Friday, October 31, 2003

Yet another personality test.
Mr. Brown
Which Dr. Seuss character are you?

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Last night some friends & I went to see a performance piece called Faust (Faust). Not quite sure how to describe it. The flyers call it "a liturgy, a science experiment, a haunted house, a musical." That sounds about right. (If I start to describe it myself, I'll end up going into more detail than you want to know.) There is information about it at Liminal Group's website. It was interesting, but it took me a while to get into it; I may be growing too old & fuddy duddy for avant garde theatre.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Here's another personality test: Which Halloween Character Are You?

I came up as Halloween Night itself.
You are the mysterious night and all its sounds. No one knows much about you or what and how you think, unless they're really close. You prefer the peace and solitude. You are quiet and don't express many of your feelings. If you had the ability to be invisible, you would love it, and take advantage. You are more of a nocturnal person and don't really like going out much, but the thing about you is that you may know how to have a good time. Hmm. Anyway, have a Happy Halloween, Shadowy One.

What Halloween Figure Are You? (Fun Quiz! MANY RESULTS!)
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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I stayed home sick from work yesterday & watched a couple movies: Identity, which I enjoyed right up until I figured out the big secret (about 5 minutes before it was revealed), then I became unwilling to cut the movie any slack, and it fell apart for me. I also watched Monsoon Wedding which I enjoyed a lot more. Certain aspects of it reminded me of my family in Mexico, but those were more about one culture dealing with the influence of a more "modern" culture than about any actual similarities.

Oops, nearly forgot: I also watched Rex the Runt, claymation shorts from Aardman Studios, the Wallace & Grommit people. Silly stuff. Lots of fun.

And I read Black Candy by Matt Madden. I didn't much care for it. It, like a lot of other "alternative" comics, doesn't really have a story. Some stuff happens, then it just ends. This was better than some, in that the art was good and there was something of a plot, but there were also a lot of details that just didn't go anywhere. What was the point of the whole thing? I don't know.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Watched several movies this weekend, most of them at my friend Steve's 2nd Annual Halloween Horror Movie-a-thon. We watched
  • The Lair of the White Worm. A very 80's movie (despite being based on a Bram Stoker story). Also very strange, but that's not surprising, considering that it was directed by Ken Russell
  • Robot Monster (although we watched the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version). An awful movie, but how can you pass up the chance to see a film where the bad guy is a man in a gorilla suit with a diving helmet in place of the head?
  • 28 Days Later An updated version of the zombie movie. I quite like it. The DVD has 3 alternate endings. I still like the one that originally showed in the theatrical release, but the "radical" alternate ending is pretty good too.
  • Audition A very creepy Japanese film that starts out looking like a rather slow-moving romantic story. Don't you believe it.

So that was Saturday (which was also my 36th birthday). On Friday, I got together with several of The Usual Suspects (Harmony & Topher and Teena, who I met for the first time) to watch Sports Night. We got through 6 episodes. It's such a shame that this show only lasted 2 seasons. All 3 people now seem to be hooked on the show, and we plan on getting together again to watch more episodes, but I don't know just when that'll be.

On Sunday I volunteered at the Hollywood Theater in the afternoon (and I arrived too early because I had forgotten to set my clocks back). After my shift, I watched Melvin Goes to Dinner, which took a little while to grab me, but in the end I liked it quite a bit.

I've got several graphic novels that are due back at the library soon, so I read those this weekend rather than Monstrous Regiment.
  • 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, which I just can't recommend. It's a really great idea for a horror story (a group of vampires invade an Alaskan town above the Arctic Circle), but the execution just didn't work. This is me at my nit-picky worst, but I was really annoyed by a stupid mistake early in the book. On the third page, still setting the scene, there's a caption that says in Barrow, Alaska, the sun doesn't set between May 10 & August 2 and the sun doesn't rise between November 18 & December 17. I realize not everybody is as anal retentive as me and may not remember their high-school earth science very well (if they got it right in the first place), but it would not have taken much research to learn that in any place where the sun does not rise for a period of time in winter, it will not set for the same length of time in the summer, not nearly 3 times as long. Also bugging me was the fact that the period of night-less days is asymmetrical around the summer solstice, you know the longest day of the year and the period of sunless days doesn't even include the winter solstice.
    Okay, rant over.
  • I also read Legacy: The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan by Joe Kelly & Brent Anderson. I quite liked this; it went a long way towards redeeming the character of Hal Jordan in my eyes. (You'd have to be an old time Green Lantern fan to understand what I mean by that.)
  • Confessions of a Cereal Eater, v.2 by Rob Maisch, et al. Autobiographical stories. Okay stuff, not great.
  • The Nevermen, v.2: Streets of Blood by Phil Amara and Guy Davis. Great, weird, kinda steampunkish noir story. Not sure what else to say about this. I love Guy Davis's art, and want to see him get a lot more work.

