin and botany
  • Kissing through body bags while Emerson knits an escape
  • Landry driving an Earth-killing Hummer
  • "...and Digby considered how much he liked salt."
  • plus, Glinda and Digby sang a duet while Manuel polished the floors!

Stuck behind a pace car

Usually I feel like I'm stuck behind lap traffic. I tend to drive a little fast, so when there's too much traffic to bob and weave, or just a few people blocking I get cranky. Most of the time I can squeeze out an opening within a half mile or so, but occasionally it's much worse. Today, I got stuck behind frakin' pace cars.

I left the house a little late this morning (I had to break down and find the wireless card and drivers that I'd never used in my laptop because the built-in wireless was stable enough until last night) and was on the road just past 9am. Very little traffic at that time as most people who are working are there and the schools are battened down for a day of learnin'. I was thoroughly enjoying my steady mile-a-minute pace down one of the fine, broad, east-west streets here in the PHX.

As I'm coming up to a light, I catch a gold 'Vette in my rear view making some serious time. I know this approach. He saw the batmobile and wants to play. I'm all about that. With newer 'Vettes, I've got them up to around 85 or 90mph, but they've got a big advantage in the 90-105 range. I know they're pushing a few more horses than I am, but it's a gearing issue that's really screwing me. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to take it much beyond the 105 (maybe once in awhile I should get off city streets) to see if I can catch back up when I get into the power band again in 4th gear.

So we get to the light and there are two cars in front of us - an old Lincoln and an old beat-to-hell ¿Celica?. We make our guesses as to who's going to get off the line faster, knowing that we won't be drag racing, but figuring we'll at least eventually get to it. He's definitely put some after-market work into the 'Vette, because his exhaust and engine sound even throatier than the Panoz's. If we can get around these two, it should be a ball.

The light turns and both cars go slooooooow. I mean, speed-limit slow. Maybe. He's behind the Lincoln and that car is ever so slowly making ground on my guy, so I slip in behind the 'Vette and hope. Then the beater starts to move a wee bit faster and my new buddy pops to the right. The whole time, both of us are laughing and shrugging our shoulders at each other. We can't cut a break today. No race this morning.

It's just a Jump to the left...

I'm shocked (and a little embarrassed) to say that this trailer for Jumper really excited me. First off, I've been a fan of Doug Liman since Go (I consider his work on Swingers to be secondary to Fav's great, great screenplay.) Second, the efx look really cool. This is a bit more like what Nightcrawler should have looked like in X2.

The shock comes from not vomiting over the presence of Anacan'tact Skywalker or Rachel Bilson (I think she's horribly overrated as both actress and "hot young thing".) And for those of you who think Hayden's problem was the poor writing and direction of George Lucas, I submit to you Shattered Glass, in which he was all sorts of bad amongst another very solid cast.

If Liman somehow found a way to get something resembling a performance out of Drab Vader, this movie could be all kinds of fun.

On a five year mission to...what? We're canceled already? Crap. Fine. Let the Earth Explode!

I'd be more thrilled by this if I got SciFi in HD; however, because I have the one-and-only HD DirecTivo, I can't get all the new MPEG-4 channels. We figure in a few months, after the floor, after the holidays, we'll explore our options through DirecTV and *gulp* Cox cable. Until then, just a handful of HD channels.

Anyway, starting this Friday on SciFi, they'll be re-running Odyssey 5. This was a great show that I caught a couple years back after it had been shit-canned by Showtime. Unfortunately, it only lasted one season instead of the five that Manny Coto had planned out. Still, this is a great little show with a nice blend of serialized mythos - they are, after all, trying to save the Earth from certain destruction - and episodic story-telling. A little The X Files in feel, but fewer scenes shot in dark tunnels.

It stars Buckaroo Banzai as Chuck Taggart and has a great cast, including the criminally under-appreciated Jake 2.0 as his son Neil.

If you liked The X Files, or any of the since-canceled dark, serial SF shows, give this one a shot. Or, just buy it here.

09 October 2007

Rejection: Official

Woohoo. Well, it's official. WB rejected me.

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for applying to the Warner Bros. Television Writer's Workshop. After careful evaluation and consideration of the hundreds of scripts we received, we are unable to include your submission(s) in the final round.

