Oscars: Not the Grouch

I am a movie geek. My husband is a huge movie geek. However, the Oscars have been so successively boring (and looong) for the past few years, that I almost didn't care to watch on Sunday.

I'm glad I did.

Ellen was an excellent, hilarious host. Now, Chris Rock's shoddy job of the previous year would have made anyone look good, but Ellen went beyond decent into actually funny, something that's been lacking at the Oscars.

I also loved the new stuff they threw in--like the dancers interpreting the movies and the comedian bit with Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly. I thought all the nominated songs were a little lackluster (why did they nominate three songs from "Dreamgirls," but not the title song?), but I did have to laugh at the director bit with Spielberg, Coppola, and Grand Neck (er, Grand Moff!) Lucas.

Before the Oscars, Alex and I spent Sunday getting--gasp!--some actual work done. It was gorgeous outside, and even moving 16' long metal sheets didn't dampen our spirits. In fact, I was downright ecstatic--and this is the gal who detests physical labor with great passion. This goes to prove that Alex and I both are more than slightly affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Fair warning: if you plan on buying a carabine or other short rifle, you may want to take heed and buy it sooner rather than later.

A geek's view of politics: Slashdot's reviews of presidential campaign websites.

We rented "The Prestige," finally, but haven't had time to watch it yet. Okay, we had time last night, but it's a long movie, and there was a new Heroes to watch. I was glued to last night's episode, and it didn't even feature Hiro!! And might I point out that, unlike another formerly hit one-hour drama (ahem, LOST), Heroes is actually starting to answer some questions. Before the first season is up! Gee, what a concept.

Okay, so Dooce didn't agree with me in the least about the Oscars this year, but it doesn't matter, because she wrote such a hilarious riff about Scorcese: "he was very polite and humble and totally ready to be folded up and put in your purse so that you could take him home and snuggle with him later. And then maybe use his eyebrows to towel off after a hot bath."


"Pop" Goes the Culture

I've been unable to focus at work today--primarily thanks to the fact that we've had recurring power outages (30-60 mph winds will do that!). I keep having to reboot my computer and start the frustrating 3-minute-long process of logging back into everything.

So, I thought I'd give a brief summary of my current media consumption. (Sorry about the distinct lack of links here--I lost my previously-linked post and don't have the time to replicate it again.)

  • Lost (TV): I'm glad to return to the beach characters--I was getting a little sick of too much of the Jack/Kate/Sawyer love triangle. And like many viewers, I'm caring less and less about the show, although the on-going questions pique my interest enough to keep my plugged in. But also having no one else to discuss the show with at work makes it feel less compelling. (Auntie K, are you still watching?)
  • Heroes (TV): Here's my "Lost replacement." Started out fairly cheesy, but it's turning out to be a lot more compelling and intricate than it seemed at first. Also, it's got a great weekly graphic-novel download online that's higher quality than mere gimmick, IMHO. I [heart] Hiro!!!
  • Battlestar Galactica (TV): Actually, we've DVR-ed but not watched the last 8 or so episodes, since we missed one (totally my fault), and I am feeling its absence keenly. This show's too great to comprehend, sometimes. Wow.
  • Smallville (TV): I am really, really excited/intrigued by Chloe being meteor-infected! What a promising way to enliven a series that I thought was floundering aside from its spectacular JLA storyline. Chloe and Green Arrow have been brilliant this season, but Clark, Lana, and Lex have just gotten more and more annoyingly angsty. So this is a welcome twist--and I am just waiting with baited breath for the Oreo-loving Martian Manhunter to show up again!
  • Marie Antoinette (movie): I loved Sophia Coppola's juxtaposition of the moden soundtrack in this movie--it just felt right, and punk-y. I really empathized with Marie in the storyline; I think Dunst did a pretty great job in it. But I'm tired of seeing Schwartzman as an unlikeable character; I want more of his Rushmore goodness back. Maybe this was just too soon after seeing him all creepy in "Slackers" (shudder).
  • Man of the Year (movie): Alex has become DC-obessessed in movie themes, lately, primarily thanks to our trip to DC last fall, my current position in GovDocs, and our increasing interest in politics, world news, and NPR. This movie was paced a lot differently than we had expected, and it focused more on the romantic interest than the actual plot of a comedian becoming president, but it was still entertaining.
  • A Prairie Home Companion (movie): Wow. Wow, wow, wow. My Dad heard from someone that this adaptation of our beloved radio show (we used to watch the live broadcast on Disney in the 1980's) was terrible, so I was worried. And I wondered if, having never seen/heard the show, the movie's unique brand of humor/story would be comprehensible/accessible to Alex. But it blew us both away, it was so funny, and interesting, and just plain fun. I thought Kevin Kline as a "real-life" Guy Noir might be a bit of an annoying stretch, but he just played so sincerely that it was hilarious; Alex loved his hyperbolic noirish dialogue, and now I know I've got to introduce him to the actual show. A big kudos to the late Altman for casting GK as himself. No one else could have done it.
  • The Legacy of Luna (book): I started it today, and I'm 2/3 through it already. I'm reading it because it's the focus of the Denton Reads project, but it's a quite interesting story of an activitist in her early 20's who climbed a redwood for a tree-sit, and didn't come down for 738 days. (Yes, it does address the issue of how she went to the bathroom during that time.) A thought-provoking read.
  • Fables (comic series): I finally finished the most recent volume of Fables, and I scream for more! This series started out as a fun and interesting concept (fairy tale characters living in modern-day New York), but the storyline just gets more serious and compelling. It's unbelievable how good it is. If you're over the age of 18 and are remotely interested in comics, just buy the whole darn series now. You'll have to own it; it's that good.
  • Castle Waiting (comic series): I started reading this last week, and while it's also a new take on fairy tales (still set in a medieval setting, however), it's so far a bit, um, gentler than Fables. But while it had a slower start, it's proving just as enjoyable; makes me think of books like "The Ordinary Princess" or Jane Yolen's "Briar Rose." And I like the purely black and white artwork.
  • Rampage (Wii game): Yes, the controls are clunky and the graphics unimpressive. But it's a rehash of a great classic, you get to physically smash stuff, and the best part: it's got 2-player co-op story mode. Which makes it one of the only games Alex and I get to enjoy together on a regular basis. C'mon, Nintendo, pick up the hint that this makes a great party console, and give us more of this play-style!!!

