Saturday, April 21, 2007

Baldwin / Basinger & Baby

Okay, Ireland is NOT a baby. She's nearly a teenager.

My take - from what little I know - is as follows, and it seems to me that it ought to be reasonably apparent to anyone who has ever lived in a split family, and probably many others with the wit to think about it.

Did Alec Baldwin verbally abuse his daughter?

Yes. And she probably deserved it.

Does this make him a bad guy? Nope.

Is Kim Basinger turning her daughter against Baldwin? Probably.

Does this mean she's a bad person? Again no.

Is it any of our business? Not in the least.

Let's deal with these questions in order... except for the last one which I'll deal with first...

It's not our business. I shouldn't even be writing about it, but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Sorry Alec. Sorry Kim. Ireland, I am VERY sorry. The biggest issue in this whole thing is that you are put in a position where you have to deal with a normal part of growing up in a very public way. The tapes of your father should never have been made public. Whoever did that is the real criminal in all of this - I'm going to blame your Mother's lawyer, Neal Hersh. It was a tactic which deserves to blow up in the face of the perpetrator.

Did Alec Baldwin verbally abuse his daughter? Did she Deserve it? Does this make him a bad guy?
Yes. He did. Hands up everyone whose parents never said a hurtful thing to them...
If there are any hands up, it's either toddlers, people who never met their parents, or in a rare case a newly minted adult who grew up in the era where we treated children too well for their own good.
I'm not in favour of corporal punishment, but there has been a trend over the past few decades towards treating kids like fabrege eggs. Fuck, stop it! We aren't helping them any.
Yes, my parents said some things that hurt my tiny little feelings. I'm 37 years old now. I still love them both and have loved them since any specific incident where they might have said something unkind to me - or at least from thirty minutes after such things were said. Some of those things were more than I deserved at the time. Let's face it, children are willful little egomaniacs and if they aren't shown that actions have consequences and that other people's feelings are just as capable of being hurt as theirs they are being fostered into becoming a generation-army of sociopaths. In otherwords, an occassional heated verbal dressing-down is for their own good!
Whatever she did to hurt Alec's feelings is only nominally relevant. I know I tried my parent's patience. Kids do things - often just to see if they can get away with it. In this case the answer was 'no' and he gave her than message. Should he have waited to give her that message 'til he had cooled his jets a bit? Definitely. But no-one - not anybody - not Dr. Phil - not Gandhi - is flawless on that count. It's human nature. We get steamed and we speak sooner than we should. I've got a wheelbarrow full of stones here for anyone who still has the qualifications to make the inaugural toss.

Is Kim Basinger turning her daughter against Baldwin? Does this mean she's a bad person?
She probably is. That doesn't mean she knows she's doing it. It's ultimately doomed to fail too.
My parents both said things about the other when they separated that weren't very flattering - heck, they still do on occassion, but it's become less and less the case as time has passed. Was it a deliberate attempt to turn me against the other? No - they were just speaking out of pain. Did it work - not really. There were truisms spoken in each case. Things that I would have eventually put together on my own about each of my parent's personal short-comings. But ultimately I began to look upon those comments as being a greater personal liability than the things that they were speaking about were. And here's the thing - even armed with that knowledge, do you think I can (even three years after the split) keep myself from making the same mistake when speaking about Mia? No. I can't. Thank god we didn't have kids. I'd hate to have them be used as a tool in a pointless, but unstoppable, war of nearly dead emotions.

As usual, this comment on current events has become more about myself thant he event - and so it should be. Let these people be. Let Ireland be. Using a child as a pawn, while somewhat inevitable, is elevated to egregious when it becomes a public battle. Trying to vilify Alec Baldwin for acting as any average joe would when pressed hard enough is ridiculous. No doubt he didn't feel good about himself even before the infamous voicemail was heard by Ireland, let alone the public at large.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A LONG long weekend.

I'm still recovering from the past five days.

On Sunday night I drove up to Penticton with David, the producer of Beast of Bottomless Lake. We arrived at the Ranch after 11pm, and pretty much went to sleep.

The morning provided the sole lie-in of the weekend.
When we got up I got to have a bit of a boo around the ranch. It is our location production office in the Okanagan. Nice place. Though once we cram a dozen people in dorm-style, it's going to be a good thing that we have plenty of exterior room to escape each other in. Not that we'll be doing much more than sleep there, but still.

Over the day David and I prepped for the arrival of the others. I also got to watch the world men's curling final - Canada kicked ass.

We bought food (which I prepped for minimum maintenance over the next four days) and did a bit of organizing of space - both for accomodation and shooting.

Shari arrived around 4:30ish with her Grip, Thomas.

Last time Shari and I were up in the Okanagan we were doing some pretty unabashed flirting. We are now each variously attached. Or rather, she is. I am merely feeling overwhelmed by the time pressure of the project to the point of not being able to find the time for romance... though I feel good about a prospect who knows full well I'm heading her way as soon as the film is in the can.
We lightly addressed that and all was well. Though our friendly adversarial relationship continued through this week, just without the innuendo.

Craig arrived abound six-ish with Rob our camera op and Patrick (Location sound).

Between the early work David and I did, and Shari and Thomas did after they arrived, the set (the garage) was practically ready.

We sat down for dinner (I made pasta) and the Craig and Shari started planning the evening shoot. Gabe - an old friend of mine from university who lives in the Okanagan - was our actor for the evening. When he arrived we got him in costume and got to work. It took about three hours to shoot his scene.
It was fun and silly. It's one of two bits that are supposed to be poorly done re-creations. Such an odd thing deliberately making something badly. The trick is to not do anything to consciously make it bad. The trick is to stop yourself from doing the things that would make it good.

After a late night de-brief/production-meeting we went to bed.

Craig and I were sharing a room. We were both too excited to sleep. Add in a few well timed farts (oh the puerile humour) and we were up until dawn. Craig figured he got about 2 hours sleep. I figure I got less than one.

Easter Monday morning we were off to CATO to meet with students and to do some final auditions for the 'Young Paul'.

The turn out of student volunteers was disappointing. (Though we got a number of emails over the next few days.) The auditions were pretty clear cut. Twenty young men, only two really worked for us and even then, one of the two was clearly better suited than the other.

We then went and did a tech-scout of the boat we will be using for the shoot - it went really well. The skipper seems a great guy and seemed to like us. The boat itself is just the right level of functionality, space and just enough things that look like they need repair to give it real character.

We followed up with our biggest location - the Summerland Yacht Club. I was very impressed. It is totally as much as we could expect from a gratis locale.

Back home to the ranch for Barbecue. Mmmmm. Barbecue.

After another evening meeting it was time for an earlier bed.

An even earlier morning followed. We rushed to Kelowna to shoot a few scenes at Shelter Bay marina. It was great. Our 'Buck Rogers' arrived and we shot his main interview scene. Next we moved down to the docks to shoot some play-back footage of a reporter. Our actor, Dorothy Dalba was a bit nervous. Craig and I did what we could to loosen her up. Gradually we made our way towards what we needed. Before take 5 I told her that she was charming and delightful and that the news-item she was presenting was totally silly, and that when she was laughing at it it was sexy.
I got a lot of razzing for flirting with her, but she nailed the next take with a big smile on her face. In the last bit we had her do (which integrated 'Buck') I joked around about the flirting before take three - again she nailed it. I'm thinking it's a tactic that's going to be valuable, even if I do take some flak for it.

