Archive for the 'movies' Category

Looking back on Sci Fi September* (part the third)

October 8, 2010

Star Gate SG1

(the first three episodes)

(ie until we couldn’t stand it anymore)

I’ve heard that this is one of (the?) most popular and longest running shows on the Sci Fi Channel and so I have to ask myself … why?  We only got three episodes in so perhaps it improves in later seasons but this struck me as pretty ridiculous cheesy crap.  The movie was funny – didn’t take itself too seriously.  The show just seemed very low quality and ham handed.  The characters were stereotyped and one dimensional, the production values were low and the premise seemed more far-fetched than before … or maybe we just didn’t watch them late enough at night!

Prince Caspian

(which totally counts as science fiction; inter-dimensional time travel, anyone?)

I have my issues with the way they souped up the battle components of this movie (basically with the failed raid on the Telmarine fort) but I actually like it quite a lot.  As a book its pretty skimpy on both plot and character development but I feel like this re-write added a lot of believable psychology to all the Pevensie children and to Caspian himself.  Peter has some teenaged aggression to work off, Susan can’t really let herself love something she knows wont last, Caspian has some very legitimate doubts about his chops as a Narnian King.

Interestingly my two favorite characters get the least development.  Edmund steps up to fill Peters shoes as the cool headed competent one, amending his royal title to King Edmund the Just … as Magnificent as Peter, Thank You Very Much.  Most of his plot arc relates to applying Read the rest of this entry »

Tatooine or “Make Star Wars as 2D as Possible”

October 8, 2010

I heard about this video on the MPR (mixed media, I know) on my way into work this morning and laughed out loud when the host described it.  She said it was a new viraly popular music video using beautiful construction paper animation to tell the story of the Star Wars trilogy in two minutes.  The title is right out of the Star Wars universe, she said, and then pronounced it something like this “T”Two-en” which caused me to do a full two beat search of my memory for trivia.  Not a name of a person, not a robot, not an alien species … could it be the name of the home planet of an alien race.  Then it clicked: she meant Tatooine.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Jeremy Messersmith – Tatooine, posted with vodpod

Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Back on Sci Fi September* (part the second)

October 6, 2010

The continuing saga of good (and bad) Sci Fi movies watched with good friends.

Star Trek

Every time I plan to watch Star Trek again I worry that I’ll have gotten sick of it – that I will now have seen it too many times.  But every time, by the point where Kirk’s parents are talking on the intercom about what to call him, I’m hugging my knees in tension and sniffing back tears.  When they kick in with the main titles I’m lost in it.

What’s great: soundtrack, Spock, snarky dialogue, shiny shiny space ships, Bones,  updated ship-board uniforms (they look like real future-wear), Uhura, red-space-suited ensign scene, that “live long and prosper” can now mean “up yours”, Kirk, and the JJ Abrams patented camera shake.

District 9

I hated this movie.  In fact I got in a little fight with my sister for even suggesting that I watch it.  I behaved myself rather badly and got into quite a funk after watching it and sulked at her about that.  (Sorry, kiddo).

That said, its not a bad movie.  Its an interesting premise, well written and well filmed.  Good, thus far.  But I don’t like fiction where none of the protagonists manage to stand on, cling to, or even aim at the moral high ground.  Perhaps this was a very realistic picture of humanity but … I don’t subscribe to it. I don’t like to watch movies about gangs, concentration camps or the drowning of kittens either.

Overall reaction: Blech.

Star Gate

Now this was a pretty bad movie that I actually enjoyed quit a lot.  It may have been helped by the fact that we watched it after District 9 and well after midnight.

Stargate is delightfully campy.  Its a veritable melting pot of movie archetypes – you’ve got world weary military middle man, gruff general,  professorial nerd who can’t talk to real people, eager kid, beautiful stranger who risks her life for love, and a villain in too much eye makeup.  Plus the set mix of Egyptian pyramids, space ships and  military bunkers under mountains make a great candidate for “drink when it sucks”.

The Last Starfighter

So after we stayed up way too late drinking to Stargate, we got up the next morning, made pesto scrambled eggs and watched the Last Starfighter.  Which was just about as delightfully campy in its own way.

I was overjoyed to see Robert Preston (proving that he needed to work) playing the aging hukster alien Centauri.

We all enjoyed the notion that playing a cheap arcade game could prepare one to single handedly save the universe.

We were unanimous that Beta Alex was much cuter than Alex (mysterious because they were played by the same guy).

