Saturday, August 04, 2012

It's Nice to Have Things to Look Forward To

This is basically me all summer, though. I can't keep the days straight if there's nowhere to be.

Friday, August 03, 2012

No Reason

Random Thoughts

I've not been watching the Olympics--I'm never really into it, though I have been amused by the great deal of coverage of what is apparently NBC's terrible coverage. I do think some of what I've been seeing online is impressive. McKayla Maroney's vault really was very impressive, and Gabby Douglas is pretty bad ass. I'm blown away.

How sad that there are so many people online who have reduced Gabby Douglas's amazing accomplishment to "She needs to do something with her hair." Why is a black girl's hair always such a political issue?

:: What annoys me about the Olympics is that everyone moves out of its way. I don't think I know a single person that has ever watched it (I know you're out there, I just don't meet you every day), but it still means I can't watch my cooking shows until it's over. It least it's a Summer Olympics and not a Winter. That would be even more irritating with the weirdly high number of network shows I watch now.

:: The Village Voice has been doing a lot of coverage of the cult of scientology lately. They had up a two-part piece last week featuring an interview with John Brousseau, who escaped in 2010 after decades with the group and has a lot of fascinating stories to tell. The big one is about Tom Cruise and how he worships David Miscavige, but there's lots more there and it's as scary and riveting as stories of the thetans tend to be. Part one is here. They're long, but worth it.

Take a look around at their scientology coverage, too. Lots and lots of stuff lately, raising lots of good points about the cult's hypocrisy (Tom Cruise gets to see his kid and everyone else is forced to disconnect from their families?), why they should lose their tax exempt status (what does forcing workers to detail cars for celebrities have to do with furthering religion?), and poking holes in their claims of being a fast-growing religion with millions of members (numbers show a shrinking religion with maybe 40,000 members at the most generous).

Try not to fall down the rabbit hole.

:: I haven't even watched the trailer for the new season of Doctor Who because I'm so annoyed with this whole Amy Pond thing. I can not wait until she's gone. I need a clean break from Pond. I also need the Doctor to stop being the male equivalent of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for hipsters.

:: It's a weird experience after watching the first four seasons of Breaking Bad streaming on Netflix to sit and watch it week-to-week. God, it's been so good so far, too. I love how much Mike is on the show. Also great right now: Louie, easily my favorite show on television.

:: Why don't they just make a live action Wacky Races movie? Then they can have their live action/CGI/Hanna-Barbera crap and none of those awful, thin, one-note characters is overburdened with the task of carrying an entire film with that one character trait they always have. Only one. What the hell does Huckleberry Hound even do?

:: No bands will ever see any money from the Pirate Bay lawsuit.

:: Okay, here's the thing about Chick-fil-A: every corporation is giving money to Republicans. Republicans are business-friendly. Maybe none of those corporations are so outspokenly against civil rights as Chick-fil-A and its bizarre president, but they're still giving money to the same people. It doesn't take much searching to find out that most corporations give money to Republicans who favor an amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That's not the specific reason why, but it's collateral damage and I'm sure they just consider that the cost of doing business. What do you do in a world when we all give our money to assholes? You vote with your dollars, obviously, but that money is getting out there some way or another and it's funding bigotry.

I'm never going to eat at Chick-fil-A after all of this stupidity, don't get me wrong. But all the protesting did was call attention to it and get a bunch of assholes to eat there and give the place more money which goes to fund more litigated hatred. But liberals go to Coachella, and that's sponsored by Anschutz, which gives millions more to the anti-gay crowd. And Oreo can put up all of the gay-friendly cookies it wants (and I was very sorry to find out those weren't real), it doesn't hide the fact that Kraft donates money to Bill Shuster and other anti-gay Republicans.

All I can say is, you know, your money is eventually making its way into some asshole Republican's hands, and he or she wants to ensure that gay people don't have the same civil rights we're all supposed to have. So don't eat at Chick-fil-A--I won't--but don't fool yourself into thinking that it makes a real difference in politics. Don't bother protesting and calling attention to all of that stupidity. Protest legislators. March on Congress. Call your Representative and tell her/him how you feel about politicians who take money from places like Chick-fil-A and what that means for your vote.

Support a movement to get corporate money the fuck out of politics.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Song Titles Meme

Another meme/questionnaire/whatever going around on Tumblr. Pretty sure I've done this before, but I can't remember if it was here or on Tumblr. I know I used David Bowie songs, so this time I'll use Beach Boys songs.

Anyway: Answer the questions using only song titles from ONE artist.

Are you a man or a female?: A Young Man Is Gone

Describe yourself: The Monkey's Uncle

How are you feeling right now?: I Can Hear Music

Describe the city you’re living in: Be True to Your School

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?: Cool, Cool Water

Your favorite form of transportation: Transcendental Meditation

Your best friend: Oh Darlin'

Your favorite color: All This Is That

What’s the weather like?: The Warmth of the Sun

Your favorite time of the day: Be Here in the Morning

If your life were a TV-program, what would it be called?: Hang on to Your Ego

What is your life like?: Busy Doin' Nothin'

Your current relationship: Forever

What gives?: Sail On, Sailor

I expect from the future: God Only Knows

The way I would like to go: Disney Girls

I wouldn’t mind: Good Vibrations

I fear: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times

My best advice right now: Add Some Music to Your Day

If I would change my name right now, it would be: The Man with All the Toys

My motto: Feel Flows


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Happy World Middle Finger Day

It's a day I'm happy to celebrate 365 times a year. (Or 366, this year.)

