Monday, August 24, 2009

One Of Those Days...

Hello, readers.

Sometimes there are days when nothing goes right. Days when you burn the toast and stub your toe racing towards that burny smell. Days when people who you want more than anything to say yes, only shake their heads and say, No, not anymore. There are even days, I'm told, when squirrels throw acorns at your head.

It happens.

Thankfully, there are also days like today.

Days that begin with waffles and mango kiwi syrup*.

Days that include philosophical bouts of vacuuming and scrubbing floors in which you ponder, not necessarily in this order: what will you do with your life, your lack of a job or a foreign country, your need to be writing more, and how it would be nice if people were happy and everyone had enough to eat and how you sometimes indulge too much in your own wonderings.

Days when notes appear in your inbox saying, as you hoped: yes, yes, five cents a word yes!

Days when you and your sister go see 500 Days of Summer, an occasionally self-indulgent, possibly obsessive film that, as your sister says, perhaps wasn't as big a story as it wanted to tell, but with which you fall in love anyway and so find yourself enamored with it's cartoon blue birds, spontaneous musical numbers, and Han Solo. Not to mention Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt proving that they should be in everything together. Especially musicals. They could be our Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but less black and white or red-headed.

Days when after seeing a movie, you and your sister walk around the parking lot for an hour at sunset, discussing past loves and meanness and sometimes trying to jump and hit the roofs of things. Maybe, on a day like this, you try to run up a too steep hill, make it, then find yourself entangled in thorny rose bushes and discover the only way back down is some combination of sliding and running which causes your sister some worry as to your safety.

Days when you come home with some sushi and a Big Mac and watch with your family a BBC show about a ghost, vampire, and werewolf who all live together and have each decided to have a go at being human.

Such things could happen. Today they did.

It was one of those days, you know?

*If this were a food blog, perhaps I'd post how I made the syrup. It would say something like a cup of water plus somewhere around maybe a half to two third cups of sugar (mostly brown), along with something like a third cup of kiwi and two third cup of mango. Then it would talk about reducing the mixture, deciding it was a bit strong, and so swirling in some amount of yogurt and a very small bit of butter. And then there would be a picture of the waffles with the syrup. And maybe a caption saying, "A Scrumption Tropical Spin On An American Treat Stolen From Germany, Belgium, or Whichever European Country First Pressed Batter Between Iron Things."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cinematical Matters

Hello, readers.

It's Friday and very sunny, but, I'm still determined to spend many quality hours in the dark this weekend.

Meaning time in cinemas, of course. Hardly ever visit the underground laboratory anymore. Too many not quite dead things at this point.

Speaking of which, Thirst, comes out in some theaters this weekend. It's Park Chan-Wook's new film concerning Catholic priests that become vampires. The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips gave it 3 1/2 stars and said it "oozes sex and nudity and blood..." Alas, it's not oozing anything anywhere near Nashville, yet.

To make up for that, though, The Belcourt Theatre is showing The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly this weekend as part of their Leone lovefest. Quentin Tarantino once called it the best directed film ever and, seeing as how I've only ever seen it on tiny square boxes--and also my sister has never seen it--I think a trip will be in order.

Also, Miyazaki has a new film out. There's a girl who sometimes is a fish. That's all I know, and all I need to know, as Miyazaki's name pretty much guarantees no small amount of consideration, love, and magic.

And then there's that film about segregation, among other things, in which there are aliens and possibly Hobbits. Hopefully it's as amazing as people say. If nothing else, it makes me think that Battlestar Galactica's 21st century take on political sci-fi has done some good, or at least, done some influencing.

Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention, while we're on the subject of sci-fi, that The Time Traveler's Wife comes out today. I read the book. Found it ultimately moving, if somewhat creepy with the chrono-induced sexual oddness. According to Ms. Dargis, the creepiness doesn't lessen on screen. Another review I read wondered about the ability of the supposedly very different genres of sci-fi and romance to play nice together. This seemed funny to me as what we call science fiction today began as "scientific romances." But, who needs historical context when one has Rachel McAdams, I suppose.

Happy weekend, readers.

Hope you enjoy some quality time alone in the dark.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Things I Missed, And Didn't

Apparently, there was a meteor shower last night. Google's meteroed logo probably should've been a hint. Reading Neil Gaiman's post about having a moment watching 28 stars fall made me feel sad for a moment to have missed it, but then I was happy again because space is very big and bits of it will keep running into us for a long time to come. Until a really big bit runs into us, of course.

