Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Here's a couple personality quizzes (swiped from Gemma) that are completely off-base for me:
You're a natural born trouble-maker. You hate authority and do everything you can to get around the law, or in some cases, break it. Naturally stubborn, you hardly ever sway once a decision is made. Your nature is fiery and courageous, and always out-going. You love attention and usually have kinky fetishes you're not afraid to explore. People either love you or hate you.

What Type of Soul Do You Have ?
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Gabriel. You're most like the ArchAngel of Communication, in charge of things like telephones, libraries, internet, and the 411 phone menu. You're organised and are not shy about inflicting that organisation on others.

Which ArchAngel are you most like?
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Stubborn? Out-going? Organized? Not very likely.
Last night I volunteered at the Hollywood Theater, but there was a scheduling mix-up, and there were two volunteers there. That's too many for a Monday night. They're pretty quiet, despite being cheap (only $3). So I got to see a movie, The Taxidermist, an Italian film (translated some places as The Embalmer). It was pretty good to start with, but about halfway through, it slowed way down & made some turns I really didn't like. In the end I hated it. My disparaging of the movie led to the other volunteer deciding not to see the second showing.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Read some more graphic novels this weekend.
  • Buddha, vol. 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy. I've got no idea how Buddhists feel about this, since Tezuka adds some characters, but it's a damn good story, well told. I hope the library gets the other volumes of this in soon.
  • YuYu Hakusho, v.2 by Yoshihiro Togashi. More manga.
  • Out of curiosity, I checked Left Behind Graphic Novel, v.1, bk. 1 out of the library.
  • And getting away from graphic novels (for a while anyway), this morning I startedDude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore. Now this is the kind of propaganda I like.
I saw lots of movies this weekend. On Friday, some friends & I gathered to watch the extended editions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Great stuff, but 7 hours is a lot of time to spend watching movies. I also watched Sex and Lucia and Chris Rock - Bring the Pain. Both of those were checked out of the library. Also, I bought and watched most of Space Ghost Coast to Coast. And Teena & I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl yesterday.

That's enough for now. Books later.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Parental warning: This post contains harsh language.

I just learned that, barring unforeseen circumstances, my last day at work will be December 24th.

Merry fucking Christmas.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I've been reading graphic novels over the past few days.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike & Dru by Christopher Golden & various artists. This is a collection of stories, one of which was co-written by James Marsters, the actor who plays Spike. It's okay, but I can't really hear the characters' voices when I read the stories, so it doesn't feel much like an extension of the tv show.
  • The Courageous Princess by Rod Espinosa. This very sweet story draws on fairy tales to tell a new story, sort of like Fables by Bill Willingham or Castle Waiting by Linda Medley, but this book is aimed at a younger audience than the other two.
  • The Matrix Comics by a variety of writers & artists. Pretty good. I'd say the best piece in this collection is the prose story by Neil Gaiman.
  • Creature Tech by Doug TenNapel. I liked this, but I'm not sure how to describe it. Quite odd.
  • Swamp Thing: Reunion written by Alan Moore & illustrated by various artists. DC has finally finished collecting Moore's run on Swamp Thing. It took them long enough. For years I'd been saying that they should reprint all of his stories. If it weren't for Moore paving the way, demonstrating that mainstream comics could be well-written, DC wouldn't have hired Neil Gaiman, and we'd never have seen Sandman.

I just want to say that Amazon's new "search books' text" feature can be annoying. When looking for The Courageous Princess, it turned up thousands of results. Too many options can be just as limiting as too few.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Well, the Ready to Wear videotape seems to have really fouled up my VCR. It won't play, record, rewind, fast-forward, or even eject the tape that's in it now. No more time-shifting for me. And I find that the only things I'm really going to miss are Angel and The Daily Show. That's something; I don't appear to be quite as addicted to TV as I thought.

Still, a VCR rockets to the top of my Christmas wish list.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Before I get to the books I read over the weekend, I feel I should mention some strangeness that happened when I updated this morning. After I hit the "post & publish" button, I went to check out how the site looked, but instead of my weblog, I got what appeared to be an Arabic-language bondage site. I didn't stick around long enough to confirm that. I update this site during my breaks at work, and the sight of a woman wearing (is that the right term?) a ball-gag was enough for me to shut the window. In the few seconds I had that site up, it looked like the URL was correct for this weblog, so I've got no idea what happened. Everything seems fine now. Very weird.

