Vulcan’s Peak

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January 10, 2008 12:05 am

Things I thought about doing this evening, but didn’t:
-Doing laundry.
-Cooking something new for dinner to provide a break from the leftovers from last weekend. (Don’t get me wrong, I adore leftovers and plan for them. But variety ain’t a bad thing either…)
-Napping.
-Finishing The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Sequel to a book subtitled The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, so you see where the attraction is. At least in part — Wrede is singlehandedly responsible for some of my best-loved (and most often lent out) books in middle and high school (like these and this and this one and its sequel and even this one, which I borrowed from Elf and later found a used bookstore copy).
-Finishing two letters (Only managed one.)

Events I’ve planned to blog about in the last month, but didn’t:
-The writer’s strike.
-The rally in Harvard Square for the writers’ strike, which I didn’t take time off work to go to, but my roommate did and got to meet Joss Whedon. Actually, I did too, briefly, because he was signing stuff at a little sci-fi bookstore after the rally and was still there when I got off work. It was pretty awesome.
The Golden Compass and the brouhaha that the Christian right managed to create around it. I highly recommend the book, by the way, very highly. The movie is a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours but is not an acceptable substitute.
-Mitt Romney’s speech about why his religion shouldn’t matter to his presidential campaign. I didn’t see the speech, I just read about it and meant to read a transcript, but haven’t. If he continues to look like a contender, I’ll get around to it eventually. He worries me, and I can’t put my finger on why, except to be flip and say that he looks like the evil Mayor from season 3 of Buffy. (Source. Not my cleverness; though I think the whole list is hilarious.)
Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress. A fun and funny YA adventure — and its author was one of three who were fantastically nice about letting me ask them questions for a paper I was writing on author blogs. Definitely another recommended read.

Enjoyable things that happened while I was home for Christmas:
-Two lovely Christmas dinners in one day.
-Going ice skating.
-Laughing at my brothers’ oddly decorated gingerbread cookies (One that stands out is a bell that B. frosted in white and spelled out “E.A. Poe” on the top in little chocolate sprinkles. (“Hear the sledges with the bells, silver bells, silver bells, what a world of merriment their melody foretells…” Yes, the poem gets darker; it is Poe.))
-Getting to hang out with Liz before her move and see Elf in the new digs.
-Teasing Mom for calling it a “white Christmas” when it hailed on Christmas morning.
-Beating my brothers at ping pong. Sometimes.
-Getting to show off my beautiful ring…did I mention that we got engaged?

Geeking out, Trek style

November 18, 2007 11:25 pm

This was awesome.
I went to the encore showing of the remastered version of “The Menagerie” on Thursday. The theater was about two-thirds full; certainly there were no lines or costumes, although one audience member was handing out DVDs of his fan film! I took one, but I haven’t watched it yet — am planning to save it for Pug’s visit over Thanksgiving. There was lots of laughter for the best lines (often from McCoy), and the digital update of the special effects shots looked really good — but was also unobtrusive. Certainly nothing like the make-over that Star Wars got when it was re-released in theaters about ten years ago.

(Yeah, it really was ten years. Elf, didn’t we go see at least one of them together? I could be mis-remembering, but it sounds plausible for ten years ago.)

Next item, let’s look forward to the next opportunity to see Star Trek on the big screen! I’m talking about the potentially spoiler-icious link posted on Nodwick yesterday. Yes, ladies and gents, behind the cut is Spoiler City…assuming, of course, that the source is actually in the know. Which we don’t know. But just in case, you’ve been warned.

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LotR dancing across the London stage

August 21, 2007 12:00 am

If you’ve been watching Slashdot more closely than I have, you might have noticed this blurb. Or this one. Or even this one.

I didn’t, though, so I only just tonight ran across the home page for London’s musical theater production of Lord of the Rings.

It looks amazing in terms of production design and pure spectacle, and the video clips are worth a gawk or two. I have to wonder, though, how LotR is being staged without turning into a nine hour production, a la Wagner.

(Not an inappropriate comparison, come to think of it. In fact, a Slashdotter notes, “Just watch, LOTR, the musical, will be released in Germany under the title ‘Das Rheingold’. I think most of the adaptation work has been done on the German version by some guy named Wagner.”)

From what you can hear on the show’s website, though, I’m not sold on the music. I’m too much in love with Howard Shore’s soundtracks for the LotR movies, and this music is a re-imagining more along the lines of Le Miz or Wicked. And I like the music from those shows, but each of them has a very different atmosphere from what I associate with LotR. There’s a clash of styles.

…but if I were in London right now, I’d go anyway. See the note on the show’s page that says it looks great from the 15 pound seats way up in the balcony? That would be me.

(Actually, I think LotR is currently in the theater where I saw The Producers. Which was awesome from the balcony.)

Spock is back!

July 26, 2007 9:33 pm

We now interrupt our Potter coverage to bring you geek news of another flavor:

First Star Trek casting announcement made at Comic Con!

Zachary Quinto plays the sinister brain-eating Sylar on Heroes (which Courtney and I got ourselves hooked on last year) and does a marvelous job of creating an utterly creepy character you love to hate. This year we’ve seen Sylar as a somewhat nerdy watchmaker, a distressed son (he’d fit right in at the Bates Motel), a brilliant but raving lunatic, and a scheming arch-villain. I figure somewhere in that range, he can do Spock. He looks just right, too, so I’m pretty excited.

Plus, Leonard Nimoy is coming back to play an older Spock. Please let this one be good…we’re due a good one, right?

Pirates of the Caribbean 3

July 17, 2007 1:36 pm

Poke took a small mallet to my stubborn skull last night and managed to convince me that this perhaps isn’t a Really Great Movie. It might not even count as a good movie. But golly gee, it was a lot of fun!