Many days ago, perhaps a month's worth, I was in Oxford and it was raining. I ducked into Square Books, Jr. for dryness and the magic of books written for children and adults who haven't forgotten. Displayed prominently was a collection called, Geektastic, which contains the writings of Kelly Link, Holly Black, and many other variously geeky people. Holly Black and Cecil Castelluci (also the editors) wrote the first story, a tale of forbidden love between a Jedi and Klingon. It seemed like it would rain for a while so I read that story and enjoyed it quite a bit. At one point, a brawl breaks out between a bevy of Star Warsians and Trekkies. At another, someone's heart gets broken. The collection was mentioned today here, as part of Gavin at Small Beer updating us on the current whereabouts of many of Kelly Link's stories. Most interesting, or at least exhaustive, was this collection by Peter Straub called, American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s Until Now. Kelly's "Stone Animals" makes an appearance.

And now, very near me (I am at Panera), there is a man chanting about, "Catch him do it, Catch his tail, Catch him, Catch Him, Turn out the gun." I had hoped to make mention of the wonders of watching with my mom the Paul Greengrass commentary for The Bourne Ultimatum. But this is too weird and even though now he's stopped, I find myself oddly hungry.

Things to ponder until tomorrow: How does The Bourne Identity trilogy mirror the American experience after 9/11? How is it a ghost story? What will I look like with my new glasses?

Until then, readers, try not to miss it. Whatever it is.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sci-Fi Wednesday

Hello, readers.

Have you been watching the new Syfy? It's a wonderful example of compromised values and muddled programming. Where else could you watch dragon fighting and professional wrestling on the same night? If only they were the same show. Eureka's amusing, though.

In other disappointing sci-fi news, Jonathan Lethem lamented the squandered promise of science fiction in a 1998 Village Voice article. He blames George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, among other people. J.R.R. Tolkien being one of those other people. [via Rumpus by way of Maud]

Finally and more positively, the Hugos were announced. Hooray for The Graveyard Book, which was warm, dark, and funny, in very Gaiman-y ways. Gaiman, himself, while thankful, politely disagrees with the Hugo decision here.

More later, perhaps. Such as maybe new glasses for me. They probably won't be the x-ray type, though. So much squandered, so many dreams lost, readers. Alas.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Seriously, though.

Hello, readers.

At one point today, I thought I might blog about my runnings about downtown Nashville getting various documents stamped with a hierarchy of official and officialer stamps. It would've included having my driver's license scanned, and photograph taken, before entering an office building. There also would've been bits concerning a county clerk explaining to a couple how to get married, and a blonde girl in the Apostille's office who described my diploma container as a "tube thingy." But, that's not where my head is anymore.

Instead, it's on Ferris Bueller warning me that life goes by fast. It's on John Candy finding a home with Steve Martin. On an impossibly sexy genie created by what, I recall, as a flimsy looking Macintosh. It's on Anthony Michael Hall explaining that we are all, in the end, each of us, the Brain, The Jock, The Troublemaker, The Princess, and The Weirdo. That we're in this together.

As a young boy, I felt, as most young people do, that they are alone. That they are special. That they are alone because they are special, and special because they are alone. I've grown up since then, and realized there's nothing special about being alone, or the yearning not to be. I've also, in that time, learned about oatmeal, tea, and sex, but those are other stories and only slightly applicable to what happened today which is that John Hughes, who more than anyone else charted the various ways of feeling lonely and yearny as a teenager (not to mention two middle aged men), has died of a heart attack.

In lieu of me trying to figure out how to say how much his films mattered to me, I give you dancing. Enjoy, readers.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Friday Fun Things

Hello, readers.

Vampires, as well all know, are experiencing something of a resurgence these days. One might say they're bordering on overabundant. They might also say they don't sparkle. But what do "they" know. Listen to Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan discuss them here. You'll learn, among other things, that the modern vampire was based on Lord Byron and that Bram Stoker's novel gained popularity because of it's fantastic high techness. Telegraphs, you understand. If you're tired of vampires, though, you'll like this bit by Neil Gaiman. He thinks maybe their overabundance is some sort of sign that it's time for them to disappear for a while. Maybe when they come back, he says, we'll be properly terrified of them again.

In other Friday Fun Things, there is this interview with Maurissa Tancharoen about Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible. She believes in darkness and the beauty of human connection. Also, that Joss Whedon can be, on occasion, a sarcastic fellow.

Tonight, it's very possible I will go see a film called Hausu. It's about killer lampshades and kung fu school girls. Unsure whether vampires of any kind make an appearance. Belcourt Theatre called it the damndest thing they'd ever seen. Hopefully, it's fun.

Happy Friday, readers. If there are any vampires out there, try not to be so lonely. Try to make one new friend today. Try not to eat them.