Do or Do Not.

Archive for April, 2007

Quick Bits for April 12

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  • I’m willing to grant everyone involved with the production of the kinda stinky Ocean’s 12 an Official Do-Over and pretend like Ocean’s 13 is the direct sequel to Ocean’s 11.  The trailer for O13 sure makes it look like it’s going to have all of the same qualities which made the first one so much fun — qualities which Soderbergh, et al. apparently left in their other pants when making O12.  This one’s now gone toward the top of my Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2007.  (Hmm, what’s that smell?  *snf snf*  Oh, yeah, I think that’s the smell of another blog post coming up!)
  • Hey, fans of Firefly:  Yahoo! TV has a four-minute video preview of Drive, the new show from Nathan Fillion and Tim Minear.  (The video’s on the right-hand side of the page.)  I was planning on watching this anyway just because of the presence of Fillion and Minear, but after watching the preview I’m actually interested in seeing Drive on its own merits.  OK, yeah, what little bit we saw of the battered wife was pretty cliche, but the scene with Fillion was intriguing.  Time to TiVo up!
  • Lee Iacocca has had enough from the current administration.   Yes, legendary industrialist Lee Iacocca expresses his outrage at the Republican White House — kinda says something, doesn’t it?  Iacocca rightly points out that the guys in office right now might be in charge, but they’re not showing a damn bit of leadership.  Big difference there.
  • At long, long last, the final issue of The Ultimates 2 has gone to the printer, and Marvel was kind enough to celebrate by offering a preview of Bryan Hitch’s stunning eight-page foldout spread from that issue.  I’m not sure that any comic has ever needed an interior eight-page foldout spread in it before, but I’d imagine this one does, and that Hitch artwork is simply jaw-dropping.  Personally, I’m just glad this comic’s finally coming out since that gets us that much closer to a hardcover collection, which means I can get that to go with my hardcover of the first Ultimates series.
  • The Inbox of Nardo Pace, The Empire’s Worst Engineer.

Written by Allen

April 12th, 2007 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Comic Books,Movies,Pop Culture,TV

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You Give Plasticene a Bad Name

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I still like action figures. I admit it. Yes, dammit, I’m a 36-year-old man who still digs action figures. My favorite present I got for Christmas last year was the two-pack of Superman and Batman figures based on the artwork of Ed McGuinness — of all the Superman figures I’ve ever owned, and that’s a decently high number, this one’s by far the coolest.

Also, and I think this fact has now been established beyond all doubt, I used to be into hair metal in the 80s and early 90s. But you know what? Everybody was into it back then. I feel no shame.

OK, well, only a little.

But even with my love for metal-lite and for small posable toys… I’m still somewhat disturbed by the concept of these Bon Jovi action figures.

Yes, you read that right. Bon. Jovi. Action. Figures.

There’s three scenarios I can envision that might have led to these action figures being produced, and none of the three of them will really help me sleep any better tonight. One: the people at McFarlane Toys did some market research and decided there was enough of a market for Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora dolls that it made financial sense to move forward with the project. Two: Todd McFarlane himself is enough of a Bon Jovi fan that he decided this was a project he wanted his company to put into action regardless of the potential profit involved. Three: Bon Jovi and Sambora really, really wanted to see themselves as action figures and paid McFarlane Toys to make it so.

However they came to be… I’m sorry, but these things are too lame even for me, and I’m usually not scared off by lame. Hell, I’ve been known to snuggle up in front of the fire on a cold night with a steaming hot mug of lame while wrapped in a warm blanket of goofy.

But this is where I draw the line of lame.

(You know, I’ve never really seriously considered getting a tattoo. Were I going to, the only symbol that’s ever meant enough to me to even consider getting emblazoned on my body forevermore is Superman’s S-shield. Well, I can’t do that, and you know why? Because Jon Bon Jovi has that same symbol on his right deltoid. Talk about lame — why would I possibly want to be ink brothers with this man, this handsome, internationally famous, multi-gazillionaire likely future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who’s gotten to simulate sex with Cindy Crawford? I’m sure I could find better role models than that.)

