Sunday, November 30, 2003

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Books

I thought that DS9 was the best of the Treks. I could go into my overly thought out reasoning now, but I don't want to. I want to discuss some of the books.

See, I avoided the Star Trek books as a rule before the last season of DS9. I'd read a few, but they didn't have any oomph. They couldn't affect the status quo. Exciting things would happen, but in the end, the ship or station was okay and there was no change in any of the characters. (Okay, things did happen and change in Peter David's fun New Frontier books, but they don't connect to any show and therefore do not matter at the moment.) That was the case for all Trek books until DS9 ended.

The first to be released, I think, was called A Stitch in Time, written by Andrew Robinson (the guy who played Garak). The book takes the form of a letter (a 400 page letter) to Dr. Bashir about Garak's life before, during, and after DS9. Oh, and did I mention it's absolutely brilliant? Well, it is. I've read it three times now and each time I learn more about a complicated man and a complicated society. Sure, they're fictional, but they're more realistic that the people in Government here and the new governments getting set up in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As great as that book is, it doesn't really tell what happens to the station and the crew that's left after the show ended. That's where the Avatar books come in. I haven't read these in a while, but I'll try my best to give a plot. It's a month or so after the series ended, new crew has come on board. An Andorian named Shar becomes chief engineer. Kira is now the commander of the station so there's a new first officer (whose name I can't remember). Odo sends a Jem'Hadar to help protect Kira. And Ro Laren, from TNG, shows up as the new head of station security. An interesting crew, and some new prophecies. There's a strain on the treaty between the Dominion and the Federation. Oh, and there's also the U.S.S. Enterprise in the mix helping to stir things up. By the end of these two books, I knew that the DS9 corner of the galaxy had been changed and would continue to evolve along the lines. It still questions the things people do for "the good" (whatever that may be) and how a faith where the Gods do exist can effect everything.

Now, I admit, I've missed some, mostly because I do much of my book shopping at used bookstores, but I'm now onto one called Rising Son. See, in the Avatar Jake found a new prophecy that he thinks says he must enter the wormhole to bring back his father (but the prophecy only says "With the Herald, he [Jake Sisko] returns"). So he enters and is flung 5 months away from the wormhole. I'm curious as to what exactly will happen because Ben Sisko, The Emissary, does not appear on the cover. Kai Opaka does, however, appear on the cover with Jake. Has she found a way off the planet where no one can be killed? Or will it be The Emissary who does come back with Jake? I'm looking forward to finding out.

I've asked some people to get me more books following the end of the series for Christmas. If not, I'll be searching more stores come January. And you can bet some will be talked about here.

Ad Space

Did you ever notice the ad at the top of the screen? The one that claims it's from Google? If you haven't, let me tell you something about it, the things it's trying to sell us change depending on the posts. It probably thinks that because there are (hopefully) people reading these Blogs, they must be interested in the same things the writers are. Is that true? Not always, I'm sure. In my case, probably rarely.

At this exact moment, the ad on my site is about ceramics, mostly relating to bisque wear that you can buy and paint, but probably not get high fired to make it actually useable, unless you pay high prices. The ad at green apron monkey is about the election. And I've now choosen two random Blogs off of Blogger, one has an ad about music, that I think is from somewhere in the Mid East and the other has an ad about trips to places, I think, but I could be wrong. Okay, now what I really want to know is who is the guy (or gal, although that's unlikely) who goes through blogs and changes the ads on them? Or is it some computer program, but I doubt it? If it is a person, I wondering what the pay is like? Does he or she get benifits? Or is it just a minimum wage excuse to surf the internet? Either way, where do I apply?

And now for some ad fodder:

I was one of the crazies out at an ungodly hour on Friday. Yes, I was one of the pathetic in line at Wal*Mart. 5:15 was when I arrived, the line was still at a reasonable length. I brought a book because I knew I didn't want to speak with the mindless shopping drones, but I didn't even take it out of my pocket. Standing right in front of me was a women who I worked with at StarBucks, fortunately one that I liked. Her name is Jen Milbourn, she was a grade above me (and those of you who were in my grade) and she was one of the few that I was willing to listen to and talk with. Anyhow, the reason for my visit was to buy a cheap GameCube. I only kinda wanted one until last week, that was when I knew I really wanted one. It was the release of a brand new MarioKart. I'm obsessed with those games, well, all driving games in general (although the blood does make me squimish in some of them), but MarioKart was the first that I became obsessed with and it's still the best.

Okay, so I waited 45 minutes for the doors to open. I headed straight over to the electronics. I was amazing, dodging Wal*Mart employees, rows of carts in the aisles, and the insane men and women. I slalomed through the women's clothing. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Charge into electronics. I whipped around the checkout counter and spotted a huge pile of X-Boxes. I knew the GameCubes had to be nearby. I saw them. I snatched. I grabbed another. It was for Jen, she was off getting something else. The evil employee wouldn't let me out of electronics without buying them. I had to wait. I backed up against the crappy new pop music. Then I spotted Claire St. John. We chatted a bit. I forgot to ask her about her trip to China, disappointing. She left, Jen appeared. I handed her the GameCube, she went off. I went to the video games, had a more friendly Wal*Mart lady get me MarioKart. I found an extra controller and a memory card. I paid for the stuff (that employee thought the shit that was going on around us, she was laughing) and got out. I was in my car by 6:30.

