December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, pretty mortals!


Twenty ten.

Two thousand and ten.

Just so we're clear, I'm still waiting for this...

So... get on that, science brains of the world.

December 24, 2009


December 16, 2009

Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies

10. Die Hard 2
9. Gremlins
8. The Muppet Christmas Carol
7. The Ref
6. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version)
5. Scrooged
4. Holiday Inn
3. Die Hard
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
1. White Christmas

Argue if you must, but these ten movies provide the framework for what Christmas is. Some genuine sentiment, song and dance, the actual spirits of Christmases past and future, laughs, one put-upon cop against the odds, creatures you can't feed after midnight, and boatloads of snow.

Honorable Mention

The Dead

VampireEditor's Note: After a pseudo-heated debate with Justin, The Addams Family was decreed not to be a Christmas movie despite the hot-tar-on-carolers scene at the start. But suck it, Justin, because I found a worthy Anjelica Huston substitute entry that is a viable Christmas movie in The Dead.

December 13, 2009

I finally met Craig Parker.

Three years too late, my friend. Three years too late.

But there is at least a sense of completion now. The quest I initially set out to accomplish has been accomplished. The villain vanquished, the princess rescued, the Ring destroyed, that kind of thing.

December 8, 2009

We got an Advent calendar from Balthazar's mother.

This is noteworthy because said calendar is not actually a calendar in the strictest definition of the word. It's comprised of individual stockings of various sizes made from bright red and green fabric. There are 24 stockings and inside each are two small wrapped gifts. So each day instead of opening a door on a calendar we pick a stocking, pull out two gifts, and open one each. It's incredibly cool.

The really interesting part is when the gifts are unwrapped. See, some are little laser pointers with different colored LEDs, some are gift cards for local stores, and some are lottery scratch cards. Nothing too out of the ordinary there. But some of the gifts turn out to be a bottle of Underberg (a German natural digestive aid) and three (so far) individually wrapped prunes.

Yep. Individually wrapped prunes.

The sheer randomness of the gifts makes it even more exciting every morning because not only might it be something cool, useful, or fun, it might be... a German digestive aid. Or a box of tacks. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!

And ultimately, that's the spirit of Christmas. SURPRISE. "Surprise! There's a fat man in a red suit sliding down your chimney!" Or "Surprise! You're going to be the mother of the messiah!"

December 2, 2009

f I wr a carefree kid agn, dis w%d B my nxt ^d8.
l%k, I dnt av NEfin agenst yth Xcpt their gramA.
n dey do nd 2 alight my lawn.

Oooh, I found a website that translates 'lingo' (or 'txt') to English and vice versa. So now I too can communicate with today's generation!

I think my brain just made it's escape out my left ear.

Here's the translation for the visual assault above:

If I were a carefree kid again, this would be my next update.
Look, I don't have anything against youth except their grammar.
And they do need to get off my lawn.


God I'm old.

And now the imagined Public Service Announcement!

Do you have a teen? Are you worried that you're out of touch with today's generation? Are you over the age of forty with a recently opened MySpace account? Do you need help deciphering text messages? Go here and let Lingo2Word help you fit in.

**Disclaimer: The Crypt is not affiliated with Lingo2Word or real-life teens nor does The Crypt endorse the wanton butchery of any language. The Crypt warns against the use of any form of communication that, by definition, offers the same 'benefits' as a lobotomy.**

November 24, 2009

Snapshot of a Vampire

It's 2.09 am.
The DVD player is quietly spinning a CSI disc on pause.
Janet Jackson's 'Sweet Dreams' is playing cheerily over the laptop speakers.
She is wearing a pink hoodie with a print of a fawn on it. She has no idea why she owns such an item but loves it in spurts and forgets she owns it in between.
She is wrestling with CV updates.
She is in the throes of a career crisis that begins to demand the CV updates.
She should be in bed but because she has a day off tomorrow she feels no pressing need to abandon the sweet peace of the dead of night.
She feels strangely calm about the future though it is more uncertain now than it has ever been.
It's 2.15 am.
The DVD player is still spinning that CSI disc.
'Sands Theme' from the Once Upon A Time In Mexico soundtrack is now playing.
She eats an Oreo.
She contemplates and rejects bed once more.
She will linger here, bathed in the light of the laptop, accompanied by the hum of the DVD, wrestling with more questions than answers, as long as she can because everything is possible at night and day only brings glare.
She yawns.
She posts this update.

November 16, 2009

I can't quit CSI. I'm a junkie. It's my eyeball crack. How can it possibly still be entertaining when I can identify not only the crime but the forensic solution and guilty party before the opening credits of every episode? I don't know. But there it is: a conundrum. It has ceased to be about solving crime for me. It has evolved into something else entirely. A moody blue-lit happy place.

To maintain diversity I've expanded into repeated viewings of Janet Jackson's 'All For You' and 'The Velvet Rope' concert DVDs. My god... like a moth to a flame, burned by the fire... That's the Way Love Goes... Alright? I forgot how much a part of my teen years 'Rhythm Nation' and Janet were. And now I'm bringing them forward, baby! Janet's got a number ones album dropping around November 22nd and I will be purchasing a copy. A whole new generation will come to understand that she is more than Nipplegate. She is all about Control of the Pleasure Principle and just so you know, her first name ain't baby, it's Janet... Miss Jackson if you're nasty.

Don't start. I can't hear you anyway, I'm in my happy place.

November 14, 2009

Allocate: To set apart for a special purpose; designate: allocate a room to be used for storage.

Seating: of or pertaining to seats or those who are sitting: the seating plan of a theater.

Today I was enforcing the idea of allocated seating at work (a cinema), a notion many people either simply cannot grasp the nuance of or simply take outright offense to. I generally sway these people to my way of thinking (and the standard for most cinemas, I might add) and ease them into their assigned seats with polite explanations and gentle persuasion topped with a cheerful smile and 'thank you'.

Today, though, I was called 'rude', an 'insolent little minx', an 'aggressive dog', and a 'nazi'. All by the same old lady who generally felt that paying her senior's discount price entitled her to sit wherever she wanted and behave like an ill-bred ferret the entire time.

