I have a tendency to avoid blogging things if I think everyone's already seen them. Sometimes I'm totally wrong, like with that damn fonts video I sent to Chuck a month or so ago. It was only kinda funny then, and now that it's making the rounds, it's getting annoying. But these two things are still cool! I swear!
1. Yeltsin video for "We Will Become a Factory"
2. The Daily Show demonstrates proper snarking techniques with a billboard near the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, welcoming RNC-goers:
Well played, Jon Stewart. Well played.
It's a bad sign when I haven't got a single post in the recent blog posts column. I've got no excuse, really, except that I got blogged out â€” in the reading sense â€” during Comic-Con (which I really do prefer calling Nerd Prom). News! Trailers that stayed up for less than 24 hours! (Why is Emma Frost in Wolverine: Origins? Do I care? I love Emma Frost.) Twitter updates from attending friends! Emailing other friends to beg them to nab stuff for me! ACK!
There was just too much excitement. TOO MUCH, I tell you. And in roughly the same timeframe, the internet was exploding over two things:
1. The apparently unbelievable crappiness of Stephenie Meyer's fourth book about the OMG PERFECT vampire Edward and basically OMG PERFECT â€” but clumsy! â€” teenage girl who falls in love with him. (That link isn't quite as mean as some but it's a) funny and b) a very good illustration of what precisely the fuss is about.) For a good take on that fat book you might see everywhere that isn't by J.K. Rowling, see Salon's "Touched By a Vampire."
2. Some people didn't like The Dark Knight! And these people were immediately met with insane outpourings of fanboy rage, which then turned half the TDK discussion into a frothing meta-mess of Why Critics/Fanboys Are Idiots/Smarter. Because we needed another one of these navel-gazing conversations, clearly. Also worth a good (if slightly bitter) chuckle: George Bush is Batman (or is it the other way around?). I've meant for, what, weeks? now to post a much longer and much more spoiler-involving commentary about TDK, but I seem to have lost some momentum. Maybe next week.
In totally unrelated news, I heart Sherman Alexie. The linked article, "Sixty-one Things I Learned During the Sonics Trial," includes the following gems:
"15. In writing, thinking, and talking about the Sonics' possible relocation to Oklahoma City, I shuffle like an iPod through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and Hall & Oates."
"21. Yeah, I cuss a lot. Get over it. In writing about basketball, it would be utterly hypocritical to abstain from cursing. Did you catch the last four minutes of the Boston Celtics game six tap-out of the Los Angeles Lakers? As they danced together on the sidelines and celebrated their world championship, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce danced and sang so many "motherfuckers" that the bleeped-over broadcast turned into a John Cage sound collage."
And many more. Is it basketball season yet?
And that's it for now. So much else out there. Let's see if I can't blog at least twice next week.
Lately, I've developed a knack for opening books to random pages and finding upon those pages sentences which, taken out of context, are truly funny. OK, so maybe a two-time occurrence isn't quite a knack. And it's entirely possible that only Suzi and I find these things funny. But I'm going to practice this apparent talent (my boyfriend has a variation of this talent; he can open to the smut in any given title) and see if I can't keep coming across delicious things like these:
"Have you ever fucked a Bulgarian?"
"The forces of the status quo don't want this reading!" she announced through a blare of feedback.
â€” from Andrew Foster Altschul's just-arrived-and-thus-as-yet-unread-by-me Lady Lazarus, which has such over-the-top flap copy it begs to be read aloud. (A snippet: "Together they chronicle her story, from her silent childhood to her first tortured public statements about her father; from her publication of a wildly popular book of poetry to her mysterious disappearance; from her return as the mute leader of a cultlike brigade known as The Muse to her last, terrifying crusade." Phew.)
Anyway, I know there are others out there with this talent. Please, open your books at random (no, this isn't that blog meme involving the 17th line on the 123rd page of the third book on seventh shelf on your smallest bookshelf) and tell me what you find! Rejoice in the random!
(I can't tell if I need more or less coffee...)
Oh, lord. I wrote a whole blog. And then I hit preview. And then I forgot to post. I'm too tired. In short:
1. Ninkasi now comes in bottles! And the Mercury blogged it first. Good for them. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking some Believer while watching the Ducks squeak past OSU on Sunday. And I wondered aloud whether they might be among the first breweries to include their MySpace page on their labels...
2. Last week, Suzi sent me a link to a story in The New York Times about a memoir by a writer who lives in Eugene. This was interesting, but annoying, because while I'd gotten the book, neither the book flap nor the press materials had mentioned this fact. Well, as it turns out, it was sort of irrelevant, because "none of it is true":
Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.
All I can do here is sigh.
3. Someone will doubtless think I'm gloating, but I seriously think it's awesome that my counterpart (and friend) over at the R-G wound up in the New Yorker's Correction of the Week. I love it even more because when I read the press release in question, I saw it the same way. As Randy Stapilus notes in his quote from the magazine,
< blockquote >An item about a Thursday event at Diabloâ€™s featuring four women DJs on Page 8 of Fridayâ€™s edition incorrectly identified DJ KaatScratch as transgendered. She describes herself musically as â€˜transgenred.â€™â€
Three cheers to the most entertaining misreads being noticed by the whole world out there.