A crazy day. I don't plan on ever doing it agian, but it was an experience worth having. Now I've been playing too much MarioKart, which is a great improvement over the N64 version. Much better graphics, more character, different carts, and cool special attacks.

Here's to the ad that will now be about Nintendo and MarioKart! Cheers.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

What I like on TV, Part 2.

Friends: Is anyone else out there afraid that this, the final, season is just being phoned in by everyone involved? Last season was one of the best, maybe even the best. I know I laughed hard at each episode then, but not this season. So far, two of the episodes have lived up to my expectation the season premier ("The One After Joey And Rachel Kiss") and "The One With The Cake" (Emma's Birthday). The first probably because it was played right after last season's ender, but I do so enjoy Monica's ever growing hair, the ping-pong game, and Ross and Charlie running from the palaeontologists. I like the second mostly because the baby got a penis shaped birthday cake that made Joey question his sexuality and the wind-up toy race. I sure hope that the season will get better, I doubt it, but I continue to hope. Anyway, I'll be watching until the end.

Scrubs: Like the show up above, this just isn't as funny as it was last week. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's JD's obsession with Elliot. Maybe it's Turk and Carla's wedding. Maybe it's because Rowdy hasn't humped anyone's leg. Or maybe it's because it is no longer after Friends and that forces me to either turn the TV off for an hour or watch Will and Grace. It's probably all of the above. I still like the show, though. (I laugh only a little less at this one than two that are written about down below.) I can't pick a best because, so far, they've been at about the same level each week, which is good, but doesn't make it as funny as last year. However, I can pick my favorite imagination moment, which is: the time when JD imagined himself as Carla to get The Janitor's respect. I still laugh when I think about that one.

Jackie Chan Adventures: The best cartoon on TV (that I can watch at least, since I have no cable). This season brought another new evil, but, unlike season two, it starts off with the evil in the first episode, Tarakudo, King of the Shadowkhan and Lord of the Oni. Oni are the daemons who control the Shadowkhan, but were trapped in masks thousands of years ago. Tarakudo is out to find the masks to bring all the clans of Shadowkhan and rule the world. Okay, enough with the plot, the magic of this show is in it's and wonderful characters. The best character, hands down, is Uncle, poking everybody in the forehead and always adding "One more thing." I can't go so far to say that the characters are three-dimensional, but their close. Each has hopes and fears and desperately tries to make things work out, whether the character is a hero or villain. I can't get enough of this cartoon, I hope that there's another season next year.

Xaolin Showdown: A new show, I think it started only three weeks ago, but I can't not watch it. There's something about the four stereo-type kids that appeal to me, and then the Xaolins are just plain cool with great names like Two-Ton Tunic and Shroud of Shadows. The bad guys are pretty awesome, how often do you see some spirit thing calling robots stupid? Maybe with a few more episodes I'll be able to nail down exactly what it is, but not tonight.

Lizzie McGuire: I'll admit it, I enjoy this show more than I should. It's probably the Charlie Brownieness of the show that appeals to me. Lizzie and her friends want to be popular, but keep failing, mostly because they have scruples. I can tell you the exact moment I knew I liked this show, it was when I saw a rerun of the pilot. The kids are on the bus, the girls are worried about going to a pool party and Gordo says something like, "You think you have issues with your body now? Wait until you get older. Trust me, I know. Both my parents are psychiatrists and I read their notes." Great stuff, I think. The show keeps me laughing, too bad there was a contract problem and no new shows'll be made, but there are enough episodes that haven't been rerun on ABC yet that'll make them new to me. The first episode is still the best, but the stuff that follows is still funny.

Mucha Lucha: A cartoon about professional Mexican wrestling school? Can that be any good? Yes, it can. When it first aired, I refused to watch the show because of the premise, but the art and animation intrigued me. The art is beautiful, bright colors abound, and each character is very distinct because each one has a theme for wrestling. The animation looks real smooth, for a Saturday morning cartoon. Maybe it's because they do a lot of snapping, slow movement at first then quick to finish. Maybe they spend more money, I don't know. Then I saw and episode and laughed very hard. I was shocked. The best episode is the one where Rikochet gets the French Twist (a mime)to talk, mostly because it's great watching the French Twist pretend there's a wall and then his opponent crashes into it. Runner-up is "The Littlest Luchadora."

King of the Hill: I guess I'll have to admit that I've only seen one episode so far this season, and that was last weeks. It was great. The whole idea of giving Hank testosterone is funny and then having him run with the bulls is even better. This is still one of the best shows on TV. Depending on the episode, it is the best.

Simpsons: Eh, it lost it's funny years ago. The best was the Evita parody a couple of weeks ago. I watch this show because it can be funny and it's between two great shows. I hope it gets funny again.

