stalking:
the beat
bookslut blog
cashmilliondollars
dude. man. phat.
defamer
jane espenson
josh friedman
neil gaiman
tim goodman
molly ivins
listen, lady...
lj friends
mastodon city
pc petri dish
theo's gift
warm your thoughts
wil wheaton
xoverboard

doing:
SMRT-TV
los angeles
knitting
web design

writing:
bookslut
ostrich ink
HEARTtaker
screenplays

reading:
John Bowe (ed):
Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs
Gail Simone:
Birds of Prey
Sarah Vowell:
Take the Cannoli
Howard Zinn:
People's History of the U.S.

listening:
kcrw
woxy

watching:
The Daily Show
Prison Break
The Office (US)
Lost
Kitchen Confidential
Veronica Mars

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Some premiere dates you might care about

Okay, here is what I realized today -- with the exception of my boy Jon Stewart and Scrubs, I have no plans to watch any returning shows from last season. Some were canceled (Angel), some got bad (West Wing), and some were great last season, but are now running up against my newfound disinterest in teenagers (Joan of Arcadia, The O.C.). And in the end, it's nice to just cut bait and try some new stuff.

I love pilot episodes and premieres, see, and so it's time to start paying attention to reviews and jotting down premiere dates. I doubt I'll seriously watch more than two of these regularly, but I'll TiVo some of the others, just in case. Trying new things is awesome, after all.

September 12
Jack & Bobby (9 PM) sounds like the perfect marriage of cheesy WB teen angst and political drama, and the producers (including Greg Berlanti, Thomas Schlamme, and Brad Meltzer) are quality. Plus, it sounds like there'll be fast-forwards into the future, where one of the young lads in question is El Presidente. And you know what that might mean?

You guessed it. Flying cars!

September 13
Here it is, all spelled out: I am shallow. Blair Underwood is very pretty. And that's all the justification I need for L.A.X. (10 PM).

September 22
Look, I'm not saying that I think Lost (8 PM) will be any good. But David Fury was one of the great Buffy writers and the cast is chock full of nerd favorites (including Dominic Monaghan, Terry O'Quinn, Harold Perrineau, and Daniel "Bad-ass" Dae Kim). Alias is reliably entertaining, you know. This'll probably be crazy kinds of fun.

September 29
I keep hearing amazing things about Kevin Hill (9 PM). Amazing enough to warrent watching the pilot.

October 3
Honestly, if it weren't for Felicity Huffman I wouldn't pay a lick of attention to Desperate Housewives (9 PM), a show that seems primed for prime-time soap opera status, and thus utterly annoying to me. But it could also be a cool surprise. So we'll see.

Note the lack of sitcoms or reality shows. I'm thinking of watching the new season of The Apprentice, because while I'm not a fan of the genre, I do enjoy compelling, well-made television. And Mark Burnett has proved to be great at that... So I'll see.

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So last night, I was driving home and did something I wasn't necessarily planning to do -- I switched on the RNC on NPR, right in the middle of McCain's speech:

My friends, we are again met on the field of political competition with our fellow countrymen.

It is more than appropriate, it is necessary that even in times of crisis we have these contests, and engage in spirited disagreement over the shape and course of our government.

We have nothing to fear from each other.

We are arguing over the means to better secure our freedom, and promote the general welfare.

But it should remain an argument among friends who share an unshaken belief in our great cause, and in the goodness of each other.

We are Americans first, Americans last, Americans always.

Let us argue our differences.

Yeah. I liked that.

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Monday, August 30, 2004

Did you know that it's surprisingly hard to find Wet Shots of Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice?

Aren't you glad I'm around, to handle these sorts of conundrums for you?

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Man. I'm a petty bitch when caffeinated.

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In the name of procrastination...

...I wish to inform you all that a total jackass who was unspeakably mean to me in high school is now FAT.

FAT FAT FAT. And still living at home with his parents!

HAHAHAHAHA! MINE IS AN EVIL LAUGH.

God bless Friendster.

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The wonderful world of comics history

Note: This entry contains spoilers for Astonishing X-Men #4

One of the perils of being a late entry into the world of true comics nerdiana is being hopelessly behind on pretty much every long-running comic book. I'm familiar with the characters of the X-Men and DC universes due to long-time exposure to cartoons and film, but say the names Madelyne Pryor or Deathstroke to me and I become all sorts of blank.

This doesn't keep me up nights, necessarily, but when a book structures a huge reveal around the reappearance of a character I didn't even know was dead, I can't help but feel a little left out. Fortunately for me and my kind, there is the Internet, where it becomes very easy to learn the complete history of superheroes. And what I discovered while reading about the life and times of one Piotr Rasputin? Reading these histories in summarized form is truly hilarious.

