Random musings of a grammar nerd

Friday, September 30, 2005

"Hey Poindexter! It's Halloween! Put the book away!"

I need to figure out a Halloween costume for work. Our theme is to dress as a board game or some part of a board game. Suggestions are welcome, but it would greatly help if they were simple enough that:

1) I could make it without great monetary expenditures
2) the kids that I work with would understand what it is (Dave, this means I will not be dressing up as the Ukraine from "Risk." You, of course, are free to do so!) and
3) I can still move about and sit down to do my job without great problem.

Ideas (other than the Ukraine) that have been tossed around already were something related to Candyland, a pie piece (or the whole pie) from Trivial Pursuit, Connect 4 board, or something from Clue. Dave may be digging up his old childhood board games this weekend to find other ideas.

Current music running through my head: "Why Should The Fire Die?" by Nickel Creek. Also listened to Emmylou Harris' "Red Dirt Girl" album this afternoon. Fantastic, amazing, flowing, soulful. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"I am a leaf on the wind."

Saw "Serenity" tonight, and will post more on it later in the week. I'm not posting spoilers here yet.

Caveats first: It's violent, it's dark, and sometimes gruesome visually and thematically. It's not for everyone, and certainly not for children.

That said, it's a beautiful movie. The music seems sparingly used and mostly fits in with the action very well. The visual effects are stunning, but they're not supposed to be everything. Behind them is heart and intent and deliberate storytelling, and it struck me at one point that this is what the Star Wars prequel trilogy should've had that may have saved it from being such an empty shell. The movie almost moved me to tears at some points, had the audience laughing and clapping at others, and made me jump in shock several times. Okay, so I startle easily and didn't have Dave to hang on to this time (but I will when I go see it with him in KC next week!). But there are still some shocking and suspenseful moments. And one very dizzying sequence that would be hell in IMAX.

I loved the first sequence on the ship- Mal walks through the ship and runs into various members of the crew, and it's an excellent, smooth shot that gives you a quick mini-tour of the layout of the ship. The little visual touches on the set are fantastic- I especially like the vines painted around the kitchen. You just imagine Mal and Jayne sitting there, laughing at Kaylee's girliness as she stencils just to spruce it up a little.

Other notes: Simon seemed a little stiff (even for Simon) in the early scenes. Watching Summer Glau, much like seeing Jennifer Garner on early seasons of "Alias," makes me want to go out and learn martial arts in the eventual and inevitable case that I'll need to knock out 5 men twice my size in a bar fight without breaking a sweat. The people sitting next to me shared my bafflement that there were animal trainers listed in the credits. The only animals I noticed were Mr. Universe's goldfish. I mean, trained goldfish, that's really cool...but somehow I think I must've missed something. There might've been a lizard in a cage, but again, what training was needed for that?

Monday, September 26, 2005

TOBOR. It's "robot" spelled backwards.

Television Without Pity did this cool thing where they solicited donations to help schoolchildren affected by Hurricane Katrina. For every $2,000 raised for charity, they'd also have a recapper do a special recap of his/her choice. M. Giant did a recap of a Monk episode but reports that he had initially thought about recapping the horrible, horrible Star Wars Christmas special. He didn't think he could get a copy in time, though. But thanks to Mustang 23's dad and one of Dave's friends, we have a DVD copy of it! It's just so incredibly bad that I'd have loved to read a recap of it. It's just...there's Wookie porn. With Diahann Carroll and Jefferson Starship. And 25 minutes of unsubtitled Wookie grunting at the beginning. And Mark Hamill with more makeup than I've ever worn. And Carrie Fisher obviously stoned. And Harvey Korman and Art Carney. And Bea Arthur! Singing!

Of course, now Lucas is probably going to hunt us down to get the last remaining copies of the special so he can continue denying that it was ever aired. Really, who can blame him? It sucked!

"Shut up! Shut up! I cannot believe you are not shutting up!"

to my neighbor whose car alarm wouldn't stop going off at 6:30 and 6:40 and 6:45 and 7:05 (stopped & started 3x) and 7:10 (2x & counting) this morning:

"If I ruled the world
I would dream up inventions.
I'd throw out the rules,
disregard all convention.
I'd make the world peaceful,
happy and bright
so all of us
would sleep much better at night.

"First thing I'd demand
would be a car alarm
easy to install
but hard to disarm.
It would be silent on streets
and parking lots, instead
it would only go off
in the car owner's bed."

~Christine Lavin, "If I Ruled The World"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"So what does that make us?" "Big damn heroes, sir." "Ain't we just."

10 Reasons Why Joss Whedon Rocks (and thus, why you should go see "Serenity")

1. Creative genius behind three fantastic shows: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "Firefly"

2. Going to guest star on "Veronica Mars" this season and is an unabashed fan of the show.

3. Loves Strong Bad & put Trogdor references in at least 1 Buffy episode. There's even a picture of Joss wearing a Strong Bad shirt midway down the page here.

4. "You're a bloody puppet!"

