Saturday, August 07, 2004

Somewhat embarrassingly, I forgot I was supposed to work today (don't normally work on Saturday, and between the Utah thing and the NLA thing, changes to my schedule had just slipped my mind). So, for the first time in forever, I got a phone call at home asking if I was coming in to work. Ah, well... Got the PowerPoint part of the NLA presentation done, so that's out of the way. Still need to actually write up what I'm going to say for two or three parts, but I've got the next two days off (again, something I had forgotten), so I have time.

Tonight's episode of Justice League Unlimited was an improvement over last week's. Considering it focused on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and was based on a classic Superman story by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, it would have been incredible if they had screwed it up, to be honest. Since this is one that could easily have fit into the earlier Justice League format, it's tough to count this in "the new series is great" column. And is it possible that the opening music is actually growing OFF me? Unlike the majestic opening theme of the previous Justice League series, this one sounds like some mid-80s rock power ballad, and grates just a little bit. (Also, while I like the idea of showcasing characters featured in the episode in the opening sequence, I worry a little about spoilers. I mean, I knew from reading the original story, plus from being a complete nerd, that this particular episode's villain was Mongul. If I hadn't, it still wouldn't have been much of a surprise, since he shows up in almost half the clips they used in the opening montage...)

Friday, August 06, 2004

Went to get my hair cut today, and a mother was waiting with her two young (under 10) boys. She had been waiting and waiting, and finally told the Supercuts woman that she was going to go next door to get her nails done (I guess she had coinciding appointments) and would come back. The Supercuts woman told her that her sons would be up in just a few minutes, and that she could just leave them there. And from what I could tell as I went back to get my own hair cut, she was going to do just that.

Now, honestly, what is going through these people's heads? This woman is seriously entertaining the idea of just leaving her two kids alone in Supercuts while she goes somewhere else entirely? The woman at Supercuts is willing to just take responsibility for this woman's kids? No wonder kids get left alone in cars in 100+ degree heat here all the time... Geez. This is the kind of thing makes me want to just scream.

(Fortunately, it appeared as I was leaving that the woman did decide to keep her kids with her, or Supercuts wised up and told her they had to stay with her, or whatever, because they weren't waiting alone. I saw them walking back and forth between the haircut place and the nails place, so they were probably checking to see if it was their turn, which is still questionable, but at least she didn't just leave them to be babysat by Supercuts. Or Sittercuts. Whatever.)
Yahoo! News - Raver on Duty as Gal Pal for Fox's '24'

Okay, so I'm thinking that I now know at least one character who won't survive the season-ending cliffhanger shoot-out that Third Watch ended on last year...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Was sent a link to an article about just how early on the Bush Administration knew that Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction, and didn't have ties to Al Queada, but the link doesn't seem to be working, so I can't include it this time. And I don't want to get off on a rant about that today, because I'm feeling kind of crappy anyway. (Post-travel crash, I'm thinking.)

Realization is setting in that several of my summer TV series are drawing to a close. The 4400 ends next week, as does The Grid. And then on Tuesday, there's the big, two-hour finale of Joe Schmo 2. Yes, it's actually on Tuesday again, because running it in the usual Monday time slot would run the second hour past midnight. Apparently, ratings for this season have been down. I'm guessing it's a combination of the summer, zero publicity (anyone seen any articles anywhere at all?) and changing the time slot to a really bad one halfway through. The show, on the other hand, has been fantastic. If you haven't seen it yet, Tuesday is your last chance. It's genius.

And, of course, all this means that the fall TV season is right around the corner. Too bad it mostly looks like crap. UPN (I now see their commercials during Amish in the City) has some show about a high-end corporate lawyer who suddenly has to take care of a child, and is forced to downsize his career to a small, low-rent law office dealing with human-interest cases guaranteed to warm the heart as he learns what it truly important in life. WB has The Mountain, which appears to combine extreme sports and soap opera, produced by McG, the genius director behind the Charlie's Angels movies. (Which prove that he's a perfect TV storyteller, because those films are all about the story, at the expense of the visuals...) Some network--couldn't even tell you which one--has Rob Lowe playing a doctor in Las Vegas, called (wait for it)... Dr Vegas. Apparently, he works in a casino. Really. Because, you know, there is nothing else in Las Vegas.