Malcolm in the Middle: I've been an addicted watcher since the show started. Like so many, this season isn't as funny as the others, so far. The Thanksgiving Episode, however, did live up to the previous years. Watching Malcolm get drunk then barfing in a turkey, wonderful. The funniest moment in the episode, though, was how Lois got Francis and his wife back together. Absolutely perfect.

Arrested Development: The only new show that I'm watching. It's about a family that was rich, now isn't, and still wants to live the rich life. The thing that caught me off guard in this show was the narration. I didn't think TV could do it, but this show pulls it off and Ron Howard's delivery is brilliant. The show is strange and is willing to use dry humor and now worry about the idiots who won't get it. Best new show of the season, easily. My favorite episode is the one where George Michael and Maeby are in Romeo and Juliet.

Okay, that's it for my favorite's on TV. If I wrote this next week, however, I'd be including The Bernie Mac Show, but it doesn't start until tomorrow because the Fox execs are fuckers. And I have high hope for The Tracy Morgan Show since he's the best cast member to come out of SNL in years.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I got so lucky on my way to school.

The radio in my car is now permanently tuned to NPR (until 7pm at least) and when I got in the car to go to school, I was treated to They Might Be Giants on the show "Fresh Air." They're plugging a new children's book/record, which, if it's like their last one will be freaking brilliant! I can't wait. The show was excellent. The more They Might Be Giants in the world, the better the place becomes.


Yesterday (I guess it's really two days ago now), I had to go to school early, so I wandered around campus just looking around. I ended up over at the art building looking at all the ceramic things. Some pieces were still greenwear, some had just come out of the bisque, and some were waiting for the high fire. The musky scent of moist earth hung in the air.

God, I miss that place. I miss heading over there twice a week and sinking my hand into the hard lumps of mud. I miss slapping a ball of clay down of the wheel and feeling it slide between my fingers, gently pulling and pushing on it, letting the spin of the wheel give it a shape. I miss the splatters across my chest and stomach. Hell, I even miss some of the people I met there. I guess I just miss the whole experience. There were only two things that I didn't like about those clay classes: 1 The paper I had to write to get an A instead of a B. And 2 the bossy sculpture teacher who ruined my sculpture (but I think I covered that in what I'm calling "The Crazy-man E-mail").

Maybe next semester I'll be able to sink my hands into clay again, maybe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

What I like on TV, Part 1.

Okay, sweeps is basically over and it's now time to hash out what I think about TV. Let's go down the list of shows I watch.

Everwood: After writing about how much I love Freaks and Geeks earlier this week, I felt real guilty sitting down and watching. This show is like a sadder version of Dawson's Creek, but it still tries to tell teens (I'd like to write "people" there, but it's all about teens, isn't it?) how they should be and what they should do, but I enjoy the show. The best episode so far was the one about the coal mining accident. I loved the James Earl Jones part, Art Tatum kicks ass.

Gilmore Girls: The most common complaint I read on the internet is that "no one speaks like that in real life." For me, that's part of the enjoyment of the show. It's like the way the characters speak in "Clerk," quick, witty comments that show a great vocabulary for each characters. While I was impressed with the painting episode and the "Rory writes and honest review" episode, the best has been the football game (last weeks). The drunkenness of the "adults," the goofy-ass traditions, Paris getting her picture taken, the weird-o Luke hired, and the date between Lorelei and the-guy-who-used-to-be-Malcolm-in-the-Middle's-teacher. I seriously can't get enough of this show. The best thing on the air.

Star Trek: Enterprise: The show just sucks in general. I watch it for two reasons: 1 Out of loyalty to Trek. 2 Dr. Phlox always shines. The best episode so far is the "Memento" episode, but it still wasn't very good.

Smallville: I read comics, therefore I try to support comics in other media. I was happily surprised when it was good, and it now continues to be, although I can't stand that Lana character. Easily the best episode was the one that was on last week. The commercial for it said "it's the episode where you can't miss the last five minutes." That wasn't quite true, but the very end was great. I used to think the Lex was the best character on the show, but last year the producers had his dad join the cast full time, and he's the best. The easiest way to see how great he is is by watching last weeks episode. Damn, that's one great character and a pretty good actor to boot.

Okay, that covers the first three days of the week and exactly half of the days with shows I'm addicted to. Part 2 should come tomorrow.

Not my proudest moment, but I was called to these.

Harvard You're the best -- you know it, as does everyone else (except for US News and World Report every few years). You might not be hip, you might not be pretty, but you're smart as a whip and you never need to do another impressive thing in your life.
Which Ivy League University is right for YOU? brought to you by Quizilla

You're not a classic work of art, but look! You're a page from a coloring book!
Which Classic Work of Art Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

when harry met sally
Everyone remembers the 'faked-orgasm-in-a-deli' sequence from your kind of movie When Harry Met Sally. It seems that you're falling for a buddy or have already fallen for them. Uh-oh. You're probably caught between the possibility of having a great relationship and wrecking the one you have now. You know what they say, it's better to regret something you did than something you didn't do.
What Romance Movie Best Represents Your Love Life? brought to you by Quizilla

Salvadore Dali
You paint the bizarre and surreal. No one can figure you out, and everyone has given up trying to guess what crazy thing you'll do next. Your friends look forward to whatever outrageous endeavor you will engage in next.
Which famous artist most reflects your personality? brought to you by Quizilla

You are Form 3, Unicorn: The Innocent.

