Saturday, July 10, 2004

Almost forgot, but tonight is the season premiere of the all-new, all-different Missing on Lifetime (formerly 1-800-Missing). Gone is the incredibly hot Gloria Ruben, playing the incredibly hot FBI agent who is incredibly hot. In her place, the incredibly hot Viveca A. Fox (or, as I like to think of her, Viveca A. Fox, if you know what I mean), and, according to TV Guide, a more exciting, faster pace. (Oh, and new supporting characters replacing the duller ones from last season.) We’ll see…
MI6 :: The Home Of James Bond 007

So instead of continuing with a series of just-okay contemporary James Bond novels (which I wasn't reading, much as I loved the Fleming stuff), starting next year, we get a series of Young James Bond stories, telling tales of his teenage years back in the 1930s (which would be the correct time, if you figure the Fleming novels took place when they were published).

Now, on the surface, this seems like exactly what it is, an attempt to cash in on the kiddie-lit market reenergized by stuff like Harry Potter and the Lemony Snicket books. And I should pooh-pooh such a crass commercial move. But I love James Bond, I love children's adventure novels, I love period adventure novels, and I'm a big fan of Charlie Higson's writing from Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) remake (currently on view on BBC America). So, come March 2005, I'm probably there...
As expected, The Perfect Score delivered a good, solid 90 minutes of entertainment. (And it was only 90 minutes long, as opposed to too many 120 minute movies that deliver a good solid 90 minutes...) The cast, including an old fave, Erika Christensen, and sure to become a new fave, Scarlett Johansson, felt like high school students, not adults trying to play young. The characters, in the best John Hughes tradition, each represent a particular type of teenager, but they have just enough depth to stand out as individuals. You know, just like the kids in The Breakfast Club, which the filmmakers cite as a model... (Oh, forgot to mention the standout performance of Leonardo Nam as the Comic Stoner...)

Here's why the movie works for me: It has a story to tell (six kids conspire to steal the answers to the SAT, and in the process learn something about themselves) and it just goes ahead and tells that story with a cast of down-to-earth, normal characters. Nothing about it feels forced; no jokes, no drama, no character moments. It just is what it is--how very Zen--and there's nothing to pull me out of it. (Okay, there's one Matrix parody, but it fits, and goes by quick enough.) Proof once again that Brian Robbins (the Robbins half of Tollan/Robbins Productions, here directing) can be relied upon to deliver the goods.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Just finished watching the very enjoyable season premiere of Stargate SG-1. The season openers are usually okay, but more in a flashy, special-effectsy kind of way than a story way. Maybe the producers feel like they've got something to prove as they head into an almost-unprecedented eighth season, maybe they want to show that they're not ignoring the parent show in favor of the new spin off, Stargate Atlantis, but this was a two-hour episode that actually seemed to have two hours worth of story. Plus, it sets up a bunch of new stuff which will presumably play out over the course of the season, instead of just bringing back last season's status quo. So, once again, a reason to be excited about watching the show. (Like I needed one...)

Went to Timbers again for lunch, and nobody offered me a box. And I picked up a pizza for dinner (from Beach Pizza, my personal favorite pizza place in Vegas so far), and that naturally came in a box. My intention was to head the whole "would you like a box for the rest of that" thing off at the pass. / News / Nation / Washington / Patriot Act amendment fails in House

Said I wasn't going to write about this stuff any more, but I'll post it without comment.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Oh, finished reading David Almond's The Fire-Eaters today. Finally. (Felt like that bookmark was within the last ten pages forever.) As usual, a beautifully-written book, impossible to sum up in a simple description, that perfectly captures the emotion and experience of childhood. Less obviously fantastical than the other books of his that I've read, but the quiet miracles aren't any less miraculous.