As usual, I don't have high hopes for anything, but I will definitely watch Lost, the new JJ Abrams show. After Felicity and Alias, I have to. And there's good buzz about Jack and Bobby, a WB series about two brothers, one of whom grows up to become president (only we don't know which one). Creator/producers include bestselling novelist Brad Meltzer, who I need to read, but I like his comics, and Thomas Schlamme, the director who defined the look of The West Wing, before he and Aaron Sorkin quit two years ago, leaving it in the hands of people who now make it look just like regular TV.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Oh, look at the apparently random order Blogger posted my email entries, composed on my palmtop while in Utah and emailed en masse when I returned home...
Monday, 11:05 am: Lord, there's like 30 kids under the age of five in the pre-boarding line. And I'm hungry, and I smell cigarettes, and the guy on the other side of the seat is touching me...

Happy place, happy place...
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Tuesday, 11:50 am: Looking at a PowerPoint slide of this tall, slender, flowering plant, growing straight up, and I can't help thinking: gayest plant ever.
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Tuesday, 10:15 am: Left the house later than planned, which didn't reduce the pre-Utah stress a bit. Now, braving Vegas traffic is about the only gambling I do here, but luck was a lady this morning. I made it in about half an hour, including stopping for gas. (Those of you familiar with the 215 will recognize this for the miracle that it is.)

At the airport, I managed to find long-term parking easily (for the first time ever) and even found a parking space on a covered level within 5 minutes. It was so easy, I could almost see myself doing this more often. If, you know, I didn't hate airports. Or travel. Or leaving the house...

And at the security checkpoint, there were two people checking IDs. And absolutely everyone was lined up for one. Me, I went to the other guy. What the heck is the matter with people?

One hour til we're supposed to take off... Plenty of time to try to find a Happy Place to retreat to in my mind when necessary.
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Tuesday, 10:35 am: The current speaker (a German botanist with a thick accent) keeps talking about a kind of plant called (I think) liverworts. But I keep hearing the word as "liverwurst," which somehow keeps getting my attention.
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Monday, 2:45 pm: I'm in Utah, and it's raining, something I was not prepared for. And for an airport much less crowded than home, getting around this one seems to involve a great deal more of the walking from place to place.

And you know what? Not having slot machines all over the place doesn't actually make an airport seem any more pleasant after all.
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Tuesday, 9:10 am: When I got up this morning, I pulled open the curtains and looked at the mountains. While I love the beauty of the Southwestern desert, and can even wax poetic about the neon lights on the Strip at night, I concede, based on the view this morning, that there may be reasons to want to visit Utah after all.

Caught the new episode of The Grid last night. Fewer embarrassing lines this time around, and the British characters and scenes still come off as more interesting and gripping. It's worth pointing out that both this and the fairly dull TNT Salem's Lot miniseries were directed by Mikael Solomon (sp?). So this says to me that Salem's Lot wasn't his fault.

Also caught the final minutes of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I know these movies will never be as beloved as the original three, but I still like 'em. And when I'm watching Yoda take Christopher Lee to school in their lightsaber fight that I remember that.

Finally, I finished Billy Clikk, Creatch Battler by Mark Crilley last night. He's written a bunch of kids' novels based on his comic, Akiko, but this is his first original-to-prose creation. It still has all the charm and imagination I expect from him, but it's definitely different from Akiko, justifying a separate book (or series?). In many ways, this is a boy's book, in ways that the Akiko stories aren't. He's more into sports than Akiko, and more prone to take aggressive action (whether appropriate or not). This story also features a traditional family--although doing nontraditional things--while Akiko is surrounded by a constructed family of friends. The story was aimed younger than other books I've been reading, and had a nice "Spy Kids/Men in Black" sort of vibe to it.

And now, after breakfast, I'm listening to a bunch of botanical presentations. "Listening" may be too strong a word. (Happy place...) I do have an Invisible Detective book with me, but writing this email looks like I might be taking notes. Reading a book just looks like I'm not paying attention.

(Do any of these guys understand how a microphone works? Heck with this; I'm reading my book.)
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Wednesday, 12:50 pm: Waiting for the shuttle to the airport. Just wanted to say, when all is said and done, I'm glad I came. I mean, yes, all the anticipated sources of stress and frustration materialized, and I do miss my cat something fierce. But I got to see my dad's former students honor him with a day-long symposium, and then have dinner, breakfast & lunch with some of them last night and today. And I got to see the esteem in which they hold him, and I am very proud. This is a side of my father's life I might never have seen if I hadn't come here this week. So that makes it worth it. (But, you know, that doesn't make the stress less stressful. Just means there's a point to not walking away.)
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Wednesday, 7:55 am: On last night's Amazing Race, the pretty boy Christian model wanted to make his girlfriend go down into a cave in Egypt for a roadblock challenge, and got mad at her when she wasn't hauling a couple hundred pounds of rocks fast enough for him. Last week, she almost passed out trying to eat a kilo of caviar at the roadblock. Yeah, that's a team that's working together.

