Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pac Man on the Loose

Saturday Playlist

I'm not sure this week's playlist sounds good together, but hey, that's the shuffle feature for you.

1. John Williams: Hymn to the Fallen
2. Goblin: Gianna (Alternate Version)
3. Christopher Lee: Donner’s Song
4. Howard Shore: The Hornburg
5. Roy Wood: Nancy Sing Me a Song
6. Lee Hazelwood: A House Safe for Tigers
7. Tori Amos: Cornflake Girl
8. Leroy Anderson: The Waltzing Cat
9. Madonna: The Power of Good-Bye
10. Tiny Tim: Tiptoe Through the Tulips

1. From the Saving Private Ryan score. It sounds more like someone doing a Williams pastiche than a real Williams piece.
2. From the Profundo Rosso score. Not my favorite Argento movie, but the score is excellent. Goblin could do no wrong for me.
3. From Wagner's Das Rheingold, and from Christopher Lee's great album Christopher Lee Sings Devils, Rogues & Other Villains. I wish he could have gotten a fuller orchestral backing, but I like what he does with his voice.
4. Another score piece, from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I think that strong Rohan theme may be my favorite theme in the score.
5. I love Roy Wood. This sounds a lot like what he did in the Move.
6. Apparently from the soundtrack to a Swedish (?) film of the same name. The whole soundtrack is by Lee Hazelwood, and has some really lovely instrumentals. This is the title song, and it's beautiful. I think it's some of Hazelwood's best work.
7. "This is not really, this-a-this-a-this is not really happen-ahaaang." You bet your life it is.
8. Leroy Anderson is just so damn neat.
9. One of Madonna's prettier songs.
10. You know, when it comes right down to it, this is actually a fairly pretty song.

Y: The Last Man

I've just finished the final two volumes of Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man. It takes an ending to properly evaluate a story. And now that I've lived through the complete journey of Yorick, the last man left alive on the planet after a plague kills off all the rest, I can safely say that this whole thing just felt like a waste of time.

What am I supposed to make of the ending here? I know a lot of people have been calling out Vaughan for his supposed misogyny, but I've resisted that charge...until I get to the climax and see what Alter's real motivation was for following Yorick all over the globe with her IDF battalion. I guess I won't give it away, but I thought it was tremendously stupid, especially after everything she'd done in the previous volumes. It pissed me off enough what happened to 355, considering the way I wanted the whole thing to end, but at least that seemed believable. The final revelations... and that epilogue chapter, with Old Yorick... I guess I just didn't care enough to find his final escape uplifting.

Lots of potential, but the payoff ultimately sucks. Brian K. Vaughan is capable of a lot worse (Ultimate X-Men, episodes of Lost), but I've also read a hell of a lot better works by him (Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad). This was... well, it's over, anyway.

Salvador Dali and the Rhino

Excellent picture via retroKing.

Mickey on the Game Grid

I dig this. I'm not really a fan of Tron, but I am a fan of 80s pop culture and Mickey Mouse. If that makes me some kind of poser, I don't really care. It reminds me of those Star Wars/Disney character figures. I saw those at WizardWorld last year and thought they were pretty neat. Apparently they piss off a lot of Star Wars fans, which just makes me love them even more. You can tell pretty quickly who the humorless Star Wars fans are and who the cool fans are.

Anyway, digging Tron Mickey. I totally want this.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Throwdown 4/17

Random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. Hey, Jamie Foxx: Go fuck yourself. You know why. Eat a bullet. Seriously, Jamie Foxx, go fuck yourself.

2. Okay, I know it’s hip to get outlandishly angry that people younger than you like anything that’s aimed at them. But I dig the Jonas Brothers. I dig their music; it reminds me of music from the eighties (when I was a kid). I have an issue here, and it’s not with the hipsters who think bashing music kids like makes them look even hipper. It’s with people who do it—like certain wannabe-uber-hip worthless sack of shit gossip bloggers who have blogs pretending to be snarky dictionaries—by calling them gay and laughing about it. Since when is equating “gay” with “bad” okay? I mean, I don’t know if they’re gay or not, and I don’t really care, but get a grip. There’s a vast difference between the worthless annoyance of someone liking something you don’t, and sending the message that someone being gay somehow makes them worthless. Do you hear the difference between “I don’t like your music” and “You’re a faggot”? Just doesn’t sit well with me.

