Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friday Friday

Friday doesn't see much activity around here, so I'm going to post a video. This has some amazing animation. Eerie.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Curse of the Three-peat

Once upon a time I was looking to this summer's movie releases. As it turns out I haven't seen one movie so far this summer. Oddly enough this has nothing to do with any inability to get babysitting, but rather the dismal reviews I've been reading. For example: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Abandon hope all ye seeking a coherent, much less satisfying, narrative. And At World's End is so insanely plot-heavy that it requires scene after scene of exposition, and the whole thing sinks simply under the weight of the story. Or how about the reviews for Spiderman Three, those should have been better right? Maybe not... A disappointment. Spidey keeps his mask off and weeps. Everyone cries. I hated the silly monolith sad sack Sandman. Did Dunst's contract stipulate she sing two songs? And Raimi makes just about every wrong move in the sequel playbook, substituting scope and scale for the warmth and wit that made those two previous pictures so memorable. In this case, more is less. Even Shrek the Third couldn't escape the scathing words delivered by critics this year. Flat and pointless, Shrek the Third is a sequel made for the worst reason, merely to keep a mega franchise in the public eye and to position it for TV and Broadway spinoffs. And There's no disguising the fact that Shrek the Third has come down with a bad case of sequelitis. You know the symptoms: Lots of razzle-dazzle to distract from the hole at the center of the story. You know, the place where fresh ideas should be. Is it any wonder I haven't found the courage to go to the theatre yet? I'm sure it's no coincidence that all of these movies were a third installment, it's extremely rare that a movie franchise can continue this long with any quality. Surprisingly, I think the Harry Potter movies have managed to maintain some integrity and even enjoyed the fourth movie more than the rest. But I think it's because the Harry Potter movies are based on novels and not some cobbled together screenplay contrived for the sole purpose of keeping a series of movies limping along. Of course, Harry Potter has its fifth installment this year, so we'll see if they can keep it up. But there are more dreaded three-peats ahead. We still have Ocean's Thirteen, The Bourne Ultimatum and Rush Hour 3. God I hope the Bourne Ultimatum gets good reviews, I'd like to get out sometime this year. All reviews pulled from the Rotten Tomatoes website.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This is Kinda Cool

Wil McCarthy over at the Sci-fi Channel wrote an article about the science of the Silver Surfer, soon to be featured in the new Fantastic Four movie. This is where I kind of geek out, but I liked the article. Unfortunately it doesn't sound as if the movie does justice to the character, though this article isn't actually a review. Anyway, like I sometimes do, I am going to completely steal the article and paste it here. So, I'm feeling lazy.

Science of the Silver Surfer

By Wil McCarthy

The sport of surfing—first recorded by Western historians in 1779—originated in the islands of Polynesia and reached its full premodern expression in Hawaii, where it was an important and integral part of the native culture. It usually involved a 3-meter-long slab of smooth, solid wood, with no fins or other steering apparatus, on which the riders would stand or lie prone while the waves carried them to shore.

More importantly, the sport was practiced by scantily clad men and women of all classes, making it a uniquely fine social mixer that no doubt kept the islands' gene pools churning and vigorous. For this reason, European missionaries banned the practice during the 1800s, after which it enjoyed only sporadic expression until the early 20th century, when it underwent a global renaissance that continues to this day. The basic concepts of surfing have been generalized to other environments as well, so that we can now enjoy snowboarding, skateboarding, wake boarding, wave pools, stationary surfing, river surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing and even channel surfing.

One thing we can't do, though, is ride a surfboard through the vacuum of outer space. Fortunately, on June 15 we can experience that thrill vicariously, thanks to The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Writer Mark Frost and director Tim Story have returned to their Fantastic Four stomping grounds, joined this time by veteran Simpsons writer Don Payne to—for better or worse—bring more humor to the franchise. Lest we forget, though, the title character was actually dreamed up in 1966 by comic-book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and throughout his checkered career the spit-shined "Sentinel of the Spaceways" has been cast in a variety of styles, from introspective and groovy to allegorical and millennial—to cold, sinister and downright apocalyptic.

Catching the cosmic wave

The Silver Surfer—a chrome-plated angel of destruction, devoid of human empathy and amped up with something called the Power Cosmic, was created by a godlike and very hungry being named Galactus (aka the Devourer of Worlds, the Ravager of Planets) to serve as his herald, henchcreature and all-purpose minion. In the story, the Surfer catches a wave to Earth to inform humanity that they're scheduled to be the next course in Galactus' never-ending cosmic feast. Not evil per se, Galactus is apparently a survivor of the Big Crunch following a previous Big Bang, and is thus older than the universe itself. Could this mean he's not subject to the same physical laws as the rest of us? Maybe, maybe not, but either way his energy is apparently woven so deeply into the fabric of the universe that we literally cannot exist without him. Conversely, Galactus can't continue to exist without consuming whole planets full of intelligent beings. This seems like something he might feel bad about, but fortunately he experiences no more remorse—or indigestion!—than we do from eating the live bacterial cultures in yogurt. Yum.

In the movie, the Surfer seems to have shed most of the internal conflicts that let him grow a human personality. He's not much of a herald, either, but simply races around the world mashing holes in things and otherwise wreaking havoc. Which seems a bit redundant, if the whole planet is about to be destroyed by a god, but what the heck. Anyway, he's got a reflective skin that makes him essentially indestructible. He can defy gravity and pass through solid objects and has no need for air, water, food or sleep. He has superior senses as well and is able to see objects of any size, from the cosmic to the subatomic.

The guy gets around, too. The Fantastic Four have a cool new ride in this picture—a nuclear-powered flying convertible called the Fantasticar that can fly at 500 mph and separate into four separate flying machines. But how can that measure up against the powers of an alien demigod? The Silver Herald has a headstone-shaped miniature starship that can move in response to his thoughts, exceed the speed of light and completely overcome the laws of both Newton and Einstein. It's immune from inertia, for one thing, so the Surfer has no trouble hanging ten at any acceleration.