Friday, October 24, 2003

The other morning I had a kind of strange moment while reading Fugitives & Refugees. In one of the "postcard from xxxx" sections, Palahniuk talks about being part of a "Santa Rampage." People from Cacophony Societies all around the country gathered in Portland & dressed in Santa suits. They were going to go to Lloyd Center, encircle the ice rink, & summon the spirit of Tonya Harding (never mind that she's still alive). Anyway, the police were there to stop them ("A thin blue line versus a fat red line.") The confrontation took place in the park across the street from Lloyd Center. About a minute after I read that, I was walking across that same park as part of my morning commute.

Finished F&R yesterday and started Monstrous Regiment. Still not very far into it yet, but I'm enjoying it. Not surprising, though. It's a Discworld book. Pratchett is very consistent. I do think he needs to stop relying on using either Commander Vimes or Granny Weatherwax in every book, but it looks like Vimes isn't the primary character this time, so that's good.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

And here's another personality test:
You are Form 5, Dragon: The Weaver.

"And The Dragon seperated the virtuous from
the sinful. He tore his eyes from his sockets
and used them to peer into the souls of those
on trial to make a judgement. He knew that
with endless knowledge came endless

Some examples of the Dragon Form are Athena
(Greek), St. Peter (Christian), and Surya
The Dragon is associated with the concept of
intelligence, the number 5, and the element of
His sign is the crescent moon.

As a member of Form 5, you are an intelligent and
wise individual. You weigh options by looking
at how logical they are and you know that while
there may not always be a right or wrong
choice, there is always a logical one. People
may say you are too indecisive, but it's only
because you want to do what's right. Dragons
are the best friends to have because they're
willing to learn.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Currently reading Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon by Chuck Palahniuk. (Only took 3 months to get it from the library. Not bad considering that I was something like 268th in line when I put in my hold request.) This is the first thing of his that I've read (although I have seen the movie version of Fight Club). It's making me want to visit various cool places around town. I've been here for years, but there are plenty of places I've never been to, and this book may just be the stimulus I needed to get me going to them. Anybody care to join me? I may need to actually buy a copy, as it'll take a while to get to all the places he mentions that sound interesting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

(I didn't intend "later" to mean "the next day," but at least it still fits the definition.)

Didn't finish Lolita until last night, because I didn't feel like reading it over the weekend. Instead I read a whole bunch of graphic novels.

  • The Return of Lum: Feudal Furor
  • The Return of Lum: Creature Feature, both by Rumiko Takahashi
  • Dragon Ball Z, v.12 by Akira Toriyama
  • Catwoman: Dark End of the Street written by Ed Brubaker & illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. This is the first collection of the new, revamped, noir-ish "Catwoman" series. I really liked this & now feel I should be reading the comic. I think budget demands will limit me to buying the collections or checking them out of the library.
  • Preacher: Dead or Alive by Glenn Fabry. This book is simply a collection of the covers to the "Preacher" comic book series, without all the cover copy. There is also commentary by the artist, Fabry, and Garth Ennis, the guy who wrote the comic.
  • StormWatch: Final Orbit written by Warren Ellis & illustrated by various. Superheroes. Not as good at Ellis's Transmetropolitan series, but still pretty good.
  • Rising Stars, bk. 2: Power written by J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5) and illustrated by various. Yet another version of superheroes in the "real world" but better than most.
  • Spider-Man's Tangled Web, v.4 (Amazon doesn't have this) written & illustrated by various, including Ted McKeever & Darwyn Cooke. Offbeat Spider-Man stories.
  • and finally: The Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames & Demons by Paul Dini & Bruce Timm, the people responsible for the extremely cool Batman: The Animated Series. This book is a collection of all the comic book stories they've done, including "Mad Love," the origin of Harley Quinn.

Monday, October 20, 2003

It was a busy weekend for me when it comes to movies.

Friday night, Michael & I went over to Bill's house to help him break in his new 42" plasma TV. We watched The Attic Expeditions (which I had been warned off seeing when it was featured in the 2001 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival; it wasn't as bad as I feared) and The Matrix Reloaded (like Michael, I don't see why people had such problems with this movie; I liked it better than the first one in the series).

Saturday I went to seeKill Bill, v.1 with Michael. About what I expected; pretty good (if horrendously violent) stuff.

On Sunday I saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Enjoyed this quite a bit, but all the plotting became a little too Byzantine for my tastes.