Big moments for Colossus include:

  • "When [Anya] was attacked by her fatherís men and Piotr transformed into Colossus right before her eyes to deal with them, Anya was rather shocked and felt deceived by him. She accused Piotr of lying and, before running out on him, claimed that a man of steel could not have a heart. Piotr thought long and hard about what she had said but then decided she was wrong and moved on."

  • "During a time when the X-Men were visiting a native tribe in the Savage Land, Piotr witnessed three young women being attacked by a dinosaur. He rushed in to help them but one of the savages was beyond help and died of her injuries. Later that night, after the victim was buried, the other two women, Nereel and Shakani, approached Piotr to join them in a final ritual. They took him to a small island, where they started to kiss him, Colossus was confused, but Nereel explained that her tribe believed the best way to honor a fallen friend is to create a new life, especially with such a strong and noble outlander to bring new blood into their tribe. At first, Piotr tried to resist, but the two ladies did not back down from their intent and finally he gave in and made love for the first time in his life."

  • "During a mission in space, the X-Men were injected with Brood embryos which were slowly metamorphosing them into sleazoids from the inside. The certainty that they was going to die a horrible death, caused the relationship of Piotr and Kitty to get more intense. Despairing, Kitty asked Piotr to make love to her for the first, and probably last, time. Piotr declined, telling Kitty he cared too much for her to go through something so special under such awful conditions. Instead, they held each other that night and, the next day, successfully fought the Brood Queen on the alienís homeworld and were freed from the embryos by the Acanti, a race of space whales that had been oppressed by the Brood for eons."

Doncha just love comics?

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So I found Nirvana in San Francisco this weekend, and it was truly glorious. But because I need to finish this thing I'm writing, I'll let Asa tell you all about it.

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Friday, August 27, 2004

Okay, screw it. I need caffeine, I need a nap, and I need to drive north tonight without dying (impromptu trip -- what they tend to call whirlwind -- thus no time for anything except the road, museums, and perhaps a few fleeting hours of rest). There's only time for two out of those three things, so I officially give up on trying to write anything coherent here, and instead suggest that you all go read this, as it's the most interesting thing I've read all week.

Have a good weekend, all. Be excellent to each other.

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Streaming

This morning started in a hurry, but when I got to work I checked my email and my dad told me about how close we are to flying cars. I've been talking about flying cars for weeks now, to friends and others. I'm eager. I'm waiting. It's good to know that Science is on it. Though Science has a lot on its plate.

Yesterday was surreal to the point of strange. A full day of work, followed by a quest to a Valley comic book store I'd never visited. The punk there who sold me Astonishing X-Men #4 annoyed me, and thus instead of standing around and reading the issue of Identity Crisis I haven't yet consumed, I went to my car and read X-Men and the carry-around book in my purse, which this week is about a diabetic woman riding her bike to Alaska. The sun set as I did so, low and soft against the rolling hills and strip malls of Studio City. I didn't want to get out of my car because it was parked behind a pub that threatened towing, so I endured the stale air for the sake of fiction. I was a sprawl, a stain on the back seat. The white-bright street light flickered on eventually.

I was in my car reading because at 8:17, I went from Studio City to Los Feliz for Ostrich Ink publicity-related antics, which over the course of the evening lead me into the bathrooms of The Snake Pit and the Rainbow, the Hustler store, and the Tower Records on Sunset. It also lead me into the waiting arms of two drinks. "Liz, you are unsmiling today," someone has remarked. I tried my best to grin.

I thought tonight would be quiet -- refilled plastic bottles of water, microwave popcorn, laundry. Instead, I have been convinced that Mozart and the Hollywood Bowl are worth the price I will be paying, which is nothing. Free tickets are lovely, as is the Hollywood Bowl, and anyways I'm out of laundry detergent.

I'm also out of shampoo and light bulbs. All week, I've been switching my one remaining bulb between the lamp at my door and the lamp at my bedside. It's a hassle, but necessary. The lamp at my door is turned on upon my arrival at home or the arrival of dusk -- whichever happens last -- and remains on while I putter around and write and read and knit long scarves while watching Star Trek. I turn on the lamp at my bedside at bedtime -- the light is low, and I've fallen asleep under its warmth more times than I can count, the book du soir falling from limp fingers onto the pillow beside me.

Maybe I'll try and go home now, buy detergent and light bulbs and shampoo before the concert. Maybe I'll even have time to take a shower, drying off and moisturizing in the bright light, before preparing the load of laundry I'll start washing after I return home, Mozart still ringing in my ears.

Or maybe not.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

OMG! Samantha Bee is Canadian!

No wonder she's the only funny woman they've ever had on the show!

Time to do some MeWork now. Screw these people who give me money. Screw the internet. Screw distractions. Screw cookies.

Wait -- cookies. Mmmm, cookies.