3. I love the reporting on the impending Mel Gibson divorce. He cheats on his wife constantly for years and somehow this makes his latest 24 year-old lover a homewrecker? Yeah, pull the other one, it plays Water Music. Because Nyalarthotep knows that no man ever willingly has sex with someone who isn’t his wife. I find it hilariously unsurprising that it’s mostly women bloggers who are pissed at her, too. As I’ve said many times, and will now be putting on a t-shirt, no one turns on a woman faster than another woman.

4. And in the Trying Too Hard to Get Attention race, Lady GaGa jumps into lead and leaves Katy Perry in the dust. Who’d have thought there was someone more cynical?

5. You know… I think that’s enough from Jason Statham now. I’m done.

6. So, the Somali pirates. On the one hand, they’re acting in self-defense. Since the government collapsed in 1991, Somalia has been on the brink of starvation and the Western world has basically stolen their food supply (illegally fishing their waters) and dumped poisonous waste in their seas. People have been dying of radiation sickness since the 2005 tsunami. There are allegations that European hospitals and factories have been passing their waste on to the Italian mafia to dispose of it. The pirates call themselves the Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia and about 70% of Somalis support them as national defense. But on the other hand, I don’t think there’s anything that justifies hostage-taking as a solution to a problem. And while it’s sad to see the West only get involved when the transit route for 20% of the world’s oil supply is disrupted, the Somalis are engaging in banditry. I think they’re desperate and driven to extremes, but that doesn’t make it any less of a crime. They forced our hand in this situation and we responded. Still, says a lot about the West’s devotion to ending poverty. And I’m also sure that we won’t be making any moves to further address Somalia, honestly.

7. Banks that didn’t receive a TARP bailout have been lowering their fees; banks that did have been raising fees right and left. This is in the name of remaining competitive. It always is, conveniently ignoring that if one really wanted to be competitive, one would undersell their competition. Continuing to be oh so glad we subsidize their expenditures and share none of their profits.

8. Apparently, we’ve broken the Religious Right. So there’s some decent news coming out of the current political wasteland. At least the craziest elements of the right seem to be getting more and more scared. You can tell because they’re getting much, much louder. I don’t really have the energy to comment on or even fully understand what this whole Tax Day Tea Party bullshit was (262,000 people? That’s it?), other than Republicans continuing to let their already tenuous grip on reality weaken a little further. Get back to work, assholes. You may not like the president, but you still have constituents. I’m worried about deficits and debt, too. I get it. But how about a serious reaction to it instead of this stupidity? And people aren’t pissed off at all about how the Republicans are using them to try and obstruct a Democratic Congress after gleefully signing off on the massive spending under George W. Bush? Blaming Obama for the economic crisis is like blaming the mechanic after you spent three years not getting your oil changed. I also don’t have the energy for the new “revelations” on FISA abuses. Anyone surprised by that is showing themselves to be astoundingly unthoughtful. And does anyone else find it hilariously disturbing that the DHS could release a report on right wing extremism/terror in the US and the supposedly “conservative” pundits are up in arms about it? Hit a little too close to home, Michelle?

9. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the denial of habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo Bay prisoners was unconstitutional and that all Gitmo prisoners had the right to a full hearing under the law. The US government, not wanting to give up the power to abduct anyone they wanted and bring them to American-controlled prisons without any due process, started sending prisoners to a camp in Bagram, Afghanistan. Under Bush, the Department of Justice upheld the notion that anyone in the world could be kidnapped for any reason and disappeared forever with no rights and no access to the law under the guise of fighting terrorism. And now Obama’s Department of Justice is asserting the same right. And now that a federal judge has ruled that what’s happening in Bagram is just as unconstitutional as what’s happening in Guantanamo, Obama is appealing the ruling. And this is why I’ve given up hoping that Barack Obama is going to make anything better. He is actively fighting to have the power to do something unconstitutional. This is the same Barack Obama who, while vying for the Democratic candidacy, denounced Bush’s actions as un-American tyranny that helped fuel anti-American sentiment and terrorism. Obama called these actions an injustice and a danger to America; now he wants to do the same thing. Anything he does now is going to be sullied for me by his blatant attempts to dismantle the Constitution in order to continue the unlawful Bush/Cheney policy of secrecy and absolutism—the same policies he denounced in order to get elected. And I’m sure I’ll get more comments about how I should relax and good vibes will make everything better and how it’s totally the opposite of what it looks like because Obama is in a long chess game and all the kind of progressivist apologia that is hilariously, awfully, horrifyingly exactly the kind of apologia we used to get from Bush apologists who defended his abuses of power. I know, Obama filed a brief saying he agrees “in full” with the Bush administration’s position and will continue that policy and that the courts have no authority to second guess him when it comes to exercising his war powers, but this is, like, totally different from Bush. I reject this ridiculous position that now that Bush is out we can just have faith that everything’s above board and honest because Obama seems like a nice guy. The price of liberty and all that? And is it even necessary to point out that’s only one of the many places where the Obama administration has upheld a Bush policy? And that they’re going even further than Bush ever did with state secrets and sovereign immunity? There’s no excuse for this. None.

