Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Veeps and Things

- We got "paper 1.1" back in my Rhetoric of the Remake class this morning. I was all bummed at the "70" on my paper -- I admit it was not, as the rough draft, A material, but it was fairly well constructed nonetheless. On the bus, I glanced at the grading rubric again and realized that the prof. had failed to carry a 1: I actually made an 80. Fantastic! I will, of course, be shooting for a high A on paper 1.2.

- Sarah Palin's name alone is starting to give me the crawling heebie-jeebies. The more research I do (and nothing particularly strenuous, at that), the less I like her at all. For example, she sees no issue with creationism being discussed along with evolution in science classes ... except, you know, that one topic is science, and the other belongs in a completely different course.

She gives out lovely statements like this one:
I know the Republican platform is right for my state in Alaska because the planks we can stand solidly on are respect for equality and respect for life and an acknowledgment that it is individual Americans and American families who can make better decisions for ourselves than government can ever make for us. So individual freedom and independence is extremely important to me and that's why I'm a Republican, and there are planks in our platform that reflect that.

On the other hand, she's "pro-life and against same-sex marriage." But that's okay, because "she has gay friends!"

I'm stopping with this article, because I'm done spending my free time on this now. I wasn't really ever going to vote Republican, anyway.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Weather: I Am Under It

listening: Dragostea Din Tei, by O-Zone

I wish I could give everyone a Really Cool Reason why I had to pry myself off the mattress to get to my Spanish Literature class this morning (erm, afternoon). You know, like "I was out drinking with Hollywood folk until 8am" or "I rescued a penguin that had escaped from the Zoo."

The truth is, though, that I was simply sick all evening, which made venturing out into the sun and noise this morning sound very unappealing.

Well, actually, I was out having fun for part of the evening, but I was already starting to get a major headache when we left. I almost skipped the Alamo Drafthouse's Terror Thursday showing of Turkey Shoot, but decided to go at the last minute. It was very much worth it -- they had a very informative Q&A with the director before the movie.

For example, Turkey Shoot was apparently originally supposed to be a serious political movie (if I have the director's phrasing right, concerning "neocon excesses"), but their budget and time allotted for filming got slashed in half. Instead, he had his actors "camp it up" and turned Turkey Shoot into the 80's B-movie post-apocalyptic film (set in the future year 2000!) we all enjoyed last night. The gore was a little "euggh" in places (quoth the director, "blood is cheap!"), but everyone had to clap as the antagonists got picked off. And, I enjoyed it very much; I'm more of a fan of b-movies than deep political commentary, and this movie had some of both.

After the film, the director hung around for a little while. I'd met up with some friends who had some more questions about the movie, so he came over to our area, which was very cool.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

News 'n' Things

There are several new pieces up over at The Green Yak etsy site. If you like, we can start a debate about the morality of "re-purposing" (read: cutting up) an old rosary to make this necklace and this necklace here.

My Advanced Writing professor has talked me into submitting a short piece I wrote for class to the Sun Magazine. I will be certain to let everyone know if it gets published in their Readers Write section :-D

I went to see Burn After Reading this evening. As a rule, I try to go into movies with a blank slate; I very rarely do any research other that watching the trailer. In retrospect, knowing that this was a Coen bothers film (see Fargo) would have prepared me for the ending.

I think I enjoyed Burn After Reading the most out of the four of us. The humor was very dark in places, but the plot was just plain engrossing. Also, the cast is quite literally all-star.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Death by Gaslight

My current "keep in my backpack for spare reading moments on campus" novel is Death by Gaslight, by Michael Kurland. In fact, if I have deciphered the scribble on the title page correctly, it's even an author-autographed copy.

I never thought I would say this about a book, especially a book involving Sherlock Holmes in some way, but I'm on page 98 (of 279), and I can't tell if I like it yet.

Kurland has, in fact, turned one of my favorite stories (those featuring Sherlock Holmes) on its head. The cover reads "Professor Moriarty Leads An Underworld Army Against Unspeakable Evil -- And His Arch-Foe, Sherlock Holmes." As expected, this leads to something quite different from Conan Doyle's works.

*note, in case you're not a Holmes fan: Moriarty is the big, bad-guy mastermind from the original stories*

For one, the Prof. is fleshed out more as a character here, which I do like. Some of the additions are enjoyable. Moriarty as a Man of Science Who Leads a Crime Syndicate to Finance His Experiments is an interesting take. Giving him a Watson-like partner is expected, but nicely executed. However, I think naming his housekeeper "Mrs. H" is a bit silly (Mrs. Hudson is Holmes' landlady).

And, oh, Kurland's Sherlock Holmes. I've been trying to get past his take on Holmes for almost 100 pages now. I knew we were going to have trouble when Holmes called a client "my lord" a dozen times within the space of one conversation -- I think this is more than he uses the phrase in the entirety of Doyle's works.

