Saturday, October 01, 2005

Mark Twain - IN SPACE!

I was led to believe that if I didn’t go see Serenity that my geek-cred would be in serious jeopardy. So, today after the whole readin’ & ritin’ (no ‘rithmatic, I’m afraid) thing fell apart, I checked up on Rotten Tomatoes and found out that there was a screening of it right across the street from my café in just a handful of your earth-minutes. The laptop and research gear veritably hopped into the backpack, I literally hopped on the bike, and away we all went. You, as readers of such a geeky blog, get to read my review, which is right down there. Go ahead, you can stop reading this. Just start reading the review, I’ll meet you on the other side.


Firstly, I should say that I like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as much as the next guy, and I’m a mite pleased that’n those that’d filmed up this here pi’cher wanted ta write thems actors sumptin’ of a funny-talking script, but I think they went a touch too far. Honestly, there are some lines in there where the dialect really does take away from the story.

Now for those of you hip to the geek-side of these internets of ours will know that some folks (including the director, it seems) have been comparing this movie with the original Star Wars series, and I think the comparison’s apt in all the good and bad ways that follow along.
First, the acting isn’t the greatest, in fact, some of it’s bad. Those of who remember Mark Hammil in Star Wars will agree with me about that being a common point.

The script, aside from occasionally going Twain-ish, is good for what it should be.
The movie has a nice hold of the banter that worked well in the early Star Wars films (but that evaporated altogether in the later ones). The script generally handles the love interests well – only a couple parts seemed awkward.

Obviously, Serenity is all about gallivanting heroically across the galaxy and saving the world.
Errr… worlds. Anyway, that’s something that they do quite well. As a welcome surprise, they don’t dwell on the mechanics of interstellar combat. It’s there to be sure, but you’re not going to be subjected to it so much that you forget about the story, which is a nice change of pace. Our heroes are, par for the course, tragic and haunted, but again, they really only dwell on the one character whose haunting is crucial to the story.

I liked the movie quite a bit, really.
Someone online somewhere mentioned that it was a kind of Flash Gordon for today, and frankly I think I’ll agree. It ain’t art, but it’s a movie of that mold that is much much better than most. (Full disclosure: I liked Flash Gordon a lot too.)

Serenity – 8/10

See, I told you I’d be back. Last notes – they made a movie out of Doom. The video game. They showed the trailer. Part of the trailer showed the camera following the main killing machine dude (the Rock - now called "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson") from the point of view of the video game. I almost cried with joy. It may very well be the worst looking movie I’ve seen in a long long time. And remember, I watched the Fantastic Four.

Edited to add links and correct a silly typo

Friday, September 30, 2005

Soothing the Heart of the Savage Breast

Whew – just finished a photo gig and it’s time to go home, but before I do, I know you’re all aching for a Friday night (Saturday morning?) version of the silly guess the lyrics game! Tonight we’re doing a batch, but sticking to the ‘80s with one exception from 1968 because while I was editing photos, I switched my mix. Some are cruel and nasty, some easy. So without further ado:

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she's falling
In miles of sharp blue water coming in where she lies
The diving man's coming up for air cause the crowd all love pulling dolly by the hair, by the hair
And she wonders how she ever got here as she goes under again

And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he's got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you're in the man from Mars

Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecy,
And hamsters turn on frequently.

I'm never gonna dance again, guilty feet've got no rhythm.
Though it's easy to pretend, I know you're not a fool.
Should've done better than to cheat a friend,
and waste the chance that I've been given.
So I'm never gonna dance again, the way I danced with you.

Tommy used to work on the docks.
Union’s been on strike.
He’s down on his’s tough, so tough.
Gina works the diner all day.
Working for her man, she brings home her pay.
For love - for love.

The blonde waitresses take their trays
They spin around and they cross the floor
They’ve got the moves

You drop your drink then they bring you more Remember, no Googling allowed. We’re looking for artist and song title, half credit for one without the other. Only blue or black ink is accepted, no pencils. Take everything off your desk and open you blue books. Ready? Begin.

Like, Stuff the Stuff next to the Stuff, and Junk.

Oh, remember that I moved out of the cool place and into the tiny pit? Umm… I also left some stuff in the garage at the cool place - like a bunch of boxes of stuff. And now they’ve sold the house. Hehe. So tonight I get to stage a raid on the garage to get my stuff back. It’s all kosher – I’ve asked them if it is ok, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s another shining example of why I need some kind of personal life coach or 24 hour secretary or something. The fact is that I am a scatter-brained guy.

I have fantasies that the new owners move in and just toss the whole heap into a dumpster. Then I just wouldn’t have the stuff and I wouldn’t have to shanghai my friends and their cars to help me out to and go and pack the stuff all up and stuff the stuff in the new place.

Maybe I’m a closet Buddhist - you know, with all the renunciation of worldly goods and stuff?

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I forgot to bring my running gear to work today, so there’s no running for me. I was actually sad when I saw it wasn’t in my bag.

Had another meeting with my advisor. He seems to think things are moving along well, but now wants to see pages. Pages of my thesis.Writing. The sheer gall of it all.

Fun quote:

“I think I’m enrolled in x section. My class list says it meets [there] at [then]. Should I just go to that section then?”

I live in a world where this student was honestly looking for an answer to this question.

