Sure-fire way to ruin my day? Point out to me that FOX is set to Ameri-make™ my most favorite of cult classic Brit television series, "Spaced." Want to make it worse? Tell me that it's being written by "Will & Grace" and "Desperate Housewives" writers, and helmed by "Chuck" and "Supernatural" creator (and "Charlie's Angels" director) McG.
If you haven't seen this fine series, and you like smart/funny things, and/or nerd things (i.e. Star Wars, comic books, science fiction, zombies, videogames, movies, etc) I highly recommend picking up a copy at the usual location. Better yet, if you have a region-free DVD player, you can pick up the excellent 2-season box set from amazon.co.uk. It has loads of extras, including a Reference-O-Meter subtitle track to help you make sense of the few references you missed.
UPDATE: In case you are hesitant to download a show you know nothing about, the first episode is available on YouTube.
A few days ago Emalyse posted a little sonic doodle she had made, reminding me that I had been meaning to try to record some of the sonic doodling the Nintendo DS game Elektroplankton allows you to create. The thing that's fun about the game is that you just sort of click around on things and it effortlessly turns those clicks into "music." Most of the different modes have pretty unsatisfactory results, but my favorite works rather well. It consists of a grid full off arrows and 4 different plankton that each make their own sets of noises as they follow the arrows. By changing the direction of the arrows you can cause them to go into different loops, drastically changing the "song" that it makes.
I've been getting helpful suggestions regarding future "making a fool of myself by singing for YouTube" ventures, but just had to share this. Within hours of posting my video, I got a YouTube friend request from timmf2007, which I learned is some sort of American Idol-esque competition. I clicked through a few of the videos in there and immediately decided two things:
1) these people are really good
2) I need to add some suck to the competition.
Here's where you come in: I need suggestions for the worst-karaoke-songs-ever to submit. I pretty much showed my entire vocal range in my Hungerstrike video, so I'd suggest things that are either well within that range or horribly outside it. (For instance, I think I could "nail" Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," if you used "nail" in an altogether untruthful sense. Any suggestions? Bonus points if an instrumental track can be located.
Whenever Temple of the Dog's song 'Hungerstrike' [link to YouTube video for the unfamiliar] comes on the radio whilst I'm driving in my car, I get an unstoppable urge to sing along. Because the song is essentially a duet, it involves Chris Cornell screaming really high and loud practically overtop of Eddie Vedder's really low and grungy vocal. This makes for a nice challenge -- and a nice bit of me making a fool of myself -- so I've been meaning to document it somehow.
Today I decided to share the experience with you. Head on over to YouTube to see my incredibly dorky video. Be sure to stick through it long enough to see my switching from grunge to screamy falsetto.
1) Why is this news? The past two days I've been seeing this story all over the internet, even on so-called "legitimate news" sites. What is wrong with people that someone talking about something that's not even in the book can cause such an uproar?
2) I'm sorry that the world has largely stopped talking about you, J.K., but that doesn't mean you get to start making news by just declaring things about the fiction you wrote. I have no problem with Dumbledore being gay, but for goodness sake, PUT IT IN THE FLIPPIN' BOOK. Don't say you're done with a series of books then come out with all sorts of "oh yeah, one more thing:" stuff to shake things up. Write another book. Sure, you'll be a hypocrite, but I'm OK with that. That's a lot better than someone who is quite obviously just trying to milk this for all its worth without actually expending any of the effort required to legitimately do so. Either write more books or shut the crap up. (I'd prefer the latter. Thanks.)
With the world hinging on the outcome of Harry Potter's saga, J.K. was in a position to do some really interesting things with the characters and the universe. Were there problems with the stories, the universe, the plotting, etc? Of course there were; there usually are. But with all eyes suddenly upon her, she could easily have explained away many of those problems and made the weary, irritated Potter fans like myself happy. For instance, I had really hoped that the reason behind the childishness of the magic universe (Hufflepuff Expellaramus Jiggledylicker!) was due to the fact that the battle Harry had been fighting was one with terminal cancer alone in a state-run orphanage, that creating a world inside his head where he is not only unique, but SPECIAL helped him to cope with reaality. Personifying his illness into someone he can fight, and BY GEORGE ensure that no other kids have to deal with it. (Seriously, it makes sense.) If not terminal cancer, at the very least awareness of the plights of unwanted orphans could have been raised, sparking thousands of children to pester parents into getting one of their very own. All that money wasted on stripey scarves, wands and Bertie Botts Beans could have been much better suited to making the lives of your own little orphan better -- not to mention it probably would have been cheaper. (I have, after all, purchased more than my share of those damned over-priced beans.) Sure, I respect the cool things J.K. did manage to put in, I just wonder how much better they could have been had they been written by someone else.
Sadly, it turns out that it's all silly childishness because that was the best she could come up with. Look, I enjoyed the Potter books quite a bit, but that didn't stop me from wishing that they were actually well-written and not something that I'd need to feel ashamed about reading. Compare the Potter books with something like Philip Pullman's fantastic His Dark Materials trilogy and they just look like something out of my 10th-grade creative writing class. (Full disclosure, I was not IN said creative writing class, I was a TA. This means that I got to read ALL the things that were written by the students.) If you enjoyed Harry Potter even remotely and would like to experience something similar, but that also touches upon many aspects of the human condition, faith, responsibility and subjugation -- and would like to be emotionally affected by them and made to think -- then you simply can't go wrong with His Dark Materials. (Plus, there's only 3 books, and they're already written. At at LEAST a 12th-grade level. And the tragically identifiable gay people in those are actually gay IN the stories.)
