Saturday, December 28, 2002

Speaking of the Unspeakable....

Christmas brought us the first good snowfall of the year--about 4 inches of soft, packable, beautiful white fluffiness. I was naturally thrilled, and felt a need to celebrate the snow's arrival. How to let the Snow Gods know of my gratitude for their beneficence? Build them a statue, of course. Not one of those namby-pamby frosty-style snowmen, but one more fitting the wild and capricious nature of snow gods.....


The dark god himself, held in place by a trampled elder sign in the surrounding snow. You know, sometimes I even scare myself.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

First off, I should say that the most gratifying moment of the evening for me was before the movie started. There, at a Game Preserve-sponsored event, attended by the very woman who fired me, my former co-workers Jason and Jay proposed to start chanting “RE-HIRE CATHY! RE-HIRE CATHY!” and see how many people in the audience took it up. It was a sweet gesture, though of course it would have resulted in death for everyone involved....

Right, so I saw the midnight showing, 12:01 Wednesday, at the AMC in Greenwood, with about 300 Game Preserve employees, customers, and friends. No costumes, just a solid crowd of fantasy geekdom from wall to wall. That, in itself, is worth the price of admission. (Which was of course $0, since I had the coupon out of the extended DVD version. But still.) Last year at this time, I was totally jazzed--Fellowship was everything I wanted it to be, and then some! I didn’t miss anything that was cut, I didn’t mind the tiny alterations of plot because I felt they contributed to the movie trilogy as a whole.... It was beautiful, it was fun, it rocked. The Two Towers is very different. Even now, I am certain Tolkien geeks everywhere are spewing bile into their blogs complaining about this movie. I’d hate to be that negative, or take it that seriously, so I’m going to go through and rap about the stuff I loved, and then some of the stuff I didn’t love, and you can feel free to email me and tell me what you think of my thinking.


I. The Ents. Wow. Cool. Super. Fabulous. They looked just as I always imagined them, and then some. The film did well in conveying the slow deliberate nature of Ents. John Rhys-Davies voices Treebeard, and he’s always a good thing! I wonder if when Gimli meets Treebeard in volume 3, they’ll explode in a burst of anti-matter.

II. The Ents assaulting Orthanc. Again, my mental picture of this event was done justice by the reality. Wowwww.

III. Rohan. Another triumph of turning New Zealand countryside into bona-fide Middle Earth. The viking-style huts and halls of the Rohirrim were perfect.

IV. Eowyn. Overall, a nice casting choice for a favorite character, and it’s good they gave her a moment of swingin’ her sword around to show us she’s not just a pouty teenage girl. Very much looking forward to her part in movie 3.

V. Gollum. More on him below, I was of a divided mind on Gollum. But the plus side is, his movement and animation is incredible. Especially his fingers. Gollum should be creepy, and those hands were creepy.

VI. The Black Riders on Winged Steeds. OK, Cthulhu players--THAT is what a shantak looks like! You saw them at Gavigan’s estate in England. Man, those were cool.

VII. Oliphants. Neato!


I. Gandalf casting Sauruman out of Theoden like a revivalist preacher banishing demons. What the hell was up with that? Theoden’s depressed, not posessed.

II. Aragorn falling off a cliff during a warg attack. Again I say, what the hell? We all read the books, dudes, we know he’s not dead so there is no suspense involved. I’m presuming it’s so he can have a long dream sequence about Arwen, but couldn’t he have done that just dozing on the wall at Helm’s Deep before the seige, or something? (The only thing that would have redeemed this event was if Gimli/Rhys-Davies had greeted him with his line from Raiders of the Lost Ark: “Oh my friend, I am so pleased you are not dead!” There’s a nerd wish for ya.)

III. The Arwen-Elrond moment. It was like a bad TV drama--”You’re not marrying a mortal, and that’s final! Now get on the boat!”

IV. Elves at Helm’s Deep. Not only were we treated to more of that flaming elf from movie #1, he brought a whole damn army with him. I’m presuming this was because elves are popular, and we need a reason why Helm’s Deep doesn’t get totally squashed. Here’s the thing--and maybe I am being too nitpicky here--but in the book, the seige of Helm’s Deep ends because the ents send these things called huorns, kind of sinister living trees that creep up and surround the orcs and kill them en masse. To me, this would have been a totally amazing visual--looking past the sea of orcs, realizing that the background trees are moving closer, inexorably closer, then some of the backmost orcs start screaming, and then like the thorny bushes in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty suddenly all these branches and thorns are everywhere and the orcs are being pulled down, man. Instead, we get elves. And then a bunch of Rohan riders. And that’s it. So I’m sad.

V. Gollum. I can’t put my finger on this, exactly, but somehow I feel like Gollum was missing something. Maybe it’s that they played him a little too silly, overplayed the multiple personalities or something. Gollum should be crafty and sinister, as well as annoying and pathetic. I want to re-watch the Ralph Bakshi version, I think; for some reason I remember being really happy with his version of Gollum, but I can’t think what he had that this one doesn’t. But don’t get me wrong, he’s still in the “cool” column.