Will post about books later.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Cool! A Dr. Who personality test.
The Second Doctor
You are the Second Doctor: Affable, impish, and
fond of simple pleasures as well as simple
pranks. Your mischievous exterior camouflages a
powerful mind and a great deal of courage.
Although you care nothing for appearances, you
place a high value on the bonds of true and
lasting friendship.

Which Incarnation of the Doctor Are You?
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Since the last time I listed books read, I've finished
  • GURPS WWII: Weird War II, a role playing book about what the 2nd World War could have been like
  • Dragon Ball, v.12 (which I linked to earlier)
  • YuYu Hakusho, v.1 (ditto)
  • The Return of Lum: Sweet Reveng by Rumiko Takahashi, more manga checked out of the library
  • Fantastic Four: Unthinkable by Mark Waid & Mike Weiringo. Some mighty fine superheroics here. The FF as they should be done.
  • The Return of Lum: Urusei Yatsura by Takahashi. I've been reading the Lum books out of sequence as that's how I've been getting them from the library
  • Blankets by Craig Thompson. Thompson's previous graphic novel, Goodbye, Chunky Rice garnered all sorts of praise, but it just didn't do much for me. This one hits a lot harder and is just fantastic. Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Haven't mentioned books in a while. I have decided not to continue listing every single book I purchase (I blame laziness), but only those about which I have something to say. For instance, I recently got Monstrous Regiment through work. It's Terry Pratchett's latest Discworld book. I was reading the cover blurbs and came across yet another comparison between Pratchett & Tolkein. (Or maybe it's just the same quote used over & over. I haven't looked that closely.) The only similarities between the two that I can see is that they're both male & English and that their writings contain fantastic elements. The Discworld books are fundamentally about people, and Middle Earth was Tolkein's attempt to create a mythology for Britain. The only thing I can think of is that the reviewers that make these comparisons don't read SF or fantasy & so Tolkein is the only name they can come up with. (Or perhaps they think it's the only name the public will recognize.)

Another recent acquisition: Stray Toasters by Bill Seinkeiwicz (not linked because Amazon only has the out of print Marvel/Epic edition from 1991). So glad this is back in print. I've been kicking myself for not buying the previous edition for over 10 years now. Damn, I wish Seinkeiwicz still did as much comics work as he used to. But I'm sure other venues offer him much better pay.

Today, another book I ordered through work arrived. (I've accelerated my orders since I know this resource will be going away soon, and there are so many books I want.) The Sandman: King of Dreams by Alisa Kwitney. It looks like an interesting exploration of the comic series, although a hefty chunk of the book seems to be taken up with full-page reproductions of pages from the comics with no commentary. If you're buying this book, presumably you already own the graphic novels, so what's the point of the reprints?

I'm still reading Lolita. This is the first time I've read any Nabokov. I'm finding Humbert very creepy and wondering how much of his narrative I can trust. I am also glad that the cover is subdued. I do most of my reading on the bus, and considering the reputation this book has, I am happy that I'm not reading an edition that advertises to everybody "Hey, this guy's reading that dirty book about the child molester!" I haven't seen either of the movie adaptations, and I wonder how they handle the unreliable narrator problem in the different medium. I'll have to watch one or both after I finish the book.

I've also read a few graphic novels that I'll mention later.

Two recent acquisitions: Wings of Desire purchased from my Gold Box (one of the exceedingly few times I've found something that I even considered buying) and Muppets Magic: From the Ed Sullivan Show, an early birthday gift from Gemma & Dee. (Thanks!) It was interesting watching these early skits. Several of them were redone a decade latter for The Muppet Show. There's one piece in particular (about a lizard eating worms) I remember. I thought "Boy, that lizard looks like Kermit." And, sure enough, the original version featured the familiar frog (even if he wasn't as familiar then).

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Another personality test.

I amShub-Niggurath!

Shub-Niggurath is often called the "Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young", and is the force of creation, life, evolution/mutation. She represent the force of the one universal constant (ie change) on the biological. She is often envisioned as a dark, low lying cloud, with goat's hooves with numerous tenticals writhing from within. Her rites are best performed during a New Moon, or on Mid-Summer's Eve.

Which Great Old One are you?
Hmm. I am finding that the times I want to update this page are not the times when I can. Maybe it's time to re-think the whole not having a computer at home thing.

Saw just about everything that played at this years H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, including Beyond Re-Animator, The Shunned House, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, and The Eldritch Influence, not to mention numerous shorts. Lots of bad films (as expected) & a few good ones. I especially liked the last two features named, an animated adapation & a documentary, respectively. I was looking forward to them and probably should have not saved them for the final 2 movies of the weekend. Dream Quest is a little slow, and I was quite tired by the time I saw it. I would have liked it better if I'd been more alert. I also enjoyed The Stone Tape, a BBC production from 1972 that felt a bit like a Doctor Who story from that time, or possibly a Quatermass story.