Some days you just shouldn't get out of bed, you know? Because some days the scoreboard of life will only read...
World: 1
Gabrielle: 0

November 9, 2009

Portrait of a Lady

She's growing her hair. Again. She has a new fondness for mint Aeros. She's watching Joan Jett's 'I Hate Myself For Loving You' video. She's procrastinating on any number of writing projects she could be starting/finishing/editing/pondering. She loves her boyfriend. She misses her family. And her friends back home. She's often sick of being financially trapped on this island nation. She's itching to travel again. She no longer looks forward to Christmas. She does look forward to Mondays, though, because neither she nor her boyfriend usually work Monday mornings which means coffee and 'The Big Bang Theory' over breakfast. She likes the little things more than the big ones. She can't decide whether to paint her nails black or red. She recently started doing crunches. Too recently to determine results. She's a lady... whoa oh oh she's a lady... talking about this little lady... she listens to Tom Jones without irony or shame. She's thirty-four. And doesn't feel a day over sixty. Or six. Depending on the week.

November 5, 2009

Remember the time I updated regularly? Well the way you make me feel when you comment significantly contributes to updates. So give in to me, will you? Just take a good look at the man in the mirror and decide, will you be there for me?

(This update unofficially brought to you by the letters M, J, and the number 5. That is all.)

Also, word of the day: interfrastically. Tell me where it comes from and I'll give you a hug.

October 27, 2009

Vampires are the new black.

Every generation or so, vampires seem to make a comeback. It's not that they ever go away (they are, after all, undead) but they fade out of popular mythology and then are resurrected after a fashion by some new take on the old legends.

For a long time Anne Rice wore the mantle of Queen of the vampires and her Vampire Chronicles ushered in a new era for the bloodsucker: one of eroticism, reflections, eternal angst, rock gods, and cultural awareness. The argument that her vampires were too romantic, too materialistic, and too beautiful was often made by detractors and it's true that physical ugliness did not prowl eternity in her books and the vampires more or less lived enviably lavish lifestyles full of mansions and money. But the one thing they still were, despite the lifestyle upgrades, were drinkers of blood. In their own ways they were still monstrous. They fed on blood, they craved it, it kept them young and fed their erotic desires, and they preyed relentlessly on mortals. Mortals caught a vampire's more enduring fancy to their ultimate demise: Louis was created by Lestat as Lestat was created by Magnus - the young and beautiful were fair game to be beloved by an immortal and then turned just as swiftly into a like companion. All other mortals were prey to one degree or another. Rice's vampires either grasped at some semblance of morality, like Lestat, by feeding only on killers and criminals, or they considered the seething entirety of humanity to be fair game for their insatiable appetites, like Akasha. Whatever else she embued them with they were still essentially classic vampires. Creatures of the night. Drinkers of blood. The immortal undead.

Vampires have made yet another calculated move back into popular relevance, this time largely at the hands of Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame. Every time someone re-invents the vampiric wheel there are loyalists to cry foul. Those that found Bram Stoker's version of the undead to be the best literary account would have balked at the materialistic androgynous eroticism of Rice's pantheon of immortal beauties. But before Stoker left his indelible mark upon the mythos in 1897, there was John Polidori's The Vampyre in 1819. And before that any number of poems on the subject and before that all the disparate legends and superstitions about the dead rising to feed upon the blood of the living that pepper the histories of cultures as distinct as Colombia, Southeast Asia, and Persia besides the European nations famously tied to vampire lore such as Romania. Though Bram Stoker's Dracula is widely held as the quintessential vampire novel, the folklore that birthed the vampire is so widespread and, in fact, common, that it opens itself naturally to a continual rebirth as every new author or filmmaker puts their spin on a classic tale. In that way, Stephenie Meyer's take on vampires is no less valid than Anne Rice's whose own re-imagining is no better or worse than Lord Byron's poetic take in The Giaour. It is somewhat disingenuous for a self-professed student of vampire lore to dismiss out of hand a spin on vampires simply because it is modern or different. After all, what of The Hunger? How does that rendering of vampirism fit in with the more classic mythology? And yet I consider it an important film in the genre.

But what Twilight and the spate of very modern vampires seem to embrace now is a disregard for that which makes the vampire so intrinsically fascinating and, in fact, vampiric to begin with. Namely a sense of the monstrous. Vampires are monsters in the most sweeping generalized use of the term. They may wrestle with eternal ideas of good and evil, like Rice's Lestat, and they may desire a more moral approach to the nature that drives them but all incarnations thus far have found them unable to escape the constraints of their basic reality. They are trapped in darkness, literally and figuratively; prowling the night for life to feed upon. It is this essential monstrous quality that Meyer has done away with, creating her vampiric Cullen clan in the image of ethical vegetarians who want only to blend in with humanity. The Cullens do not, as a rule, drink the blood of the living but feed instead upon the blood of animals. The Cullen 'siblings' still attend school though Edward is over one hundred years old. They avoid sunlight not because it will turn them to ash, as is the case in most vampire lore of note, but because their flesh sparkles gorgeously in direct sunlight. So the romance between Edward and the mortal Bella becomes one without the necessary element of monstrous danger. Certainly Edward can smell her blood and desire it but he is accustomed to living without it, to feeding on substitutes, and to being a part of humanity in their daylight hours and more or less on their terms. It robs vampires of the vicious dark quality that so marks all their other incarnations: try to imagine feeling as threatened if Lucy Westenra had been seduced by a sparkling vegetarian high schooler instead of Dracula in wolf form. The subsequent wooing of Mina Harker would have held much less frightening power if the only danger to her was falling in love and one day, perhaps, voluntarily joining her husband in glittery immortal beauty. Vampires today have been neutered. They have been de-fanged and given a PG rating. They are little better than brooding stalker-ish matinee idol boyfriends to the young and restless.

It is this disregard for the essential truth of what makes a vampire that bothers me the most. Every generation now has it's vampire lore. The 80s had Kiefer Sutherland and The Lost Boys. The 90s had Buffy keeping vampire hordes at bay in sunny California. But children of this millennium are being done a great disservice because they can't fear their vampires, they can only swoon over them. So though it is perhaps disingenuous to cry foul at Meyer's wantonly successful Twilight series, I do. I weep for the sanitizing of once magnificent creatures just to make them palatable for the tween set. Vampires deserve better.

One day they will rise again, fangs and blood lust intact, outraged.
I hope it's soon.

October 23, 2009

You know how they say 'the more things change, the more they stay the same'? Yeah. Well. Nowadays it's 'the more things change, the more Hollywood remakes can be made of the same damn thing over and over until you want to eat your own eyeballs'.

Cases in point:

1. The A-Team

Original cast circa 1983 - George Peppard (RIP), Dirk Benedict, Mr. T, and Dwight Schultz.
Purported new cast circa 2009 - Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Rampage Jackson, and Sharlto Copley.