Clare & Lainie came down and watched some of the shooting. A few of us stopped at their place on the way back to the ranch and visited for a bit and collected the map that Clare painted for us and their investment in the film.

After a quick lunch we shot Chief Bigsky. Perry Williams nailed it in two takes. Craig was moved to tears. The shots look great.

That night we went out to a Mexican dinner and had another pow-wow including a longer meeting between Craig, David and I. We ran numbers about and looked at everything and despite being cranky as all hell, came out the other end with the promising outlook that we are within spitting distance of being able to pull this sucker off.

Wednesday morning Shari and Thomas (who I might add was awesome - too bad he's not going to be around for principal) headed out really early. Craig and Patrick and I headed back to Kelowna for a number of meetings and David and Rob hung back at the Ranch to clean up before heading back to Vancouver.

Craig and Patrick and I met with a caterer - a very nice lady named Lynn. We hope she comes through for us. We stopped by CATO again to say thanks. We nixed a connection with Rodney... who has been a bit hard to nail down anyhow.
We ran out to Bertram Park for a tech-scout. That was excellent. We met with the guy who will be custodian to us there and got really specific about where we're shooting each of our scenes there.

A few minor stops including lunch and we hit the road home.

I was really wiped out. My plan was to get home, relax and watch Game one of the Canucks playoffs and get to be early. I got in just after the game had started - only missed a little bit of the first period. Well, so much for my relax and go to bed early plan - the game became the sixth longest in NHL history. The Canucks won in the end, thank God. And Roberto Luongo not only won his first playoff game ever, but simultaneously got the record for the most shots a goalie has ever faced in a game ever - at 75.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Idlely Contemplating Homicide

I know that in the chance that I become the next Darren Kliebold or Timothy McVeigh that making such off-hand comments in my blog posts as 'Idlely Contemplating Homicide' is somewhere between 'big no-no' & 'early warning sign.' But I swear, it's entirely made as a light-hearted hyperbolic statement of frustration.

Erin is driving me bananas.

My upstairs neighbour is gone for two months and the apartment is being sublet by Erin Matthews - who, like practically everyone in my building, I've known at least casually for several years.
When Patrick and Graham left I was entirely out of the loop, but I noticed the change in noise patterns from upstairs. Within a day or so, Matthew mentioned that Erin was subletting. For starters there were no really disruptive sounds.
Then, a week in I ran into her in the stairwell. We said 'hi' and I mentioned that I had heard her up there, and added that I didn't mean it in a bad way.

It was as though I gave her permission.

One morning there was yelling before 8am.
She never seems to take her shoes off (which are apparently dutch-clogs) and I never imagined that dancers could be so fucking heavy-footed. Okay to be fair - nine times out of ten it takes her in excess of a half hour to take them off after getting in the door. It also seems that she puts them on as soon as she gets out of bed - I guess she wears them in the shower? Oh... and there are hardwood floors.

She's a heavy smoker which means I'm constantly hearing the sliding door rumble open as she goes out to the balcony. I'm only complaining about this one in the context of the perponderance of other factors.

She is a very loud talker when she's excited - which luckily I usually only hear on her way into the building from the street.

I also would never want to complain about this one unless it was a regular issue - which in very nearly is and again, with everything else... Noisy sex at 6:30 in the morning. Three days in a row. Made worse by the fact that it coincided perfectly with a bout of insomnia, cutting my sleep opportunities over three days to approximately half. Oh wheee!

One morning she put the stereo on first thing in the morning and left it on after she left the house - it was on repeat. Augh!

Now we move into the more egrigious stuff...

Lucky her she got a cool voice over gig. And she does fucking vocal warm ups in the bedroom above where I sleep when she wakes up. FUCK!


Two or three times now there has been this semi-rhythmic thumping (not sex, I'm quite certain). It kind of sounds as though she's sitting where her legs are not quite reaching the ground and she's swinging them. It's not that loud. If it was only ten minutes, I'd probably never notice - but for three hours at a time it gets really fucking annoying. I got fed up with it one night last week.

I've been trying to avoid opening that particular can of worms for various reasons (not the least of which is that now that I know how loud a person can be, I'm wondering how loud I am and don't really want Erin angrily complaining to Patrick and Graham about me when they return only to get into a big question of hipocracy).

So I went upstairs and knocked on her door... as soon as I did, the talking inside stopped. No answer, even when I knocked again.
She figured she could pretend she wasn't home? What the fuck?
I went back downstairs. About twenty minutes later, the noise started again.

So, I'm hoping to catch her in the stairs again so she can't pretend she's not there - she can't do that can she?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bride's Maid's Oscars

Well, I regularly voice my derision for the Oscars. This makes it particularly hard for me to defend watching at least a portion of them every year.

Last night I had every intention of going home from work and playing video games, but as I got to Broadway Station I was feeling both hungry and in need of a little social contract, so I decided to have a burger at Toby's Pub.

The very charming waitress and I kept each other entertained on what was clearly a very slow night for her... and we watched the Academy Awards.

It all started with a disagreement over Ellen DeGeneres's suit. The waitress thought the colour was awful. I though she looked great... but to be fair, I was wearing an orange and green t-shirt with The Hulk on it and a blue cardigan reminiscent of Kurt Cobain. It was laundry day, what can I say?

I'm not going to bother wading through each and evey moment of the night. I'm going to comment on two thematic things and the elements within, but that's all.

The smallest first:
The two major stage performances (not counting the ubiquitous best song performances). The vocal jazz choir sound effect thingy... very very cool. Very cool. The shadow dancers... just seemed dull to me. I didn't fell like the images presented were genuinely representative of the films in question... boiling 'The Departed' down to a gun? Huh? It looked like the credit sequence of a James Bond film. And the first one where they turned into an Oscar statue... cheap-o! That was totally a cut out.

Then the over-arching theme of the evening...

I'm not sure exactly how to phrase this, but I guess perhaps this was the Bride's Maid's Oscars. The biggest example is of course Martin Scorsese finally winning an Oscar for directing. I admit I haven't seen all of The Departed - with a wee bit of irony I turned it off less than halfway through the other night as it wasn't effectively overcoming my grogginess, merely adding to it. I will watch the rest, but it hardly struck me as his best. I'm not so fond of The Aviator, but all of the other four films he's been nominated for are thoroughly worthy of an Oscar. (For the record, that's Raging BUll, Goodfellas, Casino and Gangs of New York.) Hooray for finally getting recognized for work you did 27 years ago.
Similarly Alan Arkin. I actually think the look on Alan Arkin's face when his name was announced read "You gotta be fucking kidding me. You're giving me a defacto 'lifetime achievement award', not awarding me for the actual work I did in this film!"
Helen Mirren - perhaps in less, er... desperate... need for a statue - looking like the sexiest blue-hair I've ever seen, winning after three nominations (albeit this is the first as Best-Actress).
If there was one person in the auditorium in greater need of getting a make-up call... I mean that metaphor in the sporting sense, not the thespian sense, despite the venue... than Scorcese it would be, of course, Peter O'Toole. We can pretty much assume that Lawrence of Arabia will never get an Oscar. I'm not a fan of the, as I called it above 'defacto lifetime achievement award' - but if some one had it coming, it was Peter O'Toole. At least Scorcese is going to have another chance - possibly even as soon as next year, and likely with a better film!
Moving on...
Jennifer Hudson... a bit of a 'Huh?' But she fits the theme. Didn't win American Idol - won an Oscar instead. As inexplicable a win as Marissa Tomei, but a good consolation prize for an American Idol also-ran if you ask me.
And lastly - Al Gore. Do I need to explain how he fits the theme? No? Good. 'Cause if I did, then clearly the best comedy routine of the night was wasted on you. Sorry, Ellen - you too are a runner-up. Gore's routine with Leo DiCaprio (who I admit has become a pretty interesting actor in the past year) was pretty funny, but the punch line was the best. And when Inconvenient Truth won Best Documentary, his "My Fellow Americans" line was priceless. It truly would have been a historical moment if he had announced his candidacy though, huh?

