Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's

I doubt that the clouds will part long enough in my corner of the world to allow us to view this unique sight tonight. Hi there crescent moon and Mercury and Jupiter. Greetings and happy New Year from the blue marble!
Just in case the heavens do open for us, I'm loading some 1600 speed film in the camera and setting up the tripod.

United States of Tara

Well, dammit, I'm going to have to get Showtime. Currently I have HBO, and I refuse to pay for more than one premium channel, which means that I'm going to have to shit can HBO and switch to SHO. I did that a couple of years ago so that I could watch The L Word in real time, and I'm not going to rant about TLW, but Jesus H. Christ on a raft, that show sucks. It's so in love with itself that I just want to bash it with the claw end of a hammer. I realize that as a lesbian I'm supposed to ignore all of TLW's shortcomings and embrace it like a kitten, but as a human being with functioning neural pathways i just can't drink that much.
Anyway, I had the pleasure of viewing the pilot episode of SHO's new comedy, "The United States of Tara". Let me tell you, I have never, ever, seen anything like it. And in this case, that's a good thing.
Diablo Cody is back, writing up a storm, and Toni Collette sinks her teeth, nails, and inner dude into the titular role of Tara (is that redundant?) with amazing results. Tara is the married mother of two, and she has a couple of multiple personalities. Now, I've only seen the first episode, but thus far this show is the freshest take on family dysfunction since "Arrested Development". Definitely check this show out when it premiers, Sunday January 18...I mention the date only because it happens to also be my birthday! Yes, I was born on a cold, unforgiving winter evening. Slipping into the world while my mother lay hypnotized (really) on a gurney in the hospital and my father chain smoked in the waiting room. While I remember a lot of the events of my childhood, sadly, I don't recall my birth at all and have to rely on what I've been told.

Atom Age Vampire

Do you know what's better than cheap? Free! Thanks to the immutable laws of public domain and, that's the cost to view "Atom Age Vampire", a film about neither the atomic age nor vampires. This 1961 Italian horror gem tells the tale of a mad scientist who treats a severely scarred auto accident victim, falls in love with her, and then has to kill to keep procuring the unnamed human gland needed for her treatments.
The plot is utter nonsense, driven by dialog that sounds as if it was lifted from various other works and then just patched together with nary a backward glance at cohesion or cogency. It's brilliant! The funny thing about really awful movies is that you can't set out to make a terrible film, it has to evolve and emerge that way completely unintentionally. And that is why we love them.
Happy New Year, peoples!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Wishes

MK made this snappy graphic on JibJab. If only Bela would actually wear an elf hat we could farm her out over Christmas (Nov. 1 through Ground Hog's Day) and make a buck or two.
Anyway, Happy Holidays to one and all! I don't care what I get for Christmas because I know for a fact that MK got me the German military parka that I wanted, so everything else will just be gravy on the cake!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hello Kitty

The other day I had to cable guy sit for my sister and she left me this note. It was thoughtful for her to leave a note, and I did make myself at home (I ate all of her holiday Hershey Kisses, mixed a greyhound with the good vodka, and watched the Lost marathon on the sci-fi channel).
But, what got me, and why I saved the missive...a Hello Kitty note pad? Seriously? It's like finding out that my parents use sex toys, only the opposite. Hello Kitty stuff is like for the suicidals, the delusional, the crazed who can't even feign indifference. It's what comes in the gift bag when you check out of the mental ward after electroshock therapy (along with a box of pantyliners, two disposable enemas, a pint of Old Harper whiskey, condoms, and illegal fireworks*).
Of course I asked Junior about this Hello Kitty phase and she said that the note pad isn't hers. Yeah, like the shark-ling in the jar of formaldehyde on the mantel isn't mine.
Liar! I know, and she knows, that she bought this thing at the dollar store (they really don't have a good selection, but sometimes you get lucky and there's Spongebob themed stuff, which is troubling on a different 'I can't face reality' level). And if she didn't buy it for herself, then why is it there? Hmm? Did she buy it for me and chicken out presenting it to me at the last minute? Thinking that I would react poorly to such a strong and damningly innocuous affront to my subconscious manifesting itself in my day to day life? Is that what she thought? Giggling to herself madly while she doled out the dollar and six cents tax for this note pad!!!!! Is that what was going through her head?!!!11!!1
*Courtesy of The Simpsons