Even better, this Holmes is a Man Obsessed. He is, in fact, so obsessed with the idea that Moriarty is behind "every crime committed in the greater London area," that he makes a lot of stupid mistakes. The line "without Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes is merely a detective" made me die a little inside: Sherlock Holmes' claim to fame, as it were, is as The World's First Consulting Detective, not as That Guy What Hates Moriarty.

Even worse, there's a subtle sort of made-up tension that's been added. Mrs. H takes Holmes to task at one point:

the debt of gratitude that it might be thought you owe to your old friend and mentor Professor James Moriarty -- the man who took you in and treated you like a son.

"Aaaaah," said my brain, "this is not right at all!"

In any case, the random moments of "NO he did not just do that to my Holmes!" aside, I'm enjoying the book. The verbiage is a bit more than I've been used to lately, considering that Douglas Adams was the last item on my reading list, which makes for a nice challenge. And, the mystery seems to be moving along nicely -- enough so that I want to make it to the end.

I get the feeling that the ending is going to make or break my opinion of this book. I hope it's a good one :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Following the long-established criteria for not sounding like a whiny person, I'm going to preface my venting with some positive points.

First, today was pretty great, all around. I road-tested one of the new bracelets for my etsy shop (if things can survive 5 hours of being dinged around campus and still look pristine, I know they're good). I also got some great feedback on my personal essay in my advanced writing class -- some of the changes are going to be hard to make, but they're most likely necessary.

What else? Oh, my paycheck came in (yay paycheck!). I'm making soup for dinner because my sinuses are clogged (yay blood from the nose! wait, no, ew.), and I have very little homework this evening.

Yeah, okay, are we all in a good mood now?

Because I just have to touch on one of my pet peeves: unhelpful peer critiques. Don't get me wrong, there were some really helpful comments tossed around in class today, and I also understand that sometimes one just has nothing particularly insightful to say about a piece. It's cool.

What I have a problem with are peer comments that (in my opinion) actually [unintentionally] would make the writing worse.

For example, one classmate went through and made a bunch of changes to the "voice" of my writing. I'm thinking, if this is a personal essay, maybe we should leave my voice intact? Hmm? Yes.

There were also a few scattered comments about my not having a neat, nice little conclusion. I struggled with this while writing the essay, because most people are conditioned throughout their academic careers to wrap each paper up nicely with a bow. Unfortunately, this isn't really a topic/style that lends itself to fully-answered questions at the end. So there *nyah*

In conclusion, the worst thing that happened to me today is that I was mildly annoyed for ten minutes while reading some comments from well-meaning peers. I've had worse evenings :-D

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Alien Apocalypse

We watched Alien Apocalypse last night.

Alien Apocalypse was good. Well, I say "good"; I mean it was a B movie about aliens, which was pretty much what we wanted. There were ridiculous plot points and hilariously-shaped aliens, and two of my least-favorite actors (in the movie) died within 20 minutes of the opening credits. For his part, Bruce Campbell runs around snapping people's spines into alignment (when not stabbing alien overlords) and wearing an astronaut's outfit that seems to have been inspired by a gi. All in all, not a bad way to spend the evening.

On the other hand, there was something a little "off" that kept Alien Apocalypse from being a "great" B movie, and I just figured out what it is when I did a Google search:

Alien Apocalypse is a Sci-Fi channel original movie

Ah yes. I've been saying for ages now that the phrase "SciFi Original Presents" before a movie is like the kiss of death. For a good example, see the IMDB page for Mansquito. [Yep, that title is pronounced exactly the way you think it is.] Actually, I'm apparently not the only one who has noticed this, because there are rules out there for a SciFi Original Movie drinking game.

If you have cable -- we don't, and I kind of miss the SciFi and Cartoon Network channels -- have one on me. Or, more likely, have about 15.

I think the next movie on our Encore list is American Zombie, which looks promising.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kidnapped Coed

The most recent Weird Wednesday movie (NSFW, by the way, so click at yer own risk) at the Alamo Drafthouse was, as you may have guessed, "Kidnapped Coed."

Surprisingly, the movie was much better than the title (or the single review on IMDB) had led me to believe.

Also known as "Date with a Kidnapper," the movie follows a young, presumably wealthy woman who is kidnapped for ransom . . . and then things go horribly awry! The film alternates between long, slow shots and fast(ish)-paced action scenes. Honestly, the whole thing should be alternately boring and confusing, but the movie was actually very visually entertaining.

And, of course, randomly hilarious. A few times, the humor was intentional: the rest of the time, it's more of a good old-fashioned this-is-supposed-to-be-serious-but-oh-man laughter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Staycation Photos, part II

Here are part of the remaining photos from our staycation.

First, pictures from the sailboat! It's been a long, long time since I even went down to Lake Travis, so this was exciting. Well, actually, it was very, very relaxing.