Okay one last thing... as I'm talking about Al Gore. As amusing as it was, the Academy's self-congratulatory announcement about going green was infuriating. It's 2007! The Academy Awards - Liberal Hollywood's biggest night - has just managed to 'go green' this year? How long has the environment been an issue? It's been in the public eye for easily 25 years, and the past 10 or more have been really really significant. It took this long for the Academy to adopt enviromentally low-impact practices? That is retarded.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Evidence

I've said before on this blog. I'm going to say it again. (I haven't said it yet, but I will...)

I just came across a Pixies video that I had never seen.

(I haven't said it yet, but I will...)

Minimalist to an extreme - I'm betting the entire video cost less than a grand to produce - and yet unlike many other extreme minimalist videos, it's very watchable...

(I haven't said it yet, but I will...)

The slow motion is pretty fascinating.

(I haven't said it yet, but...)

The Pixies were fucking genius. One of the best acts ever.

P.S. For the record, as much as the sentiments above are genuine and from the heart, this entry was as much about testing embedding video as anything else... after all, I'd pretty much expressed the sentiment already.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Molly Grows Up

I'm trying to wrap my head around the YouTube phenom.
I wonder how long it's going to remain such a cultural touchstone?
How much opportunity is left to exploit with in it (and what is that opportunity / how can I get me a piece)?
Or does it represent a true paradigm shift?

Sadly it has already begun to be corrupted.

Case in point.... Molly Grows Up

I think what amazes me the most is that there are folks out there - young and old who didn't get it right away. How is that possible? Am I truly that much more media savvy than... however many folks?

I suppose it was inevitable, but that doesn't make it less crass.

The mocked ironic voices, the low-budget You Tube staple... it all makes me cringe. Once again, counter-culture co-opted by the corporations. I wonder what Naomi Klein would have to say?

Aparently it's referred to as 'Astroturf' - this faux 'grassroots' marketing.

Is it wrong? Well, so much about advertizing is wrong and this pattern has played out many many times before. I believe we are powerless to stop it, and I'm not even sure I like the greater implications of freedom of speech that would be implied by any legislation that could prevent it.

A necessary evil? Not precisely. It sure isn't necessary. But the lack of boundaries which allow it also allow so much that is necessary. So I suppose that make it a concommitant evil?

Must go... must figure out how to bend the YouTube generation to my nefarious will.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ultimate American Idol Douchebag - Martik Manoukian A.K.A. - Eccentric

I'm not exactly sure what is at work here, but I have a funny feeling...

Last week in the LA auditions for season six of American Idol, Martik Manoukian made a complete ass of himself. He also uses the performing name 'Eccentric' - though perhaps he deliberately misspells it in some (ahem) cool way like Exentrik.

Where to begin?

The self-delusion in this guy is absolutely epic.

I'm going to assume that the current trend is going to continue... for some reason, his videos keep getting removed from YouTube at a rate unlike any other i-stick who makes a fool of themselves on that show. I don't think Fox gives a shit whether the videos stay up or not - the show really is a one-time thing except for the car-accidents like Martik. They've got a whack of in show promotion - like the drinking cups on the table - so they're happy to be able to say that the show continues to be broadcast on the 'net.
So here is my thinking... fuck-head Manoukian either by seeing the public opinion or perhaps, just perhaps, by simple assesment of the actual clip has come to realise that he looked like a complete and utter knob. And he has since made an effort to attack each and every clip that makes him appear so - he did sing a song of his own writing, so arguably it's copywrite material (though I'm sure Idol required a release). In any case there are probably any number of ways in which he could be manipulating the YouTube policy and rules to have the clips ditched.

But what he cannot do is keep people like me from giving a complete PbP and repeated using his name and tags and so forth to make sure that future google searches on him result in him being revealed as a delusional twit into posterity.


(Play by Play to follow.)

Veritable (Relative) Assault of Controversial Attention

Not sure exactly what caused it, but my last post about Little Mosque on the Prairie was the first evidence that my blog is being read.
I got comments. Five of them!
Perhaps considering the controversial nature of the responses I should be taking this more seriously, but I have to admit that I'm really still just stuck in the cycle of being giddy about actually being read!
I will wade into the fray if it seems like it's relevant when I return...
Oh yeah... I'm going away for nearly a week.
I'm actually quite excited about it.
I'm going 'home' to see my Dad.

I love my Dad. But no doubt we are very different animals. We're never going to have a 'father-son fishing trip.'
It's been over two years since I Iast 'went home.' I've seen him in that time, but I haven't made it to Prince George. For at least half a year he's been saying 'you should just hop on one of our planes and come up for the weekend.' That's nowhere near as 'Daddy's flying me to the Hamptons on his jet' as it sounds. He has worked for Northern Thunderbird Air for around forty years. Every Thursday a plane goes from Vancouver to Prince George and every Monday one comes back. It's simply a perk.
So we've been agreeing that I should just spontaneously do that for ages. It never happens.
So before Christmas we agreed that we'd pick a weekend in the New Year and stick to it.
Dad said "Any weekend but the second weekend in February. I've got a curling bonspiel."
I countered "Heck, that's exactly why I'm coming up then."
My limit in Prince George is about 3 days before I go stir crazy. But I really like watching curling - even curled with Dad when I was a teenager.
Dad is a lifer. And he's even won some significant stuff in his day. Curling is a really big deal for him, though his knees don't let him be competitive anymore.
So I'm volunteering at the bonspiel and hanging out with Dad. We'll be busy as heck, the time will fly and we'll be doing something together that has meaning to us both. We'll get in a few beers at the clubhouse - my current moratorium on beer is going to have to be tabled for the weekend - we'll probably be exhausted, but in the end I'm thinking it promises to be one of the best times we've spent together in years.
I called him last week to confirm the flight and while we were talking he said "This is going to be a lot of fun." I had a little moment of YEEES! Nailed that one!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Head Space Sickness

This one is just so unlikely that I have to add it to the list of things I've blogged about - though I haven't got much to say about it...


It's all over the news. It's just too strange a story on an other wise slow news day.