2. Strawberry Shortcake

As she appeared in the 80s...


3. Fame


4. Monopoly
1935 - Deluxe First Edition
1996 - Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition
2000 - Millennium Edition
2001 - Pokemon Edition
2006 - World Cup Edition
2011 - Untitled Monopoly Project (Movie Edition)

5. Batman
1939 - the Bat-Man, DC Comics
1966 - Batman, TV, Adam West
1989 - Batman, Movie, Michael Keaton
1992 - Batman: The Animated Series, TV, Kevin Conroy
2005 - Batman Begins, Movie, Christian Bale

6. Psycho
1960 - Psycho, Film, Alfred Hitchcock
1998 - Psycho, Film, Gus Van Sant

Nothing is taboo.
Nothing is sacred.
Nothing lasts forever so remake it, baby, because nobody remembers anything from, like, a decade ago.

You will live to see the re-animated corpse of your childhood re-staged at least once every decade or so until you die. Or Hollywood stops eating it's own young. Or the Apocalypse. Whichever comes first.

October 18, 2009

I can't take credit for this (it's a gem from commenter demmagog) but I laughed out loud when I saw it. If the straight piece from Tetris had a gmail account, this is what his inbox would look like.

I know, right? It's so true. Stupid straight piece.

October 17, 2009

This probably falls under the heading of 'things that are only funny to me'.

I randomly did a Google image search for "New Zealand wild animals" (I was bored) and this is what came up:

Oh yeah, it's a possum. And they're not even native, folks! WILD.

October 15, 2009

Look at all the deliciously ghoulish, ghastly, and otherwise glorious Halloween-y events happening in my home Crypt of dEdmonton this month!

I know we must adapt to our foreign homes, the homes we adopt like wayward kittens along the roadside of life, and the ones in which new traditions are forged and new epiphanies are had. That is the beauty of moving through this big small world and exploring all the wonderful wild places there are to see. I know my adopted home is delicious in many ways. And I love it here.

But every October and every December I die a little bit inside because if there are three ways in which New Zealand can never compare, ever, to my adored homeland of Canada, it is in these:
1. No central heating.
2. No Halloween.
3. No winter Christmas.

They don't do Halloween here. They just don't. They call it "an American thing". The 31st of October passes with nary a blip on anyone's radar. The occasional drunken reveler will turn up in a costume on the street and the odd bar will have a skeleton in the window and 'Thriller' will be played more often than not but that's it. And then it's over. And then they turn their collective attention to gearing up for a swimsuit-and-beach BBQ Christmas. And I die - I DIE - a little more inside every October and every December.

I want the ghoul-infested, costume-choked, fog-enshrouded, squeal-inducing, door-to-door trick-or-treating, cobweb-strung, dead-raising, creepy kooky mysterious spooky glory that Halloween is intended to be. And then I want boatloads of fucking snow - I mean dump it down - and a Christmas with frosted window panes and roaring fires and Christmas carols and towering pine trees and snowmen and Santa in a goddamn reindeer sleigh zipping through the icy night from chimney to chimney.

I'm not asking for the world. I just want my Jack-O-Lanterns followed by my Jack Frost. That's it. (And central heating.) And then happily ever after. The end.

October 12, 2009

At one of my (four? five?) jobs they are hosting an event wherein you can listen to talks given by directors and editors of local films. It's called 'Cinezoo'. Somebody called today for information and concluded the conversation by asking why it's called Cinezoo. So I said "Um, because there are a menagerie of films represented?".

I know that still doesn't top the time I told some halfwit hooplehead in line at the movie theatre that Steven Seagal's Fire Down Below was about gonorrhea.

Though a close second would be when I informed a woman who wanted her year-long gift certificates renewed for another year because "you weren't showing anything I wanted to watch all year" that her lack of taste wasn't really my problem so no, I wouldn't renew them.

If there was an Olympian goddess of customer service, I would so be her.

October 1, 2009

I don't want to weigh in on popular media things that are, categorically, none of my damn business and that couldn't possibly have involved me even I'd (insanely) wanted them to. I don't want to be one of those commentators with a nugget or two of information and an otherwise wildly ill-informed opinion based totally on emotional response and general assumption. I don't want to comment on this. I don't want to get into the proverbial fray. I don't want to say things I'll be taken to task for or, alternatively, take people to task for things that have been said. I don't want to stick my nose in. I don't want to assume I know better. I don't want to overtly judge. I'm beginning to feel like Lloyd Dobler: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that." I really have tried to avoid it, you know? I mean here, in The Crypt. I've worked hard to avoid it even though a Crypt favorite keeps on getting name-dropped into the middle of the mess and so on and so forth. I don't want to throw my hat into the ring.

But there are three things that must be said for the record, on the record, speaking now before forever holding my peace, to get them off my chest, to be heard, etc. So I'll just say them. And then we can all go back to just, you know, living without this in our lives because really, honestly, it affects so few of us on an actual reality-based daily basis that it seems just silly to have to say out loud that it should be left to the law at this point. Begin.

1. Thirteen is still, legally, psychologically, and within the structure of western society, a child's age. You can't drive yourself around at thirteen, you can't legally buy alcohol at thirteen, you can't legally buy drugs at thirteen, you can't vote at thirteen, and you can't legally have sex at thirteen. So even if you claim a thirteen year old looks twenty-five and voluntarily gave you a lap-dance while talking up her favorite tried-and-true kama sutra positions, you, as an adult, can not legally (I'm speaking strictly legally to avoid rants) have sex with her. If you do then legally it is rape. Which means you would be a rapist. A child rapist. Period.

2. It is entirely possible to separate the personal from the professional. It is possible, for example, to live comfortably in a house built by a paroled murderer without specifically condoning murder. It's a complicated thing to know what a person does in their private life because it does tend to flow over and taint their professional lives which doesn't need to be the case. Justice needs to be served, the law upheld, moral obligations met, ethical concerns considered but when push comes to shove it is still possible to separate man from myth, art from artist, person from preference, do you see what I'm saying? You can, if you wish, still enjoy a painting by a pedophile if said painting is not on the subject of pedophilia. You can read books written by misogynists. It is possible to separate the product from the person. You don't have to but you can. Don't misread me: I'm not saying to be deliberately blind to all things involved in a product nor am I saying nothing matters if you like something enough. I am merely pointing out that if the thing in the private life of the artist that offends is not present in the public art, you are capable of choosing to separate the two.