5. Joss talks about the development of the score for "Serenity" in an interview at Culture Pulp (WARNING: Full interview may contain spoilers!) In pre-production, he burned a mix CD of songs for David Newman, the composer.
Q. And this is actually what my score-geek friend wanted to know: What were those songs?
A: "There were a couple of songs from Nickel Creek, whom I adore -- I love them with a fiery vengeance. here was some movie stuff: "Angela's Ashes," Elmer Bernstein's theme from "Far from Heaven" -- not because they were necessarily the right idiom, but because the themes were so incredibly indelible within the first 20 seconds, which is about as much time as I usually gave David. [laughs] They had to become indelible before there was too much going on for anybody to hear anything.

So, #1, I love how he thinks about and talks about music. #2, he's a Nickel Creek fan! Nickel Creek is a fantastic band, both in recordings and in concert, and I can see how their blend of traditional bluegrass and new fusion-y and rock-type styles would work in the Serenity universe.

6. Made a spectacular, amazing musical episode of Buffy which moved the plot along, had clever lyrics, and was mostly well-done by the cast. (Unlike attempts by some other shows...)

7.The "Firefly" DVDs include the extra of Adam Baldwin singing "The Ballad of Jayne" --complete with fuzzy ear-flapped hat!

8. For these "Buffy" exchanges:
Giles: "You'll see. Everything will be right as rain."
Spike:"Oh, listen to Mary Poppins! He's got his crust all stiff and upper with that Nancy-boy accent. You Englishmen are always so...Bloody hell. 'Sodding', 'blimey,' 'shagging,' 'knickers,' 'bollocks'. Oh God...I'm English!"
Giles: "Welcome to the Nancy Tribe."

Anya: Don't be ridiculous. Martha Stewart isn't a demon. She's a witch.
Xander: Please, she-- Really?
Anya: Of course. Nobody could do that much decoupage without calling on the powers of darkness.

9. Possible obsession with monkeys?

from "Firefly"
Mal: "Kaylee, what the hell's going on in the engine room? Were there monkeys? Some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose?"

and from "Buffy"
Oz: "Did you know that the monkey is the only animal cracker who gets to wear pants?...So I'm wondering if the other animals feel sorta ripped. Like is the hippo going "Hey man...where are MY pants? I have my hippo dignity" And the monkey's all, 'I MOCK you with my monkey pants!' And then there's a big coup in the zoo."

10. Because, as Dave notes, the character of Jayne alone is worth the price of admission:

Jayne: "All I got was that dumbass stick, sounds like it's raining. How come you got a wife?"

Jayne: "Wha-- are you-- are you saying she's a witch?"
Wash: "Yes, Jayne. She's a witch. She has had congress with the beast."
Jayne: "She's in Congress?"

Saturday, September 24, 2005

"Dear Diary...

"Today I was pompous and my sister was crazy. Today we were kidnapped by hillfolk, never to be seen again. It was the best day ever!"

So goes my favorite quote from the Joss Whedon series "Firefly." It's got lots of suspense and drama and mystery, but also lots of fun throw-away lines like this one. I watched a couple of episodes when it originally aired, but then Fox cancelled it unwisely and unceremoniously, and I lost track of it until this summer, when my boyfriend insisted that I spend some of my post-thesis free time watching the DVDs. I think it's a fantastic series, and I'm so excited for the new Firefly movie, "Serenity," which comes out next Friday, September 30.

But... I get to see it on Tuesday at a special blogger screening! Yay! I am trying to stay as spoiler-free as possible, but I do have this background blurb to pass on:

"Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal."

Haven't seen the series yet? Get thee to the nearest Blockbuster and rent them. I'm told that you should still be able to follow the movie even without seeing the DVDs. But see the movie, and you'll want to go back and see the episodes on DVD. And then go back and see the movie again. And bring friends! And enemies! And random people off the street! And grandma!

I'll work on a cliff notes version of the main characters & post that soon. Until then, check out the movie site, which includes links to other "Firefly" sites.

Random musings, part 1

The first e-mail I received from my boyfriend ended thusly: "Details are good. Lengthy, random, off-topic musings are better." A friend heard this and commented, "What a wonderful invitation to be yourself!" So that's what you'll get here- random thoughts which might occasionally seem like total non sequitirs. But in my twisty brain, they usually make sense.

About me:

Like: Music- playing & listening (bluegrass, country, folk, rock, jazz), suspenseful TV (Veronica Mars, Alias, Lost, Without A Trace), mystery novels, snark, proper use of apostrophes and homophones, cheese

Dislike: Incorrect use of its/it's or they're/their/there, broccoli, Tom Cruise, Dr. Phil, 7th Heaven, "revising" old movies when releasing them on DVD (George Lucas, I'm looking at you!), Fox News

Websites frequented:
Television Without Pity
Assumption of Command
Homestar Runner (Trogdor!)
Go Fug Yourself-mocking bad celebrity fashion choices
Defamer- random celebrity gossip
WAV files from Joss Whedon TV shows and random movies
Lardlad-sound files and summaries of episodes of "The Simpsons." Excellent source for keeping up with a Simpsons-addicted boyfriend :)