But most of all this movie was great because Alex had so clearly never seen a movie or a TV show before in his life (too much time playing Starfighter methinks).  This (young restless hero is swept up by fate and called on to save the universe) is the oldest story in fiction and he is just SO confused by the whole thing.  Its hilarious.

28 Days Later

This is the movie I wish District 9 had been.  Its a crazy dramatic story about a world gone wrong, sure, but the people wandering around in it haven’t entirely lost their humanity.  There are bad guys but there are also good guys and people in between.  Thank you, Danny Boyle.

By starting in medias res (28 days in) we skip over initial carnage in favor of isolated survivors.  I like Zombieland for the same reason.  Its a really interesting picture of what various people will do in an untenable situation.  And I like the “happy ending” even if it is just a touch unrealistic.

Those are all the movies (the last entry too) that we watched in our Sci Fi Fun marathon weekend.  Check back later for the rest of the month’s sci fi fun.

*AKA the Best September Ever

Looking Back on Sci Fi September* (part the first)

October 4, 2010

I’ve just said goodbye to my dear friend Roshni who visited me for the whole glorious month of September.  We undertook to have a sci fi movie festival while she was visiting and enjoyed it quite thoroughly indeed.  Here’s the list in order of appearance:

Sunshine

Its possible I’ve said all I need to say about this movie here.  But actually I simply can’t emphasize enough how much I love it, how much I quote from it in my head, how much I want to run its sound track over moments in an average day … etc.

I was joking with my sister that when Roshni arrived we’d let her set down her bags, visit the bathroom and then frog march her to the sofa to begin watching this … and she deadpanned back to me, “yes, and …”  In the end that was pretty much what we did with the minor deviation of making dinner and a pie first.  So this was the kick off to Sci Fi September right here.

Alien

This is such a classic that it suffers from Lord of the Rings syndrome.  That is … if you watch it after you’ve already seen enough sci fi movies it feels really hackneyed which is terribly unfair because Alien did it first.

That said, its still very scary especially when watched alone at night (as I first did).  Its a good mystery, suspenseful until you want to scream and even a bit funny.

Ripley is pretty bad ass even before she straps on a flame throwing machine gun and takes on an alien in its lair.

Still its just a tiny touch dated at this point … smoking in space?  Seriously?

Aliens

Did I say Ripley was bad ass in Alien?  I’m sorry.  In this movie she is so bad ass she breaks the scale.  And all in a completely believable way.  Hooray for a character development arc!  Full Disclosure: I love this film.  We watched the special edition which has about 45 minutes of extra footage showing Ripley’s (sortof) readjustment to life and what’s going on with the colony before the Aliens get there and its incredibly suspenseful.  You don’t even see an alien (baring one dream sequence) until minute 56. In my memory this is an action movie just as much as the Terminator but on this watching it feels much more like suspense … at least in the extended edition.

This is another one of those movies so seminal it seems familiar but in this case its so well done you never feel like you’ve seen it all before.  I hadn’t realized what a precedent it was setting until I went back and re-read Ebert’s review written in 1986 in which he describes it as astonishingly scary and says “when I walked out of the theater, there were knots in my stomach from the film’s roller-coaster ride of violence.”  Now it just seems par for the course but then this level of action violence had a seasoned movie reviewer talking about losing his lunch.  Oh here’s another interesting historical tidbit: Fast forward to 1997 and Ebert’s review of Aliens Resurrection (don’t see it, its un-watchabley bad) he comments that “Weaver remains the only woman who can open an action picture.”  It would still be 4 years before Lara Croft Tomb Raider kicked off Angelina Jolie’s action stardom.  So … thanks Ellen Ripley.  We’ve come a long way, baby.

Obviously that’s not all we watched … but that’s all I can write about for now.  More to follow soon.

*AKA the Best September Ever

Where to draw the line with obsessive fan behavior?

August 24, 2010

My sister has been mocking me pretty constantly for my Harry Potter kick of late.  I could point out that she has her own intense little fads (watching Sunshine four times in a week) but that would be petty.  Still I have been obsessing and there’s no point denying it.  I don’t want to.  I enjoy my obsessive behavior and I see no reason to stop.  Its so much fun.