I have lost track of the original article I read, which is too bad as I can't find the quote that amused me the most in it anywhere else. It was a NASA spokesman - I assume James Hartsfield who is quoted in article after article as saying the parallel statement that "Nowak's status as an astronaut is unchanged; I cannot speculate on what may happen in the future" - who said something to the effect of "As far as we are concerned, Lisa Marie Nowak is still an astronaut." Practically the same thing, but something about the latter strikes me as funny.

With little doubt, Lisa Marie Nowak will be this year's Tonya Harding/Lorena Bobbit/Amy Fisher.

Hmmm. Now here's something... I was once stalked - long story not going to get deep into it here, but I'll sum it up with a few phrases: break and enter; 14 phone calls at 3AM in one night; spying through my window; reading my journal; 13 holes in the apartment wall with a hammer; and to her limited credit - ended once the police got involved - but the salient point... her name? Lisa Marie. Well, not exactly. She had changed the spelling of 'Lisa' to 'Lhesa' because it provided better numerological results.

I guess the lesson is don't name your daughters "Lisa Marie." (It's probably not a good idea to name your sons "Lisa Marie" either, but let's assume that that is academic.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sextup... No, Quin... Okay - Quadruplets should be saved from their parents

Meet the Douchebags.
They're a nice young religious couple who believe that letting your children die when action could feasibly save them is a righteous way to live their lives.
They believe that blood transfusions can also infuse a body with sin. Yes, that's right, their definition of 'bad blood' means that you can become a bad person by accepting the blood of a bad person into your body. I think it must have something to do with the Red Cross not screening for Dark Side Midichlorians.
They also believe in the sanctity of every precious life. Or so they say. In fact, what it means is that they believe that their own souls are precious. They don't want to go to hell. They are scared that if someone else forces them to allow their children to have a life-saving proceedure which happens to be against the tenets of their specious religion, that they - the parents - will fall from grace with god. Therefore it is better for them (and supposedly the children) to allow their children to die. Perhaps the children have been spared. Not from hell, but from being raised by parents who have fallen into the Watchtower Society's trap of spiritual slavery.
It borders on hypocrisy that the Douchbags would allow themselves into a pregnancy which could only be achieved by modern medical miracle, yet not accept the added benefit of saving their children's lives via those same modern miracles.
Or perhaps the Douchebags just got in over their heads? One (or two, or five) children too many? And luckily for them their religious beliefs supported a choice that would ease their load?
Personally, I think that the Douchbags have forfeitted their right to a say in the treatment of their babies. There is a Hypocratic Oath for doctors. If you ask me there should be one for parenting.
What are the surviving kids going to think when they grow up? It's not like this is going to be something that can be hidden from them. It's simply too public. They will put it together. They'll Google (v. 11.51) it and find a backlogged history that their church cannot keep covered. They could even read this very post. (Sorry for calling your parent's 'douchbags', kids - but they are, and I hope you are recognizing that by now, because your disdain is the true hell which they deserve for reasons I shall discuss henceforth. If your real family name was not being kept secret, I wouldn't have to make up a symbolic one.) They can read that their own Mother and Father were willing to let them suffer and die so that THEY THEMSELVES might avoid going to hell... or at least avoid being ostracized by their JW elbow-buddies. Two (so far) of thier former wombmates have already died. It could have been any of them. That's how much your parents care. They are willing to let you die so that their social life with YHWH isn't disturbed.

The Douchbags have every right to refuse their own medical treatment, but if they have no such right to impose such gobbledy-gook on children too young to have a say. It's nonsense. The sooner the government can re-set and save those babies from their parent's dogma the better. And hopefully it will set a clear precedent for the future so that next time some a-wipe zealot squirts out a prodigious litter in need of ICU attention, they'll get it without any sort of interference from a collectively insane religious sect.
Apparently before someone can refuse medical treatment they need to satisfy three conditions: they must be deemed competent, adequately informed and be free of coercion. (I'm not sure exactly how this - particularly the second item - is applied in DNR cases or in the case of people who have declared that they are not to be left on life support if their quality of life has been compromised, but that's a different issue.) So let's break that down quickly...
Competent: I'm thinking that if 5 week old babies were considered competent that we'd give them the right to vote.
Adequately informed: "Hello 5-week-old-baby. I'm your paediatrician. If you don't get new, potentially sin-filled, blood into your vascular system ASAP, you are going to die and possibly be saved from a life ruined by a tidal wave of sectarian gibberish and lies imposed upon you by Ma & Pa Douchbag and their zealot chums. Stare blankly or cry if you understand."
Coercion: I think it's pretty safe to say that any choice, positive or negative (however one defines those based upon their political and religious beliefs) is being forced upon the child, so I figure that we have to go with the default - which by definition of these conditions is to adhere to a treatment regimen. But even if we look past the kids to the parents... I'm going to turn to an excerpt here to make my point: (Full Text.)

"Congregations are deliberately kept to no more than about 100 people so everyone can get to know each other, said Mr. Ruge. They spend hours together doing door-to-door canvassing and attend a number of meetings each week, he said. Other parents of multiple-birth children say such aid is crucial in dealing with the monumental child care challenge.
However, the infants still have months of medical care in hospital ahead of them, with their survival not at all assured, physicians say.
Extremely premature babies experience a drop in levels of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, to the point where anemia often develops, said Ian Mitchell, a Calgary pediatrician who has dealt with Jehovah's Witness patients.
It is very common for such infants to require transfusions as a result, he said. Jehovah's Witnesses, citing various parts of the Bible, believe that blood is sacred to God and that Christianity forbids its consumption, storage or transfusion.
In a paper published with Dr. Mitchell last month in the journal Pediatrics and Child Health, Ms. Guichon argued that patients and their families sometimes feel pressure from the organization to oppose a transfusion even when they might feel differently themselves.
The fear, both explicit and implied, is that anyone who agrees to accept a transfusion will be banished from the organization, and lose the social network on which they depend, said Ms. Guichon. That prospect may be even more frightening for the B.C. couple, given how much they will need the help of their fellow Witnesses, she said.
But Mr. Ruge said Jehovah's Witnesses do not reject transfusions because they feel coerced. In addition to their religious beliefs, most are convinced that they are better off physicially without the blood, and there are many alternatives now to transfusions, he said.
"I wouldn't have a blood transfusion for a million bucks."
However, he did not deny the consequences of willingly undergoing a transfusion. Anyone who does so "wouldn't be a Jehovah's Witness [any more], of his own accord," said Mr. Ruge. "Jehovah's Witnesses follow the teachings of Christ and by your own actions you wouldn't be one."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Little Mosque, Better Fare

Okay, so I'm glad to be eating most of my words.

Episodes two and three of Little Mosque on the Prairie have now aired and gosh if they weren't pretty funny.

The pro-am acting has largely been dialled back and a few of the actors really shine - Sitara Hewitt springs to mind, who is not only funny and real as an actor, but gorgeous as well.
Additionally the bad word play has practically disappeared. (Allah, be praised!)
The characters are developing nicely. Still a bit surface in some cases, but hey, it's only been three episodes! The range of characters is quite pleasing. Varying levels of devotion to Islam - even within single families - and plenty of universal virtues and foibles.