How possible is any of this? At first glance, not very. First of all, I have to wonder how he sees anything at all when his eyes are perfect mirrors. They ought to reflect away all the light that hits them, like the world's most perfect set of welding goggles. He can also absorb and emit energy of almost any form, which again is at odds with his chromy appearance. Good emitters, like good absorbers, are usually black. I'm also not aware of any materials that are—or ever could be—as strong as the Surfer's skin appears to be, and as for the acrobatics and the high-speed travel, hey, where does all that energy come from?

But I do have a theory.

Measuring the matter of the man

Quantum physics teaches us that the vacuum of empty space isn't really empty at all but pervaded by an enormous energy reservoir called the Zero Point Field. If the Silver Surfer is able to tap into this energy source—essentially cooling off the entire universe by a tiny amount every time he lifts a finger—it would explain an awful lot about his abilities. This should have the effect of "thinning out" the vacuum and increasing the speed of light in the Surfer's vicinity, so it's actually the sort of testable prediction Reed Richards—aka Mr. Fantastic—could confirm in his laboratory.

Also, what if his skin isn't made of atoms and molecules at all, but is actually some sort of perfectly reflective spacetime barrier, akin to the edge of the screen in an old-fashioned game of Pong? If the Surfer's body is essentially a programming glitch in the information fabric of the universe, it might well be impossible to destroy, at least with the sorts of weapons human beings—and mutants—can bring to bear. Also, if it could reflect gravitational energy as well as photons, that would explain why he's so light on his feet, and it even suggests an explanation for his talent of sliding through buildings without damaging them. I.e., he isn't a solid object at all.

Finally, I have to observe that objects are free to travel at the speed of light if—and only if!—they have no mass. If we looked inside the Surfer's silver skin, I suspect what we'd find is ... nothing. If the Surfer is as hollow as the Tin Man of Oz, then even the Zero Point Field itself may roll off his back, leading to a phenomenon called the Casimir effect, which would allow energy and information to be manipulated inside him in "impossible" ways.

All this is very bad news for humanity, if you think about it, because while the Surfer could probably destroy the Earth all by himself, he's ultimately just a tiny appendage of the cosmic nightmare that is Galactus. Needless to say, anyone as smart as Dr. Doom would do well to cut a deal, while keeping in mind that it's hard to get blood from a stone, and even harder to communicate with a mirror. Still, a pretty face has a power all its own, and sometimes the least human characters are capable of the greatest—and most surprising—compassion.

Monday, May 28, 2007


There's not much I enjoy more than going to my bookshelf and finding a book I never finished, picking it up and really enjoying it the second time around. Isn't that the best? Recently I was in the library and came across an author I never gave much of a chance to grow on me the first time around. My brother gave the book Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore and I kind of just thanked him and stuck it on my shelf. I assumed he was making fun of me (which he probably was) or making some sort of not-so-subtle comment about my kids (which may have also been true); either way, the result was that I never gave the book a proper look. So anyway, I'm looking at the collective works of Christoper Moore, recognizing the Practical Demonkeeping title and thinking I should maybe give it a try when another title jumps out at me: BloodSucking Fiends: A Love Story Isn't that a book that just begs to be read? Well, I thought so. And maybe it was just timing, but this book hit my funny bone in all the right ways. Like many authors, Moore chooses to make his main character, C. Thomas Flood, an aspiring writer (write what you know and all that) and I just thought the thought processes of the character were just hilarious. For example: Like so many great writers before him, Flood was known for his troubled countenance and sickly pallor, especially under fluorescent lighting. Those who knew him said that even in those early years they could sense that this thin, serious young man would make his presence known as a great man of letters as well as a sexual dynamo. His legacy to the world was a trail of great books and broken hearts, and although it is well known that his love of life was his downfall, he felt no regret, as illustrated in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: "I have followed my penis into hell and returned with the story." I just love that. And then there's the other main character, Jody, the red-headed vampire love interest of Flood. Only in a book like this could the vampire kick the crap out of 3 would be attackers, one of whom happens to be wearing a Raiders jacket, and yell "Forty-F***ing-Niners!" at them as they lay paralyzed or unconscious. My kind of girl. This was the first book in a long time to keep me up past my bedtime, so needless to say I'm going back to my bookshelf and finding that old copy of Practial Demonkeeping.

Friday, May 25, 2007


One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness, it was a world of fear, it was the age of Gargoyles. Stone by day, warriors by night, we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect, frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years. Now, here in Manhattan, the spell is broken and we live again! We are defenders of the night, we are Gargoyles!

Did anyone used to watch Gargoyles?

I loved this show when it was on. I’m not a huge follower of fantasy, but this show had me hooked with its nice mix of high technology, ancient magic, Shakespearian themes, gothic imagery, and crime drama.

In 994, a clan of Gargoyles, led by Goliath, has an uneasy kinship with the occupants of Castle Wyvern. They help the humans protect the castle from invaders while the humans protect the Gargoyles while they slept during the day. After a battle with Viking raiders, the Gargoyles were betrayed and cursed so that they would sleep until Castle Wyvern “rises above the clouds.”

Enter millionaire David Xanatos, who in 1994 buys the building and has it shipped and rebuilt brick by brick on top of his Manhattan skyscraper. The Gargoyles tussle with Xanatos and his robots, then move out to an old clock tower on top of the police station where Detective Maza works. It also turns out that Goliath’s mate Demona is alive and well and is pretty much evil after hating humans for the last thousands years.

As the series continued, Demona turns out to be magically linked to MacBeth (as in the king) so they would feel each other’s pain but neither could die. The Gargoyles encounter a host of other characters belonging to the “Third Race” such as Oberon and Puck as well as Native American deities, the Illuminati, an alien, a mad scientist (you always have to have a mad scientist), King Arthur, and even the Loch Ness Monster.

My only quibble with the series is that with the exception of Goliath, none of the Gargoyles start out with names. They all pick them from locations in New York after they awaken in present time so we get Broadway, Hudson, Brooklyn, and Bronx. Despite this, there is a great exchange between old warhorse Hudson and Detective Maza:

Hudson: Must you humans name everything? Nothing's real to you 'til you've named it, given it limits.
Elisa Maza: It's not like that. It's just that, well... uh... things need names.
Hudson: Does the sky need a name? Does the river?
Elisa Maza: The river's called the Hudson.
Hudson: Fine, lass. Then I will be the Hudson as well.