"And The Unicorn knew she wasn't meant to go into the Dark Wood. Disregarding the advice given to her by the spirits, Unicorn went inside and bled silver blood.. For her misdeed, the world knew evil."

Some examples of the Unicorn Form are Eve (Christian) and Pandora (Greek).
The Unicorn is associated with the concept of innocence, the number 3, and the element of water.

Her sign is the twilight sun.

As a member of Form 3, you are a curious individual. You are drawn to new things and become fascinated with ideas you've never come in contact with before. Some people may say you are too nosey, but it's only because you like getting to the bottom of things and solving them. Unicorns are the best friends to have because they are inquisitive.
Which Mythological Form Are You? brought to you by Quizilla

Wow. You know the labyrinth as well as Jareth does..and he created it!
How Much Do You Know About The Movie Labyrinth? (With pictures) brought to you by Quizilla

You are naturally born with a gift, whether it be poetry, writing or song. You love beauty and creativity, and usually are highly intelligent. Others view you as mysterious and dreamy, yet also bold since you hold firm in your beliefs.
What Type of Soul Do You Have ? brought to you by Quizilla

Nightmare Before Christmas!
What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!) brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Shows That Deserved More Seasons #1

Since this blog is all about me and my obsession with Pop Culture, I figure I'm allowed to tell the networks and TV audiences where they fucked-up.

Today's choice: Freaks and Geeks.

For those who don't know, Freaks and Geeks was an hour long show (that balanced comedy and drama very well) on NBC during the 1999-2000 season. It was killed before all the episodes were aired. The next year it's reruns were picked up on cable (where I obsessively watched them) and then disappeared when the network changed owners.

It was about the people in high school who are not popular, hence the name. The Geeks are three boys in their freshmen year who know more about Star Wars and Star Trek than anyone else their own age. The Freaks are three guys and a girl who hang around smoking, making fun of everyone, and avoiding school at all cost. And then there's Lindsey, a Geek who is looking for more and has found her way into the Freaks by having a wit that could shave a persons head. These are who the show focused around with some interference from teachers, parents, and a guidance counselor. Oh, and it all took place in the '80s.

The more I think about this show, the more I wish it had been kept on the air. These were the people who I was and who I liked to hang out with in high school. It was nice seeing people like me getting the starring rolls on a show, for once. Sure, some of the people on the show were good looking, but they weren't made up to look perfect. Just compare the make-up on the two main girls and then the girls who played the cheerleaders.

Here are a few episodes that were my favorite (although I don't have titles, just the action):
Lindsey's first use of pot was perfect. She's babysitting high and starts to get paranoid and asks her old friend (from when Lindsey was more of a geek) to help. I love the moment when she sees the dog sleeping and asks, "What if we're all just this dogs dream?"
Nick (a major rocker with the worlds largest drum set, something like 23 pieces) meets a girl into disco and joins disco dancing contests with her and on his own. There's an appearance from Joel from MST3K that surprised me.
Bill harasses the PE teacher by prank calling him and telling him he's "a butt-patter!"
And finally, the episode where Lindsey and Sam's parents are concerned that the music Lindsey is listening is ruining her. They randomly choose The Who, The Who By Numbers, and play "Squeeze Box." Their mother enjoys the tune, humming along, but the dad freaks out and only hears that it's about sex. "It's dirty!" he cries when he hears "She goes in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out."

My desire for a second season died over three years ago, but there is new hope. Over on the producers are trying to get people to sign up promising to buy the series if it's released on DVD because they need to be sure enough money will be paid so they can get the rights to all the amazing music that's appeared on the show. Here's hoping it'll be soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2003


I am most like...

[which freaks and geeks character are you?]
[Take the Freaks and Geeks character quiz]

This frightens and confuses me. I was expecting Bill, Sam, or Lindsey.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I heard a thousand voices scream out in terror.

Perhaps I read to much movie gossip (only on one site, though!), but when I read this stuff, I got nervous.

Monday, November 17, 2003

What to do?

There are people out there that I know, not well, who are dying or already dead and I don't know what to do about it.

I suppose I've been lucky. The only deaths in my family, that I've been alive for, have been great-grand parents. It was obviously their time to go, they were very old. I barely remember the first that went. The second just went two months ago.

Neither brought me closer to a so called "god." Neither made me want to find religion. The most recent was more of a relief because watching someone die slowly isn't fun, even if it isn't accociated with a disease. Many reations told me that she was "in a better place now" and I couldn't help but think that she had a pretty good place here, what could be better? I didn't say it because we were minutes away from the keg that was at the memorial luncheon (dinner? Whatever!).