My low expectations helped PotC 3 a great deal. The first movie is so good and the second so bad that it was hard not to imagine a downward spiral. On the contrary, #3 manages to take the tangled plots it inherits from #2 and, if not untie the knots, at least it pulls them into a more intriguing sort of disarray.

Of course, nothing can be resolved until it gets a little more tangled, but where #2 helps #3 is in conditioning the audience to expect everyone to betray everyone else at regular intervals. Everyone makes deals with the devil — usually represented by the capitalistic face of the East India Trading Company. Even the sea-demon himself, Davy Jones, is in their control.

Thankfully, the two biggest monsters from #2, the kraken and the possibility of a Jack-Elizabeth-Will love triangle are both shown to be dead. The latter is barely mentioned, though Elizabeth strongly implies that she kissed Jack only as a diversion while she cuffed him to the sinking Black Pearl. The big tension between Will and Elizabeth turns out to be the strain of keeping secrets (about their various betrayals, naturally) and general mistrust (natural consequence of said betrayals) rather than romantic infidelity — which puts the emphasis on whether they can continue to love each other, not on whether she might like Jack better. I found this considerably more interesting.

As for Cap’n Jack Sparrow

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HP & the Order of the Phoenix

July 14, 2007 11:12 pm

In the tradition of HP flicks, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is good fun, not great cinema. It isn’t Lord of the Rings a la Peter Jackson, and it isn’t Star Wars in 1977. But as entertainment goes, it’s not bad.

The star-studded adult cast are in fine form, led by Imelda Staunton’s loathsomely perky Professor Umbridge. A vision in pink, she makes a fantastic stand-in for every teacher you ever wanted a centaur herd to trample. Alan Rickman plays the overbearing bat with his usual gusto; McGonagall, Trelawney, and Hagrid are spot-on.

The snake-like face of Ralph Fiennes’s Voldemort appears briefly in a number of dream sequences, but not until the final battle does he get anything that could be called a scene — those who find him utterly hideous don’t have to look at him for long. (And trust me, water and glass and any number of distractions are flying in all directions by the time Voldemort shows up.)

Helena Bonham Carter’s cameo as Bellatrix Lestrange has been well over-publicized, but she chews the scenery nicely.

Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore continues to bother me. The problems with the character are mitigated because this is the book in which Harry can’t figure out why Dumbledore is avoiding him. The flailing and yelling I objected to in the last film aren’t an issue here (perhaps due to the change in directors), but the presence, the voice, and even the costume (not Gambon’s fault, I concede) are all wrong. The half-moon spectacles that are synonymous with the character don’t even put in an appearance — I will need my memory jolted on whether they have been used since the part was re-cast.

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Spring news

April 25, 2007 10:14 am

I realized that I have posted almost no actual news in the last month! It’s all been a bit mad.

My roommate and spent the middle of March apartment hunting, under the impression that we would have to move when our lease ran out on June 1. Our current building is gradually being rennovated and sold as condos, but as it turns out, that process is going more slowly than the owners anticipated (as I understand it, real estate is a buyer’s market right now), so they’re letting us renew the lease for another year. So that means I don’t get to be rid of our stained carpets, stained countertops, and finicky shower, but I am very glad to not have to move. Besides, I love the area around us, so I’m glad not to leave just yet.

School is almost finished for the spring — my last class is next Tuesday. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Research Paper Land, Group Presentation Land, and Final Project Land, but the end is in sight. Of course, there’s still a last paper, project revisions, and poetry revisions to do in the next week, but still — light, tunnel, yeah.

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For my enabler

March 25, 2007 10:48 pm

First, before I forget again, congrats to everyone who suggested cow/kine as the answer to the Car Talk puzzler I told you about a few weeks ago. Yay for people cleverer than me! Now on to new business.

One of the many frustrations of Tae’s high school career was that she kept recommending Babylon 5 to me, and I never jumped on the bandwagon — for a variety of reasons, none of them good.

It was after I started college that I actually gave it a chance. It was August (I forget which year) and I had several weeks at home after everyone else had gone back to school. The SciFi channel had Bab 5 in syndication, playing at ten or eleven every morning. Ironically, that summer I stepped right into the last episodes of season 4, but I suggest that it’s a tribute to the show (or to Tae’s judgement for how right the show is for me) that even the show’s worst season drew me in.

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Think that’s in the dictionary?

February 3, 2007 5:49 pm

This was funny.

Odette  [noun]:

A poltergeist sent back in time to change the course of history forever.

‘How will you be defined in the dictionary?’ at QuizGalaxy.com

There needs to be a story about this.

Which reminds me! Liz, I saw The Ghost and Mrs. Muir last week, which was good fun! Thanks for the recommendation.

Fire up the iron horse, boys!

January 9, 2007 1:41 am

Liz, Elf and I had a tremendous giggle-fest at the movies tonight. Who wouldn’t want a t-rex skeleton that thinks it’s a puppy? So cute!!

Night at the Museum was great fun as long as they kept to the museum. There was a minimal amount of stock background involving the main character’s kid, disapproving ex-wife, and ex-wife’s dorky but dependable new husband that could have been pulled out of The Santa Clause (for example), only plus cell phones. But inside the museum, our hero must appease Attilla the Hun, not get eaten by the lions, babysit the fire-obsessed cavemen, and deal with the manifest (though miniature) destinies of both U.S. frontiersmen and a Roman legion. And check for his keys, because the monkey has probably made off with them again. Robin Williams makes a surprisingly good Teddy Roosevelt, who quickly becomes an important ally. TR’s puppy-love crush on Sacagawea is a cute gag, as is the fact that Lewis and Clark are so intent in arguing over their map that they seem not to notice that they’re locked in a glass case with a beautiful woman.

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