Yes, this was an afternoon cartoon and it was produced by Disney, but this definitely wasn’t Darkwing Duck or the Goof Troop. Creator Greg Weisman put a lot of effort into incorporating a lot of history and mythology into his story arcs. You also get a feeling that the characters grow through the series. They all start with a character trait like the fat one or the old one and then progress from there. There was no reset button after 30 minutes – previous situations affected everyone’s feelings and actions as the storylines continued.

There was also a lot of quality voicework in this series. Character actor Keith David voiced Goliath while Marina Sirtis was Demona, Jonathan Frakes was Xanatos, and Ed Asner was spot on as Hudson. The list continues with names like Michael Bell, Matt Frewer, Brent Spiner, Sally Richardson, John Rhys-Davies, David Warner, Laura San Giacomo, Frank Welker and Tim Curry among many, many others.

Click to embiggen.

There was a third year produced for Saturday morning, but the quality suffered because of staff changes and effectively ended the series. There was rumors floating around about a Gargoyles movie being produced, but I don’t believe that anything is now being developed. Currently, Greg Weisman is writing a series of Gargoyles comic books, so this rich world isn’t completely dead.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy 30th Birthday Star Wars!!!

Thirty years ago (well, thirty years ago this Friday) in a Galaxy far, far away (the 70s), Star Wars was released. I, for one, wasn't even born, but Star Wars was a cultural leitmotif throughout my childhood. I had a Darth Vader lunchbox in my first year in school, though I hadn' t actually seen the movies. Indeed, my introduction to the movies was completely backwards. The first installment I saw was Return of the Jedi, and that was on VHS (remember when renting a video was the most exciting thing you could possibly do?). Then the BBC showed The Empire Strikes Back as a Christmas Movie Special (the Christmas Movie Special being almost as exciting as renting a video), which my sister and I recorded and then, along with Return, watched ad nauseum for the rest of the 1980s....

...There was never a rainy afternoon when watching the movies, Return in particular, didn't seem like a good idea. I honestly don't think I actually saw Star Wars: A New Hope (didn't get that title until it's re-release in 1981, fact fans) until the mid-90s. But it hardly seemed to matter. Like Beatles lyrics, there's an extent to which most people just sort of "know" Star Wars. The movies have produced a body of cultural artefacts way beyond famous lines such as "Luke, I am your father" and "Feel the force". The lightsabre noise, Chewbacca's moan, the innate coolness of Han Solo - these are all part of the western cultural lexicon. It says something about the cultural importance of Star Wars that The Phantom Menace (worst movie ever made?) failed to destroy its place in the collective conscious.

Perhaps the real gift that George Lucas gave us with Star Wars is the "Extended Universe": the spin-off cartoons, comics, novels, and video games. It's a whole, coherent world with its own well-worked out history for sci-fi geeks to play in (for example I spent oooh, a good three hours of my work afternoon yesterday reading about the Sith online - I need help, clearly). Everythign that you ever wanted to happen in the movies (my list: kick-ass female Jedi, more lightsabres, almost no JarJar Binks, more political intrigue, convincing alien cultures) all exist soemwhere in the Star Wars Extended Universe.

And so, in the great tradition of this blog (will we reach 30 years?), I present you with this, my entirely subjective, totally self-referential, things I love about Star Wars (all of it, not just the first movie)
1. "You rebel scum"
2. Han Solo
3. The Emporer
4. The sound of Star Destroyers moving slowly past.
5. "I've waited a long time for this. My. Little. Green. Friend."
6. "I love you"... "I know"
7. The music (anyone else still get chills from the opening chords?)
8. The AT-ATs on the Ice Planet Hoth
9. The New Jedi Order novels
10. "These are not the droids you are looking for"

Post your own!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales

This is for the fans of "Babylon 5". According to William Jones, editor of "Dark Wisdom", a new series of "Babylon Five" DVD's are scheduled to be released this July. According to the Elder Signs Press website: The first, which premieres in July 2007, is titled VOICES IN THE DARK, and will contain two 40-45 minute Babylon 5 short films, one of which is based upon Straczynski’s gripping and powerful short story from "Dark Wisdom". For more information though check out J. Michael Straczynski's website. I would love to post some pictures from the upcoming production, but since there is a notice on the website firmly requesting that none of the photos posted there be posted elsewhere, you'll just have to follow the link. Here though is a posting from the Babylon 5 newsgroup which is reproduced on the website: January 12, 2007 (Dispatched via the Babylon 5 Scripts Mailing list)

For those who signed up for the mailing, a bit of an inside update on where things stand on Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (whose production was hailed just this week in the new TV Guide under the "Cheers and Jeers" column) (and yes, we got the "cheer" part of that, wiseass)...I'll be flying back up to Vancouver toward the end of the month to supervise the dialogue looping and to start reviewing the finished CGI shots being created by Atmosphere. We've also designed a brand new title sequence for Babylon 5, which incorporates all of the major characters, and emphasizes the interconnectedness of the characters seen over the show. There will also be a separate set-piece placed just before the main title sequence that will tie back visually to our series finale, "Sleeping in Light," in kind of a tribute to the end of that volume and the starting of this one.

We're also finishing up the director's blogs and behind-the-scenes pieces, which will show Bruce, Tracy, Peter and our new cast members, with the former group commenting on both the future of B5 and their own memories and reflections on Babylon 5. There will also be meditations and tributes to the passing of Richard Biggs and Andreas Katsulas from their fellow cast members. The director's blogs will follow production from script through prep and shooting...though in some cases with a bit of an unusual approach. (I can never do anything serious with a straight face.) You see, there was something innovative and new and unusual and artsy that I wanted to do with this movie, but did the studio get the majesty, the novelty, the innovativeness of that idea? No, no, of COURSE not. But by gosh you'll get a preview of it here...and the world of SF will never be the same.

Now if we can only get Josh Whedon to follow Straczynski's lead and distribute new episodes of Firefly.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Is it Possible to Love Something Too Much?