How does a person deal with this? Do I say, "I'm sorry" like so many do? I don't understand that phrase at a death. I could say, "Pray for [insert pronoun here]," but I wouldn't mean it and I'm sure that phrase has become utterly useless now to all involved. What can be said? What can I do? "Be there"? Shit, that lost meaning to me before I ever had it said to me. "Be there." I don't understand. Help?

I feel sick.

I need to sleep.


Sunday, November 16, 2003

New Programs

I got my Macromedia programs Thursday night. I loaded them on the computer Friday and started playing with Flash.

I have one animation, made with shapes in the program. It's a ball bouncing across a sidewalk, or street, and changing colors as it does. I gave it a shadow that gets dimmer and larger as the ball gets higher. Now I'm trying to make my commercial for the contest. Everyone I've told the idea to, and everyone my dad has told it to (which is many more than I have), and is more libral minded think it's a funny idea, but agree that it's crude. I've run ito many problems with the animation. I'm getting a book to help me, hopefully that'll help me.

Oh, is there something wrong with Crumpled?

Tonight's Simpsons or "I thought Madonna owned this one."

Tonight's Simpsons was spectacular. I think it was the best episode in the past three years (not counting the Halloween episodes). I swear that I can not remember almost any episode that was released in many seasons, the show's just not as good as it once was, but this episode has given me hope for the fifteenth (I think) season.

For those who had no idea until the episode ended, it was a brilliant parody of Evita by Tim Rice (good) and Andrew Lloyd Weber (overrated). As soon as Lisa opened her mouth to sing the first song, I knew what it was and burst out laughing. The best was the song during her makeover. The line "Osh-Kosh B'gosh me" had tears in my eyes, I got the hiccups.

There's something about musical parodies that get my humor rising. I'm sure it's more work for the writers, but I want more. Or an original musical episode, like the one on Futurama last year, that was brilliant. Give me more.

Now, you, READ this now and think about it.

About the Moon

"You should call it blue belle luna cafe" --Your Bro

I didn't choose the name, the teacher did. She did let me pick "Cafe," though. It could have been bistro. Ugh!

"Don't much care for the way that the stringy (spaghettiesque) graphc ties into the text." --SlackBastard

The spaghetti added character. At first it was just the moon and the text, kinda boring. Short spaghetti didn't work, it had to be long enough so a person could tell what it's supposed to be.

"are you limited on how many different color you can use?" --wingb

I could only use two colors (for those who don't know, black is a color). I choose this orangy color (and it is only one color, just different intensities of the color) because it was different enough to make me look at it a second time and the yellow made the moon look more like a bannana.

"oh...hate the moon''s lips...too big" --wingb

Anytime I draw a face (in my own cartoony way), I draw big lips. I can't help it, I like drawing big lips. They add character, I think.

"the moon seems rather puzzled by the spaghetti" --~o

Not happy? I had another version where the moon was slurping spaghetti. It's mouth was in an "O" shape with a noodle dangling below. My teacher said it looked like a worm.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Marvel at my graphic art ability! Today's picture is from my InDesign class. The project: Design a logo for a new restaurant that can go on the menus, business card, and a newspaper add. Here it is:

Bela Luna

What do you think? Can you tell what kind of a restaurant it is? Do you think it just too? Or is it not enough? Tear it apart!

Raising the Dead and other stories

Someone wants to learn embalming. I'm guess it's so she can utter incantations over the cleansed bodies and raise them to create an army of undead, probably so they can steal more shoes, better shoes, more expensive shoes. Not the best reason to raise the dead (that belongs to this guy and his bid for the presidency three years ago), but a good enough reason. However, I support her and her desire to raise the dead, because it's always better to be on the winning side, right? At the very least, kissing her ass may get me my very own zombie to order around. Comic shops beware, you cannot stand up against my drippy-fleshed army of one! (I say drippy-fleshed because I don't expect her to give me a properly embalmed/raised zombie. If I were her, I'd keep all the good ones for myself, wouldn't you?)

Elsewhere in California, I got an e-mail from a person who's been to Australia and isn't in my links over to the right. While I haven't gotten any details yet, I know that she was there for longer than the other two, and had no business to attend to. I expect she saw more then. If you want to bombard her with questions why don't you send her lots of questions, then send the answers to me since I'm sure that I'll forget to ask lots of things.

Saw a movie last night. No, it was not the new Matrix. I will not see that until someone asks me to go. I figured since I didn't really like the first one and outright hated the sequel I won't much like the third one. However, I've told myself many times that if someone wants to go see a movie (that I haven't seen yet) I'll go check it out with them. So far, the Matrix sequel has been the worst movie I've seen under this policy. I've been lucky. Anyhow, the movie I saw is called Winged Migration. It's about birds flying (and swimming) in their yearly migration. The filmmakers must have filmed fifty different species and it was amazing. One shot, they followed a duck through a canyon-thingy. No cut-aways and, according to the opening credits, no special effects while filming the birds flying. How they got so close to these flying birds, I'll probably never know, but it was great to watch.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Mom's Website

Okay, now I want to know what you people think about the setup and layout and format and any other synonyms for my mom's website for myself. (Except for from you Mom, I know what you think.) I'm curious to know what you people think make a good website and whether I came close to acheiving. Oh, and I'd rather have you e-mail me, just so I can get more letters.