VI. Faramir. The more I thought about it, the more bothered I was by this; Faramir is supposed to be different from his brother. He’s supposed to grasp the import of Frodo’s quest. Instead, the film has him act just like Boromir, drag Frodo and Sam around for a while planning to take the ring, and then suddenly, inexplicably change his mind and let them go. This Faramir is Boromir warmed over, rather than a clearly defined personality of his own. Why?

VII. Gimli as Comic Relief. Yeah, ok, dwarves are funny. But he’s my favorite character in the books, and he’s coming across with no dignity whatsoever. A little less buffoonish, please, and no more “tossing.”

I guess what it really comes down to is that I don’t see strong cinematic or plotting reasons behind these things. There were other changes that didn’t bother me at all, because they made a certain amount of sense. But these changes that I’m grousing about all just seemed gratuitous and strange to me. I still liked it, I’ll still see it again and buy the DVD and worship it and all that. But I was happier with the first one.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Idiocy is Our Watchword.

For all you aspiring cooks out there, a note:
Zucchinni bread comes out much, much better when you remember to put the sugar in.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

No Snow. Doh!

Last night when I went to bed it was snowing hard. 1-3" predicted. I went to sleep with dreams of waking to a winter wonderland (we haven't had one yet this year...) Instead, I wake to a bit of crusty white slush stuck to the leaves I never raked up this year, and that's it. Apparently the temp got up above freezing soon after sunrise, and by the time I hauled my lazy ass out of bed, it was gone. BOOOOOOOOO!!!!

In other news, for those of you keeping track, I finally got word that I am unofficially accepted to start in the Museum Studies program at IUPUI in January despite their having lost, at various times, my application, my GRE scores, and my recommendation letters. It all got found eventually, and I'm apparently IN, just have to wait til the Grad School Admissions dept signs off on it. Still waiting to hear about financial aid. Also have gotten several possible new painting gigs (for my life as a painting prostitute, go to The Painter's Den, or possibly to my home page and click the prostitution link.) It's not really a living, but it's better than nothing. Beats working, as we say!

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Simply MARVELous!

Last night I took an online quiz called "What Marvel Superhero Are You?" The answer:
Well, really, who else would I have been? As Erin can tell you, my love affair with the blue furry swashbuckler is a long-standing one. Nightcrawler rocks. Or he used to, apparently he's undergone some changes in the current Marvel regime. Anyway, to be fair, I also took the "Which Marvel Superherione?" quiz, and ended up with
That was a bit more of a surprise--yeah, she's the one played by Famke Janssen in the movie. Who knew I had a gorgeous red-haired telepath inside me, crying to get out? Anyway, if you want to take this quiz yourself, check it out at Liquid Generation. Click on the little button with the question mark and you get quizzes. You might also try their surprisingly entertaining cleavage-identification game show, "WHOOSE BOOBS?"

Liquid Generation comes to me courtesy of my friend Pete, who has the distinction of once having created a $500 error in the Game Preserve's computer system using only a Twix bar, the barcode scanner, and his index finger. I'd link you to Pete's web address, but he recently took down his site because "It was stupid." Yes, it was stupid, but it was YOURS, Pete! Defend what's yours!

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Shaping Young Minds

Sub taught at Brebeuf Jesuit again yesterday--woo hoo! Two gigs months!--and had a good time. It mostly involved 4 back to back showings of the first 40 minutes of "Eyes on the Prize: The Civil Rights Movement Brought To You By Pepsi-Cola." (Nothing quite like watching Malcolm Jamal-Warner, formerly Theo Huxtable of The Cosby Show, introducing a serious documentary on civil rights by saying "Pepsi and I hope you enjoy this program.") I did have one class where the kids were supposed to "study quietly" for a test the next day; I'm not stupid, and after taking attendance told them that I knew perfectly well that only a handful of them were going to actually study, and as long as they took the "quiet" part to heart, they could talk or do other homework or whatever. Immediately 8 girls rocketed out of their seats to plant themselves on the floor--what is up with that? I can't even remember why it was cool to sit on the floor to study.... Anyway, I had a pleasantly intense discussion about the various merits of Lord of the Rings vs. Harry Potter, threatened to go all Gimli on a girl who commented that she thought The Hobbit was "the stupidest, most boring book EVER!" and told a young man who was squatting down to talk to the girls on the floor that "I am seeing waaaay more of your underwear than I really needed to, dude." Probably scarred him for life, but oh well.

1) Reading the list of intermural basketball teams, which all had great names; my favorites were "Spongebob Squarepants and His Absorbent Gang," and "We Didn't Make The Real Team."
2) Walking through the cafeteria and overhearing a group of male students having the following fairly loud conversation:
"I'm bisexual." "Yeah, I'm bisexual too." "Me too man, I think it's cool." My my, times have changed since this ol' fart was 15....How cool is THAT? :]
3) The girl who informed me that history was boring because it was "about dead people," and when I reminded her that she too would be a dead people some day, she said, "Yeah, but I'm not going to do anything important. I'm gonna be a pharmacist." Dear god, I hope she's not filling MY prescriptions one of these days.

Thanksgiving was fine, thanks, except that I had a horrible cold for the whole holiday weekend. Oh, and I can't seem to make a cherry pie that doesn't leak juice all over the place. Suggestions are welcome.