For example, I was indulging my excitement last week by tweaking out over Empire Online’s delightful breakdown of the trailer and getting myself all hyped for the upcoming movie.   They show 22 stills with scene by scene commentary and guesses as to which part (I or II) it will fall into. That’s pretty much established now that the break has been released by Entertainment Weekly (which I noted on Mugglenet last week).  I actually was much more excited after reading these than I was at the end of the rather fast paced, mysteriously quick cut trailer… in fact, I found it totally thrilling … and the text by Helen O’Hara is very funny.  Go check it out. Here’s a taste below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)

August 18, 2010

I like this movie a lot.  The last half hour is (necessarily) super depressing and it ends on a bad note but that will be fixed when they finish the series (assuming that they don’t mess it up a la Return of the King).  For the moment I though I can say without reservation that it was breathtakingly beautiful … and very funny.  The teen romances that start to build up in the story make for a lot of humor.  One of the things that makes it work the most for me is how comfortable all the actors seem with each other – they have actually all been friends for as long as their characters have and it makes for nice screen chemistry (see above).  The movie does a lot of things oddly but on the whole I can forgive it anything … for the following reasons:

The Score is Fantastic: I can’t possibly rave enough about how much I love the musical score by Nicholas Hooper which is odd because I don’t love his score for Order of the Phoenix nearly as well.   The subtle waltz rhythm to Harry and Ginny’s love theme knocks me sideways.  The drama over some of the action sequences is note perfect and the menace of, for example, Snape and the Unbreakable Vow is truly unsettling.  Slughorn’s Confession, which is really Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

August 17, 2010

This is an up and down movie in my opinion.  Some aspects are delightful and done so well … others are unpleasant and creepy (but supposed to be) … and some are tragic mistakes.  They had a lot of ground to cover, plot wise, so some things did have to be cut.  But still I mourn the loss of Kreature, of all the emotional development and insight into the adult characters that takes place at Grimauld Place and,  for that matter, all of the personality in Tonks full stop, etc etc etc. There’s a lot packed into it but still it somehow manages to retail a good sense of pacing.  There are the usual high adrenaline action sequences but there are moments of down time and character development which I really appreciate.

The good and bad of the book: I love Sirius (with all his flaws) and I’m glad we get at least a little time between him and Harry at the train station and again at Christmas.  Its not much but I love every bit of it.  Gary Oldman just nails the role.  In a few short scenes he gives all of Sirius’ pathos and bravery and yet Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

August 16, 2010

This is far from my favorite book and I guess its no surprise that I consequently don’t really enjoy the movie which feels like a race more than a story with the characters even walking quickly as they move from place to place.  I’m not sure if Mike Newell, the director, is really to blame here.  Steve Kloves, the screenwriter, wrote each of the scripts with he exception of Order of the Phoenix so its hard to say.  There’s just too much to cover and, unlike some of the other book plots, very little can be left out of this one – imagine cutting one of the three tasks.  Nevertheless I don’t enjoy being hurried from one scene to the next.  The elements they do cut entirely (like Ludo Bagman) destabilize the plot and contribute even more to it feeling like a slide show but in a way I wish they’d cut a little more dramatically and left time for a few emotional breaths.  If I hadn’t read the books the film would have made no sense at all.

Here’s what makes me crazy:

The things they change: Why did they make Beaubatons and Durmstrang single gender schools?  Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

August 13, 2010

I love this book.  I love this movie.  I’m not too proud too admit that I when I saw a pink hoodie like the one Hermione wears through the climax sequence of the movie I bought it on the spot.  And when I wear it I still feel extra bad ass.  I think Alfonso Cuaron took the franchise to a whole new level with this film and we all owe him SO much.  Its dark.  Its dramatic.  Its complicated.  Its not afraid to condense here and there to tell the story it needs to.  And the whole movie is just beautiful.

The way they changed the set: In the book Rowling implies that you walk down the main steps from the front door (which is the one Harry always seems to use even when sneaking out of the castle in the middle of the night … seriously, the castle doesn’t have a single side door?) and out to the lake.  Hagrid’s hut seems to be somewhere off around to the side (past the greenhouses).  In the first two films, the kids bop down the steps and walk across a wide open green and straight up the steps to Hagrid’s.  It is, when you think about it, a little abrupt, and Read the rest of this entry »

I guess I owe Chris Columbus an apology.

August 12, 2010

image from blithesea.net

Not a big one – I still think Chamber of Secrets is a travesty but … I have to rescind one point of criticism today.  Listening to the Chamber of Secrets last night as I drove home from work I came to “The Dueling Club” and realized that they were just following the text with that scene.  Here’s what I said:

The things they add: First there’s the insistence on souping up the spells; Expelliarmus is supposed to knock the wand out of someone’s hand, not blast them backwards bodily across a room.  If they wanted it to cause a person’s arm to jerk dramatically as the wand flies away (theoretically toward the spell caster) fine but wire work effects are just so totally over the top.  There is no need to try to make magic more magical.