My friend Mike sent me an email about sci-fi weddings and I thought it would be a good post. Unfortunately, my email has decided it doesn't want to work today, so I don't have his email to work from. Of course, I would have to wait until late evening to do my post, that way it's so much more difficult fun. The good thing (for me anyway) is that there is an abundance of information on the subject floating around in cyberspace. One website, Mental Floss has all kinds of pictures and videos on the topic. It also appears it's becoming a booming business in Vegas. There are tons of sites now offering all kinds of wedding themes at their little chapels now, from Star Trek to Medieval, it's not all about Elvis anymore. But I can't help ask, is this..uh... normal? I have no real problem with people having outrageous weddings if it makes them happy, I mean, why not? But there is a part of me that wonders if this is a sign of a fantasy life that's become a little too much of a person's reality. Years ago, when my husband was first getting started in his career, he had a couple of clients who were really into the Medieval era. So much so they dressed up in Medieval style armor, just like the Black Knight, and dueled with broadswords. Okay, whatever floats your boat. But a wedding is going all out isn't it? I mean, you kind of have to get your extended family to go along with it; at least if you want a big wedding you do anyway. How do you sell grandma on dressing up like a Klingon? I'm not sure I could pull that off. Have you even known anyone who had a wedding like this? What would you think if your best friend asked you to be in the wedding but wanted you to dress up like a Storm Trooper?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Joke's On You

The Joker first appeared in Batman in the 1940's. His character was inspired by actor Conrad Veidt's silent film "The Man Who Laughed". As a comic book villain, Joker has gone through several incarnations, the most disastrous being Caesar Romero's clownish portrayal in the sixties' television show. Nicholson gave us back some of Joker's menace, but only some. His portrayal was too much Nicholson being Nicholson.

But now we are being treated to Heath Ledger. I admit, I was wary when I heard his name. However, my doubts are slowly being worn away. Batman: The Dark Knight is in production, and the first of the images for the film are being leaked to the media.

Joker has evolved into one of the most evil figures in comicdom. Joker is genius incarnate, evil, seductive, the manipulative powers of Hannibal Lecter with the grandiosity of Adolph Hitler.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Snort.....The Comic Dudes Do It Again..

This has some people a bit upset...other's don't get what the big deal is!

I found this on Zero Boss.....Wow..

The thing isn't anything new. Sideshow has been doing stuff like this for years.

Why? Because it sells.
Why? Because guys like drawing stuff like this.

But when will these industries realize that there is a HUGE female fanbase out there and do the same for the MALE heroes.

Oh yeah..because most of us don't really care and don't really want pretend PORN and buy statues of half nekkid PRETEND heroes.

Let's not even get into the fact that the character of Mary Jane IS the worst written 'sidekick' out there.

I have no problem with over muscled and over boobed heroes...comics ARE fantasy after all.

But the 90's saw this stuff go over the top...Image Comics and that darling Rob Liefeld was one of the worst perpetrators of 'wank' art in Comics.

I think things have toned down a bit now.

Or maybe not.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tagged Again

The Curmudgeon tagged me with the pop music meme that's been making the rounds. I don't mind doing memes, sometimes they can be fun. But I am convinced that most of my personal information is hopelessly boring, which is why I rarely write posts about myself. But if you find this stuff even remotely interesting, then read on... This rules of this particular meme are: 1. Go to Pop Culture Madness; 2. Pick the year you turned 18; 3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of the year; 4. Write something about how the songs affected you; and 5. Pass it on to 5 more friends. I don't mind 1-4, though I am going to decline to do number 5. Anyway, I turned 18 in 1987. Lately the only thing that has struck me as significant about that year is that my 20th high school reunion is going to be this year; not that I have any intention of going. I didn't particularly like my high school. But until this meme I hadn't gone back and looked at the music that was popular that year. And you know what struck me most about the list from 1987? Duran Duran didn't have any big hits that year. Looking back, I do realize that Duran Duran had peaked earlier in the 80's, but they are so embedded in my adolescent memory that everyone else pales in comparison. I also remember that I had a couple of friends who thought Duran Duran was the only group worth idolizing at the time. Personal aside: I dated a guy at the time who looked just like John Taylor. I thought I was hot stuff! But there are lots of songs that bring back memories for sure. For example, George Michael (now best known for trying to solicit a cop for sex in a public bathroom) had a hit with "I Want Your Sex." Now that was a pretty racy song for the time, though now it wouldn't be considered much. But to us growing up in the 80's it seemed as if music was really just becoming overtly sexual. Madonna came out with "Like a Virgin" in 1984 and that sent mothers everywhere into a huge uproar-- not that that slowed her down much--(and how do you suppose she explains this to her kids nowadays?) though 1987 was a mellow year for Madonna with songs like "La Isla Bonita" and "Open Your Heart." My memories of Madonna have more to do with her sexualized video's like "Justify My Love" or her constant attempt to pi$$ off the religious right with her use of Catholic symbols in videos for songs like "Like a Prayer." Oh yeah, and her desperate attempt to remain famous by kissing Britney Spears. *eye roll* Music the year I turned 18 was kind of all over the place. Hair Metal Bands like Mötley Crüe had huge hits with songs like "Girls, Girls, Girls" which glorified the stripper pole and Rap groups like the Beastie Boys hit it big with songs like "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)." Synthesizer pop was still hanging around though, "Heartbreak Beat" by the Psychedelic Furs and "Died in Your Arms" by the Cutting Crew were big that year, though I think the heyday of that style of music had passed a couple of years before. And it would be unforgivable if I didn't mention Dirty Dancing, THE movie release of 1987 that no girl my age saw less than 9 times. "I Had Time of My Life," by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes was such a great anthem for the movie. And who could forget Patrick Swayze singing "She's Like the Wind?" Though the movie's biggest musical contribution was to introduce songs like "Love is Strange" to my generation. U2 also came out with The Joshua Tree that year and I remember that as being a hugely popular album. Though, I gotta say, if you go back and look at that record, it had some great songs on it: "With or Without You," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" all still hold up today in my opinion. And when you listen to this album you can see why they're still around today. And maybe it's my age, but I look back at the music of that year and to me, it was so much more diverse than pop music is today. Maybe I'm jaded by American Idol and all the fabricated bands out there. True, we had some boy bands back in the day like New Kids on the Block, but we also saw emerging greats like Prince and old favorites like Aerosmith. Pink Floyd was still putting out music as was David Bowie and The Grateful Dead. My goodness, we had choices didn't we? Those were the good old days. Michael Jackson's biggest craziness was a chimp named Bubbles, Whitney Houston hadn't become addicted to crack and every hair metal band on scene was trying to get a parental advisory label on their album covers. Yeah, it was fun.