10. Go here to read the four memos Obama released with surprisingly little redaction (thanks to the efforts of the ACLU, not Congress or the media.). They’re pretty awful, gruesome reading. This is what your government authorized as the best source to combat terror, driven by a typical inability by those in power to see people as human beings. I think it was pretty admirable that Obama released them (although, in light of recent court filings, I find his statements that he believes in open government and making sure this never happens again pretty hollow), and releasing them provides an opportunity for prosecution of what are, in plain language, war crimes. These memos blatantly lay out a plan for pure wrongdoing; they explicitly authorize practices that the writers know to be wrong, and say America criticizes other countries for engaging in—that we’re not to be bound by standards we impose on others. It’s clearer than ever that the purpose of torture is to inflict pain, not to gather information. And I notice that the “conservative” media is ignoring the evidence of Bush’s wrongdoing, just as they did while he was president. I disagree with Obama that we need to move on and reflect and blah blah blah, but luckily, decisions about prosecution are not up to him. Unfortunately, they are up to Eric Holder, and I don’t think Holder’s going to do fuck all about it. Holder thinks (and Obama seems to agree) it’s unfair to prosecute people working to defend America, even if they were following criminal orders to knowingly break the law. That shit didn’t fly at Nuremberg, and it shouldn’t fly now.

Happy Birthday, Rowdy Roddy

With this being the 25th year of WrestleMania, Rowdy Roddy Piper has been getting mentioned in a a surprising number of conversations I've been having about how much fun wrestling used to be. He's my favorite, and today happens to be his birthday. So happy 55th, Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Quote of the Next Four Years

From 1000 Things That Piss Me Off:

Speaking of the world being awesome, Obama’s now officially in office - and in spite of the fact that he’s off to a solid start, there are people out there who think we should let him get to work and stop scrutinizing him. But the thing is, that’s what you’re supposed to do with elected officials. It’s the “let’s just give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s the president” crowd that let the last guy get away with doing such an awful job.
Hear fucking hear. Unfortunately, that seems to be the current liberal tone, and those people keep commenting at me whenever I say I've got a problem with Obama.

George W. Bush Just Keeps Making It Easy

"Heh, ever see one of these before, son? Let me show you what you do with it."


Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Wow, what a bad movie. At first it's just plain bad, but once Evelyn Kraft swings into the picture as a jungle girl who is friends with animals and raised by some kind of giant missing link Kong-alike, it starts to get pretty damn good. Maybe it's because the movie slows down a little and stops trying to manufacture a sense of dire impact to a pretty standard-issue jungle adventure (and total rip-off of the 1976 remake of King Kong, which is already a terrible movie). Once the Peking Man (a guy in a truly off-putting suit) is brought back to Hong Kong, the inevitable rampage is surprisingly dull. But still... Evelyn Kraft. And a surprisingly good score. All around solid ** stars.

Not altogether successful, but at least it tries to do something different. This is the middle ground between Andrew Lloyd Webber (it's actually a very close pastiche, right down to the casting of Sarah Brightman) and Grand Guignol; the sort of thing Tim Burton might have tried back in the nineties when he was still interesting. Yummy Alexa Vega stars as a girl who has a blood disease in a future where genetic modification (and big, Nazi-like gene repo men) have become standard. Her father, Anthony Stewart Head (absolutely awesome), has a shady past that involves Rotti Largo (a larger-than-life Paul Sorvino), the head of a genetic modification empire, who is now dying and frets over leaving the business to his three idiot kids (Paris Hilton, Bill Mosley, and Ogre from Skinny Puppy). Sarah Brightman, meanwhile, is a renowned singer and Alexa's godmother. And it's all sung with lots of creative violence and some great gore. It starts off a little uncertain of itself, as though it's trying too hard, but once it settles down, it ends up being something else. Ultimately, I really enjoyed it; the performances were perfectly suited to something so arch in tone (even Paris Hilton's), and it's just something I've never quite seen outside of a music video. I'm calling this *** stars.