To re-iterate: it is really lame to write some books and then to go around talking about things that aren't actually in them. Unless you are George Lucas, you don't get to add stuff. Once people have stayed up all night drawing lightning bolts on their foreheads (and their children's foreheads) wearing stupid glasses and scarves to read the words you worked so hard to sell to them, then that's it. You had plenty of opportunity to put those things into the books where people who care about them (and could conceivably change their outlook on life accordingly as well. "Hmm, Dumbledore was a great guy, and HE was gay... maybe my gay neighbors are all right too.") could read them, but YOU DIDN'T. So either write another book and put anything you'd like to add into that one, or SHUT UP. Better yet, do both.
Sign #273 that my opinions on the inanity of partisan politics are beginning to affect those around me:
While explaining the film "Jaws" to my impressionable 6-year-old nephew, I felt it prudent to ease his fears over a malicious shark indescriminately eating people by assuring him that sharks don't just attack indiscriminately, that they instead only eat hippies.
"See, sharks are Republicans; they feel that they need to have the right to do whatever they want at any time -- unless of course that something is under-age drinking / drug use / premarital sex. In that case, they simply eat the offender. Every person attacked in that movie was engaging in 'naughty' behavior and brought the attacks on themselves.
"Democrats, on the other hand, are the victims in that film; they feel THEY need to go around doing whatever they want -- provided that that something isn't 'eating the helpless.' As soon as some big bad shark starts infringing on any little "right," they get bigger boats and go try to kill all the Repu-- achem, sharks."
I expected a chuckle from my sister's boyfriend, but was instead greeted by uncomfortable silence.
Maybe the "fight crime; shoot criminals" t-shirt he was wearing may have tipped me off to his feelings on the subject were I not so utterly inept when it comes to social interaction. The fact that, like always, I sold this opinion as if it's the utmost truth, leads me to be pretty sure he had no idea I was poking fun at both sides.
It's my hope, though, that there are some upcoming shark lessons in school, and that Logan feels the need to impart this new shark knowledge to his teacher and classmates. I feel the future of the country depends on it.
My sister moved this weekend and donated her unwanted aquariums to Casa de Nyquil, as we're always on the lookout for new pets. One of the tanks was allegedly occupied by two sharks, but upon investigation I decided that it in fact contained only one large injection-molded fake reef.
"Oh, they're inside there," she said. "They only come out at night."
Unfortunately I didnt bring anything even remotely large enough to contain the reef during transport, so we set about trying to lure the sharks out.
They were not having any of this, preferring instead to stay safe within their plastic reef. After trying the classic Ernie "here, fishy fishy fishy" tactic to no avail, inspiration hit. I quickly pulled out my iPhone, loaded up YouTube and searched for "Jaws theme." Within seconds, the familiar "dun dun dun dun dun" climax of the popular movie score was blasting out of iPhone's speakers. I figured instinct would kick in, causing the sharks to come flying out in search of hippies to chow on.
This did not happen, but I assume it's only because the sound was not getting through the glass into the water. In the end we had to cut apart the reef, buy those sharks are totally atmy house now. So is an awesome friendly African Ciclid. Pictures coming after we get the tanks all set up.
I'm thinking of making little SCUBA-diver-shaped molds to pack the shark food into to more closely approximate life in the wild.
I read the treatment for the movie version a couple years back and must say that there was some clever stuff in it. Some stupid stuff as well, but nothing worse than what's already in Freddy Vs. Jason. If you want to spoil the comics for yourself (the six-issue run is supposed to be based almost verbatim on the original film treatment) you can find the treatment here.
In other news, My Name is Bruce is on track to rock all our socks off later this year. I'd describe it, but the previous link does a much better job than I could.
Would it have killed you to have made the 'new tab' button in Mobile Safari automatically put the new tab into URL entry mode? I mean, what else could I possibly want to do with a new tab other than go to a URL?
On the way to work this morning I heard news of a tragic, sad, and tragically tragic accident on the radio. News was still breaking a the time, so details were sketchy, but suffice it to say that involved were: a) a crashed airplane, and b) the bodies of the skydiver passengers en route from a skydiving competition.
Now, I'm not sure whether it's just the "isn't it Alanic? Don'tcha think?" angle, or perhaps if it's that this firmly crosses a line Mel Brooks once eloquently described regarding the difference between tragedy and comedy, but my sleep-deprived brain could not stop laughing. I feel terrible making light over the deaths of these people, but I feel it simply cannot be avoided. There are just so many questions left unanswered by the lacking media coverage, giving rise to imagined scenarios that make me chuckle.
First off: Were the bodies located near the wreckage, or was it obvious that they went for that one ultimate dive after realizing that the plane was done for? I mean, this is the moment they've waited their entire lives for; that plane was going down, and anyone stuck on it would be along for the ride. It's not hard to imagine a little bit of that thrill-seeker spirit kicking in, practically demanding that they exit the plane -- regardless of whether the chutes were stowed away out of reach or not.
This post does not have an ending. Sorry for the inconvenience.