Some Good Contests

Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings is giving away a bunch of stuff. If you're a particular fan of Neil Gaiman, then you should definitely check it out. Pat at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist has posted a contest from Orbit publishers (sorry U.S. residents only) and the prize is a book a month for a year. Yep, I'm entering that one for sure. The Ridiculous Book Store has some books to win. Good luck. If anyone comes across any other contests let me know and I'll post them here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jamie Fights Starbuck

It's official, the new Bionic Woman is already in production. Is it me or does the actress who plays Jamie come from the Jennifer Garner school of bad acting? I hope this is just a rough cut and it gets better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Antidote to Spiderman

Finally, Pan's Labyrinth is out on DVD. I wasn't able to see it when it came out because it wasn't in wide release where I live. Well-- really it's because I couldn't convince my husband to go. If it doesn't have car chases it's not really his style. Anyway, I got the movie today in the main through Netflix (gotta love Netflix) and I just got done watching it. It's a beautiful movie, but it surprised me too. It's easy to get into the habit of watching American films and getting used to the American happy ending. Foreign films definitely aren't afraid to make bold statements and leave you in tears-- as I was with Pan's Labyrinth. The movie follows the story of a young girl named Ofelia who has traveled to the countryside of Spain with her mother, who has married a Captain in the Spanish Army. Ofelia's mother, already pregnant with the child of her new husband, tells Ofelia to call the man father, saying "it's just a word Ofelia, it's just a word." And with that we get a glimpse of the life Ofelia is headed into. But Ofelia understands the power of words and refuses to call the man father. Before long she retreats into a fantasy world where a faun, who may or may not be Pan, tells her she is actually the Princess Moanna and that she must complete three tasks in order to come into her inheritance. The movie alternates between the two worlds in a way that reminds me a little of Alice in Wonderland--albeit a darker version. Captain Vidal, Ofelia's stepfather, is chilling and much more menacing to me than any comic book villain a Spiderman movie has produced. But the movie really belongs to Ofelia, played by Ivana Baquero. She is the centerpiece of the film and in my opinion is amazing. She's never precocious or overly cute and I found her to be a believable heroine. So I would recommend that anyone who is looking for an alternative to the less than satisfying Spiderman, check out Pan's Labyrinth to get your fantasy fix. Though don't put it on when the children are watching, there are some disturbing scenes. This is definitely an adult fairy tale.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spiderman 3

I managed to see the movie as my Mom's Day treat with MY mom.

I am always torn up about these types of films.

My husband has spent a lifetime writing about these movies. He usually knows the background inside and out and that has left him a tad cynical and usually unable to just sit back and 'enjoy' a show.

I don't see movies with him anymore.

On a level of pure entertainment...I really enjoyed it. It is a LONG movie and I probably could have done with LESS angst from Pete and MJ (I cannot stand what they did with her character).

But the action sequences are fantastic. Flint Marko is great...I like what they did with the character origin and the sand effects are simply amazing. It has a great comic book feel to the action...and the quips and one liners are VERY Spidey.

Venom is scary and I actually wish there had been more of the suit and Eddie Brock.

My main complaint is that the 'comedy' that they have tried to introduce feels forced and awkward. Though seeing Tobey Maguire try to be funny and SLICK was entertaining...I just didn't think the Venom suit would make you a total doofus.

I don't want to spoil it for those who have not yet seen the movie, but I really don't want J. Jonah Jamieson to be a comedic foil.

We meet Gwen Stacey in this 'episode' and I think they did a great job with her. The actress looks just like she should and I am glad they didn't TOTALLY dumb her down. She comes across as a genuine and 'nice' person. Pete should be with her and not frumpy MJ.

So I managed to enjoy it. I didn't look too deep and I didn't listen to all my husbands stories of behind the scenes news and all the issues and complaints that the 'real' fans complain about.

Let me know what you thought about it!

An Announcement

Season 3 of Doctor Who will begin broadcasting in Canada on CBC from Monday June 18th. NB: This announcement mostly applies to Crunchy Carpets. We apologise to any non-Canadians who have wasted their time reading this. That is all.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day To Me

I'm grabbing a glass of wine and starting early. Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Just Can't Help It

I've mentioned before that I don't usually blog about non-sci/fi stuff, but sometimes I just can't help myself. The real world carnival-of-the-absurd sometimes inserts itself into my consciousness and I have to comment. I mean, Paris Hilton? Really? This woman (cough*media whore*cough) is news? Yeah, I know, I'm mentioning her on my blog, therefore perpetuating the cycle etc. etc. But sometimes I'm just flabbergasted that people can be famous for...well...being famous. Or maybe infamous would be a better way of putting it. Has our culture always been this way? I'm trying to think of people in the past who were famous for pretty much nothing. Monica Lewinsky comes to mind. Well, she did do something and the poor foolish girl will have her name linked with that particular thing for the rest of her life. And do you remember that for the longest time she kept appearing on all the tabloid shows? As if she was some celebrity who had actually done something that one isn't usually a little embarrassed at admitting to doing publicly. I think she even tried to sell a line of purses. Isn't that weird? It always seems as if these pseudo celebrities end up selling purses. Oh, and maybe you have to be a little older to remember Donna Rice. She was another woman who was involved in a political scandal, though with a presidential candidate instead of the actual President. In this case is was Gary Hart. She was caught fraternizing with the married candidate aboard the yacht the Monkey Business---maybe the name of the boat should have been a clue---with photographic evidence. But the really funny part (to me anyway) is that instead of selling purses she decided to start campaigning against pornography on the Internet. Um, maybe there's a little irony there. I guess I should applaud her efforts at doing something positive though. And as far as I know she never did have a sex tape end up going public; so that's a point in her favor. But still, I am baffled that so many women who are known for poor behavior become celebrities. How come we are so enthralled with the Paris Hilton's of the world? I personally find her vapid and boring. Though I do kind of like the idea that she might end up in jail. Just a little.