This DVD actually has both the animated Black Freighter segments and the Under the Hood stuff that people were whining about missing from Watchmen. While I didn't miss either in the film, I think they both add some perspective to the film. I like the creative way they set up the Under the Hood stuff as the replay of a TV interview with Hollis Mason. It fills in the history of the Minutemen and sets up the idea that, somehow, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre are meant to be together. Tales of the Black Freighter is very well-animated; I dug how it looked like Heavy Metal, which is exactly the tone you would want for the depiction of a violent indie comic from 1985. It, too, adds some depth to the idea that one can think they're doing the work of a saving hero and get it all tragically wrong. The comparison to Rorschach is obvious. I'm not going to give it a star rating because, really, both segments--creative and entertaining as they are--still feel like outtakes from the larger picture. I'm really much more interested to see how they work when added into this big extended version of Watchmen we're going to get (which people still won't get or like, but whatever).

I'm a fan of Richard Lester, but this movie about a post-apocalyptic Britain just didn't work for me. I appreciated the blackly comic tone, and some of it made me laugh (especially Marty Feldman as a nurse: "Don't think of it as losing a wife, think of it as gaining a certificate! I expect you'll have the whole set now!"), but I just didn't care much for it and was kind of glad when it was over. ** stars.

Spoilers here, if you need a warning. This is certainly Jody Hill's darkest project so far, and the most disturbing. It sort of subverts what you would expect from a comedy in 2009 and does something dark and subtle with it. Seth Rogen plays Ronnie Barnhardt, a mall cop in New Mexico who dreams of being a police officer and is in love with Brandi (Anna Faris), who works at the makeup counter. It kind of starts off like any other comedy, but at some point it sort of starts coming undone. You start to realize that Ronnie is delusional and dangerous. We think we know him as some sort of lovable loser, but it becomes clear that he's something much scarier. For example, when he finally gets a date with Brandi, a drunken idiot he's elevated to the level of an angel, he casually pops a prescription pill. She takes it from him and he decides he's done with the pills. But later, we find out he's bi-polar and he's just taken himself off his meds. This guy has a hero complex and wants desperately to be a force for good--a force with a badge and a gun--and that's about the most terrifying thing you can think of. This is a guy who really shouldn't ever follow his dream; he's not equipped for it, and that just makes him want it more. There's a good counterpoint in Ray Liotta, who plays a real cop and who is genuinely smart, efficient, and intimidating--things Ronnie wants to be but can't get right. And it's not funny that he can't get them right; it's scary because he tries too hard and seems like he can be set off at any moment. I was surprised by how this movie went down, and there were shocks along the way. I have to say, it's brilliant. It's the rare comedy that can subvert your expectations in an exciting way, even though I think most of this movie is going to be a complete turn-off to a wide audience. Make no mistake, it's disturbing. But it's also very smart and self-aware. **** stars.

Another week, another Lifetime movie. Emilie de Ravin stars as a police negotiator who is being stalked and who falls in love with a rich man. It's a fun waste of time; the plot is a little more suspenseful than I expected, and de Ravin is very good (and very sexy; she never got to be sexy on Lost, but she's making up for it here). *** stars.

I can't quite put my finger on what it is about this movie that doesn't work, but it really doesn't work. How can a movie with Anne Hathaway and Patrick Wilson be so charmless? Annie plays a therapist who is put in charge of helping a group of plane crash survivors come to terms with their accident. Patrick Wilson, one of the passengers, won't do the group therapy, so Annie agrees to deal with him one-on-one. Inevitably (in bad movies), they are attracted to one another and start a relationship. Meanwhile, her neighbor (Dianne Wiest) seems a little too interested in her life and a shady character who works for the airline (David Morse) keeps following her around. Then her passengers start disappearing. The movie doesn't quite find its tone; it tries to be Claire Summers: Girl Therapist and Michael Clayton at the same time, and then, suddenly, jumps into Jacob's Ladder territory. Yet, somehow, it's all pretty predictable. I will give it this: Wilson and Hathaway are always good, and the last 20 minutes or so are very emotionally involving. I wish the film leading up to them had been anywhere near as good. A real lost opportunity. ** stars.

