Thursday, July 31, 2008

Watchmen Character Posters

Zach Snyder, director of 300 and Watchmen approved the release of these character posters that were previewed at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend.  I really like how the translation from page to screen is going.  From what I have seen of the comic, they've stuck to the color palate and fleshed out the costumes simply to the extent that they have enhanced them for a more realistic world.  Click on any one of the posters for higher-resolution images full of great grimy-superhero-pop-culture detail.

Kings of NBC

The following article was just published on the website under the title Bible, Heroes Inspire Kings. It really drives the point through that strong narratives can have tremendous lifespans and the Bible is chock-full of phenomenal, character driven stories that are epic, personal, inspiring and meaningful. So, while a mainstream appropriation of biblical text is somewhat eyebrow-raising, it is not at all surprising given the great depth the source text. I am often thinking about ways to inflect relevancy into "classic" or "older" texts, regardless of the original medium-and it really becomes a matter of translating them and putting them through a series of tests and filters so that the concentrated truths therein can be found-much like the process of titration in high-school chemistry. Over time and through these various creative processes, the full composition of the subject, what makes the original text valid, can be discovered and then reintegrated into a new framework.

Michael Green, the executive producer of NBC's upcoming drama Kings, told SCI FI Wire that his previous position as a staff writer for Heroes was a big inspiration for the contemporary drama, which is loosely based on the biblical story of King David.

"I wrote this while working on Heroes and was absolutely inspired by the work we were doing there: the larger-than-life storytelling," Green said during an interview at Comic-Con International in San Diego over the weekend. "I absolutely bounced ideas off the writers there and asked for their help and advice at various points. I probably could not have written this without them being there encouraging me and giving me good ideas when I didn't have them."

Kings is a modern retelling of the David story, set in a nondescript modern metropolis reminiscent of New York. David Shepherd (Christopher Egan) is a soldier who rescues the king's son from enemy territory and causes the path to peace to finally become clear. He returns home a hero and must deal with his sudden celebrity and position of power.

"There are a lot of similarities to Heroes," Green said. "I look at Kings as a high-end family drama, where the family just happens to be a royal family. There are similarities in that there will be ongoing storylines, but Kings lends itself a bit more to stand-alone stories in the Battlestar Galactica model. There are no barriers for entry for audiences."

Green added that he enjoyed contemporizing the familiar story. "Taking these elements and thinking, 'What is Goliath in this world?'" he said. "And taking these touchstone elements that people do know from the story and bringing them to life in a new way. We are taking inspirations from the original Bible story, so it's very much a story of one king rising while another one falls. It's a way for me to tell Godfather-like stories or these operatic stories."

But Green said the series is not literal in that he plays with the iconic story and that it veers into what he calls "soft sci-fi." "I'm not afraid of sci-fi, and I love it," he said. "We didn't want to do this as a space opera. We wanted it to be a familiar world, but at the same time we are inventing a world. We had a lot of fun inventing what this world is going to look like. We are taking New York and impressing our own aesthetic and own iconography. We got to have a lot of fun with that. I remember talking to David Eick about this when he was doing Battlestar, and he said they were always asking themselves the question 'What do doorknobs looks like?' We decided that we wanted to have things look like they could fit in our worlds, but you're not sure what city it is."

Green said that part of the SF element has to do with the idea of "magic, faith, happenstance, luck, God." "I look at it as the hand of faith guiding the heroes," he said. "I'm curious to see how people perceive that. The ongoing discussions when people see it are 'Is that magic? Did something just happen beyond physics? Is it something special or luck?' I won't answer that and will let people interpret that." Kings is set for a midseason start in early 2009. -Tara Bennett

How true this adaptation remains to the biblical story of King David is yet to be seen, and I would hope that much of the theological subtext of King David's personal journeys stays intact as the scope of the project it seems would necessitate that discourse. Although, based on Mr. Green's equivocal comments in the last paragraph of Sci-Fi's report, I have my doubts about the ability of a show to remain strong in its narrative while overtly skirting conviction. The creator must have an answer himself and if that belief is clear in the creator's own mind it is bound to come out in the series. The "world-view" of the auteur, if I may use that term, is essential to creating a coherent world within the show. I suspect it is easier to say "I won't answer that and will let people interpret that" before the show premieres than after even a few episodes. As the show progresses, I imagine these kinds of broad statements regarding the show's theological-or not-intentions will be more difficult to maintain.

A few evenings ago, I was talking to my friend KJ-with whom I always have engaging conversations about theology and popular culture-about how excited I am for her to get to some of the later seasons of Angel where the whole fate, prophecy and destiny dilemma is more compounded and direct in nature than the ways in which it is touched on in the first two or three seasons a la "To Shanshu in L.A." at the end of Angel's first season.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Clear Conscience

A woman just called in to my work with the following story:

After asking to speak with the Manager on Duty, "Jennifer" as I shall call her here, explained the deeply disconcerting reason why she could absolutely not come in to work today.

Apparently, a bottle of Clear Eyes Solution opened up in her purse, spilling all over the interior of the bag. In the process of making everything else wet in the bag, the liquid also soaked a half-eaten cookie that was with all the other items one carries in a purse.

Jennifer said that she later ate the remainder of the cookie and is now too sick to come in for her scheduled shift.

Why would one have a half-eaten cookie just lying about the bag in the first place and more importantly why, oh, why would you eat anything that has taken a dip in eye drop solution?

I suppose she should at least be given props for creativity.

UPDATE: “Did you hear what happened to me?!” Jennifer asked me the following day. “Yes…well, I think so,” I replied still severely questioning the veracity of this incident. Still, proceeded to ask her why she ate the clear-eyes-cookie-surprise. “I just ate it. I didn’t think it would be bad,” she said. Okay. After speaking with Poison Control last night, Jennifer today informed me that apparently Clear Eyes is “better” for you than Visine-though both can eat your stomach from the inside. Nice.

Non-Human Trespassing

Comic-Con 2008 has been pulling out all the stops over the weekend, with reports on some promising projects for both television audiences and movie-goers. Panels at Comic-Con included sessions on: X-Men Origins: Wolverine-which allegedly has a cameo by Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and features our favorite card-throwing-mutant Gambit, Dollhouse, Season 4 of Lost, Heroes Season 3: "Villains", Twilight, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, Max Payne and Tron 2!

While I was lamenting the fact that I was not at Comic-Con this weekend and experiencing the all-around-geekness represented there, I decided that I could definitely receive much pleasure out of experiencing the convention vicariously through the internets. Whedonesque for the Whedon information, Aint it Cool News and JoBlo for comic-book/movie tidbits and of course, the blogosphere.

As I meandered through the blogs-of-friends-of-friends, I came across the blog of a pop-culture-enthusiast-college-professor who put the following pictures up of some intriguing promotional material for a-yet-to-be-named project.