Yeah, I still with it were a bit edgier, but I think I'm going to have to relent on that matter. Edgier would appeal to a narrower audience - quite possibly even the Muslim audience that likely make up the shows core viewers - and would probably be the kiss of death to a show which is already pushing the boundaries of viewer expectations.

I can hardly wait for the curling episode!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mooninites Attack!

In the whiplash splash of opinion that is the internet, I am over a day behind on this one... but last night I was telling two friends (and they'll tell two friends...) about the 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force Bomb Hoax.' They had not yet heard the news, so I suppose there's still some value in weighing in... even if it's just so I have something to reflect back upon in my dotage.

So... who is the mental midget who called in the lite-brite? And once the police are on the case, they have to follow through.

But here's the thing, THEY WERE UP FOR A WEEK! Do the math... of the four flights involved in 9/11 the longest any one flight went from scheduled departure to crashing was just over two hours (United 93 which crashed in Shanksville) - let's call it an even two - that's 84 terrorist hi-jacked flights that Al-Queida could have sandwiched into a week if it had taken people the same length of time to notice that there was a big column of smoke billowing out of New York.

I really don't know which is worse. The retarded paranoia that leads to thinking bird-flipping low-res cartoon characters hate America, or the sharp as a brick instincts that keep said paranoia in check longer than all the days strung together that Jack Bauer has been awake for public consumption. (And how long is it going to take before there is a YouTube video about CTU fighting Mooninites.)

I'm particularly bothered by the incessant use of the word 'hoax.' It implies that the folks at Adult Swim, or the Cartoon Network, or Turner Broadcasting had every intention that someone would take their publicity campaign as a bomb threat.

Having said all that, the media conglomerate who will benefit outrageously from this campaign should be expected to pay the public expense.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Television Classic

This is gold.

I was already too old to watch much Sesame Street by the time this aired, but I was getting close enough to the age where I was watching it again for nostalgia purposes. In fact, I think that it might have actually been this incident that got me watching on occassion again.

I am talking about the Death of Mr. Hooper.

I don't recall being terribly affected by it originally. Apparently it only ever aired once - on a Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. to ensure that the most families were home together so that kids could talk to their parents about it after watching, and possibly before (it was well known that what was going to happen on the episode.)

Here is some more info on it.

I recall reading somewhere about the taping of the actual bit. One take (with a multi-camera set-up). That was all anyone could handle, and it was really affecting the first time around. All the tears were real. You can really see the actors trying to hold it together - some more so than others, and those who have the most trouble are actually the most affecting... Bob stands out. David (particularly subtle and good when he talks about the store), Maria (who appears the most affected by the end) and Susan are also really good. Susan barely makes it through "Big Bird, Mr. Hooper's not coming back." and sets the tone. I'm going to make it through this despite how broken up I feel.

It was pretty tear-jerking to watch it now. What a brilliant moment in TV. Although I'm always amused by the theatrical convention of everyone sitting on one side of the table especially on TV when it's used mostly to facilitate a three camera set-up.

It also had the added effect of making me scour YouTube for old Sesame Street bits - mostly Muppet bits, that is of course what I started watching Sesame Street again for in my teens.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pickton Begins

Well, here we are.
Another hugely public trial.

Robert Pickton is on trial for the first six of twenty six murders of prostitutes on the Vancouver DTES (Downtown East-side). This one has been a long time coming. Five years since he was charged.

In that time I have had a few brushes up against the case.

Firstly - as things were heating up towards the conviction, I was involved in a one night performance of a short-play called 'Missing Women.' It was singled out as one of the highlights of 'Theatre Under the Gun' that year. I had participated the previous year and had fun, but this particular year the group I was in was made up entirely of men. The previous year there had been two groups which had proudly declared themselves theatre groups comprised only of women. And while I certainly have no issue with women taking a position of advocacy for themselves, we did feel it was somewhat important that therefore it ought to be perfectly acceptable for men to do the same with impunity. For the most part, our move was seen as what it was. Not many people were upset. Though it was clear that the expectation was that we were going to do something that fell into the category of 'collegiate humour.' I suppose large fraternal groups only have one possible trajectory in the minds of the many.
In any case, we didn't go down that road. We created a multi-levelled piece which acknowledged the absence of women amongst us as a group, explored the many possible iterations of what it could mean to be 'missing women' on a personal level, and on top of that, we hid gold when the day we went on, the dual headlines in the paper was the capture of the Green River Killer and a huge step forward in the DTES case that became the Pickton trial. This was particular gold for us in that we already had a format where the entire piece was framed with the eight of us, marching up and down the stage to a primal drum beat with our heads in newspapers. The timing - for us to be able to carry newspapers from the same day with headlines that perfectly fit the theme - put it right over the top.

Secondly - I also got to do a show (The Woman in Black) at the Terry Fox theatre, which is right around the corner from the Pickton farm. We were performing while the farm was being sifted for evidence. I believe the school that the theatre is a part of is even built on land purchased from the Picktons, and it's definitely new enough that there could be some disturbing artifacts buried beneath the foundation. Though presumably no-one would be that stupid - too easy for a body to be uncovered during the excavation process prior to laying the foundation, no?

In any case, the trial will be starting as I write this. The judge is probably setting the stage for the jurors and the media right now.

Should be curious. And as we have no death penalty, you know that after these six charges of murder, unlike Saddam, he will stand trial for the remaining twenty. Oh, the lawyers must have creamed their jeans when the trial got split - all the more money for them!

I kind of feel that few people are in doubt of his guilt right now. The simple fact that for five years they've been gearing up to this without being derailed by some sort of evidence is going to sway people. The real question is - just how badly is he going to be penalized? Which is probably moot beyond this trial. The chances of him getting a sentence that is anything less than the equivalent, if not actual, life without parole is slim to none.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Too Much Information - III

Well, fuck that.

I did some reading that criticized the cleanse. Add that to how lousy I felt doing it, and I decided it was time to eat again.

On the plus side. I did decide to wait out the caffinne withdrawl headaches - which largely have subsided now - and try to ditch coffee permanently.

So far, so good.

I used to not drink coffee at all. But, hanging out with friends who liked to hang out at what was Victoria's pre-eminent coffee house, Java, in the 90s, pushed me in that direction. I've never drank a lot of coffee, and even less in the past year or so as it has really started to keep me awake if I have any after say... NOON!

So it was simply time to drop it and this was a good springboard into that.

Better eating habits are also on the agenda. The photo is a rather embarrassing and hopefully not too optomisitc 'before' shot.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Little Mosque Scant Humour

Oh, poo.

I had high hopes for Little Mosque on the Prairie, CBC's apparently highly contentional new sitcom about, well, a little mosque on the prairie. When I first saw a preview for it on Christmas Eve - with a group of Muslims feverishly playing a shot in curling I laughed really hard.

I thought: Oh, wow. Here is CBC really putting itself out. This could be a real new dawn for Canadian programming.

Well, so much for that.

The show has no edge. Most of the humour is based on weak word-play, and what else there is is built upon the hackneyed notion that Muslims are all seen as terrorists. While I expect that the current worldwide obsession with terrorism was inevitable, it was dealt with in the most unimaginative and, frankly, gut-less of ways. A Muslim talking on the phone in an airport, using the words 'suicide' and 'bomb' in the most innocent ways justifiable is immediately detained. Wahoo! Barrel of laughs. A gag weakened even further, when a Muslim contractor's slogan - "We'll blow the competition away" - is taken out of context in the same fashion. Yawners.