Mother of god, what a terrible movie. Where to begin? So, Annie Hathaway and Kate Hudson are best friends since childhood who dream of getting married at the Plaza Hotel. When it finally happens, both of their wedding dates are booked on the same day by mistake, which results in the two sisterly friends becoming mortal enemies and each trying to ruin the others' wedding. As in life, no one in movies turns on a woman faster than another woman (especially a lifelong friend). The boyfriends hardly register because, of course, having a husband is beside the point and it's all about the weddings. Annoying, predictable, and surprisingly half-hearted. Director Gary Winick (and, really, I'm beyond done with him) seems to relish punishing the ladies for taking weddings so seriously, and maybe even punishing the audience for sitting through it. Still, Annie could be onscreen bashing baby seals and still be adorable to me. But the next one better be much better. No stars.

Links Are Flashing Before Your Eyes

The Many Moods of the Bandit (Postmodern Barney)

[.] "Does Galactus ever throw up? What does that look like?" (Byzantium's Shores)

Also at Byzantium's Shores: "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull is roughly 85 percent of a terrific movie." Jaquandor's thoughts on movies are always very interesting. I agree with just about all of this (including his idea for a mention of Short Round; would've loved that).

[.] "But there's one thing I won't bend on. The only Howard The Duck stories that count. Are the ones written by Steve Gerber. I hear that Howard is still being published by Marvel, which is nice for them. I'm sure they're good stories, and I appreciate the effort they took to make Howard look not remotely like the Gene Colan version, and I'm not saying for a minute that you shouldn't buy it. Just don't expect me to." Damn straight! (The Bronze Age of Blogs)

[.] Stunning Photogravure of the Vision of Faust (Sexy Witch)

[.] "I still want to watch WrestleMania on Sunday, but only because it’s something I have always done. It’s nostalgia, not the current product, that keeps me coming back year after year." (HoboTrashcan)

[.] "Who doesn’t love THE GODFATHER movie? Sure, it’s definitely one of the greatest movies of all time. Only one thing could make it better: IF IT WAS MORE AWESOME!!" James Gunn hilariously casts his "tweentastic Godfather remake."

[.] FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF: Amoral narcissist makes world dance for his amusement. Uncomfortable plot summaries. Genius. (Postmodern Barney)

[.] Album Covers of Dolly Parton (Stale Popcorn)

[.] "Getting old: not for the timid, certainly. But for those who spark so bright, the burn might be eviscerating. Marilyn, such an angel; what was all that shine about if not a capacity for love?" Susie Bright lovingly remembers Marilyn Chambers.

50 Years!

Happy Birthday, Emma Thompson!

TV Report: 90210

I am not a fan of 90210. It's just not my kind of high school soap opera. Like nearly everyone who was a teenager in the early nineties, though, I did watch it for the first few years. My love for Tori Spelling is unapologetic and boundless.

A couple of observations about the new incarnation of the show.

1. Seriously, Kelly, who names their daughter Silver?
2. This AnnaLynne McCord that guys on the internet are losing their shit over? Ew. Just... ew.
3. Blurgh. But, you know, seeing Lori Laughlin reminds me of how much I enjoyed Summerland. Why'd that get canceled?
4. Yes, I just admitted I liked Summerland. Sometimes I still watch the reruns on the N.
5. I couldn't tell you anything that happened on last night's episode.

Except that Tori Spelling and Diablo Cody were on last night's episode. So, you know, I had to watch it. Because my love for Diablo Cody is also boundless and unapologetic.

Diablo Cody + Tori Spelling = 90210 ftw.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Health Report, Year 3: Week 18

My good cholesterol is low, so the doctor has me taking capsules of niacin every night. I know it's just a vitamin supplement, but it makes four pills I have to take before bed now. Jesus, I'm only 32 and I literally take 8 pills a day. There's a motivation for getting in shape.

Not much else going on. Still haven't heard about a job, and I honestly don't expect to now. I'm not going to worry about it too terribly, because I've been having a lot of high stress moments lately, which just sucks and makes me feel even worse. I've got to look to my own health right now and try not to freak out as much.

Mellow, man. Mellow.