These posters have the web address on them, so I quickly put it in to my browser. I never have been a hardcore follower of viral marketing-the kind that was all over Cloverfield and The Dark Knight. But with this, I kind of figured if I could start following it at the beginning, then I would be more excited down the road when new information about the project is released-speculation is always fun.

Opening the D-9 website leads the user to choose a Human or Non-Human platform-both lead to similar pages, albeit the Non-Human page is written in alien symbols. A news ticker repeats the following headlines:

Shooting investigation W. Franklin Ave. The 300 block of W. Franklin Ave. is closed for an on-going investigation into a non-lethal shooting reported last night at 9:15 p.m.

City Hall meeting - City Hall 12500 Main Street. A meeting at city hall will be held to discuss a series of new ordinances proposed to help address the recent outbreak of non-human trespassing…

Traffic alert Highway J reminder: Non-human buses are schedules to be on the highway from 6-7am and 9-10 pm Citizens are advised to avoid this highway at times of transport to ensure ease of traffic and passenger safety…

Public intoxication by a non-human 700 block of S. Freeport Rd. Police detained one non-human on charges of intoxication after seeing it walking down S. Free port Road and noticing suspicious activity…

That page includes a link to the Multi-National United corporate website.

A countdown on the upper right hand side of the MNU page puts the release of a movie-if that is what the site is promoting-at Mid-August of next year. A side-bar reads:
For nearly 20 years, MNU has been looking forward to a date that will stand as the turning point in the progression of the human race. On August 14, 2009, MNU will begin reverse engineering new technologies that will trigger this turning point. Join us in counting down to this momentous occasion.

The movie can’t be Mutant Chronicles, or X-Men Origins: Wolverine as these will both be out by June of next year. It is likely a project such as Cloverfield that will be kept under wraps for as long as possible. J.J. Abrams, king-of-viral-marketing is set to re-launch of the Star Trek franchise in May 2009. Has J.J. Abram’s been producing another sci-fi project on the side?

Speculate away!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In the News

I found the following news stories while reading over the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website this weekend.

Kayaking teens accused of tiki bar beer theft
PORTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Two teenagers have been arrested after kayaking across a lake and stealing beer and energy drinks from a man's beachfront tiki bar.

Read the full article here.

Really, guys?

Angry man shoots lawn mower for not starting
MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee man was accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start. Keith Walendowski, 56, was charged with felony possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle and misdemeanor disorderly conduct while armed.

Read the full article here.

And buddy? Just chill.

I’d really like to know a) the process by which these events are reported b) why they make it to print and c) how do they make it to the front page of a major online news outlet such as The Seattle PI. Must have been a slow news day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"That caviar is a garnish."

Last night I had the pleasure of dining at Steelhead Diner near Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle at the corner of 1st Ave. & Pine St. I had received an invitation from their public relations representative in late June through my company and she and I set up a time for me and a guest to come and familiarize ourselves with the restaurant. I told her I would be very happy to accept. I was pleasantly surprised to get the invitation in the first place and eagerly awaited for July 24th to role around. Fortunately, those three weeks since I received the initial email passed quickly.

My plus one for the evening, Luke, and I meandered about Pike Place Market and the adjacent park prior to walking into the blue-tinged light of Steelhead at 8:00PM. We waited for a few brief moments before the host came over and asked if we were with the other people crowded at the doorway. I said no and told her my name. She perked up and with visible direction whisked Luke and I over to a table right next to the bar. Waiting for us there was Connie Adams, the PR agent who had contacted me about this evening and the owner of the restaurant herself, Terresa Davis. I immediately felt welcome and privileged to be there.

The blinds were closed behind our hosts, but later in the evening, a waiter lifted these to reveal the incredible views possessed by Steelhead of the Market and Elliot Bay as the sun went down turning the sky a purple, mango and orange hue. Luke and I later concluded that the table was probably the best seat in the house, perched at the edge of the dining room overlooking the water.

Almost immediately after we sat down and introduced ourselves, the food started coming and it didn’t really stop until about two and a half hours later. First up was a beautiful spread of their savory appetizers including a SLICE OF CAVIAR PIE with Traditional Garniture—I confessed that I had never actually had caviar before and that really the only association I had with caviar was the scene in You’ve Got Mail in which Meg Ryan’s character briskly informs Tom Hanks, “That caviar is a garnish.” In reply, Hanks simply spoons off more caviar onto his plate. I came to a very positive verdict on the side of caviar and would definitely order it again. The additional small plates we shared were CRISPY CHICKEN SPRING ROLLS with Green Papaya Salad & Whirred Ginger Vinaigrette, a JUMBO LUMP DUNGENESS CRAB CAKE with Crispy Parsley & Sauce Louis and a platter of hot FRIED SMELT with a mustard sauce. Each dish had a distinct flavor and was just as delicious as the next making it nigh impossible for me to choose a favorite starter.

Prior to eating, I had been eyeing the mojitos that our hosts were already sipping on when we arrived and when the waiter came to take our order, Luke and I knew what we wanted to drink. Terresa informed us that in fact they had actually been drinking Steelhead’s signature, “No-Jito” sans alcohol but Luke and I opted for the “Mo-” variety—Steelhead also has a “Cos-No-politan” for those looking to have a non-consequential libation.

The entrée selections of the evening involved a flavorsome GREEN BEAN dish, crisp, delightful POTATO LATKES With Chive Sour Cream & Apple Sauce, a WATERMELON SALAD everything-KFC-wishes-it-could-be-SOUTHERN FRIED HALF CHICKEN with Buttermilk Gravy & Wilted Spinach, a large portion of an OLIVE ENCRUSTED ALASKAN HALIBUT and a BRAISED BEEF dish, which was loaded with flavor. I could have eaten ten of the latkes and if I had not been so full, finished up those green beans!

Topics of conversation throughout the dinner ranged from business information, a who-knows-who in the hospitality industry, to queries about Luke and my respective educations. Inevitably the latter subject led me to talk about my Senior Thesis project which I had completed for my English Honors Seminar the topic for which was, of course, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and also the cultural experiences I had while presenting the paper at Slayage Conference 3 in June. Terresa later said that she had not been aware of the academic potential of the show, so I was happy to be the one to assist in making that revelation! We also talked about Luke’s Architectural studies and his related interests that had been long in brewing. I was so happy that Luke was able to come with me to such a great evening and I could not have asked for better chemistry between the members of our dinner party.