I'll do MeWork in a minute.

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Ah, Farscape. We missed you baby. We really did.

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Oh, Al Franken. I admire your spirit, but "no way, dude?" Dude, when was the last time you visited this coast?

For what it's worth, we would have accepted "Hell no, asshole," or "Fuck no, dude." Though it's hard to rally the kids around that one.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

So LA Blogs just linked to a post I wrote on blogging that I had reclassified as a draft after posting, because it really is a draft -- the piece's quality and completeness are pretty suspect. And I want to add more, at some point, about the passivity that blogging brings to personal relationships and other issues I don't really touch on enough; Caz tells me I should write this up thoroughly for Salon and I might give that a shot.

But in the meantime, take a look, comment, and encourage me to really finish it.

Because you know what I need? A new writing project.

So much writing to do. And work's been busy today! I've had to do things!

The nerve.

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Yet more about folklore.
This site seems to be dense indeed.

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Your daily dose of minutiae

This morning I took a scrap of paper that bore the name and email address of the person who makes VHS tapes of Unnamed Hit Sitcom, and I crumpled it into a ball. This proved to be difficult, as the paper was thick and uninclined to form a spherical shape, but I persevered until it was roughly the way it needed to be.

I then took the rubber bands that have accumulated over the past two months, wrapped around the twice-daily deposits of mail, and started wrapping.

My rubber band ball is roughly the size of a jawbreaker now, and bounces erratically. I have hopes of it achieving the circumfrence of a cue ball by the end of the season.

It's a slow day.

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Friday, August 20, 2004

This is more for me than for you, but those interested in gender issues might be intrigued by the misogyny of sportstalk.

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Keen eyes will probably have observed that there's a new category in the sidebar, specifically for things that I am doing. I do things now, you know. I am active.

And one of the things I do now is knit, so I've added that. But because there's no powerhouse knitting site on the net, I figure that the link that is there can just be a kind of "knit site of the month" deal. Stores I like, articles or books that are helpful, interesting patterns I might want to work on...

Like some of these scandalous knitting ideas.

For adults only. Why? Because they're HAWWWT.

My favorite? The edible thong.

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And on a political note, this is why I'm voting for John Kerry.

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Mastodon City presents The Olympic Village.

And it is genius.

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Public Service Announcement

This is more a rough outline for something that I should write in full at some point. But this isn't some point, this is now, and this is what I have to say.

I've been putting a record of my life online for four years now. I think. Something like that. Right now I'm probably getting the most traffic I've ever gotten, with an approximate average of 80 hits a day (most of which consist of people interested in finding out whether or not Jonathan Brandis was gay, but I digress). Over the course of those four years, I have occasionally pissed off people, hurt people's feelings, and found that the barriers between my personal life (my "real" life as it were) and my online life were much thinner than I could possibly imagine.

I'm not saying I'm an expert on this subject or anything. But I do know a bit of something about blogging; the way it can impact how you interact with the world -- and the way the world interacts back. If you blog with focus -- making your site specific to movies, politics, sports, etcetera -- then little of this applies to you. But most everyone ends up writing about themselves at some point, especially bloggers. Because blogging is more than a little narcissisic.

So:

Some things to keep in mind as you blog

  1. People are going to read what you write. Repeat that one to yourself. People are going to read what you write. This is, ostensibly, why you are blogging. If you were only interested in writing down the details of your daily life, well, you wouldn't need to post those details on the internet, would you?

  2. You have little to no control over who actually does read your blog. If you're a LiveJournal user, of course, you have many levels of security at your disposal, but a lot of people are just squatting in cyberspace, hanging out their shingles and letting it all out. Unless you refuse to be listed on search engines and keep the URL secret and use an alias and an easily disguised email address and personally inform only those individuals you wish to read your blog, then your blog can be found, and you need to read the next part carefully. if you're writing a blog, and if you're serious about keeping certain people in your life from reading your blog, it's your responsibility to determine who sees it.

  3. It's a kick, of course, to get an email from a girl in rural Arkansas who marvels at a thing as mundane as hiking down Sunset Boulevard. But it's another kind of kick to receive a package, mailed to your apartment, from a man you cut out of your life four years previously. Google is a real thing and people are very good at using it. Be careful with personal details.

  4. Be careful with the personal details of other people, as well. The one major faux pas I've committed over the course of blogging involved betraying a friend's confidence by relating something said regarding someone else -- a someone else I wasn't aware read my blog. I have regretted this mistake, however small it was, for years. Because while I might have made the choice to sacrifice some small amount of privacy to the online gods, my friend hadn't had that option. Plus, I forgot...