I asked her why she liked science fiction. She looked at me with some surprise.

"I think it's cool," she said. She waved toward the titles along the wall. Many of them were novelizations of film, several were novels written for a franchise such as "Star Trek" or "Star Wars". She had the Harry Potter novels, of course. There, too, were some of the mega-fantasies, the ones that are unneccesarily thick, like the Robert Jordan books, or the works of George R.R. Martin. Here, too, were works some fashionable urban fantasies.

"Did you ever read Vonnegut?" I ask. "Bradbury? Asimov? Dick? Card? Herbert?"

"I think I read 'The Illustrated Man' back in high school."

"A lot of this stuff you have isn't really science fiction. It's more fantasy. I mean, look at the Jordan books."

"Fantasy, science fiction. What's the difference? It's all really the same. I just want to read and escape. I like the 'cool' factor. I don't want to think."

"No, of course not. What's that hanging on the wall?"

"Those are my ribbons from the last convention I went to. You go from event to event and you collect ribbons. It's cool isn't it? You know who they had at the last convention? They had one of the guys who made 'Buffy'. Sweet."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Where's H.P.????

An amazing number of modern horror writers pay tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, the man who blended elements of science fiction, horror, and nihilism to give us a world where we are helpless and insignificant before forces we can never hope to and shouldn't even try to understand. In the world of Lovecraft the Old Ones wait until the stars are right to return from their exile and reclaim this universe. Cthulhu will rise from his slumber beneath the sea, from the sunken city of Ryleh, and with his resurrection, Yog-Sototh, Shub-Niggurath, Hastur, and the other dieties will return to revel in Chaos reborn.

Great stuff. The mythos has penetrated popular culture through the writings of Robert Bloch, Brian Lumley. Ramsey Campbell, August Derleth, Stephen King, Paul F. Wilson, and many others. It has even penetrated the pages of comic books...Batman's Arkham Asylum is a direct tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, the name Arkham being taken from a town created by Lovecraft.

With all this being said, why have we had no films that have been true to the original source? Where is a major studio production of "Call of Cthulhu", or Lovecraft's "At The Mountains of Madness"? The best we've been able to do is pull elements of Lovecraft and tack them to horror stories for effect. Carpenter's "At The Mouth of Madness" immediately comes to mind. "Hellboy" had strong mythos elements in it. Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" trilogy was a loving tribute to the master. HBO produced a film noir tribute to Lovecraft entitled: "Cast A Deadly Spell", which was more an urban fantasy than anything else, but fun.

But for all that, attempts at filming Lovecraft's works have been miserable failures. Just rent such titles as "The Dunwich Horror", "From Beyond" "Die Monster Die", "The Haunted Palace", and "Dagon". And don't get me started on any of the drecht produced by Stuart Gordon. The best Lovecraft title produced so far is "The Resurrected", which is an interpretation of "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".

So what is it? Why can't Hollywood get it right. Obviously Lovecraft has a following, not just among fans but among people who write and create film. In the past I would have acknowledged that special effects made "Call of Cthulhu" or "At the Mountains of Madness" unreachable for most filmmakers. But with digital effects, that's just no longer true. If they can bring "Lord of the Rings" to the screen, they can do ANYTHING.

So HOLLYWOOD, I'm over here waving my arms, give us a terrifying, well-produced version of "Dunwich Horror". Spielberg, how about taking on "At The Mountains of Madness", you're a natural for the project. Raimi, now that Spiderman has given you all the freedom you want, why not do "Call of Cthulhu"?

Hey, I'm only asking.

And if you haven't read Lovecraft...go read. Enjoy. Discover. Also, you might find a few of these links of value: bless wikipedia)
The Lovecraft Archives
Role-play gamers might want to check this out
And a magazine with Lovecraftian flavor, DARK WISDOM

Monday, May 07, 2007

Favorite Moments

URF (Urban Fantasy Reader) came through for me and gave me an idea for today's post. Whew! Sooo, I am going to list some of my favorite moments in sci-fi/fantasy movies and television. This is NOT a best of list; it's simply the stuff I like. Luke Skywalker Blows up the Death Star: I am not objective when it comes to Star Wars. This movie was a huge influence during my formative years and there is no question that I wouldn't be the sci-fi fantasy nut I am today if not for this movie. As much as I like Han Solo (and who doesn't?) I still have to pick the moment when Luke fires the shot that blows up the Death Star as my favorite scene. It might seem kind of cheesy now, but when I was a kid the whole set up was great. Luke, hearing Obi-Wan's voice saying "use the force," turns off the targeting computer, fires the shot that blows up the massive sphere and sends Darth Vader spinning off into space. I still want to cheer when I see it. Doogie Howser Reads the Mind of the Brain Bug: Okay, it wasn't Doogie, but rather actor Neil Patrick Harris who starred in 1997's Starship Troopers. But I guess he'll always be Doogie Howser to me. Starship Troopers is one of those movies that people either seem to love or hate. I think it's great for what it was and it has lots of memorable moments. But who can forget I mean Harris's character Carl when he walks up to the Brain Bug (the one that sucks out people's brains...) in his SS trench coat, puts his hand on the bug and says "it's's afraid!?" Linda Hamilton's one-handed shotgun reloads in Terminator 2: I'm still kind of obsessed with Linda Hamilton's arms. I wish I could figure out how to get my workout just right so mine could look like that. But I digress. I don't know anything about guns, but I loved the scene in Terminator 2 when Linda Hamilton has to load and pump a shotgun with one arm. I don't know why it looks so tough, but it does. Picard Becomes a Borg: I am a particular fan of Star Trek TNG and Patrick Stewart is probably the main reason why. Not only is he a great actor, but that voice.... For some reason I found it particularly fascinating when he was captured by the Borg and turned into one of them. It's not that I wanted him to stay that way. But he was such a strong character and seeing him turned into such a creature was seriously creepy, yet still cool somehow. I actually cared about the character and even though you knew he'd be rescued, the show still managed to make you worry about him. Not many shows can make me feel that kind of suspense anymore. Elle Driver Explains the Effects of the Bite of the Black Mamba: I love Darryl Hannah in Kill Bill. She plays the character of Elle Driver with such unrepentant sadism that I can't help but be amazed that I still find the character interesting. I would love to know the back story on that woman. There are a lot of scenes that are memorable in this movie, but the one that sticks out the most is when Elle surprises Budd (Michael Madsen) with a deadly Black Mamba she has hidden in a suitcase full of money. After the snake bites Budd she calmly reads the symptoms of a Black Mamba bite to Budd while he is writhing in pain saying, "Now, you should listen to this, 'cause this concerns you." Her character could almost convince me in the existence of pure evil. Caprica Six Taunts Gaius Baltar: Caprica Six and Gaius Baltar are probably my favorite characters on Battlestar Galactica. I loved watching Gaius squirm during season one while he would try to appear normal while Caprica Six would whisper in his ear and sometimes even physically goad him. These two characters still interest me even as Starbuck and Apollo fall into more stereotypical roles. Their relationship is by turns sexy and tortured and I can't wait to see where they end up. As usual, I'm doing a late night posting, so I'm going to end my list here for now. Besides, there are moments beyond count that I could mention and more that I am forgetting. I'd rather hear what sticks out in your mind and what little piece of cinema makes your top 10.