We wish you well in all of your future writing endeavors and thank you again for your interest in the workshop.
Now some might feel a little down by this seeming form letter, but if you look closely you'll see the very personal touch.
  • "Dear Applicant". That's right. I'm not just some random applicant, I'm dear to them.
  • Note that they carefully evaluated scripts. They weren't haphazard about it.
  • Also see how they try to pretend they don't know how many scripts I submitted to the program? Those kidders!
Next year.

"Oh shit, he's dumb as hell."

Frankly, I don't think I needed to hear Tricky Dick from beyond the grave to figure out that Fred Thompson "isn't very smart". It's always nice to get confirmation, though.


There's video above, FeedReader
I frequently feel as though I'm going the wrong way, too Katee.

08 October 2007

I swear, I'd only write for MALE stars!!!

Sure. I want to write TV more than movies. Sure. I'm just one of the many, many hopeful. Still. You'd think my obvious misogyny would have caught the attention of Jeff Robinov and he could have let the folks running the TV Writers' Workshop know that I was one of them!

Technically, I've not been rejected yet. However, I think the fact that I did not receive my written notification by today's deadline - for the semi-finalist interviews this Wednesday through Friday - is a good indicator. Ah well. There's always Disney-ABC. And next year. And the year after.

Disco depression

Feeling so fruity,
Spinning mp3s of what?
Jimmy Somerville

The Last King of Langley Falls

Sunday was not a good day. See below if you're unclear as to why. The pressure on my heart wasn't even much raised by the Yankees' win in the Bronx. I hoped that Sunday night's shows might elevate my mood a bit, but either I was too depressed, or both Family Guy and American Dad were off this week.

The only solace? Forest Whitaker spoofing his great run as Lt. Kavanaugh on The Shield as an IAD investigator for the Langley Falls Parking Bureau. All that was missing? Asking Stan if he wanted some gum.

Also, I was reminded of the greatest line in the history of television by Whitaker's presence:

Vic Mackey: "...your wife's pussy tastes like sweet butter."

Goodbye, Trouble

My cat died this weekend. She's been on the downside for a few months now - not eating, sleeping on the shower floor, using the house as her litter box on occasion - so it wasn't completely unexpected. It was completely heartrending, though.

We're in the middle of what feel like massive renovations on the house. In reality, we just put in a new patio door and are replacing the floors through most of the house, but to get to that point we've had to move much of our furniture out to the garage, rip up baseboards and door casings, and paint several rooms. We're going to remodel the guest bath as soon as the floor is complete, so that's undergoing demo right now as well. Then, we'll be out of the house for two weeks while the floor is installed.

All the above turmoil and displacement would have been too much for Trouble, so she got moved to my in-laws house a few weeks back. The dog, she can suffer through a kennel (especially the one with private room and private patio that we've picked for her) for two weeks and barely notices the mayhem going on right now. The cat, she was much more fragile. Also, after eight years of putting up with an Australian Shepherd who believed she and the cat were fast friends, we thought it might be nice for Trouble to live somewhere very quiet.

And for one week she really seemed to like it. Then we visited her and she wasn't the same again. Ever. I guess she figured she was on vacation and was ready to come home. When we left here there, she must have felt abandoned. She stopped eating, stopped coming out, and finally passed away.

I was sitting in my recliner Sunday morning, catching up on some of this week's comic books, when I heard the wife in the other room play a message on the answering machine. It's around two corners and hard to hear from where I sat, so I don't know if the call came early Sunday morning while we still slept, or Saturday evening while we were out. I do know I heard my mother-in-law's voice, though not the words. I stopped reading and strained to hear. I guess I knew.

I still don't know if Trouble died on Saturday or Sunday. I haven't been able to ask.

We drove over to pick up the cat and her things. There was no reason to add that burden to the in-laws; they already feel responsible for Trouble's death. It won't matter how many times we say no, they'll remain convinced it was their fault. My father-in-law had wrapped the cat in her towel (smells like home) and laid her out in the garage with the rest of her belongings. I opened the towel enough to see one of her ears, but no more. I couldn't bear it. I apologized as I stroked her ear one last time. Told her she's a good cat.