To be fair, I did laugh out loud twice. Though I have since forgotten the jokes - yes, the jokes that stand out in memory are the ones that did so by being bad.

And the acting was at best, un-even. Some of the cast take a naturalistic approach - which seems to behoove the material better than the broad strokes of the majority.

It seems to me that this is a sad opportunity lost.

Remember the first season of 'The Newsroom?' There was a show with bite. 'Little Mosque...' could have taken a page from that show and been a truly socially relevant show with a voice that spoke to issues that remain sharp to the moment, rather than softballing at the dull side of the blade (eww - bad mixed metaphor). That doesn't mean that begin goofy is out - heck, curling Muslims was what captured my attention in the first place. But that's just it! I've never even thought that Muslims in Saskatchewan would fall in line with the rest of the community and do the only thing available to while away the winter months, while the humour exhibited in the pilot episode was tepid at best.

Here is my hope. 'Little Mosque...' recieves plenty of criticism along the lines of what I've just outlined, but also reaches a regular and devoted audience of Muslims who are pleased as punch that they're being represented on TV as something other than bad-guys on '24.' (Irony for those who watch both shows and get the inerent in joke in that sentence.) And hopefully a good number of those same devoted Muslim viewers agree that 'Little Mosque...' could serve itself, the audience, CBC and (God/Allah forbid.) Canada better by having a more socially caustic voice.

I'll keep watching for now. Perhaps the pilot wasn't representative of where the show went in full production. I'll definitely last until I get to see the curling Muslims again. It's a short season, so I might even make it all the way just out of combined respect for a good idea and encouragement to take it to the next level.

Too Much Information - II

Okay, this one isn't so bad as the last. Hardly at all.

Had a play reading last night. Totally crashed a few hours before.
I was just sitting there and suddenly I woke up - zoink!

Several other folk there had done this same cleanse. Good and encouraging feedback.

But holy shit, my head!
It started last night during the reading and has been a constant dull throb ever since.
Typically I'd take this as a sign that I should simply stop. Sounds like common sense to me. Isn't that what pain is for? To tell you when you're doing bad stuff to yourself, or when you are in trouble? If there is any doubt in your head, that is a rhetorical question. That IS what pain is for. That is why evolution came up with it, and judging by the actions of many lower creatures, right down the line, evolution came up with that trick really early. It's a good one. Arguably the most useful one. Can you imagine life without a sense of pain? Not such a cool thing, really. It may sound like a boon, but that's just an illusion. People without a sense of pain? We call them lepers. And I do mean real lepers, not figurative lepers like the guy in accounting who no one ever speaks to at the company Christmas party and if you did you'd soon find out that his idea of social interaction amounts to something called 'ganking' in the Boobracki Highlands of Wow... which I believe is a euphemism for compulsive masturbation to internet porn. Boy, am I off topic.

My head. Throbbing. Bad.

I've been told by the people who have done this before, as well as all the literature I've read, that this will stop, as will the hunger... which I haven't actually had a lot of. In the case of the head throb (and muscle ache - which is taking a back seat to the throb) that it's simply my body purging toxins and once it's done the worst of it, the pain will stop.

I skipped the salt-water flush this morning. I'll do it tomorrow and I'll try to be more diligent from here out, but I slept too late and had to rush to work. So much for the flush. I suspect that so long as I do keep it up regularly from here on out, that missing a single day is hardly going to be the end of the world. Two in a row, probably not a good idea. Hell I may even do it once I get home from work.

And although I'm not really that hungry, I sure am missing food. There were cookies and doritos at the read-through last night. I actually instinctively picked up some doritos - after telling myself in a quite strict tone of voice-in-my-head that I wasn't allowed to have any - and munched a few before I realised I had blown it. A small slip I figure. I'm betting it's pretty common.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Too Much Information - I

You really didn't want to know this.

Seriously. Skip this post.

I began a cleanse today. Well, technically I began two days ago, but those first two days were essentially prep and didn't look terribly different from real life.

On Thursday night I went out with friends. It was a long since planned night out. I had always intended that the cleanse would start after it. (We went to Fogg & Sudds for some beer sampling. My first and last beers were quite nice. The second was lousy. The third was pleasant, but not really my kinda brew.

So, day one was pretty much hang-over detox. The first few hours of the morning were lousy, but the afternoon was fine. I had one last 'full' meal, which was a bit indulgent - a full chicken shawarma plate... mmmm good.
Day two - yesterday began with my last coffee (sigh) and included some chicken soup, celery and eggs - the last solid food for about two weeks.

Last night I shopped for and prepped some of the things I'd need today.

This morning I woke up an hour early and downed a liter of salt water. This is going to happen every day. I will say that it was more palatable than I expected. That's the best I can say for it. Half an hour later I was on the toilet spraying watery-shit like no-one's business.

I've been told that as things go on I'll be finding all manner of disgusting stuff in the bowl. I don't know if I am that curious. I know it's too early to find anything really disturbing, but I couldn't bring myself to look. After two sessions on the pot in an hour I was feeling like I was done and headed off to work, with two liters of what will be my only sustenance until I am done.

I have to drink about 100oz. of this stuff every day. I didn't even taste it last night to see what I was in for. As I write this, I am almost finished my first glass. It's not so bad. Not like I'm going to be serving it at parties though. If you've done the so-called 'Master Cleanse' you know what it is. Squeeezed lemons, real maple syrup and cayenne in water. Frankly ther is more cayenne than I'd like, but it's totally drinkable and far from unpleasant. Far nicer than salt-water.

Twenty-minutes after I got to work I was ready for a follow-up trip to the loo.

Here's where things began to get ugly.

I still didn't look. But hoooo! The smell! Ohmigod! A bit like paint thinner, but with a definite over-tone of shit. That cannot be good for you. I don't know what the smell was, but it simply CAN NOT be good. My optomistic theory is that the last of the salt water soaked into some of the impacted fecal matter in the bowel and when it came out brought it along. Just a theory. But - and here's the most disturbing part - if this is the case, that was merely the upper-most portion of said matter. Perhaps only days - maybe weeks - old. What is it going to be like in a few days as the cleanse loosens up more of it and the saltwater flush washes deeper, more impacted (and hence more dense), longer putrifying matter? Imagine THAT smell. Not looking forward to that.

I don't really know what is in store for me as this continues on, but I'm nothing but curious. Hunger hasn't really hit yet, but I expect that before the day is out I'll be into the beginnings of the worst of it - I'm told it doesn't actually last long.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Robfather - Why are we expected to give a shit?

2002 - Marquesas

An obnoxious steeplejack from Boston became one of the most fascinating characters on a little South Pacific island. He was nasty and over-played his hand and dodged innumerable bullets before those around him had had enough. It was the season of Survivior where the pawns stood up and fought back and took the game into their own control for the first time, and while he wasn't part of that dramatic move, he gave the show the momentum it needed to get there. It was almost enough entertainment to propel that season past the point where Jesus won a million dollars.