Joss Whedon Does Good

Yesterday we hit the local comic book store as it was Free Comic Book Day. I don't think we actually picked up any of the free books, but picked up the last two issues of Astonishing X-Men, written by Joss Whedon and drawn by John Cassaday.

This was the job that Whedon was born to do. This is the best X-Men series probably ever written.

Whedon is obviously a long time fan of the series. His treatment of the characters is reverent. He r
emembers details from stories written twenty years ago. For someone who started back in the Claremont days.....this comic is better than sex.

Remember Colossus and Kitty? All the old baggage is there today....reminds me of my teen years reading the books.

Cyclops is still a messed up dude....but now he is messed up with Emma Frost.

I really cannot say enough about this book. The storylines are well crafted and filled with the great one liners that he does so well. He remains true to the characters and at the same time add and develops new traits or actions and they make sense instead of you going wtf! He respects the past hashing out of how their powers work. He tries to have their powers make sense.

He doesn't try to rewrite history.

Go read it. The best way to do so is pick up the Trade Paperbacks and enjoy them all at once.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Inspiration... Or the Lack Of....

I kind of feel like I've been a bad blogger lately. I kind of pigeonholed myself by choosing to do a blog that is all fantasy/sci-fi and sometimes it's just plain hard to think of stuff to post. So I do apologize for all the YouTube posts and surveys, but hey, sometimes you just need filler right? Usually I can find inspiration by cruising other sci-fi type blogs or even some of my friends, but lately I've been a little distracted. I'm trying to do a little writing so I can enter a Writers Digest contest this month. (Any aspiring writers reading this, go to and check it out) So hopefully the friends I'm used to seeing here will bear with me a little bit. I haven't had a chance yet to see the new Spiderman movie or anything else that I could handily review here, but I will try to think of something to put up in the very near future. If, however, anyone had any suggestions or bright ideas, I'm all for it. Let me know if there's anything you've been itching to talk about. If not, have a good Monday and I promise to get back to some real posting soon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

For Lee Lee

I got this from Neila

This is unrelated to anything. It just made me laugh. Be sure to read Hey There Skippy's post below this one. It's far more relevant.

Light the Blue Touch Paper...

Because they hate you, me, and everyone else who loves sci-fi, Entertainment Weekly have just published a list of the "25 Top Sci-Fi Movies and TV from the past 25 years". All I'm going to do is reproduce the list for you and stand well back...

25 - V: The Mini-Series
24 - Galaxy Quest
23 - Doctor Who (seriously, WTF?)
22 - Quantum Leap
21 - Futurama
20 - Star Wars: Clone Wars
19 - Starship Troopers
18 - Heros (yup. all not even quite one season of it)
17 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
16 - Total Recall
15 - Serenity / Firefly
14 - Children of Men
13 - Terminator /T2
12 - Back to the Future
11 - Lost
10 - The Thing
9 - Aliens
8 - Star Trek: The Next Generation
7 - ET
6 - Brazil
5 - The Wrath of Khan
4 - The X-Files
3 - Blade Runner
2 - Battlestar Galactica
1 - The Matrix

You may now take your own life.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Child's Play

I just came across this great article in and I just have to paste it here on my blog. It's all about scary kids in film. And when you think about it, isn't it completely creepy when a child is cast as a villain? I think so.

Top 10: Evil Children Movie Characters
By Ryan Murphy
Entertainment Correspondent

For the last four decades, Hollywood has been evangelizing a message that bachelors around the world have known for hundreds of years: Children are evil. They wake you up before 8 a.m. on weekends, they spill grape juice on the interior of your new car and, if movies are to be believed, they have the ability to level entire towns with their eerie demonic powers.
Granted, not all children are like that, but why bother discriminating when your life is on the line?

Lock your door, pull down your blinds and read our list of the 10 most evil children movie characters.

Number 10

Regan Teresa MacNeil - The Exorcist (1973)
Generally, we like films that feature women in nightgowns, but The Exorcist is a different beast altogether. Possessed by the Devil himself, Regan abuses priests, breaks out in boils, levitates, and spews pea soup across the room. Actually, aside from the levitation part, it sounds a lot like a typical Saturday night to us.
The film's special effects and intensity were considered so gripping that it garnered 10 Academy Award nominations. Take that, Bride of Chucky!
Most evil scene: Every moment is practically scarier than the last, but few are more evil than when Regan tells Father Karras, "I'm the Devil. Now kindly undo these straps." The movie was considered so disturbing that it was banned from video in Finland.

Number 9

Damien Thorn - The Omen (1976)
Some children are good at spelling, others excel at climbing trees. Damien Thorn, on the other hand, is good at scaring the bejesus out of everyone around him. The offspring of Satan, Damien was switched at birth with the murdered baby of a wealthy family.
Not surprisingly, things don't improve much from there, as the little red-eyed menace causes a spree of death and devastation. Perhaps his most brutally malicious act, however, was helping to foist Damien: Omen II and Omen III: The Final Conflict on the unsuspecting public.
Most evil scene: Damien's nanny pledges her loyalty to the little brat by hanging herself during his birthday celebrations. Talk about a party crasher.