For those who don't know, or weren't paying attention, I built those pages using HTML only. That is a pain in the ass, trust me. Now I have a problem working with DreamWeaver, especially the tables. Damn, aren't those WYSIWYG progams supposed to be easier than code?

In a loose transition from DreamWeaver, today I ordered a Macromedia Studio MX 2004 so I could get a full version of Flash (and the other programs to play with) to create an animated commercial for a contest. I think I have a funny idea, but it's probably too crude to win. Maybe I'll strike a chord with someone out there, though, and be able to weasle my way into writing for crappy TV and other entertainment related crap.

One can wish, can't one?

Monday, November 10, 2003


My mom's website is finally up. She's been fooling with it all afternoon, after I was fooling with it for about ten weeks. At least it's up, though. If a link doesn't work, or somthing about it just doesn't work for you, e-mail her.

Friday, November 07, 2003

An odd letter to Terry Brooks

Mr. Brooks,

I have a problem with you. It's nothing personal, since I've never met your ex-lawyer ass. My problem isn't even with your writing style. In fact, I've been a fan of how you write since 7th grade when The Sword of Shannara appeared in the school library. I've read every novel you've written, including the adaptation of Hook, and I'll probably read everything you write in the future (except, maybe, for another Star Wars adaptation, ugh).

If I'm such a fan, what's my problem, right? I'll tell you.

My problem is with the last four books you've written and the next two to come. For those who don't know, or care, they all took place in the world of Shannara and are, in general, based around creating a new Druid counsel so peace can be brought to the Four Lands, the first three were a trilogy (The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara), and the newest will also be a trilogy (High Druid of Shannara). Usually, I'm a huge fan of trilogies, but only when each book can stand on it's own. I like it when there are connections between the books, leading to an ultimate conclusion together, but I want the books to stand on their own enough to feel like within the 300+ pages there is a beginning, middle, and end.

Look at your other Shannara groupings: The original trilogy had seemed to be more of an after thought, loosely connected by using the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the very first book. Fun books, but not a trilogy like Asimov's Foundation. Now, The Heritage of Shannara (even though it's four books) is more my idea of a trilogy. The first book brings together all the main characters then divides them on the quests. Next two are for individual characters. Fourth finishes the quests and brings the characters back together to end the trilogy. Each book stands strongly on it's own. Even if they are read out of order, which is what I did, a reader can understand everything that's going on.

The best trilogy you've written was The Word & the Void. (This trilogy is the best to support how I want trilogies to be written, and just the best in general. I've read it three times and each time it's better.) Each book stands strongly on its own and can be read without knowledge from the other books. Sure, knowing exactly what happened in the fist book is useful to the third, but not absolutely necessary. I like how each book builds on the tension from the last book, but knowing specific plot points isn't necessary.

This is not how the last two trilogies you've written (are writing) work. These series seem to be one novel split-up into three books to make more money. Sure, if the books were put into one volume, it would be 1000+ pages, but that's the way they should be read. Hell, that's the way The Sword of Shannara is written.

You may say to that this would apply to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but at least he built up to a climax before he ended the book. I just finished Jarka Ruus and didn't find any major build-up in action or tension at the end of the book. Yes, there were tense moments and scenes with action, but where was the major conflict between two characters? Where was the emotional conflict? Yes, I know that there is some conflict in there, but it's not major. In fact, it's hardly in the book at all. I guess the conflict is coming in the second book, right? So, I have to wait a year to get a sense of tension, that's not right, especially for those of us who buy the books in hardback.

You're not the only author doing this. Since Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan has written this same way. There has been no major build-up of conflict or tension in the past four books. I want the book coming in December to be better about that, but I'm not getting my hopes up too much, and I suppose I'll let the world know when I finish reading the book.

Every time I think about this problem, I tell myself that I just shouldn't buy books written by you, and others, anymore. But I can't stop myself. I like your world too much. I enjoy learning the history of worlds that aren't the one that I live in, even if it means I'll be spending $60-$75 (or much more in the case of Jordan) to get the conflict I desire.

Thursday, November 06, 2003


Today, I got the greatest compliment that I've ever gotten. Ever since I read it, I've been obsessing over it and every time I think about it, I grin. I can't help it. Even now. I don't think I've been in this good a mood since April. Damn.

Thats all I wanted to say.

Smallville-"1961" or "Major Make-out Time"

Smallville-"1961" or "Major Make-out Time"
Is there anyone else out there who wants to grab Lana Lang by here pretty little head and shake her yelling, "GET A PERSONALITY! YOU'RE BORING! CAN'T YOU AT LEAST PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING OTHER THAN A GOOD GIRL CLICHE?" Probably not many, but the more screen time she gets, the more annoying she is to me. I swear the creators were just sitting around, pulled out their copy of The Little Big Book of Character Personalities and choose "Good Girl Personality #3" from page 54. Lazy bastards. Pretty face, perky breasts, and no personality don't make an interesting character, that's the biggest problem with most TV and many movies.