The came Survivor All-Stars - at first I was delighted that Rob was back. But then he allied with one of the least interesting survivor players ever - Amber.
What did Amber have that made her 'All-Star' worthy? Well, she tagged along behind uber-witch Jerri in Australia long enough to make it deep into the jury. And, she was reasonably hot, and hot deserves some attention. But I feel pretty confident that if you were behind the doors where the decisions were made in selecting the cast, you would have heard Mark Burnett say something to the effect of:
"(Big sigh.) Well, too bad Mike Skupin, Brian Hedik, Christy Smith, and Jake Billingsley all said 'no.' I guess we'll have to go with... I dunno - Jon Dalton. Gawd I hate that guy. No forget it, let's add some cheesecake and go with... Hmmm... Erin? Heidi? Sarah? No too blatant. Too much boob. I guess we'll just have to make due with Amber."
And so, the personality-less one latched onto a shit-disturber again. And hot damn if Rob didn't pick up his game - helped immensely by possibly the stupidest move ever made by an otherwise brilliant player, Lex - and he bootstrapped the pair of them into a million dollars.
Well, technically, Amber won the million. But it was Rob who orchestrated it and as they were a couple by the finale (at which he proposed to her) it was all pretty much academic who won.
If there was anyone who wasn't thinking "I wonder if he'll propose at the finale?" they really weren't thinking at all. The fact that they were a couple totally removed all interest out of the finale - though it was nice that Rupert won a million essentially for being the kind of player that everyone thought would win the million if the game was what everyone naively thought it was before Rich Hatch offered up the Apple of Alliance in the original Survivor paradise. But that's another story.

Point being - Rob and Amber were collectively boring. And Rob managed to get a bit ugly. Even within the confines of the game. Ugly. But boring.

Proposing on TV - how calculated was that? It's not like she could say 'no.' (But fuck, would it have been phenomenal television if she did!)

Then they did the Amazing Race. They actually did fairly well - though it would be a stretch to say they came close to winning. And to give credit where credit is due, Rob pulled one of the best moves ever, by refusing to do a challenge that was so hard that it took longer to do it than to accept the penalty... which is to say nothing of the potentially detrimental effects of eating as much meat as would have been necessary to complete the challenge.

Then they got married - on TV. By now... they were getting pretty over exposed for a couple who were largely set apart by their odiousness and uninterestingness respectively.

Then this past week ANOTHER show about them - a series presumably. Morbid curiosity reeled me in ever so briefly.
After a quick run-down of their history (which I've already covered in more detail than the show did) we are told that they are going to Vegas to pursue a career in professional poker playing. Huh?

First we are subjected to a series of 'spontaneous' conversations where Rob tells Amber and she doesn't like it. So he packs his bags and goes and she calls Mummy and Daddy. I had already quit watching by this point - I let it run in the B.G. as I went to the toilet and put my laundry away. Rob had another totally contrived conversation with an acquaintance who knows his shit about poker. Rob explained how his Dad - or Grandfathah - or whoever, used to play poker and showed him the ropes.


It wasn't even worth playing as background noise.

And like I said... SO contrived.

I have yet to figure out how poker became a spectator sport in the first place - even with the advances in technology which 'add value' to the experience. And this show subjects us to this rather uninteresting couple with the Alpha-male and the woman who can't effectively stand up for herself as they make the 'spontaneous decision' to pursue a career in professional poker?

I didn't last seven minutes! I can only hope that they lose their shirts (which Amber has already done in a few magazines) and we never have to hear from them again!

This is exactly the sort of broadcast smeg-stain that give Reality TV a bad name.

I know that 'Reality TV' ought to be called 'Contrived Reality TV' - but fuck! At least the Osbornes really allowed us to watch what simply happened in their oddball lives - perhaps played up a bit, but not wholesale manufacture! And the 'reality' in Survivor and it's ilk is how people REALLY react when placed in an extreme situation. This has the virtue of... what exactly?

In the first 2 minutes of the show Rob declared that he can't possibly got back to a 9 to 5 after what he has been through in the past 5 years. One can only hope.

The snooze alarm on these two's fifteen minutes is broken and there is no reason for us to be subjected to them for one commercial break longer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

An Open Letter to Kevin Smith

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin...

I've been inching towards this opinion for quite some time, and - to mix metaphors - the pot has boiled over.

I watched Clerks II last night.

I saw the original when it first screened in Victoria at the Student Union theatre with my buddy Ray. We really loved it.

Last night Ray wasn't able to make it due to the weather - though we chatted on the phone.

So let's take a capsule look at your other films that I've bothered with.

Mallrats - Well, everyone deserves a certain amount of latitude to fail when it comes to a sophmore effort. I thought this film was so dull that I don't even really remember it. Let's see what I can glean from the title. Hmmm... perhaps it's a cross between Dawn of the Dead and Ben? I don't recall any zombie rodents, but Shannen Doherty was in it, which... forget it, the joke it too easy. I assume Jay and Silent Bob were in it too.

Chasing Amy - I know a number of people who speak (relatively) highly of this film. I shut down the moment Joey Lauren Adams opened her mouth. Ask me if I'm surprised her career tanked like Greg Lougainis with a head injury. Was this the film in which Silent Bob quit being silent? It seems to me that his (your) monologue was the highlight of the film... though that doesn't mean I can remember anything about what it was about.

Dogma - Some interesting, if a bit didactic, ideas in this one... too bad it was sullied by a heap load of purile humour. While this was your best outing since the big 'C', it was also about the time I started to feel like you were never going to impress me again. I buried that feeling and extended as much good faith as I could in your direction for as long as I could.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back - A few of my oldest frineds assured me that this was top notch. I guess 'oldest' does not necessarily equate to 'reliable.' There were moments. I admit. But I can't even remember what they were striking back against. They went to L.A. right? There were hot chicks... and Mark Hamill - pretty much inexplicably, except for the gratuitous gag-factor. I'm going to riff on Jay & S.B. further down, and much of it hinges on this, so I'm moving on for pace... you do understand the concept of pace don't you?

Jersey Girl - Hey, even you don't speak well of this film from what I can tell. So, why would I watch it? Hmmm... perhaps I should be rethinking that. Okay, tell you what I'll watch Jersey Girl - someday when there is nothing left to do but sepuku or watch Jersey Girl - and then I'll do an addendum to this post.

Let's face it. I'd pretty much given up on "Kevin Smith" before this last film came out. But you had another few tricks up your sleeve.

Clerks II - Hmmm. A sequel to the only film of yours that I actually liked. The only one that spoke to me in any fashion. Intriguing.
No. Forget it. There has been far too much detritus since that I simply don't trust you. Not going. Not watching. Not giving you money. Not enabling you to keep doing what you've been doing.

Then a friend - who has never recommended any of your films to me and who has, with the exception of "The (piece of over-hyped crap - you must be familiar with that concept) Blair Witch Project," had very reliable taste in film by my standards - sent me a link to some of your spoken word/Q&A sessions on YouTube.
Damn, Kevin Smith, you are one clever and entertaining guy. Mind you, I know that the more and more you do that kind of thing the better practiced you get at it and the more you can rely on the stair-case wisdom of the past. But still, you DO still have to have the entertaining and funny thoughts in the first place, right?

