Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fate. I temtptz it.

I don't believe in much, but I do believe in not tempting fate. You don't go around just asking for trouble, for trouble will be sent unto to you.

Looking back on it now, I started to tempt fate just by deciding to go to a Barnes and Noble's. But it's the only -- literally the only -- bookstore in 30 or 40 miles. And I really wanted to get Sarah Vowell's new book, The Wordy Shipmates, which came out this week. For I love her work with a passion roughly equal to Sarah Caudwell, William Faulkner and Uncle Terry*.

Fate can't be blamed for not announcing itself, either. When (of course) I couldn't find it, or even the essays section of the store (for lo, nothing so fancy is to be found in that branch), I walked up to the customer service desk. The girl who helped me was named Laura.

I did not take the hint. When I said what I was looking for, she squinted and harumphed, and asked me to spell the author's last name.

This was clearly a bookstore girl who was not familiar with Sarah Vowell. Another hint wasted.

She took me to where she /thought/ the essays were. There were no essays. Just Westerns. We returned to the CS desk.

"Oh," she said. "It's a new release. It'll be in the front."

I had looked there, you know. First thing. I ignored this hint, too. We went to the front table, where the book was conspicuous by its absence.

"I'll look in the back," she said. She did. No luck.

"You'll have to order it special," she said.

"But it's a new book. Out this week. Major publisher..." By the end, it was more a series of hopeful suggestions than statements of fact.

I ordered the book. It might be here in two weeks. :(

The whole situation was a bit mitigated when the other girl from the Customer Service booth, who was a more typical bookstore girl of about 21, followed me away from the desk and offered to buy me a coffee. It was sweet, but also sad, since it was exactly the right trick from exactly the wrong person. I'm chalking this up as karma for featuring someone I hardly ever talk about -- or even really let myself think too much about -- in a Sinister post I wrote this week, since there's nobody who'd get that more than him...

*Terrence Dicks, who taught at least two generations of Doctor Who fans how to read and unlocked the Doctor's past adventures to legions of his fans before the days of VCRs by turning the episodes into books. Granted, usually by adding "he said" and a few odd epithets to camera scripts: "said the Doctor, with his young-old face and shock of white hair" or "said the Doctor with his pleasant, open face."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Come /on/, Big Finish:

Let me start out with a compliment: Big Finish does a lot, and it does a lot well. The stories you think are going to be quite cracking ("Time of the Daleks" and "Bloodtide" spring to my mind) almost inevitably are, but -- more impressively -- the ones that sound awfully dull and quite possibly a waste of time ("Assassin in the Limelight" and "The Boy That Time Forgot") almost invariably aren't.

And no, I don't know why the former examples above are so old and the latter so new. And there are some that counts as both in the middle.


I just finished listening to "The Haunting of Thomas Brewster". It counts more as the latter than the former (although me just happening to read "The Cloud Exiles" in the Doctor Who Annual 1967 removes a little of its originality).

The ending of part three. Victorian ragamuffin Pickens dies saving the boy he loves, choked off by the baddies whilst crying out "I lov--".


It might have been edgy 15 years ago, but now it just seems gratuitously melodramatic. Their (pointedly one-sided) relationship wasn't worth overtly developing in the preceding episode(s), apparently, and subsequently throwing that element to the death scene is an emotionally false way to raise the stakes.

In fact, it sort of falls back old images of the poor gay getting what's coming to him for daring to be out of the social norm. Giving him a little dignity is just a way to appease the straight audience's potential reservations before they can let situation effectively carry out their judgment.

It's why AIDS tragedies are such a popular thing for teh straight people. They can pity the poor fag before he gets exactly what he has coming to him for having all that gay sex. It flatters their egos /and/ their prejudice.

And it's why Tony Kushner and his awful Angels in America, 8-hour-foray into his own ego that it is*, should occupy roughly the same place in the gay noosphere that Vidkun Quisling does for the Norwegians.

[Nor does it help that his pointless complexities are gleefully confused for meaningfulness by audiences too lazy to do the sort of thinking that would recognise it for what it is. But this isn't a slam-Kushner post. It's just hard to get around how much he sucks.]

Anyway, you can't blame just the writer, Jonathan Morris, who generally does wonderful stuff, and in toto "Haunting" counts as that; this, I think, is just a freak of collective something (Laziness? I'm not sure... ) Somewhere, there was an editor or a dramaturg or a director who should have caught this and seen it for what it was.

Of course, I could just be full of myself. ;)

*Angels in America is in exactly the same category as Almost Famous. It's fine if people want to masturbate, and it's fine to watch someone masturbate, if that's what you and them want to do. But it's not okay to /make/ people watch you masturbate by calling that jacking-off a film or a play.

And you deserve a special place in hell if you con people into thinking it's art while you do it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Dear Teh World:

So what's her name, you know, Claire Kincaid, her off Law and Order. And Crossing Jordan. Jill Hennessey*. That's it. She was also in RoboCop 3.

I can't help but think /that/ is a wasted cross-over opportunity. But what would it be about?

It hit me.


Back from the dead and ready to kick ass like he never could. For justice.

Best. Idea. Ever.

Admit it, you want to see this series.

I mean, it couldn't possibly be worse than the new Knight Rider or The Sarah Connors Chronicles.

Why am I not working for Network TV?!

Please return to your regular lives.

If you can!

*Did you know she is a) from Canada and b) half of a set of twins?
I haven't been sleeping very well lately. The pay-off for this -- if you can call it a pay-off -- is that during the 15 or 20 minutes a night I sleep, I have incredibly vivid dreams. I must have dropped off while thinking of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia last night, because that's what I dreamt about.

I don't remember it all, or particularly coherently (if indeed the dream was coherent to begin with). But it started off with me in Paddy's pub getting hit on by Sweet Dee, who was across the bar. I remember thinking that was odd for several reasons, but I was pretty pleased with myself for hitting it off with that attractive a female, even if I had no romantic intentions at all. It ended with her writing her number on the back of my hand with a mascara wand and rubbing my thigh.

The next part (and only I would have dreams with A and B plotlines) had something to do with me throwing coconuts at Mac and Charlie to get them into a swimming pool. Whatever it was, it didn't work, because I ended up in the pool. But so did they. And we decided we needed to pick up Dennis from school.

Then we were all in a second floor classroom, paneled in wood (maybe an old-fashioned chem lab), at night. I was trying to shove an infeasible number of old Dr Who Annuals in a back-pack and trying to clear out before the next lecture started. Mac and Charlie were using gas taps to blow up condoms. Students started coming in, and a female lecturer started a lesson. I managed to pack all the books away with some pencils and crayons, and all the four of us left. As we exited we passed the pool again.

And then I woke up.