My questions about the toys’ origins aside, my other big question is this: who’s actually going to buy these things? I mean, of course, besides people named Bon Jovi or Sambora. There can’t be that many people still that rabidly passionate about these guys, right? I mean, of course, outside of New Jersey…?

And then I remembered that yes, there are still quite a number of Bon Jovi-philes out there, as is made obvious in this documentary video (now several years old, but still pertinent, I feel):

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Written by Allen

April 11th, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Posted in Music

Tagged with ,

Quick Bits for April 10

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  • Congratulations to my buddy Jeff Newberry on the birth of his new son, Ben. Ben entered this world on April 9 and immediately rolled off an impassioned version of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s cover of “Little Wing” on the miniature Stratocaster Jeff paid dearly to have the doctors insert into his wife’s womb. I hear tell she was not happy about that procedure, and less happy to have to birth the guitar as well as her son, but obviously all worked out well in the end. Congrats, Jeff and Heather, and welcome to the world, Ben!
  • Superhappy 38th to Tim “Timmy B.” Bishop, who carries in his head the entirety of the info what can be found at allmusic.com and then some. Only 731 more days until we get into whatever debauchery you decide is appropriate for your 40th, homes. You’d best get to plannin’.
  • Want some help reading your way through the interwebs more quickly? Check out Spreeder, a handy little tool which scrolls chunks of text by your eyes at whatever size and speed feels comfortable to you. They’ve also got a handy bookmarklet so you can select a hunk of text, click the link and go straight to reading said hunk at speeds heretofore undreamed of by man. Or at, like, 500 words per minute, anyway.
  • Next time I need a lawyer, I know exactly who I’m hiring to represent me: Lawyerbear.  Let’s just see the judge try to haul me off for contempt of court next time!  Ha!  Not with Lawyerbear on my side!
  • I’m not sure I have much to add to the Kathy Sierra conversation that hasn’t been said to death already, but there’s one big question that’s been bugging me: why her? What about Kathy’s site — one which existed only to help its readers, to inspire them and help them create products that would work better for their users — could inspire the hatred and death threats that ended up directed toward her? She doesn’t seem to be a particularly controversial figure and didn’t put forth the kinds of vitriolic political screeds which engender flame wars, even modest ones — especially not when compared with so many other prominent bloggers toward whom these hateful people could have targeted their bile. I haven’t read enough on the topic yet, and I’ll admit that I don’t know all sides of the story (though the pro-death-threat side would have to work awfully hard to convince me of their rightness), so please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here. But from what I know of the situation, the answer seems to be: these people essentially destroyed a meaningful chunk of Kathy Sierra’s life because she’s a woman, and because they could. That sickens me. (I’m feeling a larger First Amendment post brewing. Stay tuned.)
  • On a directly related note: The Blogger’s Code of Conduct? Yeah, good luck with that.  Getting more than a couple of bloggers to agree on anything is like counting grains of sand in the Sahara — practically impossible and ultimately futile.
  • Also, this seems like a great time to link to one of the most insightful and profound Penny Arcade strips ever.

Written by Allen

April 10th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Web

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Review: Buffy: Season Eight #2

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #2 “The Long Way Home, Part II” Joss Whedon, writer; Georges Jeanty, penciller

See, now, this is what I’m talking about. While I really liked the first issue of Joss Whedon’s continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, it didn’t absolutely thrill me. I feel like I’m praising it with faint damnation when I say that, and I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about my take on #1. It was very well done — it had some typically entertaining Whedonesque banter and solid artwork — but it felt just a little bit, I dunno, slight to me. That was to be expected, I suppose, since that first issue was almost entirely setup. We only got to catch up with a handful of old characters and were dropped headlong into an entirely new status quo, so yeah, it wasn’t superb — but then again, the seven season premieres of the TV show weren’t necessarily barnburners, either. (The season finales, though? Oh, man.)

So in the end, the first issue of BtVS:S8 was really good if not spectacular.

The second issue, though… the second issue is pure Buffy.