Number 8

The Grady Daughters - The Shining (1980)
Like most Stephen King films, The Shining is full of horrifying images, not the least of which is Jack Nicholson chasing his family with an axe. However, none stand out more poignantly than that of the hotel's phantom twin girls. Adorned in blue dresses and white stockings, the girls hauntingly call out, "Come play with us, Danny. Forever and ever."
The scene was enough to make little Danny Torrance pass out and it nearly had the same effect on us. Were it not for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, The Shining might have turned us off twins forever.
Most evil scene: When Danny's mother suddenly understands the relevance of the word "redrum" upon seeing a reflection of it for the first time.

Number 7

Henry Evans - The Good Son (1993)
They say evil has many faces, but in our nightmares, it looks an awful lot like Macaulay Culkin. That's why we were so pleased when Hollywood producers played against type and got the Home Alone star to play the despicable Henry Evans.
Seemingly perfect on the outside, Henry is evil incarnate just beneath the surface. He threatens to throw his cousin off a 15-meter high tree house and causes a 10-car pileup on the highway. In other words, he's just your typical preteen boy.
Most evil scene: Henry maliciously kills the neighbor's dog with a crossbow.

Number 6

Charlie McGee - Firestarter (1984)
Played by the adorable Drew Barrymore, Charlie McGee has the unique ability to create fire with her mind. What could possibly go wrong with that? Since it's a Stephen King movie, the answer, of course, is absolutely everything. Charlie creates one out-of-control inferno after another as she and her father attempt to escape a government agency that experiments on humans with psychokinetic abilities. After being captured by a Native American assassin, Charlie must learn to harness her destructive powers in order help herself and her father escape.
We don't want to give away the ending, but suffice it to say the film didn't receive Smokey the Bear's two thumbs up.
Most evil scene: Charlie unleashes the full fury of her power after her father is shot... Drew Barrymore has since been sexier, but she's never been hotter than this.

Number 5

Those strange, mutated babies - The Brood (1979)
Leave it to David Cronenberg to come up with the ultimate experience of inner terror. The trouble begins when a psychiatrist creates a radical new technique for patients to physically manifest their internal turmoil. For some, the manifestations result in sores and welts, while for others, they result in (what else?) a small army of deadly, deformed babies.
Slightly scarier than a surprise audit, The Brood features the most bloodthirsty toddlers in the history of cinema. An interesting side note: Cronenberg wrote The Brood while he was going through a particularly acrimonious divorce.
Most evil scene: Nola's mutant children appear and viciously kill her parents. Only a mother could love a brood like this.

Number 4

The Children - Children of the Damned (1964)
Believe it or not, this movie has nothing to do with The Jackson Five. A sequel to Village of the Damned, Children of the Damned features six seemingly normal children with dangerous psychic powers. Think of it as Carrie meets The Brady Bunch. Unlike Marcia and Jan, however, these ber-creepy kids can paralyze innocent (and not-so-innocent) bystanders with their eyes. The trouble begins when the children escape from a high-tech lab in London and hole themselves up in a spooky, abandoned church where they must defend themselves against the government.
Most evil scene: The children prepare themselves for battle by creating a supersonic weapon out of a church organ.

Number 3

Rhoda Penmark - The Bad Seed (1956)
Lying, theft and murder are all in a day's work for Rhoda Penmark, the original wild child. The blonde-haired beauty kills a girl to steal a penmanship medal and offs another to prematurely inherit a decorative glass globe. Rhoda gets her evil disposition from her grandmother, a notorious cold-blooded killer who murdered 20 victims. I, on the other hand, get my evil disposition from my low sugar levels (at least that's what my doctor tells me). Like her grandmother before her, Rhoda is also a merciless murderer who can't stop her deadly compulsion.
Most evil scene: Rhoda ruthlessly kills a janitor who knows far too much.

Number 2

Samara Morgan - The Ring (2002)
It used to be that the worst thing that could happen to you when you watched a videotape is you'd return it two days late and be docked $4.99. And then along came Samara Morgan, the psychopathic little girl who would kill you for watching it in the first place.
Samara was kept locked away in the loft of a barn and was later murdered by her adoptive mother. Equipped with psychic powers (and a strange affinity for VCRs), she eventually comes back from the dead to wreak havoc on the innocent (kind of like a bad burrito, but with slightly more lasting consequences). As if her very presence isn't terrifying enough, Samara has long damp hair, a decayed face and generally smells like an old well. Among the film's most terrifying moments are when Aidan first watches the mesmerizing video, the pure look of shock on any of Samara's victims' faces and the few tense moments (teasingly seen from behind) before Noah is offed.
Most evil scene: Samara seemingly appears out of nowhere as Naomi Watts struggles at the bottom of the well. We always knew there was a reason we preferred tap water.

Number 1

Isaac Chroner - Children of the Corn (1984)
Stephen King pops up once again in what is arguably the eeriest movie of all time (excluding, of course, the video of your prom -- but that was just sad). Isaac Chroner is a savage preacher boy who orders the children of a small Nebraska town to kill every adult in the vicinity.
On the negative side, he causes unimaginable bloodshed, but on the positive side, it's just Nebraska, so it's no great loss. The children worship "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" and get up to their old tricks when a misguided couple makes the mistake of driving through the eerily quiet town. The film contains a harrowing amount of bloodshed, including, most notably, the grisly slashing of a child's throat.
Most evil scene: When Malachai and the other children kill the adults at the local diner.

honorable mention

Dakota Fanning
Is it just us, or is there something a little creepy about an 11-year-old actress who has all of Hollywood by the balls? Since 2001, the eerily mature Fanning has co-starred with Sean Penn, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin, and Julia Roberts in a series of well-received roles. Apparently, Pauley Shore wasn't the only celebrity who made a deal with the devil.

it's child's play

It's been over a century since little Lizzie Borden made beef tartar out of her parents, and children have been getting progressively scarier ever since. If Hollywood has taught us anything, it's that birth control is highly underrated. In the words of humorist Robert Orben, "Do your kids a favor -- don't have any."