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Buffy #20

Coming on the heels of the delayed and vague Time of Your Life arc, this stand alone issue is primarily light fluff with an underlying deeper meaning. Kind of. If you stretch the whole 'you can't change the future' tidbit tossed in.
While we had to cope with Buffy traveling into the future with ToYL, in After These Messages we find Buffy either in the past or dreaming herself in the past. Is it real? Does it matter? I suppose that it matters very much to Buffy in that she has an inescapable destiny, and going back to her first year at Sunnydale (post the pack of hyenas eating Principal Flutie because we've got Principal Snyder) only serves to reaffirm what she already knows about herself: Being the slayer supersedes everything. Family, friends, the love of her life, all of those things teeter precariously on The Chosen fulcrum. Of course After These Messages doesn't quite address these issues because it is a single issue, but it does touch upon them lightly.
I'm really looking forward to the next five issue arc starting with the Jane Espensen penned issue #21, Harmonic Divergence out on January 7. The series seems to need a shot in the arm, and if anyone can deliver, Jane can!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Folks, it was bound to happen, or it was simply meant to be. Princess Unicorn has her own website now. Look how majestic she is! You can learn about the legend of Princess Unicorn (she is the daughter of the King of the Unicorns and the Queen of the Princesses, and she was doused with radiation by the evil Sorcerissa, which didn't harm her, but did give her magical powers), you can read the fan testimonials of the greatness that IS Princess Unicorn, and you can buy a t-shirt of Princess Unicorn. Sadly, you can't buy an actual Princess Unicorn doll as the whole thing is made up make believe by those goofy geniuses on The Office.

I've hated dolls my whole life (why won't the italics thing turn off!!!!) and somewhere there is a shallow grave full of naked headless Barbies to prove it, but I want this damn doll. Just looking at her makes me dream of a land where Unicorn Princesses and My Little Ponies frolick and play all the live long day in fields laden with chocolate drops instead and of poop and where the trees are the good flavored lollipops instead of lemon or grape.

So, to those wily marketers over at GE/NBC, in a downturned economy, you've got a real winner on your hands with this Princess Unicorn doll. I mean, if you can make ME want one, then surely there are millions and dozens of others who are willing to risk losing an eye to own their very own Princess Unicorn doll.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fringe "Safe" 1.10

Best Walter line: "Are you stoned, Agent Dunham?"

Whether or not Nina Sharp is pure evil or just garden variety evil, did you see the look on her face while her techs were attempting to extract memories from mostly dead Agent Scott? She's like the female version of Dick Cheney. I'd shudder, but I'm shivering from the draft wafting up the stairs from the Spider Kingdom.
We're beginning to glimpse the full impact of Dunham's Altered Statesesque mind meld with Agent Scott in that she's begun to think that his memories and past experiences have actually happened to her. Which, of course, begs the question: What will it seem like to her once a sexy-time memory creeps to the forefront? Say she bumps into a hot number (other than herself) that Agent Scott got deliciously nasty with and all of the events in regards to that encounter not only emerge in her thoughts, but emerge as her experience? She even affected a certain typically male swagger when talking about how she knew Raoul Lugo, the dead man encased in the safe door. How much of John Scott is now embedded into her psyche and gleefully manifesting itself in her persona? Oooooh, the possibilities are endless!
Physically, Agent Scott is on ice over at Massive Dynamic. I have no doubt that MD plans to re-animate his corpse fully into a lumbering, barely verbal, brain dining denizen of the undead. It happens all the time. Who do you think works the phone banks during NPR pledge drives?
Moving right along...What is Mr. Jones in that German prison for? Were we even told? No matter, he won't be in there for much longer. A team of former special-ops forces turned mercenaries (or whatever you call former military personel who turn to the darkside to make a buck, besides a Blackwater employee) led by the parasite-hearted Agent Loeb are breaking into bank safe deposit boxes around the rust belt (Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and soon coming to a town near you in you live in Rhode Island) to retrieve components of a machine that Walter built decades ago that would transport a person from literally any time to any place. It does expose the user to high levels of radiation, but then the universe must exact its due on those who dare to defy its immutable laws of physics.
Also, how refreshing to see that the Fibonacci sequence got properly pageant walked out. About time too, I thought we'd see it in the episode from two weeks ago, "The Equation", via the Golden Ratio (aka, the divine proportion) given the shared mathematical and musical applications for same. But no. Still, the fact that the safety deposit boxes were all following a Fibonacci sequencing, this led to Walter's realization that the boxes are his. Which, ultimately clues the FBI team in as to which bank in Providence will be the site of the next heist.
Oh the suspense! Will the white hats get there in time to thwart the black hats? As gays used to say, Better latent than never, as even though Dunham's team is a tad late on the bank job, they do nab one of the radio active baddies as the get away van gets away.
Mr. Jones prepares for his great transmutation escape! Drammomine, sun tan lotion with SPF 10,000, and the 'lucky' suit of his hired man servant. We saw that killing coming from across the room and behind the bookcase when Jones asked him what his suit size was. Never disclose personal information to a smiling devil holed up in a German prison cell! Never!!!
Sigh, and anyway, Jones instructs his henchmen to abduct Dunham, which they do, which then poses the question: Was this orchestrated with Massive Dynamic (who also want Dunham for Agent Scott's memories), or are Jones' people working alone, rogue mavericks gone totally mavericky in their rogueness? The many and varied possibilities have my phase harmonics in a variance.
Next up: Uh, stuff!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Buffy #19 Time of Your Life