Oh, and I caught (read: reeled in) a little catfish, which we then had to release -- somebody on the boat doesn't like seeing their food before it's been cooked.We almost got to sail through a storm (whee!), but missed most of it. We did plenty of rain and some bumpy water for a while, though, which was also fun. For obvious reasons, there are no photos of us in the rain with the boat at a 30-degree angle.

And then I got a nice little visit to the spa. Mom tricked me -- I was promised a massage and pedicure, and she slipped in an eyebrow wax as well. Yeowch!
But boy did I look adorable afterwards :-D

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Code Enforcer

When I grow up, I want to be a gofer.

Well, by "when I grow up" I mean "when filming starts," and by "be a gofer" I mean "get my name in the credits."

The screenplay that dad wrote with his friend Steve is on its way towards becoming a movie! You can check everything out over at the Code Enforcer page. I got a chance to read the Code Enforcer screenplay in one of its later drafts, and I can say that I'm looking forward to seeing it produced. The Code Enforcer cast is definitely (erm, mostly) very pretty.

[As an aside, I am really hoping that they're able to get Meat Loaf to play one of the characters. Although that would probably get me banned from the set for being a fangirl]

As a family member of the writer, I'll be helping out, of course. Unfortunately, since I have neither the $5,000 necessary to invest in Code Enforcer, nor the cash to make a nice-sized donation, I'll have to give of my blood, sweat, and tears.

In other words, when Code Enforcer comes out in theatres, look for my name under "First Gofer." :-D

I'm a Winner!

listening: Roses are Red, by Aqua

The mail guy just delivered a package -- it's the children's game I won from the An Ordinary Life giveaway!

The Beddy-Bye Baby game is going in a Christmas package that I'm sending a family through Wish Upon a Hero. They have daughters that are 5 and 7, so I'm hoping they'll enjoy it (and the box at least is just unnaturally cute).

Considering that there were 98 other entrants in the giveaway, I'm feeling pretty lucky :-D

Saturday, September 6, 2008


After the hour-and-eighteen-minutes of sheer pain that was Demon Hunter . . . actually, I take that back. Demon Hunter was maybe a bit less than an hour of sheer pain, because there were at least twenty minutes of Billy Drago as the Demon of Lust who Dresses Like a Dickensian Hobo with Fingerless Gloves. (you can't see the gloves in that photo, but they're classic)


After the slightly less than an hour of sheer pain that was Demon Hunter, I wasn't expecting much from Revamped. And boy, was I pleasantly surprised! It's an (I would guess, very deliberately) extra-campy vampire B-movie filled with leather-wearing vamps and other pleasant things.

Assuming we can afford tickets to the Ghoulwill ball, I'm stealing one of Drago's outfits for my Halloween costume. You can check out a photo gallery here: it's the costume with the silver-trimmed purple cape and red-lined hood.

Most of the costume's going to be pretty easy to find at Goodwill or in my closet: black slacks and mock turtleneck, purple robe, black boots (we never see them on-screen, so I'm going with artistic license, here), and hair whitener (Heaven help me, I will be cutting my hair for this costume).

On the other hand, the Devil is in the details. There's a necklace that's going to be a pain in the butt to find a reasonable copy of, and oh yeah, I'd like a copy of the necronomicon to cart around, as well.

I'll also be buying a pair of those fancy vampire fangs that you mold to your own teeth and are supposed to last for ages. But frankly, I'm considering that an investment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Have some happy

For my Rhetoric of the Remake course (yeah, I know, but I needed one more Rhetoric course, and this one looks really interesting) this semester, our first assignment is to post a song and its remake. I thought I'd share my choices:



Monday, September 1, 2008

Laboring on Labor Day

listening: Killer Queen, by Queen
Fire and Rain, by James Taylor
That's All, by Genesis

Yep, I'm working on Labor Day. I signed up to work for four hours, which I'm using to justify the fact that I won't be doing much else today. There's some research I need to do for my Spanish Lit. (before 1700) class, and then I need to check my syllabus for tomorrow's class.

Other than that? Um, I went out to Encore Video to grab some more Brisco County, Jr. dvds. The boxed set is out, and I love the show, but I'm not shelling out $99.99 to satisfy my inner geek. The second it goes on sale, however, I will probably pick it up. Sarah may also be coming over, because ridiculous scifi westerns are just more fun with friends. We may create a drinking game.

Oh, and I may also work on my current side project, which is adding every movie Billy Drago has ever been in to my Blockbuster online list. He's one of the baddies in Brisco County, Jr., and he's lots of fun to watch. Apparently, he plays basically the same character over and over again, but I like that character. Creepy yet well-dressed villain with good fashion sense and pretty hair? Yeah, I can watch that all day.

Oh, and because I know you are all very fond of videos:

We have this rather hilariously violent scene from Death Ring (a "competent Most Dangerous Game rip off, with some decent action sequences, some moderate suspense and far better acting then what you would expect"):

It's hard to find any other good clips on YouTube, because there are about a bazillon "fan videos" where someone's cut out all the dialogue and added some random song. Here, if you're interested.