Read several graphic novels over the weekend:
  • Human Target by Peter Milligan & Edvin Biukovic
  • Dragon Ball, v.13 and
  • Dragon Ball Z, v.13 both by Akira Toriyama.
  • One Piece, v.1: Romance Dawn by Eiichiro Oda. Piraty fun.
  • Joan, Book 1 by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. This is the story of Joan of Arc, but we see it through they eyes of another young woman dressing as a man. It's set a few years after Joan's execution. I'm not quite sure what to make of this yet. But I like it enough that I'll be checking out the other volumes from the library.
Movies, TV, etc.
So on Friday, Teena & I went over to Harmony & Topher's place to watch more Sports Night. We got through 8 episodes this time. I adore this show, and I especially like Joshua Malina's character, Jeremy. But then I sort of identify with him. Of course, my nerd energy is directed in more traditionally geeky pursuits (comic books, science fiction & fantasty, etc.) instead of sports, and I'm definitely not as witty a conversationalist as he is. But he's a character in an Aaron Sorkin tv show, so there's no shame in that. (One of the complaints I've heard about Sports Night and The West Wing is that "people don't really talk like that." To which my response is: "No. But wouldn't it be great if they did?") We'll be watching more episodes as soon as possible. Unfortunately I don't think that will be until December.

I tried to watch Pret a Porter/Ready to Wear last night. However, the tape I checked out of the library wasn't in the best of condition. Towards the end of the movie, the tape started sticking. Finally it just stopped entirely (and got stuck in my VCR for a while), so I don't know what happens after the La Fontaine "show." Of course, it's not like there was a plot to follow, but I would like to know what happens to the characters.

Friday, November 14, 2003

A few new purchases
  • Down from the Mountain, a concert film featuring songs & performances from O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Lilith Fair (I don't need to explain what this is, do I?)
  • Cowboy Bebop Actually, what I bought was a 3-disc set that Amazon doesn't carry. I bought it off eBay for $19 & $12 shipping. The shipping seemed rather expensive until the package arrived & I saw that it had been shipped from Hong Kong. I haven't watched this yet, but I popped disc 1 into the player last night to see if it was the same dubbing job I know & like from Adult Swim, and it is. I'm wondering if I bought a bootleg, but the packaging is quite nice (and considering how little I paid, I don't think I'll be investigating too closely).
Went to see Lost in Translation with Gretchin & Sven last night. I was a little apprehensive going in. I'd heard so many good things about the movie from so many sources (although I did make an effort to avoid details) that I was concerned it couldn't possibly live up to the expectations I had for it.

I needn't have worried. It was great. Bill Murray is just wonderful in it, as is Scarlett Johansson. If you haven't seen this yet, I highly recommend it. It's the best movie I've seen in quite a while.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Finally finished Bushwhacked yesterday. Also read The Authority, bk. 1: Relentless by Warren Ellis & Bryan Hitch. What if superheroes decided to police the world? Pretty good, but still a little too mainstream-superhero-ish for me. (Not that I don't enjoy good mainstream superheroes, but if you're going to stretch the boundaries, why not go all the way?) I like Ellis's work, but nothing except Transmetropolitan really clicks for me; it's as if it's almost, but not quite, where it should be. This morning I started New X-Men, v.2 written by Grant Morrison & illustrated by various artists. When I stopped reading "The Uncanny X-Men" back around 1988-89, I didn't think anything would bring me back to the comic. I was wrong. Morrison is one of my favorite comic writers. I love his take on the X-Men, which odder than his run on "Justice League" but not as odd as things like "Doom Patrol" and "The Invisibles," which I think is appropriate.

Last night I watched What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Man, Bette Davis was creepy in that movie. And I purchased Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Looking forward to watching that, but I may save it for the Suspects TV nights & when we finish watching Sports Night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Watched eXistenZ last night. Two science fiction movies with Jude Law in two days. I liked it quite a bit, but I wonder if Cronenberg talked to anybody that actually works with computer role playing games before writing the screenplay. It's been a while since I've seen a Cronenberg movie (I think the last one I saw was Naked Lunch in the theater), so I'd forgotten how disturbing some of his imagery can be. Creepy good stuff.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Yet another personality quiz.

lou reed
You're Lou Reed.
God, you are cool, can I touch you so the magic will rub off?
You are perceptive, witty, and badass. You wear cool shades, even at night, and probably wear black more than most people. You don't give a fuck what other people think, but you are also very sensitive in the way that you pick up on things that others don't. Sometimes you come off as an asshole, but that's what makes you cool. You are a poet, and you embody New York City. You will still be hip when you are old, and artists love you.