But actually I had just imagined it less dramatically.  I’m still pretty sure there are times when expelliarmus does just knock the wand from a hand (and sometimes bring it sailing back to the original spell caster) in her first description it does literally Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

August 12, 2010

Somewhat unfairly, this one bears the brunt of my ire over everything they did wrong in both the first two films.  Sorcerer’s Stone somehow has a get out of jail free card but in this one … I have no patience.  I actually didn’t see this one in theaters and didn’t watch it all the way through until last year and, frankly, I have no need to see it ever again, even if I were to watch all the others again in order.  Its not ALL bad … but it is all Chris Columbus all the time and I’m never planning to watch Home Alone again either!

The things they did improve: (From the first movie I mean, NOT as compared to the book.)  A few things are added or improved in this one that I do appreciate.

The kids are much better actors by this point, which means there’s a lot less reading of lines and a lot more delivering of dialogue.  That’s nice.

The special effects are much improved.  I laughed out loud when I read the Last Muggle’s assessment of the “special effects provided by your Windows screensaver” and supposed that she could have done as well “with a green blanket and a MacBook Pro”.  The effects in Chamber of Secrets are better.

And not that the sets were bad before but I can not stress enough how much I adore Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

August 11, 2010

As much as I hate Chris Columbus movies (and I REALLY do) I don’t have a lot of complaints to make about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  It does what it has to do and doesn’t get in anybody’s way. In brief:

Good enough: They pretty faithfully follows the plot of the book through all its twists and turns: Harry lives under the stairs, Hagrid knocks the door off its hinges, Hermione tells Ron he’s got dirt on his nose, they fight a troll at Halloween, Harry gets an invisibility cloak for christmas and sees his family in the mirror of Erised, they jump through the trap door and defeat the stated enchantments to get to (gasp) Quirell and then Dumbledore and Harry have a chat in the hospital wing over Every Flavor Beans.

Pretty good: All things considered they did a pretty inspired job with casting. The adult cast is wonderful:  Maggie Smith has long been my hero and she perfectly fits into my previous mental image of Professor McGonagall.  Alan Rickman is really too old to play Snape and doesn’t (in my opinion) look a thing like him but no one else could so perfectly capture his menacing drawl.  I have to approve.  And then there’s the kids.  I don’t know how the managed it but they found Harry Potter when they cast Daniel Radcliffe (especially in those early years).  Rupert Grint is a great little Ron; he’s got the goofiness, the sweetness and the constant chagrin down pat.  Hermione … well when I first saw Emma Watson in the movie nine years ago I thought they’d cast much too cute but Read the rest of this entry »

From Best to Worst: the Mixed Bag Movies of Harry Potter

August 9, 2010

My buddy James over at Up Your Architecture has also been immersing himself in the Harry Potter movies of late and suggested that we each do a post on which were our favorite movies and why.  I’ve had a seriously love/hate relationship with the Harry Potter movies.  They’ve had some magical moments … and there’s no doubt that the casting choices that Chris Columbus and David Heyman made have really affected the way I visualize the stories.  But I’ve worked hard to keep my distance from the movies in the interest of preserving the magical parts of the books from the depredations of Hollywood storytelling.  Some things I still like to imagine MY way.  Nevertheless I do like the movies … and like some much more than others.  Here’s my list from least to best.  Oh, and here’s James’.

I’m making this ranking based on my opinion of the movies’ quality and the quality of the adaptation from the book.  I have my own opinions about the relative merits of the 7 books but (for the most part) these don’t affect my feelings about their film counterparts.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince   A

Its really a toss up between this and Prisoner of Azkaban … but this one wins because of the musical score; Read the rest of this entry »

David Copperfield; kind of a douche

July 30, 2010

During the last week I’ve watched two adaptations of David Copperfield and my conclusion is this: he’s kind of a douche.  More on that later.