What with the one-two punch of Winter Reading and the Procrastinators' Gift Guide â€” which, naturally, I procrastinated working on â€”Â my inbox has been slowly and steadily filling itself up with interesting yet uncommented-upon things. Thursday late morning is as good a time as any to post a rundown of a few Items of Note I've been unintentionally ignoring until now:
â€¢ Sadly, we missed the Ursula K. Le Guin reading that was held last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Northwest Review. (This is one I would have liked to have cover in the paper, but we didn't get the info in time. Rats!) I've loved Le Guin since I was about nine and my mother read A Wizard of Earthsea to me when I was sick; it was like magic, and I started feeling better immediately â€”Â yet I always miss her appearances. What's my problem?
â€¢ Also back in November, Wandering Goat barista Jordan Barber was one of six finalists in Seattle's Northwest Regional Barista Competition. "Barber's signature drink, Il Con Panna Proibito, was composed of an espresso shot topped with whipped cream infused with an organic apple cider, vanilla, and cinnamon, reduction and will be available to customers Friday afternoons 1-7 throughout November and December at the Wandering Goat Coffee Shop located at 268 Madison St.," says the press release. Damn, that sounds good. Might have to go try one tomorrow. Congrats to Jordan! And congrats also to Goat barista Bev Edge and the other lass (whose name I missed) for their lovely rendition of "Winter Wonderland" at last weekend's Fast Computers Holiday Spectacular at Sam Bond's. More on that ... later.
â€¢ More congratulations are due to the two area winners of Oregon Book Awards: Alison Clement of Corvallis for Twenty Questions (reviewed here) and UO prof Garrett Epps for Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America.
â€¢ As everyone knows by now, director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have resolved their various differences and are now teamed up for an adaptation of The Hobbit â€” and a post-Hobbit tale that, if what I've read is correct, borrows from Tolkien's notes to fill in the time between Bilbo's returning to the Shire at the end of The Hobbit and then his (reluctant) passing of the Ring to Frodo at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring (please let it be about the wizards!). I've read some very entertaining snarky commentary on what exactly happened in those Middle-earth years, but frankly, I don't care â€”Â if it looks like Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, I'm there, and several times over. But there's the problem: Jackson isn't directing. He's executive producing, so he's involved, but with The Lovely Bones and Tintin (which I was excited about until I realized they're doing it Beowulf-style, which even the presence of Andy Serkis cannot make up for) on his plate, the man's apparently just too busy. According to The New York Times, Sam Raimi has expressed interest in directing.
Let me back up a second: When I first read that Jackson would be involved in The Hobbit, I actually jumped up and down for joy. Suzi can vouch for this. But Sam Raimi? He of the moderately entertaining Spider-man, the horribly overrated Spider-man 2 and the Spider-man 3 that I couldn't actually bring myself to watch after so many people fell all over themselves proclaiming the greatness of the tedious second film? Please, please, no.
Problem is, I can't think of who I would like to direct, assuming we fanboys and girls can't have Jackson â€” the obvious first and best choice. Suzi suggested Alfonso CuarÃ³n, but I think The Hobbit is a bit too bright and happy a story for him, really, as much as I love every one of his films that I've seen. Obviously, Chris Weitz is out; for some of the many reasons why, look for a later post in which Suzi and I dissect every tiny thing that was wrong with The Golden Compass.
For inspiration, I looked at my running list of the films I've most enjoyed this year, and it gave me a few ideas, if somewhat unorthodox ones:
1. Brad Bird. Sure, he's made his name in animation, but he's got an unbeatable sense of pacing and character, and if he could make Bilbo half as endearing as Remy the rat, he'd be set.
2. Matthew Vaughn. Sure, Stardust was a touch frenzied, but he got the tone right â€”Â he SO got the tone right. And the casting. The Hobbit isn't as serious and dark as the rest of LOTR; with Jackson looking over his shoulder, I'm downright certain Vaughn could do a damn good job with it.
3. Edgar Wright. Sure, he's funny. But I'd like to see him do something a little different. I'd also like to see Simon Pegg playing a dwarf. Don't kill me for that. (Really, this is a sort of off-the-wall notion, but I kind of think these guys could do anything.)
4. Agnieszka Holland. What, you haven't seen Olivier Olivier? Get thee to a rental store, or put it on your Netflix queue. She also directed the beautiful, underseen 1993 version of The Secret Garden.
5. Bryan Singer. The golden boy could thereby redeem himself for handing over X3 to Brett Ratner. Plus, I rather liked Superman Returns.
6. Kathryn Bigelow. Sure, she's sort of gone missing lately, and I've got nothing to say about K-19: The Widowmaker. But Strange Days has its strange, strange charm, and I've always thought she had some untapped potential.
It would have been so much easier to make a list of people who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near this production.
Anyway, who do you think should get The Hobbit's reins?