At a few points during dinner, I asked Terresa and Connie about each of their professional backgrounds and how they came to be in the restaurant industry and Steelhead especially. It turns out Terresa and I went to the same university—though I was at that particular institution for only just over a year. Terresa, hails from Australia, but has had tremendous restaurant experience here in Seattle working in management at Wild Ginger, accounting at Oceanaire and spending a fair amount of time with Tom Douglas Restaurants. Her husband and business partner, Kevin, is the head chef at Steelhead having worked previously at Sazerac and Oceanaire before eyeing the space formerly occupied by Vivanda and turning it into Steelhead in early 2007. When they presented their concept—a Pacific Northwest-oriented diner—to the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority and the Market's Historic Commission, their ideas were met with great enthusiasm and having finally made it in to see the real thing, I can certainly see why. Steelhead lives up to that vision and satisfies a unique and much-valued position in Seattle’s dining culture. It is a place locals can return to and continue to enjoy and a spot that tourists coming up through the Market can come to and have a great meal in a friendly, relaxed environment.

Dessert was just as welcome as everything that had come before—food and company included. We all partook of the MINT CRÈME BRÛLÉE and the must-have BLACK VELVET Quadruple Layer Chocolate Cake with Coconut, Almonds & Olympic Mountain Coconut Ice Cream. Cappuccinos accompanied.

After dessert we took a quick tour of the restaurant, going to the outdoor patio first which I could see would be a great place to eat and sip a mimosa during their Sunday brunch. They also have a private dining facility that, when not reserved, serves as additional space for their à-la-carte guests. An open kitchen with stools in front of the counter is a great spot for solo-dining or guests wanting to feel like a part of the action or to say a quick hello to Kevin in the kitchen.

Shaking hands with our hosts and parting ways, Luke and I both knew that we had experienced something wonderful.

Seeing Terresa and Connie there waiting for my guest and I at the table made me feel so honored be there and it was a feeling that was never lost during the near three hour dinner. The incomparable blend of consistently good food, comfortable atmosphere, superior service, and fantastic conversation made for an evening that exceeded our expectations and turned a meal into a veritable gourmet event.

Many, many thanks to our gracious hosts. I expect to return quite soon!

UPDATE: Apparently by "soon" I meant less than 24 hours later as I went back to eat at Steelhead for dinner on Friday night. Great sausage sandwhich and poutine!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I recently purchased Sarah Brightman's newest album, entitled Symphony off iTunes. It is her first studio album in five years, following her middle-eastern influenced recording, Harem.

Unlike Harem which had a very consistent mood and tonality throughout-even classic operatic songs had an Eastern flare-Symphony is significantly more diverse in its content, spanning several genres, from songs fit for showtunes-harkening back to when Brightman ruled Broadway-to Gothic influences, to entries that sound more mainstream and produced, although I have to say I do enjoy some of these latter songs despite their overtly "pop" nature. Symphony's "I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)" featuring Paul Stanley is one of those for me. On the flip side, there is much to be lauded in terms of Brightman's operatic abilities especially in "Canto Della Terra" with Andrea Bocelli.

In conjunction with these varying stylistic choices, Symphony has a total of five languages represented. Symphony includes the first time Brightman has sung in German. She also sings in Spanish, French and Italian. Thus, together the varied style and language spectrum create a tension in Symphony that is never rectified generating the feeling that perhaps the album would be better judged on the merits of its individual tracks. Nevertheless, Brightman does demonstrate an affinity for appropriating from a variety of sources, literary and musical alike and refreshing them for a new era of classical performance.

As I go through the album, I get the feeling that I am not getting the intended experience of many of the tracks. More than a few of the songs would be far better suited for the finest performance halls in New York or London than in the desktop speakers of my desk or my Apple earbuds. It is possible there are some issues with compression from the studio in Germany to my headphones. More likely though the voice of Sarah Brightman is simply made for the stage and it is a matter of her presence being impossible to contain or harness on a recording.

My favorite tracks include "Fleurs du mal", a progressive, Goth/rock-inspired track which takes its title from a Charles Baudelaire poem, "Sarai Qui" an Italian rendition of Faith Hill's immensely popular "There You'll Be" which was featured on the Pearl Harbor soundtrack, "Running," and the titular track, "Symphony."

Monday, July 21, 2008

You Can't Copy A Soul

"You cannot play God and then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore."
-William Adama, "Battlestar Galactica Miniseries"

A trailer for the prequel to Sci-Fi channel's reimagining of "Battlestar Galactica" has premiered over at This television event will document the events prior to the Cylon insurrection, delving into the origins of the new race of Cylons. NBC Universal Television Studio is developing the show with the executive producers of "Battlestar Galactica" Ron Moore and David Eick.

You'll have to sit through a commercial-to see a commercial-prior to the trailer. I unfortunately had to witness a trailer for the new direct-to-DVD "Stargate" movie another gem in the neve-rending life-cycle of a mediocre television show.

Check out the promo for Caprica here.

It looks like they will be looking at how the repercussions of cloning and the fears associated with reprogramming a mind ultimately led to the development of the organic, humanoid Cylons.

Some of the questions such a premise denotes, even from what little is in the trailer, makes me think of many similar themes and motifs that should certainly be brought to light in "Dollhouse" come January 2009. Can you program a soul? Can a soul subsist despite man's interventions in nature? Does a soul possess an absolute identity?

These queries and others are ones that are clearly touched on in "Battlestar Galactica" and as the series comes to a close with its fourth and final season, I expect these will be addressed in further detail, though I'm sure with the addendum of even more mysteries about the true nature of Cylons and humanity itself.

A description pulled from an E! online article about the show reads: "Caprica is the story of two families, the Graystones and the Adams" (sound familiar?-Adama? Does the family change its name in order to avoid possible association with the inception of a new Cylon war?)
The Graystones include father Daniel, a computer genius; mother Amanda, a brilliant surgeon and unfaithful wife; and their daughter, Zoe, who is martyred to her boyfriend's religious fanaticism – but not before she installs the rudimentary elements of her personality and DNA into a machine, creating a digital twin of herself, Zoe-A. After the human Zoe's death, Daniel uses these raw materials, some stolen technology and his own grief to cobble together "a robotic version of his dead daughter. This robot version, known as Zoe-R, is a Cylonic Eve, the first of her kind.

Also, "the two fathers, Daniel Graystone and Joseph Adama, work together on replicating their children in cyborg form," as Joseph Adams' daughter, Tamara dies in the same suicide bombing that killed Zoe, "but 'Joseph is ethically appalled by the robot version of...Tamara, and repents his actions." Those moralistic genes seem to run strong in the Adama family.

Caprica is likely to air in December of this year but network dealings may push it back to January 2009. A regular series remains a possibility depending on the network and critical reception. I look forward to seeing it. I have great faith in the creators of the show to make Caprica far more than just a run of the mill spin-off endeavor.

Kind of Empty

You. You're the—

High priest, guardian of the word, caretaker of her most blessed temple.

Well, blessed temple's kind of empty, padre.

"Peace Out" Angel 4.21

When I watched this episode of "Angel" today I could not help but think of the many references that were made to "God's House" in Arkadelphia, Arkansas during Slayage 3: Conference on the Whedonverses back in the beginning of June.