  5. Assume everyone is reading your blog. Everyone. The Secret Service. Your best friend. Your roommates. That guy you made out with at that party that one time. That girl you stood up. Your grandfather. Your mom. Blogging has, among other things, reinvented high school slam books on a grand scale, and it's tempting to use the medium to bitch surrepticiously about your lame-ass friends and your mean boss and your clueless parents (note to Liz's friends, boss, and parents: you are not any of those things). But here's my rule of thumb -- say nothing about nobody that you wouldn't say to their faces. And when you feel the need to talk about somebody, bring it up with them personally as well -- call, meet at a cafe, email or IM them. COMMUNICATE. Because it absolutely sucks to stumble across a friend's previously unknown blog and read what they really think about you (and remember -- people are naturally curious, and they will click on links in profiles or remember a URL you mentioned at a party or test an odd email domain name). And, speaking of communication...

  6. Assume no one is reading your blog. There are a number of old friends, from years and years ago, who I keep up with exclusively via blogging. Thus, I am up to date on all the big life events, able to speak with ease regarding their lives, and all without sending an email (a task which I am sadly very poor at maintaining). But the thing about blogging is that it's ultimately a passive activity. You produce words, sure, and send it out into the great unknown for all to read. You'll drop a comment here and there, link to something particularly witty they said... But it's nothing compared to a long phone call on a sunny afternoon, a quick exchange of words via IM. Blogging shouldn't be a substitute for parts of your life. Blogging should just be a record of it.

There's more to say, I'm sure. And you may disagree to some extent. But this is an approximation of my own personal philosophy. And you must care about that to some extent. After all, why else would you be here?

Okay, look, I got no clue where the dearly departed Jonathan Brandis found his pleasures.

But that Neil Patrick Harris fella? That guy likes boys quite a bit indeed.

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Duh-nuna-nuha-nuna-nuha-duh-nuna-nuna-nuna...

BATMAN

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Last night, I was informed that we'd be starting work at 8 AM today. This did not come as a surprise -- I'd seen today's call sheet -- but I did become a little concerned about my ability to make it.

I'm normally due at the office by 9 AM, and I try to arrive earlier. These attempts, however, have been foiled recently by my daredevil biological clock, which is involved in a cutthroat game of chicken with my actual clock. The past three days this week, I've woken up in spurts starting at around 7:30 AM, one eye blearily opening just enough to determine that yeah, I can totally go back to sleep until I REALLY need to wake up. So I do, and I do, and I do, until my two alarms have been turned off and I finally look at the clock and oh CRAP, it's 8:24!

And I mean, exactly 8:24 on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday we pushed it to 8:27. I'm sharing a body with Evel Knieval, but instead of taking risks with my spine we're taking risks with my paycheck. Not sure if that's a good trade-off or not. Especially given the way I had to drive on Wednesday.

So, last night I made my preparations for the battle of the century. Time vs. Evel. Responsibility vs. Biology. Cold Floor vs. Warm Bed. The Alarm Clocks vs. A Sleeping Liz.

Place your bets.

7:03: The digital alarm clock by my bed starts blasting classic rock. I slap it down with relative ease.

7:06: The clock starts to beep. I shut it down cold.

7:07: Just as I'm getting my eyes closed again, my cell phone's alarm (placed just out of arm's reach) starts to tweep. I nearly fall out of bed as I stretch toward my desk, blind fingers searching out the matte plastic. Silence follows one feeble jab at the buttons.

7:10: Slowly, I start to hear Rage Against the Machine insist that I "WAKE UP." The song grows in volume to shaking-the-walls limits before I roll (literally) out of bed, get off the floor, and stumble to my computer, where the MP3 Alarm Clock program cheerfully asks if I want to snooze. No, I inform it. I want to sleep.

7:11: I sit on the edge of my bed. Remembering where I was, why I have to get up, why it's important that I wake up and arrive at work on time.

7:12: I grab one of my pillows, placing it on the foot of my bed as I stretch out -- technically not back IN bed, just resting for a moment. Won't hurt to close my eyes, I think to myself. It's not like I'll go back to sleeeeeee...

7:14: Roger Staubach throws a Hail Mary. Michael Jordan goes for The Shot. And the archaic, decrepit, half-broken old-school hand-wound alarm clock that I reserve for emergencies, the one that has a tendency to fall off the TV with its own vibrations, the one with a picture of Lucy and Ethel under the glass and a sound more annoying than their laughs...

"Lucy and Ethel" starts to blare, and I jump off the bed and into the bathroom to start washing my face.

Score one for the home team.

I arrived two minutes early.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

So I'm working on my Bookslut column for next month, and it's going pretty well. But because I am feeble-minded and prone to overlooking things, I pose a general question to the populace:

What forthcoming book-to-film adaptations are you NOT looking forward to? What beloved work of fiction do you fear will be ruined in translation? They could be announced projects, projects in development, or projects coming out next week. Your hate will not turn the tide, of course, but one voice of protest can work wonders.

