life without movies is not worth living

Related to this post, here are the DVDs I elected to keep with me in Louisiana, putting the others I own in storage:

  • The 4th and 5th seasons of Northern Exposure. I have the first 3, but these 2 are the peak of the show, IMO. Although I know people who claimed the character of Mike Monroe was the shark-jump moment, I don’t agree with that. He was only a single-season character; Joel going native was clearly the shark jump.
  • Both seasons of Pushing Daisies. Sigh.
  • All 3 seasons of Dexter; the 4th season will no doubt eventually join it.
  • Lawrence of Arabia, tied with
  • The Fall, for Favorite Movie Ever.
  • Firefly & Serenity. Gorram it.
  • Aeon Flux. The complete animated series (including the Liquid Television shorts), not the terrible movie that was sort of based on it.
  • The 1st season of Fringe; ditto for the 2nd when it comes out.
  • The 1st season of True Blood, ditto as above.
  • Twin Peaks, the Definitive Gold Box Edition. It came with extras and postcards and an ad for David Lynch’s coffee, which I am scared to drink.
  • All the Harry Potter movies to date, except the first 2, when Dan Rad was too young for even a pervert like me to leer at.
  • All the Hayao Miyazake films I own: My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle. I haven’t even seen Ponyo, Y/N?
  • The most recent Star Trek movie. GEEK.
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what i’ve been reading & watching lately: dead until dark, world without end, when the levees broke, and wire in the blood

dead until darkDead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I loved season one of True Blood, so I thought I’d give the books a try. Charlaine Harris is a better writer than Stephanie Meyer, which is setting the bar pretty low. At least it doesn’t seem like she’s trying to use every synonym in the thesaurus before she dies. Although she does do that annoying thing where she describes in excruciating minutiae every detail of every outfit Sookie Stackhouse changes into.

The book is all from Sookie’s POV, so you don’t get into what all the other characters are up to, which I really liked seeing in the show. I also think Book Bill doesn’t exactly have an excess of personality (although Book Eric is almost as awesome as Show Eric). And it doesn’t get into the whole socio-political aspect of vampires as the new Other like the show does, but I was expecting that. Basically, if you’ve never seen the show, the book is probably entertaining enough. But if you watch the show first, you might find the book a little… anemic. HA HA VAMPIRE JOKE!

It’s still a bazillion times better than fucking Twilight.

world without endWorld Without End by Ken Follett

This is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, published 20 years ago. It takes place in the same fictional English town, Kingsbridge, about 200 years later and involves the descendants of the original characters. It follows the same formula, where you observe the protagonists over the span of most of their lives, follow their triumphs and defeats (at the hands of some very nasty antagonists), against the background of various historical events: in this case the Black Death, the Hundred Years War, and the murder of King Edward II. (Being as it was the 13th century, I kept waiting for the Black Death to show up, but it didn’t until page 600 — the entire book is just over 1000 plages.) It’s a great, sweeping epic with very memorable characters. One thing I especially love about both of these books is that Ken Follett writes some pretty fucking realistic female characters. They are just as fleshed out and human as the male characters.

I’m not always a fan of Spike Lee, because I don’t think you put fires out by pouring gasoline on them. But for his documentary about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, he pretty much stayed out of it and just let the people speak for themselves. And he got everyone in this thing: Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco, residents of pretty much every neighborhood in the city (the Lower 9th, Algiers, Carolton, Uptown, the Garden District, Mid-City, etc.), Sean Penn, Kanye West (who actually comes across as a real person, as opposed to the cartoon with the ludicrously swollen ego he usually does), the former police chief who kept screaming “They rapin’ babies!” about the Superdome, even that guy in Mississippi who yelled “Go fuck yourself!” at Dick Cheney (he’s a doctor!). It’s not exactly pleasant to watch — it was released a year after Katrina and parts of it were filmed just months or even weeks after the fact, and everyone was still pretty raw. But it’s really well done, and they’re going to be showing this in college American History classes a hundred years from now, for sure.

wire in the bloodI’ve been watching the last 2 seasons of Wire In The Blood on BBC America — it recently got cancelled due to really high production costs. Poo! I decided to start at the beginning via Netflix. You know what’s weird about British television? Not everyone looks like some waxed, shaved, and plucked 20-year-old bimbo. They look like actual people.

The series is based on a series of books, although from what I understand only the first 2 episodes follow them exactly; after that it kind of branched off on its own thing. It’s hard to say what makes this different from other crime/profiling dramas, it just has a really creepy atmosphere. It’s like if David Lynch directed Law & Order. Also, Robson Green is hot, so there’s that. He and Hermione Norris have craaazy chemistry too, they’re always standing like two inches apart. Once I’m caught up with this series I think I’ll Netflix Touching Evil.

when buffy met edward

This is hilarious, and really well done: Buffy the Vampire Slayer treats Edward Cullen’s stalkertastic bullshit with the contempt (and ultimate staking) it deserves.

I was initially on the fence about True Blood, because the Twilight fucktardery kind of put me off the whole human girl/vampire boy love. But the 3rd episode, “Mine”, won me over. Bill lays down his “SUCKY IS MAHN!” thing to his vampire buddies, and explains to Sookie that it means she’s like his own personal juicebox. And instead of being all *swoonswoonswoon* at the thought of being someone’s property, like dumbass Bella Swan would have been, Sookie’s like EWW WTF YOU MOST CERTAINLY CAN NOT DRINK FROM ME!!1!

Sing it, girl! EMBROIDER IT ON A PILLOW! (Also: Bill didn’t really mean it anyway, he was just trying to keep meanypants vampires from drinking her blood. Bill Compton is a gentleman vampire, y’all.)