Ryan and I first discovered God's House as we were eating at one of Arkadelphia's finest dining establishments, Sonic. God's House is conveniently located across the street from Sonic, so if you are ever running late for a meeting with the Almighty, you can always grab a snack beforehand and bring it over to share. If you need to look it up on a map, it's on the corner of 10th & McNutt. God's House, as you can see in the above picture, is comprised of a dilapidated, boarded up structure. Regarding its appearance, Ryan-just as Angel does in this scene in "Peace Out"-made the eerie comment, "There doesn't seem to be anyone there." I replied, "That's quite a statement."

In a later conversations with some local Arkadelphites, I asked what purpose God's House might serve and no one could give us an answer. Was it a church? A Bible study center? A meeting place for a youth group? No one knew what went down there-so we automatically assumed that a building called God's House would be a perfect front for illicit activities in Arkadelphia, AR and the students of Henderson State University. It is in a dry county after all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Watch Watchmen

The first trailer for the Watchmen movie debuted this past week. It looks phenomenal. Watchmen is considered one of the greatest graphic novels ever written. I plan on picking up a copy this week to see what it is all about. I've read some of his other superhero work, specifically his "TOP 10" series, which I read for a class on textual poaching, pastiche and intertextuality during my honors seminar series in college. "TOP 10" is set in an urban landscape in which every one has some kind of superpower or another and what kinds of problems and unique circumstances would arise within that kind of world. The drawings are rich and detailed, including, as was discussed in great detail in my seminar, references to other works of literature and art. The writing is intelligent and sometimes controversial in its portrayal of government and politics. While I have not read his acclaimed "V for Vendetta" graphic novel, I do like the movie a good deal.

In a recent interview referenced over at Aint It Cool News, "Watchmen" creator Alan Moore had a few words to say about the upcoming adaptation of his work. He’s wary of the fact that “Watchmen” is being helmed by 300 director Zach Snyder. “I've not seen any recent comic book films, but I didn't particularly like the book 300. I had a lot of problems with it, and everything I heard or saw about the film tended to increase [those problems] rather than reduce them: [that] it was racist, it was homophobic, and above all it was sublimely stupid.”

This same article stated that Moore thinks HBO’s "The Wire" is “the most stunning piece of television that has ever come out of America, possibly the most stunning piece of television full-stop.” Another show that I know I need to start watching! He also said that he no longer attends Comic-Con as he feels it is "a bit overwhelming and creepy.”

That said, here is the brand new trailer for Watchmen complete with hot-blue-floaty-naked-power-trip-guy:

Via JoBlo I found a great article showing the comparisons between frames of this trailer and their comic-book counterparts. Director Zach Snyder has to take 12 chapters and condense them into a 2 1/2 hour movie, always a challenge despite the length or breadth of the original material. You can take a look at the "Watchmen Trailer to Comic Comparison" here.

I love looking at issues related to adaptation theory like this! I am very interested in how filmic adaptations are made, from literature, comic books or even other movies. I wrote a paper for another class on literary adaptation that I am happy to share with anyone who is interested.

My paper opens with a reference to Dark Willow-I will include "Buffy" in any piece of academia I can! And most of the time, it doesn't take long at all to find the perfect example with seven years of great content at my fingertips!

A Disney Directive

Prior to seeing Wall-E, I read one reviewer’s comments which explained how while he was watching the film he felt as if he knew how it was to see Star Wars or 2001: A Space Odyssey in the movie theatre when they first came out-seeing the Star Destroyer moving endlessly across the screen or the psychedelic effects of the latter film. I see how the writer came to this conclusion. Wall-E is both breathtaking and a breath of fresh air.

The expansive environments presented at the beginning of the film are awe-inspiring yet somber in their depiction of a neglected world. And really, the whole film follows a similar tonality. While humanity may be at the height of its technological advancements, having produced some amazing tools, devices and machines to help maintain a comfortable existence, man has reached a plateau in its psychological-and physical-development. The results are striking.

The fact that the audience does not get a glimpse of an actual human-save for a few fleeting images on the makeshift movie screen at his “residence”-until about half-way through the movie reinforces the audience’s perception that the robots in this film, Eve and Wall-E in particular, are more human than any other character. The overweight, over-stimulated human populace is for the most part comprised of mindless masses. The one human who does rise to the occasion so to speak and seek to overhaul the cyclic nature of the human race at this point, is no more than a figurehead for the deep, meaningful ideology already iterated in, not the words, but the visuals and interactions between Wall-E and his world, Eve’s mission and of course the relationship that blossoms almost quite literally, between Wall-E and Eve. The captain of the ship, default leader of the human population is far from being the film’s protagonist-I could hardly arrive at an accurate guess of his name.

Wall-E's message of being pro-active about our planet's environment is certainly clear, but it is from the subtleties of the characters’ actions that more profound truths can be unearthed. The majority of Wall-E teaches without speaking, Wall-E instructs by example. Wall-E’s daily collection of what one might otherwise deem trash at the least or trinkets at the most is a beautiful representation of the value and joy that can be found in the most simple of items and the smaller gems of life. What do we take away from every day we are given in this life? What do we leave behind? With Eve, the probe sent by the Axiom spacecraft to investigate signs of organic life on Earth, we also see inherently human behavior and psychological evolution take place within her character. “Directive” she states, over and over as she continues to scan her surroundings. She gestures toward the plant logo located on the upper left of her gleaming white torso. Her “directive,” her occupation, is in the place of her heart. When she realizes where her heart truly lies, what she is fighting for, forgoing the orders of her programming, it is a heart-melting moment. The plant symbol dims and she and Wall-E know that doing the right thing, following one’s heart, doesn’t always mean following simple orders. We are part of a bigger picture and catching sight of that is never an easy process.

I just saw Intiman Theatre's incredible performance of Tennessee William’s play, “A Streetcar Named Desire" and in Blanche DuBois’ view of the world, however naïve, she describes "those long afternoons when a piece of eternity drops into our hands and we don't know what to do with it." In writing about Wall-E now, these words strongly resonated in my mind. Our minutes, hours and days are but pieces of something larger, our lives for one, but even our lives are firmly rested within the timeline of humanity. We give and take from this world, but what responsibility do we have when that moment comes when have taken too much, when the harmony we have with Earth has been thrown wholly out of balance? Wall-E depicts humans running from that responsibility, leaving its technological creations to clean up the mess, naively thinking that in time, balance can be restored. 700 years after humans left Earth, its offspring have all but forgotten how to live, much less what Earth was. In fact, when the humans finally do make it back to Earth in Wall-E, it was the only moment I took issue with the film. Does it not also seem naïve to think that with starting with one small budding plant, humans can survive, thrive and live within a symbiotic relationship with Earth? I see the need for a self-contained narrative-and I think it was wonderfully done-however, the resolution for the human race and their now desolate world is far from simple-as is the resolution for our present environmental crisis.