Tell me in the comments or email me. If I use your suggestion, I'll definitely give you credit.

(A note, though: anyone who tries to argue Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on the basis of Mos Def being cast as Ford Prefect will not have much luck. Remember, Adams never SAID Ford was white. He just said he was cool. And Mos Def is too cool for school.)

(And a note to myself: All Families Are Psychotic? WTF?)

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

This is your two-month warning...

But before you know it, AIDS Walk Los Angeles 2004 will be knocking on your door, saying "Get your ass out of bed, Liz, it's time to walk!"

Or something like that.

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Lessons learned this weekend

Number 1: I am addicted to caffeine.

I meant to be productive. Truly. That was the plan. Sit in my pajamas until 3 PM, write coverage, and watch the Olympics. But around 1, I had fallen totally under the spell of my blinking cursor, and by 2 my eyelids were heavy, my senses dulled, as I slowly slowly slowly TiVoed through women's volleyball, unable to care.

It wasn't until around 4:30 that I realized I had a problem. After a shower and some tea, we were back in business.

Slowly, though. And with the weight of a wasted day on my shoulders.


Number 2: Bigger is better

"Should we get the $17 bottle of Captain Morgan?"

"Alien vs. Predator is only ninety minutes long."

"So the $10 bottle?"

"It'll fit better in my purse."

"Great."

Sadly, we were all sobering up pretty well before the big exciting climax. Though definitions of sober vary. I wasn't giggling in an insane fashion at that point. More's the pity.


Number 3: Food is awesome

On Sunday, I demonstrated my comprehension of Lesson #1, and went to a cafe to drink coffee and write the coverage I didn't write on Saturday. And it was going well, I was on my first refill and making real progress...

And then I fell into a funk.

A deep funk.

A depressive funk.

A long dark tunnel with no end in sight.

I called a friend, to whine and complain about said funk, and found myself realizing, mid-sentence: "Huh. Coffee isn't food. I should eat food. Perhaps breakfast. Or lunch."

So at 3 PM, I ate a peanut butter cookie.

Life started looking up.

23 years old. I've still got a lot more to learn.

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Monday, August 16, 2004

Ostrich Ink updated last week, including a redesign, my Body Worlds recommendation, a new picture of me, and an essay.

It's all great. I really dig the Ostrich. Where else can you read about a happy Cracksgiving?

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The SurLaLune Fairy Tales Site is a place I want to remember to visit.

But you can go there too, if you like.

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Let me clarify for y'all why Darin Morgan selling a superhero screenplay he co-wrote with the writer of Batman makes me so happy I could choke.

Exhibit A | Exhibit B | Exhibit C | Exhibit D

And Exhibit E:

"Then, there are those who care not about extraterrestrials, searching for meaning in other human beings. Rare or lucky are those who find it. For although we may not be alone in the universe, in our own separate ways, on this planet, we are all... alone."

Sure, it's a bit melodramatic for a Monday morning. But in 1997, a certain nerdy teenager was more than a little inspired by Mr. Darin Morgan.

And now that nerdy teenager is a nerdy twenty-something. And man, does she like superheroes.

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Hey! Look! That's totally my arm!

And a number of fine fine photos brought to you by Industrial Decay.

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Friday, August 13, 2004

I'm not sure what is hotter, the fact that Jude Law wants to do Watchmen or the fact that Jude Law used to read comics.

Aw, who am I kidding? I know the answer.

That article does perpetrate the Comic Book Guy stereotype, once again. But hey. Having Jude on our side won't hurt matters any.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Holy. Flaming. Moses.

This news makes me so happy. I just feel like smiling. So happy.

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Ghost? Or just a trick of the lens?

You decide!

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It's seriously Thursday. Strange. I spent most of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday. I spent most of Wednesday convinced it was Tuesday. And this morning I woke up and seriously thought it was Wednesday still.

I know it's Thursday, though, because we have a sexual harassment seminar this afternoon. I'm looking forward to picking up some pointers. My ass-grabbing is top-notch, but I feel like my boob-cupping could use a little work.

We've been making jokes like this all week. That, and saying "Hey, you can only sexually harass me until Thursday, so get it all in now." The standard reply to which being...

Well, it's really not worth repeating.

So. Sexual harrassment seminar on Thursday. Which means that I've got over a day more...

Wait.

Oh.

Damn.

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Last night, I did a bit of TiVo clearage -- made my roommate watch a few things that had been saved for her, dubbed a few Joan of Arcadia episodes that I wanted for research purposes. Why? Because the Olympics come in six-hour chunks. And I am pretty excited.

Especialy after reading this.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those conversations that you always hear parodied by Jon Stewart, never expecting to hear it in real life.