Movies we've seen in the past 6 months that make me want to recant my "no buying DVDs until a new format is established" rule: Accepted (unexpectedly, unbelieveably, hilarious), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (stellar, just spot-on perfect flim comparable to Ocean's Eleven), Lucky # Slevin, A Prairie Home Companion, Last Unicorn (well, haven't seen it lately, but it's FINALLY been released in a widescreen DVD version).


I've Been Flickr-ed

It's weird to search Flickr and find myself in someone else's photo set. Both in and out of costume, I might add! (Yes, still more from the Timothy Zahn signing a few weeks ago.) I'm also pretty sure I found my pal Bryce's pal Ara on Flickr at a similar signing (far left, kneeling).

Consuming Mass Media (...Yummy!)

  • Who names a poor, mutated duckling with four feet "Stumpy?" I mean, really. I just want to befriend this sick, twisted person who obviously shares my sense of humor.
  • Lots of nerd news lately--all the hubbub last month about finding Stonehenge's secret (jury's still out on that as far as I'm concerned), last summer there was the KV63 tomb, and now another Egyptian tomb's been found! My inner Indiana Jones is aglow with delight.
  • For Trump's sake... I hope he loses the WWE match. The man could seriously use a head-shave.
  • ...Unlike Brittany Spears, who shaved her own hair off on Friday. All I can say is that at least she's getting help. (And honestly, with two little kids to take care of--it may have been a very wise thing, to cut haircare out of the picture.)
  • The Oscars--yay! Print out your own ballot!
  • Ha! I always thought that the "daddy long-legs have powerful venom, but their jaws are too small to bite humans" concept was a bit urban-legend-esque. And it turns out, that's correct--it's totally made-up!


That's One Way to Do It

You know how things tend to pile up in your inbox, your email, and your computer desktop that you're not even sure if they're relevant or not? You know one good way to clear all those out real fast?

Crash your hard drive.

Well, I'm not recommending this or anything, but it's what happened to me last week. After returning from three days out with the flu, my work computer stuck itself in a never-ending reboot loop, and the upshot of it is that while most of my information is still around, thanks to my individual network drive, my hard drive on my desk computer (which I used for back-ups and for most images, since they take up so much space) is gone.

Right now, I'm trying to just work on normal things and try my darnedest not to think about all the information I've lost. Sigh.

CyberCemetery Story

It's always fun to tune into NPR on your morning commute and hear your coworkers! Woohoo!!

Read the print version of the story here:
"UNT's CyberCemetery keeps dead federal agency websites alive"
by Catherine Cuellar, KERA 90.1 Reporter

Or listen to the MP3 here.

(This story played on KERA 90.1's "Morning Edition" on 8:36am, 2.19.07.)


The Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.... and Birthday Boy

Kim Jong-Il turns 65 today. What kind of birthday cake do you think he likes, anyway?

Now, don't you have "I'm so ronery" echoing in your head? (Okay, maybe not for those who've never seen Team America: World Police. Hey kids, buy the DVD and a teeny tiny portion of the profits may go to Trey!)