Wall-E is a beautiful, heartfelt film and with it Pixar and the genius present in its team of writers, artists and producers have set new standards in the realm of creative story-telling, visuals and consequential and evocative filmmaking. Wall-E is multi-layered, full of complexity, expertly crafted and moving, characteristics which few other films this year can claim.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'll Be Your Captain

I came across this particular image about a month and a half ago and I immediately questioned the legitimacy of the image I was seeing. Was this some fan reinterpretation or reimagining of a revered American hero? Was this actually a licensed image from Marvel comics? Here we have Captain America, former foe of the Nazi regime at his inception, resurrected from a cryogenic state after a few decades, killed during what I believe was the Marvel Civil War series of comics over the last couple years-now very well alive, in the flesh on the cover of a new comic book and looking very…uh…virile.

From the second I saw this picture I knew I had to write about it at some point. I have been meaning to lay out my thoughts in written form for quite some time. I mentioned it to some of my fellow conference goers at SC3 last month and while it generated some interest, I knew that without seeing it, my commentary thereon could only go so far! This proved to me that a new wave was breaking in the comic industry. I was very much taken aback at the image if for the sole reason that this drawing of Captain America has to be one of the most if not the most blatant instances of borrowed cultural imagery in comics from an overtly sexualized source-the pornography industry.

I have seen more than a few pornographic DVD box covers, not at all necessarily the material included therein-in particular through browsing the independent/peculiar/foreign porn section of the much respected Scarecrow Video here in Seattle. Said room is quite an interesting foray into the dusty corners of sex culture—H.P. Lovecraft-ian tentacles? Secret women of the Nazi forces? Not to mention my old roommate worked at a video store and made it a habit of bringing home the oddest pornographic videos which he liked to have as "background" visuals for our various dance parties in college—I tended to stick to the balcony or the kitchen making drinks during those "creative" decisions. Also, a fellow student in my honors English program in University wrote her Senior Thesis on some of the hard issues concerning depictions of blacks in interracial pornography. She was a tough act to follow when we had our group discussions about our topics. All in all, I'm certainly aware of some of the more common imagery propagated throughout such media. Thus, being faced with this pose that is clearly rooted in pornography in this seemingly different context, began a small revelation of sorts in how I think about popular culture imagery.

You don't have to take my word for it that this pose is extremely common for the pornography industry, especially gay pornography-a few minutes perusing through video covers will garner images with the same framing, the same dark, sultry eyes and more. You hardly have to take away the references to Americana in the background and on Captain America's shoulder before the association is made. Take away his costume entirely and no one would ever assume that this was the figure that fought for the United States America for over 50 years in comic books. I would argue that this image in particular is even more sexualized than even some covers of gay porn. It is complete with straps resembling bondage gear, he is holding what might be taken as a phallic object, and can we talk about his perfectly-unreal-yet-altogether-incredible ass?

After a while thinking about the very existence of such a piece of art makes sense. Women have been objectified in comics for decades upon decades and in much the same way as Captain America is here. While watching a recent, and might I say, quite excellent, documentary on the evolution of comics in Western culture over the last century on the History Channel, the narrator spoke extensively about the very evocative imagery in Wonder Woman comics, dating back as long as the character has been in print. Female on female bondage, lesbian undertones-Wonder Woman is perhaps the most mainstream dominatrix figure America has ever seen. Women in tight-fitting, revealing superhero garb are likely taken for granted in the 21st century. The women of the X-Men universe-regardless of their artists, mutant abilities or authors, all have one thing in common-sexy crime-fitting spandex and/or leather outfits. The time for men to be painted in a similar fashion has certainly arrived and I have yet to determine how I feel about it-at least in the grand scheme of things. Do I mind seeing Captain America in this outfit? Well, yes and no. I'm not sure how to view it in a larger cultural context, but I certainly appreciate his...assets. Is it a marketing ploy? A chance to broaden their audience? Is it a natural consequence of the growing acceptance of gay content in mainstream art? As a man, how should I feel about the exploitation of the male form in this fashion? Whatever the reason for the drawing's inception, it is fascinating to me and I look forward to hearing what other individuals investigated in popular culture have to say and investigating the phenomenon further on my own. I have issues #94 and #95 of Ultimate X-Men on my shelf which include a story-line that deserves some commentary as well.

Gay imagery-though I would not say overtly homoerotic as it is here-is also present in Ultimate X-Men, but it is surrounded by a viable context-Colossus, the metallic mutant is gay in the Ultimate X-Men series and his lover, Northstar has been kidnapped by a team of rogue mutants. The imagery in these comics never looks like the artists slapped a patriotic costume a pornstar.


If you haven’t already doled out your $10 or $13 to go and see this movie, put your crumpled dollar bills back in your pocket book and back away slowly from the ticket counter at your local Cineplex. Wanted was most un-wanted in my book and I have more than a few reasons why.

Wanted is the epitome of gratuitous onscreen violence. Saving Private Ryan? Schindler’s List? Even 300? The violence in said movies was completely contextual. Whether that context was historical, socially based, and even the graphic novel basis which provided the visual aesthetic for 300 and other films such as Sin City, these were all viable, respectable platforms for the inclusion of violence. Although Wanted is based on a graphic novel, it does not at all merit the kind of grotesque detail and attempts at stylizing some of the most gruesome displays of human on human violence portrayed on the silver screen. Do we really need to see a bullet pushing through someone’s forehead and exploding on to the camera lens in slow motion? I think not. Not to mention this film blatantly glorifies violence. Thinly veiled behind characters appearing to desire the best for humanity? Not even. A giant, splashy effects-laden set-up for an ending filled with redemption of primary characters, changes of heart? Don’t even think about it. This film represents a sheer baseness of humanity, one that might be well suited as the backdrop for the wet-dream of a pubescent boy severely addicted to video-games.

The plot on Wanted is more convoluted and probably more lacking than any movie I have seen this summer. I don’t think I’m giving too much of a spoiler away when I describe the way in which this supposedly ancient team of assassins called The Fraternity acquire the names of their targets through a secret code in the threads of a giant loom. Yeah. The performances of Angelina Jolie suits her, I suppose and she is aptly named Fox. James McAvoy does probably the best job he can at the shoddy scripted dialogue he was given-and yet I am dissappointed at his presence in the film if only because he has so much potential and clearly can carry a more respectable movie (See: Atonement). Why Morgan Freeman uttered an affirmative to this movie is beyond me. The main plot line involves what’s supposed to be a twist, but it is never explained. The narrative clearly and deliberately misleads its audience throughout the movie and the story is flimsy at best. Some scenes do not even seem to be in the right place.