"So," I had asked the security guard, "who are you thinking of voting for in November?"

"Well, the economy's not doing so good," Bob said, "and I woulda been okay with the war in Iraq if we'd found the poison gas and nuclear bombs and everything -- Bush doesn't seem like he really told the truth on that one..."

"Yeah," I agreed.

"But Kerry's a flip-flopper. So I don't know right now."

I'm so sick of the word flip-flopper. I'm so sick of each side blasting the shit out of each other and forgetting the fact that occasionally politicians make tough choices and reverse their decisions. I'm so sick of unfair play. I'm so sick of propaganda.

I'm so sick of people not examining the source, examining the information, and making up their own damn minds.

Is that so hard?

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So I've spent the past couple of weeks slowly helping a friend get his website online. This has been a delightful experience spent doling out sage chunks of HTML/CSS instruction, learning how to do things I only sorta knew how to do, and saying "oh, fuck, I think I broke it -- wait, no, sorry, I just screwed up this one chunk of code, no, wait, now it's not working at all, fuck me why isn't this working, oh, wait, it's just this one chunk of code that got screwed up, let me fix it -- oh FUCK."

But now his website is done, and there are many fun comics and graphics to read and enjoy. So welcome to Mastodon City, bitch. This is is how they do it in the MC.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The past couple of days have been pretty busy, but busy with things that I enjoy doing (this is a delightful change from college and high school, when so much of the stuff I had to do was downright tiresome). And strangely, they were actual, bonafide, activities.

I mean, think back. How many of the things you do on a regular basis have something to do with consumption, rather than action? Reading a book, seeing a movie, eating a nice dinner -- I'm a big fan of doing these things, but it's intake rather than output, being an audience rather than a participant. Well, to some degree.

But on Sunday I volunteered with Project Chicken Soup, cutting up vegetables and packaging soup and chopping up watermelons. And then I went to a barbecue and made vegetable kebabs and played volleyball and Pictionary. And then I went home and worked on a screenplay outline...

It's fun to make things, is what I'm saying. It's fun to knit a scarf while I watch TV (input balanced deliciously with output). It's fun to write, to take the things I read and use them to create more things. It's fun to cook, especially for other people. It's fun to write email, make phone calls, communicate. To not just participate passively with the world, but give back to it in some small way.

Not to say that an evening alone with microwave popcorn, boxed wine, and a bad romantic comedy is anything short of bliss.

It just depends on your mood and the cycles of the moon, I suppose.

Me, I'm gonna go to the gym tonight, come home, and write the crap out of this screenplay outline. And maybe I'll listen to some music while I do it.

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Link round-up

Bookslut is up, including my column on Bonfire of the Vanities and my Twelve Hours of Comic-Con. There are some great columns and interviews this month, as well.

Zach Braff? So my boyfriend.

As is The Incredible Hulk.

If you're one of the dozens of people who have been searching for Amanda Abizaid's theme song for The 4400, download it here. But, y'know, be kind. Don't overdo it. Stealing music is wrong, you know.

Fay Wray's dead. Which is sad, sure, but if I could just drift off at the age of 96, I'd be pretty happy about that. Especially since I'd probably live long enough to see the goddamn flying cars my generation was promised.

Rumsfeld Fighting Technique will destroy you.

I'm not sure if FactCheck.org is really as nonpartisan as it claims to be (not that I really mind) but I more than support the concept.

Never heard of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens before today, but I'll be goddamned if I'm not going this Saturday (I'll probably be in the area for a BBQ, anyways, so it all comes together).

And in honor of the newest Superman developments (apparently there's an open casting call going on -- yes YOU could be the new Superman!), I post a paraphrased quote from An Evening with Kevin Smith, the link leading you to more stories from Kevin Smith's brief association with the project, and by extention, Jon Peters:
[Peters says] "I got some directives for you if you're gonna move forward, some things I want you to do and don't do in the script. Three things, ok? One, I don't want to see [Superman] in that suit. Two, I don't want to see him fly. And three, he's got to fight a giant spider in the third act." I said, "The giant spider intrigues me. Why that?" And he's like, "Do you know anything about spiders? They're the fiercest killers in the insect kingdom." And I was like, "What does that have to do with our non-flying Superman?" And he said, "There's gonna be a scene that I want. When I saw KING KONG as a kid, there's a scene where the doors open up and King Kong's revealed and it's a real big moment; I want that moment in this movie. I want some doors to open up and a big f**kin' spider's there." So I went back to Warner Brothers and they said, "We heard from him, he likes you, we're gonna hire you and move forward... Did he bring up the spider?" I said, "He did! He brought up the spider! Did he tell you guys about it?" They're like, "Every day with the f**kin' spider." I said, "What should I do?" They're like, "Do it, but try not to call it a spider. Can you call it something else?" And I was just like, "Thanagarian Snare Beast?" and they're like, "Go."