Film Week

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

I never expected this kind of a perverse mindfuck from Pedro Almodovar; this has shades of being a less graphically violent but equally twisted Dario Argento movie. Starts off slow, but the build is riveting and the twist is something else. I always like Antonio Banderas better in his native language, and Elena Anaya hits just the right notes. Banderas plays a surgeon experimenting with a new type of synthetic skin who keeps his patient (Anaya) in his home. It soon becomes clear there is something between them far creepier than the relationship between doctor and experimental patient, and a traumatic incident brings it all to the fore. Excellent horror movie. ****

What is it about Preston Sturges movies that I just can't connect with? Here Joel McCrea plays a film director who wants to make an epic about poverty, but who knows nothing about poverty. So he decides to hit the road as a hobo to find out what it's all about, but complications ensue. By the time he makes it through his odyssey, he's come out with a rather self-serving justification for the importance of frivolous movies. That's the way it played to me, anyway. I know Sturges is supposed to be great, but this is the fourth movie of his I've seen, and though it's the best one I've encountered, I'm just not into him. ***

CGI animated film so bad it makes me wonder if I should take back everything negative I've ever said about DreamWorks. No, that's crazy. *


Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Song of the Week: "Be My Wife"

Haven't had any Bowie up in a year or more. A strangely candid song (opening and closing with a ragtime riff) and a detached performance in the video that's removed from the very conventional lyrics. It's always kind of intriguerested me.

The New 52 Is the Death of Mainstream Comics

I meant to do it a long time ago, but I finally sat down and read the first six issues of the new Justice League comic. I only read the first two issues before I had to give up on comics again, but with the collection out, I was able to finish it.

It's shit.

There's just no nice way to put it: it's utter shit.

It's just... contemptible. There's no redeeming value here.

Let's start with the characters: mostly, they're completely unlikable. Batman is a smug dick. Superman is impressed with himself. Aquaman is an asshole. Green Lantern is a jerk. Geoff Johns also seems to think Batman is some sort of trickster god capable of doing anything just because he wants to do it, goddammit. Sorry, but I still don't buy the whole "Batman is the bestest and most specialist hero there is because he's got no powers" fantard worship. Batman is possibly the worst part of this story, if only because he's the biggest asshole in a whole cluster of them.

The only character who's ultimately likable here is the Flash, and that's just because Barry is only trying to help and tries consciously not to break any laws or take any action against the military or police. Because of that, he comes across like the only one here who isn't saying "Fuck the judgement of society and their law, I know better, and because I'm superior it's my duty to ignore their laws for their own good." When did superheroes become so consciously Randian? There's a moment here when Superman actually convinces the Flash to take out government helicopters because they're firing... at a guy impervious to bullets and a guy so fast he can outmaneuver them. Really?

Cyborg is much more likable before he becomes a cyborg; after that, he's just a plot device to introduce--and then dispose of--the alien threat in the most expedient way possible. Wonder Woman is almost likable; she's written in the way writers tend to write Vikings, as a battle-loving funster, but her naivete of the outside world tends to come across like adorable stupidity, especially with Steve Trevor chasing after her like a lovesick puppy.

And then there's the plot... When I earlier used the word "story," what I really meant was "extended scene." It's not a story; a story has structure. This is an extended scene of a bunch of swaggering assholes yelling at each other to prove each of them has the biggest, loudest, most capable, most menacing, most leaderly dick. There's barely a mystery to solve, no villain to fight, and no real stakes at all. It's just a scene that gives us the briefest of introductions to what are apparently the seven major hard-ons of the DC Universe, a bunch of aliens pop out of Cyborg the Magical Plot Device, Darkseid briefly appears and is given no character and an arbitrarily half-mentioned motivation, and then the aliens disappear via Cyborg the Exact Same Magical Plot Device But in Reverse. And then there's a Justice League in the world. Yay?

This all could have been covered in a single, well-written, double-sized issue. Instead, we get six issues of ever-diminishing returns with no pay-off whatsoever.

As for the art, well, it is what it is. I know lots of people disagree with me, but I'll say it again: Jim Lee's artwork is massively overrated. There's nothing special about it; he just comes from the era when more lines and excessive, pointless details became synonymous to the comic-buying public with "higher quality." His compositions are terrible and crowded; there's no draftsmanship, which I guess is fine since Geoff Johns' script has no foundation.

It's all just trying to be big and cool without any real investment in who these people are or what's going on. What's the point?

Congratulations, DC, on bringing back the aesthetics of the worst era in comic book history: the 90s.

Bad comics. Just bad comics, plain and simple. And this is the flagship title of one of the two major comic book publishers. I saw a lot of fanboys at the time defending these comics as "not that bad." But yes, they really are that bad. They've replaced storytelling with slick cynicism and a self-satisfied cool that is totally unearned. Defending that just encourages them. You're allowed to stand up and say something is bad if you think it's bad. Trying to find the good in the bad just so you can convince yourself they haven't made a massive mistake only rewards everything they've done to destroy DC Comics.

Seriously, if this is what mainstream comics have to offer as their best, then mainstream comics aren't worth saving; they're already dead.