The director Timur Bekmambetov is particularly known for the successes of his Nightwatch movies also lower on plot than might be desired but certainly rich in visual stimulation and a fair amount of interesting “lore” to at least give the appearance of being more meaningful than it probably actually is. I enjoyed those movies to a point, but the likable ideas presented in Wanted are even fewer and far between. I liked the healing-pools in which the wounded are encased in an opaque wax substance which breaks upon their awakening all set up in room which I can describe as a cross between a Zen atmosphere and a Medieval setting. The idea of curving bullets was interesting at first, but became so contrived as the set pieces became more and more grandiose and ridiculous. I have in mind the end in particular, which for those who have seen the end will probably agree, takes the idea of curving bullets to an almost laughable degree—laughable if only what had come before and what occurred during that scene didn’t make your heart sink to your stomach.

Thematically, the movie was very rough for me. From the very beginning, the film took on a tone that immediately put me in an upset place. I could feel that I was not going to like this movie and my premonitions where reinforced with nearly each subsequent scene, even though I was actively searching for the film’s merits all along the way. The essential message of the movie is that everyone deserves to be killed. Every individual on this planet has done and probably will do something again that they deserve death as punishment for their sins. While this message might contain truth, the hand of death never belongs to the hand of man. Other than this, the film is theologically bleak, splashing death in the face of theatergoers as casually as pebbles in a pond, and made me leave the theatre feeling sick to my stomach.

I can honestly say that no amount of special effects, the top of Angelina Jolie’s butt or the 20 extra pounds James McAvoy bulked up for the role made up for my utter disappointment with this movie. I wanted to like it. I wanted to be wowed. I wanted some kind of redemption, some glimmer of hope for the main character and some look forward into how he might be different after his experiences or how he might seek to alter this twisted system of degradation. Instead, I was numb. After the credits began to roll on Wanted, I wanted to forget.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Recall of Heaven's Army

This afternoon I had about 45 minutes between one shift and the next at the bar and decided to venture out into the gorgeous weather Seattle has been having in order to pass the time. I initially figured on going to Third Place Books, where I inevitably purchase a book that I may or may not read, but feel the desire to have on my bookshelf in either case. Before getting to that destination, I saw Easy Street Records on the corner, calling my name. I decided I would be honest with myself and figured I would actually be more likely to watch movies than read books in the near future. Plus, I have always seen movies as a very social thing, and reading Michael Cunningham's latest novel (which I had previously purchased from Third Place Books)in a round while sipping on port just doesn't seem as thrilling as a movie-get-together.

Easy Street has a perpetually rotating selection of used DVDs so I peruse the shelves every now and then looking for good deals on those movies I always thought I either should own or really want to own-I like to think that alot of times my choices fit both categories.

Today's purchases included:

Cheap entertainment for several evenings: Priceless.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


About a year ago, I was at my local video store and the employee at the counter as I was checking out asked for my phone number-like they do-and I gave it to him. "2-2-7?!?" he asked, "really?" I stared back at him, probably rather blankly. "Like the T.V. show!" he said. Another "does not register" look. He may have also yelled across the room to another employee to tell him that the middle three digits of my phone number was the name of this *huge* T.V. show. I think he left it at that.

Since that encounter, I've given out my phone number to people, to some of which I have said, "yes, the 80s television show" with, really, no recollection of the show ever. I was a little young for it-most likely because "227" began when I was an infant. I have looked up the show once or twice since to see what the big deal is.

I find IMDb's only plot description of the show absolutely hilarious:

This series took place in an apartment building, numbered 227. The cast would frequently be found sitting outside on a large set of stone stairs, in some discussion that would unfold into the weekly plot line.

That has to be the most generic plot summary *ever*. I mean, really, it might as well read, "There are people in this show. They talk. Things happen." "Ooooh, so that's what this show is about! You know, because I've always wondered..." Even Wikipedia's description of the show is rather slim on details. The article explains "the series was adapted from a play written by Christine Houston about the lives of women in a predominantly black apartment building in 1950s Chicago" and "the setting of the series...was changed to present-day Washington, D.C."

An IMDb contributor writes, ""227," in my opinion, is a must-see NBC hit! Despite the fact that I've never seen every episode, I still enjoyed it. It's hard to say which one is my favorite. Also, I really loved the theme song." Firstly, there is only one season of the show on DVD and it came out 4 years ago, so I can imagine that it might not be too easy to track down every single episode. Secondly, my guess as to why she can't pick a favorite is probably due to the very bleak plot summary above. And third, she loves the theme song, so I feel the need to post it here:

The song is titled "There's No Place Like Home" and is sung by one of the series' stars, the Emmy Award-winning, Marla Gibbs. Note: I love how one of the actresses is known only as "Jackée."

Dwindling audiences in the last two seasons of the show led the show to be cancelled in 1990. Concerning the show's release on DVD, the first season underperformed dramatically in sales so we may never see the remaining four seasons.

This Delicate Thing We've Made

Time now to spread your wings
To take to flight
The life endeavour
Aim for the burning sun
You're trapped inside
But you can still be free
If time will set you free
But it's a long long way to go

“You Can Still Be Free” Savage Garden, Affirmation 1999

Savage Garden was one of the first bands I ever really identified with. Their lyrics ranged from being sweet and often wit-filled (See: “I Want You” from their first self-titled CD, “Sweet like a chica-cherry-cola”) to brooding, bittersweet, tragic love songs. Between their first and second albums, their lyrics certainly took on more serious themes including domestic violence (See: “Two Beds and a Coffee Machine” from Affirmation, “Another bruise to try and hide/ Another alibi to write”) and other personal and social issues. I remember listening to tracks on both their first self-titled album and their follow-up album, Affirmation over and over again while I was homeschooled in France, often following some angst-filled confrontation with my parental authorities in my pre-teen and teenage years. Usually these “recovery” songs would be the most depressing songs on the CD, including, “Two Beds and a Coffee Machine,” “You Can Still Be Free,” and “Gunning Down Romance.”

When the duo, comprised of Daniel Jones and Darren Hayes, split-far from amicably-in October 2001, it was Hayes that went on to release a solo album, Spin Spin, in 2002, The Tension and The Spark in 2004 and his newest album, This Delicate Thing We’ve Made in late 2007 on his own label, Powdered Sugar.

Also in 2007, the ever handsome, Darren Hayes married his partner of 6 years after coming-out publicly a few years prior. To an extent, I feel like Hayes was a celebrity-always more popular abroad in his home country of Australia than in the U.S.-that resided in a perpetual glass closet, living with an apprehension of how public knowledge of his sexuality might affect his public persona. I see it as no coincidence, then, that I identified with so many of his lyrics and still do to this day. Hayes writes nearly all his material and his writing has become more personal with each new album. Indeed, as Amazon’s product description reads, “Hayes has managed to craft an album of intricate narratives and personal confessions that simultaneously document his arrival at peace within himself. He has created something that really demands to be listened to, that hooks you and completely seduces you.”