Which rad old school 70's glam icon are you? (with pics)
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Cool! Doesn't seem at all accurate, but hey, Lou Reed!
Okay, when I said I'd finish up Bushwhacked over the weekend, I clearly had forgotten that I would be going to the comic book store & pick up stuff from the past 2 weeks. Purchases from there, books I'd ordered through work, and other library books made up my reading over the weekend.
  • Blueprint for Disaster by Darby Conley. This is the latest Get Fuzzy collection. Wonderful stuff.
  • I Want to Be the Kitty by Patrick McDonnell. The latest Mutts collection. More comic strip goodness.
  • Moby Dick adapted by Will Eisner. Eisner is the grandmaster of comics, but his last few projects haven't done much for me. Probably because they're aimed at children.
  • 100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Crime comics. I like this, but not enough to buy it. Which is why I check it out of the library.
  • Sigil, v. 3: The Lizard God by Mark Waid & Scot Eaton. Science fiction comics. Eh.

Watched a few things over the weekend.

  • Devil's Playground, a documentary about Amish youth and rumspringa, the period of time after their 16th birthday when they are released from the rules of Amish society so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to join the church. Fascinating stuff.
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a film by Pedro Almodovar. At first I didn't much care for this, but I warmed up to it by the end.
  • Gattaca. Finally saw this movie. There were parts of it that stretched my willingness to suspend disbelief, but generally I quite liked it.

Also, watched some TV: 4 epsiodes from the 1st season of Alias. Man this show moves fast. Also finished watching the 1st season of Sex & the City. Ultimately I liked it more than I did at first, but there were enough episodes I absolutely hated that I won't bother watching any more of this show.

And I actually went to a theater to see a movie: The Matrix Revolutions. A lot of people hate this movie. I liked it fine, but then I didn't expect all that much going in. Sometimes diminished expectations are a good thing.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Yet another personality test:
You are Neo
You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You display a perfect fusion of heroism and compassion.

What Matrix Persona Are You?
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Oooookay. If I'm the Chosen One, I'm a little concerned. On the other hand, I'm about as good at expressing emotion as Keanu Reaves.

I'm currently reading Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America by Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose. It's excellent but depressing as hell. I should finish this up over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The copy of Fugitives & Refugees I ordered through work arrived today. Now that I own a copy I can mark up, I can really get started on using it for excursions around town. First up, Shanghai tunnels!
Completely forgot to mention that I recently purchased The Lion King, Disney's version of Hamlet.
edited to add that I'm about to purchase Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere from Amazon (and find out if the Amazon Associates program works when I make the purchase).

Also, on Friday I went over to John, Bryan, & Becca's to watch horror movies. We flipped channels for a while, then we watched "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie," the shorts that come as part of the extras on the The Nightmare Before Christmas DVD. Then Alex came over & we watched Phantasm, a movie I had never seen before, but I remembered the tagline from 1979: "If this one doesn't scare you, you're already dead!" It was actually pretty good. The characters may not have been the brightest bunch, but they weren't horror-movie-stupid (you know, the person who goes to investigate the noise coming from the basement with a candle & no matches). And the kid who was the main character is pretty damn resourceful. Plus, there were references to Dune!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

For a while now, I've been curious about Sex & the City, so I checked the first season out of the library. I watched the 1st four episodes last night. I hated the first episode, but by the time I got to the 4th, it had grown on me somewhat. I'm still not sure if I'll watch the rest of the season. But the show definitely reinforces the showbiz stereotype that only beautiful people have sex.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Yesterday I watched Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), which I had checked out of the library. It's the movie that Vanilla Sky (which I haven't seen) is based on. The movie didn't do much for me. It was okay, but nothing spectacular.

Finished up Monstrous Regiment on Friday & then read several graphic novels over the weekend:

Also this weekend I created a couple new mix CDs. Ever since I got access to a CD burner, I've considered re-doing one of my very first mix tapes "Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll" in the new format. I finally did it. Instead of one side per theme, it's one CD. If you go to The Art of the Mix and use the advanced search option to look for mixes by PhilipF, you'll find this weekend's work (along with my other mixes).