Onward to the actual episode.

First half of the episode, very weak. Second half, much stronger. It all begins with Lana visiting her great-aunt's former husband in prison (the great-aunt happens to look exactly like Lana). He was put there because he was found guilty of killing his wife, he denies it, of course, and accuses some guy who drifted though Smallville 40 years ago. Lana sees a picture of the drifter, that happens to look exactly like Clark and bring it to him saying, "It could be your father." That gets Clark interested and he once again visits the (cue eerie music) cave. There he gets a piece of metal and memories. Now, when he touches certain things, he gets even longer flashes of memories.

The memories he gets in the beginning are mostly a lame love story between the aunt and the drifter. There's a long make-out scene in a barn, with a steady-cam that goes in several circles around the kissers, that probably had many a fanboys drooling. Eventually, somewhere near the half-hour mark, auntie gets shot by someone who isn't a drifter and isn't her husband. Gasp! There, I've ruined the suckey parts of the show.

Now the episode gets decent. Clark wants to bring the truth to light. I can't tell you how, because if you didn't see the episode you probably don't care, and if you did you probably hate my rant on Lana, and therefore you hate me. But the conclusions is very satisfying, and in a wonderful appearance, the Cigarette Smoking Man from X-Files is the Mayor of Smallville. I wish that he'd come back to the show, but Smallville has a horrible habit of not bring back characters. Hell, I doubt that Perry White will be back, even though he's played by Ma Kent's real life husband.

Oh well.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Star Trek: Enterprise-"Twilight" or "Star Trek: Memento"

Earlier today, I read the Coax on this episode, and I didn't want to believe what I read. So, of course, I had to actually watch it for myself. And, on many points, Herc was right, although this episode had no Hoshi in a short dress, it was better than anything this series has put out this season.

(Oh, and I'd like to say how nice it is to see the words "Star Trek" in the title of this show. Those two words should have been there from the very beginning.)

Why, oh why, are some of the best episodes of any Star Trek episodes with much great action that is meaningless to the actual momentum of the show? Let me give you some of the rundown of the ones that I really like:
TOS-"City on the Edge of Forever"
TNG-"Yesterday's Enterprise"
DS9-"The Visitor" (The best reset episode by Star Trek.)
Voyager-"Before and After"
Unfortunately, all of these great episodes had very little to do with the future of the series (maybe not "Yesterday's Enterprise," but that whole thing was more weird than good).

Anyway, this episode mostly takes place twelve years in the future with Archer hearing about what's happened in the past. See, twelve years ago, one of those visual distortions hits the ship and hurts Archer, causing him to lose the ability to transfer his short term memory to long term. In the time after the goofy distortion the weapon of mass destruction (the one Bush can't find) is built and used to destroy Earth. Humans are down to about 6000 people, and no alien species (i.e. Vulcans) won't help. All the people are now on one planet hoping that the Xindi won't attack with several ships and wipe out humankind forever. (Which high-up asshole in the galaxy thought up that?) One of the things that makes this a stand-out episode is the greatness that resets back to the status-quo. I liked the trick.

The lady who plays T'Pol was wonderful this week. She almost out Vulcaned Nimoy. In this episode, she was playing an extremely emotional being who was suppressing them. Watch her when grey haired Archer comes out of the bedroom and she knows she has to explain the past, and the moment that Ambassador Soval even mentions Archer. Maybe I haven't been paying much attention to her acting in the past, but I think this was her best episode since the one with the mind meld.

As for the captain, Scott Bakula isn't a very good actor. He's always stiff and uncomfortable looking. He's like a little kid who doesn't know if he should keep his hands in his pockets or just at his side. He bothers me. All the captains from the previous shows can out act him and the cast Bakky works with are all better actors.

So, I enjoyed this episode. Best one of the season, so far, even if it doesn't really count in the rest of the Xindi "story-line."

By the way, I think this show should be called "Star Trek: Dr. Phlox." He's the best reason to watch the show. Every scene Phlox is in, he's the one that shines. John Billingsley is easily the best actor on the show. Check out his book club, now that's fun.


Maybe I'm an idiot, but it's fun fucking with a few of you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Two For Free

When I started this blog, I started another over at Livejournal, but didn't tell anyone about it because I was hoping that people would drift to it in the way "eCommunities" are supposed to. Unfortunately, no one has drifted my way. What's the problem? Do I have to join some community and post and hope that it draws people?

I don't want to do that. It's so much work.

I don't even want to be loved over there, I just want to be read. I want to be read by people who don't know me. I want those people to tell other people to tell other people and on and on until someone is willing to pay me to write and actually does.

Dream on, Josh, dream on.

PS I'm not telling my other username. If you find it, congrats.

Into the Woods

Right now, as I write, my favorite musical is Into the Woods. I thought it was Caberet but as much as I love The MC and Sally, I have to say that, at least for now, Little Red Ridinghood and The Baker are just right for me at the moment.