Also, who are all of these people following me on Twitter? I'm just surprised that anyone's interested, honestly, and I don't know if some of the people who I don't know are just people who read this blog and never say anything or what. I recognize most of you, but not all. Weird. I don't find myself incredibly interesting, and I don't ever expect anyone else to, either. So, you know, thanks for following me. I'm genuinely surprised.

UPDATE 5:44PM: Just got back from the doctor. Turns out Becca has asthma and now has an inhaler. Poor girl.

Tuesday Plug

New Positive Cynicism column is up if anyone's interested. My argument is that 3-D sucks, and I prove it scientifically.

With Naked Interest

Ha. Kim Kardashian looks at cheerleaders the way my wife looks at Kim Kardashian.

The Emotional Range of the Beluga

"I know, I know, I'm cute and you all worship me."

"But... but... I trusted you, Bernie Madoff! Now I just want to die..."

"What? What the fuck do you school kids want from me?!!"

I Admit There are Two Ways to Read This Post

Imagined Conversation #1

Wife: What did you do at work today, honey?

Paparazzo: I walked around behind Jessica Simpson and shoved my camera up her ass and pretended it was newsworthy to justify making a living being a pervert.

Imagined Conversation #2

Wife: What's that on the internet, honey?

Surfer: Some blogger getting outraged over long-established methods of celebrity stalking to justify posting pictures of Jessica Simpson's ass.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pac Man Reimagined

Ganked from Darius Whiteplume. This image is the perfect mix of Atari 2600 and old-fashioned science fiction pulp.

Starlog 1976-2009

First MAD, now Starlog. Which of my magazine traditions will disappear from the stands next? The market's hell on everyone. Still, the website remains, so that's something. But I'm sorry to see the print edition die.

I'm a Twat

For some insane reason, I'm on Twitter now. Probably something to do with communities or boredom or something something made up justification bullshit. Because apparently what I do is complain about stupid wastes of time for months, and then feel a lot of empty time what needs to be wasted. Huzzah!

Marilyn Chambers 1952-2009

I still can't quite believe that Marilyn Chambers was found dead in her mobile home. She's been dead since yesterday, just ten days before her 57th birthday. There's no cause of death yet. Marilyn Chambers is someone I've been aware of since I was a ten year-old watching scrambled porn on cable (the first movie I saw her in--first scrambled and then visible--was something called Party Incorporated). I've been a fan of hers ever since. My favorite movie of hers is Insatiable. I just cannot believe she's gone, but I'm sorry to say she is. Goodnight, dear lady. And thank you.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Song of the Week: "Afternoon Delight"

This song always puts me in a good mood. Since I'm already in a good mood, this just enhances it for me. Rather than going with the Starland Vocal Band, I decided to put up this cover from the Anchorman soundtrack. Anchorman is, weirdly, an incredibly polarizing movie. Some of you, like me, may find the idea of a movie being polarizing incredibly ridiculous, but I'm surprised by the hatred a lot of people have for this movie. Personally, I thought it was one of the funniest movies I'd seen in years. And I have this song in my collection, but I'd never seen the video, so I know at least Becca will dig it. And, honestly, that's all I care about. So, over to you, Ron Burgundy.

TV Report: Planet of the Dead

Probable spoilers ahead. You have been warned. If you disregard this warning, spare me the sobbing about how I've killed all of the joy in your weary world.

The Doctor Who Easter special made me sad, but in a wonderful way.

I'll explain.

The episode itself was fantastic. The Doctor and some passengers on a London bus (including Lady Christina de Souza, a cat burglar being chased by police) drive through a wormhole into another world and can't get back. The bus is out of commission, and there's no passing through the hole otherwise because the effects will, as we see, strip a human body to the bones. So the Doctor and Christina (played by Michelle Ryan of the excellent Jekyll and the execrable Bionic Woman remake) meet up with two alien survivors of a spaceship crash (the wonderfully daft-looking insectoid Tritivores), and try to work with UNIT to get them home safe and close the wormhole before a deadly omnivorous swarm of flying manta ray-looking things follow them to Earth.

Brilliant stuff, honestly. Just enough technobabble to make the episode acceptable, Lee Evans as UNIT's resident mad scientist, and David Tennant doing what he does best as the Doctor. It was also nice to see Noma Duweznemi return as UNIT's Captain Erisa Magambo, last seen in "Turn Left."