The song, “A Conversation With God” bleeds with emotional resonance and plays into some of my own personal reflections on many points. Among other things, Hayes seduces with metaphor and this song is but one of many that demonstrates this wonderful talent to inflect his work with meaningful imagery.

A Conversation With God
We're driving
Just me and God
It's raining
It's raining hard
The windows
Are steaming up
The bridge
Engulfed by fog

The rest of
The metal bridge
It beckons
It pulls me in
I argue
I scream at God
For what he's offering

My hands fly off the steering wheel
Can't recall getting here
If I could, I would reach behind
And turn my light on
My thoughts run off the beaten track
There's no light
How's the way back
Take the hand of God
And bite the fear
No more lingering

I'm driving
I talk to God
He's screaming
I only nod
I need to
Be where you are
The leaves and trees
Are shaking

It's raining
The bullets melt
The hunger
Of hunger itself
It's straining
The pain has
A reservoir
It keeps for itself

I'm falling
I'm not myself
I'm diving
I'm underneath
The hull of
A mighty ship
That steams away from here

The bubbles
The surface race
The shining
They replicate
I hear it
The Voice of God
Is laced with sarcasm
In your hands

And my thoughts run off the beaten track
There's no light
How's the way back
Take the hand of God
And bite the fear
No more lingering

My hands fly off the steering wheel
Can't recall getting here
If I could, I would reach behind
And turn my light on

One of the first songs that hooked me on the album, was “Casey”, which later became a single from the album. “Casey” is a wistful, yet driving song that seems to subside in memory or out of time and place, recounting the desire to leave the confines of isolation and leaving town with a universal “Casey” figure, in a fast, yellow car-“A yellow car speeding down a south-side freeway/ When you write this movie/ Make it end like we wanted to.”

“Casey” also made for a superb video:

One of the things I love about this video is the 80s overtones, an era with which Hayes-having grown up during that time-is very familiar and it is a motif that pops up in many of his aesthetic choices on his albums, adding a welcome nostalgic quality to his music. His music is undoubtedly influenced by Prince and Madonna among others and even the subject matter of the 1980s is explicitly addressed in songs such as the song on Spin, "Crush (1980 Me)" wherein Hayes strings off a myriad of 80s popular culture references:

Cyndi Lauper
Simon Le Bon
I put Eurythmics On
Poppin' and Lockin' in the U.S.A
Day Glo sweater tied around my neck Studded Denim
Big Hair
Acid Wash
Rubik's Cube
My Boom Box
Frosted Lipstick
Parachute Pants
Doc Martins
Dead Can Dance
Culture Club
The Go Go's
Pretty In Pink
PacMan Asteroids
Miami Vice
Too early for Vanilla Ice
The Poodle Perm And Blond Highlights

The video for "Crush (1980 Me)" is also a roaring trip back through time to the world of acid wash jeans, big hair, Converse and video games at the bar.

This Delicate Thing We’ve Made is one of those albums that simply gets better with repeated listenings. Other songs from this brilliant 2-disc recording that I have on repeat include, “The Sun Is Always Blinding Me,” “Listen All You People,” “The Future Holds a Lion’s Heart”-which, by the way, includes a reference to my favorite piece of literature, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-“Setting Sun,” “On The Verge of Something Wonderful,” “A Hundred Challenging Things” and the list truly does go on. One album review states, “In terms of style, there is pure pop celebration here, in the form of songs like "Listen All You People", "Tuning of Violins" and the first single "On the Verge of Something Wonderful" "Casey" proves that melancholy, yearning lyrics don't have to be stuck on ballads, but can be sung over up-tempo synth-pop to heart-wrenching effect.”

As much as I listen to Savage Garden's work and Hayes' previous albums, with every new album, Hayes demonstrates an amplified level of creativity. This Delicate Thing We’ve Made is a work of art, lyrically sound, deeply meaningful, over an engaging pop style, which, in fact, to say that this is explicitly “pop” music is actually to discredit the wide artistic strokes with which Darren is able to perform over the 25 songs. Either of the CDs could have been released on their own, but releasing them as one collection, pushes this album into the realm of the concept record, touching on so many themes and musical styles. If Joss Whedon is the oft-underrated genius of the television world, Darren Hayes is a musical genius in his own right, one of the greatest singer-songwriters of our generation.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Again with the grunting"

Faith: "Tell me that if you don't get in a good slaying, after a while, you just start itching for some vamp to show up so you can give him a good -- (grunt)."
Buffy: "Again with the grunting."
“Bad Girls” Season 3 Episode 14

Electric Tiki just released their latest design in their series of “tooned-up” Buffy maquettes. It appears that next on their agenda is a great pose of Faith.

I think of the ones approved for design so far including the already producedBuffy and Willow statuettes, this new Faith design is the most dynamic and my favorite. Looking through Electric Tiki’s website, I found the following images that depict the three primary design submissions for the tooned-up Buffy maquette.

According to the website, both the last and the center figure met approval from SMG’s reps (the one in the middle is also the one finally produced). The one on the top from "Chosen", for whatever reason, didn’t make it.

As far as the produced Buffy statue, I don’t feel like it really captures the essence Buffy. She looks really happy as they sculpted her and they tried to do a little bit of anger in her left eye, but all in all, I do not see a true reflection of Buffy’s character. I don’t think it shows the Buffy we all love, but sort of a stand-in. It is-again-strange that the design met the approval of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s representatives. It looks little like her and it just doesn’t seem like that exciting of a pose.

However, I really like the last one above with the pony-tail and the scythe! That particular combination is from “End of Days”. I would definitely consider getting the last one-I mean, really anything with the Slayer scythe is going to get big points with me. Speaking of which, I would very much like one. Birthday? Christmas? Maybe?

With their “Vengeance Willow” statue, even though it does not resemble Alyson Hannigan at all, I do love that they chose to dress Willow in her outfit from the episode, “Tough Love”, in which Willow goes to-unsuccessfully-take revenge on Glory for “feeding” on Tara’s mind. That scene in particular is so powerful-not to mention all flashy-like with the special effects. And shouldn't Willow have black eyes in the statue or does that come later in the scene?

Of Grills & Microwaves

At work this morning, my coworkers and I were discussing the events of our respective Fourth of July celebrations. Kelli was telling me about how she hadn't been feeling well earlier in the day so she decided to just stay home and have a quiet evening at home. However, it being the Fourth of July and all she had a craving for a cheeseburger. She told me that she had never made a cheeseburger before, but "how hard could it be, right?" She opened up the grill, which was your standard gas grill and found the spark switch not to be working. She briefly thought about lighting a paper towel with a match and throwing it onto the grill to get it going. That didn't sound like the best idea so she decided to light a match and do it all manually. The gas had been on this whole time, so when she finally lit the match and leaned in to the grill pan, a huge fireball erupted from the surface and probably would have ignited her hair were her hair not still damp from her shower!