Just started The Golden Hour, a children's fantasy by Maiya Williams, apparently a veteran TV writer/producer from shows like Roc, The Wayans Brothers, and MadTV. First couple of chapters are okay; we'll see how it goes.
Okay, so the "would you like a box for that" thing happed a third time (this week!), this time at Timbers. Halfway through my stupid burger, and the guy, same guy waits on me all the time, asks me if I need a box. Geez! I mean, okay, I wasn't wolfing it down. I wasn't feeling that well, and my appetite was only so-so. But it wasn't like I was just sitting and staring at it, either. And this is a restaurant I go to all the time--literally several times a week, because I'm that much of a no-imagination creature of habit loser--and I have never failed to clean my plate. And they know this. (Well, they also know that I'm never hungry enough for dessert, but I think I tip well--more than 20%, usually--so screw 'em.) So I am forced to accept the fact that I really am becoming a slow eater.

Next time, I think I may just tell them up front that I'm a slow eater, and that if I need a box, I will let them know, because the way this is happening every time I go out to eat is getting kind of irritating.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

God... I'm at work, and apparently some kid left his bike outside without locking it up in the bike rack.  So the security guard goes up to kids in the library asking who left their bike outside without locking it up.  One kid goes, "Oh, that's mine," takes off, jumps on the bike, and rides away.
Oh, please, please, please, let this be exactly what it sounds like.  Because last night and today have pretty much sucked, and I need a reason to smile.
Oh, and I hear that the new King Arthur movie is supposed to blow.  Considering it was written by acclaimed writer David Franzoni, writer of Gladiator, which I thought was just okay, and directed by Antoine Fuqua, acclaimed director of Training Day (no interest in seeing it), Tears of the Sun (no interest in seeing it) and Replacement Killers (so-so wannabe John Woo), I'm not surprised.  I had sort of wanted to see it myself, but all it's got left at this point, in terms of appeal, is Clive Owen, who I can see in the BMW Hire films, Keira Knightly, who I can see in just about ever movie made in England in the past two years, and Ioan Griffud, who I can see in the Hornblower movies on A&E.  So...
Ah, okay, now I get it: Joe Schmo 2 is now on Monday nights at 11:05 (which is just an odd start time). Slight pain in the butt, since I don't watch anything else on Mondays, and so suddenly deciding to turn the TV on at 11:00, when I would normally be going to bed, won't be a smooth adjustment. On the other hand, it's a fun show, and I really like it, so...

For those who haven't seen it, Joe Schmo is a parody of the reality shows that I hate so much. The gimmick is this: two people think they're on a real Bachelor/Bachelorette-type show. The whole rest of the cast (other "players," "host," whatever you call the love-target people) are all actors working through a predetermined story. So it's funny because it makes fun of all the conventions and cliches of this particular reality TV subgenre (last year, it was more of a Big Brother-type show, with only one real person), and it's funny watching essentially a huge practical joke being played on these innocent people. (Funny, because it's harmless, and pretty much shows them at their best.)

And now, at least, I can watch it live, instead of taping it and watching it after Nip/Tuck (or the following morning, or whatever).

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

So posting via email seems to work. Yahoo automatically attaches their stupid "Do you Yahoo?" tag onto the message, but I can't be bothered to go through and edit that off each time I post. Also, between Yahoo email and Blogger, there's some weird formatting thing going on that makes every post look like this weirdly-parsed experimental poetry. I've decided I like it.
So last night, I finish watching an episode of Wonder
Woman on DVD (expect me to wax lyrical about those in
a future entry) and I'm ready to go to bed. Only I
decide to do a quick flip through the channels,
because I'm not quite tired. And I get to Spike!, and
they're showing Tuesday's new episode of Joe Schmo 2
23 hours early. And, of course, I've missed the first
couple of minutes, so I don't actually see the
resolution of last week's cliffhanger ending, but I
see the aftermath, so there's no point in my watching
those first couple of minutes when they rebroadcast it
tonight. (Although I do want to see those moments, so
I probably will watch it after all.) And this was
supposed to be a 90-minute episode, and suddenly it's


Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.