The real high point, though, was Michelle Ryan as Christina--yet another excellent female character on Doctor Who that we're not likely to ever see again, but who you really, really want to see again. She was marvelous; a character who is a perfect match for the Doctor when it comes to bluffing, keeping a cool head, and riding out an adventure. It's always so refreshing to see characters on Doctor Who that just accept what's happening instead of questioning everything repeatedly. Yet another excellent companion shuffled off too soon.

(And boy, how refreshing is it to be able to say about a show that one of the complaints is that there are too many great, well-written characters that you want to see more of? Compare that to an overpopulated show like Lost or Heroes, where there are a number of characters I'd be glad to never see again.)

But the episode also made me sad, because the more I hear about Steven Moffat's coming series of Doctor Who, the less I look forward to it. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'll judge the final results when I see them, but getting a look at the new, young Doctor and reading about his young companion just makes the whole thing look disconcertingly like Twilight and less like Doctor Who. And while I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude, I notice I'm less excited about waiting and seeing than I have been about every other series of Who. But I'm waiting and seeing.

What made me sad was the latest reminder of just how great David Tennant and Russell T. Davies have been for Doctor Who, and how much it sucks that they're leaving. Of course, they couldn't go on with the show forever, and they shouldn't have to just because I enjoyed it so much, but when I hear that Steven Moffat is not going to keep the supporting cast hanging around and not try to link the new era of the show with the old era--probably for the best, honestly, because it really is time to move on--it makes me a little sad that the Davies era is almost over.

There's a scene in "Planet of the Dead" where the Doctor ups everyone's confidence by asking them where they were bound for on the bus, and gives them hope by asking them to hold on to their destinations. Like Superman, the Doctor is an alien hero who is at his best when he champions humanity and ennobles the ordinary as something special. David Tennant plays it as well as he's played many similar scenes in his run as the tenth Doctor. And it says it all about what's been best in his tenure with the character.

There are three more episodes to come. The next, "The Waters of Mars," is going to air in November and lead into the two-part Christmas special which will be Tennant's finale in the role. Enticingly, people have pointed out "The Waters of Mars" is an anagram for either "The War of the Masters" or "The Master of Wars." Lindsay Duncan will be the companion in "The Waters of Mars," and the Christmas special is going to see the return of the Noble family, with Wilf filling the role of companion. How they're working Donna back in I don't know (if they even are, because it might just be Wilf and Sylvia), but I hope they can do it without ruining what was a sad but strong ending for my favorite companion in the history of the series. Sarah Jane, Luke, and Torchwood are also going to play roles in the finale. (Supposedly, in an attempt to ease the transition, Martha might serve as the new Doctor's first companion.) And Jessica Hynes will be back, too... Boy, the speculation is one of the most fun aspects of this show.

I can't wait for more. But I will. Patiently. Promise.

Right; It's Easter

Easter is a day I wish it was easier to ignore. Being one of the big Christian holidays, I always get parents asking me if I'm doing something special, willing to go to church, etc etc. How many times do you need to explain to your parents that you don't care about Easter before it sinks in that I don't celebrate because I don't believe?

As most of the people skimming this know, I'm not in the Jesus Club. And I don't respect the superstitions of the people who are, frankly. But, you know, as long as people leave me alone, I leave them alone. Don't tell me how to live, and I won't tell you, either. If you want to wish me well in the spirit of your holiday, then that pleases me. I'm not going to tell you to screw off because I don't celebrate Easter, because I think it's rude to return genuine well-wishes by acting like a dick. But don't expect me to join in the celebration.

I was driving Becca to work this morning, and after I dropped her off, I took a drive past the lagoon. The sun was shining, the water was dark and alive, the trees and grass were bright and vibrant, children were feeding the geese, and people were walking their dogs. There's enough around me here in life that I feel is pretty amazing and wonderful, and I don't feel the urge to attribute it to some kind of conscious design. Honestly, I think that's a pretty childish impulse, and I think that the processes of biology are breathtaking enough on their own without assigning them some sort of creator. It was a beautiful, cool day and I was listening to the Zombies on the stereo and everything felt nice. Why ruin it by establishing some kind of moral order that only exists in my mind and not in nature?

So, you know, it's Easter. And if there's one thing I like about Easter...other than the's rabbits. And since I had such a nice morning looking at the nature around me, I thought I'd end with some rabbits. Now there's something I can never get enough of, and something that makes me much more happy to be alive than ancient creation mythology and Jewish zombie mysticism.