This conversation about fireballs then led us to discuss the dangers of microwaves. I told Kelli about a movie I saw on an airplane when I was about 4 that haunts me to this day. I think it starred Roseanne who was playing some psychotic female. I vividly remember her placing an aerosol can in the microwave, keying in the time...cut to wide exterior shot of the entire house BLOWING UP. So for the rest of my childhood I was deathly afraid of putting anything in the microwave that didn't have the explicit label of "Microwave Safe." I would ask my mom about everything. I admit that I am slightly apprehensive about what can and can't go in the microwave to this day. Does anyone have any idea what this movie I speak of may be?

I asked Kelli if she had seen any YouTube videos of CDs in microwaves and told her it was pretty much lightning in a box. We watched a couple of those involving people destroying CDs and their microwaves in the process.

Then, in a twisted YouTube suggestion, YouTube decided that the most relevant video that we may be interested next was this one:

A Furby being utterly annihilated in a microwave!

This, in turn, led us to discover an entire filthy underground world of Furby torture fetishism.

Watch if you dare!

Kelli and I were gasping out loud at this one, first at the brutality of the fur being shaved off of such a tender creature and then how the inflictor NAILED down the Furby's feet before DRILLING into its head!

Thus, from Fourth of July adventures in grilling and Kelli almost getting toasted, we managed to make our way into the dark recesses of the mind of a psycopathic Furby killer.

Oh, YouTube, we have so much to thank you for-not to mention being scarred for life...again.

After further investigation of this harrowing childhood memory, I have discovered that the aforementioned psycho-Roseanne movie is called She-Devil.

The plot-summery begins as follows:

Ruth (Barr) is a frumpy, overweight wife and mother as well, who tries to please her husband. Her husband Bob (Ed Begley, Jr.) is an accountant who is trying to boost his business, meets Mary Fisher (Streep), a romance novelist riding high on her fame and fortune, at a dinner party and begins to originate an affair with her. When Ruth displays much clumsiness, while Bob's parents are visiting, Bob uses that as an announcement that he is deserting her. As he is packing his bags and Babbage, he explains to Ruth that his assets are his home, his family, his career, and his freedom, but Ruth is a liability. Ruth vows to get revenge on him, as well as Mary when she says to herself "I hope Mary Fisher's pink palace crumbles and falls right into the sea". Ruth writes a list to herself titled "Bob's Assets" and lists the four assets that Bob has stated, and will cross off each one from the list when it is destroyed. While he is at work and the children are at school, she sets the house on fire (by overloading the electricity of the house by doing every possibly unsafe task with the household appliances) and it is obliterated in a gigantic explosion.

I must find every VHS tape of that movie and destroy every single one-just as George Lucas has vowed to do with the "Star Wars Holiday Special"! I will also be suing Hollywood for raping my innocent mind. Who's with me?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Slaying in Pictures

Our Mrs. Reynolds, Nikki Stafford herself-why the "Firefly" reference, I'm not sure exactly, it just sounds cool-has posted some pictures of the Slayage Conference we attended at the beginning of June. She includes some great commentary thereon as well!

Isn't she adorable? Behind her is the "podium" aka food service table from which she gave her excellent keynote address.

There are a couple great pictures of our little "posse" which included Nikki, Sue, Ryan and I. I think all of these pictures are courtesy of Sue, so we definitely all appreciate her proclivity toward taking pictures.

I love Nikki's anecdote in this post about Sue and her miniature rebellion against this unusual-for us-legislation:

I also mentioned numerous times that Henderson was in a dry county, which shocked everyone. Here is Sue's contraband bottle of wine, hidden so cleverly in this brown paper bag. (She carried it around all weekend and would occasionally lean down under one of the conference tables to take a slug. She's such a boozer. She says that because I don't drink it always makes her feel MORE like one. Oh, Sue... the first step to overcoming your problem is taking responsibility for it...) I reassured her it was well-masked in the bag, and everyone would assume it was her laptop.

I had so much fun with these people its uncanny. I'd love to plan a reunion, like a "Laverne & Shirley" or "Brady Bunch" reunion but longer, without a laugh track and far more "Buffy." There's always Slayage Conference 4 to look forward to in 2010, but I certainly don't think I can wait til then.

It's really impossible to pick a favorite moment from the conference. I loved every second of it-well, maybe except for the hangover the morning after Ryan and I finished over half a bottle of Absolut vodka. Seriously, we had so much fruit punch and vodka, watching everything from Brenda Dickson videos to behind-the-scenes Buffy vids.

Ryan and I agreed that despite our criticisms of the county we were in being a dry one perhaps alcohol "had the last laugh" after all.

Some Kind of Holiday

This morning, I woke up early so that I could go to the gym. I rolled out of bed, packed my bag, grabbed a snack and headed out the door to meet Keith outside so that we could get all bulked up, you know, like you do at the gym. We got to the gym around 9:15, pulled the handle on the door and…no go. The gym is closed on the Fourth of July. It seems that this holiday is a big deal.

Keith suggested that we go do breakfast somewhere as he did not have to work today and I did not have to be in to work until 11:00AM. We had a great, big breakfast at Lola. I had a Dungeness Crab Omelet with toast, bacon and smashed garlic potatoes. Delicious. Our waiter-whose name is also Ian-said that he didn't expect the restaurant to be so busy today, even with it being a holiday. We declared that people getting up early in the morning of July 4th is decidedly un-American and that the common Fourth of July program should entail sleeping in, lounging around and not eating until the Bar-B-Cue in the afternoon prior to watching the fireworks in the evening. We then concluded that this obviously madeeveryone else in the restaurant foreigners and Ian-the waiter-joked that they were indeed preparing "Freedom Toast" in the back for the patrons of the restaurant as they intended to cater toward the true American way.

Having eaten well, essentially, Keith and I did the opposite of what we were intending to do at the gym.

I wanted to hit up Zanadu, the comic book store, afterwards before work to start reading Buffy Season Eight #16 but sadly, that establishment was also closed for business.

Now? Counting the hours until I am off work-yes, working on the 4th of July, hey, other people are welcome work, but I don't really care to. I will be going to a houseboat party later on this evening to see the fireworks on South Lake Union. According to TIME magazine, Washington Mutual’s Fireworks Display is on a list of the top fireworks displays in the country! In this picture, you can see these fireworks on Lake Union and the illuminated structures of Gasworks Park in the lower left hand corner.

I will say that last year's Fourth of July events were really incredible. I was also at a houseboat party with great friends and we were as close to the fireworks as you could legally be. At the start of the show they have a huge military helicopter with an equally large American flag draped beneath circle Lake Union just over the water with a massive spotlight. It was really great, so I look forward to another fun evening on the water this year!