Incidentally, I ordered the first Charlaine Harris novel, Dead Until Dark, from Amazon yesterday. No one in the Sookieverse would ever unironically say *intense!*”You’re my own personal brand of heroin”, and I love it for that.

bill and sam

wasted saturdays & true blood

raindrop leaf

I honestly don’t know why I had to come in on Saturday. I was here for 5 hours (but paid for a whole day) and did, maybe, 5 minutes of work. It was a waste of my time and their money. And I had to walk here in a fucking drizzle that got my shoes wet. *grumble*

It threw my sleep schedule off and I got less than 5 hours of sleep Friday night, so after swinging by 99 Ranch for groceries, I went straight home after work and watched True Blood until I fell asleep at midnight and slept for 10 hours. You know, Videogum despises that show, and even though none of the stuff they say about it is wrong… I really like it. Which is odd, because usually vampires are so not my thing. And oh my stars, there is a lot of fucking in it.

I’ve seen Stephen Moyer in other stuff and always thought he was really wooden, but I like him in this. His delivery is really good; you really believe that this is someone who grew up during the antebellum South, but it’s subtle enough not to be grating or seem overdone.

I think my favorite character is Sam Merlotte. The question of what the hell his deal is was actually more interesting to me than all the other stuff going on. I love how offended he was when Sookie asked if he was a werewolf. Hee! I think I like him because he’s a straight up white hat good guy (if he’s turned out to be an evil scumbag in season 2, I’d rather not know), which makes sense because SPOILER ALERT… he’s a dog. Well, a shapeshifter with an affinity for dogs. Whatever.

I’m kinda bummed Rene turned out to be the killer. He was cute. Also, you don’t often get to hear serious backwoods Cajun accents on teevee. (Yes, Cajuns actually call themselves “Coonasses”. It’s like “nigger” with black people: They can call themselves that, but non-Cajuns better not try it in their hearing.)

Ugh, sucks (heh heh) that I’ll have to wait like a year to see season 2. Or wait, it’s not on Hulu, is it?

retail therapy, lazy days, and wonderfalls

Last week I loaded a few things into my Amazon cart, so when I got my paycheck on Saturday (and how amazing that I did, because when I really need/want it is when it tends to be late) and put some $$$ on my reloadable Visa, all I had to do was sign in on my cellphone and proceed to checkout. I got a Holga (YAY!), the “new” Matthew Sweet album Sunshine Lies (actually it came out last fall and I kept forgetting to buy it), the first season of True Blood on DVD (I’ve only ever seen one episode so NO SPOILERS PLEASE), World Without End (Ken Follet’s sequal to The Pillars of the Earth), and Columbine by Dave Cullen (which is supposed to be really good and I can’t wait for paperback).

Sunday I was going to go to the drug store and do a few other things, then decided I was sick of running errands and hadn’t had a day where I did nothing in months, so it could wait. It wasn’t a truly lazy day — I did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, vaccumed, and cleaned Junebug’s cage. But I didn’t have anything to cook (I had some heat and serve lasagna and bagged Caesar salad from Trader Joe’s) and this week I have a cold bento. I also didn’t shave my legs or wash my hair. Awww yeah!

So I got all the boring crap out of the way by early afternoon, then settled in with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and the first disc of Wonderfalls. I hardly ever drink wine anymore, the tannins in red mess me up (dehydration, insomnia, pounding headache) and I don’t really like most whites. I tend to stick to beer or vodka drinks. But I do like PG and every once in a while I treat myself to some.

Everyone that ever raved about Wonderfalls and lamented its early demise: OMG YOU WERE SO RIGHT. I love Jaye; she’s one of the realest young female characters I’ve ever seen on television. She’ pretty, but normal pretty. She’s sometimes overly-acerbic and rude to people! She gets unapologetically drunk! Also, I covet her trailer. I would so not be ashamed to live in a trailer if it was that cute.

vampires are the new zombies: gen x carmudgeon struggles to understand the kids today

HBO’s new series about vampires, True Blood, was picked up for a second season just ten days after its premiere. So along with the runaway success of the Twilight series (the first movie is scheduled to be released this winter, and Stephanie Meyer is reputed to be re-writing the series from Edward Cullen’s POV, something I doubt the literary world was crying out for), I guess the spoke labeled “Bloodsuckers” in the wheel of pop culture trends has once again rolled up on top.

Every time a literary trope comes around again, the present generation tries to put its own unique spin on it. In the ’80s it was “Vampires are sexy, and sometimes aren’t entirely bad people! (Also, they’re often gay, and pithy thanks to Anne Rice.)” True Blood probably thinks they’re breaking new ground with this “Hillbilly Vampires” thing, except I already saw that movie in 1987; it was called Near Dark and starred Bishop and Nathan Petrelli. (Do yourself a favor and click that first link to see one of the greatest things ever, namely: Bishop doing “that thing with the knife” in a French dub. For some reason I couldn’t find it in English.) It also had a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, something that could only happen in the ’80s.

Look, I understood the Harry Potter thing, obviously. Who wouldn’t want to feel like the fate of the world rests on their shoulders, and fantasize about killing people (or at least having a horde of canaries attack them) with the wave of a wand? But if the price of vampiric immortality means I have to spend eternity attending high school like Edward Cullen, or hanging out with homicidal bloodthirsty rednecks, count me out.

(Incidentally, have you noticed werewolves have become sort of passé? Nowadays it seems like they get thrown in as a lagniappe in stuff about vampires — Underworld, Twilight — but seem to be thought of as too boring to carry a story on their own.)