Want to hear what I sound like being interviewed for our local NPR affiliate KERA 90.1, just one day after overcoming the flu? Then tune in to "Morning Edition" on Monday to see if the story plays. (Don't worry, if they archive it on their website later, you know I'll be linking to it.)

[Sniffle, sniffle, snork. ] That's all for now.


As Promised, Geekery

And here's the link to the photos I took at Timothy Zahn's Borders book-signing on 02.07.2007.

Pink 7, Behind The Scenes

So, I never actually wrote about the experience, being as I was busy with a sick Alex, and then busy being sick myself. So here goes.

I walk into Borders a little after 6pm, and immediately upon entering, spot him. Yes, that's Timothy Zahn himself, working at his laptop in the Borders cafe, nobody around to bother him yet. I pause for about thirty seconds, during which he briefly glances up, and no doubt absorbs the goofy "I see a Celebrity of Ultimate Geek" expression on my face. He looks down and wisely pretends not to have seen me. I pull myself together firmly, remind myself that I have been in the same room with this man before, and by golly, I'm not here to make his life a more frustrating experience, and walk off to find a manager or fellow DFWfanforce member.

I find Denise, who's organizing the event, and she shows me where to put my things in the back room--upon which I geek-out again, abeit slightly less so than over Zahn. It's a back room... in a bookstore. Oh, heaven! Then I run out to the bathroom to change into my Pink 7 gear, and come back to find the 501st changing into their armor. Along the way, I run into Helen, one of my fanforce pals from The Line (aka the Bellydancer). Denise gets us to slap stickers on people's books that they brought from home (like my copy of Heir to the Empire). We feel geeky and important.

Jeff, Brandon, and Jonathan from DFWfanforce show up a bit later, and we briefly catch up before I run off to the back room again. Zahn's lining up all the costumed of us to escort him in--I'm placed behind the stormtroopers and in front of Anakin and Vader, who flank Zahn. We all march out to the podium and table that's been set up for him, and all we costumed geeklings form in a V-pattern behind him, like a very, very confused flock of migratory birds.

Zahn talks awhile about what it's been like to write Star Wars EU, then gives a long Q/A session. The length is pretty awesome to listen to, as a fan--but as a gal in a hot costume in a really well-heated Borders, I nearly pass out. Literally--vision starts going and everything. I have to back out of line and sit with my head down while Helen gets me some water--darn that heavy, hot helmet!

I had to leave not to long after that, when the real signing began, and left my books under Helen's protection. I ran by Walmart to get some supplies for the flu-beleagured Alex, and then spent the rest of the evening watching movies with him.

Happy Commercialized Excuse for Oppressing Singles Day

You can read my personal feelings about Valentine's Day in a previous post--albeit that I've been happily non-single for six years. Still, something about forcing people (particularly, often the male half of the relationship*) into a hastily-planned show of love that may be less than sincere doesn't sit well with me. Then again, perhaps that's just my flu talking.

I'm working from home today--felt much better, then got up and took a shower. Man, do you realize how much energy it takes to get up and stand under water for half an hour? I'm worn out just from getting dressed, then dragging myself and my laptop to the couch.

Okay--sorry, this is my day for griping--but this story about Cleopatra not being such a looker is a little ridiculous. First of all, there's the small matter of whether or not the coin's designer ever saw Cleopatra--much less up close. Second, there's the matter of cultural ideas of beauty being different every decade, much less 32BC versus 2007AD. So regardless of whether to us, "She does look as if she's forgotten to put her teeth in," maybe we ought to just leave a little mystery in the myth of Cleo's beauty.

Immediately upon leaving this morning, Alex burst back inside, shut the door, and pronounced that yes, once again, it was snowing. Again. In Texas. I'm wondering if we mistakenly entered the wrong house sometime around Christmas, if we both took a wrong turn home one day and now we're living in Missouri--because clearly it can't be Texas we live in, not with all this snow we've been having. Bizarre.

And here's Alex's contribution of the day: the uber-helpful error message he received from The Gates Error-O-Matic (or, The Empire Formerly Known As MS):

*For a hilarious illustration of this, listen to this excerpt from this past week's episode of A Prairie Home Companion.


We Got the Funk--er, Flu

Seems like I had a bunch of stuff I intended to post last week. Well, Alex had the flu for a solid week, and as of Sunday gave it to me for awhile, so I'm resurfacing from the funk. Perhaps I can get back to the previously intended posts at some point.

For now, I'm going to leave you with a few brief things, and then get myself back to sleep. This whole sitting-up-in-bed thing is remarkably draining.

