Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I'm back, and I have good news. Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback column has returned, on a football blog-type site called FootballOutsiders.com.

Go here to read it. For some reason, the formatting of the page causes the text to extend beyond the boundaries of my browser window, which is a pain in the ass. I'm sure all the rest of you, who don't use IE5 on a Mac, will have no trouble. Grumble grumble. Credit where credit is due dept: I was pointed to the new TMQ by Jim Henley. Domo arigato, Henley-san.

I'm considering running for President of these United States, and to do so I will establish a third party ("a WILD party", like the lyrics to the old Alice Cooper song "Elected" said). I shall call it the Free Beer party, and will promise free beer to everyone if I'm elected. Who's gonna vote against free beer? I'll probably have a Paypal button in the links box at right for campaign donations, and might even start another blog, since all the legitimate candidates have one. So whaddaya think? Who should be my running mate? I wonder if Renee Zellweger's up for it...?

Maybe if I get elected President I won't have to job search anymore. I recently blew, I mean spent $68 on one of those resume distribution services, and so far have reaped an underwhelming return on my investment. I've also been Google searching for Graphic Arts/Printing recruiters that I can solicit on my own, and have actually had some nibbles today. I went to a local temp agency today as well, thinking they could get me on at some factory nearby, to tide me over until something more substantial comes along. I worked on a factory floor for approximately 7 months in the Spring and Summer of 1979 as a press takeaway at Donnelley, and hated every minute of it. Not that I'm too good for this kind of work, but after 25 years I've gotten set in my ways and don't look forward to doing this sort of thing. And this concludes my job search news for this week. You know what I'd like to get into? Coloring comics. To do so you need a more than passing familiarity with Photoshop, which I have in spades...I'd just need someone to show me the ropes and techniques. Anybody out there have an in with any of these Liquid! type concerns?

I've seen three films over the last few days: The Score, which stars Robert DiNiro, excellent as always in his shuffling, aw-shucks kinda way; Edward Norton, as another hotshot youngblood who doesn't know as much as he thinks he does; and Marlon Brando, who is grotesquely obese and doesn't speak his lines as much as he does wheeze them. DiNiro is a safecracker par excellence who gets talked into doing one last big score for his buddy Brando, and gets an unwanted partner in Norton. The heist itself is a slick, entertaining sequence which employs dubious physics but still works, and there's a neat twist ending. Plus, DiNiro runs a jazz club, and that looked so cool that now I want to open a jazz club. Beats working on an assembly line... The Score also boasts cameos by Mose Allison and Cassandra Wilson.

I also saw Ghost Ship, an amalgam of 13 Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill, and Titanic about a group of salvagers that encounters a- that's right, you guessed it- haunted ship, which starts out promisingly but devolves into a fairly standard special FX-fest, leaving no cliche unturned right down to (beware, spoiler here) the Demon Menace at the End, an old pet peeve of mine when used in comics. And of course, we get another Spooky Little Girl, the bugboo of choice for unimaginative filmmakers these days. I suppose this is a passble time waster if you can't find anything else to watch, but don't think too hard when you do.

Finally, I caught the cable premiere of the second Harry Potter film, ...and the Chamber of Secrets. I've never read a single Potter novel, and I kinda doubt that I would even if I was the target age...I would think that 12 year old me would have found them somewhat juvenile. Still, I found the first film clever and often charming, if a bit overlong, with imaginative situations and effects- and the sequel retains the imagination and fine effects but falls somewhat short of its predecessor in the clever and charming area. The script is boring, often illogically dot-to-dot and annoyingly contrived- for example, there's a showdown between Harry and his rival in Slitherin House, which started as a self-defense lesson but somehow devolves into a grudge match between not only Harry and the slimy blond kid but the two professors involved as well. I mean geez- someone could have been hurt! What were the profs thinking? Doesn't matter, because the scene is only an excuse for throwing in some special effects, and revealing that Harry somehow knows how to speak to snakes. There's a reprise of the first film's entertaining Quidditch match, but this time it only serves to show that someone's trying to harm Harry for some unknown reason. The performances are all fine, for the most part (even though poor Richard Harris is almost too frail to make it through his scenes), but the stitches in the patchwork script show a bit too obviously, and that kept me from having as much fun as I did with the first film. And if they ever have a special Jar Jar Binks Oscar® for Most Annoying Character in a Major Motion Picture, then 2002's winner would have been the self-abusive elf, Nobby, who does look like Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier, just like Easterbrook says!

Oh, by the way- there's a new Christgau Consumer Guide up at the Village Voice website. In case you're interested.

No Navy NCIS tonight, gosh darn it! No Pauley for me. Hey- maybe she'd be my running mate!

I'm about halfway through that Essential Tomb of Dracula collection, and so far my early impressions are first how overblown, corny and melodramatic nearly all the dialogue is! Even the great Archie Goodwin succumbed to this in his two-issue stint. Everyone goes around stating the obvious, in the most florid fashion, and making dire pronouncements- and Dracula comes across as an arrogant, egotistical blowhard. Actually, he came across that way for the majority of the run, even with Marv Wolfman. Early on, it seems no one could decide what direction the book should go in- Hammer-style period horror, or modern-day vampire stories with SF leanings. When Wolfman took over with issue 7, he eventually tightened up the dialogue and went firmly in the latter direction, to his credit. I'm also struck by how fast-paced these issues are- Dracula, Frank Drake, Rachel Van Helsing and her group hurtle from one dire situation to the other in breakneck fashion, with little or no pauses between storylines. Say what you will about ToD, it was never boring!

Speaking of boring, I'm just about rambled out so I'll finish for now. Hopefully, back tomorrow with more...stuff.

Vote for Free Beer!

Music today: Lindsey Buckingham-Out of the Cradle; Marshall Crenshaw-Mary Jean and Nine Others, XTC-English Settlement, Little Feat, The Bootleg Series Vol.5-Bob Dylan Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue and The Posies-Frosting on the Beater.

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