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Friday, August 06, 2004

Tonight we're shooting this season's first episode of Unnamed Hit Sitcom. It's a pretty exciting time. Lots of people running around and calling and dropping by to visit. Lots of food, too. Lunch and dinner and craft service...

I have a crazy busy weekend planned. This is new and strange for me. Swimming laps, learning to draw, website work, Adrian Tomine, rock show, friend's b-day... And that's just Saturday!

But today is Friday, and I'll be here until 10:30. At the earliest.

Exciting times.

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Your moment of zen

SMOOTH
This is all just a lark to you, isn't it?

JOSE
Certainly not. Humorless people like
you scare the hell out of me. But
I've developed a few therapies of my
own. I've learned to appreciate the
preposterousness of any profundity.
And in my distress, I am able to find
the smallest, most absurd details. As
if God were looking down, winking at
me, and letting me in on the joke.

Aug 6, 2004: Proposed Dutch law would ban unsolicited toe-licking.

There's nothing else to say.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Hey, nerds, free comics!

From Neil Gaiman:

Dave Sim has made an extremely generous offer to readers of this journal (and indeed, to readers not of this journal, but just people who simply hear about his offer elsewhere on the Internet. Memes propagate, after all), which is the kind of offer that I found as interesting as he did. It's this:

If you'd like to read one of the Sandman parody issues of Cerebus, Dave will send you one. He'll send it to you very happily, free of charge. He will sign it for you, too. And he won't charge you a thing. Not even postage.

And if you're wondering what the catch is, it's this: Dave wants to know (as, I have to admit, do I) how many of the people out there in internet-land will actually go and do things that don't involve passively clicking on a link and going somewhere interesting. So what you have to do is write Dave a letter (not an e-mail. Dave doesn't have e-mail) telling him that you read that he'll send you a signed Cerebus, and telling him why you'd like him to send you a copy. It's as easy as that. And, quite possibly as difficult.

The address to write to is:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674 Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

Here is the text of the letter I'm sending:

Dear Dave Sim,

I would like very much to receive a signed copy of the Sandman parody issue of Cerebus. Because this is a very generous offer, I include below a sketch of an armadillo as some vague form of repayment. It isnít an aardvark. But aardvarks are even harder to draw than armadillos.

I hope the internet peopleís laziness means you do not get too many of these requests. It would be nice to be special.

Sincerely yours,
Liz Miller

I can't scan in the picture of the armadillo here. But I assure you that it is very cute indeed.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Under your skin

From the BODY WORLDS website:

BODY WORLDS is unlike any exhibition that has ever come before. It explores bodily performance at a depth never before possible on such a comprehensive scale. Thanks to the breakthrough process of plastination, more than 200 real human specimens are displayed to reveal an extraordinary new look inside the human body.

What I actually saw on Sunday afternoon:

Sagittal slices. Humans in cross-section. The bones clear strong outlines, the muscles faint, like they've been painted on with a dry brush. One woman had extreme constipation. The slice of her abdomen reveals a looming darkness, threatening the surrounding organs.

One of the specimens, completely skinned, his preserved epidermis draped over his arm like a winter coat on a surprise sunny day. "Skin lends individuality to our exterior; it imparts beauty and age," the accompanying text reads. I kneel down to tie my shoe and look to the side, surprised to see that the defleshed soles of the feet are callosed.

So many testes, dangling from thin veins, the penis empty and sad between them. A hipster couple, so well-dressed for a Sunday at the museum, holds hands as they stare down at the male reproductive system under glass.

A uterus, implanted with an IUD, the metal insert glinting in contrast with the pale beige flesh surrounding.

An overweight young woman, thick eyeliner hovering a millimeter above her eyelids, pointing at a myomas. "That's what I had." She takes a step to the side, pointing at an ovarian tumor. "My mom had one of those." She reads out loud from the card. "One out of three ovarian tumors turns malignant. Huh."

Two brothers, 6 and 8, running around, sporting identical blonde crew cuts. Each of them calling: "Mom, look at this!"

Placentas, round and plush and preserved. They look a bit like pasty fritattas, mottled with blue veins, and yet somehow they look soft, inviting, comfortable. A nice place to relax for nine months.

Large banners everywhere, bearing quotes from the Bible and philosophers like Descarts and Nietzsche. A little bit of perspective.

Death is neither good nor evil, for good and evil can only be something that actually exists. Seneca.

The "Winged Man" display, where the skin of the face has been split down the center and peeled back. The two flaps of his cheeks, on the inside, look like reliefs of piranhas, and he wears a white straw hat. There is no clue as to why he wears a white straw hat until I read the accompanying text, detailing the relationships of skin and muscle, with one additional note: A white hat narrows the gap between life and death.