On the ride to the vet, the wife asked if I thought Trouble was in cat heaven. Since I don't believe in god or devil, heaven or hell, she knew the answer. I don't know if my wife ever realized before how much harder it is for me. I have no comfort: no heavenly streams of tuna-flavored water; no dancing fireflies; no pools of milk stocked with Corn Pops; no one to scratch her neck really hard, in that one spot she liked. Her soul, her essence, won't come back in a lamb or lion. She won't prowl the savanna in her sleep anymore. She won't pace the bathroom counter looking for attention while I'm brushing my teeth. She won't.

There is much more I could say, but no more I need to. I loved my cat, despite her short-comings. I wish she'd lived a better life than the one she backed into. She moved far too often, had an unwanted sister far too long, and lost the confidence and pride of her youth far too soon. I wish I'd been with her when she died, for no other reason than to hold her in my lap and stroke her one last time. I hate that she died feeling abandoned and I hate that after eight years of hiding cat, chasing dog I wanted to abandon her to the in-laws.

I killed my cat, as surely as I drained her joy and confidence by keeping her indoors. I killed her by leaving her and I'll never get to tell her I'm sorry.

06 October 2007

He could play Cadet Castillo in Miami Vice Academy

Thankfully, SciFi isn't going to make me watch their abysmal Flash Gordon (even the cover of Queen's great song sucks in this version) to see the webisodes leading up to Razor. In the first episode, up this week, we meet rookie Viper pilot William "Husker" Adama.

Holy shit they cast well. He's got Edward James Olmos's heavily pockmarked face and still could pass as Jamie Bamber's brother. I am so looking forward to this flick - Yay! Miranda Fucking Zero*!!! - and this final season of BSG it's a little sad. I'm like a kid, counting down the days until Hanukkah Harry brings me tube socks.

For those of you who don't know, I had an opportunity to read the screenplay for Ron Moore's series finale to BSG. How, I'll never say. But it was shocking and brilliant and broke my heart a little bit. Personally, I'd be a whole lot happier if I didn't already know how it all ends, but it's too late to un-know it.

Surprisingly, some friends wanted the mystery ruined for them, so I transcribed the final scene. There's a link to it in the sidebar, but for the feed fans, here's a direct link. Don't blame me after you read it if I've ruined BSG for you. It's your choice to read it or not.

Regardless, Razor is coming to SciFi November 24.

* If you haven't seen the Global Frequency pilot, good on you. You aren't one a them thar internetty pirates, yarrr! Of course, you're also a damn fool. I would help you out on this, but of course *I* have never seen the pilot. I'd also suggest picking up Warren Ellis's original GF comics. You can get them in two volumes: Global Frequency Vol. 1: Planet Ablaze; and Global Frequency Vol. 2: Detonation Radio

Back to Blogger comments

I've decided to turn off ID comments for now. There are a lot of things I like about their system, but there are several aspects that I don't. First and foremost, unless and until they have broad adoption rates, the only major benefit the system provides is threaded comments. Some of the features that don't work without deep market penetration:

  • Reputation. It seems simple and obvious that high reputation rates as measured by the community should equate to either high reliability or high relevance. During the beta, people are rarely taking advantage of the rating system to up- or down-vote ID members. That means frequency of commenting regardless of relevance/coherence is the determinant. If beta testers aren't voting, it's a near-certainty that late-adopters won't.
  • As a follow-up point on reputation, the majority of ID beta sites/testers (at least those who comment frequently) have politics to the right of Rush. In that echo chamber of inanities, there's nowhere for me to comment without engaging in flame wars with the illuminutty. And again, because each comment posted increases reputation (unless the comment is voted down and see point 1 re: no voting) there's a very Freeper-feel to ID. It's unintentional, as technology has no bias, but still disconcerting to read a stream of moronic comments going by whenever I check ID's home page for activity.
  • The beta is either still really limited, or the testers aren't hammering very much. That "stream of moronic comments" I mentioned is more a very slow drip.
  • People don't want to sign up. Even my one or two semi-regular commenters here are reluctant (understandably) to sign up for YACS (yet another commenting system.) Who could blame them? I have more accounts, passwords, and ids spread about the web than a Mossad agent in the '70s. Without widespread adoption, no one is compelled to get an account. If people remain anonymous, they miss out on many of the features, sure, but they also negatively impact the community.
Beyond the problems associated with adoption rates, there are a few outstanding issues:
  • Display gets wonky with deeply nested comments. This is a pretty big deal for a system that uses nesting of comments as one of its biggest selling features.
  • The comment editor is pretty primitive. Formatting isn't supported yet (will be really soon, I suspect,) resizing of the edit pane isn't supported, and there's no comment preview.
  • While I can delete comments on my blogs, I can't delete the comments I leave elsewhere. I understand the theory behind this, as it has to do with reputation, but with no comment preview, they really should provide comment deletion.
And finally, there is the biggest problem of all which can't be resolved: they run as an Ajax widget. That means: problems for those who have scripting off; problems for browsers with poor Javascript support; and problems like the one my new blogfriend had the other day. She can't comment from her work computer into ID. Somehow (I suspect she clicked the Blogger comment link before ID's Javascript had rewritten it) she once managed to get into the old-style Blogger comment system. Interesting. Also interesting that ID (correctly) does NOT insert itself on posts that have comments in the old system. What that means, however, is that I've got one post from past week with old-style comments while the rest use ID!