3. The law is an entity unto itself that must be served. At some point crimes duly prosecuted must be paid for in the manner decreed by the justice system in play. On crimes for which there is no statute of limitations, "it was so long ago" is not a defense. The act was done, the law enforced, and if the sentence was not handed over in a timely fashion it must still be honored when it finally is. That's the point of a statute of limitations and that's the point of upholding any sort of legal system. To honor it. To work within it. And to not assume that personal character claims and individual specialties will matter an iota to the grinding wheel of whatever justice is due to be doled out.

And that is the sum total of what thoughts I have on all counts. Points one and three speak to the criminal and crime committed. Point two speaks to the masses who seek to assuage their own guilt over having enjoyed the criminal's art by removing due legal retribution from the criminal.

I don't want to comment further. I think we should all step back and simply let what is coming come and the matter resolve itself legally so the parties involved can each move on in whatever way is open to them. In this case, opinion does not play. There are facts that can not, must not, be ignored and a legal proceeding that is long overdue. So let come what may.

September 27, 2009

September 26 to October 3 is Banned Books Week in America.

From the American Library Association website:
"Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States."

Does book banning still happen in today's society? The answer, surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly but sadly), is yes. Here is a photo, courtesy of the ALA website, of a handful of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books since 1990:

You'll notice such titles as 1984 by George Orwell, The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel, Uncle Tom's Cabin by by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury are in that stack. It's notably ironic that a book like Fahrenheit 451 would be challenged or banned since the novel concerns itself with the story of a future in which "anyone caught reading or possessing books is, at the minimum, confined to a mental hospital while the books are burned by the firemen" and the 'firemen' in this case are 'bookburners'. (The quote is pulled from Wikipedia.) As with George Orwell's 1984, books concerned with the subject of censorship seem to be favorite targets of those who challenge books for their suitability. But it may surprise you to learn that five of Judy Blume's books are also on the list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: Forever, Blubber, Deenie, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, and Tiger Eyes.

Classics are certainly not exempt. Book banning is something that has been plaguing society for nearly as long as books themselves have been important. Here are the first 25 on a list of Banned and Challenged Classics:
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
23. Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Winnie-the-Pooh? Really? What reasons could modern society have for wanting to remove books from library shelves? Why is there still a motion towards censorship? The reasons, as collected by the American Library Association, tend to follow like lines of thinking. In fact, the top three reasons offered were that
1. the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
2. the material contained "offensive language"
3. the materials was "unsuited to any age group"

Here is a sample of some of the reasons cited against Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (taken from the ALA website):

1984, George Orwell
Challenged in the Jackson County, FL (1981) because Orwell's novel is "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter." Source: 2004 Banned Books Resource Guide by Robert P. Doyle.

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Banned in Ireland (1932). Removed from classroom in Miller, MO (1980), because it made promiscuous sex "look like fun" and challenged frequently throughout the U.S. Challenged as required reading at the Yukon, Oklahoma High School (1988) because of "the book's language and moral content."

The Lord of the Rings
, JRR Tolkien
Burned in Alamagordo, N. Mex. (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic. Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 2002, p. 61.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Challenged in Eden Valley, Minn. (1977) and temporarily banned due to words "damn" and "whore lady" used in the novel. Challenged in the Vernon Verona Sherill, N.Y School District (1980) as a "filthy, trashy novel:" Challenged at the Warren, Ind.Township schools (1981) because the book does "psychological damage to the positive integration process " and "represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature:"

There are arguments on either side of every debate and the challenging and banning of books is no exception. There is a diverse cross-section of people and/or groups who challenge books and in many cases their intent does not seem to be suppression but rather protection - protection of children from amoral or frightening ideas, protection of children from negative language, or the removal of ideas which are perceived to have been outgrown and that might cause us as a society to regress. But it is my belief that no matter how 'pure' the intent, the answer to true freedom of thought and individual growth is the access to all ideas, no matter how challenging or even negative, so that by exposure to many schools of thought we may choose what is best from the vast collection of what we know. Literature at its best only reflects what is already in a society. Banning a book cannot eradicate the ideas that birthed the book in the first place. And it is in our ability, as a human race, to arm ourselves with knowledge of all kinds, on all things, and to use that knowledge not as a weapon but as a springboard for growth that is part of what sets us apart from animals and automatons. Should the ability to choose our own reading material be taken from us by a small group of well-intentioned but narrow-minded individuals? I think not. So to celebrate freedom of thought and the beauty of all works, negative or not, laced with profanity or not, Christian or not, magical or not, read through the ALA website to learn a little more about banned books and then choose one from the many lists to read this week.

For my part, I'll be revisiting Fahrenheit 451 and may follow it up with The Witches by Roald Dahl.

September 26, 2009

I had high tea on fine china with mini pink cupcakes today and I've been feeling wildly girly and vaguely romantic all afternoon as a result. So to indulge the unfamiliar sensations I'm posting one of the most lush Vogue features in very recent memory starring my favorite model, Coco Rocha, as Juliet in an opulent Romeo-and-Juliet-meet-haute-couture fantasy.

"Love of a Lifetime" US Vogue December 2008

September 24, 2009

The Daily Questions:

Why bloomers?
Are you qualified for that?
FIVE sugars?
Can't we watch something without Anjelica Huston in it?

Choose Your Own Randomly-Generated Answer:

Holy hell yes.
I interpret that as rhetorical madness.
Technically... no.
Why on earth not?

September 20, 2009

Yesterday Homie Bear reminisced about the journey we took together that started five years ago and from which I never returned. Visit Homie's Woods to see photos of our LOTR-themed adventures and to visit his blog archives where he tells all about the trip from home through the beauty of Malaysia to Singapore and finally through Middle-Earth. Or "New Zealand" as they like to call it here.

I won't re-invent the wheel by writing my own version. When it comes to giving a candid well-written glimpse into reality, Homie is The Man. Er, The Bear. Whatever.

But I will add to his retrospective. Just one thing.

That's Damian Lewis as Major Richard Winters and Ron Livingston as Captain Lewis Nixon in Band of Brothers. It's difficult to explain in any sort of concise form exactly what these characters meant to our journey. It's... you know, I'll let an excerpt of my journal do the talking here.