I began to become confused without even knowing it. I started saying some really complimentary things about you in public. Then I said one of those complimentary things based on my opinion of your spoken-word to one of those 'old but unreliable' friends.
"Have you seen 'Clerks II?'"
Of course the answer was 'no.'
"You really should. I know you liked the first one and this one is really in the spirit of the first. It really is Kevin Smith at his best."

So I did. I figured "Hey, worst case scenario Rosario Dawson is smoking."

Obviously I didn't "Go" - it has long since left the theatre.
Didn't watch... well that was about to get shit-canned, no way around it. If I'm going to see your movie, I'm going to have to watch it. (In the words of Joss Whedon (more on him in a bit) "Does that make me a man of no convictions? Well, yes it does, but let's move on.")
Not giving you money. I downloaded it. Ha! So there. Several pennies of mine you will never see.
Not enabling you. Well, you won't give money - that's a start. And this diatribe - not that you are truly likely to care - is an effort in that direction. In fact I kind of look at it as I look at the advice I was given over my alcoholic ex-fiancee: Let the world know. Draw the short comings to people's attention. Do not let them get away with it any longer. Make them face the consequences of their problem, so they are forced to deal with it directly. Don't take the well-meaning approach of 'helping them cover it up and evade the repercussions' any longer.

Let's go back to 'The Blair Witch Project' for a moment. I saw it opening night. I was looking forward to it. When it was done I stood up in the packed-to-the-rafters theatre and said "What a piece of crap." I was greeted by gasps and abuse. But how many people stand by that film today as anything but a successful example of hype? (The fellow I mentioned above still does stand by it, but I am pretty certain that that is simply a matter of saving face - he was sitting beside me when I publically declared it to be as cinematically appealing as a pap-smear.) I don't claim to be the cause of people coming to their senses on that front. (And to be fair, I am pretty confident that if I could remember your films that I would like them more than TBWP... which sadly I recall far too well.) But I do think that my staunch position and willingness to declare it added to the come-around.

So... Clerks II.

For starters, the funniest bits were all things that I had already heard you say - in your spoken word performances. LoTR - Three films about walking. Hysterical. Already heard you say it. Pillow-pants the Pussy-troll - same. "There is only one 'Trilogy'..." Yeah... yeah. (I do agree with you BTW - but you've said it publically already. It's feeling worn.) Donkey-show - yeah there was something about that mentioned somewhere which took the edge off of it too. Hey... why doesn't Dante tell the story about how he was commissioned to write the new Superman film with no costume, no flying and a giant spider in the third act? Or am I going to be treated to that in Jersey Girl on the last day of my life?

Rosario Dawson.... has never looked better. Thank you so much for the dancing scene.

Beyond that... Too talky. Too sentimental. Too purile. And what really does it say?

And Jay and Silent Bob...
They worked well in the Original. It was fun when they returned once. It was great when Silent Bob broke the silence with a witty and insightful (it was insightful, right - I have forgotten) monologue. But I can't help but think that that should have been the endgame. Or... maybe... just maybe... you could have made them truly central to a film. Which you practically did in Dogma. (I do remember that.) Oh, but then - a film with them TRULY at the centre! Their names are even in the title! But, by now the gag has run it's course, man.
I suppose it was inescapable to have them in the Clerks sequel. I might even go so far as to say I'd be disappointed if they weren't in it. But at the same time... they're done. DONE! It might have been far more interesting to have them not in it - or appear in a way where they had changed. Let's face it, the 'New and Improved' was cheap and served no function. Sigh.

So, here's the thing, Kevin.

You are a smart and clever guy. You wrote and directed a film which managed to speak to a generation, and you haven't truly progressed beyond it. You championed the fat-comic-geek in all of us. Well done.
But the fact is you aren't actually a very interesting film-maker. I really wish you were.
You are a fan, and admirably so.
But you have failed, Superman. You haven’t used your powers for good. You haven’t even used them for evil for fuck sake! You’ve used them for mediocre. (With flashes of inspiration that keep the huddling masses crawling along after in hopes of another divine lightning strike. Which in turn has encouraged Weinstein to let you keep making him money off the same huddled masses.) I’m not doing it anymore. I’m not.

Mews berates you for not watching Firefly. Do, man! It makes me crazy that Firefly gets cancelled while money gets thrown at the pablum you’re putting on the big screen. What really makes me crazy is that I think you could do just as well, if you just applied yourself.
You claim you love Star Wars, and BSG, and Superman and Green Lantern, and, and, and… But you aren’t doing anything that truly demonstrates that – and come on, you could. You fucking well could.
Whedon is so much like you – though apparently he has a much better refined cinematic eye, but I maintain that it’s just a matter of application. And failing that… perhaps the visuals aren’t your thing. Write books, scripts, stand in front of crowds and make them laugh – make ME laugh. If you can’t pickup your game, then change your game. Do what you do best, focus on it, and do it better. And for god-sakes, quit wasting my time. Actually, that is unfair. You won’t be wasting my time with your films anymore. I really have given up. I’m not going to watch Jersey Girl. I’m not. Perhaps I’ll read the script? But I’m not going to give in to the ‘oh but this one is different’ argument that I’ve heard over and over again from my ‘old friends’ – I am done. I should have been done back when Jay and Silent Bob should have been done. I just didn’t notice it until now.

I hope you notice it. I hope your fans notice it.

Maybe. Just maybe. When we’re fifty you’ll make something that sounds like it will talk to me again. (No, I WON’T come to see Clerks Cubed under any circumstances.) Maybe then I’ll give you a chance again. But only if you continue to impress me with the spoken word stuff, maybe a funny book or two, and a few scripts shot by other people that have more to offer than what they bring to it.

Sorry Kevin. I didn’t really know this was in me until last night. I wish I had figured it out sooner. I’m a bit mad, and quite disappointed. Yes, a lot of that is at myself. But I had to go to the trigger and confront it. And I really DO hope that someday I again think you a worthy film-maker, you are. Hmm… Yoda-speak.

But for now, it is over.
We’re done.



Tuesday, January 02, 2007

This is a Car Chase - Not a Laser Battle

Still exploring the possibilities of reopening the ol' blog.
The marriage with Flickr is bound to produce some fruit... oh how un-tech-savvy I feel. Oh how I bemoan those days when I was proud to not be a geek.

Anyhow... this is one of my favourite photos I've ever taken. It is at the time of this posting my 3rd 'most interesting' according to Flickr and the photo with the 5th most views.

This experiment is now finished it's active stage.

Passive stage beginning... now.

A Million and Six! Jesus Chri...

October fifth two thousand fi...!

That's a long time without a post.

I've allowed great distraction and likely will again. My video diary takes most of my blog-worthy thought.

In the past few weeks I've had a number of deep thoughts that I've bemoaned no real outlet for. Stuff that wasn't really personal enough for my video blog. Stuff I wanted to at least go throught the pretense of sharing. Anyhow none occur to me at the moment, but now that I've gone through the ritual of re-opening the blog and addressed the gaping hole in which I HAVEN'T been writing... now that all of that is out of the way and I've confirmed that I still rememeber my password... perhaps I'll remember to get deep...