Half points for the New Kid on the Hallway who got Billy Joel, but not the title, which was “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”

Today’s Tune from the Overread randomizer:

I couldn't take it any longer, lord I was crazed.
And then the feeling came upon me like a tidal wave.
I started swearing to my god and on my mother's grave that I would love you to the end of time.
I swore I would love you to the end of time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's One For the Money...

Well, no winner for yesterday’s contest, but partial credit to Jayfish, because I’m sure he knew it was Bangkok, even if he didn’t know it was Murray Head singing.

I had the first three in a row discussion sections today. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this. By the end of the third section, I was pretty shot.

Oh, yeah – the class is in a room that is heated by the very furnaces of hell. Also, there is only one big table – which is good except that it sits about 16, and the maximum for the class is 18, which means there will be 20 in each class. Hehe – that’ll be fun.

On the plus side – section numbers one and two had some feisty people in it. They actually did the readings for the most part and seemed willing to do some of the critical work that we’re trying to do here. Section #3? Well, they seemed a bit molasses-y

Bonus trivia – If the home team is losing by a crazy amount of points, perhaps what you don’t want to yell is, “Keep it up, [home team]!” It’s kind of demoralizing, actually.

Ok, lyrics for tonight!

Do you remember those days hanging out at the village green?
Engineer boots, leather jackets and tight blue jeans
Oh, you drop a dime in the box and play a song about New Orleans
Cold beer, hot lights, my sweet romantic teenage nights

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Buh-Bye Now

Ok, it's late. I'm going home. But here's a link to hang your hat on. Or wig. That's if you don't have a hat. No Whigs please, they're endangered.

New Yorker's Intelligent Design via Bitch, PhD.


I'm never going to get work done if I keep getting emails like this (excerpted and altered from the original to protect the guilty).
At the get-to-know you meeting, the honors students will have time to chat, and then receive line
dance lessons using a boom box (at a reasonable volume).
I almost want to go just to see what a group of incoming freshman honor students look like in a line dance.

Banned Book Week

Ok, I lied about getting back to work. I had to check blogs first, and wanted to do this really quickly. I usually don’t do memes, but I really like this pseudo-meme from the Little Professor. Which of the 100 most frequently challenged books have you read? I’m always humiliated in admitting how little I’ve read of any list (hence my oh-so-clever pseudonym), and this one’s no exception. The ones I've read are in bold.

I’m always saddened by how often Judy Blume shows up on these lists. As I recall, she was one of the only fiction authors writing realistically about pre-teen folks. I’m used to seeing Twain on there, and Angelou isn’t surprising either. I also expected all the sex education and homosexual tolerance books to be there, but James and the Giant Peach? C’mon now…

Sigh… I need to read more banned books! Any suggestions on which ones I should start with in my copious free time?

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz

2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

8. Forever by Judy Blume

9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

14. The Giver by Lois Lowry

15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine

17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

19. Sex by Madonna

20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel [I read one of them – the first, I think]

21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard

27. The Witches by Roald Dahl

28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein

29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry

30. The Goats by Brock Cole

31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

32. Blubber by Judy Blume

33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry

37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras

41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

42. Beloved by Toni Morrison

43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel

45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard

46. Deenie by Judy Blume

47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar

50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz

51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)

54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole

55. Cujo by Stephen King

56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell

58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest

60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras

62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly

64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

65. Fade by Robert Cormier

66. Guess What? by Mem Fox

67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

71. Native Son by Richard Wright

72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday

73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen

74. Jack by A.M. Homes

75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya

76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle

77. Carrie by Stephen King

78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge

81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein

82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole

83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King

84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez

87. Private Parts by Howard Stern

88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford

89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher

93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis

94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene

95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts

98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney

100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

8.14km – 44’12”

Did a shorter run today, because I’ve been slacking for the past couple of weeks. I didn’t want to push too much, and it’s just as well, because someone over here turned on the heat and humidity today. I don’t live in a furnace of hell like I know some of you do, so, I doubt I’ll get any sympathy, but sheesh – I bet I lost a few pounds of sweat out there.

Also noted: Guy I've seen a couple of times on the treadmill (why people use a treadmill when there are so many wonderful trails around here, I'll never know, but I digress...). The gentleman's workout wardrobe is a bit exentric. He wears corderoy pants, a flannel print shirt and a vest.

Ok, no whining! Back to work! Here’s your lyric o’ the day. It’s either going to be really easy or impossible bwahaha.

I don't see you guys rating the kind of mate I'm contemplating. I'd let you watch. I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you.

No googling! :)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Apropos of Nothing

It'’s already 9. Where in the world did the day go? I haven'’t done much work at all? It seems like all I did was attend classes and meetings. I guess that'’s work of a sort, but I have things that need doing. I didn'’t even run today.

How in the world do you folks get anything done with all this teaching stuff?

Ok, tomorrow'’s another day. I will get up early and I will get silly admin stuff finished so that I can dig a nice little burrow in which I shall hide and do the lovely bookly stuff that loves me back.

Lyric of the evening! Name the song and artist! No Googling allowed.

"“There's no sign of life/It'’s just the power to charm/I'’m lying in the rain/But I never wave bye-bye/But I try, I try"”

On a related note, I only seem to remeber the video for 'Let's Get Physical.' It didn't seem nearly as nasty as the song does now that I'm listening to the lyrics. I thought it was exercising. Let me hear your body talk, indeed...

Shiny Happy Bloggers

How happy are the Livejournalers?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Oh, Dear.

There must be a better four letter abbreviation for 'Comparative Literature.'