Now we’re starting to get more of our familiar characters back — we have Giles now, we have Andrew! — and it’s almost like they’ve never been away. Ah, but that’s not quite true: they have been away, and they’ve been growing during their absence (some a bit more literally than others). The action in the second half of this issue, for instance, demonstrates just how capable the formerly useless Xander Harris has become at leading an international squad of Slayers. (Strangely enough, the character who seems to have grown the least during the gap since the end of Season 7 is the eponymous heroine herself, though I’m sure we’ll be treated to plenty of growth opportunities for her later.)

The one aspect of this issue which grabbed me most — and I can’t imagine this should come as much of a surprise — is the dialogue. The wonderful thing about Whedon writing these characters he created and worked with for so long is that he knows how they should speak better than any other writer, so it’s almost useless saying that Buffy, Xander and the rest sound the way they’re supposed to. It might be nearly useless, but I’m saying it anyway: the words Whedon puts into their mouths strike notes so perfect that I can hear the actors reading the lines in my head. I realize that for many of you, that distinction might not be particularly profound, but normally when I read (comics, novels, whatever), all of the characters’ voices sound, well, like mine. Jeanty’s art helps — the likenesses might not be photorealistic, but they’re suggestive enough of the actors that it makes hearing their voices that much easier.

We’re only two issues in, but there’s already questions aplenty to be answered: Who’s the floaty guy stalking Buffy (and her dreams)? Who is — or was — Amy’s gross, mysterious and so far unseen survivor of the collapse of Sunnydale? (Dollars to donuts both characters have Buffyverse histories, though I honestly have no idea who either is supposed to be just yet.) And one of the biggest questions I’ve got, one that hasn’t even been directly addressed as a mystery yet: where in the hell did Buffy and company get all the money to finance this massive operation? How are they affording all of this technology, room and board for several hundred teenage girls, and at least two separate compounds (since Giles clearly is somewhere other than Buffy’s Scottish headquarters)? When I watched the original series via Netflix, I usually didn’t have more than a couple of days to wait for new episodes. Knowing it’s going to be thirty days before even getting any more hints is going to prove painful.

If you’re a fan at all of the Buffy TV series, you need to be reading this comic (or at least need to pick up the collections once they come out). So far the series feels very, very similar in tone to the show, though now they’ve got the unlimited budget only comics can provide (just imagine the last page of this issue being done anywhere near as effectively on the small screen). As my boy Timmy B., a recent Whedon convert, said today: “I can’t believe that shmuck was wasting his time in TV.”

Written by Allen

April 5th, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Her Humps

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There was a time when I really, really, really didn’t much like Alanis Morrisette. Couldn’t stand her, to be truthful. But that dislike, if I were being brutally honest with myself, wasn’t because of Morissette herself but rather because of her song “You Oughta Know” and the reaction from the media (and no small number of fans) to the song. Such a tremendous hullaballoo was made out of the fact that this woman (gasp! a woman!) was singing about these aggressively sexual acts in the song as if no female singer-songwriter had ever addressed issues of sex, jealousy, rage and revenge before. The frenzy surrounding that one song (and the near incessant radio and video play the song received for most of 1995) really turned me off of her music… even after I realized how catchy the rest of Jagged Little Pill was. [1] The more albums she sold and the more spins that record got and the more magazine covers she turned up on, the stronger my hatred for her grew.

(All of that distaste for her on my part was formed before I developed the Popular Does Not Automatically Equal Suck theory I operate under these days. Ah, the folly of youth.)

But over the last ten years or so, as she her name has become less synonymous with that one song (and, well, as I grew older), I’ve mellowed more than a bit and started to kind of dig on her. Some of her songs are actually pretty groovy, and her voice manages to be both fragile and biting at the same time, and very vulnerable — even when I have no idea what the hell her lyrics are talking about, I always feel like she feels whatever it is she’s singing.

Tonight, though… tonight my respect for Ms. Morissette increased a hundredfold:

(Click here if the video won’t show for you.)

Well done, Alanis. Well done.

(It occurred to me while listening to this song, though, that it seemed like a cover Tori Amos should have done.)

[1] Still, infernally catchy or not, please don’t get me started about the almost complete lack of irony in the song “Ironic.”

Written by Allen

April 2nd, 2007 at 11:09 pm

Posted in Music,Pop Culture