"September 17
Homie and I were discussing, as usual, Band of Brothers. We had just arrived in a crowded little pre-boarding lounge after a mad dash through US Customs with our bags. Twenty minutes from plane to plane is not a lot of time when you factor in angry Texans, disgruntled customs agents, and Chinese ladies walking on the baggage carousel. Pretty sure the 'KEEP OFF' sign wasn't referring to the floor. We did make it, however. ... we had a moment to sit and assess our boarding passes and discovered that Homie was assigned 13C while I had 13B. We decided to find Band of Brothers alter-egos beginning with 'B' and 'C'. We came up with Blithe and Carwood when the lanky sandal-wearing redhead opposite us joined in our conversation briefly. After boarding and sitting, Homie realized that our new friend was really far more Blithe than I so I became Buck and we told Blithe as he passed our row that we'd given him his own Band of Brothers name. He was genuinely honored. It was kind of funny. Much later we bumped into him again at the Malaysia Air counter. We are now a threesome until Kuala Lumpur and we share no names other than those of Easy Company. Buck, Carwood, and Blithe braving the trenches of LA before Carwood and I are dispatched to save orangutans and Blithe moves on to Mumbai. For now, though, we are one. (And I'm the ranking officer.)"

Then later...

"September 10
Over the second cup of seriously the most delicious coffee, Homie and I came to the all-important decision of promotion. Buck and Carwood were fine aliases during travel (what Homie refers to as the infantry portion of the trip) but now that we're arrived and in command of our own destinies, we need higher ranks. Thus Homie becomes Winters and I take on the identity of Nixon."

It was in no way meant to belittle the harrowing and fiercely inspiring stories told in Band of Brothers but in our own way was a small tribute. When you're far away from home on foreign soil with only your pack on your back, the bond that forms between you and your traveling companion is necessarily a close one. Homie and I were friends before we left but I daresay our travels gave us a better understanding of each other by far and definitely cemented that friendship in the kind of memories you only make when you are relying on each other for navigation and sanity. Winters and Nixon had a lot of adventures together in Malaysia and especially New Zealand where they enabled us to get un-lost in a wilderness of grass and rock formations and to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing besides.

Thanks for the memories, Homie! And, to quote Golden Girls, thank you for being a friend. (Look, they both focus on friendship, okay? It's a tenuous link but I think it's warranted.)

September 17, 2009

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze
1952 - 2009

Read 'Nobody Puts Swayze In The Corner: A Retrospective' for a lovely tribute to the man behind some of our fondest 80s memories. Farewell, Patrick.

September 13, 2009

I'm all packed. (I hate packing. I hate deciding a whole trip's worth of outfits at once. And one day I'm going to get a pendant of a kitchen sink so when somebody inevitably says 'I see you packed everything but the kitchen sink' I can quite honestly say 'Oh no, I have that too'.) Anyway, Balthazar and I are going on a road trip bright and early tomorrow morning with two friends. We'll only be gone until Thursday but the weather has turned gorgeous so it'll be fantastic. Everything is set. The chandelier and drum kit are already packed in the van.

I might have neglected to mention that the reason for the road trip is to stage Balthazar's jazz/theatre show about Chet Baker at a festival up north. So we don't just pack a chandelier and drum kit as a matter of course. Wouldn't that be awesome, though? A little camping atmosphere perhaps? Or to spice up the muzak in the hotel lobby? I had you for a second there, admit it.

September 11, 2009

I was listening to Tony Bennett sing croon Isn't It Romantic? and he came to my favorite part of the song...

"Isn't it romantic?
On a moonlight night she'll cook me onion soup.
Kitties are romantic
and if we don't fight we soon will have a troupe."

Romantic? Adorable! Well, if Balthazar gave me a troupe of kitties I would probably find it romantic.

Then I realized something startling. He's not actually singing about kittens at all.

"Isn't it romantic?
On a moonlight night she'll cook me onion soup.
Kiddies are romantic
and if we don't fight we soon will have a troupe.
We'll help the population,
it's a duty that we owe to dear old France.
Isn't it romance?"

Kiddies? Oh. I suppose that does make more sense.

September 6, 2009

Stupid is viral.

These and other lessons learned on a languid sunny Monday.

Also, peppermint-chocolate infused coffee is likely what they serve in heaven. Or whatever indulgently caffeinated version of the afterlife you prefer to embrace.

And for no particular reason other than "I can" or "it's Monday", here is Coco Rocha as Catwoman in Vogue's supermodel as superhero feature from last year.

September 4, 2009

Oh Wes Anderson, how do I love thee? Let me count (twenty of) the ways...

1. "Son of a bitch I'm sick of these dolphins"

2. "These are O.R. scrubs."
"O R they?"

3. "This is my adopted daughter Margot."

4. "She's married, you know."
"And she's your sister."

5. "Who ze shit is Kingsley Zissou?"

6. The luggage in Darjeeling.

7. The house in Tenenbaums.
"Royal Tenenbaum bought the house on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year."

8. Royal.

9. The Belafonte.

10. The 'Ping Island Lightning Strike' soundtrack.

11. The blue streak in Eleanor Zissou's hair.

12. The kid Raleigh St. Clair is studying in Tenenbaums.
"I'm not colorblind, am I?"

13. The play version of Serpico in Rushmore.

14. "If Eleanor is the brains of Team Zissou, what is Steve?"
"He's the Zissou."

15. "Don't be nice to Allie, he's my nemesis."

16. Etheline Tenenbaum: world's most patient mother.

17. The track suit Chas wears in Tenenbaums.

18. The train in Darjeeling.

19. Hotel Chevalier.

20. The red beanies of Team Zissou.

(this post is for Homie because he asked for it)

September 2, 2009

Like a hundred years ago the Barenaked Ladies song "If I Had $1000000" was a huge hit. It featured such madcap lyrics as:

"If I had $1000000 we wouldn't have to walk to the store
If I had $1000000 we'd take a limousine cause it costs more
If I had $1000000 we wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinner.
(but we would!)

If I had $1000000 (if I had $1000000)
I'd buy you a green dress (but not a real green dress, that's cruel)
If I had $1000000 (if I had $1000000)
I'd buy you some art (a Picasso or a Garfunkel)
If I had $1000000 (if I had $1000000)
I'd buy you a monkey (haven't you always wanted a monkey?!)
If I had $1000000 I'd buy your love"

And it still, to this day, begs the question of what you'd buy if you had a million dollars. Not practically speaking. Not as in planning for your retirement and investing and giving to charities and responsible PC crap like that. I mean if you had a million dollars in hand, right now, no strings attached, with only the instruction to spend it madly... what would you buy?

A million dollars doesn't go as far as it used to but in my imagination I'd be able to afford my own Addams Family mansion (complete with Addams Family pinball machine and graveyard, naturally), the A-Team van, a working carousel with tigers instead of horses, and some Edward Scissorhands-styled hedges. To start. Then I'd start planning something really spectacular.