For those of you who don't know, or hate musicals all together, Into the Woods is a story about our favorite fairytale people. These characters aren't taken from Disney, they're straight from their Grimm beginnings. Cinderella's sisters cut their feet and lose their eyes. Rapunzel's Prince is blinded by thorns. And one of the main characters is killed. It was written and originally directed by James Lapine (I meantion his direction because I have the soundtrack and this is what I'm working off of) and the lyrics and music are by Stephen Sondheim (who did the lyrics to West Side Story).

There are two things that make this play so wonderful: 1. The fact that this play is willing to take, what most like to think of as, kids stories and make them much more adult. And 2. the music.

The music was not what I expected, not traditional, harmonic, simple tunes, but hard, somtimes dissonant tunes. If you want to learn the songs, you really have to listen because the music and lyrics don't alway follow the same track, but are beautiful togeter. At first, I thought it was just the strength of the performers, but the more I listen, the more I think that the performers are using the strenght of the songs to make their performances even better.

As for the play being more adult, the song that really stands out to me is Little Red Ridinghood's "I Know Things Now." When I first heard it, it struck me as an innocent song about Red facing her fears and learning not to stray from her path, but the more I hear it, the more I think it's about her first sexual experience. First, the title. What sort of things does she know? That a wolf is dangerous? She already knew that. Then there are lines like "And he showed me things, / Many beautiful things / That I hadn't thought to explore." Take a guess at what she hadn't explored and the things he showed her. These lines "Once his teeth were bared, / Though, I really got scared-- / Well, excited and scared" who wasn't "excited and scared" the first time they had sex? I know that I was. Sometimes when I listen, I think the sex is consentaul, other times rape becuase the guy is a wolf, a predator, and rape seems more likely. Hell, when she meets the wolf in "Hello Little Girl" (a couple of songs before Red's) he as he "devours her with his eyes, mutters to himself":
Grandmother first,
Then Miss Plump...
What a delectable couple
Utter perfection--
One Brittle, one supple...
And then he ends the song with "Goodbye, little girl, / And hello..." These songs aren't just about eating her in the food sense, as much as some may insist they are. Red even sums up the lesson her tale is supposed to embody when she sings:
Do not put your faith
In a cape and a hood
They will not protect you
The way that they should
Toatally two of my favorite songs because they mean so much more than what's just on the surface.

Other songs that are, what I consider, the bes, but not very sexual, except one, are these: "Prologue: Into the Woods," "Giants in the Sky," "On the Steps of the Palace," "Agony" (the second one), and "No More." I can't say what I thinks so amazing about these, they just give me chills every time I listen to them.

Oh, and my favorite line in the enter play is "Once upon a time-- / later"

Monday, November 03, 2003

Five Days

I woke up this morning to snow. Not a thick layer, just a dusting on my car that was slowly melting because of the rain. Last Wednesday I was wearing shorts to class in the morning. Weird weather.


That is all.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

A Wonderfully Horrible Idea

It came to me while I was doing dishes. An idea that I first thought was horrible, then I realized that if I had friends in the TV business it would probably be marketable. Awful.

I call it Rivendell High.

We all know what happens in the end of The Lord of The Rings, but what were Sam, Frodo, and all the rest like when they were in high school? That's what this animated show's about.

Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry are Freshmen and the only Hobbits at Rivendell High (a boarding school that was originally for Elfs, of whom there are the most, Humans and Dwarfs were eventually allowed in, and finally, with these four, Hobbits), are unpopular, and seem to attract trouble like iron to a magnet, but they are all destined to greatness, right? It's thier first time away from the Shire, but they have more than enough Shire in them to drive the other students and the teachers nuts. They don't mean to cause trouble or "borrow" things, it's just what being a Hobbit is about and it's about time Rivendell learned to adjust.

With the help of some seniors, Aragorn AKA "The Stride" (an aloof and dirty, handsome ranger in training), Gimli (loudmouth dwarf who's the fiercest fighter and fiercest friend you could want), Legolas (archery champ and the least popular Elf in school because he hangs out with a Dwarf), and the mega-popular Arwen (the principal's daughter and Aragon's squeeze), the Hobbits are out to foil the plots of History of Middle-Earth teacher Saruman, and his favorite student Wormtongue, who wants to take over the school from Principal Elrond and his Assistant-Principal\Magic teacher Gandalf. Some other teachers include: Bilbo, Poetry and Song; Galadriel, Healing and Herb Lore; Tom Bombadil, Creatures of Middle-Earth; and Thodin, Horsemanship.

When the Hobbits and their friends aren't foiling the plots of Saruman and Wormtongue they are out to keep the school from losing to Mordor High School, where the evil Headmaster Sauron is out to defeat Rivendell in everything with his hordes of under-educated Orc and others of their ilk.

And lurking around the school is the mysterious Gollum, always searching for his Precious, but never finding it or any help from the students he meets.

There you have it. My horrible idea for Saturday morning's newest hit. I know you'd be curious, even if you would never admit to actually watching. Don't even try to deny it.