The thing I find actually more interesting than the plot of either version is that there are two which came out within a year of each other.  It does seem a most astonishing coincidence.  BBC and Masterpiece Theater put out their version in 1999 and then TNT and Hallmark Entertainment came out with another one just a few short months later in 2000.  I can understand how the two of them might have been begun in ignorance but surely the two productions must have been aware of each other as they proceeded.  It just seems very strange.  They both contain some fairly bright lights of British drama.  For the BBC verision: Emilia Fox as David’s ill fated mother, Paulien Quirke as the devoted Peggoty and Maggie Smith as his aunt Betsy Trotwood.  Also Ian McKellen, Imelda Staunton and Bob Hoskins not to mention the fact that young David is played by Daniel Radcliffe.  In his scenes with Maggie Smith I couldn’t help wondering Read the rest of this entry »

Mysterious Ticking Noise

April 7, 2010

I happened to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with my aunt and uncle when I was in Seattle.  (It was awful.  Chris Columbus should be ashamed of himself.  The movie versions have improved SO MUCH in recent years now that he’s no longer involved in them.  Thank goodness!)  But for some reason it reminded me of this video which I then re-watched and felt inspired to share.  Enjoy.

Click here for more on Harry Potter.

Darwin in the Details: Wives and Daughters’ Naturalist Subplot

November 23, 2009

I’m honored to be a part of the Classics Circuit Elizabeth Gaskell Tour.  I knew the moment I heard about it that I wanted to be a part of the project.  For more about the tour go to its website here.  The next post (due tomorrow) will be at things mean a lot. I welcome comments and would love to hear what you thought of Wives and Daughters if you’ve read it … or if you’re planning to.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters has long been a favorite story of mine.  I’ll admit that before I read the book I had seen the excellent BBC mini series (1999) but reading it only enhanced my love for the plot.  It has all the “flaws” that some of the previous reviewers have pointed out: dense language, an un-modern languid sense of drama, and many diversions from the main love story.  For me, though these all enhance the pleasure of the story and solidify its atmosphere.  Much has been made of North and South being a reprise of Pride and Prejudice.  If I had to pick a Jane Austen story to match with Wives and Daughters it would probably be Mansfield Park.  They both focus on the question of doing the right thing in small ways throughout your daily life even if you don’t get much credit for it and for the value of loving truly and getting re-paid for it in the end (after the usual amount of heart ache and suffering of course).  (They’re also both shockingly under appreciated as novels.)  It’s a good love story with many twists and turns and misunderstandings.  As much as I love this aspect of the book, it has another facet which much enhances the plot.  The story is thoroughly tangled up with the science of the day and naturalism is involved in characters, plot and diversionary details.  I first read the book in college at the same time that I was taking a biology course focusing on evolution and an environmental studies class covering the transcendentalist movement in America.  I was struck by how much Osborne Hamley’s poetry sounds like Emerson’s (written a hundred years later) and how often Roger reminded me of Darwin (theoretically his contemporary).   As I found out later, I was hardly the first to draw these comparisons. Read the rest of this entry »

Damn it, man, I’m a doctor, not a linguist!

June 30, 2009

damn it man

Word of the day: Snowclone
I learned this new vocabulary word a few weeks ago and then forgot it when I was trying to explain it to a friend recently so I’m using the multiple ways of learning theory (typing up an explanation in my own words for you all) to cement it in my brain. Thusly: A Snowclone is a word or phrase that is absorbed into pop culture and can be adapted to fit many varying situations while still retaining its recognizable structure.
For example:
Pink is the new black.
or, further modified:
Orange is the new pink.
Other examples include:
Have _______will travel.
Something is rotten in the state of _________.
The mother of all _________.

The best one I’ve seen is from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy:

to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before

And, of course, there are endless variants of Dr. McCoy’s “I’m a doctor not a …” line, many perpetuated by himself and the rest of the Star Trek crew. (Incidentally a snowclone is a variant on a catch phrase which can also be spelled catchphrase and, according to wikipedia, is the only word in the English language with more than five consecutive consonants. )