August 30, 2009

I am always so torn on Woody Allen. On the one hand I feel like I'm missing a piece of relevant pop culture by not appreciating his films more (or, you know, at all). On the other hand I just get so generally annoyed watching him that I want to claw my eyes out. I suppose I could just watch the films he's not in... or, I don't know, watch his films stoned... I'm not sure what the answer is but every so often I feel like maybe my tastes have matured to the point where I can appreciate some sub-level of his humor that I didn't notice before so I give him a try again. It's like an on-going experiment in self-torture. It hasn't been a successful venture but something sadistic in me refuses to write him off completely. So here's the rundown of my life with Woody thus far:

Casino Royale
(1967) - writer, actor
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - writer, director, actor
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) - writer, director, actor
Bullets Over Broadway (1994) - writer, director
Antz (1998) - actor (V)
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)- writer, director, actor
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) - writer, director

I don't remember Casino Royale as vividly as some but I remember finding it funny and loving Peter Sellers. Of course there's not a lot I don't love Peter Sellers in, my dearest favorite film of his being the inimitable Dr. Strangelove. I liked David Niven as well and enjoyed that Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder in Dr. No) played the original Vesper Lynd because my dad raised me to be a Bond nerd like that. I don't even remember Woody Allen at all. So Casino Royale was a win because I liked it and didn't even notice Woody.

Admittedly I watched Antz for Sharon Stone. She was the voice of Princess Bala. She was good; I find it impossible to believe there isn't a diva or spoiled princess role out there she wouldn't be able to play to the hilt. I was annoyed by Z's whining and moaning throughout which makes sense because he's the one voiced by Woody Allen. But any movie that has Christopher Walken (as the voice of Colonel Cutter) and Gene Hackman (as the voice of General Mandible) in it automatically gets so many points for awesome that it outweighs my irritation. So Antz was a win despite Woody Allen.

I either fell asleep or left the room during The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and never bothered to finish it at any other point. I roundly hated what little I saw of it. Admittedly I went in biased - Helen Hunt annoys me as thoroughly as Woody Allen does and they're two of the leads - but the whining and squinting would have done me in regardless. I'm just going to go ahead and call Jade Scorpion a loss. I'm never going to re-watch it to find out if I'm right or wrong.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
is a real puzzle for me. I only watched part of it though I forget why that is. I liked the beauty of the Spanish setting. I really like Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz has grown on me. She's very good at disappearing into roles, which I love, and she's also great at crazy. Javier is good at disappearing into roles as well but he's also good at smouldering and being sexy so really the film should have charmed me far more than it did. I didn't hate what I saw of it. However, Scarlett Johansson is tapioca to me. I understand that she, like tapioca, exists and that there are people out there with a taste for her. But I just see her as bland, beige, and vaguely off-putting. She doesn't act so much as pout and jiggle which, I suppose, is not terrible to watch if that's what you're in the market for but as she's not my type I remain unconvinced by her. And there was an awful lot of whining in Vicky Cristina which is often my main complaint with Woody Allen. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a question mark, then. A film I may have to re-visit to decide upon.

Bullets Over Broadway I watched for John Cusack. I tend to watch movies by director or actor. I go through somebody's entire filmography which is a far more interesting way to watch movies, in my opinion, than by genre or release date because if the actor or director is any good you get a very diverse and eclectic film sampling and discover some hidden gems. (It may surprise you to learn that I discovered The Grifters this way - through John Cusack and not through Anjelica Huston at all.) Anyway, in my John Cusack phase I watched Bullets Over Broadway and I loved it. The characters are both very Woody Allen and yet structured to fit the specific 1920s mob/theatre setting. They are brilliantly rendered. Jennifer Tilly's fabulous Betty-Boop-on-helium rasp and clueless mob moll and Dianne Wiest's alternately grasping and aloof alcoholic diva are amazing. Bullets occupies a strange place in Woody Allen's filmography, from what little I know of it, because it is so firmly grounded in a setting that is not 'now' and 'everyday' and doesn't feature Woody himself in any frame. It is one of the only films on this short list that I loved without reservation at first blush but I must admit to only watching it once so I don't know if that affection would still hold. I'm not sure it's wise to test it. Bullets Over Broadway is a strong win and in this case it's because of Woody Allen - because he really is a wonderful director, he's good at casting, and he wisely stayed off-screen.

I really love and only slightly loathe Manhattan Murder Mystery for reasons that have everything to do with Woody Allen on both sides of the coin. I loved the cast, the twist on the murder mystery script, the sort of ode to New York that runs through the film, and the lightness of the proceedings. It's a very funny film. Snappy, quirky, playing on cliche and convention with a sort of knowing wink. I loathed Woody Allen's same self-deprecating, moaning, schlub character. I start to believe that's just who he actually is on some level because he plays that character in more films than not (even as an ant he's whiny and self-deprecating). And I loathed some of the same snappy banter that made up part of what I loved. The exchanges between Diane Keaton and Woody as husband and wife get bogged down in minutiae, they talk over each other, they talk in circles, they are constantly walking and moving and whining and it really does drive me quite mad. But in the rest of the film this same technique works to marvelous effect. In the dinner scene where Diane's Carol and Woody's Larry are plotting with Anjelica Huston's cool Marcia and Alan Alda's smugly sincere Ted it's just genius. Everyone has an opinion, nobody waits for the other's opinion to be fully voiced before weighing in, both men trip over themselves to shower Marcia with compliments and Carol grows prickly because of it. And somehow the plot moves forward without you even realizing it. There are plenty of subtle and not-subtle homages to both Hitchcock and noir in the film as well. It's vaguely Rear Window-esque in that it involves one character's belief that a crime has been committed by a neighbor despite lack of proof and the fumbling antics to prove said crime. Manhattan Murder Mystery is also as much about soundtrack and New York as plot since it contains sequences that are just plain beautiful and seemingly designed to make you want to visit the city. The casting - especially Diane Keaton, Alan Alda, Anjelica Huston, and Jerry Adler - is a wild success. I usually always find Diane charming, this is no exception, and I've loved Alan Alda's witty and slightly slimy charm in everything since M.A.S.H. Anjelica Huston is a no-brainer for me, I think she is one of the greatest actresses of our time, but here she cements that belief with a supporting performance that nearly steals the film. Her Marcia is incredibly cool and savvy, the kind of woman men love to love and women love to envy. And Jerry Adler provides a very necessary solid and slightly suspicious turn as the neighbor in question. If only Woody Allen didn't irritate me so with his wormy screen presence. And yet, he does provide a nice contrast to the self-assured Ted and the cunning Marcia. This movie does prove to me that Woody Allen, no matter what else he may be, is a fantastic director. That this movie can contain moments of genuine suspense, seemingly effortless snappy banter, a lighthearted goodwill, and visual and auditory poetry about Manhattan without coming off as a disjointed mess is nothing short of genius-level skill. He knows what he's doing behind the camera and it shows. Manhattan Murder Mystery therefore becomes a resounding win despite Woody's grating onscreen presence and because of, once again, his knack for casting, comedy, and skillful direction.