I had a great email from work today pointing to this YouTube video, March of the Librarians. It's a documentary-style parody of ALA Midwinter 2007, and it's good for a giggle. Here are my favorite parts:
  • "fabulous facial plumage" sported by male librarians
  • a stormtrooper and jedi make an appearance
  • the necessities of life--"coffee, food, and email"

And for those of you fortunate (and wise) enough to be a part of the Wii craze, the Homestar Runner guys have ported several of their games for the Wii--just point your Wii browser to http://www.videlectrix.com/vii/ and have at it! (I'm looking at you, Jared.)


"How's the Sicky?"

  • Alex is sick with the Flu+, a combination of the flu that's going around, plus the respiratory funk that's going around. Poor guy's miserable.
  • Timothy Zahn's book signing (and my costumed appearance as Pink Seven) was fantastic--particularly because I got to hang with my "The Line" pals Helen, Kodiak, Brandon, and Jeff. I missed you guys!! (photos coming soon...)
  • Because Alex's been sick since Tuesday evening, we've consumed a lot of media while sitting on the couch: Lost, Smallville, and Heroes, of course, but also Wild Things, Tristram Shandy, Idiocracy, Grilled... I forget the rest. Oh, and a really hilariously pseudo-academic show on how ancient Egypt was populated by aliens who flew heliocopters. I mean, Stargate is more convincing. Honestly.
  • This is Working Saturday #2 of 3 for me. Sigh.


One-Day Weekend

Well, it was short, but we packed a lot in. We went to Cabela's with Alex's parents (now we've got to take mine, when they're here again) and "wow"-ed at the taxidermy, the gun library, and the aquarium. We even ate wild game in the restaurant--Alex had an elk sandwich, and I munched on venison bratwurst.

Once home, Alex and I hunkered down on the Fat Couch to watch the Superbowl. And I must say--this is the first Superbowl that I've been entirely captured by the game itself the entire time. There were some amusing commercials, and there's nothing like seeing sing Prince"Purple Rain" in the rain, but considering the amazing antics of Rhodes and Adaii, the Colts running backs, I was glued to the action. See, when Alex and I play Madden (the football video game, not the man himself), I'm always the running back. It's the only position I can get the hang of, and it's how I learned football (not so long ago, in 2001). And now that they broadcast football games with graphics, like the first down and all, and it looks more like a video game, I can actually follow it. So I was thrilled to watch the Colts win last night.

Me, the humanities student who always hated sports, except for the World Series. Shocker.

Anyway, this weekend we also managed to watch Flyboys (quite enjoyable), and Thank You For Smoking, which was sheer genius!! I need to own that movie. It's got the snappy dialog, the dark humor, and the gleeful joy of watching a fictional Congressional hearing. What more could I ask for? Okay, besides a song and dance number.

Then on NPR this morning, there was a story about ray guns in the military. I love living in the future.

If you're going to be in Dallas this weekend, please please please do myself a huge favor and go see Scott McCloud when he stops at Zeus Comics. I need to live viariously through you, as I'll be working again this Saturday and cannot have my three books by him signed. Sigh.

I guess it would be too much to be able to see Timothy Zahn and Scott McCloud in one week, right?


My Not-So-Funny Bone

I woke up yesterday to find, to my delight, that snow had once again covered everything! (Where do I live now, Canada?) I ran to get Alex's camera, ran back to the front door, ran out the door to go get some shots of the house--and totally bit it on the icy driveway. I had, foolishly, put on Alex's shoes (that make me look like a mouse in a giant's boots), and one of them slipped off slid across the driveway as I fell with most of my weight on my left elbow.

I'm not a person to swear, normally (aside from "cr4p" which is just fun to say), but I let out the loudest, most outraged, "D*** it!" in my shrill voice that I could mange. I bet it looked hilarious from an onlooker's perspective, but unfortunately for the world, no one was outside to witness it.

I managed to limp to the end of the driveway to take my photo, and then limped inside, where I waited around another hour or so trying to decide if I should go to work, or go in to get my elbow x-rayed. It hurt terribly all day yesterday, and typing wasn't so fun, but was dramatically better this morning. This is just one more instance that proves a) I am the most uncoordinated, ungraceful person who has ever taken a decade of ballet lessons, and b) my childlike enthusiasm usually only gets me into trouble.

Other than that, yesterday was exciting--we're (or rather, I'm) launching two new digital projects at work, and Alex and I had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (I'd never been there before). The avacado eggrolls were fantastic, as was the grilled eggplant sandwich and the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Eating out at such places restores my faith in cooking. Maybe not my cooking, but the fact that somewhere on earth, people are being creative with food and making it well. Can you tell that I'm a little tired of my own fare and its boring nature?

And... that's about it. I worked today (just like I will on two other Saturdays this month), so there will probably be little in the way of interesting weekend activities to report. Alex and I are going to Cabella's tomorrow with his parents, but that's about the extent of it.