That also led me to realize that if a user had Javascript support turned off, or clicked the Blogger link before ID rewrote it, or if ID were down for a period of time, and then entered a comment in the underlying comment system, it would hide any ID comments that might already exist! That's a pretty big and scary hole for ID, and I don't believe there's an easy solution to it. At best, they build support for importing comments from the underlying systems into ID and do so either at timed intervals, or as recipients of comment notifications. Pretty rough.

Now, while it may seem as if I'm bashing this software, I'm not. I'm really impressed with how well it works, how much functionality it has, and how smoothly it operates on different browsers, OSs, and blogging platforms. These guys have done a great job and continue to do so. I will be keeping my account with them and commenting on other ID sites from time to time (more so if some sites that don't make me shake my head in disbelief and disgust come on line.)

And who knows? Maybe they'll get that market penetration they need to achieve a critical mass of users and I'll go back up with ID comments.

05 October 2007

Unspoiled after all these years

There's an adlink above, FeedReader!
Alright. I'm not actually suggesting you go out and buy the above collection. First of all, no amount of arm-twisting, cajoling, or bribery could ever make me believe Jayne Mansfield was anything but a very slight clone of the great Marilyn. Everyone wanted a blonde bombshell, but instead of finding one with a unique, original mien, the studios found poor mimics.

Despite Ms. Mansfield's shortcomings (not the least of which - inflicting Mariska Hargitay upon an unsuspecting world with an able assist from hubby Mickey) there is one movie of hers I've always loved. Loved despite her. Loved, because it stars one of the greatest, funniest, most talented comic actors to ever grace a screen, large or small. Sadly, that movie is still not available for individual sale (though it can be rented from Netflix, as I did.)

I love Tony Randall.

It's been probably 20 years since I've seen Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? I was pretty sure my memory of the film was not too colored by the years, but it was time to find out.

I moved Lover Boy to the top of my queue. It shipped the other day, but we had the final disc of Freaks and Geeks to finish, plus the second episodes of the new TV season to deal with. Tonight, after a very long week we popped it in.

Memory served me well.

The movie's dated in some ways, notably the odd trans-Atlantic accent of Betsy Drake's Jenny Wells and...well nothing else, really. Sure the movie is an artifact of its time and place, but its takes on fame, success, and love are as contemporary as the matching outfits of Rita Marlowe's poodle, Shamroy. Since it's a full-size French poodle, it's MUCH larger than today's stars like; however, it's otherwise treated the same as any modern purse rat dog.

There is one fundamental problem with the movie: watching it one can only fantasize about how Marilyn would have elevated the film beyond very good into transcendental. The original George Axelrod play was optioned by Fox (and then completely discarded and replaced with Frank Tashlin's screenplay) specifically to get Mansfield, but I can dream. Mansfield just didn't have charisma. Much like her daughter Mariska who sits at home polishing Lauren Graham's Emmy, momma Jayne was an inferior performer.

Fortunately, this movie is all Randall and he is transcendent. If your only exposure to Tony Randall is his excellent work on The Odd Couple, you owe it to yourself to see some of his earlier film work. Try Rock Hunter, or 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, or watch him play the sidekick in one of the Hudson/Day comedies.