A man cut in twain, cartiledge separated from the spine, lunging for a soccer ball with one hand and holding onto his inner organs with the other. I lean in close, to fully inspect the interplay of bone. There is absolutely no smell.

I wrap a hand around my wrist, feeling the thin bones move beneath the skin, and the gap feels narrow indeed.

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Dad sent me this article, and while I agree with it in part I want to read it more closely before I say for sure.

Still, interesting stuff. At least for me, given my fascination with gender issues and superheroes.

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Good grief. How I love August J. Pollak.

The question is, will he ever love me back?

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Media round-up!

In the proud tradition of posts before...

Books: Working on AHWOSG, and enjoying it to some extent -- as much as you can, given the circumstances. Not very far into it, though. Mom's just died, and the post-modern antics have yet to resume.

But I'm not into a book right now, and that's always disquieting, the uncertainty about what I'm actually going to read when I go to bed.

Comics: Astonishing X-Men is still great, and the twists and turns of Birds of Prey make me glad that it's on a biweekly schedule. But the best thing I've read recently was Autobiographix, a fantastic collection of short scripts that made me laugh and think. Really quite lovely.

Movies: Recently, my viewing has been skewing pretty male. Last week, mere hours before Comic-Con, I saw Bourne Supremacy, which was high-class action and really well done. Action stripped of all the post-Die Hard goofiness has a real appeal for me, right now. I'm burned out on wisecracks. Oh, and I like Matt Damon, but they totally could have made that movie in the 60s with Steve McQueen -- and it would have been AWESOME. Which leads me to wonder: is Matt Damon the new Steve McQueen? A beady-eyed, dark-haired upgrade, that is.

Saw Manchurian Candidate on Friday, which I can't recommend either way because the theater sound completely screwed up during the second half of the movie, to the point where I had to look up the ending on Movie Pooper afterwards because I had NO IDEA what happened. Still don't, actually. But Demme's smoking the good crack, and it makes for an interesting ride.

TV: It took about three tries to make it all the way through the pilot of Rescue Me, but I liked what I saw -- it's a bit too caught up in the business of being male, but I'll watch a few more episodes and see if it gets old -- or if it gets better.

The 4400 is still interesting. Haven't seen last night's episode yet, but the writing hasn't let me down and most of the characters are really coming together. And I'm kind of in love with the theme song, though tracking it down in electronic form is proving to be nigh impossible. It's performed by Amanda Abizaid. That's all I got right now, though.

I thought I was attached to The Jury, but Friday's episode was pretty boring. So the fact that next week's episode is the last isn't really making me sob.

Jon Stewart? Still my boyfriend.

Art: I saw BODY WORLDS yesterday afternoon. And I will be writing more about it.

Music: Franz Ferdinand gets better every time I listen to them, and I listen to them an awful lot right now. Spent a lot of time this weekend writing things for Bookslut and Ostrich Ink while listening to the Goo Goo Dolls and Garbage on repeat -- it's 90s Pop Amnesty Week, I've decided. Tonight -- the Great Expectations soundtrack. Maybe even Alanis!

As for modern music, though... I don't know. I have $20 right now in store credit at Amoeba, and nothing I really want to buy. I like Frou Frou all right, Muse is pretty good... But I want something new. Something good. Something I'll never forget.

Any ideas?

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In which our protagonist apologizes for extreme lameness

So here is what I have learned about myself. I have learned that yes, it is possible for me to spend an entire week surviving on five hours of sleep a night and five diet Cokes a day. It is possible for me to stay up and work my ass off on various projects until I go blind and teary with exhaustion. It is possible for me to follow up a week like that with a weekend of intensive nerding out at Comic-Con, also denoted by very little sleep and lots of driving and walking and yet more driving.

It is possible for me to do these things.

But I'll be a zombie for the week following. Don't believe me? Scroll down, kiddos. See what two weeks ago did to my blogging output last week -- which is usually an accurate measure for the amount of writing I'm doing offline.

Seriously. I felt frayed. I still do, to some extent. Gettin' old before my time. Or just in time, in fact.

Stupid biology.

Anyways.

Did I do anything last week? I went to the gym. I fell asleep watching TV. I started knitting again, as my fingers are eager to finish up my current project so that I can play with the soft pretty yarn my mom sent me. I bought a Batman tank top. I emailed people. I very slowly started to work on my Bookslut Comic-Con write-up... Everything went slow.

I did watch some of the DNC coverage. I'm a Barack Obama fangirl now. I'd been one for a while, actually, after hearing him talk eloquently and sincerely about the Jack Ryan scandal, but now -- oh baby. What a marvelous speech. What a marvelous man.

Yeah, I'm so up to date. I'm so on top of things.

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