Star Trekkie … Star Trek … ish

June 15, 2009

star trek 1.jpg
I love the new Star Trek movie. I’ve taken to checking its box office ratings on Monday mornings to see how it has shaped up against the competition after each weekend. The better it does, the sooner Hollywood will see fit to finance a sequel. I’m pleased with its progress. I’m eager to see where they go next with the plot when they aren’t shamelessly mining out Wrath of Kahn.
I always pay attention in movies to the way the timing they talk about stacks up to the actual run time that a scene gets. For example in a heist movie they may say that the police will show up four minutes after the first alarm is tripped but in actual fact the plot lags there so they pick it up and the police are banging on the door in 90 seconds or, conversely, they decided to get in some heavy character drama and stretch the clock to six minutes. I always appreciate it when a movie actually takes the time it says it will take and I understand that this involves a bit of a commitment on the part of the editors. I was ridiculously pleased therefore by the intro in which Kirk’s father has a meaningful last conversation with his wife and names their son in the 20 second period being counted down by the collision alarm.
But this brings up a nerdy complaint later: all this careful observance of timing goes out the window a few plot twists later when Kirk, Sulu and Red Shirted Engineer Olsen jump from space to stop the drilling device. They land on the thing and immediately remove their helmets and hats the better for us to read their facial expressions with. Shortly thereafter Kirk and Sulu fall/jump off the drill platform (what has happened to Olsen) and fall for 50 – count them, fifty – seconds until Checkov beams the back to the enterprise just before they touch the planet surface. It feels like a long time to fall. I feels like a very long time to fall. So I went home and looked up that good old kinematics equation: d = vt +at(squared). Their initial velocity is zero. They fall for 50 seconds. If we assume a gravity roughly compatible with earths – Spock never seems ill adapted to earth side or ship board gravity – we can use the one we’re used to 9.8 m/s/s or 32 ft/s/s. That gives us a fall distance of 80,000 ft. That’s nearly three times higher than Mount Everest. And yet there they were dancing around and engaging in hand to hand or sword to sword combat without breathing apparatus. Sigh. Well if action movies were realistic they would be much less interesting.

“But, perhaps, I keep no journal.”

June 1, 2009

but perhaps I keep no.jpg
As big an Austen fan as I am, I have to admit I never really had any interest in Northanger Abbey. In fact I never bothered to read it at all. But watching the truly delightful recent PBS adaptation with my sister last week finally piqued my interest to the point that I got my hands on it. I was almost immediately laughing out loud. Here’s a sample of the dialogue – a conversation between Mr. Tilney and Catherine at their first meeting:
“I see what you think of me,” said he gravely – “I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.”
“My Journal!”
“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday went to the Lower rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings – plain black shoes – appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed my by his nonsense.”
“Indeed I shall say no such thing.”
“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”
“If you please.”
“I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him – seems a most extraordinary genius –hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.”
“But, perhaps, I keep no journal.”
“Perhaps you are not sitting in this room, and I am not sitting by you. These are points in which a doubt is equally possible. Not keep a journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every evening in a journal? How are your various dressed to be remembered, and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to a journal? – My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies’ ways as you with to believe me; it Is this delightful habit of journalizing which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Every body allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is particularly female. Nature my have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.”
“I have sometimes thought,” said Catherine, doubtingly, “whether ladies do write so much better letters than gentlemen! That is – I should not think the superiority was always on our side.”
“As far as I have ad opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the usual style of letter-writing among women is faultless, except in three particulars.”
“And what are they?”
“A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.”
“Upon my word! I need not have been afraid of disclaiming the compliment. You do not think to highlight of us in that way.”
“I should no more lay it down as a general rule that women write better letters than men, than that they sing better duets, or draw better landscapes. In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes.”
For journal, lets put in “blog”. Although, for that matter, I do keep a journal.

Curse Your Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal!

March 4, 2009

firefly.jpg
I borrowed the family copy of Firefly when I was home last weekend and started watching it again. I was immediately delighted by nearly every aspect. I’m so sorry that fox didn’t know what a good thing it had there. “Curse their sudden but inevitable betrayal!” And especially the way they didn’t even let the full season run as it was meant to and come to a real conclusion. At least Studio 60 (why do I always love the shows that get canceled) had the chance to wrap up their plot arc and leave their fans on an up note. But the line is actually from the show in the pilot episode. The pilot of the good ship Serenity is alone at the helm and amuses himself by playing with model designers. As the t rex turns on the poor steg he cries out …
In my quick web search to find the above image I hit this interesting blog post analyzing Firefly through a Marxist lens. While the author is focusing on things other than my primary interests I did find the comparison between Star Trek, Star Wars and Firefly to be fascinating. I love sci fi and fiction for many reasons but mainly, I think, because they allow an author to pick and choose among the elements of real life, culture and society that we all live with and focus on specific issues. In the same way that a painted portrait can capture a deeper sense of a subject than a photo, I belief that alternate fiction cal bring greater clarity to real life than pure biography or fiction can sometimes manage.
Anyway, I’m so sad it got canned but I’m so glad that I am able to keep it on DVD. Why would you ever watch anything live anymore?
curse your sudden but inevitable.jpg