Which finally brings me to Crimes and Misdemeanors. I still don't know what to make of this film and I've watched it three times. I watched it while working my way through Anjelica Huston's filmography. It marks her first appearance in a Woody Allen film and if nothing else, Crimes and Misdemeanors proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is an actress who can do anything. If, like me, you watched Manhattan Murder Mystery before coming to Crimes and Misdemeanors you would perhaps be justified in expecting to see a character similar to her sly and sexy Marcia. After all, Woody Allen always plays variations on the same character, Alan Alda is usually vaguely smarmy and amusingly confident, Diane Keaton is frequently adorably neurotic. But in Crimes Anjelica plays against any type she has played before, embodying the impetus to one of the titular crimes in playing Dolores Paley, a needy, insecure, and shrilly emotional mistress to Martin Landau's successful opthamologist. Dolores is nothing modern audiences expect from Anjelica who seemed vaguely pigeon-holed into types of gothic villainy after The Addams Family until Wes Anderson and TV freed her. Even in 1989 Dolores wasn't anything you'd expect. She's simultaneously highly distasteful - she has almost no sense of self on her own, existing solely for the affair with a panicky desperation that is painful to watch - and incredibly sympathetic. She's awkward and makes a play for having the upper hand in a no-win situation that only seals her own fate. It's an absolutely fabulous performance and pairing her with the weighty 'good man on the edge' warmth and presence of Martin Landau is a cagey move. It lends what I call the 'crimes' half of the movie a gravity that Woody Allen isn't generally known for. It features the same jittery, talking-over-each-other dialogue that punctuates his films but it works. The other half of the film - Woody Allen's films frequently appear comprised of two seemingly disparate halves that are sewn together by incidental 2 degrees of separation relationships and feature similar themes - or what I call the 'misdemeanors' half, is a lot weaker in my estimation. All the comedy and witty repartee as well as most of the regular Allen players are found in this half but paired against the 'crimes' half it doesn't so much add lightness as detract from the depth that Martin Landau's predicament plumbs. It's charming and Mia Farrow and Alan Alda (in what is ultimately a weirdly non-essential lead role) turn in the best of the performances. Mia Farrow is just ethereal in everything. She is instantly likable, even more so when she's holding her own against a sea of testosterone, blustery confidence, and neurotic worminess. But the stitching together of Woody Allen's twitchy and whiny desire to commit adultery with her as a thematic echo of Martin Landau's Judah's frightened efforts to extract himself from his soured affair with Anjelica's Dolores are less cohesive than the tapestry woven of disparate parts in Manhattan Murder Mystery. The sentiments raised in Crimes and Misdemeanors are much blacker and the questions are heavier and there is a lot more to ponder than simple light-and-dark banter can allow. It can't be dismissed - like most of Woody Allen's better efforts it contains far too many layers to just shrug off - but it is memorable for reasons that are harder to live with. It's jarring where Manhattan Murder Mystery is poetic. That said, I would have to call it a win in spite of itself because it does linger in the subconscious and benefits from more than one viewing to unravel the moral implications on display.

Obviously this is a sadly incomplete list and in order to properly assess the life work of an iconic writer/director/actor I will need to see more of his films. But his onscreen presence is just so grating to me that I'm not sure I can take it. Still, as I've proved to myself in the course of writing this, the sum of the individual parts of his films is frequently greater by far and if he is the most irritating part I can still come out ahead in the end. Besides, I haven't yet watched Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, or Husbands and Wives so I can't pretend this is a complete summation of my opinion on Woody Allen until I at least have those three films on record.

What do you think, pretty mortals? Do you like or loathe Woody Allen? Why? If you lasted this long in reading this epic post you must have some kind of opinion. Weigh in and help me decide what to watch next, if anything.

August 28, 2009

I have in my pilfered image collection a growing number of photos of celebrities with animals. Things I love: animals and photography. People I love: Sigourney Weaver, Marg Helgenberger, Anjelica Huston, and Gina Gershon. So this post really sort of writes itself.

The expression on her face makes me giggle. It's such an 'oh god the dog is licking me and it's adorable but also quite gross' spontaneous moment. I love it.

Usually pets are hands-down the cutest part of any photo but in this case I'm torn on who looks more adorable posing. She looks about five years old here, bending down to pat her dog and grinning up at the camera.

This is my second all-time favorite 'actress with animal' photo. It's part of a series taken by a professional photographer, naturally, and I'm as big a sucker for black and white as I am for both subjects of the photo.

This is my favorite. She's so young and gorgeous and carefree and horses are always beautiful and, you know, it's black and white... it's one of those images that sears itself into your brain and remains there, lovely and idealistic, forever.

Hooray for cat lovers! I have nothing at all against dogs but cats are a special kind of awesome. And this is the cat who, while lost for a span of time, inspired an entire album to be written about her owner's search for her. I would totally do the same thing if Poe got lost (and I wrote music). Right, Homie?

August 26, 2009

In the spirit of blogging daily (or so) even when I have nothing profound to say...

"Did you see the sky today? Talk about blue!"

... which inevitably always brings me to...

"Pull the lever! Wrong lever! Why do we even HAVE that lever?"

August 24, 2009

The Crypt is staying open. And it is in honor of Homie and Michelle who have inspired me with their devotion. And I'm taking practical advice from La Phoenicienne to practice blogging daily (or so) even if I have nothing profound to say.

By way of thanks, each of you gets an Anjelica photo dedicated to you. This is, of course, the highest honor I can bestow upon you.

For Homie of the Beareth Clan:
Anjelica as The Grand High Witch. Because you appreciate the twisted glory of a good Roald Dahl story as much as I do. And Anjelica made the best Grand High Witch, let's be honest.

For Lovely Michelle (also of the Beareth Clan):
Anjelica as a little girl with her father, John Huston. Because honestly, how beautiful is she in this photo? It makes my cold undead heart go gooey.