After a two month and three week wait, we finally got the final issue in the Time of Your Life four issue arc. Was it worth all of the delays?
Simply, no. Less simply, the premise of the arc, a Buffy/Fray crossover, presented some problems that were not only not resolved, they were inexplicably poorly handled. Inexplicably because Joss Whedon himself wrote this arc. But then again, he's dealing with the television production of his mid-season show, Dollhouse, so if the comic book tentacle of his usually reliable genius seems a bit distracted (if not distracting) it's because it (he) is.
The number one pitfall of employing time travel in any storyline is the clear and present danger of jumping the shark. I don't believe that Buffy season 8 did jump the shark with ToYL because honestly, despite the death of future Evil Willow at the hands of Buffy, this beached whale couldn't jump a phytoplankton submolecule. It's merely horrible, not antithetical to its own mythology.
What went so, so, very wrong?
Let's examine, shall we? The Fray series was exciting in its own way and right when it first came out. I've read the entire collection, and despite the annoying lingo employed, it was a fun slayer foray. Not nearly as fun as the Tales of the Slayer series, but then what is? And Part 1 of ToYL laid a good foundation for what was to come, but the problem turned out to be what was to come. Parts 2&3 of ToYL were, dare I say it, vapid. There were pages and pages of drawing and stuff happening, but none of it seemed to lead to much of anything, except Future Willow's afroementioned death. FWillow lies to Fray, she lies to Harth, she manipulates everything so that what? Buffy either gets killed or kills her? It just seems ridiculous that it took 4 issues, not to mention a last issue that was severely delayed, to tell so little of a story. And the b-storyline of Dawn becoming less a giant and more a centaur and Xander rallying the slayers at the castle to fight the thingys that Warren conjured for Twilight was adequate, although to be honest, had I not just reread the whole arc I probably wouldn't even have mentioned them because it was that forgettable. Especially the tree people.
On the plus side, we did learn that Riley is NOT Twilight, but he is in bed with him...probably not literally, but you never know. There's been a lot of speculation around the internets as to whether Riley was Twilight, given the military involvement, and to a certain extent, those wild specualtions weren't entirely off the mark. But still, who is Twilight? We know that he knows Buffy from the past, and doesn't like her much, which leads us back to the initiative from season 4. Graham? Col. Mustard, or whatever his name was? A rebooted Adam?
The best thing I can say about the ToYL arc is that Jo Chen's cover art is brilliant, as always.

Monday, December 1, 2008

House Hunting

MK and I are, have been, looking at houses. It started last summer, kind of an off shoot of my tendency to read the real estate section of the Sunday paper. There were some open houses and we started going. But the thing is, with MK, you can't just look and get ideas, you have to act at some point. Me, I'd drift along like all of that garbage caught in the Pacific gyre. Slowly degrading, strangling turtles, mutating the plankton.
So, I think we've found a place, in total need of remodeling, in Ben Avon Heights. Great yard, fireplace (two of my criteria so that I can garden and let the dog run loose, and have a fire), and the taxes are doable. Of course the house is owned by old people, so nothing's been done to update, let alone upgrade, since the 70s. You know, I'd rather deal with 50s crap than 70s crap. Anything pre-shag carpet is preferable to the post shag era.
MK has talked to the realtor a few times and the old woman who owns it is willing to deal on price. I have some mixed feelings though, about all of the work this place needs. I tend to do as much work on a house myself as what I am capable of doing. Electrical is beyond my means, and major plumbing is too, but that leaves a whole lot of other work that I can do. So I ask myself, do I want to do this? Go from fixing up one house to another? Basically I just want one house that I'll stay in and that's it. Let someone complain fifty years from now when they buy it from our estate about how it needs to be updated because of the old ladies that lived there.
We'll see what happens. MK has her house on the southside of Pgh and I've got this fossil of a house in Zelienople. We're planning on living with each other full-time after my youngest finishes his first year of college (just so that I can keep an eagle on him - he's smart, but lazy). I'm more than willing to move to MK's place. It's spacious, beautiful, and in the heart of the southside. Her moving to my house is out of the question because it's too far from her work, although I love Zelie. I always have, ever since I was a kid and my mom would take my sister and me to the A&P with her. That smell of freshly ground coffee...
Anyway, yea or nay, we'll probably be making a decision soon about whether this is where we're moving or not. MK is nesting mode, because of the dog, and being in Ben Avon is closer to Zelie than she is now, so Bela and I would down there more often.