Other than HPL films, I watched several other movies this weekend, including Tron, which was the first time I'd seen it. Pretty good. And now I finally get what South Park's version of Moses is a reference to. Tron was my final Netflix movie for the year. I cancelled my subscription because the new tv season is starting (even though I'm only watching a few shows). This will give me a chance to watch some of the many DVDs I actually own.

Also watched this weekend: Spy Kids (checked out of the library) and The Goonies, another movie made long ago that I'd never seen before. I enjoyed it (at least once the kids got into the caves), but I don't think I would have if I'd seen it when it came out. In 1985, I'd have thought it was too young for me.

More later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Yet another posting that doesn't have anything to do with books or movies, but I need a place to put things like this up. I took the "What SF character are you?" quiz and came up as Marcus from Babylon 5

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Will post information about the many movies I watched at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and the many books I bought at a comic convention later.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Going to the opening night of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival tonight.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Yeah, this doesn't have anything to do with the themes for this page, but I just had to share:
This site is certified 42% EVIL by the Gematriculator
Last night I watched a couple of documentaries, courtesy of Netflix:
The Directors: Terry Gilliam and If I Should Fall from Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story . They were okay, but neither went into the depth I would have liked. The Gilliam one was short (1 hour), and the background info was pretty sparse, but the interviews (with Gilliam & actors from his movies) were good. The MacGowan piece was more interesting (possibly because I just knew less about him to start with).

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Just got a couple more books that I ordered through work: YuYu Hakusho, v.1 by Yoshihiro Togashi and Dragon Ball, v.12 by Akira Toriyama. More manga.

(You may be wondering why the book titles are links. I have joined the Amazon Associates program. If you decide you want to own any of the items I list here, you can just follow the link, & it will take you to, where you can purchase them. {And if you do, I'll get a percentage of the money. Yes, it's a means of begging, but at least it's a fairly unobtrusive one.})

Watched Spirited Away last night over at A's. Beautiful, sweet movie. I really love it. But I do wonder about some aspects of it: Are they just strangeness, or are they references to Japanese culture/myths/etc. that I just don't get. I especially wonder about the 3 heads & Noh-(No-?)Face. Guess it's time to hit Google.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Started Lolita this morning (for The Usual Suspects book club). Not far enough into it to have an opinion yet.

2 books I ordered through work came in today: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson and Alias, v.3: The Underneath by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. The latter is a collection of the comic book series; no relation to the TV show.
A roleplaying book I won on eBay, Deadlands: Hell on Earth: The Wasted West, arrived in the mail on Friday.

I read a couple more The Return of Lum books (from the library) yesterday: Trouble Times Ten and Ran Attacks! These stories are probably the weakest of Rumiko Takahashi's work that I've seen. Still pretty good, though.

Over the weekend, I watched 7 Faces of Dr. Lao and Go, both checked out of the library.

Friday, October 03, 2003

I watched Novocaine last night, courtesy of Netflix. Quite liked it. But then it's a noirish dark comedy about a dentist, and it stars Steve Martin. What's not to like? I wish he'd make more movies like this & fewer ones like Bringing Down the House. I wonder just how he decides which roles to accept. But much as I enjoyed the movie, it finally killed off my crush on Helena Bonham Carter.

I'm currently reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, vol. 10: The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket. This series continues to get better & better. Very funny stuff, especially the definition of Sunny Baudelaire's word "Busheney." Either read the book (recommended) or email me for that definition.

Recently I read For Better or Curse, a Lum collection by Rumiko Takahashi. Light & fluffy manga.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Yesterday, influenced by sale prices and triple points for the frequent buyer's club, I purchased
    New DVDs
  • Red Dwarf, series 1
  • Red Dwarf, series 2
  • The Osbournes, season 2

Went to see Luther last night. Overall I liked it. It seemed (from what I remember from college) fairly historically accurate. Although there were certain scenes & details that were clearly there to make the story more movie-like.
Until I saw his name in the opening credits, I had had no idea Peter Ustinov was still alive.

Yesterday I read Epicurus the Sage by William Messner-Loebs & Sam Keith. Humorous graphic novel about Greek philosophers & gods. Glad to see these stories back in print.
Also read Promethea, bk. 4 by Alan Moore & J.H. Williams III. Who'd have thought that a treatise on magic could be disguised a comic book? Well, if anybody could pull it off, it's Moore; and he has. This collection contains the 2nd half of Promethea's trip up the Sephiroth (the Tree of Life from Kabbala [sp?]). Great stuff.