For La Phoenicienne (who I still affectionately call by another name):
Anjelica as Carrie Chapman Catt in Iron Jawed Angels. Bravo to you for watching Iron Jawed Angels which is brilliant and riveting, as is Anjelica even in her brief screen time.

So, come hell or high water (do you ever wonder where these sayings come from? I mean hell or high water, those are the only two things that could possibly happen?) I will continue blogging. Mostly about film. And sometimes about me, your resident vampire goddess with a taste for all things dark and saucy.

August 23, 2009

I'm back. But I'm not having any brilliant insights on what to talk about here.

I don't know what to do about The Crypt. Keep it? Close it? I'm at a loss. Does anybody even visit anymore? I wish, most days, that I could be more like Homie Bear whose Woods are always entertaining, always updated, and never lack his best attentions. I feel like my Crypt is now just dead (as opposed to undead) and I just might not be much of a blogger as it turns out.

Listen, raving masses of one (thank you Homie, loyal bear friend) and any passersby who stop in, weigh in here. What suggestions do you have? Close up shop? Keep on trucking? Gimme a clue here. I started out being an actual writer. Somewhere along the line I lost my focus and ability to share entertaining anecdotes without slicing open my torso and literally letting you peek inside me. I want anonymity to a degree but I want to write. O GREAT INTERNET MASSES, OFFER ME YOUR INSIGHT! (I'm asking for trouble here. For every thoughtful bite by Homie I could potentially get nineteen spammers or trolls just spewing crap. I'll take the risk. I do still have fangs, after all.)

Bite me. Please.

July 8, 2009

This is so awesome that I'm going to link to it twice. Here's the second link: go here now. Read it and apply.

That's what I'm leaving you with as I climb aboard a plane and wing off to the first leg of our show's tour. I won't be in touch much in the next month but I'll be thinking of you. And I'm sure I'll have great stories when I return. Happy trails, mortal darlings!


June 26, 2009

A little background:

I hate spiders. Since moving here I've had to attempt to confront my fear not because there are infinitely more spiders in New Zealand than Canada but because Balthazar (who is not at all afraid of spiders) doesn't want to be my 'spider exterminator' forever. He thinks it builds character to confront my fears or something. Also we both travel for work so sometimes he's living in another city and can't physically take care of the spiders for me. I am hard-pressed to be in the same building as a spider, never mind the same room. Killing them is out of the question. Squashing involves contact and I.just.can' Ditto removal. Like I'm ever going to gently pick up a motherfucking spider just to relocate it. So I compromised by learning to get near enough to the spider offender to drop a glass over top of it. That's my solution. I can't kill them, I can't live with them, and sometimes Balthazar isn't around. Imprisonment is the only answer.

Sometimes, though, this solution isn't so much an answer as a new problem. Like the time Balthazar was away for the weekend and I imprisoned a spider about an hour after he left. Right in the middle of the doorway to the kitchen. SIGH. I had to find a way to remember that I'd stupidly trapped a spider in the most inconvenient of locations for 48 hours and I also had to warn Balthazar, who would be returning home late at night after I'd gone to bed.

My solution:

Objects under glass are larger than they appear in photos.

The terror a spider inspires is hugely disproportionate to it's actual mass anyway.

June 21, 2009

Update, Update, wherefore art thou, Update?

Point form real life news:

1. It's fucking cold here.
2. The big theatrical production I work for is set to open in just over a week... finally. SQUEE!
3. I work all the time.
4. I am pretty much tired all the time.
5. I saw Terminator: Salvation and while it didn't terminate me, it didn't prove to be my salvation either. It was, in a word, "meh".
6. Are you aware that the yellow snakes in the lolly bag are not actually a horrid lemon flavor but are, in fact, banana? To quote Gwen Stefani, "that shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S".
7. Balthazar and I actually had dates two nights in a row this week. Like, we saw each other two nights in a row for longer than the time it takes to collapse into comas in bed. Which is some kind of new record for us and is definitely awesome.
8. Any time NZ wants to catch the memo about this being 2009 and get central goddamn heating will be okay with me.
9. Did I mention the cold?
10. I haven't seen Joe, the neighborhood cat, since winter set in. And while I understand his aversion to being outside in the blustery chill, I am saddened by his absence.

That is all.

June 10, 2009

Ideas For Other Potential Film Adaptations Of Inanimate Objects I Remember Sort Of Fondly

... or...

Possibilities For The Continued Rape And Pointless Pillage Of My Childhood By Hollywood

Hungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie (for Homie)

Robert DeNiro in The Yahtzee Story

But why stop at board games? Breakfast cereal should not be ignored. "Shreddies won't be IGNORED, Dan."

Snap, Crackle, and Pop: The Road to Rice

For the Twilight crowd...
Count Choculuscious

And when the tousle-headed star of Choculuscious inevitably wants to shed his teen heartthrob image by taking on a gritty adult role, the sequel...
Frank and the Count: The Brokeback Memoirs

But why stop there?

Pogoball: With A Vengeance

Untitled Gummy Bracelet Project


June 3, 2009

Have you ever wanted to see a movie about this...

... or this...

... or this?

If so, you are in luck! Hollywood is going to grant your heart's desire in the coming years. A Monopoly movie! A Battleship movie! A Bazooka Joe movie!

If not, in the future the multiplex will be a place where your dreams go to die. Or a heretofore undiscovered ring of hell. Because the above movie adaptations of board games and motherfucking bubblegum comics are not funny-ha-ha ideas, they are actual ideas. As in ideas in development with real honest-to-god studio backing.

Ridley (Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise) Scott is set to direct what is presently known as Untitled Monopoly Project and he promises he will give it the same futuristic sheen as Blade Runner. *crickets* It's a board game, man. Possibly the most boring board game ever invented, depending on which version you're playing and with whom. But maybe I could envision watching a movie version of Monopoly if it starred Tilda Swinton, Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Clive Owen, Javier Bardem, and Robert Downey Jr. and I got to be the shoe in the screening. Otherwise... I have doubts. I have such doubts! (Shameless actual good movie quote there.)

Battleship: The Movie, however, is a resounding no. No. The game was never about strategy. It was about blind dumb luck. You just randomly call out coordinates until the law of averages determines that you hit something belonging to your opponent. How does that translate into a script? Battleships without radar and, presumably, in a dense fog spiraling slowly while firing torpedoes at nothing until one of them 'senses' a hit and war is declared? Pong has more narrative. Space Invaders has more dramatic tension.

And I can't even dignify Bazooka Joe: The Movie with snark. I just... I can't... there simply isn't... *head explodes*