05 January 2006

Ummm...

go here: The Story, or Why Gerg is Dumb

I'm a dumbass. But go read and all shall be clear.

04 January 2006

please please please...

...be true:

Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel
Talks have begun at 20th Century Fox TV to revive the animated TV show Futurama, much in the same way Family Guy found new life after cancellation, Variety reported. The studio is in early discussions to put Futurama back in production and create a limited number of episodes of the Emmy Award-winning show, although it's too soon to tell where those episodes might end up. A representative for 20th Century Fox TV declined comment to Variety.

03 January 2006

...until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to be born.


A random thought brought on by finishing Lucius Shepard's Viator, in an admittedly, highly tangential way: cities. I was thinking about cities, and fantasy, and the grandeur of urban landscapes. I love cities -- they take on a life of their own that is at once composed of the lives of the masses of humanity that live in them, and transcends those lives. You go to, say, New York, say, or Philadelphia, and the city has a smell unique to it, a texture, a sound, a taste...there will be nothing quite like it anywhere else. Other cities may contain echoes of it, but it will be in the way that a woman might, for a split second while seen in passing, remind one of a former lover, until you look closer and realize, no, there is no resemblance, really. To me, the great cities are places of amazing romance and beauty -- terrible romance and beauty at times, of course, capable of hurting as well as sustaining. But then, that's true of the Alps, too, or the Amazon.


Fantasy has long been fascinated by cities. Think of the great fantasy cities -- Lankhmar, Minas Tirith, Dunsany's City of Never, Lovecraft's ancient cities lying beneath sand and rock and snow and ice. The fascination runs deep. And I think it may be because cities are the one True Human Thing -- the thing that sets apart. No other species does this. Sure, there are others who congregate in the 10s and 100s of thousands. But we're talking ants, termits -- the social insects. They are regimented clone communities, each community like one individual split into many bodies. But humans, we have thrown off our ancient primate ways and congregated by the thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions, and do so as individuals. And somehow it mostly works. Cities are fantastic and weird and improbable. And they are so not what we grew up with. As a species we grew up with small bands, isolated, intimate. So cities, which have existed for all of 6-8,000 years, are foreign territory. And I think our fascination springs from that, in part. They make our reptile brain stand up and shout warning, but they entice with rich promises. They are dangerous, yet compelling.


And so I guess it's no surprise that cities have long been a staple of fantasy. They are magical, in a sense. Perfect territory for fantasy. What's your favorite fantasy city?


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We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight.

I just woke up from one of those kind of dreams where you just lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and try to figure out which sound in the room is your heart flumping on the floor after having jumped out of your chest. And it's the kind of dream where you don't even know why -- I have no memory of it, just this sense of deep, freakish wrongness. Dread, disembodied, so that it floats around the room and takes root in the walls.

So now I have Coupling playing on the DVD player, hoping that will banish the lurking heebie jeebies.

If I were H.P. Lovecraft, I'd turn this into a story about some guy with three names learning Things Men Were Not Meant to Know, and going stark raving mad and taking to make proclamations in italics, with exclamation points, like the pictures were drawn from real life!

Night. (Did that wall just move?)

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02 January 2006

Mistah Kurtz...he dead.

Sometimes you can't help but feel that the Universe is whispering in your ear. First it was Peter Jackson's King Kong, and its heavy dependence on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as a theme. And now I'm reading Lucius Shepard's Viator, which has, you guessed it, a definite Heart of Darkness thing going on.

It's an amazing book so far. Which is what one expects, really, from Shepard. In this case, it feels a bit like Heart of Darkness channelled through H.P. Lovecraft and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. What's not to like in that? The end result of all of this, though, is that I think I'm going to be rereading Heart of Darkness soon.

And speaking of good stories, I watched A Very Long Engagement (2004), the Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie with Audrey Tautou, not to mention a number of other actors from Amelie. It's got a darker tinge to it than Amelie, and is a disturbing look at the utter madness of war in general, and World War One in particular. But like Amelie, its message is hopeful, as if Jeunet wants to paint a picture of a screwed up, nasty species that is, nonetheless, amazing and wonderful and something he can't help but love. Highly recommended.

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31 December 2005

A Hogmanay Wish

So, it's the last day of the year. Mostly, I have to admit, this is one I will put in the good riddance pile. But not completely. Because it's a year whose suckitude may have just been a prelude to better things, like that last, horrible dry retching before you get over a bad case of food poisoning and get back to eating good food.

Big Things are in store for this coming year. I have some ideas for things I want to do on this blog to be a bit more interesting and entertaining, a lot of writing goals to be met, and the previously mentioned leaving a Bad Place Behind. 2006 will be new, if nothing else, and at this point that can only be a good thing.

But for now, I just want to send the love out to y'all, and hope that the coming year (and years, because I'm not stingy) are amazing for you.

29 December 2005

"I ain't so tough."

Confession: before tonight, I had never watched a James Cagney movie. Apparently, I've been missing something.

The Public Enemy (1931) is, for those as don't know, one of the all time classic gangster movies. And now I know why. It's all Cagney, really, with happy nods to other great cast members (Jean Harlow at the beginning of her career, among others) and to the director, William Wellman. But it's all Cagney, really. I was just watching one of the extras on the DVD, and Martin Scorsese said that essentially modern movie-acting began with Cagney in that role. He's chilling, a psychopath who is all the scarier for being very, very human. Damn, the guy was good.

Note for my sister: Scorsese spends some time talking about the film's brilliant score, which isn't, as he notes, really a score.

There's a lot of great camera work to enjoy, too. I particularly love the way that Wellman has killings take place out of frame. There's a great scene when Tom and Matt go Putty Nose. We see Matt at the door, here the gunshot, and then Tom strolls into the frame relaxed as can be. It ends up being more disturbing than many a blood-filled scene could hope to achieve. And that constant sense of stuff take place off the edges of the screen, just out of sight, lends an air of menace.

You know, in general, I have been woefully ignorant of 1930s cinema. But I'm having a fine time rectifying that. They could make some movies in those days, damn howdy they could.

I'm now all hot to see The Little Caesar, which was Edward G. Robinson's big breakout movie, also from 1931. It's in my queue, and may get bumped to the top pretty soon. Great. But next up are Thief of Baghdad and The Bicycle Thief. My education continues!

25 December 2005

War On Christmas 2005 Update: Santa Claus Believed Holed Up in Caves With Insurgents

It's Christmas evening. Last night I barely slept after an evening in which, sometime after doing yoga, I was just not feeling right, if you know what I mean. Exhausted today, and mostly just did my impersonation of a blob hanging with the fam and watching movies [The Station Agent, highly recommended; Kurosawa's Roshemon, ditto, though honestly I think Stray Dogs was better; Bande à part, a Godard flick, which I came away from half liking, half not; and Madagascar, which was cute].

And as the evening came, I started feeling more than just off.

Fuck. Ho-merry-fucking-ho-ho. Achy. Throat on fire. Must sacrifice cat to the Old Ones to transcend such lowly, bodily stupidities. Here, kitty kitty...

But Happy Holidays to all and one, and if you don't holiday this time of year, happy New Year's A Week Away Day.