Monday, July 05, 2004

(Tried to post something via email a little bit ago, and it hasn't shown up yet. This was written chronologically later. Deal.)

Checked out The Perfect Score from the library today, hoping that it ends up being as entertaining as the commercials made it look. (Like I'm that naive. But I like the premise, I like the cast, and it's produced by Mike Tollan and Brian Robbins, and directed by Robbins. Their stuff usually has a certain baseline entertainment value I can rely on.)
Okay, here's some more of me waxing enthusiastic about
Cold Mountain: It's 2 1/2 hours long, there's no
zombies, there's no kung fu, there's no Molly Parker,
Nicole Kidman keeps her clothes on throughout the
whole thing, and it's about the Civil freaking War.
And I still loved it. So it must be a great movie.

(There is, it must be pointed out, one big@$$
explosion, right at the beginning, so it's not
completely some snooty little arthouse picture.)

And maybe I just need to be eating faster. I was
having dinner at Memphis Championship Barbecue at
Santa Fe Station, and I wasn't even halfway through my
chicken before my waiter was asking if I wanted to see
a dessert menu. I said I wanted to finish my dinner,

So, between this and the Original Pancake House thing
yesterday, maybe I'm just eating too slow. Or,
possibly, maybe, the wait staff just needs to BACK THE
HELL OFF? I'm thinking the latter, actually.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Things seen today:

Cold Mountain on DVD. I'll admit, without Nicole Kidman in it, I probably wouldn't have seen it. (And, in my defense, that's not enough to get me to see Stepford Wives in the theater, either.) But it was beautiful and moving, and a nice way to cap a weekend filled with way too many movies. (And if I hadn't watched this, the last movie I'd have seen this weekend would have been The Medallion, and that just wouldn't have been right.)

Also saw some guy putting the moves on the hostess at the Original Pancake House, when I went to get breakfast. So slick, he was, until he found out she was only sixteen. And then he tried to get the other hostess to back him up when he claimed that she looked at least nineteen. Please. I mean, I'm hardly the expert in whatever unwritten male/female pickup rules exist, but I know you don't seriously flirt with service workers, like waitresses or salespeople or whatever. I mean, it's their job to pretend to be friendly. Why muddy the waters?

Oh, and here's an irritation: my cute-and-friendly-but-young who I didn't flirt with waitress asked me as I was halfway through my huge omelette if I needed a box, or if I was going to try to finish it. I had been eating it pretty constantly since she brought it, but I guess since I wasn't wolfing it right down without chewing it first, I must have been not hungry or something. (Or I just wasn't eating fast enough for them to free up my table, but screw that noise. I waited for my seat, I ordered my food, I wasn't deliberately dawdling, and they could just wait for me to finish my breakfast.)

On the other hand, I noticed WHILE I WAS EATING, NOT TAKING ANY SORT OF BREAK TO INDICATE I WAS LOSING MY APPETITE a waiting kid playing a game on a cell phone. Next time I looked up, he was playing with an Etch-a-Sketch. Who says technology is replacing the classics?
Oh, the link to Eoin Colfer's web site in an earlier post doesn't appear to work. Copied it right out of the book, so it's not my fault. Sorry, anyway.
Finished The Supernaturalist late last night, and it did hold up until the end. It managed to maintain the dark tone all the way through, with a not-entirely-happy ending. There is a bit at the end that sort of feels tacked on, like his editor or publisher insisted that he leave the door open for sequels--because kids books are all about the series these days--so one character essentially says, "Oh, yeah, we wrapped up the problem in this book, but there are countless other, hitherto unmentioned threats for us to deal with in the future" on the very last page. Still, I wasn't sure he'd get three good Artemis Fowl books out, so Eoin Colfer has earned my trust.

Next up: David Almond's new book, the title of which escapes me. But he doesn't write series.
Faketh Thine Own Death

READERS ADVISORY: The images posted on this site are weird and creepy and disturbing. They're all faked pictures (that's the point of the site, as you can tell from the title), but still... So, follow the link at your own risk.