Meanwhile, no teams were actually eliminated last night, which was an interesting twist. Instead, the last place team (the bowling moms) have to start the next leg with no money. The first place team (the non-Christian pretty couple) has something like a 12-18 hour lead, but the scenes from next week make it appear that doesn't last. Which is fine; without any discernable personalities, they just aren't much fun to watch. Seeing the Twins and the Bowling Moms battling for last place is more interesting, because I have a sense of who they are as people. Colin and Christie? Might as well be animated manniquins, really.
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Wed, 2:55 pm: Sweet Christmas. I think there may actually be a fight
over the order of the boarding line for my flight. Some crap about the
people in line all sitting along a row of chairs. Please. Because
nothing says "mature adult" like calling dibs.

(Hey, is Uma Thurman still single? Because if she is, I call dibs. And
maybe I wasn't offered the job at CCSN because I failed to call dibs.)

While I, as a single, solo traveler don't have a problem with Southwest
Airlines' first-come-first-served seating policy, I guess there are bugs
to be worked out. Or maybe in Utah, "standing in line" does, in fact,
mean sitting in a seat two seats away from someone else in a seat four
feet from the last person actually STANDING UP at the END of a visible
LINE. Because, actually, my usual clue as to the location of the end of
a line is to look for the line of people, and then see where it ends.
Apparently, I take these things too literally.

And, yes, I am going on about this a bit. Partly because it's absurd,
but mostly because I'm now in the air with nothing but my PDA, and I
can't sleep because I ended up having coffee with someone at the
airport, which is how I ended up at the end of the line anyway.

(Not that I stepped in front of anyone. I always intended to let the
whole world get on the plane before me. I just watched the fireworks.)
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the

Monday, 3:10 pm: What's up with Mormons always wearing nametags? Can't they tell each other apart? (I reserve the right to make fun of any group that tries to bring their religion into my home.)

At least it's stopped raining.
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Tuesday, 11:45 am: From now until lunch, I shall work on creating witty responses to the comment, "Hi, I'm (fill in the blank). You probably don't remember me; I was your dad's student when you were under the age of 5." Always followed by an expectant look, as if it wouud make their day to hear that I do, ln fact, remember them.

(Jeez, talk into the mike! Happy place...)
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Monday, 8:50 pm: In my hotel room (larger than my parents') there's a window between the bathroom and main room. In the shower, to be exact. Presumably it's just there so hotel guests can enjoy the mountain view, even while taking a shower. It's still kind of weird.

Had dinner with the family and some local relatives (aunt, uncle, cousins). Always nice to see my cousins, who I never see, and always wish I saw more of. Although I suspect we wouldn't actually move in the same circles. They're all starting young families and have jobs as doctors and lawyers. I'm a single librarian who hates talking to people or leaving the house. (Actually, this sounds like the makings of a UPN reality show...)

Of course, the downside of this sort of outlook disconnection is this sort of thing: when I tell my uncle, the doctor, that I'm doing a presentation at NLA about graphic novels, I can tell he has no context for that information. And providing that context would require more of that talking to people thing than I am generally comfortable with. So I end up downplaying what I do, because it's easier. (Happy place...)

Tomorrow: the full day.
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Tuesday, 4:45 pm: Twice in the last presentation (last one of the afternoon, except for This Is My Dad's Life) people's cell phones have gone off. And these are people with PhDs. Proof that smarts don't equal manners...
Composed on my palmtop; posted whenever I remember to synch to the desktop.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Some kids in the library yesterday thought the Justice League Unlimited premiere was "just okay." So it wasn't just me. I am, however, slowly warming up to Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel/Firefly creator Joss Whedon's X-Men comic, Astonishing X-Men.

And this is probably the last post until I get back from Utah. I hear it's cooler there than it is here in Vegas (temperature-wise). So maybe it won't be so bad.

Except I'm now flying on a day that the Terror Alert has been raised to Orange Juice. How much you want to be that'll make the airport experience any more fun?